Tag Archives: Alice M

Sisyphus

21 Apr

Sisyphus was famous for two things: his cleverness during his life and his punishment after death. Stories about him are sometimes different, but usually he is referred to as King of Corinth. One story involves Autolycus, who stole cattle and also changed their colour so that they couldn’t be identified. Sisyphus outsmarted Autolycus by putting a mark on their hooves so that he could follow their prints in the ground once they were stolen. In another story, Sisyphus dies twice. In the beginning he sees Zeus kidnapping a nymph. He promised to keep her hiding place a secret, however, Sisyphus betrayed Zeus, by telling nymph’s father the location of his daughter. Zeus got furious and so he sent Thanatos (death) to take Sisyphus to Hades, the ruler of the underworld. Sisyphus tied up Thanatos, and so for days no one on earth died, but after some time Ares went to free Thanatos and took Sisyphus to the underworld. Sisyphus told his wife not to bury him and managed to persuade Hades to let him come back to earth so that he could arrange a proper funeral. After returning to Corinth, he stayed there until he died again. After all the tricks he played on the gods, he was punished and put on a hillside in the underworld with a heavy boulder above him, and to escape death he needed to push it uphill. The gods told him that if he rolled the stone to the other side they would release him, but the boulder kept on rolling back down to the bottom once he reached the top. So the phrase “Labor of Sisyphus” refers to a hopeless task that must be repeated over and over.

Source Citation: “Sisyphus.” Myths and Legends of the World. Ed. John M. Wickersham. New York: Macmillan Reference USA, 2000. Gale Student Resources In Context. Web. 20 Apr. 2011.

Advertisements

George Bernard Shaw Bio

9 Mar

George Bernard Shaw was born on 26th of July, in 1856. He was an Irish playwright and a co-founder of the London School of Economics. He attended the Wesley College in Dublin , then grammar school operated by the Methodist Church in Ireland and in the end transferred to Dublin’s Central Model School after moving to a private school near Dalkey. The start of his career was when he was sponsored by William Archer and became a critic of the arts, by joining the reviewing staff of the Pall Mall Gazette and was writing under a pseudonym “Corno di Bassetto” which meant “basset horn”, because it sounded European and no one knew what it meant.  Between 1879 and 1883, Shaw wrote 5 unsuccesful novels that were published eventually called Cashel Byron’s Profession, An Unsocial Socialist, Love Among the Artists, The Irrational Knot and Immaturity. In 1898 he married Charlotte Payne-Townshend who he outlived. That year he also bought his first camera and was an active amateur photographer. Shaw was active in local politics and served in London County Council. In his works he examined education, marriage, religion, government, health care and class privilege. Shaw was the only person who was awarded both a Nobel Prize for Literature (1925) and Oscar (1938) for his contributions to literature and his work on the film Pygmalion. He wanted to refuse his Nobel Prize but in the end he accepted it and donated the money for Swedish to English translation purposes. He died at the age of 94, on the 2nd of November in 1950.

Hawk Roosting.

4 Feb

The hawk in the poem “Hawk Roosting” by Ted Hughes is presented as a very powerful and self-centered creature. This could be seen from the first word of the poem, “I”, which is also repeated throughout the poem and a pronoun, “my”. The lines “the convenience of the high trees! / The air’s buoyancy and the sun’s ray / Are of advantage to me” also portray the superiority, egoism and power of the hawk, showing how he is sitting on the high tree and looks upon the world that’s below him with arrogance. All these metaphors show that they allow the hawk to stay in the powerful position.

The poet also has a God reference in the poem, as the “Creation” he is talking about is God himself. The hawk says that God created him, but now he is so powerful and mighty that he is almost God himself, and can control him too, which could be supported by the line “now I hold Creation in my foot”. He can do whatever he pleases, just because he is God. He kills where he pleases because it is all his, and no one can do anything about it. The poet, throughout the poem, tries to convey to the reader that the hawk, being as superior as God, has eclipsed the sun and nothing will ever change, unless he commands so, because his “eye has permitted no change”.

 

Intertextuality in “If This is a Man”

25 Nov

In the novel If This is a Man by Primo Levi, the author mentions many different texts, which is called intertextuality, a text within a text. One of the texts mentioned was Divine Comedy which is a poem written by Dante Aligherri.  It was written between the dates of 1308 and 1321. It is known as one of the greatest works of world literature. The poem is about trip through the afterlife. The poem has three different parts: Inferno, Purgatorio and Paradiso.  The poem describes a journey of a man through Hell, Purgatory, and Heaven. It is an allegory of afterlife and describes “the soul’s journey towards God”. [wikipedia] The text is mentioned in Chapter 11, The Canto of Ulysees, where we are introduced to a new character, Pikolo, who wants to learn Italian. Primo Levi mentions the Canto of Ulysees, and recites some parts from 26th part to Jean, which is a part of Inferno. In Inferno, a journey to hell is described and the prisoners in If This is a Man are going through things that are similar to the journey to hell in Inferno, like for example, their identities are being taken away and they become nobody. The quote in the end of the chapter “And over our heads the hollow seas closed up” mentioned within the text If This is a Man means that they all have no future in the camp and even the little bit of hope they had for one was taken away.

Significance of Kola nut.

7 Oct

In Chapter 3, on page 7, in the novel Things Fall Apart, we are introduced to kola nut, which is a very significant object in the Ibo culture, as “who brings kola brings life”. Kola nuts, as well as palm-wine, is constantly mentioned in the book, especially during ceremonies, to focus on the traditional hospitality of the Ibo people. When Okoye came to see Unoka, to collect his debt, they did not start talking about it immediately and instead, Unoka proposed his guest kola, because it was a symbol of hospitality. They started arguing, because they couldn’t decide on who was to break the kola nut, until eventually Unoka “accepted the honour of breaking the kola”. This phrase included by Achebe in the beginning of the novel, when kola nuts are just introduced signifies how honorable and respectable it is, for a person to break a kola nut. Breaking a kola nut is a very spiritual process, as when Unoka broke the kola nut, he “prayed to their ancestors for life and health, and for protection against their enemies”, and Okoye drew some lines and his big toe on the floor, just for this short “ceremony”. Only after they have eaten, Okoye reminded him why he came to see Unoka. By this, the reader can see that kola nut is a very significant object in the Ibo culture, as it is also a symbol of respect to the guest and is offered on a regular basis, just like in other cultures, you offer your guest something to drink when they visit you, but however, the process of breaking it is more honorable and more spiritual.