There are these new things for teachers coming down from on high. They are called the Common Core Standards and they strike fear into the very souls of those who educate. Basically, someone in a Washington DC boardroom decided that it would be a good idea if ALL CHILDREN in America were held to the same standards of knowledge (I feel a future post coming about why THIS IS A TERRIBLE IDEA). And thus, the Common Core were born. Up until this point, each state has set its own standards of knowledge (for example: “cite evidence from a given text to support generalizations”) but now many states are adopting the Common Core. It is not mandated yet that they be adopted, but I’m sure that is where we are heading...in all the wisdom of those on high.
Anyway...one of the common core standards for seventh grade language arts is “Interpret figures of speech, such as mythological allusions, in context.” (Again...post coming later about why THIS IS A TERRIBLE IDEA). Well, I don’t have much background in the traditional myths beyond what I have seen in pop culture. Thank goodness for Disney. So I found a copy of Heroes, Gods and Monsters of the Greek Myths buried in the back of the school library and began reading.
WHY HAVE I NEVER READ THESE BEFORE??? Talk about enough drama for your mama...
Here’s a synopsis of my favorite so far:
Arachne was a young female weaver who was pretty good. In fact, she was the best mortal weaver ever. One day she says to herself “I’m so good, I think I’m better than Athena!”
Athena hears her say this and is all like, “Oooo, child. Don’t you know I INVENTED weaving??” So Athena decides to pay a visit to Arachne.
Athena knocks on Arachne’s door and as soon as Arachne opens it, she knows she is in for it. Athena doesn’t just show up on your doorstep every day.
“You have something you wanna say to me?” Athena bellows.
“ No ma’am,” responds Arachne.
“Fool! I heard what you said about me behind my back. Don’t you know I invented weaving? So here’s what we’re gonna do. Ima put you in your place. We’re going to have a contest. We’ll both weave a blanket. The townspeople will vote on who’s is better. If you can beat me, I’ll let you live. Understand?”
“Yes ma’am,” whimpers Arachne.
So the next day Arachne and Athena start weaving. By this time word has gotten out and everyone has gathered to see the showdown. Arachne’s blanket is pretty good. After all, she is the best MORTAL weaver around. But Athena kicks her butt. And Arachne knows it. So rather than waiting for Athena to kill her, Arachne goes off and hangs herself.
After Athena finishes her blanket and declares herself the winner (‘cause goddesses can do that and it is totally legit), she goes searching for Arachne. She finds her hanging from a tree with her face all distorted and her eyes all bulgy. Athena is pissed that Arachne killed herself rather than letting Athena do it. So Athena curses Arachne. She touches Arachne’s shoulder and her face gets even more distorted and her eyes even bulgier. The rope that she is hanging from turns into a silken thread.
And Arachne is turned into a spider. Doomed to spin and weave for the rest of eternity.
Seriously...why have I never read these before?? These are like soap operas...I can’t tear myself away.
Do you have a favorite Greek myth? Please share!!