Saturday, 4 November 2017

Comment on Male-Female Relationships in Sylvia Plath’s Poetry?

There are two kinds of male-female relationships in Sylvia Plath’s poetry: those between fathers and daughters and between husbands and wives. Neither relationship seems to be happy. In ‘Lesbos’ the husbands are impotent, useless, deserving of scornful dismissal. They could be said of the potential husband s in ‘The Applicant’. But at least these men are not physically threatening, as the black demi-devil husbands in ‘Daddy’ most definitely is. Here the husband is sadistic torturer. The silent, silver suited husband who brings the sinister gift in ‘A Birthday Present’ is alarming too. He torments his wife in different, more subtle ways. Overall, heterosexual love relationships are problematic in Sylvia Plath’s poems. Even when she writes excitedly about being pursued by a lover, there is a strong current of violence running through the poem, ‘Pursuit’, a suggestion that the female is the victim, the bait. She will be eaten up worn out, cast aside.

Cold or sadistic husbands are mirrored by other sinister male figures in Sylvia Plath’s work. In ‘The Moon and the Yew Tree’ the black, masculine tree is enigmatic, refusing to provide and comfort or answers. Male figures associated with organized religion and medicine are almost always threatening, the sexton and rector in ‘The Bee Meeting’ bewilder the startled vulnerable speaker who is being initiated into bee-keeping, the doctors ‘The Stones’ assault the female patient’s body: they are deliberate clinical torturers.

We find the most shocking descriptions of male violence in Sylvia Plath’s work, which occur when she describes the father figure, specially her own father, Otto Plath. Her poems about her dead father are some of her most intense works. Like the mother in ‘Medusa’, the father in ‘Daddy’ is restricting, suffocating. He is more than this. He is a brute and a vampire, a Nazi commandant, a devil.

Almost the same idea echoes in ‘The Rival’. Though the title is ironic in its own way, we find two warring figures, husband and wife. It is a poem in which metaphor; subject and above all, tone combine to produce the effect of cold, furious animosity and rivalry between husband and wife. Perhaps it is the reflection of the proposal life of Sylvia Plath. She has witnessed and experience bitter conjugal relationship both in the case of his parents and in that of her own.

In spite of her obvious misgivings about male-female relationship, Sylvia Plath did choose to write about male subjects on occasions. They occur more frequently in poems first published in The Colossus. ‘Suicide off Egg Rock’, ‘The Hermit at outermost House’ and ‘Insomniac’ are all convincing depictions of male subjects. 

Discuss the Theme of Motherhood in the Poetry of Sylvia Plath with Special Reference to ‘Morning Song’.

A number of poems of Sylvia Plath deal with mothering. Sylvia Plath is not sentimental about motherhood. It is not an unambiguously blessed state in her work. The most obvious positive statement about children is ‘you’re’, which can be read as a celebration of pregnancy. Here Sylvia Plath captures the affection and eagerness of the expectant mother. ‘You’re’ and ‘Morning Song’ suggest that Sylvia Plath saw babies as unique, individual personalities; the child is never simply an extension of the mother in her poetry. She observes babies closely, showing us the wonder of new life through her use of unusual and unexpected metaphors and similes to describe infants.

‘Morning Song’ was written by Sylvia Plath after the birth of her first child, ‘Frieda’. She intended that it should be the first poem published in the ‘Ariel’ collection. The tone is different from the cheerful mood of ‘you’re’, although the poet continues to explore feelings and ideas about motherhood that are familiar from the earlier poem.

From the first word “love’ onward we find the great affection and tenderness the mother feels for her child. She is protective, waking to listen to the baby’s cries, to which she responds immediately. She stumbles from her bed to feed her. Sylvia Plath’s descriptions are as precise and original as they were in ‘you’re. Here she concentrates on the sound the child makes, its first ‘bald cry’, its breathing further cries and finally, cooing. She also introduces an intriguing simile that suggests the baby’s otherness. It is not that Sylvia Plath feels alienated from the infant. Rather she senses the child’s individuality; she knows that it is not simply an extension of herself. This is why she says ‘Love set you going’; why, in the third stanza- using the natural imagery of clouds and the wind –she reminds the child that she is not looking in a mirror when she gazes at it. In the fifth and sixth stanzas the baby is clearly dependent on the mother to fulfil her needs, but she is also independent when she tries out her ‘handful of notes’. The simile in the last line closes the poem neatly, returning to the positivity of the opening word; the child growing already, making progress as she acquires language. The final simile catches the wonder of this development exactly.

We can conclude saying that Sylvia Plath’s achievement in this poem is to capture the reflective and occasionally uneasy joy of the new mother. We can assume that it is the first experience of being a mother.

Critically Comment on Yeats’s Use of Symbol.

Yeats’ poetry is replete with symbols. He has been called “the chief representative” of the Symbolist Movement in English literature. Indeed Yeats uses innumerable symbols. Often he coins symbols from his study of the occult, Irish folklore and mythology, philosophy, which are generally unfamiliar to the readers.It is true that French Symbolist Movement has a great impact on Yeats.

Yeats makes use of a complex system of symbols in his poems. In Yeats’ poetry generally symbols are of two kinds; the traditional and the personal as his repeated symbol of “Rose”. It is both a traditional as well as a personal symbol. The ‘rose’ in Yeats’ poem is generally used to mean earthly love but in “The Rose of the World” it also symbolizes eternal love and beauty. In “The Rose of Battle” the rose is a refuge from earthly love. The symbol, thus, becomes complex and has to be read carefully in the context in which it is used.

The symbol of ‘dance’ is closely related to Yeats’ “system” and is often employed in his poetry. It gives the meanings on the one hand, of a patterned movement, joyous energy and on the other hand, at times, a kind of unity. The symbol of dance evokes the concept of unity in “Among School Children”.

‘Byzantium’ represents perfection and unity in Yeats’ poems. He believes that in Byzantium, all spheres of life are united; there is no fragmentation. In “Sailing to Byzantium” Byzantium becomes the symbol of perfection, free from the cycle of birth and death and also free from time because it is a world of art and an ideal existence, where is neither death nor decay.

The symbol of ‘bird’ is one of the most important symbols in Yeats’ poems. It is a striking example of the dynamic nature of the Yeatsian symbol, which grow changes and acquires greater depth and destiny in their progression. The symbol of ‘Falcon’ is also very important. In “The Second Coming” Yeats says that modern world is disintegrating and leading to chaos.

Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer.

A similar process may be traced in the ‘beast imagery’. The sphinx “a shape with lion body and the head of a man”, in “The second Coming” represents the end of the Christianity. Yeats’ uses this symbol with reference to his occult system.

Yeats is disgusted with old age, for this he uses the symbol of ‘Scarecrow’. He shows his disgust with old age in “Among School Children” saying:

Old clothes upon old sticks to scare a bird

To sum up, we can say that Yeats’ use of symbol is complex and rich. Symbols, indeed, give “Dump things Voices, and Bodiless things Bodies” in Yeats’ poetry. The ‘rose’, the ‘swan’, the ‘tower’, the ‘winding stairs’ and the ‘spinning tops’ – all assume a life of their own and speak to the reader of different things.

Show How Yeats’ Treatment of History and Myth in His Poetry.

Yeats was greatly enthused by the charm of myth and used it in numerous poems to reveal his complex philosophical understandings.  Yeats was keen to replace traditional Greek and Roman mythological figures with figures from Irish folk lore. The juxtaposition of the Greek and the Irish myths, and his enthusiasm for old and modern philosophy has distinguished his poems from his contemporaries. The following discussion hinges round Yeats’ handling of myth, philosophy, and history along with a critical inquiry into some of his major poems.

Sailing to Byzantium reveals Yeats use myth and philosophical understanding. In the poem Byzantium symbolises some transcendental country, a place out of time and nature, a world of art and philosophy. Here the poet rejects the natural world of biological activity and decides to take refuge in the timeless world of art with a view to retreat from the process of ageing and decaying. The poem is a transition from sensual art to intellectual art. The poet feels that an old man is disgraceful unless his soul can enjoy works of art and literature which are immortal products of the human spirit. The weaker a man grows in body, the greater should be his joy in the works of art. Appreciation of art and understanding of art can be achieved only by studying magnificent and immortal works of art, the poet decided to go to Byzantium to devote himself to the study of its treasures.

Yeats often uses geometrical symbols of cone or gyre to express his quasi-mystical philosophy of historical change. The concept considers that the process of history is a cyclic one which repeats itself in different appearances. History like an individual passes through different phases along with gyres. Each phase covers a rise, growth and decline of civilisation. The end of an age occurs when disintegration begins at the circumference of the gyres and an antithetical gyre is born. In the poem The Second Coming the poet describes the current historical moment in terms of his concept of gyre. Yeats opines that the present wheel of history has come to full circle and out of its ruin a new age in human history seemed to be taking birth. He envisions that mankind is moving from a period of Christianity to Paganism. So rebirth of paganism is the cyclical process of history.

Easter 1916 deals with the contemporary political history of Ireland. The poem is a reaction to the Irish insurgence in 1916. In this poem Yeats gives an account of some of the insurgents who were personally known to him. Yeats tells that all these acquaintances were the members of this same comic world and played their own roles here. But now they have resigned from their roles, since they are deceased. Their heroic sacrifice transformed them utterly. But what is ultimately born out of this eternal transformation is a kind of terrible beauty, since this beauty can only provide us with the picture of a number of graves. These people’s hearts were united by having one purpose alone. They are all deceased and beyond recall. But still, to hinder the life’s natural course they have taken refuge permanently inside the hearts of every Irishman like a stone. Time passes, huge changes take place in nature, but still no changes occur around this stone. In the midst of all living activity it stays like a great burden. The insurgence that they made proved an utter failure but still these martyrs owe us an admiration for their self-sacrifice, since their intention was noble.

To sum up, W. B. Yeats by skilfully blending myth with history has developed a philosophy or vision of life which is quite modern. Out of the ancient myth he created poems which reveal the historical and philosophical issues of the past, present and future.

Comment on the Treatment of Childhood in the ‘Poem in October’.

Dylan Thomas has special fascination for childhood. He has written a number of poems on childhood and ‘Poem in October’ is one of them. Dylan resembles Wordsworth and William Blake in his attitude to childhood. Wordsworth sees a child from a distance and laments the fact that he can no longer see the heavenly radiance around the objects of nature as he had seen in his childhood. But Dylan like Blake becomes a child himself through imagination and can see and enjoy the beauty of nature through the eyes of a child.

The lyric ‘Poem in October’, written to celebrate the thirtieth birthday of the poet, is an attempt to recollect the sweet memories, innocence and glorious vision of childhood. Waking up at the call of nature quite early in the morning, he feels that he is being greeted on his birthday by the objects of nature, birds, beasts, hill and trees and the waves of the ocean. When the whole town is in sleep the poet comes out of the house and finds the pool full of mussels, the herons sitting priest like on the seashore, the rising waves of the ocean, call of seagulls flying over the shore, the crowing of rooks from the woods, the knocks of the sailing boats and the fishermen hunting fish in the harbor with nets. All these natural phenomena and human activities seem to welcome the poet on his birthday.

It is a rainy autumn day is the month of October and it seems to the poet, who has become a schizoid child, that the waterbirds and the birds flying over the trees are aware of his birthday and seem to be celebrating the occasion by flying over the farm houses and the white coloured horses, proclaiming his name.

He remembers the happy days which he passed in Fern Hill, where was situated the farm of his aunt. It was a country noted for its apples, pears and currants and the boy Dylan walked like a lord there. He remembers his happy days at Swansea, his native land, where he used to walk by the side of his mother in the morning. Then the sunlight and the woods seemed to him glorious and holy.

But the glorious visions and wonders of childhood first he lived through and now remembered, cannot hold the poet for a long time. He returns to reality form his fantasy-world. The griefs and sorrows of childhood makes his suffer once again as he recollects them. This makes boy and poet, past and present, Laughorne and Swansea, one.

The poet’s nostalgia for a vanished glorious past soon ends and he returns to the present. Thus he is able to regain some measure of self control and face the reality of the moment, that he is no longer a boy but a man of thirty. So the poet now offers a prayer that in future he may continue to write on the delights and wonders of a child.

Discuss the Use of Symbols in the Poetry of Dylan Thomas.

Dylan Thomas makes extensive use of natural, conventional and private symbols to convey complex psychological states to his readers. He draws symbols from different branches of sciences, philosophies, myths, legends, literature, history, occult knowledge, Bible etc.

‘Poem in October ‘contains various types of symbols. In the beginning of the poem the poet finds a heron on the shore. To him the heron becomes a symbol of sacredness and is regarded as a priest sitting on the seashore. The waves of the ocean rising high seem to the poet a kind of prayer to heaven on the occasion of his birthday. The call of the seagull coming from the shore, the crowing of the rooks from the wood and the knock of the sailing boats near the harbour, overhung with fishermen’s nets, symbolize an invitation to the poet to wake up and come out to enjoy the beauty of nature. The ‘winged trees’ symbolize the poem in which the poet celebrates his birthday. ‘Water-birds and birds of the winged trees fly my name’- Here birds flying over the farms and white horses seem to celebrate his birthday by proclaiming his name.

The word “Dylan” in English means ‘High Tide’ and so the birds may simply be flying the waves which are rising high. The line may simply be the fantasy of the schizoid individual or it may refer to the present poem in which Dylan celebrates his birthday, or it may be merely the high tides which to the poet’s imagination seem to be flying so high on the wings of the bird. ‘The white horses’ symbolize something highly desirable. ‘And I rose in rainy autumn’ signifies that the poet was born in October which is a month of Autumn. ‘High tide and the heron dived’- Here diving of the high tide ad the heron symbolizes the disappearance of the poet’s dream; the fantasy-world into which he escaped a moment ago is broken, and he has come to reality. Again the bright weather above the hill, spring and summer symbolizes a world of escape from the harsh reality, while the cold and rain below symbolizes the painful reality which cannot be avoided for any length of time.

Further the ‘tall tales’ symbolizes imagination and fancy, while ‘the gardens of spring and summer’ stand for the beautiful glorious world as re-created by the imagination of the poet. ‘The weather turned around’ signifies the fact that his escape into the fantasy world of boyhood was short –lived. The phrase ‘the other air’ symbolizes the vision and memory of childhood. ‘Parables’ and ‘Legends’ stand for the wonders and glorious vision of childhood, while the woods symbolically become green chapel. Thus the whole poem is replete with symbols and symbolic expressions of various types.

To sum up, Dylan’s symbols are complex and many-sided. Most of them are not universal but private symbols, devised by Dylan for his own use. Their complexity sometimes, gives rise to obscurity. Hence the reader should approach his subject very carefully; otherwise misunderstanding or misinterpretation may occur at any moment.

What does the Forest Represent In Story Young Goodman Brown

In ‘Young Goodman Brown’, the forest has several symbolic dimensions. Hawthorne leaves us in no doubt that the forest represents the principle and practice of evil. Brown’s experience is derived from an internalized sin. He well understood that his mission was evil, and his acts impure, yet was surprised to find others whom he reverenced following the same path. His journey to the forest is symbolic of Christian “self-exploration” in which doubt immediately supplants faith. The forest also represents the wild New World that was something to fear. Goodman Brown, like other puritans associate the forest with the wild “Indian” and see one hiding behind every tree. He believes that the devil could easily be present in such a place. Hawthorne also depicts the forest as the Garden of Eden. Goodman Brown appears to re[resent human beings confronted with his temptation-that is, he wishes to enter the dark forest of sin to satisfy his curiosity about the happenings there and perhaps even to take part in them. The man who meets brown in the forest appears to represent the devil. Goodman Brown is enticed by an entire forest. Like Adam, he suffers a great fall from innocence. Likewise, the dark forest is associated with danger, obscurity, confusion, and unknown or with evil, sin, and death as primordial symbol.

Describe Beloved as an Allegorical Figure

Beloved is the dead baby daughter of Sethe, whom Sethe kills to save her from being taken by the slave owner. As Sethe loves her child, she cannot let her suffer by being a slave. This dead baby comes back to Sethe’s life, in the house 124 bluestone, but as the form of spirit.

Beloved is presented as an allegorical figure. Whether she is Sethe’s daughter, Sethe’s mother, or a representative of all of slavery’s victims, Beloved represents the past returned to haunt the present. The characters’ confrontations with Beloved and, consequently, their pasts, is complex. The interaction between Beloved and Sethe is given particular attention in the book. Once Sethe reciprocates Beloved’s violent passion for her, the two become locked in a destructive, exclusive, parasitic relationship. When she is with Beloved, Sethe is paralysed in the past. She devotes all her attention to macking Beloved understands why she reacted to schoolteacher’s arrival the way she did. Paradoxically, Beloved allows and inspires Sethe to tell the stories she never tells- stories about her own feeling of abandonment by her mother, about the harshest indignities she suffered at Sweet Home, and about her motivation for murdering her daughter. By engaging with her past Sethe begins to learn about herself and the extent of her ability to live in the present.

How Does Hemingway Show that Jake is Insecure about His Masculinity Early in the Novel?

Jake does not mention his insecurities directly. We must search for information about them in his reactions and descriptions of others. Jake takes a condescending attitude towards Chon. His description cast Chon as a weak, inexperienced man. Jake’s contempt seems to arise partly from Cohn’s feminized status. He characterized Cohn as timid and easily controlled by a strong woman like Frances. This emphasis on Cohn’s lack of masculinity can be seen as a reflection of Jake’s own insecurities about his manhood. Also, Jake resent the group of male friends with whom Brett dances at the club. His statements about them subtly imply that they are homosexuals. Brett can safely get drunk around them, for instance, because they have no interest in having sex with her. Jake realizes that he should be tolerant, but admits that he is, in fact, disgusted by them. His irrational disgust likely stems from his perception of them as unmanly, illustrating his worries about his own manliness. Thus Hemingway uses Jake’s contempt for Cohn’s feeble masculinity and his reaction of abhorrence towards Brett’s homosexual friends to reveal his anxiety about his own masculinity.

Friday, 27 October 2017

Discuss The Hairy Ape as a Social Satire.

Literature of all types during the last sixty years has dealt with social problems. Social protest has been the moving spirit in literature since the days of Zola. In The Hairy Ape O'Neill reveals himself in sympathy with this tradition, with the one difference that he is not dealing with the condemnation of a particular political order. His problem is the deeper one of the psychological implications of the machine age. His predecessors might have shown how Yank lost his job and finally through starvation was led to crime to support himself and family, or some similar theme. But it should be remembered that Yank's problem was not loss of work. He could have had all the work he wanted. Furthermore, O'Neill does not appeal to the emotions by having Yank lose a sweetheart, mother, or children. Yank is alone as far as any family connections are concerned. It is not work that Yank is seeking. What Yank wants is to know that he "belongs." He wants to find out what it is that has happened to the world which separates him from the realization that what he is doing is a necessary and a fitting part of the life of the world.

In pursuit of the answer to this problem he receives blows and insults--no insult greater than that which is expressed in the typical speech of the senator who attributes to the workers all the sins of which he and his class are guilty. The real danger to modern civilization is the stupidity and timidity of the ruling classes. Therein lies the real drama of this play. It is not that Yank as an individual moves the audience very deeply. He is neither charming nor likable, nor capable of arousing deep emotion as a person. Had O'Neill meant this play to be the tragedy of Yank, he would have made him a more likeable character. But Yank is more than an individual. He is a symbol of the deep protest that rises like a wave against the whole structure of modern civilization. He is man crying out against a system which has not only exploited man's body but his spirit as well. The play is not a protest against low wages and unemployment as is the case in the traditional social drama, Hauptmann's The Weavers, for example, but it is a condemnation of the whole structure of machine civilization, a civilization which succeeds only when it destroys the psychological well-being of those who make it possible. It is this which gives the play universality and enlists the sympathy and understanding of the audience. It is a play which might be called by any of the many titles of books that describe the disintegration of modern civilization; it is a part of the Decline of the West.

Because of its deep psychological and philosophical implication The Hairy Ape cannot be classed with a type of social drama which solves a problem and points a way out. The sickness of the machine age is not wholly a problem of relating production and consumption. It goes much deeper than that. The whole concept of life, of man's relation to the world, of his place in it is involved. Yank was not concerned about distribution --vitally important as that is--he wanted to be a creative part of the social structure, and no man working in the stoke-hole of a liner, or making the two hundred and fifty-sixth part of a shoe in regulation eight-hour shifts can ever "belong" in the same sense that man belonged as a creative worker in the eighteenth century. Yank is a protest against the mordant success of the machine age.

O'Neill makes this clear as Yank moves from one defeat to another striving vainly to find some answer to his problem. In prison he heard of the I. W. W.s and thought to find among them an answer. They threw him into the street, just as the Communists of today would deny him a place. The Communists would not accept Yank, because Yank is an individualist not a party man. What he wants is to be a creative worker proud of what he as an individual has created.

Yank's speech after he has been thrown from the I. W. W.'s headquarters is an explicit summary of the whole situation. O'Neill shows that wages, distribution, shorter hours and all the rest of it is no solution. Yank in the pose of "The Thinker" reviews the whole situation, ending by admitting that his greatest crime was that of being born. Yank speaks, referring first to the men who threw him out into the street.

What is the Significance of the Title of The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway?

The title of Ernest Hemingway's first book is The Sun Also Rises, which comes from a verse in the Bible. The title is an apt depiction both of the despair of the Lost Generation of which Hemingway was a part as well as the potential for optimism in the perpetual rising of the sun. 

The words of the Preacher, the son of David, king in Jerusalem. Vanity of vanities, faith the Preacher, vanity of vanities; all is vanity. What profit hath a man of all his labour which he taketh under the sun? One generation passeth away, and another generation cometh: but the earth abidethfor ever. The sun also ariseth, and the sun goeth down, and hasteth to his place where he arose. The wind goeth toward the south, and turneth about unto the north; it whirleth about continually, and the wind returneth again according to his circuits. All the rivers run into the sea; yet the sea is not full.
These seven verses paint a picture of despair in which whatever one does is as nothing. Working (laboring) yields nothing, the winds are capricious, and the seas are never full. despite the waters continually pouring into them. The one constant is the earth, as demonstrated by the sun rising, setting, and rising again no matter what else is happening. 

Hemingway was part of what is called the "Lost Generation," a group of expatriate writers and artists who found real meaning in nothing as they spent their time reveling in their sinfulness while living in Europe. The picture of despair surrounding verse five (the sun also rises reference) is typical of what he and the others who were living this life felt, disillusioned by the materialism of post-war America. 

While the context of the verse/title is despair, there is also hope. Though everything seems hopeless, the sun will rise again tomorrow, and then it will do so again the next day...and the next. There is not much hopefulness in this novel, as the final words indicate:“Oh, Jake,” Brett said, “we could have had such a damned good time together.”

Ahead was a mounted policeman in khaki directing traffic. He raised his baton. The car slowed suddenly pressing Brett against me.“Yes,” I said. “Isn’t it pretty to think so?”


Despite that hopelessness about what might have been (but never really could have been), there is a glimmer of hope for the future of the Lost Generation in the rising of the sun. 

Toni Morrison’s Beloved Portrays an Institutionalized Dehumanization of the Slaves. Elucidate.

Beloved explores the physical, emotional, and spiritual devastation wrought by slavery, a devastation that continue to haunt those characters who are former slaves even in freedom. The most dangerous of slavery’s effect is its negative impact on the former slave’s sense of self, and the novel contains multiple examples of self-alienation. Paul D, for instance, is so alienated from himself that at one point he cannot tell whether the screaming he hears is his own or someone else’s. Slaves were told they were subhuman and were traded as commodities whose worth could be expressed in dollars. Consequently, Paul D is very insecure about whether or not he could possibly be a real “man,” and he frequently wonders about hos value as a person.


Sethe, also, was treated as a subhuman. She once walked in on schoolteacher giving his pupils lessons on her “animal characteristics.” She too seems to be alienated from her and filled with her self-loathing. Thus, she sees the best part of herself as her children. Yet her children also have volatile, unstable identities. Denver conflates her identity with Beloved’s and Beloved feels herself actually beginning to physically disintegrate. Slavery has also limited baby Suggs’s self- conception by shattering her family and denying her the opportunity to be a true wife, sister, daughter, or loving mother. As a result of their inability to believe in their own existence, both baby Suggs and Paul D become depressed and tired. Baby Suggs’s fatigue is spiritual, while Paul D‘ s is emotional. While a slave, Paul D developed self- defeating coping strategies to protect him from the emotional pain he was forced to endure. Any feelings he had were locked away in the rusted “tobacco tin” of his heart, and he concluded that one should love nothing too intensely. Other slaves—Jackson Till, Aunt Phyllis, and Halle—went insane and thus suffered a complete loss of self. Sethe fears that she, too, will end her days  in madness. Indeed, she does prove to be mad when she kills her own daughter. Yet Sethe’s act of infanticide illuminates the perverse forces of the institution of slavery: under slavery, a mother best expresses her love for her children by murdering them and thus protecting them from the more gradual destruction wrought by slavery. Stamp paid muses that slavery’s negative consequences are not limited to the slaves: he notes that slavery causes whites to become “changed and altered . . . made . . . bloody, silly, worse than they ever wanted to be. “ The insidious effects of the institution affect not only the identities of its black victims but those of the whites who perpetrate it and the collective identity of Americans. Where slavery exists, everyone suffers a loss of humanity and compassion. Crucially, in Beloved, we learn about the history and legacy of slavery not from schoolteacher’s or even from the Bodwins’ point of view but rather from Sethe’s Paul D’ s Stamp Paid’ s and Baby Suggs’s.

Discuss in the Light of Your Reading of Beloved by Toni Morrison.

Is Sethe’s Murder of Her Own Child Justified?

It is a universal truth that every mother loves her child more than herself. It is shocking to hear that a mother has killed her own child. The question which arises in our mind—is how is this possible? If we go through the story of the novel Beloved, then it becomes clear to us why and under what situation Sethe murdered her daughter. Although it is not justified to take anyone’s life, we cannot hold Sethe guilty in this regard. The physical abuse which she got from her owner was responsible for her mental trauma. Slavery took joy from her life and gave only unbearable pain. She tried to escape from her horrible life with her children. When she was caught, she killed her daughter for saving her from being a slave and thus leading a miserable life. She thought that dying was better than being a slave. If we go through her tragic life at Sweet Home, we can say that she was justified to kill her own child.

Unwilling to relinquish her children to the physical, emotional, and spiritual trauma she has endured as a slave, she tries to murder them in an act that is, in her mind, one of motherly love and protection. Her memories of this cruel act and of the brutality she herself suffered as a slave infuse her everyday life and lead her to content that past trauma can never reality be eradicated—it continues, somehow, to exist in the present. She thus spends her life attempting to avoid encounters with her past. Perhaps Sethe’s fear of the past is what leads her to ignore the overwhelming evidence that Beloved is the reincarnation of her murdered daughter. As Sethe loved her dead child, she came to her life again, but now in the form of spirit.


Sethe wanted to escape from the horrible Sweet Home. So, she sent her children to Cincinnati. So, schoolteacher’s nephews seized Sethe in the barn and violate her, stealing the milk her body is storing for her infant daughter. When schoolteacher found out that Sethe had reported his and his nephews’ misdeeds to Mrs Garner, he had her whipped severely, despite the fact that she was pregnant. Swollen and scarred, Sethe nevertheless ran away, but along the way she collapsed from exhaustion in a forest. A white girl, Amy Denver, found her and nursed her back to health. Amy later helped Sethe to deliver her baby in a boat. Rather than surrender her children to a life of dehumanizing slavery, she fled with them to the woodshed and tries to kill them. Only the third child, her older daughter, died, her throat having been cut with a handsaw by Sethe. But her motherly love made her to manage the word beloved on a tomb stone by letting the stone cutter have sex with her.

To What Extent is The Sun Also Rises a Fictional Chronicle of a “Lost Generation”?

Basically, the phrase describes the generation that came to maturity during World War I and describes the cumulative effect of the new kind of warfare on that generation. The technology involved in modern warfare also created carnage on a scale that had never been seen before. The sheer amount of death and destruction from WWI led people to question the meaning of life.

Gertrude Stein coined this name, which applies to the young people who grew up in the shadow of World War I (1914-1918). In terms of pop culture, the images that usually spring to mind of this group are those of the Roaring Twenties: fast cars, flappers, and wild parties. Historically speaking, the First World War – also known as the Great War – was a kind of breaking point for the people of Europe and America. Nobody had ever imagined that a global event so apocalyptic would possibly happen, and when it did, it changed everything; suddenly, the beliefs and practices of the pre-war world no longer seemed adequate.

Like many famous authors of this period, including Hemingway himself, Jake has left American in order to find a better way of life in another country. His obsession with the Spanish bull fights is so that even native Spaniards acknowledge that he is an aficionado and this is one example of Jake’s trying to involve himself in a greater interest. Similarly, he and his friends try to submerge themselves in rural Spanish past times, like fishing in the country, in an attempt, perhaps, to get in “touch with the soul” as bill says. The novel is Hemingway’s answer to the malaise of the “lost generation”; a message of a more vital way of life that might be salvation for an alienated generation.

On top of that, the beginning of the twentieth century was a time of profound technological change (Airplanes! Cars! Gee, whiz!). Suddenly, the world seemed like a much more accessible place. The Lost Generation is commonly characterized by the figures of Hemingway himself and his famous pal F. Scott Fitzgerald, who both partied hard, traveled incessantly, but was never quite happy.

Although Hemingway, in this novel, tries to take himself very seriously, in many ways this is just a story of young people having fun, exploring their own identities, going through all those intense melodramatic relationships one has at a certain age, etc.


A very interesting section of this novel occurs when they watch the bullfighting and reject the possibility of being a hero or of living life to the full.

Sketch the Character of Goodman Brown?

What idea have you formed about the character of Goodman Brown

Young Goodman Brown is a character that undergoes many changes throughout the story. He is very much influenced by the events that unfold in the woods that night. He is also changed by the characters around him, or rather his knowledge of their hidden sins.

In the beginning of the tale, Goodman Brown seems to be happy with his life. He has a lovely young wife and claims, “I’ll cling to her skirts and follow her to Heaven.” “We have been a race of honest men and good Christians,” he says of his father’s before him. He respects his elders and is devoted to his religion, like most Puritans during this time period. When he first ventured into the woods he kept insisting it was time to return home.

However, a number of occurrences begin to take a toll on Goodman Brown. He first learns from the old man, that his father had kept company with the devil. Then, one by one, he meets all the townspeople he thought was so very good on their way to a witches meeting. Throughout these revelations, Brown’s faith is wavering; though he insists he is going to turn back, he continues progressing into the heart of the woods. He truly believes that all these people were godly, and on finding out how devilish they are he is questioning God and, “doubting whether there really was a Heaven above him.” Upon hearing his wife taking the devil’s communion he cries, “My Faith is gone! There is no good on earth; and sin is but a name.” When he is on the verge of being converted and sees his wife he then tells her, “Look up to Heaven, and resist the Wicked One!.

The next morning Brown awakes not knowing if the meeting was a dream or reality. Regardless, there is a distinct change in him; “A stern, a sad, a darkly meditative, a distrustful, if not desperate man,” replaced the naive young man of before. He avoids and disapproves of those he once admired. Though he does become a father and grandfather it is assumed he did not take an active role in his family member’s lives. While his faith was at one time established, and at another moment wavering, it now seems to be lost forever.


Whether Goodman Brown worships God or the devil, it makes no difference; it is not his faith in his religion that was lost. It was his faith in other people, and their goodness that vanished. It seems a desolate life when one cannot trust or turn to anyone for advice or comforting. Sharing your life with other people, which Brown surrenders, seems to be as much a part of human nature as sin.

Discuss ‘Young Goodman Brown’ as an Allegorical Story.

An allegory is a work of fiction in which the symbols, characters, and events come to represent some aspect of its culture. In American literature, allegories have often been used for instructive purposes around Christian themes.  The story has a figurative meaning beneath the literal one: a story with two meanings.  In American literature, the best example of an allegory is “Young Goodman Brown” by Nathaniel Hawthorne. The story centers on the loss of innocence.

The story takes place in Salem during the witch crisis and religious disagreements.  The allegory includes Christianity, Satan, and the devil. From the names of the characters to the pink ribbons in Faith’s hair, this is a religious allegory.  The story centers on the journey of Goodman Brown into the woods to meet Satan.  He is an innocent, yet he has made this appointment with the devil for some reason.

The trip itself and the scenes that Goodman Brown encounters are vague and uncertain. Brown leaves his wife to go a meeting with the devil who awaits him.  Brown is late and blames it on his “Faith.”[Faith his wife or faith in his religion]

This list of symbols and elements add to the allegorical interpretation of the story:

The snakelike staff-The devil offers his staff.  Eventually, this symbol becomes the medical profession symbol.

Faith Brown- The references to her by Brown indicate that Brown’s strength comes from his wife.  

Faith’s voice- Brown realizes that Faith is in the middle of the witch’s coven.  He speaks: “My Faith is gone!”

Faith’s pink ribbons-These indicate her innocence and purity.  When Brown sees them in the wind in the woods, Faith is struggling with her own “faith.”   

The basin of water- The basin of water is reddened by the light in the forest or is it blood to be used in the ceremony of witchery.   
The list of public figures- Those under the spell of the devil includes Brown’s own family, his teacher, the minister and most of the prominent people in Salem. These were people that Brown thought were righteous in their lives.

The black cloud-When Brown looks to the heavens to ask God to intercede for him, a black cloud prevents him from being able to look to the skies.

Hawthorne uses colors to represent various qualities of man: the pink of innocence; the black of evil; the red of the witches’ coven, and gray for those who are caught under the suspicious of evil.

When Brown returns to town, the reader nor Brown is not sure if the previous night’s events were dreams or actual events.he [Brown] spied the hand of Faith, with the pink ribbons, gazing anxiously forth, and bursting into such joy at sight of him that she almost kissed her husband before the whole village. But Goodman Brown looked sternly and sadly into her face, and passed on without a greeting.

Brown turns his back on everything that he had valued and loved the day before.  He changes forever and hardens his heart against everyone.  He looks for corruption behind every bush.  Young Goodman Brown never recognizes that it his soul that has become immoral and blind to God.

How has Saul Bellow Depicted American Life and Society in Seize the Day?

Saul Bellow has depicted the American life and society as rootless, fraudulence and relation less among the population and financial gambler.

At first we get footlessness’ in American society in which Tommy Wilhem is a man in his mid- forties, temporarily living in the Hotel Gloriana on the Upper West Side of New York City, the same hotel in which his father has taken residence for a number of years. He is out of place from the beginning, living in a hotel filled with elderly retirees and continuing throughout the novel to be a figure of isolation amidst crowds. The novella traverses one very important day in the life of this self- same Tommy Wilhelm: his “day of reckoning” so to speak.

The readers secondly get a picture fraudulence and joblessness due to the lack of competence. The reader begins to discover through Tommy’s thoughts and through a series of flashbacks that Tommy has just recently been fired from his job as a salesman, he is a college drop-out, a man with two children, recently separated from his wife, and he is a man on the brink of financial disaster. Tommy, has just given over the last of his savings to the fraudulent Dr.Tamkin, who has promised to knowingly invest it in the commodities market. Amid all of this, he has, apparently, fallen in love with a woman named Olive, who he cannot marry because his wife will not grant him a divorce. Tommy is unhappy and in need of assistance both emotionally and financially. The chapters that follow focus on Tommy’s encounters and conversations with Dr.Tamkin, a seemingly fraudulent and questionable “psychologist”, who gives Tommy endless advice and thus provides the assistance he had looked for from his father. Weather Tamkin is fraudulent and questionable as a psychologist, and whether he is a liar and a charlatan is a question that is constantly being posed to us.

Another characteristic is relation-less among the   American people. In the first three chapters the reader follows Tommy as he talks with his father, Dr. Adler, Who sees his his son as ca failure in every sense of the word. Tommy is refused financial assistance and also refused any kind of support, emotionally or otherwise, from his father. It is also within these beginning chapters that the flashbacks begin. The flashback highlight, among other things, Tommy’s meeting with the duplicitous Venice, the talent scout who shows initial interest in a young Tommy and his good looks. Wilhelm, however, is later rejected by the same scout after a failed screen test but nevertheless attempts a career in Hollywood as an actor. He discontinues his college education and moves to California, against his parent’s will and warnings.

There is gambling in the stock market of the American life. The rest of the novella consists of Tommy and Dr.Tamkin travelling back and forth to and from the stock market, meeting several charecters along the way. The novel finally illustrates Tommy’s terrible loss in the commodities in which Tamkin has invested Tommy’s money. Tommy has lost all of his savings but still has the disappeared. After an attempt to look for Tamkin in his room at the hotel, the novella comes to a close with three climaxes—two minor and one large, final climax.

 In conclusion, we can say that the picture upholds the disintegration of family life in (American Society) Western Civilization. It is indeed a social picture of American life. The emotional aridity, lack of fellow-feeling has rendered Western Civilization a true Waste land.

Analyse the Theme of Identity and Isolation the ‘The Hairy Ape’.

Eugene O’Neill, the Nobel winner dramatist and the Shakespeare of America, has exposed in ‘The Hairy Ape’ man’s eternal quest for identity. O'Neill moves his hero Yank, through a series of rapidly changing scenes in his quest to belong, to find his place in the universe. Alienation and search for identity is the basic theme in The Hairy Ape.


In the beginning of the drama Yank feels that he is satisfied with his condition of life as a stoker in a large ship. Yank says that ship is everything to him and he belongs to ship. He is satisfied with the present, and is proud of his ability and strength. He asserts that it is his energy on which the ship and the passengers ultimately depend.


In the second scene, Mildred Doughlas is introduced in a free manner. She has inherited the wealth acquired through steel, but not the energy and strength which steel has. She wants to help the poor and to study the conditions of the poor stokers in the ship. Obtaining permission from the captain of the ship she stands at the back of Yank and monitors their work. Suddenly, Yank turns towards her, he glares into her eyes, and she is terrified by his "Abysmal brutality". Then she utters a low, chocking cry, faints with fear and heat, and is carried away from there. Before leaving the place she exclaims, "Oh, the filthy beast”.


Yank feels "Himself insulted in some unknown fashion in the very heart of his pride". The story here begins to change yank's life. This is the greatest blow to yank's belief as well as to his concept of belongingness. His pride and sense of security have been shattered by at the hands of a woman insult. It makes him to realise that he "does not belong".  After that crucial incident he no longer feels that he "belongs" Yank in the search of his identity, discovers firstly that he is alone, lonely and the world is impossible to live in, and secondly, that steel is no power within him, but a prison but it also makes the cage in which Yank is imprisoned.


Yank is released from the prison and wants to take revenge on the girl for his insult. He goes out to the Fifth Avenue, the locality where the rich people live to kill Mildred. But he does not find her there and he attacks people there. Then he is arrested after assaulting a person of the upper class and put into prison of Blackwell’s Island. There he felt like an ape caged and tried to break open the prison bars.


After being released from the prison, he went to join the I.W.W and organization: he was told by his fellow prisoners, was interested in terrorizing the rich. He is confident that he will be able to wreak vengeance on Mildred and her class by joining the IWW. But the officer in the IWW takes Yank to be an agent provocateur, a secret service man. He says that Yank is a Spy and is ‘a brainless ape’. Yank passions are aroused, but the very moment he is thrown out of the office into the street. His rejection by the I.W.W. is a terrible shock to his belief. Yank realizes that he does not belong even to the I.W.W. He now felt completely isolated alienated from the human society, and thought himself a complete hairy ape.


Finally he goes to a Zoo and stands before the cage of a gorilla in a zoo. He regards the gorilla as his own brother, as a place he belongs to. Yank opens the door and enters into the cage. The next moment the gorilla wraps his huge arms round him and crushes him to death. Yank falls down like a heap. The gorilla takes him up throws him into the cage, and closes the door. The final scene shows that Yank is rejected not only by man and nature but also by animals. As Yank dies, he mutters and in deep agony he cries "Christ, where do I get off? AT? Where do I fit in”?


Thus the end of Yank’s quest for identity and belongingness implies the endless effort of mankind to find out a sustainable and permanent position of dignity and honor in human society irrespective of class, creed, color, cast and community.