Murder Meadow

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These are an assortment of essays on Philosophy, Postmodernism, Literature, Literary theory, and Aesthetics,

Submitted: December 12, 2017

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Submitted: December 12, 2017

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Analysis of Julia Kristeva’s Philosophy

Julia Kristeva is a postmodern, post-structural philosopher, a radical feminist known for introducing many new terms into Philosophical jargon.

Her first concept is subjectivity. Individuals are people who feel, think and will. Subjectivity is process of semantic signification. Subjectivity is closely linked to the ontological concept of being. Philosophy asks questions like what is being, what it means to be a being. Every individual is subjective.

Next comes Kristeva’s concepts like Semiotic and the Symbolic. The semiotic is a realm where the normal rules of language do not apply. The semiotic dethrones the syntax of language. Examples of the Semiotic can be taken from streams of consciousness narrative, poetry, dance and music. The symbolic realm is one which follows the traditional structure of language. Grammar and rules of the syntax are strictly adhered to. Legalistic, political, linguistic and medicinal texts operate on Symbolic norms. Kristeva distinguishes between two types of texts the Geno text and the Pheno text. The Geno text belongs to the semiotic realm and the pheno text belongs to symbolic realm.

Kristeva says that structuralism is synchronic and post-structuralism is diachronic. A synchronic approach begins from a point of time and does not take into account the history of many periods. A diachronic effort takes into account the meaning of a term from different historical epochs. For example: let’s take into account the meaning of the word temple diachronically. Temple as found in the Biblical Old Testament refers to synagogue or place of worship. Temple found in the New Testament refers to the body of Christ and also we have the saying: ‘your body is the temple of God: so don’t desecrate it’.

Next of Kristeva’s concepts is inter-textuality. Language is interwoven simultaneously from many texts. For example a work of fiction might contain idioms and allusions. Reading too is a process of inter-textuality. 

Kristeva makes a foray into the Freudian concept of dreams. Freud described dreams as being one of condensation and displacement. A condensed dream shows many symbolic images that can be interpreted. A displaced dream is a dream where the dreamer wants escape from reality. Let’s illustrate it with examples. In a dream I saw I am making love to my significant other in granddad’s house. This is an example of a condensed dream. An interpretation of it would be, I am doing an act where I am desecrating the sanctity of marriage. The house of my grandfather can mean sanctity. Another example is I am seeing my father constantly in a dream. This is an example of displacement. Do I want to shirk my responsibilities of being a father?

Kristeva also questions the stability of the self. The self has to do a tight-rope-walking act between the Id, Ego and Super Ego. A postmodern interpretation would be deify the ID, glorify the Ego and subvert the Super Ego.

Kristeva has also introduced the concept of abjection. Abjection is a process through which one expels what one dislikes. Examples of abjection are feces, vomit and wee-wee. Kristeva uses the concept of abjection for the Nazi hatred of Jews.  Hitler felt abject when he was denied of paternity by his own father. And his father being a Jew, Hitler became a tyrant in decimating them.

Kristeva mentions of three generations of feminism, the first wave, the second wave and the third wave. The first wave feminists wanted to be just like men. The second wave feminists imitated the archetypal role of the lover and the mother. The third wave feminists on the other hand balance themselves between alternating roles of being a wife, mother and worker. For the third wave feminists, feminism is glorified and deified.

Analysis of George Bataille’s Blue of Noon

George Bataille is French, postmodern novelist who is profane, promiscuous and drunken. His novels exemplify all kinds of vices. Women are treated with utter profanity and he maintains many links with promiscuous strumpets.

The main characters in his novel are Tropman and a woman called Dirty.  The novel is set in three places, and those are London, Barcelona and Germany. The novel is a caricature of pathetic irony and signifies existential nihilism. What I find surprising in the novel is that none of the character’s sexual adventures reach a dizzy height of poetic sublimity. The novel evokes a chaotic and anarchic pathos.

Tropman for most of the time is drunk and whoring. It’s questionable whether he gets an existential pleasure. Tropman can be considered like Camus’ myth of the Sisyphus where Sisyphus is condemned by the Gods to roll a boulder uphill only to find that it rolls down again. Sisyphus forced to do the same act again and again. The novel cannot be regarded as masterpiece of art.  The novel takes little account of the prevalent political climate of the places. We all know that a revolution is boiling in Barcelona. The novel can be considered as Nietzsche’s Dionysian because it contains violence, sadism, drunkenness and orgies. Is the novel a modern day celebration of defeated hero like Don Quixote? Tropman is a tragic hero who wants to escape from the realities of his family and life. The novel is a literature of the abyss. Irony is a pathological symptom and has been used as a neurotic metaphor. The novel symbolizes the degradation of the human mind. There is no soulful catharsis in the novel. One feels depressed when one reads the novel. The novel is a result of lunatic mind caught in the fetish of sadistic and masochistic narcissism. None of the characters in the novel are happy.  For Bataille brothels were considered as temples. Bataille is a prodigal son who never returns to the father.  The novel is disgustingly pathological and neurotic. There is no richness of literature or the beauty of prose. The novel is written in plain everyday language. The characters suffer from the poverty of their minds. The novel is symptomatic of pathological cultural disease. The self becomes a dialectical machine caught in the neurotic delirium of subdued passions. The novel is carnival of narcissism. Beliefs and value systems collapse into an abyss. The novel’s portrayal of characters is myopic. We are caught in the deluge a meaningless passion.

 

Analysis of Leo Tolstoy’s War and Peace

Leo Tolstoy was a Russian novelist known for his renowned works: War and Peace and Anna Karina. His philosophy of life was one of Christian anarchism, a philosophy that lays mistrust on all legal and political institutions of the state and a philosophy that adheres to nonviolence and pacifism.

War and Peace is a philosophical and literary work, a masterpiece that espouses Tolstoy’s Christian view of life. The novel war and peace contains a chronicle of Napoleon’s invasion of Russia. Tolstoy’s rhetoric is persuasive and convincing. The aesthetic aspects of the work are minimal. The novel engages in the trivialities of life. War and Peace has become an idiom meaning something that is long and dense.

The main characters in the novel are Anna Pavlona and Prince Vasily. The novel is set up on the banks of an aristocratic family. Russia is invaded by Napoleon and the citizens of Russia face a troublesome situation. Pavlona and Vasily discuss the harmful effects of war.

 The novel idealizes Christian beliefs and convictions. The novel’s background is based on the Sermon of the mount. The novel renders the Christ’s homily: ‘blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth’. Christian anarchism is very prominent in the novel. Tolstoy distrusts all institutions of the state. Tolstoy comments on the temptations of Jesus after fasting in the wilderness for forty days. Satan shows Christ all the kingdoms of the earth and said: all I will bequeath you, if you worship me and Christ’s answer was: ‘you shall worship only God alone’.

The novel is a sublime epic. One can’t praise the literary quality of the novel too highly. But still, the novel merits some praise. There is depth of psychological insight into the minds of the characters. Tolstoy uses many allusions from Christian religions. The novel is an intellectual and psychological catharsis. One can get a sense of pathos in the novel. The novel is a classic work of realism. Tolstoy’s own autobiographical self enters into the characters mind. The novel is lyrical and sublime. The novel chronicles the 18 the century history of the life of Russian people. Russia is going through a series of historical transformations. War and Peace form allegories of a narrative.  The novel is an eclectic symposium of syncretism of the cultural life of Russian aristocracy. The story of the novel is not particularly interesting. There is no suspense. The novel follows a chronological order going from the beginning to the end.

 

Analysis of Baudrillard’s Philosophy 

Baudrillard is a postmodern, post-structural philosopher known for his unique contributions to the world. His contextualizing concepts rule many concepts like technology, fuzzy logic, functionality, hyper-functionality, end of the symbolic, hypermarket, simulacra and simulation.

Most notable is Baudrillard’s reading into technology. Technology in the postmodern world is structured on the grand narratives of opposition and contrast. There is a debate going on in the world whether should resort to eco-farming or farming with genetically engineered seeds. The environmentalists and the technologists are on warpath with each other. Does technology invade the privacy of the self? Yes, in a way it does. Cyber firms like Google and Yahoo collect personal information and pass it on to generate advertisements. In a technological society we are not free from surveillance. There are also positive impacts of technology like the spread of social media and its use by individuals. Twitter, Facebook and blogs like Wordpress and Blogger help to generate public opinion and they also help to report news that has been ignored by the mainstream media.

For Baudrillard there are three levels of simulation and they are the first, second and the third.  The first level of simulation is an obvious copy of reality. This can be exemplified by the reporting of news on current events like for example: the coup d’ etat in Zimbabwe. The second level of simulation blurs the boundary between reality and representation. An example that could be used is a model depicting the structure of the DNA model. The third type of reality is the one that is produced in virtual space. To illustrate with an example: let us take the Blue Whale game, a virtual game that leads teenagers into suicide.  Another example: would be the editorial comment in a newspaper. For Baudrillard all these simulations work together to create a hyper-technological society.

Next concept used by Baudrillard is fuzzy logic. This could be explained with an example; for example air-conditioning in cars can be set up to function in an auto-mode. Pilots can set flight patterns into an auto-driven mode. These are examples of fuzzy logic. Another example would be war simulated games operated with a computer.

The next concept used by Baudrillard is hyper-functionality.  A classic example of hyper-functionality is hypermarkets. In a hypermarket we get to buy all sorts of consumer goods. Today’s postmodern societies are fond of using gizmos. A gizmo is a technological construct made to provide pleasure and utility to consumers.

The next concept used by Baudrillard is the end of the symbolic. I would like to disagree with Baudrillard. As an example I would like to use language. Language is a symbolic construct of signs and signs are made up of the signifier and the signified. A signified is an abstract idea and a signifier is a concrete sensible thing and belongs to the sensate realm. Editorials of a newspaper are symbolic as they belong to the realm of ideas. All our communication through the process of using language is symbolic.

The next concept used by Baudrillard is the simulacra. A simulacra is defined as an original for which no copies exist. An example would be that of the media giving an opinion on current affairs. Depending on whether the media is right or left opinions as a simulacrum would vary. 

Analysis of the Plumed Serpent by D H Lawrence

D H Lawrence belongs to the fin de siècle era and is noted for his masterpiece Lady Chatterley’s Lover. D H Lawrence is a novelist who has abandoned Christian motifs and had sought refuge in pagan customs. The plumed serpent is a leitmotif of the Mexican God Quetzalcoatl.

 In this novel the protagonist is an Irish Lady named Kate who is a widow. She finds the culture of Mexico to be pathetic, cruel and dismal. The novel begins with Kate visiting a Bull Fight. She become so repulsive about the cruelty entrenched in the bullfight. She is introduced to Don Raimon and General  Cipriano, both eminent political figures of Mexico.

As the novel progresses we find Kate becoming more and more fascinated with the culture of Mexico. Lawrence digresses into a pagan explanation and deification of God Quetzalcoatl. Quetzalcoatl is a God of the Mexicans who is a fiery serpent. Slowly Kate departs from her Christian faith and embraces pagan Mexican traditions.

 Lawrence delves into the culture of Mexico with its impoverished peasants and its rich landed aristocracy. Kate a widow becomes charmed by Don Raimon and General Cipriano. Kate is portrayed as a nymphomaniac with a dying passion for men. The violence and yet the charming persona of Mexican men make Kate into cathartic Goddess of sensual pleasures.  Kate finally marries general Cipriano. Kate makes Mexico her habitation.

The novel has been read with enthusiasm and one cannot praise the novel too highly as an aesthetic work of art. The novel does not have the rudiments of a story and does not follow a chronological order. The novel uses minimal amount of figures of speech. One is not fascinated by its beauty of language. Lawrence’s fascination for the pagan Mexican God Quetzalcoatl is pathological one and is quite narcissistic with the fetish of pseudo counter culture. Quetzalcoatl can be identified with Greek pagan Gods the like Bacchus who is a master of orgies and drunkenness. In the novel there are very little references of a political culture.  May be Lawrence is trying to follow the Nietzsche’s dictum of art: that being the merger of the Dionysian beat and rhythm with the Apollonian harmony and melody. There is very little evocation of pathos in the novel. The novel has no philosophical roots. The novel is glorification of pagan vices. The novel tries to fuse the culture of Mexico with that of the Western roots and Lawrence has failed miserably at this effort. The novel is too traditional and cannot be categorized as the modern. After reading the Plumed Serpent, I feel disappointed.

 

Analysis of Haorun and the Sea of Stories by Salman Rushdie

Salman Rushdie is a contemporary novelist known for his controversial work: Satanic verses which have been banned in many countries. He uses the novelist technique of magic realism. Haroun and the sea of stories is burlesque comedy and it is also a satirical allegory about Indian middle class and its corrupt political set up. 

The main characters in the Novel are Rashid and his son Haroun. Rashid is humorously known as the Sha of Blah. He is a story teller and he is hired by panjandrums to tell stories for their election campaign. The city to which they belong is called dull city. Smoke stack industries have made the city polluted. Sha of Blah has been invited by a political party to campaign for their rally. Sha of Blah to his surprise finds out that he has lost the ability of speech and is not able to cook up stories anymore. Adding further to his woes, he finds out that his wife has eloped with Mr. Chattergy, their neighbor. Sha of Blah goes to a valley known as valley K. In reality valley K refers to Kashmir and it is India’s troubled spot. The Muslims of Kashmir want to secede to Pakistan. Sha of Blah and his son Haroun stay in houseboat in the dull lake of valley K.

Haroun and the Sea of Stories show poignantly the struggles of the Indian politics. It a vitriolic criticism of Indian politics. Politicians appear to citizens only during the time of elections top beg for votes. Then they vanish forever. It is light hearted comedy. Salman Rushdie’s psychological analysis of the characters is mesmerizing. The novel uses the elements of fairy stories like the Sha of Blah telling a sea of stories. Sha of Blah and his son Haroun live in Sad City called Alifbay.I don’t quite understand why Rushdie makes India pathetic and wretched. Rushdie writes the novel as disenchanted colonialist. There is no literary essence of the sublime. The novel does not deserve to be called as a great work of art. The novel has no philosophical content. The novel degrades Indian middle class life. The sea of stories has no plot.  Salman Rushdie is a master of escapism.  The magic realism inherent in the novel is scarcely believable. The Sha of Blah can be compared to Don Quixote.  Why does Rushdie portray a bleak picture of India? Rushdie has got a colonial mindset. The novel cannot be merited as an extraordinary work of out. There is no essence of a story in the novel. Rushdie degrades the Indian middle class.

 

Analysis of Jacques Lacan’s Psychoanalysis

Jacque Lacan is a controversial and notorious psychoanalyst, known for his rewriting of Freudian theory. Lacan’s theories are widely used in postmodern literature, film studies and also psychotherapy.

Prominent among his concepts is the mirror-stage. The mirror-stage is a stage when the child learns the concept of the self as being distinct from the body. Here I would like to contradict Lacan; the development of the self concept of the child is not psychological but emotional. The bonding of the mother with the child marks the growth of the development of self hood. For Lacan the growth to selfhood through the mirror-stage is not perfect. There is no perfectly developed self. With the development of the mirror-stage the child enters into the world of language and this world is marked by desires and lack.

The mirror stage has been used film studies. The spectator of a cinema is confined to gaze at the images that appear on the screen. Laura Mulvey has termed the gaze as scopophilia or a sexual one. The gaze is primarily a male sexual gaze. Laura Mulvey is of the opinion that cinemas should offer gay and feminine gazes.

With coming into fruition of the mirror stage, the child enters into the psychological realm of the ego and the super ego. The child learns to subordinate the ID and adhere to the norms of the ego and the super ego. The ego that is the result of formation of parental influences is a culturally produced phenomenon and not a natural one. The Super Ego too, the moral laws of the society is a product of the societies’ laws and regulations. An individual has to tight-rope-walk between the Id, Ego and the Super Ego. The psychotics defy the Ego and the Super Ego and follow the pleasure principle of the ID.

The most significant breakthrough achieved by Lacan is that he theorized that the unconscious is structured like language. Dreams are metaphors and metonymies.  There are two types of dreams as enunciated by Freud and they are condensation and displacement. A dream of condensation is prolific with symbolic imagery. For example: I had a dream of a wild elephant who was very agitated and I soothed it and put it among a pack tame elephants. There it rested peacefully. As a condensed image, I interpret the wild elephant as my own anarchic libido and through the dream, I am taming it. Displacement in a dream refers to dreaming of situations where one wants to escape from reality. For example: I dreamed of winning a lottery. The dream reminded me that I am wasting a lot of money buying lottery tickets. Lacan has incorporated the work of the linguist Roman Jacobson.  Metaphoric content of a dream rests on the syntagmatic axis and metonymies in a dream rest on the paradigmatic axis.  For Lacan the unconscious acts according to the rules metaphors and metonymies.

Lacan has also borrowed terminology of the French structuralist Saussure. For him language was an assemblage of Signs and the sign is divided into the signifier, a visual, tangible thing and the signified, an idea. For example: if I say Rose is passion, rose is the signifier and passion the signified. Lacan gives primacy to the signifier and places the signified below it. A single signifier can have multiple signifieds.

For Lacan the Phallus is not an organ but a signifier. The phallus performs three functions, the imaginary, the symbolic and the real. I would like to question Lacan about how the phallus is a psychological signifier. The ID is the seat of passions, the ego the culture and training of the parents and the super ego the laws of the society. The idea of the self develops through these three states. I would also like to question Freud’s Oedipus complex. Oedipus complex is a misnomer. How can a child become sexually attracted to the mother or the father? Incest is a taboo and is very rare in a society. Who has given the conscience not to commit incest? Sexuality begins at puberty and we become attracted to the same (rare) or opposite members of the society. I would also like to question Freud’s castration complex. Girls do not have a penis and they suffer from a castration complex. They have the feelings of penis envy. Under normal circumstances we do not think of our genitals. Our selfhood is marked by emotional and psychological feelings of individuality. I would like to ask Lacan:  how can the phallus be a privileged signifier. We are holistic individuals and not merely sexual objects seeking gratification.

Again Lacan goes on to say that the name of the father or the super ego is a symbolic phallus.  That is most preposterous. The super ego contains the laws of the society and they are not found in the phallus. The laws of the society help to make life more meaningful. Deviants break the laws and get punished for it. The phallus is mere drivel and becomes an empty signifier. Again Lacan goes on to say that the internalization of the phallus constitutes the formation of the symbolic order or the super Ego. How can laws be phallic? Laws are civil and criminal and they are not formed from a phallus.

Lacan in his text makes a case study of Nazism.  Nazism as a totalitarian ideology marked the hatred of the Jewish race was one of the repressed by the oedipal conflict. For looking at Nazism we have to analyze the mind of Hitler. Hitler’s father was Jewish and he was born out of an illicit relationship. Lack of care and acceptance by the father made Hitler into Jew hunting maniac.

One of the most confusing concepts of Lacan is that sexual difference is not biological but one of significations. There is masculine and feminine gender and their genitals are different. The ways of attaining pleasure and orgasm are different for both men and women. Generally women take more time to orgasm. Sex for the woman is not physical but emotional and psychological. Lacan has said that there is no perfect sexual relationship and that for some extent is true. Love and emotional bonding are more important than sex.

 

Analysis of Louis Althusser’s Philosophy

Louis Althusser is a postmodern, post-structural philosopher known for his contribution of reinterpreting Marxism and making it a modern reading. His career suffered downfall when he strangled his wife to death and that point of time he was suffering from bipolar disorder. For analyzing his thoughts we have to make preview into the philosophy of Marxism.

Marxism is an atheistic philosophy that has introduced the concept of materialistic interpretation of history and dialectical materialism. What is materialistic interpretation of history? Marx argues that all the institutions of society have their root base on the production system. The factors of production are owned and controlled by the Capitalists who exploit the workers and make stupendous profit. All the institutions of the society like legal, political, religious and literary are owned and controlled by the capitalism. Dialectical materialism espouses the view that that roots of society’s foundations, its institutions lie with the economic base that is who owns the factors of production. Marx is of the view that a capitalist system makes profit and creates an industrial class of people called the bourgeoisie and a menial exploited class of people the proletariat. Althusser is not clear about how these Marxian concepts can be accommodated into modern day capitalist societies.

The next concept used by Althusser is ideology. Ideology is used in the broad sense of the term and encompasses society’s structures especially its political, legal, economic, psychiatric and literary structures. These structures function as ideological apparatuses. However the relevance of Marxism and ideological structures is anachronistic.  All of the ideological apparatuses, the legal, political, economic, and psychiatric are dependent on the economics of production. Profit making of the bourgeoisie and exploitation of the workers is the result of the function of ideology. Here I would like to disagree with Althusser. What began as Communism and known as the Eastern bloc including the erstwhile Soviet Union collapsed. Free enterprise and capitalism rule the world today. Even in a country like China, only it political structure is communist while its market is market friendly.

Next we come upon Althusser’s term: the problematic. A rereading and re-interpretation of Marxian texts is problematic. The Marxian concept of class struggle is antiquated. The workers in a capitalistic society are not exploited. They are paid wages to meet their needs. Marxism has been successful only in Communist Cuba but Cuba is also opening its doors to a free market economy. Marxian concepts have failed to work in modern day economy. The internationalization of the industry as the transnational corporation and also out sourcing has created many jobs for workers in the third world. The world is edging towards a one world order and a one world currency. The bourgeoisie are becoming richer and richer while the workers become divided into upper and lower middleclass strata of the society.

Next Althusser talks about ideology as an aesthetic artifact. Aesthetics produces works of art which have an ideological structure. For example Renaissance paintings carried Christian motifs and it represented the ideological influence of Christianity. The works of Andy Warhol show the preponderance of crass consumerism. Mainstream literature especially pulp literature depicts the ethos of consumerism starved with the narcissism of the fetish of deprived minds. Can art transcend ideology and introduce something new? Art and aesthetics have to become a culture of deviation. 

 

Analysis of Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress

John Bunyan is a famous writer and he is known for his masterpiece: Pilgrim’s Progress. The story is an allegory of a struggling Christian. In the novel: Christian encounters many dreams and has conversation with various persons represented thematically.

Christian traverses through the valley of despondence. There he encounters various leitmotifs like envy, covetousness, sloth, gluttony and promiscuity. Christian has dialogues with each of them.

What is envy? It is the feeling of jealousy towards another person. Envy has no room in Christian thought and is considered to be a Sin. Envy is personified as a person and it asks Christian whether he has feelings of envy. Yes, and Christian is weighed down by a ton of bricks and asks God to forgive the envy he has towards his neighbors. Envy personified wants to retain that attribute in Christian. Christian overcomes the feeling and continues his journey.

The next encounter is with a person, personified as covetousness. Covetousness asks Christian whether he would like to covet his neighbor’s wife and his neighbor’s possessions. Christian becomes overcome with guilt and asks God for repentance. Covetousness is a quality that is present in most people. Christian philosophy adheres to the view that we have to refrain from covetousness. Covetousness for Christianity is a sin. When I read Christian’s encounter with covetousness, I felt a pang of guilt. I asked God to remove all the blisters if covetousness in me. All who are covetous won’t enter the kingdom of God. Covetousness is a quality that is possessed by Lucifer. Lucifer became overcome with pride and wanted to be God and therefore, he was cast into the hell of fire.

The next personified person that Christian encountered in a dream was sloth. There is a saying that an idle mind is the devil’s workshop. Christian was asked whether he possessed sloth. Again Christian became remorseful and asked God for forgiveness. Sloth is a Christian taboo. Sloth is sinful and God detests sloth. Those who are slothful won’t enter the Kingdom of Heaven.

The next personified person that Christian encountered with gluttony. Gluttony confronted Christian by saying that he is gluttonous. Yes, I am said Christian; I am a glutton at heart. I penitently seek God’s forgiveness. Gluttony is also a sin in Christian philosophy and gluttons won’t reach the golden throne. Gluttons will be cast down into the lake of fire.

The next personified person that Christian came across was promiscuity. Christian becomes overcome with feelings of guilt and angst. Promiscuity queries Christian whether he has indulged in adultery. Christian feels sorry for the sin of adultery. Adultery is a serious crime in Christian ethics and adulterers would surely not reach the kingdom of God. They will lose the belongings of paradise.

John Bunyan is a brilliant writer and he has set the novel based on Christian virtues. It is a must read for every Christian as it will make a Christian repentant in a soul searching catharsis. The Pilgrim’s progress is a literary master piece and he is brought out the pathos of an ideal Christian caught up with worldly life at the same time wanting to accept Christ into his life.

 

Analysis of Kafka’s Trial

Franz Kafka has been one of the most enigmatic writers of the modern period. His writings betray angst, queasiness, torment and suffering. He was a Jew in exile and as an evolving writer, he was confronted by existential guilt with his religious beliefs and also he had a stormy relationship with his father. One becomes uneasy when one pours over his texts.

The trial exemplifies a corrupt and autocratic bureaucracy. Probably Kafka through the trial is attempting to portray the despotic and demeaning rule of the Nazi regime. One can’t praise the literary quality of the work as being meritorious. But at the same time, the work is not mediocre.

In the Trial an innocent man K gets condemned for having done no crime.  When confronted at t his home, he produces his identity papers and asks the guards why he is condemned of felony? They answer brusquely that it is none of his business. Then K asks them if he is going to be arrested. They reply ‘no’. He is free to carry on his daily duties. They only tell him that he has to face a court trial. K asks them for an identity and they offer none. The novel gets very confusing as those people are not represented by the government and yet they have the right to condemn an innocent person.

K’s trial is even more baffling as it takes place in an attic. They ask him trivial questions like where does he stay, what is the nature of his work, how old he is.  The trial is marked by monotonous questioning. One fine day they drag K out of his apartment and slit his throat.

Kafka’s trial portrays an inhuman bureaucratic system that has little concern for human feelings or their life. There is no philosophical explanation as to why K suffers this torture. Is the novel—the Trial an outcome of the feelings of guilt that Kafka had towards his tyrannical father? Kafka was a sensitive soul. Being in exile, being a part of the Jewish Diaspora is not a pleasant one.  Is the trial a portrayal of the horrors of Nazi rule? The men who persecuted Kafka can be compared to the Nazi Gestapo or the USSR KGB. It’s puzzling as to why that would want to condemn an innocent life? Is Kafka venting out his own angst. There are scholars who feel that the Trial is an unfinished work. One can sympathize with the character K. The agony and suffering that K endured is so similar to the victims of the holocaust. The Trial is a political allegory. One can’t praise the work too highly for its aesthetics. But still K’s feeling attains peaks of the lyrical and the sublime. One undergoes a catharsis when one reads the Trial. Is Kafka rebelling against his authoritarian father? The novel can be regarded as modernist work of art. I admire Kafka’s instincts to be a writer. I feel contented to have read the work of a great writer.  

 

Analysis of Dickens Pickwick Papers

Charles Dickens is a connoisseur of realist fiction. The Pickwick Papers are his first novel and it is a fable of comedy. The major characters in it are Mr. Pickwick and Snodgrass. The Pickwick Papers can belong to the genre of pulp fiction. The characters engage in frivolous banter and relish on trivial things. Though the novel intends to be comic it does not make one laugh.

The novel begins by Pickwick forming a club. The club discusses strange and bizarre things like the number of toads in England, the number of women who have attained puberty, the number of gnats in England and so forth.

The novel cannot be considered an aesthetic masterpiece. There are few figures of speech in the novel. The flaw in the novel is there is no story and no plot. The novel rambles from silly dialogues. Romance is something in the novel that is treated in a lighthearted comic vein. Pickwick becomes enamored with a middle-aged lady and kisses her in public. There is no philosophical content in the novel. Romance is a recurring leitmotif in the novel.

The novel is highfalutin and uses bombastic language. The reader becomes a prison of its language. The reader’s solitude is violated. The novel portrays the life of English bourgeoisie. All the characters in the novel exhibit similar behavior. The author’s psyche is one of pseudo narcissism. Pickwick is a volatile shenanigan who tries to flirt with various types of women. The novel is a symptom of psychological crises. There is very frugal literary depth. The reader is drowned in the chaos silliness.  The novel is devoid of imagination and entirely rests on a gothic fantasy. The comic frenzy of Pickwick is one of obscurity. The novel has no complexity or diversity. The tone of the novel is ludicrous. One gets drenched in the ethos of self pity. The novel is a sentimental oeuvre, a manifestation of baloney. One can’t praise the novel for even a modicum of merit. The novel portrays the emergence of the bildungsroman of the author. The novel lacks coherence and is disingenuous. The realism inherent in the novel is pathetically obsolete when compared with contemporary times.  The novel is quotidian as a literature of lackluster passion. The novel is highly egotistical and the strong arm of the author comes into play. The characters don’t speak for themselves.  The novel lacks literary catharsis.

 

 

Analysis of Hemingway’s Old Man and the Sea

Hemingway is an all time novelist and is famous for having won the Nobel Prize for the novel Old Man and the Sea. In the story he develops a relationship with a little boy. The story is about his adventures in fishing.

The common leitmotif of the old and man and the sea is the sea and man’s relationship with it. The sea is place from which the old earns his livelihood. The boy is a great pal of the old man. Their friendship is a long lasting one. Every day he fishes in the sea. The old man’s nature is marked by mirth and bonhomie.

There is a rich and subtle literary depth in the novel: old man and the sea. One must pay tribute to Hemingway for the choice usage or words. The novel reminds us vividly of pictures of an impressionistic landscape. The novel is very picturesque. The tone of the novel represents a narrative of music. The novel describes various adventures of the old man t sea. I became fascinated with the thoughts of Hemingway. Hemingway’s writing has induced a style known as Hemingwayesque.The Old Man and the sea is an aesthetic artifact. The novel portrays nature in a surreal mode.  The old man is tired yet he carries on with his work with dedicated zeal. The young boy’s enthusiasm is infectious.

In the night the old man dreams of the sea and catching a whale. There is an eclectic syncretism of archetypal narcissism. The consciousness of the old man is filled with gusto and vigor. The old man’s only friend is the boy. One problem with the novel is that it lacks a philosophical depth. The novel is neither modern nor postmodern and is an exaggerated version of realism. Every page is filled with the description of the sea. The sea is passion and fishing an art. Reading the novel one encounters the meaning of life to be simple. The novel is motivational and encourages one to live a creative and authentic life. The novel is the result of a creative endeavor. The old man is in search of whales but does not come across whales. The psychological portrayal of characters is very insightful. The novel is profound in intensity. The novel focuses on the trivial things of life. The novel is reminiscent of an ordinary life lived. The sea is akin to a mother Goddess. The sea is a metaphor emotional intensity. Fish are metaphors for the catharsis of the soul. The fisherman instinct in the old man is tuned to the sea. He makes many voyages to the sea and comes with a bounty of a catch. The skiff on which he travels has phallic connotations. There is soulful relationship with the boy and the old man. The sea as nature’s vibrant instrument let looses a volley of tropes. Every journey made to the sea is one of resounding success. Oh sea! You are a metaphor for life. Oh fish! You are a metaphor for daily bread. The old man is a devout Christian. The novel belongs to no school of thought. The prose is rich and lyrical. The sea represents various stages of life of a man. Hemingway brings out the melody and rhythm of the sea. One can see the pathos in the novel.

 

 

Analysis of Freud’s Interpretation of Dreams

Freud was a master psychiatrist known for his epoch making work: the interpretation of dreams. He has introduced us to concepts like the unconscious, ID, Ego and Super Ego. He is also noted for introducing the oedipal conflict.

Dream in the ancient world were regarded as emanating from divine agencies. The present day view of dreams is that they emanate from the psychical contents of the repressed in the unconscious.

There are many types of dreams like hypermnesic dreams, dreams based on organic stimuli and those that are based on sensory stimulus.

Hypermnesic dreams are certainly enigmatic. Let me illustrate with an example. A musician composed a piece of music. Months letter when he was delving on musical manuscripts, he came across the same composition.  Hypermnesic dreams are not based on memory and they are in fact a supernatural manifestation. Psychiatrists have not fully understood the phenomenon of hypermnesic dreams.

The next typology is those that are based on sensory stimulus. For example while a person is sleeping and the clock bells, he might wake up and think that it is an ambulance shrieking. A person, who falls out of bed while asleep, might think that the place has been struck by an earthquake.

The next classification is that of organic stimuli. Physiological stimulus like a sickness can induce dreams. For example: a person suffering from pulmonary disease might dream that a heavy stone is falling down on his chest. A person suffering from toothache might dream of his gums being pierced with a nail. A neurotic person might imagine beasts taunting him.

The next classification is prophetic. Let’s take the example of the Pharaoh’s dream. In a dream he saw seven robust bovine creatures and later on he saw seven famished bovine creatures eating the plump bovine creatures. Joseph was called to interpret the dream and he said that there will be seven years prosperity followed by seven years of famine. A prophetic dream is induced by the divine and modern day psychiatry has no explanation for it. The book of Revelation in the Bible is pregnant with prophetic and apocalyptic content.

While dreaming, there is a free reign of ID. There is immorality and anarchy. For example a person dreams of constantly copulating with neighbor’s wife. Another person might dream of being a lesbian voyeur. The ID is chaotic and anarchic and gives a free lasso to imagination.

There are instances when dreams contain infantile material. For example: in my childhood I used to wet my clothes with feces and urine. As I grew older, this dream produced anxiety in me. Going to the toilet is a pathetic anxiety for me.

Freud has categorized dreams into condensation and displacement. Condensation is symbolic with mass of symbols. In one dream of mine, I was driving a van on the way to buy cigarettes. I was driving all along a grassy path and I never reached my destination. This dream could symbolize aimlessness in life. Displacement is one of escapism from life. The dreamer does not want to face realities in life. For example when I dream of paradise, I am escapist and I don’t want to face realities in life.

 

 

 

Analysis of Ulysses by James Joyce

James Joyce a prolific writer who heralded the birth of the modern novel. He is famous for his streams of consciousness writing. Ulysses records 12 hrs of day and is written as an epic. The main characters in Ulysses are Stephen Dedalus, Leopold Bloom and Mary Bloom. 

Ulysses records trivial things happening in day to day life. It is novel entirely set in Dublin. In the novel Joyce wanted to break-free from the bondages of Catholicism. Joyce instills Hellenism in the novel. Objet d’ art is common place objects. For example a cracked mirror is a Hellenic sculpture.

Stephen Dedalus is school teacher and a poet. He seems to be suffering from an oedipal trauma. He feels guilty of not having prayed beside his mother’s death bed. When teaching at school, he encounters angst. The sea is an occurring leitmotif in Joyce’s Ulysses. The sea is an aesthetic artifact. Joyce uses various types of allusions in the novel. There is a debate on whether transubstantiation or consubstantiation is right.

Bloom is a man in his fifties. He feels sorrow at the death of his daughter. Joyce is known for his penetrating character insight. Bloom wanders through the streets of Dublin as a bucking bronco. He encounters Stephen and invites him to his house. He is cuckold and forces Stephen to make love to his wife. Molly Bloom is reminiscent of a mother Goddess. She is a symbol of cultic sexuality. Her sexual organs are described in Gothic narcissism.

The novel abounds in literary passion. The novel has broken the traditional fringes of realism. There is no plot in the novel. Joyce has set forth the avant garde. The novel cannot be considered a philosophical one. The novel is a kunstlerroman. Stephen represents Joyce’s youth and Bloom represents Joyce’s old age. Tropes are used sparingly. The novel is a brilliant narrative in steams of consciousness. There is no comic or tragic effect in the novel. The novel can be rated as a brilliant work of art. The sea is taken as symbolism of the mother Goddess.  The novel evokes the consciousness of the fin de siècle. Celtic myths are made a pagan hyperborean in the novel. Irony and romanticism are the key elements in the novel. The novel is evocative of a sensual catharsis. We find the characters to be delusional and obsessed with the narcissism of their minds. The novel is similar to the Greek epic Ulysses. It does not evoke a deep philosophical thought. The novel alternates between stoicism and nihilism. Time does not follow a linear sequence. The novel is a technical master piece. Joyce was rebelling against his own indoctrinated Catholicism. One is able to probe into the workings of the interior mind. Women are feminine and man effeminate. Bloom languishes at his own sexual escapades. The streams of consciousness narrative enables the reader to come to terms with his own self.

 

Analysis of Dostoevsky’s Idiot

Dostoevsky is a Russian writer known for his penetrating insight into character and espousing the philosophy of existentialism. His famous books are the Karamazov Brothers: Crime and Punishment and the Idiot.

In the idiot he portrays characters with ironic stoicism. There is a rich pageantry of literary thought. The idiot aims to bring out the fetish of cathartic psychology. The novel portrays the life of the bourgeoisie. Class consciousness is an epic of psychological narcissism. Life for Dostoevsky is an evanescent dream, a fleeting and ephemeral. The novel Idiot is intensely and literary and philosophical.

The protagonist of the novel Idiot is Prince Myshkin. He has been going through bouts of mental insanity. He was in Switzerland and he has come to Russia. He maintains a relationship with the daughters of the Evanich family. Myshkin’s characterization is one of extreme bathos. He behaves ridiculously and clownishly.

Through the character of Prince Myshkin, Dostoevsky wants to bring out a Christian allusion being that of the mad man from Gadarene. Dostoevsky is caught up with a conflict of Christian philosophy and secularism. The novel idiot uses a lot of allusions. The philosophical texture of the novel hints of traces of existentialism.  Myshkin is kind hearted, devoted and loyal. There are no traces of narcissism in Myshkin’s character.

Myshkin suffers from oedipal trauma. Dostoevsky also uses Nietzsche’s philosophy of tragedy that is the harmony created by the Dionysian and the Apollonian. The Dionysian elements of rhythm and beat and the Apollonian elements of melody are a recurring leitmotif in his novel. The Novel—Idiot is marked by the poignant Christian philosophy of suffering. Myshkin is a wounded soul.

The literary quality of Dostoevsky’s Idiot is a rich tapestry of philosophical thoughts. We are all Myshkin’s with a wounded existential angst. There is an aura of mystery in the novel Idiot. The novel is also inclusive of Christian mysticism. The idiot is akin to Cervantes’s Don Quixote. The metaphors used in the novel are unique and evoke pathos of feeling. There are many passages in the novel which are allegorical. The literary depth of the novel is so stupendous. Philosophy has broken through the novel. Is the novel a portrayal of Dostoevsky’s own battered psyche? There are times when Dostoevsky went into dementia.

I would rate the novel as a magnum opus deserving high literary credit. The novel questions the values, purpose and meaning of life. The novel reveals the contemporary existential dilemma of angst that individuals are facing in society. The novel is like Camus’ Myth of the Sisyphus. Sisyphus is condemned by the Gods to roll a boulder uphill only to his consternation that it rolls down gain. The novel portrays the endless monotony and agony of life. The novel is set on the breakdown of the Russian aristocracy. Dostoevsky mastery and eloquence requires special credit.  The novel is a dialogic structure and adopts inter-textual devices. Dostoevsky is to be lauded for his incising psychological penetration. The novel deserves to be praised for its magniloquence. 

 

Analysis of Ricoeur’s: The Rule of the Metaphor

Ricoeur traces the evolution of the metaphor from Hellenic Greece. He mentions Aristotle as the founding father of the metaphor. In Greece, the metaphor was used in poetry, especially tragic poetry. The metaphor was a general part of rhetoric. Metaphor according to Ricoeur functioned as an ornament of language. Metaphor went through a lot of changes during various historical epochs.

In the Hellenic period, metaphor was a vehicle to pay libation to the Gods. This is evident in Homeric hymns like the Iliad and the Odyssey. The metaphor was sheer poetry. The aesthetics of the metaphor was religious and allegorical. Thus we have Plato’s famous metaphor the cave which explains the theory of forms. People were in dark cave which was enclosed by a wall and they could see light outside. For Plato it meant that there was an ideal world beyond the physical world. Forms formed the ideality of the world

During the Renaissance era: metaphor underwent a transition. Metaphor became associated with the philosophy of romance. Thus we have the courtly love of the troubadours. Poets used metaphors to sanctify romantic love. Metaphor became a sensual earthly vehicle of salaciousness. Thus we have a famous verse which says: flow abundant stream into my loins and saturate me to a cathartic ecstasy.

In the modern and postmodern period metaphor underwent drastic changes. Metaphor became a discourse of ideology. Metaphor became rooted in disciplines like semantics, sociology, psychology, philosophy and psychiatry.

In Sociology we have Alvin Toffler’s famous work: The Third Wave where he characterizes civilization as metaphor of waves. The first wave was the agricultural civilization. The second wave was the industrial civilization and third wave was the technological society. For Toffler these waves are still evolving.

Let’s look at the role of the metaphor in postmodern philosophy. Post modern philosophy is characterized by the writing of metaphors. Texts are centers of privilege and marginalization. Postmodernism dissects texts and opens centers to play of meaning. Being is a metaphor for becoming. The white theology of the world became dissected into a metaphor of nihilism and nullification. Speech is Adam and Eve in innocence writing is the fleshy tree of good and evil; writing is sin. Being contextualizes into an ontological structure of consciousness. For postmodernism the Diaspora of the mind is left in the exile of the desert. Values fragment into a nihilism of chaotic anarchy.

In psychoanalysis dream symbols are metaphoric. Jacques Lacan said that all dreams are manifested in language.  We have Roman Jacobson who analyzed the metaphor and the metonymy. According to Freud a dream can mean condensation or displacement. A condensed dream is the manifestation of reality facing the dream. Displacement in dreams is an escapism from reality. For Jacques Lacan the psychoanalyst: metaphor was condensation and is on the paradigmatic axis. Metonymy on the other hand was displacement and on the syntagmatic axis.

 

Analysis of Derrida’s Of Grammatology

Jacques Derrida is a post-structural, post modern philosopher known for his flaming contribution of the philosophy of Deconstruction. Derrida has been very controversial and his philosophy provides a detailed frame work for the interpretation of texts. He is notorious as a person belonging to the Yale Mafia.

Of Grammatology is a dense text and he stirs up an argument that in Western Philosophy speech was privileged over writing. He takes up his argument from the structuralism and that being one of the Sign. A sign in structuralism is divided into the signifier and the signified. The signifier belongs to the sensate realm and is a physical tangible object where as the signified as an abstract idea. For example if I say Dove is Peace. Dove represents the signifier and peace represents the signified.

For Derrida all language is a system of signs. The problem of Philosophy is that some signs privilege certain people and some signs marginalize others. Deconstruction aims to rupture the sign from its privileged status. For example: international schools in South East Asia advertise: wanted only native speakers of English. What about speakers of English that live in Asia especially countries like India? Deconstruction is a philosophy that dissects how privilege is constructed in texts. Another example is women are marginalized against men.

Derrida questions the predominance of speech in philosophy. Speech is privileged where as writing is marginalized. Derrida deconstructs religion where he says that God does not envisage a presence. Derrida’s writing has undermined and demeaned all metaphysical systems of thought. Socrates was philosopher who did not say anything. For Derrida there is no validity in truth and truth is only a conjectural possibility. God is an empty signifier. For Derrida, the whole history of writing is one of metaphors and metonymies.

To write is to have the passion of origin. Derrida also questions the ontological status of being as espoused by the Philosopher Heidegger. For Derrida, the sign is a rupture and leaves a trace which he calls as arche-writing. Derrida esteems the work of Nietzsche which though provokingly made a rapid progress in undoing the signifier from the signified.  For Derrida speech is logo-centric and phallic. Writing has to become detached from speech with a free reign of signifiers and signifieds. The writer has to engage in the play of meaning. For example: I can deconstruct my race of being Asian and Indian by saying that I have white mind, a black soul and a brown body. I can also deconstruct my religion by saying that I am a gentile Jew, an atheistic Muslim, a disgruntled Christian and materialist Hindu.  For Derrida the sign is not a fixed entity marked by closure. A sign becomes related to another sign and so on. The creation of meaning results in the play with signs. Writers have to deconstruct logo-centric texts. For Derrida, a sign, as a rupture or play consists of differing and deferring. Derrida’s deconstruction has contributed a lot to the interpretation of texts and the dissemination of meaning. 

 

Analysis of Kafka’s Castle

Kafka is one of the puzzling and enigmatic writers of the 20th century. He was a Jew in exile bearing the birth pain of an existential dilemma and angst of what makes up individuality. His fiction is marked by extreme romantic irony. In Kafka we find the stirrings of existential philosophy. Kafka had a negative attitude to life. His novels are marked by an oedipal trauma and his own conflict with authoritarian father.

In the castle: we find the dialogue in first person of individual K. K is entrusted with the job of surveying the castle. K arrives at the village and stays in an inn. He interacts with people from all walks of life. The castle is apparently an unfinished fragment.  The life of the fictional character is one marked by extreme irony. Kafka brings through his fiction an eclectic synthesis of a literary pathos. His fiction is strange like a cross word puzzle. The landlord of the castle is extremely autocratic and authoritarian.

K’s life is marked by nausea and angst. His soul does not stir in cosmic delight. He embarks upon his work with diligence. There is a poignant portrayal of psychological insight and depth. K encounters a catharsis of mystery.

Philosophically speaking Kafka’s novel—the Castle adumbrates an ethos of aesthetics.  The novel castle is set up on theme of the dissolution of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Kafka’s existential search for the meaning of life is akin to Don Quixote. Life leaves him in the lurch. Kafka is endowed with the passion of writing. Kafka was always in conflict with Jewish and Christian thought. There is rich tapestry of words and thoughts in the Castle. The Castle as a fictional work is strange and mystic and it does not leave the moorings of a story. The Landlord is an internalized projection of the alter ego of his father. The blustering image of his father haunts Kafka. Kafka is a feeble minded individual. Kafka is confronted by the magnitude of existential guilt. In the novel K is a character caught up in decadent monarchy with its outdated petite bourgeoisie living a tormented life?  Kafka’s work is not an aesthetic master piece but littered with allusions and ambiguity. The intention of K as a character is not very legible. What does K intend to do? Why is life of K so demeaning? These remain a mystery. Perhaps if someone encounters Kafka through a séance we might get answers to these questions. Kafka’s intellect is so acute and so sensitive. Kafka through the character K questions the meaning of life. One can’t appraise Kafka’s work to be a literary master piece.

 

 

Analysis of Toynbee’s Study of World History

Arnold Toynbee is a world famous historian known for his penetrating insight into civilizations of the world. In his epoch making work: A study of World History, he does not consider civilization as discrete entities but views them as a continuum. In his analysis of civilizations he has bifurcated them into Egyptian, Hellenic, Chinese and contemporary civilizations.

The Egyptian civilization was marked by the emergence of Kingship and large class of serfs. It was basically an agrarian civilization. The most significant contribution of the Egyptians was the invention of writing. Religion in ancient Egypt was polytheistic. The systematic idea of a state evolved in ancient Egypt. Another significant contribution of the Egyptians was the Pyramids. Culturally and anthropologically speaking the Egyptians were an ethnic bourgeoisie, a ruling aristocracy embedded in cultic rituals, exploiting the weaker sections of the society. The Egyptian civilization also saw the Diaspora of the Jews into Egypt. Looking at Egyptian civilization we can interpret that it was civilization canonized by monarchs, satiated in excess catharsis and stimulated by the ecumenism of a cosmopolitan culture. The Egyptian civilization is noted for its architecture. Ancient Egypt bore the semblances of a religious and cultural syncretism.

The Hellenic culture on the other side saw the emergence of art, literature, philosophy and above all democracy. The great Philosophers of Greece were Plato Socrates and Aristotle. The Hellenic gift to the contemporary world was the gift of democracy. The Iliad and the Odyssey were epic poems written by the Greek poet Homer. In ancient Greece there was a shift from a religious attitude to a philosophical speculation. Ancient Greece also laid the foundations of modern science. Athens flourished because it was democracy.  Philosophically speaking Greek civilization is marked by a mental Diaspora of historicity caught up in the eclectic balance of pristine culture in the throes of evolution.

Next I would like to analyze the modern world. The modern world went through a series of world wars. The modern world also saw the emergence of two contrasting isms Communism and Capitalism. It was during this time that large parts of Africa and Asia were colonies. The modern world also saw the rise of dictatorships which paved the way for the horrendous holocaust. The modern world also saw the rise of the press. Then there developed the rise of the Cold War. There was also the development of space journeys and nuclear missiles. The television became a personalized czar at home. Artistic movements like impressionism and surrealism gave a new lease of life to individuality.

The postmodern society is quite different from earlier civilizations. It was marked by the evolution of the internet. Media became a personalized entity. There was also the emergence of multinational corporations and patent rights. There was also the rise of gay culture. The postmodern society saw the demise of communism and the bipolarization of the world. The postmodern era is also characterized by the emergence of Islamic fundamentalism. Many of the colonies of Africa and Asia were decolonized. The postmodern society also saw the breakup of the nuclear family and the rise of gay marriages. Philosophy was characterized by disintegration and fragmentation. Postmodernism promoted nihilism and anarchy. The idea of what constitutes individuality became a question mark.

 

Analysis of Henry Miller’s Tropic of Cancer

Henry Miller was a leading fiction writer of America famous for his autobiographical and surreal fiction. He was a bucking bronco known for profligate lifestyle of booze and strumpets. From America he migrated to Paris for self indulging in an aesthetic trip. His books were labeled as pornographic and once upon a time banned in America.

There is very little philosophy in his writings, though he as aligned to his writings to the theatre, opera and music. There are some, sparing amount of tropes in his writing.

Most of the days, he is drunk or womanizing. Booze and women are a frequent leitmotif in his writing. He has scant respect for the women he encounters and he treats them as stale sardines.

What would be his philosophy of life? It is one marked of chaotic nihilism and anarchy. Most of his writings are sullied with the words fuck and cunt. He is not able to make his sexual escapades into lyrical prose akin to poetry. Does he have a brothel of a mind? There is no sublime sensuality in his writing and his writing is marked by the coarse and the vulgar. 

There is no literary depth in his writing. One encounters a queasy feeling when one goes through with his writing. All that matters to him is a fuck and a cunt. His writing is caught up with a male-centered fetish of sadistic nihilism. He is an escape artist who doesn’t want to face the realities of life. Women to him are an obsession and he is caught up in the trauma of an oedipal arrest. One encounters the existentialism of a reprobate mind. Culture for him is a personalized evangelistic feces. He is caught up in the ethos of self pity and pseudo narcissism of an inflated ego. He is too confident of his writing skills. There is no catharsis in his sexual experiences with women. After the big bang and jerking off, the curtain falls. There is no personal contentment in his writing. He is a misogynist who ejaculates ugly semen on to the piece paper. He is a desperado caught up in the profanity of his own self created shit. Towards men to his relationship is marred by domination and ego-centeredness. He is an ultimate egotist who is cocooned in shell of despicable malevolence. Reading him one is forced to sink into the shores of degraded nihilism. He engages words in a virulent storm of circumlocution. From plateau to peak he traverses as a locomotive phallus in self proclaimed angst. There is very scant literature and his writing is equivalent to that of a whore monger. He is discontented with life. His feelings are that of a petty criminal and myopic. He does not take the reader to sublime heights of dizzy elevation. The narrative is also fragmented and follows no order of thought. I would like to label him as meretricious writer.

 

 

Analysis of Nirad C Chaudhri’s: Thy Hand Great Anarch

Nirad C Chaudhri lived during the time of India’s freedom struggle and he had recorded his experiences in the book: Thy Hand Great Anarch. He was a polished man supportive of the British regime and he was highly critical of the freedom struggle.

He begins his memoir by recording his life as a clerk. Having failed his MA he could get no other job. He rails at the Non Cooperation Movement stating that it was a mass brainwashing of the people. The non cooperation movement was a civil disobedience movement started by Mahatma Gandhi to eject the British from India. The non cooperation movement included withdrawal of Indians from work areas and civil protest. The aim of the non cooperation movement was to paralyze the British government. The agitating masses were illiterate and Chaudhri records an instance where he was physically harassed by the non cooperation agitators.

After the Non Cooperation Movement came the Chauri Cahuri incident when an irate mob torched a police station and burnt to death British policemen. Then Gandhi withdrew the non cooperation movement. This was followed by the massacre at Jalian Wallah Bagh incident where peaceful protestors gathered and they were shot to death under the orders of Colonel Dyer. This brutal assassination was met with a storm of protests from the country.

Then came the Simon Commission to placate the Indians and to offer partial autonomy to India. The Simon Commission was met with hostile resistance. People waved placards saying: ‘Simon go back’ and burnt effigies. After the Simon Commission, Gandhi adopted the Salt Satyagraha at Dandi where people marched to the shores of sea to make salt. This was done in protest against the harsh taxes imposed on commodities by the British. For Chaudhri: Gandhi was no apostle of peace and he indulged in moral and psychological violence.

The times leading to the independence were severe for India. There was much causality. The British were fed up of ruling India so they decided to leave. Lord Mount Batten was appointed as the British representative in India. Along with India the Muslims in Pakistan wanted a separate nation. Jinnah was vociferous in the creation of Pakistan. Gandhi was very disturbed Independent India was besieged with many problems. They were unemployment, poverty, death and starvation. Nehru decided to make India a socialist country.

Chaudhri’s struggle is so poignantly portrayed in a pristine language. For the average India life was queasy. The British exploited India’s economy by taking away its resources and bringing in finished goods. Cottage and handicraft industries the backbone of the Indian economy was severely in a ditch. A positive development of the British rule in India was the spread of the vernacular press the development of the railways. Railways united the country. Post independent India was one of quarrelsome princely states. It was the iron man of India Sardar Vallabhai Patel who united India and made it into a single country.  The press played an important role in spreading the gospel of freedom. Partition of India and the creation of Pakistan created a lot of problems. There was a mass exodus of refugees from Pakistan to India and from India to Pakistan.

Chaudhri’s work is highly philosophical and literary synthesizing India and its turmoil into a political catharsis. Nehru remarked in his opening speech that we have made a tryst with destiny. When the world sleeps India will awake to freedom. Chaudhri marvelous rendition of India’s political and cultural landscape is an essential reading.

 

Critical Analysis of Jack Kerouac’s On the Road

 Jack Kerouac is one of the pioneering founders of the beatnik movement along with Allen Ginsberg. The beatnik movement is a befuddling one as it involved a combination of Eastern Mysticism, Drugs, and Free Sex. May be it emerged out of the depression of American involvement in Vietnam and the Cold War. I read Kerouac’s: On the Road but I was not very much impressed with its language. There are very few figures of speech and the description is plain-speak.

Kerouac’s meanderings of the mind and well as his hitchhiking across America are poignantly portrayed. It is said that the book is written in the language of Jazz with its syncopated rhythms but I don’t think so. Kerouac has a friend Dean with whom he engages in dialogue. Kerouac is confronted with extreme boredom and nausea. There is an outpour of existential guilt.

I am puzzled to the depths of the ocean by Kerouac’s ignorance about Philosophers. He keeps on blabbering about Nietzsche but does not talk anything about his philosophy like the ‘Death of God’, the Apollonian and Dionysian elements, the melody of Apollo and the rhythm and beat of Dionysus which contributes to the making of drama especially tragedy. I feel very disappointed with Kerouac’s lack of knowledge and I feel the whole Beatnik movement was one of adult petulance. The Beatniks were interested in Eastern mysticism especially the theory of Karma and Reincarnation. I would like to bring up a Christian perspective about Karma. For Christ Karma (Deeds) alone won’t make one attain salvation. Salvation comes only through being born again in Christ. The doctrine of reincarnation is absurd. How can one be born an ant in one’s after life? The Beatniks were weed aficionados.

The book rambles on from page to page about Kerouac’s travels which all are all senseless like Camus myth of the Sisyphus. Kerouac is notorious for womanizing. Women are dehumanized and treated as strumpets and door mats. Kerouac’s novel has no depth of character or psychological insight. There is no hint of irony. The prose is dull and cluttered. There is no catharsis. Reading the entire novel, I did not come across a single figure of speech. The journeys made by Kerouac are lackadaisical and sterile with monotony. Kerouac is self indulgent in drunkenness and doping. There is no tone in the novel and it is the outcome of a mediocre mind. Initially I was fascinated with Beatnik movement. But I am disappointed with its writing. After reading the novel: I felt a pall of gloom.


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