Thursday, June 14, 2012

John Donne

John Donne (1572-1631) is credited with the honour of being the poet who broke the Petrarchan tradition in England and created a new mode of poetry. Rather than a complete breach, Donne's poetry is a widening of the scope of the Elizabethan tradition. He implements already existing modes in every aspect: new metrical schemes (although he will return to the sonnet in his last works), a rich and original imagery, a colloquial, conversational tone, and a mingling of intellect and passion which disconcerted his contemporaries: he and his followers were labeled as "metaphysical poets." Not that Donne's poems have any philosophical intention: his themes are the traditional ones, although renewed by a new attitude: love, religious feeling and satire. The love poems correspond roughly to the early period of his career. He abandons the rigid Elizabethan conventions, which sprung from Petrarchism, and adds realism, sincerity, psychological penetration and a great variety of moods enhanced with images taken from every field of experience. Some of his love poems are harsh and cynical; others are nearly ecstatic, and celebrate love as the supreme thing in the world. The most famous among these are "The Sun Rising," "The Dreame" and "The Good-Morrow". Love as the supreme experience suggests to Donne connections between it and other aspects of reality: everything can be used to try to describe an ineffable feeling. His imagery ranges from the vulgar to the sublime, from daily activities to old scientific theories; it may be of a deplorable bad taste or combine sheer originality with beauty and accuracy. It is never ornamental: the poet seems to think that sensation must be subordinated to thought. Much the same happens with the sound pattern of his poems, which is very far away from the smoothness of previous poets. Rhythm is secondary; at its best, it merely helps to underline ideas.
 The Good-Morrow
I wonder by my troth, what thou, and I
Did, till we lov'd? Were we not wean'd till then?
But suck'd on countrey pleasures, childishly?
Or snorted we in the seaven sleepers den?
T'was so; But this, all pleasures fancies bee.
If ever any beauty I did see,
Which I desir'd, and got, 'twas but a dreame of thee.

And now good morrow to our waking soules,
Which watch not one another out of feare;
For love, all love of other sights controules,
And makes one little roome, an every where.
Let sea-discoverers to new worlds have gone,
Let Maps to other, worlds on worlds have showne,
Let us possesse one world; each hath one, and is one.
My face in thine eye, thine in mine appeares,
And true plaine hearts doe in the faces rest,
Where can we finde two better hemispheares
Without sharpe North, without declining West?
What ever dyes, was not mixed equally;
If our two loves be one, or, thou and I
Love so alike, that none doe slacken, none can die.
This is one of Donne's best known poems, and a perfect sample of his way. The subject is love, love seen as an intense, absolute experience, which isolates the lovers from reality, but gives them a different kind of awareness; a simultaneous narrowing and widening of reality.
The poem is divided in three stanzas. In the first one, the lover rejects the life he led until he met his present love. He describes it as childish ("were we not weaned," "childishly") and unconscious, a kind of sleep ("Or snorted we in the Seven Sleepers' den"?). His past loves must not be considered as serious, since he was not completely aware of himself at the time. So, they are rejected:
 . . . But this, all pleasures fancies be;
If ever any beauty I did see,
Which I desired, and got, 'twas but a dream of thee.
  The second stanza is, in contrast, a celebration of the present. Each soul has "awakened" to the other, and has discovered a whole world in it. The union is self-sufficient; the "little room" where they are is all the world, "an everywhere." Consequently, the outer world is rejected, under the symbols of maps and discoverers. Up to now, the poet has cut off his superfluous experience; past time (the first stanza), external space (2nd stanza). He seems to be saying "Here and now."
 The third stanza shows the perfect sincerity and adequation of both lovers, and it adds a hope for the future to that assertion of the present we have met in the first stanza. This perfect love is not only immortal: it makes the lovers immortal, too:
 If our two love be one, or thou and I
Love so alike that none do slacken, none can die. 
D.N. Aloysius

Wednesday, June 13, 2012


Television is regarded as one of the miracles of the modern science. There are many sources of getting information in the world today. Radio, television, telex, fax, E-mail and internet are some of them. Out of all these sources television has become the most powerful source of getting information. A television has two fold benefits. We can see and also listen to the important incidents that take place in different parts of the world.
Mankind is indebted to Baird, a famous scientist who invented the television. Television plays an important role in the modern society. Several programs are telecast with the help of satellites. The introduction of color T.V has made this medium very popular and effective. Business community, farmers, teachers, students and in short, every section of the society derive benefits from this medium. Very valuable educational programs are telecast almost every day. They are very useful to school children. Screen education has a great educative value. It has been revealed that any subject could be taught through the T.V. The students gain a lot from T.V. lessons, because the material taught is the outcome of the experience of best available teachers.
Television gives mental satisfaction to all. After a day’s hard work, one can comfortably sit and enjoy various programmers such as movies, dramas, musical concerts, quiz programmers and cartoons. News program too has become very popular. Incidents that take place around the world are shown with pictures.
The T.V. has also brought about a silent revolution in the present day society. Even farmers and workers find it useful and enjoyable. It not only entertains them but also educates them. There are special programs on agriculture. A lot of useful knowledge and information could be imparted to them through this medium. They get valuable instructions from the experts in the field of agriculture.
Now let’s look at the bad effects of the T.V. Parents and teachers complain that children neglect their studies because of the television. They also say that some programs are not at all suitable for children. There is another complaint to the effect that most programs show anti – social activities such as murder and robberies. They say that these programmers corrupt the minds of the younger generation. There form the authorities concerned should look into this matter and take immediate action to remedy the situation. Anything becomes good or bad by the way it is used. Parents should not allow their children to watch such programs.–-it’s-good-and-bad-effects...13.06.2012
D.N. Aloysius

Sense and Sensibility - Major Themes-Adv.Level-2013

Laws surrounding inheritance are what put the Dashwood women in limbo at the beginning of the novel; and their lack of money, compounded with their inability to work, means that they cannot ease their situation, except through marrying well. Money also dictates the eligibility of Elinor and Marianne, as women with larger dowries are of course seen as better prospects for marriage.
There are very definite gender limitations involved in the society Austen describes; women cannot own property, are expected to stay in the home, marry, and be polite and good company. Men can decide whether or not to pursue a career if they have enough money, and have more latitude within society in regards to their behavior and life choices. Gender dictates acceptable roles and behavior, and even in the world of the novel, there is little room to deviate.
Expectations vs. reality
This is an especially important theme with regard to Marianne and her mother, whose romantic characters lead them to expect greater drama or trauma than actually appears. But reality always tends to subvert expectations, whether in life or in art, as accidents and unexpected twists and turns happen to everyone.
For Marianne and Elinor, marriage is not a choice, but a necessity; and their need to marry expediently and well is a pressing concern in the novel, as they look for suitors. Young men may choose more freely when and whom they marry, and Colonel Brandon is even 35 and still unmarried; but even for women who have money, marriage is necessary to secure their social positions and ensure financial stability for the future.
Of the utmost importance in polite society, where it is not to one's advantage to let people know all that you think and feel. Marianne's lack of discretion leads to a great deal of gossip and a very public snubbing by Willoughby; lack of discretion in many others indicates poor manners and a lack of refinement.
Appearance vs. reality
Pertains to character especially, as many characters in the novel present themselves as one thing, and end up being another. Willoughby is the prime example of this, as he seems romantic, open, and genuine, but ends up exposing himself as vain, idle, and cruel. Also pertains to Lucy Steele, who ends up conniving, despite her innocent appearance.
Expectation and disappointment
Throughout the novel, many characters develop expectations based on sparse evidence or faulty perceptions; this, of course, leads to disappointment as reality proves very different. Joyful expectations are often dashed by harsher turns of events, as Marianne is extremely disappointed by her expectation of being married to Willoughby, and is pushed away.
Usually an indication of wrongdoing on someone's part, as is especially evident in Willoughby; his sudden unwillingness to share information with Marianne and the Dashwoods indicates mistakes made on his part. On the other hand, as with Edward, secrecy can be a sign of discretion, though when his secret is revealed it is damaging as Willoughby's is.
In interactions with other people, judgment is always at work; a person must determine who a person really is and what they want, in order to avoid those who could potentially be hurtful. These judgments can be flighty and unjust, as Marianne's appraisals of most of her acquaintance are, or blinded by kindness, as Mrs. Jennings' judgment of Lucy Steele is.
Relates mostly to Lucy Steele, and is the prime determinant of her behavior toward Elinor. Willoughby also becomes jealous of Colonel Brandon marrying Marianne, and other, petty jealousies become evident in characters. Indicates insecurity, or poor character.
Self-sacrifice and selfishness
Elinor especially is a model of self-sacrifice, deciding to go to London for her sister's happiness, and trying her best to be civil to everyone to make up for Marianne's uncivil behavior. Marianne is the opposite, caring only for herself and her feelings; she needs Elinor's help and goodwill to get by, but needs to learn how to be giving toward others in order to become her own, independent person.
A vast number of characters in the novel embody this trait to varying degrees; John and Fanny, Lady Middleton, the Steele girls, Mrs. Ferrars, and Robert, among others, tend toward hypocritical displays of self-serving flattery, vanity, and professing opinions they do not believe in for self-gain or to get ahead with others. Unfortunately, none of these characters is taught any better in the course of the novel, as hypocrisy is an unavoidable part of human nature, and almost a part of polite society as well.
Marianne must learn moderation of her emotions if she is to become independent of Elinor and become an adult; her trials serve to teach her about her excesses, and luckily, she does come to improve herself and become a much better, more caring person toward others.
D.N. Aloysius

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Felix Randal-Adv. L New Syllabus

FELIX RANDAL the farrier, O he is dead then? my duty all ended,
Who have watched his mould of man, big-boned and hardy-handsome
Pining, pining, till time when reason rambled in it and some
Fatal four disorders, fleshed there, all contended?

Sickness broke him. Impatient he cursed at first, but mended
Being anointed and all; though a heavenlier heart began some
Months earlier, since I had our sweet reprieve and ransom
Tendered to him. Ah well, God rest him all road ever he offended!

This seeing the sick endears them to us, us too it endears.
My tongue had taught thee comfort, touch had quenched thy tears,
Thy tears that touched my heart, child, Felix, poor Felix Randal;

How far from then forethought of, all thy more boisterous years,
When thou at the random grim forge, powerful amidst peers,
Didst fettle for the great grey drayhorse his bright and battering sandal!

Felix Randal is a sonnet about a farrier, a blacksmith from Hopkins' parish. It reflects on the farrier Felix Randal's dying, his last illness, and the priest's compassion for him and on his former strength.
In the first quatrain, Hopkins sketches the course of the farrier's illness as the large man faded away until his thoughts became confused and four different disorders combined to kill him.
In the second quatrain, the poet examines Felix's spiritual state. Initially, the farrier cursed the loss of his former strength, but he became more patient as his religious faith increased. He received "the sweet reprieve and ransom" in the sacrament of the Holy Commission, which carries with it the promise of forgiveness and new life. Hopkins later anointed him with holy oil. The poet implores God to forgive any sin the farrier must have committed.
In the sestet the poet states that looking after the sick can endear a priest in two ways - he may receive affectionate gratitude from those he tends; and, secondly, knowing that he is doing something worthwhile might make him less discontented with himself. The comfort that the priest gave is perhaps the knowledge of God's love, and his touch is perhaps the giving of a blessing. Poor Felix, who is addressed as a child, is childlike in his helplessness, and also a child of God in the eyes of the priest.
In the final tercet the priest contrasts the last feeble days of the farrier with his earlier years, before death or sickness were ever forethought of. He was then strong "big-boned and hardy-handsome," and had an abundance of energy. His personality harmonized with his smithy (blacksmith's workshop) - the forge built of random or rough stone, the powerful men, the big horses.
The sonnet depicts two kinds of work - the farrier using his physical strength at the forge, and the priest doing his work among the sick and the dying with another kind of strength.
The poem is remarkable in its use of Sprung Rhythm, which is a metre based on the counting of stresses (Stress rhythm) instead of the counting of the syllables (running rhythm). Each line of this poem contains six beats, with plentiful alliteration and compound words.
In this sonnet Hopkins reflects on the long illness and death of Felix Randal, the farrier. The poet watched this "big-boned and hardy-handsome" man decline, until he was broken by "some / fatal four disorders" and his "reason rambled . . . . " At first Randal had railed against his fate, but later, anointed by the poet-priest, he developed a "heavenlier heart" and "sweet reprieve."
The poet reflects on his role as a spiritual healer: "This seeing the sick endears them to us, us too it endears." While the priestly tongue and touch refreshed Felix Randal in his illness, Randal's tears also touched the priest's heart, and so he is left with a sense of loss and mourning when the man dies.
The most important line (9) of this sonnet is: "This seeing the sick endears them to us, us too it endears." While the poet is actually a priest referring to spiritual healing, his sentiment expresses a central truth of any healing relationship. Caring for the ill (in the sense of doing things for them) leads to care for the ill (in the sense of connection and compassion); perhaps this is a re-statement of Aristotle's theory of virtue in which one becomes a virtuous person by performing good acts.
"Felix Randal" also demonstrates Gerard Manley Hopkins's magnificent technical virtuosity as a poet. It is an almost perfect Italian-style sonnet (two a-b-b-a rhymed quatrains [the octave] followed by two rhymed c-c-d stanzas

Sources: - United States-05.06.2012
D.N. Aloysius