The Goody & Watt article was a beast! It spanned the history of our oral and written literacy through their own understanding as to the events that shaped our society based on literacy practices and didn’t seem to skip a moment.
For my own research, the shift from oral to written Myths became significant because I am currently looking at the way Euripides takes the oral and written Myth of Jason and the Golden Fleece and adapts the story in his attempt “to wrestle with the problems with which the changes in the cultural tradition had faced them” (323). I had been looking for ways to describe this shift and how or why the story and its genre as a play and adaptation function, and this article can help me make more sense of that, as well as the continued debates around literacy that focus on these same issues.
And this did continue in the Collins and Blott article, which pointed out that the argument between oral Myth and written is not so much about literacy but about genre. When I read that, it made perfect sense. If we think about the affordances of genre, or the way we tell a story, it really plays into the factors as to what should be included and what left out. As well, the period with which these stories are told, whether orally or written, changes the genre with which the author chooses to write his or her piece in.
For example, if we look at Euripides’ play “Medea”, which continues the original Myth of Jason and the Golden Fleece, we find that the play takes the focus off our hero/anti-hero, Jason, and centers it on the wife, the woman, Medea. This choice to put it into a play is derivative of the times and the calling for such writing and entertainment. The choice to focus on Medea as the main character and the things she faces and overcomes as a woman is done to address societal concerns around gender.
If we take this simple analysis of the story and shift to modern times, a play may never get the same message across. Now, we may use something like a Super Bowl commercial that highlights a concern with a hashtag. The #likeagirl campaign from yesterday comes to mind. Or the mass amounts of Father/Daughter and Father/Son commercials. Again, the point here is that genre is a key component to the understanding of why or how affective a story or message is.
Now that I’ve strayed far enough away from the article to have you wondering where the hell I’m going with all this, I leave you so I may research more around this idea of genre and adaptation before the spark is gone.