Category Archives: Western Literature^1&2

Lit^2 Term Paper Outline

How important has the theme of optimism been in the development of Western Lit since 1493?

According to 4 types of optimism 1) Disposition/tendency to look on the bright side and expect the best outcome. 2) Belief that Good trumps Evil. 3) Belief the Good pervades reality. 4) A doctrine that this world is the best of all possible worlds

Nowadays we see mostly __ this type of optimism, but was it always that way?
Throughout history optimism and pessimism conflict. We could not have survived without optimism and risen to where we are now?
Literature is best record of optimism in history because preserved so we can read it ourselves.
Since 1493, optimism is evident in all literature and we can see it becoming a more prominent part of the written world as time goes on and comes closer to our day
Examining the lit in more detail, we see that optimism has not just extended its influence, it has morphed and changed from different types of optimism entirely over set periods of time to go along with events of the days.
Of course, the optimism was targeted at specific groups of people as well, which affects our view of the past.
And let’s not forget that while today we can write about anything we want to, back then books were only specific themes. Continue reading

West Lit^2 L135

write 150 words on this: “What is one of Kipling’s copybook headings that applies to recent public opinion?”

Previous to 1945, Copybooks were little books filled with moral messages for children to copy when learning how to write. Famous children’s author Rudyard Kipling wrote a poem satirizing public opinion by pointing out that if people just payed attention to their copybook headings, everyone would be much better off. A stanza from the latter half of his poem sounds as though it was written directly to comment on today’s public opinions, “In the Carboniferous Epoch we were promised abundance for all, By robbing selected Peter to pay for collective Paul; But, though we had plenty of money, there was nothing our money could buy, And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: “If you don’t work you die.”” Today the general public is delighted by the idea of Socialism in which the taxpayer is robbed to pay for the lazy who do not work and collect welfare. Take public health care for example; the money to care for those who “cannot” or will not pay for their own health care comes from the taxes of those who can pay. What the general public doesn’t realize is that in Socialism, people quickly begin refusing to work because someone else is there to pay for them. However, when no-one will work, nothing is produced and civilization grinds to a halt. Abundance can never be reached if everyone refuses to do their share by working and consequently paying for themselves.

Western Literature^2 lesson 65

“After Satan’s rebellion, Satan was motivated more by his envy of God than his jealousy of God: true or false?”

The epic poem Paradise Lost was written by John Milton in 1667, ensuring his name would be forever remembered in the history books of the Western World. The poem describing Milton’s theories on Satan and his cohorts’ fall from Heaven is still read today by anyone studying Western Literature. Satan rose against God full of jealousy, but after mounting a hopeless attack against the angelic kingdom, the bitterness of his defeat ignited the envy within him to hurt God by attacking his most prized creation—man.

Jealousy is defined as coveting something in the possession of someone else, but envy is simply defined as wanting to tear someone down because they have something that you want. Motivated by his unquenchable thirst for power, Satan amassed an army and rose up to seize God’s throne. Unsurprisingly, he failed spectacularly, for how can one stand against God? Although he motivated his army of demons (and randomly inserted gods from other cultures) to keep fighting, his council of brother demons, including Mammon, Belial, Moloch, and Beelzebub, offer increasingly brainless ways to win the fight. Ultimately, they settle on an approach introduced by the biggest browbeater of them all—Satan himself. It is at this point in the story where Satan’s envy of God obviously overpowers the jealousy. As the smartest of them all, Satan realized that the one creation that God loved above all others could be corrupted in his favor to wound God. The rest of the story is dedicated to Satan escaping from hell and bringing the downfall of man in way that would devastate God like nothing else. Continue reading

Lit^2 Blogging (L85)

“Why did [Robinson Crusoe] take the coins off the ship?”

When Robinson Crusoe was searching the ship for supplies to take back to the island with him, he came across a small amount of gold coins. He hesitated, knowing the coins would be of no use to him on the island, but took them with him anyways. In Cast Away, which I mentioned in my last Lit^2 Blog, Chuck Noland (the main character) saved a pocket watch with a picture of his fiance because it symbolized what he needed to live for. Even if in the logical part of his brain he believed that he would never be rescued, some part of him clung to the idea that he would make it back to his fiance–or in Robinson Crusoe’s case–civilization. Without that illogical hope, both would have given up and become insane with nothing left to live for. The simple action of taking the coins off of the ship was the one thing that saved Robinson Crusoe’s life in the end.


Lit^2 Blogging (L80)

“How important for the narrative are the descriptions of the storms?”

In Robinson Crusoe, the storm is much more important than it seems. It gives the reader a sense of foreboding and disaster and of fighting against the inevitable. In Cast Away, a modern interpretation of the book, the airplane flies into a storm. The watcher (it is a movie instead of a book) has the slightest spark of hope that they can avoid the storm and make it out because we know how deadly the storm is and if they cannot make it out, there is no hope. Unfortunately, they crash into the ocean nonetheless. The storm also has a practical aspect to the story. In Cast Away (and in Crusoe), because of the storm, the plane is taken far off course and no one knows where the wreckage is or even if anyone survived the crash. So we can see that the storm is an extremely important part of Robinson Crusoe and without it, the story would not have the same influence over readers that it does.



Lit^2 Blogging (L75)

“In what way did Mandeville lay the foundation for Darwinism?”

Darwinism is defined by google as “the theory of the evolution of species by natural selection” which pretty much translates to “an explanation of the world without the influence of God.” Darwin’s theory was based on the research of 18th century Scottish philosophers. But where did they get the idea of “spontaneous natural order?” From Mandeville of course! His work, the Grumbling Hive, influenced every single contemporary writer from his time. Even though considered a bogey man by Christian families, his writing still had influence on even them! Pretty impressive…

Western Literature^2 lesson 55

“Is it easier to read Shakespeare or the King James Bible?”

“Shakespeare, the Heavyweight Champion!”

I think that Shakespeare is easier to comprehend than the King James Bible. There are pros and cons to both; however, Shakespeare’s plays ultimately win the match. Let’s begin with the cons of both. Shakespeare and the King James Bible both employ the use of lyrical, yet ancient words and phrasing. To make the language even harder to understand, both also employ metaphors in every other sentence. To counteract the cons, Shakespeare’s plays are written to give contextual clues to the reader—or watcher, depending on the form—while the King James Bible is not. In the KJB, you have to puzzle out what is part of the made-up story, what is part of actual history, and what is the ethical message itself. Although Shakespeare has a way of playing with words, it is still easier to understand than the King James Bible.

Western Literature^2 lesson 50

“How important is the idea of covenant sanctions in the week’s readings?”

“Ruth Eats Dirty Fruit (Well, it was on the Ground!)”

Covenant sanctions are an ongoing theme throughout the entire Bible, but especially in the books of Ruth, Jeremiah, Lamentations, and Matthew. This week’s readings were all from these four books in the King James Bible. The reason that the King James Bible is so important is because it was originally copied from many different versions of the Bible, so it is known as the most complete version of the Bible; and it retains beautiful poetry-like language while still being easily understandable. By 1769, Benjamin Blayney published the modern King James Bible complete with proper spelling and punctuation. It is in this Bible that the stories of Ruth, Jeremiah, Lamentations, and the Sermon on the Mount, are retold like poetry to remind its readers of the importance of covenant sanctions. Continue reading

Western Literature^2 lesson 25

“Now that I have finished the section Montaigne, would I read any more of his essays? Why or why not?”

Michel de Montaigne, who lived from 1533 to 1592, was a significant philosopher in French Renaissance. The unique writing style that he created, called the essay, would go on to influence famous writers all over the world. However, when he poured out his thoughts onto the pages of his essays, there was no shortage of literary error, which makes me disinclined to read more of his work without provocation. Continue reading