Knowledge and the Arts

Once I reviewed the “Knowledge and the Arts” document, provided by Mr MacKnight, I found myself heavily disagreeing with the idea of art being ‘useless’, as in today’s modern society, we find most forms of art to be gateways of expression. We relay our expressions as emotional outlets which are conveyed through our senses; when we’re sad we listen to depressing or slow songs to cry alongside the lyrics, with art, we connect with what we hear and our forms of interpretation. We draw or scribble to bring out a visual representation of our thoughts, and so it goes.

On the other hand, I found myself in agreement with the idea that we ask the wrong questions; we tend to be generally objective, looking at the superficial effects art can have on us, when in reality we should be observing the deeply emotional, logical and psychological effects we experience. In most cases, we are overloaded with emotional questions which come from how we first react to a literary piece, a play, a song, etc. But we must remember to stop ourselves and observe the true meaning and concepts being these pieces.

Charles Dickens “Great Expectations” Pastiches

Pastiche 1:
At such a time, I remembered, I remembered a young woman surrounded by a scent that permeated her room; the memories of loss, bottomless emotion filled the air which she inhaled through the smell receptors on her face, the smell brought back memories of the loss she had gone through, her life’s evolution, the effects it had on her once pure soul; now rotting from the inside out, one could only imagine her childhood; how she used to speak with such a soft tongue, how she loved to perform in front of other; this feeling is one which most never experience, but this reminder remained deeply embedded in her mind; as she tried to regain her memories, I realised that girl was me.

Pastiche 2:
A tall, lifeless figure, once known as the life of the party slowly began to slip away. Slowly, you could begin to see the life leave its eyes, feelings ceasing to exist, love losing its effects on its once kind heart. Many ponder as to who this figure might be, where it is from. For those who do not know, it is the demon in your dreams, the monster waiting to wreak havoc inside your mind, this monster is none other than depression deeply buried inside.

My Personal Response to The Colour Purple by Alice Walker

In my Personal Response to The Colour Purple by Alice Walker, we are presented with a young girl subjected to incredible amounts of pain by the people who “we are meant to trust the most” (our parents).

The Colour Purple by Alice Walker is the literary illustration of female “damnation” in a world overrun by the male ego and superiority complex. On the first page of the novel, we are introduced to a young woman of colour who is unaware of the power she possesses over herself due to her age. Since the novel is set in the early 20th century, we know that “the world in which this story is placed” is based on a kind of “modern slavery” referring to the interracial and racial divide, and abuse, demonstrated throughout the book.

The “male domination” and female “damnation” which I stated before is predominantly carried out through the first half of the book, where we see most of the women involved must always answer to their husbands, seek approval and follow “the chain of command”. In these pages, we read how Celie is subjected to an unwanted underage marriage, abuse, mistreatment of her new partner which then causes her to become submissive or in better words endure whatever he needs is expected to fulfil all her “partner’s” wishes.

The intricacy of the psychological games played with these women is superior, their lack of capacity to understand that they CAN leave, they ARE able to make it in this world somehow although they will struggle is extraordinary but understandable due to undergone manipulation, threats, moral and religious conflicts.

Just by reading the first few pages of this novel, I felt uneasy, I felt my insides shake and twitch as I was overrun with fear, discomfort, pain and hatred, as an individual who can relate quite deeply with Celie due to her experiences of suppression in a male dominant world.

This book has language and imagery which many would not be able to comprehend the reasoning behind their use; this, I believe is done by the author to incentivise readers to really try to put themselves in Celie’s shoes, to try and feel her pain, the disgust, the loss of humanity she undergoes.

The Colour Purple is most definitely a controversial masterpiece that looks into a past vs present scenario by placing the reader in the 20th century with a 21st-century point of view on equality, racism and multiple forms of abuse.

The biggest “bullet to bite” for me was also to remember the fact that Celie is only a child, she has barely begun puberty and is submitted to rape, motherly tasks, the “guardianship” of her sister Nettie and her own survival. These tasks with help are attainable to complete but on her own, in my eyes are absolutely outstanding.

SUMMER READING RESPONSE: Heart Of Darkness (excerpt)

HEART OF DARKNESS by Joseph Conrad

At the beginning of this literary excerpt, we are given the description of 6 men who are in chains, with limbs as thin as branches and eyes as dead as night, we can assume these men are slaves, but as the description continues, it turns out that they are prisoners. The way the author focused the beginning description of these men could lead to assume that the author is intending to see what kind of mentality his readers have, whether they are prejudice or simply open-minded.

(My extra notes for this assignment)

In many literary pieces, we tend to see a type of pattern with the author’s form of writing and their intent to move their audience through the intense description of moments that might cause them to feel “uncomfortable”. This propels one’s need to continue reading on and truly understand the reasoning behind giving said description.

-Viji Pirani

VPirani_Reflection on my Writing

Throughout the year, my literary analysis has matured. I’ve understood the main ideas and noticed small key factors to pointing out key elements that are the causation factors for the rising action, climax, and falling action.

In the first few blog posts, I submitted this year, I continuously failed to connect the title to the actual contents of the literary summary I would ramble on and on without getting straight to the point, misleading the reader. Now, in my blog posts, I tend to struggle with properly writing the titles (if they should be in italic or between ” “). I still do have a bit of trouble with making my sentences too wordy or confusing, but it has definitely improved.

I feel as though I have gained much knowledge on literary analysis, although I still have much more to learn in proper punctuation, targeted analysis and interpretation of the literary piece. There is also the contextualization and how the reader could understand the authors writing.

Overall, I feel quite confident in my capability to improve. My attention and focus have definitely increased, it is not where I’d like it to be, but it most definitely will be for next year.

The Awakening Personal Response

In the literary piece “The Awakening” by author Kate Chopin, we are introduced to enlightenment. When the reader first sees the title, we may believe it is referring to an individual becoming themselves. This although a good ideal, is far from the meaning behind the title. The title refers to one’s growth and understanding of their mistakes.
You see, Edna is a young woman who has lost herself over the years. She has allowed society and her needs to survive to drive her actions and words instead of doing what truly benefits her.

Throughout the story we are introduced to multiple characters who each carry their own burdens in life, whether it be giving up on themselves, losing track of their life, or simply living according to what their elders have instructed.

In the early chapters, we are introduced to a nocturnal beach setting, which one would naturally assume is calming, and a bit nerve-racking. What most do not notice is what the sea truly represents. You see, in the chapters surrounding this setting, there is a lot that Edna goes through about who she is and what she has truly accomplished in life, this also reflects in the sea, due to its broadness and unknown depths carrying beauty and creatures which haunt some. The sea characterises her true feelings and thoughts about herself.

My absolute favourite part of this entire novel, if you may call it that, is the sense of individualism which is reached near the end. Edna matures mentally to a state of independence and self-assertion. This is one of life’s mysteries which many do not accomplish until much later in life.

I really enjoyed this novel, but I would not encourage younger audiences to read it yet, since they are not in a mental space to properly understand the meaning of the novel.

My Personal Response To “Pygmalion” by George B. Shaw

In the play “Pygmalion” by George B. Shaw, we see a similar, if not identical storyline to “My Fair Lady”. In both playwrights, we see how a highly respected professor/gentleman decides to help a loss class woman get off the streets and become a member of the high society by teaching her how to become proper through grammar, vocabulary and etiquette lessons as well as basic everyday gestures.
Although the storyline portrays the ideals of “an ugly duckling becoming a beautiful swan”, there is much more which the naked eye might not perceive. The Victorian Era in which it takes place shows much more about a human’s natural sense of protection and needs to “do the right thing”, which in modern time is something I believe we have lost thought of. We as a race have become greedy and self-absorbed, forgetting that most people that are on the streets, in poor houses, etc. are not there by choice, but by lack of guidance and morale of society.
We can use Skid Row, for example, this is one of the poorest areas in the entirety of the United States of America. Originally starting off as a city area where the homeless could find shelter and somewhat comfort has now become overthrown by gangs, homeless people and erroneous propaganda. How did it get this bad? The decline of this sector comes from the huge increase in unemployment rates in the country, and since many people are badly educated or not educated at all, in most cases they aren’t even given the chance to get a job to pull themselves out of the “slums”.
We see a great representation of this when Eliza wanders the streets she once was from after having a large argument with Professor Higgins about her integrity and morals.
Another topic that is largely shown throughout the play is “self-respect”. This all begins in the first few minutes of the play when we see Ms Doolittle trying to sell flowers to the people around her and someone makes a comment about Professor Higgins writing down what she says (her method of selling merchandise by making others feel pity for her, therefore pushing them to support her in whatever way they can to feel as though they have done “a good deed”). Later on, we see it when she enters Professor Higgins’ home and is questioned by him about her means to pay as well as her true hunger for improvement whilst the “maid” of the home attempts to persuade Professor Higgins to listen to her and not throw her out. The most important and shocking scene where we see this is near the end of the play when the professor and Ms Doolittle get into an argument at night when he questions her character and integrity accusing her of stealing his things or attempting to whilst he sleeps for which Ms Doolittle at this point in time comprehends her worth and chooses to leave that night and show herself the self-respect which she has deserved for herself the entire time.
In my opinion, this play is a great example, especially for young women or women of all ages about growth, self-worth, respect and overall, values. It taught me the true meaning of how it does not matter what is on the outside, but it is within you what truly makes you, “you!”. So, in better use of words, I loved this play, it made me smile, laugh and even cry a little bit, but all those emotions came from truly understanding what it means to be human and what society has become versus what it should be.

“A DOLL’S HOUSE” BY HEINRICH IBSEN

“A Doll’s House” by Heinrich Ibsen portrays the concepts of love, deception, trust and gender bias. As we know, the play takes time in the early/mid 19th century, during this time there is a huge difference between men and women; men are the leaders of the households, they work and maintain income for their family, whilst the women are the ones who raise the children, aren’t allowed to work and are married off as soon as they reach maturity.


At the beginning of the play, we are introduced to Mr and Mrs Helmer. At first one might believe that they are a perfect family with not many struggles, but as we begin to discover who are main characters are in more detail throughout the play, we realise that their relationship is quite odd as well as deceitful. We can use the example of a scene where Mr Helmer is upset with Mrs Helmer, he claims her to be and act like a child, but the hypocrisy comes whenever we see that Mrs Helmer whilst acting as a child at times asks Mr Helmer for support and guidance and without any question, he coddles her and allows it. This is where we can see an interpretation of the saying “Do as I say, not as I do”.


Throughout the play, we also see the concept of deception, when Nora is constantly asking for extra money for “Christmas Presents” which is true to pay off debts that she has from her previous endeavours. Mr Helmer, clueless of his wife as well as their life, conceits to it but later on finds out the truth.


In this play, we see over and over how deception that every single adult character in the play portrays. We see it in Christine as well as in Krogstad when they both decide to team up in order to bring the Helmer household down.


Overall, I personally did like the play since we see how in today’s world vs the older times, there is more acceptance of imperfect people, there is not as large of a gender bias, nor is there as much lack of opportunity, that being said, I personally would not recommend this to anyone. But I will also like to add, that whenever we go over plays like these, I think it is smart to compare the kind of education people received back then vs now and see the impact it has on society.

A Letter to Langston Hughes

Dear Mr Hughes,
Over the past few days, I have had the pleasure to read some of your poems, some of which have impacted me in different ways. The way you allow your words to flow with such strength is so refreshing. The importance of showing the strength black people have as well as what they had to endure is absolutely astounding.
In your poem “I, Too” you wrote the following:
I, too, sing America.


I am the darker brother.
They send me to eat in the kitchen
When company comes,
But I laugh,
And eat well,
And grow strong.


Tomorrow,
I’ll be at the table
When company comes.
Nobody’ll dare
Say to me,
“Eat in the kitchen,”
Then.


Besides,
They’ll see how beautiful I am
And be ashamed—


I, too, am America.

As someone who was adopted legally in the united states, but comes from India, I have dealt with the struggle throughout my life of being questioned as an American on the basis of my origin as well as my patriotism.

I grew up as a foreigner in Mexico, constantly asked questions like “Are you in favour of what Americans say about ‘your people’ whether that being about Mexicans or Indians. I struggled with being accepted as ‘one of their own’.
Throughout my childhood, I went through struggles of being a coloured student in a mostly white school, being questioned about my being good enough to study in said institutions. I would like to thank you for opening up about your experiences as a black man in a country which in times felt as though it was not yours to be in.