AD's English Literature : October 2014

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Analysis of Tagore's The Home and the World as Socio-political Novel : Bimala- Nikhilesh- Sandip Tangle

Viewed purely as a social political novel, Tagore's The Home and the World seems to make a sharp distinction between two rival political impulses, Nikhilesh representing the pure passion for constructive work in swadeshi (nationalism), and Sandip its greed and destructive energy .Nikhilesh worships nothing but truth which is greater than the country, and which is alone all temporary crazes; for Sandip the success of the moment, no matter by whatever means it is the only thing that matters. For Nikhilesh, the Ideal is the principal ingredient in the real; for Sandip the Ideal is tolerable only when it is a means to the attainment of the Real. Bimala, the central character of the novel, who has been given a large number of autobiographical narratives than the other two principal characters, is torn between these two contending forces which exercise a powerful fascination over her mind. Nikhilesh’s passion for absolute truth reminds us of the sages of ancient India, and the dominating force in Sandip’s character is greed which is the lane of modern western nationalism. The novel has been regarded as an allegory, Bimala, standing for modern India, Nikhilesh for ancient India and Sandip for modern Europe.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Critical Study of “Songs of the Ganga” by A. K. Mehrotra

 Mehrotra is generally known for his surrealistic technique. His is the discovery of various modern, post-modernist and earlier avant-garde style and poetics. He likes to juxtapose bits and pieces of sensibility as represented by clichéd language, sentiments and situations. Surrealism, artistic and literary movement that explored and celebrated the realm of dreams and the unconscious mind through the creation of visual art, poetry, and motion pictures notably, the nostalgic moments and reminiscences of Allahabad can be seen in abundance in his poetry. Mehrotra`s increasing pre-occupation with personal and local realities particularly Allahabadism can be seen in Songs of the Ganga.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Rabindranath Tagore’s Poetry in English: Evaluation and Controversy in Reading Gitanjali (Song Offerings)

Some literary problems never seem to go away. In spite of various attempts to look at Rabindranath Tagore’s English translation critically, there persists certain blindness to the possibility that his early poems in English did not uniformly merit the great affection they received. For example , after taking note of some critics who said that Tagore’s poems were “too  thin and ethereal “ and that they “locked in intensity and passion”, Humayun Kabir ignored and begged the question by concluding , “Tagore’s standing as a poet is so unquestioned that it is not necessary even to discuss these aspersions of his critics.”  However, it cannot be denied that his Bengali works are much more effective in the original rather than being translated! 

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Character of Mrs. Meldon in John Ervine’s One- act Play “Progress”

 In John Ervine’s one- act play “Progress”, we get two opposite views on war. One is held by Henry and the other by his sister, Mrs. Meldon. The drama is based on the conflict of these two views on war. Henry holds that war is inevitable because human beings are too pugnacious. Read More Drama The horrors of war do not affect him in the least. To him the purpose of war is killing, and so it is no use being sentimental about death and destruction caused by war. He claims to have invented a far deadlier weapon than anything ever used in wars. And he is firm in his belief that his invention is the result of a great progress of human knowledge and skill. According to him, man’s progress consists in the invention of devastating weapons to shorten the duration of war.

The Rime of The Ancient Mariner by T. S. Coleridge - Story of Crime & Punishment? Students' Notes

There are several sub-themes in 'The Rime of the Ancient Mariner,' relating to Christianity and the supernatural, and two primary themes. The first primary theme concerns the potential consequences of a single unthinking act. When the mariner shoots an albatross, he does it casually and without animosity. Yet this impulsive, destructive act is his undoing. Similar to other Romantics, Coleridge believed that the seeds of destruction and creation are contained each within the other. One cannot create something without destroying something else. Likewise, destruction leads to the creation of something new. The loss of the mariner's ship, shipmates, and his own former self ultimately leads to the regeneration of the mariner. The Ancient Mariner is a story of crime and punishment. It falls into seven sections, each telling of a new stage in the process. The first section tells of the actual crime. To us the shooting of the bird may seem a matter of little moment but Coleridge makes it significant in two ways: firstly, he does not say why the Mariner kills the albatross. There is essential irrationality of the Mariner crime. Secondly, the crime is against nature, against the sanctified relations of guest and host the bird which has been hailed in God’s name as if it had been a Christian soul, and is entirely friendly and helpful is wantonly and recklessly killed.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

A Man of the People (1966): Position of Women in Post Colonial Nigerian Society

It is interesting to study how the women in A Man of the People ( Chinua Achebe) play an important role in Odili and Nanga’s strategies. Here we find two contrasting groups of people from a political and social aspect based in West Africa.  The groups are the old and the new generations of politics and two characters represent them.  Odili, the narrator, represents the new intellectual generation, while Chief Nanga, Odili’s former teacher, represents the old style of bush politicians.  The conflict between the old and new ways is portrayed through the two characters as they not only disagree and quarrel over political views but also women.  Achebe captures the inside reality of the lives of the contrasting characters as he demonstrates energy and brightness as well as violence and corruption. 

Analysis of Wilfred Owen's “The Send-off” as Anti-war Poem

"Above all I am not concerned with Poetry. My subject is War, and the pity of War. The Poetry is in the pity."
Wilfred Owen (1893 - 1918)

Wilfred Owen is a soldier-poet without any romantic enthusiasm for war. While Rupert Brooke glorifies war, Owen sings of the pathos and tragedy of war alike Siegfried Sassoon, a poet and novelist whose grim antiwar works were in harmony with Owen's concerns. Like his other war poems, The Send-off ” reveals the massacre of precious human lives that war involves. The poem “The Send-off” begins with a description of the coming of a band of soldiers to a railway station in the darkness of the evening. They were being sent to the battlefield. They came marching down narrow village paths. They were singing all the way, not in joy, but to keep their thoughts away from the impending death they were going to embrace in the battle-field. The train that was to carry the soldiers was waiting at the siding-shed. So the soldiers came to the siding-shed and stood in a row along the train to board it. Their faces looked grave, but cheerful. They were outwardly merry. This state of mind of theirs is nicely described in the opening lines:

 “Down the close, darkening lanes they sang their way
To the siding-shed,
And lined the train with faces grimly gay.”

Rereading of Chinua Achebe through Nigerian Sociopolitical and Cultural Aspects

African colonization by European settlers and the aftermath has wide, descriptive and analytical coverage in Chinua Achebe’s novels. Particularly there is an avid examination on the Nigerian sociopolitical and cultural aspects. More specifically, Achebe’s novels depict Igbo tribes either in south-East Nigeria or elsewhere in the world dating from pre-colonial era to the present. His novels cover the timeline of Nigerian history and like a prophet his writings are visionary of long desired Nigerian peace and prosperity. Reading thorough his novels it can also be determined how women is such a vital studies for lasting peace and prosperity in Nigeria. This research paper will interrogate, compare and contrast women’s different roles as they relate to Chinua Achebe’s fictionalization of female characters. It will examine women's roles in this fast changing tribal society as seen in Achebe’s novels illustrating specific examples from the same. Women in tribal societies were often forced to undergo several changes and these changes can be well traced in Achebe’s novels. The complex individual, social and tribal-political relations in pre-colonial and post- colonial Nigeria can be seen in the same. It will provide not merely the context for the search for Igbo women identity, but also to a large extent determine its intellectual conclusions. This paper will examine the societal disallowance to women. It will cover the journey of women from Igbo to Igbo Christianity and subsequent impact on it. In this regard it requires a logical argument for the historical journey of multicultural Igbo women through Nigerian society and researching cultural aspects of them in Achebe’s novels. It needs a thorough search for a more general understanding of issues of tribal womanhood.

English Teaching Objectives for the First Language (L1) and Second Language (L2): General Concept of Text Book

Even though the English teaching objectives for the L1and L2 groups are different, the gap is narrowing fast. And in the first quarter of 21st century any book, intended for the students of vernacular in Indian subcontinent, should contain passages for the study of English as First language (L1) as well as Second language (L2) in no water tight compartment. While compiling any anthology   a number of tentative teaching objectives and selective pieces that might be used in realizing them are need to be meticulously chosen.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Cleopatra: Complex Inscrutable, Indefinable Heroine

Shakespeare's Cleopatra embodies mystery. Shakespeare chose to keep her feminine mystique inexplicable. She is, in turn, vain, sensual, violent, cruel, bawdy, cowardly, beautiful, witty, vital, and intelligent, a strumpet, a gipsy, lass unparalleled, a triumphant lady, royal wench, a great fairy, a rare Egyptian. She is all these and more – a source of Perini fascination.

 She grows, starting as a courtesan-cum-enchantress. She presses her love through dramatizing (playacting) and dialogue. But inwardly she ultimately proves to be vulnerable. Her love for Antong intensifies into something more than sexual passion (her playacting in outwitting the astute Caesar).

George Orwell’s ‘‘Animal Farm’’ is the most Effective Political Satire

George Orwell’s ‘‘Animal Farm’’ is   an animal fable to present the evils of soviet political methods. The novel is a systematic satire on the Soviet Union during the Stalin Era. It is the mocking voice of a socialist at the expense of Soviet experience. It is a telling satire on the Stalinist period of Russian History. It is also a warning of what seems to Orwell the inevitable lot of mankind, in the certain conditions and ultimate object of power-seekers and demagogues of any country. Read More Novel It is a protest against totalitarianism. It is a satire upon dictatorship. It seems to be a socialist mockery. It tells the fate of all type of revolutions. It deals with the various virtues and ices of man. Modeled on a relatively simple premise, the novel begins as the animals of Manor Farm unite against farmer Jones to overthrow his tyrannical rule. Understandably ecstatic over their sudden and rather unexpected good fortune, the animals create a new order for the future based on equality and equity. The novel contains lucidity and simplicity of language. Its accurate language has led to clarity and effectiveness. Its style is candid and correct. It is fresh and appealing. It has sufficiency, exactness and accuracy. Read More Novel The novelist is careful in the choice of words and phrases. The paint is hardly dry on their barnyard manifesto, however, when the hated forces and attitudes that triggered their revolt begin to reemerge, eventually to destroy their dream of emancipation. Orwell undoubtedly passes judgement on the fate of revolution by comparing ideological promises with their practical application.  

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Walter Pater as a Literary Critic -an innovator in aesthetics who celebrated the pleasurable effects of art on the viewer or reader

Walter Pater (1839-1894) is the eminent English essayist and critic both of art as well as literature. His first book—Studies in the History of Renaissance is a criticism of the art. Among his critical writings may be mentioned the volume known as Applications and Shakespearian Studies. “These essays are critical of art as well as of literature—and, essentially, Pater belongs to the history of criticism.” (Hugh Walker)

Sunday, October 12, 2014

John Webster's The Duchess of Malfi: Analysing the Faults of Duchess

 "Ambition, madam, is a great man's madness."-
 John Webster (1578? - 1632?)

There was a group of dramatists writing plays for the London theater manager Philip Henslowe. The group included many gifted playwrights, among them Thomas Dekker, John Marston, and Thomas Heywood, with each of whom Webster collaborated occasionally. John Webster 's genius as a writer was first fully revealed in his great tragedies The White Devil, produced in 1612, and The Duchess of Malfi, staged about 1614. Both plays depict a world of extravagant passions, dark intrigue, and fratricidal violence. Both plays ensured Webster's long-lasting critical acclaim and both are still produced. Despite their melodramatic themes, Webster's plays are redeemed by his soaring poetic dialogue and his grasp of human psychology.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Clara, the Osu, Caught in Taboo Igbo Cultural Traditions in No Longer at Ease

Chinua Achebe’s second novel No Longer At Ease, which is a study of post independent Nigeria and its expectations and failures, however, reveals Achebe’s increasing preoccupation with women studies. The heroine of the story, Clara’s position in the story is not luminary or peripheral. Her story is intricately interwoven into Obi Okonkwo’s experience and a relatively positive strength of character is revealed in her. One observes some measure of self-esteem, which is a preamble to self-definition in Clara who is an osu. Achebe also consider Igbo cultural traditions that make some groups of people, or some individuals, "taboo" because it's forbidden in Igbo culture to marry an osu, since the osu class is dedicated to a particular god because of religious, cultural, socioeconomic, racial, or other reasons. Now the question raised if is it a necessary part of human social systems or is it always wrong?
The reality that has been dealt in Achebe’s story is that Clara and her family is taboo. If Obi who is a British graduate marries her and has children, what will happen to those children, socially and culturally? Obi may feel that the time is ripe to end certain cultural customs, but he has failed to understand how some traditions are so important to people that they cannot change overnight. Clara is a practical girl, not to mention smart and hard working. Though she is Igbo, she is educated in the Western tradition and lives a modern lifestyle. Clara was right when she first told Obi that he didn't really love her and she would regret giving in to his flattery. Soon we discover she has a secret. Her secret is culturally specific – something only another Igbo would care about. She is an osu, part of a social caste forbidden to marry because one of her ancestors was dedicated to a god. They are considered taboo. As Isaac points out, marrying her would be like marrying a leper. Once Clara admits this to Obi, she tries to break up with him. She says it's not fair to keep the relationship going; she doesn't want to come between Obi and his family.

 Clara knows that Obi's parents will never accept her as a daughter-in-law, even though they are Christians and should, theoretically, disagree with a tradition like this. However, Clara seems to lack the disdain Obi has for traditional culture. Every fault Obi has, Clara counter-balances.  Clara's parents are Christians, too, but that hasn't changed their status as osus or the fact that they are outcasts, even in the church. Clara keeps trying to break up with Obi because of this fact, and Obi keeps stubbornly refusing to be broken up with, the relationship's demise is clear, at least to her. Clara understands what Obi isn't saying – that his parents will never accept their relationship. She breaks up with him. It was, however, discovered that she's pregnant. At the abortion doctor's office, the doctor asks Obi why he doesn't marry Clara. She's just sorry, in the end, that she didn't do something about it before she ended up pregnant. That is what makes her bitter. Clara says she has no interest in marrying Obi. Clara's abortion turns septic and she is hospitalized. Though Clara was educated in England, and probably wonders about the justice of her taboo status, she never voices those thoughts aloud. Instead, it's clear that she understands how deeply these traditions run. Clara sees the end is near. Achebe’s account of Clara makes a penchant voice against such practices of osu but at the same time trough deep contemplative moods.
On the other hand, No Longer At Ease, Achebe shows how in corrupt Nigeria women offer their bodies, in return for favors and services. It is evident in scholarship interview where a girl offers her body to earn the scholarship. 

 Ardhendu De

Arthur, Gakwandi, Shatto. Novel and Contemporary Experience in Africa. Holmes & Meier Publishers Inc, 1981.
E. Modupe Kolawole, Mary. “Mutiple Inscriptions and the Location of Women in China Achebe’s Novel”. Chinua Achebe An Anthology of Recent Criticism. Ed. Mala Pandurang, Pencraft International, Delhi, 2010.
Sircar, Rupali. “Masculinity, Femininity and Androgyny: Igbo Culture in Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart”. Chinua Achebe An Anthology of Recent Criticism. Ed. Mala Pandurang, Pencraft International, Delhi, 2010.
Pandurang,   Mala. “Chinua Achebe and the ‘African Experience’: A Socio-Literary Perspective”. Chinua Achebe An Anthology of Recent Criticism. Ed. Mala Pandurang, Pencraft International, Delhi, 2010.
Booth,   James. Writers and Politics in Nigeria. Hodder and Stoughton, London, 1981.

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

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