Monday, May 13, 2013

Final Blog

This class has definitely been a whirlwind of reading to say the least. And some of the fairy tales we read were more than lengthy! And there are so many different interpretations of all the different tales, sometimes it's difficult to keep track of them all! But all in all, it's been enjoyable to learn about all the different variations of the classic tales that I grew up with. I know that when I was little, I felt like the variations I was told and I learned about were the only ones in the world: only Disney tales mattered. But as I grew older I knew there had to be more than the just the Disney variations and I went searching. Through my searches I found many variations from all different countries. But of course the most famous tales that I found more than any others were the Brothers Grimm tales. As a German major, I've learned about the Grimm brothers and their tales more than the average person, and that definitely gave me a bit of an advantage for this class. I knew their writing style and knew what to expect from them. However the other tales were sometimes shocking and intrigued me from their various literature styles.
I first thought that this class was going to strictly analyze the different stories, but this class has gone so much deeper than just the surface. We've picked every aspect of each tale apart and now I know of all of the themes and archetypes of all the tales we studied.
I'm very appreciative of all the things Dr. Esa has taught us throughout the course of the semester and I'm very glad I chose this as my S.I.S. My ability to analyze has definitely improved over the course of the semester and this is a skill that I'll carry with me always.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Dr. Ochieng's lecture

Out of the two guest speakers that came into our class, both were entertaining and intriguing to learn/hear about. But there was something special about Dr. Ochieng's lecture in particular. I really liked the fact that he was so engaged in getting the audience to take part in the fun. We sang songs and danced. It was really fun and it showed his personality. He's a fun guy and wants everyone else to feel the same. What I admired most about his lecture was the fact that he knew his stories so well. He didn't have to read off a power point or out of a book to tell his amazing tales. It's because his entire culture is based off of story telling. I admire that so much and I envy his culture that story telling is such a huge part of everyday life. I could never be able to tell stories the way Dr. Ochieng does.
I found the stories to be a lot different from European fairy/folktales we're accustomed to. I find that whereas stories in our culture seem to be (to me) merely for entertainment purposes, don't hold the weight that African culture does with story telling. It brings the entire community together at the night time to end the day and also to escape their problems, much how we go to the movie theaters to indulge in entertainment and escape from our sometimes mundane lives. I see more of a message in African literature than in the tales we grew up with. The stories celebrate quick wit and thinking where in the stories I remember hearing growing up, the main character relied too much on the help of other people and sometimes magic to get through their problems rather than using their own logic.
With Dr. Alles, I feel like he spent too much time talking about his personal experiences with the cultures of the Adivasi people and not enough about the stories their culture is founded on. As interesting it was to see that he spent a fair amount of time in such a different culture, I would have liked to hear more stories rather than seeing pictures and videos of his trip. Not to dismiss his lecture in the least. It was intriguing and the stories we were presented were very interesting and much different than anything I've ever heard before. I really do prefer Dr. Ochieng's lecture. I would love to be able to hear more tales from him. More speakers need to be like him and engage the audience and be well prepared and show that they know what they're presenting about, much like him.