Skip to main content

Featured post

Biology 2018 Solutions for Leaving Cert Higher Level

You can access the paper via the examinations.ie website. No marking scheme is available at the time of writing. You may also like: Leaving Cert Biology.
Q1. (a) 1. To receive energy for cellular reactions to occur 2. For growth and repair  (b) Many sugar units joined together  (c) Cellulose  (d) Contains glycerol and three fatty acids  (e) Phospholipids are found in cell membranes  (f) Biuret test 
Q2. (a) Living factor  (b) The place where an organism lives  (c) All of the different populations living in an area  (d) All members of the same species living in an area  (e) The functional role of an organism in an ecosystem  (f) The part of the Earth that sustains life  (g) Checking for the presence or absence of an organism in an ecosystem 
Q3. (a) Interphase  (b) Cell division in which one cell becomes two cells and the number of chromosomes is retained. The genetic material of the daughter cell is identical to the mother cell.  (c)1. The chromosome number is halved in meiosis  2. Meiosis involves 2 c…

Article about myths, fairytales and legends for Leaving Cert English #625Lab

Write a feature article for a magazine about the importance of myths, fairytales and legends. The article may be serious or light-hearted. (100 marks) 

Excellent essay via #625Lab If you want to send in your work to #625Lab, it's free, but please see conditions in our FAQ before sending it. You may also like: Complete Guide to Leaving Cert English (€). 

Among all present and past societies belonged a unique set of myths, fairytales and legends. These include cultures that seem vastly separate and indifferent in terms of development, language and lifestyle. The very fact that cultures of all themes and heritage have always developed their own mythology, fairytales and legends speaks volumes on the fundamental role that these "stories" have on us. But what is this role? And how does it influence our society? This is what I hope to answer in this article. (Excellent opening! Articles require the language of argument and the author started by uncovering a less than obvious fact, categorised it and set out the way in which he plans to analyse the issue.)

Before we dig into it, we must first make clear the differences between mythology, fairytales and legends. Since I will deal with each element separately, it is only necessary to acknowledge two things: 
  1. There is a distinction between mythology, fairytales and legends. 
  2. Each provide an important pillar which contributes to a framework for society. 
This article will explore the origin of each pillar and investigate, in chronological order, their first appearance in society. (Categorising and putting a structure onto an argument makes it much more accessible. Plus it makes you sounds very intelligent.)

This brings us to the importance of our first pillar of society's framework: mythology. Immediately in our heads are the archetypal images of the well-adorned classical myths - Greek and Roman Gods, creatures and beasts of all shapes and sizes. Undoubtedly, the age of polytheism was an exciting time for mythology. Another trait of the Greek era is the early foundation of science and general understanding that it established. It is my belief that the origin of mythology of any kind can be attributed to the endlessly skeptical and curious nature of human beings. That is to say, mythology was society's means to interpreting the overwhelming world they lived in. In a period that lacked any significant scientific understanding of nature, mythology became the answer that society needed to come to terms with unexplored territory, such as space, the deep oceans, religion, and even human psychology. This is why the majority of any mythology is interwoven with what we now call astrology. Incomprehensible phenomena came to represent aspects of life. The sun became a representation for enlightenment, truth and goodness while the moon became associated with darkness, deception and evil. This is also why I believe mythology to be the first of the three to originate among societies, closely followed by legends. (This answers the questions that were posed in the introduction very directly, P of PCLM, and it maintains coherence by moving on to the next part of the essay about legends - that's the C of PCLM).

Although myths and legends go hand in hand, there is a major difference: mythology is what helped society to develop an understanding of the world, while legends helped establish a code of values and principles to be followed by that society. It is evident in any pivotal legend of some culture that embedded in it is a profound reflection of that culture's values and morality. An example of this would be the ancient Celtic legend of Cú Chulainn, the Gaelic hurler who was forced to kill an attacking dog out of self-defence. As well as being an entertaining story, Cú Chulainn also had an important moral to it: always fight to protect yourself. Unsurprisingly, this mirrors the vigour of Gaelic culture. This legend also promotes sports and good health, which again reflects traditional Gaelic values. But it also shows us another key function that legends have on society, which is to educate, inspire and encourage our youth. Because of this, legends tend to be more entertaining than myths and are saturated with virtuous characters who stand for strength and justice. 

Our final, and most interesting, pillar is fairytales. I think it is obvious that fairytales are distinct from myths and legends, and also it should be obvious that fairytales are the most recent to develop in society of the three. (It's not obvious to me and it may even be factually wrong, but it fits into the authors argument and for the sake of Leaving Cert English Paper 1 you can get away with one or two assumptions.) The primary, if not only, function of fairytales is to entertain an audience, which at face value seems most unimportant in comparison with mythology or legends. However, especially in recent times, the role of fairytales in society is much more interesting than you think, and let me tell you why. 

Undeniably, the function of mythology was replaced by our developments in science and mathematics within the last few decades. Unlike the Greeks, we now understand what the sun is and what purpose it serves us. We know why planets revolve, why animals hibernate, how our bodies work and how in general a lot of seemingly illogical phenomena came to be. I am not saying that we know all there is to know, but I do believe that science has offered a satisfactory answer to a lot of society's questions, and therefore has replaced mythology as a new source of understanding. This replacement, however, has had an unusual consequence: fairytales. 

What do I mean by this? Well, I think that the acquisition of mythology by science has led society to become bored. In the age of information, society has become more pessimistic than ever. A notable result of this was the explosion in the entertainment industry in recent years - reality tv, action movies, cartoons etc. These are, in some way, just another form of fairytale that society uses to escape from the relentless world of never ending exploration. As the German philosopher, Friedrich Nietzsche, had put it: "The miraculous gave a great deal of pleasure to those who at times grew tired of the rule and of eternity. To lose firm ground for once! To err! To be mad! That was part of the debauchery of bygone ages, while our bliss is like that of a man who has suffered shipwreck, climbed ashore, and now stands with both feet on the firm old earth - amazed that it does not waver."

Write a feature article for a magazine about the importance of myth, fairytales and legends. The article may be serious or light-hearted.

Photo by Frankie K. on Unsplash

Popular Posts