June 12, 2008

Trouble for Trumpets

The work that I chose to blog about is called Trouble for Trumpets. It is a picture book intended for young children. The protagonist named Podd goes out on a quest to save his people the Trumpets, from the evil Grumpets. The Trumpets are summer creatures and pretty much stand for everything that is good. The Grumpets are evil snow creatures who's only desire is to collect more land. The Grumpets invade the summer land, and it is up to Podd to save the day. In the end the Trumpets win out over the Grumpets and they have a big party. It is interesting that the author of this book Peter Cross managed to create a intriguing story almost completely without words. The illustrations are what drive this story forward and I think it is very effective.

Trouble for Trumpets has a lot of messages about acceptance, and how important it is to let people be as they are. There are also comments about war, and how violence is never a good option. I think that it is really impressive that Peter Cross managed to include all of this into a story that is told through pictures instead of words.

The Woman Who Fell From the Sky

I decided to use a myth from the Iroquois (Mohawk). This myth "The Woman Who Fell From The Sky, is part of the Iroquois creation story and the story shows the importance of obedience, respect, focus and discipline.

A young woman was told by her dead father to go and marry some stranger. She did not seek her mother's advice, she did as her father said. She journeyed to where this man lived, and this man was a renowned sorcerer. He didn't seem to have much respect for her because after he met her he said she was not a woman but a girl, and that he would rather make her his slave than his wife. He decided to have her do three tasks, and if she passed them, the sorcerer would decide if he would make her his wife.

The first task he made her grind mounds and mounds of corn. Despite the workload, she completed her task in a short time. The sorcerer was amazed, but for the second task he made her take off all her clothes and cook the corn in a huge pot over the fire. While she cooked the corn, she was burned by the cornmush splashing on her body, but she did not flinch, staying calm as she continued her task as she was told. For the third task, she was to feed the cornmush to the sorcerers beasts. The beasts came into their lodge and began to lick the mush of her naked body with their razor sharp tongues, leaving her with deep wounds from where their tongues sliced her skin. Through all of her tasks, she did not lose her composure and she remained calm and did not show emotion of torment or pain. The sorcerer decided to marry her.

This girl basically is not treated with too much respect from the sorcerer after they are married. The sorcerer appears to be naive and submissive with her. However there was a freaky part to this story. So there was this tree that grew outside the sorcerers lodge, and it had blossoms that would give light to his whole land. She really loved this tree, and one evening when everyone was sleeping, she laid down under the tree and opened her legs and body to the tree, and a blossom fell on her girl part, and eventually she became pregnant.

Her husband, the sorcerer became very ill. He talked with his medicine men and they all agreed she was more powerful than he was. The medicine men advised the sorcerer to uproot the tree (tree of light) in front of his lodge and push her down through the hole, and if he did that, he would become healthy again. The sorcerer's world did not know anything of divorce or death. The sorcerer did what he was told, and he asked his wife to come and see through the hole which the tree left. Through the hole, the sorcerer and his wife were able to see another world (earth) and he convinced her with curiosity to jump through the hole, and she did.

After I read this story, I was shocked about the girl becoming pregnant from the tree, grossed out by the incompetent sorcerer, and amazed of the girl's strength. I found this myth interesting because it is part of the Iroquois creation story, and I wanted to share this with the rest of the class.

June 11, 2008

You Remind Me of You

Sorry, I am not a huge movie or television buff (I end up falling asleep in almost anything I attempt to watch) so I have to write this about about a book.

My maybe favorite book is called You Remind Me of You by Eireanne Corrigan and is meant for a teenage audience. The book is an autobiographical telling of struggles of an eating disorder in poetry form.

The story is a modern telling of Orpheus and Eurydice. Eurydice is Eireanne, she is stuck in an eating disorder hell but her high school boyfriend tries to help her by buying her bakery goods and standing up for her in school. There are multiple counts where Eireanne is hospitalized, and her boyfriend only visits her three times (like tasks) and Eireanne comes out of hospitalization. Her boyfriend figuratively looks back, like Orpheus, which lands her back in back in the hospital (of course that isn't actually why she needs multiple hospitalizations). The high school also plays guitar, which makes him more similar to Orpheus.

Without other illusions to mythology the couple has conflicts to deal such as religion, college, and suicide. This is the less than glamorous view of modern myth and real struggles and climaxes. There is resolution, or several at least. Readers learn that the two characters end up together, although not married, but alive and dating, which disagrees with the myth because Eurydice is never with Orpheus.
Ending up with a happy resolution is typical format to fairy tales, which is needed in this story of turmoil.

as a side note, my roommate told me that the story of eurydice is referenced in Gaiman's The Sandman, but I have never read that - just saw graphic novels were of interest.