Monday, March 05, 2007

English Literature - Do not opt for it

What a day!Phew!!Its Examination time,and houdini like the rest of his clan is very busy studying.Yes!Even Houdini needs to study,though he still needs a miracle to pass.Today was one of my more dangerous assignments - ENGLISH LITERATURE.What is so dangerous about it?Reading poetry might sound a great idea to woo your girlfriend,but it is not the same for literature students.We look at a poem not just for its lyrical beauty,but also for its metre.Before entering this class I had no idea about how many poetic forms there were in this language.All I knew was that poetry would have 'rhyming' words and a musical note,and prose does not have that.Some knowledge of poetry I gained from a very strange book.You might have heard of it.It was "The Da Vinci Code".Remember the 'IAMBIC PENTAMETER'?yeah,it is a form of poetry where the syllables in every line are grouped together at the metric scale of five(penta).There are other forms like The Dramatic Monologue,The Petrarchan Sonnet,Elegies(sad ones),and Epic Poems.To remember all these forms along with the complexities,and their rhyme schemes is a herculean task.Not to mention that we also have to remember the more famous poems of each form,their literary importance and their poet's background.I love poetry,to be honest.I just don't like looking at it with a magnifying glass.It is like the engineer,who looks at his ferrari examining its flaws.I mean,come on!!Its a ferrari....sorry,beautiful poem.Look at its lyrical beauty,applaud the excellent and ornate words,rejoice in its meaning.Don't ask me to write a three page explanation on why Tennyson's "Ulysses" is better than Elizabeth Browning's "The Musical Instrument"or vice versa.It takes the entire fun out of reading verse.Of course,professional and better literature students would disagree with me.

A study of Literature,especially English,would be incomplete without the study of novels.We have the famous "Pride and Prejudice" and Thomas Hardy's "Tess of the D'Urbervilles".Honestly,I hate 'P & P'.It is a totally girly novel.Well,I understand it is of great historical importance.I beleive,it was the first novel written by a woman to have acquired such fame and rung in the advent of women novelists.Even then,it is downright silly for me.Thomas Hardy though occupies a much better stanin my eyes.I hear shouts of MCP!!No,listen it is just because I like tragedies much better than happy endings.Pessimist am i??I personally feel,that Hardy had the courage and conviction to take a different path and succeed as compared to his peers like Dickens and Thackeray.His total opposition of the belief in a 'omnipotent,benevolent and omniscient god'attracts me.In fact,he calls god the "First Cause" i.e the major imperfection which is the cause of misery.He goes on to add that destiny,not character,is the cause of human misery,one of his quotes in my book reads "Man can do what he wills,he cannot will what he wills".Another describes the ever present cruel and merciless society aptly saying,"Happiness is but an occassional episode in the general drama of pain". Interesting ain't it??
IN fact his writings caused such discomfort in the orthodox victorian society that his books were often treated as sham.His sympathetic portrayal of the 'fallen woman' in 'Tess....' evoked severe criticism.Its subtitle of "A Pure Woman" raised quite a few eyebrows.Now tell me?Do I wrong in placing him above Jane Austen?Well,I do place Jane Austen above the Bronte sisters and Mrs.Gaskell.But I love Thomas Hardy.

Apart from this we do have a detailed study about the backgrounds of the 19th century literature.From the Victorian Age,back to the Romanticists and the Classicists.This part is tough.We have a complete and perfect mixture of history,sociology and politics in these chapters.We have to study what went on behind the scenes as these famous authors and poets were busy in their drawing rooms on their 'little ivory'.It is all very important though,from the marks point of view.

Now,the question is why am I telling you all this?Because......I had my exam today and messed up real bad.My chits were bad enuf and the guy sitting in front of me was a real bozo who wouldn't show me anything.Now as I am home,my brain has just awoke and realised that the data stored in that unused locker for a long time,might actually have been of some use.Hence,I write this post so as to prove that I do have some knowledge about literature.Also,in a vain hope that if ever my english teacher does look into blogs,she might give me some grace marks.

Ma'am,please have mercy.Don't look at the visitors page and judge me. Remember

Admit that Homer sometimes nods,
That poets do write trash,
Our Bard has written "Balder-Dead"
And also Balder Dash

PS: That is not mine.It was written by Matthew Arnold.I just 'wikied' it.

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