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Use the Joseph Campbell’s four functions of mythology as the topic. Connect your thesis/theory to a popular culture object (a film, dolls/action figures, car, etc.), event (news, local social event, holiday, religious ritual, etc), character (fictional or nonfictional, famous, infamous, or personally connected, etc.) This essay is not about the popular culture object/event/character you chose as much as it is about the connection between your thesis and that object/event/character.
Joseph Campbell’s four functions of mythology also have a wide-ranging application in analyzing pop-culture objects/events/characters.
Concentrate on the concepts and how those concepts relate to the pop-culture object/event/character you chose.
Your Final Essay should have three parts:

Introduction with theses
A body with well-constructed paragraphs linking one to another
A conclusion in which you make your point

The Functions of Myth, Part 1
To understand how myths function within culture and society, it may be helpful to look at the process of quilt making as analogous to that of myth making. Historically speaking, quilting was a collaborative art form practiced by women. The quilt was formed from small bits and pieces of material, each of a different pattern or design. These fragments often came from previous forms (clothing, draperies, linen, etc.) and incorporating them into the quilt served to recycle these useable remainders. These pieces were then sewn together using larger patterns (these patterns were usually handed down from mother to daughter in traditional social settings) to create a finished whole, which could be utilized in a practical manner.
Similarly, storytellers of a living mythology pull together small fragments (mythemes) and arrange them into larger patterns to create a usable, practical whole. But where do these larger patterns come from? Claude Levi-Strauss believed that this question did not lead outward into the community, but rather inward into the mind of the storyteller. He asked: How do these myths operate within the human mind without us being aware of them? Mythic stories seem to follow templates, but they are certainly not stable or concrete. They seem to be able to follow deep templates and still explore an endless variety of forms, colors, shapes, and states, just like quilts.
The older women of these traditional communities would gather for a potluck lunch, bringing their children with them; the sharing of food fortified social bonds by the exchange of recipes and baking tips. While their children played, the women gathered around a frame and began to sew. As the fragments were brought out and arranged, the reason for the quilt was discussed. Was it a quilt for a wedding, an anniversary, a birth, or in memory of lost member of the community? As the quilting began, the women settled into conversation. Sharing stories about families and friends, or gossiping about scandals, with the accompanying laughter and tears, was a kind of sewing; this conversation stitched the community together and constructed its foundational relationships. As the community’s children grew up, their ritualized play formed the basis for the bonds of adulthood. Shared stories were the knots that bound the fabric of communal mythology together.

The Functions of Myth, Part 2
It would be too simplistic to say that a quilt exists to keep you from freezing on cold winter nights. Of course, that is one of its functions; but, to use a word created by the mythologist, William Doty, quilts are “polyfunctional”—they have many functions. For those who are a part of the creation and use of the quilt, the purpose expands outward from the moment its creation begins.
For example, the quilt functioned as a place around which the women in the community gathered to share tidbits of information about their lives and loves, forming, reforming, and maintaining communal bonds. This one function alone would have made quilt making an invaluable community form. But quilts were made for many different purposes; for instance, a quilt might be created to celebrate any number of events in the community (weddings, births, anniversaries, or commemorations), and its function would vary according to what event spurred its creation.
Beyond the practical value of the quilt, it held an additional aesthetic value. Quilts beautify the space they inhabit, bringing design, color, and variety to the home, not to mention the emotional resonance of such a communal art form.

This is how living mythologies function. They are polyfunctional entities that operate on multiple levels within a culture. Quilts can be described as cartographical in nature—a form that literally helps one navigate the culture—just as the stories of a living mythology form a map by which a people navigate their place in their culture and universe.
The Functions of Myth, Part 3
What makes a mythology functional? According to Joseph Campbell, perhaps the greatest mythologist of the 20th century, a living, working mythology has four functions. Understanding these functions will help you grasp the importance of having access to a living mythology.
This is the awareness that there is more to the world than what our senses can comprehend. There is something transcendent beyond nature and its many faceted forms, something sentient but beyond human comprehension. Every culture has different names for this transcendence, as well as different methods, systems, and rituals associated with the realization and experience of transcendence—”the sacred space,” “the great mystery,” and “that which cannot be named” being just a few. A human being becoming aware (coming in contact with) of this level of existence is filled with awe. This “numinous” experience has a strong symbolic component.

Biologists call this state “arousal” and that theologians call it “numinous.” Rudolf Otto famously used the term “numinous” in his book, The Idea of the Holy (1917), to describe what he believed to be the fundamental experience common to all religions—namely, the awe and exaltation created by believing oneself to be in the presence of the Creator. Arousal is similar to various emotional experiences: sexual desire, anger, fear, and numinous excitement. All of these emotions are associated with increased heart rate, elevated blood pressure, increased muscular tension, changes in the amplitude and frequency of brain waves, piloerection (the hair standing on end), dilation of pupils, and respiratory changes.
The Functions of Myth, Part 4
This is function gives us the world-picture of a culture. Our cultural cosmologyprovides the picture of the universe, the Earth, and all the physical objects that surround us, and how we fit into that picture.
This picture changes as the culture changes. For example, the cosmology of primitive agricultural societies had a relatively small world picture. The sun came up and went down, the moon came up and went down, the plants grew and died. The world was constructed around what could be seen with unassisted eyes. With the arrival Copernicus and his telescope, and the amazingly abstract system of mathematics, everything shifted. We were not the center of the universe. The sun did not simply come up each morning and go down each night; we were moving, turning, and spinning around the sun. This required a new cosmological picture to emerge, which is not an easy process for any culture.
A culture’s cosmology is transmitted to its members through stories. Of what quality are the stories, who tells them, and why are they told? What do you receive in exchange for believing in these stories? Consider these questions as we continue to explore the functions of mythology. One important aspect of each of these functions is that they connect the individual to various larger perspectives. For a mythology to be alive, the cosmological function not only gives us the picture of ourselves within the universe, but its stories truly connect us to that picture; in other words, we can find ourselves within the stories; we are a part of the picture.

The Functions of Myth, Part 5
This aspect of myth has to do with the construction of social patterns within a given culture. This function is all about community, communion, and all the other comings together, such as meetings, communications, and social convergence, within a given culture. Law, whether written or unwritten, is a manifestation of the sociological function. Rules and regulations of ethics and morality vary from culture to culture.
Orders and hierarchies are established in the mythology of each culture through the stories we grow up with. Most individual identity is constructed at this level, and from this perspective. Names like “mother,” “father,” “brother,” “sister,” “teacher,” “pastor,” “rabbi,” or “president,” refer to this aspect of mythology. The hierarchies of family, the workplace, or an educational institution, like the Academy of Art University, form the texture of our sense of self. A culture’s living mythology stabilizes its members’ identities and offers possibility and agency within the culture’s web of relationships for its members to find a place to be who they are.
The Functions of Myth, Part 6
This is the function of a mythology that guides the individual through life, assisting with the passage from stage to stage and guiding the turbulent emotions that accompany those changes. Each human life follows the same general pattern, and when this pattern is not honored at important nodal points, via ritual, story, or another type of marking, then we feel adrift, bereft, or lost.
However, within the embrace of a living mythology, the individual is acutely aware of the passage of time and the rich play of a life along the banks of the pulsing chronological river. Each stage of life has a vital role within a community governed by a living mythology. Births are celebrated, young people explore and are guided through the world, mature adults operate fully within their recognized spheres of interest and talent, and the elderly are honored and looked to for the richness of their life experience and wisdom.