Symbols and Structure

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Symbols and Structure
Offered 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012
Campus(es) East
Instructor(s) Ms. Lisa "Frau" Klarr (07-09), Kate ('10), Andy ('12)
TA(s) Kate (07-09), James ('10), Meghan ('11-'12), Andy ('11)

Symbols and Structure

Do humans from different cultures around the world share a similar collective memory of images, shapes, colors and ideas? How have these shared ideas formed the basis of mythology, literature, film, and art? Using psychologist Carl Jung's theory of archetypes, explore works ranging from the plays and poems of the ancient Greeks to modern short stories and films to discover and decode the archetypal elements informing these works. Recognize recurring symbols and paradigms and unravel their significance to master a powerful tool for unlocking the deeper meaning in seemingly disparate yet connected works of art.


Symbols and Structure was an amazing class conceived at Duke East in 2007. Under the instruction of Ms. Klarr (fondly known by her students as "Frau,") and Kate (spirit animal three-legged dog) the TA, the class explored symbols and structure in literature, film, and art. Mrs. Barbaza also monitored the class as an intern learning how to teach gifted students, but the class suspected that the true reason for her presence was to complete the "symbolic three."

By exploring the theories of Jung, Cambell, Colberg, and Fish, the students soon learned to dissect Greek myths, African folklore, Native American tales, Grimm's fairy tales, and Poe whilst unearthing such stories' significance to the "collective unconscious." With the help of Medicine Man Bobby Lake-Thom, the class also learned that being chased by sharks or approached by a gila monster in a Nevada bathroom is actually a chance to connect with the unconscious.

At term one, the class was composed of eighteen students: thirteen fourth-years, four third-years, and only one second year.

After viewing the movie O Brother, Where Art Thou?, a loose adaptation of The Odyssey during week one, some of the students were so impressed by the music that they downloaded the lyrics from the Brown computer lab and began to sing such songs as "As I went down in the river to pray" and "Go to sleep you pretty baby" during breaks and free time. During a memorable trip to the Reading Room and the Duke West library during the second week, the class began to sing these songs a cappella on the bus and successfully scared not only all the other riders but the driver as well.

At the Talent Show, the following Symbols and Structure students sang "As I went down in the river to pray" as the first act: Rebecca "Zeus" Mellor, Vinegar McGilvray, Blake Montgomery, Robert Duffley, Emily Cook, Natalie Jacewicz, Evan Welber, Alex Smith, Neil Kimball, and Emma Joslyn.

The TiPsters loved their amazing instructor and TA so much that Natalie wrote a song, to the tune of "Jingle Bells," about Kate and Frau. It is composed of all the German words the class knew(except for the beginning, which is Japanese for 'cute'): Ka-wa-ii, Kate und Frau, umlaut glockenspiel! Da Rhineland, da dachshund, und wienerschnitzel! Ka-wa-ii, Kate und Frau, Hiel frankfurter! Ubermensch, we da best! Gazunteit Ann Coulter! On the ending note, Evan Welber would rise into a very high falsetto.

In one of the most amazing breaks ever, the Symbols and Structure class danced with ADFers. Having just watched The Sleeping Beauty (the ballet, not the Disney version), the class was interested by the African Drum dance session that was in place on the grass just past Duke East. With Kate und Frau's permission, they went over and sat on the grass, intending just to watch the ADFers. However, the ADF dance instructor noticed the TiPsters sitting and watching, and called for them to come over and join the dance. Each ADFer grabbed a TiPster and the TiPsters were taught a few simple African dance moves, which they proceeded to use at the TiP dances.

The Symbols and Structure class also introduced maiden dancing at the term 1 TiP dances. Maiden dancing is similar to svusching, but slower and a little less frenzied. It is also done in groups during slow songs rather than solo.

Maiden Dancing originated with the cult of Hera in the terrible (but funny) Hercules movie shown at the beginning of the class. Amused by the antics, the Symbols and Structure class performed the maiden dance (with such moves as, "Give Birth!") during the first dance during lame slow songs, and continued to maiden dance at the second and third dances, when they were joined by other TiPsters, RCs, and Kate, none of whom (with the exception of the amazing Kate) actually understood the origins of the dance.

Term II 2008

During Term II of 2008, Symbols and Structure was interesting. After they moved on from Jung and Freud, at least. Most of the class fostered an extreme dislike for the two.

They liked Hercules. At least with his shirt off. Well, the female portion did. This inspired a great quote on the term page for the class, "a pony is not a centaur...pound by pound" *to be said epically* Additionally, the term 2 2008 shirt was written based off of a phrase in Becca Flank's modernized fairytale. The shirt says, "My .5th child could beat up your honor student" another quote from the story considered was, "troll dolls insult my vertically challenged mother"

When each class was challenged to give their TA a gift in order to get the Llama back, Kate [the TA] told them that they need not spend money. The class, however, having previously noted Kate's undying love for Captain Planet, managed to sneak a Captain Planet episode into one of the final presentations and also turned David Cruz into Captain Planet.

Symbols and Structure was recognized for their epic-ness at the last dance.

There are probably photos on facebook.

Term I 2012

currently being edited and will be posted soon