The First American Literature From Different Persp

Essay by EssaySwap ContributorCollege, Undergraduate February 2008

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Although the first true People have a need to know where they come from. Has God always provided this information to his people in a way they can understand and relate to within their cultural confines? I think so! Creation stories from the cosmogonic aspect of a myth not only provide a historical account of the origins of universe but also support a culture?s belief system, their origins of ethnicity (ethnogonic perspective), the explanation of natural phenomena (physiogonic perspective), and their socio-political values, viewed from the sociogonic perspective, which attempts to explain why a society is what it is and why it performs the rituals it performs.

American ?literature? was expressed through oral tradition by Native Americans but not recorded until 1827, credit as the ?first? should be given. Many of the Iroquois [Haudenosaunee](1) and the Pima (2) stories focus on creation myths. By comparison, they are similar in part to the ancient Babylonian Giglamesh epic of 1900BC and the Judeo-Christian (4) creation story of our culture by some comparable explanatory features, supporting different perspectives.

The Iroquois were matrilineal, agrarian, democratic, and settled in communal longhouses. Most of the elements of the sociogonic perspective come from Legend of Hiawatha focusing on the theme of peace. Peacemaker, a reincarnation of Good Twin, Deganawidah, taught Hiawatha rituals of condolence and the Good news of peace and power, thereby establishing the cultural ideal of peace. In fact, war was the central reality of Iroquois life, however, a ritual means for bereavement eased the discomfort of survivors.

The Native American stories were generally dualistic myths, containing an explanation for their existence within the context of good and evil, light and dark, or opposing twins. For example, from the cosmogonic perspective, the Iroquois explain, ?the good mind gave them (apes) living souls? and...