Theme Of Fear In John Steinbeck's Tularecito

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When the word “myth” is spoken or written in today’s society, the first thing that probably comes to mind is that of a tall, muscular man with a beard holding a sword fighting off some sort of fantastical monster. However, when the word is more deeply examined, one can see that the word does not merely describe a story from some ancient time period, but rather it details a certain type of story consisting of certain factors. Some of these factors such as the ability to teach and the belittling of fears can be seen in John Steinbeck’s “Tularecito”. The story of Tularecito is a full-fledged myth, consisting of multiple key factors required to be so. Although myths are mainly thought of as stories from ancient times, “Tularecito” also falls into…show more content…
This parallels the idea of fear being incorporated within a myth by Armstrong. Armstrong suggests that a myth should either depict or show the overcoming of fears commonly held by its intended audience. She specifically mentions the most principle fear held by almost all humans as well as alluding to a wider range of fears by saying, “Mythology was therefore designed to help us to cope with the problematic human predicament” (Armstrong 6). In this quote, Armstrong highlights the need of a myth to help those who know of it cope with the “human predicament”. In this case Armstrong is speaking of death, however, this idea can be applied to any fear held in the hearts of those reading or creating a myth. In order to be a myth, the story must first make a certain fear apparent, and then it must propose a way to conquer or cope with it. An early example of this is found in Pancho’s first interaction with Tularecito. When Pancho initially finds Tularecito in the roadside bushes he is faced with something that he has never seen before and in turn hurls Tularecito as far as he can, “He picked it up and lighted a match to see just what kind of a thing he had found, when . . . the baby winked maliciously and said in a deep voice, ‘Look! I have very sharp teeth.’ Pancho did not look. He flung the thing from him” (74 Steinbeck). Upon Pancho’s meeting with infantile Tularecito, his immediate response of rejection exemplifies possibly the greatest and most common fear among humans. The immediate repulsion towards the strange baby shows Pancho’s fear of the unknown. He has never experienced a baby that can talk and growl maliciously, so when this happens in the case of Tularecito he is shocked and instantly scrambles for an explanation to this unlikely occurrence. In this case his explanation is to label Tularecito as demonic and to create as much
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