AD's English Literature : July 2013

Igbo Society and Astonishing Variety of Women's roles in Chinua Achebe’s Novels make them Masterpiece

Contradictions if well understood and managed can spark off the fires of invention. Orthodoxy whether of the right or of the left is the graveyard of creativity.”
Chinua Achebe (1930 - 2013)
Nigerian novelist, poet, and essayist.
Anthills of the Savannah
According to Charles Larson in The Emergence of African Fiction  Chinua Achebe has been praised as 'the most original African novelist writing in English'. Critics throughout the world have praised Achebe’s Novels as the first African English-language classic for tribal identity. Investigating through Chinua Achebe’s Novels, the article  is the search for women’s roles in Igbo society in south-East Nigeria of pre-colonial state. Apart from Igbo women identity, I am in search for a more general understanding of questions of tribal womanhood. The complex individual, social and tribal-political relations in the Nigerian pre-colonial state can be seen in Achebe’s novel. It will provide not merely the context for the search for Igbo women identity, but also to a large extent determine its intellectual conclusions. In fact, South-East Nigeria and Igbo tribe is one of the prime focuses of Chinua Achebe’s novels. They are set in Africa and describe the struggles of the African people to free themselves from European political influences. Women do a considerable job for their own rights and reconfigurations. Read More Modern Period

Along the things of the complex, ethnic, religious and regional divisions Achebe’s novels are characterized by understanding of the tribes and their custom. In that perspective, tribal woman in his novels deserve a thorough understanding. Achebe has shown these womenfolk and designed them carefully. They ensure that communities survive and they keep their dignity intact so as to give womanhood the pride of place it deserves in tribal integration and development. 

Sources of Shakespeare’s Plays: Four Difficulties

A writer of such prodigious and prolix nature as William Shakespeare, his primary concern was to get hold of a story that could be shaped to the needs of the theatre. For, he was essentially a man of the theatre with a practical sense and eye always on what would please the palates of his audience.
 And Shakespeare’s plays, as has already been mentioned, were meant to be enacted and not for closet reading. So, the story came first with him. William Shakespeare’s for all this popularity and universality was not an original story – writer but an original story – teller only. Shakespeare was a unique creator; but not an inventor of stories. He never took the trouble of inventing his plots. He drew upon, for the materials of his plays, such stories as had already been invented or recorded, provided only that they were suitable to his particular purpose, and were well – known or popular. Where from did William Shakespeare get so many stories for so many of his plays? It is here that we turn to the topic on hand, Shakespeare’s sources. There are four difficulties in a discussion of Shakespeare’s use of his sources.

Shakespeare’s Imagination and Sources: Italian Novella, English History, and Wellknown Romances of Europe

The main ‘sources’ of William Shakespeare’s plays were the classics, the Italian Novella, English history, and the well – known  romances of Europe. To know the sources, is not to detract from the glory and greatness of the dramatists.

William Shakespeare contributed to the making of his plays, almost every element of their greatness. The sources are known by the plays, not the plays by the sources. “He invades authors like a monarch, and what would be theft in other in other poets is only victory in him”. To use a hackneyed metaphor, he almost always borrowed the rough ore of a story or plot and transformed it into the pure gold of one of his complete plays. Mere stories lay ready to his hand in abundance. Shakespeare made them dramatic, gave to the principal actors in the stories distinctive characters, revealed these characters to us, showed us the play of motives, of feelings, of passions. Now let’s sumup all the dramatic works of Shakespeare:

Early Comedies: The Comedy of Errors The Two Gentlemen of Verona The Taming of the Shrew Love's Labour's Lost Middle Comedies A Midsummer Night's Dream The Merchant of Venice
 Mature Comedies: Much Ado About Nothing As You Like It The Merry Wives of Windsor Twelfth Night
Problem Comedies: All's Well That Ends Well Troilus and Cressida Measure for Measure Early Histories Henry VI, Parts I, II, and III Richard III
 Later Histories: Richard II Henry IV, Parts I and II Henry V King John Henry VIII
Early Tragedies: Titus Andronicus Romeo and Juliet Julius Caesar
Mature Tragedies: Hamlet Othello King Lear Antony and Cleopatra Macbeth Coriolanus Timon of Athens
The Late Plays: Pericles, Prince of Tyre Cymbeline The Winter's Tale The Tempest

Translation Method In Teaching English as a Second Language : Merits and Demerits

According to Thompson and Wyatt (Teaching of English By Tiwari) there are four specific aim of teaching English at the school stage. They are-
  1. To understand spoken English.
  2. To speak English
  3. To understand written English
  4. To write English.

At school level, the students should have the ability to understand spoken English, needed in ordinary conversation, exchange of directions and listening to lecture, talks, running commentary on matches, and news bulletins etc. To achieve this aim, students should be given opportunities to listen radio, gramophone, tape recorders etc. The aim should be enable the students to understand English spoken by the native speakers.

Analysis of Progress by St. John Ervine as One Act Play

"Peace hath her victories
No less renowned than war."-John Milton (1608 - 1674)

“Progress” by St. John Greer Ervine is a successful specimen of a one act play. It has not only a unity of theme (the abolition of war) the unities of time; place and action are also meticulously maintained. Thematically, “Progress”   is written against the background of the First World War in which thousands were butchered and many more became disabled for life. It left many mothers   childless and incredible number of widows and orphans. This insensible devastation has created diverse reactions in social thinking, and “Progress” by the Irish playwright St. John Greer Ervine is just the product of one of the strongest of these sentiments, namely the anti-war feeling of the post war modern age

Analysis of Alexander Pope's "The Rape of the Lock": Critical Appreciation

"What dire offence from am'rous causes springs,
What mighty contests rise from trivial things."

Alexander Pope (1688 - 1744)

The occasion of the poem Alexander Pope's The Rape of the Lock was the quarrel between two aristocratic Roman Catholic families. Lord petre, in a moment of youthful frolic had cut off a lock of hair from Miss Arabella’s Fermor’s head which caused a violent quarrel. The gentle satire was written to reconcile quarreling families.

Thus The Rape of the Lock was dedicated to Miss Arabelle Fermors belonging to a distinguished Catholic family. It was dedicated to her as it was to reconcile her family with that of Lord Petre who had cut off a lock hair from the lady’s head which caused a violent quarrel.

A TO Z Literary Principles from History of English Literature: Note 53

A Set of 26 Objective Questions & Answers (UGC NET ENGLISH OBJECTIVES)

  1. Confessional Poetry -- A middle generation of 20th-century American poets emerged in the 1950s and 1960s, most of them born in the second decade of the century. Many achieved fame, including Robert Lowell, Randall Jarrell, John Berryman, Theodore Roethke, Karl Shapiro, and Delmore Schwartz. Several came to be known as confessional poets because of their use of modernist techniques to explore their own psychology and their lives. These techniques included irony, collage, verbal finish (careful attention to word choice for the effects of sound or rhythm as well as for meaning), and wide-ranging allusion.
  2.  Science Fiction-- Science Fiction, genre of fiction set in some imaginary time or place. In its original usage in the 1920s, science fiction referred to stories that appeared in cheap, so-called pulp magazines, but science fiction now appears in all media, including motion pictures, staged dramas, television programs, and video games, as well as short stories and book-length works. Science fiction is sometimes abbreviated SF.

A.C. Bradley and Hegelian Philosophy Combined in Shakespearean Criticism

A Hegelian in philosophy and a follower of the aesthetic traditions of Coleridge and Hazlitt than  both A.C. Bradley was of course more scientific and methodical critic. Bradley was intensely subjective possessing candid , lively and inspired imagination trained for the type of criticism after his heart. Bradley applied the basic principle of Hegelian dialectics (conflict of forces) to Shakespeare’s tragedies and traced in them the struggle between the forces of good and evil. He was, it should be remembered, the first Shakespearean critic to investigate the nature of Tragedy with an approach that was basically interpretive. His Shakespearean criticism broadly consists of Shakespearean Tragedy where he interprets four major or principal tragedies of Hamlet, Macbeth, Othello and King Lear and his lectures on Antony and Cleopatra and The Rejection of Falstaff included in his Oxford Lectures on Poetry.

A TO Z Literary Principles from History of English Literature: Note 52

A Set of 26 Objective Questions & Answers (UGC NET ENGLISH OBJECTIVES)

  1. Luther is praised as a hero by Carlyle in his lecture on the ‘Hero as King’.
  2.   Ruskin’s Modem Painters   began as a defence of contemporary landscape artist especially Turner.
  3. The term ‘the Palliser Novels’ is used to describe the political novels of Charles Dickens.
  4. Identify the poet, whom Queen Victoria, regarded as the perfect poet of ‘love and loss’—Tennyson
  5. A verse form using stanza of eight lines, each with eleven syllables, is known as Rhyme Royal.
  6. Sir Thomas Wyatt first used blank verse in English poetry.
  7. The Aesthetic Movement which blossomed during the 1880s was  not influenced by The Pre-Raphaelites
  8. The expression "ancestral voices prophesying war" occurs in : Kubla khan.

Adolescence Myth : Dreadful Activities of Huck and Jim in Jackson Island

"It was fifteen minutes before I could work myself up to go and humble myself to a nigger—but I done it, and I warn't ever sorry for it afterwards, neither."
Mark Twain  (1835 - 1910)
Journey of Huck and Jim in Mark Twain's The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn   is not given ready-made -- not to any previous novel at least. That is the dignity of Adolescence Myth, and the danger too. Compared the story of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn to all other previous stories are looked upon ready-made, preprogrammed. Their whole plot is a simple unfoldment of something built-in. They need not portray   their  story in  mechanical way. It can't be good, it can't be bad; it simply is.  These  stories  are meaningless as far as existence below humanity is concerned. They become immensely significant referred to particular man not to every man. Mark Twain's The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is a tale of everyman. It is a saga of Adolescence Myth.

Pay Attention , UGC! UGC NET English Syllabus and Few Obvious Questions

'I know myself,' he cried, 'but that is all.'

F. Scott Fitzgerald (1896 - 1940)
U.S. writer.
This Side of Paradise

In late June 2012, the UGC adopted the new exam pattern but the UGC NET English Syllabus remains the same. Naturally so, for the all-important UGC NET English examination students face the burden of learning instead of the fun inherit in it.  The UGC NET authorities, apparently accepting the change in EXAM PATTERN, continue to recognize the validity of the vast wisdom (?). I plead UGC NET authorities to drop such huge burden of English Literature Learning. Presently, one of the crucial issues facing by the students is an improbable doubling of its exam phobia. The authorities recently expressed the aim of increasing passing candidates by a factor of objective method. With this potential growth of practical need why should the students carry such a huge load of syllabus? 

Caliban in The Tempest : Black Magic, Brutal Savage and Reformation

Caliban: "Be not afeard; the isle is full of noises,
Sounds, and sweet airs, that give delight and hurt not.
Sometimes a thousand twangling instruments
Will hum about mine ears; and sometime voices
That, if I then had waked after long sleep,
Will make me sleep again; and then in dreaming,
The clouds methought would open, and show riches
Ready to drop upon me, that when I waked
I cried to dream again."

 Act 3, Scene 2, The Tempest

Caliban in The Tempest is a complex character. The idea perhaps first struck Shakespeare as he heard the queer tales of ship-wreck and sailors stranded in enchanted islands and confronted with fantasy beings, neither fish nor man. The fantastic yet wonderful conception of Caliban owes much to these current stories –Caliban in face is conceived as the symbol of gross earthly things and passion, the half-brute half-man. He is also contrasted with the ethereal spirit of air, Ariel. Wilson Knight considers Caliban an ugly creature growing out of the imagery of stagnant pools and earthly wood-land.

A TO Z Literary Principles from History of English Literature: Note 51

A Set of 26 Objective Questions & Answers

  1. Philip Pip is commonly known as ‘Pip’ in Great Expectations.
  2. The novel The Power and the Glory is set in Mexico.
  3.  Lord of the Flies is Golding’s first novel. “Faith un-faithful kept him falsely true.”- Tennyson =Simile
  4.   W. B. Yeats used the phrase ‘the artifice of eternity’ in his poem in Byzantium.
  5. Herbert Pocket is Pip’s friend in London.
  6.   Mr. Tench in The Power and the Glory is a dentist.
  7. The Nun.s Priest.s Tale had its origin in : The French Roman de Renart.
  8. The First Folio of Shakespeare.s plays appeared in:  1623 .

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