AD's English Literature : July 2015

Saturday, July 18, 2015

G.B. Shaw’s Radio Talk, ‘Spoken English and Broken English’:Broken English’s Relevance in Today’s English Spoken World

In a lively, witty and conversational style G. B. Shaw in his essay (a transcript of a radio talk and was recorded in 1927. The talk was broadcast over Manhattan's radio station WNEW)  ‘Spoken English and Broken English’ gives some instruction to a foreign student of the English Language in regard to speaking English when he travels in the British Commonwealth or in America or when he meets a native of those countries or it may be that he is himself a native but that he speaks in a provincial or cockney dialect of which he is a little ashamed, or which perhaps prevents him from obtaining some employment which is open to those only who speak in correct English. Read More Teaching English

Friday, July 17, 2015

The Irish Literary Renaissance and the New Irish Theatre: Consciously Represented Irish National Aspirations

"Part of the problem with Ireland is that everything is named after someone. In Dublin, there is a railway station called Sydney Parade, and for many years, I thought Sydney Parade was one of the leaders in the 1916 Rising."

Joseph O'Connor (1963 - )

Though Ireland was a part of the British Isles, like Wales and Scotland, the Irish people considered themselves as different and were contemptuous of British Suzerainty. Eventually, by the late 19th century the Irish had lost faith in political solutions to Ireland’s problems and turned to cultural nationalism instead. They revolted against British exploitation and ruthless suppression of Irish national aspirations, in spite of Irish representation in British parliament. The British overlords, domineering over the Irish grew more ruthless when the Irish Republican Army went underground to organize the relentless struggle for Independence. Read More Drama Thus Irish nationalism was born and sought expression in Irish literature that consciously represented Irish national aspirations. Read More Drama The Catholic faith and pagan beliefs of the Irish people too had a pervasive influence that inspired rebellion against the protestant English rulers. 

In 1893 Eoin Mac Neill and Douglas Hyde founded the Gaelic League to restore Irish as the spoken language of the country; the organization eventually became the driving force for the assertion of Irish identity. The search for Ireland’s lost Gaelic heritage ushered in a period known as the Irish Renaissance in the last decade of the 19th century and the first decade of the 20th century. Towards the end of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th Century the patriotic Zeal of W. B. Yeats, Lady Gregory, George Moore, George Russel, Edward Martyn and Maude Gonne created a literary movement.   Its intention was to find the sources for a new Irish literature in the Irish countryside and in Irish myth. The new Irish   Theatre and the Irish plays of Synge and others helped this movement create a sort of awareness that led to Irish Renaissance. These new plays used the language spoken by the Irish peasant workers and fishermen whose life and experiences formed the nucleus of the plays.

The new Irish   Theatre and the new Irish drama did not aim to appeal to the senses; they meant toappeal to the intellect and the spirit, eventually furnishing a sort of vehicle for the expression of the nationalist thought and ideals. Read More Drama Its end was a revival of Irish cultural traditions and a renewal of national onsc1ousness that merged in the organized movement against the English. All the plays written and Staged with this aim did not quite succeed. Two dramatists, Synge and Sean O’Casey, fulfilled their roinmitment and made Irish literary Renaissance proud with their contributions.

Drama, however, was the literary form that best captured the ideals of the Irish Renaissance and established Ireland's literary reputation. Read More Drama  Yeats, Lady Gregory, and playwright Edward Martyn published their Irish Literary Theatre manifesto in 1899, promising to create a national theatre for Ireland. The Irish Literary Theatre, which opened that year, was succeeded in 1902 by the Irish National Theatre Society. In 1904 the Society opened the Abbey Theatre, whose purpose was to present Irish plays about Irish subjects. The plays it produced dramatized Irish myth and history and portrayed Irish peasant life realistically.

In its first year the Irish Literary Theatre produced Yeats's The Countess Cathleen and Martyn’s realistic drama The Heather Field. The Countess Cathleen aroused controversy, especially among Catholics, because its heroine sells her soul to feed her starving tenants during a famine. One of the theatre’s biggest successes was Cathleen ní Houlihan (1902), produced in the theatre’s fourth season. Read More Drama Now accepted as written by both Lady Gregory and Yeats but originally attributed to Yeats alone, Cathleen ní Houlihan dramatized a myth of blood sacrifice that transforms a poor old woman, a symbol of Ireland, into a young girl. That same year Lady Gregory’s translation of the Ulster Cycle’s Cuchulain of Muirthemne (1902) provided writers of the Irish Renaissance with access to material from that saga. Lady Gregory's other nationalist play, The Rising of the Moon (1907); her comedies Spreading the News (1904) and The Workhouse Ward (1908); and her tragedy The Gaol Gate (1906) also enjoyed success at the Abbey.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Critical Appreciation of Virginia Woolf’s ‘Professions for Women’

The cheapness of writing paper is, of course, the reason why women have succeeded as writers before they have succeeded in other professions”__Virginia Woolf’s ‘Professions for Women’

 Virginia Woolf’s ‘Professions for Women’ originally presented as a paper to the Women’s Service League dwells on Woolf’s own professional experiences of female sensibility. Although she is speaking primarily of her own experiences, she feels that women in all professions face the same kind of difficulties and those women starting new courses face greater obstacles than the rest. Here Woolf shows how it is difficult for women to come out of the age-old-prejudices that prevail in the society and also within women themselves. 

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Why You Must Experience Robert Frost's "The Road Not Taken" At Least Once In Your Lifetime?

Robert Frost based the theme of The Road Not Taken on classical comedies of our ‘choices’ and conveys complex theories of life. The poem, Frost’s finest, depends for its appeal on the mistaken identities of two sets of twins both separated in their forestry ways. The comedy ends cynically with the reunion of both sets of twins, after a bewildering series of confusions - watchful waiting. In fact, Frost makes his poem more complex when it comes that making a choice is itself the dilemma. We can well remind the famous crossroad puzzle of the Cast Away and can redeem  The Road Not Taken as an autobiography of everyman. Like that of Tagore’s verse, ‘nadir e par kahe ccharea niswas, o parete sarba suhk amar biswas’( this side of the river says that the other side is more happy)

It is a very simple looking poem with profound nuances and begins in delight and ends in wisdom. As there of course is some confusion about what Frost really meant. However, we would like to go by the simple explanation that The Road Not Taken concerns choices that we face in life and the decisions we take with a certain amount of risk. One can recapitulate on one's decision on a later date when the path has been walked - of course, with a sigh. But   Frost definitely means taking the decision is the real difference that is made.

One day, the traveler (Robert Frost representing everyman), traveling all alone, reaches a point where the road forks into two. He faces a dilemma as to which road to take to continue his journey. He is unable to decide which road to follow. He pauses for a long time, ‘And sorry he could not travel both’.  He gives a careful thought to which path he should follow. Then he decides to choose that road which seems to be less traveled: 
“And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could”
 He feels it will make all the difference to his future. He decides to save the other road for another day, thought he knows that he will never get a chance to go back to it. Later, he wishes that he had taken the other road.
Frost's poetry mainly reflects life in rural New England, and the language he used was the uncomplicated speech of that region. Although Frost concentrates on ordinary subject matter, he evokes a wide range of emotions, and his poems often shift dramatically from humorous tones to tragic ones. Much of his poetry  is concerned with how people interact with their environment, and though he saw the beauty of nature, he also saw its potential dangers. Frost listened to the speech in his country world north of Boston, and he recorded it. He had what he called 'The ruling passion in man ... a gregarious instinct to keep together by minding each other's business.'   Frost continued to mind his neighbours’ speech and business in his volume Mountain Interval, which included the poems The Road Not Taken,   An Old Man's Winter Night, Birches, Putting in the Seed, Snow, and A Time to Talk.

The traveler feels that after ages from now he would be telling about his decision with a sigh. He would tell how the less frequented road, and that had made all the difference in his life. Poem  describes how someone could take a risk, or take the easy way out, but mostly everyone takes the smooth grassy path, but the smart people who challenge their minds, take the rocky, bumpy path that is hard to travel and very tiring, but they keep on going through determination. He always amazes us with his rhythm and other poetic devices. He also takes a simple thought and extends it in exceedingly amazing ways that wish we could do ourselves. Frost did not say the roads were the same; they could look similar, but could not be the same as they were going in different directions - diverged. His choice, as in all our lives, was to make a decision concerning direction.  Frost presented the difficulty or making a choice in life. We cannot travel all the roads available to us. We have to make a choice. The dilemma faced by the traveler making his choice is the dilemma that we all face at some point in our life:
“I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.”

It is a common misconception that in life we have to maintain what is commonly accepted as normality. Robert Frost challenges this. The road less travelled by is the traveler’s way of telling us that he did not accept the norm he lived beyond the limitations set by others. The only profitable point of view from which The Road Not Taken can be regarded is one that, while giving distinctness to the serious error of unclean exposure and to the frequent feebleness of ideology which reduce large portions of the creativity to tedious and helpless receptions, leaves our vision clear for the occasional glimpses of uncanny beauty that the poem discloses: knowing the unknown or seeing the unseen like that of Tennyson’s Ulysses. The absurdities, the crudities, in which Frost indulges, are almost unlimited and all but omnipresent and it is here Nature interpreted through human experience.

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An English Teacher;    M. A.(English) , D. Ed., B. Ed., UGC- NET Qualified

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