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Early Native American Literature: Myths and Legends

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by

Heather Molloy

on 5 September 2013

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Transcript of Early Native American Literature: Myths and Legends

Early Native American Literature: Myths and Legends
Elements of the Oral Literature
1. Repetition

2. Enumeration

3. Ritual beginnings and endings

4. Specific structure
a. Introduction: Harmonious Situation
b. Thesis: Disruption of Harmony
c. Antithesis: Overcoming Disruption
d. Conclusion: Restoration of Harmony

Functions of Native American Literature
Beliefs about nature of physical world

Beliefs about social order and appropriate behavior

Beliefs about human nature and the problem of good and evil
Characteristics of Myths and Legends
1.Beings are animals spirits in more or less human form: monsters, confusions of nature

2.Culture hero or transformer orders the world

3. Culture hero or transformer turns animal people into animals

4. Other beings become landmarks


Heroes
Culture heroes: Show how to do what is right and how we become the people we are (role models)

They also shape the world and gives it character by theft of sun, fire, or water


Trickster heroes: Provide for disorder and change.

They also enable us to see the seamy underside of life while reminding us that culture is artificial
Themes

1. Formation of the world through struggle and robbery

2. Movement from a sky world to a water world by means of a fall

3. Theft of fire (light/heat)

4. Emergence of beings from under the surface of the earth to its surface
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