need help with Mythology and Folklore essay

Paper 2

Parsons English 114 Spring 2017

Due: March 24th by 11:59pm

Choose one (1) of the following topics and write a four-six page (that’s a

minimum of four full pages) essay (or tale) in standard MLA format which is

critical, thoughtful, and/or creative. If you choosing topic 1, your paper will be

supported with several specific examples from the work(s) you are analyzing. If

you select topic 2, then you’ll be doing something a little different! Your essay

will be evaluated on both form and content. Do your best, and good luck!

In order to gain full credit, your essay must be:

• 4-6 full pages long

• written in MLA Format

• turned in on time

• Peer Reviewed in class

• Submitted to SafeAssign on time

1. Almost all cultures have their creation and pourquoi myths (including myths

about the origin of the universe, the creation of humans, the occurrence of a

massive flood or other cataclysm, etc.), as well as similar cautionary folktales,

fairytales, and urban legends. There are remarkable similarities among these

myths and tales from widely different cultures; there are also some notable


Compare one similar kind of myth, fairytale, urban legend, legend, or folktale

from three different cultures (or time periods). Discuss the similarities first.

Then focus on the key differences. Speculate on what the differences suggest

about the nature of the culture telling the story (for example, Native American

origin myths usually contain gods who appear in the form of the animals so

important to the peoples’ survival). You may use material from stories

discussed in class. You may also use other sources (such as Edith Hamilton’s

Mythology, Bulfinch’s Age of Fable, Virginia Hamilton’s In the Beginning…,

etc.; there are even several good online myth sites). Please see me for

suggestions or help starting your research. Be sure to refer directly to the myths

using summary and/or direct quotations which you document parenthetically

and list on your MLA formatted works cited page. You are required to cite all

of the examples that you use in your paper, even if you are using class


Tip: You do not have to limit yourself to Western Mythology. Consider myths

from Africa, Native American tribes, indigenous groups from Central and

South America, and Asia as well.

2. Pourquoi (why) tales are attempts to explain natural and cosmic

phenomena. In Genesis we learn the Hebrews’ ideas about the origin of labor

(both kinds), how rainbows came into being, the reason for different languages;

in Ovid’s Metamorphoses we see Greco-Roman notions of how the laurel tree

came into being, why peacocks have eyes on their tail feathers, etc.

Imagine you are the storyteller of your culture. Your task is to create your own

pourquoi tale. Using your own imagination and drawing on material that

would be significant and logical to your culture (you can define your culture

any way you want), tell the story of how ___________ came into being. You

may fill in the blank with a traditional phenomenon (such as why the sun rises

and sets) or a whackier phenomenon (such as how the hamburger stand got its

golden arches). Do NOT get all scientific about it; these are tales (stories); they

DO have internal logic, but they are also very imaginative. Be as creative as


Tip: do not write as though you are writing for a little kid. The tales we’ve read

are tightly focused (often centering on just one event); they are edgy; they have

a lot of very crisp, precise detail. You need to suggest an idea through content,

not explain an idea. It’s not as easy as you might think, but it will allow you to

do something inventive. Remember, these are usually written as a storyteller

would tell them, NOT as a first person narrative or experience. Examples

are posted in the Unit 2 folder, but please see me if you have additional

questions throughout the writing process.