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|Volume||From the Origins to the Present Age|
|Scuola||Secondaria di II grado|
1. The Origins and the Middle Ages
1.1 From Pre-Celtic to Roman Britain
|Who inhabited Britain six thousand years ago||A population who began to burn and cut down the forests, to grow cereals and to breed cattle, pigs and sheep.|
|Evidence of Britain’s first settlers||They built ritual sites, large, enclosed spaces used both for ceremonies and for defence, like Stonehenge in southwest England|
|Arrival of the Celts||Around 700 BC.|
|What they built||Hill forts.|
|Who the Druids were||The Celts’ priests|
|Key dates to indicate the Roman period||Julius Caesar invaded Britain in 55-54 BC but the real conquest started in the years 43-47 AD under Emperor Claudius. Roman control of Britain came to an end in 409 AD.|
|One of the greatest Roman engineering projects||Hadrian’s Wall|
- How did the first inhabitants of Britain change the landscape? They began to burn and cut down the forests, to grow cereals like wheat, barley or oats
- What is Stonehenge? A ritual site, a large, enclosed space in southwest England used by the Pre-Celtic population both for ceremonies and for defence.
- What remains in modern times which is still Celtic? The Celtic language remains in Welsh in Wales, and Gaelic in Scotland and Ireland.
- What did the Celts live on? They lived on farming, hunting, fishing and metalworking.
- What did they introduce to make cultivation easier? The iron plough.
- What was the role of women among the Celts? Women were almost equal to men they could choose the man they wanted to marry and retained their own property. They could also lead other warriors in war - Boadicea, for example, was a warrior queen of one of the Celtic tribes who fought against the Romans.
- What did the Celts worship and what did they believe? They worshipped the natural elements such as the sun, the moon, trees and rivers. Water was regarded as a holy element which generated life and as the gateway to the world beyond death. They believed in immortality and in the transmigration of the soul from one person to another. For them life after death was still spent on the earth in caves, hills or lakes, and this belief was another reason for their respect for nature and its spiritual or magical dimensions.
- Why did the Romans conquer Britain? The economic attractions of Britain included the rich agriculture of the South, tin and lead in the West, the availability of slaves and Britain’s strategic importance as an offshore base.
- What did they bring with them and what did they build? The Romans brought their culture, the Latin language and Christianity with them. They built over 9,600 kilometres of paved roads in Britain, which remained in use for centuries. These roads were not always straight, but they were amazingly well built, and made troop movement, and later the movement of commercial goods, much easier.
- Why did the Romans leave Britain? What were the consequences? The Romans left Britain in 409AD as soldiers were withdrawn to defend Rome against the Barbarian raiders. The Romanised Celts were left alone to fight against the Saxon invaders from the North Sea Region of Europe.
- Look at picture 1. Which adjective would you use to describe these megaliths? Student’s activity. Suggestion: The megaliths of Stonehenge are impressive.
- What was the hill fort in picture 2 like? What was its aim? Hill forts were built on top of hills surrounded by ditches sometimes filled with water. They were built to defend people.
- Consider picture 3 and explain the reason why this important monument was made. Hadrian’s Wall was built as a defensive fortification and ‘customs barrier’ between the conquered Britons and the unconquered Scots and Picts in the North.
1.2 The Anglo-Saxons and the Vikings
- Why did the Anglo-Saxons settle south of Hadrian’s Wall? They settled south of Hadrian’s Wall because they were lowland rather than upland people and were looking for farming land.
- What was their society based on and where did they gather? Their society was founded on loyalty to the family, or clan, and the centre of communal life was the hall, where they gathered and swore loyalty to the chiefs in return for their protection.
- Who were the Danes and why did they attack Britain? The Vikings, whom the English commonly called ‘Danes’, were sea people from Scandinavia. They crossed the Atlantic on their longships looking for treasure, cattle and slaves.
- What internal changes did he introduce? He established his capital at Winchester and invited scholars from the continent. Latin texts were translated into Anglo-Saxon and the AngloSaxon Chronicle was commissioned in 890. Church schools were opened and a new legal code was created.
- What was Danegeld? Danegeld was a tribute paid to the Vikings by the Anglo-Saxons to be left alone.
1.3 The Norman Conquest and the Domesday Book
- declared victory
- William gathered 3,000 barons to claim the throne of England. F He gathered an army of 8,000 warriors. He had a cavalry of 3,000 men supported by archers and infantry.
- Both William’s and Harold’s armies used horses. F Only the Normans had horses.
- Harold’s soldiers joined their shields to create a defensive wall. T
- William killed Harold himself. F Harold was killed by four Norman knights.
- William was crowned in France. F He was crowned in Westminster Abbey, London.
- What happened to the English ruling class after the Norman Conquest? The Conquest annihilated the English ruling class because many Anglo-Saxon noblemen died in battle, were exiled or dispossessed of their lands.
- Who replaced the members of the English high clergy? They were replaced by French or Italian churchmen.
- What was the feudal system introduced by William I like? The new French barons obtained their land by becoming the king’s tenants and they paid their ‘rent’ in military services to the king. They built castles to demonstrate and keep their power. The barons were allowed to sub-let their lands to lesser tenants (knights) in return for their services. The military service given by the barons and knights, and the agricultural labour given by the peasants who belonged to the land of all the tenants, guaranteed security and food, and so peace and prosperity. William the Conqueror claimed to be the lord of the land and his central authority became stronger.
- What was the Domesday Book and what purposes did it serve? The Domesday Book was the record of a survey which gave the king detailed information on the country he now possessed, and it was also used for collecting the geld, or property tax.
- Why was it called Domesday? The English called the book Domesday because they felt it was like having their souls weighed up on Judgement Day (or ‘Doomsday’).
- What was listed in it? It listed the different types of land and their use, the number of productive people and their status and animals.
- Which languages were spoken in England after the Conquest? French replaced English as the language of government and the elite. Latin remained the main language in legal, administrative, ecclesiastical and intellectual contexts, and English survived in everyday speech.
- The ceremony in which a feudal tenant or vassal pledged reverence and submission to his feudal lord.
- Property tax.
- Judgement Day
- Look at picture 1. What does it show? What particular moment is illustrated? It shows the Battle of Hastings. The moment in which Harold was hit in the eye by an arrow.
- Consider picture 2. Who is represented? What is he doing? What is his relationship to the king? A nobleman. He is paying homage to the king. He recognises the king as his lord and promises to give him his services in return for land.
1.4 Anarchy and Henry Plantagenet
Ascended to the throne: 1154
Reigned for: 35 years
Succeeded by: his son Richard I
Reforms introduced: military (scutage), legal(travelling judges and common law), religious (Constitutions of Clarendon)
Did you know? After Becket’s murder, Henry II had to walk barefoot to Canterbury and was flogged by monks at the door of the cathedral to restore his reputation
- A tax which replaced the feudal duty of military service.
- Professional lawyers who travelled around the country to settle legal cases.
- A system of law based on custom, comparisons of previous cases and previous decisions.
- A person who dies for his faith.
1.5 From Magna Carta to the Peasants’ Revolt
1199 John became king
1215 King John signed Magna Carta at Runnymede
1225 Magna Carta was issued again in its final version
1258 The barons, led by Simon de Montfort, demanded that Henry III summon a Great Council of lords and bishops before deciding all important matters
1295 Edward I summoned the Model Parliament, a council made up of barons, clergy, knights and representatives of the towns
1337 Edward III claimed the crown of France and the Hundred Years’ War began
1348 A terrible plague arrived in Britain killing more than one third of the population
1377 Edward III died and the crown passed to his 10-year-old grandson, Richard II
1381 Introduction of a poll tax by Richard II and Peasants’ Revolt
1453 End of the Hundred Years’ War against France
- A charter demanding specific liberties.
- A council made up of barons, clergy, knights and representatives of the towns.
- A group of 24 knights, the same number the legendary Arthur had chosen, with high ideals of honour and service.
- A tax imposed on every adult, without reference to their income.
- What is the king doing and who are the people in front of him in picture 1? The king is signing Magna Carta in front of a group of barons.
- Who appears twice in the foreground in picture 3? What different actions is he doing? The picture tells the story of Richard II’s meeting with Wat Tyler. The king appears twice he is shown watching the Mayor of London kill Wat Tyler and, on the right, he is addressing the mob.
- fourteenth century
- one and a half million
- sheep farming
- 400 per cent
1.6 The Wars of the Roses
- Who was the first Lancastrian King of England? Henry IV.
- Who ruled England during Henry VI’s mental illness? Richard, Duke of York, was chosen to rule England as regent until the king recovered in 1455.
- When did the Wars of the Roses start? In 1455.
- What did the two roses symbolise? They symbolised the two royal families: the red rose was the symbol of the Lancastrians and the white rose of the Yorkists.
- Why did the Wars of the Roses break out? The main causes of the conflict were: both houses were direct descendants of King Edward III the ruling Lancastrian king, Henry VI, surrounded himself with unpopular nobles it was a time of general discontent and unrest there were a number of powerful lords who had their own private armies at their personal command Henry VI was considered to be mentally unstable.
- Who was Richard III? He was Edward IV’s brother and Duke of Gloucester. He secured the crown for himself when Edward died. He is said to have murdered his two nephews.
- How did the Wars end? The Wars ended when Richard III, the last Yorkist king, was defeated and killed at the Battle of Bosworth in 1485 by the Lancastrian Henry Tudor, founder of the House of Tudor. Henry married Elizabeth of York, Edward IV’s daughter, thus uniting the two roses, and became king as Henry VII.
1.7 The development of poetry
- Anglo-Saxon literature was written by the scops. F Anglo-Saxon literature was anonymous and it was sung by the scops.
- During the Middle Ages the lyric became a popular literary form. T
- Early lyrics spoke about secular themes such as love and nature. F The earliest lyrics were religious in tone, but later they became secular, dealing with love and nature.
- Metrical romances were tales in verse about chivalry. T
- The authors of ballads were unknown. T
- Chaucer wrote metrical verse in the Northern dialect. F He wrote his masterpiece The Canterbury Tales in the East Midland dialect.
- The repetition of the same initial consonant sound in consecutive or closely connected words.
- A break that divides a line into two halves.
- A formulaic phrase that is used in place of a name or noun.
1.8 The epic poem and the pagan elegy
recollection of a glorious past
great deeds of heroes
military and aristocratic society
a long narrative poetical composition elevated style
rich, vivid language → type-scenes: banquets, battles, voyages, funerals
1.9 The medieval ballad
- A dramatic story with no moral aim
- rapid flashes
- very simple language
- mixture of dialogue and third-person narration
- fourline stanzas
- real and supernatural characters
- themes: magic, border rivalry, love and domestic tragedy, outlaws
1.10 The medieval narrative poem
it is a story in verse, often told in the first person
setting in time and place
description of characters
aim: to entertain and instruct
- What does April bring about? It brings about rain and the re-birth of nature (lines 1-4).
- How is the West wind called? What action does it perform? It is called Zephyrus. It brings nature back to life by blowing gently on tender shoots (lines 5-7).
- What are the little birds doing? They are singing because they also experience the re-generative powers of spring (lines 9-11).
- What effect does spring have on people? People get restless and long to go on pilgrimages (lines 12-14).
- Where do English people decide to go in spring? Why? They decide to go to Thomas Becket’s shrine in Canterbury because he is the most venerated among English saints (lines 16-17).
- Where did the pilgrims meet? At The Tabard inn, in Southwark, London (line 20).
- How many were they? Thirty, including the narrator (line 24).
- What did the narrator decide to describe? Their social condition, profession and clothes (lines 30-34).
1.11 Beowulf: a national epic
Beowulf’s composition: The poem was probably composed as an elegy for a king who died in the 7th century, and developed through many retellings before it was written down in the 11th century.
Its society: It is a warrior society, in which the relationship between the leader, or king, and his warriors is founded on loyalty.
The settings: Heorot, the great mead hall built by King Hrothgar of Denmark a misty, desolate lake, where Grendel’s mother lives Sweden, the land of the Geats.
The hero: Beowulf, a young, brave Scandinavian warrior who becomes King of the Geats and rules for fifty years.
The monsters: Grendel Grendel’s mother a fire-breathing dragon.
The main theme: The struggles the poem describes are the classic challenges of good against evil.
The hero’s virtues: Beowulf is a hero in the eyes of his fellow men due to his incredible physical strength. He fights and wins many battles including his last. He is also strong enough to kill the monster Grendel with his bare hands by ripping off his arm. Another heroic quality of Beowulf is his ability to put his people’s welfare before his own. At the end of the poem, Beowulf is old and tired but he defeats the dragon. However, his most heroic trait is that he is not afraid of dying.
Language features: There is a lot of repetition: directions and reports are repeated, speeches are often followed by phrases such as ‘thus he spoke’ to emphasise that the words are those of a character and not of the narrator. The language is elevated with long lists of leaders and their military troops, as well as references to mythical and Christian elements. Lots of alliteration and stock formulae, parallelisms and antitheses recur throughout the poem.
T2 Beowulf and Grendel: the fight
- Time and again
From Text to Screen: Beowulf
- Where and when does the scene take place? The scene takes place on a beach at sunset.
- Where was Beowulf’s corpse laid? It was laid on a burial-ship.
- What can you see next to him? Weapons and gold artefacts.
- What burns the ship? Where? Some fire lit by warriors up on a snowy cliff is thrown down on to the ship.
- Who witnesses this funeral scene? Wiglaf, Beowulf’s faithful retainer, the queen, her daughter and lots of mourners.
- What is Wiglaf looking at from the beach? He is looking at Beowulf’s burial-ship burning.
- What can he see under his feet on the shore? He can see a gold cornucopia which belonged to Beowulf.
- What can he hear at the end? Wood cracking and the groaning of the ship sinking down into the sea
- He was the bravest of us.
- He was the prince of all warriors.
- His name will live forever.
- His song shall be sung forever.
Wiglaf: sorrow, regret, sympathy
the queen: sorrow, sympathy
The high-angle shot of the burial ship makes the moment more dramatic and the figure of Beowulf more vulnerable and powerless. The low-angle shot of the burning fire makes the subject look bigger and more powerful.
- B, C
- A, D
Student’s activity. Suggestion: Because it allows to tell mythic stories that are kind of real but not completely real. Perhaps it was the best way to create supernatural situations and creatures which would have been impossible in a traditional live action format. Examples: The Polar Express (2004), the first animated film using performance capture for all actors, and Avatar (2009), the first full length film using performance capture to create photo-realistic 3D characters, are the most popular
1.12 Medieval ballads
T2 Lord Randal
1st section (lines 1-20): The dialogue between mother and son.
2nd section (lines 21-24): Mother’s open declaration.
3rd section (lines 25-40): Lord Randal’s oral testament.
Pink words: repetitions
Highlighted in pink: refrain
Underlined in blue: the two protagonists, the mother and her son, Lord Randal
Green words: key words are present in the first half of the 3rd line of stanzas 1-6
Highlighted in green: the oral testament is introduced by repetition: Lord Randal is asked by his mother what he is going to leave to his mother, sister, brother, and his ‘true-love’
// key words linked to Lord Randal’s testament: he is going to leave his mother his cows, his sister silver and gold as a dowry for her future marriage, his brother his houses and land, and his ‘true-love’ hell and fire because he has been poisoned by her
the whole ballad is characterised by the question-answer format
- poisoned food
- hawks and dogs
- is going to die
- oral testament
- hell and fire
Link to Contemporary Culture: The ballad through time
|Blowin’ in the Wind||question and answer
|Eleanor Rigby||four-line stanzas
|description of characters: names, personalities|
|I Lived||four-line stanzas
1.13 Geoffrey Chaucer
- middle class
- religious views
- Poets’ Corner
The Cantebury Tales
- Who are the protagonists of The Canterbury Tales? Thirty people - men, women, monks and other members of the clergy, artisans, merchants and also the narrator, Chaucer himself.
- Where do they meet and where are they going? They meet at the Tabard Inn in London and are bound for Canterbury in Kent to visit the shrine of Thomas Becket.
- What kind of work is The Canterbury Tales? It is a long narrative poem written in rhyming couplets made up of iambic pentameters.
- How is it organised? The work consists of a ‘General Prologue’, where the pilgrims are introduced, and twenty-four tales. The tales are usually preceded by a prologue, which introduces the theme of the tale, and are sometimes followed by an epilogue.
- What is Chaucer’s function in the story? He is the reporting pilgrim: he tells us directly or sometimes ironically what he sees and what he thinks about it. This creates a sort of interplay between real and unreal so that the reader is left to decide whether what he/she is reading is true or not.
- What is the pilgrimage an allegory of? The journey of the pilgrims is an allegory of the course of human life.
- In what sense can The Canterbury Tales be regarded as a portrait of English medieval society? It includes representatives of feudal society, members of the clergy and the middle classes. Chaucer did not portray the aristocracy or peasants. This is because no nobleman would have travelled with commoners but instead with their own entourage. On the other hand, lowerclass people could not afford the expense of such a trip.
- What is its new factor? The new factor in The Canterbury Tales is individualisation: the character exists because he/she has reactions and is in movement. His/her ‘individualisation’ is therefore dynamic, in antithesis with the conventional medieval character portrait which was generally rather static.
- What method of description did Chaucer adopt? The descriptions of the pilgrims vary in length, point of view and tone some emphasise what the pilgrim wears, some what he/she does or thinks. Chaucer listed and described tools, clothes and personal qualities. The names given to the pilgrims refer to their profession and suggest a society in which work conditioned the personality and world view of each individual.
T3 The Prioress
- The text introduces a member of
B the high clergy
- Match the words from the text with their Italian translation.
- Decide whether the following statements about the Prioress are true or false. Correct the false ones.
- The Prioress is shy and reserved. T
- The narrator does not say her name. F She was known as Madam Eglantyne.
- She cannot sing during the service. F She sings with a fine intonation.
- She can speak French. T
- What shows that the Prioress’s manners at table were well taught?
D She tries to reach the meat in a composed manner.
- Describe the cause and effect relationship in lines 26-28.
Cause: She saw a mouse caught in a trap.
Effect: She used to weep.
- Briefly describe the Prioress’s attitude towards her dogs in lines 29-32.
She used to feed them with roasted meat, milk or fine white bread. She wept if one died or someone hurt them.
- Define the tone of these lines referring to the Prioress.
- Find all the words and phrases linked to the Prioress’s appearance in lines 35-39. What was she like?
She had an elegant nose and grey eyes, a very small, soft, red mouth and a wide forehead. She was tall and well-built.
- Highlight the lines where the Prioress’s rosary is described. What is it like? Where does she wear it?
Lines 41-45. It has precious beads and a golden brooch hanging from it. She wears it on her arm, like a bracelet.
- The Latin phrase written on the brooch (line 45) means
D that love conquers all.
- Identify the lines where Chaucer the pilgrim makes his presence known.
Lines 38, 40.
T4 The Merchant
1st section (lines 1-4): Physical description of the
2nd section (lines 5-13): Description of the Merchant’s profession and attitude.
3rd section (lines 14-15): Narrator’s opinion of the Merchant.
Highlighted in green: description of the
Highlighted in pink: description of the Merchant’s attitude
Highlighted in orange: description of the Merchant’s skills
Green words: historical details
Pink words: the narrator’s voice
Boxes: realistic, concrete details
Chaucer’s method of description mainly focuses upon the Merchant’s profession.
The Merchant has a solemn figure and a strong, ambiguous and rather pretentious personality.
- middle class
T5 The Wife of Bath
In our company there was a notable woman from near Bath who was a little deaf. She was skilled at weaving cloth and was much better at her job than the famous weavers of Belgium in Ypres and Ghent. She was very religious and in her parish no one dared make an offer before her at church because she got very angry
Physical appearance: deaf; bold, handsome, red
face; gap-teeth; large hips
Business and social skills: skilled at clothmaking and travelling; her social skills were that she was able to converse freely and with humour and she was good in bed
Personality: she got angry easily if someone overcame her in church, she was sociable
The clothes she wears on Sunday: finely woven kerchiefs, scarlet red hose, a garter, soft new shoes (Teachers may point out that red hose were usually worn by the aristocracy. The Wife of Bath was a wealthy woman and could afford buying expensive clothes to seem higher in rank)
Number of husbands: five
Places she has been: Jerusalem, Rome, Boulogne, St James of Compostella, Cologne
Way of riding: easily
The clothes she wears on pilgrimage: a wimple, a large hat, a flowing mantle, spurs
Red. This colour is usually associated with danger, passion or anger (red cape to bull).
‘on her head a hat / As broad as is a buckler or a shield’ (lines 26-27).
Lines 5-8, 9-10, 16, 19, 26-27. Chaucer exaggerates to make us see the Wife as a ‘larger than life’ character of big emotions and appetites. She’s not just proud, but very proud, not just vain but very vain she has not just been on one pilgrimage, but many she has not just had one husband but five.
Chaucer tells us that she hates anyone else to go up to the altar to give their offerings before her, she has to be first (lines 5-8).
The Wife’s face, forehead, hips and the colour of her complexion are described exactly in this way. She enjoys the company of men and has had five husbands, so she is ‘changeable’ and definitely ‘given to affairs of the heart’. Her fluent speaking can be seen in her social skills.
It is both because we are accustomed to seeing people as individuals, whereas in the 14th century this was not so. Even though she conforms to her astrological type, the details of her dress and her travels make her particular. In modern times we are strongly affected by Chaucer’s humour and that makes us see her as an individual, though one of a type.
Magna Carta as a source of liberty
- When and where was Magna Carta signed? It was signed at Runnymede, near Windsor, on 15th June 1215.
- Whose rights were being protected in the Magna Carta? It concerned the medieval relationship between the monarch and the barons, rather than the rights of ordinary people.
- Explain how Magna Carta is viewed today. It is held in great respect by the British and American legal communities and has been described as ‘the greatest constitutional document of all times - the foundation of the freedom of the individual against the arbitrary authority of the despot’.
- Give two reasons why it is still considered relevant. It is still considered relevant because it is a cornerstone of the individual liberties that we enjoy today and a foundation of democracy as well.
- Which two important legal principles were specifically laid down in the Magna Carta? Clause 39 of the 1215 Charter states that ‘No free man is to be arrested, or imprisoned […] or exiled, or in any other way ruined […] except by the lawful judgment of his peers or by the law of the land’.
- Say which documents it directly influenced. The documents it directly influenced include the Bill of Rights of 1689 in Britain, the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen of 1789 in France, and the Bill of Rights in the United States in 1791 as well as more recent examples like the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) adopted in 1948, and the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) which came into force in 1953.
- Who was inspired by Magna Carta? Why? Famous people inspired by Magna Carta include Martin Luther King, Jr. (1929-68), who cited the Magna Carta principle ‘justice too long delayed is justice denied’, and Nelson Mandela (1918-2013), who invoked Magna Carta and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) in his defence statement in his 1964 trial.
- On what occasion was Magna Carta mentioned in a judgement by the American Supreme Court? It was mentioned in a judgment by the Supreme Court of the United States concerning the detention without charge of a prisoner at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba.
- What is ‘detention without charge’? This refers to those who are arrested and kept in prison without a specific accusation.
My day will come
- Where did Bobby sleep? He slept on a filthy mattress lying on the floor.
- What was he only covered with? He was covered only with a blanket wrapped around his waist and a towel around his head and shoulders.
- Why did he use the expression ‘my journey to nowhere’? Because he was in prison in a very small cell.
- What could he see out of his window? He could not see much except the snow on the ground outside.
- What was his desperate need? Freedom.
- What was his cell like? The walls were dirty and stinking, rubbish and decaying food were scattered in the corners of a damp floor, the ceiling was tea-stained and the door was scraped and scarred.
- Why had a few given up? Because they couldn’t bear the unrelenting burden of torture, the continuous boredom, tension and fear, the deprivation of basic necessities like exercise and fresh air, the lack of association with other human beings.
- What could have happened if he had given up? If he had conformed by putting on prison clothes, his nightmarish cell would have been changed
- They were condemned to darkness, intense cold, an empty stomach and the four walls of a filthy cell.
- The victory, that is, their freedom, was near.
- Remaining unbroken, preserving his own identity.
- What was Bobby’s life in prison characterised by? His life in prison was characterised by cold, dirt, boredom and lack of human interaction.
- Can you find any similarities between Bobby’s life and a nightmare? Nothing was real in prison and everything reminds the reader of a nightmare: the setting, the terrible cold, the absence of any human being and the inhuman life conditions.
- What metaphor does he use to describe his cell? What is the function of this linguistic image? He uses the image of a tomb to describe his cell in order to make the reader visualise his life in prison better
The language is dry and extremely concrete.
Nobel Prize acceptance speech
- What does the word ‘Malala’ mean?
It means ‘grief stricken’, ‘sad’.
- What do the ‘voiceless children’ want, according to Malala?
She says they want change.
- Does Malala say that education is a ‘blessing’, a ‘necessity’ or both?
She thinks it is both
- What happened to her local village in the Swat Valley?
When she was ten, Swat, which was a place of beauty and tourism, suddenly changed into a place of terrorism. Education went from being a right to being a crime. More than 400 schools were destroyed, girls were stopped from going to school, women were flogged, innocent people were killed and people’s beautiful dreams turned into nightmares.
- Which two options did she have and which did she choose?
One option was to remain silent and wait to be killed. And the second was to speak up and then be killed. She chose the second one.
- What happened to Malala and her friends in 2012?
They were attacked by terrorists while on their bus going to school.
- How many girls does she say are deprived of an education?
She says there are 66 million girls.
- Why does Malala think ‘strong’ countries are actually ‘weak’?
Because they create wars and can’t create peace.
- feudal system
- succeed to the throne
- agricultural society
- Peasants’ Revolt
- wage war
Alfred the Great: He was the King of Wessex,
he defeated the Danish commander Guthrum
at the Battle of Edington in 878. He established
his capital at Winchester and invited scholars
from the continent. He had Latin texts translated
into Anglo-Saxon and commissioned the
Anglo-Saxon Chronicle in 890.
William I: The Anglo-Saxon and Norman armies faced each other near Hastings on 14th October 1066. The Normans won the battle. The narrative of Hastings was recorded in a tapestry, hanging in Bayeux, France, which is one of the most vivid representations of war in medieval history. William was later crowned William I in Westminster Abbey on Christmas Day, 1066. William the Conqueror claimed to be the lord of the land and his central authority became stronger. That power was demonstrated by the Domesday Book (1086), a record of a survey which gave the king detailed information on the country he now possessed; it was also used for collecting the geld, or property tax.
Henry II: Henry II’s kingdom stretched from the Scottish border to the south of France. During his reign his main concerns were the insecurities of his French territories and the desire to re-establish the legal order in England. The feudal duty of military service was replaced with a tax known as ‘scutage’. In this way knights could choose to remain on their land and the king was able to pay professional soldiers. In the 1160s Henry introduced travelling royal judges, who were basically professional lawyers. The law they administered became known as ‘common law’, because it was used everywhere. In 1162 Henry appointed one of his favourites, Thomas Becket, to be Archbishop of Canterbury. Thomas tried to assert the independence of Church from State, but in 1164 Henry had the Constitutions of Clarendon written: these stated that the king was supreme in civil matters and that all people in England, including the clergy, were subject to the Crown. The conflict between Becket and the king continued until 29th December 1170, when Becket was murdered in Canterbury Cathedral by four knights claiming to have been sent by the king. The king was forced to do humiliating penance and Thomas became a martyr and a saint. Pilgrims from all over England and Europe visited his shrine in Canterbury Cathedral.
Magna Carta: In order to get more money to wage
wars to defend his French possessions, King John
collected higher taxes. The barons, the Church
and the general population were exposed to his
violent abuse of power. He seized lands without
process of law, imposed arbitrary taxes and
collected money from widows by threatening them
with a forced re-marriage if they did not pay. The
barons, knights, clergy and townspeople organised
a rebellion and asked the king to sign Magna
Carta, a charter demanding specific liberties.
The king signed it at Runnymede in 1215.
Parliament: In 1295 Edward I summoned a council made up of barons, clergy, knights and representatives of the towns. This was known as the ‘Model Parliament’, England’s first Parliament.
Peasants’ Revolt: In 1381, during the first years of Richard II’s reign, an extremely unpopular tax called ‘poll tax’ was introduced. Riots broke out all over England: it was the beginning of the Peasants’ Revolt. A huge crowd of people marched on London led by Wat Tyler to ask the king to abolish the peasants’ duties to their landlords. The young king agreed to meet the rebels and listen to their demands, but the Mayor of London had Tyler killed and subsequently the king did nothing to keep his promises and had the leaders of the revolt executed.
|Epic poem||Medieval ballad||Narrative poem|
|Main features||long narrative poetical composition, type-scenes||dialogue and narration, a series of rapid flashes||narrator, setting in time and place, description of characters|
|Characters||aristocratic and military society, heroes||members of the family, outlaws, supernatural creatures||representatives of the gentry, clergy and middle classes|
|Theme||good vs evil, the glorious past, celebration of the brave deeds of heroes||love, death, war, the supernatural||the spiritual journey, criticism of society|
|Style||vivid, elevated language, caesura, alliteration, kenning||simple language, repetition, refrain||rhyming couplets, humour, irony and satire|
|Mood||heroic||tragic||humorous, ironic, satirical|
|Aim||didactic, celebration of heroic values||to entertain, no moral aim||to entertain and instruct|
|Key information given||Lord Randal has been hunting in the greenwood and has been poisoned by his ‘true-love’.|
|How the information is given||Through a dialogue between Lord Randal and his mother|
|Information missing||Character’s and setting’s description.|
|Techniques used by the author||Repetition and refrain.|
- Details and evidence to describe her character
She was shy and reserved (line 2), she sang with a fine intonation (lines 5-6), she had elegant table manners (lines 10-19), she was pleasant and graceful (lines 20-24), she was sensitive and would weep if someone hit her dogs (lines 31-33).
- Details and evidence to describe her appearance
She had an elegant nose and grey eyes, a soft red mouth and a wide forehead (lines 35-38), she was tall and well-built (line 39).
- Details and evidence to describe her clothes
She wore her veil in an elegant manner, not suited to a nun (line 34), she wore an elegant cloak (line 40), her rosary was a bracelet of precious beads from which hung a golden brooch (lines 41-45).
- Technique used by the writer
- Details and evidence to describe his character
He constantly spoke of his profits but he was actually in debt (line 11), he had a pretentious way of speaking (lines 5-6).
- Details and evidence to describe his appearance
He had a forked beard (line 1).
- Details and evidence to describe his clothes
He wore a colourful dress, a Flemish beaver hat and buckled boots (lines 2-4).
- Technique used by the writer
The Wife of Bath
- Details and evidence to describe her character
She was sociable (line 30) but she got very angry if someone went in front of her in church (lines 5-8).
- Details and evidence to describe her appearance
She was deaf (line 2), she had a bold, beautiful, red face (line 14), gap-teeth (line 24) and large hips (line 29).
- Details and evidence to describe her clothes
On Sunday she wore finely woven kerchiefs (line 9), scarlet red hose, a garter and soft new shoes (lines 12-13). On pilgrimage she wore a wimple, a large hat, a flowing mantle and spurs (lines 26-29).
- Technique used by the writer
2. The Renaissance and the Puritan Age
2.1 The early Tudors
- parish churches
- In what sense did England become more ‘cosmopolitan’ during the reign of Henry VII? Henry VII sponsored John Cabot to explore eastern America and planted the Tudor flag in Nova Scotia. During his reign Erasmus of Rotterdam brought the Humanism of the Renaissance to the universities of Oxford and Cambridge, while the scholar Sir Thomas More moved England closer to North-European thought and the origins of Protestantism. The king also married his son and heir to the Aragonese heiress Catherine and two of his daughters equally well to the Kings of France and Scotland.
- What was Henry VIII like? He was good-looking, skilled at sports, music and poetry and interested in theology.
- What did he think of Martin Luther? The king disagreed with Martin Luther’s anti-Catholic theses and he wrote an attack on Luther which won him the title of ‘defender of the faith’ from the pope.
- What facts paved the way to the breach with Rome? Henry asked the pope to declare his first marriage invalid, but the pope refused. So the king broke with Rome, divorced Catherine and, in 1533, he married Anne Boleyn.
- What were the effects of the Reformation? With the Act of Supremacy (1534) Henry was declared ‘the Supreme Head of the Church of England’, and it became treason to deny it. Temporal and religious powers were thus joined in the figure of the monarch. Thomas Cromwell, the king’s chancellor, suppressed 400 small monasteries and confiscated their lands and money. Monastic chapels became parish churches and the land of the monasteries was sold, so the new merchant class had access to a landed status that had previously been a privilege of the nobility.
- Who was Thomas Cranmer and why was he an important figure of the period? He was the Archbishop of Canterbury and the king’s chancellor. He performed Henry VIII’s wedding ceremony to Anne Boleyn. He was a dominant figure in the English Reformation. He prepared a new prayer book that was sent to all churches during Edward VI’s reign. He was imprisoned by Mary I in the Tower of London for heresy and later burned at the stake.
- What did Edward VI make compulsory? The Book of Common Prayer, mainly prepared by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Thomas Cranmer.
- What did Mary I’s Counter-Reformation bring about? The restoration of Catholic rituals and heresy laws. The queen earned the name ‘Bloody Mary’ giving the Protestant Church about 300 martyrs by burning them at the stake.
- The title Henry VIII was given by the pope because of the attack he wrote on Martin Luther.
- The act which declared Henry VIII ‘the Supreme Head of the Church of England’.
- The name Mary I was given for burning about 3 people at the stake.
- Look at the first picture on page 80. What was the Tudor rose like? It combined the red rose of the House of Lancaster with the white rose of the House of York. It symbolised the end of the civil war between the two royal families, as highlighted by the crown on top of the two roses.
- Look at picture 1 on page 82. Read the caption and try to identify the people represented in the painting. Henry VIII is sitting on the throne in the middle and passes the sword of justice to his Protestant son Edward VI. Elizabeth I is on the right, holding the hand of Peace and followed by Plenty. On the left are Elizabeth’s Catholic half-sister and predecessor Mary I and Mary’s husband Philip II of Spain, with Mars, the god of war.
2.2 Elizabeth I
- toleration, tolerance
- Why is Elizabeth’s reign regarded as the golden age of England? It was an age of stability, religious toleration and victory at sea it was the time of entertainment and the rising star of Shakespeare.
- How would you define Elizabeth’s religious policy? Tolerant as regarded ornament in churches and ceremonies, but she consolidated the Reformation in 1559 by re-introducing the Acts of Supremacy and Uniformity.
- Why did she never marry? She regarded marriage as dangerous because she thought a foreign husband would subject England to overseas rule, while an English one would create factions and plots.
- What was the aim of the royal progress? To show Elizabeth’s person and the power of her office.
- Why did Mary, Queen of Scots, represent a danger for Elizabeth? She had a claim to the English throne she was a Catholic and became the centre of conspiracies against Elizabeth.
- How did Elizabeth encourage overseas exploration? She encouraged her sea captains to explore new lands and look for treasure.
- What were the main reasons for the defeat of the Spanish Armada? The English ships were faster and better armed than the Spanish ones, so they were able to scatter part of the Armada and get close enough to attack with their cannons. The Armada escaped to the North Sea, damaged and hit by storms.
- Why is Elizabeth regarded as one of the greatest of English rulers? She managed to create a popular and majestic image of the sovereign who appeared as the defender of a nation and the preserver of peace. She brought England unity and glory
Picture 1: the cult of the Virgin Queen
Picture 2: the royal progress to show the queen’s person and power
Picture 3: the exploration of the seas by the sea captains combined with piracy
Picture 4: the defeat of the Spanish Armada
From History to Screen: Elizabeth
- The queen denies having committed a bloody act.
- The old man is called Sir William.
- The queen says she is as strong as a man.
- The old man does not convince her to accept the help of Spain.
- The queen declares that from now on she will act only according to her own will.
- The queen says she is not afraid.
- The queen makes the old man a lord.
- The old man is going to retire from politics.
- The word ‘must’ is not used to princes. E
- Forgive me, Madam but you are only a woman. W
- If I choose, I have the heart of a man. E
- I am my father’s daughter. I am not afraid of anything. E
- God knows all my advice has only ever been to secure Your Majesty’s throne. W
- I have decided to create you Lord Burghley, so you may enjoy your retirement in greater ease. E
A the one which reveals Elizabeth’s authority; 1
B the one which reveals her courage; 3
C the one which reveals her political ability; 6
She says that she is going to create him a lord as if it were an honour, while in reality she is freeing herself from his presence at court so as to be able to decide on her own about politics. She calls him directly ‘Lord Burghley’ and no longer ‘Sir William’ because she does not let him protest and she makes her decision sound as definite.
- There is a kind of incomprehension between Sir William and the queen. A curtain is shown at the beginning between the two. A medium shot is employed for the queen and a close-up for Sir William.
- The old man fears the other man, Walsingham. He looks left with a scared look.
- The queen assumes a new and stronger authority. She is shown in front of a window, in full light. The shot employed is low-angle.
- The old man understands that the queen is now strong and independent of his advice. The soundtrack underlines the importance of the queen’s words and she is surrounded by light. Close-ups are used for both characters.
We perceive the superiority and the independence of the queen.
- He is a distant, enigmatic character.
- At this point there is a kind of insuperable distance between her and the viewer (Sir William).
- They are uttering definite, dramatic words.
2.3 Renaissance and New Learning
- binding together
- the Tudors’ view of the world They inherited a general concept of order from the medieval view of the world. The universal order was represented as a chain of being.
- the links of the chain of being They were fixed, there was no mobility from one ring to the next. The hierarchy of existence was complete and closed and included: God as spirit, spiritual beings or angels, human beings, the animal kingdom, the plant kingdom, the material (inanimate) world.
- man’s position He shared the body with lower creations and the spirit with higher creations, so he had the unique function of binding together all the levels of being.
- what was outside the chain Chaos, madness and evil.
- the concept of correspondence All of creation was bound together, which meant that whatever affected one thing affected other elements in the chain. This was called a ‘correspondence’.
- the three parts of the chain corresponding to each other There were three parts of the chain corresponding to each other: macrocosm (the universe, nature and the skies), microcosm (the human body as a map of the universe), the body politic (the kingdom, including its government and citizens).
- the idea of nature God’s instrument.
- the natural rules of the State. Subordination and unity.
- Answer the following questions.
- How did Copernicus’s ideas shake the old view of the universe? He questioned the Ptolemaic system since he held that the sun, and not the earth, was at the centre of the universe.
- Where did the term ‘Humanism’ come from? The term derived from the Latin studia humanitatis, a course of classical studies including grammar, poetry, rhetoric, history and moral philosophy which aimed at improving man through knowledge.
- What did Humanism encourage? Humanism encouraged confidence in the power of human reason to interpret man and nature, in the value of literature as an instrument of reason and in the dignity of modern English as a literary medium.
- Correct the following statements about New Learning.
- The men of letters lost confidence in the individual. They believed in the power of human reason.
- The Humanists only wrote in Latin. They used English instead of Latin in their writings.
- The English Renaissance was pagan in essence. It was strongly Protestant.
- The works of the period were characterised by serene images. They lacked the pagan serenity of the Italian Renaissance and were characterised by baroque exuberance.
2.4 The early Stuarts
Mother: Mary, Queen of Scots
Ascended to the throne: 1603
His concept of monarchy: ‘divine right of kings’
He united Scotland to England and Wales creating Great Britain
He introduced: a distinctive flag (the Union Jack), common coinage, a new translation of the Bible
He held a conference at Somerset House and achieved a peace treaty with Spain
He met the representatives of the bishops and the Puritans at Hampton Court in order to solve the religious conflict between them.
Did you know? The Gunpowder plotters were Catholics who wanted to blow up Parliament and the king, but the conspiracy was found out and the plotters were executed.
The consequence of religious uniformity was the emigration of many dissenters to the New World.
Bonfire Night is an annual celebration on 5th November with fireworks and effigies of Guy Fawkes, which are burnt on bonfires.
1625 Charles became king
1628 The Petition of Right
1635 Charles I extended ‘ship money’
1640 Charles I summoned the so-called Short Parliament, which refused to give him the money he needed to pay his army to fight a rebellion in Scotland. A new Parliament was then elected, the so-called Long Parliament
1642 Charles I entered the House of Commons to arrest its five most extreme MPs, but they had already escaped. The king raised an army of Royalists and declared war. The Parliamentarians, the king’s opponents, prepared to fight back. The Civil War had begun
- A document stating that the king could not imprison without trial or impose taxes without the consent of the Commons.
- A tax imposed on coastal towns for their defence.
- One of the great institutions of English history which reflected the change in wealth that had taken place in the Tudor period with a shift from the medieval Church and the landed aristocracy to a rising middle class of small landowners, city merchants and the professions.
2.5 The Civil War and the Commonwealth
|Struggle between||the tyranny of Stuart absolutism||the liberty of Parliament|
|Class conflict between||the aristocratic landowners||the middle class of merchants, artisans and the small gentry|
|The two parties||Royalists, or Cavaliers||Parliamentarians, or Roundheads|
|Who they supported||the king||Parliament|
|Regional concentration||Wales, Cornwall and the west of England||the city of London, the sea ports and eastern England|
The Parliamentarian army, called New Model Army, was stronger because it was made up of professional soldiers and it had a cavalry. These ‘Ironsides’ were better armed and equipped they were mainly middle-class men who thought that God was on their side, and they were trained through hard discipline and collective prayer.
Charles I was captured in 1648 and was brought to London, where a commission was set up to try him for treason. The king was condemned to death and his execution took place in 1649.
Form of government: Republic.
Parliament: The ‘Rump’ Parliament, made up of 121 radical members. The House of Lords was abolished.
Military campaigns: A campaign of repression in Ireland which culminated in the slaughter of the citizens of Drogheda; the defeat of the Scottish Royalists who had crowned Charles I’s son, Charles II, King of Scotland.
Leader: Oliver Cromwell, who gave himself the title of ‘Lord Protector of England, Scotland and Ireland’.
Laws: In 1651 Parliament passed the Navigation Acts, giving a sort of monopoly of trade to British ships.
Puritan rules were introduced, including execution for adultery, the abolition of popular pastimes, games, dancing and theatre performances. Inns, pubs and theatres were closed down. Cromwell banned Christmas and Easter and replaced them with days of fasting
Reading and Use of English - Part 6
- A. The extra sentence is D.
Listening - Part 4
Reading and Use of English - Part 1
2.6 The sonnet
|Italian or Petrarchan sonnet||English or Shakespearean sonnet|
|Number of lines||14 lines in iambic pentameter||14 lines in iambic pentameter|
|Layout||2 sections: the octave presents an issue or a situation; the sestet contains the solution of the problem or personal reflections||4 sections: three quatrains present a theme or three different arguments; the final couplet solves or summarises the problem|
|Rhyme scheme||octave: ABBA ABBA
sestet: CDE CDE or CDC DCD
|first quatrain: ABAB
second quatrain: CDCD
third quatrain: EFEF
couplet: GG (wp ndr)
|Turning point||at the end of the eighth line, and the ninth is sometimes introduced by words like ‘and’, ‘if’, ‘so’, ‘but’ or ‘yet’||at the end of the eighth line, and the ninth is sometimes introduced by words like ‘and’, ‘if’, ‘so’, ‘but’ or ‘yet’|
|Language||full of oxymora||full of oxymora and conceits|
|Themes||love and desire for a lady who cannot return the poet’s love||love, beauty, decay and art|
2.7 Metaphysical poetry
- what the term ‘metaphysical’ means It means ‘concerned with the fundamental problems of the nature of the universe, and man’s function or place in life’.
- when the Metaphysical poets wrote During the first three-quarters of the 17th century.
- who the most influential was John Donne.
- what they reflected. The intellectual and spiritual crisis of their age, the difficult transition from the Renaissance to the modern age.
beginning in medias res
rich and varied diction
Latinisms and Anglo-Saxon words
- What kind of man was the Metaphysical poet? He was a man of wit, sensitivity, knowledge and cleverness.
- Where did he get his imagery? From the areas of religion, astrology, alchemy, geography and philosophy, which illustrate the intellectual excitement of the age.
- How did he arrange his images? In an unexpected way, so as to surprise the reader.
- What is the Metaphysical conceit? It is an unusual and intellectual kind of metaphor, where the poet exploits all fields of knowledge for comparison.
- Who was a remarkable poet of the 17th century, along with John Donne? Why? John Milton was a remarkable poet of the 17th century, along with John Donne. He represented a highly individual voice and his poetry showed a variety of contemporary influences, blending elements of both the humanist and the Puritan traditions.
- Who is speaking? Who do you think he is addressing? The poet is speaking, probably with his errand man.
- Explain in your own words what the speaker asks the addressee to do. What strikes you about these requests? The speaker asks him to catch a falling star, to make a mandrake root pregnant, to tell him where all the time past is and who split the devil’s foot, to teach him how to listen to the mermaids’ song and how to avoid the pangs of envy, to find out what helps an honest mind to succeed. What strikes about these requests is that they are all impossible or absurd.
- The last three lines of each stanza contain the theme of the poem. What do they reveal about the poet’s feelings towards women and love? He challenged the concept of ideal love and the image of the woman as a remote goddess. Instead of praising her beauty, he depicted the woman as a calculating liar
2.8 The development of drama
- file di gallerie coperte
- spettatori dai gusti grossolani
- tetto di paglia
- palcoscenico interno
- tenda, sipario
- palcoscenico superiore
- arredi scenici
- Where were performances held before the building of the first permanent theatres? They took place in the nave of churches at first, but soon they moved outside. This meant that Latin was replaced with English and lay people took the place of monks and priests in these performances, which became known as ‘mystery plays’.
- What was the stage like in Elizabethan theatres? Permanent theatres were circular or octagonal. Within the outer walls there were three tiers of roofed galleries, looking down on the stage, and the yard, or ‘pit’, where the poorer spectators, or ‘groundlings’, stood. The stage itself, technically known as an ‘apron stage’, projected into the yard, so that when the theatre was full, the players were surrounded on three sides. No more than twelve actors could appear on stage at the same time due to the space restrictions. Over the stage the ‘shadow’ or thatched roof protected the players from the rain. In the front of the stage there was a trap door used for devilish apparitions and disappearances, and also for burials. The actors’ tiring house was presumably at the back of the stage. There were two doors for entrances and exits. Behind the stage there was an inner stage which was used not only for discoveries, but also for concealments. There was no general stage curtain. There were also an upper stage hidden by a curtain and a balcony used by musicians.
- What time of day were the plays performed? Why? The plays took place in daylight, usually starting at 2 p.m. because of the absence of electric light.
- How did the audience know the time and place in the play? The time and locality were usually mentioned in the dialogue.
- As in the modern theatre, a curtain separated the Elizabethan audience from the actors. F There was no curtain and the action was continuous. A scene ended when all the actors left the stage and a new set of characters came on.
- The device of the soliloquy forced the actor to shout to make himself heard. F In Shakespeare’s time the actor came forward on the apron stage into the midst of his audience. Communication was intimate and direct. The device of the soliloquy was a natural way for a character to explain his thoughts and intentions.
- The poor scenery obliged the audience to use their imagination. T
- The location of the scene was very important and was carefully built. F There was no scenery and the stage relied on conventions using a limited number of props. For night scenes a simple candle or torch represented the night world.
- Boys acted female roles. T
|Elizabethan theatre||Modern theatre|
|Curtain||There was no curtain. The action was continuous, and a scene ended when all the actors left the stage and a new set of characters came on.||It separates the audience from the actors.|
|Time of the performances||They took place in daylight, usually starting at 2 p.m. because of the absence of electric light.||They take place both in daylight and in the evening. Actors act in bright light before spectators hidden in a darkened auditorium.|
|Scenery||There was no scenery. The stage relied on conventions using a limited number of props. For night scenes a simple candle or torch represented the night world.||Sophisticated sceneries are employed.|
|Actresses||Women did not act in Shakespeare’s time and the female parts were acted by boys.||Female parts are acted by actresses.|
|Theatrical companies||The Elizabethan acting company was a permanent ‘fellowship of players’, and they worked on the basis of a share system||Actors and actresses act in different companies.|
Elizabethan drama was much influenced by popular sources (allegorical types, vivid caricatures and realistic comedy, the idea of man’s place inside an ordered universe and of the mutability of fortune and the stars); the Italian Commedia dell’arte (Niccolò Machiavelli: display of horrors, unnatural crimes, vice and corruption, intrigues, lies and villains); Greek tragedies; Seneca (division of the play into five acts, tragic and bloody incidents, the taste for revenge, the making of good rhetoric out of conflicting emotions and passions).
2.9 William Shakespeare
- 23rd April
- grammar school
- he was only 18
- went to London
- an excellent playwright
- a private patron
- Lord Chamberlain’s Men
- were performed
- historical dramas
- thirty-six of the plays
T6 Shall I compare thee
- shall not fade
- The rhyme scheme of the sonnet is
C ABAB CDCD EFEF GG.
- Match the following sections in the sonnet with the corresponding lines.
- The turning point is
B in the ninth line.
- The two terms of comparison in the first two quatrains are the ‘fair youth’ and a summer’s day. Why is summer imperfect?
Because it is not temperate, it is sometimes too hot and sometimes not sunny enough. Finally summer and its beauty will never last, but end.
- Line 5 contains
C an alliteration. (hot/heaven)
- Paraphrase line 9.
But your beauty will not decline, it will be eternal.
- What word meaning ‘beauty’ is repeated in the second and third quatrain? Choose other meanings of this word from the following:
expensive, clear, dark, light, bad, just, possessive. The word meaning ‘beauty’ is ‘fair’ (lines 7, 10). Other meanings of this word are: clear, light, just.
- What is the prevailing personal pronoun?
- What quality does this feature give the poem?
- The words in the couplet have
A one syllable. (Monosyllabic words give a very regular effect and show certainty and confidence.)
- Define the poet’s attitude towards time in this poem.
The poet opposes time, and the decay of beauty it implies, by means of his poetry which has eternal value (line 12).
- Write down the theme of the sonnet.
The theme of the poem is the relationship between art and time.
T7 Like as the waves
1st section (lines 1-4): Time passes relentlessly.
2nd section (lines 5-8): From the passage of time to the passage of human life.
3rd section (lines 9-12): Time is responsible for the downfall of men’s lives.
4th section (lines 13-14): The poet’s verse will live on and continue to praise the worth of the beloved.
Highlighted in pink: simile comparing the speed
of the passage of time to the speed of waves
rushing towards a shore
Blue words: the action of moving forward is repeated without end and there is no turning back
Highlighted in yellow: extended metaphor for the different stages of man’s life from birth to death
Highlighted in blue: alliteration which marks the fall of the subject from light to darkness. It is echoed in the couplet in the adjective ‘cruel’, which connotes time
Highlighted in orange: personification of time as the antagonist
Pink words: destructive power of time
Red dots: opposition between ‘nothing stands’ and ‘my verse shall stand’, which underlines that only the poet’s verse will be able to defeat time
Highlighted in green: symbol of death
Highlighted in light brown: turning point
- turning point
2.10 Shakespeare the dramatist
- How must Shakespeare’s plays be dated? They must be dated by combining three kinds of evidence: external, internal and stylistic.
- What is the progress of a play usually linked to? It is usually linked to the gradual clarification of things which are left mysterious at the beginning. Themes are hinted at, but their real meaning becomes apparent much later.
- What conventions did Shakespeare employ in his plays? As a rule, in a Shakespearean play a scene is over when all the characters have left the stage. Shakespeare used soliloquies, asides, introductory passages spoken in a prologue or by chorus, funeral orations and death-bed speeches.
- How are directions and descriptions provided? They are often given indirectly, hidden in a question or a metaphor.
- What social class do Shakespeare’s characters mainly belong to? They belong to different social classes, from the aristocracy to nurses, rustics and servants.
- How are his characters usually related? Hierarchy forms the background of every play. Another important feature is the importance of family ties: these relationships are often in contrasting form, suggesting conflict between the older and younger generations. Finally there are symmetrical correspondences.
- What style did Shakespeare employ in his comedies and tragedies? He used different levels of speech and action. A character may suddenly change from everyday prose to solemn verse. There is sometimes the insertion of allegorical scenes, songs, music and dances, as well as magical transformations.
- What are image-clusters? They are recurrent groupings of metaphors and similes. They are connected to the main themes of the plays and define their tones.
- What is Shakespearean language characterised by? It is characterised by a dramatic number of new words, obscure and archaic words, mythological allusions and rhetorical figures.
Romeo and Juliet
- How does the first act end? It ends with the meeting of Romeo and Juliet and with the couple discovering that their families are enemies.
- What does the dialogue between the two lovers deal with? It deals with love and their desire to be married.
- Who marries Romeo and Juliet? Friar Laurence.
- Who is Mercutio? Who kills him in the third act? Mercutio is a friend of Romeo. He is killed by Tybalt, Juliet’s cousin.
- Where is Romeo exiled after killing Tybalt? He is exiled to Mantua.
- Who gives Juliet a drug to make her appear to be dead? Friar Laurence.
- What does Romeo do after seeing Juliet apparently dead in the tomb? He poisons himself.
- How does Juliet kill herself? She stabs herself with Romeo’s dagger
- Where does the play take place? Shakespeare chose the Italian city of Verona as the setting of this play because Italians were popularly considered violent and passionate, characteristics which easily charmed the English at that time. The social context of the play arises from the struggles between two families, the Capulets and Montagues, to gain political control of the city. This is the reason why most of the action happens out-of-doors.
- How do Romeo and Juliet develop throughout the play? In the first act Romeo Montague is presented as a man belonging to the ‘courtly love convention’ because of his intense adoration and respect for a lady who is chaste and impossible. It is his love for Juliet which makes him dynamic and courageous: he risks his life at the Capulets’ house to be near her and later breaks a banishment order risking death, to see her again. At the end he commits suicide rather than live without Juliet, which is the ultimate proof of his loyalty and love for her. Juliet Capulet is beautiful, rebellious, kind and loving. At the beginning she appears as an obedient child: she rarely does anything on her own but does what her parents say. Her first meeting with Romeo causes her to move quickly towards maturity. She immediately shows determination and strength in her open confessions of love and desire for Romeo. She belongs to no characterisation, classification or idealisation: she is a real woman. When she wakes in the tomb and finds Romeo dead beside her, she does not kill herself because of her weakness as a woman, but rather because of her strong love, just as Romeo did. Juliet’s suicide, in fact, needs more determination than Romeo’s because while he swallows poison, she stabs herself with a dagger.
- How is love associated with light in this play? Love is one of the most important aspects of Romeo and Juliet. In the first act Romeo uses the image of light typical of courtly love: when he first sees Juliet, he compares her to the brilliant light of the torches that illuminate the Capulets’ great hall. Juliet is the light that frees him from the darkness of his perpetual melancholy. Even in the famous balcony scene Romeo links her to the sunlight, daylight and the light emanating from angels. In turn, Juliet compares their newfound love to light, primarily to stress the speed at which their romance is moving, but also to suggest that, just as the lightening is a glorious break in the blackness of the night sky, so their love turns out to be a flash, a wonderful glow in a dark world.
- What are the most important themes of the play? They are the power of love. passion and violence. individual against society (what the lovers want as individuals is in conflict with what their families and society want). the power of fate.
- What are its most important stylistic features? In Romeo and Juliet traits of Shakespeare’s immature style are to be seen. His rhythms are regular. rhymes are common, often used in ‘couplets’. Occasionally he even inserts a sonnet into the dialogue. Imagery is all about oxymora.
- Is Romeo and Juliet a comedy or a tragedy? Romeo and Juliet is characterised by elements both of comedy and tragedy. It is a comedy because it begins with the material for a comedy, like the instant attraction of the young lovers, the masked balls, the comic servants and the superficial life of street fights. However, this play differs from the conventional comedy because in the end knowledge is not for everybody, but only for the two protagonists and, even then, not completely. Speed is the medium of ‘fate’: in the last scene time triumphs because less than a minute’s hesitation would have saved the lives of Romeo and Juliet. It is a tragedy on account of the tragic role played by chance. the protagonists must fight against external forces that make their relationship difficult, but, unlike the great tragic heroes, they experience no inner struggle.
T8 The masque
1st section (lines 1-10): Romeo’s monologue and
the code of courtly love.
2nd section (lines 11-25): Romeo and Juliet’s dialogue and their first kiss.
Pink words: words appealing to sight and to
Highlighted in light blue: paradigm of brightness
Highlighted in pink: paradigm of darkness in antithesis with brightness. Even the rhyme scheme underlines this antithesis
Highlighted in violet: metaphors for Juliet
Red dots: lines linked to the courtly love convention
Highlighted in blue: metaphor for Juliet underlining her being holy and pure
Highlighted in orange: metaphor for Romeo; both Romeo and pilgrims pursue an ideal
Violet words: words marking the beginning of each section of the sonnet (quatrains and couplet)
Underlined in blue: lines referred to Juliet as being compared to a saint: as saints do not move, so Juliet does not move and accepts Romeo’s kiss
Lilac words: words appealing to touch and to physical love
Highlighted in yellow: stage directions The different colours and marks at the end of each line highlight the rhyme scheme: AA BB CC DD EE in the 1st section; ABAB CDCD EFEF GG, typical of the Shakespearean sonnet, in the 2nd section
Boxes: Tenor = Juliet
Vehicle = rich jewel/snowy dove/holy shrine
- What mood does Shakespeare create with the language of this scene? Students’ activity.
- Is the theme of this passage in keeping with the poetic tradition of the time? The theme of these lines is love and it is in keeping with the poetic tradition of the time. However, while the first ten lines appeal to the sense of sight, which is the typical one of the conventional courtly love tradition, the dialogue between Romeo and Juliet (lines 11-25) is devoted to touch, which evokes an image of physical love.
- courtly love
- holy shrines
T9 The balcony scene
- Which lines show that Juliet did not realise that Romeo was there at first? Lines 8-9. She refers to him in the third person. Then in line 16 she asks: ‘What man art thou […]?’
- Does he tell her his name? Explain. No, he does not, but he makes her understand that he has been listening to her and tells her that she hates his name, so he must be Romeo.
- Consider lines 23-44. Find the lines or phrases that Juliet speaks which mean the following.
- I’m glad it is dark so you cannot see me blush. ‘Else would a maiden blush bepaint my cheek’ (line 24).
- I cannot deny what I have said. ‘fain, fain deny / What I have spoke: but farewell compliment!’ (lines 26-27).
- Perhaps I should have been more discrete. ‘I should have been more strange, I must confess’ (line 40), but also ‘I am too quickly won’ (line 33) and ‘I am too fond’ (line 36) express Juliet’s determination.
- Do not think because I’m giving in to you, that my feelings are only superficial. ‘not impute this yielding to light love’ (line 43).
The theme of Juliet’s monologue is that Romeo is a Montague and yet she loves him
It creates tension and curiosity.
Romeo is tender, romantic, artful, passionate. Juliet is impulsive, personal, direct, artless, practical.
They were innocent adolescents at the beginning, now Juliet is emphasising that their relationship has become responsible and adult. She is ready to defy his parents and marry Romeo and is resolute in her decision.
Sight. Romeo and Juliet both describe what they can see Juliet talks of the darkness which even withholds the sight from each other but which allows their love to reveal itself and develop
|‘thy self’ (line 2)
‘hand’, ‘foot’, ‘arm’, ‘face’ (line 4)
‘any part belonging to a man’ (line 5)
‘Take all myself’ (line 12)
|‘name’ (lines 1, 3, 6-7, 10-11, 18, 20)
‘Montague’ (lines 2-3)
‘rose’ (line 6)
‘Romeo’ (lines 8, 10, 15)
‘title’ (line 10)
‘word’ (lines 13, 22)
How does Juliet’s reflection upon the language shake the medieval code?
Juliet’s reflection upon the language shakes the medieval code since she tries to separate Romeo’s name, that is ‘appearance’, from what he is really. Romeo is influenced by Juliet’s words and he is ready to refuse his name.
|Conventional behaviour||Juliet’s behaviour|
|The woman does not reveal her love to her beloved: ‘I should have been more strange’ (line 40)||‘If thou dost love, pronounce it faithfully’ (line 32)
‘I am too quickly won’ (line 33)
‘I am too fond’ (line 36)
Even if Romeo’s answer is uncertain, he has been influenced by Juliet and he is now ready to refuse his name.
|Sonnet sequence||Romeo and Juliet|
|Characters||The angelical woman is the embodiment of both physical and moral perfection.||Juliet is compared to a ‘rich jewel’, a ‘snowy dove’, a ‘holy shrine’, so to something pure and chaste. However, she is also an unconventional female character as she expresses her love vividly and through concrete images.|
|Language||Oxymora, conceits, linguistic images.||Romeo’s elaborate images are in contrast with Juliet’s direct language.|
From Text to Screen: Romeo + Juliet
- Beginning of the sequence Romeo is going to speak.
- Juliet’s face, after Romeo’s first words.
- Romeo kisses Juliet’s hand.
- Romeo tries to kiss Juliet.
- Romeo and Juliet are in front of the lift.
- In the lift just after the kiss
- Juliet’s dress is adorned with a pair of wings.
- Romeo is wearing a coat of arms.
- Romeo and Juliet kiss in the lift.
- If I profane with my unworthiest hand this holy shrine. R
- Good pilgrim, you do wrong your hand too much. J
- Have not saints lips, and holy palmers too? R
- Ay, pilgrim, lips that they must use in prayer. J
- O then, dear saint, let lips do what hands do. R
- Saints do not move, though grant for prayers’ sake. J
- Then move not, while my prayer’s effect I take. R
- Then have my lips the sin that they have took? J
- Give me my sin again. R
- You kiss by th’ book. J
close-up: C, D, E
American shot: A
extreme close-up: B, F
- What prevails in the soundtrack of the sequence? Music, mostly of violins. it plays softly at the beginning and then reaches a crescendo.
- How does it affect the sequence? It helps create a delicate atmosphere and a feeling of accomplishment when the two young lovers finally kiss each other.
The Merchant of Venice
- What does Bassanio need? He needs some money to travel to Belmont and woo Portia.
- What kind of test has Portia’s father planned? Her suitors must choose among three caskets or chests: the suitor who chooses the one containing Portia’s picture will marry her.
- How much does Shylock lend Bassanio? Three thousand ducats.
- What does Shylock demand if he fails to repay him? A pound of Antonio’s flesh.
- Who elopes with Jessica? Her secret lover, Lorenzo.
- What chest does Bassanio choose? The leaden one, which contains Portia’s picture.
- Who disguises herself as a lawyer? Portia.
- What is Shylock forced to do at the end of the play? To convert to Christianity
the world of business,
wealth and greed
largely dominated by men strict laws and heavy atmosphere
Jews are persecuted by the Christians mercy is denied
the world of ideal love
Christians and Jews are brought together respect is restored
- what tradition Shakespeare drew upon to portray Shylock. The traditional portrayals of Jews as villains, mocked or marginalised. He certainly drew on anti-Semitic prejudice but at the same time he included elements that radically unsettle that prejudice.
- why Shylock is a complex character. Shylock is a complex character because Shakespeare emphasised his humanity by showing that his hatred of the Christians arose from the mistreatment and abuse he suffered in a Christian society. Readers and audiences feel pity and compassion rather than contempt. On the other hand, Shylock’s lack of mercy for Antonio prevents us from considering Shylock in a completely positive light.
- how the Venetians carry out the process of exclusion of Shylock. They deprive him of his identity as a Jew by forcing him to convert to Christianity.
- how the Christian characters differ from Shylock in dealing with business. Christian characters regard human relationships as more valuable than business ones, whereas Shylock is only interested in money. Merchants like Antonio lend money free of interest, and risk their wealth and reputation for those they love, whereas Shylock’s greed seems to be stronger than his love for his daughter.
- why the Christian characters are ambiguous. Because they also act out of personal interest, like Bassanio. they may talk more about mercy, love and charity, but they do not always show these qualities in their behaviour.
- how many types of love are presented. Four kinds of love: the love of a friend, the love of a daughter to her father, romantic love bringing together people from different backgrounds or with different motivations, love for money and possessions.
- the idea of justice in the play. Justice is seen in relationship with mercy. The two views of this relationship are those of the Old and New Testaments.
- the way reality and appearance are linked to value and worth. The female characters dress up as men to elope with their lovers (Jessica) and to attend the trial (Portia and Nerissa), and the least monetary valuable casket turns out to contain the greatest prize.
- the influence of popular narrative tradition on the play. The use of the number three and the tradition of winning a bride by solving a riddle.
- what Christian teaching lies behind the symbol of the lead casket. Several Christian teachings lie behind this symbol: the idea that desire is an unreliable guide and should be resisted, that appearance is often deceiving, and that people should not trust the evidence provided by the senses.
T10 The bond
- congregate On
- brings down
- pleaseth me
- Re-order the main events of the text.
- Shylock agrees to lend Antonio three thousand ducats on condition that he will return them after three months.
- Antonio arrives.
- Shylock explains why he hates him.
- Antonio has abused Shylock both verbally and physically many times.
- Shylock wonders whether a dog could lend money.
- Antonio says it is easier to exact a penalty from an enemy.
- Shylock promises he will be kind to Antonio.
- Shylock suggests going to a notary and signing a bond.
- List the reasons why Shylock hates Antonio.
- He is a Christian (line 10).
- He lends out money gratis and lowers the usurer’s rate (lines 12-13).
- He hates Shylock’s race and abuses him (lines 16, 25).
- The word ‘bargains’ in line 18 means
- Find other words connected with trade. What kind of society is introduced in the passage?
‘lend(s)’ (lines 12, 40, 47, 50, 53), ‘money(s)’ (lines 12, 26, 34, 37, 39, 47, 50, 60), ‘rate’ (lines 13, 22), ‘usance(s)’ (lines 13, 26, 60), ‘merchants’ (line 17), ‘well-won thrift’ (line 18), ‘interest’ (line 19), ‘sum(s)’ (lines 21, 67), ‘beholding’ (line 23), ‘exact the penalty’ (line 55), ‘doit’ (line 59), ‘notary’ (line 64), ‘seal’ (line 64), ‘bond’ (line 65), ‘repay’ (line 66), ‘forfeit’ (line 68). It is a kind of society based on money coming from trade.
- The number three is repeated several times. What does it refer to?
It refers to the sum of money (‘Three thousand ducats’) lent by Shylock and to the duration of the contract (‘three months’).
- Write down the names Antonio calls Shylock.
- ‘misbeliever’ (line 29).
- ‘cut-throat dog’ (line 29).
- Say how Shylock reacts.
With patience and resignation (lines 27-28).
C will continue to abuse Shylock.
- Write down what penalty Shylock establishes.
If Antonio fails to repay him in three months, Shylock will cut off a pound of Antonio’s flesh from where he pleases (lines 66-71).
- Say what themes are introduced in the text.
The main theme is the difference between the Christian characters and Shylock. The former appear to value human relationships over business ones, whereas Shylock seems only interested in money. Prejudice is another theme. it is linked to religion but also to cultural differences. Linked to it is the theme of hatred. In the background there is the theme of usury and its condemnation.
- Summarise the view of Venice and of the Jews conveyed by the text.
Venice is a trading town, a symbol of wealth, but it is also associated with greed. Jews are marginalised and abused, they handle and lend money, practices that are morally inappropriate for Christians. The image of Jews as blood-thirsty murderers of Jesus seems to provide a backdrop for the demonic appellations against Shylock
T11 I am a Jew
1st section (lines 1-14): Solanio and Salerio are talking about the gossip at the Rialto concerning the shipwreck of one of Antonio’s ships.
2nd section (lines 15-31): Shylock curses his daughter for fleeing his house. Solanio and Salerio say they know who she eloped with. Shylock knows that Antonio has lost one of his ships and wants him to respect the contract.
3rd section (lines 32-44): Salerio asks Shylock what he will do with Antonio’s flesh. Shylock’s reply gives voice to his desire for revenge and he blames the Christians for teaching him such behaviour through theirs.
Boxes: Antonio’s behaviour against Shylock: Shylock blames Antonio for scorning him and his race, causing him financial loss and raising his enemies against him.
Shylock’s case against prejudice: The key idea of his speech is that Christians and Jews are the same in body, feelings and reactions. He objects to the prejudice according to which the Jews are considered an inferior race.
Highlighted in yellow: positive words referred to Antonio. They denote the bond of friendship that links the Christian characters and again highlight Christian goodness
Highlighted in grey: negative words referred to the way the Christians see Shylock. The connection with the devil is made clear
Highlighted in orange: Shylock’s reaction to Jessica’s elopement. She is his blood and flesh. He claims the filial bond
Pink words: metaphors linked to Jessica, Shylock’s daughter, and her lover, Lorenzo. He is presented as a tailor that has made her feathers and wings (she is compared to a bird) to fly away from her nest. Note that the nest is referred to as a ‘dam’, which usually refers to wild beasts
Highlighted in green: Shylock’s use of repetition gives his language great dramatic force. Repeated words and phrases add to the emotional intensity of the scene
Light blue words: oppositions in which Jessica is connoted positively (‘(her) flesh’, ‘ivory’, ‘Rhenish’) in contrast with her father who is given negative attributes (‘thy flesh’, ‘jet’, ‘red wine’). She is connoted as a precious person, while Shylock is corrupt (the black colour of jet) and ordinary (red wine)
Highlighted in light blue: words referred by Shylock to Antonio. They denote his hatred for the Venetians and Antonio’s bad administration of money
Red dots: Shylock’s declaration of identity, an identity concerning body and soul
- human being
- What is the name of the castle where the story is set? Elsinore.
- What appears to the sentries? The ghost of Hamlet’s father.
- What nationality is Fortinbras? Norwegian
- Who is Horatio? Hamlet’s friend.
- How was Hamlet’s father killed? The murderer, Claudius, poured poison in his ear while he was sleeping in his orchard.
- What is the cause of Hamlet’s madness, according to Polonius? His love for his daughter Ophelia.
- What is the title of the play performed at court? The Murder of Gonzago.
- Who plans for Hamlet to be killed once he arrives in England? Claudius.
- Does Ophelia die by sword, poison or drowning? She drowns herself.
- How does Hamlet die? In a duel arranged by Claudius, Laertes wounds Hamlet with the poisoned tip of his sword.
- What were probably the reasons for Shakespeare’s choice of Denmark as the setting of the play? It was a Protestant country like England and it was near Norway.
- What are the features of Hamlet’s language? The most striking characteristic of Hamlet’s language is its ambiguity. He uses metaphor, simile and, above all, wordplay. His words have a hidden meaning, they have, therefore, enormous affinities with the language of the unconscious which proceeds equally through various forms of distortion and alterations in meaning.
- What does Hamlet complain about and what are the causes of his melancholy? He complains about the fact that he has to play roles that he does not believe in. He is the [non]-revenger in a revenge play, the [non]-heir to the throne, the [non]-lover of the heroine, the [non]-son to the [non]-father. The shock Hamlet receives on the death of his father and re-marriage of his mother is the cause of his melancholy.
- What themes are linked to the theme of revenge? They are themes that are central to humanity: the relationships between father and son, mother and son, and Hamlet and his friends, love relationships, madness, youth and age, action and inaction, the corruption linked to power, the existence of God and a life after death, the meaning of the theatre itself. Hamlet is a play of life and death and of man’s ambiguous relationship with both. It is also about melancholy and doubt.
- What is a major question in the play? The relation between ‘appearance and reality’.
- What is the function of the ‘play within the play’? It is wanted by Hamlet to expose his father’s murderer. Furthermore, it is a most interesting expedient because it turns the actors into an audience.
- Can Hamlet be regarded as a revenge tragedy? Why? Yes, it can. It contains all the typical elements of the revenge tragedy: a violent crime committed against a family member of the hero, the hero’s period of doubt which involves complex planning, the appearance of a ghost to get the avenger to carry out the task, the avenger’s soliloquies and asides, his isolation which may turn into madness. There is bloody action and many deaths occur throughout the entire play.
T20 Hamlet meets the gost
1st section (lines 1-13): First meeting between Hamlet and his father’s ghost.
2nd section (lines 14-28): Description of the ghost’s punishment in the other world.
3rd section (lines 29-97): Introduction to the theme of revenge and description of the murder.
Boxes: Frightened reactions to the afterdeath (ll. 17-24): The ghost says that if he could reveal the secrets of the afterdeath, Hamlet would be deeply distressed, his blood would freeze, his eyes would start from their sockets and his hair would part.
Official version of the king’s death (ll. 40-49): The king is said to have been stung by a snake while he was sleeping in his orchard, but the ghost explains that this is not true: the ‘serpent’ is in fact Hamlet’s uncle, who now rules the country.
Contrast between Hamlet’s father and Claudius (ll. 54-57): Hamlet’s father was characterised by dignity and the respect of the vow of marriage, whereas Claudius is defined as a wretch.
Details of the murder (ll. 65-84): While Hamlet’s father was sleeping in his garden, as he used to do in the afternoon, his brother poured some poison into his ear.
Highlighted in green: Hamlet’s responses to the ghost’s words are a blend of imperatives, future simple and exclamations. They convey Hamlet’s surprise and fear, his indignation and inner turmoil
Highlighted in yellow: the late king’s ghost addresses his son with a series of imperatives to attract his attention and spur his will. The use of this tense underlines the father-son relationship
Highlighted in light blue: words referred to the world after death. They hint at the suffering of hell according to medieval tradition. Their function is to introduce the theme of the afterdeath that will be later developed in Hamlet’s famous monologue ‘To be or not to be’ (T21).They also confirm the idea of the ghost as the spirit of a dead person. The ghost’s identity, on the other hand, is revealed in line 13
Highlighted in pink: revelation of the ghost’s identity
Highlighted in orange: metaphor of the ear. The whole passage is built on the metaphor of hearing, the ear is a symbol that connects the individual and the national sphere, the microcosm and the macrocosm. Line 41: macrocosm, the ear is the symbol of Denmark. Line 69: microcosm, the king’s ear
// connotation of the murder. It is horrible and unnatural because it is fratricide and regicide. It implies the usurpation of the throne and also of the royal bed. In the Elizabethan world view, the killing of the king brought about chaos. The reign of Denmark is here presented as being corrupted, abused and out of joint
Red dots: words referred to Claudius, who is connoted as a beast and given wicked and immoral attributes. He is described as a serpent, a traitor, an adulterous and lascivious beast
Underlined in blue: words referred to Queen Gertrude, who is presented ambiguously: she is seemingly virtuous, an angel with the sense of guilt tormenting her.
- What is a ghost? How should we classify it?
It is an emanation from the afterlife, encountered in our own, returned from beyond the grave, and thus living and dead at the same time. Material, visible, capable of speech, yet insubstantial, a ghost is a ‘thing’ that is not a thing. We are afraid of ghosts because they defy the oppositions we take for granted, they represent a trace of the impossible in what we know as reality.
- Why are people afraid of ghosts?
In popular tradition ghosts are generally objects of dread because their effects are malign or they can be laid once a wrong has been put right. But more commonly apparitions predict disaster.
- What influences are Elizabethan stage ghosts conventionally ascribed to?
They are generally ascribed to the influence of Seneca, but they often owe at least as much to old wives’ tales.
To provide necessary background information.
To remind Hamlet of his role.
To raise the question of what happens after death.
To emphasise the main themes of the play.
To fulfil the Elizabethan taste for the supernatural.
To give the character a supernatural dramatic dignity.
T13 To be or not to be
- slings and arrows
- by opposing
- is heir to
- Must give us pause
- grunt and sweat
- What is Hamlet concerned with?
B The ultimate questions of man’s existence.
- Circle the personal pronouns. Is Hamlet talking to himself?
Hamlet is not actually talking to himself, in fact the ‘first person’ in his soliloquy is plural and not singular (lines 6, 12-13, 26-28).
- What do the verbs ‘suffer’ (line 2) and ‘take arms’ (line 4) mean? What different attitudes do they denote?
To suffer misfortune is to put up with it; to take arms, by contrast, is to become a warrior. These verbs introduce the antithetical alternatives that will surface later in the speech between submission and intervention.
- What alternative is introduced in lines 5-10?
To die, and therefore to sleep and put an end to suffering.
- What is pointed out in lines 10-13?
An obstacle: the fear of what might happen after death.
- List the injustices and miseries inflicted on mankind mentioned by Hamlet in lines 15-19. What could bring relief to man?
The passing of time, political oppression, social discrimination, unreturned love, the delays of justice, the insolence of power, ingratitude. A small knife could bring relief (lines 20-21).
- What meaning does the word ‘conscience’ in line 28 acquire at the end of the soliloquy?
There is a clear relationship between ‘conscience’ and ‘consciousness’ or the power of thought.
Various grammatical structures are used, a series of infinite forms (‘To be, or not to be’ is followed by ‘to suffer’, ‘to take arms’, ‘To die, to sleep’, ‘to say’, ‘To die to sleep’, ‘To sleep’, ‘to dream’) gives voice to Hamlet’s uncertainty and enables him to distance himself from the action. The frequent questions give way to further questions instead of finding a solution.
In lines 8-9 death is seen as a welcome relief. In line 12 Hamlet sees it from a medieval perspective, according to which death is a physical liberation from the prison of the body and earthly affliction.
The fear of something after death is expressed in the image of the unknown country from where no traveller comes back (lines 23-25), which paralyses the will and prevents self-destruction.
The conclusion of Hamlet’s argument is maybe the most remarkable part of the soliloquy (lines 28-33). The opposition of sickness and health that characterises the whole play returns here in the ‘pale cast of thought’, which turns the ‘native hue of resolution’ pale and sick and inhibits man’s power of action and enterprise.
If it is brave to kill oneself, and cowardly to remain alive, then conscience makes cowards of us all. Hamlet calls the ability to cross the border between life and death courage, the ability to stay alive and bear the pain of human condition cowardice. The preoccupations of modern man - his dilemmas, vain quests and searching - are confirmed. The great art of this soliloquy lies in the way in which the personal is elevated to the level of the universal.
- who Macbeth meets while returning home from battle; Three witches.
- what title Macbeth is given at the beginning of the play; ‘Thane of Cawdor’.
- who his first victim is; Duncan, the King of Scotland.
- whose ghost haunts Macbeth; Banquo’s ghost.
- who Macbeth murders after meeting the witches again; Macduff’s wife and children.
- what covers Lady Macbeth’s hands in her imagination; Duncan’s blood.
- who Duncan’s sons are; Malcolm and Donalbain.
- who becomes King of Scotland at the end. Malcolm.
|The moors||Macbeth’s castles|
- What are the main characteristics of the witches? Are they responsible for Duncan’s murder? They have malicious intentions and prophetic powers but are not active agents: they just talk and offer prophecies and potions. No, they say nothing about killing Duncan: they simply appeal to what Macbeth wants to believe.
- What kind of character is Macbeth? Macbeth can be regarded as a tragic hero. At the beginning of the play he is a highly respected soldier. At the end of the play he is totally alone because of his ambition and his own free decisions. His most remarkable quality is his awareness of what is happening to him. He suffers terribly throughout the play but never compromises. This gives a heroic quality to his tragic course of action.
- How does Lady Macbeth change throughout the play? In the first part of the play she shows great strength of will and is the driving force behind her husband. In the second part of the play she gradually loses her confidence, and finally goes mad and dies.
- What does the play Macbeth mainly analyse? What takes place in the mind of the criminal.
- Is there a villain? There is no villain acting against the hero: Macbeth is both. He begins as the heroic warrior and ends up as a murderous tyrant.
- What are the most frequent words used in the play? The words ‘blood’, ‘bloody’ and ‘to bleed’.
- What characters and images are connected with the theme of equivocation? The reversal of values introduced by the three witches, the chain of metaphors connected with ‘clothing’, especially clothes that do not fit, and the repetition of the verb ‘to seem’.
- How does Shakespeare deal with the theme of time in the play? This theme is associated with a chain of images concerned with ‘growth’: babies, seeds, plants and trees. The question is whether time progresses in a way that is pre-ordained. If this is the case, then whatever action we take to change the future can be only one of the steps necessary to achieve that precise future. The alternative is a future which is neither fixed nor inevitable, therefore one that can be shaped by human activity.
- What are the consequences of Duncan’s death? Since Duncan is the symbol of social harmony, order, justice and honesty, his death is connected with ‘exceptional natural events’. After his death the macrocosm of nature mirrors the chaos of the social microcosm: the sky is troubled, darkness covers the earth during the day, Duncan’s horses break their stalls and eat one another.
- What is the connotation of the night in this play? Night does not convey the idea of peace and rest but, on the contrary, is connected with lack of sleep and madness.
T14 Duncan's murder
- What do Macbeth and Lady Macbeth think they hear? How do you think they feel? Macbeth hears a noise, Lady Macbeth says it is an owl and the crickets, and then asks him if he spoke. They are nervous and feel guilty; they are afraid of being discovered.
- What does Macbeth find he cannot say? ’Amen’, which is an affirmation after a prayer. The guards ask for blessing ‘God bless us’, and Macbeth, the murderer, cannot pronounce it. It is also a way of saying that he cannot join in with the communion of good people.
- In two speeches Macbeth repeats a verb frequently. What is the verb? ‘To sleep’.
- What does Lady Macbeth tell her husband to do? First to wash his hands, then to take the daggers, the murder weapons, back into the room and thirdly to put blood on the grooms.
- Does Macbeth do as his wife advises? No, Lady Macbeth finally does it because Macbeth refuses to go back into the room.
There are short lines and broken bits of dialogue. Both characters nervously listen for sounds which could lead to their discovery. It is Lady Macbeth who decides to frame the servants, and she who actually does it and then gets Macbeth to go back to their room, wash and change his clothes. She seems to be the practical one. Her cold blooded planning and her remark ‘A little water clears us of this deed’ (line 64) makes her less sympathetic than Macbeth, who has done the murder but is passionately affected by it.
He uses the word ‘deed’ (lines 1, 70). His preoccupation with sleep is both the acknowledgement of his lack of innocence and the end of natural living. He feels remorse, because he is genuinely emotionally distressed, he is afraid to think of what he has done. However, his thoughts are for himself and not for his victim.
A It reveals some aspects of the characters’ personality.
B It establishes the relationship between the characters.
C It explains events which have taken place offstage.
‘pictures’ (line 50), ‘painted’ (line 51), ‘gild’ (line 52), ‘incarnadine’ (line 59), ‘green’ (line 60), ‘red’ (line 60), ‘colour’ (line 61), ‘white’ (line 62). This is all connected with the themes of equivocation and false appearances.
- Macbeth refers to sleep by means of a series of metaphors. Write them down. What common idea do they share? ‘that knits up the ravell’d sleave of care’ (line 30), ‘The death of each day’s life’ (line 31), ‘sore labour’s bath’ (line 31), ‘Balm of hurt minds’ (line 32), ‘great Nature’s second course’ (line 32), ‘Chief nourisher in life’s feast’ (line 33). They share an idea of relief, rest and peace.
- ‘Sleep no more! / Macbeth does murther Sleep’ (lines 28-29). Write down each phrase near the appropriate meaning of the word ‘sleep’:
- Macbeth does murther Sleep
- Sleep no more!
- Madness, instead, will be Lady Macbeth’s punishment later in the play. Point out the lines that foreshadow her destiny.
- Madness, instead, will be Lady Macbeth’s punishment later in the play. Point out the lines that foreshadow her destiny.
- Blood and water
These two images are interwoven. Besides introducing two of the main themes of the play, they also help point out the basic difference in the characters of the hero and the heroine.
- What does each image symbolise?
- Blood: It symbolises the guilt of murder which sticks to Macbeth’s hands and cannot be washed away
- Water: It symbolises the possibility of redemption.
- What are the different attitudes of Macbeth and Lady Macbeth to their bloodstained hands? Macbeth is obsessed with the sight of blood on his hands, it reminds him of his crime. Lady Macbeth has a more practical attitude and suggests washing the blood away
- What does each image symbolise?
In the Elizabethan vision of the world, the whole universe was governed by divine will, nature was God’s instrument and the social hierarchy a product of nature. Therefore, subordination and unity were the natural rules for the State, which should be subject to a single head. Thus the king or the queen became the symbol of stability and unity, and the murder of the king/queen was considered as an act against nature which would lead to chaos and disorder.
- Can you think of any reason why Duncan’s murder takes place offstage? There are several reasons. First of all, representing regicide on the stage was regarded as an offence against the figure of the king. Second, the open structure of the Elizabethan stage made it difficult to handle corpses. Finally, the murder offstage enabled Shakespeare to throw light onto his characters’ reactions and at the same time to stimulate the audience’s imagination.
- Was this device effective for the Elizabethan audience? Would it be still effective for a modern audience? It was certainly effective for the Elizabethan audience, which was accustomed to use imagination. Students’ activity.
- Lady Macbeth, whom Malcolm calls the ‘fiend-like queen’, is seen as particularly evil, especially as women are meant to be the gentler sex. Do we sympathise more with Macbeth than her? If so, is her gender the reason? We sympathise more with Macbeth as he is the round character who speaks to the audience a lot, and we are familiar with what is happening to him. At the beginning of the play we are shown a more scheming, cold blooded Lady Macbeth, and we tend to forget that Macbeth himself far surpasses her in cruelty as the play progresses. Her madness and death seem like her just punishment and we are sucked into Macbeth’s unemotional reaction to it. It is possible to see her as having failed to be his equal, as not having his amazing but tragic ambition. Shakespeare makes her very unsympathetic when he unsexes her with her speeches encouraging Macbeth to manly acts. This adds to our cultural belief that women should be carers and nurturers, and not murderers, and makes us accept the soldier Macbeth as a killer, but not his lady wife.
T15 A tale told by an idiot
1st section (lines 1-10): Macbeth’s present inability to react normally.
2nd section (lines 11-23): The pointlessness of life.
Highlighted in yellow: alliteration underlines the haunting rhythm of Macbeth’s thoughts
Highlighted in pink: semantic area of horror and darkness
Highlighted in green: repetition pointing out the obsessive presence of time
Pink words: personification of time
Light blue words: metaphor for man in relation to time. Macbeth has realised that man has the illusion of being able to change his destiny, but each step he takes in that direction simply confirms and consolidates the future established by fate
Red dots: metaphors for life. Life is nothing but a flickering light, a passing shadow, an actor playing a part, or a meaningless story (‘brief candle’, ‘walking shadow’, ‘poor player’, ‘tale / Told by an idiot’). These are all things which have brief duration and which are insubstantial; they are not what they seem - the candle is not light, the shadow not its substance, the actor not the character and the tale a fiction. The players and tale are so effective because Macbeth itself is a tale told by players, and though also not real, it presumably has the audience’s rapt attention at this point!
Boxes: Macbeth’s change since the beginning of the play: After all the ‘horrors’ he has ‘supp’d with’, Macbeth does not know fear any more. Macbeth’s reaction to his wife’s death: He has no particular reaction and says that she should have died sooner or later
- Who is Macbeth addressing? Seyton, the audience or himself? The audience.
- What is this technique called in drama? What is its aim? Monologue. The character speaks about his thoughts.
- How would you define the tone of Macbeth’s words? Choose from among the following. Disillusioned, indifferent, cynical, lucid, resigned.
- Macbeth can be regarded as a tragic hero. The following features are typical of the ‘tragic hero’ in Shakespearean tragedies. Tick the ones that apply to Macbeth. The tragic hero is worthy and brave but has a weakness; experiences a struggle between the best and worst sides of his personality; after coming close to success, experiences destruction.
- enchanted island
- had imprisoned
- What is the name of the magician who used to be Duke of Milan? Prospero.
- Who is Prospero’s brother: Sebastian, Alonso or Antonio? Antonio.
- Who was Sycorax? She was a witch, the mistress of the island and Caliban’s mother.
- Which character helps Prospero in his work as a magician? Ariel.
- Is Caliban a sailor, a nobleman or a slave? A slave.
- What does Prospero force Ferdinand to do? To do menial tasks.
- Who are the two characters that Caliban meets after the storm? Trinculo, the king’s jester, and Stephano, the royal butler.
- Who marries Miranda? Ferdinand.
- Where does the action take place and what are the features of the setting? It takes place on a ship at sea and on an island located somewhere in the Mediterranean or in the New World (Bermuda in particular). It is away from national claims and from any kind of civilisation. This makes it theatrical, the ideal stage for a series of magical occurrences as well as for a multi-sensory experience.
- What are the symbols of Prospero’s power? Prospero’s books, which are his source of supernatural knowledge; his robe, which he wears as a magician and takes off when he is an ordinary man; his wand, which represents his instrument of power.
- What is Ariel like? Ariel is a spirit of the air; he is very fast, he can become invisible and can change his appearance. He has a gentle nature and his voice sometimes sounds like a lion’s roar.
- What are Caliban’s contradictory traits? He is repulsive in appearance and behaves instinctively, but he can be sensitive and has a sense of beauty.
- In what sense is The Tempest characterised by ‘serenity’? Shakespeare seems eager to show that good may come of evil. There is, in fact, no tragic ending: criminals are prevented from causing death and forgiven, and all ends in peace and reconciliation.
- How many types of magic are there? There are two types of magic in the play. There is the black magic of the witch Sycorax, which works evil on its victims and is usually the result of a pact with the devil, and then there is Prospero’s magic, which comes from study and knowledge and is used for good purposes.
- What historical issue does the play seem to explore? The dangers of English expansion abroad.
- What does Prospero symbolise in this perspective? Prospero becomes a symbol for European colonial power, with which England was growing increasingly familiar in Shakespeare’s lifetime.
- How does the play explore the nature of the theatre? It displays the full resources of the theatre: dramatic action, special effects, music, magic and monsters.
- Why does Prospero have to give up his magical powers in the end? Because life must be lived in the real world, without the aid of magic.
T16 Prospero and Ariel
- sulphurous roaring
- I boarded
- odd angle
- Read lines 1-57 and put these facts into the order in which they appear in the text.
- A terrible storm has been created.
- Everyone was very frightened.
- The passengers jumped overboard, Ferdinand first.
- The storm took place close to the land.
- No one is hurt.
- They are in groups (except Ferdinand) in different parts of the island.
- The king’s ship is safely in harbour.
- The sailors are all asleep.
- The rest of the king’s fleet of ships has gone home, thinking the king and his ship are lost.
- Ariel’s liberty (lines 65-66, 69).
- B. That he is immaterial.
- A. Earth.
- ‘thunder-claps’ (line 15)
‘cracks’ (line 16)
‘roaring’ (line 17)
‘tremble’ (line 18)
- He can fly (line 2), dive into the fire (line 3) and ride on the curled clouds (lines 3-4). He can divide, flame and burn in many places (lines 11-12). He can drive a ship in the harbour (lines 46-47), fetch the dew from the Bermudas (lines 48-49), make people fall asleep (lines 51-52) and disperse them (lines 52-53).
- He obeys Prospero’s orders but he is restless at the idea of more work and reminds Prospero of the promise to free him.
- Pro = for, forward
Spero = hope
- C. It means that he has an optimistic view and is capable of forgiveness.
- He is beneficent. He is worried about the safety of the people involved in the tempest, and he does not want to kill them but to make them experience what loss and sorrow mean.
- C. Affectionate father and much-loved naughty child.
- Shakespeare was often criticised in his own time for not observing the ancient Greek laws of drama: unity of time, place and action.
- He informs us that it is after two o’clock and that his work must be finished by six (lines 62-63).
- On the island.
- The main subject is the tempest performed by Prospero thanks to Ariel. No unrelated content is introduced.
- Yes, he did.
- The tempest is not real but just an illusion, a performance created by the magician Prospero with the help of the spirit of the air Ariel, who has performed it thanks to his supernatural powers. The themes introduced in the text are illusion and metamorphosis, white magic and forgiveness.
T17 Prospero and Caliban
- 1st section (lines 1-12): Insults between Prospero and Caliban.
- 2nd section (lines 13-50): The once good tie between Prospero and Caliban has become a master-slave relationship.
- 3rd section (lines 51-62): Prospero’s power on Caliban.
- Highlighted in pink: words used by Prospero to refer to Caliban. He calls him slave, so he establishes the master-slave relationship. The adjectives used are very negative and connote Caliban as a disgusting, unreliable creature connected with the devil (‘got by the devil himself’, ‘hag-seed’)
- Highlighted in light blue:Caliban’s curse on Prospero and his daughter
- Light blue words:Prospero’s punishment of Caliban
- Highlighted in light brown:Prospero’s benevolent attitude to Caliban when he came to the island
- Highlighted in blue:Caliban’s affection towards Prospero at the beginning of their relationship
- Pinks words:Sycorax’s black magic powers
- Highlighted in green:Caliban’s guilt: he tried to rape Miranda. This justifies Prospero’s change of attitude towards him
- Highlighted in grey:aknowledgement by Caliban of Prospero’s power: he submits to him but only out of fear
- Box:Main theme of the text: Prospero is a European who has taken charge of a remote island and gets the local inhabitants work for him. He is the symbol of European colonial power, whereas Caliban stands for the ‘colonised’, the native of the island.
- Caliban showed Prospero the beauty and fertility of the island and how to exploit it. Prospero gave Caliban food, taught him his language and gave him human care. As a result, Caliban was subdued by Prospero’s way of life and civilisation. At first he appreciated his kindness but then became gradually dominated by hatred because he felt deprived of what belonged to him.
- Caliban probably aroused sympathy and curiosity in the Elizabethan audience.
- Shakespeare makes Prospero pronounce a line which explains the end of the play: ‘The rarer action is / In virtue than in vengeance’. Here virtue acquires many meanings: humanity, charity, love, good faith. Prospero is not a vengeful deity, he typifies good, ‘white’ magic.
2.11 John Donne
- John Donne was born in London 15
- He was admitted to the Inns of Court, in London, to study law. It was in these years that he wrote his early love lyrics Songs and Sonnets and satires 15
- He was appointed private secretary to Sir Thomas Egerton, one of the highest officials in Elizabeth’s government, and his prospects of a successful career were bright 16
- He married Egerton’s niece, 17-year-old Ann More 16
- He wrote Divine Poems and two anti-Catholic pamphlets which were his public renunciation of the Catholic faith 16
- He was taken by Sir Robert Drury on a diplomatic mission to France and other countries. Donne’s separation from his wife at this time probably provided him with the occasion for writing the poem A Valediction: Forbidding Mourning 16
- He took holy orders in the Anglican Church 16
- His wife died 16
- He wrote Holy Sonnets 16
- He died and was buried in St Paul’s Cathedral
- Because he created a way of writing which turned around these features: an intense dramatic quality; the use of wit and unusual, intellectual metaphors called ‘conceits’; the use of a variety of tone and register.
- For its range and variety and its rejection of the conventionally ornamental.
- The struggle between physical and spiritual.
- The image of ‘death’, often connected with darkness and sickness, and the image of the ‘world’.
- He changed the concepts concerning love and women. He emphasised woman’s inconstancy and described several female characters, from the innocent girl to the woman who is aware of sexual pleasure.
T18 The Sun Rising
- all alike
- country ants
- the addresser and the addressee; The addresser is the poet and the addressee is the sun.
- the time and place; The scene is set in a bedroom (lines 20, 30) at dawn (lines 1-2).
- the reason for the poet’s self-assurance; He is in love and feels the emotion returned.
- the other people involved or mentioned; ‘Late school-boys, and sour prentices’ (line 6), ‘courthuntsmen’ and ‘the King’ (line 7), ‘country ants’ (peasants) (line 8), ‘those kings’ (line 19), ‘all princes’ (line 21), the woman (lines 14-15, 21).
- the suggestions the poet gives the addressee; Lines 5, 7-9, 16, 19, 29.
- the addressee’s duties. To shine and warm the world (lines 27-28).
- The rhyme scheme is regular; it is ABBA CDCD EE.
- The length of the lines varies. The second line is the shortest in each stanza.
- It conveys the flow of feelings from anger to relaxation.
- Sun: ‘Busy old fool, unruly’ (line 1), ‘Saucy pedantic wretch’ (line 5), ‘Thy beams, so reverend, and strong’ (line 11), ‘half as happy as we’ (line 25).
- Woman: ‘her eyes have not blinded thine’ (line 15), ‘both the Indias of spice and mine […] lie here with me’ (lines 17-18), ‘She is all states, and all princes’ (line 21).
- Use the adjectives from the box to define them.
- Sun: Insulting, scornful, angry.
- Woman: Sensual, content, admiring, proud.
- Think of the effect of this juxtaposition. Tick as appropriate. It provides the text with a more complex emotional structure. It conveys a strong sense of reality
- No, they do not. The only conventional image is that of the woman’s eyes.
- They convey the idea of the woman’s sovereignty, of her vital importance to man. She is also an object of discovery for her lover.
- Analyse the terms of the metaphor in line 8.
- Tenor ants
- Vehicle country men, peasants
- Common ground hard-working, modest, numerous, seemingly unimportant
- ‘I could eclipse and cloud them with a wink’ (line 13), ‘If her eyes have not blinded thine’ (line 15), ‘both the Indias of spice and mine […] lie here with me’ (lines 17-18), ‘all states, and all princes’ (line 21), ‘Thou sun art half as happy as we’ (line 25), ‘Shine here to us, and thou art everywhere; / This bed thy centre is, these walls, thy sphere’ (lines 29-30).
- Stated premiss The duty of the sun is to warm the world.
- Implied premiss We arethe world.
- Conclusion By warming the lovers, the sun warms the whole world.
Donne wants to say that the lovers’ bed is like the earth, at the centre of the universe, and that the walls are its orbit. He is thinking like a Ptolemaic astronomer.
Topic 2: Life’s crossroads
George Gray: EDGAR LEE MASTERS
- What does George Gray regret? He regrets wasting his life trying to find what he should do in life.
- What does he explain in lines 6-8? He explains his mistakes and why he did not succeed in reaching his destiny.
- How does the boat in line 3 reflect his choices? The boat is the metaphor of the dead man who has given up fighting and is at rest in his grave.
- What advice does he give? People should follow their destinies giving a meaning to their own life.
- What is the tone of the poem? It is regretful and caring.
- Do the lines have a regular rhyme scheme? No, they do not. The poem is written in free verse.
- Can you find examples of personification? Sorrow (line 7), ambition (line 8) and the boat (line 16).
- What is the sea a symbol of? It is the symbol of life.
- What is the theme developed in the poem? Man cannot make his own destiny, but it is his destiny that must find him.
- Do you agree with this view? Student’s activity. An expected answer would include the students’ thoughts and ideas about whether we make our destiny, through what we do or fail to do, or it is destiny that finds us.
What is love? Five theories on the greatest emotion of all
- How can the physicist claim that love is chemistry? Lust is a temporary passionate sexual desire involving the increased release of chemicals such as testosterone and oestrogen, whereas in true love the brain can release a whole set of chemicals: pheromones, dopamine, norepinephrine, serotonin, oxytocin and vasopressin.
- What does Pragma need in order to be successful? To be successful, it requires actively practising goodwill, commitment, compromise and understanding.
- Is Philautia a selfish form of love? Why/Why not? Philautia is not a selfish form of love as in order to care for others, you need to be able to care about yourself.
- According to the philosopher, which is the best form of love? According to the philosopher, at its best all love is a kind of passionate commitment that we need to nurture and develop
- What happens if love is not nurtured? It withers and dies.
- When is love an all-consuming, physical pain? When it becomes an obsession.
- What is the paradox of love according to Catherine Wybourne? The paradox of love is that it is supremely free but ties us with bonds stronger than death.
- What is her conclusion about love? Her conclusion is that love is life’s greatest blessing.
Demons, IMAGINE DRAGONS
The demons are the singer’s insecurities, self-doubts and negative emotions. These inner flaws are characterised as ‘demons’ from ‘night visions’.
He would like to protect her from the dark side of his personality, but he says it is impossible to get away from it because ‘it’s woven in (his) soul
His decision is to let his partner go in order to ‘save that light’ that shines bright in her eyes.
- And the saints we see are all made of gold’
The good are not real people but pictures or statues that cannot help.
- We still are made of greed’
All of us are motivated by wanting too much of everything.
- ‘I say it’s up to fate’
The singer refers to an inner debate about whether what happens is inevitable (brought about by fate or destiny) or whether what happens is actually due to our own actions.
- religious service
- king by divine right
- dismiss (the Parliament)
Henry VII: He was the first Tudor King of England.
He introduced high taxes and banned nobles from
raising their own armies. However, he had to face
several Yorkist plots against him, often helped
by the Kings of Scotland or the Irish. In 1496 he
sponsored John Cabot to explore eastern America
and planted the Tudor flag in Nova Scotia. During
his reign Erasmus of Rotterdam brought the
Humanism of the Renaissance to the universities
of Oxford and Cambridge, while Sir Thomas More
moved England closer to North-European thought
and the origins of Protestantism. Henry VII’s
foreign policy was very cautious. He married his
son and heir to the Aragonese heiress Catherine
and two of his daughters equally well to the Kings
of France and Scotland.
Henry VIII: He wrote an attack on Martin Luther and his anti-Catholic theses, which won him the title of ‘defender of the faith’ from the pope. However, he broke with Rome following the pope’s refusal to declare the king’s first marriage invalid. With the Act of Supremacy (1534) Henry was declared ‘the Supreme Head of the Church of England’, and it became treason to deny it. Henry’s religious revolution was extended to Wales and Ireland. Temporal and religious powers were thus joined in the figure of the monarch. Thomas Cromwell, the king’s chancellor, suppressed 400 small monasteries and confiscated their lands and money.
Edward VI: During his reign, as a consequence of the Protestant Reformation, religious services were held in English instead of Latin and the Book of Common Prayer, mainly prepared by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Thomas Cranmer, became compulsory with the Act of Uniformity (1549).
Mary I: She wanted to restore Catholicism in England. In 1554 she married Philip II of Spain and this made England an ally of Spain against France. Mary’s Counter-Reformation brought the restoration of Catholic rituals and heresy laws. The queen earned the name ‘Bloody Mary’ giving the Protestant Church about 300 martyrs by burning them at the stake.
Elizabeth I: Her reign is often considered England’s golden age. It was an age of stability, religious toleration and victory at sea. She consolidated the Reformation in 1559 by re-introducing the Acts of Supremacy and Uniformity. Church doctrine was Protestant and culminated in the Thirty-nine Articles of Anglican faith of 1562. Elizabeth encouraged her sea captains to explore new lands and look for treasure. Moreover, in 1588 England’s supremacy at sea was confirmed by the victory of Elizabeth’s navy against the Spanish Armada.
James I: He ignored Parliament and based his
rule on the theory of the ‘divine right of kings’.
He believed that, as a monarch, he was the
representative of God on earth.
Charles I: Like his father, he avoided Parliament and ruled eleven years without it. The Commons were strongly Protestant and denied the king money for more than a year at a time. This confrontation led to the Petition of Right of 1628, which stated that the king could not imprison without trial or impose taxes without the consent of the Commons. The petition became the foundation of all later declarations of civil rights, but Charles dismissed it because he thought that he was king by divine right. As he needed money to pay his army to fight a rebellion in Scotland, the king was forced to summon the socalled Short Parliament in 1640, which refused to give him the money. A new Parliament was thus elected, the so-called Long Parliament. Meanwhile a rising middle class wanted the king to be subject to Parliament, which began passing laws to reduce his powers. The king raised an army of Royalists and declared war against his opponents, the Parliamentarians. Charles I was captured in 1648, condemned to death and finally executed. During the Civil War the Long Parliament was purged of 370 Presbyterian and Royalist sympathisers. The remaining 121 most radical members were called the ‘Rump’ Parliament.
Oliver Cromwell: He was the commander of the Parliamentarians. Under his rule the Rump Parliament abolished the monarchy and declared a republic, the ‘Commonwealth’. The House of Lords was abolished and censorship was introduced.
|Charles I’s reign was troubled by a continuous clash with Parliament. It was a struggle between tyranny, embodied by Stuart absolutism, and liberty, represented by Parliament. The king dismissed the Petition of Right of 1628 because he thought that he was king by divine right. He also used his royal prerogative to extend taxes and pay his army to fight rebellions. He raised an army of Royalists and declared war against the Parliamentarians||The Long Parliament was purged of 370 Presbyterian and royalist sympathisers. The king was condemned to death and his execution took place in 1649. The Rump Parliament abolished the monarchy and declared a republic, the ‘Commonwealth’. The House of Lords was abolished and censorship was introduced. Cromwell took the New Model Army to Ireland for a campaign of repression which culminated in the slaughter of the citizens of Drogheda. Cromwell also defeated the Scottish Royalists who had crowned Charles I’s son, Charles II, King of Scotland. Cromwell gave himself the title of ‘Lord Protector of England, Scotland and Ireland’. In 1655 Cromwell divided the country into eleven military regions under major generals. Puritan rules were introduced, including execution for adultery, the abolition of popular pastimes, games, dancing and theatre performances. Inns, pubs and theatres were closed down. Cromwell banned Christmas and Easter and replaced them with days of fasting. The republic encouraged foreign trade and both the merchant and the war fleet grew rapidly. In 1651 Parliament had passed the Navigation Acts, giving a sort of monopoly of trade to British ships.|
Strict morality; simple and disciplined life of prayer, study and work; individual search of one’s personal God through prayer and biblical study; hard-working attitude; predestination and election; God’s grace and salvation.
- Macrocosm and microcosm.
In the Renaissance the concepts of microcosm (from the Greek words mikros, ‘small’, and kosmos, ‘world’) and macrocosm (from the Greek words makros, ‘large’, and kosmos, ‘world’) underlined the correspondence between the individual and the universe. The particular reflected and contained the universal, and these two concepts acted and reacted in concert. Macrocosm stood for the universe, nature and the skies, while microcosm was represented by the human body as a map of the universe.
- The chain of being.
The Tudors represented the universal order as a chain of being, which had two main characteristics. First, the various ranks in the chain were fixed. Second, the hierarchy was complete and closed. All of creation was bound together, which meant that whatever affected one thing affected other elements in the chain. This was called a ‘correspondence’. Macrocosm and microcosm corresponded to each other in the chain together with the body politic (the kingdom, including its government and citizens). The whole universe was governed by divine will; nature was God’s instrument, the social hierarchy a product of nature. Anything that was outside the chain was considered to be chaos, madness and evil.
- the layout; Three quatrains and a final couplet.
- the turning point; Line 9 in Sonnet XVIII; line 13 in Sonnets LX.
- the dramatic quality; Sonnet XVIII: the poet addresses the addressee (‘Shall I compare thee’); Sonnets LX begin in medias res.
- imagery; Sonnet XVIII: metaphor of the summer; Sonnet LX: similes and metaphors concerning time;
- the themes. Sonnet XVIII: the passing of time and the awareness of the transience of beauty; Sonnet LX: the passing of time and the role of art (art defeats death);
3. The Restoration and the Augustan Age
3.1 The Restoration of the monarchy
Restoration life: Theatres, race-courses and taverns re-opened; fashion and gossip replaced religious debate; rejection of strict morality in favour of a more rational interest in the real, present world, rather than a concentration on the life of the soul.
Charles’s patronage: In 1662 Charles II patronised the Royal Society, which was an association of scientists and intellectuals.
The religious question: The Corporation Act (1661) excluded the dissenters from public offices; the Act of Uniformity (1662) imposed the use of the Book of Common Prayer and the Test Act (1673) required all public employees to conform to the Church of England.
Two disasters: In 1665 there was a devastating outbreak of bubonic plague and in 1666 the Great Fire of London raged for five days, destroying nine-tenths of the buildings within the City’s medieval walls.
The re-building of London: Charles II asked the architect Sir Christopher Wren to re-build the old insanitary City. Wren presented a plan for a new City with wide streets and squares, buildings and churches in the neoclassical style. St Paul’s Cathedral was his masterpiece.
3.2 From the Glorious Revolution to Queen Anne
Causes of the revolution: James II placed Catholics in positions of authority in the army and universities. His heirs were his two Protestant daughters, Mary and Anne. James, however, then married the Catholic Mary of Modena and became the father of a Catholic son who took precedence over Mary as James’s successor. Parliament feared another civil war, so it began to negotiate with William of Orange, whose Protestant wife Mary, James II’s daughter, was next in succession to the throne.
Constitutional monarchy: During William and Mary’s reign, acts were passed which set the course of parliamentary rule in Britain: the Toleration Act (1689) introduced more religious tolerance; the Bill of Rights (1689) established that the king could levy taxes, raise an army and suspend laws only with parliamentary consent; a Triennial Act asserted that Parliament should last for three years.
Succession to the throne: The Act of Settlement (1701) excluded Catholics from the throne and declared that Anne and her heirs would succeed William.
Scotland and Ireland: The Catholics in Ireland and Scotland supported the exiled James II, who landed in Ireland and tried to seize control over the English Protestants who lived there. William III defeated him in the Battle of the Boyne. During Anne’s reign the Act of Union (1707) established the United Kingdom of Great Britain which united England and Scotland with a single Parliament in Westminster. Ireland remained a separate kingdom with its own Parliament, though subordinate to Westminster.
The development of the British Empire: After the Treaty of Utrecht (1713) England got the French possessions in Canada and the monopoly of the slave trade with Spanish America. British traders began to do business with the West Indies, China and the Far East.
3.3 The early Hanoverians
- rely upon
1714 George I succeeded to the throne
1721 Sir Robert Walpole became the first Prime Minister and headed the longest government in English history
1727 Death of George I, and George II’s accession to the throne
1729 John and Charles Wesley founded Methodism
1739 War with Spain broke out
1742 Walpole was forced to resign
1745 ‘Bonnie Prince Charlie’ raised a rebellion in Scotland to make his claim to the throne
1746 Battle of Culloden and defeat of the Jacobites
1756 William Pitt became Prime Minister and the Seven Years’ War broke out
1758 Pitt sent a military expedition to North America to fight against the French
1760 The British controlled Montreal and most of Canada; George II died
1763 End of the Seven Years’ War
The extra sentence is B
3.4 The Age of Reason
The 18th century in England was called ‘Augustan’ after the period of Roman history which had achieved political stability and power as well as a flourishing of the arts.
Civility and moderation, that is, the ‘art of pleasing’, became the 18th-century ideal. Morality and fashion demanded simplicity and emotional authenticity. This influenced the emerging of the figure of the gentleman. However, there was a counter-culture which developed a taste for manly sports such as boxing, racing and fox-hunting, which became important in rural social life. There was a growing tendency towards material gain, individual happiness and pleasure as the main objectives of life.
- According to the 3rdEarl of Shaftesbury, man has an innate sense of what is right and wrong, and virtue lies in ‘good breeding’, learning correct social behaviour from childhood.
- Civility and moderation became new ideals linked to simplicity and emotional authenticity. This influenced the emerging of the figure of the gentleman.
- Look at picture 1. Who is represented?
Explain how the figure of the woman evolved during the age. The picture shows three ladies in a circulating library. In the 18th century an increasing number of English women, who were particularly active in social and cultural life (they visited friends, attended the theatres and coffee houses, where they were no longer banned), began a writing career and influenced the rise of the novel as the most distinctive literary genre of the period.
- Consider picture 3 and explain what it represents. Why were these gardens created?
An English garden. They were created in order to plan the natural space carefully and to express values such as freedom, simplicity and balance.
Across Cultures - The circulation of ideas
- Why was there a new need for a means of spreading ideas in the 18th century?
Because there was a spread of the cultural debate. The cultural literacy linked to the Enlightenment and its spread of rationalistic ideas had improved.
- What difference did the printed word make?
It was one of the main ways in which the ideas spread.
- Which was the first English periodical and when and where was it published?
The first English periodical was A Current of General News, which was published in London in 1622 and printed by Archer and Bourne.
- When and where did the first daily newspaper appear?
The first daily newspaper, Leipziger Zeitung, appeared in Germany in 1660.
- In which ways did journalism evolve in England?
It developed as a free profession, encouraging the struggle for political and individual freedom.
- In which ways did 18th-century journals differ from the previous ones?
They avoided using controversial tones as they wanted to achieve the moralisation of public opinion among their middle-class public.
- What were the main features of Daniel Defoe’s The Review?
It was the main government organ and its political stance corresponded with that of the Tories. It also covered religion, trade, manners and morals.
- Why were some politicians concerned by the spread of journals and newspapers?
Because they began to fear a more widespread access to power.
- How did some newspapers respond to the increased tax on the paper they had to use?
Some publications, such as The Daily Courant or The Daily Advertiser, began to use advertising as a means of survival.
- What did English journalists fight for?
They fought to defend liberal principles and the right to cover parliamentary debates.
- coffee houses
3.5 Restoration poetry and prose
- Verse It rejected complexity in favour of classical simplicity.
- Language Metaphysical conceits were replaced by order and clarity as a result of the exercise of reason.
- Subject matter The real world with its social events, its ethics and ideals, became the main object of interest.
- Mood Satiric.
- Inspiration Classic writers like Horace, Martial and Juvenal.
- Locke believed that reason is the only way to knowledge. F Experience achieved through the senses and reason were equally important and could not be separated.
- Hobbes thought that the monarch must be obeyed because the individual is selfish. T
- The new interest in science helped get rid of ignorance without sacrificing imagination. F It freed the minds of men from fear and superstition, but at the same time it neglected imagination.
- The Royal Society recommended the use of English to describe scientific experiments. T
3.6 Restoration drama
It was roofed and artificially lit with candles. The audience sat in the dark in galleries, and on benches or even on boxes in the pit.
There were footlights, a drop curtain and painted movable scenery at the back of the stage for the most important scenes in a play.
There was no roof and performances took place in daylight.
There was no scenery. The stage, known as an ‘apron stage’, projected into the yard, so that when the theatre was full, the players were surrounded on three sides. No more than twelve actors could appear on stage at the same time due to the space restrictions. Over the stage the ‘shadow’ or thatched roof protected the players from the rain. In the front of the stage there was a trap door used for devilish apparitions and disappearances, and also for burials. Behind the stage there was an inner stage, which was used for discoveries and concealments. There was no general stage curtain. There were an upper stage hidden by a curtain and a balcony normally used by musicians.
- prices of plays; They varied, but were mainly expensive.
- acting; Actresses played female roles, and actors were tied to the theatre by contract.
- audience. The audience belonged to the upper classes, and going to the theatre became a fashion.
Excited laughter; characters more likely to be types than individuals; the ‘fop’ and the ‘gallant’, or ‘fortunate lover’; wit and satire; prose dialogue; realistic picture of life; the theme of marriage linked to the pursuit of sex and money
3.7 A survey of Augustan literature
- Augustan literature showed the economic and intellectual progress of the period.
- Most of the population could not read.
- Education at school was limited by the few schools and the early leaving age.
- Buying books and having time to read was considered a luxury
The growing importance of the middle classes; the belief in the power of reason; the individual’s trust in his own abilities
Puritan morality still played a leading role in the life of many middle-class readers, so both novelists and journalists combined religious and secular interests in their works
Poet’s role: The poet saw his role as one of providing ‘social’ poetry with models of refined behaviour.
Techniques used and their aim: Satire and mock-heroic verse were still the favourite techniques for criticism and moral concern.
Language: Rejection of everyday language in favour of poetic diction.
Style: Use of standard phrases and periphrases for everyday objects, apostrophe, inversion and personification as well as Latinised words and constructions.
Audiences began to enjoy pantomime, a kind of ballad opera, a mixture of political satire, picaresque adventures and love interest. The Restoration comedy of manners was replaced by the sentimental comedy, dealing with everyday problems in simple language, where virtue triumphs over vice.
3.8 The rise of the novel
- the fathers of the English novel; Daniel Defoe and Samuel Richardson.
- the novelist; The spokesman of the middle class.
- the writer’s aim; To write in a simple way in order to be understood even by less well-educated readers.
- the story; It dealt with real life and different human experiences. It was particularly appealing to the practical-minded tradesman, who was self-made and self-reliant.
- the hero; The ‘bourgeois man’. A well-defined character, he was generally the mouthpiece of his author and the reader was expected to sympathise with him.
- the narrative technique; The writer was omnipresent - he chose either the third-person, omniscient narrator or the first-person narrator; chronological sequence of events; strong temporal dimension; references to particular times of the year or of the day.
- the setting. Specific references to names of streets and towns; detailed descriptions of interiors.
main representative: Daniel Defoe with his novel Robinson Crusoe
main features: realistic descriptions of time and place
main representative: Jonathan Swift with his novel Gulliver’s Travels
main features: imaginary nations with strange new societies and peoples employed to satirise contemporary English society
main representative: Samuel Richardson with his novel Pamela
main features: told through letters exchanged between different characters
main representative: Henry Fielding with his
novel Tom Jones
main features: episodic in structure; it is concerned with the adventures of a young hero who has to deal with tyrannical masters and misfortunes but generally manages to escape these situations by using his wit
main representative: Laurence Sterne with his novel Tristram Shandy
main features: the orderly narratives of events have little relation to the disorder of the human mind, which is not linked to a logical sequence of events
- What is the name of the narrator? Is that his real name? It is Robinson Crusoe. No, his real name is Robinson Kreutznaer, turned into Crusoe because of the English ‘corruption of words’.
- What are the place and time references like? They are realistic and detailed.
- Focus on the hero.
A What education did he receive?
A ‘competent share of learning’; his father wanted him to become a lawyer.
B What were his real interests?
Going to sea and travelling.
C Did his father approve of them? Why?
No, he did not, because he had the chance to improve his social condition by application and work. He also thought that the ‘middle state’ was the best of all.
- What perspective does the first-person narration introduce? It introduces a biographical perspective.
- How would you define Defoe’s style? It is simple and matter-of-fact.
- Can you perceive the writer’s aim in this first page of the novel? He wants to exalt the middle-class man.
3.9 Daniel Defoe
- He was an outsider. He was a Dissenter, a Protestant who refused the authority of the Church of England.
- He was one of the greatest journalists of the age. He started to write in Whig papers; as a journalist his greatest achievement was The Review, the periodical which he published three times a week from 1704 to 1713.
- He was a prolific writer. He wrote articles, political essays and pamphlets and numerous novels.
- He sold his pen to the political party which governed the country. When in prison, he denied his Whig ideas so as to be freed. He then became a secret agent for the new government.
- He always held his head high. He made three appearances in the pillory, which were meant to degrade him publicly but which turned into triumph when some of his friends threw flowers at him instead of rocks or rotten eggs.
- He is the father of the English novel. He represented the new middle class that wanted to see their life and ideals portrayed in literature. His narrative technique was original and became the basis for the development of the realistic novel.
- His novels are fictional autobiographies. They pretend to be true stories through the biographical details and memories provided by the protagonist. They are also preceded by a preface by the author which emphasises their authenticity.
- The plots of his novels lack coherence. The structure of his novels is characterised by a series of episodes and adventures held together by the unifying presence of a single hero. The lack of a coherent plot is due to the fact that Defoe neither planned his works nor revised them; his main aim as a writer was to produce a large and effective output not intended for a critical audience.
- How does Robinson get on the island and how long does he stay there? He is shipwrecked there during a voyage to Africa to get more slaves. He stays there for 28 years.
- What is the function of the island in the novel? It is the ideal place for Robinson to prove his qualities, to demonstrate that he deserved to be saved by God’s Providence. Robinson organises a primitive empire on the island, thus becoming the prototype of the English coloniser. His stay on the island is seen as a chance to exploit and dominate nature.
- How does the story actually begin? It begins with an act of transgression, of disobedience, which places the character in a situation of separation that will culminate with his isolation on the island after the shipwreck.
- What issue does Robinson’s life on the island develop? It develops the issue of the relationship between the individual and society, between the private and the public spheres.
- What can man do, according to Defoe? He can shape his destiny through action. He can overcome doubt and modify reality through his work and the interpretation of his achievements in the light of the Bible and God’s will.
- Who does Friday represent? He represents the colonised.
- What details does Defoe’s style focus upon? Defoe concentrates his description on the primary qualities of objects, especially their solidity, extension and number, rather than on the secondary ones (colour, texture, flavour).
- In what sense can the novel be read as a spiritual autobiography? The novel is full of religious references to God, sin, Providence and salvation. Robinson reads the Bible to find comfort and guidance, experiences the constant conflict between good and evil, and keeps a diary to record events to see God’s will in them. He prays to God to be freed from sin rather than to be rescued from the island.
- Social class: The trading middle class.
- Family: A German father and an English mother.
- Character: He is restless and wants to find his own identity as an alternative to the model provided by his father.
- Work experiences: He becomes the owner of a plantation in Brazil.
- The society he creates on the island: It is not an alternative to the English one; on the contrary, it can be read as an exaltation of 18th-century England and its ideals of mobility, material productiveness and individualism.
- Outlook: Pragmatic and individualistic.
- Approach to reality: Objective and rational, as demonstrated by his journal-keeping.
- Relationship with God: He reads the Bible to find comfort and guidance, and keeps a diary to record events to see God’s will in them. He prays to God to be freed from sin rather than to be rescued from the island.
- Conflict experienced: The constant conflict between good and evil, between economic motivation and spiritual salvation.
- Relationship with Friday: Master-servant.
Did you know? Robinson’s real name was Robinson Kreutznaer and he was born in York in 1632.
T19 A dreadful deliverance
- draw breath
- clambered up
- contend with
- were all swallowed up
- Write the setting next to each group of lines.
- Lines 1-The sea.
- Lines 20 The mainland / the island.
- ‘coup de grace’ in line 2 means
C an action that ends something that has been gradually getting worse.
- ‘I took in’ in line 8 means
B I swallowed.
- Complete the sentences about Robinson.
- When he sank into the water, he felt confused.
- As he saw himself near the mainland, he tried to reach / swim to the shore.
- He saved himself by holding tight onto a rock.
- He climbed/clambered up the cliffs and sat (down) on the grass.
- He looked (up) at the sky and thanked God for saving him.
- List the reasons why Robinson considers his deliverance ‘dreadful’ (line 27).
- He has no dry clothes.
- He has nothing to eat or drink.
- He has no weapons to hunt for food or defend himself.
- Write down his provisions.
- A knife;
- a tobacco pipe;
- a little tobacco in a box.
- What is Robinson’s greatest worry? What solution does he find?
- Being devoured by a ravenous beast. He decides to climb into a bushy tree and sleep there.
- The passage is narrated in
A the first person.
- The narration
C brings the reader close to the narrator’s mind and feelings.
- The events are described
B in chronological order.
- Tick the main features of the language.
- Tick what the vocabulary of the passage is concerned with.
T20 Man Friday
- comely, handsome
- stark naked
- What was Robinson doing while the young savage was sleeping? He was milking his goats.
- What did the young man do when he saw Robinson? He ran to Robinson and lay down on the ground to show his gratitude.
- What name did Robinson give him? Why? He named him Friday, which was the day he saved his life.
- What English words did Robinson teach him? ‘Master’, ‘yes’ and ‘no’.
- Did he let the young man live according to his people’s traditions and customs? Why? No, he abhorred them and wanted Friday to submit to his way of life (lines 39-42).
|Build||comely; handsome; perfectly well made; tall; well shaped; straight, strong limbs|
|Face||manly; sweet, soft features; round and plump|
|Hair||long; black; not curled|
|Forehead||very high and large|
|Eyes||great vivacity and sparkling sharpness|
|Skin||not quite black; very tawny; a bright kind of a dun olive colour; agreeable|
|Nose||small; not flat|
|Mouth||very good; thin lips|
|Teeth||fine; well set; white as ivory|
Positive. He has a very good countenance and most features remind Robinson of European people (lines 3-6).
The Europeans, Brazilians, Virginians and other natives of America (lines 5, 9-10).
- Humble and submissive.
The submission of a savage and his slow transformation according to the coloniser’s standards.
Robinson Crusoe represents the typical 18th-century middle-class Englishman concerned with making money and dealing with worldly matters. He went to Brazil, where he became the owner of a plantation; then he went to Africa in order to get more slaves, and after being shipwrecked on a desert island, he gradually re-built the same kind of society as existed in his country, where the ideals of mobility, material productiveness and individualism were exalted. He organised a primitive empire: his stay on the island was not seen as a return to nature, but as a chance to exploit and dominate nature. He chased away and killed some savages; he saved a savage and gave him an English name, forbade him to eat other men, taught him his English language - to say ‘master’, ‘yes’ and ‘no’ -, gave him some clothes to wear: in other words, he made him a cultured man according to the Western culture. Robinson created a new identity for his servant, he was not interested in his real identity.
From Text to Screen: Robinson Crusoe
|First part of the sequence||Second part of the sequence|
|Place||A desert island: some rocks, some green bushes, a white beach with corpses floating in the light blue water of the surrounding sea, some floating tree trunks and branches.||Branches of a big tree over the water of the sea.|
|Light||The bright light of the sun.||It is nearly dark, the sky is covered with big, dark clouds.|
|Sounds||Sinister loud music, the soft sounds of birds and of the sea waves.||Soft music.|
|Main shots||American and medium shots.||Long shot|
|Atmosphere conveyed||Still, mysterious and dreadful.||Peaceful but also threatening and sinister|
- his physical appearance; He is emaciated, exhausted, and wounded on his left arm, hip and back.
- his clothes; He is wearing a pair of brown ragged knickerbockers, a white shirt stained with blood and a pair of worn black shoes.
- his actions; He watches everything carefully and decides to have a look around. On the nearby beach he discovers the corpses of some of his companions and small lifeboats.
- his feelings; He is at first shocked and then desperate.
- his first concerns. His first concerns are to see if any of his companions are still alive, then to bury those who have died - a typical Christian concern -, and finally to worry about his own survival.
- ‘As I took my first steps in that unknown land, a dread came over me, I began to realise in truth how terrible was my condition.’
- ‘As I laid my poor companions to rest, I confess my thoughts were for my own soul.’
- ‘I did not know in what land I had been cast.’
- ‘I spent that first night not daring to imagine what dangers might crawl beneath me.’ What has Robinson succeeded in doing? How has he reacted? He has succeeded in burying his friends and in finding a shelter in a tree for the night. His desperation seems to have overwhelmed him.
It is almost night and a whole day has passed; Robinson is sitting on the branch of a big tree over the water of the sea, immersed in reflection. His life has been turned into the lonely experience of a castaway out of time. The subtheme of the sequence is man’s duty to survive.
How does the director reveal Robinson’s thoughts? By the use of voice-over
What kind of shots open the sequence? The sequence opens with a medium shot on Robinson, then a long shot is employed.
- the camera movements: The camera is fixed
- the character’s actions; Robinson is sitting on a tree branch and does not move.
- the effect achieved. The awareness of the character’s desperate situation.
Link to Contemporary Culture: The myth of Robinson
'Myth': a traditional story, especially one that explains the early history of a group of people or social phenomena.
Archetype: a very typical example of a particular kind of person or thing, or the original model of something which has been imitated.
The myth tries to rationalise and explain the universe and its phenomena: common types of myths are creation myths. Archetypes appear in myths, literature and the art of all societies: common archetypes are the death-rebirth motif, the sacrifice of the hero and the fatal woman.
- What aspects of Robinson’s story lead readers of every culture to identify with him? The excitement of adventure and his victory over mishaps.
- What qualities of Robinson’s character can appeal to the common reader? His self-reliance, courage, resourcefulness and independence.
- What does the part of Robinson’s story related to the desert island add to its appeal? It stresses the desire of self-preservation and makes Robinson the universal representative of humanity, the person for whom all readers can substitute themselves.
An island where no one spoke
The narrator is a woman; Cruso (notice the different spelling) is not hard working but lazy, he does not keep a journal, he has not saved any tools from the ship, he is a boring man rather than an adventurous hero; he does not want to leave the island. Friday has not got a tongue (it is not known whether Cruso is responsible for that). This hero is not of any interest for the writer.
She is bored, she is not interested in manual labour, she symbolically cuts herself off the world of the island by ‘becoming deaf’. She still wears the tattered petticoat she had when she came ashore. Her skin has become brown; she behaves like a savage when she eats and she keeps on watching the horizon for someone to rescue her.
It represents the distortion of the essence of his being by civilisation: Friday’s voice of instinct has been torn, with his tongue, from his mouth.
- What had happened between Susan and Cruso? They had been lovers (lines 33-34).
- What would she have done if she had been sure to spend all her life on the island? She would have offered herself to Cruso again and she would have borne him a child.
- Were there any laws on the island? What was the value of laws to Cruso? Yes, the only law was that they had to work for bread. The value of laws to Cruso was that of a control on immoderate desires.
3.10 Jonathan Swift
- Swift’s family was of Irish origin but was forced to leave Ireland at the time of the Revolution of 1688. F His family was of English origin.
- Swift found a job at the house of Sir William Temple, a Whig statesman. T
- His first satires were all concerned with religious subjects. F They also regarded literature and scholarship (The Battle of the Books).
- He became Dean of St Paul’s Cathedral. F He became Dean of Dublin’s St Patrick’s Cathedral.
- He supported English rule in Ireland. F He denounced the injustices Ireland suffered from in his pamphlets.
- He made serious proposals to improve the situation of the poor in Ireland. F He made ironic, bitter proposals in his work A Modest Proposal.
- how Swift has been labelled; He has been labelled alternatively as a misanthrope, a man with a morbid attitude, a monster or a lover of mankind.
- what his attitude to his contemporary society was; He was seriously concerned with politics and society, and his attitude was mainly conservative. He did not share the optimism of his age and the pride in England of his contemporaries.
- how he viewed reason; As an instrument that man must use properly; too intensive a use of reason is an error of judgement and therefore unreasonable. Thus he insisted on the need to take a common-sense view of life.
- what his favourite means of expression was. Irony and satire.
- carried out
- What lands does Gulliver visit? He visits the land of Lilliput, the land of Brobdingnag, the island of Laputa and the land inhabited by the Houyhnhnms.
- What people does he meet? The Lilliputians, who are very small people; the giants in Brobdingnag; absent-minded astronomers, philosophers and scientists on the flying island of Laputa; horses endowed with reason that rule over the Yahoos, a vile man-like race.
- What sort of character is Gulliver? Gulliver is a typical European. He is middle-aged, well-educated and sensible; he is a careful observer, he takes care of his family and runs his business prudently. He has experience of the world and he fully supports the culture which has produced him.
- What is his function in the novel? To develop a critical awareness of the limitations of European values.
- Why does Gulliver’s Travels differ from traditional works of travel literature? Throughout the 17th century the imaginary voyage had been used by French writers as a vehicle for their theories. The traveller usually discovered some happy societies where men lived a simple, uncorrupted life, following natural instincts and the innate light of reason; and from these utopias European man was seen as the victim of civilisation. Gulliver’s experiences are different because the people among whom he is cast are in no sense children of nature. They all live in highly organised societies and are governed by institutions.
- What constant opposition is expressed in the novel? The constant opposition between rationality and animality.
- How can the novel be interpreted? On different levels: as a tale for children, as a political allegory of Swift’s time, as a parody of voyage literature, as a masterpiece of misanthropy and a reflection on the aberrations of human reason, as a book written by a madman, as a warning for modern man.
- What are the ingredients of Swift’s satirical technique? Distortion or exaggeration; the use of the traveller; the way he organises the new world by constantly changing the perspective on human conduct. Through this altered perspective, Swift can manipulate Gulliver’s reactions to the changing circumstances in order to highlight his satiric points in a very humorous way.
T21 The projectors
1st paragraph: Gulliver meets the first projector of the Academy and witnesses his experiment about the processing of sunbeams out of cucumbers to warm the air.
2nd paragraph: Gulliver observes another experiment about the reduction of natural excrement to its original food.
3rd paragraph: The meeting between Gulliver and another projector who tries to turn ice into gunpowder.
4th paragraph: Gulliver meets an ingenious architect who builds houses by beginning from the roof.
5th paragraph: Gulliver meets three professors in the school of languages.
6th paragraph: The project of shortening discourse is introduced.
7th paragraph: The project of abolishing words is described.
- Green words: description of the projectors
- Highlighted in orange: the realistic details of the experiments
- Underlined in blue: the absurd objectives of the experiments
- Red dots: the places Gulliver visits at the Academy of Lagado
- Highlighted in blue: women who do not approve of these experiments are associated with the vulgar and the illiterate
- Where is Gulliver and who does he meet? He is at the Academy of Lagado, on the island of Laputa, and he meets different projectors.
- What are these characters like? What is their attitude? They are old, thin, pale and dirty. They look completely absorbed by their projects, they seem to believe firmly in what they are doing, they even beg for money to carry on their experiments.
- What is the first project about at the school of languages? It is a project to shorten discourse by cutting polysyllables into one, and leaving out verbs and participles.
- What is the second project about and what advantage does it imply? It is a scheme to abolish all words. It implies the advantage of preventing the lungs from corrosion due to speech.
- Is an alternative given to the use of language? Yes, men should carry the things they need to speak about a particular topic.
- Who opposed the project? Women in conjunction with the vulgar and illiterate.
- Is there any inconvenience to the new scheme? The only inconvenience is that a man with great business or culture should carry too many things on his back, unless he can afford one or two servants to help him.
No, he does not. He is not considered by the projectors and he is required to be silent during his visit to the Academy. By describing in detail the absurd objectives of each experiment, he openly expresses his disapproval.
They are referred to as rebels and are associated with the vulgar and the illiterate. In lines 43-46. Swift stresses the absurdities of the projects.
Swift was concerned with the aberration of human reason. He thought reason was an instrument that should be used properly; too intensive a use of reason was an error of judgement and therefore unreasonable. Thus he insisted on the need to take a common-sense view of life.
- joint monarchs
- seize control
- customs duties
- take action
- foreign policy
- raise a rebellion
- material gain
- Charles II: A series of acts were passed, like the Corporation Act (1661), which excluded the dissenters from public offices; the Act of Uniformity (1662), which imposed the use of the Book of Common Prayer and the Test Act (1673), which required all public employees to conform to the Church of England.
- William III and Mary II: The Toleration Act (1689) introduced more religious tolerance by granting freedom of worship to dissenting Protestants but excluded Catholics and Unitarians. The Bill of Rights (1689) re-enacted freedoms that had been stated by Magna Carta and the Petition of Right, and it established that the king could levy taxes, raise an army and suspend laws only with parliamentary consent. A Triennial Act asserted that Parliament should last for three years. The Act of Settlement (1701) excluded Catholics from the throne and declared that Anne and her heirs would succeed William.
- Queen Anne: In 1707 the Act of Union was passed by which the kingdom of England and Scotland, established by James I, was replaced by the United Kingdom of Great Britain with a single Parliament in Westminster.
Two opposing parties, the Tories and the Whigs; the cabinet and the first Prime Minister; debate and circulation of ideas; greater social mobility of the new middle classes; poverty and petty crime; the Grand Tour of Europe; Italian Palladian style; foundation of Methodism by John and Charles Wesley; Sunday schools.
- A general European war, the War of the Austrian Succession (1740-48), a conflict over territory between Austria and Prussia. Walpole was forced to resign in 1742 but the Whigs stayed in power.
- The Jacobite rebellion of 1745, raised in Scotland by Charles Edward Stuart who wanted to make his claim to the throne. Charles was supported by a few Scottish clans and by France. The Jacobites were defeated at the Battle of Culloden (1746) and Charles escaped to France, while most Jacobites were executed or sent to penal colonies overseas.
- The Seven Years’ War of 1756-63, considered as the first ‘world war’ because it was fought in three continents. The conflict had its roots in Europe between Britain and Prussia on one side and an alliance of France, Austria and others on the other side.
- The Restoration as a reaction to the Civil War and Puritan Commonwealth.
- Society: Rejection of strict morality; a more rational interest in the real, present world, rather than a concentration on the life of the soul. Theatres, race-courses and taverns re-opened, and fashion and gossip replaced religious debate.
- Science: The Royal Society, which was an association of scientists and intellectuals. The motto of the Society, nullius in verba - ‘on the word of no one’ - was a direct challenge to the dependence of the old philosophy on authorities.
- Politics: The landowners, both nobles and gentry, resumed their leadership of society and the newly elected Parliament, the so-called Cavalier Parliament, met in 1661. It ordered the bodies of the regicides, including Cromwell, to be exhumed and hanged.
|James II married the Catholic Mary of Modena and in 1688 he became the father of a Catholic son who took precedence over Mary (James’s Protestant daughter) as James’s successor||In January 1689 William and Mary became joint monarchs as William III and Mary II at the request of Parliament. The monarch had been chosen by Parliament, not by ‘divine right’. During their reign acts were passed which set the course of parliamentary rule in Britain and paved the way to constitutional monarchy.|
Rationality and rejection of extremism in all its forms; civility and moderation (the ‘art of pleasing’); counter-culture: material gain, individual happiness and pleasure; optimistic view of the natural world: benign and beautiful.
It was roofed and artificially lit with candles. There were footlights, a drop curtain and painted movable scenery at the back of the stage The audience sat in the dark in galleries, and on benches or even on boxes in the pit, which became a very fashionable place to be seated.
- the writer’s aim; To write in a simple way in order to be understood even by less-educated readers.
- the story; It was related to the world of tradesmen and to the Puritan ethics of the middle classes
- the hero; He was a middle-class man (the ‘bourgeois man’) with contemporary name and surname, which served to reinforce the impression of realism.
- the narrative technique; First- and thirdperson narrators were employed; chronological sequence of events.
- the setting; It was given great attention as regarded references to time and place.
- the types of novels. The 18th-century novel developed different sub-genres: the realistic novel, the utopian novel, the epistolary novel, the picaresque novel and the anti-novel.
- Title of the novel: Robinson Crusoe
- Main ideas: The hero, Robinson, belongs to the middle class, he is restless and wants to find his own identity in alternative to the model provided by his father. Robinson’s life on the island develops the issue of the relationship between the individual and society, between the private and the public spheres. The novel can also be considered as a spiritual autobiography. It shows an objective approach to the events through clear and precise details.
- Supporting references: The society Robinson creates on the island is not an alternative to the English one; on the contrary, it can be read as an exaltation of 18th-century England and its ideals of mobility, material productiveness and individualism. Defoe shows that, though God is the prime cause of everything, the individual can shape his destiny through action. The novel is full of religious references to God, sin, Providence and salvation. It can be read as a spiritual autobiography where the hero reads the Bible to find comfort and guidance, experiences the constant conflict between good and evil, and keeps a diary to record events to see God’s will in them. Robinson prays to God to be freed from sin rather than to be rescued from the island. What Defoe explores is the conflict between economic motivation and spiritual salvation. The language is simple, matter-of-fact and concrete to reinforce the impression of reality.
- Title of the novel: Gulliver’s Travels
- Main ideas: Gulliver is a typical European. He is middle-aged, well-educated and sensible; he is a careful observer, he takes care of his family and runs his business prudently. He is, like Robinson Crusoe, one of the practical seamen through whom England started to rule the seas. Swift employed distortion or exaggeration as the main ingredients of satire; the reader is invited to see something very familiar in such a way that it becomes simultaneously ridiculous or even disgusting and yet funny. The key to this technique is the use of the traveller, the figure who is the reader’s contemporary and fellow countryman. The genius of Swift’s satire in Gulliver’s Travels is shown in a second feature, the way he organises the new world by constantly changing the perspective on human conduct. The novel has four settings - Lilliput, Brobdingnag, Laputa and the land of the Houyhnhnms.
- Supporting references: Gulliver has experience of the world and he fully supports the culture which has produced him. In this way Swift implies that the transformation which takes place in Gulliver through his voyages cannot be linked to any extravagance of his character. Only when circumstances force him to think, does Gulliver learn something and begin to develop a critical awareness of the limitations of European values. Swift’s originality lies in his presenting Gulliver always displaced, first in relation to little men and then to big ones, and finally and suddenly forced into comparison not with men but with animals. Through the altered perspective on human conduct, Swift can manipulate Gulliver’s reactions to the changing circumstances in order to highlight his satiric points in a very humorous way.
- Who is the narrator? What has he been doing? What was he worried about? Robinson. He has done several voyages to the ship to get as many goods as possible. He was afraid the rain might spoil the goods he had found on the ship, so he spent the day in covering and securing them.
- Explain the features of the narrator’s character. Justify your answer by quoting from the text. He has a very pragmatic and individualistic outlook. He does not surrender even though his condition is very hard (lines 3-4, 9-12).
- Write down which themes of the novel can be found in this short text. The shipwreck, survival and pragmatism.
4 The Romantic Age
4.1 Britain and America
- New taxes on the American colonies.
- No representation in the British Parliament.
- The ideas of philosophers and writers like Burke and Paine.
- The American Declaration of Independence stated that governments can only claim the right to rule if they have the approval of those they govern.
- Adam Smith’s philosophy of economic liberalism encouraged free trade and economic self-interest; it was against intervention or restrictions on free markets from the government.
- A group of Irish Catholics and Protestants who joined in 1791 and aimed at forming their own republic.
- George III’s reign was one of the longest in English history
- The king levied new duties on corn, paper and tea to reduce the public debt due to the Seven Years’ War
- The American colonists thought that the taxes were unjust since they had no political power
- The American cause was supported by Edmund Burke and Thomas Paine
- The Americans were divided into Patriots and Loyalists
- The independence of America was recognised by the Treaty of Versailles in 1783
- The United States of America adopted a federal constitution and Washington was the first President
- William Pitt the Younger’s policy promoted profitable trade and finance and supported Adam Smith’s theory of laissez-faire.
4.2 The Industrial Revolution
- coal mines
- traced back
- steam engine
- Reasons: Rise in living standards after the Black Death; increase of population; enclosures, increase of agricultural production and selective animal breeding; growing demand for goods; technological innovations; presence of coalfields in the Midlands and the North as a source of energy.
- Consequences: The productivity of workers improved, and manufacture became easier and faster, reducing the prices of goods. The population shifted from the rural South to the industrial areas of the North and the Midlands. The ‘mushroom towns’ were built around the mines and factories. Employers preferred women and children because they could be better exploited. The smoke and dirt polluted the environment. Overcrowding and lack of hygiene made working and living conditions appalling. Industrial working conditions were characterised by mechanisation, monotony and division of labour. The deterioration of diet and health led to higher mortality
4.3 The French Revolution,riots and reforms
- 1789 The French Revolution broke out
- 1793 The French royal family and thousands of people considered as enemies of the Revolution were executed during a period called the ‘Reign of Terror’. France declared war on Britain and Holland
- 1805 The Battle of Trafalgar and death of Admiral Horatio Nelson
- 1815 The Battle of Waterloo, Napoleon was defeated by the British soldiers led by the Duke of Wellington
- 1819 The Peterloo Massacre in Manchester
- 1820 George III died and was succeeded by his son George IV
- 1829 Sir Robert Peel created the Metropolitan Police
- 1830 George IV died and was succeeded by his brother William IV
- 1832 The Great Reform Act was passed which extended the vote to almost all male members of the middle classes and re-distributed seats on a more equitable basis in the counties
- 1837 William IV died and his 18-year-old niece, Victoria, succeeded him to the British throne
- Step 1: Skimming.
- 1st section: From ‘In the late 1780s’ to ‘the Regency (1811-20)’.
- 2nd section: From ‘Meanwhile in France’ to ‘Britain and Holland in 1793’.
- 3rd section: From ‘The French had a weak navy’ to ‘Battle of Waterloo’.
- 4th section: From ‘The costs of the war’ to ‘Peterloo’.
- 5th section: From ‘The mad George III’ to ‘public order’.
- 6th section: From ‘When George IV’ to ‘the British throne’.
- Step 2: Active reading. Student’s activity.
- Step 3: Well-developed sentences.
- 1st section: In 1810 George III became totally incapable of reigning and in 1811 his son George, the future George IV, was made Prince Regent.
- 2nd section: The spirit of intellectual rebellion pervaded the works of the poets; they shared the enthusiasm and the hopes aroused by the Revolution but they were bitterly disillusioned when, in 1793, the royal family and thousands of people considered as enemies of the Revolution were executed during a period called the ‘Reign of Terror’.
- 3rd section: Napoleon’s victories in Europe were balanced by Britain’s supremacy at sea.
- 4th section: Discontent after the war led to unrest which frightened the authorities, who tried to repress the protests under many laws allowing arrest without trial, forbidding the combination of working men into trade unions, and silencing the freedom of expression.
- 5th section: Concessions indicative of a new political awareness were made towards the end of the 1820s.
- 6th section: The Whigs wanted to bring in electoral reform and, despite strong opposition, the Great Reform Act was passed in 1832.
- Step 4: Thesis statement. The last two decades of the 18th century and the first three of the 19th century marked a period of great political concern regarding the outcome of the French Revolution and a season of social unrest and repression by the authorities in Britain. Nevertheless, the first steps towards change through reforms were taken.
- Step 5: Summary writing. Student’s activity.
4.4 A new sensibility
- lay down
|Augustan poetry||Early Romantic poetry|
|Subject||impersonal material; elevated subjects||subjective, autobiographical material; humble and everyday life; melancholy; meditation on the suffering of the poor and on death; the desolate; love of ruins, graveyards, ancient castles and abbeys; revival of interest in the past|
|Style||loud and noble eloquence||lyrical and personal expression|
|Tone||intellectual||intimate, emotional, reflective|
|Aim||immediate impact||generalised reflection|
|View of nature||an abstract concept, a set of divine laws and principles established by God, which man could order and control thanks to the faculty of reason||a real and living being|
Internet Point: The sublime
- Find information about what the sublime was concerned with in the Romantic Age. It was concerned with the potential power of style and composition in the visual arts as much as in the language. In fact, Romantic writers thought about the grandest and most terrifying aspects of nature, and reflected them in their writings.
- Look at these paintings and state what view of the sublime is conveyed.
- Philip James De Loutherbourg, An Avalanche in the Alps, 1803. London, Tate Gallery. Loutherbourg develops the concept of the sublime revolved around the relationship between human beings and the grand or terrifying aspects of nature.
- Joseph Mallord William Turner, Mer de Glace, in the Valley of Chamonix, Switzerland, 1803. New Heaven, Yale Center for British Art. The desire to become ‘a part’ of the ‘mountains’ is an important aspect of the Romantic period. J.M.W. Turner’s watercolour sketches of the area around Mont Blanc depict small, frail human figures surrounded by vast, over-hanging precipices and ice.
- Joseph Wright of Derby, Vesuvius in Eruption, ca 1776-80. London, Tate Gallery. This image is terrifying and reflects the pleasing horror of the sublime violence that exists in nature.
4.5 Early Romantic poetry
- Pastoral poetry
- main representative: William Cowper
- features: celebration of country life (simplicity, domesticity); nature seen as a source of innocence and delight
- Nature poetry
- main representative: James Thomson
- features: nature in its physical details; his observation of nature included wild scenery and led to reflections on the character of the primitive man, who was contrasted with civilised man
- Ossianic poetry
- main representative: James Macpherson
- features: cult of a simple and primitive life, growing interest in folk traditions; melancholy and suffering, description of a wild, gloomy nature
- Graveyard School
- main representative: Thomas Gray, Edward Young
- features: melancholic tone; cemeteries, ruins and stormy landscapes
4.6 The Gothic novel
- State what taste characterised the novel in the second half of the 18th century. It was characterised by a taste for the strange and the mysterious, by a genuine impulse for freedom and escape from the ugly world, and by the fear of the triumph of evil and chaos over good and order.
- Say who Gothic novels were addressed to. They were addressed to all social classes.
- Highlight the connotation of the word ‘Gothic’. The adjective ‘Gothic’ was first applied to architecture long before it connoted literature. The writer Horace Walpole (1717-97) was the first to establish a link between the two; his obsession with his beloved miniature castle at Strawberry Hill was the inspiration for The Castle of Otranto (1764), and its subtitle, ‘A Gothic Story’, marks the first time that the term was used in a literary context.
- setting: influenced by the concept of the sublime
- → place: ancient settings, like isolated castles, mysterious abbeys and convents with hidden passages and dungeons
- → time: the night
- suspense and mystery increased by: supernatural beings, like monsters, vampires, ghosts and witches
- aim: to arouse fear in the reader with the threat of realising all the potentialities of the mind beyond reason
- plot: often complicated by embedded narratives
- characters: perceive the world around them as hostile
- → hero: usually isolated either voluntarily or involuntarily; the wanderer or outcast wanders the earth in perpetual exile, usually as a form of divine punishment
- → heroine: both afflicted with unreal terrors and persecuted by a villain
- Who is the narrator? Does he interpret what he sees for the reader or does he just describe what he sees? From whose point of view are the events told? The narrator is omniscient and unobtrusive since he just describes what he sees. The point of view is Emily's.
- What is the general atmosphere of this room? What feelings does it arouse? The atmosphere is of fear and imminent danger; there is a close relationship between the girl and the room: fear and horror pervade her soul while what she has perceived as ‘something’ seems to approach her.
- Which are the main Gothic ingredients of this text? They are: terrifying description; mysterious atmosphere; dark, gloomy setting; unexplained sounds; a heroine struck by terror, which freezes and nearly annihilates her.
Link to Contemporary Culture: Gothic to Modern Gothic
- how long Gothic novels have been scaring us; For about 250 years.
- the definitions of ‘terror’ and ‘horror’ given by Ann Radcliffe; Terror is characterised by obscurity or the indefinite use of threatening events; it ‘expands the soul, and awakens the faculties to a high degree of life’. Horror, on the other hand, almost destroys the reader’s mental ability by means of an explicit exposition to atrocities.
- what terror creates and what horror presents. Terror creates an atmosphere of superstitious suspense, while horror crudely presents the physical revolting macabre in an atmosphere of spiritual despair
- What are the origins of Dracula? Bram Stoker came across the name Dracula in a book entitled An Account of the Principalities of Wallachia and Moldavia (1820), which reports the existence of Vlad the Impaler in the 15th century. A footnote of the book stated that ‘Dracula in the Wallachian language means Devil’. Stoker changed the name into Count Dracula and turned the character into a vampire, a creature he had read about in folklore and legends.
- How is the story told? It is told through journals and fragments of letters.
- What are its main events? The novel can be divided into four parts. The first describes Jonathan Harker’s business trip to Count Dracula’s castle, where he meets three powerful supernatural creatures who are female vampires. In part two, Dracula travels to England, where he seduces and destroys an innocent English girl, Lucy Westenra. In the third part a number of characters, among whom Dr Abraham Van Helsing and Art, join together to fight Dracula and to track him to his castle. In the fourth part the chase is successful and ends in the destruction of Dracula within his castle.
- What themes are developed? The fear of female sexuality, death, creation and overcoming the boundaries between life and death.
What are the powers and supernatural traits of vampires? Do they have any limitations? Students’ activity. Suggestion: Vampires are traditionally said to possess the following powers and supernatural traits: they are potentially immortal; they survive on blood; they have the strength of twenty men; they can shape-shift into wolves and bats; they can appear as mist or elemental dust; they have no reflection in a mirror and cast no shadow; they have hypnotic power over their victims and can turn them into vampires. However, they do also have limitations: they may not enter a house unless they are invited in; they lose their supernatural powers during daylight hours; they must sleep on the soil of their native land; they can cross running water only at the slack or flood of the tide; they are repelled by raw garlic and holy symbols (crucifix, Holy Wafer); they can be destroyed by driving a stake through their heart and then cutting off their head.
- Jonathan Harker
‘his face flushed’; ‘in a stupor’
- Count Dracula
‘a tall, thin man, clad in black’; ‘scar on his forehead’; ‘a thin stream trickled down (his) bare breast’; ‘his torn-open dress’; ‘hellish look’; ‘His eyes flamed red with devilish passion’; ‘the great nostrils of the white aquiline nose’; ‘the white sharp teeth’; ‘full lips’; ‘blood dripping mouth’
- Mrs Harker
‘white-clad figure’; ‘Her white night-dress was smeared with blood’; ‘helpless attitude and disarray’; ‘Her face was ghastly, with a pallor which was accentuated by the blood which smeared her lips and cheeks and chin’; ‘from her throat trickled a thin stream of blood’; ‘Her eyes were mad with terror’; ‘poor crushed hands, which bore on their whiteness the red mark of the Count’s terrible grip’
- Where was Jonathan and what was he doing? He was lying on the bed and breathing heavily.
- What was his wife’s position? She was kneeling beside the bed, facing outwards.
- How was the count holding her? He kept her arms at full tension with his left hand, while with his right hand he gripped her by the back of the neck, forcing her face down on his bosom.
- How did the count react when the men burst into the room? He turned his face, he threw his victim back on to the bed and sprang at them.
- What did they do to stop him? The Professor held the envelope containing the ‘Sacred Wafer’ towards him, while the others advanced lifting their crucifixes.
- How did he leave the room? He turned into a faint vapour which trailed under the door.
- What did Mrs Harker do when she drew her breath? She screamed wildly and wailed despairingly.
- How did Van Helsing and Art react to this? Van Helsing covered her body with a coverlet, while Art ran out of the room.
- How did the men try to help Jonathan? They tried to wake him by flicking his face with a wet towel.
The count is connoted as a hellish, devilish creature and a wild beast. On the one hand he survives on the blood of his victims, he is very strong, he can appear as mist and he has hypnotic powers, but on the other hand he is repelled by holy symbols - crucifixes and the Holy Wafer.
A ghost in black
- the setting in place and time; ‘the burial ground’ (line 1), at dusk (‘fading light’, line 6).
- the characters involved; The narrator and the woman in black.
- what the woman looks like; She is wearing a bonnet which reveals a wasted face. Her look reminds the narrator of an extreme illness even if her expression is of a desperate, yearning malevolence. Her face, in its extreme pallor, her eyes, sunken but unnaturally bright, are burning with passionate emotion. She seems the embodiment of the purest evil and hatred.
- what feelings and sensations she arouses in the narrator. He is surprised and bewildered at her presence. Her dreadful expression fills him with fear; his knees start to tremble and his flesh to creep: he never knew such dread, horror and apprehension of evil. He becomes paralysed with fear. When the woman goes away, his head clears and, all at once, he gets angry with her for the emotion she aroused in him, for causing him to experience such fear. That anger gets him to follow her and stop her, and then to ask some questions and receive proper replies
The Gothic features are: the setting (ruins and graveyard); darkness; the mysterious woman, that is, the ghost; the atmosphere of loneliness, fear and horror caused by the supernatural presence. The different element is the narrator’s anger in reaction to the emotion of fear aroused by the mysterious woman. Fear leads him to the determination to follow the woman and find out who she was.
4.7 Romantic poetry
- give expression to emotional experience and individual feelings
- process of poetic composition
- interest about the experience and insights of childhood
- sources of creation
- emphasis on the significance of the individual
- relationship with his fellows
- conventions of civilisation
- restrictions on the individual personality
- cult of the exotic
- vital role as the vehicles of the inner visionary perceptions
- what power it gave the Romantic poet; It enabled him to see beyond surface reality and discover a truth beyond the powers of reason; it allowed him to re-create and modify the external world of experience.
- how it affected the new role of the poet. He was seen as a visionary prophet or as a teacher whose role was to point out the evils of society, to give voice to the ideals of truth, beauty and freedom, to mediate between man and nature.
He was associated with purity and uncorrupted sensitiveness, he was unspoilt by civilisation, and closer to God and the sources of creation than an adult. Therefore childhood was a state to be admired and cultivated.
- what forms of individualism the Romantics exalted; They exalted the figures of the rebel, the outcast, the atypical.
- what view of society they had; They regarded society as an evil, corrupting force which restricted the individual personality and freedom. They exalted the figure of the ‘noble savage’ who, despite appearing primitive, actually has an instinctive knowledge of himself and of the world often superior to the knowledge acquired by civilised man.
- what current of thought encouraged this view. Rousseau’s thought according to which ‘natural’ behaviour, that is to say, unrestrained and impulsive, is good, in contrast to behaviour which is governed by reason and by the rules and customs of society.
It is the veneration of what is far away both in space and in time; the picturesque in scenery, the remote and the unfamiliar in custom and social outlook.
Nature was regarded as a living force and, in a pantheistic vein, as the expression of God in the universe. It became a main source of inspiration, a stimulus to thought, a source of comfort and joy, and a means to convey moral truths.
|18th-century poetry||Romantic poetry|
|Models and rules||strictly followed||broke free from them|
|Language||artificial circumlocutions||more vivid and familiar words|
|Imagery||decorative function||a vital role as the vehicles of the inner visionary perceptions|
attempt to theorise about poetry; the beauty of nature and ordinary things; visionary topics, the supernatural and mystery
experienced political disillusionment; clash between the ideal and the real; individualistic and escapist attitudes; alienation of the artist from society
- What does the poet see that arouses his emotion?
A rainbow in the sky.
- What three stages in man’s life does Wordsworth present?
Childhood, maturity and old age.
- Which stage seems to be the most important to him?
- What represents the element of continuity in man’s life?
The love for and contact with nature
- The poem contains a famous paradox, or apparent contradiction. Underline it.
‘The Child is father of the Man’ (line 7).
- The function of this paradox is
C to state a universal truth, though starting from an individual experience.
- The two terms of the paradox are written in capital letters. Can you think of a reason why?
They do not only refer to two stages of man’s life but they also symbolise their corresponding states of mind: innocence and experience.
- Focus on the theme of the poem. Complete the paragraph with the words from the box.
- grows up
Across Cultures: Man and nature
- What is an important characteristic of the Romantic Age? The relationship between man and nature.
- How did Edmund Burke define the ‘sublime’? He defined it not as a feature of nature, but as a particular way of perceiving and interpreting it.
- What can reflect the poet’s mood, according to German Idealism? Primitive, wild landscape or night scenes convey the inner feelings of the poet, connecting his soul with the supernatural and the divine.
- How did Coleridge describe nature in his poetry? He described the marvellous and abnormal in nature.
- According to the text, what is the difference between Wordsworth’s view of nature and that of Giacomo Leopardi? Wordsworth had a consoling view of nature, whereas Leopardi portrayed nature as an entity which is indifferent to man’s destiny.
- How did the relationship between man and nature evolve towards the end of the 19th century? It continued to evolve in the direction of a deeper symbolism.
- Literature (France)
- Philosophy and literature (Germany)
- Literature (Italy)
4.8 Romantic fiction
set in the upper and middle levels of society, generally in the country with few insights into town life
plot: visits, balls and teas as occasions for meeting
it explores personal relationships, class distinctions and the influence of money and property on the way people treat each other
themes: marriage and the complications of love and friendship
narrative technique: third-person narrator
narrative mode: dialogue
it uses irony; passions and emotions are not expressed directly
- When did the historical novel appear? Why? It appeared at the beginning of the 19th century at a time when, for the first time, men from different nations were brought into contact by the Napoleonic Wars. It is a literary genre that reflects the Romantic interest in the past, particularly the historical period of the Middle Ages.
- Who was the founder of this genre? Sir Walter Scott.
- What was his main achievement? His main achievement was to get people to realise that history was not just a list of political and religious events, but the product of human decisions.
- What did his novels deal with? They mainly dealt with the past of Scotland, which he mixed with imaginative adventures.
- In what sense did he introduce a new concept of history? He introduced a new concept of history, based on the lives of ordinary people, rather than on those of kings and noblemen. He was interested in the moments when an important historical crisis, especially in Scottish history, caused personal problems in individuals or in groups: Waverley (1814) and Ivanhoe (1819), his most important works, describe these conflicts.
- What links the Scottish novelist to the Italian Alessandro Manzoni? Both Scott and Manzoni mingled historical truths and fiction; they set their novels in historical contexts that point out the political and cultural conflicts between, respectively, Scotland and England, and Lombardy and Spain.
- Did they employ the same linguistic means? No, they did not. Scott made an extensive use of Scottish dialect since he wanted to celebrate the glorious past of his country and its independence from England, while Manzoni removed any regional inflections from the language he employed in the definite edition of The Betrothed because he aimed at creating a national consciousness.
- What did the American independence lead to in literature? It increased the need for an American culture and literature that could reflect the American identity.
- Why did the short story emerge as a distinctive American form of prose? Because it was suitable for wide circulation in cheap magazines and providing ideal entertainment for the reader.
- Who was the most important American writer of short stories? Edgar Allan Poe.
4.9 William Blake
Born: In London in 1757.
Education: Trained as an engraver when he was a boy; later he studied at the Royal Academy of Arts.
Beliefs: A political freethinker and a radical, he supported the French Revolution; he had a strong sense of religion.
- Poetic: Songs of Innocence (1789), Songs of Experience (1794).
- Prophetic: The Marriage of Heaven and Hell (1790s), Visions of the Daughters of Albion (1793), America: A Prophecy (1793) and Europe: A Prophecy (1794).
Role of the artist: The guardian of the spirit and imagination.
Did you know? The most important influence on his life was the Bible.
|Songs of Innocence||Songs of Experience|
|Narrator||a shepherd||a bard|
|View||innocent and optimistic||more pessimistic|
|Symbols||lambs, flowers and children playing on the village green||more complex|
|Themes||childhood, innocence, happiness, freedom and imagination||experience and adulthood|
- Who is ‘I’ in line 1?
- What is the setting in time and place?
London at night.
- Write down the senses through which the speaker perceives the scene.
- The people he sees are
B tired and suffering.
- The rhyme scheme is
- Write down the words that are repeated.
- ‘charter’d’ (lines 1-2);
- ‘mark’/‘Marks’ (lines 3-4);
- ‘In every’ (lines 5-7);
- ‘cry’ (lines 5-6, 9);
- ‘I hear’ (lines 8, 13).
- Decide what effect they create. Tick as appropriate.
They create a sense of obsession and anxiety.
- What is the symbolical meaning of the word ‘charter’d’ (lines 1, 2)?
A Society and nature are dominated by commercial profit.
- Find the metaphor linked to the idea of imprisonment.
‘The mind-forg’d manacles’ (line 8).
- Underline what kinds of restraints Blake identifies in the poem.
Religion, political institutions, marriage laws.
- Note down the three victims of the industrialised town Blake mentions in lines 9-16.
- The chimney sweeper
- the soldier
- the harlot
- Match the victims with who or what exploits them.
A The false respectability of marriage.
B The Church.
C Political power.
The chimney sweeper is the victim of the Church, which at that time was behind the workhouses. The soldier is the victim of the political power, which demands his death in war. The prostitute is the victim of the false respectability of marriage.
- Say why the Church is ‘black’ning’ (line 10).
C Because it exploits the children instead of helping them.
- Find the expressions referring to the consequences of prostitution in the context of urban life.
‘Blasts’ (line 15), ‘blights with plagues’ (line 16). Teachers should explain that the word ‘plagues’ refers to the sexually transmitted diseases that the ‘youthful Harlot’ would contract and pass on to others - men married for convenience but with no desire for their wives -, giving the ‘curse’ a real destructive power as it could well lead to infertility in marriage.
- How would you define the tone of the poem?
Indignant, sorrowful, bitter.
- What is Blake’s attitude to the society of his time in this poem?
He is sad and accusing at the same time; he sympathises with the victims. Teachers should explain that Blake thought that society and institutions oppress man, depriving him of the innocence and happiness of childhood. He also condemned industrialisation which exploited children and women and contributed to man’s unhappiness and repression
- chimney sweeper
- The poet contemplates the Lamb and wonders who created it.
- The poet finds the answer to his question.
- Highlighted in yellow: the addressee, the Lamb
- Highlighted in green: the speaker, the poet
- Pink words: the question the poet asks the Lamb
- Highlighted in grey: description of the Lamb, connotation of joy, tenderness, mildness
- Highlighted in light blue: attributes of ‘He’, that is, God, the Creator
- Blue words: answer to the poet’s question
- Green dots: examples of repetitions
- Highlighted in pink: assonance
- Box: Rhyme scheme: AABBCCDDEE
- What kinds of sounds prevail in the poem? Are they suited to the Lamb and the speaker? The prevailing vowel sounds are ‘ee’ and ‘ai’ (long vowels); the prevailing consonant sounds are ‘l’, ‘s’ and ‘m’ (soft consonant sounds). They convey an idea of sweetness and tenderness that suits the mild, innocent figure of the Lamb; the rhythm is slow and suits the meditative attitude of the poet.
- What is the main syntactic structure of each stanza? How are they related? The first stanza consists of a question which finds an answer in the statements of the second stanza.
- What qualities of the Creator of the Lamb are emphasised in the first stanza? The goodness and generosity of the Creator.
- What does Blake associate the Lamb with in the second stanza? With a child and the figure of God, therefore with innocence.
- What link does he establish in line 18? ‘He’ (the Creator) = ‘a lamb’ → ‘a child’ = ‘I’ (the poet).
- What qualities is the poet given? The poet shares the divine power of creation and the innocence of the child and the Lamb.
T24 The Tyger
- Who is the poet addressing? The Tyger.
- What is he wondering about? He is wondering about who created the Tyger and whether it was the same Creator that made the Lamb (lines 3-4, 20).
- What ‘fire’ is he referring to in line 8? The fire burning in the eyes of the Tyger, the energy of Creation.
- Who is ‘he’ in line 19? The Creator
Rhyme scheme: AABBCCDDEE (deviation: lines 3-4, 23-24)
Length of words: short
Number of feet in each line: four feet
Kind of feet: trochee
Rhythm: fast, hammering
What devices make the rhythm so?
Repetition and alliteration of harsh sounds.
The poem is built around questions.
The metaphor stands for the chaos and confusion of the universe before Creation.
- Find the vocabulary of metal working.
‘hammer’ (line 13), ‘chain’ (line 13), ‘furnace’ (line 14), ‘anvil’ (line 15).
- Underline all the parts of the body which emphasise the strength of the labour required.
‘hand’ (lines 3, 8, 12, 23), ‘eye(s)’ (lines 3, 6, 23), ‘shoulder’ (line 9), ‘feet’ (line 12).
- Find the verbs of construction/creation. What do you notice about these verbs?
‘frame’ (lines 4, 24), ‘seize’ (line 8), ‘twist’ (line 10), ‘clasp’ (line 16). These verbs are of Saxon origin and are monosyllables with prevalence of consonant sounds.
- What sort of Creator is this one, as opposed to the mild Creator of the Lamb? Tick as appropriate.
He is an immortal and powerful being. He is a God artisan whose work surpasses the speaker’s understanding.
- The myth of Icarus: line 7. In Greek mythology Icarus was the son of Daedalus. His father made him wings to escape from Crete, but he flew too near the Sun; the wax holding the wings melted and he fell into the Aegean Sea.
- The myth of Prometheus: line 8. In Greek mythology Prometheus was a Titan who stole fire from heaven to help mankind, whom Zeus wished to destroy, and was punished by being chained to a rock in the Caucasus. Every day an eagle fed on his liver, which grew again during the night. He was freed by Heracles.
- Write down the corresponding images from the text.
- Fallen angels (line 17) ‘the stars’
- Surrendered (line 17) ‘threw down their spears’
- Were afraid (line 18) ‘water’d heaven with their tears’
- What disturbing question about the Creator rises in the poet’s mind? He wonders how the God who created the sweet and mild lamb could also make the terrifying Tyger.
- Are this question and the others in the poem given an answer? No, the poem does not provide any answer and ends with a question.
|Features||The Lamb||The Tyger|
|Sound devices||repetition, alliteration||repetition, alliteration|
|Syntax||rhetorical question||questions with no answer|
|Vocabulary||semantic area of nature||semantic areas of craftsmanship and the body|
|The animal||sweet, soft, mild||beautiful, terrifying|
|The Creator||good, generous||powerful, frightening|
|The poet’s attitude||confident, he identifies with the lamb||he cannot understand the mystery of the Creation|
Blake is exalting the qualities of energy and instinct as opposed to reason. He thought that the possibility of progress, of achieving the knowledge of what we are, lies in the tension between opposite states of mind, which exist not in linear sequence but in parallel: they are simultaneous. This is the theory of ‘complementary opposites’.
4.10 Mary Shelley
Date of birth: 1797.
Parents: Mary Wollstonecraft (1759-97) and William Godwin (1756-1836). Both her parents had been heavily influenced by the ideas of the French Revolution and were part of a small radical group.
Intellectual stimuli: Her father’s house was visited by some of the most famous writers of the day, like the Romantic poets Samuel Taylor Coleridge and Percy Bysshe Shelley.
Where she lived: At first she fled with the poet P.B. Shelley to France; then they rented a country house on the banks of Lake Geneva; later on they moved to Lerici, where one day Percy set sail in a storm and drowned; Shelley finally returned to England in 1823.
Famous for: Frankenstein, or The Modern Prometheus, published anonymously in 1818.
Frankenstein, or The Modern Prometheus
- North Pole
- What were the origins of the novel? It seems that a number of things, like the reading of ghost stories, speculation about the re-animation of corpses or the creation of life, Shelley’s personal anxieties and the memories of her sense of loss at the death of her own mother, were the origins of the novel.
- Why did science influence the novel? Mary Shelley was interested in science, and particularly chemistry, so that by the time she wrote Frankenstein, she was aware of the latest scientific theories and experiments in the fields of chemistry, evolutionism and electricity. These sources provided contrasting scientific attitudes important to her conception of science in Frankenstein, whose protagonist is the first embodiment of the theme of science and its responsibility to mankind.
- What is the narrative technique employed? The novel is told by different narrators: at first, Walton informs his sister, whose initials are the same as those of Mary Shelley, MS, that is, Margaret Saville; then, Frankenstein informs Walton, who informs his sister; finally, the monster informs Frankenstein, who informs Walton, who informs his sister. Thus the whole novel has Walton’s sister as the receiver, but presents three different points of view. The form of the novel is epistolary; perhaps the writer wanted to disguise her own voice as a woman by hiding behind three male narrators.
- Who are the main characters? The three most important characters of the novel are Walton, Dr Frankenstein and the monster. They are all linked to the theme of the double. Walton is a double of Frankenstein since he manifests the same ambition, the wish to overcome human limits in his travelling towards the unknown, and the same wish for loneliness and pride of being different. Frankenstein and his creature are complementary: they both suffer from a sense of alienation and isolation, both begin with a desire to be good but become obsessed with hate and revenge.
- What are the most important themes? They are: the quest for forbidden knowledge, which is present throughout; the overreacher, in the characters of Walton and Dr Frankenstein; the double: Dr Frankenstein and the monster are two aspects of the same being; the penetration of nature’s secrets, which is related to the theme of the overreacher; the usurpation of the female role, since the creation of human beings becomes possible without the participation of women; social prejudices through the figure of the monster as an outcast.
- Which of the above curiosities interests you most? Student’s activity.
T25 The creation of the monster
- From the first paragraph find the date, the time of the day, the weather and the source of light.
It is a dreary night of November, already one in the morning; it is raining; the source of light is a candle nearly burnt out.
- What are the colours of the text?
C Yellow, black and white.
- What atmosphere characterises the scene?
A A desolate atmosphere.
- Complete these sentences about Frankenstein’s perception of his creature (lines 5-6).
- Frankenstein sees the dull yellow eye of the creature open.
- He hears it breathing hard.
- He perceives its limbs move. With which three senses does Frankenstein perceive the creature? Sight, hearing and touch.
- Study the description of the creature (lines 5-14). Which parts of his body are ugly?
His eyes (dull, yellow and watery), his yellow shrivelled skin stretched over the muscles and arteries, his dun-white sockets and thin black lips.
- Find out:
- how hard Frankenstein worked to achieve his ‘dream’; He worked for nearly two years and worked so hard that he deprived himself of rest and health (lines 16-17).
- Frankenstein’s reactions to the realisation of his dream. Horror and disgust (lines 18-19).
- Look at your answer to activity 5.
- Why do you think these features make the creature a monster as soon as it is animated? Student’s activity. Suggestion: It is always difficult to overcome the thought that Frankenstein should have noticed that the creature was not beautiful before animating him! So one must consider that the ugliness and therefore monstrousness of the creature was all in the face and the animated expression. With its skin stretched, the creature would not make facial expressions which would be ‘normal’. Above all, the eyes, which would previously have been closed, would not have shown any feelings. Really perspicacious students may also think about the voice, which would have uttered those ‘inarticulate sounds’, and how unfamiliar sounds are threatening in normal human communication.
- What features of the creature really disturb Frankenstein? His being between life and death, organic and artificial, animate and inanimate.
- Why does the creature not have a name of its own? Because it does not appear to fit with reason and logic.
- Why is Dante quoted in the last sentence of the text? Dante Alighieri’s Inferno, the first part of The Divine Comedy contains a complete, horrifying account of hell; Mary Shelley is stating that her literary creation is more disturbing than hell.
- Elizabeth and Frankenstein’s mother are mentioned in his dream. What do you think they represent? Tick as appropriate.
Frankenstein’s innocent past world.
- The passage is narrated in
A the first person.
The narrator is Dr Frankenstein.
4.11 William Wordsworth
- What principles did he state in the ‘Preface’ to Lyrical Ballads? He stated what the subject matter and the language of poetry should be. Poetry should deal with everyday situations or incidents and with ordinary people, especially humble, rural people. Even the language should be simple and the objects called by their ordinary names.
- What view did he have of nature and man? Man and nature are inseparable; man exists not outside the natural world but as an active participant in it, so that ‘nature’ to Wordsworth means something that includes both inanimate and human nature: each is a part of the same whole. Nature is a source of pleasure and joy, it comforts man in sorrow, it teaches him how to love and to act in a moral way; it is also the seat of the mighty spirit of the universe.
- Why is memory important in the growth of man and of the poet? Memory is a major force in the process of growth of the poet’s mind and moral character, and it is memory that allows Wordsworth to give poetry its life and power.
- What is the poet’s task? The poet becomes a teacher who shows men how to understand their feelings and improve their moral being. His task consists in drawing attention to the ordinary things of life, to the humblest people, where the deepest emotions and truths can be found. Therefore the poet is not a man in an ivory tower, but a man among men.
- How does poetry originate? All genuine poetry ‘takes its origin from emotion recollected in tranquillity’ through the re-creative power of memory.
T26 Composed upon Westminster Bridge
1st section (lines 1-3): The poet’s general statement.
2nd section (lines 4-8): Description of a view of London from Westminster Bridge in the early morning.
3rd section (lines 9-14): The poet’s emotional experience.
The four highlights in the text mark the rhyme scheme. In particular:
- Highlighted in yellow: A
- Highlighted in green: B
- Highlighted in light blue: C
- Highlighted in pink: D
- The rhyme scheme is therefore ABBAABBA CDCDCD.
- Pink words: inversion
- Underlined in blue: repetition
- Green words: use of the language of the senses (sight and hearing)
- Red dots: personification of the town; the poet is struck by the beauty of the town, which is perceived as a living creature
- Box: Type of poem: There are an octave and a sestet, it is a Petrarchan sonnet.
- Explain the use of inversion and repetition. What do such devices add to the tone of the poem? Inversion: lines 2, 9, 11; repetition: ‘never’ (lines 9, 11). The tone is slow, emphatic, intensely emotional.
- What words and phrases give the town a sense of calm and solemnity? Calm: ‘silent’ (line 5), ‘a calm so deep’ (line 11), ‘at his own sweet will’ (line 12), ‘asleep’ (line 13), ‘lying still’ (line 14). Solemnity: ‘majesty’ (line 3), ‘splendour’ (line 10), ‘mighty’ (line 14).
- Lines 9-11 provide an exception to the use of the present tense which characterises the whole poem. State what tense appears in these lines and what its function is. The shift to the past simple tense underlines that the poet is recollecting the scene.
- How does Wordsworth suggest that the town and nature are connected? They are linked by the beauty of the morning. London is ‘bare’ because in the early morning it is not covered with smoke, it is clothed by the rays of the morning sun. Even the Thames, which is an important route of transportation during the day, flows peacefully and naturally at this time of the day.
- Which of the following themes does Wordsworth develop in this poem? Tick as appropriate. The city does not possess a beauty of its own, it is nature that adorns it in the early morning
- elegant dress
- time of day
- working day
Both poets described the city of London at the time of industrialisation. They both included the river Thames in their description. They both perceived the city through the senses of sight and hearing, and used personification.
Text 1 Wordsworth associated big cities with noise and smoke, and loved the countryside. In the early 19th century, however, London still retained a partially rural atmosphere. Most of the city occupied the northern bank of the Thames and was, as the poet records, ‘Open unto the fields, and to the sky’ on the southern bank of the river. Although Wordsworth praises the majesty of the scene, he sees no people and makes the point that the city is ‘smokeless’, ‘silent’ and ‘asleep’. So he sees it positively only when the population is not engaged in their work. Wordsworth’s negative attitude can be deduced by this absence.
Text 2 Blake describes London at night. The city is ugly, in the hands of traders and full of suffering. Unlike Wordsworth’s London, it is crowded with people of all kinds, from chimney-sweepers to soldiers and prostitutes. These are all victims of industrialisation and institutions. Even the Thames is imprisoned and cannot flow freely as in Wordsworth’s poem. The poet’s attitude is anguished and bitter, and there is a direct attack on industrialisation and rationalisation.
- at a glance
- What was the poet doing? What was his mood? The poet was wandering in the countryside. He was in a mood of loneliness and absentmindedness. When he says that he ‘wandered lonely as a cloud’, he reminds us of those moods when we are aimless, undirected, and not fully related to the world around us. This sense of detachment from experience is strengthened by the description of the cloud which ‘floats on high’.
- What did he see suddenly? He saw ‘a crowd’ of daffodils.
- Where were the flowers? By the lake under the trees. Daffodils grow best in the shade and where there is water, and so it is not by chance that the flowers are at this particular point in space.
- What did the poet associate the flowers to? To the stars in the sky which shine and twinkle in the Milky Way.
- How many did he see? Is that possible? He says ‘Ten thousand’. No, it is the poet’s imagination.
- What was nature like? All was in a state of dance and joy, even the waves of the lake.
- How did the poet feel? He also felt happy because his mind was once more active, making order in a world which seemed disorderly and pointless so short a time before.
- Why does the author say ‘A poet’ in line 15? He speaks here of the poet in general, a man who, according to Wordsworth, has a ‘more lively sensibility’. Only such a man can find himself in a state of creative joy when placed in such a situation.
- What kind of state does the poet describe? What is described here is the poet’s capability not only of organising experience so that it becomes coherent and delightful, but also of recalling it at future times.
- Is this solitude similar to the loneliness of the first stanza? This kind of solitude is very different from the melancholy loneliness described at the beginning of the poem. In this condition the poet finds his heart dancing with joy, a joy which revives the pleasure experienced when he observed the dance of the daffodils in the breeze.
- What is the result of this experience? The experience is not lost, but may be recovered when wanted. When the poetic process makes the experience available once again, the daffodils ‘flash upon that inward eye / Which is the bliss of solitude’.
They are seen as ‘a crowd’ (line 3) which moves and dances. The device used is personification.
In these lines Wordsworth shows the daffodils as part of a universal order: they grow where they are meant to do, just as the stars in the Milky Way are fixed in their courses, because of the natural law which dictates their existence. In all creation man seems the only creature that is capable of feeling not at home, of wandering ‘lonely as a cloud’.
Nature is joyful and alive. It is a pantheistic view of nature.
The poet focuses on ‘the show’ (line 18). The rhythm falls with a special emphasis on the poet’s gazing (line 17), an act in which the poetic transformation is set to work by the visual perception but takes place spontaneously, without full consciousness on the poet’s part of what he is doing. It is only afterwards, in recollection, that the act is understood and described. When the poet saw the daffodils, he ‘little thought’ (line 17) about what they meant to him. The thought came later, and the poem is the record of that thought and of the intellectual delight it offers. It is imagination that enables man to enter into and give life and significance to the world.
The present tense. The shift to this tense underlines that the poet is recollecting the scene in a state of tranquillity.
4.12 Samuel Taylor Coleridge
- He was disillusioned with the French Revolution. After his disillusionment with the French Revolution, he and the poet Robert Southey (1774-1843) planned to move to America and to establish a utopian community in Pennsylvania, called ‘Pantisocracy’, where every economic activity would be done as a community, and private ownership would not exist. This project, however, came to nothing.
- His friendship with William Wordsworth was crucial for his literary output. Most of Coleridge’s best poetry was written in the years spent in the Lake District with the poet William Wordsworth.
- He contributed to the Lyrical Ballads. The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, his masterpiece written in 1798, is the first poem of the collection Lyrical Ballads.
- He became a literary critic. He finally settled in London, where he produced Biographia Literaria (1817), a text of literary criticism and autobiography.
- He explained his task as a poet in Biographia Literaria. He explained the dual task which he and Wordsworth had set themselves in the Lyrical Ballads. In contrast to Wordsworth’s preoccupation with subjects from ordinary life, his own task was to write about extraordinary events in a credible way.
The Rime of the Ancient Mariner
- wedding guest
- Polar regions
- was killed
- sacred law
- guilty soul
- Mariner’s life
- water snakes
- wedding guest
- What atmosphere pervades the whole poem? The atmosphere of the whole poem is full of mystery because of the combination of the supernatural and the real, of dream-like, nightmarish elements and visual realism. In fact natural elements are turned into supernatural pictures, common colours have a magic effect on the reader.
- Why are the characters of the ballad more types than human beings? The Mariner and his fellow shipmates are hardly characters in any dramatic sense. Their agonies are simply universally human. The Mariner does not speak as a moral agent, he is passive in guilt and remorse. When he acts, he does so blindly, under compulsion. From his paralysis of conscience the Mariner succeeds in gaining his authority, though he pays for it by remaining in the condition of an outcast. Coleridge makes him spectator as well as actor in the drama, so that he can tell even about his worst terrors with the calm of lucid retrospection.
- What is the role of nature in Coleridge’s poetry? Unlike Wordsworth, Coleridge did not view nature as a moral guide or a source of consolation and happiness. His contemplation of nature was always accompanied by the awareness of the presence of the ideal in the real. His strong Christian faith, however, did not allow him to identify nature with the divine, in that form of pantheism which Wordsworth adopted. Coleridge used the shapes and colours of nature to represent and symbolise emotional and mental states.
- What is the difference between The Rime and the traditional medieval ballads? It is the presence of a moral at the end, which makes The Rime a Romantic ballad.
- How has the poem been interpreted? It has been interpreted as the description of a dream, which allows the poet to relate the supernatural and the less conscious part of his psyche to a familiar experience; as an allegory of the life of the soul in its passage from sin, through punishment, to redemption; as a description of the poetic journey of Romanticism.
- What are the faculties of the mind, according to Coleridge? They are imagination and fancy.
- What are the main differences between primary and secondary imagination? ‘Primary imagination’ can be experienced by every human being; it is linked to perceptions; it is an unconscious process; it manifests itself through images which recall relevant sensorial experiences that happened in the past. ‘Secondary imagination’ is an echo of primary imagination; it can only be experienced by the poet, who consciously dissolves, dissipates the images linked to past experiences in order to re-create. The result of this process is the ‘new world’ of the poem created by the poet himself.
- What do Wordsworth’s ‘spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings’ and the emotion to be ‘recollected in tranquillity’ correspond to in Coleridge’s knowledge process? They correspond to Coleridge’s primary imagination.
- What is the power of fancy, according to Coleridge? It is inferior to imagination because it is not creative: it is a ‘mode of memory’, a kind of logical faculty which enables a poet to associate material already provided and blend it into beautiful images like metaphors, similes and other poetical devices.
T28 The killing of the Albatross
- Identify the setting in time and place.
The setting in place is a street and the occasion is a wedding feast.
- State how many characters are introduced.
The Mariner and the Wedding Guest are the main characters, but ‘secondary’ characters are also introduced: the two ‘Gallants’ (Argument), the guests (line 7), the bridegroom (line 5), the bride (line 33), the minstrels (line 36), the Albatross (caption), the helmsman (line 70) and the mariners (line 74).
- Focus on the ancient Mariner’s description; then complete the sentences below.
- The ancient Mariner is an old man (lines 1, 79).
- His beard is long and grey (lines 3, 11); his eyes are glittering (lines 3, 13) and bright (lines 20, 40); his hands are skinny (line 9).
- He turns out to be a magic character since he hypnotises the Wedding Guest (lines 14-18, 38).
- è troppo complicato da scrivere :)
- The Mariner kills the Albatross.
- The Rime is a ballad. Tick the characteristics of the old ballad form it contains.
- It tells a dramatic story in verse.
- It is mainly written in four-line stanzas.
- It is full of repetitions.
- It contains a sort of refrain. (See for example lines 9, 13; 18-20, 38-40).
- It deals with supernatural events.
- It is written in archaic language.
- It is a mixture of dialogue and narration.
- The narration of the voyage is interrupted twice by the other character: the Wedding Guest.
- Underline the two occasions - one of which is external to the narration, while the other is a sort of comment. The narration is first interrupted in lines 31-40 by the sound of the bassoon; then at the end of the last stanza (lines 79-80) when the Wedding Guest comments on the action of the Mariner.
- Describe the listener’s attitude on these occasions. On the first occasion he shows his restlessness and awareness of being late for the wedding feast by beating his breast; on the second occasion, instead, he shows himself more interested in the Mariner’s story.
- Focus on the natural elements the ship meets at the beginning of the voyage.
- What does the personal pronoun ‘he’ (line 41) refer to? What poetic device does the poet use?
The pronoun refers to the storm, which is represented as a huge bird chasing the ship with its large wings. It is presented through the device of personification by means of adjectives, nouns and verbs usually referring to human actions or to the animal world.
- What other elements come next (lines 51-62)?
Mist, snow, the ice and snowy ʻcliftsʼ.
- What atmosphere do they create?
C Mysterious and magic.
- What side of nature does the Albatross represent?
A Benign side.
- What does the personal pronoun ‘he’ (line 41) refer to? What poetic device does the poet use?
- set out
4.13 George Gordon Byron
- What were the main features of the Byronic hero? He was a passionate, moody, restless and mysterious man, who hid some horrible sin or secret in his past. He was characterised by proud individualism and the rejection of the conventional moral rules of society. He was an outsider, isolated and attractive at the same time. He was of noble birth, but wild and rough in his manners; his looks were hard, but handsome. He had a great sensibility to nature and beauty, but had grown bored with the excesses and excitements of the world. Women could not resist him, but he refused their love.
- How did Byron’s personality influence the Byronic hero? Byron’s poetry and life embodied the Romantic spirit. He was an unconventional aristocrat who, though rich and handsome, had a slight handicap, a deformed foot. As a student he not only drank, gambled and made brilliant conversation, but also began to write poetry that earned him a European reputation and exerted a significant influence on other writers. Byron firmly believed in individual liberty and hated any sort of constraint. He wished to be himself without compromises and he wanted all men to be free, and so went to fight against tyrants.
- What was Byron’s view of nature? Nature was not a source of consolation and joy, it did not embody any theory nor have any message to convey. The wildest exotic natural landscapes reflected the feelings of the isolated man.
- Was Byron’s poetry Romantic or classical? He continued to refer to 18th-century poetic diction and used a witty style to convey a satirical aim. However, his mood and the choice of his themes were Romantic.
The hero is a sort of magician.
He lives in a lonely tower in the Alps.
He invokes the spirits of the earth and air, or the waters.
His torment arises from an affair with his sister Astarte.
At the end he looks for a final solution in suicide.
Manfred as a Byronic hero: Solitary, driven by a sense of guilt, darkly handsome, tyrannical and passionate, but also kind, intellectual and brave.
Influences on the creation of the hero: The myth of Faust, Milton, the Gothic novel, and especially the archetypal figure of Cain as the man predestined to commit evil and to face damnation.
The narrator is Manfred himself.
The point of view is shifting, assembling different perspectives on Manfred through the other characters of the play.
The reader feels the same sense of exclusion as the hero.
T29 Manfred's torment
- Write down when and where the scene takes place.
- When: Midnight.
- Where: A Gothic gallery.
- The text is
A a monologue.
A is restless and continues to think.
- What do lines 10-11 mean?
C Having more knowledge than common man causes suffering.
- Focus on lines 13-27 and write the lines from the text which refer to these experiences made by Manfred.
- He has studied science and philosophy and tried his mind. Lines 13-16.
- He has done good actions and met good people. Lines 17-18.
- He has faced and defeated his enemies. Lines 19-20.
- He has experienced both good and evil but they have passed through him like water passes through the sand. Lines 21-23.
- All his aspirations and efforts have been useless and have bound him to damnation and lack of emotions. Lines 24-27.
- Consider lines 13-28 and find:
- a repetition of phrases: ‘But they avail not’/‘But this availed not’ (lines 17, 19, 21). It conveys Manfred’s critical mood and selfevaluation.
- a simile: ‘as rain unto the sands’ (line 23). It emphasises the fact that Manfred has gone beyond ordinary human experience.
- an apostrophe: ‘Now to my task’ (line 28). It underlines Manfred’s exercise of power.
- The phrase ‘Since that all-nameless hour’ (line 24) hints at a … in Manfred’s past.
B mysterious event
- Underline the elements of nature in lines 32-34.
‘the tops / Of mountains’ and ‘Earth’s and Ocean’s caves’.
- Consider lines 29-49 and write down:
- the task Manfred proposes to himself; He wants to raise the natural elements to his command.
- the spirits he is addressing; The spirits of the universe that surround the earth.
- the kind of power he has. A magical power stronger than all.
- Decide whether the following statements about the text are true or false. Correct the false ones.
- It describes Manfred’s past. F It provides only fragments of Manfred’s past.
- It catches the character in a moment of crisis. T
- It dramatises the portrait of an extraordinary temperament. T
- It introduces Manfred as our main source of information. T
- It hints at the character’s plans for the future. T
- It conveys some philosophical speculations. T
- It gives an insight into other characters. F No other characters are mentioned.
- Describe what kind of personality emerges from Manfred’s words. Write a few sentences using some of the adjectives from the box or adding others if you wish.
Manfred is a solitary, tormented and enigmatic character. He is selfconfident since he believes in his power and sounds excited when he tries to exercise it.
- In Manfred Byron explores the theme of the overreacher.
- What has Manfred been seeking beyond the limits of ordinary humanity? Knowledge.
- Has he made a pact with the devil? No, he does not mention it.
- What power has he achieved? His mind has given him dominion over and beyond the elements.
- Has his transgression brought him punishment? Yes, there is a curse on him.
4.14 Percy Bysshe Shelley
- He was a revolutionary thinker. He rebelled early against his conventional background and in 1811 he was expelled from Oxford University because of his radical pamphlet The Necessity of Atheism (1811), challenging the existence of God. He moved from place to place, including Ireland, where he made revolutionary propaganda against Catholicism and English rule. He rebelled against existing religions, laws and customs; he became a republican, a vegetarian and an advocate of free love.
- He was interested in the occult sciences and in scientific experiments. His contempt for traditional forms of religion was matched by an interest in the occult sciences and in scientific experiments.
- His private life was restless. At the age of 19, he married the 16-year-old Harriet Westbrook. They had two children and moved from place to place. When he and his wife came back to England, they realised their marriage was not working and separated. Eventually, he eloped with Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin to Switzerland, where they met Byron. In 1818 they went to live in Italy, in voluntary exile, where Percy’s life was cut short by an accident: while sailing near Livorno, he was drowned during a storm.
- He wrote his best works while in voluntary exile in Italy. He wrote: Ode to the West Wind (1819); To a Skylark (1820); The Cenci (1819), a verse tragedy; Prometheus Unbound (1820), a lyrical drama dealing with the theme of intellectual rebellion, the desire for spiritual liberty and the belief that evil would be overcome by the power of love; Adonais (1821), an elegy written in honour of John Keats; A Defence of Poetry (1821), an unfinished essay concerning the importance of poetry.
- He died very young. His life was cut short by an accident in 1822: while sailing near Livorno, he was drowned during a storm.
Suggestion: The key ideas of the text are: poetry as the expression of imagination; Shelley’s view of nature as a veil hiding the eternal truth of the divine spirit and as a shelter from the disappointment and injustice of the ordinary world; the task of the poet, who is seen as a prophet and a titan challenging the cosmos; the importance of freedom and love as remedies for the faults and evils of society.
- What were the central themes of Shelley’s works? They were freedom and love. Through love Shelley believed that man could overcome any political, moral and social conventions.
- What role did imagination play, according to Shelley? Shelley’s essay A Defence of Poetry is where his belief in nature and the function of poetry is expressed most fully. It presents a lively defence of poetry as the expression of imagination which should be understood as revolutionary creativity, capable of changing the reality of an increasingly material world.
- What nature did he describe? Shelley’s nature, unlike Wordsworth’s, is not the real world, but a beautiful veil hiding the eternal truth of the divine spirit. Nature provides him with images, such as the wind and the clouds, and symbols for the creation of his cosmic schemes. Nature also represents a shelter from the disappointment and injustice of the ordinary world, the expression of his dreams and of his hopes for a better future.
- Who is the poet, according to him? He is both a prophet and a titan challenging the cosmos. His task is to help mankind to reach an ideal world where freedom, love and beauty replace tyranny.
- What are the main features of his style? Shelley’s verse covers a wide range of metric and stanzaic forms. He was a master of traditional verse forms, such as the couplet, blank verse and Dante’s terza rima; he moved from the political ballad to the classical elegy, but he is best remembered for his short lyric poetry.
4.15 John Keats
- Born: In London in 1795.
- Origin: A modest but reasonably well-off family; the first of five children.
- Education: He attended a private school in Enfield and, following the early deaths of his father (killed in a riding accident) and mother (of tuberculosis), he decided to study to become a surgeon in 1810. Seven years later he gave up medicine for poetry.
- Main interest: Poetry.
- Family problems: The early deaths of his father, and of his mother and brother because of tuberculosis; his ever-frail health which deteriorated rapidly.
- His great year: In 1819 he wrote a series of masterful poems: The Eve of St Agnes, characterised by those features which are conventionally called ‘Romantic’; the ballad La Belle Dame sans Merci, which shows a taste for medieval themes and form; the great odes: Ode to a Nightingale, Ode on a Grecian Urn, To Autumn, Ode on Melancholy and To Psyche; Hyperion, which shows the influence of Milton in its sonorous blank verse.
- Death: In 1820 the symptoms of tuberculosis became evident in Keats. In September of the same year he travelled to Italy in an effort to recover his health but died in Rome in February 1821. He was buried in the Protestant cemetery in Rome.
- When was Keats re-valued? When Keats died, he was hardly known outside his own literary circle, and even there it was taken for granted that his work was doomed to total neglect and obscurity. Many years later Matthew Arnold (1822-88), the most important Victorian critic of English literature, said of Keats, ‘He is with Shakespeare’, and there has never been a more complete judgement.
- What is the substance of his poetry? Unlike the lyrics of Shelley and Byron, Keats’s lyrical poems are not fragments of a continual spiritual autobiography. It is true that the odes of 1819 contain some deeply felt personal experiences, however, these are not the substance but the background. His use of the poetical personal pronoun ‘I’ is not linked to an individual within the context of his time, but stands for a universal ‘I’. His poetry rarely identifies scenes and landscapes with subjective moods and emotions. There is no sense of mystery or Wordsworth’s pantheistic conviction.
- What role does imagination play in his poems? For Keats imagination had a supreme value and it was this that made him a Romantic poet. His idea of imagination was twofold: first, the world of his poetry is artificial, one that he imagines; second, his poetry comes from imagination, meaning that most of his work, even most of the odes, is a vision of what he would like human life to be, stimulated by his own experience of pain and misery.
- Who is the poet and what is his task? In Keats’s view, the poet has ‘negative capability’. By this he meant the poet’s capability to deny his certainties and personality in order to identify with the object which he sees as the source of his inspiration and the place where truth lives. If the poet manages to rely on this negative capability, he can find sensations, which are the basis of knowledge leading to beauty and truth. This allows him to write poetry.
- What is the central theme of his works? The contemplation of beauty.
- What is the difference between physical and spiritual beauty? The poet’s first awareness of beauty proceeds from the senses, from concrete physical sensations. All the senses are involved in this process. This ‘physical beauty’ is caught in all nature’s forms, in the colours it displays, in the sweetness of its perfumes, in the shape of a flower, in a woman. Beauty can also produce a much deeper experience of joy, as Keats affirmed in the opening line of Endymion, ‘A thing of beauty is a joy for ever’. This joy introduces a sort of ‘spiritual beauty’, that is the one of love, friendship and poetry. Physical beauty is linked to life, enjoyment, decay and death, while spiritual beauty is related to eternity. Keats identifies beauty and truth as the only true types of knowledge.
T31 La Belle dame sans Merci
- 1st section (lines 1-12): The meeting between a knight and a lady.
- 2nd section (lines 13-28): The knight’s involvement with the lady.
- 3rd section (lines 29-32): The climax of the story: the knight and the lady kiss each other.
- 4th section (lines 33-48): The knight’s dream and explanation of his situation.
- Highlighted in yellow: the landscape What season is described? Late autumn.
- Red dots: the knight’s physical appearance
- Highlighted in light blue: the knight’s actions
- Highlighted in pink: two metaphors are used to describe the knight’s physical features. His pallor is compared first to the whiteness of a lily, which is here associated with death, then to a rose which quickly withers
- Pink words: words and phrases used to describe ‘La Belle Dame’ What semantic areas are these words associated with? Beauty and magic.
- Violet words: the lady’s actions
- // expressions linked to the love between the lady and the knight.
What is the nature of this feeling? Sensual.
- Highlighted in grey: repetition of words belonging to the semantic area of magic
- Orange words: the knight’s dream
What do these people share with the knight? Their being death-pale.
- Boxes: from the verb ‘to lull’ to the verb ‘to dream’ (The rest of this stanza and the next two stanzas are about the knight’s dream.)
These lines highlight the consequences of the knight’s dream.
- An unidentified passer-by.
- The knight and the landscape surrounding him.
- Is there any correspondence between the landscape and the knight? Nature mirrors the knight’s sorrowful mood.
- The refrain. The repeated words and phrases increase musicality, underline particular concepts and help create a mysterious atmosphere.
- The knight.
- In stanza 7, which is devoted entirely to the lady. In stanza 8 the lady takes a dominant position in lines 29-30 (‘She took me’, ‘she gazed and sigh’d’).
- She stands for evil and belongs to the tradition of femmes fatales. She seduces the knight with her beauty and her sensual love (‘roots of relish sweet, / And honey wild, and manna dew’). The vision of the pale men in the knight’s dream suggests that she is destructive.
- The first three stanzas are balanced by the last three stanzas. The poem returns to where it started, so that it has a circular movement; to reinforce the connection between the opening and the ending, Keats uses the same language (for example ‘I see’ (line 9) and ‘I saw’ (lines 37, 41), ‘The sedge is wither’d from the lake, / And no birds sing’ in lines 3-4, and 47-48).
- A mysterious atmosphere.
- The wasting power of sensual love.
- This poem is written in four-line stanzas; there are several examples of repetition which underline particular concepts; it has a refrain; simple language and some archaisms are employed; it tells a dramatic story in verse; it is a mixture of dialogue and narration; it deals with supernatural events and the destructiveness of love.
- is wandering
- has withered
- focuses on
4.16 Jane Austen
- a small village
- by her father
- was published
- most mature
- after her death
- brother Henry
- well established
- Suggestion: Jane Austen is regarded as the master of the novel of manners. From 18th-century novelists she learned the insight into the psychology of the characters and the subtleties of the ordinary events of life, like balls, walks, tea parties and visits to friends and neighbours. From Henry Fielding in particular, she derived the omniscient narrator and the technique of bringing the character into existence through dialogue. Her style was also characterised by the use of verbal and situational irony, rather than by open interpretation or comment on the action. She wrote about the oldest England, based on the possession of land, parks and country houses; in her stories people from different counties get married as a result of the growing social mobility. Austen had no place for great passions; her real concern was with people, and the analysis of character and conduct. Romantic love gives Jane Austen a focus where individual values can achieve high definition, usually in conflict with the social code that encourages marriages for money and social standing. Her treatment of love and sexual attraction is in line with her general view that strong impulses and intensely emotional states should be regulated, controlled and brought to order by private reflection.
Pride and Prejudice
- Where is the novel set? It is set in Longbourn, a small country village in Hertfordshire, where Mr and Mrs Bennet live with their five daughters: Jane,Elizabeth, Mary, Lydia and Kitty.
- Are Elizabeth and Darcy the typical heroine and hero of the sentimental novel? Why? No, they have weaknesses that are in a kind of critical antithesis to the conventional heroes and heroines of the sentimental novels. Darcy is selfcentred and unsociable. Elizabeth has a strong spirit of independence and refuses to take on the roles which her family or socially superior people try to impose on her. Both Elizabeth and Darcy show an imperfect understanding of themselves and each other. She accuses him of pride and he accuses her of prejudice. These accusations are partly well-founded, but also work in reverse: she is proud, and her pride blinds her to his virtues; he is prejudiced by his upbringing and is disgusted by the vulgar behaviour of Elizabeth’s mother and sisters.
- What is the central theme of the novel? Both hero and heroine are involved in a journey towards self-awareness and self-knowledge.
- How is marriage presented? It is presented from several points of view: in terms of security and independence (Charlotte Lucas and Mr Collins); arising out of physical infatuation (Lydia and Wickham, and Mr and Mrs Bennet); containing elements of love and prudence (Jane and Bingley, and Elizabeth and Darcy).
- What narrative techniques are employed by Austen? Irony; third-person narration, in which the reader mainly shares Elizabeth’s point of view; first-person narrative in the many letters (epistolary technique). Furthermore, Austen’s work comes alive for the reader in the vividness of the characters and the brightness of dialogue often quoted directly, without the mediation of the narrator.
T32 Mr and Mrs Bennet
- in want
- give over
- quick parts
- She would like him to make the acquaintance of Mr Bingley so as to introduce their daughters to him.
- He does not seem interested and makes ironical remarks
- To marry off her daughters
- Lizzy (line 42), because she is lively and clever (lines 46-47).
The main narrative mode is dialogue. In the first and last paragraphs there is the voice of the omniscient narrator
He is reserved, sarcastic and clever; she is rather ignorant and moody, apparently interested only in manners and in getting her daughters married
|Important concepts||Quotations from the text|
|Irony||‘It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife’ (lines 1-2)|
|Theme of wealth||‘A single man of large fortune; four or five thousand a year’ (line 20)|
|Theme of marriage||‘You must know that I am thinking of his marrying one of them’ (lines 23-24)|
|Omniscient narrator||‘Mr Bennet was so odd a mixture of quick parts, sarcastic humour, reserve, and caprice’ (line 57)|
From Text to Screen: Pride & Prejudice
- The first shot shows geese in the courtyard and a man feeding them.
- A girl, Elizabeth, is walking across the courtyard.
- She climbs the stairs and stops to listen to a middle-aged couple speaking inside.
- The woman is speaking about Netherfield Park, which has been let.
- Elizabeth comes into the house.
- She turns to Kitty, her sister, asking her not to listen at the door.
- Why are the three girls at the door so excited? Because a Mr Bingley coming from the North has rented Netherfield Park.
- Who is ‘single’? Mr Bingley.
- What is his annual income? Five thousand pounds.
- Why is Mrs Bennet apparently annoyed with her husband? Because he does not seem to be interested in a possible future marriage between one of his daughters and Mr Bingley.
- What does she ask him? She asks him to go and visit Mr Bingley at once.
- Is the man surprised at seeing his daughters at the door? No, he is not.
- How many daughters does the couple have? Five daughters.
- What does Mrs Bennet complain about? She complains about her husband’s lack of respect for her nerves.
- How does Mr Bennet answer her? He calmly says that Mrs Bennet’s nerves have been his constant companions for twenty years.
- What does he unexpectedly reveal? He has already visited Mr Bingley.
- What does Kitty ask her father? She asks him whether Mr Bingley is handsome.
- How does Elizabeth reply? She sharply replies that with 5,000 pounds a year it would not matter if he had warts.
- What will Mr Bennet consent to? He will consent to Mr Bingley’s marrying whichever girl he chooses among his five daughters.
- Why are the girls so happy at the end? Because Mr Bingley will come to the ball on the following evening.
A lively, exciting and frivolous atmosphere.
- Elizabeth: lively, witty, attractive
- Mrs Bennet: frivolous, excitable, narrow-minded, susceptible
- Mr Bennet: intelligent, calm
- the camera follows the movements of the characters; At the beginning the camera follows Elizabeth while walking, climbing the stairs and coming into the house; then the camera follows Mr and Mrs Bennet while they are going into the sitting room followed by their daughters.
- the camera focuses on a detail; When Mrs Bennet is seen through the door left ajar.
- the camera is fixed. Nearly at the end of the sequence, when the camera is fixed on Mr Bennet.
They are the relationship between the individual and society, the contrast between imagination and reason, and marriage.
- public debt
- the population increased
- mass consumption
- leading sector
- steam engine
- coal mine
- carry out repairs
- trade unions
- The Declaration of American Independence: On 4th July 1776 in Philadelphia, the Congress, made up by the representatives from 13 of the colonies, signed the Declaration of Independence, largely written by Thomas Jefferson, a lawyer from Virginia. It claimed that all men had a natural right to ‘life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness’. It also stated that governments can only claim the right to rule if they have the approval of those they govern, that is, ‘the consent of the governed’. The new republic of the United States of America adopted a federal constitution in 1787 and George Washington became the first President in 1789.
- Enclosures and agriculture: The population increased in the 1500s and 1600s, and agriculture was intensified. First, open fields were enclosed into smaller portions of land to make more efficient arable farms. Moreover, the soil was drained and made more fertile, so that cereal production was greatly increased. Finally, animals were bred selectively, producing more meat.
- Economic change and technological innovation: Clothing marked the beginning of the Industrial Revolution because mass consumption of machine-made goods started. Cotton was the leading sector of industrialisation. More and more people began to consume things for pleasure, like tobacco, tea, coffee, sugar or alcohol. A succession of technological innovations transformed and improved the productivity of workers - some examples are Newcomen’s and Watt’s steam engines, Hargreaves’s Spinning Jenny and Cartwright’s loom. Heavy investment in technological development increased and innovation became linked to energy generated from coal. This changed the geography of the country, concentrating the new industrial activity near the coalfields of the Midlands and the North. Small towns, the so-called ‘mushroom towns’, were constructed to house the workers near the factories. Industrial labour imposed new work patterns: long working hours were about 65-70 a week. Industrial cities lacked elementary public services - water-supply, sanitation, streetcleaning, open spaces -; the air and the water were polluted by smoke and filth; the houses, built in endless rows, were overcrowded.
- The French Revolution: In France the principles of social equality of the Enlightenment led to the Revolution in 1789. In 1792 the French abolished the monarchy and declared their country a republic. The hopes aroused by the Revolution were bitterly disillusioned when, in 1793, the royal family and thousands of people considered as enemies of the Revolution were executed during a period called the ‘Reign of Terror’.
By 1797 the French general Napoleon Bonaparte had defeated much of Europe and was effectively ruling France as a military dictator. However, Napoleon’s victories in Europe were balanced by Britain’s supremacy at sea. The hero of the British navy was Admiral Horatio Nelson, who was killed at his great victory over the French and Spanish off Cape Trafalgar in 1805. Later the Duke of Wellington led British soldiers to victories in Portugal. Napoleon, weakened by his disastrous invasion of Russia, surrendered in 1814. His ‘100 Days’ in 1815 ended in his final defeat at the hands of Wellington at the Battle of Waterloo.
- William Pitt the Younger’s policy; Pitt tried to simplify the financial system and reduce the national debt. He promoted profitable trade and finance and supported Adam Smith’s theory of laissez-faire. In 1801 the Act of Union joined Ireland and Britain to form the new United Kingdom. The Irish flag was added to create the Union Jack that is still used today.
- Adam Smith’s philosophy; Outlined in The Wealth of Nations (1776), Smith’s philosophy of economic liberalism encouraged free trade and economic self-interest, and stressed the division of labour.
- George III’s ‘royal madness’ and the Regency; George III suffered the first attack of what the doctors defined as severe mental confusion. The famous ‘royal madness’ was actually due to porphyria, a hereditary condition. In 1810 George III became totally incapable of reigning and in 1811 his son George, the future George IV, was made Prince Regent. The following period is known as the ‘Regency’ (1811-20).
- the Luddites; Named after their leader Ned Ludd, the rioters smashed the new machines which they believed had taken their work away.
- social unrest at the beginning of the 19th century; Social unrest frightened the authorities that tried to repress discontent under many laws allowing arrest without trial, forbidding the combination of working men into trade unions, and silencing the freedom of expression. The most serious incident was at St Peter’s Fields in Manchester in 1819, where a peaceful crowd, who had come to hear the radical Henry ‘Orator’ Hunt (1773-1835), was fired on by the local militia. Coming so soon after the victory over Napoleon’s tyranny at Waterloo, this ‘massacre’ was ironically named ‘Peterloo’.
- the Great Reform Act; It was passed in 1832 in spite of strong opposition. It extended the vote to almost all male members of the middle classes and re-distributed seats on a more equitable basis in the counties.
- the Factory Act. It was passed in 1833. It limited factory employment of children under 9.
|pastoral poetry||William Cowper||celebration of country life for its simplicity and domesticity; nature as a source of innocence and delight|
|nature poetry||James Thompson||nature seen in its physical, rather than abstract, details; wild scenery; reflections on the primitive man, who was contrasted with civilised man|
|Ossianic poetry||James Macpherson||cult of simple, primitive life; melancholy and suffering produced by war or by contrasting love; description of a wild, gloomy nature|
|Graveyard School||Thomas Gray, Edward Young||melancholy, ruins, cemeteries, stormy landscapes|
- imagination; It gained a primary role in the process of poetic composition. Thanks to the eye of the imagination Romantic poets could see beyond surface reality and discover a truth beyond the powers of reason. An almost divine faculty, imagination allowed the poet to re-create and modify the external world of experience.
- the role of the poet; The poet was seen as a visionary prophet or as a teacher whose task was to mediate between man and nature, to point out the evils of society, to give voice to the ideals of freedom, beauty and truth.
- childhood; There was serious interest about the experience and insights of childhood. To the Augustan Age, a child was important only in so far as he would become an adult and civilised being. Childhood was considered a temporary state, a necessary stage in the process leading to adulthood. To a Romantic, a child was purer than an adult because he was unspoilt by civilisation. His uncorrupted sensitiveness meant he was even closer to God and the sources of creation, therefore childhood was a state to be admired and cultivated.
- the importance of the individual; There was new emphasis on the significance of the individual. The Romantics saw man in a solitary state, and stressed the special qualities of each individual’s mind. They exalted the atypical, the outcast, the rebel.
- the cult of the exotic; Jacques Rousseau’s theories influenced the ‘cult of the exotic’, that is, the veneration of what is far away both in space and in time. Not only did the Romantic poets welcome the picturesque in scenery, but also the remote and the unfamiliar in custom and social outlook.
- nature; The Romantic poets regarded nature as a living force and, in a pantheistic vein, as the expression of God in the universe. Nature became a main source of inspiration, a stimulus to thought, a source of comfort and joy, and a means to convey moral truths.
- poetic diction. As regards poetic technique, breaking free from models and rules, the Romantic poets searched for a new, individual style through the choice of a language and subject suitable to poetry. The problem of poetic diction was a central issue in Romantic aesthetics. More vivid and familiar words began to replace the artificial circumlocutions of 18th-century diction; symbols and images lost their decorative function to assume a vital role as the vehicles of the inner visionary perceptions.
- The Gothic novel
- Setting: mysterious abbeys and convents with hidden passages and dungeons; isolated castles; ruins; night-time
- Narrative technique: complex plots; embedded narratives
- Characters: the wanderer or outcast in perpetual exile; heroine afflicted with unreal terrors and persecuted by a villain; supernatural beings (monsters, vampires, ghosts)
- Themes: horror; evil; atrocities
- The novel of manners
- Setting: upper and middle levels of society; generally in the English countryside
- Narrative technique: third-person narrator; dialogue as the main narrative mode; use of irony
- Characters: the country gentry and the urban upper-middle class
- Themes: marriage as social and economic status; the complications of love and friendship; money and property; decorum and propriety
- The historical novel
- Setting: historical context, particularly the period of the Middle Ages
- Narrative technique: mix of historical truths and fiction; Sir Walter Scott: extensive use of Scottish dialect to celebrate the glorious past of the country and its independence from England; Alessandro Manzoni: no regional inflections to create a national consciousness
- Characters: national heroes
- Themes: national identity; history as the product of human decisions
5. The Victorian Age
5.1 Queen Victoria’s reign
Ascended to the throne: 1837
Ruled for: almost 64 years
Married Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha in 1840 Had nine children
Gave her husband the title of Prince Consort in 1857
|1832||First Reform Act||Transferred voting privileges from the small boroughs, controlled by the nobility and the gentry, to the large industrial towns, like Birmingham and Manchester|
|1833||Factory Act||Prevented children aged 9 to 13 from being employed more than 48 hours a week, and no person between 13 and 18 could work more than 72 hours a week.|
|1834||Poor Law Amendment Act||Reformed the old Poor Laws, dating from Elizabeth I, with the creation of workhouses which became a deterrent against poverty.|
|1846||Abolition of the Corn Laws||End of tariffs on imported corn.|
|1867||Second Reform Act||Enfranchised part of the urban male working class in England and Wales.|
|1872||Ballot Act||Introduced the secret ballot.|
The term refers to the reorganisationof the political parties that took place during the Victorian Age. The Liberal Party was formed by the former Whigs, some Radicals and a large minority of businessmen, while the Tory Party had become the Conservative Party in the 1830s.
5.2 The Victorian compromise
- why the Victorian Age was complex; It was a time of unprecedented change but also of great contradictions, an age in which progress, reforms and political stability coexisted with poverty adn injustice. Listening to sermons was a popular pastime, yet vices were openly indulged. Modernity was praised but there was a revival of Gothic and Classicism in art.
- the role of religion in people’s lives; Religion played an important role in people’s lives; Evangelicalism, in particular, encouraged public and political action and created a lot of charities. Philanthropy led to the creation of societies which addressed every kind of poverty and depended especially on the voluntary efforts of middle-class women.
- the concept of freedom; It was linked with religion as regarded freedom of conscience, with optimism over economic and political progress, and with national identity.
- what respectability implied; It implied selfrestraint, good manners and self-help.
- views of women; Women were seen at the same time as physically weaker but morally superior, divine guides and inspirers of men. They controlled the family budget and brought up the children.
- general attitudes to sex. There was an intense concern for female chastity, and single women with a child were marginalised as ‘fallen women’. Sexuality was generally repressed in both its public and private forms, and moralising ‘prudery’ in its most extreme manifestations led to the denunciation of nudity in art, the veiling of sculptured genitals and the rejection of words with a sexual connotation from everyday vocabulary.
Reading and Use of English – Part 5
- commercial railway
- London to Bristol
- 2,400 miles
- unskilled labourers / navvies
- cheaper transportation
- further away
5.3 Victorian thinkers
- made for
- Jeremy Bentham’s.
- According to their consequences on general welfare. An action was judged as morally right if it had consequences that led to happiness, and wrong if it brought about the reverse.
- The middle class.
- He believed that legislation should try to help men develop their natural talents and personalities.
- His idea of progress was linked to mental energy, education and art.
- He supported various reforms including the causes of popular education, trade union organisation, the development of cooperatives, the extension of representation to all citizens, and the emancipation of women.
- Newchallenges came from the fields of geology, biology, archaeology and astronomy. For example, geologists found fossils in rocks and began to question the Book of Genesis, and Darwin’s theories seemed to show that the universe was not static but perpetually developing.
- They hadevolved from less highly organised forms through a slow process of change and adaptation in a struggle for survival
- Favourable physical conditions.
- Originated in Oxford
- Led by the English cardinal John Henry Newman
- Returned to ancient doctrines and rituals
5.5 The American Civil War
|industrialised; growth of white population; emancipation||still based on the vast plantations of tobacco and cotton, and on slavery; inhabited by 4 million black slaves; rigidly divided class system|
|Abolitionists||Supporters of slavery|
|Who they were||Northern writers, intellectuals and religious associations.||The southern States.|
|What they said||They attacked the exploitation of slaves, the separation from their families, the cruelty they suffered and the fact that they were given no education.||They held that slavery was an institution which gave the blacks employment, protection and taught them the principles of Christian faith.|
- Causes: The economic differences between the northern and southern regions; Abraham Lincoln’s refusal to concede that any American State had the constitutional right to withdraw from the Union.
- Consequences: It led to the abolition of slavery through the 13th Amendment to the Constitution in 1865; it defined the United States as an indivisible nation with a sovereign national government.
- They were not granted equality and economic security. They were free but without money and a home. Some migrated to the industrial cities in the North, others remained with their old masters in the South, who, impoverished by the war, could not afford to pay wages, but would share the crops with the workers and provide them with tools and a cabin. A wave of resentment and violence, embodied by the racist ‘Ku Klux Klan’ movement, frightened the blacks and their families. The so-called ‘black codes’ were created, which segregated the blacks in schools, hospitals and means of transport.
- The myth of the selfmade man who went from ‘rags to riches’. Men like Cornelius Vanderbilt and John Rockefeller who rose from nothing and made big fortunes.
- The discovery of gold in California in 1848-49, which resulted in the ‘gold rush’; then the Homestead Act (1862), which granted free soil to the first occupants. This migration westwards had two main consequences: it led to the disappearance of the frontier and to the extermination of buffaloes, with the consequent starvation of the American Indians, who were subjugated, mass-deported or brutally exterminated. Cattlemen - the cowboys - became the new Western symbols, so deeply rooted in American tradition.
5.7 Victorian poetry
- the features of the two kinds of poetry which emerged in the Victorian Age; Poetry became more concerned with social reality. This led on the one hand to the creation of grand poetry linked to the myth and belief of the greatness of England; on the other hand to the creation of poetry more inclined towards anti-myth and disbelief which had to solve the ethical problems raised by science and progress.
- the new image of the poet. The poet was seen as a ‘prophet’ and a ‘philosopher’. People expected that he could reconcile faith and progress, as well as sprinkle a little romance over the unromantic materialism of modern life. Optimists believed that the benefits of progress could be reached without altering the traditional social organisation or destroying the beauty of the countryside; they wanted to find a corresponding attitude in poets and to be told that modern life was as susceptible to romantic behaviour as the remote legends of King Arthur or the Italian Renaissance.
They were Alfred Tennyson; Robert Browning, who is remembered for his best ‘dramatic monologues’; Elizabeth Barrett Browning, who wrote beautiful love sonnets; Gerard Manley Hopkins, famous for his unconventional use of rhythm; and Matthew Arnold, who used poetry to express his dissatisfaction with the world he lived in.
- narrative poem
- the speaker is caught in a crucial moment of crisis
- the speaker is a character, who cannot be identified with the poet himself
- interest in human psychology
- different points of view
- argumentative tone
- Find out:
- A what Porphyria’s lover decided to do; He decided to kill her
- B how he strangled her; He strangled her by winding her hair around her throat three times.
- C what he did after the murder. He opened her lids, untightened the tresses about her neck and propped up her head.
- Focus on the last three lines. Describe the present situation. What is the relationship between the past and the present? After murdering the woman, the speaker feels he has got supreme power over her. Both in the past and in the present the man is sitting with his lover Porphyria (note the use of the personal pronoun ‘we’ in lines 28-29).
- Concentrate on the two characters: the speaker, whose personality is unwittingly revealed as he speaks, and Porphyria, seen through the eyes of her lover. Describe their moods and personalities. The speaker is mentally alienated, cool, murderous and pitiless. Porphyria is ingenuous, innocent, warm and good.
- Think about the epilogue: is it a case of lucid insanity or sublime love? Why? Student’s activity. Suggestion: It may be a case of lucid insanity. Browning gives no answer; therefore, both hypotheses may be acceptable according to the students’ personality.
- How would you define the tone of the monologue? It is cool and reflective.
5.8 The Victorian novel
- A close relationship between writers and readers The close relationship between writers and readers was due to the enormous growth of the middle classes who, although consisting of people of many different levels where literacy had penetrated in a heterogeneous way, were avid consumers of literature. Moreover, Victorian writers themselves often belonged to the middle class.
- Circulating libraries People borrowed books from circulating libraries and read the abundant variety of periodicals.
- The publishing world A great deal of Victorian literature was first published in instalments in the pages of periodicals, which allowed the writer to feel he was in constant contact with his public and to alter the story whenever necessary. Reviewers also had a strong influence on the reception of literary works and on the shaping of public opinion.
- A novel with new features The spread of scientific knowledge made the novel realistic and analytical, the spread of democracy made it social and humanitarian, while the spirit of moral unrest made it inquisitive and critical.
- A novel deeply linked to society In the 1840s novelists felt they had a moral and social responsibility to fulfil. They wanted to reflect the social changes that had been in progress for a long time, such as the Industrial Revolution, the struggle for democracy and the growth of towns and cities. The novelists of the first part of the Victorian period described society as they saw it, and, with the exception of those sentiments which offended current morals, particularly regarding sex, nothing escaped their scrutiny. They were aware of the evils of their society, such as the terrible conditions of manual workers and the exploitation of children. They also conceived literature as a vehicle to correct the vices and weaknesses of the age.
- The role of the narrator The voice of the omniscient narrator provided a comment on the plot and erected a rigid barrier between ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ behaviours, light and darkness. Retribution and punishment were to be found in the final chapter of the novel, where the whole texture of events, adventures and incidents had to be explained and justified.
- A new approach to setting The setting chosen by most Victorian novelists was the city, which was the main symbol of the industrial civilisation as well as the expression of anonymous lives and lost identities.
- The new characters In their effort to portray the individual motives for human action and all that binds men and women to the community, Victorian writers concentrated on the creation of realistic characters the public could easily identify with, in terms of comedy (especially Dickens’s characters) or dramatic passion (the Brontë sisters’ heroines).
- The main trends in Victorian novels The main trends in Victorian novels were the novel of manners, the humanitarian novel, the novel of formation, and literary nonsense.
- Women writers The increase in the output of women writers in the Victorian Age is surprising considering the state of subjection of women at the time, but it is less so if one remembers that the majority of novel-buyers and readers were women. Middle-class women had more time to spend at home than men and could devote part of the day to reading. However, it was not easy to get published, and some women used a male pseudonym in order to see their work in print.
- Novel of manners
- main representative: William M. Thackeray
- main features: it dealt with economic and social problems and described a particular class or situation
- Humanitarian novel main
- representative: Charles Dickens
- main features: it could be divided into novels of a ‘realistic’, ‘fantastic’ or ‘moral’ nature according to their predominant tone or issue dealt with
- Novel of formation
- main representatives: Charlotte Brontë and Charles Dickens
- main features: it dealt with one character’s development from early youth to some sort of maturity
- Literary nonsense
- main representatives: Edward Lear and Lewis Carroll
- main features: it portrayed a nonsensical universe where the social rules and conventions are disintegrated, the cause-effect relationship does not exist, and time and space have lost their function of giving an order to human experience.
5.7 American Renaissance
- The term did not indicate the rebirth of something, but the beginning of a truly American literature, with themes and a style of its own.
- It could still be traced in the flourishing of symbols and emblems, as well as in the use of allegory that writers such as Nathaniel Hawthorne and Herman Melville widely employed in their works.
- Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-82) led the Transcendental Club and expressed his philosophy, called ‘Transcendentalism’, in his essay Nature (1836). His ideas developed under various influences, including English Romanticism, German Idealism, political liberalism and eastern mysticism, which Emerson combined in a new, ‘American’ way.
- All reality was seen as a single unity (oneness and multiplicity were the same thing), a concept which well suited the reality of the ‘melting pot’, of a country where people from all over the world formed a national unity.
- Contact with nature was the best means to reach truth and awareness of the unity of all things. Emerson saw nature according to its ‘uses’: as a commodity, as a source of beauty and symbolic images, as discipline in educating man to understanding and reason.
- It was the spiritual principle linking everything together.
- Man was the emanation of the over-soul, and the emphasis lay on his individuality, on his selfeducation.
- Walt Whitman, Emily Dickinson and Henry David Thoreau.
- He stated his belief in the individual’s right to resist the power and the laws of the State when they were in conflict with his own honest, moral convictions.
5.8 Aestheticism and Decadence
- where and when the Aesthetic Movement began; It developed in the universities and intellectual circles in the last decades of the 19th cnetury. It began in France with Théophile Gautier.
- what it reflected and reacted against; It reflected the sense of frustration and uncertainty of the artist; his reaction against the materialism, monotony, vulgarity and restrictive moral code of the bourgeoisie; and his need to redefine the role of art.
- what its motto was; ‘Art for Art’s Sake’.
- how the aesthete lived; He lived unconventionally, pursuing sensation and excess, and cultivating art and beauty.
- who its main theorist was in England. Walter Pater.
- The message of his works was subversive and potentially demoralising; it appealed especially to the young.
- The only way to halt the passage of time was art.
- Life should be lived as a work of art, filling each passing moment with intense experience, feeling all kinds of sensations.
- The artist’s task was to feel sensations and to experience beauty.
- As a result, art did not have to be didactic.
- the artist’s attitude; It was hedonistic, sensuous, disenchanted with contemporary society and very much self centred.
- his choice of subjects; They were sensual and sometimes perverse.
- his use of language. It was evocative.
5.9 Victorian drama
The factors that can explain this situation are: the rise of the novel; the power of theatrical managers, who decided what plays might appeal to the audience and give financial returns; the presence of great actors and actresses whose virtuosity often turned very poor plays into great success; and the fact that the rich middle classes did not appreciate drama as a form of art.
- They were smaller and more comfortable than the ones built in the previous century, and the new methods of lighting the stage were capable of producing more realistic effects; therefore, actors were given the opportunity of developing a subtler style of performance.
- They were much longer and more detailed, and they served various purposes: they illustrated aspects of the characters’ personalities, they described in detail their actions or gestures and conveyed the author’s comments. The developments in stage techniques meant that theatre productions were far more complicated, and instructions were needed. When the electric lighting was introduced in theatres, it greatly affected how performances were staged; in fact, since then actors have performed in bright light in front of an audience hidden in the darkness. Thus the viewer’s experience has become individual rather than communal.
- What types of theatrical performances flourished? They were music hall, pantomime, farce, and melodrama with a sensational and romantic plot.
- They were Oscar Wilde, who wrote brilliant comedies whose main feature was dialogue full of humour and wit intended to expose the faults and hypocrisy of his age, and George Bernard Shaw, who considered drama as a vehicle for presenting his views on social institutions and human experience in a provocative way
- Because he encouraged writers to deal with social and personal problems, regardless of the strict Victorian censorship.
- Elizabethan drama
Playhouse: Permanent theatres were circular or octagonal. Within the outer walls there were three tiers of roofed galleries, looking down on the stage, and the yard, or ‘pit’, where the poorer spectators stood. The stage itself, technically known as an ‘apron stage’, projected into the yard, so that when the theatre was full, the players were surrounded on three sides. Over the stage the ‘shadow’ or thatched roof protected the players from the rain. In the front of the stage there was a trap door used for devilish apparitions and disappearances, and also for burials. The actors’ tiring house was presumably at the back of the stage. There were two doors for entrances and exits. Behind the stage there was an inner stage. There were also an upper stage hidden by a curtain and a balcony. In Shakespeare’s time, the actor came forward on the apron stage into the midst of his audience. Communication was therefore intimate and direct. Plays took place in daylight. Audiences were drawn from all social classes. Plot: Tragedy: serious play with a change in the hero’s fortunes from happiness to misery; comedy: it starts with an unhappy condition of the protagonist/s and ends happily. Characters: Tragedy: kings, princes and warriors; comedy: ordinary people generally belonging to the upper classes. Themes: Universal. Language: Tragedy: solemn and poetic; comedy: formal, witty, mainly in prose. Stage directions: Absence of any scenery effects. The stage relied on conventions using a limited number of props. For night scenes a simple candle or torch represented the night world. Shakespeare’s use of stage directions was very limited and the information they supplied was contained in the dialogue.
- Restoration drama Playhouse: Restoration theatres were roofed and artificially lit with candles. There were footlights, a drop curtain and painted movable scenery at the back of the stage for the most important scenes in a play. The audience sat in the dark in galleries, and on benches or even on boxes in the pit, which became now a very fashionable place to be seated. The audience belonged to the upper classes. Plot: Realistic picture of life. It often involved clever handling of situation and intrigue, but it was less important than atmosphere, dialogue and satire. Characters: A new type of male character was created: the ‘fop’, who was generally elegant, witty, but cynical, and opposed to the ‘gallant’, or ‘fortunate lover’. The heroine was witty and more interested in fashion than in morals. Themes: Pursuit of sex and money; marriage devoid of any feelings; vices and absurdities of an artificial, highly sophisticated society. Language: Witty, cynical and satirical. The use of prose dialogue, rather than rhymed verse, increased realism on the stage. Stage directions: Limited use.
- Victorian drama Playhouse: Victorian theatres were smaller than the ones built in the previous century and helped the appreciation both of tragedy and comedy; actors were given the opportunity of developing a subtler style of performance. In the second half of the Victorian era, various improvements made the theatres more comfortable and the new methods of lighting the stage were capable of producing more realistic effects. Actors acted in bright light in front of spectators hidden in darkness. Plot: The ingredients were often the same: virtuous heroines in danger, hard-hearted conspiring villains, and happy endings with the triumph of true love and the punishment of the villain. Characters: The types of theatrical performances which flourished at the time were music hall, pantomime, farce - a play intended to make the spectators laugh -, and melodrama with a sensational and romantic plot. Themes: The faults and hypocrisy of the age. Language: Humorous and witty. Stage directions: They were much longer and more detailed, and they served various purposes: they illustrated aspects of the characters’ personalities, they described in detail their actions or gestures, and conveyed the author’s comments.
5.10 Charles Dickens
- Born: In Portsmouth, on the southern coast of England, in 1812.
- Childhood: He had an unhappy childhood. His father was imprisoned for debt and 12-year-old Charles was put to work in a factory.
- Education: He attended a school in London; at 15 he studied shorthand at night.
- Beginning of literary career: In 1833 his first story appeared and in 1836, still a newspaper reporter, he adopted the pen name ‘Boz’, publishing Sketches by ‘Boz’, a collection of articles and tales describing London’s people and scenes, written for the periodical Monthly Magazine. It was immediately followed by The Pickwick Papers, which revealed Dickens’s humoristic and satirical qualities.
- Works: Oliver Twist, Nicholas Nickleby, American Notes, A Christmas Carol, Martin Chuzzlewit, David Copperfield, Little Dorrit, Bleak House, Hard Times, Great Expectations.
- Political ideas: Although he was a republican, he took strongly against the United States when he visited the country in 1842. He advocated the abolition of slavery.
- Reputation: He wrote several enormously successful Christmas books. By the time of his death, he had drawn adoring crowds to his public appearances in England, Scotland and Ireland; he had met princes and presidents and had amassed a fortune.
- He created caricatures by exaggerating and ridiculing freely - though without sarcasm - the social peculiarities, vanity and ambition of theLondon middle and lower classes. He shifted the social frontiers of the novel: the 18th-century realistic, upper-middle-class world was replaced by the one of the lower orders. He was always on the side of the poor, the outcast and the working class. Children are often the most important characters in his novels. By giving instances of good, wise children and worthless parents or hypocritical adults he illustrates in fiction the reverse of the natural order of things: children become the moral teachers instead of the taught.
- Dickens had a didactic aim as he wanted to make the ruling classes aware of the social problems without offending his middle-class readers. He aimed at making the wealthier classes acquire knowledge about their poorer neighbours, of whom they previously knew little or nothing.
- What were the most important features of his style? He employed the most effective language and accomplished the most graphic and powerful descriptions of life and character ever attempted by any novelist. He did so with his careful choice of adjectives, repetitions of words and structures, juxtapositions of images and ideas, hyperbolic and ironic remarks.
- They were the Bible, fairy tales, fables and nursery rhymes, the 18th-century novelists and essayists, and Gothic novels.
- London was the setting of most of his novels: he always seemed to have something new to say about it and showed an intimate knowledge of it.
- Dickens created middle-class characters that he satirised freely. He gradually developed a more radical social view, although he did not become a revolutionary thinker. He was aware of the spiritual and material corruption caused by industrialism and became increasingly critical towards his society. In his mature works he succeeded in drawing popular attention to public abuses, evils and wrongs by mingling terrible descriptions of London misery and crime with the most amusing sketches of metropolitan life.
- It is set in an imaginary industrial town named Coketown, which is a sort of brick jungle where all the buildings are the same and which seems to be some kind of magical but hellish land.
- They are Thomas Gradgrind, an educator who believes in facts and statistics; his two children, Louisa and Tom; and Josiah Bounderby, a rich banker of the city.
- It is divided into three sections, or books, and each book is divided into separate chapters. Book One, ‘Sowing’, shows us the seeds planted by the Gradgrind/Bounderby education: Louisa, Tom and Stephen Blackpool. Book Two, ‘Reaping’, reveals the harvesting of these seeds: Louisa’s unhappy marriage, Tom’s selfishness and criminal ways, Stephen’s rejection from Coketown. Book Three, ‘Garnering’, is linked to a dominant symbol - instability - which is no longer the solid ‘ground’ upon which Mr Gradgrind’s system once stood.
- They embody the belief that human nature can be measured, quantified and governed entirely by reason, and that children should be taught through facts without compassion and imagination. As Mr Gradgrind tries to turn children into little machines, Mr Bounderby treats the workers in his factory as emotionless objects that are easily exploited for his own self-interest.
- It focuses on the difference between the rich and the poor at Dickens’s time, between factory owners and workers, who were forced to work long hours for low pay in dirty, loud and dangerous factories.
- It denounces the gap between the rich and the poor and criticises the materialism and narrow-mindedness of Utilitarianism, which was the basic Victorian attitude to economics.
T33 Mr Gradgrind
- Part 1(lines 1-8) Presentation of the speaker’s ideas.
- Part 2(lines 9-29) The speaker’s physical description.
- Part 3(lines 30-34) The three men’s interest.
- Highlighted in yellow: the speaker’s physical appearance
- Highlighted in green: his voice
- Highlighted in pink: his clothes Which overall impression do these details create? They create an overall impression of a threatening, unattractive person.
- Red dots: words and phrases belonging to the semantic area of ‘farming’ Who uses these words? What are they related to? The speaker uses these words. They are related to Mr Gradgrind’s intention to ‘cultivate’ his children.
- Underlined in blue: words belonging to the semantic area of geometry
- Underlined in green: words and phrases belonging to the semantic area of regularity and monotony
- Pink words: repetition of the same word What does it underline? It underlines the speaker’s concept of education, which must be abstract and rigid.
- His rigidity, his narrowmindedness and his being extremely concrete and fact-oriented.
- They create a caricature of the speaker.
- Education must be linked to ‘Facts’ and must not leave any space for creativity.
- The imperative.
- to sow
- be set off
It was ‘a town of red brick’, full of machinery and tall chimneys. It had a canal and a river, ‘vast piles of building full of windows’. It contained several large streets that were ‘all very like one another, and many small streets still more like one another, inhabited by people equally like one another’ who had a monotonous life.
The colours used to describe the town are red and black (bricks), black and purple (water), black and white (writing on notices). Not gold, which is mentioned in line 38as a noun but not as a colour adjective. The words referring to smell and sound are ‘ill-smelling’ (line 8), ‘rattling’ and ‘trembling’ (line 9), and ‘the same sound’ (line 13).
The two words are ‘comforts’ (line 17) and ‘elegancies’ (line 18). Dickens shows the hypocrisy of the ‘fine lady’ who enjoys these things but despises the place where they are made, and describes the town and its people negatively, which is the total opposite of anything elegant or comfortable.
‘To choke’ means to stop breathing because something is blocking your throat. Dickens’s joke is that the school gives the children so many unnecessary facts that it ‘chokes’ them - not only do they not learn anything useful, but that experience actually damages them. This is an example of the writer’s satire.
- There were eighteen different churches. Everybody in Coketown, except the labouring people, attended the Sunday services.
- The other (middle-class) residents of Coketown wished to force the workers to go to church by ‘indignantly petitioning for acts of parliament’.
- They ‘lounged’ in the streets, watching the church-goers, showing no interest or concern.
- They showed that these people were used to getting drunk.
- They provided evidence of opium addiction and attendance of ill-reputed places.
At Dickens’s time it was well known that the poor lived on weak tea (which was cheap, while coffee was expensive) and bread with little or no protein, certainly not butter or good meat. The words which exaggerate the diet of the poor are ‘the best’ (line 66), ‘fresh butter’ (line 67), as poor people in towns never got really fresh agricultural products, ‘insisted on Mocha coffee’ and ‘prime parts of meat’ (line 67), as the poor rarely ate meat and never the ‘prime’ parts.
Third-person omniscient narrator. He is obtrusive since he openly intervenes in the narration (lines 35-40, 63-64).
Fact’, which stresses the value of factual, practical knowledge.
- similes; Lines 5-6, 10-11. The red brick stained with black (of the soot from the coal-burning steam engines which powered the factories) is likened to the ‘painted face of a savage’ (line 6); this image is negative, describing something alien and frightening. The elephant image (lines 10-11) is difficult and will be helped with a diagram of a beam engine - it was very large and swung up and down pulling and pushing pistons - thus seeming to be an enormous animal with a long trunk, but performing a movement which was unnatural, hence melancholy and mad.
- metaphor. Line 7. The serpent is the coils of smoke from the chimneys of the factories; once again the image is negative and suggests something animate and evil (it goes on forever, therefore never dies) rather than the product of machinery.
- All three images are negative; they are animate images describing an inanimate process - and can also be described as unnatural nature. The process of industrialisation is therefore criticised.
Repeated words: ‘fact’ (lines 1, 30-33, 36), ‘like’ (lines 5, 10, 12-13, 26, 38), ‘same’ (lines 13-14, 49, 54, 64), ‘anything’ (line 29), ‘everywhere’ (lines 30-31). Repeated phrases: ‘like one another’ (lines 12-13), ‘tabular statements’ (lines 49, 52-54, 62). Repeated syntax: ‘it was a town’ (lines 4-6), ‘might have been’ (lines 27-28), ‘Then, came’ (lines 48, 51, 53, 59). Monotony. Alienation. Everything in Coketown seems monotonous and repetitive. People seem dehumanised beings, the parts of machinery which are always repeating the same actions.
He repeats the word ‘fact’ and shows that it is applied to both the material and the immaterial, in other words that the ‘immaterial’ (the spiritual, emotional) side of life in Coketown is non-existent. He even say quite clearly that nothing is considered important unless it can be ‘purchaseable’ (bought) or ‘saleable’ (sold). He further underlines this by making it sound like a religious truth, using the phrase ‘world without end, Amen’ (line 35). In addition, he uses the repetition of ‘would’ inferring the inevitability of the workers’ bad habits, and the phrase ‘tabular statements’ to refer to the statistics which the various pressure groups presented in order to justify their own attitude to the workers as drunkards or drug takers. Statistics can always be used to advantage and Dickens satirises them by making them ‘statements’, as if they were facts. Finally, Dickens has Mr Gradgrind and Mr Bounderby speak as if to other ‘gentlemen’ like themselves - repeating this word, showing that they are talking about the working classes as if they were a worthless race apart.
Across Cultures: Work and alienation
- The building of the first factories brought alterations in the interaction between the individual and his work.
- They brought a sense of alienation because, unlike the countryside, they became overcrowded, busy and grimy centres where people lived on the brink of starvation and disease.
- The writer who best described the social problems of the new industrialisation was Charles Dickens, in particular with his work Hard Times.
- Which philosophers influenced the literature of the time? The philosophers who influenced the literature of the time were the French Auguste Comte and the German Karl Marx.
- The philosophy that grew up as a reaction to the irrationality of Romanticism was Positivism. This school of thought brought about a renewed faith in reason and science, a deterministic conception of human life, the application of the experimental method to new fields and the foundations of new disciplines, such as biology and psychology
- Factory work was more intense than agricultural work because it was regulated by the expensive machinery and the employers’ determination to keep the machines working, while agricultural work was regulated by the weather, which allowed labourers some respite.
- Philosophy (Germany):
- Literature (France):
- Literature (Italy):
- lower classes
5.11 The Brontë sisters
- Family members: Charlotte, Emily and Anne had a brother, Branwell, and were the daughters of an Anglican clergyman of Irish origin.
- Father’s role: He influenced their artistic inclinations.
- Education: They did not receive a formal education. Apart from brief periods at school, they were mainly self-educated, reading widely from their father’s library and drawing inspiration from the local public library or from periodicals.
- Beginning of literary career: They began to write chronicles of imaginary countries and, in 1846, they published a volume of poetry, Poems by Currer, Ellis and Acton Bell, using pseudonyms.
- Works: Wuthering Heights (Emily), Agnes Grey (Anne), Jane Eyre, Shirley, Villette (Charlotte).
- Death: Emily and Anne died very young of consumption: Emily in 1848 and Anne in 1849; Charlotte died in 1855 probably of an illness due to pregnacy
- Set in the early decades of the 19th century, the novel is structured around five separate locations probably in northern England: Gateshead, Lowood School, Thornfield, the Moor House and Ferndean.
- Gateshead (which stands for ‘gateway’) is the place of her childhood, where she spends her unhappiest moments but also reaches her ethical awakening with her imprisonment in the red room. ‘Lowood’ means ‘low wood’ because the school was built in a low valley beside a wood, but also because it coincides with a ‘low’ time in Jane’s life. Thornfield is an allegorical name: a ‘field of thorns’, the place of mystery and temptation, of independence and young love. Moor House is ‘out on the moors’, in the wilderness, the place where Jane tries to give a sense to her life again; it is the place of temporary banishment. Ferndean, or ‘fern hill’, is Mr Rochester’s rural mansion, the new Eden where Jane finds mature love.
- She is moderately plain but she can also be intense, imaginative, passionate, rebellious and independent, yet always looking for warmth and affection. She undergoes many struggles such as the conflicts between spirit and flesh, duty and desire, denial and fulfilment.
- He has the quality of a ‘Byronic hero’, but the stereotyped seducer becomes a kind of lost nobleman of passion who is attracted to Jane’s soul and personality rather than to her physical appearance.
- The themes of childhood and education; of autonomy and economic independence; of marriage as a relationship between equals, not as a social compromise; of the strict Victorian social class system and gender relationships, which Charlotte Brontë clearly criticises.
- In the first person, through Jane’s point of view.
- It is straightforward and develops differently according to the style and mood of each character. It is used emotionally by the author and is rich in motifs, symbols and images which are repeated throughout the novel.
- It is the voice of a woman who speaks with perfect frankness about herself. The novel described passionate love from a woman’s standpoint in a way that shocked many readers.
T35 Jane and Rochester
- cast a glance
- gave an involuntary sigh
- No, she did not accept because she could not live without self-respect.
- She held on to her principles, to her integrity.
- They were for the times when one had to resist temptation, when body and soul rebelled against them.
- She described herself as mad, as insane because fire ran in her veins and her heart beat fast.
- He was furious, he seized Jane’s arm and grasped her waist.
- She felt weak and exhausted but she was still in control of her soul.
- He wanted her spirit - ‘with will and energy, and virtue and purity’ -, not merely her body.
- She left Mr Rochester because she did not want to give in, but could not stand his sorrow.
Lines 1-2, 10, 12-17, 19-21, 29-32, 48-49, 56.
Mr Rochester utters a sort of monologue where he speaks of Jane in the third person, as if she were not present and he were speaking to an audience.
Mr Rochester is moody and restless. In the text he is connoted by anger (lines 19-20, 23-25, 33, 49), physical strength (lines 33-34), passion (lines 44-46) and despair (lines 54-55, 60-62). John Milton’s Satan (→ 2.13) and the Byronic hero (→ 4.13) are probably his most illustrious antecedents, and offer useful parallels.
He seems to desire more from the character of the woman he wants to love than from her physical appearance. Mr Rochester’s actions reinforce Jane’s belief that mental beauty surpasses physical beauty. He seeks a woman with inner splendour, and sees something special in Jane which attracts him much more than anything visible to the eye. She holds something unique and special deep in her soul and personality, hidden from the outside.
- How would you define her attitude to Mr Rochester? She seems to care for him a great deal and her behaviour at the end shows that she is truly in love with him.
- Trace the sequence of Jane’s feelings and reactions. Where is the climax in this passage? At first, Jane feels physically powerless (lines 25-26) but in control of her soul and dignity (lines 27-29); then, she defies Mr Rochester by looking into his eyes (line 32) even if she feels exhausted (lines 33-34); later on, she walks to the door (line 65) but turns back, kisses him and blesses him (lines 66-69). However, when he tries to embrace her, she avoids the contact (line 73). The climax is in lines 65-74.
- Describe Jane’s personality. Choose from the following adjectives. Passionate, analytical, selfrevealing, determined, sensitive.
The first two paragraphs deal with the tension between reason and passion which is a theme running throughout the novel. Charlotte’s work skilfully reveals much of the condition concerning women during the Victorian Age. Jane has the qualities of endurance, valour and vitality, yet she has refused self-contentment by the confined society in which she lives. She oscillates between duty and desire, denial and fulfilment. She is presented as a free spirit struggling for recognition and self-respect in the face of rejection by a class-ridden and moneyoriented society. This explains why she finally leaves Mr Rochester.
Charlotte felt deeply about the oppressed status of women at the time, especially women endowed with intelligence but devoid of fortune or looks, like herself. She made their predicament her own when she chose to write a novel about a governess with a mind infinitely superior to her employer’s. The text develops the theme of spiritual equality regardless of social rank; though not a new theme, it is asserted with an unusual force in this novel, leading some readers to see Jane (and her creator) in feminist terms and as opposed to the strict Victorian social class system. Jane’s aggressively independent nature certainly seemed unwomanly (and un-Christian) to some of Charlotte’s contemporaries. This text also brings to a climax the theme of moral conflict through Jane’s struggles between passion and principle, flesh and spirit. Jane certainly comes of age in Charlotte’s classic education novel. At the beginning Jane is a lonely, dependent orphan girl, but she battles the constraints of her harsh upbringing and becomes educated, not only intellectually, but also socially and spiritually. She develops into a strong, confident and independent woman, who neither has to give up her spiritual beliefs nor her human desire for love to be genuinely happy. She becomes the epitome of the modern woman, as she manages a perfect balance between the spiritual and the physical, which is what she really wanted in life.
- Wuthering Heights is severe and gloomy, firmly rooted in local tradition and custom; it is the appropriate background for the life of unrestrained and primitive passion led by its owner, Heathcliff. Thrushcross Grange, the home of the bourgeois Lintons, reflects their conception of life, based on stability, kindness and respectability. So the two mansions stand for two opposing forces: the principle of storm and energy on the one hand, and the principle of calm and settled assurance on the other. Though opposed, they are complementary and ideally tend to unity.
- Heathcliff is described as a sort of ‘Byronic hero’, moved by irresistible passion, doomed to the despair of a solitary life and finally tending to a total identity with his love, Catherine. He also appears as a Gothic villain in his inhuman treatment of his wife and even his son. Catherine is driven partly by her social ambitions, which finally lead her to marry Edgar, but she is also prompted to violate social conventions. She embodies a wild and Romantic nature.
- It explores basic human emotions, such as love and hatred, which are presented in a state of purity and concentration. The spirit of Romanticism and its concern with the human soul are still present in the correspondence between the violent passions of the characters and the wild natural landscape.
- It is not an end, but a liberation of the spirit.
- They are the sinister atmosphere of Wuthering Heights - surrounded by the wilderness -, Catherine’s ghost, and the dreams and superstitions often mentioned.They are not used to frighten the reader, but to convey the struggle between the two opposed principles of love and hate, of order and chaos.
- The narrative mode is a system of Chinese boxes, a ‘concentric’ system of narratives. There are two major narrators, male and female, outsider (Mr Lockwood) and insider (Nelly Dean). Other characters occasionally narrate to Nelly
- The narration does not proceed according to chronological time; it starts almost at the end of the story and develops a narrative within the narrative, including the use of flashbacks. This complex structure creates a sense of verisimilitude and, at the same time, a feeling of suspense. There are moments of intense poetry and mysticism, which are balanced by the concreteness and common sense of Nelly’s language.
- It marked a departure from the observation of society towards the description of the individual personality, and anticipated the novelists of the early 20th century in narrative technique.
- These spaces are at once attractive and threatening to them.
- It holds them in constant dialogue, thanks to the interaction of binary oppositions, until culture finally tames nature in the children of the second generation.
T36 I am Heathcliff
- Catherine explains the reasons why she has decided to marry Edgar Linton.
- Catherine’s dream.
- Nelly is aware of Heathcliff’s presence but Catherine is not.
- Catherine’s love for Heathcliff.
- Highlighted in pink: words and phrases referring to Catherine’s behaviour and reactions; they denote a highly sensitive and emotional nature
- Highlighted in light blue: Nelly’s attitude is very rational and pragmatic: she encourages Catherine to consider things in a rational way and to reflect on the reasons of her choice. Nelly thinks the ‘worst motive’ is to marry Edgar in order to use his money and position to help Heathcliff (Heathcliff will resent it and so will Edgar), it is naive of Catherine to think that it would work
- Pink words: Catherine lists her reasons for marrying Edgar. At first they sound like the conventional motivations of a young girl: because he is handsome, nice, young, rich and respectable. Lines 24-26 sound ironic, as if Emily Brontë were mocking the sentimental heroines of previous literature. However, as Catherine goes on speaking, the reader realises her real motivations: she is concerned with Heathcliff’s recent condition of servitude due to her brother’s treatment of him. By marrying Edgar and acquiring a higher social status, she might help Heathcliff to improve his condition
- Highlighted in yellow: words referring to Edgar Linton: their connotation is cold
- Highlighted in green: words referring to Heathcliff: their connotation is heat and passion
- Green dots: similes used by Catherine to describe her love for the two men. Her love for Edgar will change with time, just as the trees and leaves change from one season to another. Her love for Heathcliff is eternal, like the ‘rocks beneath’ which are of little visible delight but necessary.
- The narrator is Nelly Dean, the housekeeper. No, it does not; there is a shift into the present tense in line 73 (‘I was superstitious about dreams then, and am still’).
- For Cathy dreams are ‘like wine through water’ (line 62), they alter the colour of her mind, they change her ideas and stay with her. Nelly is superstitious about dreams and fearful of what they may foresee.
- She is in heaven but she feels unhappy and cries, so the angels fling her back to the earth, on top of Wuthering Heights, where she wakes up sobbing for joy.
- She feels that she is a part of Heathcliff and feels his pains as he does. She thinks that if he did not exist, then she would not be the same person.
- Just before Catherine unforgettably identifies herself with Heathcliff (‘I am Heathcliff’, line 134), her own words have driven this ‘other self’ away (‘He had listened till he heard Catherine say it would degrade her to marry him’, line 96). The climactic moment of supreme dedication and poetic grandeur therefore marks a void. As in Greek and Shakespearean tragedies, every sublime claim Catherine utters predicts her doom: ‘He quite deserted! we separated!’ (line 111), ‘Who is to separate us, pray? They’ll meet the fate of Milo!’ (lines 111-112). At this moment Heathcliff has understood himself to be deserted; the two are separated, and the transgressor who will ‘meet the fate of Milo’ is Catherine herself.
- It seems to have nothing to do with sexual attraction and physical desire. Their relationship is one of the soul, it is as eternal as ‘the rocks beneath’ because it transcends time and material existence (lines 132-135). It is concerned with a breaking through beyond the self, metaphysical and impersonal (lines 125-127).
- Its nature is somewhat religious, not only in its mysticism, but also in the awareness of the incompleteness of all the elements that make up human nature. In Catherine and Heathcliff the desire to lose the self in otherness is pure, and opens up the prospect of disintegration into death, that is, into anonymous natural energy.
- Consider Cathy’s conflict between a condition which offers few advantages and a socially acceptable one. Would you define her as a Victorian girl? Her love for Heathcliff offers her no material advantage. She feels the pressure of social conventions and wants to improve her social position. In this respect she is a Victorian woman, even though her character is Romantic.
- is listening
- marriage proposal
- has degraded
- leaves the room
- to desert
5.12 Thomas Hardy
- give up
- He had a deterministic view, deprived of the consolation of divine order. He could see no intelligent direction of the universe, only the control of ‘insensible chance’ over everything. So human life was a purely tragic process upon which man had no power. Hardy was not a total pessimist, however. He expressed the need for altruism through cooperation and loving kindness, and the application of scientific knowledge.
- Being alive involves being ‘an existence, an experience, a passion, a structure of sensations’. But also being in a place, an environment, and surrounded by a set of circumstances which modify and partly determine the individual existence.
- Nature is presented as a co-protagonist with the characters. Indifferent to man’s destiny, it sets the pattern of growth and decay which is followed by human life. Nature also implies regeneration, expressed through the cycle of seasons. Some of Hardy’s characters, especially Tess, have the same life urge which is found in natural creatures, and their life is set against the seasonal background to counterpoint the main events and phases of experience.
- He criticised the most conventional, moralistic, hypocritical aspects of Victorian society. His attitude to religion was also critical: he believed Christianity was no longer capable of fulfilling the needs of modern man.
- Hardy’s language is detailed and rich in symbolism. His characters speak naturally and effectively within their social register; some even use dialect. The language of sense impressions plays an important role in his art. The use of colour is strongly linked to emotion and experience, especially connected with natural landscape.
- He emphasised the importance of strict, rigorous form, stressing symmetry and a blend of dialogue, description and narration. He employed the Victorian omniscient narrator, who sometimes comments on the action or introduces his opinions and his view of life. Hardy often presents action through the eyes of a hypothetical observer, with whom the reader is implicitly invited to identify himself. He even anticipates the cinema in his use of narrative techniques similar to ‘the camera eye’ and ‘the zoom’.
- In Hardy’s stories characters are defined through their environment. In his major novels there is the progressive mapping of a semi-fictional region, in the southwestern corner of England and his native county of Dorset. In the ‘Preface’ to Far from the Madding Crowd he called this area ‘Wessex’, by which he meant the old Saxon kingdom of Alfred the Great. Therefore Hardy’s Wessex transcends topographical limits, combining the imaginative experience of the individual with a sense of man’s place in the universe.
Tess of the D’Urbervilles
- Her father finds out that he is a descendent of a rich and aristocratic family, the D’Urbervilles, and the horse which is the only means of sustenance of Tess’s family dies.
- Tess agrees to become Alec’s mistress but when Angel returns, she kills Alec and flees with Angel. She is arrested at Stonehenge and finally executed.
- They are Alec D’Urberville, a rich young man who thinks his social status gives him the right to seize what he wants regardless of any morality, and Angel Clare, a young man of modern and liberal ideas who, however, fails to understand Tess’s situation.
- She is presented as a victim and embodies the qualities of affection and trust, the powers of suffering and survival. In spite of her misfortunes, she has the energy to endure and go on living. She is presented through symbolic images - often drawn from the natural world - that stress her beauty, innocence and vulnerability.
- He deals with issues of morality in two ways: one is the relativity of moral values, which vary according to time and place; the other is the opposition between man-made laws and nature.
- Religious belief is constantly questioned: Hardy regards Christianity as a worthless degradation of primitive spiritual ideas such as sun-worship. His view is that modern man is in a spiritually hopeless state.
T37 Alec and Tess
- Complete the following notes.
- Setting in time Evening, September.
- Weather Foggy.
- Characters Alec and Tess.
- No, she does not.
- The reasons suggested are the moonlight, fog, absent-mindedness, sleepiness.
- Line 35, when Alec and she are in the wood.
- B He is trying to have physical contact with her
- Alec is her master. She feels guilty that she has suspected his motives and pushed him (which would have been rude for a servant). Then she is put into an embarrassing position when she realises that Alec has been giving her family gifts.
- Tess passes through several states of mind. Put them in the correct order.
- Passivity and helplessness.
- Collect the details of the wood in the table below
- Animals: the horse (line 1), birds (line 107), rabbits and hares (line 108)
- bushes (line 53), yews and oaks (lines 106-107)
- A It goes on regardless of the activity of human society.
- Match the realistic scenes and details (1-5) with their symbolic meaning (A-E).
- Lines 108-111.
- No, she is not. Hardy presents her as a victim.
- C gap.
- Tess and Alec belong to two very different social classes and their relationship is not acceptable to either class. Moreover, it is the woman who pays the social price of her lost reputation, so Tess will be a ‘fallen woman’; she will no longer be simple and joyful but will have a darker side to her personality.
- Putting the activities of the humans into the context of nature and the supernatural powers.The narrator describes the birds and animals in the wood going about their business; he asks where Tess’s ‘guardian angel’ was and why she was not protected. He is placing human activity in a context in which it is less significant. Trying to analyse the causes of events. In lines 116-121 he considers that the past affects the present (‘sins of the fathers’, line 119). He makes it clear that neither of these fully gives the answer as to why this has happened. Considering the belief in fate. In considering Tess’s people saying ‘It was to be’, an acceptance of fate. Making a moral judgement on what has happened. The narrator does not do this. He does not blame any of the parts, not even Alec. He does not say that Tess herself was sullied, only that a ‘coarse pattern’ was printed on her dress - she was simply changed, a chasm divided her from her former self.
- B Man’s life is regulated by chance and as such it cannot be changed.
In the late Victorian period, simple certainty of progress had faded and religious faith had been eroded by the view of a universe controlled by ‘insensible chance’. So there was increasing pessimism and concern that social problems were growing, not being solved. Great social changes had taken place for middle- and working-class men, and the position of women was being debated. Hardy reflects all this. However, he wrote about agricultural labourers and rural life at a time when most people lived in towns and their lives were dominated by factories and commerce - Hardy emphasises the rural calendar and the changing seasons, which had been forgotten in urban life. In this way, he confronts the social dilemmas that Victorian society had created with the timeless tragedy of human existence. He used the omniscient narrator, which was a typical feature of the Victorian novel, to expose Victorian hypocrisy and to present a view deprived of the consolation of faith.
5.13 Robert Louis Stevenson
- He spent most of his childhood in bed. He suffered from poor health.
- He travelled a lot. He travelled a lot in search of a friendlier climate; he lived in the South of England, Germany, France and Italy. He married an American woman and since his health was deteriorating, they moved to Australia and Tahiti, settling down at Vailima in Samoa.
- He graduated in law. He took up Engineering at university, following in his father’s footsteps, but he gave it up and graduated in law in 1875.
- He rejected his family’s principles. He openly rejected his family’s religious principles and their love for respectability. He was in conflict with the Victorian world; he grew his hair long, his manners were eccentric and he became one of the first examples of the bohemian in Britain.
- He wrote his best works in the 1880s. He became popular as a novelist in the 1880s, when he published Treasure Island (1883), The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde (1886), Kidnapped (1886) and The Master of Ballantrae (1889). His short stories, pervaded by a sense of suspense and supernatural worthy of Edgar Allan Poe, were collected as New Arabian Nights (1882).
- He died young. He died of a brain haemorrhage in 1894.
T38 Jekyll’s experiment
- Part 1 (lines 1-18) The fundamental truth Jekyll thinks he has discovered.
- Part 2 (lines 19-45) The effects of the drug and Hyde’s evil nature.
- Part 3 (lines 46-55) The effects of the drug are reversible.
- Green words: Jekyll’s double nature
- Highlighted in light blue: Jekyll’s wish to separate the two different identities of his soul
- Pink words: the composition and preparation of the drug
- Blue words: the immediate effects of the drug Orange words: the second effects of the drug
- Highlighted in yellow: description of Hyde’s feelings and sensations after the transformation; they are quite different from those experienced by Jekyll What does this difference underline? The double nature of the human soul.
- Underlined in blue: the setting in time: night, a typical Gothic setting; the setting in place: a laboratory, a place outside Jekyll’s respectable house
- Highlighted in grey: Edward Hyde, the evil side of Jekyll’s soul
- Highlighted in pink: Jekyll’s ambition makes him an overreacher
- Highlighted in green: the mirror is an important detail because it is the symbol of the duality of man’s nature
- He thinks he has learned to recognise the primitive duality of man (lines 2-3).
- He dreamt of doing it by housing the two natures of the human soul, one wholly good and one wholly bad, in separate identities (lines 6-8).
- He used a large quantity of particular salt and added it to other components; he watched them boil and, finally, when the ebullition had subsided, he drank off the potion (lines 15-18).
- Whose point of view is adopted? A first-person narrative is used. Dr Jekyll’s point of view is adopted.
- Underline them. Why do you think Stevenson uses so many oppositions in the description of Jekyll’s experiment?
|more upright twin’, ‘the just’ (line 9) ‘good things’ (line 10) ‘morning’ (line 31) ‘good’ (line 44) ‘Henry Jekyll’ (line 50)||the unjust’ (line 8) ‘extraneous evil’ (line 11) ‘night’ (line 30) ‘evil’ (line 44), ‘pure evil’ (line 45) ‘Edward Hyde’ (line 37)|
5.14 Oscar Wilde
- Picture 1: The novelist, playwright and poet Oscar Wilde was born in 1854 and lived in Merrion Square, Dublin, as a child. He is remembered for his extensive writings, his extraordinary wit and his flamboyant style of dress. This unconventional sculpture is a fitting memorial to his life and art.
- Picture 2: After attending Trinity College in Dublin, Wilde was sent to Oxford, where he gained a first-class degree in Classics and distinguished himself for his eccentricity. He graduated in 1878.
- Picture 3: Wilde became a disciple of Walter Pater, the main theorist of the Aesthetic Movement in England, accepting the theory of ‘Art for Art’s Sake’. After graduating in 1878, he moved to London, where he soon became a celebrity for his extraordinary wit and his characteristic style of dress as a ‘dandy’. In 1881 he was invited to undertake a speaking tour in the United States: his lectures amazed the American audiences and he became famous for his irony, his attitudes and his posing.
- Picture 4: Wilde published his first and only novel The Picture of Dorian Gray in 1891.
- Picture 5: Wilde developed an interest in drama and revived the comedy of manners. In the late 1890s he produced a series of plays which were successful on the London stage: Lady Windermere’s Fan (1892), A Woman of No Importance (1893), An Ideal Husband (1895) and his masterpiece The Importance of Being Earnest (1895). However, both the novel and Salomé (1893), a tragedy written in French, damaged the writer’s reputation: the former was considered immoral, and the latter was prevented from being performed on the London stage due to its presumed obscenity
- Picture 6: In 1891 Wilde’s years of triumph ended dramatically due to a public scandal concerning his relationship with the young poet Lord Alfred Douglas, ‘Bosie’. After the subsequent trial on charges of homosexuality, then illegal in Britain, Wilde was sentenced to two years’ hard labour.
- Picture 7: While in prison, Wilde wrote De Profundis, a long letter to Bosie which was published posthumously in 1905. When he was released, he was a broken man; his wife refused to see him, and he went into exile in France, where he lived out his last years in poverty. The Ballad of Reading Gaol (1898), originally published under his prison identity, ‘C.3.3’, was his last published work before he died of meningitis in 1900 in a hotel in Paris.
- He adopted the ‘aesthetic ideal’, as he affirmed in one of his famous conversations: ‘My life is like a work of art’.
- He is an aristocrat whose elegance is a symbol of the superiority of his spirit; he uses his wit to shock and he is an individualist who demands absolute freedom.
- He rejects the didacticism that had characterised the Victorian novel in the first half of the century.
- It is the cult of beauty which can prevent the murder of the soul.
- He is an alien in a materialistic world, he writes only to please himself and is not concerned about communicating his theories to his fellow-beings. His pursuit of beauty and fulfilment is the tragic act of a superior being inevitably rejected as an outcast
The Picture of Dorian Gray
- The novel takes place in London at the end of the 19th century
- He is the protagonist of the novel. He is a young man whose beauty fascinates a painter, Basil Hallward, who decides to paint his portrait. He represents the ideal of youth, beauty and innocence. When he first appears in the novel, he is rather immature, but the reader is made aware of his purity and innocence through the narrator’s words. Dorian is considerably influenced by Lord Henry, who teaches him about hedonism, and starts to look for a life of pleasure and sensations. In the end, his vanity and selfishness ruin him, and the portrait provides a visual representation of the degradation of his soul.
- He is an intellectual, a brilliant talker, apparently superficial but extremely sharp in his criticism of institutions, considered sacred by his contemporaries, such as marriage and the Church. He is able to influence Dorian and as the story goes on, Dorian’s speech seems to mimic Lord Henry’s style.
- Because he is afraid that it reflects the strange attraction he feels for Dorian. At the end of the novel he becomes a sad example of how a good artist can be destroyed in a sacrifice for art.
- This story is told by an unobtrusive third-person narrator. The perspective adopted is internal, since Dorian’s apparition is in the second chapter, and this allows a process of identification between the reader and the character.
- It is not an autonomous self: it represents the dark side of Dorian’s personality, his double, which he tries to forget by locking it in a room. At the end of the novel the picture, restored to its original beauty, illustrates Wilde’s theory of art: art survives people, art is eternal.
- It is that every excess must be punished and reality cannot be escaped. When Dorian destroys the picture, he cannot avoid the punishment for all his sins, that is, death. The horrible, corrupted picture could be seen as a symbol of the immorality and bad conscience of the Victorian middle class, while Dorian and his pure, innocent appearance are symbols of bourgeois hypocrisy.
T39 The painter’s studio
- Basil’s studio.
- The portrait of a young man.
- Basil Hallward and Lord Henry Wotton.
- Blue words: the setting in place and the description of the room furniture What does the window represent? The huge window is the connecting element between the room and the outside.
- Highlighted in light blue: the characters’ actions
- Highlighted in yellow: the two characters are talking about the portrait of a handsome young man done by the painter and the fact that he does not want to exhibit it
- Highlighted in green: phrases linked to the sense of hearing
- Underlined in blue: phrases linked to the sense of touch
- Highlighted in grey: phrases linked to the sense of sight
- Highlighted in orange: phrases linked to the sense of smell What atmosphere is conveyed? The atmosphere conveyed is sensuous and decadent.
- Pink words: paradoxes voiced by Lord Henry
- This story is told by a thirdperson narrator who is unobtrusive, since he never intervenes in the narration and he never addresses the reader directly.
- How do we learn that he is languid and he smokes opium, that he is cynical and thinks that beauty is shallow?
- A From the character himself we learn that he thinks that beauty is shallow.
- B From the narrator we learn that he is languid and smokes opium.
- C From Basil Hallward we learn that he is cynical.
- Consider Basil Hallward and explain how we learn the following information.
- A He is a talented artist. We learn this from Lord Henry.
- B He is mysterious and once disappeared. We learn this from the narrator.
- What are our expectations of the plot? We know he is strikingly beautiful. Lord Henry comments that such beauty can only be without intellect, so we suspect someone naive.
- Suggestion: Students will hopefully say that they are drawn into the decadent setting of the novel by the sensuous description, by the witty, cynical dialogue and by the mystery of the ideas of beauty and secrecy. If they are not, then they should be able to explain that, perhaps, the setting is too extreme and the dialogue unbelievable or unnatural.
Suggestion: The description of Basil’s studio linked to a rare and sensuous atmosphere; the character of Dorian Gray, whose physical features are the only important things for the painter; the aesthetic isolation of the artist and the idea of art having no reference to life.
The Romantic poet John Keats exalted beauty, which could be both physical (that of women and all other nature’s forms) and spiritual (that of love, friendship and poetry/art). These two aspects of beauty are closely interwoven in his poetry: the former, which is the expression of the latter, is linked to life, enjoyment, decay and death; the latter is related to eternity. Thus an artist can die but his work of art lives forever and can communicate his feelings and its sense of beauty to men. Moreover, Keats identified beauty and truth as the only true types of knowledge. According to Oscar Wilde, the value of any work of art lies in its beauty, and not in the message that the artist wants to convey. The artist writes only to please himself since he is not interested in communicating his feelings and thoughts to his fellow-beings.
T40 Dorian’s death
- In a positive/happy way - it is a lovely warm evening and Dorian is walking home in a leisurely way.
- Because he was not as old and ugly as wicked people always were in her opinion.
- Yes, he would like to be able to change.
- First he blames his own pride and passion, then the fact that he has received no punishment to purify him, and finally his own youth and beauty
- No, he does not. Basil’s murder did not ‘weigh most on his mind’ and he describes it as a moment of madness. Campbell committed suicide, so Dorian does not consider himself guilty of that act.
- He has ‘spared’ an innocent girl and decided that he will never tempt innocence again.
- The look of ‘cunning’ and ‘the hypocrite’ on the portrait tells Dorian that his act of goodness had merely been vanity, or even just another curious search for a new sensation or a consequence of his passion ‘to act a part’ - and his reaction is one of pain and indignation, not of remorse.
- He does not think people will believe him as he has been so careful to get rid of evidence.
- Only by his rings.
- He considers his portrait loathsome (lines 64-65), and he feels sorry and guilty towards his way of behaving.
- He sees it as a reflection of his own soul.
- Before reaching the final decision to destroy the picture, Dorian’s thought follows different steps. Match each of them with the corresponding lines in the text.
- A Nostalgia for his pure boyhood Lines 15-16.
- B Awareness of his corruption Lines 16-20.
- C Recollection of his pact to keep eternal youth Lines 21-23.
- D Wish for repentance and purification Lines 23-25.
- E Awareness that youth and beauty have caused his ruin Lines 34-38.
- F Wish to free himself from the past Lines 39-40, 50.
- G Understanding that repentance was pure illusion Lines 62-76.
- H Decision to destroy the picture Lines 96-99.
He kills himself in stabbing the portrait because the portrait symbolises the dark side of his own soul.
- Consider the examples of associations in lines 7-89 and complete the scheme below. An example has been provided.
- A wicked people:always very old and very ugly (lines 8-9)
- B Dorian’s beauty: but a mask (lines 35-36)
- C Dorian’s youth: but a mockery (line 36)
- D youth: a green and unripe time, a time of shallow moods and sickly thoughts (lines 36-37)
- E the picture: an unjust mirror, the mirror of his soul (line 81)
- F the picture: evidence (line 89)
- Beauty and youth have only caused his ruin.
- They are in lines 50-56.
- References to the mirror are in lines 26-27 and 33-34. It is the symbol of Dorian’s double personality
Some examples: ‘purple’, ‘loathsome’, ‘the scarlet dew that spotted’, ‘like blood newly spilt’, ‘red stain’, ‘to have crept like a horrible disease’, ‘had dripped’. They belong to the semantic area of mystery
Suggestion: The ending is consistent with Wilde’s theories, according to which art is more important than life. In fact it is art that wins at the end of the book, since Dorian Gray dies and the picture recovers all its past perfection.
From Text to Screen: Dorian Gray
In a dark room in the attic of Dorian’s house.
He is Basil Hallward, the man who painted Dorian’s portrait; he is wearing a black suit, a white shirt and a yellow scarf. He seems to be seen through an oval lock; he is out of focus. An arm and the left side of the other character’s body can also be seen in the foreground.
- He is shocked and frightened, he has become pale and seems to stumble.
- He explains that they both have created something beautiful because Dorian has succeeded in keeping his beauty and youth, while it is his painting which shows his sins and the signs of time.
- It is something miraculous.
- In a broken mirror.
- He wants to destroy the picture and, in so doing, help Dorian.
- The devil.
- He states that he has become a god.
- Dorian stabs the painter with a shard of the broken glass.
- What’s the matter? D
- Don’t you recognise me? D
- That thing… It isn’t what… B
- Together, we’ve created something beautiful. D
- It’s a miracle. D
- Because of your painting this will never age, will never scar. D
- Can you even imagine being able to do anything you please… D
- … and live out every whim and impulse, while the world till sees you gleam? D
- Don’t you see that this must be destroyed? B
- We’ll find a priest or a spirit-worker. B
- Long shot: At the beginning of the sequence, when Basil seems to be seen through an oval lock; towards the end of the sequence, when Dorian moves closer to the mirror and Basil says ‘Don’t you see that this must be destroyed?’.
- Medium shot: When Dorian says ‘Look at me. Because of your painting…’; when Dorian says ‘and live out every whim and impulse’.
- Close-up: At the end of the sequence, the closeup on Dorian when Basil says ‘this devil’.
The prevailing colours are dark ones. The atmosphere is mysterious and frightening.
The camera is mainly fixed because what matters most are the words spoken by the two characters.
Suggestion: Throughout the novel Dorian shows a twofold attitude towards the picture. Sometimes he sees it as a reflection of his own soul (as in the film sequence), and sometimes he sees it as endowed with an autonomous life (as in the text from the last chapter of the novel).
5.15 Nathaniel Hawthorne
- witch trials
- poor health
- moral conflicts
- Custom House
- campaign biography
The Scarlet Letter
- It is set in Boston, in the Puritan New England of the 17th century. The first chapter is a long preamble on the Salem Custom House where, in a deserted room, the narrator finds a piece of gold-embroidered scarlet cloth in the shape of the letter ‘A’. There is also a manuscript telling the story of Hester Prynne. The narrator decides to take this narrative as the starting point for the novel.
- Hester Prynne is impulsive and passionate, she lives in public shame like an outcast, but she gains strength and purity from this isolation.
- Reverend Dimmesdale and Roger Chillingworth represent two sides of the human will: the active side and the passive one. Chillingworth is the villain of the story; he joins intellect and will to achieve his revenge. His only aim is to guide and observe Dimmesdale’s and Hester’s agony. He commits what the author considers the worst of sins, that is, the violation of the human heart. Dimmesdale, on the other hand, is all intellect without any will. He is passive, sensitive and refined; he lives under the pain of the shame deriving from his having sinned in the face of God.
- Little Pearl is a strange, elf-like creature with incredible energy. She represents freedom, intuitiveness and a poetic view of the world. She is the image of innocence and acts as a saviour to her mother.
- His main concern was not simply with sin, but with its relation to guilt; he observed and portrayed the torments of a guilty conscience, he focused on the moral and psychological effects of sin: isolation, morbidity, the distortion and frustration of emotional life, secrecy and twofaced appearance.
- He used traditional symbols derived from the Bible, Spenser, Shakespeare and Milton: light and darkness; the dark forest where witches practise their rites and illicit lovers meet, opposed to the severe Puritan town; the mirror; the sea; the snake; fire. The central symbol is the letter ‘A’ worn on Hester’s bosom, which is intended as a symbol of Hester’s shame but finally becomes the symbol of her personal identity
T41 Public shame
- (lines 1-12) Opening of the prison door, and appearance of the beadle and Hester with her baby in her arms.
- (lines 13-45) Hester and her baby are on the scaffold in front of the crowd. Part
- (lines 46-58) Hester bears the eyes of the crowd. Part
- (lines 59-83) Hester’s memories of her childhood and youth. Part
- (lines 84-87) Hester comes back to her reality on the scaffold.
- Highlighted in yellow: description of the beadle
- Highlighted in pink: description of Hester. She is tall, dark-eyed, with a rich complexion and shining hair; she is beautiful, elegant and ladylike in her manners; she has a strong character and dignity
- Pink words: Hester’s actions on the scaffold
- Light blue words: Hester’s feelings and character
- Highlighted in green: description of the scarlet letter embroidered on Hester’s bosom and its effect on the crowd
- Highlighted in light blue: the attitude of the crowd of Puritan citizens gathered around the scaffold. The crowd has no individual faces or comments, they are a group, all behaving in the same way. They have no active role, they are merely a presence
- Red dots: description of Hester’s childhood and youth, her parental house and parents. She used to live in a decaying house with anxious parents
- Highlighted in grey: Hester’s memory of her husband, Chillingworth. He was a scholar, with the power to penetrate the human soul, and had a slightly deformed, unattractive appearance
- He represents the strictness, the ‘dismal severity’ of the Puritan laws. He is ‘grim and grisly’ and prepared to see the law fulfilled in all its details - one assumes with no compassion or discrimination.
- At first, she is only a young woman and a mother, but eventually she is named. By describing the changes that have taken place in her character and looks during her imprisonment, Hawthorne is able to show ‘the before’ (her ‘reckless spirit’) and ‘the after’ (her ladylike elegance and beauty). By having her imagine her past in order to block out the horrible present of the public shaming, he is able to give her history in pictorial flashbacks.
- The dress is so gorgeous and extravagant, compared with what would be expected, that we know that Hester is an exceptional character. Her skill is shown, as well as the passion and spirit to have made her dress of shame into a spectacular ornament.
- This question can be answered at various levels. The simplest is that Hester does not behave with the shame expected by the crowd. The crowd, in turn, does not behave as Hester expects, in fact they remain silent. Finally, Hester herself does not behave as she expected - she would have preferred to disdain the shouting crowd, but finds their silence disconcerting and has to counter it with her memories.
- The unusual feature is the eyes: they could ‘read the human soul’ (line 73). This is a mysterious comment but also sinister, as all the other features of the man are negative - he is unpleasantly old and slightly deformed.
- He exaggerates the description by using words and phrases like ‘fine red cloth’, ‘elaborate embroidery and fantastic flourishes of gold thread’, ‘artistically done, and with so much fertility and gorgeous luxuriance of fancy’, ‘fitting’, ‘of a splendour’, ‘greatly beyond […] sumptuary regulations’ (lines 20-25), ‘so fantastically embroidered and illuminated’ (line 43). This serves to make the letter ‘A’ stand out as a symbol, not merely of the Puritan adulteress, but of Hester’s beauty, skill and individuality. In addition to this, the type of language contrasts with the narrow and drab Puritan culture.
- At the beginning of the extract light and darkness are contrasted - the prison and freedom, Puritan law and Hester’s individuality. Towards the end Hawthorne contrasts reality and Hester’s imagination. (Students might pick the more concrete opposition of the young, beautiful and fertile Hester with the deformed old figure of her husband.) The letter ‘A’ is a thing of beauty, pride and individuality - the essence of Hester -, but it is also the symbol of shame and sin.
Suggestion: Hawthorne’s work has been at the centre of the American canon since the first publication of The Scarlet Letter. During his life he came in touch with the leading literary and philosophical minds of his day: Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau and Herman Melville. The philosophy of Transcendentalism encouraged man to transcend the materialistic world of experience and facts through reflection and intuition in order to discover and become aware of eternal truths in the natural world. Hawthorne’s importance to American literature is mainly due to three reasons. First, he was a skilled novelist with an impressive talent for form. For instance, the four characters in The Scarlet Letter are so tightly linked together that the plot is given a unity of action rising slowly up to the scene of Dimmesdale’s public confession. A second reason is Hawthorne’s moral insight. He was deeply concerned with the concepts of original sin and guilt and the claims of law and conscience. He did not share the Transcendentalists’ optimism about the potentialities of human nature; instead, he looked more honestly into life, finding in it much suffering and conflict but also finding the redeeming power of love. A third reason is Hawthorne’s mastery of allegory and symbolism. His work started the tradition in American fiction of the symbolic romance that analyses the complexities and ambiguities of man’s choices.
5.16 Herman Melville
- He left school because of his father’s death and the subsequent difficult financial conditions of his family
- After taking various jobs, in 1839 he signed on as crew on a merchant ship and from then on he travelled widely and experienced all kinds of adventures
- His experience at sea provided the material for almost all his novels and stories
- Nathaniel Hawthorne encouraged him to adopt a more complex and symbolical narrative form
- His masterpiece Moby-Dick was published in 1851. The novel met with a cool reception and marked the beginning of the decline of Melville’s popularity
- whaling ship
- hunting down
- had bitten
- mixed races
- first mate
- three days
- sinking ship
- It takes place in the 1830s or 1840s aboard the whaling ship Pequod in the Pacific, Atlantic and Indian Oceans. It is based on the hunt for a white sperm whale, called Moby Dick, which is finally seen and hunted for three days.
- What does Ahab embody? He embodies the American Prometheus, a tragic hero who has been viewed by critics in two different perspectives: either as an overreacher who equals himself to God and makes a pact with the devil or as the voice of the instinctive spirituality of the New World, which rejects the tyranny of nature over man.
- Melville’s work lacks the optimistic, patriotic tone of Whitman’s poetry, and is rather marked by pessimism arising from the destruction of illusions, the clash between the ideal and the real.
- The novel is full of literary and religious echoes; Ahab’s quest reminds us of the wanderings of Ulysses, and there are parallels with the biblical history of Jonah, who, like Ahab, refused to obey the destiny God had decided for him and was punished. Another influence can be found in the English Romantic poets.
- The language of the novel ranges from everyday, colloquial speech to a highly symbolical and figurative style. The book contains some dictionary definitions of the whale, together with what the animal is called in 13 different languages, as well as a detailed description of the anatomy of the whale, and of the tools needed to hunt, kill and then cut it up. The first-person narrative is complemented by the omniscient impersonal narrative.
- Moby Dick is far more than a natural creature; Ahab hates him as the personification of the evil in the world - an active, impersonal force that man has to contend with. It could also represent a sort of mirror in which Ahab and his crew look for their own image, the embodiment of mankind’s quest for a reason for existence. But the white whale is also a symbol of the hidden and mysterious forces of nature, a wonderful and powerful nature, capable of sudden and incredible acts of destruction. Therefore the hunt stands for the archetypal conflict between man and nature in an age in which nature was seen as a ‘commodity’ and whales were considered a source of oil, meat, whalebone and the valuable spermaceti oil.
T42 Captain Ahab
- C The deepest word
- ‘pasteboard masks’ (lines 1-2)
- A Pushed roughly
- He identifies it with the wall thrust upon man by nature with terrible strength and inscrutable malice.
- He feels oppressed, he hates it (lines 6-9)
- B They stare at Ahab in a stupefied way
- He laughs (line 19)
- He thinks he has him in his power
- He defies fate in a state of mad exaltation.
- He tries to go beyond human limits.
- He has arrogant ambition.
- Some examples:
- simile; ‘All visible objects […] are but as pasteboard masks’ (lines 1-2).
- archaism; ‘Hark ye’ (line 1), ‘hath’ (line 12), ‘thou reddenest and palest’ (line 13).
- metaphor. ‘the white whale is that wall’ (line 5).
|Images from nature||Meaning suggested|
|the sun (line 9) leopards (line 17) hurricane (line 20) sapling (line 21) billow (line 24)||the source of life and energy the instinctual, primitive creatures force, strength youth, tenderness force, energy|
5.17 Walt Whitman
- Place of birth: West Hills on Long Island, New York.
- Education: He had little formal education and acquired a self-taught culture.
- Readings: The Bible, Homer, Dante, Shakespeare, Carlyle, Goethe, Hegel, Emerson, Eastern religion and philosophy.
- Job experiences: At the age of 11 he started to work as an office boy for some Brooklyn lawyers and then became a printer’s apprentice for a local newspaper. Journalism became his career.
- Beliefs: He supported radical democratic causes, was in favour of the abolition of slavery and the national integrity promoted by Lincoln, and believed in the value of democracy and technological progress.
- Journeys: He travelled from New York to New Orleans, returning via Chicago.
- Public reaction to his works: His third edition of Leaves of Grass aroused the indignation of puritanical readers and gained him a reputation for obscenity and homosexuality.
- Reputation: Popular in Europe in the 1870s, he was especially appreciated by the Aesthetic Movement. In America he had Ralph Waldo Emerson’s support during his lifetime, and influenced later poets such as Ezra Pound, Carl Sandburg and, more recently, the Beat Generation. He is generally regarded as the father of American poetry, as the first voice distinctly new and ‘American’.
- Because it is a life-long poem in whose various editions all of Whitman’s poetry was incorporated. This implied a process of development and expansion resulting from the fact that Whitman never lost a transcendental sense of the unity of all things.
- As a process, a continuing, all-embracing flow.
- Because they imposed rigidity and completeness upon the reality, which is in fact constantly unfolding.
- He rejected the pastoral trend and treated the natural world as the body of the earth, a material entity with a character that attracted the poet’s curiousity.
- The human body, with its sensual impulses, was treated as continuous with nature. Whitman discovered in himself the same energies and materials that brought the earth to life.
- Whitman’s relation to the earth was also mystical because it identified the self with this larger, more powerful, and only partially knowable entity.
- He used free verse. He rejected rhymes and regular lines with a fixed number of syllables or stresses in favour of long lines where rhythm is naturally determined by the thought or emotion expressed. His poems proceed by accumulation and addition, the participle often replaces the finite verb, and the overall impression is one of fragmentation and lack of unity.
- He celebrated America in all its variety - the land itself, its people, its natural life, the idea of democracy and the ‘American dream’. Another main theme is himself, his task, as a poet, to respond to the spirit of his country, to give voice to the common man, to reveal the truth, like a prophet, mixing with the crowd and embracing mankind in brotherly love. He also dealt with physical love and the theme of sex. What he valued most was the dignity of the individual, conceived as the unity of body and soul, and with a right to self-expression and personal experience.
T43 O Captain! my Captain!
- Stanza 1 Lincoln’s assassination.
- Stanza 2 The victory of democracy.
- Stanza 3 The poet’s mourning
- Highlighted in yellow: terms referring to President Lincoln. He is seen as a great leader, a father who can guide the country
- Highlighted in pink: symbolic images: the ‘trip’ stands for the journey towards freedom, which is fearful because it is connected with the war; the ‘rack’ is slavery; the ‘prize’ is the union; the ‘port’ is the victory of freedom and democracy; the ‘vessel’ is the guide represented by the leader
- Highlighted in grey: the American people are exulting and celebrating the victory of freedom and democracy
- Green dots: the prevailing sentence form in the poem is exclamation
- Red dots: use of repetition
- To ‘rise up and hear the bells’ (line 9).
- It varies from excitement (lines 1-4, 9-12) to sorrow and mourning (line 17-18, 22).
- No, it does not. There is a rhyme scheme (AABBCDED).
- What tense prevails? What is the effect? The present tense. It gives the poem a dramatic quality of immediacy.
- Both. Whitman’s poem testifies to his passionate patriotism, to his belief in the American dream, as well as to his appreciation of Lincoln both as a politician and a man, a ‘father’.
Suggestion: President Abraham Lincoln’s assassination in 1865 had a deep impact on the nation since the last bloody battles of the Civil War were still a recent memory. There was widespread mourning and grief across the country, and Whitman, who was a great admirer of Lincoln, wrote this poem. The poet thought that Lincoln embodied the American virtues of honesty and courage, and his death inspired a simple, three-stanza poem of sorrow that little resembled his other, more experimental writings. O Captain! my Captain! became one of the most popular poems Whitman would ever write and the poem’s evocation of triumph overshadowed by despair spoke to readers throughout the shattered nation.
5.18 Emily Dickinson
- Born into a middle-class Puritan family, she received her university education at Mount Holyoke Female Seminary, where she refused to declare her faith in public, as was required by the Puritan tradition, and then decided to interrupt her studies and return home.
- She lived a life of seclusion, she only wore white clothes, as ambiguous emblems of spiritual marriage and singleness, and never left her father’s house except for some walks in the garden. She hid her mind, as well as her person, from all but the members of her family, especially her sister Lavinia and a few friends to whom she wrote wonderful letters. Letter-writing became her only form of contact with the world, and her poems also seem to have been written for the purpose of communication rather than for publication.
- Four years after her death, the literary critic Thomas Wentworth Higginson was asked to make a selection from her work. Poems by Emily Dickinson appeared in 1890 with some corrections and changes meant to suit the taste of a public accustomed to more traditional rhythms and images. A complete edition of her poems appeared in 1955, edited by Thomas Johnson, who re-established the form in which she wrote them, with the original and eccentric punctuation.
- She dealt with the eternal issues of life: death and loss, love and desire, time, fear, sorrow, despair, God, nature and man’s relation to the universe.
- She wrote about death from the point of view of the person dying or of a witness. She sometimes felt horror or compassion, and she even wrote about her own death. She explored the theme of love through a full range of emotions: from ecstatic and sensual celebration to the despair due to separation. She presented nature in three ways: through an objective description; by juxtaposing the thing observed and the soul of the observer, so that the natural object leads to philosophical speculation; as a source of imagery to emphasise an abstract concept or theme.
- Her poems are generally short and organised in simple quatrains. They do not have a title. Their language is characterised by monosyllabic words, by terms from various sources - law, geometry, engineering -, by common words that come alive in unusual contexts. She uses the dash, which breaks lines apart.
- It forces the reader to pause and reconsider, and provides a visible, physical space for thought.
- What were the main influences on her poetry? Her poetry was influenced by the reading of the Bible, Shakespeare, Milton, the Metaphysical poets and contemporary writers like Emily Brontë and Robert Browning. The same forces that had long dominated New England - the Puritan tradition and Emerson’s Transcendentalism - also contributed to shaping her mind.
- They both broke with poetic conventions, but Dickinson’s poetry, unlike Whitman’s, is concerned with questions, intuitions and moods rather than statements and assertions. Her limited vision is the poetic antithesis of Whitman. If Whitman was the poet of wholeness, she was the poet of what is broken and absent.
T44 Hope is the thing with feathers
- Stanza 1 Description of hope.
- Stanza 2 Hope is sweet and keeps warm.
- Stanza 3 Even the smallest portion of oneself can provide an entire meal for hope.
- Highlighted in pink: the central metaphor of the poem is that of a soft songbird standing for hope
- Highlighted in yellow: the human soul is the place where hope is
- Underlined in blue: other metaphors: the ‘storm’ stands for the difficulties and the chaos that sometimes affect life; the ‘chillest land’ stands for hardship or suffering; the ‘sea’ is a metaphor for life; a ‘crumb’ is an everyday detail which represents friendship and love
- Highlighted in light blue: repetition
- Green letters: assonance
- Pink letters: alliteration
- Personal: ‘perches in the soul’ (line 2); tireless: ‘And never stops - at all’ (line 4); resilient: ‘in the chillest land’ (line 9); fearless: ‘on the strangest Sea’ (line 10); heroically strong: ‘never, in Extremity - / It asked a crumb’ (lines 11-12)
- The word ‘thing’ (line 1). To leave the image of hope indefinite and therefore more evocative.
- She is fond of the little, trifling details of the natural world
|Structure of poems||free verse; long lines; rejected rhymes||short lines; simple quatrains; free use of rhymes|
|Language||dialect and common speech mixed with the jargon of science and philosophy; accumulation of details; avoids similes and metaphors||elliptical; use of rhetorical devices and dashes|
|Themes||freedom and democracy; the American dream; the poet’s task to give voice to the common man; physical love; the dignity of the individual||exploration of universal issues through trivial, everyday images: death and loss; love and desire; time; fear; sorrow; despair; God; hope; nature; man’s relation to the universe|
|The poet’s attitude||broke away from convention; optimistic attitude||broke away from stereotypes; lived a life of isolation|
T45 Because I could not stop for Death
- but just
- Stanza 1 Death kindly stopped to visit the
- Stanza 2 The speaker had to give up what she
- Stanza 3 Death and the speaker rode through
- Stanza 4 The sun went down and the weather
- Stanza 5 They stopped at a strange house.
- Stanza 6 The speaker understood she was riding
There is no rhyme scheme. The poet breaks away from the conventions of poetry and anticipates modern experimentation.
The poem is characterised by the lack of punctuation and the use of dashes. In this way Dickinson creates suspense, emphasises certain words and forces the reader to pause and reconsider. As a result the emotion expressed in the poem is highlighted.
The repetition of ‘We passed’ (lines 11-12) creates a sort of trance-like atmosphere and conveys the sense of inevitability of the journey towards eternity
‘labor’, ‘leisure’ (line 7); ‘School’ (line 9); ‘Fields of Gazing Grain’ (line 11); ‘Setting Sun’ (line 12); ‘Gown’ (line 15); ‘Tippet’ (line 16); ‘Roof’ (line 19); ‘Cornice’ (line 20).
kindly’ (line 2); ‘Carriage’ (line 3); ‘slowly’ (line 5);He knew no haste’ (line 5); ‘His Civility’ (line 8). Dickinson uses personification; she modifies the traditional frightening image of death and turns it into the figure of a gentleman who takes his lady for a ride in his carriage.
It is connoted like a house. On its architectural features.
Mocking, gentle, ironical, witty
The idea of the last journey is connected with the concept of another life in eternity. At the same time it is contrasted with the idea that life on earth will continue around us even after our departure.
- The Chartists were a group of working-class radicals who, in 1838, drew up a People’s Charter demanding equal electoral districts, universal male suffrage, a secret ballot, paid MPs, annually elected Parliaments and abolition of the property qualifications for membership. No one in power was ready for such democracy and the Chartist movement failed. However, their influence was later felt when, in 1867, the Second Reform Act enfranchised part of the urban male working class in England and Wales for the first time and, in 1872, the secret ballot was introduced with the Ballot Act.
- A typical Victorian family is shown in their garden. The values embodied are respectability and the importance of the family. The middle and upper classes liked to see themselves as respectable following the example set by the royal family, where Victoria and Albert became the living image of respectability. There was general agreement on the virtues of asserting a social status, keeping up appearances and looking after a family. These things were ‘respectable’.
- They were miserable due to poverty, overcrowding and the lack of hygiene.
- 1870 The Education Act started a national system by introducing ‘board schools’, mainly in the poorer areas of the towns.
- 1871 The Trade Union Act introduced the legalisation of trade unions.
- 1872 The Ballot Act introduced the secret ballot at elections.
- 1875 The Artisans’ and Labourers’ Dwellings Act allowed local public authorities to clear the slums and provided housing for the poor. A Public Health Act provided sanitation as well as running water.
- 1878 A Factory Act limited the working hours per week.
- 1884 The Third Reform Act extended voting to all male householders, including miners, millworkers and farm labourers. This extension of the franchise gave public opinion an important role as a political force.
- Gap between the North and the South
- Constant increase of white population in the North due to immigration 4 million black slaves in the South ->
- Several northern States adopted emancipation.
- The international demand for cotton meant the economy of the South continued to rely on slave labour Northern abolitionists organised themselves into the Republican Party, which demanded that slavery be excluded from all territories of the Union ->
- The Republican candidate Abraham Lincoln won the presidential election in 1860
- Soon after, 11 southern States seceded from the Union and formed the Confederate States of America War followed because Lincoln, supported by a majority of northerners, refused to concede that any American State had the constitutional right to withdraw from the Union. The Civil War broke out in 1861 and lasted four years. Slavery was abolished in 1865
- the relationship between the writer and his readers; There was, for the first time, a communion of interests and opinions between writers and their middle-class readers. Novels were first published in instalments, which allowed the writer to have an immediate feedback from his public.
- the novelist’s aim; Didactic.
- the setting; Mainly urban - the city was the main symbol of the industrial civilisation as well as the expression of anonymous lives and lost identities.
- the characters; Realistic characters the public could easily identify with, in terms of comedy - especially Dickens’s characters - or dramatic passion - the Brontë sisters’ heroines.
- the narrator. The omniscient narrator provided a comment on the plot and erected a rigid barrier between ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ behaviours.
|The novel of manners||William M. Thackeray||It dealt with economic and social problems and described a particular class or situation.|
|The humanitarian novel||Charles Dickens||It combined humour with a sentimental request for reform for the less fortunate. It could be divided into novels of a ‘realistic’, ‘fantastic’ or ‘moral’ nature according to their predominant tone or issue dealt with.|
|The novel of formation||Charles Dickens, the Brontë sisters||It dealt with one character’s development from early youth to some sort of maturity|
|Literary nonsense||Edward Lear, Lewis Carroll||It created a nonsensical universe where the social rules and conventions are disintegrated, the cause-effect relationship does not exist, and time and space have lost their function of giving an order to human experience.|
|The realistic novel||Thomas Hardy, George Eliot||It mirrored a society linked to a growing crisis in the moral and religious fields. Coincidences were fully exploited to solve the intricacies of the plot, and chance played a Darwinian role.|
|The psychological novel||Robert Louis Stevenson||It tried to capture the monstrous, illogical aspects of life and described the double nature of Victorian society.|
- all reality was seen as a single unity (oneness and multiplicity were the same thing), a concept which well suited the reality of the ‘melting pot’, of a country where people from all over the world formed a national unity;
- contact with nature was the best means to reach truth and awareness of the unity of all things;
- the ‘over-soul’ was the spiritual principle linking everything together;
- man was the emanation of the over-soul, and the emphasis lay on his individuality, on his selfeducation. This philosophy encouraged an optimistic and self-reliant point of view, which found expression particularly in the poems of Walt Whitman and the works of Henry David Thoreau, who, in 1849, published his essay Civil Disobedience, where he stated his belief in the individual’s right to resist the power and the laws of the State when they were in conflict with his own honest, moral convictions.
- It developed in the universities and intellectual circles in the last decades of the 19th century. It began in France with Théophile Gautier
- It reflected the sense of frustration and uncertainty of the artist; his reaction against the materialism, monotony, vulgarity and restrictive moral code of the bourgeoisie; and his need to redefine the role of art.
- ‘Art for Art’s Sake’.
- He lived unconventionally, pursuing sensation and excess, and cultivating art and beauty.
- Walter Pater
- It was hedonistic, sensuous, disenchanted with contemporary society and very much self-centred.
- He chose sensual and sometimes perverse subjects.
6. The Modern Age
6.1 From the Edwardian Age to the First World War
- barbed wire
- war of attrition
- machine guns
- wear down
- It was similar to Victorian society. Class distinctions were well defined and preserved, and serious poverty affected a large proportion of the population.
- Who were the Liberals and what did they believe in? The Liberals were divided into two groups: those who supported the traditional liberal values of laissez-faire and self-help, and those who supported New Liberalism, which was in favour of certain forms of State intervention in social life.
- He laid down the foundations of the Welfare State through a series of measures bringing in an old-age pension of one to five shillings for people over 70, free meals and regular medical inspections in schools, minimum wages, free medical treatment and sickness benefits for workers, unemployment benefits and health insurance for the workers of important industries.
- The 1911 Parliament Act removed the Lords’ right to veto money bills passed in the Commons: they could only delay them for two years.
- They held large protest marches in London, chained themselves to railings, broke windows, hit and spat at policemen.
- Austria began bombing Belgrade, the German Kaiser declared war on Russia and then on France.
- When did Britain declare war on Germany? Britain declared war on Germany when Germany violated Belgian neutrality. In fact Britain, which had participated in the creation of Belgium in 1831 and had guaranteed its neutrality, now faced the threat of a commercial blockade due to the aggressive presence of the German navy in the North Sea and the Channel.
- Signed with France in 1904, this agreement established that Britain could pursue its interests in Egypt, and France in Morocco.
- It was an organisation, founded by Mrs Emmeline Pankhurst in 1903, that wanted women to have the vote and soon won massive publicity for its cause
6.2 The age of anxiety
Disillusioned and cynical mood due to the loss of many lives; frantic search for pleasure; sense of guilt for the horrors of trench warfare; loss of purpose; widening of the gap between the generation of the young and the older one, regarded as responsible for the terrible waste of lives during the war; increasing rootlessness and frustration, due to the slow dissolution of the Empire into the Commonwealth, led to a transformation of the notions of imperial hegemony and white superiority
- Name: Sigmund Freud. Main concern: The human psyche. New theory: The power of the unconscious to affect behaviour; the importance of infantile sexuality; the interpretation of dreams; the concept of free associations.
- Name: Carl Gustav Jung. Main concern: The collective unconscious. New theory: Cultural memory containing the universal images and beliefs of the human race, which operates on a symbolic level.
- Name: Albert Einstein. Main concern: The concepts of time and space. New theory: Theory of relativity: time and space are seen as subjective dimensions.
- Name: William James. Main concern: The concept of time. New theory: The mind records every single experience as a continuous flow of ‘the already’ into ‘the not yet’.
- Name: Henri Bergson. Main concern: The concept of time. New theory: Distinction between historical time, which is external, linear and measured in terms of the spatial distance travelled by a pendulum or the hands of a clock, and psychological time, which is internal, subjective and measured by the relative emotional intensity of a moment.
- Name: Sir James George Frazer. Main concern: Anthropology; primitive societies. New theory: Relativist standpoint applied to religious and ethical systems.
- Name: Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche. Main concern: Rejection of Christian morality. New theory: ‘God is dead’ and therefore people are free to create their own values; belief in human power and perfectibility
6.3 The inter-war years
- The Empire: The effort the dominions of the British Empire had made during the war created expectations of reward. In 1926 an imperial conference created a new entity from the dominions of Canada, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa with the name of ‘Commonwealth’. In 1931 the Statute of Westminster formally granted the sovereign right of each dominion to control its own domestic and foreign affairs and to establish its own diplomatic corps. India suffered regional and religious tensions and saw a rising support for the Nationalist Congress Party; the Government of India Act in 1935 established self-government at a provincial level.
- Ireland: The Sinn Féin party set up an independent Parliament in Dublin in 1919. The nationalist Irish Volunteers became the IRA and then declared open war on Britain in 1920. In 1921 the Irish Free State was established, and after the civil war of 1922 the anti-Treaty faction, who wanted the inclusion of the six counties of Ulster in the Republican Ireland, was defeated.
- Unemployment: It was a consequence of the failure of banks due to the Wall Street Crash of 1929, but it was also due to the war, which had damaged Britain’s position as the biggest exporter of manufactured goods.
- Gap between North and South: The once powerful industrial North became depressed and challenged by new growing automobile, chemical and electrical goods industries in the South and the Midlands. Restoring demand to the iron and steel industries began with rearmament in 1936.
- Funding rearmament: The British government shifted spending onto the Royal Air Force and the Royal Navy at the expense of the army. Threats to peace: Benito Mussolini’s attack on Abyssinia; Hitler’s Nazi Party’s rise to power; the Civil War in Spain; the Japanese attack on China; Hitler’s invasion of Austria, Czechoslovakia and Poland.
- Following an imperial conference that had established the Commonwealth in 1926, in 1931 this statute formally granted the sovereign right of each dominion to control its own domestic and foreign affairs and to establish its own diplomatic corps.
- The independent Parliament set up in Dublin by Sinn Féin after their victory at the 1918 election in Ireland.
- The Irish Republican Army which replaced the Irish Volunteers. It organised terrorist attacks that were brutally met by a special British police force, the ‘Black and Tans’.
- A day in 1920 when the ‘Black and Tans’ shot 12 dead at a football match in Dublin.
- The popular young king, Edward VIII, who had succeeded his father George V, wanted to marry a twice divorced American woman. Prime Minister Baldwin forced his abdication on the grounds that he could not marry her and keep the throne. The king’s brother succeeded as George VI.
6.4 The Second World War
- aircraft carriers
- civilian targets
- iron ore supply
- 1940 Norway, Denmark, Holland and Belgium fell; the Germans headed for Paris; British retreat to Dunkirk; Japan overran Hong Kong and Burma and began to threaten Singapore and India; Battle of Britain; the ‘Blitz’.
- 1941 British retreat in Africa; Germany declared war on the Soviet Union; the USA joined the conflict after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor; Germany declared war on America. 1942 Battle of Midway Island; victory of Montgomery’s army at El-Alamein in North Africa.
- 1943 The Allies landed in Italy; Battle of Stalingrad.
- 1944 Rome fell; Allied troops landed in Normandy, an event known as ‘D-Day’; Battle of the Bulge in the Belgian Ardennes.
- 1945 The Soviet Red Army liberated Poland, Hungary, Romania, Czechoslovakia, Austria and the eastern fringes of Germany; Hitler committed suicide; the Germans surrendered; Yalta Conference in Crimea; explosion of two atomic bombs on the Japanese towns of Hiroshima and Nagasaki; Japan surrendered.
- The failure to get control of the air over Britain.
- The decision to invade the Soviet Union.
- The US entry into the war.
- Montgomery’s success in Africa.
- The Battle of Stalingrad.
- D-Day and the Battle of the Bulge.
- The advance of the Soviet Red Army
- Hitler’s ambitious plan of invading Britain in 1940: Germany’s air force had to defeat Britain’s in order to open the way for the sea invasion.
- The fight between the RAF and the Luftwaffe bombers in the skies over Sussex and Kent in 1940. It was won by Britain.
- Hitler’s invasion of the Soviet Union in 1941, which consumed Germany’s resources for the rest of the war.
- The Allied invasion of Western Europe which began with the opening of a front in France in 1944.
- The day of the landing of a large Allied amphibious force on the beaches of Normandy, on 6th June 1944.
- The meeting in Crimea in February 1945 where US President Franklin D. Roosevelt, British Prime Minister Sir Winston Churchill and Soviet Premier Joseph Stalin made important decisions concerning the future progress of the war and the post-war world.
- TRUE (paragraph A)
- TRUE (paragraph D)
- FALSE (paragraph B)
- NOT GIVEN
- air force
- to Britain
- the positions
- really enjoyed;
- of Sicily
- B false information to the Germans about an Allied landing
- C a jazz singer
- C using invisible ink and hiding material in her clothing.
- A she risked her life for something she believed in. Complete the flow chart about Christine Granville
- England (with her husband)
6.5 The USA in the first half of the 20th century
- assembly plant
- the contradictions within American society at the end of the 19th century and in the early 20th century; By the end of the 19th century the United States had become the richest country in the world, with its economic power based on agricultural prosperity, massive industrialoutput, the rich mineral resources available and the rise of ‘trusts’, the huge corporations of firms in the same trade, which gradually came to dominate the market. The economic boom, however, had not prevented the spread of poverty. In the industrial areas of the North workers lived in dirty, overcrowded slums, and toiled long hours for low wages. In the early years of the 20th century many national problems, like the conditions of life in the city slums or corruption in government, were brought to light by books and articles written by investigative journalists called ‘muckrakers’.
- the key points of Theodore Roosevelt’s home and foreign policy; He made the navy stronger, insisted on the regulation of trusts and carried out a moderate programme of social legislation. He pursued a policy of imperial expansion. After the Spanish-American War (1898) the United States acquired most of its overseas empire, including Cuba, Puerto Rico and the Philippines. In the same period the USA also annexed Hawaii and supported the revolt for independence of Panama from Colombia. The territory was finally granted to the Americans. Imperialism, however, was regarded as contrary to the democratic values of the American Constitution. This is why the United States gradually began to grant independence to its dominions except for Cuba, where it maintained the control of Guantánamo Bay to build a large naval base.
- the reasons for America’s involvement in World War I. The reasons for America’s entry into the war can be found in the attacks the German submarines were making on American ships.
- Because the economy grew quickly, vast resources were invested to create new industries, there was little competition from Europe, the population was increasing and taxes on profits and industries were cut by the Republican government. The economic prosperity gave rise to a feeling of euphoria and experimentation in music, dance and fashion, from which the name ‘Roaring Twenties’.
- It expressed the fear of Socialism in the 1920s that led to the imprisonment and persecution of political activists with radical or labour backgrounds.
- A revival of puritanical attitudes banned the manufacture and sale of alcohol. This drastic step, known as ‘Prohibition’, was taken to fight the problem of alcohol addiction among the poor
- The 1929 Wall Street Crash marked the end of the prosperous Twenties and the beginning of the Great Depression. Thousands of businessmen were ruined, and millions of common people who had invested their savings in shares found themselves facing debt and ruin. Factories shut down, banks crashed, goods piled up in warehouses. Nearly 8 million Americans were unemployed in the 1930s and spent hours in ‘breadlines’, where they received rations of food. In that period the Great Plains region was devastated by drought. The Dust Bowl forced 60 per cent of the farmers to migrate to California and helped to lengthen the Depression.
- By giving financial support to the unemployed. The three aims of Roosevelt’s New Deal were in fact ‘relief, recovery, reform’. The federal government spent billions of dollars on relief for those unemployed, on public works and on the conservation of natural resources. It also promoted farm rehabilitation where farmers were instructed to plant trees and grass to anchor the soil, to plough and terrace in order to hold rainwater, and to allow portions of farmland to lie uncultivated each year so that the soil could regenerate.
- Investigative journalists whose reports, in the early years of the 20th century, brought to light many national problems, like the conditions of life in the city slums or corruption in government.
- Amendment to the American Constitution that prohibited the manufacture and sale of alcohol.
- A research project to produce and test the first atomic bomb. Among the scientists working in the nuclear field was the Italian physicist Enrico Fermi (1901-54). The main assembly plant was built at Los Alamos, New Mexico.
- At the beginning of the 20th century, the press brought the conditions of life in the city slums and the corruption in government to the attention of the Americans
- Although the USA pursued a policy of imperial expansion, it gradually granted independence to its dominions except for Cuba
- In the 1920s, quick economic growth was due to investments in industry, little competition from Europe, population growth and cuts in taxes
- Prohibition encouraged the illegal traffic of ‘bootleggers’ and gangsterism
- The Wall Street Crash in 1929 marked the beginning of the Great Depression
- The New Deal had three aims: relief,recovery and reform
- It refers to an international movement which involved Western literature, music, the visual arts and the cinema in the first decades of the 20th century.
- Modernism as a literary movement is typically associated with the period after World War I. The horror of the war had shaken the certainties of the pre-war society, which were replaced by a sense of disillusionment and fragmentation. New ideas in the field of psychology, philosophy and political theory encouraged a search for new modes of expression.
- It expressed the desire to break with the past and find new fields of investigation, such as urbanisation, technology, war, speed and mass communication. It gave shape to the modern consciousness and contributed to express the nature of modern experience through creative forms of experimentation.
The traditional features subverted by Modernist writers were the limitations inbv space and time, the linear flow of narrative or conventional verse, the objectivity provided by an omniscient third-person narrator
Absorbing the influences of the past and contemporary ascendancy coming from abroad, in the attempt to build a new system of references, English modern literature was becoming cosmopolitan, thus moving away from the upper-middle-class milieu of Victorian society
6.7 Modern poetry
- The Georgian poets
- themes: the English countryside as an idyllic place
- style: still influenced by the Victorian Romantic tradition; used the convention of diction
- aim: to express the English sensibility
- The War Poets
- themes: the horrors of modern warfare
- style: experimentalism which emerged in the choice of violent, everyday language
- aim: to deal with war in an unconventional, anti-rhetorical way
- The Imagists
- themes: any subject matter; the poet’s response to a scene or object
- style: usually short poems; hard, clear and precise images; free verse
- aim: to achieve precision, discipline, ‘dry hardness’, ‘the exact curve of the thing’; no moral comment
- The Symbolists
- themes: the escape from emotion as well as from personality; the collapse and fragmentation of civilisation
- style: indirect statements; use of allusive language and images; importance given to the sound of words; quotations from other literatures; free verse
- aim: to evoke rather than to state; to create rich patterns of meaning that were not made easy for the superficial reader
- The poets of the 1930s
- themes: the social and political aspects of human life
- style: turned away from the Symbolists’ complexity and allusiveness; slang and jazz rhythms; images drawn from the world of technology
- aim: to communicate with their fellow men and encourage them to follow certain morally right courses of action
- The new Romantics
- themes: individual themes such as love, birth, death and even sex
- style: appeal to emotions
- aim: to react against the intellectualism and commitment of the 1930s
- A the single word.
- B To find connections between the units of the text.
- the length of the lines; They are of different length, though they are all very short; line 7 consists of one word only.
- the features of punctuation; The poem has no punctuation except for the full stop at the end of line 12.
- the main characteristics of the language. It is non-poetic, made up of words taken from everyday reality which convey very clear, discrete images.
In free verse the traditional metre and rhyme scheme are absent. Its only unifying element is the use of the poetic line. The free verse line might consist of a complete sentence or of a single word, whose relation to the syntactic structure of preceding and succeeding lines is flexible. Alliteration and assonance compensate for the absence of the other traditional musical devices.
6.8 The modern novel
|Traditional novel||Modern novel|
|Main theme||Society and outward actions of the characters (the gain or loss of social status).||The individual and the psyche.|
|Novelist’s role||To mediate between the characters and the reader||To mediate between the unquestioned values of the past and the confused present, highlighting the complexity of the unconscious.|
|Use of time||Chronological order.||Subjective and internal.|
|Narrative technique||Omniscient narrator; external viewpoint; wellstructured plot.||Stream-ofconsciousness technique; epiphany; interior monologue; internal point of view.|
- what the psychological novelists concentrated on; They concentrated on the development of the character’s mind and on human relationships.
- what the modern novelists were mainly interested in; They were mainly interested in experimenting with subjective narrative techniques, exploring the mind of one or more characters and giving voice to their thoughts.
- what the writers of the 1930s laid emphasis on. They laid emphasis on the society around them. Many British intellectuals had Marxist sympathies and tended to become didactic and take a political stance
6.9 The interior monologue
It is the verbal expression of a psychic phenomenon, the stream of consciousness
It does not follow a chronological order
The action takes place within the character’s mind
Speech is immediate because it is not addressed
The narrator may be present
It often lacks a formal logical order
There are four kinds of interior monologue: the indirect interior monologue, where the narrator never lets the character’s thoughts flow without control, and maintains logical and grammatical organisation; the direct interior monologue with two levels of narration - one external to the character’s mind, and the other internal; the direct interior monologue with the mind level of narration, where the character’s thoughts flow freely, not interrupted by external events; and the extreme interior monologue, where words and free associations are fused to create new expressions.
6.10 A new generation of American writers
The so-called ‘Jazz Age’ of the 1920s was an age full of excitement and contradictions due to the radical changes in the way people behaved and thought. The new manners were a reaction against the strict Puritan morality of the previous century. They were especially evident among young people, with their roaring cars and the new daring dances like the Charleston. In spite of Prohibition, parties and cocktails became fashionable and women began to wear their hair and dresses short, looking boyish.
They were aware of the moral desert hiding behind the glamour of the Jazz Age and they attacked its superficial hedonism. They knew that many good, young men had gone to war and died, or returned home physically or mentally wounded, and their faith in the moral ideals that had earlier given them hope, was ‘lost
With the exception of a few traditionalists, American poets wrote in free verse, abandoning conventional verse forms, experimenting with syntax, punctuation and typography
Afro-American literature found its fullest expression in Harlem Renaissance, a movement which concerned the literary and artistic fields as well as the cultural and intellectual ones. This movement raised important issues affecting the lives of African Americans; its writers exalted their heritage and tried to use their unique culture as a means to redefine African American literary expression. Afro-American writers had to face the problem of self-definition through a new evaluation of their past, relying in particular on the rich folk tradition - oral culture, black dialect, jazz and blues composition - to create unique literary forms.
Much of the literature of the period was characterised by a resentful and bitter pessimism, a new social consciousness, a feeling of political responsibility and a deeper interest in psychology
6.11 The War Poets
- When WWI broke out, thousands of young men volunteered for military service because they regarded the war as an adventure undertaken for noble ends, but after the slaughter on the Somme this sense of pride and exhilaration was replaced by doubt and disillusionment.
- It was hell because of the rain and mud, the decaying bodies that rats fed on, the repeated bombings and the use of poison gas in warfare.
- They were a group of poets who volunteered to fight in the Great War, actually experienced the fighting and in most cases were killed in the conflict. They managed to represent modern warfare in a realistic and unconventional way, awakening the conscience of the readers back home to the horrors of the war.
- Because its subject-matter could not be conveyed in the 19th-century poetic conventions, and forced them to find new modes of expression.
- He was educated at Rugby School, where his father was a master, and then went to King’s College, Cambridge. He was a good student. He was also familiar with literary circles like the Bloomsbury Group and came to know many important literary figures before the war.
- He joined up at the beginning of the conflict but saw little combat since he contracted blood poisoning and died in April 1915, on the Aegean Sea. He was buried on the Greek island of Skyros.
- He advanced the idea that war is clean and cleansing. He expressed an idealism about the conflict, in which the only thing that can suffer is the body, and even death is seen as a reward. His poems show a sentimental attitude.
- The publication of his five war sonnets coincided with his death in 1915 and made him immensely popular, turning him into a new symbol of the ‘young romantic hero’ who inspired patriotism in the early months of the Great War, when England needed a focal point for its sacrifice, ideals and aspirations.
T46 The Soldier
- shed away
- to roam
- eternal mind
- A soldier.
- No, he does not seem afraid of death.
- B in another country
- it will become dust, a richer dust than the earth around it because that dust will be of a son of England’s who died honourably for his beloved country.
|Landscape||Inner growth and private feelings|
|her flowers to love’ (line 6)||‘England bore, shaped, made aware’ (line 5)|
|‘her ways to roam’ (line 6)||‘the thoughts by England given’ (line 11)|
|Washed by the rivers’ (line 8)||dreams happy’ (line 12)|
|‘blest by suns of home’ (line 8)||‘And laughter, learnt of friends; and gentleness, / In hearts at peace, under an English heaven’ (lines 13-14)|
He views England as a mother who gave him life and brought him up teaching him feelings of joy and gentleness.
He emphasises the politeness and friendship of the English people.
List the images referring to death. What idea do they suggest?
- ‘a richer dust’ (line 4)
- ‘A body of England’s’ (line 7)
- ‘A pulse in the eternal mind’ (line 10).
They suggest immortality, glory and peace
A a Petrarchan sonnet.
C ABAB CDCD EFG EFG.
The poem deals with patriotic ideas and the idealisation of those who sacrifice their life for their country. Death in battle is not regarded as a tragic experience but as a noble act.
- He decided to enlist after visiting a hospital for the wounded in France, where he was working as a teacher of English.
- No, he died seven days before the armistice. He was killed in a German machine gun attack.
- They deal with gas casualties, men who have gone mad and men who are clinically alive although their bodies have been destroyed.
- He introduced ‘pararhymes’ - halfrhymes where the consonants in two different words are the same but the vowels vary, for instance ‘loves/lives’, ‘seeds/sides’, ‘star/stir’.
- He was concerned with ‘the pity of War’.
- It was to warn and be truthful.
T47 Dulce et Decorum Est
- Stanza 1: The soldiers are retreating towards the trenches; they are tired, scared, they cough and are made blind and deaf as a result of the gas shells.
- Stanza 2: The poet describes a gas attack: the men try to put on their masks in the green light and the poet’s friend is wounded.
- Stanza 3: The sight of the dying friend returns in the poet’s dreams.
- Stanza 4: The poet describes his friend’s horrible death from chemical warfare and conveys the message of the poem.
- Highlighted in yellow: the personal pronouns in the poem: ‘we’ Æ the soldiers, including the poet himself; ‘I’ Æ the poet; ‘He’ Æ a soldier, a friend of the poet’s; ‘you’ Æ the reader, any person who thinks that the war is a noble adventure
- Highlighted in light blue: verbs of movement; the verbs in the first stanza describe slow, weary movements due to physical exhaustion, while those in the second stanza are convulsive and frantic because of panic
- Highlighted in orange: similes describing the soldiers during the retreat and the poet’s dying friend. The images belong to the world of the supernatural and that of suffering and disease
- Highlighted in green: metaphors conveying the nightmare of war. Teachers could point out that ‘blood-shod’ (line 6) is almost a kenning; ‘Drunk’ (line 7) refers to a real condition of the soldiers fighting in the Great War, who often used to drink alcohol before and after an attack; ‘ecstasy’ (line 9) is utter panic; the ‘green sea’ (line 14) refers to the colour of the gas
- Highlighted in grey: there is nothing noble or decorous in war; war is an ‘old’ lie because it is not a new concept but a historic one that has been used many times to cover up the harsh reality of war. This statement comes after a crescendo of terrible images, which puts even more emphasis on it
- Pink letters: examples of alliteration
- Green dots: examples of onomatopoeia
- Arrow: bitter irony, the technique used by the poet to underline that there is nothing noble or decorous in war since it only means degradation and death
- The words ‘Bent double’, ‘Knock-kneed’, ‘coughing’, ‘trudge’, ‘limped on’, ‘blood-shod’, ‘lame’, ‘blind’, ‘Drunk with fatigue’ and ‘deaf’ in the first stanza refer to physical suffering due to fatigue and the effects of chemical weapons. The words ‘cursed’ (line 2), ‘haunting’ (line 3), ‘asleep’ (line 5), ‘ecstasy of fumbling’ (line 9) and ‘yelling out’ (line 11) convey the idea of psychological uneasiness and fear. Owen gives importance to the psychological sphere (see the passage from the real to the unreal), he deals with the themes of alienation and dehumanisation.
- The passage from the real world of the battlefield to a nightmarish, hallucinatory, hellish world.
- The poem is a manifesto against the war and is addressed to those who claim that war is right and glorious. Through anti-heroic images, Owen gives an insight into what he calls the ‘pity of War’, its humane aspects.
- Yes, the poem is consistent with Owen’s statement. He thought that the message of poetry is strong and wanted people to feel the ‘pity of War’ through his lines, relating his first-hand experience of the horrors of war in the trenches.
|The soldier’s mood||Romantic.||Disenchanted|
|His attitude to war||He idealised it.||He condemned it.|
|Imagery||Drawn from nature and private feelings.||Nightmarish.|
|The poet’s message||Dying at war brings glory||War and patriotism are deceitful.|
- Jewish family
- pastoral life
- bitter and violent
- shell shock
- political errors
- F He came of a wealthy family and lived the life of a young squire.
- F His friend and fellow poet Robert Graves convinced the review board that Sassoon was suffering from shell shock and he was sent to a military hospital.
- F He adopted a satirical stance because he wanted to denounce the political errors and insincerities for which the soldiers were being sacrificed. He wanted to be realistic and shocking, not to achieve pity or compassion.
- F He became a Roman Catholic.
6.12 William Butler Yeats
- Protestant minority
- rural west
- Celtic romances
- actress and patriot
- Lady Gregory
- Abbey Theatre
- medieval tower-house
- mysterious communicators
- education policy
- divorce debate
- It was the creation of a new culture, based on Ireland’s past, which all the Irish peoplealike could share. This hope in an Irish cultural renaissance found expression in a series of essays called The Celtic Twilight (1893). In his early poems the visionary and nationalist try to find mythic ways of representing the tension between artistic imagination and national loyalty.
- How would you define it? He had a cyclical vision of history - 2000-year cycles of civilisations rising from a bestial floor to great heights of intellectual, aesthetic and spiritual achievement before turning like a tragic wheel down to apocalyptic anarchy. This vision enabled him to deal with violence and destruction in his art but also helped him to become confident of the superiority of art to history.
- When in London, he joined a famous mystical society, the Theosophical Society; he studied Emanuel Swedenborg, the Tibetan Mysteries and Buddhism. His attraction to these doctrines and cults was probably due to his belief that they provided clues to the unconscious life of mind and spirit, and therefore to the sources of creative imagination.
- The beauty and eternity of art; the relationship between the poet and the Irish people and tradition; age; the clash between the failing body and the willing heart; death; the idea of the heroic individual.
- Symbols have an effective role in shaping both the individual and the collective consciousness; they are not only devices he uses to present his themes, but also themes in themselves, in which truths are embodied, in all their complexity. To Yeats the symbol has a ‘visionary’ dimension, it offers ‘revelation’.
- Yeats’s imagination worked especially through the conflict and resolution of opposites: he widely employed the stylistic devices of antithesis, oxymoron and paradox. He paid particular attention to the order and construction of his sentences; very often a single sentence is as long as a whole stanza, and this is made possible by frequent enjambement. Yeats’s vocabulary contains many words of sensual and sensory experience, his syntax is dynamic and energetic, his vocabulary is rich in verbs of motion and action.
- As a process of circling toward the wide end of an idealistic spiral or whirling cone, or gyre, until ‘the centre cannot hold’. At that point a revelation takes place, and the mind shifts to a new centre.
T48 Easter 1916
- He used to meet them at the end of the working day (line 1).
- No, lines 5-6 suggest a superficial acquaintance.
- List the words and phrases that characterised the world and life of Dublin before the uprising.
- ‘grey / Eighteenth-century houses’ (lines 3-4);
- ‘polite meaningless words’ (lines 6, 8);
- ‘a mocking tale or a gibe’ (line 10);
- ‘Around the fire at the club’ (line 12);
- ‘motley is worn’ (line 14).
Insurgents’ identities and activities
The woman liked discussion (lines 19-20); she used to go hunting (lines 22-23).
It must be Constance Markievicz.
The man was a school teacher (line 24) and a poet (line 25).
It must be Patrick Henry Pearse.
his helper and friend’ (line 26) and ‘He might have won fame’ (line 28) hint at another intellectual.
It must be Thomas MacDonagh.
A drunken, vainglorious lout’ (line 32): he had hurt someone who was dear to the poet, namely Maud Gonne. It is clear that the poet despised him.
It must be John MacBride, the husband of Maud Gonne.
- A have only one aim.
- C the flowing of life.
- B the Anglo-Irish conflict.
- He wonders whether such sacrifice was useful and worthwhile.
- Lines 68-69.
- They died (lines 71-73).
- C an oxymoron. Explain how it works. An oxymoron is the combination of two apparently contradictory terms. The word ‘terrible’ implies sorrow, fear and even death; it is in contrast with the idea of pleasure linked with ‘beauty’.
- This line is a sort of refrain and also conveys the feelings of the poet about the sacrifice implied in the change.
- He is writing his lines to celebrate the rebels who sacrificed their lives to a dream.
The poet wanted to celebrate the sacrifice of these heroes and at the same time to reflect on the contradictions of political commitment and nationalism. His poem wanted to immortalise these figures and make them part of the Irish heritage, which all the Irish people could share.
T49 The Second Coming
- at hand
- The world is characterised by anarchy and blood. The picture introduced in this first stanza is one of violence and change. The last two lines are simply a commentary on the times.
- The lack of all conviction.
- A passionate intensity. This suggests a dissociation between the best people, which Yeats identifies as head people, the intellectuals, and the worst people, whom he associates with the mob, those who react with passionate physical intensity, not with careful intellectual study and expression.
- He is sure that there will be soon some revelation, a second coming, that is, a new cycle in history according to his theory of the gyre.
- This is a puzzling line, because the rocking cradle suggests the manger where Jesus was laid.
- This is the image of a rough beast that has the head-intellect of a man and the fierce emotions and body intelligence of a beast.
Words and phrases such as ‘Surely’ and ‘is at hand’ in lines 9 and 10, ‘Turning’ in line 1, ‘is loosed’ in lines 4 and 5, and the very title, ‘Second Coming’ in lines 10 and 11 are repeated, creating a sort of onomatopoeic effect that suggests the repetitive movement of the gyre, a spiral or repeated circling motion, which is a symbol Yeats used repeatedly in his poetry.
The poem starts with the image of a falcon wheeling about in the sky, far away from the falconer who released it. This metaphor may stand for the young people who have given up the standards of their parents and grandparents for the new art, the new literature, the new music and the other novelties of Yeats’s time. Another possible interpretation is that the falcon stands for the intellect and the falconer for the body sensations and feelings (heart).
- The ‘rough beast’ has the ‘lion body and the head of a man’ (line 14), its eyes are ‘blank and pitiless as the sun’ (line 15) and it is ‘moving its slow thighs’ (line 16).
- It reminds the reader of the sphinx and also of a monster because it is foreign, unfamiliar and not so tame.
- It symbolises a godlike creature of the desert, whose era will replace the Christian one. It is the symbol of the new world order
At the beginning of the second stanza Yeats calls for a revelation, saying ‘Surely some revelation is at hand’, and he himself becomes the revelator - he is a prophet, he gives us a powerful image for the ‘Second Coming’. He presents this brilliant visionary image, and then he says ‘The darkness drops again’ (line 18). Here his vision ends, and Yeats starts thinking again. He concludes that ‘twenty centuries of stony sleep / Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle’ (lines 19-20). This poem is a riddle and ends with a question. Throughout the poem there are hints as to what the answer to the riddle is, but Yeats does not come right out with the answer and leaves the question open
The poem is an apocalyptic vision of the future of mankind. A second theme is that of paganism as opposed to Christianity. Yeats had come to view Christianity as weak and its innocence as idealistic and impractical in the real world (line 6), where the Spiritus Mundi can promise satisfaction and earthly fulfilment. The idea of the power of the new order is amplified by the size of the sphinx. This suggests the power of the process which integrates the human intellect with the animal power of the bodily intelligence of the beast. This idea challenges the conventional Christian idea that Christ overcomes the Beast of Revelation.
- What historical events do you think Yeats had in mind when he wrote this poem? Do these lines sound relevant to today’s society? Support your answer with examples. Student’s activity. Suggestion: Many critics remark that this poem is deeply concerned with the drama of modern war, including World War I as well as the Russian Revolution and the ‘Black-and-Tan’ conflicts in Ireland. Yeats himself described his poem as a reaction to the ‘growing murderousness of the world’ to which these wars were alerting him; this concern with war marks The Second Coming as a modern work. Several critics have also associated the poem with the rise of fascism and the political decay of Eastern Europe.
6.13 Thomas Stearns Eliot
Suggestion: Thomas Stearns Eliot was educated at Harvard. He was influenced by the Italian poet Dante, the English Metaphysical poets and John Donne. Once in Paris, he attended Henri Bergson’s lectures at the Sorbonne and started to read the works of the French Symbolists. In the 1920s Eliot spent some time in a Swiss sanatorium, in Lausanne, undergoing psychological treatment and here he finished his masterpiece The Waste Land (1922). Poetry became his refuge where he expressed all his horror at his unhappy home life. He converted to Anglicanism, finding the answer to his own uncertainties and to the despair of the modern world’s lack of faith and religion. His religious poetry blossomed in Ash Wednesday (1930), a purgatorial poem, and then in Four Quartets (1943). Eliot’s work can be divided into two periods: before and after the conversion to Anglicanism. The works of the first period are characterised by a pessimistic vision of the world, without any hope, faith, ideals or values. They depict a nightmarish land where spiritual aridity and lack of love have deprived life of all meaning. Prufrock and Other Observations (1917), Gerontion (1920), The Waste Land (1922) and The Hollow Men (1925) belong to this period. Purification, hope and joy are the key words of the works of the second period: the poetry of Journey of the Magi (1927), Ash Wednesday (1930), Four Quartets (1943) and two important plays, Murder in the Cathedral (1935), on the assassination of Thomas Becket, and The Family Reunion (1939), on the guilt and expiation of a man haunted by the Furies. According to Eliot, the artist had to be impersonal and to separate ‘the man who suffers’ from ‘the mind which creates’.
The Waste Land
- All the fragmentary passages seem to belong to one voice relating to a multiple personality beyond the limits of space and time. He is Tiresias, the Theban prophet from Sophocles’s plays who experienced blindness and the life of both sexes, and, as such, suffers with the women he observes. He is the knight from the Grail legend; he moves through London and a post-war Central Europe, which has been deprived of its spiritual roots.
- It is the contrast between the fertility of a mythical past and the spiritual sterility, chaos and devastation of the present world.
- History is seen as the repetition of the same events, ‘classicism’ as the ability to see the past as a concrete premise for the present, and ‘the poetic culture’ as a ‘living unity’ of all the poems written in different periods. Thus present and past exist simultaneously in the human mind.
- It is a combination of images, objects or descriptions evoking a particular emotion. The source of the emotional reaction is not in one specific object, image or word. Instead, the emotion originates in the combination of these phenomena when they appear together.
- Eliot employed different poetic styles, such as blank verse, the ode, the quatrain and free verse, thus reproducing the chaos of modern civilisation. He requiresthe active participation of the reader/public, who experiences the same world as that of the speaker/poet, by employing the technique of implication. Metaphors and symbols replace direct statements; to this purpose, Eliot adopted the technique of the objective correlative. He used continuous shifts in time and space, as a consequence of the free associations of his characters’ ideas and thoughts. From the French Symbolist poet Jules Laforgue he derived the technique of juxtaposition: squalid elements are paired with poetic ones, trivial elements with sublime ones. Another device widely used by Eliot is the repetition of words, images and phrases from page to page: they all give the impression of the increasing musicality of the poem.
- He explained the mythical method, which Joyce also employed in Ulysses, as ‘a way of controlling, of ordering, of giving a shape and a significance to the immense panorama of futility and anarchy which is contemporary history’. According to Eliot, in fact, old myths are present in modern society but have lost their deep meaning and it is especially through the mythical allusions that the antithesis between present and past appears.
Both Eliot and Picasso revolutionised their art and developed new ways of communication. The Waste Land is one of the highest expressions of modernism in literature. The constant shift of voice and viewpoint as well as the fragmentary style employed by Eliot remind us of the technique of montage used by Picasso; the opening up of vast vistas of time and space by quotations and allusions in Eliot’s poem is linked to Picasso’s bronze face reminiscent of the African art in this painting. Both The Waste Land and Picasso’s painting are no longer set in a classical past, but they both clearly belong to modern times.
T50 The Burial of the Dead
- he’ll dig it up
- Will it bloom
- Part 1(lines 1-7) The coming of spring in a sterile land.
- Part 2(lines 8-24) The degradation of life in the City.
- Focus on the first part.
- The aspects of April singled out as being cruel are: ‘breeding / Lilacs’ (lines 1-2), since existence is painful, so generating new life is cruel; ‘mixing / Memory and desire’ (lines 2-3), since any act of remembrance and consciousness is seen as painful, a longing for what men no longer have; ‘stirring / Dull roots with spring rain’ (lines 3-4), since bringing life to ‘dead’ things is considered negative.
- It turns out to be positive (‘kept us warm’, line 5; ‘forgetful snow’, line 6; ‘feeding / A little life’, lines 6-7).
- Yes, since it allows men to live in peace and to forget (lines 5-7).
- B Two.
- Write words and phrases from the second part referring to time, place, the inhabitants of the City and other characters.
- Time: ‘Under the brown fog of a winter dawn’ (line 9); ‘a dead sound on the final stroke of nine’ (line 16).
- Place: ‘over London Bridge’ (line 10); ‘up the hill and down King William Street’ (line 14); ‘Saint Mary Woolnoth’ (line 15).
- The inhabitants of the City: ‘A crowd … so many’ (line 10); ‘I had not thought death had undone so many’ (line 11); ‘Sighs, short and infrequent’ (line 12); ‘each man fixed his eyes before his feet‘ (line 13); ‘Flowed’ (line 14).
- Other characters: ‘one I knew … Stetson’ (line 17).
- Answer the following questions about lines 8-24.
- A their inability of communicating. (Line 13);
D death within life. (Line 11)
- He is a character the speaker sees by Saint Mary Woolnoth. The speaker already knows him; they have probably fought together in the First Punic War, which, according to Eliot’s idea of history, seems to reflect the present reality of WWI (line 18).
- C The present.
- When the speaker mentions ‘the ships at Mylae’ (line 18), he is associating himself with the past; in fact, according to Eliot, all wars are equal because history is nothing but the repetition of the same events.
- C Death.
- A comparison between the modern ritual of office workers with earlier ceremonies and fertility rites is established.
- A It may stand for the guardian of the dead.
- Since the reader experiences the poet’s same world
- A their inability of communicating. (Line 13);
- Concentrate on how the lines are organised and answer the questions with reference to the text.
- No, they have neither a regular rhyme scheme nor a traditional metre.
- Are the lines of the same length? No, there is not a classical division in stanzas. Lines are not of the same length; one line is composed of two words (line 8), while other lines are much longer (for example lines 17, 24).
- Free verse.
- Yes, some examples are ‘Lilacs’/‘land’ (line 2), ‘forgetful’/‘feeding’ (line 6), ‘sound’/‘stroke’ (line 16).
- Some examples: Words referring to death are repeated in lines 2 and 16(‘dead’), 11 (‘death’) and 19 (‘corpse’); ‘so many’ is repeated in lines 10 and 11. The sounds ‘f’ and ‘s’ often recur, in words such as ‘forgetful snow’ in line 6, ‘flowed’ in line 10, ‘fixed … feet’ in line 13, ‘sudden frost’ in line 21. A An alienating, sterile atmosphere.
- The role:
- We (line 5): the inhabitants of the waste land
- I (line 11):passive actor (line 17): passive actor
- He (line 13):a common man
- You (line 18):an accomplice (line 24): the speaker’s double
- Which lines develop the following themes?
- Present spiritual sterility. Lines 1, 5-7, 9.
- Negativity of city life embodying death within life. Lines 10-13.
- Antithesis between water (= fertility) and dryness (= sterility). Lines 4, 19-20.
- The collective guilt of war. Lines 18-19; ‘you planted’ is linked to the burial of guilt.
- Unity can be detected in the repetition of themes and images.
- the cruellest
Suggestion: Unlike Chaucer’s pilgrims, who know their destination - Canterbury - and the way to get there, the speaker in The Waste Land is unsure of the path to the holy place; he is also unsure that he will be able to recognise it when he gets there. The journeying motif runs through the whole poem: the speaker moves around London encountering images of waste and decay, but he cannot find the redemptive shrine. The myth of fertility is celebrated in Chaucer’s work, while there is a negative, pessimistic implication in Eliot’s The Waste Land.
6.14 Wystan Hugh Auden
- He was a voracious reader. His early reading consisted of fairy tales, myths and legends, but it seems to have been paralleled by books about psychology and technical works on mining engineering.
- He was one of the Oxford poets. While studying at Oxford, he became familiar with Modernist poetry and he was the leader of the so-called ‘Oxford poets’.
- He was deeply committed to social and political issues. During the General Strike of 1926 he worked for the strikers; in 1928 he went to Berlin, where he witnessed the rise of Nazism. During the Spanish Civil War he served as an ambulance driver. He expressed solidarity with the Jews persecuted by Hitler after 1933: in 1935 he married Thomas Mann’s daughter, Erika, only to provide her with a British passport so she could escape from Nazi Germany.
- He was a homosexual. He worried increasingly about the fact that he was a homosexual. Homosexuality was condemned by the standards of his religious upbringing and was regarded as a criminal offence in England.
- He started a new life in New York. In 1939 he moved to New York and settled in a house in Brooklyn, which he ran as a sort of intellectual commune. In 1940 he began teaching in New York and published what is probably his best volume of the decade, Another Time.
- He changed his poetic attitude. Auden’s ‘political’ period was over; from then on his social poetry was to be anti-ideological, anti-political.
- He returned to Anglicanism. It was at about this same time that he returned to the religion of his youth, Anglicanism. In his works, he expressed his religious reaffirmation through questions concerning existence rather than by discussing his own spiritual struggles and achievements
- Freud’s influence, the use of psychological models in relation to the customs and rituals of an entire society. Under the influence of Karl Marx he believed that it was the duty of citizens to engage with history, to question the social and political climate in which they lived.
- With his withdrawal from political commitment and the development of a style that would refuse the identification with a single poetic culture or nation.
- It freed him from the burden of social responsibility, of being the leader of the intellectual left rather than simply a verbal artist. He came to believe that improvement must begin within the self, not within society.
- Love, which he often implies cannot be achieved without sorrow; modern suffering, including unfaithfulness, sickness, the passing of time, greed and religious doubt; death; politics, social concerns and citizenship.
- The theme of the quest recurs in both the earlier and later periods, but the message differs. In the English period the quest is for a new society and a new self. Later on it becomes a quest for a new life. Auden expresses hope for the future, valuing the freedom that comes from recognising one’s true condition whatever the circumstances are.
- He experimented with language all his life but tried to avoid obscurity. He employed traditional forms like sonnets and odes but also used free verse. His independent lyrics often start in medias res.
- He believed that the role of poetry was to tell ‘stories of particular people and experiences, from which each, according to his immediate and peculiar needs, may draw his own conclusions’. So the poet’s task was to act as a public voice, to analyse the social, political and economic problems, to support the causes for freedom against tyranny, to express the anxieties of the contemporary left-wing intellectuals.
- The poet entered ‘another time’ through the exile which he shared with many other refugees and that would eventually lead to his becoming an American citizen.
- Into three sections: ‘People and Places’, the most complex and meditative, where the poet deals with the theme of and the relationship between man and nature; ‘Lighter Poems’, which may astonish readers with their light comic tone and domesticity; ‘Occasional Poems’, which both celebrate the death of great figures like Freud and Yeats - in whom Auden recognises examples of transgression, of moral and artistic renewal - and try to interpret great historical events like the German invasion of Poland.
T51 Refugee Blues
- Stanza 1 The refugees are homeless.
- Stanza 2 They have no country to go to.
- Stanza 3 They have no passport.
- Stanza 4 They are dead for the State but they are still alive.
- Stanza 5 They are refused help by any committee.
- Stanza 6 They are seen as intruders in the country they flee to.
- Stanza 7 Hitler marched through Europe and wanted them to die.
- Stanza 8 Pets are treated better than they are.
- Stanza 9 The fish enjoy greater freedom than they do.
- Stanza 10 The birds are happier than they are.
- Stanza 11 They have got no place to stay.
- Stanza 12 They are persecuted.
- Highlighted in yellow: the use of repetition
- Highlighted in pink: the presence of a refrain Highlighted in grey: the few poetic images in the poem
- Highlighted in green: images and objects belonging to everyday life prevail in the poem
- Highlighted in light blue: contrasting images upon which the poem is built: (line 2) ‘mansions’/‘holes’ = it refers to the gap between the rich and the poor; (lines 11-12) ‘officially dead’/‘still alive’ = the refugees are considered dead by the government of their country but they are alive in body; (lines 23-24) the contrast between the love showed towards pets and the hostility felt towards the refugees; (lines 26, 36) the contrast between the freedom of fish and birds and the persecution against the refugees
- Box: Rhyme scheme: AAB
- They are Jewish refugees escaping from Nazi Germany in the 1930s.
- Homelessness, social injustice, isolation and lack of solidarity.
- The blues is the expression of the individual contemplating his situation in relation to the conditions surrounding him. The most distinctive charm of the blues lies in the individual character which makes it unique, as well as the universality of its content, understood by everybody and thus collective. It is a private and personal way in which the anguished direct their sorrow into a song and find happiness in release.
Suggestion: Students should develop the following notes:
- W.B. Yeats
- Choice of poetic forms: He employed a great deal of forms and stylistic devices (antithesis, oxymoron and paradox).
- Language: Sensual language; words of sensory experience; dynamic syntax; recurring symbols.
- Themes: Irishness; the beauty and eternity of art; age; death; the heroic individual; history.
- View of the function of poetry: To create a new culture, based on Ireland’s past, which all the Irish people alike could share (Irish cultural renaissance).
- T.S. Eliot
- Choice of poetic forms: He used a mixture of different styles (blank verse, the ode, the quatrain and free verse).
- Language: Metaphors and symbols instead of direct statements; the objective correlative; allusions and quotations from many different literary works; juxtaposition; repetition of words, images and phrases.
- Themes: The contrast between the fertility of a mythical past and the spiritual sterility of the present world; legends and myths; the spiritual quest; the alienation and chaos of modern civilisation.
- View of the function of poetry: ‘The poet has not a personality to express, but a particular medium’ in which impressions and experiences combine in peculiar ways.
- W.H. Auden
- Choice of poetic forms: He used a mixture of forms (sonnets and odes but also ballads and songs).
- Language: Everyday speech; free verse; rhyme; metre.
- Themes: Love; modern suffering; alienation; death; politics, social concerns and citizenship; the quest for a new society, a new self and a new life. View of the function of poetry: To act as a public voice, to tell stories from which each individual may draw his own conclusion.
T52 The Unknown Citizen
It is a parody of the symbolic Tomb of the Unknown Soldier commemorating unidentified soldiers; tombs of unknown soldiers were first created following the First World War
- A spokesman for the State Bureau of Statistics.
- As a saint, as one against whom there was no official complaint, a perfect citizen.
- Whether the citizen was free and happy.
|Details||Sources of information|
|Job||workman in a factory||his employers, Fudge Motors Inc.’ (line 8)|
|Everyday habits||bought a paper||‘The Press’ (line 14)|
|Health||was once in hospital but left it cured||‘his Health-card’ (line 17)|
|Possessions||phonograph, radio, car, fridge||‘Producers Research and High-Grade Living’ (line 18)|
|Family life||married with five children||‘our Eugenist’ (line 26)|
|Education||never interfered with his children’s education||‘our teachers’ (line 27)|
- His conduct: ‘no official complaint’ (line 2), ‘he was a saint’ (line 4), ‘in everything he did he served the Greater Community’ (line 5), ‘never got fired’ (line 7), ‘satisfied his employers’ (line 8).
- His views: ‘he wasn’t a scab or odd in his views’ (line 9), ‘he held the proper opinions’ (line 23).
- His relationship with his mates: ‘he was popular’ and ‘liked a drink’ (line 13).
He was an ordinary man, he worked, had a family, served his country. He participated in society, was orthodox in his views, never rebelled against authority and bought material goods.
It reproduces the rhythm of spoken language, it gives pace to the poem by stressing ‘to be’.
The rhyme patterns are: alternate rhymes (ABAB) and couplets (AA-BB). The couplet in the last two lines sums up the argument of the whole poem.
Bureaucratic language: Lines 1-2, ‘report(s)’ (lines 3, 10, 11, 27), ‘dues’ (line 10), ‘prove’ (line 16), ‘declare’ (line 18), ‘fully sensible’ (line 19). Slang: ‘scab’ (line 9). Everyday speech: ‘he was a saint’ (line 4), ‘got fired’ (line 7), ‘mates’ (line 13), ‘liked a drink’ (line 13).
The epigraph; line 4; ‘Fudge Motors Inc.’ (line 8: ‘to fudge’ means to avoid making a clear and definite decision or statement); line 15; lines 18- 19; line 23; lines 28-29. Through the anonymity of the citizen and the names referring to the institutions, Auden conveys a satirical description of life in the consumer society
The references to modern material achievements.
It is a materialistic, technological society in an urban environment, where there is no place for imagination, feelings and spiritual depth. In such a context life is seen as a question of statistics rather than individual happiness.
He acts as a public, committed voice against the danger of totalitarianism. He speculates about citizenship and how the State controls man.
In this poem Auden expresses his concern with the danger of a democracy which allows the State to control the individual, who is denied his personality and praised for his conformity, for his being ‘a mathematical symbol’ and nothing more. The other influences which can be perceived in the poem are Sigmund Freud’s psychological theories and Karl Marx’s idea of man’s alienation under capitalism.
Suggestion: Students should mention the complexity of form, the range of subjects, particularly the concern with the themes of citizenship and alienation within modern society, and his verbal energy
6.15 Joseph Conrad
- Conrad had a double nationality (Polish and British), he pursued two professional careers (as a seaman and a writer), he had a mixed social identity and used the theme of the double extensively in his writing.
- It put him in contact with men from a different social class and background from his own. From them he learnt to appreciate the values of a simple devotion to a demanding, monotonous, dangerous job. Work is in fact a powerful theme in his novels.
- The horrors and brutalities of colonial exploitation that he witnessed in Congo.
- He believed that the writer’s task should not be to try to amuse his readers or to teach them a lesson, but rather to record the complex pattern of life as he saw it. His aim was to explore the meaning of the human condition. He set his novels and short stories at sea or in exotic latitudes because these were the places he knew well, and they enabled him to isolate his characters so that their problems and inner conflicts stood out with particular force.
- In contrast to the 19th-century novelists, who showed the insignificance of their main characters in relation to the hugeness of the universe or the life of a nation or modern city, Conrad’s heroes are all solitary figures, rooted in no past, committed to an uncertain future. In general they are viewed externally, through the mind of others or through their actions. The use of several points of view results from his wish to break free from the constraints of an omniscient narrator.
- He found chronological sequence inadequate, so he broke the normal time sequence and preferred time shifts to create the illusion of life being lived by a number of very different people at the same time.
- Because he thought that it offered him the ideal expression for his complex vision of life.
- Conrad was concerned with the conflict between personal feelings and professional duties. He pointed out that reality was indeed the construction of individual consciousness through individual responsibility and self-control.
Heart of Darkness
- In the name of philanthropy and anti-slavery. He stated that the agents of the State had to accomplish the noble mission of continuing the development of civilisation in Africa, gradually reducing the primitive barbarism and fighting sanguinary customs. They also had to accustom the population to general rules, of which the most needful and salutary concerned work.
- Kurtz went into the jungle without properly knowing himself, so his misguided conduct took him beyond the limits of his heart, into madness and death. On the contrary, Marlow did not transgress his limits and came back without fully understanding his experience; although the ‘heart of darkness’ tried to exercise its influence on him too, he was able to restrain himself thanks to his work ethic. Marlow was saved because his aim was self-knowledge, the mistery of existence, which demands great humility. The difference between the two characters is that Kurtz reached new experiences of the self and felt all the excitement that life can give, while Marlow feels he has lived incompletely.
- Conrad’s indictment of the brutal exercise of law on the natives, as well as of the missionary zeal, the administrative efficiency and the search for profit is generalised to all forms of imperialism.
- As Marlow’s mythical journey in search of the self, in order to bring back a new truth. He witnesses the death of many men but also the death of ethical behaviour, of civilisation and goodness, so he is forced to understand that the great adventure of his life is really just about death.
- The novel presents a series of stories, one embedded within another. This complex structure is sustained by the continuous shifts backwards and forwards in Marlow’s narrative, by the way he creates suspense and interest by delaying the details of his meeting with Kurtz.
- Traditionally, light is associated with calm, peace, beauty and good. Darkness or gloom, on the other hand, is seen as an insidious menace to light, and, ultimately, as evil. As Marlow penetrates into the darkness of Africa, black acquires positive connotations: it is the colour of the jungle, of a primitive, noble environment and of its people. White, instead, is associated with the negative aspects of colonialism: violence, exploitation, hypocrisy and indifference.
- It is in central Africa. It is bordered to the north by the Central African Republic and South Sudan; to the east by Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi and Tanzania; to the south by Zambia and Angola; to the west by the Republic of the Congo, the Angolan exclave of Cabinda and the Atlantic Ocean.
- It took place in the 1870s.
- Leopold II, King of the Belgians, regarded the Congo Free State as a personal territorial possession.
- He used it to gather and sell ivory, rubber, mineral resources and metals.
- The natives were increasingly subjected to brutal mistreatment and the natural resources of their land were widely exploited.
- It led to the arrest and punishment of white officials who had been responsible for several killings during a rubber-collecting expedition in 1903.
- It was inspired by these deaths and atrocities.
- The British writer Sir Arthur Conan Doyle wrote a book, The Crime of the Congo (1909), about the Belgian atrocities in the Congo basin.
- In 1908.
- Part 1(lines 1-40) Marlow sees a chain-gang of black slaves and describes the landscape where a vast artificial hole has been dug. He realises that they were blowing mines.
- Part 2(lines 41-67) Marlow sees the shapes of black men dying below the trees.
- Part 3(lines 68-80) Marlow reaches the Company Station and describes the chief accountant with admiration.
- Highlighted in yellow: the expressions Marlow, the narrator, uses to mention the black men he sees. They are connoted by the colour of their skin, by the way the colonisers see them, that is, as enemies, criminals, savages; finally they have been reduced to inconsistent shapes, shadows, strange creatures
- Highlighted in grey: verbs conveying the actions of the black men. They have a connotation of exhaustion, suffering, disease and death. These men seem to have lost their human traits. They do not stand but crawl, they have lost their human dignity
- Highlighted in green: Conrad insists on the details concerning the parts of the body to underline the barbarous reduction of a whole human being to dislocated parts
- Highlighted in pink: words referring to the mood of the natives. They suffer and they have lost the wish to live; they are starving, weary and desperate
- Pink words: there are many similes throughout the text. ‘like tails’ (line 4) compares the rags around the men’s loins to a dog’s tail; in this way the black men are compared to animals. ‘like knots in a rope’ (lines 4-5) conveys the idea that the men were skinny because of toil and starvation. ‘like the bursting shells’ (line 9) and ‘as though the tearing pace of the launched earth had suddenly become audible’ (lines 39-40) refer to the sound of the shells and the devastation of the land caused by the colonisers. ‘as air’ (line 50) underlines the inconsistence of the human shapes. ‘as in some picture of a massacre or a pestilence’ (line 64) reinforces the idea of disease and human waste. ‘His appearance was certainly that of a hairdresser’s dummy’ (lines 78-79) refers to the chief accountant and ironically hints at the fact that he himself has lost his sense of humanity
- Highlighted in light blue: symbolism of white and black. These two colours are juxtaposed in the image of ‘a bit of white worsted’ (line 57) around the neck of one of the dying ‘black shadows’. The ‘white thread’ has a negative connotation because it symbolises the black man’s submission to the white man. The image reminds us of the iron collars around the men’s necks (line 5) and is echoed in the chief accountant’s ‘white cuffs’ (line 70), ‘snowy trousers’ (lines 70-71) and ‘white hand’ (line 72)
- Underlined in blue: Marlow’s sarcastic comments implying a severe judgement on European colonisation. The presence of the colonisers is compared to a mystery, a terrible voice, an outrageous law coming from the sea; it is presented as a new force, a great and right cause. Here Conrad is criticising the rhetoric behind colonialism. Then he introduces an extended metaphor to sum up his attitude: colonialism is like a devil of violence, greed and lust, it is rapacious and mad
- Blue words: Marlow, who is narrating to the people on the Nellie, refers to his own condition: he says he is not easily impressed or moved, that he has had to resist so as not to yield to the experience of Africa
- Highlighted in orange: the devastation of the landscape, the inefficiency and waste brought about by colonisation
- Boxes: Description of the chain-gang overseer: He is a black man; he carries a rifle and wears a uniform jacket with a button off; he is distrustful and has a large, white, rascally grin. Description of the chief accountant: He is a white man of unexpected elegance, dressed in white, with parted brushed hair, under a green parasol, with a pen-holder behind his ear
- Is he passive towards the scene before him? He says he is ‘not particularly tender’ (line 20), since he has had to resist and to attack according to the demands of life. He is not passive towards the scene before him; in fact, towards the end of the extract, he gives the young man one of his biscuits.
- By insisting on the description of the parts of the body of the natives as well as on their suffering, he protests against the dehumanising forces of colonialism.
- The chain-gang overseer embodies the process of displacement and detribalization underwent by the natives. The colonisers relied on a force of native militia under white control to organise the system of forced labour. So natives were often placed in a position of authority over others, when they were not already tribal chiefs, and to fulfil the required work of the collection of quotas, they would frequently resort to coercion and mutilation to encourage output and ‘discipline’.
- Discuss their possible symbolic implications. The dominant colour in the description of the chief accountant is ‘white’, which suggests light and cleanliness. Conrad also conveys the ideas of elegance, order and perfection which contrast with the chaos of the Company Station and arouse Marlow’s admiration.
- Life within the society is not possible without codes of behaviour, but these codes prove false or unsuitable when man is lonely and gets into the heart of existence, surrounded by a wild and hostile background. The accountant is dressed in elegant white as if he were working in an office in Europe when, in fact, he is surrounded by a reality which denies the values of European civilisation. Marlow respects the fellow. He believes that efficient work might have a redeeming power. The accountant has stuck to some codes of behaviour, which has prevented him from falling prey to evil or apathy.
- He withholds information. He delays the recognition of objects. He makes ironical remarks. He keeps a self-distancing position of marginality. He asks questions. Can you think of the advantages and disadvantages of this narrative method? Advantages: It enables different possible readings of the events. It creates the effect of a lens, focusing or blurring details. It creates suspense and arouses the reader’s interest and curiosity, leaving him the time to wonder. It stresses the atrocity of the description. Disadvantages: It may prove complex, obscure, slow. The reader may feel displaced and uneasy
Suggestion: Whereas Kipling exalted imperial power and believed in the ‘burden’ of the British, who had to spread civilisation all over the world, Conrad pointed out the contradictions of colonialism. While pretending to ‘civilise’, the white colonisers brutally exploited the natives and their lands, pursuing economic profit.
From Text to Screen: Heart of Darkness
- The scene is set in the chief accountant’s office, which is richly furnished.
- The scene takes place during the day because the sun is up in the sky and the sunlight is dazzling.
- Part 1 (the chief accountant is sitting at his desk, talking with Marlow): Rumours about Mr Kurtz.
- Part 2 (the chief accountant stands up and goes to take something to drink): Marlow’s mission.
- Marlow: Age: He is approximately in his forties.
- Physical appearance: He has fair hair and is dressed in white. First impression given: He is proud of his mission and curious about Mr Kurtz.
- The chief accountant: Age: He is approximately in his fifties. Physical appearance: He has grey hair, a grey moustache and a grey beard. He is wearing a pair of grey trousers, a white shirt, a light striped tie and a light brown waistcoat. The glasses and a pair of black sleeves make him a true clerk.
- First impression given: He is highly realistic; he increases the mystery surrounding Mr Kurtz by hiding his picture under some papers.
- The slave: Age: Very young. Physical appearance: She is a beautiful, slim black girl.
- First impression given: She is a sweet, subdued woman.
- Yes, he does. He speaks with a French accent because he is a Belgian officer.
- He is worried about the stations up the Congo River because they have been isolated for too long.
- He is showing him a map, probably of the Congo basin.
- It has been completely cut off.
- Marlow is looking at a photo of two men, one of whom is Mr Kurtz.
- He is a tall man with a mysterious appearance. There is a tent behind him built in the jungle.
- He states that there are rumours about Kurtz that he has changed and become mad.
- No, he hides it under some papers and a small book.
- There are rumours about him. That he’s changed.
- He has guarded a mountain of ivory.
- There are always too many rumours one must not listen to.
- One begins to go, you know, a little foolish with rumours.
- He states that one must not give importance to rumours.
- He asks what has happened to the last captain of the boat carrying ivory.
- He tries to look at Kurtz’s photo again while the chief accountant is in another room.
- He says that the last captain died some time before.
- Close-up = Kurtz’s station.
- Extreme close-up = Kurtz’s mysterious gaze.
- Medium shot = It allows the director to give the viewer a picture of the two people present in the scene: Marlow and the chief accountant.
- Low-angle shot = Marlow’s point of view.
- High-angle shot = It expresses Marlow’s feeling of superiority towards black people.
The camera first zooms onto Kurtz’s photograph to create a mysterious atmosphere surrounding this character. Then, it gradually zooms onto Marlow’s face while he is looking at the photograph to underline his increasing curiosity and perplexity
The music accompanies the zooming camera, adding to the mysterious atmosphere that characterises the whole sequence.
6.16 Edward Morgan Forster
- strict preparatory
- spiritual imprisonment
- social behaviour
- more spontaneous
- modern aesthetics
- criminal offence
- He was influenced by female figures. When his father died, he was brought up by his mother and his great-aunt. He was educated by his mother until the age of 11.
- He was annoyed by restrictions. He lived both the experience at the strict preparatory school at Eastbourne and that at Tonbridge School as a sort of spiritual imprisonment.
- He was attracted by dualities. For example, in his first and third novels - Where Angels Fear to Tread and A Room with a View - he explored the differences between the strictness of English conventions and upper-middle-class codes of social behaviour and the more spontaneous and relaxed way of life of the Italians.
- He was a prolific writer. He published several novels, two volumes of short stories, Aspects of the Novel (1927) - a series of lectures on modern aesthetics -, and two books of collected essays.
- He was indebted to the 19th-century novel. He is first of all a writer of comedy of manners who is interested in the society of his time; the technique of irony is reminiscent of Jane Austen’s. He derived much from the Victorian tradition - the plot arrangement and the presence of an omniscient narrator that occasionally becomes obtrusive.
- His works showed a modern complexity. His complexity derives from his talent for self-scrutiny, from his power to question the culture to which he remains, however, attached. Forster questions the optimism about the future that one finds in most 19th-century fiction, his novels remain focused on the struggles of characters in conflict with their own societies and other cultures, and he lays emphasis on personal relationships. His early books are more humorous; in the last two novels there is an attempt to use sensation and experience to approach what gives meaning to life and affords a visionary understanding of it.
A Passage to India
- The most important characters of the British community are the City Magistrate Ronny Heaslop, who is engaged to Miss Adela Quested; Ronny’s mother, Mrs Moore; and Cyril Fielding, the headmaster of the local college. The most important character of the Indian community is the Muslim doctor Aziz.
- They are the meeting of Dr Aziz and Mrs Moore at the mosque, the visit to the Marabar Caves and the trial.
- The Indian landscape challenges the established values of Western civilisation. The reader is constantly reminded of the many inhabitants of India: the crowds of people, the animals, the plants, the birds, the stones. One of the basic qualities of Forster’s India is that it has no interiors or exteriors, nothing is private there, everyone can see you and know even your secrets, weaknesses and failures. Another aspect of India is that it awakens desire.
- In Hindu mythology the caves represent the ‘womb of the universe’, from which all the forms of created life are derived. A psychological explanation would identify this idea with the notion of the subconscious. According to literary tradition, the echo is the symbol of nature’s benevolence which often acts as a reminder of the harmonies in creation, but Forster gives the echo in the cave a dehumanising quality
- Dr Aziz is a Muslim doctor and a widower with three children. He is fond of poetry, emotional and generous with his English friends, but after Adela Quested accuses him of assault, he becomes bitter, anti-British and claims that India should be a united independent nation. Mrs Moore is an elderly woman, twice married with three children. She feels an immediate connection to Aziz when they meet. She represents Christian spirituality and kindness, but during the expedition to the Marabar Caves her confidence in the order of the universe is shaken by the echo she hears and she becomes irritable, depressed and apathetic.
- It is the issue of ‘connection’, as well as the desire to overcome social and racial differences. Personal relationships are, for Forster, a fundamental value leading to a general need for tolerance, good temper and sympathy among people. What remains strong in the novel is the belief in ‘goodwill’, be it a religious belief or a secular, personal one.
- Whereas previous novelists like Kipling had given an attractive and romantic picture of imperial India, Forster recorded the moment of British India’s transformation into a new country. Forster shared the view of Gandhi’s non-cooperation movement and criticised imperialistic policies of discrimination under which personal relations were spoilt.
- A Passage to India is divided into three parts; the story is told by an omniscient narrator, whose voice intrudes from time to time to comment on the situation, while the point of view shifts from character to character. The pervasive use of negative forms from the beginning to the end emphasises the sense of ambiguity and mystery.
- What is the role of negative forms? They emphasise the sense of ambiguity and mystery: to say what something is not leaves wide open the question of what it might be instead. Negation and negativity in this novel are related to place and space, to interiority and exteriority, and to the varying shapes of inclusion and exclusion assumed by the different religious orderings of life.
- Forster appears a writer approaching Modernism in theme and outlook - in his choice of an indifferent setting in A Passage to India, which is capable of disrupting not only cohesive human relations, but coherence itself, overwhelming possibilities of order, morality or understanding; in his entering, at times, the consciousness of characters through free indirect style. However, he did not adopt Modernist innovations in form and style on a large scale.
T54 Aziz and Mrs Moore
- let loose
- springing up
- Time: It is night (lines 12-13, 27).
- Place: A mosque at ‘the edge of the Civil Station’ (lines 5-6).
- Type of architecture: Lines 7-15: ‘The courtyard […] contained an ablution-tank of fresh clear water’; ‘a ruined gate’; ‘The covered part of the mosque was deeper than is usual’; ‘three arcades’; ‘a small hanging lamp’; ‘The front […] had the appearance of marble’; ‘ninety-nine names of God on the frieze stood out black, as the frieze stood out white against the sky’; ‘the contention of shadows’. Line 21: ‘the low wall that bounded the courtyard on the left’.
- Elements of the natural landscape: ‘that soil’ (line 3); ‘the moon’ (line 12); ‘the sky’ (line 14); ‘a blur of trees’ (line 22); ‘owls’ (line 26); ‘flowers’ (line 26).
- Feelings aroused in Aziz by the place: ‘He had always liked this mosque’ (line 7); ‘the arrangement pleased him’ (line 7); ‘pleased Aziz’ (line 15); ‘by winning his approval let loose his imagination’ (line 16); ‘awaken his sense of beauty’ (lines 17-18); ‘the happiness he felt now’ (line 30). The place arouses feelings of pleasure, joy and enthusiasm in Aziz.
- He is ‘furiously angry’ and shouts at the woman (lines 40-41).
- He realises that the woman has taken off her shoes as a sign of respect towards the holy place (lines 45-47) because she believes God is there (line 53). He begs her pardon (line 48).
- They speak about their children and some members of the English community at Chandrapore (lines 92-104, 109-120).
|Age||-||Old woman; red face; white hair; young voice (lines 61-63).|
|Nationality||Indian (lines 1-2, 133).||British (lines 40, 68-69, 131-132).|
|Family||Widower (line 92); three children (lines 97-98).||Widow (lines 89- 91); three children (lines 92-94).|
|Religion||Muslim (line 18).||She believes in God (lines 51-53).|
|Relationship with their community||He has a good relationship with the Muslims (lines 18-20); he is critical of the Hindu community (lines 16-18, 24-25) and also of some members of the British community (lines 115-120).||She has a good relationship with the Muslims (lines 43-53); she is critical of some members of the British community (lines 112-114, 124); she sympathises with and is curious about the Indians (lines 122-124, 131-132).|
It is a third-person omniscient narrator, and the scene is described from Aziz’s point of view.
At the beginning Aziz is furiously angry and shouts at the woman (lines 40-41); Mrs Moore gasps and is startled (lines 42, 49). Then Aziz is sorry (line 48), afraid he has startled her (line 64); they both laugh (line 79) and he is delighted (line 100). They talk about their similar family situation, they share the same opinions; he is excited (line 122); they sympathise (lines 122-124); she is surprised (line 128); he is happy (lines 133-134).
Though Mrs Moore is British, she behaves differently from the other members of her community: she talks to Aziz and tells him about her family, she criticises other members of her community, she is kind and invites Aziz to the club, she shows respect for his religion. Aziz shows resentment towards the English because of the way they treat the Indians, and despises their cool attitude. He also feels different from the Hindus, for example he finds their religion and music uncongenial. Aziz appears as a sensitive and talkative young man with a slight inclination to melancholy and pathos (see the inscription in lines 32-35) and a deep sense of beauty. Mrs Moore is gentle and spontaneous, she respects other cultures and is curious about them.
Lines 75-80, 92-100, 106-108, 121-132. They are both seeking to escape from an alien environment and looking for relief in a holy place. They are friendly and sympathetic. They both would like to understand the meaning of their behaviour
The issue of ‘connection’ and the importance of personal relationships, the need for tolerance, good temper and sympathy
- the hostility of nature; The hostility in the soil (lines 2-5); the hostility of nature suggested by the talk of dangerous snakes (lines 72-75).
- the conflict between cultures; The conflicting and discordant sounds of English and Hindu life heard from within the mosque (lines 21-25); a woman is not allowed in the mosque (line 43); Aziz feels a subordinate (lines 119-120, 133-134).
- the difficulty of communication. Aziz’s mistaken idiom - ‘we are in the same box’ (line 92) for ‘we are in the same boat’; the confusion of names and identities that arises from Mrs Moore’s second marriage.
A Passage to India explores the possibility for Western and Eastern cultures to get in touch and, more generally, for human beings to connect and understand one another. Both Mrs Moore and Dr Aziz try to connect and wish to overcome social, cultural and racial differences (lines 123-124, 134-136).
The English considered themselves superior and behaved with arrogance, excluding the Indians from their own territories and violating their rights. The passage hints at the contrast between Hindus and Muslims inside the Indian reality. Forster had a critical view of imperialistic policies of discrimination under which personal relations were spoilt; he also represented the development of an Indian national consciousness through the character of Aziz.
Two cultures trying to communicate
- The dialogue in the opening scene is between Adela, Aziz and Professor Godbole. They appear relaxed and the conversation is ‘light and friendly’ although there is actually an ‘underdrift’, a ‘game’ being played out that Adela is unaware of, that is, the fact that a white woman is talking to two Indian men seemingly as equals.
- Ronny is annoyed because he has come to collect Adela and his mother to take them to a polo match and finds his fiancée alone with two Indians. He does not mean to be rude to them; the point is that his usual contact is as a superior talking down to a subordinate, he is not used to dealing with Indians as private individuals.
- Although Aziz does not mean to be provocative, everything he says appears to Ronny to be impertinent or in the wrong tone. Aziz is tense, which makes him over-charming to Adela and loud and jolly towards Professor Godbole.
- From afar Fielding sees them as actors acting out parts, which makes the reader think that the scene looked unnatural.
- The double meaning is first the obvious one, that Ronny did not actually speak to Aziz; and secondly, the fact that not speaking directly to him was in fact offensive, ignoring his presence.
- The narrator is a third-person omniscient narrator, who can give an overview without seeming to take sides, although there are moments when the narrator steps aside and gives a character a voice, as in lines 51-57 where Fielding comments on the tea party.
- There are different forms of incomprehension in the text. Adela does not understand the Indian ways but is trying to do so and is open to their culture (lines 1-3, 56). There is total incomprehension between Aziz and Ronny as they live in different worlds and each resents the other (lines 17-31). Fielding is a go-between because he recognises Aziz’s behaviour as tension and feels sorry for him while Ronny just gets increasingly annoyed (lines 36-50). The final incomprehension is between Ronny and Fielding, who are civil to each other on the surface but actually hate each other (lines 56-57).
- Adela is not criticised for smoking in itself, but for smoking with two Indian gentlemen. Today the criticism would not have anything to do with being in the company of Indian gentlemen, but rather with the fact of smoking, whose harmful effects are widely acknowledged and socially condemned.
- He is weeping because he knows that what he has to say will cause serious problems for his son and possibly for him too, as his son has dared to love a woman from a superior caste, which is forbidden. The ‘Terror’ refers to the possible consequences and punishment that will inevitably follow his tale.
- Every evening a boat, that Rahel had found, crossed the river and was tied to a tree stump next to a path leading to Kari Saipu’s house in the abandoned rubber estate. The boat rocked empty for hours, sometimes till dawn. Vellya saw it as his duty to denounce the lovers - his son, Velutha, and Mammachi’s daughter, Ammu. Their love is prohibited because Vellya’s son is a Paravan, an Untouchable.
- Her reaction is absolute shock and horror; she shouts and pushes Vellya down the steps into the mud. Vellya is not surprised at her emotion and anger but at being touched by her when she pushes him, because the Untouchables are normally expected not to be touched.
- She has her own personal reasons for hating Vellya’s son as he was present at the protest march where she was humiliated. Her bitter nature also made her unpleasant towards her niece, whom she immediately condemns as being capable of this forbidden act of becoming an Untouchable’s lover
- This phrase is rather ironic as it is Baby Kochamma’s idea of herself as being an example for good through her pure actions when she is surrounded by evil and sin.
- They decide that Vellya’s son must be instantly sent away, meaning he will be fired from his job and sent off with nothing, as if the news of the relationship became public, Mammachi’s family would be disgraced.
- The text shows a shocking divide between the Indian castes, where those who see themselves as superior despise and treat badly the Untouchables, whom they consider little better than animals. Baby Kochamma’s remark about their smell is repugnant and shocking. It is also interesting to see that the division is respected by the Untouchables themselves as it is Vellya, a Paravan, who feels it as his duty to tell Mammachi about his son’s relationship, despite being aware that there will be negative consequences for his son.
Suggestion: The most obvious example is Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. The contrast is that in Roy’s story the difference is given by social standing, whereas opposing sides, religions or races can also lead to a tragic end.
6.17 James Joyce
- Modern Languages
- European culture
- writing career
- opening story
- fell in love
- Picture 1: James Joyce was largely educated at Jesuit schools, before finally enrolling at University College, Dublin, where he gained a Bachelor of Arts degree with a focus on Modern Languages in 1902. At the age of 22 he went into voluntary exile, moving to Paris, Trieste and Zurich.
- Picture 2: In June 1904 Joyce met and fell in love with Nora Barnacle, a 20-year-old girl who was working as a chambermaid in a hotel. They had their first date on 16th June, which was to become the ‘Bloomsday’ of Ulysses. In 1905 the couple settled in Trieste, where Joyce began teaching English and made friends with Italo Svevo. Joyce and Nora had two children, Giorgio and Lucia, and eventually married in 1931.
- Picture 3: After living in Zurich for some years, in 1920 Joyce moved to Paris, where the Americanborn bookseller Sylvia Beach agreed to publish Ulysses in 1922. A limited edition of 1,000 copies was followed by an English edition of 2,000 copies, also printed in Paris. The first unlimited edition followed in 1924, again in Paris, but there was no American edition until 1934, and no British edition until 1937.
- Picture 4: The period of success following the publication of Ulysses was also characterised by the worsening of Lucia’s mental illness. Joyce encouraged his daughter’s love of dancing, painting and drawing and spared no expense promoting her interests. Lucia’s condition deteriorated and she was sent to a mental hospital on the outskirts of Paris.
- Picture 5: In 1940, when France was occupied by the Germans, Joyce, Nora and Giorgio returned to Zurich, the city that had first given them refuge during World War I. Joyce never saw the conclusion of World War II. Following an intestinal operation, he died at the age of 59 in January 1941. He was buried in Zurich.
- In the early 20th century Joyce published his first short story, The Sisters, in the Evening Telegraph, which would eventually serve as the opening story in his Dubliners collection.
- Joyce’s first work to appear in book form was a collection of 36 short poems, Chamber Music (1907).
- Dubliners (1914), a collection of short stories all about Dublin and its life, was completed in 1905 but only published on the eve of the First World War.
- In 1914 Joyce wrote most of his naturalistic drama Exiles.
- A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, his semi-autobiographical novel, appeared in 1916.
- Ulysses was published in Paris in 1922. It is considered one of the great literary achievements of the 20th century.
- Finnegans Wake was published in 1939. With its variety of puns and new words, this novel was even more difficult to read than his previous work.
- Joyce’s effort was to give a realistic portrait of the life of ordinary people doing ordinary things and living ordinary lives in his home-town. By portraying these ordinary Dubliners, he succeeded in representing the whole of man’s mental, emotional and biological reality, fusing it with the cultural heritage of modern civilisation as well as with the reality of the natural world around him.
- His hostility towards the Church was the revolt of the artist-heretic against the official doctrine, or the struggle between an aesthete-heretic and a provincial Church which had taken possession of Irish minds. But the conflict was even more painful; it was like a conflict between a son and his parents linked to the quest for his artistic potentialities.
- It was to render life objectively in order to give back to the readers a true image of it. This necessarily led to the isolation and detachment of the artist from society.
- His style, technique and language developed from the realism and the disciplined prose of Dubliners, through an exploration of the characters’ impressions and points of view, through the use of free indirect speech, to the interior monologue with two levels of narration - a device used to give a realistic framework to the characters’ formless thoughts - up to the extreme interior monologue.
- His themes are reworked in such a way as to become gradually less relevant than the ‘narrative’ itself. The facts become confused, they are explored from different points of view simultaneously and are presented as ‘clues’ and not through the voice of an omniscient narrator. Time is not perceived as objective but as subjective, leading to psychological change. Thus the accurate description of Dublin is not strictly derived from external reality, but from the characters’ floating mind.
- It is a place where true feeling and compassion for others do not exist, where cruelty and selfishness lie just below the surface. In fact Joyce, being a Modernist writer, was hostile to city life, finding that it degraded its citizens.
- Dubliners consists of 15 short stories; they all lack obvious action, but they disclose human situations and moments of intensity, and lead to a moral, social or spiritual revelation. They are arranged into four groups: childhood, adolescence, maturity and public life.
- Everyone in Dublin seems to be caught up in an endless web of despair. Even when they want to escape, Joyce’s Dubliners are unable to because they are spiritually weak.
- The paralysis of Dublin, which is both physical - resulting from external forces - and moral - linked to religion, politics and culture -, is one of the most important themes in Dubliners. The opposite of paralysis is ‘escape’ and its consequent failure. It originates from an impulse caused by a sense of enclosure that many characters experience, but none of them succeeds in freeing themselves
- Realistic objects are described with an abundance of external details, even the most unpleasant and depressing ones. → The use of realism is mixed with symbolism, since external details generally have a deeper meaning. → The use of a symbolic object takes the reader beyond the usual aspects of life through the analysis of the particular.
- State what ‘epiphany’ is. It refers to ‘the sudden spiritual manifestation’ caused by a trivial gesture, an external object or a banal situation, which reveals the character’s inner truths. So at these revelatory moments the reader’s attention focuses on the real meaning of the narrative.
- Focus on the techniques employed by Joyce to tell his stories. What narrative techniques are adopted? In the first three stories, which make up the childhood section, Joyce employs a first-person narrator, who remains nameless and not identified. It may be the same little boy for each of them, but we can never be certain. This narrator describes events from the point of view of the young boy; this allows the reader to penetrate the boy’s mind and understand him better. For the other 12 stories a third person narrator is employed: he often shares a particular character’s perspective and tends to reflect the language and the sensitivity of the person who is being described.
- Explain how the interior monologue is used. The narrator tends to disappear in the interior monologue, which is in the form of free direct speech: the protagonist’s pure thoughts are introduced without any reporting verbs, which implies the disappearance of the narrator from the text. This allows the reader to acquire direct knowledge of the character’s mind. The syntactical structure maintains exclamations, questions, repetitions, interjections and exaggerations.
- Concentrate on the language used in the collection. What is it like? It appears simple, objective and neutral. It is always adapted to the characters according to their age, social class and role. Joyce also makes extensive use of chiasmus, that is, the patterned repetition of images, to create melodic effects, as in the final sentence of The Dead.
- was lodging
- fold her in his arms
- see her home
- A Eveline’s considerations of her life.
- It is evening (lines 1, 76) and the action takes place in Eveline’s living room (line 17). She is sitting at the window (line 1), then she stands up (line 97).
- Darkness and dust (lines 1, 17-18).
- She feels tired (lines 1-2).
- Use the references to the lines to find the following.
- Lines 3-10: what the world outside Eveline’s window makes her think about; It makes her think about her childhood. She remembers the field in which the children of the avenue and she once played together until a man from Belfast bought it and built houses in it. Ernest (Eveline's brother) was too old to join in their play
- Lines 10-13, 40-45: Eveline’s father in the past; Eveline and the other children of the avenue used to play and hide from Eveline’s father, who used to interfere with and spoil their play. However, at that time he was not so bad. She now fears her father, because he is a violent and uncontrolled man and she resents his parsimony.
- Lines 17-23: what objects the girl notices in her room and what feature these things share; She notices the yellowing photograph of a priest - a school friend of her father’s - and the coloured print of the promises made to Blessed Margaret Mary Alacoque next to the photograph. These objects share their being old and dusty.
- Lines 29-35: how Eveline considers her job; She considers her job as a department store clerk dull, and her superior abusive. ‘She would not cry many tears at leaving the Stores.’
- Lines 36-37, 58-59: what she has agreed to become and why; She has agreed to leave her home, her country, to move to Buenos Aires and become Frank’s wife. ‘People would treat her with respect then.’
- Line 66: who Frank is and what his job is; He is Eveline’s boyfriend and he works as a sailor.
- Lines 57-65, 67: what the girl remembers about him; She remembers Frank’s courtship, his being kind, open-hearted and lively. He has a house in Buenos Aires. He was awfully fond of music and sang a little. He used to call her Poppens.
- Lines 73-76: whether Eveline’s father accepted the young man; Eveline’s father quarrelled with him since he distrusted sailors. After that fight, Eveline and Frank had to meet secretly.
- Lines 85-92: what the sound of the organ reminds her of; It reminds her of the promise she made to her dying mother during her last night and how her father had paid a street organ player to move off, cursing all foreigners.
- Lines 93-96: how she sees her mother’s life and what her last words really meant for Eveline; She sees her mother’s life as a ‘life of commonplace sacrifices closing in final craziness’. Her mother’s last words, seemingly Gaelic, were ‘Derevaun Seraun! Derevaun Seraun!’ Joyce passes over in silence the improbability that a Dublin woman of this time and class would know Gaelic.
- Line 97: what the girl experiences and what she perceives as her fate if she remains in Ireland; She experiences a sudden impulse of terror. She realises that if she remains in Ireland, she might have the same fate as her mother.
- Lines 97-98: what Frank represents to her. He is her saviour, the one who offers her the possibility of escape, of a life, and perhaps of love, too.
- A The lack of harmony in Eveline’s family
- B Eveline’s moral failure.
- Answer the following questions.
- Where is Eveline? Who surrounds her? She is at the station of North Wall, on the quayside, surrounded by a swaying crowd. The station is full of soldiers with brown baggage.
- What happens when she is on the quayside? She is paralysed and is not able to get on board the ship. ‘All the seas of the world tumbled about her heart’ (line 113).
- How does her relationship with Frank turn out to be? It turns out to be a superficial one since she dare not take risks and gives Frank ‘no sign of love or farewell or recognition’ (line 121) as he urges her to follow.
- What does the girl understand about her affections? She understands that her affections for her family are the most important ones, even if that place is a home with dusty curtains and that family contains a frequently drunken and abusive father.
- What is the effect produced by the last words of the story? The reader becomes aware of the end of Eveline’s dreams about an alternative life linked to love and freedom.
- The story is narrated in the third person and the point of view adopted is Eveline’s.
- Eveline’s thoughts in lines 17, 97, 116 are expressed through the technique of free direct speech.
- Focus on the character of Eveline.
- Does Joyce introduce her in a traditional way? What is the reader obliged to do? Eveline is not introduced in a traditional way, the story opens in medias res. We are not given any information about her physical appearance, family and school. The reader is obliged to infer the pieces of information from the development of her thoughts.
- How does she appear? Why? She appears tired and linked to stillness and paralysis, since she does not move and her only life is in her mind.
- Most of the story takes place in Eveline’s mind; however, her thoughts are not arranged in chronological order and they wander from past to present and future. Write her thoughts concerning past, present and future.
- Past: Her brother Harry, her sisters and she, together with the children of their same avenue, used to play in the field (lines 5-6, 8-9); her mother was dead (line 14); ‘she had dusted … many years’ (lines 17-18); ‘She had consented … her home’ (line 26); her father ‘had never gone for her’ (line 40); Frank’s courtship (lines 59-65); her father had forbidden her love (lines 73-76); ‘Sometimes [Eveline’s father] could be very nice … children laugh’ (lines 80-83); her mother’s last night and the promise she had made her (lines 86-96).
- Present: ‘She sat at the window’ (line 1); ‘She looked round the room’ (line 17); ‘She tried to weigh each side of the question’ (lines 26-27); ‘she had shelter and food’ (line 27); ‘she had to work hard, both in the house and at business’ (lines 28-29); ‘she sometimes felt herself in danger of her father’s violence’ (lines 38-39); ‘she had nobody to protect her’ (lines 42-43); she gave her entire wages (lines 44-45); her father was bad on Saturday night (line 49); ‘She had hard work … regularly’ (lines 53-55); letters to say goodbye (lines 77-78); she had to escape (line 97); she stood motionless among the crowd on the quayside (line 101); it was impossible for her to escape (lines 116-117); ‘she sent a cry of anguish’ (line 117); she was passive like a helpless animal (line 120).
- Future: ‘Now she was going to go away’ (lines 15-16); she would never see again all the things in her living room (lines 19-20); she would leave her job (lines 29-35); she would be married, have a new house and be treated with respect (lines 36-37); she was about to explore another life with Frank, she was to go away by night-boat and be his wife (lines 57-59); ‘Frank would save her’ (lines 97-98); ‘she would be on the sea with Frank, steaming towards Buenos Ayres’ (lines 107-108). All these thoughts of Eveline’s are expressed through the technique of free indirect speech.
- Give these images time references (past, present or future): dust, love, grey, the sea, death. Eveline’s present is linked to dust and to grey. Her past is connected with the death of her mother. Her future has connections with love and the sea.
- A simile is used in line 120 to describe the girl. Identify it. What does it add to the description of Eveline’s character? Eveline is compared to ‘a helpless animal’ because she is passive, paralysed and unable to make any decision.
- State what Eveline becomes aware of. She remembers the promise she made to her dying mother and becomes aware of the emptiness and the meaninglessness of her dreams and of her love.
- Say what this revelation is called. Epiphany.
Eveline’s plan of escape -> failure of her project -> Eveline’s paralysis. At first there is her plan of escape, which coexists with her antithetical wish of continuing to live in her home; then there is the gradual failure of her project to escape and paralysis wins inside her soul in the end. Probably she is too young to take any decision
B Her inability of escape.
- It starts in medias res.
- The main character is presented through her thoughts.
- Eveline’s thoughts reveal her past and future.
- Present, past and future mingle in Eveline’s mind.
- Free indirect speech is employed.
Suggestion: Students should point out the following notes:
- use of realism mixed with symbolism;
- use of a limited point of view;
- presentation of the character from the inside;
- use of a new concept of time;
- use of epiphany;
- theme of paralysis.
Across Cultures: Memory
- It is the ability to store and access information in the mind relating to past events or experiences and it implies the capacity to place each of these in a temporal dimension. Memory is a fundamental element of our lives, it calls upon our inner selves and is related to sensitivity, empathy, character and emotion. Memory is our internal diary preserving the facts and the feelings of the past.
- Because it is strictly connected with the concept of the passing of time.
- The traditional notion of time was totally modified at the beginning of the 20th century thanks to the works of the philosophers William James and Henri Bergson, and the physicist Albert Einstein. The new perception of time led to a revaluation of individual consciousness and inner life. Moreover, memory also became a means to regain the happiness of the past as opposed to present disillusionment or crisis.
- These writers expressed the complexities of the relationship between past and present with the interior monologue. In their works the free association of memories often leads to the sudden realisation of submerged truths.
- This technique was first used extensively by the French novelist Édouard Dujardin in Les lauriers sont coupés, translated into English with the title We’ll to the Woods No More in 1887. In the 20th century it became a common characteristic of the socalled psychological novels, like the Austrian Arthur Schnitzler’s story of pre-war Vienna Leutnant Gustl (1901) or the American William Faulkner’s masterpiece, The Sound and the Fury (1929), where events are seen through the three minds of the Compson family
- Philosophy and science (America, France and Germany):
- Literature (Italy):
- temporal dimension
- Literature (France):
6.18 Virginia Woolf
- The summers at St Ives, Cornwall; the death of her mother; her first nervous breakdown; the revolt against her father’s aggressive and tyrannical character and his idealisation of the domesticated woman; her father’s death; the outbreak of WWII.
- In Bloomsbury, a neighbourhood of central London, she became a member of the Bloomsbury Group, which included the avantgarde of early 20th-century London. For these radical writers, artists and thinkers, the common denominators were a contempt for traditional morality and Victorian respectability, a rejection of artistic convention and a disdain for bourgeois sexual codes.
- She was interested in giving voice to the complex inner world of feeling and memory and saw the human personality as a continuous shift of impressions and emotions. So the events that traditionally made up a story were no longer important for her; what mattered was the impression they left on the characters who experienced them.
- In her novels the omniscient narrator disappeared, and the point of view shifted inside the different characters’ minds through flashbacks, associations of ideas and momentary impressions presented as a continuous flux.
- The novel takes place on a single ordinary day early in June of 1923 and follows the protagonist through a very small area of London, from the morning to the evening of the day on which she gives a large formal party.
- Clarissa Dalloway is a London society lady of 51, the wife of a Conservative MP, and she belongs to the upper-middle class. The influence of a possessive father, the frustration of a genuine love, the need to refuse Peter Walsh, a man who would force her to share everything - all this has weakened Clarissa’s emotional self and split her in two. She is characterised by opposing feelings: her need for freedom and independence and her class consciousness. Her life appears to be an effort towards order and peace, an attempt to overcome her weakness and sense of failure. She needs to make her home perfect to become an ideal human being, but she imposes severe restrictions on her spontaneous feelings
- Septimus Warren Smith is a character specifically connected with the war, he is a ‘shell-shock’ case, one of the victims of industrialised warfare, who sought medical treatment in the special centres set up by 1922.
- They are similar in many respects: their response to experience is always given in physical terms and they depend upon their partners for stability and protection. There is a fundamental difference, however, which has contradicted the theory that Septimus is Clarissa’s double. He is not always able to distinguish between his personal response and external reality. His psychic paralysis leads him to suicide, whereas Clarissa never loses her awareness of the outside world as something external to herself. In the end she recognises her deceptions, accepts the idea of ageing and of death, and is prepared to go on.
- They remind the reader of the temporal grid which organises the narrative, of the passing of time in life and of its flowing into death.
- It expresses itself in moments of vision which are at the same time objective (the clocks, the streets, the cars, the flowers) and yet subjectively creative, since they are recreated every moment by active consciousness.
- Differently from Joyce’s characters, who show their thoughts directly through interior monologue, sometimes in an incoherent and syntactically unorthodox way, Woolf never lets her characters’ thoughts flow without control, and she maintains logical and grammatical organisation. Her technique is based on the fusion of streams of thought into a third-person, past tense narrative.
- They are rare occasions of insight during the characters’ daily life when they can see reality behind appearances. They are similar to Joyce’s ‘epiphanies’.
T56 Clarissa and Septimus
- Part 1(lines 1-23) Mrs Dalloway’s visit at the florist’s is interrupted by the explosion of a tyre in the street.
- Part 2(lines 24-37) Various people’s reactions to the explosion and their speculations about who might be in the car.
- Part 3 (lines 38-41) Introduction of Septimus Warren Smith.
- Part 4 (lines 42-53) The busy traffic in the street and Septimus’s thoughts.
- Part 5(lines 54-73) Description of Lucrezia’s appearance and thoughts. She is worried because Septimus wants to kill himself.
- Highlighted in yellow: the setting in time and place: it is a late afternoon in summer, at a florist’s in London
- Highlighted in grey: words and phrases describing Miss Pym, the florist, and conveying her opinion of and behaviour towards Mrs Dalloway
- Pink words: the main event in the passage is a violent explosion due to the bursting tyre of a car driving along Bond Street. The fact that the chauffeur draws the blind makes everyone think that there is someone important in the car
- Highlighted in orange: words describing the character of Mrs Dalloway. She is presented as a kind, elegant woman; she is sensitive to smell and colours and likes flowers, yet she is also capable of hatred. She is also curious
- Highlighted in green: words describing the character of Septimus Warren Smith
- Highlighted in pink: words describing the character of Lucrezia, Septimus’s wife
- Underlined in blue: words giving an insight into the changes in society such as cars and other vehicles, newspapers. The idea conveyed is that of busy city life
- Blue words: words referring to the senses. There are references to sight, hearing, smell and touch but the prevailing sense is sight. Woolf wants to emphasise that the characters’ response to the outside world is both emotional and physical
- Red dots: examples of free indirect speech, a literary technique that describes the interior thoughts of characters using third-person singular pronouns (he and she)
- Miss Pym went to the window and looked apologetic for the noise coming from the street (lines 21-23). Mrs Dalloway jumped (line 24). Passers-by stopped and stared (line 26). Edgar J. Watkiss said it was the Prime Minister’s car (lines 36-37). Mrs Dalloway came to the window and looked out with curiosity (lines 45-46). Septimus was frightened and thought he was blocking the way and that everyone was looking at him (lines 49- 53). Lucrezia at first wondered who might be in the car (lines 56-57) but she was afraid everyone might notice her husband’s strange behaviour (lines 63-66).
- C Piece by piece through association.
- The omniscient narrator is a commenting voice who knows everything about the characters. This voice appears occasionally among the subjective thoughts of the characters. The point of view changes constantly, often shifting from one character’s stream of consciousness (subjective interior thoughts) to another’s within a single paragraph. Woolf most often uses free indirect speech, a literary technique that describes the interior thoughts of characters using third-person singular pronouns (‘he’ and ‘she’). This technique allows subtle and smooth transitions between the thoughts of different characters. The author’s aim is to convey reality as a continuous shift of subjective impressions and emotions and to stress the importance of apparently meaningless facts as stimuli to psychological responses.
- There is a continuous passage from outer to inner reality. The text mostly consists of perceptions and thoughts.
- Dashes. Semicolons. Question marks. Exclamations. Very short sentences.
- Mental illness:
- Alienation Line 41: ‘The world has raised its whip, where will it descend?’
- Panic Lines 48-51: ‘Septimus thought, and this gradual drawing together of everything to one centre before his eyes, as if some horror had come almost to the surface and was about to burst into flames, terrified him. The world wavered and quivered and threatened to burst into flames.’
- Feelings of guilt Lines 51-53: ‘It is I who am blocking the way, he thought. Was he not being looked at and pointed at; was he not weighted there, rooted to the pavement, for a purpose? But for what purpose?’
- Anger Lines 61-62: ‘But her husband, for they had been married four, five years now, jumped, started, and said, ‘All right!’ angrily, as if she had interrupted him.’
- Madness Line 65: ‘Septimus had said, ‘I will kill myself’; an awful thing to say
- pistol shot
- shell shock
6.19 George Orwell
- He had a deep understanding of the English character, of its tolerance, its dislike of abstract theories and insistence on common sense and fair play. On the other hand, his various experiences abroad contributed to his unusual ability to see his country from the outside and to judge its strengths and weaknesses. Closely linked to this quality was the fact that he chose to reject his background and to establish a separate identity of his own; as a consequence, he was receptive to new ideas and impressions.
- What conflict did he experience? The unresolved conflict between his middle-class background and education and his emotional identification with the working class.
- As a writer of the Thirties, he valued social commitment and content over form and had left-wing sympathies. His aim was to inform, to reveal facts and draw conclusions from them.
- He believed that writing interpreted reality and therefore served a useful social function. However, he believed that the writer should be independent, that no good writing could come from following a party line.
- He dealt with political and social themes. He insisted on tolerance, justice and decency in human relationships, and warned against the increasing artificiality of urban civilisation. Above all he strongly criticised totalitarianism, warning against the violation of liberty and helping his readers to recognise tyranny in all its forms.
- World War II, the Tehrān Conference of 1943, and the tyrannies in Spain, Germany and the Soviet Union.
- Winston Smith is the last man to believe in humane values in a totalitarian age. ‘Smith’, the commonest English surname, suggests his symbolic value; ‘Winston’ evokes Churchill’s patriotic appeals for ‘blood, toil, tears and sweat’ during the Second World War. Winston is 39 and physically weak; he experiences alienation from society and feels a desire for spiritual and moral integrity. His main concern is the manipulation of history by the Party, and he greatly fears the moment when no one will have any memories of actual history.
- Julia is more naïve and is pessimistic about the Party, since she believes that it will never be overthrown. She is not much concerned with historical truth.
- Because he is a member of the Inner Party who tricks Winston and Julia into believing that he belongs to the secret Brotherhood, which is dedicated to overthrowing the Party. The reader is also given little background information about him, which makes O’Brien a mysterious character.
- Nineteen Eighty-Four is a satire on hierarchical societies which destroy fraternity. The main themes are the attempts to preserve mutual trust, memory and decency
- Because it does not present an ideal or perfect community embodying the author’s ideals, but it shows a future society that satirises existing conditions of society. The novel does not offer consolation but reveals Orwell’s acute sense of history and his sympathy with the millions of people persecuted and murdered in the name of the totalitarian ideologies of the 20th century.
- Orwell presents a frightening picture of the future as being under the constant control of ‘Big Brother’. There is no privacy because there are monitors called ‘telescreens’ watching every step people take; love is forbidden but there is the ‘Two Minutes Hate’ and the country is in a perpetual state of war. The Party has absolute control of the press, communication and propaganda; language, history and thought are controlled in the interests of the State through the gradual introduction of Newspeak, the official language of Oceania, whose lexis is so limited that people find it impossible to express their own ideas. Any form of rebellion against the rules is punished with prison, torture and liquidation.
T57 Big Brother is watching you
- Paragraph 1: The setting in time and the main character Winston Smith.
- Paragraph 2: The hallway, the stairs, and the posters of Big Brother on each landing.
- Paragraph 3: The telescreen inside Winston’s flat.
- Paragraph 4: The coldness of the world outside, the posters plastered everywhere, and the presence of the patrols.
- Paragraph 5: The lack of privacy inside the flat due to the overwhelming control of the Thought Police.
- Paragraph 6: Winston’s mood, his distaste for the living conditions in London and his (vain) attempt to remember what London was like during his childhood.
- Paragraph 7: The Ministry of Truth and the three slogans of the Party
- Highlighted in yellow: setting in time and place
- Highlighted in green: weather conditions
- Highlighted in grey: description of London. It is full of details that are usually connected with war time. Even the details of the soap and razor blades (lines 20-21) and the name ‘Victory’ given to houses (lines 2-3) can be linked to war time
- Pink words: details concerning the social, economic and political organisation in Oceania, particularly as regards security and control, economic plans, people’s private lives, language. Oceania has a totalitarian government under the leadership of Big Brother, whom nobody has ever seen except on the posters that are hanging everywhere. The government has total control on the life of the citizens, whose private and public behaviour is constantly watched through telescreens and helicopters. The Thought Police has the task of controlling and manipulating people’s thoughts and opinions. The main principles of this government are expressed in the slogans at the end of the passage. There is also the Ministry of Truth, which is Winston’s place of work
- Highlighted in light blue: description of the protagonist: his name, age, address, physical appearance, job and mood
- Blue words: description of the posters portraying Big Brother
- A third-person omniscient narrator is used, and Winston’s point of view is adopted. Orwell used the past tense narrative to give his picture of the future the illusion of reality. Although his aim was to provide a disturbing picture of a possible future, his technique is that of the traditional realist novelist.
- Realistic, concrete, ironical, varied in register.
- Consider the symbolic meaning of the elements concerning Winston Smith’s description.
- His name has a heroic connotation, since it was Churchill’s name.
- His surname makes him the ‘man of the street’.
- No, he is an ordinary man, a sort of anti-hero.
- No, he cannot remember anything about his past. Nothing remains of his childhood.
- Analyse the presence of Big Brother in the extract.
- It is conveyed through posters with captions. This reminds the reader of the conditioning of advertising.
- Lines 6-7, 25-27; Stalin or Hitler.
- Suggestion: Students might discuss the following: the lack of privacy, freedom of thought and speech; mismanagement (lifts out of order, blunt razors, ruined houses, the dust outside suggesting that the streets are not clean); the perpetual state of war; the general atmosphere of squalor and gloom.
- Analyse the three slogans of the Party.
- Words with opposite meanings; he uses paradox.
- It acquires a satirical meaning.
- The INGSOC aims to achieve total control over the people and especially over their minds. One of the main mind programmes of the Party is Doublethink, which describes the act of simultaneously accepting two mutually contradictory beliefs as correct. ‘WAR IS PEACE’ and ‘FREEDOM IS SLAVERY’ are good examples of double thinking. Though contradictory by definition, they are both accepted as correct, simultaneously, by the citizens of Oceania. This means that even if Oceania is in a constant state of war, the people are acting as if there were peace as well, so they can easily switch from one emotion to the other, in accordance to what the Party orders. ‘FREEDOM IS SLAVERY’ also acts as a subconscious discouragement for anyone who might desire freedom, while the third slogan, ‘IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH’, encourages the people to accept as true everything that the Party tells them, without using rational thinking. For example, even if there is a constant shortage of everything, and the people make great efforts to get the most basic things (e.g. shaving razors), they are convinced that there is, in fact, abundance - only because the Party keeps repeating this every day. In their highly conditioned minds, it can be both scarcity and abundance, at the same time.
- He makes a parody of any form of totalitarianism. He attacks the sense of loss of the finest emotions and values of contemporary Britain and warns the reader against the danger of total adhesion to a political system and its leader.
Suggestion: Students might refer to Samuel Pepys, William Blake, William Wordsworth and Charles Dickens.
Students should point out that while in Chaucer April means renewal and rebirth, in Eliot and Orwell it acquires a negative connotation since it is linked to the ideas of aridity and alienation.
T58 Room 101
- By the slight difference in the air pressure.
- Two small tables in front of him, each covered with a green cloth.
- He is strapped upright in a chair and cannot even move his head because a sort of pad grips it from behind.
- In Room 101.
- As containing the worst thing in the world, which varies from individual to individual.
- The guard brings an oblong wire cage divided lengthways into two compartments (each containing rats) and with a handle on top. There is a sort of fencing mask fixed in front of it, with the concave side outwards.
- He reminds him of a dream where he saw a wall of blackness in front of him and heard a roaring sound in his ears. There was something terrible on the other side of the wall and Winston knew what it was - rats -, but he dared not admit it.
- Because O’Brien puts the mask on his face and is ready to click the cage door open.
- What does he think is the only way to escape torture? To transfer his punishment onto someone else, to ‘interpose […] the body of another human being, between himself and the rats’ (lines 74-75).
- Yes, because O’Brien does not open the cage door and the mice do not attack Winston’s face.
The third-person narrator is not part of the story but in the minds of the characters like an all-seeing eye or an omniscient presence overlooking the proceedings. The reader shares Winston’s point of view.
|Imprisonment.||In the windlowless building (lines 1-2).|
|He had been beaten.||In the cells below ground level (lines 2-3).|
|He had been interrogated by O’Brien.||In a room high up near the roof (lines 3-4).|
Words such as ‘something’, ‘(of) some kind’, ‘it’ and ‘thing’ are used in order to increase the fear of the unknown. O’Brien’s words shape Winston’s frightened thoughts. Lack of knowledge can be a very scary thing; if you do not know what something is, then you do not have the possibility of facing it.
Lines 16-18: he provides some examples such as ‘burial alive, or death by fire, or by drowning, or by impalement’ because it varies from individual to individual depending on what one is most afraid of.
First of all they are Winston’s worst fear, so on the one hand, the rats represent fear. On the other hand, they symbolise depravity. Throughout history, humans have associated rats with squalor and pestilence. Rats carry disease and thrive on human garbage. Rats rank among the world’s most ‘beastlike’ (as opposed to ‘humanlike’) creatures. Winston’s universe is filled with humans who act and are treated like beasts. Winston and his fellow citizens become rats, trapped in Big Brother’s cage. If people allow forces such as those represented by Big Brother to rule, then they will become no better than mindless, multiplying rats.
The theme of psychic mind control manifests itself in the Party’s manipulation of the body: Orwell consistently argues that physical pain and the sense of physical danger can override human reason. Winston, facing a writhing swarm of rats prepared to devour his face, cannot act rationally. His betrayal of Julia occurs precisely because physical pain eliminates the possibility of defending emotional conviction. Turning against Julia is an instinctive act of self-preservation. Rather than the rats themselves, it is the awareness, forced upon him by the Party, that he is a prisoner of his own body that ultimately breaks Winston. Once he believes that he is limited by his body, he has no reason to think, act, or rebel.
The climax is in lines 80-87. Winston is mindless in his absolute fear and despair, then a tiny fragment of hope glimmers into his mind, he is frantic to transfer his punishment onto someone else and finally screams ‘Do it to Julia!’
A sort of premonitory tremor’ (line 25); ‘His bowels seemed to turn to water’ (line 27); ‘making an effort to control his voice’ (line 33); ‘could hear the blood singing in his ears’ (line 47); ‘He had the feeling of sitting in utter loneliness’ (lines 47- 48); ‘made a frantic effort to tear himself loose from the chair’ (line 61); ‘he fought furiously against his panic’ (line 70); ‘For an instant he was insane, a screaming animal’ (line 73); ‘Again the black panic took hold of him. He was blind, helpless, mindless’ (lines 79-80); ‘it was not relief, only hope, a tiny fragment of hope’ (lines 82-83); ‘he was shouting frantically, over and over’ (line 85); ‘He was falling backwards, into enormous depths’ (line 88); ‘He was light years distant’ (line 91); ‘the darkness that enveloped him’ (line 92)
He delays the answer to the question ‘what was in Room 101’ (line 11): this increases the suspense as well as Winston’s fear. ‘O’Brien made no direct answer. When he spoke it was in the schoolmasterish manner that he sometimes affected. He looked thoughtfully into the distance, as though he were addressing an audience somewhere behind Winston’s back’ (lines 35-37): O’Brien acts as a sort of teacher or preacher, he seems completely devoid of emotion.
Winston’s perceptions: ‘They were enormous rats. They were at the age when a rat’s muzzle grows blunt and fierce and his fur brown instead of grey’ (lines 50-51); ‘an outburst of squeals from the cage’ (line 57); ‘the foul musty odour of the brutes’ (line 71); ‘could see the whiskers and the yellow teeth’ (line 79). O’Brien’s description: ‘although a rodent, is carnivorous’ (line 52); ‘The rats are certain to attack it. Within quite a small time they will strip it to the bones. They also attack sick or dying people. They show astonishing intelligence in knowing when a human being is helpless’ (lines 54-56); ‘starving brutes’ (line 66); ‘They will leap on to your face and bore straight into it. Sometimes they attack the eyes first. Sometimes they burrow through the cheeks and devour the tongue’ (lines 66-68). Winston’s perception of the rats passes through all the senses and conveys a sense of nausea that is transferred onto the reader. O’Brien’s description is detached and based on objective facts, which make it even more horrible and frightening. The effect achieved is realistic and makes the reader identify with Winston and feel shocked at the Party’s treatment of a human being
First, he contrasts the calm O’Brien and the terrified Winston in a slow, tortured build-up where every sound and every smell is meticulously described. Second, O’Brien presents contrasting features: his tone is calm, detached, yet his actions are calculatedly merciless and the content of his speech is brutal. He sends chills down the reader’s spine as well as Winston’s with his displaced tranquillity
The room teaches Winston that when faced with his greatest fear, he would be willing to sacrifice anything - love, dignity, loyalty - in order to escape it. Through that fear, O’Brien and the Party have taken control of Winston’s mind. Julia is the only person in the world whom Winston could have thrust between himself and the rats because she is the only person standing between him and his love of Big Brother. As long as Winston loved Julia, and what she represented to him, he was able to believe in himself and his humanity enough to hate Big Brother. Once he betrays that love, he violates his own humanity and can no longer love another human.
Suggestion: Students might refer to the danger lying in the acceptance of a totalitarian outlook by intellectuals of all colours. Orwell also warns against the creation of ‘Super-States’, of great blocks that will be in opposition to each other. In the background there is also the threat of a total war with new weapons, of which the atomic bomb is the most powerful.
- Suggestion: Some students may regard Winston as a coward because he betrayed the woman he loved, others may say he was not a coward for trying to transfer the punishment onto Julia but that he simply acted out of self-preservation. Any man might do the same if faced with their greatest fear, as we are not unthinking machines nor are we unfeeling. Winston’s main attributes are his rebelliousness and fatalism. O’Brien succeeds in depriving him of his dignity by breaking his humanity.
6.20 Francis Scott Fitzgerald
- Education: He studied in a Catholic boarding school in New Jersey and in 1913 he went to Princeton University.
- Married life: In 1920 he married Zelda Sayre; they led a life of luxury and excess, spending a lot of money on entertainment, parties, alcohol and drugs.
- Works and themes: Works: This Side of Paradise (1920), Tales of the Jazz Age (1922), The Beautiful and Damned (1922), The Great Gatsby (1925), Tender Is the Night (1934), The Last Tycoon (unfinished).
- Themes: the sense of loss and emptiness hiding behind the cult of money and materialism; the hedonism, corruption and loss of ideals of the Lost Generation; the failure of the dreams and ideals of the Twenties.
- Reputation: His first works were very successful. Popularity declined with The Great Gatsby. He began to write film scripts to pay his debts.
- Death: An alcoholic, he died of a heart attack in 1940.
The Great Gatsby
- next-door neighbour
- humble midwestern
- runs over
- The protagonist of the novel, James Gatz, comes from a humble midwestern family. He makes every effort to rise above poverty, he even changes his name into Jay Gatsby. While in the army, he falls in love with Daisy, who, though returning Jay’s love, eventually marries Tom Buchanan, a wealthy, arrogant man. Gatsby later makes a fortune in some illegal way. He then rents a magnificent mansion on the less fashionable shore of Long Island, just on the opposite side of the bay to Daisy’s house; there he gives fabulous parties. Gatsby is presented as a mysterious character, since he seldom takes part in the parties he organises. Rich and attractive, with some secret hidden in his past, he has the stature of a romantic hero who dies for his dream; but he also embodies the self-made man who tries to recreate the past through the power of money and is destroyed in the end.
- Thanks to Nick Carraway - Gatsby’s neighbour and Daisy’s cousin -, Daisy and Jay meet again and begin an affair. One day Daisy has a fight with her husband and, while driving back with Gatsby, she accidentally runs over Tom’s mistress, Myrtle Wilson, who dies. Myrtle’s husband finds out that the car which killed her is Gatsby’s, so he shoots him in his pool. Daisy reconciles with her husband.
- He is both an observer and a participant in the novel. He is the only character to show and hold on to a sense of morals and decency. Nick can be seen as representing the outsider that Fitzgerald felt himself to be, and is also linked to the theme of the contrast between East and West. He comes from the West and returns to it at the end of the novel. Through him, Fitzgerald shows his fondness for the West, which he idealised as being more moral than the East.
- She is very moody, theatrical and impulsive; she is characterised by meanness of spirit, carelessness and absence of loyalty.
- Nick Carraway is the narrator from whose point of view all the events and characters of the story are presented. Nick is a retrospective narrator who, after going through an experience, looks back on it with a better understanding. Fitzgerald rejects chronological order and uses the fragmentation of time and frequent flashbacks to represent the inner world of his characters and to show the way knowledge is normally acquired in real life.
- The Great Gatsby contains many insights and criticisms of American life in the Jazz Age. The Americanness of the novel is emphasised by such themes as the move from West to East; the confrontation between the romantic ideals of courage, honour and beauty, and the corrupt world of greed and money; the relationship between Gatsby’s material achievements and the myth of going ‘from rags to riches’; the tremendous growth of the car industry; the corrupting effects of Prohibition; the poverty of spiritual life in America during its most hedonistic decade.
- Picture 2: Gatsby’s house is at the same time real and symbolic: carefully described in its various rooms and acres of garden, it celebrates Gatsby’s luck and success during the parties, but embodies his melancholy and loneliness when it is empty.
- Picture 3: The car is another symbolic image in the novel, which stands for the destructive power of modern society and money
T59 Nick meets Gatsby
- Part 1 (lines 1-11) Nick goes to Gatsby’s party.
- Part 2 (lines 12-39) Nick joins Jordan Baker at the party and they meet various people.
- Part 3 (lines 40-57) Rumours about Gatsby’s past.
- Part 4 (lines 58-71) Description of the big party.
- Part 5 (lines 72-102) Nick finally meets Gatsby.
- Highlighted in yellow: description of Nick’s appearance, mood and feelings. We are given few details about his appearance; Fitzgerald tells us only how he is dressed (line 1) and insists on his sensations and feelings. At the beginning of the party, Nick does not feel at ease because he does not know anybody (lines 1-2) and is struck by wealthy businessmen talking (he presumes) about ‘bonds or insurance or automobiles’ (line 5), he feels purposeless and alone (line 11), he is embarrassed (line 12), he feels he has to attach himself to someone (line 15), he feels unnatural (line 17). Later on he begins to relax and enjoy himself, especially because he has been drinking champagne (lines 69-70), but he is again embarrassed when he fails to recognise Gatsby (line 88)
- Highlighted in green: the topics of conversation at Gatsby’s party
- Highlighted in light blue: what people do at the party: they talk, gossip, walk in the garden, laugh, drink, dance, sing, do stunts
- Highlighted in pink: description of Jordan Baker. She looks at the people around her in a contemptuous way (lines 13-14), she responds to Nick’s address absently (line 18) and holds his hand impersonally (lines 20-21), she is a golf player but has lost her latest tournament (line 23), her arm is slender and golden (line 27)
- Underlined in blue: gradual introduction of the character of Gatsby
- Red dots: references to the moon
- He is obviously an outsider, he does not belong to the vacuous world surrounding Gatsby and feels displaced. The reader also perceives a core of honesty and moral firmness in Nick.
- Gatsby is introduced in an indirect way through Nick’s gradual awareness of him. First of all through Nick’s acquaintance with his house: when he steps onto Gatsby’s vast lawn, he enters his world (line 1). He finds that most of the people there do not know Gatsby and even spread rumours about him. In this way Fitzgerald creates a halo of mystery and romanticism around Gatsby’s figure (lines 43-57). Nick is told that Gatsby was a German spy during the war and that he even killed a man. Nick finally meets Gatsby, who introduces himself and invites Nick to fly on his hydroplane with him. It is important to highlight the insistence on Gatsby’s way of speaking and his smile: his speech is absurdly formal and his smile is rare in its self-assurance. The narrator also hints at Gatsby’s age (line 68) and at his elegance. The reader gets the impression that Gatsby has created his own identity from personal romanticism based on typical social behaviour. In other words, he has created a role for himself and the role has replaced the self. Gatsby’s smile symbolises the basic quality of the ‘Gatsby dream’ and the romanticism of the American dream itself.
- The moon seems artificially placed by a caterer as a decoration for the party. Traditionally a Romantic symbol of imagination, it is here reduced to a parody of its dreamy quality
Gatsby’s party is like a great public festival. The people act as if they were at an amusement park and lounge here and there sometimes without even meeting the host. There are buffets with plenty of good food to eat, alcohol to drink and an orchestra playing jazz. Guests who have met before do not even remember each other, and impersonality is the dominant attitude. There is laughter without amusement, enthusiasm between strangers. The effect is that of a gigantic and somehow absurd gesture of ‘the good life’ which will be replaced by the reality of the following Monday. All these elements reflect, on the one hand, the economic prosperity and general feeling of euphoria that characterised the American society of the ‘Roaring Twenties’, when the economy grew quickly, new industries flourished, and a new taste for experimentation in music, dance and fashion became widespread. On the other hand, they bring to light the moral sterility, superficial hedonism and contradictions which also marked the Jazz Age and were especially evident among young people.
6.21 Ernest Hemingway
- He had a very active childhood hunting and fishing in the Great Lakes region with his father, boxing or playing rugby.
- He mastered the rigorous rules of ‘pure objective writing’, characterised by declarative sentences without any unnecessary words or clichés.
- He joined the Red Cross as an ambulance driver in 1918. On his journey to the Italian front he stopped in Paris, which was under constant bombardment from German artillery. He did not want to stay in the relative safety of his hotel, but tried to get as close to combat as possible. In the same year he was wounded by a mortar fragment in Italy; the Italian government later presented him with a medal for dragging a wounded Italian soldier to safety in spite of his own injuries.
- The Old Man and the Sea (1952) won him the 1953 Pulitzer Prize in fiction, and in 1954 he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature; this was the high point of his literary career, which ensured his legacy for future generations.
- It is identified with a codified set of actions which gives man the measure of his control over events. Beyond these actions there is nothingness and death.
- The ‘Hemingway hero’, who remains basically the same from book to book, is an outdoorsman but he is not primitive; he is extremely sensitive to the chaotic world he lives in and the pain it inflicts; he wishes he were braver, but he does the best he can in stressful circumstances. In contrast to this kind of action hero is the ‘code hero’, so-called because he is able to live up to standards beyond the reach of ordinary human beings. He is honourable and extremely courageous; he cannot overcome the forces he confronts but he provides an example of honourable behaviour by facing death or terrible danger with dignity.
- His style is dry and essential, characterised by simple syntax, colloquial, concise dialogue and brief descriptions - often of landscapes.
- What was he fascinated with from boyhood? He was fascinated by death and particularly by suicide. Five of his seven completed novels end with the death of a male protagonist, while a sixth ends with the death of the heroine. Several short stories take a macabre approach to the subject.
- Hemingway’s injury on the Italian front during World War I was a traumatic event that provided a source for most of his writing. The compulsion to master the trauma can explain his necessity to test his courage by climbing into bullrings, hunting wild game and facing enemy fire during subsequent wars. He put himself at risk and was often injured.
A Farewell to Arms
- ambulance driver
- Italian front
- Milan hospital
- being wounded
- It takes place on the Italian front during World War I.
- Frederick Henry, an American who volunteers for the Italian ambulance service before the United States joins the war. He is the classic Hemingway hero: he does his duty without complaint and thinks that men should be free from passion. However, he undergoes an extraordinary transformation in the course of the novel. At the beginning he believes that war is dreadful but necessary and has a lust for adventure, drinking and women. Later he becomes intensely pessimistic about the war and realises that his love for Catherine is the only thing he is ready to commit himself to. He is full of noble ideas when he joins the army, but his experience during the war shakes his beliefs in Church, State, patriotism and love.
- War and love. War is presented as something inevitable. Against the backdrop of war, Hemingway offers a profound meditation on the nature of love. Henry and Catherine find temporary happiness and relief from suffering in each other. The lieutenant’s understanding of how meaningful his love for Catherine is overwhelms any consideration about abstract ideals such as honour, enabling him to escape from the war and return to her. The tragedy of the novel rests in the fact that their love can only be temporary in this world. The notions of loyalty and desertion can be applied both to love and war. The novel, however, suggests that loyalty is linked more to a personal need of love and friendship than to the grand political causes and abstract philosophies of battling nations.
- The technique of the first-person narrator: it is the protagonist who tells his story, gradually discovering meaning in the events he experiences.
- The language employed is simple and straightforward but requires the active participation of the reader for a true understanding, since the meaning of the story is revealed through suggestions, omissions and frequent use of free direct speech.
T60 There is nothing worse than war
- leaned over
- shut up
- It is night (‘It was dark’, line 42); the characters are in the trenches on the Italian front during WWI - there are ‘mountains’ (line 43) and a road ‘close behind the lines’ (line 44-45)
- Character: Henry. What he says about war: War would not finish if one side stopped fighting (line 1); ‘Defeat is worse’ (line 4); the enemies would take possession of the home and the sisters of the defeated, they would hang them and oblige them to be soldiers in their armies (lines 6, 9-10); the Italian soldiers know nothing about being conquered, that is why they think it would not be bad (line 14); war is bad but they must finish it (line 19). Attitude to war: They must get the war over by fighting against the enemies and winning them; his attitude is idealistic. Character: Passini. What he says about war: ‘There is nothing worse than war’ (line 3); defeat is nothing but going back home (line 5); the enemies cannot take the homes and the sisters of all the defeated, nor hang all the defeated soldiers (lines 7-8, 11); war is made by all those people who are afraid of their officers (lines 15-18); ‘There is no finish to a war’ (line 20); war is not won by victory, but it ends when one side stops fighting (lines 23-27); everybody hates war (lines 29-30); the class that controls the country wants this war for stupidity (line 34). Attitude to war: Surrendering is the solution to the atrocities of war; his attitude is realistic. Character: Manera. What he says about war: An outside nation cannot make the defeated be soldiers in its army (line 12). Attitude to war: He does not accept this war; his attitude is realistic.
- ‘the main dressing station’ (line 46), that is, the place where emergency treatment is given to soldiers injured in battle.
- Answer the following questions.
- He saw a ‘flash’ and heard a ‘cough’, then ‘the chuh-chuh-chuh-chuh’ and a ‘roar’ (lines 52-55).
- He could not breathe and felt himself ‘rush bodily out’ of himself (lines 55-58).
- His legs were both ‘smashed above the knee’ and he was near dying (lines 65-68).
- He begged Henry to shoot him in order to stop his pain (lines 68-71).
- Because he was already dead (lines 78-80).
- He had been hurt on his knee (lines 82-84).
- Someone took hold of him under the arms and somebody else lifted his legs (lines 87- 88).
- Define the role of the narrator. Is he inside or outside the story? He is inside the story.
- C Both.
- It is achieved through the lack of introductory verbs. B Realism.
- The bombing attack is described in details and in a glittering way. The narrator is able to increase the tension through a matter-of-fact, detailed, shocking description and through the Italian soldier’s invocations.
- Bear in mind that the whole extract takes place at night, in the dark. Yet, light breaks the darkness four times in the last part, revealing something important.
Words connected with light
Nature of the light
What it reveals
search-lights’ (lines 42-43).
They were mounted on camions (lines 43-45).
The lines (lines 42-45)
a light’ (line 48).
The artificial light inside the dressing station (lines 46-48).
The presence of board tables, instruments, basins and bottles (lines 49-50)
a flash’ (line 53).
The light of a bomb explosion, ‘that started white and went red’ (lines 52-55).
The devastating effects of the explosion on everything and everyone (lines 55-61).
In the dark the light goes up and floats whitely (lines 61-65).
The star-shells lighting the sky intermittently (lines 62-63).
Passini’s injuries (lines 63-72).
another floating light’ (line 85).
It came from the hell outside.
Henry’s wounded (lines 85-86).
- A simile is used in lines 53-54. Find it and explain what feeling it conveys. The simile compares the flash of the bomb explosion to a blast-furnace door that is swung open. It conveys a feeling of destruction and death and points out the quality of this destruction, which is linked to fire and hell.
- Underline all the words and phrases referring to the five senses employed to describe the explosion, which is experienced by Henry from the inside.
- Sight: ‘flash’ (line 53); ‘started white and went red’ (line 54); ‘The ground was torn up’ (line 59); ‘a splintered beam of wood’ (line 59); ‘the starshells go up’ (line 62); ‘float whitely and rockets going up’ (lines 62-63); ‘I saw in the dark and the light’ (line 66); ‘another floating light’ (line 85). Hearing: ‘I heard a cough’ (line 53); ‘the chuhchuh-chuh-chuh’ (line 53); ‘a roar’ (line 54); ‘rushing wind’ (line 55); ‘bodily in the wind’ (line 56); ‘somebody crying’ (line 60); ‘somebody was screaming’ (line 60); ‘I heard the machine-guns and rifles firing’ (line 61); ‘heard the bombs’ (line 63); ‘I heard […] some one saying’ (lines 63-64); ‘screamed’ (line 66); ‘moaned’ (line 69); ‘choking’ (line 71); ‘quiet’ (lines 72, 75); ‘shouted’ (line 73). Smell: ‘I tried to breathe’ (line 55); ‘breath’ (line 55); ‘I breathed’ (line 58). Taste: ‘He bit his arm’ (line 68). Touch: ‘I floated’ (line 58); ‘a great splashing’ (line 62); ‘touched him’ (line 65).
- Sight and hearing.
- Passini’s screaming. At first we read ‘I thought somebody was screaming’ (line 60), then Henry comes back to reality in lines 63-64 when he ‘heard close to [him] some one saying "Mama Mia!"’, becoming aware of Passini’s terrible pain next to him.
- He has experienced suffering and death. Yes, he could leave his ideals of ‘getting the war over’.
6.22 John Steinbeck
- Great Depression
- his stories
- migrant workers
- work camp
- financially successful
- radical social
The Grapes of Wrath
- The grapes of the title symbolise the promised land of California, which turns out to be a disillusionment. So the grapes of hope turn into the grapes of wrath, or anger.
- The setting of the novel is vast: it includes a large part of Oklahoma, portions of other States, and a large area of California. The journey westward of the Joad family covers seven States: Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Arkansas, New Mexico, Arizona and California.
- Because it portrays the harsh realities of the Great Depression and the nature of equality and justice in America.
- Their destinies cross from the beginning until the end when Jim dies and Tom takes up his mission. They are both devoted to helping others, fighting injustice and giving back dignity and respect to migrant workers.
- He uses the traditional American device of the journey as a quest for a better land. However, California is already corrupted and tyrannical. Its inhabitants have a hypocritical attitude towards the immigrants. On the one hand, they abuse people like the Joads; on the other hand, they want to exploit their labour as much as possible.
- The idea that people are more important than things; the conflict between the tendency to respond to hardship and disaster by focusing on one’s own needs, and the impulse to risk one’s safety by working for a common good; the family and the idea of brotherhood having a saving power; the importance of preserving self-respect in order to survive spiritually.
- It is told by an anonymous narrator who sympathises with the workers, the poor and the dispossessed in general. There are shifts between different points of view. In some chapters the narrator describes and analyses historical events summarising the experiences of a large number of people. In other chapters he assumes the voice of a typical individual who expresses his own personal concerns. The chapters dealing with the Joad family are narrated mainly from an objective point of view, as if an observer might witness their experiences. As a whole Steinbeck describes his characters from the outside, so that he creates types rather than individuals.
- Wrath is directed at those who abuse power. It arises when one person chooses greed over equality, and it grows anytime self-interest wins over compassion. Wrath is in equal parts revenge and justice.
T61 From fear to anger
- Part 1(lines 1-19) Description of the change in the weather conditions, the rain and its effects on the land.
- Part 2lines 20-32) How the rain affects the poor people’s lives.
- Part 3(lines 33-66) Description of the migrants’ despair and the rise of anger.
- Part 4(lines 67-82) The rain stops, fear definitively turns into anger, the men begin to assemble.
- Highlighted in yellow: description of the rain, which fell steadily and incessantly until it finally stopped
- Highlighted in green: reaction of the earth: at first it ‘drank the rain’ but when it was full, it began to let it out. When the rain stopped, the earth ‘whispered’. The earth is personified
- Highlighted in light blue: the action of the rain. It caused a flood: it formed puddles and lakes in the fields, the streams overflew their banks and the water flooded the highways. It also flooded the migrants’ tents, and the beds and blankets got wet. The water spoilt the cars
- Highlighted in orange: the effects of the rain on the migrants: at first they tried to protect themselves and waited, but then they had to move away carrying the children and the old in their arms
- Highlighted in pink: the migrants’ feelings: from hopelessness and sadness, to fear and terror, and to anger and wrath
- Underlined in blue: use of a language that reproduces the one spoken by the common people of Oklahoma
- They had no food (line 39), they fell ill (lines 40-41), they started to beg for food, to steal and to lie (lines 45-47, 51-52, 58-59).
- They felt pity at first, then distaste and finally hatred (lines 60-61).
- Complete the diagram below. They sat and waited (lines 20-21); they went to the relief offices and came back sadly (line 33); they began to beg for food, to steal and to lie (lines 45-47, 51-52, 58-59); the hunger and the fear bred anger (line 58), and anger turned into wrath (lines 78-80).
- It represents both a damaging force that threatens to wash away the few possessions of poor people, and a power of renewal in so far as despair turns into a positive form of reaction. The migrants, in fact, helped one another and decided to organise themselves (lines 77-78).
- Because they realised that their men had reacted instead of giving up. The value of human life is raised by Steinbeck above hardship. The connection between rage and dignity is clear: as long as man can keep the sense of injustice, he will never run the risk of losing his dignity.
Steinbeck devotes many lines to the description of the setting, and presents his characters from the outside rather than providing psychological insights, so that he creates types rather than individuals. The overall effect of this text is a documentary rendering of a crucial historical event and the suffering it implied. Steinbeck consistently points to the fact that the migrants’ great suffering is caused not so much by bad weather or mere misfortune, but by the selfishness of their fellow human beings. He denounces the historical, social and economic circumstances which separate people into rich and poor, landowners and tenants - where the people in the dominant roles struggle viciously to preserve their positions. In the text shown, the local town is willing to spend money on extra deputies to enforce the law but not on food to relieve the starving families of the migrants. Steinbeck shows vividly how the California landowners treat the migrants like animals. They are shuffled from one filthy roadside camp to the next, denied liveable wages, and forced to turn against fellow humans simply to survive. In this context the family and the idea of brotherhood have a saving power - it is not genetics but loyalty and commitment to one another that establishes true kinship.
Gains in women’s rights haven’t made women happier. Why is that?
- It is surprising because women have to face higher levels of poverty and are more at risk of sexual violence and discrimination in general than men.
- The ‘paradox of declining female happiness’ is that women have gained increasing political, economic and social rights but these improvements are not reflected in a greater feeling of contentment.
- They discovered that American women felt happier in the Seventies than they did in 2005, whereas American men’s level of satisfaction has remained constant.
- Examples of laws that improved women’s rights in the Seventies were: a law making credit discrimination on the grounds of sexuality illegal in 1974; a law making it illegal to exclude women from juries in 1975; and a law making marital rape a crime in 1976.
- According to the article, the increased number of men sent to jail affected the marriage market as there were fewer possible male partners for unmarried women to choose from, and many wives had to carry on living on their own without the support of their husband.
- The shocking statistic is that in these 20 years there were more AfricanAmerican men in jail in the USA than in universities and colleges.
- According to the article, is women’s situation in the USA different to that in other countries? No, it is not. According to the article, the situation in other industrialised countries is similar. Stevenson and Wolfers found that in Europe, for example, the levels of perceived happiness for men and women over the same period were much the same as those recorded in the USA.
- The ‘dual burden’ refers to the fact that working women have gained the right to a career but still have to do most of the housework and childcare in the home. This means that they are continuously tired and suffer from lack of sleep, which makes them more dissatisfied than their partners.
- Women in the Seventies judged their role in life according to how things were going at home without reflecting on other aspects of life, such as work or economic independence, as they had far simpler and less optimistic expectations in terms of gender equality.
- What is the article’s theory about why women in liberal and industrialised communities are not as satisfied? The conclusion in the article is that women in liberal and industrialised countries have gained greater equality and increased their expectations, which means they measure their happiness and satisfaction not just against other women but also against men. This leads to more dissatisfaction compared to women in more backward countries, who compare their position only to other women.
- supremacy at sea
- sickness benefits
- protest marches
- hunger strike
- war of attrition
- barbed wire
- machine guns
- retreat/ withdrawal
- aircraft carriers
- industrial output
The British Empire covered a fifth of the total land of the globe, British towns were the wealthiest in Europe and British ships carried 80 per cent of world trade. -> King Edward signed an agreement with France in 1904, the Entente Cordiale. -> A new Labour Representation Committee developed into the Labour Party in 1906. -> The 1906 general election was won by the Liberals, who were divided into two groups: those who supported the traditional liberal values of laissez-faire and self-help, and those who supported New Liberalism. -> The foundations of the Welfare State were laid down through a series of measures. -> New forces came into play: the Suffragettes wanted women to have the vote and soon won massive publicity for their cause.
In 1914 a Serbian nationalist assassinated Archduke Franz Ferdinand, heir to the AustroHungarian throne, and his wife in Sarajevo. This event triggered a series of reactions:
- Austria began bombing Belgrade;
- the German Kaiser, Wilhelm II, declared war on Russia and then on France;
- Germany invaded Belgium in order to attack France from an unexpected front before Russia or Britain could intervene;
- Britain, which had participated in the creation of Belgium in 1831 and had guaranteed its neutrality, now faced the threat of a commercial blockade due to the aggressive presence of the German navy in the North Sea and the Channel. So when Germany violated Belgian neutrality, Britain declared war.
- Warfare cost the Allies and the Germans about 260,000 casualties respectively.
- On 4th October 1918 Germany asked President Woodrow Wilson for an armistice which would bring about German withdrawal from occupied territory and allow national self-determination, but included no punishment for the country.
- Britain and France agreed for fear that American power might increase if war continued. On 11th November, at 11 o’clock, the guns fell silent and the day has forever been commemorated as Armistice Day. It was also called ‘Remembrance Day’ or ‘Poppy Day’. The peace treaty was signed at Versailles in 1919 by the Allied powers.
- The war left Britain in a disillusioned and cynical mood.
- The gap between the generation of the young and the older one, regarded as responsible for the terrible waste of lives during the war, grew wider and wider.
- An increasing feeling of rootlessness and frustration, due to the slow dissolution of the Empire into the Commonwealth, led to a transformation of the notions of imperial hegemony and white superiority
- Freud’s theories: emphasised the power of the unconscious to affect behaviour
- A new method of investigation of the human mind through the analysis of dreams and the concept of ‘free association’ Crisis of certainties ->
- Jung’s concept of ‘collective unconscious’, a sort of cultural memory containing the universal images and beliefs of the human race, which operates on a symbolic level
- People responded to figures or object of the everyday world that had symbolic power unconsciously; only the psychologist or the poet could understand these symbols and archetypes and explain them Einstein’s theory of relativity ->
- Distinction between: historical time and psychological time
- Anthropological studies helped undermine the absolute truth of religious and ethical systems in favour of more relativist standpoints Inability to arrive at a commonly accepted picture of man
- Commonwealth: In 1926 an imperial conference created a new entity from the dominions of Canada, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa with the name of ‘Commonwealth’. In 1931 the Statute of Westminster formally granted the sovereign right of each dominion to control its own domestic and foreign affairs and to establish its own diplomatic corps.
- The Irish Free State: In the 1918 election in Ireland, the Sinn Féin party won almost all the seats except in Ulster and set up an independent Parliament in Dublin - the Dáil - in 1919. The Irish Volunteers became the IRA (Irish Republican Army) and declared open war on Britain in 1920, under the leadership of Michael Collins. The IRA terrorist attacks were brutally met by ‘Black and Tan’ police auxiliaries, culminating with ‘Bloody Sunday’ in 1920, when the ‘Black and Tans’ shot 12 dead at a football match in Dublin. In 1921 an Anglo-Irish treaty established the Irish Free State, under the leadership of Eamon de Valera, as an independent State within the British Commonwealth. Only six counties centred on Protestant Ulster remained a self-governing province of the UK. In 1922 a civil war broke out in Ireland, and in 1923 the anti-Treaty faction was defeated.
- Depression and unemployment: The aftermath of WWI was marked by a world economic boom. However, the Wall Street Crash of 1929 dramatically affected life between the wars, since in the following year banks went bankrupt across Europe. The war had damaged Britain’s position as the biggest exporter of manufactured goods. Therefore, British customers had found new suppliers in South America and Asia. Working hours were cut, prices fell but the attempt to cut wages was resisted by the trade unions. There were miners’ strikes and a General Strike was called in 1926. The most urgent inter-war issue was unemployment and the gap between North and South took on a new dimension: the once powerful industrial North became depressed and challenged by new growing automobile, chemical and electrical goods industries in the South and the Midlands. Restoring demand to the iron and steel industries began with rearmament in 1936.
- Abdication: The popular young king, Edward VIII, who had succeeded his father George V, wanted to marry a twice divorced American woman. Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin forced his abdication on the grounds that he could not marry her and keep the throne. The king’s brother succeeded as George VI (1936-52).
- Rearmament: The need for a strong Royal Air Force independent of the army and the navy led the British government to shift spending onto the RAF. At the same time a ship-building programme was funded aimed at a ‘two-ocean fleet’.
They are all connected with the Second World War:
- Benito Mussolini: In 1935 he attacked the African monarchy of Abyssinia and took the first steps towards an alliance with Germany. In 1943 the Allies landed in Sicily and a long fight up Italian territory began. In 1944 they entered Rome.
- Adolf Hitler: He invaded Austria in 1938 proclaiming its union with Germany and breaking the Treaty of Versailles. He occupied Prague in March 1939. In August he signed the secret Molotov-Ribbentrop non-aggression pact with Stalin, and on 1st September he invaded Poland. Two days later Britain and France declared war on Germany. In 1940 Hitler invaded Norway and Denmark by sea and air. In the same year there was a sudden German attack on Holland and Belgium, while German tank corps were heading for Paris. In 1941 Hitler declared war on the Soviet Union as he wanted to get the oilfields in the Caucasus region.
- Sir Winston Churchill: He took over after British Prime Minister Chamberlain’s resignation in 1940. The British ordered the retreat of their troops to Dunkirk. In 1940 the Battle of Britain saw English and German bombers fighting in the skies above Sussex and Kent. The battle was won by Britain, but Hitler changed his strategy and ordered the ‘Blitz’.
- Franklin D. Roosevelt: In December 1941 Japan bombed the US fleet in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. President Roosevelt declared war on Japan, and Germany declared war on America. Sir Winston Churchill, Franklin D. Roosevelt and Joseph Stalin at the Yalta Conference: At the Yalta Conference in Crimea in February 1945, they made important decisions concerning the future progress of the war and the post-war world. The war ended in Europe on 8th May 1945 but it took another three months to defeat Japan in the Far East. Victory and the end of WWII came only with the explosion of two atomic bombs on the Japanese towns of Hiroshima and Nagasaki on 6th and 9th August.
By the end of the 19th century the United States had become the richest country in the world, with its economic power based on agricultural prosperity, massive industrial output, the rich mineral resources available and the rise of ‘trusts’, the huge corporations of firms in the same trade, which gradually came to dominate the market. The economic boom, however, had not prevented the spread of poverty. In the industrial areas of the North - like the metropolises of Chicago, Pittsburgh, New York and Boston - workers lived in dirty, overcrowded slums, and toiled long hours for low wages. These national problems, like the conditions of life in the city slums or corruption in government, were brought to light by books and articles written by investigative journalists called ‘muckrakers’. Their reports shocked most Americans, who started to think that the government should take action to eliminate the problems of society through reform. Thus the 19th-century belief in laissez-faire was replaced by ‘progressivism’. In the 1920s the economy continued to grow, though large areas like the south-western mining towns, the farmers of the Midwest and the urban industrial workers remained untouched by the new wealth. The Twenties saw a growth in reactionary attitudes like the ‘Red Scare’, that is, the fear of Socialism. Political activists with radical or labour backgrounds were imprisoned and persecuted. The ‘open door’ immigration policy was replaced by tighter and tighter restrictions and minorities were segregated into city slums like Harlem in New York. ‘Prohibition’ was introduced to fight alcohol addiction among the poor but in reality it encouraged the illegal traffic of ‘bootleggers’ and increased the phenomenon of gangsterism. In 1929 the American stock market collapsed. The Wall Street Crash marked the beginning of a worldwide economic crisis known as the Great Depression. Thousands of businessmen were ruined, and millions of common people found themselves facing debt and ruin. Factories shut down, banks crashed and nearly 8 million Americans were unemployed in the 1930s. In that period the Great Plains region was devastated by drought and the consequent Dust Bowl conditions forced 60 per cent of the farmers to migrate to California.
The Wall Street Clash in 1929 marked the end of the prosperous Twenties and the beginning of a worldwide economic crisis. Thousands of businessmen were ruined, and millions of common people who had invested their savings in shares found themselves facing debt and ruin. Factories shut down, banks crashed, goods were produced but no longer sold. Nearly 8 million Americans were unemployed in the 1930s and spent hours in ‘breadlines’, where they received free rations of food. In that period the Great Plains region was devastated by drought. The winds easily picked up the dry earth and created thick dust clouds which choked cattle and pasture lands. Sixty per cent of the farmers were forced to migrate to California by this environmental disaster named the Dust Bowl. The agricultural devastation helped to lengthen the Depression. In 1932 Franklin D. Roosevelt became President and promised the Americans a ‘New Deal’ of reforms. The three aims of the New Deal were ‘relief, recovery, reform’. The federal government spent billions of dollars on relief for the unemployed, on public works and on the conservation of natural resources. It also promoted farm rehabilitation where farmers were instructed to plant trees and grass to anchor the soil, to plough and terrace in order to hold rainwater, and to allow portions of farmland to lie uncultivated each year so that the soil could regenerate.
All artistic forms of Modernism share several common features:
- the intentional distortion of shapes, as in the Cubist paintings of Picasso and Braque;
- the breaking down of limitations in space and time and the radical disruption of the linear flow of narrative or conventional verse;
- the emphasis on subjectivity, on how perception takes place rather than on what is perceived; in literature, the objectivity provided by an omniscient third-person narrator was abandoned in favour of new techniques such as the stream of consciousness;
- the use of allusive language and the development of the multiple association of words;
- the intensity of the isolated ‘moment’ or ‘image’ to provide a true insight into the nature of things;
- the importance of unconscious as well as conscious life;
- the need to reflect the complexity of modern urban life in artistic form.
- Georgian poets: Themes: Specifically English elements, such as the countryside as an idyllic place. Style: The convention of diction. Aim: To express the English sensibility.
- War Poets: Themes: The horrors of modern warfare. Style: Experimentalism, which emerged in the choice of a violent, everyday language. Aim: To deal with war in an unconventional, anti-rhetorical way.
- Imagism: Themes: Any subject matter; the poet’s response to a scene or object. Style: Hard, clear and precise images; free verse. Aim: To achieve precision, discipline, ‘dry hardness’, ‘the exact curve of the thing’.
- Symbolism: Themes: Escape from emotion and personality; collapse and fragmentation of Western civilisation; cultural and spiritual sterility that characterised the beginning of the century; cosmopolitan interests. Style: Indirect statements; allusive language and images; quotations from other literatures; free verse; importance given to the sounds of words. Aim: To evoke rather than to state; to convey the ‘music of ideas’.
In the indirect interior monologue the narrator never lets the character’s thoughts flow without control, and maintains logical and grammatical organisation. The character’s thoughts are presented both directly and by adding descriptions, appropriate comments and explanatory or introductory phrases to guide the reader through the narration; the character stays fixed in space while his/her consciousness moves freely in time: in the character’s mind, however, everything happens in the present, which can extend to infinity or contract to a moment. This concept of ‘inner time’, which is irregular and disrupted compared to the conventional conception of time, is preferred to ‘external time’, since it shows the relativism of a subjective experience. The direct interior monologue with two levels of narration is characterised by a mix of third-person narration, linked to an external time, and an interior narration linked to the concept of ‘inner time’, that is, the time of the character’s mind. In the direct interior monologue with the mind level of narration, the character’s thoughts flow freely, not interrupted by external events. The extreme interior monologue was used by Joyce in Finnegans Wake. Here the narration takes place inside the mind of the main character, while he is dreaming. Words and free associations are fused to create new expressions.
Many disillusioned writers and intellectuals emigrated to Europe, chiefly to Paris, because of its stimulating atmosphere for the arts. These writers and artists were usually referred to as the ‘Lost Generation’, after a term coined by the American experimental writer Gertrude Stein. World War I seemed to have destroyed the idea that if you acted virtuously, good things would happen. Many good, young men went to war and died, or returned home physically or mentally wounded, and their faith in the moral ideals that had earlier given them hope, was ‘lost.’ Among the writers of the Lost Generation were F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway and E.E. Cummings.
- First quotation: from The Soldier, by Rupert Brooke. Patriotism and the glory of war.
- Second quotation: from Dulce et Decorum Est, by Wilfred Owen. The disillusionment and hypocrisy of those who send young men to war.
- Third quotation: from Easter 1916, by William Butler Yeats. In this poem, which was written after the Easter Rising in Dublin on 24th April 1916, the poet celebrates the Irish leaders, the rebels who sacrificed their lives to a dream, and reflects the idealism of those who were prepared to die for what they saw as a just cause.
- Fourth quotation: from The Waste Land (The Burial of the Dead), by Thomas Stearns Eliot. The section from which this quotation is taken focuses on the death of certain beliefs and the possibility of a rebirth, a new beginning rising out of decay and death. The war was an immensely disorienting experience that led to disillusionment in the idea of progress and a sense of widespread disorder that spiritual belief seemed inadequate to manage. Eliot attempts to impose an order on the chaos describing the eventual regeneration of a desolate land after long drought and hopelessness: its concerns with barrenness and fertility, with the concept of death and regeneration, and with Christianity