Thursday, April 16, 2009

The Golden Ass

I really enjoyed Robert Graves' The Golden Ass and wish that we would have had more time to discuss it in class. It was an intriguing tale and the connections between Cupid and Psyche's story and that of Cinderella and Beauty and the Beast were interesting. Overall I liked the book a lot. However, to be completely honest I did not like the character of Psyche very much. I feel like she represents the stereotypical woman that has to be told what to do because she can't think for herself. Whenever her step sisters tell her to do anything she obeys without question even though it is obvious to the reader that they are giving her bad advice. Then, after her lover leaves her, she becomes helpless and cannot see the purpose in living so she tries to kill herself. I feel like this is also a display of the stereotypical woman who needs a man and his direction in order to find purpose in life. Not only can she not make her own decisions, but she cannot take care of herself and is reliant upon Cupid and his love for meaning in life. As all women have pent up rage inside waiting to burst forth, she decides that she needs to kill her sisters for making her lose Cupid. Again, she does not take responsibility for her own actions and puts it all on her sisters. Also, I would say that making them jump off a cliff was perhaps a little harsh too. They are portrayed as stupid women as well in doing this task.

Overall, it seems like women are presented as helpless and mindless creatures that are completely reliant on men in the tale of Cupid and Psyche. Granted, I realize that women were not highly esteemed in the past and this might have something to do with it. I am not one of those crazy feminists who would say that we shouldn't read this book because it is sexist, but it still does bother me a little bit. I simply find it annoying and know that I would not like her at all if I were to meet Psyche in person.

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