Author Archives: sharissewatkins

Oh, Mother.

 How does your view of the main character change throughout the course of this film?

I definitely feel like the main character changed through out the film. The mother started out by what seemed to be just a normal mother, at least what my perception is. (My mother is extremely overprotective). She always told him never to hang out with the local town boy because he was so disobedient and she did as much as she could to make sure her and her son stayed a float. She sold medicinal herbs in the Korean market place and did (unlicensed) acupuncture on the side.

When her son, Do-joon was walking home he followed a girl who later called him a “retard”. He was always prone to attack people who belittled him because of his special needs due to his mother instilling his in him. Afterwards, the police found the body of the girl overlooking the entire town and conducted an investigation. Because Do-joon’s lawyer wasn’t accountable and the police were fine with the evidence they did have, they arrested him. Mother, like any other mother (I believe still) was totally unconvinced that her son could do such a thing. I know as a mother, without solid proof, no one is going to arrest my child and tell me he murdered someone and I let that go easily, even if my son had violent outbursts. And you can say what you want, but when a mother looks at her child, it’s hard to look at him or her as anything other than the love of your life.


So, with that being said, after the case was closed she took things into her own hands to find the real murderer. I know a lot of people…think she is still crazy here. And maybe she is. But I think she is just going to the extra mile because her son is all she has. We don’t know the mother’s back story of why she is how she is. We just have to take into account…what Korea was like for women…what she went through before and after having her special needs son. I feel like the movie really left that out. She goes to a junkyard where she finds a man who claims to have seen her son attack the girl. Of course, she still doesn’t want to believe him. But at this point, I start to think…what does this guy have to lose? Why would he lie? He doesn’t get anything from it…so maybe he is telling the truth. Yet, she still does not want to hear it. Then we really get to see…maybe she is crazy, when her son has a memory where she tried to kill both of them with poison when he was five. This is where I start to feel like, “Okay, there is definitely something wrong with her.”

She kills the man and burns down the junkyard, the tin drops from her pocket. We’ll discuss that in a second though. She slowly starts to progress and change into this person that wasn’t present at the beginning of the movie. Do-joon confides in her that he left the body overlooking the city because he wanted the people to see her so someone could give her medical attention. Now she is aware her son actually did it. She has been through a lot and earned her spot on the list of crazy. She is pictured on a bus, giving herself acupuncture to forget everything that has happened. And I guess it must have worked, because she started dancing. But I feel still…empty…like something was never right to start with in this film.

What does this movie say about its the themes of motherhood and justice?

I feel like in order to be a good mother, you have to be willing to go to the ends of the earth for your children, as long as they are innocent. And even when they are not, you still should be their backbone while they are serving their punishment. In this case, Mother was just trying to be there for her son. She had previously wronged him times before ( trying to poison him ) and now she is seeking justice for herself, to free him which in turn will get him justice from the legal system, provided he is innocent. Mothers are always trying to take care of their children, when they get sick we say, “If I could take this from you, I would,” when they get in ttrouble at school for talking (maybe the first couple times) we say, “Don’t do it again, ma’am he didn’t mean it”. We always want justice because they are our flesh. But eventually, there has to be a breaking point where a mother can not and should not absorb the punishments for the child because they will never learn. If the dog continues on peeing in the house and nothing ever happens because of it…he will continue to pee in the house. But the Mother , as I said above has to have a story we don’t know and she is hurt…just trying to find her way and be happy.

And what do you think the mother’s small tin of acupuncture needles symbolizes?

I think that the mother’s small tin of acupuncture needles symbolizes the passing of the forgetfulness. The mother had lost this and was given back with the words “You should be more careful” or something to that effect. After her son had confided in her, she was hurt. Could you imagine that after you went through hell to prove your son was innocent and you looked in your baby’s face, he said..”I did it”? What kind of emotion would you feel? Wouldn’t you want to just forget that ever happened? Can you imagine the amount of emotional stress Mother has been through? I picture her being ridiculed as a single mother, maybe abused and left by her son’s father all alone. That has to be stressful. My sister is a single parent with two kids but I know raising a special needs child has to be tiring within itself some days. I feel like the tin also represented the Mother’s freedom from all of these things. She has endured so much pain her life and now, the only person she had left … this happened. She needed an escape route, and those needles were it. So she pinned herself…she forgot and she danced.

Art Thou Yellow Woman?

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 jell-o have in common a reality to this young, Pueblo Indian woman’s relationship with the Maverick Navajo. She remembers the stories she used to be told about the “Yellow Woman” and the Mountain spirit who captured her. It was almost like this was the “crystal-ball” story to her life. So, now she is trying to figure out…was she really “Yellow Woman” and the only big difference from the stories and her actual life was the food. The food in larger part, represented something I feel almost like yin and yang.

The meat, was always bad memories. She found this stranger down by the river and got caught up in the excitement of being “Yellow Woman” that she couldn’t tell if she was her or the woman that belong to the Pueblo people who was married, had a child and home to return back to. She didn’t realize that she wasn’t Yellow Woman until she was afraid Silva was going to kill the rancher after he got caught with the stolen meat. She decided to return home and tell her family what happened to her.

The jello, being the opposite was of happy thoughts. It was her mother and grandmother talking of how to make jello, the domesticity of the picture of her home. Her husband playing with their child. It was everything that she wanted but didn’t know she knew. Jello can be molded how ever you choose, but meat cannot especially when the meat was never yours to begin with. (Stolen meat…she was “stolen”..get it?)

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

There was a   class mate, I am sorry I forgot your name and I just read your post! That you said you did not like to read stories about cheaters…I feel the exact same way about stories like this. Not just about woman’s rights but stories that depict such awful things like rape and the fact that no one was on her side. Or no one that could help her. “In Camera” means “In Private” typically where the public can’t view certain things. I feel like this went for Leila’s father. He didn’t want to be seen by the public because he was so embarrassed by his daughter. He shrunk down, belittled himself and took no support for her all because he thought the whole thing was dishonorable to their family.

I might get ridicule for this but I feel no type of way about he felt. I can only say if it were me, it would be different. He was weak and his love for his daughter did not outshine what society expected from him family. It is almost like parents today, a lot of parents disown their children for being gay for example. Being gay is not wrong, in my opinion. Neither was what Leila did, voicing an opinion. But because of the society is was taken to a whole different level. Her father because he was so consumed in their society, thought it was better for her to be gone than to suffer society’s wrath. My love would have definitely won over what society needed. No one is going to hurt my child the way that Leila was treated. But I can’t feel any type of way about a person because the evidence just is not there for me to have a concrete opinion.

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?

Death beyond love is very appropriate…for the tone of this story. Senator Sanchez was diagnosed and told he had only 6 months and eleven days to live. He was happily married and had kids, but when he was walking he bumped in to a Devil’s island escapee, Nelson Farina who had a daughter the Senator Sanchez became fascinated with, named Laura.
Nelson needed new identification so he used Laura to make the Senator solve all his issues. He knew the Senator would cheat on his wife and try to have sex with Laura. He tries, but finds out she has a chastity belt on. Finally he gives in, but instead of having sex with her, he tells her to just lay with him because, “It’s good to be with someone when you’re alone.”  Everyone may not always have a love, but everyone will always have death. Not only that but it does not matter what kind of love you are in, if it death is coming…it’s going to come. I guess that is what the Senator thought. He knew he was going to die and he threw all of his life out the window.

My Favorite Dr.Seuss Rhyme.

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?

The relationship between Gregor and his family are all different and I feel they all lend to each and every character’s personality. At first, Gregor was their key person…he was their provider after the family business went down and the father couldn’t pick himself up to regain footing. Even after the metamorphosis, the sister, Grete, was initially the only person helping Gregor. She first bought him milk and bread, but due to Gregor’s new form, he no longer liked his prior favorite food. So she left him old, rotten scraps and he devoured that. Eventually though, she grew tired after trying to help him so much. She wanted to live her life, be married and have her life back. While she did take care of him, she never tried to communicate with him.

The mother wanted to go see her “new” son, but the father and Grete kept her away from him because they didn’t want her to see what her son had become. He was no longer the traveling salesman, he was a cock roach. Her and Grete moved the furniture around so Gregor could have more space but when it distressed Gregor, he tried to keep a picture on the wall by crawling on it and it freaked his mother out. When she ran out, she left the door open and he chased after her. When the father seen him , he thought he was trying to attack her so he started throwing apples at him. An apple got lodged in Gregor’s back and he was badly hurt.

After this occurrences, the family had little money and even the new renters seen Gregor and demanded to leave. They knew in order to make their lives normal again, they had to make Gregor leave. Gregor died, and the family was able to afford a much nicer place and moved. Initially, the father put all the bearing of having a family on Gregor. It was like he had no want to support his family. I know that losing a business is devastating, but when you have a family to support…and the son has to step up to support a family of four…you would think the father would recognize this. But even after Gregor’s transformation, he doesn’t even try to see him, no ‘thanks’ were ever in order or anything.

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?

1. Gregor was the sole provider. After the loss of the family business he was the only one with enough “oopmh” to keep his family above water. They all depended on him, no thanks was ever given and no help was ever offered.

2. Gregor awoke to find himself in the form a giant bug. When Gregor’s boss visited and told Gregor he would basically be fired, he showed himself and hiss boss took off running. He could no longer work and provide. So his father found another job, they rented out their home and found other ways to take the place of what Gregor was giving them. But still, the only person taking care of Gregor was his sister and the new, older housekeeper would clean and sometimes converse with him. They bonded over the hatred that grew over Gregor’s presence.

3. After the tenants threatened to leave, lost interest in Grete and Grete even grew tiresome of taking care of her brother, she told her parents they needed to get rid of him. They talked aloud in hopes Gregor would leave himself, and he did. He died and in the end, they were so much happier. Gregor dying caused them to have to work themselves, they moved out and got a nicer place.

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?

I admit, this poem had me a little bit confused so I had to go outside of it and look at the background to it. This was a lot of little poems pieced together, but it was supposed to be read like one giant piece of work. It was also considered Akhmatova’s masterpiece. Her experience of standing in the jail line waiting for news was related to religion, like that was the only thing that could save her. And so many bad things happened in the poem, that she goes on to say that the only thing that could make her life better would be to forget. So, she tries to forget. That doesn’t work either. So she wishes death upon herself. I’m sure that must have been how a lot of people felt during the reign of Stalin. They thought that no life was better than that life they were living at the time. It puts forth so many different feelings and insights that would have caused her maybe her life if it had been released during his reign. It is definitely not lacking in influence, in my opinion. It lets us know how detrimental things like that is to humanity and hopefully, this will document history so it doesn’t repeat itself. Clearly, it was not lacking if it was considered, or is   considered a “masterpiece”.

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

“It doesn’t see you: you’ve got to change your life.” How much power do you have to have in one sentence? YOU HAVE GOT TO CHANGE YOUR LIFE! I am not even sure and forgive me professor, but the kind of question this is? It is so simple. No one can change your life but you. I can’t have my husband change my life. I have to change it. You have to want change. If you are not happy…change it. Change isn’t going to find you. You have to find change. Actually, I really have always loved a Dr.Seuss rhyme that I feel goes with this: “Unless some one like you cares a whole awful lot, it’s not going to get better…it’s not.” No one cares or should care about your life more than you do. So…you change it.

Simple Minded Love

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?

Both of these ladies loved everything. They loved the way they thought love was supposed to happen. One loved from a realistic point of view and didn’t let love stand in the way of what she thought was correct and one loved from a point of view of a child…she loved everything.

Felicite was in a sense a saint, as I could see how her purity could route her that way. But I could also see how one could categorize her as just being simple minded. I mean she after so many disappointments, turned her love to a parrot of all things. Not that birds should not be loved…but still. She endured losing her parents at a young age, being accused and then beaten even though she did not do it. She then loved a man named Theodore, who left her too ! For an older woman who had lots of money. But still she kept being her normal self, still a kind-hearted servant, but still simple minded. She made no changes to her life even after several losses, almost like she was shell-shocked, still trying to reach for things that were never really there. Like the love of a parrot. But I don’t think personally, Felicite was simple-minded at all just because she had no education, I think she was just loving, period.

Mme. Aubain was a lady but so many definitions. She was a widow after her husband died and she lost a lot of her wealth with him. But unlike Felicite, she did not continue to reach for things that were not there. She got rid of the large house and downgraded to the town home. She sent her children away to school, despite the feelings she had. I know I would have kept the children, like I believe Felicite would have because it would have been the only memories I had from the late husband.

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’s description of woman almost reminds me of the description of a siren in the other writings. A beautiful woman out to do no good. I also find it very abrasive and really dark the way he writes about women that he does not write about men. He basically said men are great and could be greater if it was not for the epitome of sin, being women. He says women are great, their physical beauty amazing but they are worthless and nothing but temptation. I would actually prefer never to read his work ever again.

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

Rama and Sita are the definition of Dharma, they lived to serve something greater than themselves and they always acted upon what they thought was right for the bigger picture. Chidam and Chandara only acted for themselves. They were never concerned about what they would do to other people, they only wanted what could get them what they wanted at that time. So Chidam lied and Chandara was jsut trying to teach him a lesson. Go figure, you died…that really will teach him! I think that the way his   personality was set up is that he will just find another wife anyway.

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

I am choosing to the poem by Yeat’s called, “When You Are Old”, I am choosing to do this poem because it talks of an experience I almost missed out on. Yeats was in love with a a rich actress named Maud Gonne, an actress among other things but she shot him down time after time. She grew old and he was trying to tell her, think about the people that loved you when you were fabulous and feel bad because you didn’t take those people with you. Look at a book, or in my case a year book, and realize that I loved you and will continue to love you. My husband now, loved me since 11th grade and 8 years later I am glad   I didn’t pull a Maud Gonne on him and chose to love him. So he better love me when I am old and gray…or else.

Tartuffe, Youthfulness and Satan

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

I do not think that Tartuffe was anti-religious by any means, but only does the job it was intended for, being for satirical component of what was actually going on at that time. It attacks what was such a serious issue at that time because no one questioned it .They just did what was told during that new religious movement, hoping they could buy their way in to heaven.

His physical appearance is that of a religious one so people say, “Oh, he must be telling the truth,” then he he tells people, “Oh, I have the key to heaven…but I require money,” and people throw riches at him. If no one questions this new form of looking at worship and religion than he is just another person taking advantage of people’s ignorance.

The people gave him money dollar after dollar and some of the doubters even said, ” Don’t do it” but no one listened. Once Tartruffe was found about his lust for Orgon’s wife instead of his daughter all of his secrets came out of the closet. I actually know quite a bit of churches that I question what goes on when they seek out tithes and offerings. I actually pass a large church every day, questioning their motives. Surely, a bigger church cannot get me into heaven quicker…so what goes on here? I think this is just what Tartruffe was trying to point out in his play.

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

Let me just say, these two are two completely different depictions of Satan, however I think they exist in a time line. Also, I think that Satan could exist as a heroic figure by Hugo because he was someone who tested boundaries and let’s face it, if he wants to be the ultimate bad guy, then let him take the place of it. As far as I am concerned, if he wants to take that place in Hell, no one else has to…so good riddance.

Anyhow, Hugo’s Satan is just like you and I, a person, who has the choices on an everyday basis for his actions just as we do. To choose good or to choose bad, kind of like the little red devil and the angel on your shoulder type thing. I earlier stated that the two depictions of the characters were like a timeline, with Hugo’s coming first showing how Satan grew to be that monster with wings stuck in   ice in the last circle of Hell that Dante depicted. Satan made some bad choices, like a rebel and he went against God and chose not to repent so therefore he was sent to Hell where he would become Dante’s Satan. Now, Satan chose not to repent and even led to us thinking he was not one little bit sorry for his actions. But knowing he was once just as human as us, how long could he remain his true self down in the underworld under those conditions? Leading him to become Dante’s Satan.

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

I am choosing to compare the poems by Giacomo Leopardi, “To Silvia” and ” The Village Saturday”. I am choosing to compare the ideas rather than what actually happens in the poem. I feel like Leopardi’s work happens when he is trying to live vicariously thorough other people. Almost like, he feels his own youth has slept away. He wishes to be young again and in all of his poems there’s this almost sullen feeling being given off. In “The Village Saturday” Leopardi talks about a young women bringing home flowers so that they may be put in her french braids and on the chest of her dress to make her look pretty. Then he talks about an older woman watching the actions, remembering when she was young like her and loved to dance. The poem ends with a playful boy…also young. In “To Silvia” he mentions “youth” excessively as well as asking, “Is this the human’s fate”. Leopardi seems to come into his writing person when he imagines himself young again or the things that remind him of when he was a young boy.

Which I can see this being something everyone can relate to. Because even at the age I am…I still love doing things even with my own son, that reminds me of when I was a child. It is almost like a keepsake and it can make a person both happy and sad and that I believe is where his ideas from a lot of his poetry came from.

Blood Sucking Creatures and …Hair?

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?

This is quite difficult for me because I don’t particularly follow any politics…ever. I’m sorry, but I am a go with the flow type of person. And while I am ashamed…I don’t vote. Ever. I’m military and have been all of my life so I have no state and even if the slightest chance that I did decide to vote and the people I wanted were elected…1) they wouldn’t accomplish everything they said they were   going to or/and 2) I’ll be moving in a year or two to a state or maybe outside the country to a place with new governing that won’t have anything to do with anything I previously voted for. I’m sour in that way I suppose.

But I also feel like that leads me into my next thought. I haven’t followed any election since my US Government class in high school when (muffles voice) was being elected and I had to do a report on it. But … he didn’t do all of the things he said he would. I don’t even know if he tried after he was elected all I know is I got an A on the report. So I am not sure if Machiavelli’s ideals relate exactly to say the voting that just happened, but I’ll try to make some connections as best as I can. Machiavelli described his perfect prince (given we are in to the whole President, Senator type thing) he says they can’t expect the prince to be perfect, but we expect ours to be. OH! I guess I did hear about Obama not saluting after that blew up on the news. The prince had to uphold standards like faithfulness, generosity and caring. I completely agree, whomever is in charge should be all of these things.

However, he then follows up with that no one of course could meet all of these standards, but he describes what he thinks to be the perfect prince. He wants a kind, loving, religious prince. Which is great, but once again…won’t happen or at least we won’t know. I think that the Prince would be more open…our government I feel is more secretive and let’s people know only what they want them to know. Our president could be kind, loving and religious…but we don’t know that.

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 work that comes to mind is a picture of the Disney princesses undergoing chemotherapy. Several little girls, such as the make up guru, Taela before she passed away lost their hair during treatment and a lot of them are really saddened by it.


A lot of cultures use hair as an ultimate form of beauty. From Native Americans using it to depict sadness to using it in head dresses to Nazi soldiers stripping Jews of it and taking it for stuffing or mattresses. We’re taught that long, luxurious hair is required to be feminine.

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.’

The warriors were to bring captives back home to sacrifice, that was their top priority. I think the song was prayer to their gods while they did their traditional sacrifices. They not only were speaking of their hope for their past warriors but for their future ones. The warriors were their flowers, they prayed for their honor, their safety and prosperity.

Testing Faith & L<3VE

Discussion Questions 9 — De France; Decameron

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

The King in the story had so much money and land but God forbid he dies and has no successor to carry on his legacy. His people pushed him to find a wife and have children, so he did. He found Griselda. Griselda was the type of woman to love her husband no matter what, bowed to him and cherished him. He picked her because of these traits and these were the traits that would allow him to continue his bachelor life style that he loved so much. But he was not happy that he had found someone like this, he wanted to test her traits and make sure that no matter events that would occur she would remain faithful to him.

He tested her as a mother, saying that he was going to murder their two children. She still loved him, while myself on the other hand and I am sure many of you would have maybe even killed or turned him in before he could say he was just joking. Then he brought the children back claiming their daughter would be his new wife and he would get rid of Griselda. But even still, she stayed. Which I guess turned out okay for her in the end because she got his love, their children back and kept her place as queen. But still, I can’t help but imagine how much heartache she would have felt.

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?

Firstly, I think that the tales in both cases were significant for hope. It was giving hope to both fate’s rather it be caused by a person, the King, or death by a disease, the Black Plague. Shahrazad told stories to the husband, Shahryar to stop him from killing the women in the village simply because he wanted to have his cake and eat it too…sexual relations and then his trust issues led him to kill what may have been a totally trustworthy woman everytime. So she told him stories to not only save her life, but give the other women a chance to live and restore hope in the king towards women. The stories in the Decameron were also told to give hope while people were dying left and right from the Plague.   It was an occupier to get minds off of what was happening just like the king being occupied by stories from his new wife. The relationship between the tale and the teller was to carry on their legacy and morals. They were teaching lessons. Other than that, I personally see no relationship.

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

The nightingale symbolized love, lies and hopelessness. The wife told her husband she could not sleep because she loved the nightingales song so much she could not sleep.   In reality, she was staring at their neighbor, both very deep in love. The husband killed, beheaded the nightingale and it was then they both knew that they could never be. The knight placed the bird in a casket made of gold. For the knight, it symbolized something that he can have forever of a love that he could never have. The nightingale for her, she wasn’t lying to her husband when she said she loved the nightingale’s song, a song that was the story of a love she could never have.

It’s Your Choice and Yours Alone.

Discussion Question 8 — Inferno; MIDTERM

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?

Okay, just to reiterate what happened. Dante, the character went in kind of sensitive about the whole subject of Hell. I don’t believe he had a clear understanding prior to his experience of what resulted in a person’s actions while in human form. He burst into tears, cried, yelled then grew in to anger and flipped boats. He started damning all of the sinners who were already judged as evil. He learned that truly, about ‘karma’. From rolling stones with chests to being eaten alive by dogs, it really is hell. He learned that what you do on earth, if not pleasing to God, will put you here.

I want to say, now that I read my peer’s responses I could see how fraud and treachery would potentially be worse than murder as well so thank you for explaining that to me.

I don’t think mine and Dante’s learning was too different actually. I think he is still different than me as he experienced it first hand, so of course he learned more than me. Beforehand, I just pictured Hell as this great big, burning inferno full of hate and darkness. Not levels concerning the type of sin, but I was taught that if it displeases God than no sin is worse than the other, it is still sin. So I guess I never really thought about…what Hell does to organize its’ sinners or once the gate guard of Hell greets its’ new inhabitants there.

…All I know is.. “I AIN’T GOIN’!”



A Hurt Man & 9 Levels of Hell

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 would not say that male egos in this type of society are frail. But at the same time, they are not…not frail. The way the female and male relationship is set up is how it has always been based on   religion and culture. The King I am sure treated his woman like a princess until, he found her “lying in the arms of one of the kitchen boys…his world turned black’. He went to go seek relief in his brother just to see his brother’s wife cheating. Then they go on a journey and meet this demon’s woman in a chest in the middle of nowhere collecting rings and cheating on the demon!

Shahrayar’s case is not at all special, over the top on his actions he decided to carry out to seek out justification. But think about it like this, if you were cheated on…seen no relationships that worked out faithfully ever in life, would you be skeptical of any ever working out? Shahrayar then decided to sleep with a different woman every night and then kill her. Not that I agree with that, but he would never have to worry about trusting in another woman or having her betray him ever again. I don’t think he was trying to regain his pride or anything, I think he was just a hurt little boy trying to (excessively) make a point.

And to be honest, there are several news stories that we see homicide cases because of cheating significant others…it doesn’t really stray too far from the norm even of today’s relationships.

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?

Vizier’s animals are given human like abilities; they think and talk versus the Merchant and the Demon’s   animals who do not speak or think. The Merchant and Demon’s animals are more carriers used to encompass a human spirit. Vizier talks to his daughter about keeping on her own path. He tells her of a story when a donkey tries to help the ox but the donkey ends up taking all the ox’s issues upon himself. He wants her to know if she takes the place of the other young women this will happen to her. The daughter returns with the story of the rooster telling   the dog to beat his disobedient wife into submission…even to the point of death. In societies like this, as in what happened to the king, women are second to a man and only if they act how the man wants her to act but Shahrazad’s story will follow up that women are worth more than what society makes them out to be.

In the Merchant and Demon, Shahrazad’s story, the animals are supposed to justify the women. The women did wrong, like the animals, but the animals are forgiven and not killed because they made mistakes. This story helped the King, although hurt and went on a killing spree to justify the wrong doing done unto him that other women who had absolutely nothing to do with what happened to him should not be punished for it. In fact, this story glorifies women a little bit more than the usual.

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

The first circle of Hell was for the people who did not worship Christ or did not worship correctly. They just live in limbo, but a lot of these people are people who lived in the times before Christ. I don’t see that as fair. How do you worship what has not happened?

Second circle is those of lust. They are being blown back and forth by winds so they are never to rest. This signifies that they are so restless chasing the wants of the flesh. I actually think this is fair and a slightly clever idea.

The third circle of Hell is for the gluttons, being overlooked by a worm-monster and unable to move by the laying in a slush of ice. I don’t know how I really feel about this, I think it is supposed to symbolize that the persons laying there are looking out amongst the others laying down and they feel the selfishness intensify that they had not felt before. I have no real opinion on this one.

The fourth circle is greed. Here people are seen pushing large rocks with their chests non-stop symbolizing their need during their life to keep pushing towards worldly possessions. I just see that like a jail-bird kind of thing, I guess they are sentenced to work the rest of their life.

The fifth cycle are where the wrathful are fighting each other. I don’t think that needs explaining. I agree here.

The sixth cycle is heresy — condemned to flaming tombs.

The seventh circle are for people like murderers. There are three rings, one is being chased by dogs, one turned into trees and bushes and being fed upon and the last one in a desert of burning sand. I like that idea for murderers but I don’t understand why they aren’t in the last ring.

The eighth circle is Fraud with a flying monster of different attitudes. Pretty much after murderers, I disagree that anything could be worse. Especially fraud I don’t see why that would be in a more inner circle than murder.

The ninth circle is treachery with the inhabitants frozen in an icy lake according to depth and the seriousness of the sin. They are frozen! Are they alive ? Or they feeling the icy fire on their skin? And why is this still past murder? I disagree with this one as well.

The Ramayana; The Bhagavad-Gita

Discussion Questions 6 — The Ramayana; 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 don’t feel as if his journey for perfection and to uphold his beliefs in peace and being aware of ones self all of the time was in any shape or form to describe, “boring.” In fact, it was almost like I wanted to continue reading thinking, “There is no way he is going to be this perfect the whole time…something has to happen.” We entered the story when Rama was 25, had given his throne up to keep his father’s honor and the relationship he has with everyone around him.

We see that finally he his human and he has the ability to act out of his normal character when his wife is taken. Rama picks up his weapons and starts to act like how you think, Achilles would act when he was hurt. But Rama’s brother, Lasmana was like the little angel on Rama’s shoulder telling him to calm down and remember who he was and that violence won’t solve anything. He remembers to “take the road less traveled”.

After his actions get him fourteen years of exile to the forest, before leaving, Rama’s mother, Kausalya begs him not to go and tries to persuade her son to stay and tells him he is breaking the code of Dharma. “If, as you say, you are devoted to dharma, then it is your duty to stay here and serve me, your mother,’ (731). But he justifies that his exile will bring many great things and in fact, is not breaking Dharma. He takes his exile very calmly and peacefully with no more retaliation.


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).

In the Koran, Sura 5, it says, “Believers, be true to your obligations”. Which could really be taken differently depending on one’s culture or own separate journey. For example, for Achilles, he was a warrior, a very great one and that was what people knew him as. He was expected to live up to the Warrior Code, that was his obligation, so anything less would be frowned upon. He was part god, and so people feared his strength. His obligation was to protect his people but he also had a human characteristic of pride. He was always getting his pride hurt and acted out upon these things.

Medea’s obligation was a self-righteous one as well. She had so many flaws, maternally especially, that in order to fulfill her obligations she felt she needed to kill the children she had with Jason, who married someone else. She had no single code other than her own, but from her point of view, she was true to her obligations.

This is why I see almost no comparison for Arjuna. Arjuna was torn between being a warrior and listening to his heart. He wanted to serve but he wanted to follow his beliefs. Arjuna just wants to live up to Dharma but when he is looking at his kinsmen lined up for battle on both sides, he sees no good could come of this. Krishna had to come to show Arjuna the light, because he was in such a battle with himself.

The only thing I could see trying to tie them all together is the battle they had within themselves. Medea fought with herself upon the death of her children. Just like Arjuna in fighting and trying to serve Dharma and Achilles trying to avenge the death of his friend, maintain his pride and look at the weeping tears of a father.