Author Archives: vradams

Ch. 15. Protective mother; harsh reality

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?

At the start of this film, I thought that the Mother was just an average, protective mom.  Maybe a little more so protective than most, but I wouldn’t blame her given her sons condition.  She feels as if her son would never do anything any harm, not even a water-bug.  Throughout the film though, I glimpsed a blindness to the mom.  Knowing that she tried to kill them both years ago, (selfish) I think she is ignoring the fact that her son has problems, I think that he is a mirror image of her.  While she is in her search for the “real” killer, and finds the old man and hears the truth, she wants to think that it is impossible.  I think her natural instinct on motherhood and justice acted before she could think about what she was about to do, and therefor killed the old man.

I think that the Mother knows her son did it, and that is why she uses the acupuncture needles on herself in the end on the bus.  She wants to forget all her bad memories (trying to kill her and her son years ago, her killing the old man, and the truth of her son).  I think it is ironic because she was always trying to get her son to remember things, and here she is at the end of the movie… forgetting.  I think the needles represent a connection between the mother and son.

So much for loyalty

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 always dislike stories and movies about cheating, it makes me cringe!  This entire story seemed like a dream.  The Pueblo Indian woman has eloped with a Navajo, yet she wants to leave, but she “can’t”.  She thinks that she is actually living out old myths of the Yellow Woman and that he is the ka’tsina spirit.  The beef and the Jell-o, as others have mentioned, I think too brings about a certain reality to the entire story.  It seems almost like a fairy tale, you aren’t sure if she is actually the Yellow Woman, or if it is her imagination, but the random beef and Jell-o kind of wake you up in a way?

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?

I would say that Leila’s father is humiliated.  He is watching his daughter being tried for speaking her mind, and he had always told her that woman should stay clear of politics.  I feel as if he is feeling like a failure at raising her as the culture does.  Woman usually go with the flow, so having his daughter speak her mind??  Goodness!  I don’t necessarily dislike him, if you think about it, you could compare to dads today by calling them “old school”.  He was born and raised a certain way, and having his daughter stray from the norm I think it is sad and humiliating for him.  He even felt as if death would be better for her than going through with a trial and public ridicule.

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?

I think that the title of this story is saying that death is inevitable.  No matter you situation in life; lonely, terminal illness, death will find you.  I think that the central concern in this story is that the Senator is dying, and Nelson Farina wants a fake passport.  The senator cheats on his wife, and Farina basically sold his daughter for a fake passport.  It seems that both were looking for a way out, and it outweighed love.

Week 13…

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?

First of all, this was not the first time I have read The Metamorphoses, and I still didn’t like it.  I know that it is supposed to be symbolic, however, I find it disturbing.  Anyway, to answer the question, I find that Gregor is really only there because he feels as if he owes it to his parents. His mother and sister do take care of him and cover his back while he is absent from work, however, I think that they are disturbed at his metamorphism, and really only feed him etc. because they feel as if it is their motherly and sisterly duties.   I believe that his father feels unmanly for not being able to provide for the family, and therefore can’t help being bitter to Gregor for he is the one working and putting bread on the table.

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?

His metamorphism, the effect this has on his family, especially his father, are all pivotal events in this story.  I think that throughout this story, the weakening of the provider of the family, makes the rest of the family come together and start getting their junk together.  Imagine if someone in your family was always working and providing for everyone and you were used to lounging around, I think it would be hard to get motivated and go get work.  Therefor, I think that it may have been somewhat beneficial for the family that Gregor was transformed.

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 think that because it was published after the fact, it could not of persuaded anyone either way during the reign of Stalin, however, I think that it definitely can be a lesson for the future and influence us in that way.  Aren’t all history books and stories and even myths, although published  after  the fact still teach their readers important lessons?

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

I find it like that of the persuasive speeches we have been looking at and discussing in my communication class.  Rilke provides a very vivid description of the statue, however, if you were to take away that last sentence,  You must change your life… it does not have the same “umph!” to it.  That last sentence really seems like the call to action in a persuasive speech and ties the whole poem and similes of Apollo together.  I think one should interpret it as him bringing the poem to a close, the conclusion, the part where he has given you all of these awesome smilies and then ends it by that dazzling statement that makes you want to start writing poetry.

Flaubert; Baudelaire; Rimbaud; Tagore; Yeats

  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?

The definition of a saint, in accordance to the Catholic church is a person who after death, may be the object of veneration and prayer.   To me, Felicite seemed more of a simple-minded servant who may have had some saint like attributes.   I think that she had a natural inclination to do her job to the best of her ability, and was a very devote servant.   However, a saint to me I always thought of as someone, who although human, seemed to be perfect.   By this I mean they are selfless, never are one to complain about their trials, etc.   “…never did she mention her anxieties’ (Flaubert 530).   However, in more than one instance, I think she struggled very much to be like a saint (although I doubt this was her intention) “Felicite sighed and thought that Madame lacked feeling’ (Flaubert 528).   I think that her mistress, Mme. Aubain tries to put on a more severe front, but inside has a soft spot, especially for Felicite.   After the death of Virginie, they reminisce and hug each other.   I think that both Felicite and Mme. Aubain are very similar in the way that they want whats best for the children and have a very tender love for them, however they differ in their social standings and different spots in the household.

  1. 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?

It is my interpretation that woman (for the most part, Baudelaire seems contradictory on the subject) are seen in the same way.   Very beautiful creatures, who over time, decay and turn into diseased, putrid things.   Baudelaire, in his poem, Her Hair, describes a woman’s hair as a getaway from a hectic life.   “Ill plunge my head, enamored of its pleasure,… Lulled by the infinite rhythm of its tides!’ (p 602).   Contrarily, in his poem The Carcass, he describes a woman in very vivid terms as “Sweating out poisonous fumes, Who opened in slick invitational style, Her stinking and festering womb’ (p 603).   Yeats seems to agree in that woman only have a certain number of days until “All changed, changed utterly: A terrible beauty is born’ (Easter 1916/ 851).   It seems to me that Baudlaire describes man to be the keeper of all memories.   As he describes in his poem Spleen LXXIX, he compares man to that of a tomb.

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

They are totally opposite couples.   Sita was devote and loving to Rama, and vice versa.   While Chidam and Chandara are the opposite; they quarrel and have a very bitter relationships.   Upon her death penalty, Chandara doesn’t even wish to see Chidam, I think she told her story so she would get the death penalty so that she could escape her husband.

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

When You Are Old, by Yeats, made me think of my grandparents.   What this communicated to me was that, when you are old, and possibly coming to the end of your road, you at some point will sit and reminisce on your life.   The decisions you made, your loved ones, etc.   It was a bit sad, but seemed so true for me.   I would say though that thinking about your decisions doesn’t just happen when you are old and by yourself, I think that this could happen at any stage in your life.

Righteous Tartuffe and Poems

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

I don’t know if you are meaning to ask if Tartuffe himself is ant-religious or not, or the poem as a whole… I want to say though, that both are more so to the corruption of religion.   I think that Tartuffe may want to do his best at being the most righteous that he can be however he himself is seen by many in the poem as a “bigot’ and Dorine refers to him as a fraud.   The insults from many in the play are extensive.   It seems that many are under a mutual understanding that Tartuffe is a hypocrite and I would say slightly ruins to face of religion for the rest of them.   In Scene 3, Tartuffe is totally hitting on Elmire and is trying to cop a feel, “Feeling your gown; what soft, fine woven stuff!’.   When previously he was preaching to Dorine that she was showing too much of her bosom.   I think that Molière is poking fun at religion and the self- righteous through his play and Tartuffe himself.

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

I wouldn’t agree that Hugo’s Satan is a heroic figure… but I guess in a way,   after his 10,000 year journey he finally found hell.   Hugo and Dante differ in many aspects, but I would say the one that sets them apart the most is what they describe hell as.   Dante has many different levels, while Hugo mentions that is incredibly dark and lonely.

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

I found it somewhat difficult to interpret these poems, for they all seemed to be so depressing.   I can understand why they would be, for the writers all faced some trail and writing must have been an escape for them.   I think that the two poems that I liked the most however, were Leopardi’s “To Sylvia’ and “The Village Saturday’.   Both seemed similar (ironic, they had the same author), in a way that they portray the young, youthful, and beautiful younger ones, and then in a more depressing tone say, “hey, it won’t always be like this’.

“My child, enjoy the season,   I will not tell you more; but if the day Seems slow in coming, do not grieve too much’ (Leopardi line 46-48).

An unfortunate truth, womanhood, and the flowers in a song.

  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?

From my understanding, I think that Machiavelli understood the very unreal, yet favorable characteristics of an ideal prince, today we could maybe compare it to a political figure, or a renowned figure in a church, like a priest.   I guess this is very apropo considering we are in the middle of an election… Every ad you hear on the radio is slandering the apposing candidate, there is never anything good said about anyone.   It is hard to trust anything.   “How praiseworthy it is for a prince to keep his word and live with integrity rather than by craftiness, everyone understands; yet we see from recent experience that   those princes have accomplished most who paid little heed to keeping promises, but who knew how to manipulate the minds of men craftily’ (The Prince/1613).   Take almost any political figure and you will see this in some way shape or form.


I thought this summed up what I am trying to say. Taken from the internet.


  1. 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?

Delilah getting ready to cut off Samsons hair.

What first came to mind for me was the Bible story of Samson and Delilah… Although this story the mans hair has the value.   Samson had long hair, (I don’t know how beautiful it was, I’m thinking it was a little more on the unkempt side…)   however it gave him power and strength.   When Delilah cut it, he was helpless.   I feel as if this story, even though with a man, portrays the emphasis pretty well.   You could also go with the story of Rupunzel, when the evil witch cuts her long luscious locks it as if her womanhood was taken from her.   I think that well adorned, beautiful hair portrayed not only a more feminine woman, but also power.

  1. 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 think that the symbolic terms for the two may be that the flower is the captive, and the song is the story of the capturing.   The more flowers that the Aztec brings home, the more successful he is considered and the longer his song is.   It also reminds me of old folk tales sung about people, I think it could be safely assumed that the longer your story, the more impressive your life was.

A Nightingale along with the Tenth Day.

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

I believe that Griselda was being tested only for her husbands own amusement.  It even states in the text “…Gualtieri was seized with the strange desire to test Griselda’s patience, by subjecting her to constant provocation and making her life unbearable” (Norton 1359).  Whatever desire he had, to me it seems as if he himself is astonished that he chose such a wonderful wife, especially for someone who never had any intention of marrying, and maybe being a bit skeptical, wants to test her loyalty to him.

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?

I believe that in each case, the tales were meant to pass the time, and while also doing so, there is a lessons woven into the stories.  The Thousand and One Nights, Sharazad ends up accomplishing what she set out to do, stop the king from killing innocent young woman, and she ends up gaining his trust.  I think that with the Decameron, it is a little different in a way because the stories don’t necessarily try to gain anything, they let you decide for yourself.  (Each story seems to contradict the previous one with a opposite view).    With stories such as these, I think that the relationship between the tale and the teller is important, and the teller is speaking from some experience and the story correlates with the tellers life.  I think that there has to be some type of parallelism.

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

According to the text “The nightingale that she invokes to quiet her jealous husband becomes a symbol of this yearning to escape, and when her husband brutally kills it and throws its bleeding corpse at her, we can understand that the stain it leaves on the breast of her tunic is this outward sign of a broken heart” (Lanval 1197).  To me, however, I would add that the nightingale also symbolizes a secret, with the death of the nightingale, her secret affair also dies as well, for she will no longer be able to see her lover.


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?

While I think that it can be agreed upon that Dante changed after his journey through the levels of hell, I also grasped another aspect.  While I think Dante realized that how one lives their lives, the afterlife in hell (if one doesn’t go to heaven) will punish you accordingly to how you lived.  His journey to me, made it seem as if he was reassured about heaven.  Being able to witness hell, and seeing people he knew suffering, I think made him really rethink his way of life and if this is how terrible hell is, what will heaven be life?  The same kind of extreme but all good?

For me, I personally can still not, and I don’t think I ever will, be able to grasp eternity.  I know that I would not want to spend it in any of the nine levels of hell.

Long nights and Dante’s 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?

Although this is a story, and in many stories, I think the themes may always be a bit exagerated to help one truly grasp the meaning of the tale, one should be able to understand the heartbreak in the beginning of this story.   I for one, can understand Shahrayar’s madness.   He is under the impression that he is married to a faithful woman, and he is in love.   Finding out, however that she has been unfaithful drives him crazy.   He goes so far as to say “There is not a single chaste woman anywhere on the entire face of the earth.’ (pg. 1058)   I think that one can sympathize with him on his heartbreak, I can’t imagine how terrible that feeling would be.   However, I do think that his retaliation is a bit extreme, for him, I would say it may be a special case.   Egos may be more fragile when one is held to a higher standard, if the instance is public, etc.   Because he is a king, he may therefor feel as  if he has to prove a point to the entire kingdom and to show that he is still the boss.


Sharhazad telling her tales

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?

I am a huge fan of fables, stories, etc to teach a lesson.   I think it helps one understand and draw parallels.   The first tale, The Tale of the Ox and the Donkey, tells us how the Donkey, trying to be helpful and think that he is saving the Ox, doesn’t realize that he will take the Ox’s place.   The Vizier is worried that his daughter is acting as the Donkey.

The Tale of the Merchant and His Wife shows us how a woman at first can have a strong hold over a man and manipulate him (“Yes, I insist, even if you have to die.’ pg. 1061, he simply accepts this and prepares to die).   However, after hearing the conversation between the dog and the rooster he realizes that being a male he can easily show his wife that he is actually in charge and will not let her manipulate him.   This is somewhat contrary to the tale of the Merchant and the Demon where the demon has a dominating presence over the merchant, both are male.   I think that wether you are a male or female, it all depends on who thinks that they are in charge.   (Medea, the harlot in Gilgamesh, Samson and Delilah, etc)   I think that gender relations are a trivial part of this read.   Male or female dominance.

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

What was interesting to me was that sin was classified into different levels.   As if one sin is more trivial than another.   Isn’t sin sin?   What makes one persons sin greater than another?   I don’t think I know what the answers to these questions are or what they would be, I guess it depends on what a persons moral codes/beliefs, etc are.   This is what came to mind for me when reading about Dante’s levels of hell.   I personally always envisioned hell as a never ending pit of fire, and those who didn’t believe in God went there.   I don’t know if it is ok to sit on the fence for this question, however if I HAD to choose, I think I would say that the penalties suffered are NOT appropriate.   For one, I feel somewhat uncomfortable stating what a sinner deserves, because I know I am just as guilty of a sinner as anyone else.   I would like to leave that up to God to decide if one goes to heaven or hell, and then I suppose if you go to hell you are in Satans hands.



This is what I have always thought hell would be like

Ramayana & then 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 would say that at first, Rama seemed to be a bland character, because he was a heroic figure “without fault’.   However, I think that throughout the story there are instances where one can catch a glimpse of his human struggles.   Upon his victory over Ravana, he questions Sîtas chastity and faithfulness to him by harshly stating, “Your conduct is open to suspicion, hence even your sight is displeasing to me.   Your body was touched by Ravana: how then can I, claiming to belong to a noble family, accept you?’ (pg. 757)   I think this passage shows his inner turmoil on trying to achieve and be that symbol of perfectionism.   He loves Sita and went on a long and arduous quest to find her, and reaching his goal, questions her faithfulness and loses his trust in her.   Kausalya, additionally, has a difficult time as well.   Her actions compared to Hindu religion may be seen as somewhat unacceptable because she should respect and honor her husbands decision.

  1. 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).

The Bhagavad-Gita interestingly enough reminded me of Job.   Krishna is there not necessarily questioning him, but trying to persuade him otherwise and dissuade his conscience, similarly to that of Jobs three friends who keep questioning him about his faith in God…   Anyway, back to the question,   I would say that I think Arjuna isn’t really scared to fight, it seems that he is more torn between familial code, and the warrior code.   In comparison to Achilles struggles,   Achilles refuses to fight because of his pride, however I would say his familial code overrides this struggle when his good friend is slain, if this didn’t happen he may have never have fought.   In comparison, Arjuna is struggling to fight because he thinks it isn’t right for brother to go against brother.   In line 31 he states, “I see omens of chaos, Krishna; I see no good in killing my kinsmen in battle.’   However, Krishna was able to persuade him otherwise.

In the story of the Offering of Isaac, I think that Abraham was faced with a hard choice.   His familial calling I think would be to spare his son, however he had complete trust is God and followed his orders, I guess that could be seen as the warrior  code.


I think this picture really captures Abrahams turmoil, yet his resolve to do Gods will.