Tag Archives: Book Review

little women

“I’ve got the key to my castle in the air, but whether I can unlock the door remains to be seen.” 

-Louisa May Alcott, Little Women

In 1868, Louisa May Alcott was asked by her publisher to write a novel about girls that would be appealing to the masses. This was something new and challenging to her as she had spent all her life writing short stories. Also, she didn’t want to write a story from the female perspective as the only story she knew of was of her sisters. She was initially hesitant but chose to write the novel. Little did she know that her book would be an instant success and would still be read and admired by people centuries after her death.

Little Women was published in 1868 and recounts the story of four sisters: Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy March. The book is loosely based off of Alcott’s own life, and many believe that she is the Jo March of her family. It is set in Massachusetts at the time of the American Civil War. On their first Christmas without their father, the March sisters and their mother, Marmee March, decided to give their Christmas breakfast away to an impoverished and starving family. When they returned, they found out that their neighbour, Mr Laurence had sent over a surprise breakfast. This leads to the two families getting closer to each other, and the March Sisters getting acquainted with Theodore “Laurie” Laurence, Mr Laurence’s nephew. 

One of the reasons why Little Women was an immediate success and remains relevant years after the author’s death is because of its realism and a perfect portrayal of sisterhood. The sisters are not particularly glamorous characters and lead ordinary lives, yet one likes them as they can relate to them. For example, when Jo refused to take young Amy to the theatre with Meg and Laurie, Amy burned down Jo’s manuscript, on which she had been working for ages. While this is not pretty to read, it is accurate as Amy was 12, and this is an accurate response from someone of her age. Her burning down of the manuscript led to Jo being extremely angry at her, and she vowed never to talk to her again. Yet, when Amy chased after Jo after feeling remorse, and almost died by falling through the thin ice at the river, Jo saved her and even made up with her. This shows that no matter how angry one is with their sibling, they still love them and would do anything for them.

Alcott also manages to perfectly capture the feeling of growing up and leaving your childhood innocence behind. Meg gets married and moves out, Jo rejects Laurie’s proposal and moves to New York to write, Beth becomes sick and eventually passes away, and Amy goes to Europe with her aunt where Laurie proposes to her after being rejected by Jo. Slowly they all leave their comfort zone behind and face the tribulations one faces when they become distant from family as they grow up. Yet, all the sisters reunite and show that their bond is stronger than ever.

Alcott gave her characters distinct and bold personalities and the women who read it at that time related to the March Sisters and felt the need to have more “public” identities and follow their ambitions. Alcott even planned to let Jo remain unmarried, but she eventually decided to get her married which lead to Jo abandoning her writing career, though Alcott remained unmarried all her life. This book has stayed relevant to date and is still beloved by the people. Generations of readers have fallen in love with this masterpiece. It is an extremely captivating story, one you won’t be able to put down.

The unattainable American Dream: The great gatsby

“He who is not contented with what he has, would not be contented with what he would like to have.”

-Socrates

The American dream, a term coined by James Truslow Adams in his 1931 bestseller “Epic of America”, is the belief that anyone can achieve success if they work hard enough, regardless of their class or status. The dream of a land where life is better for everyone, with opportunity for each according to ability or achievement. However, as the years have passed the American dream has become more and more materialistic. Nowadays, people have impulsive and reckless habits, and they are never satisfied. No matter how much they have, they just keep aiming for more. This critique of the American dream was provided in F Scott Fitzgerald’s 1925 classic, “The Great Gatsby”.

Set in the Roaring Twenties, a few years after the first World War, the book begins with the narrator, Nick Carraway, a Yale alumnus and a war veteran, arriving in New York City, and renting a bungalow in the West Egg. This bungalow was next to the luxurious estate of Jay Gatsby, a mysterious multimillionaire and war veteran. The 20s were an interesting time for America. The young were rebellious, jazz was gaining popularity and the economy was prospering. The way society was living was reckless, and Fitzgerald foreshadowed that disaster was bound to happen. Sure enough, in 1929 the infamous Wall Street Crash put a stop to the economic prosperity of America.

Getting back to the novel, Nick observed that Gatsby had stretched out his arm in the direction of a mysterious green light coming from the end of a dock, reaching for something far off. This conveys the idea that no matter how much people possess, they always want more. Gatsby was the personification of the unattainable American Dream. He came from nothing and built his way up into the high society, earning his wealth through crime. Yet, he was never satisfied with what he had and failed to realise how hollow and empty his dream had become. When his ex-lover Daisy, who had gotten married to Tom Buchanan when Gatsby was deployed overseas, told him that she loved him, Gatsby wasn’t satisfied. He still wanted her to say that she never loved her husband. He always desired more and projected his version of the perfect American dream onto Daisy. When Daisy couldn’t bear the weight of his never-ending desires, she chose to stay with Tom, and his inability to win her love shattered his dream. This moment also set the stage for the novel’s tragic ending.

In the book, Gatsby was known for throwing glamorous parties at his lavish mansion which everyone attended, regardless of whether they were invited or not. Each week he had thousands of guests over, but he never formed a bond with anyone of them. His only companion throughout the book was Nick, although it is argued that he was only friends with him to get to Daisy, Nick’s cousin. 

After his death, only a handful of people attended his funeral, including Nick. All his former acquaintances had disappeared, and Daisy and Tom had moved away. Fitzgerald conveyed that the American dream had made people selfish, and criticised the lifestyle of the Americans. Disappointed by the low attendance at the funeral, Nick decides to move away from New York. He also realises that both Tom and Daisy were destructive and selfish people. Thus, Fitzgerald perfectly illustrates the fact that the dream is unattainable, and that one should focus on non-material things which bring more joy than this impossible dream.

The Great Gatsby is regarded as one of the greatest novels of all time.

The picture of dorian gray

“How sad it is! I shall grow old, and horrible, and dreadful. But this picture will remain always young….If it were only the other way!”

-Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray

A narcissist can be described as someone who has an excessive interest in themselves. While self love is important, narcissists take it too far. They think of themselves as superior in every way whatsoever. Their admiration and obsession with themselves can challenge extremities, sometimes even lead to their ruination. In Greek mythology, Narcissus, a hunter, was cursed to fall in love with himself. He admired himself in the river waters each day, until his despair about the fact that his own reflection couldn’t come to life and love him killed him , leaving behind nothing but a narcissus flower. The word itself is derived from his name. A similar theme is addressed by Oscar Wilde in his Gothic novel, The Picture of Dorian Gray.

Dorian Gray was Wilde’s first, and only published novel.It was new and compelling, providing us a peek into what goes on in a human soul, even though its initial release was quite controversial.Set in Victorian England, it tells the story of Dorian Gray, a man who, after seeing a beautiful portrait of his, falls in love with it, but grows distressed at the idea that the portrait will remain young and beautiful forever as he grows old and ugly. He desires that he himself remains young forever, while his portrait ages. Mysteriously, his wish is fulfilled. The man remains youthful, whilst his painting bears the marks every sin he committed, growing uglier by the day. Eventually, he stabs the painting with the same knife he used to murder his friend, perhaps to absolve himself from his wrongdoings. However, when his servants rush to find the source of a cry, they find Dorian’s corpse, old and withered, with the painting looking as beautiful as the day it was painted.

With appreciable vocabulary and vivid metaphors, Wilde manages to convey the slow corrupting of Dorian’s soul, egged on by his friend Lord Henry Wotton. Wotton’s character was crucial for the plot, as he was the one who poisoned his mind with the idea that beauty is the only thing worth pursuing. Had it not been for him, Dorian wouldn’t have driven Sibyl, his love, to death, nor would he have killed Basil Hallward, the artist who created the painting, and regarded Dorian as his muse. As the story progresses, he found it easier to shut off his conscience, and do what pleases him.

Throughout the book, Wilde keeps up his theme of aestheticism, and subtly manages to convey to the reader the shallow nature of tangible beauty, and how too much focus on it can destroy the soul. He manages to create a world where art meets reality. Wilde’s words present a perfect study of human selfishness and vanity, providing a perfect look into thr human soul. It has gone down in history as a classic work of literature.

all the light we cannot see

So how, children, does the brain, which lives without a spark of light, build for us a world full of light?” 

Anthony Doerr, All the Light we Cannot See

World War 2 has been one of the most written about topics. Over the years, we have seen a lot of books, movies and documentaries about it, each more intriguing than the previous. It was a dark moment in our history, and it is obvious why all of us can’t stop reading about it. Just when we thought that we have read it all, fiction and non-fiction, we were proven wrong. In 2014, Anthony Doerr released his “All the Light we cannot see”. This book highlighted how both the sides tried to survive the devastations of the war.It went on to become New York Times Bestseller, and even won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 2015.

This book talks about the war, but not just in the way you think. Often times, literature about World War II focuses on its soldiers and leaders. Seldom it is when a book talks about its impact on the common folk. The book shifts between two points of views, one of a blind French girl trying to escape from occupied France, and another of a German boy, who gets recruited at an extremely young age. For Marie-Laure, blind since the age of 6, life hasn’t been easy, with her father as her only support.For Werner, an orphan, initially destined to labour in the mines, life takes a turn when he fixes an old broken radio, and tunes into a a radio show by a Frenchman who awakens a life long interest for science in him. Doerr’s impeccable vocabulary, and the smooth transition from Marie’s life to that of Werners makes it completely worth it to read the book. 

We all know what a difficult time that was. However , after reading about the many trials and tribulations they both had to face at extremely young ages, we come to realise exactly how cruel it was. How it stopped at nothing to take away every possible shred of happiness they possessed. Another theme constantly highlighted throughout the book is family. Both of them eventually lose all their family. This was a detail which couldn’t have been overlooked, as it was crucial to prove to the reader how innocents will always suffer when two sides fight. Doerr perfectly managed to capture the desperation one feels when losing their family, with the incapability of being able to do anything. It tugs at one’s emotional heartstrings, and definitely does the fail to provoke a tear or two.

Doerr’s hauntingly beautiful description of events not only helps you visualise the scene, but also feel the emotions the characters were going through. When Werner wins a spot into the Hitler Youth Academy, his only escape from a life in the coal mines, you can visualise exactly how he must have been feeling, being presented with two options for his future, neither of them better than the other. Both these options will lead to his separation with his only family alive, his sister. You can sense his inner turmoil at this very moment. This book is also a great read for those fond of science. Every page in this 634-page work of art is bewitching. This is one book you won’t be able to put down.

Top 5 books to read

There are times when you need an escape from your life and your time frame. Books are the best escape, the best time travel and the best indulgence. The world right now is going through a lot, and it wouldn’t be wrong to say that it is the toughest time for the humanity. From being on the verge of several wars, burning forests and an almost wrecking virus, there are times when you need to get away. 

Here’s a list of top 5 books you should read—

  1. The Bell Jar

One of the most beautifully written novels, The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath emerges as an absolute get-lost-into novel. The stories about confinement and trauma are shocking, the narrative of this book is so indulging that you fall for it being real and forget what’s outside.

2. Looking for Alaska

A young adult fiction, John Green’s books never disappoint you. The descriptive nature of the book portrays a real film in your mind. The book is hard to leave and harder to get over with. You just keep falling in love with it every day.

3. Mrs. Dalloway

Considered as one of the best works of Virginia Woolf, Mrs. Dalloway is a book about a woman in the post-war days in Britain. It covers the day-long schedule in the life of a woman. The realisation of time and society that the book leaves you with is incredible. 

4. War and Peace

Another classic novel by Leo Tolstoy, covers the Russia’s days with Napoleon. It is amazing to read how ordinary people deal with the extraordinary conditions they encounter in their daily lives due to the war. It is worth reading as it teaches how people dealt during a wartime, when the the society was rapidly changing. The book is a thick-read but it is worth the time.

5. The Kite-Runner

The kite-runner by Khaled is a story about a young boy Amir and his friend Hassan. 

The story is based in Afghanistan, a war-torn and landlocked country in Asia. The kite-fight tournaments, the friendship and the betrayal will have all of your heart.

Reach out to me on instagram @ekanika_shah

A lonely world and other poems— book review

“A lonely world and other poems”, by Himanshu Goel is a perfect combination of inclusions and exclusions, of sadness mingling with hope, of a longing and rejection of home.

 It beautifully lays down the extraordinary situations in the life of every ordinary human. It swiftly blends the tales of being compelled into loneliness to wanting, yet rejecting to come out of it at the same time. 

I confess, it is one of the most relatable and captivating poetry compilations. The compilation is a lot of things—home, hope, severity and rivety. It lays naked the fact how the world is full of happy people with festered souls. You may go into a self-introspection mode by the end of this beauty. Ever wondered, how we let things happen, see distances increase and still lie back in the fear of being vulnerable?

It would open you to the strangeness of silently seeing yourself become someone you don’t want to and do nothing about it. It’s a realisation that the loneliness trapped inside of you is beautifully tragic. You will experience being a passionate person lost into a labyrinth that leads no where. The hard-hitting end is captivatingly painful. It’s the place where you’ll find imperfections being glorified better than beauty, society being questioned so blatantly and yet so poetically.


Get it now from Amazon!
https://www.amazon.in/lonely-world-other-poems-ebook/dp/B089MDCXR7/ref=sr_1_2?dchild=1&keywords=A+lonely&qid=1591856625&s=gift-cards&sr=1-2-catcorr

A Misreading of the Poem of Maya Angelou’s’ My Arkansas’

1.Veeramani, S. Ph.D.& 2. Mr. M. Chinnadurai

Assistant Professors of English, Arignar Anna Govt. Arts College

Abstract

Literary texts are significantly made up of signifiers from the definition of poststructuralist perspective. The author’s literary product is a dynamic, when a reader is making multiple readings. That is to say that a primary reading is not an end. There are multiple readings are in literature. This kind of multiplicity of reading is safely called ‘misreading’

Keywords

Culture, deconstruction, environmental concern, misreading, nature

Introduction

The well-known African American poet is Maya Angelou. She is a civil activist in Arkansas.  Arkansas is a place in America, where black people live and were discriminated brutally on the racial issues. She is labelled as postcolonial / subaltern writer. Her most famous poem is ‘My Arkansas’. Generally this poem deals with the poet’s reminiscent of her experience of the poet. As it is well known that this poem is a note of autobiographical. Angelou has brought bitterly out the present and the past experience. From the perspective of post structuralism, a theorist can reread this poem in the aspect of multiplicity of meaning. The surface level of the meaning is defaced and the hidden meaning is unearthed. The constant unearthing activity is the primary act of post structuralism.

       Post structuralism has not emerged suddenly. In arts and humanities the theory has been developed from structuralism. Post structuralism has produced a term called ‘deconstruction’. Originally the term deconstruction announced and practised by Jacques Derrida.  Derrida was a French philosopher, born in 1930. In his intellectual account, he has written three significant books. Those are: a) Speech and Phenomena b) Writing and Difference and c) Of Grammatology. Derrida is not to the diametrically opposite meaning in a text. Rather, he is to the unread meaning, which is left in a text by a common reader. The term deconstruction is not a new one. It already existed in the 18th century. Derrida says that a literary text is already dismantled by itself. Therefore, he says that the left over meaning with the play of signifiers is reread.


Misreading- A note:

The term deconstruction is derived from old French word. Derrida himself says that deconstruction is not a new term. It better to quote from Julian Wolfreys’ essay ‘Deconstruction, What Remains Unread’:

‘The first known written appearance of the word in English is in 1882’. As with its French predecessor, it has legal connotations: ’a reform the beginnings of which must be a work of deconstruction’ (wolfreys, 117.)

    Misreading of a literary text is not the reading of a literary text in a wrong manner, but it is a reading in which the other meaning is exhumed from a literary text. There are two kinds of method of reading, which can be functioned analyse a literary text.

A)Intended meaning (author’s / general /surface meaning)

  1. B) Unintended meaning (reader’s reconstruction/misreading/unread meaning/deconstruction)

The intended meaning defines that the surface level of the meaning in a text which the author wants to convey to readers. And it has a sequential logic at giving the meaning.

The unintended meaning defines that a reader deconstructs a literary text / art not from a reader’s own perspective, but to discover the unread he meaning, which is already dismantled by itself. In a linguistic network the play of signifiers are already tended to be deconstructed.


Deconstructive Analysis of the poem ‘My Arkansas’

Maya Angelou’s ‘My Arkansas’ is a well-known African American poem. Some readers and critics say that the poem deals with the theme of autobiography. Through this poem Angelou has depicted that there is a racial discrimination in her country. This poem is an example for that. In a deconstructive reading all the readings are the provisional. Therefore, in the practice of deconstruction, the term aporiais used.

                                    There is a deep brooding

                                    in Arkansas

                                    old crimes like moss pend

                                    from poplar trees

the poet has utilized the metaphorical and figurative language in the above stanza. The poet says that in Arkansas old crimes are prevalent even now. The words ‘old’ ’crimes ‘make sense that the poet is in dilemma between old crimes and the modern crimes, since the old crimes are emphasized figuratively.

Moreover, the author has used the figurative words comparatively that ‘deep’ ‘brooding’‘moss pend’ and ‘poplar trees’, which have the nature of fast growing. Here the figurative words are representing the crimes committed by people in the Arkansas are culture. The words ‘moss’ and ‘poplar’ are representing ‘nature’. The poet seeks for assistance to bring out culture from ‘nature’. This is what a poststructuralist reading calls a concept of binary opposition. That is nature X culture, man X woman as such. In the poem the signifiers reiterate nature for emphasizing culture. The poet explains that nature of fast growing trees like ‘moss’ and ‘poplar’. The above few lines of the poem have the nature of culture

                                    the sullen earth

                                    Is much too

                                    Red for comfort

The above lines are the environmental concern rather than her autobiographical note. The words ‘sullen earth’ and ‘too red’ are in the metaphorical sense. Again the poet seeks for assistance from nature ‘earth’. The words ‘too red’ might have explained that the earth is destroyed by the crimes.  It shows that the earth is being deteriorated into loss of fertility, nature and greenish, because of the man-made violence. It is better termed as anthropocentrism. Therefore, it might to say that the poet has eco-concern

Sunrise seems to hesitate

                                    And in that second

                                    Lose its

                                    incandescent aim, and

                                    dusk no more shadows

than the moon

The above lines are the explanatory of change of whether /climatic condition. The sun is not able to appear and disappear in the proper region /location. The sun loses its brighter light to flash. The line ‘the past is brighter yet’ shows that the line is connected with the ‘old crimes’ like ‘moss pend’. The explanatory note here is the cultural degradation makes more on nature and it has lost ‘values’ and ‘nature’. Again the poet seeks for assistance from natural phenomena like ‘earth, moon’. The poet is so concern about the environmental degradation and is compared with past/old crimes in Arkansas.

Old hates and

                                    Ante-bellum lace, are rent

                                    But not discarded

                                    Today is yet to come

The poet might to say that before the American Civil war the condition was unsatisfactory. This might be a reason that the American civil war could bring peace. The term ‘ante-bellum’ is on par with before the American civil war. Therefore the poet makes importance to the environmental concern rather than her autobiographical note in the poem.

References

Barry, Peter. Beginning Theory:An Introduction to Literary and Cultural Theory.UK: Manchester University Press, 2010. print.

Wheeler, Kathleen and Indra, C.T. Explaining Deconstruction. Chennai: Macmillan, 1997. print.

Wolfreys, Julian. Introducing Literary Theories:A Guide and Glossary. UK: Edinburgh University Press, 2001. print.

 

Scopus Journal-Inviting Research

International Journal of Research (IJR)

ISSN: 2348-6848  IF Value: 5.0 (SJIF): 3.541

Scopus Indexed Journal

Image - Divider11081339_937173229646737_4278464656432269772_n_thumb.jpg

Call for Research Paper

Volume – 03 Issue – 10

Deadline for Submission: 21st June 2016.
Manuscript Publication: 1st July 2016 

Dear Researchers,

Congratulations for being the best. It’s our great pleasure to send you a gentle request for your paper.

IJR is the growing vital journal for the development of information science & technology. IJR Provides relies on the review process to publish research article. The journals welcome and encourage articles from both practitioners and academics.

             Authors are invited to submit Research Paper for publication to IJR, We cover all the engineering aspects like Civil Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Electronics And Communication Engineering, Electrical And Electronics Engineering, Computer Science Engineering, Information Technology, Mechanics Engineering, Marine Engineering, Architectural Planning, Medical Sciences, Art, Science and Management,etc.,


Submit your manuscript through E-mail at
: editor@edupediapublications.com

 

Regards
Editor in Chief

Wonderful Tips for Using Silent Body Language

This is really one of the one that I read and reviewed in last few days. I found this book full of easy to use and follow body language tricks which can really enhance our social influence and we can be a good communicator. The communication is two types verbal and non-verbal. The author has beautifully explained how to use and make it our habit in synthesizing both the language. The book is available free but it is worth hundreds of million dollars. The author has explained the postures of hand which is a major component of non-verbal communication in our day to day life. The author has suggested good number of such tricks and instructed easy to follow guidelines so that the thoughts become action and action become habit of our life. I would recommend this book to all the managers, technical persons and all who wish to make a social imprint. This book can be really more useful if we practice the suggestions given in the book. I would like to enlist few suggestions which I felt everybody should follow. 1. Stand to greet and meet people. 2. Smile while you meet someone. 3. Use effectively your non-verbal communication skill to gain an edge in professional life. 4. Be careful that what you say and what your body communicate, might make a huge difference. 5. Learn good things but more important thing is to practice it in real life. Hope to see more of my friends reading this wonderful book. I will scan through more books to bring out the gems for you to possess and cherish in your life.

Book Review by Shashikant Nishant Sharma

Click here to get Book Available Free on Amazon