Indian Literature

A River By A. K. Ramanujan

A River By A. K. Ramanujan Summary

A River By A. K. Ramanujan
A River By A. K. Ramanujan

Introduction

            The poem “A River” is written by ‘A. K. Ramanujan’ is a great Indian English poet, professor, translator, playwright, and scholar. He wrote in both English and Kannada. He was awarded “Padma Shri” in 1976 and the “Sahitya Akademi” Award posthumously in 1999 for his literary works. Ramanujan published two volumes of Poems ‘The Striders’ and ‘The Relation’. The Poem “A River” appeared in ‘The Striders’ in 1966.

About A. K. Ramanujan

A.K. Ramanujan was a great Indian Poet, translator, and scholar of Indian Literature and linguistics. He was born in Mysore, Karnataka, to a Brahmin family that loved and encouraged learning. He was fluent in many languages including English, Kannada, and Tamil. Ramanujan was also awarded “Sahitya Akademi Award” posthumously in 1999 for “The Collected Poems”. His notable works include The Stories, Second Sight, A River, and Relations.

A River Poem Summary

            “A River” poem is about a riven “Vaikai” which flows through the city of Madurai, which is situated in Tamil Nadu. It is a holy city, full of temples and poets. The poets of ancient times, as well as modern times, have written poems on this city and its temples. They have also written about the river and floods. ‘Ramanujan’ first talks about the beauty of the river and then tell how it killed people. The poem is divided into four stanzas and each stanza has a different line length.

             In the first stanza poet says Madurai is the city of temples and many poets write about the beauty of the city, its temples, and its river which dries up making the sand visible. In the summer the water flows in small streams. As the water flows in small streams, the sand looks like the ‘ribs of humans’. In addition to the sand, there are straws and woman’s hair under the bridges – having rusting bars which obstruct the free flow of water. There are also wet stones which are shining and look like sleeping crocodiles and those which are dry seem to be like water buffaloes without hair relaxing in the sun.

            However other poets have written only about two seasons that is summer and raining for describing their beauty. They have not brought to their verses what loss has been inflicted on the people because of the rainy seasons.

            In the second stanza, the poet says that he has seen that incident when there was a flood. It also carried off three village houses, a pregnant woman, and a couple of cows which were named Gopi and Brinda. Poet further says, in the new poet and the old poets, no one ever talked about the pregnant woman.

            The poet imagines that the twins were kicking at the while to escape but couldn’t and were ultimately drowned to death with their mother. The other poets never brought this tragic incident into their poems.

            In the last stanza, according to the poet, the river is poetic and can be romanticized only once in a year, and then in just half an hour, it takes away 3 houses, a couple of cows, and a pregnant woman who was expecting twins having fair bodies and also was thinking of having diapers of different colours. So as to distinguish between them.

            The last stanza thus compares the contrasts of the writing of the poet himself and another poet of his age. All the other poets try to praise the beauty of the river and on the other hand, the poet himself makes a balance between the beauty and the losses inflicted on the people by it.  

Conclusion

           Thus, the poem “A River” shows the insensitive attitude and the complete unconcern of the city poets, both the old and new, towards the tragic situation of human suffering and fatality.

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Renaissance Period In English Literature 1500 to 1660

Renaissance Period
Renaissance Period

Introduction

   Renaissance Period is one of the most important periods in English literature. So far as the ‘Renaissance Period’ is concerned it began in 1453, but its effect on English life and literature was felt after 1500. For this reason, it is generally accepted that the renaissance period was at the beginning of the 16th century and continued till the Restoration period. It is a clear line between the middle and the modern English literature period.

The word Renaissance is derived from the Italian ‘Renescetia’ means rebirth. The French historian “Jules Michelet” used Renaissance for the first time. Italy was the cradle of the Renaissance. It began in Italy in the 14th Century and ended in the mid-seventeenth century. This period of 160 years is subdivided into two ages according to the ages:-

  • Elizabethan Age (1500 to 1620)
  • The Puritan Age (1620 to 1660)

The Elizabethan Age (1558-1603)

            This age is named after Queen ‘Elizabeth I’ who reigned over England from 1558 to 1603. This is the most glorious age of English literature. With the accession of Queen Elizabeth I, dynastic problems, and political chaos come to an end. Geographical and astronomical discoveries brought unlimited fortune during this period. Renaissance that had started earlier was now very strongly felt in England.

Major writers and Their Major works

Thomas More His famous works are ‘Utopia’ and it was originally written in Latin.

Edmund Spenser – He is called the poet of the poet because after his death many later English poets followed his art of Poetry. His famous work is the Faerie Queen’s and ‘The Shepherd’s Calendar’.

Thomas Kyd – He is one of the poets in the ‘group of University Wits’. His famous work is ‘The Spanish Tragedy’.

Sir Philip Sidney – He penned several major works including ‘Astrophel and Stella’, ‘Arcadia’ and ‘The Defense of Poesy’. ‘Advancement of Learning’.

University Wits: – It is the group of a dramatist who wrote and performed in London towards the end of the 16th century. They are called university wits because they were the witty students of ‘Cambridge or Oxford’. Christopher Marlowe, Robert Greene, Thomas Nashe, Thomas Lodge, George Peele, and Thomas Kyd.

Christopher Marlowe – ‘Tamburlaine the Great’, ‘Dr. Faustus, ‘The Jew of Malta’ and ‘Edward II’ are his famous work.

William Shakespeare – Shakespeare was known as ‘England’s National Poet’ and ‘Bard of Avon’. He wrote 37 plays and 154 sonnets. His famous works are – Henry VI (Part 1, 2, 3), Richard III, Love’s Labour’s Last, Romeo and Julies, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Richard II, Henry IV (Part 1, 2), Henry V, The Merchant of Venice, Much Ado about Nothing, Julius Caesar, As you like it, Hamlet Twelfth Night, Othello Hamlet, Macbeth, King Lear.

Ben Johnson – He wrote in a time when romanticism was the main mode of expression. He is called a neo-classical ruler of drame. ‘Every Man in his Humour’, ‘Volpone’, ‘The Silent Women’, and ‘The Alchemist’ is his famous work.

John Webster – John Webster wrote ‘The White Devil’ and ‘The Duchess Of Malfi’.

Literary Features of the period

            The Elizabethan Age is regarded as the Golden Age in the history of English Literature. The Renaissance brought Ancient Greek and Roman wisdom to England. The social life of England was marked by a strong national spirit, Humanism, religious broadmindedness, scientific progress, social content, and intellectual progress. All these aspects of social life are reflected in the writing of this period.

Puritan Age

            The Puritan age was named after the Puritan Movement in England in the 17th century. Puritans were a group of English-speaking Protestants who were dissatisfied with the religious reformation movement carried out during the reign of Queen Elizabeth. This age is also known as the ‘Age of Milton’, because the greatest literary figure ‘John Milton’ was a Puritan. This period is remarkable for the decay of drama and the closing of the theatres in 1642 gave a jolt to the development of drama.

            Puritan Poetry also called Jacobean and Caroline poetry during the reigns of James. I and Charles I respectively can be divided into three Pars –

  • Poetry of School of Spencer
  • Poetry of Metaphysical School
  • Poetry of the Cavalier poet

Poetry of School of Spencer

            The Spenserians were followers of Spencer. They considered Spencer as their master. ‘Phineas Fletcher’, ‘Giles Fletcher’, ‘William Browne’, and ‘Drummond’ are the poet of this age.

Poetry of Metaphysical School

            The term metaphysical may be applied to any poetry, that deals with spiritual or philosophical matters. Among these poets “John Donne” is the most notable. Other Metaphysical poets were – ‘George Hertbert’, Richard Crawshaw’, Henry Vaughan’, Thomas Carew’, ‘Abraham Cowley’, and ‘Andrew Marvell’. The term “Metaphysical Poets” was first used by Samuel Johnson.

Poetry Of The Cavalier Poet

            The Cavalier Poets wrote in the 17th century and supported king Charles I. These poets opposed Metaphysical Poetry. The best known of Cavalier poets are – ‘Robert Herrick’, ‘Richard Lovelace’, ‘Thomas Carew’ and ‘Sir John Suckling’.

Conclusion

            Thus, Renaissance Period ended with the beginning of the Restoration period. It has had a great effect on the development of English Literature. It was an important movement that illuminated the whole of English literature. ‘Paradise Lost’ is the last great triumph of the Renaissance.

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Ancient Indian Literature

Ancient Indian Literature | History Of Indian Classical Literature

Ancient Indian Literature
Ancient Indian Literature

Introduction

Ancient Indian Literature is one of the most beautiful and voluminous to read and understand. Most of the literature was oral during the ancient period. At the beginning of the literature was transmitted orally from one person to another. There were no written records. Ancient Indian literature consists of four Vedas called ‘Rigveda’, ‘Yajur Veda’, ‘Sama Veda’, and ‘Atharva Veda’.

Ramayana And Mahabharata

            Ramayana and Mahabharata are considered great Indian epic poetry of ancient times. They were originally composed in Sanskrit, but have since been translated into many languages. Ramayana is an ancient epic poem that describes the struggle of Prince Rama to release his wife Sita from the hands of the demon Ravana. The author of Ramayana is Valmiki. It is considered one of the largest epic literature in the world. It consists of 24,000 verses and 500 Sargas.

            Mahabharata is an ancient epic literature that tells the story of the Bharata dynasty. The author of Mahabharata is attributed to Vyasa. It consists of 100,000 verses. Some of the important moral stories in Mahabharata include ‘Bhagavad Gita’ and ‘Damayanti’.

Early Buddhist Literature

            In 483 BC, the teaching of Buddha was rehearsed and validated in the first council, after which were separated into three Pitakas. The teachings of Buddha were written down in Pali. Pali is the language of the oldest Buddhist writings. Dialogues between the Buddha and his disciples make up the Sutta Pitaka. Buddhacharita is a Sanskrit text on the life of Buddha, authored by Ashvaghosha.

            A number of literary works written just prior to the beginning of the Gupta age had secular characters. This period saw the development of poetry and drama. The subject of these works were majorly political events, allegories, comedies romances, and philosophical questions.

Ancient Sanskrit Literature

Ancient Sanskrit literature refers to the vast corpus of texts written in Sanskrit, an ancient Indian language, over a period of more than 5,000 years. Sanskrit literature is an integral part of India’s cultural and religious heritage and includes a wide range of texts, such as hymns, epics, philosophical treatises, dramas, and poetry.

The most ancient Sanskrit texts are the Vedas, which are a collection of hymns and other religious texts that were composed between 1500 BCE and 500 BCE. The Rigveda is the oldest and most important of the four Vedas, and it is considered the oldest known religious text in the world

            Kalidasa is considered the greatest poet in Sanskrit literature. He wrote Raghuvansham and Kumarasambhavam along with many other works Meghadootam and Abhijnanshakntalam are the most famous plays of Kalidasa. These are some poets of Sanskrit literature and their works including,

  • “Banabhatta,” wrote ‘Harshacharita’, the biography of King Harsha and Kadambari.
  • “Bhavabhuti,” wrote ‘Uttar Ramayana’.
  • “Vishakadutta,” wrote ‘Mudra Rakshasa’.
  • “Shudraka,” wrote ‘Mriccha Katika’.
  • “Dandin,” wrote ‘Daskumarcharita’.

            There were also a large number of philosophical literature. The most important ones are those of “Sankaracharya”.

            Ancient Indian literature does not only mean the Vedas and the epics, it has much more to understand and learn from it. Ancient literature also clearly explains the duties of a person and how a person shows in character. There were Shastra who dealt with science and math. Kautilya’s “Arthashastra” deals with governance and economic policy which is written in Sanskrit.

Conclusion

            Now we can say that Ancient Indian Literature contributed greatly to the development of Indian English literature. India has a rich cultural heritage. The progress of humanity in the past is the subject matter of history. In order to understand the present we have to trace back its roots to Ancient India. Ancient Indian Literature is the most beautiful and complicated to read and understand. The Vedas, the Shastras, and the Upanishads help human being to develop their character and lead a good life.

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That-Long-Silence

That Long Silence By Shashi Deshpande

That-Long-Silence
That Long Silence

 Introduction

“If I were a man and 
Cared to know the
World I lived in,
I almost think it would
make me a shade uneasy –
 the weight of that
 long silence of one half
 of the world.”

            This statement by “Elizabeth Robin” forms the epigraph to Shashi Deshpande’s Novel, “That Long Silence”. Through this novel, this talented writer intends to break the long silence that has surrounded women their experiences, and their world. The writer wants to convey that it is not only the Patriarchal system wholly is solely responsible for the worsening condition of women, but even women share the responsibility. Women suffer everything in silence, without protesting which has caused their subjugation.

            In the present novel, silence is used as a metaphor. Silence is a patriarchal symbol. A girl is socialized to be silent, as being eloquent and loud are not the traits that society deems fit for them. Consequently, they keep on being silent and bear everything with this weapon but gradually this very silence eats away the very vital of their existence.

About Shashi Deshpande

            “I don’t like to call myself a feminist writer.
             I say: I’m a feminist, but I don’t write to propagate an ism.”

            The words of Shashi Deshpande stress her inclination to the ideas of ‘Judith Butler’ (An American philosopher) who boldly stated that feminism reasserts the difference between male and female gender.

            Shashi Deshpande is an award-winning Indian Novelist. Shashi Deshpande’s chief thematic concern is with a women’s struggle in the context of contemporary Indian society, their effort to find and preserve her identity as a wife, mother, and most of all as a human being. She was born in 1938  in Dharwad, Karnataka. Her father was Sriranga, a well-known Sanskrit scholar.

Her first novel “The Dark Holds No Terror” was published in 1980. Her novel “That Long Silence” brought her a lot of praise and appreciation and she received the ‘Sahitya Akademi Award’ for it. Her other novel includes – ‘Come Up and Be Dead’, ‘If I Die Today’, ‘Roots and Shadows’, ‘The Binding Vine’, ‘A Matter of Time’ and ‘Small Remedies’.

Analysis of That Long Silence

            In ‘That Long Silence’ Shashi Deshpande has portrayed the irony of a woman writer, who is also a young wife. The novel opens with ‘Jaya and her husband ‘Mohan’ shifting from their well-settled, comfortable house to their old house in Dadar, Bombay, where they had stayed immediately after getting married when their financial condition was not good. They shift into their old apartment to escape the scene as Mohan has been caught in some business malpractice and an inquiry is in progress. Here is a small old flat Jaya gets out of touch with her schedule and becomes an introvert.

            Not satisfied with her married life, Jaya recalls her past days, her upbringing, the environment in which she was brought up, and the morals that were thrust upon her when she was growing up. She has been taught that “A husband is like a Sheltering tree”.

            Though Jaya has been educated and influenced by the modern thought of the West and other advanced countries and is herself a writer, she still wants to compare herself with the image of Sita, Draupadi, and other ideal mythological characters. She tries to keep a balance between husband and wife. She always wishes to go on with her husband’s wish.

She does not have any identity of her own. Her name keeps on changing according to the wishes of others. Jaya, which means ‘victory’ is the name given by her father when she was born and ‘Subasini’ was the name after her marriage. The former name symbolizes revolt and the latter submission. The dreams of her childhood, to change the situation of women, are shattered by the environment, the surroundings, and above all by the society which imposes all sorts of restrictions on women. She is absolutely helpless and is unable to improve her situation. She revolts in silence.

            Due to different attitudes, between Jaya and her husband, their marital life becomes more of a compromise than love, based on social fear rather than a mutual need for each other. In her streams of thought, Jaya looks at her marital relations where there is no conversation left. This unhappiness is reflected not only in her conjugal life but also in her social life.

            The novelist intends to break the long Silence, that has kept women as it were, in a state of hibernation. The novel is an exceptionally accomplished portrait of a passive woman Jaya. It is this reality that Deshpande tries to project through the female protagonist, who in the end, chooses to break her long silence.

Conclusion

            Thus, in the novel ‘That Long Silence’, Deshpande very exquisitely highlighted the inner struggle and suffering of middle-class women through the character of ‘Jaya’. In a male-dominated society, a woman has dependent on her husband and father or son for everything. But in the end, Jaya wishes to exercise her choice, her self-esteem motivates her to break the silence while her capabilities make her speak through writing. Jaya subverts the patriarchal system while remaining a part of it.\

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