World Novel Criticism
WORLD NOVEL CRITICISM
World Novel Criticism, a collection of critical essays on some novels around the world by Menonim Menonimus.
All rights of the World Novel Criticism is reserved with the author
First Internet Edition: 2019
I like reading and writing and sometimes, though not often, along with reading, I like to keep brief notes on what I read. This present book ‘World Novel Criticism’ is the result of such linking. I frankly confess that the critical essays are in no way exhaustive but brief. However, after the suggestion of some of my dear readers, I have collected them in this book form. Hope that a pre-reading of these brief critical essays would serve as a peep at the main novels for my dear readers.
WORLD NOVEL CRITICISM
1. The Theme of George Eliot’s Novel Middlemarch
2. Joseph Conrad’s novel ‘Heart of Darkness’-Characterisation of Marlow
3. Use of Wit and Irony in the Novel Pride and Prejudice
4. Heathcliff -A Characterisation
5. Charles Dicken’s Novel ‘Great Expectation’ as a Bildungsroman
6. The Theme of Love in Pride and Prejudice
7. The Art of Characterisation in Henry Fielding’s novel, Tom Jones
8. James Joyce’s ‘A Portrait the Artist as a Young Man’ as a Stream of Consciousness Novel
9. Autobiographical Elements in The Vicar of Wakefield
10. Religious and Moral Lesson in the Novel Vicar of Wakefield
11. The Theme of Oliver Goldsmith’s novel The Vicar of Wakefield
12. Charlotte Bronte’s novel ‘Jane Eyre’ — A Brief Comment
13. Carlo Collodi’s Novel ‘The Adventures of Pinocchio’ –A Brief Comment
14. George Orwell’s Novel ‘The Animal Farm’ –A Brief Comment
15. Jack London’s Novel ‘The Call of the Wild’ –A Brief Comment
16. Charlotte Bronte’s novel ‘Jane Eyre’ -A Critical Study
17. The Adventure of Pinocchio– A Critical Study
18. Voltaire’s Novel ‘Candide- A Brief Comment
WORLD NOVEL CRITICISM (TEXT)
The Theme of George Eliot’s Novel ‘Middlemarch’
George Eliot’s ‘Middlemarch’ is a social novel the principal theme of which is love, rivalry and marriage. Through this theme, the novelist has shown that misunderstanding and infidelity between husband and wife make conjugal life trouble-some and unhappy. There are as many as four marriage episodes in this novel such as—the marriages of Dorothea and Casaubon, Celia and Sir James Chettam, Rosamond and Lydgate, Mary Garth and Fred Vincy. Besides this, there are other themes like greed for money, suffering and death, medical practice and politics. But all these themes are subordinate to the main theme. Now let us illustrate all these themes one by one as below:
First, we can consider the marriage of Dorothea and Edward Casaubon. She is idealistic and is interested in the study of philosophical books. She performs charitable works among the poor. But she lacks practical wisdom. One night a dinner party was arranged by Mr Brooke where a serious-minded, middle-aged clergyman by the name of Edward Casaubon attended the party. He appeared to be a great philosopher like Locke. He said that he has been working on world mythology. There he was attracted to Celia but she remained indifferent to him. On this ground, he turned his eyes to Dorothea and she, being fascinated by him fell in love with him and later on, they got married. After the marriage, Dorothea found that Casaubon was indifferent to her. On the other hand, Casaubon’s cousin by the name of Will Ladislaw became enamoured of her and at last the conjugal life of Dorothea and Casaubon deteriorated.
Secondly, we see that Celia, the sister of Dorothea is in love with a wealthy Baronet by the name of Sir James Chettam. Celia is beautiful and possesses a greater common sense than her sister Dorothea. She married Chettam and their married life seemed a happy one.
Thirdly, we see the marriage of Mary Garth and Fred Vincy. Mary Garth was the daughter of Caleb Garth who later on became the manager of Joshua Rigg. On the other hand, Fred Vincy was the brother of Rosamond. He was habituated to gambling. Mary Garth married him on the conditions that Vincy would give up his habit of gambling and he would not take the profession of a clergyman.
Fourthly, there is the marriage of Rosamond and Lydgate. Rosamond was the sister of Fred Vincy. On the other hand, Lydgate was a proficient doctor. Later on, they got married. Their marriage seemed to be unhappier as Rosamond become wayward and Will Ladislaw seemed to be interested in her. But later on, they became reconciled.
In addition to the above-discussed theme of love and marriage, there are the themes of sufferance and death, greed for money, medical competition and politics. In the novel, we see at least the death of three leading persons namely Casaubon, Featherstone and Raffles. Casaubon is struck dead by one heart stroke. While both Featherstone and Raffles suffered a long and lingering death.
We see the greed for money in the relatives of Featherstone. On the eve of Featherstone’s death hordes of his relatives gather together in his house like vultures. Casaubon’s death did not bring tears to anybody’s eyes except to the eyes of Dorothea which also dried up soon.
There is the theme of medical competition between Lydgate and other doctors of Middlemarch as we see that all other doctors are jealous of Lydgate’s popularity as a doctor.
The theme of politics comes a little late. Here Mr Brooke stands as an aspirant of politics who is backed up by Ladislaw by his pen and speeches.
Thus the novelist George Eliot has brought about a number of minor themes in addition to the major theme of love, rivalry and marriage in the novel and thus through these themes, the novelist has depicted her society. 0 0 0
World Novel Criticism
Conrad’s novel ‘Heart of Darkness’-Characterisation of Marlow
Role of Marlow in the Novel ‘Heart of Darkness’
Ideological Position of Marlow in the Novel ‘Heart of Darkness’
Marlow is one of the major characters in the novel entitled ‘Heart of Darkness’ by Joseph Conrad (1847-1924). Throughout the novel, he plays the ideological roles of a narrator, philosopher and psychologist. We can illustrate his multi-faced ideological roles as below:
First, Marlow plays the role of an exceptionally gifted narrator in the novel. He narrates the story of the novel in his own person. Thus he becomes the mouthpiece of the novelist, Joseph Conrad. As a narrator, Marlow possesses extraordinary power of observation, perception, reflection, meditation and analysis. In narrating the story of the Congo Expeditions, Marlow makes a unique blend of realism and imagination. But whatever he narrates he becomes ideological in his narration. The following lines show us how realistic, imaginative, vivid and even poetic he is as a narrator:
”Trees, trees, millions of trees, massive, immense, running up high at their foot, hugging the bank against the stream….”
Secondly, Marlow plays the role of a philosopher. He spends much time in meditating upon what he observes. For instance, he experiences a feeling of futility on seeing a French warship firing its guns into the jungle purposelessly. He also experiences a sense of futility on seeing that rock is being blasted. The sight of the six black natives chained to one another having iron collars on their necks also arouses in Marlow a series of philosophical reflections. Besides these, Marlow’s reflections on hunger and on cannibalism show his philosophical blend of mind. ‘Hunger’ he points out, is one of the most compulsive cravings of mankind. In addition to these, Marlow’s comments on human life and on the action and natures of the persons he goes into contact with are philosophical. For instance, he says, “We live as we dream-alone”. Marlow’s comments on the brick-maker as a “Piper Mache Mephistopheles”; his comment on Kurtz as “hollow at the core”; his comment on the Russian as ‘harlequin’- all are philosophical in nature.
Thirdly, Marlow plays an important role as an ideological psychologist also. As a psychologist, Marlow is able to judge the inside of human beings and probe the workings of their minds. Marlow makes the following comments:
”The mind of man is capable of anything because everything is in it- all the past as well as all the present.”
Marlow’s analyses and comments on the characters of the novel are philosophical and at the same time psychological. His analyses of the character of the Russian, the Brick-maker and the white traders and especially of Kurtz are philosophical. Marlow says, “All Europe contributed to the making of Kurtz”- is not only philosophical but also psychological because it reveals the mind of Kurtz. In some context, Marlow gives a bit of self-analysis when he tells his listeners about his hatred of falsehood as:
”There is a taint of death, a flavour of mortality in lies-which is exactly what I hate and detest in the world.”
Thus Marlow throughout the novel plays the roles of a narrator, a philosopher, and a psychologist. But all his roles are ideological because the account of the Congo Expedition and the description and the analyses of the characters that he goes in to contact during this expedition are based less upon Conrad’s real tour to that land but more upon his ideas about that land and people. Besides this, the novelist has portrayed Marlow as an ideal man in the light of religion and spiritual faith. We see at the beginning of the novel that Marlow sat crossed-legged on the decks of the stream boat with the appearance of an ascetic like the Asian Buddha. There is no evil in him. Neither is he tainted by the commercialism and greed of the Whites. He does not at any time stoop to any kind of meanness and baseness. His comments on various persons with whom he comes into contact show his sound moral thinking and wholesome moral principles. Hence Marlow’s ideological roles in the novel are unique and extraordinary. 0 0 0
World Novel Criticism
Use of Wit and Irony in the Novel ‘Pride and Prejudice’
Humour in ‘Pride and Prejudice’
‘Wit’ is a clever, skillful or artful thought-propounding verbal expression of an idea produced by the use of pun, oxymoron, paradox, quibbles and so on which is contrived to excite our surprise and delight. It often produces a humorous or comic effect.
On the other hand, ‘irony’ is a tactful expression or representation of an idea, event, situation or circumstance with an implied or hidden meaning or significance besides its literal or superficial meaning. An irony expresses two meanings simultaneously as- one is obvious (literal /apparent) or the other is hidden or deeper (under the surface) meaning. The real purpose of using irony is to ridicule or blame a person or thing and thus it produces humorous or comic effects.
In the novel ‘Pride and Prejudice’ the author Jane Austen makes ample uses of wit and irony through which she has expressed the inner nature, follies, foibles and weakness of her characters which give rise to deep humour in the novel. Her wit is often ironical and her irony is often witty. But the use of her wit and irony is neither situational nor dramatic but mostly verbal.
The very first sentence with which the novel begins is witty as well as ironic. It reads as:
‘It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single man in possession of good fortune must be in want of a wife.’
What we read in the sentence is its opposite as- a single woman must be in want of a man with good fortune. Most verbal wit, as well as irony, is produced in the novel by Elizabeth and Mr Bennet. Elizabeth, the second daughter of Mr Bennet is intelligent, lively and playful having sound command over the language. She often uses witty remarks to other characters and to their attitudes. Her conversation with Bingley as quoted below is ironic:
”I did not know before— that you were a studier of character. It must be an amusing study.”
Then what Elizabeth replies to Bingley are also witty as:
”Yes, but intricate characters are most amusing. They have at least that advantage.”
Elizabeth again seems to be witty and humorous when she replies to Jane’s inquiry of her love to Darcy as:
”I must date it from my seeing his beautiful ground at Pemberley.”
Like Elizabeth, Mr Bennet is also witty and almost everything what he utters is witty and humorous. Once he said to his daughter, Elizabeth:
”…let Wickham be your man. He is a pleasant fellow, and would jilt you creditably.”
These quoted lines are ironic because though Mr Bennet seems to praise Wickham but really he derogates him saying that he would jilt Elizabeth someday.
Not in dialogues but also in the objective narration of the authoress there is ample source of irony and humour. For instance, Jane Austen writes commenting on Mr Bennett’s married life:
”To his wife, he was very little otherwise indebted than as her ignorance and folly had contributed to his amusement.”
Thus the novelist has made ample use of wit and irony in the novel which has contributed much to the store of humour in the novel and it is the humour that makes the novel a grand one. 0 0 0
World Novel Criticism
Heathcliff -A Characterisation
The term ‘character’ refers to the mental and moral qualities of a person which is expressed through his outlook, dealings, speeches, and actions in society. Heathcliff is a leading character (protagonist) in the novel entitled ‘Wuthering Heights’ by Emily Bronte (1818-1848). He is an orphan picked up by Earnshaw, the owner of Wuthering Heights. But since his introduction to the Earnshaw family, he met adverse treatment almost from all, except only from Earnshaw and his daughter Catherine. Then Heathcliff gradually grew to be harsh, cruel and vindictive in nature. Throughout the novel, he has played the role of an extremely brutal villain and at the same time as a queer kind of transcendental lover. The novelist has portrayed him with crystal vividness through his speeches and actions. We can illustrate his two-facet characters (roles) as below:
First, we can bring his villainy into consideration. As a villain, he is not only wicked thorough and thorough but vindictive, diabolic, brutal and greedy of the worst kind. He afflicts his villainy and brutality upon Isabella (his wife), Hareton (his nephew-in-law) and Linton (his own son) and so on.
Heathcliff pretends to fall in love with Isabella the sister of Edgar Linton and then eloped with her. Soon after getting married to her, he begins to treat her in such a brutal manner that she had to run away forever. She, in one letter, tells Nelly (the housekeeper) about Heathcliff’s cruelty towards her as:
”A tiger or venomous serpent could not rouse terror in me equal to that which he wakened…”
Again she comments on him:
”He is a lying fiend, a monster and not a human being.”
Heathcliff’s villainy is highly vindictive towards Hareton. After the death of Hindley the charge of his son, Hareton goes to Heathcliff and then he avails this opportunity and succeeds to turn him into a brute like himself. He deprives him of education and incited him to practice bad manners. Consequently, Heathcliff succeeded in his task of revenge upon him and feeling satisfied, says:
”He (Hareton) satisfied my expectation. If he were a born fool I should not enjoy it half so much.”
Even his treatment of his own son Linton Heathcliff and young Catherine is more brutal and diabolic. At first, he speaks to young Catherine kindly and induces her to his house to make her a prisoner at Wuthering Heights in order to marry her to young Linton. Once he inflicted terrific slaps on her head, seizes her by her hair and threatens to kill her. Then she expresses her feeling toward him, as:
”Mr Heathcliff, you have nobody to love you…Nobody will cry for you when you will die.”
His treatment of his own son Linton is more shocking. He punished his son to turn instrumental to afflict young Catherine. At Linton’s death-bed, Heathcliff, instead of treating him comfortably, says:
”His life is not worth a farthing.”
Nelly the house-keeper at Thruscross Grange, whom Heathcliff kept under detainment for five nights, uses the following words for him:
”Judas! Traitor! A hypocrite! A deliberate deceiver!”
Besides being cruel and brutal in his revenge towards almost all of the Earnshaws and the Lintons, he was also greedy to the worst kind. When all the descendants except young Cathy of the Linton family and Hareton of the Earnshaw family perished, then Heathcliff took seize over the two houses and utters:
”I get lever and mattock to demolish the two houses and train myself to be capable of working like Hercules.”
Secondly, Heathcliff is portrayed as a strange kind of transcendental lover. His love for Catherine is extraordinary. He seems to have no carnal desire. But Cathy married Edgar Linton, not Heathcliff, which incited rebellion in Heathcliff and gradually he becomes more and more severe, cruel, brutal and satanic. Though she married off to Edgar other than Heathcliff, yet their reciprocal love did not lessen. It seemed to be increasing with the passing of time. So after eighteen years of Catherine’s premature death, Heathcliff claims:
”She has disturbed me day and night through eighteen years- incessantly.”
Once he expressed his pangs of separation to Nelly, as:
”The entire world is a dreadful collection of memoranda that she did exist, and that I have lost her.”
The above illustration shows that Heathcliff is a queer villain as well as an extraordinary lover. In the whole range of English novels, there is not, except Heathcliff and Heathcliff alone, a character equal to him, both in villainy and in love. 0 0 0
World Novel Criticism
Charles Dicken’s Novel ‘Great Expectation’ as a Bildungsroman
‘Bildungsroman’ is a phrase made of two distinct words- one is the German word ‘Bildung’ which means shaping or formation and the another is the French word ‘roman’ which means a story or a novel. Literary the term bildungsroman refers to a genre of novel that deals with the theme of a person’s (hero’s) intellectual, psychological and moral growth from childhood to maturity. In other words, to say, this type of novel traces the process of a young person’s self-understanding and a sense of social responsibilities. In English, the term ‘bildungsroman’ may be translated as Novel of Growth. The credit of being the exponent of this genre of the novel goes to German writer J. W. Von Goethe. His ‘Wilhelm Meister’s Apprenticeship’ is said to be the paradigm of this genre of novel. In English, some novels by George Eliot, Henry James, Charles Dickens and some others belong to this genre of bildungsroman. There are some features (characteristics) which are traced to be common to this genre of novel, they are- (i) it deals with the theme of a person’s (hero’s) mental and moral growth, he belongs to the plebeian class of society, he is often orphan adopted by a negligent relative, he encounters a number of problems and difficulties which cause him to suffer in life, he often becomes the victims of circumstances, he has a flaw of character but not of a serious kind, he wonders from place to place in search of fortune and social position, he involves in an unsatisfactory love affairs (ii) characters are drawn from the middle and lower classes of society, the characters are types as well as individual. (iii) The story is told in the first person (in an autobiographical style), (iv) there is a blend of humour and pathos. The pathos prevails over humour, (v) the structure is neither rigid nor flexible but well and (vi) like tragic-comedy it makes a happy ending. Charles Dickens’ (1812- 1870) novel entitled ‘Great Expectation’ bears all the common characteristics of a bildungsroman. We can illustrate this novel as a bildungsroman as below:
First, Philip Pirrip (Pip in brief) the hero of the novel belongs to the plebeian class of society. He is an orphan, adopted by his sister Mrs Gregory. He got ill-treatment from his sister and then wanders from place to place in search of fortune and social position. The novelist Charles Dickens deals with Pip’s intellectual and moral development from his childhood to maturity and has shown his stages of growth that establish him as a socially responsible person. There are distinct stages of Pip’s mental growth. His first stage begins in the house of Mr and Mrs Gregory where he was ill-treated by his sister Mrs Gregory. The only person who treated him with sympathy was his brother-in-law Mr Joe. During this stage, Pip grew as a mere child with a bitter sense of life, without having any sense of aspiration and aim in life. In this stage, circumstances turned him to steal some food for a convict called Magwitch. Since then, his sense of guilt began to germinate within himself. His second stage began when he took to visiting the house of Mrs Havisham. In this house, he experienced the bitter cruelty of the female sex. This stage may be called the turning point of his life that opened the door of his aspiration to the cultured but artificial gentle class of society. In this stage, his mentality develops to the realization of the need for money and social position in life. Along with this, his wandering life began where he met a variety of people and learned many practical things in life. In this stage, he became a snob, something arrogant, artificial and conscious of self-respect. For example, during his days in London, his patron Mr Joe visited him and then he treated Joe with coolness. His manner and attitude to Magwitch, one of his beneficiaries, also proved his snobbishness and sense of self-respect. But after this, his third stage of mental growth begins and he begins to feel social and humane values. He begins to develop to a man of social responsibilities. For instance, we see his basic goodness in his setting up his friend Herbert in a business financed by him. We see his goodness in obtaining some money in favour of Herbert from Miss Havisham. His treatment which he took towards Magwitch in his last days proves Pip’s humane qualities and sense of social responsibility. We see his goodness in the sympathy he feels for the convicts who were sentenced to death. Thus at the end of the novel, we see Pip a really better person than he was in the beginning. In this last phase, he is better spoken, better read, better mannered and better felt. In brief, to say, the novelist develops his hero Pip front a nonentity to a moral hero.
Secondly, the characters have been drawn from the lower class and the middle class of society. Pip the hero, Magwitch and Compeyson the convicts belong to the lower class and the other characters like Miss Havisham, Herbert, Mr Jaggers and Wemmick belong to the middle class of society. All these characters have their strength and weakness of their respective class. Some of these characters are drawn as types with some individual traits. For example, Mr Magwitch is a type of the lower class of society, but he has some individual traits of generosity, sympathy and kindness for the poor, especially for Pip. He becomes his benefactor later on.
Thirdly, the novel is written in the first person (in autobiographical style) as a bildungsroman is usually written. The narrator of the novel is Philip Pirrip. He uses the first person ‘I’ in his narration, as:
”Towards the Joe and Joe only, I considered myself as a young monster.”
Fourthly, as a bildungsroman blends humour with pathos, so is the novel ‘Great Expectation’. There is plenty of humour in characters like Havisham, Mr Jagger, Wemmick and so on. But all the humorous elements are overcome by the use of pathos in the novel. The life of Pip, Miss Havisham, Magwitch, Mr Joe and so few others are full of tragedy and pathos.
Fifthly, the construction of the novel is well and compact, not flexible. The story of the novel has a beginning, a middle and an end which are apparently clear and neat. Though the novelist is very discriminating in giving a description of all the episodes, he is nowhere irksome and prolix.
Sixthly, like a true bildungsroman, the novel ‘Great Expectation’ also makes a happy ending. At the closing of the novel, we see that Pip has found a social position both mentally and economically. Besides this, he is united with his former lover by the name of Stella. Pip says:
”I took her hand in mine, and we went out of the ruined place…I saw no show of another Parting from her.”
From the above illustration of the novel, we see that all the common characteristics of a bildungsroman (the novel of growth) are vividly present in the novel and for which it may be called an exemplary bildungsroman in the English language. 0 0 0
World Novel Criticism
The Theme of Love in ‘Pride and Prejudice’
The novelist Jane Austen (1775- 1817) begins her novel ‘Pride and Prejudice’ with the following sentence, as:
”It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single man in possession of good fortune must be in want of a wife.”
And this message is illustrated throughout the novel and the novelist makes love and marriage the central theme of the novel. There are some other themes such as pride, prejudice, discrimination of social status and feeling of economic security. But all these themes are subordinate to the central theme of love and marriage. Through the theme of the novel, the novelist has substantiated that the marriage based on economic conditions and the marriage based on sexual attraction and physical beauty are bad marriages. On the contrary, a marriage based on calm judgment and mutual understanding is the best marriage and is more apt to survive. In the novel, several marriages take place as- the marriage of Charlotte Lucas and Collins, the marriage of Lydia and Wickham, the marriage of Jane and Bingley, and the marriage of Elizabeth and Darcy. We can bring an account of these marriages briefly as below:
First, we can consider the marriage of Charlotte Lucas and Collins. Mr Collins is a young clergyman. Lady Catherine is his patroness. Though Collins is a clergyman he has neither Christian charity nor compassion. He is a pompous fool. He desired to inherit Mr Bennet’s property by marrying one of the five Bennet daughters. He first proposes to the second Bennet daughter Miss Elizabeth. But she declines the offer of love. Then being frustrated, he turns to Charlotte Lucas who was Elizabeth’s best friend and the poor daughter of a local knight. Charlotte Lucas was getting older and needed a match for financial reasons. She is serious and intelligent. But she had neither fortune nor beauty to attract a better match other than Collins. So she accepted Collin’s offer and married him. The marriage of Charlotte Lucas and Collins is an example of bad or unequal marriage; because there was neither judgment nor mutual understanding. Charlotte married Collins only for social security. Later on, she had to suffer for their unequal marriage.
Secondly, we get the marriage of Lydia and Wickham. Wickham is a well-built and handsome young man. Whoever comes in contact with him- all admire him because of his physical charm. But beneath his fascinating appearance, he is deceitful, dissipated, hypocritical, liar and seducer. In search of a fortune, he aspires to become a clergyman. On the other hand, the fifth but the youngest daughter of the Bennet couple was vulgar and stupid. She is fifteen and too young to have any moral awareness. She very easily falls into the victim of Wickham’s lust and one day he elopes with her. Before eloping with Lydia, he attempted to elope with Darcy’s sister Georgiana. Thus he appears to be a melodramatic villain. This marriage of Wickham and Lydia is the worst marriage because Lydia had to suffer a lot later on as there was neither real love nor affection between the two. The couple had to depend upon the financial help of Elizabeth and Darcy.
Thirdly, there is the marriage of Jane and Bingley. Bingley was the first target of the Bennet family to whom Mrs Bennet wished to give one of her daughters to marry. He is passive and unaffectedly modest. He is easily influenced and easily persuaded to do things without trusting his own feeling. On the other hand, Jane the eldest daughter of the Bennet couple was the most beautiful, sweet and tender-hearted. They, Jane and Bingley, fell in love at first sight. There were similarities between the two both in nature and taste. But difficulty stood in the way of their formal engagement. Their marriage proved a happy one.
Fourthly a successful marriage takes place between Elizabeth the second daughter of the Bennet family and Darcy. Elizabeth is the lively, playful, and most intelligent of the Bennet girls. While her match Darcy the nephew of Lady Catherine is an ideal master, excellent brother, generous and good-natured gentleman. He had no respect for silly ceremonies and stale conventions. He is one of the gentry inheriting a fortune and so is the most eligible young match for a girl like Elizabeth. First Elizabeth failed to appreciate him, but later on, after sound judgment and mutual understanding, they got married. This marriage was an ideal and best-suited marriage because it took place after mutual love and sound judgment.
Thus the novelist Jane Austen has brought about four marriages in the novel and shows that the best marriage is that which takes place neither on the basis of economics nor on the basis of physical charm, but on the basis of mutual love and understanding.
In carrying out the theme of marriage the novelist has portrayed the spirit of her age. During her time marriage was considered the only possible way to get fulfilled a woman’s dream, because no other avenue was open before a woman. During that time women had no rights over property nor were any economic or commercial means available to get economic freedom for them. They wished to get their desire fulfilled by marrying men with fortune. Hence they could not depend on sound judgment or on mutual love. They had to be married only to get economic and social safety. And in bringing about this spirit of that age, the novelist has achieved success from head to heel. 0 0 0
World Novel Criticism
The Art of Characterisation in Henry Fielding’s novel, ‘Tom Jones’
Literary the term ‘character’ refers to these persons who get depicted in a play, novel, story or any literary creation and the term ‘characterization’ refers to the act of depicting characters (persons) in any literary writing. The characters are seen to be depicted through objective narration, dialogues and actions. The characters may be characterized as stable or changing. Again the characterization may be of two types as- type (representative) and individual (peculiar). On the basis of the scope, attitude, disposition and roles, characterization may be treated realistically, ideologically, humorously (comically), tragic- comically and so on. The characters, according to their roles, may be classified as- major characters and minor characters. One, among the major characters, who takes the leading role and rounding whom all other characters revolve, is called Hero or Heroine (Protagonist). And the character who from the very beginning to the very end, stands in the way as an encumbrance of the hero is called Anti-hero (Antagonist).
Henry Fielding is a great master of characterization. His novel Tom Jones is an exemplary one. His characterization is realistic (life-like), type as well as individual, stable and humorous. He characterizes his characters through the means of objective narration, dialogues and actions. We can illustrate his art of characterization in Tom Jones as below:
First fielding is a true realist in his characterization. His characters are drawn from real life. They are neither angelic nor diabolic but true human beings with a combination of strength and weakness. His characters are nowhere ideological or psychological but they are the real embodiment brought up in society. Fielding has taken up his characters from his surroundings and fuses them in the anvil o his heart and brain and adapts them to the purpose of his novel. His hero, Tom Jones, is chivalric and generous and at the same time, he is vulnerable to the sexual relation. He is portrayed as a conventional tragic hero with a flow, but firm in the struggle of gaining his goal. Jenny Jones is artful and coquettish but equally generous and full of forbearance. Squire Allworthy is benevolent but gullible. His Western is despotic and indulgent. Lady Bellaston is debauched. His pious-looking Blifil is a rogue. Really all these characters are life-like drawn from the practical field and the novelist has succeeded in depicting them without any predilection.
Secondly, Fielding’s art of characterization is both type and individual. Almost all the characters of Fielding represent their classes and ethos of the age. His Tom Jones is the representative of the orphans who undergoes a lot of suffering and struggles throughout his life. His ladies as- Jenny Jones, Sophia and Miss Brigate- all are representatives of the victims of the male-dominated society. Though all his characters are types, yet they have been endowed with individuality. His Lady Bellaston has foul breath; squire Western does have the mannerism of speech. Thwackum and Squire are hypocrites but hold divergent views.
Thirdly, fielding’s characterization inclines more to humour than to seriousness. There is no doubt that some characters have undergone severe sufferance and punishment in life as- Miss Jenny Jones, Sophia, Mr Patridge and Miss Brigade. But there are some scenes that are full of comic and humorous appeal. For example- the behaviour of Mrs Partridge with Mr Patridge when she suspects that her husband is the father of the foundling (Tom), she attacks the poor Patridge with tongue, teeth and hand and then, being tired, falls into a fit of weeping and succeeds in winning the sympathy of the neighbours, is highly comic. Thus the graphic description of Captain Blifil’s ecstatic pleasure at contemplating the early death of Squire Allworthy is comic. It is amusing to note that it is Captain Blifil himself, who dies, not the Squire. The epitaph engraved on the tomb of Captain Blifil by his unhappy wife is really comic and ironic.
Fourthly, the author has employed all three means of depicting his characters. He often becomes objective in narration and judgment and comments on his characters and their actions. Then he leaves his characters to get expressed themselves through dialogues and exchange of speeches with other characters. Then again, he sets his characters in action. Thus the novelist is minute and discriminatingly detail in portraying his characters.
Fifthly, all the characters of Fielding are characterized as stable (firm) characters. They remain static in outlook, attitude, action and disposition from the beginning to the end of the novel. Only Tom Jones the hero grows gradually and attains intellectual and moral maturity. Thus all the characters keep up their constancy throughout the novel.
To sum up it may be said that Fielding is a great master of characterization who has left no stone unturned to make his characters life-like from head to feet. 0 0 0
World Novel Criticism
James Joyce’s ‘A Portrait the Artist as a Young Man’ as a Stream of Consciousness Novel’
The Stream of Consciousness Novel is an improved and delicate form of the psychological novel. It depicts the flux of inner feelings and thoughts of the human psyche in a more sophisticated way. The stream of consciousness novel may be defined as a genre of novel that portrays the incessant and often incoherent set of feelings, thoughts, impressions, emotions, memories, mental images, speculations, meditations, and reveries of human mind that keep changing but flowing from moment to moment and which are generally kept untold in day to day practical life. The stream of consciousness novel is based on the Freudian psychological theory of the complexities of the workings of the human psyche. This genre of novel comes into being as a special form of novel during the first half of the twentieth century. Dorothy Richardson, Virginia Wolf, James Joyce and some others contributed much to this genre of novel. Though their novels vary from each other in degrees and standards, yet there are some common features (characteristics) that may be the criteria of judging a novel as a stream of consciousness novel. The main characteristics of this genre of novels are- (i) it deals with the inner workings of human mind, (ii) there is no specific plot but fragments of detached episodes, events, and thoughts combined together incoherently; (iii) there are characters but no characterization; it reveals only the inner workings of a character who sees and observes things of the past, future and present subjectively; (iv) there is no structure- neither specific beginning nor logical ending. (v) there is some use of symbols that symbolize the character’s inner state of mind; (vi) by investigating, analyzing or reflecting the concerned episodes or events, the hero develops self-education or mental calibre and (vii) the language is often prosaic, sometimes emotional or poetic, hasty and sometimes chaotic. The thoughts and feelings are presented in language as they flow through the mind without organizing them logically.
James Joyce’s ”A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man” is a novel of this genre. The novel contains all the common characteristics of a stream-of-consciousness novel. We can illustrate the novel as a novel of this genre as below:
First, the novel deals with the incoherent sets of mental thoughts and reveries of a character named Stephen, a young university student. He thinks and re-evaluates the happenings of his past years. He recollects incoherent episodes that his father told him about the moocow and the song that he used to sing during his childhood. He recollects his bed that he felt warm and then cold, then he talks about his uncle Charles, Dante, Eileen Vance and others. Thus the novel is replete with the complex reminiscence of his past events. To say in brief, the novel bears no specific theme but the thoughts and re-evaluation of his by-gone days with his family members, classmates and friends and so on.
Secondly, there is no plot, but fragments of detached episodes and events combined together as we huddle rubbish in the dustbin. The only episode that gets some elaboration is his feeling of love to Eileen Vance, but the episodes fail to be the plot as it has neither a specific beginning nor development. Then he gives an account of his confession of guilt which modifies his spiritual character, but his account is also fragmentary.
Thirdly, there are characters but no characterization. No character is perfect. The novelist has portrayed a corner-view of people with whom the novelist has gone into contact. The only characterization that the novelist goes to show widely is Stephen but his portrayal is one-sided— only the mental state of Stephen. Studying him, we see that Stephen is repulsive to his surroundings and to the treatment of people meted out to him.
Fourthly, there is no structure in the novel. It has neither a specific beginning nor a logical ending. The novelist begins his novel in one thing and ends in another thing. It begins with Stephen’s recollections of the dealings with his family members and he ends the novel with Stephen’s decision to leave his motherland in search of a lonely environment of becoming an artist.
Fifthly, the novelist uses some symbols to show the impression of Stephen’s mental feeling. Birds, water, and cloud are the chief symbols that Joyce has woven into the texture of the novel. The ‘bog-water’ into which Wells pushes Stephen symbolizes Stephen’s return to consciousness. The symbol of ‘eagle’ that was thought to pull out the eyes of Stephen symbolizes ‘flight and liberation’. The ‘red rose’ and ‘white rose’ symbolize two dissent groups of politicians. In addition to these, there is a symbol of ‘roads’ which indicates wandering nature, both mental and physical, of a human being. Thus Stephen’s surname ‘Daedalus’ signifies his aspiration.
Sixthly, by investigating, analyzing and reflecting Stephen’s past events and episodes, he develops his moral and spiritual state of mind. We see that Stephen was addicted to carnal sin, committed by going to a brothel; but later on, he confesses his sin to the priest and thus corrects himself.
Seventhly, the language of the novel is often prosaic, sometimes emotional, poetic, hasty and sometimes chaotic which corresponds to the mental state of Stephen. For example- the following lines may roughly be quoted:
(I) His sin trickled from his lips, one by one, trickled in shameful drops from his soul, festering and oozing like a sore…
(ii) A day of dappled sea-borne clouds.
From the above illustration, we see that Joyce’s novel entitled ‘A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man’ bears almost all the common characteristics of a stream of consciousness novel and it may rightly be said that it is an exemplary novel of this genre. 0 0 0
World Novel Criticism
Autobiographical Elements in ‘The Vicar of Wakefield’
Every literary piece reflects the personal elements of the writer either directly or indirectly. But there is some writing which is written after the writer’s private life referring to the events that happened to him and reads like an autobiography though such the piece of writing is not an autobiography in the real sense of the term. Every piece of the writings of Oliver Goldsmith is full of autobiographical elements. His well-known but the only novel entitled ‘The Vicar of Wakefield’ is also full of his own experiences and incidents that he met and faced in his personal life.
The first important character of the novel is Dr Primrose. He is partly the image of the novelist and partly the image of his father, Charles Goldsmith. The Vicar’s that is Dr Primrose’s generosity is of Goldsmith’s own and his humour is the humour of the novelist. Like Charles Goldsmith the father of Oliver Goldsmith, the Vicar Dr Primrose also happened to supplement his income in the new parish by working on a small farm.
Another character of the novel is George Primrose through whom Oliver Goldsmith portrays himself. As George was a university graduate so was the novelist Goldsmith, on the whole, the wanderings and adventures of George Primrose greatly resemble those of Goldsmith himself. Several of the occupations taken and tried by George were Goldsmith’s himself.
Through Moses, one of the Primrose family members, the novelist reflects an event of his life. Like Moses, Oliver Goldsmith was also ill-treated in the club. Like Moses, Goldsmith also had a fondness for the classics and a love of storytelling reputation.
Mr Burchell, who is Sir William Thornhill in disguise, bears considerable autobiographical significance. Like Burchell, Goldsmith also studied medicine.
Through the character of Jenkinson and Squire Thornhill, Goldsmith has depicted the incidents of his life. Like Moses who was once duped by Jenkinson, Oliver was also duped by someone in his life. As square Thornhill was a rogue and deceived many so the novelist Goldsmith was also deceived by some rogues in his life.
Moreover, Goldsmith’s religious outlook and reformative mind is reflected in Dr Primrose in prison.
Such are the elements that are present reflecting the novelist’s own life in the novel, though it is not an autobiography in the real sense. The blending of some autobiographical elements with the themes and plot of the novel has contributed something to the popularity of the novel. 0 0 0
World Novel Criticism
Religious and Moral Lesson in the Novel Vicar of Wakefield’
‘The Vicar of Wakefield’ by Oliver Goldsmith is a celebrated novel in the English language ever written. It is a unique novel in all rounds. It has also religious and moral value within itself. Goldsmith himself was reformative minded whose heart was replete with charity, generosity and simplicity.
Dr Primrose, the hero of the novel is simple-minded, philosophical wise and charitable. He is a pious and devout priest. His faith in Christism is strong and reformative. He is content with whatever little he has. He has no worldly ambition. He is the ideal of patience for which he could manage every calamity faced in life. He advocated the principle of single marriage. He said and showed that a clergyman should not marry twice or more in life.
He is reformative-minded. When he was sent to jail for being unable to pay his debt, he did not break down and advised his followers to take patience. He said addressing to the inhabitants of the parish that they should not attack the jailers demanding his release. Going to jail, he experienced that the prisoners led a life of lewdness and brutality. At first, the prisoners mocked at the Vicar but eventually, he won the respect of the prisoners and they were deeply impressed by the vicar’s arguments and his sincerity. He aimed at bringing the hardened criminals back to the path of virtue and righteousness. So he organized them to make goods for sale outside the prison and so the prisoners began to make their time profitable. Thus the prisoners began to feel economic independence which restored self-respect in them. He also delivered sermons to the prisoners and drew their hearts and mind to the path of God and Christ.
After being successful in reforming the prisoners, he turned his mind to reforming the penal code of the country. He noticed that the prevailing law punished the criminals without attempting to reform them. He also criticized the death sentence for minor offenses. The prevailing law system made undesirable discrimination between the rich and the poor. He advocated that the law should be the protector rather than means of vengeance. Thus Goldsmith’s reformative vein of mind is revealed clearly through Dr Primrose.
Moreover, the morality of Goldsmith is also expressed through Dr Primrose. He always advised his children to live a simple, devout, and humble life. He said:
‘If I am to be a beggar, it shall never make me a rascal or induce me to disavow my principles.’
He like a puritan disclaims finery and fashion.
Dr Primrose’s mind is full of natural affection for which he forgave everybody and even them who had done wrong to him. In short, the loss of money, the abduction of his daughters, the burning of his house, and the imprisonment of his son and himself are borne with him without losing his balance of heart and mind as well.
Goldsmith’s morality and moral outlook towards life are expressed through Sir William Thornhill alias Mr Burchell also. He was so much generous that he gave a large amount of his money to relieve the distress of a soldier. He is brave and courageous and risks his life to save Sophia from the hand of the ruffians who were kidnapping her. He was also very fond of children for which he had always some sweets with him to give them as gifts.
There is a lesson of morality and charity in the personality of the Jailor. He was a kind-hearted person and he showed good behaviour towards him and helped Dr Primrose to accommodate his family near the jail. Moreover, he gave economic aid to the affected Dr Primrose family.
Thus the novel bears the stamp of the religious as well as the moral outlooks of Oliver Goldsmith for which the novel has acquired a deductive significance. In short Dr Primrose, the hero of the novel is an emblem of Christianity as well as of Christ. 0 0 0
World Novel Criticism
The Theme of Oliver Goldsmith’s Novel ‘The Vicar of Wakefield’
‘The Vicar of Wakefield’ by Oliver Goldsmith is a popular novel. The main theme of the novel is disaster and patience. It deals with the family of Dr Primrose, who along with his family suffers much in the hand of some evil adverse powers.
Dr Primrose is a Vicar of the church at Wakefield. He lives near his church with his two daughters: Olivia and Sophia and two sons: George and Moses. They are all honest and social, but one by one some fatal disasters overtake the family but being honest and pious the Primrose family bears all the disasters with patience and at last, all the disasters that came upon them fled away.
The first disaster that overtakes the Primrose family is the financial loss, which disheartened the family in two ways. First, the Primrose had to live a miserable life and second George, the son of Dr Primrose had to lose his beloved Miss Wilmot whom he wanted to marry, but the Primrose family endured this disaster with patience.
The second great disaster fell down on the Primrose family with the seduction of Olivia, the eldest daughter of Dr Primrose in the hand of Squire Thornhill who was an adulterous villain. He pretended to fall in love with Olivia and at last, he allured her and took her to London where he seduced her violently but denied to marry her. This disaster gave pain to Dr Primrose’s mind but he took no action against the villain and endured the disaster with much patience.
The third disaster came to the Primrose family when they sold their horse at a marketplace. The rogue named Jenkinson cheated Moses and brought the horse without paying money. Yet Dr Primrose took patience.
The fourth disaster that fell on the Primrose family is the missing of Olivia. In search of her, Primrose went away home and found her in an inn, being harassed by the landlady because she could not pay the bill. Dr Primrose seeing her helpless condition became very sorry, and with honest patience, he placed her at the nearby inn and started to go back home.
The fifth disaster faced by Dr Primrose and his family was when Dr Primrose came back home and found that his home was burning. In the nick of time, he saved the family but he got burnt.
Sixth, an unbearable, and even more lamentable disaster is the arrest of Dr Primrose because he was unable to pay the rent to the Squire’s agent. After this, he was taken to jail and then George the eldest son was also sent to the same jail by the Squire because he attempted to fight a duel with him. In the prison, Dr Primrose took to preaching sermons to the prisoners and felt a relief of the pain of these misfortunes.
But honesty pays in the long run. The squire and Jenkinson who were the rogues had come under Mr Burchell, the wealthy uncle of the squire Thornhill and confessed their guilt. George married Miss Wilmot, Thornhill agreed to marry Olivia, Mr Burchell marries Sophia and even Dr Primrose got back his missing fortune of 1400.
The above analysis of the themes of the novel clearly shows that disaster and patience in the essence of the novel standing upon which the novel begins develops and ends.
The theme may be interpreted in another way also as the theme of struggle between Good and Evil, or struggle between Angel or Devil or struggle between honesty and dishonesty. Dr Primrose family is the symbol of Good or Angel or Honesty and the squire the merchant and Jenkinson are the symbols of the Evil or Devil or dishonesty. 0 0 0
World Novel Criticism
Charlotte Bronte’s novel ‘Jane Eyre’ — A Brief Comment
‘Jane Eyre’ is a social novel by Miss Charlotte Bronte (1815-1855), an English female novelist of the nineteenth century. In this novel, the novelist has portrayed the status and conditions of women in the society of her time. The novel is autobiographical in style as it is written in the first person. The heroine of the novel, Miss Jane Eye is an orphan adopted by her maternal uncle Mr Reed and took her to his home, Gateshead Hall and advised her wife Mrs Reed to treat Jane Eyre as one of their children. But soon Mr Reed died accidentally and hence onward the family began to treat her as a dependent servant and began to treat her cruelly. Then she was sent to Lowood School. Where she spent eight years and then was engaged as a governess to a French girl named Adela Varens. There she spent about nine years as a governess. During this time the guardian of Adela Varens desires Jane to marry. But when she comes to know that the guardian, Mr Rochester, had already two wives by the name of Grace Poole and Mrs Fairfax then she declined the offer and run away to a house called Marsh End, the guardian, and owner of that house was St. John who appointed her a mistress to a school in Morton. Later on, St. John offers the proposal of marrying her. But she did not agree and ran to Whitecross, her former employer. But going there she came to learn that the mansion of Mr Rochester had been burnt and destroyed totally and Rochester had lost the sight of eyes and an arm. Then she met Rochester and began to wait upon him and later on they got married and a child was born to them with whom they began to live happily.
Thus the novelist has successfully portrayed the status and condition of women, especially of the orphan in English society of that time. 0 0 0
World Novel Criticism
Carlo Collodi’s Novel ‘The Adventures of Pinocchio’ –A Brief Comment
‘The Adventures of Pinocchio” is a novel for children written by Carlo Collodi (1826-1890), an Italian writer. It is a highly imaginative novel written with a view to give a lesson to the children that they should avoid wickedness and obstinacy and should obey the advice of their parents and elders. The novel is allegorical.
The novelist takes a puppet called ‘Pinocchio’ made of a piece of wood by Geppetto and imputes human characteristics to it and metaphorically represents him as a type of average boy. While Geppetto made him out of a piece of wood, it got life like a human child and began to be obstinate to his childish nature and thus disobeyed all the devices of his father, Geppetto. When Pinocchio was sent to school he sold his book and went to a ‘puppet show’ and then he met a fox and a cat who took him to the land of Miracles and thus the cat and fox defrauded him. After then, he met a fairy, whom he took as his sister, but later on, he disobeyed her advice and suffered a lot. At last, he met his father Geppetto and since then he began to live happily obeying his father’s advice word by word.
The novel is written from imagination, and it has the basis of reality pertaining to the deductive purpose of life. It reminds us of the classical Sanskrit storybook ‘Panchatantra’ which is deductive and teaches lessons to the children through allegorical stories.
The structure and language of the novel are well arranged and easy to grasp its lessons. 0 0 0
George Orwell’s Novel ‘The Animal Farm’ –A Brief Comment
George Orwell’s Animal Farm is an allegorical novel of Political revolution. The background of the story of the novel is the Russian Revolution of 1917 in which the Proletariats rebelled against the age-long despotic rule by the Tsars. But the novelist has not narrated the story of that revolution directly but indirectly through an allegorical story of Animal Farm in England.
The novelist tells that in England there was an animal farm known as ‘Manor Farm’ owned by Mr Jones. The animals of the farm under him were compelled to labour hard, but they were kept in poor condition. In short, the animals were exploited. So, one day an old boar whom everybody called Major invoked all animals to a meeting and decided to start a rebellion against their despotic lord. Every animal was excited by his speech. But soon the old boar died and two other boars by the name of Snowball and Napolian took up the leadership.
One day, the rebellion broke out suddenly, when a cow broke into the store shed and other animals too joined the cow. “All men are enemies and all animals are comrades” became the slogan of the revolution. The owner of the farm Mr Jones tried his best to put down the rebellion but failed. At last, the animals own the rebellion and took the power of controlling and governing themselves. The despotism of the human lord came to an end. At first, it seemed that socialism and communism was established there, but later on the leader boars—Snowball and Napolian—stood against each other for power. Strategically Snowball was put down by Napolian and then Napolian began to be despotic like a human lord. Napolian and his guard dogs became luxuriant and ease-loving and the subordinate animals again began to be exploited. At last, Napolian seemed to be allied with the human lords of other animal farms and thus Napolian forgets all the commandments and ideas of revolution.
Thus the novelist shows that though socialism is good yet if the power is given to a single hand it corrupts him and then socialism turns into despotism.
The allegorical meaning may be interpreted as such—the old boar who instigated the animals to rebellion (who died before seeing the fruit of the rebellion) is Marx or Lenin. Mr Jones, the human lord of the Manor Farm represents Tsar Nicholas-II, Napolian and Snowball represent Stalin and Trotsky. The guard dogs are the secret police of the leaders.
As in the story happens so had happened in the Russian Revolution. To the broadest outlook, the allegory of the story may be interpreted to be the parallels of the Great France Revolution of the late eighteenth century and even in the late twentieth century after the novel was written, it may be said to have been the pre-told story of what had happened in Bangladesh after 1970.
The story of the novel is single and there is not any interwoven story or incident; becomes integrated and well arranged.
The characters in the novels, though they are animals, yet represent reality. Napoleon very successfully represents Stalin and such are other characters.
The language of the novel is typically Orwellian which is direct, lucid, and sometime ironic which colours the characters. 0 0 0
World Novel Criticism
Jack London’s Novel ‘The Call of the Wild’ –A Brief Comment
‘The call of the wild’ is a novel by Jack London, (1876-1916), an American novelist. In this novel, the novelist has portrayed, on the one hand, the dutifulness and faithfulness of dogs to their Lords and on the other hand, some people’s cruelties and some people’s love and affection shown to the dogs. It is a heart-breaking novel because of its vivid and life-like description.
The novelist has portrayed that in America there was a dog, named ‘Buck’ which belonged to Judge Miller who cared for the dog too much. One day this dog was stolen by a man named Manuel. He sold it to Perrault and Francois who worked for the Canadian Government. They carried important massages on dog-sledge across Alaska. They trained the dog well along with some other dogs and put them on a sledge to Alaska. They led the dog in sledge forty hours per day for more than a month. The dogs were compelled to draw on the sledge amid snow and utter cool taking comparatively little food. Perrault and François wiped them, knocked them and punished them vehemently while the dogs made any disturbance. Suffering too much they arrived in Alaska at last. The dogs were wearied and tired and became lean and thin beyond description. They needed long rest and treatment. But the authority gave them rest of four days only and then they were again harnessed to the sledge. The dogs had no ability to lead on but yet they tried their best to render their service to their lords as much as they could. Some were too much weak and exhausted that they met death. Buck who was the head dog in the returning journey was also about to die but in such a moment a man by the name of Thornton took the dog away from sledge and gave it full rest and nourishment. Buck regained its former strength and health. One day Buck owned a bet of a thousand dollars and thus Buck earned money for Thornton his new master. Another day Buck along with another dog saved Thornton from diving in the river. Later on, he fought bravely against wolves in favour of his lord and thus the dog, remained faithful to his lords and rendered most services to them.
The structure of the novel is not well, yet it has a moving spirit from beginning to end.
The language of the novel is not easy but complex that stands as a bar in front of easy and quick comprehension for the readers who learn English as a Second Language. 0 0 0
World Novel Criticism
Charlotte Bronte’s novel ‘Jane Eyre’ -A Critical Study
Charlotte Bronte was a great woman novelist of early nineteenth-century England. She wrote only four novels in her brief life span of thirty-nine only. The titles of those four novels are—’The Professors’, ‘Jane Eyre’, ‘Shirley’ and ‘Villette’. Among these four novels, Jane Eyre is a great one through which she has portrayed the condition and status of women in a male-dominated society. The main theme of the novel is the sufferance of orphans at the hands of society and their struggle for rights.
Jane Eyre is a novel of both plot and character—because both (plot and character)are strongly kept up in a well-arranged style written in simple and plain language. The novel is autobiographical in style. Jane Eyre, the heroine of the novel tells her life story in the first person.
Jane Eyre was an orphan as she lost her parents while she was a child. Her own material uncle adopted her. Her uncle’s name was Mr Reed who died after adopting Jane Eyre to his family. After his death, Mrs Reed the wife of Mr Reed thought of Jane as the maid-servant of the household, not a member of the family. But Jane Eyre thought herself to be equal to the other members of the family. The Reeds repudiated her demand and gave deaf ears to her wishes. They often rebuked her and oppressed her. One day her cousin stoke her with a heavy book and wounded her and showed his superiority to her. At last, she was sent to Lawood School where she took education for eight years through hardship. After finishing her education at Lawood, she went to Thornfield and became a governess in a house. Mr Rochester was the master. Her master Rochester engaged her as the governess to his only child Adela Varens. She remained there for some years with happiness. At last, Mr Rochester became enamoured of her and desired to marry her. Jane gave her consent, but the marriage could not happen as, on the day of their marriage, she came to know that Mr Rochester had already married two women and one was living in his house who was called Grace Poole. She then in disgust, left Thornfield and with a bare hand arrived at a place called ‘Whit cross’. There a gentleman named St. John gave her shelter and appointed her a mistress to a school in Morton. The owner of the school was St. John. There she began to live independently with happiness. One day she came to learn that St. John was her cousin by the side of her mother. Later on, St. John decided to serve mankind as a Christian Missionary and was about to go to India. At that nick of time, he expressed his desire to marry John Eyre and wanted her to go to India with him. She seemed to agree with his proposal but at last, she declined and leaving this place, she went back to Thornfield. Going there, she was choked by the news that the building owned by Mr Rochester was burnt and Mr Rochester had lost sight of his eyes and had one arm broken forever while she went to save his mad wife Grace Poole from fire. However, she met the family in Ferdean, some miles away from Thornfield, and decided to stay there waiting upon helpless Mr Rochester. Finally, after Rochester’s wish, she married Rochester and began to live happily.
This is the main story of the novel. The story of the novel is interesting no doubt, but more interesting is the characters of the novel as they exhibit and represent the society of that time. There are some main characters which comprise of Jane Eyre, Mr Reed, Grace Poole, Mr Rochester and St. John. Amongst them, Jane Eyre is the heroine. The characters are type as well as individual. Mrs Reed is wholly typed and she represents every woman of society. She has all the jealousy and cruelty of a woman. Mr Rochester is a type as well as an individual. Thus is St. John. Jane Eyre is exceptional. She is a type of orphan for suffering but an individual for ideals. She very boldly exclaimed equal status with other members in the family as well as with the males in society. Moreover, she is sympathetic to the helpless as she showed sympathy with her aunt Mrs Reed as well as to the helpless Mr Rochester.
The plot construction of the novel is well and logical. The story proceeds from beginning to end in a logical sequence. The story begins and meets end through five stages—as the introduction, complication, climax, denouement and conclusion.
The Pathos is the only taste of the novel. It is bare of humour and wit. In it, there is the touch of supernaturalism as—Jane Eyre experiences the presence of a ghost in the red room in Gateshead Hall and her hearing of the voice of Mr Rochester at midnight.
The language of the novel is simple and easy to comprehend. There is no use of ironic, figurative or poetic use of language which is generally met in other prose writings of that time.
To conclude, it is to say that Charlotte Bronte’s novel Jane Eyre is a better novel in theme and style. And more it is the first novel in the English Language in which a woman (John Eyre) seems to struggle for woman’s rights in society. 0 0 0
World Novel Criticism
‘The Adventure of Pinocchio’– A Critical Study
‘The Adventures of Pinocchio’ is a novel for children written by Carlo Collodi, an Italian writer of the late nineteenth century. It is from alpha to gamma a romantic and imaginative novel written keeping facts suited to reality. Through this novel, the novelist exhibits the nature of children with their obstinacy, wickedness, and disobedience to their parents and elders. The novel is allegorical and metaphorical. The novelist has attributed human qualities to inanimate things and wild beings and makes them personified.
The hero of the novel is not a human being, but a piece of wood with the instincts of a child. Here the novelist personifies the piece of wood. The wood was owned by a carpenter named Master Antonio. But everybody called him Master Cherry because his nose was as red and polished as a ripe cherry. One day the carpenter wanted to make the leg of a table with a piece of wood and began to remove the bark with his axe. Then while he struck the wood then the wood asked the carpenter like a human being.
“Don’t strike me hard”
The carpenter was surprised but could not make out the mystery, so he again struck the wood, then again the piece of wood said:
“Oh! Oh! You’ve hurt me.”
Thus the novelist personifies that piece of wood and along with it, he attributes the supernatural ability to it. The carpenter sold that piece of wood to Geppetto, whose nickname was Pinocchio. Buying the piece of wood from Mr Cherry, Geppetto made a wooden puppet (doll) of it. As soon as it was ready as a puppet, it began to behave like a living child. He assumes all the qualities of a boy. As a child, it began to behave with childish wickedness, obstinacy and disobedience to his parents.
The novel is deductive. Through the puppet, the novelist, attributing human qualities, reveals that children are generally inclined to wickedness and they like to repeat their wickedness and disobedience to their parents and hence they suffer much in life. The puppet whose name was given Pinocchio by Geppetto is addicted to the same wickedness as a child. So when the puppet was made then it ran away from home. Its father, here Geppetto, ran after him but the puppet was obstinate to run on. As a result, his father was caught by the police and the puppet came back home and burnt one of his legs on fire. Geppetto repaired the leg and selling his coat bought a book of A.B.C. for Pinocchio and sent him to school. But on the way, he was allured by a puppet show and there selling his A.B.C. book, he went into the pandel to enjoy the show. Going there, he himself became an actor as he was called by another puppet that was showing his performance. But the owner of that Puppet arrested Pinocchio. Somehow, he managed to escape from his hand. The manager gave him five coins as a reward as he showed love and goodness to the puppet of the show.
Taking the rewards of five coins he walked home, but on the way, a fox and cat allured him to go to the land of Miracle. They, the fox and the cat said to him that in the land of Miracles coins beget coins if the coins are buried in a hole. Being allured by the cat and fox, the puppet, Pinocchio began to walk with them. Walking for many hours, they arrived at an inn. They all ate to the full of their belly and went to sleep. But at midnight the fox and cat fled away leaving the puppet, to pay the bill. The next morning the puppet, paying the bill of the three, ran to follow the fox and the cat. On the way, two robbers attacked him, but at last, he was rescued by a fairy. The fairy said to him that his father would come there and he would meet his father on the way. Hence he went away to meet his father, but instead, he met the fox and cat who took him to the land of Miracles. In the land of Miracle, Pinocchio, after the suggestion of both fox and cat buried the coins but the fox and cat stole away all the coins. Pinocchio became destitute of his coins and hope. Then he went back to the house of the fairy but he found her nowhere. Hearing the news from a pigeon about his father Geppetto that he was on the shore of the sea and was about to cross over it in order to search out Pinocchio. But going to the seashore Pinocchio saw that his father Geppetto had been overthrown into the sea by the surge of the sea-water and then he also fell down to the sea as he was looking at his father’s plight on the sea. But somehow he escaped and went ashore and there he met the fairy again, who forgiving Pinocchio sent him to school. He showed good success in school and became the victim of jealousy from his classmates for his success. One day, he was falsely allured by his mates to go to the seashore to see the dogfish. There he found nothing, instead, he was accused of murdering his fellow mate. Then he was caught by the police. But he escaped by tricks and went to the house of the Fairy and began to live with her. From that day he promised that he would always abide by the advice of the fairy.
But soon he forgot his promise and while going to invite his fellow mates to a feast at his home, he went to the land of Bobbies—where he became a donkey and suffered much. At last, he went to the sea where he was engulfed by the dogfish. But managed to come out of the stomach of the dogfish and began to live happily with his father Geppetto being a good boy.
Thus the story teaches the children that they should not follow wickedness—because wickedness causes sufferance, pain and unhappiness. Instead, children should obey their parents.
The story reminds us of the stories of ‘Panchatantra’ and ‘Hitopodesh’. The story is deductive. Its aim is to give a lesson to the children. Moreover, like—Hitopodesh or Panchatantra, the Adventures of Pinocchio by Carlo Collodi is allegorical, symbolical or metaphorical. There is a touch of supernaturalism. Perhaps Carlo Collodi had happened to go through the Sanskrit book The Panchatantra in translation and was greatly inspired by it.
This book again reminds us of Louis Carol’s ‘Alice in the Wonderland. As the book ‘Alice in the Wonderland is highly imaginative so is the ‘Adventure of Pinocchio’.
To conclude it is to say that ‘The Adventure of Pinocchio’ is one of the best storybooks for children. 0 0 0
World Novel Criticism
Voltaire’s Novel ‘Candi- A Brief Comment
‘Candid’ is a fantastic picaresque type of novel written by Voltaire (1694- 1778), a reputed French novelist and philosopher. Love, social corruptions, human insecurity, inhumanity, treachery, debauchery, pretext, etc. are the main theme of the novel. It is highly humorous and ironic in treatment. Through this novel, the novelist has criticized the social-political system not only of France but of the entire mankind of his time.
It is a story of a young boy named Candid who was a child of a servant to a German Baron called Thundertentrunk. He fell in love with Kunegunda, a fascinating daughter of the Baron. But on the very first day of their lovemaking, the Baron happened to see their act of embracing and thence Candid has been driven away from the Baron’s household. Then he became a picaro (wonderer/ vagabond) and began to wander from place to place, land to land, and happen to suffer a lot in life. Wherever he went, he became the victim of human injustice, cruelty, fraud, pretext and hardship. He traveled to almost all the major European and African countries and happened to gather a lot of bitter experiences of life. He met many people with whom intimacy developed. But all the people he met were as unlucky as Candid was. Besides this, there are many episodes in the novel which show that the world is full of sin and injustice.
In the novel, there are many Characters as- Candid, Kunegunda, Penglosse, Kakambu and many others. All the major characters turned to be vagabonds for the vicissitude of circumstance and became disgusted with life. At last, the main characters namely Candid, Kunegunda, Penglosse, Kakambu, Martin and a Russian old woman settled down in Constantinople and took to working as farmers. All the characters have portrayed as a type of the poor and afflicted though they are rich with individual traits.
In narrating the story, the author has employed the Objective Method with skill. In this method, an author keeps himself away from his story and delineates his story objectively.
In Structure, the novel may be called a loose one as there is not a specific plot but a multitude of episodes huddled together. There is both beginning and complication but neither climax nor denouement.
The Setting of the story is consistent with the events and situation though many times they are exaggerated.
The Dialogues employed in the story are no doubt very sparing which have led the characters to an indefinite future but the dialogues have shown no miserliness in revealing the inner motives, feelings and emotions of the characters.
The Philosophy of Life that has been expressed in the novel is that the world is full of sins, inhumanity, cruelty, sorrows and sufferance and if there is some peace, it is in working as a farmer.
The Language of the story is very simple as it is characterized by the use of concrete and formal words and phrases and free from poetic imagery and much emotional expression.
Though it is a well-read novel, yet it lacks fidelity to life. The characters of the novel are shown so much suffered in life that can hardly be believed. To conclude it is to say that though the novel is a highly fantastic one, yet it must be admitted that the author has succeeded in portraying all the facets of social corruption of his age in a critical and ironic vein. 0 0 0
World Novel Criticism
Books of Composition by M. Menonimus:
- Advertisement Writing
- Amplification Writing
- Note Making
- Paragraph Writing
- Notice Writing
- Passage Comprehension
- The Art of Poster Writing
- The Art of Letter Writing
- Report Writing
- Story Writing
- Substance Writing
- School Essays Part-I
- School Essays Part-II
- School English Grammar Part-I
- School English Grammar Part-II..
- Literary Criticism-Wikipedia
- Literary Theory-Wikipedia
- Novel Literary Criticism
- Literary Criticism
- English Novel
- Theory of Novel