We have studied several mythological archetypes from around the world, in different cultural contexts and time periods. We have spent a significant amount of time in the course analyzing the archetypes of hero and trickster, in particular. You have the opportunity to create a character that fits the mythological archetype of either hero or trickster in this assignment and write that character’s explanatory myth. What archetype will you choose, either hero or trickster?
Use at least three examples from our assigned readings throughout the course to support and explain your choices. Include a Works Cited/References in either APA format.
First, create your archetypal character with a specific social identity by answering these questions. You can write out each question and put the answer below it.
- What will be the physical elements of your character?
- Is your archetypal character deity, demi-god, or human?
- Is your character anthropomorphic (think of Loki, the shape-shifter)?
- What are your character’s motivations?
- What is the family dynamic for your character?
- Does your character follow the Hero’s Journey or does your character play a part in the Hero’s Journey for someone else?
- What is the social identity of your character?
- In what culture is your character living?
Second, write an explanatory myth for your character. The myth should be 250-300 words. For the plot, you’ll need to identify an issue from our culture or another culture, either past or present, which gives your story and character some context. Your character should be struggling with an ethical dilemma, one that relates to a power struggle or societal inequality (based in our culture or another culture, either of the present or past.) For example, think of the tricksters from African-American mythology. Remember what our Module Notes in M5 stated:
Trickster tales flourished as a response to scarcity and hardship. Privation reflected the injustice of the slave holding system. In Africa, shortages were due to natural disasters and war. In North America, shortages came from slavery and those in power keeping the abundance for themselves. Looking at the relationship between the trickster and the dupe shows us a reflection of the power struggles and power inequality in the cultures that produced these tales. The stories do not favor either trickery or trust. Instead, the tales capture the most important ethical dilemmas of both the individual and society—for instance, slavery. These stories give the reader and listener moral distance to analyze situations with more objectivity and offer them space to evaluate challenging issues.
Once you have identified your ethical and cultural issue, put your character in a situation along the Hero’s Journey (some examples: passing the threshold, meeting the goddess, separating from the father figure). Write about his or her actions in that cultural situation and ethical dilemma which will reveal the personality and social identity of your character.
Third, answer the following question:
Why did you make the choices about your character that you did? Why did you draw from certain sources? Lastly, please include and explicitly state what cultural issue (from the past or the present) that you created your myth around. Your response to this question should be 100-150 words.