Week 3 Essay Questions


1) What about Rama is divine and what about him is more "human"?

2) How does Rama's answer to dying Vali Justify his actions, and how is it flawed?

3) Rama is supposed to be the human with the greatest dharma, so much so that he is treated as a god / reincarnation of Vishnu. What effect does it give that he must be persuaded into forgiving Sita?

61 thoughts on “Week 3 Essay Questions

  1. Tee

    Hey Shelby!

    Just a few quick comments on your questions. For the first question, I feel the question is interesting but seems to invite a thorough character study of Rama. Given the limitations we have to adhere to for this particular exercise, maybe it would be better to limit the question's scope to an assessment of Rama within a single episode?

    Cheers! 🙂

  2. Andrew Hui

    Hi Shelby!

    I agree with Tee's comments. you have identified some central issues but right now they are too vague and not focused enough to provide the starting points of an inquiry for a 1000-word essay. I would encourage you to read over the text and pick one episode which surprised, troubled, or provoked you - try to put your thoughts into an analytic form of a question that can be explored in a short paper.

    Try not to apply simplistic ideas of what a hero is supposed to do or black and white dichotomies such as “human” and “divine” or "dharma" as if it was a universal, timeless concept. Avoid judgements like a character's arguments is "flawed." The Ramayana and all the texts that we will read offers us much more complexities and nuances - our job is to articulate and explore these!

    The main goal in this assignment is to ask a interpretative question that is a problem, rather than identify a theme or give a summary of the text (we assume you know what the main themes and the plot is already!)

    Hope this helps!
    Andrew Hui

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