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Practice Notes On English Literature

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The Notes that will help students to preapare their English Literature for their Board Exam.

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    Suburbs Comprehending This poem is reflecfive of the aims, aspirations, limitations, frustrations and consolafions of the urban middle class society. It is an universal picture that poet has presented and is as much true for any city in Chile as it is for any city in India or even any of the developed countries in the world. The images drawn up are n-ue to life and successfully articulate the intensions of the poet. Words — Meanings, Pronunciations, Thesaurus suburban (sub-ub'n) outskirts of a city; fringes of a city; the lesser populated outer parts of a city overwhelm (ova wh'lm) overpower; engulf; flood; swamp indivisible — unable to be separated or divided braggarts (brag gerts) people who brag; gloaters; show offs Don Juan — a fictitious libertine (seducer of women) character from the tragic drama El burlador de Setilla (The Seducer of Seville) by Tirso de Molina; a Casanova; womaniser fleeting — transient; temporary; for a short while vanities — excess pride; egos Analysing You must have heard or seen that every year more and more people come to the cities and the population of our cities goes on increasing. 1. So many people migrate to the cities every year in search of better opportunities and an Improved quality of life In terms of good schools and colleges for their children, superior medical facilities and the hope of making a better fortune than is possible in the villages which are beset with problems of their own. 2. Yes, upon migration to the cities, the lifestyles of the people do change to a certain extent because one has to adjust with it's atmosphere, which is remarkably different from the native villages. Moreover, to be acceptable in the society of the city dwellers, one has to keep up appearances of civilisation. In a bid to compete with neighbours, people end up showing off so much that it is a financial drain on resources. 3. The life of the people in the cities IS with Its share of ups and downs. Some people are happy to be where they have arrived and tend to settle down after their retlrement from active service. For others, the city is a temporary hiatus, where people go to earn a fortune and then to return to their roots and settle down there in the midst of one's own people. Whatever the situation, cities still symbolise for the middle class, a world of opportunities and a place where dreams are fulfilled. But, there is a catch: everything has to be paid for in cash or kind. There is also a great deal of artificiality among city-dwellers who are more preoccupied with their own egos and vanities.
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    Discuss the following questions In pairs or groups and write down the answers: 1. The first stanza of the poem discusses the middle-class. Xhat does the second stanza describe? The second stanza describes the middle-class people's lifestyles; their ups and downs; their positives and negative aspects; their greatnesses and meannesses. 2. The poem conveys the harsh realities of the middle-class. What are they? The harsh realities of the middle class life involve their being crushed under the burden of expectations and the perennial intolerance of the upper classes. Unlike the latter, the middle classes are monetarily deficient, yet they try to ape their lifestyles and end up compromising a lot. Also, the middle classes end up being exploited all the time by the upper classes whose representatives are always the bosses. Again, a lot of times the middle class people are denied their true credit for something extraordinary. However, the harshest reality is that whenever, middle class people try to do something that is considered to be out of the ordinary, there are forces pulling at these people, so that they are either discouraged or prevented from doing whatever they intend to. 3. The poem gives a description of two types of people. Xho are they? The two types of people that have been described in the poem are the ones who have lacked self confidence and have remained under-achievers in their lifetime, following the tide in everything and choosing to spend their lives In obscurity and those who have attempted to rise beyond their stature by trying to do extraordinary things and developing egos and vanifies to differentiate themselves from those people who have been around them since their births. 4. Vhy are people marginalised? Can we stop it? How? People are marginalised by a variety of factors, primary among which are economic backwardness and, in countries like India, religion and caste. This cannot be totally stopped by legislation or anything but definitely reduced to a great extent by means of individual efforts. Economic marginalisafion can be overcome by ensuring that government schemes reach the actual beneficiaries, but more than that, people should develop their own personalities so as to be able to face the world. They need to keep in mind the concept of 'the survival of the fittest'. The second type of marginalisation can be dealt with by ensuring the spread of education among larger sections of the society and pointing out that all human beings have been born alike so there is no high or low caste in the world. 1. 1. Through this poem, Pablo Neruda celebrates the spirit of the middle class that is crushed between limited economic resources and the expectafions of the urban lifestyle. But, their fighting spirit never lets them fade into oblivion. They adjust and live on. 2. The middle class people's imitation of the rich is brought about by the line '.. .who overwhelm the refrigerator . longs for a poo
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    3. By the phrase 'we buy on credit', Neruda refers to the Innovative business policy which has developed primarily in the twentieth century to cater to the needs of the great middle class all over the world. They have the desire to purchase the best of things but not always the purchasing power of paying cash all the time. So, business establishments have devised a way of credit where the consumer is allowed to pay in instalments over a long durafion of time and at a higher rate of interest. By this system, almost everything can be purchased by the consumer in a hassle-free manner, be it groceries and day-to-day items through credit cards or larger items like refrigerators, televisions, cars and even houses. 4. The luxuries of the suburban life include all those consumer items that can be owned in Imitation of the rich. However, it is not absolutely possible to own everything that the rich buy and so compromises have to be made. For example, the rich have pool-side umbrellas of bright colours under which they relax but the middle-class people may not be able to afford a pool and so, they make use of those umbrellas In their gardens. 5. The bosses treat the workers mercilessly and act like executioners. Such tendencies seem to multiply in the manufacturing units and granaries where a greater deal of labour is required and where the bosses always find people to be shirking work. 6. The lines which point out the limited ambitions of middle class men and women are '...our controlled hunger for climbing ... is the way of the world... 7. 'The way of the world' is to follow the same route where everybody else is going. That is supposed to be safer and guarantees success. 8. The two classes of society that have been mentioned in the poem are the rich upper classes, who seem to have a life of paradise, and the middle classes who always fry to ape the rich but end up on compromising. 11. 1. We form our opinions about people by the way they behave socially, through their attitudes towards life, their tastes and their way of forming opinions about others. 2. The executioners are the upper-class manufacturers, businessmen and the bosses who are only bothered about their profits and feel that their subordinates are always shirking their work and doing Injustice to the salaries paid to them. 3. We are 'heroes' because we claim to be able to do much better than others and brag about our abilities. This is done as long as there are no real dangers that can be seen or heard. 4. We are 'devils' also because when the time comes to act, we actually fail to do so and all our earlier claims turn out to be empty boasts. In real moments of crisis, such people are the first ones to run for safety.
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    5. The runners are those who have shown the courage and audacity to think something different and not follow the common fide of less-achieving people. But some have failed in their endeavours and been relegated to ignominy while others have gone ahead and realised their dreams to emerge as champions. 6. The answer to the question of the marginalisation of the middle-class is two-pronged. At times it is evidently so because all the facilities seem to be given to the wealthy, so much so that they can even bend the law according to their own advantage. On the other hand, the concept of 'the survival of the fittest' is also true because lots of people have emerged from the middle classes to rule the roost. In their case, the concept of marginalisation does not hold true and, in some cases, it has proved beneficial to them because such people have derived strength from their marginalisafion to emerge as leaders in their respective fields. 111. 1. X/hat is the principle of supreme luxury that the poet talks about? The principle of supreme luxury that the poet talks about is the one followed by every middle class individual. We all try to ape the rich and the powerful in our lifestyles, but we also have our monetary limitations. Therefore, it happens that more often than not, we purchase some exquisite item and make an altogether different use of it otherwise it would be very difficult to sustain it for long because of the expenses Involved. Our only consolation is the fact that we have been able to buy something really expensive. 2. is the real truth of the world? The middle class IS forever In search of an answer to this question and remains undecided about it. At times our powerlessness dwarfs us and makes us feel that our destinies are decided by the rich and the powerful and so we strive to be rich while still being limited to our ordinariness. At other fimes, we feel that this blind race for accumulating greater wealth is futile and we fry to seek mental peace and satisfaction. 3. X/hat is the truth of that dream? Our dreams are small: being able to buy some exquisite things with the help of credit and enjoying an extra holiday every week. That is the truth of the existence of the middle class. 4. Whom does the poet refer to as the 'unfinished'? By the term 'unfinished' Pablo Neruda refers to those people who dared to think differently and refused to go with the tide because they wanted to create their own paths. However, some of them lost the gamble and were thrown into obscurity. But such people are actually never finished. They continuously attempt to achieve their dreams and contlnue with their unfinished work. 5. X/hom does the poet refer to as Don Juans? Don Juan was actually a fictitious character in the Spanish tragic drama El burlador de Setilla (The Seducer of Seville) by Tirso de Molina who was a seducer of women. Although in middle class society such acts are considered to be vicious, we still idolise those rich and powerful people,
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    known as 'celebrities' who are found to indulge in such activities. In fact, most middle class people secretly harbour such sinful desires as such things are represented in a g amorous manner. 6. Xhat does Neruda mean to say through the concluding lines of the poem? The poet says that at times the middle class people make the supreme sacrifice to help some of their brethren reach the top but in the end, such sacrifices go unrecognised and we feel cheated of our the glory, the recognition and the applause that should have been ours. Poetic Devices 1. Paradox: It is an absurd-sounding and contradictory statement that may have a deeper significance. One must not confuse it with the Epigram where a contradictory statement is made to create an apparent shock, only to highlight the actual underlying truth. As an exercise, students can now try and find out all the paradoxical statements in the poems they have learnt so far. 2. Symbols: Symbols are words and Images that contain a variety of contextual meanings. In this poem, the word 'granaries' symbolise the condition of the workers In manufacturing units; they are overexploited to such an extent that it seems as if they are the grains of wheat which are continuously thrashed in the granaries to separate them from the stalks. 3. Metaphor: A metaphor is a figure of speech or rhetorical device or poetic device where an indirect and implied comparison is made between two unrelated things. For example, when we say that the 'Camel is the ship of the desert', we are making a suggestion that the camel is like the ship because both are the only means of transportation in the desert and the sea respectively. In reality, both are however unrelated to each other. In the context of the poem, 'fleeting passage' means the past, which ambitious people leave behind in their determinafion to forge ahead. For them, some things in life are only of minor importance and, therefore, temporary events. The word 'hotel' is a metaphoric symbol for a place of sojourn where such ambitious people resort to maintain discreetness during a setback. 4. Transferred Epithet: In this poetic device, the epithet or adjective is transferred from the main subject to a subordinate or accompanying one for the purpose of emphasis. For example, in sleeping bags' the bags are not sleeping but the purpose is to highlight the importance of such bags for sleeping in during space travels.

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