Dr. J. Taylor Mythology in Art and Literature Hum 2310 Fall 2010 by hedongchenchen


									Dr. J. Taylor                Mythology in Art and Literature                  Hum 2310
Fall 2010             Paper Topics

The First Writing Assignment (2 possible choices): For this first paper you have two options,
you can write a comparative piece on an archetypal theme or character or you can create your
own archetypal character or theme. See the following for details. Refer to your Syllabus for
writing style requirements.

Choice #1 = Comparison of an Archetypal theme or Character as described in two
different myths
Pick an archetypal image, either a theme or a character such as Creation, Flood,
Afterlife, Apocalypse or Supreme Being, Great Mother, Dying God, Trickster. Pick only one
area to concentrate on.
Find examples of that theme or character from two different cultures. One of the two examples
may be the same as studied in class so that you have a familiar starting point, but the second
example needs to be a myth that is new to you and not in our book in that specific section. In a
minimum of 4 full pages compare and contrast the similarities and differences that you find in
the archetypal images/characters from the two different cultures. If there is room, give some
possible reasons for your findings (geography, climate, etc). Don’t forget the Coversheet and the
Bibliography for a grand total of 6 pages minimum. You may not compare Greek to Roman
themes or characters.

Examples: 1) Compare and contrast the Greek god, Hermes, and the Norse god, Loki, as
examples of the Trickster Archetype, noting similarities and differences.
2) Compare and contrast the Mesopotamian version of Creation to the Chinese version of
Creation, noting similarities and differences.
Themes: Creation, Flood, Afterlife, Apocalypse, etc.
Characters: Supreme Being, Great Mother, Dying God, Trickster, Wise Old Man, etc.

Choice #2 = Create your own myth, 4 pages minimum plus a coversheet
For those who like a bit more creative style of writing, write your own myth either an Archetypal
Character or an Archetypal Theme. An Archetypal Character Myth would be your own
mythological Supreme Being or Great Mother Goddess or a Dying God or a Trickster figure.
Choose only one archetypal character. Develop the story around just one archetype and his or her
interactions with the world, working in the characteristics of that archetype in story form (never
as a list of characteristics). It should be obvious to me as the reader what type of archetypal
character the paper is about within the four pages. If I am still guessing by the end of the paper,
the archetype was not developed well enough. The creative paper could focus on an Archetypal
Theme in Myth: You could write your own version of a Creation myth, or a Flood myth, an
Apocalypse myth or a myth of the Afterlife. Pick just one theme and develop it fully in your
story. Keep it mythological. No sci-fi or fantasy, no robots, or UFOs. Develop the world or
destroy it. Describe the gods or god of that world and how things are accomplished.

Papers will be graded on grammar/writing skills and how well they include mythic/archetypal
Dr. J. Taylor                 Mythology Hero Papers                         Fall 2010

Hero Presentation (and potential Writing Assignment #2) requirements:
The focus of the 4-page paper portion as well as the visual portion of this project will be an
application of Joseph Campbell’s Hero Cycle to the story of a Hero. The Hero Topic List is in
the File Folder for this course under your “my courses” tab on Atlas and it is located on my
faculty webpage. Send me an email with your top three choices and I will email you back
confirming which one will be yours for this assignment. Find out as much of the hero’s story as
possible preferably in summary form (I don’t recommend trying to read an epic like the Odyssey
if you have Odysseus. Read a summary of his adventures in a Classical Mythology book).
After you have found one really good summary or version of your hero’s myth, apply
Campbell’s Hero Cycle to the myth of your hero. Joseph Campbell developed the Hero Cycle or
pattern (see separate handout on the Hero Cycle) after studying myths of heroes from around the
world. According to him, every hero myth fits the pattern. You are testing his theory by applying
the pattern to the myth of your hero. Consider whether your hero’s myth fits the pattern as
outlined by Campbell. Is it an exact fit? How does it differ?

THE GOAL: Find at least six subcategories from the main categories of Departure, Initiation,
and Return in the myth of your hero.
HOW THAT BREAKS DOWN: I would like you to find six subcategories, ideally a minimum
of two from each of the main categories: Departure, Initiation, and Return. However, some of the
heroes do not fit into the Return Category because they die. If that is the case for your hero, you
can divide up the six subcategories between Departure and Initiation. The Goal is six
subcategories divided between the three main categories.
Focus on key events that either do or do not fit the cycle and include those events as examples in
your paper and presentation. Be sure to explain how/why the events do or do not meet the
criteria of Joseph Campbell’s Hero Cycle. This information should be worked into the Thesis

There may be some overlap between subcategories. For example, an event may be part of the
Road of Trials, but it also may fit under Meeting with the Goddess or Woman as Temptress.

Whichever subcategories you choose, those six will become part of your Thesis Statement in the
Introduction to your paper along with some general background about your Hero and Joseph
Campbell’s Hero Cycle.

Sample Thesis Statement: The Epic of Gilgamesh, while not strictly adhering to Campbell’s
Hero Cycle, does contain enough elements of that cycle to decisively call Gilgamesh a Hero.
These elements include from Departure: (choose two of the subcategories), from Initiation:
(choose two of the subcategories), and from Return: (choose two of the subcategories).

You only need one source for the hero’s story. Please use a scholarly, academic, or literary
source unless otherwise approved.
Fall 2010

Specifically for Hero Presentation
The presentation is based on the research you do for your hero. You will be the resident expert
on that particular hero for a short 5-10 minute presentation at the end of the semester.

Please bring in a visual aid such as a power point presentation so that we have some idea of what
your hero or heroine looks like.

Explain how your hero fits into at least two subcategories from each main category: Departure,
Initiation, and Return. There should be a total of six subcategories divided up between the three
main categories. Presentations are graded on the quality of research, preparation, delivery, and
on the visual aids relative to the medium used and the handout you provide.

 If you are shy, feel free to do your presentation entirely in power point, tape record your voice,
or even make a video/DVD presentation. You may use a cast who can do your talking for you.
The most important thing is to convey what makes your hero heroic and how he or she fits into
the Hero Cycle identified by Joseph Campbell.

Some advice:
If you are creating a power point presentation, bring in the presentation on either CD or a media
stick/flash drive AND email it to yourself as a backup.

If there is music on your presentation, make sure to save the music to your media files. You’ll
know that the music files are saved if they actually appear in the CD or media stick’s window.
If the CD or media stick only shows a power point, there is every likelihood that the music files
were not saved correctly. You may choose to bring music in on a separate CD. It is tricky to save
it to the PowerPoint, but it can be done.

Choose font sizes and colors that will be easy to read projected on the video screen. Make sure
that the font color stands out against the background. I do not recommend red or yellow fonts as
they often are hard to read when projected onto the screen.

There must be visuals of your hero in the presentation even if you merely have a set of images to
show while you narrate the presentation yourself. The class needs to see the hero.

It is important to be present and pay attention to the presentations. Please make sure your
electronic devices are silent. Anyone texting during the presentations will be asked to leave. Not
only is it discourteous, it is disruptive to those around you.

**Make sure to provide a handout over the six subcategories and your hero’s myth for the
rest of the class to use to study for the final. All the heroes will be on the Final Exam.

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