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Essay / Research Paper Abstract
An 8 page paper discussing the narrative style of myths in different cultures. There are differing views among scholars and anthropologists concerning the structure of myths. The writer explores these disparities in great detail. Bibliography lists 4 sources.
8 pages (~225 words per page)
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developed to explain the distinct polarities of the world and explain and envision how the contradictions faced in life can be addressed through the process of distinction action and life
within a cultural context (Dundes, 1984). While a myth may be based on real facts, many times, their purpose is to answer some of the most complex and pressing questions
of human existence and give meaning to that which otherwise cannot be explained rationally. The quest for knowledge of self and the universe is illustrated in many mythologies which
chronicle such events as creation of the earth and cosmos, humanity, plants, and animals (Dundes, 1984). There are differing views among scholars and anthropologists concerning the structure of myths.
One of the most famous modern anthropologists of the late twentieth century, Claude Levi-Strauss, in studying the Native American myths and legends, has theorized that the principal function of myths
is to resolve the inherent contradictions of life, such as birth and death, childhood and old age through the use of cultural symbols and events (Levi-Strauss, in Dundes, 1984).
Although Levi-Strauss theory is widely accepted as to the purpose of myth, other scholars have taken a different approach to the narrative construction of myths. Classic myths, such as
The Odyssey, contain a series of events which are common to myths of all cultures, phases or events that the hero or heroine of the myth experiences before reaching triumph
and completion. While Levi-Strauss believes that the sequence of these events is not critical to the meaning of the myth (Levis-Strauss, in Dundes, 1984), Alan Dundes theorizes in Sacred
Narrative that these episodes must take place in a fixed order (Dundes, 1984). Levis-Strausss "The Story of Asdiwal" demonstrates the sequential and sociological aspects of myth within the native cultures