Author Archives: Caitlin

Week 15

1. How does your view of the main character change throughout the course of this film? What does this movie say about its the themes of motherhood and justice? And what do you think the mother’s small tin of acupuncture needles symbolizes?

In the beginning, I thought that the Mother was a normal overprotective mother. But over the course of the film, I found that the mother was blinded by her own demons to see that her son needed help, along with herself. I feel that she was blinded because she couldn’t realize that her son could have murdered that girl and started searching for a killer, and when she kills the man in the junkyard. Even when her son confesses to the mother, she just doesn’t seem like she comprehends that her son really killed the girl. I feel this theme of motherhood and justice is correct. Any mother will do whatever it takes for their child, its a motherly instinct. Also many mothers are blinded thinking that their child could never be the bully, or the mean child at school as they feel their kid is a perfect angel. I feel the mothers acupuncture needles symbolizes her tunnel vision of her life. She uses them to forget that she tried killing herself, her son, the man in the junkyard. But yet uses them and then is dancing as if nothing is wrong. She has a tunnel vision and can’t see that her life is a mess.

2. What do you believe the demon symbolizes in The Story of the Fisherman and the Demon? What allegories do you read in this story?

The demon in the story was determined to kill everyone that releases him from his jar. But once the demon is trapped again in the jar by the fisherman he changes his mind about killing him. I feel that the demon symbolizes that you can’t not punish others for what someone else did. The fisherman did nothing wrong but was going to be punished for this. Every day we see people who are grumpy or angry and treat others poorly because of this. But if there is an act, the fisherman sealing him back up, we can change our ways.

The allegorie that I felt was in the story was that we all have the face our inner demons. The fisherman had to face his demons in order to go on and live a better happier life. No one can live a life running from our demons and feel that they are truly happy. In order for a happy life you must face these demons.

Kafka; Rilke; Akhmatova; Lorca; Xun; Mahfouz

1. What is the relationship between Gregor and his family? What clues in the story suggest that his relationship with his family, particularly his father, is unsatisfactory?

Gregor has two relationships with his family. One, he is still loved by his mother and sister and they all still care for him, even after finding out about his metamorphoses. His mom and sister try to help feed him, and even cover for Gregor when he can no longer continue to work. They all three love each other deeply but they no longer talk to him because of his metamorphoses. The second relationship is with his father. His father dislikes Gregor, and shows this by not working in the beginning of the story then when the father needs to work because Gregor can no longer, he beats Gregor. After his father learns about the metamorphoses he seems to be disgusted and disowns Gregor.

2. Discuss the central events in each of the three sections of The Metamorphoses. In what ways do these events suggest that the weakening of Gregor results in the strengthening of the family as a whole?

The first section of the story the family is very distant towards each other. Gregor works and provides for his whole family while his father comes across as not being able to work. Gregor then awakes to find that he has transformed into a bug, and really reflects on the life that he has due to his family and work.

The second section of the story goes on to tell us how Gregor slowly can no longer take care of himself. His mom and sister start to help Gregor by feeding him, but keep their distance. They don’t talk to him and his father has practically disowned him from disgust.

The third section of the story Gregor is injured by his dad throwing an apple at him. Gregor overhears one night how the family is starting to change their lifestyles to support themselves without Gregor. Gregor is devastated by this and passes away because of this.

3. How effective do you find Akhmatova’s Requiem as a political protest? Requiem was not published until well after the purges were over and Stalin was dead; is it, then, totally lacking in influence?

Akhmatov’as Requiem, in my opinion, would have been very effective if it had been published during the purges and while Stalin was in rule. Instead of just being a complicated statement about politics, she was able to create a picture in your head about exactly what she was talking about with living under tyranny and the hardships about war.

4. How should we interpret the famous command at the end of Archaic Torso of Apollo?

The last line in the poem pretty much sets the tone for the poem after the finish reading it. It tells us that we must change our lives. Simple as that haha. The poem to mean meant that you should take in the bigger picture and really rethink your motives in life and really make sure that you are doing the right thing.

Flaubert; Baudelaire; Rimbaud; Tagore; Yeats

1. Is Felicite a saint or a simple-minded servant? Or is she both? Or is she neither? Outline your perspective of her character as compared to Mme. Aubain’s. How do they differ?

I believe that Felicite was just a simple-minded servant. She had a very good heart and loved Mme. Aubain’s children very much. She was very devoted to the children and nurtured them a lot. But she wasn’t the smartest person and was naive. Felicite wanted to show her feelings and almost had a yarn to be loved and she showed this constantly, where Mme. Aubain was the complete opposite. She was more independent and even though she loved her kids, she didn’t always have the best intentions for them. Mme Aubain was more abrupt and outspoken sometimes as well, were Felicite was soft spoken.

2. How are women imagined and characterized in the poems you read? What attitude is implied? Is it dual or contradictory? Does Baudelaire give similar weight to the description of men? What definitions of womanliness are depicted, affirmed, or criticized in his work?

Baudelaire is very contradictory with his writing. He talks about how beautiful women are, and describes them with such detail and beauty in his writing. But in the same sense he makes it seem as if he doesn’t like them. He describes younger women quietness, richness, and pleasure. But them went on to describe the older women “in your turn, will be rotten to’. So you would think that he would prefer men, but he goes on to talk about how weak minded they are.

3. How are Chidam and Chandara distinct from Rama and Sita?

Chidam and Chandara do not have a good relationship, they fight and are bitter all the time towards each other. Even when Chandara is headed to her death, Chidam does nothing to try and save her. Rama and SIta however, truly love each other. They support each other and are very dedicated to one another.

4. Pick a Yeat’s poem and discuss what it communicates to you and why.

I really liked the poem “When We Are Old” because it created a more clear picture in my mind. The poem talks about when you are older you will come to a point when you will reminisce about you and the life that you have had or that you wish you had, like the women in the story thinking past loves.

Week 11

1. Is Tartuffe in fact anti-religious, or does it only attack corruptions of religion?

I do not believe that Tartuffe is anti-religious, I believe that the play is anti-hypocrisy and attacks the corruptions of religion. Tartuffe was a hypocrite, and he used his false faith to win over Orgon, also  while trying to seduce Orgon’s wife. Tartuffe is an used to show how people can manipulate and abuse people by lying and hypocrisy with faith and religion. Which when these lies are found, people look badly not only on the person but on the religion itself.

2. In what respects is Hugo’s Satan a heroic figure? How does Hugo’s account differ from Dante’s?

I do not think that Hugo’s Satan is a heroic figure, Satan was fighting with God so that he could overtake and gain the ultimate power. He was willing to give up everything for God’s power. After Satan is thrown to Hell, he then wanted nothing more than to inflict pain onto people and to God.

Hugo’s story differs from Dante’s in a couple different aspects. Hugo explains that Hell is just a vast dark and lonely land, where as Hell is Dantes are levels, levels that have people living out their sins for all of eternity . Dante’s Satan also was forever frozen  in the ninth level  chewing up the traitors, were with Hugo’s Satan, he was free to fly about Hell. Last Dante’s Satan cries for his punishments, were Hugo’s Satan is angry with God.

3. Discuss and compare the images in any two poems assigned for this week.

 I compared the poems “A Pine is Standing Lonely” by Heine and “The Infinite”. Both the poems talk about solitude, but from a positive perspective They both have a want to be somewhere new, different and go over how they can get there. In “A Pine” it is a poem about wanting to be somewhere new area. A want to be somewhere warm with sun.  In “Infinite” the writer talks about a man that yearns to go out and venture, with endless daydreaming and boundless areas.

Petrarch; Machiavelli; Native America; De La Cruz

1. Granted that Machiavelli’s own historical context is remote, how far does his pattern of contrasts between political ideals and concrete realities apply today?

I don’t believe that Machiavelli’s are far off from todays political ideals. The last couple weeks have been a very good example of this with the elections. There is never any positive competition, it is all very negative and trying to make the other “guy” look bad. Machiavelli talked about the morals of a person being different publicly than they are privately. And that is completely true, no person sitting on capitol hill is the same person in the public than they are with the doors closed and a little money on the table.

2. Sister Juana de la Cruz cuts off her hair to force herself to learn more quickly, although she knows that among young women, “the natural adornment of one’s hair is held in such high esteem.’ Finally, she enters the convent (where woman had their heads shorn). What other works have you read that emphasize the importance of a woman’s hair? Why does it seem to have so much symbolic value in such a range of cultures and times?

I could not think of any other works that emphasizes the importance of womens hair. I could only think of my aunt and grandma that had breast cancer and them telling me their stories of when they first went out without wigs on and how they felt. My grandma wore a wig at all times she said, because the one time she did not wear a wig she felt people pitied her when she went around town. My aunt on the other hand, thought it felt empowering when she showed up at work without hair. She felt free. So its interesting the differences in feelings.

3. Bear in mind that the Aztec warrior’s highest duty is to bring home live captives  for sacrifice. Give the Song for Admonishing a careful reading and decide–without researching the entire Cantares Mexicanos–what possible meaning might be assigned to the figurative terms “flower’ and “song.’

I’m not honestly sure what the flower’s could mean. I thought that maybe this song was about getting men more amped for battle. And that the flowers were maybe warriors who have passed? I’m just honestly taking a wild guess. But thats what I felt that I was reading, was a story about trying to get warriors ready for battle, and discussing the warriors who have fell in the battles.

DeFrance; Decameron

1. The Tenth Story of the Tenth Day: Why is Griselda being tested?

Gualtieri was testing Griselda because she was the type of woman that no matter what she would be loyal to him. And he loved the lifestyle of being with multiple women, so he started testing her; saying that he was going to murder their children, then saying that her daughter would become his new wife, and even after he made her leave the house. She stayed loyal and faithful to  Gualtieri and because of this the king takes back Griselda.

2. Compare the frame tales in the Decameron, and The Thousand and One Nights. In each case, what is the reason for telling stories? Do the stories accomplish the purpose for which they are intended? How important is the relationship between the tale and the teller?

The tale of Decameron is about men and women that leave Florence because of the Black Plague. The women and men all share stories, but because there are more women than men the women have a higher standing than the men. In The Thousand and One Nights the king made his wife tell him stories so that he would not kill her. The reason for telling the stories in both books is to save their lives. In Decameron the women are telling stories to help raise girls to be strong women, and in Thousand and One Nights the wife is telling the stories to save her life. They both accomplish the purpose, the wife lives and the women outweigh the men and can tell the stories to the girls. The relationship between the tale and the teller is very important, it helps pass legacies and moral standards to the younger generations.

3. In Laustic, what does the nightingale symbolize? Explain your answer.

The nightingale symbolizes lost love. The wife tells her husband that she can not sleep because of the nightingale, but she really can not sleep because she loves her neighbor the Knight. After her husband kills the nightingale, both the wife and Knight realize they can not love each other.


1. What do you think Dante learned on his journey through Hell? How does it differ from what you learned while reading about the journey?

I think what Dante learned during his journey through hell was that he was finally able to see Gods justice and why God did what he did. During his journey through Hell he was able to see the difference in how people were punished for their crimes. Virgil and Dante made their way through the different circles and seeing this Dante realized that he had to change his ways and get back on a better path of life. The poem talks about pilgrim’s, which is exactly what Dante did; he took a journey to a land for religious reasons and he was able to see a new light at the end.

I have read about the story Dante before, and growing up with a religious background I understood the story. Sometimes you stray away from God and you go down a path that isn’t the best. Sometimes on this rough path you need to experience the  worst in order to appreciate what you had in order to get back to who you were.

One Thousand and One Nights; The Inferno

1. How are we to understand Shahrayar’s madness? Does it make sense to you? That is, are male egos in macho societies that frail, or is his a special case?

Shahryar’s madness was caused by his wife sleeping with the chef. One human that has been cheated on will tell you that they are angry and mad! There is no denying this. Male egos are very frail, men just won’t admit that. Shahrayar’s case was not special because this happens all the time, except in this story he kills his wife, which has happened before sadly.

2. Both the vizier and his daughter, Shahrazad, tell tales that surround their human characters with important animals, but the animals play different roles in the imaginative worlds of father and daughter. Compare and contrast the powers attributed to the animal world in The Tale of the Ox and the Donkey and The Tale of the Merchant and His Wife with those described in The Story of the Merchant and the Demon. How may these differences reflect the contrasting visions of gender relations so central to The Thousand and One Nights?

The Story of the Merchant and the Demon was about how once everyone was human but because of their sins they were transformed into a certain type of animal, but they could still speak. Where in the Tale of the Ox and Donkey  animals can speak to one another and plan together.

3. Do you believe the penalties suffered are appropriate to the sins committed in Dante’s Inferno? Why or why not?

I believe that the penalties suffered are appropriate. You do the crime, you do the time type of a deal. Dantes had the different levels of sins for each sinner. The worse the crime the worse the level. So it wasn’t that everyone was suffering the same punishment.

The Ramayana and The Bhagavad-Gita

1. Every epic work defines heroism differently, and many heroes are great of stature without being moral paragons. As the headnote to the Ramayana points out, Rama is a virtually perfect man. Do you find him less interesting than other heroes on that account? What indications are there in this portion of the text that his perfection may not be totally innate, but a state of being that he must work to achieve? How would this mirror the efforts we see his mother, Kausalya, make to discipline her  feelings? How would that be consistent with the Hindu religious beliefs that imbue this work?

I do not find Rama less interesting than the other heros. The test was easier to read than past readings and it was more clear to see that he was more relaxed, worked very hard for what he achieved and had a solid head on his soilders. They say he was a perfect man, and its not that he was perfect, not one is perfect but that he worked very hard for what he had and gained. He was almost perfect in the way that he  acted in difficult situations that makes us. Like when he was exiled, he was calm and gave up the kingdom without a fight. Rama’s mother was not as dedicated to dharma as Rama was and she was reminded of that in the beginning of the story.

2. In The Bhagavad-Gita, Krishna speaks to Arjuna, a warrior afraid to fight: compare Arjuna’s dilemma with that of Achilles in the Iliad, or that of Medea as she struggles with her maternal emotions when she is about to kill her sons by Jason. Compare the code of behavior Krishna outlines to the view of violence in Homer’s poem or Euripides’ Medea. If appropriate, look for materials in other belief systems that reflect on these questions: consider “[The First Murder]’ (Genesis 4), the Beatitudes (Mathew 5), or “The Offering of Isaac,’ or the table (Sura 5 of the Koran).

Arjuna’s dilemma to fight was due to his devotion to the divine. He was also conflicted because the army he was going to fight included his own kind. Achilles when he realized that they were fighting a political war was willing to stop fighting, were Medea was the complete opposite and did not consider any other way of releasing her anger she choose to kill her children.


1. Madea is a woman, but Euripides has presented her as a figure previously thought of as exclusively male–a hero. Analyze her character in the play with that of Achilles, and conclude with a judgement on whether or not you think Medea is a hero and why.

I do not think that Medea is a hero, killing your own children is a weak and ruthless thing to do. There is no reason for this, she could have easily taken her kids and fled. She was even banished because people were afraid of her. There is not one thing about her that makes her a hero, she is just a murder and a coward. When compared to Achilles, they have the same personality in they feel they are owed something and they act before thinking.

2. Job (in chapter 31) makes the claim that his life has been virtuous and devoted to the worship of God, and so he does not deserve the calamities that have fallen on him. He asks God for an answer, but the voice from the whirlwind does not deal with his question at all. Why does Job accept God’s assertion of divine power (42) and not press for an answer to his question? Why is he satisfied with what he is given? Do you find the end of the dialogue satisfactory?

Job had faith in God and continued to have faith in him even while Satan was casting hard events upon his life. Jobs does not question God because he himself could not answer any of Gods questions. God reminded him that he created everything and that even though he can not see God, he sees us so we must always do good and trust him.  I find the end of the dialogue satisfactory, I personally believe that if we keep faith and stay positive that everything work out, and this story shows that type of belief as well.