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Sunday, July 22, 2012

Critical Analysis of Ozymandias by Percy Bysshe Shelley

Critical Analysis of Ozymandias by Percy Bysshe Shelley

Ozymandias is Percy Bysshe Shelley’s sonnet metered iambic pentameter. Ozymandias is referred to the ancient Egyptian King Rameses II, who was cited as the most powerful Pharaoh in Egypt. Shelley wrote the poem after he heard the news of the discovery of ancient ruins belonged to the once great civilization. The poet expresses the short-lived power of a man and nature prevailing over humans.

The beginning of the poem tells of the stranger visiting an antique land that referred to as Egypt. The desert and the sand describe the setting of the country. The traveler tells the unearthing of a pair of legs of stone standing in the desert. It indicates that the sculpture has been destroyed due to the harsh environment for a long time, the body is missing, and the face of Ozymandias lays half-buried in the sand. The “shattered visage” of the king indicates of his confounded power. The “land” and “sand” states the perennial power of nature compared to Ozymandias’ supremacy.

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The visage describes Ozymandias’ true character: the “frown”, “wrinkled lip” and the “sneer of cold command” tells of his cruelty, mercilessness and contempt for his people. The sculptor, instead of praising the king, is mocking the man, even though he perfectly molded the king’s expression. The cruel character of the king lives on even after he died; his subjects had reduced to no more than a thing because of his hostile treatment to them. “The hand that mocked them” tells his disdain to serve his subjects; “heart that fed” indicates that he brings terror and dread to his people.

The pedestal which read:

My name is Ozymandias, king of kings: Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!”

Ozymandias strived for political glory and even challenged the gods to overthrow his power. His pride and thirst for glory brings him nothing. His monument stands in the vast desert, “lone and level” shows the emptiness of the land.

The poet wrote incomplete ideas that leave the reader hanging on to what the traveler is talking about. The ironic tone of the poem mocks the king’s greatness turning into dumps. The major theme of the poem is the pride followed by a downfall.

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Critical Analysis of "My Last Duches" by Robert Browning

Critical Analysis of "My Last Duches" by Robert Browning

My Last Duchess is written by Robert Browning in 1842. A dramatic monologue of the Duke of Ferrara presents his best side to the agent of the count of Tyrol when he tries to talk about his previous wife. 

Set in iambic pentameter, AABB rhyme scheme along with other techniques such as enjambment and caesura, the poem reveals qualities about the speaker and his situation. The reader might be drawn to the conclusion that the speaker has something to do with his wife’s death as revealed in his confusing speech and actions throughout the poem. The dramatic monologue exposes the speaker’s true personality and his situation more than he aims to say both to the agent and the reader.

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The Duke of Ferrara seems to be controlling in nature; he tries to control everyone he is comes to term with,  like he controls the actions of the agent as read in line 5, “Will’t please you sit and look at her”, “Will’t please you rise?” (l 47) and “Nay, we’ll go/ Together down, sir” (l 53-54.) He succeeded in controlling Fra Pandolf’s works of art but failed to control his wife when she was still alive. When the Duchess dies he fully gains power over her, his possessiveness surfaces in the lines 9 to 10: “since non puts by/ the curtain I have drawn for you, but I”.

The Duke tries to put his wife in the bad light, giving the reader the impression that she is flirtatious, false and disrespectful, while he appears to be the abused but caring husband. His previous wife’s actions leave him no choice but to kill her. But as he is telling the agent about his wife’s death he appears nervous and tense. The use of caesura suggests that he is unsure of what to say next. He could not understand of his wife’s love for natural, simple things and her kindness she displays towards others he treated it with disdain. He could not gain command over his wife’s appreciation towards others that he thought it belongs to him alone. Her happy disposition and love of life which he could not control made him to kill her in the end.

The poem is all about mystery, murder and intrigue. Robert Browning effectively captures the Duke’s haughty and arrogant character.

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Saturday, July 21, 2012

Movie Review of "Every Child is Special"

Movie Review of "Every Child is Special"

Ishaan: The letters are dancing.

Teacher: They are dancing, are they? Then read the dancing letters. Read the sentence loud and proper.

The dialogue between Ishann (Darsheel Safary) and his English teacher is funny and interesting, especially when Ishaan reacts after his teacher orders him to read out the sentence. The scene is actually very good, but this is just one of those scenes which brings out Ishaan’s suffering in Every Child is Special.

The movie is all about a kid who has dyslexia, is misunderstood and treated badly by his teachers and parents, particularly his father. He suffers from depression when he is sent to a boarding school, away from his family. The substitute teacher gets to know him and identified himself with the child so he sets out to help him overcome his problem. But there is more than Ishaan’s problem and the teacher’s solution to solve the kid’s problem. The movie deals more with the current education system and parents who appear to give importance to their children’s academic success rather than on their own interest or inclination. Every Child is Special (Taare Zameen Par) taught the issue about a particular event of a child’s life whose interest/difference in misunderstood by adults and passing on judgments on the child rather than understanding the child’s situation.

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The movie also emphasize on teacher-student interaction especially on the teacher’s part on convincing Ishaan’s parents and the boarding school principal to teach the child himself. There are many heart-warming scenes that will surely bring tears to the movie watcher. The scene where Ishaan is placed in a strict boarding school for boys and got separated from his family, and from then on he goes into a depression. The song “Tuhje Sab To Pata Hai Na Maa” is very good song that conveys the separation from his mother.

Parents and teachers can find a lesson from this film. The title alone “Every Child is Special” is an obvious message to parents who pressure their kids to be the first among their peers and classmates, and who compare them to others who fare better in academics. This film should be watched by teachers if they want to have a deeper understanding of the dynamics between teachers and students. Children too can benefit from watching “Every Child is Special”. Studying for honors and recognition is not the only thing that matters. Discover what interest them, their inclinations, and accept their differences and be reminded that “Every Child is Special”!


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Summary and Analysis of "Killings" by Andre Dubus

“Killings” is a short tale written by Andre Dubus in 1979 and was first published in The Sewanee Review.  The story was later adapted by film director Todd Field in the 2001 movie entitled In the Bedroom, a highly acclaimed movie by the Academy Awards.  The story revolved on love, murder, revenge and morality.

The story sets in a small town somewhere in Massachusetts one August morning with the burial of a 21 year old Economic graduate Frank Fowler, Ruth and Matt’s youngest son. Along to grief with the couple were their two other children – Steve, oldest and Cathleen, the second among the brood.

Richard Strout, a 26 year old former football scholar dropout who has worked as a bartender, shot Frank one Saturday night in September right in front of his two sons.

Strout was known to many as the spoiled and hot-tempered guy.  It was this very same attitude that caused his wife of 6 years, Mary Ann, to file for divorce. 

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Mary Ann was the girlfriend Frank had before his death.  The two met in Salisbury beach where the latter worked as a lifeguard. Their romance blossomed while she was in the process of the divorce.  Frank’s mother, Ruth, disagreed to the relationship. She never wanted Mary Ann for her son for a number of reasons: first, she had a history of playing around, second, the divorce was not finalized yet, third, she had kids and lastly, she was older than him.  Matt, on the other hand, being a protective father that he was tried to understand his son and weighs the balance between his wife and son.  He accepted Mary Ann and welcomed her into the family.  Unfortunately, this was not the same case with Strout.  Whether be it for his pride or love for Mary Ann that forced him to commit murder, it was very clear that he never approved of the divorce.

The tragedy has not left the Fowlers since then.  Conflicts arose when Strout was granted a bail for which his presence made coping tougher for both Matt and Ruth.  Strout was seen all over town living a normal life after the crime.  Seeing him not only sharpened the pains of losing their son but it strengthened the eagerness of revenge. 

Matt and Ruth’s suffering grew with each passing day.  To end such suffering, Matt premeditated on killing Strout with the help of his friend, Willis Trottier.  Willis, a short silver-haired man, was a restaurant and bar owner who shared Matt’s sentiments.  Being a good friend that he is, he felt for Matt.  Together they consummated a crime.

Dubus was able to present the story in a very vivid manner.  He was able to showcase conflict of emotions in an orderly way.

The crime committed by Matt to overcome his ill feelings maybe justifiable.  There is no greater pain than losing a child to someone with no worth.  It is more unacceptable seeing the antagonist out in the open and free while justice was not fully served yet.  But then again, we cannot correct a mistake by another mistake.  It’s not always right to take the law into your own hands.  Avenging may make things worse in the future.  In this case, once authorities discovered Strout’s murder, they will only point at one suspect, the one with the strongest motive. That will make the struggle for the Fowlers more gruesome.

Like the saying goes, ‘to err is human, to forgive divine. Sometimes we have to go over the limits of human nature to put things in its proper perspective.  It might take time, but justice will be served.


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Summary and Analysis of "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas" by Hunter S. Thompson

Summary and Analysis of "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas" by Hunter S. Thompson

“Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas” was originally from a 250 word photo-caption job which grew to a novel-length feature story by Hunter S. Thompson.  The two-part story was published in Rolling Stone magazine on November 11, 1971.  Thompson approached his work in a ghastly manner, often creating a negative criticism from its readers. 

The story moved along with Raoul Duke, a journalist, and his attorney Dr. Gonzo as they explore the great American Dream in a discriminating and hypocritical society.  It was based on the author’s own account of his self-discovery in a drug-crazed state along with his Mexican lawyer friend Atty. Oscar Zeta Acosta.

Raoul, like any other journalists, dreamt of getting the most controversial story there is.  When given the opportunity to cover the Mint 400 motorcycle race, he never hesitated and went on the trip.  Unfortunately, Duke and Gonzo engaged themselves in an adventure of a lifetime  They had all sorts of uppers and downers all packed with them during the entire trip to keep them awake.  Somehow, things went berserk.  Both find themselves abandoning work and engaging in disparaging experiences. 

For men of their stature, it is not surprising that despite the volume of addictive drugs and liquors in their possession, there were never a doubt to any man in uniform that they were clean. 

In Vegas, sins lurk the city.  The only thing to be feared of is getting caught.  It is disgusting, however, that it showcased the ugly truth of the American Dream.  It highlighted that crimes were for those with fame, power and fortune.

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A close reading of the plot of the story will reveal that it is not a typical novel which follows the stage of conflict and then a resolution of the conflict.  Instead, it chronicles the adventures of Duke as he and his companions enter into casinos and hotel rooms consuming large amounts of drugs every time.

The search for the American Dream is emphasized in the novel.  However, Duke’s vision of American Dream is different from the rest of us.  For him, the American Dream is the voluntary submission to the temptations of drugs and alcohol.  It is about the pursuit of drugs, alcohol, sex, violence and commercialism. 

The author might not be refined in using words to depict his messages but as it captures more and more readers, liberalism have become more acceptable.  It clearly showed that not only those gifted with literary arts have the capacity to attract and influence.  Loose and open words are sometimes enough to get your message across.

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