One choice that I made in my writing for this course was to write more politically than I have ever in the past. This choice was influenced in large part by my interest in historical political decision making. In my paper on Romulus and Remus, I discussed the relationship between religion and politics and the dangerous consequences of fanaticism and extremism. My goal was not to offer a panacea, but to explore the historical reasons behind radical beliefs/rhetoric, why they eventually questioned and collapse, and what kind of society could potentially replace them after the dust settles. One consequence of my writing is readers become aware of issues and perhaps begin to think about them more critically. A negative consequence is the usual social rejection or ostracizing by readers/peers who would prefer to never confront reality and continue to live in a dreamland. If I had been writing for an audience that wanted me to tell them what they wanted to hear then I would not have made this choice. Instead I would have sugarcoated, pandered and made reassurances all the while ignoring the issue or would have chosen a different topic entirely.
Our group project is about the culture of masks, specifcally reasons for why makes were adorned during death ceremonies and rituals and some legends and tales written about them. The audience we hope to reach with this project is an audience that is interested in learning more about the world around them. This audience would most likely be curious people who want to try to understand other culture’s practices and reasons for doing things the way they do. We are going to relate to our audience by Emilie drawing a scene of a tragic event. The event is going to involve the Grim Reaper with his infamous masked face, a sight familiar and recognizable to most people.
Most of us already have our own ideas about what lies beyond and what death entails. I am going to bring in the difference or potentially similarity of Mexican and African cultures by writing a few paragraphs briefly explaining where their masks come from and what they mean to each culture in terms of death. The overall goal of this project is to have people walk away with perhaps a greater appreciation for religions and customs other than their own. As for the museum, I am hoping this project will have a lasting impact on how we as people can view the world outside of our country.
In The Once And Future King T.H. White takes great care to explain that King Arthur had very humble beginnings and that he did not simply pick up where his father left off. In fact in the story Arthur is not born of royal blood in the conventional sense, he inherits the throne because of the virtues and wisdom taught to him by Merlyn. It is because of these virtues that he is able to pull excalibur from the stone and inherit the throne. In a way King Arthur is comparable to and likely, at least in part, inspired many modern day noble heroes portrayed in movies. One such example is Thor who rules Asgard because he is able to lift Mjolnir, the legendary hammer of norse mythology meaning that he is worthy of ruling his people. The reason for this is because the hammer represents the great weight of responsibility and wisodm required of a true leader quite similar to King Arthur. One quote from T.H. White in the book is as follows:
“Might does not make right! Right makes right!”
This quote demonstrates T.H. Whites overall philosophy of peace rather than war. T.H. White recognizes that at times conflict is unavoidable and that sometimes war is necessary, but that in order to be a wise leader one must be able to draw the distinction between necessary deescalation and pointless bloodshed which is often difficult to discern.
In the story King Arthur represents the ideal leader, constantly striving to maintain peace but accepting the unfortunate harsh reality of human nature in the forms of lust, jealousy, envy, anger, etc. Of course like many people he hopes for one day living in a world where laws are not necessary because everyone lives in harmony. In other words he envisions utopia. This claim is backed by the quote I listed earlier. Ultimately however, no matter how many people may agree on what is right somebody or something has to enforce those ideals which by definition is largely left to arbitrary and subjective methods. This returns to my point on human nature, while people may agree on a superficial level what is right there are countless nuances, exceptions, and complexities that no one person can perdict. Whose to say that his rule would be the best and that he should rule? This is what eventually led to the decline of Arthur’s kingdom despite his noble intentions.
This story like many others of kingdoms, knights, morality, government, and political persuasion seeks to explore human nature as seen from an authors point of view. Whether or not the author comes across as “correct” is up for debate by the reader or audience. After all it is quite challenging to truly blanket legislate morality or fully control how every single person will behave without resorting to the very strategies and tactics one claims to oppose.
For my three collective stories I have chosen to draw from King Arthur, A Spanish retelling of Little Red Riding Hood translated to English, and a popular modern fiction book, The Infernal Devices. The first story I chose was the retelling of Little Red Riding Hood.
In this retelling of the classic tale Little Red Riding Hood, instead of depicting the wolf as a deceitful, manipulating, and menacing entity the two authors a daughter and a father portray the wolf as a concerned mother looking for her wolf cubs who have wandered off. Little Red Riding Hood comes into the picture when she finds the baby wolves as she is going to her grandmothers house and just so happens to have a bottle of milk the lost and confused wolves need. For the rest of the tale Red Ridding Hood tries to find the wolves’ mother and return them to her safe and sound. I am using this retelling because in my retelling of Romulus and Remus, the she-wolf Lupa is going to play a much bigger role than she does in the original legend. This retelling of Little Red Riding Hood relates to my retelling because while wolves do need to occasionally be aggressive and teach their young how to hunt for themeselves there is a compassionate, maternal instinct that is always present.
Sanz, Blanca and Sanz, Carlos. “Caperucita Roja y El Lobo…. Feroz?” Madrid. 2003. Web. 11 Feb. 2016 http://www.wolfcountry.net/information/myth_stories/LRRH_SP.html
The next story I chose is The Infernal Devices. The Infernal Devices is the prequel to the wildly popular young adult fiction series The Mortal Instruments written by Cassandra Clare. In this story there are two worlds that exist one being the Mundane (Human) world and the other The Shadow World. Humans are completely unaware of the Shadow World and the Shadowhunters would very much like to keep it that way. Shadowhunters are a race of half human half angelic warriors tasked with protecting humanity and peaceful denizens of the Shadow World from demonic invasion. The first Shadowhunter, Jonathan recognized the need for someone to protect humanity from demonic influence. With this in mind he summoned and pleaded with the Archangel Raziel to bestow upon him and future generations of his children the power to dispel humans. Raziel, recognizing his noble and sincere ambition, agreed and mixed his angelic blood with Jonathan’s in a Mortal Cup. From that point on all descendants of Jonathan became anointed with angelic abilities. While Shadowhunters have angelic blood, they themselves are still mortal and thus susceptible to any form of death. As I mentioned before Shadowhunters not only protect humanity but also other denizens of the Shadow World. These other entities are known as Downworlders. Downworlders are the result of near demonic possession of humans but not quite. They are the classic well-known Werewolves, Vampires, Fairies, etc. Among these Downworlders there is a group of werwolves dedicated to protecting and fighting for the interests of other Downworlders and maintaining the peace against rouge or turned Downworlders along with the Shadowhunters: The Praetor Lupus. I chose to analyze this group because it is a group of werewolves that are not bloodthirsty and ruthless, but that seek peace and understand the need for aggression as a last resort. In my retelling of Romulus and Remus, both Romulus and Remus are going to survive, and both are going to be noble, wise leaders that do not constantly resort to violence as a means to end conflict. The praetor lupus connects with my retelling because Praetor is the root of Praetorian, who were the guards to Roman emperors for centuries.
Clare, Cassandra. The Infernal Devices Trilogy. New York City: Simon & Schuster, 2013. Print
For my last collective story, I have chosen King Arthur retold as The Once and Future King by T.H. White. The story of King Arthur is a classic rags to riches story of a boy who is at first unfamiliar of his lineage but grows to become one of the best kings in the realm of Camelot. Since most people already know the story I don’t believe I have to go into too much detail. I chose to incorporate elements of this story into my own retelling because after all Romulus and Remus are two children who at first are unaware of their lineage but go on to found the glorious city of Rome. However in my version they will be compassionate, wise, and down to earth rulers rather than ruling through intimidation and dominance.
T.H., White. The Once And Future King. England: G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1958. Print
For my semester project I am going to write about the tale of Romulus and Remus focusing a lot on the connection with what I observed at the museum: wolves.
When I was in 6th grade in Wisconsin, I had a social studies teacher who was quite enthusiastic about Greek/Roman mythology. I recall an entire unit dedicated to learning various Greek/Roman myths with Romulus and Remus being featured. Ever since then I have been fascinated with how mythology works and its significance to the Roman/Greek culture. I believe this will be a fascinating topic to a general audience because while most people know the general legend behind Romulus and Remus, my retelling will attempt to delve deeper and perhaps offer a new perspective people maybe hadn’t considered. Specifically I am going to look at the possibility that Romulus and Remus had the ability to transform between human and wolf at will.
One of the overall goals for my project is to debunk the theory that wolves are ruthless killing machines. My hope is that the classic American Hollywood engineered image of wolves or werewolves as crazy, bloodthirsty, uncontrollable beasts will instead be replaced by images of fierce yet intelligent and restrained aggression/assertiveness. For my retelling I will be pulling from Native American legends of wolves, European legends of werewolves, and from Roman mythology in order to explain the shapeshifting trait. I believe my project will enhance the museum by introducing a new twist on tale of Romulus and Remus. Admittedly while this project does not strictly relate to Alaska, it is still historical and cultural exposure nonetheless which in its own way makes it significant.