Sunday, 14 August 2016

EDWARD SAID'S PROSE STYLE


Edward Said's Prose Style

Introduction
     Style is a fundamental aspect of prose. It is the literary element that describes the ways that the author uses words, sentence structure, figurative language, and sentence arrangement which work together to establish mood, images, and meaning in the text. Style describes how the author describes events, objects, and ideas. An author's style is what sets his or her writing apart and makes it unique. Edward Said is a distinguished prose writer of 21st century. Most of his writings are about discourses of imperialism, Islam, Palestinian colonization by Israel and music. Said's style of writing can be studied in thematic analysis of his essays and books. Paradoxical nature of identity, celebration of of exile, repetition of ideas, writer as theorist, interrogative introduction, imperialistic allusions, musicality of text and coining new terms are the salient features of Said's prose style.  
1. The Paradoxical Position
     As critic, political commentator, literary and cultural theorist or New York citizen, Edward Said demonstrates the often paradoxical nature of identity in an increasingly migratory and globalized world. In him, we find a person located in a tangle of cultural and theoretical contradictions: contradictions between his political voice and professional position; contradictions between the different ways in which he has been read; contradictions in the way he is located in the academy. The intimate connection between Said's identity and his cultural theory, and the paradoxes these reveal, show us something about the constructedness and complexity of cultural identity itself. 
2. Celebration of Exile
     Said deliberately celebrates exile in his prose. Whatever he writes, we see an intangible effect of nostalgia and thrust for rootlessness, because of all the trauma and pain of homelessness he has suffered. This places the exile in a singular position with regard to history and society, but also in a much more anxious and ambivalent position with regard to culture: "Exile ... is 'a mind of winter' in which the pathos of summer and autumn as much as the potential of spring are nearby but unobtainable. Perhaps this is another way of saying that a life of exile moves according to a different calendar, and is less seasonal and settled than life at home. Exile is life led outside habitual order. It is nomadic, decentered, contrapuntal; but no sooner does one get accustomed to it than its unsettling force erupts anew."
3. Repetition of Ideas
     Another important feature of Edward Said's writing is repetition of ideas. Repetition imposes certain constraints upon the interpretation of the text; it historicizes the text as something which originates in the world, which insists upon its own being. Said's work constantly rehearses the features of his own peculiar academic and cultural location, or the 'text' of his own life -- exile, politicization, the living of two lives, the insistent questions of identity, and the passionate defense of Palestine. All his essays in one or other way talk about same thing even he keeps stressing on one thing in one essay. For example his essays like "Islam as News" and "Orientalism" talk in a language of "binary opposition" to undermine the western culture and imperialism and its operation in the entire globe. 
4. Writer As Theorist
     Out of the issue of Palestine grows one of the most important themes in Said's theory -- the role of the intellectual. From the position of a professional literary theorist established in the elite academic environment of Columbia University, Said has been required to adopt the role of a spokesperson, called out to talk about political issues for which he had no special qualification. This confirmed his belief in the value of amateurism, but much more than that it gave him a vision of the importance of exile in empowering the intellectual to be detached from partisan politics in order to 'speak truth to power'. The sense of 'non-belonging' has confirmed his own sense that the public intellectual needs to speak from the margin. It is his unique characteristic of being a prose writer whom invents new positions and roles for a writer than just being a critic. 
5. Interrogative Introduction
     The style of Said seems to be discursive, conversational and even repetitive, but his writings are quite thought provoking. The most striking feature of his essays is that he begins his essay with a questions like statement to set a course of discussion in the mind of reader. In Representations of the Intellectual, while discussing the role of an intellectual, Said poses an important questioning the beginning: how far should an intellectual go in getting involved? Is is possible to join a party or faction and retain a semblance of independence? This question asking style has positioned Said's writings at a unique height of literary canon. 
6. Imperialistic Allusions From Literature
     In Said's writing while talking about relation between imperialism, colonization and culture we come across references of different Victorian novels like Robinson Crusoe, Great Expectations, Heart of Darkness and Mansfield Park to understand the underlined imperialist ideologies. Said believes that novel has been important in formation of imperialistic attitudes, references, and experiences, In Said's writing, novels are not the ones which caused imperialism, but that the novel is the cultural artifact of bourgeois society. He argues that the narratives of emancipation and enlightenment mobilized the people to rise against the yoke of imperialism. In short, illusions of previous time's fiction is a very striking feature of Said's writing. 
7. Musicality of Text
     Said was a music lover and a musician himself. Said was fascinated by the connection between memory and music, by how remembrances of things played, as he once put it, are enacted. Music for Said was inspiring. When he played Schubert's Fantasie in a film about him directed by Salem Brahimi, his face quivered with every note that his hands transported on the keyboard. Indeed, Said would always make connections and references to Palestine, even in his more esoteric essays about literature, theory, or music. Fantasie might also have served as a kind of premonition for Said that it would be his swansong, his passion for music always made him feel nostalgic about his past and homeland. Even in his text structure we see a very smooth pattern making his writing bit musical. 
8. Coining New Terms
     Said coined some useful terms like Orientalism and contrapuntal. In his book "Orientalism", Said defines orientalism as the acceptance in the West of "the basic distinction between East and West as the starting point for elaborate theories, epics, novels, social descriptions, and political accounts concerning the Orient, its people, customs, mind,  destiny and so on". Borrowed from music, where it refers to the relationship between themes, the term "contrapuntal reading" is used by Edward Said in "Culture and Imperialism" to describe the relationship between narratives set in metropolitan centres, or at least in the countryside, of the dominant colonial nations such as England and France, and the colonies upon which the great powers depended for their wealth. 
Conclusion
     Edward Said's prose style is inspiring, generative and eloquent. For writers striving to create structures of clarity and meaning, Said has few competitors. He is different from all other prose writers in sense of content and text. The concepts which he deals with are not discussed by any other prose writer. Underneath the self-posturing verbiage there is an acute analytic mind at work. Said is not only a critic but a socialist and a reformer as well. By dealing with sensitive issues like colonization, imperialism and trying to counter Islamophobia presented by the West, he mostly focuses on themes. In short, the most prominent features of Said's prose style are his use of imperialistic illusions and coining of new terms.  

Saturday, 4 June 2016

EXPLANATION WITH RTC: THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST BY OSCAR WILDE

Your vanity is ridiculous, your conduct an outrage, and your presence in my garden utterly absurd. However, you have got to catch the four-five, and I hope you will have a pleasant journey back to town.

Your vanity is .......... journey back to town.

REFERENCE
(i) Drama: The Importance of Being Earnest
(ii) Dramatist: Oscar Wilde
CONTEXT
(i) Occurrence: Act 2
(ii) Content: Jack and Algernon are wealthy gentlemen. Jack lives in the country and Algernon dwells in London. Algernon visits Jack's house and introduces to Jack's young ward Cecily as Ernest, the assumed named of Jack. Shortly after, Jack arrives home announcing Ernest's death. Cecily and Gwendolen have a genteel stand-off over which of that has a prior claim on "Ernest". Jack and Algernon vie to be christened Ernest. Eventually, Jack discovers that his parents were Lady Bracknell's sister and brother-in-law and that he is Algernon's older brother, called Ernest. Algernon/Cecily, Jack/Gwendolen and Chasuble/Prism fall into each other's arms as Jack realizes the importance of being earnest. 
EXPLANATION
     These lines describe Jack's hypocritical judgment of Algernon. Jack snubs Algernon's vanity as absurd. He wants to say that Algernon's excessive pride in his own appearance invites derision for others. He says so because Algernon always claims to be "over dressed" and "immensely over-educated". He also spurns Algernon's behaviour disdainfully. He calls his behaviour an extremely strong reaction of anger, shock and indignation. Moreover, he is not happy at all to have Algernon in his "garden". He wants to get rid of him as soon as possible. When Algernon says that he is going to stay for a whole week as Jack's guest, Jack replies, "You are certainly not staying with me for a whole week as a guest or anything else. You have got to leave by the four-five train." He ironically says that Algernon will have an enjoyable journey back to his town. In short, these lines express Jack's disdain and contempt for the decorative bachelor, Algernon.

Saturday, 28 May 2016

EXPLANATION WITH RTC: THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST BY OSCAR WILDE

I do not approve of anything that tampers with natural ignorance. Ignorance is like a delicate exotic fruit; touch it and the bloom is gone. The whole theory of modern education is radically unsound. Fortunately in England, at any rate, education produces no effect whatsoever. 

I do not approve .......... no effect whatsoever.

REFERENCE
(i) Drama: The Importance of Being Earnest
(ii) Dramatist: Oscar Wilde
CONTEXT
(i) Occurrence: Act 1
(ii) Content: Jack and Algernon are wealthy gentlemen. Jack lives in the country and Algernon dwells in London. Algernon visits Jack's house and introduces to Jack's young ward Cecily as Ernest, the assumed named of Jack. Shortly after, Jack arrives home announcing Ernest's death. Cecily and Gwendolen have a genteel stand-off over which of that has a prior claim on "Ernest". Jack and Algernon vie to be christened Ernest. Eventually, Jack discovers that his parents were Lady Bracknell's sister and brother-in-law and that he is Algernon's older brother, called Ernest. Algernon/Cecily, Jack/Gwendolen and Chasuble/Prism fall into each other's arms as Jack realizes the importance of being earnest. 
EXPLANATION
     In these lines Lady Bracknell thinks of ignorance as a virtue of the rich. She speaks these lines as a part of her inquiry into Jack's suitability for marriage with her daughter Gwendolen. She has just told him she believes that a man who wants to marry should know everything or nothing, and Jack, sensing the trap, has said he knows nothing. Lady Bracknell greets the news with complacency and says only, "I am pleased to hear it". She is, in fact, against anything that can cause damage to "natural ignorance". "Anything" here means "modern education"; the biggest rival of ignorance. Her statement "Ignorance is like a delicate exotic fruit" is a beautiful simile. Many exotic flowers and plants are delicate, if we touch them, the petals or leaves fall off. Ignorance is the same; a touch of knowledge destroys it. "Education produces no effect" is a paradox to explain that, in the upper classes, education is worthless. The typical upper class Victorian was notorious for being "sent down" of the major university of Oxford or Cambridge. Being "sent down" was almost a trademark of the upper-class dandy. In short, Lady Bracknell, in these lines, embodies the mind-bogging stupidity of the British aristocracy.

Friday, 27 May 2016

EXPLANATION WITH RTC: THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST BY OSCAR WILDE

Nothing will induce me to part with Bunbury, and if you ever get married, which seems to me extremely problematic, you will be very glad to know Bunbury. A man who marries without knowing Bunbury has a very tedious time of it. 

Nothing will induce .......... tedious time of it.

REFERENCE
(i) Drama: The Importance of Being Earnest
(ii) Dramatist: Oscar Wilde
CONTEXT
(i) Occurrence: Act 1, Part I
(ii) Content: Jack and Algernon are wealthy gentlemen. Jack lives in the country and Algernon dwells in London. Algernon visits Jack's house and introduces to Jack's young ward Cecily as Ernest, the assumed named of Jack. Shortly after, Jack arrives home announcing Ernest's death. Cecily and Gwendolen have a genteel stand-off over which of that has a prior claim on "Ernest". Jack and Algernon vie to be christened Ernest. Eventually, Jack discovers that his parents were Lady Bracknell's sister and brother-in-law and that he is Algernon's older brother, called Ernest. Algernon/Cecily, Jack/Gwendolen and Chasuble/Prism fall into each other's arms as Jack realizes the importance of being earnest. 
EXPLANATION
     In these lines Algernon tells the importance of Bunbury in a married life. Algernon speaks these lines in reply to Jack's announcement that he plans to assassinate his imaginary brother Ernest and his suggestion that Algernon do the same with Bunbury. Algernon refuses to part with Bunbury at any cost. He thinks that Bunbury is an excuse for a person to get out of his responsibilities. He says to Jack that "in married life there is a company and two is none". If Jack ever gets married, he will be glad to know Bunbury because Bunbury is a very useful tool for a husband or wife for "married bliss". It also suggests that couples are not faithful to each other after matrimony. Thus absence of Bunbury in the lives of married couples makes their lives "a very tedious time". In short, these lines suggest that husbands and wives in Victorian society were hypocrites as they led double lives.

Thursday, 26 May 2016

EXPLANATION WITH RTC: THE WINTER'S TALE BY SHAKESPEARE

There's some ill planet reigns:
I must be patient till the heavens look
With an aspect more favourable.

There's is some ill ......... more favourable.

REFERENCE
(i) Drama: The Winter's Tale
(ii) Dramatist: William Shakespeare
CONTEXT
(i) Occurrence: Act 2, Scene I
(ii) Content: Leontes, king of Sicilia, suspects that his wife Hermione has an affair with his friend Polixenes, king of Bohemia. Her orders Camillo to poison Polixenes. However, Camillo helps Polixenes to escape back to Bohemia. Hermione is thrown into jail and has a baby while imprisoned. The king orders Antigonus to abandon the child. Hermione dies in the jail. Antigonus takes the baby to Bohemia. The little girl is found by a Shepherd and is named Perdita. Camillo, after serving Polixenes sixteen years, longs to return to Sicilia. Polixenes also goes with him in disguise. At a festival, Florizell declares his love for Perdita in front of his disguised father. The king threatens to disown Florizell and execute Perdita. The lovers go to Leontes. Here Perdita's true parentage is revealed and the royal families are reunited
EXPLANATION
    In these lines Hermoine says that human destiny is determined by stars. She thinks that some malign star is in the ascendant so the tides of her fortune have changed. Her husband, Loentes has wrongly accused her of adultery and pilloried her for infidelity. Due to this evil star, her happiness has been poisoned by the frantic jealousy of her husband. She deems that she has little chance to avoid her predicament as far as this "ill planet" is governing her her destiny. However, what cannot be cured must be endured. So she determines to wait patiently until the heavens are more favourably aligned and gods "look" on her with kinder expressions. Hermoine had to wait a solid 16 years in that misfortune for the manifestation of said "more favourable aspect". In short, Hermoine's resolve to undergo the saint-like patience thrills us with admiration as well as pity. These lines also contradict Shakespeare's famous notion;
The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars,
But in ourselves, that we are underlings, 
(Julius Caesar)

EXPLANATION WITH RTC: THE WINTER'S TALE BY SHAKESPEARE

Should a villain say so,
The most replenish'd villain in the world,
He were as much more villain: you, my lord,
Do but mistake.

Should a villain .........do but mistake.

REFERENCE
(i) Drama: The Winter's Tale
(ii) Dramatist: William Shakespeare
CONTEXT
(i) Occurrence: Act 2, Scene I
(ii) Content: Leontes, king of Sicilia, suspects that his wife Hermione has an affair with his friend Polixenes, king of Bohemia. Her orders Camillo to poison Polixenes. However, Camillo helps Polixenes to escape back to Bohemia. Hermione is thrown into jail and has a baby while imprisoned. The king orders Antigonus to abandon the child. Hermione dies in the jail. Antigonus takes the baby to Bohemia. The little girl is found by a Shepherd and is named Perdita. Camillo, after serving Polixenes sixteen years, longs to return to Sicilia. Polixenes also goes with him in disguise. At a festival, Florizell declares his love for Perdita in front of his disguised father. The king threatens to disown Florizell and execute Perdita. The lovers go to Leontes. Here Perdita's true parentage is revealed and the royal families are reunited
EXPLANATION
     These lines are spoken by Hermione in response to Leontes' false accusation at her. Leontes has just burst into Hermione's room where she was having a quiet time with her son. Here he accuses her, in no uncertain terms, of adultery, with his friend Polixenes. Hermione receives the first intimation of her husband's jealous suspicions with incredulous astonishment. It is not that, like Desdemona, she does not or cannot understand, but she will not. When her husband accuses her more plainly, she replies with a calm dignity. She says that her husband is not a villain or scoundrel. If a villain had accused her of such a thing, even though he were the perfect villain in the world, his villainy would become double that it was before. She thinks that slinging false accusation of adultery at someone is the meanest act that a villain can do. However, as for husband, he is merely mistaken. He is absolutely wrong in his judgment. In short, Hermione thinks that her husband is not a true villain but a mistaken jealous tyrant.

Wednesday, 25 May 2016

EXPLANATION WITH RTC: THE WINTER'S TALE BY SHAKESPEARE

No, in good earnest.
How sometimes nature will betray its folly,
Its tenderness, and make itself a pastime
To harder bosoms!

No, in good earnest ......... to harder bosoms!

REFERENCE
(i) Drama: The Winter's Tale
(ii) Dramatist: William Shakespeare
CONTEXT
(i) Occurrence: Act 1, Scene II
(ii) Content: Leontes, king of Sicilia, suspects that his wife Hermione has an affair with his friend Polixenes, king of Bohemia. Her orders Camillo to poison Polixenes. However, Camillo helps Polixenes to escape back to Bohemia. Hermione is thrown into jail and has a baby while imprisoned. The king orders Antigonus to abandon the child. Hermione dies in the jail. Antigonus takes the baby to Bohemia. The little girl is found by a Shepherd and is named Perdita. Camillo, after serving Polixenes sixteen years, longs to return to Sicilia. Polixenes also goes with him in disguise. At a festival, Florizell declares his love for Perdita in front of his disguised father. The king threatens to disown Florizell and execute Perdita. The lovers go to Leontes. Here Perdita's true parentage is revealed and the royal families are reunited. 
EXPLANATION
     In these lines Leontes wants to say that affections not felt are disbelieved or despised. When his wife Hermione asks him "Are you mov'd, my lord?", he says, "No, in good earnest". However, this is an ironical statement of Leontes because he is, in fact, agitated; he suspects that there is a torrid affair between his wife Hermione and his friend Polixenes. "No, in good earnest" also connotes that there is no advantage or benefit of being a sincere and honest person. Leontes then contemplates the power of human nature. He wonders how sometimes human nature can seduce a man's foolishness and weakness. He generalizes that the betrayal of human nature makes man the laughing stock of those unsentimental people who have stronger hearts. In short, these lines a a true description of human nature and its power to control passions and sentiments, and thus a perfect example of Shakespeare's aphorism.