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BE ADVISED: The three books mainly used thus far for the course are Oedipus Rex,
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BE ADVISED: The three books mainly used thus far for the course are Oedipus Rex, The Odyssey, and The Interesting Narrative of the life of Olaudah Equiano, BUT there is a chance that others may be mentioned below: First, Identify the author and the speaker of each passage, and the text from which it is taken. Then, write a paragraph about each passage explaining how it illustrates the meaning of the highlighted keyword. A. Who says this, and in what book? What does this passage tell you about the author’s belief in capitalism? I will not suppose that the dealers in slaves are born worse than other men–No; it is the fatality of this mistaken avarice [greed] , that it corrupts the milk of human kindness and turns it into gall. . . . Surely this traffic cannot be good, which spreads like a pestilence, and taints what it touches! which violates that first natural right of mankind, equality and independency, and gives one man a dominion over his fellows which God could never intend! For it raises the owner to a state as far above man as it depresses the slave below it; and, with all the presumption of human pride, sets a distinction between them, immeasurable in extent, and endless in duration! Yet how mistaken is the avarice even of the planters? Are slaves more useful by being thus humbled to the condition of brutes, than they would be if suffered to enjoy the privileges of men? The freedom which diffuses health and prosperity throughout Britain answers you–No. . .. . . By changing your conduct, and treating your slaves as men, every cause of fear would be banished. They would be faithful, honest, intelligent and vigorous; and peace, prosperity, and happiness, would attend you. B. Who says this, and in what book? What does this passage tell you about the meaning of tragedy? You have eyes to see with, but you do not see yourself, you do not see the horror shadowing every step of your life, the blind shame in which you live, you do not see where you live and who lives with you, lives always at your side. . . You do not even know the shame and grief you have brought your family, those still alive, those buried beneath the earth. But the curse of your mother, the curse of your father will whip you, whip you again and again, wherever you turn, it will whip you out of Thebes forever, your clear eyes flooded with darkness. That day will come. where the wind is the only thing that moves, what raw track of thorns and stones, what rock, gulley, or blind hill won’t echo your screams, your howls of anguish . . . when you find out this wilderness you thought was home, your home?” C. Who says this, and in what book? What does this passage tell you about meaning of epic heroism? “‘If you only knew, down deep, what pains are fated to fill your cup before you reach that shore [of your home], you’d stay right here, preside in our house with me and be immortal. Much as you long to see your wife, the one you pine for all your days … and yet I just might claim to be nothing less than she, neither in face nor figure. Hardly right, is it,for mortal woman to rival immortal goddess? How, in build? in beauty?’ ‘Ah great goddess,” worldly Odysseus answered, “don’t be angry with me, please. All that you say is true, how well I know. Look at my [wife]. She falls far short of you, your beauty, stature. She is mortal after all and you, you never age or die … Nevertheless I long—I pine, all my days—to travel home and see the dawn of my return. And if a god will wreck me yet again on the wine-dark sea, I can bear that too, with a spirit tempered to endure. Much have I suffered, labored long and hard by now in the waves and wars. Add this to the total—bring the trial on!’” Next, Choose three dialogues from the list below and write a short essay (2 paragraphs, 1 for each author) in which you compare their approaches to the topic. When comparing, make reference to an incident or passage from their respective books to illustrate your point. A. Odysseus vs. Equiano on the value of home and homeland B. Oedipus vs. Equiano on the permanence of identity C. Oedipus vs. Telemachus on the acceptance of fate D. Equiano vs. Oedipus on self-improvement and social mobility Finally, the Essay: In Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano, Equiano writes, “I longed to engage in new adventures and see fresh wonders. I had a mind on which every thing uncommon made its full impression, and every event which I considered as marvelous. Every extraordinary escape, or signal deliverance, either of myself or others, I looked upon to be effected by the interposition of Providence” (154). “Providence” is just the latest word we have encountered in our survey of classical Greek literature and 18th century slave narratives. As in Oedipus Rex and The Odyssey, the author gives a name to the overarching reason and invisible design they ascribe to all the chaos and misfortune that befalls them as a result of their displacement. The fact that this belief appears again in a text that describes a tragedy of the scale and legacy of African enslavement only means that the words and concepts to explain the impact of displacement to ourselves are deeply rooted—maybe even necessary. In this essay, you will have the chance to explore how Equiano’s belief in Providence—a reason for everything, and a design to his life—extended the meaning that Greek writers and reads gave to fate. Organize your essay by first recounting what you concluded from your Critical Paper about the meaning that Oedipus Rex and The Odyssey gave to their hero’s misfortune and displacement. Summarize your best points about each book. What did you think the book was trying to explain to its readers about misfortune and displacement? Then, continue your examination of this topic in Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano by answering these questions: • How does Equiano make sense of his displacement from his African homeland, and the misfortunes of African enslavement and the Middle Passage? • What beliefs and words does he rely upon? • Do you accept what he did to make his enslavement and displacement the work of Providence? You can summarize your points about Oedipus Rex and The Odyssey, but when answering these questions about the Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano, give your answers a structure—at least one paragraph for each question above—and an example from his life story. You can describe what he does or quote directly.
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