Blida Department of English: Free Stand to Stand Free
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let's answer magister questions :)

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let's answer magister questions :)

Post by bilinda on Wed Jul 25, 2012 2:59 pm

3-English Literature:

a-To what extent can it be said that Shakespeare's theatre reflects its age
exclusively? Discuss with reference to at least two works.



(It is just
an example of how I would answer that question. I know it lacks many details,
but I hope that u can correct, guide and add what is missing. Thank you).





Though Shakespeare’s tragedies reflect their time, many critics argue that there are qualities in the work of Shakespeare that are not limited to the English society or the Elizabethan era, rather they
speak to all human beings despite the passage of the years. Thus, many critics
call Shakespeare our contemporary. The following essay is, in fact, an attempt
to show how Shakespeare managed skillfully to reflect his own age and to
address the whole universe with reference to Macbeth and Henry V.


One can confidently say that without historical account, Shakespeare’s plays would be insignificant including the two plays at hand. The playwright lived during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I who led her country to glory and James the first who was not a people pleaser, and had no respect for the English traditions. So, he understood the difference between a good king and a bad one. For that reason, the characters of persons occupying the kingship were crucial to the health of the nation. Macbeth’s play shows the
audience the bad consequences a country can have when it falls under the reign
of a self-centered and immoral king. After becoming a king through illegal
means, Macbeth selfishly uses monarchical means to fulfill purely personal
revenge. He kills his friend Banquo, Macduff’s family, and throws his country
into a plagued civil war. In contrast to Macbeth is the character Henry V in
the play of Henry V. the latter is portrayed as a king who accomplished his
task by waging a war on France and asserting his claim. Through the character
of Henry V, Shakespeare shows the audience the qualities required for a true
king. Some of the characteristics of kingship include the king’s relation to
his counselors, his divinity as he places the fate of his soldiers in the hands
of GOD, and the burden of kingship.


Shakespeare’s unique ability to write about universal human experiences and truths brought depth and accessibility to his plays. The two plays that are under discussion, Macbeth and Henry V make no exception to this rule. Shakespeare reveals to us his larger view of evil and how it can infect the mind to produce a weak
and a completely powerless person. Macbeth is a complex study of evil. The latter is embodied in the theme of ambition unchecked by morality. The play points to the damage that may happen to the world if people’s ambitions were blindly followed. Macbeth’s ambitions push him to kill many people only to
assure that no one would replace him as a king. Arrogance makes a person unable
to see the truth the play of Henry V announces. The French are portrayed as arrogant people.
The most significant example is the tennis balls gift of Dauphin that minimizes
Henry V. the Dauphin’s so called gift of tennis shows that the threat of the
English is taken by the French as a game of tennis. The arrogance of the French
made them blind to their own disadvantages. In contrast, the English are
portrayed as humble people who are only interested to capture rightfully what
was once taken from them. For that reason they win the battle.





In sum, Shakespeare’s greatness does not lie only in his ability to reflect his own age; it lies also in his capacity to address the whole universe despite the passage of the years.



A book that was of great use
to me: Hacht, A.M. (ed.). (2007). Shakespeare for students: critical
interpretations of Shakespeare’s plays and poetry.
2nd ed. Farmington Hills: Thomson Gale.


NB: I’m practising
method so if u find a mistake please correct it. It is the Harvard style Wink.


Wink
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Re: let's answer magister questions :)

Post by sassy86 on Thu Jul 26, 2012 12:22 am

Hi Bilinda Smile Nice efforts. I have some remarks concerning the essay and a couple of questions.

1- You started your essay saying : Though Shakespeare's tragedies reflect their time, many critics argue that there are qualities in .....

You are giving a very premature judgement here. You are asked to show what do his works reflect (is it his time? or any time and place of history (otherwise they are universal ) ? or both? )

So by saying that they do reflect his time in your introduction, your reader might think you are limiting it to his time only. (never give a judgment in your introduction)

So I would have said it this way: Though Shakespeare's tragedies are the undeniable products of their time, many critics argue that there are qualities in the works of Shakespeare that are not limited to the English society or the Elizabethan era, but that they are rather speaking to all human beings despite the passage of the years. This is why, many critics call Shakespeare our comtemporary.

(When I said the undeniable products of their time, this might sound obvious, but there are many scholars who are requestioning his authorship, so it is worth mentioning.)

2- I do agree with most of the second paragraph of your essay which points to the manner in which Shakespeare exploited the universal aspects of politics to make his plays more accessible to any other time.
The only thing which annoys me is that your entire essay was devoted to this political aspect of his works.
To make it simple, where is gender?? where is race?? I was happy though when you alluded to the French, but there is more than this.
Shakespeare had no complex when introducing foreign characters (a black king, the Moors...etc). Isn't this a kind of opening ?? An opening on other horizons, other countries, other races. Besides, what kind of opening?? Is he in favor of interracial marriage in Othello for example?? What is his stand on racism??

Gender: Shakespeare and love! That's what Shakespeare is known for! The way he deals with certain delicate issues of the heart. The way he explains certain relations between women and men. (And here including Twelfth Night would be just fine. How he manages through his play to blur the sacred lines between feminity and manhood. He dismantles all gender clichés.) He makes us question, what are the qualities we judge upon them to say this is a man and this is a woman.

To sum up all this, I would have planned this essay this way:
-a paragraph dealing with politics as you have done in the 2 nd paragraph (that was genuine)
- a paragraph dealing with race
- a last one with gender

Do no neglect race and gender because these are what make his works universal.

There is this book which is amazing Shakespeare and Tolerance , I might upload it when i'm free


P.S: You have said 'Harvard style', where is it?? Inside the essay?? I don't think you have to bother with methodology (In a magistère contest, I don't think you will remember dates of publication and so on. So don't care about it)
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Re: let's answer magister questions :)

Post by bilinda on Thu Jul 26, 2012 5:07 pm

thank you very much for your reply sassy. i really appreciate it. but i want to comment on some of ur remarks not to disagree but to ask for further explanation. i start by the end. you said that you would plan ur essay this way:
a paragraph dealing with politics
- a paragraph dealing with race
- a last one with gender
what i don't understand is that: would you devote the entire essay to the issue of univesality in the works of shakespeare or in each paragraph u discuss both: universality and topicality?

my essay is planned this way:
P1: topicality( the theme of kingship was of a great interest to shakespeare because he was highly influenced by the royal family and was so close to them. we find this theme tackled almost in all his plays).
P2/ universality( here i have spoken about evil and how it was approached by shakespeare. i don't really focus on politics here coz my concern is evil and how it was adopted in both plays. i do agree with u abt race and gender but i hate so much these themes
in sum, what i want to say is that: yes shakespeare plays reflect their times but not exclusively because they can expand to include many generations. so i tried to Build up a balanced argument with evidence both for and against, and come to the conclusion of my essay.
now concerning your first remark:
according to the question, i understand that the fact that shakespeare's theatre reflects its age is undeniable, what they want to know is to what extent. so, in my introductory sentence i directly wanted to show my position and to do so i must be assertive. besides, i did not say that shakespeare's works reflect their time. i said though......there are.....and i explained it in my thesis statemet.
thank you again sassy for ur help, and i'm waiting for more
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Re: let's answer magister questions :)

Post by sassy86 on Fri Jul 27, 2012 12:20 am

First of all, I see that it would be better if each part of the essay was devoted to study each aspect of those I have mentioned earlier (explaining with close reference to the plays how each of them display universality). And I would let the the obvious aspect of topicality, as you say, for the conclusion (to create that balance you're talking about). Balanced conclusions are the best, trust me. This is my organization, but there might be other suggestions since there are multiple kinds of answers.
bilinda wrote:i do agree with u abt race and gender but i hate so much these themes

As for this, ummm ... I read so many things I hate and I worked on so many things which did not motivate me at all (and that's the true challenge Wink

As for the word 'reflect' in your introduction, I know what you meant but some intransigent teachers of the past taught me to be careful with the use of every word when doing criticism (and most of the time they are uncompromising on Shakespearean criticism)

I may write something on gender if I have some free time
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Re: let's answer magister questions :)

Post by princess smile24 on Thu Aug 02, 2012 3:29 pm

British Literature:
From whose perspective is " Animal Farm " told? Why would Orwell have chosen such a perspective?
Before starting, I want to say that I have never read the story, and the following is what I attempted to answer in last year MA exams:
Orwell is one of the most famous authors in British Literature who has a series of short stories and many novels, and "Animal Farm" is one of them.
In his work "Animal Farm", Orwell wanted to give us an idea about what was happening around,i.e, he had a message to deliver in the purpose of awareness.
The author, in his novel, used animal characters instead of the human ones(symbolism), in order to have the written freedom expression and to have no kind of censorship in terms of what he was writing about.
Those characters symbolized, in fact, the true or the real persons whom the writer waned to speak abut.The main theme or quest in his story was the social and the political one. Orwell criticized the surrounding situation with an over ironic style. Actually he dealt with the situation with an objective way, taking no part in the story.
In fact, the "Animal Farm" is a prototype no more, i.e, it is used by the author just to show how much was bad the social real life as well as the political one.
Having the animal society as an example and animals as members of that farm of illusion, Orwell criticized and refused the persecution of the church and that of the government upon him as a British citizen as well as the others as a a whole community.
So, what we can say about Orwell's work "Animal Farm" is that he was not focusing on the characters themselves as animals, but he was symbolizing each one and making him acting for the purpose of social awareness as well as the political one, letting the judgement for his audience.
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Re: let's answer magister questions :)

Post by sassy86 on Thu Aug 02, 2012 9:16 pm

Hi dear Princess Smile That's a nice try. However, it's too bad you have'nt read the book. But I really appreciated that you want to know the answer to this topic unlike so many people who fail and just avoid looking back to their past mistakes and just crush the exam paper and never look back. (those who acknowledge their mistakes are those who keep on progressing. (quand on n'avance pas, on recule) . That's a winner's attitude that you've got ! So hats off for that!!


But you really should read the book, it's something like 40 pages long. Let's read it together okay?? Smile (I read it 3 years ago and I'll re-read it tonight so that we'll answer this question together.


There is a sentence in your essay that I really liked which is this one:


princess smile24 wrote:
The author, in his novel, used animal characters instead of the human ones(symbolism), in order to have the written freedom expression and to have no kind of censorship in terms of what he was writing about.


You know what this is?? This is the answer to the whole question, if you have read the book you would have had so many arguments to enlarge this sentence.

We'll see that tomorrow inchaAllah. Read the novel my dear okay?? Kiss and saha ftourak Smile
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Re: let's answer magister questions :)

Post by princess smile24 on Sat Aug 04, 2012 8:36 pm

Oh my dear Sassy your words do please me a lot and you really give me the inspiration that I miss from my previous college teachers , you know what? you really encourage me to do better and I will never forget this sweet girl. I promise you to finish reading it as soon as possible in order to be ready to start, Okay? Saha Ftourek too.
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Re: let's answer magister questions :)

Post by sassy86 on Sat Aug 04, 2012 10:56 pm

Believe me, there is nothing more gratifying than reading you mate You're too kind

I'm having all the fun re-reading it again, still 5 pages left Very Happy
I was going to post today but I'm preparing for an interview . InchaAllah I'll post something tomorrow.

When reading it be careful concerning the allgorical parallels:

Animal Farm = History of Russia

Old Major's philosophy = The philosophies of Marx and Lenin

Animalism = Communism

Other Animals = Bolsheviks (common people )

Mr. Jones = Czar of Russia

Seven Commandments = Communist Manifesto

Skull of Old Major = Lenin's body

Old Major's death = Lenin's death followed by struggle for power

Windmill Construction = Russian construction of steel mills and electric plants

Napoleon's sale of timber to Frederick = Stalin entered into a non-aggression pact with
Hitler's Germany

Frederick's declaration of war on Animal Farm = Hitler's declaration of war on Russia


Windmill destroyed, animals died = Stalingrad destroyed

Sugarcandy = In 1944 Stalin wrote letters to Pope to conduct services

Napoleon's entertaining of humans in the
farmhouse
= Different meetings between Stalin and Churchill in Russia
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Re: let's answer magister questions :)

Post by princess smile24 on Sun Aug 05, 2012 12:35 am

O.K sassy, I will take into consideration every detail. Thank You so much mate.
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Re: let's answer magister questions :)

Post by sassy86 on Sun Aug 05, 2012 10:19 pm

Hi my dear Smile First of all, you should know that such questions are not easy to answer as they may seem. You are not just supposed to say: okay, Animal farm, point of view = animals' point of view and that's it. You should explain HOW and WHY (le pourquoi du comment, as we say Wink


There is division of the essay which came to my mind First paragraph -a general introduction talking about what Animal farm and the clear connection Orwell intended to make with his story and the history of Russia and communism. Then you'll make a sort of transition here, saying that he obviously did that by INDIRECTLY introducing his point of view through the naive animals of the farm. (Don't say anything more, give some suspence for your reader and make him/ her eager to read more Wink (The final and complete answer will be given in the final paragraph of the body of your essay. The conclusion will be just a restating and summing up of all what we have said).


Second paragraph, it will be talking about IRONY in the novel by showing how IRONY is of emminent importance as the author uses it to express his point of view. You start explaining that irony is a contrast or contradiction between what a statement seems to say and what it really means OR between what characters think happened and what really happened (and Animal Farm is full of contrasts and contradictions). You give an example: One night the animals heard a crash and they found Squealer in the barn sprawled on the ground beside a broken ladder with a pot of pain and a brush. and the author refers to this event as :"a strange incident which hardly anyone was able to understand". Few days later, the animals found the Fifth Commandment painted not in the exact way as they remembered it, as there were two extra words "THEY HAD FORGOTTEN". The narrator makes no comment here. Of course it was Squealer who painted these words and of course the animals naively thought they had forgotten them. The contrast between what the animals believe , what the narrator actually tells us, and what WE READERS know to be the truth produces an even stronger effect of anger than it would have been if the narrator openly denunciated it.
Another example of irony and how the narrator uses it to introduce his own point of view BUT uttered by the own naive mouths of the animals: When Boxer, who was so ill after having worked like a slave for the building of the windmill and the pigs have presumably declared that they had generously payed for the hospital and a van would come to take him there, Benjamin the Donkey reads on one side of the van "Horse Slaughterer". We, as readers, think that finally the animals had opened they eyes and realized the cunning of the pigs but as usual Squealer brings one of his ridiculous and fake excuses to convince the naive animals that once again they have been mistaken. Squealer silences them by explaining that the can used to belong to a horse slaughterer and that the vet did not have time to paint over the old sign. We are gravely informed that "The animals were enormously relieved to hear this". Once again, the narrator uses irony to show that though the story is told from the naive animals of the farm, we as readers shouldn't be naive and in the same way mistaken when reading such contradictions. This is why the story is told from the perspective of the naive animals and NOT from that of the clever pigs or that of the narrator. We readers know what the animals don't know. The narrator in Animal farm is never involved in the action of the story, this allows Orwell to push us understand his characters and their motives.



The second paragraph and the third, should be devoted to the point of view of the animals as the story is told from their perspective. BUT, and I am almost sure of this, you should devote a greater part to Benjamin (the donkey) at the end of this paragraph or if you wish in the third paragraph of the essay to create a sort of balance between the fact that Animal Farm IS told from the animal's naive perspective BUT also from BENJAMIN's perspective who is obviously the only one reflecting (now and then) the point of view of Orwell. Benjamin is does not have any great hopes for the revolution or for anything else. He believe that no matter what, things will be going pretty much the same for the animals with or without Jones-that is badly. Like Orwell, Benjamin is the only one who sees that the animals are or were in no better situation before or after the revolution.


For further reading, I used this book
http://books.google.dz/books?id=xtCZEzLPCLwC&pg=PA22&lpg=PA22&dq=animal+farm+point+of+view&source=bl&ots=fZyQ4aavJN&sig=DMh0t6Gl7Yn80IxglRk-gEmhBx4&hl=ar&sa=X&ei=E8YeUIiMCYKH4gTf7oHwBQ&redir_esc=y#v=snippet&q=notes&f=false
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Re: let's answer magister questions :)

Post by princess smile24 on Wed Aug 08, 2012 8:21 pm

Hi Sassy, I am sorry for being so late 3yit1 . First, the story is amazing; I enjoyed it and it reminds me with another one which deals also with the Communist Party " The Crucible " by Arthur Miller. Second, what you wrote is really professional, Hats Off . Third I wonder if the method you followed (How and Why) is the same for any literary criticism? I mean for the steps, are they the same for any case? and what about a brief presentation for the author, would I mention it or not?. Finally , I should focus on one important feature of the text which is IRONY for example as you did and argue about it, is it so?
Thank you so much dear sassy and Saha Ftourek. jouliya
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Re: let's answer magister questions :)

Post by sassy86 on Wed Aug 08, 2012 11:44 pm

Salam Princess. You're too kind dear, God bless that kind heart of yours Smile


The answer to any question in literary criticism involves essentially answering HOW and WHY. (Of course, questions may vary but I'll show you why answering HOW and WHY are important):
Remember your question : From whose perspective is " Animal Farm " told? Why would Orwell have chosen such a perspective?

What is the answer to the first part? The story is told from the animals' perspective.
HOW? (Give evidence from your text. The above examples show how the narrator is detached as the story SEEMS to be told from the naive animals' perspective.

IS THAT ALL?? If your reader reads this, s/he might think Orwell's point of view is completely absent which is NOT the case.


So, you have to explain HOW. (Answer Arrow He introduces his point of view using IRONY when he 'seems' to let the animals speak for themselves.
BUT WHY AGAIN ??? (this is not me asking but the second half of your question Very Happy Why would Orwell have chosen such a perspective?) Answer: Arrow it allowed Orwell detach himself as a narrator in order to produce an even stronger effect of anger than it would have been if the narrator openly denunciated the pigs. (or the political leaders)


All those questions is red and in capital letters are not my questions but your reader's when he will be reading your essay.

You should always put in mind when writing that the examinator DOES NOT KNOW ANYTHING about this novel or literature (though they know Wink but they don't know that you know You got me ?? Wink So he might ask himself questions and your essay must answer (if not anticipate those questions).


As for your question concerning the author and his life or anything related to him, I'm sorry to say this for I know many people do it, but students often tend to do that when they don't actually have anything else more interesting to say in their essay. Yes, maybe for some questions it is important to do that. For example, if the question was in biographical criticism: Is The Great Gatsby fully inpired from Fitzgerald's life story??? In this case, it is more than important to write about that.
Anyways, I wouldn't talk much about an author or about what literary school he belongs to unless it is clearly related to the question given to me.

Don't hesitate dear, if there is anything unclear
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Re: let's answer magister questions :)

Post by princess smile24 on Fri Aug 10, 2012 1:48 pm

Hi sassy, thank you so much for your worth information, I always learn from you . May GOD reward you sister.
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Re: let's answer magister questions :)

Post by sassy86 on Fri Aug 10, 2012 10:57 pm

You're welcome my dear Princess, it's my pleasure
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Re: let's answer magister questions :)

Post by wonderland20 on Mon Sep 10, 2012 1:00 pm

Great job girls; you are keeping me here motivated to carry on. So i was browsing the net for some previous MA question this one caught my attention :

Kennedy,one of the most prominent presidents of America, once said that the U.S.A was a society of immigrants, each of whom had begun life a new ,on an equal footing. This is the secret o f America: a nation of people with the fresh memory of old traditions, who dare explore new frontiers.
Discuss the president’s saying and give your comments on the contribution of immigration to success of the U.S.A as a powerful nation.

So if I had to answer this one ; I would start my introduction by saying that the United has been overwhelmingly a nation of immigrants from its inception . Starting from the colonial times up to date the US has attracted immigrants around the globe. of course they were driven by economiw and political factors seeking a new life that they couldn't find back home.

Now as our readers have attained a general idea of the US a nation of immigrants now we can introduce some terms that have contributed greatly to the emergence of the US as a world power n were considered as pillars in the making of the States. These catchcall phrarses namley The Melting pot society and E Pluribus Unum ie: Out of many one are going to be introduced and illustrated of the coming waves of immigrants in the forthcoming chapters.

As a conclusion we can say that immigration continues today, with many Americans divided about the benefits and the draw-backs that go along with it. . But at the end of the day, America remains a shining beacon to people the world over as a land of freedoms and economic plenty. The see the United States and think of those famous lines, "give us your poor, your tired, your longing masses longing to be free."

this is just the way I plan to aswner for that question :p
Any further comments ladies??
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Re: let's answer magister questions :)

Post by sassy86 on Mon Sep 10, 2012 5:31 pm

Miss 'melting pot' herself is asking us??!! heheheh Sorry sweety, I often associate you with this theme coz I know how fascinated you are with it.

For me you're introduction is PERFECT Wink

The body though isn't really clear for me, because Kennedy is simple saying 'you know we're different -in color, culture, race...etc- but guess what, this is what makes us strong because we have the same aim' Cool Sorry mister president, because your government idn't and is not offering these immigrants the same opportunities for persuing this "same" aim and longing for a better future.

What I'm saying is, yes they may have the same aim but they don't have the same chances AND this beautiful 'hymn' of we're different, we live peacefully, loving each others' is not what makes America strong, what makes it strong is exploiting these immigrants!

To sum up, what he is saying is 'our policy of integration of immigrants is working pretty well' and it NOT and it was NEVER the case.

Now do you agree with my dear?
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