The Story of Joseph: Motives and Objectives

The Story of Joseph: Motives and Objectives. The Story of Joseph: Motives and Objectives [Essay Prompt]

Although some interesting efforts have been made to establish the literal historicity of the Joseph story – that Joseph was an historical personality and that the events regarding the famine correspond to historical dates that can be pinpointed – let us assume, for our purposes here, it survives as an ancient story (of the myth or parable type, though a bit longer than most) that existed in the oral tradition of the ancient Hebrews and was constructed and presented with certain motives and objectives for centuries at least before it was written down and included in the collection of stories known as the Torah or, more broadly, as the Hebrew Bible or the Old Testament.

Our concern is with the story itself, as well as the storyteller.  What, to your mind as a modern reader, were the most significant motives and objectives of the storyteller?  What about the story, and what about the character of Joseph reinforce those motives and objectives?

[Obviously this is not a specific prompt, nor are these specific questions to be “answered,” so feel free to respond in a way that reflects your knowledge of the story and your response to it.  Resist the temptation to restate the prompt, insert lengthy quotations, or summarize the story.  Instead, just refer to the details of the plot, inserting brief quotations if you like, to support your observations regarding the motives and objectives of the tale.  This is your chance to reflect your “take” on the story]

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The Story of Joseph: Motives and Objectives

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