Tema Nr.

1 THOMAS STEARNS ELIOT- THE WASTE LAND • • • • Mythological and religious allusions Post-war wasteland Physical and psychological damage Fertility versus sterility- pagan creeds

Obiectivele temei: • Studenţii trebuie să înţeleagă felul în care T. S. Eliot a perceput lumea după primul război mondial • Contrastează grandoarea trecutului cu prezentul corupt • Apar mituri legate de fertilitate şi sterilitate • Stilul este bazat pe eseurile autorului Timpul alocat temei: 2 ore Bibliografie recomandată:  Eliot, T. S., The Waste Land, W.W. Norton & Co, 2000  Gordon, Lyndall, T.S. Eliot: An Imperfect Life, W.W. Norton & Co, 1999  Williamson, George, A Reader’s Guide to T. S. Eliot: A Poem-by-Poem Analysis, 1998  Moody, David, The Cambridge Companion to T. S. Eliot, Cambridge University Press, 1995 Eliot was descended from a distinguish New England family that had relocated to St. Louis, Mo. His family allowed him the widest education available in his time, with no influence from his father to be “practical” and go into business. From Smith Academy in St. Louis he went to Milton, in Massachusetts; from Milton he entered Harvard in 1906; he was graduated B.A. in 1909, after three instead of the usual four years. The men who influenced him at Harvard were George Santayana, the philosopher and the poet, and the critic Irving Babbitt. From Babbitt he derived an anti-Romantic attitude that amplified by his later readings of British philosophers F.H. Bradley and T.E. Hulme, lasted through his life. In the academic year 1909-10 he was an assistant in the philosophy at Harvard. In the essay “Tradition and the Individual Talent”, appearing in the first critical volume, The Sacred Wood (1920) , Eliot asserts that tradition, as used by the poet, is not a mere repetition of the work of the immediate past (“novelty is better than repetition”, he said); rather it comprises the whole of the European literature from Homer to the present. This point of view is “programmatic” in the sense that it


disposes the reader to accept the revolutionary novelty of Eliot’s polyglot quotations and serious parodies of other poets’ styles in the Waste Land. For Eliot poetry is an indirect expression of the emotion or a series of sensations. All these human feelings can become poetry only filtered through a catalytic agent that is in fact the poet’s mind. The concept of “pure poetry” is defined as the one that presents the most commonly shared feelings. This concept is based on “impersonality”, that is “depersonalization” – the poet does not express his own individual personality but that of his own community. This theory shows us that the interest is focus on the poem and not on the poet and in this way the poem becomes autonomous; it can exist in itself, but is also integrated in the literary tradition. History is therefore the link between the old and the new on two senses: chronologically it represents a flow and forms a simultaneous point of view, an accumulation of values from the continuous flow. Yet, tradition is not motionless, it changes every moment. Thus the poet’s historic feeling is like a mixture of past and present consciousness. He sees the two concepts of past and present dialectically, there is no pure past and no pure present. In the essay The Music of Poetry Eliot states that technique is bearer of signification. In a poem, music without meaning cannot exist. A poem implies meaning and rhythm. Even an ugly word can be poetical because music implies the capacity of the word to combine with other words in a giving context. Besides words the same system functions with themes and motifs. The critic’s main occupation is to describe the individual style through two methods: analysis and analogy. Analysis is connected with the problems of the way in which the poet makes use of the vocabulary and syntax. Comparison refers to the reference of the work to tradition. With Eliot the aim of the critique on the text is the participative reading. Eliot’s criticism and poetry are so interwoven that it is difficult to discuss them separately. The Waste Land is Eliot’s most famous poem. It consists of five sections and proceeds on a principle of “rhetorical discontinuity”. It expresses the hopelessness and confusion of purpose of life in the secularized city. But The Waste Land is not a simple contrast of the heroic past with the degraded present; it is rather a timeless, simultaneous awareness of moral grandeur and moral evil. The recurrence of the theme of the failed sexual love shows the same despair, sustaining the burden of the poem: the couple in the hyacinth garden, the chess-playing, middle-class couple, the conversation of Lil and her friend, the “nymphs” and their friends (…), Sweeney and 2

Mrs. Porter, the typist and the circle, the three women in London (…) the isolated consciousness who speaks to “my friend” of “a moment’s surrender” and to an unnamed companion of how “your heart would have responded”. Secondly, this idea is reinforced by a common and recurring landscape, the “dead land” of April and the desert of “stony rubbish” in The Burial of the Dead the “stony places”, rock, sand and mountains, “exhausted wells” and arid plain of successive moment in What the Thunder Said; and the urban equivalents in “the brown fog of a winter dawn”, “rat’s alley”, the “brown land” of the Thames’s winter banks…There are several key words around which the whole is structured. For this poem the framework is made up of the stories, myths (Christian and pre-Christian) grouped on the ideas of fertility and sterility, death and rebirth. TEST DE EVALUARE 1. Provide an example as to how T.S. Eliot contrasts past and present. Răspuns: In The Fire Sermon, T. S. Eliot shows how the Thames can be viewed both as a symbol of the glorious past and decadent, corrupt present. The Thames witnesses Gloriana’s great defeat over the Spanish fleet only to now become a filthy river bearing cigarette ends and empty bottles. 2. What is the importance of prophets at the level of the poem as a whole? Răspuns: Întrebări 1. Provide an example of an ancient fertility creed. Răspuns: The best known example is that of the Hyacinth girl. Wherever that girl sits, the ground becomes extremely fertile. Similar instances occur with an upside down meaning with the Fisher King who is wounded in the loins, thus as sterile as his lands. 2. What is the religious output in the poem? Răspuns: REZUMATUL TEMEI


The Waste Land is a revolutionary, highly influential 434-line modernist poem by T. S. Eliot. Despite the alleged obscurity of the poem – its shifts between satire and prophecy, its abrupt and unannounced changes of speaker, location and time, its elegiac but intimidating summoning up of a vast and dissonant range of cultures and literatures – the poem has nonetheless become a familiar touchstone of modern literature. Among its famous phrases are "April is the cruelest month" (its first line); "I will show you fear in a handful of dust"; and the Sanskrit "Shantih shantih shantih" (its last line). The poem is divided into five parts: The Burial of the Dead, A Game of Chess, The Fire Sermon, Death by Water and What the Thunder Said. The uniting theme for the entire poem lies in the destruction left behind by the First World War, the inability to bring forward reconstruction and the lack of hope. Tema Nr. 2 WILLIAM BUTLER YEATS- LEDA AND THE SWAN; SAILING TO BYZANTIUM • • • • The sense of history Mythology viewed as an ideal The human and the divine Old age and isolation

Obiectivele temei: • Studenţii aprofundează noţiuni legate de istorie şi mitologie • Contrastul dintre muritori şi zei • Bătrâneţea văzută ca neputinţă şi inutilitate Timpul alocat temei: 2 ore Bibliografie recomandată:  Yeats, William Butler, The Collected Poems of W. B. Yeats, Scribner, 1996  Foster, R. F., W. B. Yeats A Life, Oxford University Press, 2005  McCormack, W. J., Blood Kindred: The Politics of W. B. Yeats and His Death, Random House UK, 2005 Yeats was born in 1865 in Landymount Avenue in Dublin as a member of a Protestant Anglo-Irish family. An important person in his life was his father John Butler Yeats, a painter, who did not receive the recognition he deserved. He attended the Godolphin School in Hommersmith. Later he attended High School in Dublin and studied art at the Metropolitan School. During the first period he wrote in the style of 4

William Morris and the Pre-Raphaelites, he tried to revive the medieval spirit in literature. In Sailing to Byzantium Yeats creates Another World- a spiritual one- towards which the spirit travels. The poem is a journey from the condition of the body in the first stanza to that of the spirit in the second part of the poem, from the temporal to the eternal. The body changes, becomes older and finally dies but the soul through a succession of bodies. Reading the poem we can notice that the song of the birds remains in a world where everything dies: “those dying generations- at their song”; “Whatever is begotten, born and dies”. The speaker is aware of his condition; that is why he wants to travel in Another World. He paradoxically travels backwards in space and time to Byzantium, the capital of the Roman Eastern Empire, founded by the Greeks in the seventh century: “the holy city of Byzantium”. This is a symbol of timeless spiritual world opposed to the natural physical world. The third stanza is describing the condition of the artist in contrast with the man. The first part of the stanza sounds like a calling upon the sages of Byzantium, while the last lines focus on the creator’s sufferings and pain, the artist lost in his work. The last stanza envisages himself- as a man- transcended by taking the form of a work of art whose function is to transmit art: “...to sing / To lords and ladies of Byzantium / Of what is past, or passing or to come”. The symbol of the bird that is implicitly present in the whole poem is chosen by the speaker to be the embodiment of his soul. In fact from that bird- present only in the first stanza- remains the song or the work of art. Leda and the Swan is one of Yeats’s most interesting poems. The central idea is the intersection between the human and divinity. It can be perceive either as a religious reference to Jesus Christ and his origin- half man, half divine- or as a reference to the process of creation. The poem confirms Yeats’s concern with Greek mythology. Leda was a human being, the wife of the king of Sparta, Tyndareus. Zeus visited her as a swan. She laid down with him and also laid down with her husband. Leda gave birth to two pairs of twins, one of which was Pollux and Helen- the children of Tyndareus. Helen in her turn becomes the wife of the king of Sparta, Menelaus, and caused the destruction of Troy and the death of Agamemnon. Yeats’s poem refers only to the moment of the legend, when Zeus descends as a swan and possesses Leda. 5

Zeus takes the form of a swan that is the symbol of purity, majesty and grace. This symbol is stressed by the white colour that is connected with the sun, the messenger of the gods. Leda, on the other hand, is characterized by the word “dark”, suggesting her earthly origin. Yeats insists on the difference: she is helpless and terrified while Zeus is powerful and indifferent. Everything is suggested: “her helpless breast”, “those terrified vague fingers”, “feathered glory”, “her loosening thighs”, “brute blood of the air”. The third stanza breaks the poem. It is a vision announced by the present moment. The violence now and here will destroy a civilisation there: “A shudder in the loins engenders there/ The broken wall…”

TEST DE EVALUARE 1. Explain the use of contrastive epithets in Leda and the Swan. Răspuns: Such epithets are used in order to express the difference between the compliant submissive, helpless mortal and the glorious, great, superior gods. Leda cannot avoid being raped and Zeus is pictured as being almighty and grandiose. 2. Explain the significance of the flash-forward in Leda and the Swan. Răspuns: Întrebări 1. Present the symbolism of the bird in Sailing to Byzantium. Răspuns: The bird always accompanies the old man on his way to Byzantium. It is sometimes viewed as a symbol of putrefaction and death, when the elderly character is compared to a scarecrow. Later on they stand for the immortality of art. 2. Why does society reject old people? Răspuns: REZUMATUL TEMEI The sense of history and mythology is present in both Leda and the Swan and Sailing to Byzantium. In Leda and the Swan Yeats presents the myth of the Spartan Queen who is raped by Zeus disguised as a swan. Leda lays two eggs out of which Clytemnestra, Castor, Pollux and Helen hatch. In the flash-forward the reader sees how Helen is going to change the course of history and lead to Agamemnon’s death. 6

An old man decides to leave his country and travel to Byzantium in search of a better life. The town has very many attractions and even claims to be a place of immortality. The riches and treasures of an old empire lure the old man. His journey is overshadowed by different symbolic occurrences such as the bird under various forms. Tema Nr. 3 DYLAN THOMAS- FERN HILL • • • • Childhood- the happiest of all times Naïve language and simple descriptions Idyllic sceneries Switching of narrative voices

Obiectivele temei: • Studenţii observă importanţa temei copilăriei la Dylan Thomas • Vocile naratie se schimbă pe parcursul poeziei • Imagini idilice, limbaj pueril şi descrieri simpliste Timpul alocat temei: 2 ore Bibliografie recomandată:  Thomas, Dylan, The Collected Stories, New Directions, 1986  Lycett, Andrew, Dylan Thomas: A Life, Overlook TP, 2005  Davies, Peter, Student Guide to Dylan Thomas, Greenwich Exchange, 2005 Dylan Thomas is one of the best-known British poets of the mid-20 th century who was remembered for his highly original, obscure poems, his amusing prose tales and plays, and his turbulent, well-publicized personal life. He was born on 27 October 1914 in Swansea, a town in Southern Wales. Dylan Thomas is considered a very difficult representative of post- modernist poetry. Most of his poems are inspired from his childhood and youth, his themes being limited and conventional. The most frequent themes are: love of his childhood and of common events connected to this period, some pre-natal themes which combine human body with the universe in a search for similarity and continuity, an interrelation between creation and destruction; death is seen as a part of a cycle, an obsessive concern with anatomy and sex, a sacramental feeling of nature. Fern Hill is a poem that marks the threshold of D. Thomas’s career; it celebrates the glory and joy of life in spite of the inevitable death. Fern Hill was written in 1945,


therefore included in the larger poems; yet it is a return to the poet’s innocent childhood nostalgically presented in a familiar frame. A first reading of the poem fills the reader with a feeling of happiness, liveliness and colour, suggesting a continuous simultaneous through the frequency of “and”. The poem in all its aspects creates the impression of a childish game. “The poem is riddle with ‘and’, suggesting a child’s accumulative gusto in telling you what matters most.”- Walford Davies Fern Hill is a poem of memory whose writing does not allow the reader to establish a frontier between the adult and the child. It expresses a merging impression about a “mixing world”. “Merging impression” refers to the fact that the images and the sensations perceived by a child are actually presented by an adult, and a second reading of the poem reveals the alternation of the perception. The vocabulary used by Thomas is reduced if we take into account the length of the poem. Words like “happy”, “lovely”, “green”, and “golden light” are repeated at least three times. However the lines are not as innocent as they seem since short hints to religion, death, birth and rebirth are scattered less in the first three stanzas, more in the last part of the poem. “Sabbath”, “holly streams”, “blessed among stables” propose another perspective. Dylan Thomas’s poem shows us that the author’s origin is reflected in his work. His belonging to two cultures, his oscillation between two languages- on “no man’s land” made his poetry difficult and ambiguous having as central pillar simultaneity.

TEST DE EVALUARE 1. Which is the difference of perspective between the two narrative voices? Răspuns: In the first part of the poem Thomas uses words and phrases, which re-create a child’s interpretation of the world. Absent from Fern Hill is the adult narrator, who views the past with a mixture of nostalgia and cynicism. 2. What is Thomas’s style characterized by? Răspuns: Întrebări 1. Present the switch of mood present in Fern Hill. Răspuns: In the first four stanzas nothing is allowed to intrude on Thomas’s youthful paradise: even Eve is referred to indirectly in her pre-fall innocent state as a maiden, but in the 8

final stanzas the mood changes and we are reminded about the passage of time and the theme of mortality. 2. What is the rhyme of the poem? Răspuns: REZUMATUL TEMEI The speaker in Dylan Thomas' "Fern Hill" is a man looking back at his childhood. The speaker was young and the place where he frolicked was in a natural, country setting. The poem consists of six verse paragraphs with nine lines each. Dylan Thomas has fashioned a remarkable drama, portraying his youth and the farm where he spent it. His colorful language use describes the setting in such as way that it communicates true feeling without becoming sentimental in it execution or maudlin in its discovery. Many images, symbols, and metaphors increase the depth of the speaker's message to the reader. The last part of the poem is a kind of coming back to reality for the speaker. The realization that his youthful days are over makes him look back to the joyful past, fond memories of when he was young. Tema Nr. 4 DAVID HERBERT LAWRENCE- SONS AND LOVERS • • • • Industrialization affects human nature Oedipus complex as viewed in the relationship between Paul and Mrs. Morel Paul is unable to establish normal bonds to women Love and sex are important themes

Obiectivele temei: • Studenţii trebuie să se familiarizeze cu tematica abordată de D.H. Lawrence • Paul Morel poate fi văzut ca un Oedipus modern • Industrializarea afectează zonele rurale ale Angliei şi în acelaşi timp firea oamenilor Timpul alocat temei: 2 ore Bibliografie recomandată:  Lawrence, D. H., sons and Lovers, Modern Library, 1999


 Kinkead-Weekes, Mark, The Cambridge Biography of D. H. Lawrence, Cambridge University Press, 1996  Worthen, John, D.H. Lawrence: the Life of an Outsider, Counterpoint, 2007  Lachapelle, Dolores, D.H. Lawrence: Future Primitive, University of North Texas Press 1996 As a novelist Lawrence is considered “a deliberate innovator in his method”, yet he remains in part traditional despite his interest in sex and the psyche. Lawrence’s modernism consists in his making use of stream of consciousness as a modern technique. In the spirit of his contemporary age he directs his interest towards “another center of consciousness….. beyond thought”, which is darkness, irrationality, senses. His philosophy is built up on the opposition light – darkness, which becomes the opposition between order and chaos, law and love, male and female and leads to Freudian psychology. According to Andrew Sanders, Lawrence’s new philosophy, like Freudian psychology, is centered male the concept of welling, subterranean male consciousness and on the liberation of sexuality from inherited social repression”. Lawrence’s work is woven round the concept of love. Sons and Lovers is considered an autobiographical novel and Lawrence’s most popular work; it was published in 1913, the year of his mother’s death. The author describes the life of a working – class family starting with the marriage of Arthur Morel who is a miner, with a woman from a higher social class. This incompatibility between Mr. and Mrs. Morel leads to the breaking off of their relationships. Yet, the novel is centred on Paul, the middle son of the family, it deals with his growing – up and also with his struggle to rise out of his father’s social stratum; this struggle is becked by his mother. Paul is also a representative of his generation “caught in the web of modernity”. On another hand the relation between Mrs. Morel and her son steps across the borders of a common relation mother – son, being especially close in proportion with the increasing alienation between the parents. From that point of view the novel is suited to psycho- analytical approach, to Freud’s theory of the Oedipus complex. According to Freud, Oedipus “destiny moves us only because it might have been ours – because the oracle laid the same curse upon us before our birth as upon him. “ Freud states that the main source of pleasure for the male infant - seen as a mass of impulses, as aggressive – is his mother. Therefore his father is considered a rival that


he wants to remove, but he identifies with his father in order to repress his development, or which leads to homosexuality or to impotence, physical or psychological. In Sons and Lovers Mrs. Morel turns from her husband who is not able to answer her needs and desires, to her sons who become a kind of substitute lovers. The childern’s innate Oedipal tendencies are encouraged by their mother who makes them see their father as a failure. Their father’s brutality causes William and Paul to defend their mother, estranges them from their father’s influence and kills masculinity bt virtue of the process of effeminisation. There is an inner struggle between their normal sexual instinct’s and their actual evolution led by their mother’s needs. It is getting more dangerous since it is accompanied by the obsession with death materialised in William case. Finney states that one of the major themes is the gradual awakening of Paul to the deadly effects of his oedipal fixation on his mother. The penultimate chapter called The Release, shows how Paul comes to reverse the oedipal desire to kill the father by administrating an overdose to his mother. One could say that he has finally learnt to direct his anger outwards to its source”. His gesture symbolises his wish to return to normality. The second part of the novel is built on the contrast between sacred and profane love embodies by Miriam and Clara and ends with Paul’s split consciousness between two voices representing “Eros and Thanatos”, between his dependence on women and his fear of being extinguished by them”. Miriam is the spiritual partner and resembles so much his mother that the latter accuses Miriam of wanting to take her place. Miriam Leivers is seen as an intellectualist woman and her virginity is associated to Paul’s “virginal intellectual” – as Pinkey states. She is also assigned a rapid emotionalism through epithets like “surcharged”, “intense”, “rhapsodic”, “mystical”. While Paul appears a victim of his generation and his society, Miriam is a victim of Paul’s. On the other hand Clara is used by Paul as an escape in one of his overwhelming moment – his mother’s death – and she promises him an earthly relationship, a connection with life. TEST DE EVALUARE


1. What is the nature of Paul’s relationships to women? Răspuns: Miriam is Paul’s first love interest. They fall in love while still very young and their relationship remains platonic even if Paul sometimes has awkward impulses of a physical nature. Then he falls in love with Clara who triggers sensuality and physical love within him. 2. What is the relationship between Mrs. Morel and her children? Răspuns: Întrebări: 1. How are women and men viewed in Sons and Lovers? Răspuns: Women are practical and diligent; they are the ones who take care of the household and children. They even save up to pay the monthly debts, whereas the men are viewed as being irresponsible, vulgar and drunk most of the time. 2. When is Paul finally going to be able to have a normal life and why? Răspuns: REZUMATUL TEMEI Mrs. Morel already has two children, Annie and William, when she becomes pregnant for a third time. Her marriage to Walter has slowly deteriorated into an endless series of drunken rows and she is less than happy at the prospect of having another baby, Paul, to bring up. However when William dies she channels her emotional attention and needs into Paul to such an extent that his relationship with other women is jeopardised. When Mrs. Morel dies of cancer, Paul is tempted to commit suicide, but finds the strength to carry on living. The principle subjects of his work were relationships, emotions and conflict. In his novels he explored such themes as the effect of industrialism and rationalism n the common man, the role of women in modern society, the conflict between prevailing morality and sex and the nature of the relationship between mother and son. Tema Nr. 5 JOSEPH CONRAD – HEART OF DARKNESS 12

• • • •

Civilization versus savagery The darkness of the landscape passes to the soul Kurtz becomes the embodiment of evil Colonization; the white colonists take over native lands and their riches

Obiectivele temei: • Studenţii află amănunte legate de colonizarea diferitelor regiuni ale Africii şi cruzimea colonizatorilor • Civilizaţia este văzută ca opusul barbarismului • Kurtz devine exponentul colonizatorului alb care prvoacă acte de discriminare şi jefuieşte zona de toate bogăţiile ei; inima lui devine la fel de neagră ca şi Africa Timpul alocat temei: 2 ore Bibliografie recomandată:  Conrad, Joseph, Heart of Darkness, W.W. Norton & Co, 2005  Stape, J. H., The Cambridge Companion to Joseph Conrad, Cambridge University Press, 1996  Said, Edward W., and Rubin, Andrew N., Joseph Conrad and the Fiction of Autobiography, Columbia University Press, 2007  Simmons, Alan H., Joseph Conrad, Palgrave Macmillan, 2006 Joseph Conrad’s fiction represents an intermediate stage in the transformation of the nineteenth century realistic novel into a modernist one. Considered a great novelist, unique in English literature, he was born Josef Teodor Konrad Nalecz Korzeniowski in 1857 in the Russian- occupied Polish Ukraine. Conrad tries to avoid conventional epic narrative structures in the favour of an “uncommon narrational technique”. The use of a narrator who is also a character of his own implies Marlow’s recollection of events; therefore their succession is not a chronological one. Avoiding the chronological order, the author actually avoids the artificiality of his work; an order determined by memory, associations and feelings seems more natural. Humanity’s struggle with fate is one of the recurring themes in the novels and his experience offers him rich material. Fate is generally associated with weather and most of the dangers, of the situations on the edge of life completed with the continuous threatening of death are metaphorically presented in the descriptions of nature. “Conrad’s essays and articles illustrate that his interest is always in philosophic issues rather than mere physical details. He wrote about the sea not


simply as a phenomenon he knew, but because it provided him with a perfect metaphor for humanity’s vulnerability, and for its struggle against overwhelming forces”- Brian Spittles. Heart of Darkness is “a cunning allegory or light falling into darkness, a descent through the heart of Africa into human horror and the black places of the soul”Malcolm Bradbury. Marlow’s venture extends from the ocean voyages to the African jungle whose virginity can be compared to the wilderness of the sea. Marlow, the main character is also narrator of the story, a kind of medium, which allows the correspondence between the author and the work, perhaps an alter ego of Joseph Conrad. By using Marlow, Conrad lets the reader know that the process of creation is not simple transmission of the author’s experience but it implies an alternation. Marlow’s story deals with a journey from London to Cango where he, a stranger belonging to European civilization, realizes the gap between Europeans and the black men. In Congo Marlow meets two people: the anonymous Manager of the Central Station, who represent the exploiters, and Kurtz, who represent the “civilised”. These characters are presented in opposition. Mr. Kurtz seems to be a very interesting character because of his complexity, because of his evolution in Africa. He is considered a victim of his gift of speech because his words have an influence on his audience and also on the speaker. He merely believes in himself and in his speech meant to establish an influence on the blacks as if his words had an auto reflexive power. Even Kurtz’s personality does not resist to it, which leads to self- deification. The paradoxical opposition between his terms implies the coexistence of good and evil. Kurtz builds his life on lies, the “stream of light” becomes a “flow of darkness”, and this is what Marlow hates. Kurtz is a kind of Marlow’s double, actually an inverted one since he “is a living incarnation of everything Marlow claims to hate”. According to Berthoud the essential difference between Kurtz and Marlow is that in spite of all his gifts, the former “has proved incapable of restraint, and thus of fidelity to the values he has professed”, he remains a creature in conflict. One of the most important moments in the story is the scene of Kurtz’s death- a condition for insight; this is the only moment when Kurtz sees his past as it has been. The way Marlow presents this moment shows the reader that it puts together all mankind’s past, present and future.


TEST DE EVALUARE 1. Which are the negative aspects of colonization? Răspuns: Kurtz is the representative of a company which exploits the riches of Africa, man labour and imposes a very strict trade contract. Kurtz ruthlessly kills whoever opposes his commands and his humane side is almost non-existent. He is only interested in gaining as much profit as possible for the benefit of his employers. 2. What is he symbolism of the river Congo. Răspuns: Întrebări 1. Discuss the symbols existing in the novel. Răspuns: Light is associated with the western civilization and darkness with primitive culture of the African people. The British settlers are supposed to have brought light with them, but as a change darkness becomes the defining character feature of the white people. In their greed they forget about the principles of evolution and emancipation and they just destroy another civilization. 2. Describe the symbolic settings of Africa. Răspuns:

REZUMATUL TEMEI The story details an incident when Marlow, an Englishman, took a foreign assignment as a ferry-boat captain, employed by a Belgian trading company. Although the river is never specifically named, readers may assume it is the Congo River, in the Congo Free State, a private colony of King Leopold II. Marlow is employed to transport ivory downriver; however, his more pressing assignment is to return Kurtz, another ivory trader, to civilization in a cover up. Kurtz has a reputation throughout the region. This highly symbolic story is actually a story within a story, or frame narrative. It follows Marlow as he recounts, from dusk through to late night, his adventure into the Congo to a group of men aboard a ship anchored in the Thames Estuary. Marlow discovers that Mr. Kurtz’ success as an ivory trader was built on the creation of his own mini-empire in which natives were tortured and murdered.


Tema Nr. 6 VIRGINIA WOOLF- TO THE LIGHTHOUSE • • • • Innovative technique- stream of consciousness Symbols: the lighthouse, the waves, matches and clocks Immortality of art – Lily Briscoe brings Mrs. Ramsay back to life by completing her portrait Life, death and passing of time

Obiectivele temei: • Studenţii trebuie să înţeleagă noile tehnici narative abordate de Virginia Woolf • Simboluri puternice precum farul, valurile, chibriturile şi cesurile arată faptul că viaţa este trecătoare şi că totul se repetă ciclic într-un monoton cerc: viaţă, moarte, renaştere • Importanţa artei în căpătarea imortalităţii Timpul alocat temei: 2 ore Bibliografie recomandată:  Woolf, Virginia, To the Lighthouse, Harvest Books, 2005  Briggs, Julia, Virginia Woolf: An Inner Life, Harvest Books, 2006  Sellers, Sue Roe and Susan, The Cambridge Companion to Virginia Woolf, Cambridge University Press, 2000  Frank, A. O., The Philosophy of Virginia Woolf, Akademiai Kiado, 2002  Zwerdling, Alex, Virginia Woolf and the Real World, University of California Press, 1987 Adeline Virginia Stephen was born on 25 January 1882 at 22 Hyde Park Gate, Kensington. Her parents, Leslie Stephen and Julia Jackson, had strong associations with literature while her mother had also aristocratic connections. Julia Jackson was an associate of the Pre-Raphaelites while her father was a journalist, biographer and historian of ideas and he founded the Dictionary of National Biography. To the Lighthouse was published in 1927 and considered Virginia Woolf’s masterpiece, and also an autobiographical work. She succeeded in harmoniously combining recollections of her mother, her father and her childhood with her poetic technique and the final result was a reconciliation between life and art. Frank Bradbrook stated that the themes of the novel are those of Shakespeare’s sonnets: time, beauty, and the survival of beauty through the means of art, absence, and death. The stream of consciousness takes different forms with different writers. For some of them consciousness revealed the contingency, the chaos, the stress, with


Joyce stream of consciousness is “in both aesthetic (Stephen’s reflections) and subterranean (Molly’s soliloquy) “, therefore intellectual and intuitive, above all painterlike and aesthetic – the means by which art can enter the realm of intuition, imaginative pattern, heightened responsiveness, a reverie of the ego rather than an emancipation of the id. Virginia Woolf’s main characters are women connected in a way or another to the auctorial process In To the Lighthouse Woolf“points out that the two women. (Mrs. Ramasay and Lily), each in her own way, are artists and calls attention to the fact that the realization is important enough to be termed revelation “. His statement is based on Lily’s memory of the moment when Mrs. Ramsay brought them all together and “making of the moment something permanent’ as she tries to clothe something in another sphere is ‘of the nature revelation’. The lighthouse through the alternation light and darkness evokes the alternation between life and death. Although this symbol is present in Night and Day, in the novel To the Lighthouse it acquires the main place since the work follows the succession light – darkness, life – death. The matches struck in the dark stress the idea of transience. These short illuminations make consciousness reach “to the edge of eternal revelation, to moments of vision”. Lily Briscoe remembers the same vision “In the midst of chaos there was shape; this eternal passing and flowing (she looked at the clouds going and the leaves shaking) was struck into stability. Life stands here, Mrs. Ramsay said” To the Lighthouse is a result of Woolf’s attempt to understand the nature of time and immortality since she is obsessed with the transience of life and the oblivion of death. The plot is a very simple and structured on three sections, which correspond to different moments of light or darkness, life or death consciousness or unconsciousness. The first chapter entitled The Window suggests light, life, and calmness. Woolf weaves her monologues round the Ramsays’ dinner on vacation. Mrs. Ramasay is presented as mother, as hostess and as wife.; Lily Briscoe works at a painting; the children play. The author reduces this section to an afternoon and evening. In this section as well as in the third one Virginia Woolf’s technique relies on the interior monologue which appears as a form of indirect speech. In her diary the author states that “indirect discourse, the consciousness of the narrator married to the consciousness of the character and speaking for it….. To the Lighthouse is a masterwork of the exploration of the consciousness of others with the tool of indirect discourse”. 17

“The first and the third sections of To the Lighthouse concentrate comprehensively on the subjective life of the mind; the second creates a style not so much objective as adept in bringing objects themselves to life, dramatizing, equally comprehensively, the domain beyond consciousness which inexorably resists its order and light.’ The second part is associated with a nightmare, which deepens the reader in terror, through it life becomes more meaningful as in terror, and through it life becomes more meaningful as in the case of Septimus’s death. The unconscious level, including the war, can be interpreted as a testament or as a warning, ‘what is left when the human eye is subtracted from the sum of things; matter drained of spirit, pure as a chair or table or flower viewed by some Teutonic artist prescient of War and deathcamps”. Although the human eye loses its power being unable to see any more the narrator keeps vigil the eye of the lighthouse whose twinkle suggests rebirth. However the idea of rebirth is also suggested by violets and daffodils, which reappear every year. They are always new but their presence is familiar. The succession of light and darkness, of life and death implies a linear perception of the coexistence of life and death. But this temporal perspective which actually suggests motion is also created at a motionless level, the image of the island surrounded by water. The sea has the same meaning as darkness and at the same time the waves which are familiar and expected for this frame suppose a reiterative cycle and, of course, rebirth. The whole novel is a reiterative document from facts to language. The characters Mr. and Mrs. Ramsay – the representatives of male and female are associated, the former with an analytic rationalist mind and the latter with an ‘intuitive, holistic, creative imaginative mind”. This difference determines two ways of reaching the lighthouse in the third section Mr. Ramsay who is anchored in contingency goes to the lighthouse accompanied by his children while Mrs. Ramsay, who is dead, reaches the lighthouse from a spiritual point of view – her memory is transcendent and she remains in Lily’s painting as a sitter and as a form of inspiration. On the other hand some critics relate Mrs. Ramasay creation of harmony at the dinner table to Lily’s search for the final form of her creation.


TEST DE EVALUARE 1. What innovative technique does Virginia Woolf use? Răspuns: She uses the stream of consciousness technique and its particular form, that of the interior monologue. This technique presupposes the lack of plot and character analysis and emphasis being laid on thoughts, feelings, memories and reactions to external factors. These are based on flash-backs and flash-forwards. 2. Describe the relationship between Lily Briscoe and her art. Răspuns: Întrebări 1. Mention the most important symbols in the novel. Răspuns: The most important symbols are connected to light and darkness. The lighthouse is viewed as a flickering light in a sea of darkness and that signifies the transience of human life. Light and darkness make up the natural cycle of birth, death and rebirth. The waves and the matches struck in the darkness have similar meanings. 2. How are the male and the female characters contrasted in the novel? Răspuns: REZUMATUL TEMEI To the Lighthouse follows and extends the tradition of modernist novelists like Marcel Proust and James Joyce, where the plot is secondary to philosophical introspection, and the prose can be winding and hard to follow. The novel includes little dialogue and almost no action; most of it is written as thoughts and observations. The novel recalls the power of childhood emotions and highlights the impermanence of adult relationships. One of the book's several themes is the ubiquity of transience. Although in the novel the Ramsays are able to return to the house after the war, the Stephens had given up the house by that time. After the war, Virginia Woolf along with her sister Vanessa visited Talland House under its new ownership, and again later, long after her parents were dead, Woolf repeated the journey.

Tema Nr. 7


JAMES HOYCE- A PORTRAIT OF THE ARTIST AS A YOUNG MAN • • • • Stream of consciousness Epiphany Künstlerroman - an artist's Bildungsroman Allusion to Greek mythology

Obiectivele temei: • Studenţii trebuie să se familiarizeze cu noile tehnici narative, în cazul de faţă stream of consciouness • Joyce perfecţioneză epifania şi reduce rolul ei religios • Romanul de faţă este romanul desăvârşirii artistului • Probleme legate de tradiţia irlandeză, catolică de care Joyce vrea să se dezică Timpul alocat temei: 2 ore Bibliografie recomandată:  Joyce, James, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, Penguin Classics, 2003  Ellmann, Richard, James Joyce, Oxford University Press, USA, 1983  Fargnoli, A. Nicholas and Gillespie, Michael Patrick, James Joyce A to Z: The Essential Reference to His Life and Writings, Oxford University Press, USA, 1996  Attridge, Derek, The Cambridge Companion to James Joyce, Cambridge University Press 2004 James Augustine Aloysius Joyce (February 2, 1882 – January 13, 1941), Irish poet, dramatist and novelist was born in Rathgar, a suburb of Dublin, the first born child of John Stanislaus. A jolly, bibulous, pugnacious fellow, well known in Dublin for his reckless extravagance, and his biting wit, the father was an impoverished gentleman who, after having failed in a distillery business, turned to all kinds of professions, including politics and tax collecting. The first novel written by Joyce was considered an autobiographical one since events of Joyce’s life can be found in A. Portrait, but the novelist avoids the personal impression by using a fictitious narrator who can be identical with the main character. Impersonality is stresses by the third person narration, which shows that A Portrait is a point of view. Another device in Joyce’s symbolism is the use of personal names, generally taken from mythology. The main character in A. Portrait, Stephen Dedalus, bears the name of the Athenian architect whom built the labyrinth for Minos and made wings for himself and his son Icarus to escape from Crete. Present as a character in The Dead and as an angel in A Portrait, Gabriel is the prince of fire and the angel of death, 20

which is opposed to the cold atmosphere outside. Sydney Bolt interprets this opposition as living “death versus life in death” since the characters inside the house are alive at the cost of their spiritual death. The actuality of A Portrait consists in his ambiguity, which provokes a series of antonymous interpretations. Reading the title we are somehow tempted to read it as a more or less autobiographical novel. It is true that the author weaves its web using events or his life as subject but the novel does not have an autobiographical purpose. Reading the novel the reader notices its capacity of being interpreted either as a novel of an artist about an artist or as a novel about a reader. Richard Brown suggests the possibility of choosing between Stephen as Dedalus or only as Icarus, as an outcome of this oscillation between the condition of the father or the son. At the beginning of the novel Stephen is introduced as a listener to his father’s story and as a reader of the text of the world. The third paragraph, which should establish the identity of the boy and also of Stephen’s, is as simple as ambiguous. ”He” can be either the listener or the teller of the story therefore either the listener or the son, creator or creation endowed with creative power, too. Brown states that “it does at any rate locate him from the start as a reader in a world that is already full of texts, who seeks for but does not yet possess a full meaning of the signs around him.” Stephen as Icarus can be considered a prisoner of language; Dedalus was a prisoner of his maze, too but the difference consists in the fact that Stephen / Icarus has to discover, penetrate and understand the already existing language. His personal life was a flight away of his “dear Dublin”, an attempt to escape it materialised in a deliberate exile to Paris., Trieste and Zurich. This interpretation shows that the main theme is the seeing of his spiritual father. In Joyce’s symbolism the spiritual father is God of the creation / Dedalus who created the maze while his main character is either Christ or Lucifer. Introducing Lucifer as an equivalent of Christ the author leads to rehabilitation of the profane / evil which is paradoxically ”the lightbringer”. Mahaffey interprets this like the “way of organising and authorising perception, including what we now call logo centric or patriarchal logic. In the deeply divided world of literary studies as it is now constituted, that makes him almost unique. Instead if instigates the monological model of authority, he instigates a dialogue between the ‘traditional’ or logo centric methods of interpretation and those that have been excluded; between 21










interconnection; between an ethos of individualism and an ethos of community; between the world defined as ‘male’ and ‘female’ complement; between the referentiality of language and its materiality; between conscious and unconscious desire’ Vicki Mahaffey establishes the existence of three authorities in Joyce’s work: the first is patriarchal, transcendental authority; the second is binary and paradoxical; the third is collective and unconscious. Double authority refers to transcendental and material authorities, although opposite they cannot exist separated, but they suppose each other so that the final result is an authority combining both. The third authority is the authority of an artist, of a creator who in the process of creation embodies two extremes, being at the same time holy and profane. In A Portrait these three kinds of authority are expressed by the same character, Stephen, in different periods of his life from childhood to youth and again to his initial state of father. Stephen oscillates between obedience and rebellion, between good and evil, holy and profane. Actually the novel is an initiation of a young man with auctorial aspirations. TEST DE EVALUARE 1. Give one example of epiphany. Răspuns: One of the epiphanies in the novel consists in the meeting between the narrator and the beautiful girl on the beach. That moment becomes an instance of revelation and enlightenment when he becomes aware of his feelings. 2. Explain how Irishness has come to be a very important concept for James Joyce. Răspuns: Întrebări 1. What is the connection between Stephen and Daedalus and Icarus? Răspuns: In the context of A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, we can see Stephen as representative of both Daedalus and Icarus, as Stephen's father also has the last name of Dedalus. With this mythological reference, Joyce implies that Stephen must always balance his desire to flee Ireland with the danger of overestimating his own abilities—the intellectual equivalent of Icarus's flight too close to the sun. 2. Which is the biographical input in the novel?



REZUMATUL TEMEI Set in Ireland in the late nineteenth century, A Portrait is a semiautobiographical novel about the education of a young Irishman, Stephen Dedalus, whose background has much in common with Joyce’s. We see Stephen, over the course of the novel, grow from a little boy to a young man of eighteen who has decided to leave his country for Europe, in order to be an artist. At the center of the story is Stephen’s rejection of his Roman Catholic upbringing and his growing confidence as a writer. But the book’s significance does not lie only in its portrayal of a sensitive and complex young man or in its use of autobiographical detail. More than this, A Portrait is Joyce’s deliberate attempt to create a new kind of novel that does not rely on conventional narrative techniques. Rather than telling a story with a coherent plot and a traditional beginning, middle, and end, Joyce presents selected decisive moments in the life of his hero without the kind of transitional material that marked most novels written up to that time.

Tema Nr. 8 ALDOUS HUXLEY- POINT COUNTER POINT • • • • The technique of counter point Lack of plot A novel of ideas and inner analysis Stereotypical characters around whom subplots unfold

Obiectivele temei: • Studenţii se vor acomoda cu stilul exagerat de intelectual al lui Huxley • Abundă discuţii pe teme spirituale • Personajele apar izolate, fiecare constituind un alt nivel de abordare în roman • Apare tehnica numită contrapunct Timpul alocat temei: 2 ore Bibliografie recomandată:  Huxley, Aldous, Point Counter Point, Curzon Press, 2008  Bedford, Sybille, Aldous Huxley: A Biography, Ivan R. Dee, 2002


 Meckier, Jerome, Aldous Huxley: Modern Satirical Novelist of Idea, Lit Verlag, 2007  Birnbaum, Milton, Aldous Huxley: A Quest for Values, Transaction Publishers, 2006 “It was little wonder that Huxley’s novels came to be seen as works of modern cynicism. His characters appeared powerless to act, their relationships incapable of taking shape, their ideas circular and pointing to eventual futility. These are novels of ideas that set no store by the salvation of ideas. The structure of his novels provides the reader with the possibility of a similar interpretation since it is characterised by a double quality: the existence of the ideal of unity and the practical possibility to achieve that ideal of unity and the practical possibility to achieve that ideal. The novel point Counter Point offers the reader an example of a perfectly logical chaos since paradoxically, innumerable fragments, which tend towards union, represent wholeness and completeness. The contrapuntal technique consists of the juxtaposition of the parts, the subdivisions of the chapters, the sentences and of the points of view of the characters. It is obvious that Huxley worked a lot to make this noel its theme at the level of the structure and of the characters, and at the same time to mirror its process of creation. Point Counter Point it also built on a conflict, this time between members of the opposite political parties: a fascist – Everard Webley, a character constructed on the base of the British fascist leader of that period – and a communist – the assistant of the scientist Lord Edward Tantamount. The conflictual state degenerates in violence and the fascist is murdered. Yet, evil is not appears as “pure and gratuitous” in the death of Philip Quarles’ child. On the other hand, violence and pessimism occur in sexual relationships based on physical disgust: the scene in which Burlap takes a bath with his secretary creating a feeling of sickness and disgust, the young Bidlake has a cruel relation with Lucy Tantamount whose “cold blooded sensuality sends a shiver down the spine”. While these characters are a kind of monsters of the body, Lord Tantamount is a monster of spirit. In spite of his child – like innocence, the impulses of the body have been stifling. This is suggested during the concert when he is the only one that realises that the beauty of music consists of the union between material and spiritual.


TEST DE EVALUARE 1. What is the nature of relationships established between characters? Răspuns: The characters seem to be very superficial and they never actually create lasting bonds. Everything is based on good conversation and lasts for short periods of time. People’s morality is always brought under question and they do not hesitate to start and end affairs on the spot. 2. Consider the technique of layer upon layer used in the novel. Răspuns: Întrebări 1. Which are the difficulties posed by Point Counter Point? Răspuns: First and foremost it is difficult to re-tell the story because it is made up of insignificant sometimes disconnected events and another problem posed by the novel is the fact that it was conceived on multiple levels. 2. Is the novel considered to be highly sensitive or highly sensible? Răspuns: REZUMATUL TEMEI Point Counter Point has no overarching plot, the story being an intricate set of sub-plots revolving around several key characters each with a set of sub characters. Each character represents some aspect of life or is a stereotype of some sort from a rather vapid group in the twenties. The various character paths cross in varying circumstances. When actions are described, Huxley analyzes every motive and internal emotion in detail, sometimes even jumping into a character's past to provide context. His characters decry the dangers of sacrificing humanity for intellectualism, and express concern about the staggering progress of science and technology. There are perhaps two main issues - the first is class and the reactions of people as the barriers break down. The second is sex where various possibilities and relationships are described. Philosophically, the entire book plays on the dichotomy between reason and passion. Tema Nr. 9 WILLIAM GOLDING- THE LORD OF THE FLIES 25

• • • •

Destruction brought about by war Rules in society Back to savagery The dark, terrifying side in human beings and trying to re-organize a replica of grown-ups society

Obiectivele temei: • Studenţii trebuie să înţeleagă schimbările comportamentale care apara în rândul copiilor eşuaţi pe o insulă pustie • Poate fi considerată o analiză psihologică a reacţilor în condiţii limită • O parte dintre copii aleg să se comporte ca nişte sălbatici în vreme ce un alt grup încearcă să copieze organizarea din societatea adulţilor • Răul pare să acapareze minţile copiilor; în final niciunul nu mai poate rezista tentaţiei sale Timpul alocat temei: 2 ore Bibliografie recomandată:  Golding, William, The Lord of the Flies, Perigee Trade, 2003  Tiger, Virginia, William Golding: The Unmoved Target, Marion Boyars Publishers, 2003  Kinkead-Weekes, Mark and Gregor, Ian, William Golding: A Critical Study, Faber and Faber, 2002  Koopmans, Andy, understanding Great Literature- Understanding Lord of the Flies, Lucent Books, 2003  Redpath, Philip, William Golding, Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 1986 William Golding (1911 – 1993) is considered a particular novelist since there can be noticed a certain detachment from his work, which is a very rare situation a more or less any writer’s personality can be guessed at behind or between the lines of his work. The Lord of the Flies proposes through its title a puzzle for the reader, as this is a literal translation of Beelzebub, the Hebrew prince of devils, and because of the characters chosen to illustrate inexorable fall of humanity. Children are symbols of innocence and purity yet, with Golding innocence, sin and evil are parts of the same whole. He also suggests the latent existence of evil in man while childhood should be considered an Eden stage. The novel offers a mixture of ideas starting with Christian concepts, references to mythology, Darwinism, and pessimism on a background similar to R.M. Ballantyne’s adventure story The Coral Island (1857). The children’s arrival on the island seems to be the result of an unspecific, maybe atomic, war. Their arrival can be interpreted either as an attempt at a new 26

beginning, a return to the Eden stage since only boys are marooned on a virgin island, and they are supposed to re- establish the world where they have come from; or a fall from civilisation to wilderness. Golding offers only two images with a single end: “dying “ is only a stage in the way towards death, here it becomes synonymous with “living”. However, he refers to infinity; palm, beach and water harmoniously coexist in a continuous alternation between life and death. The way in which the novel begins can be considered an anticipation of the following events; the perfect frame for the original sin, the reader can see the novel mirrored in this description of nature. Ambiguity, confusion, good and evil reflected in nature confer a predominant feeling of fear and hopelessness to the story. Actually the children’s feelings and fears presented through an empathic landscape. The events alternate and interfere with frequent description of nature which contribute to increase the passing from a seeming harmony to an unavoidable disorder. The oppressive view is intensified by the “oppressive” silence and heat and at this hour of the day there was not even the whine of insects”. By charging these children with such a great responsibility – actually the responsibility of surviving – the author makes the process look like a play, life is a toy in the children’s hands which are very frail and vulnerable. In certain circumstances they become the toys of their own toy – just like the hunters who felt as if they had been hunted by their game. The reader can notice a kind of minimisation of the processes towards civilisation and an increase of the outcomes. There is a boy who does not belong to any group, Simon and his condition helps him to see things differently, he is more appropriate for an objective observation and presentation of the things although he also seems to be more sensitive. He foresees the following events in the aspect of the island; “As if it wasn’t a good island” and realises that their fears are justified: “As if the beastie, the beastie or the snake thing was real”. The omnipresent beastie, the bad thing that threatens the boys is associated with the snake – an obvious reference to the Bible and the original sin. The snake represents Lucifer’s embodiment after his fall and the symbol of temptation. It is at the same time the cause and the outcome which means that evil and good exist one as a condition of the other, and this confers a cycling aspect to existence.


Reiteration is another aspect of the novel. Obsessive descriptions are repeated so often that the character’s presence is made indistinct, they become parts of the background and their actions and moods “harmonize” with the environment. The idea of cycle is suggested by the hunter’s feeling of being hunted: “If you are hunting something you catch yourself feeling as if you’re not hunting, but being hunted; as if something’s behind you all the time in the jungle”. Danger and fear actually are deeply rooted inside these children; they can be a result of the boys’ imagination and associations: “skull like cocoa – nuts”, “green candle – like buds”. Their inner terror is scattered everywhere round them through strange associations, even paradoxical ones: ‘green” which is a symbol of youth and suggests optimism and “candle” which leads the reader to “death”, even “children” which generally means innocence and “hunters” who finally become murderers. The situation on the island is getting worse and worse and the boys try to do something to change it, therefore the head of the sow is a gift for the beast. Their attitude takes back to the ancestral myths of vegetation. The oblation of the pigs or of the sow, in some countries, is seen as an act that protects the community against magic and evil. The hunters offer the head of the sow to the beast hoping that it will let them live in peace, they try to create a saint place but it turns out to be a bad one just like the whole island. Instead of worshipping a god, they worship the prince of devils. TEST DE EVALUARE 1. What does the sow’s head stand for? Răspuns: The sow’s head around which flies swarm becomes a totem and a frightening figure for the children. The beginning of the corruption of their soul is triggered by the discovery of this symbol and of the dead parachutist. 2. Why do the children choose evil over good? Răspuns: Întrebări 1. Which are the symbols of power in the novel? Răspuns: The conch is a shell used by the boys to take turns while speaking. It is very important for the organization of meetings and it helps avoid the creation of chaos. Whoever


holds the conch is entitled to speak freely. Piggy’s glasses are a symbol of vision and foresight. 2. Why are the two leaders so different from each other? Răspuns: REZUMATUL TEMEI William Golding sets his novel Lord of the Flies at a time when Europe is in the midst of nuclear destruction. A group of boys, being evacuated from England to Australia, crash lands on a tropical island. No adults survive the crash, and the novel is the story of the boys' descent into chaos, disorder, and evil. The boys have to handle the situation on their own, without any other help. The central concern of Lord of the Flies is the conflict between two competing impulses that exist within all human beings: the instinct to live by rules, act peacefully, follow moral commands, and value the good of the group against the instinct to gratify one's immediate desires, act violently to obtain supremacy over others, and enforce one's will. This conflict might be expressed in a number of ways: civilization vs. savagery, order vs. chaos, reason vs. impulse, law vs. anarchy, or the broader heading of good vs. evil. Tema Nr. 10 JOHN FOWLES- THE FRENCH LIEUTENANT ‘S WOMAN • • • • Social constraints Post-modern narrative technique Innovative style Open ending

Obiectivele temei: • Studenţii află despre constrângerile sociale impuse de societatea victoriană • Autorul foloseşte tehnici narative postmoderniste şi un stil inovativ • Romanul are un final deschis, de tipul opera aperta Timpul alocat temei: 2 ore Bibliografie recomandată:  Fowles, John, The French Lieutenant’ s Woman, Back Bay Books, 1998  Warburton, Eileen, John Fowles: A Life in Two Worlds, Jonathan Cape Ltd, 2004


 Aubrey, James R., John Fowles: A Reference Companion, Greenwood Press, 1991  Reynolds, Margaret, and Noakes Johen, Jonathan, Fowles: The Essential Guide, Random House UK, 2003 John Fowles surprisingly merges past and present in his work; he tries to establish a bridge between a text and the twentieth century reader. Taking into account the worl around him and the works / texts already written, Fowles is aware of the complexity of a modern reader educated in the spirit of the contemporary sciencies and needs, a reader that also should be offered a new perspective of a nineteenth century literary atmosphere in the novel The French Lieutenant’s Woman,1969. Together they would share a state for the patterned novel and for the association of large ideas with those patterns. Some critics noticed a certain self-confidence with Fowles as a writer, as Martin Dodsworth concludes: “he writes always from a position of confident intellectual superiority feelings with his successful novel The French Lieutenant`s Woman. The novel published in 1969 refers to events placed a hundred years before, in 1860`s. The link between those two periods emphasises Fowles`s interest in Victorian novel and his appreciation of it as a treasure of latent meanings and possibilities. But, he also insists that our century writer is capable of literary innovations. Fowles`s novel can be considered a reading of a Victorian novel using a modern grid of reading. The main characters are Sarah Woodruff, a woman who is supposed to be abandoned mistress of a French lieutenant, and a palaeontologist, Charles Smithson. Their love affair develops in a scene – setting specific to the nineteenth century and Fowles insists upon details that contribute to create the atmosphere. Both his characters “seek to break ‘iron certainties’, the social, moral, and religious conventions of their day, much as the narrator consistenly endeavours to remind us of his presence and of his very present power”. Actually, Fowles`s attitude towards the reader is similar to Sarah`s attitude towards Charles who becomes a toy deceived by Sarah, just as the narrator eludes his reader. The comparison is not accidental since Sarah is also a teller of a story. Elusiveness is also suggested by the epigraphs that open each chapter. An empirical reader would be tempted to consider these epigraphs pillars sustaining the illusion of a Victorian novel. On the contrary, they were selected because of their


latent meaning, which can be a grill of reading and a mirror of the chapter at the same time. By placing them at the head of each chapter Fowles intends to guide the reader on his way, he changes the horizon of expectation. These epigraphs which suppose a continuous change of grid or point of view make the author overstep the fringes of his stated by suggesting particular approaches of the text. Fowles, as a creator, places himself “next to God”. Although his technique could annihilate the openness and the ambiguity of the novel, Fowles does not realise a deceptive novel from that point of view. In the final chapter a ‘rather foppish and Frenchified’ figure, with ‘more than a touch of the successful impresario about him’, adjusts his watch and seems to obliterate the second possible ending. This impresario drives ‘briskly away, supposedly leaving Charles to his freedom and his doubts, but he remains a God who has declined to stop interfering.”- Andrew Sanders. The novel is provided with a structure that assures its transcendence. The author actully tricked the reader into directing his reading since he finaly offers three possibilities. Therefore Fowles only pretends to be building up a system within the narrative because he always suggests movement, change, double meaning, and ambiguity. At this point, the author rises against the traditional novel, which follows a system that confers it rigidity and limitation. Fowles proposes the reader a game in which he deconstructs and reconstructs versions starting from a Victorian novel. According to his statement “writing fictional futures” is an innate quality. Referring to “fictional futures” in the plural the author actually takes into account a text which would allow different approaches, whose articulations would permit a change of plan and imply variety. Such a text is based on the self-reflexive power of the word. A word capable of an unlimited reflection in itself enjoys a certain freedom in the whole context. The openness of a text depends on the freedom of the words – which become “spectral words”. By creating such a text an author proposes a lot of mirrors which imply an unlimited number of reflected images. Reflection also means reiteration; yet, with Fowles every new version means progress. From this point of view “arises” and “cease” are two words that depend on each other. The old form must disappear to offer a room to the new one. Fowles realised this progress by putting together two moments of the history of literature. On the one hand he demonstrated that a Victorian novel can transcend its 31

period, and this method emphasises the value of a work of art reflected in its openness. On the other hand he gives an example of deconstruction and reconstruction of the novel observing the rules / principles of modernism and keeping untouched the details specific to the Victorian period. TEST DE EVALUARE 1. How do social constraints influence the lives of the characters? Răspuns: Each character in the novel is constrained in some way by Victorian society. Tina has never been encouraged to explore her sexuality and so she is afraid of any intimacy with Charles. As a result, Charles gravitates to Sarah, who exhibits a more sensual nature. Charles is caught up by his comfortable position as an English gentleman, which affords him the opportunity to leisurely dabble in his scientific pursuits and to be in control of his romantic relationships. 2. What is the style of the novel like? Răspuns: Întrebări 1. What sort of technique does the author employ? Răspuns: The novel’s narrative is postmodern in that it focuses on the self-conscious act of the author telling a story. Fowles discards the traditional, omniscient, Victorian narrator who knows everything about the characters and shares this information with the readers. 2. What is unusual about the ending of the novel? Răspuns: REZUMATUL TEMEI The story traces the relationship between a woman, caught between the Victorian and modern ages, and a man drawn to her independent spirit. Charles Smithson, a young English gentleman, becomes fascinated with Sarah Woodruff, a social outcast in the coastal town of Lyme Regis, who is known as Tragedy, or in a more pejorative sense as The French Lieutenant’s Woman. Rumors suggest that she


gazes continually at the sea, waiting for the sailor who seduced her to return. Charles eventually risks his own social ostracism when he breaks off his engagement to a perfectly respectable young woman to pursue Sarah. Readers are never given a definite conclusion to the story as they are left to choose among three possible endings. Fowles’s innovative narrative technique, which allows readers to become an active part in the creation of his novel, provides the framework for a fascinating story of passion, the constraints of class, and the struggle for freedom. Tema Nr. 11 OSCAR WILDE-THE PICTURE OF DORIAN GRAY • • • • • Veiled homosexuality Dandyism Aestheticism – hedonism Dorian- a modern Narcissus The double

Obiectivele temei: • Studenţii trebuie să îşi însuşească cunoştiinţe legate de dandism • Remarcă influenţa esteticismului şi prezenţa conceptelor hedoniste • Dorian poate fi vazut ca un Narcis modern • Tabloul devine oglinda sufletului său - dublul Timpul alocat temei: 2 ore Bibliografie recomandată:  Wilde, Oscar, The Picture of Dorian Gray, Barnes & Noble Classics, 2004  Ellmann, Richard, Oscar Wilde, Vintage, 1988  Keyes, Ralph, The Wit and Wisdom of Oscar Wilde, Gramercy, 1999  Knox, Melissa, Oscar Wilde: A Long and Lovely Suicide, Yale University Press, 1994  Raby, Peter, the Cambridge Companion to Oscar Wilde, Cambridge University Press, 1997 Oscar Wilde was born in Dublin in 1854 and unfortunately for the literary scene he died soon in 1900 but, although he did not physically overstep the fringe of the nineteenth century, his works keeps on enjoying the twentieth century reader`s mind and soul. “Genius lasts longer than beauty” Lord Henry said in Wilde`s novel The Picture of Dorian Gray , “Beauty” referring to the sitter or the object of inspiration whose appearance is accidental and short. 33

The novel The Picture of Dorian Gray ( 1890 ) is his most important work as a prose writer; in spite of its internal contradictions, the novel is a masterpiece of the time. In 1891 the author wrote a Preface to the novel which is in contradiction with the novel, at least with its end, since in the former he states that art and morality are separate while the work ends as “a moral lesson on the evils of self – regarding hedonism”. According to Sanders “The narrative that follows (the novel) is a melodramatic, Faustian demonstration of the notion that art and morality are quite divorced”. Seeing the picture Dorian Gray said: “How sad it is! I shall grow old, and horrible, and dreadful. But this picture will remain always young. It will never be older than this particular day of June. If it were only the other way ! If it were I who was to be always young, and the picture that was to grow old ! For that - for that – I would give everything! Yes, there is nothing in the whole world I would not give! I would give my soul for that!” With Sanders “Dorian Gray is a tragedy of sorts with the subtext of a morality play: Its self-destructive, darkly sinning central character is at once a desperate suicide and a martyr”. The firs chapter is a very interesting poetic text. Basil Hallward expounds his ideas about the connection between artist, work of art and sitter in a conversation with his friend Lord Henry. Initially Basil stated that he would not exhibit Dorian Gray`s picture because “there was too much of him in it”, statement that amused Lord Henry who considered it childish. The truth is that Basil puts the essence of the process of art in it, that special transformation placing the artist in his creative state: “every portrait that is painted with feeling is a portrait of the artist, not of the sitter. The sitter is merely the accident, the occasion. It is not he who is revealed by the painter; it is rather the painter who, on the coloured canvas, reveals himself. The reason I will not exhibit this picture is that I am afraid that I have shown in it the secreat of my soul”. First Basil explains that a work of art is based on the reaction of his soul and not of his mind, it brings into light that hidden incomprehensible part of the artist. The artist becomes a medium through which feelings are materialised on canvas. The sitter is the happy accident, the unpredictable that tortures the artist until he finishes his creation. The word “accident” used by Wilde will become the starting point for a whole theory concerning the process of creation and the role of the accidental / hazard that makes the process start and continue. 34

When Basil explains how the sitter’s absence makes him even more present the reader should remember how Lily Briscoe succeeded in finishing Ramsay`s portrait, after the latter’s death. The picture is a reflection of the image projected in the artist, when the sitter is not there the painter gives more of him, he implies more and also alienates the image more. Those curves and “subtitles of colours” that suggest Dorian are the impulses of the work of art that imposes itself, that creates itself by influencing the artist. The Picture of Dorian Gray announces the modern novel and expresses some of the main ideas that are the base of the litarary theory in the beginning of the twentieth century. The novel allows an approach from the point of view of the classical Faustian theme, which in its turn can be led towards interpretations suggesting the process of creation. But the novel remains a document of Wilde`s social environment. TEST DE EVALUARE 1. What is the interrelation between Dorian and his portrait? Răspuns: Dorian makes a mad wish of remaining forever young and beautiful, which has often been viewed as a Faustian pact. On the other hand the portrait which bears the marks of his debauchery will in the end regain its initial shape, thus art is immortal and people are ephemeral and weak. 2. Who launches hedonist ideas in the novel? Răspuns: Întrebări 1. Why does Dorian call the painting “the most magical of mirrors”? Răspuns: Dorian calls it as such because the painting reflects the most hidden aspects of his personality and becomes the mirror of his soul and consciousness. Whenever he commits a sin, the portrait changes and this hints at the changes that occur within his personality. 2. Why does Dorian abandon Sybill? Răspuns: REZUMATUL TEMEI


The Picture of Dorian Gray is considered one of the last works of classic gothic horror fiction with a strong Faustian theme. It deals with the artistic movement of the decadents, and homosexuality, both of which caused some controversy when the book was first published. The novel tells of a young man named Dorian Gray, the subject of a painting by artist Basil Hallward. Basil is greatly impressed by Dorian's physical beauty and becomes strongly infatuated with him, believing that his beauty is responsible for a new mode in his art. In Basil's garden, Dorian meets Lord Henry Wotton, a friend of Basil's, and becomes enthralled by Lord Henry's world view. Realizing that one day his beauty will fade, Dorian cries out, expressing his desire to sell his soul to ensure that the portrait Basil has painted of him would age rather than himself. The portrait serves as a reminder of the effect each act has upon his soul, with each sin being displayed as a disfigurement of his form, or through a sign of aging.

Tema Nr. 12 GEORGE BERNARD SHAW-MRS WARREN’S PROFESSION • • • • Feminism and taboo issues of prostitution New Women of the Victorian Era Criticism of the sexual mores of the times Equality at workplaces for women

Obiectivele temei: • Studenţii trebuie să se familiarizeze cu noile tendinţe ale mişcării feministe în era victoriană • Shaw atrage atenţia asupra factorilor care duc la degradarea femeii • Egalitate în drepturi Timpul alocat temei: 2 ore Bibliografie recomandată:  Shaw, George Bernard, Mrs. Warren’s Profession, Hard Press, 2006  Innes, Christopher, The Cambridge Companion to George Bernard Shaw, Cambridge University Press, 1998  Bloom, Harold, George Bernard Shaw, Infobase Publishing, 1987  Henderson, Archibald, George Bernard Shaw: His Life and Works, A Critical Biography, Kessinger Publishing, 2004 George Bernard Shaw is a playwright considered representative of realistic drama, and marks the passage from the Victorian period to Modern literature. He was 36

born in 1856 in Dublin, and he left school when he was 14; six years later he followed his mother who went to London to improve her prospects as a music teacher. Shaw appears as a personality split between Mozart and Wagner on the one hand and social and political personality on the other hand. The Quintessence of Ibsenism, a study of Ibsen published in 1891, is an obvious proof of Shaw`s propensity for Ibsen`s kind of drama – social plays – which invites critics to study the similarities and differences of their works. Ibsen`s plays begin from the discrepancy between reality and the romantic drama. The realistic drama develops around the ‘taboo subjects” which implies new directions: with Ibsen the emphasis is on “a new psychological contest of minds” and little physical action. He wanted his realism to be reproduced on the stage as he stated in a letter addressed to Lindberg in 1883. His characters do not obey the already known rule of the conventional hero who is the villain but everything is changed and the conventional hero is the hero. The point is that this time the hero does not obey the conventional features, he / she is built up on paradoxes, good and bad features bound in a single person make the readers look inside themselves. As a playwright he remains faithful to old stage traditions. The themes he deals with in his plays are: slum landlordism in Widowers` Houses – 1892; prostitution in Mrs. Warren`s Profession – 1902; masculine heroism in Arms and the Man : An Anti-Romantic Comedy – 1894; his new drama refers to Ireland, the Irish and their problem in John Bull`s Other Island – 1907; the reconstruction of society by manipulation in Major Barbara and Pygmalion – 1913. Shaw`s dramatic action feeds itself from traditions of musical theatre, and especially from Mozart and Wagnerian opera, for instance Man and Superman ( 1905 ) leading the reader to Don Giovanni by Mozart. Shaw`s intention to shock the audience becomes reality with Mrs. Warren`s Profession published in 1893, a play whose impact on the spectators is accurately mirrored in the press of the time: it is called “illuminated cangrene” , “morally rotten” , a limit of indecency; “it defends immorality. It glorifies debauchery. It besmirches the sacredness of a clergyman`s calling…” Shaw considered the reaction of the critics a triumph, but unfortunately it led to the ban of the play by the Lord Chamberlain who could censor stage performances at the time.


The performance of te play in New York in 1905 was immediately followed by the prohibition of the play while the company that produced it was arrested. However Shaw tried to demonstrate the morality of Mrs.Warren`s Profession in the preface to the play. He wanted to “draw attention to the truth that prostitution was caused, not by female depravity and male licentiousness, but simply by underpaying, undervaluing, and overworking women so shamefully that the poorest of them are forced to resort to prostitution to keep body and soul together”. The man who cannot see that starvation , overwork, dirt, and disease are as anti-social as prostitution – that they are the vices and crimes of a nation , and not merely its misfortunes – is a hopelessly Private Person (which means “idiot”, from the Greek idiotes , a private person ). The word “prostitution” does not appear in the play, it is never uttered although it can be felt behind every word, it is the backgroung of the play, the painful silence supporting and feeding the play. The play is also received as a “moral study of economies of prostitution”, and from this point of view it is very well understood by women; however it is not so easy with men since it does not seem to treat their problem. The main characters of the play are the women Vivie and her mother Mrs. Warren who seem to be united in their indifferences. They are like two pillars grown up from the same soil, facing each other, always a chain of brothels; her efforts and immoral activity are directed towards her daughter who enjoys an expensive education at Cambridge. Vivie was to become an idependent woman able to earn money as men do. Mrs Warren is not a villainous character, she wants to protect her daughter. Sanders comments that Mrs. Warren`s Profession “confronts two contemporary women`s issues: the future professional careers of educated, would be independent women, and the oldest profession, female prostitution”. The internal tension leads to a breaking off between mother and daughter, the latter trying to built her future on work and “sounder principles”. Shaw couldn`t stop to this kind of plays and created a new group of plays called “plays pleasant” which bewildered his critics. With these plays he announces the modern theatre since he uses the “method of the clown and the absurdist”. A play like Arms and the Man, a comedy using the burlesque and the masculine heroism to


deal with its anti-war theme, was very well received by the audience and ran fifty nights which put the critics in confused position. Shaw`s contemporary critics seize the meaning of his plays and praise his courage to face the authorities of the time and bring something new in literature. Among the features he preserves as a playwright, there is an “unpredictable” feature also sustained by the impact of his plays on his critics and audience. His status is still debatable since there are critics who wonder whether he was dealing in realism or some Shawian jokes about the two sides of the truth.

TEST DE EVALUARE 1. Which were the consequences of poverty in Victorian society? Răspuns: Shaw knew well the consequences of poverty in Victorian England, the hypocrisy of the wealthy, and the interdependence of the rich and poor. "Good" society rejects her but overlooks, as Crofts points out, the corruption involved in the upper class's acquisition of its own wealth. 2. Explain the dichotomy: oppression versus freedom. Răspuns: Întrebări 1. Describe the dramatic structure of the play. Răspuns: Shaw refused to follow what he considered to be the artificial form of the well-made play, insisting that they bore little resemblance to real-life situations. In Mrs. Warren's Profession, the action is character driven with little plot development, unfolding through conversations that shift back and forth among the players. 2. Why does Shaw use euphemism in his play? Răspuns: REZUMATUL TEMEI Mrs. Warren’s Profession is a play based on the story of a prostitute. She is a middle-aged woman whose Cambridge-educated daughter, Vivie, is horrified to discover that her mother's fortune was made managing high-class brothels. The two strong women make a brief reconciliation when Mrs. Warren explains her


impoverished youth, which originally led her into prostitution. An older friend of her mother's, Sir George Crofts, falls in love with the young girl. She, however, is attached to the worthless young son of the parish rector, Frank Gardner. When Crofts discovers that Frank's father was once a lover of Mrs. Warren, he breaks up the match between Vivie and Frank by telling them they are half -brother and sister. Frank doesn't believe Crofts, but when he learns of Mrs. Warren's true profession, he determines that he cannot marry Vivie. Vivie forgives her mother and goes off to London to make her own life.

Tema Nr. 13 SAMUEL BECKETT-WAITING FOR GODOT • • • • Theatre of the Absurd Isolation and alienation as major themes of modernity Uselessness of human existence Lack of faith, insanity

Obiectivele temei: • Studenţii trebuie să înţeleagă conceptul de teatrul absurdului • Temele principale ale modernităţii: izolarea şi alienarea • Existenţa derizorie a indivizilor Timpul alocat temei: 2 ore Bibliografie recomandată:  Beckett, Samuel, Waiting for Godot, Palgrave Macmillan, 2003  Cronin, Anthony, Samuel Beckett: The Last Modernist, Da Capo Press, 1999  Piling, John, The Cambridge Companion to Samuel Beckett, Cambridge University Press, 1994  Calder, John, The Philosophy of Samuel Beckett, Riverrun Pr, 2003  Bair, Deirdre, Samuel Beckett, Simon & Schuster, 1990 Beckett was born in 1906 near Dublin and attented Portora Royal School and Trinity College – a university in Dublin where he studied French and Italian. The latter opened his way towards Dante`s work and made him travel to France and Italy. Peter Griffith comments that Beckett goes beyond temporal and spacial limits: “Carnival, utternace, dialogue, struggle: these are terms that apply to drama as much as they do to the analysis of discourse, and it is time to apply them in this way. One of the resons why Beckett and Pinter have often bracketed together is that they


are both frequently seen as writing hermetically-sealed dramatic texts which deliberately and willfully bear no relation to the world outside the play; another version of this criticism is that they create a spurious and a historical picture of The Human Condition which neglects existing social conditions and processes”. This chaos and ambiguity make of Beckett a representative of the absurd literature. The set is very simple and symmetrical: Waiting for Godot requires a tree and a country road in frant of it; Endgame is placed in a bare interior and the set of Happy Days is reduced to maximum of simplicitly and symmetry with Winnie in the centre of a mound of earth. Therefore the audience`s interst is directed towards the dialogue. Waiting for Godot is Beckett`s most representative play; it was published first in French in 1952 and two years later in English in New York, but the definitive text appeared at Faber and Faber in 1956. The plot is extremely simple and consists in turning nothing into something since the main characters have nothing else to do but wait for Godot, who will never come, and play with thoughts. Starting from setting to characters, everything is symmetrical in the play, everything is separated in couples, the play is structured in two acts. Beckett indicates only two elements on the stage – a tree and a road, and three paires of characters – Vladimir and Estragon, Pozzo and Lucky, Mr.Godot and a boy. The characters in a pair are opposite, complementary and doomed to be together but sometimes the author creates a certain confusion which makes them change their places, they are the embodiment of the same situation at different levels. Estragon and Vladimir are both comic heroes, their first appearance as clowns speculating on the strangeness of language, of things turns into a couple of tragic characters whose situation is helpless. They seem to be kept together by the tree which could be a symbol for hope. In the line of Beckett`s oppositions Vladimir might be associated with the mind or the spirit, while Estragon might be the body. Their dialogues deviate into a suggestive game reminding us of the decay of humanity. Vladimir has a mediative nature showing a great preoccupation with the Bible and especially with the story about salvation and damnation. Except this obsessive preoccupation with the Bible, Vladimir is the voice of reason, he is the thinker who tries to give explanations, “ to bring dark things into the light of day” , to protect Estragon who is a very sensitive person and the prisoner of his nightmares. Estragon`s sensitiveness seems to have its roots in the war`s horrors, his reactions hint 41

at traumatic happenings: “ Don`t touch me! Don`t question me! Don`t speak to me! Stay with me!” The other characters, Pozzo and Lucky, are really tied but their relationship is more unpleasant. The contrast between Pozzo and Lucky is more powerful, the split between mind and body is not very firm since it implies coexistence suggested by the rope. Lucky, who in the first act is the “good angel” , has an awful aspect, is a miserable figure and cannot even think without an order. In the second act, he is dumb, he is a fallen angel but he drives Pozzo by a shorter rope. Pozzo is a character built up on contradictions, described as “tyrannical, confident, self-satisfied, he is also childishly dependent, nervous and helpless, unable even to sit down on occasion without a signal from outside”. Pozzo is an example of selfishness, always preoccupied with his comforts, he doesn`t even think of sharing his food with any of the characters. In the second act, Pozzo changes, becomes a more serious person, because of his blindness he is supported by Lucky. In spite of this new situation, communication is still impossible since this time Lucky is dumb. The main character of the play is also always absent and the awaited Godot who could be God or future but “Nothing is certain”. However there is a relation between Godot and the characters` hope sustained by Vladimir`s preoccupation with Crucifixion and the salvation. There are some hints at the relation between Christ and Godot in Vladimir`s words since he believes that if Godot comes they will be saved from hell and death. In Waiting for Godot the words acquire the most important place because rhythm, repetition, pauses imply a greater attention on the part of the reader. Certain deviations of the text by virtue of a musicality are not accidental or meaningless, they can suggest at least the opposition life – death, light – dark: “leaves” and “ashes”. It seems that Beckett`s language always leads the reader towards concepts like repetition, recollection, reconstruction, recurrence, therefore circularity. With Peter Griffith repetition is a kind of quotation since language itself by its usage supposes repetition. TEST DE EVALUARE


1. What does the boy tell Vladimir and Estragon at the end of each act? Răspuns: The boy arrives every evening and after a long day waiting for Godot he keeps on bringing confusing news. He encourages them and urges them to wait for one more day, as Godot is definitely going to arrive the next day. 2. What does the pulling off of the boot signify? Răspuns: Întrebări 1. What is the role of Lucky and Pozzo in the play? Răspuns: These two characters seem to be a reiteration of Vladimir and Estragon. The relationship between the two is also of an absurd nature and they seem to roam without having particular reason just like the two tramps. 2. Due the characters seriously consider committing suicide? Răspuns:

REZUMATUL TEMEI Waiting for Godot is a play in two acts. Act I begins on a country road by a tree. It is evening. Estragon, an old man, is sitting on a low mound trying to remove his boot. Vladimir, another old man, joins him. They have apparently known each other for years. Once perhaps respectable, they are now homeless, debilitated, and often suicidal. They wonder out loud why they did not kill themselves years ago; they consider the possibility of doing it today. The second act is almost the same as the first. The tree has sprouted leaves, Estragon and Vladimir chat while they wait for Godot. The audience senses what it is like to live in a universe that doesn't "make sense." Beckett and others who adopted this style felt that this disoriented feeling was a more honest response to the post World War II world than the traditional belief in a rationally ordered universe. Waiting for Godot remains the most famous example of this form of drama.

Tema Nr. 14


HAROLD PINTER- THE CARETAKER • • • • The Theatre of the Absurd Alienation and mental disorder Class struggle and isolation Lack of communication between brothers

Obiectivele temei: • Studenţii trebuie să înmagazineze cunoştiinţe legate de teatrul absurdului • Studenţii trebuie să perceapă corect temele care apar preponderent în literatura modernă: izolare, alienare • O temă importantă este lipsa de comunicare dintre oameni Timpul alocat temei: 2 ore Bibliografie recomandată:  Pinter, Harold, The Caretaker and the Dumb Waiter, Grove Press,1994  Eyre, Richard, Harold Pinter: A Celebration, Faber & Faber, 2001  Peacock, D. Keith, Harold Pinter and the British Theatre, Greenwood Press,1997  Grimes, Charles, Harold Pinter Politics: A Silence Beyond Echo, Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, 2005 Harold Pinter was born at Hackney, East London, in 1930, and believed that their family was of Jewish origin since the name Pinter occurred among Hungarian Jews. Pinter`s first poems were published as written by Harold Pinter – a name of Spanish origin, Sephardic Jews. Pinter`s memories about his childhood are connected with a “working-class area” with Victorian houses and a soap factory “ with a terrible smell”. His literary beginning took place in Poetry London in 1950 with two poems signed by Harold Pint. He excelled as a playwright starting with his first play The Room which was very successful and impressed Harold Habson, a drama critic of the Sunday Times, who wrote about it. The same year he wrote two further plays: The Birthday Party and The Dumb Waiter. However Pinter`s next play The Caretaker, performed in 1960, succeeded in annihilating the previous bad commentaries, it proclaimed Pinter one of the best playwrights of the time, comparable to Beckett. Unexpectedly real, Pinter`s work is woven around his experience, it is the embodiment of something ordinary, a real situation closely observed which allows him to point out certain elements of setting and language. In his earlier plays sinks and food are obsessively present. Despite this, Esslin does not consider Pinter a


naturalistic playwright but paradoxically he emphasises the mystery and the ambiguity of Pinter`s work: The firt deviation from the realistically constructed play lies in the element of uncertainty about the motivation of the characters, their backgrounds, their very identity. The ambiguity of the characters lies in the lack of biographical information, we do not know the names of the characters. For instance, in The Caretaker the old man is called Davies, but also Jenkins. Pinter claims that his characters are similar to us “inexpressive, giving little way, unrealible, elusive, evasive, obstructive, unwilling” but they are a key to the dramatist`s method because they increase the dramatic tension. The atmosphere of uncertainty, ambiguity, mystery is the outcome of man`s existential fear, with Pinter menace is outside but it also lurks inside every character suggesting a phychological approach. The Caretaker is a play which allows a comparison with Beckett`s Waiting for Godot as Peter Griffth states: the reader can compare “the absence of a stable social milieu; the characters` havy reliance upon the exercise of memory, coupled with considerable problems in achieving this feat; the absence of women; even, at a perhaps trivial level, the recurrent difficulty in matching feet to appropriate footwear”. The structure of the play is a result of Pinter`s interest in symmetry; it contains three acts and three characters. The two brothers are different but they complete each other: Aston is a good person who cares about other human beings in need and tries to help them but he is slow and clumsy; Mick seems to be a successful businessman who bought an old house for his brother. The third character, Davies, is the intruder who comes in Aston`s house and because of his behaviour he has to leave his temporary home and job. The problem of identity appears in this play, too: Davies states that his name is not Davies but Jenkins, yet he returns to Davies: “Mac Davies. That was before I changed me name”. The confusion created by the two names and the character`s oscillation between them show the reader a person who oscillates between the two brothers: Aston who helped him and Mick who seems superior. Davies, a homeless wanderer, tries his shortcomings exploited by Mick who finally succeeds in making him show his real face. Davies is unable to resists “the satisfaction of glorying in his superiority over the ex-inmate of an asylum “ , he also intends to play one brother off against the other. 45

While Aston`s gesture can be interpreted as a search of a father, Mick`s rejection of the father figure is an archetype of the conflict between gererations, between the sons and the father. Mick`s reaction in the end of the play is violent and ironical and leaves no possibility of return for the old man: “ Ever since you came into this house there has been nothing but trouble. Honest. I can take nothing you say at face value. Every word you speak is open to any number of different interpretations. Most of what you say is lies. You`re violent, you`re erratic, you`re just completely unpredictable. You`re nothing else but a wild animal, when you come down to it. You`re a barbarian. And to put the old tin lid on it, you stink from arse-hole to breakfast time.” Aston and Mick are similar to Estragon and Vladimir: one of them is a poetic nature while the other is rational. They can also be seen as different sides of the same personality, idea sustained by Pinter`s statement that “ every character an author brings to life can be regarded as an emanation of one aspect of his personality”. Aston is a very sensitive person with a vivid imagination, therefore an artistic personality which had to be adjust to reality (through electric shock treatment). Mick who is more anchored in reality tries to protect him. The Caretaker is considered a tragic-comedy according to Pinter`s statement: “As far as I`m concerned, The Caretaker is funny, up to a point. Beyond that point it ceases to be funny, and it was because of that point that I wrote it” (The Sunday Times, London, 14 August 1960). In spite of some readers` reactions (in favour of a “laughable farce”) the comic and the tragic are interwoven and this makes of it an open play. TEST DE EVALUARE 1. Which are the main features of the language used in the play? Răspuns: The Caretaker is filled with long rants and non-sequiturs, the language is either choppy dialogue full of interruptions or long speeches that are a vocalized train of thought. Although, the text is presented in a casual way there is always a message behind its simplicity. 2. Which are the tragicomic elements present in the play? Răspuns: Întrebări 46

1. How are manipulation and lack of communication reflected in the play? Răspuns: All are, to some extent, deceptive, twisting reality in order to manipulate one another and to delude themselves. The character who is the most deceptive is probably Davies. From the beginning, it is clear that he is a liar, first attempting to win Aston's respect by pretending to a past that rings false. 2. How important is the setting for the structure of the play? Răspuns: REZUMATUL TEMEI The Caretaker was the first of Pinter's plays to bring him artistic and commercial success as well as national recognition. The real-world origins of the play lie in Pinter's acquaintance with two brothers who lived together, one of whom brought an old tramp to the house for a brief stay. Through the story of the two brothers and the tramp, The Caretaker deals with the distance between reality and fantasy, family relationships, and the struggle for power. It also touches on the subjects of mental illness and the plight of the indigent. Pinter uses elements of both comedy and tragedy to create a play that elicits complex reactions in the audience. The complexity of the play, Pinter's masterful use of dialogue, and the depth and perception shown in Pinter's themes all contribute to The Caretaker's consideration as a modern masterpiece.