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Origin Myths and Early Colonial Literature by nikeborome


									Origin Myths and Early
  Colonial Literature
    Colonial American Literature
 Native American Literature
 Literature of Exploration - Virginia
 Northern Colonies
 Southern & Middle Colonies
         The first people…
 Native Americans immigrated over the
  land bridge from Asia in 35,000 BC
 The first Europeans enter North America
  in 1600’s.
 The last colonies were settled in 1732
 What is a myth?
The word itself comes
from the Greek "mythos"
which originally meant
"speech" or "discourse"

  A traditional story that deals with
  goddesses, gods, heroes, and/or
  supernatural forces. A myth may
explain a belief, a custom, or a force of
 Contain supernatural elements
 Often explain the unexplainable
 Have also been told in order to teach a
  moral lesson.
 All cultures have myths, though often do
  not see their stories myth but as fact.
          Sacred Narratives
 A more culturally sensitive term for “origin
  myths” or “creation myths”
 No culture appreciates their beliefs being
  called “myths”…
 Would you appreciate Genesis being
  called “Hebrew mythology”? It happened
  to me…
What is a myth?
   A traditional
   story explaining
   how the world
   and the things in
   it came to be
   Oral tradition
Native  American
 myths originated
 as oral tradition:
 stories passed
 down verbally
            Oral Tradition. . .
   Native American creation myths were not
    written down until just a few hundred years
Four functions of
1. To awaken us to
 the mystery and
 wonder of creation
2. To explain the
 workings of the
 natural world: every
 corner, every rock, hill,
 stone, and flower has
 its place and its
3. To pass down the moral
 and ethical codes that
 support and validate social
    4. To teach:
to guide the people through
     the trials of living
        Creation myths
 Explainhow the universe, the
 earth, and life on earth began.
               Creation Myths
   Creation myth- explanation for how the world began
   Trickster- some one is creative curious and often
    gets into trouble. Will sometimes find wisdom
    through their curiosity.
Essentials of Creation
            Creation Myths…
     TRIBE! (corn, animals, rituals, etc.)-

2.   State the place and people of origin

3. Describe what existed before the “creation”

4. EXPLAIN the “creation” of things or the
    beginnings of rituals

5. EXPLAIN who or what did the creating
      More About Native American
   Oral Traditions
   Integration of the natural world with the human
   No separation of spiritual and physical
   Importance of ancestors
   Trixter figure – often a coyote
   Rich literary tradition – developed mythology
   Extremely diverse
   Native American legacy today – Sherman Alexie
    Native American Literature
 The Earth on Turtle’s Back
 When Grizzlies Walked Upright
 From The Navaho Origin Legend
 From the Iroquois Constitution
Colonial Period
The first migration to the Americas was not by the
The first migration occurred 20 – 40,000 years ago
   when Ice Age Hunters traveled from Siberia to
Slowly these people and their descendents migrated
  south. When European exploration began, these
    were the people who were living in the “New
In 1492, Columbus
  America. Taking
 Native Americans
 with him to Spain,
   stories began to
 circulate about the
   wonders of the
 New World, about
  its exoticism and
Spanish and French explorers
 wrote about this new world
   in over-exaggerated styles,
  praising its beauty, making
  it appear as Al Dorado (the
  place of hopes and dreams).
  America was viewed as the
   land of plenty, the land of
   peace and hospitality, the
         land of riches
  This brought hope for those who were being
           prosecuted across the world.
When Europeans began voyaging to this world,
they unleashed diseases such as smallpox, measles,
typhus, and so on, on the Natives, who were also
             enslaved and mistreated.
In the face of this, Native American population
     began to decline rapidly, and thus, Spain
        introduced African slavery in 1501
The period of European exploration brought
    with it a huge body of literature that is
    referred to as a literature of witness or
   exploration narratives The early settlers
    brought with them their knowledge of
 written communication with its particular
  style and content. They wrote about their
 new experiences in forms that were familiar
  to them – letters, factual records, sermons,
                   and poems.
Captain John Smith: A Description of New England (1616)
The Landing of the Pilgrims, 1620,
relief by Enrico Causici on
doors of U.S.Capitol Rotunda
This passage to the New World
  was filled with memories of
     the violence of the old
   country and the fear of the
  unknown terrors of the new
   one: the loss of home, of
     kinship (relationships,
    connections), of worldly
  possessions, of cultural and
        personal identity
             Exploration Literature
   Captain John Smith:
      The General History of Virginia, New England, and the
       Summer Isles (1624)
       The Generall Historie is Smith’s most comprehensive discussion
       of conquest and exploration and stands today as an exemplary
       text in the exploration literature of the 16th and 17th century
   William Bradford:
      Of Plymouth Plantation (1650): a journal comprising the story
       of the Pilgrims and the early years of the founding of their colony
       (from 1608 to 1647)
   Christopher Columbus:
         From Journal of the First Voyage to America (1492): a
       journal written nine days after Columbus Arrived in the
        Your Homework tonight
   Directions:
  Write an origin myth that is at least one page typed
   (Double Spaced), 1” margins, 12 pt. Font)
or two pages (front and back written) Your myth must
   include the following elements:
 Explain the origin of a phenomenon in nature (refer to
   examples discussed in class)
 Creation of man, animals, or the earth
 Must include an Immortal Being

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