For those of you out there who haven’t spun off your own personal crazy ideas for your response papers this week (due Monday by 3:45!), here are some topics and questions we’ve been talking about:
- Describe in detail one of the myths of your “people” (your family, friends, ethnic or cultural group, etc.). Tell the story in as much thrilling detail as you can. After that, examine your own “myth” with the questions we’ve been asking in class: What kinds are behavior in the story are called “good” and “bad”? What is the purpose of life? What are the responsibilities of the individual to the group?
- The Iroquois story talked about why geese fly in the V formation (to honor their ancestors who rescued the “Woman who fell from the sky”). Is there a powerful symbol, or reminder of your origins (like the geese were to the Iroquois), that you see in your world every day? Describe the symbol, where it came from, and talk in depth about what it means to you and your “people.” (You can really stretch on this topic. Think about all of the crazy things that mean something to Americans–anything from McDonalds to the Ford Crown Vic.)
- Write a sermon in the style of Jonathan Edwards (you can even use some of his words and phrases to really tap into his “spirit”) on a particular topic about which you feel strongly. Make sure to single out the specific audience you’re “preaching” to, and describe in detail what will happen to those who will not heed your advice.
- Can you think of a modern day American “Puritan”? The Puritan influence (the plain-talking, highly obedient, simple living, etc.) is around us everywhere and is something which, in combination with other, less-genteel tendencies, that makes America unique. Discuss a “Puritan” you know or have seen in the popular media. Try to figure out why they are the way they are, what “myths” they live by, and how they fit into the American “dream” and contemporary culture.
Alright, there’s a lot of other stuff to write about, and please feel free to let your minds wander far afield from these topics, as long as you can come back to what we’ve talked about in class this week.