Choose three stories from three different cultures for compare and contrast.
Final Cumulative Essay
Choose three stories from three different cultures for compare and contrast. You can find your stories from various sources, your own personal library, a public library, or online web sources. The stories should be short form like fairytales or folk tales but they might be fragments of larger narratives as well, they can be stories you’ve read before or stories you read for this assignment. You can use folk tales or fairytales, or stories from religious texts, or graphic novels. I encourage the use of small forms, like short tales or fairytales. In your essay you will clearly analyze the plots, characters and/or settings of these stories using the Universal perspective, the Cultural perspective and the Pedagogical perspective. Feel free to illustrate your essay. You will need to include either a copy of the stories you are using or provide the website where I can go and read them. Since this is a cumulative essay include ideas and processes that we have covered in this class.
Things to think about:
* The Life Cycle and its four crises and the process of Jungian individuation
* The ‘initiatory’ aspects of fairytale form and what do the stories initiate?
* Do the stories conform to the Campbellian monomythic form; the hero’s journey, and in what ways do they conform or veer from that pattern?
* Bastian’s concept of, how stories carry Universal ideas enveloped within Ethnic ideas
* Are Jungian archetypes present? Which ones what actions, settings or character traits alerted you to the archetypal pattern?
Most of us are inclined to stick to familiar ground for this assignment: the European tradition. Note, however, the assignment description says, “Choose three stories from three different cultures for compare and contrast.” As long as they are sufficiently distant in time and geography, two of your stories may be from the European tradition (such as St. Brendan’s voyage to the Isle of the Blessed and Odysseus’ voyage to the Persephone’s grove, the entrance to Hades), yet your third story must be non-Indo-European. That is, it must be from the Americas, Australia, Asia, Africa, Polynesia, etc.
Something to consider:
I have noticed over time that students tend to limit themselves to online sources for their original materials. How did the internet hypnotize us into believing it is authoritative? How did it make us so blase that no one mentions books and libraries any more? Where did our thirst for knowledge go?
But, what is a young writer to do? The curse of the present generation: too much superficial information, already digested, too easy available.
At it’s worst, we’re not even required to think anymore! Most likely some superficial, inaccurate website has already taken the pain out of the process for you. So, don’t worry! You can alter its contents a little and slap together an essay like they slap together prefab housing in the suburbs.
No wonder so many essays come out looking, and smelling, alike these days.
But remember – writing isn’t a manufacturing process, nor is an essay a consumer product! It’s a handcrafted, individual, unique expression of your aesthetic, intellectual, spiritual capacity.
In other words, writing is an art. It’s where you uncover a little of your soul, even.
So, what can an aspiring writer, inundated with easy, painless solutions, do to protect his or her fragile authenticity and fledgling originality?
My suggestion is to write about what intrigues you, makes you curious, captures your attention, or looks beautiful, strange, quirky, or outlandish. Find something that draws you out of your boring agendas and predictable plans and launches you on a voyage of discovery, no matter how modest it may seem.
Libraries, especially for those of us fortunate enough to have access to a university library, are the ideal settings for such quests.
It’s only by following that inner prompting that you’ve any chance whatsoever of surviving the herd instinct!