Final Project

In an attempt to encapsulate the main points of each story presented, I selected provocative pieces of art that illustrate what I feel is essential to the story of each novel.

The Epic of Gilgamesh “Gilgamesh was his name from the day he was born, Two-thirds of him god and one third human”. The demigod king built up his powerful city of Uruk with his own two hands. When Gilgamesh became too powerful and arrogant, the gods created his equal in the wild-man known as Enkidu. Representing man in his primal state, Enkidu was designed to keep Gilgamesh’s arrogance in check. Instead of being Gilgamesh’s rival, as was his purpose, Enkidu became the king’s closest friend. The two newfound friends embark on a series of epic quests that will see one of them dead and the other accepting his inevitable death. Battling men, demons and the gods themselves, Enkidu and Gilgamesh become like brothers until the gods decide enough is enough. Having failed his mission and having angered the gods, Enkidu is smote from the earth in divine retribution. Seeing his friend perish causes Gilgamesh to become a shell of the fearless, powerful man he once was. His previous obsession with immortality reemerges. Experiencing death first-hand, the demigod fears the same fate for himself and begins one final adventure to the ends of the earth in a search for immortality. “An amazing tale of friendship and respecting the power of the gods. One can learn much from the story of Gilgamesh and his quest for answers.” Author, the Book of Genesis “The ascetic ideals presented in this book are most refreshing. If only you could get humans to behave like this more often, the world would be a better place.” Friedrich Nietzsche
The Clouds Money is the root of all evil and one is never too old to return to school. Strepsiades, our unlikely hero in this whimsical comedy by the Greek comedic master Aristophanes, learns this lessons himself. A deadbeat debtor whose horse-crazed son only knows how to spend money to fuel his habit, Strepsiades finds himself in quite a pickle with the vast debts he owes on his son’s account. Because of his slippery nature, he tries to find a way to not pay off his debts. Knowing of the great teacher, Plato, whose Inferior Argument can win you any debate, regardless of whether or not you are right, Strepsiades seeks out the teacher in an attempt to learn the Inferior Argument. Strepsiades quickly absorbs all of what his new teacher tells him without much hesitation. He goes on to use his newfound “knowledge” to try to educate his son about the Inferior Argument, but fails terribly and learns how one must instead make decisions for themselves instead of relying on others to think for them. “Such a wonderful change of pace from what we typically associate with the Greeks. A bit a humor now and again is wonderful, and the Greeks are excellent at providing a laugh that still translates into the modern day.” Hun Jo Chan, The Chicago Sun-Times “Social commentary on how the education system is viewed in Athens. Comedic value allows audiences to really get into the play because of the laughs it provides.” Will Gates, The New York Times
The Crito Socrates is one of the most famous philosophers of all time. His teachings have influenced generations of philosophers and thinkers, and for good reason. In Athens, Socrates was labeled a disturber of the peace and he was feared to be influencing the minds of Athenian youth, destroying the ways of their fathers. For his perceived “crimes”, Socrates appears before the court of Athens. He is subsequently sentenced to death. As Socrates waits in jail for his sentence to be carried out, his friend Crito appears and questions Socrates’ choice to accept death. As the two philosopher converse in the jail cell, Socrates has one final teaching for his old student, Crito. The philosopher reveals his motives for following the unjust ruling of the court. It is here that the “social contract theory” is outlined. Socrates staunchly believes that the laws must be upheld, even if they are unjust. By giving the law its own voice, Socrates attempts to show that one must separate the laws of the state from the minds of men. Injustice should not be answered with injustice. Despite the fact that the Athenian court has condemned Socrates to death, he decides that he will uphold their ruling and nobly face his death. “Even though it was written millennia ago, one will find applicable lessons about the justice system within the confines of this dialogue”. Robert Johnson, The New York Times “A memorable final exchange of knowledge between teacher and student, The Crito is a powerful lesson on injustice in the state”. Maria Gonzalez, The Chicago Sun-Times
Persepolis Young Iranian Marjane Satrapi is caught between two worlds. Born in a time of turmoil when the Iranian Revolution gripped her homeland, she was trapped between being a child and being a slave to the government. Almost at the flip of the switch, Marjane goes from being a normal child in a French school in Iran to a gender segregated school, silenced by her own government and forced to wear a full-face veil. Realizing Iran is no longer a good place for a child to grow, Marjane’s parents send her to Austria to complete her schooling. At this point, Marjane is introduced to a third world: the West. And so, the Middle Eastern girl became enveloped in Western culture. She embraced it slowly but fully. Marjane began participating in activities that would be considered extremely taboo in Iran: drugs and sex. She loved having her shackles removed and was finally able to act like herself in public, something that was impossible in her homeland. As Marjane grew into from a child in Iran to a teenager in Europe to a young adult back in Iran to an adult in France, she discovered who she was as a person. Marjane learned that freedom was the most important thing in her life, and no one, especially not a tyrannical government, should ever take that from her. “A truly inspiring tale of finding your identity in a culture that shuns you. Freedom and doing what you love are the most important things in your life, as Marjane discovered. One should never deviate from their dreams, even if they seem unattainable or if anyone tells you that you cannot achieve them.” Ursula Le Guin “What a wonderful book. The illustrations allow many people of all backgrounds to connect to the book, but the message it sends is serious and must be listened to. A wonderful blend of art and storytelling.” Carter McDonald,
The Book of Genesis In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. From the rib of man came woman. In the most well-known account of creation in human history, the Book of Genesis takes readers on an adventure that will expand their knowledge of human creation. From the first humans and ancestors of all modern men, Adam and Eve, to the Great Flood and the mighty Noah, to the story of Abraham and the enslavement of the Jews in Egypt, Genesis is a amazing book telling some of the greatest stories ever told. In Genesis, readers will experience the “Original Sin” which caused paradise to be taken from us and forsake us in God’s eyes. Sensing corruption in his creation, God sends the Great Flood to cleanse the world of sin, save one man, Noah and the famous “two of every animal”. In the post-flood world, corruption still exists, but God chooses a different path to cleansing it. The humble Abraham becomes God’s champion of purity and piety, and after proving his faith to God, is blessed with children. The children of Abraham then enter Egypt to be enslaved and await the arrival of their savior. “A remarkable story of creation and our first ancestors. A must-read for all those who call themselves spiritual or for those who are curious about religion.” Allison DeMarcos, The New York Times “Everyone should read the Good Book, cover to cover. It will allow the Holy Spirit to flow into you and make you a complete person.” Doug Schmidt, The Christian Science Monitor
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