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TOPIC: Thematic structure and literary

techniques utilized in the Short Stories



ROLL NO: 16381502-006


The happy prince
General overview:
This story is written by OSCAR WIlDE a famous writer of Victorian age. He has best imitated
the social conditions of his age. The evils, social classes, poverty, material society, literary
overview etc.

“There is no picture of love and sacrifice in this world but if there is any picture of love, the
statue of the happy prince is”.

Literary technique:
The writer Oscar wild has utilized the thematic and literary elements cleverly. This story is a
fairy tale in nature... It is a story, which is hard to believe. Firstly, we find two imaginary
characters – a talking Swallow and a talking statue. Secondly, we see the statue of the Happy
Prince shedding tears on the sufferings of the poor. He has sapphire eyes and a lead heart.
However, he can see through these sapphire eyes and has love and sympathies for the poor in his
lead heart. This is highly unbelievable and it does not happen in real life. Thirdly, we see that the
Swallow first picks off ruby, sapphires, and then gold covering without any tools. This is also

The story “The Happy Prince” has at least three themes.

 The first theme of the story is that outward beauty is nothing it is just a show. If there any
beauty exist its inward with true taste of intrinsic love and beauty.
 The real beauty is the love and sacrifice. The end of the story gives this idea.
 Goodness goes never un-rewarded.
 Do good have good.
 Artificiality of life at it’s in the society is being described at first.

“High above the city, on a tall column, stood the statue of the
Happy Prince. He was gilded all over with thin leaves of fine
gold, for eyes he had two bright sapphires, and a large red ruby
glowed on his sword-hilt.”

The writer has brought out poverty in a very beautiful manner. People are suffering in many
problems because of one problem of money. The whole society is dividing into two halves,
upper and lower strata. Art and morality are worthless.
The son of the tailor is suffering from fever. He is thirsty and asking for oranges. However, she
is a poor tailor. She cannot buy oranges for her son. She is embroidering passionflowers for the
Queen’s maids-of-honor. Her poverty is very touching.

'Far away,' continued the statue in a low musical voice,

‘far away in a little street there is a poor house. One of the
windows is open, and through it I can see a woman seated at a
table. Her face is thin and worn, and she has coarse, red hands,
all pricked by the needle, for she is a seamstress. She is
embroidering passion-flowers on a satin gown for the loveliest
of the Queen's maids-of-honor to wear at the next Court-ball.
In a bed in the corner of the room her little boy is lying ill. He
has a fever, and is asking for oranges. His mother has nothing
to give him but river water, so he is crying Poor’s have to work
hard they not even taste the oranges.

As a writer is the true imitator of its age and a very sensitive being in the whole society. Here
writer has mentioned the value of writer and literature in his age.

The poverty of the writers of the Victorian age has also been reflected very beautifully. The
young writer is cold and hungry. Hunger has made him faint.

'Swallow, Swallow, little Swallow,' said the Prince, ‘far away

across the city I see a young man in a garret. He is leaning over
a desk covered with papers, and in a tumbler by his side there
is a bunch of withered violets. His hair is brown and crisp, and
his lips are red as a pomegranate, and he has large and dreamy
eyes. He is trying to finish a play for the Director of the Theatre,
but he is too cold to write any more. There is no fire in the
grate, and hunger has made him faint.'

Writes are busy to educate and in growth of society but they are empty both by body and hand.

The little weeping match girl also depicts the poverty of the Victorian age. She has no shoes or
stockings, and her little head is bare. The beggars are sitting at the gates of the houses of the rich
people. In dark lanes, there are children who have white starving faces. They are looking out
listlessly at the black streets. People do not have their own houses go two little boys are lying
under the archway of a bridge. It is cold so they are lying in one another’s arm to keep
themselves warm. They are very hungry.
But on the other hand Jewish are busy to weigh their money in copper scales.
Mayor and other rich are busy to stand there statue in center of the city to exhibit there Glory.
Therefore, all these suggest the poverty of the Victorian age.

The second theme is that love and sacrifice are two saving forces. This world is full of poverty,
hypocrisy, and exploitation. If there were no love and sacrifice, the world could not go on its
axis. It is because of love and sacrifice that this life is going on. Therefore, it is true that love and
sacrifice are two saving forces.

The writer has brought out hypocrisy in the story “The Happy Prince” in a very beautiful
manner. One of the town councilors does not have artistic taste, but he wants to show that he has
that artistic taste. He praises the beauty of the Happy Prince in the most inartistic way. He says
that the statue is as beautiful as a weathercock. His simile shows how ignorant he is. The town
councilors are the worst example of hypocrisy. They always agree with the Mayor just to get his
favor. They are so hypocrites that they even repeat the words spoken by the Mayor. When the
professor sees the Swallow, he writes a long letter to the local newspaper.

The sisters
The literary technique used by the writer is Symbolism, He has symbolized father Flynn with the
Catholicism going to be ruined.
Joyce has suggested the decline of the Church. At the beginning of the story by using symbolic

The lighted square of window: and night after night I had

found it lighted in the same way, faintly and evenly. If he was
dead, I thought, I would see the reflection of candles on the
darkened blind for I knew that two candles must be set at the
head of a corpse. He had often said to me: "I am not long for
this world," and I had thought his words idle.

To the narrator this symbolized that Father Flynn was still alive. If Father Flynn was dead the
narrator expects to see ‘the reflection of candles on the darkened blind.’ It is also worth noting
that on the occasions the narrator has visited Father Flynn he recalls Father Flynn in a ‘little dark
room.’ Again this is significant as Joyce may be suggesting that the Church too is in the dark and
just like Father Flynn is also dying. Its mean that the Roman Catholicism is near to ruin. It shows
that Catholicism is in its verge to be drowned...

The discussion of the family members of the boy about Father Flynn is also uncompleted by
sentences as they are queer about the priest even at end while discussing about the death of priest
with her sister boy’s aunt asks strange questions:
"No, I wouldn't say he was exactly... but there was something queer... there was something uncanny
about him. I'll tell you my opinion....”

"I have my own theory about it," he said. "I think it was one of those ... peculiar
cases .... But it's hard to say...."

"Ah, well, he's gone to a better world."

Eliza sighed again and bowed her head in assent. My aunt fingered the stem of
her wine-glass before sipping a little.

"Did he... peacefully?" she asked.

Joyce also uses light again in the story to suggest to the reader the sense of freedom within the
narrator. When he is walking away from Father Flynn’s home the narrator walks ‘slowly along
the sunny side of the street.’ By using the word ‘sunny’ Joyce may be suggesting that people’s
lives would actually improve should they separate themselves from the Church? Joyce also
appears to be using Father Flynn’s teeth as symbolism. The reader learns that when Father Flynn
smiled ‘he used to uncover his big discolored teeth.’ This is significant as Joyce may be
suggesting that the discolored teeth (yellow and brown, which suggest decay) also mirror the
decay of (within) the Catholic Church.

I walked away slowly along the sunny side of the street,

However the most significant symbolism in the story appears to be the chalice. It is mentioned
on three occasions. It is first mentioned when the narrator sees Father Flynn in his coffin ‘he lay,
solemn and copious, vested as for the altar, his large hands loosely retaining a chalice.’ It is also
mentioned towards the end of the story when Eliza recalls the story of Father Flynn letting the
chalice fall. Both of these occasions are important as Joyce may be suggesting to the reader that
the rituals associated with the chalice (blood of Christ) may in fact be paralyzing. Father Flynn
after all, according to Eliza, went steadily downhill (if not mad) after the chalice fell. Despite the
chalice being empty and as such being no more than that (an empty chalice). Father Flynn spent
his time worrying about it which in turn Eliza believes assisted in his eventual madness.

The chalice is also mentioned at the end of the story when the narrator tells the reader that he
knew ‘that the old priest was lying still in his coffin as we had seen him, solemn and truculent in
death, an idle chalice on his breast.’ The fact that Joyce uses the word ‘idle’ may be important as
it is possible that by doing so, Joyce is suggesting that the chalice serves no purpose, either as it
lies on Father Flynn’s chest or as symbolism in the Catholic Church.
The incident in the confession box (as mentioned by Eliza) may also be significant. Though it is
unclear as to what may have happened in the confession box, it is possible that Joyce by having
Father Flynn sitting alone laughing is not only highlighting Father Flynn’s descent into madness
but he may also be suggesting that the act or process of using the confession box to absolve
oneself from sin, may like the chalice serve no purposeful role in society (or in the Catholic
Church). It is possible that Father Flynn may have been seeking absolution for letting the chalice
fall and on discovery that nothing happens (while seeking absolution), Father Flynn may also
realize that everything that he had faith in (the Catholic Church and it’s practices) may not
necessarily be as he thought.

The masque of read death

Literacy technique used by the writer is Symbolism, allegory, imaginary and is full of Gothic

"The Masque of the Red Death" is considered an allegorical tale; this means that the literal
elements of the story are meant to be understood as symbolic of some greater meaning. More
specifically, this story may be read as a parable, a sub-category of allegory in which, "moral or
spiritual relations are set forth."

As a parable, "Masque of the Red Death" is symbolic of how humans respond to the knowledge
of their own mortality.

The colors of the seven rooms are just too juicy a detail not to mean something, aren't they? The
black and blood red room seems so obviously to represent death. Turns after each room
represents the novel stages of the life.

The very 1st lesson of this story is that if a nation contains such a cuel kings like Prospero it will
be arrested by many evils.

This story fills us with a lot of lessons in life. Main theme of the entire story revolves around
prince Prospero who is very much pride to his power but…
“Pride hath a fall.”

But the Prince Prospero was happy and dauntless and

sagacious. When his dominions were half depopulated, he
summoned to his presence a thousand hale and light-hearted
friends from among the knights and dames of his court, and
with these retired to the deep seclusion of one of his
castellated abbeys. This was an extensive and magnificent
structure, the creation of the prince's own eccentric yet august

Even when death is in his front he shouted on it:

"Who dares?" he demanded hoarsely of the courtiers who
stood near him --"who dares insult us with this blasphemous
mockery? Seize him and unmask him --which we may know
whom we have to hang at sunrise, from the battlements!"

There is no decay to death that price wanted.

Death has no way to walk as the prince grilled his palace strongly but fell prey to death.

Another theme is that at every stage of life there are some clues by the nature that tells us about
this immortal world but we neglect them like in this story pendulum of clock and if we take some
lesson from it its quiet conventional:

It was in this apartment, also, that there stood against the

western wall, a gigantic clock of ebony. Its pendulum swung to
and fro with a dull, heavy, monotonous clang; and when the
minute-hand made the circuit of the face, and the hour was to
be stricken, there came from the brazen lungs of the clock a
sound which was clear and loud and deep and exceedingly
musical, but of so peculiar a note and emphasis that, at each
lapse of an hour the musicians of the orchestra were
constrained to pause, momentarily, in their performance, to
hearken to the sound; and thus the waltzes perforce ceased
their evolutions; and there was a brief disconcert of the whole
gay company; and, while the chimes of the clock yet rang, it
was observed that the giddiest grew pale, and the more aged
and sedate passed their hands over their brows as if in
confused reverie or meditation. But when the echoes had fully
ceased, a light laughter at once pervaded the assembly; the
musicians looked at each other and smiled as if at their own
nervousness and folly, and made whispering vows, each to the
other, that the next chiming of the clock should produce in
them no similar emotion; and then, after the lapse of sixty
minutes, (which embrace three thousand and six hundred
seconds of the Time that flies,) there came yet another chiming
of the clock, and then were the same disconcert and
tremulousness and meditation as before.

We should not forget about the Chief realities of life and death is the biggest reality of life that
Prince forgot.