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Myths and heroes : why do societies need myths and heroes and how can they change our perception of life in general?

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Our second notion is Myths and Heroes. First of all, let's define the terms of this notion. A myth is a traditional or legendary story, they have been around since the dawn of men and can be about anything: from demi gods to the founding of a country. A hero is a person who is admired for their courage, outstanding achievements, or noble qualities. A hero can be a fictional character or an actual person.

We can wonder about the impact and role of such things on society and that leads us to our problematic: why do societies need myths and heroes and how can they change our perception of life in general?



In class, we studied a doc called the "new huddled masses", in one of the images we can see a sinking statue of liberty that seems to be overwhelmed by immigrants, it could symbolize the crumbling of the american dream, indeed it's an ideal towards which ppl tend, an idea that suggests that anything is possible in america as long as ppl work hard, a merit based concept, fund on the declaration of independence with mlk speech about the pursuit of happiness. The 4th document stages a threatening, hunting statue of liberty. All that shows that the american dream is slowly fading away, it was just an illusion, a myth, a legend.

On the other one hand, i believe we should talk about thanksgiving which is one of america's most cherished tradition. The documents we studied in class give us a different outlook on the holiday, a perspective of the myth of a united america that we often tend to embellish.

Indeed, the black and white cartoon drawn by R Cobb, deals with the commemoration of Thanksgiving. On this day, Americans commemorate their very first Thanksgiving in the autumn of 1621 when the Native Americans helped them to survive and to plant their first crop. They thank God for all the bounties  and for this new land “flowing with milk and honey” he has given them. The document is bayed on duality, a strong contrast between the top and bottom: On the one hand, the top stands for the present, the abundance of food. On the other hand, the bottom represents the long forgotten past which is forever dead. On this day supposedly dedicated to remembrance, it looks as if the Americans had completely forgotten the Indians. THEY HAVE FALLEN INTO OBLIVION.  This opposition is highlighted by the black and white duality: while the white in the upper part stands for life, the darkness below conveys a fearful, gruesome sight of death. This manichean outlook opposes many symbols: Life as opposed to Death, Order versus Chaost, Commemoration and Remembrance versus Oblivion and Forgetfulness. Unlike the whites who seem to have received God’s blessings, it looks as if the Native Americans had not been rewarded for their generosity and warm welcome.  Contrary to what the average Americans believe, they should not only thank God but also the Native Americans whereas it rather looks as if they had completely forgotten about them.


    We can deduce from this that the artist’s goal is to remind us that, as this house has been built on Indian remains, the American society has been founded upon the genocide, the extermination of a people, on the corpses of the Indians, SO THE IDEA OF AMERICA BEING A LAND THAT WELCOMES EVERYONE IS MORE OF A MYTH THAN A REALITY.

However we can't just say that the american dream does not exist because there are some examples that it can happen and it's not just a myth but a reality. For example we talked about Steve Jobs in class and how he represents the myth of the self-made man, from rags to riches, he is sTHe example of the american dream and could be a hero to the people who are working hard to achieve and make their own american dream come true. That theory is in opposition to what Josepg Stiglirtz says in a audio document in which he says that basically a child's success, career wise depends more on the parent's money than the chill's capacities or hard work.


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