Before completing this assignment, be sure to read the selections in The Thousand and One Nights” in the textbook from the prologue to “The Story of the Fisherman and the Demon” (pages 597-627), along

Before completing this assignment, be sure to read the selections in The Thousand and One Nights” in the textbook from the prologue to “The Story of the Fisherman and the Demon” (pages 597-627), along with the headnote to the work. 

Prompts (choose one):

  1. Pick one of the following terms and and in 3-5 sentences, define, explain, or show the significance of the term:
    1. Alf Layla Wa-Layla
    2. Frame story
    3. Jinn
    4. Shahrazad (think historically and as a hero)
    5. Influence of The Thousand and One Nights culturally
  2. How would you characterize King Shahrayar? How is the king described when he is first mentioned in the work?
  3. Both Shahrayar and Shahzaman are appalled by the actions of  their wives (and concubines). Should we be as well?
  4. At the end of the prologue, we are told:  “When supper came, [King Shahzamman] ate and drank with relish and zest and, feeling better, kept eating and drinking, enjoying himself and feeling happy. He thought to himself, “I am no longer alone in my misery; I am well.” Discuss the context of the scene and comment on why Shahzaman is no longer losing weight, growing thin, and becoming pale.
  5. Who is the better story teller, Shahrazad or her father? Who is better at convincing the audience? Is the fault in the tales or the tellers?
  6. Why does Shahrazad tell these tales to King Shahrayar? Comment on the sue of these tales as a framing device.
  7. What does Shahrazad say to King Shahrayar after each tale to postpone her death? Does this sound too formulaic? Why might each tale leave off with Shahrazad and King Shahrayar basically exchanging the same words?
  8. Most readers are familiar with the frame-narrative style of The Thousand and One Nights: Shahrazad tells the stories each night to King Shahrayar. Some of the tales involve frames within this frame. Cite at least one specific example and comment on the effect of the framing devices.
  9. How are women portrayed in the stories of The Thousand and One Nights? Does “good daughters/bad wives” about cover it? What are we to make of that?
  10. How is poetry used within the narratives of the tales (you may need to read additional selections to answer this prompt).

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