The Rape of your Daughter

From the moment a mother finds out she is pregnant, a protective instinct takes over. From that day on her only job is to make sure her children are safe from harm. When a mother finds out that her daughter has been raped, it breaks that mother’s heart. It makes her question her abilities as a mother, and regret every moment that she gave her daughter freedom to allow this horrible event to occur.

In Brecht’s play, Mother Courage and her Children, this is the complete opposite. Brecht provides us with a mother that every child would never dream of having. Her only concern is making a living from the war. Through out the play all three of her children die, but that does not matter because she has to keep working.

In act six, Mother Courage sends her daughter Kattrin to town with the Regimental Secretary to pick up a package from the Golden Lion. As Kattrin is leaving, Mother Courage tells her, “most everyone’s at the Field Marshall’s funeral, nothing can happen to you. Hang tight to the package,” (65). When Kattrin returns, Mother Courage notices a cut on her forehead and eye. Although it appears that Kattrin has been raped and beat up, she is still bringing the supplies for her mother. After Mother Courage bandages up Kattrin’s face, she gives her Yvette’s red shoes and say’s, “No husband for her now,” (70). Even after she finds her daughter in such a horrible condition Mother Courage still says, “War! A great way to make a living,” (69).

Through this scene you are able to realize that Mother Courage is not the mother most girls would desire. I know that if I got raped, I would not want Mother Courage to be by my side. As mentioned in Professor Newman’s lecture, the goal of epic theater is to interrupt our pity by de-naturalizing the dramatic event going on on stage. Through epic theater, Brecht does not allow us to have sympathy on Kattrin, but instead makes us question Mother Courage’s place as a mother.

Even though this war has just caused her daughter great pain, Mother Courage still loves this war because its “a great way to make a living.” I know for sure that my mom would immediately drop her business and move our family as far away form the war as possible. This is because the main role of a mother is to make sure her children are safe, and then to have a successful business in order to provide for the children.

In act three Kattrin had put on Yvette’s shoes and hat. Yvette was the hooker for the army. Mother Courage immediately takes off the hat and told her, “ You want them stumbling across you and making you their whore?” (36).  Now that Kattrin has been raped, Mother Courage gives Kattrin the shoes that she had once forbade her to wear. Although it may look like she did this to try to make her feel better, it may also be that now her mother thinks she should be a hooker since she is no longer a ‘lady.’ This also takes away her dream of her daughter marrying someone some day.

As you can see, Mother Courage does not feel that bad for her daughter. Her main concern is making money during the war. Brecht gives us this example of a horrible mother to teach other mother’s not to be like her. He is telling them that instead of worrying about making money, they should always have their children as their first priority.

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Three Sides to One Story

People always say there are three sides to a story. The first side is the side of one group who embellishes the story with their own thoughts. The second side is the other group who also embellishes the story, but for their own benefit. The third side is the truth which is unaltered and in most cases unknown. I believe the same is true for translations of stories. In class, we discussed that translation means to carry something across different languages. This means that the translator is able to pick and choose what he wants to include and what he wants to exclude.

There are two translations to a witness account on the Sage of Magdeburg. The first witness account is translated by Julie K. Tanaka. From this account we get the sense that the witness, Otto Guericke, is looking at the war from far. It gives us an ugly picture about the war, but it does not seem as bad as the second account that Robinson gives us. Robinson’s translation seems like he is actually inside the city watching all this happen in front of him.

For example, both translations mention the army attacking the city too hard, therefore trying to defend themselves would be useless. As the reader, one interprets each translation differently by the way it is explained by each writer. In Tanaka’s account she says “Fires were set everywhere. By this time, it was too late for the city and all resistance was in vain…to be sure,citizens and soldiers gathered and resisted,” (Tanaka, 1). Robinson’s version says, “Fires were kindled in different quarters; then indeed it was all over with the city, and further resistance was useless. Nevertheless, some of the soldiers and citizens did try to make a stand,” (Robinson).  These two passages are both saying the same thing, but the translation is different. When Tanaka say’s that fires were set everywhere, this is the view you would see from far, but from close you would get Robinson’s view by describing that the fire was not everywhere, but in different quarters.

There is also a difference between just watching a battle and actually experiencing it. Tanaka’s translation says that the “most terrible moment lasted not much more then two hours, as the wind picked up and furiously spread the fire,” (Tanaka, 2). Robinson say’s that “in a single day [the ] noble city…went up in flames,” (Robinson). Once again, both translations are basically saying the same thing. Yet, the way they say it makes it seem completely different. If you were just watching a battle, you would be able to realize that it took only two hours for the city to go up in flames like in Tanaka’s translation. If you were inside the city, in the middle of the battle, time would be the last thing on your mind. Then two hours would seem like what Robinson’s translation says, “a single day.”

Although many parts of the article seem the same, there are many differences. Therefore, translations may not always tell the full story, or even the correct story. Little differences, may make a big change.

This is just another form of interpretation. It is up to you to decide what it looks like. It is the same for an author deciding to translate a novel. They get to choose what to do with it.

This is just another form of interpretation. It is up to you to decide what it looks like. It is the same for an author deciding to translate a novel. They get to choose what to do with it.

Women are the Backbone

As many people would say, women are the backbone of men. Men may be the head of the family, but they would not be able to move or walk without that strong woman at their side. In Homer’s Iliad, this is especially true of the men of the heroic society. The men believed that the women were not worth much because they did not go to battle and fight for their city. Yet, while they were in battle, the women were back at home taking care of everything else. The women raised the warriors’  children. They were the ones that taught the children the morals and values they needed to become an amazing warrior just like their father. The father was at war, and never helped raise that child in the right path. The women were the ones who prayed for those men day and night while they worried if they would ever see their loved ones again. When the men were gone, the women had to take responsibility over everything. Apart from their regular duties they had to take on the men’s duties as well. It was no longer women cook and clean and men do the hard work that gained the money. Without these women, the Trojan city would have collapsed sooner then it did.

So, with all this work that the women did, where is their praise? Where is their epic poem? The Iliad mentions women, but only as a prize. They mention women as an object to have sex with. They mention women as the weak ones waiting for the men to return home from battle. The Iliad does not give any recognition to these strong women who are the backbone of men.

So, to all those unrecognized women who support their family in the same way or maybe even more then the head of the household, thank you for all your hardwork that goes unnoticed.