Your goal for this assignment is to use a comparative mythology approach to write a research paper. There are two options for comparison: comparing versions of the same myth or comparing mythic traditions. You will analyze two primary sources (the myths) and should use at least three secondary sources (your research sources) to support your analysis. For both options you should be identifying the principle features of the myths and their purpose (archetypes/mythic concepts) as well as the contexts that influence the myths (social, cultural, religious, historical, etc.). Since there is no scaffolding for this paper, consider bringing drafts to office hours for review and utilizing the writing center.
Versions of Myth Option: Compare two versions of the same myth from a single mythic tradition (e.g. Mesoamerican). After considering their similarities and differences, research the context of each version to consider how that may affect the retelling. What was going on in the history of the peoples retelling the myth? What are the differences in the cultures telling the myth? Your goal is to compare and contrast the myths in order to argue what the differences suggest about each cultures’ beliefs (based on time period/era, location, religion, history, etc) and what the similarities suggest about the significance of that particular myth to the culture from which it comes.
Mythic Traditions Option: Compare two myths from distinct mythic traditions (e.g. Mesoamerican and Norse). After considering their similarities and differences, research the context of each myth to consider how that may affect the retelling. Choose myths that have commonalities or speak to the same archetype (e.g. hero myths, creation stories, the great mother, the stealing of the goddess, etc.). Your goal is to compare and contrast the myths in order to argue what the differences suggest about each cultures’ beliefs and and what the similarities suggest about the universality of myth and the human experience.
Your task is to write a 4-6 page research paper based off your comparison of the myths and contextual research. Your main thesis should indicate a “so what?” that summarizes the takeaway of the comparison and appear at the end of your introduction. What do their contexts tell us about the their similarities and differences? What then have you uncovered about the myths and cultures that told them?
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