Theories of a Myth

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Theories of Myth

Melissa McKenna

University of Phoenix

HUM 105

Dr. Cynthia Begay

November 01, 2010

Theories of Myth

How did this world come to be? Where did humanity come from? These are questions that have been on people’s tongues since the beginning of time. Different cultures, traditions, and people have their own understanding as to how the world began, and how they came into it. The different narratives of the creation of the world and humanity are known as creation myths. Creation myths address the significant questions held by a society, shining light on their main view, as well as the basis for the distinctiveness of the culture, and the individual in a worldwide setting. Each tradition, culture and individual has its own creation myth in an attempt to answer the essential questions of humanity; because of this there are also theories that go along with these creation myths to help explain the role of each myth within each culture.

There are many theories that can be used to explain the role of a creation myth within a culture. One such theory is the Structuralism myth theory. The Structuralism myth theory states that myths were designed after the human mind and human nature. It assumes that human behavior is established through communication, and its underlying patterns (Leonard & McClure, 2004). In The Story of Asdiwal, a myth among the Tsimshian, functions to justify real life by presenting a situation that is imaginary to show that it would not work in real life. The myth reveals that Asdiwal marries and moves in with his wife’s family; this situation is that matrilocal. The myth ends with him residing with his family; this situation is patrilocal and is common for the Tsimshian people. In the Tsimshian culture there are difficulties with both sides of the families over the influence on their children and inheritance. The myth helps to show its people that in real life there is no alternative to how they are living. It...