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November 07, 2008

Romanticizing Arabia in *The Thousand and One Nights*


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7 November 2008

ENG 225 Students,

Find part two of your homework assignment (quiz) . . .

. . . here. As instructed in today's class meeting, first read the "Tale of the Three Apples" from The Thousand and One Nights at either of the links below. Then, in the comment box below, enter a one-paragraph response relating how elements in this tale might have "echoes" in William Shakespeare's Othello, The Moor of Venice. I'm not suggesting the stories are exactly the same. I'm letting you know that many scholars feel that the story on which Shakespeare based his story may have been based on "The Tale of the Three Apples." Read it and let me know why that might be. Also due on www.turnitin.com by the next class meeting.

From The Thousand and One Night: “The Tale of the Three Apples” (translation by Sir Richard Burton, 1850):
http://www.earth-history.com/Arabia/1001-10-apples.htm

A more contemporary translation of “The Tale of the Three Apples” can be found here:
http://www.online-literature.com/anonymous/arabian-nights-vol-1/19/

Have a good weekend,

Dr. Hobbs

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Image Source: http://blog.lib.umn.edu/raim0007/gwss1001/arabian_nights.jpg

*FROM*1 October 2008

ENG 225 Students:

Below you will find the questions from today's class on the work sometimes referred to as either Book of the Thousand Nights and a Night and/or The Arabian Nights. Remember, all questions used in class (as well as anything discussed in class, e.g. lectures, etc.) are fair game for the mid-term and final exams.

Type up your group's number's instructions and answer in about a paragraph a concise and cogent response to the questions. You do NOT have to enter this one on turnitin.com

A student asked me today about the journals I asked you to keep at the beginning of the course. Yes, you SHOULD be keeping a journal--a record of everything you are doing for the class. Each entry should be dated. If you do group work in class, you should record what you discuss in class in a dated entry (this will make it easier for you to remember what to type when you get home after each class meeting). If I give you a homework assignment, such as writing a summary of a scholarly article, you should have your "rough" pre-writing work recorded in the journal by date. The same goes for any homework assignment details I give you or if you sign a sign-up sheet of text choices....they should all be recorded in your journals. Obviously, if I give an in-class lecture, you should take detailed notes and record them, with the date, in your journal. By the end of the course, when I MAY or MAY NOT collect them, I will expect to see a fairly detailed record of your "journey" in the course from start to finish. You are, of course, free to add other things to the journal as well, such as ideas you may have in regards to your readings or paper ideas. All of this will look very GOOD in your favor if, for example, your final grade is one bordering between one letter or another. Perhaps I will want to compare how hard you have worked in the course to what your scores add up to. Whenever you come to conference with me in my office about a paper grade or other class issue, I will often ask you to present your journal to me. So, definitely bring it to every class meeting and definitely bring to any meeting you arrange with me in my office during my posted hours.

1)     How is “Justice” represented in these tales?  Think specifically about who deals the justice and how it is served.  What happens to the “guilty” characters? What happens to the “innocent” characters?  Is there a death penalty, etc.?

2)     How is “Forgiveness” represented in these tales?  Think specifically about who has the power to forgive and why it is or is not beneficial to the characters within the context of these tales.  Who is forgiven and who is not?  Why does it matter?.

3)     How are “Women” represented in these tales?  Identify and then think specifically about each of the female characters.  How are they treated by the male characters? What “voice” or power (or, lack thereof) do they have? Discuss any other observations you can conclude about the role of women in these stories?

4)     How is “Power” represented in these tales?  Identify and then think specifically about each of the power-wielding characters whoever they might be.  How are they treated by the male characters? What “voice” or power (or, lack thereof) do they have? What is the “pecking order” or hierarchy of this power, i.e. who outranks who? What is the “limit” of power in each of these groups?

5)     How is the “Economy” represented in these tales?  Identify and then think specifically about each indication of a financial transaction or trade, however it may have occurred.  How are material “things” acquired in the universe of these tales? Also, what kind of things are bought/sold in the story?  Are there any limits to what can or can’t be purchased? Which characters actually produce things and which characters do not?  Are there  notable differences in their wealth/power?

6)     How is the concept of “Honesty” (or, Morality) represented in these tales?  Identify and then think specifically about each indication of fairness/unfairness, sincerity/insincerity, etc. in the stories, however they may have occurred.  What are some of the key the “ethics” in the universe that these tales belong to?  Are the “standards” the same for everyone?  Do some of the characters have “permission” from the writer/reader(you) to be unethical? How is unprincipled behavior rewarded or punished?

7)     What role does “Ethnicity” play in these stories?  We know that there are diverse ethnic groups and even species represented: Arabs, Persians, Indians, Africans, Jinni (Demons), Donkeys, Oxen, etc.  How are each of the author’s various “groups” reflected in these tales?  Are any of them portrayed as “equal” in status to one another?  Does each grouping have different sets of rights, different “stations” in life (jobs), different opportunities to control their own fates, etc.?  In your considerations, ignore (for now) gender and class differences—focus only on issues related to national/cultural group differences (which may be “symbolic” in the case of animals). 

8)     Who is the actual protagonist and what role does “Journey” play for the hero/heroine?  Be sure to remember all of the short “cut scenes” in the middle of the tales that refer back to the overarching, frame tale.  What tests must that protagonist endure along his or her road of trials (the Monomyth model)? Identify any and all of the phases, worlds, and stages of the “hero’s journey” in the chief protagonist’s story?

9)     What role does “Nature” play in these tales?  Think about what constitutes the natural world and artificial (man-made) world in our own universe an time.  How is nature represented differently in the universe of The Thousand and One Nights? What metaphysical laws are available to our text’s natural world?  What might this mean/what purpose might it serve? Why might it be important?

10)What role does “Fate” play in these tales?  Think about the differences in philosophies that espouse “humanity is ‘free’ and therefore makes its own choices about what can happen” and philosophies that espouse “humanity’s ability to make real choices are only illusions—everything has been decided/predetermined in advance.  Nevermind, for now, what your own personal philosophy happens to be and just decide which direction the writer of these tales seems to lean.  Why might this be of significance to both the writer and the reader (the audience)?

11)What roles do “Duality” or “two-sidedness” play in these tales?  Think about all of the different binaries/direct opposites you have been “taught,” e.g. in/out, lightness/darkness, right/left, up/down, good/evil, male/female, spiritual/material, just/ unjust, ally/enemy, correct/incorrect, etc.  Now consider any clear examples of dualism in the tales.  Is the unbending “you’re either this or you’re that” philosophy consistent?  Are there any examples of “grey areas” that exist between the black and the white?  Why might this be of significance to both the writer and the reader (the audience)?


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Caption: "The Ox and the Donkey"
Image Source: http://www.fao.org/DOCREP/W2650T/W2650t39.JPG

29 September 2008

ENG 225 Students:

Below you will find the questions from today's class on the work sometimes referred to as either Book of the Thousand Nights and a Night and/or The Arabian Nights. Remember, all questions used in class (as well as anything discussed in class, e.g. lectures, etc.) are fair game for the mid-term and final exams.

Tonight's assignment is a two-parter. First, type up your answer to your group's question and post it in the comment box below. Remember, since this is work done in-class, I will expect to find it logged in your journals too if I ever collect them. Second, find your next scholarly article for the upcoming paper. Choose an approach from the assignment list and begin to form your proposals. I will announce a deadline for the proposals in an upcoming class meeting.

Group 1:             Summarize the plot of “The Story of King Shahrayar and Shahrazad, His Vizier’s Daughter” in The Thousand and One Nights.  Mention ALL of the characters names and their roles in the story.  Identify the protagonist(s) and the antagonists(s), if any.

Group 2:             Think about the plot of “The Story of King Shahrayar and Shahrazad, His Vizier’s Daughter” in The Thousand and One Nights. Then, identify the major conflict in the story and be prepared to share it with the class.  You should also mention the minor conflicts (sub-plots), if any.

Group 3:             Think about the plot of “The Story of King Shahrayar and Shahrazad, His Vizier’s Daughter” in The Thousand and One Nights. Then, choose one: identify either (1) only the major phases, worlds, and stages of the monomyth/hero’s journey in this tale or (2) an example of “enlightenment/stepping-out-of-the-cave” in this tale. What lesson is to be learned?

Group 4:             Summarize the plot of “The Tale of the Ox and the Donkey” in The Thousand and One Nights.    Mention ALL of the characters names and their roles in the story.  Identify the protagonist(s) and the antagonists(s), if any.

Group 5:             Think about the plot of “The Tale of the Ox and the Donkey” in The Thousand and One Nights. Then, identify the major conflict in the story and be prepared to share it with the class.  You should also mention the minor conflicts (sub-plots), if any.

Group 6:             Think about the plot of “The Tale of the Ox and the Donkey” in The Thousand and One Nights. Then, choose one: identify either (1) only the major phases, worlds, and stages of the monomyth/hero’s journey in this tale or (2) an example of “enlightenment/stepping-out-of-the-cave” in this tale. What lesson is to be learned?

Group 7:             Summarize the plot of “The Story of the Merchant and the Demon” in The Thousand and One Nights.    Mention ALL of the characters names and their roles in the story.  Identify the protagonist(s) and the antagonists(s), if any.

Group 8:             Think about the plot of “The Story of the Merchant and the Demon” in The Thousand and One Nights. Then, identify the major conflict in the story and be prepared to share it with the class.  You should also mention the minor conflicts (sub-plots), if any.

Group 9:             Think about the plot of “The Story of the Merchant and the Demon” in The Thousand and One Nights. Then, choose one: identify either (1) only the major phases, worlds, and stages of the monomyth/hero’s journey in this tale or (2) an example of “enlightenment/stepping-out-of-the-cave” in this tale. What lesson is to be learned?

Group 10:         Summarize the plot of “The Tale of the Merchant and his Wife” in The Thousand and One Nights.    Mention ALL of the characters names and their roles in the story.  Identify the protagonist(s) and the antagonists(s), if any.

Group 11:         Think about the plot of “The Tale of the Merchant and his Wife” in The Thousand and One Nights. Then, identify the major conflict in the story and be prepared to share it with the class.  You should also mention the minor conflicts (sub-plots), if any.

Group 12:         Think about the plot of “The Tale of the Merchant and his Wife” in The Thousand and One Nights. Then, choose one: identify either (1) only the major phases, worlds, and stages of the monomyth/hero’s journey in this tale or (2) an example of “enlightenment/stepping-out-of-the-cave” in this tale. What lesson is to be learned?


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26 September 2008

Students,

Please find below the questions from the in-class reading check.

1. SHORT ANSWER: In Lawall and Mack’s introduction to The Thousand and One Nights, it is explained that this important work is often “excluded” by scholars of “classical Arabic literature” (1566-67) The editors give at least four reasons for its rejection. Name one.

2. SHORT ANSWER: In The Thousand and One Nights, the reader is introduced to Shahrayar, “a monarch driven mad by the infidelity of his wife” (Lawall 1567). Shahrayar devises a plan that will “ensure that another such humiliation will not occur” (1567). Explain the plan.

3. SHORT ANSWER: In The Thousand and One Nights, what does Sharazad, the new wife of Shahrayar, do to save herself from certain destruction?

4. CIRCLE CORRECT ANSWER: In BOTH Lawall and Mack’s introduction to The Thousand and One Nights AND in a previous lecture, the idea of a “frame tale” was given (I used the example of Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol). Which of the following is the “frame tale” of The Thousand and One Nights?

(a) Prologue: The Story of King Shahrayar and Shahrazad (b) The Story of the Merchant and the Demon (c) The Tale of the Ox and the Donkey (d) none of the above (e) all of the above

Dr. Hobbs

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Below, a nice little slideshow paying tribute to the beauty of Persia and its rich history. Set to the tune of the song "Persia" by Persian-American artists Shahin & Sepehr from "One Thousand & One Nights." Found on YouTube HERE:

Posted by lhobbs at November 7, 2008 11:58 AM

Readers' Comments:

Group 4: Summarize the plot of “The Tale of the Ox and the Donkey” in The Thousand and One Nights. Mention ALL of the characters names and their roles in the story. Identify the protagonist(s) and the antagonists(s), if any.
In “The tale of the Ox and the Donkey” the characters are the plowman, the merchant, the merchant’s family, the ox and the donkey. The merchant is blessed with an ability to be able to understand animal speech, but if he ever tells anyone his secret he will die. The merchant overhears the ox and the donkey talking one day. The ox is complaining to the donkey how he has to work the field all day getting whipped and hurt while the donkey is ridden every once in awhile, but mainly gets to relax. The donkey gives the ox some advice telling him that he should act sickly and he won’t have to work. The plowman comes the next morning and sees the ox acting sickly and consults the merchant. The merchant, having heard everything between the ox and the donkey, tells the plowman to work the donkey that day. The donkey comes back after being whipped and beaten and tells the ox not to act sickly again.
The antagonist is definitely the donkey because he creates the situation to himself that involves him to be working in the field. The protagonist could either be the donkey, the ox or the merchant. The merchant has to make the donkey pay on behalf of his actions. The ox was the one who complained from the beginning. Lastly, the donkey was trying to be helpful by giving advice but it ended up backfiring.

Posted by: Quinten J at September 29, 2008 03:33 PM

Question 6
An example of "enlightment/stepping-out-of-the-cave" in this tale. What lesson is to be learned?

The donkey in the story gets the best of everything, in a way he is almost spoiled. The ox is hardworking and continuously tired at the end of everyday. The ox is tired of the way he is living and asks the donkey how to live a better life. The donkey gives the ox the advice of not eating his food, lying down and pretending that he is sick. The farmer has the ability to understand animals and over hears the conversation. The next day the farmer takes the donkey instead to work for the day. After one day the donkey is now trying to figure out how to get things back to the old way. The donkey tells the ox that he will be butchered if he does not go back to work. The ox was enlightened because even though he was an animal he realized that he had the ability to think and trick the farmer. The farmer was enlightened because he had no idea that animals could create such a plan and go behind his back like they did. In a way he punishes the donkey for giving such advice. The donkey was also enlightened because he realized that he was not fooling anyone and that the only person he is hurting is himself. The lesson to be learned from this story is to try to trick some one behind his or her back, it is only going to hurt that person in the end.

Posted by: Alex Slavin at September 29, 2008 07:26 PM

2. Identify the major conflict in the story and be prepared to share it with the class. You should also mention the minor conflicts (sub-plots), if any.

The major conflict in the story The Thousand and One Nights is when the vizier’s daughter Shahrarzad is trying keep King Shahrayar from killing her by telling him stories that will keep him guessing. She tells him a different story every night in hope that he will want to hear another one. By doing this Shararzad is saving all the other women in society because when King Sharhrayer usually spends the night with a women she is murdered the next day. The longer Shahrarzad keeps telling these stories the longer she will remain alive. However, if she does not tell the stories and does not keep his intrest she will be dead.

I think a minor conflict is seen in the story of the Mechant and the Demon. The demon has granted death onto the merchant and said that he only has one year to go home and see his family. However, the merchant returnsand tries to convince the demon again that he should be able to live for a third of his life. This is a conflict because the merchant keeps going back to the demon to be killed and somehow he keeps convinceing the demon to live another day longer. It is very intresting to see in both these stories that when somene says they are going tod o something they really don’t. People can be presauded by a lot of things and their minds can simply change like that. In both these cases people were to be put to death and somehow they find ways to prolong their lives.

Posted by: Nichole T. at September 29, 2008 07:48 PM

D.J. Garry
Dr. Hobbs
English 225 CA 01
29 September 2008
The Thousand and One Nights
Group 8: Think about the plot of “The Story of the Merchant and the Demon” in The Thousand and One Nights. Then, identify the major conflict in the story and be prepared to share it with the class. You should also mention the minor conflicts (sub-plots), if any.
The major conflict in the story is between the man and the demon. The man owes his life to the demon. The conflict is whether or not the man is going to be killed by the demon, and whether or not he should be killed by the demon. The man and the demon wrestle with this issue throughout the story. Some subplots are that the man with the deer and the man with the dogs are trying to save the merchant.

Posted by: David G. at September 29, 2008 10:04 PM

Kamille G

In the “Story of the Merchant and the Demon,” the protagonist is the Merchant, who sets off on a journey to visit an orchard. The antagonist in the story is the demon who wants to kill the merchant. The story begins with a merchant who visits an orchard where he sits down to eat some dates. The merchant throws one of the pits from the dates to the ground, and in the process he kills the demon’s son. The demon grows furious when he learns of his son’s death and he tells the merchant “I must kill you as you have killed him” (pg.1580). The demon prepares to kill the merchant, but as he “raised his sword” the merchant asks the demon to spare his life for a year so that he can say goodbye to his family (pg.1581). The demon agrees, and releases the merchant. The merchant returns on New Year’s Day the following year, and waits in the orchard for the demon to kill him. While the merchant awaits the arrival of the demon he is approached by other minor characters in the story, namely a man with a deer and a man with two dogs.
Kamille Garness
English 225 Sec. 1
29/09/08

Posted by: Kamille G at September 29, 2008 11:26 PM

Myles Godet
Dr. Lee Hobbs
English 225 CA-01
September 30, 2008

Group 5. Identify the major conflict in “The Tale of the Ox and the Donkey”.

I feel as though the major conflict in “The Tale of the Ox and the Donkey” has to do with the farmer and his wife. This is because the farmer overhears the donkey giving the ox advice so that he would not have to work as hard in the field. The ox takes this advice and in his place the donkey is make to work in the field, but the farmer’s wife asked the farmer what he overheard. He refused to tell her and I feel as though this caused a tension between them which lead him to beat her eventually.

Posted by: Myles Godet at September 30, 2008 07:53 PM

Dr. Hobbs
CA01
ENG 225

8)The major conflict is that the demon wanted to kill the merchant, because the merchant killed the demon's son. Therefore, the merchant had one year to say goodbye to his family and friends, before the demon came back to kill him.

Posted by: Paola S at September 30, 2008 08:54 PM

#1. The story of King Shahrayar and Shahrazad is the framework story. The king decided to marry a woman, sleep with her for one night, then have her murdered the next day. The King's Vizier was in charge of finding the girls. One day, his daughter, Shahrazad, asked to marry him so that she could end the long line of girls being murdered. She was an extremely smart girl who read a lot. Her plan was to tell him a story every night that ended with a cliffhanger so that he would not kill her.

Posted by: Matt M. at October 1, 2008 12:26 AM

Walter Perkins
English 225
CA01
Dr. Hobbs
10-1-08

#3. Think about the plot of “The Story of King Shahrayar and Shahrazad, His Vizier’s Daughter” in The Thousand and One Nights. Then, choose one: identify either (1) only the major phases, worlds, and stages of the monomyth/hero’s journey in this tale or (2) an example of “enlightenment/stepping-out-of-the-cave” in this tale. What lesson is to be learned?

The stepping out of the cage part could be when Shahzaman shows Shahrayar him when his wife cheats on him, which proves that humans cannot be trusted. It was a stepping out of the cave experience because he notices his wife cheating. The enlighten part is when he notices that even if he does try to lock her down like the demon, she still cannot be controlled. So the theme of this part of story is trust of humans, which is proof that no human can truly be trusted.

Posted by: Walter P at October 1, 2008 08:53 AM

1. Summarize the plot of “The Story of King Shahrayar and Shahrazad, His Vizier’s Daughter” in The Thousand and One Nights. Mention ALL of the characters names and their roles in the story. Identify the protagonist(s) and the antagonists(s), if any. In the story the protagonists is Shaharazed and the antagonists is the king the other character in the story is Shaharazeds father he was important to the king because he was in charge of going out and finding the king a different women that he could sleep with and that would be killed after.

Posted by: John Daniel at October 1, 2008 10:40 AM

Think about the plot of “The Tale of the Ox and the Donkey” in The Thousand and One Nights. Then, choose one: identify either (1) only the major phases, worlds, and stages of the monomyth/hero’s journey in this tale or (2) an example of “enlightenment/stepping-out-of-the-cave” in this tale. What lesson is to be learned?
Enlightenment for the donkey accurse when he gets strapped up to the plow. He realizes that his actions, while did not benefit himself only where to help the ox. However the consequences of his actions where that he would have to finish the ox’s work. Making him realize that one should think about all the possible consequences before taking an action.

Posted by: John Anderson at October 1, 2008 10:44 AM

Anna R
Engl 225
CA01
Dr Hobbs
10-1-08

Group 4

The merchant, who owns a donkey and an ox, has a special gift with which he can talk to and hear animals. However, he can't tell anyone about this gift. One day, the ox tells the donkey that he is getting tired of doing the work on the field while getting beat by his owner. The donkey tells him to play sick and not eat the food for the next day so he won't have to do the work and get beat. When the plowman finds the food still there, he goes to tell the merchant that the ox was sick. However, the merchant overheard the two animals' conversation and told the plowman to work the donkey instead. In this story, the ox is the protagonist and the merchant is the antagonist.

Posted by: Anna R at October 1, 2008 10:45 AM

Strahil S

Dr. B. Lee Hobbs

ENG 225

10/01/2008

Group 5: Identify major conflicts in The Tale of the Ox and the Donkey”

Even though we may take a few different approaches as to who the protagonist of the story is, my number one candidate is the donkey. Most questions are for the donkey to answer, and essentially, so is the lesson to be learned. The conflict arises after the donkey helps the ox and suffers the consequences as his situation gets worse. In the sense of Campbell’s monomyth we may even trace the donkey’s journey as he leaves his ordinary world, suffers in the special world and gets transformed so he can finally figure out a way to return.

Posted by: strahil s at October 1, 2008 12:21 PM

Myron Kirchner
ENG 225
M-W-F

The characters in the story are the merchant and the demon. The protagonist would be the merchant and the demon the antagonist. The demon wants to kill the merchant because one of the date pits that the merchant tossed struck the demons son and killed him.

Posted by: Myron Kirchner at October 1, 2008 12:22 PM

Alex Slavin

October 1-2008

English 225

Dr. Hobbs

9. When thinking about all the tales in The Thousand and One Nights, I think of the story of the Ox and the Donkey. Nature in the story plays a part because it is the reason why such a story as this was written. A farmer uses animals to work the fields so that he is able to live and survive. The farmer depends on the animals. If the farmer did not have a field, he would have no animals. Nature is represented differently by giving animals the same abilities as humans. Human beings are thought to be the strongest and most powerful living creature on earth; we are on top of the food chain. By giving animals the same characteristics, in a way we are putting them on our same level. The metaphysical laws that are available are the animals ability to speak and express emotions. What is also metaphysical in the story is the farmer having the ability to understand these animals. “All of this conversation took place, daughter, while the merchant listened and understood” (pg. 1576). This is important because even though god gave animals the ability to speak and express emotions, he gave this farmer the ability to understand and that makes humans still on top.

Posted by: Alex Slavin at October 1, 2008 03:14 PM

1.) How is Justice represented in the tales we talked about? Who deals it and how is it served? What happens to the guilty characters and to the innocent ones? Who are the guilty and innocent ones?

There was justice in the frame story when the two kings caught their wives cheating on them with slaves. They both kill their wives for their crimes serving justice. After that is a whole other story. The innocent characters are the kings, at first, because they are ruling their kingdoms as normal but their wives are guilty for the humiliating their husbands by sleeping around.
On page 1595 in the story of the fisherman and the demon, a fisherman serves justice when he traps the demon in his prison. The demon plans to kill the fisherman even though he did a good deed by releasing the demon, which would be unjust; but the fisherman tricks the demon by trapping him in his cell so the demon got what was coming to him. The fisherman is the innocent one because he does something good for a demon, even if he didn’t realize it, and the demon wanted him to suffer for it so he was the guilty one.

Posted by: Quinten J at October 2, 2008 11:22 AM

Strahil S

Dr. B. Lee Hobbs

ENG 225

10/02/2008

Group #6: How is the concept of “Honesty” (or, Morality) represented in these tales? Identify and then think specifically about each indication of fairness/unfairness, sincerity/insincerity, etc. in the stories, however they may have occurred. What are some of the key the “ethics” in the universe that these tales belong to? Are the “standards” the same for everyone? Do some of the characters have “permission” from the writer/reader(you) to be unethical? How is unprincipled behavior rewarded or punished?


Honesty and morality may get one who lives in the world of The Thousand and One Night in trouble. In fact, this world is deprived of ethics as we refer to the term today. Therefore, fairness is delivered by those who are in power. This is outlined in almost any story and most showing is the king himself who can basically introduce and implement in action any decision he believes to be just. Of course, the decisions of fairness by those in power portrayed in the stories are usually unjust. This is probably why these decisions get challenged and subject to change. For instance, in The Story of the Fisherman and the Demon, the hauler says, “Forgive me and God will grant you forgiveness. Destroy me, and God will inflict on you one who will destroy you.” These words not only challenge the decision of the demon but also imply the idea about prevailing balance when evil and good collide.

Posted by: strahil s at October 2, 2008 07:05 PM

We can see that forgiveness is expressed in the story of “The Second Old Man’s Tale”. This forgiveness is expressed by the third of the three brothers or the brother that refused to go on a journey of his own.
In “The Second Old Man’s Tale” the father of three brothers dies leaving behind a substantial inheritance for them to split equally. The three brothers do so and start up individual businesses of there own which prove to be successful. After which one of the three brothers goes off on his own journey, leaving the other brothers behind, only to return home broke. The two brothers that remained out of love for their brother each put together an equal some which they gave to their brother in order to help him get back on his. This process is repeated once more by the second brother who does the same and in turn the two brothers that stayed behind did the same for the second brother as was done for the first. After which the first two brothers asked the last brother when he was going to go on a journey of his own and he told them that he would not because he saw what happened to both of them. It wasn’t until after the third brother had saved what he considered to be enough money for him to get back on his feet if he were to have fallen down on his luck like his other two had after going on their journey did he agree to go on a journey not on his own but with both of them. On this journey he found a girl whom he fell in love with and in time as a result of the amount of time that he was devoting to this woman his brother became jealous. It is this jealousy that leads the two brothers to try and kill their brother and the woman that he fell in love with. The brothers attempt to kill the couple by throwing them overboard. The third brother is saved by the woman that he fell in love with. After which she offers to put a curse on his other two brothers for him. Despite this he tells her not to which shows forgiveness on the part of the third. This is because even after his brothers tried to kill both of them he refused her offer to put a curse on them. Despite this the woman clearly does not forgive the two brothers for what they have done. This is because even though she does not put a curse on them after being asked by the third brother not to do so her sister curses them by turning them into dogs.

Posted by: Myles Godet at October 2, 2008 07:37 PM

Question 8
The protagonist: The husband
The role that they journey plays for the husband is that he is enlightened. The husband buys a parrot which tells him that his wife is cheating. But his wife tricks the parrot so the husband thinks the parrot is lying and kills him. The neighbors tell him the parrot was telling the truth. The husband then regrets killing the parrot. One of the trials that the protagonist must confront is finding out whether the parrot was telling the truth.
The Monomyth:
1) Departure
-The Call to adventure: when the husband decides to buy the parrot, so that he can know about his wife’s life while he is away.
-Supernatural Aid: the parrot
-Belly of the whale: when the parrot tells the husband the truth about his wife and her lover.
2) Initiation
-Road of trials: the parrot is tricked by the wife, so that the husband stops believing the parrot. Also when the husband kills the parrot.
3) Return
- Refusal or Return: husband regrets killing the parrot because he finds out his wife was not telling the truth.

Posted by: Paola S at October 2, 2008 09:13 PM

#4. In the frame story, there is a definite hierarchy. First, the Vizier has the power to decide which women die. Then, the Kings have the power over their kingdoms. Next, the Demon has power over the men, but he is not able to stop women. Lastly, the wife has the power to humiliate the King. In the tale of the Ox and the Donkey, the ox has the power over the field. Then, the Donkey has the power over the ox because he is more intelligent. Lastly, the merchant has power over all of them since he is a man.

Posted by: Matt M. at October 3, 2008 12:53 AM

Kamille G 2/09/08


6) How is the concept of “Honesty” (or, Morality) represented in these tales? Identify and then think specifically about each indication of fairness/unfairness, sincerity/insincerity, etc. in the stories, however they may have occurred. What are some of the key the “ethics” in the universe that these tales belong to? Are the “standards” the same for everyone? Do some of the characters have “permission” from the writer/reader(you) to be unethical? How is unprincipled behavior rewarded or punished?

In “The Story of the Fisherman and the Demon,” the concept of morality is represented when the demon believes that he must kill the fisherman who freed him from the jar. It is unethical for anyone to want to kill someone, let alone someone who has freed you from a trap for that you were in for “eight hundred years” (pg.1595). In this same story, the concept of honesty is also represented when the fisherman decides to trick the demon into going back into the jar. The fisherman was forced to lie in order to save himself from death. In addition, in “The Story of the Merchant and the Demon,” the concept of morality is represented in “The Second Old Man’s Tale,” when the two brothers of the second old man decided to “betray… and plotted to kill” (pg.1588) in order to gain possession of their brother’s wealth. In this story, it is rather immoral, and insincere for the man’s brothers to turn against him after he had taken them off the streets when they were “poor and penniless” (pg. 1587).
In “The Second Old Man’s Tale,” we also see an unfair exchange between the man and his two brothers, the man took his brothers off the street and helped them to start over they business but the man got nothing in return for his generosity. The man always tried to be fair when he gave his brother’s money by dividing whatever money that he had “equally between you and myself.” (pg. 1587). In today’s world, we see a lot of this unethical behavior going in relationships such as marriages where the spouse, usually the women, marries a very rich man and then kills him so that she can inherit all his possessions. In both of these stories the betrayer does not have time to successfully harm the victim. In today’s world things are a lot different many people who are being plotted against end up being victims because they are not able to realize the difference between their friend and foe. In both of these stories unprincipled behavior is rewarded by letting the persons who have been betrayed gain power over their enemy. In the story of “The Fisherman and the Demon,” the fisherman repays the demon who wanted to kill him by putting him back into his trap and keeping him there “until Doomsday” (pg.1595). In “The Story of the Merchant and the Demon,” the two brothers were turned into dogs for ten years after betraying their brother.


Kamille G
Eng 225. Sec 1
2/10/08

Posted by: Kamille G at October 3, 2008 03:53 AM

2. How is “Forgiveness” represented in these tales? Think specifically about who has the power to forgive and why it is or is not beneficial to the characters within the context of these tales. Who is forgiven and who is not? Why does it matter? Forgiveness is shown in the 1st – 3rd old man’s tell because when all the old men go to tell their story to the demon they all have the person who has betrayed them by their side. But in the second old man’s story forgiveness is shown more because when the oldies brother had the chance to get his brothers back for trying to kill him and his wife he told his wife not to do it because the bible says to be kind to those who hurt you. (pg. 1588) So he protected them from death and forgave them right away for trying to kill him.

Posted by: John Daniel at October 3, 2008 10:34 AM

How is “Power” represented in these tales? Identify and then think specifically about each of the power-wielding characters whoever they might be. How are they treated by the male characters? What “voice” or power (or, lack thereof) do they have? What is the “pecking order” or hierarchy of this power, i.e. who outranks who? What is the “limit” of power in each of these groups?
Power is represented in the frame story mainly by title; however there are a few exceptions. The wife has “Power” over the kings for if she publicly embarrassed the king he would regret what he did to make her do so, a kings image is very important. Also the demon who has no title but he still holds “Power” over the kings because of his might of arms, being able to end either of there lives with a twist of his wrist.

Posted by: john anderson at October 3, 2008 10:43 AM

Anna R.
10-3-08
Engl225. 01

7.
In the third man's tale, the husband finds his wife in bed with a black slave, which is an example for blacks always being portrayed as slaves rather than merchants or normal people. Also, the donkey and the Ox are portrayed as slaves and workers for someone which shows that the man is superior to them. Next, women had nothing to say back then, no matter what it was about so they were under the men in social status as well. Men had the rights to beat their women and kill them if disrespected. This all shows that in this particular society, men were superior to everything and it almost seems as if women and blacks were on the same rank as animals.

Posted by: Anna R at October 3, 2008 11:21 AM

The Fisherman
8.
Journey: Getting fish (food) to feed his family. The test that he is presented with is that he has only four attempts. He asks God to elp him "O Lord, you know that castt my net 4 times onlt. I have already cast it three times, and there is only one more try left Lord. Let the sea serve he, even as you let it serve Moses". He didnt get the fish and he curses God. In response, God sends a demon.
Initiation- Road of trials- He isnt able to catch the fish and he curses God.

Posted by: Walter P at October 3, 2008 11:25 AM

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*NOTE* The deadline for this particular assignment has now passed. Any comments listed below are *ONLY* for the reposting of comments that I specifically asked to be revised or are ones from non-student posters. Any 'student' posts below that missed the assignment deadline will not get credit for the assignment. ~ Dr. Hobbs

Posted by: Dr. Hobbs at October 4, 2008 11:15 AM

Paola Silvestri
Eng 225
“The Tale of the Three Apples” and “Othello: The Moor of Venice” are very similar. Both stories deal with what can happen when someone acts to quickly without all the facts. In both of the stories the husband’s kill their wives because they believe that they are being deceived by them. In the case of Othello, he believes Iago when he says that Desdemona gave her handkerchief to Cassio and kills her. This also happens in The Tale of the Three Apples when the very ugly slave tells the husband that his wife gave him the apple. The husband enraged at his wife kills her. In both stories it is then revealed that the wives were telling the truth and that the messenger’s were both liars (Iago and the slave). Both stories conclude with the husbands finding out the truth and regretting the murder of their wives.

Posted by: Paola S at November 9, 2008 05:28 PM


In the Tale of the Three Apples it was clear that the main point of the story was to establish that innocent people may die in spite of others. It was clear that the Caliph was going to kill the innocent people in Baghdad because he did not know who really killed the innocent women. This is what Shakespeare was trying to get across in his play of Othello. It was clear that innocent people who were in the “line of fire” killed over one little lie. Emilia was innocent wand was just trying to do good by telling Othello that everything Iago said was a lie, and in the end she ended up dying for trying to do the right thing. Desdemona was nothing but faithful to her husband Othello and in the end died because of jealousy. The connection that I see between the two stories is that people who are innocent usually get blamed for something bad and the bad guy always seems to get away with the murder. Also, innocent people will sometimes risk their own lives and possibly die in order to save someone else.

Posted by: Nichole. Tyler at November 9, 2008 08:02 PM

Kamille G

Question 2. How do the elements in the "Tale of the Three Apples" from The Thousand and One Nights might have "echoes" in William Shakespeare's Othello, The Moor of Venice.
The two stories were similar in the sense that both Othello and the young man were both gullible to outside influences. In the case of the story Othello, Othello believed Iago when he told him that his wife was cheating on him, while in the story Tale of the Three Apples, the young man was gullible enough to believe what the black slave had told him “I got it from my mistress” (Burton, paragraph 12,line 3-4). In addition, in both stories the men saw women as deceivers and they trusted outsiders who were men, more than their own wives. Another way in which the two stories are similar is that in both stories the objects that the husbands gave to their wives was used as evidence of their wives cheating. In Othello, Othello believed that because Cassio had the handkerchief and Desdemona did not know where it was, this was proof that Desdemona was cheating on him. While in the Tale of the Three Apples, the young man believed that because the black slave had the same apple that he gave to his wife, and because his wife only had two of the apples and didn’t know where the other one was this was proof that his wife was cheating on him. A third similarity between the two plays is the discrimination against black people in terms of the way that they are described in the play. For example, in Othello, Othello is referred to as the “old black ram is tupping your white ewe” (lines 88-89, pg.2921), to make him look like a totally different species and to segregate him from the other white people. Similarly, in the story “Tale of the Three Apples” this discrimination is again made when the black slave is described as a “great ugly black slave, long as a lance and broad as a bench” (Burton, paragraph 12, lines 1-2).

Kamille G
Eng.225 Sec.1
10/10/08

Posted by: Kamille G at November 9, 2008 09:20 PM

When reading "The Tale of the Three Apples", i realized that it does have a striking resemblance to Shakespeare's "Othello." You can tell in the beginning of the story that when he finds out that his mistress is sick he cares deeply for her and tries to save her. His main flaw is his impulsiveness. When he meets the slave in the market, the man feels that the story he is telling is true. When he asks his wife where the apple is, she does not know where she put it. This can be directly related to the handkerchief in "Othello." Without thinking, he kills his wife. When he soon finds out from his son that he stole it and it was taken from a slave in the market, he is pushed to insanity because he has killed his wife for no reason. This trait of impulsiveness and jealousy is very similar to the flaws Othello suffered from.

Posted by: Joseph S. at November 9, 2008 10:09 PM

There is a very good chance that the story of the three apples inspired the story of Othello. In the three apples, a man gave his wife three apples. When he saw a slave with an apple, he questioned him to which he was told that he took it from his mistress who had gotten it from her husband. This made the man feel that his wife had been cheating on him. He then went to his wife and asked to see the apples. When she couldn't supply all three, he killed her. it wasn't until later that he found out the apple had been stolen from his son. This is very similar to in Othello when Desdamona lost the napkin that Othello had given to her. It was planted on Cassio, which made Othello accuse him of having an affair.

Posted by: Matt M. at November 10, 2008 12:38 AM

In some instances, the Tale of the Three Apples is similar to Othello. In both stories the characters are tricked into believing that their wives have cheated on them and in turn kill their wife. The main difference is where Othello ends up committing suicide and dying in the play, but in the Apple story the wife killer ends up finding everything out and bringing the suspected cheater to justice.

Posted by: Quinten J at November 10, 2008 08:11 AM

Neal Carter II
Dr. Hobbs
ENG-225
7 November 2008

How elements in "Tale of the Three Apples" from The Thousand and One Nights have "echoes" in William Shakespeare's Othello, The Moor of Venice.

It can been noted that Othello resembles the earlier tale of "The Three Apples", in the One Thousand and One Nights, one of the stories told by Scheherazade. It is clear that the flashback narrated by the young man in "The Three Apples" resembles the later story of Shakespeare's Othello The Moor in both is shown as a fierce and barbarous character. Not to forget, the similarity between the stolen apple and the stolen handkerchief. Like Othello, the husband murders his wife for her supposed betrayal and infidelity, and murders her for her actions but it is only later that he guiltily realizes, that he has been wrong. Both stories have been enhanced by the literary device peripeteia, which is a reversal of circumstances. In “The Three Apples” the device is used twice, for a plot twist in the middle of the tale and after in ending. In Othello, Othello, peripety happens in the middle of the play, in Act 3 scene 3 when Iago deceives Othello.

Posted by: Neal Carter II at November 10, 2008 08:32 AM

The story the Tale of the Three Apples is similar to that of Othello’s because the man did not trust his wife after the slave had lied to him so he went home and killed her without even hearing her story. Othello did the same thing to his wife. At the end of both stories the husbands both found out that their wives were truthful and they did not cheat on them but by then it was too late and they were left with broken hearts because they did not trust. I can see how these stories can be compared the characters are similar like the slave can be compared to Iago and the husband can be Othello which are the two main characters in the stories.

Posted by: John Daniel at November 10, 2008 10:22 AM

D.J. Garry
Dr. Hobbs
English 225
10 November 2008
The Three Apples
The tale of The Three Apples shares some of the same characteristics with Othello but they are not exactly the same. I think that the basis of jealousy and not thinking about one’s actions are the definite center of the stories. They both try to teach lessons of truth and honesty. They also show lessons of what manipulation can do to a person. Othello is much longer than The Three Apples, so it contains a lot more text. Because of this there is more depth in the story. I feel this story could have been the inspiration for Othello, but there is not enough evidence for me to conclude that.

Posted by: david g. at November 10, 2008 10:36 AM

Walter Perkins
Eng 225
Dr. Hobbs
CA01
10 November 2008
The Tale of Three Apples vs Othello

The tale of Othello is very similar to the “The Tale of Three Apples”. A lot of people believe that the story Othello might actually be based of “The Tale of Three Apples”. Both the stories have to do with suspicion and overreaction to a situation that leads to a bad decision by the main character. At the end of both of the stories the main character kills himself at the end when he realizes what he did wrong. The theme of both of these stories is suspicion. The only difference is that “The Tale of Three Apples” has to do with the slaves, while Othello didn’t.

Posted by: Walter P at November 10, 2008 11:20 AM

Anna R
Engl 225. 01
Dr. Hobbs
11-10-08

Both, Shakespeare’s Othello and the tale of the three apples had to do with suspicion. This was the main theme for both f the stories. Also, what they obviously had in common is the fact that both main characters killed themselves in the end because they realized that they made a big mistake.

Posted by: Anna R. at November 10, 2008 11:21 AM

Then, in the comment box below, enter a one-paragraph response relating how elements in this tale might have "echoes" in William Shakespeare's Othello, The Moor of Venice

In the Tale of the Three Apples a man is convinced that a slave has been having an affair with his wife, and taken one of the apples from her bedside. In a rage he kills his wife and throws her into the Tigris. Afterwards he finds out that this was a lie on the part of the slave, who is captured and sentenced to be punished in the same manner as Iago was captured at the end of Othello. There are very few other similarities, but the manner of rage and vengeance are essentially the same, both characters acting on little information and making an irreversible punishment on their wives.

Posted by: JustinW at November 10, 2008 11:22 AM

Myron Kirchner
ENG-225
The Tale of Three apples and Othello
The Tale of Three Apples has a lot of the same themes as Othello.

The main characters in both stories commit murder because they were tricked into believing their wives were unfaithful. They find out at the end of both stories that they’ve been deceived, and killed their wives for no good reason. Both the young man and Othello made rash decisions without real proof.

Posted by: Myron Kirchner at November 10, 2008 11:50 AM

Are Othello and the story of the three apples similar? I believe that they are similar and while it might have been the original for Shakespeare’s Othello, it most certainly is not the same. The conditions for the characters are too different for me to see the real connection.

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Note from Professor:

A very weak response to a very straightforward question. Did you even read the story? Look at some of the other responses from your classmates. Your answer is ambiguous, at best.

Dr. Hobbs

Posted by: john.anderson at November 10, 2008 11:57 AM

Alex Slavin

November 10-08

English 225

Dr. hobbs

Quiz

I can see one major similarity between the story of Othello and “The Tale of the Three apples”. A fisherman brought up a chest with the remains of a woman’s body inside. The king of the city, Caliph Haroon al Rusheed demanded to know who killed this woman and if the person who committed this crime is not found, then a person who already serves in the prison will be killed for it. When the person who committed the kill is not found, the people of the city all at once rushed to the king to tell that he or she did it. They all want to die because of how much hate they have for the king. The people do not trust him and do not want to live under his ruling no more. Like in Othello, no one knows who to trust, there is so many different things and ideas being thought about towards same issue. Trust is key, and in both stories, that is what each society revolves around. When trust is no longer present, chaos arrives and people can do nothing but what is best for them.

Posted by: alex slavin at November 10, 2008 06:57 PM

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*NOTE* The deadline for this particular assignment has now passed. Any comments listed below are *ONLY* for the reposting of comments that I specifically asked to be revised or are ones from non-student posters. Any 'student' posts below that missed the assignment deadline will not get credit for the assignment.

~Dr. Hobbs

Posted by: Dr. Hobbs at November 10, 2008 09:20 PM

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