Tuesday, July 1, 2008

myth handout

MLA Citation of Handbook of Critical Approaches to Lit:

Works Cited page:

Guerin, Wilfred L, et al. A Handbook of Critical Approaches to Literature. New York: Oxford UP, 1992. Print.

In the body of your essay:

(Guerin et al).

Sample Myth Paragraphs

            Lastly, there is one more element that connects both characters. Odysseus spends most of his journey in the sea whose water serves as a source of both – peril and salvation. It is through the sea that he learns the goal of his voyage, and it is thanks to the sea that he finally reaches the safety of his home in Ithaca. In this regard the mythological archetype of water in Odyssey works as a symbol of birth and growth as well as the final closure. In Tortilla Curtain the flood of the last chapter serves a parallel purpose. Its waters will finally allow Candido to prove his humaneness to Delaney. It is also what gives him the symbolic chance to start a new life, hopefully stripped of sorrows and grief. Having taken under consideration that in both cases water acts as the ultimate redeemer, one must agree that “it is an archetypal symbol of the mystery of life and creation – birth, the flowing of time into eternity and rebirth” (Guerin et al 189).

To begin, Candido’s  name sets the tone for the sort of man he is, blunt and straightforward.  Taken from the Latin, “candidus,” meaning white, a color associated  in many cultures with purity and salvation, it is also the origin of the English word, candid. Candido has left behind family and a failed marriage in Mexico, and arrived in Topanga, California, with nothing to his name but a desire to forge a new life in  a new land. With his pregnant teenaged bride beside him, he aims for a fresh start, relinquishing all previous ties. And like the American Adam, he chooses, quite literally, to live outside the corrupting influences of society, settling his little family in a makeshift campsite, and living off the land. Relying on no one, and even resisting his wife’s aid, Candido is not a man of moral ambiguity. His steadfast insistence on being the sole breadwinner and decision maker, earnestly depending on his labors alone to bring them success in their new Eden, exemplifies the innocent self-reliance of the American Adam before the Fall.