January 2017 ~ All About English Literature

For Exclusive Notes and Analysis

Saturday, 28 January 2017

Critical Appreciation of C.G. Rossetti's "An Apple Gathering" or "An Apple Gathering" is a poem of Betrayal and Love.

Critical Appreciation of C.G. Rossetti's "An Apple Gathering" or "An Apple Gathering" is a poem of Betrayal and Love.

Like Rossetti’s another magnificent feminist creation, Goblin Market , “An apple gathering” is a study of an allegorical fable. There are many various hidden or underlying meaning behind the simple sad story of a girl being disappointed just because she could not get any apples. First of all the story reflects the typical Victorian society who does not allow women a little freedom. The significance of apples comes from the Garden of Eden, were the forbidden fruit was consumed; however, the narrator in this poem plucks the pink blossoms instead, which can suggest the act of impatience (sex before marriage). However, we can suggest that the narrator here chooses to capture the beauty of life or emotional happiness rather than sexual pleasures. The so-called patriarchal society labeled her as a “fallen woman”:

“I plucked pink blossoms from mine apple-tree
And wore them all that evening in my hair;”

The color pink is associated with flay fullness, innocence and feminism which shows that Rossetti here emphasized with the narrator’s melancholic feelings and harsh treatment by society. Then there is a very important phrase ‘due season’ which obviously is the symbolism of the time after being betrayed. So, finding no apples in the tree in due season tells the story of the speakers finding herself aloof from her chastity after the betrayal of her lover. The phrase ‘dangling basket’ here symbolizes the dangling condition of the speaker. After losing her chastity, the life of that girl usually has no particular way, no particular standpoint and no particular future.  So this betrayed girl will have to face so many ill treatments and mocking when she will pass the ‘self-same track’.

In the third stanza, the narrator suggests ‘Lilian and Lilias smiled in trudging by’. The two names symbolize purity as they come from the flower lilies. The idea of them ‘trudging by’ can show how her pureness has been lost due to her acts and the fact that
‘their mother’s home was near’ reveals the fact that they must be on their journey to become mothers and this is why they are considered to be pure in a society’s perception. Those girls may have lost virginity like her and carrying a child in their womb but they are not victims of betrayed love like her. Moreover, there is an authentic use of pathetic fallacy when it is said that the ‘heaped-up basket’ is teasing the speaker ‘like a jeer’

The next stanza again taunts the narrator for her acts because it says ‘Plump Gertude passed me with her basket full’, whereas out narrator is left with none, at this point we might understand that apple at this stage symbolizes knowledge, fertility and joyness which can only be consumed by married woman. The reason for her ‘basket full’ was because she had a ‘stronger hand’ which could suggest the physical support of her husband. Rossetti now reflects how society viewed married woman in contrast with fallen woman.

The introduction of "Willie" was expected as in many of Rossetti's poems she uses men as the cause for women's downfall. For example in the Goblin Market the "goblin men" are the ones who lure Laura. Willie is a Scottish name which means determined protector. However, his name contrasts with his actions because we learn that the narrator’s ex-lover has left her because he valued his reputation more than the love of his beloved. Interestingly, Rossetti did have an affair with a Scottish poet called William Bell Scott and according to many critics; it is known that Rossetti referred William in many of her poems. So the emotional side of an apple Gathering could reflect the actual experience of Rossetti in real life.

In the concluding stanza, the apples are related to earthly desire; the narrator seems to ask her lover if he valued the earthly desire more than her love. Rossetti also includes the word ‘stooped’ which shows how the lover must have picked up the narrator like a fallen apple and when he made use of her, he abandoned her. Rossetti here highlights the downfall of morality and collapse of relationship between a man and a woman. Her idea must have been that even though, the mistake was coming from the male’s side, it is the woman that suffers the consequences and she is left to be ‘loitered still’

The ending of the poem makes us sympathize with the narrator because she is left to be all alone without any hopes to return back to normal. This poem proposes the inner emotional struggle of ‘fallen woman’ in society.
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Sunday, 15 January 2017

Justification of the title of Sheridan's Play "The Rival"

Justification of the title of Sheridan's Play "The Rival"

Being a typical comedy of intrigue in the Restoration era, Sheridan’s play, The Rival is entitled on that light.  The crux of the entire plot surrounds the rivalry of various characters for winning their prizes. Although a casual look on the title throws a comic colour, but in essence the title is purely satirical. On the part of husbands in general who doubt their mistresses of unknown rivals and the girls who found pleasure in surrounding themselves in contending rivals, the title creates an inherent satire.

There are a few critics who argue that the title Rival does not carry a very precise relevance. It is often suggested that by this to title Sheridan was referring to the pseudo-rivalry of Captain Jack Absolute and Ensign Beverley. Captain Absolute has to assume the personality of a poor sub-lieutenant to tickle the humour of Lydia Lnguish, the romantic heroine, who is a lady of peculiar taste of eloping someone poor like Ensign, deserting all her fortune. But her aunt Mrs. Malaprop acts as a wall in between. Later she herself brings with the help of Sir Anthony, his son Captain Absolute as a suitor to Lydia and so rival to Ensign Beverly is provided. He is therefore at the same time in Lydia’s eyes, the two rivals—the adored Beverly and the detested Captain Absolute.
Now, in the run of getting Lydia’s hand two rivals enlist their names – Bob Acres and Sir Lucious O’ Trigger.  Bob Acres versus Ensign Beverly and Sir Lucius O’Trigger versus Captain Absolute are the avowed duels to be fought in the course of the play. Acres was encouraged by Mrs. Malaprop to become the suitor of Lydia and he thus hold the rivalry with Beverly. Acres is the type of the rich landlord of the countryside who tries to pose himself to be a city dandy by changing his country dress and style of hair and learning fashionable French dances. He is a coward at heart and does not like to fight a duel for the sake of his beloved Lydia though egged on by the fiery Lucius he sends a challenge to Ensign Beverly. A third rival is Sir Lucius O’Trigger, a poor Irish baronet who is duped by Lucy into believing that he has been corresponding with Lydia, and not Mrs. Malaprop though it was actually the reverse. He wishes to marry the rich heiress for the sake of improving his finances. Unlike Acres, he is not a coward and is ready to risk his life for the sake of making his fortune.

The nodus of the three rivals is finally penetrated at King’s Mead Fields, where the three are about to be engaged in duels. The main problem of rivalry is solved when the identity of Captain Absolute is discovered by all. After that nothing much remains to be done than to bring Lydia round to accept Captain Absolute in his own person, and his rivalry with Beverly in the main plot ends. Bob Acres’s rivalry with Captain Absolute ends as soon as he comes to know his real identity. He takes the first opportunity to back out from the duel and promptly gives up all claims on Lydia. Sir Lucius also, when discovers his mistake of confusing Delia with Lydia, remains no more a rival of Captain Absolute.Then there are imaginary rivalry is too in Faulkland’s mind. And, being foolishly jealous of them, he not only prepares his bitter cup for himself but also tortures Julia. He too is purged of his suspicious nature in the end.

All complications and riddles of the play end on a happy note as was typical of all comedies of manners. Hence we can say that the title of the play is not only befitting but the theme it suggests, serves to interlink the three plots.

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Saturday, 14 January 2017

Explain the Significance of the Title of John Galsworthy's Play," Justice"

Explain the Significance of the Title of John Galsworthy's Play," Justice"

The title of the play is a deliberate choice of Galsworthy who intends to make it sound ironical. In fact, the main tune of the play deals with the crux of justice, or rather the edifice of justice that appears majestic and awe-inspiring, but in the name of justice it crushes the poor under its wheel. The title is an impassioned commentary on the legal system and the prison administration in a commercial society in which hypocrisy and false values heap injustices on the Falders and make them find peace in death.

Falder and Ruth are two representatives of those who are outcasts in a society only because they are poor. Neither the court of justice nor the inhuman society comes forward to protect them from the humiliating experiences and helplessness. Falder’s heart is large enough to bleed for Ruth who suffers all humiliations, miseries, ignominy, and atrocities of an unhappy life. His sympathy for her develops into passionate love and he is prepared to do anything to help her out of the hell, promising her a new life and a happy home away from that hell. But a poor clerk is too poor to realize this dream. So in his desperate bid to get money he commits forgery which is an immoral act in the eyes of the society and the custodians of law. Nobody pays any heed to the plea that to save Ruth Falder could not but forge the cheque. James How does not accept the plea of his son, Walter that Falder should be given a chance. In his blind adherence to the moral values of a decadent, oppressive society he hands Falder over to the guardians of Justice.

Ironically the judge and the jury find Falder guilty of two offences – forgery and immoral relation with a married woman, and sentence him to a solitary imprisonment. The society and the legal system have little interest in human passion and sympathy for suffering; the wheel of justice has no eyes to see the wounds it inflicts on the trapped. Nobody is interested in knowing what led Falder to forge and why Ruth found her life with her husband unbearable. In fact, Justice puts the judge and the jury in the dock because they never cared to stem the rot in the system.

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The title of the play actually sneers at the law that only too often nurtures the forces of injustice and hurls Falders down the precipice to their death. Falder wants to save Ruth from hell, but he finds himself in hell when he is thrown into prison. The frustrating experiences leave Falder demoralized and desperate, and failing to clutch at the straw he loses faith in life itself. Even in the prison cell the fate of Ruth haunts him, for he knows that there is none to help his Ruth. But then Falder is a human. James How and the judge do not see thing in his light. They, in their anxiety to save the majestic edifice of law and society forget to temper their judgment with mercy, though they are very much keen in praising the Christian piety. The consequences of all these are extremely horrifying. 

With Falder we all are prisoners in our cells and we all suffer and share the shame of the victims, for we are all equally helpless before the majestic institutions that hold our world to ransom. As Falder is bewildered in his defeat, he despairs of a future, for his alienation of the society and his nightmarish experiences make him stray even from Ruth. And it is in that angle of this the significance of the title should be read. When he comes out of the cell and finds himself free, he still clings to life and tries once again to share it with Ruth. But ‘Justice’ doesn’t give him respite. So he jumps to his death and gives law the slip, saving himself from further onslaught of ‘justice’. Thus the circle of irony is complete.   

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Sunday, 1 January 2017

43 Interesting and Funny Facts about New Year You Must Know

43 Interesting and Funny Facts about New Year You Must Know
New Year implies a new journey with a new hope, a new commitment for challenging to be better. It is celebrated all over the world with the same zeal, vigor and enthusiasm. There are lots of preparations undertaken for the event and it can be categorized as one of the occasions that the whole world celebrates together. All across the globe, cities are decorated. Most of the news channels get special reporters and correspondents geared up to show the live coverage of the celebration. For many it is a new day, a new life and a new beginning. Let us explore more on what makes New Year Day special, by dwelling on the trivia given in the lines below.

1.New Year Day is the oldest of all holidays.

2. It was first observed in ancient Babylon as many as 4000 years ago.

3. In ancient Rome the new year began on March 1.

4. It was Julius Caesar who declared January 1 in Julian calendar as the New Year, in 46 BC.

5. The first month of the year i.e. January has been named after God Janus (Latin word for door), in the Roman calendar. Janus is the God with two faces, one looking backwards and one forward, at the same time and marks the ‘spirit of the opening’

6. January 1 was revived as New Year in 1582, by the Gregorian calendar and so celebrated by most of the countries till date.

7. New Years is still observed as the Feast of Christ's Circumcision by some denominations.

8. New Year is celebrated like a festival throughout the world and everyone around is in festive mood, partying, singing and dancing to ring out the old year and ring in the new.

9. The tradition to kiss at midnight isn’t a recent invention. According to old English and German folklore, the first person you come across in the new year could set the tone for the next 12 months.

10. In Britain, when the Big Ben clocks strikes 12, everyone gathers around to sing ‘Auld Lang Syne’, a Scottish song. It was written by Robert Burns in the 1700's, literally meaning "old long ago," or simply, "the good old days", to remember old and new friends.


11. About 1 million people gather in New York City’s Times Square to watch the crystal ball drop. The Times Square New Year’s Eve ball drop came about because of a ban on fireworks. Today, it is covered in 2,688 crystals, is lit by 32,000 LED lights, weighs 11,875 pounds and is 12 feet in diameter.


12. It was once believed that the first visitor on New Year's Day would bring either good luck or bad luck for the rest of the year, depending on who he/she was.
Many cultures believe that anything given or taken on New Year, in the shape of a ring is good luck, because it symbolizes "coming full circle".

13. Forty-five percent of Americans make New Year’s resolutions. The top resolutions are: to lose weight, get organized, to spend less and save more, to stay fit and healthy, and to quit smoking.

14. In Italy, people wear red underwear on New Year’s Day to bring good luck all year long. The tradition dates back to medieval times.

15. To ensure a year of good luck, firecrackers and noisemakers became tradition in order to scare away any remaining evil spirits and to ensure a brand new start.
Ancient Persians gave New Year’s gifts of eggs, which symbolised productiveness.

16. Traditionally, it was thought that people could alter the luck they would have throughout the coming year by what they did or ate on the first day of the year. It has, therefore, become important to celebrate first day of the New Year in the company of family and friends.

17. The Spanish ritual on New Year's eve is to eat twelve grapes at midnight. The tradition is meant to secure twelve happy months in the coming year.

18. In Colombia, Cuba and Puerto Rico, some families stuff a large doll, which is called Mr. Old Year, with memories from the past year. They also dress him in clothes from the outgoing year. At midnight, he is set ablaze, thus burning away the bad memories

19. The top three places to celebrate New Year’s Eve are Las Vegas, Disney World and of course, New York City.  Internationally, one of the biggest celebrations is in Sydney, Australia. More than 80,000 fireworks are set off from Sydney Harbour Bridge.

20. The ancient Hawaiian New Year was four months long, war was forbidden, people stopped working, and the people spent time dancing, feasting and having a good time.

21. There is a music festival every New Year’s eve in the Antarctic called ‘icestock’.

22. In Thailand, they celebrate their traditional New Year’s Day with a state sponsored multiple day water fight.

23. Russians celebrate the New Year twice, once on January 1st and then again on January 14th.

24. On New Year’s Day in Akita, Japan there is a tradition where men dress as mountain demons, get drunk, and terrorize children for being lazy or disobeying their parents.

25. Every December 25th a town in Peru celebrates “Takanakuy”. Men, women, and children settle grudges with fistfights. Then everyone goes drinking together, ready to start the New Year with a clean slate.

26. Instead of lowering a giant ball of lights on New Year’s Eve, Brasstown, North Carolina lowers a possum. It’s known as “The Possum Drop”.

27. After the French revolution, France briefly used a new calendar based on a decimal system; 10 days a week, 10 hours a day, 100 minutes per hour and 100 seconds per minute, and starting at Year 1.

28. North Korea does not use the normal Gregorian calendar like most of the world. Instead it uses a different calendar system called the Juche calendar for numbering the years and year one of this calendar began on Kim Il Sung’s (The founder of North Korea) birthday.

29. On New Year’s Eve, residents in a small neighborhood in Johannesburg, South Africa collect old appliances, carry them up to apartment building rooftops and toss them down to the streets far below.

30. The Reykjavik (capital of Iceland) fireworks display on New Year’s Eve is one of the largest in the world, and most fireworks sales fund rescue operations in the country.

31. At the Mummers Parade in Philadelphia, 10,000 participants step through City Hall and perform in unique costumes. 

32. Since New Year’s Eve 2008, the city of Mobile, Alabama raises a 12 foot tall lighted mechanical Moon Pie to celebrate the coming of the New Year.

33. In Korea and some other Asian countries, when you are born, you are considered one year old and everyone’s age increases one year on New Year’s. So if you were born on December 29th, on New Year’s day, you will be considered 2 years old.

34. Ethiopia has 13 months. Their current year is still 2006 and they celebrate New Years on September 11.

35. Until 2006, the Space Shuttle never flew on New Year’s day or eve because its computers couldn’t handle a year rollover.

36. When religion was suppressed in Soviet Russia, Santa/St. Nick was replaced with Grandfather Frost, called the spirit of winter, who brought gifts on New Year’s and placed them under the “New Year tree”

37. Chinese New Year is celebrated the second full moon after the winter solstice.

38. Jewish New Year is called Rosh Hashanah. Apples and honey are traditionally eaten.

39. Black eyed peas, ham, and cabbage are considered good luck if you eat them on New Year’s Eve or Day because it is believed they will bring you money.

40. Lobster and chicken are considered bad luck because lobsters can move backward and chickens can scratch in reverse, so it is thought these foods could bring a reversal of fortune.

41. Many people ring in New Year’s by popping open a bottle of champagne. 

42. Some people wear adult diapers while celebrating New Year at Time Square due to the lack of toilets.

43. According to statistics from the National Insurance Crime Bureau, vehicles are stolen on New Year’s Day more than any other holiday.

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