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
World Literature Essay: “In what ways is the behavior of Transito Soto in Isabel Allende’s « The House of the Spirits » and Angela Vicario in Gabriel Garcia Marquez « Chronicles of a Death Foretold », significant to the development and outcome of the story ?”
The character of Angela Vicario in Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s “Chronicles of a Death Foretold” as well as the character of Transito Soto in Isabelle Allende’s “The House of the Spirits” plays a crucial role in setting up the atmosphere and theme of the respective novels. Although both these characters are not the lead protagonists in the plot, they play an important role in directing the narrative and adding culturally relevant angles to the works. The following passages are an attempt in comparing the two characters and bringing out the salient similarities and differences as well as the roles they play in the artistry of the authors.
In the first chapter of . . . Read More
Reverend Martin Luther King’s famous letter from Birmingham Jail captures some of the core elements of his public discourse. Although the letter had not been orated in public, it is similar in style to his more popular public speeches and brings out the inspirational and charismatic aspects of King’s personality. The letter was first published in The Atlantic as “”The N**** Is Your Brother”. It was written in response to a public statement of concern and caution issued by some . . . Read More
The classic epic poem Beowulf is strongly centered on a theme of loyalty. Given that the historic setting and milieu of the epic, it is understandable why this particular quality of human affairs was given centre stage. The author portrays a heroic image of the protagonist, who fearlessly fights enemies in order to save his master Hrothgar and his country’s subjects. At a time when the Anglo-Saxon dominions were in perennial rife and warfare, this display of devotion and loyalty to one’s master is all the more glorious. For example, the fifth century to eleventh century A.D. when this . . . Read More
Nineteen Eighty Four is widely considered to be the definitive novel about the concept of Dystopia. The novel is set in a totalitarian world comprising of three major superpowers namely Eastasia, Eurasia, and Oceania. The region in which the chief protagonist lives and narrates this story is Oceania that includes most of Western Europe.
The chief character in the novel – Winston Smith – is a 39 year old, physically weak person, who uncannily resembles author Orwell himself in terms of physical attributes. Appropriate to a totalitarian political system there is only one Party in Oceania, in complete control of the ruling oligarchy. During the . . . Read More
In the short story by Leila Abouzeid, the author narrates an exchange of views between two cousins – one a high placed officer and the other a poor worker. The author uses the social backdrop of Morocco to present her story. The story captures the inequalities evident between the affluent and the deprived sections of the Moroccan society by describing the trappings of the households of the two central characters of the work. In essence, the theme is one of highlighting the prevailing disparities in wealth and well being between two members belonging to different social classes of the Moroccan society.
To put the short story in context, the following statistic pertaining to academicians in Morocco raises a relevant point. Since 1981, average earnings for non-manual workers have increased by almost 40 per cent in Morocco; academicians’ earnings since then have increased by just one per cent, which means that their middle-class status is under threat, and they’re . . . Read More
While the 1920’s were not remarkable for radical political changes or catastrophic natural phenomena, it is still a very significant period in the history of American cultural evolution. On the literary scene, two important but parallel movements took shape. The better known of these is the Roaring Twenties, a description that covers the whole literary works of the period written by White writers. While these works were widely circulated and popularly recognized, another literary movement in the form of African-American emancipation found voice among the new generation of Black writers. This is called the Harlem Renaissance. Both these have much in common. The written word provided a new found freedom for both white and black writers to express their criticisms, observations and opinions of the American society as they saw it. The point of view might have been different, but the genre is essentially the same – one of social critique and exposition. As a matter of . . . Read More
Right from the publication of his first major work “The Selfish Gene Theory”, Richard Dawkins is never free of controversy. While Dawkins is impeccable as a scholar and an academic, most of his detractors are from the religious and conservative sections of the population. Over the years, Dawkins’ works on evolutionary biology have drawn equally vociferous applause and protest. The last in the sequence of his seminal works is “The God Delusion”. In this book, Dawkins strings . . . Read More
Kate Chopin in her short yet gripping story The Storm explores a plethora of turbulent emotions of the protagonists in the backdrop of an unexpected storm. Though dubbed a sequel to her earlier work “At the Cadian Ball” (1892) it shares little resemblance to Calixta’s daring. All through, there is an undercurrent of nascent feminism. The tale is more of a reflection of sexually oppressed women of the 19th century under male dominion, woman rediscovering their feminine urge, the right over their bodies and relations they choose to have.
Every literary work is a statement by the author and a statement about the author at the same time. An analysis of the short story cannot be separated from an analysis of the author’s social, temporal and political circumstances. Chopin’s revolutionary tendencies could be attributed to her disillusionment with the American ruling class, in which she was born into (Skaggs). The fact that she lost . . . Read More
The Wound Dresser is an intimate, graphic and deeply moving expression of the act of nursing the sick and dying. The poem is remarkable for its lack of exaggerated portrayals of pain and suffering. Yet, the attention to detail, the depiction of images, etc. are very sophisticated for a poem written in the nineteenth century. In other words, The Wound Dresser is a description of what Walt Whitman deemed significant to the nursing profession at the time of the poem’s composition. He . . . Read More