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11-11-2010, 02:21 PM
anglesea anglesea
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01-14-2011, 09:54 AM
: 10 - 11 - 2007
: 14,922
: 23
  is a glorious beacon of light

Catherine Bennet
Catherine "Kitty" Bennet is virtually a nonentity in the Bennet family. Although she is the fourth sister, younger than Mary but older than Lydia, Austen reveals that she is "weak-spirited, irritable, and completely under Lydia's guidance ignorant, idle, and vain." However, the end of the novel is a bit encouraging for Kitty. Jane and Elizabeth make sure that she visits both of them frequently, and they introduce her to more intelligent and entreating society. Austen notes that this change in environment has an excellent effect on Kitty.
Eliza Bennet
See Elizabeth Bennet
Elizabeth Bennet
"Elizabeth Bennet," writes Elizabeth Jenkins in her critical biography Jane Austen: A Biography, "has perhaps received more admiration than any other heroine in English literature." Elizabeth is the soul of Pride and Prejudice, who reveals in her own person the very title qualities that she spots so easily in her sisters and their suitors. Elizabeth has her father, Mr. Bennet's, quick wit and ironic sense of humor. Unlike her older sister Jane, she resists accepting all people uncritically. She is quick to recognize most people's principal characteristics for instance, she recognizes the stupidities of many members of her family and quickly characterizes Lady Catherine de Bourgh as a control addict and her sister's suitor Charles Bingley as a simple and good-hearted young man. But she is also, concludes Jenkins, "completely human. Glorious as she is, and beloved of her creator, she is kept thoroughly in her place. She was captivated by [George] Wickham, in which she showed herself no whit superior to the rest of female Meryton." When Elizabeth begins to accept her own impressions uncritically, she makes her worst mistakes.
Because Elizabeth is so keen an observer of other people, she recognizes her mother's silliness and vows not to be caught in the same trap as her father. This refusal, however, is itself a trap. By trusting entirely to her own observations (pride) and her own initial assessments of people (prejudice), Elizabeth threatens her future happiness with Fitzwilliam Darcy. "Above all," concludes Jenkins, "there is her prejudice against Darcy, and though their first encounter was markedly unfortunate, she built on it every dislike it could be made to bear; her eager condemnation of him and her no less eager remorse when she found that she had been mistaken, are equally lovable."
Jane Bennet
Jane Bennet is Elizabeth's older sister, the most beautiful and amiable of the Bennet sisters. Her father considers her too willing to please and believes that she lacks the character to deal with life's difficulties. He tells Jane, "You are so complying, that nothing will ever be resolved on; so easy, that every servant will cheat you; and so generous, that you will always exceed your income." Jane eventually marries the equally amiable Charles Bingley.
Kitty Bennet
See Catherine Bennet
Lizzie Bennet
See Elizabeth Bennet
Lydia Bennet
Lydia is the youngest of the Bennet daughters and perhaps the silliest. Austen describes her as "a stout, well-grown girl of fifteen, with a fine complexion and good-humoured countenance; a favorite with her mother, whose affection had brought her into public at an early age." Rather than spend any of her day receiving any sort of education, Lydia instead devotes all of her energies to collecting gossip about their neighbors, freely spending money about the town, and flirting with young men. Although all the Bennet girls are initially attracted to George Wickham, it is the headstrong Lydia who elopes with him and who is eventually married to him. Lydia's impudent actions put her sisters' marriage prospects in jeopardy, but she shows no signs of remorse; unlike Elizabeth and Darcy, she does not learn from her mistakes.
Mary Bennet
Mary Bennet is the third Bennet daughter, younger than Elizabeth and Jane and older than Catherine and Lydia. Rather than prancing around town flirting with young men, Mary considers herself an intellectual and would rather enjoy the company of a book. But Austen reveals that she overestimates her own talents and intelligence, saying that Mary "had neither genius nor taste; and though vanity had given her application, it had given her likewise a pedantic air and conceited manner, which would have injured a higher degree of excellence than she had reached

Mr. Bennet
Austen describes Mr. Bennet, the father of the five Bennet girls (Jane, Elizabeth, Mary, Catherine, and Lydia), as "so odd a mixture of quick parts, sarcastic, humour, reserve, and caprice, that the experience of three and twenty years had been insufficient to make his wife understand his character." He is mildly well-off. Austen reports that he has an income of two thousand pounds sterling a year, enough for his family to live comfortably but socially he ranks toward the bottom of the scale of the landed gentry. This is one of the reasons that people like Fitzwilliam Darcy and Lady Catherine de Bourgh regard the family with some disdain.
Mr. Bennet is one of the primary means by which the author expresses her ironic wit. He shares this quality with Elizabeth, his favorite daughter. However, unlike Elizabeth's, Mr. Bennet's wit is usually expressed in sarcastic asides directed at his wife. Unlike his daughter, Mr. Bennet does not question or examine his own life, and his situation never improves. In addition, he allows his younger daughters to behave as carelessly and improperly as his wife. His inattention to his own family results in his daughter Lydia eloping with the despicable George Wickham.
Mr. and Mrs. Bennet are not well matched. Her silliness does not mix well with his sarcastic wit. Mr. Bennet recognizes this, and it is one of the reasons he instills in his daughter Elizabeth the importance of matching temperaments with her husband.
Mrs. Bennet
Mrs. Bennet, Austen reports, is "a woman of mean understanding, little information, and uncertain temper. When she was discontented, she fancied herself nervous. The business of her life was to get her daughters married; its solace was visiting and news." Mrs. Bennet is primarily concerned with the outer aspects of her society: the importance of marrying well in society without regard to the suitability of the personalities in the match. Neither does Mrs. Bennet have any regard for respecting proper manners and behavior. She is continually embarrassing Elizabeth and Jane with her inappropriate comments and schemes to marry off her daughters. Additionally, Elizabeth finds her mother's influence on the younger Bennet daughters particularly disturbing. Mrs. Bennet allows the younger girls to devote all their time searching for eligible young bachelors, neglecting any form of education. It is perhaps because of Mrs. Bennet's attitudes that her youngest daughter, Lydia, elopes with the despicable George Wickham.
Caroline Bingley
Caroline Bingley is the sister of Charles Bingley. She and her sister are very proud of her family's wealth conveniently forgetting, Austen notes, "that their brother's fortune and their own had been acquired by trade." They are willing to go to great lengths to prevent his marriage into the poorer Bennet family. It is Caroline who reveals to Jane Bennet her plans to have Charles marry Fitzwilliam Darcy's sister Georgiana.
Charles Bingley
Charles Bingley is a friend of Fitzwilliam Darcy and the new occupant of the Netherfield estate, which neighbors the Bennet's home, Longbourn. It is through Bingley that Elizabeth first meets Darcy and is unimpressed by Darcy's manners. Bingley, whom Austen describes as "goodlooking and gentlemanlike; he had a pleasant countenance and easy, unaffected manners," is very attracted to Jane Bennet. This affection distresses his sisters, including Caroline Bingley, and Darcy himself. They all believe that the Bennet family is too far down the social ladder to deserve such attention from him. Ironically, Charles himself has received his fortune by his family's interest in trade, considerably less respectable than Darcy's wealth inherited by birthright. Charles' sisters and Darcy deliberately give Elizabeth Bennet the impression that Bingley is to marry Darcy's sister, Georgiana, after he leaves for London. Eventually, however, Bingley returns to Netherfield and marries Jane.
Charlotte Collins
See Charlotte Lucas
Mr. William Collins
Mr. William Collins is Mr. Bennet's nephew and a clergyman. Because Mr. Bennet has no sons, Collins is in line to inherit Mr. Bennet's estate. Austen describes him as "not a sensible man, and the deficiency of nature had been but little assisted by education or society." Mr. Bennet enjoys Collins's visit to his home because he appreciates Collins's naive stupidity, but Elizabeth resents his attentions and rejects his marriage proposal. She is very distressed when her friend Charlotte Lucas decides to marry Mr. Collins out of interest in his estate rather than his personality.
Fitzwilliam Darcy
Fitzwilliam Darcy, like Elizabeth Bennet, combines in his character the prime characteristics ofPride and Prejudice: his aristocratic demeanor (pride) and his belief in the natural superiority of the wealthy landed gentry (prejudice). Darcy sometimes unconsciously assumes that a lack of money or social status are characteristics that disqualify people from marrying or loving each other. Elizabeth quickly discovers this aspect of his character, and it is her flat rejection of his first proposal of marriage that sparks his eventual change of heart. He recognizes the essential arrogance of his upbringing and repents of it; he tells Elizabeth, "By you I was properly humbled. I came to you without a doubt of my reception. You showed me how insufficient were all my pretensions to please a woman worthy of being pleased." In return for the privilege of become Elizabeth's husband, he is willing to put up with her three silly sisters, her equally silly mother, and even the scoundrel George Wickham as a brother-in-law.
Some critics maintain that this change of heart was nothing more than the uncovering of Darcy's innate characteristics. "Darcy's essential character is independent of circumstances," states Elizabeth Jenkins in her critical biography Jane Austen: A Biography. "He had the awkwardness and stiffness of a man who mixes little with society and only on his own terms, but it was also the awkwardness and stiffness that is found with Darcy's physical type, immediately recognizable among the reserved and inarticulate English of to-day." This analysis suggests that Darcy's character is more like that of his sister, Georgiana Darcy, a painfully shy girl. Georgiana Darcy's shyness and awkwardness and Fitzwilliam Darcy's arrogance and harshness come from the same roots. It is, however, Darcy's ability to examine his own life and recognize his flaws and his courage in approaching Elizabeth Bennet again, after she had already rejected him once, that leads to their eventual marriage and life together.
Georgiana Darcy
Georgiana Darcy is Fitzwilliam Darcy's younger sister. She is extremely shy and uncomfortable in company. Austen describes her as "tall and, though little more than sixteen, her figure was formed, and her appearance womanly and graceful. She was less handsome than her brother, but there was sense and good humour in her face, and her manners were perfectly unassuming and gentle." Elizabeth Bennet expects that she will dislike Georgiana just as much as she initially dislikes her brother, but she turns out to be favorably impressed. Her impressions of Georgiana are among the first intimations Elizabeth has that her conclusions about Darcy may be wrong.
Miss Anne de Bourgh
Anne de Bourgh is the only daughter of Lady Catherine de Bourgh and the late Sir Lewis de Bourgh. Her mother plans to marry the sickly Anne to her cousin, Fitzwilliam Darcy.
Lady Catherine de Bourgh
Lady Catherine de Bourgh is Fitzwilliam Darcy's aunt. A proud, unforgiving woman, she is a control addict who likes to tell everyone what to do. She is scheming to have her nephew marry her own daughter, Anne de Bourgh, whom Austen describes as "sickly and cross." Elizabeth quickly realizes that Lady Catherine is a petty tyrant, but she seizes upon this revelation as an excuse to conclude that Fitzwilliam Darcy is himself equally flawed. Lady Catherine makes a final attempt to create a breach between Darcy and Elizabeth in the final chapters of the book, but her attempt backfires and only serves to help bring them together.
Colonel Fitzwilliam
Colonel Fitzwilliam is Darcy's cousin. He is the younger son of an earl and, although "not handsome," explains Austen, "in person and address [he was] most truly the gentleman." He develops a fondness for Elizabeth Bennet, but realistically admits that as a younger son he must marry for wealth, not love

Mr. Edward Gardiner
Mr. Gardiner is Mrs. Bennet's brother, whom Austen describes as "a sensible, gentlemanlike man, greatly superior to his sister as well by nature as education." He and his wife take Elizabeth Bennet on a tour of Derbyshire, including a side trip to Darcy's estate at Pemberley. He also tries to help Mr. Bennet locate Wickham and Lydia after they elope. Mr. Gardner and his wife are among the few relatives Elizabeth can be assured will not embarrass her.
Mrs. M. Gardiner
Mrs. Gardiner, Edward Gardiner's wife and Elizabeth Bennet's aunt, is according to Austen "an amiable, intelligent, elegant woman, and a great favourite with all her Longbourn nieces." She accompanies Elizabeth on a tour of Fitzwilliam Darcy's estate at Pemberley.
Mr. Hurst
Mr. Hurst is the husband of Mr. Charles Bingley's sister Louisa. He is lazy, says Austen, an "indolent man who lived only to eat, drink, and play at cards, who when he found [Elizabeth to] prefer a plain dish to a ragout, had nothing to say to her."
Mrs. Louisa Hurst
Louisa Hurst is the wife of Mr. Hurst and the sister of Mr. Charles Bingley and Caroline Bingley. She plots with her sister to remove their brother's affection from Jane Bennet and transfer it to someone more suitable.
Charlotte Lucas
Charlotte Lucas is Elizabeth Bennet's best friend. She distresses Elizabeth by deciding to marry William Collins, Mr. Bennet's nephew, out of interest in his estate. Up until this point Elizabeth had respected Charlotte's sensibility, but her decision to marry Mr. Collins lost her much of Elizabeth's respect.
Lady Lucas
Lady Lucas is the wife of Sir William Lucas and mother of Elizabeth Bennet's friend Charlotte Lucas. Austen describes her as "a very good kind of woman, not too clever to be a valuable neighbor to Mrs. Bennet."
Sir William Lucas
A close neighbor of the Bennets, he earned most of his income through trade. His daughter, Charlotte, marries Mr. Collins, Mr. Bennet's heir.
Mr. Philips
Mrs. Bennet's brother-in-law, Mr. Philips is an attorney. He hosts the party at which Wickham tells Elizabeth about Darcy's withholding a promised legacy. Already having a negative first impression of Darqy, Elizabeth unquestioningly accepts Wickham's story as evidence that Darcy is a miserable person. When she discovers that it is actually Wickham who wronged Darcy, Elizabeth feels terrible for allowing her pride to interfere with an objective judgement of Darcy.
Mrs. Philips
Mrs. Bennet's sister, Mrs. Philips, is described by Austen as a silly, vulgar woman.
George Wickham
Lieutenant George Wickham is an unscrupulous man who schemes to win money by marrying a wealthy heiress. He is physically quite attractive; Austen says of him that "he had all the best part of beauty, a fine countenance, a good figure, and a very pleasing address." His father was once the steward of Darcy's estates, and Wickham plays on the relationship by trying to elope with Georgiana Darcy, Fitzwilliam Darcy's sister. Darcy gave Wickham a cash payment after Wickham turned down a comfortable church position the late Mr. Darcy provided for him. After Wickham elopes with Lydia Bennet, Darcy tracks him down, bribes him into marrying Lydia, and buys him an officer's rank in the army. Wickham is presented in the novel as a man totally without principle

01-14-2011, 09:55 AM
: 10 - 11 - 2007
: 14,922
: 23
  is a glorious beacon of light



The two major themes of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice are summed up in the title. The first aspect can be traced in the actions and statements of all of the work's major and many of its minor characters. Pride is the character flaw that causes Elizabeth Bennet to dislike Fitzwilliam Darcy upon their first meeting. She perceives in him a cold aloofness that she attributes to his own inflated opinion of himself. Yet Elizabeth herself also suffers from the same flaw; her pride in her own ability to analyze character is such that she refuses to reevaluate Darcy in the face of evidence in his favor.

In some characters, Austen depicts pride overtly. Lady Charlotte de Bourgh is motivated by pride in her family's status to try to break up a potential match between Elizabeth and Darcy. Mrs. Louisa Hurst and Caroline Bingley try to achieve the same effect with the relationship between their brother Charles Bingley and Jane Bennet. In each case, however, Austen depicts the pride of these minor characters as ridiculous: "Austen treats pride," writes Robert B. Heilman in "E pluribus unum: Parts and Whole in Pride and Prejudice," "as if it were wholly unproblematic, a failing no less clear-cut than prejudice."

In the case of Elizabeth and Darcy, however, Austen treats pride less directly. On his first appearance in the novel, Darcy appears "above his company and above being pleased," reports Heilman, the "proudest, most disagreeable man in the world." The people who record these observations, the critic continues, "believe that they are seeing sense of superiority, snobbishness, excessive self-approval." However, they do not take into consideration that some of the other behavior that Darcy exhibits, such as "reserve, an apparent unresponsiveness to overtures, a holding back from conventional intercourse, pleasantries, and small talk," may actually stem from a quiet personality. So what appears to be pride may be simple shyness or awkwardness. When Elizabeth and others consider Darcy full of pride, they are also condemning him, says Heilman, for not obeying the rules of the "neighborhood social ways." For Darcy and Elizabeth, at least, pride can be more than a simple negative quality.

In fact, pride serves several different functions in the novel. In addition to the misplaced pride of the minor characters, there are characters who neglect to honor their pride when they should protect it. Elizabeth's friend Charlotte Lucas decides to marry William Collins, the heir to Mr. Bennet's estate, out of a simple desire to make his estate her own. Elizabeth strongly objects to such a union; it offends her sense of pride for someone to enter into a loveless marriage for purely material purposes. The George Wickham-Lydia Bennet elopement is another example of an arrangement where pride should have been taken into consideration and was not. In this way, Heilman states, Austen defines pride as "the acceptance of responsibility. This indispensably fills out a story that has devoted a good deal of time to the view of pride as an easy and blind self-esteem." Gradually, even Darcy and Elizabeth herself come to a realization of the necessity not to reject pride, but to control it.

Prejudice and Tolerance

The subject of prejudice is linked to pride in the title of Pride and Prejudice. It is also more directly linked to Elizabeth Bennet's character. From the beginning, states Marvin Mudrick in "Irony as Discrimination: Pride and Prejudice," "Elizabeth sets herself up as an ironic spectator, able and prepared to judge and classify, already making the first large division of the world into two sorts of people: the simple ones, those who give themselves away out of shallowness (as Bingley fears) or perhaps openness (as Elizabeth implies) or an excess of affection (as Mr. Collins will demonstrate); and the intricate ones, those who cannot be judged and classified so easily, who are 'the most amusing' to the ironic spectator because they offer the most formidable challenge to his powers of detection and analysis." Elizabeth is prepared to divide the entire world into one of these two categories an extreme example of prejudice in the "pre-judging" sense of the term. It is most evident in her judgment of Darcy; so sure is she of her powers of observation that she refuses to reevaluate Darcy even when the weight of evidence begins to turn in favor of him.

It is not until Darcy overcomes his own prejudice against those of lower social station by treating Elizabeth and the Gardiners graciously and considerately at Netherfield that Elizabeth's opinion of him begins to change. "Not only do Elizabeth and Darcy have the most serious problem of surmounting barriers of misconception and adverse feeling," Heilman declares, "but they are the most sensitive both in susceptibility to injured feelings and in capacity for getting to the center of things to matters of prejudice and pride." The ending "is a remarkable tracing of Elizabeth's coming around to a completely changed point of view," the critic concludes. "To Jane she acknowledges that she has cultivated her 'prejudices' and has been 'weak and vain and nonsensical."' With this realization Elizabeth begins the process of change that will eventually bring herself and Darcy together

Change and Transformation

The major characters of the novel suffer from a combination of the two title characteristics of Pride and Prejudice. What separates Elizabeth and Darcy from the silly minor characters, such as Wickham, Lydia, Mr. Collins, and Lady Catherine, and even from the good minor characters such as Mr. Bennet, Jane, and Charles Bingley, is their ability and willingness to learn and grow, to overcome their initial shortcomings. They mature and come to a better understanding of each other by the novel's end through a slow and painful growth process.

Darcy begins his process of transformation with Elizabeth's rejection of his suit. He makes his proposal to her clumsily, stressing his own wealth and position (and minimizing hers) and stating that he has tried to suppress his feelings because of the low position of her family. When Elizabeth indignantly rejects his hand, accusing him of arrogance and selfishness, Darcy begins a process of reevaluation of his behavior. When he next appears in the story at the beginning of Volume 3 he is much friendlier and more attentive to Elizabeth. She begins to feel an attraction to him that is not fully realized until the Wickham-Lydia elopement is fully resolved. Darcy completes his transformation by swallowing his pride and proposing to Elizabeth again, in spite of the fact that her acceptance will make the silly Bennet girls his sisters-in-law and the detestable Wickham his brother-in-law.

Elizabeth's process of transformation begins later and takes longer. She realizes her own prejudices toward Darcy in Chapter 12 of Volume 2, when he gives her the letter in which he reveals the truth about Wickham and his role in the breakup of the Bingley-Jane relationship. She does not complete the change, however, until the end of Volume 3, when Lady Catherine de Bourgh demands assurances from her that she will not accept a proposal from him. Elizabeth refuses, and by doing so gives Darcy his first hint that his feelings for her are at last reciprocated. "By a slow revision of preconceptions," concludes Heilman, " Elizabeth and Darcy 'earn' the better insight and rapport that insight makes possible."



The novel Pride and Prejudice was written during the middle of the Romantic period in western literature, but it is itself rather uncharacteristic of other fictional works of the period. Unlike the great Romantic novels and poems of the period, which usually praised youthful passions, Austen's work minimizes them. Compared to Johann Wolfgang von Goethe's classic sturm und drang novel The Sorrows of Young Werther (1774), in which the young hero is unsuccessful at love and, unable to make his inner visions conform to the reality of the outer world, finally commits suicide, Austen's works are models of restraint. Instead of the wild forces of nature, Austen concentrates on family life in small English towns. Instead of rampant emotionalism, Austen emphasizes a balance between reason and emotion. Instead of suicide and unrequited love, Austen offers elopement and marriage. Although the author does consider some of the same themes as her Romantic contemporaries the importance of the individual, for instance Austen's society is altogether more controlled and settled than the world presented in Romantic fiction.


Irony, or the contrast between the expected and the actual, is the chief literary device Austen uses to comment on the small, enclosed world of the English gentry in Pride and Prejudice. Her irony takes different forms for different characters. Perhaps the most ironic character in the entire book is Mr. Bennet, father of the five Bennet sisters. Mr. Bennet is married to a silly woman he cannot respect, who centers her life on marrying her daughters off to wealthy, well-bred men. He expresses his discontent in the marriage by criticizing his wife's stream of comments. Many of these are sarcastic and hurtful, and contribute to the misunderstandings between the couple that leave them incapable of dealing with the disastrous elopement of their youngest daughter Lydia with the detestable George Wickham. Mr. Bennet's conscious use of irony is for him a game it serves no useful purpose.

For the author, in the persona of Mr. Bennet's daughter Elizabeth, however, irony is both a toy and a defensive weapon in the war against stupidity. The author uses Elizabeth to skewer selfimportant characters such as Mr. Collins and Mrs. Bennet. Yet Elizabeth is also blind to her own character faults, and her very blindness is another example of Austen's use of irony. In her misunderstandings with Darcy, she (who is blind to her own pride in her ability to read character) accuses him of excessive pride, while he (who is prejudiced against people with less money than he has) accuses her of prejudice. The on-again, off-again love between Jane Bennet and Charles Bingley is also an example of Austen's use of irony to underline messages about love and marriage. "Jane and Bingley provide us, then, with one of the book's primary ironies," writes Marvin Mudrick in "Irony as Discrimination: Pride and Prejudice": "that love is simple, straightforward, and immediate only for very simple people." "In Pride and Prejudice," concludes Mudrick, "Jane Austen's irony has developed into an instrument of discrimination between the people who are simple reproductions of the social type and the people with individuality and will, between the unaware and the aware."

Other examples of Austen's use of irony abound in the novel. "Many pages of Pride and Prejudice can be read as sheer poetry of wit, as [Alexander] Pope without couplets," writes Reuben A. Brower in "Light and Bright and Sparkling: Irony and Fiction in Pride and Prejudice." "The triumph of the novel whatever its limitations may be lies in combining such poetry of wit," the critic concludes, "with the dramatic structure of fiction


01-14-2011, 09:57 AM
: 10 - 11 - 2007
: 14,922
: 23
  is a glorious beacon of light

The Indifferent by John ne

The Indifferent" by John ne is a relatively simple love poem in comparison to his other, more complicated works. In this poem, "he presents a lover who regards constancy as a 'vice' and promiscuity as the path of virtue and good sense" (Hunt 3). Because of ne's Christian background, this poem was obviously meant to be a comical look at values that were opposite the ones held by Christians. According to Clay Hunt, "['The Indifferent'] is probably quite an early poem because of the simplicity and obviousness of its literary methods, its untroubled gaiety, and its pose of libertinism, which all suggest that ne wrote [the poem] when he was a young man about town in Elizabethan London" (1-2). The poem "mocks the Petrarchan doctrine of eternal faithfulness, putting in its place the anti-morality which argues that constancy is a 'heresy' and that 'Love's sweetest part' is 'variety'" (Cruttwell 153). The first two stanzas of the poem seem to be the speaker talking to an audience of people, while the last one looks back and refers to the first two stanzas as a "song." The audience to which this poem was intended is very important because it can drastically change the meaning of the poem, and has therefore been debated among the critics. While most critics believe that the audience changes from men, to women, then to a single woman, or something along those lines, Gregory Machacek believes that the audience remains throughout the poem as "two women who have discovered that they are both lovers of the speaker and have confronted him concerning his infidelity" (1). His strongest argument is that when the speaker says, "I can love her, and her, and you and you," he first points out two random nearby women for "her, and her", then at the two that he is talking to for "you and you."
The first stanza begins rather simply. ne starts every line with either "I can love" or "Her who." According to Hunt, the tone of the first stanza goes from "weary and patient entreaty" to "a climax of irritation at the end" (4) in the lines "I can love her, and her, and you and you / I can love any, so she be not true." The first eight lines simply list opposite character types, but the last two lines go to "her, and her, and you and you", then to any, "just before ne springs the shock statement in the last line" (Hunt 5). ne uses the concept of true versus false to stand for constancy and promiscuity. This is first introduced in the last line of the first stanza, and continues throughout the entire poem. The speaker desires a solely sexual relationship with his women, and he believes that such a relationship cannot exist if they are truthful to one another. According to Eleanor McNees, "ne realizes that erotic license is irreconcilable with norms of truth and troth" (207). Over the first stanza, the speed of the rhythm also increases with the importance. "There is a rhythmic progression from the even, steady movement and moderate stresses of the opening lines to the slower pace, the stronger stresses, and sharply defined metrical pattern of 'her, and her, and you and you,' and finally the very heavy accents on 'any' and 'true' in line 9" (Hunt 5).
In the second stanza, the speaker continues upon the theme of faithfulness being a "vice," and sexual promiscuity being a virtue. "The sexual tone which was suggested in the first stanza in the anti-romantic details of 'spongy eyes' and 'dry cork' is intensified by the connotations of the words 'know' and 'rob me'; and the sexual pun on the word 'travail' in the following line" (Hunt 5). The speaker is trying to convince the women that he is talking to that promiscuity is a good thing and that neither he, nor the women should be faithful to their mate. This is evident in the lines:
Will no other vice content you? . . .
Or doth a fear that men are true, torment you?
Oh we are not, be not you so,
Let me, and do you, twenty know. . . .
Grow your fixed subject, because you are true?

In these lines, ne keeps "the elaborate verse form of stanza 1, but here the metrical scheme breaks down almost entirely from the numerous shifts in pace and the exceptionally heavy stresses" (Hunt 5). In the final line of the second stanza, the speaker asks the woman sarcastically if he must be faithful to her if she is being faithful to him.
In the third stanza, the speaker looks back upon the two preceding stanzas. He refers to the Roman goddess of love and beauty, Venus, and calls the first two stanzas a "song" when he says, "Venus heard me sigh this song." He then goes on to say that the best thing about love is the variety of women that you get to experience when he says "And by Love's sweetest part, Variety, she swore." In this line he also refers to the concepts of "Love" and "Variety" as people. In the following lines, the speaker refers to people who value faithfulness as "heretics:"
Poor heretics in love there be,
Which think to stablish dangerous constancy.
But I have told them, since you will be true,
You shall be true to them, who'are false to you.

In the final two lines of the poem, the speaker completely changes what he has stood for during the poem and says that you should be faithful to everyone, despite their faithfulness towards you. These two lines do not come from the speaker, but from ne, who is telling the audience that the morals that the speaker had proposed are completely opposite of the ones that you should uphold.
This poem presents a speaker that holds morals opposite the ones accepted by the greater part of society. While this poem is not incredibly complicated, it is very interesting to see how ne spends the first 25 lines of the poem building up a convincing argument, then completely rebutting it in the final two lines. He refers to promiscuity as a vice and constancy as a virtue, using many sexual references to help illustrate his points. ne successfully creates a character in a simple love poem that believes that there is nothing more to love than lust, and then uses his point of view to portray a portrait of love that is completely opposite of what ne wants the reader to get from the poem

01-14-2011, 09:58 AM
: 10 - 11 - 2007
: 14,922
: 23
  is a glorious beacon of light

The Cask of Amontillado

The Cask of Amontillado

Plot Summary

As the story opens, an unnamed narrator explains, The thousand injuries of Fortunato I had borne as best I could; but when he ventured upon insult, I vowed revenge. There is no hint as to whom the narrator is speaking or writing, and the thousand injuries and the insult committed by Fortunato are never described. Nevertheless, the narrator contemplates his desire for revenge and his plan to not only punish, but punish with impunity; that is, to punish Fortunato without being caught or punished himself. Furthermore, he is determined not to act in secrecy, for Fortunato must know that his pain is handed to him by Montresor.

Fortunato has no idea that Montresor is angry with him Montresor has given no hint of it. When Montresor encounters his friend on the street one evening during the carnival season, Fortunato has no reason to be suspicious. Montresor asks Fortunato to come with him and sample a large cask of Amontillado, a type of wine, which Montresor has just purchased. Fortunato is justifiably proud of his ability to recognize good wines, and he is already drunk. He is easily persuaded to follow his friend, especially when Montresor assures him that if Fortunato cannot sample the wine for him, another man, Luchesi, will surely do it.

Montresor and Fortunato, who is dressed in his carnival costume of striped clothing and a conical jesters cap with bells, go to Montresors palazzo. Conveniently, the servants are away enjoying the carnival, and no one sees them enter. They descend a long, winding staircase to the wine cellar and catacombs, the dark and damp tunnels and caverns beneath the palazzo where generations of Montresors have been laid to rest. As they walk on, they pass piles of bones and piles of wine casks, intermingled in the passageways. Montresor fusses over Fortunatos health and his schedule, knowing that the more he suggests Fortunato give up the quest, the more his companion will be determined to see it through.

As they walk along, the men converse in an idle way, about the potentially hazardous nitre forming on the walls, and the coat of arms of the Montresor family. To protect Fortunato from the damp, Montresor gives him drinks of two wines that are stored in the catacombs. When Fortunato reveals himself to be a member of the Masons, Montresor pulls a trowel from beneath his cape and declares that he, too, is a mason. Always Fortunato is pulled forward by the promise of the Amontillado.

Eventually they reach the last chamber, a crypt nearly full of piled bones with only a small alcove of empty space within. When Fortunato steps to the back to look for the Amontillado, Montresor quickly chains him to two iron staples fastened to the wall. He uncovers a pile of building stones concealed beneath some of the bones and begins to build a wall, sealing Fortunato in. As Fortunato recovers from his drunkenness and becomes aware of what is happening to him, he cries out for mercy, but Montresor pays no attention. He still refuses to speak of the offenses that have brought him to the point of murder, and Fortunato does not ask why Montresor is ready to kill him. Montresor finishes his wall and piles bones up against it, leaving Fortunato to die.

In the last lines, Montresor the actor is replaced again by Montresor the narrator, who began the story. Now he reveals that the murder happened fifty years before. In Latin he speaks over Fortunatos body: Rest in Peace



Fortunato is an Italian friend of Montresors, and his sworn enemy, whom Montresor has planned to punish with impunity. Although Montresors explains that Fortunato has committed a thousand injuries and a final insult, no details of these offenses are given. Fortunato displays no uneasiness in Montresors company, and is unaware that his friend is plotting against him. Fortunato, a respected and feared man, is a proud connoisseur of fine wine, and, at least on the night of the story, he clouds his senses and judgment by drinking too much of it. He allows himself to be led further and further into the catacombs by Montresor, stepping past piles of bones with no suspicion. He is urged on by the chance of sampling some rare Amontillado, and by his unwillingness to let a rival, Luchesi, have the pleasure of sampling it first. His singlemindedness, combined with his drunkenness, leads him to a horrible death.


Luchesi is an acquaintance of Montresors and Fortunatos, and another wine expert. He never appears in the story, but Montresor keeps Fortunato on the trail of the Amontillado by threatening to allow Luchesi to sample it first if Fortunato is not interested.


Montresor is the I who narrates the story, telling an unseen listener or reader about his killing of Fortunato fifty years before. Montresor is a wealthy man from an established family, who lives in a large palazzo with a staff of servants. He speaks eloquently and easily drops Latin and French phrases into his speech. He has been nursing a grudge against his friend Fortunato, who has committed several unnamed offenses against him, and has been coldly planning his revenge. Meeting Fortunato in the street one evening, Montresor takes this opportunity to lure his friend into the deepest catacombs beneath his palazzo, and there he chains Fortunato to the wall of a small alcove, seals him in behind a new brick wall which he builds even as Fortunato begs for mercy, and leaves him to die. Montresors coldness sets him apart from many murderous characters and many Poe protagonists. Even as he tells the story fifty years later, he reveals no regret for his actions, and no real pleasure in them. This lack of feeling made Poes early readers uncomfortable, and led some to accuse Poe of immorality in creating such a character



The force that drives Montresor to commit the horrible murder of Fortunato is his powerful desire for revenge. His first words in the story speak of it: The thousand injuries of Fortunato I had borne as best I could; but when he ventured upon insult, I vowed revenge. The idea of revenge is repeated several times in the opening paragraph. Montresor will not rush to act, he says, but at length I would be avenged; he is determined to not only punish, but punish with impunity. The terms of the revenge are quite clear in Montresors mind. He will not feel fully revenged unless Fortunato realizes that his punishment comes at Montresors hand; a wrong is not redressed when the avenger fails to make himself felt as such to him who has done the wrong. In seeking revenge, Montresor is acting out the motto of his people, as it appears on the family coat of arms, Nemo me impune lacessit (No one wounds me with impunity).

As countless critics have pointed out, the nature of the injuries and offenses is never revealed. Montresor appears to be telling or writing his story to someone who has more knowledge than Poes reader (You, who so well know the nature of my soul), and who may be assumed to know something of Fortunatos conduct before the fateful night. Unlike Montresors audience, however, Poes audience/reader has no basis for judging the extent to which Montresors actions are reasonable. The focus, therefore, is not on the reason for revenge, but on the revenge itself, not on why Montresor behaves as he does but only on what he does.

Just as Montresor does not reveal his motive for the crime, other than to identify it as a crime of revenge, neither does he share with his audience his response when the deed is done. Does Montresor feel better once Fortunato has paid for his insult? Does he feel vindicated? Does he go back to his rooms and celebrate the death of his enemy, or smile inwardly years later when he remembers how he was able to punish with impunity? He does not say. Nineteenth-century audiences scanned the story for hints of negative feelings. Is Montresor sorry for committing murder? Does he regret his actions? As he nears the end of his life does he look to God for forgiveness? Again, there is no hint or perhaps only the barest of hints. Poes intention is to focus his story tightly. He does not explore the events leading up to the crime, nor the results of the crime, but focuses the story narrowly on the act of revenge itself.

Atonement and Forgiveness

Although the action of the story revolves almost entirely around the deception and killing of Fortunato, the questions in readers minds have revolved around Fortunatos thoughts and deeds before the crime, and Montresors thoughts and deeds afterward. While the time between their chance meeting and the laying of the last stone would have taken only five or six hours, the fifty years following are perhaps more intriguing. Is Montresor deceiving himself or his audience when he attributes his momentary sickness to the dampness of the catacombs ? What has happened to Montresor over the intervening years, and why is he telling the story now? Is he hoping for forgiveness?

For forgiveness to occur, there must first be guilt and then atonement or remorse. Of course, there is no question of Montresor asking forgiveness of Fortunato, or reconciling with him, and no mention is given of Montresors paying any reparations to Lady Fortunato. Atonement, if there is to be any, must be with God alone. At the time of the murder, however, Montresor hears and rejects Fortunatos appeal that he stop For the love of

God, Montresor! The murderer replies, Yes, for the love of God! but he does not stop building his wall. Surely he does not mean that he is acting for the love of God; instead, he is blatantly and defiantly rejecting it.

In other ways Poe keeps the idea of the Christian God in the foreground. Fortunato is chained to the wall in a standing position that some critics have compared to the posture of the crucified Jesus. His narrow space behind the wall echoes Jesuss placement in a tomb. The storys last words, In pace requiescat (Rest in peace), are taken from the Roman Catholic funeral ritual spoken in Latin. Critic John Gruesser believes that Montresor tells the story of his crime as he presumably lies on his deathbed, confessing his crime to an old friend, the You of the storys first paragraph who is perhaps his priest. Clearly Montresors guilt is established as not just an earthly legal guilt, but guilt in the eyes of a God that both victim and murderer recognize. The question remains: Was Montresor ever sorry for what he did? Poe does not appear interested in answering the question, although he surely knew that he was raising it, and knew that he had placed the answer tantalizingly out of reach

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Point of View and Narrator

The Cask of Amontillado is told in the first person by Montresor, who reveals in the first sentence that he intends to have revenge from Fortunato He tells the story to an unidentified you, who so well know the nature of my soul, but this you does not appear to respond in any way as Montresor delivers a long monologue. The most striking thing about Montresors voice, in fact, is its uninterrupted calm and confidence. He tells the story from beginning to end with no diversion, no explanation, and no emotion. If he is gleeful at gaining his revenge, or if he feels guilty about his crime, he does not speak of it directly, and his language does not reveal it. Even at the most terrifying moment in the story, when Fortunato realizes that Montresor intends to seal him up behind a wall, the narrator is calm and detached: I had scarcely laid the first tier of the masonry when I discovered that the intoxication of Fortunato had in a great measure worn off. The earliest indication I had of this was a low mourning cry from the depth of the recess. It was not the cry of a drunken man. There was then a long and obstinate silence. I laid the second tier, and the third, and the fourth.

By presenting the story in the first person, Poe avoids hinting at any interpretation of the action. Montresor is in control, deciding what to tell and what to leave out. A third-person narrator, even a limited narrator who could not see into the minds and hearts of the characters, would have presented a more balanced story. An objective narrator telling a terrible story objectively might be frightening, but even more frightening is a man telling without emotion the story of his own terrible crime.


The setting of The Cask of Amontillado has attracted a great deal of critical attention, because both the location and the time of the story are only vaguely hinted at. To bring touches of the exotic to his murky atmosphere, Poe freely combines elements of different nations and cultures. Fortunato and Luchesi are Italians, knowledgeable about Italian wines. Montresor, as argued convincingly by Richard Benton and others, is a Frenchman. Amontillado is a Spanish wine. Montresors family motto, Nemo me impune lacessit, is the motto of the royal arms of Scotland. Sprinkled among the Latin motto and other Latin phrases are references to Montresors palazzo, his roquelaire, his rapier, and his flambeaux. If Poes readers could not be expected to identify the nationality of each element, so much the better for creating the impression that the story happens in another place and time.

The time of the story may be guessed at. Montresors short cape and rapier, the slightly formal vocabulary, and the torches used to light the mens way seem to indicate that the story takes place in the eighteenth or nineteenth century. Scholars tracing the family name of Montresor and the history of laws governing the Mardi Gras carnivals in France have placed the date of the murder more precisely; John Randall III and others believe the murder occurs in 1796, while Benton argues for 1787-88.


Poe is often considered a master of the Gothic tale, and The Cask of Amontillado contains many of the standard elements of Gothicism. Gothic stories are typically set in medieval castles and feature mystery, horror, violence, ghosts, clanking chains, long underground passages, and dark chambers. The term Gothic originally referred to the Goths, an ancient and medieval Germanic tribe, but over time the word came to apply to anything medieval. The first Gothic novel, Horace Walpoles Castle of Otranto (1764), was set in a medieval castle, and later works that attempted to capture the same setting or atmosphere were labeled Gothic.

Poe was fascinated with the materials and devices of the Gothic novel, although he preferred to work in the short story form. He was a great admirer of Walpole, and of the American Gothic writer Charles Brockden Brown. The Cask of Amontillado takes many details from the Gothic tradition: the palazzo of the Montresors with its many rooms, the archway that leads to the long and winding staircase down to the catacombs, the damp and dark passageway hanging with moss and dripping moisture, the piles of bones, the flaming torches that flicker and fade, and the clanking and furious vibrations of the chain that Montresor uses to bind Fortunato to the wall. The overall atmosphere of brooding and horror also come from this tradition.

Some elements of the Gothic, however, Poe intentionally avoided: there is no hint in The Cask of Amontillado, or in most of his horror stories, of the supernatural. Poe was quite clear on this point, explaining that the plot of a short story may be involved, but it must not transcend probability. The agencies introduced must belong to real life. Montresors crime is terrible, but it is believable, and it is committed without magic or superhuman power. Although there may be a hint of the supernatural in his remark that for the half of a century no mortal has disturbed the pile of bones outside Fortunatos tomb, those beings that might not be mortal are not described, and indeed Fortunato does not reappear as a ghost or a vampire or a zombie. Poe uses Gothic conventions to create an atmosphere of terror, but then subverts the convention by using only human agents for terrible deeds. For Poe, it is not supernatural beings that people should fear; the real horror lies in what human beings themselves are capable of

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A Rose for Emily

A Rose for Emily

Plot Summary

The story, told in five sections, opens in section one with an unnamed narrator describing the funeral of Miss Emily Grierson. (The narrator always refers to himself in collective pronouns; he is perceived as being the voice of the average citizen of the town of Jefferson.) He notes that while the men attend the funeral out of obligation, the women go primarily because no one has been inside Emilys house for years. The narrator describes what was once a grand house set on what had once been our most select street. Emilys origins are aristocratic, but both her house and the neighborhood it is in have deteriorated. The narrator notes that, prior to her death, Emily had been a sort of hereditary obligation upon the town. This is because Colonel Sartoris, the former mayor of the town, remitted Emilys taxes dating from the death of her father on into perpetuity. Apparently, Emilys father left her with nothing when he died. Colonel Sartoris invented a story explaining the remittance of Emilys taxes (it is the towns method of paying back a loan to her father) to her from the embarrassment of accepting charity.

The narrator uses this opportunity to segue into the first of several flashbacks in the story. The first incident he describes takes place approximately a decade before Emilys death. A new generation of politicians takes over Jeffersons government. They are unmoved by Colonel Sartoriss grand gesture on Emilys behalf and they attempt to collect taxes from her. She ignores their notices and letters. Finally, the Board of Aldermen sends a deputation to discuss the situation with her. The men are led into a decrepit parlor by Emilys black manservant, Tobe. The first physical description of Emily is unflattering: she is . . . a small, fat woman in black who looks bloated, like a body long submerged in motionless water, and of that pallid hue. After the spokesman awkwardly explains the reason for their visit, Emily repeatedly insists that she has no taxes in Jefferson and tells the men to see Colonel Sartoris. The narrator notes that Colonel Sartoris has been dead at that point for almost ten years. She sends the men away from her house with nothing.

Section two begins as the narrator segues into another flashback that takes place thirty years before the unsuccessful tax collection. In this episode, Emilys neighbors complain of an awful smell emanating from her home. The narrator reveals that Emily had a sweetheart who deserted her shortly before people began complaining about the smell. The ladies of the town attribute the stench to the poor housekeeping of Emilys manservant, Tobe. However, despite several complaints, Judge Stevens, the towns mayor during this era, is reluctant to do anything about it for fear of offending Emily (Dammit, sir. . . will you accuse a lady to her face of smelling bad?). This forces a small contingent of men to take action. Four of them sneak around Emilys house after midnight, sprinkling lime around her house and in her cellar. When they are done, they see that . . . a window that had been dark was lighted and Miss Emily sat in it, the light behind her, and her upright torso motionless as that of an idol.

The narrator notes the towns pity for Emily at this point in a discussion of her familys past. The narrator reveals that Emily once had a mad great-aunt, old lady Wyatt. He also notes that Emily is apparently a spinster because of her fathers insistence that none of the young men were good enough for her. The narrator then describes the awful circumstances that follow Emilys fathers death. Emily is at first in such deep denial she refuses to acknowledge that her father is dead. She finally breaks down after three days and allows the townspeople to remove his body.

The narrator begins to detail Emilys burgeoning relationship with Homer Barron, a Yankee construction foreman, in section three. The narrator seems sympathetic, but the ladies and many of the older people in town find Emilys behavior scandalous. They gossip about how pathetic Emily has become whenever she rides through the town in a buggy with Homer. However, the narrator notes that Emily still carries herself with pride, even when she purchases arsenic from the towns druggist. The druggist tells her that the law requires her to tell him how she plans to use the poison, but she simply stares at him until he backs away and wraps up the arsenic. He writes for rats on the box.

At the beginning of section four, the town believes that Emily may commit suicide with the poison she has purchased. The narrator backs up the story again by detailing the circumstances leading up to Emilys purchase of the arsenic. At first, the town believes that Emily will marry Homer Barron when she is seen with him, despite Homers statements that he is not the marrying type. However, a marriage never takes place, and the boldness of their relationship upsets many of the towns ladies. They send a minister to talk to Emily, but the following Sunday she rides through town yet again in the buggy with Homer. The ministers wife sends away for Emilys two female cousins from Alabama in the hope that they will convince Emily to either marry Homer or end the affair. During their visit, Emily purchases a toilet set engraved with Homers initials, as well as a complete set of mens clothing, including a nightshirt. This leads the town to believe that Emily will marry Homer and rid herself of the conceited cousins. Homer leaves Jefferson, apparently to give Emily the opportunity to chase the cousins off. The cousins leave a week later, and Homer is seen going into Emilys house three days after they leave. Homer is never seen again after that and the townspeople believe he has jilted Emily.

Emily is not seen in town for almost six months. When she is finally seen on the streets of Jefferson again, she is fat and her hair has turned gray. Her house remains closed to visitors, except for a period of six or seven years when she gives china-painting lessons. She doesnt allow the town to put an address on her house and she continues to ignore the tax notices they send her. Occasionally, she is seen in one of the downstairs windows; she has apparently closed the top floor of the house. Finally, she dies, alone except for her manservant, Tobe.

The narrator returns to his recollection of Emilys funeral at the beginning of section five. As soon as Tobe lets the ladies into the house, he leaves out the back door and is never seen again. The funeral is a morbid affair. Soon after Emily is buried, several of the men force the upstairs open. There they find what is evidently the rotten corpse of Homer Barron. Even more grotesque, they find a long strand of iron-gray hair on the pillow next to his remains


Homer Barron

Homer Barron is the Yankee construction foreman who becomes Emily Griersons first real beau. His relationship with Emily is considered scandalous because he is a Northerner and because it doesnt appear as if they will ever be married. In fact, it is known that he drinks with younger men in the Elks Club and he has remarked that he is not a marrying man. The lovers ignore the gossip of the town until Emilys two female cousins from Alabama arrive. Homer leaves town for several days until the cousins go back to Alabama. Meanwhile, Emily purchases arsenic, a monogrammed toilet set with the initials H.B., and mens clothing. Homer returns to Jefferson three days after Emilys cousins leave and he is seen entering her home. He is never seen (alive) again. However, what is presumably his corpse is discovered in a ghastly bridal suite on the top floor of the Grierson house after Emilys funeral.


The druggist sells Emily arsenic while her two female cousins from Alabama are visiting her. Emily just stares at him when he tells her that the law requires her to tell him why she is buying it. He backs down without an answer and writes for rats on the box.

Emilys Cousins

Emilys cousins arrive after receiving a letter from the Baptist ministers wife. Apparently, they visit to discourage Emilys relationship with Homer Barron. Homer leaves while they are in town, and then returns after they have been gone for three days. The narrator, speaking for many in the town, hopes that Emily can rid herself of the cousins because they are . . . even more Grierson than Miss Emily had ever been.

Emilys Father

Although there is only a brief description of Emilys father in section two of the story, he plays an important role in the development of her character. Certainly Emily learns her genteel ways from him. It is his influence that deprives her of a husband when she is young; the narrator says that the town pictured Emily and her father as a ... tableau, Miss Emily a slender figure in white in the background, her father a spraddled silhouette in the foreground, his back to her and clutching a horsewhip, the two of them framed by the backflung front door. Emily at first refuses to acknowledge his death. She doesnt allow anyone to remove her fathers body; finally, after three days she breaks down and lets someone remove the cadaver. This foreshadows the towns discovery of Homer Barrons decomposed corpse on the top floor in Emilys house after her death.

Emily Grierson

Emily Grierson, referred to as Miss Emily throughout the story, is the main character of A Rose for Emily. An unnamed narrator tells her strange story through a series of flashbacks. She is essentially the town eccentric. The narrator compares her to an idol in a niche . . . dear, inescapable, impervious, tranquil, and perverse. Emily is born to a proud, aristocratic family sometime during the Civil War; her life in many ways reflects the disintegration of the Old South during the Reconstruction and the early twentieth century. Although her mother is never mentioned, her father plays an important part in shaping her character. He chases away Emilys potential suitors because none of them are good enough for his daughter. His death leaves Emily a tragic, penniless spinster. She may even be mad she denies that her father is dead at first and she wont allow anyone to remove his corpse until she breaks down after three days. However, she later causes a scandal when she falls in love with Homer Barron, a Yankee construction foreman who is paving the streets in Jefferson. The narrators various clues (Emilys purchase of arsenic; the awful smell coming from her home after Homer disappears) and the towns grotesque discovery at the end of the story suggest that Emily is driven to murder when she begins to fear that Homer may leave her.


The Baptist minister, under pressure from the ladies of the town, goes to Emily (although she is Episcopal) to discuss her relationship with Homer Barron. He never tells anyone what happens and he refuses to go back to her. The following Sunday, Emily and Homer are seen riding through the town in the buggy again.

Ministers Wife

The ministers wife sends a letter to Emilys relations in Alabama after her husband calls upon Emily. The letter prompts a visit from two of Emilys female cousins.


The unnamed narrator refers to himself in collective pronouns throughout the story. As Isaac

Rodman points out in The Faulkner Journal, The critical consensus remains that the narrator of A Rose for Emily speaks for his community. Although there are a few sub-groups to which the narrator refers to as separate (for example, the ladies and the older people of the town), readers assume that he speaks for the majority of the average people of Jefferson. He tells Emilys story in a series of flashbacks which culminates in the dreadful discovery of a decomposed corpse on the top floor of the Grierson home after her death. The narrator never directly claims that Emily murders her lover, Homer Barron, and keeps his corpse in a bed for more than forty years. However, the events he chooses to detail, including Emilys purchase of arsenic and the stench that comes from her house after Homer Barrons disappearance, lead readers to that perception.

Colonel Sartoris

Colonel Sartoris is the mayor of Jefferson when Emilys father dies. He remits Emilys taxes into perpetuity because he knows that her father was unable to leave her with anything but the house. Sartoris, being a prototypical southern gentleman, invents a story involving a loan that Emilys father had made to the town in order to spare Emily the embarrassment of accepting charity. The narrator contrasts this chivalrous act with another edict made by Sartoris stating that . . . no Negro woman should appear on the streets without an apron. Colonel Sartoris appears in other works by Faulkner; he is a pivotal character in the history of Yoknapatawpha County.

Judge Stevens

Judge Stevens is the mayor of Jefferson when the townspeople begin to complain of the awful odor coming from the Grierson house. Like Colonel Sartoris, he is from a generation that believes an honorable man does not publicly confront a woman with an embarrassing situation. He refuses to allow anyone to discuss the smell with her. Instead, four men sneak onto the Grierson property after midnight and sprinkle lime around the house to rid the town of the disgusting stench.


Tobe is Emilys black manservant and, for most of the story, her only companion. He is often the only sign of life about the Grierson house. The ladies find it shocking that Emily allows him to maintain her kitchen, and they blame his poor housekeeping for the development of the smell after Emily is deserted by Homer Barron. He rarely speaks to anyone. He is the only person present when Emily dies. He lets the townspeople into the Grierson house after her death, after which he promptly leaves, never to be seen again.

Old Lady Wyatt

Old lady Wyatt is Emily Griersons great-aunt. The narrator makes reference to her as having gone . . . completely crazy at last, suggesting perhaps that madness runs in the Grierson family. The narrator also mentions that Emilys father had a falling out with their kin in Alabama over old lady Wyatts estate

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Death is prevalent, both literally and figuratively, in A Rose for Emily. Five actual deaths are discussed or mentioned in passing, and there are obvious references to death throughout the story. The story begins in section one with the narrators recollections of Emilys funeral. He reminisces that it is Emilys fathers death that prompts Colonel Sartoris to remit her taxes into perpetuity. This leads to the story of the aldermen attempting to collect taxes from Emily. The narrators description of Emily is that of a drowned woman: She looked bloated, like a body long submerged in motionless water, and of that pallid hue. One of the reasons the aldermen are bold enough to try to collect Emilys taxes is that Colonel Sartoris has been dead for a decade. Of course, this doesnt discourage Emily she expects the men to discuss the matter with him anyway. When the narrator returns to the subject of the death of Emilys father, he reveals that Emily at first denies that he is dead. She keeps his body for three days before she finally breaks down and allows her father to be buried. This scene foreshadows the grisly discovery at the end of the story. The narrator also mentions the madness and death of old lady Wyatt, Emilys great-aunt. Finally, the discovery of a long strand of iron-gray hair lying on a pillow next to the moldy corpse entombed in Emilys boudoir suggests that Emily is a necrophiliac (literally, one who loves the dead).

The Decline of the Old South

One of the major themes in Faulkners fiction is the decline of the Old South after the Civil War. There are many examples of this theme in A Rose for Emily. Before the Civil War, Southern society was composed of landed gentry, merchants, tenant farmers, and slaves. The aristocratic men of this period had an unspoken code of chivalry, and women were the innocent, pure guardians of morality. For example, Colonel Sartoris concocts an elaborate story to spare Emilys feelings when he remits her taxes; the narrator states, Only a man of Colonel Sartoriss generation and thought could have invented [the story], and only a woman could have believed it. When the smell develops around the Grierson house, a younger man suggests that Emily should be confronted with it. Judge Stevens, who is from the same generation as the Colonel, asks him, Dammit, sir. . . will you accuse a lady to her face of smelling bad? It is also noted that Emilys father is from this same generation, an arrogant Southern aristocrat who believes that no man is good enough for his daughter.

However, post-Civil War society in the South was radically different. At one time, the Grierson home was in one of the finest neighborhoods in Jefferson; by the time of Emilys death, . . . garages and cotton gins had encroached and obliterated even the august names of that neighborhood. The generation that follows Colonel Sartoris is not swayed by his old Southern code of honor. This is why the twentieth-century Jefferson Board of Aldermen attempts to collect Emilys taxes a decade after the Colonels death. The reaction to the Yankee, Homer Barron, also serves to delineate the difference between the generations. The younger generation finds it easier to accept Homer, while the older folks find his relationship with a woman born to old Southern gentility unacceptable. Emilys china-painting lessons also show the change in Southern society. Her pupils are the daughters and granddaughters of Colonel Sartoriss contemporaries. However, the narrator notes that . . .the painting pupils grew up and fell away and did not send their children to her with boxes of color and tedious brushes and pictures cut from the ladies magazines. Finally, Emilys dark secret might serve as a metaphor for the general decadence of the Old South.

Community Vs. Isolation

The odd relationship between the town of Jefferson and Emily is a recurrent theme in A Rose for Emily. At her funeral, the narrator notes that Emily has been . . .a tradition, a duty, and a care; a sort of hereditary obligation upon the town. However, Emily has very little to do with the townspeople during her life. Her father prevents her from dating anyone because he doesnt believe any of the men in Jefferson are good enough for her and, after his death, Emily continues to isolate herself from the rest of the community for the better part of her life. The only notable exceptions to her isolation are her Sunday rides with Homer Barron, her shopping trips for arsenic and mens clothing, and the china-painting lessons she gives to the young women of the town for a few years. These exceptions only serve to show how alienated Emily is from the rest of Jefferson.

Although Emily is indifferent to the town, the town seems to be almost obsessed with her. The reaction Jefferson has to her relationship with Homer Barron exemplifies this obsession. The ladies of Jefferson are mortified because they think the relationship is . . . a disgrace to the town and a bad example to the young people. The older people dislike the relationship because they think it is bad form for a Southern woman to associate with a Yankee. The narrator pities Emily and secretly hopes that she will outsmart her cousins and marry Homer. These various reactions demonstrate an interesting conflict. Even though Emily views herself as separate from the community, the community still embraces her. They view her as . . . an idol in a niche . . . passed from generation to generation dear, inescapable, impervious, tranquil, and perverse


Flashback and Foreshadowing

Flashback and foreshadowing are two often used literary devices that utilize time in order to produce a desired effect. Flashbacks are used to present action that occurs before the beginning of a story; foreshadowing creates expectation for action that has not yet happened. Faulkner uses both devices in A Rose for Emily. The story is told by the narrator through a series of non-sequential flashbacks. The narrator begins the story by describing the scene of Emilys funeral; this description, however, is actually a flashback because the story ends with the narrators memory of the towns discovery of the corpse in the Grierson home after Emilys funeral. Throughout the story, the narrator flashes back and forth through various events in the life and times of Emily Grierson and the town of Jefferson. Each piece of the story told by the narrator prompts another piece of the story, regardless of chronology. For example, the narrator recalls Emilys funeral, which leads him to remember when Colonel Sartoris relieved her of taxes. This of course leads to the story of the aldermen trying to collect Emilys taxes after the death of the Colonel. The narrative thus works much in the same haphazard manner as human memory does.

The narrator foreshadows the grisly discovery at the end of the story with several scenes. First, when the aldermen attempt to collect Emilys taxes, her house is described as decrepit, almost a mausoleum. Emily herself is compared to a drowned corpse. Then, in section two, the stench that emanates from the Grierson house is most certainly one of death. Another powerful example of foreshadowing comes when Emily refuses to let anyone take the body of her father after his death until she relents after three days. When Emily finally has access to another corpse, she jealously guards it for over forty years!

Point of View

The point of view in A Rose for Emily is unique. The story is told by an unnamed narrator in the first-person collective. One might even argue that the narrator is the main character. There are hints as to the age, race, gender, and class of the narrator, but an identity is never actually revealed. Isaac Rodman notes in The Faulkner Journal that the critical consensus remains that the narrator speaks for his community. (Rodman, however, goes on to present a convincing argument that the narrator may be a loner or eccentric of some kind speaking from ironic detachment.) Regardless of identity, the narrator proves to be a clever, humorous, and sympathetic storyteller. He is clever because of the way he pieces the story together to build to a shocking climax. His humor is evident in his almost whimsical tone throughout what most would consider to be a morbid tale. Finally, the narrator is sympathetic to both Emily and the town of Jefferson. This is demonstrated in his pity for Emily and in his understanding that the towns reactions are driven by circumstances beyond its control (. . . Miss Emily had been a tradition, a duty, and a care; a sort of hereditary obligation upon the town).


A Rose for Emily is set in Faulkners mythical county, Yoknapatawpha, Mississippi. The town of Jefferson is the county seat of Yoknapatawpha. In William Faulkner: His Life and Work, David Minter writes, More than any major American writer of our time, including Robert Frost, Faulkner is associated with a region. He is our great provincial. Jefferson and Yoknapatawpha County are based upon the real city of Oxford and Lafayette County in Mississippi, where Faulkner spent most of his life. Once he established this fictional, yet familiar, setting, he was able to tap his creativity to invent a history for Yoknapatawpha and populate the county with colorful characters like Emily Grierson and Colonel Sartoris. The land and its history exert a great influence over many of Faulkners characters. Emily is no exception; she is trapped in Jeffersons past.


The best of Faulkners fiction is characterized by the craftsmanship of its structure. The Sound and the Fury and As I Lay Dying are both examples of daring experimentation with point of view and time in the novel. He wrote A Rose for Emily during the same period he worked on those novels. The story moves seamlessly back and forth in time through almost fifty years in its five sections. Each episode in the life of Emily and the history of Jefferson is obviously interconnected, yet the clues arent given in chronological order. Thus, the final scene is powerful because the narrator does not tell the story in a straightforward, beginning-to-end fashion. This is why the story is even more entertaining and enlightening when read for the second time

01-14-2011, 10:03 AM
: 10 - 11 - 2007
: 14,922
: 23
  is a glorious beacon of light

The story of an hour

The story of an hour

Plot Summary

Chopins The Story of an Hour is the story of an hour in the life of Mrs. Louise Mallard, a young woman whose wrinkles portray repression and strength. As the story begins, the narrator reveals that Mrs. Mallard has heart trouble. Her sister Josephine and her husbands friend Richards have come to her after hearing of a railroad disaster that has resulted in the death of Mr. Mallard. Both are concerned that the news will make Mrs. Mallard ill and Josephine takes great care to tell her the news as cautiously as she is able.

Mrs. Mallard reacts to the news with sudden, wild abandonment and locks herself in her bedroom. In the solitude of her room Mrs. Mallard understands the fundamental change taking place in her life. She sits in a chair, no longer crying, looking out the window at the new spring life. She suspendfs] intelligent thought and fearfully waits for a subtle and elusive idea to possess her. She begins to comprehend that she is joyful that her husband is dead, but she attempts to suppress the thought.

Once Mrs. Mallard accepts the feeling, even though she knows that her husband had really loved her, she is ecstatic that she will never have to bend her will to his again. Now that her husband is dead, she will be free to assert herself in ways she never before dreamed while he was alive. She recognizes that she had loved her husband sometimes, but that now she would be Free! Body and soul free! She begins to look forward to the rest of her life when just the day before she shuddered at the thought of it.

Mrs. Mallard leaves her room and rejoins her sister who has been outside the door worrying. She carries herself like a goddess of Victory as she joins her sister to return downstairs where Richards still waits. On their way down the stairs, they hear the front door open and see Mr. Mallard walk in. He had been no where near the accident scene. The short story ends with the abrupt death of Mrs. Mallard, whose heart gives out. Her doctors explain that she died of joy that kills.



Josephine is Mrs. Mallards sister. It is Josephine who tells Mrs. Mallard of her husbands death and who implores Louise to let her into the room after she has shut herself inside. Josephine, a woman who embodies the feminine ideal, assumes that Louise is suffering terribly from the news, not knowing that her sister is actually overjoyed with the prospect of being a widow.

Brently Mallard

Brently Mallard, Mrs. Mallards husband, is assumed dead after a railroad disaster. When he reappears at the front door, the shock causes Mrs. Mallards death.

Mrs. Mallard

In the beginning of the story Mrs. Mallard is known simply by her married name. A wife who suffers from heart trouble, she is described as young, with a fair, calm face, whose lines bespoke repression and even a certain strength. When Mrs. Mallard learns of her husbands death, she becomes Louise, a woman aware of her own desires, enjoying the prospect of being freed from the confines of marriage. Louise dies of a joy that kills when her husband reappears. Her character represents feminine individuality; she is a strong-willed, independent woman excited by the prospect of beginning her life again after the reported demise of her husband.


Identity and Selfhood

Chopin deals with the issues of female self-discovery and identity in The Story of an Hour. After Mrs. Mallard learns of her husbands death, she is initially overcome with grief. But quickly she begins to feel a previously unknown sense of freedom and relief. At first, she is frightened of her own awakening: There was something coming to her and she was waiting for it, fearfully. Her own feelings come upon her, possessing her. When she first utters the words free, free, free! she is described as having abandoned herself. But after she speaks these words, she relaxes and gains more control over herself. As she imagines life without her husband, she embraces visions of the future. She realizes that whether or not she had loved him was less important than this possession of self-assertion she now feels. The happiness Louise gains by this recognition of selfhood is so strong that, when she realizes that her husband is in fact alive, she immediately collapses. Chopin suggests that Louise could not bear to abandon her newfound freedom and return to life with her husband, where she would be required to bend her will to his.

Role of Women in Marriage

Intimately connected with the theme of identity and selfhood is the theme of the role of women in marriage. Mrs. Mallard is known in the beginning of the story only as a wife; very little is revealed concerning Mr. and Mrs. Mallards relationship. Even Louise is unsure whether or not they had been happily married: And yet she had loved him sometimes. Often she had not. What did it matter! Thus, the specifics of the relationship matter less than the conventions of marriage in general. Louise is ecstatic when she realizes that there would be no powerful will bending hers in that blind persistence with which men and women believe they have a right to impose a private will upon a fellow-creature. Whether one is acting out of love or not,

Chopin seems to be making a comment on nineteenth-century marriages, which granted one person the man right to own and dominate another the woman. This theme, unpopular in an era when women were not even allowed to vote, is examined in many of Chopins other works, most notably The Awakening


The action of The Story of an Hour is simple: Mrs. Mallard, who suffers from a heart trouble, is informed about her husbands demise in a train accident. At first she is beset by grief, but then she begins to feel a sense of freedom. When she leaves her room and descends the stairs, her husband appears at the front door. Upon seeing her husband alive, Louise Mallards heart gives out and she dies.

Point of View

The story is told from a detached, third-person limited point of view. The reader identifies with Louise, the only character whose thoughts are accessible. At the beginning of the story, Louise is incapable of reflecting on her own experience. As Louise becomes conscious of her situation and emotions, the reader gains access to her thinking which reveals her character. When she goes back downstairs, the reader is quickly cut off from her thoughts. Thus Chopin skillfully manipulates the narrative point of view to underscore the storys theme.


The setting of The Story of an Hour is unspecified. It takes place in the Mallards house, but Chopin does not offer many clues as to where or when the action takes place. This generic setting is consistent with the storys thematic focus on the general, commonly accepted views of the appropriate roles for women in society. Given Chopins other works and the concerns she expresses about womens role in marriage in this story and in other writings, the reader can assume that the story takes place during Chopins lifetime, the late nineteenth century. However, Chopin was known for being a local colorist, a writer who focuses on a particular people in a particular locale. In Chopins case, her stories are usually set among the Cajun and Creole societies in Louisiana. For this reason, The Story of an Hour is usually assumed to take place in Louisiana.


Chopin uses irony, a technique that reveals the distance between what appears to be true and what is actually true, to conclude her story. In The Story of an Hour, there is incongruity between what is understood to be true by the characters within the drama and what is understood by the reader. What killed Mrs. Mallard? While Brently Mallard, Richards, Josephine, and the doctors might believe her weak heart gave out upon such sudden happiness, readers are led to suspect that sudden grief killed her. At the storys conclusion, the storys first line, Knowing that Mrs. Mallard was afflicted with a heart trouble, becomes ironic referring to Mrs. Mallards spiritual condition and not to a medical condition. The storys concluding line, she died from the joy that kills, is also ironic.


The story is set during spring, and Louises awakening is symbolized by the rebirth of nature. Through her bedroom window, Louise sees nature, like herself, all acquiver with the new spring life. The internal changes taking place within Louise are mirrored by what she views when she is distraught with grief, rain falls, and when she realizes her freedom, the skies clear up. What occurs outside the window parallels what is occurring to Louise.

01-14-2011, 10:04 AM
: 10 - 11 - 2007
: 14,922
: 23
  is a glorious beacon of light

Alexander Pope, Essay on man

An Essay on Man is a poem written by Alexander Pope in 1734. It is a rationalistic effort to use philosophy in order to, as John Milton attempted, justify the ways of God to man. It is concerned with the part evil plays in the world and with the social order God has decreed for man. Because man cannot know Gods purposes, he cannot complain about the existence of evil and must accept thatWhatever is, is right. More than any other work, it popularized optimistic philosophy throughout England and the rest of Europe. The essay, written in heroic couplets, comprises four epistles. Pope began work on it in 1729, and had finished the first three by 1731. However, they did not appear until early 1733, with the fourth epistle published the following year. The poem was originally published anonymously. Pope did not admit to its authorship until 1735. Pope reveals in his introductory statement, "The Design," that Essay on Man was originally conceived as part of a longer philosophical poem, with four separate books. What we have today would comprise the first book. The second was to be a set of epistles on human reason, human arts, and sciences, human talent, and the use of learning, science and wit "together with a satire against the misapplications of them." The third book would discuss the Science of Politics, and the fourth book would concern "private ethics" or "practical morality." Know then thyself, presume not God to scan
The proper study of Mankind is Man.
Placed on this isthmus of a middle state,
A Being darkly wise, and rudely great:
With too much knowledge for the Sceptic side,
With too much weakness for the Stoic's pride,
He hangs between; in doubt to act, or rest;
In doubt to deem himself a God, or Beast;
In doubt his mind and body to prefer;
Born but to die, and reas'ning but to err;
Alike in ignorance, his reason such,
Whether he thinks to little, or too much;
Chaos of Thought and Passion, all confus'd;
Still by himself, abus'd or disabus'd;
Created half to rise and half to fall;
Great Lord of all things, yet a prey to all,
Sole judge of truth, in endless error hurl'd;
The glory, jest and riddle of the world

An Essay on Man Alexander Pope
The following entry presents criticism of Pope's poem An Essay on Man. For commentary on hisRape of the Lock, see LC, Volume 60; for evaluations of his complete career, see LC, Volumes 3 and 58.
The philosophical poem An Essay on Man consists of four verse epistles, each of which was published separately and anonymously between February 1733 and January 1734 by a bookseller not previously associated with Pope's writings. Attesting to his belief that the life of a Wit is a warfare upon earth, Pope contrived the elaborate ruse partly to defuse the hostility provoked by his recent satires, notably The Dunciad (1728) and his Epistle to Burlington (1731), and partly to secure an impartial audience for the poem. Pope eventually identified himself as the author when he collected the epistles under the subtitle Being the First Book of Ethic Epistles. He had originally conceived of An Essay on Man as the introduction to an opus magnum on society and morality, but he later abandoned the plan. To this end, the poem addresses the question of human nature and the potential for happiness in relation to the universe, social and political hierarchies, and the individual. Articulating the values of eighteenth-century optimism, the poem employs a majestic declamatory style and underscores its arguments with a range of conventional rhetorical techniques. An Essay on Man met with international acclaim upon publication and generated no small share of controversy in ensuing decades. During the succeeding centuries, however, critics have perceived Pope's poem as fundamentally flawed, both aesthetically and philosophically. Nearly three hundred years after its publication, the poem generally merits distinction as, in David B. Morris's phrase, a forlorn classic of ratiocination.
Plot and Major Characters
Pope addressed An Essay on Man to Henry St. John, Viscount Bolingbroke, who served briefly as secretary of state and prime minister under Queen Anne. Previously acquainted with Pope by mutual association with Jonathan Swift, Bolingbroke retired in 1723 to Dawley, a farm neighboring Pope's Twickenham, and quickly befriended the poet, whose personal beliefs neatly coincided with his own. The friends often discussed much of the subject matter expressed in both Pope's poem and Bolingbroke's own amateur philosophical writings, usually as they walked the grounds of their properties. Divided into four parts, An Essay on Man explicates ideas commonplace among eighteenth-century European intellectuals concerning human nature and humanity's role in the universe. Proposing to vindicate the ways of God to man, the first epistle attempts to show the underlying harmony and virtue of the universe and the propriety of humanity's place in it, despite the presence of evil and apparent imperfection in the world. Each of the remaining epistles draws upon this premise, describing potential improvements to some aspect of human nature and society with the implicit understanding that the universe is divinely ordered and essentially perfect. The second epistle discusses humans as unique beings and shows how the psychological balance between self-interest and the passions, or emotions, under the guidance of reason, promotes virtuous living. The third epistle addresses the role of the individual in society, tracing the origins of such civilizing institutions as government and the class system to a constant interaction between the selfish motivations and altruistic impulses of individual humans. The fourth epistle frames the struggle between self-love and love of others in terms of the pursuit of happiness, arguing that any human can attain true happiness through virtuous living, which happens only when selfish instincts yield to genuine expressions of benevolence toward others and God.
Major Themes
Throughout the epistles of An Essay on Man Pope surveys such grand themes as the existence of a Supreme Being and the behavior of humans, the workings of the universe and the role of humans in it, and the capacity of government to establish and promote the happiness of its citizens. Consequently, the poem is one of Pope's most thorough statements of his philosophical, ethical, and political principles, which, however, were generally neither unique, radical, nor systematic. A practicing Catholic and instinctually conservative in his politicseach position precarious to acknowledge in Pope's timePope carefully avoids explicit references to specific church doctrines and political issues in the poem. Implicitly assuming such Christian notions as fallen man, lost paradise, and a beneficent deity, the poem presents an eclectic assortment of both traditional and current philosophical ideas that attempt to explain the universal characteristics of humankind. The poem borrows ideas from a range of medieval and renaissance thinkers, although Pope somewhat modifies them to suit his artistic purposes. The underlying theme of the poem is the idea that there exists an ordered universe which possesses a coherent structure and functions in a rational fashion, according to natural laws designed by God. The description of its structure derives from the metaphysical doctrine of the Great Chain of Being, which explains the fullness and unity of the natural world in terms of a hierarchy that ranges from plants and insects at one end to humans and angels at the other. As a creation of God, the universe ultimately is a perfect design that appears imperfect to humans because the ability to perceive its order correctly is diminished by pride and intellectual limitations. If humanity were to acknowledge with humility its insignificant position in the greater context of creation, Pope reasons, then humanity's capacity to live happily and virtuously on earth would be possible. Pope expresses many of his main ideas regarding human nature in language so indelible and pithy that some phrases from the poem have become commonplace in the English language.
Critical Reception
Upon publication, An Essay on Man made Pope the toast of literati everywhere, including his inveterate foes in London, whom he deceived into celebrating the poem, since he had published it anonymously. His avowed enemy Leonard Welsted, for instance, declared the poem above all commendation. This assessment typified the initial critical and popular response in England, which was generally echoed throughout Europe over the next two decades. Such notable figures as Voltaire, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, and Immanuel Kant rhapsodized about the poem's literary aesthetics and philosophical insights. However, the early universal appeal of An Essay on Man soon gave way to controversy inspired by a small but vocal community of metaphysicians and clergymen, who perceived challenges and threats in the poem's themes to their respective authority. These critics determined that its values, despite its themes, were essentially poetic and not coherently philosophical by any means. Within fifty years of its publication, the prevailing critical opinion of the poem mirrored that of Samuel Johnson, who noted, Never were penury of knowledge and vulgarity of sentiment so happily disguised. This consensus persisted throughout the nineteenth century and well into the twentieth century, as commentators also trivialized the work's poetic achievementsas they generally did Pope's other writings. Widely neglected and relegated to the dustbin of literary history, An Essay on Man has been often perceived as an historical curiosity disconnected from contemporary concerns, literary and otherwise. However, a number of recent critics have sought to rehabilitate the poem's status in the canon by focusing on its language and ideas in terms of the genre of philosophical poetry. Other commentators have attempted to reevaluate the poem's ideas within the context of early eighteenth-century thought in an effort to demonstrate that Pope derived his theodicyor explanation of the ways of Godfrom the various philosophical and theological positions held by his intellectual peers

01-14-2011, 10:05 AM
: 10 - 11 - 2007
: 14,922
: 23
  is a glorious beacon of light

To Daffodils by Robert Herrick

To Daffodils
by Robert Herrick

Fair Daffodils, we weep to see

You haste away so soon;

As yet the early-rising sun

Has not attain'd his noon.

Stay, stay,

Until the hasting day

Has run

But to the even-song;

And, having pray'd together, we

Will go with you along.

We have short time to stay, as you,

We have as short a spring;

As quick a growth to meet decay,

As you, or anything.

We die

As your hours do, and dry


Like to the summer's rain;

Or as the pearls of morning's dew,

Ne'er to be found again
///////////////////////////////////////////// ///////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////



*** In his poem To Daffodils, the poet Robert Herrick begins by saying that we grieve to see the beautiful daffodils being wasted away very quickly. The duration of their gloom is so short that it seems even the rising sun still hasnt reached the noon-time. Thus, in the very beginning the poet has struck a note of mourning at the fast dying of daffodils.

**** The poet then addresses the daffodils and asks them to stay until the clay ends with the evening prayer. After praying together he says that they will also accompany the daffodils. This is so because like flowers men too have a very transient life and even the youth is also very short-lived.
We have short time to stay, as you,
We have as short a spring.
The poet symbolically refers to the youth as spring in these lines.
He equates/compares human life with the life of daffodils.
**** Further he says that both of them grow very fast to be destroyed later. Just like the short duration of the flowers, men too die away soon. Their life is as short as the rain of the summer season, which comes for a very short time; and the dew-drops in the morning, which vanish away and never return again. Thus, the poet after comparing the flowers to humans later turns to the objects of nature he has compared the life of daffodils with summer rain, dew drops.
*** The central idea presented by the poet in this poem is that like the flowers we humans have a very short life in this world. The poet laments that we too life all other beautiful things soon slip into the shadow and silence of grave. A sad and thoughtful mood surrounds the poem.

Figures of speech
1- Apostrophe:-

In line number { 1 } ,' Fair Daffodils '

2- Alteration

In line number {1} ,' we weep '

3- Personification:- The poet personifies the daffodils by making a conversation with these beautiful flowers.

In line number { 4 } ,' has'

4- Simile:-

In lines number { 11 12-18 },

{ 'as short as spring,}

{ as quick a growth to meet decay }

{ like to the summer}

5- Metaphor :-

In lines number {16_ 19 } {dry ' pearls}

In line number {16} 6- Euphemism :-

is a literary technique in which the poet reduces the harsh effect of a certain word by replacing it with soft expression .The poet says { dry} rather than uses die

7- Caesura :-

In lines{ 1 -5 }

Poem's images

In this poem we have two kinds of images , hearing and visionary images.

1- Hearing images are that :-

a- In line number {1}, we weep to see

b- in line number { 9} , having pray'd together

2- Visionary images are that:-

In lines number

{ 1, fair daffodils}

{ 3 , rising sun}

{ 5- stay }

{16- dry }

{19- pearls }

10-09-2011, 10:38 PM
+ +
: 19 - 11 - 2009
: 3
: 0
  has a spectacular aura about

thank u alot
could u add any information about "the cherry orchard"by anton chekov

10-09-2011, 11:43 PM
: 10 - 11 - 2007
: 14,922
: 23
  is a glorious beacon of light

[QUOTE= ;3649428]thank u alot
could u add any information about "the cherry orchard"by anton chekov[/QUOTE

http://www.mltaka.net/forums/multka325630/ (The Cherry Orchard by Anton Chekhov)

10-16-2011, 09:47 PM
  DloOoat Mamy
DloOoat Mamy DloOoat Mamy
+ +
: 16 - 10 - 2011
: 1
: 0
DloOoat Mamy has a spectacular aura about

:  DloOoat Mamy

11-01-2012, 02:28 AM
+ +
: 1 - 11 - 2012
: 2
: 0
  has a spectacular aura about

, a poem on the inhumanity of slave trade
vocabulary ,



: 1 ( 0 1)



04:28 PM

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