Jammu and Kashmir, India .
Jammu and Kashmir, India .
Mr. K. Karkuvel Raja M.A.
Research Scholar, The American College, Madurai 625 002
Business organizations are made up of personnel who play a vital role in attaining profit and progress. Soft skills are mandatory for an employee to work in an organization. Teamwork, group activity, team compatibility becomes essential in the modern business world. Personnel have to make sure that he/she has developed the required soft skills to work in an organization. Communication is a part and parcel of business environment. Miscommunication of the data leads to misunderstanding between the personnel in a team. Group discussion is an activity that tests the team co-ordination, compatibility and coexistence to a great level. So, interpersonal relationship has to be improved to maintain unity among the employees. Thus, more emphasis is given to the group discussion which not only helps to develop communication skills but also to improve the soft shills of the personnel.
The researcher attempts to prove that group discussion can be considered as an effective strategy in improving soft skills of the personnel. Enhancement of communication skills is achieved during the course of group discussion.
Business is not only about profit and loss, it also involves with the management of human resources. For a learner of Business Administration course, the need to have Soft skills is of high priority. Soft skills develop the personality of an individual. The attitude, behavior, personality plays a vital role in the organizational behavior. Soft skills groom an individual’s personality by making them adjustable to the working environment. Proper behavior, attitude can be achieved only through soft skills.
For a learner of Business Administration, the need to learn soft skills is inevitable. The learners should learn soft skills in order to make them flexible to different complex situations. The leadership quality, coordination, time management and other quality can be only possessed by individuals who have acquired soft skills. Business students who are trying to enter into the business world should consider soft skills as a mandatory factor. Soft skills help to trim one’s personality and make it suitable for the working environment. Thus soft skill has to be acquired by the learners so that, they can become successful in their business in future.
Acquisition of Soft skills is fundamental for everyone in the modern scenario. Soft skills cannot be learned, it can only be acquired. Teaching soft skills to a learner is not enough, and then the true purpose of soft skills will be degraded. Printed materials and notes cannot be enough to teach soft skills. Practical experience and training helps the learner to acquire soft skills. Leadership rights, coordination, cooperation, and tem work can be achieved only when learners are put into such a situation. Practical knowledge paves the way for the acquisition of interpersonal relationships. Situations are the perfect masters to teach soft skills. Thus, acquisition of soft skills has to be obtained practically and not theoretically.
Group discussion has become a part of the cooperate sector. Group discussion is even considered as a stage in the selection process of an interview. Even students of Business Administration are taught that the group discussion as a management game. Group discussion is considered is an activity that gives opportunities for all the participants to quote their ideas. Situational analysis and decision making plays a tricky role in the progression of a business. Nowadays, Group discussion has been promoted from a management activity to a common activity that all are meant to perform.
For an individual to sustain in a group; coordination, cooperation, team work, correlation, and trust are fundamental. Group discussion provides the chance to improve coordination among the group. Each and every individual can contribute to the discussion which encourages them. The participation of all the individuals makes them believe that they are also important for the group. By listening to other’s ideas and opinions mutual understanding between the learners can be enhanced. Leadership ability can be tested with the help of these kinds of discussions. Encouragement, motivation leads to a healthy discussion. All these traits shape the personality of the personal.
Group discussion provides opportunities for all the participants. By giving their ideas in front of all other participants’ one can learn how to speak in a group. Giving space for others to speak, team unity can be improved. Through discussions the participants can know about one another, their coordination can reach the greater level. Team work is the key element for every business. Students who want to enter into business should possess interpersonal relationships in order to run a business.
Language is essential for a communication. Even though business communication is different from the ordinary communication, Language plays a vital role in it. For a communication to happen proficiency over a language has to be improved. In group discussion, communication makes the discussion worthwhile. It is in the part of the participants to avoid miscommunication. The information that is spoken in the discussion should be accurate. All the ideas should be noted so that the individuals will feel that they are given importance in the discussion. They are certain nuisances for how to conduct a group discussion. All those should be taken into consideration in a discussion.
Communication skill can be enhanced through group discussion. For a business man, communication is mandatory. Communication determines to the profit and loss of the business. For a learner of business administration, Communication is much important as the management skills. Students should have good language proficiency so that they can be fluent and flawless in their communication. Proper practice and experience can help the students to improve their interpersonal relationship. In a classroom the discussions should be provided for them to gain more soft skills. By giving those situations which can acquire in the business and making them discuss their views knowledge about the problems in the business can be obtained.
In business, art of communication is must. One must know when to speak and how to speak. Giving right information at the wrong time may also ruin the Business process. Group discussion also teaches the art of communication. Interactive skills can be improved by practicing group discussion. The freedom to communicate and address the group encourages the students to speak. Group discussion is not only a management tool for business students but also a strategic tool to improve interactive and soft skills of the students
Soft skills are essential for all students. It plays an important role in our life. Grooming one’s personality is much important as gaining knowledge. Classrooms are the place where ample opportunities are provided for the students to nurture their personalities. Group discussion can be performed in a Classroom; this increases the involvement of the students and encourages them to participate in all other activities. Making students to discuss an issue in a classroom helps them to understand about a group and its behavior.
By putting forth an argument among students their knowledge on that specific topic can also be examined. The knowledge they possess over that issue will help them to solve business problems in future. Problem analysis and decision has to be done simultaneously. In group discussion, students are provided with the chance of knowing more about a single issue and they can also get much solution which can solve that issue. Students of all discipline should be given soft skills training so that they can cultivate good interpersonal skills.
If group discussion is to be done in a classroom, teacher should take a key role. The teacher should act as a guide in need. The teacher should teach about the soft skills before conducting the discussion so that the students will know about the skills that they have to develop. During the discussion, the teacher has to make sure that all the students participate in the discussion. Repeated participation of a single student has to be avoided. Teacher should act as a facilitator during the course of the discussion. A model group discussion can help the learners to know the reason behind the group discussion. After the discussion is over the teacher has to identify the skills that the individual is lacking and the skills that the individual is good at. From the next time onwards, the teacher should stay out of the discussion; so that the students can perform freely without any intrusion. By repeatedly making the students engage in such programs soft skills can be enhanced.
Group discussion is seen to be a management activity but it has influence over one’s personality. An individual can be judged by the way he performs in the group discussion. Personality of an individual can be examined with his/ her performance in a discussion. Attitude, time management, coordination and the leadership quality can be improved during the course of a group discussion. By making students practice and involve themselves in such task based activities like group discussion; the involvement of the students and their interest will also be encouraged. Time management plays an important role in our life. Group discussion is a strategy to avoid unwanted communication. Thus, in total group discussion can be considered as a strategy to cultivate soft skills. So it is necessary for all the students to practically participate in a group discussion. By doing so, not only interpersonal relationships but also all the other soft skills of an individual can be developed.
O’Connor, M. C., & Michaels, S. (1996). Shifting participant frameworks: Orchestrating thinking practices in group discussion. Discourse, learning, and schooling, 63-103.
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Aronson, E., & Mills, J. (1959). The effect of severity of initiation on liking for a group. The Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology, 59(2), 177.
. LINUS HERTA
M.Phil, Research Scholar,
Research Department of English,
The American College, Madurai, Tamil Nadu, India.
Language is dynamic and is arbitrary. To teach literature is an easy task while teaching language to a learner is a real hard task. For humans, language is not innate and human language has discrete, distinguishable sounds so they depend on various sources to acquire a language. The only way of acquiring a language is through learning. Learning is facilitated by different factors. A learner acquires the target language from his surroundings, media, from the people he interacts but top of all classroom learning plays a pivotal role in learning a language. Classroom learning is a mutual process in which both the teacher and the student involve, enhance and enlighten each other. This leads to few challenges for both the teacher and the student in the learning process. A teacher has to keep it simple and make the students get the essence of his ideas. A teacher should know the calibre of the students and teach accordingly. On the other hand a student has to respond correctly and should try to apply the concepts. ELT classroom learning, challenges both the teacher and the learner. My paper throws light on the challenges faced by both of them. The more the challenges are the more the innovations can be made which makes learning not a tedious and a monotonous task. Challenges in English language teaching will open portals for novel methods of learning.
Keywords: classroom learning, challenges, teacher and student relation.
Language is a medium of communication. Without knowing the structure and the proper usage of a language one cannot effectively communicate. So language plays a significant role in day to day life. Acquiring one’s mother tongue does not involve much labour but learning a second language gives the learner a hard and a challenging try. Learning or acquiring a language is the ability to read it, speak it, write it and understand it when it is spoken. In the present era learning a language is facilitated by variety of tangible factors like media, e- learning, and with the aid of advanced technology. Recently there mushroomed few language classes which assure the audience of acquiring a language within thirty days. With all these progressive methods taking their plight, classroom teaching had taken its stance from the very beginning of our educational and learning methods. The teachers and the students support and enable each other. To quote Bacon,” Language most shows a man: speak, that i may see.” This quote of Bacon expounds the essential role played by language. To teach a learner who has been newly introduced to the source language allows high end risks and challenges to the facilitator and the learner. The challenges faced in ELT classrooms pave way for creative and innovative methods to make the learners understand and comprehend what they learn but all the while these methods had not effectively been an ultimate solution to the challenges but had been used as replacing tools which would establish a better way of learning. Challenges have been a part and parcel of the teaching and learning process. Both the student and the teacher face challenges in their own way. In reference to literature the challenges are comparatively less because literature reflects reality and it is the art of living. On the other hand in the context of teaching a language the teacher has to be objective and has to start from the very basics and a student while learning a language creates a second identity. Language is the launch pad for literature. One has to gain proficiency in language to plunge into literature. There has been a pre-constructed notion that literature classes are lively and make the learner easily relate to the concepts and ideas discussed by drawing examples from real life incidents but language classes are way too boring because it mainly focuses on grammar, structure and the four skills. Being put into this confined notion, language teaching take tough grounds to explicitly express itself to the learner. Therefore English language teaching involves much challenge for both the teachers and the students.
The main objective of the study is to expound the challenges faced by both the facilitator and the learner in an English language teaching classroom.
The following are the hypotheses of this explanatory study
(1) Teachers fail to motivate the students individually and their main objective is to finish the portion
(2) Teachers focus only on the classroom goals not beyond it.
(3) Learner’s morbid fear to learn English and their lack of interest.
(4) Learners ego towards the target language.
The following are the questions addressed in the research paper
(1) Why do the English language teachers fail to give the students their desired knowledge? (2) Why do innovative methods in teaching English language one way or the other fail?
(3) Why do learners find it difficult to converse in English even though they are exposed to all skills?
Rivers (1983) discussed the importance of discovering the student’s needs and motivating them towards the goal. Arora (2012) elucidated on the learner centred approaches.
Firstly, let us throw light on the challenges faced by the teacher in an ELT classroom. In a bird’s eye view Teachers are looked upon as the disseminators of knowledge and the ones who enlighten the students in all aspects of their life. The role of teacher is to teach. Their profession to teach make it look very easy from outside but a teacher faces many challenges in and outside the classroom. To narrow down, let us discuss the challenges faced by a teacher in an ELT classroom. The language teacher in all cases need not necessarily be a native speaker of the language so the first challenge a teacher faces is to gain a thorough command over the subject because students mostly imitate their teachers. Secondly the teacher should make the students understand the structure of the target language because students are familiar and are thorough with the structures of the source language. A language teacher has to make it clear to the students about the differences first yet this is not an easy task because the students are soaked for years together in speaking, reading, writing and listening in their mother tongue. Next the teacher should be the bright light that shines upon the students to drive out their ignorance and fear. Students face morbid fears in learning a new language and in case of English it is very intense. Most of the students do not develop a love for English for they find it difficult to learn. The students face an ego in learning a language. The teacher should nourish the students by positive comments and outlook towards learning it. To motivate the students is definitely a hard task for the teacher. Motivation is an abstract factor which will effectively aid the learning skills of the students if it is done in the right way. Motivating a class as a whole will not help effectively but a teacher should find time to motivate the students individually. A teacher’s main challenge is in knowing the students culture, background, linguistic capability and their emotional state. The main challenge faced by a teacher in ELT classroom is in knowing the calibre of each student and designing the syllabus and the teaching methods accordingly. A single student’s progression does not project the whole performance of the class. So it is hard for the teacher to implement a lesson plan which will enable the students of mixed abilities. It is difficult for the teacher to get in pace with every students learning speed because as for the class it is an amalgam of both potential students and slow learners. The teacher should make it to the point that he should not bore the high calibre students by repeating the drills and thereby making the class tedious and should not rush up so that the slow learners will find it difficult to catch up. As language is primarily speech it is a challenge for the teacher to make the students pronounce and spell the right word. Since language is ambiguous the teacher should make the students understand the different meanings of the same word. Example: Bank, mobile. As for writing the teacher’s challenge is to make the students understand the different audience for whom they write. Teachers should make the students not to mess the existing inherent structure of their mother tongue with the target language’s structure. Since speaking in English is practised only in English class the teacher has to constantly motivate the students to speak in English in every other class. The teacher should not only teach the students but also give them ample opportunities to use the language. Creating such opportunities demand creativeness and tireless effort from the side of the teacher. Since language is taught to students from different discipline a teacher should be able to draw references from their main stream study to expound the concepts in an easy way. There is always a stark line between the language teachers and the subject teachers but they should cross their lines to make the learning process easy in classroom. A language teacher has to be creative and should think out of the box often. Language teaching has to be a balanced mixture of activities and classroom teaching. As for the language games it is not always convenient. Certain games are impractical to apply in a classroom ambiance so for this kind of inconvenience a teacher should find alternative methods to engage the students. Language teachers should not be like that of the clichéd subject teachers who demand the passiveness of the students in class. The teacher should make the students involve in classroom activities. A language teacher should cater to the needs and wants of the learner. So a teacher should adopt learner centred approaches. English language teacher to the optimum should avoid using the source language in the class but it is really a difficult task because it is hard for the students to understand certain abstract ideas and concepts and in the side of the teacher he would beat about the bush rather than keeping it simple.
The teachers are not the only people who face challenges in an ELT classroom. The students do find it difficult. In an ELT classroom the student faces the challenge of learning something alien to him. The student is at ease while speaking his mother tongue because he hears it often, listens to it and is used to it but learning a language which is totally new to him subjects him to fear and quite a times makes the student feel inferior. With all these things weighing him down, a student cannot proceed learning a language which will be an ultimate failure. The learners are afraid to commit mistakes because they are shy. This is universal but a learner should be ready to refine himself in the process of learning thereby by to confront all the challenges without any fear. The learner is much used to his mother tongue, the structures of it and how they work it gives them a hard time to imbibe the new structures of a language which often leaves them confusticated. The students use translation to understand English but this will not help them in a long run because if they are asked to speak in English it takes a whole lot of time for them to think in their mother tongue and translate it and then to speak. So the students must not encourage themselves to think in their mother tongue but to think in English which will improve their learning skills. To think in English by students can be rightly defined by John Keats’s quote, “To think is full of sorrow” but a student should practice it. The slow learners in the class should not be discouraged or feel bad for making mistakes in learning process because “Learning is not being successful but becoming successful”. A student should always focus on the goal rather than washed out by the temporary failures. A student should try to understand his errors and should not feel hesitant to clear his doubts. Many students concern of learning English is to crack their final exam but they have to downplay the final exams and should focus on the rewards of learning English can fetch them.
English language teaching in the midst all its challenges has find a way to widen its arena by the innovations made in this field. A language teacher should play the role of a facilitator rather than considering them as the authoritative power and the students should develop a desire rather fears to learn English. The challenges in ELT classrooms pull the student and the teacher out of their own zones and put them in a space to confront it thereby shaping them for betterment.
Rivers, M. W. (1983). Communicating naturally in a second language theory and practice in language teaching. Cambridge: Press syndicate of the University of Cambridge.
Arora, Navita. (2012). English language teaching approaches and methodologies. New Delhi: Tata McGraw Hill Education Private Limited.
Abercrombie, David. (1963). Problems and principles in language study. Hong Kong: Peninsula Press Ltd.
Stanley Somtochukwu Ebede, CNP, MA.
School of Kinesiology, Allied Health and Human Services
University of Northern Iowa, USA
203 Wellness and Recreation Center, Cedar Falls IA 50614
The study of discourse techniques in African written literature not just limited to poetry is a crucial and important area of study in the fields of academic as literature is becoming more indigenized and localized to suit author’s environment, language and culture and world view in multi-language society. The purpose of this study is to perform a detailed analysis of discourse techniques used in African poetry specifically examining the techniques used in two African literary works: Chants of Despair authored by Ngozi’s Chuma Udeh (2010) and Omeile Vol one authored by Asika Ikechukwu (2011) The study examines the use of language, proverbs, code mixing and code switching, and even nature names used. Furthermore, the findings will highlight some hidden and unfamiliar meaning as well as providing a clear-cut and detailed discussion of some of the discourse techniques that might enable individuals to understand and interpret the message in African poetry and other genres of literature. Generally, this study will provide techniques for analysis of some hidden thematic issues, critical and scholarly review of literature as well as paving way for future studies.
African, Discourse Techniques, Literature, Poet, Poetry
For African authors to be well understood, the need to understand their language, culture and worldview become necessary. This is where discourse techniques play crucial roles in the understanding and interpretation of the indigenized works of art that reflect on the African aliment. Discourse techniques help to unveil and unfold hidden meanings in the works of art and literature. The role of poetry in society can never be over emphasizes neither will its study and interpretation be exhausted. African authors are greatly influenced by the social, cultural economic, religious as well as political happenings in societies. According to Ofoegbu (2012), discourse techniques refers to the language techniques used by authors to achieve an aim in a given piece and it is considered as the language of the writer in a work of literature. According to the author, these discourse techniques include (1) use of language, (2) local idioms, (3) proverbs, (5) code mixing and code switching, (6) unfamiliar terms and comic expressions, (6) transliteration and (7) use of nature names. The written literature we know today which consists of three genres of literature including poetry, drama and prose are part of the western acclimatization as a result of colonization and acquisition of the western education. The art of writing and literacy are part of African colonial heritage and Africans have over the time explored this gain of written literature to express the social –political, as well as economic realities around them. There was a great need for African literature through a colonial legacy to speak in African voice and these are part of the obvious reason that trigger African writers to search inwards for that which will help to elevate their literature and mark it out from the rest of literature produced in all parts of the world.
Olateju (1998) posits that discourse techniques are used to describe activities and various disciplines and human endeavors such as socio-linguistics, psycholinguistics, philosophical linguistics, computational linguistics and education. The analysis of discourse techniques in any work of art is very important. Style is the manner of linguistic expression in prose or verse and it is how a speaker or writer says things. The characteristic style of a work or a writer may be analyzed in terms of its diction, the sentence structure and its syntax (Abrams & Hogg, 1990). The concreteness of the details chosen, the diction, the images and figures of speech contributes to the meaning of a literary work (Nwoga, 1981).
African authors have to turn the oral tradition, folktale materials and other social-cultural elements around them to express themselves in a unique way; to speak in the typical voice of their people in such an artistic manner in which the quality of the message of their writing is not lost to the outside reader. The best African today is the writer who blends and experiments with traditional passion of his people and should make such sense to the outside world. The word ‘writing’ is clarified not simply to mean the graphic notation of language, but to include the unpleasant distinctions of language that are derived from an intricate historical intertextual process within which an utterance or a text is situated (Akingbe, 2014). This is what we witnessed in the works of many authors including the two volumes of poetry; Chants of Despair and Omeile Vol 1 by Ngozi Chuma-Udeh and Asika Ikechukwu respectively which are the main focus in this study. The scope of this study is limited to the works of these African poets (Nigerian poets). Both poets are from the eastern part of Nigeria.
Asika (2011a) asserted that authors play a prominent and significant role in the social-reeducation, re-orientation, and re-direction of their societies. Literature functions and help to shape one’s attitudes and lifestyle. Poetry though one of the earliest genres of literature seems to be the most dreaded of all other. Abada and Ezenwa (2009) explored poetry from several related dimensions. The authors asserted that some people have considered poetry from the point of view of rhythmic articulation. Poetry has become one of the variable tools ad writers articulates their perceptions and beliefs as it affects the society (Chukwueloka, 2011). Authors are greatly influenced by the social, cultural economic, religious as well as political situations in the society. In search of the message of authors hidden in symbols and languages, we attempt a study of discourse techniques in the works of two selected poets and their collections (Omeile and Chants of Despair).
DISCOURSE TECHNIQUES IN OMEILE VOL.1
Omeile is a poem that focused on the ranting, chants and travails of an uncivilized warrior Omeile, who has refused to accept the changes necessary in African’s modern era rather would hold tenaciously on his cherished and idealized views of the primitive and ways of life that is fast breaking. The poet makes his collection of poetry a master piece by his use of language, code mixing and code switching, figures of speech, transliteration, proverbs and these have a much desired appeal on both readers and critics alike.
Proverb as a discourse technique used in Omeile by Asika Ikechukwu aid the readers in understanding and appreciating the message of the poem and enhances them for a feeling of change in attitude. Ofoegbu (2012) posits that the use of proverb in Omeile are very strategic as they capture and bound a reader, leaving the person to wonder at the mastery and usage of proverbs by the poet. The author further suggested that the use of proverbs sometimes flow with the line of literary work because the writer structures them in such a way that one might think that the proverbs follow themselves. However, it is a discourse technique used by the writer to captivate the readers.
In Omeile, the first few proverbs used by the poet occurred when the main character Omeile summons and appeals to the spirit. In Asika (2011b), the proverbs read:
The mother goat knows on whose skin the drummer rattles (pg.8)
The leopard knows in his head whose skin adorns the shoulder of the of the mighty king (pg.8)
When the sound of the king’s tusk is heard, the elephant remembers the voice of the lone brother lost (pg.8)
See the little bird perching on the Ngige, is full of dance (pg.8)
The old woman never grows old in a dance that she knows in heart (pg.9)
The above proverbs used in the in the introductory part of the poem did not only warn the African people about the danger of abandoning their culture but on the dangers of colonialism and the loss of African culture. Omeile tries to tell the readers his knowledge of the tricks and cunnings of the white men who exploited African to build their own world of civilization and he tries to express all these in his heavily worded proverbs. The over-emotional proverbs exist to remind the African people about the beauty of traditional culture which they are at the very of abandoning totally. This is a culture that motivates and inspires him and he wishes us to see a culture as a traditional way of life. Another proverb reads:
Where a child cries and point, if the mother is not there, the father it (pg.10)
This proverb reinforces the seriousness of his message, for he knows why he is really crying about the loss of African traditional value. He believes that lack of culture robs ones his dignity and personality and that is what Omeile believes that happened to many Africans including himself. He used to be a warrior, but his marriage to Ekemma, a symbolism of his acceptance of civilization robbed him of all his warrior pose.
In the proverbs of Ikenga, another character in the poem, the poet recounts how we went wrong and how African culture was abandoned in pursuance of foreign culture in the name of modernism and civilization. Ikenga used the following proverbs:
Forward……forward is the movement of a monkey, once it jumps backwards, it will fall into the traps pf death (pg.13).
Remember it is the leaf that sweet a goat/that kills it (pg.14)
Omeile, the bush that detest the basket let it meet and produce mushrooms (pg.14)
He who wants to know all the Nso ala. Does he want to live in the sky? (pg.14)
Omeile, the hen that has a face should not lose its side gaze (pg.14)
The person whose elephantiasis of his scrotum is under cure, may his stomach not swell as well (pg.15).
The going of a war is not like the coming (pg.15)
The above proverbs were used by Ikenga to warn Omeile when they were going to war. Ikenga was warning him of his dignity and manhood. This is also a warning about Africans’ negligence which brought about civilization and how their acceptance of it reduces us to mere mortals chasing after culture that is not theirs. The poet used proverbs as a discourse technique to strategically give way to hidden meanings and add values to the ideas and views expressed by Omeile. This will enable the reader to see a reality of the gains and losses of civilization.
The use of code mixing refers to the mixing of two or more language varieties in a discourse or sentence strings (Ofoegbu, 2012). In the poem, each line goes with the presence of code mixing. The use of code mixing enhances the work and the message intended. The blood nature words from the Igbo language present the reader with an environment of Igbo traditional scene. Code mixing was used to express specific ideas with specific terms.
I have a palm kernel smeared in Ukpaka and Mangala fish (pg.6)
Like the memories of Omarimma, my first love (pg.7)
Let the Yokiliyo sound be heard (pg.8)
We stood before the chief priest Ikenga, the great (pg.11)
I painted your eyelashes with Otengele dark as Indigo (pg.32)
May Amadioha… May Ngene… May Omaliko… (pg.63)
Let Ulasi… (pg.63)
It is all man for himself now, Onyenankenya (pg.84)
The use of code mixing in the above lines is very significant. The poet used code mixing as an escape hatch and as a means of expression of facts that Omeile is warrior caught in chains of civilization. The discourse techniques may not be peculiar to the poet alone. Ofoegbu (2012) asserted that code-mixing is the very foundation of Omeile because the names of the actors Omeile and Ekemma were also derived from Igbo Language. The author further stated that the poet would have gone for western names rather he chose to remain in Africa.
The diction and placement of words in Omeile cannot be overlooked because they are very significant. Ofoegbu (2012) defines diction as an author’s choice of words while placement of words refers to the way an author arranges his words. The diction in Omeile is multidimensional because of the use of biblical passage as style of writing. For example
Land, fame, ventures and things of the world. It was there before we come; they still will remain rooted to the earth years after our voices are hushed (pg.26)
No sunshine ever hurts you during the day nor the terrifying rainfall in the night (pg.34)
Let this hour be his last, let no breath come again his lungs, let him be cursed and blinded to death, let him drink from the cup of their vengeance, let him die the death of a coward (pg.57)
The above lines look like that of the bible in the book of Ecclesiastes chap 1 vs 2 that talks about vanity upon vanity; Psalm 121 vs 6 that talks about “the sun will not harm you by day, nor moon by night”; and Psalm 109 vs 6-20. Omeile’s choice of words falls under the simple and everyday vocabulary. It is enclosed, concise and clear. The poet abided the use of high sounding and jaw breaking grammars.
The placement of words is done in such a way that meaning is not lost and the element of Igbo language is not lost too. The following are some of the examples used in the poem.
Ikenga stood before me, eyeball to eyeball we look (pg.13)
When gbalagbala goes excessive, it becomes madness (pg.14)
Red oil of blood (pg.15)
But the precious liquids form the eyes of the goddess (pg.28)
May your soul rest in peace (pg.54)
Like hinge beaten dogs, they are (pg. 59)
The aforementioned examples show how the poet puts certain words side by side thereby creating word pictures in the minds of his readers. As a descriptive writer, the poet describe Ekemma in Omeile just as Ofoegbu (2012) asserted that description is the habit of Omeile and it has helped in adding flavor to the boiling pot of poetry. In other words, diction and placement of words are one of the basic foundations in poetry writing.
DISCOURSE TECHNIQUES IN CHANTS OF DESPAIR
Chants of Despair is poetry collection where the author tries to draw people’s attention to the monumental abuse, injustice, and poverty glaring in the society. The collection focus on the action and inactions of the government who are supposed to better lots of the people but they end up amassing wealth, depositing millions of Naira in foreign accounts and spelling out poverty and doom on the entire civilization. Ujowundu (2011) conducted in the collection just as Ofoegbu (2012) did with Omeile. The study ranks among the pioneering efforts in interpreting the message that lay buried in the collection.
Ujonwundu (2011) asserted that Chants of Despair is a poem in three parts which portray the individuals’ frustration. Chuma Udeh, is just as angry as the older poets who have lived to satirize the society through their creature as the protest is not the end an expression of hate for humanity. The discourse techniques entail a wide range of ideas and patterns. They include the use of language and diction which boils down to choice of words and sentence pattern. The use of foregrounding of imagery, proverbs , code mixing and switching, figures of speech, direct transliteration, allusions and symbols among many others. No single study can be able to critically and meticulously examine all these because it can amount a textbook of his own. A research can only select aspects of these techniques for a detailed discussion. Other researchers with similar interest will pick up several other areas of these discourse techniques all geared toward a holistic understanding of the message in a given work of art. The use of language and the use of proverbs in Chants of Despair as part of discourse techniques will bring the message to limelight and serves as a key to unlocking hidden meanings and inter-textual materials in the poem.
Language is very essential to the understanding of any work of art and is a tool available for any writer. Authors use language in such a way that any serious minded reader will understand their message. Ofoegbu (2012) asserted that the use of language had remained a very important issue in the analysis of any discourse. Discourse involves language plus context according to some discourse analysts. It looks at how language can be used to achieve aims and objectives in human development.
Language is central to any work of art and can never be over emphasized. According to Umeh (1991), language is the medium for poetic utterances, the vehicle with which the poet transmits his message. The effectiveness or otherwise of this utterance of this message depends largely on the nature and quality of language used. In modern Nigeria, language has helped immensely in determining meaning sometimes. It has also helped to direct and clarify meaning while at other times language has helped to impede and distort meaning.
The poet’s success in her writing could attribute greatly to her use of language. She used language to give out message to the readers. She describes the level of poverty and actions of African leaders with passion and hatred. The port also used foregrounding of imagery to draw imageries so close to the forecourt of the readers. The following lines analyzed the argument.
I was named Despair not because my mother had the good grace to know the commonest of English syntax; nor because of the stabs of bleakness swarming around me like our ever present neighbors, the green eyed houseflies; not because of the reality of the stark is because of the abject scarcity which has become my dearest companion….my status has nothing to do with the genesis of my name (pg.3)
I was named Despair because when I was born beside the putrid, shaking gutters, behind our rat infested, rickety shanty. Where my mother had no choice than to function as both doctor and midwife put together, my mother’s strangled gnarls of pains, My mother’s helpless labor screeching attracted the hand of fate, as she labored aided by hordes of flies (pg.4)
I was named Despair because Ikoro spoke out of Revulsion. Ikoro spoke out of frustration. Ikoro spoke out of cheer disgust. Ikoro spoke from the depth of his very demented soul. Ikoro spoke from the very profundity of his frenzied psyche. Ikoro expostulated out of cheer antipathy for wickedness before him. Ikoro summed up the episode in the scene before him in a phrase, a phrase that clinched accurately my fate and that of my mother (pg.7).
…little did she not realized that some other woman, just a few kilometers apart; in our mosquito infested ghetto was at the same time undergoing the paroxysm of parturition near the putrid maggot sewer. With swarm of flies as the doctors on call and the rodents as ever dedicated nurse, waiting to devour the afterbirth and god help the baby if it comes hitting the head by the edge of the gutter (pg.17)
I tell you my brother, poverty is not a disease. Poverty is far from affliction. Poverty is not a lack or want …. Real poverty is a fate worse than cancerous virus. It gives no chance but eats up everything. It is worse than a corrosive acid. It devours a man and leaves him a weakling carcass. It makes a man a shadow thing (pg.11)
The above lines point out the picture of poverty, want, scarcity, suffering, and oppression and bring them closer to the reader. One can argue that so many poets can do this enhance the beauty of their work. Ujowundu (2011) asserted that the poet’s diction has rein structure as to reasons for naming her despair and the images portray depravity. Such expression as the stabs of bleakness swarming around. The images are so everlasting and real. One could feel and imagine how the stench odor and hordes of flies could become part of situation of poverty and suffering. The description of the environment portrays abject poverty and want. Even the absence of medical professionals all epitomizes helplessness and deprivation. These were made possible by the foregrounding of imagery and choice of words employed by the poet. The words “strangulate”, “gnarls of pain”, helpless labor screeching”, and hordes of flies” all expressed despair and decadent environment.
The poet with conscious and consistent use of language presents the living conditions of average citizens in Nigeria. The above words “revulsion”, “frustration”, and “disgust” are all expressions of anger disenchantment and frustration. The level of rise of imagery coincides with rise of anger in the voice and mind of the poet. In the poem, Ikoro is a picture of a wretched teacher who is highly intelligent but no money to justify his patriotism and excellence in knowledge. He is a stereotype of some forsaken teachers in Nigeria who languished slowly in various schools in rural areas. Poverty is being described with images of “mosquito infested ghetto”, “swarm of flies”, “rodents” and “gutter”. All lasting pictures of poverty and deprivation yields the message of the poem to the readers through the use of language.
Another discourse techniques commonly used in the poem is the use of proverbs. Proverbs were used in such a level that they become the backbone for the interpretation of the message of the poem. Proverbs did not give the poet an authenticity as an African poet but also helped and structured the pattern and flow of her poetic thoughts. Proverbs in this poem are so weaved together that one cannot easily separate the two elements (spoken words and proverbs).
Do not laugh yet at the old woman whose wrapper is torn at the bottom until you get to the root of her dilemma between her buttocks and the wrapper (pg. 1)
How can you attempt a guess of which fly is blind, when you have never cooked the garri paste? For if you want to know the fly that is blind in one eyes, seek the help of the woman who cooks ogiri (pg.2)
How do you master the walking gate of the man with sagging waist cloth when you have never suffered from testicles hernia? (pg.2)
Perhaps soul brother, you may not understand the anguish of being Despair. It is only he who ate the meat knows the exact tooth its piece were stuck into…..Only he who wears the ant-infested trouser knows the exact place of the bites (pg.9).
It does not matter how long the chicken angles for the corn in the covered basket, it yearns in vain….Even if the rat does a hundred maters dash around a pot covered with another, in vain does it toil (pg.26).
If you want to understand the language of the sand, seek the counsel of the arts….if you want to decipher the whispers of the wind, solicit for the interpretations from the leaves….If you want to speak the language of the cloud, do not hesitate to ask the birds….if you want to know the language of want, seek the true color of hunger….ask me (pg.37).
The use of some proverbs in a rhetorical form in the above lines captivates the reader to fully appreciate the message of the poem. These proverbs were series of warning, cautions, and appeals which allow us to put ourselves in the shoes of poor individuals. The poet narrated the suffering and excruciating situation of a woman giving birth which made Ikoro to exclaim after watching the sordid and heart touching scenario. The poet further suggested that we should feel the woman’s pain suffering on amidst of plenty. These proverbs recommended that we are yet to understand the level of poverty in Nigeria and yet this a country that has the capacity and economy to cater for the citizens. The rich are getting richer, the poor poorer and this boils down to inequality and uneven distribution of wealth in the society. The wide gap between the rich and the poor is glaring and no matter how much the poor strive, they can never escape the poverty level. This is what the poet expressed with the above proverbs, a situation we must rectify in the future. In conclusion, the poet used proverbs to bring the message closer to the reader and make her message more sensible and authentic.
DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSION
As earlier discussed and examined, poets are the voices of their societies. They project societal norms, ills, and evils which they hope to win freedom and redeem their societies through their artistic visions and creative ingenuities. Literature has become the most viable way through which poets and authors, in general, express their individual’s concerns, fears and worries about society and cast aspersions on several institutions of evil and vices. Through this means, they hope to achieve peace and harmony for societal growth. This is an idea that makes language an essential part of writers’ work of art to be better understand the composition, construction, sentence patterning, presentation of imageries, use of figurative expressions and handling of some native issues.
This study examined the use of proverbs is Asika Ikechukwu’s Omeile. There were many proverbs used in the poem were neither accidentally nor unconsciously used. One with a thorough mind or critical mind will discover how these proverbs were weaved into various segments of the poem in order to heighten effect and achieve a desired purpose by the poet. These proverbs were structured in such a way that they combine effectively with the works of the poet and glued together that one anticipates a lot action, suspense and other series of event at the mention of any proverbs. The proverbs are so structured and well-tailored that when removed from the context will remain lifeless. In Ngozi Chuma Udeh’s Chants of Despair, the poet used foregrounding of imagery to demonstrate her appalling for the failures of African leaders and politicians which has reduced the citizens to poverty by expressing her thoughts in such a way that one can feel the bitterness and disgusting ideas. In addition, the poet also structured proverbs to direct the flow of her poetic thoughts and used foregrounding of imagery and other discourse techniques to bring hidden meanings to limelight.
Conclusively, the discourse techniques used in this study will enable individuals to easily penetrate, bring out so many hidden meanings, and digest the truth in art as well as being mindful of discourse techniques that were used in other genres of literature. This study demonstrated how the use of language and techniques of good poetry provide us with an understanding of some hidden thematic issues in any given work of art. Furthermore, the discourse techniques used in this study revealed many hidden truth and highlights how these poets used poetry to better the lots of African society. Future research are recommended to explore and analyze more discourse techniques in works that outcross other cultures and background for a more productive conclusion.
Declaration of Conflicting Interests
The author declared no potential conflicts of interest with respect to the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article.
This research received no specific grant from any funding agency in the public, commercial, or not-for-profit sectors.
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Stanley S. Ebede is a doctoral student in the School of Kinesiology, Allied Health and Human Services (KAHHS). He holds a Masters of Arts degree in Leisure, Youth and Human Services from the University of Northern Iowa, USA. He co-authored the book Bugle Sounds for the Legend. His current research studies revolve around student involvement and development of skills. He is engaged with Friends at Home as a Resident Assistant. Previously, he was employed as the Assistant Director for STEM program at the University of Northern Iowa, USA.
M.Phil Scholar, Research Department of English
The American College,Madurai
In the modern scenario, communication determines the success or growth of the business. Different terms and words are used in Business English. The people who are in business field must have relevant vocabulary to make an effective communication. Business magazines serves as a medium to learn vocabulary related to business. There are magazines like the business world and the economist which are exclusively for the business people. Entrepreneurs can gather knowledge of vocabulary by reading business contents and share market statistics in magazines. This paper throws light on enhancing vocabulary with the help of business magazines.
Communication determines the success or the growth of the business. Different types of words are used in business English. The people in business field must have effective communication. Magazines serves as a medium to learn vocabulary related to business. There are some magazines like business world, economic times which are exclusively for business purpose. Words in a sentence constitute its vocabulary. Students can enrich their vocabulary through reading, listening, speaking and writing. Vocabulary enrichment is very much needed in business environment. Both producer and consumer need vocabulary to develop their business. Without communication business deal can end up in failure. Students must have good vocabulary to have bright future in business field. Magazines play a major role in business field. Magazines are very much useful for students to enrich their vocabulary in business English. Students are encouraged to read magazines for developing their vocabulary. Reading is must to students for enriching relevant vocabulary in business English. Students can improve their vocabulary in business English by reading magazines which are also useful for them to improve their knowledge and ability. In future, if students have business contract with foreigners, there is a necessity for them to have good communication with god vocabulary and that can also paves way for the success of their business. Students can read business related article in magazines to improve their vocabulary.
The main objective of the study is to enrich vocabulary of MBA students in business English through magazines
The following are the hypotheses of the study
Without vocabulary, nothing can be conveyed (Wilkins). Words one like bottles and contain ideas just as bottles contain medicines (H. Dipple). Passive vocabulary is the new method based on the principle of recognition or receptive vocabulary (Dr. West). Reading makes a full man (Bacon). Modern English usage and a god dictionary of synonyms which analyses the differences, should prove of great assistance (Mr. Fowler).
Vocabulary is a fundamental tool for communication and acquiring knowledge. Acquiring an extensive vocabulary is one of the largest challenges in learning a second language. There are different types of vocabulary like active, passive, good vocabulary etc. Without vocabulary nothing is possible. Communication is very much needed for a successful business growth. Vocabulary grows throughout our life. Students expand their vocabularies by playing word games, print media help in enriching relevant vocabulary in business English e.g. magazines. Students should enrich vocabulary in business English. Without vocabulary there is no possibility for foreign trade. Agreement between Indians and foreigners cannot be made. Communication is must for the growth of English. A student can also be judged by others based on his/her vocabulary.
As per my study, MBA students have done many case study regarding business. Many students are not aware of business magazines. Students must enrich their vocabulary reading magazines like business world, the economist etc. Vocabulary can be enriched by students in many ways like listening to news, reading newspapers, listening to some speech, etc but magazine also paves way for their vocabulary enrichment. Learning vocabulary is the first step for trading in foreign companies.
The acquisition of new vocabulary is an ongoing process. Learning new words in day to life encourages the students and increase their knowledge and ability. Magazines and that too Business magazines play a vital role in enriching students’ vocabulary. A student must have serious knowledge towards business. BUSINESS INDIA is a magazine which is famous in our state. It leads not only with business news but also deals with games, movies special, sports; cooking etc. Nowadays students are much interested in sports and politics. Magazines have separate allocation for Sports.
I made a small study with an MBA student. She says that she was very much interested in sports and she reads only sports news first both in magazine and newspaper. Also she said that she came across many new vocabularies regarding business and she got interested in that. Students are encouraged though business magazines. They can easily enrich their vocabulary in business and also they enrich their knowledge. In the magazine called THE ECONOMIST is also the best business magazine which also deals with several issues with new varieties. Magazines make the students to develop their vocabulary skills. Students can easily enrich relevant vocabulary by reading not only business articles but also other related news which includes several new vocabularies.
An MBA student will be useful if they read their related article in the magazine. The same person as said before, she said that she got much addicted to the magazine because when she read the magazine she came across the article related to their MBA program. She said that the article was very much useful to her. From that article, she came across many vocabularies relate to business. By reading magazines, by learning new vocabularies, students’ vocabulary can be enriched and they will be ready for the business scenario. Magazines help the students to develop their communicative skill and also enhance their vocabulary skill.
Teachers can use some creative method to teach business vocabulary. Students can learn vocabularies in an interesting way. The teacher can make the students to form a group. 5students carries a group. Several tasks can be given to students in a group. An article can be given to a group and so five articles can be given to five groups and teacher can ask the students to read and to find new vocabularies which they don’t even come across before. Students will be encouraged by the teachers by doing this way. A case study can also be given to the students to each group. By doing this students can be able to think of the idea and if they find new vocabulary they tend to think and refer dictionary and so they can improve their knowledge and thinking ability.
Teachers can make the students by making them to engage in group activities. Each student can involve individually in a group activity. They can easily think of new words and shows their individuality in their own way. Teachers can also make their students to show their ability and knowledge. Teacher can also encourage the students by have some group games and also they can give some compliments to the students and so the students can feel free and learn new vocabularies. Teachers can make the students to communicate effectively by teaching them relevant vocabulary in business English.
In the present scenario, Vocabulary plays a major role in business world. Student who wants to become a good Entrepreneur must have good vocabulary skills so that students can make them ready for global business scenario and they can get success in their business field. Magazines can be much useful for enriching vocabulary n business English.
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Hari Narayanan MA
M.Phil Scholar, Research Department of English
The American College, Madurai
This paper is an attempt to show how One Act Plays can be used for developing Soft Skills. Soft skills are important for those who aspire to become part of business world. In Indian Universities, certain undergraduate courses like B.com, BBA, etc., are the most sought often courses of study. There is a dire need to develop and cone the conversational and soft of the students who chose management courses aspiring to become successful entrepreneurs. This paper seeks to present how one act plays can be used to hone/shape the soft skills of the students. One act plays are more appealing to the contemporary youths than full length plays for convenience’s sake. One act plays present life like situations through the conversation of the character involved. By imbibing characters reaction in the Plays students unconsciously develop soft skills to become successful entrepreneurs in business world. By teaching soft skills through one act plays the students can better their interpersonal relationship in business too.
Soft skills are life skills. Soft skills are important for those who aspire to become part of the business world. In Indian Universities and colleges, certain Undergraduate courses like B.com, BBA, etc., are the most sought often courses of study. There is a dire need to develop and hone the conversational and soft skills of the students who choose management courses aspiring to become to become successful entrepreneurs. Soft skills include communication skills, courtesy, flexibility, positive attitude, interpersonal skills, etc., Of these said skills, developing interpersonal skills that include other professionalism, team work, work ethic, time management skills, coping with pressure, self confidence, critical thinking and problem solving is of foremost importance for aspiring entrepreneurs. This paper seeks to present how one act plays can be used as a strategy to teach soft skills, especially for developing their interpersonal skills needed for future entrepreneurs.
Objective of the Study
The aim of the study is to use staging of the play as a pedagogic technique to teach B.com/BBA students to develop their interpersonal skills for successful entrepreneurship.
Soft skills are needed to interact with the external world of conglomerate customer for a successful businessman. One has to interact and communicate in order to gain acceptance in the modern world of intensive competition. Soft skills help to build social relationships. These skills, mainly the interpersonal skills form the core of anyone involved in management and business. They develop positive self esteem which helps in defining a businessman’s role in the society. If an individual involved in management cannot communicate or work as a team, then he/she will feel alienated and withdrawn. Interpersonal skills form an indispensable part of the life of an entrepreneur.
Customary classrooms do not provide ample scope or space for the students. In a teacher-centred classroom, the students become passive listeners. Passivity blunts the students’ ability to develop the necessary interactive soft skills, i.e., interpersonal skills need for learner-centred activities become essential to develop the much needed skills. Teacher-centred classroom make the students conscious of their shortcoming and does not provide the atmosphere for mastering the interpersonal skills naturally.
One act plays can be used effectively to enable the students since enacting the plays can develop their communicative skills unconsciously. A trained memory is the great asset a student can develop to be successful in life. When the students are involved not only in parroting the conversations in the plays but also in stage managements, their socially acceptable traits like self awareness, self-regulation, empathy and self-motivation develop unconsciously.
A successful entrepreneurs needs to be good at planning, organizing, staffing, heading, controlling and motivating the co-workers or his team mates. Rehearsing and staging one-act plays provides the right opportunity and platform to develop these opportunity and platform to develop these skills since these skills involve all the skills that come under soft skills or interpersonal skills.
There are many problems faced by working personnel like lack of communicative ability, failure to communicate ideas while involving in team work and management, organizing, leading and other management skills. Training the students in managing and staging one act plays offers enough scope for the students even within the classrooms to acquire these managerial skills effectively.
Staging a one-act play involves the back stage or preparatory activities like selection of the play, casting and rehearsal. The production of the play involves stage management, costume selection; make up, lights arrangement, promotion, seating of audience, and above all stage performance. All these activities can be turned into a learner-centered activity once the students are divided into groups to take care of each activity. Then the groups’ responsibility and roles can be reshuffled to provide enough scope for all the students to learn all the skills.
Learning the language skills through literature is the main purpose of using one-act plays as a pedagogic tool. Students can memorize the conversations in the play and play their roles. This will enhance their communication skills. Hearing other characters’ conversations will develop their listening and cooperative skills. The students learn the need to empathize with the other characters and learn the importance of listening which is an essential component of interactive skills. Rehearsing the play enables the students to become fluent and spontaneous in conversation, and this will boost their morale, confidence and positive attitude. These are the basic skills needed for aspiring entrepreneurs, while playing different roles, some characters are vigorous speakers, some active listeners and some flexible passive participants relying on their body language to express their emotions.
To stretch the experience of the learners a little further, it is not a mere assumption that acquiring language skills (communicative skills) are no small task. Wordplay precedes character. One can win or lose a situation by the proper use or misuse of words. Words can be ironic, deceptive, artful, innovative, ambiguous, equivocal, suggestive, crafty or plain (straightforward). Words are used for thought transference. The learners by playing out situations as presented in the one-act plays can learn the nuances of vocabulary. This will further boost their confidence when they meet people in real-life situations. Learning the proper usage of words will enhance their wit, intelligence, inventiveness and understanding since words can ne figurative, funny, literal, gainful or painful.
Thus teaching soft skills or interpersonal skills by involving the students in one-act plays makes learning a learner-centered one. Further entrepreneurs acquire the work ethic, team work and management skills by allowing them to choose the roles according to their ability. Enacting one-act plays keeps the students engaged and active. The teacher can help in choosing the right one-act plays for the future entrepreneurs. Involving the students in one-act plays also provides maximum speaking practice while enacting real life contexts.
Staging of plays involves interpersonal relationship irrespective of the roles the participants play. The interesting nature of the activity increases the participatory involvements of the students by thus increasing learners’ interest by better results.
The out of the text learning experience give greater weight age to learning, which is students-centric, then teaching which is teacher centric. One-act plays are more appealing to the modern youth since it is less time consuming. By imbibing characters’ reaction in the plays, the students unconsciously develop soft skills to become successful entrepreneurs in the business world. By learning soft skills through out one-act plays, the students can better their interpersonal relationship in business too.
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National University of Singapore
‘Amour’ rationalizes mercy killing. The slow deterioration of Anne also prevents the audience from judging Georges for finally snapping and killing Anne before he commits suicide. There is a great feeling of relief for the two in this situation which prevents us from judgement. The amount of sacrifice Georges has made for Anne is immense and we do not judge him for killing her in her deteriorative state. George’s suffering reflects what life is all about: conflict, and since Anne can’t defend herself, she’s actually better dead.As with Amour,Plath’s suicide is almost a relief to the decline she has been suffering in gradually being enslaved to a man and entrapped with children. Many of us judge those who commit suicide as weak and unstable but given the amount of pain we are exposed to in Amour and Plath’s novel, suicide indeed seems a form of relief and escape. While not entirely rationalizing suicide or mercy killing, the gradual decline and excruciating pain that we witness in the characters make us sympathize with the decision to simply escape life through self harm.Yet we are made to see their hubris as they take fate into their own hands rather than let the divine determine it. We are left wondering if they escape in this life but will escape condemnation by the divine for self harm in the next.
Keywords: Suicide, Mercy killing, Life,Suffering,Pain
A story such as ‘Amour’, which involves the deterioration of a stroke victim and her husband’s brave efforts to care for her, become harsh when true-life events are reproduced realistically. Haneke does not entirely keep to grimness and then throws in a twist ending.The stroke victim is Anne, who lives with her husband, Georges, both retired music teachers. When Anne spaces out at the breakfast table one morning, Georges knows something is wrong but Anne doesn’t seem to have any memory of the incident. It turns out she has a blocked carotid artery but after undergoing surgery, Anne ends up paralyzed on one side.
The first half of ‘Amour’ involves Georges’ efforts to help Anne with her rehabilitation. He holds her up out of her wheelchair and she takes feeble steps, using her one good leg, and dragging the other. Eventually, Anne has another stroke, which reduces her to a child-like state; often, she talks in gibberish. Georges becomes more frustrated as there are moments when Anne refuses to swallow the soft food Georges is trying to spoon feed her.
Outside visitors occasionally intrude on Anne and Georges’ sad world. Early on, before the second stroke, one of Anne’s students, a well-known classical pianist pays a visit and asks Anne what happened to her. She doesn’t want to discuss her situation, merely stating that her condition is a result of ‘old age’. Later, Anne and Georges’ daughter, Eva, pays a visit, and argues with her father, recommending that she put Anne in a home. Georges’ reacts angrily and considers Eva’s suggestion heartless. It eventually comes out that the relationship between daughter and parents is not good, primarily due to her British-born husband, who apparently the parents did not care for too much.
After Georges decides to hire a second nurse, he discovers that this particular woman has been mistreating Anne. Georges fires the nurse but she indignantly claims that she’s never had a problem before with any of her employers and rudely curses the old man, before leaving.The visitors to the apartment, however, serve to break up the monotony of Anne’s deterioration, not only for Georges but for the audience as well. The film is almost unbearable as it documents the depressing decline of Anne and we find it almost impossible to watch on as she becomes a shadow of her former self.
‘Amour’ turns into a crime drama when the caring Georges, suddenly decides he cannot take it anymore, and suffocates Anne with a pillow. He prepares the body so that when the police finally arrive, Anne appears in a dignified state. He also seals the door with masking tape, presumably to prevent the foul odor from permeating the apartment. Then Georges pens a final note and while it’s not entirely clear, it appears he commits suicide, to join his wife in death. Right before the note, Georges captures a pigeon that has flown into the apartment, but lets it go, perhaps symbolizing that he has freed Anne by effecting the mercy killing.
‘Amour’ rationalizes mercy killing. The slow deterioration of Anne also prevents the audience from judging Georges for finally snapping and killing Anne before he commits suicide. There is a great feeling of relief for the two in this situation which prevents us from judgement. The amount of sacrifice Georges has made for Anne is immense and we do not judge him for killing her in her deteriorative state. George’s suffering reflects what life is all about: conflict, and since Anne can’t defend herself, she’s actually better dead. In a very satisfying scene, Georges dismisses an incompetent nurse by telling her “I hope that you have the misfortune to be treated exactly the way that you treat your patients when you are helpless.” Helpless,is the state of Anne, and Georges is the only one to understand that she needs someone who treats her like an adult. One of the most devastating scenes occurs when Anne refuses to drink, George’s reaction is shocking but believable, he slaps and forces her to drink. Indeed, we’d never harm those who love, except if they try to harm themselves. The slap Georges gave is a sort of defense he applies in the name of Anne’s soul, because she can’t respond for herself. George suffers on behalf of Anne.
Emmanuelle Riva and Jean-Louis Trintignant portray well the close loving bond of a very compatible couple and its disintegration as illness permanently changes the relationship. Over two hours one witnesses the affectionate camaraderie the couple shares degenerate into painful co-dependence. The wife, independent and intelligent, is reduced to a gibbering shadow of herself – treated with unwanted pity and undignity.Her husband, anxious that not only has he lost the woman who means most to him, cannot bear to see her suffer either. He is tormented by the enormous responsibilities he feels. When Anne’s health begins to deteriorate rapidly due to a series of strokes, Georges assumes the role of full-time caregiver. Like all of us facing this situation, Georges is confronted with the dilemma of keeping Anne at home where she can be cared for by the man who loves her, or of placing her in an unfamiliar nursing home where she could be looked after by professional caregivers who would, however, be strangers. Georges chooses the former, despite the tremendous physical and emotional burden it places on him. This is clearly a couple who takes their “for better or for worse…in sickness and in health…till death do us part” wedding vows to heart. We aren’t shown the kinds of trials Georges and Anne’s love has had to endure over the years for them to have arrived at this point. But something has held them together all this time, and we sense that their life experiences and their commitment to one another have prepared them for this final challenge. Anne’s illness becomes the test in which all lingering frictions will be burned away and out of which their love will emerge as solid and indestructible. For only in times of utmost suffering and pain can love be manifested in its truest and purest form. And this is the message of Georges and Anne’s story: true love is being selfless, the act of giving.
One might say the Bell Jar is about Plath’s regret that she is not a man with a phallus, because that condition might actually enable her to lead a life of authenticity and freedom. Being female comes with the expectations of eventually becoming a domestic keeper no matter what one has achieved prior to getting married, as Plath mentions when she says men like Buddy Willard intend to serenade her with high romance only to iron her out flat like a mat like Buddy Willard’s mother after marriage, reduced to a life of menial household chores and work that revolves entirely around the family while Buddy Willard lives a double life of male hypocrisy and is able by virtue of his status as a male to engage in casual sex with a waitress.
Plath is also repulsed by the idea of sex, as she finds that it is an act of violence towards women and not in the least attractive as a prospect. Upon Buddy Willard exposing his male genitals to her, Plath confesses that all she can think about is turkey neck and gizzards, the male organ does not stimulate her sexually and when she first has a sexual encounter in order to get revenge on Buddy Willard for his casual attitude towards sex with an older professor she bleeds incessantly, demonstrating that the sexual act has more gratification for males than females and leads to more suffering on the part of females than males, essentially an act of violence towards females as Plath comes close to being raped by a woman-hater Marco in one section of the book.
Plath is repulsed also by the need for women to be incessant child bearers and household keepers, as she is revulsed by the figure of Dodo Conway, who has a large family of six children and seems to be completely immune to the burden and entrapment that being a mother and household keeper brings, she seems completely to fit the mould of being a child-bearer and child-rearer complacently and it is such women that Plath or her alter-ego Esther resents completely because it seems to be an entrapment for women, while men can pursue affairs and careers and money and glamour women are reduced to being appendages to men in having to be enslaved to bringing up the children that they bear for them.
Plath thus feels that being female is little more than being an appendage to men as they are allowed sexual liberties that are forbidden to women and allowed to pursue money glamour and fame all at the expense of their wives who have to make sacrifices and raise children for them.The idea of marriage appals Plath who finds it little more than an entrapment and imprisonment for someone as talented and full of promise independently as herself. Plath is also revulsed by the idea of females being completely passive, indebted and at the mercy of male desire as Doreen demonstrates at the presence of Lenny Sheppard, independently Doreen had been sharp-witted and satirical of people around her but around Lenny Sheppard Doreen transforms into a completely passive sex object for him, to be played around with at his will and mercy, the sight of them making out is so abhorrent to Esther or Plath that she has to leave the apartment altogether.
As a consequence of all the expectations of her as a female to throw away and abandon her life of high achievement and personal accolades when she becomes married and enslaved to a man like Buddy Willard who has no intuition or sense of decency towards women as he crudely and insensitively engages in casual sex with a waitress with no heed of Esther’s feelings as she is expected to remain pure and sexually untainted for him, Esther descends into a deep clinical depression that can be cured only by electroconvulsion, the ultimate violence towards her as she feels part of her is being executed like the Rosenbergs she mentions at the beginning of the novel, to be female it seems is a crime liable to being punished for one’s simple status as a women and the discomfort it causes in her when she does not complacently fit into the mould of Dodo Conway and Doreen who do not mind at all being completely at the mercy of men and indebted to them as well as being little more than domestic or sexual slaves to men as Dodo Conway ungrudgingly has one child after another and sees no need to distinguish herself with a career and as Doreen who had been so satirical and sharp is reduced to a completely compliant sexual object at the hands of Lenny Sheppard. Eventually, Esther makes a suicide attempt, albeit unsuccessful, as she feels she cannot escape the bell jar or suffocating imprisonment that the status of simply being female imposes upon her. This bell jar however was to descend on Plath eventually when as a mother of two married to an unfaithful Ted Hughes she eventually successfully takes her life by putting her head in a gas stove oven. At the heart of Plath’s grievance is the fact that women seem to be completely subordinated and at the mercy of male desire and the need for women to sacrifice their careers and reputation to simply become domestic keepers, it seems that all the academic accomplishment Plath has achieved will become utterly meaningless after she marries Buddy Willard because she will be flattened out like a rug under his feet like Buddy’s mother. Plath is also alienated from her mother, who fails to understand her completely and tries to make her feel guilt for her depression by repeatedly asking Plath how she had failed as a mother and what she had done wrong to cause her to go into depression when it is largely convention and society which has victimized Plath by confining her to the bell jar of marriage and motherhood in place of the alternative futures she had envisioned for herself with a successful career as a professor or editor. It is society’s rigid expectations of her path as a mother and wife that causes her to descend into depression.Plath also rejects the lesbian alternative, she rejects Joan’s advances and does not see Joan as an alternative to male subordination as she is repulsed by the idea of being lesbian for it seems unnatural and disgusting to her.
As with Amour,Plath’s suicide is almost a relief to the decline she has been suffering in gradually being enslaved to a man and entrapped with children. Many of us judge those who commit suicide as weak and unstable but given the amount of pain we are exposed to in Amour and Plath’s novel, suicide indeed seems a form of relief and escape. While not entirely rationalizing suicide or mercy killing, the gradual decline and excruciating pain that we witness in the characters make us sympathize with the decision to simply escape life through self harm.
Yet we are made to see their hubris as they take fate into their own hands rather than let the divine determine it.We are left wondering if they escape in this life but will escape condemnation by the divine for self harm in the next.
Hanake,Michael. Amour. 2012. Film.
Plath, Sylvia. The Bell Jar. Faber and Faber, London, 1963.
PG and Research Department of English
Sudharsan College of Arts and Science
Dr. G. Sathurappasamy
PG and Research Department of English
Zora Neale Hurston (1891-1960) is one of 20th-century America’s foremost fiction and folklore writers. Though she was criticized by some of her contemporaries, including Richard Wright and Ralph Ellison, her works are now frequently taught in literature courses and are widely admired for their style and substance. She deals extremely with anthropological elements and sentiments in her novels. This paper explores three of her novels in the perspective selected in the title.
This paper analyses such the anthropological elements as people culture, origin and society portrayed in the novels of Zora Neale Hurston. This paper explains the African-American people’s origin, culture and society. It also portrays the culture of the people and how the women were treated in their society. This paper addresses female issues in society such as the socialization of g`irls and women to define ‘self’ in the relation to the ‘others’. It will be primarily about modern women with particular dreams, delights, despairs and how these women relate to one another in the name of love.
The Major focus is on how women were treated both in black and white society. The struggles they undergone by physically, psychologically and how they finally fulfil their goal of identity. The emergence of female identity and creativity and barrier to their development and the challenges that these women face are also explored.
To explain these issues the primary sources chosen for this paper are “Their Eyes were Watching God, Seraph on the Sewanee” and Jonah’s Gourd Vine” by Zora Neale Hurston.
Zora Neale Hurston was one of the prominent figures in Harlem Renaissance. She was the only women writer in that period who had become famous as a black. She always focuses in the gender politics, secrets, language and identity. The tyrannical social model and family expectation, familial devotion, romantic love, economic, emotional insecurity, self-fulfilment and lack of recognition are the recurring themes in her works.
The most significant and prominent novel is Their Eyes were Watching God. This novel focuses on Janie the protagonist. It narrates about a journey in which the title character, Janie Crawford searches for independence, self-fulfilment and love. Janie’s quest for identity is challenged by the norms of her society, and she defies her grandmother, lovers, friends and community in order to escape the imprisonment of their self-degrading ideologies. This novel portrays the atmosphere of Eatonville and Florida. As a single woman when she returns to Eatonville after burying her third husband Tea Cake who made her to learn new thing and developed her knowledge which was restricted to women in their society. This novel tells about the struggles faced by Janie in her development of her psyche. This novel portrays the atmosphere of Eatonville and Florida.
Seraph on the Sewanee is another novel which also takes place around Florida. This is the only novel the protagonist is a white women. This novel takes place in Sawley town present on the river bank of Sewanee. This novel also tells about the development of the protagonist Arvay in her marriage life. Arvay was all of twenty-one, and according to local custom, should have been married at least five years ago. When the story begins, Arvay is upset with her sister because she takes the man that Arvay wants to marry. Because she feels that the life that she wanted to live is taken away from her, she tries to go into seclusion and ends up marrying a man that she persuaded to love. There are also scenes in the story when Arvay wanted to leave Jim but she couldn’t because Jim’s influence over her was so great. His force is similar to the force that black women had with whites and oftentimes their husbands.
Jonah’s Gourd Vine is the first novel of Zora Neale Hurston. It is her indirect product as anthropologist research work. This work also represents her life in Eatonville and her family life. Lucy Potts, the character modelled on Hurston’s real life mother Lucy, is presented as a tragic figure who stayed loyal to her husband through all of his adulterous affairs and abusive behaviour. In this novel Lucy has an even narrower life space in Alabama. She is locked into the cycle of reproduction that literally ties her to bed. Her physical enslavement as a breeder is also symbolically reified. She is always presented in bed in her marriage both in Alabama and in Eatonville, Florida, too, where she reaches a middle class status on the side of her husband. The metaphor of the bed marks disability and social marginalization that really becomes powerful in contrast with the promiscuous behaviour of John, who is seldom presented in the home, but whose figure is connected to superior physical power and agency.
On her death bed, Lucy says that she has been to sorrow’s kitchen and licked out all the pots. This novel also revolves around the Eatonville society and the culture of the black people. This book also focuses on women, violence, and testimony in the African American society. The author asserts the violently enforced confinement and powerlessness of African American women during 1880s in her novel “Jonah’s Gourd Vine.”
In these three novels, Zora Neale Hurston discusses the culture and society of the black and white people lives around Florida. She had travelled many places and done many research as an anthropologist. So as an anthropologist her writing also filled with the same things such as culture and society around the South Florida.
As a feminine writer all her writings were focused on the women life in their culture, society and around South Florida. How they were crushed in the name of culture and society and how they finally full fill their rights as a women. Most female character in her writing will try to attain self-fulfilment in their life. Being an anthropologist she combines the culture and society which restrict women development in the social status shown in her works. Hurston’s women are often positioned in the private–most prominently: kitchens, bedrooms, back porches, and back yards; and rarely in the public–where they are marginalized and alienated. These women are thus ascribed to inflexible places, where, under the male gaze, they become immobile. However, even if Hurston’s women appear in a seemingly free context–outside the home and masculine social space– and acquire a nomadic identity, their stance remains intelligible in the function of transparent space. Her works display a deep interest in the anthropology and feminism.
Thus Zora Neale Hurston novels reflect a strong anthropology and feminism and she examines the lives in and around South Florida. Her research is about their culture and structure of the society and how they see women and how they treat them. All her female character in her novels seeks for affection, love and self-fulfilment.
Thus this paper analysed Zora Neale Hurston’s novels from a cultural, society, feminist literary perspective, examining the women experience and perception of the world, female identity and social constraints on their development.
Woodson, Jacqueline. Show Way. New York: G.P. Putman’s Sons, 2005.
Housten, Julian. New Boy. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 2005.
Giovanni, N. Rosa. New York: Henry Holt and Company, 2005.
Freedman, R. The Voice that Challenged a Nation: Marian Anderson and the Struggle for Equal Rights. New York: Clarion Books, 2004.
Draper, Sharon A. Copper Sun. New York: Atheneum, 2006.
Hemenway, Robert. Zora Neale Hurston: A Literary Biography.
Hurston, Zora Neale. Dust Tracks on a Road.
Walker, Alice (ed.). I Love Myself…
National University of Singapore
Abstract: Hermione represents a Christ figure who is crucified by the jealous, irrational and sinful man Leontes, to be resurrected 16 years later after Leontes repents of his jealousy, irrationality, selfishness and egocentrism. His sin was disbelieving the goodness and fidelity of Hermione, much like unbelievers crucified Christ and refused to believe he was their savior and Messiah. At her resurrection, Leontes comes to see how foolish he was all this while, much like the persecutors of Christ repent at his resurrection when they realize they had wrongly accused Christ and he is indeed the good and rightful Messiah of the world. The vindication of the innocent Hermione parallels the vindication of the innocent Christ who was wrongly accused and crucified for no crime of his own. The play thus testified to the vindication of the righteous over the course of time. Time will reveal the innocence of the wrongly accused, just as Hermione is vindicated at her resurrection Christ will reveal his true innocence and status as the true Messiah when he returns in final glory at the second coming.
Keywords: Winter’s tale, Shakespeare, justice, vindication, jealousy
“They would be content to die if there were no other excuse why they should desire to live.”
Act 1, Scene 1, Lines 44-46. Leontes is the king of Sicilia. Polixenes is the king of Bohemia. These two kings have been bosom friends since childhood. Archidamus, a Bohemian courtier, has just offered glowing recommendations for Mamillius, Leontes’ only son. Camillo, a courtier to the king of Sicilia, supports the comments made by Archidamus, saying “They that went on crutches before he was born desire yet their life to see him a man.” Camillo offers this quote. All seem to believe that Mamillius is a talented young man. Continuing to be full of praise for Leontes, Mamillius, and his fellow countrymen, Archidamus says “If the King had no son, they would desire to live on crutches till he had one.”
“We were two lads who thought there was no more in the future but such a day tomorrow as today, and to be boys eternal.”
Act 1, Scene 2, Lines 79-82. Hermione is Leontes’ wife, his queen. Complimenting her husband, as usual, Hermione has been trying to get Polixenes to stay in Sicilia a week more. Polixenes has been in Sicilia for some time, visiting his long-time friend Leontes. Hermione stirs up memories of the past, saying “tell me of my lord’s tricks and yours when you were boys.” Polixenes offers this quote. But in spite of her insistence, he is determined to quickly return to Bohemia. Polixenes has business to tend to in Bohemia.
“One good deed dying not spoken of kills a thousand accompanying it. Our praises are our wages.”
Act 1, Scene 2, Lines 118-120. Leontes praises his wife’s effort to encourage Polixenes to extend his stay in Sicilia. He says “once before you spoke to better purpose.” The two of them, happy as can be to have Polixenes there in Sicilia, banter with each other, Hermione responding to his comment, by saying “not twice; not more than twice?” She says “Cram us with praise, and make us as fat as tame things.” She then offers this quote. She asks “what was the first time I spoke to better purpose?” He says when “thou didst utter I am yours forever.There is no marital friction between them.
“I may be negligent, foolish and fearful. These are such infirmities that honesty is never free of.”
Act 1, Scene 2, Lines 310-325. Hermione has persuaded Polixenes to stay in Sicilia for another week. But Leontes has now become jealous pf Polixenes, believing that Hermione in her persuasive efforts has been seducing Polixenes. Now convinced that Hermione and Polixenes are more than just friends, believing she has had a “too close relationship” with Polixenes, Leontes throws a tantrum at his aide, Camillo, for not seeing what Leontes now believes is her adultery. Camillo doesn’t quite know how to react to Leontes, saying this to defend himself.
“Do not weep, good friends; there is no cause. When you shall know your mistress has deserved prison, then abound in tears as I come out.”
Act 2, Scene 1, Lines 141-146. An enraged Leontes, believing Polixenes to be the cause of Hermione’s pregnancy,imprisons Herione. Hermione maintains composure, speaking only to her ladies, asking that they attend her in prison to help her during her late stage pregnancy.
“Often, the silence of pure innocence persuades when speaking fails.”
Act 2, Scene 2, Lines 50-51. Knowing the king is very upset with Hermione, imprisoning her, Paulina, one of the queen’s ladies-in-waiting, offers to tell Leontes of the birth of their daughter, hoping she can “prove honey-mouthed” and ease the friction between the two of them. Paulina says “We do not know how he may soften at the sight o’ th’ child.” Paulina offers this quote. Emilia is another lady-in-waiting. Paulina remains ignorant that Leontes believes Polixenes is the child’s father.
It is the heretic that makes the fire, not she who burns in ‘t.”
Act 2, Scene 3, Lines 148-149. . Paulina has just told the king at length how much the child looks like him, saying “the print be little, the whole matter and copy of the father.” She continues to describe how much the two look similar. Leontes believes none of it. He says “I’ll have thee burnt.” She says “I care not” and says this.
“Some powerful spirit instruct the hawks and ravens to be thy nurses.” Act 2, Scene 3, Lines 227-228. Leontes has just commanded Antigonus, another of the king’s courtiers, to take the child to some remote desert out-back in Bohemia and to desert the baby there. Antigonus, having agreed to do anything to save the child from being burned, agrees to the command. He picks up the child and offers this prayer.
If powers divine behold our human actions, as they do, I doubt not then but innocence shall make false accusation blush and tyranny tremble at suffering endured with calmness.”
Act 3, Scene 2, Lines 29-33. The court’s indictment has read that she committed adultery with Polixenes and conspired with Camillo to take away the life of her husband, Leontes. Leontes has been unjustly cruel Hermione was calm as she listened to the accusations. The queen offers this speech soon after the judgement.
O thou tyrant, do not repent these things, for they are weightier than all thy woes can stir.”
: Act 3, Scene 2, Lines 228-230. Hermione dropped unconscious when the Court was told that Mamillius had died. She was carried out of the courtroom. Paulina followed her out. Leontes apologized to the court. Paulina re-enters and reveals truth to the court. She says “But the last woe, O lords, the Queen’s dead.” She then offers this quote to the court and to Leontes, going on to say to the king “A thousand supplicants for ten thousand years could not move the gods to look that way thou wert.”
“What’s gone and what’s past should be past grief.”
Act 3, Scene 2, Lines 246-247. Paulina has reported to Leontes and to the court that Hermione is dead. Paulina continues to chastise Leontes. A lord asks her to “Say no more.” She says “I do repent.” She says this to the court.
“I cannot forget how I destroyed the sweet’st companion that e’er man bred his hopes out of.”
Act 5, Scene 1, Lines 12-13. Perhaps twenty years have now passed since Leontes’ wife Hermione collapsed and he was told she had died. At that same time he had learned that their son Mamillius had also died. It was then that Leontes, furious, had demanded that their baby girl Perdita be taken to the Bohemian out-back and left there. He continues to suffer from remorse over his willful orders.
Dear queen, who ended when I but began, give me that hand of yours to kiss.”
Act 5, Scene3, Lines 53-54.Paulina has led the royal family into the gallery to view the statue of the queen, all standing in honor and wonder at the statue as Paulina draws back the curtain. Perdita kneels and then talks to the statue, offering this quote. Paulina calls Perdita back, saying “O patience! The color’s not dry
When she was young, you wooed her; now in age is she become the suitor?” Act 5, Scene 3, Lines 134-135. Paulina to Leontes. Paulina has just asked Hermione, standing in the gallery as a statue, to descend. She does. For the moment, all are in shock and awe. Leontes then says “O, she’s warm! If this be magic, let it be art.”
“You gods, from your sacred vials pour your graces upon my daughter’s head.”
Act 5, Scene 3, Lines 153-155. Having appeared to be a statue, Hermione now has descended from a platform and embraced her husband. Paulina introduces her to her daughter. As we now know, Hermione hadn’t seen her daughter since the day she was born, some sixteen to twenty years ago.
Hermione represents a Christ figure who is crucified by the jealous, irrational and sinful man Leontes, to be resurrected 16 years later after Leontes repents of his jealousy, irrationality, selfishness and egocentrism. His sin was disbelieving the goodness and fidelity of Hermione, much like unbelievers crucified Christ and refused to believe he was their savior and Messiah. At her resurrection, Leontes comes to see how foolish he was all this while, much like the persecutors of Christ repent at his resurrection when they realize they had wrongly accused Christ and he is indeed the good and rightful Messiah of the world. The vindication of the innocent Hermione parallels the vindication of the innocent Christ who was wrongly accused and crucified for no crime of his own. The play thus testified to the vindication of the righteous over the course of time. Time will reveal the innocence of the wrongly accused, just as Hermione is vindicated at her resurrection Christ will reveal his true innocence and status as the true Messiah when he returns in final glory at the second coming.
Shakespeare, William. The Winter’s Tale. Dover thrift editions. New York. 2000.