Author Archives: Michaela

Discussion Questions 15 — Option Week


  1. What do you believe the demon symbolizes in The Story of the Fisherman and the Demon?

The Demon symbolizes the King who is hateful to all women. He was cheated on by his wife he feels that the best way to gain revenge for his hurt is to sleep with a different women every night and the next morning have her put to death before she has the chance to hurt him. When the Fisherman freed the Demon from the jar he immediately intended on putting the Fisherman to death and not looking at the bigger picture of how grateful he should be to the Fisherman.   The fisherman represents the innocent girls who are being killed by the King. The Fisherman was fishing at his usual fishing hole with a family at home. When he accidentally caught the jar that held the demon inside. Lucky for the Fisherman he is an excellent story teller like Shahrazad. And was able to distract the demon and manage to get him back in the jar. He shared the following stories with Demon while he was back in the jar expressing why he would not release him.

The Tale of King Yunan and the Sage Duban

The King Yunan was afflicted with Leprosy, which no one had a cure for. A sage called Duban was able to heal the King. The King was very grateful to the sage which caused the Kings Vizer to grow jealous over the sage. The King Yunan is a representative of the King Sharayar who has an illness of his wife cheating on him. The Sage is Shazarad who has come to heal the King.

The Tale of the Husband and the Parrot-

A jealous husband had a very beautiful wife. One day the husband went to a bird market, and brought home a parrot. When the husband left on a journey the parrot told on his wife and her husband. This is similar to the King whose wife cheated on him as well.

After the fisher man shared these stories with the Demon. He makes a deal with the Fisher man that if he is set free he will make him the richest man in the world and he won’t kill him. The fisher man agrees. The Demon takes the Fisherman to a lake where there is a variety of different colored fish that the fisherman is to catch and take to the King. He does so and the King gives him a great deal of money in exchange. The Kings cook, cooks up the fish and when doing so a maiden appeared and then the fish turned into ashes. They showed the King of his mystery and the King decided to go find out what made this happen. He headed to the lake. The King arrived in a castle where he found a man made of half human flesh and half stone. He was weeping in the corner of the castle. The King asked him how he got that way. And the former King of the castle shared his story with him. The Kings wife had betrayed him (As did King Shahrayar’s wife). He found his wife had snuck around on him at night. He thought he had killed his wife’s lover but he hadn’t, and his wife turned him to stone and whips him every day. The King decided that he would help this former King of Stone. So he lay where his wife’s lover lays and tricks her into doing as he says acting as her lover. The King who embarked on this journey to find the mystery fish found what he was looking for and also helped out the half man half stone, King. The same as Sharazad is trying to help King Sharayar to recover from his illness and trying to save other girls lives at the same time. In every story there is an allegory found all tying back to Sharazad and the King Sharayar.

Discussion Questions 14 — Devi; Marquez; Saadawi; Silko

Discussion Questions 14 — Devi; Marquez; Saadawi; Silko

  1. In Silko’s “Yellow Woman,’ what do the stolen beef and the Jell-o have in common? How do these elements break the prevailing mood?

The stolen beef and the Jello signify a turning point in the story. When Silva is taking care of the stolen beef a suspenseful gloomy mood its felt throughout the story. Yellow Women is uneasy about how she feels towards Silva, but she finds her self drawn to him. The scene with the Rancher and Silva, where we are left with little details of what happens, we are not to sure what to think of Silva. The Jello signifies the turning point in which the Yellow Woman makes it home to her family where her mother was teaching her grandmother how to make jello. This part of the story is when the Yellow Women feels relief she had made it home to her family. The Yellow Women wished she could have shared her story with her grandfather who loved the Yellow Women stories the best


  1. After reading Saadawi’s “In Camera,’ how do you feel about Leila Al-Fargani’s father? Upon what evidence do you base your judgement?

As her father sat in the court room, he sat with honor and joy to be able to say Leila Al-Fargani was his daughter and she bared his name. He was very proud of his daughter and her political stand against the ruler. He expresses how he suffered the same pain and torture with his daughter each day. He feels that he should share the joy of his daughter’s heroic choices and reward. Once the judge leaves the court room, her father over heard the rumors that were spread of the tortures his daughter endured by being raped by ten men. He immediately felt ashamed and new his daughter should have stayed out of politics. He felt it was best for them both to be dead.

In their culture Leila-Fargani’s fathers feelings can be justified by the way he felt after what he heard in the court room. If her heroism was good enough to be shared with her father, her shame was to be shared with him as well.

  1. 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?

The titles importance signifies that love may come and go but death remains permanent. The title is the foundation to the stories central thematic concerns. Senator Sanchez had just 6 months and eleven days before he was to die.  The only thing he could think about day by day was his death to come, but his love for Laura Farina eased that thought of death constantly. And he did not want to die without her even though a scandal was spread throughout the public about him and Laura Farina. He wished to not die alone.

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Discussion Questions 13 — 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?

Gregors doesn’t seem as if he was really part of the family, he was just the sole provider. He went out to make money to care for them, but never was much times actually spent with them. His relationship with his dad seems quite poor. His dad does not go to seem him while Gregor was in the form of a coach roach. Gregors relationship with his mother and sister are a bit stronger. But the bond with his sister is by far the better of the 3. His sister cares for him and provides him with food during his days of a beetle but still has no interest of trying to communicate with him. As time goes on all of his family stops caring for him, and they begin to think of him as a huge inconvenience.

  1. 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?

In the beginning Gregor was the sole provider for his family. They relied on him to make enough money to supply them all with food and a place to live. Once Gregor turns into a coach roach, the family is alarmed/disturbed and unsure of what to do. It doesn’t take long for his family to begin to forget about what Gregor did for them in the beginning, how good of a son/brother he was to them all.

He remains a coach roach, but all hopes the family had of him turning back to human soon faded away. His sister feeds him, but has little desires to try and communicate with a coach roach of a brother. So she simply slides the food in daily and shuts the door quickly. As time passes the family struggles with making money and taking care of Gregor in the unusual state he is in.

Towards the end Gregor runs into the middle of the living room alarming all of the family. The family than agrees that Gregor must go for the well-being of the family. That night Gregor dies, and the family bonds together in relief to know they no longer have to figure out what to do with a coach roach that was once there son/brother.

  1. 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?

I found Akhmatova’s poem very effective in describing what she and many other women went through. Her poem is a standing point for mothers, lovers, and wives.  She put up a tough battle against the Stalin army and though she lost everything her poem pushed through and was eventually published and now she is known as one of the Great Russian poets of the twentieth century. Akhmatova’s poem will continue to live on in history.   For war continues on to this day. Akhmatova’s poem is history and expresses the horror and tough times that the victims of war were forced to experience.

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

The poem is described as the torso is oh so powerful and brilliant, and though there is no head the eyes are expressed to be full of life like a ripening fruit. A lesson has been learned and there is no way to escape from that lesson, therefore you need to Change your life. Running from the lesson will do you no good.

Discussion Questions 12 — 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?

Felicite was simply a good person. Though she seeked to know God and learn more about him, I wouldn’t consider her a saint as much as I would say she fits a simple minded servant more so. Felicite experienced her share of hardships at a young age. Ranging from losing her parents at a young age, to being beaten by employers for stealing when did not such thing, to falling in love with Theodore and he leaves her for an older wealthier women. She remained a great housekeeper and a kindhearted servant.

Mme. Aubain is a middle class widow who seemed to have experienced her share of unfortunate events as well. But she seems very calm and collected and made choices based on what she felt was the right thing to do ranging from sending both children away to school and downsizing houses and managing her way through debt. Her imagination and dreaming does is not like wise as Felicite who dreams as a child would.

  1. 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?

They are talked as if it is women’s fault for sin and the causing of such unrighteousness in the world. The stories told by Baudelaire are negative and disturbing. He begins with describing how beautiful women are then leads off in a totally different direction as shown in the poem A Carcass. I’m not sure how to understand Baudelaire’s take on women but he certainly has some sort of disliking towards women that he does  not  share that with men.

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

Chidam and Chandara are selfish and are out to save their own butts. As for Rama and Sita looked for ways to serve and follow under Dharma. Chidam came up with a lie to try and save his brother from the mess he got himself in which ends up dragging his own wife into the situation. But Chidam’s wife was strong and willing to teach her husband a lesson. Chidam and Chandara did not pay attention to what was the morally right thing to do but what they wanted most was to save their own butts.

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

I had a better understanding of the poem When You Are Old than I did with the other poems. This poem described to me an older lady sitting by the fire reading a book, and as she glimpses up from her book she thinks to herself how fast life went by and she remembers the moments of great grace that she shared with her loved one and how fast those moments of love flew by. I figure one day I will be old too looking up from my book and thinking to myself “well shoot, where did life go?’ and I will most likely ponder those moments of good grace to myself again as well.

Discussion Questions 11 — Tartuffe; Romanticism: Heine, Leopardi, Hugo


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

Tartuffe, the impostor, is not anti-religious. Tartuffe is an extreme hypocrite and shows corruption of religion at its finest. He used religion and faith in god to get what he wanted and to manipulate Orgon. Orgon was a believer of blind faith, just because Tartuffe ACTED like a saint he immediately thought he was sent from heaven. While Tartuffe was running around Orgon back trying to seduce his wife. Orgon was going to have him be married to his daughter. Before Orgon caught the scoundrel in the act by hiding out on a conversation between Tartuffe and his wife, he actually signed away his estate to Tartuffe. Luckily, for Orgon and his family the King had their back and knew what Tartuffe was up too. I found this a very interesting read as well. It is sad how corrupt religion can be and how easily people are to believe things. The sad conclusion of it all is this still continues to happen in religions today.

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

I can’t say I would consider Hugo’s Satan a hero. Though he does fall on a few categories of the Hero’s journey such as, being forced out on a quest, refusing the call, to transforming and accepting his situation that he had brought upon himself by being disobedient. Hugo’s account differs from Dante by which how the stories are told. Hugo describes how Satan well became Satan. And Dante pretty much takes us threw a journey of the depths of hell. In Hugo’s story Satan is explained to be a more human like figure. While in Dante’s he a farfetched beastly figure.

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

A Pine is standing lonely vs The Infinite

In both poems we are described places where there is no sounds just the noise of nature, a perfect place to dream and wonder. But to also seek what is far beyond the sunburnt rocky strand and the sea. Both poems we are described a certain amount of loneliness where one is seeking more out of life it seems.


Discussion Questions 10 — 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?

Machiavelli defines the word virtue to not be classified as goodness, temperance and clemency but as a set of forces or skills that may help a leader to efficiently manage and hold his powers as prince. The following paragraph demonstrates a clear view in my eyes of politicians and politics in our world today and through the past years. It seems that as if more rulers seek more fame and fortune than they want to actually do good, they just want their name to be preserved. Around election time (just recently in Alaska!) the politicians play so dirty. I was getting really tired of all the bashing taking place on the television and radio. When they play so dirty it makes you wonder why they really want to lead. To have their name preserved or to actually do some good for the people? Why do the people have to fear the government and there leaders would a leader that was classified as good, temperance and clemency really not do the job? That’s the million dollar question, I suppose.

  1. 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?

 The Disney movie Tangled comes to my mind. Rapunzel’s hair was used to heal wounds and keep her mother young. Her hair was long and beautiful. At the end of the movie when Flynn cut her hair it went short, turned brown and even lost its power!  Hair is a natural part of our body that holds a certain amount of symbolism in nearly all cultures. For instance, Monks shave their head for worship. In relation religious men such as the Nazarites in the Hebrew bible will keep their hair long. Where some cultures may frown upon men with long hair. Long hair can also be a symbol of artistic characteristics such as hippies. Hair is very diverse across the world and shares a great amount of symbolism.

  1. 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.’

The flower is a symbol of the ever present, and ever near. It is not useless they hold a life of color in that present moment. Both the songs and flowers are beautiful and give the jaguars princes something to look forward too through their war experience. The song is a calling to the warriors to war, and the flowers could be there sign of honor or reward earned.

Discussion Questions 9 — De France; Decameron


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

Griselda is tested by her husband Gualtieri for patience. Before he took her as he wife he asked, Griselda and father the a few questions all of which she answered yes too. But Gualtieri felt the need to put Griselda to the test. When Gualtieri took away her daughter from her all she asked was that she not be fed to the beasts. Griselda bore a son that Gualtieri  also chose to take away from her. But both times Griselda held her composure and remained patient. To top it all off Gualtieri wanted a divorce. Griselda was forced to endure situations that many women would not be able to handle (I know I couldn’t have). But she remained patient and at the end was rewarded for her patience.

  1. 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 carry out the purpose for which they are intended? How important is the relationship between the tale and the teller?

Between the tales of the Decameron and The Thousand and One Nights, the stories told come across to be pretty extreme. The stories seem to both convey that ultimately the men rule over the women, and women are to do as there told. For instance, The Thousand and One Nights, since the Kings women cheated on him with a chef, he had to gain back control and go about killing women after he slept with them. There was nothing the women could do (except out smart him and tell him intriguing stories). In comparison to the King Gulatieri, he took his daughter and son away from Griselda and then faked going to the Pope for a divorce, all to test Griselda. These events seem pretty extreme, and ultimately the King rules and there’s nothing anybody else can do about it. The reason for telling the stories could be to show perspective of being someone watching all the events happen when. The stories do carry out getting another perspective across of that time in age to just reading it out of a history textbook. The relationship is important for the teller and the tale. For the teller uses to the tale to get the perspective out to the readers and they do so by telling a story.

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

The nightingale is a symbol of love. For the Kings Wife longs for a love that can be free and of her choosing. An arranged marriage is not what she longed for. Especially since the King is a jerk and cares little for his wife’s happiness. He kills the nightingale so his wife will quit getting out of bed at night. He chooses to be resentful and carry it around with him.

Discussion 8: Inferno

  • 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’s journey boils down to is how and what we do here on earth will affect us in our afterlife. The choices we make here don’t go away when we pass they follow us and ultimately decide for us where we will be later on. I think Dante’s journey through hell was not only a wakeup call to him but to his readers as well. Even if you do or don’t believe in a hell, the just of it all is don’t sin, don’t be a bad person, just be good, be a righteous person. Bottom line is whether or not this is what hell is like I sure don’t want to find out. In relation to Dante’s story I believe that we are responsible for our own fate as well, the way we treat others here on earth, our actions and the sins we commit will reflect on us in the afterlife.

One Thousand and One Nights; The Inferno

One Thousand and One Nights  

I’m not sure that we will fully understand Shahrayar’s madness. He just flat out lost his mind. After I read the story I found myself telling my family about it too. Mainly because I was like what the heck? What is the point of this guy slaughtering all these women, does it really make him feel better?

Shahrayar was wounded from the pain caused by his wife sleeping with the chef but he also was the King which destroyed any bit of pride he had left. That all the townspeople would see what a fool he was for his wife betrayed him. Therefore he felt the need to justify the situation and take control and sleep with a women and have her put to death the next morning. He did this not only to prevent himself from being cheated on again but to take control back over his town and gain back his pride.


  1. In the Tale of the Ox and the Donkey, the Donkey thought he was giving the Ox good advice of what to do in the morning to come to get out of the work for the day but it backfired on the donkey and the donkey was sent out to the field to be put to work in place of the Ox. This compares to the Vizier and his daughter. Shahrazad thinks she can stop the deaths of any more women so she insists to be sent to stay with the King. She might find her plan failing and dead the next morning.

The Tale of the Merchant and His Wife shows us as readers how much power the men own over women in this culture. The Visier used this story to threaten Shahrazad of what he will have to do to her in order to prevent her from going to the King.

The story of the Merchant and the Demon, the Demon seeks revenge for the death of his son who he claims the merchant killed his son. He says “I must kill you as you killed him- blood for blood.’ (Pg. 1063) This is what the King is proving, he is taking innocent blood from women who never cheated but only because his wife cheated on him. Shahrayar’s is able to put a stop to the killings of women by presenting the King with this story.

   The Inferno  

I think the penalties suffered are appropriate to the sins committed. I have never heard of Hell as somewhere somebody wants to go, it has only been described as fire and brimstone and it is a place where sinners are sent, they are not sent with the righteous to heaven. I do not believe that this is exactly what hell is like but the penalties do seem just, as for the sin you committed on earth it is dealt to you for the rest of your eternal life in hell. Life is not be taken for granted. Dante uses different levels of hell to show the different levels of sin. Which seems just, he includes biblical descriptions painting a picture of what hell could possibly be like.

The Ramayana & The Bhagavad-Gita

The Ramayana

In all of the epics we have read so far it seems that for each of the hero’s stories they were all referred to as the perfect hero within their own ways. Therefore I don’t find Rama any less interesting than any of the other hero’s, because he still has his own challenges and journeys to overtake just like the others.  In order for Rama to be considered ‘The Perfect Man’ he must meet honoring the act of Dharma. Rama’s mother tried to persuade Rama into staying by telling him that if he leaves he will be breaking the act of Dharma. She informed him that to be devoted to Dharma he must stay. Kausalya was struggling to discipline her feelings and would say what she could to get her son to stay. But Rama was able to talk to her influence her into the right and honorable way to follow and act in Dharma. Rama’s heroic acts show in his attitude and actions. He accepts his exile with a calm spirit; he treats his enemies with kindness and grace and faces challenges with courage. In the act of these things he is respected strongly for valuing and acting in a honorable way of Dharma.

 The Bhagavad-Gita

Arjuna was afraid to fight because he saw no righteousness from it. Krishna informs Arjuna that it is sinful not to act. She encourages him to act as a person who acts in a disciplined way such as a yogi, so that others will follow in his lead. Krishna ensures that if Arjuna acts his soul will be liberated from birth and death. Arjuna’s experience is much different from Acchiles in the Iliad. Arjuna’s wanted to withdraw from the war because he is trying to prevent Karma from entering his life, when Krishna informs him otherwise. Acchile’s withdraws from the war due to his own anger and selfishness. They both hold a certain amount of selfishness but Acchiles mostly out of anger; While Arjuna is trying to honor the act of Dharma. The story of Arjuna is a bit similar to The Offering of Isaac. Isaac was to offer his son for a sacrifice to God he was willing to do so out of righteousness. This too is found in Arjunas tale he wished to not fight in the war for it did not seem right while Krishna came to him and showed him the way. As did God to Isaac, God did not let Isaac kill his Son he was just seeing if Isaac would obey him and had faith in him.