11.07.2019 in Literature

Mythologies Essay Sample

Born in 1915 Roland Barthes is one of the most celebrated and decorated postwar French authors and theorists. Despite the fact that this great author passed on more than 29 years, his works are still read, analyzed and discussed up to date. Published in 1957, Mythologies is a collection of short stories, articles and journals that are collectively known as Les Lettres Nouvelle. Most of his collections and theories talk about different the daily day to day myths and how they affect our day to day lives. To be in a better position to understand the mythologies of Roland Barthes, this essay paper will discuss several stories that are found in the collections of the author and the role they have played in our day to day lives.

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To any parent, children are a bundle of joy given by God, most parents found determination, joy and inspiration by raising their children. The question that we need to ask ourselves is, how does the child upbringing process affect our children when they became of age? One of the interesting chapters in Roland Barthes collection is one titled “Toys”. It is important to note that he was the pioneer of this theory that solely focuses on children and other theorists have used his theory as  a platform to come up with other theories. For instance Erik Erickson used this “Toy theory” to come up with one of the most popular and most studied theories, the Child Development Theory. In the “Toy theory”, the author seeks to analyze the detonation and connotation of children toys.

In this myth, the author has argued out that, the toys that children play with while growing prepares them either physically or psychologically for their future life. For instance of the male children, most of them are given “muscular” toys life cars, toy guns and other masculine toys; whereas those of the female babies are dolls, cooking utensils among others.

This means that as children (girl child) play with dolls and cooking utensils, she is being prepared of the role she will play in future as a mother and a wife. For the boys having access to “tough toys” makes the child aware that in future he will be mandated with the responsibility of providing as protecting his household. Another question that may be posed is, how come most toys that are produced in the modern world are for boys? This is in reference to the numerous video and play station games that are in the market. Since the biblical days, men have known to be head of the home or any setting. In the political scene, the majority of the persons who pull the string are men. It is for this reason that most toys being created are focuses more on men than women.


Another myth that the author has written about is about sports. The main essence of participating in sports is not only to be physically fit but to win. In addition to that, sports is used demonstrate a sportsman excellence, perseverance and intelligence in a particular sports. This according to Roland Barthes is nothing but a myth. According to the author, sports is like a movie; it is “real time acting” that shows the good, the evil the justice and injustice of human kind. The author has used an example of wrestling and boxing where the participants have to withstand a lot of “suffering and torture” and in the end only one of them will emerge victorious. How does this myth apply to our day to day lives? From this we can state that this myth shows the stereotypic nature of human kind and that in life we cannot all be equal but some people have to be up the achievement ladder while some have to be way below.

In most society, very few people have the guts to openly criticize their religion, this is not because they are afraid of what will actually befall them but because of what they have been meant to believe will befall them. Roland Barthes however had the courage to go against this. This was through the myth of the “Red Wine”; wine just like any alcoholic drink has harmful effects on the human body but this is one aspect that has been ignored by some religious denominations and majority of the France’s population. According to them red wine which is red in colour is believed to be the drink for the hard working members of the society and also it is believed to be a “life giving and refreshing drink”. The question is why? The colour the wine is mostly associated with the blood of Jesus and the suffering he went through in order to save mankind, it is for this reason that the French have over looked the negative effects of wine as alcohol and embraced it a drink of choice.

There are several myths that the Roland Barthes has put across in his publication Les Lettres nouvelle, it is however important to note that his message can be interpreted from three different angles; the literary, the symbolic and the linguistic angle. One of his memorable quotes is that “that no language use can be separated from structures of ideology and power”. After having looked at the several myths from the collection of this author, it is upon us to try and use these myths to make the society a better place than we found.

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