Greenblatt: It is what we are

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"Art is an important agent then in the transmission of culture.  It is one of the ways in which the roles by which men and women are expected to pattern their lives are communicated and passed from generation to generation" (Greenblatt 439).

Culture is in essence everything that we are, and everything that we are not.  I agree with this quote because i was raised with images that showed me how a man should treat a woman, adn how a man should be a man.  This does not necessarily mean that what on culture teaches is right, and another wrong.  I am sure that if raised on an island of cannibals, i would have no problem arguing how my cultures choices are well founded, and another cultures are not.  However, i believe i have slipped a bit away from what the quote was trying to say.  It is through art that many of our cultural norms are expressed.  Taken literally without literary criticism, Hanzel and Gretel is a story that reminds children to stay close to home, and not to trust strangers.  This is a good message for children to learn because you have to take strangers with a grain of salt, you don't know who that person is, what they want, what their morals are, or whether or not they are going to hurt you.  It is therefore expected in our culture that when we first meet someone, we should be kind, and respectful too them, but not let them get too close until we get to know them.  This is not to say that these are the only messages that can be found in the story, a house made of candy...if something is too good to be true, it probably is.  There are dozens of possible interpretations, but the fact still remains that due to these stories, our society has molded us into people capable of living day to day under the "terms of agreement" that allow us to remain a "unified" society.

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