The Emperors New Sonnet by Jose Garcia Villa: An Analysis

The Poem: The Emperor’s New Sonnet Background/Analysis: Just a background on the author, Jose Garcia Villa was a Filipino poet, short-story writer, painter, and literary critic who was awarded the National Artist of the Philippines for literature in 1973. He was known for being one of the renowned “artsakists” of his time who believed that art should be for art’s sake. And although he advised his students that poems are “written with words, not ideas,” he released poems such as The Bashful One, which consists only of a comma, and of course, The Emperor’s New Sonnet, which contains nothing at all, other than the title. On normal circumstances, I would go through a poem line per line in analyzing one, and see how every line would contribute to the overall meaning. However, the poem to be tackled has no meter, no extended metaphors, no symbolisms, nor any text whatsoever. All we are banking on is its title, which alludes to the popular childre...

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley: Plot Summary of Volume Two

Mary Shelley's Frankenstein was written in three volumes. Links at the bottom of the article will take you to the summaries of Volume one and two as well as to an introduction and character summary. Plot Summary Volume II After a time of grieving with his family over the death of William, Victor sets out on a journey, not to pursue the monster but to find relief from his despair. He sets out toward the Swiss Alps on horseback and finds that his spirit is lightened by the magnificence and beauty of the mountains. It has been two months since the execution of Justine. Victor decides to make an ascent to a glacier field during a particularly cloudy day. It is an invigorating and soul satisfying climb and his heart is overwhelmed with joy over the sight of the mountains beyond. As he sits in a recess of the rock he utters these words “Wandering spirits, if indeed ye wander, and do not rest in your narrow beds, allow me this faint happiness, or take me, as your companion, away from...

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley: Plot Summary of Volume Three

Frankenstein Plot Summary Volume III Victor Frankenstein travels to Scotland and takes up residence on one of the remote Orkney islands to begin his task of making a mate for the monster. He has already dawdled at home and traveling with his friend Henry Clerval and he fears that the monster is watching him. He is afraid that the monster might kill Henry as a warning. The monster has promised Victor that he will watch him and will come for his mate when she is ready. As he begins his task of yet another creation Victor is again horrified and disgusted with the task at hand. He ruminates about the promise of the monster to leave civilization but reasons that this new creature has made no such promise. He fears that she may hate the monster and be repulsed at his appearance and suffering another rejection the monster may in the end still pursue vengeance upon humanity. Frankenstein questions his right to buy peace at any price by potentially bringing destruction on mankind. At this mo...

What Are The Two Types of Sonnets?

What is a Sonnet? A sonnet is a specific type of poem. It has 14 lines, and is written in iambic pentameter. There are two types of sonnet: Italian (or Petrarchan), and English (or Shakespearean). The type of sonnet is determined by its rhyme scheme. Iambic Pentameter Each line of a sonnet is divided into 10 syllables and 5 iambs. In poetry, a pair of syllables is also called a foot. An iamb is a special pair of syllables, one unstressed and the other stressed. The iambs give the sonnet a very recognizable rhythm when it's spoken aloud. To hear what iambic pentameter sounds like, say the first line of Shakespeare's Sonnet 101 out loud: O truant Muse what shall be thy amends This ebb and flow from stressed to unstressed syllables is iambic pentameter in action. Besides using a very specific poetic meter, sonnets also have recognizable rhyme patterns. These patterns determine whether a sonnet is Petrarchan or Shakespearean. Pixabay Petrarchan (Italian) Sonnet The Petrarchan (...

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley: Volume One Plot Summary

Mary Shelley wrote Frankenstein; or the Modern Prometheus in 1816. This work is now in the public domain and can be downloaded for free on most e-readers and computers. For a summary of the main characters and introduction and notes see the links at the end of the article. Frankenstein Plot Summary Volume I Victor Frankenstein has been raised in gentility by doting parents. He has two younger brothers Ernest and William and an adopted sister, Elizabeth, to whom he is engaged to be married. Victor is exposed to death for the first time when his beloved mother dies from scarlet fever after nursing Elizabeth through her own bout with the disease. His brooding obsession with life and death is awakened and he eventually leaves for university to study science and philosophy at Ingolstadt.  As a student, Frankenstein applies himself to the goal of creating life and renewing life where death has taken life. He works night and day in isolation and at the expense of his health. Thr...

The Life and Works of Rabindranath Tagore

Rabindranath Tagore was one of the most famous Indian writers of all time. He is the only person who has written the National Anthems of two countries, which are India and Bangladesh. He was born in 1861 to a rich Bengali family belonging to the newly created Brahmo Samaj. At the age of seventeen he was sent to England for his formal education in Law but he returned without a degree to pursue writing poetry, novels, dramas etc in India. Tagore had written his first poem at the tender age of 8. After his arrival in India from England, he published many poems and short stories, but this was  primarily written in Bengali, so these works did not have a wide appeal beyond the confines of Bengal. His full-fledged writing Career had begun when he went to look after his family estates in modern day Bangladesh. The works of Rabindranath Tagore gained a wider audience after his famous Collection of Poems; "Gitanjali" was translated by him into English and then published in the year 1912....

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley: Introduction and Brief Summary

An introduction and brief summary of Frankenstein; or The Modern Prometheus Mary Shelley was 18 years old when she wrote Frankenstein in 1816. It was first published in 1818 and revised in 1831 by Mary Shelley herself. The book was conceived and written as a challenge from Lord Byron to his guests one gloomy night. The guests included Mary Shelley and her husband, poet Percy Bysshe Shelley. Frankenstein is written in epistolary format - that of letters and journal entries of Robert Walton an explorer attempting to discover a passageway through the North Pole. Walton has indeed made a remarkable discovery! A man and a monster in an existential struggle in the barren land of the arctic. The story of the monster’s creation and the ensuing battle unfolds as Victor Frankenstein lays dying in a cabin aboard the ship of Robert Walton. On the title page of her novel is this quote from John Milton’s Paradise Lost. Did I request thee, Maker, from my clay To mould me man? F...

The Theme Love and Hate in Shakespeare's 'Merchant of Venice'

William Shakespeare wrote the play "The Merchant of Venice" during the years 1596-98. Shakespeare was not a simple dramatist but a man who presented human emotions in a subtle way. His play the Merchant of Venice covers the entire gamut of human emotions. He writes about love, revenge, evil and friendship. The story is about, Shylock a wealthy Jew, who lends 3000 ducats to his enemy Antonio. Shakespeare creates an enticing tale. Antonio is rich, yet he is forced to borrow money from Shylock as all his money is locked up in ships which are far away. Antonio for this reason has to take a loan from Shylock as he wants to help out his friend, Bassanio. Antonia is unaware that this act could cause his death.  Shylock is one of the few characters created by Shakespeare who personifies evil. He is a malevolent and blood-thirsty old man. He is hates his enemies and has no compassions or humanity towards them. He is the opponent  of Antonio, who is naive and good. Antonio is th...

The Salem Witch Trials Vs Arthur Miller's The Crucible

The Salem Witch trials of the 1690’s had an enormous impact on the colonial community of Salem, Massachusetts.  Twenty (20) people died during the hysteria.  The Salem witch trials were such a miscarriage of justice that researchers, 300 years after the events, continue to speculate on the causes and the impact they had the community of Salem and the colonies in the New World.   The purpose of this article is to investigate the events that led up to the Salem witch trials, representatives of the government, legal and religious institutions that presided over the trials, and the outcome of the trials.  Also, the rationale for the historical inaccuracies embodied in Arthur Miller’s dramatic presentation of the Salem witch trials, entitled The Crucible, will be presented.   Research reveals several suspected causes for the Salem witch trials. While some people may consider the residents of Salem, Massachusetts as ignorant, cruel and su...

18 Interesting Facts About the Alluringly Beautiful and Attractive Aphrodite

Here are some of the most significant facts about the ever beautiful goddess of love - Aphrodite. 1. Aside from being the Greek goddess of love, beauty and others, Aphrodite is also regarded as the goddess of procreation. 2. Venus is her Roman equivalent to whom a famous sculpture is named – the Venus de Milo which is more proper to say “Aphrodite de Milo”. 3. The Greeks further identified the Ancient Egyptian goddess Hathor, goddess of beauty and love for the Egyptians, with Aphrodite 4. Aphrodite is also known as Cytherea or Lady of Cythera and Cypris or Lady of Cyprus. These names were taken after the two cult-sites, Cythera and Cyprus, which claimed her birth. 5. Aphrodite also has many other local names, such as Acidalia and Cerigo, used in specific areas of Greece. Image Source 6. Aphrodite was said to have the girdle with magical powers that was responsible for people falling in love. 7. Aphrodite was born when Cronus cut off Uranus’ genitals an...

The Bheel Mahabharata and Tale of Draupadi and Sex with Visuka the Snake King

The Mahabharata is a well known epic by Vyasa the poet from the Vedic age.  The Mahabharata is a story of two clans of ancient Hindustan, the Pandva’s and the Kaurava’s who finally met in battle at Kurukshetra in about 4000 BC.  The Pandva’s were 5 in number and one fact of the Mahabharata that is accepted by all is that the five brothers married Draupadi a princess whom Arjuna had won in a swayamwara. This was polyandry as practiced in ancient India. The Bheels are a tribal community in Central India who also believe in the Mahabharata. They also have their own version of the Mahabharata, but it has significant aspects which differ from the published version by Vyasa. It is possible that Hindu religious heads exorcised these chapters from the original Mahabharata. Whatever that may be, the Bheel version of the Mahabharata   paints an entirely different picture of Draupadi the queen who had married the 5 Pandva brothers. The Bheel Mahabharata re...

An Analysis of the Poem Reservist Written by Boey Kim Cheng

The Reservist by Boey Kim Cheng, who is a Singaporean poet who migrated to Australia (Poon, 2009), is a ballad that has the characteristics of a free verse in terms of its form, structure, rhyme scheme, and rhythm. War is the theme of the poem as indicated by certain war-related phrases, such as “report for service”; “We will keep charging”; “long years of braving the same horrors”, especially “As clarion notes” which directly connotes is a war trumpet. Other war-themed words used in the poem are “battle-weary”, “command” “joust”, and “weapons”. From the opening stanza, a mix of martial language and physical reality of the irregular soldiers is exhibited. The martial language includes “court-martial fanfare”, “call to arms”, while physical reality of the irregular soldiers includes “grunts”, “pot bellies”, and “creaking bones”, ind...

Chekhov's "The Cherry Orchard" Really is a Comedy

Anton Chekhov called The Cherry Orchard "a comedy in four acts." Of course he called The Seagull a comedy, too, even though one of the main characters commits suicide at the end. I think The Cherry Orchard really is a comedy however. It's a comedy in two senses of the word, the classical and modern senses. It's a comedy in the classical sense that, even though things look bad for a while, they all work out in the end. Some of Shakespeare's comedies are not very funny, for example Measure for Measure, in which a corrupt judge demands relations with a novice nun in order to save her brother's life. But it's a comedy because no one dies and the characters who've tried to do what's right finally get justice. A callous fate doesn't get to wipe everybody out in a classical comedy. No one dies tragically in The Cherry Orchard, either, although Firs, the ancient servant, dies peacefully in the home that he loves. The owners of the cherry orchard and the rest of the estate, the generous Mrs. ...

"Eloisa to Abelard" by Alexander Pope a Timeless Love Poem

“Eloisa to Abelard” is a beautiful poem written by Alexander Pope in 1717 about the unrequited love between two lovers. The poem is based on the 12th century true story of Heloise and Pierre Abelard. Heloise was a well read and very educated young woman whose uncle is the Canon of Notre Dame. Pierre Abelard is her teacher, and is the most popular of teachers. He is a highly respected philosopher in Paris. Even though Eloisa is 20 years Abelard’s junior they begin a secret love affair. He is a supreme philosopher and after besting all who would challenge him he is nominated Canon and stepped into the chair at Notre Dame in 1115. Eloisa’s uncle Fulbert finds out about the affair between Eloisa and Abelard, and he tried to separate them. They continue to meet secretly. She eventually becomes pregnant and is sent to Brittany and gives birth to a son. In order to appease Fulbert, Abelard proposes a secret marriage. When Fulbert announces the marriage publicly Eloisa...

Great Villains of Myths

Ahriman In Persian mythology or Zoroastrianism, Ahriman, also known as Angra Mainyu, was the personification of evil that introduced all kinds of disasters and ills into the world. He battled against his spirit-twin Spenta Mainya, the personification of good, who assisted Ahura Mazda become the final victor in the cosmic war. Balor Also known as the "Evil Eye", Balor was the Irish mythic god of death, who, as had been prophesied, was ultimately slain with a slingshot by his grandson Lugh, the god of light. He was a king of a race of gigantic warriors called Formorians; he had one huge leg and one eye, which was kept shut except during battle because anything he glanced at would instantly die. Coyolxauhqui Coyolxauhqui was the moon goddess in Aztec mythology. She, together with her brothers (the stars) was just about to attack their pregnant mother Coatlicue (the earth), her brother Huitzilopochtli (the sun god) suddenly sprang from her mother's womb fully armored. Coyolxauhqui was...

Robert Louis Stevenson - The Bottle Imp: Character and Plot Summary

The Bottle Imp This short story by Robert Louis Stevenson is a variation on the theme of the Genie in the Bottle or the Monkey’s Paw. It carries the same dark under current of all stories where wishes are made and granted but at a great price. The Bottle Imp was published in Samoa in 1891. Major Characters Keawe the main character of this story is a native of Hawaii. He is an educated, intelligent and God fearing man. Stevenson describes him as “poor, brave and active”. He comes into possession of a mysterious bottle containing an imp that grants wishes. Lopaka is Keawe’s friend, confidant and traveling companion. Lopaka encourages Keawe to use his new-found treasure for material gain. Kokua is a beautiful maiden that Keawe desires with all his heart and soul. She loves Keawe and desires nothing more than to be his wife and to love him. Seated Demon by Vrubel 1890 Plot Summary Keawe an Hawaiian islander, decides to take a vacation to San Francisc...

Contemporary Writers' Criticisms of Charles Dickens

Charles Dickens was the most widely-read author of his day, from his breakthrough at the age of 24 with The Pickwick Papers up until his death at age 58. Yet, like most purveyors of popular culture, he was often criticized by more intellectual elements of the reading public. Indeed, many of Dickens’s writer contemporaries were somewhat dismissive of his talents. Thackeray's Love of Dickens Work Of Dickens’ great English contemporaries, only William Makepeace Thackeray was unstinting in his praise. On reading A Christmas Carol (1844), Thackeray said: “It seems to me a national benefit, and to every man or woman who reads it a personal kindness.” On reading an installment of Dombey and Son in 1847, Thackeray burst into his and Dickens’s publisher’s office and exclaimed: “There’s no writing against such power as this – one has no chance!” Thackeray and Dickens were never personally close, and fell out in the late 1850s, becomin...

"The Song of Wandering Aengus" by W.B. Yeats: An Analysis

“The Song of Wandering Aengus”, from W.B. Yeats 1899 collection, The Wind Among the Reeds, is one of the best known of the Nobel prize-winning poet’s early works. Like much of Yeats’s work from this time, it draws heavily on Irish mythology, inextricably mixed with more personal themes from the poet’s life. The deeply symbolic nature of Yeats’s poetry was influenced by three sources: Irish mythology, classical Greek mythology, and the occult symbolism he was exposed to when he joined the magical order known as The Golden Dawn in 1890. In Yeats’s early career, he was heavily involved in collecting Irish folklore, and this informs his poetry of the 1890s. The Aengus of the title was a god of Irish mythology, one who stayed forever young and lived in a most marvelous palace where no one ever died, and where food and drink was always plentiful. This palace was called Brug na Boinne, and was situated on the banks of the River Boyne. He was also kn...

What Is The Purpose of English Dystopian Literature?

Dystopian literature has been produced over a span of many years, by some of the greatest artists the world has seen. These pieces are not for naught, however, and have served to warn us of a bleak future. Writing is also good for the soul, and many authors have used their pen to portray their feelings and emotions as well as the lessons they have learned through life. Texts such as 1984 (George Orwell) and Brave New World (Aldous Huxley) serve to warn us of what will happen if we continue to live like this, letting us know about what the authors think about the hell-hole we will soon and inevitably call Earth. Dystopian is a form of writing in a bleak way, with a corrupt world and the opposite of "Utopia" (a perfect world). These generally warn us about what will happen if we continue to live like this, and present us with a dark future which it will trigger. In 1984, we see that the world is a totalitarianism government, where no opposition is allowed, and propaganda is in the air. ...

The Marabar Caves: The Dark Heart Of E.M. Forster's A Passage To India

The Marabar caves do not exist. One of the most potent and compelling locations in modern literature, the caves are the creation of E.M. Forster and form the dark heart of his 1924 novel A Passage to India. However, the infamous caves are not without a basis in fact. Forster modeled them after the Barabar Caves, which are located 35Km north of Gaya, in the state of Bihar. A further veneer of reality was provided when David Lean produced a film adaptation of Forster’s novel in 1984, utilising locations that allowed him to bring the Marabar Caves to life on the silver screen. A Passage to India is set against the backdrop of the British Raj and the Indian independence movement in the 1920s. The story revolves around Dr. Aziz and his British friends Mrs. Moore and Adela Quested. Miss Quested is a young English woman who has travelled to India to marry the City Magistrate of Chandrapore. With her companion Mrs. Moore, she befriends the Indian Dr. Aziz, who rashly invites the two l...

Gothic Elements in "The Phantom of the Opera" -- Part One

She walked methodically down the dark, damp corridors, traveling to an unknown destination. Her head was fuzzy and light, and the terror she should have felt was muted into wary enchantment and a vague sense of wonder. All she could gather was that she was being led to a place further and further underground, further and further into the darkness. Even the man leading her was an enigma. Was he an ally, one who returned to her the gift of song? Or were his purposes far more sinister? For Christine Daaé and readers of Gaston Leroux's original novel, The Phantom of the Opera, the answers were not initially so clear. The 1910 novel dragged its readers beneath the Paris Opera to a world that was both frightening and alluring in its otherness, challenging them to keep their minds above ground as Raoul and Christine fought to do so as well. The shadows and dilemmas waiting in the Phantom's underground lair were not meant only for the book's characters, however, but for its readers as...

Shakespeare's Sonnet 18 Relating to the Renaissance Period

Throughout the works of Shakespeare lie detailed clues and personal impressions of the writers' social ideals. Especially in sonnet 18 Shakespeare demonstrates his humanist nature that is evident of the influence of the Renaissance period. After reviewing the sonnet several times with writer and literature expert Heather Smith we noticed that there are classic references to the value system of the Renaissance period. Much of the language symbolizes the Renaissance view of human dominance over nature.  It seems that Shakespeare is pointing out how humanity is the center of the living universe with every other object there to serve the needs of humanity. After the introduction of beauty and nature Shakespeare elevates the status of man and woman in the following sentence with “Thou art more lovely and more temperate”. He then describes all of the beauty of nature that falls short of the vibrant nature of humanity. This ideal of the human greatness is a textbook exa...

Draupadi and Polyandry in the Mahabharata

The Mahabharata is a great epic, but in reality it is a love story with a great dimension. It traverses the heart of a woman in that ancient time and one can conclude that women in India have always been subjugated to man. Perhaps it is the same everywhere, but the tale of Draupadi is unique in that she married five brothers, had sex with each of them and conceived children from each as well. Draupadi was won in a swayamwara by the Pandva prince Arjuna. The swayamwara was an ancient custom where once a princess became of marriageable age, the father would hold a contest and the princess would be the wife of the man who won the various contest of skill. When Arjuna won Draupadi, the Mahabharata and the poet Vyasa is silent on the fact as to what her personal opinion was. Was she consulted or just presented with a fait accompli? Whatever it is Draupadi married all the five brothers namely Yudhistra, Arjuna, Bhima, Nakula and Shedeva. This was polyandry as it existed in that age. But th...

The Coming Of The French Revolution by George Lefebvre: A Scholarly Review Of The Book

Georges Lefebvre’s The Coming of the French Revolution details the major events and sentiments expressed by the people of France during the first year of the French Revolution, as well as providing important background information and insights into each particular “turn” the Revolution took. An important thing to keep in mind whilst reading Lefebvre is that he writes history “from below”, meaning that his arguments and literary illustrations will be presented from the point of view of the peasantry. Lefebvre emphasized the class struggles and the analyzed the roles they played in the upcoming Revolution. From a first glance, one can tell that Lefebvre’s classic is a book on or about history, rather than a textbook of history. Lefebvre’s book is at most a very accurate depiction of the first phases of the French Revolution, and at the same time provides a sturdy background to a “beginner”, who has little factual knowledge about the...

Eragon By Christopher Paolini: A Brief Summary Of The Book

3-Sentence Summary - One fateful day, while Eragon is out hunting in a treacherous mountain valley, he stumbles onto a beautiful polished stone. He thinks of selling it to acquire some money for his family, but when the stone turns out to be a dragon egg, Eragon’s life is shattered. Overnight, Eragon becomes an idolized hero and is thrust into a life of power struggles and intrigue. Full Summary The story takes place in the magical realm of Alagaesia. The main character of the book is Eragon, an ordinary farmer’s boy, who needs to get food on the table. He lives with his cousin, Roran, and his uncle, Garrow.  One day, while Eragon is out hunting in an untamed mountain, he finds a sapphire-blue stone lying in a destroyed glen. Eragon, thinking he could sell the stone in exchange for some meat, takes it back to his uncle’s farm. Little does he know, however, that the small-stone like thing will change his life for ever. When the stone splits open and a dragon ha...

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley: Summary of Main Characters

Frankenstein was written in 1816 by Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley and is in the public domain. For an introduction and plot summaries see links at the end of the article. Primary Characters in Frankenstein; or the Modern Prometheus Robert Walton is the narrator at the beginning and end of the novel. He is an adventurer setting out to discover a passage through the North Pole. He is also a man of science seeking to “ascertain the secret of the magnet” He is a lonely and driven man. He bemoans the fact that he has no friend that is likeminded to share his adventure to encourage him or to participate in his enthusiasm. He meets Dr. Victor Frankenstein and Frankenstein’s monster under remarkable circumstances as his ship becomes surrounded by ice and is unable to move forward. Robert Walton tells Victor “I would sacrifice my fortune, my existence, my every hope, to furtherance of my enterprise.” The story of Dr. Frankenstein begins and ends here in Robert Walt...

Origins Of The French Revolution by William Doyle: A Scholarly Review Of The Book

William Doyle’s Origins of the French Revolution gives a specific, detailed account of the direct and indirect causes that led to the French Revolution. Doyle examines his personal views on the French Revolution’s causes, as well as introducing and analyzing recent research by historians that has challenged popular conceptions of the French Revolution. Like Lefebvre’s book, The Coming of the French Revolution, Doyle’s book should be perceived, and as such read, as a history book, albeit a particularly detailed one. However, be that as it may, and keeping in mind Doyle’s discussion of the research of several major historians on the subject, the book is not all-encompassing, nor does it pretend to do so. A general background to the French Revolution is required to fully understand all of Doyle’s references in his book. One such frequent reference is that to Lefebvre’s book on the French Revolution, thereby making it advisable to, out of the two...

H. G. Wells The Island of Dr. Moreau: Plot and Character Summary

The Island of Dr. Moreau by H. G. Wells was written in 1896. Major Characters: Edward Prendick a man of comfortable means is traveling aboard a ship that is wrecked and finds himself adrift in a life boat. He is subsequently picked up by a schooner with cargo bound for Dr. Moreau’s Island. He is the narrator of the story through his memoirs which were found upon his death by his nephew. Montgomery is Dr. Moreau’s right hand man and lackey. It is Montgomery who rescues Prendick from his life boat and again a second time after he is refused access to the island by Dr. Moreau. Montgomery has some medical training and has been on Moreau’s island for ten years. It is not revealed how he came to be there and it is clear that he longs to return to civilization. Dr. Moreau is the owner of the island and operates what he calls a “biological station of a sort” He has an intense demeanor and is vague about what he does. He has obvious authority over his little ...

A Journal Of The Plague Year By Daniel Defoe: A Scholarly Review Of The Book

In A Journal Of The Plague Year, Daniel Defoe examined his contemporary environment of London during the Plague Year of 1665, using a fictional narrator named ‘H.F.’ to describe the onset and progression of the Plague, as well as the various attempts, both physical and supernatural, to contain it. The Plague caused a great haranguing fear to fall upon London and profoundly affected the inhabitants in ways that cannot be described, considering “the Deliriums which the Agony threw people into” (Defoe 142). People, both literally and figuratively, went insane from fear, and in turn, the foundational basis on which society was built was utterly destroyed. This is, from what one can pull from H.F.’s observations, completely understandable. For as H.F. recounts, “Death now began not, as we may say, to hover over every ones Head only, but to look into their Houses, and Chambers, and stare in their Faces” (Defoe 31). The sheer devastation was unparalle...

Interpretations of Poe's Fall of the House of Usher

Edgar Allan Poe is known for his foreboding tales and poems that delve into the darkness of the human mind. His short story “Fall of the House of Usher” is certainly no exception to this mold. The gruesome deaths of Madeline and Roderick Usher come as the conclusion to the gradual decay of the entire Usher line, which ended with the two siblings. What this decay specifically is and what the destruction of the “house” signifies, however, is open to interpretation. One of the most extreme, yet rather common, explanations behind the strange, destructive relationship between the two siblings is one of incest. Textually speaking, towards the introduction of Madeline into the story, Roderick seems distressed, going so far as to say “‘I must perish in this deplorable folly” (Poe 267). Roderick also later admits that his own malady had its origins in his “tenderly beloved sister, his sole companion for long years, his last and only relative on e...

The Feminine Kinaidos

A kinaidos was a man whose most salient feature was a supposedly "feminine" love of being sexually penetrated by other men.  The word cinaedus describes sexual deviance, also effeminate behavior, referring typically to males who most often prefer to play a "feminine" (receptive) role in intercourse with other men. Many cinaedi are destined to be prostitutes. There are several examples of kinaidos in literature, as well as political figures like Demosthenes, who was known for performing his political discourse along the lines of a precocious female. In the Argonatica, Jason is neither heroic nor skilled in combat. He only has one thing going for him and that is good looks. In that aspect, he comes off as effeminate. This does not necessarily mean he is destined to live the life of a prostitute, however it does mean that his actions and behaviors are more representative of a female. The Latin physiognomy offers a profile of the cinaedus that is substantially identical to Polemo's ...

Oscar Wilde's Selfish Giant

‘Selfish Giant’ is one of the short stories beautifully written by Oscar Wilde. By reading this short story you will instantly enter into a beautiful garden and live there during winter and spring seasons. You cannot but admire and applaud when he describes the winter season as ‘spring asleep’ insinuatingly. This short review is only to drive you towards the original. The moment you enter the garden you are astonished with the scenic beauty of it. There are oak trees blossom with beautiful and colorful flowers in the spring season and birds sing merrily. Children play in the garden by climbing on the trees and enjoying the birds singing. The garden belongs to ‘The Selfish Giant’. He has been away for some time. When the Giant returns to his garden the trouble brews. On entering his garden, the ‘Selfish Giant’ sees that the children are playing and enjoying in his garden. He asks the Children in a high commanding tone, ‘what are y...

A Comparison Of Erasmus's The Praise Of Folly And More's Utopia

In the Praise of Folly, Desiderius Erasmus examined his contemporary world of the Medieval Ages and put forth in satire, using a narrator and main character personified as Folly, its deep-rooted ignorance and stubbornness for all to see, to reveal what the world lacked – the true idea of the individual’s potential. Thomas Mores' Utopia, with similar intentions, practically illustrates a more direct solution to the times with his depictions of the manners and ways of the distant people of a place known as Utopia. It is thus that these two great writers came to be renowned as the best in their craft of the “studia humanitatis, [which] emphasized speculative thought, and above all, logic,” a focus of the 16th century humanist movement (Bonney 9). Erasmus works on this task by narrating his work from the point of view of his embodiment of Folly, a goddess of pretension and foolishness, which seeks to encourage and support mankind’s many faults and shortcoming...

How Carnival of the Middle Ages Served a Purpose Beyond Mere Fun

The carnival of the Middle Ages developed over a century as a grass roots phenomenon. It was not spectacle produced on a stage or organized by officials, but participation by everyone in which there were no masters and slaves, rulers and peasants. All were equal and anonymous at carnival. Carnival was an annual event that lasted several days. Carnival parodied the official feasts of the church and the state. At official functions rank was paramount and everyone of rank wore the trappings of their office. Carnival disposed of all the marks of office and ridicule was the order of the day. Mikhail Bakhtin explored the images of the carnival in the work of Francois Rabelais. Bakhtin coined the word Carnivalesque to describe anything marked by mocking or satirical challenge to authority and the traditional hierarchy. Rabelais’s novel Pantagruel presents the forms and culture of the carnival. Everything that is high is made low; whatever is exalted is made common. Bakhtin calls this g...

A King Lear Abstract

King Lear is reputed to be one of Shakespeare's greatest plays, but also one of his most difficult. Grasping the psychology of the characters of the play is fundamental if one wishes to understand the potential implications of this masterpiece. In this respect, King Lear's ouster from the pompous courts into the tempestuous fields at the end of act two marks a decisive moment in the development of the play. King Lear's situation at this point contrasts dramatically with the initial situation of the play, where he is well supported by his vast retinue. Now, having been deceived by his two daughters, Lear is driven into the “wild field,” accompanied only by his Fool. The following act marks the beginning of the mad king's perilous journey through the “fretful elements” of nature, and as such produces an intense dramatic effect – an effect which an audience would not fail to perceive – through the absolute reversal of his situation, from royal to wretc...

Dark Rhymes: The Hidden Meanings Behind Our Favorite Children's Nursery Rhymes

Lizzie Borden took an axe, And gave her mother forty whacks. And when she saw what she had done, She gave her father forty-one. While many know that this popular children’s jump-rope rhyme refers to the infamous hatchet murders that took place in Fall River, Massachusetts on August 4, 1892, allegedly at the hands of New England spinster Lizzie Borden  (who many believe killed her father and stepmother), few know the dark and hidden meanings behind many other rhymes that were popular through the ages.  Here is a look at a few of the most popular--and notorious. Mary, Mary, Quite Contrary: Mistress Mary, quite contrary,. How does your garden grow? With silver bells, and cockle shells, With pretty maids all in a row. Image credit Identified with Mary I of England, "How does your garden grow?" is said to be a mocking reference to her womb and the fact that she never produced heirs, as well as a pun aimed at her chief minister,...

British Literary Modernism in Reaction to Victorianism and Romanticism

The development of a new age of art necessarily implies the dissolution, either in part or in full, of ages past. British Literary Modernism developed after Victorianism, which came about after Romanticism. Modernism, then, could be seen as the rebellious child of those past ages past, as it developed itself in large part as a reaction against the ideals that first gave birth to it. As the literary era immediately preceding Modernism, Victorianism is apt to face the strongest acts of artistic rebellion. One of the starkest shifts in principles occurred in the realm of domesticity. The literal death of Queen Victoria, the maternal figurehead of Victorianism, came to represent the metaphorical death of the domestic values she portrayed, especially in regards to thoughts on marriage and the place of women within society. Modernist writers more readily wrote about imperfect marriages and women who rebelled against the expectations given them. Female writers of the time, such as Virginia W...

King Lear: Reality and Illusions

King Lear will never win father of the year. He wants to lay aside the burdens of kingship, and decides to divide his kingdom among his three daughters. Whichever one says she loves him most will get the biggest part. Sounds like a plan! He calls them in, and settles back to enjoy the flood of adulation. Unfortunately, while the two conniving older daughters Regan and Goneril go on about how they are “alone felicitate in your dear highness’ love,” his favorite, Cordelia, says she loves him, but asks tartly, “Why have my sisters husbands if they say they love you all?” Cordelia refuses to flatter Lear, believing that love should be shown in deeds, not words. In a rage, Lear promptly disowns her and kicks her out of the kingdom. The King of France, seeing both Cordelia’s virtues and Lear’s foolishness, proposes to her and makes her Queen of France. King Lear is about reality and illusions, the truth and what people want to believe. As s...

Glad to Be Bad--Shakespeare's Evil Women

Queen Margaret in Henry VI Part 3 is not a nice person. She has the head of her political rival, the Duke of York, chopped right off. But first she taunts him by waving a handkerchief in his face-- soaked with the blood of his young son. And Margaret’s not the only tiger’s heart wrapped in a woman’s hide to show up in Shakespeare’s plays. His dramas and histories are peppered with women who are—to put it mildly—not to be trifled with. Margaret also appears in Henry VI Part 2, where she deliberately drops her fan, pretends to mistake the Duchess of Gloucester for a servant, and smacks her on the ear for not picking the fan up. The Duchess, no shrinking violet herself, threatens Margaret with her nails, and then retreats, snarling that she’ll be revenged. But first the Duchess has other business to take care of, including murdering King Henry with sorcery so her husband the Protector can be king. Unfortunately for the Duchess, she’s...

Feminism in Christina Rossetti's Goblin Market, Part One

The bonds of sisterhood are powerful indeed. Sisters grow and learn together, often doing favors for one another such as sharing clothes, giving advice, being in each other’s wedding, and braving goblin men to prevent one another’s untimely death. The last is true, at least, of Laura and Lizzie from Christina Rossetti’s “Goblin Market.” Lizzie rescues her sister from imminent destruction by bravely confronting the goblin men responsible for Laura’s declining state. What this action signifies for women—who are all “sisters” with one another, in some sense—might be more than initially meets the eye. Laura’s poor decision in regard to the menacing goblin men and Lizzie’s heroic actions in spite of them can easily be seen as instructions for women everywhere on how to react and not react to various male temptations. The female influence was arguably a strong factor in Rossetti’s own life. According to U. C. Knoe...

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley: Book Club, Study and Essay Topics

Topic for discussion or Essays of Frankenstein; or the Modern Prometheus Compare and contrast Robert Walton and Victor Frankenstein in the opening of the story and at the end of the story. How are their attitudes similar and how do their attitudes change at the end of the story? Why is Frankenstein alarmed when Robert Walton expresses his ambitions? The subtitle of Frankenstein is The Modern Prometheus; to whom was Shelley referring? How does Prometheus compare and contrast to the character to whom Shelley was referring. What was the fate of Prometheus? What were the prevalent attitudes in England in the early 19th century? Do you believe that Shelley’s novel was a reflection of those attitudes? There are clear biblical themes throughout the story. Give examples. How does Shelley use them. Does Victor Frankenstein have any reverence for God? Does he believe in God? Is this book metaphorical? Explain. Is this book an allegory? Explain. What qualities of character does...

England's Glorious Revolution 1688-1689, By Steven Pincus: A Scholarly Review Of The Book

In England’s Glorious Revolution: 1688-1689, Steven Pincus presents a series of primary historical sources that illustrate practically every angle of the Glorious Revolution, as well as providing an accompanying commentary in the form of an introduction and transitory paragraphs in between documents. The Revolution caused a strong sense of unity to come about all peoples of England in 1688, “wherein Whigs, Tories, princes, prelates, nobles, clergy, common people, and a standing army were unanimous” and indeed, “all England [was] of one mind” (Pincus 48). When the William, the Prince of Orange, arrived, and forced the tyrannical James II to flee, the people were literally giddy with happiness, and “instead of having to fight his way to London, William was escorted the entire way by cheering crowds” (Pincus 3). William of Orange's Landing at Brixham (Image Source) The Revolution was extraordinary in both its swift character and its improbabil...

Gothic Elements in "The Phantom of the Opera" -- Part Four

Be sure to read Part One, Part Two, and Part Three of this discussion for more information. As a very human character, Erik is prone to the repressed and sometimes dark desires of the human subconscious. This is another common attribute of Gothic stories and often ties into Freudian criticism. Both Erik and Christine are wrapped up in their own base childhood desires and can be classified as suffering from a severe Oedipus complex. Erik, whose deformity caused him to be rejected by his own mother since birth, longs for a maternal figure to love him. Christine becomes this figure for him, “revealing himself as seeking a substitute in her…for the mother who turned from him in ‘fear and loathing’” (Hogle 182). This is further evidenced in part by the fact that he keeps her within a room that is nearly an exact replica of his mother’s from his childhood. Christine is not free from these base desires, either. She still yearns for her deceased father, a...

Livy: Rape of Lucretia

Livy, the writer of Lucretia, typically wrote about women causing the overthrow of Rome. The health of the state itself was based on the health of the women, so the health of the State itself is in bad shape if chastity is challenged. Additionally, the violation of chastity is also a violation of the domos of man. The act of rape, in this case, is the interaction between men. A rape of one’s dignity and a violation of family honor. The story of Lucretia is filled with notions of tyranny, often associated with violation and hyper sexuality. There is a lack of control so one must act on it. The Rape of Lucretia was, evidently, a legend in the Roman Republic and it was included in Livy’s notable work the History of Rome. The sons of the King of Rome, Lucius Tarquinius Superbus, are at Ardea, a city that the army is attempting to conquer, when they hear of the virtue of the Roman matron Lucretia. The legend demonstrates that princes and kings have absolute power over everyone...

Animal Farm Chapter Summaries

Chapter 1: -Old Major had a strange dream and wants to share it with the other animals. -He gave a speech on Animalism and encouraged the animals to stage a rebellion against humans. - The seven commandments were mentioned in Old Major’s speech. - Old Major remembered a song in his dream, called the “Beasts of England”. - He related his dream about a world without mankind, with only animals. - The idea of Animalism was introduced and all the animals were supportive of the rebellion. The uproar woke up Mr. Jones. Chapter 2: - Old Major died in his sleep. - The animals started preparing for the rebellion although they had no idea when it would happen. - The pigs, Napoleon, Snowball and Squealer elaborated Old Major’s teachings into a complete system of thought and often held meetings in the farm with other animals. - One day, Mr. Jones left the animals unfed, thus they broke into the cowshed. - Mr. Jones and his men whipped the animals and they c...

Superstitions in Wuthering Heights

The Bronte sisters, being the daughters of a reverend, lived in the parsonage of Haworth right next to the graveyard. But they weren't afraid of a few ghosts or other supernatural visitors. In fact, superstitious beliefs play a role in Wuthering Heights beginning when Mr. Lockwood endures "the persecutions" of Heathcliff's "hospitable ancestors." They create an atmosphere of mystery and tension and draw us into Emily's story. What's going to happen next? Dreams and superstitions about them get the story started. Snowbound and holed up in a dreary, unused room at Wuthering Heights, Mr. Lockwood dreams about a child ghost. The terrible apparition identifies itself as Catherine Linton, and cries at the window. "Let me in! I've been a waif for twenty years!" This dream and the odd inhabitants of Wuthering Heights lead Mr. Lockwood to ask Nelly Dean about Heathcliff's family, and she tells him the "whole history." Nelly Dean is admittedly superstitious about dreams, believing they can be...

Animal Farm Character Analysis

 Old Major He was a highly regarded pig on the farm. He was twelve years old and had lately grown rather stout. However, he was still a majestic looking pig with a wise and benevolent appearance in spite of the fact that his tushes had never been cut. Old Major is the first major character described by Orwell in Animal Farm. Old Major proposes a solution to the animals' desperate plight under the Jones "administration" when he inspires a rebellion of sorts among the animals. Of course, the actual time of the revolt is unsaid. It could be the next day or several generations down the road. But old Major's philosophy is only an ideal. After his death, three days after the barn-yard speech, the socialism he professes is drastically altered when Napoleon and the other pigs begin to dominate. It almost seemed as though the pigs fed off old Major's inspiration and then used it to benefit themselves (a interesting twist of capitalism) instead of following through on the ...

Hugo's The Hunchback of Notre Dame--Love and Delusions

The Hunchback of Notre Dame by Victor Hugo is long and complex, but well worth reading. Many people take issue with Hugo's lengthy description of medieval Paris. If you want, you can skip that and go right to the story. I read the story, and then went back and read the description of Paris. If you saw the movie version made in 1939 with Charles Laughton and Maureen O’Hara, the book isn’t much like it. King Louis the Eleventh is not a friendly, approachable monarch who wants to introduce the benefits of enlightened thinking and the printing press. He’s a mean, shriveled, miserable old man and even his allies are ashamed of his cruelty. And Esmeralda does not go on to live a happy, carefree life. Unlike Maureen O’Hara, she ends up getting hanged. If you’re not familiar with the story, here’s an overview. It takes place in Paris in 1482. The Hundred Years War has been over for a while, and the people are finally getting some peace and prosper...

Literary Analysis of the American Dream As Presented in 'The Assistant' by Bernard Malamud

Bernard Malamud is an American writer whose father was a Russian Jew.  Malamud achieved literary fame in America. His novel ‘The Assistant’ is a book that addresses the problems of America as seen through the eyes of Malamud. The writer in this book examines the American dream, as it appears to an outsider. The American dream of prosperity and what it holds for an emigrant is addressed by Malamud. The mountain looks blue from far and as one goes nearer the rocks and shrubs come into view. This is the theme of Malamud’s novel where he examines this dream and whether it can be achieved. Malamud creates a Jewish community in America. Some from this community succeed, but the central character Morris Bober does not succeed. Morris is a man who has escaped from Tsarist Russia. In escaping he has risked his life. He is convinced that America is the El Dorado and he will earn money and live a comfortable life. But the reality is different as Malamud realises. The chara...

A Review of the Tales in the Book 'The Perfumed Garden': Arabic Erotica

The Perfumed Garden is a book that goes against the mainstream thought of modern Islam as practiced in countries like Saudi Arabia. The book is the antithesis of the Wahabbi concept in Islam which is puritan and rigid. The Wahabbi concept enforces a code of conduct that denies women their basic rights. The Perfumed Garden strikes at the roots of this concept by emphasizing the sexual nature of the Human mind. The book written by Sheikh Nefzawi gives relevant sexual advice and at the same time illustrates the Sheikhs ideas through a series of tales that are interspersed throughout the book.  The tales are erotic and one is hard put to explain how so licentious a book has come from an area that is home to an extremely rigid and iconoclast religion that denies the sexual nature of a human relationship. The Sheikh's Imagination Whatever hard line Muslims might say the Perfumed garden is a book that is erotic in the extreme. The purpose of these stories which can be read independentl...

How to Read Korean Characters

Learning Hanggeul is like a walk in the park. In a lot of ways it is easier to learn compared to other languages, but it takes some time to master the meanings of each word. Though like the old adage, "before learning how to run, you need to learn how to crawl and then walk". So here's how to learn Hanggeul easily first by reading.  This is the complete chart of Hanggeul for each set (vowels and consonants)                          "G/K" sound*                        "N" sound                        "D/T" sound*                        "R/L" sound*                        "M" sound                        "...

Beowulf's Translations and Reprints: Best of the Best

Beowulf has been as much a mystery to scholars as the author of this poem. The deterioration it suffered is due to both time and the fire it survived only by being flung threw an open window. Even if a student were to have specific intentions for studying the text first hand chances are still slim that anything could be gotten from the text. Fortunately scholars and writers alike have taken the chance to translate their own version of the story. Each translation and Old English edition offers a clear translation of the story but also has its own drawback to their particular writing style. This article offers a few translations for your consideration before you read or begin to study this poem. Father Klaeber’s edition is in Old English and has offered the most true to form of the original. Any liberties he may have taken are explained with footnotes and in depth analysis of the text. There is also extensive research of the Old English words and their many forms. Klaeber’s ...

A Review of RD Blackmore's Famous Novel ' Lorna Doone'

RD Blackmore is a writer who is not much heard off these days. In fact modern youngsters will be hard pressed to recollect who he was, though his novel 'LornaDoone' may still strike a chord with them. In fact all the books and novels written by RD Blackmore are no longer in print except for ‘Lorna Doone'. However this one book by Blackmore has earned him a name for posterity. "Lorna Doone' is a love story that has stood the test of time. Blackmore himself tried to get it published, but the first attempt failed and the novel was published only on a second attempt.  The novel is a historical romance in the genre of the novels of Sir Walter Scott who himself rated Blackmore very highly. It is a voluminous work touching 624 pages, set in the moors of Exmore in the South West of England during the time of the Monmouth rebellion of 1685 The book was published in 1869 and has been in continuous print since then. The novel is a moving love story which has a historical background.&...

The Age Of Napoleon By Christopher Herold: A Scholarly Review Of The Book

Christopher Herold’s The Age of Napoleon details Napoleon’s rise from relatively common origins on the island of Corsica to the enormous political and military power he commanded as Emperor of France. The book focuses on every step of this fascinating journey, providing a mélange of facts, opinions and anecdotes to illustrate the story of the almost legendary man, and of the world he created around himself. Herold’s book should be perceived, and as such, read, as a history book, albeit a particularly detailed one. This is a result of the fact that Herold examines and presents his own personal views on the French Revolution, but also systematically backs his statements up, and provides acute details that, instead of merely presenting factual data; actually question the reader’s own ideas on the subject. However, be that as it may, and keeping in mind Herold’s frequent allusions to dates, facts, and names pertaining to the French Revolution, the book ...

Charles Dickens's Greatest Comic and Grotesque Characters

Charles Dickens is perhaps seen today as a fundamentally serious writer, a social critic and a purveyor of “literature”, rather than an entertainer. For his contemporaries, however, he was most popular for his comic characters. His giant, rambling novels often featured minor characters who became more popular than the central characters. In George Orwell’s famous words, Dickens’s novels had “rotten architecture but wonderful gargoyles”. Here are some of his greatest, funniest and most grotesque “gargoyles”. Mr. Bumble A beadle in charge of the workhouse in Oliver Twist, Mr Bumble is uncaring and cruel, as well as pompous of speech. In the second half of the book, though, he becomes less a figure of misused authority than a comically hen-pecked husband, dominated by a shrewish wife. His enduring legacy is in his response to the suggestion that he will be punished for his wife’s crimes, for the law supposes the wife to act under...

Gothic Elements in "The Phantom of the Opera" -- Part Three

For an introduction to the topic and a brief summary of the novel's Gothic tone, be sure to check out Part One and Part Two of this topic, respectively. Moving into the more specific parameters commonly attributed to Gothic fiction, The Phantom of the Opera also takes place in the sort of antiquated space common to the genre. While drastically different from Walpole's medieval castle, Leroux’s underground caverns inhabited by his opera phantom effectively evoke an antiquated sense of what is past, as well as the “primeval fear of being preyed upon [and] the dread of dampness made worse by a cold” (Morgan 69). Moreover, these caverns do hold a secret importance to the plot. They are not simply the place in which Erik has built himself a home, but the place from which he maintains the infrastructure of the Opera House, unbeknownst to its visitors and even its management. Erik’s catacombs are of vital importance, whether the reader is down in their depths or merel...

The Praise Of Folly By Desiderius Erasmus: A Scholarly Review Of The Book

Desiderius Erasmus’ Praise Of Folly satirically examines the ignorance and stubbornness of the Medieval Age in order to establish and found the true idea of the individual’s potential, one of the centerpieces of the humanist movement of the 1500s. Erasmus does this by narrating his work from the personification of Folly, a goddess of pretension and well, folly, which seeks to promote and strengthen the faults and shortcomings of mankind in general. In such a way, Erasmus, with extravagant wit and banter is able to criticize the so-called “Christian piety” and perspectives of his time, thereby allowing “any reader who is not altogether lacking in discernment [to] scent something far rewarding in them than in the crabbed and specious arguments of some people we know” (Erasmus 6). Erasmus’ book should be perceived, and as such, read as a satirical story, albeit a particularly deep and comprehensive one. However, though a satire, the work is a val...

Plautus' Amphitryon

Titus Maccius Plautus used plots from Greek New Comedy for his own plays. The actors wore costumes and masks fashioned in the Greek style. His actors even portrayed the typical archetype characters: dirty old men, clever slaves, prostitutes, and young men in love. Though indebted to the Greeks, Plautus managed to infuse his plays with his own Latin quality, incorporating elements that appealed to the Romans: drunkenness, gluttony, and womanizing. Plautus wrote for the masses and became a very popular playwright in Rome. The Amphityon, a tragic comedy, was one of his most famous works. It includes Amphitryon’s jealous and confused reaction to Alcmena’s seduction by Jupiter, and ends with the birth of Hercules. Amphitryon begins with a prologue given by the god Mercury, in which he gives some background information to the audience. The crowd is seeking a return on their investments and they need the luck of Mercury to guarantee their sales, but Mercury is there to deliv...

Gothic Elements in "The Phantom of the Opera" -- Part Two

Leroux’s The Phantom of the Opera can certainly be classified as a work of Gothic fiction. Most of Gothic aspects mentioned in Part One of this discussion make clear, strong appearances in this work. Moreover, the overall tone and plot of the story lend itself to the sense of horror typically attributed to a Gothic novel. Erik, who has been disfigured from birth, spends a good and final part of his life stalking the underground catacombs beneath the Paris Opera House, acting in such a way that those associated with the Opera House term him as the “ghost” or “phantom.” His deformed appearance effectively shuts him off from standard society, as he has skin that is yellow, thin, and parchment-like, eyes that are red and sunken in, no nose, and just a few stray strands of black hair. After Raoul’s first encounter with Erik, he states, “I saw…a horrible death’s-head glaring at me with eyes in which the fires of hell burned. I thought i...

Awesome Dragons of Myths

Ladon (Heracles and Ladon guarding the tree of the golden apples. Roman relief plate) Image source In Greek mythology, Ladon was the perpetually-awake dragon that was coiled around the tree in the Garden of the Hesperides, a garden sacred to the goddess Hera, keeping watch over the immortality-giving golden apples. This hundred-headed dragon was the son of Typhon and Echidna, both being half-serpentine creatures themselves. Anzu A minor deity of Sumerian myth, Anzu was often depicted with a lion's head and a serpentine body with eagle wings. This storm god stole the Tablets of Destiny from the sky god Enlil in order to control the fate of all things, but was eventually killed by the sun god Ninurta or Marduk, who was able to recover the tablets, and thus prevented the world from plunging into chaos. Apep (Ra, in the form of a cat, slays the snake-like Apep) Image source Apep was the Egyptian mythic demon, who was regarded as the deification of darkness and death. This giant ...

Book Review: 'No Child Mine' by Susan Lewis

Susan Lewis Susan Lewis is a British author who has written a novel ‘No Child Mine’. A reading of this book shows she is a fearless and brave author who has presented a novel on the unspoken horrors in this world. The fact that she is one of England’s top selling novelists is another feather in her cap. Susan has published 28 books earlier carving a niche for herself in the world of literature.. She has now produced a novel No Child Mine which is a disturbing story that brings out the horrors of child abuse and neglect. This is a sensitive theme requiring a sympathy treatment and Susan carries herself with aplomb in her presentation of her story. Showcasing Darkest Recesses of Human Mind Susan has the distinction of showcasing the darkest corners of the human psyche in all her books. She writes bringing her own traumatic experiences forward to give the reader a tale that will make him think. The result is 'No Child of Mine' that explores the re...

Hera, the Queen goddess of the Ancient Greek Mythology

According to the legend of the Greek Mythology, Hera is the queen of the gods. She is the wife of the Greek god Zeus, the most powerful god of the ancient Greeks. She is the mother of other ancient Greek gods namely; Ares, Hephaestus, Hebe, and Eileithyia. She named as the queen of the gods as she is the legitimate wife of Zeus, the ancient Greek's most powerful god. Hera's parents are the titans Cronus and Rhea and her husband Zeus is also his brother. The legend depicts Hera as something like a young woman that posses a stunning beauty. Accordingly, she wears a high cylindrical crown. Greek goddess Hera was named as the goddess of marriage. She was also named as the protector of the married woman. She was said to be the mother of other goddesses in the Greek Mythology. These are the god of war Ares, the god of Fire Hephaestus, the god of youth Hebe and the god of childbirth Eileithyia. According to the story, Zeus wanted Hera and that one time he attempted to seduce her but Hera ...

Ovid: Art of Love and Rape

Ovid was the last of the great poets of the golden age. He belonged to a privilege group of Roman youths who liked to ridicule old Roman values. In keeping with the spirit of this group Ovid wrote a frivolous series of love poems known as the Amores, intended to entertain and shock. They ultimately achieved their goal. Another of Ovid's works was The Art of Love. This was essentially a takeoff on didactic poems. Whereas authors of earlier didactic poems had written guides to farming, hunting, or some such subject, Ovid's work was a handbook on the seduction of women. The Art of Love appeared to applaud the loose sexual morals of the Roman upper classes at a time when Augustus was trying to clean up the mores of upper class Rome. The princeps was not pleased. Ovid chose to ignore the wishes of Augustus and paid a price for it. In AD 8, Ovid was implicated in a sexual scandal, possibly involving the emperor's daughter Julia. He was banished to a small town on the coast of the Black Sea,...

Talking Trash in Shakespeare

Just before a three-game series with the Cardinals in August, Cincinnati Reds second baseman Brandon Phillips said, ""I hate the Cardinals. All they do is bitch and moan about everything, all of them, they're little bitches, all of 'em." It's always been customary for guys to do some talking smack before they go at it. I suspect that in the dim mists of prehistory, warring tribes were hurling insults at each other in languages long lost. There's definitely trash talk in Shakespeare's plays, and, being Shakespeare, he brings his artistry to it. Endless petty wars in medieval times gave Shakespeare plenty of material, and opportunities for verbal skirmishing. At the end of Henry IV Part One, the Prince of Wales confronts the rebel leader Harry Percy at the Battle of Shrewsbury. "Two stars keep not their motion in one sphere," the Prince declares, "Nor can one England brook a double reign, / Of Harry Percy and the Prince of Wales." Harry Percy ret...

Hetaerai and High Priced Courtesans

Sources for the hetaerai are literary and archaeological evidence, and even those are very few. The vine vessels depicting them are odd in that they are aspirational in orientation. There are some images that are quite degrading to the Hetaerai including one such vine vessel depicting one Hetaera in falacio and receiving anal sex. Yet, these women were still idealized even though they were ridiculed. They were generally foreigners or non-citizens and they were famous for their beauty, seductiveness and education. They received no special standing but they were wealthy and well connected. They served as substitutes for common wives and other prostitutes. Hetaerai were higher priced prostitutes who served a ritualized function. Men often romanticized the hetairai because they represent the male fantasy. They are much more complicated than we find in sources. In fact, the study of the Hetaerai tells us more about the men than the women. Hetaerai were often depicted in art mingling with m...

Ovid's Metamorphoses: A Brief Review

The Roman poet Ovid’s ‘Metamorphoses’ was the most popular and widely read classical work during the Middle Ages. Even today, ‘Metamorphoses’ has a profound influence on Western thought. It is a narrative poem in 15 books. ‘Metamorphoses’ narrates the history of the world from creation to the deification of Julius Caesar. The poem is cast in a loose mythico-historical framework. ‘Metamorphoses’ is a masterpiece of the Golden Age of Latin literature. This long narrative poem was competed in AD 8. Ovid’s narrative poem is based on Greek myth with stylistic adaptations and the poem is a popular reference work for Greek mythology. ‘METAMORPHOSES’ A MOCK-EPIC Ovid ‘Metamorphoses’ belongs to the literary genre mock-epic. The poem lacks organic structure as Ovid deals his subject matter in an apparently arbitrary fashion. He would jump from one metamorphosis story to another and would often stray in odd dire...

Beyond Magic Slippers and Poison Apples: The Dark Truth Behind Our Favorite Disney Fairy Tales

For those who grew up under the wondrous cinematic spell cast by master cartoonist Walt Disney, the world of faery tales and fables appears to be a veritable wonderland created just for kids. Indeed, the happily-ever-after realms of Sleeping Beauty, Snow White, and Cinderella, make it easy to imagine that the Brothers Grimm, Charles Perrault, and Hans Christian Anderson were born to create wondrous realms where children could simply let their imaginations run wild. But what most parents and children are unaware of is that most of these beloved classic stories were in fact not written for children at all, and many of those that were, were meant as cautionary tales designed to frighten children into obeying their parents.  In fact, many of these now-classic tales were actually banned from polite society in their original forms, deemed far too disturbing, risqué, or violent.  Here are ten such tales that may make you think twice about the Disney legacy and t...

Plato's Euthyphro and the Question of 'piety'

Early Platonic texts are characteristically definition dialogues.  They often, though not always include Socrates as the main character discussing a certain term in hopes of finding a sufficient definition.  This term is known as the definiendum.  In this such definition dialogue we find the definiendum to be the topic of piety as Euthyphro prepares to charge his father with murder in order to honor the piety due to the gods. The scene is set with Socrates heading to his own trial for his life, for which he will later be put to death a month later in 399 b.c.e. Euthyphro claims he knows what piety is, or even he would not charge his father for ‘murdering’ a slave, who himself was a murderer.  It is important to note that Euthyphro’s father was following the normal Athenian legal process by sending for the oracle to ask what should be done to the slave, when the slave died of exposure.  Euthyphro is  chargi...

Physiognomy

The essential idea of Physiognomy is that there exist masculine and feminine "types" that do not necessarily correspond to the anatomical sex of the person in question. There is a possibility of mixed gender-signs, which demands a science of decipherment, using such things as cosmology. The Hellenistic physician Loxos claims, in his discussion of mixed gender-signs, that good character actually requires both masculine courage and feminine wisdom. These possibilities hardly influenced or even intrigued Palemo, who often followed the Aristolian ideals of the character of man. The male is physically stronger and braver, less prone to defects and more likely lo be sincere and loyal. He is more keen to win honor and he is worthier of respect. The female has the contrary properties: she has but little courage and abounds in deceptions1.  Aristotle Vs Loxos Vs Palemo Aristotle is associated with the Physiognomonica, which concentrates on the concept of human behavior a...

Character Analysis: Bradley Pearson in 'The Black Prince' by Iris Murdoch

Dame Iris Murdoch DBE was an Irish-born British author and philosopher, best known for her novels about good, evil and sexual relationships. Dame Murdoch published more than 26 novels. Her novel The Sea, the Sea won a Booker Prize in 1978. She published her last novel, The Green Knight, in 1994. This was the year she was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease. Iris Murdoch wrote 'The Black Prince' in 1973. This was her fifteenth novel and alludes mainly to Hamlet, the character created by William Shakespeare. The Black Prince is generally considered the best of Murdoch'™s novels. It won the James Tait Black Memorial Prize in 1973. Murdoch admired the great nineteenth-century English and Russian novels written by Tolstoy, Dostoevsky, James, Dickens, and Eliot. Overall, she had the ability to merge philosophy and fiction and this is apparent in the main character Bradley Pearson in the novel. Murdoch relates the novel though Bradley Pearson. He is a retired 58 year old Inspector ...

Ghost Writers and Their Spooky Literature

Whether they really exist or not, ghosts have always played a role in literature. They seem to tap into a number of our basic desires, needs, and fears. And they suggest answers to questions about our identity and ultimate destiny. The big question about ghosts that’s often addressed in literature is: what does happen when we die? Where does all that creativity and energy go? Our world teems with life in every form; it’s is so persistent that it seems that each individual life must be, too. It’s inconceivable that all our knowledge, intelligence, passions, and emotions would vanish into nothingness in a moment. So man has always believed in some sort of afterlife. But early man took a dim view of it; ancient literature makes nothingness sound like a lot more fun than being a ghost. Gilgamesh, a Mesopotamian epic first written down about 2000 B.C., put it this way: The house where the dead dwell in total darkness, Where they drink dirt and eat stone, Where ...

Famous Australian Writers and Poets, 19th and 20th Centuries

Prominent 19th and 20th centuries Australian writers and poets are featured, with quotes taken from their famous and best-selling books.  Andrew Barton "Banjo" Paterson (1864-1941) Quote: “He was hard and tough and wiry – just the sort that won’t die – There was courage in his quick impatient tread; And he bore the badge of gameness in his bright and fiery eye, And the proud and lofty carriage of his head.” ~ Banjo Paterson, The Man from Snowy River (1895) Henry Lawson (1867-1922) Quote: “So the days of the riding are over, The days of my tramping are done – I’m about as content as a rover Will ever be under the Sun; I write, after reading your letter – My mind with old memories rife – And I feel in a mood that had better Not meet the true eyes of the wife.” ~ Henry Lawson, Written Afterwards, Verses Popular and Humorous (1900) Miles Franklin (1879-1954) Quote: "I make no apologies for being e...

The Outrageous Idea Of Christian Scholarship By George Marsden: A Scholary Review

George Marsden’s The Outrageous Idea of Christian Scholarship examines the mainstream academia of today in the context of faith and intellectual scholarship, specifically in how it gradually and inauspiciously evolved from the early nineteenth century to shun all forms of Christian Scholarship. Marsden’s ambitious goal is to inform the reader of the motives and developments of this process, explain why Christian Scholarship is in fact important, and put forth what can be done to re-establish the idea of Christian Scholarship in contemporary academic society. The book is neither a summary nor a historical narrative, but rather a compelling assessment supported with factual data and personal anecdotes. The way it is thus written prevents one from perceiving and reading it as one would any other historical exposition; it is a book that labours over every point in its arguments in order to encompass its subject matter entirely. In this respect, Marsden has succeeded with an un...

A History of the Sikhs by Joseph Cunningham

The Sikhs have a checkered history. However one man who deserves mention is Joseph Davey Cunningham ( 1812-51). He was the first foreigner to pen the history of the Sikhs. He wrote his ‘history of the Sikhs’ in the nineteenth century and since then it is considered the most authentic source of Sikh History. Cunningham loved the Sikhs and their religion and he wrote the ‘History of the Sikhs’ with great zeal. His is one of the most accurate accounts of the Sikhs during that period which was one of the most turbulent in the History of India. Young life Cunningham saw the light of the day in 1812 in England at Lambeth. He entered school and excelled in mathematics. The teachers thus advised Cunningham’s father to make Joseph an engineer. Cambridge beckoned him , but Joseph joined the British East Indian Army. He joined the engineering corps and passed out from the academy at Chatham. He was commissioned in the corps of Corps of Sappers and Miners in th...

The Great Gatsby

A juxtaposition is when the author contrasts two things of a story. These elements could be the characters, symbols, events, or different settings. Irish American author, Francis Scott Fitzgerald, uses juxtaposition in his literary works to express differences between two elements. The Great Gatsby is a story written by Fitzgerald that contrasts the different settings and locations of the story. Francis Scott Fitzgerald juxtaposes East and West Egg to the Valley of Ashes in The Great Gatsby to show the difference of those who fulfill the American Dream and those who don’t.  The East and West Egg are far superior when you try to compare them to the extinguished Valley of Ashes. The Eggs are built with elegant mansions and glittering palaces. Gatsby’s mansion can light up all of West Egg with his extravagant lights. The Valley of Ashes is home to run-down buildings and closed-up businesses. The Valley of Ashes is known as a graveyard for people’s hopes and dream...

Problems with Time and the Future in Hamlet and Macbeth

“Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow / Creeps in this petty pace from day to day / To the last syllable of recorded time” muses Macbeth upon hearing of his wife's death (5.5.22-24). “The time is out of joint” laments Hamlet after seeing the ghost of his father (1.5.188). Both tragic heroes demonstrate a concern for time and its effects, generally brought on by the topic of death and, by extent, the inevitable force of the future that brings expiration with it. This concern has roots in the Renaissance, but in the case of both Hamlet and Macbeth, it borders on obsession, often prompting rash action or complete inaction. Both Hamlet and Macbeth are filled with instances of mortal man attempting to still or turn time beyond his means. As a result of theses chaotic attempts, both worlds are plunged into disorder, and both are only restored once time is set right again. The dawn of the Renaissance brought with it a greater concern about time. The Medieval period had ...

Gerard Manley Hopkins and His Poetry, Part One

Gerard Manley Hopkins, a poet and a priest, was complex and difficult to know. He was not a saint and not much of a sinner. He lived most of his life in isolation and self-doubt. But sometimes the best we have comes out of our struggles, and, out of his, Hopkins produced poetry of luminous beauty. Hopkins was born in 1844 in Stratford, Essex, near London, where his father was a successful businessman. The elder Hopkins raised his family in a typical upper-middle-class Protestant home, and expected his son to do the same. So he was pleased when Gerard was off to a good start. Always a bright student, Hopkins excelled in his classes at Oxford, and he was also recognized as a talented poet. But Hopkins' life was destined to take a different turn. Academics weren't enough; he felt the need for more meaning in his life. All his life Hopkins craved a sense of spirituality, a mystic vision of something beyond ourselves. He began to investigate the Roman Catholic faith while still a...

The Tales of One Thousand and One Nights

To continue my series on famous rulers and their wives, I want to emphasis where revenge and murder committed by a crazy ruler actually turns into love for his new wife. This twist of fate cannot be better exemplified more than in the Tales of the One Thousand and One Nights, often called the Tales of the Arabian Nights. We all know these wonderful stories, though not in its entirety. Matt had one of the original collections written in Arabic, worth thousands of dollars. Unfortunately, they were either lost or stolen from his father's wonderful collection of out-of-print and priceless works. The collection is a series of work that has been compiled from Sanskrit (Indian), Arabic, Egyptian, and even ancient Sumerian writings. The earliest collections surfaced in Mesopotamia during the 9th century. These tales have survived time and have been compiled by several countries throughout the centuries including several versions in the West. It is not certain if the Western versions contain ...

The History Of The Church By Eusebius Pamphili: A Scholarly Review Of The Book

Eusebius Pamphili’s The History of the Church traces the history of the Church from the time of Christ all the way to the end of the Great Persecution and the conversion of the Roman Emperor Constantine. Eusebius’s commendable goal is to depict the permanence of Christian beliefs and traditions amidst the struggles, tribulations, and triumphs that Christianity as a whole experienced. On the part of Eusebius, the book is a historical narrative, being a compelling assessment supported by factual data from the primary sources of his time. The way it is thus written allows one to read it as one would any other historical exposition; the distinguishing factor is the fact that it is, truly, the first of its kind as an extensive book on Church history. This is made ever more distinctive by the way the book labours over every point in its arguments, supported by relevant excerpts which seek, with some persistence, to encompass and clarify the subject matter. In this respect, Eusebi...

The Literary Beginnings of Dido, the Queen of Carthage Mentioned in Virgil's Aeneid

Dido, the queen of Carthage, is a literary character defined primarily by her passion for Aeneas, as witnessed in Virgil’s Aeneid and Christopher Marlowe’s Dido, Queen of Carthage. The origin of her tale can be traced back to a source even earlier than Virgil, however. When analyzing the character of Dido, it is, perhaps, most important to know Virgil’s version first since it would be the basis for many other retellings and allusions in later literary history. Book IV of the Aeneid details the love affair between Aeneas and Dido. Dido had pledged to remain chaste after the death of her initial husband, Sychaeus, but upon meeting Aeneas, her vow loses hold. Venus and Juno essentially force her to fall in love with him. She and he have an open affair until Jupiter sends Mercury to Aeneas, telling him that he must move on in order for Rome to be founded. Aeneas attempts to slip away, but Dido finds out, “for who deceives a woman in love?” (Virgil iv.384), an...

Sheikh Nefzawi the Moslem Writer and His Creation ' The Perfumed Garden'

Around 1410-1434 an erotic manual was compiled in Arabic  titled ‘The Perfumed Garden of Sensual delight’ . The significance of the book lies in the fact  that it touched a subject that is anathema in Islam, namely sex. The man who wrote it Sheikh Nefzawi  was directed to write the voluminous tome by none other than the  Grand Vizier of Tunis. That is perhaps the reason that the work and its author survived.  The book spread over 249 pages and 13 chapters is a conniseurs delight and the  writer desrves credit for producing a book that is the anti-thesis of Islam and its philosophy.  It is a wonder that such a book was allowed to be written, for with sex a taboo word in Islam the appearence of this book is itself a pleasent surprise. The book had remained obscure and unknown and not many people knew about it. However one English man who had a missionary zeal translated the book. He was Sir Richard Burton, who is also th...

Facts About Agatha Christie

Agatha Christie was born on September 15 1890 and died January 12 1976. During World War I she was a volunteer dispensary nurse. This gave her a wide knowledge of medicines and poisons. She was married twice. She assisted her second husband's excavations in the middle east. This gave her extensive knowledge for various stories including “Death on the Nile.” The play, The Mousetrap, was written as a birthday present forQueen Mary, the mother of King George VI. The title is Hamlet. The Mousetrap holds the record for longest initial run. It started at the Ambassador Theatre in London on November 25, 1952 and is still going. There have been over 23,000 performances. The first Hercule Poirot novel was titled The Mysterious Affair at Styles. Styles is an actual name of one of the houses that Agatha Christie lived in. In 1971, Agatha Christie was named Dame Commander, Order of the British Empire by Queen Elizabeth II. Only the Bible has sold more books than Agatha Christie...

The Life and Times of Mr Bumble, the Beadle

Mr Bumble the beadle is one of Charles Dickens’s great comic characters. In the 19th century, dramatizers of Oliver Twist tended to give lots of space to Bumble and his courting of Mrs Corney, which ends in the poor beadle becoming a victim of domestic abuse by the shrewish Corney. Nowadays, Bumble is less prominent in the public imagination than characters like Fagin, Sikes, Nancy and the Artful Dodger, as the comedy of Oliver Twist is less admired than his social realism and portrayal of the lowest classes of society. He is best known for his response to being told that the law supposes him responsible for his wife’s criminal actions, because of the influence a husband has over his wife: “If the law supposes that, the law is a ass, a idiot,” replies Bumble (Chapter 52), well aware that he has no control over his wife’s actions at all, quite the opposite. Both Bumble and his wife are considered to have abused their position of authority in the workh...

A Christmas Carol: the Story Behind Scrooge

When Charles Dickens published A Christmas Carol on December 19th 1843 at the age of 30, he was already a man of renown; a popular novelist whose works included The Posthumous Papers of the Pickwick Club (also known as The Pickwick Papers), Oliver Twist; or, The Parish Boy's Progress, The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby, The Old Curiosity Shop, and Barnaby Rudge: A Tale of the Riots of Eighty. Becoming enormously popular from the moment it hit the book stores, this perennial tale of Scrooge’s spiritual journey from miserable old miser to the very "spirit" of Christmas sold out the first 6,000 copies by Christmas day, with 2,000 more snatched up by January 6th of the new year. Original inside cover As many historians characterize London during this, the Victorian era (1837 to 1901), the living conditions of the time were so severely depressed that the only pleasure the poor could afford was to indulge in sex.  Behind closed doors and in alleyways, sex ...

The Devil in 20th Century Literature

The Devil has a long and disinguished history as a literary character, from Dante’s Inferno in the 14th century, where the Devil is depicted as being trapped in hell’s frozen centre, in eternal torment, through Milton’s 17th century Paradise Lost, in which he is given a starring role, nominally the villain, but presented so charismatically that William Blake famously said that Milton was “of the Devil’s party without knowing it”. Thomas Mann - Doctor FaustThe Devil has also appeared in many important 20th century works of literature. Thomas Mann retold the Faust legend, already chronicled by, most notably Christopher Marlowe and Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, in Doctor Faustus (1947), where the Faust character is a musician named Adrian Leverkühn living in 20th century Germany who makes a pact with a Devil character who grants the composer 24 years of creative genius as a composer, as long as he agrees to renounce human love. Here the Faustian pac...

Bible Reading and Literature

BIBLE READING AND LITERATURE The Philippines proudly boast to be the only Christian country in Asia. More than 92 percent of the population is Roman Catholic, others belong to various nationalized Christian sects, and about 5% are Muslim while approximately 2 percent belong to other or none. For a country that is predominantly Christian, the Philippines is not famous as a Bible reading nation. Many homes comprise at least a copy of the Holy Bible, but is it being read only on special occasion. A Bible study or prayer gatherings are the most available time the Book is open and read. The Society of Saint Paul Philippines has been trying to rectify this situation and encouraging the widespread reading of the Bible by conducting a yearly National Bible Quiz. The Bible is essentially a religious history book, a book all-about God and His relationship with mankind. It is also a book of perfect literature. The Bible is one of the best-selling books of all time and stands as one of the fou...

Concepts of Loyalty in Richard the Third

Shakespeare's Richard the Third is a complex play that raises many issues, among them different concepts of loyalty. Loyalty is viewed in many ways by the characters, depending on their individual circumstances and agendas. Richard's brother King Edward the Fourth worries about divided loyalties in his court, and admonishes his courtiers, saying, "You have been factious, one against the other." This is definitely true. Partisan politics run rampant in Edward's court, and the first loyalty for many nobles is to their faction. This weakens the kingdom, and ends up making it vulnerable to Richard's plotting. King Edward's wife Elizabeth Woodville and her family form one faction. Elizabeth is a commoner, and Edward's brothers resent her family's advancement, especially since Elizabeth's dead husband fought against the Yorks. The Woodvilles in turn get very tired of the never-ending stream of sarcastic remarks from Richard. Elizabeth finally explodes: My Lord of Glouc...

Hilda Conkling, Child Poet

Hilda Conkling represents a mystery. Her mother, Grace Hazard Conkling, was an English professor at Smith College in Massachusetts. One fall day Grace and her two daughters were walking through the woods. They stopped to rest, and little Hilda, who had just turned four, climbed into her mother’s lap and announced, “I made up a poem for you, Mother.” Grace asked, “Can you say it for me?” “Yes,” Hilda replied, and began: “The blossoms will be gone in the winter: Oh apples, come for the June! Can you come, will you bloom? Will you stay till the cold?” Grace was a poet as well as an English professor, so she knew poetry. She recognized at once that this was a very good poem, especially for a four-year-old. Grace and her daughters led a quiet, pleasant life in Northampton, Massachusetts, a town surrounded by the natural beauty of rural New England. In some ways it was a charmed life. Hilda and her sister Elsa spent many ...

Feminism in Christina Rossetti's Goblin Market, Part Three

Part two of this discussion covered feminist ideas about women's place in a sort of "sexual economy" as perceived by some critics of Rossetti's "Goblin Market." A slightly less extreme interpretation of the poem simply involves the topic of female maturity itself. In this view, Laura and Lizzie still start off as innocent girls who are tempted by goblin men acting as seductive lovers. According to Knoepflmacher, the fact that Rossetti specifically chose to make the goblins male indicates that she is “wary of men’s sensual baits” (317). This could suggest a form of sexual temptation. Men are tempting the sisters away from the path of righteousness; the easiest and perhaps most natural conclusion to draw from that scenario is one of seduction. As the poem starts, neither sister has been exposed to that temptation, so their innocence remains. After Laura falls to the temptation and Lizzie must confront it to save her sister, both have become mature w...

Compare Stoker, Rice, and Meyer--Three Stages of the Vampire Legend

Bram Stoker, Anne Rice, and Stephanie Meyer all approach the vampire character in a different way. Each author must create the universe in which the characters live and work and experience life. For a story set in a vampire background, the author must detail and describe most of the factors we take for granted in ordinary living. Each author creates his or her own rules that weave the fabric of the story’s reality. Stoker’s novel is the foundation of the vampire characteristics, but some of those characteristics are redefined by the other authors who use the vampire character. In each of the stories the vampire requires blood to sustain life, but other characteristics are not consistent in all the stories. In Dracula holy symbols such as a cross or a piece of communion bread weaken and disable the vampire. In Interview with the Vampire Louis enters a church and attacks a priest. New Moon does not deal with religious objects. Bram Stoker’s Dracula was published in 189...

Feminism in Christina Rossetti's Goblin Market, Part Two

In the first part of this discussion, we took a look at the female influence in Christina Rossetti's life and how that influence most basically appears in "Goblin Market." In this part, one of the more specific versions of feminist criticism will be addressed. One of the more extreme feminist views revolves around women’s perceived place within a sexual economy. According to Nancy Welter, Laura and Lizzie live in a sort of female utopia that is only disturbed at twilight, “when they hear the cry of the goblin men selling their wares” (139-40). Prior to the introduction of the goblin men, no reference is made to the male gender. Moreover, no other males appear in the poem at all. Even when the two sisters are said at the end to have “children of their own” (Rossetti 15), the poem does not explicitly state the presence of any fathers. The male influence, then, could easily be perceived as an entirely corrupting one, since the poem only directly me...

Feminism in Christina Rossetti's Goblin Market, Part Five

Part Four shed light on possible connections between "Goblin Market" and the trials and successes of female poets during Rossetti's era. Regardless of the feminist overtones to the text, there also exist some extremely evident spiritual overtones that are difficult to ignore. Feminist criticism and spiritual criticism are not mutually exclusive, though. Another feminist view on Rossetti’s poem allows for a spiritual emphasis to be placed on the two sisters’ trial. In this interpretation, the sisters are spokespeople for women in general. The goblin men are not so much representative of men as they are just of that which is not female. In other words, they are not tempters because they are male, but tempters who could not be female unless Rossetti wished to jeopardize the overall meaning of the poem. Their fruit does not necessarily represent sexual temptation, either. Modern connotations of “forbidden fruit” may provoke the reader to think in these te...

Feminism in Christina Rossetti's Goblin Market, Part Six

Part Five of this discussion addressed the spiritual overtones present in Rossetti's poem and how those overtones were tinted by the idea of female community. The idea of female community also ties into the final major feminist critique of “Goblin Market.” This interpretation examines Rossetti’s life and the women she worked with in order to determine a historical frame for the text’s possible feminist overtones. According to D. M. R. Bentley, it seems possible, if not likely, that the original intended audience were those women whom Rossetti worked with at the St. Mary Magdalene Home for Fallen Woman (64). “While the hypothesis of an original audience of fallen woman and Anglican Sisters can hardly draw convincing support from the technical and formalistic features,” Bentley elaborates, “it might nevertheless be said that such aspects of the poem as its rescue plot, its exemplary nature, its optimistic conclusion, and even its affective style...

Analysis of the Characters of Jamaica Kincaid's Novel 'Annie John'

Jamaica Kincaid is an American author who was born in Antigua. Her novel Annie John written in 1985 tells the story of a young girl who grows to young womanhood. The novel chronicles the life of Annie John from the age of ten to seventeen, when the girl proceeds to England for a course in nursing. The narrator of the story is the girl Annie John herself. She is the protagonist. In the novel Kincaid creates major and minor characters that run in a vein throughout the novel. The major characters in the novel are discussed in succeeding paragraphs. Annie John. She is the heroine of the novel and the story is an account of her life from the age of ten to seventeen. The writer takes us through the mind of a young girl and her reactions to events around her. She also tells the reader about how the body changes like menstruation affect Annie. Kincaid paints her as a bright and intelligent girl who is prey to many emotions including love, lesbianism, sex and emotions.The writer creat...

William Dunbar's Lament

William Dunbar walked down a dusty country road. He was far from his native Scotland. But he had a purpose, and he strode briskly past the rolling fields. William had just received his bachelor’s degree from St. Andrew’s University, and had come to France to preach. He could look forward to a receptive audience. In the fifteenth century traveling preachers were popular. People were interested in matters of faith, and there were few books available. And, as a Franciscan priest and scholar, he was well qualified. But William had another gift besides preaching; he was a poet. He was one of a group called the “makers,” a medieval Scottish term for poets. Another “maker”and a friend of William’s was Blind Harry, who wrote about the hero William Wallace. The movie Braveheart was based on Blind Harry’s stories. After a few years William returned to Scotland. He continued to preach and write poetry. In the fifteenth century, authors...

Defying Petrarchian Convention: Philip Sidney's Astrophil and Stella

Astrophil and Stella is without doubt one of the most influential sonnet cycles of the Elizabethan Age. While many people simply dismiss Astrophil and Stella as a typical Petrarchian sonnet sequence filled with the familiar Petrarchian conventions of love and desire, Sidney actually is presenting a new perspective on love, one that is quite different from that of Petrarch, Wyatt, and many other earlier writers. Although many of the sequences are predictable in their course of recitation, Sidney still finds a way to infuse a force and energy into his writing that causes the reader, not only to be caught by the paradoxical verses but also to question the entire psychoanalytical process of love. Sidney effectively creates in his work an anatomy of love. He dissects, explores and analyses love in all its different facets and stages, laying bare to us the mechanism and etiology of love, essentially taking the reader on a tour of the lover’s mind and the psychological voyage that it ...

Charlotte Bronte--Yorkshire Genius in Seclusion

Charlotte Bronte represented a fascinating mystery to the London literary world of 1847. An unknown writer named Currer Bell had produced Jane Eyre, a popular and controversial novel. Compounding the confusion were two other novels published the same year, Agnes Grey by Acton Bell and Wuthering Heights by Ellis Bell. Were the novels written by three different writers or only one? And were they written by men or women? Even the publishers of the novels didn’t know. So in 1848, Charlotte and her sister Anne, the author of Agnes Grey, traveled to London to introduce themselves to publisher George Smith and assure him that they were different people and both women. Charlotte’s Jane Eyre was still a source of controversy, though. Its heroine was a strong woman who took responsibility for her own life. It contained scenes of wild passion and violent acts. Rochester’s plan to marry when he had a living wife shocked Victorian sensibilities. It was certainly a stran...

Anton Chekhov, the Play Doctor

A lot of great literature was produced in late nineteenth-century Russia, and Anton Chekhov was one of its most talented writers. He portrayed people from all walks of life with keen perception and gentle humor Chekhov's understanding of human nature grew out of a difficult childhood. He was born in 1860 near the Sea of Azov in southern Russia, where his father ran a grocery store. The older Chekhov was a devout Christian in public, but violent and abusive at home. He often blew up over things like too much salt in the soup. Chekhov's mother, who loved storytelling and was devoted to her six children, became more and more worn down by his bullying. So early in his life Anton became a keen observer of the human condition, not only in his own home but in the world at large. He saw the way the peasants lived, not just in material poverty but in poverty of spirit--uneducated and spending their lives drinking and beating each other. His own father was the son of a serf. Anton had ...

Robert Louis Stevenson's Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde Plot and Character Summary

 The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson was first published in 1886. Major Characters: Mr. Utterson is a lawyer who is described as a friendly, agreeable and sober man. He is driving the investigation into the mystery of the relationship between Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. His main concern lies in the fact that he has received a hand written Last Will and Testament from Dr. Jekyll naming Mr. Hyde as the one and only full beneficiary of his estate.  Richard Enfield is Utterson’s distant relative and companion. They walk together every Sunday.  Dr. Lanyon is an old friend and colleague of Dr. Jekyll’s as well as Utterson‘s. He has not seen Dr. Jekyll in a decade due to conflicts regarding scientific philosophies and research. His relationship with Jekyll is re-established at the end of the story. Dr. Jekyll is a man of fortune and respected in his community. He says that he is “fond of the respect of the wise and goo...

The Witches--Brewing Up Trouble for Macbeth

There is a legend that King James the First, who was fascinated by witches, asked Shakespeare to write a play about them. Shakespeare obliged, and, since James was Scottish, set Macbeth in Scotland. The witches are central to the action in Macbeth. You might say they represent the temptations we’re all faced with at some time. Sometimes a part of us is attracted to those temptations, and that part is expressed by Macbeth when he gives in to them. The witches are the characters we see first, setting the tone of the play. While waiting for Macbeth, they torment a sailor whose wife refused to give them chestnuts, just a little entertainment before the main event. Then Macbeth comes by, and they’ve picked their time perfectly. Macbeth has won the battle; he’s confident and proud. His ego is inflated. He has no idea he’s walking into their trap. And when they predict he’ll be king, he thinks, “Why not?” And because Macbeth is easily ma...