Week-by-Week Schedule of Themes, Readings, and In-Class Discussions & Activities

ENGL 2631 Course Calendar—Summer I

Course Calendar

WEEK ONE (May 20—24)
Theme: What is a Myth? What does the word “myth mean?”  Context, themes, and motifs in The Epic of Gilgamesh
Reading: The on-line essay “What is Myth?” The Epic of Gilgamesh
Discussion: “Working Definition” of myth? Who were the ancient Sumerians? Was there an historical Gilgamesh? Important questions, themes, and issues raised in the Epic of Gilgamesh
Working ahead: Memorize the Working Definition of myth found in the essay “What is Myth?” Read Joseph Campbell Notes” and Chapter 4 in Myth & Knowing, especially the Bhagavad-Gita excerpts
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WEEK TWO (May 27—31)
Theme: Mapping the hero’s quest: Joseph Campbell’s “monomyth” scheme for analyzing hero myths; Masculine archetypes in myth and society
Reading: “Joseph Campbell Notes,” Myth & Knowing, “Chapter 4: Images of the Masculine,” especially the Bhagavad-Gita excerpts.
Viewing: The Matrix (1999)
Discussion: Connecting the monomyth to Blockbuster movie plots; What is an archetype? What is a man “supposed” to be? Ancient Hindu religion and culture; Arjuna’s dilemma—important themes and motifs in the Bhagavad-Gita
Assignment: Watch The Matrix (1999). You can accomplish this in a number of ways: view it online through a variety of services, rent it from a video store, or buy and watch a copy.  You will then analyze the movie, using Campbell’s “monomyth” scheme to identify where, in the movie, the various passages of the hero’s journey come into play.  See online assignment sheet for detailed instructions.
Working ahead: Finish reading Myth & Knowing, “Chapter 4: Images of the Masculine,” especially “Enki and Ninhursanga,” “Thor’s Duel with Hrungir,” and “Quetzalcoatl Rescues the Precious Bones and Discovers Corn.”
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WEEK THREE (June 3—7)
Theme: Masculine archetypes in myth and society
Reading: “Campbell Notes”; “Chapter 4: Images of the Masculine,” especially “Enki and Ninhursanga,” “Thor’s Duel with Hrungir,” and “Quetzalcoatl Rescues the Precious Bones and Discovers Corn.”
Discussion: Male potency in myth—(Enki); male courage in myth (Quetzalcoatl & Thor); and male aggression in myth (Odin & Thor). Who were the Sumerians? Who is Enki?/Who were the Norse? Who is Thor? Who were the Aztecs? Who is Quetzalcoatl?
Work due: Analysis of The Matrix. Bring two hard copies of your Matrix analysis to your one-on-one conference session this week.
Work assigned: Midterm (see online assignment sheet for detailed instructions)
Working ahead: Begin reading Myth & Knowing, “Chapter 3: Images of the Feminine in Myth,” especially “The Fire Goddess,” “White Buffalo Calf Woman,” and “On the Origin of the World”
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WEEK FOUR (June 10—14)
Theme: Feminine archetypes in myth and society
Reading: Myth & Knowing, “Chapter 3: Images of the Feminine in Myth,” especially “The Fire Goddess,” “White Buffalo Calf Woman,” and “On the Origin of the World”
Discussion: What is a Woman Supposed to be? Feminine archetypes in myth and society; Who were the Polynesians and Hawaiians? Who is Pele? Themes and motifs in “The Fire Goddess; Who were the Sioux? Who is White Buffalo Calf Woman? Who were the Gnostics? Themes and motifs in “On the Origin of the World”
Working ahead: Finish reading Myth & Knowing, “Chapter 3: Images of the Feminine in Myth, especially “On the Origin of the World”; Begin reading Inanna: Queen of Heaven and Earth, pp. 3-89 (the four stories, beginning with “The Huluppu Tree” and concluding with the “Descent/Ascent of Inanna.”
Work Due: Midterm: emailed to me Friday, 14 June by 5:00 p.m.
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WEEK FIVE (June 17—21)
Theme: Images of the Feminine in Myth
Reading: Inanna: Queen of Heaven and Earth, pp. 3-89 (the four stories, beginning with “The Huluppu Tree” and concluding with the “Descent/Ascent of Inanna.”
Discussion: Inanna as “Everywoman”: Themes and motifs in “Inanna and the Huluppu Tree, ” “Inanna and the God of Wisdom,” “The Marriage of Inanna and Dumuzzi,” & “The Descent of Inanna”
Assignment: Begin composing Final and Course Eval
Working ahead: Begin reading Myth & Knowing, “Chapter 5: Tricksters,” especially “Ajapa, Aja the Dog, and the Yams,” “Coyote Man and Saucy Duckfeather,” “The Treasures of the Gods,” and “The Seven Great Deeds of Ma-ui”
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WEEK SIX (JUNE 24—28)
Theme: The Kinds and Functions of Trickster Myths
Reading: Myth & Knowing, “Chapter 5: Tricksters,” especially “Ajapa, Aja the Dog, and the Yams,” “Coyote Man and Saucy Duckfeather,” “The Treasures of the Gods,” and “The Seven Great Deeds of Ma-ui”
Discussion: The differences between animal-form and human-form tricksters; Who are the Yoruba? Themes and Issues in “Ajapa, etc.” Who were the Norse?  Who were the Polynesians?  Themes and motifs in “Treasures of the Gods” and “The Seven Great Deeds”
Assignment due: Final, emailed to me Friday, 28 June no later than 5:00 p.m.
Enjoy the rest of your summer!