Souls and Stuff!

After reading Marlowe’s Doctor Faustus, and talking to one of my friends about the idea of your soul I’ve got a couple ideas to share about this topic. Before I get into this I have to warn you, I grew up in church my whole life, and I wholeheartedly believe about the power of forgiveness and that repentance is there for anyone who wants it.

Now to the good stuff.

I was thinking about this idea that Faustus wanted to repent, and he didn’t. I think that if you are at a point where you are selling your soul to the devil you might not really care about repenting to live a normal life again. I believe that God forgives everything but I don’t think you would go to all the trouble of selling your soul and then change your mind.

I watch this show called Supernatural, and this past season one of the character’s lost his soul somehow. In the end his brother had to force him to take his soul again because he didn’t want it back. If you don’t have your soul why would you have any desire to give it back. I believe that without a soul you wouldn’t care about repenting. The only reason that Doctor Faustus talks about repenting is when he thinks about how it will one day end and he will have to go to hell with the devil.

In the end I think that a person without a soul is only concerned without what they want and when they want it. It has always been my belief that our souls make us who we are, and without them we would be fundamentally different. I think this story is very relevant when talking about how people lose their way, but in the end Doctor Faustus never gets back to who he was. Which is tragic, and thats how the story ends. I liked this story,  but I wish that he would have learned that it wasn’t worth it.

Bye!

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How Do I Love Thee…

So we haven’t really done Shakespearean sonnets yet, but that is one of the most famous sonnets in the world. We started talking about sonnets this week, and it occurred to me that no one really writes sonnets anymore. If they do I haven’t heard anything about them. I think this is sad because when you think about it the ideas present in most sonnets are still very relevant to life today. The sonnet is a dying art form and I think we should start trying to bring it back.

I realized today that a sonnet about a love that is mutual and happy is rare, but we still consider a sonnet very romantic. Spenser was one of the only people to write a sonnet about a happy love instead of a painful heartbreaking love. I think this is because as much as we love hearing about love stories where everything works out happily ever after we love hearing about the ones that crash and burn even more.

We started talking about how we could relate sonnets to our lives now and the culture we live and love in. We read a sonnet by Lady Mary Wroth about how to truly love you have to give up your freedom. I think this is true today. I’m going to use girls as my example because thats what I know but I am sure there are some guys who do this too. I have known many girls who have started dating someone and become a totally different person. People who stop hanging out with their friends to be with their boyfriend, and have continuously cancelled plans to be with their boyfriend. I stand by what I said this morning that our society embraces this idea that you should throw yourself into a relationship. I would like to back this statement up with something I hear all the time…”but I love him.” It is a excuse universally accepted and no one challenges it. Goes to show you just how much we are like our medieval counterparts. Let’s do what we can to bring back the SONNET!!

Laters! 🙂

Disney: Entertainment or Third Parent?

We watched “Mickey Mouse Monopoly” and it brought up a controversy about whether or not Disney is racist and/or sexist. I think this is ridiculous, because Disney is a corporation whose job is to make money. They choose to do that by making children’s movies. What they want to put out is entirely up to them because it is up to us as consumers to decide whether or not we want to see it. It is also up to you to decide as a parent whether or not it is appropriate for your children to watch. If you sit your children in front of the television and never explain to them the difference between a television show and reality that is entirely on you. Television is not a subsitute for a parent!

Speaking of children, I had a unique upbringing. Over the years I have seen all the movies Disney has put out, but there was a time when my parents didn’t agree with the way that the Disney Corporation ran their company, and so for many years I only got to see Disney movies if I was at a friends house. My parents didn’t object to the content in the movies just the way the company conducted their  business. When I was little my parents always made sure to explain to me that it was just a movie and it wasn’t real when they saw getting upset that Ariel wouldn’t end up with Prince Eric or that the Beast was dead. (Collins)

Most Disney movies are set in a world of magic and imagination. A place where anything is possible and true love really does conquer all. These movies were not meant to resemble real life, just to show children some of the classic fairy tales that have been around for hundreds of years. Even so, there is a quote that me and my friends always say when remarking on the lack of Prince’s in the real world. “Disney gave me unrealistic expectations about men.” I think this might be true, but it can’t be just Disney’s fault that everywhere we looked people were telling us that love was magic and special and a once in a lifetime thing that would eventually happen to all of us. These ideas of love that we saw in Disney films are perpetuated throughout our childhood well into out teenage years. We see it on TV, movies, in the books and magazines we read, and we look to our parents to see what true love is. Unfortunately some parents didn’t give the same movie magic love we’d seen growing up. Which is why some children and teenagers look to Disney to see what love is.

If a parent has such vehement protestations against Disney maybe they should restrict their children’s viewing of the movies. It should be a parents job to regulate what their children watch and to explain to them when they don’t understand. You wouldn’t show your children “Braveheart” as a good example of life because those circumstances don’t apply to us. In the same way you shouldn’t let your children watch Disney movies as a step by step example of what to expect from life and love.

A retired Professor, Jack Zipes, has argued that fairy tales “serve a meaningful social function, not just for compensation but for revelation: the worlds projected by the best of our fairy tales reveal the gaps between truth and falsehood in our immediate society.” (Wikipedia) Without fairy tales how would we learn the difference between imagination and reality? Fairy tales are often used to relay morals to children, and to teach them about life. However, that wasn’t always the case. In the middle ages fairy tales were tailored to adults. If anything Disney toned them down. I talked to my English teacher, Catherine Merritt, because she specializes in fairy tales and she said that Disney changed the original fairy tales so they could better suit the audience, which is primarily children. She also said, “I would argue that whatever sexist or racist tendencies someone could find in Disney movies have more to do with the difficulties of visual representation and not with the process of adapting fairy tales. Every culture is bound to a code of aesthetics with set ideas of beauty and morality, and like it or not, our society still sees tiny waists and long, flowing hair as the feminine ideal.” (Merritt)

While in today’s society this might seem archaic, the movies that Disney is putting out are intended for an adolescent audience as something they can relate to. The trouble with animation is that it is time consuming, which leads me to believe they just do what is easiest for them to put on film. Nevertheless, all parents should take into consideration what their children might be watching on television or in the movies. If they are uncomfortable with the messages Disney movies might be sending their children they should either explain the differences between reality and imagination with their children or find a better alternative. They should not try to ruin Disney’s reputation for those of us smart enough to understand them for what they are: entertainment. If you want to read more into them than what they are that is your prerogative, but for the rest of the world they are just fluff. The Disney Corporation is just trying to do what every other company is trying to do, which is make money.

Somebody in the video brought up the idea that the Disney Corporation owns too much of the media. I think this is partially true, but I don’t think they own too much, however they do own a lot of different media outlets. Disney has made some good business decisions to expand their company. Despite that our country has checks built into the system. Disney might own a lot of the media, but they don’t own it all, and there are fail-safes in place to make sure that won’t happen. Even so, the government is under no obligation to limit their ability to make money off their products. Movies and media alone don’t make enough money to support their companies expenses, so they make lines of products and Broadway shows to go with their movies, TV shows and musicians.

Overall I think it’s time to stop wasting time blaming Disney for the problems of the world and start stepping up as parents to make sure your children understand that Belle isn’t real and what she does and what we should do are not remotely the same!

 

Sources:

Interview with:

David Collins

&

Catherine Merritt

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jack_Zipes

Chaucer Changes the World!

After finishing ‘The Wife of Bath’s Tale’ in Geoffrey Chaucer’s “The Canterbury Tales”, I find that I’m still kinda ambiguous about the whole thing. I could very well discuss why I liked certain parts and why other parts drove me crazy. I can’t believe that they just let him live after he raped some girl. I thought Knight’s had honor, and obviously he lost his way. I thought at first this might be a story about a guy who finds his way back to honor, but he never had it to begin with. I mostly want to call him a loser and a jerk. I know this isn’t very literary but I can’t help but think what could an all powerful fairy see in him?

I totally understand the appeal of having someone who you control, but that is not even remotely love. In the end I just feel let down. Kinda like nothing gets resolved. Instead of killing him he gets sent on a quest to find out what women really want, and that is impossible. I would have liked this story better if he had gone insane trying to find out what women want. Let’s face it we have no idea, and it changes from day to day and hour to hour. Somehow he finds an answer and the Queen accepts it. Then he marries an old ugly woman who turns out to be a fairy who is beautiful and apparently loves him.

Maybe the answer to why she choose him isn’t because he was noble or honorable, but because, for whatever reason she loved him. Which is crazy in itself. As you can probably tell I didn’t exactly enjoy this story. I kinda wish the fairy had banished him to some dismal place for his crimes!

Later!

The Wife of Bath vs. Feminism

Today I started thinking about The Wife of Bath and whether or not she could be considered feminist. A couple different opinions came up up. Some said she shouldn’t be considered a feminist because she got married five times, and that she is perpetuating all these sterotypes that men use to describe women. I think this is a very narrow minded view of feminism. Some feminists think that women are superior and some believe that men and women should be treated equally. I have a different idea about the Wife of Bath. I think that she got married both because she had to to survive and because she wanted to. She wasn’t trying to change peoples view of her just of women in general, and she used her story to do it.

I think both views have merit, by some people she would probably be considered a hindrance to the feminist movement, and other might consider her a spearhead in feminism. But someone brought up another idea that she is a woman telling a story but it was a man who wrote her. I think that the idea of feminism probably wasn’t very common in Chaucer’s time, so maybe he just wanted to tell a story with a good shock value to get his own ideas across about women. Because you have to admit there are few if any other characters in literature like the Wife of Bath in The Canterbury Tales.

See you next time, Lindsey

The Tales of Chivalrous Men

When we first started reading ‘Sir Gawain and the Green Knight’ I was not very impressed. It seemed to be a story about a guy who felt he had to stand up for his King because some fool offered him a chance to kill someone. It seemed like a foolhardy decision. I do have to admit as the story went on I began to like it more and more. What started out as an admittedly hare-brained idea turned into a tale full of twists and turns.

In the beginning I thought Gawain’s quest was an attempt to win his King’s love, later it became a story about his honor. I love stories where the protagonist loses his way and then redeems himself. In this case his morals and confused when the lord’s wife seduces him. Only after he accepts her gift and betrays the lord’s rules does he lose his way. In the end the Lord becoming the Green Knight was a fun twist that I did not see coming! Finding out that Morgan Le Fey was the one to orchestrate the whole made the story come full circle and have more meaning than just a knight trying to win a a beheading game.

I did not like the end where Gawain blames all the women for his troubles and doesn’t accept responsibility. It makes him seem fickle, and like he learned nothing from his journey’s. It seems this game left him worse off than it found him, which makes for an interesting story in itself, you rarely see a story about a good man losing his way and not finding his way back to being a good man again.

See you next time, Lindsey

The Great Marie de France

Before this week I had never heard of Marie de France, now that I know who she is I have greatly enjoyed all the stories I got to read. The story or ‘Lanval’ was a story about a man in love with a faerie. I thought it was a good story to be told around the table at dinner. It occurred to me while reading these stories that the way people in Angelo-Norman times told stories and the way we tell them are very similar and very different at the same time. They told there stories orally, either in the taverns or in their homes. They created stories in couplets that rhymed to make it easier to recite and follow. Today we are more likely to hear stories on TV or in the movies, where it is very easy for us to follow along because we see it acted out. Now we have shows like ‘Glee’ where characters use songs to further their plots which is a lot like the rhyming couplets in ‘Bisclavret’. In the Middle Ages they told stories of supernatural things to explain some things that they didn’t understand, but we have turned scary stories into dreams and hopes for teenage girls. Just like Ms. Merritt pointed out today: We sexed up werewolves. In ‘Bisclarvet’ this werewolf was not cuddly animal to keep you warm at night, he was a vicious creature that would kill you as soon as look at you. I think stories like this would help many young girls wishing to meet their own werewolf! Until next time, Lindsey