Durkheim interprets mythology as, "…a repository of allegorical instruction, to shape the individual to his group." Carl Jung asserts the idea of myth as, "…a group dream, symptomatic of archetypal urges within the depths of the human psyche." The classical purpose of myth in society and culture is best defined as bringing man into union with the whole of society, for man is only a fraction of the whole, his identity is defined in the body of society. The moral and archetypal lessons conveyed through the myth transmit a sustaining and time less form that both teaches and serves to bind the society closer. Society, in this sense, functions unilaterally as one "mythologically instructed community".
In the modern age, mythology seems a thoroughly ancient discourse. "Dead are all the gods," states an adamant Nietzsche. The idea of the individual and secularism prevails, thus the false impression that the myth no longer serves a purpose is given. Modern man emerges from his ignorance, having swept away the symbols of tradition and ushered in a new age of independence and enlightenment. There is a problem, however, the meaning once found in the group now finds its home in the coldness of the individual. Here there is no meaning for "one does not know toward what one moves… by what one is propelled." The purpose of myth finds root in rendering the modern world spiritually significant, in reconnecting the conscious and unconscious spheres of the mind. Mythology is the guise by which man can achieve full maturity in the modern world. It is a means by which he can transcend time, connecting with a group not so far removed from the present day. The myth is the anecdote for clarity of the mind and spirit.
Where does the Cavalcade of America fit into all this? The Cavalcade presents a canon of American heroes to its listeners in prescriptive form. They are larger than life personas who embody the ideals of the Republic. Most importantly they are individuals, men of the modern age. Yet they are a collective body mythologized by time and presented to the listener in a format that suggests something bigger. The Cavalcade heroes represent an idea about America, a group identity, an identity the individual can aspire towards. Thus, a connection is laid for modern man to find his way symbolically back to the "American Ethos" in his society.