AD's English Literature : June 2014

Monday, June 23, 2014

"Of Human Bondage" Reveals Maugham's “Belief in the Meaninglessness: Classifying the different kinds of Bondage


“Money is like a sixth sense without which you cannot make a complete use of the other five.”- W. Somerset Maugham

Apparently, Somerset Maugham’s Of Human Bondage is about a medical student who falls in love with a mean-spirited waitress. Diving deep into the story it, however, proves that it is more than that. Read More Novel According to Somerset Maugham, it is of multiple ‘human bondage’ which may be classified into several ways. First of all, there is the bondage related with the birth of a person. For example, Phillip, the central character of Of Human Bondage suffered from an inferiority complex on account of his poor birth and a club-foot. He suffered both in the class-room as well as in the society.

There is also the body-bondage which keeps a person under painful conditions till death. Love and marriage are only illusion because they fail to afford real pleasure of life. Read More Modern Period In most of the eases, unhappiness arises out of failure, defeat, or death. Thirdly, there is the spirit bondage which incites a person for rebellion. The character of Mildred is the most glaring example of rebellious spirit in Of Human Bondage. Lastly, sex and money play a vital role under economic bondage.

Critical Appreciation of Somerset Maugham ’s "Of Human Bondage": Epic Tale of Life



 Somerset Maugham’s Of Human Bondage is considered as a great introspective novel if not truly autobiographical novel. It’s an account of an epic tale  of life enacted through the portrayal of the characters of the novel through appealing and integrated ways. They are the floating yacht in the stream of life.  Notably, Philip Carey  is the Maugham figure or, in the words of  Phillip Carey, is Somerset Maugham’s Hamlet. But such Hamlets live in every essence of his other characters too.

 Study in human relationship remain the chief concern of all the major novelists of English. So did Somerset Maugham. However, their approaches and methods of treatment were different. For example, Virginia Woolf discussed the human relationships in terms of husband and wife, mother and children, lover and beloved and between man and the universe. She differentiated between two kinds of truth in governing human relationship—intuitive truth and intellectual—logical truth. Somerset Maugham discussed entirely different kinds of relationship. He considered them as bondage and called them as the bondage of birth, the bondage of body, the bondage of spirit, the economic bondage and so on. In his novel, Of Human Bondage, Maugham has discussed these bondage elaborately and revealed his belief in  finite meaninglessness of life. 

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Critical appreciation of Rabindranath Tagore’s Gitanjali (NO. 50) – “I had gone a-begging from door to door in the village path”

Gitanjali (NO. 50)
Rabindranath Tagore

I had gone a-begging from door to door in the village path,
when thy golden chariot appeared in the distance
like a gorgeous dream and I wondered
who was this King of all kings!

My hopes rose high and methought
my evil days were at an end,
and I stood waiting for alms to be given unasked
and for wealth scattered on all sides in the dust.

The chariot stopped where I stood.
Thy glance fell on me
and thou camest down with a smile.
I felt that the luck of my life had come at last.
Then of a sudden thou didst hold out thy right hand
and say `What hast thou to give to me?'

Ah, what a kingly jest was it
to open thy palm to a beggar to beg!
I was confused and stood undecided,
and then from my wallet I slowly took out
the least little grain of corn
and gave it to thee.

But how great my surprise when at the day's end
I emptied my bag on the floor to find
a least little gram of gold among the poor heap.
I bitterly wept and wished
that I had had the heart to give thee my all.


Through a parable Tagore’s Gitanjali (NO. 50) conveys to us an idea of the value of charity, love and sacrifice- a spiritual message. God, disguised as a raj beggar, asked for alms from the poet beggar who had himself been going about, asking for alms because he himself had felt the pangs of poverty. Being in no position to give any alms, the poet beggar produced a single grain of corn from his alms bag and gave it to the king of kings. On going home, the poet beggar felt amazed to find a piece of gold in his bag.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Presiding over Sensuousness in Poetry, John Keats’ Bright Star Embodies Many of the Opposites that had Long Haunted Keats’s Iimagination—Death and Iimmortality, Stasis and Change, Love and Sex



Bright Star

By John Keats
Bright star, would I were stedfast as thou art—

         Not in lone splendour hung aloft the night

And watching, with eternal lids apart,

         Like nature's patient, sleepless Eremite,

The moving waters at their priestlike task

         Of pure ablution round earth's human shores,

Or gazing on the new soft-fallen mask

         Of snow upon the mountains and the moors—

No—yet still stedfast, still unchangeable,

         Pillow'd upon my fair love's ripening breast,

To feel for ever its soft fall and swell,

         Awake for ever in a sweet unrest,

Still, still to hear her tender-taken breath,

And so live ever—or else swoon to death.

Bright Star is a beautiful sonnet in which John Keats deals with two kinds of love— the astral and the human. Addressed to a star (Polaris), the sonnet expresses the poet's wish to be as constant as the star while he presses against his sleeping love. The use of the star imagery is unusual in that Keats dismisses many of its more apparent qualities, focusing on the star's steadfast and passively watchful nature. The octave is concerned with the love of the star while the sestet explores the poet’s own love. Punctuated as a single sentence, this Shakespearean sonnet (ababcdcdefefgg)    interestingly   makes a compare study of these two forms of love and   evaluates them.  The poem, like most of his poems, describes the beauty of the natural world and art as the vehicle for his poetic imagination. His skill with poetic imagery and sound reproduces this sensuous experience for his reader.

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