Thursday, September 25, 2014

Wuthering Heights

Many people, generally those who have never read the book, consider Wuthering Heights to be a straightforward, if intense, love story — Romeo and Juliet on the Yorkshire Moors. But this is a mistake. Really the story is one of revenge. It follows the life of Heathcliff, a mysterious gypsy-like person, from childhood (about seven years old) to his death in his late thirties. Heathcliff rises in his adopted family and then is reduced to the status of a servant, running away when the young woman he loves decides to marry another. He returns later, rich and educated, and sets about gaining his revenge on the two families that he believed ruined his life.
Prologue
Chapters 1 to 3
Mr Lockwood, a rich man from the south, has rented Thrushcross Grange in the north of England for peace and recuperation. Soon after arrival, he visits his landlord, Mr Heathcliff, who lives in the remote moorland farmhouse called "Wuthering Heights". He finds the inhabitants of Wuthering Heights to be a strange group: Mr Heathcliff appears a gentleman but his manners and speech suggest otherwise; the mistress of the house is in her late teens, an attractive but reserved, even rude woman; and there is a young man who appears to be one of the family although he dresses and talks like a servant.
Being snowed in, he has to stay the night and is shown to an unused chamber where he finds books and graffiti from a former inhabitant of the farmhouse called "Catherine". When he falls asleep, his dreams are prompted by this person and he has a nightmare where he sees her as a ghost trying to get in through the window. He wakes and is unable to return to sleep so, as soon as the sun rises, he is escorted back to Thrushcross Grange by Heathcliff. There he asks his housekeeper, Ellen Dean, to tell him the story of the family from the Heights.
Childhood of Heathcliff
Chapters 4 to 17
The story begins thirty years before when the Earnshaw family lived at Wuthering Heights consisting of, as well as the mother and father, Hindley, a boy of fourteen, and six-year-old Catherine, the same person that he had dreamt about and the mother of the present mistress. In that year, Mr Earnshaw travels to Liverpool where he finds a homeless, gypsy-like boy of about seven whom he decides to adopt as his son. He names him "Heathcliff". Hindley, who finds himself excluded from his father's affections by this newcomer, quickly learns to hate him but Catherine grows very attached to him. Soon Heathcliff and Catherine are like twins, spending hours on the moors together and hating every moment apart.
Because of this discord, Hindley is eventually sent to college but he returns, three years later, when Mr Earnshaw dies. With a new wife, Frances, he becomes master of Wuthering Heights and forces Heathcliff to become a servant instead of a member of the family.
Heathcliff and Cathy continue to run wild and, in November, a few months after Hindley's return, they make their way to Thrushcross Grange to spy on the inhabitants. As they watch the childish behaviour of Edgar and Isabella Linton, the children of the Grange, they are spotted and try to escape. Catherine, having been caught by a dog, is brought inside and helped while Heathcliff is sent home.
Five weeks later, Catherine returns to Wuthering Heights but she has now changed, looking and acting as a lady. She laughs at Heathcliff's unkempt appearance and, the next day when the Lintons visit, he dresses up to impress her. It fails when Edgar makes fun of him and they argue. Heathcliff is locked in the attic where, in the evening, Catherine climbs over the roof to comfort him. He vows to get his revenge on Hindley.
In the summer of the next year, Frances gives birth to a child, Hareton, but she dies before the year is out. This leads Hindley to descend into a life of drunkenness and waste.
Two years on and Catherine has become close friends with Edgar, growing more distant from Heathcliff. One day in August, while Hindley is absent, Edgar comes to visit Catherine . She has an argument with Ellen which then spreads to Edgar who tries to leave. Catherine stops him and, before long, they declare themselves lovers.
Later, Catherine talks with Ellen, explaining that Edgar had asked her to marry him and she had accepted. She says that she does not really love Edgar but Heathcliff. Unfortunately she could never marry the latter because of his lack of status and education. She therefore plans to marry Edgar and use that position to help raise Heathcliff's standing. Unfortunately Heathcliff had overheard the first part about not being able to marry him and flees from the farmhouse. He disappears without trace and, after three years, Edgar and Catherine are married.
Six months after the marriage, Heathcliff returns as a gentleman, having grown stronger and richer during his absence. Catherine is delighted to see him although Edgar is not so keen. Isabella, now eighteen, falls madly in love with Heathcliff, seeing him as a romantic hero. He despises her but encourages the infatuation, seeing it as a chance for revenge on Edgar. When he embraces Isabella one day at the Grange, there is a argument with Edgar which causes Catherine to lock herself in her room and fall ill.
Heathcliff has been staying at the Heights, gambling with Hindley and teaching Hareton bad habits. Hindley is gradually losing his wealth, mortgaging the farmhouse to Heathcliff to repay his debts.
While Catherine is ill, Heathcliff elopes with Isabella, causing Edgar to disown his sister. The fugitives marry and return two months later to Wuthering Heights. Heathcliff hears that Catherine is ill and arranges with Ellen to visit her in secret. In the early hours of the day after their meeting, Catherine gives birth to her daughter, Cathy, and then dies.
The day after Catherine's funeral, Isabella flees Heathcliff and escapes to the south of England where she eventually gives birth to Linton, Heathcliff's son. Hindley dies six months after his sister and Heathcliff finds himself the master of Wuthering Heights and the guardian of Hareton.
Maturity of Heathcliff
Chapters 18 to 31
Twelve years on, Cathy has grown into a beautiful, high-spirited girl who has rarely passed outside the borders of the Grange. Edgar hears that Isabella is dying and leaves to pick up her son with the intention of adopting him. While he is gone, Cathy meets Hareton on the moors and learns of her cousin and Wuthering Heights' existence.
Edgar returns with Linton who is a weak and sickly boy. Although Cathy is attracted to him, Heathcliff wants his son with him and insists on having him taken to the Heights.
Three years later, Ellen and Cathy are on the moors when they meet Heathcliff who takes them to Wuthering Heights to see Linton and Hareton. His plans are for Linton and Cathy to marry so that he would inherit Thrushcross Grange. Cathy and Linton begin a secret and interrupted friendship.
In August of the next year, while Edgar is very ill, Ellen and Cathy visit Wuthering Heights and are held captive by Heathcliff who wants to marry his son to Cathy and, at the same time, prevent her from returning to her father before he dies. After five days, Ellen is released and Cathy escapes with Linton's help just in time to see her father before he dies.
With Heathcliff now the master of both Wuthering Heights and Thrushcross Grange, Cathy has no choice but to leave Ellen and to go and live with Heathcliff and Hareton. Linton dies soon afterwards and, although Hareton tries to be kind to her, she retreats into herself. This is the point of the story at which Lockwood arrives.
After being ill with a cold for some time, Lockwood decides that he has had enough of the moors and travels to Wuthering Heights to inform Heathcliff that he is returning to the south.
Epilogue
Chapters 32 to 34
In September, eight months after leaving, Lockwood finds himself back in the area and decides to stay at Thrushcross Grange (since his tenancy is still valid until October). He finds that Ellen is now living at Wuthering Heights. He makes his way there and she fills in the rest of the story.
Ellen had moved to the Heights soon after Lockwood had left to replace the housekeeper who had departed. In March, Hareton had had an accident and been confined to the farmhouse. During this time, a friendship had developed between Cathy and Hareton. This continues into April when Heathcliff begins to act very strangely, seeing visions of Catherine. After not eating for four days, he is found dead in his room. He is buried next to Catherine.
Lockwood departs but, before he leaves, he hears that Hareton and Cathy plan to marry on New Year's Day.

Source: www.wuthering-heights.co.uk/summary.php-26.09.2014

D.N. Aloysius
Lecturer in English
Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities
Rajarata University of Sri Lanka

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Bhiksu University of Sri Lanka-Internal Students-Absalom and Achitophel -Summary

Dryden’s political satire Absalom and Achitophel reflects upon politics in England during the era of the Popish Plot (1679-1681), when the Whig Party, under the leadership of the earl of Shaftesbury, sought to prevent the legitimate succession of James, duke of York, because of his Catholicism. The Whigs supported a parliamentary bill that would have placed the illegitimate son of Charles II, James, duke of Monmouth, on the throne. Alarmed by efforts to tamper with established monarchical power, Dryden employs the biblical revolt against David by his son Absalom as a parallel narrative to discredit the Whig cause.
The poem represents a mixed, or Varronian, kind of satire, for satiric passages exist alongside straightforward normative portions. The plot is both loose and inconclusive, the satiric elements being confined to the poem’s first major section. Dryden narrates the origin and development of the supposed plot, which the Whigs had concocted to discredit the king’s position. Each prominent Whig leader is the subject of an extended poetic character, ridiculing him as extremist and undermining his reputation. Though biblical names are used, readers of the time clearly recognized each object of Dryden’s satiric thrusts. The efforts of Achitophel to tempt Absalom are partially successful. In the second section, Dryden outlines his theory of government, advocating established rights and powers and rejecting innovation. A second series of characters praises the king’s supporters in Parliament, and the poem concludes with a speech by King David (Charles II) upholding his traditional rights, offering conciliation, but also indicating firmness.
In the poetic characters, Dryden’s artistic skill is at its best. Using witty aphorisms and the stylistic conventions of the couplet—such as balance, antithesis, and chiasmus—Dryden succeeds in discrediting Whig leaders.
Source: www.enotes.com/topics/absalom-achitophel-24.09.2014


Bhiksu University of Sri Lanka-Internal Students-Break Break Break by Alfred Lord Tennyson: Critical Analysis

Break, Break, Break is an elegy by Alfred Lord Tennyson on the death of his friend Arthur Hallam. The author imagines to be standing near the cliff on the seashore and addressing to the sea waves which are lashing the rocks repeatedly. The poet finds an analogy and expresses it implicitly.
He wishes that the ‘waves’ of his grief would break the inarticulateness (inability to speak out) in his heart, so that he also expresses his grief easily. The speaker emotionally commands the sea to “break”. He wants the sea waves to break on the cliffs; but it is also possible to interpret the lines as demanding to ‘break’ the cold gray stones of the cliff. The ‘cold gray stones’ are symbolic of the hardened heart of his inexpressible grief.
In the first stanza the poet says that the torment of his heart as the death of his friend is tremendous. There is a struggle like the struggle of the sea waves on the stormy shores. The question before him is how he can express adequately the thoughts which are rushing into his mind. In the second stanza the poet says that life is full of joy for the fisherman’s son and daughter who are laughing and shouting merrily. The poet, on the other hand, is entirely in a different mood. He is restless and grief-stricken at the death of his friend. The poet admires the innocent joy of these youngsters but he is sorry because he cannot share it.
The lad of the sailor is also happy and sings in his boat face to face with the magnificence of the sea. But such joy is not for the poet. In the third stanza the poet says that the majestic ships ply on their destination under the hill. The poet however has no definite plan about his life and he misses his friend Hallam whose voice and touch were so soft and tender. The grief of the poet is terribly intense. In the two lines:
But O for the touch of a vanish’d hand
And the sound of a voice that is still!
The speaker turns aside seas and a very different picture of life. Unlike himself (grief-ridden) and the cold grey stones, the fisherman’s boy who is playing with his sister looks gay. So does the sailor’s lad singing in his boat on the bay. They're also the “stately’ ships going ‘on’ to their destinations. They all contrast with the speaker’s plight. They put the speaker’s grief-stricken situation on a contrastive prominence. He remembers the touch of his friend’s “vanished hand”, and the sound of his voice. The friendly voice has become still.
The speaker looks at the sea again and addresses to it once more. By this time he realizes that even if he manages to express his grief, the grace of his friend will never come back to him. The wish to express is itself no solution to the problem.
The poem is remarkable for the sound symbolism in it. The refrain “Break, Break, Break” that consists of one word repeated thrice parallels the waves that repeatedly beat the cliffs. Syntactically (structure of sentence) the line is a broken sentence. Economically empathic, the idea is further reinforced by the nature of the very sound the word is made of. The sentence of b-r-k makes a cracking sound; ‘b’ explodes; ‘r’ is harsh and ‘k’ stops before the pause of comma, ‘gray’, ‘stone’, ‘utter’, ‘crag’, ‘dead’ and even ‘tender’ (ironically) reiterate the same plosive, harsh and heavy sounds. They go together with the ideas of grief and the wish of breaking wherever they occur. We can also draw a neat distinction of these features with the absence of such sounds in the second and third stanza, which draw a picture of carefree children’s life and the ships.
The poem is written in four stanzas of four lines each: the first four and the last six are about grief, and the third stanza falls short of giving happy life. The rhyming scheme is abcb but with the harmony of the children’s life the rhyme also adds up to aaba. Master of technical and musical perfection, Tennyson seems to carve each word carefully into perfect form. Our understanding of the real incident of his friend’s death strikes us the more with the heartrending appeal to the ‘sea’ – a vast image of sorrow of the sad!


D.N. Aloysius
Lecturer in English
Faculty of Social Scinces and Humanities
Rajarata University of Sri Lanka



Thursday, May 22, 2014

Analysis of Major Characters –Great Expectations


Pip
As a bildungsroman (a novel about the moral and psychological growth of the main character), Great Expectations presents the growth and development of a single character, Philip Pirrip, better known to himself and to the world as Pip. As the focus of the bildungsroman, Pip is by far the most important character iGreat Expectations: he is both the protagonist, whose actions make up the main plot of the novel, and the narrator, whose thoughts and attitudes shape the reader’s perception of the story. As a result, developing an understanding of Pip’s character is perhaps the most important step in understanding Great Expectations.
Because Pip is narrating his story many years after the events of the novel take place, there are really two Pips in Great Expectations: Pip the narrator and Pip the character—the voice telling the story and the person acting it out. Dickens takes great care to distinguish the two Pips, imbuing the voice of Pip the narrator with perspective and maturity while also imparting how Pip the character feels about what is happening to him as it actually happens. This skillfully executed distinction is perhaps best observed early in the book, when Pip the character is a child; here, Pip the narrator gently pokes fun at his younger self, but also enables us to see and feel the story through his eyes.
As a character, Pip’s two most important traits are his immature, romantic idealism and his innately good conscience. On the one hand, Pip has a deep desire to improve himself and attain any possible advancement, whether educational, moral, or social. His longing to marry Estella and join the upper classes stems from the same idealistic desire as his longing to learn to read and his fear of being punished for bad behavior: once he understands ideas like poverty, ignorance, and immorality, Pip does not want to be poor, ignorant, or immoral. Pip the narrator judges his own past actions extremely harshly, rarely giving himself credit for good deeds but angrily castigating himself for bad ones. As a character, however, Pip’s idealism often leads him to perceive the world rather narrowly, and his tendency to oversimplify situations based on superficial values leads him to behave badly toward the people who care about him. When Pip becomes a gentleman, for example, he immediately begins to act as he thinks a gentleman is supposed to act, which leads him to treat Joe and Biddy snobbishly and coldly.
On the other hand, Pip is at heart a very generous and sympathetic young man, a fact that can be witnessed in his numerous acts of kindness throughout the book (helping Magwitch, secretly buying Herbert’s way into business, etc.) and his essential love for all those who love him. Pip’s main line of development in the novel may be seen as the process of learning to place his innate sense of kindness and conscience above his immature idealism.
Not long after meeting Miss Havisham and Estella, Pip’s desire for advancement largely overshadows his basic goodness. After receiving his mysterious fortune, his idealistic wishes seem to have been justified, and he gives himself over to a gentlemanly life of idleness. But the discovery that the wretched Magwitch, not the wealthy Miss Havisham, is his secret benefactor shatters Pip’s oversimplified sense of his world’s hierarchy. The fact that he comes to admire Magwitch while losing Estella to the brutish nobleman Drummle ultimately forces him to realize that one’s social position is not the most important quality one possesses, and that his behavior as a gentleman has caused him to hurt the people who care about him most. Once he has learned these lessons, Pip matures into the man who narrates the novel, completing the bildungsroman.
Estella
Often cited as Dickens’s first convincing female character, Estella is a supremely ironic creation, one who darkly undermines the notion of romantic love and serves as a bitter criticism against the class system in which she is mired. Raised from the age of three by Miss Havisham to torment men and “break their hearts,” Estella wins Pip’s deepest love by practicing deliberate cruelty. Unlike the warm, winsome, kind heroine of a traditional love story, Estella is cold, cynical, and manipulative. Though she represents Pip’s first longed-for ideal of life among the upper classes, Estella is actually even lower-born than Pip; as Pip learns near the end of the novel, she is the daughter of Magwitch, the coarse convict, and thus springs from the very lowest level of society.
Ironically, life among the upper classes does not represent salvation for Estella. Instead, she is victimized twice by her adopted class. Rather than being raised by Magwitch, a man of great inner nobility, she is raised by Miss Havisham, who destroys her ability to express emotion and interact normally with the world. And rather than marrying the kindhearted commoner Pip, Estella marries the cruel nobleman Drummle, who treats her harshly and makes her life miserable for many years. In this way, Dickens uses Estella’s life to reinforce the idea that one’s happiness and well-being are not deeply connected to one’s social position: had Estella been poor, she might have been substantially better off.
Despite her cold behavior and the damaging influences in her life, Dickens nevertheless ensures that Estella is still a sympathetic character. By giving the reader a sense of her inner struggle to discover and act on her own feelings rather than on the imposed motives of her upbringing, Dickens gives the reader a glimpse of Estella’s inner life, which helps to explain what Pip might love about her. Estella does not seem able to stop herself from hurting Pip, but she also seems not to want to hurt him; she repeatedly warns him that she has “no heart” and seems to urge him as strongly as she can to find happiness by leaving her behind. Finally, Estella’s long, painful marriage to Drummle causes her to develop along the same lines as Pip—that is, she learns, through experience, to rely on and trust her inner feelings. In the final scene of the novel, she has become her own woman for the first time in the book. As she says to Pip, “Suffering has been stronger than all other teaching. . . . I have been bent and broken, but—I hope—into a better shape.”
Miss Havisham
The mad, vengeful Miss Havisham, a wealthy dowager who lives in a rotting mansion and wears an old wedding dress every day of her life, is not exactly a believable character, but she is certainly one of the most memorable creations in the book. Miss Havisham’s life is defined by a single tragic event: her jilting by Compeyson on what was to have been their wedding day. From that moment forth, Miss Havisham is determined never to move beyond her heartbreak. She stops all the clocks in Satis House at twenty minutes to nine, the moment when she first learned that Compeyson was gone, and she wears only one shoe, because when she learned of his betrayal, she had not yet put on the other shoe. With a kind of manic, obsessive cruelty, Miss Havisham adopts Estella and raises her as a weapon to achieve her own revenge on men. Miss Havisham is an example of single-minded vengeance pursued destructively: both Miss Havisham and the people in her life suffer greatly because of her quest for revenge. Miss Havisham is completely unable to see that her actions are hurtful to Pip and Estella. She is redeemed at the end of the novel when she realizes that she has caused Pip’s heart to be broken in the same manner as her own; rather than achieving any kind of personal revenge, she has only caused more pain. Miss Havisham immediately begs Pip for forgiveness, reinforcing the novel’s theme that bad behavior can be redeemed by contrition and sympathy.

Source: www.sparknotes.com › ... › Literature Study Guides  Great Expectations-23.05.2014

Analysis of Major Characters –Great Expectations

Analysis of Major Characters –Great Expectations

Pip
As a bildungsroman (a novel about the moral and psychological growth of the main character), Great Expectations presents the growth and development of a single character, Philip Pirrip, better known to himself and to the world as Pip. As the focus of the bildungsroman, Pip is by far the most important character iGreat Expectations: he is both the protagonist, whose actions make up the main plot of the novel, and the narrator, whose thoughts and attitudes shape the reader’s perception of the story. As a result, developing an understanding of Pip’s character is perhaps the most important step in understanding Great Expectations.
Because Pip is narrating his story many years after the events of the novel take place, there are really two Pips in Great Expectations: Pip the narrator and Pip the character—the voice telling the story and the person acting it out. Dickens takes great care to distinguish the two Pips, imbuing the voice of Pip the narrator with perspective and maturity while also imparting how Pip the character feels about what is happening to him as it actually happens. This skillfully executed distinction is perhaps best observed early in the book, when Pip the character is a child; here, Pip the narrator gently pokes fun at his younger self, but also enables us to see and feel the story through his eyes.
As a character, Pip’s two most important traits are his immature, romantic idealism and his innately good conscience. On the one hand, Pip has a deep desire to improve himself and attain any possible advancement, whether educational, moral, or social. His longing to marry Estella and join the upper classes stems from the same idealistic desire as his longing to learn to read and his fear of being punished for bad behavior: once he understands ideas like poverty, ignorance, and immorality, Pip does not want to be poor, ignorant, or immoral. Pip the narrator judges his own past actions extremely harshly, rarely giving himself credit for good deeds but angrily castigating himself for bad ones. As a character, however, Pip’s idealism often leads him to perceive the world rather narrowly, and his tendency to oversimplify situations based on superficial values leads him to behave badly toward the people who care about him. When Pip becomes a gentleman, for example, he immediately begins to act as he thinks a gentleman is supposed to act, which leads him to treat Joe and Biddy snobbishly and coldly.
On the other hand, Pip is at heart a very generous and sympathetic young man, a fact that can be witnessed in his numerous acts of kindness throughout the book (helping Magwitch, secretly buying Herbert’s way into business, etc.) and his essential love for all those who love him. Pip’s main line of development in the novel may be seen as the process of learning to place his innate sense of kindness and conscience above his immature idealism.
Not long after meeting Miss Havisham and Estella, Pip’s desire for advancement largely overshadows his basic goodness. After receiving his mysterious fortune, his idealistic wishes seem to have been justified, and he gives himself over to a gentlemanly life of idleness. But the discovery that the wretched Magwitch, not the wealthy Miss Havisham, is his secret benefactor shatters Pip’s oversimplified sense of his world’s hierarchy. The fact that he comes to admire Magwitch while losing Estella to the brutish nobleman Drummle ultimately forces him to realize that one’s social position is not the most important quality one possesses, and that his behavior as a gentleman has caused him to hurt the people who care about him most. Once he has learned these lessons, Pip matures into the man who narrates the novel, completing the bildungsroman.
Estella
Often cited as Dickens’s first convincing female character, Estella is a supremely ironic creation, one who darkly undermines the notion of romantic love and serves as a bitter criticism against the class system in which she is mired. Raised from the age of three by Miss Havisham to torment men and “break their hearts,” Estella wins Pip’s deepest love by practicing deliberate cruelty. Unlike the warm, winsome, kind heroine of a traditional love story, Estella is cold, cynical, and manipulative. Though she represents Pip’s first longed-for ideal of life among the upper classes, Estella is actually even lower-born than Pip; as Pip learns near the end of the novel, she is the daughter of Magwitch, the coarse convict, and thus springs from the very lowest level of society.
Ironically, life among the upper classes does not represent salvation for Estella. Instead, she is victimized twice by her adopted class. Rather than being raised by Magwitch, a man of great inner nobility, she is raised by Miss Havisham, who destroys her ability to express emotion and interact normally with the world. And rather than marrying the kindhearted commoner Pip, Estella marries the cruel nobleman Drummle, who treats her harshly and makes her life miserable for many years. In this way, Dickens uses Estella’s life to reinforce the idea that one’s happiness and well-being are not deeply connected to one’s social position: had Estella been poor, she might have been substantially better off.
Despite her cold behavior and the damaging influences in her life, Dickens nevertheless ensures that Estella is still a sympathetic character. By giving the reader a sense of her inner struggle to discover and act on her own feelings rather than on the imposed motives of her upbringing, Dickens gives the reader a glimpse of Estella’s inner life, which helps to explain what Pip might love about her. Estella does not seem able to stop herself from hurting Pip, but she also seems not to want to hurt him; she repeatedly warns him that she has “no heart” and seems to urge him as strongly as she can to find happiness by leaving her behind. Finally, Estella’s long, painful marriage to Drummle causes her to develop along the same lines as Pip—that is, she learns, through experience, to rely on and trust her inner feelings. In the final scene of the novel, she has become her own woman for the first time in the book. As she says to Pip, “Suffering has been stronger than all other teaching. . . . I have been bent and broken, but—I hope—into a better shape.”
Miss Havisham
The mad, vengeful Miss Havisham, a wealthy dowager who lives in a rotting mansion and wears an old wedding dress every day of her life, is not exactly a believable character, but she is certainly one of the most memorable creations in the book. Miss Havisham’s life is defined by a single tragic event: her jilting by Compeyson on what was to have been their wedding day. From that moment forth, Miss Havisham is determined never to move beyond her heartbreak. She stops all the clocks in Satis House at twenty minutes to nine, the moment when she first learned that Compeyson was gone, and she wears only one shoe, because when she learned of his betrayal, she had not yet put on the other shoe. With a kind of manic, obsessive cruelty, Miss Havisham adopts Estella and raises her as a weapon to achieve her own revenge on men. Miss Havisham is an example of single-minded vengeance pursued destructively: both Miss Havisham and the people in her life suffer greatly because of her quest for revenge. Miss Havisham is completely unable to see that her actions are hurtful to Pip and Estella. She is redeemed at the end of the novel when she realizes that she has caused Pip’s heart to be broken in the same manner as her own; rather than achieving any kind of personal revenge, she has only caused more pain. Miss Havisham immediately begs Pip for forgiveness, reinforcing the novel’s theme that bad behavior can be redeemed by contrition and sympathy.

Source: www.sparknotes.com › ... › Literature Study Guides  Great Expectations-23.05.2014

Saturday, March 29, 2014

The Garden of Love by William Blake

The Garden of Love
Summary
The speaker visits a garden that he had frequented in his youth, only to find it overrun with briars, symbols of death in the form of tombstones, and close-minded clergy.
Analysis
"The Garden of Love" is a deceptively simple three-stanza poem made up of quatrains. It emphasizes the death and decay that have overtaken a place that once used to hold such life and beauty for the speaker.
Following the specific examples of flowers representing types of love, this poem paints a broader picture of flowers in a garden as the joys and desires of youth. When the speaker returns to the Garden of Love, he finds a chapel built there with the words, “Thou shalt not,” written overhead. The implication is that organized religion is intentionally forbidding people from enjoying their natural desires and pleasures.
The speaker also finds the garden given over to the graves of his pleasures while a black-clad priest binds his “joys and desires” in thorns. This not-so-subtle critique shows Blake’s frustration at a religious system that would deny men the pleasures of nature and their own instinctive desires. He sees religion as an arm of modern society in general, with its demand that human beings reject their created selves to conform to a more mechanistic and materialistic world.


Miss Havisham -Great Expectations

 Miss Havisham is a significant character in the Charles Dickens novel, Great Expectations (1861). She is a wealthy spinster, who lives in her ruined mansion with her adopted daughter, Estella. Dickens describes her as looking like "the witch of the place."
Although she has often been portrayed in film versions as very elderly, Dickens's own notes indicate that she is only in her mid-fifties. However, it is also indicated that her long life away from the sunlight has in itself aged her, and she is said to look like a cross between a waxwork and a skeleton, with moving eyes.
Miss Havisham's mother died when she was just a baby, and she was spoilt by her father, a wealthy brewer, as a result. He remarried in secret and conceived a son, Arthur, with the family cook.
As an adult, she fell in love with a man named Compeyson, who was only out to swindle her of her riches. Her cousin Matthew Pocket warned her to be careful, but she was too much in love to listen. At twenty minutes to nine on their wedding day, while she was dressing, Havisham received a letter from Compeyson and realized he had defrauded her and she had been left at the altar.
Humiliated and heartbroken, from that day on, she remained alone in her decaying mansion Satis House – never removing her wedding dress, wearing only one shoe, leaving the wedding breakfast and cake uneaten on the table and allowing only a few people to see her. She even had all of the clocks in her mansion stopped at twenty minutes to nine – the exact time when she had received the letter.
Miss Havisham later had her lawyer, Mr. Jaggers, adopt a daughter for her.
I had been shut up in these rooms a long time (I don't know how long; you know what time the clocks keep here), when I told him that I wanted a little girl to rear and love, and save from my fate. I had first seen him when I sent for him to lay this place waste for me; having read of him in the newspapers, before I and the world parted. He told me that he would look about him for such an orphan child. One night he brought her here asleep, and I called her Estella.
While wishing Estella never to suffer as she had at the hands of a man was Miss Havisham's original goal, it changed as Estella grew older:Believe this: when she first came, I meant to save her from misery like my own. At first, I meant no more. But, as she grew, and promised to be very beautiful, I gradually did worse, and with my praises, and with my jewels, and with my teachings, and with this figure of myself always before her a warning to back and point my lessons, I stole her heart away and put ice in its place.
While Estella was still a child, Miss Havisham began casting about for boys, who could be a testing ground for Estella's education in breaking the hearts of men as vicarious revenge for Miss Havisham's pain. Pip, the narrator, is the eventual victim; and Miss Havisham readily dresses Estella in jewels to prettify her all the more and to exemplify all the more the vast social gulf between her and Pip. When, as a young adult, Estella leaves for France to receive education, Miss Havisham eagerly asks him, "Do you feel you have lost her?”
Miss Havisham repents late in the novel when Estella leaves to marry Pip's rival, Bentley Drummle; and she realizes that she has caused Pip’s heart to be broken in the same manner as her own; rather than achieving any kind of personal revenge, she has only caused more pain. Miss Havisham begs Pip for forgiveness.
Until you spoke to [Estella] the other day, and until I saw in you a looking-glass that showed me what I once felt myself, I did not know what I had done. What have I done! What have I done!
After Pip leaves, Miss Havisham's dress catches on fire from her fireplace. Pip rushes back in and save her. However, she has suffered severe burns to the front of her torso (she is laid on her back), up to the throat. The last words she speaks in the novel are (in a delirium) to Pip, referencing both Estella and a note she, Miss Havisham, has given him with her signature: "Take the pencil and write under my name, 'I forgive her!'"
A surgeon dresses her burns, and says that they are "far from hopeless". However, despite rallying for a time, she dies a few weeks later, leaving Estella as her chief beneficiary, and a considerable sum to Herbert Pocket's father, as a result of Pip's reference.
Eliza Emily Donnithorne (1827–1886) of Camperdown, Sydney, was jilted by her groom on her wedding day and spent the rest of her life in a darkened house, her rotting wedding cake left as it was on the table, and with her front door kept permanently ajar in case her groom ever returned. She was widely considered at the time to be Dickens' model for Miss Havisham, although this cannot be proven. Although Charles Dickens had a deep-seated interest in Australia, saw it as a place of opportunity and encouraged two of his sons to emigrate there, the writer never visited it himself, but it features in detail in many of his works, notably Great Expectations itself. He obtained his information on colonial life in New South Wales from two Sydney researchers. He also had numerous friends and acquaintances, who settled in Australia who sent him letters detailing curious aspects of life in the colonies, knowing he could use it as source material for future novels. They could easily have conveyed the Donnithorne story to him. Australia features prominently in Great Expectations, and New South Wales is where Pip’s benefactor Abel Magwitch made his fortune.
In the 1965 Penguin edition, Angus Calder notes at Chapter 8 that "James Payn, a minor novelist, claimed to have given Dickens the idea for Miss Havisham – from a living original of his acquaintance. He declared that Dickens's account was 'not one whit exaggerated'." Although it is documented Dickens encountered a wealthy recluse called Elizabeth Parker on whom it is widely believed he based the character, whilst staying in Newport, Shropshire at the aptly named Havisham Court.

Madame Jumel of New York City was known by Charles Dickens and impressed him enough to come up with the basis for Great Expectations; there are many parallels. Madame Jumel received Mr. Dickens at the Jumel Mansion in Harlem, and while visiting she showed him her cobwebbed dining room left just as it was after a night of entertaining Joseph Bonaparte, with petrified leftover food still on the plates. She was eccentric and a dowager with an adopted niece by the name of Eliza, who is a perfect model for Estella. Madame Jumel inherited her wealth from her first husband, a wealthy French liquor importer in NYC (and not a brewer). Her first love was Aaron Burr but, as he was just after her money, he left her when his political career started to gain momentum. She would later marry Burr after the death of her first husband, and Mr. Burr would work his way through much of her estate until their divorce. Madame Jumel spent much time in France and was known in the royal court there. In 1854, she introduced her 17-year-old granddaughter to the Court of Louis Philippe. On her own she created great wealth and was the wealthiest woman in America upon her death in 1865.