Wednesday, April 29, 2009
I also learned about the different transformations that people embark on willing or unwillingly and the many transformations I myself may experience. Personally, I think this was one of the best English classes on campus and have recommended it to all my non-English major friends if they ever have to take an English class to take this. The class allowed for personal expression of ideas and in a way our class was its own little Symposium.
I will miss coming to class everyday to hear Dr. Sexson talk about the latest way in which present relates to the past and I will miss the thoughts and theories promoted by my classmates. This has truly been enjoyable and I wish you all good luck on all your future endeavors.
Tuesday, April 28, 2009
Recently, well yesterday to be exact, I pledged a sorority. If you would like to be technical they call themselves a woman's fraternity but no matter. And though I won't go into detail the experience reminded me of the rituals we have discussed from the past. Words that are said, things that are done, and things that are seen. Really it is the same thing. And so I took comfort in the fact that really we were only performing something that had been done time and time again centuries ago maybe even by Demeter.
Below are some interesting links about Greek Rituals and Traditions. My experience made me want to research them a bit more.
http://atheism.about.com/library/FAQs/religion/blgrk_rituals06.htm this link discusses the various Greek festivals
http://people.uncw.edu/deagona/ancientnovel/kristina.htm this link discusses burial rituals something we are all familiar with from antigone
and this link discusses Greek religion http://library.thinkquest.org/28111/newpage2.htm
I guess we are winding down and I am sorry to go because this has been one of my most enjoyable English classes this semester and I am not looking forward to the ones for next! I also just laughed because as I googled Homer's last line "mentor" the first thing that appeared was Deborah's blog. Maybe I should try to make my blogs a little better just in case someone stumbles upon it!
I guess what I really want to use this blog for is what was said in my Educational Technology class today. You see, a history major was doing a presentation and made the comment, "Greek Myth does not belong in the English classroom it has no literary value, instead it should be taught in History." Now let me just say this about knocked me out of my chair. Not only did I take both Humanities and Mythology in high school I went on to take them again in college along with this class. All of which were in English form.
My first reaction was of me wanting to leap out of my chair and yell, "What are you saying!? Have you not read any Greek Literature? The Homeric Hymns, The Odyssey, The Trojan War, Euripides, Socrates, anything?!" But it is my opinion that would have been the case, it must be. How else could someone say such a thing!? Certainly the Greeks should be studied in both an English and History classroom but one should not deprive the other. The Greeks had so much to teach us, certainly enough to supply two classrooms with material.
So that is my rant of the day. Luckily no one was hurt. I have been looking through my blogs and I hope I have not left anything out, though a few of the homework assignments I have been unable to complete such as the coffee shop because I have classes. But hopefully that can be excused.
Saturday, April 25, 2009
I do however, think I will address what I feel the line means. I believe this goes back to without suffering we cannot experience the true happiness having something brings us. We cannot experience life without suffering. If we had nothing to compare beauty to would it not just be something completely and utterly ordinary to us? Certainly so. Again as Dr. Sexson discussed in class death is what makes life beautiful. He gave the example that if we were everlasting we could hold our grudges forever because we would have no worry the person would die before we could tell them how much we loved them. But with death we are given a time limit and everything else around us should seem that much more precious and lovely because we will not see it forever.
http://thinkexist.com/quotation/death_is_the_mother_of_beauty-hence_from_her/161160.html This website provides other Steven Wallace quotes that I find just as hypnotizing and yes, beautiful.
Jake- Jake talks about a subject that is often discussed in our society, violence in the media. Jake makes the point that violence has been around for all time and uses Ovid’s Metamorphosis as an example. He argues that by viewing violence it is a way for us to purge our emotions and therefore not commit violence. He further goes on to say that those of us so inclined to commit acts of violence will and whether or not we read it in Ovid will not affect our actions. I agree with this to a point. Certainly those who are prone to violence will commit it no matter but being shown violence may give these people more creative ideas than what they could have come up with.
Rio- Rio talks about how Echo because basically a self-made immortal. Because of this her story is one of the most powerful things in Greek Literature. Echo is self sustaining and lives on and has even outlived the gods through her connection to love. As Dr. Sexson says you can still to this day hear Echo respond to you in the cliffs and valleys of the world crying out for love.
I think this is both beautiful and true and it reminds me of a story I read long ago that discussed the three times you die. The first time you die is your actual death, whatever it may be. The next death you experience is that of being buried either in the ground or cremated and having your ashes spread. These deaths equate to first the death of your soul and then the death of your body. Finally, the last death you experience is the death of your memory, or when people stop talking about your life. There is really no way for any of us to prevent the first two deaths but through acts of heroics like Achilles and acts of pure love like Echo we do not have to experience our third and final death.
Luke- Again Luke talks about having his originality taken from him and I find it so fitting that the presentations have allowed for this scenario.
Ann- Being a huge Rocky Horror Picture Show I absolutely loved Ann’s comparison to the story of Pygmalion to Dr. Frankenfurter’s plight to have the perfect man. It is the exact same story, if only the sexes of the creations have been switched, and unlike Pygmalion Dr. Frankenfurter comes to see that his creation is not everything he thought it would be and more.
Tuesday, April 21, 2009
22 April 2009
Erysichthon and America
The story of Ovid’s Erysichthon recants the horrific consequences of greed, power, and debt, until finally showcasing a descent into the depths of hell. This literary piece relates quite well to modern day America and the predicament we have placed ourselves in. Through the same actions of Erysichthon, greed, power, and debt, we are in the midst of the ultimate collapse. Perhaps if our politicians of today only knew that all that possesses the past possesses the future we would not be facing such a terrifying dilemma.
Erysichthon’s story begins with a want for lumber and the commencing of a party into the woods to retrieve some. Erysichthon holds no trepidation for the Gods and disregards them entirely. Erysichthon takes this disregard with him as he advances to a tree in complete solitude that bore tributes to the Goddess Ceres, each containing a prayer. Erysichthon plunges his axe into the tree mutilating the bark as he proceeds. There is a lone cry from the band of men that have trailed behind Erysichthon but the protest makes Erysichthon frantic and he truncates the man’s head.
America’s story begins quite literally with the creation of the automobile and the supervene demand of oil in which to manufacture gasoline. As America’s population grew, so did the demand for crude oil which was not only used for gasoline but also, “…ink, crayons, bubble gum, dishwashing liquids, deodorant, eyeglasses, records, tires, ammonia, and heart valves.” And with an estimated population of 307,212,123 by July 2009 , the United States demand was beginning to exceed its supply.
So, it may just be an improbable coincidence that America decided to wage war against a country with, “the world’s second largest proven oil reserves. According to oil industry experts, new exploration will probably raise Iraq’s reserves to 200+ billion barrels of high-grade crude, extraordinarily cheap to produce. The four giant firms located in the US and the UK has been keen to get back into Iraq, from which they were excluded with the nationalization of 1972.” Like Erysichthon, America performs an act both morally and ethically wrong in pursuit of a resource it needs. Again, as in Erysichthon few people voted against our commander and chief to no avail, “The vote on House Joint Resolution 114 as taken on October 11, 2002. It passed the Senate by a vote of 77 to 23. The 21 Democrats, one Republican and one Independent senator…”
Erysichthon is successful in his quest for lumber and destroys the tree housing the nymph sacred to Ceres. This victory does not come without a price however, “She condemned him/To Hunger—/But infinite, insatiable Hunger, The agony of Hunger as a frenzy…” Erysichthon soon felt hunger in his sleep, he would tear at the empty air, lick his lips, and dream of food.
When awakened, Erysichthon consumed everything in his sight but still Hunger remained. Though Erysichthon was a king and certainly had reserves of money at his disposal he soon found it running extremely thin from the constant acquisition of food and the sub sequential devouring of said food. So Erysichthon made a disturbing choice; he would trade his last possession, his daughter, for food.
As previously discussed, Americas own appetite for petroleum by-products continued to grow to an unsustainable level. The oil fields discovered from our warfare were certainly helping to feed the insatiable beast but American knew we must continue to control this Mecca of resources least we not be able to satisfy our demand. So America, like Erysichthon, sent our own sons and daughters to retrieve and protect the assets we so desperately desired.
Erysichthon remains arrogant and proud until his very demise never once seeking out the cause of his curse of Hunger or apologizing for his horrific defecation of the tree. Instead, he continues to prosper by using his daughter’s gift from the god Neptune in his favor. But even his daughter’s new found gift cannot save Erysichthon from himself. In a dramatic last scene Erysichthon transforms into his own food and eats himself alive.
America is also arrogant to the affects of our addiction and all but refuses to research alternatives to prevent a fate identical to Erysichthon’s. “The Iraq war has already cost the lives of nearly 4,000 U.S. troops, but there is another cost that is not so readily quantifiable: the economic toll. Forecasts of the cost to the U.S. have reached into the trillions of dollars, fueling a controversy over the impact on the budget and the economy.” This article was written well over a year ago and we now know the economic toll the war has caused. Not only did the cost of gas reach close to five dollars not but a few months back but the government is having to troll farther and farther into debt to protect both industries and citizens. Yet, there has been little research into what can substitute as an alternative to gas and little done, though there have been promises, to remove our presence in Iraq.
The absolute truth is this, America is eating itself alive. We no longer can afford to sustain the practices and luxuries we have become accustomed to and if we, like Erysichthon, choose to ignore the dilemma we face we will reach our ultimate demise. If there is one thing we should take from this class it is not the knowledge of authors, literary styles and mythological ceremonies, but the fact that these stories possess our own lives each and every day. As the old saying goes, if we do not learn from our past we are bound to repeat it.
Monday, April 20, 2009
But what an interesting thing love is, because as Rachel said, we all experience it. No matter who you are, race, gender, society, circumstances, we all experience the love for and hopefully from another person at sometime in our lives. I think this is why so many stories are written about the beauty of love and the experience, even though we are aware that everyone around us has experienced love no one can quite experience what we ourselves are. The feelings you have for another person may seem to be consuming, unable to even be described, yet you strive to so others can share in your absolute happiness.
I really believe the idea of a tally and what Aristophanes described dealing with soul mates and people being halves of wholes. I have always told people that if my husband was to die I would never remarry. My mother scoffs at me, why would I choose to live my life alone when I could find another person and be happy? Don't I think my husband would want that? Maybe, I reply, but what happens in the afterlife when you are suppose to be reconnected with your loved ones, including your husband, but you are now in possession of two husbands? It's a weird though I know but I truly believe we will all be reunited and I will want to be reunited with my one true love.
I also believe in soul mates and though I believe that their are different kinds of soul mates I believe you only have one of each. And I believe that we all have the power to be lucky enough to find our soul mates if only we could remember what we have forgotten as Socrates speaks of. I feel I have been lucky enough to find my soul mate but I find it incredibly sad that many people would not be quick to believe this. I can hear it now, really, they'd say, but you're only in college a sophomore at that and you have your whole life ahead of you to date and find a person to love, you just think you've found your soul mate. Maybe, but they cannot argue with the pieces of coin we possess.
Misaki: Misaki talked about what she learned from this class. Basically, like many of us have found, Misaki learned that everything can be connected to the past. Misaki related Ovid's Metamorphoses to a movie from Japan, that won an Oscar if I remember correctly, Spirited Away. I have yet to watch Spirited Away but my curiosity has been peaked from the illustrations Misaki provided for the class; the family turning into pigs, very funny.
Christina: Christina talked about the transformation Ovid experiences through The Imaginary Life and how he must get past his circumstantially bound self. She goes on to speak of Ovid's fear of relinquishing control over his life. However, once Ovid gains realization that he is part of the world around him and that it is part of him he experiences inner peace and is freed through death. I think this is a metamorphoses that we should all attempt to embark on throughout our lives. We are all so encased in our own personal lives and selves that we fail to see the connections around us. I think this is a very noble journey indeed.
Zack: Zack talked about how we can all remember what we have forgotten only if we are reminded or strive to. He spoke about a touching lullaby his mother use to sing and expand on through his youth that I found terribly endearing. I hope that Zack places the entire lullaby on his blog for us to read because I would thoroughly enjoy it.
Sally: Sally relayed Elizabeth's idea of love and lust and pure love of children through her presentation. She spoke about a neighbor who had killed her children and speculated as to why. And though as Sally says, no one can approve of a killing in any sense I think she did well trying to understand the thought process behind it. Sally believed that the woman, who was schizophrenic saw her children as pure loving beings and either wanted them to continue on that way forever or to go to a place where they too could receive that pure love.
Erica: Erica talks about her love of tragedy and why we as humans obviously enjoy it too. She believes we enjoy tragedy because we can relate to the characters suffering, as Erica says "it happened to me too." And though the characters of the books past may be experiencing something a bit different from us it is still the same absolute suffering we all must endure.
Sunday, April 19, 2009
Shoni talks about how movies on her shelf related to stories in our class. I have addressed my same findings in earlier blogs and enjoyed her comparisons. She relates Legends of the Fall to Hermes, Gran Torino to Antigone and George Steniers conflicts, and Dances With Wolves to Imaginary Life. Sadly, I have not seen any of these movies so I cannot comment further about this but I think I have found three movies to add to my queue.
I was surprised by how many people chose to write a short story. I had to laugh when Jillian discusses how she believed her short story would be original only to be beat by two people before her. I have not had a chance to read all of these short stories but I fully plan to because they all sounded extremely interesting. I also do not think I will have a chance to go to the Kagy Coffee Club but I will try to find something to substitute.
Now, in an earlier blog I discussed how this affected me as an English major and someone who enjoys both writing and reading. At first, I thought it was really a horrible thing to find out that everything you love is in essence a lie. I imagined the quote I once read by I believe Mark Twain, but do not hold me to this because American Literature in high school was long ago replaced by all this college learning. Anyway the quote went something like this, "the doctor looks upon the young girl with a flush in her face and does not see beauty but the beginnings of sickness and disease. The seaman cannot appreciate the beauty of the rivers around him as they flow and chop, but only sees the course and obstacles in his way."
Again, I butchered that quote because I cannot remember it nor the author fully but I hope you get my point. Once you study something extensively it is almost like taking the magic out of it. And at first, seeing that nothing can be truly original in literature did just that for me. But then I realized instead that we can pride ourselves on the references we make in our works and revel in the fact that only those educated few that have taken this class and others like it, will understand.
It's funny, my father has a favorite game to play when I am watching a movie he has dubbed completely heinous. He will lay out the plot from watching merely five minutes of the show, because it has all been done before. Now this use to annoy me immensely not only because he would always be correct but as a young child I was not crippled by the fact that nothing was original. Everything I saw was new and fresh to me. But now, I must say I will fully be able to trump him at his own game thanks to this class. My father may be able to tell me the plot, but I will be able to tell him where it originated.
In a day that followed, I have now forgotten which one, I found another article that again related perfectly to this class. I did not steal this paper as I did the bear one and so I cannot be as accurate as I would hope. Anyway, a doctor of sorts has theorized that our president Abraham Lincoln suffered from a rare genetic disorder. The man came to this conclusion because of the facts that Lincoln was extremely tall, had visible bumps on his lips, and his health seemed to be declining. The doctor goes on to describe that had Lincoln not been assassinated he instead would have died within a year from a cancer accompanying the disorder. Now this is all extremely interesting but it is a hypothesis.
The only way for the doctor to prove his theory is to test DNA. There is a piece of cloth that holds blood from the slain president in a museum in, I believe, Pennsylvania. The museum is unsure if this is ethically okay. Now I know this one is harder but all I could see was the story of Antigone in these lines. No, they are not fighting over Lincoln's body but they are fighting over a part of if and whether or not it is right to perform a certain act on it. Now can you see? Antigone completely.
Is this getting eerie yet? I am also reading a book for pleasure on my own time called "Love Walked In" by Marisa De Los Santos. It is a light, fluff, type of read but I think we as English majors all need that once in a while in between the Socrates and Whitman. But while I was reading the other day I came upon a scene where a woman is fighting with a brother-in-law rather fiercely. Just as the battle comes to a crescendo and the piercing words uttered this happens, "...we ended the night laughing." Even though they both were upset about many things and on the brink of what would be an emotional out pour of sadness instead the laughed to keep from crying.
Thursday, April 16, 2009
Second, for anyone that wants them these are the pages Dr. Sexson deemed most important from The Golden Ass. 18, 25, 28, 60, 71, 93, 117, 120, 127, 131, 132, 139, 143. And things we should know for the final exam: and then the laughter by the stage, Lucius becomes a man by eating roses, psyche did not always mean mind it meant soul.
Third, I certainly feel for poor Psyche and the impossible tasks her mother-in-law gives to her. I think we as women dating men, especially men that are only children, face these struggles each and everyday. We must constantly please the women who bore our lover, yet we will never achieve true approval. After all, he is her baby boy and she is his mother and that certainly is a bond that should not be spoken of
Home, Dr. Sexson's final words for what was the last class he will truly teach in front of us truly resonated with me. Because many of us in the class may not of always understood of what importance some of the things we read and did had we should all understand now. "We end where we began." As Dr. Sexson put it our journey is like that of Lucius'. Furthermore I invite all of you to read this essay by John Caris examining the multiple layers in the story Cupid and Psyche. I find it to be a very interesting read. http://westgatehouse.com/entry6.html
Monday, April 13, 2009
So while googling The Golden Ass I found an interesting video for a book History: Fiction or Science? Which believes that the Greek and Roman eras of the world was created and imagined by the Renaissance thinkers. The book also believes that Jesus did not exist when previously supposed but in 1000 AD. And though all these claims certainly are radical the first three minutes does talk about The Golden Ass and also shows beautiful artwork so I think it is worth taking a look at.http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-5158514599207687353
I also found an interesting website discussing the responsibility of the reader:The charge to the reader: intende (lit. 'be attentive') -- rather like the beginning of the first English epic Beowulf : Hwaet ('listen') -- is a much more demanding commencement than 'once upon a time...' It requests the reader to be an active participant in experiencing the tale, not simply a passive listener (Apuleius's style throughout is consistent with this notion). The Latin statement, in fact, is a conditional: 'if you are attentive, then you shall take pleasure', suggesting that the reader's enjoyment depends upon the degree of attention paid to the tale. http://www.jnanam.net/golden-ass/
I find the last part of this book the most interesting as it deals with Lucuis wishing to enter into the cult of Isis. The sacrifices and religious teachings are extremely poetic and also show the great devotion to religion.
Wednesday, April 1, 2009
1.Vegetarianism-Because as Dr. Sexson says you never know if an animal could turn out to be your kin.
2.Metempsychosis-from Wikipedia:is a philosophical term in the Greek language referring to transmigration of the soul, especially its reincarnation after death. It is a doctrine popular among a number of Eastern religions such as Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism and Druzism wherein an individual incarnates from one body to another, either human, animal, or plant.Generally the term is only used within the context of Greek Philosophy, but has also been used by modern philosophers such as Schopenhauer and Kurt Gödel; otherwise the term transmigration is more appropriate. The word also plays a prominent role in James Joyce's Ulysses, and is associated also with Nietzsche.
3.The Eternal Flux-"the only constant is change"."For what was before is left behind: and what was not comes to be: and each moment is renewed." Ovid
4.Four ages of man-gold, silver, brass, iron, each less precious than the first.
5.The Elements-Earth, melting, is dilated to clear water: the moisture, rarified, changes to wind and air: then air, losing further weight, in the highest regions shines out as fire, the most rarified of all."-Ovid
6.Geological Changes-the Earth is every changing.
7.Physical Changes-we are ever changing.
8.Autogenesis- from Wikipedia:In biology the word autogenesis has been used to describe two similar concepts:
* Abiogenesis - the origin of life, as used by Aristotle and in modern theory.
* Orthogenesis - a discredited evolutionary idea that hypothesised a directed 'teleological' form of evolution.
Autogenesis may also have been used to mean a combination of the two, a purposeful, directed or 'special creation' abiogenesis event, the product of which undergoes orthogenesis.
The word was used in gnostic texts such as The Secret Book of John. There it was an honorary title given to the logos, Jesus the Christ.
From Ovid:"The cub that a she-bear has just produced is not a cub but a scarcely living lump of flesh: the mother gives it a body, by licking it, and shapes it into a form like that she has herself."
9.The Phoenix-renews and reproduces itself. From the ashes it arises.
10.Transfers of Power-One state falls, such as Troy, and another rises up from it much like the Phoenix.
11.The Sanctity of Life-Again, because we are every changing we may find ourselves changing into animals so it is not good to eat animals least it be ones relative.
Monday, March 30, 2009
I must say this is my favorite of the pictures I found of my Ovid story.It comes from a production that the University of North Dakota put on of many Ovid stories. You can find it here:http://theatrephotos.und.edu/2000_images/2005metamorphoses/2005metamorphoses-Pages/Image3.html.
I would also like to say that thinking in class today I would like to imagine the death of Ovid in An Imaginary Life as a transformation in itself. Writing a story exulting Ovid's exile would not be complete without a transformation or two. I feel the boy helped Ovid transform into the person he wanted to be and at the end instead of dying Ovid transforms into the boy himself. Furthermore, I feel the boy also experienced a transformation from a free boy, to a captive, back to a free boy. Though these transformations are certainly less subtle than the ones found in The Metamorphosis I believe they are there nonetheless.
On that note, having read through some of the blogs regarding our one page paper I must say everyone's topics seem so interesting. Christina definitely fulfilled Dr. Sexson's requirement to relate the reading to the class. I especially liked that she related Steiner's five states of drama to An Imaginary Life, something I certainly did not think to do but through her blog understood how it fits perfectly. Rio's blog also stood out to me with his explanation of the Child as a final guide for Ovid and how he wonders why Ovid did not sooner understand his fate. Everyone certainly went above and beyond as Dr. Sexson exclaimed today.
Sunday, March 29, 2009
In capturing the Child, Ovid takes on the responsibility of raising and providing for him. The other mothers of the tribe shun him as an evil spirit and it is Ovid that must take responsibility for the capture that happened because of his will. Ovid accepts this task and sets about teaching the Child what any parent would want their children to learn. Ovid tries to provide the child with language, teaches him the customs of the community, and shares with him his love of poetry.
Ovid also helps the Child get food and gives the Child shelter and comfort.This relationship seems to be that of the mother daughter bond that is not to be spoken of. In taking the Child Ovid must establish this bond and seemingly does. This is a reminder of all the mother daughter bonds we have read about thus far; most notably, Demeter and Persephone, and the Trojan women. Ovid will do anything for the Child and thinks of escaping when the family seems to turn on the Child thinking he is responsible for the sickness stricken on the families’ child. Ovid also echoes the sentiments that many other women feel today towards their children and is a reminder of the bond that will continue until the end of time.
Furthermore, the story An Imaginary Life reminds us of Dr. Sexson’s story of the man reading the newspaper. Even though the story is purely imagined, as is An Imaginary Life, it is an insight into a world that could be. Though none of this may be what Ovid experienced on the island it should not matter because it is a story that provides us with implications on the importance of language, the bonds between people, and a life of exile. An Imaginary Life fits perfectly into our readings because it deals with the issue that all of our readings will deal with, all that possesses the past possesses the future.
Wednesday, March 25, 2009
Anyway, having come to really enjoy the book I decided I should cut the author some slack and as Dr. Sexson asked I researched a bit about his life. Ovid was born to a wealthy family and his parents had aspirations for him to become a politician but Ovid instead decided on a life of writing poetry. Ovid's work shows the lives of Romans and also shows us a past that is very much still in our present. As the examples in class explained today Jerry Springer had nothing on Ovid. Ovid was exiled in the later stages of life and refused to comment on it except to say he "saw something he should not have seen" much like his story of Actaeon where the hunter spies on bathing beauties and subsequently turned into a stag. What are the chances of the event in the story happening in Ovid's real life? Say it with me, one in three. Anyway, not much happens in Ovid's exile and he dies in later years. I've come to recognize that Ovid is certainly not just a hackneyed version of Homer and contributed much to literature and his influence can certainly be seen in later works. So I must say, I am very glad we had the chance to read this.
Tuesday, March 24, 2009
The tree cries out, for it is not merely a tree but a nymph in the care of Demeter. It turns white, every leave and branch, and blood comes pouring from the axe entrance. One man cries out in protest, surely Erysichthon must give up this tree for it is sacred. But Erysichthon is really having none of that. He swiftly cuts off his protesters head and continues to cut the nymph. With her dying breath she curses Erysichthon and calls upon Demeter to avenge her. Demeter does avenge the nymph by sending hunger to reside in Erysichthon's belly forevermore.
Upon waking, Erysichthon finds his hunger to be insatiable. He eats everything in sight, drinks every drop to drink, but nothing can satisfy him. Eating himself nearly out of house and home he has nothing left but one thing to get him food. His daughter, Erysichthon decides, will be the perfect bartering tool to gain him money for more food. His daughter is sold to a man who has despicable things in mind indeed, and prays to Neptune to save her from this horrid fate. Neptune does save her, by giving her the power of metamorphosis and the girl transforms into a man. Her captor, confused, asks what has happened to the maiden standing there not but a minute ago. She replies there was no maiden and goes back to her fathers. (Which why would she want to go back to the man who sold her is beyond me.)
So Erysichthon decides it is a marvelous idea to have his daughter be traded and transform to a new shape to return home allowing for a steady income and a stockpile of food. She agrees to this, (again I must note why Neptune is not outraged by her abuse of his gift) and is traded over and over again to each new unsuspecting customer. Finally, Erysichthon surcumbs to his hunger and devours himself. Sorry, I didn't say it would be a happy ending.But this story can show us a lot especially about our current culture. Are we as American's slowly devouring ourselves with our greed? All that possesses the past possesses the future. I guess we will see.
Monday, March 9, 2009
First to note I have not yet written about a bad day because I have not experienced an exceptionally bad day...yet. But do note that when it happens I will be sure to blog all about it as a sort of therapeutic measure. Secondly, I have also not yet harassed an old person because I find it to be a cruel matter but will try and do my best in the following weeks. So now, onto the actual content.
I'll start you off with a couple definitions we have received in the past few days:
phallocentric- definition from Purdue University- PHALLOCENTRISM OR PHALLOGOCENTRISM: The privileging of the masculine (the phallus) in understanding meaning or social relations. This term evolved from deconstructionists who questioned the "logocentrism" of Western literature and thought, i.e. the belief in the centrality of logos, understood as cosmic reason (affirmed in ancient Greek philosophy as the source of world order and intelligibility) or, in the Christian version, the self-revealing thought and will of God. The term is also associated with Lacanian psychoanalysis, which understands the entrance of subjects into language as a negotiation of the phallus and the Name of the Father. (See the modules on Lacan.) Feminists illustrate how all Western languages, in all their features, are utterly and irredeemably male-engendered, male-constituted, and male-dominated. Discourse is "phallogocentric" because it is centered and organized throughout by implicit recourse to the phallus both as its supposed ground (or logos) and as its prime signifier and power source; and not only in its vocabulary and syntax, but also in its rigorous rules of logic, its proclivity for fixed classifications and oppositions, and its criteria for what we take to be valid evidence and objective knowledge.
Parabasis-(in ancient Greek drama) a choral ode addressed to the audience, esp. of comedy, and independent of the action of the play: usually following the agon and, in the earliest forms of comedy, serving often to end the play. from dictionary.com
Finally, I will discuss a fond memory I have about hurling insults a la old comedy. On Saturday mornings I would wake up early before my weekend soccer game and go down to the living room to watch television with my father. This was a weekly ritual of sorts and one that I will cherish for all my life. So what does this have to do with insults you ask? Well me and my father often enjoyed hurling them back and forth in a childish humorous manner. Things like, "you're stupid, stupider, stupidest. You don't know dominions..." etc. could often be heard over the sound of the television and our accompanied laughter. So though we were not as serious or creative as in Lysistrata we certainly enjoyed ourselves.
Monday, March 2, 2009
I enjoy myth. I enjoy reading Greek plays and have indeed read many throughout my experience of school. Therefore I have to absolutely reject Lysistrata in this form. I swear I tried, I read page after page but nothing got any better. As Sarah Ruden concedes in the beginning Greek is a hard language to translate, many of their phrases just can't be put into English words, I understand. But to be presented with something spoken so commonly, so not my idea of English (though I must admit I often wish Shakespeare to be written so plainly), it is almost an insult to every translator before this.
OK, done with that rant on to my second. I almost respect what Lysistrata is about and to be honest I don't have much authority to pass judgement because I have not finished the book yet. But, the beginning of the play reads like a ten year old boys fantasy. Ceremonies that only women can attend leaving the men to configure what the will about them and boy does Aristophanes ever. Half the time I was expecting the women to jump each other. The other half I was laughing to myself thinking that the Greek men must be delusional to think women would go this mad over an embargo on sexual relations. Dear Greeks, you weren't THAT good. Here is proof though I am sorry this is the only source I could find: http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,325353,00.html.
So when I finally see a shining beacon of hope, a shimmer of feminism, but I cannot even enjoy it. Lysistrata proclaims that she and her women have taken the town's money and have it in safe keeping which infuriates the men. To which she responds "It's management...what's so strange in that? You let us women do the budgeting at home." A wonderful argument and it is carried even further, but by then I was too displeased to care. So I stopped reading Lysistrata knowing fully well I was not being fair, and decided to try again tomorrow.
Monday, February 23, 2009
I highly recommend reading Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been? by Joyce Carol Oates. It is an extremely interesting, well told story that I very much enjoyed. However, if you find you don't have enough time to read the full story here are some basic points and summaries over the story from Bookrags.com
The tale of an insecure, romantic teenage girl drawn into a situation of foreboding violence, ", Where Have You Been?" presents several themes that arise from the interaction of sharply drawn characters engaged in psychological manipulation.
Appearances and Reality
Connie prides herself as a skilled flirt who has never been in a situation she could not handle. She feels confident when Arnold Friend arrives at her door while she is alone in the house: "Who the hell do you think you are?" she asks. Mistaking him for the type of boy she frequently attracts, she thinks she recognizes him from the sound of his car's horn, his clothing and physical appearance, and the line of banter with which he attempts to lure her into his
Point of View
The first line of ", Where Have You Been? "-"Her name was Connie" - signals that it is being told by a third person narrator. This narrative voice stays closely aligned to Connie's point of view. The reader learns what her thoughts are, but the narrator provides no additional information or judgment of the situation. For instance, Connie's harsh appraisals of her sister and mother are discussed: "now [her mother's] looks were gone and that was why she was always after Connie," but it is clear that this assessment is Connie's and not the narrator's.
Observing the story's events through a narrator who presents things as Connie sees them allows the reader to identify with her terror as she is transformed from a flirt into a victim.
Critical OverviewOates's novel about urban life and murder, them, had won the 1970 National Book Award, so It was no surprise that her next collection of short stones, The Wheel of Love, which appeared later that year, received much attention. The book was widely reviewed, and "Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?" was often identified as one of its greatest successes. Some critics were disturbed by the violence that marked the entire collection-a common criticism leveled against many of Oates's works-and by the extreme situations and emotions experienced by a central character in nearly every story. "Joyce Carol Oates," Robert Emmet Long wrote in Saturday Review, "is not really interested in people, only in mental states." Others recognized that disturbing readers was precisely Oates's aim.
From Answers.com : symposium (‘drinking-party’, ‘banquet’), the male drinking-party, an important social institution in the life of aristocratic Greek men. It was held in the andrōn, ‘men's apartment’; the (male) guests, their heads garlanded with flowers, reclined on couches (an Eastern practice introduced into Greece before the sixth century BC), usually two, sometimes more, to a couch (klinē), propped on their left arm; low tables to hold food and wine cups were placed in front of the couches. Wine was served from a large mixing-bowl (krātēr) where it was blended with water to make it fairly mild, and poured by young slaves of both sexes, often chosen for their good looks. At least as important as the drinking was the entertainment, sometimes provided by slaves specially hired to sing and dance, but often by the guests themselves and of a rather regularized kind; there were riddles and games, and lyric poems and scolia were sung. Much of the lyric of Alcaeus, Anacreon, and Archilochus, and some of the short elegiac poems of Theognis, for example, were written for this kind of setting. Sometimes guests delivered short speeches on agreed topics (see Plato's SYMPOSIUM below). Homosexuality derived much of its vitality as an institution from the circumstances of the symposium, where freeborn respectable women were absent and male beauty, charm, and wit were highly regarded. In a comic scene in Aristophanes' Wasps, an ‘aristocratic’ son tries to teach acceptable symposiastic behaviour to his embarrassingly boorish father. See also SYMPOSIUM
A restaurant in Pennsylvania that sounds very delicious (check out the menu): http://www.symposiumrestaurant.com/ I wonder if they know where their name comes from much like Bacchus pub?
And finally I looked up the reference to Alcestis that comes from page 7 in Symposium from Wikipedia:
Alcestis (Ἄλκηστις) is a princess in Greek mythology, known for her love of her husband. Her story was popularised in Euripides's tragedy Alcestis. She was the daughter of Pelias, king of Iolcus, and either Anaxibia or Phylomache.
In the story, many suitors appeared before King Pelias, her father, when she became of age to marry. It was declared she would marry the first man to yoke a lion and a boar (or a bear in some cases) to a chariot. The man who would do this, King Admetus, was helped by Apollo, who had been banished from Olympus for 9 years to serve as a shepherd to Admetus. With Apollo's help, Admetus completed the king's task, and was allowed to marry Alcestis. After the wedding, Admetus forgot to make the required sacrifice to Artemis, and found his bed full of snakes. Apollo again helped the newly wed king, this time by making the Fates drunk, extracting from them a promise that if anyone would want to die instead of Admetus, they would allow it. Since no one volunteered, not even his elderly parents, Alcestis stepped forth. Shortly after, Heracles rescued Alcestis from Hades, as a token of appreciation for the hospitality of Admetus. Admetus and Alcestis had a son, Eumelus, a participant in the siege of Troy, and a daughter, Perimele.
Milton's famous sonnet, "Methought I Saw My Late Espoused Saint," references the myth, with the speaker of the poem dreaming of his dead wife being brought to him "like Alcestis." Thornton Wilder wrote A Life in The Sun (1955) based on Euripides' play, later producing an operatic version called The Alcestiad (1962). The American choreographer Martha Graham created a ballet entitled Alcestis in 1960.
Bianca: There's a difference between like and love. Because, I like my Skechers, but I love my Prada backpack.
Chastity: But I love my Skechers.
Bianca: That's because you don't have a Prada backpack.
Humorous, certainly, but it also shows exactly what the story "A Tree. A Rock. A Cloud." is trying to communicate to us. We as humans do not undertake a task without preparation from learning to crawl and walk, the steps to riding a bike, to learning to swim, and even how to perform our job in a satisfactory manner as we are this very moment. But when it comes to love, we certainly have little to no preparation. We start out with things like "puppy love" when we are near the age of five or so and haven't fully understood the complications that can come from being in contact with the opposite sex, mainly cooties. We then graduate to "crushes" the cute boy in our sixth grade math class that has the best shoes and coolest hair. Again I will borrow a quote from another memorable movie, Sixteen Candles. "That's why they call them crushes if they were easy they'd call them something else." We then move on to our first actual relationships, loves, and heartbreak. But nothing in life prepares us for what we will encounter on the way and nothing in life teaches us how to be good at love.
Some of us may find it hard to express our emotions, while others as shown in the Ten Things I Hate About You quote, find it immensely easy but that doesn't mean they can fully back or understand when they say "I love you." So like the author in order to understand what love means I'd like to go back to the beginning and reference what an eight year old things love means.
"Love is that first feeling you feel before all the bad stuff gets in the way."
"When my grandmother got arthritis, she couldn’t bend over and paint her toenails anymore. So my grandfather does it for her all the time, even when his hands got arthritis too. That’s love."
"When someone loves you, the way they say your name is different. You know that your name is safe in their mouth."
"Love is when a girl puts on perfume and a boy puts on shaving cologne and they go out and smell each other."
"Love is when you go out to eat and give somebody most of your french fries without making them give you any of theirs."
"Love is when someone hurts you. And you get so mad but you don’t yell at them because you know it would hurt their feelings."
"Love is what makes you smile when you’re tired."
"Love is when my mommy makes coffee for my daddy and she takes a sip before giving it to him, to make sure the taste is OK."
"Love is what’s in the room with you at Christmas if you stop opening presents and listen."
"If you want to learn to love better, you should start with a friend who you hate."
"When you tell someone something bad about yourself and you’re scared they won’t love you anymore. But then you get surprised because not only do they still love you, they love you even more."
"There are two kinds of love: Our love and God’s love. But God makes both kinds of them."
"Love is when you tell a guy you like his shirt, then he wears it everyday."
"Love is like a little old woman and a little old man who are still friends even after they know each other so well."
"During my piano recital, I was on a stage and scared. I looked at all the people watching me and saw my daddy waving and smiling. He was the only one doing that. I wasn’t scared anymore."
"My mommy loves me more than anybody. You don’t see anyone else kissing me to sleep at night."
"Love is when mommy gives daddy the best piece of chicken."
"Love is when your puppy licks your face even after you left him alone all day."
"I let my big sister pick on me because my Mom says she only picks on me because she loves me. So I pick on my baby sister because I love her."
"Love cards like Valentine’s cards say stuff on them that we’d like to say ourselves, but we wouldn’t be caught dead saying."
"When you love somebody, your eyelashes go up and down and little stars come out of you"
"You really shouldn’t say ‘I love you’ unless you mean it. But if you mean it, you should say it a lot. People forget."
"God could have said magic words to make the nails fall off the cross, but He didn’t. That’s love."
Wednesday, February 18, 2009
As Antigone enters into her great speech of her last goodbye she addresses her brother she is dying for and says, "I would not do [this] for a child, were I a mother, not for a husband either. Let them lie, putrefied, dead; I would not defy the city at such cost for their sake."(905-908). I cannot understand this! Sure, Polyneices is her brother, family, but her husband and child should be considered the same. Furthermore, the child would be born from her, her flesh and blood, and I do not understand this dismissal. I understand it is just one line but one may argue that Socrates' famous "an unexamined life is not worth living" quote is also merely one line when we all know it certainly is not.
This is my one fault with Antigone.
Tuesday, February 17, 2009
"For if no human pollution can defile the gods, then the non-burial of Polyneices is a trivial immanent act. And Antigone's agnostic reflex becomes simultaneously excessive and reducible to a wholly private, sentimental impulse. The tragedy need not have been."
I absolutely adore this line and wonder where George Steiner was during the time of Antigone. Steiner has absolutely reasoned out why Antigone should not be sentenced to death for what she has done and had he been around to inform the not so level headed Creon of this he may have avoided his mistake.
"Antigone does not appeal for divine help in the execution of her pious design. No supplication either to Zeus or to the eternal custodians of the dead graces her resolve. The successive innvocations of 'eternally all-seeing Zeus' (line 184) comes from the lips of Creon."
I also like this line from Steiner because I think it shows something very meaningful I observed in the book. Creon is the pious man yet he is not godly by our definition at all. Countless times Creon spits vile on the gender of women and behaves in an extremely ungodly manner. Yet, here is Antigone the one who has been deemed challenging the gods behaving the most godly of anyone. This sums up the entirety of Antigone for me as a reader.
Wednesday, February 11, 2009
Willow’s story reminds me much of Hephaestus which you can find here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hephaestus, because Willow too was the last of her litter cast aside for her small size and timid approach. But like Hephaestus, Willow turned into something so much more. Willow was with my family until I was almost sixteen years old, and she was fifteen. Not having siblings, I can only relate to the feelings I had for my dog that I feel were probably very much close to those siblings must experience. We fought like siblings, (I was always trying to get her off my trampoline), we protected each other, (she attacked a dog twice her size that had roamed into the yard and got it by the neck), and we loved each other.
Not only was she my faithful companion for most of my natural life thus far, but she was also a survivor. When she was three Willow was bitten by a spider and her head swelled to twice her normal size. When she was four she was one of the first dogs in Montana to get heartworm. She ate plants that had just been sprayed with pesticide and though sick for two weeks, came out better than ever. These factors may have made her death so hard on not just me but all our family, and slightly unbelievable.
I remember my mother was the first to notice Willow’s behavior change. No longer did she happily run through the house, or come to pick up dropped food but moved in a sluggish, tired pace. My mother took her to the vet and was told she had an infection in her teeth, something in her kidney and multitudes of other problems. We tried medicine for awhile but our dog we had loved for so long was no longer the dog we knew; she was miserable.
I went to school the day my mother put her down, I don’t even think I was aware it was happening. I came home to my mother crying and explaining what happened. I froze, I had known Willow my whole life she couldn’t just be gone, she was my dog. My mother, never the one to be coy, told me the full details of what happened and I thought I was going to be sick. I didn’t want to think about it and couldn’t be around my mother so I fled to my room and bawled.
Willow was not my first experience with death nor will she be the last. In fact, I often find myself borderline panic attack if I venture to think of my own death and what will be after. But I take comfort in the cycle that life gives us. Something dies, something is born, life continues. And as Dr. Sexson told us, sarvam dankon sarvam anityan.
Monday, February 9, 2009
Now, Cupid agrees to this task but as we have all learned from Dr. Sexson by now, Cupid may be a God but he is still a dumb man. Cupid not only falls in love with Psyche, but he pierces himself with his own arrows like a dolt. An oracle (we know what trouble those are) prophecies that Psyche should be left on a mountain because her beauty is too great for any man. There when night falls Cupid arrives to marry Psyche and consumate their marriage. But, Cupid does not want Psyche to know who he is but he cannot resist seeing her to 'talk' so he insists that she must leave the light off least his identity be discovered. Then something magically happens that I'm sure is no fault of Cupids and Psyche becomes pregnant.
Cupid allows for Psyche to go back to town to visit her jealous sisters whom he advises Psyche to not listen to least she do something regretable. Upon arriving Psyche's sisters inform her that the townspeople are convinced she has married a terrible serpant that will eventually devour both her and her unborn child. Her sisters believe that the only way to stop this is for Psyche to take a knife and lamp to her bed chambers that night and if it is as they say slay the horrible beast. Psyche decides to act like a dolt herself and follows this advice.
Of course Psyche sees that her husband is indeed not a serpant at all but the god Cupid and during her investigation she too pricks herself with an arrow and is overcome with desire. Her actions however, awake the sleeping god and he flies away. Psyche is of course devestated and lovesick and decides she must find her husband. But those meddling gods tell her she must appease Aphrodite who has caused this mess in the first place. So Psyche travels to Aphrodites temple where Aphrodite has her do horrible tasks that Psyche is able to complete with help from ants, talking towers, and so on.
Psyche's final task is to retrieve a box for Aphrodite from the Underworld, which she does, but Psyche cannot resist the boxes temptation and opens it becoming overwhelmed by sleep. Then at the last moment Cupid rushes in, wipes the sleep from her eyes, and saves his beloved Psyche. After all this Zeus decides that Psyche should be made a goddess.
Now, I know that story was long but if you're still with me I think we can all agree how stupidly both Cupid and Psyche acted. Psyche hardly listened to anything anyone had to say yet in the end she was rewarded beyond her wildest dreams, with immortality. Cupid on the other hand disobeys his mother, pricks himself with his own arrows, and must save his wife from death. Certainly they are a disfunctional couple if there ever was. But their dysfunctional story is the basis for many many romantic stories that are told during this time of year and will continue to be told for years to come. Μπορείτε να δοκιμάσετε πάλι.
Thursday, February 5, 2009
Around the time I was in third grade I realized that though my mother had banned me from eating the wonderful sweets life had to offer, she herself had a secret stash. It was incredibly easy for me to find these treats. Though she placed them in the high cupboards my years of gymnastics were finally paying off and I was able to swing myself onto the counter top and reach my desired prize. Of course, I never took enough for my mother to notice, but there was another dilemma; what would I do with the candy wrappers?
Obviously, I couldn't throw them away knowing very well they would be spotted and my daily candy heaven would be foiled. So I did what any third grader would do, I hid them under the rug. Soon the rug had accumulated over fifty wrappers or so and a huge appreciation for candy. Usually, I was careful when I hid my wrappers making sure they were far enough back that no one would notice but one day my luck ran out. When my mother was vacuuming she lifted up the rug ever so slightly and saw a burnt orange color sticking out from inside. Of course she investigated and my candy stash was finally discovered.
I don't even want to go into how angry my mother was after that discovery, but lets just say it wasn't pretty. If I had been smart however, I could of just told her that Hermes made me do it. One could only imagine he was making up for resisting the cattle he had wanted to taste so badly and decided to try chocolate out instead.
Monday, February 2, 2009
I think the beginning of the repetitious day would consist of me acting in line with Hermes, mischievous. A world without consequences would be a tempting thing and Zeus knows I, and many other girls I know, would kill to eat whatever they’d like with no worry that it would go “straight to the thighs”. I wonder if in a moral sense I wouldn’t be able to rob a bank. I’d like to think I’m more upstanding than that but again, I think I would succumb to the temptation just to say I could.
Yet, even though all those things sound like they would be an interesting adventure the thought of repeating the same thing over and over again completely petrifies me. But why should it, again according to Eliade we should strive for this repetition. There is nothing in our lives but repetition we just do not have the time to stop and acknowledge it. Furthermore, Eliade goes on to say, “In imitating the exemplary acts of a god or of a mythic, or simply by recounting their adventures, the man of an archaic society detaches himself from profane time and magically re-enters the Great Time, the sacred time.” Personally I think I’d like to try out imitating Athena for awhile.
Tuesday, January 27, 2009
In the case of Polynices and whether or not Antigone should have the right to bury his body I'm on the fence. Of course everyone knows that the ancient Greeks viewed burial rights as key to getting onto the ferry at Styx and making it to the afterlife. If these burial rights go uncompleted however, the soul is left to wander the banks of the river. This is probably the worst thing you could do to a person as the Greeks viewed it, and certainly one would need to do something incredibly atrocious to deserve such a fate. As for Polynices, I believe he did commit an atrocity.
As Socrates would have said Polynices chose his actions and knew what the consequnces would be. If he had not been prepared for the punishment he should not have commited the act. Antigone should also accept the laws of her country because again Socrates would agrue it is the country that raised her, educated her, and provides for her and if she is unhappy she may leave at anytime. But even if the stronger arguement is for Polynices to go unburied it certainly does not mean its right.
Friday, January 23, 2009
After class I began to think, if this is to be true about something so constant as death could it not be just as true for something else more broad? I thought of the recent movies I had seen, one being the summer blockbuster The Dark Knight,and how the story of Bruce Wayne is the same story of the Homeric Heroes. I thought of the story of Andrea Yates, the woman who murdered all five of her children maliciously in the bathtub, and of Medea, the woman who murdered her two children in a revenge scheme against her husband’s abandonment. The more I thought the surer I was that none of the stories I will read in the Bozeman Daily Chronicle will be original, no movie I watch will never have been told before, and the television shows I watched as a child will be the same my children will one day watch.
Coming to this conclusion, I took things a step further. Would it not then, be an accurate statement to say that not even ones thoughts are original but have been thought by millions of people for hundreds of years. We ourselves are not unique and individual creatures, all of us are living in the same time at the same place watching and reading and hearing the same things. Our experiences are our own, but they are not original. All one must do is look back to the classics, the first books, to see the problems they face were the problems their ancestors before them faced too. So perhaps if one now wishes to be truly original they must answer the questions we have been asking for a thousand years, but just make sure you answer it first.
Wednesday, January 21, 2009
Though most focus on the story of Demeter and Persephone as the Greek’s explanation of seasons I saw something much more tangible than that. Demeter’s struggle is one that mother’s continue to face each and every day. A mother gives birth to her child, nurtures her child, provides for her child, all leading up to the abandonment the child will one day commit. Of course, mother’s today are a bit more prepared for this departure than our poor Goddess Demeter was.
How Demeter feels and reacts can be felt by any woman intending to become a mother or already having a child. We as humans seem to focus on the things around us as possessions. When one of our possessions up and leaves us it can be a trying time. Though like Persephone, the children of today come back to see the parents they abandoned it can never be the same as when they were innocent children. The mother cannot know the new experiences a child has, cannot champion the child, or punish the child; the mother is cut off from a section of the child’s life. And though we as children know the pain our mother’s feel at our departure we still continue to leave the home in search of greater things.