Comparing Myths across Cultures
Research Paper Assignment
Description: For this assignment, you will choose three common aspects of global myths (or concepts that can be applied to the study of different myths) and construct a research paper in which you compare and contrast the various ways in which these elements are incorporated into the myths of three separate cultures (or the study of these myths).
Note that one of your chosen cultures MUST BE either ancient Greece, Rome, or Egypt. The other two choices are up to you (For example, you may choose Greek, African and Native American myth, or Roman, Egyptian and Chinese myth etc.). You may also read and address myths within your textbook that we did not read this semester.
In your conclusion, please be sure to address this key question: After comparing and contrasting the myths of three cultures, why do you think people create and perpetuate myths? In other words, how do myths serve human society and/or human nature?
This paper serves as the final for this course, so be sure to include all required elements and dedicate significant time to critical thinking, researching, outlining, drafting and editing. Here are your choices of concepts that you can choose to compare and contrast (Remember that you need to choose three):
• The psychological, or cultural “truths” contained within myths. In other words, contemplate how myth, although traditionally considered “fictional,” actually represent truths about human nature, or a particular culture’s understanding of human nature. Consider how myths illustrate the specific challenges faced by different cultures around world. Additionally, you might reflect upon the ways in which myth illustrates social norms, and/or cultural practices (see pp. 5 -9 for Thury’s discussion on the topic).
• The ways in which ritual is reflected in, or described by, different myths across the globe.
• The archetype of the hero as reflected in three myths across the globe. Do not simply name and describe the heroes of several myths; rather, include how each society defines a hero. For example, what characteristics do heroes embody in Native American myth? What characteristics do heroes embody in Greek myth?
• The archetype of the trickster as reflected in three myths across the globe.
• The similarities and differences between creation myths of different cultures, not only in terms of the ‘events’ contained within these myths, but also in terms of how these events illustrate the specific challenges, and/or social norms of these societies.
• The similarities and differences between myths of destruction from several different cultures. Remember that on page 151 of your text, Thury states that myths of destruction, “represent ways of emphasizing and celebrating the important aspects of a mythological system.” She particularly notes that the elements that survive the destructive event are the “essential” aspects of a culture’s mythological system and world. Compare and contrast the ways in which several different myths illustrate this concept.
– 1,500 – 2,000 words
– APA formatting (including in-text citations and a reference page)
– Five sources (your textbook will be one).
– Be sure to use the myths of three different cultures/societies to address your three chosen concepts (Greek, Roman, or Egyptian must be one).
Research Paper Assignment Page 2 of 2
– Be sure to address three of the concepts/ideas presented above.
– Be sure to address the “key question,” explained in the first paragraph of your assignment, in your conclusion.
The structure of the body of your essay is up to you, but here is an example of how you could organize this essay:
Introduction + thesis (key statement indicating the overall perspective and main points you will take in the essay).
Concept # 1 as represented in the myths of three different societies.
Concept # 2 as represented in the myths of three different societies.
Concept # 3 as represented in the myths of three different societies.
Conclusion, including your perspective on the “key question.”
I chose Greek, African and Chinese Culture
Text is Introduction to Mythology: Contemporary Approaches to Classical and World Myths 3rd edition
Written by: Eva Thury
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