So, my intention today was to go to the library and do research for my essay, but I'm too low to have to deal with Real People today so instead I'm staying in and ransacking MUSE/JSTOR/MLH.
I am increasingly distressed by the work that I have to do for my dissertation. Not the amount, but the direction the project is taking. I was trying to explain to the supervisor yesterday that what I want to focus on is the post-modern, and I wanted to look at two texts, and their specific re-imaginings of the original myths. She instead suggested that I look at one text in its various permutations. Which. It's a good idea, and I see the merit in it, but it's missing the point a little bit. She did, however, suggest emailing the editor at Canongate to ask him why he decided to pursue the Myth series, and I may well do that.
But, yeah, anyway - I'm spending the day in the house working on the essay, and later I have to finish that Numb3rs fic. Eek.
So, there's this story, and it tells us that mothers should not be meddled with, and that fruit can do us harm. The child Persephone played on the plains, picking flowers from the earth at Enna, when riding up from the underworld came Hades. Hades, seeing the beautiful young maiden, sought to make her his own, and kidnapped her, taking her to his domain. Only two bore witness to the crime: Zeus, Persephone's father, and Helios, the bright and fiery sun.
Persephone's mother was the Goddess of the crop, the great and bountiful Demeter, and when she could not find her daughter, she pined as all mothers would, wandering the earth in search of her child. In her distress, she neglected the earth, and so it withered into a lasting winter. The crops failed, and the people hungered. They cast their faces upwards, bared their palms and prayed to Zeus, why, why have you forsaken us?
Seeing the people's torment, Helios revealed to Demeter the whereabouts of Persephone and Demeter took her pleas to Zeus. So earnest was she, and so bitter her grief, that Zeus sent Hermes into the Underworld to speak with Hades.
Now, Hades had meant the young woman no harm, and in his fondness of her had entreated her to eat. But Persephone declined to sup, only mourned her mother, and the life she led above the ground. Here, Hades offered, dine with me, supplicate your hunger; but Persephone only wept. Here, Hades offered, break bread with me, supplicate your need; but Persephone only wept. Such was the scene when Hermes arrived to demand Hades' relinquishment of the girl. Hades agreed. Now, girl, eat before you return to your mother, eat so that she does not think I meant you ill. So Persephone ate, taking from the God of the Underworld a pomegranate, of which she ate six seeds, six seeds which bound her to Hades. Lo, for you have eaten the food of the dead, cried Hades, and now you belong to me!
Zeus could not argue with the natural order of things, but the earth would die without Demeter's care and attention. So Zeus judged the case thus: for each seed that you have eaten, you are bound to Hades for one month; all the rest belong to your mother, that you may dance in the light of the sun and be young once more. And so it is that for six months the earth thrives, whilst Persephone plays under the sun, and for six months the earth dies as Demeter mourns her daughter's absence.
The Flatmate, T and I sat down together last night to watch the Weeds finale which was fabulous and funny and all kinds of wonderful. I also watched the Californication finale which had me in hysterics, although the ending was bizarre to say the least. The Flatmate and I later watched Spooks which I enjoyed immensely, and then, to cure my woes, I ended up watching NCIS, 1x01, Yankee White.
I still LOVE this episode. It's still so effortlessly NCIS, setting an excellent precedent for the series that proceeded it. What has always intrigued me is Jethro's job offer to Kate, and what it was about her specifically that led to him offering her a position at NCIS. In his own words, she's "ballsy", she noticed things that even the FBI washed over (soft-shelled clams), and she was loyal. (I love the scene when she gets up after being sick to take a call from her superior, and Jethro's all, I'll take that for you, and she answers, "I'd have to be dead." And Jethro lets her go and then he smiles, so amused and genial, so relaxed.) To be entirely honest, as Kate developed as a character, she lost some of her edge, but I think that can be traced through her personal arc. But, anyway, I think the offer is borne out of a personal liking, and out of a sort of cocked-eyebrow respect. In contrast, Ziva is almost placed in Jethro's team, and made his responsibility by Jenny; but also, Jethro endorses her. His respect for her is won near-immediately, but I'll still contest that he didn't fully trust her until Hiatus when, in a more vulnerable state, he remembers and openly appreciates what Ziva sacrificed for him.
And now to dissecting the essay question and actually doing work today.