Author Archives: sbutler12

Week 15; Mothers

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 the mother was a pretty average one, just caring and protective of her own child. However, towards the end of the movie, I realized that she may have been a little crazy. And by a little, I mean a lot.  I think she was so stuck in her own ways that she is almost blinded by her own way of thinking.  The whole time she is searching for the real killer, she is blinded by her own judgments that the old man is the killer and this makes it impossible for her to find the real one since she basically has her mind made up.  I think the point of her craziness peaks when she kills the old man, it kind of caught me off guard and I think this action was definitely unjustified.

I think the acupuncture needles represent her coming around to realizing the truth about things.  When she first heard the truth she did not want to accept it at all.  I thought this was especially ironic since she tried killing her son herself a few years back.  She used the needles at the end in the bus and I think all of this represented the fact that she was finally coming to terms with herself which was fitting since it was the end of the movie.

Devi; Marquez; Saadawi; Silko

In Silko’s “Yellow Woman’ what do the stolen beef & the jell-o have in common? How do these elements break the prevailing mood?

After reading this story and growing up in North Dakota, one thing I hear a lot about is how the Native Americans lived “naturally”,  Both the stolen beef and jell-o are the exact opposite of this way of life. Natives, in this story and in life, normally would have eaten some sort of wild game for meat and natural vegetables that they probably grew themselves.  The prevailing mood in all this is broken because neither the beef or the jell-o is a food that is considered natural.  The beef which is not only stolen, is a domesticated animal and the jell-o is something that is completely processed and would not have been eaten by the Native Americans back then.

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 really feel like Leila’s father is kind of a jerk. The guy is really full of himself and is not afraid of looking like an idiot.  I feel like during his daughters trial, he was saying a lot of stuff to make  himself seem good and get respect even though what was going on had nothing to do with him at all.  It kind of seemed like he was so stuck in his ways that he made his daughter his daughter stray away from the norm and this seemed really arrogant.

3. 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?

I think that the story “Death Constant Beyond Love” tells us that love is the only thing that can last longer then death.  I think it tells us that no matter how bad things seem in life, love will outlast them in the long run.

Week 13 Discussion

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?

It’s sort of a weird relationship with Gregor and his family.  He gets treated almost badly at home by his parents but is the only one making any money for the family. Gregor probably has the best relationship with his sister.  His father lost all of the family money, or so he said, when the family business burned down and afterwards he never really tried to get back on his feet but rather just let Gregor take care of the daily expenses.  This leads to Gregor becoming understandably bitter towards his father.  After his transformation, Gregor’s sister is really the only one who tries to take care of him. She brings him food and reports his condition back to his parents.  Gregor’s dad instantly assumes that he is now bad and does not want anything to do with him anymore.  He does not even try to communicate with him and does not even want to see him.  This is a pretty easy showing of how Gregor and his fathers relationship is not good.

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?

After, Gregor turned into a cockroach and wasn’t able to bring in monetary means, his family started to realize that they were not incapable of doing tasks on their own.  The family starting bringing in some money after the dad got a job at the bank, the mom started cooking again and the daughter helped out around the house.  At nights, the family was more appreciative of things after working all day so they had meals together and even let Gregor watch and listen in to the family dinners.  However, there’s incident. where Gregor comes out of his room and scares his mom and his dad becomes livid and throws and apple at him injuring him to the point where he cannot walk.  Gregor starts to become a distant appearance as he is left in his room. This is where you see the rest of the family come together but Gregor is left out.

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?

Her poems that voiced political protests may have not had much impact during the era of Stalin, but they do have quite a voice in today’s world.  The poems talk to us about all of the hardships of war and the depressing times of living under a tyranny. They show that the people should not put up with that. I think that the poems should have been published while Stalin was still in power but I think the words still have meaning today.

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

I think we should interpret the famous command at the end of Archaic Torso of Apollo as life is however we view it. By that I mean if we choose to have a bad attitude things will seem bad however a good attitude about things will help out any situation and make it seem better.

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?

I’m not entirely sure if saint is the correct adjective to use in this instance but I do believe that Felicite was just an overall good quality person.  She had a kind and caring heart that led her to do the right thing, care for other people and strive to know god. I think that she fits the simple-minded servant better than being called a saint.  She had a lot of rough times throughout the story from losing her parents, to being beaten for something she did not even do.  Throughout all of this she was able to keep a good heart and mind.  I think a major difference between Aubain and Felicite is that Felicite just wanted to show her affection up front all the time. By that I mean that she just wanted to to spend all of her time with Mme.Aubain’s kids and nurturing them.  Aubain wanted what was best for her kids all of the time but this sometimes led to her doing things that did not seem very nice at the moment like sending them off to school for their betterment.  Felicite seems like a more “saintly” person up front as she spends a lot of time in devotion and prayer. She is a lot softer spoken and kinder up front while Aubain is a bit less careful with her words. However, Aubain does not beat around the bush, so to speak, and also has her priorities set in a lot deeper where are Felicite has an imagination that rivals a child.

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, I thought, is very confusing in his work.  On one hand, he says all of these extremely poetic and deep meaning things about girls and their beauty, femininity and tenderness and on the other hand he talks about them in a way that just makes the male population sounds like a bunch of terrible people describing them in a way that is very lustful and provocative.  When he talks about men its mostly just to say that males are weak minded and lots of other harsh stereotypes.

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

The two groups are pretty much the exact opposite. Rama and Sita are very kind and unselfish while Chidam and Chandara are really just looking for how they can help themselves.  Rama and Sita were always looking for how they could help someone else while Chidam and Chandara had some different kinds of morals and looked out for themselves.

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

I chose When You Are Old because it was one that kind of stuck out to me.  I think it was kind of a bummer for sure when the actress kept shooting down the guy who actually liked her for her and not just cause she was famous.  People suck sometimes so I was kind of rooting for him to just kick her to the curb and move on but he really did love her so he continued to do so. I thought this was pretty cool.

Week 11 Tartuffe and Romanticism

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

I do not think Tartuffe is anti-religious however, I do believe his genuine comedy is in fact sarcasm with a negative connotation towards the church and some of its leaders.  I think much like today’s writings where the writers mock political figures in their writings, Moliere is mocking the Church and its political leaders through his writing.  This was also during a time when the church was taking on a lot of heat from people so I think Moliere through this into his writing so he could connect to people and make them laugh. I do not believe he is anti-religious

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

Hugo’s Satan is displayed as a heroic figure more so because his story is told from the transformation of an angel into the devil we recognize today. Readers are exposed to a different side of Satan that we may be able to recognize more as he is given more human like characteristics and we are told of his journey to being sentenced to hell.  In Dante’s account, we are told of his stories after he has been sentenced to hell and all of the evil he creates down there.  Readers are also exposed to a darker description of Satan and more evil characteristics given to his physical description.

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

I am comparing Leopardi’s “The Infinite” and Heinrich Heine’s “A Pine is Standing Lonely”.  Both of these poems kind of talk about peace within people but they have different views.  In The Infinite, being alone with ones inner thoughts is described as the most peaceful place a human can be. In A Pine Standing Lonely, being alone or separated is described as something that is not good and that it is a way to make people lonely and unhappy.


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 believe that Machiavelli’s pattern of political ideas compares very well with the concrete realities of today’s world.  Machiavelli knew what people wanted in a priest even if it was extremely unattainable.  This is very recognizable in today’s world with politics and their ads that they run during election times.  Machiavelli wanted to say whatever good things the people wanted to hear so that they would believe in the prince and believe that their leader was truly good.  This is seen very much so in the political today where leaders will say all the good things about themselves that they can fit into one commercial while completely bashing their opponents.  I think Machiavelli showed that all kinds of campaigning are good as long as people will still side with you.

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?

The first story that comes to mind when taking about power from ones hair comes from bible school way back in the day with the story of Samson.  He was portrayed to be very strong because of his long hair and this gave him power.  When that deceiving woman cut it off, he felt weak and defeated. Another example of this is the story of Rupunzel where hair was portrayed as a item of power,  When her hair was cut off it lost its power to be forever youthful.

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.’

For the Aztecs, the ultimate honor was when they brought home a POW and were able to sacrifice the captive to their gods.  In this case, I think the song represents the connection for the offering to the gods.  I believe that the flower represents the captives.  The more flowers, the more captives the warriors brought back for sacrifice.

De France; Decameron

1.Gualtieri was not one who necessarily believed in marriages a whole lot. He wanted a girl that would basically change her whole ways for him and did not believe that this kind of girl existed (which I’m pretty sure they don’t).  Anyway, he ends up marrying a girl named Griselda even though she seemed to me like she would be the least likely of all the candidates for Gualtieri.  The test in the story was when Gualtieri was trying to make his point that women are not right for getting married to and treated Griselda like crap for a long time to try and get her to break.  Griselda never did break but rather acted very obediently and well mannered to her husband.  Basically all of this testing was for Gualtieri to test her limits of being a wife and to try and prove his point that women are not worth marrying.

2.  I think that both of the stories, One Thousand and One Nights and Decameron, were meant to allow readers to pass some time and still allow somehow throw in a hidden lesson into the reading.  In One Thousand and One Nights Sharazad is able to keep the king from killing the young women and is able to gain his trust.  In Decameron, it is kind of a different story because it does not try to really accomplish anything it just lets the readers mind wander.  I think the bridge between the tale and the teller is very important because I think in stories such as these the teller has to find a way to keep the reader intrigued while also throwing in a lesson through a metaphor usually.

3.The nightingale symbolizes a love that could never be.  At night the wife would sneak of bed with her husband to go see her knight.  When confronted why she left, she would say that she liked listening to the nightingales song.  The husband, being very weary of the situation, had the nightingale killed so that the lady would not have a reason to leave anymore.  After it was killed the lady gave the nightingale corpse to her knight to tell him that she cannot see him anymore.  I think that this symbolizes the meaning of karma and how they apply to morals.  The fact that she was cheating on her husband basically and lying about it, makes it very ironic when she gives the dead bird to her behind the scenes boyfriend.

Dante’s Inferno

1. On his journey through hell, Dante learns a lot of small pieces of advice but the main idea of what he learns in the story is that sinning and not repenting will lead to consequences and in this case, Hell. Dante’s journey brings him through how Hell works basically by seeing the different levels in the circle of Hell.  He learns that the inhabitants of Hell are put in a level by the judge on basis of their worst sin while alive.  Examples of this are shown when Dante is brought through the first level which is titled Limbo for those who did not take a side neither good nor evil.  He is taken through the next couple levels of lust, greed and wrath.  Dante then starts in on the deeper levels of Hell for the more devastating sins such a violence and treason to Christ. After going through the final level of Hell, Dante walks back out the trail to go back to earth.  Dante sees the horrifying images of Hell and knows that he really doesn’t want any part of it.

As for what I learned in the story it was like a lot of sinful stories I have heard before.  When reading the story of Dante I couldn’t help but think that some of the sins that happened in the story, I either see or am part of.  I think this is more related to the old testament than today’s Christ because God is the ultimate in forgiveness and he knows that we will sin but if we ask for repentance and forgiveness, he will allow us into heaven.  I think the idea of Hell is for those who do not accept Christ into their lives and are then judged on what level of Hell they will be sent to.  This story did not really affect my beliefs or where I stand but it was a good reminder that we all have a choice to make.



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?

I think that Shahrayar’s madness comes from his wife being unfaithful to him.  I could not really find to many other points to why he would be so upset.  On a side note to begin with, I find it kind of funny that almost all of these stories there is a problem that results from a woman.  Now, don’t get me wrong the guys in the story act like barbarians for the most part in all instances but I just thought it is starting to be a reoccurring theme in the stories we read.  With that being said, I can probably justify his anger because he was cheated on and that would be a reason to get angry.  As far as the male egos, I think that his is not a special case necessarily special because all of the stories seem to involve a mad man but I do think his is justified.  By that I mean that he had the right to be mad because his wife was unfaithful to him.

 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 tale of the Merchant and His Wife is that of one where the woman is wearing the pants in the relationship. The animals talked about represent that the man has more physical power than the woman and she should not be controlling him through mind games.  He recognizes this and realizes he needs to take back the power.  This is also shown with the Merchant and the Demon as the Demon has great control over the merchant too.  Again the merchant decides to take charge and take over the power. I do not think gender matters in this instance. If someone wants to be in charge, they can be in charge.

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

I’m not sure what I thought about some of the punishments.  I think that they were a little horrific to read about such as when they talked about having to go in a vat of boiling blood if you had been violent.  However, Hell is a very terrifying place and I think that all of these penalties are very possible in a place like that. I feel like that if you are sent to Hell that you did something very wrong and deserve whatever punishment is dealt to you.

The Ramayana; The Bhagavad-Gita

1.  As human beings, we tend to look to point out the things that need fixing, rather than pointing out the things that are done right.  In the instance of Rama, I would have to say that it is a little boring reading about someone who never does the wrong things. Well almost.  I can appreciate however and envy the fact that he was nearly a perfect human in instances that sometimes meant choosing a harder road to do the right thing.  I think one of the instances of this, showing that he must strive to be a perfect human, is when he made his wife, Sitka, prove that she was pure before he would take her back.  Another instance of his innateness was when he shows extreme emotion and sorrow when Sitka is taken from him.  These extreme emotions were shown in Rama’s mother, Kaushalya, when Rama was dethroned as she wept for him. To follow Hindu beliefs, she should have removed herself from all emotion though.  All in all, I think the acts of trying to live a “perfect” life make this book exciting in its own way in that, we as humans should always be striving to become a better person.

2. In comparison to Medea, these stories are almost completely different.  In Medea’s case, she is acting out of revenge towards her ex husband in the instance of killing her children.  Throughout the whole story she is pretty selfish, thinking and acting only of herself.  In the story of Arjun, he is torn between fighting and risk having to kill his family or not fight and go against his code as a soldier.  This is a very hard decision as there is a win and a loss to each side. The code in this story is similar to Rama’s case in that doing the right thing will make one closer to God spiritually.  I am still torn as to whether or not Arjun made the right in choice in fighting but I think that he was a valiant soldier and in the end it worked out for everyone I believe.