This project explores the Amos Tutuola’s Palm – Wine Drinkard in terms of it’s use of mythological icons. In particular, the project seeks to explore the novel as an important artifact and a literary product of social existence. It examines how “authencity” is signified in The Palm – Wine Drinkard as it is written by a native artist. In doing so, the project seek to demonstrate that it is an ambivalence over the value and significance of The Palm – Wine Drinkard. Instability is also provoked and acute cultural anxiety is shown in the work of a “natural artist” such as Amos Tutuola in this case.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Table of Contentsvi
1.1 The Meaning of Mythology1
1.2 African Belief System and Myth 5
1.3 The Yoruba Perception of Myth 8
1.4 The Purpose and Significance of Study10
1.5 Aims and Objectives12
1.6 Methodology 14
1.7 Scope of Study 15
1.8 Playwrights Autobiography 16
2.1 Nature of Myth 20
2.2 The Influence of Mythology on African Creative Writers 44
2.3 Essence and Function of Mythology in the African Society 45
ELEMENTS OF MYTH IN AMOS TUTUOLA
THE PALM-WINE DRINKARD48
TRADITIONAL AFRICAN SOCIETAL OVERVIEWS
AND CONCLUSION 66
Mythology is a collection of traditional stories that express the belief of values of a group of people. The stories often focus on human qualities such as good and evil.
Myths often tell the story of ancestors, supernatural beings, heroes, gods, or goddesses with special powers sometimes myths try to describe aspects of customs or explain natural events such as the sun or lightning. These stories sometimes contain mythical characters such as mermaids, unicorn, or dragons. All cultures have some type of myths for example, the classical mythology of the ancient Greeks and Romans is familiar to most people. The stories of nature American people are also well known. The same myths can often be found in different part of the world. For example creation stories related to plants, animals and people are common among may cultures.
The study of myth is called mythology and myth belongs to the sphere of will. It does not have a single form or act according to the simple set of rules, either from epoch or from culture to culture. Most mythical stories concern divinities (divine beings). These divinities have supernatural powers – powers far greater than any humans beings has. But, in spite of their supernatural powers, many gods, goddesses, and heroes of mythology have human characteristics. A number of mythical figures even look like human being and in many cases, the human qualities of the divinities reflect society idea. Good gods and goddesses have the qualities a society admires and evil ones have the qualities the society dislikes.
An old theory, and myth that has enjoyed considerable vogue, holds that myth is oral narratives which explain the essences and sequences of ritual performances, thereby preserving the memory of these elements for posterity such that myth is second to rituals, in terms of evolution. Myth is usually divided into two groups, the creation and explanatory myths. Creation myths try to explain the origin of the world, the creation of human beings and the birth of gods and goddesses and this type of myth is developed by the early societies.
Explanatory myth, in its own case, tries to explain natural processes or events. Many societies have developed myth to explain the formation and characteristics of geographical features such as lake, rivers, ocean, etc. Some myth through the actions or particular gods and heroes, stress proper behaviour and this has to do with the ancient Greek’s strong belief in moderation; that is nothing should be done in excess.
Thus, one notes that myth involves living and this clearly indicates the element of struggle in human nature. For thousands of years, mythology has provided material for much of the world’s great art. Myth and mythological characters have inspired masterpieces of architecture, literature, music etc. Mythical beings fall into several groups, these include ‘anthropomorphic’ divinities, which are called from Greek expression meaning ‘in the shape of man’, these divinities were born, fell in love, fought with one another and generally behaved like their human worshippers. Another group of myth beings include gods and goddesses who resemble animals and these characters are called ‘Theriomorphic’ which mean ‘in the shape of animal’ and many of these occur in Egyptian mythology.
The third group of mythical beings has no specific name; these beings were neither completely human nor complete animal. An example is the famous sphinx of Egypt who had a human head and a horse body. Human beings play an important part in mythology as myth deals with the relationships between mortals and divinities. There are two ways in which the presence of myth in any society may be explained; one is by the way of diffusion and the other is through the independent working of imagination.
Myth hides nothing and flaunt nothing: it distorts; it is neither a lie nor a confession; it is an influxion.
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