Nobody downloaded yet

The Myth of Americanism - Essay Example

Comments (0) Cite this document
Myths, especially creation myths, illustrate the values of a society and give one a sense of its self-perception. A people's creation myth tells insiders and outsiders who a people are and where they came from; in many cultures, daily life is tied up in the reenactment of its creation stories through the use of ritual and symbol…
Download full paperFile format: .doc, available for editing
GRAB THE BEST PAPER96.1% of users find it useful
The Myth of Americanism
Read TextPreview

Extract of sample "The Myth of Americanism"

Download file to see previous pages American values are a direct product of its body of creation stories encompassed by the culture. Americans believe in individuality, self-sufficiency (the idea of "rags to riches" or being a "self-made man") and the inherently optimistic (and perhaps unrealistic) "American Dream". Americans believe that anything is possible. Children grow up being told that they can have or achieve anything if they work hard enough. They are told that anyone can grow up to be president, and that that is part of what makes America great. This is perhaps the biggest mythological trope in American society-that in the "land of opportunity" anyone can get ahead if they are willing to work for it, and that all members of society begin on an even playing field. These three ideas, individuality, self-sufficiency, and the "American dream" or "Land of Opportunity" where anything is possible are closely linked, and stem from beliefs about the creation of America itself that directly mirror other creation stories from around the world. Furthermore, these deeply held beliefs permeate the American psyche, coloring our perceptions of success and failure.
The theme of individuality is especially present in the Gospel of John. This myth is very pertinent to modern American society as it is a version of creation with which most citizens will be familiar; many Americans actively believe in this creation myth, and thus it shapes American society closely. The Fourth Gospel of John is seen in Christian mythology to enhance the creation story of Genesis, inserting an explanation for the presence of Jesus Christ. The Creator has gone from a relatively impersonal, genderless, plural God (elohim is the Hebrew plural for "God") to a personified Jesus Christ. Jesus is a God, but he is also a man. This version of creation places him present at the very moment the world was made: "3. All things were made by him; and without him was not anything made that was made. 4 In him was life; and the life was the light of men." (qtd in Leeming 35) Furthermore, the gospel states "6 There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. 7 The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe." (qtd in Leeming 35) The inclusion of a mortal, John, in this revised version of creation further humanizes the myth. The impact this has had on modern Americans is most clear among Christians, for obvious reasons: the popular phrase "Jesus is my personal savior" emphasizes this individual, personal connection to divinity which is a hallmark not just of American Christians, but of the American tendency to personalize religion which is seen among everyone from modern Pagans who choose which deities to worship, to acculturated members of other faiths such as Judaism or Hinduism who participate in religious practice on a selective basis. Religion, like the rest of American life, is seen as a matter of individualized, personal choice.
Self-sufficiency is central in the Hopi myth of the Sun and the Spider Woman. In this myth, the two collaborate to create the world, dividing themselves into various aspects of the divine to perform specific tasks. Upon creating people, Spider Woman says:
"The woman of the clan shall build the house, and the family name shall descend through her. She shall be house builder and homemaker. She shall mold ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
Cite this document
  • APA
  • MLA
(“The Myth of Americanism Essay Example | Topics and Well Written Essays - 1250 words”, n.d.)
The Myth of Americanism Essay Example | Topics and Well Written Essays - 1250 words. Retrieved from
(The Myth of Americanism Essay Example | Topics and Well Written Essays - 1250 Words)
The Myth of Americanism Essay Example | Topics and Well Written Essays - 1250 Words.
“The Myth of Americanism Essay Example | Topics and Well Written Essays - 1250 Words”, n.d.
  • Cited: 0 times
Comments (0)
Click to create a comment or rate a document

CHECK THESE SAMPLES OF The Myth of Americanism

Myth Analysis

...?Myth Analysis Myths have long been a of interests to philosophers, literary critics, and anthropologists interested in examining them for a variety of elements. While myths demonstrate a clear structural knowledge of the culture’s history, theorists also argue that they reveal a number of deeper elements regarding political, spiritual, and philosophical undercurrents within that specific culture’s unconscious. Nearly all cultures share sorts of myth making and the sheer amount of myths that have been produced and become elements of contemporary analysis is truly astounding. Within this context of investigation, one of the most analyzed...
2 Pages(500 words)Essay

Consider the idea that the United States is 'exceptional' and therefore exempt from traditional rules governing international be

..., then the claim is exceptional itself because there are no two counties which are similar in characteristics. He adds that if the Americans believe their country is unique, then there is nothing exceptional about US exceptionalism because all nations have myths that they cherish. McDougall also suggests that if US claims to be exceptional good, it is also exception good for falling short of its ideals (McDougall, 2012) These American ideals are the dedication to religious and civil liberty, justice, equality, peace and harmony with other countries, prosperity and social mobility. McDougall also says that if exceptionalism means the Americans are exempted from the laws of...
12 Pages(3000 words)Essay

Greek myth

...Question 4 Patriarchal society- women in Greek myths As seen in the work of Littleton & Marshall Cavendish Corporation, women in the Greek society were termed as inferior to the men, an aspect that has dominated patriarchal driven societies (Littleton & Marshall Cavendish Corporation 534). In the work, women have been seen to be objects whose place in the society solely remains in home (kyrios) and nothing much better than that, whilst that of men belonged to the polis, which means aspects related to politics, businesses and warfare (Littleton & Marshall Cavendish Corporation 584). This is to mean that men dominated the women and ensured that they were sentient of their place in the society. To make matters shoddier, the...
3 Pages(750 words)Essay

Myth & Wrestling

..., this is evident in the way different meanings as embedded to different actions, tries and objects. Myths play and will continue to play a very positive role in the society. Currently the mystery in myth especially in wresting provides a better and deeper meaning which is essential to understand cultural meanings. REFERENCES 1. Stunken & Cartanght, 2001. Culture In American Society CA: Sage Publications, 1983. 2. Bennett, Milton. Basic Concepts of Intercultural Communication. Yarmouth, ME: Intercultural Press, 1998. 3. Landis, Dan and Rabi Bhagat. Handbook of Intercultural Training. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications, 1996. 4. Simons, G. F....
10 Pages(2500 words)Essay


... What is a myth' A myth can be said to be a story with a purpose, which tries to explain the way the world is.Through myths, a relationship between human being and god can be explained. In most cases, myths send a message that has got an important religious or social meaning to people, even though the events might be impossible. Myths can as well be used to explain other things such as the customs or behavior of certain group of people or even explain the nature. Through told stories, myths helped to teach human beings behaviors that enabled them to live well with fellow human beings. According to Campbell, myths are not lies or tall-tales. They are however imaginative, symbolic stories that people of virtually all times have told... as a...
6 Pages(1500 words)Essay

Myth Analysis

...Myth Analysis: Dharma in the Ramayana of the of the Concerned 27 June Ramayana happens to be one of the twosupreme epics of the Hindu religion. On salient aspect of Ramayana is that each of the characters in this epic affiliates allegiance to the concept of Dharma (righteous behavior) and moulds and aligns one’s actions in consonance with this concept. The beauty of this epic is that every character in it be it Rama, Sita, Lakshmana, Bharata or Hanuman lead one’s entire life dedicated to the duties and responsibilities accrued by one in the light of one’s Dharam or the righteous behavior attributed to one, thereby creating varied role models in the sphere of human behavior. In that context, Ramayana not only makes an...
4 Pages(1000 words)Essay

Healing Myth

...Topic: First they killed my father by Loung Ung of the Institution Topic: First they killed my father by Loung Ung The wound may heal but the scar remains forever. That is to talk about the physical wound. As for the psychological wound, if the wound has to completely heal, one has to transcend the borders of mind and reach the portals of divinity. Otherwise complete healing is impossibility. The wounds of Loung Ung were critical and she was able to challenge them. Only she knew whether she was able to wipe out the tragic memories that haunted her inner world. But she did make efforts or so to say she had no other alternative but to encounter them decisively. She was able to keep... First...
2 Pages(500 words)Essay


...Tricksters in Greek Mythology Many Greek gods are described as envious, vicious, cruel and quite negative personalities. It is possible to several gods that could be called tricksters. For example, such gods as Cronus, Zeus, Hermes and Prometheus can be regarded as some of the major tricksters in the Greek mythology. However, first, it is important to provide major characteristics of a trickster. These are intelligence, thievery and deceitful nature. For instance, Evans (2010) notes that the trickster is cunning, knowledgeable and intelligent. Of course, all of the gods mentioned above were intelligent, wise and knowledgeable. However, they were also cunning. Cronus tried to trick the destiny and swallowed his children, as he... in Greek...
1 Pages(250 words)Essay


...Female Danger to Male in Greek Mythology Female Danger to Male in Greek Mythology Greek mythology is a valuable culturalheritage of the ancient world which has reflected the thoughts of the ancient Greeks about the way the world is organized. By means of myths they tried to explain everything around them because they did not have enough knowledge to do this from other points of view. In this regard, myths contain many significant male and female characters which are described in different ways, and this paper will consider the danger the females represent to the males. It is necessary to state first that women are described with a bigger degree of heroism in the Greek myths: if the men...
1 Pages(250 words)Essay


...MYTH In Greek mythology or hero myths, the Oracle of Delphi was a respected priestess at the Apollo. In this regard, the oracleof Apollo at Delphi and various sources of prophecy play the important role in hero myths. The roles that it played are broad and range from societal rituals to ensuring wellbeing of the individuals who consulted it. One of the important roles that the Oracle of Apollo at Delphi and sources of prophecy played in hero myths was that of consultation. The Oracle of Delphi would be consulted by the community before various important decisions, such as war or the establishing of colonies and various societal rituals. Likewise, priestesses at an Oracle...
1 Pages(250 words)Essay
sponsored ads
We use cookies to create the best experience for you. Keep on browsing if you are OK with that, or find out how to manage cookies.

Let us find you another Essay on topic The Myth of Americanism for FREE!

Contact Us