While I was abroad last semester, I took Myths and Legends of Great Britain and Ireland. We learned about the difference between myths and legends. Myths tend to not be based in truth and known for the most part to be made up while legends tend to have some basis in truth. Myths also tend to have magical or mystical elements, and they also commonly explain why things are the way they are.
Myths and legends both have huge cultural significance. It was interesting seeing the nationalistic characteristics of British and Irish myths and legends. Myths and legends are common bonds that unite people of a certain geographic location or culture together through shared knowledge and pride in their culture. King Arthur is a great example of a culturally significant character from a legend. Many British people throughout history have found pride in King Arthur. King Arthur’s story is one that has been used, changed, and incorporated into British culture for centuries. It still exists in pop culture, both in Great Britain and the US, today. There are still TV shows and movies based off a story from centuries ago. There were also different variations of the story created over the centuries showing different ideas or different viewpoints from the story. When we create our stories this semester, we should consider how we can make a story relatable to a lot of people and how people could build off of the stories we create. We are building off the stories created by the people who have taken DS106 in the past to create stories in the DS106 culture and community.
It is also interesting to note the changes to myths and legends as time goes on. In the Myths and Legends course I took, we started with myths and legends from very early on to decently recent myths and legends. Certain themes have interested people for a long time, but our take or ideas about the themes change. For example, sexuality, heroism, religion, and gender dynamics are timeless themes in myths and legends, but they also represent the viewpoints held at the time of the myth or legend creation. Heteronormativity, the assumption that all people are heterosexual until proven otherwise, that exists today in our society did not always exist. Many myths and legends mention homosexual behaviors, descriptions, or people, and it is incorrect of us to assume all of the characters are heterosexual when the stories were created at a time where heteronormativity did not exist, or at least not to the extent it exists today. Even during Shakespeare’s time (which in the world of myths and legends is considerably modern), heteronormativity did not exist to the extent that it exists today. We cannot use our heteronormative lens from today’s time when we view myths and legends from the past. We have to consider the society in which they were created in and for. In the course I took, I wrote a paper about homosexuality in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, particularly Helena and Hermia’s relationship. I had to view the play through the lens of understanding the time period it was written in rather than applying today’s societal views towards it, meaning that I could not use the heteronormative lens created by my society and view all the characters as assumably heterosexual.
When we consider creating our stories this semester, we should consider what viewpoints held by our current society are impacting us. At the same time, when we look at stories from the past, we have to understand what societal viewpoints were present when they were created. Another change that has occurred in storytelling over time is the way in which stories are shared. Originally, stories were solely shared orally, which makes Soundcloud a great option to modernize past storytelling practices. Soundcloud allows us to share stories orally through a new medium. We read all of the myths and legends in the class I was in, even if the myth or legend began orally. I could tell which stories were initially shared orally because they were written differently because of the way in which they were meant to be shared. We are entering the course with at least a basic understanding of different ways in which we can share stories, whether it is pictures on Instagram or short text on Twitter. We should consider which method is the best to share the story we want to share. We should also consider how we might be able to use multiple mediums to share a more well-rounded story.