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Mayan Creation Myth

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									    Creation Myths and Universal Hero Stories
Myths and folktales are the world's oldest stories. People
have told myths and folktales since language was created,
keeping them alive and vital through the centuries by word
of mouth. Myths and folktales are important in every world
culture. A society without stories about its beginnings,
its heroes, and its deepest values is like a person without
a name, a family without roots.

A myth is an anonymous, traditional story that explains a
belief, a custom, or a mysterious natural phenomenon. The
word myth comes from the Greek word muthos, which simply
means "story." Myths had specific purposes in their
cultures. In every culture, however, the main functions of
myths were:

• To explain the creation of the world and the universe.
• To explain the human condition: how and why people were
created, why
   they are flawed, why there is suffering in the world,
why people must
   eventually die, and what happens to people after death.
• To explain natural phenomena, such as the setting of the
sun, phases of the
   moon, echoes.
• To explain the nature of gods and goddesses and how these
deities and
   humans interact.
• To explain rituals, customs, beliefs, historical events,
or to teach a lesson.

Tales of the hero and the heroic quest occur in nearly
every world culture. If we look closely at the hero tales
from all over the world and compare them, we find what the
American mythologist Joseph Campbell called the mono-myth -
literally, “the one story.” This mono-myth, or archetypal
heroic quest story, has remarkably the same structure from
culture to culture, often including:

   Performance of quests and daring tasks
   Supernatural births
   Reign of these heroes is foretold or predicted
   Lineages linking them to the gods, or to past heroic
    kings
   Having their lives threatened from birth
   Hidden and raised by people other than their families
   Supernatural protection
   A following of fellow heroes who rally around, serve and
    protect them
   Requiring special weapons
   Becoming immortal, or rising from death and coming again

                                    Name______________________
                                  Period_____ Date____________

    Creation Myths and Universal Hero Stories
                     Activity
    Using the information on the front of this page, and
looking at the story we read in class, answer the following
                         questions.

    1. What makes “The Hero Twins” qualify as a myth?




    2. What does the story explain?




    3. Shaw what makes the story qualify as a heroic quest
       story, by explaining, specific to this story, how it
       displays at least four of the guidelines of the
       archetypal heroic quest story (found on the front):

         


         


         


         
EXTRA CREDIT: (+2)
Tell me one more way “The Hero Twins” fits the mold of the
heroic quest story:

       

								
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