The Norton Anthology of World Literature Essay

659 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
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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).

Confucius means to convey that to self-govern, by knowing your core values and holding

fast to them at all times, defines integrity in its purest form. By this, he implies that

integrity exemplifies a notable concept to strive towards through a lifetime.

The memorable content of Book II provides valuable words for guidance through life.

The Master offers advice for the teen years, mid-life, and for the later years (Book II: 4).

He first recounts how he spent his younger years learning. He then states that in his

middle years, he developed a conviction which, in return, rewarded him with confidence.

Finally, in his later years, he comes to understand that Heaven brings the process to an

end and he makes peace with that recognition.

Further along in the anthology, Catullus’ Lyrics shares an entire cycle of a romantic

involvement that ends badly, the same type of relationship universally witnessed first-

hand or through acquaintances. Catullus demonstrates the highs and lows of his

impassioned emotions as he asserts that he loves and hates simultaneously (85: 1-2).