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ERIC Number: ED374468
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1994-Apr
Pages: 12
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: N/A
Using Homer To Teach the "Ramayana."
Dodson, Charles B.
An effective way to expand students' knowledge and enjoyment of noncanonical, or at least unfamiliar, works is by using more familiar works as benchmarks. For example, in a sophomore-level world literature survey course, students have already read a large part of the "Iliad" and all of the "Odyssey" when they are asked to study R. K. Narayan's shortened prose version of an Indian epic, the "Ramayana." Students have no trouble identifying a surprising number of parallels between the epics, inspite of the different religious, cultural, and geographic origins that underlie them. For example, both the "Iliad" and the Indian epic tell of a great war caused by the abduction of a princess, a siege of the abductor's city, the confrontation of the abductor and the aggrieved husband, and the return of the princess to her home city. However, within this framework of similarities, it is the differences that students find so uniquely interesting in Valmiki's epic. For instance, there is the emphasis on asceticism, contemplation, and restraint that the Homeric personage would probably consider odd, impractical, even weak. Furthermore, Homer's warriors have no time for speculation; Rama has 14 years for it. For the Greek warrior, human suffering can be explained simply and easily: the gods are responsible. But to the Indian, such issues are the subject of debate and introspection. (TB)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A