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Literary Analysis: Origin Myths and Archetypes

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Cara Badac

on 6 October 2014

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Transcript of Literary Analysis: Origin Myths and Archetypes

Literary Analysis: Origin Myths and Archetypes
Chart 1
Origin Myths
Traditional stories that recount the origins of earthy life. Passed down from generation to generation, these myths describe phenomena that is out of humans' control.
patterns in literature found throughout the world.

Examples: trickster character, mysterious guide, forces in the world
Chart 1
Selection and Phenomenon:

"The Earth on Turtle's Back:

The World

The world is created when a muskrat dives to the bottom of the ocean, scoops up a bit of Earth, and deposits it on the turtle's back. The Earth expands and becomes the whole world.

"When Grizzlies Walked Upright:

Mount Shasta, beaver, otter, fish, birds, bears

Mount Shasta: The Chief of the Sky Spirits carves a hole in the sky and pushed ice and snow down until he made a great mound, known as Mount Shasta, that reached from the earth almost to the sky.

Beaver, otter, fish, and birds: The Chief of the Sky Spirits broke off the end of his walking stick and threw the pieces into the rivers. This created water animals. He then blew upon the leaves, creating birds.

Grizzly Bears: The Chief of the Sky Spirits made the grizzly bear from the big end of his giant stick.

Chart 1
from "The Navajo Origin Legend
man, woman

The gods placed an ear of white and yellow corn, a white eagle feather, and a yellow eagle feather between two buckskins. Then the white wind blew from one direction while the yellow blew from another. The wind blew between them. After the Mirage People walked around the objects four times, the upper buckskin was lifted. The white ear of corn had been changed into man, and the yellow into woman.
Chart 2-Archetypes
small, determined character:

disobedient child:
daughter of the Sky Chief

being made up of two races:
Native American Race

source of nutrients:
Origin myths can be seen as a mixture of science and religion. Their purpose is to explain how the world and things in it came to be.
"...the trees and the grass sprang up. Life on Earth had begun. "
-The Earth on Turtle's Back
The process for looking for archetypes in origin myths....
Say to yourself:
I know that origin myths have archetype, or patterns.
One example Mrs. Coulter gave us is the significance of cardinal directions.
I'm challenging myself to read in an effort to look for something else in the myth that might show up in other myths, therefore qualifying as an archetype.
An example would be the role the animals play in each myth.
Full transcript