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The Non-Literal Dimension of Ramayana (Essay Sample)

source: The Norton Anthology of World Literature, Shorter Second Edition, Volume 1 (ISBN 9780393933024), 2009. please find the attached document. Lit_Long_Paper_1_Assignment.docx Long Paper 1 In class, we have been practicing a certain type of attention to epics, dramas, and lyrics in order to interpret their deeper meaning – to bring out what they're “really” about. This involves considering the types of characters and the particular ways they are described, as well as thinking about the patterns of action, figures of speech, and lyrical expressions. For your first paper, you will compare two of the works you have read for this course. You will tease out the similarities and differences between two works and develop an argument based upon your analysis of these similarities and differences. This first paper will be an exercise in “close-reading” to bring out the deeper themes or concepts in works of world literature. Your goal is to argue for the deeper-than apparent meaning in the fictional works, supporting your interpretation through a close analysis of the action, symbolism, or language of particular passages and moments in the text. Most generally, your task is to identify notable features of the work's language which reveal its deeper significance – the non-literal dimension. A good starting point for thinking about the paper is the intuition that “I think this text is really about X”, or “the way that this novel represents X seems strange.” Your next job is to link that hypothesis or intuition to a second work which touches on roughly the same theme while adding something new to your understanding of that theme. Clearly, in such a short paper, you cannot analyze the whole of both works, so be selective: a good argument finds the most effective evidence for illustrating its points, and does not get sidetracked. Choose the scenes, characters, language, description and/or symbols that best exemplify your point, and use them to explain/justify that point. Papers should be approximately 5-6 pages (~1300 words), double-spaced, in Times New Roman font with 1” margins, and all quotations must be cited properly in MLA format. Papers should be proofread carefully and free of grammatical, syntactic and typographical errors. (If you have difficulty editing your own writing, please drop by the writing center). Papers must also have a title. In addition to the mechanical requirements, your paper will be judged by whether or not is has a thesis, supplies convincing evidence in support of that thesis, and according to your ability to use the principles of close reading to select and interpret significant moments and formal elements from a text. Please choose one of the topics below for your paper: 1. Love: classical writers have deeply ambivalent attitudes towards romantic love. On the one hand, they celebrate the joyous emotions and powerful connections characters feel towards one another. On the other, most are deeply skeptical of love, tracing the ways that love destroys far more than it builds. Compare the ways in which 2 different classical texts, by two different authors, treat romantic love (as opposed to familial or religious love) by focusing on 2 different couples from those 2 texts (*for the purpose of this paper, you may treat the Catullus, Sappho, and Egyptian love poems in their entirety rather than only focusing on one individual poem – i.e. you can talk about multiple poems in the same paper). 2. Fate: in the classical epics and dramas, the world seems predestined to unfold in a specific way: there is a fate or destiny awaiting everyone. There are those characters who respect and embrace this idea and there are those who do their best to either escape or defy fate. Moreover, not every writer treats fate the same way. In some texts, the fates of characters seem fixed and inevitable, and they simply play out their allotted roles with the knowledge that their actions were never truly free. In other texts, characters are presented with a destiny that is less certain – one that they have to labor to accomplish. These characters are told the future and actively shape what happens in it. The idea of fate is always linked to the problem of free will: if the story has already been written, what role can human choice and free will ever play? Does free will exist in a fated world, and if so, how? If it does not, how do the writers understand the human condition? Are we merely wind-up toys for fate? Compare the treatment of fate in two different texts by two different authors to explore these questions. 3. Gender: the classical literary world is a masculine world. Men dominate the character spaces of epics, their exploits (particularly war) dominate the plots of most classical works, and women often seem little more than background players. And yet, most great writers of the period also found time to create strong female characters. Some of the major female characters are notable because they embody cultural ideals for womanhood – as wives, mothers, queens, objects of beauty, sexual conquest. Some major characters function in the opposite way – they seem to either exaggerate gender traits or invert them completely. Compare 2 female characters from 2 different texts by 2 different authors to explore how gender roles functioned in the classical period. How are the characters conventional and in what way do they represent cultural ideals about women? How do the characters challenge patriarchal structures and stereotypes? What is the fate of these characters? Are they heroic, villainous, weak, or strong in the text? What does the portrayal of these women say about the culture in which they appear? 4. Heroism: the hero in classical times is a protagonist who by his actions, choices, adventures, attitudes, or ideas seems to embody a cultural ideal. Rama, the hero of the Ramayana, is very much a hero in this western sense. However, he is also very different from the heroes of the Greeks and Romans. Compare Rama to one other hero from the course by considering how they [the 2 different heroes] speaks and act, how they are perceived by others, what conflicts they enter into, what journeys they go on, what motivates them, their strengths and weaknesses, the relationships they have, how the authors present them, and what function you think they serve for their culture. No late papers will be accepted Any incidents of plagiarism will be grounds for automatic failure of the course source..
[Student Name]
[College Name]
[Course No/Title]
The Non-Literal Dimension of Ramayana:
Man and his Fate
More than just mere stories, epics, dramas, and lyrics provide a deeper look at the strengths and failures of humanity. Indeed, literature is perhaps among the most permanent documentation of our humanity. Therefore, it is understandable that authors and poets have riddled their works with subtexts and deeper meanings. These subtexts and deeper meanings belong to the non-literal dimension of written works. In fact, these deeper meanings are what make literary works more interesting and worth reading. Still, before an understanding of these deeper meanings can be achieved, an analysis of literary texts is needed before one can discern what these works are really about.
Thus, in relation, this paper will involve an analysis of the non-literal dimension of the Indian epic "Ramayana;, especially its different elements. This paper will consider the different characters of the story, as well as the specific way in which they are described, while at the same time considering the lyrical expressions, figures of speech, and the patterns of action used in the epic. In this process of analysis, this paper will more specifically look into the role played by fate in the story, especially in contrast to free will. This will be achieved by comparing the treatment of fate in two different texts by two different authors. Moreover, the character of Rama in Ramayana, who was fated to be a great leader, will be compared to the character of Oedipus, the king of Thebes portrayed by Sophocles in his plays.
In addition, this proposed paper will look into the issue of the existence of free will, in contrast to the presence of a set destiny for humans, especially heroes. More importantly, the proposed paper will explore the following questions: Does free will exist in a fated world, and if so, how? If it does not, how do the writers understand the human condition? Are we merely wind-up toys for fate? These questions will be answered in this paper by first presenting a brief analysis of the character of Rama. Afterwards, he will then be compared to Oedipus and finally, an analysis of three quotes regarding fate and human will or strength will be analyzed. Most importantly, this paper will attempt to prove that as much as man`s fate is already written, he still has the free will to decide and actions towards the fulfillment of his fate.
Rama is the hero of the epic Ramayana, who was the eldest son of the King of Ayodha, is believed to be a mortal incarnation of the god Vishnu. He was described in the whole of the epic as a man of virtue, with a calm disposition and whose life is a portrait of obedience to his father and the rules of dharma. Indeed, as a child, he was the perfect son, following his father`s instructions even to the point of accepting his order to be exiled. As a husband, he was also the picture of virtue and strength, bei...
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