LISTEN: Spirituality as Quest, Pt. 8 — Hermann Hesse’s “Siddhartha”; Reading a Story, Pt. 12 — Plot (Literature and Spirituality #12 with Daniel Whyte III)


Daniel Whyte III
Daniel Whyte III

Our passage from the Word of God today is 2 Kings 12:19 which reads: “Now the rest of the acts of Joash and all that he did, are they not written in the Book of the Chronicles of the Kings of Judah?”

Our quote today is from Gabriel Garcia Marquez. He said: “Ultimately, literature is nothing but carpentry. With both you are working with reality, a material just as hard as wood.”

In this podcast, we are using as our texts: “Literature and Spirituality” by Yaw Adu-Gyamfi and Mark Ray Schmidt, and “Literature: An Introduction to Fiction, Poetry, Drama, and Writing” by X. J. Kennedy and Dana Gioia. If you enjoy this podcast, please feel free to purchase any one of these books from our website.

Our first topic for today is “Spirituality as Quest, Part 8” from the book, “Literature and Spirituality” by Yaw Adu-Gyamfi and Mark Ray Schmidt.

Here is a selection from Hermann Hesse’s Siddhartha:

The Ferryman (Part 1)
By this river I want to stay, thought Siddhartha, it is the same which I have crossed a long time ago on my way to the childlike people, a friendly ferryman had guided me then, he is the one I want to go to, starting out from his hut, my path had led me at that time into a new life, which had now grown old and is dead–my present path, my present new life, shall also take its start there!

Tenderly, he looked into the rushing water, into the transparent green, into the crystal lines of its drawing, so rich in secrets. Bright pearls he saw rising from the deep, quiet bubbles of air floating on the reflecting surface, the blue of the sky being depicted in it. With a thousand eyes, the river looked at him, with green ones, with white ones, with crystal ones, with sky-blue ones. How did he love this water, how did it delight him, how grateful was he to it! In his heart he heard the voice talking, which was newly awaking, and it told him: Love this water! Stay near it! Learn from it! Oh yes, he wanted to learn from it, he wanted to listen to it. He who would understand this water and its secrets, so it seemed to him, would also understand many other things, many secrets, all secrets.

But out of all secrets of the river, he today only saw one, this one touched his soul. He saw: this water ran and ran, incessantly it ran, and was nevertheless always there, was always an at all times the same and yet new in every moment! Great be he who would grasp this, understand this! He understood and grasped it not, only felt some idea of it stirring, a distant memory, divine voices.

Our second topic for today is “Reading a Story, Part 12” from the book, “Literature: An Introduction to Fiction, Poetry, Drama, and Writing” by X. J. Kennedy and Dana Gioia.

Plot (Part 2)

Protagonist Versus Antagonist
Death’s godson is the principal person who strives: the protagonist (a better term than hero, for it may apply equally well to a central character who is not especially brave or virtuous). The suspense, the pleasurable anxiety we feel that heightens our attention to the story, resides in our wondering how it will all turn out. Will the doctor triumph over Death? Even though we suspect, early in the story, that the doctor stands no chance against such a superhuman antagonist, we want to see for ourselves the outcome of his defiance.

Crisis and Climax
When the doctor defies his godfather for the first time – when he saves the king – we have a crisis, a moment of high tension. The tension is momentarily resolved when Death lets him off. Then an even greater crisis – the turning point in the action – occurs with the doctor’s second defiance in restoring the princess to life. In the last section of the story, with the doctor in the underworld, events come to a climax, the moment of greatest tension at which the outcome is to be decided, when the terrified doctor begs for a new candle. Will Death grant him one? Will he live, become king, and marry the princess? The outcome or conclusion — also called the resolution or denouement (French for “the untying of the knot”) — quickly follows as Death allows the little candle to go out.

Daniel Whyte III has spoken in meetings across the United States and in over twenty-five foreign countries. He is the author of over forty books. He is also the president of Gospel Light Society International, a worldwide evangelistic ministry that reaches thousands with the Gospel each week, as well as president of Torch Ministries International, a Christian literature ministry which publishes a monthly magazine called The Torch Leader. He is heard by thousands each week on his radio broadcasts/podcasts, which include: The Prayer Motivator Devotional, The Prayer Motivator Minute, as well as Gospel Light Minute X, the Gospel Light Minute, the Sunday Evening Evangelistic Message, the Prophet Daniel’s Report, the Second Coming Watch Update and the Soul-Winning Motivator, among others. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Theology from Bethany Divinity College, a Bachelor’s degree in Religion from Texas Wesleyan University, a Master’s degree in Religion, a Master of Divinity degree, and a Master of Theology degree from Liberty University School of Divinity. He has been married to the former Meriqua Althea Dixon, of Christiana, Jamaica for over twenty-seven years. God has blessed their union with seven children. Find out more at www.danielwhyte3.com. Follow Daniel Whyte III on Twitter @prophetdaniel3 or on Facebook.

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