Author's Diction~Vipin Behari Goyal: July 2016

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Action is Suffering, and Suffering is Action

       Right Deeds for the Wrong Reasons~ T. S. Eliot

Turbulent Sea & CC



 Dear CC,

My heart bleeds when I think about your sufferings. Moreover, because I know that you are a kind of innocent girl. Even before you have reconciled with the grief, it strikes you again in some other form. Your determination melts like a cube of ice melts in hot summer. You said, "I never thought I would give in but he touched me the right way." It implies that you gave in because you were touched in the right way. Nothing else mattered for you. No emotions, no commitments are required. You have become an automated device that anybody with the correct password can operate.
You have literally shocked me out of breath by this message
"V**** Now I'm in Varanasi and everything is catching up to me I think and I'm tired. I can't think straight. I can't make decisions. I am short tempered and making everything so much more complicated than they have to be. I feel I can't trust anybody lately. I have been cheated too many times. So I feel resentful, dismissive. I can't sit still, so many things are playing on my mind but I'm numb. As vulnerable as ever. Recently I spent some time with an Indian boy. I never thought I would give in but he touched me the right way. He's married to a girl from Russia... Surprise, surprise, again, I'm the mistress."
Confusions and contradictions are the stepping stones to Truth. You said, "You need to hear the truth from me"; but I think you already know the truth. You only need my confirmation. I cannot confirm it for you. Buddha said, "Be your own lamp."  If you wish to overlook the obvious, it is up to you.
 Travel with caution. The journey on the path of Truth is not safe.
Cheating has many dimensions. The more you trust, the more vulnerable you are. To cheat in revenge is more heinous than to cheat on impulse. Those who do not cheat are only good liars. Simple or lovable liars. So far the relationship is mutually beneficial, we trust the lies. When we believe that it is over, we blame.  Everyone is a cheater if the sequence of events is reversed and sensations are felt in space only.
Suppression makes us vulnerable. It works like a spring. You have to uncoil yourself from time to time. When you constantly avoid right people, you end up with the wrong kind of people. The right people are not persuasive, the wrong people are. Wrong people have expertise in exploiting the vulnerable people and situations. We need stronger will power to dissuade them.
Mistress is no longer a short-term relationship. It is also a sensible kind of relationship, which has all the benefits of marriage without being bondage. Mistresses have played a great role in history and literature. It is too early to confess and feel guilty of being a mistress. You do not confirm to the definition, think of something else.
This word is coined by patriarchal society to degrade the women who rebel against the middle class mentality and the norms of morality. It requires a lot of courage and strength of character to be a mistress. However, I am more intrigued when I imagine about the Russian wife of the Indian boy.
It could be a harsh thing for me to say, but make it sure that you are not taking a revenge of your father's deeds.
CC, don't burn yourself in the fire of your past. All the efforts that you do in order to come out of marsh drag you deeper. Remember what T. S. Eliot said " action is suffering, and suffering is action". All action leads to some kind of suffering, and then any efforts made to decrease suffering would only enhance it. Be kind to your sufferings CC, and endure them passively.
Just do not tease me. First, you went away when you could have stayed. Second, you stayed in a town so close to mine for long and did not accept my invitation. I am hurt, but I am not offended. I have patience. My virtues will be rewarded at the proper time.
So long.

V

PS
You can come and stay here as long as you want. Right deeds for the wrong reasons are not appreciated. Do it for right reason, such as to collect your mojo. 

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©  Vipin Behari Goyal

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Isabel’s Dilemma in The Portrait of a Lady

What Women Look For In a Man?


Bathsheba Everdene is the main character in the novel by Thomas Hardy, “Far from the madding crowd” and Isabel Archer is the main character in the novel by Henry James “The portrait of a lady.”


In chapter 42 in "The Portrait of a Lady" Isabel introspects her life. Henry James has an intention to rationalise the act of Isabel. She is an epitome of American innocence struggling against European experience. However, the reader is hardly convinced, but the reflections of Isabel as the “central consciousness” to understand herself are honest. Isabel had three suitors, and she makes a wrong choice.

In “Far From the Madding Crowd” Bathsheba also had three suitors and she also makes a wrong decision. Isabel is educated aristocrate girl from US while Bathsheba is from the countryside of England called Wessex. Isabel selects Gilbert Osmond and Bathsheba opts for Sergeant Troy as their life partners. Osmond and Troy were already having an affair with the women of low stature, Merle and Fenny respectively.

What women look for in a man? Why a prudent pretty girl would make a wrong choice? No, they are not at fault. Osmond and Troy represent archetype 'sly and greedy male'. They know how to entice pretty and rich girls. They play romantic tricks to win the heart and squeeze the flesh and money out of their beloved. Both women felt immense pleasure in squandering their inherited fortune.  The inheritance was a good gesture of some distant relative.  It sat on their conscience, so they lavishly bestowed it on their Prince Charming. They did not care if their spouse gamble or buy a rare piece of art. Bathsheba in chapter xxv draws various conclusions. “Idiosyncrasy and vicissitude had combined to stamp Sergeant Troy as an exceptional being.” They believed every word their beloved spoke to flatter them. When all the money was exhausted the true characters of their beloved husbands were disclosed, but by that time, it was too late.

In the movie “Far from the madding crowd”, Bathsheba Everdene says, “It is difficult for a woman to define her feelings in language chiefly made by men to express theirs.” They are not a victim of destiny; they are victims of their frailty. Hamlet saw this frailty in his mother Gertrude when she chose a goat-man over a sun god.

The suffering of a woman who makes a wrong choice is an “active condition”. She has an urge to develop and beat the circumstances. She finds a way to get rid of the relationship that has become a burden. They cannot carry it forever. Feminine pride is distinct from masculine pride. Feminine pride is hidden underneath her “identity” and no woman compromises on that, even if her self-esteem is low due to an immoral act. Man’s pride is in “Self”. If his self-esteem is poor, he loses his pride. They reflect to consciousness in different ways, which defines the basic character.

Either we may presume about the author’s intention or we may draw our own conclusions. Ernest Hemingway probably had this view in mind when he wrote, "books should be judged by those who read them—not explained by the writer.” According to new criticism author’s real intention is to create a work of art and reader can draw his own interpretation (Wimsatt and Beardsley essay “intentional fallacy”). The author is dead once the book is completed. His opinion then is as good as that of others. Thomas Hardy and Henry James have already put their intention in their work. Reading literature is not an exercise to decipher the message of the author, but an experience to find the solution and perspective about the world around us. How does it matter if deceased cousin Minny Temple inspired the character of Isabel Archer?

Isabel conceives a deep mistrust for her husband. She is suffered by deception. She thought she could change-as he wanted. “She was, after all, herself- she couldn’t help that;” So she stops pretending.

A woman is obsessed to occupy the mind of the man she loves. A clever man pretends the privilege and defeats the objective. He is only interested in her pretty appearance and not her ideas. When a husband realises that he is unable to regulate the emotions of his wife, there is nothing left but to hate her. Therefore, Isabel generously renounces everything and goes to Rome, to look for answers.Henry James has left her heroine 'in the air'. The 'whole' of anything can never be told. According to Joseph Conrad, it makes the ending "life-like". Life itself is incomplete and inconclusive.

Thomas Hardy makes a happy ending.Bathsheba and Oak are together finally. James Wright says “The scheme is charmingly neat; it is satanically false to Hardy.”


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©  Vipin Behari Goyal