Course: Contemporary English Poetry

Teacher: Dr. Seyyed Shahabeddin Sadati



1st Week        Introduction: Significance of the Course

2nd Week       The Twentieth Century English Poetry (pp. 971 – 977)

3rd Week       Thomas Hardy (1840 – 1928)

                        "The Convergence of the Twain" (1914, pp. 990 – 991)

                        "Ah, Are You Digging on My Grave?" (1914, 991 – 992)

4rd Week       Wilfred Owen (1893 – 1918)

                        "Dulce Et Decorum Est" (1914, pp. 1037 – 1038)

5th Week        William Butler Yeats (1865 – 1939)

                        "Sailing to Byzantium" (1927, pp. 1049 – 1050)

6th Week        William Butler Yeats (1865 – 1939)

                        "The Second Coming" (1921, p. 1046)

                        "Leda and the Swan" (1928, p.1051)

7th Week        T. S. Eliot (1888 – 1965)

                        "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock" (1917, pp. 1086 – 1090)

8th Week        T. S. Eliot (1888 – 1965)

                        "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock" (1917, pp. 1086 – 1090)

9th Week        T. S. Eliot (1888 – 1965)

                        "The Waste Land" (1922 , pp. 1092 – 1105)

10th Week     T. S. Eliot (1888 – 1965)

                        "The Waste Land" (1922 , pp. 1092 – 1105)

11th Week     T. S. Eliot (1888 – 1965)

                        "The Waste Land" (1922 , pp. 1092 – 1105)

12th Week     W. H. Auden (1907 – 1973)

                        "Musée  des Beaux Arts" (1940, p. 1122)

13th Week     Dylan Thomas (1914 – 1953)

                        "Do Not Go Gentle into That Good Night" (1952, pp. 1130 – 1131)

14th Week     Seamus Heaney (1939 – 2013)

                        "Digging" (1966, pp. 1150 – 1151)

15th Week     Review

16th Week     Review



Course Book:

Sokhanvar, Jalal. An Abridged Edition of the Norton Anthology of English Literature.


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Course: English Literature in the 17th and 18th Centuries

Teacher: Dr. Seyyed Shahabeddin Sadati



1st Week          Introduction: Significance of the Course

2nd Week        The Seventeenth Century (1603 – 1660)

3rd Week         John Donne (1572 – 1631): "The Flea", "A Valediction: Forbidding Morning"

                        Ben Jonson (1572 – 1637): "Song: To Celia", "Come My Celia"

4th Week         George Herbert (1593 – 1633): "The Altar"

                        Henry Vaughan (1621 – 1695): "The Retreat"

                        Andrew Marvell (1621 – 1678): "To His Coy Mistress"

5th Week         John Milton (1608 – 1674): "Paradise Lost"

6th Week         Prose of the Seventeenth Century

                        Francis Bacon (1561 – 1626): "Of Studies"

7th Week         Thomas Hobbes (1588 – 1679): Leviathan

8th Week         The Restoration and the Eighteenth Century (1660 – 1785)

9th Week         The Restoration and the Eighteenth Century (1660 – 1785)

10th Week       John Dryden (1631 – 1700): "An Essay of Dramatic Poesy"

11th Week       John Bunyan (1628 – 1688): "The Pilgrim's Progress"

12th Week       Jonathan Swift (1667 - 1745): "A Modest Proposal"

13th Week       Alexander Pope (1688 – 1744): "An Essay on Criticism"

14th Week       Samuel Johnson (1709 – 1784): Lives of the Poets

15th Week       Review

16th Week       Review



Course Book:

Sokhanvar, Jalal. An Abridged Edition of the Norton Anthology of English Literature.

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Course: Literary Criticism

Instructor: Dr. Seyyed Shahabeddin Sadati



1st Week          Introduction: Significance of the Course

2nd Week        Russian Formalism

3rd Week         AmericanNew Criticism

4th Week         Psychoanalytic Criticism (Sigmund Freud)

5th Week         Psychoanalytic Criticism (Carl Jung)

6th Week         Psychoanalytic Criticism (Jacques Lacan)

7th Week         Feminism (Virginia Woolf, Simone de Beauvoir, Gender Theory)

8th Week         Feminism (French Feminism and Female Writing)

9th Week         Modernity: Structuralism (Ferdinand de Saussure)

10th Week       Postmodernism: Post-Structuralism and Deconstruction (Jacques Derrida)

11th Week       Reader-Oriented Criticism (Wolfgang Isser)

12th Week       Reader-Oriented Criticism (Hans Robert Jauss and Norman Holland)

13th Week       Postcolonialism (Edward Said)

14th Week       Postcolonialism (Homi Bhabha)

15th Week       Ecocriticism

16th Week       Review




Bressler, Charles E. Literary Criticism: An Introduction to Theory and Practice. Fifth Edition, London: Longman, 2011.

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Course: Introduction to Literature (I)

Teacher: Dr. Seyyed Shahabeddin Sadati



1st Week     Introduction: Significance of the Course

2nd Week    Reading the Story (61 – 67)

                   Plot and Structure (103 – 111)

3rd Week     Characterization (161 – 166)

                   Theme (188 – 195)

4th Week     Point of View (227 – 233)

                   Symbol, Allegory, and Fantasy (274 – 285)

                   Humor and Irony (334 – 338)

5th Week     “The Most Dangerous Game” (67 – 85)

6th Week     “The Most Dangerous Game” (67 – 85)

7th Week     “Miss Brill” (175 – 179)

8th Week     “Hills Like White Elephants” (268 – 273)

9th Week     “Hills Like White Elephants” (268 – 273)

10th Week   “The Destructors” (111 – 124)

11th Week   “The Destructors” (111 – 124)

12th Week   “Araby” (437 – 442)

13th Week   “Araby” (437 – 442)

14th Week   “Interpreter of Maladies” (141 – 159)

15th Week   “Interpreter of Maladies” (141 – 159)

16th Week   Review




Course Book:


Arp, Thomas R. & Greg Johnson. Perrine’s Literature: Structure, Sound, and Sense, Fiction (1). Ninth Edition. Boston: Thomson, 2006.

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Course: Samples of Simple Poetry

Teacher: Dr. Seyyed Shahabeddin Sadati




1st Week          Introduction: Significance of the Course

2nd Week        What is Poetry? (647)

                        “The Eagle” (649)

                        “Winter” (650)

3rd Week         “Dulce et Decorum Est” (652)

                        “Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?” (656)

4th Week         Reading the Poem (668)

                        “The Man He Killed” (670)

5th Week         “When in Rome” (679)

                        “Facing It” (681)

6th Week         Denotation and Connotation (686)                

                        “There is no Frigate Like a Book” (686)

                        “When my love swears that she is made of truth” (688)

7th Week         Imagery (700)            

                        “Meeting at Night” (701)

                        “Parting at Morning” (702)

8th Week         Figurative Language 1 (714)

                        “The Guitarist Tunes Up” (715)

                        “The Hound” (715)

9th Week         Figurative Language 2 (734)

                        “The Road Not Taken” (734)

“The Sick Rose” (737)

10th Week       Figurative Language 3 (756)

                        “The Chimney Sweeper” (763)

11th Week       Allusion (778)

                        “Out, Out—” (779)

12th Week       Meaning and Idea (791)

                        “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening” (793)

13th Week       “Metaphors” (726)

                        “Ozymandias” (764)

14th Week       “Leda and the Swan” (788)

15th Week       Review

16th Week       Review




Course Book:

Arp, Thomas R. & Greg Johnson. Perrine’s Literature: Structure, Sound, and Sense, Poetry (2). Ninth Edition. Boston: Thomson, 2006.

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Course: Translation Workshop

Teacher: Dr. Seyyed Shahabeddin Sadati




1st Week:     Introduction: Significance of the Course

2nd Week:    Definition and History of Translation

3rd Week:     Translation Procedures and Methods

4th Week:     Good Translation: Art, Craft, or Science?

5th Week:     Translating Proper Names

6th Week:     Translating News 1

7th Week:     Cultural Translation

8th Week:     Comparative Study of Three English Translations of "Dash Akol"

9th Week:     Practical Analysis of Translation of Literary Prose

10th Week:   Methods in Translating Poetry

11th Week:   Translating News 2

12th Week:   Translating Symbols

13th Week:   Translating News 3

14th Week:   Translating News 4

15th Week:   Review

16th Week:   Review




Course Book:

Sadati, Seyyed Shahabeddin and Roozbeh Guitoo. Literary Translation. Tehran: Rahnama, 2013.

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Course: Persian Literature

Instructor: Dr. Seyyed Shahabeddin Sadati




1st Week           Introduction: Significance of the Course

2nd Week          The European Discovery of Modern Persia (Yohannan, pp. xviii – xxvi)

                        Translation Definition & History of Translation (Sadati & Guitoo, pp. 7 – 10)

3rd Week          Sir William Jones and the East India Company (Yohannan, pp. 3 – 13)

4th Week          Periodical Literature (Yohannan, pp. 14 – 18)

                        Translation Procedures and Methods (Sadati & Guitoo, pp. 15 – 18)

5th Week          Neo-classical versus Romantic Esthetics (Yohannan, pp. 19 – 30)

                        Gulistan by Saadi (Sadati & Guitoo, pp. 144 – 145)

6th Week          Byron, Moore and Other Romantic Poets (Yohannan, pp. 31 – 40)

                        “Sonnet 1” by Hafez (Sadati & Guitoo, pp. 132 – 133)

7th Week          Napoleonic Politics in Persia; Language Reform in India (Yohannan, pp. 41 – 54)

8th Week          Scholars, Amateurs and Imitators in the New Era (Yohannan, pp. 57 – 67)

9th Week          Three Notable Popularizers of Persian Poetry (Yohannan, pp. 68 – 77)

                        “The Song of the Reed” by Mawlana (Sadati & Guitoo, pp. 133 – 135)

10th Week        Mathew Arnold’s “Sohrab and Rustum” (Yohannan, pp. 78 – 85)

11th Week        Tennyson and Persian Poetry (Yohannan, pp. 86 – 95)

12th Week        FitzGerald’s Translation of Persian Poetry (Yohannan, pp. 96 – 104)

                        Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam (Sadati & Guitoo, p. 136)

13th Week        Cultural Translation: A Critical Analysis of William Jones’s Translation of Hafez

14th Week        Practical Analysis of Translation of Literary Prose

15th Week        Review

16th Week        Review






Sadati, Seyyed Shahabeddin and Roozbeh Guitoo. Literary Translation. Tehran: Rahnama, 2013.


Yohannan, John D. Persian Poetry in England and America. New York: Caravan Books, 1977.

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“The Nightingale and the Rose”

By Oscar Wilde


'She said that she would dance with me if I brought her red roses,' cried the young Student; 'but in all my garden there is no red rose.'

From her nest in the holm-oak tree the Nightingale heard him, and she looked out through the leaves, and wondered.

'No red rose in all my garden!' he cried, and his beautiful eyes filled with tears. 'Ah, on what little things does happiness depend! I have read all that the wise men have written, and all the secrets of philosophy are mine, yet for want of a red rose is my life made wretched.'

'Here at last is a true lover,' said the Nightingale. 'Night after night have I sung of him, though I knew him not: night after night have I told his story to the stars, and now I see him. His hair is dark as the hyacinth-blossom, and his lips are red as the rose of his desire; but passion has made his lace like pale Ivory, and sorrow has set her seal upon his brow.'

'The Prince gives a ball to-morrow night,' murmured the young Student, 'and my love will be of the company. If I bring her a red rose she will dance with me till dawn. If I bring her a red rose, I shall hold her in my arms, and she will lean her head upon my shoulder, and her hand will be clasped in mine. But there is no red rose in my garden, so I shall sit lonely, and she will pass me by. She will have no heed of me, and my heart will break.'

'Here indeed is the true lover,' said the Nightingale. 'What I sing of he suffers: what is joy to me, to him is pain. Surely Love is a wonderful thing. It is more precious than emeralds, and dearer than fine opals. Pearls and pomegranates cannot buy it, nor is it set forth in the market-place. it may not be purchased of the merchants, 'or can it be weighed out in the balance for gold.'

< 2 >

'The musicians will sit in their gallery,' said the young Student, 'and play upon their stringed instruments, and my love will dance to the sound of the harp and the violin. She will dance so lightly that her feet will not touch the floor, and the courtiers in their gay dresses will throng round her. But with me she will not dance, for I have no red rose to give her;' and he flung himself down on the grass, and buried his face in his hands, and wept.

'Why is he weeping?' asked a little Green Lizard, as he ran past him with his tail in the air.

'Why, indeed?' said a Butterfly, who was fluttering about after a sunbeam.

'Why, indeed?' whispered a Daisy to his neighbour, in a soft, low voice.

'He is weeping for a red rose,' said the Nightingale.

'For a red rose!' they cried; 'how very ridiculous!' and the little Lizard, who was something of a cynic, laughed outright.

But the Nightingale understood the secret of the Student's sorrow, and she sat silent in the oak-tree, and thought about the mystery of Love.

Suddenly she spread her brown wings for flight, and soared into the air. She passed through the grove like a shadow, and like a shadow she sailed across the garden.

In the centre of the grass-plot was standing a beautiful Rose-tree, and when she saw it, she flew over to it, and lit upon a spray.

'Give me a red rose,' she cried, 'and I will sing you my sweetest song.'

But the Tree shook its head.

'My roses are white,' it answered; 'as white as the foam of the sea, and whiter than the snow upon the mountain. But go to my brother who grows round the old sun-dial, and perhaps he will give you what you want.'

< 3 >

So the Nightingale flew over to the Rose-tree that was growing round the old sun-dial.

'Give me a red rose,' she cried, 'and I will sing you my sweetest song.'

But the Tree shook its head.

'My roses are yellow,' it answered; 'as yellow as the hair of the mermaiden who sits upon an amber throne, and yellower than the daffodil that blooms in the meadow before the mower comes with his scythe. But go to my brother who grows beneath the Student's window, and perhaps he will give you what you want.'

So the Nightingale flew over to the Rose-tree that was growing beneath the Student's window.

'Give me a red rose,' she cried, 'and I will sing you my sweetest song.'

But the Tree shook its head.

'My roses are red,' it answered, 'as red as the feet of the dove, and redder than the great fans of coral that wave and wave in the ocean-cavern. But the winter has chilled my veins, and the frost has nipped my buds, and the storm has broken my branches, and I shall have no roses at all this year.'

'One red rose is all I want,' cried the Nightingale, 'only one red rose! Is there no way by which I can get it?'

'There is a way,' answered the Tree; 'but it is so terrible that I dare not tell it to you.'

'Tell it to me,' said the Nightingale, 'I am not afraid.'

'If you want a red rose,' said the Tree, 'you must build it out of music by moonlight, and stain it with your own heart's-blood. You must sing to me with your breast against a thorn. All night long you must sing to me, and the thorn must pierce your heart, and your life-blood must flow into my veins, and become mine.'

< 4 >

'Death is a great price to pay for a red rose,' cried the Nightingale, 'and Life is very dear to all. It is pleasant to sit in the green wood, and to watch the Sun in his chariot of gold, and the Moon in her chariot of pearl. Sweet is the scent of the hawthorn, and sweet are the bluebells that hide in the valley, and the heather that blows on the hill. Yet Love is better than Life, and what is the heart of a bird compared to the heart of a man?'

So she spread her brown wings for flight, and soared into the air. She swept over the garden like a shadow, and like a shadow she sailed through the grove.

The young Student was still lying on the grass, where she had left him, and the tears were not yet dry in his beautiful eyes.

'Be happy,' cried the Nightingale, 'be happy; you shall have your red rose. I will build it out of music by moonlight, and stain it with my own heart's-blood. All that I ask of you in return is that you will be a true lover, for Love is wiser than Philosophy, though she is wise, and mightier than Power, though he is mighty. Flame-coloured are his wings, and coloured like flame is his body. His lips are sweet as honey, and his breath is like frankincense.'

The Student looked up from the grass, and listened, but he could not understand what the Nightingale was saying to him, for he only knew the things that are written down in books.

But the Oak-tree understood, and felt sad, for he was very fond of the little Nightingale who had built her nest in his branches.

'Sing me one last song,' he whispered; 'I shall feel very lonely when you are gone.'

So the Nightingale sang to the Oak-tree, and her voice was like water bubbling from a silver jar.

< 5 >

When she had finished her song the Student got lip, and pulled a note-book and a lead-pencil out of his pocket.

'She has form,' he said to himself, as he walked away through the grove - 'that cannot be denied to her; but has she got feeling? I am afraid not. In fact, she is like most artists; she is all style, without any sincerity. She would not sacrifice herself for others. She thinks merely of music, and everybody knows that the arts are selfish. Still, it must be admitted that she has some beautiful notes in her voice. What a pity it is that they do not mean anything, or do any practical good.' And he went into his room, and lay down on his little pallet-bed, and began to think of his love; and, after a time, he fell asleep.

And when the Moon shone in the heavens the Nightingale flew to the Rose-tree, and set her breast against the thorn. All night long she sang with her breast against the thorn, and the cold crystal Moon leaned down and listened. All night long she sang, and the thorn went deeper and deeper into her breast, and her life-blood ebbed away from her.

She sang first of the birth of love in the heart of a boy and a girl. And on the topmost spray of the Rose-tree there blossomed a marvellous rose, petal following petal, as song followed song. Yale was it, at first, as the mist that hangs over the river - pale as the feet of the morning, and silver as the wings of the dawn. As the shadow of a rose in a mirror of silver, as the shadow of a rose in a water-pool, so was the rose that blossomed on the topmost spray of the Tree.

But the Tree cried to the Nightingale to press closer against the thorn. 'Press closer, little Nightingale,' cried the Tree, 'or the Day will come before the rose is finished.'

So the Nightingale pressed closer against the thorn, and louder and louder grew her song, for she sang of the birth of passion in the soul of a man and a maid.

< 6 >

And a delicate flush of pink came into the leaves of the rose, like the flush in the face of the bridegroom when he kisses the lips of the bride. But the thorn had not yet reached her heart, so the rose's heart remained white, for only a Nightingale's heart's-blood can crimson the heart of a rose.

And the Tree cried to the Nightingale to press closer against the thorn. 'Press closer, little Nightingale,' cried the Tree, 'or the Day will come before the rose is finished.'

So the Nightingale pressed closer against the thorn, and the thorn touched her heart, and a fierce pang of pain shot through her. Bitter, bitter was the pain, and wilder and wilder grew her song, for she sang of the Love that is perfected by Death, of the Love that dies not in the tomb.

And the marvellous rose became crimson, like the rose of the eastern sky. Crimson was the girdle of petals, and crimson as a ruby was the heart.

But the Nightingale's voice grew fainter, and her little wings began to beat, and a film came over her eyes. Fainter and fainter grew her song, and she felt something choking her in her throat.

Then she gave one last burst of music. The white Moon heard it, and she forgot the dawn, and lingered on in the sky. The red rose heard it, and it trembled all over with ecstasy, and opened its petals to the cold morning air. Echo bore it to her purple cavern in the hills, and woke the sleeping shepherds from their dreams. It floated through the reeds of the river, and they carried its message to the sea.

'Look, look!' cried the Tree, 'the rose is finished now;' but the Nightingale made no answer, for she was lying dead in the long grass, with the thorn in her heart.

And at noon the Student opened his window and looked out.

< 7 >

'Why, what a wonderful piece of luck! he cried; 'here is a red rose! I have never seen any rose like it in all my life. It is so beautiful that I am sure it has a long Latin name;' and he leaned down and plucked it.

Then he put on his hat, and ran up to the Professor's house with the rose in his hand.

The daughter of the Professor was sitting in the doorway winding blue silk on a reel, and her little dog was lying at her feet.

'You said that you would dance with me if I brought you a red rose,' cried the Student. Here is the reddest rose in all the world. You will wear it to-night next your heart, and as we dance together it will tell you how I love you.'

But the girl frowned.

'I am afraid it will not go with my dress,' she answered; 'and, besides, the Chamberlain's nephew has sent me some real jewels, and everybody knows that jewels cost far more than flowers.'

'Well, upon my word, you are very ungrateful,' said the Student angrily; and he threw the rose into the street, where it fell into the gutter, and a cart-wheel went over it.

'Ungrateful!' said the girl. 'I tell you what, you are very rude; and, after all, who are you? Only a Student. Why, I don't believe you have even got silver buckles to your shoes as the Chamberlain's nephew has;' and she got up from her chair and went into the house.

'What a silly thing Love is,' said the Student as he walked away. 'It is not half as useful as Logic, for it does not prove anything, and it is always telling one of things that are not going to happen, and making one believe things that are not true. In fact, it is quite unpractical, and, as in this age to be practical is everything, I shall go back to Philosophy and study Metaphysics.'

< 8 >

So he returned to his room and pulled out a great dusty book, and began to read.

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Yusef Komunyakaa: “Facing It”

Maya Lin was about as far removed from the Vietnam War as anyone could be, and at just 21, seemed an unlikely candidate to design a prominent national memorial. Lin—a senior undergraduate architecture student at Yale—had studied Scandinavian cemetery design in Denmark and was fascinated by what she called “the architecture of death.” After seeing a bulletin announcing an open competition for a Vietnam memorial to be erected in Washington, D.C., she submitted her design—and won, beating out 1,420 others.

In a statement accompanying her entry, Lin envisions the experience of seeing the Wall for the first time:

. . . the memorial appears as a rift in the earth—a long, polished black stone wall, emerging from and receding into the earth. . . . Walking into the grassy site contained by the walls . . . we can barely make out the carved names upon the memorial’s walls . . . seemingly infinite in number. . . .

The individual names of more than 58,000 dead or missing, etched into the stone, make a sobering sight, but what Lin couldn’t have anticipated is the profound effect the Wall would have on veterans themselves. And on one in particular: the poet Yusef Komunyakaa.

From 1969 to 1970, Komunyakaa served in Vietnam as a correspondent and managing editor for the military newspaper Southern Cross, work that earned him a Bronze Star. Though he spent much of his tour of duty in the field, witnessing combat and reporting about it, Komunyakaa did not begin to write poems about Vietnam until 14 years after he had returned home.

In 1984, Komunyakaa began to reflect on his experiences—although his decision to write about Vietnam wasn’t entirely deliberate. In “Facing It,” only the second poem he’d written in retrospect about Vietnam, Komunyakaa’s response to his war experience is deeply shaped by his visit, a year earlier, to Lin’s memorial. Inspired by the monument, Komunyakaa confronts his conflicted feelings about Vietnam, its legacy, and, even more broadly, the part race plays in America. It’s not hard to see why the poem has been recognized by R.S. Gwynn (and many others) as “the most poignant elegy that has been written about the Vietnam War.”

The poem begins with the reflection of Komunyakaa’s face dissolving into the polished black stone as he stares into it for the first time:

My black face fades,
hiding inside the black granite.

As an African American, Komunyakaa acknowledges that his “black face” isn’t the only thing that hides in the darkness of that granite. Like a slate on which history has been indelibly etched, the stone and Komunyakaa’s face bear witness to the war’s casualties. The poet’s residual anger about the war and his ambivalence about surviving it are also just under the surface:

I said I wouldn’t,
dammit: No tears.
I’m stone. I’m flesh.
My clouded reflection eyes me
like a bird of prey, the profile of night
slanted against morning.

As the speaker struggles to keep his feelings in check, his frustration is obvious from the caesuras that start and stop the lines, jerking the poem along. As the poet moves between end-stopped lines (“No tears.”) and enjambed ones (“My clouded reflection eyes me / like a bird of prey. . . .”), the reader can see the poet struggling with his own resolve and ambivalence. Despite anticipating the emotional reaction he might have—“I said I wouldn’t”—to facing “it” (the Wall itself, but also the war and his role in it), the poet tries to maintain composure, but is split: both “stone”—stolid, wary, and restrained, as if such vigilance could dam the flood of emotion he feels—and yet also “flesh”—human, fragile, and vulnerable.

Rather than being contradictory, this acknowledgment of his dual identity (of being both “stone” and “flesh”) reveals the extremes of his consciousness. It also allows the poet to see his own mortality, so clear in the tombstone-like face of the memorial. It is his “own reflection,” after all, that eyes him, in whose vision he’s trapped, and from which he must split in order to break free:

                                   I turn
this way—the stone lets me go.
I turn that way—I’m inside
the Vietnam Veterans Memorial
again, depending on the light
to make a difference.
I go down the 58,022 names,
half-expecting to find
my own in letters like smoke.

As its prisoner, his only escape is to turn away from the Wall. But no matter where he turns, his reflection is unavoidable. He’s inside “again, depending on the light to make a difference.” Komunyakaa’s carefully chosen line breaks here manifest his struggle by mirroring his restlessness and hesitation. When the speaker “turn(s),” the line does too; as readers, we’re on the edge of our seats to see where he’ll go.

There is no such hesitation when he comes to those 58,022 names, though: that specific number, so assured, solid, and inescapable on its end-stopped line, isn’t open to interpretation. In that catalog and its indifferent tally (which has only increased since Komunyakaa first visited, now standing at 58,261, with the most recent name added in 2009), he can’t help but see the specter of a fate he himself eluded:

I touch the name Andrew Johnson;
I see the booby trap’s white flash.

In touching a single name, Komunyakaa gives the impersonal number a concrete identity. As a soldier from the poet’s hometown of Bogalusa, Louisiana, Johnson represents a personal connection to the public memorial. But he also shares the name of the 17th U.S. president, who succeeded Lincoln and denied freed slaves equal protection under the law by vetoing the Civil Rights Bill in 1866. It didn’t pass until nearly 100 years later, in 1964, just as the war in Vietnam was getting under way. The punishing irony of black Americans fighting and dying alongside white soldiers whose civil rights they did not yet fully share doesn’t escape Komunyakaa, so aware at the poem’s beginning of his own “black face” fading into the monument’s stone.

Here, Komunyakaa’s images alternate ambiguously between beauty and violence:

Names shimmer on a woman’s blouse
but when she walks away
the names stay on the wall.
Brushstrokes flash, a red bird’s
wings cutting across my stare.
The sky. A plane in the sky.

The “shimmer” of names on a blouse, the ephemeral beauty of brushstrokes that “flash” (in contrast to the booby trap’s “white flash”)—these could represent moments of quiet contemplation at the Wall, but Komunyakaa’s meditations are cut short by the bird’s wings and the threat of the “plane in the sky.” Earlier in the poem, Komunyakaa depended on the stone to “let him go”; this woman walks away of her own accord, leaving the names behind in ways that Komunyakaa cannot. His gaze is uninterrupted, until the bird’s wing intervenes by way of flash and flashback: reflecting the mirrored surface of the granite and the sky, caught in fragments between the jungles of Vietnam and the National Mall. It’s unclear in which context (past or present) we’re meant to see that sky and that plane. Just as the Wall is deliberately positioned between the Washington Monument and the Lincoln Memorial to lend it historical context, Komunyakaa’s images and fragmentary syntax help suspend the action between now and then:

A white vet’s image floats
closer to me, then his pale eyes
look through mine. I’m a window.
He’s lost his right arm
inside the stone.

No longer “stone” or even “flesh,” Komunyakaa becomes a “window” through which the white vet can also see the past and present. When Komunyakaa writes, “his pale eyes / look through mine,” he seems to dissolve further; no longer stone nor flesh, he becomes simply a “window” through which another vet looks—both because the vet isn't really looking “at” Komunyakaa and because he too has experienced war firsthand: he has seen what Komunyakaa has seen. But is the vet’s arm truly lost, or is it merely a trick of the light, like the poem’s final image?

                                   In the black mirror
a woman’s trying to erase names:
No, she’s brushing a boy’s hair.

The speaker mistakes the woman’s gesture for a futile attempt to remake the past, but then changes his mind, and ultimately sees her act for what it really is: an act of motherly tenderness. His subtle self-recrimination here (“no”), more regretful and forgiving than the poem’s volatile first one (“I said I wouldn’t / dammit”), represents an important, and redemptive, turning point at the poem’s end: an acknowledgment of the complexity of human emotions required to confront this difficult period in history. As many visitors to the monument continue to affirm, equal measures of compassion and forgiveness are also integral to the process of coming to terms with the war’s legacy.

Like Maya Lin, whose goal in creating the Vietnam Veterans Memorial was to “strip things down, not so that they become inhuman, but so that you need just the right amount of words or shape to convey what you need to convey,” the spare simplicity of Komunyakaa’s poem ultimately lays bare the consequences and costs of the war. And like Lin’s monument, it too is a testament to the power and importance of reflection.



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"Musse des Beaux Arts"

W. H. Auden

Juxtaposing images of suffering and tragedy with the trivial actions of everyday life suggests that individual tragedies are individual burdens as humankind responds with indifference. Auden's poem seeks to disenchant or deromanticize death, martyrdom and suffering and achieves this through the juxtaposition of "ordinary" events with universally recognized "extraordinary" ones.

Lines 1-2:

The poem opens with a very general statement which establishes the distinguishing quality of the first section of the poem (that is, generalization). Auden does this by categorizing all artists of the Renaissance period into one group, "Old Masters." By disregarding their country of origin, Flemish artist versus Italian painters for instance, and their pictorial depiction, the "common" or "everyday" scenes of many Flemish artists as opposed to the human suffering (or, the suffering of Christ) popular with Italian painters, the poet establishes a broad historical perspective. In doing so, the poem implies a universal truth—that all artists agree upon the significance and understanding of suffering, and as the opening line states, that their perspective is "never wrong."

Lines 3-4:

Here the poet elaborates on the Old Masters' perspective regarding suffering. The details outlined in these two lines indicate that human suffering is understood chiefly as an individual burden, a burden the rest of the world is oblivious or indifferent to. The actions noted in line 3, of an individual opening a window, or "just walking dully along," are deliberately banal, trivial, and commonplace. They underscore the indifference society exhibits toward human suffering. The daily side-by-side existence of both extraordinary events of suffering and common experiences is the universal truth the Old Masters recognize and capture in their work.

Lines 5-8:

Elaborating on the previous two lines, the poet notes how an extraordinary event, such as the "miraculous birth" of Christ is visually displaced by the seemingly less significant image of children skating on a pond. This perspective is ironic and implies that the poet, like the painters, recognizes that great historic or prophetic events which are often the focus of humanity are less important than those which mark the recurring rhythms of life.

Lines 9-13:

These five lines like the previous four, treat an extraordinary event contextually. That is, the "dreadful martyrdom" is placed within the human context of ordinariness. Thus, as a martyrdom occurs, dogs live our their "doggy life." This juxtaposition of the ordinary and extraordinary suggests a condemnation of humankind's indifference to human suffering. However, it also forces the viewer/reader to question the accepted distinction between the ordinary and the extraordinary. The poet, like the "Old Master" Brueghel, engages us to recognize the details of daily life, for it is here that extraordinary events of suffering and miracles occur. The extraordinary events, then, are the children skating, or the animal stirring.

The flat, colloquial language the poet employs, for instance such phrase as "anyhow in a corner," and "dogs go on with their doggy life," is deliberately unpoetic and suggests that the speaker is discussing a well-known notion. Recalling a familiar idea links back to the opening lines of the poem and the poet's assertion that a universally recognized and accepted "truth" regarding human suffering exists.

Lines 14-15:

At this point in the poem, Auden moves from the general to the specific. In the second section, the poet dwells upon a particular canvas, Brueghel's Icarus, a work which hangs in the Musée des Beaux Arts in Brussels. This painting, as suggested in these two lines, contains a visual representation of the blasé or detached attitude of humankind discussed in the previous lines. Note how the indifference of humankind is expressed by their actions as "everything turns away" in a "leisurely" fashion from the disaster. Thus, in this section the implied indifference noted in the first section of the poem is made explicit.

Despite their seeming differences, the extraordinary events alluded to in each section are linked. In the first section, the poet alludes to Christian events, the Nativity and the Crucifixion. In the second section, the Greek myth of Icarus, a boy whose overwhelming aspirations proved to be his downfall, is depicted. While the events spring from disparate cultures and times, humankind's response to the events is the same for in all instances the fated implications are ignored.

Lines 16-19:

In these four lines, the poem mirrors the painting. Both depict the ploughman and his work in the foreground while the human tragedy of Icarus plunging to his death in regulated to the background. The painting is literally composed in this manner, and the poetic composition is equally as clearly as Icarus is depicted as simply a splash, a cry, a pair of "white legs." Despite being regulated to the background of the text, the disaster, the martyrdom, the death and suffering are part of the landscape even if those occupying the landscape are oblivious to it. Life fails to romanticize and celebrate such events, and this awareness further suggests that the extraordinary exists within the daily activities of one's life.

Lines 20-21:

The closing lines of the poem continue to meticulously describe Brueghel's painting. The attention to detail, for instance the ship is defined as both "expensive" and "delicate," underscores the insignificance of personal tragedy within the scheme of life, and thus implies that the extraordinary exists within ordinary experience. This is the image the poem concludes with for despite the death of Icarus, the sun continues to shine and the ship sails "calmly on" to its preordained destination.

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William Shakespeare


Analysis of Major Characters


Beginning with the opening lines of the play, Othello remains at a distance from much of the action that concerns and affects him. Roderigo and Iago refer ambiguously to a “he” or “him” for much of the first scene. When they begin to specify whom they are talking about, especially once they stand beneath Brabanzio’s window, they do so with racial epithets, not names. These include “the Moor” (I.i.57), “the thick-lips” (I.i.66), “an old black ram” (I.i.88), and “a Barbary horse” (I.i.113). Although Othello appears at the beginning of the second scene, we do not hear his name until well into Act I, scene iii (I.iii.48). Later, Othello’s will be the last of the three ships to arrive at Cyprus in Act II, scene i; Othello will stand apart while Cassio and Iago supposedly discuss Desdemona in Act IV, scene i; and Othello will assume that Cassio is dead without being present when the fight takes place in Act V, scene i. Othello’s status as an outsider may be the reason he is such easy prey for Iago.

Although Othello is a cultural and racial outsider in Venice, his skill as a soldier and leader is nevertheless valuable and necessary to the state, and he is an integral part of Venetian civic society. He is in great demand by the duke and senate, as evidenced by Cassio’s comment that the senate “sent about three several quests” to look for Othello (I.ii.46). The Venetian government trusts Othello enough to put him in full martial and political command of Cyprus; indeed, in his dying speech, Othello reminds the Venetians of the “service” he has done their state (V.ii.348).

Those who consider Othello their social and civic peer, such as Desdemona and Brabanzio, nevertheless seem drawn to him because of his exotic qualities. Othello admits as much when he tells the duke about his friendship with Brabanzio. He says, -“[Desdemona’s] father loved me, oft invited me, / Still questioned me the story of my life / From year to year” (I.iii.127–129). -Othello is also able to captivate his peers with his speech. The duke’s reply to Othello’s speech about how he wooed Desdemona with his tales of adventure is: “I think this tale would win my daughter too” (I.iii.170).

Othello sometimes makes a point of presenting himself as an outsider, whether because he recognizes his exotic appeal or because he is self-conscious of and defensive about his difference from other Venetians. For example, in spite of his obvious eloquence in Act I, scene iii, he protests, “Rude am I in my speech, / And little blessed with the soft phrase of peace” (I.iii.81–82). While Othello is never rude in his speech, he does allow his eloquence to suffer as he is put under increasing strain by Iago’s plots. In the final moments of the play, Othello regains his composure and, once again, seduces both his onstage and offstage audiences with his words. The speech that precedes his suicide is a tale that could woo almost anyone. It is the tension between Othello’s victimization at the hands of a foreign culture and his own willingness to torment himself that makes him a tragic figure rather than simply Iago’s ridiculous puppet.



Possibly the most heinous villain in Shakespeare, Iago is fascinating for his most terrible characteristic: his utter lack of convincing motivation for his actions. In the first scene, he claims to be angry at Othello for having passed him over for the position of lieutenant (I.i. 7–32). He is willing to take revenge on anyone—Othello, Desdemona, Cassio, Roderigo, even Emilia—at the slightest provocation and enjoys the pain and damage he causes.

Iago is often funny, especially in his scenes with the foolish Roderigo, which serve as a showcase of Iago’s manipulative -abilities. He seems almost to wink at the audience as he revels in his own skill. As entertained spectators, we find ourselves on Iago’s side when he is with Roderigo, but the interactions between the two also reveal a streak of cowardice in Iago—a cowardice that becomes manifest in the final scene, when Iago kills his own wife (V.ii.231–242). Iago’s murder of Emilia could also stem from the general hatred of women that he displays. He certainly seems to take great pleasure in preventing Othello from enjoying marital happiness.

It is Iago’s talent for understanding and manipulating the desires of those around him that makes him both a powerful and a compelling figure. Iago is able to take the handkerchief from Emilia and know that he can deflect her questions; he is able to tell Othello of the handkerchief and know that Othello will not doubt him; he is able to tell the audience, “And what’s he then that says I play the villain,” and know that it will laugh as though he were a clown (II.iii.310). Though the most inveterate liar, Iago inspires all of the play’s characters the trait that is most lethal to Othello: trust.



Desdemona is a more plausible, well-rounded figure than much criticism has given her credit for. Arguments that see Desdemona as stereotypically weak and submissive ignore the conviction and authority of her first speech (“My noble father, / I do perceive here a divided duty” [I.iii.179–180]) and her terse fury after Othello strikes her (“I have not deserved this” [IV.i.236]). Similarly, critics who argue that Desdemona’s slightly bizarre bawdy jesting with Iago in Act II, scene i, is either an interpolation not written by Shakespeare or a mere vulgarity ignore the fact that Desdemona is young, sexual, and recently married. She later displays the same chiding, almost mischievous wit in Act III, scene iii, lines 61–84, when she attempts to persuade Othello to forgive Cassio.

Desdemona is at times a submissive character, most notably in her willingness to take credit for her own murder. In response to Emilia’s question, “O, who hath done this deed?” Desdemona’s final words are, “Nobody, I myself. Farewell. / Commend me to my kind lord. O, farewell” (V.ii.133–134). The play, then, depicts Desdemona contradictorily as a self-effacing, faithful wife and as a bold, independent personality. This contradiction may be intentional, meant to portray the way Desdemona herself feels after defending her choice of marriage to her father in Act I, scene iii, and then almost immediately being put in the position of defending her fidelity to her husband. She begins the play as a supremely independent person, but midway through she must struggle against all odds to convince Othello that she is not too independent. The manner in which Desdemona is murdered—smothered by a pillow in a bed covered in her wedding sheets—is symbolic: she is literally suffocated beneath the demands put on her fidelity. Since her first lines, Desdemona has seemed capable of meeting or even rising above those demands. In the end, Othello stifles the speech that made Desdemona so powerful.

Tragically, Desdemona is apparently aware of her imminent death. She, not Othello, asks Emilia to put her wedding sheets on the bed, and she asks Emilia to bury her in these sheets should she die first. The last time we see Desdemona before she awakens to find Othello standing over her with murder in his eyes, she sings a song she learned from her mother’s maid: “She was in love; and he proved mad / And did forsake her. She had a song of willow. / . . . / And she died singing it. That song tonight / Will not go from my mind” (IV.iii.27–30). Like the audience, Desdemona seems able only to watch as her husband is driven insane with jealousy. Though she maintains to the end that she is “guiltless,” Desdemona also forgives her husband (V.ii.133). Her forgiveness of Othello may help the audience to forgive him as well.



The Incompatibility of Military Heroism & Love

Before and above all else, Othello is a soldier. From the earliest moments in the play, his career affects his married life. Asking “fit disposition” for his wife after being ordered to Cyprus (I.iii.234), Othello notes that “the tyrant custom . . . / Hath made the flinty and steel couch of war / My thrice-driven bed of down” (I.iii.227–229). While Desdemona is used to better “accommodation,” she nevertheless accompanies her husband to Cyprus (I.iii.236). Moreover, she is unperturbed by the tempest or Turks that threatened their crossing, and genuinely curious rather than irate when she is roused from bed by the drunken brawl in Act II, scene iii. She is, indeed, Othello’s “fair warrior,” and he is happiest when he has her by his side in the midst of military conflict or business (II.i.179). The military also provides Othello with a means to gain acceptance in Venetian society. While the Venetians in the play are generally fearful of the prospect of Othello’s social entrance into white society through his marriage to Desdemona, all Venetians respect and honor him as a soldier. Mercenary Moors were, in fact, commonplace at the time.

Othello predicates his success in love on his success as a soldier, wooing Desdemona with tales of his military travels and battles. Once the Turks are drowned—by natural rather than military might—Othello is left without anything to do: the last act of military administration we see him perform is the viewing of fortifications in the extremely short second scene of Act III. No longer having a means of proving his manhood or honor in a public setting such as the court or the battlefield, Othello begins to feel uneasy with his footing in a private setting, the bedroom.


The Danger of Isolation

The action of Othello moves from the metropolis of Venice to the island of Cyprus. Protected by military fortifications as well as by the forces of nature, Cyprus faces little threat from external forces. Once Othello, Iago, Desdemona, Emilia, and Roderigo have come to Cyprus, they have nothing to do but prey upon one another. Isolation enables many of the play’s most important effects: Iago frequently speaks in soliloquies; Othello stands apart while Iago talks with Cassio in Act IV, scene i, and is left alone onstage with the bodies of Emilia and Desdemona for a few moments in Act V, scene ii; Roderigo seems attached to no one in the play except Iago. And, most prominently, Othello is visibly isolated from the other characters by his physical stature and the color of his skin. Iago is an expert at manipulating the distance between characters, isolating his victims so that they fall prey to their own obsessions. At the same time, Iago, of necessity always standing apart, falls prey to his own obsession with revenge. The characters cannot be islands, the play seems to say: self-isolation as an act of self-preservation leads ultimately to self-destruction. Such self-isolation leads to the deaths of Roderigo, Iago, Othello, and even Emilia.


Sight and Blindness

The action of the play depends heavily on characters not seeing things: Othello accuses his wife although he never sees her infidelity, and Emilia, although she watches Othello erupt into a rage about the missing handkerchief, does not figuratively “see” what her husband has done.



The Handkerchief

Since the handkerchief was the first gift Desdemona received from Othello, she keeps it about her constantly as a symbol of Othello’s love. Iago manipulates the handkerchief so that Othello comes to see it as a symbol of Desdemona herself—her faith and chastity. By taking possession of it, he is able to convert it into evidence of her infidelity. Othello claims that his mother used it to keep his father faithful to her, so, to him, the handkerchief represents marital fidelity.


The Song “Willow”

As she prepares for bed in Act V, Desdemona sings a song about a woman who is betrayed by her lover. She was taught the song by her mother’s maid, Barbary, who suffered a misfortune similar to that of the woman in the song; she even died singing “Willow.” The song’s lyrics suggest that both men and women are unfaithful to one another. To Desdemona, the song seems to represent a melancholy and resigned acceptance of her alienation from Othello’s affections, and singing it leads her to question Emilia about the nature and practice of infidelity.



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Mrs. Dalloway

Virginia Woolf



Communication vs. Privacy

Throughout Mrs. Dalloway, Clarissa, Septimus, Peter, and others struggle to find outlets for communication as well as adequate privacy, and the balance between the two is difficult for all to attain. Clarissa in particular struggles to open the pathway for communication and throws parties in an attempt to draw people together. At the same time, she feels shrouded within her own reflective soul and thinks the ultimate human mystery is how she can exist in one room while the old woman in the house across from hers exists in another. Even as Clarissa celebrates the old woman’s independence, she knows it comes with an inevitable loneliness. Peter tries to explain the contradictory human impulses toward privacy and communication by comparing the soul to a fish that swims along in murky water, then rises quickly to the surface to frolic on the waves. The war has changed people’s ideas of what English society should be, and understanding is difficult between those who support traditional English society and those who hope for continued change. Meaningful connections in this disjointed postwar world are not easy to make, no matter what efforts the characters put forth. Ultimately, Clarissa sees Septimus’s death as a desperate, but legitimate, act of communication.


Disillusionment with the British Empire

Throughout the nineteenth century, the British Empire seemed invincible. It expanded into many other countries, such as India, Nigeria, and South Africa, becoming the largest empire the world had ever seen. World War I was a violent reality check. For the first time in nearly a century, the English were vulnerable on their own land. The Allies technically won the war, but the extent of devastation England suffered made it a victory in name only. Entire communities of young men were injured and killed. In 1916, at the Battle of the Somme, England suffered 60,000 casualties—the largest slaughter in England’s history. Not surprisingly, English citizens lost much of their faith in the empire after the war. No longer could England claim to be invulnerable and all-powerful. Citizens were less inclined to willingly adhere to the rigid constraints imposed by England’s class system, which benefited only a small margin of society but which all classes had fought to preserve.

In 1923, when Mrs. Dalloway takes place, the old establishment and its oppressive values are nearing their end. English citizens, including Clarissa, Peter, and Septimus, feel the failure of the empire as strongly as they feel their own personal failures. Those citizens who still champion English tradition, such as Aunt Helena and Lady Bruton, are old. Aunt Helena, with her glass eye (perhaps a symbol of her inability or unwillingness to see the empire's disintegration), is turning into an artifact. Anticipating the end of the Conservative Party’s reign, Richard plans to write the history of the great British military family, the Brutons, who are already part of the past. The old empire faces an imminent demise, and the loss of the traditional and familiar social order leaves the English at loose ends.


The Fear of Death

Thoughts of death lurk constantly beneath the surface of everyday life in Mrs. Dalloway, especially for Clarissa, Septimus, and Peter, and this awareness makes even mundane events and interactions meaningful, sometimes even threatening. At the very start of her day, when she goes out to buy flowers for her party, Clarissa remembers a moment in her youth when she suspected a terrible event would occur. Big Ben tolls out the hour, and Clarissa repeats a line from Shakespeare’s Cymbeline over and over as the day goes on: “Fear no more the heat o’ the sun / Nor the furious winter’s rages.” The line is from a funeral song that celebrates death as a comfort after a difficult life. Middle-aged Clarissa has experienced the deaths of her father, mother, and sister and has lived through the calamity of war, and she has grown to believe that living even one day is dangerous. Death is very naturally in her thoughts, and the line from Cymbeline, along with Septimus’s suicidal embrace of death, ultimately helps her to be at peace with her own mortality. Peter Walsh, so insecure in his identity, grows frantic at the idea of death and follows an anonymous young woman through London to forget about it. Septimus faces death most directly. Though he fears it, he finally chooses it over what seems to him a direr alternative—living another day.


The Threat of Oppression

Oppression is a constant threat for Clarissa and Septimus in Mrs. Dalloway, and Septimus dies in order to escape what he perceives to be an oppressive social pressure to conform. It comes in many guises, including religion, science, or social convention. Miss Kilman and Sir William Bradshaw are two of the major oppressors in the novel: Miss Kilman dreams of felling Clarissa in the name of religion, and Sir William would like to subdue all those who challenge his conception of the world. Both wish to convert the world to their belief systems in order to gain power and dominate others, and their rigidity oppresses all who come into contact with them. More subtle oppressors, even those who do not intend to, do harm by supporting the repressive English social system. Though Clarissa herself lives under the weight of that system and often feels oppressed by it, her acceptance of patriarchal English society makes her, in part, responsible for Septimus’s death. Thus she too is an oppressor of sorts. At the end of the novel, she reflects on his suicide: “Somehow it was her disaster—her disgrace.” She accepts responsibility, though other characters are equally or more fully to blame, which suggests that everyone is in some way complicit in the oppression of others.



The Prime Minister

The prime minister in Mrs. Dalloway embodies England’s old values and hierarchical social system, which are in decline. When Peter Walsh wants to insult Clarissa and suggest she will sell out and become a society hostess, he says she will marry a prime minister. When Lady Bruton, a champion of English tradition, wants to compliment Hugh, she calls him “My Prime Minister.” The prime minister is a figure from the old establishment, which Clarissa and Septimus are struggling against. Mrs. Dalloway takes place after World War I, a time when the English looked desperately for meaning in the old symbols but found the symbols hollow. When the conservative prime minister finally arrives at Clarissa’s party, his appearance is unimpressive. The old pyramidal social system that benefited the very rich before the war is now decaying, and the symbols of its greatness have become pathetic.


Peter Walsh’s Pocketknife and Other Weapons

Peter Walsh plays constantly with his pocketknife, and the opening, closing, and fiddling with the knife suggest his flightiness and inability to make decisions. He cannot decide what he feels and doesn’t know whether he abhors English tradition and wants to fight it, or whether he accepts English civilization just as it is. The pocketknife reveals Peter’s defensiveness. He is armed with the knife, in a sense, when he pays an unexpected visit to Clarissa, while she herself is armed with her sewing scissors. Their weapons make them equal competitors. Knives and weapons are also phallic symbols, hinting at sexuality and power. Peter cannot define his own identity, and his constant fidgeting with the knife suggests how uncomfortable he is with his masculinity. Characters fall into two groups: those who are armed and those who are not. Ellie Henderson, for example, is “weaponless,” because she is poor and has not been trained for any career. Her ambiguous relationship with her friend Edith also puts her at a disadvantage in society, leaving her even less able to defend herself. Septimus, psychologically crippled by the literal weapons of war, commits suicide by impaling himself on a metal fence, showing the danger lurking behind man-made boundaries.


The Old Woman in the Window

The old woman in the window across from Clarissa’s house represents the privacy of the soul and the loneliness that goes with it, both of which will increase as Clarissa grows older. Clarissa sees the future in the old woman: She herself will grow old and become more and more alone, since that is the nature of life. As Clarissa grows older, she reflects more but communicates less. Instead, she keeps her feelings locked inside the private rooms of her own soul, just as the old woman rattles alone around the rooms of her house. Nevertheless, the old woman also represents serenity and the purity of the soul. Clarissa respects the woman’s private reflections and thinks beauty lies in this act of preserving one’s interior life and independence. Before Septimus jumps out the window, he sees an old man descending the staircase outside, and this old man is a parallel figure to the old woman. Though Clarissa and Septimus ultimately choose to preserve their private lives in opposite ways, their view of loneliness, privacy, and communication resonates within these similar images.


The Old Woman Singing an Ancient Song

Opposite the Regent’s Park Tube station, an old woman sings an ancient song that celebrates life, endurance, and continuity. She is oblivious to everyone around her as she sings, beyond caring what the world thinks. The narrator explains that no matter what happens in the world, the old woman will still be there, even in “ten million years,” and that the song has soaked “through the knotted roots of infinite ages.” Roots, intertwined and hidden beneath the earth, suggest the deepest parts of people’s souls, and this woman’s song touches everyone who hears it in some way. Peter hears the song first and compares the old woman to a rusty pump. He doesn’t catch her triumphant message and feels only pity for her, giving her a coin before stepping into a taxi. Rezia, however, finds strength in the old woman’s words, and the song makes her feel as though all will be okay in her life. Women in the novel, who have to view patriarchal English society from the outside, are generally more attuned to nature and the messages of voices outside the mainstream. Rezia, therefore, is able to see the old woman for the life force she is, instead of simply a nuisance or a tragic figure to be dealt with, ignored, or pitied.

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Interpreter of Maladies

Jhumpa Lahiri



The Difficulty of Communication

Communication breaks down repeatedly in “Interpreter of Maladies,” often with hurtful consequences. Mr. Kapasi, who is the interpreter of maladies, as Mrs. Das names him, has lost his ability to communicate with his wife, forcing him to drink his tea in silence at night and leading to a loveless marriage. He has also lost his ability to communicate in some of the languages he learned as a younger man, leaving him with only English, which he fears he does not speak as well as his children. Mr. and Mrs. Das do not communicate, not because of a language barrier but because Mrs. Das hides behind her sunglasses most of the time and Mr. Das has his nose buried in a guidebook. The children do not listen to their parents, nor do they listen to Mr. Kapasi about the monkeys. All these frustrated attempts at communicating with one another lead to hurt feelings. The Kapasis are trapped in a failing marriage. The Dases are openly hostile to each other. The Das children run rampant over their parents and everyone else. And Mr. Kapasi and Mrs. Das are unable to reach a level of friendship that they both may have sought, if only they could speak with one another openly. When Mrs. Das loses Mr. Kapasi’s address at the end of the story, it marks the termination of the possibility that they could reach out to each other and the definite end to all communication between them.


The Danger of Romanticism

Every time a character in “Interpreter of Maladies” fails to see the truth about another person, the results are in some way harmful. The main conflict of the story centers on two people who romanticize each other, although in different ways. Mr. Kapasi sees Mrs. Das as a lonely housewife who could be a perfect companion to him in his own loneliness. He misses or ignores cues that she may not be interested in him for his own sake because, at some level, he wants her to be this companion. He sees many details about her, such as her bare legs and Americanized shirt and bag, but he passes over others, such as the way she dismisses her children’s desires and her selfishness with her snack. Such unflattering details do not fit with his conception of her. Likewise, Mrs. Das wants Mr. Kapasi to become a confidante to her and solve her personal and marital difficulties. She views him as a father figure and helper and misses or ignores indications that he may not fit those roles. For example, she doesn’t notice that he is uncomfortable with her personal revelations and presses him for help even when he explicitly tells her that he cannot give it to her.

Besides romanticizing one another, the characters also romanticize their surroundings, resulting in insensitivity and danger. Mr. Das, for example, photographs the Indian peasant whose suffering he finds appropriate for a tourist’s shot. He sees only what he wants to see—an interesting picture from a foreign land—not the actual man who is starving by the roadside. Even when Bobby is surrounded by monkeys, in genuine distress, Mr. Das can do nothing but snap a picture, as though this scene is also somehow separate from reality. Throughout their trip, Mr. Das fails to engage with India in any substantial way, preferring to hide behind the efficient descriptions in his guidebook. His romanticized tourist’s view of India keeps him from connecting to the country that his parents call home.



The Camera

Mr. Das’s camera represents his inability to see the world clearly or engage with it. Because he views the world through his camera, Mr. Das misses the reality of the world around him, both in his marriage and in the scenes outside the cab. Mr. Das chooses to have Mr. Kapasi stop the cab so that he can take a photograph of a starving peasant, wanting the picture only as a souvenir of India and ignoring the man’s obvious need for help. His view of the man’s reality is distorted because he sees the man only through the camera lens. Mr. Das snaps pictures of monkeys and scenery, taking the camera from his eye only when he turns back to his guidebook. Rather than engage actively with the India that surrounds him, he instead turns to the safety of frozen images and bland descriptions of ancient sites. He has come to visit India, but what he will take away with him—pictures and snatches of guidebook phrases—he could have gotten from any shop at home in New Brunswick, New Jersey.

Mr. Das also uses the camera to construct a family life that does not actually exist. His children are insolent and his wife is distant, yet Mr. Das tries to pose them in pictures that suggest harmony and intimacy. When Mrs. Das refuses to leave the car when they visit the monastic dwellings, Mr. Das tries to change her mind because he wants to get a complete family portrait—something, he says, they can use for their Christmas card. This “happy family” that Mr. Das aspires to catch on film is pure fabrication, but Mr. Das does not seem to care. He would rather exist in an imaginary state of willful ignorance and arm’s-length engagement than face the disappointments and difficulties of his real life.


Mrs. Das’s Puffed Rice

Puffed rice, insubstantial and bland, represents Mrs. Das’s mistakes and careless actions. Physically, Mrs. Das is young and attractive, but she is spiritually empty. She does not love her children or husband and is caught in the boredom of her life as a housewife. Her depression and apathy distance her from her family, but she harbors a secret that could tear the entire family apart. She carelessly scatters the puffed rice along the trail at the monastic dwellings, never thinking about the danger her actions pose to others. Even when she realizes the danger to Bobby, as monkeys surround and terrify him, Mrs. Das does not take any responsibility for the situation, just as she refuses to acknowledge any guilt about her affair with Mr. Das’s friend. If Mrs. Das’s secret is ever revealed, Bobby will be the true victim of that carelessness as well. Conceived out of anger, boredom, and spite and then lied to about his real father, Bobby is surrounded by deceit. Mr. Kapasi feels the urge to tell Bobby the truth as he carries him away from the monkeys. He knows that the safety he is providing for the boy—scattering the monkeys and lifting Bobby away from danger—is insubstantial. He delivers Bobby back to Mrs. Das, whose distance and carelessness fail to provide true safety.


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The Remains of the Day

Kazu Ishiguro



Dignity and Greatness

The compound qualities of "dignity" and "greatness" pervade Stevens's thoughts throughout The Remains of the Day. Early in the novel, Stevens discusses the qualities that make a butler "great," claiming that "dignity" is the essential ingredient of greatness. He illustrates the concept with a number of examples, finally concluding that dignity "has to do crucially with a butler's ability not to abandon the professional being he inhabits." Stevens develops this exclusively professional mindset only too well. Because he always dons the mask of an imperturbable butler, he necessarily denies—and therefore leaves unexpressed—his own personal feelings and beliefs. Stevens's pursuit of dignity in his professional life completely takes over his personal life as well. By suppressing his individuality in this manner, he never achieves true intimacy with another person. The fact that his view of dignity is so misguided is sad; we can tell that Stevens has wanted great things, but that he has gone about attaining them the wrong way.



Although Stevens never overtly discusses what he thinks "regret" may mean, it becomes clear, when he breaks down and cries at the end of the novel, that he wishes he had acted differently with regard to Miss Kenton and Lord Darlington. The tone of the novel is often wistful or nostalgic for the past; as the story goes on, the tone deepens into one of regret as Stevens reevaluates his past actions and decisions, and finds them unwise. Miss Kenton also openly says at the end of the novel that she often regrets the choices she has made in her own life. The overwhelming sadness of the ending is only slightly lifted by Stevens's resolve to perfect the art of bantering—it seems a meager consolation considering the irreparable losses he has experienced in life.



Literal and figurative loss abounds for almost every character in The Remains of the Day. Stevens loses his father, Miss Kenton, and eventually his hope of convincing Miss Kenton to return to Darlington Hall. Miss Kenton loses her aunt, her only relative; and loses Stevens when she leaves to marry a man she does not love. Lord Darlington loses two friends, Herr Bremann and Sir David Cardinal, and his godson, Reginald Cardinal, when they die. Furthermore, Darlington loses his reputation and some degree of his own sanity by the end of his life. Reginald Cardinal loses his father to death and his godfather, Lord Darlington, to Nazi brainwashing. There are both literal and figurative deaths: deaths of loved ones, and figurative deaths of dreams and ideals.



The English Landscape

The most notable symbols in The Remains of the Day are associated with people and events, not with objects and colors. The English landscape that Stevens admires near the beginning of his road trip is one such significant symbol, as we see that Stevens applies the same standards of greatness to the landscape as he does to himself. He feels that English landscape is beautiful due to its restraint, calm, and lack of spectacle—the same qualities Stevens successfully cultivates in his own life as a butler aspiring to "greatness." By the end of the novel, however, Stevens is no longer certain that he has been wise to adhere to these values so rigidly, to the exclusion open- mindedness, individuality, and love.


Stevens's Father Searching on the Steps

Stevens and Miss Kenton watch Stevens's father, after his fall on the steps, practicing going up and down the steps. The elder Stevens searches the ground surrounding the steps "as though," Miss Kenton writes in her letter, "he hoped to find some precious jewel he had dropped there." The action of searching for something that is irretrievably lost is an apt symbol for Stevens's road trip, and indeed his life as a whole. Just as his father keeps his eyes trained on the ground, Stevens keeps thinking over memories in his head as though they will give him some clue as to how his values led him astray in life.


Giffen and Co.

The silver polish company in Mursden that is closing down is a symbol for the obsolescence of Stevens's profession. Indeed, the butler is also almost entirely obsolete by 1956. It is significant that Stevens knows all about the quality of the silver polish, the houses in which it was used, and so on—though he knows an incredible amount of detail about all things related to the maintenance of a great household, his knowledge is no longer nearly as important as it once was. There is no longer the demand that there once was in England for either silver polish or butlers; they are a part of a bygone era.


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The Sound and the Fury

William Faulkner




The Corruption of Southern Aristocratic Values

The first half of the nineteenth century saw the rise of a number of prominent Southern families such as the Compsons. These aristocratic families espoused traditional Southern values. Men were expected to act like gentlemen, displaying courage, moral strength, perseverance, and chivalry in defense of the honor of their family name. Women were expected to be models of feminine purity, grace, and virginity until it came time for them to provide children to inherit the family legacy. Faith in God and profound concern for preserving the family reputation provided the grounding for these beliefs.

The Civil War and Reconstruction devastated many of these once-great Southern families economically, socially, and psychologically. Faulkner contends that in the process, the Compsons, and other similar Southern families, lost touch with the reality of the world around them and became lost in a haze of self-absorption. This self-absorption corrupted the core values these families once held dear and left the newer generations completely unequipped to deal with the realities of the modern world.

We see this corruption running rampant in the Compson family. Mr. Compson has a vague notion of family honor—something he passes on to Quentin—but is mired in his alcoholism and maintains a fatalistic belief that he cannot control the events that befall his family. Mrs. Compson is just as self-absorbed, wallowing in hypochondria and self-pity and remaining emotionally distant from her children. Quentin’s obsession with old Southern morality renders him paralyzed and unable to move past his family’s sins. Caddy tramples on the Southern notion of feminine purity and indulges in promiscuity, as does her daughter. Jason wastes his cleverness on self-pity and greed, striving constantly for personal gain but with no higher aspirations. Benjy commits no real sins, but the Compsons’ decline is physically manifested through his retardation and his inability to differentiate between morality and immorality.

The Compsons’ corruption of Southern values results in a household that is completely devoid of love, the force that once held the family together. Both parents are distant and ineffective. Caddy, the only child who shows an ability to love, is eventually disowned. Though Quentin loves Caddy, his love is neurotic, obsessive, and overprotective. None of the men experience any true romantic love, and are thus unable to marry and carry on the family name.

At the conclusion of the novel, Dilsey is the only loving member of the household, the only character who maintains her values without the corrupting influence of self-absorption. She thus comes to represent a hope for the renewal of traditional Southern values in an uncorrupted and positive form. The novel ends with Dilsey as the torchbearer for these values, and, as such, the only hope for the preservation of the Compson legacy. Faulkner implies that the problem is not necessarily the values of the old South, but the fact that these values were corrupted by families such as the Compsons and must be recaptured for any Southern greatness to return.


Resurrection and Renewal

Three of the novel’s four sections take place on or around Easter, 1928. Faulkner’s placement of the novel’s climax on this weekend is significant, as the weekend is associated with Christ’s crucifixion on Good Friday and resurrection on Easter Sunday. A number of symbolic events in the novel could be likened to the death of Christ: Quentin’s death, Mr. Compson’s death, Caddy’s loss of virginity, or the decline of the Compson family in general.

Some critics have characterized Benjy as a Christ figure, as Benjy was born on Holy Saturday and is currently thirty-three, the same age as Christ at the crucifixion. Interpreting Benjy as a Christ figure has a variety of possible implications. Benjy may represent the impotence of Christ in the modern world and the need for a new Christ figure to emerge. Alternatively, Faulkner may be implying that the modern world has failed to recognize Christ in its own midst.

Though the Easter weekend is associated with death, it also brings the hope of renewal and resurrection. Though the Compson family has fallen, Dilsey represents a source of hope. Dilsey is herself somewhat of a Christ figure. A literal parallel to the suffering servant of the Bible, Dilsey has endured Christlike hardship throughout her long life of service to the disintegrating Compson family. She has constantly tolerated Mrs. Compson’s self-pity, Jason’s cruelty, and Benjy’s frustrating incapacity. While the Compsons crumble around her, Dilsey emerges as the only character who has successfully resurrected the values that the Compsons have long abandoned—hard work, endurance, love of family, and religious faith.

The Failure of Language and Narrative

Faulkner himself admitted that he could never satisfactorily convey the story of The Sound and the Fury through any single narrative voice. His decision to use four different narrators highlights the subjectivity of each narrative and casts doubt on the ability of language to convey truth or meaning absolutely.

Benjy, Quentin, and Jason have vastly different views on the Compson tragedy, but no single perspective seems more valid than the others. As each new angle emerges, more details and questions arise. Even the final section, with its omniscient third-person narrator, does not tie up all of the novel’s loose ends. In interviews, Faulkner lamented the imperfection of the final version of the novel, which he termed his “most splendid failure.” Even with four narrators providing the depth of four different perspectives, Faulkner believed that his language and narrative still fell short.




Water symbolizes cleansing and purity throughout the novel, especially in relation to Caddy. Playing in the stream as a child, Caddy seems to epitomize purity and innocence. However, she muddies her underclothes, which foreshadows Caddy’s later promiscuity. Benjy gets upset when he first smells Caddy wearing perfume. Still a virgin at this point, Caddy washes the perfume off, symbolically washing away her sin. Likewise, she washes her mouth out with soap after Benjy catches her on the swing with Charlie. Once Caddy loses her virginity, she knows that no amount of water or washing can cleanse her.


Quentin’s Watch

Quentin’s watch is a gift from his father, who hopes that it will alleviate Quentin’s feeling that he must devote so much attention to watching time himself. Quentin is unable to escape his preoccupation with time, with or without the watch. Because the watch once belonged to Mr. Compson, it constantly reminds Quentin of the glorious heritage his family considers so important. The watch’s incessant ticking symbolizes the constant inexorable passage of time. Quentin futilely attempts to escape time by breaking the watch, but it continues to tick even without its hands, haunting him even after he leaves the watch behind in his room.


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The Cathedral

Raymond Carver





The Difference between Looking and Seeing

In “Cathedral,” the act of looking is related to physical vision, but the act of seeing requires a deeper level of engagement. The narrator shows that he is fully capable of looking. He looks at his house and wife, and he looks at Robert when he arrives. The narrator is not blind and immediately assumes that he’s therefore superior to Robert. Robert’s blindness, the narrator reasons, makes him unable to make a woman happy, let alone have any kind of normal life. The narrator is certain that the ability to see is everything and puts no effort into seeing anything beyond the surface, which is undoubtedly why he doesn’t really know his wife very well. Robert, however, has the ability to “see” on a much deeper level than the narrator. Even though Robert can’t physically see the narrator’s wife, he understands her more deeply than the narrator does because he truly listens. The wife obviously has a lot to say and has spent the past ten years confiding in Robert on the audiotapes she sends him. The only interaction we see between the narrator and his wife, however, are snippy exchanges in which the narrator does little more than annoy her. True “seeing,” as Robert demonstrates, involves a lot more than just looking.


Art as Insight

The narrator, his wife, and Robert find insight and meaning in their experiences through poetry, drawing, and storytelling. According to the narrator, his wife writes a couple of poems every year to mark events that were important in her life, including the time Robert touched her face. The narrator doesn’t like the poems but admits that he might not understand them. The narrator gains insight into his own life when he draws a picture of a cathedral with Robert, realizing for the first time that looking inward is a way to gain greater knowledge and a deeper understanding of himself. Robert, too, gleans insight from the drawing. Although it’s unlikely that he was able to visualize what the narrator drew, he shares the experience of the narrator’s awakening. The narrator’s mere act of retelling the story of his epiphany helps him make sense of his newfound understanding. Even though his narrative is choppy and rough and he frequently interrupts himself to make a defensive comment or snide remark, he gets the story out, passing along some of his insight to us. The narrator doesn’t fully understand what happened when he closed his eyes and drew the cathedral, but he knows that it was an important experience.



The Cathedral

The cathedral that the narrator draws with Robert represents true sight, the ability to see beyond the surface to the true meaning that lies within. Before the narrator draws the cathedral, his world is simple: he can see, and Robert cannot. But when he attempts to describe the cathedral that’s shown on television, he realizes he doesn’t have the words to do so. More important, he decides that the reason he can’t find those words is that the cathedral has no meaning for him and tells Robert that he doesn’t believe in anything. However, when he takes the time to draw the cathedral—to really think about it and see it in his mind’s eye—he finds himself pulled in, adding details and people to make the picture complete and even drawing some of it with his eyes closed. When the drawing is finished, the narrator keeps his eyes shut, yet what he sees is greater than anything he’s ever seen with his eyes open. Carver isn’t specific about exactly what the narrator realizes, but the narrator says he “didn’t feel like he was inside anything”—he has a weightless, placeless feeling that suggests he’s reached an epiphany. Just as a cathedral offers a place for the religious to worship and find solace, the narrator’s drawing of a cathedral has opened a door for him into a deeper place in his own world, where he can see beyond what is immediately visible.



The audiotapes that Robert and the narrator’s wife send back and forth to each other represent the kind of understanding and empathy that has nothing to do with sight. The narrator believes that Robert’s wife, Beulah, must have suffered because Robert could never see her, but in his own way, the narrator has never truly seen his own wife. Robert’s relationship with the narrator’s wife is much deeper than anything the narrator can understand. When he hears a bit of Robert’s tape, he says it sounds only like “harmless chitchat,” not realizing that this sort of intimate communication is exactly what his own marriage lacks. Only when the narrator closes his eyes to finish drawing the cathedral does he approach the level of understanding that his wife and Robert have achieved through their taped correspondence.


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The Kugelmass Episode




Literature and Literary Study

One of the principal targets of Allen’s satire in “The Kugelmass Episode” is literature and its study. Kugelmass is a humanities professor at the City College of New York in Brooklyn, but, it turns out, he “failed Freshman English.” (Allen himself attended CCNY and failed English at New York University.) He doesn’t speak like an educated man at all, but uses colloquialisms and a very New York Jewish speech pattern; the only time he deviates from this is to call his wife a “troglodyte” (a cave dweller) and to whisper sweet nothings into Emma Bovary’s ear. Kugelmass is dissatisfied with his life, and he yearns not for love but for a cheap idealization or glamorization of it that is the stuff of romance novels. He decides he wants to have an affair with Emma Bovary because she is French—“that sounds to me perfect,” he says. But what he doesn’t even consider is that Flaubert’s novel is not about perfect love at all but the ridiculous idealization of it by the title character—which leads to her utter ruin. In fact Kugelmass is very much like Flaubert’s Emma: dissatisfied and disillusioned by marriage, searching not for love but for shallow fulfillment that is mistaken for something much grander. But Kugelmass is also like Emma’s husband, Charles, who is a bumbling, aging man who is really no good at his job. However, Kugelmass the literature professor does not realize these things at all.

Allen throws in a number of references in his story to classics of literature that reinforce the absurdity of Kugelmass’s quest and resound with his general predicament. The Great Persky asks Kugelmass what his pleasure is in terms of female heroines to have an affair with. He suggests the social-climbing title character of Theodore Dreiser’s Sister Carrie and the mad Ophelia in Shakespeare’s Hamlet, for example. At the end of the novel, Kugelmass asks to be projected into Philip Roth’s Portnoys Complaint, a book about a Jewish man who talks to his analyst about his sexual troubles. Throughout the story, Allen uses lowbrow humor to poke fun at serious, high art by combining it with absurd and farcical situations. The fact that a person can be projected at all into a work of fiction is ridiculously comic, and that it is Flaubert’s serious naturalistic novel is even more incongruous.

Literary study is also satirized in the story as students and professors all over the country begin to wonder about what is happening as a “bald Jew” enters Flaubert’s novel. Rather than thinking that something crazy is happening, the teachers think that their students are on pot or acid. A Stanford professor, unable to simply see the text for what it is, remarks that it shows that the mark of a classic is that “you can reread it a thousand times and always find something new.”


Pursuit and Possession

Perhaps Allen’s most serious target of satire in “The Kugelmass Episode” is modern humans’ pursuit of satisfaction. Kugelmass is dissatisfied and undergoing a midlife crisis, but rather than seek meaning, he looks for romance and glamour to relieve the boredom in his life. When things go wrong and Emma can’t get back to the Flaubert novel, he tells Persky that all he is prepared for at this point in his life is “a cautious affair.” He is prepared to lie and cheat on his wife but he doesn’t want to work too hard or to give up the other things in his life—his job, his comfortable existence—to get what he wants. The irony at the end of the story is that Kugelmass, who has been in the pursuit of things that he thinks he must have, is himself pursued by “having,” as the “large, hairy” irregular verb “tener” chases him over a rocky landscape. Emma is also in pursuit of shallow and meaningless things—idealized romance and fame—that she thinks can make her happy.


Art and Life/Fantasy and Reality

A recurring theme in Allen’s fiction and films is the line between art and life, between fantasy and reality. Fantasy in the story is seen on two levels. On the one hand, there are straightforward fantasies, for example Kugelmass’s wish have a beautiful woman by his side and Emma Bovary’s desire for an acting career and fame. But Allen plays on that idea and Kugelmass’s fantasy becomes, literally, a fantastic journey into another dimension.

In the story, Kugelmass is bored and seeks a release from his dull, humdrum existence. He wants to escape from the reality of his oaf-like wife Daphne and have an affair. He doesn’t want an ordinary dalliance, a “chippie” on the side as his wife says, but excitement, softness, glamour; he wants to “exchange coy glances over red wine and candlelight.” He turns to Persky to help him, and even though it should be apparent that things will probably not work out (the unsuccessful magician lives in a run-down apartment building and uses a cheap-looking Chinese cabinet as his transporter), he willingly suspends his disbelief and hopes for the best. As a sign of his desperation to escape his reality, Kugelmass the distrusting city man accepts that Persky knows what he is doing. His fantasy comes to life when he is thrust into the world of Flaubert’s novel and begins his affair with Emma Bovary, but Kugelmass soon finds that living with one’s fantasy poses many hazards. Once again, Kugelmass wants to escape—this time his fantasy-turned-reality—either by committing suicide or running away to Europe. He is relieved when Emma is finally transported back to Yonville. Art in the story is an escape from real life, with its fat and dull people and mundane situations. But even though it is a tempting escape, it is still an illusion, and illusions by definition are not all they seem to be.


New York Jewish Culture

“The Kugelmass Episode” is very much a story about a New York Jew, and Allen presents a number of details to emphasize the Jewishness of his principal characters. Kugelmass teaches at City College of New York The word “Kugel” in the title character’s name refers to a sweet noodle dish that is served at Passover. In fact all the “real” characters in the story are Jewish—Kugelmass, Daphne, Dr. Mandel, Persky, and even Kugelmass’s jealous colleague, Fivish Kopkind. Allen’s characters have stereotypical Jewish traits, from Kugelmass’s anxiety and concern about money to Persky’s pessimism. The story uses elements of Jewish humor, with the main character cast as a schlemiel, or bungler, the use of exaggeration for comic effect (Kugelmass notes, for example, that Emma’s hotel tab reads “like the defense budget”) and its concerns with the anxieties of urban life. But while Allen satirizes Jewish culture, speech, and manners, he never does so harshly, and his characters are crazy but ultimately likeable, and the colloquial speech they use in the face of such serious situations is perhaps the most humorous element in the story.


The Entertainment Industry

“The Kugelmass Episode” pokes fun at the entertainment industry, especially in its satirical portraits of Persky the Great and Emma Bovary. Persky is an unsuccessful entertainer who nonetheless continues at his trade and hustles to earn a living. He built his cabinet for a booking for the Knights of Pythias that “fell through,” he tells Kugelmass, and he aims to make money from Kugelmass from his contraption. Emma, when she comes to New York, becomes a parody of an actress with aspirations to fame. She wants to dine at Elaine’s, a landmark restaurant in New York that serves Italian-Jewish comfort food and which is the haunt of many celebrities (she wants to see and be seen). She thinks anyone can act and wants to be coached by the great Strasberg so she can win an Oscar. Both these characters show the shallowest side of the entertainment industry that focuses not on art but on money and fame.

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شعر سیمین بهبهانی از دیدگاه نقد فمینیسمِ فرانسوی

سید شهاب الدین ساداتی

کلید واژه ها:
1)    نوشتار زنانه (Feminine Écriture)
2)    هلن سیزو (Hélène Cixous)
3)    جولیا کریستو (Julia Kristeva)
4)    لوس ایریگِری (Luce Irigaray)
5)    فمینیسم فرانسوی (French Feminism)
فمینیسمِ فرانسوی حرکتی روان - زبان شناختی و رادیکال است که به طور عمده در دهه های 70 و 80 میلادی توسط سیکسو، کریستوا و ایریگری شکل گرفته است. در این نوع حرکت که به طور وسیعی متاثر از نظریات زبان شناسانه است، به طور عمده به تفاوت های نوشتار زنان و مردان می پردازد. مهمترین اصطلاح در این حرکت ادبی-زبان شناختی «نوشتار زنانه» است که در آن نوشتار زنانه را بر خلاف نوشتار مردانه نوعی نوشتار دورانی، غیر خطی و متکثر می دانند که تنها زنان (و برخی مردان) قادر به خلق چنین نوشتاری هستند. در این نوع نوشتار، زن از تجربیّات و از بدن خویش می نویسد و این را بهترین گزینه برای بیان استقلال و زنانگی خویش می پندارد. این نوع نقد ادبی (فمینیسم فرانسوی) روشی بسیار مهم و در خور توجه برای نقد و بررسی اشعار و داستانهای زنان است که از این گذر می توانیم به تفاوت های نوشتار زنان و مردان پی ببریم. در ادبیات فارسی یکی از زنان شاعری که می توانیم نام ببریم سیمین بهبهانی است که نوشتار او می تواند به خوبی بیان کننده و روشن کننده نظریات فمینسیت های فرانسوی در مورد ویژگی های نوشتار زنانه باشد. 
سیمین بهبهانی (متولد ۲۸ تیر ۱۳۰۶ در تهران و درگذشت 28 مرداد 1393 در تهران) نویسنده و غزل‌سرای معاصر ایرانی است. او به خاطر سرودن غزل فارسی در وزن‌های بی‌سابقه به «نیمای غزل» معروف است. سیمین خلیلی معروف به «سیمین بهبهانی» فرزند عباس خلیلی (شاعر، نویسنده و مدیر روزنامه اقدام) و نبیره حاج ملا علی خلیلی تهرانی است. پدرش عباس خلیلی (۱۲۷۲ نجف - ۱۳۵۰ تهران) به دو زبان فارسی و عربی شعر می‌گفت و حدود ۱۱۰۰ بیت از ابیات شاهنامه فردوسی را به عربی ترجمه کرده بود و در ضمن رمان‌های متعددی را هم به رشته تحریر درآورد که همگی به چاپ رسیدند. مادر او فخرعظمی ارغون (۱۳۱۶ ه.ق - ۱۳۴۵ ه.ش) دختر مرتضی قلی ارغون (مکرم السلطان خلعتبری) از بطن قمر خانم عظمت السلطنه (فرزند میرزا محمد خان امیرتومان و نبیره امیر هدایت الله خان فومنی) بود. فخر عظمی ارغون فارسی و عربی و فقه و اصول را در مکتبخانه خصوصی خواند و با متون نظم و نثر آشنایی خوبی داشت و زبان فرانسه را نیز زیر نظر یک مربی سوئیسی آموخت. او همچنین از زنان پیشرو و از شاعران موفق زمان خود بود و در انجمن زنان وطن‌خواه عضویت داشت و مدتی هم سردبیر روزنامه آینده ایران بود. او همچنین عضو کانون بانوان و حزب دموکرات بود و به عنوان معلم زبان فرانسه در آموزش و پرورش خدمت می‌کرد. پدر و مادر سیمین که در سال ۱۳۰۳ ازدواج کرده بودند، در سال ۱۳۱۰ از هم جدا شدند و مادرش با عادل خلعتبری (مدیر روزنامه آینده ایران) ازدواج کرد و صاحب سه فرزند دیگر شد. سیمین بهبهانی ابتدا با حسن بهبهانی ازدواج کرد و به نام خانوادگی همسر خود نامبردار شد ولی پس از وی با علی کوشیار ازدواج نمود. او سال‌ها در آموزش و پرورش با سمت دبیری کار کرد. در سال ۱۳۳۷ وارد دانشکده حقوق شد، حال آنکه در رشته ادبیات نیز قبول شده بود. در همان دوران دانشجویی بود که با علی کوشیار آشنا شد و با او ازدواج کرد. سیمین بهبهانی از سال ۱۳۳۰ تا سال ۱۳۶۰تنها به تدریس اشتغال داشته است و در طی این سالیان حتی شغلی مرتبط با رشتهٔ حقوق را قبول نکرد (ویکیپیدیا).
فمینیسمِ فرانسوی
فمینیسمِ فرانسوی حرکتی است که توسط نظریه های گروهی از منتقدین و نظریه پردازانِ زن در فرانسه از جمله هلن سیکسو، لوس ایریگری و جولیا کریستوا که تحصیلاتشان در زمینه فلسفه، روان شناسی و زبان شناسی است شکل گرفته است. برای فهم فمینیسمِ فرانسوی باید به تئوری های این سه نظریه پرداز که متعلق به موجِ سومِ فمینیسم هستند رجوع کنیم. فمینیسمِ فرانسوی به طور کلّی پدیده ای روان شناختی - زبان شناختی است زیرا کریستوا و ایریگری هر دو از شاگردانِ ژاک لاکان بوده اند که در سمینارهای او به صورت مداوم شرکت می کرده اند، بنابراین تکیه فمینیسمِ فرانسوی نیز بر همین مسئله روان شناختی، خصوصاً روان زنان تحت تاثیر نظریاتِ ژاک لاکان است. همچنین این حرکت تحت تاثیر نظریات میشل فوکو و ژاک دریدا، یک حرکت فمینیستی رادیکال به حساب می آید که هر سه نظریه پردازِ آن دیدگاهی زبان شناسانه دارند. حال بهتر است که به صورت جداگانه به توضیح نظریات این سه منتقد بپردازیم.
هِلِن سیکسو (Hélène Cixous): سیکسو که در فرانسوی سیزو نیز تلفظ می شود متولد 1937 در الجزایر از پدری الجزایری و مادری آلمانی - یهودی است. او که هم اکنون ساکن فرانسه است، به عنوان فیلسوف، نویسنده، شاعر، منتقد ادبی و استاد دانشگاه مشهور است. از کارهای مهم سیکسو تاسیس دانشگاه پاریس 8 (معروف به دانشگاه غیر سنتی) به سال 1968 است. او پس از این به مطالعه فمینستی خود ادامه می دهد و همچنین به بیان عقایدش در زمینه آزادی و استقلال زن می پردازد. در دهه ی 70 میلادی مباحث اصلی خویش را مطرح می کند که رابطه زبان با جنسیت موضوع اصلی کارهای اوست. برخی از این عقاید فمینیستی را در اینجا می توان نام برد: 1- آموزش برابر برای مردان و زنان 2- استقلال مالی زنان 3- دادن آزادی جنسی به زنان 4- اجازه سقط جنین به زنان 5- جلوگیری از تولید مثل 6- نگهداری از فرزندان به صورت برابر با مردان 7- تولید یک زبان زنانه و اجازه ظهور در اجتماع 8- زن باید از کار خود به طور مستقل نفع ببرد. سیکسو همچنین در سال 1968 در رشته زبان و ادبیات انگلیسی موفق به دریافت درجه ی دکتری شد که موضوع پایان نامه وی درباره نویسنده ی پرآوازه ی ایرلندی یعنی جیمز جویس (James Joyce) بوده است. سیکسو همچنین تا زمان حیات ژاک دریدا رابطه ی نزدیکی با او داشته است، به دلیل اینکه هر دو اصالتی الجزایری داشتند.
سیکسو با تکیه بر تقابل های دوگانه در زبان به بیان نظریات خویش می پردازد که در پیکان حملات خویش نگاه مردانه، مرد سالارانه و در اصطلاح «نرینه محوری» (Phallocentrism) را مورد انتقاد قرار می دهد. سیکسو می گوید که باید در تقابل های دوگانه واسازی (Deconstruction) انجام دهیم و تقابل های دوگانه را که در آنها مرد برتر است را برعکس کنیم زیرا سیکسو بر این عقیده است که زن نه تنها نماد فقدان نیست بلکه بالعکس زن نماد باروری و تکثر است. در مقاله های Sortires)) و «خنده ی مدوسا» (The Laugh of Medusa) که در سال 1975 انتشار یافتند برای نخستین بار «نوشتار زنانه» (Female Writing) مطرح می شود. سیکسو می گوید که زبان زنانه، زبانی است که زن باید با تمام ویژگی های زنانه آن را بنویسد. زن باید سکوت را بشکند. زبان زنانه باید زبان انقلابی باشد تا بتواند در مقابل نظام مردسالارانه مقاومت کند. زن باید بدن خود و تجربه های زنانه خویش را فراموش نکند زیرا سیکسو اعتقاد دارد که در مورد زنان سه نوع سرکوب در تاریخ وجود داشته است: 1- سرکوب خود زن 2- سرکوب بدن زن 3- سرکوب زبان زنانه.
لوس ایریگری (Luce Irigaray): ایریگری زبان شناس، فیلسوف، روان شناس و نظریه پرداز فرهنگی، متولد 1932 در کشور بلژیک است که از دهه ی 60 میلادی به فرانسه مهاجرت کرد و هم اکنون نیز در فرانسه زندگی می کند. او در دهه های 60 و 70 میلادی در سمینارهای ژاک لاکان شرکت می کرد. ایریگری در سال 1968 دکترای زبان شناسی می گیرد و سپس موفق به کسب درجه ی دکترای فلسفه نیز می شود. او همچنین دارای دکترای افتخاری زبان و ادبیات انگلیسی از دانشگاه لندن است.
ایریگری برخلاف فروید عنوان می کند که زنانگی ربطی به تولید مثل ندارد. در توضیح عقاید خویش و تحت تاثیر مستقیم لاکان ایریگری می گوید که فروید زنانگی زن را از بچه دار شدن می داند. ایریگری ادامه می دهد که باید به جسم مادر نزدیک شویم (بازگشت به مادر). رابطه مادر و دختر باید خارج از تعریف اودیپی فروید باشد زیرا فروید در تعاریف خویش این رابطه را تخریب کرده است. همچنین ایریگری تحت تاثیر نیچه می گوید که خود زبان است که نقش زن در اجتماع را تعریف می کند. ایریگری می گوید که در طول تاریخ زن همیشه همراه با طبیعت و جسمِ بدون تفکر بوده است، زن با «مادر بودن» یکی بوده است و در مقابل مرد نماد فردیت، فرهنگ و هویت بوده است. لوس ایریگری در برابر این نظریات تاریخی می گوید که هم زن و هم مرد باید فردیت و هویت داشته باشند و این زن است که باید آن را ثابت کند. هر دو (زن و مرد) باید بفهمند که هم به طبیعت و هم به فرهنگ تعلق دارند و غیر از این تفکر اشتباه است. ایریگری معتقد است که با تساوی زن و مرد رابطه انفعالی بین زن و مرد از بین می رود.
جولیا کریستوا (Julia Kristeva): فیلسوف،منتقد ادبی،روانکاو،فمینیست ورمان‌نویس بلغاری-فرانسوی و متولد 1941است که از اواسطدهه ۱۹۶۰ در فرانسه زندگی می‌کند (از زمان 25 سالگی اش تا کنون). جولیا کریستوا بعد از انتشار نخستین کتابش، Semeiotikè  در ۱۹۶۹ تاثیر زیادی درتحلیل انتقادی،نظریه فرهنگ وفمینیسم گذاشت. کریستوا نیز در دهه های 60 و 70 میلادی در سمینارهای لاکان شرکت می کرده است و در سال 1973 در رشته زبان شناسی دکترا می گیرد. پایان نامه او به نام «انقلاب در زبان شاعرانه» است که بعدها نیز به چاپ رسید. او همچنین از سال 1974 به تدریس در دانشگاه های فرانسه و آمریکا اشتغال دارد. کارهای او شامل کتاب‌ها و مقاله‌های بسیار دربارهنشانه‌شناسی،بینامتنیت ودر حوزه‌هایزبان شناسی، نظریه ادبی و نقد،روانکاوی،زندگینامه‌نویسی وخود-زندگینامه‌نویسی، تحلیل سیاسی و فرهنگی، هنر و تاریخ هنر می‌شود. او یکی از پیشگامانساختارگرایی هنگام اوج این نظریه درعلوم انسانی بود. کارهای وی همچنین جایگاه مهمی در اندیشهپساساختارگرایی دارد.
کریستوا اعتقاد دارد که زبان زنانه زبانی نزدیک به زبان کودکی (نزدیک به مادر) است. کرسیتوا می گوید که زبان زنانه نشانه ای، شاعرانه، آهنگین، موسیقیایی است و از منطق علّی و خطّی پیروی نمی کند. منظور از زبان نشانه ای (زبان زنانه) زبانی است که معنایی که در آن وجود دارد ظاهر نشده است و در مقابل زبان مردانه زبانی نمادین و دلالت شده است زیرا معنا در آن ظهور یافته است. کریستوا، همانند دو منتقد پیشین فمینیست که در اینجا عنوان شدند، اعتقاد دارد که زنان باید خودشان را بنویسند، باید درباره خودشان بنویسند. به عقیده کریستوا زنان در نوشتار خویش باید وارد حوزه ای شوند که خشونت در آن کنار گذاشته شده است، خشونتی که آنها را از بدنشان دور کرده است. زبان زنانه زبانی است که مربوط به دوره پیش زبانی و یا پیش-اودیپی (Pre-Oedipus) است، نوشتاری که دورانی و غیر خطّی است. کریستوا همچنین بر این عقیده است که مرد هم می تواند به چنین نوشتاری دست پیدا کند که در این زمینه مورد انتقاد نیز واقع شده است.
نقدِ اشعارِ سیمین بهبهانی از دیدگاه فمینیسمِ فرانسوی
سیمین بهبهانی در اشعار خویش زبانی را برگزیده است که گویی زبانی انقلابی است که قصد رها شدن از دنیا و نظام زبانیِ مرد سالارانه را دارد. در این اشعار او به گونه ای ظریف و آهنگین در قالب ابیاتی موزون و زیبا درباره بدن خویش و یا جسم زنانه صحبت می کند. برای مثال در همان اولین ابیات غزلِ «این صدای شکفتن را...» می گوید:
این صدای شکفتن را     از بهارِ تنم بشنو
هر جوانه به آوازی      گویدت که منم بشنو
این صفات از ویژگی های زبانِ زنانه است که قصد شکستن سکوت را دارد و می خواهد مرزها و محدودیت های به وجود آمده برای زنان را با صدایش (شعرش) از بین ببرد. بهبهانی این کار را با وصف احساس ها و عواطف زنانه و نیز با شیوه خاصّ بیان زنانه انجام می دهد. برای مثال در آخرین ابیات غزلِ «این صدای شکفتن را...» می توان این موارد را پی گرفت:
وای حیف حریفان را     بارها شدنم بشنو  این صدای شکستن را،     افتادن و رستن را ای دلت همه خارایی،     از بلور تنم بشنو
زبان اشعارِ سیمین بهبهانی، زبانی غیرِ خطی و دَوَرانی است، به گونه ای که برای شعر نمی توان نقطه ی آغاز و پایان در نظر گرفت و همچنین می توان جای آغاز و پایان را در این غزل ها جا به جا کرد بدون اینکه لطمه ای جدّی به معنیِ آن ها بخورد. زبان غزل های بهبهانی، زبانی پیوسته و گویی زبانی بی پایان است که سرشار از انعطاف و احساسات است.  سیمین بهبهانی با زبانِ خاصِّ خویش، استقلالش را از نظامِ زبانی مرد سالارانه اعلام می کند و نشان می دهد که قصد اصلاح دارد. به بیانی دیگر، با زبانی آهنگین و همراهِ با موسیقی که از منطقِ علّی و خطی پیروی نمی کند گسست ها را در نظامِ زبانیِ مرد سالارانه سبب می شود. برای مثال در شعرِ «هنوز موی بسته را...»، به توصیف جسم و عواطف زنانه خویش می پردازد و در اواخر شعر زبان و شیوه بیانِ زنانه خود را آشکار می سازد:
به یک دل و به یک زبان،   دوگانگی چرا کنم؟
هنگامی که این غزل های نو از سیمین بهبهانی را پیش رو می نهیم، آنچه در همان ابتدا زنانگی این اشعار را گوشزد می کند، عنوان این غزل ها است. عناوینی چون: «هنوز موی بسته را...»، «من زاده ام اینان را»، «رگبار بوسه» و... که هر کدام به شکلی اشاره ای به دنیای زنانه ای دارد که سعی دارد از همان ابتدا با زبانی که ساختار و دلالت های خاصِّ خود را دارد دربیفتد وبسیار بدیع و هنجار شکن باشد. از نظر اهمیت صناعت مندی در قالب غزل، بیت اول باید ضربه زننده و تاثیرگذار باشد. بهبهانی با به هم ریختن هنجارهای متداول (با توجه به جامعه ای که در آن شعرش را می سراید) میزان غافلگیر کنندگی و ضربه زنی را در بیت اول دوچندان ساخته است و با زیرکی حتی از این صنعت ادبی در خدمت ساختارشکنی مفاهیم از پیش القا شده و موجود در زبان، بهره جسته است. مثال این مطلب، را می توان در مطلع غزلِ «هنوز موی بسته را...» دید:
هنوز موی بسته را      اگر به شانه وا کنم
بسا اسیر خسته را        زحلقه ها رها کنم
ویا  درمطلعِ غزل «رگبار بوسه»:
ای با تو درآمیخته چون جان، تنم امشب!
لعل گلِ مرجان زده بر گردنم امشب
سرودن چنین اشعاری بدین گونه (اشعار فروغ فرخزاد به عنوان استثناء) در ادبیات فارسی سابقه نداشته است. این چهار غزل  فقط نمونه ای از اشعار خانم بهبهانی است، اشعاری که در آن شاعر توانسته است، از ویژگی های زنانه اش سخن بگوید و پروای به هم ریختن هنجارهای متداول را نداشته باشد:
آبستن رسوایی فردا منم امشب (رگبار بوسه)
صدای شعرِ «رگبار بوسه»، یک صدای کاملا پویا و غیر منفعل است، چرا که در جمله جایگاه نهاد را به دست آورده است و به تساوی عاشقانه رسیده است. در این شعر با توصیف هایی از تجربه های زنانه از جمله لذّت جنسی و بارداری و دیگر موارد خاصّ زنانه روبرو می شویم. برای مثال:
آتش نه، زنی گرم تر از آتشم ای دوست!
تنها نه به صورت که به معنا زنم امشب.
شاعر از کلماتی استفاده می کند که پیش از این دلالتی کاملا مردانه داشته اند. شاعر در این غزل به زبان بی مرز و رها از محدودیت های عرفی و اجتماعی دست یافته است و در متن این رهایی از زندان زبان را با شهامت به نمایش می گذارد:
ای خشکیِ پرهیز که جانم ز تو فرسود
روشن شودت چشم، که تردامنم امشب
تردامنی وشکایت از پرهیز و فرا رفتن از مرزها ، پیش از این در ادبیات این مرز و بوم، فقط مختص مردان بوده است و بس. اما آنچه بسیار جالب توجه است، رابطه عمیق متن با ناخودآگاه است. شعر خود نوعی سفر به ناخودآگاه و تقسیم کردن حاصل سفر بین شعر و شاعر است. ناخودآگاه چنان که فروید می گوید، مرکز انباشته شدن همه آن چیزهایی است که فرد در طول زندگی آن را به علت جبر بعضی عوامل، واپس زده است. شعر نوعی رویای در بیداری است و شعرهای تاثیر گذار محل ظهور این ناخودآگاهند. در شعر بهبهانی نیز ساختارهای از پیش تعیین شده زبانی که شاعر را آزرده است، پس از رفتن به ناخودآگاه و تلفیق شاعرانه با تخیل خلّاق، در محمل زبان شکسته می شود  و با ساختارشکنی مثال زدنی به نمایش گذاشته می شود و هنجارهای جامعه با دلیری به بازی گرفته می شود و حتی گاه از سر شوخی پا را از مرز جسارت ورزی فراتر می نهد (عبدی).
     اما در غزل  «من زاد ه ام اینان را...»، صدایِ شعر، زنی با تجلی یک مادر به تمام معنا است. مادری که گویی تمام فرزندان زمین را در زهدان جای داده است آنجا که با اطمینان می گوید : «من زاد ه ام اینان را»، شاعر تجربه مادر بودن خویش را در یک تعمیم جز به کل مرور می کند و با مشاهده هر انسانی، تجربه مادر بودن خویش را در زمزمه لالایی به زیبایی برای خود و مخاطب یادآوری می کند. زن در این غزل با فقدان روبرو نیست، او زنی است که بارور از عشق است و فراوانی حاصل از آن را به جهان هدیه کرده است. عاشق است و عشق می ورزد و در نقش معشوق منفعل، باقی نمی ماند. پیش ازاین  فقط شاعرانی امثالِ حافظ  بودند  که از«شهره عشق» بودن به خود می نازیدند و این میراث زبانی را به آیندگان منتقل کرده بودند. این ویژگی را امروز ما در شعر سیمین بهبهانی می بینیم که چگونه  مراتب وجودی و ساختارهای از پیش تعیین شده زبانی در خدمت دنیای مردانه را دوباره سازی می کند و در فرایند زبانی مهمی چون شعر، دنیایی حاصل می شود که زن در آن کاملا صاحب شخصیتی پویاست (عبدی).
زن در اشعارِ سیمین بهبهانی برخلاف مرد با توجه به عقاید منتقدین فمینیسم فرانسوی نمادِ باروری و تکثر است. برای مثال در شعر «این صدای شکفتن را...»:
هر رگم رگ ساز اینک
و همچنین در شعر «هنوز موی بسته را...» این ابیات را شاهدیم:
هنوز خیل عاشقان    امید بسته در زمان
خوشند و مست ازین گمان    که کامشان روا کنم
در این اشعار تقابل های موجود در نظام مرد سالارانه واسازی شده اند و از سویی دیگر زبان زنانه به صدا نزدیک شده است:
گلشنی همه هوشیاری     رسته در نگهم بنگر عالمی همه بیداری     خفته در سخنم،  بشنو
در آخر این گونه می توان نتیجه گرفت که در این اشعار سیمین بهبهانی با شیوه بیان زنانه ای سر و کار داریم که قصد شکستن زندان زبان مردسالارانه را دارد. این نوع زبان، زبانی بی پایان، روشن، پیوسته و متکثر است.   منابع
عبدی، زهرا. این غزل های هنجارشکن. (
Abrams, M.H., and Geoffrey Galt Harpham. A Glossary of Literary
     Terms. Boston: Thomson Wadsworth, 2005.
Bertens, Hans. Literary Theory, the Basics. London: Routledge, 2001.
Bressler, Charles E. Literary Criticism. Fourth Edition. New Jersy:
     Pearson Prentice Hall, 2007.
Green, Keith. Critical Theory and Practice: A Course Book. London:
     Routledge, 1996.
Guerin L. Wilfred. A Handbook of Critical Approaches to Literature.
     New York: Harper and Row, 1978.
Wolfreys, Julian. Literary Theories: A Reader and Guide. New York:
     New York University Press, 1999.

غزل هایی از سیمین بهبهانی
شکسته دل تر از آن ساغر بلورینم که در میانه خارا کنی ز دست رها ...
این صدای شکفتن را...
این صدای شکفتن را     از بهار تنم بشنو هر جوانه به آوازی     گویدت که منمبشنو هر جوانه به ایینی     شد شکوفه پروینی مست جلوه اگر گفتم     شاخ نسترنم بشنو بیش از این چه درنگ آرم؟     چنگ زهره به چنگ آرم بر رگش به هزار آیین     زخمه گربزنم، بشنو هر رگم رگ ساز اینک،     با فرود و فراز اینک رای خود زدنم بنگر،     بانگتن تننم بشنو اوج شادی و سرشاری،     این منم؟ نه منم، آری غلغلی به سبو از نو     در می کهنم بشنو گلشنی همه هوشیاری     رسته در نگهم بنگر عالمی همه بیداری     خفته در سخنم،  بشنو از تو جان و تنم پر شد     چون صدف که پر از در شد آنچهگفتی و می گویی، جمله از دهنم بشنو
□ نه! که لولی مستت، من،     جامه طرفه دستت، من وای حیف حریفان را     بارها شدنم بشنو  این صدای شکستن را،     افتادن و رستن را ای دلت همه خارایی،     از بلور تنم بشنو
بهمن 61
هنوز موی بسته را...
هنوز موی بسته را   اگر به شانه وا کنم
بسا اسیر خسته را    ز حلقه ها  رها کنم
هنوز خیل عاشقان    امید بسته در زمان
خوشند و مست ازین گمان    که کامشان روا کنم
مرا  همین ز شعر بس   که مست  باده ی هوس
ز روی و مو به هر نفس    هزار ماجرا کنم !
ازین کلام مختصر   مرا قضا شد این قدر
که ترّهات خویش را   نثار طرّه ها  کنم
ز قامت حقیقتی    به پا نشد قیامتی
من از فریب قامتی   قیامتی به پا کنم
کلام مقتضای حق   تباه شد به هر ورق
چه چاره غیر آن که من   خلاف مقتضا کنم؟
گرفته گوشِ داوران،   فتاده کار باکران
در این سکوت بی کران   بگو که را صدا کنم
حکایت « سر و زبان »   درست شد به امتحان
به «سرخ» بند بسته ام    که « سبز» را رها کنم
تلاش بی ثمر مرا   کشید سوی قهقرا
چو آب می رود «چنین»،   چرا «چنان» شنا کنم؟
سزد که همچو ماکیان،   به جرعه یی  ز آبدان
سری کنم بر آسمان،   دعا کنم... ثنا کنم...!
چه رفت بر زبان مرا؟   که شرم باد از آن مرا!
به یک دل و به یک زبان،   دوگانگی چرا کنم؟
ز عمر، سهم بیشتر   ریا نکرده شد به سر
بدین که مانده مختصر،    دگر چرا ریا کنم؟
چو خود به حق نمی رسم،   قسم به حق! همین بَسَم
که خاک آن رسیدگان    به دبده توتیا کنم
طهور جام ِ شوکران   نصیب شد به طاهران
به نوش آن پیمبران،   سلامی آشنا کنم...
                                                                                                    تیر 55
رگبار بوسه
ای با تو در آمیخته چون جان، تنم امشب!
لعلت گلِ مرجان زده بر گردنم امشب
مریم صفت از فیض تو - ای نخل برومند! –
آبستنِ رسواییِ فردا منم امشب
ای خشکیِ پرهیز که جانم ز تو فرسود!
روشن شودت چشم، که تردامنم امشب
مهتابی و پاشیده شدی در شبِ جانم
از پرتوِ لطف تو چنین روشنم امشب
آن شمعِ فروزنده ی عشقم که بَرَد رشک
پیراهن فانوس به پیراهنم امشب
گلبرگ نیَم، شبنم یک بوسه بَسَم نیست
رگبار پسندم، که ز گل خرمنم امشب
آتش نه، زنی گرم تر از آتشم ای دوست!
تنها نه به صورت، که به معنا زنم امشب.
پیمانه ی سیمینِ تنم  پُر مِی عشق است
زنهار ازین باده، که مردافکنم امشب!...
من زاده ام اینان را
شادی کنان می رفتند    با چرخ اهدایی شان
یک جو نبود از عالم    پروای بی پایی شان
شوخی کنان می گفتند   طنز و متل با شادی
برف درون می شد آب  در هُرم برنایی شان.
بازی کنان می جَستند    از پشته و جوباره
آن پای چرخی آنک     وان طرفه پویایی شان
حیرت کنان می رفتم    با سایه هاشان از پی
محوِ سبکروحی شان،   مات دل آسایی شان.
با بستنی ها شیرین   عیشی فراهم شان بود
از ناگواری فارغ ،    شادا گوارایی شان
جمع کمال و نقصان  زان صحنه آرایان بود
عین دریغ و تحسین   آن ِ تماشایی شان...

من زاده ام اینان را،    در خاطرم می بالد
رویای نوزادی شان،   لبخند رویایی شان
در چشم من می جنبد   گهواره ی خردی شان
در گوش من می پیچد   آهنگ لالایی شان:
لالایی گویم و خوابت کنم من
غلام شاه محرابت کنم من
گدای کوچه را نانت روا باد
پلنگ بیشه را تیرت سزا باد
الا منگوله ی ابریشم من
چو پرده در و ثاقم محرم من
الا مرواری من، سِرمه ی من
به سردست فبای ترمه ی من
تمشک وحشی شیرین تردم
تو را من با خدای خود سپردم
پرستاری کنم تا پا بگیری
شوی شمشادی و بالا بگیری
بلا دورت که از بالا نیفتی
کشی سر بر فلک، از پا نیفتی...
 می رفتم و می خواندم    لالایی و شعرم را
بیگانگان با سودا،     من مانده سودایی شان
می رفتم و آوازم      با هق هقی از بغضی
صد بوسه می زد از پی   بر پای بی پایی شان...
                                                                                          اردیبهشت 69

+ نوشته شده در  دوشنبه ۲ آذر۱۳۹۴ساعت   توسط سید شهاب الدین ساداتی | 

A Farewell to Arms

Ernest Hemingway





Love as a response to the horrors of war and the world

Hemingway repeatedly emphasizes the horrific devastation war has wrought on everyone involved. From the opening account of cholera that kills "only" 7,000 men to the graphic description of the artillery bombardment to the corrupt violence during the Italian retreat, A Farewell to Arms is among the most frank anti-war novels.


But Hemingway does not merely condemn war. Rather, he indicts the world at large for its atmosphere of destruction. Henry frequently reflects upon the world's insistence on breaking and killing everyone; it is as if the world cannot bear to let anyone remain happy and safe.


Indeed, whenever Henry and Catherine are blissful, something comes along to interrupt it - be it Henry's injury, his being sent back to the front, his impending arrest, or, finally, Catherine's death from childbirth. With such misery confronting them at every turn, the two turn to each other. Catherine, especially, plunges almost too easily into love when she first meets Henry. She admits she was "crazy" at first, most likely over the fairly recent death of her fiancé, but Henry, too, succumbs to the temptations of love. Love is a pleasurable diversion (see Games, below) that distracts lovers from the outside world; the two often tell each other not to think about anything else, as it is too painful. Hidden within the shelter of Catherine's beautiful hair, Henry and Catherine feel protected from the cruel outside world.


The major problem with such escapist love is, as Henry and other characters point out several times, one does not always know the "stakes" of love until it is over, or that one does not know about something until one has lost it. Henry hardly allows himself to think of life without Catherine while he is in love, and once he does lose her, it seems unlikely that he will recover.


Grace under pressure and the Hemingway hero

Although less important in this novel than in his 1926 novel The Sun Also Rises, Hemingway maps out what it means to be a hero. Chiefly, the "Hemingway hero," as literary criticism frequently tags him, is a man of action who coolly exhibits "grace under pressure" while confronting death. Henry's narration is certainly detached and action-oriented - only rarely does he let us into his most private thoughts - and he displays remarkable cool when shooting the engineering sergeant. Characters in the novel strive for this grace under pressure in an otherwise chaotic world. Even when the men eat spaghetti (and especially when they eat macaroni in the dugout during the artillery bombardment), they try to exercise mastery over a single skill to compensate for the uncontrollable chaos elsewhere. Dr. Valentini is another example of a skillful, confident Hemingway hero.


The Hemingway hero also eschews glory for a more personal code of honor. Unlike the selfish and boastful Ettore, Henry is not greedy for accolades, nor is he stupidly sacrificial. He judiciously determines what is worth the sacrifice, and decides that the war is no longer worthwhile. Even after he makes his "separate peace," however, he feels slightly guilty over letting his friends continue the battle without him.


Rain and destruction

From the first chapter to the last word, the novel is flooded with rain and other images of water. The rain almost always heralds destruction and death; it impinges upon whatever momentary happiness Henry and Catherine have and turns it into muddy misery. Ironically, rain often signifies fertility in literature but here stands for sterility, as it does in much post-WWI literature.

However, water is positive in other ways. Henry receives symbolic baptisms when he bathes and, more prominently, when he twice escapes from the authorities via a river and a lake. Frozen water is kinder to him and to soldiers in general; snow usually prevents fighting, and Henry and Catherine are happiest during their snowy winter in Switzerland.



Nearly all the characters in the novel try to divert themselves with pleasurable activities from the horror of war. The soldiers play card games, drink heavily, and carouse in brothels; Rinaldi is the poster-boy for this hedonistic excess. Henry goes along somewhat, but his biggest diversion is love itself; he and Catherine treat it like a game at first, flirting and teasing each other. Above all, ignorance is prized during the war; if one does not think about the war, then one cannot be unhappy during the ongoing pursuit of games and diversions.



The novel deploys several instances of abandonment, intentional and forced, in the realms of love and war. After the death of her fiancé, Catherine understandably fears abandonment by Henry, and he makes every attempt when separated to reunite with her. Even Helen fears abandonment by Catherine. In the war, we see several cases of abandonment: the engineering sergeants, who abandon Henry and the other drivers; Bonello, who abandons the drivers to give himself up as a prisoner; the Italian retreat, a large-scale abandonment; and Henry's escape from army. However, Henry's abandonment is completely justified (he was going to be executed if he did not), and it is less a desertion that what he calls a "separate peace." Ultimately, he decides that not abandoning Catherine is far more important than not abandoning the war, though he does feel guilty over leaving behind Rinaldi and the others at the front.


Journalistic style of omission

As is typical in a Hemingway work, Henry's narration is spare, detached, and journalistic. Contrary to what the reader might expect, the effect often heightens emotion. For example, Hemingway ratchets up the connotations of death and violence by omitting explicit mention of blood when it drips on Henry in the ambulance.


Hemingway shows his range when he occasionally uses a near "stream-of-consciousness" narration for Henry. In these few cases, Henry's thoughts are ungrammatical, awkwardly worded, and repetitive - much as the mind works, especially under such chaotic circumstances. A notable example is the long second-person narrative passage in Chapter XXXII after Henry has divorced himself from the army. By addressing himself as "you," Henry shows how he has separated from his former self through his "separate peace."





Rain serves in the novel as a potent symbol of the inevitable disintegration of happiness in life. Catherine infuses the weather with meaning as she and Henry lie in bed listening to the storm outside. As the rain falls on the roof, Catherine admits that the rain scares her and says that it has a tendency to ruin things for lovers. Of course, no meteorological phenomenon has such power; symbolically, however, Catherine’s fear proves to be prophetic, for doom does eventually come to the lovers. After Catherine’s death, Henry leaves the hospital and walks home in the rain. Here, the falling rain validates Catherine’s anxiety and confirms one of the novel’s main contentions: great love, like anything else in the world—good or bad, innocent or deserving—cannot last.


Catherine’s Hair

Although it is not a recurring symbol, Catherine’s hair is an important one. In the early, easy days of their relationship, as Henry and Catherine lie in bed, Catherine takes down her hair and lets it cascade around Henry’s head. The tumble of hair reminds Henry of being enclosed inside a tent or behind a waterfall. This lovely description stands as a symbol of the couple’s isolation from the world. With a war raging around them, they manage to secure a blissful seclusion, believing themselves protected by something as delicate as hair. Later, however, when they are truly isolated from the ravages of war and living in peaceful Switzerland, they learn the harsh lesson that love, in the face of life’s cruel reality, is as fragile and ephemeral as hair.




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The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock Summary and Analysis




Lines 1-36 Summary: J. Alfred Prufrock, a presumably middle-aged, intellectual, indecisive man, invites the reader along with him through the modern city. He describes the street scene and notes a social gathering of women discussing Renaissance artist Michelangelo. He describes yellow smoke and fog outside the house of the gathering, and keeps insisting that there will be time to do many things in the social world.


Lines 37-86 Summary: Prufrock agonizes over his social actions, worrying over how others will see him. He thinks about women’s arms and perfume, but does not know how to act. He walks through the streets and watches lonely men leaning out their windows. The day passes at a social engagement but he cannot muster the strength to act, and he admits that he is afraid.


Lines 87-131 Summary: Prufrock wonders if, after various social gestures, it would have been worthwhile to act decisively if it resulted in a woman’s rejection of him. He thinks he is not a Prince Hamlet figure, but a secondary character in life. Worried over growing old, he adopts the fashions of youth. By the beach, he sees images of mermaids singing and swimming.



Major Themes


1) Prufrockian paralysis

Paralysis, the incapacity to act, has been the Achilles heel of many famous, mostly male, literary characters. Shakespeare’s Hamlet is the paragon of paralysis; unable to sort through his waffling, anxious mind, Hamlet makes a decisive action only at the end of Hamlet. Eliot parodically updates Hamlet’s paralysis to the modern world in “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock.” Parodically, because Prufrock’s paralysis is not over murder and the state of a corrupt kingdom, but whether he should “dare to eat a peach” (122) in front of high-society women.


Indeed, Prufrock’s paralysis revolves around his social and sexual anxieties, the two usually tied together. Eliot intended Prufrock’s name to resound of a “prude” in a “frock,” and the hero’s emasculation shows up in a number of physical areas: “his arms and legs are thin” (44) and, notably, “his hair is growing thin” (41). The rest of the poem is a catalogue of Prufrock’s inability to act.


The original title of the poem was “Prufrock Among the Women,” and Prufrock, as a balding, weak, neurotic, effete intellectual, is both baffled and intimidated by women. Perhaps the central image of his anxiety is his being “pinned and wriggling on the wall” (58) under the unflinching gaze of women (exacerbated since the women’s eyes, much like their “Arms that are braceleted and white and bare” [63], seem eerily disconnected from their bodies). At least here the women seem to be paying attention to him, however hostile they may be. By the end of the poem, Prufrock feels ostracized from the society of women, the “mermaids singing, each to each. / I do not think that they will sing to me” (124-125). Interestingly, Prufrock’s obsession with his bald spot rears its ugly head here; the beautiful, vain mermaids comb the “white hair of the waves blown back” (127). As hair is a symbol of virility, Eliot suggests that Prufrock’s paralysis is deeply rooted in psychosexual anxiety.


Yet Prufrock admits he is not even “Prince Hamlet, nor was meant to be; / Am an attendant lord … Almost, at times, the Fool” (111-112, 119). He is a modern tragic hero, which is to say he is a mock-hero whose concerns are pathetic yet still real. The final six lines of the poem comprise a sestet that somewhat echoes the Petrarchan sonnet, yet Prufrock, unlike Petrarch, does not have an ideal, unrequited love like Laura; he has a very real anxiety about all women.


2) Temporal repetition and anxiety

Prufrock’s paralysis roots itself in the poem’s structure. Eliot deploys several refrains, such as “In the room the women come and go / Talking of Michelangelo” (13-14, 35-36) and “And would it have been worth it, after all” (87, 99), to underscore Prufrock’s tendency to get stuck on a problem.


Delusion only masks Prufrock’s greater anxiety about the future and aging. Already characterized as having lost the luster of youth (and pathetically trying to approximate the bohemian style of rolling his trousers), the only thing Prufrock marches toward decisively is death. The two allusions to Andrew Marvell’s poem “To His Coy Mistress” ironically comment on Prufrock’s attitude toward life. In the poem, the speaker urges his lady to have sex with him while they are still young and alive. Prufrock’s allusions, however — “And indeed there will be time” (23) and “Would it have been worth while, … To have squeezed the universe into a ball” (90, 92) — reinforce his fixation on paralysis rather than sex. He deludes himself into thinking he has plenty of time left, and thus does not need to act; death looms, though, however much he wants to deny it. Sex, of course, reproduces new life while death ends it; Prufrock is somewhere in the middle, gradually advancing on the latter.


3) Fragmentation

One of the key terms in Modernist literature, fragmentation is the accumulation of numerous and varied — often to chaotic effect — signs (words, images, sounds). But it is so successful because the Modernists also believed that meaning could be made out of these fragments. Prufrock concerns himself with fragmentation. The city Prufrock lives in is itself fragmented, a scattered collection of “Streets that follow like a tedious argument” (8) above which “lonely men in shirt-sleeves” (72) lean out of their isolated windows. The population is fragmented, lost and alone; even the sterile skyline resembles a “patient etherized upon a table” (3).


Augmenting our appreciation of the fragmented Prufrock is insight into his mind and voice. His mind is perhaps more easily represented; all over the place, interrupted by self-interrogation and self-consciousness, looping back on itself, Prufrock’s train of thought is deeply fragmented. What is Prufrock’s voice, poetically speaking? It is difficult to answer because it is a combination of so many historic poetic voices. The poem comes in the form of a dramatic monologue, a form that is usually fit for a resonant speaking voice (and one that extinguishes the personality of the poet, too). But “Prufrock” has a chorus of fragmented voices — the epigraph to Dante, the frequent allusions to the Bible, Shakespeare, and many poetic predecessors — which deny the existence of a solo voice. This, then, is Prufrock’s voice: a fragmentation of voices past and present that somehow harmonize.


4) Debasement and Hell

The opening image of the evening “spread out against the sky / Like a patient etherized upon a table” (2-3) hints that what is lower down will be much worse. Prufrock sweeps the reader on a generally downward ride — from the skyline to street life, down stairs during a party, even to the sea floor. Prufrock consistently feels worse about himself in these situations — the reference to “Scuttling across the floors of silent seas” (74) is the ultimate in self-pitying — but they have more resonance when we consider the Dante epigraph. Prufrock is descending into his own Hell, and he brings the reader along with him for safety. Prufrock switches from his first-person singular narration to first-person plural in the last stanza: “We have lingered in the chambers of the sea / By sea-girls wreathed with seaweed red and brown / Till human voices wake us, and we drown” (129-131). For his final plunge, Prufrock wants to make sure that we accompany him into his self-pitying Hell.




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Waiting for Godot: Analysis of the Play


Although very existentialist in its characterizations, Waiting for Godotis primarily about hope. The play revolves around Vladimir andEstragon and their pitiful wait for hope to arrive. At various times during the play, hope is constructed as a form of salvation, in the personages of Pozzo and Lucky, or even as death. The subject of the play quickly becomes an example of how to pass the time in a situation which offers no hope. Thus the theme of the play is set by the beginning:


Estragon: Nothing to be done.

Vladimir: I'm beginning to come round to that opinion.

Although the phrase is used in connection to Estragon's boots here, it is also later used by Vladimir with respect to his hat. Essentially it describes the hopelessness of their lives.

A direct result of this hopelessness is the daily struggle to pass the time. Thus, most of the play is dedicated to devising games which will help them pass the time. This mutual desire also addresses the question of why they stay together. Both Vladimir and Estragon admit to being happier when apart. One of the main reasons that they continue their relationship is that they need one another to pass the time. After Pozzo and Lucky leave for the first time they comment:

V: That passed the time.

E: It would have passed in any case.

And later when Estragon finds his boots again:

V: What about trying them.

E: I've tried everything.

V: No, I mean the boots.

E: Would that be a good thing?

V: It'd pass the time. I assure you, it'd be an occupation.

Since passing the time is their mutual occupation, Estragon struggles to find games to help them accomplish their goal. Thus they engage in insulting one another and in asking each other questions.

The difficulty for Beckett of keeping a dialogue running for so long is overcome by making his characters forget everything. Estragon cannot remember anything past what was said immediately prior to his lines. Vladimir, although possessing a better memory, distrusts what he remembers. And since Vladimir cannot rely on Estragon to remind him of things, he too exists in a state of forgetfulness.

Another second reason for why they are together arises from the existentialism of their forgetfulness. Since Estragon cannot remember anything, he needs Vladimir to tell him his history. It is as if Vladimir is establishing Estragon's identity by remembering for him. Estragon also serves as a reminder for Vladimir of all the things they have done together. Thus both men serve to remind the other man of his very existence. This is necessary since no one else in the play ever remembers them:

Vladimir: We met yesterday. (Silence) Do you not remember?

Pozzo: I don't remember having met anyone yesterday. But to-morrow I won't remember having met anyone to-day. So don't count on me to enlighten you.

Later on the same thing happens with the boy who claims to have never seen them before. This lack of reassurance about their very existence makes it all the more necessary that they remember each other.

Estragon and Vladimir are not only talking to pass the time, but also to avoid the voices that arise out of the silence. Beckett's heroes in other works are also constantly assailed by voices which arise out of the silence, so this is a continuation of a theme the author uses frequently:

E: In the meantime let's try and converse calmly, since we're incapable of keeping silent.

V: You're right, we're inexhaustible.

E: It's so we won't think.

V: We have that excuse.

E: It's so we won't hear.

V: We have our reasons.

E: All the dead voices.

V: They make a noise like wings.

E: Like leaves.

V: Like sand.

E: Like leaves.


V: They all speak at once.

E: Each one to itself.


V: Rather they whisper.

E: They rustle.

V: They murmur.

E: The rustle.


V: What do they say?

E: They talk about their lives.

V: To have lived is not enough for them.

E: They have to talk about it.

V: To be dead is not enough for them.

E: It is not sufficient.


V: They make a noise like feathers.

E: Like leaves.

V: Like ashes.

E: Like leaves.

Long silence.

V: Say something!

One of the questions which must be answered is why the bums are suffering in the first place. This can only be answered through the concept of original sin. To be born is to be a sinner, and thus man is condemned to suffer. The only way to escape the suffering is to repent or to die. Thus Vladimir recalls the thieves crucified with Christ in the first act:

V: One of the thieves was saved. It's a reasonable percentage. (Pause.) Gogo.

E: What?

V: Suppose we repented.

E: Repented what?

V: Oh . . . (He reflects.) We wouldn't have to go into the details.

E: Our being born?

Failing to repent, they sit and wait for Godot to come and save them. In the meantime they contemplate suicide as another way of escaping their hopelessness. Estragon wants them to hang themselves from the tree, but both he and Vladimir find it would be too risky. This apathy, which is a result of their age, leads them to remember a time when Estragon almost succeeded in killing himself:

E: Do you remember the day I threw myself into the Rhone?

V: We were grape harvesting.

E: You fished me out.

V: That's all dead and buried.

E: My clothes dried in the sun.

V: There's no good harking back on that. Come on.

Beckett is believed to have said that the name Godot comes from the French "godillot" meaning a military boot. Beckett fought in the war and so spending long periods of time waiting for messages to arrive would have been commonplace for him. The more common interpretation that it might mean "God" is almost certainly wrong. Beckett apparently stated that if he had meant "God," he would have written "God".

The concept of the passage of time leads to a general irony. Each minute spent waiting brings death one step closer to the characters and makes the arrival of Godot less likely. The passage of time is evidenced by the tree which has grown leaves, possibly indicating a change of seasons. Pozzo and Lucky are also transformed by time since Pozzo goes blind and Lucky mute.

There are numerous interpretation of Waiting for Godot and a few are described here:

Religious interpretations posit Vladimir and Estragon as humanity waiting for the elusive return of a savior. An extension of this makes Pozzo into the Pope and Lucky into the faithful. The faithful are then viewed as a cipher of God cut short by human intolerance. The twisted tree can alternatively represent either the tree of death, the tree of life, the tree of Judas or the tree of knowledge.

Political interpretations also abound. Some reviewers hold that the relationship between Pozzo and Lucky is that of a capitalist to his labor. This Marxist interpretation is understandable given that in the second act Pozzo is blind to what is happening around him and Lucky is mute to protest his treatment. The play has also been understood as an allegory for Franco-German relations.

An interesting interpretation argues that Lucky receives his name because he is lucky in the context of the play. Since most of the play is spent trying to find things to do to pass the time, Lucky is lucky because his actions are determined absolutely by Pozzo. Pozzo on the other hand is unlucky because he not only needs to pass his own time but must find things for Lucky to do.




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Oedipus Rex




Context: Greek Theater

Greek theater was very different from what we call theater today. It was, first of all, part of a religious festival. To attend a performance of one of these plays was an act of worship, not entertainment or intellectual pastime.

A second way in which Greek theater was different from modern theater is in its cultural centrality: every citizen attended these plays. Greek plays were put on at annual festivals (at the beginning of spring, the season of Dionysus), often for as many as 15,000 spectators at once. They dazzled viewers with their special effects, singing, and dancing, as well as with their beautiful language. At the end of each year’s festivals, judges would vote to decide which playwright’s play was the best.

In these competitions, Sophocles was king. It is thought that he won the first prize at the Athenian festival eighteen times. He is believed to have authored 123 plays, only seven of which have survived.


Oedipus the King: Importance

The story of Oedipus was well known to Sophocles’ audience. Oedipus arrives at Thebes a stranger and finds the town under the curse of the Sphinx, who will not free the city unless her riddle is answered. Oedipus solves the riddle and, since the king has recently been murdered, becomes the king and marries the queen. In time, he comes to learn that he is actually a Theban, the king’s son, cast out of Thebes as a baby. He has killed his father and married his mother. Horrified, he blinds himself and leaves Thebes forever.

The story was not invented by Sophocles. Quite the opposite: the play’s most powerful effects often depend on the fact that the audience already knows the story. Since the first performance of Oedipus Rex, the story has fascinated critics just as it fascinated Sophocles. Aristotle used this play and its plot as the supreme example of tragedy. Sigmund Freud famously based his theory of the “Oedipal Complex” on this story, claiming that every boy has a latent desire to kill his father and be with his mother.



The Willingness to Ignore the Truth

When Oedipus and Jocasta begin to get close to the truth about Laius’s murder, Oedipus fastens onto a detail in the hope of exonerating himself. Jocasta says that she was told that Laius was killed by “strangers,” whereas Oedipus knows that he acted alone when he killed a man in similar circumstances. This is an extraordinary moment because it calls into question the entire truth-seeking process Oedipus believes himself to be undertaking. Both Oedipus and Jocasta act as though the servant’s story, once spoken, is irrefutable history. Neither can face the possibility of what it would mean if the servant were wrong. This is perhaps why Jocasta feels she can tell Oedipus of the prophecy that her son would kill his father, and Oedipus can tell her about the similar prophecy given him by an oracle (867–875), and neither feels compelled to remark on the coincidence; or why Oedipus can hear the story of Jocasta binding her child’s ankles (780–781) and not think of his own swollen feet. While the information in these speeches is largely intended to make the audience painfully aware of the tragic irony, it also emphasizes just how desperately Oedipus and Jocasta do not want to speak the obvious truth: they look at the circumstances and details of everyday life and pretend not to see them.


The Limits of Free Will

Prophecy is a central part of Oedipus the King. The play begins with Creon’s return from the oracle at Delphi, where he has learned that the plague will be lifted if Thebes banishes the man who killed Laius. Tiresias prophesies the capture of one who is both father and brother to his own children. Oedipus tells Jocasta of a prophecy he heard as a youth, that he would kill his father and sleep with his mother, and Jocasta tells Oedipus of a similar prophecy given to Laius, that her son would grow up to kill his father. Oedipus and Jocasta debate the extent to which prophecies should be trusted at all, and when all of the prophecies come true, it appears that one of Sophocles’ aims is to justify the powers of the gods and prophets, which had recently come under attack in fifth-century B.C. Athens.

Sophocles’ audience would, of course, have known the story of Oedipus, which only increases the sense of complete inevitability about how the play would end. It is difficult to say how justly one can accuse Oedipus of being “blind” or foolish when he seems to have no choice about fulfilling the prophecy: he is sent away from Thebes as a baby and by a remarkable coincidence saved and raised as a prince in Corinth. Hearing that he is fated to kill his father, he flees Corinth and, by a still more remarkable coincidence, ends up back in Thebes, now king and husband in his actual father’s place. Oedipus seems only to desire to flee his fate, but his fate continually catches up with him. Many people have tried to argue that Oedipus brings about his catastrophe because of a “tragic flaw,” but nobody has managed to create a consensus about what Oedipus’s flaw actually is. Perhaps his story is meant to show that error and disaster can happen to anyone, that human beings are relatively powerless before fate or the gods, and that a cautious humility is the best attitude toward life.


Sight and Blindness

References to eyesight and vision, both literal and metaphorical, are very frequent in all three of the Theban plays. Quite often, the image of clear vision is used as a metaphor for knowledge and insight. In fact, this metaphor is so much a part of the Greek way of thinking that it is almost not a metaphor at all, just as in modern English: to say “I see the truth” or “I see the way things are” is a perfectly ordinary use of language. However, the references to eyesight and insight in the play form a meaningful pattern in combination with the references to literal and metaphorical blindness. Oedipus is famed for his clear-sightedness and quick comprehension, but he discovers that he has been blind to the truth for many years, and then he blinds himself so as not to have to look on his own children/siblings. Overall, the play seems to say that human beings can demonstrate remarkable powers of intellectual penetration and insight, and that they have a great capacity for knowledge, but that even the smartest human being is liable to error, that the human capability for knowledge is ultimately quite limited and unreliable.



Oedipus’s Swollen Foot

Oedipus’s injury symbolizes the way in which fate has marked him and set him apart. It also symbolizes the way his movements have been confined and constrained since birth, by Apollo’s prophecy to Laius.


The Three-way Crossroads

A crossroads is a place where a choice has to be made, so crossroads usually symbolize moments where decisions will have important consequences but where different choices are still possible. In this play, the crossroads symbolizes fate and the awesome power of prophecy rather than freedom and choice.



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Animal Farm

George Orwell



George Orwell was the pen name of Eric Blair, a British political novelist and essayist whose pointed criticisms of political oppression propelled him into prominence toward the middle of the twentieth century. His painful experiences with snobbishness and social elitism at Eton, as well as his intimate familiarity with the reality of British imperialism in India, made him deeply suspicious of the entrenched class system in English society. As a young man, Orwell became a socialist, speaking openly against the excesses of governments east and west.

Unlike many British socialists in the 1930s and 1940s, Orwell was not enamored of the Soviet Union and its policies, nor did he consider the Soviet Union a positive representation of the possibilities of socialist society. He could not turn a blind eye to the cruelties and hypocrisies of Soviet Communist Party, which had overturned the semifeudal system of the tsars only to replace it with the dictatorial reign of Joseph Stalin. Orwell became a sharp critic of both capitalism and communism, and is remembered chiefly as an advocate of freedom and a committed opponent of communist oppression. His two greatest anti-totalitarian novels—Animal Farm and 1984—form the basis of his reputation.

Animal Farm, written in 1945, deals with similar themes but in a shorter and somewhat simpler format. A “fairy story” in the style of Aesop’s fables, it uses animals on an English farm to tell the history of Soviet communism. Certain animals are based directly on Communist Party leaders: the pigs Napoleon and Snowball, for example, are figurations of Joseph Stalin and Leon Trotsky, respectively. Orwell uses the form of the fable for a number of aesthetic and political reasons.


Historical Context

In Das Kapital (Capital), Marx advanced an economically deterministic interpretation of human history, arguing that society would naturally evolve—from a monarchy and aristocracy, to capitalism, and then on to communism, a system under which all property would be held in common. The dignity of the poor workers oppressed by capitalism would be restored, and all people would live as equals. Marx followed this sober and scholarly work with The Communist Manifesto, an impassioned call to action that urged, “Workers of the world, unite!”




The Corruption of Socialist Ideals in the Soviet Union

Animal Farm is most famous in the West as a stinging critique of the history and rhetoric of the Russian Revolution. Retelling the story of the emergence and development of Soviet communism in the form of an animal fable, Animal Farm allegorizes the rise to power of the dictator Joseph Stalin. In the novella, the overthrow of the human oppressor Mr. Jones by a democratic coalition of animals quickly gives way to the consolidation of power among the pigs. Much like the Soviet intelligentsia, the pigs establish themselves as the ruling class in the new society.

In both the historical and fictional cases, the idealistic but politically less powerful figure (Trotsky and Snowball) is expelled from the revolutionary state by the malicious and violent usurper of power (Stalin and Napoleon). The purges and show trials with which Stalin eliminated his enemies and solidified his political base find expression in Animal Farm as the false confessions and executions of animals whom Napoleon distrusts following the collapse of the windmill. Stalin’s tyrannical rule and eventual abandonment of the founding principles of the Russian Revolution are represented by the pigs’ turn to violent government and the adoption of human traits and behaviors, the trappings of their original oppressors.

Although Orwell believed strongly in socialist ideals, he felt that the Soviet Union realized these ideals in a terribly perverse form. His novella creates its most powerful ironies in the moments in which Orwell depicts the corruption of Animalist ideals by those in power. For Animal Farm serves not so much to condemn tyranny or despotism as to indict the horrifying hypocrisy of tyrannies that base themselves on, and owe their initial power to, ideologies of liberation and equality. The gradual disintegration and perversion of the Seven Commandments illustrates this hypocrisy with vivid force, as do Squealer’s elaborate philosophical justifications for the pigs’ blatantly unprincipled actions. Thus, the novella critiques the violence of the Stalinist regime against the human beings it ruled, and also points to Soviet communism’s violence against human logic, language, and ideals.


The Societal Tendency toward Class Stratification

Animal Farm offers commentary on the development of class tyranny and the human tendency to maintain and reestablish class structures even in societies that allegedly stand for total equality. The novella illustrates how classes that are initially unified in the face of a common enemy, as the animals are against the humans, may become internally divided when that enemy is eliminated. The natural division between intellectual and physical labor quickly comes to express itself as a new set of class divisions, with the “brainworkers” (as the pigs claim to be) using their superior intelligence to manipulate society to their own benefit. Orwell never clarifies in Animal Farm whether this negative state of affairs constitutes an inherent aspect of society or merely an outcome contingent on the integrity of a society’s intelligentsia. In either case, the novella points to the force of this tendency toward class stratification in many communities and the threat that it poses to democracy and freedom.


The Danger of a Naïve Working Class

One of the novella’s most impressive accomplishments is its portrayal not just of the figures in power but also of the oppressed people themselves. Gullible, loyal, and hardworking, these animals give Orwell a chance to sketch how situations of oppression arise not only from the motives and tactics of the oppressors but also from the naïveté of the oppressed, who are not necessarily in a position to be better educated or informed. When presented with a dilemma, Boxer prefers not to puzzle out the implications of various possible actions but instead to repeat to himself, “Napoleon is always right.” Animal Farm demonstrates how the inability or unwillingness to question authority condemns the working class to suffer the full extent of the ruling class’s oppression.


The Abuse of Language as Instrumental to the Abuse of Power

One of Orwell’s central concerns, both in Animal Farm and in 1984, is the way in which language can be manipulated as an instrument of control. In Animal Farm, the pigs gradually twist and distort a rhetoric of socialist revolution to justify their behavior and to keep the other animals in the dark. The animals heartily embrace Major’s visionary ideal of socialism, but after Major dies, the pigs gradually twist the meaning of his words. As a result, the other animals seem unable to oppose the pigs without also opposing the ideals of the Rebellion. By the end of the novella, after Squealer’s repeated reconfigurations of the Seven Commandments in order to decriminalize the pigs’ treacheries, the main principle of the farm can be openly stated as “all animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.” This outrageous abuse of the word “equal” and of the ideal of equality in general typifies the pigs’ method, which becomes increasingly audacious as the novel progresses. Orwell’s sophisticated exposure of this abuse of language remains one of the most compelling and enduring features of Animal Farm, worthy of close study even after we have decoded its allegorical characters and events.



Animal Farm

Animal Farm, known at the beginning and the end of the novel as the Manor Farm, symbolizes Russia and the Soviet Union under Communist Party rule. But more generally, Animal Farm stands for any human society, be it capitalist, socialist, fascist, or communist.


The Barn

The barn at Animal Farm, on whose outside walls the pigs paint the Seven Commandments and, later, their revisions, represents the collective memory of a modern nation. The many scenes in which the ruling-class pigs alter the principles of Animalism and in which the working-class animals puzzle over but accept these changes represent the way an institution in power can revise a community’s concept of history to bolster its control.


The Windmill

The great windmill symbolizes the pigs’ manipulation of the other animals for their own gain. Despite the immediacy of the need for food and warmth, the pigs exploit Boxer and the other common animals by making them undertake backbreaking labor to build the windmill, which will ultimately earn the pigs more money and thus increase their power. From an allegorical point of view, the windmill represents the enormous modernization projects undertaken in Soviet Russia after the Russian Revolution.



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Chapter Three: Tragedy and Comedy

Thalia and Melpomene: Zeus’s Daughters

-Comedy is funny; tragedy is sad. Comedy has a happy ending, tragedy an unhappy one.
-The typical ending for comedy is a marriage; the typical ending for tragedy is death.
Aristotle (384 – 322 BC)
-The first great theorist of dramatic arts was Aristotle whose discussion of tragedy in Poetics has dominated critical thought ever since.
Definition of Tragedy:
-A tragedy is the imitation in dramatic form of an action that is serious and complete, with incidents arousing pity and fear wherewith it effects a catharsis of such emotions.
-The language is pleasurable and appropriate.
-The chief characters are noble personages (“better than ourselves”) and the actions they perform are noble actions.
-The plot involves a change in the protagonist’s fortune, in which he usually falls from happiness to misery.
-The protagonist, though not perfect, is hardly a bad person; his misfortunes result not from character deficiencies but rather from what Aristotle calls hamartia (tragic flaw), a criminal act committed in ignorance of some material fact or even for the sake of a greater good.
-A tragic plot has organic unity: the events follow not just after one another but because of one another.
-The best tragic plots involve a reversal (a change from one state of things within the play to its opposite) or a discovery (a change from ignorance to knowledge) or both.
Catharsis: “Purgation” — Emotional Release
-“Tragic Flaw”: some fault of character such as inordinate ambition, quickness to anger, a tendency to jealousy, or overweening pride.
Jealousy: Othello’s Hamartia (Tragic Flaw)
Ambition: Macbeth’s Hamatia (Tragic Flaw)
Tragic Hero:
1. Tragic hero is a man of noble stature. He is not an ordinary man. In Greek and Shakespearean tragedy, he is usually a prince or a king.
2. The tragic hero is good, though not perfect, and his fall results from his committing what Aristotle calls “an act of injustice” (hamatia) either through ignorance or from a conviction.
3. The hero’s downfall is his own fault, the result of his own free choice — not the result of pure accident or someone else’s villainy or some overriding malignant fate.
4. Nevertheless, the hero’s misfortune is not wholly deserved. The punishment exceeds the crime.
5. Yet the tragic fall is not pure loss. Though it may result in the protagonist’s death, it involves, before his death, some increase in awareness, some gain in self-knowledge—“discovery”—a change from ignorance to knowledge.
6. Though it arouses solemn emotions—pity and fear, says Aristotle, but compassion and awe might be better terms—tragedy, when well performed, does not leave its audience in a state of depression.
Macbeth as a Tragic Hero
1.Scornful Comedy: laughing comedy
2.Romantic Comedy: smiling comedy
-Scornful or satiric comedy is the older and probably still the more dominant.
-Where tragedy emphasizes human greatness, comedy delineates human weakness. Where tragedy celebrates human freedom, comedy points up human limitations.
-Because comedy exposes human folly, its function is partly critical and corrective.
-Comedy reveals to us a spectacle of human ridiculousness that it makes us want to avoid.
-Romantic comedy puts its emphasis upon sympathetic rather than ridiculous characters.
-The norms of comedy are primarily social: Where tragedies tend to isolate their protagonists to emphasize their uniqueness, comedies put their protagonists in the midst of a group to emphasize their commonness.
Melodrama: like tragedy attempts to arouse feelings of fear and pity, but it does so ordinarily through cruder means. The conflict is an oversimplified one between good and evil depicted in  absolute terms.
Deus ex machina: Rescue by an act of divine intervention.
Farce: More consistently than comedy, is aimed at rousing explosive laughter. But the means are cruder. The conflicts are violent and usually at the physical level.
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Chapter Two: Realistic and Nonrealistic Darama 


Realism: Realism in the arts may be generally defined as the attempt to represent subject matter truthfully, without artificiality and avoiding artistic conventions, implausible, exotic and supernatural elements. The term originated in the 19th century, and was used to describe the work of Gustave Courbet and a group of painters who rejected idealization, focusing instead on everyday life.

Gustave Courbet (1819 – 1877)


Otto Griebel’s “The International”


Sir George Clausen (1852 – 1944)


Realism: Main Features

1. Truthful representation in art (e.g. literature & painting), of contemporary life and manners

2. Scientific method: Objectivity & observation in representation

3. Middle class art

4. The personality of the author was to be suppressed, or was at least to reduce into the background, since reality was to be seen “as it is”


Nonrealistic Conventions in Drama

-Chorus: a group of actors speaking in unison, often in a chant, while going through the steps of an elaborate formalized dance.
-Narrator: a person who tells the story
a) First Person
b) Third Person (Omniscient & Limited Omniscient)
c) Objective
-Fantasy and Supernatural Characters
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Chapter One: The Nature of Drama 

-Drama makes use of plot and characters, develops themes, arouses emotional responses, and may be either literary or commercial.
-Drama is written primarily to be performed.
-Drama normally presents its action:
a) through actors
b) on a stage
c) before an audience
Greek Theater
-Four great Greek playwrights:
1) Aeschylus (525 – 456 BC)
2) Sophocles (497 – 406 BC)
3) Euripides (480 – 406 BC)
4) Aristophanes (446 – 386 BC)
Aeschylus (525 – 456 BC)
-The father of European drama (tragedy)
-The most important idea in the plays of Aeschylus: a firm belief in the power of religion, in Man’s relationship with God (gods)
Sophocles (497 – 406 BC)
-Sophocles represents the climax of Greek drama.
-Many critics consider that, apart from Shakespeare, he is the greatest dramatist the world has ever known.
-His plays are closer to our modern understanding and sympathy, because they seem more real and natural.
Euripides (480 – 406 BC)
-The main change which Euripides made was not in the shape of the plays, but in their meaning. The authority of gods is questioned.
Aristophanes (446 – 386 BC)
-His comedies were not about very general ideas, such as Man’s relations with God, but about local events and conditions.
-Aristophanes wrote about the social problems of his time.
Drama in the Middle Ages & The Renaissance:
-Drama was reborn in the Church. It was dominated by religion, but this time it was Christianity, and not the old religion of the Greeks.
-Their purpose was to give people a clearer understanding of the Gospel’s stories.
-Taken from the Bible known as:
1) Morality Plays
2) Miracle Plays
The Renaissance Theater
Elizabethan Drama:
-Instead of choosing subjects from the Bible, the new playwrights looked back to Roman times for their subjects.
-Drama became a hobby for people.
-Historical Plays: the history of England’s kings.
-William Shakespeare: the greatest playwright the world has ever known.
Direct & Intensified Influence:
-Because a play presents its action through actors, its impact is direct, immediate, and heightened by the actors’ skills.
-Because a play presents its action before an audience, the experience it creates is communal, and its impact is intensified.
- Soliloquy: Characters are presented as speaking to themselves — that is, they think out loud.
- Aside: Characters turn from the persons with whom they are conversing to speak directly to (or for the benefit of) the audience, thus letting the audience know what they are really thinking or feeling as opposed to what they pretend to be thinking or feeling.
Act: a major division in the action of a play.
Scene: acts are subdivided into scenes. The end of a scene is usually indicated by a dropped curtain, and the end of an act by a dropped curtain and an intermission.
In Greek plays, dancing and chanting by a chorus served as a scene divider.
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Ernest Hemingway




The Honor in Struggle, Defeat & Death

Santiago is characterized as someone struggling against defeat. He has gone eighty-four days without catching a fish—he will soon pass his own record of eighty-seven days. Almost as a reminder of Santiago’s struggle, the sail of his skiff resembles “the flag of permanent defeat.”

Because Santiago is pitted against the creatures of the sea, some readers choose to view the tale as a chronicle of man’s battle against the natural world, but the novella is, more accurately, the story of man’s place within nature. Both Santiago and the marlin display qualities of pride, honor, and bravery, and both are subject to the same eternal law: they must kill or be killed. Santiago lives according to his own observation: “man is not made for defeat . . . [a] man can be destroyed but not defeated.” In Hemingway’s portrait of the world, death is inevitable, but the best men (and animals) will nonetheless refuse to give in to its power. Accordingly, man and fish will struggle to the death, just as hungry sharks will lay waste to an old man’s trophy catch.

The novel suggests that it is possible to transcend this natural law. It is precisely through the effort to battle the inevitable that a man can prove himself. Indeed, a man can prove this determination over and over through the worthiness of the opponents he chooses to face. His admiration for these opponents brings love and respect into an equation with death, as their destruction becomes a point of honor and bravery that confirms Santiago’s heroic qualities. One might characterize the equation as the working out of the statement “Because I love you, I have to kill you.” Alternately, one might draw a parallel to the poet John Keats and his insistence that beauty can only be comprehended in the moment before death, as beauty bows to destruction. Santiago, though destroyed at the end of the novella, is never defeated. Instead, he emerges as a hero. Santiago’s struggle does not enable him to change man’s place in the world. Rather, it enables him to meet his most dignified destiny.


Pride as the Source of Greatness & Determination

Many parallels exist between Santiago and the classic heroes of the ancient world. In addition to exhibiting terrific strength, bravery, and moral certainty, those heroes usually possess a tragic flaw—a quality that, though admirable, leads to their eventual downfall. If pride is Santiago’s fatal flaw, he is keenly aware of it. “Nothing . . . I went out too far.”

Hemingway does not condemn his protagonist for being full of pride. On the contrary, Santiago stands as proof that pride motivates men to greatness. pride becomes the source of Santiago’s greatest strength.

Santiago’s pride also motivates his desire to transcend the destructive forces of nature. First we are told that the old man “was full of resolution but he had little hope.” Then, sentences later, the narrator says, “He hit [the shark] without hope but with resolution.” It is this conscious decision to act, to fight, to never give up that enables Santiago to avoid defeat. Although he returns to Havana without the trophy of his long battle, he returns with the knowledge that he has acquitted himself proudly and manfully. Hemingway seems to suggest that victory is not a prerequisite for honor. Instead, glory depends upon one having the pride to see a struggle through to its end, regardless of the outcome. Even if the old man had returned with the marlin intact, his moment of glory, like the marlin’s meat, would have been short-lived. The glory and honor Santiago accrues comes not from his battle itself but from his pride and determination to fight.



The Marlin

Magnificent and glorious, the marlin symbolizes the ideal opponent. In a world in which “everything kills everything else in some way,” Santiago feels genuinely lucky to find himself matched against a creature that brings out the best in him: his strength, courage, love, and respect.


The Shovel-Nosed Sharks

The shovel-nosed sharks are little more than moving appetites that thoughtlessly and gracelessly attack the marlin. As opponents of the old man, they stand in bold contrast to the marlin, which is worthy of Santiago’s effort and strength. They symbolize and embody the destructive laws of the universe and attest to the fact that those laws can be transcended only when equals fight to the death. Because they are base predators, Santiago wins no glory from battling them.



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Course: Analysis of Literary Masterpieces

Instructor: Seyyed Shahabeddin Sadati




1st Week     Introduction: Significance of the Course

2nd Week    The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway

3rd Week     پیرمرد و دریا برگردان نجف دریابندری

4th Week     Animal Farm by George Orwell

5th Week     مزرعه حیوانات برگردان صالح حسینی

6th Week     A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway

7th Week     وداع با اسلحه برگردان نجف دریابندری

8th Week     “The Cathedral” by Raymond Carver

9th Week     «کلیسای جامع» برگردان فرزانه طاهری

10th Week   The Remains of the Day by Kazu Ishiguro

11th Week   بازمانده روز برگردان نجف دریابندری

12th Week   Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf

13th Week   خانم دالوی برگردان پرویز داریوش

14th Week   One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

15th Week   صد سال تنهایی برگردان بهمن فرزانه

16th Week   Review



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Course: Literary Criticism in English Literature

Instructor: Dr. Seyyed Shahabeddin Sadati




1st Week          Introduction: Significance of the Course

2nd Week        Russian Formalism

3rd Week         AmericanNew Criticism

4th Week         Psychoanalytic Criticism (Sigmund Freud)

5th Week         Psychoanalytic Criticism (Carl Jung)

6th Week         Psychoanalytic Criticism (Jacques Lacan)

7th Week         Feminism (Virginia Woolf, Simone de Beauvoir, Gender Theory)

8th Week         Feminism (French Feminism and Female Writing)

9th Week         Modernity: Structuralism (Ferdinand de Saussure)

10th Week       Postmodernism: Post-Structuralism and Deconstruction (Jacques Derrida)

11th Week       Reader-Oriented Criticism (Wolfgang Isser)

12th Week       Reader-Oriented Criticism (Hans Robert Jauss and Norman Holland)

13th Week       Postcolonialism (Edward Said)

14th Week       Postcolonialism (Homi Bhabha)

15th Week       Ecocriticism

16th Week       Review






Bressler, Charles E. Literary Criticism: An Introduction to Theory and Practice. Fifth Edition, London: Longman, 2011.

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Course: Classic and Renaissance Drama

Instructor: Dr. Seyyed Shahabeddin Sadati




1st Week        Introduction: Significance of the Course

2nd Week       The Elements of Drama (pp. 1027 – 1030)

                        Realistic and Nonrealistic Drama (pp. 1074 – 1078)

3rd Week       Tragedy and Comedy (pp. 1209 – 1216)

4th Week        Oedipus Rex by Sophocles (pp. 1216 – 1261)

5th Week        Oedipus Rex by Sophocles (pp. 1216 – 1261)

6th Week        Oedipus Rex by Sophocles (pp. 1216 – 1261)

7th Week        Othello, the Moor of Venice by William Shakespeare (pp. 1263 – 1356)

8th Week        Othello, the Moor of Venice by William Shakespeare (pp. 1263 – 1356)

9th Week        Othello, the Moor of Venice by William Shakespeare (pp. 1263 – 1356)

10th Week     Othello, the Moor of Venice by William Shakespeare (pp. 1263 – 1356)

11th Week     A Midsummer Night's Dreamby William Shakespeare (pp. 1538 – 1599)

12th Week     A Midsummer Night's Dreamby William Shakespeare (pp. 1538 – 1599)

13th Week     A Midsummer Night's Dreamby William Shakespeare (pp. 1538 – 1599)

14th Week     A Midsummer Night's Dreamby William Shakespeare (pp. 1538 – 1599)

15th Week     Review

16th Week     Review





Arp, Thomas R. and Greg Johnson. Perrine's Literature Structure, Sound, and Sense: Drama (3). Ninth Edition. Boston: Thomson, 2006.

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دکترای زبان و ادبیات انگلیسی
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پیوندهای روزانه
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