‘Two Kinds’ is the last story in the second segment of Amy Tan’s highly popular debut book, The Joy Luck Club. The book is divided into four interconnected segments with each of them containing a group of stories which can stand alone themselves. While the author had intended the book to be a short-story collection, it is seen by critics as a novel due to the interrelated and cohesive narrative. Similar to other stories in the collection, ‘Two Kinds’ is a depiction of complexities in mother-daughter relationships in San Francisco’s China-town. The focus of the story is the often disruptive but inevitable “distance between mothers who were born in China before the communist revolution and thus have been cut off from their native culture for decades, and their American-born daughters who must negotiate the twin burdens of their Chinese ancestry and American expectations for success”. While the protagonist and narrator of the story Jing-mei persistently thwarts her . . . Read More
Scott Fitzgerald’s well-crafted short story ‘Winter Dreams’ is set in the 1920s, which is also referred to as the Jazz Age in American history. Following the lull and chaos of the First World War, American society was primed to embrace a liberal and materialistic culture. The conventional structure of society was shaken up and new attitudes toward religion, morality and personal relations emerged. The widespread patronage of art and artists was central to this cultural upheaval. An important aspect of the short story is its masterly depiction of this changing cultural milieu.
The plot of the story serves as a narrative foundation and gives coherence to it. Alongside elements of fiction also lie historical facts about the 1920s America. In this respect, the story is both a well-crafted piece of art and a historical document. Through the characters of Dexter and Judy, Fitzgerald portrays the shallowness of the then American society. Judy Jones is a wealthy and attractive . . . Read More
The Bhagavad Gita, which is part of the classic Indian epic the Mahabaratha, records the dialogue between Arjuna, the Pandava warrior prince and Lord Krishna who is also his chariot driver. When faced with the prospect of fighting his own cousins in the field of battle, Arjuna is despaired and aggrieved. He communicates his moral dilemma to his mentor and guide Lord Krishna, who in turn offers Arjuna a discourse on Hindu dharma. While the advice is directed to Arjuna, it is also broadly applicable to all human beings in different contexts in their lives. Krishnaderives his code of conduct from the ancient Hindu tradition of Varna Dharma, which was an extension of the caste-system followed in India. According to this system, members of each of the four castes have their own social roles to perform. Striving to fulfill these roles without questioning them is considered a virtue. Arjuna, having born into the Kshatriya caste (the . . . Read More
Introduction: The tussle for supremacy between England and France goes back to ancient history. After several failed attempts in previous centuries, the Normans finally defeated the English in the Battle of Hastings in the year 1066, thereby changing the course of the island’s history significantly. Not only did the Normans take over the political reigns but also effected profound changes to the cultural and linguistic heritage of the people of England. This essay will attempt to show how the Norman Conquest of England left a lasting impact on future generations of English in the social, political, literary and cultural realms.
Immediately following the Norman Conquest, the religious orthodoxy of England faced a serious threat to their material possessions, as the new rulers ordered despoliation of church treasures, imposition of punitive gelds and taxes, introduced new mandates of knight service, and lay magnates’ seizure of the estates belonging to . . . Read More
By being the tent companion of the lead protagonist Yossarian, the character of Orr is crucial to the narrative of the novel. Orr is a bomber pilot, who undertakes highly risky bombing operations for his squadron. In his personal exchanges, he comes across as light-hearted, comical and even at times eccentric. And his habitual crash landings even suggest a self-destructive streak. But, in spite of these immediate impressions, Orr turns out to be a shrewd and ingenuous individual who successfully . . . Read More
While novels such as Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s ‘The Yellow Wallpaper’, Kate Chopin’s ‘The Awakening’, Margaret Atwood’s ‘Surfacing’ are essential entries in the feminist literary canon, Stephen King’s Carrie does not belong in this company. The crucial difference is that almost all novels that explore femininity and women’s identity are written by women authors themselves. Keeping with the trend, Stephen King’s attempted portrayal of a woman’s innermost thoughts is quite . . . Read More
Jamaica Kincaid’s Lucy is another work that could be classified under the feminist canon. The feminist expressions in this five-part novel could be found in the exchanges between the women characters. The imaginative and detailed inquiry into the relationships between mothers and daughters, rich and poor, and black and white in the book brings forth the author’s thoughts on feminism. The fact that Lucy is a semi-autobiographical account of Kincaid’s life experiences makes its voice all the more authentic. The applicability of feminist theories in Rebecca was in the context of the narrator’s relationship with Maxim and his dead Mistress Rebecca. In Lucy, by contrast, we see Jamaica Kincaid’s exploration of subtleties and intricacies involved in relationships between different female characters in the story. Feminism is . . . Read More
Feminism is commonly understood to be the women’s movement for political, social, educational and economic equality with men. While the United States and Europe have been the geo-political arenas for feminist ideas, the rest of the world is also catching up. Feminist issues range from “access to employment, education, child care, contraception, and abortion, to equality in the workplace, changing family roles, redress for sexual harassment in the workplace, and the need for equal political representation”. The object of this essay is to discuss the following three books from the feminist perspective: Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier, Lucy by Jamaica Kincard and Carrie by Stephen King.
The novel Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier belongs to two genres – romance and crime. Though the two categories might appear incongruous, . . . Read More
Doris Lessing as a literary artist incorporates autobiographical elements in most of her works. And the short story “To Room Nineteen” is no different. The other recurrent theme of Lessing’s writing is her provocative brand of feminism, which also finds expression in this story. The objective of this paper is to draw parallels between the lives of the author and her lead character Susan Rawlings.
In the short story To Room Nineteen, the protagonist Susan Rawlings is propelled by her circumstances into committing suicide. But, this Lessing has dealt with the subject already in her 1971 novel . . . Read More
John Steinbeck is arguably the most prominent littérateur of his generation to have adopted the cause of working class America that was struggling to survive the harsh realities of the Great Depression. His most famous work The Grapes of Wrath depicts the everyday travails of a westward migrating white American family in search of better economic opportunities. Of Mice and Men is a much smaller novel, both in terms of the number of characters as well as the social situations they find themselves in. Both these books capture the desperation and resilience of poor Americans of the early decades of the . . . Read More