Way cool, I just found my BA paper online! The Myth and the Mundane: Reflections on Women in Society. Finding it has inspired me to inaugurate Mythic Monday as a regular feature. The paper lives on the Kepler College Website along with lots of other good reads. I have continued work on this paper since graduation but I enjoyed rereading it in its original form. It now has a table of contents, better organization and even more pages. But I hope this original form is interesting both for its own merits and for its references. This is from the Introduction:
Greco-Roman and Indian mythology and epic poetry give us many examples of goddesses and women. This paper will explore the relationship between myth and culture in the epic poetry of Greece, India and Rome in order to answer these questions:
- Is there a relationship between the attributes and behavior of Goddesses and the societal expectations of women?
- What do these stories show us about women’s roles in these cultures?
- Do the female characters in literature support or contradict these societal expectations or roles?
- Do we have access to examples of real women who both fulfill and contradict those roles?
- How do these roles compare to what is known of real women in society?
- Can we (from the evidence) speculate upon the involvement of women in defining their own roles in the culture?
A search of titles and articles shows that there has been much work done to analyze these mythologies in light of the rituals they contain, or in light of the hero’s quest undertaken by the men in the Epics. However, little work has been done with the women in these narratives other than to use the mores of the culture to explain their behavior, or to discuss them as literary devices. I would like to analyze them as women. To determine in what ways are they alike or unlike each other, how they compare to documented women of their cultures, and in what ways they are constructs of the men writing the Epics? The study of mythology and literature can be a useful means of determining the paradigms of a culture. This paper will examine examples of Goddesses and women from Greco-Roman and Indian mythology and epic poetry to determine what these stories show us about women’s roles in these cultures and how these characters compare to what is known of real women in each society.