Wednesday, April 29, 2009

The Golden Ass

One of the more interesting stories that we had to read this semester was The Golden Ass. It is one of those stories that combines many of the elements that I learned of in another class. That is to say, it is a prime example of stories within stories. The most obvious is the story of Cupid and Psyche mixed in with the primary story of a man who has been turned into a donkey.


Maybe some of you will read this and get a little curious, so I thought that I would put a list of Zeus's infidelities on here and you could all look up the stories later.

The list is pretty far down the page, but its also pretty long so it should provide you with at least a couple of hours of reading. Enjoy.

Monday, April 27, 2009

All that is past possesses the present

I was looking through some old movie quotes for a quote I couldn't quite place and I found this one. See if you can guess the idea that's behind the words:

"Hannah, can you hear me? Wherever you are, look up! Look up, Hannah! The clouds are lifting! The sun is breaking through! We are coming out of the darkness into the light! We are coming into a new world; a kindlier world, where men will rise above their greed, their hate and their brutality. Look up Hannah! The soul of man has been given wings and at last he is beginning to fly. He is flying into the rainbow! Into the light of hope! Look up, Hannah! Listen!"

This quote is from the end of the movie The Last Dictator (1940)

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Changes of Perspective

I couldn't figure out a way to get my entire blog onto this sight so I thought that I would give you guys a brief synopsis instead. Much like I mentioned in class my paper deals with the transition I had from the beginning of class to the current point with regards to how I viewed, not only the world of literature and how it connects to the past, but also how we can use the lessons of Classical Lit to connect ourselves to our ancestors.

At the beginning of class I saw human existance as simply moving forward through time, ever advancing with no need or necessity to look back on what was behind us. To look back was simply to allow the past to catch up and perhaps destroy all that we have accomplished over the millenia. However, after taking this class, I have come to realize that it is necessary to look to the past, not only so that we would not repeat our previous mistakes, but also that by soing so we connect to a more instinctual part of the human psyche and in so doing we can remember that the world is not something in which we are isolated, but a sphere teaming with life with which we can interact, learning from it and becoming stronger for it.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Problems with posting paper to blog

I'm having problems with posting my paper to a blog. If anyone can help me that would be appreciated. Thanks

Sunday, March 29, 2009

An Imaginary Life

I see An Imaginary Life as pertaining to the overall theme of our class, the idea of all that is past possesses the present. However it is a little different. Those texts we used to connect a past to our own present. An Imaginary Life seems to connect the past with an even further past. That is, it connects humanity with the nature that we seem to have forgotten. Even Ovid, who we seem to see as a man of a far distant and ignorant past can look even further back to see a time when the world was not as civilized as that he was used to in Rome and then again even farther back to a time when we lived among the wild animals of the world, when nature was as much of a master over us as we have, even in Ovid's time, become over it. Ovid is able to witness an unadulterated connection to the natural world in the child he meets in exile, and it is this I would argue that helps him connect to the world and realize that all that is past possesses the present.


Arachne is the story of a girl by the same name who is the best at what she does, which is to say weaving. The only problem with this is that she does not see the skill as a gift from the goddess Minerva, the patron goddess of weaving, but as her own skill. She then becomes arrogant enough to challenge Minerva to a weaving contest. Minerva first appears to Arachne as an old woman and cautions her to give thanks for her gifts and the goddess will forgive her, but Arachne does not heed the warning. Minerva then appears in her true form, and even then Arachne does not back down from her claim as greatest weaver. So the two begin their weavings.

Minerva weaves a tapestry that portrays the founding of her city Athens. Around this central image she also puts four images of different people who challenged the gods and were punished with transformations for their indiscretions.

Arachne, on the other hand, weaves a story of the infidelity of the gods, how several of the most powerful gods tranformed into different beings and raped those they saw as beautiful. Around this central image she put a vine of roses as if in mockery of the image.

In the end it was determined that Arachne's weaving was better. Minerva, in her rage, tore the fabric to shreds and broke the loom. Arachne, disgraced, thought to hang herself with the threads she had so recently used, but Minerva instead turned her into a spider so that she would be eternally punished.