Tale of Genji Badge
1) Write a letter from Yugao to Genji

You despair for me in my death, however is it really me for whom you grieve? Is it not for yourself, for losing one you coveted, for feeling responsible given that your lust promoted this jealous act? I was young and timid, and yet you brought me into your web. You were young as well, and you could not know that your actions could lead to my death, or to my daughter being left motherless. I hid to escape the jealousy caused by men's lust, and yet I was killed by it in the end anyway. Perhaps there is a lesson to be learned from this. In our society it is customary for a man like yourself to give in to anything that draws your interest, but look at what that can cause. You speak of beauty and child-like qualities not because you love them but because you wish to possess them. You possessed e for a time, but like beauty and childhood, that too was fleeting. Take heed from this, Genji. It is all transient; nothing lasts forever.

2) Rewrite a scene (I chose to rewrite it from Yugao's perspective)

This strange man would not even tell me his name, and yet insisted I go with him to this forbidding place. Overgrown and desolate, it frightened me. I knew what he wanted, but he would not say it. He insisted on my name, but I decided I would not tell him until he stopped being so secretive himself.
"Call me the fisherman's daughter."
He took it as childishness, but this man was young himself. He has no right to expect from me what he will not give.
We talked together all day. With him, although things were strange, I felt myself relaxing. The terrors of my past, my fleeting romance, his wife's jealousy, almost left me in his presence.
Still, there was an unease about that place, and as evening came I began to fear the dark. It was as if something in my body was calling out that danger awaited me in the night.
"You seem so comfortable with me, and yet you raise difficulties."
How could I explain to him the foreboding I felt? A strange man (although I suspected his high birth) brings a young woman to a strange place where he insists on courting her; what else does he expect?
Eventually he slept, thinking I did as well, but my terror gripped me, increasing with every hour.
Then she appeared.
She railed at me, as if she aimed to tear me to pieces. I screamed and cried, trying to beat her off, but my body would not move. I think he woke then, he and Ukon, but I could not call out to them. I prayed for this frightful woman to leave, begged for her to stop. I prayed for my child, for my sins, for my own foolishness in allowing this man to bring me away from her. I prayed for the darkness to leave, but it only swallowed me up, and I could fight no more.

3) Image and caption

Genji clutching the body of Yugao after he comes back to discover her dead

New World Badge

1) Choose two quotations to analyze

“They ought to make good and skilled servants, for they repeat quickly whatever we say to them. I think they can easily be made Christians, for they seem to have no religion.”
-Christopher Columbus, Diario (p.1897)
“And what do you care that they should be instructed in religion, so that they may know their God and creator…. Are these not men? Do they not have rational souls?”
-Bartolome de las Casas, The History of the Indies (p.1905)

While Columbus only sees them as servants who will be useful to him, Casas comments on how these are people (“men”) who have “rational souls” implying that they are not dissimilar from the Spanish themselves. However, both men talk about converting them to Christianity, as if that facet is more important than their right to humanity. They are humans if they become Christian, or are humans based upon their capacity to be converted. Without this, perhaps Casas would not think of them so differently than Columbus. In fact, Columbus, despite his seeing them as lesser, still is viewing them from the angle of how they can be useful to him, and Casas is doing much the same, only his goals are less material and more about religious doctrine. So while Casas may be more palatable to a modern reader, given his insistence that they are people, he is still very much guilty of the colonial mindset of the times.

2) Select one text and detail an accusation that you would make in a court of law

Wrongful kidnapping and imprisonment (or at least conspiracy to commit) based on… “If it pleases Our Lord, I will take six of them to Your Highness when I depart, in order that they may learn our language.” –Christopher Columbus, Diario (p. 1897)
How can they consent to go if they do not already know the language? There is no informed consent when someone does not know and has no way of understanding what you ask of them, so even if they willingly come aboard your ship you cannot argue that to be consent to be brought to Spain and used as slaves. By his own admission Columbus is stating that, given the language barrier, there is no legal, ethical way to transport these people back with him, even if his intentions towards them had been more altruistic and less about displaying oddities and gaining servants/slaves. The fact that he had such ill intentions when bringing back these people only strengthens the argument that this was most likely a wrongful kidnapping and imprisonment (both on the ship that brought them back and wherever they were kept in Spain).

3) Quetzalcoatl: similarities and differences with other deities

Some legends say he was born to the virgin Chimalman, much like Jesus was born to the virgin Mary. There are also claims that an Aztec Emperor thought Hernan Cotes was the return of Quetzalcoatl, suggesting that there were prophecies or mythology indicating further incarnations/returns such as with Jesus and Vishnu (in our readings in the form of Krishna). However, there is little to no evidence that there was an actual belief in this return prior to the Spanish coming over, indicating that this may not actually be a long-standing part of Quetzalcoatl’s mythology. Some stories have him as part of a triad of deities, not unlike the Hindu triad of Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva.
I also found a rather interesting note that the Mormons actually believe Quetzalcoatl was Jesus Christ, simply interpreted differently with his name and certain details lost to time.
Quetzalcoatl is unique in that, while most deities in our readings have cast women as creators of the human race (excepting the Lord in the Old Testament), he is said to have created mankind out of the bones of old races and his own blood (that is also an interesting difference in his mythology; the idea that there were humanoid races prior to mankind). He was also sometimes attributed as being one of the four gods that represented different cardinal directions (his being West). His main form, instead of replicating that of a human, was a “feathered serpent,” although he could take anthropomorphic forms.

Poetry Badge

Aftermath (inspired by Sappho)

Like a branch on
the ground in the woods
indicating someone
has been there.
Like chalk
sticking on hands
until its dust
blocks out the color

Idle Tides (inspired by Catullus)

Carry a message for me
to the one I once loved.
His bitterness may
see him long nights alone;

not unkindly, but as
the sea leaves the shore,
may his desires turn away
until idle tides return.

Inspired by Andalusian Love Lyrics

from the field where we
lay together

that summer.
Hazy shadows scattering
our love-lorn

The sun still shines
where we left it.

FAVE Badge

Historical Trivia Event: Students would be given descriptions or passages from historical texts that contain elements of domestic violence. They would have to identify these abusive aspects, and would get bonus points if they can make a connection to modern life scenarios; for example, Griselda's husband tests her loyalty unfairly, which is like when your boyfriend pressures you to do something you are uncomfortable with by saying "well if you really loved me, you'd do it." And so on. Prizes could be gift cards, or FAVE items such as t-shirts, cups, water bottles, etc.


Katabasis Badge

Katabasis: a descent of some type, such as moving downhill, sinking, a retreating military, or a trip into the underworld
Most commonly it is used as a name for the part in epic narratives where the hero takes a journey into the underworld.

Underworld I would like to visit:
I would most like to visit the underworld in Welsh mythology, Annwn. The word was taken to mean "very deep" but is now interpreted as "otherworld." It is referenced in the "Mabinogi" (with Pwyll, Prince of Dyfed) and an Arthurian poem (there spelled "Annwfn"). I would like to go there because it sounds beautiful and peaceful (some writings identify it as an island, which I find intriguing because of its connection to Avalon). It is a place of no disease and abundant food, but what interests me most is a cauldron which supposedly resides there, which can give the gift of poetry or speech. That to me is fascinating, so I feel if I had to spend eternity anywhere, it would be in a place of beauty and creativity like Annwn.

The magic cauldron that King Arthur seeks in the poem "Preiddeu Annwfn"