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MYTHS AND HEROES : We can wonder how the myth of witches has evolved and what forms it has taken through the centuries.

Dissertation : MYTHS AND HEROES : We can wonder how the myth of witches has evolved and what forms it has taken through the centuries.. Rechercher de 53 000+ Dissertation Gratuites et Mémoires

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The notion I’m going to deal with is Myths and Heroes. First, I’m going to define the notion:

  • A “myth” can be defined as a story about gods or heroes, it can be a popular belief or a tradition or a false notion.
  • A hero can be a mythological figure, a person who is admired for his or her achievements, a superhero or maybe a role model or an icon (for example a patriotic or national hero or a fictitious hero).

The myth of witches has marked the American History. These beliefs are deeply rooted in American culture since the 17th century. That's why this theme fits into in this notion.

We can wonder how the myth of witches has evolved and what forms it has taken through the centuries.

First, I will talk about witches and witch hunting in 17th century America and then “witches” and “witch hunting” in 20th century America.

  1. Witches and witch hunting in 17th century America

  • Firstly, the myth of witches appeared in the 17th century when Europeans settled in America. As the document The Witches of Salem mentions, American settlers believed in witches and witchcraft. So, they brought these beliefs that are rooted in people's minds. They brought feelings of fear provoking a form of hysteria, leading to the witch hunt. For example, in 1692 in Salem, Massachusetts, mass hysteria was provoked by a group of girls who became ill and claimed to have been bewitched and tormented by members of their community.
  • The witch hunting then began in America, especially in the Puritans’ society in New England in the 17th century, as mentioned in the document Puritanism in 17th century New England. Witches were hunted by the Puritans because they were considered to be under the influence of the devil. Society had to purify everything that represented evil and therefore punish witches torturing them.
  1. “Witches” and “witch hunting” in 20th century America
  • Three centuries later, between 1950 and 1960, there is another witch hunt in the USA which is called “Red Scare” or McCarthyism. This period was when the US government was afraid communist foreigners would infiltrate the country. McCarthy, a republican senator, appointed to hunt potential communists. Thus, the identity checks were very strong to be able to challenge anyone suspected of having a link with a communist party. This is the case of the narrator in the text The Cold War hysteria, who has his passport confiscated after landing in the US. In this text, we can notably be aware of the level of paranoia of the authorities at the time.  Many famous people, actors, writers were blacklisted, for example Charlie Chaplin (actor), Richard Wright (writer), Leonard Bernstein (composer and conductor), Dashiell Hammett (writer).
  • This dowry tradition explains why many parents don’t want to have daughter. And the first consequence is that there is a “gendercide” of girls in India. It consists of gender-selected abortions or female infanticide. We can take the example of Kavita’s husband in the text Another girl who wanted to get rid of their daughter at birth because like many families, he absolutely wanted the new-born to be a boy.

To conclude, there are inequalities among Indian citizens resulting in the caste system and the large gap between rich and poor, but also between women and men with the dowry tradition and the “gendercide” of girls. However, Indian society has evolved, including its economy and this has also allowed women to succeed better.

Personally, I think this change is very beneficial for equality among India citizens because I think that, as time going by, it will reduce persistent inequalities in society.


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