#EngLit Problems: Everything’s the same!

You try, you try so hard to remember cultures and times are different, that people are different, that ideas are different. And then you study them, and they just all seem to be the same – is this because we’re human? Or is it because I am using/the education system is using the same frame of reference and mode of investigation to explore these different things?

Ancient Greek culture, your hospitality was a sign of your honour, your honesty, your power, and your faith being that Zeus etc. were all tied up in the idea of hearth and home, and that the gods could at any minute come as a traveller into your house and give reward or punishment dependent on their treatment.

Old Norse/writing that I’m studying from Iceland circa 1000-1300, the emphasis, when not about perpetual vengeance cycles and feuds, is on other forms of honour e.g. how hospitality is a mark of honour and can increase loyalty and alliances.

Different cultures, same emphasis. Would we see hospitality in the same way now? Possibly not, it’s definitely polite to say, offer someone tea or whatever. But giving someone a gift every time they leave your house – more likely to be thought that you’re showing off, flaunting it, being a snob that takes pity on those less well off.


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