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Ben Miller - English 213
Tuesday, 28 April 2009
1st Assignment

The first day of class professor Sexson told us to read the newspaper, carry it with us everywhere.  He asked us to think about the question, Where can we find "classic" literature in modern literature, newspapers, magazines, the media?  Throughout the course a number of major events happened that resonated mythic qualities, the horrifically tragic place crash, the deaths and suicides of prominent literary figures, the new president, and much more.  

Passion has also been an underlying motif, thought perhaps not acknowledged as much besides with Ovid, Shakespeare, Hughes, and Malouf.  But every text for our classical literature class had extremely passionate characters: Demeter, Antigone, Lysistrata, Socrates, Apollo, Alcibiades, Iphagenia, the Child, Midas, Psyche, and so on.  Passion.  Passion is the truest emotion.  It's practically impossible to hide passion. Passion reveals the entire spectrum of human emotions.  With this in mind I'll explain another 'one-in-three' coincidence.  

As I've mentioned before, the second book of Shadow Country is all about Lucius' passion to discover the truth behind his father's death.  It subsumes him completely, at times violently, tragically.  As I was reading an interview of Chuck Palahnuik I was struck at how he experienced the exact same passion for the true account of his dad and stepmom's double murder.  They were killed in their sleep by the woman's ex, who also burned the house down on top of their bodies - a mythic situation itself.  The interviewer asked Palahnuik, "How do you process something that horrific?"  To which Palahnuik's exact words are, "The way I've always done it.  I process things by gathering all the information I can and documenting it.  I just went out and collected everything about the murder I could find.  At the time my siblings didn't want to know anything about it, so I thought I'd gather everything for them.  I'd have it whenever they wanted to know.  I went to see the autopsy photos and the crime scene.  I read all the stories in the papers and talked to all the reporters."  (Courtesy of the Acteon nymph peeping magazine, Playboy)

Palahnuik's description of his manner in dealing with the murder of his parents is exactly the same as Lucius dealing with his father's death.  Both men want the details, down to the last man, bullet, and perception.  Identically, other siblings don't want anything to do with the reincarnation of their parents death.  Both men visit the crime scene, the dead bodies.  And they continually seek everyone's account of the murders, striving for what they hope is the truth, in the eyes of every beholder.  

This is a perfect, albeit tragic (another coincidence) example of a modern publication resonating classical literature ideas and themes.  It is also a perfect example of how passionate people can be.  Passionate for the details, the past, the present, the future, the mythic and the modern.                     


Posted by bmcycleski at 10:04 PM MDT
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