Wednesday, February 15, 2017

To the Lighthouse -Virginia Woolf


The novel To the Lighthouse (1927) is written by Virginia Woolf, One of the popular literary figures of the twentieth century. Woolf is widely admired for her technical innovations in the novel, most notably her development of stream-of-consciousness narrative. In this novel, Woolf sought to come to terms with her parents' stifling Victorian marriage and events of her own childhood, as well as to explore such feminist issues as the necessity, or even desirability, of marriage for women and the difficulties for women in pursuing a career in the arts. A striking mix of autobiographical elements, philosophical questions, and social concerns, To the Lighthouse is generally considered to be Woolf’s greatest fictional achievement.

Plot and Major Characters

To the Lighthouse is divided into three parts: “The Window,” “Time Passes,” and “The Lighthouse.” Despite the inherent complexities of Woolf's many themes and stream-of-consciousness narrative, the plot of the novel is simple. Mr. and Mrs. Ramsay, their children, and numerous house guests—including Lily Briscoe, the central consciousness of “The Lighthouse” section—are vacationing in the remote Hebrides islands. An expedition to a nearby lighthouse is put off by Mr. Ramsay, and ten years later, after the deaths of Mrs. Ramsay and two of the Ramsays' children, the trip is successfully executed by Mr. Ramsay and his children James and Cam. “The Window” is the longest section of the book, but it takes place in a single day and focuses primarily on the character Mrs. Ramsay, a beautiful, placid, upper-middle-class Victorian wife and mother who devotes herself to family and friends. The years between the planned trip to the lighthouse and the actual event are poetically recounted in the short section “Time Passes,” in which the effects of time are illustrated in a description of the slow decay of the Ramsays’ empty vacation home, combined with flashes of imagery of World War I, the physical aging of the characters, and death. Lily Briscoe becomes the dominant character in the third section, “The Lighthouse.” A struggling artist who never married—despite Mrs. Ramsay’s attempts to play matchmaker for her—Lily mourns the loss of Mrs. Ramsay, whom she alternately adores and misunderstands, and attempts to resolve her feelings about Mr. Ramsay, whom she considers at times overly philosophical, arrogant, and detached. Lily also must come to terms with her own decision not to marry and to pursue work as an artist, despite social pressure to lead a more conventional life. In the final scene of the novel, Mr. Ramsay and his children reach the lighthouse at last, and Lily finishes the painting she has been working on throughout the novel, both acts signifying the characters’ attainment of an integrated vision of life, art, and death.

Major Themes

After the novel’s publication, Woolf wrote of her depiction of her parents’ marriage in To the Lighthouse, “I was obsessed by them both, unhealthily; and writing of them was a necessary act.” Her own mother had died suddenly when Woolf was thirteen. Considered a model wife and mother, Julia Stephen was known to exhaust herself regularly to please her demanding husband, the writer and intellectual figure Leslie Stephen. But Mr. and Mrs. Ramsay are heavily fictionalized portrayals of Woolf’s parents, and neither they nor the other characters in To the Lighthouse are meant to fully represent the Stephen family; rather, they are extremely complex, symbolic, and, some say, mythical figures who are not easily categorized. Literary theorists are sharply divided over the deeper meanings of Woolf’s characters. Some interpret Mrs. Ramsay as the embodiment of the feminine ideal and Mr. Ramsay as that of the masculine ideal—the pure, elemental forces of the genders. Feminist critics dispute this notion, positing instead that the Ramsays’ marriage is typical of most marriages in the pre-World War I period, forcing the wife into the role of “angel of the house”—unquestioning, supportive, generous, and self-sacrificing at any cost to personal ambition and satisfaction. These critics consider Mr. Ramsay an overbearing and domineering patriarch who drives his wife to the brink of feeble-mindedness. Still others surmise just the opposite: namely, that Mrs. Ramsay is a cold-hearted, social-climbing harpy, and Mr. Ramsay a hen-pecked husband. Regardless of conflicting interpretations of the Ramsays, Lily Briscoe is generally considered representative of Woolf’s strong feminist principles, particularly in her refusal to marry and her commitment to painting, despite the urging of others to abandon art. Overriding concerns of To the Lighthouse and all of its characters are death, mourning, and the inexorable passage of time. When Mrs. Ramsay dies, she takes with her the sense of order in the family; children die, Lily and Mr. Ramsay fall into abiding grief, and even the house itself declines into disrepair. The consummation of the trip to the lighthouse and Lily’s completion of her painting, with a single line down the center representing Mrs. Ramsay, signify the triumph of order over disorder and life over death and grief.


To the Lighthouse has sustained critical predominance in Woolf’s canon since its publication in 1927. It is widely considered her most successful use of stream-of-consciousness narrative, nonlinear plot, and interior monologue, crisply identifying characters without the formal structure of chronological time and omniscient narration, as well as her most perfectly realized fictional reflection on mortality, subjectivity, and the passage of time. The novel is often described as an elegy to Woolf’s mother, and as such it is thought to be a complex and poetic character study, incorporating all facets of personality, including emotions dark and hopeless. In her diary Woolf recorded her many difficulties in writing To the Lighthouse, including her fears about reliving her parents’ deaths—events that precipitated two of her most devastating emotional breakdowns.    

Friday, January 27, 2017

Have Fun Guys- Learning English

THE MIMIC MEN Plot and Analysis:- -V.S.Naipaul

The novel The Mimic Men is the fictional memoir of Protaganist Ralph Singh. It is written in  first person  point of view and ranges over Ralph Singh's childhood in the fictional West Indian island of Isabella, his university days in London where he meets and marries his wife, and his somewhat successful business and political careers back in Isabella. Yet with all the particular details, Ralph Singh is also a prototypical colonial character, an intelligent and sensitive person confused by the plural but unequal society he's raised in and for whom identity is a primary issue. The story is related through flashbacks and memories.
 Ralph has the opportunity to weave in reflection with narrative and self-analysis with exposition. In the process of reading, the reader finds certain words and phrases occurring again and again, the repetition establishing the threads of themes that slowly emerge from the novel like a raised embossed pattern. Ralph admits himself that his feelings, his actions, his life fit in with `patterns.' It shows  Ralph's sense of alienation, his experiences as a colonial politician, his struggle with a sense of personal identity, and his inability to connect with others.
Though he is speaking of his traumatic university days in London, Ralph indicates elsewhere that many of his struggles with a sense of identity began during his childhood. His reactions to many of the events in his childhood are similarly characterized by disassociation and emotional withdrawal. He refuses to identify with his family's history in the island, it is simply a place where they have been `shipwrecked,' . Instead, in his imagination, he is often a `chieftain' on a beautiful but sparsely populated tropical isle, and admits "I had been able at certain times to think of Isabella as deserted and awaiting discovery". Ralph is "putting himself in the place of the settler" which Fanon claims a colonized person never ceases to dream of doing. This view is only one of many of Ralph's `secret' childhood attitudes that seem to be influenced by his reading, both at school and at home, in which he adopts a `European' or Western view as when he disdains his given `Indian' name and adopts a Western one. Since Isabella's status as a British colony obliged it to model its educational system on English educational patterns in order to provide increased career opportunities for its students, and as James H. Kavanaugh points out, schools are one of the "social apparatuses which have a heavily idealogical function", Ralph is simply responding as a good student when he "freely internalizes an appropriate picture of [his] social world" ; Ralph accepts the Western European view of the world as the only correct one rather than one possibility among many. Yet this only serves to disorient Ralph, dislocating his sense of place and history from Isabella to London, creating what Albert Memmi calls "a permanent duality" within him.
The Mimic Men is brilliant in its analysis of the historical legacy of colonialism and some of its political and psychological effects, the issue, even the possibility, of political and personal transformation is hardly raised. Can anything be salvaged from the corruption of the past? Can anything be created that is not suspect? Will every effort and expression of identity by formerly colonized peoples be forever viewed as hopelsslessly entangled mimicry? Is there any dimension of human life or experience that can exist untainted, a source from which one can draw to construct positive meaning as a springboard for transformation? These seem to me very important questions and Naipaul's answers, explicit or implicit, all appear to be No, No, Yes, and No. Ralph Singh gives the reader a comprehensive view of his problems but I don't think his conclusions are the only possible outcome or indeed a real solution.
The Mimic Men: A Post Colonial Novel Dealing With Identity Crisis &Displacement:-
"This novel makes a deep analysis of newly independent country in the Caribbean, the island of Isabella, with a pessimistic view: the previous colony has now become independent but the formerly colonized people of the island are unable to establish order and govern their country. The colonial experience has caused the colonized to perceive themselves as inferior to the colonizer. Colonial education and culturalcolonization have presented the English world, with its rich culture, as a world of order, discipline, success, and achievement. As a result, the natives consider their own culture, customs and traditions, religion, and race to be inferior to those of their master and try to identify themselves with the empire. Since they are far away from their original homeland, their own original traditions and religions have become meaningless to them, and thus, they cannot identify themselves with those remote rules and codes. However, as they are different from the master in cultural, traditional, racial, and religious backgrounds, they can never successfully associate themselves with the colonizer either.  They suffer from dislocation, placelessness, fragmentation, and loss of identity. They become mimic men who imitate and reflect the colonizer's life style, values, and views. As these psychological problems cannot be solved after independence is achieved, independence itself becomes a word but not a real experience. Without the colonizer, the colonized see themselves as lost in their postcolonial society .
Ralph Singh is a forty-year-old colonial minister who lives in exile in London. By writing his memoirs, Singh tries to impose order on his life, reconstruct his identity, and get rid of the crippling sense of dislocation and displacement. In other words, Singh is the representative of displaced and disillusioned colonial individuals, and colonization is depicted as a process that takes away their identity, culture, history, and sense of place. Thus, the novel considers the relationship between the socio-political and the psychological consequences of imperialism. This means that to read the novel just for its politics is to destroy its emphasis on the psychological problems of colonial people. In his room in a hotel in a London suburb Singh reevaluates his life in the hope of achieving order, as the place in which he is born is associated with chaos. Singh does not follow any chronological order in his writing but he constantlymoves backwards and forwards, writes about his childhood and adulthood, his life in Isabella and in England, his political career and marriage, and his education to give shape to the past and his experiences, and to understand himself. Therefore, according to Richard Kelly, Singh is the centre of his small world, and his childhood, political carrier, and educational background. He considers the notions of colonisation, decolonisation, history, culture, race, and politics, to write his own story and to give meaning to his existence.  The constant shifts between the past, the present, and the future may also reflect Singh's internal chaos. However, the irony is that in his search for order, Singh is unable to follow a chronological pattern to impose order on his writing. As he is born to disorder, Singh longs for a sense of control over his life and, therefore, he turns to writing which becomes a means of release . As a child, Singh responds to his sense of abandonment by dreaming of India, the homeland, and of his origin. He creates an ideal and heroic past which is in conflict with the real-life condition in Isabella. For example, he goes to the beach house owned by his grandfather and one day he sees the death of three children who are drowned in the sea while the fishermen do nothing to save them. At that point he realizes that Isabella cannot be the ideal landscape he is searching for. As a result of his psychological need for identity and fulfilment, Singh becomes a politician. He tries to achieve order, meaning, and success as a political figure. In other words, Singh needs a real view of himself and of the world around him so he participates in politics. By changing his name, Ranjit Kirpalsingh in fact has changed the very identity for which he is searching so desperately. In his attempt to define himself through his political activities, Singh realizes that he has become separated from his people and has to play a role to preserve his position. He feels incomplete because he is aware of the meaninglessness of his role as a colonial politician. To him, politicians in Isabella seek power and order without knowing the real meaning of those concepts: Colonial education has taught him that the mother country, England, is the symbol of order. When he studies English culture and history, he feels that his own culture, if there is any, is inferior to that of the colonizer. Hence, Singh's colonial education has caused him to become a homeless man with no self-image. Singh keeps asking himself whether he is the product of his colonial education. He both recognizes and criticizes colonial mimicry, but he also knows that he cannot help being a mimic man as he is ?a specific product of a particular socioeconomic formation called colonialism? . In his attempt to find his identity and the ideal landscape, Singh goes to London only to realize that the city does not promise anything to an East Indian colonial subject as he can never identify himself with it. In London, Singh realizes that he can never be an Englishman in spite of his public school education, and that one can be English only if he is born in England. In conclusion, Singh examines and analyses the colonial and postcolonial periods, historical, cultural, and political backgrounds, economic problems and psychological conflicts and finally concludes that writing can be decolonisation itself. He realizes that colonial societies like Isabella suffer from lack of cultural, historical, and racial homogeneity. Although he fails to reconnect himself to India, the homeland, or to connect himself to London, the metropolis, by writing his memoirs, Singh finally takes control of his sense of dislocation as he realizes that there is no ideal place with which he can identify himself.

The Kite Runner -Khaled Hosseini

The Kite Runner, a historical novel by Khaled Hosseini, an Afghan-American author, follows the maturation of Amir, a male from Afghanistan who needs to find his way in the world as he realizes that his own belief system is not that of his dominant culture. Set in Afghanistan and the United States, The Kite Runner is shows the similarities as well as the differences between the two countries and the two vastly different cultures. It is the story of both fathers and sons and friends and brothers, and it is a novel about right and wrong and the nature of evil. Published in 2003 to great critical and popular acclaim, The Kite Runner is considered a contemporary classic.
Key Points of the Novel:-
Written by: Khaled Hosseini Type of Work: novel Genres:(coming of age novel)historical novel First Published:June 2003 by Riverhead Books  Setting: Opens in San Francisco, and then flashes back to Afghanistan and Pakistan Main Characters: AmirBabaHassan; Ali; Sohrab; Rahim Khan Major Thematic Topics: alienation; betrayalclass issues (both cultural and socioeconomic); the emotional intensity of childhood affections; fear serving as a motivator; forgiveness; friendship; the inherent nature of human evil; jealousy; lost innocence; love; manipulation; redemption; the role of religion; revenge Motifs: death; desires; doubling; dreams; education; fears; passion; resentment; revenge; violence Major Symbols: kiteskite fightingkite runningmythspomegranate treescarslingshot
The three most important aspects of The Kite Runner:
  • This is an historical novel about the pre-Russian invasion and pre-Taliban rule of Afghanistan, as well life in Afghanistan under Taliban rule and life in a post-Taliban Afghanistan. Although the story is fictitious, the information about the political, social, and cultural systems of this Middle Eastern country provides a contrast to the contemporary headlines about Afghanistan primarily being home to terrorist cells. The Kite Runner paints a realistic portrait of a country about which most readers probably know very little and enables readers to separate the people of a country from its leaders (the Taliban) and/or groups (terrorists) associated with it.
  • The Kite Runner is a coming-of-age novel about finding one's place in a world of turmoil and transition. It explores the difficulties of developing into an adult relationship with your parents while simultaneously exploring ideas about the human capacity for good and evil, and the relationship between sin, forgiveness, and atonement. Its setting in both Afghanistan and the United States illustrates the universality of its characters and themes. In addition to these topics, The Kite Runner also touches on social awareness, religion, and philosophy.
  • The combination of Hosseini's narrative technique (the combining of flashback and flashforward in a somewhat linear timeline), his character development (having even his best characters demonstrate flaws and shortcomings), stylistic devices (including the insertion of Afghani words, his sentence patterns and sentence structure, the use of rhetorical figures, as well as his subtle use of foreshadowing), and his extensive incorporation of symbolism resulted in both critical accolades and popular success of The Kite Runner, a novel that is simultaneously embraced by academia and the general reading populace.
Book Summary:-
The novel The Kite Runner is the story of Amir, a Sunni Muslim, who struggles to find his place in the world because of the aftereffects and fallout from a series of traumatic childhood events. An adult Amir opens the novel in the present-day United States with a vague reference to one of these events, and then the novel flashes back to Amir's childhood in Afghanistan. In addition to typical childhood experiences, Amir struggles with forging a closer relationship with his father, Baba; with determining the exact nature of his relationship with Hassan, his Shi'a Muslim servant; and eventually with finding a way to atone for pre-adolescent decisions that have lasting repercussions. Along the way, readers are able to experience growing up in Afghanistan in a
single-parent home, a situation that bears remarkable similarities to many contemporary households. One of the biggest struggles for Amir is learning to navigate the complex socioeconomic culture he faces, growing up in Afghanistan as a member of the privileged class yet not feeling like a privileged member of his own family. Hassan and his father, Ali, are servants, yet at times, Amir's relationship with them is more like that of family members. And Amir's father, Baba, who does not consistently adhere to the tenets of his culture, confuses rather than clarifies things for young Amir. Many of the ruling-class elite in Afghanistan view the world as black and white, yet Amir identifies many shades of gray.
In addition to the issues affecting his personal life, Amir must also contend with the instability of the Afghan political system in the 1970s. During a crucial episode, which takes place during an important kite flying tournament, Amir decides not to act — he decides not to confront bullies and aggressors when he has the chance — and this conscious choice of inaction sets off a chain reaction that leads to guilt, lies, and betrayals. Eventually, because of the changing political climate, Amir and his father are forced to flee Afghanistan. Amir views coming to America as an opportunity to leave his past behind.Although Amir and Baba toil to create a new life for themselves in the United States, the past is unable to stay buried. When it rears its ugly head, Amir is forced to return to his homeland to face the demons and decisions of his youth, with only a slim hope to make amends. Finally, The novel is about relationships  specifically the relationships between Amir and Hassan, Baba, Rahim Khan, Soraya, and Sohrab  and how the complex relationships in our lives overlap and connect to make us the people we are.
About Amir and other Characters:-Amir, the narrator and protagonist of the novel , is a Pashtun and Sunni Muslim. Although not a completely sympathetic character, Amir is one for whom most readers feel compassion. Amir has conflicted feelings about his father, Baba, and his playmate, Hassan. Often, Amir is jealous of the way Baba treats Hassan, although Amir realizes that Hassan socially has a lower place in society. A conflicted character, Amir struggles between the logical and emotional sides of his being. His obsession and guilty conscience, along with his adult perspective looking back on childhood events, render him a usually reliable yet simultaneously potentially suspect  storyteller.  Baba is Amir's father, who is considered a hero and leader in Kabul. Baba and Amir never quite seem to connect, especially in Afghanistan. Baba is always doing things for others and always seems to expect more from his son. Baba appears to exemplify a man who lives by his own moral code, yet he is carrying a secret that if revealed, may undermine everything he stands for. Hassan is Amir's playmate and servant and is a Hazara and Shi'a Muslim. He's also the son of Ali. Hassan considers Amir his friend, although Amir never consciously considers Hassan as such. Hassan epitomizes the perfect servant who is loyal to his master, even after the master betrays him. Many critics consider Hassan's character "too good to be true," for even after he is betrayed by Amir, Hassan continues to lie for the person he considers his friend. Rahim Khan Rahim Khan is Baba's best friend and business partner. He's also the father-figure to Amir. Rahim Khan encourages Amir's writing, takes care of Baba's house, brings Hassan back to Kabul, and brings Amir back to Afghanistan. Rahim Khan also shares Baba's deepest secret with Amir. Assef Assef is a Kabul bully who ends up joining the Taliban. Not only is Assef a villain, but he also symbolizes all villainy. Assef becomes a member of the Taliban who idolizes Adolf Hitler and abuses his position of power in order to demonstrate the political muscle of the men in charge. Even as an adult, Assef uses a pair of brass knuckles to demonstrate both his power and cruelty. Soraya Soraya is Amir's wife. Unable to have children of her own, Soraya willingly agrees to the adoption of Sohrab. Although her role, like the role of all Afghan women under the Taliban, is minor from a plot perspective, the importance that she has on Amir's character development is immense. Hassan's most noticeable physical characteristic are: His leg left is amputated. He has a cleft lip. He is missing the index finger on his right hand. He is blind. Besides, he is a skillful Kite Runner and a pathetic character in the novel.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

The man in a case -Wendy Wasserstein

'The Man in a Case' is a funny one act play written by Wendy Wasserstein, a playwright of American fame. The play is an adaptation of Chekhov's story. She makes use of only two characters in her play and introduces them as joggers and meeting in a garden of the village of Mironositskoe. Varnika comes with apricots given in honour of the Greek and Latin school master Byelikov. He is annoyed at the fact that she goes on informing about their marriage to everyone and apricots give him hives. Varnika has fallen for him as he keeps everything in confinement including the leftover vegetables and fruits in covers. Byelikov is enamoured of their meeting and notes it down in his diary that he would place lilies on this day on his love's lock every year. As this requires celebration, Varnika wants to go to her brother's house on her bicycle and bring some cream. Startled to know about Varnika's arrival on bicycle, he sends her off on the pretext that he wants to work on the translation of Virgil's Aeneid and even tears the note thathe has made a while ago down. Varnika leaves and the lights fade as Byelikov is found garnering the strewn pieces of his note. The play puts up a feministic reading of Chekhov's story and Wendy's adaptation never violates the original and gives a new thrust to the story on the contrary. Both texts provide a good reading.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

A TALK IN THE PARK - Alan Ayckbourn

Summary and criticism:-
The one-act play "A TALK IN THE PARK(1976) is a light comedy written by Alan Ayckbourn,a famous British playwright. This play belongs to CONFUSIONS, a set of five loosely-connected one-act plays. The present play deals with the failure of human communication and obsession as well as isolation.
At the beginning of the play, there are four strangers staying on separate benches in a park. They   have their own troubles. Arthur, a bird like man with an interest in cigarette card collecting and women-watching comes and  sits next to Beryl, a young girl  and starts to relate his story of his likes and dislikes. Beryl is not interested in his talk. She is quite disturbed by him, so she moves from theg current bench and goes to sit with Charles, a businessman like man.  
   Beryl is a young woman with a husband who beats her, and so she tells Charles this story and reads out a letter from the "bastard". Charles becomes quite sick of hearing this, so excuses himself and goes to sit next to man-hating dog-loving Doreen. Charles is an old business man on the verge of bankruptcy and so has no time for the youth of today. He remembers a happier time with his wife and children and asks Doreen to help him decipher his business report. Doreen is at this time afraid of the man and goes to sit next to Ernest who is happily  relaxing on his bench.   
   Ernest is highly disturbed by the paranoid woman who starts to harp on about her dog. Doreen relates the story of taking her dog to the vets to get the snip, which is not a topic Ernest is interested in so he sneaks off leaving Doreen talking to herself. Ernest then collapses on the bench where Arthur is and proceeds in taking it over whilst moaning about his wife. The scene ends with each character trying to get the attention of the person they were trying to talk to, but failing. The end result is five miserable people who are all feeling ignored, despite the fact that it is their own fault for ignoring everyone else. Each of them wants to talk, but is not willing to listen.

An Interpretation:- If you take a look at conversations of people no matter where, when or who is talking, you will soon find out that people like to talk about themselves, their problems and everything that is related to them in some way. They want you to listen, make a short comment, and then listen again. But on the other side they are not able to act according to their own expectations. This behavior is pointed out by Alan Ayckbourn in his play "A Talk in the Park". There are five people sitting in a park, one starts speaking to another person who is not willing to listen and therefore goes to a third person with the intention to talk to him. He does not want to listen either, goes to the next one and so on. Each of them wants to talk, but is not willing to listen. This behavior seems quite common, but why are people unable to listen? Speculations about not having time anymore, being egoistic and not interested in others certainly have a true aspect, but I think they are not the complete answer to that problem. I could imagine that society is responsible for our behaviour: If you want to fit in society today, lots of things are required from you. First you need to be informed about thousand of things. To get this knowledge you need to listen. To grow up in a good way you must listen to the advice of your parents. To be successful in school you must listen to your teachers, 13 years, about 30 hours a week. To manage your job you must listen to your boss, your colleagues, your customers. In conversations you are expected to have certain information, which you often get by listening to the news, reading books etc. etc. In all you could say, if you want to live in our society you will need to listen all the time. Therefore it is totally understandable that at some point, especially during your spare time, you just do not want to listen anymore. Instead you need to talk about yourself, your problems, your experiences; and I also think this behaviour is justified as long as -at some point- you are able to listen again


  The Trials of Brother Jero is a play written by Wole Soyinka, a famous Nigerian playwright, poet, novelist and essayist. The play was first published in Nigeria in 1963 and by Oxford University Press in 1964. It is a light satiric comedy that takes aim at religious hypocrisy in the form of a  fraud  named Brother Jero, who preaches to his followers on Bar Beach in Lagos, Nigeria. Jero is a master of manipulation and keeps his followers in a subservient position because he understands what they long for money, social status, and power and convinces them that they will soon be able to fulfill these materialistic desires. For their part, they are gullible enough to believe him. This humorous play is one of Soyinka's   best-known and most frequently performed  plays .
Scene 1:-
The Trials of Brother Jero opens with Brother Jeroboam, the central character, who speaks directly to the audience and introduces himself as a prophet and preacher.  He says that his parents thought he was ideally suited to such a role because of his long, thick hair. He enjoys his work, which comes naturally to him. Then he says that nowadays many preachers have taken to the local beach to preach. So, there is aggressive competition among them for available space. Jero says that there are few worshippers coming to the beach these days because many people prefer to stay at home and watch television. He tells the audience that his purpose is to tell them about the events of one particular day in his life, which disturbed him. He also mentions how he was cursed by his Master. He is disturbed by the sudden appearance of his Master, Old Prophet who accuses Jero of having driven him off his piece of land on the beach.  Then they insult each other. Jero tells the audience that the old man was a fool. Old Prophet curses him saying that Jero will be ruined by his appetite for women, and then exits. Jero admits that his one weakness is "women".
Scene 2:-
 Chume, Joro's assistant, enters on a bicycle, with his wife Amope in the early morning. He stops the bicycle abruptly in front of Jero's house, and Amope gets angry due to bumpy landing that hurt her foot. She criticizes him. Chume says he has to go because otherwise he will be late for work. Amope responds by scolding him for his lack of ambition. Jero looks out from his window and sees Amope and tries to escape but he is not successful. Amope confronts him, saying that he owes her money and that he promised to pay her three months ago. Jero makes an excuse and goes back into the house. A woman trader passes by on her way to the market. She is selling smoked fish. Amope speaks to her in a surly manner and the two women exchange insults. No sale is made. Amope then sees Jero escaping from his house through the window. She curses at him and also at the trader, who has now disappeared.  She insults a drummer boy, too. She is not in temper.
Scene 3:-
After sometime, at his church on the beach, Joro says that he bought a velvet cape from Amope, and hopes people will start calling him by some impressive name because of it, such as "Velvet-hearted Jeroboam."He curses Amope, and says that the cape was not worth what she was asking for it. He confesses that he likes to keep his followers dissatisfied with their lives, so that they will keep coming to him. For example, he refuses to give his assistant, Chume, permission to beat his wife, because he wants Chume to remain feeling helpless. Jero watches as an attractive girl passes, and then prays that he will be able to resist temptation. Chume enters and prays with him. Jero is surprised that Chume is not at work, and Chume says he is sick. Out of Chume's hearing, Jero reveals his contempt for Chume, and is satisfied that this simple man will never try to become his equal. He is also glad that Chume has found him on the beach this early in the morning, because he likes to pretend that he sleeps on the beach, whereas in fact he sleeps in a bed in his house. Chume asks permission to beat his wife, just once. Jero refuses and reminds him that he would become Chief Messenger. Now he predicts he will become Chief Clerk. Chume continues complaining about his wife, while Jero asks God to forgive him. Then he tells Chume once more not to beat his wife.  The Boy Drummer enters, chased by a woman. They pass by several times, and Jero goes to intercept the woman, whom he recognizes as his neighbor. The woman becomes still, and Chume, encouraged continues his prayer, asking God to provide them with more money and more status in their work. The angry woman reappears, this time in possession of the boy's drums, while he follows her. He denies that he was abusing her father by drumming, which is why she is angry with him. Jero returns. His clothes are torn and his face is bleeding; he has been attacked by the woman. Finally Chume Jero realizes that Chume's wife is the woman he owes money to. Hoping to free himself from her request for payment, he allows Chume to take her home and beat her.
Scene 4:-
Later that day, in front of Jero's house, Amope and Chume  quarrel again. Chume tells his wife it is time to go home. She says that she is not moving until she gets her money. Jero enters, hides, and observes them, as Amope taunts Chume about his humble station in life. Chume tells her to shut up, which astonishes Amope, who thinks her husband must have gone mad. Chume tries to force her to come with him, but she resists and bangs on the door of Jero's house, calling for help. Jero ignores her cries. Chume tries to force Amope on to the bicycle while she protests loudly. Neighbors gather to watch the scene. Amope dares her husband to kill her and calls on Jero again, saying that if Jero will curse Chume, she will absolve Jero of his debt. Chume questions his wife, discovering that they are outside Jero's house and that it is the preacher who owes his wife money. He had not suspected this before, but now he realizes why Jero finally agreed to allow Chume to beat Amope. Getting angry, he gets on his bicycle and rides off, telling Amope to remain there.
Scene 5:-

Jero observes a man at the beach who is practicing delivering speech at the end of the day. The  man is an ambitious politician who comes to the beach to rehearse his speeches for Parliament, but he never has the courage to make them. Jero then thinks of Chume, assuming that by now he will have beaten his wife. This means that he will be confident and no longer need Jero, but at least it will have rid Jero of the woman's demands for payment. Jero then turns his attention back to the politician and decides to recruit him as a follower .He tells him that he will be raised to  the position of Minister for War. He suggests that God might withdraw His favor if the man does not become a believer, and he suggests that they pray together. While Jero is working his wiles on the politician, Chume enters, talking to himself. He is furious with Jero as he sees all the preacher's lies and finds him fake and fraud.

Dream on Monkey Mountain -Derek Walcott

Critical Summary and Interpretation:- The poetic play 'Dream on Monkey Mountain' by Derek Walcott, a well-known West Indian playwright and poet,  explores the effects of colonialism in the West Indies. It is a work of both English literary traditions and Caribbean experiences and language. Walcott uses highly poetic language and metaphors in this play. Specifically, he uses the metaphor of the white Devil to explore characters shifts in identity and the eventual reclamation of their black identity. The classical structure of the play is a continuation of an English literary tradition, unlike other plays from similar regions. It follows a less linear narrative and is quite ambiguous.  The language in this play is extremely lyrical and dream-like.
The play begins with a continuous startling and unsettling noise that increases in volume. Then , a woman comes wrapped from head to toe-in white, against a curtain of fire and a swollen, talismanic moon. A Man with a top hat and a skull appears. This is the mysterious surrealistic dream around which the whole action of the play centers. Makak, an old hermit and Black charcoal maker, has lived alone on Monkey Mountain his whole life. The dream he dreams one night forces him off the mountain and on a journey toward Africa. How Makak will get from a small Caribbean island to Africa does not seem to trouble him in the least. With his only friend, Moustique, unwillingly accompanying him, Makak becomes a sort of faith healer. When Moustique is killed in a marketplace riot, Makak is jailed and once he manages to escape with two other convicts he only wants to go home to Monkey Mountain. The play represents Makak's search for home, but it is also about native man being oppressed by colonial rule and the clash of  English and West Indian culture.
In this play, there is the  connection drawn between white women and the Devil. In Scene One Act One, Moustique asks Makak if his apparition is simply a white woman or a Devil. The Woman is described as white Goddes as a fantasy. However, She tells Makak that he is descended from kings, according to Makak, even though it is still uncertain whether or not Makak is mentally unstable or simply dreaming. When death, demons, spirits, etc. come on stage after Moustique dies, the woman is described as cleft-footed and having a face at the end of Act One. A man with a goat's head appears in this scene, and the white woman also wears a mask. In Act Two, Scene Two , Makak asks Tigre what he sees in the fire. Tigre responds,I see hell. I see people black like coals, twisting and burning in hell. And I see me too.� In dream, a black spider gives birth to white eggs, and Moustique is afraid of spiders. The spider and its birthing can be seen as a metaphor for colonialism and the loss of black identity throughout each subsequent generation. Masks are prominent metaphors as they are used by white characters to hide their true selves. In the Epilogue , Makak reclaims his black identity, as the Corporal asks if Makak wants a mask, and Makak refuses and shakes his head., but he still makes them work hard, and without breaks. In this sense, the Devil is an explicit metaphor for white plantation owners, a sad part of the colonial history in the West Indies. Even though the Devil has revealed his true identity it explores the reclamation of black identity through various actions. At the end of Act Two Scene Three, the Corporal demands that Makak kill the woman, calling her the wife of the Devil.� Makak beheads the woman, and in doing so, he reclaims his black identity. Even though she has previously told Makak that he is descended from royalty, it is necessary for him to kill her, as she was previously revealed to be another white demon. Throughout the play, black characters fight with white oppressors. Throughout the course of these actions, the black characters defeat the white/Devil characters, and in doing so, the black characters are able to reclaim their identities from white colonialist oppressors. Thus, in a way, it is a political allegory.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017


● a genre of poetry, and a major form
of narrative literature.
● a lengthy narrative poem, ordinarily
concerning a serious subject containing
details of heroic deeds and events
significant to a culture or nation.
● An extended narrative poem in elevated
or dignified language, celebrating the
feats of a legendary or traditional hero.
● Consists of many characters and
describes the fight between good and
evil in which good ultimately wins.
● Always consists of many sections with
many sub-stories related in some way
with the main one.
● It deals with the grand theme as trivial
matters can’t be it’s theme.
● A public poem ,generally nationalistic or
● Mainly two types of epic:
- Traditional epics and
- Literary epics
The traditional epics are also called “
Primary epics” or “Folk epics”. They are
of unknown authorship recited before
an audience and are passed along as a
part of oral tradition. Homer’s Iliad and
Odyssey, ‘Anglo – Saxon Beowulf’, are
the examples of traditional epics.
Literary epics are called “Secondary
epics” or “ Arts epics”, such epics are
meant to be read. For example, Virgil’s
Aeneid, Dante’s Divine Comedy and
Milton’s Paradise Lost.

● A Song like poem composed mainly to
express the feelings and emotions of the
● A short poem, originally one meant to
be sung as it consists of music through
tune, rhyme and rhythm etc.
● A subjective or personal poem
expressing the varying moods of the
● The salient features of lyrics include
brevity, spontaneity, music, and
dominance of personal emotion.
● There are different types of lyrics :
Dramatic Lyrics, Personal Lyrics, or
Love Lyrics etc.
● In Dramatic Lyrics, the speaker is
represented as addressing another
person in a specific situation. For
example, John Donne’s
“Cannonization”and William
Wordsworth “Tintern Abbey”.
● In Personal Lyrics, the poets usually give
the references of the known
circumstances for their own lives. For
example John Milton’s “When I consider
How My Light Is Spent”
● In Love Lyrics, the poets may express
their intense passion of love or their
concept of youth and beauty. For
example, Robert Burns’ “O My Love Is
like A Red, Red Rose”.

Ǻ.Ǻ.Ȁ Pastoral
● A form of poetry which expresses an
urban poet’s nostalgic image of the
supposed peace and simplicity of the life
of shepherds and other rural folk in the
idealized natural setting.
● It is an idealized depiction of rural life,
viewed as a survival of the simplicity,
peace and harmony that has been lost
by a complex and urban society.
● The pastoral form was inaugurated by
the Greek poet Theocritus in the third
century B.C. Later the famous poet Virgil
imitated the pastoral form and
popularized it.
● In the renaissance the traditional
pastoral was also adopted to diverse
satirical and allegorical uses. Spenser’s
Shepherd’s Calendar, Sidney’s Arcadia,
and Marlowe’s “The Passionate Shepherd
to his Love” are some examples of
pastoral poetry.

Ǻ.Ǻ.ȁ Narrative poetry
● Narrative poetry is a form
of poetry which tells a story, often
making use of the voices of a narrator
and characters as well; the entire story is
usually written in metered verse.
● It follows a similar structure as that for a
short story or novel as there is a
beginning, a middle and an end, as well
as the usual literary devices such as
character and plot.
● A narrative poem can take the form of
rhyming couplets, or it can go more in
the direction of prose poetry, in that the
rhyme scheme is flexible. There are
many variations on the theme of the
narrative poem.
● In comparison to stories, narrative
poems are compressed and only
concentrates on striking details. Ballads
are the popular narrative poems.

● A type of narrative that developed in the
12th century France, spread to the literature
of other countries, and displaced the earlier
epic and heroic forms. Romances were at
first written in verse, but later in prose as
● It is a distinguished from the epic in that it
does not represent a heroic age of tribal
wars, but a courtly and
chivalric(gentlemanly/knightly) age, often
one of highly developed manners and
● The main theme of the romance is
courtly love(knightly love for a lady).
● It stresses the chivalric ideals of courage,
loyalty, honor and mercifulness.
● It is filled with supernatural events as
well as magic, spells and enchantment.
For example, the stories of king Arthur
written in verse are the romances.

● The structure or pattern of organization that
a poet chooses in writing a poem is referred
to as being either open or closed.
● An open form does not have an established
pattern to it, whether it be in line length,
meter, rhyme, imagery syntax or stanzas.
● Open form poetry rejects the organization
and structure found in traditional poetry.
● A close form does have an established
pattern in one or more of those areas.
Sonnet, Haiku (a three line poem),
Limericks, and Villanelle are the
examples of closed forms.
● An open form poem allows the poet to
write freely without worrying about
trying to make the words fit a specific
meter or rhyme scheme.
● It also allows the poet to place words
anywhere on the page to create desired
● Free verse is open form poetry.
● Walt Whitman and T.S. Eliot composed
open form poetry or free verse in
1.2 Poetry in a Language Classroom
● 1.2.1 Poetry with the language learners
● 1.2.2 Teaching unusual language features
● 1.2.3 Poetry in the lower level
● 1.2.4 Poetry in the higher level
1.2.1 Poetry with the language learners
● Poems are highly useful for language
learners as they are rich and authentic
● Poems differ linguistically from more
usual or standard forms of English and has
been described as deviating from the
norms of the language, which clearly has
some important implications for the use of
poetry in language classroom.
● Poetry is pedagogically useful and
necessary to provide students with
idealized language rules. Due to the
exploit of more deviant or unusual use of
language, the learners’ language
awareness and interpretative abilities may
● Poetry may produce strong response from
the learners and this may motivate them
for further reading of poetry in foreign
● However, poetry should be selected in
accordance to the interests, language and
maturity levels of the learners.
1.2.2 Teaching unusual language features
● Poetry is a wide ranging type of text and
has many purposes and forms.
● Poetry uses different language features
often more intensively to achieve a
concentrated effect like mood, humour
● There may be use of rich vocabulary:
powerful nouns, verbs, adjectives,
invented words, and unusual word
● The materials or tasks for students should
be devised around the unusual features
used in the poem. A teacher may need to
help the students with:
- unusual language used in the poem
- unfamiliar words, phrases, grammatical
constructions or syntactic features
- important discoursal or formal features
of the poem
- ambiguities in the poem like pun etc.
- figurative or symbolic meaning
- figures of speech or rhetorical devices
- musical qualities in the poem etc.

1.2.3 Poetry in the lower level
● There are various types of poems meant for
the initial stage of teaching English at lower
● The classes of beginners usually study
jingles (songs), nursery rhymes and
gradually they start studying descriptive and
narrative poems.
● At this stage, the children are likely to
appreciate the music, rhythm of the poem
● Jingles and nursery rhymes provide them
with innocent fun and delight.
● The aim of teaching poetry at this stage
is to help the students to enjoy the
rhythm and music and thus gain a sort of
emotional pleasure.
● To make the teaching of poetry at this
stage an enjoyable activity for the
students, the following steps may be
● Step1: The chart or set of pictures
regarding the poem is shown. Then the
teacher tells something about the poem
in mother tongue or in simple English to
create proper atmosphere for it.
● Step 2 : Model recitation of the poem is
done by the teacher.
● Step 3 : Gestures and actions are
performed by the teacher where ever
● Step 4 : Dealing with difficult words and
content in simple English.
● Step 5 : Different students are asked to
recite the poem one by one. Drill can be
used in small groups.
● Step 6 : Simple type of comprehension
questions are put to the students.

Ǻ.ǻ.ǽ Poetry in the higher level
● As every poem is the product of a process
involving ideas about some objects or
individual feelings about some events or
objects, higher level students also find
difficulties in grasping the meaning of it.
Some poems may sound vague due to the
lack of ideas about the content and other
difficulties may be in :
- Understanding the individual words in the
- Understanding the metaphorical/symbolic
meaning behind phrases or lines in the
- Understanding the historical context which
forms the text’s background.
- Understanding the poet’s attitude to what
he sees around him.
- Responding personally to the themes of
the poem.
● Moreover, knowledge about rhymes,
meters, syllables, word stress and stress
patterns in sentences, oral expression, oral
fluency, intonation pattern is also required
to appreciate the poem fully.
Ǻ.Planning lessons and designing
materials for teaching poetry
● When planning a lesson and designing
materials for teaching poetry, one must
find out the difficulties that students
face while reading or studying a poem.
● The following checklist of some possible
questions may be useful for a teacher to
cope with the problems.
Ǻ.The background to the poem:
To make sense of the poem do the
students need to know about:
- any cultural or historical information?
- the collection from which the poem is
- the author’s life or other works?
- what genre the poem belongs to? etc.
ǻ. The Language of the poem.
Do you need to help the students with:
- any unusual language in the poem
- any unfamiliar vocabularies, keywords
or syntactic features?
- any important discoursal or formal
features of the poem?
- any ambiguities in meanings?
- any figurative or symbolic meanings?
- any figures of speech or rhetorical
devices in the poem?
- any musical qualities? etc
Ǽ. Motivating and involving students
-can the theme or topic of the poem be
made relevant to the students own
- how does the use of poem in class
mesh with the requirements of the
-what activities will most suit the learning
styles of the students?etc..