Author Archives: swhoke

Lesson 5: New Testament and the Koran

1.     In my opinion from what little I have read, I would say the most dramatic difference in the Islamic version of heaven and hell verses the Christian or Jewish interpretations comes from the Journey to achieve the end goal. Overall the idea of a perfect existence after death if you go to heaven and an eternity of suffering if you go to hell. I find it interesting that all seem to believe in a type of divine judgment albeit at different points along the journey to or through the afterlife.


The Last Judgment, 1572-79, fresco, Duomo


  1.      The most familiar parts of the Nativity and the Passion to the Greeks would have been the very creation of Jesus born of a woman and god much like a few of their own heroes. These half-man, half-god beings would often end up serving the human population for some greater good and end up dying for some greater good or belief, much like the life and death of Jesus


Retreieved from:

3.        Ancient gods were cruel unforgiving and more interested in entertainment than anything else. Gods of this genre were unbalanced and bi-polar to say the least. The repentance introduced with Christianity seems like it would have eased some of the pressure of religion on everyday life, even removed fear of a gods retaliation. Needless to say if all a sinner has to do to get back on a gods good side is repent, pay the church and a couple hundred hail Mary’s, who wouldn’t trade up from a lifetime of fear of Zeus’s wrath. In Gilgamesh and The Iliad the god’s were painted as meddlesome and quick to anger, each one with their own agenda.


Something I’d like to add is the difference between study today versus when I was in high school. In high school religious opinions and interpretations in the class room were  taboo, and avoided in order to respect differing opinions and beliefs(and avoid lawsuit). But now it seems that religion is fair game and not just from a literary aspect, also from that of history. I I find myself relatively uncomfortable addressing any opinion or lack there of that I may or may not have, of any religion due to my early education. This combined with the fact that I was not raised in a religious household nor do I hold to any religion in my adult life, makes discussions on this topic foreign and distasteful to me.

Medea; Sappho; Ancient Egyptian Poetry; The Hebrew Bible


Jason and Medea, 1759,  Carle van Loo

Medea and Achilles share the same emotional self-serving attitudes, although I would say that Medea was much more willing to self sacrifice to achieve her goals. Medea was more than willing to sacrifice her children in order to watch Jason suffer. However Medea’s character although driven to “madness” by seemingly understandable circumstances does not gain a form of redemption or forgiveness as Achilles eventually achieves.

As for whether or not Medea is a “hero” I must admit my first instinct given her background of killing her brother and betraying her family to be with Jason, followed by the murder of her children to make Jason suffer, I am inclined to say no. But that being said I gave pause as the play was a tragedy I should look at it from another point of view and I carefully thought of the play and it’s meanings, I believe that although Medea is no hero of mine that she is indeed the hero of this story. The entire play is focused on her, her blight and her obstacles she must overcome to accomplish her goals, and aside from the horrible murders of her children she presents a good moral belief that one should honor marriage and family.



Job and His Children,  1650,  Domenico Piola(1627—1703)

Job a life time of speaking/praying to a divine entity that has never responded to him, then to be suddenly “blessed” after all of these trials of faith by the voice of one’s “creator”,   Job must have been shocked, overwhelmed with emotional turmoil and confusion. Fear was probably a major factor in his acceptance of god’s power, a voice speaks to you from the wind saying it is your divine being with all the power in the universe do you ask it why when it seems to have been punishing you already for no reason? I think not. I believe the end dialogue makes sense with the setting of the story and the character involved, although I myself given my background would have thought I was losing my mind or someone was playing a trick on me, and asked lots more questions.

The Iliad

Question 1:

In the poem The Iliad we are told the story of the siege on the mighty Trojan city of Troy and the heroes that fought on the battlefield. First we have Achilles of the Greek Army, his relationship with his fellow warriors is like his overall attitude in life completely self serving. It seems that throughout the poem he is untroubled by the suffering of others around him and only worried about his own “honor” or “respect” as he thinks he should be paid, either because of his  military heritage or that he is the son of a “Goddess”. The comrades of Achilles both admire his fighting prowess as well as fear it in combination with his seemingly uncontrollable anger. On the other side of the wall we have Hector beloved son of King Priam and respected Trojan warrior and general. Hector throughout the poem is the opposite of Achilles in all ways with the exception of his fighting prowess. Hectors entirety seems to inspire loyalty in the Trojan populous, though self sacrifice in contrast to Achilles self serving ways, although Hector does share a flaw with Achilles. Hector like Achilles shows  that he like Achilles gets emotionally carried away, as with the cruelty he shows Patroclus  and his other victims.



“Achilles Triumphant” Illustration by Howard David Johnson

Hector and Andromache  By  Sergey Petrovich Postnikov (1863)

Question 2:

After “going berserk” and dragging Hectors body about Achilles is brought back “into balance” by the pleading of Hectors father King Priam. In my opinion this is a great example of what war does, it takes peoples morals, codes, beliefs and throws them out the window. When faced with life and death on a moments notices day in and day out people can become desensitized to it. Creating disconnections between themselves and their humanity and that of their enemies. This part of the poem is almost a form of PTSD and Achilles is forced into coping with actions that he has  taken(and the lives) as  well as those that have been taken against him.

A personal reflection, war is ugly, and a some points its not about killing the enemy but about surviving. War is emotional, comrades , enemies  falling before you, and back in these times it wasn’t yards or feet before you it was in your face with blade and shaft.

Question 3:

I would say the the Warriors code of honor and the code of  familial are far from exclusive. While the warrior code depends on honor and victory, the second responsibility for ones family(offspring, spouse, etc.) actually compliment each other in my opinion. The warrior code demands honor, and protection of ones family, their way of life, is the highest form of honor. Even now to fight for ones country, leaving family to fight overseas is seen as a position of honor and responsibility not only to ones family but the country one fights for.


Question 1:

Identifying the stages of The Heroes Journey in  Gilgamesh  is relatively simple. We can  start  with Enkidu who’s call to adventure being  upon hearing of the horrible deeds of Gilgamesh. This is followed by a threshold, the fight between Enkidu and Gilgamesh, after which begins Gilgamesh’s transformation and call to adventure. Together they adventure to the Cedar forest and are challenged by the Demon Humbaba, whom they defeat with the help of the sun god Shamash. The Revelation of the journey occurs upon Enkidu’s Death at the behest of the gods, this is where Gilgamesh’s transformation comes full circle as he searches for eternal life only to find that his deeds and achievements are as close as he can come to immortality.

Question 2:

I would say that the four functions of mythology are alive and active in the story of Gilgamesh. The lessons/transformation Gilgamesh makes to  change  from a villain to a hero, along with the mysteries of life and supernatural really play into the four functions well. I will say though that from a societal point of view its  more of a reflection on ancient Sumerian society than our own. That being said the lessons are still applicable as are some of the inflections about society.

Question 3:

Simply Put, Gilgamesh failed. His quest for eternal youth was a total failure, though he did gain some much needed knowledge about deeds and living on through history through them his overall quest for immortality was a utter failure. This is not to say that going down in history isn’t a great thing, it is just not the same as the quest in which he set out. In reference to that, when my wife sends me to the store for eggs and I come home with a complete meal, she will still ask where are the eggs?

Though as I believe in the impossibility of eternal youth I would love to achieve such deeds where as I would be the center of legends in ages to come.

Hero’s Journey- Willow (1988)

      Question 1:

        Willow is a science fiction fantasy film from 1988, and one of my all time favorite movies from childhood. After watching Willow  for probably the four or five millionth time, I was able to discern  that it follows the formula of a heroes journey quite well. Although I did see that since it had the two main heroes as well as several less important ones it followed, the latter  had a smaller but similar journeys as well.


Here I am going to give a brief summary of scenes from the film that I believe follow the heroes journey rather well, though you should note I am summarizing. The movie starts with the journey of our catalyst character, a baby is sent floating down a river by a women who saved it from certain death. This is were Willow Ufgood’s, our main character, a farmer and a aspiring magician/sorcerer, children find the babe by the bank of the river by their home. After a seemingly random attack on the village by hounds looking for a baby, Willow is conscripted with several other of his people to return the baby to its “own kind”. It should be mentioned that Willow’s people are dwarfs, and the baby was human. Tasked with returning the baby to a responsible person of the baby’s own kind. Although reluctant to leave his family he feels somewhat responsible for the child and thus his “Call to Adventure has begun”.


The first encounter on their journey is with a man in a cage named MadMartigan is deemed to be a responsible person by everyone in the group who decide to head home, leaving Willow one other dwarf and the baby. Eventually with seemingly no other options they give the rogue the baby and head home, the whole time With Willow asking himself if they did the right thing.

After seeing that the baby had been taken from the human they left it with they decide to follow and retrieve it. This is where our hero gets supernatural aid, and is chosen as the protector of the baby. After affirming his belief that he is in fact responsible for the child, he lets his friend go home and continues with new knowledge about his quest and the baby that he protects. We also gain two new heroes, who now have little side journey’s of their own. This movie is interesting in this way, because as it progresses more heroes arise with transformations and challenges. At the end we end with six heroes all with different paths that cross, and we are at least somewhat aware of their background and motivations.

This movie and many other like it follow a similar pattern of the heroes journey albeit not the exact progression something very similar can be found in almost every film/story following a hero or heroes. I love this movie and am happy to have the chance to share it in this course.

Question 2:

I believe that current cinema has the ability to meet the human needs expressed in the four functions of mythology, although I believe that many fall short. Part of the problem with modern cinema is relation and interpretation, some may find that a film meets all of needs they have for a film, while others feel like it was missing something. Film as with most art is to be considered by the viewer. Most movies that follow an adventure will use a form of the functions maybe without even realizing it, because relation and mystery along with psychology are great hooks, they involve the viewer and make them attached to the characters on the screen.

I will say though that some of the movies today are just plain  gross, I miss the scary movie with nothing but a squirt of blood shown and the rest was imagination. And the thriller where you don’t see the antagonist till the very end and then find out his motives.

Introduction-Steven Hoke

Hello everyone,

My name is Steven Hoke I have spent the majority of my thirty years of life in Fairbanks, Alaska. I am currently a contracting Environmental Safety Technician, I am a little late to this “party” due to a unexpected schedule change in my career. I am taking this Eng200x World Literature course to complete core requirements that I should have done a long time ago as well as to learn to enjoy reading a bit more. I spent most of my childhood with a love for film and not words, though recently have found myself reading books that I had an interest in years ago but no interest or joy to begin reading.

My education thus far has been a bit of an adventure I took a 8 year break after my first year only to return and acquire my AAS in Occupational Safety and Health. After this achievement I decided I liked college and wanted to obtain a BS.

I am looking forward to this course and the reading.