poetics of conduct

poetics of conduct - Alysse Johnson The Moral of the Story...

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Alysse Johnson The Moral of the Story Poetics of Conduct Imagined text, otherwise considered as shastra are verbal stories passed “(between parent and child, neighbors, or teacher and student)” (143) to help people in India decide what is morally and ethically the right thing to do. This type of verbal code is described and explained in Poetics of Conduct by Leela Prasad with different stories and rituals with tales in them. All of these stories have silent underlying meanings and laws about morally righteous things to do and the punishments that could befall upon them if they act immorally or abuse the power or upper hand they are given. The gods in India were the ruling bodies of the stories, they could either give a person great things or punish them for being bad and acting without ethics. These ancient stories have similar characteristics to American children’s fairy tales or bed time stories to teach young ones the results that can happen to the bad guys who do the wrong things. Children in both India and America grow up listening, watching, and learning from the stories and this enables them to decide what is morally acceptable in their society. One story is when a cobra protects a frog, “on the sandy banks of the river, a cobra and a frog, and, as you know, cobras prey on frogs. The frog was struggling in labor, and the cobra had spread out its hood to protect the frog from the sun’s glare. Shankara, beholding this sight, thought, here is a place where even sworn enemies live as friends” (32). The moral that can be learned from this story is a couple of different things, one of them being that no matter your status you should always help someone in need. This is expressed when the predator, the cobra, that is stronger, faster, and higher on the food chain helped the prey, the frog, that is weaker and was struggling. Another could be that even rivals can come together and get along with each other. This little story would help the children of India to understand to not fight, hurt, or make fun of someone weaker or lesser than them, and that they should be nice and help when they are needed like the cobra helped the frog. An American bed time story with a similar moral is the
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Three Little Pigs, when a big bad wolf tried to eat three little pigs. To do this he climbs down the chimney of the third pigs’ house to get inside, but instead of eating the three little piglets he dies in the chimney fire. This American version is similar to the cobra and the frog story because is also includes an animal that is higher on the food chain and stronger, the wolf, and the pigs are like the frog, lower on the food chain and weaker then the cobra and the wolf. The American story shows that no matter your strength or status, that if you are bad like the wolf to other people like the piglets then there is going to be consequences and some kind of punishment like
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This note was uploaded on 11/02/2011 for the course HIS 101 taught by Professor Dierenfield during the Spring '11 term at Cardinal Stritch.

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poetics of conduct - Alysse Johnson The Moral of the Story...

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