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Thursday, 24 September 2020

Richard Wilbur as a Modern Poet or Technical Excellencies of Wilbur


Richard Wilbur as a Modern Poet or Technical Excellencies of Wilbur

Richard Wilbur is the most renowned modern American poet, of 20th century. The freshness of his imagery, diversity of his themes and the handling of complex stanza forms make his poetry impressive and charming.

Wilbur has a variety of striking techniques in his poetry. The tone in his poems vary from the light and comic to the tragic and gloomy.

Realism is the most important feature of Wilbur's poetry. It is the hallmark of his poetry. He is a realist, and each poem of Wilbur is true to life. His poems present realistic themes and issues, taken form everyday life. In the “Last Bulletins” Wilbur has highlighted a unique issue of the value of the newspapers after passing one day. He throws light on a modern dilemma as to what is the worth of newspaper after all? He has realistically brought to light the worthlessness of newspaper by showing how wind takes paper from one place to another and how newspapers are crushed under the feet of the people. He says:

"The wind rises and blows

The day's litter of news in the alleys"

Similarly, in the "Still, Citizen Sparrow", he very beautifully presents the behaviour of modern man towards vulture. He addresses to sparrow, in order to manifest the importance of Vulture who has some value:

“Still citizen sparrow, this vulture which you call.

Unnatural, let him but lumber again to…”

Then again he defends vulture, when he says what matters if he is ugly, but he is the only bird who soars high in the sky and keeps nature clean. By pointing out the case of vulture, Wilbur throws light on the narrow approach of man who does not see beyond the surface reality. Who does know the importance and value of things and persons.

Secondly, it is important to note that each poem of Wilbur has an individual entity. It stands prominent and unique as far as dealing of theme is concerned. No idea is repeated in more than one poem. Every poem has separate theme, unique in itself.

Some of his poems are dramatic and have abrupt start. In the "Still citizen Sparrow”, he rebukes sparrow for thinking vulture as an ugly being. There is the element of suspense and mystery in his poetry a kind of mystery runs through his poems from start to end and the reader remains in stupendous trance. This poem has dramatic opening, colloquial and conversational style.

Besides, Wilbur's poems are not very lengthy. There is brevity in language. Each poem is short but lucid and compact in contrast with Ashbery's poetry. His poetry has thematic and structural unity.

Like Sylvia Plath, Wilbur too has used antithetical technique. There is a juxtaposition of light and darkness, life and death, the imagination and reality, consciousness and unconsciousness, movement and inactivity.

Wilbur's poetry is remarkable for its visual and auditory imagery. As if we are listening to some music or visualizing something. The poem “Marginalia” is full of unique blend of auditory and visual imagery. In "Marginalia” it create dream like atmosphere.

Besides, Wilbur's poetry has pictorial quality. It presents a combination of colours. "Marginalia” is the best example, for example “pine- leaves", "bubbles”, "lily pads”, “textile scum”, “floor” give a vivid picture.

Wilbur also uses far-fetched imagery and conceits like other modern American poets. For example the image of sparrow for modern citizen, and the reference of deluge and Noah, He says:

“Thinking of Noah, childheart, try to forzet How for so many bedlam hours his saw soured the song of birds with its wheezy gnaw.”

Wilbur, like Robert Frost is in habit of choosing simple issue taken from life and then transform them into something philosophical and logical.

Furthermore, he has used several biblical or religious references and scientific theories also. In "Marginalia”, Wilbur has very skillfully presented the theory that life has centrifugal force. Things exert pressure towards their margins and boundaries. Nevertheless, very beautifully, scientific theory has been used to show philosophy of life to show man's ambitious nature. He says:

"Things concentrate at the edges

Our riches are centrifugal”

It means things concentrate more towards borders. In the same way man's wishes and desires also are unlimited, going out from his reach.

In “Still, Citizen Sparrow”, biblical reference has been used. Apparently poem is about the importance of vulture and his share in labour of Hazrat Noah but on the deeper level, poem is a satire to show modern man's mentality and inclination towards surface reality. Very masterfully, Wilbur has used religious reference to give vent to his feelings about modern man's behaviour and narrow - mindedness.

The use of the titles is also very suggestive it has king quality. Titles exemplify main theme inherent in poems very skillfully.

Wilbur's approach is not subjective; his view is subjective as contrary to other modern American poets. His poems are running commentary on life and its bleak realities.

Last, but not the least, use of imagination is the most important feature of Wilbur's poetry.

His poems are shifting panorama of reality and imaginations. Marginalia is, at the same time, a presentation two states, state of consciousness and unconsciousness gives dream like quality to poem. In "Marginalia”, poet’s imagination is triggered by seeing a beautiful pool. The poem shows an amalgam of reality and imagination in a skillful manner.

In a nutshell, Wilbur is a modern American poet as far as his themes and style is concerned. His poetry is not the poetry of a common poet, but appealing, striking and at the same time original. His themes transfer from reality to imagination at varying degree.



Monday, 21 September 2020

Character and Role of Bathsheba Everden in Hardy's Far From The Madding Crowd

Character and Role of Bathsheba Everden in Hardy's Far From The Madding Crowd

 Character Study of Bathsheba

Bathsheba Everden, the beautiful young woman at the center of the novel, Far From the Madding Crowd, is endowed by Hardy with charm and personality. She stands at the center of the novel as the object of three men's attention. She is a slim, tall, and dark-haired beauty that is quite concerned her appearance and her acceptance by others. She is also an independent woman who has a strong hold upon life. She can manage her farm efficiently, as seen in her handling of the dishonest bailiff. She cares about the farm workers, paving personal attention to the payment of their wages and treating them to refreshments. She is, again, not afraid of manual labour, as seen when she helps Gabriel cover the ricks in the midst of the storm. As the lone woman manager, she carries on business transactions with men at the corn market with remarkable skill, on an equal footing with her male peers. As patron of the harvest festival also she reigns supreme

It may here be noted that Bathsheba, who must choose among three very different suitors, is the protagonist who propels the plot of the novel through her interaction with her various suitors. At the beginning of the novel, she is penniless, but she quickly inherits and learns to run a farm in Weatherbury, where most of the novel takes place. Her first characteristic that we learn about is her vanity, and Hardy continually shows her to be rash and impulsive. However, not only is she independent in spirit, she is independent financially. This allows Hardy to use her character to explore the danger that such a woman faces of losing her identity and lifestyle through marriage.

Also Read:

  1. Tragic Vision of Hardy in Far From The Madding Crowd
  2.  Role of Chance and Coincidence in Far From the Madding Crowd

However, it has become commonplace among critics of Hardy's Far From the Madding Crowd to say that Bathsheba Everdene develops through misfortune and suffering from a vain, egotistical girl into a wise, sympathetic woman. At the beginning of the novel, Bathsheba is a woman filled with vanity and pride. She often looks at herself in the mirror and admires what she sees. She turns down Gabriel's proposal, for she feels he is beneath her. She is incensed that Boldwood does not pay her attention and manipulates him into loving her. But as the novel advances, there is a change in her character for the better.

At the end of the novel, Bathsheba is a mature woman free from vanity and pride. She cleans the tombstone of Fanny Robin, the lover of her husband. She lays Troy out for his final burial. She regrets her ill treatment of Boldwood, and agrees to marry him out of a sense of guilt. And in the end, she realizes the worth of Gabriel and knows he is more than worthy of her.

Her attention to the three men who are attracted to her marks the progress of her maturity. She at first rejects Gabriel Oak's love, for she feels she is better than he. However, she recognizes all along his superior qualities and is drawn to him for advice and comfort. She is carried away by the flattery of Sergeant Troy and marries him out of infatuation with his charm without knowing anything about his involvement with Fanny. Her flirtation with Boldwood arises out of selfishness. She emerges as a heroic woman after the death of Troy. She does not turn hysterical, but takes command of the situation with coolness and courage. Hardy nightly remarks, "she was the stuff of which great men's mothers are made."

Among Hardy's major novels Far From the Madding Crowd and Under the Greenwood Tree, with their happy endings, can be seen as attempts to show, in the comic mode, the possibility of amendment and recognition. Fancy Day, the whimsical heroine of Under the Greenwood Tree, does return to her native place and does marry her rustic lover under a greenwood tree. Far From the Madding Crowd may also apparently seem to show something similar - the growth of Bathsheba from impulsive folly to good sense and finally marriage to Gabriel Oak. But Bathsheba is subject to a more severe law than Fancy, Bathsheba is in Hardy's view an agent and a victim of the tragic inalterability of things for she is afflicted by what he calls, in the first chapter, 'woman's perspective infirmity.’



Saturday, 19 September 2020

Chronicle of a Death Foretold as a Postmodern Novel

Chronicle of a Death Foretold as a Postmodern Novel

Chronicle of a Death Foretold as a Postmodern Novel

The turmoil that the Western society witnessed in the aftermath of the destruction of two wars of twentieth century was not so easy to overcome. The era that was ushered in saw the rapid transformation of all that was familiar to the west. The social and cultural scenario in the West was in a state of flux as the post-war world witnessed several economical and political upheavals along with revolutionary technological developments. In literature, it constructed a discourse that rejected totalizing narratives and instead believed in partial, fragmented and incomplete narratives. Postmodernist fiction soon became an international phenomenon.

Garcia Marquez through his novel Chronicle of a Death Foretold presented a postmodern masterpiece. The novel was inspired from Garcia Marquez’s own life. A gruesome killing of his own friend in Sucre, Colombia (1951) in the name of honour was turned into a complex and rich plot of this novella. The story is an attempt to piece together the fatal day when a young man is murdered, for having seduced and deflowered a young woman, who is disowned by her outraged husband and is returned to her family.

Written in the vein of popular literary genre of postmodernism i.e. a detective fiction, Chronicles of a Death Foretold, helps in reinstating what Linda Hutcheon, in her phenomenal work A Poetics of Postmodernism: History, Theory, Fiction calls “the presence of the past”. As per Hutcheon, the most important concept of postmodernism is to see the past with critical eyes, Marquez’s narrator, is a journalist, who comes back to his hometown in order to reconstruct the events that led to the butchering of his friend Santiago Nasar. Garcia Marquez’s narrator is not the omniscient narrators of the past. On the contrary, this is an indecisive, subjective and hesitant narrator who finds it difficult to analyse the past incidents from an objective point of view.

Chronicle of a Death Foretold contains multiple narratives, that is an amalgamation of facts, feelings, imaginations and memories of all the characters whom the narrator investigates in order to arrive at the crux of the death of Santiago Nasar. All of these narrations are peppered with several surreal and fantastic descriptions about the day and weather “...but most agreed that them weather was funereal, with a cloudy low sky and the thick smell of still waters...”

It makes the reader realise that in narrator’s world reality and fantasy coexist. This postmodern technique of fusing the ridiculous and real and thereby creating an alternative reality, attained perfection under the hands of Garcia Marquez who had achieved world recognition for his extra ordinary use of Magic Realism.

Irony the most avidly used technique by the postmodern writers has been suffused into this work to make it multi faceted. The title, Chronicle of a Death Foretold, makes a mockery of the process of chronicling as the story line operates in a circular manner; the novella begins and ends with death. Marquez pushes the envelope with his own deconstruction of the entire traditional way of presenting a murder investigation. Everyone in the novella is aware that Santiago Nasar is going to be killed, “There had never been a death more foretold”. However, no one warns this unfortunate protagonist. Therefore, Garcia Marquez’s title operates on two levels, the death has been foretold to the readers at the onset and the brothers who would be avenging their sister’s honour also.

The other irony is the elusive question whether Santiago Nasar was destined to die, to which the narrator observes: “... but no matter how much they tossed the story back and forth, no one could explain to me how poor Santiago Nasar ended up being involved in such a mix- up."

Postmodernist novels had started the trend of defying the expectations usually associated with the main characters of a novel. One is then forced to view this chronicle as a parody or even a mock tragedy where the protagonist is fated to die. However, the complexity of this text lies in the categorization of Santiago as the hero. Throughout the entire novel one can’t help but realise that Santiago was not the typical hero. He was not even a hero but an ordinary man who had his own fears, own faults and own flaws of character.

Marquez deliberately tantalises the readers with various people’s impression of Santiago in order to maintain the curiosity and confusion of his readers. On one hand, we have the narrator stating “by his nature Santiago Nasar was merry and peaceful and openhearted” (Marquez, 6) and on the other, we have Victoria Guzman, Santiago’s servant who reveals about him “He was just like his father...A shit” (Marquez, 8). Further, we have the narrator’s sister Margot who observes “I suddenly realised that there couldn’t have been a better catch than him”

The detailed autopsy report of Santiago Nasar, prepared by an unqualified priest and the inability of the entire official authorities to prevent the butchering of Santiago from taking place, brings the element of absurd in the text to the forefront. The narration also erases the old beliefs about the inherent evilness about the villains, for Marquez through this novel shows the murderers of Santiago to be humans who are following their brotherly duty in avenging the honour of their family and especially their sister. “Their reputation as good people was so well-founded that no one paid any attention to them....”

Beyond the inversion of narrative technique and the characterization of the hero, even the traditional path of love is turned upside down in this novel. The narrator mentions that Angela Vicario was never given the privilege of falling in love as she was brought up in a strict patriarchal society and at the beginning had detested her suitor Bayardo San Roman, “I detested conceited men, and I’d never seen one so stuck-up,...” (Marquez, 29). She is forced to marry this man as nobody in her family views love between the couples as a pre-requisite to good marriage. Moreover, for Angela’s mother “love can be learned too” (Marquez, 34). However, Bayardo falls in love with Angela at first sight; but even Bayardo’s love is unable to overcome his wife’s lack of virtue. Ironically, Angela after being abandoned on the doorstep of her parent’s house, by her husband realizes that she has now fallen in love with her husband.

Therefore what Marquez has achieved through Chronicle of a Death Foretold is to provide the readers with a novel that is open to multiple readings. It reinforces its important feature of being comfortable with the self reflexivity, temporal disorder, fragmentation and irony, the cornerstones of cultural and literary phenomenon called postmodernism. And it is through texts such as this, that one can attempt to understand a complex phenomenon that has left all the critics divided in their opinion of whether to praise or to criticize it.



Tuesday, 15 September 2020

Free Download The Notebook Novel PDF

 The Notebook Book Review

The Notebook is a contemporary love story set in the period of Pre and Post World war II. The story revolves around Noah and Allie who spend one summer together when they were still young and carefree.

 The Notebook is a poignant story of true and unending love in its purest form, and the power and magic of love to defy all odds. It begins with an elderly man, sitting by his wife's bedside, reading her a story. From there, we travel back in time to when star-crossed lovers Noah and Allie met as teenagers in 1932 and spent one magical summer together. They were from opposite sides of the tracks. Allie was from a well-to-do family with political connections, and Noah was more or less a nobody. An aristocratic type system still prevailed in the South, so Allie's family didn't approve of a match with Noah and the two were separated for fourteen years. Noah moved to New Jersey where he worked for several years before joining the Army and heading for Europe to fight in WWII. Allie went to college, abandoned her artwork of which her parents did not approve, and eventually became engaged to an attorney of whom they did approve. Over the years, neither was able to forget the other. Noah has had no successful relationships since, because the ghost of the time he spent with Allie still haunts him, and deep down, Allie knows there is something missing in her relationship with her fiancĂ©.

Neither really knows what became of the other until Allie sees a picture of Noah in a local newspaper just three weeks before her wedding. Seeing him again, stirs memories and emotions, and even though she doesn't really know why at the time, she is compelled to go see him in person one last time before getting married. She tells her family and fiancé that she needs to get away from the stress of wedding planning and heads for New Bern alone. Noah can hardly believe his eyes when the woman of his dreams pulls up in front of his house one day out of the blue. The longing and desire between Noah and Allie is extremely moving and palpable and hasn't dimmed one bit in fourteen long years. I love how they slip right back into a comfortable relationship as though they've never been apart. It's obvious that they're soul mates and perfect for each other, and in their heart of hearts, they know it too. After only one evening with Noah, Allie knows that what they share is something she's never had with her fiancé and never will.

At the point when Allie must make her fateful decision about which man she is going to choose, the story cuts back to the elderly man and his wife who we discover has Alzheimer's. This part of the book is so powerful and affecting, I read parts of it through a blur of tears. The lengths to which this man goes to help his wife remember the love they share is moving beyond words, an expression of a true and pure love. The way he romances her and gets her to fall in love with him over and over again and persists in doing it day after day, never giving up even when it doesn't always turn out the way he hopes is potent stuff, so much so that I'm sitting here crying my eyes out while writing this. It's the kind of love I think we all hope for, but so few seem to actually achieve.

Many readers seem to categorize The Notebook as romance, but I don't see it as such. For me, romance as a genre, usually only follows the couple through the falling in love stages of the relationship with the happily ever after implied. It taps into the fantasy of what we want love to be, while The Notebook takes that one step further. Not only do we get to see the beginnings of a relationship, we also get to see one very advanced in years, but no less passionate for the passage of time. It also takes a more realistic look at what it truly means to love someone. It's not just the gooey feeling we get when first falling in love or the sexual desire that soon follows. It's something that can last a lifetime when nurtured and a couple is fully committed to one another. Make no mistake, The Notebook is very romantic, but to me it is not merely a romance, but a love story.

The Notebook Synopsis

A man with a faded, well-worn notebook open in his lap. A woman experiencing a morning ritual she doesn’t understand. Until he begins to read to her.  The Notebook is an achingly tender story about the enduring power of love, a story of miracles that will stay with you forever. Set amid the austere beauty of coastal North Carolina in 1946, The Notebook begins with the story of Noah Calhoun, a rural Southerner returned home from World War II. Noah, thirty-one, is restoring a plantation home to its former glory, and he is haunted by images of the beautiful girl he met fourteen years earlier, a girl he loved like no other. Unable to find her, yet unwilling to forget the summer they spent together, Noah is content to live with only memories. . . until she unexpectedly returns to his town to see him once again. Allie Nelson, twenty-nine, is now engaged to another man, but realizes that the original passion she felt for Noah has not dimmed with the passage of time. Still, the obstacles that once ended their previous relationship remain, and the gulf between their worlds is too vast to ignore. With her impending marriage only weeks away, Allie is forced to confront her hopes and dreams for the future, a future that only she can shape. Like a puzzle within a puzzle, the story of Noah and Allie is just beginning. As it unfolds, their tale miraculously becomes something different, with much higher stakes. The result is a deeply moving portrait of love itself, the tender moments, and fundamental changes that affect us all. Shining with a beauty that is rarely found in current literature, The Notebook establishes Nicholas Sparks as a classic storyteller with a unique insight into the only emotion that really matters.

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Sunday, 13 September 2020

Compare and Contrast "The Lamb" and "The Tyger" by Blake

Compare and Contrast "The Lamb" and "The Tyger" by Blake
 A Comparative Study of The Lamb and The Tyger

“The Lamb” and “The Tyger” are both representative poems of William Blake. They celebrate two contrary states of human soul – innocence and experience. “The Lamb” celebrates the divinity and innocence not merely of the child but also of the least harmless of creatures on earth, the lamb. The child asks the lamb if it knows who has created it, given it its beautiful and sweet voice. He does not wait for the answers, but answers the questions himself. He refers to the meekness and gentleness of God, the lamb's creator. His descent to the earth as a child (i.e. his incarnation) and his own is the lamb's divinity. He concludes wishing the lamb God's blessing.

“The Tyger” shows how experience destroys the state of childlike innocence and puts destructive forces in its place. It beaks the free life of imagination, and substitutes a dark, cold, imprisoning four, and the result is a deadly blow to blithe human spirit. The fear and denial of life which come with experience breed hypocrisy which is as grave a sin as cruelty. When innocence is destroyed by experience, God creates the tiger (i.e. fierce forces) to restore mind to innocence.

Both ‘the lamb’ and ‘the tiger’ are created by God. “The lamb” represents the milder and gentler aspects of human nature, the tiger its harsher and fiercer aspect. The lamb represents the calm and pleasant beauty of creation, the tiger its fearful beauty. The gross contrariety between the nature of the lamb and tiger makes the poet ask - "Did he who made the lamb make thee."

In “The Lamb” Blake sets about his poem with the innocent question,

"Little Lamb, who made thee?

Dost thou know who made thee?"

In “The Tyger”, he sets about the poem with a question that strikes terror in us,

"Tyger! Tyger! burning bright

In the forests of the night,

What immortal hand or eye

Could frame thy fearful symmetry."

The tiger is God's wrath, as the lamb His love. The  tiger is a ruthless, natural predator and it is man's own "burning passion shut up within his natural body." The questioner throughout cannot make out how such things come to be. The lamb, on the other hand, is an object of joy. Its bleat tills all the valleys with joy. The questions asked in The Lamb proceed from the simplicity and innocence of the questioner (the child). They have nothing of the baffling and enigmatic creature of the questions asked in “The Tyger”.

In both the poems Blake makes use of symbols to convey his ideas. In “The Lamb” he draws the symbol from the Bible, and takes use of such a familiar figure as the Lamb of God. In “The Tyger” the symbols, as in other poems of Songs of Experience, are of his own making (i.e. original). The tiger is Blake's symbol for the fierce forces in the soul which are needed to break the bonds of experience. "The forests of the night" in which the tiger lurks stands for ignorance, repression and superstition, and 'fire' for wrath.

Both the poems are remarkable for their lyricism their spontaneity of expression, and their intensity and sincerity of feeling. The diction of “The Tyger” is almost monosyllabic and the trochaic movement, freely used, contributes to the musical effects. The same is true of “The Lamb”. The rhythmical variation in the Lamb (three-stress couplets opening and closing each stanza, and four-stress central couplets) is effective in presenting the child's delight in asking questions and the enumeration of the questions.

Thus the poet Blake brings out the two aspects of society - some are holy and innocent and others ferocious and violent. So the child is confused to see the society through his experience. But in these two poems demand the spiritual mysticism of God's activity. God creates not only holy and innocent, but when He needs He can create the cruel and violent - this world the variety co-exist in equal measure, thus the creator keeps the balance in his creation and unity in diversity.



Sunday, 6 September 2020

Galsworthy's Justice as a Social Tragedy

Galsworthy's Justice as a Social Tragedy

Justice as a Social Tragedy

The term tragedy is broadly applied to dramatic representations of serious and important actions which turn out disastrously for the central character or the tragic protagonist. Aristotle defined tragedy as 'the imitation of an action that is serious and also having magnitude, complete in itself, incorporating incidents arousing pity and fear, wherewith to accomplish the catharsis of such emotions'.

In Greek as well as Shakespearean tragedies we find tragic incidents showing suffering and defeat. But these do not leave us depressed, we feel relieved and even exalted. According to Aristotle, a tragic hero will evoke pity and fear, if he is neither thoroughly good nor thoroughly bad, but one who is good with a tragic flaw in his character. The hero is not an ordinary man and this is why the tragic situation and the tragic flaw in his character evoke so much pity and terror. Such a hero, better though than we are, is shown suffering a change in fortune only because of this flaw-which is but an error of judgement.

But in modern tragedies the tragic heroes are ordinary mortals like ourselves, -not like Hamlets and Othellos and Macbeths. They are mostly the offsprings of social problems, and so their bewildered defeat evokes in us only compassionate understanding instead of tragic pity and terror. Galsworthy's Justice has such a hero in William Falder who is only a poor clerk with little means to help an unhappy woman he is in love with. There is little grandeur in his act of forgery and in his death. We feel sorry for him, because we have our sympathy for him. At the end we feel depressed, not relieved and exalted. Ruth Honeywill, too, claims our sympathy, though she is not dead. We feel sorry for her, for the death of Falder leaves her without a friend in a cruel society.

Falder's error of judgement leads him to his detection. It shows his desperation, not cool calculation when he alters the counterfoil of the forged cheque. If he had not altered coat counter foil, Davis would remain the suspect. In spite of the fact that the pathos in his character draws tears in our eyes, Falder is too weak and pathetic to reach the tragic height. Falder is just a helpless victim of a system where in the name of morality and justice, the poor and the weak are constantly crushed beyond recognition. The flaw is not in Falder, it is in our system of things, in our stale values. His end represents the frustration of the modern man who is constantly harassed and tormented by the false values of a commercial society.

Now, one really has reason to wonder what makes Galsworthy call Justice a tragedy when it does not quite conform to the Aristotelian definition or Shakespearian practices in the genre. Galsworthy's principal concern seems to be the problems of modern society, and so his characters are made to represent certain ideas. Obviously such characters do not have any scope to grow, nor the situations develop to help them grow. In Justice, for example, Falder is rather flat and a mere type, remaining the same from beginning to end-brooding, nervous and dazed. But that is only natural. For Falder is born in a society where Macbeths and Othellos do not fit in.

So the Aristotelian definition or Shakespearian attitude to heroes in tragedy loses its relevance for Galsworthy. As Prof. Nicoll rightly says, Galsworthy has given a new dimension to tragedy by showing the waste caused by the destruction of innocent and well-meaning social beings by malicious social forces which are as strong today as the gods and the destiny were in the past. We have to judge Justice in the light of this new concept of tragedy. According to this new concept the modern dramatist is required to create his work accommodating two demands: the demand of Art and the demand of life.

Galsworthy tries sincerely to keep away from these apparently conflicting demands and succeeds in reconciling them to a considerable extent. And the result of all this is his innovation-the new social tragedy in which the most powerful character is the society with its all-pervasive influences. When the individuals like Falder come in conflict with this powerful character, they are ruthlessly eliminated. The other characters in the tragedy are poor and weak victims of the social forces and they are mercilessly treated for straying from the rut.

Theories of the Origin of Language

Theories of the Origin of Language Infographics
Theories of the Origin of Language

There have been many attempts to unearth the origin of language, but “most of these are”, says E. Sapir, “hardly more than exercises of the speculative imagination.” Of the various theories advanced to explain the origin of language, four are well-known.

1. The Bow-wow Theory :

This theory by Max Muller supposes that human speech originated in man's attempt to imitate the sounds of nature. Thus a dog might be called “bow-wow”, or a cow “moo". There is no denying the fact that such imitation accounts for a certain number of words in the English vocabulary e.g. cuckoo, hiss, gurgle, whistle, whine, babbie, prattle, hoopoe, peewit etc. Words that have this origin are sometimes said to be onomatopoeic. This theory forms a part of the larger subject of 'sound symbolism'.

2. The Ding-dong Theory :

Another familiar theory of the origin of language is the 'dingdong theory'. At one stage it was upheld by Max Muller but later it was abandoned. It sought to explain the correspondence between sound and sense, by a law of nature, a mysterious law of harmony, that everything that is struck rings and rings in a peculiar way. The words 'zigzag' and 'dazzle' may be cited as examples. In the opinion of Prof. Taraporewala, the Hindi word “Jana Gana” “Jog Mog” and a larger number of the Bengali words (Dhonatyak Shobdo) may come under this head. Reduplications for the sake of emphasis, as in "a big big man', may come under this head.

3. The Pooh pooh Theory :

This theory seeks the origin of language in such involuntary exclamations or interjections of pain, surprise, wonder, disapproval, pleasure as oh! bah! pshaw! fie, and the like. As a theory of the origin of language it stands upon a very slippery ground.

4. The Gesture Theory :

This holds that language originates in gesture. This theory was formulated and advanced by Wilhelm Wundt and Sir Richard Paget. The gesture-theorists opine that the primitive people communicated with one another by means of gestures made by hand, and ultimately the language-equivalents were substituted for these gestures. Sir Percy Nunn in his book Education, its Data and first Principles develops his theory in full, and Macdonald Critchley deals with it elaborately in his work, The Language of Gesture.

They seem to point out that in saying 'I' and 'me' the lips are drawn inwards as if hinting at the speaker, and in saying 'you' and 'thou' the lips are moved outwards as if hinting at the person addressed. Similarly, in saying ‘here' and 'there' the lips are drawn inwards and thrown outwards respectively.

5. The yo-he-ho Theory :

Noire enunciated the 'yo-he-ho theory’. He saw the source of speech in acts of joint or common work, in which, during intense physical effort, cries or sounds partly consonantal might be emitted. Such sounds might come to be associated with the work performed and so become a symbol for it; the first words would accordingly mean something like 'heave' or 'haul'.

6. The ta-ta Theory :

The idea of the origin of language is the use of tongue and mouth gestures to mimic manual gestures. For example, saying ta-ta is like waving goodbye with your tongue. But most of the things we talk about do not have characteristic gestures associated with them, much less gestures you can imitate with the tongue and mouth.

7. The la-la Theory :

The idea that speech emerged from the sounds of inspired playfulness, love, poetic sensibility, and song. This one is lovely, and no more or less likely than any of the others.
8. Biblical Theory :
Let us peep into the Biblical account of the origin of language which is contained in the second chapter in the book of Genesis. According to this account, "the Lord God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and man became a living being." Afterwards he created trees and rivers. And then "out of the ground the Lord God formed every beast of the field and every bird of the air, and brought them to the man to see what he would call them; and whatever the man called every living creature, that was its name. The man gave names to all cattle, and to the birds of the air, and to every beast of the field...." It is an account of the birth of language in man, who is placed at the centre of the world.
9.  Another theory to be mentioned was adduced over a century ago in the early days of modern linguistics. In 1823 was published in Edinburgh The History of the European Languages by Alexander Murray, D.D.  In this work he states 9 words which he calls “the foundations of language.” They were uttered at first, and probably for several generations, in an insulated manner. The circumstances of the actions were communicated by gestures and variable tunes of the voice, but actions themselves were expressed through suitable monosyllables.

10. The last theory of the origin of language was proposed some years ago by the Danish linguist, Otto Jespersen. This language expert says, 'we must imagine primitive language as consisting (chiefly, at least) of very long words, full of difficult sounds, and sung rather than spoken'. It is the strangest of all theories, but deserves serious thought because of the learning of the author.

Jespersen, unlike many other linguists of his day, was not prepared to accept the view that the origin of speech is unknowable. He suggested that "there once was a time when all speech was song, or rather when these two actions were not yet differentiated ...."

According to him, "Language was born in the courting days of mankind; the first utterances of speech I fancy to myself like something between the nightly love-lyrics of puss upon the tiles and melodious love-songs of the nightingale."

Summing Up

All the theories noted above are only partially true and do not seem to satisfy fully the intelligentsia. As they are many, they frustrate any attempt at arriving at an acceptable and convincing solution. For the present, we may rest content with ample knowledge of the theories alone.


Saturday, 5 September 2020

Happy Teachers' Day : Best Message to All Respected Teachers around the World

Happy Teachers' Day : Best Message to All Respected Teachers around the World
Happy Teachers' Day

Revered Teachers,

Thank you for taking the time to expand our minds and cultivate our souls. Thank you for reminding us that everyone deserves the chance to grow. Thank you for sparking our curiosity and embracing our creativeness. Thank you for challenging us and awakening our true potential. Thank you for encouraging us to seek knowledge, but most importantly, kindness. Thank you for creating an atmosphere that allows us to learn, but most importantly, to grow - grow into the best versions of ourselves. Your role goes far beyond lesson plans or report cards. You've shaped the way we view ourselves and the world around us. You do not just teach; you inspire, you mentor, you make a difference - a difference not only in our present but in our future. Your positive influence is immeasurable and will be carried throughout our lives forever - your impact is truly infinite. You are a catalyst for change. You are a guide for generations. You are a teacher - a quiet hero helping change the world through every life you touch.

                                                                      (Your Loving Students)

Monday, 31 August 2020

Language : Definitions, Types, Functions, Approaches, Characteristics

Language : Definitions, Types, Functions, Approaches, Characteristics

What is Language?

Introduction to Language

Broadly speaking, language is a means of communication. It is through this means that the interaction between human beings takes place. Without language, says H.L. Smith, “there could be no culture, and man remained hominoid, with language and culture he became hominine.

The gift of speech and a well-ordered language are characteristic of mankind and are the symbol and token of the boundary between man and a brute. For cultural propagation, man is privileged. Of all creatures on earth, he alone can talk and express himself through language.

"Man is a social animal,” remarked Aristotle long ago, and he is 'a social animal' by virtue of language. Society cannot exist without language any more than language can without society. Society and language are thus correlated. Language is, in fact, the index of the progress of a society from its primitive stage to an advanced one.

There are, however, other means of expressing our mind to others. Gesture (using certain signs and symbols) is one of these means. Thus we nod our heads instead of saying "yes", ladies express their feigned disapproval with a slight twist of their lips and nose. The deaf and dumb communicate with the world outside only by the help of gestures. The gestures are universal, because the same gestures are for the most part understood in the same sense among all the manifold races of men. Though gesture supplements language but it is not a language in the true sense.

Again, all sounds are not language. The chirping of birds, the howling of dogs, the meaningless utterances of the jugglers are not language. Only that system of sounds which convey the meaning intended by the speakers to the hearers is language in the true sense of the term.

Definitions of Language by Linguists

Language as stated by Chomsky is “a set (finite or infinite) of sentences, each finite in length and constructed out of a finite set of elements” (Chomsky 1957:13).

Language has been nicely defined by Edward Sapir as "a purely human and non-instinctive method of communicating ideas, emotions and desires by means of a system of voluntarily produced symbols.”

To a linguist, it is ‘the means of expression of human thought.'

Trench calls it 'fossil poetry or history’.  

Henry Sweet considers it as ‘the expression of thought by means of speech sounds'.

Tylor thinks of it in terms of ‘outward manifestations of inward workings of the mind'.

Sayce equates it with 'significant sound, the outward embodiment and expression, however imperfect, of thought'.

Malinowski takes it as ‘the necessary means of communication.... without which social action is impossible'.

A.S.Diamond characterizes it as ‘the embodiment of all the advances in thought of all our human ancestors—a diary of their day-to-day thoughts'.

And lastly, M. Schlauch regards it as 'a fundamental means of preserving, transmuting and continuously enriching the achievements of human culture.'

To study language, therefore, we must bear in mind a few important facts. The first is that language and culture are closely knitted and that it is a social product. The second is that it has no independent physical entity of its own, but consists merely of several types of sounds mutually exchanged by man living in a community. The third is that it is forever changing and dynamic.

Types of Language

There are three types of language. They are: (1) monosyllabic or isolating, (2) agglutinative, and (3) inflectional or polysyllabic.

The first kind of language has no prefixes or suffixes and no formally distinguished parts of speech. Chinese is its glaring example. In this language the same word may, without change, be used as a noun, as a verb, as an adjective, or as an adverb.

In the second kind of language, ideas are expressed by glueing words into compounds which are often cumbersome and lengthy. Each such compounded word has the force of a sentence, e.g. 'Achichillacachocam', which means the place where people weep because the water is red. Finish, Turkish and Hungarian and some most savage tongues usually contain such words.

The third kind of language has such roots as are generally modified by prefixes and suffixes. The variation of form which words undergo in order to adapt themselves to different relations is known as 'inflection'. To this class belong Greek, Latin, German and English.

Functions of Language

“It is difficult to see adequately”, says E. Sapir, "the functions of language, because it is so deeply rooted in the whole of human behaviour that it may be suspected that there is little in the functional side of our conscious behaviour in which language does not play its part.”

The primary function of language is, as we have seen before, communication. Language is also a great force of socialization. A group of people is held together by the ties of common language.

The next function is the imparting of information of one or the other kind. Information includes propaganda of all kinds and even deliberate misinformation. It is said that language is mostly informative in character. All sciences are so because they unfold the truths to us.

Language has the function of cultural accumulation and historical transmission. Proverbs, medicine formulae, standardized prayers, folk tales, standardized speeches, song texts, genealogies are some of the more overt forms which language takes as a culture preserving instrument.

Language is also the most potent indicator of personality. The personality of a man is revealed in the character and range of the vocabulary, the length and build of the sentences, the fundamental quality of his voice, the phonetic patterns of his speech and the speed and slowness of articulation.

Approaches to Language

There are different approaches to language. But there are two approaches which are fruitful, and they are known as 1) diachronic and 2) synchronic. Diachronic approach is concerned with the historical development of a language: synchronic with the state of a language at a given time.

The approach to language in the 19th century was mainly diachronic, where today synchronic study is attracting an increasing amount of attention. The reason why the synchronic study is now preferred to the diachronic is the in recent years more attention has been paid to the languages of whose history little or nothing is known. Languages like Sanskrit, Greek, Latin, German and English provide ample historical material to a serious student.

Both these approaches are necessary. Just as the history of a language explains many of the puzzling features of a language, so also by observing the linguistic habits of living people, we can have a better idea of the true nature of linguistic change.

Another recent approach to the study of language has sought to divide it into `indicative' and 'emotive'. Indicative approach assumes that it seeks to arouse feeling or suggest an emotional attitude . “Emotive' language is often held to have no real meaning as an expression of truth. The following lines from Shelley's Adonais (Stanza LII):
"Life, like adome of many -coloured glass,
Stains the white radiance of eternity"
are held to have no meaning except for their emotional suggestion.

Characteristics of English Language

The English language is spoken or read today by the largest number of people in the world for historical, political and economic reasons. But it owes something of its wide appeal to its inherent qualities and characteristics too. Now, let us take into account its salient features that give it distinct individuality and world-wide significance.

The first and foremost feature of the English language is its extraordinary receptive and adaptable heterogeneousness the varied ease and readiness with which it has accepted material from almost everywhere in the world and has digested it. In the initial stages, English was almost a 'pure' or unmixed language, but in due course of time it became the most 'mixed' of languages, having received all kinds of foreign elements with ease throughout its history. This has made its vocabulary very copious and heterogeneous. Even a cursory glance at The Oxford English Dictionary would convince the reader. This voluminous dictionary occupies 15,487 pages and treats 240,165 main words. The amazing variety of the English language is really striking. Its general receptiveness of fresh elements has made it the most suitable and appealing medium of expression in the world of today.

A second salient feature of the English language is its simplicity of inflection. It has the capability of showing the relationship of words in a sentence with great ease. No doubt, Chinese has surpassed this language in the matter of reducing inflections to the bare minimum, but among European languages it remains matchless in this matter. Need we remind the reader of the fact that Old English was highly inflected? The loss of inflections by reduction has led to the natural consequence of finding new ways to show the relationship of words.

One such way is to have a relatively fixed word-order. And this is a third distinctive feature of English. An inflected language like Latin or Russian can afford to be fairly free in the arrangement of words, since the inflections clearly indicate the relationship in the sentence without any ambiguity. But in a language like English which is not inflected, the order of words is likely to be relatively fixed. The fixed word-order takes the place of the immense freedom enjoyed by inflected languages. This sort of freedom is not allowed in English. Perhaps one or two examples can best illustrate it. Take a sentence like this: 'I live in a lady's apartment with attached bath-room'. The word-order of this sentence can hardly be changed to: 'I live in an apartment with a lady attached to the bath-room.' If it is changed, the result would be ludicrous. Similarly, one can hardly replace a sentence like 'She is my wife's sister' by 'She is my sister's wife'. That's why we say that English has a fixed word-order.

Another feature of English related to the third is the growth of the use of periphrases or roundabout ways of saying things, and of the use of prepositions in place of the lost inflections. The English simplified verb uses, periphrases and compound tenses made with auxiliary verbs to replace the more elaborate system of tenses that once existed. Similarly, English has come to use prepositions instead of case-endings.

A fifth distinctive feature of English is the growth of new varieties of intonation to express shades of meaning which were previously expressed by varying the shapes of words. This feature is also to be witnessed in Chinese, but not in Hindustani. The wonderful variety of shades of meaning may be seen in the use of the word 'do', merely by varying the intonation that is, the pitch and intensity, the tone of the voice.

A sixth and last feature of the English language is its masculinity. It was Otto Jespersen who characterized it as "masculine” English is the language of a grown-up man and has very little childish or feminine about it. When Jespersen called it masculine', he had in mind its phonetical grammatical and lexical considerations. Words and turns of expression prove its masculinity. As its vocabulary abounds in consonants, English gives the impression of being energetic and forceful. Most of its long vowels have been diphthongized, as 'ale', 'whole', 'eel', etc. Even the spoken words carry male energy with them. English words are best suited for military commands.

Jespersen has pointed out some other qualities of English, but they are all linked up with its masculinity. As this matter is of great importance for a student of philology, it would be desirable to dwell on these qualities at some length.

One of the qualities of the English language is its business-like shortness or brevity of expression. This quality is partly responsible for the end of superfluities in grammar like inflections and unstressed endings. Monosyllabism is due to it. English prefers the use of single words to long phrases or clauses, though it loses much of grace and elegance because of this preference. For this loss, however, it gathers greater force. To say "thanks' is shorter but less elegant than 'thank you'. Brevity of expression is to be witnessed in sentences like "First come first served', 'No cure, no pay', 'No risk, no gain', and 'No work, no pay'. This kind of economy results in a calculated strength and thrust of force. The absence of the definite articles in several contexts reduces further the weakness and prolixity of the language, such as in 'Life is short', 'School is ours', 'Dinner over, he left the house', and 'heaven and earth rejoice'. These expressions remind one of the abbreviations used in telegrams. 

The above-mentioned quality goes with a certain sobriety in expression An Englishman does not want to use more words or more syllables than are Strictly necessary that is his habit. He also dislikes strong or hyperbolical expressions of approval or disapproval. "That isn't half bad' or 'She is rather good-looking' are often the highest praises one can draw out of him. And when he disapproves of a girl or lady, he says: 'She is not exactly beautiful'. On meeting someone, he simply exclaims : "Glad to see you'. This sobriety in expression, according to Jespersen, is a male trait. 

The business-like, virile qualities of the English language also manifest themselves in such things as word-order". Orderliness, especially in the arrangement and expression of ideas, is largely associated with men. Words in English do not play a hide-and-seek, as they often do in Latin or in German. English has a set of rigorous grammatical rules. In it an auxiliary verb does not stand far from its main verb, and an adjective nearly always stands before its noun (except in such cases as have a cluster of adjectives). The order generally followed in it is subject, verb, and then object. It makes use of inversions less than some other Teutonic or Scandinavian languages.

Logical consistency is another asset of the English tongue. Except for Chinese, which has been described as pure applied logic, there is perhaps no language in the civilized world that stands so high as English. The use of the tenses in it is quite logical. So is also the use of number in it. One may enjoy considerable liberty in this matter. English has given a good account of itself by shedding off grammatical gender in favour of natural gender. Gender has now become logical depending on meaning. Because of this single fact, English enjoys today what the celebrated historian, A.C. Baugh, called "an exceptional advantage over all other major European languages". Logical consistency is generally associated with men, as Jespersen seems to suggest.

This renowned philologist links conciseness and terseness with 'masculinity', and points out that women as a rule are not such economizers of speech. Having discussed the 'masculinity' of English, Jespersen comes to the conclusion : "The English language is a methodical, energetic, business-like and sober language, that does not care much for finery and elegance, but does care for logical consistency and is opposed to any attempt to narrow-in life by police regulations and strict rules either of grammar or of lexicon"

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