Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Waste Land Summary

The poem begins with a section entitled "The Burial of the Dead." In it, the narrator -- perhaps a representation of Eliot himself -- describes the seasons. Spring brings "memory and desire," and so the narrator's memory drifts back to times in Munich, to childhood sled rides, and to a possible romance with a "hyacinth girl." The memories only go so far, however. The narrator is now surrounded by a desolate land full of "stony rubbish."
He remembers a fortune-teller named Madame Sosostris who said he was "the drowned Phoenician Sailor" and that he should "fear death by water." Next he finds himself on London Bridge, surrounded by a crowd of people. He spots a friend of his from wartime, and calls out to him.
The next section, "A Game of Chess," transports the reader abruptly from the streets of London to a gilded drawing room, in which sits a rich, jewel-bedecked lady who complains about her nerves and wonders what to do. The poem drifts again, this time to a pub at closing time in which two Cockney women gossip. Within a few stanzas, we have moved from the upper crust of society to London's low-life.
"The Fire Sermon" opens with an image of a river. The narrator sits on the banks and muses on the deplorable state of the world. As Tiresias, he sees a young "carbuncular" man hop into bed with a lonely female typist, only to aggressively make love to her and then leave without hesitation. The poem returns to the river, where maidens sing a song of lament, one of them crying over her loss of innocence to a similarly lustful man.
"Death by Water," the fourth section of the poem, describes a dead Phoenician lying in the water -- perhaps the same drowned sailor of whom Madame Sosostris spoke. "What the Thunder Said" shifts locales from the sea to rocks and mountains. The narrator cries for rain, and it finally comes. The thunder that accompanies it ushers in the three-pronged dictum sprung from the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad: "Datta, dayadhvam, damyata": to give, to sympathize, to control. With these commandments, benediction is possible, despite the collapse of civilization that is under way -- "London bridge is falling down falling down falling down."

Waste Land


APRIL is the cruellest month, breeding
Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing
Memory and desire, stirring
Dull roots with spring rain.
Winter kept us warm, covering 5
Earth in forgetful snow, feeding
A little life with dried tubers.
Summer surprised us, coming over the Starnbergersee
With a shower of rain; we stopped in the colonnade,
And went on in sunlight, into the Hofgarten, 10
And drank coffee, and talked for an hour.
Bin gar keine Russin, stamm’ aus Litauen, echt deutsch.
And when we were children, staying at the archduke’s,
My cousin’s, he took me out on a sled,
And I was frightened. He said, Marie, 15
Marie, hold on tight. And down we went.
In the mountains, there you feel free.
I read, much of the night, and go south in the winter.

What are the roots that clutch, what branches grow
Out of this stony rubbish? Son of man, 20
You cannot say, or guess, for you know only
A heap of broken images, where the sun beats,
And the dead tree gives no shelter, the cricket no relief,
And the dry stone no sound of water. Only
There is shadow under this red rock, 25
(Come in under the shadow of this red rock),
And I will show you something different from either
Your shadow at morning striding behind you
Or your shadow at evening rising to meet you;
I will show you fear in a handful of dust. 30
Frisch weht der Wind
Der Heimat zu,
Mein Irisch Kind,
Wo weilest du?
“You gave me hyacinths first a year ago; 35
They called me the hyacinth girl.”
—Yet when we came back, late, from the Hyacinth garden,
Your arms full, and your hair wet, I could not
Speak, and my eyes failed, I was neither
Living nor dead, and I knew nothing, 40
Looking into the heart of light, the silence.
Öd’ und leer das Meer.

Madame Sosostris, famous clairvoyante,
Had a bad cold, nevertheless
Is known to be the wisest woman in Europe, 45
With a wicked pack of cards. Here, said she,
Is your card, the drowned Phoenician Sailor,
(Those are pearls that were his eyes. Look!)
Here is Belladonna, the Lady of the Rocks,
The lady of situations. 50
Here is the man with three staves, and here the Wheel,
And here is the one-eyed merchant, and this card,
Which is blank, is something he carries on his back,
Which I am forbidden to see. I do not find
The Hanged Man. Fear death by water. 55
I see crowds of people, walking round in a ring.
Thank you. If you see dear Mrs. Equitone,
Tell her I bring the horoscope myself:
One must be so careful these days.

Unreal City, 60
Under the brown fog of a winter dawn,
A crowd flowed over London Bridge, so many,
I had not thought death had undone so many.
Sighs, short and infrequent, were exhaled,
And each man fixed his eyes before his feet. 65
Flowed up the hill and down King William Street,
To where Saint Mary Woolnoth kept the hours
With a dead sound on the final stroke of nine.
There I saw one I knew, and stopped him, crying “Stetson!
You who were with me in the ships at Mylae! 70
That corpse you planted last year in your garden,
Has it begun to sprout? Will it bloom this year?
Or has the sudden frost disturbed its bed?
Oh keep the Dog far hence, that’s friend to men,
Or with his nails he’ll dig it up again! 75
You! hypocrite lecteur!—mon semblable,—mon frère!”


The Chair she sat in, like a burnished throne,
Glowed on the marble, where the glass
Held up by standards wrought with fruited vines
From which a golden Cupidon peeped out 80
(Another hid his eyes behind his wing)
Doubled the flames of sevenbranched candelabra
Reflecting light upon the table as
The glitter of her jewels rose to meet it,
From satin cases poured in rich profusion; 85
In vials of ivory and coloured glass
Unstoppered, lurked her strange synthetic perfumes,
Unguent, powdered, or liquid—troubled, confused
And drowned the sense in odours; stirred by the air
That freshened from the window, these ascended 90
In fattening the prolonged candle-flames,
Flung their smoke into the laquearia,
Stirring the pattern on the coffered ceiling.
Huge sea-wood fed with copper
Burned green and orange, framed by the coloured stone, 95
In which sad light a carvèd dolphin swam.
Above the antique mantel was displayed
As though a window gave upon the sylvan scene
The change of Philomel, by the barbarous king
So rudely forced; yet there the nightingale 100
Filled all the desert with inviolable voice
And still she cried, and still the world pursues,
“Jug Jug” to dirty ears.
And other withered stumps of time
Were told upon the walls; staring forms 105
Leaned out, leaning, hushing the room enclosed.
Footsteps shuffled on the stair,
Under the firelight, under the brush, her hair
Spread out in fiery points
Glowed into words, then would be savagely still. 110

“My nerves are bad to-night. Yes, bad. Stay with me.
Speak to me. Why do you never speak? Speak.
What are you thinking of? What thinking? What?
I never know what you are thinking. Think.”

I think we are in rats’ alley 115
Where the dead men lost their bones.

“What is that noise?”
The wind under the door.
“What is that noise now? What is the wind doing?”
Nothing again nothing. 120
You know nothing? Do you see nothing? Do you remember
I remember
Those are pearls that were his eyes. 125
“Are you alive, or not? Is there nothing in your head?”
O O O O that Shakespeherian Rag—
It’s so elegant
So intelligent 130

“What shall I do now? What shall I do?
I shall rush out as I am, and walk the street
With my hair down, so. What shall we do to-morrow?
What shall we ever do?”
The hot water at ten. 135
And if it rains, a closed car at four.
And we shall play a game of chess,
Pressing lidless eyes and waiting for a knock upon the door.

When Lil’s husband got demobbed, I said,
I didn’t mince my words, I said to her myself, 140
Now Albert’s coming back, make yourself a bit smart.
He’ll want to know what you done with that money he gave you
To get yourself some teeth. He did, I was there.
You have them all out, Lil, and get a nice set, 145
He said, I swear, I can’t bear to look at you.
And no more can’t I, I said, and think of poor Albert,
He’s been in the army four years, he wants a good time,
And if you don’t give it him, there’s others will, I said.
Oh is there, she said. Something o’ that, I said. 150
Then I’ll know who to thank, she said, and give me a straight look.
If you don’t like it you can get on with it, I said,
Others can pick and choose if you can’t.
But if Albert makes off, it won’t be for lack of telling. 155
You ought to be ashamed, I said, to look so antique.
(And her only thirty-one.)
I can’t help it, she said, pulling a long face,
It’s them pills I took, to bring it off, she said.
(She’s had five already, and nearly died of young George.) 160
The chemist said it would be alright, but I’ve never been the same.
You are a proper fool, I said.
Well, if Albert won’t leave you alone, there it is, I said,
What you get married for if you don’t want children?
Well, that Sunday Albert was home, they had a hot gammon,
And they asked me in to dinner, to get the beauty of it hot—
Goonight Bill. Goonight Lou. Goonight May. Goonight. 170
Ta ta. Goonight. Goonight.
Good night, ladies, good night, sweet ladies, good night, good night.


The river’s tent is broken: the last fingers of leaf
Clutch and sink into the wet bank. The wind
Crosses the brown land, unheard. The nymphs are departed. 175
Sweet Thames, run softly, till I end my song.
The river bears no empty bottles, sandwich papers,
Silk handkerchiefs, cardboard boxes, cigarette ends
Or other testimony of summer nights. The nymphs are departed.
And their friends, the loitering heirs of city directors; 180
Departed, have left no addresses.
By the waters of Leman I sat down and wept…
Sweet Thames, run softly till I end my song,
Sweet Thames, run softly, for I speak not loud or long.
But at my back in a cold blast I hear 185
The rattle of the bones, and chuckle spread from ear to ear.

A rat crept softly through the vegetation
Dragging its slimy belly on the bank
While I was fishing in the dull canal
On a winter evening round behind the gashouse. 190
Musing upon the king my brother’s wreck
And on the king my father’s death before him.
White bodies naked on the low damp ground
And bones cast in a little low dry garret,
Rattled by the rat’s foot only, year to year. 195
But at my back from time to time I hear
The sound of horns and motors, which shall bring
Sweeney to Mrs. Porter in the spring.
O the moon shone bright on Mrs. Porter
And on her daughter 200
They wash their feet in soda water
Et, O ces voix d’enfants, chantant dans la coupole!

Twit twit twit
Jug jug jug jug jug jug
So rudely forc’d. 205

Unreal City
Under the brown fog of a winter noon
Mr Eugenides, the Smyrna merchant
Unshaven, with a pocket full of currants 210
C. i. f. London: documents at sight,
Asked me in demotic French
To luncheon at the Cannon Street Hotel
Followed by a week-end at the Metropole.

At the violet hour, when the eyes and back 215
Turn upward from the desk, when the human engine waits
Like a taxi throbbing waiting,
I Tiresias, though blind, throbbing between two lives,
Old man with wrinkled female breasts, can see
At the violet hour, the evening hour that strives 220
Homeward, and brings the sailor home from sea,
The typist home at tea-time, clears her breakfast, lights
Her stove, and lays out food in tins.
Out of the window perilously spread
Her drying combinations touched by the sun’s last rays, 225
On the divan are piled (at night her bed)
Stockings, slippers, camisoles, and stays.
I Tiresias, old man with wrinkled dugs
Perceived the scene, and foretold the rest—
I too awaited the expected guest. 230
He, the young man carbuncular, arrives,
A small house-agent’s clerk, with one bold stare,
One of the low on whom assurance sits
As a silk hat on a Bradford millionaire.
The time is now propitious, as he guesses, 235
The meal is ended, she is bored and tired,
Endeavours to engage her in caresses
Which still are unreproved, if undesired.
Flushed and decided, he assaults at once;
Exploring hands encounter no defence; 240
His vanity requires no response,
And makes a welcome of indifference.
(And I Tiresias have foresuffered all
Enacted on this same divan or bed;
I who have sat by Thebes below the wall 245
And walked among the lowest of the dead.)
Bestows one final patronizing kiss,
And gropes his way, finding the stairs unlit…

She turns and looks a moment in the glass,
Hardly aware of her departed lover; 250
Her brain allows one half-formed thought to pass:
“Well now that’s done: and I’m glad it’s over.”
When lovely woman stoops to folly and
Paces about her room again, alone,
She smoothes her hair with automatic hand, 255
And puts a record on the gramophone.

“This music crept by me upon the waters”
And along the Strand, up Queen Victoria Street.
O City City, I can sometimes hear
Beside a public bar in Lower Thames Street, 260
The pleasant whining of a mandoline
And a clatter and a chatter from within
Where fishmen lounge at noon: where the walls
Of Magnus Martyr hold
Inexplicable splendour of Ionian white and gold. 265

The river sweats
Oil and tar
The barges drift
With the turning tide
Red sails 270
To leeward, swing on the heavy spar.
The barges wash
Drifting logs
Down Greenwich reach 275
Past the Isle of Dogs.
Weialala leia
Wallala leialala
Elizabeth and Leicester
Beating oars 280
The stern was formed
A gilded shell
Red and gold
The brisk swell
Rippled both shores 285
South-west wind
Carried down stream
The peal of bells
White towers
Weialala leia 290
Wallala leialala

“Trams and dusty trees.
Highbury bore me. Richmond and Kew
Undid me. By Richmond I raised my knees
Supine on the floor of a narrow canoe.“ 295

“My feet are at Moorgate, and my heart
Under my feet. After the event
He wept. He promised ‘a new start.’
I made no comment. What should I resent?”

“On Margate Sands. 300
I can connect
Nothing with nothing.
The broken finger-nails of dirty hands.
My people humble people who expect
Nothing.” 305

la la

To Carthage then I came

Burning burning burning burning
O Lord Thou pluckest me out
O Lord Thou pluckest 310



Phlebas the Phoenician, a fortnight dead,
Forgot the cry of gulls, and the deep seas swell
And the profit and loss.
A current under sea 315
Picked his bones in whispers. As he rose and fell
He passed the stages of his age and youth
Entering the whirlpool.
Gentile or Jew
O you who turn the wheel and look to windward, 320
Consider Phlebas, who was once handsome and tall as you.


After the torch-light red on sweaty faces
After the frosty silence in the gardens
After the agony in stony places
The shouting and the crying 325
Prison and place and reverberation
Of thunder of spring over distant mountains
He who was living is now dead
We who were living are now dying
With a little patience 330

Here is no water but only rock
Rock and no water and the sandy road
The road winding above among the mountains
Which are mountains of rock without water
If there were water we should stop and drink 335
Amongst the rock one cannot stop or think
Sweat is dry and feet are in the sand
If there were only water amongst the rock
Dead mountain mouth of carious teeth that cannot spit
Here one can neither stand nor lie nor sit 340
There is not even silence in the mountains
But dry sterile thunder without rain
There is not even solitude in the mountains
But red sullen faces sneer and snarl
From doors of mud-cracked houses
If there were water 345
And no rock
If there were rock
And also water
And water
A spring 350
A pool among the rock
If there were the sound of water only
Not the cicada
And dry grass singing
But sound of water over a rock 355
Where the hermit-thrush sings in the pine trees
Drip drop drip drop drop drop drop
But there is no water

Who is the third who walks always beside you?
When I count, there are only you and I together 360
But when I look ahead up the white road
There is always another one walking beside you
Gliding wrapt in a brown mantle, hooded
I do not know whether a man or a woman
—But who is that on the other side of you? 365

What is that sound high in the air
Murmur of maternal lamentation
Who are those hooded hordes swarming
Over endless plains, stumbling in cracked earth
Ringed by the flat horizon only 370
What is the city over the mountains
Cracks and reforms and bursts in the violet air
Falling towers
Jerusalem Athens Alexandria
Vienna London 375

A woman drew her long black hair out tight
And fiddled whisper music on those strings
And bats with baby faces in the violet light
Whistled, and beat their wings 380
And crawled head downward down a blackened wall
And upside down in air were towers
Tolling reminiscent bells, that kept the hours
And voices singing out of empty cisterns and exhausted wells.

In this decayed hole among the mountains 385
In the faint moonlight, the grass is singing
Over the tumbled graves, about the chapel
There is the empty chapel, only the wind’s home.
It has no windows, and the door swings,
Dry bones can harm no one. 390
Only a cock stood on the roof-tree
Co co rico co co rico
In a flash of lightning. Then a damp gust
Bringing rain
Ganga was sunken, and the limp leaves 395
Waited for rain, while the black clouds
Gathered far distant, over Himavant.
The jungle crouched, humped in silence.
Then spoke the thunder
DA 400
Datta: what have we given?
My friend, blood shaking my heart
The awful daring of a moment’s surrender
Which an age of prudence can never retract
By this, and this only, we have existed 405
Which is not to be found in our obituaries
Or in memories draped by the beneficent spider
Or under seals broken by the lean solicitor
In our empty rooms
DA 410
Dayadhvam: I have heard the key
Turn in the door once and turn once only
We think of the key, each in his prison
Thinking of the key, each confirms a prison
Only at nightfall, aetherial rumours 415
Revive for a moment a broken Coriolanus
Damyata: The boat responded
Gaily, to the hand expert with sail and oar
The sea was calm, your heart would have responded 420
Gaily, when invited, beating obedient
To controlling hands

I sat upon the shore
Fishing, with the arid plain behind me
Shall I at least set my lands in order? 425

London Bridge is falling down falling down falling down

Poi s’ascose nel foco che gli affina
Quando fiam ceu chelidon—O swallow swallow
Le Prince d’Aquitaine à la tour abolie
These fragments I have shored against my ruins 430
Why then Ile fit you. Hieronymo’s mad againe.
Datta. Dayadhvam. Damyata.

Shantih shantih shantih

T.S. Eliot

Thomas Stearns Eliot (1888-1965) was born in St. Louis, Missouri, of an old New England family. He was educated at Harvard and did graduate work in philosophy at the Sorbonne, Harvard, and Merton College, Oxford. He settled in England, where he was for a time a schoolmaster and a bank clerk, and eventually literary editor for the publishing house Faber & Faber, of which he later became a director. He founded and, during the seventeen years of its publication (1922-1939), edited the exclusive and influential literary journal Criterion. In 1927, Eliot became a British citizen and about the same time entered the Anglican Church. Eliot has been one of the most daring innovators of twentieth-century poetry. Never compromising either with the public or indeed with language itself, he has followed his belief that poetry should aim at a representation of the complexities of modern civilization in language and that such representation necessarily leads to difficult poetry. Despite this difficulty his influence on modern poetic diction has been immense. Eliot's poetry from Prufrock (1917) to the Four Quartets (1943) reflects the development of a Christian writer: the early work, especially The Waste Land (1922), is essentially negative, the expression of that horror from which the search for a higher world arises. In Ash Wednesday (1930) and the Four Quartets this higher world becomes more visible; nonetheless Eliot has always taken care not to become a «religious poet». and often belittled the power of poetry as a religious force. However, his dramas Murder in the Cathedral (1935) and The Family Reunion (1939) are more openly Christian apologies. In his essays, especially the later ones, Eliot advocates a traditionalism in religion, society, and literature that seems at odds with his pioneer activity as a poet. But although the Eliot of Notes towards the Definition of Culture (1948) is an older man than the poet of The Waste Land, it should not be forgotten that for Eliot tradition is a living organism comprising past and present in constant mutual interaction. Eliot's plays Murder in the Cathedral (1935), The Family Reunion (1939), The Cocktail Party(1949), The Confidential Clerk (1954), and The Elder Statesman(1959) were published in one volume in 1962; Collected Poems 1909-62 appeared in 1963.


Monday, August 22, 2011

Introduction to Communication Skills-Faculty of Applied Sciences

Rajarata University of Sri Lanka
Faculty of Applied Sciences
Communication Skills-ICT-3206

D.N. Aloysius
Lecturer in English
Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities


Introduction to Communication Skills

The purpose of communication is to get your message across to others clearly and unambiguously.
Doing this involves effort from both the sender of the message and the receiver. And it's a process that can be fraught with error, with messages often misinterpreted by the recipient. When this isn't detected, it can cause tremendous confusion, wasted effort and missed opportunity.
In fact, communication is only successful when both the sender and the receiver understand the same information as a result of the communication.
By successfully getting your message across, you convey your thoughts and ideas effectively. When not successful, the thoughts and ideas that you convey do not necessarily reflect your own, causing a communications breakdown and creating roadblocks that stand in the way of your goals – both personally and professionally.
In a recent survey of recruiters from companies with more than 50,000 employees, communication skills were cited as the single more important decisive factor in choosing managers. The survey, conducted by the University of Pittsburgh's Katz Business School, points out that communication skills, including written and oral presentations, as well as an ability to work with others, are the main factor contributing to job success.
In spite of the increasing importance placed on communication skills, many individuals continue to struggle with this, unable to communicate their thoughts and ideas effectively – whether in verbal or written format. This inability makes it nearly impossible for them to compete effectively in the workplace, and stands in the way of career progression.
Getting your message across is paramount to progressing. To do this, you must understand what your message is, what audience you are sending it to, and how it will be perceived. You must also weigh-in the circumstances surrounding your communications, such as situational and cultural context.

Communications Skills –Importance of Removing Barriers:
Communication barriers can pop-up at every stage of the communication process (which consists of sender, message, channel, receiver, feedback and context – see the diagram below) and have the potential to create misunderstanding and confusion.

To be an effective communicator and to get your point across without misunderstanding and

confusion, your goal should be to lessen the frequency of these barriers at each stage of this process with clear, concise, accurate, well-planned communications.
You can find out which barriers your communications tend to stuck at by taking ourHow Good Are Your Communication Skills? self-test. But in summary, here's some more information about each stage of the communication process:

As the source of the message, you need to be clear about why you're communicating, and what you want to communicate. You also need to be confident that the information you're communicating is useful and accurate.

The message is the information that you want to communicate.

This is the process of transferring the information you want to communicate into a form that can be sent and correctly decoded at the other end. Your success in encoding depends partly on your ability to convey information clearly and simply, but also on your ability to anticipate and eliminate sources of confusion (for example, cultural issues, mistaken assumptions, and missing information.) A key part of this is knowing your audience: Failure to understand who you are communicating with will result in delivering messages that are misunderstood.

Messages are conveyed through channels, with verbal including face-to-face meetings, telephone and videoconferencing; and written including letters, emails, memos and reports.
Different channels have different strengths and weaknesses. For example, it's not particularly effective to give a long list of directions verbally, while you'll quickly cause problems if you criticize someone strongly by email.

Just as successful encoding is a skill, so is successful decoding (involving, for example, taking the time to read a message carefully, or listen actively to it.) Just as confusion can arise from errors in encoding, it can also arise from decoding errors. This is particularly the case if the decoder doesn't have enough knowledge to understand the message.

Your message is delivered to individual members of your audience. No doubt, you have in mind the actions or reactions you hope your message will get from this audience. Keep in mind, though, that each of these individuals enters into the communication process with ideas and feelings that will undoubtedly influence their understanding of your message, and their response. To be a successful communicator, you should consider these before delivering your message, and act appropriately.

Your audience will provide you with feedback, verbal and nonverbal reactions to your communicated message. Pay close attention to this feedback, as it is the only thing that allows you to be confident that your audience has understood your message. If you find that there has been a misunderstanding, at least you have the opportunity to send the message a second time.
The situation in which your message is delivered is the context. This may include the surrounding environment or broader culture (i.e. corporate culture, international cultures, etc.).
Removing Barriers at All These Stages
To deliver your messages effectively, you must commit to breaking down the barriers that exist in each of these stages of the communication process.
Let's begin with the message itself. If your message is too lengthy, disorganized, or contains errors, you can expect the message to be misunderstood and misinterpreted. Use of poor verbal and body language can also confuse the message.

Barriers in context tend to stem from senders offering too much information too fast. When in doubt here, less is oftentimes more. It is best to be mindful of the demands on other people's time, especially in today's ultra-busy society.
Once you understand this, you need to work to understand your audience's culture, making sure you can converse and deliver your message to people of different backgrounds and cultures within your own organization, in this country and even abroad.

Sources: › Communication Skills-2010.08.22

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Rajarata University of Sri Lanka Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities Diploma in Business Economics DBE- 1152: Business Communication

Continuous Assessment Test

32----------------- B
30----------------- B
Dilshan------------ B
07----------------- B
34----------------- C
Kamalasiri--------- C
28----------------- C
08----------------- C
22----------------- C
01----------------- C
33----------------- D
17----------------- D
23----------------- E
04----------------- E

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Bertolt Brecht

Bertolt Brecht

Name: Bertolt Brecht
Birth Date: February 10, 1898
Death Date: 1956
Place of Birth: Augsburg, Germany
Nationality: German
Gender: Male
Occupations: author, playwright

Encyclopedia of World Biography on Bertolt Brecht
The German author Bertolt Brecht (1898-1956) is probably the greatest German playwright of the first half of the 20th century. His works were often considered controversial because of his revolutionary dramatic theory and his political beliefs.
Bertolt Brecht was born on Feb. 10, 1898, in Augsburg. The son of a Catholic businessman, Brecht was raised, however, in his mother's Protestant faith. In 1917 he matriculated at the University of Munich to study philosophy and medicine. In 1918 he served as a medical orderly at a military hospital in Augsburg. The unpleasantness of this experience confirmed his hatred of war and stimulated his sympathy for the unsuccessful Socialist revolution of 1919.
Early Works
In 1919 Brecht returned to his studies but devoted himself increasingly to writing plays. His first full-length plays were Baal(1922) and Trommeln in der Nacht (1922; Drums in the Night). In September 1922 Drums in the Night was presented at the Munich Kammerspiele, where Brecht was subsequently employed as resident playwright.
Brecht's early plays, including Im Dickicht der Städte (1923; Jungle of the Cities), are works in which he gradually frees himself from the expressionist conventions of the avant-garde theater of his day, especially its idealism. He parodies and ridicules the lofty sentiments and visionary optimism of his predecessors (Georg Kaiser, Fritz von Unruh, and others) while exploiting their technical advances. Baal portrays the brutalization of all finer feeling by a drunken vagabond. In Drums in the Night, a drama on the returned-soldier theme, the hero rejects the opportunity for a splendid death on the barricades, preferring to make love to his woman. Such cynicism recalls Frank Wedekind, Brecht's most revered model. Jungle of the Cities decries the possibility of spiritual freedom and reasserts the primacy of materialistic values. In these two plays Brecht emphasizes the artificiality of the theatrical medium and disregards conventional psychological motivation.
In 1924 Brecht moved to Berlin and for the next 2 years was associated as a playwright with Max Reinhardt's Deutsches Theater. His comedy Mann ist Mann (1926; A Man's a Man) studies the social conditioning that transforms an Irish packer into a machine gunner and shows a development toward a terser, more intellectual style. By 1926 Brecht had begun a serious study of Marxism. Also during this period the director Erwin Piscator was teaching him much about the techniques of experimental theater (for example, the use onstage of films, projections, and slides).
Plays with Music
Brecht collaborated with the composer Kurt Weill on Mahagonny(or Kleine Mahagonny), a play with music written for the Baden-Baden festival of 1927. They then wrote Die Dreigroschenoper(1928; The Threepenny Opera), which was triumphantly performed in Berlin on Aug. 31, 1928. This was the first work to make Brecht famous.
Brecht based The Threepenny Opera on Elisabeth Hauptmann's translation of The Beggar's Opera (produced 1728) by the English dramatist John Gay. While adapting and modernizing Gay's balled opera, Brecht retained the main events of the plot but added topical satirical bite through his own lyrics. In this work he develops to its first high point his own special language--that peculiar amalgam of street-colloquial, Marxist-philosophical, and quasi-biblical diction laced with cabaret wit and lyrical pathos and bound together with the unrelenting force of parody. Brecht borrows freely from many sources--among them François Villon and Rudyard Kipling--but his undisguised plagiarism generally supports sharp parody.
Brecht wrote several more plays with music in collaboration with Weill and with Paul Hindemith. Notable are Aufstieg und Fall der Stadt Mahagonny (1929; The Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny) and Das Badener Lehrstück vom Einverständnis(1929; The Didactic Play of Baden: On Consent). The latter deals with the issue of "consent"--consent to the extinction of the individual for the sake of the progress of the masses. In Die Massnahme (1930; The Measure Taken), for which Hanns Eisler composed the score, Brecht publicly espouses Communist doctrine and concedes the necessity for the elimination of erring party members. The playwright's love of parody is well illustrated in Die Ausnahme und die Regel (1930; The Exception and the Rule) and in Die heilige Johanna der Schlachthöfe (1932; St. Joan of the Stockyards), in which a Salvation Army girl strives to save the souls of Chicago capitalists.
Dramatic Theory
Brecht uses the term "epic theater" to characterize his innovative dramatic theory. His new type of drama is non-Aristotelian--that is, his aim is not to purge the audience's emotions but to awaken the spectators' minds and communicate truth to them. In order to achieve this end, drama must not hypnotize or entrance the audience but must continually remind them that what they are watching is not real, but merely a representation, a vehicle for an idea or a fact.
Brecht uses the word "alienation" (Verfremdung) to describe his method of helping the audience to be receptive to his dramatic intentions. His technique of alienation includes elimination of most conventional stage props, use of charts, slides, and messages flashed on screens, direct involvement of the audience through characters who step out of their roles to function as commentators, and many carefully planned incongruities. Finally, Brecht requires that actors work in a new way: they must not identify with the dramatic characters but, on the contrary, must always demonstrate that they are playing a role. Alienation is Brecht's fundamental dramatic device, and his parody is of course closely dependent on this technique.
Major Dramas
From 1933 to 1948 Brecht was an exile, first in Scandinavia, then in the U.S.S.R., and after 1941 in the United States. In 1933 his books were among those publicly burned in Berlin. He continued to write in exile, and in 1936 he completed Die Rundköpfe und die Spitzköpfe (The Roundheads and the Peakheads) and Furcht und Elend des Dritten Reiches (Fear and Misery of the Third Reich), which directly attacked Hitler's regime.
In 1939 Leben des Galilei ( Galileo) opened the sequence of Brecht's great plays; there followed Mutter Courage (1939; Mother Courage), Der gute Mensch von Sezuan (1941; The Good Man of Szechuan), and Der kaukasische Kreidekreis (1943; The Caucasian Chalk Circle). Other important works belonging to this period are Herr Puntila und sein Knecht Matti (1941; Puntila and His Man Matti) and Der aufhaltsame Aufstieg des Arturo Ui (1941;The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui).
These plays demonstrate that Brecht's power and depth as a dramatist are to a high degree independent of, and even override, his theoretical principles. They display an astonishing capacity for creating living characters, a moving compassion, technical virtuosity, and parodic wit. Mother Courage, a series of scenes from the life of a camp follower during the Thirty Years War, is often misunderstood because the overwhelmingly vital portrait of the central character arouses the audience's sympathies. But Brecht's actual concern was to demonstrate the self-perpetuating folly of Mother Courage's naive collaboration with the system that exploits her and destroys her family.
Other Works
In 1948 Brecht settled in East Berlin, where he remained until his death. He and his wife, the actress Helene Weigel, founded the Berliner Ensemble in September 1949 with ample financial support from the state. This group became the most famous theater company in East Germany and the foremost interpreter of Brecht. He himself devoted much of his time to directing. He wrote no new plays except Die Tage der Commune (1949; The Days of the Commune) but adapted several--among them Molière's Don Juanand Shakespeare's Coriolanus. There is some evidence that he modified his austere conception of the function of drama and conceded the importance of the theater as a vehicle for entertainment.
The lyric poetry Brecht wrote in these years shows a concern for personal rather than universal or mass experience. Recent criticism has increasingly recognized Brecht's eminence as a lyric poet. His verse of the 1920s, in particular Hauspostille (1927; Domestic Breviary), is iconoclastic balladry of a savagely satirical kind. However, his keen interest in Chinese and Japanese poetic forms led through the Svendborger Gedichte (1939) to the austere delicacy of the Buckower Elegien (1954). Brecht also wrote The Threepenny Novel (1934), which is based on The Threepenny Opera, and some skillful short stories, Kalendergeschichten (1949;Tales from the Calendar ). He died of a heart attack in August 1956.


Mother Courage and Her Children

Mother Courage and Her Children, with Therese Giehse in the title role, with Erni Wilhemi, Hans Christian Blech, and Karl Lieffen, at theMunich Kammerspiele, directed by Bertolt Brecht, Munich, 1950. Photo shows the famous cart Mother Courage pulls through the Thirty Years War, here on a revolving stage, designed by Theo Otto.[1]
Mother Courage and Her Children (German: Mutter Courage und ihre Kinder) is a play written in 1939 by the Germandramatist and poet Bertolt Brecht (1898–1956) with significant contributions from Margarete Steffin.[2] After four very important theatrical productions in Switzerland and Germany from 1941 to 1952—the last three supervised and/or directed by Brecht—the play was filmed several years after Brecht's death in 1959/1960 with Brecht's widow and leading actress, Helene Weigel.[3]
Mother Courage is considered by some to be the greatest play of the 20th century, and perhaps also the greatest anti-war play of all time.[4]
Mother Courage is one of nine plays that Brecht wrote in an attempt to counter the rise of Fascism and Nazism. Written largely in response to the invasion of Poland (1939) by the German armies of Adolf Hitler, Brecht wrote Mother Couragein what writers call a "white heat"—in a little over a month.[5] As leading Brecht scholars Ralph Manheim and John Willett wrote:
Mother Courage, with its theme of the devastating effects of a European war and the blindness of anyone hoping to profit by it, is said to have been written in a month; judging by the almost complete absence of drafts or any other evidence of preliminary studies, it must have been an exceptionally direct piece of inspiration.[6]
Following Brecht's own principles for political drama, the play is not set in modern times but during the Thirty Years' War of 1618–1648. It follows the fortunes of Anna Fierling, nicknamed "Mother Courage", a wily canteen woman with the Swedish Army who is determined to make her living from the war. Over the course of the play, she loses all three of her children, Swiss Cheese, Eilif, and Kattrin, to the same war from which she sought to profit.
The name of the central character, Mother Courage, is drawn from the picaresque writings of the 17th-century German writer, Grimmelshausen, whose central character in the early shortnovel, The Runagate Courage,[8] also struggles and connives her way through the Thirty Years' War in Germany and Poland, but otherwise the story is mostly Brecht's, in collaboration with Steffin.
The action of the play takes place over the course of 12 years (1624 to 1636), represented in 12 scenes. Some give a sense of Courage's career without being given enough time to develop sentimental feelings and empathize with any of the characters. Meanwhile, Mother Courage is not depicted as a noble character – here the Brechtian epic theatre sets itself apart from the ancient Greek tragedies in which the heroes are far above the average. With the same alienating effect, the ending of Brecht's play does not arouse our desire to imitate the main character, Mother Courage.
Mother Courage is among Brecht's most famous plays, and has been considered by some to be the greatest play of the 20th century.[9] His work attempts to show the dreadfulness of war and the idea that virtues are not rewarded in corrupt times. He used an epic structure so that the audience focuses on the issues being displayed rather than getting involved with the characters and emotions. Epic plays are of a very distinct genre and are typical of Brecht; a strong case could be made that he invented the form.[10]
Mother Courage as Epic Theatre
Mother Courage is an example of Brecht's concepts of Epic Theatre and Verfremdungseffekt or "estrangement effect". Verfremdungseffekt is achieved through the use of placards which reveal the events of each scene, juxtaposition, actors changing characters and costume on stage, the use of narration, simple props and scenery. For instance, a single tree would be used to convey a whole forest, and the stage is usually flooded with bright white light whether it's a winter's night or a summer's day. Several songs, interspersed throughout the play, are used to underscore the themes of the play, while making the audience think about what the playwright is saying.
 Mother Courage (also known as "Canteen Anna")
 Kattrin, (Catherine) her mute daughter
 Eilif, her oldest son
 Swiss Cheese, (also mentioned as Feyos) her youngest son
 Recruiting Officer
 Sergeant
 Cook
 Swedish Commander
 Chaplain
 Ordinance Officer
 Yvette Pottier
 Man with the Bandage
 Another Sergeant
 Old Colonel
 Clerk
 Young Soldier
 Older Soldier
 Peasant
 Peasant Woman
 Young Man
 Old Woman
 Another Peasant
 Another Peasant Woman
 Young Peasant
 Lieutenant
 Voice
The play is set in the 17th century in Europe during the Thirty Years' War. The Recruiting Officer and Sergeant are introduced, both complaining about the difficulty of recruiting soldiers to the war. A canteen woman named Mother Courage enters pulling a cart that she uses to trade with soldiers and make profits from the war. She has three children, Eilif, Kattrin, and Swiss Cheese. The sergeant negotiates a deal with Mother Courage while Eilif is led off by the recruiting officer. One of her children is now gone.
Two years from then, Mother Courage argues with a Protestant General's cook over a capon, or chicken. At the same time, Eilif is congratulated by the General for killing peasants and slaughtering their cattle. Eilif and his mother sing "The Song of the Girl and the Soldier." Mother Courage scolds her son for taking risks that could have got him killed and slaps him across the face.
Three years later, Swiss Cheese works as an army paymaster. The camp prostitute, Yvette Pottier, sings "The Fraternization Song." Mother Courage uses this song to warn Kattrin about involving herself with soldiers. Before the Catholic troops arrive, the Cook and Chaplain bring a message from Eilif. Swiss Cheese hides the regiment's paybox. Mother Courage & co. hurriedly switch their insignia from Protestant to Catholic. Swiss Cheese is captured by the Catholics while attempting to return the paybox to his General. Mother Courage deals her cart to get money to try and barter with the soldiers to free her son. Swiss Cheese is shot anyway. To acknowledge the body could be fatal, so Mother Courage does not acknowledge it and it is thrown into a pit.
Later, Mother Courage waits outside of the General's tent in order to register a complaint and sings the "Song of Great Capitulation" to a young soldier waiting for the General as well. The soldier is angry that he has not been paid and also wishes to complain. The song persuades the soldier that complaining would be unwise, and Mother Courage (reaching the same conclusion) decides she also does not want to complain.
When Catholic General Tilly's funeral approaches, Mother Courage discusses with the Chaplain about whether the war will continue. The Chaplain then suggests to Mother Courage that she marry him, but she rejects his proposal. Mother Courage curses the war because she finds Kattrin disfigured after collecting more merchandise.
At some point about here Mother Courage is again following the Protestant army.
Two peasants wake Mother Courage up and try to sell merchandise to her while they find out that peace has broken out. The Cook appears and creates an argument between Mother Courage and the Chaplain. Mother Courage departs for the town while Eilif enters, dragged in by soldiers. Eilif is executed for killing peasants but his mother never finds out. When the war begins again, the Cook and Mother Courage start their own business.
The seventeenth year of the war marks a point where there is no food and no supplies. The Cook inherits an inn in Utrecht and suggests to Mother Courage that she operate it with him, but he refuses to harbour Kattrin. It is a very small inn. Mother Courage will not leave her daughter and they part ways with the Cook. Mother Courage and Kattrin pull the wagon by themselves.
The Catholic army attacks the small Protestant town of Halle while Mother Courage is away from town, trading. Kattrin is woken up by a search party that is taking peasants as guides. Kattrin fetches a drum from the cart, climbs onto the roof, and beats it in an attempt to awake the townspeople. Though the soldiers shoot Kattrin, she succeeds in waking up the town.
Early in the morning, Mother Courage sings to her daughter's corpse, has the peasants bury her and hitches herself to the cart. The cart rolls lighter now because there are no more children and very little merchandise left.
The play was originally produced in Zürich at the Schauspielhaus, produced by Leopold Lindtberg in 1941. Music was written by Paul Dessau. The musicians were placed in view of the audience so that they could be seen, one of Brecht's many techniques in Epic Theatre. Therese Giehse, (a well-known actress at the time) took the title role.
The second production of Mother Courage took place in then East Berlin in 1949, with Brecht's (second) wife Helene Weigel, his main actress and later also director, as Mother Courage. This production would highly influence the formation of Brecht's company, the Berliner Ensemble, which would provide him a venue to direct many of his plays. Brecht died directingGalileo for the Ensemble. Brecht revised the play for this production in reaction to the reviews of the Zürich production, which empathized with the "heart-rending vitality of all maternal creatures." Even so, he wrote that the Berlin audience failed to see Mother Courage's crimes and participation in the war and focused on her suffering instead.[11]
The next production (and second production in Germany), was directed by Brecht at the Munich Kammerspiele in 1950, with the original Mother Courage, Therese Giehse, with a set designed by Theo Otto (see photo, above.)
In Spanish, was premiered in 1954 in Buenos Aires with Alejandra Boero and in 1958 Montevideo with China Zorrilla.
In 1955, Joan Littlewood's Theatre Workshop gave the play its London première, with Littlewood performing the title role. In 1995/6, Diana Rigg was awarded an Evening Standard Theatre Award for her performance as Mother Courage, directed by Jonathan Kent, at the Royal National Theatre.
From August to September 2006, Mother Courage and Her Children was produced by the Public Theatre in New York City with a new translation by playwright Tony Kushner (Angels in America). This production included new music by composer Jeanine Tesori (Caroline, or Change) and was directed by George C. Wolfe. Meryl Streep played "Mother Courage" with a supporting cast that included Kevin Kline and Austin Pendleton. This rare production of Mother Courage and Her Children was free to the public and played to full houses at the Public Theatre's Delacorte Theatre in Central Park. It ran for four weeks.
This same Tony Kushner translation was performed in a new production at London's Royal National Theatre between September and December 2009, with Fiona Shaw in the title role, directed by Deborah Warner and with new songs performed live by Duke Special.
Popular culture
In the Tony Award-winning musical Urinetown, the character of Penelope Pennywise is roughly based on Mother Courage.
The rock band My Chemical Romance created the character Mother War for their third album The Black Parade. The song a highly conceptual work on the nature of modern life. Mother War's song, "Mama", is influenced by themes from Mother Courage and Her Children, including the effect of war on personal morals.
Mother Courage also has similarities to the popular musical, Fiddler on the Roof. In both stories, a parent has three children he/she sees taken from him/her by outside forces; in both stories the central character ends by dragging his/her cart on as the final curtain falls. In addition, both productions made use of a massive revolving stage. As Matthew Gurewitsch wrote in The New York Sun, "Deep down, Mother Courage has a lot in common with Tevye the Milkman in Fiddler on the Roof. Like him, she's a mother hen helpless to protect the brood."[12]
Mother Courage was the inspiration for Lynn Nottage's Pulitzer winning play Ruined.

Sources: -11.08.2011

Mother Courage and Her Children Summary-Analysis of Major Characters

Mother Courage
Mother Courage is, to borrow a phrase from Walter Benjamin, the play's "untragic heroine." A parasite of the war, she follows the armies of the Thirty Years War, supporting herself and her children with her canteen wagon. She remains opportunistically fixed on her survival, winning her name when hauling a cartful of bread through a city under bombardment. Courage works tirelessly, relentlessly haggling, dealing, and celebrating the war as her breadwinner in her times of prosperity. As Eilif's song suggests, she is the play's wise woman, delivering shrewd commentary on the war throughout the play. For example, the defeats for the great are often victories for the small, the celebration of the soldier's bravery indicates a faltering campaign, the leader pins his failings on his underlings, and the poor require courage. She understands that virtues in wartime become fatal to their possessors. Courage will ironically see her children's deaths from the outset, foretelling their fates in Scene One.
Courage's Solomon-like wisdom does not enable her to oppose the war. The price the war will exact for Courage's livelihood is her children, each of which she will lose while doing business. Though Courage would protect them fiercely—in some sense murderously insisting that her children and her children alone come through the war.
Again, her courage is her will to survive; a will that often requires her cowardice. Unlike Kattrin, Courage will sing the song of capitulation. For example, in Scene Four, she depravedly teaches a soldier to submit to unjust authority and then bitterly learns from her song herself, withdrawing a complaint she planned to lodge herself. In the scene previous, she refuses to recognize the corpse of her executed son, consigning it to the carrion pit. Kattrin's death will not incite her to revolt. Instead, she will resume her journey with the wagon, in some sensed damned to her labor for eternity. As Brecht notes programmatically in the Courage Model Book, Courage, understandably bent on her survival, does not learn, failing to understand that no sacrifice is too great to stop war.
Courage's dumb daughter, Kattrin distinguishes herself as the character who most obviously suffers from the traumas of war. She wears these traumas on her body, since the war robs her of her voice as a child and later leaves her disfigured. Throughout most of the play, she figures as the war's helpless witness, unable to save her brother Eilif from recruitment or Swiss Cheese from the Catholic spies. Later, she will stand by Courage when she refuses to identify Swiss Cheese's body. As Courage continually notes, Kattrin suffers the virtues of kindness and pity, remaining unable to brook the loss of life around her. This kindness manifests itself in particular with regard to children, Kattrin's maternal impulses perhaps standing against Courage's relentless dealing and her resulting failure to protect her children. Ultimately Kattrin will "speak," sacrificing herself to save the children of Halle, and it is appropriate that the play implicitly compares her to the martyr Saint Martin.
The war in particular impinges on Kattrin's sexuality. As Courage notes, she is ever in danger of becoming a "whore"—that is, a victim of rape—and thus must lie low and wait for peacetime before considering marriage. Privately Kattrin will "play the whore" in a sense in her masquerade as Yvette, the camp prostitute, in a bid for sexual recognition. Notably, her disfigurement will ultimately make her marriage impossible.
The Chaplain
One of two characters dependent on Mother Courage as their "feedbag," the Chaplain initially appears as a cynical, wooden character. He remains loyal to the Swedish monarchy and the campaign as a war of religion though cannot but notice the horrors around him, for example, his reaction to Eilif's raid. This cynicism reaches its height after the surprise attack by the Catholics, which rips him from his social station and leaves him precariously dependent on Courage's wagon. Bitterly, the Chaplain will advise Courage to buy new supplies. The war can only prevail. After all, though degrading, it provides for all base human needs—eating, drinking, screwing, and sleeping. Like love, it will always find a way to go on.
The Chaplain also reveals more sympathetic qualities, particularly when he defies Courage and attempts to save the local peasants at the Battle of Magdeburg. To this point, he appears as a sort of outsider, refraining from intervening in Courage's practices for fear of jeopardizing his position. At Magdeburg, the Model Book shows him recalling a sense of his former importance and understanding himself as someone oppressed by the war. Indeed, as he will tell the Cook, his life as a tramp makes it impossible to return to the priesthood and all its attendant beliefs.
Eventually the Chaplain falls for Courage. Focused on survival, she denies him, refusing his demands that she drop her defenses and let her heart speak. The arrival of the Cook will spark a rivalry over both Courage's affections and bread. When both men believe that Courage has rejected them, they reminisce about the good times they shared together in the service of the Swedish Commander. Apparently, like Courage, they have learned little from their suffering during the war.
The Cook
The Chaplain's rival for Courage's affections and bread, the Cook is an aging Don Juan, a bachelor long past his days as the dashing Peter Piper who seduced girls like Yvette. Darkly ironic, he is aware of the war as a continuation of business as usual, continually unmasking the divinely inspired military campaign as another massive profit scheme. In understanding his social position, he bears no loyalty to the rulers who would exploit him. As he tells the Chaplain, he does not eat the King's bread but bakes it. He comes to Mother Courage when penniless, their courtship consisting of their accounts of their respective ruin.

Mother Courage and Her Children Summary-Major Themes

Major Themes
Lower Classes during Wartime
From the first image--a nameless "Sergeant" and "Recruiting Officer" freezing in a field--Brecht's play sets its focus firmly on the lower classes affected by wars. No historically significant figures (General Tilly or the Kaiser, for example) make appearances in the play, being mentioned only in passing. Mother Courage, her family, and her companions are all the "little people," and it is their story which Brecht finds interesting. They usually are unable to extract any benefit from the war. Notice, too, how often minor characters in the play are given only a profession or a description rather than a proper name: we have peasants, numerous soldiers, generals, clerks, captains, officers, and even chaplains. This is not just because they are stock characters.
Key scenes to analyze in writing about this theme: Scenes 1, 5, 11, and 12.
"Parachutists are dropped like bombs," Brecht once wrote, "and bombs do not need courage. Real courage would be refusing to get into the plane in the first place." This idea points toward the remarkable irony with which Mother Courage's nickname is imbued. That is, the play suggests that her courage is as questionable as her motherhood. She gets her nickname from driving loaves through the bombardment of Riga before they become too moldy (see Scene 1), but this might be rashness rather than true courage. Moreover, in light of Brecht's lines above, real courageousness seems to involve opting out of the war and its capitalism altogether, something Mother Courage never does, although it is hard to see her alternatives as one of the "little people."
Mother Courage herself seems to see this idea: real courage requires persistence enough to make a significant, life-threatening change, as Kattrin does at the end of Scene 11. Consider when Mother Courage advises the young soldier about the Great Capitulation in Scene 4--but this insight does not survive with her to the end of the play.
Key scenes to analyze in writing about this theme: Scenes 1, 2, 4, and 11.
Families and Parenthood
The play examines war not just as a capitalistic system but also on a domestic level. It is central to the emotional impact of the play that it is about a mother and her children. Mother Courage's treatment of (particularly) Kattrin and Swiss Cheese emphasizes the difficulty of combining her role of "mother" with her professional role of "canteen woman." One of the play's key questions is whether her trading helps or hinders her family--it is the only way for them to survive, but it results in the deaths of all of her children. Significantly, whenever one of the children die, Brecht ensures that Mother Courage is distracted by business affairs.
It also is interesting to examine Kattrin's journey (as by far the most important of the children) through the play in light of how far her development, desires, and growing sexuality are repressed and damaged by the fact that her mother is a wartime canteen woman.
Key scenes to analyze in writing about this theme: Scenes 1, 3, 9, 11, and 12.
War as Capitalism
Brecht was a lifelong socialist. After the First World War, the idea began to become more popular that war was often associated with financial gain. From this point of view, Brecht's purpose in writing the play was to show that in wartime "you need a big pair of scissors in order to get your cut." War, as the play portrays it, is itself a capitalist system designed to make profit for just a few players, and it is perpetuated for that purpose.
Therefore, despite the fact that she is constantly trying to make profit from it, Mother Courage is destined to lose by trading during the war; only the fat cats at the top of the system have a real chance of profiting from it. People in this play are always looking to get their cut, large or small, and it is no accident that the original text repeats the verb kriegen, to "wage"--that is, to wage war (Krieg), but also meaning to "get" or "acquire."
Key scenes to analyze in writing about this theme: Scenes 1, 3, and 7.
Silence and Dumbness
Kattrin's dumbness is deeply symbolic. That is, real virtue and goodness are silenced in the time of war. Brecht even makes clear that Kattrin's dumbness is due directly to the war: "a soldier stuck something in her mouth when she was small." The play itself deals similarly with several significant silences: Mother Courage's refusal to complain after the Song of the Great Capitulation, the chaplain's denial of his own faith when the Catholics arrive in Scene 3 ("All good Catholics here!"), and the way Mother Courage denies her own son at the end of the scene, first in life and then in death. Weigel's silent scream at the end of this scene is itself an emblem of how war neuters human response.
An antithesis to dumbness is eloquence, and Kattrin's death (itself conducted through loud noises, and answered by the noises from the town after she has died) is perhaps the single most eloquent act in the play.
Key scenes to analyze in writing about this theme: Scenes 3, 6, and 11.
A common critical discussion about the play is whether or not it is a tragedy. Brecht perhaps did not write it as one, titling his play "A Chronicle of the Thirty Years' War" and aiming to make connections to contemporary issues. But some critics have argued that, in line with Brecht's guidance about Mother Courage's failure to learn, the play is perhaps Mother Courage's tragedy. After all, her children die and she never profits appreciably from the war.
Such a discussion depends much on how "tragedy" is defined. For instance, it is worth noting that, in addition to Mother Courage's failure to learn, Brecht assigns each of her children a "tragic flaw" which is repeated throughout the play: Eilif is "dashing," Swiss Cheese is "honest," and Kattrin "suffers from pity."
To research this theme more, after reading a theoretical work on tragedy (such as Aristotle's Poetics), one could ask the following questions: is Mother Courage herself responsible for the events of the play? That is, would events go differently if only Mother Courage were different? Does the play arouse a catharsis as the curtain comes down? Is the play merely sad or a true tragedy?
Key scenes to analyze in writing about this theme: Scenes 1, 4, 6, and 12.
Brecht's view of religion in this play is blatantly clear: it is of little help, and is often a hindrance, during wartime. Religion is portrayed through the sniveling, hypocritical figure of the Chaplain, and it has little positive role to play. The Chaplain changes his allegiances (for example, dusting out his clerical robes when peace is announced) at the drop of a hat (see Scene 6 for the point at which his character becomes clearest). At the very end, the prayers of the peasants are juxtaposed with Kattrin climbing the rooftop, suggesting ineffective inaction among the religious versus effective action by Kattrin.
The text, like all of Brecht's work, is steeped in a complex knowledge of the Old Testament, but the play itself makes little concession to religion as a positive influence on society.
Key scenes to analyze in writing about this theme: Scenes 2, 3, 6, and 8.
War as Order
In the first scene, there is a grotesque description of how the citizens of the world rely on war to hold civilization together. An audience member might be forgiven for dismissing it as an opening joke. Yet, the idea of war as order, "peace as war undeclared," as the Chaplain has it--recurs throughout, and the Chaplain believably expresses very similar sentiments at various points in the play.
Mother Courage herself is an emblem of the way the play's society seems to depend upon the perpetuity of war and, for the brief time while peace is declared, peace is often described as a disaster rather than the end of a devastating war. Is war actually the axis on which the society of the play turns? Is the nature of man antagonistic rather than cooperative?
Key scenes to analyze in writing about this theme: Scenes 1, 5, 6, 7, and 8.
Feeding the War
Scene 2, outside and inside the General's kitchen, introduces the Cook and the idea of "feeding the war." The Cook's name is "Lamb," and though he becomes a sacrificial lamb later in the play when the food runs out, the idea of being a lamb also suggests a way that his role reflects the mission of the whole army. The play opens with a conversation between a sergeant and a recruiting officer about how difficult it is to find enough soldiers to fill the quota--the war's appetite is greater than the available resources can satisfy. The Cook and the whole army feed society's appetite for war.
Throughout the play, nevertheless, starvation recurs. The lack of men in Scene 1 becomes the more literal lack of good meat in Scene 2. The lack of such food, by the bleak ending of the play, has become manifest across the whole country. In Scene 9, trade has had to stop because food is no longer growing.

Mother Courage and Her Children Summary

The play is set in Europe during the Thirty Years' War. Mother Courage, a canteen woman, pulls her cart with her three children (Eilif, Kattrin, and Swiss Cheese) in the wake of the army, trading with the soldiers and attempting to make profit from the war.
We are first introduced to a Recruiting Officer and a Sergeant, who complain about the difficulty of recruiting soldiers for the war. Mother Courage's cart is pulled on and, distracting her with the promise of a transaction, the Recruiting Officer leads Eilif off. One of her children is now gone.
Two years later, we find Mother Courage haggling with the General's Cook over a capon. On the other side of the stage, Eilif is praised by the General for heroically slaughtering some peasants and stealing their cattle. Eilif sings "The Song of the Girl and the Soldier," and his mother joins in. She then berates him for risking his life so stupidly.
Three years later, Swiss Cheese has taken a job as the regiment's paymaster. Yvette Pottier, the camp prostitute, sings "The Song of Fraternization" to warn Kattrin about the horrors of a relationship with a soldier. The Cook and the Chaplain arrive to greet Mother Courage with a message from Eilif, and there is suddenly a Catholic attack. The Chaplain discards his robes, and Swiss Cheese hides the regiment's paybox.
Later the same evening, Swiss Cheese is followed when he attempts to return the paybox to his General but is captured. Mother Courage mortgages her cart to Yvette and tries to bargain with the soldiers using the money--but she bargains for too long, and Swiss Cheese is shot. Mother Courage denies his body when it is brought to her to be identified, so it is thrown into a pit.
The next scene finds Mother Courage waiting to complain outside the Captain's tent. She sings the "Song of the Great Capitulation" to a young soldier who also has come to complain to the Captain. The song, which has the moral "everyone gives in sooner or later," leads to the soldier's storming out, and Courage herself ends up deciding that she doesn't want to complain.
On the day of the funeral of General Tilly, Mother Courage undertakes a stock check, and she talks at length with the Chaplain about whether or not the war will continue. He convinces her that it will, so she decides to invest in more stock for her cart. The Chaplain suggests that Mother Courage could marry him, but he is rejected. Kattrin appears and returns to her mother, severely disfigured, having collected some merchandise. Mother Courage thus curses the war.
In the following brief scene, Courage sings a song that praises the war as a good provider. Business is good for now.
Two peasants wake up Mother Courage, trying to sell her some bedding, shortly before the news breaks that peace has broken out. The Cook returns, unpaid by the regiment, and he instigates an argument between Mother Courage and the Chaplain. Yvette makes her second appearance, now a rich widow, much older and fatter, and reveals that the Cook was once her lover. Mother Courage leaves for the town, and Eilif is dragged along by soldiers. Again he has slaughtered some peasants and stolen their cattle, but it is now peacetime. He is executed for it, but his mother never finds out. She returns with the news that the war is back on again, and she now returns to business with the Cook in tow.
The seventeenth year of the war finds the world in a bleak condition, with nothing to trade and nothing to eat. The Cook inherits an inn in Utrecht and invites Mother Courage to run it with him, but he refuses to take Kattrin. Mother Courage is forced to turn him down, so the two go their separate ways. Pulling the wagon by themselves, Mother Courage and Kattrin hear an anonymous voice singing about the pleasure of having plenty.
The Catholics are besieging the Protestant town of Halle, and Mother Courage is away in the town, trading. Sleeping outside a peasant family's house, Kattrin is woken by their search party, who take one of the peasants with them as a guide. The peasant couple prays for the safety of those in the town, but Kattrin, unseen, gets a drum from the cart and climbs onto the roof. She beats the drum to try to awake the townspeople so that the siege can be anticipated. The soldiers return and shoot her, but before she dies, she is successful in awakening the town.
The next morning, Mother Courage sings a lullaby over her daughter's corpse, pays the peasants to bury her, and harnesses herself, alone, to the cart. The cart rolls back into action, but it is easier to pull now, since there is so little left in it to sell.

Mother Courage and her Children-Plot Overview

Mother Courage and her Children-Plot Overview
Mother Courage opens in Dalarna, spring 1624, in the midst of the Thirty Years War. A Sergeant and Recruiting Officer are seeking soldiers for the Swedish campaign in Poland. A canteen wagon appears, bearing the infamous Mother Courage, her dumb daughter, Kattrin, and her sons, Eilif and Swiss Cheese.
The Recruiting Officer attempts to seduce Eilif into the army. Courage demands that he leaves her children alone. The Sergeant protests and asks why, since Courage lives off the war, it should not ask something of her in return. When Eilif admits that he would like to sign up, Courage foretells the fate of her children: Eilif will die for his bravery, Swiss Cheese for his honesty, and Kattrin for her kindness. Courage readies to leave. The Recruiting Officer presses the Sergeant to stop them. While the Sergeant feigns to buy one of Courage's belts, the Recruiting Officer takes Eilif away.
In 1626, Courage appears beside the tent of the Swedish Commander, arguing with the Cook over the sale of a capon. The Commander, a Chaplain, and Eilif enter the tent, the Commander lauding his brave soldier for raiding the local peasants. Courage remarks that trouble must be afoot. If the campaign was any good, he would not need brave soldiers. Courage reunites with her son.
Three years later, Courage and Kattrin appear folding washing on a cannon with Swiss Cheese, now a paymaster, and Yvette Pottier, the camp prostitute, look on. Yvette recounts the story of her lost beau, Peter Piper.
The Chaplain and Cook appear and they talk about politics. The Cook remarks ironically that their king is lucky to have his campaign justified by God: otherwise, he could be accused of seeking profit alone. Suddenly cannons explode; the Catholics have launched a surprise attack. The Cook departs for the Commander. Swiss arrives and hides his regiment's cash box in the wagon.
Three days later, the remaining characters sit eating anxiously. When Courage and the Chaplain go to town, Swiss departs to return the cash box unaware that an enemies are lurking about to arrest him. When Courage and the Chaplain return, two men bring in Swiss. Mother and son pretend to not know each other.
That evening, Kattrin and the Chaplain appear rinsing glasses. An excited Courage enters, declaring that they can buy Swiss' freedom. Yvette has picked up an old Colonel who will buy the canteen; Courage only plans to pawn and reclaim it after two weeks with the money from the cash box. Thanking God for corruption, Courage sends Yvette to bribe One Eye with the 200 guilders.
Yvette reports that the enemy has agreed. Swiss, however, has thrown the cash box into the river. Courage hesitates, thinking that she will not be able to reclaim the wagon. Courage proposes a new offer, 120 guilders. Yvette returns, saying that they rejected it, and Swiss' execution is imminent. Drums roll in the distance. Two men enter with a stretcher, asking Courage if she can identify Swiss Cheese's body. Courage shakes her head, consigning the body to the carrion pit.
Courage then appears outside an officer's tent, planning to file a complaint over the destruction of her merchandise. A Young Soldier enters, threatening the captain's murder. Apparently he has stolen his reward for rescuing the Colonel's horse. Courage tells him to quiet down, since his rage will not last. Defeated, the soldier leaves, and Courage follows.
Two years pass, and the wagon stands in a war-ravaged village. The Chaplain staggers in; there is another wounded family of peasants in the farmhouse. He needs linen. Courage refuses, as she will not sacrifice her officers' shirts. The Chaplain lifts her off the wagon and takes the shirts.
The canteen sits before the funeral of Commander Tilly in 1632. Mother Courage and Kattrin take inventory inside the canteen tent. Courage asks the Chaplain if the war will end—she needs to know if she should buy more supplies. The Chaplain responds that war always finds a way. Courage resolves to buy new supplies, and sends Kattrin to town. Kattrin returns with a wound across her eye and forehead, as she was attacked en route. Counting the scattered merchandise, Courage curses the war. Immediately afterward she appears at the height of prosperity, dragging her new wares along a highway. She celebrates war as her breadwinner.
A year later, voices announce that peace has been declared. Suddenly the Cook arrives, bedraggled and penniless. Courage and Cook flirt as they recount their respective ruin. The Chaplain emerges, and the men begin to argue, fighting for the feedbag. When Courage defends the Cook, the Chaplain calls her a "hyena of the battlefield." Courage suggests they part company. Suddenly an older, fatter, and heavily powdered Yvette enters. The widow of a colonel, she has come to visit Courage. When she sees the Cook, she unmasks him as the Peter Piper that ruined her years ago. Courage calms her and takes her to town.
Both men are now convinced that they are lost. Eilif then enters in fetters. He faces execution for another of his raids and has come to see his mother for the last time. The soldiers take him away and cannons thunder. Courage appears, breathless. The war resumed three days ago and they must flee with the wagon. She invites the Cook to join her, hoping that she will see Eilif soon.
It is autumn of 1634. A hard winter has come early. Courage and the Cook appear in rags before a parsonage. Abruptly the Cook tells her that he has received a letter from Utrecht saying that his mother has died and left him the family inn. He invites her to join him there. However, they must leave Kattrin behind. Kattrin overhears their conversation.
Calling to the parsonage, the Cook then sings "The Song of the Great Souls of the Earth" for food. It recounts how the great souls meet their dark fates on account of their respective virtues—wisdom, bravery, honesty, and kindness. Courage decides she cannot leave her daughter. Kattrin climbs out of the wagon, planning to flee, but Courage stops her. They depart.
It is January 1636 and the wagon stands near a farmhouse outside Halle. Kattrin is inside; her mother has gone to town to buy supplies. Out of the woods come a Catholic Lieutenant and three soldiers, seeking a guide to the town. The Catholic regiment readies for a surprise attack. Convinced there is nothing they can do, the peasants begin to pray. Quietly Kattrin climbs on the roof and begins to beat a drum. The soldiers shoot Kattrin. Her final drumbeats mingle with the thunder of a cannon. She has saved the town.
Toward morning, Courage sits by Kattrin's body in front of the wagon. Courage sings Kattrin a lullaby. The peasants bring her to her senses and offer to bury her daughter. Courage pays them and harnesses herself to the wagon. "I must get back into business" she resolves and moves after the regiment.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Phonetics and Phonology

Phonetics means the science or study of speech sounds and their production, transmission, and perception, and their analysis, classification, and transcription.

Phonetics (from the Greek: φωνή, phōnē, "sound, voice") is a branch of linguistics that comprises the study of the sounds of human speech, or—in the case of sign languages—the equivalent aspects of sign.[1] It is concerned with the physical properties of speech sounds or signs (phones): their physiological production, acoustic properties, auditory perception, and neurophysiological status. Phonology, on the other hand, is concerned with the abstract, grammatical characterization of systems of sounds or signs.
The field of phonetics is a multiple layered subject of linguistics that focuses on speech. In the case of oral languages there are three basic areas of study:

•Articulatory phonetics: the study of the production of speech sounds by the articulatory and vocal tract by the speaker

•Acoustic phonetics: the study of the physical transmission of speech sounds from the speaker to the listener

•Auditory Phonetics: the study of the reception and perception of speech sounds by the listener

Phonetics and Phonology

Phonetics and phonology are two branches of linguistics that deal primarily with the structure of human language sounds. Phonetics focuses on the physical manifestations of speech sounds and on theories of speech production and perception. Phonology is concerned with the systems of rules or constraints that determine how the sounds of a language combine and influence one another.
Most phonetic work falls into the sub-field of articulatory phonetics (the study of the human vocal tract, the International Phonetic Alphabet, and how to make and describe language sounds), but with recent advances in computers and the availability of good phonetics software, there has been a recent boom in acoustic research (the physical properties of sounds-wave forms, pitch, intensity, spectrograms).
Phonology cares about the entire sound system for a given language. The goal is to formulate a model/theory which explains not only the sound patterns found in a particular language, but the patterns found in all languages. Examples of questions which are interesting to phonologists are: How do sounds change due to the sounds around them? (For example, why does the plural of cat end with an 's'-sound, the plural of dog end with a 'z'-sound, and the plural of dish end in something sounding like 'iz'?) How do sounds combine in a particular language? (For example, English allows’t’ and 'b' to be followed by 'l' - rattle, rabble, atlas, ablative - so why then does 'blick' sound like a possible word in English when 'tlick' does not?)

Phonology (from Ancient Greek: φωνή, phōnḗ, "voice, sound" and λόγος, lógos, "word, speech, subject of discussion") is, broadly speaking, the sub discipline of linguistics concerned with "the sounds of language".[1] That is, it is the systematic use of sound to encode meaning in any spoken human language, or the field of linguistics studying this use.[2] In more narrow terms, "phonology proper is concerned with the function, behaviour and organization of sounds as linguistic items".[1] Just as a language has syntax and vocabulary, it also has a phonology in the sense of a sound system. When describing the formal area of study, the term typically describes linguistic analysis either beneath the word (e.g., syllable, onset and rhyme,phoneme, articulatory gestures, articulatory feature, mora, etc.) or to units at all levels of language that are thought to structure sound for conveying linguistic.
It is viewed as the subfield of linguistics that deals with the sound systems of languages. Whereas phonetics is about the physical production, acoustic transmission and perception of the sounds of speech,[1][3] phonology describes the way sounds function within a given language or across languages to encode meaning. The term "phonology" was used in the linguistics of a greater part of the 20th century as a cover term uniting phonemics and phonetics. Current phonology can interface with disciplines such as psycholinguistics and speech perception, resulting in specific areas like articulatory or laboratory phonology.
An important part of traditional forms of phonology has been studying which sounds can be grouped into distinctive units within a language; these units are known as phonemes. For example, in English, the [p] sound in pot is aspirated (pronounced [pʰ]), while the word- and syllable-final [p] in soup is not aspirated (indeed, it might be realized as a glottal stop). However, English speakers intuitively treat both sounds as variations (allophones) of the same phonological category, that is, of the phoneme /p/. Traditionally, it would be argued that if a word-initial aspirated [p] were interchanged with the word-final unaspirated [p] in soup, they would still be perceived by native speakers of English as "the same" /p/. However, speech perception findings now put this theory in doubt.[citation needed] Although some sort of "sameness" of these two sounds holds in English, it is not universal and may be absent in other languages. For example, in Thai, Hindi, and Quechua, aspiration and non-aspiration differentiates phonemes: that is, there are word pairs that differ only in this feature (there are minimal pairs differing only in aspiration).
In addition to the minimal units that can serve the purpose of differentiating meaning (the phonemes), phonology studies how sounds alternate, i.e. replace one another in different forms of the same morpheme (allomorphs), as well as, e.g., syllable structure, stress, accent, and intonation.
The principles of phonological theory have also been applied to the analysis of sign languages, even though the sub-lexical units are not instantiated as speech sounds. The principles of phonological analysis can be applied independently of modality because they are designed to serve as general analytical tools, not language-specific ones. On the other hand, it must be noted, it is difficult to analyze phonologically a language one does not speak, and most phonological analysis takes place with recourse to phonetic information.

The vowels of modern (Standard) Arabic and (Israeli) Hebrew from the phonemic point of view Note the intersection of the two circles—the distinction between short a, i and u is made by both speakers, but Arabic lacks the mid articulation of short vowels, while Hebrew lacks the distinction of vowel length.
The writing systems of some languages are based on the phonemic principle of having one letter (or combination of letters) per phoneme and vice-versa. Ideally, speakers can correctly write whatever they can say, and can correctly read anything that is written. However in English, different spellings can be used for the same phoneme (e.g., rude and food have the same vowel sounds), and the same letter (or combination of letters) can represent different phonemes (e.g., the "th" consonant sounds of thin and this are different). In order to avoid this confusion based on orthography, phonologists represent phonemes by writing them between two slashes: " / / ". On the other hand, reference to variations of phonemes or attempts at representing actual speech sounds are usually enclosed by square brackets: " [ ] ". While the letters between slashes may be based on spelling conventions, the letters between square brackets are usually the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) or some other phonetic transcription system. Additionally, angled brackets " ⟨ ⟩ " can be used to isolate the graphemes of an alphabetic writing system.

The vowels of modern (Standard) Arabic and (Israeli) Hebrew from the phonetic point of view.Note that the two circles are totally separate—none of the vowel-sounds made by speakers of one language is made by speakers of the other. One modern theory is that Israeli Hebrew's phonology reflects Yiddish elements, not Semitic ones.
Part of the phonological study of a language involves looking at data (phonetic transcriptions of the speech of native speakers) and trying to deduce what the underlying phonemes are and what the sound inventory of the language is. Even though a language may make distinctions between a small number of phonemes, speakers actually produce many more phonetic sounds. Thus, a phoneme in a particular language can be instantiated in many ways.
Traditionally, looking for minimal pairs forms part of the research in studying the phoneme inventory of a language. A minimal pair is a pair of words from the same language, that differ by only a single categorical sound, and that are recognized by speakers as being two different words. When there is a minimal pair, the two sounds are said to be examples of realizations of distinct phonemes. However, since it is often impossible to detect or agree to the existence of all the possible phonemes of a language with this method, other approaches are used as well.
Phonemic distinctions or allophones
If two similar sounds do not belong to separate phonemes, they are called allophones of the same underlying phoneme. For instance, voiceless stops (/p/, /t/, /k/) can be aspirated. In English, voiceless stops at the beginning of a stressed syllable (but not after /s/) areaspirated, whereas after /s/ they are not aspirated. This can be seen by putting the fingers right in front of the lips and noticing the difference in breathiness in saying pin versus spin. There is no English word pin that starts with an unaspirated p, therefore in English, aspirated [pʰ] (the [ʰ] means aspirated) and unaspirated [p] are allophones of the same phoneme /p/. This is an example of acomplementary distribution.
The /t/ sounds in the words tub, stub, but, butter, and button are all pronounced differently in American English, yet are all intuited to be of "the same sound", therefore they constitute another example of allophones of the same phoneme in English. However, an intuition such as this could be interpreted as a function of post-lexical recognition of the sounds. That is, all are seen as examples of English /t/ once the word itself has been recognized.
The findings and insights of speech perception and articulation research complicates this idea of interchangeable allophones being perceived as the same phoneme, no matter how attractive it might be for linguists who wish to rely on the intuitions of native speakers. First, interchanged allophones of the same phoneme can result in unrecognizable words. Second, actual speech, even at a word level, is highly co-articulated, so it is problematic to think that one can splice words into simple segments without affecting speech perception. In other words, interchanging allophones is a nice idea for intuitive linguistics, but it turns out that this idea cannot transcend what co-articulation actually does to spoken sounds. Yet human speech perception is so robust and versatile (happening under various conditions) because, in part, it can deal with such co-articulation.
There are different methods for determining why allophones should fall categorically under a specified phoneme. Counter-intuitively, the principle of phonetic similarity is not always used. This tends to make the phoneme seem abstracted away from the phonetic realities of speech. It should be remembered that, just because allophones can be grouped under phonemes for the purpose of linguistic analysis, this does not necessarily mean that this is an actual process in the way the human brain processes a language. On the other hand, it could be pointed out that some sort of analytic notion of a language beneath the word level is usual if the language is written alphabetically. So one could also speak of a phonology of reading and writing.
Change of a phoneme inventory over time
The particular sounds which are phonemic in a language can change over time. At one time, [f] and [v] were allophones in English, but these later changed into separate phonemes. This is one of the main factors of historical change of languages as described in historical linguistics.