Department of English

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A Guide For Creative Thinking

Thu Sep 17, 2009 3:12 am by BHSoft

A Guide For Creative Thinking by Brian Tracy
Einstein once said, “Every child is born a genius.” But the reason why most people do not function at genius levels is because they are not aware of how creative and smart they really are.I call it the “Schwarzenegger effect.” No one would look at a person such as Arnold Schwarzenegger and think how lucky he is to have been born with such …


Africain Literature

Wed Mar 04, 2009 8:15 pm by Lily

Things Fall Apart is a 1959 English-language novel by Nigerian author Chinua Achebe. It is a staple book in schools throughout Africa and widely read and studied in English-speaking countries around the world. It is seen as the archetypal modern African novel in English, and one of the first African novels written in English to receive global critical acclaim. The title of the novel comes from [url=http://www.answers.com/topic/william-butler-yeats-3]


Algeria's Newspapers ...

Wed Mar 04, 2009 1:11 pm by Lily

study study study study



http://www.algeria press.com/
http://www.algeria press.com/alkhabar.htm
http://www.algeria-press.com/elwatan.htm
http://www.algeria-press.com/echoroukonline.htm
http://www.algeria-press.com/elmoudjahid.htm
http://www.algeria-press.com/liberte.htm
http://www.algeria-press.com/horizons.htm
http://www.algeria-press.com/el-massa.htm
[url=http://www.algeria-press.com/ech-chaab.htm]…


Algerian Vote

Thu Apr 09, 2009 12:39 pm by Lily

Algerians are voting in a presidential election which opposition groups have described as a charade.












American English

Fri Mar 13, 2009 4:00 pm by Maria

Going to is pronounced GONNA when it is used to show the future. But it is never reduced when it means going from one place to another.

We're going to grab a bite to eat. = We're gonna grab a bite to eat.
I'm going to the office tonight. = I'm going to the office tonight.

2. Want to and want a are both pronounced WANNA and wants to is pronounced WANSTA. Do you want to can also be reduced …

American Slangs

Sat Mar 21, 2009 8:54 pm by Maria

airhead: stupid person.
"Believe it or not, Dave can sometimes act like an airhead!"

amigo: friend (from Spanish).
"I met many amigos at Dave's ESL Cafe."

ammunition: toilet paper.
"Help! We're completely out of ammunition!"

antifreeze: alcohol.
"I'm going to need a lot of antifreeze tonight!"

armpit: dirty, unappealing place.


An Introduction to the British Civilization

Wed Nov 18, 2009 10:54 am by Maria

University of Batna First Year
English Department G: 6-7-8-9
General Culture

[center]An Introduction to the British Civilization

*The United Kingdom :

Full Name : The UK's full and official name is the "United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland".

Location: The United Kingdom (UK) of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is a country …

Announcements and News

Thu Mar 05, 2009 2:55 am by Lily


"Dear students , we would like to inform you that , from now on , your marks can be consulted through your Website ...Let's surf ! bounce bounce Wink

Applying for Research Study in the Department of English

Sun Apr 12, 2009 11:32 pm by Lily

Applying for Research Study in the Department of English

The process of applying for a research studentship begins with the identification of a potential supervisor. If you already know a staffmember who is willing to work with you to develop a research proposal,please start by contacting them. If you do not have a supervisor inmind already, …



    British Literature

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    The Old man and the Sea:Characters

    Post by Lily on Mon May 04, 2009 11:42 pm

    Characters
    Bodega Proprietor
    Although he is unnamed in the story, the bodega proprietor serves the important function of representing those in the village who show their respect and admiration of Santiago by supporting him — in this case, by giving Santiago free coffee and newspapers.
    Female Tourist
    Although she has only one line in the story, the unnamed female tourist is important since in her mistaking the carcass of the marlin as that of a shark, she acts as a foil for Santiago's extraordinary knowledge of the sea.ManolinManolin is a young man, based on someone Hemingway knew in Cuba who was then in his twenties. In the story, however, Manolin is referred to as "the boy." Like Santiago, Manolin comes from a family of fishermen and has long admired Santiago as a masterful practitioner of his trade. Although Manolin's father has forbidden him to go fishing with Santiago because of the old man's bad luck, Manolin nevertheless continues to visit Santiago and to help him in whatever ways he can. Manolin shows great concern for Santiago's health, especially after he sees how Santiago has suffered in catching the big marlin. As a mark of his friendship and respect for Manolin,Santiago has given him certain responsibilities from an early age, such as fetching bait and carrying the lines. By contrast, Manolin's own father only belittles his son's relationship with Santiago.Even though Manolin appears only at the beginning and the end of the story,he is an important character. Manolin's conversations with Santiago,and Santiago's longing for the boy's company when he is alone, reveal the character of both men. Santiago is seen as a loving, patient, and brave man, both proud and humble, who accepts and appreciates life, despite all its hardships. Manolin is shown to be someone who loves and respects Santiago, and who realizes that he can learn things from the old man that he cannot learn at home.Manolin undergoes an important change between the beginning and end of the story. At the beginning he still defers to the wishes of his parents that he not accompany Santiago fishing since the old man's luck has turned bad. By the end of the story, however, Manolin has resolved to go with the old man, lucky or not, in spite of his parents' wishes.
    Manolin's Father
    Manolin's father forbids Manolin from going out with Santiago after the old man's fortieth day without a fish. By the end of the story Manolin decides to disobey his father out of his love for Santiago.
    Pedrico
    As
    a friend of Santiago, Pedrico helps the old man by giving him newspapers. After the old man's return from the sea, despite his wounds and exhaustion, Santiago remembers to carry out his promise to give Pedrico the head of the fish carcass.
    Santiago
    Santiago is an old fisherman of undetermined age. As a young man he traveled widely by ship and fondly remembers seeing lions on the beaches of East Africa. His wife died, and he has taken her picture down because it makes him sad to see it. Now he lives alone in a shack on the beach.Every day he sets forth alone in his boat to make a living.When the story opens, Santiago has gone eighty-four days without catching a single fish. As a result, he is pitied and regarded by the other fishermen as unlucky. Santiago is still respected by some, however,because of his age and his perseverance. He is a very experienced fisherman who knows well the tricks of his trade, including which fish to use as bait.Santiago also loves baseball and occasionally gambles. He identifies with Joe DiMaggio, the great center fielder for the Yankees in the 1940s and 1950s. Santiago admires how DiMaggio,whose father was a fisherman, plays in spite of bone spurs in his feet that cause him pain whenever he runs. As an old man, Santiago must also cope with the physical demands of his job in the face of the infirmities of his aging body. Yet he suffers without complaining, and it is this stoic attitude that has won him much respect in the community.Santiago is not a religious person, but he does think about the meaning of life, and his religious references show that he is very familiar with Roman Catholic saints and prayers. Through the au-thor's revelation of Santiago's own thoughts, and the conversations between Santiago and his relatively young companion, Manolin, readers come to sense that despite his setbacks and shortcomings, Santiago remains proud of himself, and this makes his humility both touching and real. Though he strives to attain the most he can for himself,Santiago also accepts what life has given him without complaint.This largeness of vision also allows Santiago to appreciate and respect nature and all living creatures, even though he must kill some of these creatures in order to live. For example, the old man recalls how he once hooked, brought in, and finally clubbed to death a female marlin,while her faithful mate never left her side once during the ordeal.
    "That was the saddest thing I ever saw," the old man comments. "The boy was sad too and we begged her pardon and butchered her promptly."Hemingway first wrote about the true incident upon which his story is based in an article entitled "On the Blue Water: A Gulf Stream Letter" for the April 1936 issue of Esquire only two days; the fisherman, "half crazy" and crying, was picked up by others after fighting the sharks; and half the carcass was still left at the end. Hemingway's intentions in creating the character of Santiago may perhaps best be seen in examining how the author altered the true events to shape his telling of The Old Man and the Sea.In Hemingway's later version, Santiago's hooking the fish, hauling it to the boat, fighting the sharks, and then bringing it home takes three days and is completed in heroic fashion with no outside help. Nothing remains of the fish at the end except its skeleton. No mention is made of the fisherman's state of mind other than that he wants to fish again as soon as he can.Hemingway's changes clearly make Santiago more of a single heroic and tragic figure who fights alone, loses almost everything, and yet still is ready to meet life again. Thus, after a night's sleep and a promise from Manolin that from now on they will fish together, Santiago is making plans not just to resume his life but to strive even harder next time. Similarly, Hemingway turned an anecdote about a piteous, helpless fisherman into a parable of man's tragic but heroic struggle not merely to survive but, as fellow Nobelist William Faulkner expressed it, to endure.
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    The Old man and the Sea Plot Summary

    Post by Lily on Mon May 04, 2009 11:23 pm

    Plot summary
    The Old Man and the Sea recounts an epic battle between an old, experienced fisherman and a giant marlin said to be the largest catch of his life. It opens by explaining that the fisherman, who is named Santiago, has gone 84 days without catching any fish at all. He is apparently so unlucky that his young apprentice, Manolin, has been forbidden by his parents to sail with the old man and been ordered to fish with more successful fishermen. Still dedicated to the old man, however, the boy visits Santiago's shack each night,hauling back his fishing gear, feeding him and discussing American baseball — most notably Santiago's idol, Joe DiMaggio.Santiago tells Manolin that on the next day, he will venture far out into the Gulf to fish, confident that his unlucky streak is near its end.
    Thus on the eighty-fifth day, Santiago sets out alone, taking his skiff far into the Gulf. He sets his lines and, by noon of the first day, a big fish that he is sure is amarlin takes his bait. Unable to pull in the great marlin, Santiago instead finds the fish pulling his skiff. Two days and two nights pass in this manner, during which the old man bears the tension of the line with his body. Though he is wounded by the struggle and in pain, Santiago expresses a compassionate appreciation for his adversary, often referring to him as a brother. He also determines that because of the fish's great dignity, no one will be worthy of eating the marlin.On the third day of the ordeal, the fish begins to circle the skiff,indicating his tiredness to the old man. Santiago, now completely worn out and almost in delirium, uses all the strength he has left in him to pull the fish onto its side and stab the marlin with aharpoon, thereby ending the long battle between the old man and the tenacious fish.Santiago straps the marlin to his skiff and heads home, thinking about the high price the fish will bring him at the market and how many people he will feed.While Santiago continues his journey back to the shore, sharks are attracted to the trail of blood left by the marlin in the water. The first, a great mako shark, Santiago kills with his harpoon, losing that weapon in the process. He makes a new harpoon by strapping his knife to the end of an oar to help ward off the next line of sharks; in total, five sharks are slain and many others are driven away. But by night, the sharks have almost devoured the marlin's entire carcass, leaving a skeleton consisting mostly of its backbone, its tail and its head, the latter still bearing the giant spear. The old man castigates himself for sacrificing the marlin. Finally reaching the shore before dawn on the next day, he struggles on the way to his shack, carrying the heavy mast on his shoulder. Once home, he slumps onto his bed and enters a very deep sleep.

    A group of fishermen gather the next day around the boat where the fish's skeletonTourists at the nearby café mistakenly take it for a shark. Manolin, worried during the old man's endeavor, cries upon finding him safe asleep. The boy brings him newspapers and coffee. When the old man wakes, they promise to fish together once again. Upon his return to sleep, Santiago dreams of lions on the African beach.

    An Unlucky Boat

    The Old Man and the Sea tells the story of Santiago, an aging Cuban fisherman, who alone in his small boat faces the most difficult fight of his life against an enormous marlin. At the beginning of the short novel, Santiago has lost his fisherman's luck; he has gone eighty-four days without catching a marketable fish. Even his closest friend, a village boy he taught to fish, has left him to work on another boat. The local fishermen make fun of Santiago or feel sorry for him, but he himself remains hopeful and undefeated. Every day he rises early, prepares his skiff, and rows far out into the Gulf Stream in search of marlin.Though ordered by his parents to work on a luckier boat, the boy still loves Santiago,and he visits the old man's simple shack when he can. Once married, Santiago now lives alone in increasing poverty. He has little to eat,and frequently must rely on the boy or others in the village to bring him food and clothing. As they share their meals, Santiago and the boy discuss baseball and the important players of the period, especially"the great DiMaggio." The old man tells of his early life working on ships that sailed to Africa. When he sleeps, Santiago dreams of being young again and seeing "lions on the beaches in the evening."

    The Truly Big Fish
    Early one morning the old man rises, shares coffee with the boy, and sets out for the far reaches of the fishing grounds. He passes all the other fishermen, who stop to work "the great well," the point where the ocean drops off suddenly to seven hundred fathoms. He watches for flying fish or other signs of bait that might signal the presence of larger fish.Soon he catches a small albacore and, using it for bait, quickly hooks something very large. Though he pulls as hard as he can on the line, Santiago cannot move the great weight on the other end. The big fish refuses to surface and begins to swim out to sea, towing the skiff behind it.
    Eat it so that the point of the hook goes into your heart and kills you, he thought. Come up easy and let me put the harpoon into you. All right. Are you ready? Have you been long enough at table?"Now!" he said aloud and struck hard with both hands, gained a yard of line and then struck again and again, swinging with each arm alternately on the cord with all the strength of his arms and the pivoted weight of his body.Nothing happened. The fish just moved away slowly and the old man could not raise him an inch. His line was strong and made for heavy fish and he held it against his back until it was so taut that beads of water were jumping from it. Then it began to make a slow hissing sound in the water and he still held it,bracing himself against the thwart and leaning back against the pull.The boat began to move slowly off toward the north-west.
    Alone and unable to release the tightening line, Santiago struggles to hold onto the fish. Without the boy to help him, he knows that either he or the fish will die from this. His body is old but still strong, and he maintains his grip on the line despite his age and increasing discomfort. After several hours, night falls, but he never considers giving up. He realizes that he will need to eat to keep up his strength, and as the sun begins to rise the next day he consumes one of the small tuna he caught the day before.During the second day,the great fish surfaces just long enough for Santiago to see him. The sight of the great marlin, "two feet longer than the skiff," inspires the old man. He remembers a time in his younger days when he arm wrestled a man in a Casablanca tavern. The match began on a Sunday morning and lasted the entire night, ending the following morning when Santiago forced his opponent's hand to the wood. Night comes again and the old man realizes that he needs to sleep. He wraps the line around his shoulders and cramps his body against it. Then he sleeps and dreams of the lions.When Santiago wakes it is still dark, though the moon has come out. While he was sleeping, the great fish has risen to the surface, and now Santiago can hear the marlin thrashing and jumping in the distance. As the old man gathers all his strength to hold onto the line, the marlin begins to circle the boat, and Santiago knows he has won. After several turns, the fish pulls closer, brushing the sides of the boat, and the old man, seeing his chance, drives his harpoon into its side. With a final struggle that sends spray over the entire skiff, the fish dies, its dark blood staining the blue water.
    Destroyed But Not Defeated
    Now many miles out to sea, the old man lashes the great fish to the side of his skiff and sets his small sail for home. After about an hour of smooth sailing, however, his luck runs out. A shark, following the trail of blood left by the huge fish, bites into the body, taking a large piece of flesh. Santiago manages to kill the "dentuso" with his harpoon, but he realizes that more sharks will follow. He begins to wonder whether he committed a sin in killing the great marlin, but before he has time to decide, the sharks close in. Fighting a hopeless battle, the old man kills several of the large "galanos" before he loses first his harpoon and then his knife. By the time the skiff reaches the village, little remains of the great fish but the head and skeleton.Convinced that he "went out too far" and bears responsibility for the loss of the fish, the exhausted Santiago returns to his shack and falls asleep. The fishermen in the village marvel at the mutilated fish; at eighteen feet, it is the largest marlin they have ever seen. The boy brings the old man food and fresh clothes and watches over him as he sleeps.
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    The Old man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway

    Post by Lily on Mon May 04, 2009 10:55 pm



    As of 2006, the current cover for the Charles Scribner's Sons edition of the novella
    When The Old Man and the Sea was published in 1952 to wide critical acclaim, it had been twelve years since Ernest Hemingway's previous critical success, For Whom the Bell Tolls. His major writing effort during the intervening period,Across the River and Into the Trees, published in 1950, had been widely dismissed as a near-parody of the author's usual style and themes. The Old Man and the Sea, however, was a popular success, selling 5.3 million copies within two days of its publication in a special edition of Life magazine. A few complaints about the stilted language of some of the Spanish transliterations came from critics. Some also found Santiago's philosophizing unrealistic. Nevertheless, the story won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction in 1953. A year later, Hemingway was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature. The Nobel committee singled out the story's "natural admiration for every individual who fights the good fight in a world of reality overshadowed by violence and death," (noted Susan F.Beegel in "Conclusion: The Critical Reputation of Ernest Hemingway").Although Hemingway's writing continued to be published, much of it posthumously after the author's suicide in 1961, The Old Man and the Sea is generally considered by many to be his crowning achievement. The work was especially praised for its depiction of a new dimension to the typical Hemingway hero, less macho and more respectful of life. In Santiago, Hemingway had finally achieved a character who could face the human condition and survive without cynically dismissing it or dying while attempting to better it. In Santiago's relationship with the world and those around him, Hemingway had discovered a way to proclaim the power of love in a wider and deeper way than in his previous works.
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    Great Expectations:Style

    Post by Lily on Thu Apr 30, 2009 11:59 pm

    Style
    Point of View
    The first-person narrator of Dickens' Great Expectations is an adult Pip who tells the story in his own voice and from his own memory. What is distinctive about that voice is that it can so intimately recall the many small details of a little boy's fear and misery, as well as the voices and dialects of others — from the rough country speech of Magwitch and Orlick to the deaf Aged Parent's loud repetitions or the mechanically predictable things Jaggers says. Yet other details seem to be forgotten. Pip tells almost nothing of his beatings from Mrs. Joe, but a great deal about his fear of them, using adult vocabulary and concepts in these reflections. The opening scene with little Pip in the cemetery recalls the tombstones as looking like"lozenges," soothing the throat of this mature narrator. This way, the adult Pip not only evaluates events as he remembers them but also adds a deeper insight than he would have had as a child. The story unfolds chronologically from Pip's earliest memories to his most recent experiences. And while some critics justify Dickens' revised ending,Pip's development is most believable for modern readers if he parts from Estella with the final realization that he could never have been happy with her and her man-hating legacy from Miss Havisham.
    Bildungsroman
    In Great Expectations,Pip must not only work out his problems but also sort out reality from his childhood dreams. Realistically, the only way that he can do this is by trial and error and learning from his mistakes. First comes his education, demonstrating that becoming a gentleman means more than having material wealth. Pip may read as many fine books as he can, but the most important lessons come not from them (he does not quote from them) but from his analysis of real people and events in his society.While Drummle is financially wealthier than Herbert Pocket or Startop,among Pip's London friends, Drummle has no redeeming qualities nor does he value his friends, which Pip learns is the most important thing in his own life. In his development, Pip discovers that Miss Havisham has not been his kindly benefactor as he had assumed. Even so, he is able to both save her life and help her to find a little left of her soul before she dies. By helping someone who only appears to be better off than he is, he finds honor in his own name, as humble as that may be.It is ironic that the criminal Magwitch had insisted, as a condition of Pip's allowance, that he keep his boyhood name "Pip" rather than "Phillip." He finds that the requirements of maturity are taking responsibility for one's actions, and this is what Pip must do by the end of the novel. He admits that he has at times been ashamed of his country life and friends. Pip also reveals that while he once enjoyed being treated royally by Uncle Pumblechook and Tragg in town, he sees now that this was a false honor. The true nobility is in his homecoming, which is similar to the biblical prodigal son's return. Pip confesses to Joe and Biddy that he has been too proud to appreciate their unfailing love until he finally comes back to them with his new knowledge.
    Comic Relief
    With so many serious things to think about and the ever-present dangers that appear, Pip is always glad to slip away to Wemmick's miniature castle, complete with a tiny moat and cannon, where all good things seem possible again in this stronghold against the evil of the outer world. One of the best features of the place is the stereotypical character of Wemmick's father, the laughable Aged Parent. Good-natured, deaf, dependent, and weakened by age, the old man is no threat to Pip or to anyone. Instead,he requires the protection of those who have power in the world, that is to say Wemmick and Pip. Wemmick's devotion to his old father seems to Pip to be a wonderful thing, especially in a society that constantly seeks out the weak to take advantage of them. However, the fragility of the situation makes Wemmick's house seem all the more magical. As close as it is to the unforgiving city life of London, it is a world apart —something about which Wemmick constantly cautions Pip. It is not to be mentioned to Jaggers or to anyone outside of this rare and delightfully protected environment. Pip is rewarded for honoring Wemmick's trust and friendship by being allowed to cook and watch over the Aged Parent, as well as being honored as Wemmick's only wedding guest who is not kin.Pip soon becomes as fiercely protective as Wemmick is of this place where evil dare not enter.
    Setting
    The distinctions between the city, the town, and the country are the most apparent shifts in Pip's story. Although all of them harbor dangerous elements, all of them also carry the forces of good. The difference is that the marsh folk are more obvious in their desires. Orlick is the example of a man without a soul, and Pip recognizes this from the beginning. It is no surprise when it is revealed that he was Mrs. Joe's savage attacker. The fact that he would also kill Pip points out Orlick's lack of distinction between those who deserve his vengeance and those who do not. He readily attacks anyone who gets in his way.However, in town Tragg's boy makes Pip the laughingstock of all who have more in life than he will ever have, thus showing humor and a knowledge of the world that Orlick does not have. Even so, Orlick believes he has power over others who may be better off than he is,which he tries to prove. By contrast, along London's sooty streets are those who know Jaggers. They both fear and respect him as someone with the education and social power to help them. He is as impersonal as the buildings around him, but if he cannot save their lives they are certain that they could not have been saved by anyone. That kind of blind trust is not found in the village — where even Tragg's boy dares to mock Pip — or on the marshes where brute strength may means survival. Of the three, the city is least likely to recognize individuality, which Pip indicates by noticing the overall dirtiness and decay of it as soon as he arrives there. A person may hide on the marshes or outside of the city, whereas the city has too many eyes to cover up anyone or any deed for long. Even Pip must escape to the suburbs (Wemmick's) for a time to avoid those eyes.
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    Great Expectations:Themes

    Post by Lily on Thu Apr 30, 2009 11:47 pm

    Themes
    Alienation and Loneliness
    Beneath the Dickens' major theme of a great respect for wealth is an analysis of the fate of the outsider. At least four known orphans — Mrs. Joe,Magwitch, Estella, and Pip himself — have suffered loneliness, but each character reacts differently. Pip begins his story as a child standing in a gloomy cemetery at the grave site of his family, so pitifully alone that he can do no more than imagine his mother as the "wife of the above," which he can only interpret as directions to his mother's current address in heaven. Pip himself is often threatened with death by his sister and again by his convict, Magwitch. Even Orlick, the town lout, tries to kill an adult Pip. Joe Gargery is Pip's only friend on the marshes, and even after Pip is introduced to city life friends are few compared to the number of those who are coldly uncaring or dangerous. On the other hand, Estella's odd childhood, in the wrinkled hands of an old woman with a twisted mind, teaches her to reject all affection or friendships. Estella plays with Pip like a cat toys with a mouse, certainly not like an equal or playmate, for that is not Miss Havisham's intention. Likewise, as Magwitch confesses to Pip, his childhood on the streets of London was such a nightmare that he cannot even remember how he once learned his own name, and it is no wonder he has had to turn to a life of crime. Mrs. Joe is another character who is antisocial. She lives on the marshes among rough, working class men and has no friends but Joe and no female acquaintances whatever. Pip's guardian and Joe's wife, she is so rude, antagonistic, and violent that she drives away those who would otherwise love her. As Pip's sister,Mrs. Joe shares the same loss of their family, but her means of coping with loneliness is quite different from Pip's attempts to get along with people and to stay out of trouble. Indeed, Mrs. Joe causes most of the problems in her life and everyone else's at the forge. Aside from these obvious loners, each struggling to find his or her place in the world, Jaggers also stands alone, an upholder of the law but to an inhuman degree. He never lets down his guard, as though he were likely to be sued if he relaxed, misspoke, or reacted at all with emotion. No matter how openly Pip offers friendship, Jaggers maintains a distant attitude and instead admires the wealthy but evil Bentley Drummle for knowing what he wants and getting it. While Pip has the greatest number of friends of these alienated characters, even he is strangely hesitant to leave London to rejoin Joe and Biddy or to accept Herbert Pocket's offer of a position in his firm. Only when Pip has exhausted his expectations and has no other direction to turn does he realize that he is quite lucky to have two good friends who love him for himself and can forget about his social status. By doing this, Pip is the one character who works his way out of alienation and loneliness into a socially active life that is enriched by love shared with friends. Although this hard-earned knowledge was not one of his original "expectations," Pip finds that this is far greater wealth than any benefactor's inheritance.
    Identity: Search for Self
    As a child, Pip is small for his age and quite weak, physically and temperamentally. An orphan living with his sister in near poverty, he dreams of great wealth. Meanwhile, finding ways to avoid abuse from his sister becomes his daily lesson. He submits to the insults of Mrs. Joe,Uncle Pumblechook, Mr. Wopsle, Estella and Miss Havisham's relatives.Pip is terrified of Miss Havisham when she first orders him to play a game as she watches him and he realizes that he is too miserable to play at anything. Later, he is anxious and delighted to escape that life and go to the city where he can establish a new identity as a gentleman in his own right. Indeed, from his first day in London he is addressed as "Mr. Pip" and treated well. He finds, however, that he has little to back up that esteem except money that he has not earned and only squanders on expensive clothes, decorations for his apartment, and a servant boy he calls "The Avenger." What is Pip avenging but the poverty to which he was born? Yet when Joe comes to London, Pip is ashamed of him, embarrassed that Joe now calls him "Sir" yet distressed by Joe's low-brow speech and country clothes. Pip is likewise mortified by Magwitch. Even after learning that the convict is responsible for Pip's rise in status and his great allowance, Pip does not want to be seen with the old man because Magwitch does not fit into Pip's new identity. That Magwitch has risked his life to come back to England to see Pip does not influence Pip's decision to get rid of Magwitch as soon as possible. Pip frequently returns to the village to visit Miss Havisham and Estella, and to enjoy a gentleman's treatment from the shopkeeper Trabb and Trabb's boy who once sneered at Pip. However, Pip neither returns to the humble forge to visit Joe nor sends any message to him. In time, Pip is ashamed of that and apologizes to both Magwitch and Joe. Also, he forgives Miss Havisham for her early cruelty with a kiss on her deathbed. But this cannot happen until he has endured greater suffering and pangs of conscience than he ever knew as a weakling boy on the marsh. Miss Havisham also rises above her reputation as a tight-fisted and heartless old woman by granting Pip's request for money to set up Herbert Pocket in a business, and by begging Pip's forgiveness before she dies. Once cruel, she ends by suffering from the realization that she has wasted her life on hatred and vengeance, yet it is too late for her to enjoy her change of heart.Pip adds this to his lessons on gaining respect and peace in his own life. Another good model comes from Wemmick, who adores his old father and shares care of the Aged Parent with Pip on at least one occasion when, ironically, Pip is avoiding contact with Magwitch. Nevertheless,Pip attends Magwitch in his last days as tenderly as Wemmick tends his own father and as lovingly as Joe nurses Pip back from death. When Pip finally returns to the marsh to propose marriage to Biddy and to thank Joe, he finds them already married. Pip asks Joe's forgiveness before he joins Herbert Pocket, Jr. to earn his way in the world and to repay Joe for covering some of his bills. Pip finally takes charge of his future and enjoys the love of his family and friends, realizing that they are his most precious wealth. Having been first a pauper, then a man of the leisure class, and finally a middle-class worker, Pip is finally certain of his place in the world by knowing true contentment and self-worth.
    Victim and Victimization
    In the endless struggle for power, the winners are the ruthless, thinks Jaggers. He has yet to learn that such power is not equal to the strength of being true to one's convictions, as Pip learns. Even though Jaggers deals with victims and victimizers daily, he is less informed than Pip is as a victim himself. Mrs. Joe Gargery prides herself on having brought up Pip "by hand," meaning with no help but also with the idea that sparing the rod spoils the child. Yet Pip has not been spared numerous encounters with "The Tickler," his sister's cane. But if one who lives by the cane dies by it, so does Mrs. Joe suffer a violent beating before her death. Similarly, other victimizers become victims before their final chance to repent. Magwitch, once a thug on the streets of London, is stalked by his former accomplice. While his childhood in the underworld taught him to eat or be eaten, Magwitch risks all to return to England so that he can see for himself Pip's success and to settle his score with the villainous Compeyson. Also,Molly is "tamed" by Jaggers. A gypsy by birth, a criminal by necessity,and now bound to his household, she neither roams nor breaks the law anymore. But she is a powerless victim who never learns the fate of her daughter except that the child has been adopted into a wealthy household where she will receive the food and shelter Molly cannot provide. While Pip worries that Drummle will harm Estella, it is she who must endure a loveless marriage to outlive her cruel husband. A victim of Miss Havisham's icy character instead of enjoying the love of a mother, Estella is first the abused and then the abuser of both Pip and Miss Havisham. She then becomes the abused wife of the rotten Drummle. Yet, finally, at least in the original ending, Estella is a potentially better mother to her daughter than either her own mother or Miss Havisham ever were to her. Even in the revised ending, she breaks the abuse cycle by reconciling with Pip as his equal. And a lesser character, Trabb's boy, insults Pip and his first good suit of clothes.It is the only way that this poor fellow has of getting back at someone who has had better luck than he has had, for Trabb's boy was humiliated when his employer ordered him to be polite to the new young master Pip.In this way, Trabb's boy is both the victim of class distinction in his society and a victimizer of the upper class in the only way he can be.Through his unobserved and therefore unpunishable rudeness to Pip, he defends himself and strikes a blow at a social class that he has no hope of ever joining. Pip himself must realize that he has victimized people by treating them as lesser creatures. He realizes that he broke Joe's heart when he left the forge and again when he stayed out of contact for eleven years. He hurts Biddy by telling her that he could never love her, even though he returns intending to ask her to marry him after he has lost all of his money. Finding her already married to Joe is Pip's final lesson that power is not related to happiness and that one can only be a victim by permitting it. Trabb's boy is not Pip's only example. Jaggers is also feared by those who are not on his side. Yet Pip doubts that Jaggers has much to enjoy when he goes home at the end of the day. For all of these characters, the pleasure of power as victimizer is short-lived and/or unsatisfying.Guilt and InnocenceWith the law as a backdrop for much of the action, Pip finds that guilt and innocence are much more complex than he first thought. Having helped a convict to escape weighs heavily on his young mind, and he is sure that greater powers will catch up to punish him in time. When they do, they are much different than Pip first supposed, for he must first deal with his own conscience outside of the English courts. Underlying all of the characters' actions and outcomes is this theme: the guilty are punished by a power higher than any king's. Everyone who acts unjustly in the novel is made to either suffer and repent or to die without forgiveness. Likewise, those few who have nothing to regret are begged for mercy. While Pip is owed an apology by Mrs. Joe, her cruelty to him is avenged by her pitiful and helpless last days. The same could be said of Miss Havisham, who dies powerless, alone, and begging Pip's forgiveness. And while Pip owes Joe his life and feels great guilt for the times he wished not to know Joe, he has often abused their friendship. Pip pays for his carelessness by suffering and nearly dying, and by falling from great wealth back into poverty. His early innocence is the innocence to which he must return for forgiveness, a prodigal son who remembers the simple truth. Estella is too late to reconcile with Miss Havisham, but she finally treats Pip as an equal in both endings to the novel. Estella has also learned the truth about power. While the law is not kind to Magwitch, he accepts it. The fairness of that is left to the reader to decide since Magwitch has had few chances to be anything in life but a convict. That he is Pip's own convict is his redeeming quality, and in turn Magwitch has saved Pip's humility by revealing that a criminal, not a lady, is providing the money to fulfill Pip's grand expectations of joining the upper class.Magwitch has earned that money by the sweat of his brow, working as a common sheep rancher in Australia and not by any criminal activity. He could have easily spent the money on himself instead of Pip. These truths are Pip's salvation from a worthless, lazy, and arrogant life like Drummle. Less obvious are those who have never learned what Pip has found. Uncle Pumblechook and Miss Havisham's relatives will continue to curse others' luck and their own lack of fortune. Guilty of not listening to his heart, Jaggers will live out his days by guarding his words and emotions. While hopelessly self-involved characters such as Drummle and Compeyson are condemned to die without acknowledging their own guilt, others such as Magwitch, Molly, and Estella will be forgiven for misdeeds that are either justifiable or beyond their ability to avoid. Told through Pip's voice, the story shows that the power of forgiveness is great, for it is by mercy to others that one is forgiven. The law of the land that Pip once feared has little to do with real justice, for only by admitting his own guilt can he find happiness. As Pip concludes about himself by remembering Herbert Pocket, Jr., "I was one day enlightened by the reflection, that perhaps the inaptitude had never been in him at all, but had been in me." Or as Estella says to Pip upon meeting him again, "I am greatly changed. I wonder you know me."
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    Great Expectations:Characters

    Post by Lily on Tue Apr 28, 2009 11:25 pm

    Characters
    Arthur
    Arthur, Miss Havisham's suitor who once jilted her, has fallen in with the villainous Compeyson and his schemes. However, unlike Compeyson, Arthur has a conscience; he dreams of Miss Havisham dressed in white at his bedside and dies of fright. He and Compeyson had once schemed to get Miss Havisham's fortune, but at the last moment, with the wedding cake on the table and Miss Havisham dressed in her bridal finery, Arthur jilted her, presumably on an attempt at her fortune that he could not carry through.
    Biddy

    The gentle, loving, soft-spoken, wise, and efficient Biddy is Pip's tutor before Mrs. Joe is injured and Biddy moves into the Gargery home to take care of the house. After Mrs. Joe dies, she and Joe Gargery marry. Pip, who at one point tells Biddy that he might be interested in marrying her if it weren't for her lowly social status, later comes to realize that Biddy's true worth as a person far outshines any artificial class distinctions.

    Compeyson

    Compeyson is the scoundrel who arranges Miss Havisham's affair with Arthur. He also testifies in court against Magwitch in an earlier scheme that failed, after which Magwitch is banished from England and exiled to Australia. A coward, he breaks the old rule of "honor among thieves." Compeyson is the second escaped convict that is out on the marsh the night that Pip first meets Magwitch, and he eventually dies fighting with Magwitch during their second capture.

    Bentley Drummle

    Pip's fellow member of the Finches of the Grove in London, Bentley Drummle is no gentleman but a rude and lazy man who teases Pip about Estella's apparent preference for Drummle. Jaggers recognizes a ruthless streak in Drummle and refers to him as the Spider (presumably because he catches all the flies, i.e. anything he wants). A parallel character to Arthur, Drummle becomes engaged to and then marries Estella, whom he barely knows but whose fortune he stands to gain.However, he does not survive her.

    Estella

    Adopted by Miss Havisham at the age of "two or three," Estella is taught from then on to reject all who love her. This is Miss Havisham's vengeance in reaction to her romantic disappointment by Arthur. About the same age as Pip, Estella acts much older than he does and snubs or insults him more often than merely ignoring his attempts at friendship or love. In this, she is quite honest with Pip, for she has been raised to be cruel, to tolerate or to brush off love, and to reject it later in order to watch the man suffer. Miss Havisham's success in raising a cold-hearted beauty is too much for her, however, for Estella can feel no love for the old woman either. Thus, Estella cannot help but to refuse to give Pip any hope of marriage whenever he confesses his love.Instead, she tells him that she will ruin the man she does marry — and why not, when she cares for no one? When she becomes engaged to Bentley Drummle, Pip cannot talk her out of marrying such a brutal man. In the novel's revised ending, when Estella meets Pip years later she has had a daughter (also named Estella) by Drunmmle, who has died. Estella has survived, but she has been "bent and broken" by the doomed marriage.She has never found out who her biological parents were because Miss Havisham has led her to assume that they were dead. More tragically,Estella has never learned to care about anyone's happiness, not even her own.

    Joe Gargery

    Joe is Pip's uncle and surrogate father, but also a fellow-sufferer from his wife's nasty temper and violent behavior. He is a rough,strong working man who generally keeps his emotions to himself.According to Joe, whenever he had tried to protect young Pip from his sister's abuse, she not only hit Joe too but hurt Pip the "heavier for it." Joe gladly takes Pip on as his apprentice at the forge and misses him terribly when Pip leaves for London; however, he will not stand in the way of Pip's good fortune. After Mrs. Joe is attacked, he nurses her with the help of Biddy, whom he marries after Mrs. Joe dies. He also gently and lovingly nurses Pip back to health in London. An uneducated man, he learns enough about writing from Biddy to leave Pip a letter to say goodbye, misspelling his own name "Jo" as Pip had done as a child. Of all of the characters in the novel, Joe is one who does not change, remaining tough yet childlike in love. If he has a weakness, it is a tendency to look on the bright side when there isn't one, which seemed a bit foolish to Pip as a teenager. Yet in spite of Joe's hard life, he remains "good-natured," "easy-going," and unfailingly devoted to Pip and Biddy.

    Mrs. Joe Gargery

    A large, menacing woman, Mrs. Joe prides herself on raising Pip "by hand," which is a sorry pun on the way she is hitting the child and her husband whenever she is not verbally attacking them. Her favorite instrument, "The Tickler," is a stick that is "worn smooth" from caning Pip, regardless of his behavior. The bodice of her apron is stuck through with pins and needles, a true metaphor for her character. Only one man stands up to her, the evil Orlick, and she never completely recovers from his savage attack. She spends her last days in the tender care of Joe and Biddy, no longer physically or verbally vicious but in a state of childlike happiness.
    Handel Miss Havisham
    Always dressed in the wedding gown in which she had once planned to be married, Miss Havisham is colorless, from her hair to her faded white shoes, of which she wears only one. She wants Pip to play with Estella to act out her love-turned-hatred for the man who jilted her on their wedding day. She has left the house as it was then, even the items on her dressing table. The great room across from her chamber is likewise untouched; the cake, now eerily covered with spiders and dusty cobwebs, is in the middle of the long dining table. It is her wish that this table be cleared only when she is dead so that she may be laid on it for her wake. By arranging for repeated contact between the children, Miss Havisham intends that Pip will fall in love with the frosty Estella, and she constantly reminds Pip to "love her, love her,love her!" She rewards Pip's visits with coins and does not contradict him when Pip is sure that she is his anonymous benefactor. When Pip continues to visit them from London, Miss Havisham is still anxious for him to admire Estella. However, when Estella makes plans to marry Bentley Drummle, Miss Havisham finds that she has done too well in teaching Estella to be a cold, cruel lover. Estella plans to leave her and will not, and probably cannot, express any love for Miss Havisham.When the old lady's clothing accidentally catches on fire, she is saved by Pip who rolls her in the tablecloth from the great room. Her doctor orders her bed to be brought in and arranged on the table, fulfilling her wish to be laid in state where her wedding feast had once been.Before she dies, she honors Pip's request for money for his friend,Herbert Pocket, amazed that Pip wants nothing for himself. She also suffers from nightmares of dying without forgiveness, as well as from her burns. Even so, she dies with Pip's kiss of forgiveness on her wrinkled forehead.

    Mr. Jaggers

    All of the Londoners on the wrong side of the law know Mr. Jaggers is the lawyer with the best chance of keeping them out of Newgate Prison. Jaggers is never wrong. His reputation is so great that his clients know that Jaggers won't take a case he can't win and will tell them so. They also know that they will be refused if they cannot pay his fee. His reputation for courtroom drama is equally well-known, for he has moved many a judge and jury to tears. Outside of court, his speech is guarded so that he cannot be misinterpreted. It seems barely human that he never lets down that guard. Since he is Miss Havisham's lawyer and he is also bound by Pip's mysterious benefactor's desire to remain unknown, Jaggers bolsters Pip's belief that Miss Havisham is his benefactor. However, Jaggers has many clients, all with secrets to be kept. A cold calculator of his own financial gain, Jaggers is the sort of person one can respect but can never call "friend." Even so, he invites Pip to dinner occasionally and once tells Pip to bring his classmates. While Jaggers might seem to favor Pip this way at times, he is more appreciative of Pip's schoolmate, Bentley Drummle, whom Jaggers nicknames "The Spider." He sees in Drummle the shrewd and ruthless qualities that he believes are necessary for getting ahead in the world.

    Mrs. Joe
    Abel Magwitch
    In trouble from the day he was born, Abel Magwitch is an orphan like Pip but without Joe or any loving family member to befriend him. All he can recall of his early days is his name. In and out of trouble with the law all his life, he is banished to Australia, where he tends sheep and saves his money to one day make "an English gentleman" out of the little boy named Pip who once was kind to him while he was running from the police on the marshes. When he reenters Pip's life in London,Magwitch holds the key to many mysteries, but if he is recaptured he will not be sent back to Australia but sentenced to death. He calls himself "Provis" to avoid recognition and spends many happy hours with Pip, in spite of Pip's discomfort at learning that his benefactor has not been Miss Havisham but a criminal. However, Pip learns a great deal more from Magwitch than his identity, for Magwitch is the link between more characters in the novel than anyone but Pip himself. In spite of their caution, Magwitch is recaptured, injured, and sentenced to death.

    Orlick

    One of the characters in the novel with no apparent redeeming qualities, Orlick is a big, unhappy clod who works at Joe's forge until he insults Mrs. Joe and is fired. Orlick also bears a grudge against Pip for having Joe's favor and a benefactor. When Orlick first threatens Mrs. Joe, it is the one time that Joe stands up and tolerates no nonsense from Orlick. Years later, however, Orlick lures Pip to the limekiln out on the marshes and ties Pip up with the intention of killing him. Meanwhile, Orlick tells Pip of the scene of his attack on Mrs. Joe's skull with a convict's (Magwitch's) leg irons that he had found on the marsh. Since it is Pip who was responsible for getting a file to Magwitch to remove his shackles, Orlick's deed may be only the delayed result of Pip's childhood "crime" of having once helped a convict. However, right wins out when help arrives and Orlick is arrested before Pip is harmed.

    Philip Pirrip
    Pip
    Pip is someone who is shaped by his changing circumstances. He is an orphan who never knew his dead parents or brothers. He is raised by his sister and Joe Gargery at Joe's forge on the marshes near a country village at some distance from London. For a child who perpetually fears punishment, Pip learns to lie quite convincingly. A self-proclaimed "sensitive" boy, he is frequently beaten or starved and verbally abused by his sister, although he keeps only one secret from his gentle uncle,Joe Gargery. Threatened by an escaped convict Pip meets in the church cemetery, he steals food and a file, a "crime" he is certain will be his doom. Pip is equally intimidated by the hideous Miss Havisham and the lovely Estella. Even though Estella is his own age, Pip feels dominated by the girl and obeys Miss Havisham's order to "love her!"When Pip learns that he has an anonymous benefactor who will provide for his education in London, he eagerly leaves his apprenticeship with Joe behind, certain that his patron is Miss Havisham who is preparing him to become a gentleman worthy of marrying Estella. His hunch is supported by his long-standing belief that he is better than he has been treated and that he deserves more in Me than becoming a blacksmith like Joe. Furthermore, the lawyer who pays Pip's alowance is also Miss Havisham's lawyer. However, in London, Pip's tutor, Mr. Herbert Pocket Sr., turns out to be ineffectual, and Pip finds himself without adequate training for any profession to fit his new social class. He further discovers that all of his old "expectations" have been wrong-headed. Even so, learning this seems to be his best education.For Pip, who spends much of his life either daydreaming or defending himself, such a change of heart seems heroic enough to set things right again. However, except for risking his own life to save Miss Havisham,Pip is less like a hero than like someone who expects to win the lottery any day now but has little idea what he will do with the money except to spend it. In the end, he redeems himself by realizing who his true friends are when all of his "expectations" and money are gone. He is reunited with Joe and Biddy, and his kindness to Herbert Pocket,Jr., is repaid.
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    Charles Dichens :Great Expectations

    Post by Lily on Mon Apr 27, 2009 11:24 pm

    Plot Summary
    The First Stage of Pip's Expectations Charles Dickens' Great Expectations opens as seven-year-old Philip Pirrip, known as "Pip," visits the graves of his parents down in the marshes near his home on Christmas Eve. Here he encounters a threatening escaped convict, who frightens Pip and makes him promise to steal food and a file for him. Pip steals some food from his brother-in-law, the blacksmith Joe Gargery, and his cruel sister "Mrs. Joe," with whom he lives, and takes it to the convict the next day. The convict is soon caught and returned to the "Hulks," the prison ships from which he had escaped.
    Pip is invited to visit the wealthy Miss Havisham, and to play with her adopted daughter, Estella. Miss Havisham lives in the gloomy Satis House, and Pip discovers her to be an extremely eccentric woman. Having been abandoned on her wedding day many years earlier, Miss Havisham has never changed out of her wedding dress since that time, and nothing in the house, including the rotting wedding cake covered with spider webs,has been touched since she discovered that her fiance had left her and had cheated her out of a great deal of money. Miss Havisham has raised Estella to be a cold and heartless woman who will avenge her adopted mother by breaking the hearts of men.Pip continues to visit Satis House to play with Estella, and he begins to fall in love with her, despite the fact that she is rude and condescending to him.
    Because of Miss Havisham's interest in him, Pip's family and friends speculate on his future prospects, and Pip attempts to improve those prospects by asking his friend, the orphaned Biddy, to tutor him.Eventually, Miss Havisham gives Pip some money, tells him his services are no longer needed, and that it is time for him to be apprenticed to his brother-in-law, Joe. Pip is disappointed.
    One day Pip learns that someone has broken into his home and that his sister,Mrs. Joe,has been injured with a great blow to the back of the head. Biddy moves in to help take care of her and the household and continues to tutor Pip, with whom she is falling in love. Biddy believes that it was Orlick, a contemptuous employee of Joe's, who injured Mrs. Joe. Biddy also fears that Orlick is falling in love with her. Pip continues to work for Joe, visiting Miss Havisham every year on his birthday, and constantly regretting his desire for a more comfortable lifestyle and his infatuation with Estella.
    Some time later a stranger visits Pip and informs him that an anonymous benefactor would like to transform him into a gentleman. The stranger, a lawyer named Jaggers,will administer Pip's new income and suggests that Pip move to London and take a man named Matthew Pocket as his tutor, who happens to be a relative of Miss Havisham. Pip assumes that Miss Havisham is his mysterious benefactor. Pip buys himself some new clothes and bidding his family farewell, slips out of town on his own, embarrassed to be seen in his new outfit with Joe.
    The Second Stage of Pip's Expectations

    In London, Pip lodges with Pocket's son Herbert. Pip also becomes friends with John Wemmick, Jaggers' clerk, and learns that Jaggers is a famous lawyer who is noted for his work in defending prisoners and thieves who face execution. Wemmick takes Pip home to dinner one night, and Pip is intrigued by his house, which resembles a tiny castle, complete with drawbridge and moat, where Wemmick lives with his elderly and stone-deaf father, whom he calls "the Aged P." Pip is also invited to dine at Jaggers' house, where he meets Jaggers' sullen housekeeper,Molly.Joe comes to London to bring a message to Pip, who is embarrassed to have Joe visit him. The message is from Miss Havisham,who invites Pip to come to see Estella, who is visiting her mother.Going to Satis House at once, Pip is surprised to find that Orlick is now Miss Havisham's watchman, and he tells Jaggers that the man should be dismissed. Not long after this, Pip learns that his sister has died,and he returns home for her funeral. While he is there, he promises Biddy that he will visit Joe often in the future, but Biddy expresses her doubt that he actually will do so:
    'I am not going to leave poor Joe alone."Biddy said never a single word."Biddy, don't you hear me?""Yes, Mr. Pip.""Not to mention your calling me Mr. Pip — which appears to me to be in bad taste, Biddy — what do you mean?""What do I mean?" asked Biddy, timidly."Biddy," said I, in a virtuously self-asserting manner, 'I must request to know what you mean by this?""By this?" said Biddy."Now don't echo," I retorted. "You used not to echo, Biddy.""Used not!" said Biddy. "O Mr. Pip! Used!" "Biddy," said I, "I made a remark respecting my coming down here often, to see Joe, which you received with a marked silence. Have the goodness, Biddy, to tell me why.""Are you quite sure, then, that you WILL come to see him often?" asked Biddy, stopping in the narrow garden walk, and looking at me under the stars with a clear and honest eye."Oh dear me!" said I, as if I found myself compelled to give up Biddy in despair. "This really is a very bad side of human nature! Don't say any more, if you please,Biddy. This shocks me very much."
    The Third Stage of Pip's Expectations
    One day Pip is visited by a stranger, and soon recognizes him to be the convict to whom he had brought food years ago. The convict, Abel Magwitch, has made a fortune as a sheep farmer in New South Wales,Australia, and he has prided himself on having used his money to make a gentleman out of the little boy who had helped him long ago. Pip is shocked and embarrassed to learn that it is the convict who has given him his "great expectations" and not Miss Havisham.
    Magwitch tells him of his history, and how he became involved with another more gentlemanly criminal who got him into trouble, and yet was punished less severely when they were both caught. Pip and Herbert deduce that this criminal is Compeyson, the man who schemed with his partner,Arthur, to swindle Miss Havisham of her money. Arthur was supposed to marry Miss Havisham to get her money, but his conscience caused him to abandon her at the alter when he couldn't go through with the plan.Because Magwitch faces certain death if he is discovered in England,Pip and Herbert concoct a plan for helping him escape unnoticed.
    Planning to leave the country with Magwitch, Pip pays Miss Havisham a call. The old lady admits that she allowed Pip to believe that she was his benefactress, and Pip asks her to help him with a plan he has to set Herbert up in business anonymously. Pip is shocked to learn that Estella plans to marry his doltish acquaintance Bentley Drummle. Dining one night with Jaggers, Pip learns more about the housekeeper Molly's history. Having been accused of killing another woman involved with her husband and having threatened to murder her own daughter, Molly was successfully defended by Jaggers. Recognizing her face and hands, Pip realizes with astonishment that Molly is the mother of Estella.
    Pip is summoned to Miss Havisham's again, where the old lady begs Pip to forgive her. After leaving her, Pip is disturbed and decides to return to the house to look in on her. He finds the poor old woman ablaze,having sat too close to the fire, and he is burned while trying to put out the flames. Later Pip learns of Miss Havisham's death, and that she has left money to Herbert, as he had requested. Returning to London, he learns the story of Magwitch's wife, and deduces that Magwitch was married to Molly, and therefore is Estella's father.
    Summoned back to the marshes near his old home by a mysterious note, Pip narrowly escapes death when he is attacked by a vengeful Orlick and rescued just in time by some local villagers. He returns to London where he and Herbert carry out their plan to sneak Magwitch onto a steamer on the Thames. Their plans fail, however. They are attacked by another boat, and Magwitch is severely wounded. As the kind old Magwitch is dying, Pip tells him of his daughter Estella.
    After being nursed out of a serious illness by the devoted Joe, Pip joins the business partnership he has established for Herbert in the East. After eleven years, he returns to England and visits Joe and Biddy, who have married and have a family. He also meets Estella, who has left her husband, on the property of the now demolished Satis House. This time,Pip says that "I saw no shadow of another parting from her."
    In Dickens' original version, Pip and Estella part with the understanding that they will probably never see each other again, but in the revised version, Dickens' makes the ending more optimistic by implying that they will, indeed, have a future together someday.
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    The sympathetic reading

    Post by Lily on Sun Apr 26, 2009 11:45 pm

    The sympathetic reading

    Shylock and Portia (1835) by Thomas Sully
    Many modern readers and theatregoers have read the play as a plea for tolerance as Shylock is a sympathetic character. Shylock's 'trial'at the end of the play is a mockery of justice, with Portia acting as a judge when she has no real right to do so. Thus, Shakespeare is not calling into question Shylock's intentions, but the fact that the very people who berated Shylock for being dishonest have had to resort to trickery in order to win. Shakespeare puts one of his most eloquent speeches into the mouth of this "villain":
    Hath not a Jew eyes? Hath not a Jew hands, organs, dimensions,senses, affections, passions; fed with the same food, hurt with the same weapons, subject to the same diseases, heal'd by the same means,warm'd and cool'd by the same winter and summer as a Christian is? If you prick us, do we not bleed? If you tickle us, do we not laugh? If you poison us, do we not die? And if you wrong us, shall we not revenge? If we are like you in the rest, we will resemble you in that.If a Jew wrong a Christian, what is his humility? Revenge. If a Christian wrong a Jew, what should his sufferance be by Christian example? Why, revenge. The villainy you teach me, I will execute, and it shall go hard but I will better the instruction.

    —Act III, scene I
    Influence on anti-semitism
    Regardless of what Shakespeare's own intentions may have been, the play has been made use of by anti-Semites throughout the play's history. One must note that the end of the title in the 1619 edition"With the Extreme Cruelty of Shylock the Jew…" must aptly describe how Shylock was viewed by the English public. The Nazis used the usurious Shylock for their propaganda. Shortly after Kristallnacht in 1938, "The Merchant of Venice" was broadcast for propagandistic ends over the German airwaves. Productions of the play followed in LübeckBerlin (1940), and elsewhere within the Nazi Territory.
    The depiction of Jews in English literature throughout the centuries bears the close imprint of Shylock. With slight variations much of English literature up until the 20th century depicts the Jew as "a monied, cruel, lecherous, avaricious outsider tolerated only because of his golden hoard".
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    The Merchant of Venice :Themes

    Post by Lily on Sun Apr 26, 2009 11:28 pm

    Themes

    Shylock and Jessica by Maurycy Gottlieb
    Shylock and the anti-Semitism debate
    The play is frequently staged today, but is potentially troubling to modern audiences due to its central themes, which can easily appear anti-Semitic. Critics today still continue to argue over the play's stance on anti-Semitism.
    The anti-Semitic reading
    English society in the Elizabethan era has been described as anti-Semitic. English Jews had been expelled in the Middle Ages and were not permitted to return until the rule of Oliver Cromwell.
    Jews were often presented on the Elizabethan stage in hideous caricature, with hooked noses and bright red wigs, and were usually depicted as avaricious usurers; an example is Christopher Marlowe's play The Jew of Malta,which features a comically wicked Jewish villain called Barabas. They were usually characterized as evil, deceptive, and greedy.
    During the 1600s in Venice and in some other places, Jews were required to wear a red hat at all times in public to make sure that they were easily identified. If they did not comply with this rule they could face the death penalty. Jews also had to live in a ghetto protected by Christians, supposedly for their own safety. The Jews were expected to pay their guards.
    Readers may see Shakespeare's play as a continuation of this anti-Semitic tradition. The title page of the Quarto indicates that the play was sometimes known as The Jew of Venice in its day, which suggests that it was seen as similar to Marlowe's The Jew of Malta.
    One interpretation of the play's structure is that Shakespeare meant to contrast the mercy of the main Christian characters with the vengefulness of a Jew, who lacks the religious grace to comprehend mercy. Similarly, it is possible that Shakespeare meant Shylock's forced conversion to Christianity to be a "happy ending"for the character, as it 'redeems' Shylock both from his unbelief and his specific sin of wanting to kill Antonio. This reading of the play would certainly fit with the anti-Semitic trends present in Elizabethan England.
    Hyam Maccoby argues that the play is based on medieval morality plays in which the Virgin Mary (here represented by Portia) argues for the forgiveness of human souls, as against the implacable accusations of the Devil (Shylock). On this reading, the Merchant is notably more anti-Semitic than The Jew of Malta,in which there are no good Christian characters and the Jewish villain seems to be regarded by the author with a certain covert sympathy.
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    The Merchant of Venice by William Shakespeare 2

    Post by Lily on Sun Apr 26, 2009 11:20 pm

    Synopsis

    Portia by Henry Woods
    Bassanio, a young Venetian, would like to travel to Belmont to woo the beautiful and wealthy heiress Portia. He approaches his friend Antonio, a merchant, for three thousand ducats needed to subsidize his traveling expenditures as a suitor for three months. As all of Antonio's ships and merchandise are busy at sea, he promises to cover a bond, so Bassanio turns to the moneylender/usurer Shylock and names Antonio as the loan’s guarantor.
    Shylock, who hates Antonio because he had insulted and spat on him for being a Jew a week previously, proposes a condition: if Antonio is unable to repay the loan at the specified date, Shylock will be free to take a pound of Antonio's flesh. Although Bassanio does not want Antonio to accept such a risky condition, Antonio, surprised by what he sees as the moneylender's generosity (no "usance" — interest — is asked for),accepts and signs the contract. With money at hand, Bassanio leaves for Belmont with another friend Gratiano.
    In Belmont, Portia is awash with suitors. Her father has left a will stipulating each of her suitors must choose correctly from one of three caskets – one each of gold, silver, and lead – before he could win Portia's hand. In order to be granted an opportunity to marry Portia, each suitor must agree in advance to live out his life as a bachelor if he loses the contest. The suitor who correctly looks past the outward appearance of the caskets will find Portia's portrait inside and win her hand.After two suitors choose incorrectly (the Princes of Morocco and Aragon)Bassanio chooses the leaden casket. He gets it right. The other two contain mocking verses, including the famous phrase all that glitters [glistens] is not gold.
    At Venice, all ships bearing Antonio's goods are reported lost at sea. This leaves him unable to satisfy the bond. Shylock is even more determined to exact revenge from Christians after his daughter Jessica flees his home to convert to Christianity and elope with Lorenzo,taking a substantial amount of Shylock's wealth with her. Shylock has Antonio arrested and brought before court.
    At Belmont, Portia and Bassanio have just been married, along with his friend Gratiano and Portia's handmaid Nerissa. He receives a letter telling him that Antonio has defaulted on his loan from Shylock.Shocked, Bassanio and Gratiano leave for Venice immediately, with money from Portia, to save Antonio's life. Unknown to Bassanio and Gratiano, Portia and Nerissa leave Belmont to seek the
    counsel of Portia's cousin, Bellario, a lawyer, at Padua.
    The climax of the play comes in the court of the Duke of Venice.Shylock refuses Bassanio's offer, despite Bassanio increasing the repayment to 6000 ducats (twice the specified loan). He demands the pound of flesh from Antonio. The Duke, wishing to save Antonio but unwilling to set a dangerous legal precedent of nullifying a contract,refers the case to Balthasar, a young male "doctor of the law" who is actually Portia in disguise, with "his" lawyer's clerk, who is Nerissa in disguise. Portia asks Shylock to show mercy in a famous speech (The quality of mercy is not strained—IV,i,185), but Shylock refuses. Thus the court allows Shylock to extract the pound of flesh.
    Shylock tells Antonio to prepare, and at that very moment Portia points out a flaw in the contract (see quibble). The bond only allows Shylock to remove the flesh, not blood, of Antonio. If Shylock were to shed any drop of Antonio's blood in doing so, his "lands and goods" will be forfeited under Venetian laws.Defeated, Shylock concedes to accepting monetary payment for the defaulted bond, but is denied. Portia pronounces none should be given,and for his attempt to take the life of a citizen, Shylock's property will be forfeited, half to the government and half to Antonio, and his life will be at the mercy of the Duke. The Duke pardons his life before Shylock can beg for it, and Antonio asks for his share "in use" (that is, reserving the principal amount while taking only the income) until Shylock's death, when the principal will be given to Lorenzo and Jessica. At Antonio's request,the Duke grants remission of the state's half of forfeiture, but in return, Shylock is forced to convert to Christianity and to make a will (or "deed of gift") bequeathing his entire estate to Lorenzo and Jessica (IV,i).
    Bassanio does not recognize his disguised wife, but offers to give a present to the supposed lawyer. First she declines, but after he insists, Portia requests his ring and his gloves. He gives the gloves away without a second thought, but gives the ring only after much persuasion from Antonio, as earlier in the play he promised his wife never to lose, sell or give it away. Nerissa, as the lawyer's clerk,also succeeds in retrieving her ring from Gratiano.
    At Belmont, Portia and Nerissa taunt their husbands before revealing they were really the lawyer and his clerk in disguise.After all the other characters make amends, all ends happily (except for Shylock) as Antonio learns that three of his ships were not stranded and have returned safely after all.
    Performance
    Shylock on stage
    Jacob Adler and others report that the tradition of playing Shylock sympathetically began in the first half of the 19th century with Edmund Kean, and that previously the role had been played "by a comedian as a repulsive clown or, alternatively, as a monster of unrelieved evil." Kean's Shylock established his reputation as an actor.
    From Kean's time forward, all of the actors who have famously played the role, with the exception of Edwin Booth, who played Shylock as a simple villain, have chosen a sympathetic approach to the character; even Booth's father, Junius Brutus Booth, played the role sympathetically. Henry Irving's portrayal of an aristocratic, proud Shylock (first seen at the Lyceum in 1879, with Portia played by Ellen Terry) has been called "the summit of his career".[8] Jacob Adler was the most notable of the early 20th century: Adler played the role in Yiddish-language translation, first in Manhattan's Lower East Side, and later on Broadway, where, to great acclaim, he performed the role in Yiddish in an otherwise English-language production.
    Kean and Irving presented a Shylock justified in wanting his revenge;Adler's Shylock evolved over the years he played the role, first as a stock Shakespearean villain, then as a man whose better nature was overcome by a desire for revenge, and finally as a man who operated not from revenge but from pride. In a 1902 interview with Theater magazine, Adler pointed out that Shylock is a wealthy man, "rich enough to forgo the interest on three thousand ducats" and that Antonio is "far from the chivalrous gentleman he is made to appear. He has insulted the Jew and spat on him, yet he comes with hypocritical politeness to borrow money of him." Shylock's fatal flaw is to depend on the law, but "would he not walk out of that courtroom head erect,the very apotheosis of defiant hatred and scorn?"
    Some modern productions take further pains to show how Shylock's thirst for vengeance has some justification. For instance, in the 2004 film adaptation directed by Michael Radford and starring Al Pacino as Shylock, the film begins with text and a montage of how the Jewish community is cruelly abused by the bigoted Christian population of the city. One of the last shots of the film also brings attention to the fact that,as a convert, Shylock would have been cast out of the Jewish community in Venice, no longer allowed to live in the ghetto, and would still not be accepted by the Christians, as they would feel that Shylock was yet the Jew he once was.
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    The Merchant of Venice by William Shakespeare

    Post by Lily on Sun Apr 26, 2009 11:05 pm

    The Merchant of Venice is a play by William Shakespeare, believed to have been written between 1596 and 1598. Although classified as a comedy in the First Folio, and while it shares certain aspects with Shakespeare's other romantic comedies, the play is perhaps more remembered for its dramatic scenes, and is best known for the character of Shylock.
    The title character is the merchant Antonio, not the Jewish moneylender Shylock, who is the play's most prominent and more famous character.Though Shylock is a tormented character, he is also a tormentor, so whether he is to be viewed with disdain or sympathy is up to the audience (as influenced by the interpretation of the play's director and lead actors).
    Date and text


    Facsimile of the first page ofThe Merchant of Venice from the First Folio, published in 1623
    The date of composition for The Merchant of Venice, which draws strongly on Spanish literature,is believed to be between 1596 and 1598. The play was mentioned by Francis Meres in 1598, so it must have been familiar on the stage by that date, and the title page of the first edition in 1600 states that it had been performed "divers times" by that date. Salarino's reference to his ship the "Andrew" (I,i,27) is thought to be an allusion to the Spanish ship St. Andrew captured by the English at Cadiz in 1596. A date of 1596–97 is considered consistent with the play's style.
    The play was entered in the Register of the Stationers Company, the method at that time of obtaining copyright for a new play, by James Roberts on July 22, 1598 under the title The Merchant of Venice, otherwise called The Jew of Venice. On October 28, 1600 Roberts transferred his right to the play to the stationer Thomas Hayes; Hayes published the first quarto before the end of the year. It was printed again in a pirated edition in 1619, as part of William Jaggard's so-called False Folio. (Afterward, Thomas Hayes' son and heir Laurence Hayes asked for and was granted a confirmation of his right to the play, on July 8, 1619.)
    The 1600 edition is generally regarded as being accurate and reliable,and is the basis of the text published in the 1623 in the First Folio, which adds a number of stage directions, mainly musical cues.
    The earliest performance of which a record has survived was held at the court of King James in the spring of 1605, followed by a second performance a few days later, but there is no record of any further performances in the seventeenth century.In 1701, George Granville staged a successful adaptation, titled The Jew of Venice, with Thomas Betterton as Bassanio. This version (which featured a masque) was popular, and was acted for the next forty years. Granville cut the Gobbos in line with neoclassical decorum; he added a jail scene between Shylock and Antonio, and a more extended scene of toasting at a banquet scene. Thomas Doggett was Shylock, playing the role comically, perhaps even farcically. Rowe expressed doubts about this interpretation as early as 1709; however,Doggett's success in the role meant that later productions would feature the troupe clown as Shylock.In 1741 Charles Macklin returned to the original text in a very successful production at Drury Lane, paving the way for Edmund Kean seventy years later .
    Characters



    • The Duke of Venice
    • Prince of Morocco, Prince of Aragon (Portia's suitors)
    • Antonio – a merchant from Venice
    • Bassanio – Antonio's friend, in 'love' with Portia
    • Portia – a rich Heiress
    • Nerissa – her Waiting-maid
    • Gratiano, Solanio, Salarino – friends of Antonio and Bassanio
    • Lorenzo – friend of Antonio and Bassanio, in love with Jessica





    • Shylock – a rich Jew
    • Tubal – a Jew; Shylock's friend
    • Jessica – Daughter of Shylock,in love with Lorenzo
    • Lancelot Gobbo – a clown servant to Shylock
    • Old Gobbo – father to Lancelot
    • Balthazar, Stephano – Servants of Portia
    • Magnificoes of Venice, officers of the Court of Justice, Gaoler, servants to Portia, and other Attendants



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    Cask of the Amontillado by Edgar Allan Poe

    Post by Lily on Sun Apr 26, 2009 10:10 pm

    Summary of the story
    The story is narrated by Montresor, who carries a grudge against Fortunato for an offense.Montresor leads a drunken Fortunato through a series of chambers beneath his palazzo with the promise of a taste of Amontillado, a wine that Montresor has just purchased. When the two men reach the last underground chamber, Montresor chains Fortunato to the wall, builds a new wall to seal him in, and leaves him to die.
    Background on Cask of the Amontillado
    Original Audience

    “Death literature” was common in Poe's day, owing to the high mortality rate among the young and middle-class citizens. In some ways Poe participated in the "consolation" movement of this time, by which he attempted to comfort the bereaved.The Cask of Amontillado was first published in the November 1846 issue of Godey's Lady's Book, a monthly magazine from Philadelphia that published poems and stories by some of the best American writers of the nineteenth century, including Nathaniel Hawthorne, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, and Harriet Beecher Stowe. By the time Poe wrote this story, he was already nationally known as the author of the poem The Raven (1844) and of several short stories.
    In the nineteenth century, Poe influenced Ambrose Bierce and Robert Louis Stevenson,among others. Twentieth-century writers who have looked to Poe include science fiction writer H. P. Lovecraft and horror author Stephen King.Poe's short stories also influenced the music of Claude Debussy, who was "haunted" by the atmosphere of Poe's tales, and the art of Aubrey Beardsley, as well as other composers and artists in the United States, Great Britain, and in Europe. Poe was criticized in his own time for daring to examine a crime with no apparent motive, and a murderer with no apparent remorse. For 150 years, these themes have continued to challenge readers who are attracted and repulsed by Poe's creation.
    Edgar Allen Poe (1809-1849), American poet, a master of the horror tale, credited with practically inventing the detective story.
    Edgar Allan Poe was born on January 19, 1809 in Boston, Massachusetts, to parents who were itinerant actors. His father David Poe, Jr. died probably in 1810 and his mother Elizabeth Hopkins Poe in 1811. Edgar was taken into the home of a Richmond merchant John Allan and brought up partly in England (1815-20), where he attended Manor School at Stoke Newington. Never legally adopted, Poe took Allan's name for his middle name.
    Poe attended the University of Virginia (1826), but was expelled for not paying his gambling debts. This led to a quarrel with Allan, who later disowned him. In 1827 Poe joined the U.S. Army as a common soldier under an assumed name and age. In 1830 Poe entered West Point and was dishonorably discharged next year for intentional neglect of his duties.
    Little is known about his life in this time, but in 1833 he lived in Baltimore with his father's sister.
    After winning a prize of $50 for the short story "MS Found in a Bottle," he started a career as a staff member of various magazines, among others the Southern Literary Messenger in Richmond

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    Shakespeare Teacher Blog

    Post by Lily on Thu Apr 23, 2009 3:03 pm

    http://www.shakespeareteacher.com/blog/
    http://blog.shakespearegeek.com/2009/04/talk-like-shakespeare-day.html
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    John Milton's Paradise Lost: Free BOOK

    Post by Lily on Mon Apr 20, 2009 10:53 pm

    http://www.questia.com/read/4661527?title=The%20Complete%20Poems%20of%20John%20Milton%20%28%22Paradise%20Lost%22%20begins%20on%20p.%2089%29
    Paradise Lost


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    John Milton

    Post by Lily on Mon Apr 20, 2009 10:49 pm

    Milton, John - 1608–74, English poet, b. London, one of the greatest poets of the English language.
    Early Life and Works
    The son of a wealthy scrivener, Milton was educated at St. Paul's School and Christ's College, Cambridge. While Milton was at Cambridge he wrote poetry in both Latin and English, including the ode "On the Morning of Christ's Nativity" (1629). Although the exact dates are unknown,"L'Allegro" and "Il Penseroso" were probably written not long after this. His dislike of the increasing ritualism in the Church of England was the reason he later gave for not fulfilling his plans to become a minister. Resolved to be a poet, Milton retired to his father's estate at Horton after leaving Cambridge and devoted himself to his studies.There he wrote the masque Comus (1634) and "Lycidas" (1638), one of his greatest poems, an elegy on the death of his friend Edward King.
    Political and Moral Tracts
    In 1638 Milton went to Italy, where he traveled, studied, and met many notable figures, including Galileo. Returning to England in 1639, he supported the Presbyterians in their attempt to reform the Church of England. His pamphlets, which attacked the episcopal form of church government, include Of Reformation in England (1641) and The Reason of Church Government Urged against Prelaty (1642).
    In 1643 Milton married Mary Powell, a young woman half his age, who left him the same year. Disillusioned by the failure of his marriage, he started work on four controversial pamphlets (1643–45) upholding the morality of divorce for incompatibility. His Areopagitica (1644), one of the great arguments in favor of the freedom of the press, grew out of his dissatisfaction with the strict censorship of the press exercised by Parliament.
    Milton gradually broke away from the Presbyterians, and in 1649 he wrote The Tenure of Kings and Magistrates,which supported the Independents who had imprisoned King Charles in the Puritan Revolution. In it he declared that subjects may depose and put to death an unworthy king. This pamphlet secured Milton a position in Oliver Cromwell's government as Latin secretary for foreign affairs, and he continued to defend Cromwell and the Commonwealth government in his Eikonoklastes [the image breaker] (1649)—an answer to Eikon Basilike—and in the Latin pamphlets First Defense of the English People (1651), Second Defense of the English People (1654), and Defense of Himself (1655).
    Later Life
    In the midst of his heavy official business and pamphleteering, Milton,whose sight had been weak from childhood, became totally blind. From then on, he had to carry on his work through secretaries, one of whom was Andrew Marvell. Mary Powell returned to Milton in 1645 but died in 1652 after she had borne him three daughters. He married Catharine Woodcock in 1656, and she died two years later. She is the subject of one of his most famous sonnets, beginning, "Methought I saw my late espoused saint." In 1663 he married Elizabeth Minshull, who survived him. Milton supported the Commonwealth to the very end. After the Restoration (1660) he was forced into hiding for a time, and some of his books were burned. He was included in the general amnesty, however, and lived quietly thereafter.
    Paradise Lost and Paradise Regained
    For many years Milton had planned to write an epic poem, and he probably started his work on Paradise Lost before the Restoration. The blank-verse poem in ten books appeared in 1667; a second edition, in which Milton reorganized the original ten books into twelve, appeared in 1674. It was greatly admired by Milton's contemporaries and has since then been considered the greatest epic poem in the English language. In telling the story of Satan's rebellion against God and the story of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, Milton attempted to account for the evil in this world and, in his own words, to "justify the ways of God to man."
    Paradise Regained,a second blank-verse poem in four books, describes how Jesus, a greater individual than Adam, overcame the temptations of Satan. In both works,Milton's characterizations of Satan, Adam, Eve, and Jesus are penetrating and moving. Indeed, his portrayal of Satan is so compelling that many 19th-century critics maintained that he rather than Adam was the hero of Paradise Lost. In these two great works Milton's language is dignified and ornate, replete with biblical and classical allusions, allegorical representations, metaphors, puns, and rhetorical flourishes. Samson Agonistes, a poetic drama modeled on classical Greek tragedy but with biblical subject matter, appeared together with Paradise Regained in 1671.
    Other Works
    Milton's theology, although in the Protestant tradition, is extremely unorthodox and individual on many points; it is set forth in the Latin pamphlet De doctrina Christiana[on Christian doctrine]. Unpublished during Milton's lifetime, this work was discovered and published in 1825. Milton also wrote 18 sonnets in English and 5 in Italian, which generally follow the Petrarchan style and are accepted as among the greatest ever written.
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    Ballad in Literature

    Post by Lily on Mon Apr 20, 2009 10:41 pm

    Ballad- in literature, short, narrative poem usually relating a single,dramatic event. Two forms of the ballad are often distinguished—the folk ballad,dating from about the 12th cent., and the literary ballad,dating from the late 18th cent.
    The Folk Ballad
    The anonymous folk ballad (or popular ballad), was composed to be sung. It was passed along orally from singer to singer, from generation to generation, and from one region to another. During this progression a particular ballad would undergo many changes in both words and tune.The medieval or Elizabethan ballad that appears in print today is probably only one version of many variant forms.Primarily based on an older legend or romance, this type of ballad is usually a short, simple song that tells a dramatic story through dialogue and action, briefly alluding to what has gone before and devoting little attention to depth of character, setting, or moral commentary. It uses simple language, an economy of words, dramatic contrasts, epithets, set phrases, and frequently a stock refrain. The familiar stanza form is four lines, with four or three stresses alternating and with the second and fourth lines rhyming. For example:

    It was ín and abóut the Mártinmas tíme,

    When the gréen léaves were a fálling,

    That Sír John Gráeme, in the Wést Countrý,

    Fell in lóve with Bárbara Állan

    "Bonny Barbara Allan"
    It was in the 18th cent. that the term ballad was used in England in its present sense. Scholarly interest in the folk ballad, first aroused by Bishop Percyy's Reliques of Ancient English Poetry (1765), was significantly inspired by Sir Walter Scott's Minstrelsy of the Scottish Border (1802). Francis Child's collection, English and Scottish Popular Ballads (5 vol., 1882–98, marked the high point of 19th-century ballad scholarship.More than 300 English and Scottish folk ballads, dating from the 12th to the 16th cent., are extant. Although the subject matter varies considerably, five major classes of the ballad can be distinguished—the historical, such as "Otterburn" and "The Bonny Earl o' Moray"; the romantic, such as "Barbara Allan" and "The Douglas Tragedy"; the supernatural, such as "The Wife of Usher's Well"; the nautical, such as"Henry Martin"; and the deeds of folk heroes, such as the Robin Hood cycle.Ballads, however, cannot be confined to any one period or place; similar subject matter appears in the ballads of other peoples. Indigenous American ballads deal mainly with cowboys, folk heroes such as Casey Jones and Paul Bunyan, the mountain folk of Kentucky and Tennessee, the Southern black, and famous outlaws, such as Jesse James:

    Jésse had a wífe to móurn for his lífe,

    Three chíldren, théy were bráve;

    But the dírty little cóward that shót Mister Hóward

    Has láid Jesse Jámes in his gráve.


    "Ballad of Jesse James"
    During the mid-20th cent. in the United States there was a great resurgence of interest in folk music, particularly in ballads. Singers such as Joan Baez and Pete Seeger included ballads like "Bonny Barbara Allan" and "Mary Hamilton" in their concert repertoires; composer-performers such as Woody Guthrie and Bob Dylan wrote their own ballads.
    The Literary Ballad
    The literary ballad is a narrative poem created by a poet in imitation of the old anonymous folk ballad. Usually the literary ballad is more elaborate and complex; the poet may retain only some of the devices and conventions of the older verse narrative. Literary ballads were quite popular in England during the 19th cent. Examples of the form are found in Keats's "La Belle Dame sans Merci," Coleridge's "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner," and Oscar Wilde's "The Ballad of Reading Gaol." In music a ballad refers to a simple, often sentimental, song, not usually a folk song.
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    English Literature

    Post by Lily on Mon Apr 20, 2009 10:28 pm


    English Literature -
    literature written in English since c.1450 by the inhabitants of the British Isles; it was during the 15th cent. that the English language acquired much of its modern form. For the literature of previous linguistic periods, see the articles on Anglo-Saxon literature and Middle English literature (see also Anglo-Norman literature).For literature written by English speakers elsewhere, see American literature; Australian literature; Canadian literature, English; New Zealand literature; and South African literature.
    The Tudors and the Elizabethan Age
    The beginning of the Tudor dynasty coincided with the first dissemination of printed matter. William Caxton's press was established in 1476, only nine years before the beginning of Henry VII's reign. Caxton's achievement encouraged writing of all kinds and also influenced the standardization of the English language. The early Tudor period, particularly the reign of Henry VIII, was marked by a break with the Roman Catholic Church and a weakening of feudal ties,which brought about a vast increase in the power of the monarchy.Stronger political relationships with the Continent were also developed,increasing England's exposure to Renaissance culture. Humanism became the most important force in English literary and intellectual life,both in its narrow sense—the study and imitation of the Latin classics—and in its broad sense—the affirmation of the secular, in addition to the otherworldly, concerns of people. These forces produced during the reign (1558–1603) of Elizabeth I one of the most fruitful eras in literary history.The energy of England's writers matched that of its mariners and merchants. Accounts by men such as Richard Hakluyt, Samuel Purchas, and Sir Walter Raleigh were eagerly read. The activities and literature of the Elizabethans reflected a new nationalism, which expressed itself also in the works of chroniclers (John Stow, Raphael Holinshed, and others), historians, and translators and even in political and religious tracts. A myriad of new genres, themes, and ideas were incorporated into English literature. Italian poetic forms, especially the sonnet, became models for English poets.Sir Thomas Wyatt was the most successful sonneteer among early Tudor poets, and was, with Henry Howard, earl of Surrey, a seminal influence. Tottel's Miscellany (1557) was the first and most popular of many collections of experimental poetry by different, often anonymous, hands. A common goal of these poets was to make English as flexible a poetic instrument as Italian. Among the more prominent of this group were Thomas Churchyard, George Gascoigne, and Edward de Vere, earl of Oxford. An ambitious and influential work was A Mirror for Magistrates(1559), a historical verse narrative by several poets that updated the medieval view of history and the morals to be drawn from it.The poet who best synthesized the ideas and tendencies of the English Renaissance was EdmundSpenser. His unfinished epic poem The Faerie Queen (1596) is a treasure house of romance, allegory, adventure, Neoplatonic ideas, patriotism, and Protestant morality, all presented in a variety of literary styles. The ideal English Renaissance man was Sir Philip Sidney—scholar,poet, critic, courtier, diplomat, and soldier—who died in battle at the age of 32. His best poetry is contained in the sonnet sequence Astrophel and Stella (1591) and his Defence of Poesie is among the most important works of literary criticism in the tradition.Many others in a historical era when poetic talents were highly valued, were skilled poets. Important late Tudor sonneteers include Spenser and Shakespeare, Michael Drayton, Samuel Daniel, and Fulke Greville. More versatile even than Sidney was Sir Walter Raleigh—poet, historian,courtier, explorer, and soldier—who wrote strong, spare poetry.Early Tudor drama owed much to both medieval morality plays and classical models. Ralph Roister Doister (c.1545) by Nicholas Udall and Gammer Gurton's Needle(c.1552) are considered the first English comedies, combining elements of classical Roman comedy with native burlesque. During the late 16th and early 17th cent., drama flourished in England as never before or since. It came of age with the work of the University Wits, whose sophisticated plays set the course of Renaissance drama and paved the way for Shakespeare.
    The Wits included John Lyly, famed for the highly artificial and much imitated prose work Euphues (1578); Robert Greene, the first to write romantic comedy; the versatile Thomas Lodge and Thomas Nashe; Thomas Kyd, who popularized neo-Senecan tragedy; and Christopher Marlowe, the greatest dramatist of the group. Focusing on heroes whose very greatness leads to their downfall, Marlowe wrote in blank verse with a rhetorical brilliance and eloquence superbly equal to the demands of high drama. William Shakespeare, of course, fulfilled the promise of the Elizabethan age. His history plays, comedies, and tragedies set a standard never again equaled, and he is universally regarded as the greatest dramatist and one of the greatest poets of all time.
    The Jacobean Era, Cromwell, and the Restoration
    Elizabethan literature generally reflects the exuberant self-confidence of a nation expanding its powers, increasing its wealth, and thus keeping at bay its serious social and religious problems. Disillusion and pessimism followed, however, during the unstable reign of James I (1603–25). The 17th cent. was to be a time of great upheaval—revolution and regicide,restoration of the monarchy, and, finally, the victory of Parliament,landed Protestantism, and the moneyed interests.
    Jacobean literature begins with the drama, including some of Shakespeare's greatest, and darkest, plays. The dominant literary figure of James's reign was Ben Jonson, whose varied and dramatic works followed classical models and were enriched by his worldly, peculiarly English wit. His satiric dramas, notably the great Volpone (1606), all take a cynical view of human nature. Also cynical were the horrific revenge tragedies of John Ford, Thomas Middleton, Cyril Tourneur, and John Webster (the best poet of this grim genre). Novelty was in great demand, and the possibilities of plot and genre were exploited almost to exhaustion.Still, many excellent plays were written by men such as George Chapman, the masters of comedy Thomas Dekker and Philip Massinger, and the team of Francis Beaumont and John Fletcher. Drama continued to flourish until the closing of the theaters at the onset of the English Revolution in 1642.
    The foremost poets of the Jacobean era, Ben Jonson and John Donne, are regarded as the originators of two diverse poetic traditions—the Cavalier and the metaphysical (see Cavalier poets and metaphysical poets).Jonson and Donne shared not only a common fund of literary resources,but also a dryness of wit and precision of expression. Donne's poetry is distinctive for its passionate intellection, Jonson's for its classicism and urbane guidance of passion.
    Although George Herbert and Donne were the principal metaphysical poets, the meditative religious poets Henry Vaughan and Thomas Traherne were also influenced by Donne, as were Abraham Cowley and Richard Crashaw. The greatest of the Cavalier poets was the sensuously lyrical Robert Herrick. Such other Cavaliers as Thomas Carew, Sir John Suckling, and Richard Lovelace were lyricists in the elegant Jonsonian tradition, though their lyricism turned political during the English Revolution. Although ranked with the metaphysical poets, the highly individual Andrew Marvell partook of the traditions of both Donne and Jonson.Among the leading prose writers of the Jacobean period were the translators who produced the classic King James Version of the Bible (1611) and the divines Lancelot Andrewes, Jeremy Taylor, and John Donne. The work of Francis Bacon helped shape philosophical and scientific method. Robert Burton's Anatomy of Melancholy(1621) offers a varied, virtually encyclopedic view of the moral and intellectual preoccupations of the 17th cent. Like Burton, Sir Thomas Browne sought to reconcile the mysteries of religion with the newer mysteries of science. Izaak Walton, author of The Compleat Angler (1653), produced a number of graceful biographies of prominent writers. Thomas Hobbes wrote the most influential political treatise of the age, Leviathan (1651).
    The Jacobean era's most fiery and eloquent author of political tracts (many in defense of Cromwell's government, of which he was a member) was also one of the greatest of all English poets, John Milton. His Paradise Lost(1667) is a Christian epic of encompassing scope. In Milton the literary and philosophical heritage of the Renaissance merged with Protestant political and moral conviction.With the restoration of the English monarchy in the person of Charles II,literary tastes widened. The lifting of Puritan restrictions and the reassembling of the court led to a relaxation of restraints, both moral and stylistic, embodied in such figures as the Earl of Rochester. Restoration comedy reveals both the influence of French farce (the English court spent its exile in France) and of Jacobean comedy. It generously fed the public's appetite for broad satire, high style, and a licentiousness that justified the worst Puritan imaginings. Such dramatists as Sir George Etherege, William Wycherley, and William Congreve created superbly polished high comedy. Sparkling but not quite so brilliant were the plays of George Farquhar, Thomas Shadwell, and Sir John Vanbrugh.John Dryden began as a playwright but became the foremost poet and critic of his time. His greatest works are satirical narrative poems, notably Absalom and Achitophel (1681), in which prominent contemporary figures are unmistakably and devastatingly
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    Heart of Darkness: Critical Overview

    Post by Lily on Fri Apr 17, 2009 5:14 pm

    Critical Overview
    Heart of Darkness” is widely considered to be Conrad’s masterpiece. It was first published in Blackwood’s Magazine in a series of three installments, in February, March, and April of 1899. In 1902, it was published in the book, Youth: A Narrative, and Two Other Stories.
    Heart of Darkness” was understood by critics at the time of its initial publication as an indictment of Belgian colonial rule in the Free State of the Congo (now the Democratic Republic of the Congo). According to Robert F. Haugh, in Joseph Conrad,“The story was taken by some as an attack upon Belgian colonial methods in the Congo; as a moral tract; and as a study of race relationships.” Haugh goes on to say that,“Most contemporary reviewers read it as a criticism of Belgian colonialism, an issue that remained alive until Conrad’s death and got attention in his obituary notices.” Other reviewers interpreted the story in terms of Christian religious iconography. As Haugh explains,“Paul Wiley, in his Conrad’s Measure of Man ...finds the myth of the fall from innocence throughout Conrad, and ... makes of Kurtz the man driven from the Garden of Eden.”
    More recent critical debate on “Heart of Darkness” has focused on the issue of whether the story is actually a critique of racism, or if the story is based on a fundamentally racist perspective. In a lecture first given in 1975, entitled “An Image of Africa,” African novelist Chinua Achebe made the argument that, based on this story, “Joseph Conrad was a thoroughgoing racist.” Achebe argues that the story is structured on a common racist conception in Western thought, which perceives African people as uncivilized and white people as civilized, and that Conrad,rather than challenging racist conceptions, “chose the role of purveyor of comforting myths. ’Heart of Darkness’ projects the image of Africa as ’the other world,’ the antithesis of Europe and therefore of civilization, a place where man’s vaunted intelligence and refinement are finally mocked by triumphant bestiality.” Achebe goes on to explain that this story continues the racist conception that conceives“Africa as setting and backdrop which eliminates the African as human factor. Africa as a metaphysical battlefield devoid of all recognizable humanity. ...” Achebe goes on to criticize the body of Western criticism of Conrad’s story, which continues to overlook these racist assumptions.“That this simple truth is glossed over in criticisms of his work is due to the fact that white racism against Africa is such a normal way of thinking that its manifestations go completely unremarked.” Achebe posits that “the question is whether a novel which celebrates this dehumanization, which depersonalizes a portion of the human race, can be called a great work of art. My answer is:
    No, it cannot.” He concludes that Conrad’s “obvious racism has, however, not been addressed. And it is high time it was!”
    Francis B. Singh, in a 1978 essay entitled “The Colonialistic Bias of ’Heart of Darkness,’” on the other hand, states that “it is a truth universally acknowledged that ’Heart of Darkness’ is one of the most powerful indictments of colonialism ever written.” He qualifies this statement,however, by concluding that “ambivalent, in fact, is probably the most accurate way to sum up Conrad’s attitude toward colonialism.” Singh goes on to explain that “the compromises that Marlow makes, as when he fights off identification with the blacks or when he tells lies about Kurtz to prevent the civilized Western world from collapsing, stem from Conrad’s own inability to face unflinchingly the nature of colonialism.” C. P. Saravan, in a 1980 article entitled “Racism and the ’Heart of Darkness,’” makes the claim that Conrad was not necessarily in agreement with his fictional character of Marlow on his perceptions of Africa and Africans. Saravan claims that “it is not correct to say that Marlow has Conrad’s complete confidence,” and that the “ironic distance between Marlow and Conrad should not be overlooked.” He asserts that, through this story, “Conrad suggests that Europe’s claim to be civilized and therefore superior, needs earnest reexamination.”Saravan concludes that “Conrad was not entirely immune to the infection of the beliefs and attitudes of his age, but he was ahead of most in trying to break free.”
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    Re: British Literature

    Post by Lily on Fri Apr 17, 2009 5:01 pm

    Historical Context
    Apocalypse Now

    The 1978 film Apocalypse Now,directed by Francis Ford Coppola, is based on Conrad’s story “Heart of Darkness.” While Conrad’s story is set in the Congo in the 1890s, and is a commentary on imperialism in the form of Belgian colonization,Coppola’s film is set during the Vietnam War in the 1960s, and is a commentary on U.S. involvement in the Vietnam conflict. Coppola retained the central narrative trajectory, in which a Captain Willard (played by Martin Sheen), substituted for Conrad’s character Marlow, is sent on a mission to retrieve a renegade Colonel Kurtz (played by Marlon Brando), whose“unsound methods” in Cambodia have caused alarm among military leaders. Apocalypse Now includes a notable performance by Dennis Hopper as the character equivalent to Conrad’s Harlequin Russian soldier, who maniacally worships Kurtz. While critics agree that Coppola’s film is an impressive achievement in cinematic style, they disagree on the political implications of the film. It is clearly an indictment of U.S. involvement in Vietnam, but is full of ambiguity in its greater implications. The documentary, Hearts of Darkness(1992),chronicles the making of the film.
    The Congo

    “Heart of Darkness” is based on Conrad’s experiences as the captain of a steamboat in the Congo River (the second longest river in Africa, after the Nile) during the 1890s. At that time, the Congo was under the rule of King Leopold II of Belgium. Although he “gave” what was then called The Free State of the Congo to the Belgian people in 1895, his rule over the region effectively remained until his death in 1909. Under Leopold’s rule, the African people were exploited for their work, and treated as badly and brutally as slaves. Upon Leopold’s death, it became the Belgian Congo, and was ruled by Belgium until 1960, when it won independence. Between 1960 and 1965, the region suffered from the political upheaval of formulating a new government. In 1965,Joseph-Desire Mobutu became president of the Congo. In 1971, Mobutu changed the country’s name to Zaire, and his own name to Mobutu Sese Seko, as well as changing the names of other places within the nation.In 1997, it became the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
    Ford Madox Ford
    Conrad became a personal friend and co-author of the novelist Ford Madox Ford,with whom he wrote two books. Ford, considered among the greatest of novelists, is best known for The Good Soldier(1915). Other important works include Parade’s End, a four-part series made up of: Some Do Not(1924), No More Parades(1925), A Man Could Stand Up(1926), and Last Post(1928).Ford was known for his close association with many of the great writers of his day, and for his encouragement of younger writers.
    Blackwood’s Magazine
    “Heart of Darkness” was first published in three monthly installment’s in Blackwood’s Magazine. Blackwood’s Magazine was an important literary influence in nineteenth-century Britain. It was originally founded by William Blackwood, a Scottish bookseller, in 1817, originally entitled Edinburgh Monthly Magazine, and later Blackwood’s Edinburgh Magazine; in 1905 it became Blackwood’s Magazine.Originally focusing on political satire, it was also a literary journal publishing poems, short stories, and novels in serial form. Eventually, it became less political and more literary, publishing works of such renowned authors as George Eliot and Anthony Trollope as well as Joseph Conrad.
    Compare & Contrast


    • Nineteenth Century:The deceptively named Free State of the Congo is under the rule of the Belgian King Leopold II, who exploits the natural resources of the region, as well as its people in slavery-like conditions. Twentieth Century:
      The Free State of the Congo is renamed the Belgian Congo in 1908. It wins its independence from Belgium in 1960, and in 1965 Mobutu becomes president, renaming the nation Zaire in 1971. In 1997, Zaire is renamed the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

    • Nineteenth Century:Under the rule of France and Holland before 1830, Belgium attains national independence in 1831 through the Belgian Revolution. In 1831,King Leopold I becomes the first king of the newly established nation.On his death in 1865 he is succeeded by his son, Leopold II, who rules until his own death in 1909. Twentieth Century: Leopold II is succeeded by his nephew King Albert I, who rules from 1909 to 1934.From 1914 to 1918, during the first World War, Belgium is occupied by Germany. When Belgium is liberated from the Germans and the king is restored to power in 1918, universal male suffrage (for those over age 21) is instituted (women do not get the right to vote in Belgium until 1948). In 1934, King Leopold III succeeds his father Albert. In 1940,during World War II, Belgium is once again invaded and occupied by Germany. After refusing to flee the country, King Leopold III is held prisoner by the Germans until 1945. In 1951, Leopold III abdicates in favor of his son, Baudouin, who reigns until 1993. Between 1971 and 1992, Belgium goes through the process of becoming a federal state made up of several autonomous regions, including the Flemish region, the Walloon region, and Brussels. In 1993, the second son of Leopold III,now Albert II, succeeds to the throne.
    • Nineteenth Century:During Conrad’s lifetime, his native Poland is under the rule of the Russian Empire. Conrad’s father is a member of a resistance organization, which fights unsuccessfully for Polish independence from Russia.

    • Twentieth Century: Poland gains national independence in the years following World War I. During World War II,Poland is occupied by Nazi Germany and Russia, and after the war it comes under Communist control. With the 1989 collapse of communism in Eastern Europe, Poland begins the process of converting to a democratic government with a free-market economy.
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    Heart of Darkness :Style

    Post by Lily on Fri Apr 17, 2009 4:12 pm

    Style
    Narration
    Narrative technique is an important element of Conrad’s literary style. This story is structured as an “embedded narrative.” This means that the central story, narrated by the fictional character Charlie Marlow, is“embedded” in a “frame” narrative, whereby the “frame” narrator introduces Marlow’s character, and presents the central story as a direct quotation from Marlow. For this reason, nearly every paragraph of the story begins with a quotation mark, indicating that it is a continuation of the frame narrator’s direct quotation of Marlow’s narration. This type of “embedded” narrative constitutes the structure of several of Conrad’s stories, as the character of Marlow is the“embedded” narrator. This narrative structure focuses the reader’s attention as much on the art of storytelling, and the character of the storyteller, as it does on the central story itself. Conrad’s “frame”narrator calls attention to the significance of the frame narrator in describing Marlow’s storytelling style. The narrator uses the metaphor of a “nut” — indicating that, for Marlow, the meaning of the story lies more in the “shell” (the narration) than in the “nut” (the central story) it contains:
    The yarns of seamen have a direct simplicity, the whole meaning of which lies within the shell of a cracked nut. But Marlow was not typical (if his propensity to spin yarns be excepted) and to him the meaning of an episode was not inside like a kernel but outside, enveloping the tale which brought it out only as a glow brings out a haze, in the likeness of one of these misty halos that, sometimes, are made visible by the spectral illumination of moonshine.
    Setting
    The setting of the frame narrative is in England, as a group of men relax on a private yacht. The central story, narrated by the sailor Marlow, takes place on the Congo River, in an area of Africa then colonized by the Belgian King Leopold II, who deceptively named it the Free State of the Congo.The story takes place in the 1890s. The setting is significant because the tale is based in part on Conrad’s own personal experiences as the captain of a riverboat on the Congo in the 1890s. Conrad’s character of Marlow relates the brutal, slave-like conditions under which the native Africans were treated by their Belgian colonizers, and the story was interpreted upon initial publication in 1899 as an indictment of Belgian imperialism. The ivory company for which Marlow works represents the historical circumstances of the ivory trade in Africa,by which European colonizers greedily exploited both the African people for their labor and the resources of the continent. Conrad paints an unflattering picture of the European presence in Africa during the colonial period.
    Imagery: Light and Darkness
    The central imagery of the story revolves around the binary oppositions suggested in the title: light and darkness. This imagery sets up a contrast between the “light” white Europeans in Africa, and the “dark”native Africans. Likewise, the “light” is suggestive of European“civilization,” while the “darkness” refers to the culture of the African people, which Europeans perceived as “primitive” and “savage.”The imagery of light and darkness also refers metaphorically to the“light” of what is now referred to as the “conscious” self, which the Europeans associated with their own society, as opposed to the“darkness” of the unconscious, which the Europeans associated with African society. The “light” also represents the realm of that which is known and understandable to the Europeans (their own culture and native land), as opposed to the unknown (darkness), “mysterious” land, peoples and cultures of the African continent. How one interprets the story generally revolves around this central axis of light/dark imagery, and the variety of metaphorical and symbolic implications of this imagery.
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    Heart of Darkness :Themes

    Post by Lily on Fri Apr 17, 2009 3:57 pm

    Themes
    Civilization and the Primitive

    The central theme around which this story revolves is civilization versus wilderness. The symbolism that represents this theme is the opposition of light versus darkness. As in much of European art and literature,the imagery of “light” is associated with Western culture,civilization, knowledge, and the conscious mind. The imagery of“darkness,” on the other hand, is associated with Third World cultures (such as Africa), the “primitive” or “savage,” the unknown or mysterious, and the psychological unconscious. Many of the themes in Conrad’s story are based on this set of oppositions. Thus, European culture is contrasted with African culture, where African culture is seen to represent the primitive, unconscious mind of the white European man. Marlow’s narrative of his journey down the Congo River, and his encounter with Kurtz, expresses the anxiety of the white man who is tempted by his foray into the “wilderness” to “go native,” lose the trappings of civilization, and revert to a more “primitive” state of mind. As writer Chinua Achebe has pointed out, this conceptual construct on the part of Western cultures in their perceptions and representations of African culture is thoroughly racist. Other critics have argued, however, that Conrad’s story is a critique of the racist colonial mentality of the Europeans in Africa.
    Capitalist Exploitation
    Conrad’s story is critical of the “methods” of the white European “Company”that, motivated by pure greed, exploits African resources and labor.Conrad’s commentary is in part based on his own experiences with the ivory business in the Congo, and is supported by historical records that make it clear that the ivory trade in Africa was brutal on a par with the slave trade. Conrad mocks such European trade practices through his ironic representation of the generically named “Company,”which clearly stands in for the presence of European companies in Africa. The Company management is also portrayed ironically, such as the manager who maintains a high starched white collar in spite of the
    signs of suffering and cruelty that he perpetuates in the treatment of the Africans. Conrad also satirizes the values of “efficiency” practiced by the Company as both irrational and inhumane. The character of Kurtz, whose “methods” are “unsound,” represents the height of hypocrisy — the “methods” of the Company seem to be thoroughly “unsound,” from a moral perspective.
    Race and Racism
    Whether or not one concludes that Conrad’s story is racist, it is clear that the issue of race and racism in the European colonies is a central theme of the story. Marlow links colonial conquest directly to racism in the often-quoted passage: “The conquest of the earth, which mostly means the taking it away from those who have a different complexion or slightly flatter noses than ourselves, is not a pretty thing when you look into it too much.” At the same time, however, the modern reader is struck by Conrad’s nonchalant use of the term “nigger,” which is now considered thoroughly racist.
    Lies
    Marlow’s narrative includes an underlying theme regarding lies and lying. Marlow explains to his listeners his disdain for lies and lying:
    There is a taint of death, a flavour of mortality in lies — which is exactly what I hate and detest in the world — what I want to forget. It makes me miserable and sick like biting something rotten would do.
    And yet, when faced with Kurtz’s“Intended,” at the end of the story, Marlow deliberately defies his own values in choosing to lie to her about Kurtz’s final words. Unable to bring himself to do “justice” to Kurtz’s dying wish that he be properly represented, Marlow refrains from repeating those haunting words, “The horror! The horror!” telling her instead that Kurtz had died with her name on his lips. Feeling that he has sinned in telling this lie, Marlow half expects “that the heavens would fall upon my head,” but concludes that“the heavens do not fall for such a trifle.” Aware that he has betrayed Kurtz through his lie,Marlow’s justification seems to be a desire to protect the white woman from the truth of the true evil that lurks in the soul of man: “I could not tell her. It would have been too dark — too dark altogether.”
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    Heart of Darkness :Characters2

    Post by Lily on Wed Apr 15, 2009 1:36 am

    The Manager's Boy
    The Manager's "boy," an African servant, delivers the book's famous line, "Mistah Kurtz — he dead."
    The Manager's Uncle
    The Manager's Uncle, a short, paunchy man whose eyes have a look of "sleepy cunning," is the leader of the group of white men who arrive at the Central Station wearing new clothes and tan shoes. The group calls itself the "Eldorado Exploring Expedition," and uses the station as a base from which to travel into the jungle and plunder from its inhabitants. Marlow observes that they steal from the land "with no more moral purpose at the back of it than there is in burglars breaking into a safe." The Manager's Uncle and the Manager refer to Kurtz as"that man."
    Charlie Marlow
    Marlow, a seaman and a wanderer who follows the sea, relates the tale that makes up the bulk of the book. He is an Englishman who speaks passable French. He sits in the pose of a preaching Buddha as he tells a group of men aboard the Nellie,a cruising yawl in the River Thames, the story of his journey into the interior of the Congo. Marlow had previously returned from sailing voyages in Asia and after six years in England decided to look for another post. He speaks of his boyhood passion for maps and of his long fascination with Africa, that "place of darkness." Through the influence of his aunt, Marlow is appointed captain of a steamer and charged with going up river to find Kurtz, a missing ivory trader, and bring him back. Marlow says he is acquainted with Kurtz through his writing and admires him. His trip upriver is beset with difficulties.
    Marlow encounters several acts of madness, including a French man-of-war relentlessly shelling the bush while there appears to be not a single human being or even a shed to fire upon. Later, he comes upon a group of Africans who are blasting away at the land, presumably in order to build a railway, but Marlow sees no reason for it, there being nothing in the way to blast. Everywhere about him, he sees naked black men dying of disease and starvation.
    Revulsion grows within him over the white man's dehumanizing colonization of the Congo. It reaches a peak when Marlow finally meets Kurtz and sees the depths of degradation to which the man has sunk. Nevertheless, Marlow feels an affinity toward Kurtz. He sees in him both a reflection of his own corruptible European soul and a premonition of his destiny. Although Kurtz is already dying when Marlow meets him, Marlow experiences him as a powerful force. When Kurtz says, "I had immense plans," Marlow believes the man's mind is still clear but that his soul is mad. Marlow takes the dying Kurtz aboard his steamer for the return trip down river. He feels a bond has been established between himself and Kurtz and that Kurtz has become his "choice of nightmares." When Marlow hears Kurtz's last words, "The horror! The horror!", he takes them to be Kurtz's final judgment on his life on earth. Seeing a kind of victory in that final summing up, Marlow remains loyal to Kurtz. One year after Kurtz's death, Marlow visits Kurtz's fiancée, who has been left behind in Brussels. He finds her trusting and capable of immense faith. Marlow believes he must protect her from all the horrors he witnessed in Africa in order to save her soul. When the girl asks to hear Kurtz's final words, Marlow lies and says he died with her name on his lips. Marlow then ceases his tale and sits silently aboard ship in his meditative pose.
    The Narrator
    The Narrator remains unidentified throughout the book. He tells the reader the story Charlie Marlow told to him and three other men (the captain or Director of the Companies, the accountant, and the lawyer) as they sat aboard the becalmed Nellie on London's River Thames, waiting for the tide to turn. The Narrator is an attentive listener who does not comment on or try to interpret the tale. He is, instead, a vessel through which Marlow's story is transmitted, much as Conrad is a vessel through whom the entire book is transmitted. When Marlow finishes speaking, the Narrator looks out at the tranquil river and reflects that it "seemed to lead into the heart of an immense darkness."
    The Official
    The Official demands that Marlow turn over Kurtz's papers to him, saying the Company has the right to all information about its territories.
    Marlow gives him the report on "Suppression of Savage Customs,"minus Kurtz's final comment recommending extermination, and says the rest is private. The Official looks at the document and says it's not what they"had a right to expect."
    The Pilgrim
    The Pilgrim is a fat white man with sandy hair and red whiskers. He wears his pink pajamas tucked into his socks. He cannot steer the boat. He assumes Kurtz is dead and hopes many Africans, whom he and all the other white people refer to as "savages," have been killed to avenge Kurtz's death. Marlow tells the Pilgrim he must learn to fire a rifle from the shoulder. The pilgrims fire from the hip with their eyes closed.
    The Pilgrims
    The Pilgrims are the European traders who accompany Marlow into the jungle. They fire their rifles from the hip into the air and indiscriminately into the bush.They eventually come to look with disfavor upon Marlow, who does not share their opinions or interests. When they bury Kurtz, Marlow believes the Pilgrims would like to bury him as well.
    The Poleman
    The Russian The Russian is a twenty-five-year-old fair-skinned, beardless man with a boyish face and tiny blue eyes. He wears brown clothes with bright blue, red, and yellow patches covering them. He looks like a harlequin — a clown in patched clothes — to Marlow. As he boards Marlow's boat, he assures everyone that the"savages" are "simple people" who "meant no harm" before he corrects himself: "Not exactly." The Russian dropped out of school to go to sea.He has been alone on the river for two years, heading for the interior,and chatters constantly to make up for the silence he has endured. The Towson's Book on seamanship, which Marlow had discovered previously,belongs to the Russian. Marlow finds the Russian an insoluble problem.He admires and envies him. The Russian is surrounded by the "glamour"of youth and appears unscathed to Marlow. He wants nothing from the wilderness but to continue to exist. The Russian describes Kurtz as a great orator. He says one doesn't talk with him, one listens to him. He says Kurtz once talked to him all night about everything, including love. "This man has enlarged my mind," he tells Marlow. The Russian presents Marlow with a great deal of information about Kurtz, chiefly that Kurtz is adored by the African tribe that follows him, that he once nearly killed the Russian for his small supply of ivory, and that it was Kurtz who ordered the attack on the steamer to scare them away.
    The Savages
    "Savages"is the blanket term the white traders use to refer to all African natives, despite their differing origins. The savages range from the workers dying of starvation and disease at the Outer Station to the cannibals who man Marlow's boat to the tribe who worships Kurtz. For the most part Marlow comes to consider all the natives savages,although he expresses some admiration for the cannibals, who must be very hungry but have refrained from attacking the few white men on the boat because of "a piece of paper written over in accordance with some farcical law or other." When Marlow first arrives in Africa, he is appalled by the whites' brutal treatment of the natives, and never expresses agreement with the pilgrims who eagerly anticipate taking revenge on the savages. He also seems to be shocked by the addendum to Kurtz's report that says, "Exterminate all the brutes!" Nevertheless, Marlow never sees beyond the surface of any of the natives. He compares watching the boat's fireman work to "seeing a dog in a parody of breeches and a feather hat, walking on his hindlegs," and shocks the pilgrims when he dumps the body of the helmsman overboard instead of saving it for burial. For Marlow, the native "savages" serve only as another illustration of the mystery Africa holds for Europeans, and it is because of this dehumanization that several critics consider Heart of Darkness a racist work.
    The Swedish Captain
    The Swedish Captain is the captain of the ship that takes Marlow toward the mouth of the Congo. He tells Marlow that another Swede has just hanged himself by the side of the road. When Marlow asks why, the Swedish Captain replies, "Who knows? The sun too much for him, or the country perhaps."
    The Woman
    The Woman is the proud,"wild-eyed and magnificent" African woman with whom Kurtz has been living while in the interior. She is the queen of a native tribe. When she sees Marlow's steamer about to pull away and realizes she will never see Kurtz again, she stands by the river's edge with her hands raised high to the sky. She alone among the natives does not flinch at the sound of the ship's whistle. Marlow considers her a tragic figure.
    The Young Agent
    The Young Agent has been stationed at the Central Station for one year. He affects an aristocratic manner and is considered the Manager's spy by the other agents at the station. His job is to make bricks, but Marlow sees no bricks anywhere about the station. The Young Agent presses Marlow for information about Europe, then believes his answers are lies and grows bored. The Young Agent tells Marlow Kurtz is Chief of the Inner Station. He refers to Kurtz as "a prodigy an emissary of pity and of science and progress." The Young Agent establishes a connection between Kurtz and Marlow by saying that the same group of people who sent Kurtz into Africa also recommended Marlow to come and get him out.
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    Heart of Darkness :Characters

    Post by Lily on Wed Apr 15, 2009 12:19 am

    Characters
    The Aunt
    The Aunt uses her influence to help Charlie Marlow secure an appointment as skipper of the steamboat that will take him up the Congo River. Echoing the prevailing sentiments of the Victorian day, the Aunt speaks of missions to Africa as "weaning the ignorant millions from their horrid ways."
    The Chief Accountant
    The Chief Accountant, sometimes referred to as the Clerk, is a white man who has been in the Congo for three years. He appears in such an unexpectedly elegant outfit when Marlow first encounters him that Marlow thinks he is a vision. Both the Chief Accountant's clothes and his books are in excellent order. He keeps up appearances, despite the sight of people dying all around him and the great demoralization of the land. For this, he earns Marlow's respect. "That's backbone," says Marlow.
    The Clerk
    See The Chief Accountant
    The Company Manager
    See The Manager
    The Doctor
    The Doctor measures Marlow's head before he sets out on his journey. He say he does that for everyone who goes "out there," meaning Africa, but that he never sees them when they return. The Doctor asks Marlow if there's any madness in his family and warns him above all else to keep calm and avoid irritation in the tropics.
    The Fireman
    The Fireman is an African referred to as "an improved specimen." He has three ornamental scars on each cheek and teeth filed to points. He is very good at firing the boiler, for he believes evil spirits reside within and it is his job to keep the boiler from getting thirsty.
    The Foreman
    The Foreman is a boilermaker by trade and a good worker. He is a bony,yellow-faced, bald widower with a waist-length beard and six children.
    His passion is pigeon flying. By performiing a jig and getting Marlow to dance it with him, he shows that the lonely, brutalizing life of the interior of Africa can make people behave in bizarre ways.
    Captain Fresleven
    Fresleven,a Danish captain, was Marlow's predecessor. He had been killed in Africa when he got into a quarrel over some black hens with a village chief. He battered the chief over the head with a stick and was in turn killed by the chief's son. Fresleven had always been considered a very quiet and gentle man. His final actions show how drastically a two-year stay in Africa can alter a European's personality.
    The Helmsman
    A native, the Helmsman is responsible for steering Marlow's boat. Marlow has little respect for the man, whom he calls "the most unstable kind of fool," because he swaggers in front of others but becomes passive when left alone. He becomes frightened when the natives shoot arrows at the boat and drops his pole to pick up a rifle and fire back. The Helmsman is hit in the side by a spear. His blood fills Marlow's shoes. His eyes gleam brightly as he stares intently at Marlow and then dies without speaking.
    The Intended
    T[b]he Intended is the woman to whom Kurtz is engaged and whom he had left behind in Belgium. One year after his death, she is still dressed in mourning.She is depicted as naive, romantic, and, in the opinion of Victorian men of the day, in need of protection. She says she knew Kurtz better than anyone in the world and that she had his full confidence. This is an obviously ironic statement, as Marlow's account of Kurtz makes clear. Her chief wish is to go on believing that Kurtz died with her name on his lips, and in this, Marlow obliges her.
    The Journalist
    The Journalist comes to visit Marlow after Marlow has returned from Africa. He says Kurtz was a politician and an extremist. He says Kurtz could have led a party, any party. Marlow agrees and gives the journalist a portion of Kurtz's papers to publish.
    Mr. Kurtz
    Kurtz, born of a mother who was half-English and a father who was half-French, was educated in England. He is an ivory trader who has been alone in the jungles of Africa for a long time. No one has heard from him in nine months. The Company Manager says Kurtz is the best ivory trader he has ever had, although he suspects him of hoarding vast amounts of ivory.
    Marlow is sent to rescue him, although he has not asked for help. The word "kurtz" means "short" in German, but when Marlow first sees the man, seated on a stretcher with his arms extended toward the natives and his mouth opened wide as if to swallow everything before him, he appears to be about seven feet tall. Though gravely ill, Kurtz has an amazingly loud and strong voice. He commands attention. Kurtz,previously known to Marlow by reputation and through his writings on"civilizing" the African continent, is revealed upon acquaintance to be a dying, deranged, and power-mad subjugator of the African natives.
    Human sacrifices have been made to him. Rows of impaled human heads line the path to the door of his cabin. Kurtz is both childish and fiendish. He talks to the very end. His brain is haunted by shadowy images. Love and hate fight for possession of his soul. He speaks of the necessity of protecting his "intended" and says she is "out of it," a sentiment Marlow will later echo. Kurtz's final words, uttered as he lies in the dark waiting for death, are: "The horror! The hoffor!" With this utterance, Kurtz presumably realizes the depth to which his unbridled greed and brutality have brought him. That realization is transferred to Marlow, who feels bound to Kurtz both through the common heritage of their European background and the infinite corruptibility of their natures as men.
    Kurtz's Cousin
    Kurtz's Cousin is an organist. He tells Marlow Kurtz was a great musician.Marlow doesn't really believe him but can't say exactly what Kurtz's profession was. Marlow and the Cousin agree Kurtz was a "universal genius."
    The Manager
    The Manager, a man of average size and build with cold blue eyes, inspires uneasiness in Marlow, but not outright mistrust. He is an enigma. He is smart, but cannot keep order. His men obey him but do not love or respect him. The Manager has been in the heart of Africa for nine years, yet is never ill. Marlow considers the Manager's greatness to lie in that he never gives away the secret of what controls him. Marlow speculates that perhaps there is nothing inside him, and maybe that is why he is never ill. The Manager says Kurtz is the best agent he ever had; yet he also says Kurtz's method is unsound and that he has done more harm than good to the Company. When Marlow discovers his ship is in need of repair,the Manager tells him the repairs will take three months to complete.Marlow considers the man "a chattering idiot," but his three-monthestimate turns out to be exactly right.
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    Re: British Literature

    Post by Lily on Tue Apr 14, 2009 10:26 pm

    Chapter III
    The Russian explains to Marlow that the Africans attacked the ship because they were afraid it was coming to take Kurtz away from them. It appears that they worship Kurtz, and the Inner Station is a terrifying monument to Kurtz's power. The full extent of Kurtz's authority at the Inner Station is now revealed to Marlow. There are heads of "rebels" on stakes surrounding Kurtz's hut and Marlow speaks of Kurtz presiding over "unspeakable" rituals. When Kurtz is carried out to meet the ship — by this time he is very frail with illness — he commands the crowd to allow him to be taken aboard without incident. As they wait out the night on board the steamer the people of the Inner Station build fires and pound drums in vigil.
    Late that night Marlow wakes up to find Kurtz gone, so he goes ashore to find him. When he tracks him down, Kurtz is crawling through the brush,trying to return to the Station, to the fires, to "his people," and to his "immense plans." Marlow persuades him to return to the ship. When the ship leaves the next day with the ailing Kurtz on board the crowd gathers at the shore and wails in desperate sadness at his disappearance. Marlow blows the steam whistle and disperses the crowd.On the return trip to the Central Station Kurtz's health worsens. He half coherently reflects on his "soul's adventure," as Marlow describes it,and his famous final words are: "The horror! The horror!" He dies and is buried somewhere downriver on the muddy shore.When Marlow returns to Belgium he goes to see Kurtz's fiancée, his "Intended." She speaks with him about Kurtz's greatness, his genius, his ability to speak eloquently, and of his great plans for civilizing Africa. Rather than explain the truth of Kurtz's life in Africa, Marlow decides not to disillusion her. He returns some of Kurtz's things to her — some letters and a pamphlet he had written — and tells her that Kurtz's last word was her name. Marlow's story ends and the scene returns to the anchored Nellie where the unnamed narrator and the other sailors are sitting silently as the tide is turning.
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    Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad

    Post by Lily on Tue Apr 14, 2009 10:11 pm

    Plot Summary
    Chapter I
    Literally speaking, the action of Heart of Darkness is simply the act of storytelling aboard a ship on the river Thames around the turn of the twentieth century. An unnamed narrator, along with four other men, is aboard the anchored NellieHeart of Darkness. Before Marlow begins his tale, however,the unnamed narrator muses to himself on a history of exploration and conquest which also originated on the Thames, the waterway connecting London to the sea. The narrator mentions Sir Francis Drake and his ship the Golden Hind, which travelled around the globe at the end of the sixteenth century, as well as Sir John Franklin, whose expedition to North America disappeared in the Arctic Ocean in the middle of the nineteenth century.
    As the sun is setting on the Nellie,Marlow also begins to speak of London's history and of naval expeditions. He, however, imagines an earlier point in history: he sketches the story of a hypothetical Roman seaman sent north from the Mediterranean to the then barely known British Isles. This is Marlow's prelude to his narration of his own journey up the Congo river, and he then begins an account of how he himself once secured a job as the captain of a river steamer in the Belgian colony in Africa. From here on the bulk of the novella is Marlow's narration of his journey into the Congo.Through an aunt in Brussels, Belgium's capital, Marlow manages to get an interview with a trading company which operates a system of ivory trading posts in the Belgian Congo (formerly Zaire, now the Democratic Republic of the Congo). After a very brief discussion with a Company official in Brussels and a very strange physical examination by a Company doctor, Marlow is hired to sail a steamer between trading posts on the Congo River. He is then sent on a French ship down the African coast to the mouth of the Congo.From the mouth of the Congo Marlow takes a short trip upriver on a steamer. This ship leaves him at the Company's Lower Station. Marlow finds the station to be a vision of hell — it is a "wanton smashup" with loads of rusting ancient wreckage everywhere, a cliff nearby being demolished with dynamite for no apparent reason, and many starving and dying Africans enslaved and laboring under the armed guard of the Company's white employees. Marlow meets the Company's chief accountant, who mentions a Mr. Kurtz — manager of the Inner Station — for the first time and describes him as a "very remarkable person" who sends an enormous amount of ivory out of the interior. Marlow must wait at the Lower Station for ten days before setting out two hundred miles overland in a caravan to where his steamer is waiting up the river at the Central Station.
    After fifteen days the caravan arrives at the Central Station, where Marlow first sees the ship which he is to command. It is sunk in the river. Marlow meets the manager of the Central Station, with whom he discusses the sunken ship. It will, they anticipate, take several months to repair. Over the course of the next several weeks Marlow notices that the rivets he keeps requesting for the repair never arrive from the Lower Station, and when he overhears the manager speaking with several other Company officials he begins to suspect that his requests are being intercepted; that is, that the manager does not want the ship to get repaired for some reason.
    Chapter II
    Overhearing a conversation between the manager and his uncle, Marlow learns some information which begins to make some sense of the delays in his travel. Kurtz, chief of the Inner Station, has been in the interior alone for more than a year. He has sent no communication other than a steady and tremendous flow of ivory down to the Central Station. The manager fears that Kurtz is too strong competition for him professionally, and is not particularly interested in seeing him return.Marlow's steamer, however, finally gets fixed and he and his party start heading up river to retrieve Kurtz and whatever ivory is at the Inner Station.On board are Marlow, the manager, several employees of the Company, and a crew of approximately twenty cannibals. The river is treacherous and the vegetation thick and almost impenetrable throughout the journey. At a place nearly fifty miles downstream from the Inner Station they come across an abandoned hut with a sign telling them to approach cautiously. Inside the hut Marlow discovers a tattered copy of a navigation manual in which undecipherable notes are written in the margins.
    Nearing the Station in a heavy fog, the ship is attacked from the shore by arrows, and the passengers — "pilgrims," Marlow calls them — fire into the jungle with their rifles. Marlow ends the attack by blowing the steam whistle and scaring off the unseen attackers, but not before his helmsman is killed by a spear. Marlow imagines that he will not get to meet the mysterious Kurtz,that perhaps he has been killed, and suddenly realizes something:
    "I made the strange discovery that I had never imagined him as doing, you know, but as discoursing. I didn't say to myself, 'Now I will never see him,' or,'Now I will never shake him by the hand,' but, 'now I will never hear him.' The man presented himself as a voice. Not of course that I did not connect him with some sort of action. Hadn't I been told in all the tones of jealousy and admiration that he had collected, bartered,swindled, or stolen more ivory than all the other agents together? That was not the point. The point was in his being a gifted creature, and that of all his gifts the one that stood out preeminently, that carried with it a sense of real presence, was his ability to talk, his words —the gift of expression, the bewildering, the illuminating, the most exalted and the most contemptible, the pulsating stream of light, or the deceitful flow from the heart of an impenetrable darkness."
    When they finally reach the Inner Station they are beckoned by a odd Russian man who is a sort of disciple of Kurtz's. He turns out also to have been the owner of the hut and navigation manual Marlow found downstream. He speaks feverishly to Marlow about Kurtz's greatness.

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