The Norton Anthology Of World Literature

707 words - 3 pages

The Norton Anthology of World Literature not only makes available valuable lessons

and words of wisdom, but it shares experiences from around the world. These ageless

writings allow generations to encounter a heritage of tradition and culture all within the

confines of its pages. The anthology’s variety offers multiple characters and ideas to

explore, while each selection contains notable and impressionable material. The

collection’s most memorable content presents larger than life characters and priceless

lessons in Gilgamesh, astute ideas and guidelines to live by in Confucius, and the

universal experience of an impassioned relationship outlined in Lyrics.

In The Epic of Gilgamesh, the characters and their lesson arise as the most memorable

part of the story. Gilgamesh appears very impressive because of his great size and stately

presence (Tablet I: 30-38). In addition, he emerges more divine than human (Tablet I: 50)

and possesses the highest degree of strength (Tablet I: 36). Enkidu comes forth from clay

(Tablet I: 102-104) and endowed with the physical power of a hero. Upon his creation,

Enkidu also bears strength as mighty as Gilgamesh (Tablet I: 92). Gilgamesh and

Enkidu’s stature represent power and might, but the true memorable imposing impression

lies in the depth of the friendship they form. It begins in opposition (Tablet II: 96-108),

solidifies in a pact (Tablet II: 115), and continues on after Enkidu’s death (Tablet IX: 1).

The story of Gilgamesh and Enkidu teaches that sharing experiences and hardships

creates the human experience.

The anthology also includes the Analects of Confucius. The “Sayings” outline

Confucius’ expectations regarding social behavior. His illustration in teaching a

principled truth or moral lesson makes the content so memorable. He exemplifies this in

Book I as he demonstrates a way of detecting a man’s true conviction to his moral and

ethical principles. Confucius attests that by comparing a man’s actions before and after

his father’s death, eventually the true measure of his character comes forth (Book I: 11)....

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