Unit 8 Essay – Popol Vuh: Pre Columbian Americas: What values does the Popol Vuh expect people to share?

The Popol Vuh is a foundational text of the Quiché Maya.  The Quiché Maya lived in the Yucatan Peninsula, in areas that today include the highlands of Guatamala and parts of Mexico, Belize, and Honduras.  As you saw in your textbook, the Maya built a civilization in Mesoamerica. 

 They cultivated corn and other crops, dealt effectively with drought, and organized politically well before 250 BCE.  The Maya did not have a centralized political administration, but are associated with large cities, massive building projects, and extensive trade (including luxury items like jade).

  The Maya also had their own written script, a system that used dots and bars.  Mayan scribes likely wrote down the Popol Vuh in the 16th century.  About 300 years later, a Spanish priest transcribed the text. 

The Popol Vuh relates the Quiché Maya story of creation and was considered a sacred text that contained an oracle.  Amongst many other themes, the text examines the relationship between gods and humans.


The task:

In an approximately 800-word paper, construct an introduction that uses secondary sources to situate the Popol Vuh in its appropriate context,


 write a thesis that explicitly spells out your answers to the questions proposed below, and then use the body paragraphs of your paper to “prove” your thesis using examples and discussion of the primary source. 


 Be sure to draw your own conclusions and use plenty of examples from the primary source to support your points. 


Whenever possible paraphrase your explanation of the text; it is appropriate to use quotes of up to 1-line in length, but be sure to explain the meaning and significance of all quoted passages.


Cite the Popol Vuh using internal citations or footnotes AND in a bibliography on the last page of your paper.


Refer to the Guidelines for Writing Essays found in your syllabus. 


 Read excerpts from Popol Vuh

(for citation purposes, here is the original source: http://www.mesoweb.com/publications/Christenson/PopolVuh.pdf)

Please answer each of the questions below.  It is very important that each question is answered completely.


   •     What values does the Popol Vuh expect people to share? 


        •       What does the Popol Vuh show us about Quiché Mayan society?

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