CPLT 324 THE POPOL VUH QUESTIONS
Assigned: from The Popol Vuh (3076-92).
The Popol Vuh
1. In the selection from Part 1 (3079-82), what reason does the narrator give for the existence of the Popol Vuh? And why did the gods decide to create the world? (If you have read Genesis, how do these gods compare in motive and method to Yahweh?)
2. In the selection from Part 2 (3082-84), Hunahpu and Xbalanque defeat Seven Macaw. How do they manage to do that, and what can we learn from this story about the Quiche People of Guatemala's conception of the similarities to and differences between the gods' ways and human ways?
3. In the selection from Part 3 (3084-88), One and Seven Hunahpu (the parents of Hunahpu and Xbalanque) travel to "Dark House" in the underworld (Xibalba) and are sacrificed. Why are they sacrificed, and what happens after that? Why do the underground gods of Xibalba deserve to be defeated, as the narrative has it?
4. In the selection from Part 4 (3088-92), we arrive at the creation of human beings. How does that creation come about? Why might it be significant that people are said to have been created out of corn and that animals had something to do with it? Why do the gods decide to restrict humans' understanding?
5. In the concluding selection from Part 5 (3092), what things does the narrator ask for in the name of future generations? Is the request partly for restoration of lost powers (what the gods took away from humanity soon after the creation), or would you describe it another way? Explain.
Edition: Lawall, Sarah, ed. The Norton Anthology of World Literature. 2nd edition. Volumes 1ABC. New York: Norton, 2002. ISBN A = 0-393-97755-2, B = 0-393-97756-0, C = 0-393-97757-9.