Author Archives: veyjustin


  1. How does your view of the main character change throughout the course of this film? What does this movie say about its the themes of motherhood and justice? And what do you think the mother’s small tin of acupuncture needles symbolizes?

From the beginning of the movie I found the mother to be a caring character. When her son was hit the by car during the hit and run she completely sliced her finger running to check on him. Throughout the course of the movie the only thing that changed was the limits she would push to help her son out. For example when her son was going to be released from prison and the old man who was a witness to the murder was going to call the police to tell them they were making a mistake she took matters into her own hands as she had been doing during the whole movie and killed him and burned down the junk collectors house. This movie says that a mother will do absolutely anything to protect her children even if that means putting herself into harms way. I think the mothers small tin of acupuncture needles symbolizes all the sins she has committed. She is able to treat herself and cause memory loss with them. The end scene of her dancing makes me believe that she caused herself to forget everything after saving her son.

Discussion Questions 13 — Kafka; Rilke; Akhmatova; Lorca; Xun; Mahfouz

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?

In the beginning of the story Gregor is the provider for his family. He is the only one that works in the house and he provides all the financial help. Even though he is the only one supporting his family, his father is cruel to Gregor and beats him. Gregor’s Mother and sister on the other hand care for Gregor. His mother tries to see him even during his transformation and his sister even feeds him. When Gregor is unable to work due to the metamorphoses, his mother and sister try to cover for him.

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?

In the first section of The Metamorphoses, Gregor is the sole provider for the family and everyone is incredibly distant from each other. When Gregor awakens to find himself changed into a bug he thinks about life and how he will be able to provide the way he has been.

In the second section of The Metamorphoses, Gregor becomes unable to take care of himself let alone his family the way he had been previously. Gregor’s father disowns him because he is disgusted with Gregor’s new form while his mother and sister kind of take Gregors place and take care of him.

Towards the end of the story Gregor’s family starts to change their ways and start providing for themselves. I think that Gregor’s metamorphoses was beneficial for the family in the end because it took the all responsibility off of him and put some onto the family.

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 didn’t find Akhmatova’s Requiem to be very effective as a political protest in its time. No one was able to read it because it didn’t get published until well after the purges were over and Stalin was dead. However, it was very well written and used today as more of an example for todays generation.

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

I think the famous command “you must change your life’ should be taken literally. Only you are in charge of you, and if you’re unhappy with what you’ve accomplished then you must change your life and accomplish something great and burst like a star.

DQ 11

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

I didn’t find Tartuffe to be anti-religious. From the story and what I read through the play it seemed to me he was more against the corruption established by religion. Tartuffe used comedy and sarcasm to take stabs at the faults and flaws of religious institutions such as the churches.

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

I found Hugo’s Satan to be a heroic figure because of a previous lesson “A Hero’s Journey,” based on the traits that make a hero. Hugo’s Satan is like the ruler of the underdogs, he started out as a “nobody” angel and worked his way down I should say, to become the ruler of hell. The difference between the two I found was how hell was described. In Dantes journey it was described as different levels. In this version it was just described as this dark abyss.

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

The two poems I chose were “A young man loves a maiden” and “Ah death is like the long cool night.” The language used in the two stories is incredibly dark and depressing. The first talks about a young man who cheats basically and leaves this maiden. The maiden gets anary and out of this anger marries the first man she meets just to “get back” at the young man. In the second poem it was using a day as a life cycle. When it was day there was life and as it reached night time the life was over there was no more “fun” to be had during the sultry life.


  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?

The pattern of contrasts between political ideals and concrete realities definitely applies in todays society. Every politician says they’re the “best’ or will do the most for society as a leader. In reality, they campaign by trashing the opponents rather than up talking themselves. Every politicians slogan should be “Ill tell you what everyone else wont do.’ Personally I don’t believe the perfect leader to be someone who throws everyone else under the bus. I would prefer a leader who takes ownership and holds himself responsible before others.

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 only story that I can think of about is Repunzel. Her long hair is how a knight is able to come up to her tower by climbing her hair. Long hair represents beauty in society. Every time I picture a queen I get this image of a maid brushing the queens hair, and this is probably because her hair needs to be maintained because it is a status. In those times only the rich were able to wash and keep long hair like that clean so people who were poorer would keep it shorter than someone of a higher class.

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.’

I believe that the term flower is referring to the deceased warriors that had fallen in combat. As for the term “song’ I believe it has to do with whatever ceremony was practiced to honor the warriors that were captured to be sacrificed.

Discussion Questions 9 — De France; Decameron

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

Griselda was being tested to truly see her loyalty as a wife. Gualtieri pretends to divorce her and pretends to kill their children and even pretends to have a new wife come into their home just to test her loyalty. Griselda was passive through the whole thing and Gualtieri gives up and admits to Griselda that he was pretending the whole time.

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?

In the Decameron the stories are being told to help them forget about the plague that has been brought down on them. In The Thousand and One Nights, the stories are also being told to help someone ignore or forget an impending death. The stories in The Thousand and One Nights were being directed towards Shahrayar and putting off and distracting him killing Shahrazad just like in the Decameron where the stories were just that, a distraction.

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

In Laustic birds represent joy and hope, the married wife uses a nightingale to send out messages to her loved one. What I took from this was that she didn’t find Joy in her current loved one and was unhappy, because nightingales usually represent yearning and pain.

Discussion Question 8

  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?

I believe that Dante learned quite a bit throughout his journey. I believe Dante learned that if he did not change the way he was living and treat everyone good he would end up in one of the nine levels of hell depending on the sins he did not repent. The nine levels of hell were places he did not want to end up being punished in for eternity. What Dante learned during his journey and what I personally believe do not really differ. I have always been taught to treat everyone how I would like to be treated and ask for forgiveness not “if’ I screw up but “when’ I do that I would go to Heaven. I think that Dante realized that truly believing there is a heaven and if he repented his sins then he would be accepted into heaven.

Discussion 7

  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 can understand Shahrayar’s madness to a degree. Anyone would be angry if they had found their spouse had betrayed them and was being unfaithful, but I disagree with Shahrayar categorizing all women that way, just the same as I would have to disagree with the lovely saying, “All men are pigs.’ It goes both ways. As a male I would have to say that our ego’s are not frail when in public, but can be quite the opposite when not trying to impress everyone around you.

2. Both the vizier and his daughter, Shahrazad, tell tales that surround their human characters with important animals, but the animals play different roles in the imaginative worlds of father and daughter. Compare and contrast the powers attributed to the animal world in The Tale of the Ox and the Donkey and The Tale of the Merchant and His Wife with those described in The Story of the Merchant and the Demon. How may these differences reflect the contrasting visions of gender relations so central to The Thousand and One Nights?

The story of the Ox and the Donkey is a father telling his daughter that there is a possibility that she can be wrong, and he uses animals instead of people to give her an example of what could happen. The tale of the Merchant and his Wife, the merchant just wanted to sulk and die until he heard the rooster talking he realized he is a man and should just beat her into submission. With the story of the Merchant and the Demon the demon was in control and I thought of the demon as a women where the tides had turned and the Woman was in total dominance.

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

I believe the penalties suffered are appropriate to the sins committed in Dante’s Inferno because the penalties were in relevance to the reason that individual was in hell. Eye for an eye. I am a firm believer in the golden rule of treating others how you would like to be treated, and I fell that rule can go both ways. When you don’t  treat people right then you should be punished by knowing what that feels like in Hell.

Discussion Question 6

  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 find Rama to be far less interesting than other heroes. As the headnote to the Ramayana points out he is a virtually perfect man. Rama always does the right thing, which in my opinion made his character very predictable. There was no “Wow Factor’ to his character and I wasn’t left guessing what would happen next. His perfection was put to the test when he was exiled and he calmly accepted it and gave up the kingdom rather than enter into a state of anger. With that being said his perfection was definitely a state of being that he had to work to achieve. Kausalya was sad at first, but was able to file her feelings away and accept Rama’s fate and awaits his return.

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)

Arjuna and Achilles are completely separate from each other. Arjuna was against the idea of fighting against his family and friends, and only wanted to better himself, whereas Achilles fought because he was seeking glory and wanted revenge. Achilles wanted the “bragging rights.’ Arjuna fought by the code of behavior and Achilles fought for himself and didn’t really live by much of a code.

Discussion 5

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

Between these religions, there are a few differences between the perceptions on heaven and hell. With Christianity and Judaism they believe in the sanctity where as long as you believe in god you will be accepted into heaven. Islam on the other hand one will not get into heaven that way unless their actions allow it as well. Heaven is described as a place of pleasure and happiness through all three religions and hell is described as a place of torture and despair. The only difference is how you get in.

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?

Almost all “unreal” elements from the Nativity and passion narratives can be related and culturally familiar to Pagan audience. A prime example would be the birth of Jesus coming from a virgin. That is an unworldly aspect because, well… we all know where babies come from.

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?

Asking for forgiveness from God is showing that you truly believe. This is why I think Jesus claims the redeemed sinner to be more precious. They have learned from their mistakes and are asking for forgiveness and giving themselves to God. In Gilgamesh and the Iliad have the Greek gods that warriors would pray to for power in their wars or sailing on the oceans. The difference was rather than just one God to pray to they had many gods for different occassions.

Discussion week 4

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.

Medea became a very troubled and appalling character after finding her husband cheating on her with another woman. She was so induced with rage that she killed her own children as a form of revenge to get back at her husband. A hero would not act out of anger or revenge to get back at someone. A hero fights for a purpose that is selfless. In comparison with Achilles they were both very similar. They both were selfish in their actions, and fought to get ahead for themselves. Neither in my opinion can be classified as a hero.

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?

“Bad things happen to good people.’ No one deserves going through hardships but everyone does in some way or another. Job accepts God’s assertion of divine power and doesn’t press for an answer to his question because when he was given a response, that was enough of an answer for him. Job was given “proof’ and that is why he was satisfied with what he was given.