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CLA 322 4/21/16

by: Kenya

CLA 322 4/21/16 CLA 322 P


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CLA 322 4/21/16 notes on Bimwili and the Zimwi Note: a lot of these notes are my own opinion and interpretations, proceed cautiously.
greek Mythology: Monsters
Han Tran
Class Notes
25 ?




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This 15 page Class Notes was uploaded by Kenya on Sunday April 24, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to CLA 322 P at University of Miami taught by Han Tran in Spring 2016. Since its upload, it has received 28 views. For similar materials see greek Mythology: Monsters in Classical Studies at University of Miami.

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Date Created: 04/24/16
CLA 322 4/21/2016 Bimwili and the Zimwi: Follow along with the source available on black board—excuse the bad pictures.  Notice the smug seagull that suspiciously re-occurs through the story.  Note the close connection of the shell to the sea, and the similarity of the pattern with that of the Zimwi Questions to askoneself during reading:  What is the role of nature? What are the relationships to it and the charcaters (Bimwillie, Zimwi, the sisters, etc.) ?  Who/What is the Zimwi?Monster or Fantastic creature?  What’s hisend goal? Does he achieve it ?  Why would this story be told to children? Whydoes this tale even exist?  Nature, as an image here, over-compasses the page. It is exhuberent, in your face, and Bimwili interacts with it fully, while her sisters press on aware of it, but not participating.  The Shell Song: expresses wonder of nature through the image of this shell  See the little smug seagull? Interestingly, while Bimwili is entranced by her fascination with the shell her sisters play in the background, fully enjoying what the beach has to offer. Perhaps there is a lesson here, I don’t know what it is, but it’s worth thinking about. + Whymust Bimwili go back to get her shell?  What would it mean for her if she never found that shell again?  Look at her frenzy, and notice how the other animals watch her (seeminglyas smug as the seagull)  Most importantly, that one little bird who seems to be frantically pointing in the other direction, Biding Bimwili to followe her sisters  Notice how none of the animals or plant life seemed concerned with her departing sisters, and concentrate around the rushing Bimwili Trying to answer “What or who is the Zimwi?”  Bimwili instantly recognizes this creature as the “ugly, old Zimwi.” She knows exactly who he is, but seems ignorant of his actions and purposes o Perhaps this could be translated to her knowledge of nature?  The Zimwi speaks her language, and giver her what seems to be a customary greeting. Is the Zimwi a native? How native is he, and how long has he been here? This could also account for the receptivity of the other villages later on in the story o Perhaps he could be considered this strange old (ancient?)figure, who is weird looking, but pops up every once in a while Again, notice the reactions of the sea life: The fish and the clam (who was previously closed in the depiction of Bimwili finding the shell). First: Please go back and look over the state of the ocean from the girls’ arrival to Bimwili’s kidnapping. The waves seem to get increasingly tumultuous. Compare that with the state of the ocean on the cover. Also, notice the expressions of the animals.  Zimwi puts the shell in with her, interesting.  As we have seen, the Zimwi is obviously equipped for grasping things at far distances, so why does Bimwili continue to approach him? Why is that shell so important?  Could it be that when she embraced the message of the shell, she embraced the message of the Zimwi (whatever that is)? Or is he just a kidnapper of little girls? They seem more fascinated by the singing drum and the song it sings, rather than the strange green long armed, creature playing it. They even cook him food! Bimwili is right under her search party’s nose. Cloaked by the abundance of the forest. Again, looking at the Zimwi:  Why does he stop to feed her, he could just let her starve? o They feast on all the good fruit of the forest  Why does he allow her to get out of the drum and sleep on the mats of guest houses at night?  Remember the Zimwi puts the shell inside with her, which she uses to lull her to sleep o Why should he allow her comfort? o Is she really in a horrible situation (you know looking past the whole kidnapping, living in a drum bit)? Most importantly, why does the Zimwi not notice Bimwili has started changing the lyrics to her song? Remember, he was as enthralled with her previous song as she was. What does it mean that Bimwili’s village has a giant mango tree as its center?  This tree is old, gigantic, and obviously very reproductive. In a way, this tree is as much of a spectacle as the shell and incites wonder and fascination. Is the heart of the meaning of nature, the heart of Bimwili’s village? Did the Zimwi really steal the shell?  Think about it for a moment. The Shell came from the sea, and the Zimwi was there in seagull form when Bimwili found it. It was never hers to begin with, the Zimwi (representative of nature—especially the sea) gave it to her.  Nor did the Zimwi take the shell from her. Bimwili left the shell behind (perhaps abandoning his gift?) noticed it was gone at the last minute and came back to get it. The Zimwi did have it, but he promised to return it to her if she sang for him. She did and he gave her back the shell in the end (though he put her in a drum, she still got her shell back) Who is the Zimwi?!  He actually fulfills his promise to return the shell to her  He feeds her and lets her out at night  And she’s experiencing more of her world that she would have ever known if she had never found the shell and met the Zimwi Yet: He seems unable to notice Bimwili’s song changes and her message to her mother Question: obviously Bimwili is safe, the decoy sand has been poured and the song has been sung, the drums played, and the Zimwi fed. Since it’s basically time for the Zimwi to leave, and since he would have been far gone before he noticed Bimwili’s disappearance, why would the people request an encore, and laugh at this seemingly horrifying, strange, not understood creature? Now we see a side of the Zimwi that has been implied, but is not expressly shown.  He has transformative powers and turn into a pumpkin, but not any sort, he’s an “All- Devouring Pumpkin”, capitalized.  Interestingly the drum, where Bimwili and her shell were held, turns into the vine of this pumpkin o The vine is the life source of the pumpkin, it nourishes it. o Just as Bimwili nourished the Zimwi when she was the “singing drum” o Perhaps, just as the fascination with nature feeds the existence of the Zimwi? Notice how sea waves are painted on the drum, and sort of moss or seaweed is its cover.  In this sense wouldn’t sand make more sense than a little girl? Just saying.  Also, Bimwili is the one who finds the pumpkin. Notice how here sisters don’t abandon her this time. “Have you seen my people?”—“Are your people pumpkins?” This exchange could be interpreted in two ways (at least for me): 1. The Zimwi acknowledges the girls (plural now—not just Bimwili) as his people a. Since the sisters are as aware as Bimwili of the Zimwi, are they aware of the fantastic as well as absurd, strange, and monstrous (?) aspects of nature he represent? Are they his people now because they understand his purpose, or they have learned the lesson he has been trying to teach? 2. Is this the acknowledgement of the separation of the Zimwi from the people (in the form of Hamasi)? a. Those girls are not your people, because you are a pumpkin (nature) and belong with pumpkins (nature). If two is true, my point could be evidenced by the physical separation of the girls and the pumpkin, by the agency of Hamasi again. He turns into the smug seagull we’ve seen since the beginning. Why is he so damn smug?  Has his purpose/lesson been fulfilled?  Has Bimwili learned about the joys and consequences of her fascination with nature? If so she has learned, though Nature is beautiful and exists all around her, she is not a part of that nature. She must enjoy it, and know when to set it down. Her sisters as well as the village have a greater sense of community as well. He bids Bimwili farewell as if he will never see her again.  He doesn’t need to. His lesson has been taught and Bimwili has the shell ( a representative of him) with her always “Too the people the shell was amazing.”  Little Bimwili is now in charge of teaching her people the lessons of the Shell and the Zimwi o They react exactly the same as she did when she first found the shell o Her expression is also similar to the Zimwi The Zimwi reminds you of the Norse giants, who are also part of and defines nature. Also reminds you of Loki who constantly teaches you the nature of the way things are (and they are both shape shifters, and “tricksters”—they tend to be more clever than you think they are, with an obscure ulterior motive). Loki’s role in Ragnarok forces the gods to see their inevitable doom Diff: Zimwi is not a god, just powerful. Things go on for the Zimwi, but Loki dies with Heimdall and his function ends there. We (the reader) know so there is no need for Loki’s lesson.  For the Zimwi there will always be children who need to learn his lesson


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