Summary Of Karen Armstrong's Tularecito

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Although myths are believed to have little to no truth value, there is something about them that continues to be relevant in today’s society because elements of myths are found throughout literature today. As stated in Karen Armstrong’s “What is a Myth?”, a story needs to incorporate the following elements in order to be a myth: providing answers that relate to life, helping humanity deal with universal fears, and the supernatural or the divine. The short story “Tularecito” by John Steinbeck is a myth because it features fundamental components often found in myths such as providing answers to questions regarding the existence of life and addressing universal fears throughout its storyline. Similar to a myth’s purpose of answering questions…show more content…
Armstrong asserts, “It was an early form of psychology. The stories of gods or heroes descending into the underworld, threading through labyrinths and fighting with monsters, brought to light the mysterious workings of the psyche, showing people how to cope with their own interior crises” (Armstrong 11). People could learn from the situations depicted in myths and apply them to their own lives. For example, a person who is afraid of dying would be comforted by the fact that the god Hermes accompanies dead souls to the Underworld, according to Greek mythology. For that reason, a person’s fear of death may be alleviated because they wouldn’t have to go through the process by themselves. Steinbeck describes, “The great strength of his body and his strange and obscure gifts set him apart from other children and made men and women uneasy” (Steinbeck 75). Due to the fact that Tularecito is physically and socially different from other people in the Pastures of Heaven, this makes people have a subconscious, irrational fear of him. Provided that Tularecito is viewed as being different than the townspeople, a generalization can made that people are fearful of anything that doesn’t fit within their perception of being

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