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Myths and heroes : To what extent can myths and heroes influence our way of life and our way of thinking ?

Dissertation : Myths and heroes : To what extent can myths and heroes influence our way of life and our way of thinking ?. Recherche parmi 240 000+ dissertations

Par   •  27 Avril 2018  •  Dissertation  •  595 Mots (3 Pages)  •  357 Vues

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We are going to deal with the notion myths and heroes. To begin with, I'd like to give a definition of the notion. A myth is a popular belief, a tradition or a false notion on which social values are often based. While a heroe is someone who is ready to sacrifice his or her life in order to make things evolve positivly. This person is usually admired for his or her achivements.

We are going to try to answer to the following question : To what extent can myths and heroes influence our way of life and our way of thinking ? 

First, we are going to analyse the founding myths. Then we will talk about the heroes of today's society.

  1. The founding myths

In almost each civilization, myths have made traditions. They share specific values such as courage, generosity, justice or success. These values are important for the civilization, the country, that cultivates this myth.

To illustrate this I have chosen a 19th century painting by John Gast entitled Spirit of the Frontier. In this painting, an angelic woman called « Columbia » brings light to the civilization of the Dark West. This figure is a personification of the United States. She representes the modernization of the New West. You can notice that she is holding a schoolbook in her hand, which symbolizes education. Also, there are a few innovations which are represented such as the telegraph and the railways.

In fact she embodies the Manifest Destiny, the 19th century religious belief that the United States should expend accross the continent in the name of God, bringing progress, law and democracy to the West.  Still, it is important to remember that the Manifest Destiny carries on today. American people will continue to cross new frontiers in order to reach their diverse goals. To conclude, this myth is a good exemple because it has influenced the Americans by bringing an idea of progress.

  1. Heroes of today's society

In search of a collective and an individual identity, the society creates its own heroes. As models to follow, heroes embody the values and concerns of the society.

We can consider Steve Jobs, the creator of Apple as a heroe. In fact, he uses his popularity in order to motivate and influence people. In class, we listened to one of his speeches. He says that you have to be passionate about what you're doing and  you need a team of great people to work with . These are the keys to success for him. Just like Steve Jobs, Oprah Winfrey embodies values like self achivement and success. She is  a talk show host, actress, and philanthropist. Although she had to face many predicaments in her childhood, she created her own talk show. Today, this self-made woman is admired by many people.  

These personnalities symbolize the concept of « Rags-to-riches » which refers to any situation in which a person rises from poverty to wealth. What they have in common is that they fulfilled their dreams and they climbed the social ladder. They motivate us to do our best in order to achieve our goals.

Conclusion : In conclusion, we could say that heroes and myths convey an idea of social cohesion. They allow the society to have an ideal by transmitting values. These people can have a huge influence on people and on their way of life.  All these facts make us think about the famous “American Dream”. Although, is it real ? Is it really possible to live the “American dream” nowadays ?

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