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Myth as Cultural Reality A myth is a narrative, or a story, that explains a belief or a phenomenon. Historians and literary scholars, following the work of cultural anthropologists, associate myth with culture--a people and the values, ideals, attitudes, traditions, and ideologies that make them an identifiable group. A cultural myth is the narrative explanation--in both written and oral form--of a culture, its origins, its mission, its development, and its future. In essence, you will explore in this course the stories--colored by both myth and truth--that the American culture tells about itself. Myths occupy an essential and natural place in the lives of all Americans, as they do for all human beings. Like the individual who creates his/her reality from experiences, perceptions, and moral values, so too does a group formulate a collective reality of the culture, which provides an identity for the individual. Along with elements of truth, myths constitute the very substance of a culture's concept of reality. A principal function of myth is to put one in tune
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