Critical Analysis of Charles Lamb's "The Convalescent": Introspecting Sickness


“The greatest pleasure I know is to do a good action by stealth, and to have it found out by accident.”
Charles Lamb (1775 - 1834)
British essayist.
The Athenaeum, "Table Talk by the late Elia"

The Convalescent was first published in the London Magazine for July, 1825. It was later collected in the Last Essays of Elia which made its appearance in 1833. Charles Lamb is the most delightful and sweetest essayist of English literature. He himself is the subject of his essays and maintains a perpetual friendship with his readers. Lamb's literary essays were often perceptive and original. He had a particular gift for analyzing character and his sensitivity and perceptiveness made him a valuable essayist.

In The Convalescent Lamb describes his sickness and his recovery from it. He expresses his thoughts in this essay from the point of view of a sickman because he recently suffered from fever. Sickness extends the area of a man’s thoughts to himself. He begins to think that supreme selfishness is his only duty. His only thought is how to get well. He remains unaffected by inside and outside events of his sickroom. A short while ago Lamb was worried about his friend who was involved in a law- suit. His friend was visiting his lawyers witness and other men whose help he needed. But just before the actual date of decision of his case his friend he cause absolutely in different to the decision. From some whispering in his house he had gathered hat he would lose the case and actually the court pronounced decision against him. Lamb became forgetful of his friend’s misfortune because he focused his attention on the thought how to get belier. A sick man wears the armour of sickness which prevents foreign cares to enter his mind. In sickness a patient cannot sympathize with others.

Lamb calls sickness a magnificent dream and his sick bed the throne of a king because
he feels like a King and enjoys royal solitude and respect. He changes sides very often like a politician. During his sickness a man remains merged in the thoughts of his own self in his sickness Lamb forgets to misfortune of his friend who lost his case in the court of law. In sickness a man thinks of himself in various conditions. His bed becomes a very discipline of humanity and tender heart becomes insensible to the business of the world and the house hold stories do not worry him.

In sickness a man gets courtesy and respect like a King. But his recovery from sickness makes him a dethroned King. His sighs and groans disappear. His pain enfolds and the riddle of sickness is solved. Lamb tells us that a relic of the sick man’s dream survives when he is visited by a medical attendant. But the medical attendant also changes his attitude at the complete recovery of his patient.
At the end of The Convalescent Lamb also refers to the letter of the editor of a magazine ho requested him to note an essay for the periodical. He also reveals that after his sickness he became lean and sick. The essay is more reflective and descriptive than autobiographical. Lamb describes humorously and exaggerative the privileges that a sickman arrogates to himself and the extreme selfishness that becomes with him a rigid by nominal attitude. The essay contains quaintness and humour.

Main Points of the Essay
(1) A few weeks ago Charles Lamb fell ill and was recovering from his illness by and by. Sickness gives royal solitude to a man and he changes sides from time to time on his sickbed. Sickness enlarge the dimensions of a man’s self to himself and he thinks nothing hut how to get well.
(2) Some time ago he was greatly worried about his friend who was involved in all law suits. His friend lost the case yesterday but in his sickness he forgot all about his ruined friend. In sickness a man cannot think of anything else but all foreign cares are merged in the thoughts of his sickness.
 (3) Charles Lamb lays pitying himself hoping and moaning for himself and he is not ashamed to weep over himself. The thoughts of a sickening are concentrated on the plan as to how to do some hood to him. He meditates on different things about his body and his bed and it becomes a very discipline of humanity and tender heart.
(4) Lamb is his own best sympathizer and feels that nobody else can so well sympathize with him. The sickman becomes insensible to the business, callings and occupations of the world. He remains unaffected by household rumours and in silence of the house he lies like a King.
(5) But convalescence brings a man to his former state and his sick room is reduced to a common bed room. The mysterious sighs, the groans and the pangs are quenched and the riddle of sickness is solved. Some relic of sick man’s greatness survives in the still lingering visitations of the medical attendant.
(6) But the medical attendant also changes his attitude with everything else. The medical attendant was the man who came late by between the patient and his sickness with the departure of the medical attendant the convalescing man comes to his former state.
(7) While Lamb was convalescing the letter on the editor of the magazine reached him requesting him to write an article. During his sickness Lamb became insensible to the magazines, monarchies, laws and literature.


Popular posts from this blog

Dr. West’s New Method of Teaching English :Its Merits and Demerits

Critical Appreciation of Philip Larkin’s Poem, "The North Ship": Life Award for Best Philosophical Access

What are the specific objectives of teaching English as a second language at the secondary stage? How far is the current high school curriculum helpful in realizing the objectives?