Author Archives: sharissewatkins

Lesson Numero Cinco

1. How do Islamic perceptions of Heaven and Hell differ from those of Christianity and Judaism?

Like any other religions and beliefs, they are different in beliefs. Within Christianity and Judaism, there are differences in their beliefs, what Heaven really is and how one can make themselves in God’s good graces and how they stay that way in order to get to Heaven. Unlike the latter two, Islam does not believe in salvation. Christianity believes that Jesus knows as humans we do bad, think impure thoughts and sometimes act them…but even the most dirty soul can repent and Jesus will look favorably on that. With this, one can believe and you can earn your way into Heaven. In Islam, even if you did the best, most humble things through out your life, that is still no guarantee you would make it into Heaven.

2. Although Jesus was a Jew, the religious institutions created in his name proved difficult for Jews to embrace but attractive to Greeks. What elements in the Nativity and the Passion narratives seems particularly and culturally familiar to a pagan audience?

So, paganism is defined as any person belonging to a religion that is not   Christian. Or a religion that has more than one god, like Ancient Greece or Rome. The only thing that could have been familiar to the pagan audience was the fact that the birth of Jesus was to a good, ordained girl. She was a virgin and so this would be of a supernatural happening. Kind of like how Achilles was part god. Pagans liked to hear about people being born in high, rich environments not like Jesus’s lowly birth in a barn.

3. Jesus claims the redeemed sinner is more precious to God than the righteous person who never sinned. This implies a conception of God unlike that found in the Old Testament or in The Iliad. How does this emphasis on human repentance and divine mercy change human relations to God? What different aspects of the divine/human relationships were emphasized in Gilgamesh, or The Iliad?

I’m going to get a little bit more personal here, as I lay out some daily thoughts of m continuing journey of my faith. I feel like Jesus accepts us as sinners and I know the Bible says that we were created in Him. But He is not sinner. A lot of people are not born and realize, “This is exactly what I should be doing to get to Heaven”. So I feel like the relationship that Jesus says a sinner who has obtained forgiveness and has repented is more precious. The sinner realizes he or she was wrong through the teachings of Jesus and comes into a different life and light.

In the Iliad, for example the gods weren’t just looking for humans to seek forgiveness, they wanted revenge on the person that did wrong against them. The gods also has favorites in the Iliad and came to directly to the people.

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

This may be the mother in me talking, but I do not care how much one would be hurt by their loved one marrying another, murdering the children that are shared between the two of you is in no way excusable. How does that even come across as okay, regardless of this culture or that culture at the time? There is no way the strongest feminist could ever convince me to remotely associate the character of Medea with the word, “hero” or any other adjective that could possibly make her seem anything other than what all the other characters in the book called her, EVIL! And I am just telling you how I really feel.

As for the similarities between Medea and Achilles, I could see personality-wise how one may correlate the two. Medea and Achilles both feel like they are owed something, both are overly prideful and their actions are both based majorly off of their emotions. Achilles was ready to give up his troops all over a girl and Medea was ready to kill everyone! Her children and the new bride of the father of her children. When in fact, on the lesson page of this discussion it says their relationship was never secured by law anyways. She was just a crazy woman who had the help of witch craft to do her disastrous ways.

For myself, personally, I cannot see the hero’s journey in any shape or form. Maybe the beginning one, the call to adventure, when she finds out about the wedding and she has to be exiled, but it is all down hill from there! Exile her, but do one better if you know a woman who has the personality traits of Medea, evil and smart, escort her out in chains!

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

Job was always loyal to God, so in a natural, human reaction when bad things start to fall on him, he can not figure out why. Has anyone ever heard of the saying, “God’s favorites have a hard time,”? Not saying God has favorites, but I am sure you get where I am going with this. I mean of course Job has no words to say after even the third sentence of His answer, “Where were you when I founded this earth?” Like, that would seriously cripple every question I had ever asked of Him. I would be so quiet, plus could one imagine the power and strength behind His voice, even within the wind? Gah, chills.

After Yahweh has done more than answer what Job was asking, the ending says,

I knew You, but only by rumor,

My eye has beheld You today.

I retract. I even take comfort

for dust and ashes.

Wow. Job was truly satisfied with the answers he had been given, but who would not be? I love the ending of the dialogue. After Job’s suffering, he was blessed with thrice as much as had before and lived until 140 years old. The two that were not loyal to Yahweh had to give up what they had to Job and ask for him to pray for them.


The Iliad

Discussion Questions 3 — The Iliad

Question #1

Achilles is very hot tempered and as the most powerful warrior in the Iliad, he makes everyone including his fellow Achaeans feel his wrath when he is upset. He feels like someone owes him something all the time and will automatically respond back intensely to someone he feels may be degrading him. Even though Achilles is super-human, readers look at him less than favorable, especially when he deserts his army ( and Hector is able to succesfully attack here ) because Agamemnon angered him, he puts his whole army at stake because of his pride. This quite different from Hector who stands beside his troops, like his brother, even when he is angry.

Hector is the most powerful warrior of the Trojans. He has a lot of similarities o Achilles, but his outlook on war and attitude towards people is quite different. Hector does not really want war and curses his brother, Paris for bringing it upon their home. However, he still treats him with love as he does everyone else. He is a very dedicated person to his wife and child, and wants to try to avoid war as much as possible but in the end, he becomes a very strong figure when he realizes there is no way around the war. Even when the gods say, “We’re done with you,” Hector still stands his ground.

When Hector killed Patroclus, Achilles anger was re-directed to him and all Achilles wanted to do was to avenge his friend. Both of these men were prideful and respected, respected for two different reasons, but still respected.


Question #2

In Tim O’Brien’s The Things They Carried he talks basically about how war will make people to things outside of their character, good or bad. It breaks down a person to the extent it causes actions that are typically unheard of, all on the cause of survival and it resignates with that person long after. When Achilles killed Hector to avenge his friend, Patroclus, he dragged his body through out, even against their customs. When Achille’s seen Priam’s suffering the malicious animal that Achilles was portraying “caged” itself.   It was almost like he had an “on and off” switch that was triggered by the emotions of Priam. When Priam begged for the body of Hector, Achilles character changed and Hector was able to have a proper burial. This communicated, like O’Brien’s The Things They Carried every person has that threshold they can change during war, rather good or bad.

Question #3

I feel as if this is two-sided. It could be mutually exclusive, it could not. It depends on the character of the person and of the family. If the family is alright with living in dishonor and chased from their home because of the un-warrior like actions of the solider, and all they care about is all of the family alive and together…then no, it is not mutually exclusive, especially given the time period we are talking about. It was highly frowned upon if the male of the family was not upholding the Warrior Code. However, if the family recognizes that was the male role and understands, “Hey, he might not come back at the end of the day, but he will die in honor,” I think they could be mutually exclusive. Yes, the Familial Code means taking care of your home and your family, but in those times taking care of family meant, bringing them honor which meant upholding the Warrior Code. It doesn’t mean, the soldier is home and alive. If the soldier died within battle, surely the family was taken care of after right? A sense of community for a hero.

The Oldest Epic.

Discussion Questions 2 — Gilgamesh

1. Can you identify any of the stages of the Hero’s Journey in the story of Gilgamesh? You may begin by asking yourself: What is Gilgamesh’s Call to Adventure; or what is Enkidu’s?

All of the stages of what might be the oldest epic currently in existence are really pronounce. Starting with the “lone ranger” Gilgamesh, who finds a friend in someone, Enkidu, who appeared, personality wise on the other side of the spectrum. They ended up becoming really good friends and set up on a heroic journey together to kill Humbaba and stop his terrorizing. It started with dreams of Enkidu and ignoring them until he had supernatural help, from his mother who was half goddess. She interpreted his dreams and off he went. Him and Enkidu went through several triumphs together until Enkidu is picked as the one chosen to die and Gilgamesh enters the “belly of the whale”. He is all alone. He obtains the plant but then the serpent eats it and “cross the return of the threshhold” when he heads back to Uruk.

2. Do you believe any of the Four Functions of Mythology, as outlined in ‘Mythological Themes in Creative Literature and Art’, are alive and active in the story of Gilgamesh? Why or why not?

Although all the functions were present in Gilgamesh, I feel like there is a strong sense of Pedagogical is present. Gilgamesh earned his right to have his story passed on, he earned to live happy and have the best of both worlds after seeing what he had seen.

3. What judgement would you make concerning the success or failure of Gilgamesh’s journey? For instance, he failed to return with the Plant of Everlasting Life, but what did he gain instead? Is it a worthy replacement for eternal youth?

Yes, Gilgamesh did fail to bring back the Plant of Everlasting life, but he gained so much more. To me, living ever lasting means seeing all the people you love continue to pass away and feeling that pain over and over, like the pain he felt when his friend Enkidu passed. I am sure he wouldn’t have wanted to feel that over and over. He gained a new understanding which means he learned how to appreciate life even more than before. It was a worthy replacement for eternal youth because he accepted who he was and what life was, life was never meant to be eternal.

Disney’s Secret Formula

Okay, I’ll be the second test subject.

So, watching the same Disney movies with my son today as I did when I was little with my parents, not only do I notice a lot more but I also feel like Disney always used this formula. And how strange it was that I happened to be watching Hercules while pondering on this first discussion question of ours. In “The Hero’s Journey” defined it points out the human is usually male, starts from lowly beginnings and has some kind of super power. He had a call to action from Meg, the damsel in distress as well as the town and his want to return to Olympia fueled him even more.

He definitely went through the stages, the Call to Adventure when the town kept saying he didn’t belong and he fled to find where he belonged. He was always an outcast because of his strength, but wasn’t quite sure how to use it yet. When he was first told he was the kid of Zeus, he didn’t believe he was a God that had been (intervened by supernatural powers) the two funny-looking demons from Hades, the leader of the Underworld had been sent to kill him with a death potion but didn’t get every last drop in to him so Hercules’ super natural strength remained.

Then he comes to the crossing of the first threshold, where he meets Phil, half goat and half man, Zeus had told him to seek out with the help of Pegasus, a flying horse. He then went into the intiation phase, training to be that hero that the world needed, fighting every monster that came his way. Then even going into the Underworld when his lover, Meg was about to die to retrieve her soul. This was the act of return, when Hercules could finally become a god again.

Other Disney movies that could be related to this off the top of my head, Mulan (which goes against the grain a little because in fact — the hero is a woman.. but like in the “The Hero’s Journey” defined while she does not go looking for her prince or love, she does find one in her quest to save China and her elderly father. Another one would be, Robin Hood or even the animal type of hero, Oliver and Company where the hero dog helps a homeless cat and eventually a lonely little girl. Oh! What about my favorite Disney movie, All Dogs Go To Heaven, a lying, thieving German Shepherd named Charlie stops his ways and saves a little girl and finds him and his best friend, a wiener dog a loving home. Want to know how much I love that movie? I have a German Shepherd named Charlie with a red collar just like in the movie. I’m working on the wiener dog with my husband.

2. I feel like a lot of the movies today are just plain crazy. Don’t get me wrong, there is a good one out every now and then. And I’m not just talking Disney movies. I am talking about the typical movies. Ranging from Saw and all the other movies I feel give people that take movies a little too seriously a little bit too much to think about. There are the good ones that came from book series though, like the Harry Potter movies (maybe I should get a dog named Harry Potter? — seriously love this series) or the Lord of the Rings. But I feel like a lot of movies that I have seen or seen previews for not based on book series, like the movie (forgive me I can’t remember the name) but it has Taraji P Henson in it, follows the script like all the other movies, especially with African Americans. Woman falls in love because she’s a single parent and she’s lonely. Guy acts like he loves her. Guy goes crazy. Beats her and her child. She makes a come back and he goes to jail. Whoop de doo, seriously nothing I haven’t seen on the screen at least three times. It is no longer original and maybe that is because they are following the formula a little too much. They can’t fit any of the human needs entirely because screen writers are too focused on the drama that some people may or may not have in everyday life, that they forget to put in the needs of belonging to a society, or the world or even situations that just plain don’t make any sense. Really…paranormal activity…really?

I Am Sharisse, Hear Me ROAR!


Hello everyone! Nice to meet cha’ !

My name is Sharisse, I am a junior here at UAF, finishing up my pre-reqs for nursing school which is why I am taking this course. My dream is to become a Neonatal Nurse in the Air Force. I am currently a Pharmacy Technician in the Air Force and was a Certified Nursing Assistant prior to that. I am currently stationed in Dover, De and have been military all of my life. As of last year, I have been to every single state in the U.S. and now it is time to start venturing out to other countries. I love to travel and I enjoy food, I am pretty convinced that food will help understand a culture…and no one can tell me otherwise.

I watch HGTV a lot..and the travel channel. I love DIY projects and to pretend that I am somewhere extremely hot and sunny. I am married to my husband that I have dated for eight years and together we have a gift from above, Jamear, our four year old as well as our fur baby, a German Shepherd named Charlie. We love to go to the beach and we are taking advantage as we finally made it out of the harsh colds of Alaska last year.

I am a very creative, adrenaline based person. I am a twenty-four year old living life on the edge as much as possible because I have a bucket list longer than I am tall. Which in reality, isn’t really anything besides average but I have so much to do on a daily basis between a full time school schedule, the Air Force and home-life that it would take me two lives to get everything done. Here’s to hoping a cat will share one of them with me! Cheers!