Author Archives: Jared

About Jared

Born and raised in AK and will once again live there one day. Currently serving in the US Navy and I enjoy the life I live. I am stationed in Sicily and loving the ability to travel during this period. I have a wife and a daughter on the way and couldn't imagine things going much better in life right now.

What would a mother do?

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

Initially I found the mother to be overbearing to Do-Joon and thought that he acted so innocently because of her coddling and forced dependence. As the story quickly progresses to the murder of Ah-Jung, Do-Joon goes to jail and “Mother” begins to show the extent that she would go to fulfill her need or dependence of the relationship with her son. I thought that this is where her senile side really begins to show and although I could understand being traumatized by losing ones son to a life sentence, she refuses to believe that her son that has violent outbursts could possibly have done anything wrong. She wants to blame anyone she can and it becomes apparent that she is actually trying to save her son more so for herself, than for his own good. When it is revealed that Mother had attempted to kill herself and her son, when he was a child, I could no longer take her as a seriously devoted parent to the betterment of her child’s life. She continues to allow more violence upon others to get information and eventually kills a man who revealed the truth about her son to her, which I believe is a moment where a part of her died. At this time the theme of justice is really revealed as a question. Do people only want justice when is favors them or is the answer they desire? Throughout the movie blame and incarceration are given to those without much real investigation other than here say and tit for tat. No one is ever happy with the outcome of “justice”, which leads one to interpret that justice is never fair nor what people actually want. Motherhood is shown to an extreme, with a tendency to lose one’s mind in defense of their children. In the society portrayed, women received very little respect and were taken advantage of in many disgusting ways. Motherhood would be a very difficult challenge with so little help and no existing marriage or relationship to help fulfill the needs of children.

I believe that the tin would best represented by the word “salvation”. In each circumstance, which these  needles are used or shown, they are to serve as a substitute for monetary payment or an incentive for information or tool to get what Mother needs. It is foreshadowed that the needles would bring her harm, when the lady married to a social worker says it could harm more than herself, but the whole city. This tin or salvation, is eventually what gives her the truth of her sons story, which causes her to murder the man and burn down his home and the release of her son, who was a danger to the town. In the end, the salvation Mother requires is the release from her memory so that she can dance and be free once more of her tragic story, which the acupuncture provides.

Death vs. Love, A Father? & A Tie to Tradition

In Silko’s “Yellow Woman” what do the stolen beef & the jell-o have in common? How do these elements break the prevailing mood?
The main theme that I found these foods had in common was that they were not natural foods of Indian people. The prevailing mood is that the main characters were to be representatives of well known spirits, told of in tales of old. The characters try to draw themselves in with a tie to history. They find themselves drawn to nature, they stay in a cave with no modern conveniences and they eat very raw foods taken from the land. When the beef and the jell-o come into play, the cattle is rustled or stolen and not hunted as a purely natural food would have been if they stuck to the theme of purely American Indian tradition. The jell-o is obviously a completely processed food with almost no nutritional content and is in no way natural. These foods break the mood or idea of a complete return to traditional ways.
After reading Saadawi’s “In Camera,” how do you feel about Leila Al-Fargani’s father? Upon what evidence do you base your judgement?
After reading “In Camera,” I found Leila’s father to be a self-centered, selfish, prideful, idiot. At the trial, which would determine the fate of his daughter, he was more concerned with taking credit for a comment made by the judge, which would make him look more prestigious as a father, with respect to the way people saw his daughter at that moment, than he was with the outcome of the trial and his daughter’s life. After this portrayal, I could not shake the idea that he was a cold bastard, with no real emotion or parenting skill. The thought that this would be the first and most important thing to come to mind is beyond me. Maybe it was the society that he lived in, which defines priorities and principles, but I would not give him or that mind set a shred or respect.
What is the importance of the title of the story “Death Constant Beyond Love”? What does it tell us about the stories central thematic concerns?
During the preface of The Norton Anthology, it is stated that Marquez was portraying a reversal of the ambitious claim that love will outlast even death, in the sonnet “Love Constant beyond Death.” Marquez does portray his idea in almost every facet of his story. This is why his story is titled what it is. The story is titled to symbolize the theme he intended to express, which is that all types of love will come to an end with the fate of death.

Realities and Revolutions

What is the relationship between Gregor & his family? What clues in the story suggest that his relationship with his family, particularly his father, is unsatisfactory?
1. Initially I found Gregor’s mother and sister to be quite kind and caring for Gregor. Each expressed interest in his well being when he had not risen at the appropriate time for work. His mother even tried to cover up for Gregor when his chief clerk arrived from work to check upon the cause of his absence. Although his mother expresses a pride for Gregor’s craftmanship and dedication to the family, she does state that she is worried by the fact that he rarely leaves to house to spend time with friends or other hobbies. I believe she does not appreciate Gregor’s desire to take care of his family. Gregor’s sister is the only family member who initially tends to his needs, but this dissapates over time to a point where she finds him to be more of a repulsive nuisance than a brother. The mother because indifferent or possibly just broken hearted and absent minded as the topic of getting rid of Gregor comes to light. Gregor’s sister is in full support of this by the time that the family is feeling the full burden of a life without Gregor to support them. I felt that these two characters gave up on empathy and began to live in a sense of self preservation over the value of family. Gregor’s father is a different story. From the begining, Gregor’s father is certain that there is nothing wrong with Gregor and that he has messed up in some way and must come to terms with this. He supports the clerk in his aspirations to remove Gregor from his room to get to the bottom of the issue and is astonished when Gregor opens the door. Ashamed or afraid of Gregor, his father even beats at him with a cane and newspaper as though he is battling a dragon. Once more of the internal monolgue of Gregor is presented, we find that his father had played an almost incapable old dependent, who relied on Gregor to provide everthing for the family, while still demanding respect. Once put in a posisiton, where he must provide for the family once again, he finds strength and and will power to do so. He for the most part ashamed of his son’s appearance and can only ‘tolerate’ Gregor. I believe this pride of Gregor’s father has lead to an expectation that could never have been met, even when Gregor was in good health. This caused a schism between them and an indifference in Gregor’s health. Altogether this formed a reliance upon Gregor, but ultimately his love was only shone to him indefinitely, while he was providing for the family.
Discuss the central events in each of the three sections of The Metamorphosis. In what ways do these events suggest that the weakening of Gregor results in the strengthening of the family as a whole?
2. Gregor’s transformation leaves him helpless and therefore incapable of providing for the family. The initial shock and emotional trauma felt by Gregor’s mother and sister caused them to re-evaluate the value they placed in him and come to terms with getting by on their abilities that they have had all along. With the help, like the cook leaving, the family became more independent. His sister began to clean his room, his mother cooked, his father got a job at the bank. Gregor thought back to how his family had initially been grateful for the monetary support he gave, but over time had come to expect it and were not quite as warm about it. This need to begin working showed them their capabilities and how much they could accomplish as a team. As the family becomes more open to Gregor’s desire to see them and move about, they remove his furniture to allow for more space and even open the door to his room from time to time. At one point Gregor reaches to far from his room after causing his mother to faint and his father nails him with an apple in the back and this injures Gregor. He can no long clime walls and can barely move. He begins to spend more time in his thoughts and reminescence. The family does start opening the door to allow him to watch their dinner time and listen in on their conversation, but over a short period of time they begin to neglect Gregor and even hire help to clean so that they did not have to deal with him at all. His sister would still feed Gregor, but was indifferent to his eathing habits. With the need for more income, the family rents a room to three tenants, which places more stress on the family, in order to keep them appeased and also keeping Gregor completely in the dark. This stree brings Gregor’s family together and further proves their usefulness. When Gregor’s sister plays violin and the tenants hear her, they request to hear her play in the living room and her father is proud. He is delighted that they would like to here her play, but as they become dissinterested quickly he takes some offense. Not quite as much as Gregor though and he moves from his room toward his sister because he wants her to know that she could come play for her in his room. This gives the tenants a startle and they give their notice to move away from the premisis. This upsets the family greatly and they determine that Gregor must go. He passes away the next day and although they are upset initially, they spend their days writing letters to their bosses, explaining their reason for missing work. Their mild suffering and quick change of attitude is a callousness that had developed, but was necessary to move on and succeed in the world. It states that they all had positive prospects in the future, signifying that the events they had been through, ultimately provided for a stronger and more successful family.
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?
3. Although Requiem was not officially published, until after the purges and the tyrannical rule of Stalin was over, it still remains effective in protesting the era and political tyranny the people of Russia faced. Her protest is extremely effective because it is written from a point of view that all women could relate to. The fear, the anguish and mental breakdowns that these families faced was nearly unavoidable and through her descriptions, Akhmatova is able to put into words how one would feel. Her perspective as a part of the reality they faced, identified a hardship that could be recognized as an experience that no person should have and vilifies Stalin’s “blue caps.” In the end of her poem she says that she would not refuse a statue, as long as it stands outside those same walls that tormented each family as theirs sons were murdered or exiled into Siberia, if for nothing else but to remind those who need it and to edutate future generations of the sadness their people went through.

How should we interpret the famous command at the end of Archaic Torso of Apollo?
4. Although reading the preface did give some insight to the possible meaning of the poem, the last line, “You must change you life,” gives more of a directive of how things should be seen. By changing the way one sees life, the perpective and meaning of everyting changes with it. If we are to interpret the line in this way, then we may see the boldness and knowledge of art in its time and there after.

Worldly Poets of the 1800’s

Is Felicite a saint or a simple-minded servant? Is she neither or both? Outline your perspective on her character as compared to Mme. Aubain’s. How do they differ?
1. Considering the definition of a saint is to be one, whom is considered exceptionally holy, I did not find Felicite to be a saint, but rather a simple minded servent with a kind heart. At one point Felicte took care of a prior father, Colmiche, and bandaged his burst tumor and nourished him in his time of need. This was the most saintly act, in my opinion, that took place throughout the story, but not enough to constitute saintliness. Felicite and Madame Aubain had the love of family in common, which guided many of their decisions in life. They had very different ways of showing their affection though, where Felicite would spend every moment of her available time with her nephew, Mme. Aubain’s daughter and son; while Mme. Aubain simply wanted the best path in life for her children and would send them away if it would be to their betterment. Later, Mme. Aubain does find that she must be closer to her daughter, especially when she becomes ill. Both Felicite and Mme. Aubain are religious people, but Felicite spends much more time in prayer and devotion. Late in the story Felicite begins to idolize her parrot, which I believe is where the saintly factor goes away, as she becomes simply blasphemous. Choosing to place her parrot in the place of the lord, as a center piece, is idolitry. Mme. Aubain is rather harsh and gathers no true admirers. Both her and Felicite allow themselves to be used by family or close friends, in situations where it was all to obvious. Felicite is taken advantage of by the her nephew’s parents, providing mending and food every time Victor visits and Aubain’s decisions are guided by the swindeler,Bourais. Although they had a couple of common characteristics, their characters displayed distinctive differences.
How are women imagined & 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 shows contradictory despisal of man’s insatiable thirst for lust, while at the same time cherishing the beauty of women, which causes this flair of desire. Women are not as strongly characterized by their personalities or attributes other than beauty, which leaves them in death as seen in The Carcass. They seem to be more symbolic of beauty than anything else as they are described with words such as angel, dream, tenderness. Men on the other hand are described as being weak willed and easy targets of the devil. He identifies himself as a part of this generalization calling each brother in their unfortunate battle.
How are Chidam & Chidara distinct from Rama & Sita?
3. The most obvious distinction between the two couples is their place in the caste system. Rama & Sita were to be at the highest level of the cast system, if Rama was to replace his father as intended. This upbringing that they received taught them fore-thought, patience, strong will and a good set of morals. They would do anything for each other, except for Rama’s need to remain faithful to honor and his promises preventing him from initially wanting to take Sita to the wilderness with him. Chidam and Chidara are at the lowest level of the caste system. They have learned hardship and that domestic violence and shouting are commonly accepted things in their place of society. These people are not well educated and have not learned the necessities of planning, common law, or even patience. They act rashly as characters and have such pride and stubborness in the case of Chidara, which lead to their downfall as a couple. The symbols that each couple represent are not even remotely simlar as one set represents virtues and the other, vices.

Pick a Yeats poem & discuss what it communicates to you & why?
I chose When You Are Old because it is one of very few poems in the selection that I felt I may have been able to relate to and understand, at least remotely… The poem is declared to be to Maud Gonne, in the preface, but even without that declaration I noted the symbolism and message that he may have been sending to her. Yeats immediately paints a picture of life in the future as it may be for her, in the comfort of fire and books, but without mention of a lover by her side. I believe this is to signify that if she continues to deny his “pilgrim soul,” who would embrace her aging beauty, then she may miss fulfillment in a love that is pure. Yeats writes that she would “Murmur, a little sadly, how Love fled And paced upon the mountains overhead and hid his face amid a crowd of stars.” In this, his beloved is sad because her chance has passed and he, with love and thoughts beyond the plains of common, would simply take his place among the countless stars always watching.

Romanticism serves a purpose!

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

I found Tartuffe to be a very interesting read. I did not feel that it took an anti-religious standpoint, but simply used a religious hypocrite to exemplify how fraudulent people can be, in a way that many people can relate to as a community. In my experience, I have met many “religious” people that point fingers at other’s faults and can turn around and perform strikingly similar acts behind closed doors. The spreading attitude of bigotry, in the community presented in the story, was there to show a growing prudence and ignorance to the problem at hand. The way the tale was delivered provided the effects that hypocrisy creates in society and through the intellect and awareness of the King, the scam is seen through and the short-coming of society is identified. The Office states, “A King who’s foiled such liars by the dozen.” This brings to light that this is a common problem in society that should be dealt with.

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

Satan Cat
Hugo’s Satan, like many heroes of old, is a rebel of his society and thus banished by his father to the dark abyss. In his plight, he is challenged in a series of different aspects, which are meant to inspire fear and despair, but he overcomes these through determination and mere spite, while also finding supernatural aid of “beast like wings.” In the story, this scene is depicted in the verses stating, “In an instant he felt some horrendous growth of wings; he felt himself become a monster, and that the angel in him was dying, and the rebel then knew regret.” Satan is faced with less and less light, as the suns disappear. At one time, Satan tries to replenish a dying star and with his breath creates what we now call a hurricane. The power to create is heroic in itself, but the shear determination to continue through the adversity is a hero’s path. Once the void is complete, “Nothing” is able to raise his head from the abyss, triumphant in this and the heart of his star sends forth a jet of sulfur and creates his Angels. In the limitless shadow, Satan sees all that was preadamic, gaining the boon of wisdom and creating a new society, in which he reigns. This last bit fits the “Master of Two Worlds” theme in “The Hero’s Journey Defined” by Joseph Campbell because he is able to peak into the world he came from, but then chooses to reside below with all that he has seen.

3. Discuss & Compare the images in any two poems assigned for this week.

I would like to compare To Himself by Giacomo Leopardi and A Pine is Standing Lonely by Heinrich Heine. One similarity I noticed immediately was the use of nature or living things to display the phases of life the eventual bareness and death. Heine uses a pine tree that can be viewed to be full and resilliant to harsh weather, like a young man in the troubles of early life. The tree sleeps through life and is enshrouded in ice and snow, like a person that can truely only depend on themself and never truely acts to find love and eventually fades to white or grey hair. This pine dreams through life about a palm tree, which is a desirable vision that usually corrolates to tropical and beautiful weather and could be viewed as a beautiful girl. Sadly, the pine dreams or believes that this palm tree will stand lonely, sunburnt… drying and dying its life away. This could be seen as a view that life is meant to be lonely, hopeless and in the end…pointless. Both of the writers display a depressing view toward life and either a lack or loss of faith. Leopardi is more discrete at times than Heine like in his line, “The last Illusion is dead that I believed eternal. Dead. I can so clearly see–not only hope is gone but the desire to be deceived as well.” This last illusion could be faith or life after death, but could also be love. Leopardi says, “The world is mud.” In this statement, it claims that there is not much but bland exchanges to be had and he further determines that there is nothing to have anxiety over becasuse there is nothing to hope for. Leopardi blames nature itself for being the cause of his demise and ultimate dissatisfaction, where Heine uses it more as symbolic representation for people in life and the hopelessness it has for us.

Machiavelli, Sor Juana, Aztec Warriors



1. Machiavelli had intended to give an outline on the behaviors of successful leadership and the qualities that a prince should have, in order to keep his power. How far does his pattern of contrast between political ideals and concrete realities apply today? Considering leadership is now primarily held in the hands of many instead of one person, it is difficult to speculate on the qualities that the few princes and sheiks have, but if one were to compare the qualities suggested by Machiavelli and the success that they bring to those who lead, it can be assumed that business owners and managers are well to do if they can follow the suggestions provided. Machiavelli poses rhetoric questions about the betterment of leaders who posses qualities such as charitable vs. shrewd. These ideals are complete opposites and Machiavelli further compares the effect that each quality will result in, if one were to hard line to either side. In each comparison that he makes, the result is almost always to have a compromise of both traits, but usualy favors the less socially accepted quality in return for the more predictable benefits. Today, it is almost mandatorily enforced through regulation that bosses treat workers with respect and give fair wages and are held to a standard of transparency that historical leaders were not held to. The ideals that were maintained were by choice and thus the benefits of appearance vs. reality could be used as an advantage. The idea of sales is a similar tactic to that suggested by Machicavelli to give the appearance that a leader is charitable only occasionally and only when people see it and so it will be spoken of. Everyone loves to store with sales and so these businesses are held in high regards as leaders of businesses and how other businesses should operate. Our leaders now raise taxes, in order to pay for government programs and since we have paid high taxes previously, no one really notices the changes. This shrewdness allows for a large budget, but the otherside of the coin is the generosity is boarderline frivilous and thus the government loses the respect of the people for the large defecit acquired. From this speculation, one could say that some of Machiavelli’s perceptions still hold true today.

2. I can honestly say that I do not believe I have read any literature where women’s hair had great significance. I do know from documentaries and history lessons that many cultures have taken great care in grooming and maintaining the female hair. Some cultures, such as Indian have kept of with some what of a weekly spa day, where women would gather and use oils and spices in each others hair to give the hair body, revitalization and desireable aromas. Women of China and Native American societies grew out their hair and used bezzels, berrets and other decorative items to show beauty and femininity. I would imagine that there are many sources of literature that display the hair of women as a desirable and sacred trait, but unfortunately I do not have support references to give.


3. After reading the Song for Admonishing, I found the most suitable meaning of flower and song to be honors, like trophies and actions respectively. Flowers were something to be desired, which the princes or warriors that have succeeded have already obtained. These flowers come in many forms and are also used to describe places of great significance, which would lead me to see them as an honorable location where trophies or honors are obtained if one’s heart is filled with the compassion and life to seek them. Songs could easily be reaplaced with actions, but a song or songs are a more beautiful application to poetry and give a better illustrated meaning to battles or courses of action taken to gain these honors. As a culture that glorified the warrior, I believe these words provided are well symbolized in the text.

De France and Decameron

The seven women and three men...

The seven women and three men…

1. Gualtieri does not use admirable fashion to test Griselda, but she is ultimately tested because Gualtieri does not believe that match making ever produces suitable companions and he does not want to spend his life miserably. Gualtieri states, “My friends, you are pressing me to do something that I had always set my mind firmly against, seeing how difficult it is to find a person who twill easily adapt to one’s own way of living, how many thousands there are who will do precisely the opposite, and what a miserable life is in store for the man who stumbles upon a woman ill-suited to his own temperament.” This is the mindset of satisfied man, who does not trust fate to bring him good tidings, in the form of a wife. Despite his opposition to marriage, Gualtieri takes a bride of his choosing and questions her about her devotion to him and knows that being brought up in a life unfilled with entitlement, that she may satisfy his need to remain unburdened by troublesome personality traits. The extent to which Griselda is tested is ridiculous and presented in the story to have a greater impact, but whether this is to show that temperament and patience are virtues or that the expectations of men are absurd, I am not sure…

2. The Decameron and The Thousand and One Nights (TON) are similar in the fact that both sets of stories are told with the purpose to pass time and save lives. They are both leisurely told through and provide lessons to be learned. The Decameron displays stories told to entertain a female audience primarily and to pass the time as the Black Plague rampages through Europe; while TON is written to provide insight for both sexes about relationships, trust and respect; although the stories within the stories are told to detour Sharaya’s wrath and save the lives of future brides to be. I believe the stories do fulfill the intended purpose. TON does teach one to see both sides of the coin in reference to fidelity, respect, and honor and eventually King Sharaya comes around forgiving women and learning to be a better ruler. In the Decameron, the reader is entertained, which is the primary purpose of the scripture and allows one to pass time. The relationship between the tale and the teller is extremely important in both cases. In TON, the stories will save Sharizads life, if she continues to entertain Sharaya and teach him forgiveness and understanding. In the Decameron, it was important for people to keep their sanity and being happy will generally keep one’s health in good order. With the time away from the plague and a joyous environment, the tellers are saving themselves through the stories they tell.

"Sing sweet nightengale..."

“Sing sweet nightingale…”

3. I believe the nightingale most importantly symbolized the delight in affection and love. In the story of “Laustic,” the lady in love with her neighboring knight states, “anyone who does not hear the song of the nightingale knows none of the joys of this world. This is why I come and stand here. So sweet is the song I hear by night that it brings me great pleasure. I take such delight in it and desire it so much that I can get no sleep at all.” This ultimate joy is brought to her by the knight, but is awarded to the song of the nightingale because she must cover this secret love they have. The joy makes her restless and wreckless in the decision to see the knight so openly and close to her husband. The song is beautiful like the love her and the knight share, which is destined to live by night. The knight later makes the golden coffin for the nightingale to show that he honors and cherishes this love, this nightingale, with all that he has and will carry it with him, until the day he dies.

Experience Dante

Crossing to Dis...

Crossing to Dis…

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

The most literal and obvious lessons, which Dante learned on his journey through hell, are the consequence of sin and the suffering that has befallen so many “good & great” people of history. Dante’s initial fear to climb the mountain, symbolizing the path to heaven or salvation, is frightening at best and the trinity of powerful guardians evokes a fear in Dante that he can not surpass initially. With hope, symbolized by Beatrice, Dante embarks upon his journey with Virgil as his teacher and experiences an eye for an eye style of punishment, where each soul is tormented with a relatively similar pain to that sin, which they were consumed by in life. These consequences are illustrated in each stage bringing an understanding of truth and the possible fate that should await any soul, should they not mend their ways and repent in life. He is initially taken aback at the many great philosophers and teachers of Greek enlightenment, when Dante states, “O glory of the sciences and arts, who are these souls enjoying special honor, dwelling apart from all the others here?” He learns that these great men had not necessarily sinned, but simply were not alive before the time of Christ and their great works brought them favor in the depths of purgatory. Continuing along the path, Dante meets many souls, who in all their pain and sorrow, seam to either wish to be alone, or curse others for their current position. Dante does not further his initial pity for the lost souls, but begins to scorn and hate them as he experiences more cursed souls. Dante shows this most when he refuses to remove the ice covering the eyes of a tortured prior man of faith, after this man fulfilled Dante’s desire to know who he was and what brought him to that fate. Through his experience, Dante has learned to despise the wicked, but also that he himself will not pursue any of these vices, which have brought him to previous crossroads. The path to salvation has been revealed and the awareness that is expected of people in adulthood has now been bestowed upon him in the most literal sense that he is not fully responsible for his actions.

A few issues, which are perceived as sinful in Dante’s time are now commonly practiced, such as usury, or money made on interest. If this were true, then all the investors in banks  and many stocks would be on a fast track to Hell. This is just an example of how I have learned to pity many of those that face a possible eternity in suffering, in contrast with Dante’s scorn for those same people. Dante learns to despise all sin for what it is and those that commit it. I have seen more examples of how people who act on instincts or emotions prospectively damn themselves and this is not fair or just and makes it fairly impossible that judgement could be such a cookie-cutter fashion.

1001 Nights & The Tour of Hell


Sharayar & The Vizier's Daughter

Sharayar & The Vizier’s Daughter


1. The cause of Shahrayar’s madness is very obvious. Whether male or female, the feeling of betrayal through infidelity can cause an unstable emotional rise. The shear comfort and well rehearsed harlotry practiced by  the queen and concubines gives the impression that this was neither the first nor last time it would take place. It is easy to relate to the frustration and confusion that takes over Shahrayar. It is a very biased question to even suggest that it is only the male ego that would take on these emotions and that this would make it frail. It is true that some couples are more comfortable or relaxed in their requirements of monogomism, but if these are the ground rules, then they are normally agreed upon and situations like Shahrayar’s would not take place. Sharayar did take his despise of females a bit too far. It is insane to imagine one to kill their new spouse on a nightly basis, regardless of their innocence because of one foul lover.

The Ox & The Donkey
2. In the stories of “The Ox and the Donkey” and “The Merchant and his Wife,” the animals are victimized or are personified with traits usually associated with natural instincts or barbaric tact and have separate personalities, but the animals were still just that, animals since creation. In the stories presented in “The Merchant and the Demon,” all of the animals were once human, but are transformed to their particular animal as a punishment for evil deeds. It should be noted that animals in the first two stories can communicate and feel emotions, just as humans do, but the animals in the other titles are not shown with the ability to speak, but were previously people. In a few of these stories  women pose different attributes that bring them discredit, such as stubbornness, from “The Merchant & His Wife”; deceitfulness and jealousy, from “The First Old Man’s Tale”; and infidelity, from “The Third Old Man’s Tale”. Women are portrayed as being inherently evil, but as a whole these stories are told by a woman, in order to enlighten King Sharayar and spare the lives of many women through this act. This act itself was a selfless sacrifice by even risking the chance of death and proving heroic in her efforts. The brothers, from “The Second Old Man’s Tale,” are turned into dogs for their misbehavior and treachery upon the brother that treated them best. This very spell was performed by a woman, who was a demon. The symbolism here is that they were turned into lowly dogs, as they had been previously living their lives. All of these stories share the idea that people should be treated like the animals that they act like or rather just become them and lose their power to harm others.

Dante reaches the shore near Dis...

Dante reaches the shore near Dis…

3. Considering I do not believe that Hell is supposed to be a work place of fair treatment, I would say that the punishments people face are fair. If I were to consider the punishments for the crimes on an Earthly level, I would definitely say no… yet it could be humorous, as the term comedy has now become today. The idea that people would “follow a banner at a furious pace forever, and be tormented by flies and hornets” for simply not choosing a faith or perspective in life, seems harsh. I would have hoped that those who had not known, or decided, could simply not exist, as I believe they believe they will. I did find that there was a fitting place for those great philosophers, who may not have believed in an afterlife, but did believe in the virtues of man. Those great inspiring personalities had each other, to converse, to share gratitude, wisdom and future perspective. These very people earned the respect of those on Earth for being open minded, critical thinkers and having mankind’s betterment in their aspirations. I did find it humorous that the miserly were to roll huge weights at each other in a back and forth motion as though representing the way they intended to roll over all those in life to get the money they desired. Considering the people in Hell are to relive the sins they committed in life, this particular punishment seemed most fair. When Dante is visiting the Seventh Circle and those who waged violence in life, I felt particularly satisfied that it was broken up into three sections for those violent to one’s self, to spirituality and to others. I am not sure that all violence qualifies those in this particular circle for the punishment they receive considering murder is worse than fighting, but I am sure that at one point the scales are weighed.

Rama & Arjuna


1. One distinct difference in other hero’s stories is the presence of a coming of age or great transformation through learning and life experience. Rama is already 25, when his story begins and may be viewed as less dynamic, but in no way shows a less fascinating hero. Rama has already been tempered through his development and makes decisions based upon the Hindu beliefs of self discipline and compassion, which helps them to achieve a higher moral plane and honor through commitment. At one point in “The Ramayana,” Rama loses his self control and lets his emotions run wild. Rama is at the point of a breakdown, from the loss of his wife, Sita, at the hands of Ravana and has seemed to have lost hope. This anguish seems to be his one weakness, similar to that of his mother, Kausalya, who believes she will surely perish at the loss of her son. She had stated that she would follow him and abandon her husband, but in his belief that this was unrighteous, Rama instructs her to stay and she tempers herself to do so. Rama must take his own advice and work to achieve his enlightened state, once again, gaining his self control. Once directed by the nature that surround him (animals as a collective), he is given hope, but is determined to wreak havoc and spread hate upon the demon, which has taken Sita. Rama’s alter ego, Laksmana, who is normally the aggressive and pragmatic character, actually has to advise and calm Rama and save him again from his wild emotions. These trials act as lectures to the temperament of all men and how one should conduct themselves. The ability to set aside ones emotions, such as Rama and Kausalya have done in this text, is examplirary to the compassion for other and truth of self, gained through temperment and understanding.


2.  Arjuna is a noble man, who is chosen to represent a dilemma that mankind faces in every day battles as well as the tough decisions one must make in their lifetime. In the Bhagavad-Gita, Arjuna sees no apparent point in the battling between kinsmen and asks of the point to Krishna. It enfolds as a duty, which must be fulfilled as it is Arjuna’s role in this life as a warrior to do so or face shame. The action faced in war, such as killing, is not reflected as a true sin, as it is not something that is sought or desired, but is simply a necessity to serve purpose. Achilles also serves his purpose as a warrior and lives without regret for the killing other men. He is simply fulfilling his duty and lives by a code of honor that does not deem killing in the name of one’s duty as action requiring repentance. The portion of the code outlined by Krishna, basically summarizes that actions are necessary, but the intent is what determines the effect on a persons’s soul and brings the weight of sin. Krishna states, “Look to your own duty,k do not tremble before it; nothing is better for a warrior than a battle of sacred duty. The doors of heaven open for warriors who rejoice to have a battle like this thrust on them by chance. If you fail to wage this war of sacred duty, you will abandon your own duty and fame only to gain evil. People will tell of your undying shame, and for a man of honor shame is  worse than death.” This code is very similar to that faced by Achilles, in his time and place as a warrior who serves man gods. To not serve these gods would bring great pain in the form of retribution, on behalf of angry gods. Honor is something gained in action and to be idle, as Achilles plays for a span, brings discredit to his purpose.

A few passages from the Koran, in Sura 5, The Table, provide some similar instruction on what is right or wrong and how the soul will be affected. The very beginning of the Sura states, “Believers, be true to your obligations.” In this one could determine that an obligation is also translated as a duty and with that, actions. The Sura also states “He that is constrained by hunger to eat of what is forbidden, not intending to commit sin, will find God forgiving and merciful.” Once again agreeing with Krishna’s instruction that it is not the action, but the intent or desire, which bears the importance.