Important Message about LEARN NC

LEARN NC is evaluating its role in the current online education environment as it relates directly to the mission of UNC-Chapel Hill School of Education (UNC-CH SOE). We plan to look at our ability to facilitate the transmission of the best research coming out of UNC-CH SOE and other campus partners to support classroom teachers across North Carolina. We will begin by evaluating our existing faculty and student involvement with various NC public schools to determine what might be useful to share with you.

Don’t worry! The lesson plans, articles, and textbooks you use and love aren’t going away. They are simply being moved into the new LEARN NC Digital Archive. While we are moving away from a focus on publishing, we know it’s important that educators have access to these kinds of resources. These resources will be preserved on our website for the foreseeable future. That said, we’re directing our resources into our newest efforts, so we won’t be adding to the archive or updating its contents. This means that as the North Carolina Standard Course of Study changes in the future, we won’t be re-aligning resources. Our full-text and tag searches should make it possible for you to find exactly what you need, regardless of standards alignment.

Rama and his court watch Sita undergoing fire ordeal (Thai Ramayana mural at Emerald Buddha Temple)

After being separated from Sita for many years during her capture by Ravana, Rama is unsure of his wife's fidelity. In order to prove that she has been faithful, Sita willingly undergoes an ordeal, or trial by fire. (Photograph by Margery H. Freeman. More about the photograph)

Rama and his court watch Sita during the fire ordeal, as seen on a mural at the Emerald Buddha Temple.

Sita stands calmly in a gated area with flames burning around the lotus blossom platform on which she stands. One of the monkey kings lights the fire with a torch in front, while Rama and his courtiers watch the spectacle from a royal pavillion at right.

In ancient South Asia, Southeast Asia, and Europe (not to mention colonial America), it was thought that the innocence of an accused criminal could be proven if the accused survived some kind of extreme physical torture such as burning or drowning.

In some versions of the Ramayana, it is said that lotus flowers sprouted at Sita’s feet to protect her from the fire, or that not a flower petal in her hair was faded by the fire because the gods, who knew she was pure of heart, protected her completely.

In contemporary Southeast Asian fiction, the story of Rama and Sita is often retold to highlight a double standard for men versus women: that women are supposed to prove their faithfulness to men, but the behavior of absent men is never questioned. Some contemporary Southeast Asian women dislike the character of Rama, seeing him less as a hero whose valor should be modelled by men today than an old-fashioned man who did not treat his innocent wife properly when she returned to him.