Posted in English Literature

To Autumn by John Keats – Summary and Critical Analysis

In this poem Keats describes the season of Autumn. The ode is an address to the season. It is the season of the mist and in this season fruits are ripened on the collaboration with the Sun. Autumn loads the vines with grapes. There are apple trees near the moss growth cottage. The season fills the apples with juice.

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John Keats

The hazel-shells also grow plumb. These are mellowed. The Sun and the autumn help the flowers of the summer to continue. The bees are humming on these flowers. They collect honey from them. The beehives are filled with honey. The clammy cells are overflowing with sweet honey. The bees think as if the summer would never end and warm days would continue for a long time. Autumn has been personified and compared to women farmer sitting carefree on the granary floor; there blows a gentle breeze and the hairs of the farmer are fluttering. Again Autumn is a reaper. It feels drowsy and sleeps on the half reaped corn. The poppy flowers have made her drowsy. The Autumn holds a sickle in its hand. It has spared the margin of the stalks intertwined with flowers. Lastly, Autumn is seen as a worker carrying a burden of corn on its head.

The worker balances his body while crossing a stream with a bundle on his head. The Autumn is like an onlooker sitting the juicy oozing for hours. The songs and joys of spring are not found in Autumn seasons. But Keats says that Autumn has its own music and charm. In an autumn evening mournful songs of the gnats are heard in the willows by the river banks. Besides the bleat of the lambs returning from the grassy hills is heard. The whistle of the red breast is heard from the garden. The grasshoppers chirp and swallow twitters in the sky. This indicates that the winter is coming.

Every stanza has a sense of finality when it closes. In every stanza a quatrain is followed by a sestet. The first stanza indicates the rich powers of the season. In the second stanza there is a suggestion of the gradual passing away of time. This makes the ode dramatic. Different postures are shown with the help of personification. Here we find imaginative elements in a series of images. A sense of sadness comes in the soft dying day, willful choir of small gnats etc. ‘Bloom’ and ‘Sunset’ symbolized twilight and darkness.

Ode to Autumn is an unconventional appreciation of the autumn season. It surprises the reader with the unusual idea that autumn is a season to rejoice. We are familiar with Thomas Hardy’s like treatment of autumn as a season of gloom, chill and loneliness and the tragic sense of old age and approaching death. Keats sees the other side of the coin. He describes autumn as: “Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness! / Close bosom friend of the maturing sun”. He understands maturity and ripeness as one with old age and decay. Obviously thin, old age is a complement to youth, as death is to life. Keats here appears as a melodist; he seems to have accepted the fundamental paradoxes of life as giving meaning to it. The very beginning of the poem is suggestive of acceptance and insight after a conflict.

The subject matter of this ode is reality itself at one level: Keats depicts the autumn season and claims that its unique music and its role of completing the round of seasons make it a part of the whole. Although autumn will be followed by the cold and barren winter, winter itself will in turn give way to fresh spring. Life must go on but it cannot continue in turn give way to fresh spring. Life must go on but it cannot continue without death that completes one individual life and begins another. This is indirectly conveyed with the concluding line of the ode: “And gathering swallows twitter in the skies”. In one way, this gives a hint of the coming winter when shallows will fly to the warm south.

The theme of ripeness is complemented by the theme of death and that of death by rebirth. So, in the final stanza, the personified figure of autumn of the second stanza is replaced by concrete images of life. Autumn is a part of the year as old age is of life. Keats has accepted autumn, and connotatively, old age as natural parts and processes them.

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Posted in English Literature, Story

He Can’t Do It

Once upon a time, two young boys were playing on thin ice. As they were playing, one of them fell through that ice into the lake underneath. The other one tried hard and he couldn’t reach his friend through that gap.

So he walked up to a tree, pulled and broke a branch of enormous size. He came back and started beating the ice and he saved his friend.

When the paramedics came and they were able to revive the kid, they were baffled and they couldn’t understand that how did his friend break an enormous sized branch and then beat the ice and save his friend. They thought it was IMPOSSIBLE

Then the old man who was standing there said, “I can tell you how he did it.”

They said, “How? How he did it.”

The old man said, “There was no one here to tell him that he can’t do it.”.

Courtesy : Shaily Jain

Posted in English, English Literature, General Knowledge, Idols

Julius Caesar: Play Summary

The action begins in February 44 BC. Julius Caesar has just reentered Rome in triumph after a victory in Spain over the sons of his old enemy, Pompey the Great. A spontaneous celebration has interrupted and been broken up by Flavius and Marullus, two political enemies of Caesar. It soon becomes apparent from their words that powerful and secret forces are working against Caesar.

 

Caesar appears, attended by a train of friends and supporters, and is warned by a soothsayer to “beware the ides of March,” but he ignores the warning and leaves for the games and races marking the celebration of the feast of Lupercal.

 

After Caesar’s departure, only two men remain behind — Marcus Brutus, a close personal friend of Caesar, and Cassius, a long time political foe of Caesar’s. Both men are of aristocratic origin and see the end of their ancient privilege in Caesar’s political reforms and conquests. Envious of Caesar’s power and prestige, Cassius cleverly probes to discover where Brutus’ deepest sympathies lie. As a man of highest personal integrity, Brutus opposes Caesar on principle, despite his friendship with him. Cassius cautiously inquires about Brutus’ feelings if a conspiracy were to unseat Caesar; he finds Brutus not altogether against the notion; that is, Brutus shares “some aim” with Cassius but does not wish “to be any further moved.” The two men part, promising to meet again for further discussions.

 

In the next scene, it is revealed that the conspiracy Cassius spoke of in veiled terms is already a reality. He has gathered together a group of disgruntled and discredited aristocrats who are only too willing to assassinate Caesar. Partly to gain the support of the respectable element of Roman society, Cassius persuades Brutus to head the conspiracy, and Brutus agrees to do so. Shortly afterward, plans are made at a secret meeting in Brutus’ orchard. The date is set: It will be on the day known as the ides of March, the fifteenth day of the month. Caesar is to be murdered in the Senate chambers by the concealed daggers and swords of the assembled conspirators.

 

After the meeting is ended, Brutus’ wife, Portia, suspecting something and fearing for her husband’s safety, questions him. Touched by her love and devotion, Brutus promises to reveal his secret to her later.

Caesar

The next scene takes place in Caesar’s house. The time is the early morning; the date, the fateful ides of March. The preceding night has been a strange one — wild, stormy, and full of strange and unexplainable sights and happenings throughout the city of Rome. Caesar’s wife, Calphurnia, terrified by horrible nightmares, persuades Caesar not to go to the Capitol, convinced that her dreams are portents of disaster. By prearrangement, Brutus and the other conspirators arrive to accompany Caesar, hoping to fend off any possible warnings until they have him totally in their power at the Senate. Unaware that he is surrounded by assassins and shrugging off Calphurnia’s exhortations, Caesar goes with them.

 

Despite the conspirators’ best efforts, a warning is pressed into Caesar’s hand on the very steps of the Capitol, but he refuses to read it. Wasting no further time, the conspirators move into action. Purposely asking Caesar for a favor they know he will refuse, they move closer, as if begging a favor, and then, reaching for their hidden weapons, they kill him before the shocked eyes of the senators and spectators.

 

Hearing of Caesar’s murder, Mark Antony, Caesar’s closest friend, begs permission to speak at Caesar’s funeral. Brutus grants this permission over the objections of Cassius and delivers his own speech first, confident that his words will convince the populace of the necessity for Caesar’s death. After Brutus leaves, Antony begins to speak. The crowd has been swayed by Brutus’ words, and it is an unsympathetic crowd that Antony addresses. Using every oratorical device known, however, Antony turns the audience into a howling mob, screaming for the blood of Caesar’s murderers. Alarmed by the furor caused by Antony’s speech, the conspirators and their supporters are forced to flee from Rome and finally, from Italy. At this point, Antony, together with Caesar’s young grandnephew and adopted son, Octavius, and a wealthy banker, Lepidus, gathers an army to pursue and destroy Caesar’s killers. These three men, known as triumvirs, have formed a group called the Second Triumvirate to pursue the common goal of gaining control of the Roman Empire.

 

Months pass, during which the conspirators and their armies are pursued relentlessly into the far reaches of Asia Minor. When finally they decide to stop at the town of Sardis, Cassius and Brutus quarrel bitterly over finances. Their differences are resolved, however, and plans are made to meet the forces of Antony, Octavius, and Lepidus in one final battle. Against his own better judgment, Cassius allows Brutus to overrule him: Instead of holding to their well-prepared defensive positions, Brutus orders an attack on Antony’s camp on the plains of Philippi. Just before the battle, Brutus is visited by the ghost of Caesar. “I shall see thee at Philippi,” the spirit warns him, but Brutus’ courage is unshaken and he goes on.

 

The battle rages hotly. At first, the conspirators appear to have the advantage, but in the confusion, Cassius is mistakenly convinced that all is lost, and he kills himself. Leaderless, his forces are quickly defeated, and Brutus finds himself fighting a hopeless battle. Unable to face the prospect of humiliation and shame as a captive (who would be chained to the wheels of Antony’s chariot and dragged through the streets of Rome), he too takes his own life.

 

As the play ends, Antony delivers a eulogy over Brutus’ body, calling him “the noblest Roman of them all.” Caesar’s murder has been avenged, order has been restored, and, most important, the Roman Empire has been preserved.