Class 11


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Class 11

  1. 1. Class 11: African Myths
  2. 2. Mwindo: Rank’s Hero Child of distinguished parents: His distinguished parents are the chief Shemwindo and his seventh and favorite wife. Origin preceded by difficulties: Mwindo's origin is preceded by the difficulty that his father is going to kill all of his sons and by the difficulty that he wouldn't be born until he chose.
  3. 3. Rank Continued Prophecy warning against his birth or threatening the death of his father: Shemwindo promises that he will kill any sons. The prophecy comes also from Mwindo himself; after he is born when he promises to kill his father. Surrender to the water in a box/basket: He is surrendered to the river in a drum made out of a tree. Saved by animals and lowly people: When he is first buried, he is saved by maidens hearing his singing.
  4. 4. Rank continued He finds his distinguished parents: He goes to find his father in the village after he visits his aunt. (he doesn't need to grow up because he is already grown: "just born he walked" He takes revenge: He burns down his father's village (revenge) Achieves rank and honors: He becomes a great chief in villages all over.
  5. 5. Campbell’s Mwindo Departure
  6. 6. Campbell’s Departure for Mwindo The call to adventure is the awakening of self: Mwindo's birth. (He is awakened to his role as the leader who will end his father’s reign) Refusal of the call may be seen as Mwindo's refusal to be born in a customary way, as children are born. He also refused to be born from the mouth as bats are born. Instead, he was born by traveling up his mother's body and down her arm, through her middle finger.
  7. 7. Campbell’s Departure Continued  Supernatural aid comes from we don't know where but gives him an amulet in the form of the scepter and the axe he was born with and also the bag of good fortune holding the long rope. The midwives also try to protect him. His tools created the ripe bananas in one day. His scepter causes Muisa to become very ill. He is also aided by Master Sparrow who tells him that his father has fled the underworld and the spider who saves him from the trap Kasiyembe sets. Nkuba (the lightning hurler and Hawk are double agents, both helping and hurting Mwindo at different times.  The threshold guardian is his father, Shemwindo, who unsuccessfully tries to kill him. This is his first struggle.
  8. 8. Campbell’s Departure Continued  The belly of the whale could be seen as either the drum that he is imprisoned (womblike). It the death of his innocent self and the birth of the self who is vindictive and wants his revenge. It is the birth of his enormous ego.  Or it could be seen as the time he spent with Nkuba, the humbling of the enormous ego of Mwindo and the beginning of the time of his being a great chief.
  9. 9. Initiation of Mwindo Road of trials Fighting Mukiti, Iynagura's husband and Kasiyembe, her protector. Fighting his father, Shemwindo. Going to the underworld and not getting stuck there by eating the food or violating behavior codes. Killing the dragon and getting out the people he had eaten from inside it. Facing Master Lightning and going from place to place without shelter and freezing. Facing Master Rain and suffering 14 rain storms and hail. Facing Master Moon and getting his head burnt. Facing master Sun and getting burnt and parched. Facing Master Star and getting advice and getting his ears pulled 14 times.
  10. 10. Initiation continued The Meeting With the Goddess Iyangura, his aunt: she represents the totality of that which can be known because she tries to give him sound advice and to keep him from seeking revenge against Kasiyembe and his father. She also acts as a judge after he gets his father from the underworld Woman as Temptress You could see Mwindo’s hatred and desire for revenge against Kasiyembe and his father as the temptress as it represented his darker side of fulfilling his own desires.
  11. 11. Initiation continued Atonement With The Father Meets and forgives his father. This represents his taking on his adult role as leader and understanding that revenge will not help his realm, an adult way of understanding the world.
  12. 12. Initiation of Mwindo Apotheosis: He is in a god-like state after he forgives his father and then slays the dragon. He then releases all the people the dragon had eaten. He is more than a man; he is godlike in his abilities. (In a way, he has always been in a godlike state as he has always been more than a man. He is more than a man when he is born.) But the ability to forgive gives him an even more godlike status. The Ultimate Boon is making life better for the villagers and the world: bringing new treatment of sons, less vice, agreement, peace, "ten commandments"
  13. 13. The Return of Mwindo Refusal of the return: Mwindo tells Master Lightning (Nkuba) that he has more power than the god. He refuses to learn his need for humility Magic flight: He wanders from place to place without shelter; He learns his lessons from Master Rain, Master Moon, Master, Sun and Master Star.
  14. 14. Mwindo’s Return Continued Rescue from without: The gods explain all that he has needs to do to be a kind and just ruler. They teach him the rules he needs to learn before he can return and thus enable Mwindo’s return. The Crossing of the return threshold: He comes back to his village and tells his people of all of his trials. (communicating what he has learned to others.)
  15. 15. And finally… Master of the two worlds: He returns from the sky, unable to kill, and gives out the wisdom. He passes laws. He teaches people to understand suffering as he has had to learn to understand it. He gives out the “Commandments.”
  16. 16. Gassire’s Lute
  17. 17. Gassire’s Lute “Four times Wagadu rose. A great city, gleaming in the light of day. Four times Wagadu fell. And disappeared from human sight. Once through vanity. Once through dishonesty. Once through greed. Once through discord.” Thus begins Gassire’s Lute, a West African epic poem of the Soninke, the rulers of the ancient kingdom of Ghana. Gassire’s Lute tells the story of Gassire, a vain warrior obsessed with immortality. He gives up everything to gain immortality through the Dausi, a song that would allow his exploits to live on forever. The epic was originally documented in 1905 by Leo Frobenius, a German anthropologist. This most recent adaptation is done by anthropologist Alta Jablow, Professor Emeritus of Brooklyn College . It also includes an essay by Jablow that gives special insight to the epic and the history it represents. I found it amusing that Mr. Frobenius used Lute to describe the musical instrument of Gassire. Today this instrument is widely known as a kora. This book is an interesting read, one of a few that gives a view of the nobility, dignity and history of the Soninke. Professor Jablow does and excellent job bringing this epic tale to life and explaining its worth.
  18. 18. Exercise  In small groups for about 15 minutes, discuss how Gassire’s Lute falls into a hero’s myth category and how it departs from it.  Also. Please note characteristics that are similar to other myths. What is your psychological interpretation of this myth?
  19. 19. Homework  Next class will be the in-class midterm. Please be on time as we will take the in-class midterm during the first half hour. Then we will go over the final group presentation so that you can get started working with groups. We will also go over the final essay project.  Make sure that you buy you Classic Fairy Tales.