What role does language and naming play in the creation of the world?

Select ONE of the following projects by ONE of the authors. In other words, choose EITHER option 1 or 2 under those that have more than one option.

Aesop’s Fables, “The Fox and the Grapes”:

Creative Option: Visit the UMass website and view some creative versions and illustrations of fables.

Next, write your own updated version of a fable modeled after Aesop’s. Choose an animal and an episode that will reveal something about human behavior. After you have written your fable, write a short essay OF AT LEAST ONE PAGE analyzing its significance.



Aesop’s Fables, “The Town Mouse and the Country Mouse”:

Compare the animals in this fable with the animal in “The Fox and the Grapes.” Why do fables depend on animals for their primary characters? Why are the particular animals in these tales suited for their larger lessons.


The King James’ Bible: The Book of Genesis: Choose just ONE.

Research Option: Most cultures have their own distinct stories about the creation of the world. Native American literatures are particularly rich with various interpretations of how people came to live on earth. Find two other creation stories and compare them to this story from the King James Bible.
King James Bible: from Book of Genesis, “Creation of the World”. The short stories of many cultures are rife with biblical allusion, particularly to the story of Adam and Eve and to the creation story. In this opening chapter of the King James Bible, God creates the world and all life on it, turning absence into form and darkness into light. It is in part a process of differentiation and categorization, dividing the day from the night and the ocean from the air. He creates life in various hierarchies, giving humans, created “in his own image,” control over other life forms on earth. The world comes into being not as a physical creation but as a spoken word, an articulation of existence. Each creation comes first in proclamation: “And God said, Let there be light”; “And God said, Let there be firmament in the midst of the waters.” As each item is spoken and named, it becomes reality: “God called the light Day.” Throughout the six days of creation (the seventh is reserved for rest), we hear one refrain: “and God saw that it was” God is the ultimate creator of all things in this story, watching and judging as words take on the substance of a complex reality.
Respond to these questions in your essay:

What role does language and naming play in the creation of the world?
Why is the phrase repeated, “and God saw that it wasgood”? Why is “was” emphasized?
According to this creation story, what is the relationship between humans and other life on earth?

Geoffrey Chaucer: “Wife of Bath’s Tale”:

In the General Prologue to The Canterbury Tales, the Wife of Bath is described as “a worthy womman al hir live.” Read the Wife of Bath’s Prologue or her descriiption in the General Prologue (lines 447–478). Using quotes from either text, explain what these passages reveal about her character.


Plato’s “Parable of the Cave”: Choose just ONE.

What is the literal and symbolic significance of lightness and darkness in “The Parable of the Cave”? or
Research Option: Do some research on Socrates, his beliefs, and his practices, and write an essay explaining why Plato chose Socrates as the speaker for this particular story. How does knowledge of Socrates help us to better understand the themes and significance of the story?

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