In Part one, Section 1, the explaining the passage section of the final, I think it could be useful for us to respond to a passage from Bynum’s chapter. In this chapter, Bynum explains and dissects the many different wolf-human and metamorphosis stories that have existed throughout history. She displays the many differences between Ovid’s Lycaon and Marie’s Bisclavret towards the middle of the chapter. I found the following passage very thought-provoking and I think it lends itself very well to this section of the final.
“Whereas Ovid’s wolf carries traces of a former self on his skin, there is in Marie a suggestion of over and under, inner and outer, of a person under the shaggy wolf…” (Bynum 172).
(*In my opinion, there is a possibility that one might want to include the sentence that follows the above passage, simply for clarification, but I did not choose to include it here.)
Bynum’s Chapter Four, “Shape and Story” explores three different types of philosophies on identity, and how they are all interconnected. Bynum explores individual identity, identity position, and spatiotemporal continuity. Spatiotemporal continuity as she explores throughout her essay is the one that I found the most interesting, although it did raise some questions.
Bynum’s chapter on “Shape and Identity” was probably my favorite assignment we’ve read this semester. Ovid is one of my very favorite storytellers, so I especially appreciated it for her integration of Lycaon to portray the concept of continuity and duality in the “marvelous” genre of literature. Continue reading
Bynum’s chapter, Shape and Story, on narrative and spatiotemporal continuity is without a doubt the most interesting take on the philosophy and reality of identity that I have read. I took Philosophy of Knowledge and Reality a couple years back, which was a great course, that put more of an emphasis on categorizing the different theories revolving around space-time concepts, dream theories, identity problems, and mind-body theories in a more general nature using philosophers such as Rousseau and Taylor. Needless to say, these are very interesting philosopher, but also very dry and generic at times. Bynum’s chapters on metamorphosis and identity have brought a whole new piece to the puzzle. Continue reading
In chapter four of her text, Bynum investigates “spatiotemporal continuity”, and the fascinating, disturbing, complex question of whether we stay the same throughout time, and to what extent. This is an abstract notion, and it is therefore necessary to pinpoint what aspects of oneself must endure, such that one can still claim the same identity. In William of Palerne, the most important attribute of both Alphonse and William, which remains with them throughout their travels, is nobility. Both men care deeply about taking care of others, and protecting them from injustices.
I really enjoyed and endorse many of the points Bynum made in the chapter Metamorphosis and Identity. My favorite part was the first point of her conclusion where she discusses how “these dichotomies of nature versus nurture, biology versus social construction… do not seem to me to give us the help we need to deal compassionately with ourselves or with others” (Bynum 187). This point is so insightful to me — these difficult questions that we agonize over and spend so much time thinking about are ultimately obsolete if we are not compassionate and loving to one another. Continue reading
In Bynum’s chapter “Shape and Story,” she touches on certain issues that I think we have alluded to a little bit in class, but maybe not fully discussed. Bynum really emphasizes the need to think and theorize just in binaries, which is why some of our readings have been resistant to just think of the hybrid in terms of only human/animal dichotomies, like the werewolf – which has to be either completely human or completely animalistic. Continue reading