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Myths and Heroes: the american culture

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Par   •  4 Mai 2017  •  Dissertation  •  1 147 Mots (5 Pages)  •  1 164 Vues

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Notion Myths and Heroes

                I am going to talk about the notion of myths and heroes. Let's start with a quick definition. A myth is a traditional story concerning the early history of a people, generally involving supernatural beings or events. A hero is a person who is admired for his qualities, his courage, or his achievements. A hero can be part of a myth inasmuch as some heroes create a truly myth.

        To illustrate this notion, I will talk about American culture, and all myths and heroes that shaped America like we know it nowadays.

        We can wonder how we can understand American culture, or more precisely how America managed to create myths and to use them in history.

        Consequently, we will speak about the myths and heroes of America, and then we’ll see the influence of these myths and heroes for American culture nowadays.

                First, America was discovered by mistake by the Italian Christopher Columbus in 1492, while he was trying to reach the East Indies by sailing westward, and this eventually received the support of the Spanish Crown, which saw a chance to enter the spice trade with Asia through a new westward route. During his first voyage in 1492, he reached the New World instead of arriving at Japan as he had intended, landing on an island in the Bahamas archipelago that he named "San Salvador". Columbus found Natives and managed to convert them into Christian religion.

        A time after that, the Pilgrim Fathers went to America in 1620 on board the Mayflower, to run away from persecutions because they were puritans, and they were against the English Church. The Pilgrim Fathers were the first hundred volunteers to travel to America. At the beginning, life was very hard because of the winter (many people died), but Natives helped them survive by giving them food (corn and turkey) and showing them where to fish. To thank this help from Natives and from God, every year, American celebrate Thanksgiving (which is more “Invasion Day” for Natives).

        Then, when the population grew, the American Revolution started in 1775 and ended in 1783, and it was at this moment that The Declaration of Independence was mostly written by Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin, and signed of July 4th 1776. This event can be considered as the birth of America. A decade later, in 1787, the Constitution of the USA sets the principles governing the political life of the new country, based on the Pilgrim Fathers’ wishes, and this Constitution is still efficient.

        Moreover, the Europeans invaded the Indians, who have been in the continent since the beginning, when the Pilgrim Fathers arrived. Even if Indians helped them, the Europeans managed to remove appropriate their lands, by encroaching upon the Indians’ hunting and fishing grounds and cultivate lands. The first reservation was created in 1656 in Virginia. Between 1838 and 1840, already 100,000 (one hundred thousand) Indians, had been deported west. When gold was discovered in Cherokee country, settlers and the army invaded their territory and removed them to Oklahoma in the winter. 4,000 (four thousand) Cherokee Indians died of cold and exhaustion on the Trail of Tears. In reservations, Indians lost their tribal unity, they had no political power, they were ruled by Whites, they suffered from diseases, unemployment, poverty and alcoholism and step by step, their culture, language and religion culture were outlawed.

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