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151 Hieroglyphs
 

Foundations of America

QU201 Prof. Scott Leone

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151 Hieroglyphs

A Closer Look at Heiroglyphs

Hieroglyphs are graphical figures or symbols that represent words used as a form of language and communication amongst a society. In relation to the Ragtime context, Egyptians used hieroglyphics for religious literature during 3200 BC – AD 400. During this time, hieroglyphics could be found on surfaces such as wood and papyrus. Hieroglyphs are composed of three distinct forms of glyphs including phonetic glyphs, logographs, and determinatives. Some historians believe Egyptian hieroglyphics were influenced by Sumerian script, while others deem the language as an independent advancement amongst the Egyptian people.

Hieroglyphics on Papyrus


In chapter twenty of E.L. Doctrow’s Ragtime, J.P. Morgan meets with Henry Ford and tours him around his home on Madison Avenue. Morgan leads Ford in the direction of a glass case which held a sarcophagus of a great Pharaoh. Here, the discussion of religion emerges and Morgan invites Ford as his guest on an expedition to Egypt. Morgan converses, “My money has brought me to the door of certain crypts, the deciphering of sacred hieroglyphs. Why should we not satisfy ourselves of the truth of who we are and the eternal beneficent force which we incarnate?” (Doctrow 151). This quote illustrates J.P Morgan’s eagerness to voyage through Egypt alongside Henry Ford. Moreover, the passage plays with the idea that, in J.P. Morgan’s eyes, Egyptian hieroglyphics unveil secret teachings that could be very valuable to both himself and Henry Ford.





Sources:

http://www.nilestone.com/Hieroglyphics.htm

http://www.ancientscripts.com/egyptian.html

Ragtime by E.L. Doctrow

Last Updated on Tuesday, 13 September 2011 15:37  

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