One of the basic functions of myths is to explain reality, sanction the actions taken and give them a desirable meaning. Another function of mythical stories is to transmit the models of proper behaviour, ethical principles, norms and values personified by the hero that are important to a given community. Myths help people to understand their past and project their future. Such a myth has taken shape in the area of popular culture and consciousness of the Poles under the influence of the television serial and the book 'Four Men in a Tank', by Janusz Przymanowski. It has become an inseparable part of the discourse of collective memory about World War II and childhood spent in People's Poland. Its chief motif is joint work in the name of the common weal and a larger unity of ideas. The author shows many convergences between Janusz Przymanowski's book, folk heroic epic and a magic fairy-tale. They are all inscribed in a larger epic tradition of the fight against the German invader. The heroes of the novel and the film created on its basis are a synthesis of the types of folk heroism, an archetype present in many soldiers' memoirs, tales and stories.
Financed by the National Centre for Research and Development under grant No. SP/I/1/77065/10 by the strategic scientific research and experimental development program:
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