Greek Mythology

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R. Wier – Gateway College Prep School


Summer Reading Assignment: Edith Hamilton’s Mythology Pre-AP English I All students planning to take Pre-AP English I need to read Edith Hamilton’s Mythology in its entirety and complete the following assignment prior to the first day of school. Students should expect to turn in assignments the first day of class for a major grade. Students are responsible for an understanding of the material in the book when school begins as we will have class discussions, assignments, and a test the second week of school. Why read Edith Hamilton’s Mythology? Greek Mythology is one of the most alluded to topics in all of literature. In order to have a better understanding of the literature read in high school, students need to have an awareness of Greek stories and characters. Items needed to complete assignment: notebook paper or white paper if your assignment is typed, a personal copy of Edith Hamilton’s Mythology to be used for this project and in class for the upcoming school year, and access to research materials either from a library or from internet access.

Assignments: Part A: Archetype Analysis of Myths from Mythology (50 points): As you read Mythology, look for the archetypes listed below. For this part of the assignment you will choose four (4) of the myths told in Edith Hamilton's Mythology. For each of the four myths you choose, identify one archetype from each main category (situational, symbolic, and character). Explain in complete sentences and in detail why the myth is an example of each of these archetypes in three analyses that are each about 100 words in length. You should write a title for each of the four and each analysis should be labeled as well. For example, the title of one of your four reports might be “Archetypes in Midas.” Then you might label the first section “Situational Archetype—The Fall,” the second section “Symbolic Archetype—Light vs. Darkness”, and finally the third section “Character Archetype—The Devil Figure.” When you have finished writing your three analyses of Midas, you will move on to the second, third, and fourth myths you have chosen. Students may not use an archetype more than once in this assignment. This will take some time and planning. (It would be best to make notes as you read the book and to frequently refer to the archetype list while reading.) Situational Archetypes— 1. The Quest—describes the search for someone or some talisman which when found and brought back, will restore balance in a community, life to the waste land, or a person’s health. The ultimate end. 2. The Task—refers to what superhuman feat must be accomplished in order to fulfill the ultimate goal. Specific test of challenging actions. 3. The Journey—sends the hero in search for some truth of information necessary to restore life, justice, and/ or harmony to the kingdom. The journey includes a series of trials and tribulations the hero/ heroine face along the way. Usually, he/ she descends into a real or psychological hell and is forced to discover the blackest truths, quite often concerning his/ her own faults. Once the hero/ heroine is at this lowest level, he/ she must accept personal responsibility to return to the world of the living. 4. The Initiation—refers to a moment, usually psychological, in which an individual comes into maturity. She/ he gains a new awareness into the nature of circumstances and problems and understands his or her responsibility for trying to solve the dilemma. Typically, a her/ heroine receives a calling, a message, or signal that he or she must make sacrifices and become responsible for “getting involved” in the problem. Often a hero/ heroine will deny and questions the calling and ultimately, in the Initiation, will accept responsibility. 5. The Fall—not to be confused with The Initiation, this archetype describes a descent in action from a higher to a lower state of being, an experience which might involve defilement, moral...
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