(Introduction) Eudora Welty has made vital contributions to twentieth century American fiction. Renowned for her insight-filled short stories, she focuses on women and minority issues in her works. The short story A Worn Path is also about women’s issues but but is also about old age and poverty. This essay will argue although A Worn Path is a work of fiction the issues raised in it are pressing realities in contemporary American life.
(Background) One prominent theme in the story is the perseverance of Old Phoenix in crossing so many hurdles on her way to the town hospital. Adding to the dramatic effect of this journey is her very old age (possibly in her eighties or nineties). Despite the physical challenges of the long journey she trudges on with a cane stick as her only aid. The distance from her place to the town hospital is so long that even the young White man she encounters en route admits to the arduousness of covering that distance. The author is . . . Read More
The notion of the American Dream, whereby through hard work and earnest enterprise a citizen could rise to a comfortable standard of living is an exaggeration. Despite being the richest country in the world, the United States also has the greatest disparities in distribution of wealth. Moreover, public institutions in the country have failed to provide basic social welfare for the underprivileged section of the population. (Thesis) As the two poems – The Reservation Cab Driver and Mexicans Begin Jogging illustrate, the achievement of the American Dream remains elusive for a majority of Americans.
Of the 300 million American citizens, close to 50 million of them do not have basic health insurance. This is such a travesty in a country that is the sole superpower and the most prosperous. With the onset of the latest episode of economic recession, the unemployment rate has touched an alarming 10 percent. The main characters in the two poems have highly insecure jobs . . . Read More
One of the hallmarks of good literature is its incompatibility with any of the recognized genres. In pulp fiction, commonly identified genres are horror, romance, mystery, adventure, etc. But these genres do not qualify for serious literary discourse. Being one of the pre-eminent writers of the twentieth century, Italo Calvino’s works generally defy being classified under these genres. This is an obvious way in which genre is questioned in If On A Winter’s Night A Traveller. (Broderick, 2000, p.11)
The novel in question employs a radical new narrative structure, where not only are events shuffled across time-scales, but also the narrative perspectives. In conventional novel structures, either a first-person or a third-person narratives are used consistently through-out the work (with varying degrees of omniscience on part of the narrator). But in If On A Winter’s… address to the second-person is made, bringing a new dimension of reader-interactivity . . . Read More
In most of Shakespeare’s plays, the rulers are portrayed to be in a state of mental stress. This is particularly true with respect to the two plays – King Lear and Measure for Measure. King Lear, which is a tragedy, is full of expressions of anguish and pathos by the old king, whose mental faculties are disintegrating by the day. After dividing his kingdom between his two elder daughters Goneril and Regan (who betray his trust), the former king becomes a lonely figure disillusioned with filial love and duty. In a hasty act, he also disowns his youngest daughter Cordelia and ends up without physical and emotional security and care, barring his retinue of one hundred Knights. This situation bears very heavily upon his already weak mental condition and in this state he pours out some of the most heart-wrenching words of anguish and despair. (Beauregard, 2008, p.201) In this respect, the following observation by critic Barbara Ann Lukacs is valid:
“By . . . Read More
Ambrose Bierce’s short story titled An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge is one of the classics of the art form. The story could be read from three different angles. First, the political angle provided by the American Civil War of the 1860s. Second is the cultural angle, whereby the unique flavors of the American South can be appreciated. Third, the story provides rich material for studying the psychology of impending death. This essay will extend the third angle and argue that though the hallucinatory sequence experienced by Peyton Farquhar is temporally brief, within it contain profound truths about the nature of human psychology and existence.
A striking aspect of the story is the non-linear plot structure employed by the author. The story is divided into four compact parts. Chronologically they are arranged in this fashion – 2,1,3,4 – which means the background information about Farquhar’s allegiance to the confederate cause is placed next to the event of his . . . Read More
Dear Assata Shakur,
I would like to start by saying that your autobiography has had a profound effect on me. You will always remain an inspiration for generations of underprivileged groups as well as students like me. I was much impressed by the clarity of your thoughts and the rationale for your goals. The quality of writing is simple and lucid, making your book very accessible for people like me. The following are some of the questions and comments that I would like to make about the book.
Firstly, when there are stellar examples of non-violent political action, why would you choose to adopt militant ways. I can understand the indignation and frustration felt by you, which might have prompted you to act in desperation. But I felt a little disappointed that you did not take after inspiring examples such as Reverend Martin Luther King Jr.. Seen in retrospect, his tactic of non-violent civil disobedience has done more for black emancipation than what . . . Read More
Octavia Butler sets her novel, Wild Seed in the context of the transatlantic slave trade and US slavery. In the story, Doro gathers “his people” on farms and plantations along the eastern seaboard. In what ways are Doro’s fictional communities similar to the real plantations described by historian Lerone Bennett (chapter 4 of Before the Mayflower “Behind the Cotton Curtain”) and the ones Frederick Douglass discusses in his autobiography?
The novel Wild Seed written by Octavia Butler is set at a period when the peoples of the world are not yet completely civilized and people strongly believed in mysticism and magic. One of the protagonists of the story, Doro; has telepathic and special powers that starts him off in a path of adventure and leads him to the old lady Anyanwu, whose age is stupendous by modern standards. One could see such primitivism in the lives of black slaves in America as documented by Lerone Bennett and . . . Read More
Ernest Hemingway, alongside Scott Fitzgerald, William Faulkner and John Steinbeck, is a shining beacon of the American literary scene. He mastered both the novel as well as the short story forms. The scope of this essay is two of his short stories – Hills Like White Elephants and A Clean Well-Lighted Place. The two stories are analyzed from the angle of the concept of “Hero Code”, which is a recurrent theme in Hemingway’s works.
The “Hero Code”, is a set of features that typify the hero in Hemingway stories. A character shown to exhibit this code need not be the lead character in the story, but nevertheless, his presence is quite important. This hero will have a lot of machismo about him, not in terms of brute force, but in the general attitude he shows. The Code Hero will be a man of action and will seldom get into philosophical discussions. He seeks sensual gratification including drinking, eating and women. He is fiercely loyal to a select . . . Read More
Eudora Welty has made significant contributions to the cause of American literature. Born in 1909, she witnessed the causes and consequences of the Second World War, the Cold War and beyond. But her observations and insights into the collective American psyche during the twentieth century, especially that of the Southern states, would provide the material for her literary works. Although Welty explored all forms of literary art, she is best remembered for her short stories. Her short stories are invariably part of twentieth century anthologies released by major publishing houses. (Allen, 1999, p.35)
The story in question, Livvie, has won both critical as well as popular acclaim. The story, in essence is the resurrection of the main character’s life, from the realm of death. This is reflected in the outer atmosphere, where the season transits to spring. The story revolves around the nuptial life of Livvie, who is married to a . . . Read More
Socrates’ reasoning in passing up the chance to escape his sentence after being condemned to death on fabricated charges
Socrates is one of the most influential Greek philosophers, who as influential in ushering the Hellenistic Age. His powers of logical reasoning and the invention of the Socratic method has left a lasting impression on Western philosophy. Although he was a prominent member of the Aristocratic class, his lack of deference to authority would lead to his tragic death. Even when given the choice between a life in exile or immediate execution, he chose the latter as a matter of adhering to principle.
According to Socrates, a commitment to moral reasoning is an essential condition of a well-lived life. An individual should base his actions upon the outcomes of such internal dialogues. The exercise of self-examination and introspection as a way of arriving at moral truths is of paramount importance to Socrates. So much so that he unequivocally . . . Read More