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An anonymous, traditional story that explains a natural phenomenon, an aspect of human behavior, or a mystery of the universe

creation myths

Myths that tell of how the world and human beings came to exist

origin myths

Myths that explain how natural phenomena, such as the stars, moon, and mountains, came to be or why a society has a certain belief or custom


A symbol, story pattern, or character type that is found in the literature of many cultures. Example: Children of opposite qualities born of the same parents


An archetype found in Native American Lit, usually an animal who causes trouble, but in doing so reveals wisdom.

Example: A coyote that brought death in the world, but ultimately alleviated overcrowding


The main idea or meaning of a text. Often, this is an insight about human life revealed in a literary work


The use of language to evoke a picture or a concrete sensation of a person, thing, place, or experience


The process by which the writer reveals the personality of a character


A figure of speech in which an animal, an object, or an idea is given human form or characteristics

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