Friday, April 11, 2008

The Rainbow by D. H. Lawrence as a Social Document

One of the important themes of the novel is the dissolution of a rural community spread over three generations. When the story of the novel begins about 1840, we meet Tom Brangwen as a representative of the rural community of England with its life rooted in the soil. But some changes that have already taken place are suggested through the construction of the canal, the coming of the railways and the roar of the engines that can be heard from time to time. The second generation lives in a different environment. Will works as a draughtsman in a lace factory. His interests are other than agriculture—church architecture, wood-carving, clay-modeling. When he shifts to the mining town of Beldover, the agricultural community is totally left behind. By the time Ursula grows up and joins college, the environment and its values have changed all the more. Industrialization has given a fatal jolt to the rural way of life. Life in general, its values and its institutions have been commercialized. The mining town of Wiggiston where Ursula’s uncle Tom becomes the manager of a colliery is described as ‘an inferno of the modern mechanistic spirit’. The Nottingham College is a temple converted to the most vulgar, petty commerce. Attitude to sex has also changed. Ursula, the modern emancipated woman adopts the teaching profession and makes no scruples of indulging in pre-marital sex. All these changes have been depicted so convincingly that F. R. Leavis regards The Rainbow as an important social document.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

HERO, BYRONIC HERO, AND PROTAGONIST

Hero or Heroine is the principal male or female character in a work of literature. The term carries no connotation of virtue or honor. Hero or Heroine is, traditionally, a character who has such admirable traits as: courage, idealism, and fortitude. The hero embodies the cultural values of his time and functions as the defender of his society. The earliest heroes, as revealed in myth and literature, were frequently favoured by gods or were themselves semi-divine; such were Achilles and Odysseus.

Byronic Hero is a type of hero modeled after Byron’s central figures in his works: Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage (1812-1818), Manfred (1817), and Cain (1821). The Byronic Hero is a rebel, proudly defiant in his attitude toward conventional social codes or religious beliefs, or an exile or outcast hungering for an ultimate truth to give meaning to his life in a seemingly meaningless universe. In the Renaissance, for example, Marlow’s tragic hero Dr. Faustus challenges existing religious doctrine by bartering his soul for divine knowledge.

Protagonist is, in Greek drama, the first actor, who played the leading part. However, the term now refers to the most important character in a play or story.

Antagonist is the major character in opposition to the hero or protagonist of a narrative or play.

Deuteragonist is the second actor in Greek drama, often synonymous with Antagonist. The term now has been applied to the character of second importance such as Claudius in Hamlet.

Tritagonist is, in Greek Drama, the third actor. Generally the third actors assumed various roles in the play by changing masks and costumes.