ur myths help us understand racial identity H u m a n i t i e s

ur myths help us understand racial identity H u m a n i t i e s

History of Myth Analysis


The purpose of this assignment is to help you see how the idea of myth evolved–how myth was perceived in the past and how it is viewed and studied in the present.


  1. In your text Myth & Knowing please read the first Chapter (Pages 2-28).
  2. Re-read the previous page that explain the meaning of the ‘myth onion.’ NOTE: You will be using the elements of the myth onion in all subsequent assignments
  3. In the Discussion Forum titled “History of Myth”, respond to the following question:

    How can the historical evolution of myth and its study help us better understand the ‘myth onion’, and how is this understanding relevant to the way we study myth today?

  4. In three or four well written paragraphs (400-500 words), critically analyze this question, using the text as reference, noting myth’s transformation from ancient times to today, making claims about its relevance to various societal developments, arriving at your own assumptions, and proving those assumptions with your opinions, thought processes, and examples from the text and the real world.
    • Please make sure you focus on the key question. NOTE: The question requires to consider both historical perspectives and modern ones to arrive at conclusions about how these various understandings of myth have helped modern mythologists and students of mythology to arrive at recognizing a holistic view of myth. It also requires you to explain what that holistic view tells us about the study of myth.
    • You must use textual examples from the reading to support your ideas
    • You also need to support all your claims with analytical argument and your opinions
    • You may support your answer with examples from the real world
    • Please remember to cite your sources accurately, using the MLA style of citations.

Some sample questions you might want to consider while developing your analysis: (Please note that these are only food-for-thought questions.)

    • If myth is a cultural product, and one of its purposes is to ensure the sustenance of that culture, would studying the Volk theories and Aryan ideas of Ur myths help us understand racial identity?
    • By perceiving myth “microscopically” as Wendy Doniger suggest, are we diluting the spiritual power of myth? How does this compare with the devaluation of myth?
    • What is the world benefit (if any) of seeing universal concepts in myth, such as Jung’s archetypes and collective consciousness and Joseph Campbell’s monomyth? Should this universality be our only search in the myth onion?
    • By using Doty’s “Toolkit” are we not including many of the ancient theories about myth?
    • How were the earlier mythographers perceiving myth? And why is that relevant today?