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.

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! 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.

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:

1. To explain how something was created or why it is the way it is.

2. To teach us a life lesson (Have a theme).

Your myth should be at least one page double-spaced. Use MLA format for your first page heading. Your grade will be based on your creativity and storytelling ability.

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

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