World Folklore: Jean de La Fontaine (France)


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  • In the 17th Century, France became the most important country on in Europe. But as the rich were living comfortably, the people were were starving. High taxes, wars. The king did whatever he wanted: eg. he could sent whoever displeased him to prison.
  • World Folklore: Jean de La Fontaine (France)

    1. 1. Bonjour! Je m’appelle Aline.
    2. 2. Can you find my country on this map?
    3. 3. What comes to mind when you think of France? The Eiffel tour, bread, wine, cheese, fashion?
    4. 4. • Nice Where I Grew Up
    5. 5. My Family
    6. 6. My School
    7. 7. France in the 17th Century – King Louis XIV Became king at 4 years old! Reigned for 72 years. Autocratic king Divine right monarchy, power comes from God, no one can judge the ruler's actions.
    8. 8. Jean de La Fontaine (1621-1695) Fabulist and poet. Upset with the situation of France. Other writers criticizing Louis XIV were thrown in jail. « Je me sers d’animaux pour instruire les hommes. » => I use animals to teach men.
    9. 9. La Fontaine's version of Aesop’s « The Oak and the Reed» One day the proud Oak said to the Reed, “You poor thing, you must be so upset with Nature. The smallest wind makes you bend your head. For me, similar to strong mountains, not even a tempest will bother me. The North Winds that make you bend are but a whisper to me. Now, if you grew in my shade that covers the whole neighborhood, you wouldn’t suffer as much. I would protect you. But instead you grow on the humid banks, exposed to wind.”
    10. 10. You are so kind,” replied the Reed, “But do not worry. The winds for me are much less dangerous than for you; I bend, but do not break. You have resisted the wind, but let’s just wait till the end.” As he said these words, came the worst wind the North ever gave birth too. The tree held strong; the reed bent.
    11. 11. “The wind redoubled his efforts, so that finally it uprooted the oak who once stood tall, the one who thought himself so strong now belonged among the dead.
    12. 12. Metaphors are used : What would The Oak represent? The Reed ? The wind? How do you interpret « I bend but do not break » ? Why did La Fontaine use a fable to tell this story?
    13. 13. How do you make your voices heard? What issue do you care about? Brainstorm a fable that could illustrate this message.
    14. 14. Key aspects of the text The Oak : tall and mighty. Maybe a bit haughty and arrogant as well ? Offers his « protection » to the reed. The reed's answer? « No thanks! You might think yourself strong, but just wait and see... » Teaches the value of humility at the same time as it suggests that rulers may not be as powerful as they think themselves. Also criticize the set ways of the monarchy, implying that if one refuses to change, it is bound to be « uprooted » !
    15. 15. Autres slides: notes diverses sur la presentation (choses a rajouter eventuellement?) 23/10/2013
    16. 16. Tout flatteur vit aux dépens de celui qui l’écoute. (Le Corbeau et le Renard, l, 2) La raison du plus fort est toujours la meilleure. (Le Loup et l’Agneau, l, 10) Si ce n’est toi, c'est donc ton frère. (Le Loup et l’Agneau, l, 10) Plutôt souffrir que mourir, c’est la devise des hommes. (La Mort et le Bûcheron, l, 16) Garde toi, tant que tu vivras, de juger les gens sur la mine. (Le Cochet, le Chat et le Souriceau, l, 41) Je plie et ne romps pas. (Le Chêne et le Roseau, l, 22) Il faut autant qu’on peut obliger tout le monde : On a souvent besoin d’un plus petit que soi. (Le Lion et le Rat, II, 11) Patience et longueur de temps font plus que force ni que rage. (Le Lion et le Rat, II, 11) Est bien fou du cerveau qui prétend contenter tout le monde et son père. (Le Meunier, son Fils et l’Âne, III, 1) Ils sont trop verts, dit-il, et bons pour des goujats. (Le Renard et les Raisins, III, 11) La méfiance est mère de la sûreté. (Le Chat et un vieux Rat, III, 18) Petit poisson deviendra grand. (Le Petit Poisson et le Pêcheur, V, 3) Un tiens vaut, ce dit-on, mieux que deux tu l’auras. (Le Petit Poisson et le Pêcheur, V, 3) Le travail est un trésor. (Le Laboureur et ses Enfants, V, 9) Rien ne sert de courir ; il faut partir à point. (Le Lièvre et la Tortue, VI, 10) Aide-toi, le Ciel t’aidera. (Le Chartier embourbé, VI, 18) Selon que vous serez puissant ou misérable, les jugements de cour vous rendront blanc ou noir. (Les Animaux malades de la peste, VII, 1) Tel est pris qui croyait prendre. (Le Rat et l'Huître, VIII, 9) Amour, Amour, quand tu nous tiens / On peut bien dire: Adieu prudence. (Le Lion amoureux, IV, 1) Mais les ouvrages les plus courts sont toujours les meilleurs… (Discours à M. le duc de La Rochefoucauld, X, 14) Que de tout inconnu le sage se méfie. (Le Renard, le Loup et le Cheval) Il ne faut jamais vendre la peau de l’ours / Qu’on ne l’ait mis par terre (L'Ours et les deux Compagnons, V, 20) Qu’on me rende impotent, cul-de-jatte, goutteux, manchot, pourvu qu’en somme je vive, c’est assez, je suis plus que content. "Ne viens jamais, ô Mort; on t’en dit tout autant." (La Mort et Le Malheureux, I, 15) Les délicats sont malheureux : rien ne sauroit les satisfaire. (Contre Ceux Qui On Le Goût Difficile, II, 1) Si Dieu m’avait fait naître propre à tirer marrons du feu, certes marrons verraient beau jeu. (Le Singe et le Chat, IX, 17)
    17. 17. Aesop: early sources interpret the fable to be about pride and humility, providing advice on how to survive in turbulent times. « It is just the same in the case of a just and balanced spirit, which cares not for invincible strength and defeats malice and other evils by patient endurance, and achieves great riches by the acquisition of undying glory whereas boldness more often than not has its downfall. »
    18. 18. Set 'within the commonwealth of trees', it presents the two trees as sharing in its government. When a storm 'threatens the constitution of the state', the willow cringes acquiescently while the oak goes down fighting, but will not acknowledge the willow as the ultimate victor. I am an Oak, tho' fall'n indeed! Thou still a vile and skulking weed, Rais'd by no merit of thine own, But by the blast that laid me prone. Say, if thou canst, what plant or tree, Except a sycophant like thee, Devoted to intrigue and strife, Who'd e'er prefer a dastard's life, Preserv'd by guile and crafty saws, To falling in a GLORIOUS CAUSE? Much the same point was made in Jean Anouilh's reinterpretation of the story in 1962. There the oak asks the reed if it doesn't find La Fontaine's fable morally detestable. The reed's answer is that the limited concerns of 'we little folk' will see them better through testing times than taking the moral high ground. When once again the oak falls in the storm, the reed jeeringly asks if he had not foreseen the outcome correctly. The tree's answer to the reed's envious hatred is simply, 'But I am still an oak'.