Date of Submission
Commentary:The Descent into the Self
Pre-romantic poets were interested in the field ofemotion more than of reason which was among the great humancapacities in age of enlightenment. In Romanticism, imagination wasfurther used to express emotional experiences and never accountableto reason. The poets in the Romantic period, therefore, exploreddifferent subconscious levels of madness, dreams, and hypnosis (WeAre Seven 278). Enlightenment supported theromantic ideas that were mainly characterized by individualizationand civilization homologation and corruption. Romantics believe thathuman behaviour should be impulsive and primitive following instinctsrather than being governed by societal customs and reason.
The text of the passage which Davies has titled“The Metamorphosis of the Egotistical Sublime fromWordsworth to Hopkins” for which the commentaryon “TheDescent into the Self” is basedcomes from two different works including Wordsworth’s “Prospectusto the Recluse” as well as Keats’sletters in response to Wordsworth(Wordsworth 290).The phrase “Descent into the self” in this commentary is meant toexplain a journey that will result in a human being understanding thepresence and significance of their inner most identity which is the“self”.
“Prospectus to the Recluse”is a 106-line poem where Wordsworth articulates the deepestphilosophical and literary concerns as he looks into our minds intothe mind of man (‘Prospectus’ 40).
As fall upon us often when we look
Into our Minds, into the Mind of Man
My haunt, and the main region of my song (39-41).
In one of Keats’s letters to Wordsworth, hedescribes the latter as one distinct instance of an egotisticalsublime. The meaning of the term egotistical sublime could be drawnfrom a classical comprehension of the word sublime as one withelevation, grandeur, and nobility. It could, however, also beassociated with the idea danger and pain thereby portrayingWordsworth as an individual that has a formidable presence especiallyfor the younger poets that were trying to distinguish themselves(Abrams and Stillinger 24).The term egotistical sublime is among the established phrases and wasused in aesthetic debates even before Keats wrote his assessment onWordsworth. The phrase was earlier used to describe not only theartistic and literary accomplishments but also the differentunsettling experiences of nature such as storms and volcanoes.
Keats’s letters to Wordsworth were meant tohighlight on the latter’s objective of raising a secret ferment inthe readers’ minds and work violently in his passions and at thesame time indulging in fantasies of command giving the readersunintended descriptions of rugged views.
Keats concerns against Wordsworth were founded.For instance, an initial glance at Wordsworth poem “Prospectus tothe Recluse” announces a kind ofpoetry that questions and wonders what happens in the mind of man(The Thorn 286).While the poet has initiated a thought process in the minds of thereaders regarding the mystery of the human mind, he does not, at theend of the poem, deliver a psychoanalysis it promises on the awe andfear. As such, Keats is well informed in his letters and justified torefer to Wordsworth as an egotistical sublime since the poem“Prospectus to the Recluse”,despite looking forward to the philosophy of nature, society, andman, has its original fragments laying in an infuriating madness forthe readers.
The main aim of Wordsworth that Keats fails to appreciate is thecampaign he fuels to dissolve the barriers that exist between selfand its consciousness. Keats battles the sublimity of Wordsworth duesince the latter is opposed to Keats’s construction of the self.Wordsworth’s comparison where he refers to the heavens of heavensas a veil seeks to expose how the religious systems separate the mindof man from the meditation of the existence of self (‘Prospectus’30).
Tearing of the barrier that results in mental blindness is effectivein shedding light on the self of man. In Exodus 34:33-34), anotherveil is comparable to what Wordsworth present when he compares theheaven of heavens to a veil. Moses, after experiencing the presenceof God, who is a perfect image of the self of man that he created,hides the glory on his face using a veil. Moses, therefore, resultedin the Israelites not understanding who they really were in thepresence of God. Had Moses not used the veil to cover his shiningface, the Israelites would have identified with the presence of Godwith whom they shared an image and come to terms with theirunidentified self.
For I must tread on shadowy ground, must sink
Deep–and, aloft ascending, breathe in worlds
To which the heaven of heavens is but a veil (28-30).
When humans realize they are in the presence of self, such as whenthey stand in the presence of God whom they share an image, theydevelop fear and awe. As such, Wordsworth is not wrong when he saysthat nothing like the realization of self can “breed such fear andawe (‘Prospectus’ 39).” However, it is the presence of selfthat determines the extent to which humans can understand the expanseof their potential.
Nor aught of blinder vacancy, scooped out
By help of dreams–can breed such fear and awe (38-39).
Keats refers to Wordsworth as an egotistical sublime that aims atexposing the self in humans who will only become afraid of their selfwhen they come to realize the presence of self. However, Keats doesnot appreciate the fact that Wordsworth aim is not to subject peopleto fear. Rather, Wordsworth links descent to self to the “–Beauty–aliving Presence of the earth” (‘Prospectus’ 42).
Realization of the beautiful presence of which man lives on earthmeans that he acknowledges the surroundings that “delicate Spiritshath composed” (‘Prospectus’ 44). The human being cannotunderstand or perceive the beauty of his surroundings unless theyfirst acknowledge the presence of self in them which is whatWordsworth main aim is: initiating a descent to the self.
–Beauty–a living Presence of the earth,
Surpassing the most fair ideal Forms
Which craft of delicate Spirits hath composed
From earth`s materials–waits upon my steps (42-45).
Wordsworth does suffer solitude despite the fact that he stillcelebrates it. In solitude, Wordsworth is able to explore hisconsciousness that exists first in tranquility and later in arecollected emotion. Wordsworth exhibits independence in the poemsaying “My Heart in genuine freedom:–all pure thoughts”preventing the poet from having his prison imprisoned.
Wordsworth presentation of a single man’s life is in line with theclassical epic and evaluates the autobiographical genre to a highaesthetic status. The “Prospectus to the Recluse” holds truth asthe highest standard with Wordsworth traversing the trajectory oflife with an aim of unveiling the amplitude to which his mind can getas well as his role as a lead poet in inspiring other poets andespecially the young ones.
Moreover, Wordsworth presents the best tools to recover theinformation from the past that is essential in the presentation ofhis poetry memory and imagination. In “Prospectus to the Recluse”Wordsworth uses imagination to affirm the existence of self as wellas the positive sublime that comes to live when the poet is unitedwith nature (Young 148). Wordsworth notesthat after human beings descent to the self, they are able toidentify with nature since nature is able to negate the mind of ahuman being by emptying its self-awareness as exhibited in thesolitary poetry. Evidently, both the affirmative and negativeconstituents of an individual meet in the poetry of Wordsworth tocreate the apparent tension throughout the creation.
The classical sense strengthens the descent to sense in a modernizedsense especially with when the Wordsworth presents the religion indifferent lines of the poem and ensures that the readers relate totheir self and the high valued subject of religion. Wordswortheffectively illuminates the fact that the people understanding theirreligious origins and attachments ensures that they easily undergothe descent to the self.
In different points, the poet uses mystical climaxes invoking God andspirituality often resulting in a more powerful phase of ensuring thereader gets the insight of delving into their self and unite theactuality and conception of their identity.
To which the heaven of heavens is but a veil.
All strength–all terror, single or in bands,
That ever was put forth in personal form
Jehovah–with his thunder, and the choir
Of shouting Angels, and the empyreal thrones
I pass them unalarmed. (30-35)
Despite the poetic work by Wordsworth on the “Prospectus to theRecluse” not being a sacred text, the quality of its content andpresentation is better than many texts that convey scripture. The“Prospectus to the Recluse” illuminates the poetic firmament.Unknown to the Wordsworth, he gives us in “Prospects to theRecluse” a magnum opus by the poetic vision that he presents in thepoem within a span of ten lines (61-71). The message portrayed can beinterpreted to show the dire need for unity in any creative processas well as the intrinsic connection that exists between the unitivevision and the mind of a human being that is the center of his self.
To noble raptures while my voice proclaims
How exquisitely the individual Mind
(And the progressive powers perhaps no less
Of the whole species) to the external World
Is fitted:–and how exquisitely, too
Theme this but little heard of among men
The external World is fitted to the Mind
And the creation (by no lower name
Can it be called) which they with blended might
Accomplish:–this is our high argument. (61-71)
As a romantic poet, Wordsworth displays the value of nature,idealism, individualism, as well as imagination (Romanticism98). The poem “Prospectus to the Recluse” is composedduring a time characterized by seeking meaning via the relationshipsthat individuals have with the natural world and the strength posedby imagination to transform the whole human experience through thedescent to the self (Pask 112). With acomprehension of each ones individualism, new ideas come up andchallenge the previous ways of thinking.
The teachings in the poetic work presented in the “Prospectus tothe Recluse” are based on a high argument that tends to accomplishcompatibility with the influence that Wordsworth offers other poetsthat lived in the same Romantic period. Moreover, the sublimity inthe poetry has a lot of relevance both in meaning and sound since itadvocates for unity in movement that balances the ideals of presenceand the frameworks that are needed in devotion to religion and awe(39). With such a call for a common driving force to a descent intoself, the human being is able to discover a lot of self-knowledgethat would otherwise remain unexplored.
All strength–all terror, single or in bands,
That ever was put forth in personal form—
Jehovah–with his thunder, and the choir
Of shouting Angels, and the empyreal thrones—
I pass them unalarmed. Not Chaos, not
The darkest pit of lowest Erebus,
Nor aught of blinder vacancy, scooped out
By help of dreams–can breed such fear and awe (32-39).
Both Keats and Wordsworth have presented poetry as the best literarychannel to express individual feelings as well as emotionalexperiences. They have used the role of imagination in ensuring thatthey see beyond the confines of reality thereby unleashing theircognitive power that is superior to basic reason.
From the commentary above, it is evident that the romantic poetryachieved the role of re-creating and modifying the external world.Keats and Wordsworth present the mediation between the nature and thehuman beings, phase out the evils existing in the society, as well asensure that the ideals of freedom and beauty have a voice (Greenblatt59). Moreover, it is apparent that through romantic poetry,Wordsworth is able to show nature as an expression of God throughoutthe universe since he is the major living force and also the stimulusto think.
The “Prospectus to the Recluse” importantly displays the powerfulflow of Wordsworth as he points out the need for real progress thatshould exist in every individual’s spiritual path as they undergothe descent to the self and discover the connection that existsbetween their hearts and their heads. Moreover, Wordsworth triggersthe thought that man should have a relationship with God as well asthe people surrounding them. With the descent to the self, exhibitedin the poem, the humans are in a position to escape the trap thatmost of them often fall into when they seek the aspect of righteousspiritual materialism. Notably, Wordsworth does not advocate foremotionalism (103). Instead, he calls for unity that is centered onrecollected tranquility that results from the stillness oneexperiences as they undergo a descent into the self.
-may my Life
Express the image of a better time,
More wise desires, and simpler manners–nurse
My Heart in genuine freedom:–all pure thoughts
Be with me–so shall thy unfailing love
Guide, and support, and cheer me to the end! (102-107)
Abrams, M. H., and Stillinger, Jack. “TinternAbbey, Tourism, and Romantic Landscape”The Norton Anthology of EnglishLiterature: Norton Topics Online. Ed.W. W. Norton and Company. n.d.
Greenblatt, Stephen., Gen. ed., "The RomanticPeriod 1785-1832." Period Introduction Overview. TheNorton Anthology of English Literature.9th ed. Vol. D. Norton, 2011.
Pask, Kevin. ENGL261:British Literature to 1660 Lecture Notes. Montreal,PQ: Concordia University, 24 Nov. 2012. Lecture Notes.
"Romanticism." EncyclopædiaBritannica. Encyclopædia Britannica Online.Encyclopædia Britannica Inc., 2012.
"The Thorn" TheNorton Anthology of English Literature. Gen.ed. Stephen Greenblatt. 9th ed. Vol. D. New York: Norton, 2012.282-288. Print.
"We Are Seven" TheNorton Anthology of English Literature. Gen.ed. Stephen Greenblatt. 9th ed. Vol. D. New York: Norton, 2012.278-279. Print.
Wordsworth, William. "Lines Composed a FewMiles above Tintern Abbey, on Revisiting the Banks of the Wye duringa Tour. July 13, 1798." TheNorton Anthology of English Literature. Gen.ed. Stephen Greenblatt. 9th ed. Vol. D. New York: Norton, 2012.288-292. Print.
Young, James H. “TheChild Archetype” Quadrant. 10.2(1977): n. page. The C.G. JungFoundation. n.d.
No related posts.
Date of Submission
TheBoston Photographs-Imagesof Death and Dying
NoraEphron was a journalist who lived from 1941 to 2012. She studied atWellesley College. She was a New York Post’s reporter and acolumnist, and a senior Esquire magazine editor. She is widelyrecognized because of her opinion on the death’s images in themedia through her essay, TheBoston Photographs.Ephron makes her argument that the Boston Photographs ought to havebeen published. She also points out the roles that journalists shouldplay in the people’s lives through the use of syllogism, andcreating a dichotomy in how individuals can view the matter of death.Ephron presents valid reasons for publishing more dying and deathphotographs in newspapers as photos make news sensational and moreelaborative.
Sheargues that journalists ought to have published the Boston photos viathe use of syllogisms that are just implied but not clearly stated inthe entire article. She argues that newspapers should report eventsas they happen, and show people the exact issues that take placearound the globe. Death is one of the main bad events that affecthuman beings. She writes, “itis irresponsible and more than that, inaccurate for newspapers tofail to show it(Ephron, 175).” The use of syllogism by a journalist does notnecessarily imply that newspapers have to report all the aspects ofdeath despite the extent to which the issue may be extensive. Thesyllogism justifies the reasoning that newspapers have the capacityto publish photos concerning death. As she further writes, “I’mnot advocating that newspapers print these things to teach theirreaders a lesson(Ephron, 175).” Such a syllogism plays the role of validating theraising of death issues in the newspaper, as well as making theprinting of the Boston Photos understandable at best. It does notdeal with the concerns of the reader that the death pictures may betoo sensitive or dramatic.
Ephronalso comes up with a second syllogism which further points out thetasks of journalism by arguing that photojournalism, like in the caseof the Boston Photographs, is the best approach to tackle this deathmatter. She writes, “Thatthey disturb readers is exactly as it should be: that’s whyPhotojournalism is often more powerful than written journalism(Ephron, 175).” She makes the point that journalism should aim athaving more emotional influence or power on the reader by portrayingthings as they are. Therefore, since the photos are disturbing andvery impacting for the readers, it is critical that they arepublished and viewed as rightful efforts at journalism, but not asmethods for earning extra money or gaining more readers. It isimportant for the media and the newspapers to be influential in howit reports issues, and thus, the newsrooms should adopt the use ofpictures like Boston Photographs because they are more influentialthan just the use of words alone. The syllogisms can be used togetherto justify talking about death in a direct manner in newspapers viathe application of impactful photographs like the Boston Photographs.
However,some critics may argue that the mentioned syllogisms do notadequately tackle the criticism that such pictures are notlegitimately impactful or powerful. The photos are viewed assensationalists that only have an impact on readers since they arerare. On the contrary, Ephron emphasizes on how genuinely a powerfulimage is developed for the reader by using pictures. She asserts,“Thefirst showed some people on a fire escape a fireman, a woman, and achild. The fireman had a nice strong jaw and looked very brave. Thewoman was holding the child. Smoke was pouring from the buildingbehind them. A rescue ladder was approaching, just a few feet away,and the fireman had one arm around the woman and one arm reaching outtoward the ladder(Ephron, 172).” In this case, she uses rapid and short sentencesthat are descriptive without her expressive exaggeration to capturethe readers’ attention at the moment. She manages to portray thatthe photos reveal an additional objective picture of issues, just inthe similar manner a witness would have observed it if he were at thescene. Moreover, Ephron emphasizes on the power of a picture tocapture the slightest details that draw the readers’ attention tothe content of the article that a written work could not have done.
Toconclude, it is important to emphasize that publishing more dying anddeath photographs in newspapers as photos make news attractive andmore elaborative. Journalists can use photographs to capture thereaders’ attention to the content of the article that a writtenwork could not have done. Moreover, the photos reveal an additionalobjective picture of issues, just in a similar manner, a witnesswould have observed it if he were at the scene. Photographs aredisturbing and very impacting for the readers, and thus, they aim athaving more emotional influence or power on the reader by portrayingthings as they are.
Ephron,Nora. TheMost of Nora Ephron., 2014. Print.
No related posts.
Date of Submission
Conflictin the Book, “TheSign of the Four”
TheSign of the Four isone of the novels of Sherlock Holmes’ untold stories that arewritten by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. The main conflict in the novelthat depicts a conflict between a parent and child is BartholomewSholto’s murder and the murderer, Major Sholto’s death, CaptainMorstan’s death, as well as the mystery that surrounds the past ofMary Morstan.
Theconflict between the children and their parents, as well as thechildren amongst themselves, comes about as a result of the parents,Major Sholto and Captain Morstan, being secretive about the hiddentreasure in Pondicherry Lodge (Doyle, 10). Captain Morstan failed toinform his daughter of the share of the treasure that Major Sholtoowed him before he died, and thus, he puts his daughter in adifficult situation of tracing the treasure. On the other hand, itcan be assumed that Major Sholto was not in good terms with his sonsbecause he failed to reveal to them where he hid the treasures. Hisdeath results in more problems between his sons as Bartholomewdecides to run with the treasure box. It is surprising thatBartholomew knew of his father’s involvement in the death ofCaptain Morstan, and kept it secret, but still, his father did nottell him of his hidden treasures.
MajorSholto urged his sons, Thaddeus and Bartholomew, to give Mary Morganher rightful share of the treasure before he died (Doyle, 27). Heexplained to his sons that he was unable to divide the treasure toMiss Morgan because of his greed. Before his death, Major Sholto hadput aside a chapel that he intended to send to Mary Morstan. Eventhough Thaddeus agreed with his father’s idea, Bartholomew wasobsessed with his father’s greed, and thus, he opposed it. Thenovel portrays Bartholomew as a person who is in disagreement withthe ideas of his father, which makes the situation worse. Bartholomewfinally finds the treasure box and intends to enrich himself withoutsharing it with his brother and Miss Morstan as was advised by hislate father. On the other hand, Thaddeus contacts Miss Morstan withthe notion of claiming their shares from his twin brother.
However,the two pursue Bartholomew and finds a room where he was hiding onlyto get him dead, seemingly killed with a poisoned thorn wedged in hisbody (Doyle, 31). The treasure box is also missing. It can be assumedthat Bartholomew was murdered because he failed to obey his father’sinstructions which stated that they were to share their portion ofthe treasure equally as brothers and give Miss Morstan her rightfulshare. Bartholomew gets into problems and dies because he failed torealize that his father died of a heart attack because of his greed.
Thereader comes to know the meaning of the novel’s title, “TheSign of the Four”after the deaths of Major Sholto, Captain Morstan, and Bartholomew.The man who stole the treasure box from Bartholomew after killinghim, Jonathan Small, reveals that it is only four people who areentitled to the treasure. The four individuals include three Indianmen in the convict barracks of Andaman, as well as himself. Hejustifies himself as the owner of the treasure by saying, “Ishould like to know how many fellows in my shoes would have refused ashare of this loot when they knew that they would have their throatscut for their pains (Doyle,90).”MajorSholto, Captain Morstan, Bartholomew, and Thaddeus can also representthe four persons that the title addresses. Thaddeus cheats Small andMiss Morstan and escapes with the treasure to England afterrecovering it. The reader can assume that Thaddeus view to give MissMorgan her share of the treasure before his father died was notgenuine. It appears as if he wanted an opportunity to be given achance to take the share of Captain Morstan to her daughter, only tovanish with the treasure before he hands it over to Miss Morstan. Byescaping to England without informing Miss Morstan who accompaniedhim to the Andaman Islands of the treasure, Thaddeus has breached theagreement he had with his late father regarding the equal sharing ofthe treasure.
Toconclude, the conflict which is brought about due to the deaths ofMajor Sholto, Captain Morstan, Bartholomew, and the murderer ofBatholomew comes about because of the hidden treasure in PondicherryLodge. A reader gets to know the meaning of the novel’s title whenSmall reveals the owners of the treasure. On the other hand, thecharacters die because Captain Morstan and Major Sholto wanted toescape with the treasure illegally, and make it theirs. They werealso not willing to disclose to their children of the hidden treasurebecause they could not explain its source. Holmes also plays acritical role in the novel as a no common detective who reveals thecharacters that the novel’s topic addresses.
Doyle,Arthur, C. TheSign of the Four.CreateSpaceIndependent Publishing Platform,2016.
No related posts.