Well, this class and semester have been a whirlwind. I can’t believe time has come and gone already! It was just the other day I remember getting our picture taken, signing a contract and getting our long list of homework tasks.
I’ve enjoyed working with many of you and learning all that I have learned in this class and beyond. I will take away many of the stories, lessons and tales that I have learned in this class and may even expand on the readings we have not gotten to just for curiosity sake. Thank you to the Instructor for providing the readings that triggered many discussions and debates both in class and outside of it.
See you all in class tomorrow and good luck to everyone on the Final!
First time being introduced to the gory versions of the likes of Little Red Riding Hood. Lesson learned, make sure there is a buddy system for when traveling the woods, make sure you are well protected and don’t allow youreself to be swayed from the path by smooth talking strangers, and for goodness sake, listen to your elders!!! Either that or shame on the parent(s) for allowing such a young child to go off on her own ESPECIALLY if you know of the dangers that lurk in the woods. Even still! I can’t imagine the parent would be that idiotic to allow such a young child off on her own.
In any regard, the main elements in all of the stories I’ve read (Little Red-Cap, Little Red Riding-Hood, and The Company of Wolves) included the following:
Goodies for Grandma
Being tricked by the wolf
Message or warning
In all stories, let’s face it, they all involve Red being eaten one way or another. In one story, she survives (thank you Mr. Huntsman!), and in another, she perishes along with poor old granny. In either regard, she learns a lesson in each making her way into womanhood (as it were).
Just when I thought I was liking Norse Mythology, it turne right around and bit me in the butt! Is this where we get our inspiration from for horror flicks? Giant monsters spewing menstral flow-like rivers making Thor’s journey across difficult? Eww, GROSS!
I have to say that Norse Mythology’s version of The End of the World is a very brutal, dark time. Loki even goes dark, throwing everyone under the bus and getting joy out of killing people. He has absolutely gone insane! So much chaos ensues once everything finally goes down. Prophecies come true, no matter how hard they try to diverge from their intended path. In a way it’s also sad for it hits so close to home that to think about our own world collapsing is almost claustrophobic.
The book Fables is a very different group of stories altogether. It’s a setting where all the stories can meet together in the modern world all at once. A mishmash of stories and yet they all work together. This book is a great example of what our teacher had us do in class one day. Take a favorite fairy tale and put a modern twist to it to see what you get.
Fables is different from what we read in A World of Stories or any of the other books we have read so far for class in that it seems to be visually graphic, including blood spatters and the dirty city (as well as characters) the book portrays. It’s no longer a Disney world where everything is goody-two-shoes with flowers and marshmallows. There’s fowl language, a cheating ex-husband, a wolf man with sensitive feelings, among many other strange and unusual characters and events that opens the mind to more possible scenarios and what-ifs.
I thoroughly enjoyed this read. To be honest, it was the first book I breezed through after purchasing it before class even began! I loved it so much that I ran right out and purchased an even larger book of similar nature (also a Fables Book) from the series and cannot wait to dive into that as soon as I have a moment free from homework. This was an eye opener and very enjoyable to read and cannot wait to discuss this in class to see what my classmates think. I really liked seeing a different perspective and bringing the fairy tale world into our own to see how they handle themselves in real life.
Norse Mythology compared to Greek Myths. They are similar and yet so uniquely different. Norse Mythology seems a bit more barbaric in the harsh outcomes the stories tell. Did Greek Myths tone their messages down a bit? Perhaps it has to do with the society and the times the stories were told. Norse Mythology comes from a warrior culture whereas Greek Myths come from a more philosophical group.
The Gods in Norse Mythology seem to be less mortal and easier to kill (from God to Titan and God to God) whereas in Greek Myths, Gods can be killed but not as easily as it seems in the stories of the Norse. Comparing the two styles, Greek Myths also seem more pety and selfish in nature where lust and greed rule their decisions and desires. They tend to have hissy fits or punish others when the Gods cannot get their way. There is coniving in both styles where the main coniving character seems to be Loki in Norse Mythology. Many Gods are coniving via the Greek Myths, there doesn’t seem as focal a character other than Hermes but he seems harmless compared to Loki.
When I started reading Greek Mythology, I immediately became engaged in their stories and noticed that they were an easy read. Norse Mythology was a little difficult to get into (both had very difficult names to pronounce and remember) but as the readings progressed I began to have a better understanding and familiarity with the characters in the stories and began to appreciate them more. I quickly learned that Loki is just plain bad news with Norse Mythology and if you see him, run the other way (if you can) otherwise if you have something he wants or needs, he will get it one way or the other. He can even shape shift and has sneaky ways of getting into places that are considered sealed. If he is not afraid to steal or cause trouble with the Gods, there is no hope for the human mortals.
Thor has made a comeback from Norse Mythology and is a very popular character amongst the comic book fanatics. Fenrir also has been used both in comic books and video games. Loki would make a fantastic character for any modern day television show in any format. It took me awhile to get into the Norse Mythology stories and I’m glad I gave them a chance! They are great stories (although some are very scary).
Rama is the hero that gets called to adventure. He is called to adventure more than once in his stories, the first being called to celebrate a sacrifice which turns into fighting off Titans at the age of 12 which he is successful. Through a jealous maiden of Rama’s “aunt” (I’ll call her his aunt even though she’s not related to his mother) Queen Kaikeyi, Rama is denied his rightful crown and subsequent throne and is sent into exhile for 14 years in the forest. He loses his father over this (dies from guilt) and is asked to return to the crown but refuses to dishonor his father’s original request and continues to carry on his 14 year exhile. A third call to adventure occurs when his wife, Sita, is captured by the trickster Ravana who tries to make her one of his wives.
Rama is aided on his quest by many supernatural beings. He is given a celestial bow, two inexhaustible quivers and a sword from the sage Agastya. Rama is then aided by a giant eagle by the name of Jatayu who is tasked with keeping watch over Sita while Rama and his brother hunt for the golden deer. Little did they know the golden deer was a distraction so that Ravana could kidnap Sita and try to make her one of his many wives. Jatayu’s elder brother, a vulture by the name of Sampati told of Sita’s wherabouts. A chief of monkeys by the name of Hanuman gave the most assistance of locating Sita and bringing Rama and his brother to her rescue. Finally, Rama received aid in fighting Ravana by Ravana’s brother Vibhishana who advised Ravan to give up Sita and spare destruction of Lanka which his brother Ravana did not like and punished him for so Vibhishana sought refuge with Rama’s camp in return, Vibhishana helped Rama in defeating Ravana.
The atonement, or in this story, the Dharma happens at first when King Dasartha, Rama’s father, appears from his heavenly abode asking Sita to forgive Rama for his transgression (not believing she stayed faithful in captivity) in order to preserve Dharma. In return, Rama begs Dasartha to give his blessings to Kaikeyi and Bharata. Rama also asks Indra, the celestial chief, to restore the life of the monkeys who had been killed in war.
Joseph Campbell, a famous teacher of mythology from the handout we were given in class said that he “believes that the hero myth is really written about every human being: each of us is the hero struggling to accomplish his adventure.” ” Campbell helps show that the adventure of the hero involves coming to terms with many conflicting feelings.” I admit that I’m late on the badwagon but I recently started watching the TV series by ABC called Alias which starred Jennifer Garner in the early 2000′s. The story is about Sydney Bristow, a college student by day and an international spy by night, trained for espionage and self-defense. Sydney’s journey began when she inadvertantly got her fiancee killed because she had told him the truth about what she did for a living.
She quickly learns that she cannot trust anyone and in order to gain her freedom from her current employer, she goes even more undercover and becomes a double agent – her call to adventure. Now her rode of trials begins and gets more complicated as she tries to gain freedom and control of her own life while playing both sides and trying to make sense of the world she once thought she new. Who is the good guy and who is the bad guy? Which of the sides that she works for is the right side? Which one will end up killing her in the end? Is her father savior or sin? What about her mother and her friends? Her life becomes a roller coaster one show after the other and she is the heroine chosen to make sense of it all. Her return at the end (which I have not seen yet since I haven’t finished the series but saw bits and pieces while researching for this paper) is inner peace. She finally finds her answers and everything that she has worked so hard to achieve…her freedom.
We understand human creation between a man and a woman. We know the story, birds and the bees and all. We even “understand” creation by God. A simple flick of the wrist, finger point, or magical “poof” and people, places and things just appear. At least that was my understanding when I learned about Earth’s creation as a kid. I never, in my wildest dreams, thought for a moment that the magical story of God’s Creation of the Earth could be anything but quick, easy and most of all…painless.
It wasn’t until I chose to research the birth of Athena that I realized I had blinders on all this time. I never thought outside the box about how creation could be anything different. It never dawned on me to bring the concept down to the level of reality. The book for my english class briefly touches upon the birth of Athena and holds true to the simple/quick/painless act that he just simply created her out of his own mind. The story made it seem as if he intended all along to create this feminine warrior. To me, that meant that he dreamed her up and again, “poof” she had appeared. Easy breezy.
The more I researched, however, the more I came to realize how far from my first perception I actually was. Through the research, it was revealed that Athena’s creation was more on the level of reality than I had imagined. The pain is excruciatingly real and this is the first time I’ve seen a God’s creation to be similar to what a woman would go through while giving birth (in a sense). Zeus went through real pain when Athena was created and it seems it happened by accident and not on purpose as I was earlier lead to believe.
Vis consili expers Mole ruit sua. (“Strength without wisdom falls by its own weight”)
The story I finally came upon goes like this: Zeus was originally married to Metis, Goddess of Wisdom, his first wife, who bore a child (it is not clear if it’s Zeus’s but we can only guess). Zeus receives advice from Earth and Heaven that he must swallow Metis and child to avoid the child taking over his throne. After Metis is swallowed, Zeus begins experiencing horrible headaches. Once inside his belly, Metis gives birth to Athena and provides her with the armor. Hephaestus (also Zeus’s child by wife Hera) was near Zeus during his time of agony and aided in the birth of Athena by striking Zeus in the head with an axe which allowed Athena to spring forth, full-grown and fully armed. Does this suggest that Athena’s half brother was Zeus’s midwife?
I found a funny video that adds a nice flavor to my blog this week titled The Birth of Athena for Dummies. At the end, I think John, the film editor, meant to say that Athena’s owl was sacred and not scared. Either way, enjoy.
The first story in our readings appropriately matches our blog assignment with the deadline due near Valentine’s Day. Coincidence? LOVE is the main theme as well as character. It all starts with Psyche who seems to be cursed with good looks. She attracts a lot of attention for a mere mortal (even though she is the daughter of a king) but yet, no man wants to stay and make her theirs. They end up marrying other women and she remains alone and unhappy worrying her father. She inadvertantly catches the attention of Venus who becomes jealous that a mere mortal is stealing away HER attention, and sets out to destroy Psyche by convincing her son, Cupid, to make Psyche fall in love with the ugliest most hated creature. But when Cupid laid eyes upon Psyche, he himself was enamoured and longed to make her his. After vying for Apollo’s help, the Oracle convinced the father king to instruct Psyche to a mountain top and await her husband the snake. She dutifuly followed the instructions and ended up not sacrificing herself but becoming a wife and living in a palace made for the gods. She was never allowed to see her husband, felt bad for her mourning sisters, begging to be allowed to see them and comfort them. Poor Psyche, her heart was bigger than her brain. Her sisters became evil with jealousy, convinced her to bring a lamp to bed to see what sort of monster she was married to and then stab him with a dagger (why was this such a popular theme back in the day? Killing husbands with daggars.). After witnessing his beauty and losing total control, she accidentally spills oil from the lamp on him, burning and wakening him. After seeing the light, he sees she has betrayed his trust and runs away without saying a word to her. She begins to try and prove her love for him by chasing after him. Psyche finally comes to the conclusion that she must find his mother, Venus, and appease to her good will to see if she can get near to Cupid again. Awkward! After Venus fails in her attempts to destroy Psyche, she finally realizes that the girl would be better off taking care of her son, being busy making babies and staying out of HER limelight so she could go back to being adored by the humans.
Wow! After reading this amazing story, I have so many emotions. Compassion for Psyche, hatred at her sisters for being so jealous and becoming so evil, longing for Cupid to give her another chance, and anger with Venus for being so cruel. Finally relief that all seems to work out in the end. It’s nice to see that for someone who has so much control over the emotion LOVE, that he himself falls under the control of it. Even he is not safe from this emotion of strong affection. Very refreshing to see (in this sense) a God humanized in a good way, even if the story is still dark and dangerous. The main lesson I got from the end of the story is a positive one. Love prevails.
Mankind became the center of the universe and in turn, the Greeks made their Gods in their own image. Myths being stories that portray a point or moral and heaven becomes a familiar place where Gods can become angry or jealous. Greek mythologists were magical transforming fear into beauty until science was able to come along and provide an educated explanation. Men used myths to explain what they saw around them making the stories pure entertainment.
Heaven and Earth birthed the Titans, or Elder Gods, who in turn, gave life to the Gods (aka. the Olympians). There seems to be much inbreeding and affairs as well as children being created straight from God’s heads (Athena from Zeus’s head)! One is to only pay attention to the moral or the story’s point. I would consider this similar to the modern day bible. Stories are to guide us to live good lives, away from sin and bad deeds so too, could the Greeks myths could award good deeds and punish wrong doings but the Gods in mythology are a little more difficult to please and not as forgiving in some cases (Minerva and Arachne). Also the stories in mythology seem harsher in reality and less sugar coated. I assume the purpose is to scare the receiver to ensure the lesson is made apparent.
So far one of my favorite stories is of the Big Dipper and Little Dipper. I never knew that they were also called Big Bear and Lesser Bear and are mother and son. How evil of Hera to try to get Arcas to inadvertently kill his own mother. Since Hera turned Callisto into a Bear as punishment for Zeus falling in love with her and getting her pregnant, and Callisto came from a family of hunters, Hera tried convincing Arcas to kill the Big Bear until Zeus snatched her up and turned her into the heavens as a constellation. Arcus joins her in the Heavens soon after as Lesser Bear and as punishment even further (boy Hera can sure hold a grudge!) the two constellations are forbidden by Hera to dip below the horizon. Lesson learned, don’t get involved with Zeus (if you can help it) and most importantly, don’t piss off his wife!