Lecture 6 The 18th Century —The Age of EnlightenmentDaniel Defoe, Robinson Crusoe (1st hour)Jonathan Swift, Gulliver’s Travels, A Modest Proposal(2nd hour)
How to appreciate a novel/Fiction • Elements of fiction • One useful way to approach the techniques of fiction is to describe its basic elements or characteristics: theme, plot and structure, character, setting, point of view, style and language, and irony. We should be aware that all the elements of a Story work together to convey feeling and embody meaning.
(1) Theme The theme is the central idea or statement about life that unifies and controls the total work. • Analyzing theme • (A) Does the work have a theme? Is it stated or implied? • (B) What generalization(s) or statement(s) about life or human experience does the work make? • (C) What elements of the work contribute most to the formulation of the theme? • (D) Does the theme emerge organically and naturally, or does the author seem to force the theme upon the work? • (E) What is the value or significance of the work's theme? Is it topical or universal in its application?
(2) Plot and structure • Plot, the action in fiction, is the arrangement of events that make up a story.A story's structure can be examined in relation to its plot.In examining structure, we look for patterns, that is, the shape of the content that the story as a whole possesses.
Analyzing plot • (A) What are the conflicts on which the plot turns? Are they external, internal, or some combination of the two? • (B) What are the chief episodes or incidents that make up the plot? Is its development strictly chronological, or is the chronology rearranged in some way? • (C) Compare the plot's beginning and end. What essential changes have taken place? • (D) Describe the plot in terms of its exposition, complication, crisis, falling action, and resolution. • (E) Is the plot unified? Do the individual episodes logically relate to one another? • (F) Is the ending appropriate to and consistent with the rest of the plot? • (G) Is the plot plausible? What role, if any, do chance and coincidence play?
(3) Character • Characters are imaginary people that writers create in stories. The major, or central, character of the plot is the protagonist; his opponent, the character against whom the protagonist struggles or contends, is the antagonist. Flat characters are those who embody or represent a single characteristic, trait, or idea, or at most a very limited number of such qualities. Flat characters are also referred to as type characters. Round characters embody a number of qualities and traits, and are complex characters of considerable intellectual and emotional depth. Most importantly, they have the capacity to grow and change.
Methods of characterization • In presenting and establishing character, an author has two basic methods or techniques at his disposal. One method is telling, which relies on exposition and direct commentary by the author. The other method is the indirect, dramatic method of showing. Direct methods of revealing character--characterization by telling--include the following: • (A) Characterization through the use of names. • (B) Characterization through appearance. • (C) Characterization by the author. • (D) Characterization through dialogue. • (E) Characterization through action.
(4) Setting • Setting is a term that, in its broadest sense, encompasses the physical locale, which frames the action, the time of day or year, the climatic conditions, and the historical period during which the action takes place. • Analyzing setting • (A) What is the work's setting in space and time? • (B) How does the author go about establishing setting? Does the author want the reader to see or feel the setting; or does the author want the reader to both see and feel it? What details of the setting does the author relate and describe? • (C) Is the setting important? If so, what is its function? Is it used to reveal, reinforce, or influence character, plot, or theme? • (D) Is the setting an appropriate one?
(5) Point of view • A story must have a storyteller: a narrative voice, real or implied, that presents the story to the reader. Commonly used points of view • (A) Third person point of view omniscient • With the third person point of view omniscient, an "all-knowing" narrator firmly imposes his presence between the reader and the story, and retains complete control over the narrative. • (B) Third person point of view limited • With the third person point of view limited, the narrator limits his ability to penetrate the minds of characters by selecting a single character to act as the center of revelation. • (C) First person point of view • (D) Dramatic point of view • With the disappearance of the narrator, telling is replaced by showing, and the illusion is created that the reader is a direct and immediate witness to an unfolding drama.
Analyzing point of view • (A) What is the point of view? Who talks to the reader? Is the point of view consistent throughout the work or does it shift in some way? • (B) Where does the narrator stand in relation to the work? Where does the reader stand? • (C) To what sources of knowledge or information does the point of view give the reader access? What sources of knowledge or information does it serve to conceal? • (D) If the work is told from the point of view of one of the characters, is the narrator reliable? Does his or her personality, character, or intellect affect an ability to interpret the events or the other characters correctly? • (E) Given the author's purposes, is the chosen point of view an appropriate and effective one? • (F) How would the work be different if told from another point of view?
Language and style • When we talk about an author's words and the characteristic way he uses the resources of language to achieve certain effects, we are talking about style. In its most general sense, style consists of diction (the individual words an author chooses) and syntax (the arrangement of those words), as well as such devices as rhythm and sound, allusion, ambiguity, irony, paradox, and figurative language. Each writer's style is unique.
Irony • Irony may appear in fiction in three ways: in the work's language, in its incidents, or in its point of view. But in whatever forms it emerges, irony always involves a contrast or discrepancy between one thing and another. The contrast may be between what is said and what is meant or between what happens and what is expected to happen. • In literature, however, symbols--in the form of words, images, objects, settings, events and characters--are often used deliberately to suggest and reinforce meaning.
Part One The Age of Enlightenment • 1. 18th Century England: • After the tempestuous events of the 17th century, England entered a period of comparatively peaceful development. The“Glorious Revolution" of 1688 ended and England became a constitutional monarchy. • The 18th century England witnessed unprecedented technical innovations which equipped industry with steam, and new tools, and rapid growth of industry and commerce. This is called the Industrial Revolution. • Great changes also took place in rural England. With the Enclosure Movement ,the majority of peasants were ruined, driven off their land, went to the cities and became workers.
2. The Enlightenment in Europe: • The 18th century marked the beginning of an intellectual movement in Europe, known as the Enlightenment, which was on the whole, an expression of struggle of the bourgeoisie against feudalism. The enlighteners fought against class inequality, stagnation, prejudices and other survivals of feudalism. They attempted to place all branches of science at the service of mankind by connecting them with the actual needs and requirements of people.
II. classicism • an attitude to literature that is guided by admiration of the qualities of formal balance, proportion, decorum and restraint attributed to the major works of ancient Greek and Roman literature. As a literary doctrine, classicism holds that writers must be governed by rules, models, or conventions, rather than by inspiration. Neoclassicism required the observance of rules derived from Aristotle’s Poetics and Horace’s Ars Poetica. • Addison, Steele and Pope belonged to the school of classicism. The classicists modeled themselves on Greek and Latin authors, and tried to control literary creation by some fixed laws and rules drawn from Greek and Latin works. Rimed couplet instead of blank verse, the three unities of time, place and action. Poetry, following the ancient divisions.
III. The Rise of the English Novel: • The modern European novel began after the Renaissance, with Cervantes’s "Don Quixote" (1605-1615). The modern English novel began two centuries later, in the l8th century. The rise and growth of the realistic novel is the most prominent achievement of 18th century English literature. • Swift’s "Gulliver’s Travels“, Defoe’s “ Robinson Crusoe” • Richardson’s " Pamela”, "Clarissa" and "Sir Charles Grandison". • Fielding’s novels unfold a panorama of life in all sections of English society. Fielding was the real founder of the realistic novel in England. • Another 18th century novelist of the realistic school was Smollett, the author of “ Roderick Random". and "Humphry Clinker." The new element of sentiment or sensibility was added to the novel by Sterne whose “Tristram Shandy" was the strangest novel in English Literature.
Part two Daniel Defoe • Daniel Defoe (1661-1731) was born in London, the son of a butcher. As a merchant, Defoe had seen ups and downs in his business He became bankrupt in 1692. Within four years, he was doing well again, as the manager of a tile factory. He remained in fairly prosperous circumstances until he was ruined, in 1703, by his imprisonment. Defoe was a kind of jack-of -all --trades. He was a merchant, economist, politician, journalist, pamphleteer, publicist and novelist.
His place in English literature was made for him by his novels, he acquired a pure naked English-smooth, easy, almost colloquial, yet never coarse. He loved short, crisp, plain sentences. There is nothing artificial in his language; it is really common English. • The year 1719 marked a new period in Defoe’s literary career, for in that year he published his" Robinson Crusoe", the book which makes him immortal. • Other novels followed in quick succession. The most interesting of them are “ Captain Singleton” (1720), "Moll Flanders" (1722) and "Colonel Jacque"(1722).
The story takes place in the middle of the 17th century, in the family of an old English gentleman, Mr. Crusoe. The old man designs his son. Robinson, for the law, but the young man has set his mind on becoming a sailor. When Robinson is 19, he runs away from home and sets out to sea. After many perils and adventures on the sea, he settles down in Brazil. But the call of the sea is so strong that he embarks on another voyage to Africa. • A frightful storm changes the course of the ship and she is wrecked off the coast of an uninhabited island. Of all the ship’s crew Robinson alone escapes to the shore after strenuous efforts. He spends the night on a tree for fear of wild animals. In the morning he swims to the wrecked ship to find no living creature on board, except a dog and two cats. • Robinson builds a raft and tries by all means to carry to shore the store of necessities on the ship which consist of bread, rice, bade, corn, planks, lead and gunpowder, an axe and two saws. From then on he lives all alone on the island.
Many years go by. One day Robinson discovers an imprint of a man’s foot on the sand. Then he learns that the island is occasionally visited by sonic cannibals who come to celebrate their victories over their enemies and to devour their captives. • Robinson happens to see one such celebration and manages to save one of the victims. This man, named Friday by Robinson, proves to be a clever young Negro and becomes Robinson’s true and Faithful companion. With Friday’s help Robinson builds another boat. • Meanwhile an English ship drops anchor off the island. The captain takes Robinson and Friday to England. Wishing to see the island where he had spent so many years. Robinson pays a visit to it once more. During an attack of the Indians his faithful Friday is killed.
Today Defoe is chiefly remembered as the author of "Robinson Crusoe", his masterpiece. The novel is based on a real fact. In 1704, Alexander Selkirk, a Scottish sailor, was marooned on the island of Juan Fernandez in the Atlantic, and lived there quite alone for four years. • The writers of the Enlightenment attached great importance to the moulding of character and to education through the influence of varied environment. Defoe traces the development of Robinson Crusoe from a naive and artless youth into a clever and hardened man, tempered by numerous trials in his eventful life.
The character of Robinson Crusoe is representative of the English bourgeoisie at the earlier stages of its development. He is most practical and exact, always religious and at the same time mindful of his own profit. Robinson’s every voyage is connected with some commercial enterprise. He owns a plantation where coloured slaves are exploited. Defoe’s bourgeois outlook mantles itself in the fact that he does not condemn Negro-slavery in his book. Though Robinson labours for his own existence, yet as soon as a native makes his appearance on the island, Robinson assumes the role of a master. "Master" is the first word Friday learns from Robinson. Here lies colonization in germ.
Part three Jonathan Swift • I. Early Life: • Jonathan Swift was born in Dublin, Ireland, in 1667. His father died before he was born, his mother was poor, and he was compelled to accept aid from relatives, who gave it grudgingly. He studied at Trinity College, Dublin, but he detested the routine curriculum. reading only what appealed to his own nature. When he left the college, living in the house of a distant relative, Sir William Temple, as a kind of private secretary. He was looked upon as a servant and ate at the servants’ table. Swift bore all this humiliation to earn a scanty living for his poor mother. Thus he spent ten of his best years in Temple’s house. At last, when his relation with Temple grew unbearable, he left the place and worked in a little church in Ireland. • He never forgot this bitter experience of living under the roof of a noble family. In after life, he vented his early repressed anger upon the noblemen who now flattered him and courted his favour. But, the common folk felt the warmth of his kindness.
"A Tale of a Tub" is written in the form of a parable: An old man died and left a coat, i.e., the Christian doctrine, to each of his three sons, Peter, Martin and Jack, with minute directions for its care and use. These three sons stand for Roman Catholics, Anglicans and Puritans. They evade their father’s will, interpret it each in his own way, and change the fashion of their garment. This is a satire upon all religious sects. The Roman Catholic Church and Puritans are terribly satirized while the Church of England is professed to be justified. But the Church of England looks just as ridiculous as any other church, for nothing is left to her but a thin cloak under which to hide her hypocrisy.
"The Battle of the Books” is an unfinished work, mainly an attack on pedantry in the literary world of the time. The reader is told the story of the Bee and the Spider: A bee becomes entangled in a spider’s web. The two insects quarrel and Aesop is called in as arbitrator. The bee, who is to be taken as typifying the ancient writers, goes straight to nature, gathering his support from the flowers of the field and the garden, without any damage to them. • The spider, like the modern authors, boasts of not being obliged to any other creature hut of drawing and spinning out all from himself. The ancients, going through every corner of nature, have produced honey and wax and furnished mankind with “the two noblest things, which are sweetness and light." In the great battle between ancient and modern books that follows, the moderns appeal for and to the malignant deity Criticism, who lives in a den at the top of snowy mountains. With Criticism are Ignorance, Pride, Noise and Impudence, Dullness and Vanity, Positiveness, Pedantry and Ill-manners. Then the work ends “ being in several places imperfect, we cannot learn to which side the victory fell.
Swift wrote his greatest work "Gulliver’s Travels" in Ireland. • 1. In the first part Gulliver describes his shipwreck in Lilliput where the tallest people were six inches high. • The emperor haltered himself to be the delight and terror of the universe, but it appeared quite absurd to Gulliver who was twelve times as tall as he. In his account of the two parties in the country, distinguished by the use of high and low heels, Swift satirizes the Tories and the Whigs in England. Religious disputes were laughed at in an account of a problem which divided the Lilliputians: “Should eggs be broken at the big end or the little end?" Then follows an ironical comment: "This, however, is thought to be a mere strain upon the text, for the words are these, that all true believers shall break their eggs at the convenient end. And which is the convenient end seems, in my humble opinion, to be left to every man’s conscience, or at least in the power of the Chief Magistrate to determine. "This part is full of references to current politics.
In the second part, the voyage to Brobdingnag is described. Gulliver now found himself a dwarf among men sixty feet in height. The King, who regarded Europe as if it were an anthill, said, "I cannot but conclude the bulk of your natives to be the most pernicious race of little odious vermin that Nature ever suffered to crawl upon the surface of the earth." And Gulliver, after living among such a great race, could not but feel tempted to laugh at the strutting and bowing of English lords and ladies as much as the King did at him. • The third part is a satire on philosophers and projectors, who were given to dwelling in the air, like the inhabitants of the Flying Island. In the Island of Sorcerors, Gulliver was able to call up famous men of ancient times and question them. Then be found the world to have been misled by prostitute writers into ascribing the greatest exploits in war to cowards, the wisest counsels to fools, and sincerity to flatteners. He saw, too, by looking at an old yeoman, how the race had greatly deteriorated through vice and corruption.
In the last part, Gulliver’s satire is of the bitterest. Gulliver was now in a country where horses were possessed of reason, and were the governing class, while the Yahoos, though in the shape of men, were brute beasts with such vices as stealing and lying, In endeavouring to persuade the homes that he was not a Yahoo, Gulliver was made to show how little a man was re- moved from the brute. Gulliver’s account of the warfare among the English lords, given with no little pride, caused only disgust from the horses. He praised the life and virtues of the horses while he was disgusted with the Yahoos, whose relations reminded him of those existing in English society to such a degree that he shuddered at the prospect of returning to England. So, when he returned home, his family filled him with such disgust that he swooned when his wife kissed him.
Swift’s Style: • Swift is one of the greatest masters of English prose. His language is simple, clear and vigorous. He said, "Proper words in proper places, makes the true definition of a style.” Keeping his object steadily before him, he drives straight on to the end. There are no ornaments in his writing, but it comes home to the reader. • In simple, direct and precise prose, Swift is almost unsurpassed in English literature. It is a great education in English to read Swift’s prose. • Swift is a master satirist, and his irony is deadly. But his satire is masked by an outward gravity, and an apparent calmness conceals his bitter irony. This makes his satire all the more powerful, as shown in his “ Modest Proposal."
A Modest Proposal for preventing the children of poor people in Ireland, from being a burden on their parents or country, and for making them beneficial to the publick. • by Dr. Jonathan Swift. 1729 • It is a melancholy object to those, who walk through this great town, or travel in the country, when they see the streets, the roads and cabin-doors crowded with beggars of the female sex, followed by three, four, or six children, all in rags, and importuning every passenger for an alms. These mothers instead of being able to work for their honest livelihood, are forced to employ all their time in strolling to beg sustenance for their helpless infants who, as they grow up, either turn thieves for want of work, or leave their dear native country, to fight for the Pretender in Spain, or sell themselves to the Barbados.
I think it is agreed by all parties, that this prodigious number of children in the arms, or on the backs, or at the heels of their mothers, and frequently of their fathers, is in the present deplorable state of the kingdom, a very great additional grievance; and therefore whoever could find out a fair, cheap and easy method of making these children sound and useful members of the common-wealth, would deserve so well of the publick, as to have his statue set up for a preserver of the nation. • But my intention is very far from being confined to provide only for the children of professed beggars: it is of a much greater extent, and shall take in the whole number of infants at a certain age, who are born of parents in effect as little able to support them, as those who demand our charity in the streets. • As to my own part, having turned my thoughts for many years, upon this important subject, and maturely weighed the several schemes of our projectors, I have always found them grossly mistaken in their computation. It is true, a child just dropt from its dam, may be supported by her milk, for a solar year, with little other nourishment: at most not above the value of two shillings, which the mother may certainly get, or the value in scraps, by her lawful occupation of begging; and it is exactly at one year old that I propose to provide for them in such a manner, as, instead of being a charge upon their parents, or the parish, or wanting food and raiment for the rest of their lives, they shall, on the contrary, contribute to the feeding, and partly to the cloathing of many thousands.
The number of souls in this kingdom being usually reckoned one million and a half, of these I calculate there may be about two hundred thousand couple whose wives are breeders; from which number I subtract thirty thousand couple, who are able to maintain their own children, (although I apprehend there cannot be so many, under the present distresses of the kingdom) but this being granted, there will remain an hundred and seventy thousand breeders. I again subtract fifty thousand, for those women who miscarry, or whose children die by accident or disease within the year. There only remain an hundred and twenty thousand children of poor parents annually born. The question therefore is, How this number shall be reared, and provided for? which, as I have already said, under the present situation of affairs, is utterly impossible by all the methods hitherto proposed. For we can neither employ them in handicraft or agriculture; we neither build houses, (I mean in the country) nor cultivate land: they can very seldom pick up a livelihood by stealing till they arrive at six years old; except where they are of towardly parts, although I confess they learn the rudiments much earlier; during which time they can however be properly looked upon only as probationers: As I have been informed by a principal gentleman in the county of Cavan, who protested to me, that he never knew above one or two instances under the age of six, even in a part of the kingdom so renowned for the quickest proficiency in that art.
I do therefore humbly offer it to publick consideration, that of the hundred and twenty thousand children, already computed, twenty thousand may be reserved for breed, whereof only one fourth part to be males; which is more than we allow to sheep, black cattle, or swine, and my reason is, that these children are seldom the fruits of marriage, a circumstance not much regarded by our savages, therefore, one male will be sufficient to serve four females. That the remaining hundred thousand may, at a year old, be offered in sale to the persons of quality and fortune, through the kingdom, always advising the mother to let them suck plentifully in the last month, so as to render them plump, and fat for a good table. A child will make two dishes at an entertainment for friends, and when the family dines alone, the fore or hind quarter will make a reasonable dish, and seasoned with a little pepper or salt, will be very good boiled on the fourth day, especially in winter. • I have reckoned upon a medium, that a child just born will weigh 12 pounds, and in a solar year, if tolerably nursed, encreaseth to 28 pounds. • I grant this food will be somewhat dear, and therefore very proper for landlords, who, as they have already devoured most of the parents, seem to have the best title to the children.
For first, as I have already observed, it would greatly lessen the number of Papists, with whom we are yearly over-run, being the principal breeders of the nation, as well as our most dangerous enemies, and who stay at home on purpose with a design to deliver the kingdom to the Pretender, hoping to take their advantage by the absence of so many good Protestants, who have chosen rather to leave their country, than stay at home and pay tithes against their conscience to an Episcopal curate. • Secondly, The poorer tenants will have something valuable of their own, which by law may be made liable to a distress, and help to pay their landlord's rent, their corn and cattle being already seized, and money a thing unknown. • Thirdly, Whereas the maintenance of an hundred thousand children, from two years old, and upwards, cannot be computed at less than ten shillings a piece per annum, the nation's stock will be thereby encreased fifty thousand pounds per annum, besides the profit of a new dish, introduced to the tables of all gentlemen of fortune in the kingdom, who have any refinement in taste. And the money will circulate among our selves, the goods being entirely of our own growth and manufacture.
Fourthly, The constant breeders, besides the gain of eight shillings sterling per annum by the sale of their children, will be rid of the charge of maintaining them after the first year. • Fifthly, This food would likewise bring great custom to taverns, where the vintners will certainly be so prudent as to procure the best receipts for dressing it to perfection; and consequently have their houses frequented by all the fine gentlemen, who justly value themselves upon their knowledge in good eating; and a skilful cook, who understands how to oblige his guests, will contrive to make it as expensive as they please. • Sixthly, This would be a great inducement to marriage, which all wise nations have either encouraged by rewards, or enforced by laws and penalties. It would encrease the care and tenderness of mothers towards their children, when they were sure of a settlement for life to the poor babes, provided in some sort by the publick, to their annual profit instead of expence. We should soon see an honest emulation among the married women, which of them could bring the fattest child to the market. Men would become as fond of their wives, during the time of their pregnancy, as they are now of their mares in foal, their cows in calf, or sow when they are ready to farrow; nor offer to beat or kick them (as is too frequent a practice) for fear of a miscarriage.
But, as to my self, having been wearied out for many years with offering vain, idle, visionary thoughts, and at length utterly despairing of success, I fortunately fell upon this proposal, which, as it is wholly new, so it hath something solid and real, of no expence and little trouble, full in our own power, and whereby we can incur no danger in disobliging England. For this kind of commodity will not bear exportation, and flesh being of too tender a consistence, to admit a long continuance in salt, although perhaps I could name a country, which would be glad to eat up our whole nation without it. • I profess, in the sincerity of my heart, that I have not the least personal interest in endeavouring to promote this necessary work, having no other motive than the publick good of my country, by advancing our trade, providing for infants, relieving the poor, and giving some pleasure to the rich. I have no children, by which I can propose to get a single penny; the youngest being nine years old, and my wife past child-bearing.