Author Archives: smaldonadodiaz

Movie “Mother”

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

At the beginning, Do-joon’s mother seems to be a caring mother, constantly worried about the well being and whereabouts of her special needs’ son, who is sometimes taken advantage of, due to his lack of memory.  At this point, she seemed to be a single mother that works selling medicinal herbs in a Korean town, and takes care of her son the best way she can.  She warned her son to not be hanging out with Jin-tae, a local boy that likes to go around defying authority, mocking and deceiving people.  After the authorities found the death girl, I still thought that she was a good mother trying to save her appeared to be “innocent’ son, and dealing with several inefficient, unskilled, and unprofessional police officers and lawyer.  Later, my point of view started changing, when Do-joon remembered that his mother tried to kill him and herself when he was five years old, by poisoning him, but she was unsuccessful.  I thought she was very immature, inept, and a weak minded person, at that moment in her life when her son was five years old, but perhaps she was too young and acquired more maturity and experience later on in life.    Then, Do-joon’s mother went to the old man’s junkyard collector, where he confessed her that he saw Do-joon attacking that girl, when the girl called him “retard’, and carrying her to the roof.  She killed the old man in denial and burnt his house.  At this point, I thought that she was an emotionally unstable person,  because she murdered someone to protect a guilty son.  I think she knew that she is the one that should have been in jail in the first place, because she taught her son wrongly.  She is the one that told him to attack anyone that insulted him, so indirectly this was all her fault.  Later, after she knew that the police was going to convict another intellectually disabled boy that was innocent, in place of her guilty son, I thought that she was evil and never loved her son.  In my opinion, she was only protecting herself and her feelings, because she knew this was her fault, and so needed to fix the problem to feel better about herself.  He was the only person left in her life, and she needed him.  She could not cope with her own mistakes or assume responsibilities for them.

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

In this situation, motherhood interfered with justice.  This is been happening for a long time.  Some mothers believed that they are helping their offspring by taking care of the circumstances that occurred when they get in trouble, even if that entails deceiving justice.  The truth is that is not real love and it only causes more troubles for their offspring because they never learn from their mistakes, always thinking that someone will be at their rescue and can’t assume responsibilities for their own actions.  I know because I have three children.  This is also bad for the society, because these mothers are filling out our world with people that have no judgement and decision making skills.  Even if you have a special need child, you can still teach them to make right choices.  In my family we have one, and sometimes she can make decisions better than adults.

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

It symbolizes the mother’s feelings of guilt and her inability to cope with her mistakes in life.  It also symbolizes how she cared more for herself than for her own son, because at the end, she didn’t care if her son remembered anything or the struggle he went through, she rather put the needle in herself to forget everything that happened.  At the end, it only mattered her.  Many mothers use motherhood as an excuse to be selfish and incompetent.

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?

I believe this story is about the conflict between identity created by the traditional values exerted by myth, and identity created by reality and human nature.  I think that is what the stolen beef and the Jell-o symbolizes, that this man stole her identity.    Throughout the story, she has conflicting identity.  First she said she is not really Yellow Woman, that she is from a town and has a name.  However, she wanted to be her because she let a man, that called her Yellow Woman and claimed he is the spirit of the myth, seduced her.  After seeing the reality, she goes back to her village, but stayed wondering about him, almost missing him.  It is a symbolic story that presents the conflict between identity, social role, traditional values, myth, reality and human nature.

  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?


I feel Leila’s father was a person that lived his life being a slave of the social roles imposed by the traditional beliefs of his culture. One minute he is almost crying because he felt proud of his daughter for standing up for herself and for others, while everyone is clapping, considering she is a heroine. Then, in the next minute he felt ashamed because according to his traditional beliefs, he was dishonored when she was tortured. He even considered: “Death was preferable for him and for her now.’ This story represents how the traditional beliefs and values of this culture influenced extremely the behavior of men and how easy they are convinced by them.


  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 central concerns in this story is about the fake life that the senator was living. Everything in his life was an illusion, including everything he offered, because all were lies. Even the town name “Rosal del Virrey’ was a joke because the only rose present was worn by the senator. The irony of the story, relays when he thought that Laura Farina came to be with him for love.   It turn out to be a trick by her father, who made her wear a chastity belt, to make the senator promise to solve the father’s problems if he wanted the key. At the end he got what he gave to others, a merely illusion of love. It also brings the ironic question of: how much really having power can give you? This senator had power, but had no real life. The only thing real in his life, was that for certain he was going to die.

Kafka; Rilke; Akhmatova; Lorca; Xun; Mahfouz

1.   Gregor’s family valued Gregor for his economic achievements and not because he was part of the family.  While Gregor was healthy and was maintaining the family, each of them did what they wanted to do.  The father would sit around reading his newspaper, had not worked in five years, even had such a trouble standing up.  The sister played the violin and the mother was always sick.  It was a picture of self-pity.  They had accustomed in that it was Gregor’s responsibility to maintain them.  After Gregor started his metamorphosis, the family’s appreciation for Gregor was less and less to the point that at the end, they wanted to get rid of him.  The father was the first one to get disgusted, and making a fist was “ready to push Gregor back into his room.’  At the beginning, his sister was concerned about Gregor’s health, taking the desired food to him, cleaning his room every day.    Then, she stop caring for Gregor  when all three members of the family were working so hard to keep up with the economic status.  The father that used to be a lay back person,  fragile and used to welcomed Gregor back from his trips, now was working and seemed strong, with an arrogant and insolent look, who resolved every situation that involved Gregor by harming him.    None of them  never considered that all the work they did, between the three of them, to maintain the family, Gregor did all alone without their help.

2.   In the first section, Gregor wakes up one day to find himself transformed  into a bug.  He realized that he was late for work.  He gets frustrated with the fact that his boss does not trust anybody and sends the chief clerk to see why their employees are late for work, even when they are hardworking individuals.  The chief clerks comes to his house, to which Gregor’s family get worried since Gregor is never late for work, and knocking at his door tried to convince him to open the door.  He tries to talk to the clerk, but nobody understands him because his voice also has changed.  After Gregor’s struggle to move, he finally opens the door, to which the chief clerk flee out of the house, his mother fainted and his father kick him back to his room.  They demonstrate how dependable is the family in Gregor and how caring and responsible is Gregor with them.

In the second section, you can see how the family is slowly changing from caring to uncaring.  At first, Gregor’s sister established a feeding routine for Gregor and finds out what he likes and what he dislikes.  Gregor spends most of his time listening to the conversations between his family members about the economic difficulties they are going through.  He feels sad about his incapability to save his family.  Gregor gets more comfortable with his physical state and start hanging out of the ceiling and crawling the walls, to which his sister and mother moves the furniture out of his room to make him feel more comfortable.  In an attempt to save a picture that was hanging in his room, he was seen by his mother, who fainted in the process.  His sister tells his dad, who injures Gregor by throwing him apples.  His dad, now was a different person, is a worker and is not puny anymore, but now is insensitive and uncaring.

In the third section, Gregor’s family rent a room to three individuals, who are supplied with regular meals.  The family did everything the individuals wanted to make them feel comfortable.  Each member, also had a responsibility, a role to contribute and they no longer care for Gregor.  They don’t even realize that Gregor stopped eating a long  time ago.   One day, while they were in the living room,  the lodgers  demanded Gregor’s sister to play violin for them.  Gregor, depressed by the way their family was struggling and trying to defend his sister’s dignity, creeped out of the room.  One of the individuals saw Gregor and all three were upset and claimed they were not going to pay for anything if such creature lived in the house.  Gregor’s sister, angry by the incident, tells his dad that they needed to get rid of Gregor, he was to blamed for all the problems.  Gregor, depressed, went into his room and died.  The family felt relief and rejoice!

At the begining, this family felt self-pity for themselves, they did not have any sense of responsibility but were considerate with Gregor.  The struggle to keep with economic situation, brought the best of their skills, but made them more inhumane and lost their dignity.  It looks to me that at the end they had more bug on them than Gregor  had on him.

3.   I think Requiem is a description of a historical event, in which families were separated, due to “the mass arrest in the 1930’s’.  The woman suffering is compared to the one of Virgin Mary when Jesus was crucified.  It is a moment of horror in the story of this country due to political control.  It describes how politicians can turn a nation’s everyday life into a horror movie, where children are orphans, and the mothers are emotionally tortured, while the fathers and sons are physically tortured and killed.  In this sense, I think Requiem is a political protest because it creates a sense of political awareness, to not be ignorant of the actions of politicians, because they have a nation’s life in their hands, to learn from the past experiences and to not commit the same old mistakes.

4.   The meaning of this phrase is about how a piece of art can challenge the observer.  Even if the piece have no eyes, or smile, or any communicative expression, the person can still connects with the torso, as if it does have an expression.  The art speak for itself a message.  The strong and defined muscles in the torso confronts the observer to change its self-pity and puny life to a more strong and healthy one.



Flaubert; Baudelaire; Rimbaud; Tagore; Yeats

1.   Felicite is an uneducated person that had been through a harsh and painful life, full of despairs and disappointments.  After being betrayed by the man that she fall in love with, she moved to Pont-I’Èvêque, where she was hired as a servant by Mme. Aubain’s.  Felicite is a simple-minded servant, because she lacks the capacity to understand the complicated intentions of human beings and circumstances associated with human’s executive functions, such as, decision making, planning and problem solving.  She does not seems to understand the social rules based on social roles and economic status, therefore she is unaffected by social pressure and reputation.  She simply lives her life day-to-day, performing her duties with excellence.  At the same time, her love is also simple.  She loves her mistress along with her children for taking care of her economically.  Her love is unconditional.  She is a very forgiving and kind person.  In contrast,  Mme. Aubain is a middle-class widow that lives her life with the expectations of society that comes with a complicated life.  She worries about the economic status and social status of her family, reputation and prestige, as well as, the education of her children, including religious expectations of culture.  I think that there is a hidden symbol, in that Mme Aubain died before Felicite, in that a complicated life will kill you faster.

2.   I believe that Baudelaire’s picture of men is one of despair, is the reality of life in that men are slaves of their own boredom, the inability to set goals and to have a strong will in not giving up until obtaining them.  I perceived that Baudelaire’s depiction of woman is a contradictory one.  The woman in “Her Hair’ is compared to a sea, in which the men floats in her curls or sea waves.  Is a form of escape for men’s reality to a fantasy of pleasure.  It glorifies the beauty of the woman and the pleasure of being in love with her.  In the other hand the woman in “A carcass’ is depicted as a horrifying reality, is compared to a corpse rotting in his path, sickening picture with flies and maggots, waiting to be eaten by a savage animal.  It denigrates the woman, and pictures a grotesque form of a woman.  The fact that its starts by describing how her legs were spread, and compares it to a whore, it gives the impression as if the woman is the one to blame for, as if she is the one that crosses in his path and that seduces man, but the true reality is that her love is as repulsive and terrifying as death.  I think Baudelaire intention is to show two types of woman, both unforgettable, the one that men gets to love and the one that men gets to hate.  It is the reality of life when you fall in love, a chance game.

3.    Chidam is a hard worker husband that is constantly exploited and humiliated due to his lower socioeconomic status.  Chandara is a young wife, who although took care of him and herself properly, was not a submissive wife.  She confronted Chidam for not bringing more provisions when he worked for more hours.  Chidam does not follows his moral duty.  He rather lied to the legal adviser saying that Chandara killed her sister in law in order to defend his brother.  In consequence, Chandara felt that it was better to die than to assume the required gender role in such unjust society.  The story of Chidam and Chandara depicts the reality of living under the regimen of a socially stratified society, for which the moral duty is defined by social and gender roles and economic status, where the upper classes exploits the lower classes and the woman is supposed to be obedient to the man.  It demonstrates the psychological and behavioral consequences caused by the oppression of such kind of social order in the family structure.  In contrast, the story of Rama and Sita portrays that morality has to be based in social stratification in order to achieve a social and moral order.  Rama is depicted as a hero, because he follows his moral and social duty, without any lack of conviction.  He is a prince, and although his socioeconomic status was lowered and he was persuaded by different beloved ones through his dethroning, he still pursued his required moral responsibilities as the prince, husband and son.  Sita is a submissive wife, who followed Rama even into the most dangerous places, who embraces the moral and social role as a wife.

4.   The poem “Among School Children’ communicates to me the harsh reality of life of the process of aging.  As the poet entered in the school of children, he seemed to remembered a girl that was a student, for which he fall in love with:  “Her present image floats into the mind-.’

However, now he realized that she is no longer beautiful because she is old like a scarecrow, but it is better to accept the fate and smile:

“And I thought never of Ledaean kind

Had pretty plumage once–enough of that,

Better to smile on all that smile, and show

There is a comfortable kind of old scarecrow.’

He describes the contributions of Plato, Aristotle and Pythagoras, but at the end of that verse, he states that no matter how great they were, they could not change the nature’s path–to age:  “Old clothes upon old sticks to scare a bird.’  Although I could not quite grasp the concept of the last verse, I believe he was stating that aging is a process of despair.


Tartuffe, Romanticism: Heine, Leopardi, Hugo

1.   Tartuffe is a comedy that uses sarcasms and exaggerations to expose the behavior of a hypocrite religious man, who managed to deceived the man (Orgon) that picked him up from the streets, and rescued him from poverty.  The writing piece provides a lesson to the society in how corruption can be infiltrated, even in Religion, in that a person can use faith to manipulate situations and to take advantage of people.  Tartuffe personality was of great mismatch between his truly intentions and his actions.  He portrayed a religious person, behaved and talked like one in front of others, especially Orgon, but his true intentions were of ambition and power.  It also provides with the opposing view of a true religious person, Cleante, which throughout the comedy, it preaches and encourages the family to act with self-discipline, compassion, composure and justice, the virtues of a devoted person.  Therefore, it is not about being anti-religious, is about teaching in a society, where the social order was dependent completely in the actions that others can see, that actions can be deceiving and not always depict the reality of the situations.  The social order and justice, cannot be dependent in merely actions; motives and intentions should also matter.

  1. In all this writing, I don’t see Satan as a heroic figure at all.  To me it just describes a spirit that was sentenced to prison.  The images of the poem of Victor Hugo are just describing the devil falling from Heaven into the abyss, and being transformed to a grotesque figure as he descends. In Dante and Hugo, both, described satan as being punished by God, for rebellion.  The difference is that in Dante, the devil’s sentence is to punish all the ones that have been traitors to God himself, such as Judas.

3.   In both poems, “To Himself’ by Leopardi, and “A death is like the long cool night’ by Heine, describes how sometimes fate in life makes people tired of living, makes them want to die.  In the first mentioned poem, life is compared to a vacuum, in which at the end, nothing is gained, everything is lost to fate.    In the second poem, life is being compared to a “sultry day’, in which the heavy sun and humidity asphyxiate you, because of the routine of the day as well as life problems depress people.  Both poems, describe the difficulty in having control of one’s life, because we always have to deal with unexpected circumstances that fate brings us.  It also demonstrates how humanity loses hope due to this effort and the frustrating truth, in that at the end, one has to leave everything behind when death knocks in our door.

Petrarch; Machiavelli; Native America; De La Cruz

1.   Machiavelli believed that if a political leader was going to be generous, it was better for him to displayed his generosity in public.  He believed that if someone was in the process of becoming a prince, then it was wise to use generosity as a means to gain people’s trust.  In the other hand, generosity could be a sign of weakness.  For Machiavelli, a prince should be feared, but not to the point of being hated because of being too cruel. When a prince is feared, it makes their subjects united and obedient.  A leader also should be able to be a good liar when can’t do impossible or conflicting tasks.  The prince should know when to deceive and when to have integrity, depending on the circumstances and the kind of people.  For Machiavelli, the prince has to be good, but not all the time, sometimes it has to know when to be the opposite, otherwise the enemies and subjects will take him for weak and the people will not be secured.  I agree with Machiavelli, in that a political leader should be good to the people, but not so good to the point that he does everything that the people want, because this demonstrates that he is not a leader, but a follower.  Also, in today’s time, it is not that everyone has the appropriate education to determine what is the best for everyone.  There is a lot of people that are ignorant and will vote for a leader, for the mere fact of his looks.  I don’t agree in that a leader has to be cruel or coercive to rule or maintain order among the people or subjects.  Often, being persuasive and having more than one alternative is all it needs to have.  I think a leader should not deceive or lie to the people, with the excuse that is better if they do not know the truth, by thinking like this they make things worst.

2.   The hair always has symbolized the feminine side of a woman.  In different times it has also been considered a symbol of fertility.  In the old testament, the hair of the women was considered to be her veil, who distinguish them in the religious society.  It was then acquired as part of their culture.  Nouns, often cut their hairs to symbolize their religious commitment.  It means they are renouncing to everything considered vanity by the world, to instead, commit to a religious standard.

3.     In my opinion, the flowers in this song referred to the warriors that are coming back from war.  The princess, in the song are compared to different types of birds:  “troupials, spirit swans, trogons, roseate swans.’  Like birds are waiting for the spring, the song could be a symbol of how everyone, are waiting for the warriors to come back.  In the same way birds cannot survive without flowers, because they have the nectar, the people are waiting for this warriors to bring back the necessary sacrifices to keep surviving.  It also states:  “They who have accepted flood and blaze’, meaning the warriors, who have been in the awful battle.

De France, Decameron

1.   Gualtieri was a person that believed that marriages did not have happy endings.    In his opinion, it was too difficult to find a woman that would adapt to his culture and the way he did things.  He decided to married Griselda, even though her appearance was not of a noble one, and found that she was a very obedient and kind woman, dedicated to service.  Her qualities were praised by their culture.  In his doubt, he decided to test her to see if there was anything that he could do that could make her change the way she was.  She never changed her attitude towards him, even after the cruelty that her husband put her through.  At the end he showed in front of everybody the kind of woman she was, by exposing all the secrets involved in her test.  I think this is a symbolic story because in the last ceremony she was wearing the same “ragged and rustic’ clothing that he made her take off when he first married her, as in symbolizing that the attire of individuals does not portray their qualities or their faithfulness.  In the same way, this is challenging the moral tradition that women are supposed to do everything that men say and be obedient to men no matter the circumstance.  This can actually be seen better at the end, when the storyteller stated:  “For perhaps it would have served him right if he had chanced upon a wife, who, being driven from the house in her shift, had found some other wife, who, being driven from the house in her shift, had found some other man to shake her skin-coat for her, earning herself a fine new dress in the process.’  This is because of his own distrust he got to the point on having all the qualities that he would not want himself in any woman.  Maybe, after all he did deserve a prostitute for wife.

2.     In The Thousand and One Nights, the reason for telling the story of the merchant and the demon was with the purpose to change the point of view of the king, in thinking that all women were the same way, unfaithful.  Each of the traveler’s story that were told to the demon asking for a third of forgiveness for the merchant, had both, men and women doing bad and good things, showing how both, men and women make mistakes equally, and how although some women were bad, others were good.  Is a more different worldview, in that humans, in general, no matter the gender, can be bad or good.  In The Decameron, the tales are more to emphasize or to challenge a moral traditional law.  For example, in the first tale, Ser Cepperello deceived a friar by telling him a false confession of his sins in life.  He made it seem as if he was an angel in human flesh.  Since the friar believed everything that he said, he received the same ceremony and honor that a saint deserve.  This challenge the way the catholic religion in those times made a decision in making someone a saint.  However, it also leaves it open to believe that maybe people were receiving miracles by praying to Cepperello saint, not because he really was a saint, but because perhaps God honored the prayer of the good friar.

3.   The nightingale symbolizes the story of how a knight and a lady could not be with each other.  Each night, when the lady’s husband was sleeping she would meet with the knight.  This was until her husband realized that his wife was leaving his side all night and asked her where she went, to which she answered that she really liked the nightingale songs and so she stayed awake in the night listening to it.  Her husband made sure the nightingale was killed, so she could not have anymore excuses.  That is why the lady sent the dead nightingale to the knight, to let him know that she could not see him again.  I think the nightingale is a symbol of the traditional moral views of the time.  In this case, it was considered bad for a lady and a knight to be together, because of the expected roles of each in the society.  It also raises the question, if is worth and wise to spend the life with someone that does not loves you, just because that is what is expected by the society.

Dante’s Inferno

Dante’s inferno depicts the divine justice of God as a deserved punishment for the sins committed in life, representative of the immoral path chosen by humans.  Among the hidden lessons taught to Dante, an individual’s chosen path cannot be undecided.  Rather the mind has to be determined to be faithful to the moral laws, described in the comedy, that for Dante were a representation of the Christian path.  For example, at the beginning of Dante’s journey through hell, he saw a group of souls that were constantly stung by hornets, because they refused to make a choice of whether to follow God path or not, including in this group were the fallen Angels who did not took a side, God or lucifer, when lucifer was exiled from heaven.  Second, any deviations or infractions to the “Christian’ laws were condemned, and ignorance does not exonerated the individual, even if they lived virtuously.  This can be seen in the Limbo, where the people that lived in the times before Christ resided.  Although, not tortured physically, they were tortured emotionally, regretting the missed opportunity of getting to know Christianity.  A third depicted message, was that even if a soul committed multiple sins, punishments were specific for the most nurtured sin by each soul.  This message was characterized by Minos, the judge of the underworld, who discerned each individual’s soul and sentenced it to a particular circle of hell, where the souls were grouped by the worst sin committed.  This take us to a fourth lesson, sins and punishments were categorized, with the most painful and gruesome punishments for the most severely sins, starting hell with the least severe and finishing with the worst sin, which was treachery to God (Judas).  The sins were grouped as follows, with the symbol of less than (<) meaning less severe than, in this case:  limbo<lust<gluttony<greed<wrath< heresy<violence<fraud<treachery.  Some of the circles were also subclassified.  Fifth, each punishment seemed to be resembling the characteristics of the sin itself or portraying a suffering contrary to the luxury of the sin.  For example, flatterers deceived people with their words and took advantage of them (fraud), so they are fed excrement, since their words meant crap.  Finally, souls are punished for eternity.  At the end, when Dante climbed back to the world of the living, the first thing he described is the sky with the stars, which to me it indicated that Dante believed that everything he saw in hell was a representation of God’s just order, and a reminder that we are God’s creation.

In my opinion, every person has committed one of  the sins portrayed in Dante’s hell.  The epic piece does not really indicate or represent to what extent a sin is considered punishable by hell.  For example a person can deceive a criminal to save their children.  I do not see Dante’s hell as an ideal representation of God’s justice, since justice takes in consideration not only an immoral act in itself, but also the consequences associated with the action, as well as the intentions or motive of such actions.  Also, justice has equality and mercy to some degree.  There is nothing merciful in condemning people from the times before Christ because they were ignorant.  It would be like condemning a blind because they could not see.  The bible offers numerous stories for which God has forgiven sinful people.  Among this ones, the famous king David.  I do not believe God only sees mere acts, the intentions of the heart is a phrase commonly emphasized in the bible.  I think Dante’s hell was more a representation of the political-religious traditional believes from his culture in his times.

The Thousand and One Night, Dante’s Inferno

1.     The story of Shahrayar represents a common point in anyone’s life, in which humans tend to stereotype individuals based on personal or historical suffering experiences.  The king Shahrayar, after finding that the queen cheated on him, and that his brother’s wife cheated on his brother also, made a stereotype of all women  by saying that all women were the same way.  In their journey in trying to find someone’s disgrace worst than the one they had, they found a woman, who was a demon’s slave, that was kept with locks in the demon’s chest, managed to cheat on the demon 100 times.  This was of motive for the king to believe that if such woman was able to do so in such a hard position, then there was no way a man could escape of the cheating actions of women.  The only way, the king thought, would be to kill the woman, after being with her for one night.  To me, Shahrayar’s madness does not make any sense, because he did not took in consideration any women in his life that did good to him, but only this woman (the queen) that did wrong to him, and also he did not stop any moment to consider the possibility that he as a human, could be wrong in his point of view.  However, this arrogance I cannot know if it is because he is a man or because he is a king.  However, I went and asked several man what they would have done in Shahrayar’s position, and they  all said they would have done the same thing since that’s a common thinking among men.  Therefore I asked, why they have not done so at the present society, and they replied, because they are not kings.  So, maybe it is a combination between male ego and the position in the society, but for that, we may need a good statistical analysis.

2.   The tale of the Ox and the Donkey was an analogy that the vizier was telling to his daughter to make her understand that there was a possibility in that she could be wrong, and that just because she had planned and calculated how to change the king’s mind, does not mean that she could know the future intentions of the king.  In the same way, the Donkey miscalculated the intentions of the merchant, thinking that if the Ox did the same thing the Donkey did, both would be living the life, and it turned out that the merchant told the plowman to put the Donkey to do the Ox’s work.

The tale of the merchant and his wife was a threat the vizier was making to his daughter, in that if she did not desisted of her ideas, he was going to beat her.  The merchant had a secret, he was able to understand the language of the animals, that could not be reveal to anyone by the order of the gods, or he would die.  His wife wanted to know his secret anyways, even after knowing that he was going to die.  The merchant heard an animal saying that the merchant needed to beat his wife to the point that she would cry out that she no longer wanted to know his secret, and this way she would never opposed him in anything ever again.  After hearing this, the merchant did so.    The vizier told his daughter this story because her decision was in opposition to his.  It shows the cultural idea that women are supposed to do what men said, and cannot argue against men, or they are deserving of punishment.

The tale of the merchant and the demon shows how both, men and women make mistakes equally, and how although some women were bad, others were good.  Is a more different worldview, in that humans, in general, no matter the gender, can be bad or good.  For example, in the tale of the man with the dogs, his brothers were the ones that did bad to him, they tried to kill him, and a woman, the demon, was the one that saved him.  It was a  smart way to change the king’s worldview, in that men and women, can be evil or good, is up to the person, and not based in gender.

3.   The allegories in Dante’s inferno are able to demonstrate the characteristics embedded in each sin.  For example, in the second circle of hell, are those that lived their life in lust, and are punished with a violent storm that throws their body violently.  Such is an allegory, that compares this individuals, as having no control of themselves and giving it all to lust, such as one would have no control of one’s body, in the middle of a violent storm.  In the third circle, are the gluttons being punished, with different types of weather, cold and dirty hail, rain and snow.  To me, this is a right punishment, because someone that is a glutton wants to be in control of the food all the time.  If you were to be in a situation of scarce food, the glutton will kill you first by not sharing the food and eating it all at once, they feel in control of your life  by doing so. Severe weather conditions is something humans cannot be in control of, and could never be, so is a good punishment.  Therefore, I agree with Dante’s inferno in the type of punishments, but I do not believe that some sins are worse than others as are portrayed in this comedy.


The Ramayana, The Bhagavad-Gita

1.   In the context of the epic tale, Rama is perfect because he follows the “dharma’ or moral duty, which is strictly defined by a complete set of social laws that are dependent in his socioeconomic position within the society, as well as, his gender and marital status.  Although persuaded by different beloved ones through his dethroning, he still pursued his required moral responsibilities as the prince and husband.  In contrast, his mother, Kausaya did not wanted to follow her “dharma’, which was to serve her husband.  Instead, she wanted to leave with Rama to the forest, but after Rama reminded her of the required duties as a wife, she regained her sense of duty.  Despite that Rama was more faithful to his “dharma’ in this situation, you can see that his perfection was a work in progress through the abduction of Sita.  Rama’s grief was blinding him to the point that he wanted to die, and his brother persuaded and convinced him to do the right thing, which was to keep searching for his wife.  Also, even though he was a god reincarnated, he did not knew this fact until the end, when the other gods told him so.  For the Hindu religion, Rama is a hero because he conducted himself in the proper ways according to his social duty, disregarding his feelings, and at the end, he was honored for it.  Therefore, Ramayana is an epic tale that is an inspiration in the Hindu religion, as well as, a justification of why morality should be defined by social stratification.  In my opinion, I found Rama less interesting that other heroes, because this religion reminds me of Kant’s moral philosophy, in which actions are only considered good if they are done only for the sense of duty, obeying the moral law, not feelings attached.  A common problem encountered by doing this, are situations where you have to choose between two moral duties, or a social duty and a moral duty, at the same time.  For example, if the king knocks at a person’s door with the intentions of killing his son, is it his moral duty to not lie to the king or to save his son?  Which moral duty should precede the other one and who decides?

2.   This is exactly Arjuna’s dilemma, which was a conflict between his social duty as a warrior, of killing his family in a war, and his moral duty of not killing them.  Krishna explains to Arjuna that his actions should be based on his sense of duty, and not in the moral duty that affect his feelings.  It is only this way that he can save his soul.  Arjuna at the end, accepted Krishna’s philosophy.  The difference between Arjuna and Achilles is that the last one rejected his duty as a warrior.  Aquile’s motivation to fight was not based on his sense of duty, but in the honor he could get, for pride.  Later a sense of morality changed his mind, due to his feeling for the loss of his friend.  Still, he fought to avenge his friend, and not because it was his duty as a warrior.  In other religions, you can see this predicament.  In the Hebrew bible, Abraham was ordered to offered his son in sacrifice, to test his faith.  However, God himself stopped him.