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Comparisons Are Odious

Meanings of “Comparisons Are Odious”

The proverb/phrase “comparisons are odious” means almost the same thing if not used otherwise. The phrase is commonly used to remind ourselves that we should not compare things, behaviors, or abilities with others, as they are not always the same. There are various things, which contribute to differences in them. Hence, comparisons are terrible.

Origin of “Comparisons Are Odious”

The origin of this proverb/phrase “comparisons are odious” is stated to have occurred in The Debate Between Horse, Goose, and Sheep written by John Lydgate. It is stated to have been published in 1440. The proverb/phrase in the book goes thus; “Odyous of olde been comparisonis, And of comparisonis engendyrd is haterede.” Later, it was used by John Donne, Marlow, and Cervantes in their writings respectively.

Examples in Literature

Example #1

ELEGY VIII.  THE COMPARISON by John Donne

Doth not thy fearful hand in feeling quake,
As one which gathering flowers still fears a snake?
Is not your last act harsh and violent,
As when a plough a stony ground doth rent?
So kiss good turtles, so devoutly nice
Are priests in handling reverent sacrifice,
And such in searching wounds the surgeon is,
As we, when we embrace, or touch, or kiss.
Leave her, and I will leave comparing thus,
She and comparisons are odious”

John Done is popular for his odd comparison and conceits. He uses different metaphors and similes such as a snake lurking under the roses, stony ground in the fields, and the kissing of the turtles. However, when he comes to tell about his beloved saying that if there is a comparison, then he is right in saying that she has no comparison. However, when he compares his beloved it becomes an unusual conceit or a metaphor.

Example#2

The Dharma Bums by Jack Kerouac

“There’s nothing wrong with you Ray, your only trouble is you never learned to get out to spots like this, you’ve let the world drown you in its horse**t and you’ve been vexed… though as I say comparisons _are_ odious, but what we’re saying now is true.”

In this passage, the narrator is making Ray understand things in a clear perspective, saying that he has not paid attention to himself, the reason that the other people have taken him for granted which the narrator says is true. The phrase has been given with underscores and the meanings are quite clear. The speaker doesn’t want to compare life’s struggles even if they are vexed.

Example #3

Brümmer on Meaning and the Christian Faith: Collected Writings of Vincent By Vincent Brümmer

Comparisons are odious, as the saying goes. And this is quite true, of course, since we all resent being compared to other people. I want my own individuality to be acknowledged since, in my own eyes, I am myself and not like everybody else! Comparisons are odious because they tend to ignore our individuality. Furthermore, this is true of all things and not only of people. Everything is itself and not another thing. By comparing anything to something else, we ignore its individuality and look upon it as an instance of some general characteristic shared by many things. In this way, we forget that every individual thing is not like any other thing.

The author explains that he is a unique individual with his own individuality, while comparisons ruin this individuality. Comparisons may make people lose their original characteristics or nature.

Example #4

On Lying in Bed and Other Essays by Gilbert Keith Chesterton

I am far from books, and I quote from memory, but I think that a Scotsman, vexed at the ritual jeers of Johnson against his country, said: ‘Do you remember that God made Scotland?” Johnson replied promptly; ‘Sir, you are to remember that he made it for Scotsmen.’ Then after a pause, he said in grave meditation; ‘Comparisons are odious’ but God made hell.’ Now the vague popular opinion Johnson would concentrate on long words like ‘comparisons’ and ‘odious,’ and retain the impression that he was pedantic.

Keith Chesterton has commented on the Scottish background of Johnson. The narrator emphasizes that Scotland’s for Scottish people. There should be no comparisons but when he stresses on individual words, it means that he wants to seem a sophisticated person and tries to clarify the meanings of this phrase. Therefore, it is used in a literal sense.

Example in Sentences

Example #1: “You cannot think like Remi, for comparisons are odious and so the comparison between you and him is odious, too.”

Example #2: “Comparisons are odious is a new mantra of this town, he told us all and continued that now it would be used against all and sundry. However, it does not seem true that only he knows and others are unaware of it.”

Example #3: “Comparisons are odious or not, the fact is that we would not let things happen in this way, for comparisons mar the very spirit of the childhood even if they are not proved odious.”

Example #4: “Harry was tired of his grandmother comparing him to his neighbor’s son. He told his grandmother that comparisons are odious and she agreed.”

Example #5: “Lillian often says that comparisons are odious because she doesn’t like underperforming at work.”

Common Sense

Meanings of “Common Sense”

The phrase “common sense” means a common way of judging things and declaring them correct, appropriate, or suitable for the existing solutions of issues. It also means a practical judgment, or in other words, simple matter-of-factness.

Origin of “Common Sense”

The phrase “common sense” is stated to have originated as back as in the 14th century and has been in use since then. However, its published popular use was made by Thomas Paine when he penned down a pamphlet, Common Sense, in 1776. Since then, the phrase has become very popular as a replacement for common judgment.

Examples in Literature

Example #1

Universal Love Samuel Lombardo

The definition that is
always misconstrued
with three levels of Love.
Sounds to me that
with different meanings
and no commonsense
it does not take brain surgeon
to diagnose the convict here.

The poet states that when a person defines things on three different levels, it means that there is something wrong with that person to whom the poet has called “the convict.” The phrase common sense has been used in its literal sense though joined with a hyphen.

Example #2

Common Sense by Charles Hughes Terrot

I have no genius. Though I make no doubt,
Sage reader, thou would’st soon have found this out:
I tell thee, lest thou waste thy precious time
In seeking here for aught but sense and rhyme—
Plain common sense; but no ecstatic feats,
And rhymes at least as good as Mister Keates’*.
Time was when bards were few: then might you see
In Button’s room the whole fraternity;
But now, like Egypt’s frogs, on every hand
They spread and croak and darken all the land:

The poem, though, seems very funny, has a beautiful lesson in that it clearly states that the poet wants to dispel the skepticism of his readers, saying that his poem comprises only “sense and rhyme” and not imagination. The name of Keats with Mister shows the latent irony of the poet against Romanticism. However, the phrase has its literal meanings throughout the poem which is bedecked with several other devices such as metaphors and similes as shown in the last three lines.

Example #3

Common Sense by Joshua Bassett

Common sense told me she was not worthwhile
Common sense said don’t go the extra mile
Common sense said go back and reconcile
But common sense forgot about her smile

The poet gives indirect meanings it this phrase that it has told, taught, and advised him different things at different occasions; advising about his would-be better half, the teaching of not running too much, and not looking back at the old love. However, he states that despite this, common sense forgot to advise him about the lovely smile of his beloved. The phrase shows the use of personification as common sense has been personified as his advisor.

Example #4

Common Sense by Thomas Paine

Although it is a simple pamphlet by Thomas Paine written as back as 1775, it supports the American colonies of that time to win independence from the United Kingdom. The total number of colonies was 13. His actual purpose has been to persuade the colonial managers and political stooges to be ready to win independence for the separate homelands by joining hands. The write-up is not only cohesive but also very clear. Therefore, it is an extended metaphor of common sense.

Example in Sentences

Example #1: “Why don’t you use your common sense? Willie’s father yelled at him for breaking the blender.”

Example #2: “When most of the people cannot come up to any plausible explanation of their actions, they often state that it is just common sense. However, his method is somewhat different from others, for he does not go to this root; rather, he finds the things that back up his claim, instead of seeking assistance from common sense.”

Example #3: “When he is told that his crying and wailing will not work, he resorts to common sense approach. He tries to ask somebody to be his witness and make him stand on his own but fails. Then he reverts to trying to convince them that is the son of a reliable landowner, but it too failed.”

Example #4: After hearing arguments, he only stated that his friend, Jon Webster is not worth the salt, the reason that his argument could not be correct if based on common sense.”

Example #5: “Nathan is quite intelligent and uses his common sense while taking important decisions.”

Stranger Danger

Meanings of “Stranger Danger”

The phrase “stranger danger” means all strangers can possibly be dangerous and not to be trusted. It is rather a slogan that intends to warn children and women about the risks posed by the strangers.

Origin of “Stranger Danger”

The phrase, “stranger danger” is said to have its initial traces in the 1960s when various campaigns actively ran in the United States regarding children’s safety. However, its early citation was traced in, The Austin Daily Herald, published in 1963, where it is stated as; “The annual policemen’s ball, held to raise funds for the Austin Police Benefit Association, will be held Thursday, Feb. 21, at the Terp ballroom. Funds from the ticket sale will be used to help finance association activities including a baseball team… and the Stranger Danger picture.” Since then, it has been used in various ways by many writers.

Examples in Literature

Example #1

Stranger Danger by Carter Murphy

Stranger Danger!
Stranger Danger!
Please, someone!
Stranger Danger!
I don’t know who i am!
Who is that person in the mirror!
Stranger Danger!
Stranger Danger!
Please, can anyone even hear?
Is anyone even there?
Stranger Danger!
Stranger Danger!
Am i voiceless?
Am i am i alone here in this mess?
Stranger Danger!
Stranger Danger!
I’m in deep with my inner being!
I can’t even understand!
Stranger Danger!
Stranger Danger!
I think i see a life-changer!
Life-changer!
Over here!
Your coming!!
Your coming!
You heard the voice of my screaming heart!
You heard my voiceless cry!
Your coming!
Your here now to save me
And change me.
I believe in hope, faith, love and joy.
I believe it all now!

This poem describes the fear of the speaker. He finds himself a stranger in the mirror. His inner being forces him to think whether he sees himself in the mirror, or whether there is another person. Later, in the poem, the poet starts recognizing the person he sees in front of him, thinking that he is a savior. He believes that the person is going to change his life forever. Thus, leaving his fears and agony behind, the speaker accepts the real state of his life. The phrase has been used as a rhetorical device, the repetition, in the poem as the poet has repeated the phrase throughout the poem.

Example #2

Stranger Danger by Roger W Hancock

Strangers may be danger,
even though they seem nice,
Stay away from strangers,
when you do not know them.
When a stranger says, “Do not yell.”
yell real loud and run to tell.
When a stranger asks you to come,
yell !  Run !  Go tell mommy and daddy!

The short poem speaks about the safety of the children. He advises them to avoid strangers. Don’t believe them as they deceive the children in the name of love. The poet gives some useful tips to avoid the risk of being caught in a problem, saying that if a stranger calls you or asks you to stay quiet, do not follow his commands. Instead, raise your voice and report to your parents about these unusual happenings. Since the speaker provides tips for children’s safety, the phrase has been shown used as an extended metaphor of safety.

Example #3

Never Talk to Strangers by Irma Joyce and illustrated by S.D. Schindler

Irma Joyce illustrates the situations children face when a stranger approaches them. Keeping the children’s safety in mind, the writer has wonderfully highlighted certain situations in this book like what should a child do when they are alone at home and a stranger arrives, or if someone approaches them outside while playing. To equip them with useful tips, the writer has presented them with “psychedelic” artwork and witty rhymes relevant to the situations they usually face in life. The book explains the meaning of the phrase that strangers pose an ultimate danger to innocent children.

Example #4

Fairytales Gone Wrong: Who’s Bad and Who’s Good, Little Red Riding Hood? A Story About Stranger Danger by Steve Smallman and illustrated by Neil Price

This graphic novel presents us with a story of a red-cloaked innocent girl who sets off with a basket full of delicious cakes for her grandma. While leaving the house, her mother advises her to be gentle and beware of strangers. Further, she says that if a stranger tries to approach you, instead of listening, yell, and run. Thus, she departs happily, while on the way, she meets an adorable bunny and a weird wolf. The book nicely describes her experiences with both creatures and the useful discovery about good and bad strangers. However, this discovery has been referred to with this phrase.

Example in Sentences

Example #1: “While talking about stranger danger, the teacher explained that some strangers are good and can be trusted too. However, it is better to avoid them if they are not sure.”

Example #2: “In olden times, a child’s safety was not a prominent subject, however, teaching stranger danger is a common practice nowadays to protect children from trafficking.”

Example #3: “Like many other students, Jim also produced a good piece of writing on the topic, stranger danger, and his ideas were praised by the whole class.”

Example #4: “Leena gave her children a lot of examples while warning them about the stranger danger before she allowed them to go on Halloween night.”

Example #5: “I still remember the horrible night when a stranger tried to approach my friend on a spooky night. Keeping stranger danger in her mind, she started yelling and saved herself.”

 

The Weakest Link

Meanings of “The Weakest Link”

The phrase “the weakest link” refers to the point of a person in a process that is the most incompetent, the most vulnerable, and the least dependable. The phrase has derived from a proverb “a chain is only as strong as its weakest link,” implying a single substandard link may damage the chain.

Origin of “The Weakest Link”

The phrase, “the weakest link” is must have originated from Thomas Reid’s Essays on the Intellectual Powers of Man, published in 1786, where it is stated as; “In every chain of reasoning, the evidence of the last conclusion can be no greater than that of the weakest link of the chain, whatever may be the strength of the rest.”

Examples from Literature

Example #1

The Weakest Link by Helgard du Preez

This life as you know it, clinging onto my shoulders,
A burden so heavy, I have to carry,
Little pebbles have grown into boulders,
I miss the times I could depend on daddy

So many I have to question,
who dares to answer them?
swiftly without intervention,
They say time will heal, but when?

I am what I am, what should I be?
My spirit fled and took the road,
My eyes are blinded, can’t you see?
It’s time to lay down on the road, squash me like a toad

Coz I’m looking at my path, where should I go?
Tricksy roads always find my way,
Shaping me like a piece of dough,
Standing at the point of no return, no more to say

All be over in a blink of an eye,
I’m the weakest link, Goodbye.

The poem reflects the problematic life of the speaker. The disheartened speaker is fed up; he calls his life a burden – a burden that is constantly increasing. This dark phase of his life makes him think about the joyous childhood when he was dependent on his parents. Now happiness and glories seem a forgotten tale because life has pushed him toward a path full of thorns. He does not want to believe in the myths fed to him since childhood that time will eventually heal the wounds. Instead of bringing joy, life always brings worries and tensions. He believes that only death can eradicate all these worries. Therefore, the phrase has been shown used in the last line as a metaphor for extreme difficulty.

Example #2

The Weakest Link by Zia Everhart  

 I am the weakest link.
You will never hear me say,
“Nothing’s impossible,”
And
“I believe I can do it.”
I have chosen failure.
Never will I say again, that
I am useful.
I am just a burden for others
And I refuse to accept that
Success is tangible.
I choose to believe that
Happiness doesn’t exist.
No one has ever said to me that
I’m important, and
It’s true
That shame reigns rampant over me.
Never again will I believe.

The poet, here, calls herself the weakest link because she has made wrong choices that led her to face ultimate failures. Now she feels himself a useless person and a burden to others. Her life has become a center of darkness. Unfortunately, no one is there to support her and make her realize that his presence does matter. Therefore, this shame and heart-wrenching loneliness is pushing her toward negativity. The phrase shows its metaphorical use in the opening lines of the poem.

Example #3

The Weakest Link by T.A. Lean

The book revolves around the Secret government agencies how they use people to make their deceitful plans work by hook or by crook. For this purpose, a young and seemingly insignificant woman is unwittingly placed on a scientific project. As the story continues, the protagonist finds herself in a challenging situation, while every effort made by the agencies to keep their mission a secret exploits her. The writer highlights the working of the powerful agencies how they manipulate others and make them scapegoats when the need arises. Therefore, the phrase is used to signify a person who is easily fooled.

Example #4

The Weakest Link: Why Your Employees Might Be Your Biggest Cyber Risk by Jeremy Swinfen Green

Keeping the importance of cybersecurity in the center, Jeremy Swinfen Green has written this masterpiece to help people understand how information security relies on the people working in an organization. The writer has provided effective solutions to the problems related to information security including a guide on how people may establish a complete and effective culture of security. It is through this advanced approach they make themselves digitally safe at their workplaces as well as in their personal lives.

Example in Sentences

Example #1: “Since COVID-19 pandemic has derailed the world from its normal path. Therefore, the implementation of strong protective measures is the need of the hour. However, the liability of all protective measures will be determined by the weakest link.”

Example #2: “The newly elected leader raised the issue in a parliament, to him, the weakest link in the communist system is the economic imbalance.”

Example #3: “My father, a great politician, once said that politicians serve as the weakest link in the chain because they change their decisions so easily.”

Example #4: “The strength of any system is precisely dependent on its weakest link.”

Example #5: “Samuel proved to be the weakest link when he should have been the strongest, but now we need to cover up the damage he has done to us.”

Pride and Prejudice

Introduction Pride and Prejudice

The universally acclaimed tour de force of Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice, a novel of manners, is also called a model of the Romantic Movement in literature. It was written and published around 1813 during the classical Regency Period. The storyline revolves around the Bennet family whose mother’s only desire is to see her daughters married to well-off and handsome young men to secure their inheritance. However, the main character, Elizabeth Bennet, shows her evolution from a rash, hasty girl to an appreciably understanding lady, who accepts her mistakes and agrees to Darcy’s proposal by the end.

Summary Pride and Prejudice

A wealthy young man, Charles Bingley, rents a manor in the proximity of Longbourn, a village, where the Bennet family resides. Having five daughters ready to be married, Mrs. Bennet sees Mr. Bingley a likely match for any one of her five daughters. She, therefore, persuades Mr. Bennet to pay him a courtesy visit following which all join a ball at Mr. Bingley’s manor, Netherfield Park. Jane, the second Miss Bennet, succeeds in attracting Mr. Bingley, toward her during the dance, and they both spend much time together. However, it happens that Mr. Darcy, too, joins them, though he is not much pleased with this party where Elizabeth is also present. Both of them show their displeasure, as Mr. Darcy does not join her in dance, a sign of arrogance considered in those social circles.

In the later weeks, when Mr. Bingley is already enjoying his friendship with Jane while Mr. Darcy hopes to see Elizabeth. One day when Jane is caught in the rainstorm and falls ill on her way to Netherfield Park, Elizabeth visits the mansion to take care of her and gets her dress muddied on the way to the mansion. Miss Bingley does not like her appearance and insults her. Mr. Darcy defends her and it angers Miss Bingley and this incident also adds jealousy toward Elizabeth.

Both of the sisters return after Jane recovers. Mr. Collins, their cousin, visits them. Mr. Collins is likely to become the heir of Bennet’s property, as he is the only male member of the family. He instantly falls in love with the Bennet girls and their manners. Soon, he starts courting Elizabeth only to face rejection.

Meanwhile, soldiers stationed near Longbourn keep the Bennet girls busy, where Wickham, a dashing soldier, turns to Elizabeth and tries to win her attention. He berates Darcy alleging that he has tried to cheat him of inherited property. When winter starts, the Bingleys, along with Darcy, return to London which disappoints Jane. Around this time, Collins also gets engaged with Charlotte Lucas, the daughter of a knight. When they get married, Elizabeth promises to visit them. Winter passes without any stir in the emotions of the Bennet sisters due to the long absence of Darcy and Bingley.

When spring arrives, Elizabeth goes to see Charlotte, Mr. Collins’ wife, residing near Darcy’s aunt, Lady Catherine. Darcy also visits his aunt and meets Elizabeth. He starts visiting her at the Collins’ and proposes to her which invites immediate rejection from her with some words for his arrogant behavior. However, instead of retreating, he leaves a letter for her about Jane and Bingley, and his reasons for distancing from Jane. He also informs her that Wickham, the soldier, is a habitual liar and has been trying to elope with Georgiana, Elizabeth’s younger sister. However, Mr. Darcy from whom Wickham has sought assistance has refused to assist him. This letter reveals the good nature of Darcy to Elizabeth after which she shows cold-shouldering to Wickham. Also, Lydia still seeks permission to stay at Brighton. Elizabeth gets acquainted with the Gardiners, where she, unknowingly, stumbles upon the Pemberley, the estate of Mr. Darcy. She visits and finds him generous in every way. When Mr. Darcy arrives, he serves her well without mentioning her rejection.

During Elizabeth’s stay at the estate, she comes to know that Lydia eloped with Wickham. She hurries home, while Gardiner goes to find the couple. They convince Wickham to marry Lydia at which the Bennets readily agree. They realize that they owe Gardiner as might have paid Wickham to marry Lydia. However, the source of that money remains unknown at this time.

After their marriage, though, Lydia and Wickham come to Longbourn to meet the family, they are not happily welcomed home. Disappointed, the couple leaves. Bingley, afterward, reappears and starts flirting with Jane, while Darcy is there with him to visit the Bennets. Though, he does not mention his wish for Elizabeth. So, Bingley proposes and wins Jane’s hand. Darcy seeks assistance from his aunt, Lady Catherine, who broaches the topic of his marriage with the announcement, asking Katherine to refuse. Elizabeth finally agrees to go out on a date with Mr. Darcy. Three daughters are happily married by the end of the novel.

Major Themes in Pride and Prejudice

  1. Pride: The novel shows the thematic strand of pride through the characters of Darcy and Elizabeth. They both demonstrate pride toward each other and both think that the other one is snobbish and haughty. However, Mr. Darcy soon learns that Elizabeth is just cautious and responsible. While Elizabeth learns that Mr. Darcy is just an isolated man, but full of kindness and love for others. However, Lady Catherine, by the end, plays a strange game by asking Elizabeth not to accept the marriage proposal of Mr. Darcy to which she refuses to promise. She finally accepts his proposal on her claim that she has the right to be happy.
  2. Prejudice: This is the second thematic strand is also in the title of the novel. The prejudice lies in the character of Elizabeth that she does not consider Mr. Darcy good enough to dance with him. Both are prejudiced toward each other, as Mr. Darcy, too, shows scorn for those who is not in his personal social circle. However, when Elizabeth enters his social circle, he immediately proposes to her again and marries her.
  3. Family: Having a complete family is the third major theme as the Bennets are waiting for young men to marry their five young daughters. That is why when Mr. Bingley arrives in Longbourn, Mrs. Bennet immediately asks her husband to visit him. Similarly, Jane and Elizabeth find their matches in Mr. Bingley and Mr. Darcy in their desires to complete their families through marriages.
  4. Women: Although there are several towering male characters like Mr. Darcy and Charles Bingley, yet Pride and Prejudice is the novel of women. Women play a central role throughout the story. It also comprises so many marriages. Hence, it has been rightly termed as the novel of manners. Mrs. Bennet is a towering character with her daughter Elizabeth along with Lady Katherine, Darcy’s aunt. Although all men seem to play their role, except Mr. Darcy, all others seem to be going on the way the women choose for them. Mr. Bennet does what Mrs. Bennet asks him to do. Wickham becomes what Lydia wants him; her husband after Mr. Darcy purchases her marriage from him.
  5. Class: Although the novel supports a no-class system, it emphasizes that the marriages should be based on convenience and status that points to class consciousness. Darcy is clearly conscious of his class. So, when Elizabeth rejects his proposal after he does not dance with her, it becomes a point of the class system. However, when the same Elizabeth visits his estate and comes to know him, she immediately changes her opinion and softens her feelings towards Mr. Darcy. At the end of the story, it does raise her status. Also, Bennet’s sisters flirt with Collins, as he does not belong to their class.
  6. Marriage: The theme of marriage comes to the readers through the Bennet family, especially plotted by their mother, Mrs. Bennet. She is fully obsessed with the idea of marrying her daughters to any young man who comes their way to secure their inheritance. When Mr. Bingley arrives, she immediately springs up from her stupor to torture her husband, Mr. Bennet to visit her. She even tries to keep Collins for any one of them, but they do not pay heed to her suggestions. Therefore, the first line of the novel presents this major theme.
  7. Individual and Society: The novel also presents the theme of an individual and his place in society such as Mr. Darcy, who encourages Wickham to marry Lydia, instead of keeping her unmarried with him. Had it not happened, Wickham would have caused embarrassment to the Bennet family. Also, it shows that no individual could find respect and honor in society, for Wickham would have caused damage to himself, too.
  8. Virtue: The theme of virtue in, Pride and Prejudice, is clear from the character of Elizabeth, who keeps her vanity in front of her, instead of giving priority to her happiness. This becomes her virtue that wins the heart of Mr. Darcy, while Lydia’s act causes damage to her reputation, which becomes Lydia’s vice.

Major Characters in Pride and Prejudice

  1. Elizabeth: Elizabeth is the protagonist, the most loving character of the novel. She is her father’s pet as well as a center of admiration for Mr. Darcy. She is misunderstood at first. Elizabeth is also called Eliza or Lizzy in her familial circle. As the second daughter of the Bennet family, she wins Mr. Darcy by the end with her quick thinking, despite the initial hiccups in forming relations with the same person. She demonstrates a balanced personality and removes her prejudicial behavior.
  2. Darcy: Though, Fitzwilliam Darcy called, Mr. Darcy appears haughty and socially shunning he proves equal to Elizabeth in thoughts as well as likes. A person of demanding taste, he shows kindness, manners, and wins the respect of others on account of his rational approach to life despite his initial arrogance toward Elizabeth. However, later he proves that he is a man to be trusted when he helps The Bennets to settle Lydia’s elopement affair. He falls in love with Elizabeth and proposes at the end of the story.
  3. Jane Bennet: The eldest of Bennet girls, Jane, later, marries Mr. Bingley. However, despite her beauty and fairness, Mr. Darcy prefers Elizabeth to her in the beginning. While Bingley instantly falls for Jane. She is a conventional lady who has faith in her sister Elizabeth, whom she tells about Mr. Bingley. Jane has set an example of marrying in the traditional atmosphere.
  4. Bingley: The significance of Charles Bingley’s character in the course of the novel lies in that the very first sentence of the novel pays tribute to his wealth and requirement for a wife, which prompts Mrs. Bennet to send her husband for socialization with him. He, seeing beauty in Jane, instantly goes for her, instead of the other clever ones. He also loves Caroline and Louisa, his two sisters, and has a kind heart. Following his marriage, he moves near the Pemberley to stay close to Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth.
  5. Wickham: George Wickham is a charming soldier and close to Mr. Darcy. He is the most undesirable character in the story due to actions such as beguiling Lydia and lying about Darcy. Elizabeth might have been his intended victim, but her wit saves her from his cheating nature. He then lures Lydia, mired in gambling and bad habits. Wickham has been Darcy’s close relative, the reason that his father has bequeathed some property for him. When he elopes with Lydia, Mr. Darcy intervenes to save his skin and gets them married.
  6. Bennet: She is a very tiring but inquisitive character. Mrs. Bennet proves a bee in the bonnet for Mr. Bennet whenever she sees any prospect of a coming young man marrying any of her young daughters. It happens in the case of Mr. Bingley when she comes to know that he has not married despite having a good fortune. However, she is deficient in both; the mundane sagacity as well as human relations. She becomes fully satisfied at the end of the novel when she sees all her girls marrying and settling happily.
  7. Bennet: Mr. Bennet is the head of the Bennet family, and also a legal hand working in the court with a mind full of worldly wisdom. At home, his favorite daughter is Elizabeth to whom he calls Lizzy. Sadly, his relations with his wife are always sour. He is often found cutting jokes at Mrs. Bennet’s bad temper. He suffers and feels insulted at Lydia’s affair from which Mr. Darcy saves him.
  8. Lydia Bennet: Despite her beauty and closeness to Elizabeth, Lydia proves her stupidity by falling into the trap of Mr. Wickham. She elopes with Wickham without realizing the consequences. However, Mr. Darcy, sensing danger, reaches to assist her in marrying Wickham.
  9. Catherine Bennett: Kitty or Katherine is the second last Bennet sisters, who despite being young, do not marry and continues with her life like before, which shows her shrewdness for brightening her prospects after getting her sisters married.
  10. Mary Bennet: She is the most educated or seemingly educated but serious character of the novel. She mostly stays away from others immersed in her books. She also has a very keen interest in human relations and understands more than others.

Writing Style Pride and Prejudice ‎

Jane Austen has shown her amazing linguistic skills through this novel by using simple and straightforward language. This style is meant to hook her readers from any language background and take them on a tour of a family, 18th-century lifestyle, and human relations. However, the specialty of this simple language lies in its iron andy wit. The narrator, the third person omniscient, often says something that means entirely something else. For instance, Mr. Bennet’s comments against his wife, creating an amusing situation. Otherwise, the story goes straightforward without much of twists and turns. The style also stays uncomplicated throughout the novel except in some cases where educated characters talk seriously about issues such as Lydia’s behavior and Wickham’s actions.

Analysis of Literary Devices in Pride and Prejudice

  1. Action: The main action of the novel comprises the marriage and choices of the Bennet girls. The rising action occurs when Mr. Darcy refuses to dance with Elizabeth, and she rejects his proposal. However, the falling action occurs when Mr. Darcy comes to help the Bennets in the case of Lydia’s elopement, and finally, Elizabeth agrees to Mr. Darcy’s proposal by the end.
  2. Adage: It means the use of a statement that becomes a universal truth. The novel, Pride and Prejudice, shows this use of the statement in the very first sentence; “It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.” (Chapter-1)
  3. Allegory: Pride and Prejudice shows the use of allegory in the initial line which discloses that the characters are going to represent abstract ideas such as Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth both represent abstract feelings of pride and prejudice.
  4. Antagonist: Although it seems that Mr. Darcy is the main antagonist of Pride and Prejudice in the opening chapters, it is Mr. Wickham who becomes the antagonist later when he causes embarrassment to the Bennet family and Mr. Darcy redeems himself from this initial impression by helping the Bennet settle the elopement affair of Lydia and Wickham.
  5. Allusion: There are various examples of allusions given in the novel, Pride and Prejudice. The first allusion is a statement of Mr. Darcy that occurs in the 9th chapter that “I have been used to consider poetry as the food of love”. Here the final part “food of love” alludes to Twelfth Night by Shakespeare. There are several other Biblical allusions such as of “St. James” (Chapter-5), referring to Sir William Lucas.  The second biblical allusion is of “an angel of light” (Chapter-6), which refers to Meryton.
  6. Conflict: The are two major conflicts in the novel, Pride and Prejudice. The first one is the external conflict that starts between Mr. Darcy and Mr. Wickham and another between Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth. Mr. Darcy, however, possesses the capability to resolve both with the help of Elizabeth, who is also thankful to him. Another conflict is in the mind of both Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy, which is resolved at the end of the novel.
  7. Characters: Pride and Prejudice presents both static as well as dynamic characters. The young man, Mr. Darcy, and his would-be wife are two dynamic characters. However, the rest of the characters do not show any significant change in their roles, the reason that Mr. Bennet and Mrs. Bennet, including the Bingleys and Lady Katherine, are all static characters.
  8. Climax: The climatic takes place when Mr. Darcy suggests Elizabeth to marry him, but she refuses. This climax slowly starts resolving and comes to an end when she finally accepts his proposal.
  9. Foreshadowing: The first example of foreshadowing in the novel occurs when Elizabeth knowingly reaches the Pemberley. It shows that she is going to pacify or impress Mr. Darcy, in the first chapter of the third volume of the novel. Even before this, the novel’s title of two abstract feelings shows that there will be something about their relationship and feelings, as shown by Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth. However, the question of Mrs. Bennet about Mr. Bingley’s married or single life is also a type for foreshadowing.
  10. Hyperbole: Hyperbole or exaggeration occurs when Jane Austen opens the book; “It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife.” (Chapter-1). Although it has become an adage, still it is an exaggeration, for several young men may not be in want of a wife. The second hyperbole occurs when Mr. Darcy states that “I shall be miserable if I have not an excellent library” (Chapter-11). However, it is an exaggeration of the reading taste of Elizabeth.
  11. Imagery: Imagery means to use of the five senses such as in the below examples:
    i. At length the Parsonage was discernible. The garden sloping to the road, the house standing in it, the green pales, and the laurel hedge, everything declared they were arriving. (Chapter-28)
    ii. The park was very large, and contained great variety of ground. They entered it in one of its lowest points, and drove for some time through a beautiful wood stretching over a wide extent. (Chapter-43)
    iii. It was a large, handsome stone building, standing well on rising ground, and backed by a ridge of high woody hills; and in front, a stream of some natural importance was swelled into greater, but without any artificial appearance. Its banks were neither formal nor falsely adorned. (Chapter-43)
    The first example shows images of color, the second one of nature, and the third one shows the images of the building as the description shows the use of the senses of sight, smell, and touch in these three examples.
  12. Metaphor: Pride and Prejudice shows good use of various metaphors such as the extended metaphors of proud love compared to Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth’s match, dance as compared to the cognitive understanding of the body, and idiocy with acts such as of Lydia and Wickham. Some other metaphors are:
    i. You mistake me, my dear. I have a high respect for your nerves. They are my old friends. (Chapter-1)
    ii. “Oh, she is the most beautiful creature I ever beheld.” (Chapter-3)
    iii. Do not consider me now as an elegant female, intending to plague you, but as a rational creature, speaking the truth from her heart. (Chapter-19)
  13. Mood: The novel, Pride and Prejudice, shows a satirical mood. However, it also allows characters to be sarcastic and ironic at times to seem biting to some. It, however, becomes tense during the Lydia-Wickham affair but becomes again light-hearted and happy in tone when Mr. Darcy helps the Bennet to settle that affair. It, then, ends on a happy note.
  14. Motif: The most important motifs of the novel, Pride and Prejudice, are courtships, journeys, dances, and marriages.
  15. Narrator: The novel, Pride and Prejudice, has been narrated by a third-person narrator. It is also called an omniscient narrator who happens to be the author himself as he can see things from all perspectives. Here Jane Austen is the narrator.
  16. Personification: Personification means to attribute human acts and emotions to non-living objects such as:
    i. ‘His pride,’ said Miss Lucas, ‘does not offend ME so much as pride often does, because there is an excuse for it. (Chapter-5)
    ii. Her heart was divided between concern for her sister, and resentment against all others. (Chapter-24)
    Both of these examples show pride and heart personified.
  17. Protagonist: Elizabeth Bennet is the protagonist of the novel. She comes in the novel from the very start and captures the interest of the readers until the last page.
  18. Paradox: Pride and Prejudice shows the use of paradox in its title in that it is a regency paradox of feeling pride and then showing prejudice.
  19. Rhetorical Questions: The novel shows good use of rhetorical questions at several places such as:
    i. ‘I cannot believe it. Why should they try to influence him? Elizabeth to Jane (Chapter-24)
    ii. When is your turn to come? You will hardly bear to be long outdone by Jane. Mr. Bennet to Mrs. Bennet (Chapter-24)
    iii. ‘Good Heaven! what is to become of us? What are we to do?’ would they often exclaiming the bitterness of woe. ‘How can you be smiling so, Lizzy? (Mrs. Bennet to Elizabeth) (Chapter-41)
    This example shows the use of rhetorical questions posed by different characters such as first by Elizabeth to Jane, then Mr. Bennet to Mrs. Bennet, and third by Mrs. Bennet to Elizabeth.
  20. Theme: A theme is a central idea that the novelist or the writer wants to stress upon. The novel, Pride and Prejudice, not only shows the titular thematic strands of pride and prejudice, but also life in general and marriage in particular with communication, conventions, relationships, and status or class as other thematic strands.
  21. Setting: The setting of the novel, Pride and Prejudice, is the urban and rural areas of the United Kingdom of the 18th century and places such as Longbourn, Rosings, Pemberley, and Netherfield Park.
  22. Simile: The novel shows good use of various similes such as:
    i. …’they are all silly and ignorant like other girls. (Chapter-1)
    ii. There is nothing like dancing after all, (Chapter-6)
    iii. Yes, ma’am, that he was indeed; and his son will be just like him—just as affable to the poor. (Chapter-43)
    The first simile compares the girls to other girls, the second, no-skill to dance, and the third the son to his father.
  23. Irony: The novel shows irony not only of the situation but also in the language such as:
    i. It is truth universally acknowledged that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife. (Chapter-1)
    ii. ‘My dear, you flatter me. I certainly HAVE had my share of beauty, but I do not pretend to be anything extraordinary now. When a woman has five grown-up daughters, she
    ought to give over thinking of her own beauty.’ ‘In such cases, a woman has not often much beauty to think of. (Chapter-1)
    iii. ‘And we mean to treat you all,’ added Lydia, ‘but you must lend us the money, for we have just spent ours at the shop out there.’ Ten, showing her purchases—’Look here. (Chapter-19)
    The first example shows the irony of language as well as the situation, while the second shows Mr. Bennet using irony against his wife and third Lydia against others.

Of Mice and Men

Introduction Of Mice and Men

Of Mice and Men is a novelette, written by a popular author, John Steinbeck. John is known to have coined many popular phrases and neologisms. The novel was first published in 1937.  The storyline takes a peep at the financial crisis of the Great Depression that plunged the middle class of the United States into the pits of poverty at that time. The story of the novel revolves around two migrant farmworkers, Lennie Small and George Milton, whom the financial collapse has rendered jobless. The story is about how they are struggling to seek the opportunity to make both ends meet. The novel was a massive hit during those times.

Summary Of Mice and Men

George and Lennie are two migrants, working on a plantation in California when the Great Depression struck the United States. They are let off a bus miles away from the California farm where they are about to start working. George Million is an intelligent, small, dark man with sharp, robust features. Lennie Small, his coworker, and friend is his opposite, with a giant personality and a “shapeless” face. Feeling thirsty, George and Lennie stop in a clearing by a pool and camp for the night. As the story progresses, we learn that Lennie has mild mental impediment/autism. However, he is deeply devoted to George and depends upon him for protection and guidance.

George knows that Lennie doesn’t have a gentle touch. He loves petting soft things but accidentally kills them. He sees that while Lennie is carrying and stroking a dead mouse. George angrily throws it away, fearing that Lennie might catch a disease from the dead animal. George complains loudly that his life would be more comfortable without having to care for Lennie. However, George continues to maintain their friendship and devotion. He and Lennie also share a dream of getting their own piece of land. Which they can farm, and also have pet rabbits for Lennie. While camping, George tells a story to Lennie. He describes how a farm life should be and how peaceful their life could be in such a place.

The next day, the men reach the nearby farm. George is afraid of how the new boss might react to Lennie. He doesn’t allow Lennie to speak and lies to the owner, that they are cousins. He also tells him that a horse kicked Lennie in the head when he was a child. Surprisingly, they get the job. They meet Candy, an old “swamper,” or handyman, with a missing hand and an old dog. They also meet Curley, the boss’s son, who is strong-headed and mean. Curley, who is newly married and possessive of his flirtatious wife. He continues threatening Lennie because he suffers from Napoleon Complex. This means a person finds himself disliking bulky-bodied or a person taller/healthier than themselves. Surprisingly, Lennie finds attraction in Curley’s wife, who also flirts with him.

Once George and Lennie are alone in the bunkhouse, Curley’s wife arrives. George, sensing the trouble sends the woman away and also warns Lennie to stay away from Mrs. Curley. George and Lennie later meet Slim, a skilled mule driver who exercises great authority on the ranch. Carlson, another ranch-hand, proposes that once Slim’s dog gives puppies, they should give one puppy to Candy and then shoot Candy’s dog.

Eventually, George reveals the truth to Slim that Lennie is not his cousin, but they have been friends since their childhood. He also shares how Lennie created trouble, especially during their previous job. George recalls the time he was forced to flee with Lennie. Lennie had tried to touch a woman’s red dress but was accused of rape. Slim agrees to give Lennie one of his puppies. On the other hand, Carlson continues to annoy Candy to kill his old dog. Slim also agrees with Carlson’s decision. They believe death is better than letting the animal suffer. Candy is forced to agree, as well. Carlson promises to show mercy and kill the dog painlessly.

While Slim is working in the barn, Curley, filled with rage, searches for his wife. He suspects his wife is having an affair with Slim. Candy hears George and Lennie planning to buy land.  Candy joins hands with them to offer a sum of $350, his life’s savings so that they could purchase their farm.  He puts a condition that they have to let him live there too. The three agree to maintain their secret. Curley, wanting to vent his anger, confronts Lennie and picks a fight with him. Lennie crushes Curley’s hand, breaking it. Slim warns Curley firing George and Lennie fired will not be good for him or the farm.

One night the men from the farm go to the local brothel. Lennie is left with Crooks, the lonely, black stable-hand, and Candy. Curley’s wife flirts with them, refusing to leave. She notices the cuts on Lennie’s face. She suspects Curley had lied to her about the injury. So, when Lennie accidentally kills his puppy in the barn, Curley’s wife consoles him. She tells him that she is not happy with Curley and wishes to be a movie star. Lennie tells her that he loves petting soft things. Hearing that, she offers to let him feel her hair. He grabs it too tightly, and she cries out in pain. While trying to silence her, he unintentionally breaks her neck.

Lennie flees back to a Salinas River, a place George had told him for hiding when either of them gets into trouble. The men at the ranch find out what happens. Along with the men, George goes to find Lennie. George comforts Lenny and assures him that he is not mad at him for doing “a bad thing.” George recounts the story of the farm they will have together. As the men from the ranch come to take Lennie and punish him, George shoots him in the back of the head.

When the other men arrive, George lies that Lennie had the gun. While struggling, he had accidentally shot him. Slim understands what has happened, and comforts George. He tells him that by killing his friend, he has done an act of mercy. Slim leads him away, along with the other men. Carlson and Curley are unable to comprehend it.

Major Themes in Of Mice and Men

  1. Human Nature: This is the major thematic strand that runs throughout the novel is the unpredictability of the human mind. This theme has been interwoven with the characters of not only Curley, who becomes aggressive toward Lennie, but also through his wife and Lennie, who is autistic. When George sees that Lennie is proving too heavy a burden for him, he shoots him. Also, when Curley’s wife sees that Lennie seems too innocent, she exploits him and flirts with him. Lennie also depicts this thematic strand through his nature of dependability on others. It clearly shows the Darwinian principle that only the fittest survive syncs well with the characters of Steinbeck in the story. Moreover, daydreaming of the trio of Lennie, George and Crooks also show this unpredictability of human nature.
  2. Need for Friendship and Society: A man is a social animal and cannot live in a void. Steinbeck shows this theme in his novel through the characters of Lennie and George. Although both are fed up with working on different ranches, Lennie thinks that they must have a ranch of their own. Despite his mental condition, he needs love that he showers on Curley’s wife, and, it costs him dearly. George also shows keeps friendship until the end when he comes to know that Lennie is proving too heavy a burden for him to carry on. Therefore, he shoots him after he accidentally kills Mrs. Curley. It shows that a person cannot live without a social circle. However, ultimately, they must save their own life first and avoid carrying burdens.
  3. Satire on American Dream: The novel not only shows the hollowness of capitalism but also of the much desired and much boosted, American Dream. Lennie and George have had a dream that they should have their farm where Lennie would play with rabbits to satiate his desire for touching furry animals. However, this dream soon crashes to the ground when they confront Curley and his wife. Lennie accidentally kills his wife when she comes to flirt with him and loses his life at the hands of George.
  4. Loneliness: The story shows the impact of loneliness and how it proves a torturing problem for a person. Lennie, due to his autistic nature, cannot live alone. Therefore, he continues to live along with George, while George also is unable to find a dependable solution or place for him. Therefore, they both try to dispel their loneliness through their friendship. Also, Curley’s wife does not see Lennie as handsome enough to cheat Curley; rather, she comes to dispel her loneliness but loses her life in her efforts to end it.
  5. Alienation: The novel demonstrates Marxian alienation in that the workers, George and Lennie, are forced to do menial work at the ranches. They find the routine tiresome and not soul-satisfying. Their menial labor has also forced them to realize alienation through the treatment of Curley and his arrogant attitude.
  6. Gender Marginalization: The theme of gender marginalization has been shown through the insignificance of Curley’s wife for being an anonymous person. She is only stated as Curley’s wife as if she has no name. Secondly, there is Lennie’s aunt, who does not appear physically in the novel. That is how Steinbeck has marginalized women in this novel.
  7. Survival of the Fittest: The novel also demonstrates the Darwinian concept of the survival of the fittest through George and Lennie, for Lennie does not prove that he is the fittest and has to be shot down. Curley proves his fitness and stays alive while his wife is killed by Lennie’s mistake. George kills Lennie when he sees that he should die than facing the lynching mob and hanging for a murder he didn’t commit.
  8. Meanness: Curley’s character and his madness at Lennie’s bulky body show how the human mind suffers from different psychological issues that seem to originate from social circumstances. He tortures Lennie and also berates George during the work and all this without any reason.
  9. Mysterious Human Relations: The story demonstrates the mystery of human relations through the friendship of Lennie and George, for both know each other, understand each other, and support each other’s daydreaming.

Major Characters in Of Mice and Men

  1. George Milton: A guardian, a friend, and an intelligent laborer, George Milton appears on the scene with his ignorant and innocent friend, Lennie. Both of them face bleak futures on account of lack of job during the Great Depression on a ranch. Therefore, he guides the way for Lennie and proves his guide whenever he needs any advice, even for small tasks such as the call to nature. However, he also proves selfish when it comes to saving his life, though, he always stands by Lennie through thick and thin, and even in daydreaming. By the end, he shoots Lennie after seeing his escape impossible when he kills Curley’s wife.
  2. Lennie Small: A huge and bulky-bodied man, Lennie is physically strong and stays with George as his friend. He needs a person to depend on him instead of assisting others. He dreams of having rabbits on the ranch George tells him to purchase when he has the money. He gets along with him normally but his fondling nature proves fatal for him because of his lack of control. He tries to fondle animals but kills them, also when Curley’s wife flirts with him, inviting him to play with his hair, he pulls it hard. He accidentally breaks her neck. Lennie flees and hides, while the lynch mob goes in search of him. Later, George kills him to save him from the consequential torture of the mob or perhaps long imprisonment.
  3. Candy: Candy, a menial rach handyman, is aging and suffers from physical ailments. That is why he is worried about the future work, a thought, which has brought him close to George after he comes to know that George is going to purchase a farm. He also offers his money to join Lennie and George’s plan.
  4. Slim: Slim is an important character in that the author terms him as a prince. He wins respect on the ranch and is the only character whom Curley does not treat badly. In fact, he demonstrates not only natural authority but also demonstrates insight into human nature. He comes to know the real relationship between Lennie and George and Lennie’s dependability on George. As a working hand, he drives a mule on the ranch.
  5. Curley: Curley seems to be the antagonist of the novel, for he not only shows his bossy nature on account of being the son of the master of the ranch but also teases Lennie, unnecessarily and provokes him. Although he is a non-professional boxer, he injures his hand when it comes to fighting with Lennie of whom he is very jealous. Despite his overprotectiveness toward his wife, he lets her flirt with Lennie, which shows the carelessness and lethargy of the landowners.
  6. Curley’s Wife: This anonymous character not only reflects the marginalization of the gender in the novel but also reflects the neglect that her husband shows toward her by mistrusting her. In Steinbeck’s own words, she just symbolizes some attraction that Lennie moves toward her readily and gets trapped in the murder after he accidentally kills her when he tries to stop her yelling due to his body weight on her.
  7. Crooks: Crooks is not only a bitter and cynical fellow in the novel, but he also shows his devious nature through his warped physical appearance and behavior. He helps in stable care at the ranch and stays mostly in isolation from the rest on account of his skin color. However, strangely, he is attracted to Lennie and joins the duo in their daydreaming of a ranch with the plea that he would be hoeing their would-be garden over there.
  8. Carlson: He plays the role of a side character who kills Candy’s dog, though, it is out of mercy to pull him out of trouble. He works with Lennie and George on the ranch.
  9. The Boss: A favorite of Candy, the Boss is the ranch owner who employs Lennie and George when they move from California to some other ranch for work. Candy’s likeness of him is due to his generosity of offering them whiskey on Christmas.

 Writing Style Of Mice and Men ‎

The writing style of the novel, Of Mice and Men, shows a factual description of the writer, John Steinbeck, in that he seems to be stay objective. It shows that his objective is to present the real description of his characters of George and Lennie and their trials, lack of income, and unemployment during the Great Depression. Most of the descriptions given in the novel appear to hinge on the ideas which could be used as directions for creating a play. The use of a conversational style with slang and regional niceties shows the reality of the farming workers and their dilemma of joblessness. They also shed light on their uneducated background and resultant fall into poverty. 

Analysis of Literary Devices in Of Mice and Men 

  1. Action: The main action of the novel comprises the joblessness of George and Lennie and their social mobility toward another ranch. The falling action is of the flight of Lennie after he accidentally kills Curley’s wife after which Curley leads a mob to find him out to lynch him. The rising action, however, is his fondling behavior and efforts to curb her yelling which proves fatal for her.
  2. Allegory: The book shows the use of allegory through the character of Lennie about whom Steinbeck says that he is not only representing madness but also a desire of humanity, in general, to have something tangible to live upon. He shows “survival of the fittest” in the Darwinian sense.
  3. Anaphora: The novel also shows good use of anaphora. For example,
    i. “It was silent outside. The silence came into the room. And the silence lasted.” (Chapter-3).
    Here the use of “silence” refers back to the earlier mention of the idea.
  4. Antagonist: Although it seems that the Great Depression is the main antagonist in the novel, it seems that it is an abstract idea that spread in the United States during the 30s. However, Curley is the actual antagonist, who tortures George and Lennie when they work on the farm of his father.
  5. Allusion: There are various examples of allusions given in the novel. For example,
    i. An allusion to Golden Gloves tournament: Curley says that he got into the final of that tournament as a boxer, which is a lie. (Chapter-3)
    ii. An allusion to Robert Burn’s poem “To a Mouse,” which is given in the shape of a mouse that Lennie and George refer to several times. (Chapter-1)
    iii. Biblical allusion of Adam and Eve’s story through their dream ranch. (Chapter-4)
  6. Conflict: There are various conflicts in the novel. The first one is the external conflict going on between George and Lennie and their situation. The second conflict involves man against nature, man against man, and man against himself. The first is shown by George, while the second is shown by Lennie and Curley, and the third by George and his mental thinking.
  7. Characters: The novel presents both static as well as dynamic characters. George and Lennie are two major characters, while Curley’s wife, Curley, Carlson, Crooks, and the Boss are some minor characters. However, it is George who goes through struggles and changes by the end. Therefore, he is a dynamic character, while the rest of the characters stays the same, the reason that they are all static characters.
  8. Climax: The climax takes place when Lennie, accidentally, breaks the neck of Curley’s wife in his attempts to silence her. It leads to tension in the novel that subsides when George shoots Lennie.
  9. Foreshadowing: The first example of foreshadowing in the novel occurs when Candy’s dog is shot by Carlson to relieve him of suffering. Similarly, George shoots Lennie to relieve him of the suffering he is to go through in case caught alive. The second foreshadow is the hand of Curley that he keeps close to him. It foreshadows that he would pick up a fight with somebody who happens to be Lennie, later.
  10. Hyperbole: Hyperbole or exaggeration occurs when Crooks says to George, “A guy goes nuts if he ain’t got nobody. Don’t make no difference who the guy is, long’s he’s with you. I tell ya” (Chapter-4). The second hyperbole is again by Crooks when he says, “Nobody never gets to heaven, and nobody gets to land” (Chapter-4).
  11. Imagery: Imagery means to use images such as in these examples:
    i. His body was bent over to the left by his crooked spine, and his eyes lay deep in his head, and because of their depth seemed to glitter with intensity. His lean face was lined with deep black wrinkles, and he had thin, pain-tightened lips which were lighter than his face. (Chapter-4)
    ii. Every part of him was defined: small, strong hands, slender arms, a thin and bony nose. Behind him walked his opposite, a huge man, shapeless of face, with large, pale eyes, with wide, sloping shoulders; and he walked heavily, dragging his feet a little, the way a bear drags his paws. His arms did not swing at his sides, but hung loosely. (Chapter-1)
    In the first example, the description of Crooks shows the use of different images such as touch and sound, while the second shows the images of color and touch as Steinbeck uses for George Milton.
  12. Metaphor: The book shows good use of various metaphors such as:
    i. The curls, tiny little sausages, were spread on the hay behind her head, and her lips were parted. (Chapter-5)
    ii. Lennie covered his face with huge paws and bleated with terror. (Chapter-3)
    iii. He was a jerkline skinner, prince of the ranch. (Chapter-4)
    The first example shows the curls compared to sausages, the second hand with paws, and the third comparison of a skinner with the prince.
  13. Mood: The novel shows a sad mood in the beginning but turns to doomed and helplessness as soon as George and Lennie move out to some other ranch and then turns to tragic when George shoots Lennie after he accidentally kills Curley’s wife.
  14. Motif: The most important motifs of the novel are loneliness, animal images, and daydreaming of a ranch by George and Lennie.
  15. Narrator: The novel is narrated by a third-person narrator or omniscient narrator, which is also called an objective narrator.  It is also called an omniscient narrator, who happens to be the author himself, as he can see things from all perspectives. Here Steinbeck himself is the narrator.
  16. Personification: Personification means to attribute human acts and emotions to non-living objects. For example:
    i. The sycamore leaves whispered in a little night breeze. (Chapter-1)
    ii. The shade climbed up the hills toward the top. (Chapter-1)
    iii. The crash of the shot rolled up the hills and rolled down again. (Chapter-6)
    The first example shows sycamore, the second shake, and the third crash, which are showing signs of human acts and emotions.
  17. Protagonist: George and Lennie are two protagonists of the novel on account of their indispensable friendship. The novel starts with their joblessness and moves with them until George is forced to shoot Lennie to make him relieve the sufferings.
  18. Paradox: The novel shows the use of paradox in a very good sentence such as “Candy stood in the doorway scratching his bald wrist and looking blindly into the lighted room.” (Chapter-4). Here the phrase “looking blindly” shows the use of a paradox.
  19. Theme: A theme is a central idea that the novelist or the writer wants to stress upon. The novel not only shows man’s nature but also his situation in the grand design of the universe, his loneliness as well as man’s desire for relationships.
  20. Setting: The setting of the novel is the area of Soledad in California. The rest of the minor settings include the room of Crooks, the bunkhouse, and the barn at the ranch.
  21. Simile: The novel shows good use of various similes. For example,
    i. …and in and out of the beam flies shot like rushing stars. (Chapter-2)
    ii. …he’s sure a hell of a good worker. Strong as a bull. (Chapter-2)
    iii. Curley was flopping like a fish on a line. (Chapter-3)
    iv. Slowly, like a terrier who doesn’t want to bring a ball to his master, he approached. (Chapter-3)
    The first simile compares the sail to a patchwork, the second man’s creases to a desert, and the third the clouds to mountains.
  22. Symbol: The novel shows that the symbols through Candy’s dog, mice, and the dream of a ranch. Whereas the dog represents the fate of a man, mice show hope and the farm shows the desire for independence.
  23. Irony: The story shows situational irony through the daydreaming of George and Lennie in that they are homeless and yet desire to be the owners of a ranch. This could also be called tragic irony.

Oscar Wilde

Early Life

Oscar Wilde is an Irish playwright and poet. He was born on the 16th of October in 1854, in Dublin, a bustling city of Ireland. He was the bright son of Sir William Wilde, one of leading Ireland’s ophthalmologic, while his mother, Jane née Elgee, was a poet. His professional and literary parents played a pivotal role in his early years. His father’s extensive reading collection helped him shaping his creative mind, however, his mother’s linguistics skills left a deep influence on his life and later works.

Education

Oscar Wilde grew up in a house full of books, folklore, rhetoric, and interesting personalities, which enabled him to become a passionate reader and writer. His home became his first institution, where he stayed with his German governess and a French nursemaid, who taught him their languages.  At the age of nine, he was admitted to the Portora Royal School at Enniskillen, where he enjoyed reading Greek and Roman studies. A bright student, he won the school’s prizes in the last two years. Later, in 1871, he won Royal School Scholarship and joined Trinity College, Dublin. He graduated in 1874 winning a scholarship for further study at Oxford. He also won the Berkeley Gold Medal as the best student in Greek.  At Oxford, he continued to polish his creative and intellectual abilities. Also, he made his first writing attempt during his stay at Oxford.

Death

The iconic figure, Oscar Wilde, developed meningitis on the 25th of November in 1900. This fatal disease swallowed all the pleasures of his life. Soon he lost the battle of life on the 30th of November in 1900. At first, he was buried in Franc, while later his remains were transferred to another cemetery in 1909.

Some Important Facts of His Life

  1. In 1878, his first literary piece “Ravenna” won the Newdigate Prize for the best English verse composition by an Oxford undergraduate.
  2. He married a wealthy Englishwoman, Constance Lloyd, in 1884 and the couple had two sons.
  3. Although he was a remarkable figure in the literary world, yet he had his dark sides too. He was imprisoned for his homosexuality in 1985, where he was forced to do hard labor.

His Career

Oscar Wilde began his literary career at a very young age. That is why his literary work achieved maturity quickly. During his stay at Oxford, he became involved in an aesthetic movement “Art for art sake,” which he reflected in most of his works. His first collection of poetry, Poems, was published in 1881. This publication received a mixed response from the readers and critics. Later, in 1888, he came up with fairy-stories, Happy Prince and Other Tales, which he wrote for his two sons. After getting the desired response, he tried his hands on novels, too, and his first and only novel, The Picture of Dorian Gray hit the shelves in 1891. Unfortunately, the novel received a poor response but the author did not lose hope. Later, in 1892, he produced his first play Lady Windermere’s Fan. His successful effort paved the way for a string of highly popular comedies that established him as a great playwright of his time.

His Style

Oscar Wilde possessed a remarkable ability to incorporate aspects of both realism and fantasy in his literary pieces. It is through realistic dialect and thoughtful imagery, he documented two contrastive genres in his pieces. He vividly described situations and characters, using various literary devices such as morbid imagery, paradox, symbolism, metaphor, and rhetorical devices. Another style that is evident in his novel is the fantastic representation of dialogue rather than action. Also, he has an astonishing grip on the dark side of human nature. Therefore, he presented the viciousness and darkness that reside in everyone’s soul.

Some Important Works of Oscar Wilde

  • Best Poems: Some of his major poems include “The Ballad Of Reading Gaol”, A Vision”, “Ava Maria Plena Gratia”, “We Are Made One with What We Touch and See”, “On The Massacre Of The Christians In Bulgaria”, “Sonnet Written In Holy Week At Genoa” and “Sonnet On Hearing The Dies Irae Sung In The Sistine Chapel.”
  • Other Works: Besides writing poetry, he tried his hands on other areas of literature, too. Some of them include The Happy Prince and Other Stories, Lord Arthur Savile’s Crime and Other Stories, The Picture of Dorian Gray, The Importance of Being Earnest, and A Woman of No Importance.

Oscar Wilde’s Impact on Future Literature

Oscar Wilde, one of the most compelling and magical literary figures, mesmerized the generations with his witty, philosophical, and creative thoughts. His efforts to display aesthetic values instead of moral and social themes won laurels from his readers and fellow writers alike. Besides literary accomplishments, he also won hearts for his genuine wit that enabled him to express his ideas about life, death, and alienation in a professional way. Today, when modern writers write, more often they try to imitate his style for the uniqueness his work demonstrates.

Famous Quotes

  1. “Those who find ugly meanings in beautiful things are corrupt without being charming. This is a fault. Those who find beautiful meanings in beautiful things are the cultivated. For these there is hope. They are the elect to whom beautiful things mean only Beauty. There is no such thing as a moral or an immoral book. Books are well written, or badly written. That is all.” (The Picture of Dorian Gray)
  2. “Yes: I am a dreamer. For a dreamer is one who can only find his way by moonlight, and his punishment is that he sees the dawn before the rest of the world.” (The Critic as Artist)
  3. “I really don’t see anything romantic in proposing. It is very romantic to be in love. But there is nothing romantic about a definite proposal. Why, one may be accepted. One usually is, I believe. Then the excitement is all over. The very essence of romance is uncertainty. If ever I get married, I’ll certainly try to forget the fact.” (The Importance of Being Earnest)

The Best Laid Schemes of Mice and Men

Meanings of “The Best Laid Schemes of Mice and Men”

The phrase “the best laid schemes of mice and men” means no matter how carefully we make plans about something, misfortune or accidents might still happen to cause mild or heavy destruction. It also refers to people’s careful planning that may go wrong for some reasons.

Origin of “The Best Laid Schemes of Mice and Men”

The phrase “the best laid schemes of mice and men” could have originated from Robert Burns’ poem “To a Mouse” published in 1876. The speaker unintentionally ruins the mouse’s nest while plowing a field, and later apologizes for that. Since then, the phrase has been used in almost the same sense but in different words.

Examples in Literature

Example #1

To a Mouse by Robert Burns

But Mouse, you are not alone,
In proving foresight may be vain:
The best laid schemes of mice and men
Go often askew,
And leaves us nothing but grief and pain,
For promised joy!

But, Mousie, thou art no thy lane,
In proving foresight may be vain;
The best-laid schemes o’ mice an ‘men
Gang aft agley,
An’lea’e us nought but grief an’ pain,
For promis’d joy.”

These two stanzas speak about the tragic situation of a mouse whose house is destroyed by the poet. First, the speaker encourages the mouse that he is not alone, for even men face the same situation. The second stanza repeats the same thing that even the best schemes of human beings as well as of mice go in the drain. The phrase shows its use in its literal sense.

Example #2

Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck

The novel, Of Mice and Men, is a parable that tells the story of two friends, George and Lennie, whose ambition of owning a ranch faces tragedy. Although they plan carefully to reach their goal, yet the obstacles on their way reveal the true nature of their dream.  Ironically, Lennie who made George’s desire of owning his own land worthwhile becomes the main interference to achieve his goal. The meanings of the novel are clear from the text human beings plan carefully to materialize their dreams, but tomorrow always comes with unexpected challenges and situations.

Example #3

The Best Laid Plans by James Blount

“You don’t like it in the shadows
You won’t let me shine the light
I would wash away your troubles
But it seems
The more that I hold on
The more that you let go
And I know, you better let somebody love you
Or find yourself, on your own….
Tell me why all the best laid plans
Fall apart in your hands
And my good intentions never end,
The way I meant.”

The singer is presenting a doomed person’s expressions who are not ready to embrace the speaker’s love and friendship. The speaker wants to eradicate his lover’s problems but she never opens up her heart for him. Thus, all his plans go wrong just because of the ignorance of his beloved. The phrase has been used as a metaphor for misery.

Example #4

The Best Laid Plans by Sidney Sheldon

The novel, The Best Laid Plans, speaks about the careful planning of the major character, Olive Russel. She details how this handsome, charismatic attorney wins political fame. Though he carefully plans everything keeping in mind the far-reaching consequences, yet Leslie Stewart, his fiancée, grows a media empire and ruins his image and career. The use of this phrase in the title seems correct that no matter how hard you try to plan your life, sometimes the careful planning faces a turbulent situation and throws you into the well of disappointment.

Examples in Sentences

Example #1: “The contractor planned to finish his work by April but the best-laid plans of mice and men don’t always accomplish. It will now be completed in August.”

Example #2: “Like many other students Jane decided to complete her syllabus before the final exams but she was unable to do so as the best laid plans of mice and men do not always succeed.”

Example #3: “Mr. Tom entered the meeting room and apologized about the event he canceled yesterday for some reasons referring to the fact that the best laid plans of mice and men do not always work accordingly.”

Example #4: “Even after careful planning, the employ’s corruption was caught by the manager, as the best laid plans of mice and men are often ruined by misfortunes.”

Example #5: “In the last cabinet meeting, the leader assured that two colleges will be opened in our area by 2025, but his early demise put a full stop on his vision. Now another leader may swing the lead in the coming year. Indeed, the best laid plans of mice and men do not always work out.”

 

Turn a Blind Eye

Meanings of “Turn a Blind Eye”

The phrase “turn a blind eye” means intentionally refuse to acknowledge something that you know can be real or ignore deliberately. The phrase is also used to ask people such as police to ignore someone’s fault or crime if it happened as an accident and parents are asked to ‘turn a blind eye’ if a child has committed an innocent mistake.

Origin of “Turn a Blind Eye”

The phrase “turn a blind eye” is stated to have first used in a naval incident involving Admiral Nelson. It happened in 1698 but later it was used in More Letters from Martha Wilmot which were written between 1819-1829. Later, John Morris is stated to have used it in print form in his book, A Discourse of Walking by Faith, published in 1698. Since then, the phrase was used by various authors, poets and singers though having almost the same meanings.

Examples from Literature

Example #1

Turn a Blind Eye by The Call

To the desperate young, turn a blind eye
To the old and lonely, turn a blind eye
To our inhumanity
To our death-dealing vanity
To the methods of persuasion, turn a blind eye
To the masters of evasion, turn
To the science of control, turn a blind eye
To a world in chains, turn
To the sellers of illusion, turn a blind eye
To masters of confusion, turn a blind eye
To a hollow culture
To the circling vulture
To lovers of power, turn a blind eye
To the resurrection
To a world in chains, turn
I don’t want to get involved
It’s not my problem
I’ll just ignore it
I don’t want to feel this
To the starving children, turn a blind eye
To your own redemption, turn
To the horror of extinction
To a world in chains, turn.

The song explains the phrase with the example of a dilemma in the contemporary world, where almost everyone turns a blind eye to the problems that actually exist. The singer catalogs the miseries that need attention but unfortunately, no one wants to interpret them. Therefore, he urges the readers to turn a blind eye to these issues and turn to the world of illusions, to the hollow culture, and follow the masters of powers. Toward the end, however, he sadly states that he will simply ignore this recklessness. The lyrics not only shows the use of extended metaphor but also an explanation of the phrase.

Example #2

A Blind Eye by Deborah Tornillo

Can I turn a blind eye?
Say to myself
“It is what it is” or
Turn a face of denial?

I can turn it on
Right or wrong.
Trying to stay strong
For however long.

Torment, a reality
Eats away at the core
Continue to pray,
Pray to My Lord.

Can I turn a blind eye?
Say to myself
“Yes I can”
I’m in denial.

Lord, do you feel me?
My broken heart
It hurts.
Torn, torn apart.”

This poem speaks about the torments of a doomed speaker who intends to turn a blind eye to the uncertainties and brutalities of life. The first stanza shows how he fails to decipher the voice of his inner self.  The next two stanzas, however, indicate his resolute stance toward life. He determines to be strong but the torment never allows him. The last two stanzas further shed light on his state of denial, where he helplessly leaves himself in God’s hand, believing that his creator can better understand his pain. The phrase used in the first line demonstrates its meanings in an explicit sense.

Example #3

Turn a Blind Eye by Vicky Newham

This brilliant book, Turn a Blind Eye, presents a thrilling story of a twisted killer that presents a deadly riddle to Maya Rahman to solve. The protagonist, Maya Rahman returns to Bangladesh after attending the funeral of her brother who has committed suicide. Upon reaching, she heard the tragic news of the death of her staff member. Thus, she has pitched straight into the murder investigation, where she finds a note with the strangled body. However, the speaker does not want to turn a blind eye to that note and keep everything in mind. Therefore, the meanings show the use of a denotation.

Examples in Sentences

Example #1: “As a manager, you cannot turn a blind eye to the problems of your customers. Or else you will never retain them.”

Example #2: “The leader decided to turn a blind eye to the party’s dispute hoping that they won’t bring shame to the party next time. However, it resulted in serious consequences.”

Example #3: “A group of goons was insulting an elderly couple but instead defending them everybody turned a blind eye until a young woman defended her.”

Example #4: “Like the previous regimes, the present stakeholders also turn a blind eye to the poverty-stricken families.”

Example #5: “As a policeman, you cannot turn a blind eye to the illegal activities going on in your city.”