Directions

1. Submit them as you have the weekly question sets them via e-mail with the usual html tags.

2. Due 4 PM on 12 May 2009. No late projects accepted.

3. For each of the following passages identify its author's full name, the work's exact title, and its date. Then write mini-essays, such as you written in your question sets, for each passage that explain three ways in which the passage relates (whatever you take that term to mean) to Dickens's Great Expectations. Be as ingenious and specific as possible! One of these connections must concern theme, a second must concern technique (imagery, description, setting, characterization, style, ethos, metre, stanza form, narrative structure, endings, and so on), and a third some aspect of the religious, philosophical, historical, or scientific context. Please do not repeat the same themes, techniques, or contexts; that is, if you discuss imagery in one answer, choose different techniques for the others. Before you begin writing, make sure you have clear the distinction between theme and context. Note: one of your essays on context may concern biographical context.

Hints and Additional Directions

  1. To make your point include appropriate passages from Great Expectations in your mini-essay.
  2. Not all the relations you discover or create will turn out to be obvious ones, such as matters of influence or of analogous ideas and techniques. Some may take the form of contrasts or oppositions that tell us something interesting about the authors, literary forms, or times in which these works appeared. Others, particularly matters of context, may require you to use the materials in the web to formulate an hypothesis. In many cases the web provides the materials to create an answer but not an answer itself.
  3. Until the point at which you actually begin writing, you can discuss the passages below with other members of the class.
  4. Provide the title and, where possible, the author of any hypertext or other materials, such as the Norton Anthology, Wikipedia, OED Online, Victorian Web, Norton Critical Editions, or reference works, from which you quote or draw. Use the directions on site for forms of in-text citation and bibliographies. Remember to provide the full URL for any document from a website you use.
  5. Do not use period or stylistic terms, such as Romantic or Victorian, to explain a passage or provide a context. Remember, Carlyle, Carroll, and Dickens did not write in a particular way because they were Victorian. Because they wrote that way, we call such writing Victorian.
  6. Feel free to make brief comparisons and contrasts to other works when such would add to your discussion.
  7. Remember: Avoid forms of to be and passive verbs as much as possible.

1.

Ere long, they bore me to my grave. Never tired child lay down in his white bed, and heard the sound of his playthings being laid aside for the night, with a more luxurious satisfaction of repose than I knew, when I felt the coffin settle on the firm earth, and heard the sound of the falling mould upon its lid. It has not the same hollow rattle within the coffin, that it sends up to the edge of the grave. They buried me in no graveyard. They loved me too much for that, I thank them; but they laid me in the grounds of their own castle, amid many trees; where, as it was spring-time, were growing primroses, and blue-bells, and all the families of the woods

Now that I lay in her bosom, the whole earth, and each of her many births, was as a body to me, at my will. I seemed to feel the great heart of the mother beating into mine, and feeding me with her own life, her own essential being and nature. I heard the footsteps of my friends above, and they sent a thrill through my heart. I knew that the helpers had gone, and that the knight and the lady remained, and spoke low, gentle, tearful words of him who lay beneath the yet wounded sod. I rose into a single large primrose that grew by the edge of the grave, and from the window of its humble, trusting face, looked full in the countenance of the lady. I felt that I could manifest myself in the primrose; that it said a part of what I wanted to say; just as in the old time, I had used to betake myself to a song for the same end. The flower caught her eye. She stooped and plucked it, saying, "Oh, you beautiful creature!" and, lightly kissing it, put it in her bosom. It was the first kiss she had ever given me. But the flower soon began to wither, and I forsook it.

It was evening. The sun was below the horizon; but his rosy beams yet illuminated a feathery cloud, that floated high above the world. I arose, I reached the cloud; and, throwing myself upon it, floated with it in sight of the sinking sun. . . . I knew now, that it is by loving, and not by being loved, that one can come nearest the soul of another; yea, that, where two love, it is the loving of each other, and not the being loved by each other, that originates and perfects and assures their blessedness. I knew that love gives to him that loveth, power over any soul beloved, even if that soul know him not, bringing him inwardly close to that spirit; a power that cannot be but for good; for in proportion as selfishness intrudes, the love ceases, and the power which springs therefrom dies.

2.

'I like the Walrus best,' said Alice: 'because you see he was a LITTLE sorry for the poor oysters.'

'He ate more than the Carpenter, though,' said Tweedledee. 'You see he held his handkerchief in front, so that the Carpenter couldn't count how many he took: contrariwise.'

'That was mean!' Alice said indignantly. 'Then I like the Carpenter best—if he didn't eat so many as the Walrus.'

'But he ate as many as he could get,' said Tweedledum.

This was a puzzler. After a pause, Alice began, 'Well! They were BOTH very unpleasant characters —'

3.

She spake and King Leodogran rejoiced,
But musing 'Shall I answer yea or nay ? ,
Doubted, and drowsed, nodded and slept, and saw,
Dreaming, a slope of land that ever grew,
Field after field, up to a height, the peak
Haze-hidden, and thereon a phantom king,
Now looming, and now lost; and on the slope
The sword rose, the hind fell, the herd was driven,
Fire glimpsed; and all the land from roof and rick,
In drifts of smoke before a rolling wind,
Stream'd to the peak, and mingled with the haze
And made it thicker; while the phantom king
Sent out at times a voice; and here or there
Stood one who pointed toward the voice, the rest
Slew on and burnt, crying, 'No king of ours,
No son of Uther, and no king of ours';
Till with a wink his dream was changed, the haze
Descended, and the solid earth became
As nothing, and the king stood out in heaven,
Crown'd. And Leodogran awoke, and sent
Ulfius, and Brastias and Bedivere,
Back to the court of Arthur answering yea

4.

Days, weeks, months,years
Afterwards, when both were wives
With children of their own;
Their mother-hearts beset with fears,
Their lives bound up in tender lives;
Laura would call the little ones
And tell them of her early prime,
Those pleasant days long gone
Of not-returning time:
Would talk about the haunted glen,
The wicked, quaint fruit-merchant men,
Their fruits like honey to the throat,
But poison in the blood;
(Men sell not such in any town;)
Would tell them how her sister stood
In deadly peril to do her good,
And win the fiery antidote:
Then joining hands to little hands
Would bid them cling together,
"For there is no friend like a sister,
In calm or stormy weather,
To cheer one on the tedious way,
To fetch one if one goes astray,
To lift one if one totters down,
To strengthen whilst one stands."

5.

And have I not Saint Praxed's ear to pray
Horses for ye, and brown Greek manuscripts,
And mistresses with great smooth marbly limbs?
— That's if ye carve my epitaph aright,
Choice Latin, picked phrase, Tully's every word,
No gaudy ware like Gandolf's second line —
Tully, my masters? Ulpian serves his need!
And then how I shall lie through centuries, 80
And hear the blessed mutter of the mass,
And see God made and eaten all day long,
And feel the steady candle-flame, and taste
Good strong thick stupefying incense-smoke!
For as I lie here, hours of the dead night,
Dying in state and by such slow degrees,
I fold my arms as if they clasped a crook,
And stretch my feet forth straight as stone can point,
And let the bedclothes, for a mortcloth, drop
Into great laps and folds of sculptor's-work:

6.

The rest is silence. So ended are the last words of the chief wisdom of the heathen, spoken of this idol of riches; this idol of yours; this golden image high by measureless cubits, set up where your green fields of England are furnace-burnt into the likeness of the plain of Dura: this idol, forbidden to us, first of all idols, by our own Master and faith; forbidden to us also by every human lip that has ever, in any age or people, been accounted of as able to speak according to the purposes of God. Continue to make that forbidden deity your principal one, and soon no more art, no more science, no more pleasure will be possible. Catastrophe will come; or worse than catastrophe, slow mouldering and withering into Hades. But if you can fix some conception of a true human state of life to be striven for — life for all men as for yourselves — if you can determine some honest and simple order of existence; following those trodden ways of wisdom, which are pleasantness, and seeking her quiet and withdrawn paths, which are peace; — then, and so sanctifying wealth into "commonwealth," all your art, your literature, your daily labours, your domestic affection, and citizen's duty, will join and increase into one magnificent harmony. You will know then how to build, well enough; you will build with stone well, but with flesh better; temples not made with hands, but riveted of hearts; and that kind of marble, crimson-veined, is indeed eternal

7.

'I tell you I must go!' I retorted, roused to something like passion. 'Do you think I can stay to become nothing to you? Do you think I am an automaton?- a machine without feelings? and can bear to have my morsel of bread snatched from my lips, and my drop of living water dashed from my cup? Do you think, because I am poor, obscure, plain, and little, I am soulless and heartless? You think wrong! — I have as much soul as you, — and full as much heart! And if God had gifted me with some beauty and much wealth, I should have made it as hard for you to leave me, as it is now for me to leave you. I am not talking to you now through the medium of custom, conventionalities, nor even of mortal flesh; — it is my spirit that addresses your spirit; just as if both had passed through the grave, and we stood at God's feet, equal, — as we are!'

8.

Here is all the end of all his glory --
    Dust, and grass, and barren silent stones.
Dead, like him, one hollow tower and hoary
    Naked in the sea-wind stands and moans,
Filled and thrilled with its perpetual story:
    Here, where earth is dense with dead men's bones.

                                11

Low and loud and long, a voice for ever,
    Sounds the wind's clear story like a song.             440
Tomb from tomb the waves devouring sever,
    Dust from dust as years relapse along;
Graves where men made sure to rest, and never
    Lie dismantled by the seasons' wrong.

                                12

Now displaced, devoured and desecrated,
    Now by Time's hands darkly disinterred,
These poor dead that sleeping here awaited
    Long the archangel's re-creating word,
Closed about with roofs and walls high-gated
    Till the blast of judgment should be heard,             450

                                13

Naked, shamed, cast out of consecration,
    Corpse and coffin, yea the very graves,
Scoffed at, scattered, shaken from their station,
    Spurned and scourged of wind and sea like slaves,
Desolate beyond man's desolation,
    Shrink and sink into the waste of waves.

                                14

Tombs, with bare white piteous bones protruded,
    Shroudless, down the loose collapsing banks,
Crumble, from their constant place detruded,
    That the sea devours and gives not thanks.             460
Where hope and prayer and sorrow brooded
    Gape and slide and perish, ranks on ranks.

9.

The Thames nocturne of blue and gold
Changed to a Harmony in grey:
A barge with ochre-coloured hay
Dropt from the wharf: and chill and cold

The yellow fog came creeping down
The bridges, till the houses' walls
Seemed changed to shadows and St. Paul's
Loomed like a bubble o'er the town.

Then suddenly arose the clang
Of waking life; the streets were stirred
With country waggons: and a bird
Flew to the glistening roofs and sang.

But one pale woman all alone,
The daylight kissing her wan hair,
Loitered beneath the gas lamps' flare,
With lips of flame and heart of stone.

10. Research assignment

Go to the John Hay Library, which is open 9-5 on weekdays, and find in an article contemporary with one of the texts read in English 60 for some relevant material. In an essay equivalent to at least three double-spaced pages include selections from the material you found along with complete bibliographic citation and an introduction and discussion of the material that explains its relevance to the book you've chosen. You might go, for example, to The Illustrated London News, London Times, Punch, or one of the intellectual quarterlies, such as The Westminster Review, to which George Eliot contributed, or The Cornhill Review, which Thackeray edited. There you might find articles on, say, Australia, the condition of governesses, missionary work in India, orphan asylums, primary education, and so on. Make sure these contemporary materials are in fact contemporary — that is, that they come from a few years before or after the work to which you relate them. In this part of the assignment, I am asking you to do scholarship, and scholarship is detective work. Last year several students found so much material that they decided to use these sources for the context sections of other questions. You can do so, too, but please use a different article for each context part of your essay.


Last modified 14 April 2009