Showing posts with label notes. Show all posts
Showing posts with label notes. Show all posts

Thursday, September 17, 2020

Class 12 - Elective English - A Wedding in Brownsville by Isaac Bashevis Singer


Issac Bashevis Singer was a Polish – American writer who used to write in Yiddish language. He received a Nobel Prize in Literature in 1978.  This story basically points out the void or the emptiness that overpowers the protagonist of the story, that is, Dr.  Solomon Margolin, even after he manages to accomplish his goals and objectives. The story commences with the portrayal of marriage as a burden in the eyes of Dr.  Solomon. Dr. Solomon was basically a Jew who initially used to reside in Poland where his family was killed in the holocaust that was enforced by Hitler.  

(Holocaust here refers to the extermination of Jews by German Nazis in the rule of Hitler. This means that Jews were killed on a large scale by the Nazis under the supervision of Hitler). Dr.  Solomon ultimately escaped to America along with the other Jews who survived the holocaust. In America, Dr. Solomon had been appointed as the board member of a Jewish scholastic society and co-editor of an academic Jewish quarterly. However, the brutal treatment that was imposed on his family in Poland had an adverse impact on the mind of Dr.  Solomon, he seemed to have lost his faith in humanity and the fear of death often used to haunt him.  Also, Dr.  Solomon often used to keep thinking about his past memories, his first love, Raizel, who was a beautiful Jewish girl and the daughter of a Jewish watch – maker, Melekh. He also recalled that Raizel got married to someone else which disheartened him at that time but she and her entire family was later killed by Nazis. This thought further used to intensify his depressive tendencies.  Dr.  Solomon’s wife, Gretl, was also a German, but she was anti - Nazis. Dr.  Solomon used to treat rabbis, refugees and Jewish writers without charging any money from them and he also used to provide medicines and hospital beds to them in case of necessity. Dr.  Solomon and Gretl used to live a life of simplicity and modesty. Gretl used to manage all the household chores herself without ever thinking of appointing a maid or helper. Sometimes, Dr.  Solomon used to ponder about the transformation of his wife from a German blonde to a Jewish home – maker. Even after originally being a German, Gretl had begun to embrace Jewish culture and befriend Jewish women. This was primarily because one of Gretl’s brothers was killed by the Nazis, merely because he was a communist and he opposed the idea of exterminating (killing on a large scale ) the Jews. The story further begins to unfold. A Jewish wedding was about to happen in a town, that is, Brownsville and Dr.  Solomon had been invited to attend that wedding ceremony. The wedding ceremony was of Sylvia, daughter of Abraham Mekheles, an acquaintance of Dr.  Solomon. Abraham Mekheles was a Senciminer, that is, he too belonged to Sencimin (a small town in Poland) just like Dr.  Solomon. However, Dr.  Solomon was hesitant in attending that wedding ceremony because he was making attempts to distance himself from the Jewish community. This is because Dr.  Solomon had begun to feel that the Jews did not maintain the trueness of their culture after they had gone to America. Dr.  Solomon used to feel that the Jews were breaking their cultural legacy, for instance, Jewish men had started consuming alcohol in excess. This drove Dr.  Solomon away from his own community. Gretl noticed her husband’s aloofness from his own community. But since Dr.  Solomon occupied a prominent position in Jewish community, he finally decided to attend the wedding ceremony in Brownsville. He hired a taxi to reach Brownsville. Suddenly, the taxi in which Dr.  Solomon was going to Brownsville, stopped abruptly and Dr.  Solomon witnessed that an accident had taken place on that road. A man was being taken on a stretcher and Dr.  Solomon apparently seemed to recognize that person. Nevertheless, the driver again started driving the taxi and finally, Dr.  Solomon reached the wedding destination, that is, Brownsville. Upon reaching there, he discovered that the wedding venue was full of mirth and festivity, ladies were dancing around and people were getting drunk.  He came across Zissel, a person from his hometown, who narrated the old stories that described the brutal way in which the Jews were killed by the Nazis.  He described that the Jews were compelled (forced ) by the Nazis to dig their own graves and then those Jews were shot and buried in the graves that were dug by themselves. Many Jews were starved to death, burnt alive and many were transported to Auschwitz concentration camp in Poland which had over 40 extermination camps. Each camp was filled with poisonous gases in order to kill the Jews mercilessly. 

Dr.  Solomon felt suffocated when he recalled the animalistic ways in which the members of his community were killed and suddenly, he saw the face of a lady amidst the chaos of people. When he tried to get closer to that lady in order to recall who she was, that lady turned out to be his long – lost love, Raizel. He 

went ahead to confront Raizel and shockingly discovered that it was not a dream rather Raizel was really there at the wedding venue. The old romance between Dr.  Solomon and Raizel rekindled. Dr.  Solomon held the hand of Raizel and took her away from the crowd of people. Dr.  Solomon’s act of taking Raizel away from the crowd of people metaphorically depicts that Dr.  Solomon did not want to lose Raizel amidst the chaos of life all over again. A thought came to Dr.  Solomon that he was still single according to Jewish Law as he got married to Gretl in a civil ceremony.  Therefore, he took Raizel in a secluded place and expressed his desire to get married to her. He needed only a penny (currency ) in order to get married to her.  However, when he searched for his wallet in his breast pocket, he was surprised to discover that he had lost it. Moreover, suddenly it occurred to him that Raizel seemed much younger than the way she should have looked. Dr.  Solomon started feeling devoid of life, he was not able to feel the weight of his body and his body seemed to be deflated as if his body did not exist. This made Dr.  Solomon wonder whether the accident and the body laid on the stretcher that he witnessed on his way to Brownsville (on Eastern Parkway ) was his own accident and his own body. Dr.  Solomon was perplexed and wondered whether he was really alive or it was only his soul that was floating on Earth in order to seek his long – lost love. He also wondered whether Raizel was real or she was just a figment of imagination. The story ends on the note of this ambiguity and finally, Abraham Mekheles led his daughter, Sylvia, down the aisle for her wedding ceremony. 


  1. Impact Of Holocaust On The Psyche of The Survivors: One of the important themes of this short story is that the holocaust survivors often go through a psychological breakdown and are likely to live in a state of despair throughout their lives because the brutal memories of their past continue to haunt them forever.  For instance, in this story, the central character, that is, Dr.  Solomon was never able to recover from his sorrowful memories in which his family and his beloved, Raizel got slaughtered at the hands of the Nazis under the dictatorship of Hitler.

  2. Surrealism: Surrealism in literature basically refers to the presentation of a story in such a way that it starts resembling a dream. In this story, Issac has used ambiguity in order to present a fantastical possibility of the reunion of Dr. Solomon and his long – lost love, Raizel. He presented this possibility by creating two conditions in the minds of his readers : either Dr. Solomon died in the car accident at Eastern Park and his wandering soul reunited with the wandering soul of his beloved, Raizel OR Dr. Solomon was in a state of hallucination which made him imagine his reunion with Raizel amidst the chaos of life. Both these conditions are unrealistic, dream – like and fantastical and therefore, these conditions give a touch of surrealism to the story.

  3. The Unbreakable Chains of A Void That Can Never Be Filled: Issac has depicted the fact that there are some voids in the lives of human beings that can never be filled by anything or anyone. In this story, Dr. Solomon led a life hollowness and emptiness because of the loss of his family and his beloved during a holocaust. This made him miserable with the passage of time and he was never able to restore himself to a life of genuine bliss even after becoming a successful doctor and occupying a prominent position in the Jewish society. All his professional accomplishments and all the ranks that he achieved in the Jewish community ultimately proved worthless because they did not help him in getting rid of his deep – seated depression and his insurmountable (something that cannot be overcome) void.

  4. The Submergence or The Loss Of True Identity in a Foreign Place: Finally, Issac has pointed out to the fact that people often tend to lose their true identities when they migrate to a foreign place. For instance, in this story, Dr. Solomon drove himself away from his own Jewish community because Jews adapted themselves to the culture of America and developed habits like drinking and dancing in order to celebrate their happiness. These habits were condemned in Judaism and the inability of the Jewish community to retain the principles of their religion represent the loss of their true identity.



QUESTION 1. What do you understand of Dr. Margolin’s past? How does it affect his present life?

ANSWER: Dr. Margolin’s past was a mixture of recognition and grief. As a child, he was declared a prodigy. Everyone thought he would grow up to be a genius. But he also faced hardships. His entire family had been tortured, burned and gassed. He had lost his one true love, Raizel. All this shaped Dr. Margolin’s present state of mind. He had grown aloof from the Senciminers after the loss of his family. He suffered from hypochondria ad fear of death. The death of his family and his love in the reign of Hitler made him lose faith in humanity. However, on the other hand, he had a good career. He was a success in his profession. He had an office in West End Avenue and wealthy patients. He was highly respected by his colleagues and everyone else.

QUESTION 2. What was Dr. Margolin’s attitude towards his profession?

ANSWER: Dr. Margolin has always been loyal towards his profession. He had never broken the Hippocratic Oath and had always been honourable with his patients. He was an enormous success in his field and is highly respected. Although he has wealthy patients, he treated rabbis, refugees and Jewish writers without any charge, and even supplied them with medicines and a hospital bed, if necessary. However, Hitler’s reign and the brutal death of his family and his community made him despise the matrons who came to him for petty ills while millions faced horrible deaths.

QUESTION 3. What is Dr. Margolin’s view of the kind of life the American Jewish community leads?

ANSWER: The kind of life the American Jewish community led was not appreciated by Dr. Margolin. According to him, Jewish laws and customs were completely distorted. Those who had no regard for Jewishness wore skullcaps. He even found their celebrations irritating, the Anglicised Yiddish, the Yiddishised English, the ear-splitting music and unruly dances. He was ashamed whenever he took his wife to a wedding or a Bar Mitzvah.

QUESTION 4. What were the personality traits that endeared Dr. Margolin to others in his community?

ANSWER: Dr. Margolin was a self-taught man, a son of a poor teacher of Talmud. As a child, he was declared as a prodigy, reciting long passages of the bible and studying Talmud and commentaries on his own. He even taught himself geometry and algebra. At the age of seventeen, he attempted a translation. He was referred to as great and illustrious. As a doctor he was always available to other community members, was very social and involved himself in other community activities to promote Yiddish language and Jewish culture. This endeared Dr. Margolin to others in his community.

QUESTION 5. Why do you think Dr. Margolin had the curious experience at the wedding hall?

ANSWER: Dr. Margolin experience at the wedding hall was a result of his death. The write has tried to showcase the Jewish sentiments through the metaphysical experience of Dr. Margolin. He met with an accident on the way to the wedding. His curious and mysterious encounter with Raizel could probably be explained through his past. Raizel was his one true love who he never had a chance to marry. She was given away to someone else and was later shot by the Nazis.

QUESTION 6. Was the encounter with Raizel an illusion or was the carousing at the wedding-hall illusory? Was Dr. Margolin the victim of the accident and was his astral body hovering in the world of twilight?

ANSWER: The carousing at the wedding-hall was illusionary. Raizel herself has been dead for long and her encounter with Dr. Margolin was because of his own death. He was the victim of the accident and his astral body was hovering in the world of twilight. Both were missing a physical dimension, and in fact, were spirits.


QUESTION 1. Surrealism was an artistic and literary movement in France between the two World Wars. Its basic idea is that the automatic, illogical and uncontrolled associations of the mind represent a higher reality than the world of practical life and ordinary literature. Do you think this story could be loosely classified as surrealistic? What elements in this story would support the idea?

ANSWER: Yes, this story could be loosely classified as surrealistic. The ending is an element of such surrealism. Dr. Margolin is in absence of a physical dimension and yet the story shows him to be participating in the wedding, dancing, drinking, chatting with guests, etc. His encounter with Raizel, his one true love who was shot by Nazis also stands out to explain surrealism.

QUESTION 2: Comment on the technique used by the author to convey the gruesome realities of the war and its devastating effect on the psyche of human beings through an intense personal experience.

ANSWER: The author uses banter at the wedding and the conversation between the guests to portray the realities of the war. At the wedding party, people are shown to be conversing with each other and with Dr. Margolin about the deaths of their family and the destruction of their community. Through this, the author used an unusual and an uncommon way of showcasing the realities of the war in the story.


Q1. Who were the Senciminers?

ANSWER: Senciminers were the native Jewish inhabitants of the town Sencimin. They were however forced to leave the town because it was destroyed by the Germans. Many Senciminers were tortured, burned and gassed, however, few survived and escaped to America from the camps.

Q2. Why did Dr. Margolin not particularly want his wife to accompany him to the wedding?

ANSWER: Dr. Margolin didn’t want his wife to accompany him to the wedding because he was ashamed of the mess that the American Judaism was. Every time he took his wife to a wedding or a Bar Mitzvah, he had to make apologies to her. However, this time he was relieved of it.

Q3. What is the Hippocratic oath?

ANSWER: The Hippocratic Oath is an oath usually taken by doctors to swear their loyalty to their profession. The protagonist, being a doctor himself, says that he has never broken the oath and that he has always been honourable towards his patients.

Q4. What topic does the merry banter the wedding invariably lead to?

ANSWER: The merry banter at the wedding invariably lead to the mentioning of the deaths of the Senciminers. Every conversation eventually led to that and occasionally, the protagonist found himself being asked about his own family and their death.

Q5. Who was the woman that Dr Margolin suddenly encountered at the wedding?

ANSWER: The woman that Dr Margolin encountered was his one great love, Raizel, the daughter of Melekh the watchman. He, however, had no luck with her and couldn’t marry her. The last time Dr Margolin heard of her was that she married someone else and was later shot by the Nazis.

Q6. What were the events that led to his confused state of mind?

ANSWER: Dr Margolin started to realize that something is wrong when he noticed that his wallet was missing but wasn’t sure how he could have lost it. He also couldn’t understand the fact that Raizel looked too young and he thought that maybe she was her daughter, trying to mock him.

Friday, April 6, 2018

Fiction Chapter -1 How I Taught My Grandmother to Read Class IX English-A

Chapter 1
How I Taught My Grandmother to Read

Question- What made Triveni a popular writer?
Answer- Her style of writing and her convincing stories which dealt with the day to day life of ordinary people made Triveni a popular writer. People liked her and her stories because they could easily relate to her stories as they usually depicted the psychological problems people face in their day to day life.

Question- Why did grandmother depend on the granddaughter to know the story?
Answer- Grandmother depended on her granddaughter to know the story because she was an uneducated lady who never went to school and so she didn’t know how to read or write.

Question- Pick out two sentences which state that the grandmother was desperate to know what happened in the story.
Answer- Two sentences which state that the grandmother was desperate to know the story are-
1.    “I waited eagerly for you to return.”   
2.    During that time she would forget all her work and listen with the greatest concentration.

Question-Could the grandmother succeed in accomplishing her desire to read? How?
Answer- Yes, the grandmother succeeded in accomplishing her desire to read by working very hard, doing lots of homework, reading, writing, reciting, repeating and being determined to continue and accomplish her goal of learning the Kannada alphabets.

Question- Which of the following traits would be relevant to the character of the narrator’s grandmother?
Answer- The following traits are relevant to the character of the narrator’s grandmother-
         (i) Determined- grandmother was a determined lady as she set the goal and decided to keep Saraswati pooja day as the deadline and was able to accomplish her goal in spite of many obstacles.
         (ii) Emotional- grandmother was an emotional lady as when her granddaughter was not with her she felt sad and helpless. When her granddaughter returned and she related her story and helplessness she got emotional and cried.

Question- Write the character sketch of grandmother.
Answer- The main character in the story ‘how I taught my grandmother to read’ written by Sudha Murty is Krishtakka, the grandmother of the writer. Of sixty-two years with grey hairs and wrinkled hands. She worked a lot in the kitchen as she enjoyed feeding her children and grandchildren a lot. The writer states that she had not seen her grandmother cry even in the most difficult situation which shows that she had a strong-willed character.
She was a very determined lady as she didn’t give up in spite of all obstacles when she decided to learn the Kannada language. She was also very diligent and hardworking as the amount of homework she did was amazing. She decided to learn the Kannada language so that she could read independently. This shows that she possessed an independent spirit. She was also very religious and pious as she obeyed her holy scriptures and respected her teacher (granddaughter) irrespective of her age.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Poems by Milton - On Time XII-Elective English

Portrait of Milton, c. 1629

Poems by Milton - On Time XII-Elective English

Summary of the Poem

“On Time,” by the English poet John Milton (1608-1674), deals with one of the most common themes in all of medieval or Renaissance literature: the theme of mutability, or the idea that life on earth is full of constant (and mainly negative) change. The inevitable passage of time was a particularly painful example of such change, especially since it ultimately involved physical deterioration and then, eventually, physical death. Milton’s poem is a response to such gradual but certain decay. Like many other writers of his era (an era dominated by Christian thinking), Milton emphasized that humans can escape the ravages of time by attaining an eternal life in heaven that is full of joy.

Line 1 begins with the vigorous verb “Fly” (that is, “flee”), which immediately asserts the speaker’s vigor and self-confidence. Rather than being intimidated by time, he attacks and mocks it (much as John Donne attacks and mocks a personified Death in his Holy Sonnet X). Time is “envious,” a word which in Milton’s era mainly meant being hateful, malignant, and/or spiteful. But perhaps it also here suggests that Time, which is limited and bound to end, envies human beings, who are capable of existing eternally. In any case, by personifying time as “Time,” Milton makes it almost seem a living thing—an assertion which already implies a bit of irony since he soon suggests that Time will die. Time, in this poem, seems not merely an abstract philosophical concept; it is a malevolent, active being whom one must resist and defeat. The speaker, however, immediately implies that he feels no fear of Time; from the very first line, he suggests that Time is fated to suffer death.

Line 2 shows Milton’s talent for using sound effects. In this case, the effects involve not only alliteration (repetition of similar consonant sounds) but also assonance (repetition of similar vowel sounds), as in the repetition here of “l’s” and short “e’s”: “Call on the lazy leaden-stepping hours.” Having already mentioned the word “race” in line 1 (a word implying speed), the speaker now implies (through the use of the particular adjectives here) that Time moves very slowly. It is as if the speaker feels contempt for the “lazy leaden-stepping hours,” as if he is almost eager for Time to run its race as quickly as possible.

Line 3 once more emphasizes the slowness of Time by comparing its movement, appropriately enough, to that of a “plummet” (or weight) in a clock, which slowly descends and thus powers the time-piece.

Line 4 implies that Time is a kind of crude glutton, eager to consume living things and then digest them in its stomach (or “womb”). It is as if Time has now become a huge, personified gut—a kind of mindless, all-consuming stomach. Here again, then, the tone is completely contemptuous.

Line 5 again speaks of Time contemptuously, suggesting that what it greedily devours is in any case worthless, so that Time seems not only crude but also stupid. Time is willing to...(to be updated later)

Q. In the poem "On Time" by John Milton, why has the poet pitted the flight of Time against the "lazy leaden-stepping hours" and "the heavy Plummets pace"?


Milton is contrasting the seeming speed of life as it flies by and is finished to the seeming long length of individual days. He is also contrasting the ultimate end of human life with the ultimate annihilation of Time.

Fly envious Time, till thou run out thy race,
Call on the lazy leaden-stepping hours,
Whose speed is but the heavy Plummets pace;

The first line quoted here carries a Biblical allusion to the Christian notion that Time will eventually end, "till thou run out thy race," when Earth, space and time cease to exist at the end of the world, a time when a New Heaven and a New Earth without the limits of Time is expected. He defies Time's control over individual human lives in the words "Fly ... Time." The poetic narrator (presumably Milton himself) is mocking Time for two reasons. First, though life rushes past, each day has a "lazy leaden-" pace that goes only as fast as a lead weight, "Plummet." Second, Time will cease to be, "thy greedy self consum'd," but humans' lives will end in the long eternal "bliss" of unity with God:

And last of all, thy greedy self consum'd,
Then long Eternity shall greet our bliss
With an individual kiss;
And Joy shall overtake us as a flood,

In summary, Milton has developed a wonderful metaphoric paradox for understanding Time as something that is both too fast and yet prolonged: the whole is too fast but the individual parts are preciously slow. Milton further "pitted the flight of Time against the 'lazy leaden-stepping hours' and 'the heavy Plummets pace'" as a mark of defiance against the quickly spent short course of life and as a celebration of the eternal blissful life that is to follow.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Class X Literature - Footprints Without Feet - L-6 The Making of a Scientist

  1. What lesson does Ebright learn when he does not win anything at a science fair? Ebright learns that it is the experimentation that is important in science and not just showing the process. 
  2. What experiments and projects does he then undertake? He undertakes projects which involved the insect work.. In his eighth grade Ebright tried to find the cause of a viral disease that kills nearly all monarch caterpillars every few years.
  3. What are the qualities that go into the making of a Scientist? Curious mind, competitive spirit, determination and positive thinking are some of the qualities that go into the making of a scientist.
  4. How can one become a scientist? One can become a scientist or expert in any other subject by observing, thinking and doing experiments.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Essay-01 My Watch by Mark Twain

Class Notes - English - XI - Elective - Woven Words - Essay:01


  1. What was the importance of the watch to the author?

    The watch was important to the author as it showed him the correct time thus keeping him punctual. He had it working properly for 18 months until he let it run down. He had staunch faith on its judgement and its prediction. It worked perfectly until then without gaining or losing any part of it.
  2. What were the attempts made by the author to get his watch repaired?

    After a possession of 18 months, the author let his watch run down. Devastated, the author went to all possible watch makers starting from the chief jeweller, the very next day. The head of the establishment pushed the regulator of the watch a little too much, which did no good, rather worsened its condition. Then the author went to another watch maker who kept it for a week and slowed it down, however, too much. Then he went to another one who kept it for three days; and then couple of more. Even after having spent thousands dollars, none of the watch makers could fix the watch. Hopeless, the author gave it a last shot and went to a watch maker who turned out to be an erstwhile, not a good, steam-boat engineer. It was now that the author realised that "a good horse was a good horse until it had run away once, and that a good watch was a good watch until the repairers got a chance at it. "
  3. Why did the author finally give up on his watch?

    The author got the watch repaired seven times. By the end, he realised that the watch, with its original cost being two hundred dollars, had cost him two to three thousand on repairs itself. And the watch was still malfunctioning. It was when he reached the seventh watch maker and acknowledged the mechanic to be an old acquaintance, a steam-boat engineer of other days and not a good engineer. He gave his verdict like all other watch makers, the author was not gullible and this time he perceived what his uncle William used to say that a good horse was a good horse until it had run away once, and that a good watch was a good watch until the repairers got a chance at it. So, he finally gave up the repairing and decided to let the watch be.
  4. What was Uncle Williams’ comment on the ‘tinkerers’ of the world?

    Uncle William is not a character in the story; however, the author gives a glimpse of him. When the author gave the watch for mending the last time, he reckoned that it was costing him more than the original cost. All the attempts so far have been futile and the verdict of the last watch maker made him remember what uncle William used to say that a good horse was a good horse until it had run away once, and that a good watch was a good watch until the repairers got a chance at it. The author perceived what his uncle had known with all his knowledge and experience. All the unsuccessful tinkers in the world are not specialists. They are the 'Jacks' of all trades and masters of none. Uncle William used to wonder what became of all those gunsmiths, shoe-makers, engineers and blacksmiths who never could be successful in their work sphere. It is important to acquire specialisation at least in one particular field, else one is left being a tinker, an apprentice, and not a specialist.
  5. Explain these lines
    a. ‘I seemd to detect in myself a sort of sneaking fellow-feeling for the mummy in the museum, and a desire to swap news with him.’
    b. ‘Within a week it sickened to a raging fever and its pulse went up to a hundred and fifty in the shade.’
    c. ‘She makes too much steam—you want to hang the monkey wrench on the safety valve!’


    (a) After being oiled and cleaned and 'regulated' for the second time, the watch came home to the author after a week. However, the watch was slowed down to such a degree that the author missed all his appointments, his dinner. He felt like he was drifted in the past somewhere. Gradually the watch slowed even more, he felt like he was living in the previous week. The author felt like he missed all that was happening in the world. He was solitary and lingered in the past all because of his watch. The author here compares his situation to that of a mummy, who belongs to bygone ages. He felt it ideal to find a fellowship with the mummy in some museum he probably had been to or an imaginary one. He felt travelling in the past just like the mummy due to the slow time projected by his watch.

    (b) When the author let his watch run down after eighteen months, he took it to chief jeweller's to set it by the exact time. The head of the establishment however, despite being stopped by the author, pushed the regulator. This gave the watch, probably, a kick and the watch shot ahead of its time. It gained faster and faster, day by day. Post two months, it appeared to be having some sort of a fever with an extremely high pulse rate. It moved 13 days ahead of the actual date and when the year touched October, the author commented, the watch was enjoying the snow fall of November already. This erratic behaviour annoyed the author a lot and so he decided to get it doctored once again.

    (c) The seventh time the author took the watch to a watch maker, he reckoned the apprentice to be an old acquaintance, a steam-boat engineer of other days and not a good engineer. Like all watch makers, he diagnosed and gave his verdict. The author observed keenly and judged him at his very verdict when he said, "She makes too much steam-you want to hang the monkey wrench on the safety valve! The author immediately remembered what his uncle William used to say and perceived that a tinker is a tinker after all, this being an unsuccessful engineer and wondered like his uncle what became of all the unsuccessful tinkers.


  1. Replacing old machines with new is better than getting them repaired.
  2. It is difficult to part with personal items like a watch which have a sentimental value attached to them. 


  1. How is humour employed to comment on the pains that the author took to get his watch set right?

    It is funny how the author and his dear watch had to go through all the pain that was delivered by seven watch makers. In the end, it was all futile and no good was done to the watch. The seven episodes with the watch makers are humorous as while all the watch makers tried their hand on the watch, toying it all up and operating and exploring and dissembling and then assembling every inch of it, it all gave sheer pain to the author to whom the watch was so dear. Every time with all the hope and strength he took it to a new watch maker; however, not a single of all the tinkers could put it all back to place to make it function all properly. How strange it is that none of the seven watch makers could mend the watch while they all experimented and did all sorts of research and development on it.
  2. ‘The author’s treatment of the subject matter makes the readers identify themselves with the experience.’ Comment on this statement.

    Samuel L. Clemens, Mark Twain, had less than ten years of schooling. He worked as a printer's apprentice, a steamboat pilot, a prospector and a journalist. All this gave him varied experiences and a wide knowledge of humanity. In all his works, he brings in elements from his own experiences and his own life creating a replica of his own self. All his stories have a combination of realistic and make believe world. What he presents are the situations that any ordinary human might face in her/his daily life; thus, making them all appear very realistic and hence the readers easily connect to the story and identify themselves with the experiences. For instance, in the story, the author faced a problem that is so ordinary. Any of us might have a watch that malfunctions and has a simple error. However, the problem rather than being mended, aggravates every time we take it to be doctored. This is a typical example of how an ordinary human faces problems with not just gadgets; it might be a medical condition or as simple as an argument with a known face.
  3. Identify some of the improbable images the author has used to effect greater humour. 

    There are instances when the author goes on exaggerating the actual situation to add humour to the story. For example, when the watch is repaired for the second time, it slowed down. The description is a hyperbole of the actual happening. No matter how slow a watch is, it will show the time according to 12 hours, it cannot literally travel in the past. However, the way the author describes its watch enjoying snowfall before the season arrives is humorous. Also, the citation of the mummy is funny, plus it describes the mental state of the poor author.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Essay-03 - Patterns of Creativity

Class Notes - English - XI - Electictive - Woven Words - Essay:03


  1. How does Shelley’s attitude to science differ from that of Wordsworth and Keats?

    Wordsworth in his poem 'A Poet's Epitaph' looks at science with a critical mind. Even in the poem 'Tables Turned' he praises nature and appreciates the beauty it gives to the humanity: 

    "Up! up! my Friend, and quit your books;"

    "Enough of Science and of Art;
    Close up those barren leaves;
    Come forth, and bring with you a heart
    That watches and receives."

    Wordsworth requests us to be more inclined towards Nature because there is more wisdom in it. Keats in his poem 'Lamia' talks of two facets of human nature: one is sensual and other emotional. Keats calls philosophy destructive and pleasure unreal and calls them inseparable. However, it is not that one must take Wordsworth's and Keat's take as absolute. Shelley, for instance, is of a different opinion. For scientists it is best if they consider Shelley. A. N. Whitehead's testimony called Shelley's attitude to Science, an opposite pole to that of Wordsworth. He loved science, and was never tired of expressing in poetry the thoughts, which it suggests. Science symbolised to him joy, and peace, and illumination.
  2. ‘It is not an accident that the most discriminating literary criticism of Shelley’s thought and work is by a distinguished scientist, Desmond King-Hele.’ How does this statement bring out the meeting point of poetry and science? 

    A Desmond King-Hele, a British physicist, is the author of Shelley: His Thought and Work. He said that Shelley's attitude to science emphasises the surprising modern climate of thoughts in which he chose to live. Shelley describes the mechanisms of nature with a precision and wealth of detail. It is a perfect fusion of poetry and science. A scientist critically reviewing a poet's work on science. S. Chandrasekhar points out two examples from Shelley's poetry in support of what is said about him. He points out that in his poem Cloud, a creative myth, a scientific monograph, and a gay picaresque tale of cloud adventure are fused together. Then he cites an example from Prometheus Unbound, which has been described by Herbert Read as the greatest expression ever given to humanity's desire for intellectual light and spiritual liberty.
  3. What do you infer from Darwin’s comment on his indifference to literature as he advanced in years? 

    Darwin, a great scientist, known for his work On the Origin of Species, enjoyed literature only until he was 30, as he said. He enjoyed poetic works of Byron, Coleridge, Shelley, etc. immensely. Shakespeare's historical plays gave him much pleasure. However, as he advanced in his age to reach the benchmark of 30, the charm faded and he began losing interest in pictures and music that once gave him great delight. He tried reading poetry and Shakespeare; however, he found it so intolerably dull that it nauseated him. It is surprising that the answer to this change is in Darwin's own statement. His mind had become some kind of a  grinding machine to process laws out of facts. It caused atrophy of that part of the brain on which higher tastes depended. It was hard for Darwin to infer it as well and, thus, his romance with literature died away.
  4. How do the patterns of creativity displayed by scientists differ from those displayed by poets? 

    Poets are the bards celebrating the nature surrounding them. While, scientists are the ones to harvest nature and its mechanism and mark inventions. Poets such as Wordsworth and Keats criticise humans of exploiting nature. Whereas, scientists on the other hand utilize the given resources of nature to create and invent. However, it is not that there is an enmity between poets and scientists. Shelley said, undoubtedly the promoters of utility, in this limited sense, have their appointed office in society They make space and give time.Here we have Darwin, who enjoyed literature immensely, however, until he was thirty. He said later,' My mind seems to have become a kind of machine for grinding general laws out of large collections of facts but why this should have caused the atrophy of that part of the brain alone on which the higher tastes depend.Thus, it can be understood, while the poets celebrate the present and arrest it making it all immortal, the scientists create and invent leading us to a tomorrow, thus, marking a difference.
  5. What is the central argument of the speaker?

    In the essay patterns of creativity, S. Chandrasekhar tries to figure out the reason for the difference in the patterns of creativity among the practitioners in the arts and practitioners in the sciences. He did not answer it, rather, he made an assortment of remarks that bore the answer. He cites examples explaining how poets and scientists view each other defining the difference in their views. There are poets such as Wordsworth and Keats who are worshippers of nature, who believe that humans sabotage nature by the technological advancement. However, there are poets like Shelley, who do poetry on science. It is difficult to segregate the views and put them into water tight compartments. Darwin, for instance enjoyed literature immensely as it gave him utmost joy, but only till the age of 30. W. B. Yeats, in praise of Shelley's A Defence of Poetry, called it the profoundest essay on the foundation of poetry in the English language The author of the essay, Chandrasekhar wonders in the end that why is there no such A Defence of Science written by a scientist of equal endowment. Perhaps the answer to the question he knew already.


    1. ‘Poets are the unacknowledged legislators of the world’.

      Shelley in his famous essay, A Defence of Poetry, made the given statement. In his work, Shelley expressed his view on poetry and poets. The power of poetry and the beauty of it. It is true that poetry makes every thing immortal by arresting its enchanting beauty. It not just reflects, it has the power to ignite minds and bring change. Poetry inspires humanity. Like Shelley said, ? oets are...the mirrors or the gigantic shadows which futurity casts upon the present; the words which express what they understand not; the trumpets which sing to battle and feel not what they inspire; the influence which is moved not, but moves.It is poetry that bears the future and inspire minds. It beholds the past and mirrors the present as well. Poets are the subtle revolutionaries of our society. In fact, not just poets but all the great authors as well. They are the force that drive the society to newness and are moral critics. They participate in the society not just as viewers, but they keep a watch and express their criticism or appreciation through their work.
    2. Poetry and science are incompatible.

      There are two perspectives to every issue. While poets like Wordsworth and Keats condemn man of exploiting nature and moving towards science, Shelley is a scientific poet, who even in his poems like his Cloud. Shelley loved science and expressed it in his poetry.? It symbolised to him joy, and peace, and illumination. Charles Darwin, being such a great scientist was immensely fond of literature, especially in his youth. However, another scientist, Faraday, who was absolutely engrossed in his scientific experiments about electricity and made great invention. It is always difficult to conclude whether poets and scientists are compatible or not. There will be many such poets and scientists fond of science and poetry. While there will be many who are only concerned about their subject.
    3. ‘On reading Shelley’s A Defence of Poetry, the question insistently occurs why there is no similar A Defence of  Science written by a scientist of equal endowment.’

      A person who is passionate about her/his subject is bound to praise it profoundly. The only difference might be in the medium of expression. While a poet chooses words to praise his subject, a scientist may choose an invention to express his passion. This is natural. Thus, it is so that Shelley came up with a writing piece and Faraday discovering the laws of electromagnetic induction and his discoveries led him to formulate concepts such as 'lines of force' and 'fields of force'. It is not that scientists do not defend their subject, Faraday did defend his discoveries by answering Gladstone that there was every probability of the government taxing the electricity soon. Just the medium one chooses to defend their subject matters.


    1. How does the ‘assortment of remarks’ compiled by the author give us an understanding of the ways of science and poetry? 

      [answer same as that of Q.5. Modify the answer accordingly]
    2. Considering that this is an excerpt from a lecture, how does the commentary provided by the speaker string the arguments together? 
    3. The Cloud ‘fuses together a creative myth, a scientific monograph, and a gay picaresque tale of cloud adventure’— explain.

    Thursday, December 4, 2014

    Chapter 04-The Adventure of the Three Garridebs - Arthur Conan Doyle

    Class Notes - English - XI - Elective - Woven Words - Chapter:04


    1. What clues did Sherlock Holmes work upon to get at the fact that the story of the three Garridebs was a ruse?

      Sherlock Holmes noticed that the gentleman who was paying visit to him and his friend Watson under the name of John Garrideb was not what he purported to be because there were discrepancies in his statements as well as appearance. John Garrideb’s claim that he was new to London was not true because the dress that he was wearing was British and that too a worn out one. John’s accent also hinted that he was staying in London for quite some time. Moreover John’s story about Alexander Hamilton Garrideb of Chicago fell flat when he claimed that he knew Dr. Lysander Starr of Topeka very well, a bait cleverly placed by Holmes. Sherlock Holmes also noticed that the advertisement shown to him by John Garrideb apparently placed by Howard Garrideb contained words which were mainly used in USA, proving that it was none other than John Garrideb himself who placed the advertisement. 

      All the above mentioned discrepancies proved that the story of three Garridebs was a ruse.
    2. What was John Garrideb’s objective in inventing the story of Alexander Hamilton Garrideb and his legacy?

      John Garrideb's objective was to gain entry into the house of Nathan Garrideb. He wanted to enter the house because before Nathan Garrideb the house was rented to Presbury, the American criminal, who was running a racket of counterfeit British notes and currencies in a secret  basement in the house of Nathan Garrideb. John and Presbury being friends back then worked in tandem and knew about each others' secrets. When John shot Presbury dead he wanted to lay his hands on the counterfeit notes printing machine and currencies lying hidden in the basement of the house where Nathan Garrideb lived. But Nathan Garrideb proved a hindrance in his planning for he hardly left his dwellings. This led John Garrideb to invent the story of Hamilton Garrideb and his legacy. Nathan Garrideb almost fell in the trap except the fact that he got over enthusiastic and involved Holmes in the hunt of the third Garrideb.
    3. Why didn't John Garrideb like the idea of including Holmes in the hunt for the third Garrideb?

      John Garrideb didn't like the idea of including Holmes in the hunt for the third Garrideb because he feared that his fictitious story of three Garridebs might get busted. His worst fears came true at the end, because Holmes noticed all the discrepancies in his statements and pinned down John Garrideb while he was entering the basement of Nathan Garrideb's house to take away the counterfeit currencies.
    4. Who was Roger Presbury and how was John Garrideb connected with him?

      Roger Presbury was an American criminal who was living in Britain and was involved in counterfeit currency business. He was shot by John Garrideb over cards in a night club on the Waterloo Road in January, 1895. Sherlock found out that his appearance matched with the appearance of Waldron, the previous tenant of the lodging in which now Nathan Garrideb lived. Presbury aka Waldron had hidden a note printing press in his basement and John Garrideb knew about it. It was this printing press that John Garrideb was after and carved out the whole plan to acquire it.
    5. How did Holmes guess that John Garrideb would go to 136, Little Ryder Street? Did he expect to find what he ultimately did before he went there?

      Once it became clear to Holmes that John Garrideb wants to send Nathan Garrideb away for a while, he sensed that there must be something at 136, Little Ryder Street that was of immense importance to John, Holmes expected John Garrideb to show up.Meanwhile Holmes and his friend Watson ensured that John did not suspect that they have any inkling of his plans of sending Nathan Garrideb away. Holmes and Watson did put the man at ease by clearing it to him that they were least interested in any matter and won his confidence by showing that they were just to help him in discovering another Garrideb. Expecting John they arrived and hid themselves in the house at 136, Little Ryder Street and did catch John Garrideb..


    1. Examine the structure of the short story ‘Adventure of the Three Garridebs’ with the help of this framework
    • The narrator of the story
    • Introduction of the topic of the story
    • Introduction of the main characters in the plot
    • Development of the plot
    • Climax
    • Resolution of the mystery.

    The introduction of the story: The story opens with a faint reflection of the climax. Watson, the narrator, does not give the climax entirely. However, he does tell the reader how the experience will be in the end.
    Introduction of the topic of the story: The narrator does not hit the nail on the head, he rather lets the reader explore the story as the situation unfolds itself. However, Watson does not make the reader wait for too long.

    Introduction of the main characters in the plot: Watson, the narrator takes the hold of the narration in the very beginning introducing the reader to the story. However we get to know him only once he introduces the reader to him. And it is when Holmes addresses Watson, we come to know the name of the narrator. For it is a first person narrative, we have to wait and move as the narrator describes all the events.

    Development of the plot: In the beginning, Holmes is talking about a person with a particular surname and that there is a need to find a person with the surname. Then he tells Watson to wait for the person who has assigned the task to the detective as Holmes wants the person in question himself to explain the situation to his friend. Then arrives, John Garrideb of Kansas, who explains the reason for why is there a need of another surname. And it is made clear for why Nathan approached Holmes for the task as it was John who approached Nathan for the same reason. And then further the story unfolds and with it is the truth explored.

    Climax: The climax is built as the series of events are described. There are clues laid for the reader to guess, yet the narrator does not give away the resolution. The reader guesses the possibilities. Ultimately a stage comes where the story reaches its height when Holmes is sure of the identity of the suspect and is sure of evil intentions and yet his motives are not clear. It is all to be discovered by the reader as he/she advances to the final tragedy.

    Resolution of the mystery: The resolution unleashes a comical tragedy. The reader is surprised and feels funny as well, thanks to the witty detective that leads the case. A faint reflection of the emotions that the reader might go in the ending were already given in the beginning, yet the resolution was unknown. It is not just the tragedy revealed but along with it is revealed the other side of the main character Sherlock Holmes and his friendship with Dr. Watson. There is more than expected revealed. The digressions of Holmes are justified in the end as well. It was a mystery resolved in the end.

    1. Examine the subtle humour in the narration of the story that lightens the gravity of the subject matter.

      The story's wittiest character is the detective Sherlock Holmes whose digressions are most funny. How in the middle of a sensitive interrogation he points out to the suspect that he appears to be a English, though the suspect exclaims that he is an American. In the beginning when Holmes is explaining the case to Watson, he remarks that there is a chance to make money with this case as if it is they and not the Garridebs who will be given the inheritance of Alexander Garrideb. The most interesting part is the style with which Holmes talks or discusses any information. Even while explaining a serious matter he adapts a casual style. For example, again while in the beginning Holmes is explaining the case to Watson, he did not give away the people already involved in the case. However, he tells that Nathan is already taken in as Watson comes across his name in the directory. He did not even tell the name of the mastermind John Garrideb until Mrs. Hudson approached with the card signed by Garrideb. There are many such instances that make the mystery light-hearted and the reader is not burned by it.

    Saturday, November 29, 2014

    L-3 The Rocking-horse Winner - XI English Elective - Woven Words


    1. What was the reason for young Paul’s restlessness at the beginning of the story? How did it find expression?

      Young Paul is restless at the beginning of the story because he was told by his mother that they were not lucky therefore don't have enough money to have a car and other luxuries of life. Besides young Paul had a feeling that deep down his mother was not as happy as she appeared to be. She blamed young Paul's father for not being lucky and making her unlucky as well because she was married to him. 
      This restlessness found an expression in the form of young Paul riding his rocking horse and mentally intensified thinking that he was lucky. While riding the horse young Paul appeared to posses some kind supernatural power and his eyes shone bright. 

    2. Why do you think Paul’s mother was not satisfied with the yearly birthday gift of 1,000 pounds for five years?

      Paul's mother was not satisfied with the yearly birthday gift of 1000 pounds for five years because she was an unsatisfied lot. She always had the feeling that she deserved a better treatment from life and this resulted in not showing any enthusiasm for the handsome birthday gift from Paul. Instead Paul started to hear more whispers from the house for more money.
    3. What was the reason for the anxiety of Paul’s mother as he grew older?

      The anxiety of Paul's mother grew as Paul grew older because now his tense behaviour, and too much indulgence in horse races and betting was taking a toll on his health. She was very concerned so she inquired to her house maid Miss Wilmot about him in the middle of the party. She also tried to send away Paul to a boarding school so that he could focus more on his studies and less on horse races. Little did she realise that the Paul is the victim of her own making. His efforts to prove himself lucky and bring more money in the house took him to the border of autism and finally he paid for his schizophrenic with his life.
    4. Paul’s final bet made the family rich but cost him his life. Explain. 

      Paul is a child who desperately seeks her mother's love and attention. He want to hear that unlike his father he is lucky. But the mother over burdened with the extra baggage of civility and modern lifestyle doesn't realise her child's intentions. Instead there was a feeling in the household that they need more money and even more money. Paul takes it upon himself to prove that he is lucky. He schizophrenically rides his rocking horse and imagines himself lucky. This he did frequently. Meanwhile he started betting on horse races with the help of Basset, their gardener. He bet only on the horses which he happened to know to be lucky during his frantic rocking horse ridings.
      As the events proceeded and he gifted his mother a handsome amount of 5000 pounds, the voices in the house for money grew louder. The pressure on him compelled to bet on races which he shouldn't have put his money in because he received no hint for the lucky horse from the rocking horse ridings. But he did bet and lost. This made him more morose. Before the Derby he was extremely schizophrenic to get a winner. He stopped eating and thought all the time about the race and winning. He spent much time on his rocking horse to get a clue. In the process he became autistic and seriously ill, but got his hint. He indicated Basset to bet on the horse Malabar and he won 80,000 pounds. But it all was a little too much for the young child and he died.
    1. 'Luck is necessary for success in life'.

      There are many who believe luck is important and one may find many such who believe in hard work. It is not though that those who believe in luck do not work hard. It is just that they believe in “do your best and God will do the rest However, there are those who completely blame their fate for everything and do not do anything to change or improve it. Still there are people that believe that hard work is greater than luck and that it has the power to change the destiny. One may find various beliefs around them and it depends on what they chose to believe in.
    2. Although Paul's mother liked to be rich she did not approve of betting on horses.

      Paul's mother foolishly wished to be rich and yet was not able to achieve or materialise her desire. She blamed it on her husband for being unlucky. However, she was one of those humans who do not tread as per their cloth. She was used to a lavish lifestyle and blamed her husband and misfortune for low income. Yet there was one thing appreciable about her that she was against gambling. She did remark in her conversation with her brother that she had seen her family members pursuing it and how it led to their fall. She advised her son to not indulge in it and made him promise that he will not think about racing horses any more.
    3. What were the voices that Paul heard? Did they lead him to success in the real sense?

      Although the house Paul and his family lived in was a pleasant one, the money they had was not enough to maintain the social position they had to keep up. The mother realised that father had no luck to make enough money so she decided to do something on her own. It was then that the house started whispering from every corner that “there must be more money The sounds started haunting the place and made Paul very uncomfortable and distressed and disturbed him. Though there were expensive gifts coming on Christmas, Paul could hear behind the shining rocking horse that “there must be more money It is plausible that Paul was schizophrenic and imagined the voices on being stressed due to their misery. As it is written in the text that no body said it aloud and there is no mention of anyone else hearing such voices, it is clear that Paul imagined his fears giving them voice. Paul's fear transferred into him through his mother constantly haunted him and became his driving force. The boy was oedipal and unknowingly wished to replace his father from his mother's life. So, the autistic boy drove his shinning horse ferociously until he “got there and would be sure of the horse that would win the next race. There were times when he was not sure, so he would be careful. The gardener Bassett was his partner throughout. Later even uncle Oscar joined as such was the conviction with which Paul used to declare the winning horse's name, and the horse used to win in actual. Call it clairvoyance or sheer luck, which he aspired to have to prove to be worthy of his mother's luck, Paul made money by betting on horses and finally left 80,000 pounds for his family by losing himself.


    1. Examine the communication channels in the story between
      a. Paul and his mother
      b. Paul and Bassett
      c. Paul and his uncle
      d. Basset and Paul's uncle
      e. Paul's mother and his uncle

      a. Paul and her mother shared the most intimate conversation through eyes. Though they were not actually love bound to each other as in the first paragraph, the author says that it was the children and the mother alone who knew that there was no love in their relation, they knew it because they read in each other's eyes.

      b. The friendship of Paul and Bassett or to say more clearly their partnership was an affectionate relation between them. Bassett knew and understood what the rest failed to even notice. He brought all the news of racing horses to Paul and then the clairvoyant Paul will decide in his trance who was to be the winner.

      c. Paul and uncle Oscar became partners soon after uncle discovers that Paul has an uncanny knowledge that makes him predict the winning horse. However, there is more to it, he realises that the whole betting thing was making Paul nervous and was hampering his health. However, Oscar Creswell asks Paul on how to win by betting, to which the child innocently replies that he just knows who is going to win once he “gets there".

      d. Bassett and uncle Creswell shared a bond since long back. However, as Bassett had promised to Paul he never told about his betting to uncle Oscar as well. But later he found himself explaining things to Creswell and the three of them became partners.

      e. It would be totally unfair to call Hester that harsh a lady for she did care about her children after all, however, she gave importance to materialistic gains. When she realised her sons obsession with the racing horses, she asked Bassett the gardener to keep Paul away from Oscar so it did not affect her son's health. She realised that the obsession was proving to be neurotic for her son and she wanted her son to be healthy and for that she risked her relation with her dear brother.
    2. How has the author linked the symbol of the rocking-horse to Paul's triumphs at the races?

      The rocking-horse is one of the three symbols present in the story that Lawrence has dealt with throughout the story. The horse is symbolic of the victory that Paul achieves at last. The materialistic gain and the importance of money over love. The whispering that haunts Paul that “there must be more money and the rocking-horse are interrelated. The want of money to achieve the love of mother that he never had, he goes on betting and earning more and more, thus, proving his luck. The boy when asked his mother for what is luck, she explained him that luck is what brings one money. The boy is disheartened to know that his father has no luck and so will not make money. He is sad at the implication that he will never have his mother's love who is all consumed by indebtedness. The boy, autistic as he is, with some clairvoyance rides his horse harder and ferociously till he “gets there It shows his desperation to physically win his mother's love by winning the race and thus earning more money, as “there must be more money Post the ride, Paul will stand facing the horse with his legs apart and he would look at the bent head of the horse and its shining eyes. These interpret just one thing, the determination, the wanting, the longing for money. It is about success, money, love and most importantly, winning. And Paul gets it all, he wins and gets her mother the money through his triumphs in races. And he even found her love as she grew too concerned about her son's obsession with the races that eventually killed him.
    3. The ending of the story is an instance of irony. Suppose Paul had not died at the end, how would you have reacted to the story?

      It is true that a tragedy digs a deeper mark than a happy ending. It causes an emotional catharsis in the audience. Had the story had a happy ending it would have been pleasant, however, the reader would not have felt the emotions and passion that drove Paul to his inevitable climax. Yet some may find it not justified to have killed the boy at the end of the story that went so well with Paul achieving what he wanted all the while, money and love both. He sacrificed his life to bring to his mother what his father couldn't and thus proved to be worthy of her affection, which hungered for. However, one can not have all the happiness in the world. They say that God is cruel when he gives us something, he gives it to us only with one had while taking away with the other our most cherished possession. So, it can not be said that the death of Paul was justified or other way round; however, it is ironical. Had he lived post the Derby win, who knows what shape the story might have taken. Maybe what happens happens for some good yet it would have brought the story to a happy ending had Paul lived.

    Thursday, November 27, 2014

    Poem 01 - The Peacock - English Elective Class XI Notes - Woven Words

    Poem 01 - The Peacock


    His loud sharp call
    seems to come from nowhere.
    Then, a flash of turquoise
    in the pipal tree.
    The slender neck arched away from you
      as he descends,
    and as he darts away, a glimpse
      of the very end of his tail. 
    I was told
    that you have to sit in the veranda
      and read a book,
    preferably one of your favourites
      with great concentration.
    The moment you begin to live
    inside the book
    a blue shadow will fall over you.
    The wind will change direction,
    The steady hum of bees
    In the bushes nearby
    Will stop.
    The cat will awaken and stretch.
    Something has broken your attention;
    And if you look up in time
    You might see the peacock
    turning away as he gathers in his tail
    to shut those dark glowing eyes,
    violet fringed with golden amber.
    It is the tail that has to blink
    for eyes that are always open.


    The theme of this poem is the beauty of nature and the importance of being present in the moment to fully appreciate it. The peacock is used as a symbol of this beauty and is described in vivid detail, capturing the reader's attention and encouraging them to take notice of the world around them. The poem also suggests that we need to let go of distractions and be fully immersed in the present moment in order to truly appreciate the beauty that surrounds us.


    At the outset of the poem, the poet portrays the peacock's grandeur and loveliness. Throughout the verses, the poet anthropomorphizes the peacock as a male entity, referring to him as 'he.' The bird's piercing cry is difficult to locate, as it appears to emanate from an indiscernible source. The sound actually comes from the peacock, which can effortlessly fly to the top of a pipal or peepal tree, where it is often hidden. Against the verdant background of the pipal tree, the peacock's distinct turquoise hue (a combination of blue and green) glimmers. When it senses a human watching it, it moves its slim neck and darts away, leaving behind only a fleeting glimpse of its tail.

    The poet now describes a small ritual for seeing a peacock that she has been advised to follow. One should sit on the veranda and immerse themselves in a book, preferably a cherished favorite. Once the reader is fully absorbed in the book's world, a blue shadow will descend upon them, and the wind will shift, subtly drawing attention to the surroundings. The atmosphere grows tranquil ("The steady hum of bees /In the bushes nearby will stop").

    The peacock's cry, similar to that of a cat, will be audible ("The cat will awaken and stretch"), drawing attention. If spotted in time, the observer may catch a glimpse of the peacock. The peacock gracefully turns away, its tail feathers closed like shut eyelids, revealing violet borders and golden amber fillers. "It is the tail that has to blink" (the motion of the tail swaying is likened to blinking), but "the eyes are always open," and the patterns never fade. The observer will feel a sense of inner radiance and stillness that is deep and profound.

    The scene's depiction highlights the difficulty of seeing a peacock (underscoring the bird's significance), as peacocks are revered, sacred birds that are not frequently encountered in the world. In Indian culture, peacocks are considered celestial and symbolize beauty and power.


    1. Comment on the lines that make you visualise the colourful image of the peacock.

      The lines which help us visualise the colourful image of the peacock are as follows:
      “a flash of turquoise”, “A blue shadow will fall over you", “To shut those dark glowing eyes”, “Violet fringed with golden amber”.
      These lines give us a clear picture of the magnificent bird in all its glory.
    2. What are the cues that signal the presence of the peacock in the vicinity?

      A loud sharp call, flash of turquoise, a disappearing tail end, a blue shadow, the wind changing its direction and the awakening of the cat and its stretch are an indication that a peacock is in the vicinity.
    3. How does the connection drawn between the tail and the eyes add to the descriptive detail of the poem?

      The pattern on the tail of a peacock looks like eyes, but these eyes cannot be blinked. Rather the tail when contracted appears to give an illusion of blinking a lot of eyes together. This adds to the descriptive details of the poem.
    4. How does the poem capture the elusive nature of the peacock?

      The poem captures the elusive nature of the peacock by describing its activities that signal its presence indirectly. For example in the opening line of the poem we hear “His loud sharp call”, or we get a “glimpse of the very end of his tail” in the last line of the first stanza.
      If someone tries his best to get a glimpse of the elusive bird, he “might see the peacock turning away as he gathers his tail”.
      Such a description presents a very elusive nature of the peacock.
    5. The peacock is a colourful bird. How does the poem capture the various colours that its plumage displays?

      The poem captures the various colours of the peacock’s plumage by use of expressions like “turquoise”, “blue shadow”, “dark glowing eyes” and “Violet fringed with golden amber”. These expressions as we can see present the colours associated with peacocks very beautifully.

    Monday, November 24, 2014

    Poem-02 - Let Me Not to the Marriage of True Minds - English Elective Class XI Notes - Woven Words

    Poem-02 - Let Me Not to the Marriage of True Minds by William Shakespeare

    Let me not to the marriage of true minds
    Admit impediments. Love is not love
    Which alters when it alteration finds,
    Or bends with the remover to remove:
    O no; it is an ever-fixed mark,
    That looks on tempests, and is never shaken;
    It is the star to every wandering bark,
    Whose worth's unknown, although his height be taken.
    Love's not Time's fool, though rosy lips and cheeks
    Within his bending sickle's compass come;
    Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,
    But bears it out even to the edge of doom.
    If this be error and upon me proved,
    I never writ, nor no man ever loved.


    Let me not declare any reasons why two true-minded people should not be married. Love is not love which changes when it finds a change in circumstances, or bends from its firm stand even when a lover is unfaithful: Oh no! it is a lighthouse that sees storms but it is never shaken; Love is the guiding north star to every lost ship, whose value cannot be calculated, although its altitude can be measured. Love is not at the mercy of Time, though physical beauty comes within the compass of his sickle. Love does not alter with hours and weeks, but, rather, it endures until the last day of life. If I am proved wrong about these thoughts on love, then I recant all that I have written, and no man has ever [truly] loved.


    The poem is titled "Sonnet 116" and is a sonnet written by William Shakespeare. It is a love poem that celebrates the power and endurance of true love.

    The poem begins with the speaker stating that true love is not hindered by external forces or impediments. The love described is not a love that changes with circumstances or that is affected by external influences. Instead, it is an "ever-fixed mark" that remains constant even in the face of adversity.

    The speaker then goes on to compare true love to a star that guides wandering ships, emphasizing the importance and value of this type of love. The poem suggests that true love is a force that is not easily swayed by time or external factors.

    The next stanza refers to the inevitable effects of time and aging, represented by "rosy lips and cheeks / Within his bending sickle's compass come." However, the speaker argues that true love is not subject to the same limitations and that it endures even in the face of aging and death.

    Finally, the poem concludes with the speaker stating that if he is wrong in his beliefs about true love, then he has never written anything of value and no one has ever truly loved. This line reinforces the strength and conviction of the speaker's beliefs about love.

    Overall, the poem celebrates the power and endurance of true love, emphasizing that it is a force that remains constant even in the face of adversity and the passing of time.

    Imagery Used in the Sonnet 116

    Sonnet 116 uses a variety of powerful and vivid imagery to convey the idea of enduring, true love.

    In the first quatrain, the speaker uses the metaphor of a "marriage of true minds" to describe the nature of true love. This image evokes the idea of two people who are deeply connected and united in their love for one another.

    The second quatrain uses a nautical metaphor to describe true love as an "ever-fixed mark / That looks on tempests and is never shaken." The image of a fixed mark or beacon that guides ships through storms suggests that true love provides stability and direction in difficult times.

    The third quatrain compares true love to a star that guides lost ships, suggesting that love is a guiding force that leads people through the challenges of life. The image of the star is also associated with beauty and wonder, emphasizing the idea that true love is a precious and valuable thing.

    In the final quatrain, the speaker uses the metaphor of Time as a "bending sickle" that inevitably takes away youth and beauty. However, the speaker argues that true love "bears it out even to the edge of doom," suggesting that it is an enduring force that remains steadfast in the face of aging and death.

    Overall, the imagery used in Sonnet 116 emphasizes the strength, endurance, and guiding qualities of true love. By comparing love to enduring symbols such as a fixed mark, a star, and a beacon, the speaker creates a powerful image of love as a guiding force that can lead people through the challenges of life.


    marriage...impediments (1-2): T.G. Tucker explains that the first two lines are a "manifest allusion to the words of the Marriage Service: 'If any of you know cause or just impediment why these two persons should not be joined together in holy matrimony'; cf. Much Ado 4.1.12. 'If either of you know any inward impediment why you should not be conjoined.' Where minds are true - in possessing love in the real sense dwelt upon in the following lines - there can be no 'impediments' through change of circumstances, outward appearance, or temporary lapses in conduct." (Tucker, p. 192). 

    bends with the remover to remove (4): i.e., deviates ("bends") to alter its course ("remove") with the departure of the lover. 

    ever-fixed mark (5): i.e., a lighthouse (mark = sea-mark).
    Compare Othello (5.2.305-7): 

    Be not afraid, though you do see me weapon'd;
    Here is my journey's end, here is my butt,
    And very sea-mark of my utmost sail. 

    the star to every wandering bark (7): i.e., the star that guides every lost ship (guiding star = Polaris). Shakespeare again mentions Polaris (also known as "the north star") in Much Ado About Nothing (2.1.222) and Julius Caesar (3.1.65). 

    Whose worth's unknown, although his height be taken (8): The subject here is still the north star. The star's true value can never truly be calculated, although its height can be measured. 

    Love's not Time's fool (9): i.e., love is not at the mercy of Time. 

    Within his bending sickle's compass come (10): i.e., physical beauty falls within the range ("compass") of Time's curved blade. Note the comparison of Time to the Grim Reaper, the scythe-wielding personification of death. 

    edge of doom (12): i.e., Doomsday. Compare 1 Henry IV (4.1.141): 

    Come, let us take a muster speedily:
    Doomsday is near; die all, die merrily. 

    Sonnet 116 is about love in its most ideal form. The poet praises the glories of lovers who have come to each other freely, and enter into a relationship based on trust and understanding. The first four lines reveal the poet's pleasure in love that is constant and strong, and will not "alter when it alteration finds." The following lines proclaim that true love is indeed an "ever-fix'd mark" which will survive any crisis. In lines 7-8, the poet claims that we may be able to measure love to some degree, but this does not mean we fully understand it. Love's actual worth cannot be known – it remains a mystery. The remaining lines of the third quatrain (9-12), reaffirm the perfect nature of love that is unshakeable throughout time and remains so "ev'n to the edge of doom", or death. 

    In the final couplet, the poet declares that, if he is mistaken about the constant, unmovable nature of perfect love, then he must take back all his writings on love, truth, and faith. Moreover, he adds that, if he has in fact judged love inappropriately, no man has ever really loved, in the ideal sense that the poet professes. The details of Sonnet 116 are best described by Tucker Brooke in his acclaimed edition of Shakespeare's poems: 

    [In Sonnet 116] the chief pause in sense is after the twelfth line. Seventy-five per cent of the words are monosyllables; only three contain more syllables than two; none belong in any degree to the vocabulary of 'poetic' diction. There is nothing recondite, exotic, or metaphysical in the thought. There are three run-on lines, one pair of double-endings. There is nothing to remark about the rhyming except the happy blending of open and closed vowels, and of liquids, nasals, and stops; nothing to say about the harmony except to point out how the fluttering accents in the quatrains give place in the couplet to the emphatic march of the almost unrelieved iambic feet. In short, the poet has employed one hundred and ten of the simplest words in the language and the two simplest rhyme-schemes to produce a poem which has about it no strangeness whatever except the strangeness of perfection. (Brooke, p. 234)


    1. ‘Constancy’ is the theme of the poem. Indicate the words, phrases and images that suggest the theme.

      "an ever-fixed mark", "never shaken"; "Love’s not Time’s fool", "Love alters not", "bears it out even to the edge of doom" are some of the expressions that suggest the theme that love is permanent.
    2. Why do you think the poet has used so many ‘negatives’ to make his statement?

      ‘negatives’ are an effective tool to prove one’s point. It highlights the other side of the coin to bring home the positive points of the statement very effectively. In this case the poet puts forward all the negative aspects that love is taken for, and then argues that love is something permanent and beyond physical beauty.
    3. What does the line ‘I never writ, nor no man ever loved’ imply?It implies that if the poet is proved wrong about these thoughts on love, then he will recant all that he has written, and no man has ever [truly] loved.