***Reading notes derived from of the plot summaries for parts B-D of the Ramayana.
I find Rama’s exile to be interesting, and somewhat cliche, however there are very intriguing details of the episodes. I was compelled by the story of the golden deer used by Maricha as a disguise to draw in Sita. I would have liked to see the deer itself distract Sita, or perhaps bewitch her, rather than Sita having had Rama set out to capture it. I do like, however, how the capturing and killing of the deer breaks the cliche. I also would like to think that Ravana does not seek to capture Sita because he fell in love with her, but rather as revenge for the mutilation of his sister. In truth, if I were writing the story, Shurpanakha would not have been so violently mutilated by Lakshmana, but would have been a great and fearsome opponent to behold.
The one aspect of these epics that I find displeasing is the position of female characters; I found Rama’s test for Sita, for example, to be irritating. Jumping into a fire to prove one’s virtue for a man is not exactly my cup of tea. I do understand the sacred and cultural philosphies behind the Ramayana and the culture that surrounds it, and that is part of the reason I find this class so interesting. I desire to read further Indian stories and discover some truly strong female protagonists or characters. Sita is a very strong character, in my opinion, however I do not think that the story has been set up to display her courage. I would love to read or write a narrative from Sita’s point of view. She quite cleary acts out of her love for Rama and her desire for good. While she is in Ravana’s captivity, I believe that Sita would show courage, finding comfort and strength in the knowledge that Rama would come for her, rather than being consumed by her grief and pushed to a suicidal state.
I also found the monkeys to be very interesting. (How sad that I was reminded of the Wizard of Oz!) I would like to read more into the monkey civilizations, and more heroes like Hanuman.
Ramayana Parts A-B
Ramayana Parts C-D