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Gilgamesh

In: English and Literature

Submitted By rauren711
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"I have read, understand, and am in compliance with the Academic Honesty policy. In particular, I have not committed any kind of plagiarism. There are no un-attributed direct or indirect quotations or paraphrases from printed materials, websites, other students' papers, or any other sources in my essay."

Professor Iglesias, Valint, and Nathanael
English 203 10 April 2014

The Substance I Lack I Find in You When looking for love we may not realize that many times we are merely looking to improve our own areas of opportunity. We subconsciously look for counterparts that create a balance by contributing to what attributes are lacking within ourselves. In “The Epic of Gilgamesh” and Ama Ata Aidoo’s “Anowa” we see two character’s Gilgamesh and Anowa searching for substance in people who are unlike themselves. Their life’s counterparts have what they are lacking within themselves; security. In both Anowa and Gilgamesh’s relationships we are able to see their true characteristics through their choice of mates. Both characters are portrayed to be powerful but when we see who they fall in love with we learn the nature of their true self. We learn that though they may appear strong and confident are in actuality both insecure. Gilgamesh is described in the beginning of the story as “like a bull he makes himself mighty head raised (over others)” (Iglesias, Mays and Pierce 8). He is boastful and constantly ensuring everyone feels his presence when around. He acts as though he is all powerful, filled with courage, without insecurities. Whereas in the story of Anowa, she is not like a bull necessarily but still very strong willed as described by the old woman and man in the story “That Anowa is something else….she listens to her own tales, laughs at her own jokes and follows her own advice” (Iglesias, Mays and Pierce 92). Anowa is very different from the women of her culture. She is not one who just goes with whatever the man says, but instead has a mind and opinion of her own. The descriptions of both characters suggest that neither one has any insecurities. You have Gilgamesh who is the king or Uruk taking and possessing anything that his heart desires. Then you have Anowa who should have been a god like character rather than just a normal woman. When we meet who they choose as their partners we find out that whereas they appear to have everything, they are in fact lacking a certain quality. Gilgamesh and all of his brassiness finds love in Enkidu who is quite the opposite of Gilgamesh. When the god Aruru makes Enkidu for Gilgamesh the story describes his creation “in the wilderness she created valiant Enkidu, born of silence, endowed with strength” (Iglesias, Mays and Pierce 9). The character Enkidu is a far contrast of Gilgamesh, whereas Gilgamesh has god like characteristics, because he is part god, Enkidu is all human. Gilgamesh loves Enkidu because he is strong, confident in himself, and has a softer side than that of Gilgamesh. Before Enkidu he acts as though he is above all things, but after meeting Enkidu we see that in actuality Gilgamesh was lonely. His heavy presence is not because he has an abundance of friends, or feels good about himself, but in fact feels the opposite. In the story of Anowa we see a similar situation. Anowa is a very educated woman which is slightly unusual in her time and in the village which she lives. She was born to be a priestess, but her mother did not allow this for her, so she is insecure in her life’s destiny. She is also lonely and has not accepted a suitor due to her possible strong mindedness. When she meets a man named Kofi Ako who is described by the Old Man in the story as “The pale stranger in our midst: Kofi was, is, and shall always be One of us” (Iglesias, Mays and Pierce 92). She feels a sense of confidence in herself that has been lacking due to her disapproval of her parents and not having already been married off. Kofi has not been privy to the same lifestyle and understandings of Anowa. She chooses him because she believes as she says can “help him to do something with his life” (Iglesias, Mays and Pierce 103). By choosing Kofi as her mate we are able to see the insecurity in Anowa and how she gains this security from Kofi, because he “needs” her. She does not believe in her own abilities to change her own life. Anowa hopes to be a liberator for Kofi by helping him become something more. She feels Kofi likes her different ways and will allow her to help him start a life somewhere else. She obtains a sense of confidence because of this ability to help Kofi. If Kofi did not show any need for her understanding and ability she would not have liked him as she did. She desired to feel needed and as though she could help change someone’s life. Toward the end of both stories we are able to see even more telling signs of who Gilgamesh and Anowa actually are through their choice of mates. Anowa tells Kofi “such women are more civilized than I, who only come from Yebi. They, like you, have learned the ways of white people. And a woman like that may be attractive enough to be allowed in your bed” (Iglesias, Mays and Pierce 147). In the beginning Kofi needed Anowa to help him reach new heights, but when Anowa was not interested in being high and mighty his thoughts of her changed. The words spoken by Anowa show that she chose Kofi because of his “normalcy” and her thoughts of herself as strange in comparison to other women. Even though the reader sees a strong and intelligent person, from her choice of Kofi as her mate we find that Anowa has always actually been insecure in who she is. The outward appearance of Anowa is one of strength and dignity but her true inner self is very vulnerable. She did not choose a man who actually loves her for what she is, but in fact chose her because of what he would gain. Throughout the story of Gilgamesh we watch as Gilgamesh destroys things all around, going into battles as though he is immortal, and living as though he could not die. But when his mate dies the fear of death consumes Gilgamesh and his true self shines through. He goes on a voyage to try and destroy death and while roaming the wilderness he says” I am going to die!-am I not like Enkidu? Deep sadness penetrates my core, I fear death.” (Iglesias, Mays and Pierce 49). We are able to see that Gilgamesh’s choosing of Enkidu shows the uncertainty of life and the insecurity he has regarding death within himself. If he were to have chosen an immortal there would not have been an insecurity regarding death, but possibly the opposite, life. Gilgamesh wanted to live forever and by knowing that this would not be the case in his life he was pierced with insecurity. Through the story of Anowa and the Epic of Gilgamesh the reader will start to look at their own mate for which they have chosen to share life with. They may find if they can see past their ego that they have chosen their mate to counter balance their own characteristic deficiencies. In the stories of Anowa and The Epic of Gilgamesh we are able to conclude that though they may be portrayed as confident characters are in actuality riddled with insecurity. Their heart’s desire the pieces that were missing within themselves. They were able to become balanced upon entering a relationship with those that had the attributes they lacked. They would not have liked someone that was like themselves because the balance would not have been achieved. There is a lot that can be understood by looking at who we choose as our partners in life. Just as with Anowa and Gilgamesh sometimes we can see the substance we are striving to achieve by looking at those that capture our hearts.

Works Cited
Iglesias, Luis A, Micheal Mays and Linda M Pierce. "Global Crossroads: A World Literature Reader." Anonymous. The Epic of Gilgamesh. Texas: Fountainhead Press, 2500-1500 BCE. 6-71. Book.
Iglesias, Luis A, Micheal Mays and Linda M Pierce. "Global Crossroads: A World Literature Reader." Aidoo, Ama Ata. Anowa. Texas: Fountainhead Press, 1970. 87-158. Play.

Bibliography
Iglesias, Luis A, Micheal Mays and Linda M Pierce. "Global Crossroads: A World Literature Reader." Aidoo, Ama Ata. Anowa. Texas: Fountainhead Press, 1970. 87-158. Play.

Iglesias, Luis A, Micheal Mays and Linda M Pierce. "Global Crossroads: A World Literature Reader." Anonymous. The Epic of Gilgamesh. Texas: Fountainhead Press, 2500-1500 BCE. 6-71. Book.…...

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