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World Literature



Despite the ignorance of most so called "literati" to the domain of African

literature, African literature in fact is one of the main currents of world literature,
stretching continuously and directly back to ancient history. Achebe did not "invent"
African Literature, because he himself was inundated with it as an African. He simply
made more people aware of it.


The first African literature is circa 2300-2100, when ancient Egyptians begin
using burial texts to accompany their dead. These include the first written accounts of
creation - the Memphite Declaration of Deities. Not only that, but 'papyrus', from which
we originate our word for paper, was invented by the Egyptians, and writing flourished.
In contrast, Sub-Saharan Africa feature a vibrant and varied oral culture. To take into
account written literary culture without considering literary culture is definitely a
mistake, because they two interplay heavily with each other. African oral arts are "art's
for life's sake" (Mukere) not European "art's for art's sake", and so may be considered
foreign and strange by European readers. However, they provide useful knowledge,
historical knowledge, ethical wisdom, and creative stimuli in a direct fashion. Oral
culture takes many forms: proverbs and riddles, epic narratives, oration and personal
testimony, praise poetry and songs, chants and rituals, stories, legends and folk tales.
This is present in the many proverbs told in Things Fall Apart, and the rich cultural
emphasis of that book also is typically African.
The earliest written Sub-Saharan Literature (1520) is heavily influenced by Islamic
literature. The earliest example of this is the anonymous history of the city-state of
Kilwa Kisiwani. The first African history, History of the Sudan, is written by Abd al-
Rahman al-Sadi in Arabic style. Traveling performers, called griots, kept the oral
tradition alive, especially the legends of the Empire of Mali. In 1728 the earliest written
Swahili work, Utendi wa Tambuka borrows heavily from Muslim tradition. However,
there are little to no Islamic presence in Things Fall Apart.


With the period of Colonization, African oral traditions and written works came
under a serious outside threat. Europeans, justifying themselves with the Christian
ethics, tried to destroy the "pagan" and "primitive" culture of the Africans,
to make them more pliable slaves. However, African Literature survived this concerted
attack. In 1789, The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano, or Gustava
Vassa was the first slave narrative to be published. Kidnapped from Nigeria, this Ibo
man wrote his autobiography in Great Britain in English, and like Achebe used his
narrative as a platform to attack the injustices of slavery and cultural destruction. Back
in Africa, Swahili poetry threw off the dominating influence of Islam and reverted back
to native Bantu forms. One exemplar of this was Utendi wa Inkishafi (Soul's Awakening),
a poem detailing the vanity of earthly life. The Europeans, by bringing journalism and
government schools to Africa, helped further the development of literature. Local
newspapers abounded, and often they featured sections of local African poetry and
short stories. While originally these fell close to the European form, slowly they broke
away and became more and more African in nature. One of these writers was Oliver
Schreiner, whose novel Story of an African Farm (1883) is considered the first African
classic analysis of racial and sexual issues. Other notable writers, such as Samuel Mqhayi
and Thomas Mofolo begin portraying Africans as complex and human characters.

World Literature

Achebe was highly influenced by these writers in their human portrayal of both sides of
Emerging from Paris in the 1920s and 1930s, the negritude movement
established itself as one of the premiere literary movements of its time. It was a French-
speaking African search for identity, which ofcourse took them back to their roots in
Africa. Africa was made into a metaphorical antipode to Europe, a golden age utopia,
and was often represented allegorically as a woman. In a 1967 interview, Cesaire
explained: "We lived in an atmosphere of rejection, and we developed an inferiority
complex." The desire to establish an identity begins with "a concrete consciousness of
what we are--…that we are black . . .and have a history. . . [that] there have been
beautiful and important black civilizations…that its values were values that could still
make an important contribution to the world." Léopold Sédar Senghor, one of the prime
thinkers of this movement, eventually became president of the country of Senegal,
creating a tradition of African writers becoming active political figures.
Achebe was doubtless familiar with the negritude movement, although he preferred to
less surrealistic and more realistic writing.
In 1948, African literature came to the forefront of the world stage with Alan
Paton's publishing of Cry the Beloved Country. However, this book was a somewhat
paternalistic and sentimental portrayal of Africa. Another African writer, Fraz Fanon,
also a psychiatrist, becomes famous in 1967 through a powerful analysis of racism from
the African viewpoint - Black Skin, White Masks. Camara Laye explored the deep
psychological ramification of being African in his masterpiece, The Dark Child (1953),
and African satire is popularized by Mongo Beti and Ferdinand Oyono. Respected
African literary critic Kofi Awoonor systematically collects and translates into English
much of African oral culture and art forms, preserving native African culture.
Chinua Achebe then presents this native African culture in his stunning work,
Things Fall Apart. This is probably the most read work of African Literature ever written,
and provides a level of deep cultural detail rarely found in European literature. Achebe's
psychological insight combined with his stark realism make his novel a classic.

World Literature



Edward Field was born in Brooklyn, and attended New York University before
enlisting in the U.S Air Force in 1943.During the war as a navigator in heavy bombers, he
flew 25 missions over Germany. It was the army that he began writing poetry, but his
fist book of poems,Stand Up,Friend,With Me, was not published until 1963 after he won
the Lamount Award .Among his publications since then are Variety Photoplays, which
developed the genre of movie poems ; the novel Village (later revised as The Villagers) a
historical novel about Greenwich Village.
The text comes from expedition notes recorded by : Danish explorer Knud Rasmussen
inj 1921.Edward Field got a copy from Harvard Library and translated it into English.

This was a poem/story the early days of the Inuit people-when people and
animals shared bodies and language. It is a poem that has been passed down to from
myth to poem, from generation to generation.
In the first stanza ,the writer wants his/her readers to know that in the earliest time
there was a single language of being, it refers to the relationship and the way of life of
people and animals in the early times. It expresses some kind of mental and spiritual
communication .In the early times the people don’t have their own language, both
people and animals spoke the same language so they can understand one another ,my
example of this was like Tarzan he don’t have his own language but he can
communicate with the animals in the jungle. In early times the words spoken by peoples
and animals are precious, the people before believe of their powerful words. When they
kill an animal they have a prayer or ritual first to give respect of animals they kill, it
illustrates that humans have to be careful of what they say since a misspoken word
could have intended consequences ,because if they have a misspoken word in their for
example they believe that the spirits will punish them, so that they are so very careful of
their words. The magic words there is Respect.


In every earliest time,

when both people and animals live on earth,
a person could become an animal if he wanted to
and an animal could become a human being.
Sometimes they were people
and sometimes animals
and there was no difference.
All spoke the same language.
That was the time when words were like magic.
The human mind had mysterious powers.
A word spoken by chance
might have strange consequences.
It would suddenly come alive

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and what people wanted to happen could happen

all you have to do was say it.
Nobody could explain this :
That’s the way it was.


World Literature


(West Africa)

The Krachi relate how Anansi and the Chameleon used to live in the same town.
Anansi was a rich man and had plenty of children to help him with his farming, but the
Chameleon was only a poor man and alone had to till his farm. Now it chanced that one
year the rain fell only on the Chameleon’s farm and on Anansi’s there was a complete
drought. Thus the spider’s farm did not come up at all and the Chameleon’s was already
well up and a good harvest promised.
This annoyed Anansi, and one day he called on the Chameleon and asked him if
he would sell him his farm, but the Chameleon said he would not, as if he did he would
not be able to get any food during the dry season. Then Anansi was even angrier than
before and swore he would have revenge on the Chameleon.
Now it happens that Chameleon’s do not make any roads as others do. They like
to walk over the grass and bushes. Thus there was no path leading from the
Chameleon’s house to his farm. So that night Anansi called all his children together and
told them to clean and make a good path from his compound to the Chameleon’s far. At
first they begged their father not to do this, but as he insisted they obeyed him, and in
the morning there was finished a clean road and a well-used one leading from Anansi’s
house to the farm.
Anansi at once went to the farm and began to pull the farm and began to pull up
some cassava. Presently the Chameleon came along and saw Anansi taking his cassava
and called out: “Hi! Anansi, what are you doing in my farm?” Anansi at once replied: “Go
away and do not vex me. Can you not see that I am busy working in my farm?”
“Your farm,” cried the Chameleon; “why, it is my farm, and everyone knows it.”
“Do not be silly; go away,” answered the Spider, “or I shall get angry and kill you.”
So the Chameleon went away and laid a complaint before the chief. Anansi was
sent for, and when both had told him how the farm was theirs, the chief asked for
proofs. Then Anansi said: “That is easy. I have a path from my house straight to the
farm, which the Chameleon is falsely claiming. He has no path.”
The chief saw that if Anansi was speaking true then verily the farm must be his.
So he sent his messenger to see and the man came back and said that it was so. Then
the Chameleon was asked what he had to say, and he said that he did not know
anything about the path, that he always used to go there over the bushes and grass.
This made the chief laugh, and he at once gave the farm to Anansi, who took all his
children with him and gathered the crops.
The Chameleon did not know what to do. He was very poor and had but little
food left to keep him alive. So he went to his house and shut the door and refused to
see anyone.
For many days he remained thus thinking over his wrongs and wondering how to
get revenge. Then he began to dig a hole. He dug and dug and dug and made an
immense well. It went far down. No man had ever seen such a well. When the
Chameleon thought he had made it large enough he made some mud and began to roof
the well so that soon only a very small hole was left.
Then the Chameleon went out to see Anansi. He came to the latter’s house and
greeted him: “Master, I am only a poor man. May I go to your farm and glean what you
have left there?” and Anansi was pleased at the Chameleon’s humility and told him he
could. But there was little in the farm to gather. Then the Chameleon, who had deceived
the Spider into thinking that he was properly humbled, again sat alone in his house. This
time he amused himself in catching hundreds and hundreds of that great fly which

World Literature

makes so big a buzzing noise. These he tied to some dried yam vines which he had
brought back from his farm.
One day the chief sent messengers to all the land to call his people together, and
from every place people came into the town. Then the Chameleon arose and covered
himself with the dried yam vines and walked slowly like a proud and rich man to the
chief’s compound, as he went he kept swinging his strange costume and the flies being
shaken buzzed. This was wonderful, as he drew near the chief, swinging his dress, which
buzzed more and more, everyone admired it and the chief himself asked to buy it. But
the Chameleon refused and went home. Now Anansi was late for the meeting, and
when he did arrive everyone was talking about this wonderful costume. The chief told
Anansi that the Chameleon had refused to sell it and Anansi said that, that was nothing,
and that he would buy it and bring it to the chief.
He went and called on the Chameleon. “Friend,” he said, “I hear you have a most
wonderful cloak, which wherever you walk sings to you. Is this so?” The Chameleon
answered that it was so, and then Anansi asked him he would sell it.
The Chameleon at first refused, but after a time did agree to sell it if Anansi
would give him some food. Anansi asked how much food he would want, and the
Chameleon said that he did not require a great deal, merely enough to fill the hole
which Anansi himself could see. Then Anansi laughed and said that he would willingly do
that, and to show that he bore him no grudge would give him twice as much.
Then Anansi went to his own house and called his children and told them to
come with him and each to carry a little food. They all went to the Chameleon’s house
and began to fill the hole with the food they had brought. But that hole could not be
filled. All the family of Anansi worked, and for many days they carried the corn and
other food to fill that hole and always the Chameleon reminded Anansi that he had
promised twice the amount.
Anansi did not know what to do. He had finished all the food that there had been
stored in his own bins and granaries and he had sent out in all directions to buy food.
But still the hole was not filled. He sold his sheep and his cows and everything that he
had, for he knew that when he did get the cloak the chief would repay him. But he could
not fill the hole.
Then the Chameleon saw that Anansi was no longer a rich man and that he had
no food left for himself he called him and said: “Friend, you have not paid me the
agreed-on price. But I am not a hard man I will now forgive you the rest of the debt.
Here is the cloak.”
Saying this he took out the cloak from its box and put it over the shoulders of
But the cloak had been a long time in the box and the strings which held the flies
were all rotted. This Anansi did not know, and when he went outside and began to
swing the robe the flies all buzzed, but suddenly there came a strong blast of wind and
shook the cloak too much. All the flies were released and flew away and left Anansi
dressed only in the dried vine stalks of the yam.
Then the entire town laughed, and Anansi grew so ashamed that he began to
hide himself from that day away from the sight of man and does not walk in the streets.

Anansi and Chameleon have a farm but Anansi have many children to help him
with his farm and Chameleon was alone to work in his farm. Then one year the rain fell
in the Chameleon’s farm while in Anansi is a long period of dry weather. The Chameleon
has a good harvest while Anansi did not. And this bothered Anansi, so he went to
Chameleon and asked if he would sell his farm but Chameleon refused because he
would not be able to get any food during the dry season. Anansi got angry and said that
he would revenge.

World Literature

The Chameleon did not make any roads from his house up to the farm as others
do. He always like walk over the grass and bushes. And that gave Anansi a chance to
have his farm from him that night Anansi called all his children and told them to make a
path from their house to the Chameleon’s farm they don’t want to do it but their father
insisted so they obeyed.
When the Chameleon came along to his farm and saw Anansi taking his cassava
he ask Anansi what is he doing on his farm but Anansi answer in and said that it is his
farm. The Chameleon laid a complaint to the chief. The chief ask Anansi why it is yours
Anansi answer it easily because of the path from his house to the farm. Then the chief
give the farm to Anansi because he is telling the truth. They ask the Chameleon what to
say he said that he have no idea about the path because used to go in his farm by the
grass and bushes.
After that happening the Chameleon never go out to his house and he don’t
know what to do to keep him alive. For some many days he was thinking how to get
revenge. Then he began to dig a hole, he dug and dug and dug until he made an
immense well. And after that he made a mud and began to roof the well so that it will
look like a small hole. Then he goes to Anansi’s house and asked if he could go to his
farm and gather what they have left there. Then the Chameleon allows him because he
was pleased by the Chameleon humility. He went home thinking how he mislead Anansi.
Then he catch a hundred and hundred fly that makes so big buzzing noise then tied it in
some dried yam vines.
One day the chief sent a messenger to all who own land to came to the town, so
the Chameleon covered himself with the dried yam vines and walk proudly and like a
rich man and the flies that shaken buzzed. Then everyone admired it even the chief and
asked him if he would sell it, but he answered no and go home. Anansi was late so he
doesn’t know about it the chief told him and Anansi said that he would buy it and bring
it to the chief.
He goes to Chameleon’s house and asked him if he would sell it, at first
Chameleon refused then he agree to sell it. Anansi would give him some food. Anansi
asked how much food, Chameleon said it’s enough to fill the hole. Then Anansi laugh
and said I will give you twice as much.
He called all his children to carry a little food. After how many days, Anansi had
brought all his food but still the hole was not filled. Anansi don’t know what to do he
sold all his animals and he had sent out to all directions to buy food but still the hole
was not filled. When Chameleon saw that Anansi was no longer a rich man and have no
food he talk to Anansi and get the cloak to the box and put to his shoulders but the
string that held the flies all rotted.
Anansi do not know about this and he start swinging the robe but suddenly a
strong wind came and shook the cloak too much. Then Anansi only left dress by the
dried vine. Then all the town laugh him so Anansi was so shy and never walk to the

 Glencoe Literature: The Reader's Choice (World Literature). Ohio:
Glencoe/McGraw-Hill, 2000.


World Literature



Naguib Mahfouz (Arabic: ‫ نجيبمحفوظ‬Nagīb

Maḥfūẓ, IPA: [næˈɡiːb mɑħˈfuːzˤ]; 11 December 1911
– 30 August 2006) was an Egyptian writer who won
the 1988 Nobel Prize for Literature. He is regarded as
one of the first contemporary writers of Arabic
literature, along with Tawfiq el-Hakim, to explore
themes of existentialism. He published 34 novels, over
350 short stories, dozens of movie scripts, and five
plays over a 70-year career. Many of his works have
been made into Egyptian and foreign films.

Early life and education

Born into a lower middle-class Muslim family in the Gamaleyya quarter of Cairo,
Mahfouz was named after Professor Naguib Pasha Mahfouz (1882–1974), the renowned
Coptic physician who delivered him. Mahfouz was the seventh and the youngest child in
a family that had five boys and two girls. The family lived in two popular districts of the
town, in el-Gamaleyya, from where they moved in 1924 to el-Abbaseyya, then a new
Cairo suburb; both provided the backdrop for many of Mahfouz's writings. His father,
whom Mahfouz described as having been "old-fashioned", was a civil servant, and
Mahfouz eventually followed in his footsteps. In his early years, Mahfouz read
extensively and was influenced by Hafiz Najib, Taha Hussein and Salama Moussa. His
mother often took him to museums and Egyptian history later became a major theme in
many of his books.

The Mahfouz family were devout Muslims and Mahfouz had a strict Islamic
upbringing. In an interview, he elaborated on the stern religious climate at home during
his childhood. He stated that "You would never have thought that an artist would
emerge from that family." The Egyptian Revolution of 1919 had a strong effect on
Mahfouz, although he was at the time only seven years old. From the window he often
saw British soldiers firing at the demonstrators, men and women. "You could say ... that
the one thing which most shook the security of my childhood was the 1919 revolution",
he later said.

Writing career

Mahfouz published 34 novels, over 350 short stories, dozens of movie scripts
and five plays over a 70-year career. Possibly his most famous work, The Cairo Trilogy,
depicts the lives of three generations of different families in Cairo from World War I
until after the 1952 military coup that overthrew King Farouk. He was a board member
of the publisher Dar el-Ma'aref. Many of his novels were serialized in Al-Ahram, and his
writings also appeared in his weekly column, "Point of View". Before the Nobel Prize
only a few of his novels had appeared in the West.

Writing style and themes

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Most of Mahfouz's early works were set in Cairo. Abath Al-Aqdar (Mockery of the
Fates) (1939), Rhadopis (1943), and Kifah Tibah (The Struggle of Thebes) (1944), were
historical novels, written as part of a larger unfulfilled project of 30 novels. Inspired by
Sir Walter Scott (1771–1832), Mahfouz planned to cover the entire history of Egypt in a
series of books. However, following the third volume, he shifted his interest to the
present and the psychological impact of social change on ordinary people.

Mahfouz's prose is characterised by the blunt expression of his ideas. His written
works covered a broad range of topics, including socialism, homosexuality, and God.
Writing about some of these subjects was prohibited in Egypt. In his works, he described
the development of his country in the 20th century and combined intellectual and
cultural influences from East and West. His own exposure to the literature of non-
Egyptian culture began in his youth with the enthusiastic consumption of Western
detective stories, Russian classics, and such modernist writers as Marcel Proust, Franz
Kafka and James Joyce. Mahfouz's stories are almost always set in the heavily populated
urban quarters of Cairo, where his characters, mostly ordinary people, try to cope with
the modernization of society and the temptations of Western values.

Mahfouz's central work in the 1950s was the Cairo Trilogy, which he completed
before the July Revolution. The novels were titled with the street names Palace Walk,
Palace of Desire, and Sugar Street. Mahfouz set the story in the parts of Cairo where he
grew up. The novels depict the life of the patriarch el-Sayyed Ahmed Abdel Gawad and
his family over three generations, from World War I to the 1950s, when King Farouk I
was overthrown. Mahfouz stopped writing for some years after finishing the trilogy.
Disappointed in the Nasser régime, which had overthrown the monarchy in 1952, he
started publishing again in 1959, now prolifically pouring out novels, short stories,
journalism, memoirs, essays, and screenplays. He stated in a 1998 interview, he "long
felt that Nasser was one of the greatest political leaders in modern history. I only began
to fully appreciate him after he nationalized the Suez Canal."

Nobel Prize for Literature

Mahfouz was awarded the 1988 Nobel Prize in Literature, the only Arab writer to
have won the award. Shortly after winning the prize Mahfouz was quoted as saying "The
Nobel Prize has given me, for the first time in my life, the feeling that my literature could
be appreciated on an international level. The Arab world also won the Nobel with me. I
believe that international doors have opened, and that from now on, literate people will
consider Arab literature also. We deserve that recognition." The Swedish letter to
Mahfouz included the quotations "rich and complex work invites us to reconsider the
fundamental things in life. Themes like the nature of time and love, society and norms,
knowledge and faith recur in a variety of situations and are presented in thought-
provoking, evocative, and clearly daring ways. And the poetic quality of your prose can
be felt across the language barrier. In the prize citation you are credited with the
forming of an Arabian narrative art that applies to all mankind." Because Mahfouz found
traveling to Sweden difficult at his age, he did not attend the award ceremony.

Personal life

Mahfouz remained a bachelor until age 43 because he believed that with its
numerous restrictions and limitations, marriage would hamper his literary future"I was
afraid of marriage . . . especially when I saw how busy my brothers and sisters were with
social events because of it. This one went to visit people, that one invited people. I had
the impression that married life would take up all my time. I saw myself drowning in
visits and parties. No freedom."

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In 1954, he married an Egyptian woman, Atiya, with whom he had two

daughters, Fatima and Umm Kalthum. Mahfouz avoided public exposure, especially
inquiries into his private life, which might have become, as he put it, “a silly topic in
journals and radio programs.”


Achebe simply opened the door for many other African literati to attain
international recognition. East Africans produce important autobiographical works, such
as Kenyans Josiah Kariuki’s Mau Mau Detainee (1963), and R. Mugo Gatheru’s Child of
Two Worlds (1964). African women begin to let their voice be heard. Writers such as
Flora Nwapa give the feminine African perspective on colonization and other African
issues. Wole Soyinka writes her satire of the conflict between modern Nigeria and its
traditional culture in her book The Interpreters (1965). A prolific writer, she later
produces famous plays such as Death and The King's Horseman. Later, in 1986, she is
awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature. African Literature gains more and more
momentum, and Professor James Ngugi even calls for the abolition of the English
Department in the University of Nairobi, to be replaced by a Department of African
Literature and Languages. African writers J. M. Coetzee, in his Life and Times of Michael
K., written in both Afrikaans and English for his South African audience, confronts in
literature the oppressive regime of apartheid. Chinua Achebe helps reunite African
Literature as a whole by publishing in 1985 African Short Stories, a collection of African
short stories from all over the continent. Another African writer, Naguib Mahfouz, wins
the Nobel Prize in literature in 1988. In 1990 African poetry experiences a vital
comeback through the work I is a Long-Memoried Woman by Frances Anne Soloman.
African Literature is only gaining momentum as time marches onwards.


By: Naguib Mahfouz

I proceeded alongside my father, clutching his right hand, running to keep up

with the long strides he was taking. All my clothes were new: the black shoes, the green-
school uniform, and the red tarboosh. My delight in my new clothes, however, was not
altogether unmarred, for this was no feast day but the day on which I was to be cast
into school for the first time. My mother stood at the window watching our progress,
and I would turn toward her from time to time, as though appealing for help. We
walked along a street lined with gardens; on both sides were extensive fields planted
with crops, prickly pears, henna trees, and a few date palms.
"Why school?" I challenged my father openly. "I shall never do anything to annoy
"I'm not punishing you," he said, laughing. "School's not a punishment. It's the
factory that makes useful men out of boys. Don't you want to be like your father and
I was not convinced. I did not believe there was really any good to be had in
tearing me away from the intimacy of my home and throwing me into this building that
stood at the end of the road like some huge, high-walled fortress, exceedingly stem and
When we arrived at the gate we could see the courtyard, vast and crammed full of boys
and girls. "Go in by yourself," said my father, "and join them. Put a smile on your face
and be a good example to others."

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I hesitated and clung to his hand, but he gently pushed me from him. "Be a
man," he said. "Today you truly begin life. You will find me waiting for you when it's
time to leave."
I took a few steps, then stopped and looked but saw nothing. Then the faces of
boys and girls came into view. I did not know a single one of them, and none of them
knew me. I felt I was a stranger who had lost his way. But glances of curiosity were
directed toward me, and one boy approached and asked, "Who brought you?"
"My father," I whispered.
"My father's dead," he said quite simply.
I did not know what to say. The gate was closed, letting out a pitiable screech.
Some of the children burst into tears. The bell rang. A lady came along, followed by a
group of men. The men began sorting us into ranks. We were formed into an intricate
pattern in the great courtyard surrounded on three sides by high buildings of several
floors; from each floor we were overlooked by a long balcony roofed in wood.
"This is your new home," said the woman. "Here too there are mothers and
Here there is everything that is enjoyable and beneficial to knowledge and religion. Dry
your tears and face life joyfully."
We submitted to the facts, and this submission brought a sort of contentment
Living beings were drawn to other living beings, and from the first moments my heart
made friends with such boys as were to be my friends and fell in love with such girls, as I
was to be in love with, so that it seemed my misgivings had had no basis. I had games:
swings, the vaulting horse, ball games. In the music room we chanted our first songs.
We also had our first introduction to language. We saw a globe of the Earth, which
revolved and showed the various continents and countries. We started learning the
numbers. The story of the Creator of the universe was read to us, we were told of His
present world and of His Hereafter, and we heard examples of what He said. We ate
delicious food, took a little nap, and woke up to go on with friendship and love, play and
As our path revealed itself to us, however, we did not find it as totally sweet and
unclouded as we had presumed. Dust-laden winds and unexpected accidents came
about suddenly, so we had to be watchful, at the ready, and very patient. It was not all a
matter of playing and fooling around. Rivalries could bring about pain and hatred or give
rise to fighting. And while the lady would sometimes smile, she would often scowl and
scold. Even more frequently she would resort to physical punishment.
In addition, the time for changing one's mind was over and gone and there was
no question of ever returning to the paradise of home. Nothing lay ahead of us but
exertion, struggle, and perseverance. Those who were able took advantage of the
opportunities for success and happiness that presented themselves amid the worries.
The bell rang announcing the passing of the day and the end of work. The
throngs of children rushed toward the gate, which was opened again. I bade farewell to
friends and sweethearts and passed through the gate. I peered around but found no
trace of my father, who had promised to be there. I stepped aside to wait. When I had
waited for a long time without avail, I decided to return home on my own. After I had
taken a few steps, a middle-aged man passed by, and 1 realized at once that 1 knew
He came toward me, smiling, and shook me by the hand, saying, "It's a long time
since we last met—how are you?"
With a nod of my head, I agreed with him and in turn asked, "And you, how are
"As you can see, not all that good, the Almighty be praised!"
Again he shook me by the hand and went off. I proceeded a few steps, then
came to a startled halt. Good Lord! Where was the street lined with gardens? Where
had it disappeared to? When did all these vehicles invade it? And when did all these
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hordes of humanity come to rest upon its surface? How did these hills of refuse come to
cover its sides? And where were the fields that bordered it? High buildings had taken
over, the street surged with children, and disturbing noises shook the air. At various
points stood conjurers showing off their tricks and making snakes appear from baskets.
Then there was a band announcing the opening of a circus, with clowns and weight
lifters walking in front. A line of trucks carrying central security troops crawled
majestically by. The siren of a fire engine shrieked, and it was not clear how the vehicle
would cleave its way to reach the blazing fire. A battle raged between a 'taxi driver and
his passenger, while the passenger's wife called out for help and no one answered.
Good God! I was in a daze. My head spun. I almost went crazy. How could all this have
happened in half a day, between early morning and sunset? I would find the answer at
home with my father. But where was my home? I could see tall buildings and hordes of
people. I hastened on to the crossroads between the
Burdens and Abu Khoda. I had to cross Abu Khoda to reach my house, but the stream
cars would not let up. The fire engine's siren was shrieking at full pitch as it moved
Extremely irritated, I wondered when I would be able to cross. I stood there a long time,
until the young lad employed at the ironing shop on the corner came up to me. He
stretched out his arm and said gallantly, "Grandpa, let me take you across."

“Half a Day” by Naguib Mahfouz is an allegorical short story that reflects the
journey of life and the speed in which it begins and ends. It also gives representation to
stages and changes that occur within a person during their time on Earth. “Half a Day”,
can only be fully understood through its symbolism and is not intended to be
interpreted literally. In order to fully understand the reader must be able to
comprehend that each part has a greater meaning then the words that appear on the
paper and that each meaning is greater than the one before. In addition, Mahfouz uses
elaborate figurative and descriptive language, painting a vivid picture and allowing the
reader to be present in the moment. The climax of the story occurs when the readers
realize that the narrator is no longer a boy, but a grown man.

There are several symbols used in the story and it is important to explain them.
The title of the story itself is ironic, it is meant to suggest half a day of school but the
story does not simply cover 'half a day', it covers the whole lifetime of the narrator.
Time is relative, it does not actually pass quickly, it only seems that way. The gate of the
school building represents a barrier or a shift from the garden of paradise to hell, a shift
from innocence of childhood to the practical life of an adult. The snake symbolizes fear,
danger, deceit, disguise and guile. The school symbolizes training, nurturing, education,
knowledge, upbringing etc. Garden represents the circle of life, harmony, peace, colours
of life, a paradise or the ideal state that everyone aspires for, a perfection of nature and
beauty, dominance of nature. Buildings/Factory represents industrial revolution in
today's world, man's struggle against machines, and advance of technology over human
life, it can signify order and discipline considering the way that the buildings are
arranged in order, a pattern, but order and discipline should be in our lives. Globe of the
earth signifies the passing time as it revolves. Crossroads represents unexpected
happenings and a choice between different paths, just the way humans have chosen the
path of destruction, nuclear weapons, technology and material gains over the path of
morality and virtue. Fire represents evil, wrongdoings, danger, damage, hell, and all the
bad deeds. It also represents jealousy, lust for power, money, selfishness, deceit,
materialism and mass consumerism.
Though there are not many characters in this story, their importance is of the
utmost. They are emblematic as well, each having additional meanings as well as their
literal interpretation. His father holding his hand could also represent the hand of God
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leading him along a righteous path or ushering him in and out of life. The mother
admires her son quietly and from afar, leaving the task of guiding a boy to manhood to
her husband. The teacher is the rule-maker, identified as a person. She keeps order
and punishes those who cannot or will not abide. His classmates are all the people that
he becomes acquainted with over time, females that he has had relationship with and
loved. However, not all are good people nor do they all have the same opportunities,
prompting the decision making that all children must make on their road to adulthood.
The most central character is the boy himself beginning his day as a young lad and
progressing into teenager, young man, middle age and finally an old man looking for his
final home.

In the last paragraph the narrator is using the technique of rhetorical questions.
The narrator is actually showing a picture of modern life, he is showing us the mirror. As
opposed to the garden of life shown earlier, it has been now taken over by technology,
increasing human population, materialism.
This short story is deceitfully ironic because it is about a man that lives his entire
life in the span of a day starting as a young boy and ending as an old man. Mahfouz is
comparing life to his first day of school.



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Nigerian author Chinua Achebe is one of Africa's most celebrated writers. Like other
prominent African writers, he has struggled to convey the turbulent transitions of his native
country from colonization to independence.
Since Nigeria is a populous and culturally diverse country, it has always stood out as a
country of great promise. Its wealth of natural resources and strong formation under the
British, who controlled it from 1553 to 1960, gave Nigeria formidable economic power well up
to its day of independence. However, like most postcolonial African countries, during the 1960s
Nigeria was engulfed with problems. For Nigeria, these included political corruption, coups,
assassinations, famine, and the Biafran War, which killed more than a million people. Since the
1980s, Nigeria has made significant efforts to transition toward democracy, but these efforts
have always collapsed because of the false promises and oppressive interventions of the
country's ruling military henchmen.
Despite efforts to suppress him, writer Chinua Achebe has succeeded in drawing
worldwide attention to the dilemmas that independent African nations such as Nigeria have
had in pursuing democratization. His first novel, Things Fall Apart, became the best-known
African novel in English.
Achebe was born into the Ibo tribe of eastern Nigeria. Many of his novels depict the
traditional world of the Ibo and the ways in which this traditional world has clashed with
modernity. Achebe also has satirized the corruption and strongman tactics of Nigeria's
governments since the country achieved independence in 1964. Due to Nigeria's volatile
military coups, Achebe has spent most of the last three decades in exile in the United States.
In this selection, Achebe offers a painful yet satirical glimpse of how politics and
elections generally work in modern African countries such as his own.


Achebe's parents, Isaiah Okafo Achebe and Janet Anaenechi Iloegbunam, were converts
to the Protestant Church Mission Society (CMS) in Nigeria. The elder Achebe stopped practising
the religion of his ancestors, but he respected its traditions. Achebe's unabbreviated name,
Chinualumogu ("May God fight on my behalf"), was a prayer for divine protection and
stability. The Achebe family had five other surviving children, named in a similar fusion of
traditional words relating to their new religion: Frank Okwuofu, John Chukwuemeka
Ifeanyichukwu, Zinobia Uzoma, Augustine Nduka, and Grace Nwanneka.
Chinua Achebe (born Albert Chinualumogu Achebe; 16 November 1930 – 21 March
2013) was a Nigerian novelist, poet, professor, and critic. He was best known for his first novel
and magnum opus. Chinua Achebe (born 1930), Nigerian essayist, poet, and novelist, is one of
Africa's most prominent writers. He is best known for his unique portraits of the widespread
social, political, and cultural effects that Western values have had on traditional African society.
Achebe studied at the University of Ibadan from 1948 to 1953 before earning his B.A. at
London University in 1953. During his time overseas, Achebe studied broadcasting at the BBC,
an experience that paved the way for his later involvement at the Nigerian Broadcasting
Corporation. He began working for this company as a producer in 1954 and became the
founder of the Voice of Nigeria in 1961.
As he pursued his interests in broadcasting, Achebe drew much more attention for his
impressive literary work. His writing became part of the new wave of Nigerian literature during
the 1950s and 1960s. This literature reflected Nigeria's strong oral traditions as well as the
considerable modernization the country was undergoing. In his first novels, Things Fall Apart
(1958) and Arrow of God (1964), Achebe portrayed the impact of British colonization on his
country and on the contemporary Nigerian as he skillfully adapting English and the traditional
form of the Western novel into the African literary aesthetic.

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While portraying the impact of colonial rule on Nigeria, Achebe also has tried to depict
the change, corruption, and crisis that has overcome Nigeria and other countries. These themes
are seen in such novels as No Longer at Ease (1960), A Man of the People (1966), The Trouble
with Nigeria (1984), and Anthills of the Savannah (1988). During the 1970s, Achebe was invited
to lecture at a number of universities. From 1976-81, he served as a professor of English at the
University of Nigeria. However, Achebe has lived in exile for many years, due to Nigeria's
political upheavals-which recently have included several coups, corrupt elections, and a civil
Among Achebe's other notable works are Beware, Soul-Brother, and Other Poems
(1971), Girls at War (1973), and Hopes and Impediments (1988).
He met a woman named Christie Okoli. Achebe and Okoli grew closer in the following years,
and on 10 September 1961 they were married in the Chapel of Resurrection on the campus of
the University of Ibadan. Their first child, a daughter named Chinelo, was born on 11 July 1962.
They had a son, Ikechukwu, on 3 December 1964, and another boy named Chidi, on 24 May


Chinua Achebe
Rufus Okeke – Roof, for short – was a very popular man in his village. Although the
villagers did not explain it in so many words, Roof’s popularity was a measure of their gratitude
to an energetic young man who, unlike most of his fellows nowadays, had not abandoned the
village lout either. Everyone knew how he had spent two years as a bicycle repairer’s
apprentice in Port Harcourt and had a given up of his own free will a bright future to return to
his people and guide them in these political times. Not that Umuofia needs a lot of guidance.
The village already belongs en masse to the People’s Alliance Party, and its most illustrious son,
Chief the Honorable Marcus Ibe, was a Minister of Culture in the outgoing government (which
was pretty certain to be the incoming one as well). Nobody doubted that the Honorable
Minister would be elected in his constituency. Opposition to him was like the proverbial fly
trying to move a dunghill. It would have been ridiculous enough without coming, as it did now,
from a complete nonentity.
As was to be expected, Roof was in the service of Honorable Minister for the coming
elections. He had become a real expert in election campaigning at all levels – village, local
government or national. He could tell the mood and temper of the electorate at any given time.
For instance, he had warned the Minister months ago about the radical change that had come
into the thinking of Umuofia since the last national election.
The villages had five years in which to see how quickly and plentifully politics brought
wealth, chieftaincy titles, doctorate degrees and other honors some of which, like the last, had
still to be explained satisfactorily to them; for they still expected a doctor to heal the sick.
Anyhow, these honors had come so readily to the man to whom they have given their votes
free of charge five years ago that they were now ready to think again.
Chinua Achebe is one of the best known African writers in the west. His unsentimental,
ironic books convey the traditions and speech of the Igbo people. He was born on Ogidi, Nigeria
and was educated at the University College of Ibadan. In his selection “The Voter”. He revealed
the voting styles of the villagers. Like the practice of other voters, they too asked for something
in exchange of their votes.
Their point was that only the other day Marcus Ibe was a not too successful mission
school teacher. Then politics had come to their village and he had wisely joined up, some say
just in time to avoid imminent dismissal arising from a female teacher’s pregnancy. Today he

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was Chief the Honorable; he had two long cars and had just built himself the biggest house
anyone had seen in those parts. But let it be said that none of these success had gone to
Marcus’s head as they might have done. He remained a man of the people. Whenever he could,
he left the good things to the capital and returned to his village which had neither running
water nor electricity. He knew the source of his good fortune, unlike the little bird who ate and
drank and went out to challenge his personal spirit. Marcus ha christened his new house
“Umuofia Mansions” in honor for his village and had slaughtered five bulls and countless goats
to entertain the people on the day it was opened by the Archbishop.
Everyone was full of praise for him. One old man said: “Our son is a good man; he is not
like the mortar which as soon as food comes its way turns its back on the ground”. But when
the feasting was over, the villagers told themselves that they had underrated the power of the
ballot paper before and should not do so again. Chief the Honorable Marcus Ibe was not
unprepared. He had drawn five months’ salary in advance, changed a few hundred pounds into
shining shillings and armed his campaign boys with eloquent little jute bags. In the day he made
his speeches; at night his stalwarts conducted their whispering campaign. Roof was the most
trusted of these campaigners.
“We have a Minister from the village, one of our sons,” he said to a group of elders in
the house of Ogbuefi Ezenw, a man of high traditional title. “What greater honor can a village
have? Do you ever stop to ask yourselves why we should be singled out for this honor? I will tell
you: it is because we are favoured by the leaders of PAP. Whether we cast our paper for
Marcus or not PAP will continue the rule. Think of the pipeborne water they have promised
Besides Roof and his assistant were five elders in the room. An old hurricane lamp with
a cracked, stooty, glass chimney gave out yellowish light in their midst. The elders sat on very
low stools. On the floor directly in front of each of them, lay two shilling pieces. Outside the
moon kept a straight face.
“We believe every word you say to be true,” said Ezenwa. “We shall, every one of us,
drop our paper for Marcus. Who would leave an ozo feast and go to a poor ritual meal? Tell
Marcus he has our papers and wives’ too. “But what we do say is that two shillings is shameful.”
He brought the lamp close and tilted it at the money before him as if to make sure he had not
mistaken its value. “Yes, two shillings is too shameful. If Marcus were a poor man – which our
ancestors forbid – I should be the first to give him my papers free, as I did before. But today
Marcus is a great man and does his things like a great man. We did not ask him for money
yesterday; we shall not ask him tomorrow. But today is our day; we have climbed the iroko tree
today and would be foolish not to take down all the firewood we need.”
Roof had to agree. He had lately been taking down a lot of firewood himself. Only
yesterday he had asked Marcus for one of his many rich robes, and had got it. Last Sunday
Marcus’s wife (the teacher that nearly got him in trouble) had objected (like the woman she
was) when Roof pulled out his fifth bottle of beer from the kerosene refrigerator; she was
roundly and publicly rebuked by her husband. To cap it all Roof had won a land case recently
because among other things, he had been chauffer-driven to the disputed site. So he
understood what the elders meant about the firewood.
“All right,” he said in English and then revealed to Ibo. “Let us not quarrel about small
things.” He stood up and adjusted robes. Then he bent down like a priest distributing the host
and gave one shilling more to every man; only he did not put it into their palms but on the floor
in front of them. The men, who had so far not designed to touch the things, looked at the floor
and shook their heads. Roof got up again and gave each man another shilling.
“I am through,” he said with a defiance that was no less effective for being transparently
faked. The elders too knew how far to go without losing decorum. So when Roof added: “Go
cast your paper for the enemy if you like!” they quickly calmed him down with a suitable

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speech from each of them. By the time the last man had spoken it was possible, without great
loss of dignity to pick up the things from the floor.
The enemy Roof had referred to, was the Progressive Organization Party (POP) which
had been formed by the tribes down the coast to save themselves, as the founders of the party
proclaimed, from total political, cultural, social and religious annihilation. Although it was clear
the party had no chance here it had plunged, with typical foolishness, into a straight fight with
PAP, providing cars and loud- speaker to a few local rascals and things to go around and make a
lot of noise. No one knew for certain how much money POP had let loose in Umuofia but it was
said to be very considerable. Their local campaigners would end up very rich, no doubt.
Up to last night everything had been “moving according to plan”, as Roof would have
put it. Then he had received a strange visit from the leader of the POP campaign team.
Although he and Roof were well known to each other, and might even be called friends, his visit
was cold and businesslike. No words were wasted. He placed five pounds on the floor before
Roof and said, “We want your vote.” Roof got up to his chair. The brief exercise gave him
enough time to weigh the proposition. As he spoke his eyes never left the red notes on the
floor. He seemed to be mesmerized by the picture of the cocoa farmer harvesting his crops.
“You know I work for Marcus,” he said feebly. “It will be very bad.”
“Marcus will not be there when you put in your paper. We have plenty of work to do
tonight; are you taking this or not?”
“It will not be heard outside this room?” asked Roof.
“We are after votes not gossip.”
“All right,” said Roof in English.
The man nudged his companion and he brought forward an object covered with a red
cloth and proceeded to remove the cover. It was a fearsome little affair contained in a clay pot
with feathers stuck into it.
“This iyi comes from Mbanta. You know what that means. Swear that you wiill vote for
Maduka. If you fail to do so, this iyi take note.”
Roof’s heart nearly flew out when he saw the iyi; indeed he knew the fame of
Mbanta in these things. But he was a man of quick decision. What could a single vote
cast a secret for Maduka take away from Marcus’s certain victory? Nothing.
“I will cast my paper for Maduka; if not this iyi take notes.”
“Das all,” said the man as he rose with his companion who had covered up the
object again and was taking it back to their car.
“You know he has no chance against Marcus,” said Roof at the door.
“It is enough that he gets a few votes now; next time he will get more. People
will hear that he gives out pounds, not shillings, and they will listen.”
Election morning.The great day every five years when the people exercised
power, or thought they did. Weather –beaten posters on walls of houses, tree-trunks
and telegraph poles. The few that were still whole called out their message to those
who could read. Vote for the People’s Alliance Party! Vote for the Progressive
Organization Party! Vote for PAP! Vote for POP! The posters that were torn called out as
much of the message as they could.
As usual Chief of the Honorable Marcus Ibe was doing things in grand style. He
had hired a highlife band from Umuru and stationed it at such distance from the voting
booths as just managed to be lawful. Many villagers danced to the music, their ballot
papers held aloft, before proceeding to the booths. Chief the Honorable Marcus Ibe sat
in the ‘owner’s corner’ of his enormous green car and smiled and nodded. One
enlightened villager came up to the car, shook hands with the great man and said in
advance; “Congrats!” This immediately set the pattern. Hundreds of admirers shook
Marcus’s hands and said “Congrats!”

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Roof and the other organizers were prancing up and down, giving last minute
advice to the voters and pouring with sweat.
“Do not forget,” he said again to a group of illiterate women who seemed ready
to burst with enthusiasm and good humor, “our sign is the motor-car…”
Like the one Marcus is sitting inside.”
“Thank you, mother,” said Roof. “It is the same car. The box with the car shown
on its body is the box for you. Don’t look at the other with the man’s head: it is for those
whose heads are not correct.”
This was greeted with loud laughter. Roof cast a quick and busy like glance
towards the Minister and received a smile of appreciation.
“Vote for the car,” he shouted, all the veins in his neck standing out. “Vote for
the car and you will ride in it!”
“Or if we don’t our children will,” piped the same sharp, old girl.
The band struck up a new number. “Why walk when you can ride…”
In spite of his apparent calm and confidence Chief the Honorable Marcus was a
relentless stickler for detail. He knew he would win what the newspapers called ‘a
landslide victory’ but he did not wish, even so, to throw away a single vote. So as soon
as the first rush of voters was over he promptly asked his campaign boys to go one at a
time and put in their ballot papers.
“Roof, you had better go first,” he said.
Roof’s spirits fell; but he let no one see worry with a surface exertion which was
unusual even for him. Now he dashed off in his springly fashion towards the booths. A
policeman at the entrance searched him for illegal ballot papers and passed him. Then
the electoral officer explained to him about two boxes. By this time the spring had gone
clean out of his walk. He sidled in and was confronted by the car and the head. He
brought out his ballot paper from his pocket and looked at it. How could he betray
Marcus even in secret? He resolved to go back to the other man and return his five
pounds… Five pounds! He knew at once it was impossible. He had sworn on that day.
The notes were red; the cocoa farmer busy at work.
At this point he heard the muffled voice of the policeman asking the electoral
officer what the man was doing inside. “Abina pickin im de born?”
Quick as lightning a thought leapt into Roof’s mind. He folded the paper, tore it in
two along the crease and put one half in each box. He took the precaution of putting the
first half into Maduka’s box and confirming the action verbally: “I vote for Maduka.”
They marked his thumb with indelible purple ink to prevent his return, and he
went out of the booth as jauntily as he had gone in.

On "The Voter" by Chinua Achebe. At the end of the story , Roof, makes a surprising
decision. He rips his paper (ballot) in half, for he has rationalized that his actions to each
candidate make a vote for either 'the right thing to do'. Then again, Roof's admirers might not
have voted either, and then there would be less votes. Either way, his paper (vote) appears to
have some effect on the people, or Maduka (the other candidate) would not have tried so hard
to persuade him with money. Maybe a better person could make a decision. Returning to my
thoughts during the last paragraphs of the story, I figured the story would have ended abruptly
and not told us who he voted for although Roof confirmed it verbally. It did not do that exactly,
it ended suddenly, but only after he split and inserted (cast) his paper.

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 World Literature: Apolinario S. Saymo, Judy Imelda L. Igoy, Remedias M. Esperon


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By Wole Soyinka


Akinwande Oluwole "Wole" Soyinka (Yoruba: Oluwo̩ lé S̩óyinká, pronounced
"Shoyinka"; born 13 July 1934) is a Nigerian playwright and poet. He was awarded the
1986 Nobel Prize in Literature,[1] the first African to be so honored.
Soyinka was born into a Yoruba family in Abeokuta. After study in Nigeria and the UK, he
worked with the Royal Court Theatre in London. He went on to write plays that were produced
in both countries, in theatres and on radio. He took an active role in Nigeria's political history
and its struggle for independence from Great Britain. In 1965, he seized the Western Nigeria
Broadcasting Service studio and broadcast a demand for the cancellation of the Western
Nigeria Regional Elections. In 1967 during the Nigerian Civil War, he was arrested by the federal
government of General Yakubu Gowon and put in solitary confinement for two years.
Soyinka has strongly criticised many Nigerian military dictators, especially late General
Sanni Abacha, as well as other political tyrannies, including the Mugabe regime in Zimbabwe.
Much of his writing has been concerned with "the oppressive boot and the irrelevance of the
color of the foot that wears it". During the regime of General Sani Abacha (1993–98), Soyinka
escaped from Nigeria via the "Nadeco Route" on a motorcycle. Living abroad, mainly in
the United States, he was a professor first at Cornell University and then at Emory University in
Atlanta, where in 1996 he was appointed Robert W. Woodruff Professor of the Arts. Abacha
proclaimed a death sentence against him "in absentia". With civilian rule restored to Nigeria in
1999, Soyinka returned to his nation. He has also taught at the universities
of Oxford, Harvard and Yale.
From 1975 to 1999, he was a Professor of Comparative Literature at the Obafemi Awolowo
University, then called the University of Ife. With civilian rule restored in 1999, he was made
professor emeritus. Soyinka has been a Professor of Creative Writing at theUniversity of
Nevada, Las Vegas. In the fall of 2007 he was appointed Professor in Residence at Loyola
Marymount University in Los Angeles, California, US.
By Wole Soyinka

My apparition rose from the fall of lead,

Declared, ‘I am a civilian.’ It only served
To aggravate your fright. For how could I
Have risen, a being of this world, in that hour
Of impartial death! And I thought also: nor is
Your quarrel of this world.

You stood still

For both eternities, and oh I heard the lesson
Of your training sessions, cautioning -
Scorch earth behind you, do not leave
A dubious neutral to the rear. Reiteration
Of my civilian quandary, burrowing earth
From the lead festival of your more eager friends
Worked the worse on your confusion, and when
You brought the gun to bear on me, and death
Twitched me gently in the eye, your plight
And all of you came clear to me.

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I hope someday
Intent upon my trade of living, to be checked
In stride by your apparition in a trench,
Signalling, I am a soldier. No hesitation then
But I shall shoot you clean and fair
With meat and bread, a gourd of wine
A bunch of breasts from either arm, and that
Lone question – do you friend, even now, know
What it is all about?

In the first stanza, a civilian reasons with the soldier who holds him at gunpoint and is
preparing to shoot. The civilian identified himself as such upon meeting the soldier, but the
soldier’s fright got the best of him. In the second stanza,the civilian imagines the soldier’s
thoughts, how the soldier recalls his training not to leave a questionable individual alive, how
he knows he “should” shoot—but does he know why? The point of the poem is that the soldier
knows what he is supposed to do, but it’s likely he has no idea why he should do it, or even
what it would accomplish. This poem is about the pointless civilian murders that occur during
war, and perhaps about the perceived pointlessness of war itself.The third stanza is about the
civilian narrator turns the situation around and states that if he were to live, and if he one day
were to surprised by the soldier the way the soldier was surprised by him, he would respond in
kindness rather than violence, and he would dare to verbalize the question: “Do you, friend,
even now, know / What it is all about?”



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By: Homer
- Born: c. 800 B.C.
- Died: c. 750 B.C.
- Birthplace: Greece
- Best known as: The author of the Iliad and the Odyssey
Homer is the man who, according to legend, wrote the two great epics of Greek history: the
Iliad (the tale of Achilles and the Trojan War) and the Odyssey (about the travels of Odysseus).
Both books are considered landmarks in human literature and Homer is therefore often cited as
the starting point of Western literary and historical tradition. The details of Homer's life are a
mystery; some scholars believe that no such man ever existed, and that the works credited to
him were actually told and gathered by many people over many centuries. Other stories give
various birthplaces and ages for Homer and suggest he was a wandering poet or minstrel.
Homer is usually said to have been blind, a point on which nearly all the legends agree.
Iliad, (Song of Ilion; Song of Ilium) the epic Homeric poem tells the story of the Trojan
War and the battle of Troy (Ilium), one of the most important and well-known events in Greek
mythology. In a time when the gods still visited mortals, it tells of Achilles, leader of the
Achaeans and his great wrath towards King Agamemnon, leader of the Greeks. Narrated by one
informed by the Muses, it includes other such important Achaean and Trojan figures as Zeus,
Patroclus, Diomedes , Ajax, Menelaus, Hector, Hecuba, Helen, Paris, and Aeneas. Iliad is a
glorification of war and the bravery of Achilles, demi-god and great military warrior.
The Achaeans, under King Agamemnon, have been fighting the Trojans off and on for
nine years, trying to retrieve Helen, the wife of Menelaus, and thus Agamemnon's sister-in-law.
Paris, a son of the king of Troy, kidnaps Helen, who becomes the legendary "Helen of Troy" and
"the woman with the face that launched a thousand ships."
Yet, after years of Achaean attacks, Troy remains intact, and the Trojan army remains
undefeated. The same cannot be said for the Achaean army. At present, the Achaean troops
are dying from a mysterious plague. Hundreds of funeral pyres burn nightly. Finally, Achilles,
the Achaeans' most honored soldier, calls for an assembly to determine the cause of the
A soothsayer reveals to the army that King Agamemnon's arrogance caused the deadly
plague; he refused to return a woman who was captured and awarded to him as a "war prize."
Reluctantly, Agamemnon agrees to return the woman, but, as compensation, he says that he
will take the woman who was awarded to Achilles, his best warrior.
Achilles is furious, and he refuses to fight any longer for the Achaeans. He and his forces
retreat to the beach beside their ships, and Achilles asks his mother, the goddess Thetis, if she
will ask Zeus, king of the gods, to help the Trojans defeat his former comrades, the Achaeans.
Zeus agrees to do so.
The two armies prepare for battle, and Paris (the warrior who kidnapped Menelaus'
wife, Helen) leaps out and challenges any of the Achaeans to a duel. Menelaus challenges him
and beats him, but before Paris is killed, the goddess Aphrodite whisks him away to the safety
of his bedroom in Troy.
A short truce is called, but it is broken when an over-zealous soldier wounds Menelaus.
During the battle that follows, Diomedes, an Achaean, dominates the action, killing
innumerable Trojans and wounding Aphrodite, a goddess.
The Trojans seem to be losing, so Hector returns to Troy to ask his mother to offer
sacrifices to Athena. She performs the rituals, but Athena refuses to accept them. Meanwhile,
Hector discovers Paris safe in his bedroom with Helen, and shames him into returning to battle.

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Then Hector visits with his wife and their baby son. It is clear that Hector is deeply devoted to
his family, yet feels the terrible weight of his responsibility as commander-in-chief of the Trojan
During the fighting that continues, the Achaeans begin to falter, and at one point
Athena, Zeus' daughter, fears that the entire Achaean army may be slaughtered. Thus, she and
Apollo decide to have Hector challenge one of the Achaean' warriors to a duel in order to settle
the war. Telamonian Aias (Ajax) battles Hector so valiantly that the contest ends in a draw, and
a truce is called.
During this break in the fighting, the dead of both armies are buried and given
appropriate funeral rites, and the Achaeans fortify their defenses with a strong wall and a
moat-like ditch.
The fighting resumes, and so many Achaeans are slaughtered that Agamemnon suggests
that his troops sail for home, but finally he is convinced that he must return to the fighting.
Messengers are sent to Achilles, asking him to return to battle, but Achilles is still sulking beside
his ships and refuses to fight.
Soon Agamemnon, Diomedes, Odysseus, and old Nestor are all seriously wounded, and
Achilles realizes that the Achaeans are in danger of imminent defeat. Therefore, he sends his
warrior-companion, Patroclus, to find out who the seriously wounded are.
Patroclus talks with old Nestor, one of the wisest of the Achaean soldiers. Nestor asks
Patroclus to dress in Achilles' armor and return to battle. The Achaeans, he says, will rejoice and
have new faith in their death struggle against the Trojans when they think that they see Achilles
returning to the battle. In addition, the Trojans will so fear the wrath of the mighty Achilles that
they will be easily defeated. Patroclus promises to ask Achilles for permission to use his armor
and ride into battle disguised as the mighty warrior.
Meanwhile, Hector leads a massive Trojan surge against the Achaean wall that stands
between the Trojans and the Achaean fleet of ships, and the wall is successfully smashed. The
tumult is so deafening that hell itself seems unloosed.
Achilles is watching and realizes that his wish may be granted: The Achaeans are about
to be annihilated. He sends Patroclus into the fighting, disguised as Achilles himself. The
Achaean army rejoices at what they think is the return of Achilles to the fighting, and the
Trojans are so terrified that they are quickly swept back to the walls of Troy.
Patroclus' valor seems superhuman. He has killed nine Trojans in a single charge when
Apollo strikes him with such fury that Hector is able to catch him off-guard and thrust a spear
through his body. Then some of the most intense fighting of the war follows in a battle to claim
Patroclus' body. Finally, the Achaeans rescue Patroclus' corpse, and Hector captures Achilles'
armor. Then the Achaeans return to the beach, guarding their ships as best they can.
Achilles is filled with overwhelming grief and rage when he learns that his warrior-
companion, Patroclus, has been slaughtered. His mother, Thetis, comes to him and advises him
that it is fated that he will die if he tries to revenge Patroclus' death. But she says that if Achilles
decides to revenge Patroclus' death, she will outfit him in a suit of new armor, made by one of
the gods.
Achilles chooses: He will defy certain death and the Trojans in an attempt to punish
them for what they (and he) did to Patroclus. Thus, he returns to battle in his new armor and is
so successful that he and the Achaians rout the Trojans. He savagely kills Hector, the Trojans'
mightiest warrior. Achilles' anger is not sated, however. He ties Hector's corpse to his chariot
and circles Patroclus' burial mound every day for nine days.
Hector's parents are so grieved at the barbaric treatment given to their son's corpse that
Priam, Hector's father, goes to Achilles and begs for his son's body. Achilles is moved by Priam's
pleas and by the memory of his own father. Consequently, he agrees to cleanse and return
Hector's body.
Hector's body is given the appropriate cremation rites, and then with mourning and
weeping for the noble warrior, the Trojans place his remains in a golden casket and place it in a
burial barrow.
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The Iliad focuses much on Achilles and his internal struggle with his personal will versus
the will of Zeus. However, in the middle of the book, he is almost entirely absent. This gives
Homer the opportunity to show other sides of the conflict, and dirty deeds done by the Greeks
and Trojans. In the time of the Trojan War, there was an unwritten code of heroic conduct that
the bravest warriors followed. Defeated warriors were not always killed. They were sometimes
taken prisoner and returned for ransoms of money or gifts. However, in the Iliad, Homer shows
that leniency rarely survives in war. Diomedes and Odysseus, two respected Greek warriors,
sneak into a sleeping Trojan camp and kill many unarmed, dreaming Trojans. Paris ignores the
conduct of a fair fight, and runs away every chance he gets. And Achilles, after losing Patroclus
by Hector's sword, tortures Hector before killing him and treats his body very poorly.
Desecration of a dead body was sacrilege to Greek and Trojan society, and it was a great insult.
Homer's last comments on the futility of war come at the end of the Iliad, and in a
peaceful manner. Homer shows a little redemption for the horrible effects of war when Priam
begs Achilles for Hector's body. Achilles and Priam share a moment of realization of what has
been lost to the long Trojan War. The final scene is a quiet, mournful funeral, in which the
Trojans bury Hector, who was a good man destroyed by the horror of war and the will of Zeus.


Oedipus was a mythical Greek king of Thebes. A tragic hero in Greek mythology,
Oedipus accidentally fulfilled the prophecy, despite his efforts not to, that he would kill his
father and marry his mother, and thereby bring disaster on his city and his family. When they
discovered what had happened, his wife hanged herself, and Oedipus gouged out his own eyes.
They had had four children together. The story of Oedipus is the subject of Sophocles's
tragedy Oedipus the King, which was followed by Oedipus at Colonus and then Antigone.
Together, these plays make up Sophocles's three Theban plays. Oedipus represents two
enduring themes of Greek myth and drama: the flawed nature of humanity and an individual's
role in the course of destiny in a harsh universe.

Oedipus was born to King Laius and Queen Jocasta. In the most well-known version of
the myth, Laius wished to thwart a prophecy, which said that his child would grow up to murder
his father and marry his mother. Thus, he fastened the
infant's feet together with a large pin and left him to die
on a mountainside. The baby was found on Kithairon by
shepherds and raised by King Polybus and Queen Merope
in the city of Corinth. Oedipus learned from the oracle at
Delphi of the prophecy, but believing he was fated to murder Polybus and marry Merope, he
left Corinth. Heading to Thebes, Oedipus met an older man in a chariot coming the other way
on a narrow road. The two quarreled over who should give way, which resulted in Oedipus
killing the stranger and continuing on to Thebes. He found that the king of the city (Laius) had
been recently killed and that the city was at the mercy of the Sphinx. Oedipus answered the
monster's riddle correctly, defeating it and winning the throne of the dead king and the hand in
marriage of the king's widow, his mother, Jocasta.

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Oedipus and Jocasta had two sons (Eteocles and Polynices) and two daughters
(Antigone and Ismene). In his search to determine who killed Laius (and thus end a plague on
Thebes), Oedipus discovered it was he who had killed the late king (his father). Jocasta, upon
realizing that she had married her own son and Laius's murderer, hanged herself. Oedipus then
seized two pins from her dress and blinded himself with them. Oedipus was driven into exile,
accompanied by Antigone and Ismene. After years of wandering, he arrived in Athens, where
he found refuge in a grove of trees called Colonus. By this time, warring factions in Thebes
wished him to return to that city, believing that his body would bring it luck. However, Oedipus
died at Colonus, and the presence of his grave there was said to bring good fortune to Athens.


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Ancient Rome
By :Horace

Quintus Horatius Flaccus was born on 8th of December 65 B.C. He was the
son of a freed slave. An outstanding poet, he broaden his education by studying
literature and philosophy in Athens, and Greek ideals are reflected in his
writings. Horace enjoyed the luxury of country estates, banguets fine clothes,
and courtesans along with the simple pleasures of mountain streams and clear
skies. His poetry touched on many themes the joy of good wine, the value of
moderation, and the beauty of friendship. Desiring to blend reason and emotion,
Horace urged extremes and to keep desire under national control. He also
reminded Romans of the terrible civil wars that had ruined the Republic. Horace
was poverty – stricken when his land and properties were confiscated due to his
joining the cause of the rebels. Fortunately enough, his written poems caught
the attention of Virgil, who later on introduced him to his own patron ,
Maecenas. His well-written poems satires became of great influence to
Renaissance poets making him one of the most well-known poets of the Western

Better to live, Licinius, not always

Rushing into deep water, and not, when fear
Of storms make you shiver, pushing too close
To the dangerous coast.

A man, who prizes golden moderation

Stays safely clear of the filth of a run-down
Building, stays prudently out of a palace
Others will envy.

The giant pine is more often troubled by the

Wind, and the tallest towers collapse with a
Heavier fall, and bolts of lightning strike the
Tops of the mountains.

Hopeful in the bad times, fearful in the good times,

That is the man who has readied his heart for
The turn of the dice. Jupiter brings back foul
Winters; he also

Takes them away. No, if things are bad now,

They will not remain that way: sometimes Apollo
Wakes the silent Muse with his lyre and is not
Always an archer.
The person was about living life wisely. In life, we do not know what are the things may
come to us. Sometimes we are so happy and blessed, but sometimes we are very hopeless
because of the trouble that we encounter. We cannot stop those things to come, there are
good times and bad times by we can prevent it.

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In the poem, the speaker advised Licinius, the life lessons in order for him to enjoy his life
and to become hopeful when the impediments come.
In every stanza, the speaker always remind Licinius to live his life in the middle of all things
because that’s the only way for him to succeed when the things around him is not going right.
The poem tells that don’t push yourself to the things that may lead you into danger.
In the poem, even if you are the highest and mightiest person you need to consider also
the consequences that will come into your life because, one’s you’ll make a wrong decision
your life will change and life is also dynamic sometimes you are in the top and sometimes are in
the bottom but, you need to brave and strong enough to face it .

Electronic Resources
 http.// great.poets/the clssics/Horace/its-better-to-live/
 www.glencoe/sec/literature/course/worldlit/unit2/part2/webresources/better.shtm/
 Perry Marvin, Chase Myrna , Jacob ,James R. Margaret C., Von Laue, Theodore, Western
Civilization. Houghton Mifflin Company Boston, Dallas Geneva, Illinois Palo Princepo,
New Jersey, pp. 132



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He was one of the most prolific poets of Rome commonly known as Pablius Ovidius
Naso. The great writer was born on the date of March 20, 43 B.C. in Sulmona, Italy. He came to
Rome for pursuing his studies. His father wanted him to join politics, but he decided to write
poetry because he had a strong passion for it.
He was exiled in Tomis, a primitive town in the Black Sea during the reign of Augustus.
While in exile, he fought his loneliness by writing poetry about his condition. The poet died in
17 A.D.


The story of Pyramus and Thisbe which is basically an ancient love story written by the
Roman writer Publius Ovidius Naso, commonly known as Ovid. This story is a part of Ovid’s
narrative poems that appeared in the form of fifteen books called as ‘Metamorphoses’.
Metamophoses can be basically called a long narrative poem that is divided into fifteen
books. The story of Pyramus and Thisbe comes in the fourth book. Metamorphoses became
extremely famous in the Augustan age. And it is also counted as one of the most popularly read
books in the age of Renaissance. The book was originally in Latin language but later on was
translated into English language.

The Story of Pyramus and Thisbe

By: Ovid

In Babylon, where first her queen, for state

Rais'd walls of brick magnificently great,
Liv'd Pyramus, and Thisbe, lovely pair!
He found no eastern youth his equal there,
And she beyond the fairest nymph was fair.
A closer neighbourhood was never known,
Tho' two the houses, yet the roof was one.
Acquaintance grew, th' acquaintance they improve
To friendship, friendship ripen'd into love:
Love had been crown'd, but impotently mad,
What parents could not hinder, they forbad.
For with fierce flames young Pyramus still burn'd,
And grateful Thisbe flames as fierce return'd.
Aloud in words their thoughts they dare not break,
But silent stand; and silent looks can speak.
The fire of love the more it is supprest,
The more it glows, and rages in the breast.

When the division-wall was built, a chink

Was left, the cement unobserv'd to shrink.
So slight the cranny, that it still had been
For centuries unclos'd, because unseen.
But oh! what thing so small, so secret lies,
Which scapes, if form'd for love, a lover's eyes?

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Ev'n in this narrow chink they quickly found

A friendly passage for a trackless sound.
Safely they told their sorrows, and their joys,
In whisper'd murmurs, and a dying noise,
By turns to catch each other's breath they strove,
And suck'd in all the balmy breeze of love.
Oft as on diff'rent sides they stood, they cry'd,
Malicious wall, thus lovers to divide!
Suppose, thou should'st a-while to us give place
To lock, and fasten in a close embrace:
But if too much to grant so sweet a bliss,
Indulge at least the pleasure of a kiss.
We scorn ingratitude: to thee, we know,
This safe conveyance of our minds we owe.

Thus they their vain petition did renew

'Till night, and then they softly sigh'd adieu.
But first they strove to kiss, and that was all;
Their kisses dy'd untasted on the wall.
Soon as the morn had o'er the stars prevail'd,
And warm'd by Phoebus, flow'rs their dews exhal'd,
The lovers to their well-known place return,
Alike they suffer, and alike they mourn.
At last their parents they resolve to cheat
(If to deceive in love be call'd deceit),
To steal by night from home, and thence unknown
To seek the fields, and quit th' unfaithful town.
But, to prevent their wand'ring in the dark,
They both agree to fix upon a mark;
A mark, that could not their designs expose:
The tomb of Ninus was the mark they chose.
There they might rest secure beneath the shade,
Which boughs, with snowy fruit encumber'd, made:
A wide-spread mulberry its rise had took
Just on the margin of a gurgling brook.
Impatient for the friendly dusk they stay;
And chide the slowness of departing day;
In western seas down sunk at last the light,
From western seas up-rose the shades of night.
The loving Thisbe ev'n prevents the hour,
With cautious silence she unlocks the door,
And veils her face, and marching thro' the gloom
Swiftly arrives at th' assignation-tomb.
For still the fearful sex can fearless prove;
Boldly they act, if spirited by love.
When lo! a lioness rush'd o'er the plain,
Grimly besmear'd with blood of oxen slain:
And what to the dire sight new horrors brought,
To slake her thirst the neighb'ring spring she sought.
Which, by the moon, when trembling Thisbe spies,
Wing'd with her fear, swift, as the wind, she flies;
And in a cave recovers from her fright,
But drop'd her veil, confounded in her flight.
When sated with repeated draughts, again
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The queen of beasts scour'd back along the plain,

She found the veil, and mouthing it all o'er,
With bloody jaws the lifeless prey she tore.

The youth, who could not cheat his guards so soon,

Late came, and noted by the glimm'ring moon
Some savage feet, new printed on the ground,
His cheeks turn'd pale, his limbs no vigour found;
But when, advancing on, the veil he spied
Distain'd with blood, and ghastly torn, he cried,
One night shall death to two young lovers give,
But she deserv'd unnumber'd years to live!
'Tis I am guilty, I have thee betray'd,
Who came not early, as my charming maid.
Whatever slew thee, I the cause remain,
I nam'd, and fix'd the place where thou wast slain.
Ye lions from your neighb'ring dens repair,
Pity the wretch, this impious body tear!
But cowards thus for death can idly cry;
The brave still have it in their pow'r to die.
Then to th' appointed tree he hastes away,
The veil first gather'd, tho' all rent it lay:
The veil all rent yet still it self endears,
He kist, and kissing, wash'd it with his tears.
Tho' rich (he cry'd) with many a precious stain,
Still from my blood a deeper tincture gain.
Then in his breast his shining sword he drown'd,
And fell supine, extended on the ground.
As out again the blade lie dying drew,
Out spun the blood, and streaming upwards flew.
So if a conduit-pipe e'er burst you saw,
Swift spring the gushing waters thro' the flaw:
Then spouting in a bow, they rise on high,
And a new fountain plays amid the sky.
The berries, stain'd with blood, began to show
A dark complexion, and forgot their snow;
While fatten'd with the flowing gore, the root
Was doom'd for ever to a purple fruit.

Mean-time poor Thisbe fear'd, so long she stay'd,

Her lover might suspect a perjur'd maid.
Her fright scarce o'er, she strove the youth to find
With ardent eyes, which spoke an ardent mind.
Already in his arms, she hears him sigh
At her destruction, which was once so nigh.
The tomb, the tree, but not the fruit she knew,
The fruit she doubted for its alter'd hue.
Still as she doubts, her eyes a body found
Quiv'ring in death, and gasping on the ground.
She started back, the red her cheeks forsook,
And ev'ry nerve with thrilling horrors shook.
So trembles the smooth surface of the seas,
If brush'd o'er gently with a rising breeze.
But when her view her bleeding love confest,
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She shriek'd, she tore her hair, she beat her breast.
She rais'd the body, and embrac'd it round,
And bath'd with tears unfeign'd the gaping wound.
Then her warm lips to the cold face apply'd,
And is it thus, ah! thus we meet, she cry'd!
My Pyramus! whence sprung thy cruel fate?
My Pyramus!- ah! speak, ere 'tis too late.
I, thy own Thisbe, but one word implore,
One word thy Thisbe never ask'd before.
At Thisbe's name, awak'd, he open'd wide
His dying eyes; with dying eyes he try'd
On her to dwell, but clos'd them slow, and dy'd.

The fatal cause was now at last explor'd,

Her veil she knew, and saw his sheathless sword:
From thy own hand thy ruin thou hast found,
She said, but love first taught that hand to wound,
Ev'n I for thee as bold a hand can show,
And love, which shall as true direct the blow.
I will against the woman's weakness strive,
And never thee, lamented youth, survive.
The world may say, I caus'd, alas! thy death,
But saw thee breathless, and resign'd my breath.
Fate, tho' it conquers, shall no triumph gain,
Fate, that divides us, still divides in vain.

Now, both our cruel parents, hear my pray'r;

My pray'r to offer for us both I dare;
Oh! see our ashes in one urn confin'd,
Whom love at first, and fate at last has join'd.
The bliss, you envy'd, is not our request;
Lovers, when dead, may sure together rest.
Thou, tree, where now one lifeless lump is laid,
Ere-long o'er two shalt cast a friendly shade.
Still let our loves from thee be understood,
Still witness in thy purple fruit our blood.
She spoke, and in her bosom plung'd the sword,
All warm and reeking from its slaughter'd lord.
The pray'r, which dying Thisbe had preferr'd,
Both Gods, and parents, with compassion heard.
The whiteness of the mulberry soon fled,
And rip'ning, sadden'd in a dusky red:
While both their parents their lost children mourn,
And mix their ashes in one golden urn.

Thus did the melancholy tale conclude,

And a short, silent interval ensu'd.
The next in birth unloos'd her artful tongue,
And drew ate

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The poem is about Pyramus and Thisbe, a two lovers in the city of Babylon who occupy
connected houses/walls, forbidden by their parents to be wed, because of their parents’ rivalry.
Through a crack in one of the walls, they whisper their love for each other. They arrange to
meet near at Ninus tomb under a mulberry tree and state their feelings for each other. Thisbe
arrives first, but upon seeing a lioness with a mouth bloody from a recent kill, she flees, leaving
behind her veil. The lioness drinks from a nearby fountain, then by chance mutilates the veil
Thisbe had left behind. When Pyramus arrives, he is horrified at the sight of Thisbe's veil,
assuming that a fierce beast had killed her. Pyramus kills himself, falling on his sword in proper
Roman fashion, and in turn splashing blood on the white mulberry leaves. Pyramus blood stains
the white mulberry fruits, turning them dark. Thisbe returns, eager to tell Pyramus what had
happened to her, but she finds Pyramus dead body under the shade of the mulberry tree.
Thisbe, after a brief period of mourning, stabs herself with the same sword. In the end, the gods
listen to Thisbe's lament, and forever change the color of the mulberry fruits into the stained
color to honor the forbidden love.
From this poem, The Story of Pyramus and Thisbe, it reminds us that because of love, no
matter what trials and hindrances life may bring, it can never tore apart two lovers who
pledged to vow until death.

 "Pyramus and Thisbe." Encyclopædia Britannica. Encyclopædia Britannica Ultimate
Reference Suite. Chicago: Encyclopædia Britannica, 2012.


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Gilgamesh - The protagonist of the story and the King of Uruk. He is credited with having built
the city walls of Uruk to protect its people. In most translations, he is described as being one-
third man and two-thirds god. His mother is Ninsun, a goddess. His father is Lugalbanda, a past
King of Uruk.
Enkidu - A wild man who becomes Gilgamesh's best friend. After being visited by Shamhat, the
prostitute, Enkidu is civilized and leaves the animal world behind to journey with Shamhat to
Uruk. Enkidu accompanies Gilgamesh to defeat Humbaba before he passes away. Gilgamesh
journeys to the Underworld to try to bring Enkidu back to life.
Shamhat - A temple prostitute sent by Gilgamesh to civilize Enkidu. Shamhat seduces Enkidu
and he sleeps with her for six days and seven nights. She brings him back to Uruk with her
where he first encounters Gilgamesh.
Ninsun - Gilgamesh's mother and a goddess. She prays for Gilgamesh and Enkidu before they
embark to fight Humbaba in the cedar forest.
Humbaba/Huwawa - The Guardian of the cedar forest. Humbaba is defeated and killed by
Gilgamesh and Enkidu.
Ishtar/Irnini - Goddess of Love, Fertility, and War, and daughter of Anu. Ishtar sends the Bull of
Heaven to attack Gilgamesh after he spurns her advances.
Anu - The father of the Sumerian Gods. Ishtar appeals to him for help after Gilgamesh spurns
her advances.
Urshanabi - The boatman who takes Gilgamesh over the waters of the dead to see Utnapishtim.
Utnapishtim - Instructed by Ea to build a boat before the flood that destroyed the city of
Shurrupak. Utnapishtim is granted immortality for his role. Gilgamesh seeks him out after
Enkidu's death. Utnapishtim tells Gilgamesh of the flood and tells him where to find a magic
plant that can grant immortality.
The Bull of Heaven - Referred to in some translations as "Gugalanna," the Bull of Heaven was
sent to punish Gilgamesh for rejecting Ishtar's sexual advances. Gilgamesh and Enkidu slay the
Bull of Heaven and insult Ishtar.
Siduri - A barmaid and alewife that Gilgamesh encounters on his journey into the Underworld.
Siduri resides in a cottage by the sea. She discourages Gilgamesh on his pursuit for immortality
but ultimately directs him to the boatman Urshanabi.
Enlil - The storm god, wind god, and god of destiny.
Lugalbanda - The father of Gilgamesh, a great hero king of Uruk.
Aruru/Mammetum - The mother goddess who established life and death.
Nergal - Lord of the underworld.
Ninurta - The god of war, chaos, and silence.
Shamash - The god of light and the sun, he aids Enkidu and Gilgamesh in their fight with


The Epic of Gilgamesh is an ancient epic poem from Mesopotamia dating back to
roughly 2000 BCE. It is believed to be one of the earliest works of literature in human history.
Scholars believe that its origins were in ancient Sumerian poems that were later collected into
an Akkadian epic in the 18th or 17th century BCE. Hormuzd Rassam, an Assyrian archaeologist,
first discovered the clay tablets that record the epic in 1853, in modern-day Iraq. They were
first translated by George Smith, a British Assyriologist, and were first published in the early

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Eleven tablets make up the main body of the poem. A twelfth tablet was likely added
later, Sin-Leqi-Unnini added the tablet to the poem, but it is unclear why. It does not
correspond to the rest of the poem and contradicts some of the events outlined in it. It also
uses similar imagery and concepts but is not sequential to the other eleven. This last tablet is
sometimes omitted from translations for this reason.

Tablet One
The story introduces Gilgamesh, king of Uruk. Gilgamesh, two-third god and one-third
man, is oppressing his people, who cry out to the gods for help. For the young women of Uruk
this oppression takes the form of a droit du seigneur — or "lord's right" to sleep with brides on
their wedding night. For the young men (the tablet is damaged at this point) it is conjectured
that Gilgamesh exhausts them through games, tests of strength, or perhaps forced labour on
building projects. The gods respond to the people's pleas by creating an equal to Gilgamesh
who will be able to stop his oppression. This is the primitive man, Enkidu, who is covered in hair
and lives in the wild with the animals. He is spotted by a trapper, whose livelihood is being
ruined because Enkidu is uprooting his traps. The trapper tells Gilgamesh about the man, and it
is arranged for Enkidu to be seduced by Shamhat, a temple prostitute, his first step towards
being tamed, and after six days and seven nights of love making she takes Enkidu to a
shepherd's camp to learn how to be civilized. Gilgamesh, meanwhile, has been having dreams
about the imminent arrival of a beloved new companion.
Tablet Two
Shamhat brings Enkidu to a shepherds' camp, where he is introduced to a human diet
and becomes the night watchman. Learning from a passing stranger about Gilgamesh's
treatment of new brides, Enkidu is incensed and travels to Uruk to intervene at a wedding.
When Gilgamesh attempts to visit the wedding chamber, Enkidu blocks his way, and they fight.
After a fierce battle, Enkidu acknowledges Gilgamesh's superior strength and they become
friends. Gilgamesh proposes a journey to the Cedar Forest to slay the monstrous demi-
god Humbaba, in order to gain fame and renown. Despite warnings from Enkidu and the council
of elders, Gilgamesh will not be deterred.
Tablet Three
The elders give Gilgamesh advice for his journey. Gilgamesh visits his mother, the
goddess Ninsun, who seeks the support and protection of the sun-god Shamash for their
adventure. Ninsun adopts Enkidu as her son, and Gilgamesh leaves instructions for the
governance of Uruk in his absence.
Tablet Four
Gilgamesh and Enkidu journey to the Cedar Forest. Every few days they camp on a
mountain, and perform a dream ritual. Gilgamesh has five terrifying dreams about falling
mountains, thunderstorms, wild bulls, and a thunderbird that breathes fire. Despite similarities
between his dream figures and earlier descriptions of Humbaba, Enkidu interprets these
dreams as good omens, and denies that the frightening images represent the forest guardian.
As they approach the cedar mountain, they hear Humbaba bellowing, and have to encourage
each other not to be afraid.
Tablet Five
The heroes enter the cedar forest. Humbaba, the ogre-guardian of the Cedar Forest,
insults and threatens them. He accuses Enkidu of betrayal, and vows to disembowel Gilgamesh
and feed his flesh to the birds. Gilgamesh is afraid, but with some encouraging words from
Enkidu the battle commences. The mountains quake with the tumult and the sky turns black.
The god Shamash sends 13 winds to bind Humbaba, and he is captured. The monster pleads for
his life, and Gilgamesh pities him. Enkidu, however, is enraged and asks Gilgamesh to kill the
beast. Humbaba curses them both and Gilgamesh dispatches him with a blow to the neck. The
two heroes cut down many cedars, including a gigantic tree that Enkidu plans to fashion into a
gate for the temple of Enlil. They build a raft and return home along the Euphrates with the
giant tree and the head of Humbaba.

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Tablet Six
Upon his return to Uruk Gilgamesh bathes his body and dons a clean robe and cloak,
and anoints himself with oil. His appearance is so attractive that Ishtar, the goddess of love and
war, is overcome with lust. She pleads with Gilgamesh to be her husband. She promises him
vast riches if he impregnates her. She tells him they will live together in a house made of cedar,
and that she will give him a lapis lazuli chariot with golden wheels.
Gilgamesh pointedly refuses her advances. He says he has nothing to offer her, since, as
a goddess, she has everything she could ever want. He tells her he knows of the fate of her
other human lovers. Gilgamesh recounts the story of Tammuz, the shepherd, who was a captive
in the underworld and is mourned in festivals every year. Another shepherd she loved became
a bird with broken wings, unable to fly. A goat-herder who loved her was turned into a wolf.
Gilgamesh asks why he should expect to be treated any better.
Ishtar is furious. She goes to her father, Anu, and mother, Antum, and demands that they let
her use the Bull of Heaven to punish Gilgamesh. Her father refuses, stating that what Gilgamesh
said was true. Ishtar is only further enraged. She threatens to free the dead from the
underworld so they can feast on the living. Anu warns her that the bull will also bring a famine.
Ishtar assures him that she has made provisions for the people and the flocks of Uruk, and he
gives in.
Ishtar unleashes the Bull of Heaven. The city of Uruk trembles as, bellowing and
snorting, it comes down from the sky. A crack opens up in the earth, and one hundred men fall
into it and die. Again the bull bellows and again the ground cracks open. One hundred more
men are swallowed up. The third time this happens, Enkidu attacks the bull. The bull slobbers
all over him and whips him with its tail, coated in excrement. Enkidu grabs it by its horns and
wrestles with it. He calls out to Gilgamesh, who joins him, and they fight the bull together. At
last, Enkidu seizes its filthy tail and holds the monster still so that Gilgamesh can thrust his
sword between its shoulders and kill it. The heroes then cut out its heart and offer it as a
sacrifice to Shamash the sun god.
Ishtar appears on the walls of the city and curses the two friends. Enkidu picks up one of
the bull’s bloody haunches and hurls it at her. He threatens that if she were closer, he would do
the same to her. Gilgamesh and Enkidu again bathe and wash the bull’s blood from their bodies
in the Euphrates. That night, Enkidu has a dream that the gods are meeting in council. He
awakens suddenly and asks Gilgamesh why the gods would do this.
Tablet Seven
In Enkidu's dream, the gods decide that one of the heroes must die because they killed
Humbaba and the Bull of Heaven. Despite the protestations of Shamash, Enkidu is marked for
death. Soon thereafter, Enkidu becomes ill, proving the dream true. Enkidu curses the trapper
and Shamhat for removing him from the wild. Shamash reminds Enkidu of how Shamhat fed
and clothed him, and introduced him to Gilgamesh. Shamash tells him that Gilgamesh will
bestow great honors upon him at his funeral, and will wander into the wild consumed with
grief. Enkidu regrets his curses and blesses Shamhat. In a second dream however he sees
himself being taken captive to the Netherworld by a terrifying Angel of Death. The underworld
is a "house of dust" and darkness whose inhabitants eat clay, and are clothed in bird feathers,
supervised by terrifying beings. For 12 days, Enkidu's condition worsens. Finally, after a lament
that he could not meet a heroic death in battle, he dies.
Tablet Eight
Gilgamesh delivers a lamentation for Enkidu, in which he calls upon mountains, forests,
fields, rivers, wild animals, and all of Uruk to mourn for his friend. Recalling their adventures
together, Gilgamesh tears at his hair and clothes in grief. He commissions a funerary statue, and
provides grave gifts from his treasury to ensure that Enkidu has a favourable reception in the
realm of the dead. A great banquet is held where the treasures are offered to the gods of the
Netherworld. Just before a break in the text there is a suggestion that a river is being dammed,
indicating a burial in a river bed, as in the corresponding Sumerian poem, The Death of

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Tablet Nine
Gilgamesh roaming the wild wearing animal skins, grieving for Enkidu. Fearful of his own
death, he decides to seek Utnapishtim ("the Faraway"), and learn the secret of eternal life.
Among the few survivors of the Great Flood, Utnapishtim and his wife are the only humans to
have been granted immortality by the gods. Gilgamesh crosses a mountain pass at night and
encounters a pride of lions. Before sleeping he prays for protection to the moon god Sin. Then,
waking from an encouraging dream, he kills the lions and uses their skins for clothing. After a
long and perilous journey, Gilgamesh arrives at the twin peaks of Mount Mashu at the end of
the earth. He comes across a tunnel, which no man has ever entered, guarded by two terrible
scorpion-men. After questioning him and recognizing his semi-divine nature, they allow him to
enter it, and he passes under the mountains along the Road of the Sun. In complete darkness
he follows the road for 12 "double hours", managing to complete the trip before the Sun
catches up with him. He arrives at the Garden of the gods, a paradise full of jewel-laden trees.
Tablet Ten
Meeting the ale wife Siduri, who assumes, because of his disheveled appearance, that
he is a murderer or thief, Gilgamesh tells her about the purpose of his journey. She attempts to
dissuade him from his quest, but sends him to Urshanabi the ferryman, who will help him cross
the sea to Utnapishtim. Gilgamesh, out of spontaneous rage, destroys the stone-giants that live
with Urshanabi. He tells him his story, but when he asks for his help, Urshanabi informs him
that he has just destroyed the only creatures who can cross the Waters of Death, which are
deadly to the touch. Urshanabi instructs Gilgamesh to cut down 120 trees, and fashion them
into punting poles. When they reach the island where Utnapishtim lives, Gilgamesh recounts his
story asking him for his help. Utnapishtim reprimands him, declaring that fighting the common
fate of humans is futile and diminishes life's joys.
Tablet eleven
Gilgamesh observes that Utnapishtim seems no different from himself, and asks him
how he obtained his immortality. Utnapishtim explains that the gods decided to send a great
flood. To save Utnapishtim the god Ea told him to build a boat. He gave him precise dimensions,
and it was sealed with pitch and bitumen. His entire family went aboard together with his
craftsmen and "all the animals of the field". A violent storm then arose which caused the
terrified gods to retreat to the heavens. Ishtar lamented the wholesale destruction of humanity,
and the other gods wept beside her. The storm lasted six days and nights, after which "all the
human beings turned to clay". Utnapishtim weeps when he sees the destruction. His boat
lodges on a mountain, and he releases a dove, a swallow, and a raven. When the raven fails to
return, he opens the ark and frees its inhabitants. Utnapishtim offers a sacrifice to the gods,
who smell the sweet savor and gather around. Ishtar vows that just as she will never forget the
brilliant necklace that hangs around her neck, she will always remember this time. When Enlil
arrives, angry that there are survivors, she condemns him for instigating the flood. Ea also
castigates him for sending a disproportionate punishment. Enlil blesses Utnapishtim and his
wife, and rewards them with eternal life. This account matches the flood story that concludes
the Epic of Atrahasis (see alsoGilgamesh flood myth).
The main point seems to be that when Enlil granted eternal life it was a unique gift. As if
to demonstrate this point, Utnapishtim challenges Gilgamesh to stay awake for six days and
seven nights. Gilgamesh falls asleep, and Utnapishtim instructs his wife to bake a loaf of bread
on each of the days he is asleep, so that he cannot deny his failure to keep awake. Gilgamesh,
who is seeking to overcome death, cannot even conquer sleep. After instructing Urshanabi the
ferryman to wash Gilgamesh, and clothe him in royal robes, they depart for Uruk.
As they are leaving, Utnapishtim's wife asks her husband to offer a parting gift. Utnapishtim
tells Gilgamesh that at the bottom of the sea there lives a boxthorn-like plant that will make
him young again. Gilgamesh, by binding stones to his feet so he can walk on the bottom,
manages to obtain the plant. Gilgamesh proposes to investigate if the plant has the
hypothesized rejuvenation ability by testing it on an old man once he returns to Uruk.
There is a plant that looks like a box-thorn, it has prickles like a dogrose, and will prick
one who plucks it. But if you can possess this plant, you'll be again as you were in your youth'
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'This plant, Ur-shanabi, is the "Plant of Heartbeat", with it a man can regain his vigour. To Uruk-
the-sheepfold I will take it, to an ancient I will feed some and put the plant to the test!' [11]
Unfortunately, when Gilgamesh stops to bathe, it is stolen by a serpent, who sheds its skin as it
departs. Gilgamesh weeps at the futility of his efforts, because he has now lost all chance of
immortality. He returns to Uruk, where the sight of its massive walls prompts him to praise this
enduring work to Urshanabi.
Tablet twelve
Gilgamesh grieves the loss of Enkidu and approaches Enlil for aid. Enlil refuses and
Gilgamesh makes his way to Sin, the moon god for help. Sin ignores his cries for help. Finally,
Gilgamesh goes to Ea for help. Ea intercedes and allows Enkidu’s spirit to rise up and escape the
Nether World. Gilgamesh inquires about the Nether World. Enkidu tells him that it is terrible
and that if he tells Gilgamesh, Gilgamesh will sit down and weep. Gilgamesh implores Enkidu to
tell him anyway. Enkidu says that vermin eat at his body. Gilgamesh sits down and weeps.
After a while, Gilgamesh inquires about the fate of different people: the man with no
children, the man with one son, the man with six sons, the man who died in battle, and a man
who left no one behind to remember him. Enkidu tells him the fate of each, explaining that the
man with no sons is miserable, the man with six sons is happy, and that the man who left no
one behind eats garbage. No dog would eat what he eats.
 Glencoe Literature: The Reader's Choice (World Literature). Ohio: Glencoe/McGraw-
Hill, 2000.



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Introduction of Israel

"Israel is the very embodiment of Jewish continuity: It is the only nation on earth that
inhabits the same land, bears the same name, speaks the same language, and worships the
same God that it did 3,000 years ago. You dig the soil and you find pottery from Davidic times,
coins from Bar Kokhba, and 2,000-year-old scrolls written in a script remarkably like the one
that today advertises ice cream at the corner candy store."

The people of Israel (also called the "Jewish People") trace their origin to Abraham, who
established the belief that there is only one God, the creator of the universe (see Torah).
Abraham, his son Yitshak (Isaac), and grandson Jacob (Israel), are referred to as the patriarchs
of the Israelites. All three patriarchs lived in the Land of Canaan, that later came to be known as
the Land of Israel. They and their wives are buried in the Ma'arat HaMachpela, the Tomb of the
Patriarchs, in Hebron (Genesis Chapter 23).

The name Israel derives from the name given to Jacob (Genesis 32:29). His 12 sons were the
kernels of 12 tribes that later developed into the Jewish nation. The name Jew derives from
Yehuda (Judah) one of the 12 sons of Jacob (Reuben, Shimon, Levi, Yehuda, Dan, Naphtali, Gad,
Asher, Yisachar, Zevulun, Yosef, Binyamin)(Exodus 1:1). So, the names Israel, Israeli or Jewish
refer to people of the same origin.

The descendants of Abraham crystallized into a nation at about 1300 BCE after their Exodus
from Egypt under the leadership of Moses (Moshe in Hebrew). Soon after the Exodus, Moses
transmitted to the people of this new emerging nation, the Torah, and the Ten Commandments
(Exodus Chapter 20). After 40 years in the Sinai desert, Moses led them to the Land of Israel,
that is cited in The Bible as the land promised by G-d to the descendants of the patriarchs,
Abraham, Isaac and Jacob (Genesis 17:8).

The people of modern day Israel share the same language and culture shaped by the Jewish
heritage and religion passed through generations starting with the founding father Abraham
(ca. 1800 BCE). Thus, Jews have had continuous presence in the land of Israel for the past 3,300

The rule of Israelites in the land of Israel starts with the conquests of Joshua (ca. 1250 BCE).
The period from 1000-587 BCE is known as the "Period of the Kings". The most noteworthy
kings were King David (1010-970 BCE), who made Jerusalem the Capital of Israel, and his son
Solomon (Shlomo, 970-931 BCE), who built the first Temple in Jerusalem as prescribed in the
Tanach (Old Testament).In 587 BCE, Babylonian Nebuchadnezzar's army captured Jerusalem,
destroyed the Temple, and exiled the Jews to Babylon (modern day Iraq).The year 587 BCE
marks a turning point in the history of the region. From this year onwards, the region was ruled
or controlled by a succession of superpower empires of the time in the following order:
Babylonian, Persian, Greek Hellenistic, Roman and Byzantine Empires, Islamic and Christian
crusaders, Ottoman Empire, and the British Empire.

A man named Elimelech from Bethlehem left the country of Israel because of famine
and moved to the land of Moab. With him were his wife, Naomi, and his two sons, Mahlon and
Chilion. After their father's death, the sons married Moabite women named Orpah and Ruth.
They lived together for about 10 years until both Mahlon and Chilion died, leaving their mother
Naomi to live with her daughters-in-law. Naomi decided to return to her homeland Israel. The
famine has subsided and she no longer had immediate family in Moab. Naomi told her

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daughters-in-law about her plans and both of them wanted to go with her. She advised them to
stay in their homeland, remarry and begin new lives. After much dispute, Orpah acceded to her
mother-in-law's wishes and left her, weeping but Ruth insisted on staying with Naomi and said,
“Don’t make me leave you, for I want to go wherever you go and to live wherever you live; your
people shall be my people and your God shall be my God; I want to die where you die, and be
buried there. May the Lord do terrible things to me if I allow anything but death to separate us”
(Ruth 1:16-17).

Naomi and Ruth both arrived in Israel while the barley harvest is underway. They are so
poor that Ruth must glean the free grains that have fallen on the ground while harvesters are
gathering the crops. As luck would have it, the field Ruth is working in belongs to a wealthy man
named Boaz, who is a relative of Naomi's deceased husband. When Boaz learned that a woman
was gathering food in his fields, he told his workers: "Let her gather among the sheaves and
don't reprimand her. Even pull out some stalks for her from the bundles and leave them for her
to pick up, and don't rebuke her" (Ruth 2:14). Boaz then gave Ruth a gift of roasted grain and
told her she should feel safe working in his fields. Ruth thanked Boaz, but then she questioned
why she, a foreigner, should receive such kindness. Boaz replied that he had learned of Ruth's
faithfulness to her mother-in-law, and then he prays to the God of Israel to bless Ruth for her

When Ruth told Naomi what has happened, Naomi told her about their connection with
Boaz. Naomi then advised her daughter-in-law to dress herself up and sleep at Boaz's feet while
he and his workers are camping out in the fields for the harvest.( It was a Jewish custom for a
widow to marry her husband’s closest male relative). Naomi hoped that by doing this Boaz will
marry Ruth and they will have a home in Israel.

Ruth followed Naomi's advice and when Boaz discovered her at his feet in the middle of
the night he asked who she is. Ruth replies: "I am your servant Ruth. Spread the corner of your
garment over me, since you are a guardian-redeemer of our family" (Ruth 3:9). By calling him a
"redeemer" Ruth was referencing the ancient custom. He was interested in marrying her but
there is another relative more closely related to Elimelech who has a stronger claim.

The following day, Boaz went to the marketplace and spoke with this relative with ten of
the chief men of the village as witnesses. Boaz told him that Elimelech and his sons have land in
Moab that must be redeemed, but that in order to claim it the relative must marry Ruth. The
relative was interested in the land, but does not want to marry Ruth since doing so would mean
his own estate would be divided amongst any children he had with Ruth. He asked Boaz to act
as the redeemer, which Boaz is more than happy to do. So he married Ruth, and when he slept
with her, the Lord gave them a son. They named him Obed who became the grandfather of King


The book of Ruth shows how a simple Moabite woman displayed such a loving kindness
and faithfulness to her mother-in-law. Despite of their hopeless situation, Ruth chose to stay
with Naomi rather than to return to her homeland. She showed divine goodness and devotion
not only to Naomi but also to the people and to God of Israel. Even if she just an ordinary
woman, she was a selfless and obedient daughter-in-law. Their life changed when Ruth met
Boaz whom did not take advantage against Ruth. Boaz treated him with respect and goodness
as well as to Naomi. They move from emptiness to fullness when she was married to Boaz.
Because of Ruth’s commitment and loyalty, God rewards them with great blessings not only a
happy and secured life but also a complete family. Redemption is an underlying theme in the

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book of Ruth. As Boaz, the "kinsman redeemer," saves Ruth and Naomi from their situation. He
illustrates how Jesus Christ loves and redeems our lives. The story depicts how a committed
person moves God’s plan towards transformation and fulfillment.

 Banaag, Amada G. Bernardo, Anunciacion C., Insi, Edna N. A Journey Through World
Literature, Publishing 27 Masikap St. Bgy Pinyahan, Sikatuna Village Quezon City.

BSE IV - 4

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By: Jalāl ad-Dīn Muhammad Balkhī (Rumi)

A man captured a bird by wiles and snares;
The bird said to him, "O noble sir,
In your time you have eaten many oxen and sheep,
And likewise sacrificed many camels;
You have never been satisfied with their meat,
So you will not be satisfied with my flesh.
Let me go, that I may give you three counsels,
Whence you will see whether I am wise or foolish.
The first of my counsels shall be given on your wrist,
The second on your well-plastered roof,
And the third I will give you from the top of a tree.
On hearing all three you will deem yourself happy.
As regards the counsel on your wrist, 'tis this,
- 'Believe not foolish assertions of any one!' "
When he had spoken this counsel on his wrist,
he flew Up to the top of the roof, entirely free.
Then he said, "Do not grieve for what is past;
When a thing is done, vex not yourself about it.
" He continued, "Hidden inside this body of mine
Is a precious pearl,
ten drachms in weight.
That jewel of right belonged to you,
Wealth for yourself and prosperity for your children.
You have lost it, as it was not fated you should get it,
That pearl whose like can nowhere be found.
" Thereupon the man, like a woman in her travail,
Gave vent to lamentations and weeping.
The bird said to him, "Did I not counsel you, saying,
'Beware of grieving over what is past and gone?
' When 'tis past and gone, why sorrow for it?
Either you understood not my counsel or are deaf.
The second counsel I gave you was this, namely,
'Be not misguided enough to believe foolish assertions.
' O fool, altogether I do not weigh three drachms,
How can a pearl of ten drachms be within me?"
The man recovered himself and said, "Well then,
Tell me now your third good counsel!"
The bird replied, "You have made a fine use of the others,
That I should waste my third counsel upon you!
To give counsel to a sleepy ignoramus
Is to sow seeds upon salt land.
Torn garments of folly and ignorance cannot be patched.
O counsellors, waste not the seed of counsel on them!"

A certain man caught a bird in a trap.
The bird says, "Sir, you have eaten many cows and sheep
in your life, and you're still hungry. The little bit

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of meat on my bones won't satisfy you either. If you let me go, I'll give you three pieces
of wisdom. One I'll say standing on your hand. One on your roof. And one I'll speak from
the limb of that tree." The man was interested. He freed the bird and let it stand on his
hand. "Number One: Do not believe an absurdity, no matter who says it." The bird flew
and lit on the man's roof. "Number Two: Do not grieve over what is past. It's over.
Never regret what has happened." "By the way," the bird continued, "in my body
there's a huge pearl weighing as much as ten copper coins. It was meant to be the
inheritance of you and your children, but now you've lost it. You could have owned the
largest pearl in existence, but evidently it was not meant to be." The man started
wailing like a woman in childbirth. The bird said: "Didn't I just say, Don't grieve for
what's in the past? And also: Don't believe an absurdity? My entire body doesn't weight
as much as ten copper coins. How could I have a pearl that heavy inside me?" The man
came to his senses. "All right. Tell me Number Three." "Yes. You've made such good use
of the first two!" Don't give advice to someone who's groggy and falling asleep. Don't
throw seeds on the sand. Some torn places cannot be patched.


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The mahabharatais a classic poem of ancient India. Th title is a Sanskrit word meaning
“great story of Bharata dynasty.” The Mahabharata tells about the feud between two related
families- the Pandavas and the Kauravas-who live in northern India and are descendants of King
Bharata. In the story, the five Pandava brothers lose their kingdom and all their wealth to the
Kauravas, their cousins, and are exiled for twelve years in the forest. After completing their long
exile, they battle to regaiun their kingdom. Although they win the battle, the destruction is so
great that their victory is hollow.
Interwoven with this main character in the Mahabharata are the myths and legends as
well as discussions of religion and other subjects. One part of the epic, the Bhagavad Gita, is
one of the most important religious texts of Hinduism. However, Hindus value all of the
Mahabharata for its religious teachings. The central focus of the epic is the Hindu concept of
dharma, which is code of conduct or a person´s duty in life. Hindus believe that people preserve
the natural order of the universe by fulfilling their responsibilities according to their station in
Hindu tradition holds that a wise man named Vyasa dictated the Sanskrit verses of the
Mahabharatato the God of wisdom, however, Ganesha, who wrote them down. Many scholars,
however, consider the epic collection of writings by different authors, compiled in its present
form about A.D. 400.
¨Hundred Questions¨is an episode from Book 2 of the Mahabharata.This episode takes
place when the Pandava brohers have nearly completed their twelve-year exile in the forest.
The account you will read is from a simplified prose version of the epic by the Indian author
It all began with the rivalry of two sets of cousins over Kingdom Kurukshetra, the
Kauravas and the Pandavas. The eldest of Kaurava who is Duryodhang became jealous with his
father gave a pieca of the Kaurava kingdom to his cousins,the Pandavas.Duryodhana then
defeted them in the game of chance using a loaded dice and sentenced then twelve years of
exile in the forest.
Pandu had a five with Madri, his second wife. They were Yudhistira,the eldest and the
most capable brother;Bhima,the strongest of men; arjuna, the third son and the greatest
warrior of the epic; the twin sons nakula and sahadeva. The five sons of pandu were called the
After their prolonged journey, the pandavas came back to their strating point,
Dwaitavana.they lived a quiet and calm life until such time when a brahmin arrived in a state of
great agitation. He said that a deer with an extra ordinary size stucked the staff and faggots,
needed for his religious activities, in his horn and then the deer vanished after turning around.
With the initiative of yudhistira, they decided to help the brahmin and chase the deer.
They tried to follow its marks and shoot it with their arrows but surprisingly, the deer vanished.
And the pandavas decided to rest under a tree. They were all tired and thirsty.
And so yudhistira commanded his youngest brother nakula to climb a tree to look for
any sign of water. He didn't fall to see one. He rushed to the crystal-clear pond but didn't able
to come back. That's the time when the eldest brother sent sahadeva, then arjuna and followed
by bhima. But all of them died because of one reason. They heard a voice warning them not
take nor touch the water not until they answer the questions. But they did the same thing. And
that is they drunk the water from the pond because of so much thirst.
Yudhistira then personally went to the pond to check why his brothers failed to return.
And he saw them lying dead. He also heard the voice warning him not to drink water from the
pond without answering the questions because if he'll die. Out of curiosity, he wanted to see

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the person behind the voice and saw an enormous figurebeside the pond. He saw the forest
divinity or nature spirit, yaksha.
He decided to answer the questions first before having a drink as much as he can. There
were hundred or more questions thrown for him time to think. He felt thirst, grief and suspense
and could only able to whisper his answers. Yaksha then finally give him that one of his brother
will be revived.
After answering all the questions, he chose nakula to rise but yaksha gave life again to
all his brothers, because of his judicious answers humility. The pandavas brothers lived in
disguise outside the forest for their last year of exile.

After reading this part of the epic from mahabharata, I've realized the value of
OBEDIENCE TEMPTATION, and PERSEVERANCE. The brothers Yudhistira portrayed what Adam
and Eve did in the Book of Genesis. When God told them not to eat the fruits from the tree of
knowledge of good and evil but they did.
I came into realization that in life, we will be teased to do something out of our needs.
Like in the hundred questions wherein the brothers of Yudhistira drunk the water and ignored
the voice because of their so much thirst and fatigue. But we have to remember that in life,
even if we face difficulties and hardships and sometimes tempted to do things we're not
supposed to do, we're always left with a choice. That is to obey or disobey God.
And at the end of the day, people who have the patience to wait always receive the best
gift. Usually these people are ready and willing to suffer sacrifice in order to attain success.
Don't rush things ´cause the best has yet to come. Sometimes, it is more than what we wished
for. And that's what Yudhistira portrayed. In order to save one of his brothers, he persevered to
answer all the questions wihout drinking the water despite his strong feeling of thirst and
fatigue. But instead of one, all of his brothers revived.
 Glencoe Literature: The Reader's Choice (World Literature). Ohio: Glencoe/McGraw-
Hill, 2000.


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The Panchatantra is a collection of ancient stories from India that were written down
more than two thousand years ago, though the stories themselves are much older than that.
They are the first fables ever told in the world. They’re mostly humorous stories that have a
very pointed point.
In early Indian History, the title Brahman was given to the learned people in the highest
caste of society. The Brahmans were those men who were highly educated and who understood
and carried out the duties of the priesthood i the Hindu religion. As years passed not all men
born into the Brahman caste lived up to the high standards of being well educated. Such is the
case in this story.
Four Brahmans lived near one another and were friends in a small town. Three of them
had been scholars their whole lives and had learned much, but they had no common sense.
The fourth couldn’t be bothered to study from dusty dry books, but he had a great deal of
common sense.
One day they got together to talk and decided that all their accomplishments and
learning were pointless if they didn’t go out in the world to meet people, see places, gain a little
political power, and make a little money. So they decided to travel together.
They hadn’t gone far when the eldest said, “One of us is not smart enough or educated
enough, having nothing but common sense. He won’t make it very far in the world without
scholarship, so let’s not share our money with him. He should go back home.”
The second said, “That’s true, friend, you should go home.” But the third said, “No, this
is no way to treat our friend who we have known since we were small children playing
together. He will stay with us and have a share of the money we earn.”

So they agreed and all four continued on together. Soon they came upon the bones of a
dead lion in the forest. One of them said, “Here is a chance to show off how intelligent and
learned we are. Let’s bring him back to life through our superior knowledge.”

The first said, “I can assemble the skeleton for I know how it should go.” The second
said, “I can add on the muscles, organs, and skin.” The third said, “I can give it life.”

But the fourth, who was the man of no scholarship said, “This is a lion. If you give it life
it will kill every one of us.”

“The scholars replied, “We will not make all our learning pointless. We must use it at
every opportunity.” So the fourth replied again, “Then wait a moment while I climb this tree.”

So the man of sense climbed a tree while the other three brought the lion to life. The
lion rose up and killed the three scholars. But the man of sense climbed down after the lion
had left and went home.

Scholarship is less than sense;

Therefore seek intelligence:
Senseless scholars in their pride
Made a lion, then they died.

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 Four Brahmin were friends since childhood and they were near to each other in a small
town. Three of them had been scholars their whole lives and had learned much, but
they had no common sense. Unlike the fourth Brahmin, not so intelligent but had a
great common sense. One day they got together to talk and decided that all their
accomplishments and learning were pointless if they didn’t go out in the world to meet
people, see places, gain a little political power, and make a little money. So they
decided to travel together. But during the travel, the three Brahmin are talking about
the fourth Brahmin because of not having a high intellectual unlike them they tried to
let him go back home but they still continue to travel with him. Until they came upon
the bones of a dead lion in the forest. The three Brahmin decided to show they
intelligence by bringing the dead lion back to its life while the fourth Brahmin decided to
climb on the top of a tree for his safety because he know that if they revive the life of
the lion, it will surely eat them. So as expected, the three Brahmin was eaten by the lion
and the fourth Brahmin go away and back to his town.

 file:///D:/written%20reports/
 file:///D:/written%20reports/The%20Storyteller%20Online%20-



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Meet Yasushi Inoue
Yasushi Inoue was born in 1907 and died in 1991. He was born in Ishikari on Hokkaido,
the northernmost island of Japan. He planned to be a doctor , like his father, but when his
application to medical school was rejected, he changed his major to literature and began to
write. His books in English translation include Shirobamba: A Childhood in Old Japan, Lou-lan
and Other Stories, and Chronicle of My Mother. In 1976 the Japanese government honored
Inoue, who had become one of Japan’s most popular authors, with the Order of Culture, the
nation’s highest literary award. After years of writing for newspapers, Inoue decided to return
to his love, writing fiction. The first works he submitted for publication—The Bullfight and The
Hunting Gun—earned him the Akutagawa Prize, a prestigious literary award. At the age of
forty-three, Inoue began a new career that would span for decades.

Inoue’s Prose Poem
Inoue’s “River Light” is a prose poem, usually short, descriptive prose work that contains
such poetic elements as imagery, symbolism, rhythm, and repetition. Like carefully composed
photographs, prose poems usually focus on a single situation or scene seek to create a single
overall mood or emotional impression.
“River Light” focuses on a scene from Inoue’s childhood. As a boy, Inoue lived with his
grandparents in a tiny rural village on the Izu Peninsula. As was usual in the Japanese country
side at that time, he washed his hands before meals and bathed in a nearby river.

Yasushi Inoue
Translated by: Dennis Keene

The stone steps went steep down to the water’s surface. At high tide they were covered
halfway up, but when the tide was out the lowest cleared the water, covered with seaweed and
small shells.

When I was there washing my hands on early evening, the soap suddenly slipped from
me. As if alive it tailed and flipped in the water, and then was gone, sunken in those depths.
Later I felt an enormous sense of loss, because no matter what I did it would not come back
twice into my hands.

This happened when I was a boy, and since then I have never had a loss quite so
complete as that. For I had understood that river light, that light still held in water when the
rest is dark, is different from all other forms of light; a light preceding tragedy’s last curtain.

In this poem life is compared to the river that when it’s high tide you can see nothing
but water and that water symbolizes problems and challenges in life while it’s low tide you can
see the true beauty of life. The river also symbolizes opportunity that you must grab it ,take it
and work for it but if take it for granted it will be a great loss and will not knocks again and
believe in the saying that “opportunity knocks once”. Life is full of challenges, struggles but you
can solve it, overcome or work for it through self confidence and you must be a strong person
for you to deal with it.

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 Glencoe Literature: The Reader's Choice (World Literature). Ohio: Glencoe/McGraw-
Hill, 2000.



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China has traditionally been a nation of poets. From ancient through the first decade of
the twentieth century. Chinese literature is extensive because it includes every form of writing.
It contains book of history, political and philosophical disquisitions, tales of marvels and plays,
including beautiful examples of letter writing. Some of these were written in a highly stylized
form. The teachings of the Confucius or Kung-fu-tze which were collected in his analects are
masterpieces of serenity and insights. They are readily comprehensible. Confucius was the most
prolific and persuasive thinker of his time. His influence never disappeared.
The Analects, or Lunyu (lit. "Selected Sayings"), also known as the Analects of Confucius, is the
collection of sayings and ideas attributed to the Chinese philosopher Confucius and his
contemporaries, traditionally believed to have been written by Confucius' followers. It is
believed to have been written during the Warring States period (475 BC–221 BC), and it
achieved its final form during the mid-Han dynasty (206 BC–220 AD). By the early Han dynasty
the Analects was considered merely a "commentary" on the Five Classics, but the status of
the Analects grew to be one of the central texts of Confucianism by the end of that dynasty.
During the late Song dynasty (960-1279) the importance of the Analects as a philosophy work
was raised above that of the older Five Classics, and it was recognized as one of the "Four
Books". The Analects has been one of the most widely read and studied books in China for the
last 2,000 years, and continues to have a substantial influence on Chinese and East Asian
thought and values today.
Confucius is the author of the Analects and is also referred to in it as the master. During
his lifetime, Confucius is known as a sage. Many stories about him flourish that may not be
accurate. He descends from an ancestral sage but little is known about his father Shu Liang and
nothing is known about his mother. Confucius is born in 552 B.C or a year in Lu, the city of his
ancestors. As a youth he becomes skilled in menials tasks. At the age of twenty-seven, he holds
a minor office in the Lu court that gives him access to visiting dignitaries. In addition, he learns
about performing ceremonial rites for which becomes well known. From the years of 525 B.C
through 497 B.C, he performs various services and holds public office in and around Lu.
The Analects of Confucius is an anthology of the brief passages that present the words
of Confucius and his disciples, describe Confucius as man and recount some of the events of his
life The analects includes twenty books, each generally featuring a series of Chapters that
encompasses quotes from Confucius ,which were compiled by his disciples after his death

Book II turns its attention to matters of government. Chapters 1,2, and 3 deal with
government issues and the importance of te, or character. Confucius compares the moral
leader to one whose character is like the North star. Even as the ethical beliefs of those around
such a person may shift, one possessing true character remains steadfast. Likewise, the text
stresses the absence of evil or swerving thoughts as paramount in maintaining such character.
Chapter 3 echoes Chapter 1 in stating that a moral leader does not use punishment to
rule but relies again on the strength of moral character. Simply, rule through force or fear will
breed resentment, while governance through character will lead by example. These same ideas
are echoed in Chapters 19 and 20.

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Chapters 6, 7, and 8 return to the topic of filial piety. These chapters also serve to
illustrate the rationality involved in matters of deference to one's parents or ancestors. There
seems to be an effort to differentiate between a blind acceptance of a set of rules and a true
understanding of the logic, or even necessity, of such cultural customs.
For example, in Chapter 7 Confucius addresses how a filial son can see to it that his
parents have enough food to eat. While that behavior is commendable, the text states that
even animals can be cared for to that extent. Without respect and vigilance, there is no
difference. Chapter 8 also comments on this difference.
Chapters 13-17 appear to deal with a number of philosophical themes and sayings
common in early Chinese texts. Chapter 16, for example, is an expression also cited in the Tao
Te Ching, and is an often cited verse from the text.
The Book ends with statements on both the future or evolution of li as well as the
continuing theme of ancestral worship and responsibility. Chapter 23 argues that by examining
the path of history, specifically how ritual was observed, one may predict the future.
Consider the implication that the fate of a dynasty or culture can be ascertained by
observing what it holds important and what is discards from the past. It can also be argued that
this passage stresses the importance of foresight. Chapter 24 requires some historical context
to be appreciated. In Confucius's time people were only permitted to sacrifice to their own
ancestors and no one else's. Feudal lords were permitted to sacrifice to regional natural spirits,
but some presumed sacrificial rights which they had not earned.
Though Book II deals with government, interestingly, the subject of filial piety is visited
in this book as well. Consider the duality the text presents in dealing with how one should rule
over others while also discussing how one should conduct themselves in deference to their
parents. The text seems to imply a parental duty when one is tasked with ruling over others.
The word li is generally translated as "ritual" in most versions of the text, but its
meaning is likewise difficult to capture completely. Some scholars see its use in The Analects as
being akin to tradition, as handed down by divine leadership. The importance of li seems to be
tied to the very welfare of the society a ruler governs. To abandon it is to invite tragedy. In this
sense, li can be seen as part of the tao/dao, or "Way".
Notice that in all passages regarding duties to one's parents the discussion centers only
on sons and excludes daughters. Although Confucian texts do not seem to exhibit any decisive
prejudice against women, the assumption is that the reader is male. Therefore, in matters of
polite or public society, men were still considered the only ones who would need such
knowledge. As a result, the text does not escape the social norms of its time.
In differentiating between caring for one's parents and one's animals, intent becomes
the contrasting element. A "filial son" has only one intention: to ensure that his parents are
happy instead of simply having their base needs met. Filial piety is presented as being more
than simply serving elders first or undertaking hard work on their behalf.
Some scholars see Chapters 13-17 as a kind of commentary by Confucius and his
disciples. There are a variety of interpretations on how these verses were to be received.
Chapter 16 is an often cited verse from the text. Some scholars feel this chapter extols the
virtues of teamwork and communal effort over those of the individual. Others see it as an
analogy stating the superiority of a moral way over an opportunistic one.
Book VI continues with the discussion of the disciples and public figures. In particular,
Confucius laments the passing of Yen Hui, a disciple who died and whom Confucius evidently
held in high regard. To discuss the specifics of Confucian ideology, Book VI draws on specific
examples, which are recounted by Confucius to illustrate when something was done correctly
or incorrectly. The Analects presents much of Confucius's teachings in this manner. At other

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times, Confucius is merely quoted as plainly stating the attributes of a gentleman or observance
of propriety.
Book VI continues in much the same vein, discussing public figures and disciples, as Book
V did. Of the disciples that Confucius discusses in the text, he speaks highly of one in particular,
Yen Hui. Confucius mourns the death of this disciple here. Later, however, Yen Hui is
demonstrated as being alive.
Book VI also gives us a glimpse of the political situation in the region at the time. In
Chapter 7, Min Tzu-chien expresses his loyalty to the Duke of Lu. When informed that the Chi
family wishes to place him in the position of governor of Pi, he asks that a polite excuse be
made for him to avoid such responsibility. He threatens to leave and "install himself on the far
side of the Wen", in the neighboring land of Ch'i, to avoid the request of the Chi family.
Chapter 23 presents further commentary on this matter. Confucius describes a horn-
gourd that is "neither horn nor gourd". Most scholars agree that this passage is a metaphor for
the state of China, a country ruled by an Emperor who had no power and local sovereigns and
lords whose rights had been taken by ministers. Some scholars interpret this passage literally
and see it as a criticism of some improper use of vessels in a ritual setting. However, the
majority seem to concur that Confucius is stating that one who does not truly rule should not
be called a ruler, echoing the rectification of names doctrine presented later in the text.
Chapter 24 is a passage of interest to scholars as it demonstrates some tension between
Confucius and the disciple Tsai Yu. Tsai Yu playfully or sarcastically questions the concept of the
gentleman. Tsai Yu asks if a good man, upon hearing that another good man was at the bottom
of a well, wouldn't jump in to join him. He implies not only that a good man could be blinded by
allegiance to Confucian dogma and could therefore place himself in a disadvantageous position,
but that a good man's desire to surround himself with other good men may in fact be a foolish
idea. Confucius dismisses Tsai Yu's question as nonsense without any of the playfulness or
criticism that some scholars see in Tsai Yu's demeanor. Confucius quotes a maxim about the
true gentleman, solely for the reference in it to hsien, a word which means "throw down" into a
pit, but can also mean "to dent" or "to pit".
Chapter 28 mentions the Divine Sage. Tzu-kung asks whether, if a ruler not only
bestowed good fortune and benefits upon his people, but also brought salvation to the State,
he would not be considered good? Confucius answers that such a person is not only good, but
could be considered a Divine Sage, or Sheng.
Book VII begins with an important passage in which Confucius states that he has not
taught anything that he himself did not absorb from others before him, namely the Ancients,
the ancient kings of China. In this regard, the gentleman is seen as a vessel that carries
knowledge and transmits it to others and not as a wise sage who has developed an ideology on
his own. Confucius mentions that in this behavior he may even have excelled "Old Peng". There
is not consensus as to who Old Peng may be. Some scholars believe Confucius may have been
referring to Peng-zu, a figure of Chinese legend. Nonetheless, Book VII presents a portrait of
Confucius himself, either through his words or those of his disciples.
Confucius again addresses the issue of political strife in the kingdom of Lu in Chapter 5
when he mentions the Duke of Chou. This figure was of some importance to Confucius and it is
apparent that Confucius held him in high regard. The Duke of Chou was famed for saving the
dynasty through his wisdom. The passage likely reflects Confucius's regret that he has not seen
one like the Duke of Chou rise to a position of power in a very long time.
Chapter 7 finds Confucius discussing his policy on teaching anyone who is interested in
learning, no matter how poor they may be. Even those students who bring only a "dried bundle
of flesh", he says, will receive instruction. There is some ambiguity over the interpretation of
this passage amongst scholars. Some feel that the sentence should be read literally. However,

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some point to the term as a common expression in China for the payment of school fees. In the
context, it appears to be meant literally although there is no way of being sure. Likewise, we
cannot confirm Confucius's claim of accepting even the very poor as his students.
Chapter 10 speaks to Confucius's preference for a "middle way" to solving problems and
approaching life. Confucius viewed extremes as fraught with recklessness or inaction and spoke
in appreciative tones of a path in the middle, which would consider all approaches and rely on
strategy for success. The maxim he quotes to Yen Hui could be interpreted as his experience
when dealing with rulers and how they have treated him. Some scholars feel that Confucius
could also be discussing the Tao, interpreting the maxim as meaning, "When the Tao is put to
use, one should act; when it is discarded, one should hide." Both interpretations can be seen as
valid and it seems equally likely that Confucius was using a maxim about the Tao as an analogy
for dealing with rulers. In other words, if a ruler asks you to do something in concord with Tao,
do so. If they ask you to do something which conflicts with the Tao, it is best not to have
anything to do with such a ruler.
Such an interpretation the Tao can be seen as the middle path itself. When asked byTzu-
lu what type of person Confucius would want with him if he had control of the army (the "Three
Hosts" in the text, speaking of the three divisions), Confucius specifically cites the reckless or
daring individual as one he would not want with him. Instead, he chooses the careful person
who relies on careful planning.
Chapter 14 illustrates the concept of goodness, specifically the characteristics of
truthfulness and loyalty. Jan Ch'iu asks if Confucius supports the Prince of Wei. Confucius brings
up the story of Po I and Shu Ch'i. Po I and Shu Ch'i were brothers of legend who refused to take
up arms against their sovereign, the last Yin ruler, when he was removed from power by the
Chou. Though the Yin ruler was considered unjust, they did not bear any ill feelings toward him
and remained loyal. The Prince of Wei initially waived his rights to the throne when the Duke of
Ling, his father, passed. The throne instead went to the Duke's grandson. However, shortly
thereafter the son went back on his word and attempted to oust the grandson from power.
Confucius's story indicates the importance of placing a great weight on the sanctity of one's
Chapter 15 seems to mirror the common expression that money cannot buy happiness.
Confucius argues that one can find happiness in a simple, uncluttered, even destitute lifestyle.
What is of importance in this passage is not the outright rejection of status or wealth, but the
means by which one attains them. Confucius rejects the acquisition of either through means
which are not wholesome. He seems to argue that such ill-gotten gains spoil any enjoyment
they might bring as they are not based in goodness but in greed.
The assumption might be that Confucius must have seen himself as an example of the
good man or gentleman, but in Chapter 33 he refutes this. He states that he cannot make any
such claim but that he has demonstrated a love of learning and a patience to teach others. This
mirrors similar statements at the beginning of Book VII. Herein lies a possible lesson that
Confucius may have wished to impart to his disciples: that the gentleman never thinks of
himself as such, because to do so gives way to a sense of superiority. Deciding that oneself is
inherently better than others based on the belief that one is a gentleman negates the belief
itself. Kung-hsi Hua laments that the disciples cannot seem to grasp this seeming contradiction.
The similarities between Books V and VI indicates a likelihood that these two books
were recorded at around the same time. Their style is also similar whereas later books are
strikingly different from the rest of the text.
It is not clear why Yen Hui is described as having died prematurely, yet later seems to be
alive; some scholars feel this change was added later to existing texts. In Chapter 3, for
example, Confucius tells the Duke Ai that Yen Hui had a great love of learning, and that there
are none whom he has met who matched Yen Hui's love. In Chapter 5 of Book VI, Confucius

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states that Hui was capable of occupying his mind with thoughts of goodness for three months
on end. It is unclear if this statement took place before or after Yen Hui's premature death.
Some scholars add that the Taoists claimed Yen Hui as an exponent of tso-wang or "sitting with
a blank mind", the Chinese equivalent of yoga. In Chapter 9, Confucius praises Hui again, stating
that his natural cheerfulness allowed him to endure what others would have found depressing.
Such devotion to a disciple gives us a glimpse into Confucius as a person, rather than the sage-
like visage we generally are exposed to. He was clearly moved by Yen Hui's death and saddened
by the fact that he would not be able to converse with his student again.
Much of The Analects deals with Confucius's dismay over the grasp for power by
regional lords and ministers as the position of kings became gradually weaker. Consider how
this might have influenced Confucius's teachings during his lifetime. Much of The Analectsdoes
not simply state the principles of what a life of goodness would be, but also appears to be a
reaction to unjust or improper events that Confucius witnessed in his lifetime.
Sheng were mythological figures, believed to be rulers of human dynasties, but still
endowed with divine characteristics and powers. The Sheng rules not by force by wu-wei, or
non-activity, using his divine essence to assure the security of his land and the fertility of the
soil. This is a familiar concept in Chinese mythology where a divine force is used to lead or rule.
Consider the concept of te, or moral force, here. The Shengseems to rely upon this type of force
to establish goodness.
Book VII, Chapter 7 is important because of the ideological aspersion of Confucius's
claim to take on students regardless of their ability to pay him. At various points in the text
when discussing the gentleman, or Chun-tzu, Confucius makes a distinction between the
gentleman and common people. This can be read to infer a class-based difference between the
two groups, but Confucius's statement here indicates that this was not the case. His belief that
knowledge and learning could allow even the poor to elevate themselves to a higher moral
stature illustrates that he did not see a person's background as an indication of their future.
Confucius himself came from a poor family and at various points in the text comments on how
his outsider status caused some to view him with suspicion.
Books XIV and XV present a mix of subject material in a broad collection of sayings and
discussions. Some scholars believe Books XI through XV to have originated from a separate
school than the one which collected Books III-VII, which are generally regarded as the core texts
for The Analects. Book XIV touches on much of the same material we have seen before: the
Way, goodness, and the conduct of a knight. Some scholars see a theme of reclusion and
propriety in the face of public office in this book as well. Book XV is largely the same but
features more observations and sayings fromConfucius as opposed to the discussion-based
passages in recent books. However, most scholars do not see an overarching theme to this
Book XIV opens with Yuan Ssu's question about compunction. Confucius responds that
the gentleman accepts reward when a country is ruled according to the Way, but refuses
reward when it is not. This description is echoed in Chapter 3, when Confucius states that the
true knight is not one who simply sits idly at home and does nothing.
Whether we consider the gentleman or the knight, it becomes clear through the work as
a whole that both the chun-tzuand shih are multi-faceted beings governed by a complex, and
sometimes seemingly contradictory, set of rules. Indeed, Confucius's observations of certain
individuals seem to depend on where in the text they occur. Consider Kuan Chung, whom he
disparaged in Book III, Ch. 22 as a man of "very narrow capacities." In Chapters 17 and 18 of
Book XIV he again becomes the topic of discussion. Tzu-kung argues that despite Kuan Chung's
aid to Duke Huan, he was not a good man, seemingly in agreement with Confucius's earlier
remarks. Instead, Confucius states just the opposite, arguing that if not for Kuan Chung's
assistance to Duke Huan, a barbarian invasion by the tribes of Ti might have been successful.

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The last line of Chapter 18 is of particular interest as it seems Confucius even defends Kuan
Chung's actions and tacitly seems to begrudge any judgment against him. In it, he asks if it
would truly have been proper for Kuan Chung to make such sacrifices and go off quietly without
being recognized for his contributions.
Chapter 30 finds Confucius elaborating on the idea of the gentleman a bit more. He lists
three characteristics of such a person. Confucius tempers these statements by saying that he
has had no success in meeting them, echoing a very similar passage in Book IX, Ch. 28. Tzu-kung
responds by telling Confucius that his description of the gentleman is an apt description of
Confucius himself. This modesty on Confucius's part is acknowledged immediately by the
disciples, who understand that Confucius would never openly speak this way about himself.
They respectfully offer their glowing opinion of him to counter his statement that he has not
met any of the qualities he outlines.
However, Confucius still manages to surprise his pupils once in a while. Chapter 37
features such an occurrence in a conversation Confucius has with Tzu-kung. He complains that
he is not recognized or known by anyone. This is not meant literally, but to indicate Confucius's
desire to be recognized for his merits by a ruler. This admission surprises Tzu-kung, who
inquires as to why Confucius is not known. His answer is typically abstract. Confucius states he
does not blame Heaven or men for not knowing him. He finds comfort in the studies of
antiquity that he has undertaken and assures himself that perhaps he is recognized after all, in
Book XV features a broad collection of topics without a singular theme. In Chapter 1 we
see that Confucius has attained an audience with the Duke Ling of Wei. The Duke asks
Confucius about military matters, a topic he admits he knows very little about, adding that his
expertise lies in the ordering of ritual vessels. The next day he takes his leave. As we have seen
before, Confucius has turned down political opportunities when faced with less than moral
consequences in favor of meeting with power holders. Despite the wait he endured to meet
with the Duke of Wei, Confucius's discussion with him is short, possibly because the topic of
warfare is brought up. In Chapter 6 we see that Confucius was unable to convince Duke Ling to
use the services of Ch'u Po Yu as his recorder. When Yu died he gave orders not to receive
honors due a minister, in a posthumous show of defiance against the Duke's offenses. We can
infer that Confucius did not harbor a positive relationship with the Duke.
Research is necessary to fully understand a text as dense and difficult as The Analects.
However, even in such cases there are instances where research cannot reveal what might have
been meant by the authors. In Chapters 18 and 19, for instance, we are presented with two
contradictory statements. In Chapter 18 Confucius is quoted as saying that the gentleman is not
distressed that others do not know of his merits, only that he may lack capacity. However, in
Chapter 19, he is quoted as saying that the gentleman is distressed if he ends his days without
making a reputation for himself.
In Chapter 35, Confucius states that when it comes to goodness, one need not avoid
competing with, or disagreeing with, one's teacher. Contrasted with statements about ritual
and the respect of one's elders, this comes as something of surprise. Moral authority and
autonomy are presented as being of great importance when distinguishing what is good. If one
disagrees with one's teacher over what is good, Confucius encourages the expression of
individuality. In the next chapter, Confucius also states that consistency is expected of a
gentleman, not blind fidelity. Consistency can be seen here as ethics while fidelity seems to
represent a simple following of rules. These statements seem to argue for free thought as
opposed to dogmatic obedience. Consider the difficulty in making "thinking for one's self" part
of a teaching curriculum. However, as is mostly the case in The Analects, as we begin to feel a
grasp on one aspect of the teachings another chapter presents contrasting information. In this
case, Chapter 38 immediately follows with a statement on how one should "intent upon the

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task" when serving one's prince. It is reasonable to assume that ethical concerns are paramount
in all considerations, but we cannot be sure.
In Book XIV, Chapter 1 Confucius directly ties the condition of a state to the attitude of
the gentleman. When considering Yuan Ssu's original question regarding compunction, the
implication is that the true gentleman takes no pleasure when the country is not ruled
according to the Way, and that he may feel guilt over this. Although it is not stated clearly,
Confucius can be interpreted as saying that a land that is not ruled justly needs the attention of
the true gentleman.
Compare this passage with Chapter 3, in which Confucius states that the true knight is
not one who simply sits idly at home and does nothing. A call to action is implied more directly
in this chapter. Although some scholars see themes of reclusion in this book, these chapters
seem to encourage the direct engagement of the scholarly knight in the affairs and consequent
well-being of the state. It can be argued that some distinction can be made between the knight
and the gentleman, but their characteristics seem to overlap considerably.
In Book XIV, Chapter 30 goodness, courage, and wisdom are highlighted as the
characteristics of the gentleman. In upcoming books, the habit of listing three qualities will be
revisited. Other than the obvious respect these disciples have for Confucius, this exchange also
denotes a cultural understanding between teacher and student where the student tried to
anticipate and meet the needs of the teacher.
Book XIV, Chapter 37 offers a strange mix of humility and pride in Confucius's character.
Confucius seems to reconcile his own ego by reminding himself that he may be exalted by
higher powers. While much of Confucian ideology concerns itself with Heaven, this sudden
outburst from Confucius may have demonstrated his deepest held feelings about his place in
the world and how he felt he could or should be perceived.
The contradiction of Book XV, Chapters 18-19 is indicative of the "assembly" nature of
the text, but the juxtaposition is curious. When considered in light of Confucius's recorded
statements in Book XIV, Chapter 37, it is possible that these two chapters reflect the duality and
frustration Confucius felt over remaining true to his ideals while also wanting to influence
politics in the hopes of spreading that very ideology. As we now know today, he was able to
become quite well known while planting the seeds of Confucianism.

The analects is considered the most reliable expression of Confucian thought. However
the original meaning of Confucius teachings have been filtered and interpreted by the
commentaries of Confucianists of the later ages.
The analects is the collection of sayings and ideas attributed to the Chinese philosopher
Confucius and his contemporaries and have greatly influenced the moral and philosophical
values of China. It shape the thought and customs of China and neighboring countries for



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TAO TE CHING BY LAO TZU (31, 33, 29)

Meet Lao – Tzu
“The dragon..soars toward heaven … upon the wind and clouds. Today I have seen Lao –
Tzu, and he is like a dragon.”
The life of Lao – tzu (lou’ dzu’), the legendary author of the Toa Te Ching ( tou ta’ ching’)
is shrounder in mystery. To many followers of Taoism (tou’iz’am), the way of approaching life
that is based on the way of approaching life that is based on the Tao Te Ching, he was a
mythical figure who ould adopt different personalities and who lived more than two hundred
According to an early biography, Lao – tzu served as a scholar – historian to the Kingdom
of Chou. After many years, he left the royal court and rode off to the west. He came to a gate
asked him to write down his knowledge. Lao-tzu complied, recording his ideas in the eighty –
one – verse Tao Te Ching (classic of the way of power). Today, many scholars believe the Tai Te
Ching was compiled by followers of Taoism in the fourth and third centuries B.C.
Lao – tzu lived during the sixth century B.C.
Taoism arose in response to the same conditions – war, chaos, and corruption – that
produced Confucianism. But while Confucius hoped to reform society by having people follow a
strict code of social order. Instead, in the Tao Te Ching, he recommended trying to live in
harmony with the natural world. At heart of his philosophy is the principle of wu wei meaning
“nonaction” or “letting things take their natural course”. Wu wei stresses living in accordance
with the under lying harmony of nature. According to Lao – tzu, if people lead simple lives and
follow wu wei, they can achieve unity with the Tao, or course of nature.
Taoism developed as both a religion and a philosophy. Some religious Taoists attempted
to gain longevity, wealth, and even immortality through varius mystical practices. However, it is
as a philosophy, a way of approaching and understanding the world, that Taoism has had its
greatest influence.
Lao – tzu
Translated by Stephen Mitchell
Weapons are the tools of violence
All decent men detest them.

Weapons are the tools of fear;

A decent man will avoid them
Except in the direst necessity,
And if compelled, will use them
only with the utmost restraint.
Peace is his highest value
If the peace has been shattered,
How can he be content?
His enemies are not demons,
But human beings like himself.
He doesn’t wish them personal harm.
Nor does he rejoice in victory
And delight in the slaughter of men?

He enters a battle gravely,

With sorrow and with great compassion,

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As if he were attending a funeral

Knowing others is intelligence;
Knowing yourself is true wisdom
Mastering others is strength;
Mastering yourself is true power.
If you realize that you have enough,
You are truly rich.
If you stay in the center
And embrace death with your whole heart,
You will endure forever.
Do you want to improve the world?
I don’t think it can be done.

The world is sacred.

It can’t be improved.
If you tamper with it, you’ll ruin it.
If you treat it like an object, you’ll lose it.

There is a time for being ahead,

A time for being behind;
A time for being in motion,
A time for being at rest;
A time for being vigorous,
A time for being exhausted;
A time for being safe,
A time for being in danger.

The Master sees things as they are,

Without trying to control them.
She lets them go their own way,
And resides at the center of the circle.
 Glencoe Literature: The Reader's Choice (World Literature). Ohio: Glencoe/McGraw-
Hill, 2000.


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Yasunari Kawabata


“Many writers in their youth write poetry; I, instead of poetry, wote the palm-of-the-hand
stories… the poetic spirit of my young days lives on in them.”
Yasunari Kawabata (kä wä bä’ tä) was born on June 11, 1889 in Osaka, Japan. He is the first
Japanese writer to win the Nobel Prize for Literature 1968. Yasunari was raised by his grandfather
after his parents died when he was still young.
Kawabata, is one of the founders of Bungei Jidai, a Japanese literature movement and became a
part of the P.E.N. club of Japan, a worldwide association of writers that is founded to promote
friendship and intellectual cooperation among writers. During his administration, he did all his
efforts so that the Japanese literature will be translated into English and other Western languages.
He was later appointed an officer of the Order of Arts and Letters of France in 1960 and on the
following year, he received the Japan’s Order of Culture awards. He considers his novel “The Master
of Go” to be his best work. He died on April 16, 1972 by committing suicide but some associates,
including his wife, believe that it was an accident.

Kawabata’s style was influenced by the haiku and the Zen Buddhism. He also said that the death
of his family and the war were great influences on his work. The themes of loneliness, death and
unobtainable love are observable in most of his works. His main characters are distant isolated
loners, who make observations about the world they experienced around them.


The Jay: Summary

Yoshiko and her younger brother lived with her grandmother who is almost blind. Their
parents divorced when they were young and their father married there step mother 10 years
after. The father doesn’t want to talk about his first wife. The new couple lived away but still
supports them. The real mother, on the other hand, lived in Azabu and gets married. The
younger brother met her when he was still in a dormitory.

Since daybreak, Yoshiko and the others are hearing the Jay, a kind of bird, twittering.
During breakfast, the grandmother, despite of her falling eyes, said that the bird was looking for
its child. Yoshiko was confused how her grandmother knew. After Yoshiko cleared away their
dishes, she went to her room to prepare herself. Her father had arranged a marriage for her and
he is coming in the afternoon together with her stepmother and fiancé’s mother. Since Yoshiko
had to take care of her brother and grandmother, it had been decided that the two households
would become one. After her preparations, she went to her grandmother to show how she
looked like. Her grandmother can’t even see her or even remember how Yoshiko looked like.
Then while Yoshiko was looking for her father and the others, she went out and looked for the
little Jay. She found it very weak and told her grandmother about it. Her grandmother told her
that she should give the bird water and as soon as the little bird drank, it gained strength and
made sound. The mother Jay came but kept distance. Yoshiko put the chick on the ground and
watched behind the glass door as the mother bird came closer to its child. In the end, Yoshiko
wished that her father and stepmother come soon and to witness how the mother and its child

Characters from The Jay

 Yoshiko- the main character. She takes care of his younger brother and her grandmother. Her
parents divorced when she was four. She is the one who found the lost little bird.

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 The Father- he said he divorced with his first wife because she wears flashy clothes and spends
money but Yoshiko believed there is another reason. He, together with his second wife, lived
away from Yoshiko, his son, and Yoshiko’s grandmother. He arranged the marriage of Yoshiko.
 Grandmother- she has poor eyesight and couldn’t see clearly. However, she gives advice to
Yoshiko and explains thing that she can’t even see.
 Younger brother- he met their real mother when lived away from home to enter upper school.
 The stepmother- she is a good person and a considerate one.
 The real mother- she lives in Azabu and she is married.
 The Jay- it is a kind of bird. In the story, a mother Jay was looking for his lost child. The lost chick
was found with the help of Yoshiko.


The grandmother gives Yoshiko guidance. She understands things very well and knows what to
do even though she has poo eyesight. It may be because of her wisdom from her experiences
throughout her life.

The family relationship was emphasized in the story. Yoshiko doesn’t want to leave her younger
brother and grandmother because there would be no one to look after them. When the father told
Yoshiko that he arranged a marriage for her, he told Yoshiko that he feel sorry about her childhood. He
also wished to the mother of Yoshiko’s fiancé to be a mother to Yoshiko. The stepmother is also a good
person because she is kind and she understands the situation when it comes to Yoshiko’s real mother.
The younger brother met the real mother and he is happy to meet her just like their mother happy to
see him too. Yoshiko wished to see her real mother too but she doesn’t want to upset her father.

At the end of the story, Yoshiko wished that her father and stepmother would come soon and to
see how the mother Jay and the child reunited. The mother bird had been looking for its child for so
long. The chick became weak while it is lost. This may symbolizes how children really need their parents
and that good parents should to stop caring for their children. Good parents are happy to see and to be
with their children and the children feel the same way.

 The%20Jay%by%20Yasunari%20Kawabata.doc
 http.//


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by: Hermel A. Nuyda

Pulse of the Land is a short story written by Hermel A. Nuyda about an American's
encounter with the rural Filipino life.
Hermel A. Nuyda was born on October 4, 1918 in Camalig, Albay. He was well-provided
financially by his father (whose humble beginnings as a road laborer and janitor probably
helped him become a congressman), studied in public schools, and eventually finished law. He
went to Manila to teach social studies for six years. He later had a career in writing and in
politics. Following his father's political career path, he became an assistant in the Philippine
Senate and contributed to the drafting of laws, especially those regarding Philippine-US trade.
Even as a lawyer, Hermel Nuyda took time to write short stories which saw print in
various publications. In Filipino Writers in English: A Biographical and Bibliographical
Directory by Florentino B. Valeros and Estrellia Valeros-Gruenberg (New Day Publishers,
Quezon City, Philippines, 1987), there was mention of a plan to publish a collection of Nuyda's
stories. The tentative title was Fat of the Land, and features stories that focus on the rural
working folk.
One of the more talked about stories of Nuyda is The Pulse of the Land, which was
published in the 1961 edition of Philippine Prose and Poetry (volume 3).
"Pulse of theLand" is in luzon, the largest island that make up the philippines. Mountain
ranges and volcanoes, some if which are still active, dominate the landscape. Mayon volcano
has erupted more than thirty times since 1616, when records began to be kept. This volcano is
famous for its perfect cone shape.
This events in this story took place in early years of Philippine independence, after over
300 years as a Spanish colony and almost 50 years as a possession of United States. During that
period, most Filipinos lived in rural areas. In the decades since the war, however, many Filipinos
have moved to Manila and other cities.

Main characters:
An American tourist
Tourist guide
Little girl
Little boy
Old woman
An American writer planning to publish a cynical travel and picture book about
the Philippines visits the Mayon Volcano in Albay. A Filipino guide accompanies him on
his trek up the mountain. The two run out of water and seek help from a family living at
the foot of the volcano. The family let the American gargle and drink, and even filled up
his jug. When the two are near the top, they encounter a group of people sitting around
with bamboo poles. The guide tells the American that the place is called Tagdo (drops)
and that the people are waiting in line to fetch water. The water comes from droplets of
moisture caught by a banana leaf and dripped down to a small shallow well. It is the
only source of water for miles around. The American sees the boy from the family who
gave him water waiting in line. He realizes his mistake and is too struck to take a picture.

The story is about the americans who visited our country to see the beautiful
surroundings we have, like the Mt. Volcano in Albay. But as they went they just not shown how
rich our culture and country but also how kind and hospitable the people in the Philippines.

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That's why we must proud to be a Filipinos, because not just our surroundings are beautiful but
also we are rich in culture and we are a kind hearted Filipinos. Visiting Philippines is really worth
 Glencoe Literature: The Reader's Choice (World Literature). Ohio: Glencoe/McGraw-Hill,


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Early life
Born in Karmakol, near the village of
Al Dabbah in the Northern Province of Sudan, Tayeb Salih
he studied at the University of Khartoum
before leaving for the University of London in
England. Coming from a background of small
farmers and religious teachers, his original
intention was to work in agriculture.
However, excluding a brief spell as a
schoolmaster before coming to England, his
working life was in broadcasting.
For more than ten years, Salih wrote a
weekly column for the London-based Arabic
language newspaper al Majalla in which he
Born 12 July 1928
explored various literary themes. He worked
Karmakol, Sudan
for the BBC's Arabic Service and later became
director general of the Ministry of Died 18 February 2009 (aged 80)
Information in Doha, Qatar. He spent the last London, England
10 years of his working career with UNESCO
in Paris, where he held various posts and was Occupation Novelist, Columnist
UNESCO's representative in the Gulf States.
Literary career Notable Season of Migration to the
Mawsim al-Hijra ila al-Shamal was published works North,The Wedding of Zein
in Arabic in 1966, and in English as Season of
Migration to the North in 1969. It is narrated by a young man who returns to his village of Wad
Hamad in the northern Shamaliyah province in Sudan, after studying in Europe for seven years,
eager to make a contribution to the new postcolonial life of his country. Once back, the
narrator discovers a stranger among the familiar faces of childhood: the enigmatic Mustafa
Sa’eed. Sa'eed takes the young man into his confidence, "telling him the story of his own years
in London in the early part of the twentieth century, of his brilliant career as an economist, and
of the series of fraught and deadly relationships with European women that led to a terrible
public reckoning and his return to his native land."
Salih achieved immediate acclaim when Season of Migration to the North was first published in
Beirut. In 2001, the book was declared “the most important Arabic novel of the 20th century” by
the Arab Literary Academy
The novel was banned in Saleh's native Sudan for several years despite the fact that it won him
prominence and fame worldwide. However, the novel was adapted in a theater
production[where?] and was directed by Ouriel Zohar. Actor Mohammed Bakri received the
Best Actor award at the Acco Festival of Alternative Israeli Theatre in 1993 for his role.
Urs' al-Zayn (published in English as “The Wedding of Zein”) is a comic novella published in
1969 centering on the unlikely nuptials of the town eccentric Zein. Tall and odd-looking, with
just two teeth in his mouth, Zein has made a reputation for himself as the man who falls in love
over and over with girls who promptly marry other men- to the point where mothers seek him
out in hopes that he will draw the eye of available suitors to their eligible daughters. (The
Boston Bibiophile, 2010)
Altayeb Salih Prize for Creative Writing
Yearly Award, started after his death located Khartoum, Sudan.
The Prize has, year by year, acquired more significant importance and worth with expansion of
the domain of participation from all over nations of the world, besides the magnificent and
distinctive organization of the conclusive works which are always attended by first vice-

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president of the republic of Sudan, Ali Osman Mohamed Taha. However, board of trustees of
the Prize has announced, this year, the launch of the third session whose conclusive events will
be run during the coming February.
 Mawsim al-Hijra ila al-Shamal
 Urs' al-Zayn
 A Handful of Dates
 Dau al-Bayt
 Doum wad Hamed
 Mariud (Bandar Shah)

Below is a short story called A Handful of Dates by Sudanese author El Tayeb Salih. In this
story, a young boy describes an incident he had with his grandfather. You will see that the
young boy loves and admires his grandfather very much, but near the end of the story sees
some qualities in his grandfather that he does not like. Read the story carefully and slowly.

A Handful of Dates
I must have been very young at the time. While I don't remember exactly how old I was,
I do remember that when people saw me with my grandfather they would pat me on the head
and give my cheek a pinch - things they didn't do to my grandfather. The strange thing was that
I never used to go out with my father, rather it was my grandfather who would take me with
him wherever he went, except for the mornings, when I would go to the mosque to learn the
Koran. The mosque, the river, and the fields - these were the landmarks in our life. While most
of the children of my age grumbled at having to go to the mosque to learn the Koran, I used to
love it. The reason was, no doubt, that I was quick at learning by heart and the Sheik always
asked me to stand up and recite the Chapter of the Merciful whenever we had visitors, who
would pat me on my head and cheek just as people did when they saw me with my
Yes, I used to love the mosque, and I loved the river, too. Directly we finished our Koran
reading in the morning I would throw down my wooden slate and dart off, quick as a genie, to
my mother, hurriedly swallow down my breakfast, and run off for a plunge in the river. When
tired of swimming about, I would sit on the bank and gaze at the strip of water that wound
away eastwards, and hid behind a thick wood of acacia trees. I loved to give rein to my
imagination and picture myself a tribe of giants living behind that wood, a people tall and thin
with white beards and sharp noses, like my grandfather. Before my grandfather ever replied to
my many questions, he would rub the tip of his nose with his forefinger; as for his beard, it was
soft and luxuriant and as white as cotton wool - never in my life have I seen anything of a purer
whiteness or greater beauty. My grandfather must also have been extremely tall, for I never
saw anyone in the whole area address him without having him look up at him, nor did I see him
enter a house without having to bend so low that I was put in mind of the way the river wound
round behind the wood of acacia trees. I loved him and would imagine myself, when I grew to
be a man, tall and slender like him, walking along with great strides.
I believe I was his favorite grandchild: no wonder, for my cousins were a stupid bunch
and I - so they say - was an intelligent child. I used to know when my grandfather wanted me to
laugh, when to be silent; also I would remember the times for his prayers and would bring him
his prayer rug and fill the ewer for his ablutions without his having to ask me. When he had
nothing else to do he enjoyed listening to me reciting to him from the Koran in a lilting voice,
and I could tell from his face that he was moved.
One day I asked him about our neighbor Masood. I said to my grandfather: I fancy you
don't like our neighbor Masood?
To which he answered, having rubbed the tip of his nose: He's an indolent man and I
don't like such people.
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I said to him: What's an indolent man?

My grandfather lowered his head for a moment; then, looking across the wide expanse of field,
he said: Do you see it stretching out from the edge of the desert up to the Nile bank? A hundred
feddans. Do you see all those date palms? And those trees - sant, acacia, and sayal? All this fell
into Masood's lap, was inherited by him from his father.
Taking advantage of the silence that had descended on my grandfather, I turned my
gaze from him to the vast area defined by words. I don't care, I told myself, who owns those
date palms, those trees or this black, cracked earth - all I know is that it's the arena for my
dreams and my playground.
My grandfather then continued: Yes, my boy, forty years ago all this belonged to
Masood - two-thirds of it is now mine.
This was news for me, for I had imagined that the land had belonged to my grandfather
ever since God's Creation.
I didn't own a single feddan when I first set foot in this village. Masood was then the
owner of all these riches. The position had changed now, though, and I think that before Allah
calls me to Him I shall have bought the remaining third as well."
I do not know why it was I felt fear at my grandfather's words - and pity for our neighbor
Masood. How I wished my grandfather wouldn't do what he'd said! I remembered Masood's
singing, his beautiful voice and powerful laugh that resembled the gurgling of water. My
grandfather never laughed.
I asked my grandfather why Masood had sold his land.
Women, and from the way my grandfather pronounced the word I felt that women was
something terrible. A Masood, my boy, was a much-married man. Each time he married he sold
me a feddan or two. I made the quick calculation that Masood must have married some ninety
women. Then I remembered his three wives, his shabby appearance, his lame donkey and its
dilapidated saddle, his galabia with the torn sleeves. I had all but rid my mind of the thoughts
that jostled in it when I saw the man approaching us, and my grandfather and I exchanged
We'll be harvesting the dates today, said Masood. Don't you want to be there?
I felt, though, that he did not really want my grandfather to attend. My grandfather,
however, jumped to his feet and I saw that his eyes sparkled momentarily with an intense
brightness. He pulled me by the hand and we went off to the harvesting of Masood's dates.
Someone brought my grandfather a stool covered with an oxhide, while I remained standing.
There was a vast number of people there, but though I knew them all, I found myself for some
reason watching Masood: aloof from that great gathering of people he stood as though it were
no concern of his, despite the fact that the date palms to be harvested were his own.
Sometimes his attention would be caught by the sound of a huge clump of dates crashing down
from on high. Once he shouted up at the boy perched on the very summit of the date palm who
had begun hacking at a clump with his long, sharp sickle: Be careful you don't cut the heart of
the palm.
No one paid any attention to what he said and the boy seated at the very summit of the
date palm continued, quickly and energetically, to work away at the branch with his sickle till
the clump of dates began to drop like something descending from the heavens.
I, however, had begun to think about Masood's phrase, the heart of the palm. I pictured
the palm tree as something with feeling, something possessed of a heart that throbbed. I
remembered Masood's remark to me when he had once seen me playing with the branch of a
young palm tree: Palm trees, my boy, like humans, experience joy and suffering. And I had felt
an inward and unreasoned embarrassment.
When I again looked at the expanse of ground stretching before me I saw my young
companions swarming like ants around the trunks of the palm trees, gathering up dates and
eating most of them. The dates were collected into high mounds. I saw people coming along
and weighing them into measuring bins and pouring them into sacks, of which I counted thirty.
The crowd of people broke up, except for Hussein the merchant, Mousa the owner of the field
next to ours on the east, and two men I'd never seen before.
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I heard a low whistling sound and saw that my grandfather had fallen asleep. Then I noticed
that Masood had not changed his stance, except that he had placed a stalk in his mouth and
was munching at it like someone sated with food who doesn't know what to do with the
mouthful he still has.
Suddenly my grandfather woke up, jumped to his feet, and walked toward the sacks of
dates. He was followed by Hussein the merchant, Mousa the owner of the field next to ours and
two strangers. I glanced at Masood and saw that he was making his way toward us with
extreme slowness, like a man who wants to retreat but whose feet insist on going forward.
They formed a circle around the sacks of dates and began examining them, some taking a date
or two to eat. My grandfather gave me a fistful, which I began munching. I saw Masood filling
the palms of both hands with dates and bringing them up close to his nose, then returning
Then I saw them dividing up the sacks between them. Hussein the merchant took ten;
each of the strangers took five. Mousa the owner of the field next to ours on the on the eastern
side took five, and my grandfather took five. Understanding nothing, I looked at Masood and
saw that his eyes were darting to left and right like two mice that have lost their way home.
You're still fifty pounds in debt to me, said my grandfather to Masood. We'll talk about it
Hussein called his assistants and they brought along the donkeys, the two strangers
produced camels, and the sacks of dates were loaded onto them. One of the donkeys let out a
braying which set the camels frothing at the mouth and complaining noisily. I felt myself
drawing close to Masood, felt my hand stretch out toward him as though I wanted to touch the
hem of his garment. I heard him make a noise in his throat like the rasping of a sheep being
slaughtered. For some unknown reason, I experienced a sharp sensation of pain in my chest.
I ran off into the distance. Hearing my grandfather call after me, I hesitated a little, then
continued on my way. I felt at that moment that I hated him. Quickening my pace, it was as
though I carried within me a secret I wanted to rid myself of. I reached the riverbank near the
bend it made behind the wood of acacia trees. Then, without knowing why, I put my finger into
my throat and spewed up the dates I'd eaten.

 Glencoe Literature: The Reader's Choice (World Literature). Ohio: Glencoe/McGraw-Hill,


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By: Ho Chi Minh

Ho Chi Minh’s original name was Nguyen Sinh Cung. As a Vietnamese Communist
leader, he adopted the name Ho Chi Minh’s, which means “He Who Enlightens”. He traveled to
Europe in his twenties, working as a waiter, among other jobs. He rose from these humble
beginnings to become an important Communist leader. With the motto “nothing is as dear to
the heart of the Vietnamese as independence and liberation” he led the movement to gain
independence in Vietnam. He founded the Communist party in Vietnam, and he served as
president of North Vietnam from 1945 to 1969. Saigon was renamed Ho Chi Minh after the
Communist conquest of South Vietnam in 1975.
As a writer, Ho Chi Minh is best known for the Prison Diary, which contains the poems
he wrote while in prison in China during World War II.

The Vietnamese leader is also a poet. In 1942, at age 52, Ho Chi Minh, now Chief of
State of North Vietnam was arrested in South China, accused of being a spy. For fourteen
months, bound in leg irons, he was shifted from jail to jail. Throughout he kept a diary written
in poetry. Following is a selection from Prison Diary, translated from the Chinese by Aileen
Palmer and available in paperback from China Books and Periodicals.
In front of the gate, the guard stands with his rifle.
Above, untidy clouds are carrying away the moon.
The bed-bugs are swarming round like army-tanks on maneuvers,
While the form squadrons, attacking like fighter-planes.
My heart travels a thousand li towards my native land.
My dream intertwines with sadness like a skein of a thousand threads.
Innocent, I have now endured a whole year in prison.
Using my tears for ink, I turn my thoughts into verses.
In my own interpretation, Ho Chi Minh, he wrote this poem to express his feelings and
emotion. In the poem he compare his own to the World War II.” Autumn Night” contains some
of figure of speech like simile and personification. In the line untidy clouds are carrying away
the moon is an example of personification. In the third and fourth line, it is a simile because he
uses the word ‘like’. He compare the bed-bugs swarming as an army tanks on maneuvers
(military movements to help soldiers practice for combat). He also compare mosquitoes as a
fighter planes. In the last line of the poem, he express his true sorrow. Through that emotion,
he create a beautiful poem.
 Glencoe Literature: The Reader's Choice (World Literature). Ohio: Glencoe/McGraw-Hill,

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European literature started in Greece in the form of Latin Literature in the 3 rd

century BC and it only become a dominant literature because of the readings and
writings in Ancient Greeks as late as (121-180 AD).


Dark Ages
As the Western Roman Empire became weakened because of the ills within it,
barbaric tribes swarmed into it. These long years after the end of the Western Roman
Empire referred to the Dark Age.
• Europe slipped backward almost into savagery.
• The “darkness” which then descended on Europe was to lasted for some eight or
nine hundred years.
• “The Dark Ages” was not simply a poetic name designed to stir the imagination.
It was an appropriate description of the immense loss Europe and Europeans
suffered as Roman law and order broke down and the safety and security of Pax
Romana, the Roman Peace, gave way to danger and uncertainty.

Middle Ages
• Period of gloom was followed by the period middle ages, which extended from
the 5th to 15th century.
• It represents the gradual but steady and laborious progress of
• In this period, the church was rising into power and authority.
Practically all intellectual pursuits and activities took place in the
• At the beginning of the middle Ages, many of the kingdoms of northern Europe
were not Christian. Christianity was only common in places that had been part of
the Roman Empire, such as Italy and Spain. As time passed, however, Christianity
slowly spread farther north. This spread was largely through the efforts of two
groups of Christians—missionaries and monks.
 The literature of civilized Europe is believed to have begun with the epic
literature of the middle age
 Epics are part of the oral literature which, later, was written down.
 Epic is inseparable from the idea of grandeur, it is inferred purely as an
individual can be the proper subject of an epic. A hero remains an
individual although he rises above the average human stature; but a hero
becomes an epic hero when he represents something greater than
himself- a nation, a race, a faith.
 They also reflect the life of and civilization of a heroic age and reveal the
influence of Christianity.
Marie de France was a medieval poet who was probably born in France and lived
in England during the late 12th century.
Dante Aligheri 1265–1321 was a major Italian poet of the Middle Ages.
His Divine Comedy, originally called Comedìa and later
called Divina by Boccaccio, is widely considered the greatest literary work
composed in the Italian language and a masterpiece of world literature.

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Giovanni Boccaccio 1313 – 21 December 1375 Boccaccio is particularly noted for

his realistic dialogue, which differed from that of his contemporaries, medieval
writers who usually followed formulaic models for character and plot.

Four Major Epics in Europe

German- Nibelungenlied – The Nibelungenlied, translated as The Song of the Nibelungs, is
an epic poem in Middle High German. The story tells of dragon-slayer Siegfried at the court of
the Burgundians, how he was murdered, and of his wife Kriemhild's revenge.

France-The Song of Roland is a heroic poem based on the Battle of Roncevaux in 778, during
the reign of Charlemagne (Charles the Great). It is the oldest surviving major work of French

Spain- El Cid -Rodrigo Díaz de Vivar 1043 – 1099. Were a Castilian nobleman and military leader
in medieval Spain. He is the national hero in Spain.

Italy- Divine Comedy - Dante Aligheri 1265–1321 was a major Italian poet of the Middle Ages.
His Divine Comedy, originally called Comedìa and later called Divina by Boccaccio, is widely
considered the greatest literary work composed in the Italian language and a masterpiece
of world literature.

The history of literature in the Modern period in Europe begins with the Age of
Enlightenment and the conclusion of the Baroque period in the 18th century, succeeding
the Renaissance and Early Modern periods. The early 18th century sees the conclusion of
the Baroque period and the incipient Age of Enlightenment with authors such as Immanuel
Kant, Voltaire, Jean-Jacques Rousseau or Gotthold Ephraim Lessing.
Europe emphasizing reason and individualism rather than tradition.
Modernist poetry is a mode of writing characterised by technical innovation in the mode
of versification (sometimes referred to as free verse) and by the dislocation of the 'I' of the poet
as a means of subverting the notion of an unproblematic poetic 'self' directly addressing an
equally unproblematic ideal reader or audience. In English, it is generally considered to have
emerged in the early years of the 20th century.



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Very little is actually known about Marie De France. In fact, she only mentions i twice,
once in the Fables and once in her most famous work, this collection of lays. For long time, it
was uncertain in what century she lived and wrote. We now believe Marie would have written
her work in the late 12th century (best estimates are between 1160 and 1199), that she must
have been an educated woman, and that she probably was from France but lived and wrote in a
British court.
It was not considered certain for many years whether the same person had written the
three works now attributed to the woman who says in Fables,” My name is Marie and I come
from France. “However, we now attribute to her the following three works: the Fables, a
translation of a Latin saint’s life entitled Espurgatoire Saint Patriz, and this collection of lays.
There is conjecture about who she actually was, with some scholarly camps identifying
her as cousin to the English king and others believing she was connected to an abbey. Her
understanding of courtly life and ritual suggests she must have had some experience of court.
Some scholars suggest she was an illegitimate sister of the English king Henry II, while others
believe she might have been the abbess of Reading. If the former were true, it would make her
sister-in-law to Eleanor of Aquitaine, the figure most closely associated with the chivalrous code
that Marie exploits for her stories.
Ultimately, most of what we know about Marie is to be gleaned from this work, which
speaks to her intelligence, her sly subversion of courtly values within a form specifically
intended for a courtly audience, and her talent to touch on universal values within the
framework of an even-then archaic genre.

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II. CONTENT My heart is so full of fear,

BISCLAVRET : THE LAIS OF THE WERE- I'm so afraid I'll lose you, dear--
WOLF If I don't get some help, some healing,
BY: MARIE DE FRANCE I will die soon of what I'm feeling!
Translated by :Judith P. Shoaf Where do you go? Now you must say
Since I'm making lais, Bisclavret What life you live, where do you stay?
Is one I don't want to forget. You are in love--that's it, I know--
In Breton, "Bisclavret"'s the name; And you do wrong if this is so!"
"Garwolf" in Norman means the same. "My lady," he said, "Please, God above!
Long ago you heard the tale told-- I'll suffer great harm if I tell you:
And it used to happen, in days of old-- I'll drive you off, right out of love,
Quite a few men became garwolves, And lose my own self if I do."
And set up housekeeping in the woods.
A garwolf is a savage beast,
The lady heard how he refused.
While the fury's on it, at least:
She was not the least amused.
Eats men, wreaks evil, does no good,
She brought it up again, and often
Living and roaming in the deep wood.
She would flatter him and cozen
Now I'll leave this topic set.1
Him to tell her his adventure--
I want to tell you about Bisclavret.
Till, hiding nothing, he told her.
In Brittany there dwelt a lord;
"My lady, I turn bisclavret;
Wondrous praise of him I've heard:
I plunge into that great forest.
A handsome knight, an able man,
In thick woods I like it best.
He was, and acted like, a noble man. I live on what prey I can get."
His lord the King held him dear, When he'd told her the entire story
And so did his neighbors far and near. She asked, inquired one thing more: he
He'd married a worthy woman, truly; Undressed?2 Or what did he wear?
Always she acted so beautifully. "My lady," he said, "I go all bare."
He loved her, she him: they loved each "Where are your clothes? Tell, for God's
other. sake."
But one thing was a bother: "My lady, I won't say this, no;
Every week he was lost to her. For if I lost them by this mistake,
From that moment on, I'd know
I'd stay a bisclavret forever;
For three whole days, she didn't know
Nothing could help me, I'd never
Change back till I got them again.
What became of him, what might befall
That's why I don't want it known."
Him; his people knew nothing at all.
"My lord," the lady replied, "It's true
He came home to his house one day,
More than all the world I love you.
So joyous he was, happy and gay;
You should hide nothing from me, nor
She began to ask him and inquire:
Ever doubt I'm loyal in any affair.
"My lord," she said, "my friend, my dear,
That would not seem like true friendship.
There's just one thing I might care
How have I ever sinned? What slip
To ask, if only I might dare--
Makes me seem untrustworthy to you?
But I'm afraid that you'll get angry,
Do what's right! Now tell me, do!"
And, more than anything, that scares me."
She nagged him thus, and thus harassed
He hugged her when he heard all this,
Him till he just had to tell, at last.
Drew her close and gave her a kiss.
"My lady," he said, "near that wood,
"My lady," he said, "Ask me now!
Where I come home, along that road,
Anything you want to know,
Standing there is an old chapel,
If I can, I'll tell you." "Sir,
Which often serves me well?
By my faith, you work my cure.
The stone is there, hollow and wide,
My lord, I'm in terror every day,
Beneath a bush, dug out inside;
Those days when you've gone away,
I put my clothes there under the bush

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Until I can come back to the house. Run, they found the bisclavret.
They chased him always that long day,The
huntsmen and the coursing dogs,
The lady heard this marvel, this wonder.
Till they had him--almost--at bay
In terror she blushed all bright red,
And they would have torn him to rags,
Filled with fear by this adventure.
But then he picked out the King
Often and often passed through her head
And ran there for mercy. To beg,
Plans to get right out, escape, for
He seizes the King's stirrup-ring,
She didn't want ever to share his bed.
And kisses his foot and leg.
The King sees this, and feels great fear;
A knight in that country there He calls all his companions over.
Who long had loved the lady fair, "My lords," he says, "come, come here!
Begging her so, praying hard, Behold this marvel, see this wonder.
Giving generously to win her regard How this beast bows down to me!
(She had never loved him before this, Its3 sense is human. It begs for mercy.
Nor let him think her love was his)-- Drive me those dogs away again,
She sent a messenger to bring See that no-one strikes a blow!
Him to her, and told him everything. This beast understands, feels like a man.
Let's get going! You're all too slow!
To the beast my peace I'll grant.
"My friend, my dear," she said, "be glad! Now, no more today will I hunt."
You've been tormented, driven, sad
Wanting what I'll give you today--
No-one will ever say you nay-- With that, the King turns and goes.
I grant you my love and my body, too: The bisclavret follows him close;
Take me, make me your lover, you!" It won't escape, it stays right near.
Losing him is its only fear.
The King leads it back to his castle keep;
He thanks her very gratefully. It pleases him, his delight is deep
He takes her pledge made solemnly-- For he's never seen such a creature.
She swears an oath on the engagement. He's decided it's a marvel of nature,
Then she told him how her lord went And treats it as a great treasure.
Away, and what he turned into. He tells his people it's his pleasure
The path he'd always taken to For them to take the best of care
Enter the forest--this she shows; Of it; let no-one harm it, or dare
She sent him to get his clothes. To strike it, for love of the King.
Thus was Bisclavret betrayed It must be fed well and given drink.
And by his own wife waylaid. They're all glad to care for and keep
It; every day it goes to sleep
Having lost him so often, indeed,
Everyone generally agreed ”Among the knights, close to the King.
That he had finally left for good. Every man thinks it a precious thing,
He was looked for, inquiries pursued, For it's so gentle, well-bred, polite,
But they couldn't find a trace. It never would do what isn't right.
Finally they closed the case. Wherever the King might go
The lady's marriage was celebrated It didn't want to be separated, so
To the fellow who'd loved and waited. It went along with him constantly.
That it loved him was easy to see.
So, a whole year, matters rest,
Until the King went hunting one day. Now listen to what happened next.
He went straight to the forest The King was holding court; he'd asked
Where the bisclavret used to stay. That all his barons attend him,
When the hounds were loosed and let Those who owed their land to him,

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To help him hold his high feast-day, "My Lord," he says, "Hear what I say:
And see him served in a royal way. It's with you this beast's been living
That very knight came to the feast, And every one of us here today
Well equipped and richly dressed, Has watched him a long time; beside
Who had married Bisclavret's wife. Him we've traveled far and wide.
He never thought nor reckoned He's never before hurt anyone,
To find him so close in his life. Or shown a criminal disposition,
He came to the palace; the second Except to this lady you see here.
That Bisclavret saw him standing around, By the faith I owe you, it's clear
He made for him with a single bound, He holds some grudge or other
Bit into him and dragged him off. Against her and her lord together.
He would have treated him very rough This is the wife of that knight who
If the King hadn't called him back Used to be so dear to you,
And threatened him with a stick. Who was lost such a long time ago;
He tried to bite him twice before night. What happened to him, we don't know.
Many folks were amazed at the sight;
For never had he acted this way Now try this lady with some torture,5
To any man he'd seen, until this day. And see if she doesn't have more to
All those of the household insist Tell you why the beast hates her!
There must be a reason he's doing this. If she knows, make her say it!
He's hurt him, gave him some offense-- Many strange things we see occur
For he'd be glad to take vengeance. In Brittany, early and late."
This time he lets it drop
Until the feast has broken up
With this advice the King agrees.
And the lords take leave; each baron
On the one hand, the knight they seize;
Returns to his home, one by one.
The lady's taken, on the other,
The knight has left, I happen to know,
And seriously made to suffer.
Among the very first to go,
From pain just as much as from fear,
He whom Bisclavret attacked;
She told him her lord's whole affair:
He hates him4--not a surprising fact.
How she'd betrayed him, she said,
And taken away the clothes that he shed,
Some time later (not very long, The adventure he'd told, so she'd know,
I think, unless I heard it wrong), What he became and where he'd go.
The King went riding in the wood, Since she'd stolen all his linen,
That courteous King, so wise and good, In his lands he'd not been seen;
That wood where they'd found Bisclavret, But she believed--her mind was set--
And he came along with him. At The beast was indeed Bisclavret.
Night, time to retire for the day, The King wants the clothes on the spot;
In a country lodging he lay. Whether the lady wants to or not
Bisclavret's wife knew it; she dressed She has them brought back out
Herself in her attractive best, And given to the Bisclavret.
Next day, to go speak to the King-- They set them down in front of his nose,6
Sent him a gift, some costly thing. But Bisclavret ignores the clothes.
When Bisclavret saw her entrance, That wise fellow speaks to the King,
No man could have held him back; Who'd given the other advice, too:
He ran like mad to the attack-- "Sire, you're doing the wrong thing.
Listen now to his fine vengeance: He will never make the least
He tore her nose right off her face. Move to get dressed in front of you
Could anything be worse than this is? And change from the form of a beast.
Now they surround him in that place, This is terrible--you don't know--
They're ready to cut him in pieces,
When a wise fellow tells the King,
Something he's far too ashamed to show.

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Have him taken to your own room,

And his lost clothes brought with him;
A good long time, leave him alone;
Then we'll see if he becomes a man."

The King himself took Bisclavret

Inside, and closed all the doors tight;
He returned when the time was done.
He brought along two barons, not one.
They entered the chamber, all three.
On the king's royal bed, they see
Lying fast asleep, the knight.
The king ran to hug him tight;
He kissed him a hundred times that day.
When he catches his breath, he hands
Him back all his fiefs and lands,
And more presents than I will say.

The lady, now, they expell

From that realm, from that time forward.
He goes with her, as well,
For whom she betrayed her lord.
She had plenty of children; grown,
They were, all of them, quite well-known,
By their looks, their facial assembly:
More than one woman of that family
Was born without a nose to blow,7
And lived denosed. It's true! It's so!

The adventure you have heard

Is true--don't doubt a single word.
Of Bisclavret they made the lay,
To remember, forever and a day

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To sum up the Bisclavret is the story a knight who suffers from a werewolf curse, and his
wife who disgusted by the secret, plots with her love to keep Bisclavret stuck in a wolf form.
Long after the king find and comes to love the wolf, who is docile until the encounters the wife
and lover, whom he attacks. The king realizes the truth, and Bisclavret is brought back to
human form and rewarded.
The narrative poem, talked about trusting and being betrayed in return. After reading
the poem, I realized that even the dearest person to you can betray you. You really can’t tell
who to trust with the physical appearance as the only basis.
In the first few lines of the poem, the author tells us that “a garwolf is a savage
beast/While the fury‘s on it least:/Eats men, wreaks evil, does no good ….” Before proceeding
to tell us that none of that applies to the growl or bisclavret. He is rather a good-hearted man
and a loving husband. The monster of the story isn’t the beast at all; the real monster is the
woman whom he loved and trusted so much who is set up ideally as a “worthy woman”, who
acted beautifully, yet that beauty of action is almost wholly absent; she is, in fact, the great
contrast to her husband, the antagonist to the story who act so selfish, without caring or
thinking of others.
The other knight who loves bisclavret’s wife so much represents a selfish lover, who will
do everything just to win a girl. He is blinded by the thought that he can with the woman’s love
and body so he would obey every command that she wishes.
The king in the poem represents a good friend that is very human in nature and treats
animal’s right even if he hunts them. He trusted the bisclevret despite the fact that it is a
werewolf. He is a friend that helped him in times of troubles and he is the friend that helped
him go back to his original form.
The lines “She had plenty of children; grown, / they were, all of them, quite well-
known, / by their looks, their facial assembly: / More than one woman of that family/ Was born
without a nose to blow, / And lived denosed. It’s true! It’s so!” meant that every action has a
consequence. The nose is the woman’s sign of vanity. When bisclavret denosed the beautiful
woman, I think he wants to remove vanity in her next generations so that her children will not
be as wicked as her. It served as a sign of removing the thought that the next generations might
inherit their mother’s bad traits.
The author ended the poem through telling us that the story we just heard is true and it
really happened. I think she meant to say that the characters in the poem symbolized REAL
people with such personalities. There are real people who want trust wholeheartedly, who can
break a trust without thinking of the consequences, who can be a selfish lover and who can be
a good friend who helps in times of trouble.



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By: Dante Alighieri


Dante was born in Florence in May 1265. His education was undoubtedly typical of all
the youth of that time and station in life. When he was only 12 years old, his marriage to the
daughter of the famous Donati Family was arranged, along with the amount of her dowry.
These betrothals and marriages were family affairs, and Dante dutifully married her, some
years later, at the proper time and had two sons and one daughter. When Dante was still very
young, 10 to 12 years old, he met a 9 year old girl at a prominent function. She wore a bright
crimson dress, and to Dante, she radiated the celestial beauty of an angel. The girl was Beatrice,
and there is no doubt that she was the great love of Dante’s life, and the greatest single
influence on his work.
In 1302, he was exile from his native city, never to return. He began his great poem, The
Divine Comedy, and it attracted a large and sympathetic audience. He died in Ravenna on
September 13, 1321, and he was buried with honors.
Inferno (Italian word for Hell) is the first part of Dante Alighieri’s 14th century epic poem
Divine Comedy. It is followed by Purgatorio and Paradiso. It is an allegory telling of the journey
of Dante through Hell, guided by Roman poet Virgil. In the poem, Hell is depicted as nine circles
of suffering located within the Earth. Allegorically, the Inferno represents the Christian soul
seeing sin for what it really is. What the three beasts may represent has been the subject of
much controversy over the centuries, but one suggestion is that they represent three types of
sin: the self-indulgent, the violent, and the malicious.[5] These three types of sin also provide
the three main divisions of Dante's Hell: Upper Hell (the first 5 Circles) for the self-indulgent
sins, Circles 6 and 7 for the violent sins, and Circles 8 and 9 for the malicious sins.

Canto I:
Dante recounts that in the middle of his life, he found himself lost in a dark forest,
having lost the right path while half asleep. Worried and frightened, he was comforted by the
sight of a hill, the top of which was sunlit. However, when he tried to climb the hill to reach the
brighter regions, he found his way blocked by three savage animals: first a leopard, then a lion,
then a she-wolf. Dante was too frightened to continue, and retreated back to the forest, where
fortunately he met the shade of Virgil, his literary hero. Virgil informed him that the three
beasts were impassible: the she-wolf would reign until the greyhound came and slew her, and
restored peace to Italy. In the meantime, Virgil would lead Dante to salvation, but first they
must pass through Hell. Virgil would not be able to take Dante all the way to Paradise, since as a
Pagan he had no right to enter there instead a more worthy soul would take him the final part
of the way. Dante gladly accepted his offer.
Canto II:

It is now the evening of Good Friday, as the two poets approach the entrance to Hell.
But Dante wonders if he is truly worthy to make the journey: He recalls that Aeneas, and also
St. Paul, made the journey, and he feels unworthy to be included in this noble group: "I am not
Aeneas, nor am I Paul," and Dante is apprehensive.

him among angelic spirits, mainly Beatrice, Dante's beloved, who is now in Heaven.
Virgil relates how the Virgin Mary's messenger, St. Lucia, sent Beatrice to instruct Virgil to help
Dante rediscover the "Right Path" from the Dark Woods. Virgil says that Beatrice wept as she
pleaded, and Virgil eagerly obeyed her instructions and rescued Dante, so they are ready to
begin their journey.

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Virgil tells Dante to have courage always because the three ladies of Heaven — Virgin
Mary, St. Lucia, and Beatrice — all care for him. Dante is reassured and tells Virgil to lead on
and he will follow.
Canto III:

Canto III opens the gateof the Hell with the inscription words: “Abandon all hope, ye
who enter here.” Dante does not fully understand the meaning of the inscription and asks
Virgil to explain it to him. Virgil says that Dante must try to summon his courage and tells him
that this is the place that Virgil told him previously to expect: the place for the fallen people,
those who have lost the good of intellect.

The poets enter the gate and the initial sights and sounds of Hell at once assail Dante;
he is moved deeply and horrified by the sight of spirits in deep pain. The unending cries make
Dante ask where they come from, and Virgil replies that these are the souls of the
uncommitted, who lived for themselves, and of the angels who were not rebellious against God
nor faithful to Satan. Neither Heaven nor Hell would have them, and so they must remain here
with the selfish, forever running behind a banner and eternally stung by hornets and wasps.
Worms at their feet eat the blood and tears of these beings.

Dante wants to learn more about these souls, but Virgil moves him along to the beach of
Acheron where the ferryman, Charon, tells Dante to leave because Dante is still living and does
not belong there. Charon tells Dante to take a lighter craft from another shore. Virgil
reprimands Charon, saying that it is willed, and what is willed must happen.

Charon speaks no more, but by signs, and pushing, he herds the other spirits into the
boat. The boatman strikes with his oars any soul that hesitates. The boat crosses, but before it
lands, the opposite shore is again crowded with condemned souls. Virgil tells Dante to take
comfort in Charon's first refusal to carry him on the boat, because only condemned spirits come
this way.

As Virgil finishes his explanation, a sudden earthquake, accompanied by wind and

flashing fire from the ground, terrifies Dante to such a degree that he faints.
Canto IV:

Dante wakes to a clap of thunder. He has been in a deep sleep for some time, so his
eyes are rested. He finds himself across the Acheron and on the brink of a deep abyss from
which he hears the "thunder of Hell's eternal cry." Virgil asks Dante to follow him, but Dante is
wary because Virgil is deathly pale. Virgil explains that his pallor is due to pity, not fear.

The poets enter the first circle of Hell — Limbo — the place where virtuous pagans
reside. Virgil explains that these shades (souls) are only here because they were born without
the benefit of Christianity, either due to being born before Christ, or because the soul was an
unbaptized child. Dante asks if any soul was ever redeemed from Limbo, and Virgil tells him
that the "Mighty One" came once and took a number of souls to Heaven.

The two poets have been walking during this conversation, and they pass by the wood
of Limbo. Dante sees a fire ahead and realizes that figures of honor rest near it. He asks Virgil
why these souls are honored by separation from the other spirits, and Virgil replies that their
fame on Earth gained them this place.

A voice hails Virgil's return, and the shades of Homer, Horace, Ovid, and Lucan approach
the two poets. Virgil tells Dante their names and then turns away to talk with them. After a
time, the group salutes Dante, saying they regard him as one of their number. The entire group
moves ahead, talking about subjects that Dante does not disclose, and they come to a castle
with seven walls surrounded by a small stream.

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Dante and Virgil then pass over the stream, go through the seven gates, and reach a
green meadow. Dante recognizes the figures of authority dwelling there, and as the poets stand
on a small hill, Dante gives the names of rulers, philosophers, and others who are there and
regrets that he does not have time to name them all. Prominent among the philosophers are
Socrates, Plato, Cicero, Seneca, and "the master of those who know" (Aristotle). Dante and
Virgil leave this quiet place and come to one where there is no light.
Canto V:

Dante and Virgil descend to the second circle, this one smaller than the first. This is the
actual beginning of Hell where the sinners are punished for their sins. Dante witnesses Minos, a
great beast, examining each soul as it stands for judgment.

Minos hears the souls confess their sins, and then wraps his tail around himself to
determine the number of the circle where the sinner belongs. Minos tells Dante to beware of
where he goes and to whom he turns. Minos cautions Dante against entering, but Virgil silences
him, first by asking him why he too questions Dante (as Charon did), and then by telling him, in
the same words he used to tell Charon, that it was willed, and what is willed must occur. (The
word "Heaven" is not used, here or anywhere else in Hell.)

Dante beholds a place completely dark, in which there is noise worse than that of a
storm at sea. Lamenting, moaning, and shrieking, the spirits are whirled and swept by an
unceasing storm. Dante learns that these are the spirits doomed by carnal lust. He asks the
names of some that are blown past, and Virgil answers with their names and some knowledge
of their stories.

Dante then asks particularly to speak to two sinners who are together, and Virgil tells
him to call them to him in the name of love. They come, and one thanks Dante for his pity and
wishes him peace, and she then tells their story. She reveals first that a lower circle of Hell waits
for the man who murdered them. With bowed head, Dante tells Virgil he is thinking of the
"sweet thoughts and desires" that brought the lovers to this place. Calling Francesca by name,
he asks her to explain how she and her lover were lured into sin.

Francesca replies that a book of the romance of Lancelot and Guinevere caused their
downfall. They were alone, reading it aloud, and so many parts of the book seemed to tell of
their own love. They kissed, and the book was forgotten. "We read no more that day."

During her story, the other spirit weeps bitterly, and Dante is so moved by pity that he
also weeps — and faints.
Canto VI:

Dante awakens in the third circle of Hell, the circle of the Gluttons. A stinking slush falls
from the sky and collects on the ground where naked shades howl and roll in the mire.

Cerberus, the three-headed monster, stands over those sunk deep in the slush. He barks
furiously and claws and bites all within reach. These spirits howl in the rain and attempt to
evade the monster. Seeing the two travelers, Cerberus turns on them and is silenced only when
Virgil throws handfuls of the reeking dirt and slime into his three mouths.

The poets make their way across the swamp, walking occasionally on the shades, which
seem to have no corporeal bodies. One Glutton sits up from the mire and addresses Dante. The
shade is Ciacco, the Hog, and claims to be from Florence and to know Dante. The two speak,
and Dante feels sorry for Ciacco's fate.

Dante expresses his sympathy, and then asks Ciacco the fate of Florence and why it is so
divided. Ciacco foretells a future war and the defeat and expulsion of one party. He concludes

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his prophecy, and Dante asks where he can find certain good citizens of Florence. Ciacco tells
him that they are much further down in Hell because they committed crimes far worse than his,
and that Dante will see them if he travels deeper into Hell. Ciacco then swoons and falls
unconscious into the muck.

Virgil tells Dante that Ciacco will remain as he is (in the muck) until the Last Judgment,
and the two poets talk of the future life. Dante questions Virgil concerning the Last Judgment,
and Virgil answers that, although these souls will never reach perfection, they will be nearer to
it after the Last Judgment than before, and therefore, will feel more pain as well as more

They continued their course along the way still talking and saying much more than
Dante will relate and then they came to a place for descending: There they found Plutus.
Canto VII:

Dante and Virgil enter the fourth circle and are stopped by the raging Plutus, but Dante
then chastises Plutus as he has chastised the monsters in previous circles. Plutus collapses, falls
to the ground, and the poets pass.

Dante gets his first glimpse of Circle IV, the circle for the Wasters and the Hoarders.
Their punishment is that they are rolling enormous weights at one another, the Wasters
shouting, "Why do you hoard?" and the Hoarders shouting, "Why do you waste?" After they
clash, the souls hurry their weights back again, only to repeat the action, all the while

Virgil reminds Dante that time has passed quickly and that they must descend to
another circle. They cross to the other bank and find a fountain of strange, dark water, which
flows in a stream down through a crack in the rock. Following this stream to the foot of the
rocks, they come to the marsh called Styx.

In the Styx, Dante finds people immersed in mud, striking one another with hands, feet,
and head, as well as biting one another. Virgil tells him that he is looking at souls destroyed by
anger, and that more lie under the waters of Styx, making bubbles with each cry. Virgil repeats
their words, which cannot be fully understood. The souls talk of the sullenness of their lives,
when they should've been happy in the light of the sun, and that they now live sullen forever.
The poets circle the filthy marsh and at last come to a high tower that has no name.
Canto VIII:

The poets are approaching the great tower when two flames shoot from its top, and
immediately, another flame replies from the other side of the marsh of Styx. Soon after the
signal, a boatman, Phlegyas, arrives, eager to take more damned souls deeper into Hell. The
sight of the poets angers Phlegyas, however, and he begins raging. Virgil chastises him, and the
poets enter the boat.

As the boat makes its way to the other side of the swamp, a soul rises from the slime
and accosts Dante. The soul is Dante's Florentine enemy, FilippoArgenti, one of the Wrathful in
the marsh. Dante and Argenti exchange words, and Dante wishes that Argenti receive further
punishment. Virgil praises Dante for his comment, and says that Dante will get his wish. Shortly,
other shades descend upon Argenti and tear him to bits.

The boat approaches the shore, and Dante sees the City of Dis where the fires of Hell
glow. Phlegyas lets the poets off the boat, and they are immediately accosted by a group of
shades that question Dante's appearance in their realm. The shades refuse to let Dante pass,
though they say that Virgil may enter but not return to his own circle. Dante is afraid that he
will never be allowed to leave Hell, and he cries to Virgil to remedy the situation. Virgil goes

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alone to the gate of the City to see if he can open it. He returns unsuccessful in his task, but
assures Dante that a Great One is on his way to open the gate.
Canto IX:

Dante, waiting outside of the gate to the City of Dis, is afraid. The poets have a few
minutes to talk, and Virgil tells Dante of the time when the sorceress Erichtho summoned out a
spirit from the lowest circle of Hell. Virgil reassures Dante, again, that no one can stop their
journey and asks him to remain where he is, because Virgil will not abandon him.

However, the conversation is short because the angels rush back and slam the gates
shut. Virgil returns to Dante, sighing because the fallen angels bar the way. However, Virgil tells
Dante that an angel from Heaven will descend to open the gates.

Virgil listens intently for the arrival of the angel because he can't see through the heavy
mist. He regrets that he and Dante couldn't enter the gates by themselves, but they were
promised help, though it seems long delayed. Dante is alarmed and asks his guide, in a
roundabout way, if anyone from the upper circles has ever made this descent. Virgil answers
that he was once sent to summon a shade from the circle of Judas, far below here, so he knows
the way well.

Three Furies spring into view, saying that they should summon Medusa to turn Dante to
stone. Virgil cautions Dante to hide his eyes against the beast, placing his own hands over
Dante's eyes.

A noise like a hurricane causes the poets to look toward Styx, and they see a figure
crossing without touching the marsh. Spirits rush away from him, and he moves his left hand
before him to dispel the fog of the marsh.

Dante recognizes the heavenly messenger, and Virgil asks him to remain quiet and bow
down. The angry messenger reaches the gate, which opens at the touch of his wand. He then
reproves the insolent angels for trying to stop what is willed in Heaven and reminds them of the
injuries suffered by Cerberus when he was dragged to the upper world.

The poets enter the gate into the sixth circle, and Dante is eager to learn about the
inhabitants of the city. Dante sees a countryside of sorrow, a huge graveyard with uneven
tombs covering the plain. The tombs are raised to a red heat by flames outside of every wall.
Moaning and sounds of torment come from the open tombs. Dante asks Virgil what sinners
reside in the tombs, and Virgil answers that they are the arch-heretics of all cults and their
followers. The poets then turn right.
Canto X:

The poets begin their journey down a secret path in Circle VI, the circle containing the
Heretics. Dante tells Virgil that he wants to speak with some of the shades in this circle, and
Virgil answers that Dante's wish will soon be granted, as well as a wish Dante was hiding from
Virgil. Dante replies that he had not been hiding any wish.

A shade rises from a tomb and recognizes Dante's Tuscan accent. Dante is at once
surprised and afraid, but Virgil urges him to speak to the shade. Dante approaches the tomb
and learns that the shade is Farinata, Dante's political enemy. Dante and Farinata exchange a
dialogue that is simultaneously hostile and respectful. In the middle of their dialogue, another
shade rises from the tomb that also recognizes Dante. This shade asks why his son is not with
Dante, and Dante replies that it is because the shade's son held Dante's guide in scorn. Dante
uses the past tense, "held," and the shade asks Dante if his son is dead. Dante hesitates, and
the shade, believing that his son is dead, swoons back into the burning tomb.

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Farinata, still standing in the tomb, continues his argument as if no interruption

occurred. Farinata prophesizes that, "the face of her who reigns in Hell shall not/be fifty times
rekindled in its course/before you learn what griefs attend that art." The two discuss the
reasons for the split between the White and Black Guelph parties. Dante asks Farinata why
shades can predict the future and Farinata answers that shades can know the past and see into
the future, but have no awareness of what happens in the present. Farinata says that the ability
to know the past and see the future is the light that the King of All (God) grants the shades.

Dante regrets that he didn't get to tell the other shade that his son is not dead, and asks
Farinata to give word to him. Dante returns to Virgil looking downtrodden due to Farinata's
prophesy, and Virgil tells him that the Sweet Lady (Beatrice) will make the situation clearer for
Dante later. The poets bear left, passing deeper into the city with the flaming walls.
Canto XI:

The poets descend further and come to a group of broken boulders, behind which they
rest a bit so that they can become accustomed to the foul stink that rises from the lower circles.
Dante sees a headstone with an inscription, "I guard Anastasius, once Pope, he whom Photinus
led from the straight road."

While resting for a moment, Virgil begins explaining the structure of Hell, especially that
of lower Hell. Virgil explains that there are other, smaller circles, which comprise the last three
circles beyond the wall that begins the sixth circle.

Circle VII, the next circle, is comprised of three smaller circles: one circle for Violence
against Persons and their goods, another circle for Violence against Themselves (suicides), and
the final circle for Violence against God, Art, and Nature. Virgil goes into detail about who
resides in which circle and for what sins. It is growing late and they must leave for the descent
into the next circle.
Canto XII:

The poets enter round one of Circle VII and must navigate a steep passage of broken
rocks. They come upon the Minotaur, and Virgil taunts it into a fury, so that the two may pass

Virgil tells Dante to turn his eyes to the valley where he will see souls boiling in blood.
Dante sees a group of armed Centaurs galloping toward them. Virgil names them and tells a bit
of their individual histories. One of the Centaurs, Chiron, moves his beard aside with an arrow
and notes that Dante must be alive since he moves things that he touches, such as rocks when
he walks. Virgil gives Chiron an explanation about their journey and asks that one of the
Centaurs guide them to a shallow place in the river of blood where Dante can cross, riding on
the Centaur's back. Chiron volunteers Nessus, another of the Centaurs. Nessus explains that the
souls boiling in the river of blood were people that were kings of bloodshed and despoilment.
Dante turns to Virgil for guidance, but Virgil says that he will let Nessus guide at this point.
Nessus goes on to point out the names of some of the souls in the river. Nessus explains that
the river grows deep again on the other side of the ford, and he names some of the other souls
punished there. Nessus leaves the poets at the other side of the bank and goes back the way he
Canto XIII:

Virgil and Dante now enter into a pathless wood. This is a dismal wood of strange black
leaves, misshapen branches, and poisonous branches barren of fruit. The Harpies nest here,
feeding on the branches of the gnarled trees.

Virgil explains that this is the second round of the seventh circle, where Dante will see
things that will cause him to doubt Virgil's words. Dante has already heard cries, but he cannot

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find where they come from and in confusion stops where he is. He believes that Virgil knows his
thoughts: The spirits making such an outcry are hiding among the trees. Virgil tells him only to
break off any branch, and he will see that he is mistaken in his thought.

Dante pulls a small branch off from a large thorn tree, and a voice asks Dante: "Why
dost thou break and tear me?" Blood comes from the tree, and with it the voice, which asks if
Dante has no pity. The voice continues, saying that all of these trees were once men and that
Dante should have mercy upon them. Dante drops the branch, and Virgil tells the tree-spirit
that if Dante had believed what Virgil had once written, this would not have happened. Since
Dante could not believe, Virgil had asked him to pull off the branch, though it grieved Virgil to
wound the spirit.

In compensation for this wound, Virgil asks the spirit to tell Dante his story so that he
may repeat it when he returns to Earth. The spirit, moved by his words, tells his story.

He, as minister to Frederick II, was absolutely faithful and honest to him, but the envy of
the court (they could not bribe him) turned Frederick against him. Because he could not bear to
lose this trust, in sorrow he killed himself. He swears that he was faithful to the end and asks
Dante to tell his true story when he returns to the upper world.

Virgil tells Dante to question the spirit if he wishes, but Dante is too sorrowful and asks
Virgil to say the things Dante wishes to know. Virgil, therefore, asks how the souls are bound
into these gnarled trees and if any ever regains freedom.

The imprisoned spirit replies that when the soul is torn from the body by suicide, it is
sent by Minos to the seventh circle, where it falls to the ground, sprouts, and grows. The
Harpies eat its leaves, giving it great pain. The spirits will all be called to the Last Judgment and
will reclaim the mortal bodies forsaken by them. However, they will never regain their immortal
souls that they took from themselves and will remain forever trapped in this strange wood.

The two poets now hear a noise like a hunt crashing through a forest, and two spirits
appear. The second flings himself into a bush, but is quickly caught and torn apart by the
pursuing hounds that carry him off.

Dante and Virgil approach the bush, which is complaining loudly that the fleeing spirit
gained nothing by choosing it for a hiding place. Virgil asks this spirit who he was, but in
answering, it first asks that they gather up all the leaves which have been torn off in the hunt
and then says only that he was a citizen of Florence who hanged himself on his own door
Canto XIV:

Dante gathers the leaves and returns them to the bush, and the poets pass to the other
edge of the wood. Here is the beginning of a desolate plain, and Dante looks fearfully about
him. Many souls are on this plain, some lying down, some crouching, and some wandering
restlessly. Flakes of fire fall on this desert, making it burn and increasing the pain of these spirits
who were being punished for their violence against God. They try to save themselves from this
rain of fire by waving it away with their hands.

Dante notices one of the souls lying on the ground raging, and asks Virgil whom the soul
is. Hearing the question, the soul replies that he is the same now as he was when he was alive
— still unconquered and still blasphemous. And if Zeus had thunderbolts to hurl at him forever,
he would never succeed in subduing this shade. This is Capaneus, killed by a thunderbolt
thrown from the hand of the angry Zeus. Virgil chastises the soul violently, calling it by its name,
Capaneus, and then tells Dante that the soul is one of the seven that laid siege to Thebes.

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Capaneus scorned God when living and scorns him still. For his defiance and heresy, he is
confined here for eternity.

The poets walk in silence at the perimeter of the sand until they come to a small rill, a
little brook of red water, reminding Dante of a stream in Florence that prostitutes use. Dante
wants to know about the stream, and Virgil tells him that the stream begins in Crete with the
tears of an ancient giant that flow down into the hollow of the mountain's pit where he lives.
These tears form the source for the rivers in Hell: the Acheron, the Phlegethon, and the Styx.
Dante is surprised to come to this stream, and Virgil explains that because of their course, the
poets have not made a full circle yet and new things that Dante sees should not surprise him.

Dante asks about Phlegethon and of Lethe, a river that Virgil forgot to mention. Virgil
explains that they have already passed the Phlegethon (the river of boiling blood) and that they
will see the Lethe in another circle. He explains that the Lethe is the river where remorseful
spirits wash away their guilt, the River of Forgetfulness. Virgil tells Dante to follow him closely
along the edge of the stream, so that they can safely cross the burning plain.

Walking between two rounds, they reach a small stream that is so red that it disgusts
Dante. Virgil tells Dante this is the most remarkable thing they have yet seen, and Dante asks
for an explanation. Virgil gives a long and complicated explanation about the formation of these
rivers and how they flow through Hell.

The poets then leave the plains, and Dante is warned to follow the edge of the stream
closely to avoid the fire of the burning desert.
Canto XV:

The poets begin walking along the high banks of the stream, protected from the snow-
like flames by the steam that the boiling brook emits. A company of wandering shades comes
into sight and they stare closely at the poets. One of the shades recognizes Dante and is
overjoyed to see him. The shade is SerBrunettoLatini, and once identified, he asks to walk with
Dante for a bit because if he stops for even a moment, he will have to lay still under the flames
for 100 years and not be allowed to fan them off.

Dante and Brunetto begin walking, with Dante up on the high bank and Brunetto at his
hem. Dante explains how his journey though Hell came to be, and Brunetto praises Dante's
work with the highest of words and gives him some advice, as well as a prophesy about his
coming exile. Dante tells Brunetto that he wishes him alive again, that he sees him as a paternal
figure, and that he feels deep gratitude for his teachings.

Dante speaks with great kindness and gratitude for Brunetto's past help and teaching,
and tells him that he thinks of him often. Dante also says he will ask a certain lady about the
prophecies and is prepared to accept what Fortune wills for him.
Dante asks Brunetto what other souls reside with him in this burning plain and is told
that only a few can be mentioned. All of the spirits with him were scholars of renown, and all of
them are guilty of the same crime — sodomy (even though Brunetto does not name it).
Suddenly, Brunetto feels a calling and must return to his band. Before he goes, he tells Dante to
remember his great book, the Treasure.

Canto XVI:

The poets near a waterfall at the edge of the third round of Circle VII, and they can hear
the rumbling of its water falling into the next circle. Three shades run to Dante, recognizing his
Florentine dress. Virgil has a great deal of respect for these shades and tells Dante to speak
with them. Because they are in the realm of the Sodomites and cannot stop walking, they form
a circle and continue walking to speak to Dante.

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One shade tells Dante who they are, and tells him that they should not be looked upon
with contempt because of their present condition, for in life they were famous. Dante
recognizes them and tells them that he has always had affection for them. Dante tells them of
his journey. They wish him luck, and entreat him to speak of them in the upper world.

The poets continue toward the waterfall and Virgil asks Dante for his cord, which Dante
wears around his body. Virgil tosses the cord into the pit. Dante expects a strange event, and
Virgil reads his mind, telling him that an unusual event will indeed occur. Dante is astonished —
surprised enough to swear on his whole poem — when he sees a strange shape fill the air.
Canto XVII:
Geryon, the monster, lands on the brink of the abyss, his tail hanging over the side.
Geryon’s face is that of an innocent man, but his body is half-reptile, half-hairy beast, with a
scorpion’s stinger at the end of his tail. The poets approach him, and Virgil tells Dante to go and
see the sinners in the final round of seventh circle, warning him to make his talk brief.
Dante moves around the circle alone and approaches a group of sinners whose eyes are
full of tears and set on enormous purses hanging around their necks. Dante sees no one that he
knows among the group, though he seems to recognize the coat-of-arm symbols emblazoned
on the purses. This group, the Usurers, tells Dante to go away and leve them alone. Fearing that
he has stayed too long. Dante goes back to Virgil, who is already mounted on the rump of
Geryon. Dante is terribly afraid but steeds Geryon anyway, and before he can ask for assistance,
Virgil embraces him and helps him hold on. Virgil tells Geryon to fly smoothly, which he does,
and he lets the poets off at the bottom of the pit near the eight circle. Geryon takes off like a
shot, relieved of Dante’s living weight.
Canto XVIII:

The poets find themselves at the brink of Circle VIII with its ten "Malebolges" (meaning
evil ditches or pockets or chasms), a cavern of stone with ten concentric Bowges (chasms or
moats or trenches) dug into the rock in which the sinners of different natures reside.

In the first chasm (or valley), the poets approach the first of what can also be thought of
as chasms or valleys, filled with tormented sinners walking in both directions. Demons with
horns flog them continuously to keep them moving.

Dante notices a sinner on the side on which he is standing and calls to him. The sinner
tries to hide his face, but is compelled to speak. He is VenedicoCaccianemico of Bologna, who
admits that he brought his own sister "the fair Ghisolabella 'round to serve the will and lust of
the Marquis." He says that there are more souls from Bologna in the ditch with him than there
are living in Bologna at present. A demon strikes him with a whip and orders him off.

The poets approach a narrow bridge spanning the pit, and Virgil tells Dante to observe
the sinners walking around the other way. There Dante sees the proud Jason, seeming strong in
spite of the pain he receives in the pit. Other seducers are with him.

Moving to the second chasm or moat, Dante observes groups of sinners writhing in
sewage and excrement, and he again recognizes a sinner, AlessioInterminelli da Lucca, who
suffers in this pit because of false flattery. Virgil points out a woman in the chasm, Thaïs the
whore, who also resides in the chasm because of false flattery. The poets turn away from these
sinners. They have seen enough.
Canto XIX:

Dante and Virgil are on the rim of the third pit, ditch, or trench of Circle VIII for those
guilty of Simony. These sinners used their positions in the church for personal monetary gain.
The Simonists are upside-down in round holes the size of baptismal fonts.

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From each of these holes protrude the feet and legs of a spirit, with the rest of the body
upside down in the hole. The soles of their feet are on fire, and Dante sees one shade who is
apparently suffering more torment than others, moving and shaking violently; his feet are
burning more fiercely than the others.

The soul mistakes Dante for Boniface and is surprised that he is there earlier than
expected. Dante tells the soul that he is mistaken, and the soul tells his story. The soul wore
"the Great Mantle" of the office of the pope. Below him, in cracks in the rock, are other popes
who committed the same sin. When the next pope, Boniface, joins them, he, Nicholas III, will be
pushed further down into the stone. The soul says that a new and worse soul will be sent in
time to cover him in the hole. Dante reproaches the spirit vehemently. Virgil is pleased at
Dante's behavior and carries him out of the chasm where he looks down into the next moat.
Canto XX:

Dante looks down upon the faces of the sinners in the next chasm and weeps with grief
at their torment; these sinners must walk through eternity with their heads on backwards and
tears in their eyes. Virgil reproaches Dante for feeling any pity for these sinners, the Fortune
Tellers and Diviners, because they are here as a point of justice. They sinned by trying to foretell
the future, which is known only to God.

As Virgil mentions Manto, one of the sinners in this chasm, he also delivers a lengthy,
detailed description of how his native city, Mantua, originated, and Virgil makes Dante promise
to tell this true story. Dante promises and asks about the others in the chasm. Virgil names a
few of the souls before saying that he and Dante should hurry onward because the moon is
already setting. With that, the poets travel on to the next chasm.
Canto XXI:

In Canto XXI, Dante and Virgil make their way to the fifth chasm, which is very dark and
filled with boiling pitch. Dante compares the pitch to the material used to caulk the seams of
ships. Suddenly, a raging demon appears, and Virgil hides Dante behind a large rock so he can
go to the demons and make a deal for their safe passage.

The demon is carrying a sinner, which he tosses into the pitch, saying that he is going
back for more sinners to place in the chasm of Grafters. The other demons warn the sinner to
get beneath the pitch or the sinners will taste their grappling hooks.

Virgil confronts the demons, and they threaten to harm him. He asks to speak to one of
them, and Malacoda, leader of the demons, steps forward. After hearing about Virgil's divinely
inspired journey, Malacoda grants the poets safe passage and rounds up a group of ten demons
to escort them to the next bridge. The poets must travel on the next bridge, because as
Malacoda tells them, the closest bridge fell in an earthquake 1,266 years, one day, and five
hours from the present point in time (indicating the Harrowing of Hell on the day that Christ

Dante is afraid of the demons and pleads with Virgil to go on without them, but Virgil
reprimands him for his fear and reminds him that the demons are there only to guard and
torture the sinners in the stew of pitch. After a vulgar sign and countersign between the
demons, the poets move on with their escorts.
Canto XXII:

In Canto XXII, Dante marvels that he is in such terrible company, but he realizes that this
part of his trek with the demons is necessary. Every now and then a sinner shows his back at
the surface of the pitch to ease his pain, and Dante compares them to frogs squatting about in
water with only their muzzles sticking out.

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One sinner is slow in ducking back into the pitch fast enough and is caught by one of the
demons who pulls him out of the pitch by his hair. Before the demons tear him to shreds, Dante
asks if he can listen to the sinner's history. The sinner replies that he was born in Navarre and
worked for a king and began to graft, which is the reason he now suffers in the pitch. The
demons begin to tear at the sinner, and to avoid this punishment, he offers them a deal. The
sinner says that he will whistle, as if he'd been set free, and call more sinners (especially Italians
with whom Dante will want to speak) to the surface of the pitch, so that they can suffer at the
hands of the demons as well.

The demons are suspicious, but they let him try his plan, warning him that if he tried to
escape they would catch him. The sinner, once set free, jumps off of the ridge into the safety of
the pitch and escapes. The demons, furious at the deception, fly after him. When they see that
he has escaped, two of the demons begin fighting, fall into the pitch, and are unable to rise. The
other demons form a rescue party and while they are occupied, the poets use the opportunity
to slip away unnoticed.
Canto XXIII:

The poets walk unattended for a while, and Dante muses on Aesop's fable of the mouse
and the frog. Then they arrive at the next chasm which is filled with spirits walking very slowly,
as with a heavy burden.

These shades are the Hypocrites. They wear cloaks and hoods that are dazzling with
their glitter but lined with lead. Dante and Virgil turn to the left, but they are walking faster
than the weighted-down Hypocrites, so Dante asks Virgil to slow down and find a spirit that he
might know.

A spirit calls to Dante, recognizing his Tuscan speech, and asks him to wait. Two spirits
approach without speaking. Finally, one observes that Dante must be alive because his throat
moves. Speaking to Dante, they ask why he has come to this valley of Hypocrites and who he is.

Dante tells them he is a Florentine and is indeed alive; in turn, he asks who they are who
weep so bitterly and what their punishment is. They answer that they were of the order of the
Jovial Friars and had been named to govern Florence jointly, in order to keep peace.

Dante angrily begins to speak to the friars of their evil, when he sees a figure on the
ground held by three stakes. Friar Catalan explains that this is Caiaphas, the high priest who
told the council of Pharisees that it was better for Jesus to die than for the whole nation to
perish. Therefore, he lies where each one who passes by must step upon him, and his father-in-
law (Annas) and the Council are punished in the same manner. Virgil looks at Caiaphas for some

Finally, he turns and asks the friar if there is a bridge over the chasm. The friar answers
that all were destroyed at the same time, but the travelers may climb out of the ruins of the
one nearby, without much difficulty.
Canto XXIV:

Virgil's anger, even though it is not directed at him, has made Dante as downcast and as
troubled as a shepherd without a pasture for his sheep. Dante is dependent upon his master
not only for physical help, but also for spiritual guidance and moral support, and it now seems
to Dante that this has been withdrawn. But one look from Virgil soon calms his spirit because
Virgil is now the same serene person as he was at their first meeting.

The climb to the next bridge presents problems. Virgil is weightless, but he has to give
very careful directions for Dante to test each rock before he puts his weight on it.

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They both climb to the top of the sixth chasm, but Dante is out of breath. They walk to
the end of the bridge, where it rests on the wall between the seventh and eighth chasms, and
look down on the mass of strange serpents below them.

After the poets reach the end of the bridge, they can see the masses of serpents and
sinners in the seventh chasm where the Thieves reside. The sinners are naked, and their hands
are tied behind them with a serpent whose head and tail are threaded through the spirit's body
at the loins and tied in coils and knots at the front. Another serpent sinks its fangs in the neck of
a shade, who immediately takes afire, burns to ashes, and falls on the ground, only to resume
its shape and its torment once again. This shade seems as bewildered by what has happened as
one who has been the victim of a seizure of some kind.

Dante asks the shade who he is, and he answers that he came recently from Tuscany,
where he lived the life of a beast. He is VanniFucci of Pistoia. Dante asks what his crime was, for
he had seen him once and considered him to be a man of violence. The spirit, ashamed,
confesses that it hurts him more for Dante to see him here in this dreadful place than it did to
be condemned to this chasm of thieves. In obscure language, he prophesizes that Dante's party
shall suffer greatly.
Canto XXV:

Canto XXV opens with the same sinner, Fucci, making "figs" with his hands and
blaspheming God. A Centaur, Cacus, races up to the group and asks the location of the
blasphemer. Virgil explains to Dante that Cacus does not reside with his fellows at the banks of
Phlegethon because he stole Hercules' cattle. Hercules avenged the theft by clubbing Cacus to
death, and he continued clubbing long after Cacus was dead. Suddenly, hoards of serpents
climb on to Fucci and a dragon perches on his shoulders.

The Centaur leaves and three sinners appear, apparently concerned, asking if a sinner
named Cianfa has fallen back. At that moment a six-legged lizard fastens itself to one of the
three sinners, Agnello, and weaves itself through the sinner's body, melding it with the sinner,
like hot wax. The two beasts become one and the other two sinners mock Agnello.

A small black monster runs up to one of the remaining two sinners and bites him near
his bellybutton. A mutual transformation begins. The monster takes on the human form of the
sinner, and the sinner takes on the monster's form.

Canto XXVI:

Canto XXVI opens with a passionate address to Dante's native Florence, saying that
there are so many Florentines populating Hell because of the terrible actions of its citizens.
Dante prophesizes that a day of mourning will come to Florence, and not a day too soon.

The poets move on to the eighth chasm where Dante sees thousands of little flames,
reminding him of fireflies on a hillside. He leans so far forward on the ledge of the bridge that
he almost falls into the chasm. Virgil says that each of the flames contains a sinner, which is
hidden from view by the fire surrounding it. These are the Evil Counselors, people that used
their power and their intellect for evil. Dante remarks that he already figured out that each
flame contained a sinner, and that he wishes to speak with a great flame that splits away into
two horns of fire. This two-pronged flame conceals Ulysses and Diomede, who are in Hell
because of three evil deeds: the ambush of the Trojan Horse; the weeping of Deidamia, the
King's daughter whom Achilles abandoned; and the matter of the theft of Pallas Athena's statue
at the Palladium. Because Dante is Italian, Virgil suggests that he speak with them instead,
because they are Greek and may scorn Dante's manner of speaking.

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Virgil speaks to the flame and Ulysses, who makes up the larger part of the flame, begins
to tell the story of his death. He had wanderlust and convinced a few of his friends to take a
long journey with him. They sailed for five months beyond Hercules' Pillars and came to a giant
mountain. As they sailed towards it, a storm broke and sunk the ship.
Canto XXVII:

At the opening of Canto XXVII, Virgil allows the flame of Ulysses and Diomede to depart,
and he turns his attention to another flame that wishes to tell his tale. This flame contains the
soul of Count Guido da Montefeltro, who wants to know news from the upper world about his
native city, Romagna. Dante tells him that Romagna is never without war and goes on to give
him details of the recent past.

Dante wishes to know this shade's name, and mistaking Dante for a spirit as well, the
shade answers with a bit of his history. He was a man of arms who hoped to make amends for
his connection with arms by joining the Franciscans and becoming a friar. The "Great Priest"
(Pope Boniface VIII), however, asked him for counsel about how to destroy his enemies. Thus,
the shade was thrust back into his old sins. After he died, St. Francis came to retrieve him, but a
devil said that this shade's name was written in his book because the shade resolved to give
false counsel.

After hearing the spirit's story, the poets move to the ninth pit, where the Sowers of
Discord reside.

The canto opens with Dante wondering how to describe the sinners in the ninth chasm.
This is the place of the Sowers of Discord and Scandal, and the Creators of Schism within the
papacy. He warns that the punishment in this part of Hell is bloody and grotesque. Indeed, the
sinners in the ninth chasm are damned to walk around the chasm until they arrive at a devil
who slashes them with a long sword, according to the nature of their sin.

The first one Dante sees is Mahomet, disemboweled, who tells him that his son-in-law,
Ali, is in the same condition and that all the others are horribly mangled in some manner. As
they circle the chasm, the wounds heal, but when they complete the circle, the wounds are
renewed by a devil with a sword.

Mahomet explains that these sinners were responsible for scandal and rift, and
therefore, they are torn apart as they tore others apart in life. Mahomet asks Dante to tell Fra
Dolcino, who is still alive, to store food for the winter or risk joining him in the chasm. After
asking Dante to warn his friend, Mahomet moves on.

Another soul addresses Dante and asks that he warn Guido and Angiolello that they will
be thrown from their ships into the sea by the one-eyed traitor (Malatestino). Dante will bear
this sinner's name to the upper world, if he shows him a soul he spoke of as having seen the
land of the traitor.

Although the soul is standing right beside Dante, he cannot speak because his tongue is
chopped out. This soul is Curio, by whose council Caesar crossed the Rubicon, thus starting a

A third shade, MoscadeiLamberti, calls out that he too wishes to be remembered, but
Dante wishes death to all his kindred, and he runs off like a madman.

A headless figure approaches Dante, holding his head in front of him as if it were a
lantern. The figure holds his head up to the poets, so they can hear him better. The figure says
that he is Bertrand de Born, and that he set the young king to mutiny against his own father.

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Born also states that, because he parted father and son, he spends eternity with his head
parted from his body.
Canto XXIX:

Having arrived at the chasm or evil pouch in the eighth circle, Dante wants to stop for a
moment to observe these suffering shades, but Virgil is impatient and tells him to move along.
Dante tells Virgil that he is seeking one of his own kinsmen who, he believes, is here. "I think a
spirit of my own blood is among the dammed." Dante is tarrying only because he wants to
speak with this relative, and he wishes Virgil would be more patient.

Virgil responds that he saw Dante's kinsman under the bridge that they had just crossed,
and that this shade, which the others had called Geri del Bello, had shaken its finger
threateningly at Dante as they passed by. It is then that Dante realizes that the murder of Geri
del Bello had never been revenged by any member of Dante's family. And for this failure, Dante
expresses his sorrow for his un-avenged kinsman.

While Virgil and Dante are talking, they reach the bridge over the tenth and final chasm
of the eighth circle. Here they see the suffering and hear the wails and weeping of the Falsifiers.
The noise is so loud that Dante covers his ears, and the stench is so powerful that it reminds
him of rotting human flesh, lying exposed to the world.

Dante compares their state to that of the miserable people who cram the hospitals at
three different cities. These souls lay about, as if dying from pestilence and disease. Some lay
gasping, some lean on one another, and some pick one another's scabs as if scaling a fish.

Virgil interrupts two of the souls who are picking at each other's scabs and asks them if
there are any Italians (Latians) among them. One replies that they are Italian and once Virgil
explains their presence in the circle, the souls tell their history. One is from Arezzo ,and he
supposedly joked with Albert of Siena that he could fly and thus, he was burned for the lie,
though he is in this circle for alchemy, another form of falsifying. The other soul is Capocchio,
Dante's friend in his school days, who was burned for alchemy in 1293.
Canto XXX:

Dante begins Canto XXX with a long metaphorical mythological comparison to describe
the rage of the two spirits that come furiously out of the darkness, one of which descends on
Capocchio. The other alchemist tells Dante that this raging beast was Gianni Schicchi, who
impersonated a dead man so that he cold benefit from the will. The other raging shade is
Myrrha, who posed as another and mated with her father; once caught, she changed herself
into a tree and bore Adonis from the trunk. These are the Evil Impersonators, damned to rage
though Hell and seize on souls, and in turn, they are seized upon by one another.

The next class of Falsifiers that the poets encounter is in the form of Master Adam, a
Counterfeiter who made florins from alloyed gold and was burned for the offense. On top of his
afflictions and the curse of not being able to move, he is damned with extreme thirst, though
his belly is waterlogged. He says that he imagines sweet water running from the Arno's banks.

Finally, the poets meet a soul of the final class of Falsifiers, Sinon the Greek, a False
Witness who beguiled the citizens of Troy to allow the Trojan Horse into the gate of Troy, thus
allowing the soldiers inside to wreak havoc on that city. And they also meet Potiphar, who
falsely accused Joseph.

Master Adam and Sinon the Greek exchange blows and begin bickering about who is the
worse sinner. Sinon says that he is there for one sin, while Master Adam is there for thousands
— each coin being a separate sin. Dante listens, fascinated, until Virgil reproaches him soundly,
and Dante is overcome with shame, so much so that he cannot speak. Virgil senses his shame

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and says that less shame would wash away a greater fault, but that to listen to such petty
arguing is degrading.

Canto XXXI:

The poets climb to the top of the stony chasm that ends the eighth circle and they begin
their approach to the ninth and final circle, which is a great, dark pit filled with ice and cold,
strong winds caused by Lucifer beating his wings. Dante thinks that he sees a city with many
towers in the distance, but Virgil tells him that his eyes deceive him. The towers are actually the
Giants, plugged into the center of the well up to their waists. Indeed, as they grow closer, Dante
sees the Giants clearly, and at close range, Dante says that Nature was wise to discontinue the
creation of these monsters. One of the Giants is Nimrod, builder of the tower of Babel, and he
speaks in a nonsense tongue. Virgil reprimands Nimrod, calling him stupid and telling him that
his horn is around his neck. Nimrod is condemned to babble through eternity, not
understanding and not being understood.

The second Giant the poets encounter is Ephialtes, who endeavored with the other
Giants to war against the gods. Ephialtes is bound with a chain five times around his body, and
Dante wonders who could have had the strength to bind the Giant. Ephialtes begins to rock
back and forth, causing the ground to tremble and scaring Dante.

The third Giant they meet is Antaeus, and Virgil praises him for his deeds and strength
on Earth and with this flattery, gains passage on Antaeus' palm down to the bottom of the pit,
the final circle of Hell, Cocytus. Dante is terrified that the Giant will harm him, but Antaeus
gently places the poets on the bottom of the final hole.
Canto XXXII:

Whereas earlier, Dante searched for rhymes that would help alleviate the suffering of
the shades in the upper circles, now he calls out for "rhymes rugged and harsh and hoarse/ fit
for the hideous hole" [Sayers' translation] — horrible words befitting the utter horror of this
most horrendous place, the very bottom of Hell, reserved for the most heinous sinners.

A soul cries out for Dante to be careful not to tread on the heads of the souls in that
frozen lake, and Dante turns and sees that the sinners are frozen according to their sin. Dante
and Virgil are in the first of four rounds of the final circle, Cocytus. The first round is called
Caina, and the sinners here have their heads bowed toward the ice, chattering their teeth and

Dante looks around and sees two sinners clamped tightly together, breast-to-breast,
and asks them who they are, to which they do not reply but butt their heads together like
goats. A nearby sinner with his ears frozen off replies that these two were brothers, and that
there are no two more deserving of punishment in all of Caina than these two. He goes on to
name other sinners, and finally himself.

Moving further towards the center of Hell, Dante accidentally kicks the face of a sinner,
who yells at Dante, asking him why he would want to cause him more pain. Dante asks Virgil for
a moment to speak with the sinner, and his wish is granted. The sinner asks Dante who he
thinks he is, kicking the faces of the sinners in Antenora, the second round of the ninth circle.
Dante replies that if the shade tells him his name, he will make him famous on Earth. The shade
does not want to comply, and Dante grabs a handful of the shade's hair and threatens to tear it
out if he does not give his name. The shade says he does not care if Dante should rip until his
brain lies bare; he will not tell, to which Dante rips out tufts of the sinner's hair. A nearby sinner
tells Dante the name of the reluctant sinner, Bocca, who then will not shut up as Dante
commands, telling him the names of many other sinners in the round with him.

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Upon leaving Bocca, Dante comes across two sinners in such close proximity that one is
feeding off of the back of the other's neck. Dante offers to tell the sinner's story in the upper
world, if the sinner would tell it.

Whereas earlier, Dante searched for rhymes that would help alleviate the suffering of
the shades in the upper circles, now he calls out for "rhymes rugged and harsh and hoarse/ fit
for the hideous hole" [Sayers' translation] — horrible words befitting the utter horror of this
most horrendous place, the very bottom of Hell, reserved for the most heinous sinners.

A soul cries out for Dante to be careful not to tread on the heads of the souls in that
frozen lake, and Dante turns and sees that the sinners are frozen according to their sin. Dante
and Virgil are in the first of four rounds of the final circle, Cocytus. The first round is called
Caina, and the sinners here have their heads bowed toward the ice, chattering their teeth and

Dante looks around and sees two sinners clamped tightly together, breast-to-breast,
and asks them who they are, to which they do not reply but butt their heads together like
goats. A nearby sinner with his ears frozen off replies that these two were brothers, and that
there are no two more deserving of punishment in all of Caina than these two. He goes on to
name other sinners, and finally himself.

Moving further towards the center of Hell, Dante accidentally kicks the face of a sinner,
who yells at Dante, asking him why he would want to cause him more pain. Dante asks Virgil for
a moment to speak with the sinner, and his wish is granted. The sinner asks Dante who he
thinks he is, kicking the faces of the sinners in Antenora, the second round of the ninth circle.
Dante replies that if the shade tells him his name, he will make him famous on Earth. The shade
does not want to comply, and Dante grabs a handful of the shade's hair and threatens to tear it
out if he does not give his name. The shade says he does not care if Dante should rip until his
brain lies bare; he will not tell, to which Dante rips out tufts of the sinner's hair. A nearby sinner
tells Dante the name of the reluctant sinner, Bocca, who then will not shut up as Dante
commands, telling him the names of many other sinners in the round with him.

Upon leaving Bocca, Dante comes across two sinners in such close proximity that one is
feeding off of the back of the other's neck. Dante offers to tell the sinner's story in the upper
world, if the sinner would tell it.

Canto XXXIV:

The poets reach the final round of the last circle of Cocytus, the ninth and final circle of
Hell called Judecca, and see the sinners there completely encased in the ice, in all sorts of
strange and twisted positions. These are the sinners who were treacherous to their masters,
and since they cannot speak, the poets move on to see Satan, the master of this place.

Dante uses Virgil as a windbreaker, because Satan's bat-like wings are flapping, creating
a cold wind that freezes the ice firmer. Dante stands dazed and shaken in the presence of this
hideous being and can only attempt to describe him.

Satan is bound in the ice to his mid-point and has three faces — a red one, a yellow one,
and black one. In each of his three mouths he chews a sinner. Virgil explains that Judas Iscariot,
who betrayed Christ, is the one in the middle and suffering most, and that the other two are
Brutus and Cassius, who betrayed Caesar.

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Virgil tells Dante to hold on to him as he climbs Satan's back, waiting for a moment
when the wings are open so that they can have a safe passage down. Finally, Virgil climbs
through a hole in the central rock, turning around — Dante is afraid that Virgil is going back
through Hell, but both of the poets find themselves on their feet and standing on the other side
of the world, having passed the mid-point of the Earth. They can see Satan's legs on this side,
his body still frozen in the ice above.

Without pausing to rest, the poets make the long journey to the other side of the world
where they are delivered though a round opening into the world under the stars.

 The Divine Comedy of Dante Alighieri, Inferno, A verse Translation by Allen
 The Divine Comedy of Dante Alighieri, Inferno, A verse Translation by Henry Wadsworth


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The Decameron (Italian: Decamerone), is a collection of novellas by the 14th-century

Italian author Giovanni Boccaccio (1313–1375). The book is structured as a frame
storycontaining 100 tales told by a group of seven young women and three young men
sheltering in a secluded villa just outside Florence to escape the Black Death (was one of the
most devastating pandemics in human history, resulting in the deaths of an estimated 75 to 200
million people and peaking in Europe in the years 1346–53), which was afflicting the city. They
retire to a rich, well-watered countryside, where, in the course of a fortnight, each member of
the party has a turn as king or queen over the others, deciding in detail how their day shall be
spent and directing their leisurely walks, their outdoor conversations, their dances and songs,
and, above all, their alternate storytelling. This storytelling occupies 10 days of the fortnight
(the rest being set aside for personal adornment or for religious devotions); hence the title of
the book itself, Decameron, or “Ten Days’ Work.” Each of the days, moreover, ends with a
canzone (song) for dancing sung by one of the storytellers, and these canzoni include some of
Boccaccio’s finest lyric poetry. In addition to the 100 stories, Boccaccio has a master theme,
namely, the way of life of the refined bourgeoisie, who combined respect for conventions with
an open-minded attitude to personal behavior. Boccaccio probably conceived the
Decameron after the epidemic of 1348, and completed it by 1353.

The somber tones of the opening passages of the book, in which the plague and the
moral and social chaos that accompanies it are described in the grand manner, are in sharp
contrast to the scintillating liveliness of Day I, which is spent almost entirely in witty
disputation, and to the playful atmosphere of intrigue that characterizes the tales of adventure
or deception related on Days II and III. With Day IV and its stories of unhappy love, the gloomy
note returns; but Day V brings some relief, though it does not entirely dissipate the echo of
solemnity, by giving happy endings to stories of love that does not at first run smoothly. Day VI
reintroduces the gaiety of Day I and constitutes the overture to the great comic score, Days VII,
VIII, and IX, which are given over to laughter, trickery, and license. Finally, in Day X, all the
themes of the preceding days are brought to a high pitch, the impure made pure and the
common made heroic.

During the years in which Boccaccio is believed to have written the Decameron, the
Florentines appointed him ambassador to the lords of Romagna in 1350; municipal councilor
and also ambassador to Louis, duke of Bavaria, in the Tirol in 1351; and ambassador to Pope
Innocent VI in 1354.

The various tales of love in The Decameron range from the erotic to the tragic. Tales of
wit, practical, and life lessons contribute to the mosaic. The prefaces to the days and to the
individual stories and certain passages of especial magnificence based on classical models, with
their select vocabulary and elaborate periods, have long held the attention of critics.

In addition to its literary value and widespread influence (for example

on Chaucer's Canterbury Tales), it provides a document of life at the time. Written in
the vernacular of the Florentine language, it is considered a masterpiece of classical
early Italianprose.

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Gualtieri, the Marquess of Saluzzo, spent so much time at hunting and other sports that he
gave no thought about marrying and establishing a family. His friends and subjects, fearing that
old age would overtake him before he acquired an heir, pressured him to take a wife. Finally,
more to silence his critics than to satisfy any desire that he might have for matrimony, he
resolved to court a beautiful, but poor young woman from a neighboring village. Her family's
low station in life would spite those who had so urgently insisted that he marry, and her beauty,
he thought, would make living with her at least bearable.
Gualtieri informed Griselda -- that was the young woman's name -- of his intention to marry
her, and asked her if she would accept him as a husband, to love, honor, and obey, for better or
for worse, and never criticize him nor question his authority. She readily agreed, and their
wedding was celebrated forthwith.
Griselda appeared to be a worthy addition to Gualtieri's noble household, but the marquis,
unsure of the depth of her character, decided to test her loyalty and her patience. Thus, soon
after the birth of their first child -- it was a beautiful girl -- he informed her that his subjects
were unhappy with the child and that it was to be put to death. Without hesitation she acceded
to her husband's demands and surrendered the child. However, instead of killing the baby girl,
Gualtieri had her spirited away and tended in a secret place.
Sometime later Griselda gave birth to a son, and her husband, intent on carrying his test still
further, berated her and insisted that her child be put to death. She again yielded to his
demands without complaint, and as before, he took the child to a secret place where he was
well cared for.
Still unsatisfied, Gualtieri devised a final test. He publicly denounced Griselda, claiming that
the pope had granted him dispensation to divorce her and to take a more deserving wife.
Griselda, wearing only a shift, was sent back to her father. All these indignities she bore without
As the day approached when Gualtieri, as it was supposed, was to take a new bride, he
asked Griselda to return to his palace, for no one knew better how to prepare for guests than
did she. Griselda returned to her former residence, now as a cleaning woman and servant, to
make preparations for her former husband's wedding.
Gualtieri had his and Griselda's daughter, who was now twelve years old, dressed in bridal
clothes, and he presented her to Griselda, who could not have known that this was her own
child. "What do you think of my new bride?" he asked.
Griselda replied without guile, "If her wisdom matches her beauty, then the two of you will
be very happy together."
At last recognizing Griselda's sincerity, faithfulness, and patience, Gualtieri revealed to her
the trials that he had devised to test her loyalty. With tears of joy, she received her children and
once again assumed her position as Gualtieri's ever loyal and obedient wife.

The story of Griselda is a very beautiful story, no wonder why it was considered as one of
the favorite figures of the Middle Ages; and that the tale of her sufferings was acceptable,
sheds a strange light on those distant days. Boccaccio tells it anew with no suggestion of revolt
against the intolerable brutality of the husband. He tells it adroitly, as was his custom; but his
interest is wholly in his narrative. His characters are but outlined; and they exist for the sake of
the story itself. The analysis of the feelings of the suffering heroine does not tempt him. He is
satisfied to set forth the sequence of events, without entering into any explanation or

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 L. D. Benson,The Geoffrey Chaucer Page., The President and Fellows of
Harvard College,2006.
 file:///F:/GiovanniBoccaccioItalianpoetandscholarTheDecameron.Encycloped
ia Britannica.htm



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The Lorelei is a rock on the eastern bank of the Rhine nearSt. Goarshausen,
Germany, which soars some 120 metres above the waterline. It marks the narrowest
part of the river between Switzerland and the North Sea, and is the most famous
feature of the Rhine Gorge, a 65 km section of the river between Koblenz and Bingen
that was added to the UNESCO World Heritage Sites in June 2002. A very strong
current and rocks below the waterline have caused many boat accidents there.
Lorelei is also the name of a feminine water spirit, similar to mermaids or Rhine
maidens, associated with this rock in popular folklore and in works of music, art and
German composer Felix Mendelssohn began an opera in 1846 based on the legend
of the Lorelei Rhine maidens for Swedish soprano Jenny Lind; however, he died
before he had the chance to finish it German composer Clara Schumann composed
another version of Heine's poem in 1843.

The name comes from the old German words lureln, Rhine dialect for
"murmuring", and the Celtic term ley "rock". The translation of the name would
therefore be: "murmur rock" or "murmuring rock". The heavy currents, and a
smallwaterfall in the area (still visible in the early 19th century) created a murmuring
sound, and this combined with the special echo the rock produces to act as a sort of
amplifier, giving the rock its name. The murmuring is hard to hear today owing to
the urbanization of the area. Other theories attribute the name to the many
accidents, by combining the German verb "lauern" (to lurk, lie in wait) with the same
"ley" ending, with the translation "lurking rock". The rock and the murmur it creates
have inspired various tales. An old legend envisioned dwarves living in caves in the
rock. In 1801, German author Clemens Brentano composed his ballad Zu Bacharach
am Rheine as part of a fragmentary continuation of his novel Godwi oder Das
steinerne Bild der Mutter. It first told the story of an enchanting female associated
with the rock. In the poem, the beautiful Lore Lay, betrayed by her sweetheart, is
accused of bewitching men and causing their death. Rather than sentence her to
death, the bishop consigns her to a nunnery. On the way thereto, accompanied by
three knights, she comes to the Lorelei rock. She asks permission to climb it and
view the Rhine once again. She does so and falls to her death; the rock still retained
an echo of her name afterwards. Brentano had taken inspiration from Ovid and the
Echo myth.
In 1824, Heinrich Heine seized on and adapted Brentano's theme in one of his most
famous poems, Die Lorelei. It describes the eponymous female as a sort of siren who, sitting on
the cliff above the Rhine and combing her golden hair, unwittingly distracted shipmen with her
beauty and song, causing them to crash on the rocks. In 1837 Heine's lyrics were set to music by
Friedrich Silcher in the art song Lorelei that became well known in German-speaking lands. A
setting by Franz Liszt was also favored and over a score of other musicians have set the poem to
music. The Lorelei character, although originally imagined by Brentano, passed into German
popular culture in the form described in the Heine-Silcher song and is commonly but mistakenly
believed to have originated in an old folk tale. The French writer Guillaume Apollinaire took up
the theme again in his poem "La Loreley", from the collection Alcools which is later cited in
Symphony No. 14 (3rd movement) of Dmitri Shostakovich.

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I know not if there is a reason

Why I am so sad at heart.
A legend of bygone ages
Haunts me and will not depart.

The air is cool under nightfall.

The calm Rhine courses its way.
The peak of the mountain is sparkling
With evening's final ray.

The fairest of maidens is sitting

Unwittingly wondrous up there,
Her golden jewels are shining,
She's combing her golden hair.

The comb she holds is golden,

She sings a song as well
Whose melody binds an enthralling
And overpowering spell.

In his little boat, the boatman

Is seized with a savage woe,
He'd rather look up at the mountain
Than down at the rocks below.

I think that the waves will devour

The boatman and boat as one;
And this by her song's sheer power
Fair Loreley has done.

In the poem, the beautiful Lore Lay is falsely accused of maliciously bewitching
men and driving them to ruin; later pardoned and on the way to a nunnery she
passes and climbs the Lorelei rock, watching out for the lover who abandoned her,
and falls to her death.

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An elder sister from the city visits her younger sister, the wife of a peasant farmer in the
village. In the midst of their visit, the two of them get into an argument about whether the city
or the peasant lifestyle is preferable. The elder sister suggests that city life boasts better
clothes, good things to eat and drink, and various entertainments, such as the theater. The
younger sister replies that though peasant life may be rough, she and her husband are free, will
always have enough to eat, and are not tempted by the devil to indulge in such worldly

Pahom, the husband of the younger sister, enters the debate and suggests that the
charm of the peasant life is that the peasant has no time to let nonsense settle in his head. The
one drawback of peasant life, he declares, is that the peasant does not have enough land: “If I
had plenty of land, I shouldn’t fear the Devil himself!” The devil, overhearing this boast, decides
to give Pahom his wish, seducing him with the extra land that Pahom thinks will give him

Pahom’s first opportunity to gain extra land comes when a lady in the village decides to
sell her three hundred acres. His fellow peasants try to arrange the purchase for themselves as
part of a commune, but the devil sows discord among them and individual peasants begin to
buy land. Pahom obtains forty acres of his own. This pleases him initially, but soon neighboring
peasants allow their cows to stray into his meadows and their horses among his corn, and he
must seek justice from the district court. Not only does he fail to receive recompense for the
damages but also he ruins his reputation among his former friends and neighbors; his extra land
does not bring him security.

Hearing a rumor about more and better farmland elsewhere, he decides to sell his land
and move his family to a new location. There he obtains 125 acres and is ten times better off
than he was before, and he is very pleased. However, he soon realizes that he could make a
better profit with more land on which to sow wheat. He makes a deal to obtain thirteen
hundred acres from a peasant in financial difficulty for one thousand rubles and has all but
clinched it when he hears a rumor about the land of the Bashkirs. There, a tradesman tells him,
a man can obtain land for less than a penny an acre, simply by making friends with the chiefs.

Fueled by the desire for more, cheaper, and better land, Pahom seeks directions for the
land of the Bashkirs and leaves on a journey to obtain the land that he thinks he needs. On
arrival, he distributes gifts to the Bashkir leaders and finds them courteous and friendly. He
explains his reasons for being there and, after some deliberation, they offer him whatever land
he wants for one thousand rubles. Pahom is pleased but concerned; he wants boundaries,
deeds, and “official sanction” to give him the assurance he needs that they or their children will
never reverse their decision.

The Bashkirs agree to this arrangement, and a deal is struck. Pahom can have all the
land that he can walk around in a day for one thousand rubles. The one condition is that if he
does not return on the same day to the spot at which he began, the money will be lost. The
night before his fateful walk, Pahom plans his strategy; he will try to encircle thirty-five miles of
land and then sell the poorer land to peasants at a profit. When he awakes the next day, he is
met by the man whom he thought was the chief of the Bashkirs, but whom he recognizes as the
peasant who had come to his old home to tell him of lucrative land deals available elsewhere.
He looks again, and realizes that he is speaking with the devil himself. He dismisses this meeting
as merely a dream and goes about his walk.

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Pahom starts well, but he tries to encircle too much land, and by midday he realizes that
he has tried to create too big a circuit. Though afraid of death, he knows that his only chance is
to complete the circuit. “There is plenty of land,” he says to himself, “but will God let me live on
it?” As the sun comes down, Pahom runs with all his remaining strength to the spot where he
began. Reaching it, he sees the chief laughing and holding his sides; he remembers his dream
and breathes his last breath.

Pahom’s servant picks up the spade with which Pahom had been marking his land and
digs a grave in which to bury him: “Six feet from his head to his heels was all he needed.”

 Glencoe Literature: The Reader's Choice (World Literature). Ohio: Glencoe/McGraw-Hill,



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Fernando António Nogueira Pessoa was a noted literary figure of the 20th century
Portugal and is known to be the greatest poet of the Portuguese language. He was a multi-
talented literary personality involved with writing, literary criticism, publishing, translating, and
practicing astrology and occult all his life. Pessoa was born in Portugal but spent most of his
youth in South Africa with his mother and his stepfather. He went to University of Cape Town
and fell in love with the English language, the language in which he exhibited a lot of command
and fluency. He shifted back to Portugal in 1905 and his literary journey started from there. He
translated commercial and literary material for various magazines and started his own
publishing house on two different occasions. Pessoa was a unique writer who used to write
under heteronyms and had at least 72 heteronyms apart from 'Fernando Pessoa'. He preferred
writing like this as it gave him a chance to write outside his own personality and create
something exceptional. He was also interested in practicing spirituality and occultism and was
known to be a medium (one who purportedly mediates communication between spirits of the
dead and other human beings) and wrote down his experiences as a medium in many of his
writings. He also practiced astrology and used to charge for making horoscopes. Most of his
work was only published after he died and while he was still alive, he got an opportunity to get
only one book published in Portuguese, "Mensagem".

 It is said that this notable Portuguese author could see "magnetic auras" which is similar
to radiographic images.
 Pessoa designed more than 1,500 astrological charts, of well-known people like William
Shakespeare, Lord Byron, Oscar Wilde, Chopin, Robespierre, Napoleon I, Benito
Mussolini, Wilhelm II, Leopold II of Belgium, Victor Emmanuel III, Alfonso XIII, or the
Kings Sebastian and Charles of Portugal, and Salazar.
 Pessoa was a fan of esotericism, occultism, hermetism and alchemy. Along with
spiritualism and astrology, he also practiced rosicrucianism, neopaganism and
freemasonry, experiences from which he included in his literary work.
 He left a lot of unpublished manuscripts and fragments—some 25,000 texts, that are
still being edited and translated.

By Francisco Pessoa
Translated by: Jonathan Griffin
In the terrible night, natural substance of every night,
In the night of insomnia, natural substance of all of my nights
I remember, awake in tossing drowsiness,
I remember what I’ve done and what I might have done in life,
I remember, and an anguish
Spreads all through me like a physical chill or a fear,
The irreparable of my past—this is the real corpse!
All the other corpses may very well be illusion.
All the dead may be alive somewhere else,
All of my own past moments may be existing somewhere.
In the illusion of space and of time,
In the falsity of elapsing
But what I was not, what I did not do, what I did not even dream;
What only now I see I ought to have done,
What only now I clearly see I ought to have been—

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That is what is dead beyond all the Gods,

That—and it was, after all the, best of me—is what not even the Gods make bring to life.

If at a certain point,
I had turned to the left instead of to the right;
If at certain moment,
I had said yes instead of no, or no instead of yes;
If in a certain conversation,
I had hit on the phrases which only now, in this half-sleep, I elaborate—

If all this had been so,

I would be different today, and perhaps the whole universe
Would be insensibly made brought to be different as well.

But I did not turn in direction which is irreparably lost,

Not turn or even think of turning, and only now I perceive it;
But I did not say no or say yes, and only now I see what I did’nt say;
But the phrases that I failed to say surge up in me at present, all of them,
Clear, inevitable, natural
The conversation gathered in conclusively,
The whole matter resolved...
But only now what never was, nor indeed shall be, hurts.
What I have missed definitely holds no sort of hope
In any sort of metaphysical system.
Maybe I could bring what I have dreamed to some other world,
But could I bring to another world the things I forgot to dream?
These, yes, the dreams going begging, are the real corpse.
I bury it in my heart for ever, for all time, for every universes,
In this night when I can’t sleep and peace encircles me
Like a truth which I’ve no share in,
And the moonlight outside, like a hope I do not have, is invisible to me.
 Glencoe Literature: The Reader's Choice (World Literature). Ohio: Glencoe/McGraw-Hill,

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The Americas: Early Americas


Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz

Writer, Women's Rights Activist, Nun (c. 1651–1695)
Juana Inés de la Cruz was born out of wedlock in San Miguel Nepantla, Tepetlixpa—now
called Nepantla de Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz in her honor—near Mexico City, circa November
12, 1651, when Mexico was still a Spanish territory.
In 1667, owing to her desire "to have no fixed occupation which might curtail my
freedom to study," Sor Juana began her life as a nun. She moved in 1669 to the Convent of
Santa Paula of the Hieronymite in Mexico City, where she remained cloistered for the rest of
her life.
Juana had plenty of time to study and write in the convent, and she amassed a large library. She
also gained the patronage of the viceroy and vicereine of New Spain, and they supported her
and had her works published in Spain.
Writing Development
Sor Juana's enduring importance and literary success are partly attributable to her
mastery of the full range of poetic forms and themes of the Spanish Golden Age, and her
writings display inventiveness, wit and a wide range of knowledge. Juana employed all of the
poetic models of her day, including sonnets and romances, and she drew on wide-ranging—
secular and nonsecular—sources. Unlimited by genre, she also wrote dramatic, comedic and
scholarly works—especially unusual for a nun.
Sor Juana's most important plays include brave and clever women, and her famous
poem, "Hombres necios" ("Foolish Men"), accuses men of behaving illogically by criticizing
women. Her most significant poem, "Primero sueo" ("First Dream"), published in 1692, is at
once personal and universal, recounting the soul's quest for knowledge.
Defending Women's Rights
With Sor Juana's growing renown, however, came disapproval from the church: In
November 1690, the bishop of Puebla published (under the pseudonym of a nun) without her
consent Sor Juana's critique of a 40-year-old sermon by a Portuguese Jesuit preacher, and
admonished Sor Juana to focus on religious studies instead of secular studies.
Sor Juana responded with stunning self-defense. She defended the right of all women to
attain knowledge and famously wrote (echoing a poet and a Catholic saint), "One can perfectly
well philosophize while cooking supper," justifying her study of secular topics as necessary to
understanding theology.


Sonnet 145

This thing you see, a bright-colored deceit,

displaying all the many charms of art,
with false syllogisms of tint and hue
is a cunning deception of the eye;

this thing in which sheer flattery has tried

to evade the stark horrors of the years

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and, vanquishing the cruelties of time,

to triumph over age and oblivion,

is vanity, contrivance, artifice,

a delicate blossom stranded in the wind,
a failed defense against our common fate;

a fruitless enterprise, a great mistake,

a deceit frenzy, and rightly viewed,
a corpse, some dust, a shadow, mere nothingness.

Translated by Edith Grossman

Lines 1-11
About the things we see around us living in earth. This brightly colored deceit displaying all
the many charms of art, this portray all the things that is brilliant and colorful that attract the
attention of the people that lead to be foolish. A cunning deception of hints and hues, it shows
the mislead to false appearance of the bright color or about the value of a thing. This mystery
hidden in a riddle, this are facts on how we live or the kind of living we have is full of mystery,
riddles, it pertains to our problems which we encounter in our life that cannot be easily solved
like a puzzle. Disguise as an epigram which sheer flattery duels attempting to evade. Disguise
pertains to the attitude of a man to escape from his problems that they did not like to face and
epigram shows that it usually ends in a wrong manner. In the last four lines all the fancy thigs in
the third line which is valueless will be forgotten until we grow old.
Lines 12- 19
The effects of the worthlessness of the things are suffering by the people this implies
that all the things that we treated as important is valueless. Delicate kisses in the wind are
things that we do not give any attention. The true value of the things appears nothing or like a
dead body.
Lines 20 – 23
In the last part the speaker says that we should be responsible for taking care all the
things around us. We are all illegitimate or we are not the owner or the creator so we don’t
have any rights to destroy it.
 Glencoe Literature: The Reader's Choice (World Literature). Ohio: Glencoe/McGraw-Hill,

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By Jose Marti


José Julian Perez Marti was one of the greatest known writers in Latin America, more
so, in the Spanish-speaking world. He was known as Cuba’s national hero, Apostle of our
Independence, and was instrumental in helping and motivating the Cuban revolution against
Spain. He has written important literature that shaped the history of Cuba, and has also created
literary works such as poetry, plays, children’s stories and articles.
José was born in Havana in 1853 to Spanish parents Mariano Marti Navarro and Leonor
Pérez Cabrera.At the age of sixteen, his editorials and poems were already being published in
local newspapers.In 1869 José’s writing got him in serious trouble for the first time. The Ten
Years’ War (1868-1878), an attempt by Cuban landowners to gain independence from Spain and
free Cuban slaves, was being fought at the time, and young José wrote passionately in support
of the rebels. He was convicted of treason and sedition and sentenced to six years’ labor. He
was only sixteen at the time. The chains in which he was held would scar his legs for the rest of
his life. His parents intervened and after one year, José’s sentence was reduced but he was
exiled to Spain.There Marti published Political Imprisonment in Cuba, about the harsh treatment
he received in jail.
Jose Marti devoted his life to Cuba’s struggle for independence from Spain. When he
was sixteen, the colonial government sentenced him to hard labor for his political activities. He
spent almost all of his adult years in exile.
Marti believed that art grows out of suffering. Critics have praised his imagery, which he
said came to him through visions. In addition to poems, Marti wrote a novel and many essays
and newspaper articles.
To free Cuba, Marti joined forces with two nationalist generals from the Ten Years' War,
Maximo Gómez and Antonio Maceo. He raised funds from Cuban exiles and political
organizations to support their efforts. On January 31, 1895, Marti left New York City to make his
way to Cuba. He and his fellow nationalist supporters arrived in Cuba on April 11 and began the
fight for independence.
Unfortunately for him, Marti did not last long on the battlefield. He died on May 19
during some fighting in Dos Rios. After his death, his compatriots continued their war against
the Spanish, but the country did not achieve its independence until years later.
Through his life and writings, Marti served as an inspiration for revolutionaries around
the world. Cuban leader Fidel Castro has called him an important influence on his own
revolution in Cuba decades later. Although Marti once was sent into exile for his political
activities, he is now considered a national hero in Cuba.
I have two countries: Cuba and the night.
Or are both one? No sooner does the sun
Withdraw its majesty, than Cuba,
With long veils and holding a carnation,
Appears as a sad and silent widow.
I know about that bloodstained carnation
That trembles in her hand! My breast
Is empty, destroyed and empty
Where the heart lay. Now is the time
To commence dying. Night is a good time
To say farewell. Light is a hindrance
As is the human word. The universe
Talks better than man. Like a flag
That calls to battle the candle’s
Red flame flutters. I feel a closeness
And open windows. Crushing the carnation’s
Petals silently, widowed Cuba passes by
Like a cloud that dims the heavens. . . .

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"Two countries" was written during the revolution of Cuba against Spain. In the poem,
the two countries that the speaker referred to are Cuba and the night. In my opinion, the Sun
can represent Spain; when Spain neglects you to Cuba, Cuba already had no sun. In addition, the
two countries are Cuba and the night, or darkness in which leave you Spain. The poem says, "It's
time for saying good-bye " , the speaker told the reader that it is time to fight for independence,
even if people need to die for the independence. The poem has a very sad tone, and suggested
that Cuba has pain after the battle with Spain. He described Cuba as "a widow", and this
suggests that Cuba has nothing, except death and the desire for freedom. I think that this poem
related to the war between Cuba and Spain for the independence of Cuba, and Marti express its
desire for the freedom of their motherland. Yet the poem carries an undertone of sadness, as if
the poet knows he will die. This is indicated by hoe, as Cuba the night passes, she is tearing the
carnation apart, as mourning.

 Glencoe Literature: The Reader's Choice (World Literature). Ohio:
Glencoe/McGraw-Hill, 2000.


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Rosario Castellanos (25 May 1925 – 7 August 1974) was a Mexican poet and author.
Along with the other members of the Generation of 1950 (the poets who wrote following the
Second World War, influenced by Cesar Vallejo and others), she was one of Mexico’s most
important literary voices in the last century. Throughout her life, she wrote eloquently about
issues about cultural and gender oppression, and her work was influenced feminist theory and
cultural studies. Through she died young; she opened the door of Mexican literature to women,
and left a legacy that still resonates today.


Teodoro Mendez is a man of lowly status. He is a Chamula. There are three social
classes: Chamula, Ladino and Caxlanes. Teodoro is a lowly Chamula. Chamula’s are people of
full Mayan heritage. But, on one special day he finds a coin buried in the ground. He spends
sleepless night deciding on what he should buy. Months go by and finally he makes his decision,
a small clay figurine of Virgin Mary. The figurine resides at the shop of Don Agustin. After
Teodoro sees the figurine, he can’t take his eyes off it and spends a lot of time simply looking at
the figurine. Don Agustin is a Ladino. He is a man of poor character. When he sees Teodoro
standing at the front of his shop, he is afraid. How could an Indian be so bold to stand on the
side walk and look into his shop? Don Agustin’s shallow security was shaken. He has no idea
how to deal with Teodoro. He thinks of his mother. She was so disappointed with her son. He
had never measured up to the man his father was. In fact, the only respect the Agustin’s had
left was because of Don’s Father. Teodoro finally developed the gall to enter the store. With the
aid of liquor anything is possible. He walked in the store and the Don was terrified. The latter
sees this as an opportunity to prove him. He calls out to Teodoro. Teodoro does not understand
what is going on because he does not speak Spanish. He stares at Don Agustin. Don Agustin
goes to the gun under the counter. He is too afraid to shoot so he calls for the police instead.
Teodoro run but the commotion has created a crowd outside and he cannot escape. He is
pushed to the ground, his lucky coin falls from his sash. With the Virgin Mary’s eyes upon him,
Don Agustin lies to everyone and claims Teodoro stole the coin. Since Teodoro is one of the
lower class no one bothers to find the truth and he is sent to jail. Ironically it’s his lucky
discovery that ultimately puts him to jail.
Teodoro lived in Latin America, a place south of the US and Mexico. After the Spanish
landed in South America they practiced a brutal regime of oppression and murder.
The story feature discrimination between social classes. It gives a good example of how
some people are still very attached to social classes. Though Don Agustin does not know the
true intention of Teodoro he thinks of him as robber and even accused him for stealing. It is
discriminating because of Chamula’s race and outer appearances he got the idea of him a bad
person. Teodoro was sent to jail without any objection which meant that all the Caxlanes and
Landinos thought he deserved it and did not care enough to check the full story.
 Glencoe Literature: The Reader's Choice (World Literature). Ohio: Glencoe/McGraw-
Hill, 2000.


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Author : Pablo Neruda
Pablo Neruda was the pen name and, later, legal name of the Chilean poet-diplomat and
politician Neftali Ricardo Reyes Basoalto. He chose his pen name after the Czech poet Jan
Neruda. In 1971 Neruda won the Nobel Prize for Literature.
Born: July 12, 1904, Parral, Chile
Died: September 23, 1973, Santiago, Chile
Spouse: Matilde Urrutia (1966–1973)


by Pablo Neruda
From the window I saw the horses.
I was in Berlin, in winter. The light
had no light, the sky had no heaven.

The air was white like wet bread.

And from my window a vacant arena,

bitten by the teeth of winter.

Suddenly driven out by a man,

ten horses surged through the mist.

Like waves of fire, they flared forward

and to my eyes filled the whole world,
empty till then. Perfect, ablaze,
they were like ten gods with pure white hoofs,
with manes like a dream of salt.

Their rumps were worlds and oranges.

Their color was honey, amber, fire.

Their necks were towers

cut from the stone of pride,
and behind their transparent eyes
energy raged, like a prisoner.

There, in silence, at mid-day,

in that dirty, disordered winter,
those intense horses were the blood
the rhythm, the inciting treasure of life.

I looked. I looked and was reborn:

for there, unknowing, was the fountain,
the dance of gold, heaven
and the fire that lives in beauty.

I have forgotten that dark Berlin winter.

I will not forget the light of the horses

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My interpretation of this poem is even when it seems all hope is lost, a small and
seemingly insignificant event changed his life. First he says “The Light was without light, the sky
skyless’,’I could see a deserted arena, a circle bittenout by the teeth of winter. ’So there is a sad
atmosphere. But when he sees the horses his mood changes.



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by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
Gabriel Garcia Marquez
(6 March 1927 – 17 April 2014) was a Colombian novelist, short-story writer,
screenwriter and journalist, known affectionately as Gabo throughout Latin America.
Considered one of the most significant authors of the 20th century, he was awarded the
1972 Neustadt International Prize for Literature and the 1982 Nobel Prize in Literature.[1] He
pursued a self-directed education that resulted in his leaving law school for a career in
journalism. From early on, he showed no inhibitions in his criticism of Colombian and foreign
politics. In 1958, he married Mercedes Barcha; they had two sons, Rodrigo and Gonzalo.[2]
García Márquez started as a journalist, and wrote many acclaimed non-fiction works and
short stories, but is best known for his novels, such as One Hundred Years of
Solitude (1967), The Autumn of the Patriarch (1975) and Love in the Time of Cholera (1985). His
works have achieved significant critical acclaim and widespread commercial success, most
notably for popularizing a literary style labeled as magic realism, which uses magical elements
and events in otherwise ordinary and realistic situations. Some of his works are set in a fictional
village called Macondo (the town mainly inspired by his birthplace Aracataca), and most of
them explore the theme of solitude.
THE FIRST CHILDREN who saw the dark and slinky bulge approaching through the sea let
themselves think it was an enemy ship. Then they saw it had no flags or masts and they thought
it was a whale. But when it washed up on the beach, they removed the clumps of seaweed, the
jellyfish tentacles, and the remains of fish and flotsam, and only then did they see that it was a
drowned man.
They had been playing with him all afternoon, burying him in the sand and digging him
up again, when someone chanced to see them and spread the alarm in the village. The men
who carried him to the nearest house noticed that he weighed more than any dead man they
had ever known, almost as much as a horse, and they said to each other that maybe he'd been
floating too long and the water had got into his bones. When they laid him on the floor they
said he'd been taller than all other men because there was barely enough room for him in the
house, but they thought that maybe the ability to keep on growing after death was part of the
nature of certain drowned men. He had the smell of the sea about him and only his shape gave
one to suppose that it was the corpse of a human being, because the skin was covered with a
crust of mud and scales.
They did not even have to clean off his face to know that the dead man was a stranger.
The village was made up of only twenty-odd wooden houses that had stone courtyards with no
flowers and which were spread about on the end of a desert-like cape. There was so little land
that mothers always went about with the fear that the wind would carry off their children and
the few dead that the years had caused among them had to be thrown off the cliffs. But the sea
was calm and bountiful and all the men fitted into seven boats. So when they found the
drowned man they simply had to look at one another to see that they were all there.
That night they did not go out to work at sea. While the men went to find out if anyone
was missing in neighboring villages, the women stayed behind to care for the drowned man.
They took the mud off with grass swabs, they removed the underwater stones entangled in his
hair, and they scraped the crust off with tools used for scaling fish. As they were doing that they
noticed that the vegetation on him came from faraway oceans and deep water and that his
clothes were in tatters, as if he had sailed through labyrinths of coral. They noticed too that he
bore his death with pride, for he did not have the lonely look of other drowned men who came
out of the sea or that haggard, needy look of men who drowned in rivers. But only when they
finished cleaning him off did they become aware of the kind of man he was and it left them
breathless. Not only was he the tallest, strongest, most virile, and best built man they had ever

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seen, but even though they were looking at him there was no room for him in their
They could not find a bed in the village large enough to lay him on nor was there a table
solid enough to use for his wake. The tallest men's holiday pants would not fit him, nor the
fattest ones' Sunday shirts, nor the shoes of the one with the biggest feet. Fascinated by his
huge size and his beauty, the women then decided to make him some pants from a large piece
of sail and a shirt from some bridal brabant linen so that he could continue through his death
with dignity. As they sewed, sitting in a circle and gazing at the corpse between stitches, it
seemed to them that the wind had never been so steady nor the sea so restless as on that night
and they supposed that the change had something to do with the dead man. They thought that
if that magnificent man had lived in the village, his house would have had the widest doors, the
highest ceiling, and the strongest floor, his bedstead would have been made from a midship
frame held together by iron bolts, and his wife would have been the happiest woman. They
thought that he would have had so much authority that he could have drawn fish out of the sea
simply by calling their names and that he would have put so much work into his land that
springs would have burst forth from among the rocks so that he would have been able to plant
flowers on the cliffs. They secretly compared him to their own men, thinking that for all their
lives theirs were incapable of doing what he could do in one night, and they ended up
dismissing them deep in their hearts as the weakest, meanest and most useless creatures on
earth. They were wandering through that maze of fantasy when the oldest woman, who as the
oldest had looked upon the drowned man with more compassion than passion, sighed: 'He has
the face of someone called Esteban.'
It was true. Most of them had only to take another look at him to see that he could not
have any other name. The more stubborn among them, who were the youngest, still lived for a
few hours with the illusion that when they put his clothes on and he lay among the flowers in
patent leather shoes his name might be Lautaro. But it was a vain illusion. There had not been
enough canvas, the poorly cut and worse sewn pants were too tight, and the hidden strength of
his heart popped the buttons on his shirt. After midnight the whistling of the wind died down
and the sea fell into its Wednesday drowsiness. The silence put an end to any last doubts: he
was Esteban. The women who had dressed him, who had combed his hair, had cut his nails and
shaved him were unable to hold back a shudder of pity when they had to resign themselves to
his being dragged along the ground. It was then that they understood how unhappy he must
have been with that huge body since it bothered him even after death. They could see him in
life, condemned to going through doors sideways, cracking his head on crossbeams, remaining
on his feet during visits, not knowing what to do with his soft, pink, sea lion hands while the
lady of the house looked for her most resistant chair and begged him, frightened to death, sit
here, Esteban, please, and he, leaning against the wall, smiling, don't bother, ma'am, I'm fine
where I am, his heels raw and his back roasted from having done the same thing so many times
whenever he paid a visit, don't bother, ma'am, I'm fine where I am, just to avoid the
embarrassment of breaking up the chair, and never knowing perhaps that the ones who said
don't go, Esteban, at least wait till the coffee's ready, were the ones who later on would
whisper the big boob finally left, how nice, the handsome fool has gone. That was what the
women were thinking beside the body a little before dawn. Later, when they covered his face
with a handkerchief so that the light would not bother him, he looked so forever dead, so
defenseless, so much like their men that the first furrows of tears opened in their hearts. It was
one of the younger ones who began the weeping. The others, coming to, went from sighs to
wails, and the more they sobbed the more they felt like weeping, because the drowned man
was becoming all the more Esteban for them, and so they wept so much, for he was the more
destitute, most peaceful, and most obliging man on earth, poor Esteban. So when the men
returned with the news that the drowned man was not from the neighboring villages either, the
women felt an opening of jubilation in the midst of their tears.
'Praise the Lord,' they sighed, 'he's ours!'
The men thought the fuss was only womanish frivolity. Fatigued because of the difficult
nighttime inquiries, all they wanted was to get rid of the bother of the newcomer once and for
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all before the sun grew strong on that arid, windless day. They improvised a litter with the
remains of foremasts and gaffs, tying it together with rigging so that it would bear the weight of
the body until they reached the cliffs. They wanted to tie the anchor from a cargo ship to him so
that he would sink easily into the deepest waves, where fish are blind and divers die of
nostalgia, and bad currents would not bring him back to shore, as had happened with other
bodies. But the more they hurried, the more the women thought of ways to waste time. They
walked about like startled hens, pecking with the sea charms on their breasts, some interfering
on one side to put a scapular of the good wind on the drowned man, some on the other side to
put a wrist compass on him , and after a great deal of get away from there, woman, stay out of
the way, look, you almost made me fall on top of the dead man, the men began to feel mistrust
in their livers and started grumbling about why so many main-altar decorations for a stranger,
because no matter how many nails and holy-water jars he had on him, the sharks would chew
him all the same, but the women kept piling on their junk relics, running back and forth,
stumbling, while they released in sighs what they did not in tears, so that the men finally
exploded with since when has there ever been such a fuss over a drifting corpse, a drowned
nobody, a piece of cold Wednesday meat. One of the women, mortified by so much lack of care,
then removed the handkerchief from the dead man's face and the men were left breathless
He was Esteban. It was not necessary to repeat it for them to recognize him. If they had
been told Sir Walter Raleigh, even they might have been impressed with his gringo accent, the
macaw on his shoulder, his cannibal-killing blunderbuss, but there could be only one Esteban in
the world and there he was, stretched out like a sperm whale, shoeless, wearing the pants of an
undersized child, and with those stony nails that had to be cut with a knife. They only had to
take the handkerchief off his face to see that he was ashamed, that it was not his fault that he
was so big or so heavy or so handsome, and if he had known that this was going to happen, he
would have looked for a more discreet place to drown in, seriously, I even would have tied the
anchor off a galleon around my nick and staggered off a cliff like someone who doesn't like
things in order not to be upsetting people now with this Wednesday dead body, as you people
say, in order not to be bothering anyone with this filthy piece of cold meat that doesn't have
anything to do with me. There was so much truth in his manner that even the most mistrustful
men, the ones who felt the bitterness of endless nights at sea fearing that their women would
tire of dreaming about them and begin to dream of drowned men, even they and others who
were harder still shuddered in the marrow of their bones at Esteban's sincerity.
That was how they came to hold the most splendid funeral they could ever conceive of
for an abandoned drowned man. Some women who had gone to get flowers in the neighboring
villages returned with other women who could not believe what they had been told, and those
women went back for more flowers when they saw the dead man, and they brought more and
more until there were so many flowers and so many people that it was hard to walk about. At
the final moment it pained them to return him to the waters as an orphan and they chose a
father and mother from among the best people, and aunts and uncles and cousins, so that
through him all the inhabitants of the village became kinsmen. Some sailors who heard the
weeping from a distance went off course and people heard of one who had himself tied to the
mainmast, remembering ancient fables about sirens. While they fought for the privilege of
carrying him on their shoulders along the steep escarpment by the cliffs, men and women
became aware for the first time of the desolation of their streets, the dryness of their
courtyards, the narrowness of their dreams as they faced the splendor and beauty of their
drowned man. They let him go without an anchor so that he could come back if he wished and
whenever he wished, and they all held their breath for the fraction of centuries the body took
to fall into the abyss. They did not need to look at one another to realize that they were no
longer all present, that they would never be. But they also knew that everything would be
different from then on, that their houses would have wider doors, higher ceilings, and stronger
floors so that Esteban's memory could go everywhere without bumping into beams and so that
no one in the future would dare whisper the big boob finally died, too bad, the handsome fool
has finally died, because they were going to paint their house fronts gay colors to make
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Esteban's memory eternal and they were going to break their backs digging for springs among
the stones and planting flowers on the cliffs so that in future years at dawn the passengers on
great liners would awaken, suffocated by the smell of gardens on the high seas, and the captain
would have to come down from the bridge in his dress uniform, with his astrolabe, his pole star,
and his row of war medals and, pointing to the promontory of roses on the horizon, he would
say in fourteen languages, look there, where the wind is so peaceful now that it's gone to sleep
beneath the beds, over there, where the sun's so bright that the sunflowers don't know which
way to turn, yes, over there, that's Esteban's village.
This story is about a man who was drowned and found in a village. The setting is full of
sea imagery. As he was carried away by the waves of the sea, he reached a village near a
shoreline and brought up so many questions, conflicts, and wanderings from the villagers.
The drowned man is the handsomest, biggest, and believed to be the strongest man
among the native villagers. Because of the charm of this beautiful stranger, the women of the
village to give him the best funeral that was ever conducted in the village.
The fantasy of the ship's captain announcing the village as Esteban's constitutes the
conclusion of this story. The villagers have decided to be significant, to make their village
matter, to distinguish themselves as being great, and create a village worthy of the drowned
IV. Reference
 Glencoe Literature: The Reader's Choice (World Literature). Ohio: Glencoe/McGraw-Hill,


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By: Franz Kafka


Franz Kafkawas born on July 3, 1883, in Prague, capital of what is now the Czech
Republic, writer Franz Kafka grew up in a middle-class Jewish
family. He is a German-language writer of novels and short
stories, regarded by critics as one of the most
influential authors of the 20th century. Most of his works,
such as "Die Verwandlung" ("The Metamorphosis"), Der
Prozess(The Trial), and Das Schloss (The Castle), are filled with
the themes and archetypes of alienation, physical and
psychological brutality, parent–child conflict, characters on a
terrifying quest, labyrinths of bureaucracy, and mystical
After studying law at the University of Prague, he worked in
insurance and wrote in the evenings. In 1923, he moved to
Berlin to focus on writing, but died of tuberculosis shortly
after. His friend Max Brod published most of his work
posthumously, such as Amerika and The Castle.

Kafka trained as a lawyer and after completing his legal education, obtained
employment with an insurance company. He began to write short stories in his spare time. For
the rest of his life, he complained about the little time he had to devote to what he came to
regard as his calling. He regretted having to devote so much attention to his Brotberuf ("day
job", literally "bread job"). Kafka preferred to communicate by letter; he wrote hundreds of
letters to family and close female friends, including his father, his fiancée Felice Bauer, and his
youngest sister Ottla. He had a complicated and troubled relationship with his father that had a
major effect on his writing. He also suffered conflict over being Jewish, feeling that it had little
to do with him, although critics argue that it influenced his writing. After studying law, he
worked in insurance and wrote in the evenings. In 1923, he moved to Berlin to focus on writing,
but died of tuberculosis shortly after.
Only a few of Kafka's works were published during his lifetime: the story
collections Betrachtung (Contemplation) and Ein Landarzt (A Country Doctor), and individual
stories (such as "Die Verwandlung") in literary magazines. He prepared the story collection Ein
Hungerkünstler (A Hunger Artist) for print, but it was not published until after his death. Kafka's
unfinished works, including his novelsDer Prozess, Das Schloss and Amerika (also known as Der
Verschollene, The Man Who Disappeared), were published posthumously, mostly by his
friend Max Brod, who ignored Kafka's wish to have the manuscripts destroyed. Albert
Camus, Gabriel García Márquez and Jean-Paul Sartre are among the writers influenced by
Kafka's work; the term Kafkaesque has entered the English language to describe surreal
situations like those in his writing.



Gregor Samsa wakes up to find that he has been transformed into a giant insect. Gregor
briefly examines his new body, but wonders only momentarily about what has happened to
him. His attention quickly switches to observing his room, which he finds very ordinary but a bit
small, and a framed magazine clipping of a woman in fur hanging up on the wall. Since he can't
turn on his side, Gregor cannot fall asleep, so instead he begins thinking about his job. He is a

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traveling salesman, and he hates traveling because he dislikes worrying and getting up early.
Gregor's chief at work is extremely tyrannical, and Gregor wants to quit the job but cannot do
so until he has paid off the debts that his parents owe the chief.
Gregor wants to get up to go to work, but suddenly realizes that he is already late and
must have missed the alarm. He can't call in sick because he has not missed a day of work in
five years and it would look suspicious. Gregor's mother calls to him, and he answers her,
noticing that his voice is changing. Gregor's father andGrete, his sister, realize that he is still at
home and try to enter his room, but he has locked his doors and they can't get in. Gregor
attempts to get out of bed, but finds this very difficult. He realizes that he is now very late, and
lies back hoping that some clear thinking will resolve the situation. Suddenly the doorbell rings
and the chief clerk comes into the apartment. Angry that his firm sends the chief clerk himself if
he is only a little late, Gregor finally swings himself out of bed.
As the family entreats Gregor to open the door, he refuses. Mrs. Samsa insists that
Gregor must be ill or he would not be acting like this. The chief clerk loses his temper and tells
Gregor that he is shocked by his attitude, insisting that his position in the company is not
unassailable because his work has been poor lately. Gregor is angered by this speech, and
insists that he is simply feeling slightly indisposed but will soon return to work. He retorts that
his business has not been bad lately. Because of the changes in Gregor's voice, no one outside
understands a word he says. Fearing he is ill, his parents send Grete and the servant girl to get
the doctor and the locksmith. With great difficulty Gregor manages to open the door by
Seeing Gregor, the chief clerk backs away while his father begins to weep. Gregor begs
the chief clerk to explain the situation at the office and to stand up for him. He says that he will
gladly come back to work and asks the chief clerk not to leave without agreeing with him.
Gregor tries to stop the clerk so as to keep him from leaving with such a negative view of
things, but then his mother, backing away, knocks over a coffee pot, causing a commotion and
giving the chief clerk an opportunity to get away. Gregor's father picks up a walking stick to
drive Gregor back into his room. Gregor gets stuck in the doorway, and his father shoves him
through, injuring him in the process, and slams the door behind him.
Gregor wakes up at twilight and smells food. He realizes that his sister had brought him milk
with bread in it. Gregor attempts to drink the milk, but finds that he is repulsed by the taste.
Gregor notices that his father is not reading the paper to the family as he usually does and
there is complete silence in the apartment. He wants someone to come in his room, but the
doors are locked from the outside and no one will enter. Gregor climbs under the couch, where
he feels more comfortable, and decides that he has to help his family through this difficult
situation. Gregor's sister brings him a variety of foods in order to determine what he will eat.
She throws away everything he doesn't finish, even if he hasn't touched it. Gregor hides under
the couch to protect Grete from having to see him.
Assuming that Gregor can't understand anything, no one talks to him directly, so he
learns what is happening by listening to their conversations through the door. He finds out that
the family has money saved from his father's business, which had collapsed five year ago.
Gregor had not known about this money, and when his father's business fell apart, he had
thrown himself into his work in order to provide for his family. The family's initial excitement of
receiving his earnings had worn off, however, and he remained intimate only with Grete, whom
he had wanted to send to the Conservatory to study the violin.
Gregor watches his movements carefully, since any noise he makes distracts his family.
He learns from their conversations that in addition to money from the business, the family has
also saved money from his salary, but it isn't enough to live off of for very long. Gregor feels
deep shame every time money is mentioned. He finds that his vision is getting worse, so that he
can no longer see across the street. Every time Grete walks into the room, she runs to open the
window, which bothers Gregor. Realizing that his sister is uncomfortable in his presence,
Gregor figures out a way to cover himself with a sheet to keep out of sight. Gregor's parents
never come into his room, and when his mother begs to see her son, the others hold her back.

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Gregor discovers that he enjoys climbing the walls and the ceiling. Noticing this, his sister
decides to give him more space by clearing the furniture from his room, and she asks her
mother to help. Gregor's mother says that this will make it look like they are giving up on
Gregor's recovery, but Grete disagrees. Hearing his mother's voice, Gregor realizes the
importance of the furniture to him. The noise that the women make upsets him, and he decides
to come out of hiding to save the framed picture on the wall from being taken. Seeing him, his
mother faints and Grete runs out of the room for medicine to revive her with. Gregor follows
and when his sister sees him she runs into his room and slams the door, trapping Gregor
outside. His father arrives to find him out of his room and begins throwing apples at him. One
of these lodges itself in Gregor's back, almost crippling him. As he loses consciousness, his
mother begs her husband to spare her son's life.
Gregor's injury makes the family decide to be more accepting of him, and they leave his
door open so he can watch them. They are very quiet most of the time and extremely tired
from the jobs they have taken. No one bothers with Gregor too much. They have replaced the
servant girl with a charwoman. Gregor, lying in his room, resorts to his memory. The family
considers moving, but can't because they don't know how to move Gregor. He becomes angry
that he is being neglected. Grete barely cleans his room and doesn't bother very much with his
food anymore. When his mother tries to clean the room in Grete's absence, this triggers a
family fight.
The charwoman, discovering Gregor, is not repulsed but rather spends her time teasing
him, which annoys him to no end. Three lodgers have moved into the apartment, and the
excess furniture, as well as all superfluous junk, is moved into Gregor's room so that he barely
has room to move. He also stops eating almost entirely. The door to his room is now usually
kept closed because of the lodgers, but Gregor doesn't care anymore and often ignores it even
when it's open.
The lodgers, who are domineering and receive too much service and respect from
Gregor's parents, ask Grete to play the violin in the living room when they hear her practicing.
She begins to play, but the lodgers are soon tired of this and move away to show that they are
disappointed with her playing. Gregor, however, is drawn to the music and crawls out of his
room to get closer, dreaming of getting Grete to play for him in his room and of telling her
about his plans to send her to the Conservatory. The lodgers suddenly notice Gregor and give
notice immediately, saying they will not pay for the time they have lived there.
Grete steps forward and tells her parents that they have to get rid of Gregor. He is
persecuting them and trying to drive them out of the apartment and, if he really were Gregor,
he would have left of his own accord and let them live their lives in peace. Suddenly realizing
that he feels only love and tenderness for his family, Gregor understands that his sister is right
and he should disappear. He returns to his room, waits until sunrise, and dies.
Gregor's family is happy, but they also mourn his passing. Mr. Samsa instantly kicks the
lodgers out and the family decides to take the day off from work and go for a stroll. They feel
relieved and the future seems bright to them. The parents notice that their daughter has grown
up and decide that it is time to find her a husband. At the end of their trip, she is the first to
stand up and stretch.


Kafka’s ‘Metamorphosis’ is, as the name suggests, a story about change. From the
moment that Gregor Samsa awakes from his ‘uneasy dreams’, this theme unfolds. The
protagonist finds himself ‘transformed in his bed into a gigantic insect’; a change so drastic that
it borders upon the absurd. Change manifests in all of the main characters in Metamorphosis:
Gregor’s sister transforms from a child to a young woman; his parents are forced to evolve their
roles in order to survive.

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As humans we fail to look beneath the obvious, just as Gregor’s family fails to see their
son and brother for who he really is. Our understanding of human identity is skin-deep; should
our bodies change, our identity is also distorted and lost.
Indeed, Metamorphosis is as much about change (or lack thereof), as it is about
this disconnection between the mind and the body.




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