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William Shakespeare

William Shakespeare (baptised 26 April 1564 23 April 1616)[a] was an English poet and
playwright, widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English language and the world's pre-eminent
dramatist. He is often called England's national poet and the "Bard of Avon" (or simply "The Bard").
His surviving works consist of 38 plays 154 sonnets, two long narrative poems, and several other
poems. His plays have been translated into every major living language, and are performed more often
than those of any other playwright.
Shakespeare produced most of his known work between 1590 and 1613. His early plays were
mainly comedies and histories, genres he raised to the peak of sophistication and artistry by the end of
the sixteenth century. Next he wrote mainly tragedies until about 1608, including Hamlet, King Lear,
and Macbeth, considered some of the finest examples in the English language. In his last phase, he
wrote tragicomedies, also known as romances, and collaborated with other playwrights.
Scholars have often noted four periods in Shakespeare's writing career. Until the mid-1590s, he
wrote mainly comedies influenced by Roman and Italian models and history plays in the popular
chronicle tradition. His second period began in about 1595 with the tragedy Romeo and Juliet and
ended with the tragedy of Julius Caesar in 1599. During this time, he wrote what are considered his
greatest comedies and histories. From about 1600 to about 1608, his "tragic period", Shakespeare
wrote mostly tragedies, and from about 1608 to 1613, mainly tragicomedies, also called romances.
Shakespeare's early classical and Italianate comedies, containing tight double plots and precise
comic sequences, give way in the mid-1590s to the romantic atmosphere of his greatest comedies. A
Midsummer Night's Dream is a witty mixture of romance, fairy magic, and comic low-life scenes.. His
characters become more complex and tender as he switches deftly between comic and serious scenes,
prose and poetry, and achieves the narrative variety of his mature work. This period begins and ends
with two tragedies: Romeo and Juliet, the famous romantic tragedy of sexually charged adolescence,
love, and death; and Julius Caesar.
Shakespeare's so-called "tragic period" lasted from about 1600 to 1608, though he also wrote
the so-called "problem plays" Measure for Measure, Troilus and Cressida, and All's Well That Ends
Well during this time and had written tragedies before. Many critics believe that Shakespeare's greatest
tragedies represent the peak of his art. The hero of the first, Hamlet, has probably been more discussed
than any other Shakespearean character, especially for his famous soliloquy "To be or not to be; that is
the question." Unlike the introverted Hamlet, whose fatal flaw is hesitation, the heroes of the tragedies
that followed, Othello and King Lear, are undone by hasty errors of judgement. The plots of
Shakespeare's tragedies often hinge on such fatal errors or flaws, which overturn order and destroy the
hero and those he loves. In Macbeth, the shortest and most compressed of Shakespeare's tragedies
uncontrollable ambition incites Macbeth and his wife, Lady Macbeth, to murder the rightful king and
usurp the throne, until their own guilt destroys them in turn.
Shakespeare's sonnets, or simply The Sonnets, is a collection of poems in sonnet form written
by William Shakespeare that deal with such themes as love, beauty, politics, and mortality. They were
probably written over a period of several years. All 154 poems appeared in a 1609 collection, entitled
SHAKE-SPEARES SONNETS, comprising 152 previously unpublished sonnets and two (numbers 138
and 144) that had previously been published in a 1599 miscellany entitled The Passionate Pilgrim.
The first 17 sonnets are written to a young man, urging him to marry and have children thereby
passing down his beauty to the next generation. These are called the procreation sonnets. Most of them,
however, 18-126, are addressed to a young man expressing the poet's love for him. Sonnets 127-152 are
written to the poet's mistress expressing his love for her. The final two sonnets, 153-154, are
allegorical. The final thirty or so sonnets are written about a number of issues, such as the young man's
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infidelity with the poet's mistress, self-resolution to control his own lust, beleaguered criticism of the
world, etc.
Romeo and Juliet is an early tragedy by William Shakespeare about two teenage "star-cross'd
lovers" whose "untimely deaths" ultimately unite their feuding households. The play has been highly
praised by literary critics for its language and dramatic effect. It was among Shakespeare's most
popular plays during his lifetime and, along with Hamlet, is one of his most frequently performed
plays. Its influence is still seen today, with the two main characters being widely represented as
archetypal young lovers.
Shakespeare's use of dramatic structure, especially his expansion of minor characters,use of
subplots to embellish the story, has been praised as an early sign of his dramatic skill. The play ascribes
different poetic forms to different characters, sometimes changing the form as the character develops.
Romeo, for example, grows more adept at the sonnet form over time. Characters frequently compare
love and death and allude to the role of fate.
The play begins with a street brawl between two families: the Montagues and the Capulets. The
Prince of Verona, Escalus, intervenes with his men and declares that the heads of the two families will
be held personally accountable for any further breach of the peace. Later, Count Paris, a young
nobleman, talks to Lord Capulet about marrying his thirteen-year-old daughter Juliet. Capulet is wary
of this offer, citing the girl's young age, but still invites him to try to attract Juliet's attention during a
ball that the family is to hold that night. Juliet's mother tries to persuade her daughter to accept Paris'
courtship during this ball, leading Juliet to say that although she will make an effort to love him, she
will not express love if it is not there. In this scene Juliet's nurse is introduced as a talkative and
humorous character, who raised Juliet from infancy.
In the meantime, a young man named Benvolio talks with his cousin Romeo, Lord Montague's
son, over Romeo's recent depression. Benvolio discovers that it stems from unrequited love for a girl
named Rosaline, one of Lord Capulet's nieces who has sworn herself to chastity. Upon the insistence of
Benvolio and another friend, Mercutio, Romeo decides to attend the masquerade ball at the Capulet
house in hopes of meeting Rosaline. Alongside his masked friends Romeo attends the ball as planned,
but falls in love with Juliet (forgetting about Rosaline) and she with him. Despite the danger brought on
by their feuding families, Romeo sneaks into the Capulet courtyard and overhears Juliet on her balcony
vowing her love to him in spite of her family's hatred of the Montagues. Romeo soon makes himself
known to her, and the two declare their love for each other and agree to be married. With the help of the
Franciscan Friar Lawrence, who hopes to reconcile the two families through their children's union, they
are married secretly the next day.
All seems well until Tybalt, Juliet's hot-blooded cousin, challenges Romeo to a duel for
appearing at the Capulets' ball in disguise. Though no one is aware of the marriage yet, Romeo refuses
to fight Tybalt since they are now part of the same family. Mercutio is incensed by Tybalt's insolence,
and accepts the duel on Romeo's behalf. In the ensuing scuffle, Mercutio is fatally wounded when
Romeo tries to separate them. Romeo, angered by his friend's death, pursues and slays Tybalt, then
flees.
Despite his promise to call for the head of the wrongdoers, the Prince merely exiles Romeo
from Verona, reasoning that Tybalt first killed Mercutio, and that Romeo merely carried out a just
punishment of death to Tybalt, although without legal authority. Juliet grieves at the news, and Lord
Capulet, misinterpreting her grief, agrees to engage her to marry Paris with the wedding to be held in
just three days. He threatens to disown her if she refuses. The nurse, once Juliet's confidante, now tells
her she should discard the exiled Romeo and comply. Juliet desperately visits Friar Lawrence for help.
He offers her a drug, which will put her into a death-like coma for forty-two hours. She is to take it and,
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when discovered apparently dead, she will be laid in the family crypt. While she is sleeping the Friar
will send a messenger to inform Romeo, so that he can rejoin her when she awakens.
The messenger, however, does not reach Romeo. Romeo then learns of Juliet's "death" from his
servant Balthasar. Grief-stricken, he buys poison from an apothecary, returns to Verona in secret, and
visits the Capulet crypt. He encounters Paris who has come to mourn Juliet privately. Paris confronts
Romeo believing him to be a vandal, and in the ensuing battle Romeo kills Paris. He then says his final
words to the comatose Juliet and drinks the poison to commit suicide. Juliet then awakens. Friar
Lawrence arrives and, realizing the cause of the tragedy, begs Juliet to leave. She refuses, and at the
side of Romeo's dead body, she stabs herself with her lover's dagger.
The feuding families and the Prince meet at the tomb to find all three dead. In explanation Friar
Lawrence recounts the story of the two lovers. Montague reveals that his wife has died of grief after
hearing of her son's exile. The families are reconciled by their children's deaths and agree to end their
violent feud. The play ends with the Prince's brief elegy for the lovers: "For never was a story of more
woe / Than this of Juliet and her Romeo."
Analysis and criticism
Though critics have picked apart many weak points in Romeo and Juliet since the play's first
writing, it is still regarded by most as one of Shakespeare's better plays. Among the most prevalent
debates in the critical of the play regards Shakespeare's intent. Was the play intended to be a story of
two young lovers' struggle against fate and fortune, or was it a commentary on the foolishness of
unbridled passion and the ultimate tragedy to which it will inevitably lead? Perhaps it was intended to
show how two young lovers become instruments in the hands of fate or providence in uniting two
warring families.
Shakespeare shows his dramatic skill freely in Romeo and Juliet, providing intense moments of
shift between comedy and tragedy. Before Mercutio's death in Act three, the play is largely a comedy.
After his accidental demise, the play suddenly becomes very serious and takes on more of a tragic tone.
Still, the fact that Romeo is banished, rather than executed, offers a hope that things will work out.
When Friar Lawrence offers Juliet a plan to reunite her with Romeo the audience still has a reason to
believe that all will end well. They are in a "breathless state of suspense" by the opening of the last
scene in the tomb: If Romeo is delayed long enough for the Friar to arrive, he and Juliet may yet be
saved. This only makes it all the more tragic when everything falls apart in the end.
Language
Shakespeare uses a large variety of poetic forms throughout the play. He begins with a 14-line
prologue in the form of a Shakespearean sonnet, spoken by a Chorus. Most of Romeo and Juliet is,
however, written in blank verse, and much of it in strict iambic pentameter, with less rhythmic variation
than in most of Shakespeare's later plays. In choosing forms, Shakespeare matches the poetry to the
character who uses it. Friar Lawrence, for example, uses sermon and sententiae forms, and the Nurse
uses a unique blank verse form that closely matches colloquial speech. Each of these forms is also
moulded and matched to the emotion of the scene the character occupies. For example, when Romeo
talks about Rosaline earlier in the play, he uses the Petrarchan sonnet form. Petrarchan sonnets were
often used by men at the time to exaggerate the beauty of women who were impossible for them to
attain, as in Romeo's situation with Rosaline.
Themes and motifs
Love
Romeo and Juliet is sometimes considered to have no unifying theme, save that of young love.
In fact, the characters in it have become emblems of all who die young for their lovers. Since it is such
an obvious subject of the play, several scholars have explored the language and historical context
behind the romance of the play. On their first meeting, Romeo and Juliet use a form of communication
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recommended by many etiquette authors in Shakespeare's day: metaphor. By using metaphors of saints
and sins, Romeo was able to test Juliet's feelings for him in a non-threatening way. This method was
recommended by Baldassare Castiglione (whose works had been translated into English by this time).
He pointed out that if a man used a metaphor as an invitation, the woman could pretend she did not
understand the man, and the man could take the hint and back away without losing his honour. Juliet,
however, makes it clear that she is interested in Romeo by playing along with his metaphor. Later, in
the balcony scene, Shakespeare has Romeo overhear Juliet's declaration of love for him. In the final
suicide scene, there is a contradiction in the message in the Catholic religion, suicides were often
thought to be condemned to hell, whereas people who die to be with their loves under the "Religion of
Love" are joined with their loves in paradise.
Light and dark
Romeo describes Juliet as being like the sun, brighter than a torch, a jewel sparkling in the
night, and a bright angel among dark clouds. Even when she lies apparently dead in the tomb, he says
her "beauty makes / This vault a feasting presence full of light." Juliet describes Romeo as "day in
night" and "Whiter than snow upon a raven's back." This contrast of light and dark can be expanded as
symbolscontrasting love and hate, youth and age in a metaphoric way.The "light" theme in the play
is also heavily connected to the theme of time, since light was a convenient way for Shakespeare to
express the passage of time through descriptions of the sun, moon, and stars.
Time
Time plays an important role in the language and plot of the play. Both Romeo and Juliet
struggle to maintain an imaginary world void of time in the face of the harsh realities that surround
them..

Hamlet
Hamlet is a tragedy by William Shakespeare, believed to have been written between 1599 and
1601. The play, set in Denmark, recounts how Prince Hamlet exacts revenge on his uncle Claudius,
who has murdered Hamlet's father, the King, and then taken the throne and married Hamlet's mother.
Hamlet is Shakespeare's longest play, and among the most powerful and influential tragedies in
the English language. It provides a storyline capable of "seemingly endless retelling and adaptation by
others.
The protagonist of Hamlet is Prince Hamlet of Denmark, son of the recently deceased King
Hamlet and the nephew of King Claudius, his father's brother and successor. After the death of King
Hamlet, Claudius hastily marries King Hamlet's widow, Gertrude, Hamlet's mother. In the background
is Denmark's long-standing feud with neighbouring Norway, and an invasion led by the Norwegian
prince, Fortinbras, is expected.
The play opens on a cold night at Elsinore, the Danish royal castle. The sentinels try to persuade
Hamlet's friend Horatio that they have seen King Hamlet's ghost, when it appears again. After hearing
from Horatio of the Ghost's appearance, Hamlet resolves to see the Ghost himself. That night, the
Ghost appears to Hamlet. He tells Hamlet that he is the spirit of his father, and discloses that Claudius
murdered King Hamlet by pouring poison in his ears. The Ghost demands that Hamlet avenge him;
Hamlet agrees and decides to fake madness to avert suspicion. He is, however, uncertain of the Ghost's
reliability.
Busy with affairs of state, Claudius and Gertrude try to avert an invasion by Prince Fortinbras
of Norway. Perturbed by Hamlet's continuing deep mourning for his father and his increasingly erratic
behaviour, they send two student friends of hisRosencrantz and Guildensternto discover the cause
of Hamlet's changed behaviour. Hamlet greets his friends warmly, but quickly discerns that they have
turned against him.
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Polonius is Claudius' trusted chief counsellor; his son, Laertes, is returning to France, and his
daughter, Ophelia, is courted by Hamlet. Neither Polonius nor Laertes thinks Hamlet is serious about
Ophelia, and they both warn her off. Shortly afterwards, Ophelia is alarmed by Hamlet's strange
behaviour and reports to her father that Hamlet rushed into her room but stared at her and said nothing.
Polonius assumes that the "ecstasy of love" is responsible for Hamlet's madness, and he informs
Claudius and Gertrude. Later, in the so-called Nunnery Scene, Hamlet rants at Ophelia, and insists she
go "to a nunnery."
Hamlet remains unconvinced that the Ghost has told him the truth, but the arrival of a troupe of
actors at Elsinore presents him with a solution. He will stage a play, re-enacting his father's murder, and
determine Claudius' guilt or innocence by studying his reaction. The court assembles to watch the play;
Hamlet provides a running commentary throughout. During the play, Claudius abruptly rises and leaves
the room, which Hamlet sees as proof of his uncle's guilt. Claudius, fearing for his life, banishes
Hamlet to England on a pretext, closely watched by Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, with a letter
instructing that the bearer be killed.
Gertrude summons Hamlet to her closet to demand an explanation. On his way, Hamlet passes
Claudius in prayer but hesitates to kill him, reasoning that death in prayer would send him to heaven. In
the bedchamber, a row erupts between Hamlet and Gertrude. Polonius, spying hidden behind an arras,
makes a noise; and Hamlet, believing it is Claudius, stabs wildly, killing Polonius. The Ghost appears,
urging Hamlet to treat Gertrude gently but reminding him to kill Claudius. Unable to see or hear the
Ghost herself, Gertrude takes Hamlet's conversation with it as further evidence of madness. Hamlet
hides Polonius' corpse.
Demented by grief at Polonius' death, Ophelia wanders Elsinore singing bawdy songs. Her
brother, Laertes, arrives back from France, enraged by his father's death and his sister's madness.
Claudius convinces Laertes that Hamlet is solely responsible; then news arrives that Hamlet is still at
large. Claudius swiftly concocts a plot. He proposes a fencing match between Laertes and Hamlet in
which Laertes will fight with a poison-tipped sword, but tacitly plans to offer Hamlet poisoned wine if
that fails. Gertrude interrupts to report that Ophelia has drowned.
Two gravediggers discuss Ophelia's apparent suicide, while digging her grave. Hamlet arrives
with Horatio and banters with a gravedigger, who unearths the skull of a jester from Hamlet's
childhood, Yorick. Ophelia's funeral procession approaches, led by Laertes. He and Hamlet grapple, but
the brawl is broken up.
Back at Elsinore, Hamlet tells Horatio how he escaped and that Rosencrantz and Guildenstern
have been sent to their deaths. A courtier, Osric, interrupts to invite Hamlet to fence with Laertes. With
Fortinbras' army closing on Elsinore, the match begins. Laertes pierces Hamlet with a poisoned blade
but is fatally wounded by it himself. Gertrude drinks the poisoned wine and dies. In his dying moments,
Laertes is reconciled with Hamlet and reveals Claudius' murderous plot. In his own last moments,
Hamlet manages to kill Claudius and names Fortinbras as his heir. When Fortinbras arrives, Horatio
recounts the tale and Fortinbras orders Hamlet's body borne off in honour.
A Midsummer Night's Dream is a romantic comedy by William Shakespeare, written sometime
in the 1590s. It portrays the adventures of four young Athenian lovers and a group of amateur actors,
their interactions with the Duke and Duchess of Athens, Theseus and Hippolyta, and with the fairies
who inhabit a moonlit forest. The play is one of Shakespeare's most popular works for the stage and is
widely performed across the world.
The play features three interlocking plots, connected by a celebration of the wedding of Duke
Theseus of Athens and the Amazonian queen Hippolyta, and set simultaneously in the woodland, and
in the realm of Fairyland, under the light of the moon. In the opening scene, Hermia refuses to comply
with her father Egeus's wish for her to marry his chosen man, Demetrius. In response, Egeus quotes
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before Theseus an ancient Athenian law whereby a daughter must marry the suitor chosen by her father,
or else face death. Theseus does not want this young girl to die, and offers her another choice, lifelong
chastity worshipping Diana as a nun. (The word 'nun' in this sense is an anachronism.)
Hermia and her lover Lysander decide to elope by escaping through the forest at night. Hermia
informs her best friend Helena, but Helena has recently been rejected by Demetrius and decides to win
back his favour by revealing the plan to him. Demetrius, followed doggedly by Helena, chases Hermia.
Hermia and Lysander, believing themselves safely out of reach, sleep in the woods.
Meanwhile, Oberon, king of the fairies, and his queen, Titania, arrive in the forest outside
Athens. Titania tells Oberon that she plans to stay there until after she has attended Theseus and
Hippolyta's wedding. Oberon and Titania are estranged because Titania refuses to give her Indian
changeling to Oberon for use as his "knight" or "henchman," since the child's mother was one of
Titania's worshippers. Oberon seeks to punish Titania's disobedience and recruits the mischievous Puck
(also called Hobgoblin and Robin Goodfellow) to help him apply a magical juice from a flower called
"love-in-idleness" (a.k.a. pansy), which makes the victim fall in love with the first living thing seen
upon awakening. He instructs Puck to retrieve the flower so that he can make Titania fall in love with
some vile creature of the forest. Oberon applies the juice to Titania in order to distract her and force her
to give up the pageboy.
Having seen Demetrius act cruelly toward Helena, Oberon orders Puck to spread some of the
elixir on the eyelids of the young Athenian man. Instead, Puck accidentally puts the juice on the eyes of
Lysander, who then falls in love with Helena. Oberon sees Demetrius still following Hermia and is
enraged. When Demetrius decides to go to sleep, Oberon sends Puck to get Helena while he charms
Demetrius' eyes. Due to Puck's errors, both lovers now fight over Helena instead of Hermia. Helena,
however, is convinced that her two suitors are mocking her, as neither loved her originally. The four
pursue and quarrel with each other most of the night, until they become so enraged that they seek a
place to duel each other to the death to settle the quarrel. Oberon orders Puck to keep the lovers from
catching up with one another in the forest and to re-charm Lysander for Hermia, to prevent them all
from killing each other.
Meanwhile, a band of lower-class labourers ("rude mechanicals", as they are famously
described by Puck) have arranged to perform a crude play about Pyramus and Thisbe for Theseus'
wedding, and venture into the forest, near Titania's bower, for their rehearsal. Nick Bottom, a stagestruck weaver, is spotted by Puck, who transforms his head into that of an ass (donkey). Titania is
awakened by Bottom's singing and immediately falls in love with him. She treats him like a nobleman
and lavishes him with attention. While in this state of devotion, she encounters Oberon and casually
gives him the Indian boy. Having achieved his goals, Oberon releases Titania and orders Puck to
remove the ass's head from Bottom. The magical enchantment is removed from Lysander but is allowed
to remain on Demetrius, so that he may reciprocate Helena's love.
The fairies then disappear, and Theseus and Hippolyta arrive on the scene, during an early
morning hunt. They wake the lovers and, since Demetrius doesn't love Hermia anymore, Theseus overrules Egeus's demands and arranges a group wedding. The lovers decide that the night's events must
have been a dream. After they all exit, Bottom awakes, and he too decides that he must have
experienced a dream "past the wit of man." In Athens, Theseus, Hippolyta and the lovers watch the
mechanicals perform "Pyramus and Thisbe." It is ridiculous and badly performed but gives everyone
pleasure regardless, and afterward everyone retires to bed. Finally, as night falls, Oberon and Titania
bless the house, its occupants, and the future children of the newlyweds, and Puck delivers a soliloquy
to the audience.
Themes
Love
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Writer David Bevington finds in the play what he refers to as the dark side of love. He writes
that the fairies make light of love by mistaking the lovers and by applying a love potion to Titanias
eyes, forcing her to fall in love with Bottom as an ass. There are many dark sides of love that occur in
A Midsummer Nights Dream. Hippolyta is wood by a sword instead of being given love-tokens
in the same way Lysander has won Hermias love (1.1.17-30). What is even more disturbing is the
possible outcome that could have taken place at the forest. Shakespeare borrows the myth of Pyramus
and Thisbe from Ovids Metamorphoses, transforming it into a play that is performed at the end and
using ideas of the myth for the entire play. Like Pyramus and Thisbe, Hermia and Lysander escape to
the forest to avoid the tyranny of Hermias father. In the forest, both couples are met by problems and
assume that a partner is dead at some point. Hermia and Lysander are both met by Puck, who provides
some comedic relief in the play by confusing the four lovers in the forest. Despite the darkness and
difficulty that obstructs the love in A Midsummer Nights Dream, it is still a comedy as Benedetto
Croce indicates. He writes, love is sincere, yet deceives and is deceived; it imagines itself to be firm
and constant, and turns out to be fragile and fleeting [. This passage, like the play juxtaposes one idea
next to another. The play is a comedy, yet it harbors serious ideas. At the end of the play, Hermia and
Lysander, happily married, watch the play about the unfortunate lovers, Pyramus and Thisbe, and are
able to enjoy and laugh about the play, not realizing the similarities between them. Although their story
is very similar to that of Pyramus and Thisbe, it does not end in tragic death . Hermia and Lysander are
both oblivious to the dark side of their love. They are not aware of the possible outcome that could
have taken place at the forest.
Loss of Individual Identity
Maurice Hunt, Chair of the English Department at Baylor University writes of the blurring of
the identities of fantasy and reality in the play that make possible that pleasing, narcotic dreaminess
associated with the fairies of the play. By emphasizing this theme even in the setting of the play,
Shakespeare prepares the readers mind to accept the fantastic reality of the fairy world and its magical
happenings. This also seems to be the axis around which the plot conflicts in the play occur. Hunt
suggests that it is the breaking down of individual identities leads to the central conflict in the story. It
is the brawl between Oberon and Titania, based on a lack of recognition for the other in the
relationship, that drives the rest of the drama in the story and makes it dangerous for any of the other
lovers to come together due to the disturbance of Nature caused by a fairy dispute. Similarly, this
failure to identify and make distinction is what leads Puck to mistake one set of lovers for another in
the forest and place the juice of the flower on Lysanders eyes instead of Demetrius. Victor Kiernan, a
Marxist scholar and historian, writes that it is for the greater sake of love that this loss of identity takes
place and that individual characters are made to suffer accordingly: It was the more extravagant cult of
love that struck sensible people as irrational, and likely to have dubious effects on its acolytes. He
believes that identities in the play are not so much lost as they are blended together to create a type of
haze through which distinction becomes nearly impossible. It is driven by a desire for new and more
practical ties between characters as a means of coping with the strange world within the forest, even in
relationships as diverse and seemingly unrealistic as the brief love between Titania and Bottom the Ass:
It was the tidal force of this social need that lent energy to relationships. David Marshall, an
aesthetics scholar and English Professor at the University of California - Santa Barbara, takes this
theme to an even further conclusion, pointing out that the loss of identity is especially played out in the
description of the mechanicals their assumption of other identities. In describing the occupations of the
acting troupe, he writes Two construct or put together, two mend and repair, one weaves and one sews.
All join together what is apart or mend what has been rent, broken, or sundered. In Marshalls opinion,
this loss of individual identity not only blurs specificities, it creates new identities found in community,
which Marshall points out may lead to some understanding of Shakespeares opinions on love and
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marriage. Further, the mechanicals understand this theme as they take on their individual parts for a
corporate performance of Pyramus and Thisbe. Marshall remarks that To be an actor is to double and
divide oneself, to discover oneself in two parts: both oneself and not oneself, both the part and not the
part. He claims that the mechanicals understand this and that each character, particularly among the
lovers, has a sense of laying down individual identity for the greater benefit of the group or pairing. It
seems that a desire to lose ones individuality and find identity in the love of another is what quietly
moves the events of A Midsummer Nights Dream. It is the primary sense of motivation and is even
reflected in the scenery and mood of the story.
Macbeth
The Tragedy of Macbeth (commonly called Macbeth) is a play by William Shakespeare about
a regicide and its aftermath. It is Shakespeare's shortest tragedy and is believed to have been written
sometime between 1603 and 1607
The first act of the play opens amidst thunder and lightning with the Three Witches deciding
that their next meeting shall be with Macbeth. In the following scene, a wounded captain reports to
King Duncan of Scotland that his generals Macbeth, who is the Thane of Glamis, and Banquo have
just defeated the allied forces of Norway and Ireland, who were led by the traitor Macdonwald.
Macbeth, the King's kinsman, is praised for his bravery and fighting prowess.
The scene changes. Macbeth and Banquo enter, discussing the weather and their victory ("So
foul and fair a day I have not seen"). As they wander onto a heath, the Three Witches enter, who have
waited to greet them with prophecies. Even though Banquo challenges them first, they address
Macbeth. The first witch hails Macbeth as "Thane of Glamis", the second as "Thane of Cawdor", and
the third proclaims that he shall "be King hereafter". Macbeth appears to be stunned to silence, so again
Banquo challenges them. The witches inform Banquo that he will father a line of kings, though he
himself will not be one. While the two men wonder at these pronouncements, the witches vanish, and
another thane, Ross, a messenger from the King, arrives and informs Macbeth of his newly bestowed
title: Thane of Cawdor. The first prophecy is thus fulfilled. Immediately, Macbeth begins to harbour
ambitions of becoming king.
Macbeth writes to his wife about the witches' prophecies. When Duncan decides to stay at the
Macbeths' castle at Inverness, Lady Macbeth hatches a plan to murder him and secure the throne for
her husband. Although Macbeth raises concerns about the regicide, Lady Macbeth eventually persuades
him, by challenging his manhood, to follow her plan.
On the night of the king's visit, Macbeth kills Duncan. The deed is not seen by the audience, but
it leaves Macbeth so shaken that Lady Macbeth has to take charge. In accordance with her plan, she
frames Duncan's sleeping servants for the murder by planting bloody daggers on them. Early the next
morning, Lennox, a Scottish nobleman, and Macduff, the loyal Thane of Fife, arrive. A porter opens the
gate and Macbeth leads them to the king's chamber, where Macduff discovers Duncan's corpse. In a
feigned fit of anger, Macbeth murders the guards before they can protest their innocence. Macduff is
immediately suspicious of Macbeth, but does not reveal his suspicions publicly. Fearing for their lives,
Duncan's sons flee, Malcolm to England and Donalbain to Ireland. The rightful heirs' flight makes them
suspects and Macbeth assumes the throne as the new King of Scotland as a kinsman of the dead king.
Despite his success, Macbeth remains uneasy about the prophecy about Banquo. So Macbeth
invites him to a royal banquet and discovers that Banquo and his young son, Fleance, will be riding out
that night. He hires two men to kill them. A third murderer appears mysteriously in the park before the
murder. While the assassins kill Banquo, Fleance escapes. At the banquet, Banquo's ghost enters and
sits in Macbeth's place. Only Macbeth can see the spectre; the rest panic at the sight of Macbeth raging
at an empty chair, until a desperate Lady Macbeth orders them to leave.

Macbeth, disturbed, visits the Three Witches once more. They conjure up three spirits with three
further warnings and prophecies, which tell him to "beware Macduff,"[4] but also that "none of woman
born shall harm Macbeth" and he will "never vanquish'd be until Great Birnam Wood to high
Dunsinane Hill shall come against him". Since Macduff is in exile in England, Macbeth assumes that
he is safe; so he puts to death everyone in Macduff's castle, including Macduff's wife and their young
children.
Lady Macbeth becomes wracked with guilt from the crimes she and her husband have
committed. She sleepwalks and tries to wash imaginary bloodstains from her hands, all the while
speaking of the terrible things she knows.
In England, Macduff is informed by Ross that "Your castle is surprised; your wife and babes /
Savagely slaughter'd." Macbeth, now viewed as a tyrant, sees many of his thanes defecting. Malcolm
leads an army, along with Macduff and Englishmen Siward (the Elder), the Earl of Northumberland,
against Dunsinane Castle. While encamped in Birnam Wood, the soldiers are ordered to cut down and
carry tree limbs to camouflage their numbers, thus fulfilling the witches' third prophecy. Meanwhile,
Macbeth delivers a soliloquy ("Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow"[6]) upon his learning of Lady
Macbeth's death (the cause is undisclosed, and some assume that she committed suicide, as Malcolm's
last reference to her reveals "'tis thought, by self and violent hands / Took off her life"[7]).
A battle culminates in the slaying of the young Siward and Macduff's confrontation with
Macbeth. Macbeth boasts that he has no reason to fear Macduff, for he cannot be killed by any man
born of woman. Macduff declares that he was "from his mother's womb / Untimely ripp'd"[8] (i.e., born
by Caesarean section) and was not "of woman born" (this is an example of a literary quibble). Macbeth
realizes, too late, that he has misinterpreted the witches' words. Macduff beheads Macbeth off stage and
thereby fulfills the last of the prophecies.
Although Malcolm is placed on the throne and not Fleance, the witches' prophecy concerning
Banquo, "Thou shalt [be]get kings", was known to the audience of Shakespeare's time to be true, for
James VI of Scotland (later also James I of England) was supposedly a descendant of Banquo
Daniel Defoe (1660-1731) and Jonathan Swift ( 1667-1745) and Laurence Sterne ( 17131768 )
The 18th ce. novel was , to a large degree , an evolution of the non- fictional prose- writing of
the period. Five towering literary figures- D. Defoe, Samuel Richardson, Henry Fielding, Jonathan
Swift and Laurence Sterne moulded fictional prose into literary form that appealed to the 18th ce.
Reader. In doing so, they created the dominant literary genre of the next three ce. : the modern novel.
Defoe`s first novel Robinson Crusoe, 1719, was loosely based on the real life experience of a
shipwrecked sailor and was presented as a true story in a diary form told by the hero himself. The hero
of the story, Robinson, also hat a strong appeal for the new readership as he was a perfect example of
the Puritan ideal of a self- made man : an ordinary man who, through hard work and faith in God ,
overcomes adversity. Robinson Crusoe is generally regarded as the first novel in the Eng. language .
Defoe went on to write 5 more novels, Captain Singleton, Moll Flanders, Roxana, Colonel Jack,
Memoirs of a Cavalier and a pseudo- factual account of London during the great plaque entitled A
Journal of the Plaque Year.
Daniel Defoe produced hismost important works during the Augustan Age, named for its writers who
consciously attempted to emulate the work of the original Augustan writers, such as Virgil and Horace.
He is also among those responsible for the creation of the English novel. Over the course of his
lifetime, he worked as a journalist, pamphleteer, and essayist, writing as a social commentator for the
merchant class. Defoes work is a hallmark of the Neoclassical Age. It is didactic as well as analytical.
9

Defoe wrote on politics, religion, and economics, and he drew from his social awareness when he
wrote his nov-els, some of which were passed off as factual memoir.
The Life and Strange Surprizing Adventures of Robinson Crusoe of York, Mariner, better
known today as Robinson Crusoe, was published in 1719. It was his first novel and came to be his
most recognized
. Robinson Crusoe - was based on the adventures of Alexander Selkirk, a Scottish sailor
marooned alone on the island of Yernan-dez in the South Pacific. In terms of literary history, it is often
called the first English novel. Robinson Crusoe rejects his mercantile family in favor of a life at sea.
After a number of adventures, including his encounters with pirates and an escape from slavery, Crusoe
is caught in a hurricane. His ship is rendered useless as a result of the storm, and for the next twentyeight years, he is stranded on an island in the Caribbean. The work documents Crusoes struggle to
survive in isolation. Robinson Crusoe has many characteristics of a classical epic, with an identifiable
hero, hard travel, separation from a homeland, and even small battles. Defoe assigns the character of
Robinson Crusoe several admirable qualities, recognized, both in modern times and at the time of the
books publication, for his practical-ity, intelligence, and a well-balanced religious-ness, among others.
The book was even used for instructional purposes.
Themes
Fear
Robinson Crusoe must overcome his fear in order to survive his long ordeal on the deserted
island. The trial by fear begins when he runs about like a madman, scared of every shadow, and sleeps
in a tree with a weapon: "fear banished all my religious hope, all that former confidence in God." He
quickly realizes that he must recover his wits and reason if he is to survive.At several points in the
narrative, Crusoe is almost overwhelmed by his fear of the unknown. It propels him to colonize the
island, securing his shelter and becoming self-sufficient. His ability to funnel his fear into productivity
and creativity allows him to survive under extreme conditions.Crusoe masters his fear when he faces
the ultimate challenge the devil. Investigating a cave, he is met by a pair of eyes. At first scared, he
realizes that he can confront this enemy just like he has met every other challenge on the island. "He
that was afraid to see the devil, was not fit to live twenty years in an island all alone."
Human Condition
Robinson Crusoe is a meditation on the human condition, and an argument for challenging
traditional notions about that condition. Finding himself alone in a deserted island, Crusoe struggles to
maintain reason, order, and civilization. His "original sin" is his rejection of a conventional life. When
he leaves England for a life on the high seas, he refuses to be "satisfied with the station wherein God
and Nature hath placed" him. Crusoe struggles with and eventually triumphs over nature. The
book suggests that this struggle is at the heart of human nature: man is on earth to triumph and gain
profit from nature. Any profit makes sense in this view of the world, whether that means getting just
one plank out of a huge tree or building a boat too heavy to bring to the water. Once Crusoe is able to
overcome his fear and subdue nature is rewarded handsomely.
Money
Consistent with Defoe's writings on economics, money is an important theme in Robinson
Crusoe. At the beginning of the narrative, Crusoe details how much money he has, what he does with
it, and what he gains by his actions.On the island, money loses all value. Crusoe has to find another
way to measure his worth. While rummaging through a ship for salvage he laments aloud at the sight of
some money, "O Drug! what are thou good for."
Industrialization
Industrialization is defined here as a process whereby humans channel the forces of nature into
the production and manufacture of goods for their economic consumption. This industrialization is
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Crusoe's occupation, according to his cultural background and his religion. He immediately sets out to
be productive and self-sufficient on the island.
Crusoe has a few implements with which he is able to reconstruct a semblance of civilization as
well as create more advanced technology. While building his house, he notes that every task is
exhausting. In brief, he praises the idea of "division of labor" as he describes cutting timber out of
trees, bringing the wood from the trees to the construction site, and then constructing his shelter. He
soon devises labor-saving devices, thus increasing his efficiency and productivity.
The necessity of a sharp ax leads Crusoe to invent his own foot-powered sharpener. He has "no
notion of a kiln," but he manages to fire pottery. He needs a mill for grinding his grain, but not finding
a proper stone, he settles for a block of hard wood. The entire process of baking his own bread spurs a
realization of how wonderful the state of human technology is.
People take the labor behind the necessities of life for granted when such items can be easily
purchased in the market. Crusoe is not suggesting that people return to a world of self-sufficient
households. Instead, as he goes about his Herculean tasks, like creating a simple shelf in his house, he
comments that a carpenter could have finished the two-day job in an hour. Thus he appreciates the
process of specialization that helps make industrialization so successful
J Swift( 1667-1745) used hard- hitting and at times bitter satire. Swift, like Defoe, started his
career as a journalist. He quickly gained a reputation as a satirist targeting , among other subjects,
political corruption and English misrule in Ireland. His great satirical novel Gulliver`s Travel was
published in 1726 and was an immediate success. It has been interpreted at many different levels : as a
travel book for children, a biting political satire and an indictment of a society that accepts war and
corruption and rejects altruism and reason as a way of life.
Gullivers Travels Jonathan Swift saw overnight success with the 1727 publication of his
politically charged satire Gullivers Travels. It had all of the elements of a tempting readmystery as
well as political, social, and sexual scandal. Lemuel Gulliver is the main character of Gullivers
Travels, and the book is an account of his adventures in Lilliput, Brobdingnag, Laputa, and among the
Houyhnhnms. Gulliver finds himself towering over the inhabitants of Lilliput (they are only six inches
high), and they refer to Gulliver as Man-Mountain. Gullivers size is a political issue, and, as he
become smore and more involved in Lilliput, demands are put upon him to aid the Lilliputians in a war
against Blefuscu. The plot is largely allegorical and comments indirectly on contemporary British
politics. It did not take the public long to discover that the author was writing about England rather than
Lilliput and the like or that the author of this satire was Jonathan Swift. Swift was not only active on
the political scene but a well-known journalist with an easily recognizable style
Style
Point of View
Lemuel Gulliver himself narrates the story of Gulliver's Travels, but this first-person narrator is
not completely reliable. Though Gulliver is very exact with the details of his travels, and we know him
to be honest, sometimes he doesn't see the forest for the trees. Swift deliberately makes Gulliver naive
and sometimes even arrogant for two reasons. First, it makes the reader more skeptical about the ideas
presented in the book. Second, it allows the reader to have a good laugh at Gulliver's expense when he
doesn't realize the absurdity of his limited viewpoint. He certainly sounds foolish when extolling the
qualities of gunpowder to the peaceful Brobdingnagians, for example. Also, at the end of the novel, the
reader can see that Gulliver has turned into a misanthrope (hater of humanity), but can hear in his voice
both here and in the introductory letter to his publisher that he is proud and arrogant in his belief that
humans are Yahoos. Because by the end of the book readers are accustomed to being skeptical of
Gulliver's perceptions, one can guess that his misanthropy has something to do with his arrogance.
11

Humans simply can't be perfect and if we hold ourselves to that ideal we will hate humanity, but
Gulliver can't see this truth. Swift claimed that it was not he that was misanthropic, but Gulliver, the
narrator he created.
Setting
Although the fantastic lands that provide the setting for Gulliver's Travels seem unreal today,
modern readers should keep in mind that the settings would not have seemed so farfetched to Swift's
contemporaries. The novel was written in the 1720s, and Gulliver travels to areas that were still
unknown or little explored during this time. The book was written before the discovery of the Bering
Strait between Alaska and Russia, for example, where Brobdingnag is supposedly located. It was also
before the discovery of an effective means of measuring latitude, which meant it was very difficult for
sailors to navigate and explore new territory accurately. Travelogues, or accounts of journeys to foreign
lands, were very popular at this time, so the reading public was accustomed to hearing of new
geographical discoveries. Thus Gulliver's explorations to new lands, while unusual, would have seemed
little different than the strange tales of "exotic" lands in America, Asia, and Africa. Like the travelogues
it parodies, Gulliver's Travels even provides maps of Gulliver's journeys in the book to lend more
truthfulness to the story.
Structure
Structurally, Gulliver's Travels is divided into four parts with two introductory letters at the
beginning of the book. These letters, from Gulliver and his editor Sympson, let us know that Gulliver is
basically a good person who has been very much changed by the amazing journeys to follow. Part I
follows Gulliver's journey to Lilliput and its tiny people; Part II to Brobdingnag and its giants; Part III
to several islands and countries near Japan; part IV follows Gulliver to the country of the Houyhnhnm.
The first and second parts set up contrasts that allow Swift to satirize European politics and society.
The third part satirizes human institutions and thinking and is subdivided into four sections that are set
in Laputa, Balnibarbi, Glubbdubdrib, and Luggnagg. The first two sections are seen as a critique of
sciences and scholars; the Glubbdubdrib section looks at history; and the Luggnagg section at Swift's
fears about getting old. The final section moves from criticizing humanity's works to examining the
flawed nature of humanity itself.
Utopia
The idea of a perfect society, with institutions such as government, school, and churches that are
flawless in design, began with the ancient Greeks and was explored by Thomas More's Utopia (1516.
Gulliver finds a near-utopia in the land of Brobdingnag, where war and oppression are unheard
of. In this section, Swift incorporated many of the ideas of the social engineers of his day. Swift's
impatience with utopian theories is also evident, however. Because the Brobdingnagians are humanlike,
their utopia is not completely perfect. They can be insensitive, treating Gulliver as some sort of pet or
toy, and their society includes poor beggars. In Luggnagg, Gulliver is told of a race of men who are
immortal, and he imagines that their wisdom must be great, making their society well-ordered and their
people happy and content. Unfortunately, everlasting life does not combat the effects of old age, and
the immortals are objects of pity and disgust. Swift comes close to creating a perfect utopia with the
Houyhnhnm, but suggests that man can never really fit in a perfect society, because he is by his nature
flawed. Therefore, he can only strive for the ideal, and never reach it.
But would we want to? The Brobdingnagian society is imperfect, but the people are wise and
humane. While the Houyhnhnm society does not have grief, lying or deceit, greed or lust, ambition or
opinion, it also doesn't have love as we know it. All the Houyhnhnm love each other equally. They
chose their mates according to genetics rather than love or passion, and they raise their children
communally, because they love all the children equally. Gulliver wants to rise above the human
condition and be a Houyhnhnm, but Swift implies that this is neither possible nor necessarily desirable.
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Allegory
An allegory is when characters or events in a work of fiction represent something from reality,
such as actual people, places, events, or even ideas. In Gulliver's Travels, and especially in Part I, many
of the things Gulliver experiences can be linked to actual historical events of Swift's time. For instance, the religious/political controversy between the Big Enders and Little Enders corresponds to
actual conflicts between Protestants and Catholics that led to several wars. Lilliput stands for England,
while Blefuscu stands for England's longtime enemy, France. The two-faced Treasurer Flimnap
corresponds to the Whig leader Sir Robert Walpole, while the Empress's outrage at Gulliver's
extinguishing a palace fire with his urine mirrors the complaints Queen Anne had about Swift's
"vulgar" writings. The numerous allegories to be found in the novel added to satire Swift's readers
would have enjoyed. They have also provided critics throughout the years with valuable material for
analysis.
G ullivers Travels recounts the story of Lemuel Gulliver, a practical-minded Englishman
trained as a surgeon who takes to the seas when his business fails. In a deadpan first-person narrative
that rarely shows any signs of self-reflection or deep emotional response, Gulliver narrates the
adventures that befall him on these travels.
Perhaps the most innovative work in the new field of novel- writing was done by
Laurence Sterne ( 1713-1768 ) , an Anglican priest who seemed to adhere to none of the rules that had
been established for the new genre. His Life and Opinions of Tristam Shandy, Gentleman ( 1761),
ostensibly an autobiography , includes so many disgressions that by conventional standards the plot is
preposterous. Add to this unfinished sentences, blank pages, pages containing one word, and
idiosyncratic syntax and it is clear that his novel is the work of a very original mind. Sterne seems to
suggest that the orderly chronological narration of events which could be found in other novels of the
period did not reflect the perception of time and space which exists in the human mind. In his attempt
to capture human consciousness, Sterne foreshadows the work if 20h ce. novelists such as Joyce, Woolf
and Faulkner.
For its time, the novel is highly unconventional in its narrative technique--even though it also
incorporates a vast number of references and allusions to more traditional works. The title itself is a
play on a novelistic formula that would have been familiar to Sterne's contemporary readers; instead of
giving us the "life and adventures" of his hero, Sterne promises us his "life and opinions." What sounds
like a minor difference actually unfolds into a radically new kind of narrative. Tristram Shandy bears
little resemblance to the orderly and structurally unified novels (of which Fielding's Tom Jones was
considered to be the model) that were popular in Sterne's day. The questions Sterne's novel raises about
the nature of fiction and of reading have given Tristram Shandy a particular relevance for twentieth
century writers like Virginia Woolf, Samuel Beckett, and James Joyce
The action covered in Tristram Shandy spans the years 1680-1766. Sterne obscures the story's
underlying chronology, however, by rearranging the order of the various pieces of his tale. He also
subordinates the basic plot framework by weaving together a number of different stories, as well as
such disparate materials as essays, sermons, and legal documents. There are, nevertheless, two clearly
discernible narrative lines in the book.
The first is the plot sequence that includes Tristram's conception, birth, christening, and
accidental circumcision. It takes six volumes to cover this chain of events, although comparatively few
pages are spent in actually advancing such a simple plot. The story occurs as a series of accidents, all of
which seem calculated to confound Walter Shandy's hopes and expectations for his son. The manner of
his conception is the first disaster, followed by the flattening of his nose at birth, a misunderstanding in
which he is given the wrong name, and an accidental run-in with a falling window-sash. The
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catastrophes that befall Tristram are actually relatively trivial; only in the context of Walter Shandy's
eccentric, pseudo-scientific theories do they become calamities.
The second major plot consists of the fortunes of Tristram's Uncle Toby. Most of the details of
this story are concentrated in the final third of the novel, although they are alluded to and developed in
piecemeal fashion from the very beginning. Toby receives a wound to the groin while in the army, and
it takes him four years to recover. When he is able to move around again, he retires to the country with
the idea of constructing a scaled replica of the scene of the battle in which he was injured. He becomes
obsessed with re-enacting those battles, as well as with the whole history and theory of fortification and
defense. The Peace of Utrecht slows him down in these "hobby-horsical" activities, however, and it is
during this lull that he falls under the spell of Widow Wadman. The novel ends with the long-promised
account of their unfortunate affair.
Historical Context.England in the 1720s.

While Swift was writing Gulliver's Travels in the 1720s, England was undergoing a lot of
political shuffling. George I, a Hanoverian prince of Germany, had ascended the British throne in 1714
after the death of Queen Anne ended the Stuart line. Although he was not a bad or repressive king, he
was unpopular. King George had gained his throne with the assistance of the Whig party, and his Whig
ministers subsequently used their considerable gains in power to oppress members of the opposition
Tory party. Swift had been a Tory since 1710, and bitterly resented the Whig actions against his friends,
who often faced exile or worse. Understanding how events in Europe and England led to this political
rivalry can help the reader of Swift's novel better understand his satire.
The Restoration
The Restoration era began in 1660, a few years before Swift was born. At this time Charles
Stuart (King Charles II) became king of England, restoring the Protestant Stuart family to the throne.
Charles II supported a strong Church of England, also known as the Anglican Church. He was
supported by the Tories, a political party made up mostly of church officials and landowning noblemen.
Protestants who did not support the Anglican church teamed with Roman Catholics to form the
opposing Whig party. The main source of contention between the parties was the Test Act of 1673,
which forced all government employees to receive communion according to the Anglican church's
customs. In effect, this prevented non-An-glicans from holding government jobs. Swift himself
supported the act, and even switched from Whig to Tory in 1710 because he believed a strong Church
of England was necessary to keep the balance of power in the government. Throughout his life, he felt
that institutions such as the church and government had to be strong in order to rein in people's
tendency toward chaos and sin; he explored this idea in Gulliver's Travels. Over the years, however,
Swift came to believe the Tories were as much to blame as the Whigs for engaging in partisan politics,
locking horns over minor issues and bringing the government to a stalemate. Whenever one party was
in favor with the reigning king and in power in the Parliament, it attacked the other party, exiling and
imprisoning the opposition's members. Swift satirized their selfish and petty politics in Part I of
Gulliver's Travels, where the Lilliputian heir (who represented George II, the future king of England)
has to hobble about with one short heel and one high as a compromise between the two parties that
wear different heights of heels.
The Glorious Revolution and War of Spanish Succession
Charles II's brother King James II, a Catholic, came to the British throne in 1685. He
immediately repealed the Test Act and began to hire Whigs for his government. The Anglicandominated Parliament secretly negotiated with William of Orange, the Protestant Dutch husband of
James's Protestant daughter Mary, to take over the throne. In December 1688, William did so, and

14

James II fled to France without a fight. This was called the Glorious Revolution because no one was
killed in the coup.
Soon after King William III and Queen Mary II came to power, the Catholic Louis XIV of
France declared war on Spain over trade and religious issues. William entered the war on the side of
Spain, a war the English called William's War. This conflict was satirized by Swift in the war between
the Lilliputians (England) and Blefuscudians (England with the Spanish, Dutch, and Germans as allies)
was fighting France, it was also warring with Ireland. Irish Catholics wanted freedom from British rule,
and England feared that France could invade their country through a sympathetic Ireland. Peace came
about in 1697, but England got almost none of the spoils of war land in Spain. In order to appear
strong, William declared war again, this time on the Spanish and the French. This began the War of
Spanish Succession.
In 1702 William died and his daughter Queen Anne ascended the throne. The war waged on
while at home the Whigs and Tories fought amongst themselves. Many of the Whigs were merchants
who were profiting from the war, and they wanted the fighting to continue. The landowning Tories
wanted the war to cease, because it devalued their property. Swift helped the Tories in their efforts to
stop the war by becoming editor of their newspa-per, the Examiner. His influential writings, along with
his friend Bolingbroke's secret negotiations with France, helped end the war in 1713 with the Treaty of
Utrecht. Queen Anne seemed ungrateful for these efforts, as she later exiled Bolingbroke and destroyed
Swift's chances of a career in the Church of England. Swift was forced to return to Ireland to find a job
as an Anglican priest.
The Enlightenment
In the midst of all this political back and forth, the optimistic Age of Enlightenment was
flourish-ing. Intellectuals, philosophers, and scientists such as John Locke, Francis Bacon, and Isaac
Newton were opening the doors to exploration in many fields, asking new questions, and
experimenting. They discarded the old idea that man is by nature sinful because of Adam and Eve's fall
from grace in the Garden of Eden. Man's ability to reason, they claimed, could save him from his
tendency to sin. Man could create a utopia, or perfect society, that solved the problems of humankind.
Swift vehemently disagreed. He felt that reason could just as easily be misused for foolish or selfish
purposes as good ones, and man could never rise above the tendency toward sin to be able to create
utopia on earth. His satire of the folly of Enlightenment scientific and theological musings and
experiments in Part III of Gulliver's Travels is followed by his portrayal of a utopian society, the
Houyhnhnm's, into which man can never fit.
VICTORIAN NOVEL
-the 19 ce was par excellence the great age of En novel , this was bec the essentially middle
class literary art was bound to flourish increasingly as the middle classes rose in power &importance
and partly bec the novel was vehicle best equipped to present a picture of live lived in a given society
against the stable background of social&moral values. The great Vic motto was self help , it was an age
of contrasts ( hypocrsy, ugliness/ energy, optimism and Vic achievements.To many, vic carries the
feeling of stufiness, overfilled.
The idea of progress ( We are on the side of progress-Macauly wrote in an essay ).The future
was a better &a brighter one to come.The notion of progress seemed in general accord with the
conviction that the meaning of life lay not so much in present achievement as in continued onward
aspiration..The idea of progress bec accompanied by the questioning of progress-Tennyson`s poetry ,
Hardy`s novel.Science grows and beauty dwindles -represent the Vic awareness voiced through
Tennyson poetry.Hardy could never forgive the progress that was destroying old legends , folklore and

15

rustic individuality and his depiction of lives of rural workers grew increasingly pessimistic as he
brought their stories down to nearly contemporary lives.
The passion for the past: people bec aware of the passage of time& its power to
create&destroy.The Vic were obsessively preoccupied with time and the devices measuring it. Time
appears as the relation bet public time and private time, as well as bet the temporal &the eternal.Vic
writers were haunted by the ghosts of Past/Present and Yet to come . The sense of history , of a
perpetually changeful public time was central to 19 ce.The great polar ideas of Vic period were the idea
of progress&decadence, the twin aspects of an all-encompassing history.If the present seemed wavery
&amorphous, the past at least was fixed&definite.
-the 19 ce was the great age of autobiography.The quality of inner life was recovered by self
examination and self reproof.The bildungsroman, the novel of a young mans growth&initiation,
appealed to the Vic novelists`passion for autobiographical elements. The fact that the endings of such
novels were aesthetically inconclusive (Dickens novels)was evidence simply that the novelist , whose
own development was still in progress, could not detach himself enough from the protagonist to pass a
disinterested judgement on the success&failure of his orientation.
-detachment was a prime objective in much of Vic writing.J.Newton significantly entitled his
great autobio.work -Apologia pro Vita Sua . We can observe the avoidance of the emotional
commentary.
-The most common point of view encountered in Vic nov is that of a non dramatized/
heterodiegetic narrator of a conventionally third person narrative in the case of full omniscience. We
can refer to 2 kinds of omniscience; the neutral and the editorial one, as Norman Freidman calls it, the
editorial one being a rather more personalized.In Dic`s case, smt the narrator may be dramatized or
personified first person voice, called by Friedman the I as protagonist or the I as witness .
Vic nov function as a mirror of the collective mind, a mind of Vic community While they
evolve from a low-mimetic comic forms ( Dick ) , through high-mimetic literary form (G Elliot ) , to
ironically mythical ones ( hardy ) , Vic novels remain ,means of analyzing the common vic mentali
ty , with all its grandeur and defeat. A low mimetic form thereby suggest its rather limited scope and
aspirations. According to J Miller three questions are crucial to Vic fiction : The questioning of time,
of interpersonal relation and of realism
Charles Dickens(1812-1870)
He may be cons. the most comprehensive novelist since he presents diff people( eccentrics,
villains, hypocrites, criminals ) . Sketches by Boz , The Posthumous Papers of the Pickwick Club everything in wrapped in a comic ,smt. Even burlesque atmosphere.. C.D. began with a great sense of
life and a little sense of form . Oliver Twist -the fair-land of the previous book, was becoming a
nightmare in the latter- a child`s nightmare in which grown-ups are odd, arbitrary, smt absurdly comics,
smt terrifying , smt both at once. Make `em laugh, make `em cry, mahe `em wait , was his friend
Wilkie Collins `s formula for the novel. CD made his readers laugh with his Pickwick papers ; now
he was making them crying , supplying all the melodrama they coul wish for in the next books :
David Copperfield (1849),Bleak House , hard Times Great Expectations (1860 ).
What most critics agree is that D. was not a realistic novelist , and that when he attempted to
write realistically , he failed . He creates dialogue that has the vitality and humour of the best of
comedy. His characters never seem to communicate : they are isolated , self-soliloquizing beings borne
along each upon his balloon of individual fantasy (as Walter Allen put it ) and in this he is more
realistic than we are prepare to admit.
David C. -of all my books , I like it the best -the autobiography is subdued into art with
remarkable skill , CD explores the relation bet. convention & reality, bet. public & private standards.
16

Mr Micawber , Uriah Heep , are dominated by one single feature ; humility , exaggerated optimism .
Besides portraying exaggerated characters, D. also contradicts the traditional spirit of realistic novel . A
conclusive example can be provided by the opening chapter of DC, an introduction into a fairy-tale
atmosphere with all the set ingredients . David`s life began at 12 o`clock at night , which in the opinion
of the countrywomen was a sign, as he was cursed to be unhappy and to see ghosts or other
supernatural things . even more, the cold March day with the wind blowing was further proof of the
tormented life David was going to lead. The only ghosts he finally saw were the ones of many hopes ,
remembrances, errors and sorrows.
D. Cop. is born a posthumous child & for a view years lives happily with his mother & their
servant Clara Peggotty till his mother married Mr Murdstone . David is sent to Salem House , lead by
the tyrannical headmaster Creakle, but makes friends:James Steerforth & Tommy Traddles.David runs
away to his aunt Betsey Trotwood , then continues his education at Canterbury, living in the house of
Miss Trotwood`s lawyer Mr Wickfield, whose daughter Agnes, a girl of exceptionally sweet and highminded disposition, exercises a powerful influence on the rest of his life. But David marries Dora, who
dies a few years after. Her father has fallen into the toils of a villainous and cunning clerk Uriah Heep,
one of CD`s most brilliant caricatures, who, under the cloak of the humility nearly ruined him.Uriah
also aspires to marry Agnes, but he find his happiness in prison, under a life sentence. David marries
Agnes, Mr Peggotty with Em`ly and Mrs Gummidge, is found prospering in Australia, where Mr
Micawber, relieved of his debts, appears finally as a much esteemed colonial magistrate.
The book develops on 2 levels , the private &the social :on the private one, the story does not
lack the inevitable Dickens sentimentalities ( David1s unhappiness as a child, the fate of little Em`ly ,
D`s relation with Dora ); on the social level ,comedy and his realism are devastating. The theme is a
clash of different ways of life; different strata of society each with its own ideals of gentility and worth
come into conflict with each other.
Great Expectaions is seen as the most romantic of D`s novels . He combines realistic
elements with romantic ones, particularly as far as the atmosphere & characters are concerned. All his
work is conditioned by the childlike view of human beings & society , in all his novels he gives the
impression that everything is seen through the eyes of a child. He catches with merciless delight the
external aspects of a character, the apparent meaningless gestures, nervous tricks , the habits of the
speech and the obsessions that dominates characters. His best achieved ch. are the eccentric ones. He
was haunted by the sense of emotional abandonment. The presence of the persecuted child is central to
his writing, it explains the melodramatic ends or the fairy-tale aspects of most of his endings. G.E.
has been described as one of Dic.`s variants on the theme of money, money as the agent of isolation,
for Pip, perhaps Dic`s finest character in a more or less naturalistic mode , is perverted in his natural
affections and cut off those nearer and most loyal to him, by the expectation of money.The wonderful
opening chapter, with the description of the marshes and the confrontations of Pip with the escaped
convict sets the key to the whole book. As the hero, Pip is bending over his parents` tomb, trying to
infer their image from the shapes of the letters , he is assaulted by the escaped convict and symbolically
introduced into a prison-world, a world of expectations, a world of reversed values. Money and
expectations of more wealth come to him from a mysterious source , which he believes to be Miss
Havisham, who turned out to use her social status only to do psychological harm upon Estella and
Pip.He goes to London , and his new mode of life meanly abandons the devoted Joe Gargery, a humble
connection whom is now ashamed. Misfortunes come upon him: his benefactor proves to be the former
convict , his great expectations fade away . Estella marries his sulky enemy Drummle , by whom she is
cruelly ill-treated. Taught by adversity, Pip returns to Joe and honest labour , and he is finally reunited
to Estella, who has also learned her lesson. For the most characters, great expectations are fictions
which reality keeps frustrating and contradicting. As the conclusion of GE the reader most likely
17

finds Pip`s fate acceptable and enjoyable. Earlier in his life, he has changed from an innocent, caring
boy into an arrogant young man as a result of his non realistic hopes and expectations. However, when
those expectation come to an end, so do his undesirable traits , as he is shown to be a truly goodnatured person.
N. Frye speaks of him as a shrewd master of the absurd, and in this a forerunner of 20th ce
literature.In addition to this, Walter Allen points out, he was supremely an entertainer , the greatest
entertainer, probably, in the history of fiction "
Thomas Hardy (1840-1928)
His work represents a rejection against the Vic pattern. There are 2 major presuppositions
underlying his work :
1.time is an illusion,any event is a repetition of similar events which have already occurred ever
and ever in history ; 2. Distance and desire are two outliving threads in human destiny, distance as the
source of desire never fulfilled and desire as the energy behind attempts to turn distance into closeness.
The aspiring man is powerless in front of this suddenly hostile universe, whose main form of
manifestation is that of freak coincinence.
His first real success as a novelist is Under the Greenwood Tree ,1871, , the prodeced a series
of novels , Far from the Madding Crowd -1874the Return of the native-1878; Tess of the
D`ubervilles-1891, ended with Jude the Obscure-1896. The hostile reception of this novel sent back
to his first love, poetry.He published 8 volumes of poetry : Wessex Poems ,Poems of the Past and
Present, Moments of Visions , Winter Words . Hardy is cons to be a pessimist, but he denied that
he was one, calling himself a meliorist, one who believes that the world can be a better one by human
effort.Yet, there is little sign of meliorism in his work.
His characters stand in relation with weather, seasons, a traditional landscape. Nature is never
separated from the people, it pre-contitions them. Against a background with ancient monuments like
Stonehenge or an old Roman amphitheatre to remind us of the past, people are subject to the forces of
nature and to the forces of destiny. Nature is seen with its positive side, the one which sustains history ,
keeping the past alive , ensuring its repetition into cyclical patterns .Nature is not a mere background
of the action, it is all-persuasive and determining man1s action.
Most of his characters refuse their direct participation in the world &society, choosing to
withdraw from it, to observe it from the distance. In most of his work, there appears a culminating
point in which the characters takes stock of his/her double status in life, that of an actor &sufferer and
that of a detached observer.This moment ends in the realization that they are mere puppets of the
history, they have all been unknowingly the instruments of the Immanent Will. It may be considered a
blind force, sweeping through the universe .
He uses an imaginary topography , Wessex, a name taken from the realm of King Arthur .There
is the omniscient point of view, a strategy of emphasize the detachment is the handling of the narrator`s
time as totally different from the time of characters. The characters struggle is in vain They fight even
when they know they will de defeated , this is a tragic novel. Hardy made the transition bet the Vic
novel and the 20 the ce novel , he foreran the psychological fiction Tess ., A pure Woman is the
story of an intelligent and sensitive country girl who is driven to murder and so to the death by a set of
events and circumstances so bitterly ironic that many readers find it the darkest of Hardy`s novels.
The subtitle was v much to H`s purpose. The novel ends with Angel Clare walking away
hand in hand with Tess`s younger sister , a purer version of her. Hardy`s closing summary reads:
Justice was done, and the President of the Immortals had ended his sport with Tess The message is
that because everything is fated, the characters can only suffer as they follow their appointed courses.
This is also the way in which Tess must be seen as a pure woman.
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Analysis of Major Characters


Tess Durbeyfield
Intelligent, strikingly attractive, and distinguished by her deep moral sensitivity and passionate
intensity, Tess is indisputably the central character of the novel that bears her name. But she is also
more than a distinctive individual: Hardy makes her into somewhat of a mythic heroine. Her name,
formally Theresa, recalls St. Teresa of Avila, another martyr whose vision of a higher reality cost her
her life. Other characters often refer to Tess in mythical terms, as when Angel calls her a Daughter of
Nature in Chapter XVIII, or refers to her by the Greek mythological names Artemis and Demeter
in Chapter XX. The narrator himself sometimes describes Tess as more than an individual woman, but
as something closer to a mythical incarnation of womanhood. In Chapter XIV, he says that her eyes are
neither black nor blue nor grey nor violet; rather all these shades together, like an almost standard
woman. Tesss story may thus be a standard story, representing a deeper and larger experience than
that of a single individual.
In part, Tess represents the changing role of the agricultural workers in England in the late
nineteenth century. Possessing an education that her unschooled parents lack, since she has passed the
Sixth Standard of the National Schools, Tess does not quite fit into the folk culture of her predecessors,
but financial constraints keep her from rising to a higher station in life. She belongs in that higher
world, however, as we discover on the first page of the novel with the news that the Durbeyfields are
the surviving members of the noble and ancient family of the dUrbervilles. There is aristocracy in
Tesss blood, visible in her graceful beautyyet she is forced to work as a farmhand and milkmaid.
When she tries to express her joy by singing lower-class folk ballads at the beginning of the third part
of the novel, they do not satisfy hershe seems not quite comfortable with those popular songs. But,
on the other hand, her diction, while more polished than her mothers, is not quite up to the level of
Alecs or Angels. She is in between, both socially and culturally. Thus, Tess is a symbol of unclear and
unstable notions of class in nineteenth-century Britain, where old family lines retained their earlier
glamour, but where cold economic realities made sheer wealth more important than inner nobility.
Beyond her social symbolism, Tess represents fallen humanity in a religious sense, as the
frequent biblical allusions in the novel remind us. Just as Tesss clan was once glorious and powerful
but is now sadly diminished, so too did the early glory of the first humans, Adam and Eve, fade with
their expulsion from Eden, making humans sad shadows of what they once were. Tess thus represents
what is known in Christian theology as original sin, the degraded state in which all humans live, even
whenlike Tess herself after killing Prince or succumbing to Alecthey are not wholly or directly
responsible for the sins for which they are punished. This torment represents the most universal side of
Tess: she is the myth of the human who suffers for crimes that are not her own and lives a life more
degraded than she deserves.
Alec dUrberville
An insouciant twenty-four-year-old man, heir to a fortune, and bearer of a name that his father
purchased, Alec is the nemesis and downfall of Tesss life. His first name, Alexander, suggests the
conqueroras in Alexander the Greatwho seizes what he wants regardless of moral propriety. Yet he
is more slippery than a grand conqueror. His full last name, Stoke-dUrberville, symbolizes the split
character of his family, whose origins are simpler than their pretensions to grandeur. After all, Stokes is
a blunt and inelegant name. Indeed, the divided and duplicitous character of Alec is evident to the very
end of the novel, when he quickly abandons his newfound Christian faith upon remeeting Tess. It is
hard to believe Alec holds his religion, or anything else, sincerely. His supposed conversion may only
be a new role he is playing.
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This duplicity of character is so intense in Alec, and its consequences for Tess so severe, that he
becomes diabolical. The first part of his surname conjures associations with fiery energies, as in the
stoking of a furnace or the flames of hell. His devilish associations are evident when he wields a
pitchfork while addressing Tess early in the novel, and when he seduces her as the serpent in Genesis
seduced Eve. Additionally, like the famous depiction of Satan in Miltons Paradise Lost, Alec does not
try to hide his bad qualities. In fact, like Satan, he revels in them. In Chapter XII, he bluntly tells Tess,
I suppose I am a bad fellowa damn bad fellow. I was born bad, and I have lived bad, and I shall die
bad, in all probability. There is frank acceptance in this admission and no shame. Some readers feel
Alec is too wicked to be believable, but, like Tess herself, he represents a larger moral principle rather
than a real individual man. Like Satan, Alec symbolizes the base forces of life that drive a person away
from moral perfection and greatness.
Angel Clare
A freethinking son born into the family of a provincial parson and determined to set himself up
as a farmer instead of going to Cambridge like his conformist brothers, Angel represents a rebellious
striving toward a personal vision of goodness. He is a secularist who yearns to work for the honor and
glory of man, as he tells his father in Chapter XVIII, rather than for the honor and glory of God in a
more distant world. A typical young nineteenth-century progressive, Angel sees human society as a
thing to be remolded and improved, and he fervently believes in the nobility of man. He rejects the
values handed to him, and sets off in search of his own. His love for Tess, a mere milkmaid and his
social inferior, is one expression of his disdain for tradition. This independent spirit contributes to his
aura of charisma and general attractiveness that makes him the love object of all the milkmaids with
whom he works at Talbothays.
As his namein French, close to Bright Angelsuggests, Angel is not quite of this world,
but floats above it in a transcendent sphere of his own. The narrator says that Angel shines rather than
burns and that he is closer to the intellectually aloof poet Shelley than to the fleshly and passionate poet
Byron. His love for Tess may be abstract, as we guess when he calls her Daughter of Nature or
Demeter. Tess may be more an archetype or ideal to him than a flesh and blood woman with a
complicated life. Angels ideals of human purity are too elevated to be applied to actual people: Mrs.
Durbeyfields easygoing moral beliefs are much more easily accommodated to real lives such as Tesss.
Angel awakens to the actual complexities of real-world morality after his failure in Brazil, and only
then he realizes he has been unfair to Tess. His moral system is readjusted as he is brought down to
Earth. Ironically, it is not the angel who guides the human in this novel, but the human who instructs
the angel, although at the cost of her own life
L
Lewis Carroll ( 1832-1898 )
Lewis Carroll was the pseudonym of Reverend Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, a lecturer in
mathematics at Christ Church, Oxford, who lived from 1832 to 1898.
Almost ten years after first meeting the Alice Liddell, Carroll compiled the stories and
submitted the completed manuscript for publication.
Alices Adventures in Wonderland received mostly negative reviews when first published in
1865. Critics and readers alike found the book to be sheer nonsense, and one critic sneered that the
book was too extravagantly absurd to produce more diversion than disappointment and irritation.
Only John Tenniels detailed illustrations garnered praise, and his images continue to appear in most
reprints of the Alice books. Despite the books negative reception, Carroll proposed a sequel to his
publisher in 1866 and set to work writing Through the Looking-Glass. By the time the second book
20

reached publication in 1871, Alices Adventures in Wonderland had found an appreciative readership.
Over time, Carrolls combination of sophisticated logic, social satire, and pure fantasy would make the
book a classic for children and adults alike. Critics eventually recognized the literary merits of both
texts, and celebrated authors and philosophers ranging from James Joyce to Ludwig Wittgenstein
praised Carrolls stories.
Several of his child friends served as inspiration for the Sylvie and Bruno books. Like the Alice
stories, Sylvie and Bruno (1889) and Sylvie and Bruno Concluded (1898) relied heavily on childrens
silly sayings and absurd fantasies. Carroll died in 1898 at the age of sixty-six, soon after the publication
of the Sylvie and Bruno books. He passed away in his familys home in Guildford, England.
Carrolls feelings of intense nostalgia for the simple pleasures of childhood caused him to feel
deep discomfort in the presence of adults. In the company of children, Carroll felt understood and could
temporarily forget the loss of innocence that he associated with his own adulthood. Ironically, Carroll
mourned this loss again and again as he watched each of his child friends grow away from him as they
became older. As he wrote in a letter to the mother of one of his young muses, It is very sweet to me,
to be loved by her as children love: though the experience of many years have now taught me that there
are few things in the world so evanescent [fleeting] as a childs love. Nine-tenths of the children, whose
love once seemed as warm as hers, are now merely on the terms of everyday acquaintance. The
sentiment of fleeting happiness pervades Carrolls seemingly lighthearted fantasies and infuses the
Alice books with melancholy and loss.
Themes
Themes are the fundamental and often universal ideas explored in a literary work.
The Tragic and Inevitable Loss of Childhood Innocence
Throughout the course of Alices Adventures in Wonderland, Alice goes through a variety of
absurd physical changes. The discomfort she feels at never being the right size acts as a symbol for the
changes that occur during puberty. Alice finds these changes to be traumatic, and feels discomfort,
frustration, and sadness when she goes through them. She struggles to maintain a comfortable physical
size. In Chapter I, she becomes upset when she keeps finding herself too big or too small to enter the
garden. In Chapter V, she loses control over specific body parts when her neck grows to an absurd
length. These constant fluctuations represent the way a child may feel as her body grows and changes
during puberty.
Life as a Meaningless Puzzle
In Alices Adventures in Wonderland, Alice encounters a series of puzzles that seem to have no
clear solutions, which imitates the ways that life frustrates expectations. Alice expects that the
situations she encounters will make a certain kind of sense, but they repeatedly frustrate her ability to
figure out Wonderland. Alice tries to understand the Caucus race, solve the Mad Hatters riddle, and
understand the Queens ridiculous croquet game, but to no avail. In every instance, the riddles and
challenges presented to Alice have no purpose or answer. Even though Lewis Carroll was a logician, in
Alices Adventures in Wonderland he makes a farce out of jokes, riddles, and games of logic. Alice
learns that she cannot expect to find logic or meaning in the situations that she encounters, even when
they appear to be problems, riddles, or games that would normally have solutions that Alice would be
able to figure out. Carroll makes a broader point about the ways that life frustrates expectations and
resists interpretation, even when problems seem familiar or solvable.
Death as a Constant and Underlying Menace
Alice continually finds herself in situations in which she risks death, and while these threats
never materialize, they suggest that death lurks just behind the ridiculous events of Alices Adventures
in Wonderland as a present and possible outcome. Death appears in Chapter I, when the narrator
mentions that Alice would say nothing of falling off of her own house, since it would likely kill her.
21

Alice takes risks that could possibly kill her, but she never considers death as a possible outcome. Over
time, she starts to realize that her experiences in Wonderland are far more threatening than they appear
to be. As the Queen screams Off with its head! she understands that Wonderland may not merely be a
ridiculous realm where expectations are repeatedly frustrated. Death may be a real threat, and Alice
starts to understand that the risks she faces may not be ridiculous and absurd after all.
Language
Carroll plays with linguistic conventions in Alices Adventures in Wonderland, making use of
puns and playing on multiple meanings of words throughout the text. Carroll invents words and
expressions and develops new meanings for words. Alices exclamation Curious and curiouser!
suggests that both her surroundings and the language she uses to describe them expand beyond
expectation and convention. Anything is possible in Wonderland, and Carrolls manipulation of
language reflects this sense of unlimited possibility.
Analysis of Major Characters
Alice
Alice is a sensible prepubescent girl from a wealthy English family who finds herself in a
strange world ruled by imagination and fantasy. Alice feels comfortable with her identity and has a
strong sense that her environment is comprised of clear, logical, and consistent rules and features.
Alices familiarity with the world has led one critic to describe her as a disembodied intellect. Alice
displays great curiosity and attempts to fit her diverse experiences into a clear understanding of the
world.
Alice approaches Wonderland as an anthropologist, but maintains a strong sense of noblesse
oblige that comes with her class status. She has confidence in her social position, education, and the
Victorian virtue of good manners. Alice has a feeling of entitlement, particularly when comparing
herself to Mabel, whom she declares has a poky little house, and no toys. Additionally, she flaunts
her limited information base with anyone who will listen and becomes increasingly obsessed with the
importance of good manners as she deals with the rude creatures of Wonderland. Alice maintains a
superior attitude and behaves with solicitous indulgence toward those she believes are less privileged.
The tension of Alices Adventures in Wonderland emerges when Alices fixed perspective of the
world comes into contact with the mad, illogical world of Wonderland. Alices fixed sense of order
clashes with the madness she finds in Wonderland. The White Rabbit challenges her perceptions of
class when he mistakes her for a servant, while the Mad Hatter, March Hare, and Pigeon challenge
Alices notions of urbane intelligence with an unfamiliar logic that only makes sense within the context
of Wonderland. Most significantly, Wonderland challenges her perceptions of good manners by
constantly assaulting her with dismissive rudeness. Alices fundamental beliefs face challenges at every
turn, and as a result Alice suffers an identity crisis. She persists in her way of life as she perceives her
sense of order collapsing all around her. Alice must choose between retaining her notions of order and
assimilating into Wonderlands nonsensical rules.
type of work Novella
genre Fairy tale; childrens fiction; satire; allegory
narrator The narrator is anonymous and does not use many words to describe events in the
story.
point of view The narrator speaks in third person, though occasionally in first and second
person. The narrative follows Alice around on her travels, voicing her thoughts and feelings.
major conflict Alice attempts to come to terms with the puzzle of Wonderland as she
undergoes great individual changes while entrenched in Wonderland.
rising action Alice follows the White Rabbit down a well and pursues him through
Wonderland.
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climax Alice gains control over her size and enters the garden, where she participates in the
trial of the Knave of Hearts.
falling action Alice realizes that Wonderland is a sham and knocks over the playing card court,
causing her to wake up and dispel the dream of Wonderland.
themes The tragic and inevitable loss of childhood innocence; Life as a meaningless puzzle;
Death as a constant and underlying menace
motifs Dream; subversion; language; curious, nonsense, and confusing
symbols The garden; the mushroom
foreshadowing The Mouses history about Fury and the Mouse foreshadows the trial at the end
of the story.
ROMANTICISM
In Britain romanticism was much more diffuse and never really associated with a movement;
there was no British romantic campaign and the literary and cultural revolution was a much more
gradual one than on the continent.Although it started in the 18 ce with what is now called
sentimentalism and pre-romanticism, it reached full maturity only in 1798, with the publication of the
first edition Lyrical Ballads -Wordsworth and Coleridge`s joint venture and then after 1815 it had a
resurgence with the second generation of romantic poets.
Rene Wellek defined Romanticism as being a loose concept organized around 3 dominant themes :
Imagination, Nature, Symbol All these were included within a sudden mutation in the European
thought under the influence of the French Revolution , the industrial revolution and the nationalism but
labeled as individualism..Nature, for Rom. represents the projection on non-human phenomena of the
individuals own subconscience and feelings. Imagination = the human observer who animates the
natural scene; nature was a mirror in which Imagination itself reflected. Coleridge had a theory which
he explained in detail, in Biographia Literaria and devied Imagination into primary Imagination
and Secondary Imagination. 1st Imagination= the great principle , an agent which enables us both to
discriminate and to order, to separate and to syntethise and this makes perception possible. 2nd
Im.=the conscious human use of this power, it is more conscious and less elemental and it creates new
harmonies of meaning. The use of 2nd Imagination represents the poetic activity. Another theory of
Coleridge refers to the notion of the poem as organic unity, one in which the parts mutually support and
explain each-other .
Characteristics of En Romanticism :
1.En Rom. does not consists in the triumph of the self, it is less clearly ( than in France) the affirmation
of an innovatory aesthetic creed as opposed to a traditional art and literature.
2.The cult or former values can still be found in some Rom poets ( the way in which Poe can be seen in
the poetry of Byron )
3.En Rom is not primary a return to a national tradition but for the moral attitudes they attached to the
past.
En Rom was divided into 2 generation; the division bet them coexists with the final downfall of
napoleon ( 1815 ). 1st generation brings into attention feelings and imagination ; they are not in open
rebellion against tradition and society; 2 nd generation breathe a new spirit of moral revolt ; refuses to
recognize any prestige in tradition ; they carry the ardour of feeling and imagination to a degree which
may seem to threaten the balance of personality .; they raise against the order of things , a multiple
protest which is expressed smt with generous passion ( Shelly ), smt with haughty sarcasm ( Byron ) ,
smt with aesthetic detachment ( Keats ). 1st gen :W Blake, W. Wordsworth, ST Coleridge ; 2nd gen : J
Keats; PB Shelly ; G.Byron
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Rom was a heterogeneous movement that brought about an extension of the horizon , social as
well as chronological ( remote period of time , considered more adequate for the fulfillment of human
personality )
General ideas of Rom :1. Substitution of aesthetic for utilitarian standards ; 2.the cult of beauty
and aestheticism; 3. The landscape , nature, life in the countryside . The end of the 18th ce was
imbued wit attitudes : melancholy , interest in the uncivilized and the odd., in the imaginative world of
the supernatural . The poet in considered a kind of prophet or a pilgrim of eternity and infinity Blake. The poem is seen as an organic unity , a whole, whose effect and meaning should be wholly
different from the paraphrase and summary of its context. There is a typical element the need of
poetic illumination seen as an unique moment, a moment of supreme ecstasy but also of supreme
knowledge ,Wordworth sees poet as spots of time
W. Blake (1757-1827)
- the forerunner of En Rom, although many critics consider him to be the most representative
sample of Rom poetry.He was influenced by cabalistic ideas and by Swedenberg, a Swedish
philosopher. B started his poetical activity with Poetical Sketches which brought about freshness and
a lyrical tone which were going to be illustrative for Rom. His most valuable poems :Songs of
Innocence and Songs of Experience , published bet 784-1794. B said that they were meant to
show the 2 contrary states of human soul .
The 1st group is characterized by freshness and purity dealing with childhood as the symbol of
the untarnished innocence . It contains The lambNurse`s songPiping down the valley wildcharacterized by childlike directness and a sense of controlled joy in front of the world.All human
desires are innocent and everything suggests joy and balance and the sense that everything is in the
right order and place.
The 2nd shows the corruption of the innocence by the immoral forces of society .True vision can
not came to the innocent bec. innocence by its very nature is easily lead astray , therefore there is no
road back to innocence, only a road forward through experience through a comprehensive vision.
Experience is obligatory.The 2nd poems are more representative in point of symbolic and visionary
elements.. The spontaneity of the images has been killed by cold intellect and selfishness. Evil appears
under many faces : cruelty , hypocrisy , distrust of imagination, political, social institutions. In The
Chimney sweeper the problem is a religious one. In The tiger there are questions, just like in The
Lamb . In The Tiger(with -i )different questions about the creator isn`t answered, there are images
which are dual.Tiger suggests power , veneration, beauty and terror. The poem does not lead to a
definite conclusion, it suggest that knowledge has interfered in the sense that man is no longer satisfied
in what he sees around him. Tiger is no longer humble. Blake wrote The Marriage of Heaven and
Hell and The prophetic Books , the Marriage ..is said to contain the heart of his doctrine :he who
sees the Infinite in all things, sees God. He who sees the Ratio only, sees himself only, therefore God
becomes as we are so that we may be as he is
Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772-1834)
He touched :religious philosophy in which he attempted to establish Anglicanism on an rational
foundation; ethics which he tried to save from the utilitarian system of his time; politics in which his
passion for order made him discern both vices and benefits coming from the idea of social progress.
His literary criticism : there are 2 main ideas:1 .the theory of imagination 2. the notion of the organic
unity of art and of poetry in particular .
Coleridge had a theory which he explained in detail, in Biographia Literaria and devied
Imagination into primary Imagination and Secondary Imagination. 1st Imagination= the great principle
24

, an agent which enables us both to discriminate and to order, to separate and to syntethise and this
makes perception possible. 2nd Im.=the conscious human use of this power, it is more conscious and
less elemental and it creates new harmonies of meaning. The use of 2nd Imagination represents the
poetic activity.
Another theory of Coleridge refers to the notion of the poem as organic unity, one in which the
parts mutually support and explain each-other , achieving the balance of reconciliation of opposites
such as : the general with the concrete ; the idea with the image; judgement with enthusiasm ; the
natural with the artificial. The poem should subordinate art to nature the manner to the matter. C
Coleridge knows how to handle the supernatural ,whose essence is entirely psychological. He
basis his work on intuition .The only true vision are those of the soul and the special domain of the
poetry is man`s inner existence.
The rime of the Ancient Mariner was one of the four poems included in Lyrical Ballads
, was his most brilliant magical symbolic poem, romantic in a way quite different from the
romanticism of Wordsworth , a haunting narrative of spiritual adventure in which the handling of visual
details , the selection and ordering of the incidents, the control and the deliberate varying of mod and
the magical and the counterpointing between the exotic and the familiar , the factual and the magical,
combine to produce an appeal so rich and powerful that any schematic analysis seems to mock rather
explain the total meaning.Coleridge was fascinated with the archaisms : rime is the archaic meaning
of rhyme . The marginal notes describe the activity of a parallel spirit world . In the part four , for
example, the mariner, who had killed an albatross in an act of cruelty for which the dead bird is hung
round his neck in penance m suddenly perceives the natural beauty of water snakes in the moonlight
.He blesses them and the albatross, his penitential burden falls from his neck..
Dejection : An Ode ,published in 1802 was C`s despairing farewell to health , happiness and
poetic creativity . It parallels Wordsworth`s Intimations Ode , written at about the same time. It is a
remarkable poem , moving from a given situation to a vivid account of the anguish that the poet feels at
his loss of the sense of joy in Nature , of the inner exultation which could make him see anything vital
and rewarding in nature.
Kubla Klan - a combination of pleasure and sacredness , with its pleasure-dome , its sacred
river , its painting fountain , its caves of ice, is about the poetic creation. The dome is a metaphor for
the soul of the poet or for the poetry , threatened by the outside world. Poetic art should balance art
with ice, as poetic imagination is both warm , in sympathy with all creation, and ice-cold , with the
coldness of ecstasy .
John Keats (1795-1821)
-the most modern of all the Rom poets .He illustrates what En Rom meant at its best, namely
besides supporting the cult of beauty , he manage to develop a self discipline in both feeling and
craftsmanship. He is a romantic in his relish for sensation , in his feeling of the Middle Ages, in his
Hellenism , in his conception of the role of the poet.He believed in the importance of sensation as a
cognitive element , it is a way, a path to the knowledge of reality , it is the poet`s duty to seek it and to
render it in his poems.For Keats sensation included all the senses at the same time-tactile, gustatory,
kinetic, visceral,visual and auditory and represents his response to the physical world. John Jones, the
most ardent of Keatsean critics, discriminates between the romantic Keats and the unique Keats. He
quotes from In dreary- nighted December the line The feel of not to feel it to illustrate his
distinction. The substance of this lies in the distinction between feel and feeling .Feeling is
romantic , feel is Keatsean. Feeling is entangled with ideas, explanations, consequences and
connections; feel is pure, absolute, sensational, that wrapping of sense which is John Jones `s view
is the essence of Keatsean achievement.
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Endymion (1817) an ambitious undertaking of more than four thousand lines. It is an


allegory of a mortal`s quest for an ideal feminine counterpart and a flawless happiness .Keats
considered the poem a test, a trial of my powers of imagination . Endymion was followed by
Hyperion , conceived on the model of Milton`s Paradise lost .The theme is taken form the Greek
mythology but Keats did his best to put profound allegorical meaning into the story. The extend to
which he succeeds in achieving the Miltonic manner is one of the reason Keats left off before Hyperion
was finished, he decided I will write independently , any influence would be a threaten to his
individuality.
Between January and September 1819, masterpiece followed masterpiece in astonishing
succession : The Eve of St. Agnes, La Belle Dame sans merci all the great odes Lamia , and a
sufficient number of fine sonnets to make him, with Wordsworth , the major romantic craftsman in that
form.
The Eve of St Agnes repres a distillation of the medieval heroic concept of heroic passion
successfully braving danger. La Belle Dame sans merci is based on a folk ballad of a beautiful but
evil lady who is desperately loved by a mortal . Between Endymion an the great Odes (1819), Keats
was astonishingly transformed, advancing form the status of a charming minor talent to that of a genius
of the first order. Keats arrived at the conclusion that he must make a choice: I must choose between
Despair and Energy, I choose a latter .
The fruit of Keats`maturity mind and sensibility is the set of odes : To Psyche , On
Melancholy ,To a Nightingale,On a Grecian Urn ,To Autumn ,1819. They explore with brilliant
poetic force, some of Keats`s most congenital themes: the relation between pleasure and pain ,
happiness and melancholy , imagination and reality, art and life.There is a Shakesperian influence , but
a Shakespeare who is grasped , subordinated to Keats`s purpose. "Ode to Autumn illustrates Keats`s
complete maturity . It represents not only the softness and fullness of autumn, but also its masculine
qualities , the acrid, the rough and the vigorous.
In Ode on a Grecian Urn , the message is the way in which the stopping of life by art may be
seen as both profit and loss. By being stopped from life, they escape change and decay remaining
eternal , but at the expense of the eternal unfullfilment .The Odes are illustrative for an element
introduced by Keats : the pain of joy and the joy of pain. The last poetic powers went into reshaping
Hyperion into The Fall of Hyperion:A dream -influenced by Dante`s Divine Comedy
The ROMANTIC NOVEL
Two new types of fiction were prominent in the late 18 ce.One was the Gothic novel,
inaugurated in 1764 by Horace Walpole and continued by Clara Reeve .The second fictional mode was
the novel of purpose, often written to propagate a new and social political theories in the period of the
Franch Revolution. William Godwin wrote Caleb Williams Mary Shelly wrote Frankestein .
Two most important writers can not be completely ascribed to either category: Jane Austen and Sir
Walter Scott. Scott`s originality lay in opening to fiction the rich and lively realm of history ; he smt
alter the order of events for novelistic purpose, yet he maintains fidelity to the spirit of the past and a
meticulous accuracy in antiquarian detail.
Jane Austen (1775-1817)
She completed 6 novels Sense and Sensibility 1811; pride &Prejudice1813; Mansfield Park1814; Emma-1815; Northanger Abbey and Persuasion -1817

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Of all the great writers of the age, JA apparently is the least touched by the sweeping changes in
mentality , fashion and interest that were taking literature by storm. Yet, Walter Allen wrote , she, too
was a revolutionary , however unconsciously , and few of the changes in critical opinion would surprise
the critic of a hundred years more than the comparatively sudden rise in her reputation . She possessed
a miraculous sense of from , she had a miraculous sense of irony , although her irony does not mean
a moral detachment or the tone of superiority that goes with moral detachment. What we may call JA`s
first or basic irony is the recognition of the fact that spirit is not free , that it is conditioned , that it is
limited by circumstances . Her next and consequent irony has reference to the fact that only by reason
of this anomaly does the spirit have virtue and meaning .She is not concerned with social, political and
economic issues but with families , she chose to deal with the human heart and its concerns. Her aim
was to entertain as well as to instruct , and she attempted to do this by creating a literature likely to
appeal to all sorts of readers. Entertainment is not the result of humour , but also of the novels` being
interesting and intelligently conceived, it is the pleasure of moving in a calm , peaceful setting, where
people can be what they are as well as what they are trained to be , and reveal their character in normal
situations .
The heroine has her own identity , her own life to lead, her own faults to pay for and is never
quite detached from the society she lives in. But by using this perspective , third person narrative JA
keeps her distance from the world she has created .
Pride and Prejudice protagonist , Elisabeth Bennet is one of the most well-known female
characters in En .literature. Her admirable qualities are numerous : she is lovely, clever and, in a novel
defined by dialogue, she converses as brilliantly as anyone. Her honesty, virtue and lively wit enable
her to rise above the nonsense and bad behavior that pervade her class-bound and often spiteful society.
Nevertheless , her sharp tongue and tendency to make hasty judgements often lead her astray. Pride
and Prejudice is essentially the story of how she ( and her true love Darcy ) overcome all obstaclesincluding their own personal failings-to find romantic happiness . Elizabeth must not only cope with a
hopeless mother , a distant father, two badly behaved younger sisters, and several snobbish ,
antagonizing females, she must overcome her own mistaken impressions of Darcy, which initially lead
her to reject his proposal and social turmoil.
Jane Bennet and Charles Bingley, Darcy`s wealthy friend , engage in a courtship that occupies a
central place in the novel. Their principal characteristics are goodwill and compatibility , and the
contrast of their romance with that of Darcy and Elizabeth is remarkable.
Fitzwilliam Darcy- the son of a wealthy , well-established family and the master of the great estate ,
Pemberley, is Elizabeth`s male counterpart. Intelligent and forthright , he too has a tendency to judge
too hastily and harshly, and his high birth and wealth make him overly proud and overly conscious of
his social status.
Mr Bennet-father of Jane, Elizabeth, Lydia, Kitty and Mary, is a man driven to exasperation by
his ridiculous wife and difficult daughters. Mrs Bennet-is a miraculously tiresome character, noisy and
foolish, consumed by the obsessive desire to see her daughters married.

AMERICAN ROMANTIC FICTION


American Romanticism flourished bet 1812 and the years of the Civil War.
Like English Romanticism its writers emphasized the dignity and freedom of the individual;
rebellion against restrictions, whether political, cultural or social; the importance of the emotion over
the intellect; the need for personal relationship with God as provided by and in the natural world.

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Writers considered part of the American romantic movement include : N. Hawthorne , E. A.


Poe, Herman Melville, Walt Whitman. These writers differed form their English counterparts in their
close relationship to both Unitarianism and frontier individualism . Unitarians opposed the concept of
a divine Trinity and believed God had a single personality or manifestation. They rejected the idea of
the eternal hell and the belief that Jesus was atoned for human sins. Although English romantics
believed nature could inspire and renew people , Americans romantics typically believed God and
nature were one and the God`s purpose was achieved through the action of natural forces.
Many romantics in England and US. looked for the past
Hawthorne and Melville wrote fiction, not essays. They described not what is but what might
be. They spoke not directly but obliquely, ambiguously and offered a vision of life which is essentially
dark.
Most of the best American fiction is written in a symbolic form, it is through symbolism that
Americans best writers choose to approach their readers. In a sense, the symbolism in American
Romantic fiction is an expression of Transcendentalist thought , though in a larger and more important
sense it is also the expression of European Romantic thought. One major source for American writers
is British : John Bunyan`s The Pilgrim Progress , a Christian allegory..
Nathaniel Hawthorne ( 1804-1864)
Wrote short stories and novels especially concerned with peoples` relationships with one
another and because he was sensitive to the existence of the evil within himself, his fiction explores for
the most part the dark side of human relationships. Hawthorne `s characters struggle with pride and
intellectual arrogance and egotism .They are often isolated , lonely people , torn between what
Hawthorne called head , the intellect, and heart , the emotion, separated not only from other
people but from the other part of themselves. And they often suffer from the effects of their ancestors `
relationships with one another. They are haunted by the past and the influence of the past upon the
present.
Hawthorne is best known for his creation of Hester Prynne, Arthur Dimmesdale , and Roger
Chillingworth in The Scarlet Letter , but many of his most memorable characters appear in short
stories which he collected during his career into four books : Twice-Told Tales ; Moses from an
Old Manse The Snow Image and The Tanglewood Tales .
In Hawthorne ` s stories sin consistently means a state of separation, from people, from God, from
oneself, a condition of coldness to the need of people, an inability to respond to people. All people are
sinful, H `s stories suggest. Excessive cultivation of the intellect intensifies isolation , insulates people
from their own emotions , makes them all head , no longer be able to respond at all to other people.
Roger Chillingworth, Hester `s husband is such a person.
Hawthorne clearly does not share the contention of those who , like Emerson, argue that evil is
merely the absence of good. He sees not only a world in which evil exists , but one in which all people
carry a share of it within themselves.
In The Scarlet Letter Hawthorne uses the repressive , authoritarian Puritan society as an
analogue for mankind in general. The Puritan setting also enables him to portray the human soul under
extreme pressures. Hester, Dimmesdale, Chillingworth, while unquestionably part of Puritan society,
also reflect universal experiences.
The story begins in the 17th century Boston . A young woman Hester Prynne , is led from the
town prison with her infant daughter, Pearl,in her arms and the scarlet letter A on her breast. We soon
find out that she is punished for adultery. After Hester is publicly shamed and forced to wear a badge
of humiliation, her unwillingness to leave the town may seem puzzling. She is not physically
imprisoned and leaving the town would her to remove the scarlet letter. Hester `s behavior is premised
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on her desire to determine her own identity rather than to allow others to determine it for her. To her,
running away or removing the letter would be an acknowledgement of society `s power over her.
Instead, Hester stays, refiguring the letter as a symbol of her own experiences and character. Her past
sin is a part of who she is; to pretend that it never happened would mean denying a part of herself.
Hester is portrayed as an intelligent, capable, but not necessarily extraordinary woman. It is the
extraordinary circumstances shaping her that make her such an important figure..
Roger Chillingworth , as his name suggests , is a man deficient in human warmth. His twisted , stooped
, deformed shoulders mirror his distorted soul. He represents true evil. He is associated with secular
and smt, illicit witchcraft and murder. He is interested in revenge, not justice. His desire to hurt others
stands in contrast to Hester and Dimmesdale` s sin, which had love not hate, as its intent.
Arthur Dimmesdale, like Hester Prynne , is an individual whose identity owes more to external
circumstances than to his innate nature.. Puritan society is stagnant, while Hester and Dimmesdale `s
experience shows that a state of sinfulness can lead to personal growth , sympathy and understanding
of each other. Paradoxically, these qualities are shown incompatible with a state of purity.
Although Pearl is a complex character , her primerly function within the novel is as a symbol.
She represents not only a sin , but also the vital spirit and passion that engendered that sin. Thus, Pearl
`s existence gives her mother reason to live , bolstering her spirit when she is tempted to give up. It is
only after Dimmesdale is revealed to be Pearl `s father , that Pearl can become fully human . Until
then, she functions in a symbolic capacity as a reminder of an unsolved mystery.
The scarlet letter is meant to be a symbol of shame , but instead it becomes a powerful symbol
of identity to Hester. The letter`s meaning shifts as time passes. Originally intended to mark Hester as
an adulterer, the A eventually comes to stand for Able . Finally, it becomes indeterminate : the
native Americans who come to watch the Election Day pageant think it marks her as a person of
importance and status.
Herman Melville (1819-1891)
Melville`s greatness was not recognized in his lifetime.The world as Melville sees it is not one
to be particularly cheerful one. He is not dark pessimist, his best work is laced with humor . Neither is
he especially optimistic. There is a bright side to life, he said, but there is twice as much gloom.
Melville writes about survival.His fiction describes people who search for a way to live in a
predominantly dark world. Not all of them succeed. Those who do, are people who find harmony ,
balance, people who unite the claims of their mind with those of their heart. It is not an accident that
only Ishmael survives the journey of the Pequod.He is the only mature, balanced person , the only true
person who has found the harmony and developed that will let him continue to live.
Moby Dick (1851) is Melville `s masterpiece , the fullest expression of his insights.
Chronologically, the book lies precisely in the center of his works of fiction , five of his books werw
published before Moby Dick, and five after. And it is a turning point in the development of his craft.
Moby Dock and the first fiveof Melville `s works of fiction are first-person narratives; the opening
sentence of Moby Dick reads : call me Ishmael. The last five books are third- person narratives. This
shift in person ironically enough reflects the opposite of what we might expect, Melville`s move from
the outside into inside , from books of personal narrative, with the emphasis on individual adventure
and action, to books which are increasingly introspective, meditative, brooding over the universal
condition of the human beings.
And as Melville turns inward, he turns as well to symbolism and ambiguity as forms of
expression; the sub-title of Pierre , his 1852 novel, is The Ambiguities . Typee, his first book, a
thrilling , exciting adventure story, was am instant success. In part, the novel is autobiographical . With
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Omoo (1847 ). He continues the adventures of Typee. Then appeared Mardi (1849) followed in
the same year with Redburn : His first Voyage , that describes a person`s initiation into the harsh
reality of life, a loss of innocence. In 1850, Melville published one of his very best books and his last
popular one.
As he would do again in Moby Dick, Melville presents the ship as a microcosm of society, in
this instance, an authoritarian society under naval military rule.
Look not too long in the face of the fire , O man ! Ishmael says in the famous Try-Works
chapter of the novel, and he speaks, as if Melville himself were speaking , words which stand at the
center of Moby Dick , at the center of all of Melville `s best work : There is a wisdom that is woe;
but there is a woe that is madness.
Melville was influenced in the writing of Moby Dick or The Whale by the work of
Nathaniel Hawthorne and to whom he dedicated it. No sacred subject is spared in this bleak and
scathing critique of the known world , as Melville satirizes by turns religious traditions, moral values
and the literary and political figures of the day. It stands alongside James Joyce `s Ulysses and
Laurence Sterne `s Tristan Shandy as a novel that appears bizarre to the point of being unreadable
but proves to be infinitely open to interpretation and discovery.
Ishmael, the narrator , announces his intent to ship aboard a whaling vessel. He meets Qeequeg,
a harpooner from the South Pacific, who eventually comes to appreciate his generosity and kind spirit
and the two decide to work on a whaling vessel together, on the Pequod. Ahab, the mysterious
captain , announces the desire to pursue and kill Moby Dick,the legendary great white wheal who took
his leg, because he sees this whale as the embodiment of the evil. As the Pequod sails , they meet
several ships , one of them Jeroboam carries Gabriel, a crazed prophet who predicts doom for
everyone who threatens Moby Dick. Queequeg falls ill and it has been prepared a coffin in anticipation
of his death. But he recovers and the coffin becomes the Pequod `s replacement life buoy.
The ship approaches Ecuador where Ahab expects to find the whale that is harpoonedm but
Moby Dick attacks Ahab `s the Pequod and sinks it.Ahab is caught in a harpoon line and dies
,all the crew being caught in the vortex created by the sinking of the Pequod and pulled under to their
death. Ishmael was far enough to escape the whirlpool and he alone survives. He floats atop Queequeg
`s coffin until he is picked up by the Rachel , which is still searching for the crewmen lost in her earlier
encounter with Moby Dick.
Themes
1.The limits of knowledge: over the course of the novel, Ishmael makes use of nearly every discipline
known to man in his attempts to understand the essential nature of the whale.The multiplicity of
approaches that Ishmael takes , coupled with his compulsive need to assert his authority as a narrator
and the frequent references to the limits of observation ( men can not see the depth of the ocean, for
example ) suggest that human knowledge is always limited and insufficient.
2.the deceptiveness of fate : Ishmael `s narrative contains many references to fate, creating the
impression that Pequod `s doom is inevitable
3.the exploitative nature of whaling : at first glance, the Pequod seems like an island of equality and
fellowship in the midst of a racist, hierarchically structured world. The ship`s crew includes men from
all races whoo seem to get along harmoniously.

WHITMAN AND DICKINSON


The United States, wrote Emerson in 1844, is ready for the appearance of its great poets. When
they arrive, he predicted, they will come with a new thought, a whole new experience to unfold- an
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American thought an American experience. And they will have to break away from European forms
and seek American techniques.
A decade after Emerson wrote , Walt Whitman would publish his Leaves of Grass , creating
with a single book a poetic language unmistakably American. And Emily Dickinson would begin to
write the verses which ultimately establish her as a major American poet.
Walt Whitman ( 1819-1892 ) . It is through this one major book, Leaves of Grass that
Whitman become known as one of American `s greater poet. Leaves of Grass is Whitman ` s
expression of his identity- as an individual person and as an American. For Whitman, the two are the
same thing. In his Song of myself , ( I celebrate myself, I sing myself / And what I assume you
shall assume , to discover oneself is to discover one `s nation. Whitman sees himself as a
representative democratic person, as a microcosm of all America, so in offering us Leaves of Grass ,
he is offering us himself and America as well. Leaves of Grass encompasses and integrates the
concerns of the other American Romantics- the individualism of Emerson, the spiritual intensity of
Thoreau , the head and heart emphasis of Hawthorne , the balanced survival of Melville, even
some of the feminist vision of Fuller. It reconciles the transcendentalists ` optimistic hopefulness with
Hawthorne ` s and Melville ` s power of blackness.
He captures in his poems the largeness of the America continent and its landscape, the variety of
people who live there, the range of experience these people have, the cultures, religions, passions and
interests which shape them.
The body shapes the soul, he believes. I am the poet of the Body and I am the poet of the soul and the two are one for him. He persists with great courage in rejecting an ever-present 19th ce.
American Christian dualism which taught that people`s greatest responsibility in life was the
perfecting of the soul , that the sensual, the physical, the sexual in people was to be controlled , if
necessary destroyed.
So, identity for Whitman-his identity and his nation `s identity, is dependent not only on a great
pluralism and a great freedom upon an awareness of the beauty, the wonderfulness, the miracle of
the human body.
Like Emerson, Whitman believes in what Emerson calls the oversoul , the presence of God in each
person.
Leaves of Grass vibrates with Whitman ` s natural love of people. He knows that life means
growth and for him human growth comes through intimacy, through touch. He accepts and has a deep
respect for the birth-growth-death cycle .It is one of the major subjects of his poetry.
The book begins with a group called Inscriptions followed by Song of Myself . Then
comes the Children of Adam section, poems like I song the Body Electric , and the much-argued
Calamus section, his auto erotic poems. Then it comes Sea Drift , drum-Taps and his
Memories of President Lincoln section.
He makes his poetry expansive, large, pluralistic ; he makes it free from so many of the poetic
limits of the past- people often call it the first free verse ; he makes it sensual, stimulating, even
sexual; he makes it spiritual and he makes it cyclical.
He is the most influential poet America has to offer the rest of the world.
Emily Dickinson( 1830-1886)
While Whitman sang his songs loudly and clearly for the whole country, Emily D. look inward
at her own experience. She wrote quietly, for herself Distills amazing sense / From ordinary Meanings
.

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Seldom has an artist so thoroughly understood and so precisely expressed what she was setting to do.
The six words are a nearly perfect description of why the best Dickinson `s poems are so surprising and
delightful and satisfying and memorable, of why E. Dickinson is one of America ` s major poets.
In her writing, Dickinson distills sense out of her ordinary life and what people would think of as its
ordinary meaning .Her poems are the telling of her truth : Truth is so rare a think ,it is delightful
to tell !.
Dickinson did not write titles for her poems, T. H. Johnson numbered them.
In the poem no 1624, she describes about the blonde assassin , the frost, who kills a flower as
an Approving God . Other poems, like her famous pieces about a snake and a locomotive, also
delight readers , even children, with her charming simplicity and freshness of language. But much of
her best poetry is painful, both for her and for her audience. She writes often about anguish , despair,
suffering, fear, denial, loss, grief, death. She seeks the truth about these subjects with great emotional
courage , with great strength, and without self-pity. Few writers have been as honest with themselves as
has Emily Dickinson and yet as gentle in articulating that honesty to the readers.
Her work is, she says my letter to the World/That never wrote to me
She examines fear, she studies great pain, and she is willing to confront even the subject of her
own death. She explored happiness as well, but her great sensitivity and her passionate response to life
make happiness at times almost too much for her to bear.
Dickinson distills from the ordinary meaning of joy, pain, fear amd death the amazing
sense of her poems. She filters her life through her art.CUM AR TREBUI SA FACA FIECARE
ARTIST. And though the poetic techniques she uses are worlds apart from those Walt Whitman was
working with at the same time , they are in her hands as original and effective. Dickinson turns back on
most of the literary devices of her day. She finds her basic rhythmic pattern in the folk line, a form used
for centuries in English by writers of ballads, hymns and children `s verse.
She uses the folk line with great metrical skill, combined with a passion for the precise word,
the fresh image. She is a master-one of the greatest in the English language- at putting a common word
in an uncommon position.
Though she is smt, thought of as being separate from the American Renaissance bec. The
fullness of her work appeared in print nearly a hundred years after much of the writing of Emerson,
Thoreau, Hawthorne, Melville and Whitman, Dickinson is the most representative of all the
Renaissance writers in one fundamental sense.
She is the embodiment of 19th cen. American individualism, Both what she says and how she
says it is so purely her own, so very much the result of her self-reliance, her independent personal and
artistic judgement. She is, of course, traditional in her use of very old poetic techniques. As much as
any of the Romantic writers, she lives by Emerson ` s contention that nothing is at least sacred but the
integrity of your own mind
And, like all the major Romantic writers, Emily Dickinson transforms through the brilliance of
her perception and her craftsmanship, life into art.
MARK TWAIN (1835-1910)
Samuel L. Clemens, generally known as Mark Twain , is the first thoroughly American writer.
Unlike his predecessors and contemporaries, Twain , by conscious choice , turned his back upon
Europe, he rejected the established patterns and conventions of English literature and shaped the
American writing up to the Civil War. Instead he turned to his native land seeking to explore its
resources in the realm of subject matter and language.
American reality of his days offered him ample material for story telling. Much of Twain`s
reputation is due to his daring experiment in language. He was the first to investigate the possibilities
32

that American idiom offered for serious writing. He found the colloquial speech of common Americans
a flexible , colorful , if sometimes vulgar medium of expression, more stimulating than elaborate
cadences of educated and polite British English.
Innocent Abroad -1869 is a typical travel book of the day in which Twain presents a mask of
total ignorance to ridicule his fellow travelers as much as their European quides. In a way, The
Adventure of Huckleberry Finn is but a record of another innocent `s travel abroad.
Twain `s fiction is largely autobiographical, his novels and stories retell much of his own experience.
The proportions between factual and fictional parts vary considerably from a condensed but fairly
straightforward account of his apprenticeship as a cub-pilot in Life on the Mississippi-1883, to a
consciously composed and elaborate tale of his ideal boyhood in The Adventures of Tom Sawyers 1876. This peculiar combination of realism and idealization brings him close to what is referred to as
local color fiction .This desire to preserve gave incentive to minutely accurate descriptions of the life
of the region and an earnest effort to note down oddities of local speech. These two elements bring the
entire movement, and Mark Twain, within the mainstream of American realism.
A comparable exploration of the essential humanity of a slave lies at the core of The Adv of
H. F -1884.After many days spent on the raft, and many misadventure, Huck becomes convinced that
Jim is white inside . This concise phrase sums up his recognition of Jim `s humanity which leads
him to risk his own salvation in helping Jim escape. Writing The Adv of H F , Twain was keenly
aware of the prevailing convention which presented the old South as a pastoral country of beautiful
women , well-mannered gentlemen, eternal yet benign sunshine amidst rose and magnolia blossom.
The adv.. contains a terrifying picture of the South made up of rogues and their victims, of the
kind but stupid, and smart but unscrupulously wicked. Huck relates his story of cruelty, violence, greed,
duplicity, and vice with a calm detachment of a child so used to wickedness that it fails to shock or
frighten him. Hence, by the end of his journey down the river, Hick identifies the civilized society
with falsehood and corruption which leave no room for the values of the raft- friendship, freedom,
honesty , peace.
Twain was also too aware that the American society he knew and describe could not
accommodate the ideal relation such as the one between Huck and Jim , nor could it accept Huck `s
new self- consciousness. The only way out was to send Huck to the wilderness ahead of the rest .
Thus Huck joins the long line of American innocents of Adamic heroes who, having suffered trials and
tribulations in an established society , leave it for a more primitive but sane and moral world of nature.
Twelve of thirteen years old Huck is big enough to survive more or less on his own but he is
still a child , still in need to be protected and guided . Confronted with evil or malice he is as helpless as
Jim ,wit being his only weapon against abuse. It is significant that in every confrontation Huck invents
a new name for himself and a new, larger family story in which he is the only survivor . His quick
imagination and inventiveness in piling up family disasters supply plenty of humor, yet it would be a
mistake to overlook their seriousness.
This first person narrative contains inherently the possibility of communicating the hero `s
immediate impressions. Huck sees the world as if for the first time- with freshness, innocent eyes
uninfluenced by social conventions or preconceived ideas. He seems to see everything , notes facts as
well as impressions with utmost accuracy. He always stresses that his point of view is strictly personal:
I thought, I say . The conflict between his heart and his head, between what is inborn or
spontaneous and what is taught by or absorbed from his social milieu , adds vivacity and color to his
account.
Master of both situational and character humor, Twain is at his best when playing with
language. Huck ` s mispronunciation and misuse of more sophisticated words are hilarious yet they
constitute but a small part of Twain`s linguistic ingenuity. The Adv.. is the first great novel written
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not in standard, educated English but in plain American vernacular. Twain uses colloquial speech
consistently, yet Huck`s peculiar variety of English is further enriched by dialectical forms used by
other character in the novel.His greatness achievement lies in flexibility and power of expression.
Although uncivilized, Huck never becomes vulgar, his profanities are mild indeed.
Huck responds wholeheartedly to every natural phenomenon before his eyes. He is sensitive to
changing scenery as much as to light and shadows playing on water. He is able to describe accurately
and poetically what he sees. In doing so, he remains simple without ever becoming simplistic. Praising
Twain`s linguistic virtuosity, Ernest Hemingway wrote in 1935 : All Modern American literature
comes from one book by Mark Twain called Huckleberry Finnit`s the best book we`ve had .All
American writing comes from hat. There was nothing before. There has been nothing as good since.
All this is not to say that the book`s greatness was immediately recognized. Of the three novels that
constitute a kind of trilogy , The Adventure of Tom Sawyers, Life on the Mississippi and The
Adventures of H. F, the last was least enthusiastically received.
Another hero that comes into a desperate conflict with reality is Hank is from A Connecticut
Yankee in King Arthur `s Court -1889. Twain`s last work A Misterious Stranger was never finished
and Twain died famous in 1910, being a real genius, but his greatest paradox , which ultimately
destroyed him as a writer, was that the people he portrayed so well were also the same people he came
to despise.
HENRY JAMES ( 1843-1916)
American fascination with Europe seemed to increase steadily in the last quarter of the 19th ce.
James was perhaps the most skillful in handling the dramatic technique when he explored the
international theme. Having placed his Americans in the European or Europeanized society, James
watches closely their actions , decisions , and response to the surrounding world. He was primarily an
observer, not a commentator, yet by the very choice of both the setting and the characters, he brought
the two continents on confrontation. He confronted and questioned innocence versus experience ,
corruption and crudity versus refinement, barbarity versus culture, social chaos versus precise order. He
returned to the international themes many time : in The portrait..(1881) and later in The
ambassadors (1903), the Wings of the dove and the Golden Bowl , shifting steadily away from
studying social manners toward close analysis of human consciousness.
Few artist were as conscious and deliberate in their craft as James. For him art was serious and the
artistic effect could be attained only through self-imposed , rigorous discipline .James` narrative is
usually indirect, filtered through a fictional consciousness placed bet. the reader and the event. The
reader is seldom allowed to observe the action objectively , instead, he is offered an interpretation
or a sense of its significance. James ` point of view technique endows his tales with structural unity
and consistency. Thus, all the characters are directly and closely related to the main hero or heroine
who serves as the central intelligence of the novel.
The portrait.. the first of his mature masterpieces , is a triumph of his method of psychological
realism , analyzing the relations of a young American woman with a group of Europeans and
expatriated Americans . Isabel Archer is the center of interest for four men: Ralph Touchett, Caspar
Goodwood , Lord Warburton and Gilbert Osmond. Their impressions of Isabel, their views of her, and
comments on her decisions complement her portrait which James draws first and foremost by
disclosing her growing awareness of her own self and understanding of the tragic disaster of her
marriage. The Portrait.. probes the question of freedom and responsibility. Starting on her European
adventure, Isabel values her personal freedom above all these. Not in fact so as to choose but so as
to see for herself only. He wishes to enlarge her experience but seems as reluctant to learn of or share
in human misery as to submit to a definite and therefore restricting social relation. In their final meeting
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after Ralph`s death , Caspar Goodwood tempt her with a prospect of a complete freedom. Running
away from Goodwood `s temptation as well as his forceful sexuality, she goes back to Rome to face the
consequences of her actions in the name of duty, responsibility, order and dignity.The prevailing critical
view presents Osmond as the villain of the novel: a mercenary and parasitical snob who screens his
dilettantism , moral corruption and egotism behind a mask of conventional property , spiritual
refinement , and exquisite taste. This is how he is seen by Isabel and her friends, and the reader tends to
accept their judgement as valid. However Robert Stallman , who undertakes Osmond `s defence,
accuses Isabel of deception ( self-deception above all), romantic idealism as well as selfish and
essentially illusory superiority. Thus Stallman claims that to blame Osmond alone for Isabel ` s
suffering is to exempt her from her share of responsibility for their mutual disappointment and
deterioration of their marriage.
James was much preoccupied with the question of the real thing : what exactly life is, interpreted
either as a solid observable reality or as art , illusion.There is on the one hand, aestheticism- turning lit.
into art; art for art sake; secondly there appeared the so- called writers of consciousness , the interior
monologue. Time began to be perceived differently. H. Bergson and his concept of interior time- it
will strongly influence fiction. William James introduced the concept of stream of consciousness .
The key issue for the writers from the turn of the cen. are interior monologue ,stream of consciousness ,
aesthetic subjectivity , creative intuition .
Just like V. Woolf, H, James in The Art of fiction defined the novel , started from the concept of the
newly shaped reality : a novel is , in its broadest definition a personal, a direct impression of life .
Experience is never limited and it is never complete . It is the very atmosphere of the mind . H. James
modernist consider that the air of reality seems to me the supreme virtue of a novel . In What
Maisie knew , he introduced the conception of vasel of consciousness - what the reader gets is by
the means of what Maisie sees, feels, registers or avoids. The reader no longer gets complete
knowledge but he is invited to contribute his own meaning.
H. James, the modern writer , is in progress from realism and naturalism through aestheticism towards
modernism.
Henry James is considered the foremost author of psychological realism, a subcategory of American
realism. The Realist period in American literature followed Romanticism, a movement that produced
stories of idealized love and that elevated emotion above reason. The harsh realities of the Civil War
suddenly made Romanticism irrelevant. The year of the war's end, 1865, marks the end of the
Romantic period and the beginning of American realism.
Realism got its name from the fact that its stories depicted realistic characters in believable, lifelike
situations. Heroes and heroines were not larger than life; they were often "just plain folks" that readers
could identify with. And these characters faced problems similar to those that real people faced
neither melodramatic and overblown nor magically solved by some unexpected and incredible twist of
the plot. These stories were told in straightforward, objective prose that sought to engage readers'
minds more than their emotions.
James was one of the leading authors of American realism, along with Mark Twain (who is sometimes
classified as a regionalist) and William Dean Howells. Some critics complained that there was nothing
realistic about James's stories, in which everyone was wealthy and refined. The simple answer is that
James never pretended to write about all elements of human society. He wrote about the wealthy
because it was the wealthy and their problems that he was familiar with and interested in.
In addition to limiting his subject matter to the lives of the wealthy, James also built his stories on the
psychology of his characters. The stories are about what goes on inside characters' minds, how they
experience and think about the things that happen to them, and how these inner experiences change
them as people. The events that happen in James's stories are included not primarily for their own
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importance but because they shed light on the minds and personalities of the characters. The Portrait of
a Lady is the story of Isabel's mind and how it shapes her destiny and her character. For this and other
masterful tales of human psychology, James is considered the father of psychological realism
MODERNISM
Modernism and postmodernism cant be included in a period, does not have a definition. Modernism
refers to the cultural & emphatic changes that took place in a tumultuous era, an era of western
imperialism, enormous advances in science and technologies, world warThe first manifestation of
the modern is the impressionism, the second is the symbolism- may be said to have set up the
principles of modernism; the third- the futurism, then the cubism, the surrealism, expressionism, the
dadaism .
Formal Characteristics
-Open Form ;Free Verse ;Discontinuous narrative; Juxtaposition;Intertextuality;Classical
allusions;
Borrowings from other cultures and languages; Unconventional use of metaphor;Metanarrative;
Fragmentation ;Multiple narrative points of view (parallax)
Thematic Characteristics
Breakdown of social norms and cultural sureties; Dislocation of meaning and sense from its
normal context; Valorization of the despairing individual in the face of an unmanageable
future;Disillusionment
Rejection of history and the substitution of a mythical past, borrowed without
chronology;Product of the metropolis, of cities and urbanscapes;Stream of
consciousness;Overwhelming technological changes of the 20th Century
The modernist form of prose began from the styles of writing popular in the mid to late 19th
century: The nonsense books of Edward Lear and Lewis Carroll were one influence. Another was the
dark gothic brooding of Mary Shelley, Bram Stoker, Edgar Allan Poe and Dostoyevski. These
tendencies toward rebellious nonsense and morose introspection were, to some extent, reactions against
the science and positivism of the Victorian era mindset. At the same time, however, science continued
to influence writers to adopt a spirit of experimentalism.
In 1902 Joseph Conrad published Heart of Darkness, which threw representations of civilised
society into sharp contrast with representations of the jungle and played both of them in relation to the
human heart and soul.
In the first half of the 20th century writers such as Franz Kafka and James Joyce experimented
with dislocations of conventional wisdom in their creations of distorted characters, locations and
narrative styles. Literary experiments in form, matching those taking place in modernist painting and
sculpture of the same period, challenged the reader to re-examine and deconstruct preconceptions about
the world
The modernist Art of Fiction
The turn-of the century writers, whose works record the clear passage from the realist to the
psychologically oriented novel, agree that, if there should be a change at all in point of novel writing,
this change should reside in a shift of focus from the description of the outer world to the representation
of the inner world.
The letters exchanged by H.G. Wells and Henry James at the beg. of the 20th ce. reveals the
conviction that the novel as an art form remains indispensable to the understanding of the 20th century
civilization .It is art that makes life, makes interest, makes importance. Elliot considered literature to be
an antidote to the 20th ce. Wells is the one who signaled the change of use of the modern world. In his
essay The Contemporary Novel , he announces the end of the period when the novel had been
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considered a favorite form of entertainment , this being, in his opinion , the main distinction bet. the
modern and the Vic. novel. . James and Conrad revolutionised the theory of the modern novel not by
ostentatiously rejecting the Victorian conventions, which they assimilate to a certain extent, but by
privileging form and language as specifics of the art of literature.
In Platos opinion, art was a harmful and imperfect form of knowledge, inferior to the
phenomenal reality and the Idea. Art was equated to lie, to the untruth. Aristotle answered Platos
accusations, reinstating art, and especially the art of the word. ). Literature, poetry in Aristotles terms,
is and is not reality at the same time.
The fundamental condition of existence of literature resides in the opposition between fiction
and reality. Relying on the Aristotelian concept of mimesis understood as representation, it may be
argued that fiction is, paradoxically, different from reality, while simultaneously using reality as its
material. The novel, as James imagined it, is the literary form able to deal with all particles of the
multitudinous life in a way that can hardly be called dogmatic. In this respect, James sees in the novel
the most magnificent form of art. Half a century later, Woolf expressed ideas similar to James in an
essay also entitled The Art of Fiction. The modernist Woolf follows James and Conrads example,
considering theory and theorising upon the novel to be essential to the creative activity. In
consequence, Woolf does not reject the nineteenth-century conventions simply for being old and
therefore inappropriate. The modernist innovation in form is not the result of an a priori opposition to
the old. The proper stuff of fiction does not exist; everything is the proper stuff of fiction, every
feeling, every thought..-Woolf in Modern Fiction
JOSEPH CONRAD
The mind of man is capable of anything because everything is in it, all the past as well as all
the future. What was there after all? Joy, fear, sorrow, devotion, valour, rage who can tell? but truth
truth stripped of its cloak of time.
In 1902 Joseph Conrad published Heart of Darkness, which threw representations of civilised society
into sharp contrast with representations of the jungle and played both of them in relation to the human
heart and soul. It was published as a complete novella in 1904. Its most famous lines are both from
Kurtz: exterminate the brutes, and Kurtz's deathbed utterance, the horror! The horror!
Conrads works, Heart of Darkness in particular, provide a bridge between Victorian values and the
ideals of modernism. Like their Victorian predecessors, these novels rely on traditional ideas of
heroism, which are nevertheless under constant attack in a changing world and in places far from
England. While the threats that Conrads characters face are concrete onesillness, violence,
conspiracythey nevertheless acquire a philosophical character. Like much of the best modernist
literature produced in the early decades of the twentieth century, Heart of Darkness is as much about
alienation, confusion, and profound doubt as it is about imperialism.
Imperialism is nevertheless at the center of Heart of Darkness, thus, at its most abstract level, is a
narrative about the difficulty of understanding the world beyond the self, about the ability of one man
to judge another.
HEART OF DARKNESS centers around Marlow, an introspective sailor, and his journey up the Congo
River to meet Kurtz, reputed to be an idealistic man of great abilities. Marlow takes a job as a riverboat
captain with the Company, a Belgian concern organised to trade in the Congo. As he travels to Africa
and then up the Congo, Marlow encounters widespread inefficiency and brutality in the Companys
stations. The manager and his favorite, the brickmaker, seem to fear Kurtz as a threat to their position.
Kurtz is rumored to be ill, making the delays in repairing the ship all the more costly. Apparently, Kurtz
has established himself as a god with the natives and has gone on brutal raids in the surrounding
territory in search of ivory. Marlow listens to Kurtz talk while he pilots the ship, and Kurtz entrusts
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Marlow with a packet of personal documents, including an eloquent pamphlet on civilising the savages
which ends with a scrawled message that says, Exterminate all the brutes! The steamer breaks down,
and they have to stop for repairs. Kurtz dies, uttering his last wordsThe horror! The horror!in the
presence of the confused Marlow. Marlow falls ill soon after and barely survives. Eventually he returns
to Europe and goes to see Kurtzs Intended (his fiance). She is still in mourning, even though it has
been over a year since Kurtzs death, and she praises him as a paragon of virtue and achievement. She
asks what his last words were, but Marlow cannot bring himself to shatter her illusions with the truth.
Instead, he tells her that Kurtzs last word was her name.
Marlow - The protagonist of Heart of Darkness. Marlow is philosophical, independent-minded, and
generally sceptical of those around him. He is also a master storyteller, eloquent and able to draw his
listeners into his tale. Although Marlow shares many of his fellow Europeans prejudices, he has seen
enough of the world and has encountered enough debased white men to make him sceptical of
imperialism.He is a complicated man who anticipates the figures of high modernism while also
reflecting his Victorian predecessors. Marlow is in many ways a traditional hero: tough, honest, an
independent thinker, a capable man
Marlow can also be read as an intermediary between the two extremes of Kurtz and the Company. He
is moderate enough to allow the reader to identify with him, yet open-minded enough to identify at
least partially with either extreme. Thus, he acts as a guide for the reader. Marlows intermediary
position can be seen in his eventual illness and recovery. Unlike those who truly confront or at least
acknowledge Africa and the darkness within themselves, Marlow does not die, but unlike the Company
men, who focus only on money and advancement, Marlow suffers horribly. He is thus contaminated
by his experiences and memories, and, like Coleridges Ancient Mariner, destined, as purgation or
penance, to repeat his story to all who will listen.
Kurtz - The chief of the Inner Station and the object of Marlows quest. Kurtz is a man of many
talentswe learn, among other things, that he is a gifted musician and a fine painterthe chief of
which are his charisma and his ability to lead men. Kurtz is a man who understands the power of
words, and his writings are marked by an eloquence that obscures their horrifying message. Although
he remains an enigma even to Marlow, Kurtz clearly exerts a powerful influence on the people in his
life. His downfall seems to be a result of his willingness to ignore the hypocritical rules that govern
European colonial conduct: Kurtz has kicked himself loose of the earth by fraternising excessively
with the natives and not keeping up appearances; in so doing, he has become wildly successful but has
also incurred the wrath of his fellow white men.
Themes are the fundamental and often universal ideas explored in a literary work.
The Hypocrisy of Imperialism;Madness as a Result of Imperialism; The Absurdity of Evil
NARRATOR There are two narrators: an anonymous passenger on a pleasure ship, who listens to
Marlows story, and Marlow himself, a middle-aged ships captain
POINT OF VIEW The first narrator speaks in the first-person plural, on behalf of four other passengers
who listen to Marlows tale. Marlow narrates his story in the first person, describing only what he
witnessed and experienced, and providing his own commentary on the story.
TONE Ambivalent: Marlow is disgusted at the brutality of the Company and horrified by Kurtzs
degeneration, but he claims that any thinking man would be tempted into similar behavior.
Conrad, as compared to the other modernist writers, did not extensively use the various consciousnessrendering techniques in his novels, the techniques for which the modernist experimental novels have
been recognised as innovating by the educated twentieth-century readers. The technique Conrad
devised, in anticipation of the elaborate purely modernist stream of consciousness technique, turned
his literature into a means of investigation of the darkest recesses of the human soul and of the
essentials of the human nature. To be more accurate as to his position in the evolution of the English
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novel, however, it is better to consider him a turn-of-the-century writer. Thus Conrad is neither a fullyfledged realist, nor a perfectly defined modernist. Introducing Marlow, eye witness and narrator, from
the very beginning of the novel as part of the intended technique of indirectness, pointing to Marlows
propensity to moving and searching meanings beyond the palpable reality, Conrad clearly indicates
that the novel will not be like any other novel, that the form the shell is part of the meaning and
has to be understood as well as the events described. A new form is necessary because the novel is not a
mere reflection of the tangible, and known reality, but an exploration of different types of reality.
Conrads Lord Jim was published as a serial novel in 1900. Like Heart of Darkness, Lord Jim
is largely told from the perspective of the narrator Marlow, who follows the story of a wandering
English sailor named Jim, in part to help him, and in part to determine the truth of his life, especially
regarding one important event. Jim stands trial for abandoning his ship and leaving the passengers
behind to die, an act of moral cowardice he does not deny but also cannot explain. Eventually, he
comes to live in
the East Indies among the natives in an attempt to redeem himself, but when the native chiefs son is
murdered by a British looter, Jim feels responsible and accepts a death sentence from the chief, who
shoots him in the chest. In Marlows eyes, Jims death is a heroic act that serves as his redemption, but
the novel itself offers several other possible interpretations, concluding
with a moral ambiguity that is a hallmark both of Conrads work and of Modernist fiction in general.
The style of the novel is also modern, characterized by chronological jumps forwards and backwards,
shifts in point of view and narrative style, and a lack of closure. Though it came to be considered an
exemplary modern novel, early readers did not respond favorably to Conrads innovations.
Conrad vs Hardy
In their applications of the techniques of symbolism and imagery Hardy and Conrad are likewise
different. Hardy enriches his descriptions and narrative commentary with allusions to great deeds,
thoughts, and persons, to music, art, philosophy, and mythology to create a sense of the eternal lurking
behind the aspirations and passions of his Wessex characters, whose significance as individuals Time
works to diminish. Conrad's method is quite different, more recognizably Romantic and less Classical
than Hardy's. For the most part, Conrad couples the general symbol with a straight-forward simile: his
symbolic patterns draw their energy from the very nature of things, from the ancient elements of earth,
air, fire, and water, from darkness and light and all the colors in between, from the great chain of being
itself, connecting the lowliest beast and tormented devil to the noblest man and the enigmatic creator of
all. Whereas Hardy is overt in his use of images and symbols, Conrad in his speaks what Shakespeare
terms "a kind Of excellent dumb discourse." In his novels, Hardy attempts to state a meaning through
his symbols; in his novels, Conrad is content to imply rather than define. Hardy's symbolism is neither
so elemental nor so readily apprehensible as Conrad's; often Hardy's symbols are oblique, shrouded in
garments which only informed readers may see through, a legacy in narrative technique that Hardy
received from his reading the works of the erudite George Eliot.

JAMES JOYCE (1882-1941 )


HE WAS BORN on February 2, 1882, in Dublin, Ireland. Initially, Joyce began to work on an
autobiographical novel called Stephen Hero. Joyce eventually gave up on Stephen Hero, but reworked
much of the material into A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, which features the same
autobiographical protagonist, Stephen Dedalus, and tells the story of Joyces youth up to his 1902
departure for Paris.

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In 1907 Joyces first book of poems, Chamber Music, was published in London. He published
his book of short stories, Dubliners, in 1914, the same year he published A Portrait of the Artist as a
Young Man in serial installments in the London journal The Egoist.
Joyce began writing Ulysses in 1914, and when World War I broke out he moved his family to
Zurich, Switzerland, where he continued work on the novel.
Joyce first conceived of Ulysses as a short story to be included in Dubliners, but decided
instead to publish it as a long novel, situated as a sort of sequel to A Portrait of the Artist as a Young
Man. Ulysses picks up Stephen Dedaluss life more than a year after where Portrait leaves off. The
novel introduces two new main characters, Leopold and Molly Bloom, and takes place on a single day,
June 16, 1904, in Dublin.
Ulysses strives to achieve a kind of realism unlike that of any novel before it by rendering the
thoughts and actions of its main characters both trivial and significantin a scattered and
fragmented form similar to the way thoughts, perceptions, and memories actually appear in our minds.
Ulysses has become particularly famous for Joyces stylistic innovations. In Portrait, Joyce
first attempted the technique of interior monologue, or stream-of-consciousness. He also experimented
with shifting stylethe narrative voice of Portrait changes stylistically as Stephen matures. In
Ulysses, Joyce uses interior monologue extensively, and instead of employing one narrative voice,
Joyce radically shifts narrative style with each new episode of the novel.
Joyces early work reveals the stylistic influence of Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen.
Ulysses maintains Joyces concern with realism but also introduces stylistic innovations similar to
those of his Modernist contemporaries. Ulyssess multi-voiced narration, textual self-consciousness,
mythic framework, and thematic focus on life in a modern metropolis situate it close to other main
texts of the Modernist movement, such as T. S. Eliots mythic poem The Waste Land (also published in
1922) or Virginia Woolfs stream-of-consciousness novel, Mrs. Dalloway (1925).
Though never working in collaboration, Joyce maintained correspondences with other
Modernist writers, including Samuel Beckett, and Ezra Pound, who helped find him a patron and an
income. Joyces final work, Finnegans Wake, is often seen as bridging the gap between Modernism
and postmodernism. A novel only in the loosest sense, Finnegans Wake looks forward to postmodern
texts in its playful celebration (rather than lamentation) of the fragmentation of experience and the
decentered nature of identity, as well as its attention to the nontransparent qualities of language.
Ulysses must be seen in an Irish context. Joyces novel was written during the years of the Irish
bid for independence from Britain. After a bloody civil war, the Irish Free State was officially formed
during the same year that Ulysses was published. Even in 1904, Ireland had experienced the failure
of several home rule bills that would have granted the island a measure of political independence
within Great Britain. The failure of these bills is linked to the downfall of the Irish member of
Parliament, Charles Stewart Parnell, who was once referred to as Irelands Uncrowned King, and
was publicly persecuted by the Irish church and people in 1889 for conducting a long-term affair with
a married woman, Kitty OShea. Joyce saw this persecution as an hypocritical betrayal by the Irish that
ruined Irelands chances for a peaceful independence.
Accordingly, Ulysses depicts the Irish citizens of 1904, especially Stephen Dedalus, as involved
in tangled conceptions of their own Irishness, and complex relationships with various authorities and
institutions specific to their time and place: the British empire, Irish nationalism, the Roman Catholic
church, and the Irish Literary Revival
Analysis of Major Characters
Leopold Bloom
Leopold Bloom functions as a sort of Everymana bourgeois Odysseus for the twentieth
century. At the same time, the novels depiction of his personality is one of the most detailed in all
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literature. Bloom is a thirty-eight-year-old advertising canvasser. His father was a Hungarian Jew, and
Joyce exploits the irony of this factthat Dublins latter-day Odysseus is really a Jew with Hungarian
originsto such an extent that readers often forget Blooms Irish mother and multiple baptisms.
Blooms status as an outsider, combined with his own ability to envision an inclusive state, make him a
figure who both suffers from and exposes the insularity of Ireland and Irishness in 1904. Yet the social
exclusion of Bloom is not simply one-sided. Bloom is clear-sighted and mostly unsentimental when it
comes to his male peers. He does not like to drink often or to gossip, and though he is always friendly,
he is not sorry to be excluded from their circles
When Bloom first appears in Episode Four of Ulysses, his character is noteworthy for its
differences from Stephens character, on which the first three episodes focus. Stephens cerebrality
makes Blooms comfort with the physical world seem more remarkable. This ease accords with his
practical mind and scientific curiosity. Whereas Stephen, in Episode Three, shuts himself off from the
mat-erial world to ponder the workings of his own perception, Bloom appears in the beginning of
Episode Four bending down to his cat, wondering how her senses work. Blooms comfort with the
physical also manifests itself in his sexuality, a dimension mostly absent from Stephens character. We
get ample evidence of Blooms sexualityfrom his penchant for voyeurism and female underclothing
to his masturbation and erotic correspondencewhile Stephen seems inexperienced and celibate.
Other disparities between the two men further define Blooms character: where Stephen is
depressive and somewhat dramatic, Bloom is mature and even-headed. Bloom possesses the ability to
cheer himself up and to pragmatically refuse to think about depressing topics. Yet Bloom and Stephen
are similar, too. They are both unrealised artists, if with completely different agendas. As one Dubliner
puts it, Theres a touch of the artist about old Bloom. We might say that Blooms conception of art is
bourgeois, in the sense that he considers art as a way to effect peoples actions and feelings in an
immediate way. From his desire to create a newer, better advertisement, to his love poem to Molly, to
his reading of Shakespeare for its moral value, Blooms version of art does not stray far from real-life
situations. Blooms sense of culture and his aspiration to be cultured also seem to bring him close to
Stephen. The two men share a love for music, and Stephens companionship is attractive to Bloom,
who would love to be an expert, rather than a dabbler, in various subjects.
Two emotional crises plague Blooms otherwise cheerful demeanor throughout Ulyssesthe
breakdown of his male family line and the infidelity of his wife, Molly. The untimely deaths of both
Blooms father (by suicide) and only son, Rudy (days after his birth), lead Bloom to feel cosmically
lonely and powerless. Bloom is allowed a brief respite from these emotions during his union with
Stephen in the latter part of the novel. We slowly realise over the course of Ulysses that the first crisis
of family line is related to the second crisis of marital infidelity: the Blooms intimacy and attempts at
procreation have broken down since the death of their only son eleven years ago. Blooms reaction to
Mollys decision to look elsewhere (to Blazes Boylan) for sex is complex. Bloom enjoys the fact that
other men appreciate his wife, and he is generally a passive, accepting person. Bloom is clear-sighted
enough to realise, though, that Blazes Boylan is a paltry replacement for himself, and he ultimately
cheers himself by recontextualizing the problem. Boylan is only one of many, and it is on Molly that
Bloom should concentrate his own energies.
In fact, it is this ability to shift perspective by sympathising with another viewpoint that renders
Bloom heroic. His compassion is evident throughouthe is charitable to animals and people in need,
his sympathies extend even to a woman in labour. Blooms masculinity is frequently called into
question by other characters; hence, the second irony of Ulysses is that Bloom as Every man is also
somewhat feminine. And it is precisely his fluid, androgynous capacity to empathise with people and
things of all typesand to be both a symbolic father and a mother to Stephenthat makes him the
hero of the novel.
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Molly Bloom
Over the course of the novel, we get a very clear picture of Bloom and Stephen because we
witness their interactions with many different people and see what they are thinking throughout all of
these interactions. For most of the novel we only see Molly Bloom through other peoples eyes, so it
may be tempting to dismiss her as a self-centred, unfaithful woman. The way we decide to view her
will require us to reevaluate the understanding we have thus far formed of Leopold Bloom. If we focus
on the vulgarity and physicality of her monologue, our built-up sympathies with Bloom as the wellmeaning husband of a loose woman are ratified. But a more nuanced understanding of her involves
seeing her as an outgoing woman who takes a certain pride in her husband, but who has been feeling a
lack of demonstrative love. This idea yields a revaluation of Bloom as being unfaithful in his own
ways and complicit in the temporary breakdown of their marriage.
Like Bloom, Molly is a Dublin outsider. She was raised in the military atmosphere of Gibraltar
by her father, Major Brian Tweedy. Molly never knew her mother, who was possibly Jewish, or just
Jewish-looking. Bloom associates Molly with the hot-blooded Mediterranean regions, and, to a
lesser degree, the exoticism of the East. Yet Molly considers her own childhood to have been normal,
outside the dramatic entrances and exits of young, good-looking soldiers going off to war. Molly
seems to organize her life around men and to have very few female friends. She enjoys being looked at
and gains self-esteem from the admiration of men. Molly is extremely self-aware and perceptiveshe
knows without looking when she is being looked at. A mans admiration of her does not cloud her own
negative judgments about him. She is frank about topics that other people are likely to sentimentalize
intimacy, mourning, and motherhood, for example. She is also frank about the extent to which living
involves adaptations of different roles. Her sense of this truthwhich is perhaps related to her own
career as a stage singeraligns her with Stephen, who is also conscious of his outward existence in
terms of a series of roles. Molly and Stephen both share a capacity for storytelling, scene-setting, and
mimicry. Mollys storytelling and frankness about role-playing evinces her sense of humor, and it also
mediates our sense of her as a hypocritical character. Finally, it is this pragmatic and fluid adoption of
roles that enables Molly to reconnect with Bloom through vivid recollections, and, indeed,
reenactments, of the past, as in her final memory of the Howth scene at the end of Ulysses.
Stephen Dedalus
The character of Stephen Dedalus is a harshly drawn version of Joyce himself at age twentytwo. Stephen first appeared as the main character of A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, which
followed his development from early childhood to his proud and ambitious days before leaving Dublin
for Paris and the realisation of his artistic capabilities. When we meet Stephen again at the beginning
of Ulysses, it is over two years after the end of Portrait. Stephen has been back in Dublin for over a
year, having returned to sit at his mothers deathbed. Stephens artistic talent is still unrealisedhe is
currently a reluctant teacher of history at a boys school. He is disappointed and moody and is still
dressed in mourning over the death of his mother almost a year ago. Stephens interactions with
various charactersBuck, Haines, Mr. Deasyin the opening episodes of the book crystallise our
sense of the damaging ties and obligations that have resulted from Stephens return to Ireland. At the
beginning of Ulysses, Stephen is a self-conscious young man whose identity is still in formation.
Stephens aloofness and his attempts to understand himself through fictional characters such as Hamlet
dramatise his struggle to solidify this identity.
Stephen is depicted as above most of the action of the novel. He exists mainly within his own
world of ideashis actions in the world tend to pointedly distance himself from others and from the
world itself. His freeness with money is less a demonstration of his generosity than of his lack of
material concerns. His unwashed state similarly reflects his removal from the material world. His
cryptic stories and riddles cut others off rather than include them. He stubbornly holds grudges, and
42

our admiration of his noble struggle for independence is tempered by our knowledge of the
impoverished siblings he has left behind. If Stephen himself is an unsympathetic character, however,
the issues central to his identity struggle are easier for us to sympathise with. From his contemplation
of the eyes perception of the outside world to his teaching of a history lesson to his meditations on
amor matris or mother love, Stephens mental meanderings center on the problem of whether, and
how, to be an active or passive being within the world.
Stephens struggles tend to center around his parents. His mother, who seems to blame Stephen
for refusing to pray at her deathbed, represents not only a mothers love but also the church and
Ireland. Stephen is haunted by his mothers memory and ghost in the same ways that he is haunted by
memories of his early piety. Though Stephens father is still alive and well, we see Stephen attempting
to ignore or deny him throughout all of Ulysses. Stephens struggle with his father seems to be about
Stephens need to have a space in which to createa space untainted by Simon Dedaluss overly
critical judgments. Stephens struggle to define his identity without the constraint or aid imposed by
his father bleeds into larger conflictsStephens struggle with the authority of God, the authority of
the British empire, even with the authority of the mocker or joker.
After the first three episodes, Stephens appearances in Ulysses are limited. However, these
limited appearancesin Episodes Nine, Fourteen, and Fifteendemonstrate that Stephens attempted
repudiation of authority and obligations has precipitated what seems to him to be the abandonment of
all those close to him. At the end of Episode Fifteen, Stephen lies nearly unconscious on the ground,
feeling as though he has been betrayed by everyone. Never before has Stephen seemed so much in
need of a parent, and it is Bloomnot wholly father nor motherwho cares for him.
Though Stephen plays a part in the final episodes of Ulysses, we see less and less of his
thoughts as the novel progresses (and, perhaps not coincidentally, Stephen becomes drunker and
drunker). Instead, the circumstances of the novel and the apparent choices that Stephen makes take
over our sense of his character. By the novels end, we see that Stephen recognises a break with Buck
Mulligan, will quit his job at Deasys school, and has accepted, if only temporarily, Blooms
hospitality. In Blooms kitchen, Stephen puts something in his mouth besides alcohol for the first time
since Episode One, and has a conversation with Bloom, as opposed to performing as he did earlier in
the day. We are thus encouraged to understand that, in the calm of the late-night hours, Stephen has
recognised the power of a reciprocal relationship to provide sustenance.
Themes, Motifs & Symbols
Themes
Themes are the fundamental and often universal ideas explored in a literary work.
The Quest for Paternity
At its most basic level, Ulysses is a book about Stephens search for a symbolic father and
Blooms search for a son. In this respect, the plot of Ulysses parallels Telemachuss search for
Odysseus, and vice versa, in The Odyssey. Blooms search for a son stems at least in part from his need
to reinforce his identity and heritage through progeny. Stephen already has a biological father, Simon
Dedalus, but considers him a father only in flesh. Stephen feels that his own ability to mature and
become a father himself (of art or children) is restricted by Simons criticism and lack of
understanding. Thus Stephens search involves finding a symbolic father who will, in turn, allow
Stephen himself to be a father. Both men, in truth, are searching for paternity as a way to reinforce
their own identities
Stephen is more conscious of his quest for paternity than Bloom, and he mentally recurs to
several important motifs with which to understand paternity. Stephens thinking about the Holy Trinity
involves, on the one hand, Church doctrines that uphold the unity of the Father and the Son and, on the
other hand, the writings of heretics that challenge this doctrine by arguing that God created the rest of
43

the Trinity, concluding that each subsequent creation is inherently different. Stephens second motif
involves his Hamlet theory, which seeks to prove that Shakespeare represented himself through the
ghost-father in Hamlet, but alsothrough his translation of his life into artbecame the father of his
own father, of his life, and of all his race. The Holy Trinity and Hamlet motifs reinforce our sense of
Stephens and Blooms parallel quests for paternity. These quests seem to end in Blooms kitchen, with
Bloom recognizing the future in Stephen and Stephen recognizing the past in Bloom. Though
united as father and son in this moment, the men will soon part ways, and their paternity quests will
undoubtedly continue, for Ulysses demonstrates that the quest for paternity is a search for a lasting
manifestation of self.
The Remorse of Conscience
The phrase agenbite of inwit, a religious term meaning remorse of conscience, comes to
Stephens mind again and again in Ulysses. Stephen associates the phrase with his guilt over his
mothers deathhe suspects that he may have killed her by refusing to kneel and pray at her sickbed
when she asked. The theme of remorse runs through Ulysses to address the feelings associated with
modern breaks with family and tradition. Bloom, too, has guilty feelings about his father because he no
longer observes certain traditions his father observed, such as keeping kosher. Episode Fifteen,
Circe, dramatizes this remorse as Blooms Sins of the Past rise up and confront him one by one.
Ulysses juxtaposes characters who experience remorse with characters who do not, such as Buck
Mulligan, who shamelessly refers to Stephens mother as beastly dead, and Simon Dedalus, who
mourns his late wife but does not regret his treatment of her. Though remorse of conscience can have a
repressive, paralyzing effect, as in Stephens case, it is also vaguely positive. A self-conscious
awareness of the past, even the sins of the past, helps constitute an individual as an ethical being in the
present.
Compassion as Heroic
In nearly all senses, the notion of Leopold Bloom as an epic hero is laughablehis job, talents,
family relations, public relations, and private actions all suggest his utter ordinariness. It is only
Blooms extraordinary capacity for sympathy and compassion that allows him an unironic heroism in
the course of the novel. Blooms fluid ability to empathize with such a wide variety of beingscats,
birds, dogs, dead men, vicious men, blind men, old ladies, a woman in labor, the poor, and so onis
the modern-day equivalent to Odysseuss capacity to adapt to a wide variety of challenges. Blooms
compassion often dictates the course of his day and the novel, as when he stops at the river Liffey to
feed the gulls or at the hospital to check on Mrs. Purefoy. There is a network of symbols in Ulysses
that present Bloom as Irelands savior, and his message is, at a basic level, to love. He is juxtaposed
with Stephen, who would also be Irelands savior but is lacking in compassion. Bloom returns home,
faces evidence of his cuckold status, and slays his competitionnot with arrows, but with a refocused
perspective that is available only through his fluid capacity for empathy.
Parallax, or the Need for Multiple Perspectives
Parallax is an astronomical term that Bloom encounters in his reading and that arises
repeatedly through the course of the novel. It refers to the difference of position of one object when
seen from two different vantage points. These differing viewpoints can be collated to better
approximate the position of the object. As a novel, Ulysses uses a similar tactic. Three main characters
Stephen, Bloom, and Mollyand a subset of narrative techniques that affect our perception of
events and characters combine to demonstrate the fallibility of one single perspective. Our
understanding of particular characters and events must be continually revised as we consider further
perspectives. The most obvious example is Mollys past love life. Though we can construct a judgment
of Molly as a loose woman from the testimonies of various characters in the novelBloom, Lenehan,
Dixon, and so onthis judgment must be revised with the integration of Mollys own final testimony.
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NARRATOR Episodes One, Two, FourTwelve, Sixteen, and Seventeen feature anonymous
narrators. Episode Three features Stephens thoughts. Episode Thirteen features an amalgamation of
anonymous narrator, Gerty MacDowell, and Bloom. Episode Fourteen features a variety of narrators,
meant to be representative of the prose styles of historical English authors. Episode Fifteen has no
narrator. Molly Bloom is the first-person narrator of Episode Eighteen.
POINT OF VIEW Episodes One, Two, FourEleven, Sixteen, and Seventeen are told from the
third-person viewpoint. Episode Three features interior monologue. Episode Twelve is told from the
first-person. Episode Thirteen is told from the third and first person. Episode Fourteen is told variously
in the third-person and first-person. Episode Fifteen is in play-script form. Episode Eighteen features
an interior monologue.
TONE The narratives of Episodes One through Eight have a straightforward tone. Episodes
Nine through Eleven have a self-conscious, playful tone. Episode Twelve has a hyperbolic, belligerent
tone. Episode Thirteen has a sentimental tone. Episode Fourteen has an extreme variety of tones,
including pious, sensational, and satiric. Episode Fifteen has no narrator and therefore no dominant
narrative tone. Episode Sixteen has a tired tone. Episode Seventeen has a scientific tone.
MAJOR CONFLICT Molly Blooms infidelity with Blazes Boylan; Stephen Dedaluss search
for a symbolic father; Leopold Blooms desire for a son (his only son died eleven years ago several
days after his birth)
RISING ACTION Bloom leaves his house for the day, sees Blazes Boylan on the street several
times, and becomes anxious about Blazes and Mollys four oclock rendezvous. Bloom is convinced
they are going to have sex. Stephen and Bloom go about their day. They pass by each other several
times and coincidentally meet at Holles St. Maternity Hospital.
CLIMAX The first climax could be when Bloom looks after Stephen during Stephens
argument with Private Carr (at the end of Episode Fifteen). The second climax is Blooms return home
to his bedroom to discover evidence of Mollys infidelity and to mentally overcome the threat of
Blazes Boylan (Episode Seventeen).
FALLING ACTION Bloom and Stephen rest at a cabmans shelter (Episode Sixteen), then
return to the Bloom residence and have cocoa and talk (Episode Seventeen). Bloom tells Molly about
his day and asks her to serve him breakfast in bed (Episode Seventeen). Molly lies awake considering
the events of the day and a happy memory from her and Blooms past.
THEMES The quest for paternity; the remorse of conscience; compassion as heroic; parallax
or the necessity of multiple perspectives
MOTIFS Lightness and darkness; the home usurped; the East
SYMBOLS Plumtrees Potted Meat; the Gold Cup horserace; Stephens Latin Quarter hat;
Blooms potato talisman
FORESHADOWING Stephens and Blooms compatible dreams set in an Eastern marketplace
street

Ulysses (1922), generally considered Joyce's most mature work, is patterned on Homer's Odyssey.
Each of the 18 chapters corresponds loosely with an episode in the Greek epic, but there are echoes of
Joyce's other models, Dante's Inferno and Goethe's Faust, among other sources. The action takes place
in a single day, June 16, 1904 (still observed as "Bloomsday" in many countries), on which the Irish
Jew, Leopold Bloom (Ulysses), walks or rides through the streets of Dublin after leaving his wife,
Molly (Penelope), at home in bed.
Through the stream-of-consciousness technique, Joyce permits the reader to enter the consciousness
of Bloom and perceive the chaos of fragmentary conversations, physical sensations, and memories
which register there. Underlying the surface action is the mythic quest of Leopold for a son to replace
45

the child he and Molly have lost. He finds instead Stephen Dedalus (Telemachus), who, having rejected
his family and faith, is in need of a father. At each of their chance encounters during the day, the mythic
quest becomes more evident. The two are finally united when Bloom rescues the drunken Stephen from
unsavory companions and the police; they share a symbolic communion over cups of hot chocolate in
Bloom's home, a promise of future involvement for Stephen with Leopold, his spiritual "father," and
Molly, the earth mother, who, with her paramours, represents fleshly involvement in the experience of
life. Joyce's technical innovations (particularly his extensive use of stream of consciousness), his
experiments with form, and his unusually frank subject matter and language made Ulysses an important
milestone in the development of the modern novel.
The stream-of-consciousness novel takes as its subject the interior thought sequence and
patterns of associations which distinguish characters from one another. According toAHandbook
to Literature, the stream-of-consciousness novel assumes that what matters most about human
existence is how it is experienced subjectively. The interior level of experience is idiosyncratic,
illogical, and disjointed and the pattern of free psychological association . . . determines the shifting
sequence of thought and feeling. The work of Sigmund Freud (18561939) offered a structure and
way of understanding different psychological levels or areas of consciousness, and some
modern writers, such as Joyce, Virginia Woolf, and William Faulkner, drew upon Freuds theories
as they used the stream-of-consciousness style. In the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries,
many English novels focused more on outer rather than inner events, and the plot was usually
arranged in a linear fashion (as it is, for example, in Charles Dickenss DavidCopperfield). Typically,
when these novels traced the inner thoughts and feelings of characters, they did so within the single
idiom of the narrator. In Joyces handling, the spontaneous flow of thoughts and associations
which typify one character is presented in that persons own idiom or voice. In part, what Joyce
undertakes in Ulysses is to write the novel from the inner world of characters interior thinking, using
their idiosyncratic language patterns. In his review of the novel, Edmund Wilson
explains that whereas earlier novelists presented their characters inner thoughts in one vocabulary
and cadence, Joyce communicates the consciousness of each of the characters . . . made to
speak in the idiom proper to it. In this way, as Wilson explains, Joyce manages to give the effect
of unedited human minds, drifting aimlessly along from one triviality to another. For the
inexperienced reader who brings to the novel expectations based on the nineteenth-century novel, the
challenge is huge. Such a reader assumes that the novel will present first things first, that its characters
will be introduced, that relationships will be explicit and clear, and so forth. However, in the case of
Ulysses, the reader must experience the world of the novel from within each subjective consciousness
as it is presented.

G.B. Shaw (1856-1950 )


George Bernard Shaw was born Protestant in a predominantly Catholic Dublin in 1856. A
staunch progressive, Shaw joined in 1884 the Fabian Society, an organization of middle-class socialists
dedicated to mass education and the legislative reform of England. With the outbreak of World War I,
which for him tolled the death knell of the capitalist system, Shaw would publish a series of anti-war
newspaper articles entitled "Common Sense about the War."
Shaw's writing career began almost simultaneously with his political one , Shavian drama
ultimately came to the stage, however, introducing what has come to be known as the "discussion
play"that is, works primarily driven by ideas, argument, and debateto modern Anglophone theater.
Shaw wrote these plays in a variety of genres, ranging from the comedy to the chronicle. Examples
include Caesar and Cleopatra (1901); the philosophically imposing Man and Superman (1903); Major
46

Barbara, a tale of a broken family some biographers relate to Shaw's own; The Doctor's Dilemma
(1906); the beloved Pygmalion, a tale on gender, class, and phonetics later adapted as the musical .He
left behind him a truly massive corpus of work including about 60 plays, 5 novels, 3 volumes of music
criticism, 4 volumes of dance and theatrical criticism, and heaps of social commentary, political theory,
and voluminous correspondence. One of Shaw's greatest contributions as a modern dramatist is in
establishing drama as serious literature, negotiating publication deals for his highly popular plays so as
to convince the public that the play was no less important than the novel. In that way, he created the
conditions for later playwrights to write seriously for the theater.
Of all of Shaw's plays, Pygmalion is without the doubt the most beloved and popularly
received, if not the most significant in literary terms. The aborted romance between Professor Higgins
and Eliza Doolittle reflects Shaw's own love life, which was always peppered with enamored and
beautiful women, with whom he flirted outrageously but with whom he almost never had any further
relations. That Higgins was a representation of Pygmalion, the character from the famous story of
Ovid's Metamorphoses who is the very embodiment of male love for the female form, makes Higgins
sexual disinterest all the more compelling. Shaw is too consummate a performer and too smooth in his
self- presentation for us to neatly dissect his sexual background; these lean biographical facts, however,
do support the belief that Shaw would have an interest in exploding the typical structures of standard
fairy tales.
Two old gentlemen meet in the rain one night at Covent Garden. Professor Higgins is a scientist
of phonetics, and Colonel Pickering is a linguist of Indian dialects. The first bets the other that he can,
with his knowledge of phonetics, convince high London society that, in a matter of months, he will be
able to transform the cockney speaking Covent Garden flower girl, Eliza Doolittle, into a woman as
poised and well-spoken as a duchess. The next morning, the girl appears at his laboratory on Wimpole
Street to ask for speech lessons, offering to pay a shilling, so that she may speak properly enough to
work in a flower shop. Higgins makes merciless fun of her, but is seduced by the idea of working his
magic on her. Pickering goads him on by agreeing to cover the costs of the experiment if Higgins can
pass Eliza off as a duchess at an ambassador's garden party. The challenge is taken, and Higgins starts
by having his housekeeper bathe Eliza and give her new clothes. Then Eliza's father Alfred Doolittle
comes to demand the return of his daughter, though his real intention is to hit Higgins up for some
money. The professor, amused by Doolittle's unusual rhetoric, gives him five pounds. On his way out,
the dustman fails to recognize the now clean, pretty flower girl as his daughter.
For a number of months, Higgins trains Eliza to speak properly. Two trials for Eliza follow. The
first occurs at Higgins' mother's home, where Eliza is introduced to the Eynsford Hills, a trio of mother,
daughter, and son. The son Freddy is very attracted to her, and further taken with what he thinks is her
affected "small talk" when she slips into cockney. Mrs. Higgins worries that the experiment will lead to
problems once it is ended, but Higgins and Pickering are too absorbed in their game to take heed. A
second trial, which takes place some months later at an ambassador's party (and which is not actually
staged), is a resounding success. The wager is definitely won, but Higgins and Pickering are now bored
with the project, which causes Eliza to be hurt. She throws Higgins' slippers at him in a rage because
she does not know what is to become of her, thereby bewildering him. He suggests she marry
somebody. She returns him the hired jewelry, and he accuses her of ingratitude.
The following morning, Higgins rushes to his mother, in a panic because Eliza has run away.
On his tail is Eliza's father, now unhappily rich from the trust of a deceased millionaire who took to
heart Higgins' recommendation that Doolittle was England's "most original moralist." Mrs. Higgins,
who has been hiding Eliza upstairs all along, chides the two of them for playing with the girl's
affections. When she enters, Eliza thanks Pickering for always treating her like a lady, but threatens
Higgins that she will go work with his rival phonetician, Nepommuck. The outraged Higgins cannot
47

help but start to admire her. As Eliza leaves for her father's wedding, Higgins shouts out a few errands
for her to run, assuming that she will return to him at Wimpole Street. Eliza, who has a lovelorn
sweetheart in Freddy, and the wherewithal to pass as a duchess, never makes it clear whether she will
or not.
Caesar and Cleopatra, a play written in 1898 by George Bernard Shaw, was first staged in
1901.
The play has a prologue that consists of the Egyptian God Ra addressing the audience directly,
as if he could see them in the theater. He draws a contrast between the old Rome, which was poor and
little, and the new Rome, which is rich and huge. He says that Pompey represents the old Rome and
Caesar represents the new Rome. The gods favored Caesar, according to Ra, because he "lived the life
they had given him boldly".Shaw wanted to prove that it wasn't love but politics that drew Cleopatra to
Julius Caesar. He saw the Roman occupation of ancient Egypt as similar to the British occupation that
was occurring during his time. Caesar understands the importance of good government, and values
these things above art and love.
A second theme, apparent both from the text of the play itself and from Shaw's lengthy notes after the
play, is Shaw's belief that people have not been morally improved by civilization and technology. A
line from the prologue clearly illustrates this point. The god Ra addresses the audience and says, "ye
shall marvel, after your ignorant manner, that men twenty centuries ago were already just such as you,
and spoke and lived as ye speak and live, no worse and no better, no wiser and no sillier."
Another theme is the value of clemency. Caesar remarks that he will not stoop to vengeance
when confronted with Septimius, the murderer of Pompey. He throws away letters that would have
identified his enemies in Rome, instead choosing to try to win them to his side. Pothinus remarks that
Caesar doesn't torture his captives. At several points in the play, Caesar lets his enemies go instead of
killing them. The wisdom of this approach is revealed when Cleopatra orders her nurse to kill Pothinus
because of his "treachery and disloyalty" (but really because of his insults to her). This probably
contrasts with historical fact. The murder enrages the Egyptian crowd, and but for Mithridates'
reinforcements would have meant the death of all the protagonists. Caesar only endorses the retaliatory
murder of Cleopatra's nurse because it was necessary and humane

Virgina Woolf (1882-1941)


Considered one of the best of the Modernist writers, Virginia Woolf's personal life is almost as
intriguing as her fiction. Upon completion of a book, Virginia fell into a dangerously dark depression in
anticipation of the world's reaction to her work. Despite her personal difficulties, Virginia Woolf's
fiction represented a shift in both structure and style. The world was changing; literature needed to
change too, if it was to properly and honestly convey the new realities.
She first produced short articles and reviews for various London weeklies. The Voyage Out,
Woolfs first novel, was published in 1915, which would consume nearly five years of her life and go
through seven drafts.
When Virginia published To the Lighthouse and The Waves in 1927 and 1931 respectively, she
had turned a corner and could now be considered more than simply avant-garde; she was now, by most
critic's accounts, a literary genius. However, until the end, she remained insecure and fearful of the
public's reaction to her work.
She also published criticism, including two volumes of The Common Reader.
In Mrs. Dalloway, published in 1925, Woolf discovered a new literary form capable of
expressing the new realities of postwar England. The novel depicts the subjective experiences and
memories of its central characters over a single day in postWorld War I London. Divided into parts,
rather than chapters, the novel's structure highlights the finely interwoven texture of the characters'
48

thoughts. Critics tend to agree that Woolf found her writers voice with this novel. At forty-three, she
knew her experimental style was unlikely to be a popular success but no longer felt compelled to seek
critical praise. The novel did, however, gain a measure of commercial and critical success. This book,
which focuses on commonplace tasks, such as shopping, throwing a party, and eating dinner, showed
that no act was too small or too ordinary for a writers attention. Ultimately, Mrs. Dalloway
transformed the novel as an art form.
Woolf develops the books protagonist, Clarissa Dalloway, and myriad other characters by
chronicling their interior thoughts with little pause or explanation, a style referred to as stream of
consciousness. Several central characters and more than one hundred minor characters appear in the
text, and their thoughts spin out like spider webs. Sometimes the threads of thought crossand people
succeed in communicating. More often, however, the threads do not cross, leaving the characters
isolated and alone. Woolf believed that behind the cotton wool of life, as she terms it in her
autobiographical collection of essays Moments of Being (1941), and under the downpour of
impressions saturating a mind during each moment, a pattern exists.
Characters in Mrs. Dalloway occasionally perceive lifes pattern through a sudden shock, or
what Woolf called a moment of being. Suddenly the cotton wool parts, and a person sees reality, and
his or her place in it, clearly. In the vast catastrophe of the European war, wrote Woolf, our emotions
had to be broken up for us, and put at an angle from us, before we could allow ourselves to feel them in
poetry or fiction. These words appear in her essay collection, The Common Reader, which was
published just one month before Mrs. Dalloway. Her novel attempts to uncover fragmented emotions,
such as desperation or love, in order to find, through moments of being, a way to endure.
While writing Mrs. Dalloway, Woolf reread the Greek classics along with two new modernist
writers, Marcel Proust and James Joyce. Woolf shared these writers' interest in time and psychology,
and she incorporated these issues into her novel. She wanted to show characters in flux, rather than
static, characters who think and emote as they move through space, who react to their surroundings in
ways that mirrored actual human experience.
Rapid political and social change marked the period between the two world wars: the British
Empire, for which so many people had sacrificed their lives to protect and preserve, was in decline.
Countries like India were beginning to question Britains colonial rule. At home, the Labour Party, with
its plans for economic reform, was beginning to challenge the Conservative Party, with its emphasis on
imperial business interests. Women, who had flooded the workforce to replace the men who had gone
to war, were demanding equal rights. Men, who had seen unspeakable atrocities in the first modern
war, were questioning the usefulness of class-based sociopolitical institutions. Woolf lent her support to
the feminist movement in her nonfiction book A Room of Ones Own (1929), as well as in numerous
essays, and she was briefly involved in the womens suffrage movement. Although Mrs. Dalloway
portrays the shifting political atmosphere through the characters Peter Walsh, Richard Dalloway, and
Hugh Whitbread, it focuses more deeply on the charged social mood through the characters Septimus
Warren Smith and Clarissa Dalloway. Woolf delves into the consciousness of Clarissa, a woman who
exists largely in the domestic sphere, to ensure that readers take her character seriously, rather than
simply dismiss her as a vain and uneducated upper-class wife. In spite of her heroic and imperfect
effort in life, Clarissa, like every human being and even the old social order itself, must face death.
M rs. Dalloway covers one day from morning to night in one womans life. Clarissa Dalloway,
an upper-class housewife, walks through her London neighborhood to prepare for the party she will
host that evening. When she returns from flower shopping, an old suitor and friend, Peter Walsh, drops
by her house unexpectedly. The two have always judged each other harshly, and their meeting in the
present intertwines with their thoughts of the past. Years earlier, Clarissa refused Peters marriage
proposal, and Peter has never quite gotten over it. Peter asks Clarissa if she is happy with her husband,
49

Richard, but before she can answer, her daughter, Elizabeth, enters the room. Peter leaves and goes to
Regents Park. He thinks about Clarissas refusal, which still obsesses him.
The point of view then shifts to Septimus, a veteran of World War I who was injured in trench
warfare and now suffers from shell shock. Septimus and his Italian wife, Lucrezia, pass time in
Regents Park. They are waiting for Septimuss appointment with Sir William Bradshaw, a celebrated
psychiatrist. Before the war, Septimus was a budding young poet and lover of Shakespeare; when the
war broke out, he enlisted immediately for romantic patriotic reasons. He became numb to the horrors
of war and its aftermath: when his friend Evans died, he felt little sadness. Now Septimus sees nothing
of worth in the England he fought for, and he has lost the desire to preserve either his society or
himself. Suicidal, he believes his lack of feeling is a crime. Clearly Septimuss experiences in the war
have permanently scarred him, and he has serious mental problems. However, Sir William does not
listen to what Septimus says and diagnoses a lack of proportion. Sir William plans to separate
Septimus from Lucrezia and send him to a mental institution in the country.
Richard Dalloway eats lunch with Hugh Whitbread and Lady Bruton, members of high society.
The men help Lady Bruton write a letter to the Times, London's largest newspaper. After lunch,
Richard returns home to Clarissa with a large bunch of roses. He intends to tell her that he loves her but
finds that he cannot, because it has been so long since he last said it. Clarissa considers the void that
exists between people, even between husband and wife. Even though she values the privacy she is able
to maintain in her marriage, considering it vital to the success of the relationship, at the same time she
finds slightly disturbing the fact that Richard doesnt know everything about her. Clarissa sees off
Elizabeth and her history teacher, Miss Kilman, who are going shopping. The two older women despise
one another passionately, each believing the other to be an oppressive force over Elizabeth. Meanwhile,
Septimus and Lucrezia are in their apartment, enjoying a moment of happiness together before the men
come to take Septimus to the asylum. One of Septimuss doctors, Dr. Holmes, arrives, and Septimus
fears the doctor will destroy his soul. In order to avoid this fate, he jumps from a window to his death.
Peter hears the ambulance go by to pick up Septimuss body and marvels ironically at the level
of Londons civilization. He goes to Clarissas party, where most of the novels major characters are
assembled. Clarissa works hard to make her party a success but feels dissatisfied by her own role and
acutely conscious of Peters critical eye. All the partygoers, but especially Peter and Sally Seton, have,
to some degree, failed to accomplish the dreams of their youth. Though the social order is undoubtedly
changing, Elizabeth and the members of her generation will probably repeat the errors of Clarissas
generation. Sir William Bradshaw arrives late, and his wife explains that one of his patients, the young
veteran (Septimus), has committed suicide. Clarissa retreats to the privacy of a small room to consider
Septimuss death. She understands that he was overwhelmed by life and that men like Sir William
make life intolerable. She identifies with Septimus, admiring him for having taken the plunge and for
not compromising his soul. She feels, with her comfortable position as a society hostess, responsible
for his death. The party nears its close as guests begin to leave. Clarissa enters the room, and her
presence fills Peter with a great excitement
Analysis of Major Characters
Clarissa Dalloway
Clarissa Dalloway, the heroine of the novel, struggles constantly to balance her internal life with
the external world. Her world consists of glittering surfaces, such as fine fashion, parties, and high
society, but as she moves through that world she probes beneath those surfaces in search of deeper
meaning. Yearning for privacy, Clarissa has a tendency toward introspection that gives her a profound
capacity for emotion, which many other characters lack. However, she is always concerned with
appearances and keeps herself tightly composed, seldom sharing her feelings with anyone. She uses a

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constant stream of convivial chatter and activity to keep her soul locked safely away, which can make
her seem shallow even to those who know her well.
Constantly overlaying the past and the present, Clarissa strives to reconcile herself to life
despite her potent memories. For most of the novel she considers aging and death with trepidation,
even as she performs life-affirming actions, such as buying flowers. Though content, Clarissa never lets
go of the doubt she feels about the decisions that have shaped her life, particularly her decision to
marry Richard instead of Peter Walsh. She understands that life with Peter would have been difficult,
but at the same time she is uneasily aware that she sacrificed passion for the security and tranquility of
an upper-class life. At times she wishes for a chance to live life over again. She experiences a moment
of clarity and peace when she watches her old neighbor through her window, and by the end of the day
she has come to terms with the possibility of death. Like Septimus, Clarissa feels keenly the oppressive
forces in life, and she accepts that the life she has is all shell get. Her will to endure, however, prevails.
Septimus Warren Smith
Septimus, a veteran of World War I, suffers from shell shock and is lost within his own mind.
He feels guilty even as he despises himself for being made numb by the war. His doctor has ordered
Lucrezia, Septimuss wife, to make Septimus notice things outside himself, but Septimus has removed
himself from the physical world. Instead, he lives in an internal world, wherein he sees and hears things
that arent really there and he talks to his dead friend Evans. He is sometimes overcome with the beauty
in the world, but he also fears that the people in it have no capacity for honesty or kindness. Woolf
intended for Clarissa to speak the sane truth and Septimus the insane truth, and indeed Septimuss
detachment enables him to judge other people more harshly than Clarissa is capable of. The world
outside of Septimus is threatening, and the way Septimus sees that world offers little hope.
On the surface, Septimus seems quite dissimilar to Clarissa, but he embodies many
characteristics that Clarissa shares and thinks in much the same way she does. He could almost be her
double in the novel. Septimus and Clarissa both have beak-noses, love Shakespeare, and fear
oppression. More important, as Clarissas double, Septimus offers a contrast between the conscious
struggle of a working-class veteran and the blind opulence of the upper class. His troubles call into
question the legitimacy of the English society he fought to preserve during the war. Because his
thoughts often run parallel to Clarissas and echo hers in many ways, the thin line between what is
considered sanity and insanity gets thinner and thinner. Septimus chooses to escape his problems by
killing himself, a dramatic and tragic gesture that ultimately helps Clarissa to accept her own choices,
as well as the society in which she lives.
Peter Walsh
Peter Walshs most consistent character trait is ambivalence: he is middle-aged and fears he has
wasted his life, but sometimes he also feels he is not yet old. He cannot commit to an identity, or even
to a romantic partner. He cannot decide what he feels and tries often to talk himself into feeling or not
feeling certain things. For example, he spends the day telling himself that he no longer loves Clarissa,
but his grief at losing her rises painfully to the surface when he is in her presence, and his obsession
with her suggests that he is still attracted to her and may even long for renewed romance. Even when he
gathers his anger toward Clarissa and tells her about his new love, he cannot sustain the anger and ends
up weeping. Peter acts as a foil to Richard, who is stable, generous, and rather simple. Unlike calm
Richard, Peter is like a storm, thundering and crashing, unpredictable even to himself.
Peters unhealed hurt and persistent insecurity make him severely critical of other characters,
especially the Dalloways. He detests Clarissas bourgeois lifestyle, though he blames Richard for
making her into the kind of woman she is. Clarissa intuits even his most veiled criticisms, such as when
he remarks on her green dress, and his judgments strongly affect her own assessments of her life and
choices. Despite his sharp critiques of others, Peter cannot clearly see his own shortcomings. His self51

obsession and neediness would have suffocated Clarissa, which is partly why she refused his marriage
proposal as a young woman. Peter acquiesces to the very English society he criticizes, enjoying the
false sense of order it offers, which he lacks in his life. Despite Peters ambivalence and tendency
toward analysis, he still feels life deeply. While Clarissa comes to terms with her own mortality, Peter
becomes frantic at the thought of death. He follows a young woman through the London streets to
smother his thoughts of death with a fantasy of life and adventure. His critical nature may distance him
from others, but he values his life nonetheless.
Sally Seton
Sally Seton exists only as a figure in Clarissas memory for most of the novel, and when she
appears at Clarissas party, she is older but still familiar. Though the women have not seen each other
for years, Sally still puts Clarissa first when she counts her blessings, even before her husband or five
sons. As a girl, Sally was without inhibitions, and as an adult at the party, she is still effusive and lacks
Clarissas restraint. Long ago, Sally and Clarissa plotted to reform the world together. Now, however,
both are married, a fate they once considered a catastrophe. Sally has changed and calmed down a
great deal since the Bourton days, but she is still enough of a loose cannon to make Peter nervous and
to kindle Clarissas old warm feelings. Both Sally and Clarissa have yielded to the forces of English
society to some degree, but Sally keeps more distance than Clarissa does. She often takes refuge in her
garden, as she despairs over communicating with humans. However, she has not lost all hope of
meaningful communication, and she still thinks saying what one feels is the most important
contribution one can make to society.
Clarissa considers the moment when Sally kissed her on the lips and offered her a flower at
Bourton the most exquisite moment of her whole life. Society would never have allowed that love to
flourish, since women of Clarissas class were expected to marry and become society wives. Sally has
always been more of a free spirit than Clarissa, and when she arrives at Clarissas party, she feels rather
distant from and confused by the life Clarissa has chosen. The womens kiss marked a true moment of
passion that could have pushed both women outside of the English society they know, and it stands out
in contrast to the confrontation Peter remembers between Sally and Hugh regarding womens rights.
One morning at Bourton, Sally angrily told Hugh he represented the worst of the English middle class
and that he was to blame for the plight of the young girls in Piccadilly. Later, Hugh supposedly kissed
her in the smoking room. Hughs is the forced kiss of traditional English society, while the kiss with
Clarissa is a revelation. Ultimately, the society that spurs Hughs kiss prevails for both women.
Richard Dalloway
Richards simplicity and steadfastness (statornicie ) have enabled him to build a stable life for
Clarissa, but these same qualities represent the compromise that marrying him required. Richard is a
simple, hardworking, sensible husband who loves Clarissa and their daughter, Elizabeth. However, he
will never share Clarissas desire to truly and fully communicate, and he cannot appreciate the beauty
of life in the same way she can. At one point, Richard tries to overcome his habitual stiffness and
shyness by planning to tell Clarissa that he loves her, but he is ultimately too repressed to say the
words, in part because it has been so long since he last said them. Just as he does not understand
Clarissas desires, he does not recognize Elizabeths potential as a woman. If he had had a son, he
would have encouraged him to work, but he does not offer the same encouragement to Elizabeth, even
as she contemplates job options. His reticence on the matter increases the likelihood that she will
eventually be in the same predicament as Clarissa, unable to support herself through a career and thus
unable to gain the freedom to follow her passions.
Richard considers tradition of prime importance, rather than passion or open communication.
He champions the traditions England went to war to preserve, in contrast to Septimus, and does not
recognize their destructive power. Despite his occasional misgivings, Richard has close associations
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with members of English high society. He is critical of Hugh, but they revere many of the same
symbols, including the figure of the grand old lady with money, who is helpless when it comes to
surviving in a patriarchal society. Richard likes the fact that women need him, but sometimes he
wrongly assumes they do. For example, he does not recognize that a female vagrant may not want his
help but may instead enjoy living outside the rules of his society. For Richard, this sort of freedom is
unimaginable
Themes
Communication vs. Privacy
Throughout Mrs. Dalloway, Clarissa, Septimus, Peter, and others struggle to find outlets for
communication as well as adequate privacy, and the balance between the two is difficult for all to
attain. Clarissa in particular struggles to open the pathway for communication and throws parties in an
attempt to draw people together. At the same time, she feels shrouded within her own reflective soul
and thinks the ultimate human mystery is how she can exist in one room while the old woman in the
house across from hers exists in another. Even as Clarissa celebrates the old womans independence,
she knows it comes with an inevitable loneliness. Peter tries to explain the contradictory human
impulses toward privacy and communication by comparing the soul to a fish that swims along in murky
water, then rises quickly to the surface to frolic on the waves. The war has changed peoples ideas of
what English society should be, and understanding is difficult between those who support traditional
English society and those who hope for continued change. Meaningful connections in this disjointed
postwar world are not easy to make, no matter what efforts the characters put forth. Ultimately, Clarissa
sees Septimuss death as a desperate, but legitimate, act of communication.
Disillusionment with the British Empire
Throughout the nineteenth century, the British Empire seemed invincible. It expanded into
many other countries, such as India, Nigeria, and South Africa, becoming the largest empire the world
had ever seen. World War I was a violent reality check. For the first time in nearly a century, the
English were vulnerable on their own land. The Allies technically won the war, but the extent of
devastation England suffered made it a victory in name only. Entire communities of young men were
injured and killed. In 1916, at the Battle of the Somme, England suffered 60,000 casualtiesthe largest
slaughter in Englands history. Not surprisingly, English citizens lost much of their faith in the empire
after the war. No longer could England claim to be invulnerable and all-powerful. Citizens were less
inclined to willingly adhere to the rigid constraints imposed by Englands class system, which benefited
only a small margin of society but which all classes had fought to preserve.
In 1923, when Mrs. Dalloway takes place, the old establishment and its oppressive values are
nearing their end. English citizens, including Clarissa, Peter, and Septimus, feel the failure of the
empire as strongly as they feel their own personal failures. Those citizens who still champion English
tradition, such as Aunt Helena and Lady Bruton, are old. Aunt Helena, with her glass eye (perhaps a
symbol of her inability or unwillingness to see the empire's disintegration), is turning into an artifact.
Anticipating the end of the Conservative Partys reign, Richard plans to write the history of the great
British military family, the Brutons, who are already part of the past. The old empire faces an imminent
demise, and the loss of the traditional and familiar social order leaves the English at loose ends.
The Fear of Death
Thoughts of death lurk constantly beneath the surface of everyday life in Mrs. Dalloway,
especially for Clarissa, Septimus, and Peter, and this awareness makes even mundane events and
interactions meaningful, sometimes even threatening. At the very start of her day, when she goes out to
buy flowers for her party, Clarissa remembers a moment in her youth when she suspected a terrible
event would occur. Big Ben tolls out the hour, and Clarissa repeats a line from Shakespeares
Cymbeline over and over as the day goes on: Fear no more the heat o the sun / Nor the furious
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winters rages. The line is from a funeral song that celebrates death as a comfort after a difficult life.
Middle-aged Clarissa has experienced the deaths of her father, mother, and sister and has lived through
the calamity of war, and she has grown to believe that living even one day is dangerous. Death is very
naturally in her thoughts, and the line from Cymbeline, along with Septimuss suicidal embrace of
death, ultimately helps her to be at peace with her own mortality. Peter Walsh, so insecure in his
identity, grows frantic at the idea of death and follows an anonymous young woman through London to
forget about it. Septimus faces death most directly. Though he fears it, he finally chooses it over what
seems to him a direr alternativeliving another day.
The Threat of Oppression
Oppression is a constant threat for Clarissa and Septimus in Mrs. Dalloway, and Septimus dies
in order to escape what he perceives to be an oppressive social pressure to conform. It comes in many
guises, including religion, science, or social convention. Miss Kilman and Sir William Bradshaw are
two of the major oppressors in the novel: Miss Kilman dreams of felling Clarissa in the name of
religion, and Sir William would like to subdue all those who challenge his conception of the world.
Both wish to convert the world to their belief systems in order to gain power and dominate others, and
their rigidity oppresses all who come into contact with them. More subtle oppressors, even those who
do not intend to, do harm by supporting the repressive English social system. Though Clarissa herself
lives under the weight of that system and often feels oppressed by it, her acceptance of patriarchal
English society makes her, in part, responsible for Septimuss death. Thus she too is an oppressor of
sorts. At the end of the novel, she reflects on his suicide: Somehow it was her disasterher disgrace.
She accepts responsibility, though other characters are equally or more fully to blame, which suggests
that everyone is in some way complicit in the oppression of others.

Modern Americans
Francis Scott Fitzgerald ( 1896-1940 )
Context :
Most young American veterans of the First World War came home changed by two revelations.
One was the horror of warfare; the other was their exposure to life in London and Paris, where artists
and writers celebrated sheer survival with decadent verve. Disillusioned because of the war, the
generation that fought and survived has come to be called the lost generation
America seemed to throw itself into a decade of mad behavior and materialism, a decade that
has come to be called the Roaring Twenties which sometimes appears as one long flamboyant party,
where the urban rich danced the Charleston and the foxtrot until 2 a.m. In fact, it can just as
convincingly be described as a period of individual possibility and lofty aspirations to serve the greater
good. In his 1931 essay "Echoes of the Jazz Age," Fitzgerald wrote, "It was an age of miracles, it was
an age of art, it was an age of excess, and it was an age of satire."
F. Scott Fitzgerald approached this subject in his greatest works. The nihilism of this Lost
Generation is evident from This Side of Paradise's concluding page, when Fitzgerald said they had
"grown up to find all Gods dead, all wars fought, all faiths in man shaken."
Not only was he the most famous writer of the 1920s, Fitzgerald also coined the term Jazz Age,
which denoted an era of ragtime, jazz, stylish automobiles, and uninhibited young women with bobbed
hair and short skirts. "It was an age of miracles, it was an age of art, it was an age of excess, and it was
an age of satire."
Americans had two strong and opposite reactions to this state of affairs: The older generation
pushed for new laws to control social outbursts, and the new generation rejected those laws, especially
54

the 1920 Prohibition Act, which forbade the sale and consumption of alcohol. Many Americans turned
to bootleggers, who illegally either served alcohol smuggled from abroad or distilled their own. In The
Great Gatsby, the title character's party guests often attribute his extraordinary wealth to bootlegging
and other illicit activities.
On the surface, The Great Gatsby is a story of the thwarted love between a man and a woman.
The main theme of the novel, however, encompasses a much larger, less romantic scope. Though all of
its action takes place over a mere few months during the summer of 1922 and is set in a circumscribed
geographical area in the vicinity of Long Island, New York, The Great Gatsby is a highly symbolic
meditation on 1920s America as a whole, in particular the disintegration of the American dream in an
era of unprecedented prosperity and material excess.
Fitzgerald portrays the 1920s as an era of decayed social and moral values, evidenced in its
overarching cynicism, greed, and empty pursuit of pleasure. The reckless jubilance that led to decadent
parties and wild jazz musicepitomized in The Great Gatsby by the opulent parties that Gatsby throws
every Saturday nightresulted ultimately in the corruption of the American dream, as the unrestrained
desire for money and pleasure surpassed more noble goals. When World War I ended in 1918, the
generation of young Americans who had fought the war became intensely disillusioned, as the brutal
carnage that they had just faced made the Victorian social morality of early-twentieth-century America
seem like stuffy, empty hypocrisy. Additionally, the passage of the Eighteenth Amendment in 1919,
which banned the sale of alcohol, created a thriving underworld designed to satisfy the massive demand
for bootleg liquor among rich and poor alike.
Fitzgerald positions the characters of The Great Gatsby as emblems of these social trends. The
clash between old money and new money manifests itself in the novel's symbolic geography: East
Egg represents the established aristocracy, West Egg the self-made rich. Meyer Wolfshiem and Gatsby's
fortune symbolize the rise of organized crime and bootlegging.
As Fitzgerald saw it (and as Nick explains in Chapter IX), the American dream was originally
about discovery, individualism, and the pursuit of happiness. In the 1920s depicted in the novel,
however, easy money and relaxed social values have corrupted this dream, especially on the East
Coast. The main plotline of the novel reflects this assessment, as Gatsby's dream of loving Daisy is
ruined by the difference in their respective social statuses, his resorting to crime to make enough money
to impress her, and the rampant materialism that characterizes her lifestyle.
Plot Overview
Nick Carraway, a young man from Minnesota, moves to New York in the summer of 1922 to
learn about the bond business. He rents a house in the West Egg district of Long Island, a wealthy but
unfashionable area populated by the new rich, a group who have made their fortunes too recently to
have established social connections and who are prone to garish displays of wealth. Nicks next-door
neighbor in West Egg is a mysterious man named Jay Gatsby, who lives in a gigantic Gothic mansion
and throws extravagant parties every Saturday night.
Nick is unlike the other inhabitants of West Egghe was educated at Yale and has social
connections in East Egg, a fashionable area of Long Island home to the established upper class. Nick
drives out to East Egg one evening for dinner with his cousin, Daisy Buchanan, and her husband, Tom,
an erstwhile classmate of Nicks at Yale. Daisy and Tom introduce Nick to Jordan Baker, a beautiful,
cynical young woman with whom Nick begins a romantic relationship. Nick also learns a bit about
Daisy and Toms marriage: Jordan tells him that Tom has a lover, Myrtle Wilson, who lives in the
valley of ashes, a gray industrial dumping ground between West Egg and New York City. Not long after
this revelation, Nick travels to New York City with Tom and Myrtle. At a vulgar, gaudy party in the
apartment that Tom keeps for the affair, Myrtle begins to taunt Tom about Daisy, and Tom responds by
breaking her nose.
55

As the summer progresses, Nick eventually garners an invitation to one of Gatsbys legendary
parties. He encounters Jordan Baker at the party, and they meet Gatsby himself, a surprisingly young
man who affects an English accent, has a remarkable smile, and calls everyone old sport. Gatsby asks
to speak to Jordan alone, and, through Jordan, Nick later learns more about his mysterious neighbor.
Gatsby tells Jordan that he knew Daisy in Louisville in 1917 and is deeply in love with her. He spends
many nights staring at the green light at the end of her dock, across the bay from his mansion. Gatsbys
extravagant lifestyle and wild parties are simply an attempt to impress Daisy. Gatsby now wants Nick
to arrange a reunion between himself and Daisy, but he is afraid that Daisy will refuse to see him if she
knows that he still loves her. Nick invites Daisy to have tea at his house, without telling her that Gatsby
will also be there. After an initially awkward reunion, Gatsby and Daisy reestablish their connection.
Their love rekindled, they begin an affair.
After a short time, Tom grows increasingly suspicious of his wifes relationship with Gatsby. At
a luncheon at the Buchanans house, Gatsby stares at Daisy with such undisguised passion that Tom
realizes Gatsby is in love with her. Though Tom is himself involved in an extramarital affair, he is
deeply outraged by the thought that his wife could be unfaithful to him. He forces the group to drive
into New York City, where he confronts Gatsby in a suite at the Plaza Hotel. Tom asserts that he and
Daisy have a history that Gatsby could never understand, and he announces to his wife that Gatsby is a
criminalhis fortune comes from bootlegging alcohol and other illegal activities. Daisy realizes that
her allegiance is to Tom, and Tom contemptuously sends her back to East Egg with Gatsby, attempting
to prove that Gatsby cannot hurt him.
When Nick, Jordan, and Tom drive through the valley of ashes, however, they discover that
Gatsbys car has struck and killed Myrtle, Toms lover. They rush back to Long Island, where Nick
learns from Gatsby that Daisy was driving the car when it struck Myrtle, but that Gatsby intends to take
the blame. The next day, Tom tells Myrtles husband, George, that Gatsby was the driver of the car.
George, who has leapt to the conclusion that the driver of the car that killed Myrtle must have
been her lover, finds Gatsby in the pool at his mansion and shoots him dead. He then fatally shoots
himself.
Nick stages a small funeral for Gatsby, ends his relationship with Jordan, and moves back to the
Midwest to escape the disgust he feels for the people surrounding Gatsbys life and for the emptiness
and moral decay of life among the wealthy on the East Coast. Nick reflects that just as Gatsbys dream
of Daisy was corrupted by money and dishonesty, the American dream of happiness and individualism
has disintegrated into the mere pursuit of wealth. Though Gatsbys power to transform his dreams into
reality is what makes him great, Nick reflects that the era of dreamingboth Gatsbys dream and the
American dreamis over.

Jay Gatsby
The title character of The Great Gatsby is a young man, around thirty years old, who rose from
an impoverished childhood in rural North Dakota to become fabulously wealthy. However, he achieved
this lofty goal by participating in organized crime, including distributing illegal alcohol and trading in
stolen securities. From his early youth, Gatsby despised poverty and longed for wealth and
sophisticationhe dropped out of St. Olafs College after only two weeks because he could not bear
the janitorial job with which he was paying his tuition. Though Gatsby has always wanted to be rich,
his main motivation in acquiring his fortune was his love for Daisy Buchanan, whom he met as a young
military officer in Louisville before leaving to fight in World War I in 1917. Gatsby immediately fell in
love with Daisys aura of luxury, grace, and charm, and lied to her about his own background in order
to convince her that he was good enough for her. Daisy promised to wait for him when he left for the
war, but married Tom Buchanan in 1919, while Gatsby was studying at Oxford after the war in an
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attempt to gain an education. From that moment on, Gatsby dedicated himself to winning Daisy back,
and his acquisition of millions of dollars, his purchase of a gaudy mansion on West Egg, and his lavish
weekly parties are all merely means to that end.
Fitzgerald delays the introduction of most of this information until fairly late in the novel.
Gatsbys reputation precedes himGatsby himself does not appear in a speaking role until Chapter 3.
Fitzgerald initially presents Gatsby as the aloof, enigmatic host of the unbelievably opulent parties
thrown every week at his mansion. He appears surrounded by spectacular luxury, courted by powerful
men and beautiful women. He is the subject of a whirlwind of gossip throughout New York and is
already a kind of legendary celebrity before he is ever introduced to the reader. Fitzgerald propels the
novel forward through the early chapters by shrouding Gatsbys background and the source of his
wealth in mystery (the reader learns about Gatsbys childhood in Chapter 6 and receives definitive
proof of his criminal dealings in Chapter 7). As a result, the readers first, distant impressions of Gatsby
strike quite a different note from that of the lovesick, naive young man who emerges during the later
part of the novel.
Fitzgerald uses this technique of delayed character revelation to emphasize the theatrical
quality of Gatsbys approach to life, which is an important part of his personality. Gatsby has literally
created his own character, even changing his name from James Gatz to Jay Gatsby to represent his
reinvention of himself. As his relentless quest for Daisy demonstrates, Gatsby has an extraordinary
ability to transform his hopes and dreams into reality; at the beginning of the novel, he appears to the
reader just as he desires to appear to the world. This talent for self-invention is what gives Gatsby his
quality of greatness: indeed, the title The Great Gatsby is reminiscent of billings for such
vaudeville magicians as The Great Houdini and The Great Blackstone, suggesting that the persona
of Jay Gatsby is a masterful illusion.
As the novel progresses and Fitzgerald deconstructs Gatsbys self-presentation, Gatsby reveals
himself to be an innocent, hopeful young man who stakes everything on his dreams, not realizing that
his dreams are unworthy of him. Gatsby invests Daisy with an idealistic perfection that she cannot
possibly attain in reality and pursues her with a passionate zeal that blinds him to her limitations. His
dream of her disintegrates, revealing the corruption that wealth causes and the unworthiness of the
goal, much in the way Fitzgerald sees the American dream crumbling in the 1920s, as Americas
powerful optimism, vitality, and individualism become subordinated to the amoral pursuit of wealth.
Gatsby is contrasted most consistently with Nick. Critics point out that the former, passionate
and active, and the latter, sober and reflective, seem to represent two sides of Fitzgeralds personality.
Additionally, whereas Tom is a cold-hearted, aristocratic bully, Gatsby is a loyal and good-hearted man.
Though his lifestyle and attitude differ greatly from those of George Wilson, Gatsby and Wilson share
the fact that they both lose their love interest to Tom.
Nick Carraway
If Gatsby represents one part of Fitzgeralds personality, the flashy celebrity who pursued and
glorified wealth in order to impress the woman he loved, then Nick represents another part: the quiet,
reflective Midwesterner adrift in the lurid East. A young man (he turns thirty during the course of the
novel) from Minnesota, Nick travels to New York in 1922 to learn the bond business. He lives in the
West Egg district of Long Island, next door to Gatsby. Nick is also Daisys cousin, which enables him
to observe and assist the resurgent love affair between Daisy and Gatsby. As a result of his relationship
to these two characters, Nick is the perfect choice to narrate the novel, which functions as a personal
memoir of his experiences with Gatsby in the summer of 1922.
Nick is also well suited to narrating The Great Gatsby because of his temperament. As he tells
the reader in Chapter 1, he is tolerant, open-minded, quiet, and a good listener, and, as a result, others
tend to talk to him and tell him their secrets. Gatsby, in particular, comes to trust him and treat him as a
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confidant. Nick generally assumes a secondary role throughout the novel, preferring to describe and
comment on events rather than dominate the action. Often, however, he functions as Fitzgeralds voice,
as in his extended meditation on time and the American dream at the end of Chapter 9.
Insofar(in masura in care ) as Nick plays a role inside the narrative, he evidences a strongly
mixed reaction to life on the East Coast, one that creates a powerful internal conflict that he does not
resolve until the end of the book. On the one hand, Nick is attracted to the fast-paced, fun-driven
lifestyle of New York. On the other hand, he finds that lifestyle grotesque and damaging. This inner
conflict is symbolized throughout the book by Nicks romantic affair with Jordan Baker. He is attracted
to her vivacity and her sophistication just as he is repelled by her dishonesty and her lack of
consideration for other people.
Nick states that there is a quality of distortion to life in New York, and this lifestyle makes
him lose his equilibrium, especially early in the novel, as when he gets drunk at Gatsbys party in
Chapter 2. After witnessing the unraveling of Gatsbys dream and presiding over the appalling
spectacle of Gatsbys funeral, Nick realizes that the fast life of revelry on the East Coast is a cover for
the terrifying moral emptiness that the valley of ashes symbolizes. Having gained the maturity that this
insight demonstrates, he returns to Minnesota in search of a quieter life structured by more traditional
moral values.
Themes
The Decline of the American Dream in the 1920s
On the surface, The Great Gatsby is a story of the thwarted(dejucat) love between a man and a
woman. The main theme of the novel, however, encompasses a much larger, less romantic scope.
Though all of its action takes place over a mere few months during the summer of 1922 and is set in a
circumscribed geographical area in the vicinity of Long Island, New York, The Great Gatsby is a highly
symbolic meditation on 1920s America as a whole, in particular the disintegration of the American
dream in an era of unprecedented prosperity and material excess.
As Fitzgerald saw it (and as Nick explains in Chapter 9), the American dream was originally
about discovery, individualism, and the pursuit of happiness. In the 1920s depicted in the novel,
however, easy money and relaxed social values have corrupted this dream, especially on the East
Coast. The main plotline of the novel reflects this assessment, as Gatsbys dream of loving Daisy is
ruined by the difference in their respective social statuses, his resorting to crime to make enough money
to impress her, and the rampant materialism that characterizes her lifestyle. Additionally, places and
objects in The Great Gatsby have meaning only because characters instill them with meaning: the eyes
of Doctor T. J. Eckleburg best exemplify this idea. In Nicks mind, the ability to create meaningful
symbols constitutes a central component of the American dream, as early Americans invested their new
nation with their own ideals and values.
The Hollowness of the Upper Class
One of the major topics explored in The Great Gatsby is the sociology of wealth, specifically,
how the newly minted millionaires of the 1920s differ from and relate to the old aristocracy of the
countrys richest families. In the novel, West Egg and its denizens (locuitori) represent the newly rich,
while East Egg and its denizens, especially Daisy and Tom, represent the old aristocracy. Fitzgerald
portrays the newly rich as being vulgar, gaudy, ostentatious, and lacking in social graces and taste.
Gatsby, for example, lives in a monstrously ornate mansion, wears a pink suit, drives a Rolls-Royce,
and does not pick up on subtle social signals, such as the insincerity of the Sloanes invitation to lunch.
In contrast, the old aristocracy possesses grace, taste, subtlety, and elegance, epitomized by the
Buchanans tasteful home and the flowing white dresses of Daisy and Jordan Baker.
What the old aristocracy possesses in taste, however, it seems to lack in heart, as the East
Eggers prove themselves careless, inconsiderate bullies who are so used to moneys ability to ease their
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minds that they never worry about hurting others. The Buchanans exemplify this stereotype when, at
the end of the novel, they simply move to a new house far away rather than condescend to attend
Gatsbys funeral. Gatsby, on the other hand, whose recent wealth derives from criminal activity, has a
sincere and loyal heart, remaining outside Daisys window until four in the morning in Chapter 7
simply to make sure that Tom does not hurt her. Ironically, Gatsbys good qualities (loyalty and love)
lead to his death, as he takes the blame for killing Myrtle rather than letting Daisy be punished, and the
Buchanans bad qualities (fickleness and selfishness) allow them to remove themselves from the
tragedy not only physically but psychologically.
genre Modernist novel, Jazz Age novel, novel of manners
narrator Nick Carraway; Carraway not only narrates the story but implies that he is the books
author
point of view Nick Carraway narrates in both first and third person, presenting only what he
himself observes. Nick alternates sections where he presents events objectively, as they appeared to
him at the time, with sections where he gives his own interpretations of the storys meaning and of the
motivations of the other characters.
tone Nicks attitudes toward Gatsby and Gatsbys story are ambivalent and contradictory. At
times he seems to disapprove of Gatsbys excesses and breaches of manners and ethics, but he also
romanticizes and admires Gatsby, describing the events of the novel in a nostalgic and elegiac tone.
major conflict Gatsby has amassed a vast fortune in order to win the affections of the upperclass Daisy Buchanan, but his mysterious past stands in the way of his being accepted by her.
rising action Gatsbys lavish parties, Gatsbys arrangement of a meeting with Daisy at Nicks
climax There are two possible climaxes: Gatsbys reunion with Daisy in Chapters 56; the
confrontation between Gatsby and Tom in the Plaza Hotel in Chapter 7.
falling action Daisys rejection of Gatsby, Myrtles death, Gatsbys murder
themes The decline of the American dream, the spirit of the 1920s, the difference between
social classes, the role of symbols in the human conception of meaning, the role of the past in dreams
of the future
motifs The connection between events and weather, the connection between geographical
location and social values, images of time, extravagant parties, the quest for wealth
symbols The green light on Daisys dock, the eyes of Doctor T. J. Eckleburg, the valley of
ashes, Gatsbys parties, East Egg, West Egg
foreshadowing The car wreck after Gatsbys party in Chapter 3, Owl Eyess comments about
the theatricality of Gatsbys life, the mysterious telephone calls Gatsby receives from Chicago and
Philadelphia
Hemingway ( 1899-1961)- Short Stories
Ernest Hemingway was born in Oak Park, Illinois, in 1899, the son of a doctor and a music
teacher. He began his writing career as a reporter for the Kansas City Star. At age eighteen, he
volunteered to serve as a Red Cross ambulance driver in World War I and was sent to Italy, where he
was badly injured by shrapnel. Hemingway later fictionalized his experience in Italy in what some
consider his greatest novel, A Farewell to Arms. In 1921, Hemingway moved to Paris, where he served
as a correspondent for the Toronto Daily Star. In Paris, he fell in with a group of American and English
expatriate writers that included F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ezra Pound, Gertrude Stein, and Ford Madox Ford.
In the early 1920s, Hemingway began to achieve fame as a chronicler of the disaffection felt by many
American youth after World War Ia generation of youth whom Stein memorably dubbed the Lost
Generation. His novels The Sun Also Rises (1926) and A Farewell to Arms (1929) established him as a
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dominant literary voice of his time. His spare, charged style of writing was revolutionary at the time
and would be imitated, for better or for worse, by generations of young writers to come.
After leaving Paris, Hemingway wrote on bullfighting, published short stories and articles,
covered the Spanish Civil War as a journalist, and published his best-selling novel, For Whom the Bell
Tolls (1940). These pieces helped Hemingway build up the mythic breed of masculinity for which he
wished to be known. His work and his life revolved around big-game hunting, fishing, boxing, and
bullfighting, endeavors that he tried to master as seriously as he did writing. In the 1930s, Hemingway
lived in Key West, Florida, and later in Cuba, and his years of experience fishing the Gulf Stream and
the Caribbean provided an essential background for the vivid descriptions of the fishermans craft in
The Old Man and the Sea. In 1936, he wrote a piece for Esquire about a Cuban fisherman who was
dragged out to sea by a great marlin, a game fish that typically weighs hundreds of pounds. Sharks had
destroyed the fishermans catch by the time he was found half-delirious by other fishermen. This story
seems an obvious seed for the tale of Santiago in The Old Man and the Sea.
The huge success of The Old Man and the Sea, published in 1952, was a much-needed
vindication. The novella won the 1953 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, and it likely cinched the Nobel Prize
for Hemingway in 1954, as it was cited for particular recognition by the Nobel Academy. It was the last
novel published in his lifetime.
Although the novella helped to regenerate Hemingways wilting career, it has since been met by
divided critical opinion. While some critics have praised The Old Man and the Sea as a new classic that
takes its place among such established American works as William Faulkners short story The Bear
and Herman Melvilles Moby-Dick, others have attacked the story as imitation Hemingway and find
fault with the authors departure from the uncompromising realism with which he made his name.
Because Hemingway was a writer who always relied heavily on autobiographical sources, some
critics, not surprisingly, eventually decided that the novella served as a thinly veiled attack upon them.
According to this reading, Hemingway was the old master at the end of his career being torn apart by
but ultimately triumphing overcritics on a feeding frenzy. But this reading ultimately reduces The
Old Man and the Sea to little more than an act of literary revenge. The more compelling interpretation
asserts that the novella is a parable about life itself, in particular mans struggle for triumph in a world
that seems designed to destroy him.
Hemingway's heroes are characterized by their unflinching integrity. They do not
compromise. They are vulnerable but are not defined by their vulnerability. Hemingway's men and
women are often defiant of what society expects of them: They eat with gusto, devour adventure,
and have sex simply and directly.
In the beginning, Hemingway wrote about himself, and he would continue to write himself
into all, or most, of his characters until his death. His first persona was Nick Adams, a young boy
who accompanies a doctor to an American Indian camp and watches the doctor use a jackknife to
slice into a woman's abdomen and deliver a baby boy. At that early age, Nick vows never to die.
Later, he defies death and the sanity-threatening wounds that he receives in Italy during World
War I.
In his more mature stories, such as "The Snows of Kilimanjaro" and "The Short Happy Life
of Francis Macomber," Hemingway creates far more complex characters and situations for his
characters. "Snows" is a stylistic tour de force, a perfect dovetailing of intense, invigorating,
interior-monologue flashbacks as contrasts to sections of present-time narratives, during which the
main character, a writer named Harry, is slowly dying of gangrene. Symbolically, Harry is also
rotting away because of the poisonous nature of his wife's money. As his life ebbs away, he
realizes that his writing talent has been ebbing away for years, as surely as his life is, symbolized
by the hyena and the buzzards who wait to feast on his carcass.
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"A Clean, Well-Lighted Place" and "Hills Like White Elephants" are examples of
Hemingway's most pared-down style, in which he removes himself from the role of narrator. The
stories are almost wholly composed of dialogue. One must engage him or herself in the narratives
and ignite his or her imagination to understand the emotional core of each of these stories.
Hemingway expects us to.
Hemingway's Style
A great deal has been written about Hemingway's distinctive style. In fact, the two great
stylists of twentieth-century American literature are William Faulkner and Ernest Hemingway, and
the styles of the two writers are so vastly different that there can be no comparison. For example,
their styles have become so famous and so individually unique that yearly contests award prizes to
people who write the best parodies of their styles. The parodies of Hemingway's writing style are
perhaps the more fun to read because of Hemingway's ultimate simplicity and because he so often
used the same style and the same themes in much of his work.
From the beginning of his writing career in the 1920s, Hemingway's writing style
occasioned a great deal of comment and controversy. Basically, a typical Hemingway novel or
short story is written in simple, direct, unadorned prose. Possibly, the style developed because of
his early journalistic training. The reality, however, is this: Before Hemingway began publishing
his short stories and sketches, American writers affected British mannerisms . Adjectives piled on
top of one another; adverbs tripped over each other. Colons clogged the flow of even short
paragraphs, and the plethora of semicolons often caused readers to throw up their hands in
exasperation. And then came Hemingway.
An excellent example of Hemingway's style is found in "A Clean, Well-Lighted Place." In
this story, there is no maudlin sentimentality; the plot is simple, yet highly complex and difficult.
Focusing on an old man and two waiters, Hemingway says as little as possible. He lets the
characters speak, and, from them, we discover the inner loneliness of two of the men and the
callous prejudices of the other. When Hemingway was awarded the Nobel Prize in literature in
1954, his writing style was singled out as one of his foremost achievements. The committee
recognized his "forceful and style-making mastery of the art of modern narration."
Hemingway has often been described as a master of dialogue; in story after story, novel
after novel, readers and critics have remarked, "This is the way that these characters would really
talk." Yet, a close examination of his dialogue reveals that this is rarely the way people really
speak. The effect is accomplished, rather, by calculated emphasis and repetition that makes us
remember what has been said.
Perhaps some of the best of Hemingway's much-celebrated use of dialogue occurs in "Hills
Like White Elephants." When the story opens, two characters a man and a woman are sitting
at a table. We finally learn that the girl's nickname is "Jig." Eventually we learn that they are in
the cafe of a train station in Spain. But Hemingway tells us nothing about them or about their
past or about their future. There is no description of them. We don't know their ages. We know
virtually nothing about them. The only information that we have about them is what we learn from
their dialogue; thus this story must be read very carefully.
This spare, carefully honed and polished writing style of Hemingway was by no means
spontaneous. When he worked as a journalist, he learned to report facts crisply and succinctly. He
was also an obsessive revisionist. It is reported that he wrote and rewrote all, or portions, of The
Old Man and the Sea more than two hundred times before he was ready to release it for
publication.
Hemingway took great pains with his work; he revised tirelessly. "A writer's style," he said,
"should be direct and personal, his imagery rich and earthy, and his words simple and vigorous."
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Hemingway more than fulfilled his own requirements for good writing. His words are simple and
vigorous, burnished and uniquely brilliant. Certainly each of the short stories represents a
finished, polished "gem" Hemingway's own word for his short stories. No word is superfluous,
and no more words are needed. Along with such well-known short-story writers as William
Faulkner, Flannery O'Connor, and John Steinbeck, Hemingway is considered by literary critics to
be one of the world's finest.
The Doctor and the Doctors wife;The End of Something;The Three-Day Blow;The Killers;Indian
Camp;A Way Youll Never Be;In Another Country;Hills Like White Elephants;A Clean, Well-Lighted
Place;Big Two-Hearted River;The Snows of Kilimanjaro;The Short Happy Life of Francis
Macomber;The Old Man and the Sea
The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber
Its hero, Francis Macomber, is anything but the consummate sportsman. He is inept and
somewhat cowardly, but Hemingway portrays him with sympathy, revealing the anxiety and tragedy
that such narrow definitions of manhood can produce. The juxtaposition of Francis Macomber and his
nemesis, Robert Wilson, clearly underscores this tension, as does Macombers struggle to win the favor
of his perpetually jaded wife, Margot. Margots final act has been the source of great debate among
critics for decades, and it is difficult, upon reading and rereading the story, to determine any one simple
explanation for her actions. The story is based upon an actual scandal that had taken place in Kenya
involving a wife, a love affair, and the wifes implication in the death of her husband, which was
suppressed in the media and covered up by the British government.
The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber is set in the African savanna, to which Mr. and Mrs.
Macomber have come on a hunting expedition, led by Robert Wilson. The hunting expedition ends in
tragedy when Mr. Macomber stands his ground before a charging buffalo and is shot by his wife.
A great deal of symbolism contributes to the meaning of this story. The dichotomy of camp and
savanna serves as a symbol of the differences that exist between Macomber and Robert Wilson. To
leave the camp is to leave the world of comfort and luxury that the Macombers normally enjoy. The
savanna represents Wilsons world, the wild, savage force of nature. The lion and the buffalo,
representations of nature itself in all its brutal force, also come to symbolize the differences in courage
and manhood that exist between Macomber and Wilson. Similarly, the guns themselves operate as
symbols of manhood.
Point of View
The story is told in third-person point of view, meaning that it is related by a narrator who is
not a part of the action of the story. This point of view allows the author to describe events in an
objective manner. For example, Hemingway can simultaneously present Margots insistence on her
innocence and Wilsons belief that she is not innocent. It is the authors third-person narrative point of
view, where the narrator does not always know what is going on in the minds of the characters he
presents, that allows this ambiguity. No one but Margot Macomber can be certain of her guilt or
innocence, and the narrator, who does not have access to this information, does not settle the debate.
Irony is an essential element of this story. The most obvious and striking example of irony is
the title itself. Certainly, Macombers life is short, but is it happy ? It is also ironic that his wife, the
very person who should protect him, is the cause of his death. Furthermore, the fact that it may have
been her impulse to protect Macomber which destroys him makes the climax of the story ironic.
Hemingway uses irony to provide enough ambiguity in the narrative for the outcome of the story to be
unclear.
The Old Man and the Sea
The Old Man and the Sea, one of Ernest Hemingway's most famous works, was published on
this date in 1952.
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All novels use at least one point of view, or angle of vision, from which to tell the story. The
point of view may be that of a single character, or of several characters in turn. The Old Man and the
Sea uses the omniscient, or "all-knowing," point of view of the author, who acts as a hidden narrator.
The omniscient point of view enables the author to stand outside and above the story itself, and thus to
provide a wider perspective from which to present the thoughts of the old man and the other characters.
Thus at the beginning of the tale, the omniscient narrator tells us not only what Santiago and the boy
said to each other, but what the other fishermen thought of the old man. "The older fishermen looked at
him and were sad. But they did not show it."
The Old Man and the Sea takes place entirely in a small fishing village near Havana, Cuba, and
in the waters of the Gulf Stream, a current of warm water that runs north, then east of Cuba in the
Caribbean Sea. Hemingway visited Cuba as early as 1928, and later lived on the coast near Havana for
nineteen years, beginning in 1940, so he knew the area very well. The references to Joe Dimaggio and a
series of games between the Yankees and the Detroit Tigers in which Dimaggio came back from a
slump have enabled scholars to pinpoint the time during which the novel takes place as mid-September
1950. As Manolin also reminds readers, September is the peak of the blue marlin season. The story
takes three days, the length of the battle against the fish, but as Manolin reminds the old man, winter is
coming on and he will need a warm coat.
The Snows of Kilimanjaro
The Snows of Kilimanjaro is a short story by Ernest Hemingway. Considered by Hemingway himself
to be one of his finest stories, "The Snows of Kilimanjaro" was first published in Esquire in 1936 and
then republished in The Fifth Column and the First Forty-nine Stories (1938).
The story centers on the memories of a writer named Harry who is on safari in Africa. He
develops an infected wound from a thorn puncture, and lies awaiting his slow death. This loss of
physical capability causes him to look inside himselfat his memories of the past years, and how little
he has actually accomplished in his writing. He realizes that although he has seen and experienced
many wonderful and astonishing things during his life, he had never made a record of the events; his
status as a writer is contradicted by his reluctance to actually write. He also quarrels with the woman
with him, blaming her for his living decadently and forgetting his failure to write of what really matters
to him, namely his experiences among poor and "interesting" people, not the predictable upper class
crowd he has fallen in with lately. Thus he dies, having lived through so much and yet having lived
only for the moment, with no regard to the future. In a dream he sees a plane coming to get him and
take him to the top of Mount Kilimanjaro.
The type of narration Ernest Hemingway typically uses, the author himself said in an interview
with George Plimpton, was fashioned on the principle of the iceberg ... for seven eighths of it is
under water for every part that shows. In A Moveable Feast (1964), his memoir of Paris in the 1920s,
he expands on this. You could omit anything, he writes, if the omitted part would strengthen the
story and make people feel something more than they understood. Hemingways characters usually
bury not only their feelings about their pasts but their pasts, as well, and his narrators usually thirdperson narrators who see inside the heads of the main character join along in this act of burial. In
most of his best short stories, the protagonists are carrying some deep psychological hurt that they will
not even think about to themselves. Their minds are icebergs because the reader can see just the hint
of these troubles peek forth at times, and must read extremely carefully to try to piece together exactly
what is bothering the protagonist.
In this sense, The Snows of Kilimanjaro is a very atypical Hemingway story. In this story, the
matters that trouble Harry are made clear to the reader; the narrator, who is inside Harrys head, speaks
of them explicitly. But Hemingway sets these instances of introspection apart, dividing them into
sections printed in italics. In all but one of the sections that are in roman type, the narration is typical
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Hemingway: blunt, unadorned, almost devoid of adjectives, and quite uninformative as to what Harry
is feeling. The sentences are short and declarative. But when the narration drifts into the italic sections,
the tone changes. The sentences grow longer and almost stream-of-consciousness, with one clause
tacked on after another recording the protagonists impression of a scene. The narrator describes scenes
fondly and vividly, and uses metaphors and figurative language: the snow as smooth to see as cake
frosting, for instance.
As the story proceeds and Harrys condition worsens, the switching between unadorned
narration and impressionistic, memory-laden narration becomes quicker and more frequent, until the
penultimate section. In this section the section in which Compton arrives and takes Harry away
the reader thinks they are in the real world until the end, when they realize that Harry is having
another dream sequence. This time, though, the dream usually delineated by italics has bled
through to the real world, and the only clue, before the end of the dream, that it is a dream is the
sentence structure. In this section, the sentences are longer, more impressionistic, more descriptive, just
as the sentences in the earlier italic dream segments were. The contrast between the real world, in
which Harrys gangrene has killed him, and the dream world, in which he is flying toward the
unbelievably white peak of Mount Kilimanjaro, is accentuated in the final section, in which the
narrator returns to his short, declarative sentences.
The flashback is a technique that Hemingway uses extensively in The Snows of Kilimanjaro.
The story is divided between present-time sections (set in roman type) and flashbacks (set in italics). In
the present-time sections, the protagonist is facing his death stoically, quietly, and with a great deal of
machismo. All he needs is whiskey and soda to accept his imminent death. But in the flashback
sections, Harry faces his life. His flashbacks show the reader that he has had an exciting and welltravelled life, but that he is also haunted by his memories of World War I. He served in the U.S. Army
in that war and saw combat on the Eastern front, in the Balkans, and Austria. The violence and death
that he saw there come back to him as his rotting leg tells him that he is about to die.
Eugene O'Neill (18881953)
O'Neill wrote his first play, Bound East for Cardiff, in 1916, in 1920, O'Neill's breakthrough
came with his play Beyond the Horizon. Historians of drama identify its premiere as a pivotal event on
the Broadway stage, one that brought a new form of tragic realism to an industry almost entirely
overrun with stock melodramas and shallow farces. O'Neill went on to write over twenty innovative
plays in the next twenty years, to steadily growing acclaim. The more famous works from his early
period include The Great God Brown (1926), a study in the conflicts between idealism and materialism,
and Strange Interlude (1928), an ambitious 36-hour saga on the plight of the Everywoman. His late
career brought such works as his masterpiece, The Iceman Cometh (1946), an Ibsenian portrait of man's
hold on his pipe dreams, and A Long Day's Journey into Night (1956), the posthumously published and
painfully autobiographical tragedy of a family haunted by a mother's drug addiction.
O'Neill wrote morality plays and experimented with the tragic form. O'Neill's interest in tragedy began
as early as 1924 with his Desire Under the Elms, a tale of incest, infanticide, and fateful retribution, but
would come to maturity with his monumental revision of Aeschylus's Oresteia, Mourning Becomes
Electra (1931). O'Neill chose Electra because he felt that her tale had been left incomplete. More
generally, as his diary notes indicate, O'Neill understood his exercises in tragedy as an attempt to find a
modern analogue to an ancient mode of experience. Thus Mourning aims to provide a "modern
psychological approximation of the Greek sense of fate" in a time in which the notion of an inescapable
and fundamentally non-redemptive determinism is incomprehensible. Accordingly, the setting of the
trilogy, the American Civil War (18611865), springs from O'Neill's attempt to negotiate the chasm
between ancient and modern. For O'Neill, the Civil War provided a setting that would allow audiences
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to locate the tragic in their national history and mythology while retaining enough distance in time to
lend the tale its required epic proportions. Mourning also provided O'Neill with an occasion to abandon
the complex set design of the Art Theater, which he had long bemoaned as a constraint on the
playwright's creative freedom.
Plot Overview
The Homecoming
It is late spring afternoon in front of the Mannon house. The master of the house, BrigadierGeneral Ezra Mannon, is soon to return from war.
Lavinia, Ezra's severe daughter, has just come, like her mother Christine, from a trip to New
York. Seth, the gardener, takes the anguished girl aside. He needs to warn her against her would-be
beau, Captain Brant. Before Seth can continue, however, Lavinia's suitor Peter and his sister Hazel,
arrive. Lavinia stiffens. If Peter is proposing to her again, he must realize that she cannot marry anyone
because Father needs her.
Lavinia asks Seth to resume his story. Seth asks if she has not noticed that Brant looks just like
her all the other male Mannons. He believes that Brant is the child of David Mannon and Marie
Brantme, a Canuck nurse, a couple expelled from the house for fear of public disgrace.
Suddenly Brant himself enters from the drive. Calculatingly Lavinia derides the memory of
Brant's mother. Brant explodes and reveals his heritage. Lavinia's grandfather loved his mother and
jealously cast his brother out of the family. Brant has sworn vengeance.
A moment later, Lavinia appears inside her father's study. Christine enters indignantly,
wondering why Lavinia has summoned her. Lavinia reveals that she followed her to New York and saw
her kissing Brant. Christine defiantly tells Lavinia that she has long hated Ezra and that Lavinia was
born of her disgust. She loves her brother Orin because he always seemed hers alone.
Lavinia coldly explains that she intends to keep her mother's secret for Ezra's sake. Christine
must only promise to never see Brant again. Laughingly Christine accuses her daughter of wanting
Brant herself. Lavinia has always schemed to steal her place. Christine agrees to Lavinia's terms. Later
she proposes to Brant that they poison Ezra and attribute his death to his heart trouble.
One week later, Lavinia stands stiffly at the top of the front stairs with Christine. Suddenly Ezra
enters and stops stiffly before his house. Lavinia rushes forward and embraces him.
Once she and Ezra alone, Christine assures her that he has nothing to suspect with regards to
Brant. Ezra impulsively kisses her hand. The war has made him realize that they must overcome the
wall between them. Calculatingly Christine assures him that all is well. They kiss.
Toward daybreak in Ezra's bedroom, Christine slips out from the bed. Mannon's bitterly rebukes
her. He knows the house is not his and that Christine awaits his death to be free. Christine deliberately
taunts that she has indeed become Brant's mistress. Mannon rises in fury, threatening her murder, and
then falls back in agony, begging for his medicine. Christine retrieves a box from her room and gives
him the poison.
Mannon realizes her treachery and calls Lavinia for help. Lavinia rushes to her father. With his
dying effort, Ezra indicts his wife: "She's guiltynot medicine!" he gasps and then dies. Her strength
gone, Christine collapses in a faint.
The Hunted
Peter, Lavinia, and Orin arrive at the house. Orin disappointedly complains of Christine's
absence. He jealously asks Lavinia about what she wrote him regarding Brant. Lavinia warns him
against believing Christine's lies.
Suddenly Christine hurries out, reproaching Peter for leaving Orin alone. Mother and son
embrace jubilantly. Suspiciously Orin asks Christine about Brant. Christine explains that Lavinia has
gone mad and begun to accuse her of the impossible. Orin sits at Christine's feet and recounts his
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wonderful dreams about her and the South Sea Islands. The Islands represented all the war was not:
peace, warmth, and security, or Christina herself. Lavinia reappears and coldly calls Orin to see their
father's body.
In the study, Orin tells Lavinia that Christine has already warned him of her madness.
Calculatingly Lavinia insists that Orin certainly cannot let their mother's paramour escape. She
proposes that they watch Christine until she goes to meet Brant herself. Orin agrees.
The night after Ezra's funeral, Brant's clipper ship appears at a wharf in East Boston. Christine
meets Brant on the deck, and they retire to the cabin to speak in private. Lavinia and an enraged Orin
listen from the deck. The lovers decide to flee east and seek out their Blessed Islands. Fearing the hour,
they painffully bid each other farewell. When Brant returns, Orin shoots him and ransacks the room to
make it seem that Brant has been robbed.
The following night Christine paces the drive before the Mannon house. Orin and Lavinia
appear, revealing that they killed Brant. Christine collapses. Orin knees beside her pleadingly,
promising that he will make her happy, that they can leave Lavinia at home and go abroad together.
Lavinia orders Orin into the house. He obeys.
Christine glares at her daughter with savage hatred and marches into the house. Lavinia
determinedly turns her back on the house, standing like a sentinel. A shot is heard from Ezra's study.
Lavinia stammers: "It is justice!"
The Haunted
A year later, Lavinia and Orin return from their trip East. Lavinia's body has lost its military
stiffness and she resembles her mother perfectly. Orin has grown dreadfully thin and bears the statuelike attitude of his father.
In the sitting room, Orin grimly remarks that Lavinia's has stolen Christine's soul. Death has set
her free to become her. Peter enters from the rear and gasps, thinking he has seen Christine's ghost.
Lavinia approaches him eagerly. Orin jealously mocks his sister, accusing her of becoming a true
romantic during their time in the Islands.
A month later, Orin works intently at a manuscript in the Mannon study. Lavinia knocks sharply
at the locked door. With forced casualness, she asks Peter what he is doing. Orin insists that they must
atone for Mother's death. As the last male Mannon, he has written a history of the family crimes, from
Abe's onward. Lavinia is the most interesting criminal of all. She only became pretty like Mother on
Brant's Islands, with the natives staring at her with desire.
When Orin accuses her of sleeping with one of them, she assumes Christine's taunting voice.
Reacting like Ezra, Orin grasps his sister's throat, threatening her murder. He has taken Father's place
and she Mother's.
A moment later, Hazel and Peter appear in the sitting room. Orin enters, insisting that he see
Hazel alone. He gives her a sealed envelope, enjoining her to keep it safe from his sister. She should
only open it if something happens to him or if Lavinia tries to marry Peter. Lavinia enters from the hall.
Hazel moves to leave, trying to keep Orin's envelope hidden behind her back. Rushing to Orin, Lavinia
beseeches him to make her surrender it. Orin complies.
Orin tells his sister she can never see Peter again. A "distorted look of desire" comes into his
face. Lavinia stares at him in horror, saying, "For God's sake! No! You're insane! You can't mean!"
Lavinia wishes his death. Startled, Orin realizes that his death would be another act of justice. Mother
is speaking through Lavinia.
Peter appears in the doorway. Unnaturally casual, Orin remarks that he was about to go clean
his pistol and exits. Lavinia throws herself into Peter's arms. A muffled shot is heard.

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Three days later, Lavinia appears dressed in deep mourning. A resolute Hazel arrives and insists
that Lavinia not marry Peter. The Mannon secrets will prevent their happiness. She already has told
Peter of Orin's envelope.
Peter arrives, and the pair pledges their love anew. Started by the bitterness in his voice, Lavinia
desperately flings herself into his arms crying, "Take me, Adam!" Horrified, Lavinia orders Peter home.
Lavinia cackles that she is bound to the Mannon dead. Since there is no one left to punish her,
she must punish herselfshe must entomb herself in the house with the ancestors.
Lavinia Mannon
Lavinia is Ezra's wooden, stiff-shouldered, flat-chested, thin, and angular daughter. She is
garbed in the black of mourning. Her militaristic bearing, a mark of her identification with her father,
symbolizes her role as a functionary of the Mannon clan or, to use Christine's terms, as their sentry.
Lavinia appears as the keeper of the family crypt and all its secrets, figuring as an agent of repression
throughout the play. She will urge Orin in particular to forget the dead, compulsively insist upon the
justice of their crimes, and keep the history of the family's past from coming to light. Lavinia's
repressive stiffness and mask-like countenance mirrors that of the house, the monument of repression
erected by her ancestors to conceal their disgraces. Ultimately this manor becomes her tomb, Lavinia
condemning herself to live with the Mannon dead until she and all their secrets with her die.
Despite her loyalties to the Mannon line, Lavinia appears as her mother double from the outset
of the play, sharing the same lustrous copper hair, violet eyes, and mask-like face. Christine is her rival.
Lavinia considers herself robbed of all love at her mother's hands, Christine not only taking her father
but her would-be lover as well. Thus she schemes to take Christine's place and become the wife of her
father and mother of her brother. She does so upon her mother's death, reincarnating her in her own
flesh.
In doing so, Lavinia comes to femininity and sexuality. Lavinia traces a classical Oedipal
trajectory, in which the daughter, horrified by her castration, yearns to become the mother and bear a
child by her father that would redeem her lack. Orin figures as this child as well as the husband she
would leave to be with her son, that is, Peter substituting as Brant.
Orin Mannon
The Mannon son returned from war, Orin is the boyish counterpart to Aeschylus's Orestes. He
loves his mother incestuously, yearning for pre-Oedipal plentitude, the mythic moment prior to the
intervention of the father into the mother-son dyad. This pre-Oedipal paradise appears primarily in two
fantasies: that of the secret world he shares with Christine in childhood and the Blessed Island he
imagines as a haven from the war.
As the stage notes indicate, Orin bears a striking resemblance to the other Mannon men though
he appears as a weakened, refined, and oversensitive version of each. These doubles are his rivals
within the Mother-Son love affair that structures the trilogy, with Orin competing with Ezra and Brant
for Christine's desire. Thus he flies into a jealous rage upon the discovery of her love affair that leads to
Christine and Brant's deaths. Orin will then force he and his sister to judgment for their crimes in an
attempt to rejoin his mother in death.
Christine Mannon
Christine is a striking woman of forty with a fine, voluptuous figure, flowing animal grace, and
a mass of beautiful copper hair. Her pale face is also a life- like mask, a mask that represents both her
duplicity and her almost super-human efforts at repression.
Having long abhorred her husband Ezra, Christine plots his murder with her lover Brant upon
his return from the Civil War. She loves incestuously, repudiating her husband and clinging to her son
as that which is all her own. She repeats this incestuous relation in her affair with Brant, rediscovering
Orin in a substitute.
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Like her double, Brant's mother Marie, Christine moves with an animal-like grace, grace that
codes for her sexual excess. This grace makes her exotic, or even of another race, aligning her with the
recurring figures of the island native. It makes sense that Lavinia must go among the natives to fully
assume her figure.
As her characteristic green dress suggests, Christine is consumed with envy. She envies Brant's
Island women, hating them for their sexual pleasures. Despite the desperate veneer of kindness, she
envies Hazel for her youth, imagining her as a figure for what she once was. Before the threat of her
oncoming age, she must secure her love affair with Brant at all costs.
Ezra Mannon
As his homophonic name suggests, he is Agamemnon's counterpart, the great general returned
from war to be murdered by his wife and her lover. We first encounter Ezra prior to his homecoming in
the former of the ominous portrait hanging in his study. Here, as throughout the trilogy, Ezra is dressed
in his judge's robes and appears as a symbol of the law.
Ezra's authority rests primarily in his symbolic form. Indeed, he is far more the figure for the
law in this form than as a broken, bitter, ruined husband. Both before and after his death, Ezra will
continuously appear in his symbolic capacities. His mannerisms, for example, suggest the unyielding
statue-like poses of military heroes; to Christine, he imagines himself as a statue of a great man
standing in a square. After his death, Lavinia will constantly invoke his name and voice. Christine will
hear herself condemned by his corpse. Ezra's various images will call his family to judgment from
beyond the grave.
Themes
Oedipus
Although O'Neill supposedly derived Mourning Becomes Electra from the Oresteia, the myth
that actually structures the play's action is overwhelming that of Oedipus. Oedipus was the Theban king
who unwittingly killed his father and murdered his mother, bringing ruin to the land. Famously Freud
elaborated this myth into his Oedipus complex, the structure through which children are conventionally
introduced into the social order and normative sexual relations.
At the center of this complex in what Freud defined as its positive form is the child's incestuous
desire for the parent of the opposite sex, a desire possibly surmounted in the course of the child's
development or else subject to repression. Its development is starkly differentiated for boys and girls.
Both begin with a primary love object, the mother. The boy child only moves from the mother upon the
threat of castration posed by his rival, the father. In other words, the boy fears that the father would cut
his penis off if he continues to cling to the mother who rightfully belongs to her husband. By
prohibiting incest and instituting the proper relations of desire within the household, the Father
becomes a figure of the law. In surmounting his Oedipal desires, the boy would then abandon his
mother as a love object and identify himself with his father.
In contrast, the girl abandons the mother upon realizing both the mother's castration and her
own. To her dismay, neither she nor her mother have a penis. She then turns to the father in hopes of
bearing a child by him that would substitute for her missing penis; the girl would become a mother in
her mother's place. Thus, whereas castration ends the Oedipus complex for the boy, it begins it for the
girl.
The Oedipal drama in its many permutations determines the course of the trilogy. Lavinia, for
example, yearns to replace Christine as wife to her father and mother to her brother. Christine clings to
Orin as that the "flesh and blood," entirely her own, that would make good on her castration. Brant, in
turn, is but a substitute for her precious son. Orin yearns to re- establish his incestuous bond with his
mother. But the war, where he would finally assume the Mannon name, forces him from their preOedipal embrace in the first place.
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Though titled after Electra, the predominant pair of lovers in Mourning is the Mother-Son. Put
bluntly, the male Mannons in some way or another take their female love objects as Mother substitutes,
and the women pose them as their sons. The Fathers of the play, Ezra and otherwise, figure as the rival
who would break this bond of love. As we will see, what is primarily being mourned here is the loss of
this love relation, this "lost island" where Mother and Son can be together.
Fate, Repetition, and Substitution
As Travis Bogard notes, O'Neill wrote Mourning to convince modern audiences of the
persistence of Fate. Accordingly, throughout the trilogy, the players will remark upon a strange agency
driving them into their illicit love affairs, murders, and betrayals. What O'Neill terms fate is the
repetition of a mythic structure of desire across the generations, the Oedipal drama.
As Orin will remark to Lavinia in "The Haunted," the Mannons have no choice but to assume
the roles of Mother-Son that organize their family history. The players continually become substitutes
for these two figures, a substitution made most explicit in Lavinia and Orin's reincarnation as Christine
and Ezra. In this particular case, Lavinia traces the classical Oedipal trajectory, in which the daughter,
horrified by her castration, yearns to become the mother and bear a child by her father that would
redeem her lack. Orin at once figures as this child as well as the husband she would leave to be with her
son.
The Double/the Rival
The various substitutions among the players as structured by the Oedipal drama make the
players each other's doubles. The double is also the rival, the player who believes himself dispossessed
convinced that his double stands in his proper place. Thus, for example, Lavinia considers Christine the
wife and mother she should be.
To take another example, Mourning's male players universally vie for the desire of Mother. The
Civil War, generally remembered as a war between brothers, comes to symbolize this struggle. The
men's rivalries are murderously infantile, operating according to a jealous logic of "either you go or I
go." Because in these rivalries the other appears as that which stands in the self's rightful place within
the Oedipal triangle, the rivals appear as doubles of each other as well. Orin's nightmare of his murders
in the fog allegorizes this struggle, Orin repeatedly killing the same man, himself, and his father. This
compulsive series of murders demonstrates the impossibility of the lover ever acceding to his "rightful
place" within the Oedipal triangleMother will always want another, producing yet another rival.
The Law of the Father
In the Oedipal myth, what tears the son away from his incestuous embrace with the mother is
the imposition of the father's law. Mourning's principal father, Ezra, serves as figure for this paternal
law, though more in his symbolic form than in his own person. Ezra's symbolic form includes his name,
the portrait in which he wears his judge's robes, and his ventriloquist voice. Indeed, his symbolic form
almost usurps his person. Note how Ezra, in fearing that he has become numb to himself, muses that he
has become the statue of a great man, a monument in the town square.
Ezra's death makes the importance of his symbolic function even more apparent. With the death
of his person, he exercises the law with all the more force, haunting the living in his various symbolic
forms. Thus, for example, Christine will cringe before his portrait, Lavinia will invoke his voice and
name to command Orin to attention.
type of work Drama
genre Tragedy/Psychological Drama
narrator None
point of view Not applicable
tone Tragic

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major conflict Brigadier-General Ezra Mannon has returned from the Civil War. His
duplicitous wife Christine and her lover, Adam Brant, plot his murder. Mannon's daughter, Lavinia, and
son, Orin, discover their mother's treachery and destroy the two lovers in turn. They must then suffer
the vengeance of the dead.
rising action In "Homecoming," rising action consists of the confrontation between Ezra and
Christine. In "The Hunted," it consists of the revelation of Brant's murder to Christine. In "The
Haunted," it consists of Orin's incestuous proposition to Lavinia.
climax In "Homecoming," Ezra's murder functions as climax and closes the play. In "The
Hunted," Christine's suicide does the same. In "The Haunted," Orin's figures as climax.
falling action Breaks follow the first two climaxes leading into the townsfolk scenes that open
the subsequent plays. A brief interlude with Seth follows the break after Orin's suicide.
themes Oedipus, Fate, Repetition, and Substitution, The Rival and Double, the Law of the
Father
motifs The Blessed Islands, The Native
symbols The Mannon house
foreshadowing The foreshadowing in Mourning is oppressive and omnipresent. For example,
Ezra's apprehension of his imminent death, and Christine's fear that she will soon lose Brant forever

William Faulkner ( 1897-1962)


William Faulkner was born in New Albany, Mississippi, in September 1897; he died in
Mississippi in 1962. Faulkner achieved a reputation as one of the greatest American novelists of the
20th century largely based on his series of novels about a fictional region of Mississippi called
Yoknapatawpha County, centered on the fictional town of Jefferson. The greatest of these novels-among them The Sound and the Fury, Light in August, and Absalom, Absalom!--rank among the finest
novels of world literature.
Faulkner was especially interested in moral themes relating to the ruins of the Deep South in the
post-Civil War era. His prose style--which combines long, uninterrupted sentences with long strings of
adjectives, frequent changes in narration, many recursive asides, and a frequent reliance on a sort of
objective stream-of- consciousness technique, whereby the inner experience of a character in a scene
is contrasted with the scene's outward appearance--ranks among his greatest achievements. He was
awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1949.
Absalom, Absalom! is perhaps Faulkner's most focused attempt to expose the moral crises
which led to the destruction of the South. The story of a man hell-bent on establishing a dynasty and a
story of love and hatred between races and families, it is also an exploration of how people relate to the
past. Faulker tells a single story from a number of perspectives, capturing the conflict, racism, violence,
and sacrifice in each character's life, and also demonstrating how the human mind reconstructs the past
in the present imagination.
Faulkners reputation as one of the greatest novelists of the twentieth century is largely due to
his highly experimental style. Faulkner was a pioneer in literary modernism, dramatically diverging
from the forms and structures traditionally used in novels before his time. Faulkner often employs
stream of consciousness narrative, discards any notion of chronological order, uses multiple narrators,
shifts between the present and past tense, and tends toward impossibly long and complex sentences.
Not surprisingly, these stylistic innovations make some of Faulkners novels incredibly challenging to
the reader. However, these bold innovations paved the way for countless future writers to continue to
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experiment with the possibilities of the English language. For his efforts, Faulkner was awarded the
Nobel Prize in Literature in 1949. He died in Mississippi in 1962.
Summary
In 1833, a wild, imposing man named Thomas Sutpen comes to Jefferson, Mississippi, with a
group of slaves and a French architect in tow. He buys a hundred square miles of land from an Indian
tribe, raises a manor house, plants cotton, and marries the daughter of a local merchant, and within a
few years is entrenched among the local aristocracy. Sutpen has a son and a daughter, Henry and Judith,
who grow up in a life of uncultivated ease in the northern Mississippi countryside. Henry goes to
college at the University of Mississippi in 1859, and meets a sophisticated fellow student named
Charles Bon, whom he befriends and brings home for Christmas. Charles meets Judith, and over time,
an engagement between them is assumed. But Sutpen realizes that Bon is actually his own son--Henry
and Judith's half-brother--from a previous marriage which he abandoned when he discovered that his
wife had negro blood. He tells Henry that the engagement cannot be, and that Bon is Henry's own
brother; Henry reacts with outrage, refusing to believe that Bon knew all along and willingly became
engaged to his own sister. Henry repudiates his birthright, and he and Bon flee to New Orleans. When
war breaks out, they enlist, and spend four hard years fighting for the Confederacy as the South
crumbles around them. At the end of the war, Sutpen (a colonel) finds his son and reveals to him that
not only is Bon his and Judith's half-brother, he is also, in part, a black man.
That knowledge makes Henry revolt against Bon in a way that even the idea of incest did not,
and on the day Bon arrives to marry Judith, Henry murders him in front of the gates of the Sutpen
plantation. Sutpen returns to a broken house, and becomes a broken--though still forceful--man; he
slides slowly into alcoholism, begins an affair with a fifteen-year-old white girl named Milly, and
continues in that vein until, following the birth of his and Milly's daughter, he is murdered by Milly's
grandfather Wash Jones in 1869.
Decades later, in 1909, Quentin Compson is a twenty-year-old man, the grandson of Sutpen's
first friend in the country (General Compson), who is preparing to leave Jefferson to attend Harvard.
He is summoned by Miss Rosa Coldfield, the sister of Sutpen's wife Ellen (and briefly Sutpen's fiancee
herself), to hear the story of how Sutpen destroyed her family and his own. Over the following weeks
and months, Quentin is drawn deeper and deeper into the Sutpen story, discussing it with his father,
thinking about it, and later telling it in detail to his Harvard roommate Shreve. The story is burned into
his brain the night he goes with Miss Rosa to the Sutpen plantation, where they find Henry Sutpen-now an old man--waiting to die. Months later, Rosa attempts to return for Henry with an ambulance,
but Clytie, Thomas Sutpen's daughter with a slave woman and now a withered old woman herself, sets
fire to the manor house, killing herself and Henry, and bringing the Sutpen dynasty to a fiery end.
0

T.S. Elliot (1888-1965)


Thomas Stearns Eliot, or T.S. Eliot as he is better known, was born in 1888 in St. Louis. He was
the son of a prominent industrialist who came from a well- connected Boston family.
Eliot met Ezra Pound in 1914, as well, and it was Pound who was his main mentor and editor
and who got his poems published and noticed. During a 1921 break from his job as a bank clerk (to
recover from a mental breakdown), Eliot finished the work that was to secure him fame, The Waste
Land. It was also around this time that Eliot began to write criticism, partly in an effort to explain his
own methods. Eliot became interested in religion in the later 1920s and eventually converted to
Anglicanism. His poetry from this point onward shows a greater religious bent, although it never
becomes dogmatic the way his sometimes controversial cultural criticism does. Four Quartets, his last
major poetic work, combines a Christian sensibility with a profound uncertainty resulting from the
wars devastation of Europe. Eliot died in 1965 in London.
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Eliots Poetry
Analysis
Eliot attributed a great deal of his early style to the French SymbolistsRimbaud, Baudelaire,
Mallarm, and Laforguewhom he first encountered in college, in a book by Arthur Symons called
The Symbolist Movement in Literature. His early works, like The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock
and The Waste Land, draw on a wide range of cultural reference to depict a modern world that is in
ruins yet somehow beautiful and deeply meaningful. Eliot uses techniques like pastiche and
juxtaposition to make his points without having to argue them explicitly. As Ezra Pound once famously
said, Eliot truly did modernize himself. In addition to showcasing a variety of poetic innovations,
Eliots early poetry also develops a series of characters who fit the type of the modern man as described
by Fitzgerald, Faulkner, and others of Eliots contemporaries. The title character of Prufrock is a
perfect example: solitary, neurasthenic, overly intellectual, and utterly incapable of expressing himself
to the outside world.
As Eliot grew older, and particularly after he converted to Christianity, his poetry changed. The
later poems emphasize depth of analysis over breadth of allusion; they simultaneously become more
hopeful in tone: Thus, a work such as Four Quartets explores more philosophical territory and offers
propositions instead of nihilism. The experiences of living in England during World War II inform the
Quartets, which address issues of time, experience, mortality, and art. Rather than lamenting the ruin of
modern culture and seeking redemption in the cultural past, as The Waste Land does, the quartets offer
ways around human limits through art and spirituality. The pastiche (parodie) of the earlier works is
replaced by philosophy and logic, and the formal experiments of his early years are put aside in favor
of a new language consciousness, which emphasizes the sounds and other physical properties of words
to create musical, dramatic, and other subtle effects.
However, while Eliots poetry underwent significance transformations over the course of his
career, his poems also bear many unifying aspects: all of Eliots poetry is marked by a conscious desire
to bring together the intellectual, the aesthetic, and the emotional in a way that both honors the past and
acknowledges the present. Eliot is always conscious of his own efforts, and he frequently comments on
his poetic endeavors in the poems themselves. This humility, which often comes across as melancholy,
makes Eliots some of the most personal, as well as the most intellectually satisfying, poetry in the
English language.
Themes
The Damaged Psyche of Humanity
Like many modernist writers, Eliot wanted his poetry to express the fragile psychological state
of humanity in the twentieth century. The passing of Victorian ideals and the trauma of World War I
challenged cultural notions of masculine identity, causing artists to question the romantic literary ideal
of a visionary-poet capable of changing the world through verse. Modernist writers wanted to capture
their transformed world, which they perceived as fractured, alienated, and denigrated. Europe lost an
entire generation of young men to the horrors of the so-called Great War, causing a general crisis of
masculinity as survivors struggled to find their place in a radically altered society. As for England, the
aftershocks of World War I directly contributed to the dissolution of the British Empire. Eliot saw
society as paralyzed and wounded, and he imagined that culture was crumbling and dissolving. The
Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock (1917) demonstrates this sense of indecisive paralysis as the titular
speaker wonders whether he should eat a piece of fruit, make a radical change, or if he has the fortitude
to keep living. Humanitys collectively damaged psyche prevented people from communicating with
one another, an idea that Eliot explored in many works, including A Game of Chess (the second part
of The Waste Land) and The Hollow Men.

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The Power of Literary History


Eliot maintained great reverence for myth and the Western literary canon, and he packed his
work full of allusions, quotations, footnotes, and scholarly exegeses. In The Tradition and the
Individual Talent, an essay first published in 1919, Eliot praises the literary tradition and states that the
best writers are those who write with a sense of continuity with those writers who came before, as if all
of literature constituted a stream in which each new writer must enter and swim. Only the very best
new work will subtly shift the streams current and thus improve the literary tradition. Eliot also argued
that the literary past must be integrated into contemporary poetry. But the poet must guard against
excessive academic knowledge and distill only the most essential bits of the past into a poem, thereby
enlightening readers. The Waste Land juxtaposes fragments of various elements of literary and mythic
traditions with scenes and sounds from modern life. The effect of this poetic collage is both a
reinterpretation of canonical texts and a historical context for his examination of society and humanity.
The Changing Nature of Gender Roles
Over the course of Eliots life, gender roles and sexuality became increasingly flexible, and
Eliot reflected those changes in his work. In the repressive Victorian era of the nineteenth century,
women were confined to the domestic sphere, sexuality was not discussed or publicly explored, and a
puritanical atmosphere dictated most social interactions. Queen Victorias death in 1887 helped usher in
a new era of excess and forthrightness, now called the Edwardian Age, from 1901 to 1910. World War
I, from 1914 to 1918, further transformed society, as people felt both increasingly alienated from one
another and empowered to break social mores. English women began agitating in earnest for the right
to vote in 1918, and the flappers of the Jazz Age began smoking and drinking alcohol in public. Women
were allowed to attend school, and women who could afford it continued their education at those
universities that began accepting women in the early twentieth century. Modernist writers created gay
and lesbian characters and re-imagined masculinity and femininity as characteristics people could
assume or shrug off rather than as absolute identities dictated by society.
Eliot simultaneously lauded the end of the Victorian era and expressed concern about the
freedoms inherent in the modern age. The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock reflects the feelings of
emasculation experienced by many men as they returned home from World War I to find women
empowered by their new role as wage earners. Prufrock, unable to make a decision, watches women
wander in and out of a room, talking of Michelangelo (14), and elsewhere admires their downy, bare
arms. A disdain for unchecked sexuality appears in both Sweeney Among the Nightingales (1918)
and The Waste Land. The latter portrays rape, prostitution, a conversation about abortion, and other
incidences of nonreproductive sexuality. Nevertheless, the poems central character, Tiresias, is a
hermaphroditeand his powers of prophesy and transformation are, in some sense, due to his male and
female genitalia. With Tiresias, Eliot creates a character that embodies wholeness, represented by the
two genders coming together in one body.
William Golding ( 1911-1993)
He was born on September 19, 1911, in Cornwall, England..
Goldings experience in World War II had a profound effect on his view of humanity and the
evils of which it was capable. After the war, Golding resumed teaching and started to write novels. His
first and greatest success came with Lord of the Flies (1954), which ultimately became a bestseller in
both Britain and the United States after more than twenty publishers rejected it. The novels sales
enabled Golding to retire from teaching and devote himself fully to writing. Golding wrote several
more novels, notably Pincher Martin (1956), and a play, The Brass Butterfly (1958). Although he never
matched the popular and critical success he enjoyed with Lord of the Flies, he remained a respected and

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distinguished author for the rest of his life and was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1983.
Golding died in 1993, one of the most acclaimed writers of the second half of the twentieth century.
Lord of the Flies tells the story of a group of English schoolboys marooned on a tropical island
after their plane is shot down during a war. Though the novel is fictional, its exploration of the idea of
human evil is at least partly based on Goldings experience with the real-life violence and brutality of
World War II. Free from the rules and structures of civilization and society, the boys on the island in
Lord of the Flies descend into savagery. As the boys splinter into factions, some behave peacefully and
work together to maintain order and achieve common goals, while others rebel and seek only anarchy
and violence. In his portrayal of the small world of the island, Golding paints a broader portrait of the
fundamental human struggle between the civilizing instinctthe impulse to obey rules, behave
morally, and act lawfullyand the savage instinctthe impulse to seek brute power over others, act
selfishly, scorn moral rules, and indulge in violence.
Golding employs a relatively straightforward writing style in Lord of the Flies, one that avoids
highly poetic language, lengthy description, and philosophical interludes. Much of the novel is
allegorical, meaning that the characters and objects in the novel are infused with symbolic significance
that conveys the novels central themes and ideas. In portraying the various ways in which the boys on
the island adapt to their new surroundings and react to their new freedom, Golding explores the broad
spectrum of ways in which humans respond to stress, change, and tension.
Although Goldings story is confined to the microcosm of a group of boys, it resounds with
implications far beyond the bounds of the small island and explores problems and questions universal
to the human experience.
Plot Overview
I n the midst of a raging war, a plane evacuating a group of schoolboys from Britain is shot
down over a deserted tropical island. Two of the boys, Ralph and Piggy, discover a conch shell on the
beach, and Piggy realizes it could be used as a horn to summon the other boys. Once assembled, the
boys set about electing a leader and devising a way to be rescued. They choose Ralph as their leader,
and Ralph appoints another boy, Jack, to be in charge of the boys who will hunt food for the entire
group.
Ralph, Jack, and another boy, Simon, set off on an expedition to explore the island. When they
return, Ralph declares that they must light a signal fire to attract the attention of passing ships. The
boys succeed in igniting some dead wood by focusing sunlight through the lenses of Piggys
eyeglasses. However, the boys pay more attention to playing than to monitoring the fire, and the flames
quickly engulf the forest. A large swath of dead wood burns out of control, and one of the youngest
boys in the group disappears, presumably having burned to death.
At first, the boys enjoy their life without grown-ups and spend much of their time splashing in
the water and playing games. Ralph, however, complains that they should be maintaining the signal fire
and building huts for shelter. The hunters fail in their attempt to catch a wild pig, but their leader, Jack,
becomes increasingly preoccupied with the act of hunting.
When a ship passes by on the horizon one day, Ralph and Piggy notice, to their horror, that the
signal firewhich had been the hunters responsibility to maintainhas burned out. Furious, Ralph
accosts Jack, but the hunter has just returned with his first kill, and all the hunters seem gripped with a
strange frenzy, reenacting the chase in a kind of wild dance. Piggy criticizes Jack, who hits Piggy
across the face. Ralph blows the conch shell and reprimands the boys in a speech intended to restore
order. At the meeting, it quickly becomes clear that some of the boys have started to become afraid.
The littlest boys, known as littluns, have been troubled by nightmares from the beginning, and more
and more boys now believe that there is some sort of beast or monster lurking on the island. The older
boys try to convince the others at the meeting to think rationally, asking where such a monster could
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possibly hide during the daytime. One of the littluns suggests that it hides in the seaa proposition that
terrifies the entire group.
Not long after the meeting, some military planes engage in a battle high above the island. The
boys, asleep below, do not notice the flashing lights and explosions in the clouds. A parachutist drifts to
earth on the signal-fire mountain, dead. Sam and Eric, the twins responsible for watching the fire at
night, are asleep and do not see the parachutist land. When the twins wake up, they see the enormous
silhouette of his parachute and hear the strange flapping noises it makes. Thinking the island beast is at
hand, they rush back to the camp in terror and report that the beast has attacked them.
The boys organize a hunting expedition to search for the monster. Jack and Ralph, who are
increasingly at odds, travel up the mountain. They see the silhouette of the parachute from a distance
and think that it looks like a huge, deformed ape. The group holds a meeting at which Jack and Ralph
tell the others of the sighting. Jack says that Ralph is a coward and that he should be removed from
office, but the other boys refuse to vote Ralph out of power. Jack angrily runs away down the beach,
calling all the hunters to join him. Ralph rallies the remaining boys to build a new signal fire, this time
on the beach rather than on the mountain. They obey, but before they have finished the task, most of
them have slipped away to join Jack.
Jack declares himself the leader of the new tribe of hunters and organizes a hunt and a violent,
ritual slaughter of a sow to solemnize the occasion. The hunters then decapitate the sow and place its
head on a sharpened stake in the jungle as an offering to the beast. Later, encountering the bloody, flycovered head, Simon has a terrible vision, during which it seems to him that the head is speaking. The
voice, which he imagines as belonging to the Lord of the Flies, says that Simon will never escape him,
for he exists within all men. Simon faints. When he wakes up, he goes to the mountain, where he sees
the dead parachutist. Understanding then that the beast does not exist externally but rather within each
individual boy, Simon travels to the beach to tell the others what he has seen. But the others are in the
midst of a chaotic revelryeven Ralph and Piggy have joined Jacks feastand when they see
Simons shadowy figure emerge from the jungle, they fall upon him and kill him with their bare hands
and teeth.
The following morning, Ralph and Piggy discuss what they have done. Jacks hunters attack
them and their few followers and steal Piggys glasses in the process. Ralphs group travels to Jacks
stronghold in an attempt to make Jack see reason, but Jack orders Sam and Eric tied up and fights with
Ralph. In the ensuing battle, one boy, Roger, rolls a boulder down the mountain, killing Piggy and
shattering the conch shell. Ralph barely manages to escape a torrent of spears.
Ralph hides for the rest of the night and the following day, while the others hunt him like an
animal. Jack has the other boys ignite the forest in order to smoke Ralph out of his hiding place. Ralph
stays in the forest, where he discovers and destroys the sows head, but eventually, he is forced out onto
the beach, where he knows the other boys will soon arrive to kill him. Ralph collapses in exhaustion,
but when he looks up, he sees a British naval officer standing over him. The officers ship noticed the
fire raging in the jungle. The other boys reach the beach and stop in their tracks at the sight of the
officer. Amazed at the spectacle of this group of bloodthirsty, savage children, the officer asks Ralph to
explain. Ralph is overwhelmed by the knowledge that he is safe but, thinking about what has happened
on the island, he begins to weep. The other boys begin to sob as well. The officer turns his back so that
the boys may regain their composure
Ralph
Ralph is the athletic, charismatic protagonist of Lord of the Flies. Elected the leader of the boys
at the beginning of the novel, Ralph is the primary representative of order, civilization, and productive
leadership in the novel. While most of the other boys initially are concerned with playing, having fun,
and avoiding work, Ralph sets about building huts and thinking of ways to maximize their chances of
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being rescued. For this reason, Ralphs power and influence over the other boys are secure at the
beginning of the novel. However, as the group gradually succumbs to savage instincts over the course
of the novel, Ralphs position declines precipitously while Jacks rises. Eventually, most of the boys
except Piggy leave Ralphs group for Jacks, and Ralph is left alone to be hunted by Jacks tribe.
Ralphs commitment to civilization and morality is strong, and his main wish is to be rescued and
returned to the society of adults. In a sense, this strength gives Ralph a moral victory at the end of the
novel, when he casts the Lord of the Flies to the ground and takes up the stake it is impaled on to
defend himself against Jacks hunters.
In the earlier parts of the novel, Ralph is unable to understand why the other boys would give in
to base instincts of bloodlust and barbarism. The sight of the hunters chanting and dancing is baffling
and distasteful to him. As the novel progresses, however, Ralph, like Simon, comes to understand that
savagery exists within all the boys. Ralph remains determined not to let this savagery -overwhelm him,
and only briefly does he consider joining Jacks tribe in order to save himself. When Ralph hunts a boar
for the first time, however, he experiences the exhilaration and thrill of bloodlust and violence. When
he attends Jacks feast, he is swept away by the frenzy, dances on the edge of the group, and
participates in the killing of Simon. This firsthand knowledge of the evil that exists within him, as
within all human beings, is tragic for Ralph, and it plunges him into listless despair for a time. But this
knowledge also enables him to cast down the Lord of the Flies at the end of the novel. Ralphs story
ends semi-tragically: although he is rescued and returned to civilization, when he sees the naval officer,
he weeps with the burden of his new knowledge about the human capacity for evil.
Jack
The strong-willed, egomaniacal Jack is the novels primary representative of the instinct of
savagery, violence, and the desire for powerin short, the antithesis of Ralph. From the beginning of
the novel, Jack desires power above all other things. He is furious when he loses the election to Ralph
and continually pushes the boundaries of his subordinate role in the group. Early on, Jack retains the
sense of moral propriety and behavior that society instilled in himin fact, in school, he was the leader
of the choirboys. The first time he encounters a pig, he is unable to kill it. But Jack soon becomes
obsessed with hunting and devotes himself to the task, painting his face like a barbarian and giving
himself over to bloodlust. The more savage Jack becomes, the more he is able to control the rest of the
group. Indeed, apart from Ralph, Simon, and Piggy, the group largely follows Jack in casting off moral
restraint and embracing violence and savagery. Jacks love of authority and violence are intimately
connected, as both enable him to feel powerful and exalted. By the end of the novel, Jack has learned to
use the boys fear of the beast to control their behaviora reminder of how religion and superstition
can be manipulated as instruments of power.
Simon
Whereas Ralph and Jack stand at opposite ends of the spectrum between civilization and
savagery, Simon stands on an entirely different plane from all the other boys. Simon embodies a kind of
innate, spiritual human goodness that is deeply connected with nature and, in its own way, as primal as
Jacks evil. The other boys abandon moral behavior as soon as civilization is no longer there to impose
it upon them. They are not innately moral; rather, the adult worldthe threat of punishment for
misdeedshas conditioned them to act morally. To an extent, even the seemingly civilized Ralph and
Piggy are products of social conditioning, as we see when they participate in the hunt-dance. In
Goldings view, the human impulse toward civilization is not as deeply rooted as the human impulse
toward savagery. Unlike all the other boys on the island, Simon acts morally not out of guilt or shame
but because he believes in the inherent value of morality. He behaves kindly toward the younger
children, and he is the first to realize the problem posed by the beast and the Lord of the Fliesthat is,
that the monster on the island is not a real, physical beast but rather a savagery that lurks within each
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human being. The sows head on the stake symbolizes this idea, as we see in Simons vision of the head
speaking to him. Ultimately, this idea of the inherent evil within each human being stands as the moral
conclusion and central problem of the novel. Against this idea of evil, Simon represents a contrary idea
of essential human goodness. However, his brutal murder at the hands of the other boys indicates the
scarcity of that good amid an overwhelming abundance of evil.
Themes
Civilization vs. Savagery
The central concern of Lord of the Flies is the conflict between two competing impulses that
exist within all human beings: the instinct to live by rules, act peacefully, follow moral commands, and
value the good of the group against the instinct to gratify ones immediate desires, act violently to
obtain supremacy over others, and enforce ones will. This conflict might be expressed in a number of
ways: civilization vs. savagery, order vs. chaos, reason vs. impulse, law vs. anarchy, or the broader
heading of good vs. evil. Throughout the novel, Golding associates the instinct of civilization with
good and the instinct of savagery with evil.
The conflict between the two instincts is the driving force of the novel, explored through the
dissolution of the young English boys civilized, moral, disciplined behavior as they accustom
themselves to a wild, brutal, barbaric life in the jungle. Lord of the Flies is an allegorical novel, which
means that Golding conveys many of his main ideas and themes through symbolic characters and
objects. He represents the conflict between civilization and savagery in the conflict between the novels
two main characters: Ralph, the protagonist, who represents order and leadership; and Jack, the
antagonist, who represents savagery and the desire for power.
As the novel progresses, Golding shows how different people feel the influences of the instincts
of civilization and savagery to different degrees. Piggy, for instance, has no savage feelings, while
Roger seems barely capable of comprehending the rules of civilization. Generally, however, Golding
implies that the instinct of savagery is far more primal and fundamental to the human psyche than the
instinct of civilization. Golding sees moral behavior, in many cases, as something that civilization
forces upon the individual rather than a natural expression of human individuality. When left to their
own devices, Golding implies, people naturally revert to cruelty, savagery, and barbarism. This idea of
innate human evil is central to Lord of the Flies, and finds expression in several important symbols,
most notably the beast and the sows head on the stake. Among all the characters, only Simon seems to
possess anything like a natural, innate goodness.
Loss of Innocence
As the boys on the island progress from well-behaved, orderly children longing for rescue to
cruel, bloodthirsty hunters who have no desire to return to civilization, they naturally lose the sense of
innocence that they possessed at the beginning of the novel. The painted savages in Chapter 12 who
have hunted, tortured, and killed animals and human beings are a far cry from the guileless children
swimming in the lagoon in Chapter 3. But Golding does not pokkrtray this loss of innocence as
something that is done to the children; rather, it results naturally from their increasing openness to the
innate evil and savagery that has always existed within them. Golding implies that civilization can
mitigate but never wipe out the innate evil that exists within all human beings. The forest glade in
which Simon sits in Chapter 3 symbolizes this loss of innocence. At first, it is a place of natural beauty
and peace, but when Simon returns later in the novel, he discovers the bloody sows head impaled upon
a stake in the middle of the clearing. The bloody offering to the beast has disrupted the paradise that
existed beforea powerful symbol of innate human evil disrupting childhood innocence.
The Lord of the Flies
The Lord of the Flies is the bloody, severed sows head that Jack impales on a stake in the forest
glade as an offering to the beast. This complicated symbol becomes the most important image in the
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novel when Simon confronts the sows head in the glade and it seems to speak to him, telling him that
evil lies within every human heart and promising to have some fun with him. (This fun
foreshadows Simons death in the following chapter.) In this way, the Lord of the Flies becomes both a
physical manifestation of the beast, a symbol of the power of evil, and a kind of Satan figure who
evokes the beast within each human being. Looking at the novel in the context of biblical parallels, the
Lord of the Flies recalls the devil, just as Simon recalls Jesus. In fact, the name Lord of the Flies is a
literal translation of the name of the biblical name Beelzebub, a powerful demon in hell sometimes
thought to be the devil himself.
Ralph, Piggy, Jack, Simon, and Roger
Lord of the Flies is an allegorical novel, and many of its characters signify important ideas or
themes. Ralph represents order, leadership, and civilization. Piggy represents the scientific and
intellectual aspects of civilization. Jack represents unbridled savagery and the desire for power. Simon
represents natural human goodness. Roger represents brutality and bloodlust at their most extreme. To
the extent that the boys society resembles a political state, the littluns might be seen as the common
people, while the older boys represent the ruling classes and political leaders. The relationships that
develop between the older boys and the younger ones emphasize the older boys connection to either
the civilized or the savage instinct: civilized boys like Ralph and Simon use their power to protect the
younger boys and advance the good of the group; savage boys like Jack and Roger use their power to
gratify their own desires, treating the littler boys as objects for their own amusement
genre Allegory; adventure story; castaway fiction; loss-of-innocence fiction
language English
narrator The story is told by an anonymous third-person narrator who conveys the events of
the novel without commenting on the action or intruding into the story.
point of view The narrator speaks in the third person, primarily focusing on Ralphs point of
view but following Jack and Simon in certain episodes. The narrator is omniscient and gives us access
to the characters inner thoughts.
tone Dark; violent; pessimistic; tragic; unsparing
tense Immediate past
protagonist Ralph
major conflict Free from the rules that adult society formerly imposed on them, the boys
marooned on the island struggle with the conflicting human instincts that exist within each of them
the instinct to work toward civilization and order and the instinct to descend into savagery, violence,
and chaos.
rising action The boys assemble on the beach. In the election for leader, Ralph defeats Jack,
who is furious when he loses. As the boys explore the island, tension grows between Jack, who is
interested only in hunting, and Ralph, who believes most of the boys efforts should go toward building
shelters and maintaining a signal fire. When rumors surface that there is some sort of beast living on
the island, the boys grow fearful, and the group begins to divide into two camps supporting Ralph and
Jack, respectively. Ultimately, Jack forms a new tribe altogether, fully immersing himself in the
savagery of the hunt.
climax Simon encounters the Lord of the Flies in the forest glade and realizes that the beast is
not a physical entity but rather something that exists within each boy on the island. When Simon tries
to approach the other boys and convey this message to them, they fall on him and kill him savagely.
falling action Virtually all the boys on the island abandon Ralph and Piggy and descend further
into savagery and chaos. When the other boys kill Piggy and destroy the conch shell, Ralph flees from
Jacks tribe and encounters the naval officer on the beach.
themes Civilization vs. savagery; the loss of innocence; innate human evil
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motifs Biblical parallels; natural beauty; the bullying of the weak by the strong; the outward
trappings of savagery (face paint, spears, totems, chants)
symbols The conch shell; Piggys glasses; the signal fire; the beast; the Lord of the Flies;
Ralph, Piggy, Jack, Simon, and Roger
foreshadowing The rolling of the boulders off the Castle Rock in Chapter 6 foreshadows
Piggys death; the Lord of the Fliess promise to have some fun with Simon foreshadows Simons
death

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