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ERIC Number: ED445355
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2000-Sep
Pages: 21
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: N/A
Timeless Stories East and West: The Philosophical Narratives of the "Bhagavad Gita" and "The Thin Red Line."
Stroud, Scott R.
Both film and ancient religious writing have much in common, especially in regard to their ability to convey powerful messages to modern audiences. A study analyzed the timeless meta-narratives in the ancient Hindu poem, the "Bhagavad Gita," and in the 1998 American film, "The Thin Red Line." It used the methodology of narrative criticism to make a cross-cultural contribution to philosophical and rhetorical studies that focus on the construction of evil and other philosophical themes in these two popular works. Since these two works potentially enshrine timeless cross-cultural narratives, an examination of these artifacts is warranted. The results of this inquiry indicate that these narratives construct issues of good/evil, self-transcendence, and personal duty in astonishingly similar ways. The study has shown that both artifacts portray evil as an inclination toward selfish action and the refusal to acknowledge a transcendent "ultimate" self behind the physical self of each human. The film points out that nature and humanity, once individuated and self-absorbed, go to war with itself. Both works also had similar themes in regard to issues of duty, selfless action, and the horror of war. The moral and enlightened individual is to avoid running away from the tragedies of existence and instead must uphold his duty with non-attached action. In both the literary portrayal and the cinematic portrayal of war, the narrative urges the warriors to fight with compassion and a lack of desire concerning the "fruits" of their actions. This study not only focuses attention on an undeveloped line of narrative inquiry, specifically that of ancient India, but also sheds comparative light on cross-cultural and multi-temporal narrative criticism in light of powerful philosophical storylines. (Contains 54 references.) (Author/RS)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A