Writing a Myth
A myth has been defined as “a story embodying and declaring a pattern of relationship between humanity, other forms of life, and the environment” (R. J. Stewart). As such, myths and creation accounts and stories help to provide a unifying framework for the people who believe, either literally or figuratively, in this shared account. It is not a falsehood or an unscientific lie; rather, it is a poetic and shared vision.
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Some of these mythic elements that derive from the Oral Tradition are: 1) The use of repetition for emphasis and ease of recall; 2) The use of poetic devices such as alliteration, personification, metaphor and simile, and symbolism; 3) A concern with numbers, often times repeated; 4) The power of “The Word” (Logos) and the subsequent use of concrete nouns to label important elements (both human and non-human).
This week you will be writing your own Creation Myths! This is intended to be a fun and creative assignment, so use your imagination!
Think of a natural phenomena that you would like to explain. Pick one natural phenomena and create a myth that explains how this phenomena was created or why it acts the way it does. Remember, most myths have two functions:
- Explain how something was created or why it is the way it is.
- Teach us a life lesson (Have a theme).
Think back to the myths we have read in class as an example of what a good myth does.Write an original creation myth following the writing process. Be sure to include all the elements of a myth: characters, setting, conflict, plot, resolution, and possibly metamorphosis.
Some ideas for you if you are really stuck:
- how cats got their tails
- how the sun came into being
- why the moon disappears once a month
- why giraffes have long necks
- why there is dew on the grass in the summer
- why dogs bark instead of chirp
- why penguins can’t fly
- why trees grow vertically instead of horizontally
- why people have language and animals do not