The Conference of the Birds

ESSAY #5: The Conference of the Birds

ASSIGNMENT:

  1. Take a section from the assigned readings and do the following in an essay:
    1. Discuss the basic structure of the section.
    1. Identify the allegorical players in at least one of the parables told.
    1. Explain what each of the significant players in the parable represents.
      1. What is the parable suggesting?
      1. How is the soul’s journey being blocked from its path to God?
      1. What answer is the parable giving in reference to the hoopoe’s advice?
  2. Be mindful of the editor’s suggestions about interpretation of allegory on pages xv-xviii:
    1. “Two themes in particular are diffused throughout almost the entire poem—the necessity for destroying the Self, and the importance of passionate love” (xviii);
    1. “If there are two main actors in any given story, it’s a good bet—it doesn’t always work but it does most of the time—that one of them represents the human soul and the other God” (xvi);
    1. “…often in Sufi tales it is the socially inferior person who represents God or the divine. This is the part of the Sufi love of paradox, a way of jolting the reader out of his normal expectation of the world” (xvii);
    1. Objects and individuals don’t maintain allegorical significance from one story to another, so the meanings of the symbols in each story have to be worked out anew” (xviii):

FORMAT REQUIREMENTS:

-MLA FORMAT

-12pt Times New Roman font

-Double-spaced 

-1500-2000 words (about 4-5 full pages)

CLARIFICATION OF WHAT A SECTION IS FOR ESSAY #5 (The Conference of the Birds)

Essentially, you will choose from one of the following posting assignments: 

  1. Posting #4 (pp. 61-66).
  2. Posting #5 (pp. 230-231; 231-232; 234-235).
  3. Posting #6 (pp.86-92).
  4. Posting #7 (pp. 127-128; 128-130).
  5. Posting #8 (pp. 132-133; 134-135; 135-136).
  6. Posting #9 (pp. 162-163; 163-164; 164-165; 165-166; 166).

The key is that you’ll be analyzing the entire structure of the section you choose. For example, an entire section constitutes the following: 

  1. A bird complains, or is otherwise reluctant;
  2. The hoopoe replies;
  3. A series of parables follows that exemplify through allegory the hoopoe’s reply. 

For example, in posting #9, the section is as follows: 

  1. A bird speaks its reluctance: “A bird who claims to be satisfied with his spiritual state” (162); 
  2. The hoopoe replies: “The hoopoe answers him” (162-163); 
  3. A series of parables follows: “How Sheikh Abu Bakr’s self-satisfaction was reproved” (163-164); “The devil’s secret” (164-165); “The sheikh and the dog” (165); “The anchorite whoh loved his beard” (165-66); “A dreaming fool” (166). [THESE PARABLES EXEMPLIFY THE HOOPOE’S REPLY TO THE RELUCTANT BIRD].

You’re not limited to the assigned sections; you can choose from other sections from the poem besides the assigned readings. Use the document “The Conference of the Birds SECTIONS DOC” to choose a section. Just make sure you choose from the sections ONE to TWENTY which are outlined on pages 2-6 of the document. That way you are assured of having a section with the following elements:

  1. A bird complains, or otherwise is reluctant to journey to the Simorgh;
  2. The hoopoe replies;
  3. A series of parables follows that exemplify through allegory the hoopoe’s reply.

TO SEE HOW FORMER STUDENTS DID THE ASSIGNMENT, PLEASE REFER TO THE FOLLOWING DOCUMENTS:

1. RESOURCE: Samantha Student–INTRODUCTION;

2. RESOURCE: Sammy Student–SAMPLE INTRO & FIRST PARAGRAPH;

3. RESOURCE: GENERIC OUTLINE. 

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