Topic # 3
Compare and Contrast “Genesis” and “Penetrating to the Heart of the Forest”,
Looking at both myth and short story.
Although there are many similarities present, a distinct difference is made between “Genesis” and "Penetrating to the Heart of the Forest" in that “Genesis” is a mythical narrative while "Penetrating to the Heart of the Forest" is an adaptation of a mythic story (Adam and Eve) in the form of a short story. When comparing and contrasting these two stories we see similarities in storyline, themes, symbols, differences in detail, and the extent and significance of the stories themselves.
When deciding whether these narratives are myths or short stories, one must look at the contents of each piece of work. “Genesis” can clearly be defined as a myth because it contains all the characteristics of a myth. These characteristics include casual and vague descriptive writing about a very significant and important piece of work. Characteristics of myths also include “superstitious” themes, characters and the establishment of traditional ways of life and belief systems for a wide variety of people. Although “Genesis” contains one of the most popular and significant creation tales today, its lack of description and vague details account for its acceptance of being a myth. An example of this is the seven days of creation being written in one chapter; “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth, and the earth was formless and voice” (The Access Bible 2). This suggests that “Genesis” may have been passed down orally from generation to generation, which, according to Campbell (“The First Storytellers”), resembles all other myths. The presence of solely flat or static characters (such as Adam and Ever) is a good example to show why “Genesis is considered a myth”. Only imprecise details about Adam and Eve are given and we lack any understanding of personality or character traits. The existence of superstition is also very apparent in “Genesis”. God (the embodiment of good) is constantly at work as is the Serpent (the embodiment of evil). The supernatural is a key element in the “Genesis” creation myth. Examples of these elements are; the presence of angels, a holy sword, and a tree of unnatural, divine abilities (Bible 2, 6, 7). Supernatural elements form “Genesis” into an idealized narrative of mystic and mythic qualities. As with many other myths, “Genesis” forms the core of many religious beliefs, cultural ideals, and the basis of moral living. “Genesis” is able to fit the origins of life’s everyday occurrences, such as human curiosity, sin, good and evil, and a woman’s pain in childbirth into four chapters.
“Penetrating to the Heart of the Forest” is an adaptation of the story of Adam and Eve in “Genesis,” however; it cannot be classified as a myth because of its deviation from the story in the...