"Its Greek to Me"
The true meaning behind the definition of Myth
About the Author
What is this Chapter and Why should students learn this?
Chapter nine " Its Greek to Me" Talks about Foreign, mainly Greek influence on literature today. Foster gives examples of how certain Greek Myths reflect everyday situations people experience today.
Why should students learn this? If students learn this it will give them a better understanding of literature and the origin of some stories they are reading.
Chapter Nine Concepts
- In chapter nine Thomas Foster writes about Greek Myths intergreted into our society from the start of our lives.
- He talks about people subconsiously reverting to greek myths when a story has some resemblance to a greek myth.
- Students should learn this chapter because it will help them learn the role that greek myths play in todays society and the effect it has on it.
" Greek and Roman myth is so much a part of the fabric of our consiousness, of our unconsiousness really, that we scarcely notice." (66)
Explanation of key concepts
- The first quote talks about myths and stories that are specific to a certain community.
- These myths are known by the whole community and are often referred to in daily life.
- These stories are different in every community no matter how similar they are. We often tend to generalize that if a story has similarities to another well known story, they must be referring to the well known story. This can be seen in Toni Morrison's Song of Solomon.
- This leads us to the second quote which talks about the existence of Greek myth in our culture today.
- Although we may not know it at times many stories are of direct Greek or Roman myth influence.
- In Song of Solomon, Morrison introduces human flight and readers automatically assume that she is referring to the flight of Icarus. Morrison is puzzled by this response because she is actually referring to an old African Myth.
- This further backs up that our minds subconsioucsly refer to what we know of a different story.
Examples of Greek and Roman influence in the real world
" In the town where I live, the college teams are known as the Spartans. Our High School? The Trojans. In my state we have a troy (On of whose high schools is Athens), an Ithaca, a Sparta, a Romulus, a Remus, and a Rome." (66)
In this excerpt from Foster he gives us examples of how strong Greek Influence is in parts of Michigan.
A long way from Greece and yet all these names are common in today's society. You can also see this in and around Mooresville.
Exerpt from Theseus and the Minotaur
Once upon a time, a long time ago, there lived a king named Minos. King Minos lived on a lovely island called Crete. King Minos had a powerful navy, a beautiful daughter, and a really big palace. Still, now and then, King Minos grew bored. Whenever King Minos was bored, he took his navy and attacked Athens, a town on the other side of the sea.
In desperation, the king of Athens offered King Minos a deal. If Minos would leave Athens alone, Athens would send seven Athenian boys and seven Athenian girls to Crete every nine years to be eaten by the Minotaur.
The Minotaur was a horrible monster that lived in the center of a huge maze on the island of Crete. King Minos loved that old monster. He did like to give his monster a treat now and then. He knew his people would prefer he fed his monster Athenian children rather than ... well, after thinking it over, King Minos took the deal.
Key Concepts continued
- Although this chapter is about Greek myths and influence, Foster is ultimately trying to portray to the reader that our culture and literature is influenced from all over the world by different cultures.
- To an extent, none of our rituals and way of life is original to us at all. Instead everything is somehow influenced by another earlier way of life or culture.
- Foster also gives the reader examples of how Greek stories represent things bigger than the actual story its self
The Underworld—an ultimate challenge, facing the darkest parts of human nature or dealing with death.
Metamorphoses by Ovid—transformation
Oedipus: family triangles, being blinded, dysfunctional family
Cassandra: refusing to hear the truth
A wronged woman gone violent in her grief and madness—Aeneas and Dido or Jason and Medea Mother love—Demeter and Persephone
Myth- A body of Story that matters. No matter what the myth or the culture, every community subconsciously reverts back to these thoughts and stories and apply them to other concepts. Foster also portrayed that Myths almost always have a deeper meaning behind them than just the story its self.
Foster, Thomas. How to read Literature like a professor. New York: Harper Collins Publisher, 2003. Print
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