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Myths, Legends, and Fables

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Presentation on theme: "Myths, Legends, and Fables"— Presentation transcript:

1 Myths, Legends, and Fables
What are they? Why are they important to literature?

2 What is a myth? A traditional story passed down through generations.
Attempts to explain some aspect of the natural world. Often involves supernatural events and beings. Shows the values and beliefs of a cultural group. May have many versions; Myths are shared orally over a span of time by many different tellers. Note: The “truth” of a myth is irrelevant. Myths arise from the human desire to understand the world.

3 Archetypes and Myth Myths, both ancient and modern, are one of the places where archetypal patterns frequently appear. The stories told in myths are born of the innate human desire to explain the world and know the unknowable. Images and plots in myths are often similar to stories in other cultures and frequently have symbolic significance.

4 Archetypes and Myth continued . . .
Some common universal themes in myths across cultures and time periods are CREATION MYTHS - How was this world created? Where did God (or the gods) come from? How were humans created? FLOOD MYTHS - Man displeases the gods and must be punished; the world is cleansed by water (an archetypal rebirth symbol). HERO MYTHS - The hero overcomes tremendous obstacles, saves the day, and becomes a stronger, better person.


6 What is a Legend? A legend is a story about a REAL person who performed great deeds. As the story is retold over the years it becomes more exaggerated, thus leading to a legend. Example – Paul Bunyan

7 What does this have to do with me?
Every culture has their own group of myths and legends. Many stories concerning our founding fathers, such as George Washington, have become legend. Only a small part of these stories is based on truth.

8 Continued George Washington likely did not “chop down the Cherry Tree and tell the truth” for example.

9 What is a Fable? Fables usually have a moral, a statement or idea on how humans should live their lives. One or more characters are animals.


11 Test yourself Which of the following are Myths, which are legends, and which are Fables? King Arthur The Great Flood Stewart Little Superman Beowulf The Three Little Pigs

12 King Arthur

13 The Great Flood

14 Stewart Little

15 Superman

16 Beowulf

17 The Three Little Pigs

18 Answers King Arthur is a Legend, although as early as the 1980s he was considered a myth. The Great Flood is an archetypal flood myth. Stories of a great flood appear in nearly every culture. The flood first appeared in print within The Epic of Gilgamesh. Stewart Little is a Fable, since it involves an animal character and it teaches a lesson. Superman is a myth. All of the DC superheroes are patterned off of Greek Mythology

19 Answers Concluded Beowulf is a legend. Although we are not certain of a man named “Beowulf,” the exaggeration and bragging depicted were typical for Anglo-Saxon times, and likely Beowulf represented someone who was real. The Three Little Pigs is a Fable, but I think that was an easy one.

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