Sunday, January 23, 2011

External Degree-GAQ-Seminar-16.01.2011Bhiksu University-Anuradhapura

Buddhasravaka Bhiksu University
External Degree Programme (English) 2010/2011
English Literature (ENE-102)
Paper 11

First year -EN-102- English Literature
Paper 02- Three Hours

Romeo and Juliet Summary
We meet our hero, Romeo, after a duel between the servants of two enemy families of Verona: the Montagues and the Capulets. Romeo Montague is pining away for Rosaline, a girl we never see. Juliet Capulet, age thirteen, has just heard that Paris, Verona's attractive young bachelor, would like to marry her. The two will meet that night at a masquerade ball at the Capulets' house. Romeo and his friends have decided to crash the Capulet ball – in costume – because Rosaline is on the guest list. Romeo meets Juliet there instead, and they fall madly in love. Afterwards, they discover they are members of rival families, but they are still in love. Romeo stays after the party under Juliet's balcony, and the two use this romantic meeting to plan their marriage. This is where things get sticky. Romeo meets with Friar Laurence to arrange the marriage, and Juliet confides in her nurse, who has basically raised her, to act on her behalf and meet Romeo. The Nurse meets Romeo and his friend Mercutio. Romeo tells her to get Juliet to Friar Laurence's, where the two will be married.
Meanwhile, Benvolio, another member of the Montague posse, runs into Tybalt Capulet, who is angry about the Montagues crashing his family party the other night. Romeo, freshly married, strolls into the middle of a tense situation, and as things escalate, Tybalt kills Mercutio. Stricken by grief, Romeo promptly challenges Tybalt to a duel and kills him. Romeo runs away before all of Verona shows up. The Prince of Verona rules that Romeo won't be killed, but banished from Verona. This all puts a damper on the new marriage.
Juliet hears from the Nurse that her new husband has murdered her cousin. She is doubly sad about the death and murder. Mostly Juliet just wants to see her banished husband. The Nurse finds Romeo hiding at Friar Laurence's, and the Friar hatches a plan. Romeo can spend his wedding night with Juliet, but then he must run away, while the Friar finds some way to get the Prince of Verona to pardon Romeo. The marriage will be made public upon his return.
Meanwhile, back at the Capulet house, Paris is working even harder to wed Juliet, who is stricken by grief. Lord Capulet decides a wedding (to Paris) is just the thing to distract her, as he does not know she's already a bride. Juliet spends her wedding night with Romeo, and as he leaves in the morning, she finds out she is to be married to Paris in two days. She refuses and has a violent fight with her parents. Even her nurse thinks she should marry Paris, since Romeo is "as good as dead" to her.
Juliet, trying to figure out what to do, runs over to Friar Laurence's, where she has a weird kiss with Paris. After Paris leaves, she threatens to kill herself. The Friar adds another bit to his plan, and gives her an herbal concoction that will make her appear to be dead for 42 hours.. She goes home, agrees to marry Paris, and takes the poison with the intention of looking dead on the morning of her wedding and being taken to the Capulet tomb where Romeo can find her and everyone can live happily ever after.
Sadly, Romeo is hiding in Mantua, out of the loop, and the news of Juliet's "death" makes it to Romeo before word of the Friar's plan. He buys some poison so he can go to Juliet's grave and kill himself. At her grave, he finds Paris, whom he murders, and then breaks into Juliet's tomb, where he spends some time with Juliet's "dead" body.
He drinks the poison and dies just in time for Juliet to wake up and find him dead. The Friar, who apparently shows up at some point, also finds Romeo dead, and tries to convince Juliet to run away. She refuses and kisses Romeo to find that his lips are still warm – she just missed him. He doesn't have enough poison on his lips to kill her, too, so she takes her own life with a dagger. Capulets, Montagues, and the Prince of Verona show up to the tomb and find the dead lovers. Friar Laurence is dragged in to confess everything. The two lords of the rival houses are moved by their dead children's love story and agree to end the feud.
Forcefulness of Love
Romeo and Juliet is the most famous love story in the English literary tradition. Love is naturally the play’s dominant and most important theme. The play focuses on romantic love, specifically the intense passion that springs up at first sight between Romeo and Juliet. In Romeo and Juliet, love is a violent, ecstatic, overpowering force that supersedes all other values, loyalties, and emotions. In the course of the play, the young lovers are driven to defy their entire social world: families. Love is the overriding theme of the play, but a reader should always remember that Shakespeare is uninterested in portraying a prettied-up, dainty version of the emotion, the kind that bad poets write about, and whose bad poetry Romeo reads while pining for Rosaline. Love in Romeo and Juliet is a brutal, powerful emotion that captures individuals and catapults them against their world, and, at times, against themselves.
The powerful nature of love can be seen in the way it is described, or, more accurately, the way descriptions of it so consistently fail to capture its entirety. At times love is described in the terms of religion, as in the fourteen lines when Romeo and Juliet first meet. Juliet, perhaps, most perfectly describes her love for Romeo by refusing to describe it: Romeo and Juliet does not make a specific moral statement about the relationships between love and society, religion, and family; rather, it portrays the chaos and passion of being in love, combining images of love, violence, death, religion, and family in an impressionistic rush leading to the play’s tragic conclusion.

Love as a Cause of Violence
The themes of death and violence permeate Romeo and Juliet, and they are always connected to passion, whether that passion is love or hate. The connection between hate, violence, and death seems obvious. But the connection between love and violence requires further investigation.
Love, in Romeo and Juliet, is a grand passion, and as such it is blinding; it can overwhelm a person as powerfully and completely as hate can. The passionate love between Romeo and Juliet is linked from the moment of its inception with death: Tybalt notices that Romeo has crashed the feast and determines to kill him just as Romeo catches sight of Juliet and falls instantly in love with her. From that point on, love seems to push the lovers closer to love and violence, not farther from it. Romeo and Juliet are plagued with thoughts of suicide, and a willingness to experience it: in Act 3, scene 3, Romeo brandishes a knife in Friar Lawrence’s cell and threatens to kill himself after he has been banished from Verona and his love. Juliet also pulls a knife in order to take her own life in Friar Lawrence’s presence just three scenes later. After Capulet decides that Juliet will marry Paris, Juliet says, “If all else fail, myself have power to die”. Finally, each imagines that the other looks dead the morning after their first, and only, sexual experience (“Methinks I see thee,” Juliet says, “. . . as one dead in the bottom of a tomb”. This theme continues until its inevitable conclusion: double suicide. This tragic choice is the highest, most potent expression of love that Romeo and Juliet can make. It is only through death that they can preserve their love, and their love is so profound that they are willing to end their lives in its defense. In the play, love emerges as an amoral thing, leading as much to destruction as to happiness. But in its extreme passion, the love that Romeo and Juliet experience also appears so exquisitely beautiful that few would want, or be able, to resist its power.
Individual versus Society
Much of Romeo and Juliet involves the lovers’ struggles against public and social institutions that either explicitly or implicitly oppose the existence of their love. Such structures range from the concrete to the abstract: families and the placement of familial power in the father; law and the desire for public order; religion; and the social importance placed on masculine honor. These institutions often come into conflict with each other. The importance of honor, for example, time and again results in brawls that disturb the public peace.
Though they do not always work in concert, each of these societal institutions in some way present obstacles for Romeo and Juliet. The enmity between their families, coupled with the emphasis placed on loyalty and honor to kin, combine to create a profound conflict for Romeo and Juliet, who must rebel against their heritages. Further, the patriarchal power structure inherent in Renaissance families, wherein the father controls the action of all other family members, particularly women, places Juliet in an extremely vulnerable position. Her heart, in her family’s mind, is not hers to give. The law and the emphasis on social civility demands terms of conduct with which the blind passion of love cannot comply. Religion similarly demands priorities that Romeo and Juliet cannot abide by because of the intensity of their love. Though in most situations the lovers uphold the traditions of Christianity (they wait to marry before consummating their love), their love is so powerful that they begin to think of each other in blasphemous terms. For example, Juliet calls Romeo “the god of my idolatry,” elevating Romeo to level of God. The couple’s final act of suicide is likewise un-Christian. The maintenance of masculine honor forces Romeo to commit actions he would prefer to avoid. But the social emphasis placed on masculine honor is so profound that Romeo cannot simply ignore them.
It is possible to see Romeo and Juliet as a battle between the responsibilities and actions demanded by social institutions and those demanded by the private desires of the individual. Romeo and Juliet’s appreciation of night, with its darkness and privacy, and their renunciation of their names, with its attendant loss of obligation, make sense in the context of individuals who wish to escape the public world. But the lovers cannot stop the night from becoming day. And Romeo cannot cease being a Montague simply because he wants to; the rest of the world will not let him. The lovers’ suicides can be understood as the ultimate night, the ultimate privacy.
Inevitability of Fate
In its first address to the audience, the Chorus states that Romeo and Juliet are “star-crossed”—that is to say that fate (a power often vested in the movements of the stars) controls them This sense of fate permeates the play, and not just for the audience. The characters also are quite aware of it: Romeo and Juliet constantly see omens. When Romeo believes that Juliet is dead, he cries out, “Then I defy you, stars,” completing the idea that the love between Romeo and Juliet is in opposition to the decrees of destiny. Of course, Romeo’s defiance itself plays into the hands of fate, and his determination to spend eternity with Juliet results in their deaths. The mechanism of fate works in all of the events surrounding the lovers: the feud between their families (it is worth noting that this hatred is never explained; rather, the reader must accept it as an undeniable aspect of the world of the play); the horrible series of accidents that ruin Friar Lawrence’s seemingly well-intentioned plans at the end of the play; and the tragic timing of Romeo’s suicide and Juliet’s awakening. These events are not mere coincidences, but rather manifestations of fate that help bring about the unavoidable outcome of the young lovers’ deaths.
The concept of fate described above is the most commonly accepted interpretation. There are other possible readings of fate in the play: as a force determined by the powerful social institutions that influence Romeo and Juliet’s choices, as well as fate as a force that emerges from Romeo and Juliet’s very personalities.

Canterbury Tales
The Canterbury Tales begins with the General Prologue, a detailed introduction and description of each of the pilgrims journeying to Canterbury to catch sight of the shrine to Sir Thomas a Becket, the martyred saint of Christianity, supposedly buried in the Cathedral of Canterbury since 1170. The pilgrims, a mixture of virtuous and villainous characters from Medieval England, include a Knight, his son the Squire, the Knight's Yeoman, a Prioress, a Second Nun, a Monk, a Friar, a Merchant, a Clerk, a Man of Law, a Franklin, a Weaver, a Dyer, a Carpenter, a Tapestry-Maker, a Haberdasher, a Cook, a Shipman, a Physician, a Parson, a Miller, a Manciple, a Reeve, a Summoner, a Pardoner, the Wife of Bath, and Chaucer himself. They each bring a slice of England to the trip with their stories of glory, chivalry, Christianity, villainy, disloyalty, cuckoldry, and honor. Some pilgrims are faithful to Christ and his teachings, while others openly disobey the church and its law of faithfulness, honor, and modesty.
The pilgrimage begins in April, a time of happiness and rebirth. They pilgrims hope not only to travel in this blessed time, but to have a rebirth of their own along the way. The pilgrimage consists of these characters journeying to Canterbury and back, each telling two tales in each direction, as suggested by the host. At the conclusion of the tales, the host will decide whose story is the best. The Knight is the first to tell a story, one made up properly of honor and chivalry. His tale is followed by the Miller's opposite tale of dishonor and frivolity. Chaucer frequently places tales of religion and Christ-like worship with tales of unfaithful women and cuckolded men. The Reeve, the Cook, and the Man of Law tell the next stories, while the host interjects his opinions throughout. There are several rivalries that grow from within the intertext, including the small quarrels between the Friar and Summoner and between the Miller and Reeve. Between each tale, most pilgrims have a prologue, in which they tell about themselves or allow Chaucer to illustrate the dynamics of the group. The Friar and the Summoner develop a minor feud, in which they each tell tales of ill-will towards the other's profession, and the Pardoner brings his own immoral behavior into the Tales. The Wife of Bath is a memorable character and is often thought of as a primordial feminist who acts on her own terms instead of those of the man.
The Canterbury Tales are not fully completed, for the original task of having each pilgrim tell two tales is never realized. Furthermore, two of the tales are begun and then suddenly cut off before their grand conclusion, such as the Squire's Tale and the Tale of Sir Thopas. Some of the pilgrims never even tell one story, such as the Tapestry-Maker and the Haberdasher, and the destination of Canterbury is not explicitly mentioned in the pilgrims' prologues or Chaucer's Retraction.
Chaucer concludes his tales with a Retraction, asking for mercy and forgiveness from those whom he may have offended along his course of storytelling and pilgrimage. He hopes to blame his ignorance and lack of education on any erroneous behavior or language, for he believes that his intentions were all moralistic and honorable. In the end, he gives all credit to Jesus Christ.

The Lumber room
The Lumber room is the text for analysis, which represents an ironical story written by a well-known British novelist and short story writer Hector Munro.
Hector Hugh Munro is best known in a literature word under a pseudonym Saki. He is acclaimed for his witty, sometimes whimsical, often cynical and bizarre short stories; they are collected in Reginald (1904), The Chronicles of Clovis (1911), Beasts and Super-Beasts (1914), and other volumes. Included among his other works are two novels, The Unbearable Bassington (1912) and When William Came (1914). Moreover, he is believed to be a master of the short story and is often compared to O.Henry.
His father was an officer in the Burma police. After the death of Munro's mother, Saki, at the age of two, was sent to Broad gate Villa, in Pilton village near Barnstaple, North Devon to be raised by aunts who frequently resorted to corporal punishment. Although these aunts were probably well-intentioned, they brought him up in a regime of strictnessIs this Essay helpful? Join OPPapers to read more and access more than 325,000 just like it!

get better grades and severity. This left an indelible mark on his character, and is immortalized in a number of his short stories, especially Sredni Vashtar and The Lumber Room.
In her Biography of Saki Munro's sister writes: "One of Munro's aunts, Augusta, was a woman of ungovernable temper, of fierce likes and dislikes, imperious, a moral coward, possessing no brains worth speaking of, and a primitive disposition." Naturally the last person who should have been in charge of children. The character of the aunt in The Lumber-Room is Aunt Augusta to the life.
The story describes one day of as little orphan Nicolas who was guarded by dictatorial, biased and however haughty aunt Agusta. This very day Nicolas was s in disgrace as his aunt believed. He put a frog into his bread-and milk at breakfast table and was banned to go to a fascinating Jags borough expedition with his cousins. Besides, the gooseberry garden was a forbidden fruit. While reading, the truth comes to the light - this... Read Full Essay

Text Analysis
The Lumber Room

The text under analysis is written by an outstanding British novelist and short story writer Hector Munro. Hector Hugh Munro (December 18, 1870 – November 13, 1916), better known by the pen name Saki, was a British writer, whose witty and sometimes macabre stories satirized Edwardian society and culture. He is considered a master of the short story and is often compared to O. Henry and Dorothy Parker. His tales feature delicately drawn characters and finely judged narratives. Saki's world contrasts the effete conventions and hypocrisies of Edwardian England with the ruthless but straightforward life-and-death struggles of nature. Nature generally wins in the end.
Owing to the death of his mother and his father's absence abroad he was brought up during his childhood, with his elder brother and sister, by a grandmother and two aunts. It seems probable that their stem and unsympathetic methods account for Munro’s strong dislike of anything that smacks of the conventional and the self-righteous. He satirized things that he hated. Munro was killed on the French front during the First World War.
In her Biography of Saki Munro’s sister writes: “One of Munro’s aunts, Augusta, was a woman of ungovernable temper, of fierce likes and dislikes, imperious, a moral coward, possessing no brains worth speaking of, and a primitive disposition.” Naturally the last person who should have been in charge of children. The character of the aunt in The Lumber-Room is Aunt Augusta to the life.
The story tells about a little orphan Nicholas who was trusted to his tyrannical and dull-witted aunt. One day Nicholas was “in disgrace”, so he duped his Aunt into believing that he was somehow trying to get into the gooseberry garden, but instead had no intention of doing so but did sneak into the Lumber Room. There a tremendous picture of a hunter and a stag opened to him. Soon his aunt tried to look for the boy and slipped into the rain-water tank. She asked Nicholas to fetch her a ladder but the boy pretended not to understand her, he said that she was the Evil One.
The story presents extremely topical subjects. Actually, the whole novel can be divided into two parts: Child’s world and Adult’s world. The author seems to be suggesting that adulthood causes one to lose all sense of fun, imagination. Adults become obsessed with insignificant trivialities, like the Aunt which is obsessed about punishing and nitpicking on the children. Children in Munro’s stories are very imaginative. Nicholas imagines the whole story behind the tapestry while the Aunt comes out with boring stories and ideas like a circus or going to the beach. She tries to convince Nicholas about the fun of a trip to the beach, of circus, but lacks the imagination to sound convincing. She describes the beach outing as beautiful and glorious but cannot say in detail how it will be beautiful or glorious because she is not creative. As for the Lumber room, it is symbolic of fun and imagination of the child’s world which is definitely lacking in the adult world. It emphasizes the destruction of life that adulthood and pride can bring. The Aunt’s world is full of warped priorities. She puts punishment and withholding of enjoyment as more important than getting to know and molding the lives of the children. She keeps all the beautiful and creative things of the house locked away in a lumber-room so as not to spoil them but in doing so, the purpose of the objects which is to beauty the house, is lost, leaving the house dull and colourless.
The excerpt is homogeneous. The story is narrated in the 3rd person. This allows the reader to access the situation and the characters in an unbiased and objective manner. This is especially so because the characters are complex, having both positive and negative viewpoints. The third person point of view is impersonal which fits the impersonal atmosphere of the household.

The text can be divided into several parts:
• The exposition, in which we learn about little Nicholas, his cousins and his strict aunt. Nicholas got into his aunt’s disgrace. So his cousins were to be taken to Jagborough sands that afternoon and he was to stay at home. The Aunt was absolutely sure that the boy was determined to get into the gooseberry garden because I have told him he is not to.
• The complication, when Nicholas got into an unknown land of lumber-room. Forbidden fruit is sweet and truly the lumber-room is described as a storehouse of unimagined treasure. Every single item brings life and imagination to Nicholas and is symbolic of what the adult of real world lacks. He often pictured to himself what the lumber-room was like, since that was the region that was so carefully sealed from youthful eyes. The tapestry brings to life imagination and fantasy within Nicholas, the interesting pots and candlesticks bring an aesthetic quality, visual beauty which stirs up his creative mind; and lastly a large square book full of coloured pictures of birds. And such birds! They allow Nicholas to learn in a fun and exciting way.

Victorian Poets

Victorian Poets include:
• Matthew Arnold
• Charlotte Bronte
• Emily Bronte
• Elizabeth Browning
• Robert Browning
• Ralph Waldo Emerson
• Gerard Manley Hopkins
• Rudyard Kipling
• Christina Rossetti
• Dante Gabriella Rossetti
• Alfred Tennyson
• Oscar Wilde
Victorian Poetry
The Victorian Period literally describes the events in the age of Queen Victoria’s reign of 1837-1901. The term Victorian has connotations of repression and social conformity; however in the realm of poetry these labels are somewhat misplaced. The Victorian age provided a significant development of poetic ideals such as the increased use of the Sonnet as a poetic form, which was to influence later modern poets. Poets in the Victorian period were to some extent influenced by the Romantic Poets such as Keats, William Blake, Shelley and W. Wordsworth. Wordsworth was Poet Laureate until 1850 so can be viewed as a bridge between the Romantic period and the Victorian period. Wordsworth was succeeded by Lord Tennyson, Queen Victoria's favorite poet.
Victorian Poetry was an important period in the history of poetry, providing the link between the Romantic movement and the modernist movement of the 20th Century. It is not always possible to neatly categorize poets in these broad movements. For example Gerard Manley Hopkins is often cited as an example of a poet who maintained much of the Romantics sensibility in his writings.
Female Victorian Poets
Before the Victorian era there were very few famous female poets. In the early nineteenth century writing was still seen as a predominantly male preserve. However despite views such as this the Victorian period saw the emergence of many important female poets.
The Bronte sisters were perhaps better known for their romantic novels but their poetry, especially that of Emily Bronte, has received more critical acclaim in recent years. Many have suggested that her works were a reflection of the difficulties women of that period faced. Other significant female poets include Elizabeth Browning and Christina Rossetti. Christina Rossetti in some ways could be viewed as a more typical Victorian poet. Her poetry reflected her deep Anglican faith and frequently pursued themes such as love and faith.


What is Victorian poetry?

Victorian poetry is classified poetry written in England during the time of Queen Victoria. It followed the Romantic movement, and is marked by darker qualities and subjects.
Romanticism offers an idealized look at the world. Life are beautified, and the human pursuit of knowledge and power as a wonderful thing. Romantic poetry also tends to personify and beautify nature. The poet attempts to connect himself to nature and relate with it. For example, in his poem "I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud", William Wordsworth compares himself to a drifting cloud, and then rejoices in the beauty of a field of daffodils.
Victorian Poetry, however, is much harsher and realistic. During the Victorian era, people became aware of the grave social injustices in their world, and therefore many people didn't like the romanticized version of society. Victorian poetry tends to deal with more serious and realistic subjects, such as child labor, slavery, and other such social injustices. It often called for social reform, as in Elizabeth Barrett Browning's "The Cry of the Children". In this poem, Browning write of the atrocity of slavery, and the damage it has done to children and families.
Victorian poetry marks society's progression from the carefree notions of Romanticism to a state of social awareness and reform.


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

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