Monday, March 30, 2009

Jumbled Blog about Ovid and Other Interesting Things

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:

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


An Imaginary Life by David Malouf touched on so many of the things we talk about in class and the theme all that possesses the past possesses the future could be witnessed throughout. What I have chosen to concentrate on as reasoning for reading this book is the relationship between the Child and Ovid. Through this bond we can relate many other bonds we have been shown throughout the semester and bonds we deal with everyday.

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

Ovid and Me

I must admit that before I read Ovid's Metamorphosis last year I was under the misconceived notion that Ovid was just trying to provide to the Romans what Homer provided to the Greeks, and that Homer most certainly did it better. And when I read the unabridged version for my Mythology class at that cursed University of Montana place, I still felt that way. The book was dense and terribly hard to read and we were required to read it in the entirety. However, having now read the abridged version written by Ted Hughes I certainly do not feel this way anymore. My own story I was required to read for class was so enjoyable it enticed me to read even more. And though I am familiar with many of the Ovid stories, (I've taken more mythology/humanities classes than I care to count) I am enjoying reading and hearing the stories I have not read.

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


Though most of you, at least those that come to class, will hear me recite this sometime this week I thought it would be nice to have a reference to call upon closer to test time. Basically, the story of Erysichthon involves horrible greed and eventual gluttony, something that funny enough we Americans seem to be dealing with as a country. Anyway, Erysichthon goes to a forest one day to cut some trees for his kingdom with a group of men. And, being greedy, Erysichthon finds a tree singled out that is different from the rest. One would think this would be a sign to any religious Greek that something is amiss. However, Erysichthon goes ahead with his plan and strikes the poor tree.

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

A Jumbled Blog of Sorts

This blog is going to be sort of a jumble because this week is turning out fairly hectic for me.
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

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


My senses were assaulted. Never mind, the blatant references to sexual positions, the grabbing of breasts, those things I was prepared for. But for Sarah Ruden to use the words "freaking, honey, and dildo," I was certainly unprepared for. Researching further into this woman's life and background I found that surprisingly she is a Quaker and is not only the translator of this text but also our Homeric Hymns. Obviously, I think Dr. Sexson is a fan of Ruden's using not one but two of her translations so I shall tread lightly.

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:,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.