Rewriting Possibility: 77%
The definition of myth is a “popular belief or story that has become associated with a person, institution, or occurrence, especially one considered to illustrate a cultural ideal. ” Originally, we know the meaning of a myth to be “a traditional, typical ancient story dealing with supernatural beings, ancestors, or heroes that serves as a fundamental type in the worldview of a people, as by explaining aspects of the natural world or a fictitious story, person, or thing. ” For example, you can associate the word “myth” with the ancient Greeks.
What is a myth, today? ‘Myth is a type of speech. ‘ Since myth is known to be a type of speech, “Everything can be a myth provided it is conveyed by a discourse. Myth is not defined by the object of its message, but by the way in which it utters this message: there are formal limits to myth, there are no ‘substantial’ ones. “Myth can be defined neither by its object nor by its material, for any material can arbitrarily be endowed with meaning: the arrow which is brought in order to signify a challenge is also a kind of speech.
True, as far as perception is concerned, writing and pictures, for instance, do not call upon the same type of consciousness; and even with pictures, one can use many kinds of reading: a diagram lends itself to signification more than a raring, a copy more than an original, and a caricature more than a portrait. But this is the point: we are no longer dealing here with a theoretical mode of representation: we are dealing with this particular image, which is given for this particular signification. ” (Breathes, R; 1 984) Ronald Breathes is a theorist who studied ‘mythology’ which also included the analysis of myths.
Breathes wrote a book, called ‘Mythologies’ which was published in 1957. He divides this book into two sections, ‘Mythologies’ and ‘Myth Today. ‘ ‘The main purpose of his work in ‘Mythologies’ is to dissect the functioning of certain insidious myths. Myth is a second-order semiotic system. It takes an already constituted sign and turns it into a signifier. ” (Robinson, A; 2011) Ronald Breathes shows an example of a semiotic/myth; he uses the front cover of the ‘Paris Match magazine’ to demonstrate this theory. The cover has an image of a black young soldier saluting the French flag.
Although, on the cover we cannot see the flag, sources tell me otherwise. The image does not give us any information of the young soldiers life but the magazine editor has used it to symbolism more than the soldier himself. The image is the signifier (physical materials, e. G. Photographs) which denotes an event (a solider saluting the flag). Breathes suggests that the mythological view Of this is that the image signifies something else and that is “the idea of France as a great multi-ethnic empire, the combination of Freshness and militaries. (Robinson, A: 2011) The one who consumes a myth for example, a newspaper reader, will not see the construction of it as a myth. They will simply see the image in the presence of what it signifies. An example of this is the Paris Match magazine mage, where you see the saluting black soldier which is supposTABLE the presence of the French justice. Myth differs from other signifier. It is said that, they have a “contrast to ideas of false consciousness, myths don t hide anything.
Instead, myths inflect or distort particular images or signs to carry a particular meaning. Myth doesn’t hide things, it distorts them. It alienates the history’ of the sign. ” (Robinson, A; 2011) Breather’s acknowledgement suggests that a myth “removes the history from language”. This means that when spoken about a myth it appears to be more natural. Breathes believes that a myth is not important, as he suggests that ‘there are things, with specific attributes, separate from their mythical constructions (accessible, perhaps, through denotative language). (Robinson, A; 201 1) It is said that, myths are received rather than read, which means that, a message that is received rather than read does not need interpretation through a code, the only thing it needs is certain cultural knowledge. Ronald Wright said, “A myth is an arrangement of the past… In patterns [that] create and reinforce archetypes taken for granted, so seemingly axiomatic, hat we live and die by them. ” (Wright 1992: 5) “Myths are stories we tell each other as a culture in order to explain complexities and to banish contradictions, thus making the world seem simpler and more comforTABLE for us to inhabit. (Seminar notes) Myth is seen to be duplicities, which means it takes out politics. Myth is also ideological, this means that it creates ideas and ideals. Ideology can be defined as those modes of feelings, values, perceiving and believing that exists in a wider structure of power in society. A myth/ideology is the values ND beliefs in what we seem to emerge as dominant or powerful. Myths can be seen as a fundamental view of the world, cultures, lifestyles and values. A myth can be seen to be powerful as it has the power to create images and visions in your minds. When words or images function as symbols they affect us both intellectually and emotionally, both consciously and unconsciously. They communicate several different, often divergent, sometimes even contradictory, meanings simultaneously. That’s why they evoke such a strong response. When many symbols are woven together in a myth they evoke even stronger response. ” (Churners, l; 2013) A myth can help people with life, as it creates idealism pictures for them to kick up on, and help them to achieve in life. When people compare (consciously or unconsciously) a myth’s idealized mage with the empirical reality of their lives, they can easily ignore much of the reality, hold on to the ideal instead, and in that way find great intellectual as well as emotional satisfaction. ” (Churners, l; 2013) Myth can be known to be a fiction or a lie but either way has a powerful influence on society. The myths that contain much truth are the ones that eve more of an impact on us, as they convince us that there is some realism behind the myth; the more a myth is proven with evidence the more influence it has upon us.
Here is an example of our typical mythical thinking of America, as it gives us proof; “Over the great bridge, with the sunlight through the girders making a constant flicker upon the moving cars, with the city rising up across the river in white heaps and sugar lumps all built with a wish out of non-olfactory money. The city seen from the Sequencers Bridge is always the city seen for the first time, in its first wild promise of all the yester and the beauty in the world” (The Great Gatsby; Chi 4; 1926). This extract gives us a typical mythological image of America.
However, a myth isn’t told to be proven or told to be judged, but simply is an optic through the way we view the world. If we were to judge a myth, we’d judge it the same way as a poem, book, photographs, etc. It creates the same affect emotionally, it “challenges or reassures us intellectually; to shape, reshape, or reaffirm the way we experience the world. ” (Churners, l; 201 3) A myth can be seen as a “social cement’ as it can bond a group together who share the same myths; they can nod people with a powerful emotion and satisfaction.
America is known to be a mythic place,”the version and the vision of the United States that Americans conjure up in their minds when they imagine what their nation is, what it has been, what it could be; what its role in the world is, has been, and could be; what their own role in the nation is and might be; what it means to be an American. ” (Churners, l; 201 3) No single voice can tell us the full cultural story of America, as it has various of myths and stories; this applies to any other cultures in the world, not just America.
Therefore “utilizing different spineless and sources to explore the diverse, contested nature of the LISA. ” (Seminar notes) We all create mythical images in our head of various things and the American culture is popular as to being a myth. We get these different visions and ideas of the American culture just from media; for example, movies, music, photographs, etc. Another example is, when having a vision of America in our minds, we would envision things such as, the American flag, skyscrapers, beautiful sunny weather, the statue of liberty, city lights, etc.
We tend to envision these things or similar objects because they eve been advertised through various media texts and we have a constant reminder of the United States. The actual myth Of the united States is a “promised land that bestows upon its people unlimited room for development, personal freedom, entrepreneurship, and wealth. ” (Migrants, A; 2013) “American myth is ultimately connected to all the other building blocks of all other American myths in a network of implied connections that is virtually endless.
A group of interlocking myths can conveniently be called a mythology. ” However, even the American building blocks “reinforce the power of the national myths enforce the power of the national myths to shape our perceptions and understandings of the meaning of America, our place in it, and its place in the world. ” (Churners, l; 2013) Each American myth that is created gives us a sense of their national identity and gives us the definition on what it means to be an American. American myths have been and still are nearly all influenced by the rationalist culture of the Enlightenment… Our national myths draw on empirical facts from all aspects of public life ? political, economic, cultural, moral, and more ? and create a complex interplay among them, creating a ensue of the nation and its life as a unified, harmonious whole. ” (Churners, I; 201 3) Americans create the elements of national myths when they have the atmosphere to create words, photographs, actions that deal with America.
American myths are not manipulated by anyone, as myths are differently opinionated and looked upon on with different meanings. Myths are always changing in some shape or form. “We all live in the web of multivalent mythic meanings, which creates a field of conflicting interpretations and conflicting views on public issues at every level. All of the debates that shape public life abates about economic policy, foreign policy, the environment, social behavior, and so much else ? are, at the deepest level, debates about national myths and the interpretation of those myths. (Churners, l; 2013) America has also got a famously cultural historical context, for example, the black Fragmentariness and the rich white men, the American dream, etc. These historical myths are famously known and valued. Americans even today are self influenced by the rich white men and may not even know it themselves but they live under that myth. Because of American myths we are ore familiarized with the country itself as it provides knowledge; myths are important as they help us build this connection in knowledge.