UNIVERSITY OF PRISHTINA
FACULTY OF PHILOLOGY
Shqiprim Cani, 2014
Oliver Twist (Charles Dickens)………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….…...…3
David Copperfield (Charles Dickens)……………………………………………………………………………..…………………………..……5
Great Expectations (Charles Dickens)……………………………………………………………………………………………………..………7
Wuthering Heights (Emily Brontë)……………………………………………………………………………………………………………….…9
Jane Eyre (Charlotte Brontë)………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….…….……11
Tess of the d'Urbervilles (Thomas Hardy) ……………………………………………………………………………………………….……13
The Picture of Dorian Gray (Oscar Wilde) ……………………………………………………………………………………………………15
Vanity Fair (William Makepeace Thackeray) ……………………………………………………………………………………………….…………17
Silas Marner (George Eliot) ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………19
The Lady of Shalott (Alfred Tennyson) ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………21
Ulysses (Alfred Tennyson) ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..………….……22
Mariana (Alfred Tennyson) ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………23
Porphyria's Lover (Robert Browning) ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………24
My Last Duchess (Robert Browning) ……………………………………………………………………………………………….………….……25
Dover Beach (Matthew Arnold) …………………………………………………………………………………….……………………………….…26
The Blessed Damozel (Dante Gabriel Rossetti) ………………………………………………………………………………………..….……27
Pied Beauty (Gerard Manley Hopkins) ………………………………………………………………………….……………………………………28
What Is Poetry? (John Stuart Mill) ………………………………………………………………………………………….…………………….…29
The Pathetic Fallacy (John Ruskin) ……………………………………………………….………………………………………………………30
The Study Of Poetry (Matthew Arnold) ………………………………………………………………………………………..…………………31
The Descent of Man (Charles Darwin) ……………………………………………………………………………………………..……………34
Most Used Exam Questions……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………37
OLIVER TWIST (Charles Dickens)
Oliver Twist is born in a workhouse in 1830s England. His mother,whose name no one knows, isfound
on the street and dies just after Oliver’s birth. Oliver spends the first nine years of his life in a badly run
home for young orphans and then is transferred to a workhouse for adults. After the other boys bully
Oliver into asking for more gruel at the end of a meal, Mr. Bumble, the parish beadle, offers five pounds
to anyone who will take the boy awayfrom the workhouse. Oliver narrowlyescapes being apprenticed
to a brutish chimney sweep and iseventually apprenticed to a local undertaker, Mr. Sowerberry. When
the undertaker’s other apprentice,Noah Claypole, makes disparaging comments about Oliver’s mother,
Oliver attacks him and incurs the Sowerberrys’wrath. Desperate, Oliver runs away at dawn and travels
Outside London, Oliver, starved and exhausted, meets Jack Dawkins, a boy his own age. Jack offers him
shelter in the London house of his benefactor, Fagin. It turns out that Faginis a career criminal who
trains orphan boys to pick pockets for him.After a few days of training, Oliver is sent on a pickpocketing
mission with two other boys. When he sees them swipe a handkerchief from anelderly gentleman,
Oliver is horrified and runs off. He is caught but narrowly escapes being convicted of the theft. Mr.
Brownlow, the man whose handkerchief was stolen, takes the feverish Oliver to his home and nurses
him back to health. Mr. Brownlow is struck by Oliver’s resemblance to a portrait of a youngwoman that
hangs in his house. Oliver thrivesin Mr. Brownlow’s home, but two young adultsin Fagin’s gang, Bill
Sikes and hislover Nancy, capture Oliver and return him to Fagin.
Fagin sends Oliver to assist Sikes in a burglary. Oliver is shot by a servant of the house and, after Sikes
escapes,is taken in by the womenwho live there, Mrs. Maylie and her beautiful adopted niece Rose.
They grow fond of Oliver, and he spends anidyllic summerwith them in the countryside. But Fagin and a
mysterious man named Monks are set on recapturing Oliver. Meanwhile,it is revealed that Oliver’s
mother left behind a gold locketwhen she died. Monks obtains and destroys that locket. When the
Maylies come to London, Nancy meets secretlywith Rose and informs her of Fagin’s designs, but a
member of Fagin’s gang overhears the conversation. When word of Nancy’s disclosure reaches Sikes, he
brutally murdersNancy and flees London. Pursued by his guilty conscience and an angry mob, he
inadvertently hangs himself while trying toescape.
Mr. Brownlow, with whom the Maylies have reunited Oliver, confronts Monks and wrings the truth
about Oliver’s parentage from him. Itis revealed that Monks is Oliver’s half brother. Their father, Mr.
Leeford, was unhappily married to a wealthy woman and had an affair with Oliver’s mother, Agnes
Fleming. Monks has been pursuing Oliver all along in the hopes of ensuring that his half-brother is
deprived of his share of the family inheritance. Mr. Brownlow forces Monks to sign over Oliver’s share to
Oliver. Moreover,it is discovered that Rose is Agnes’s younger sister, hence Oliver’s aunt. Fagin is hung
for his crimes. Finally, Mr. Brownlow adopts Oliver, and they and the Maylies retire to a blissful
existence in the countryside.
-The Failure of Charity
-The Folly of Individualism
-Purity in a Corrupt City
-The Countryside Idealized
DAVID COPPERFIELD (Charles Dickens)
Now a grown man, David Copperfield tells the story of his youth. As a young boy, he lives happily with
his mother and his nurse, Peggotty. Hisfather died before he was born. During David’searly childhood,
his mother marries the violent Mr. Murdstone, who brings his strict sister, Miss Murdstone, into the
house. The Murdstones treat David cruelly, and David bites Mr. Murdstone’s hand during one beating.
The Murdstones send David away to school.
Peggotty takes David to visit her familyin Yarmouth, where David meets Peggotty’s brother, Mr.
Peggotty, and his two adopted children, Ham and Little Em’ly. Mr. Peggotty’s family livesin a boat
turned upside down—a space they share with Mrs. Gummidge, the widowed wife of Mr. Peggotty’s
brother. After this visit, David attends school at Salem House, whichis run by a man named Mr. Creakle.
David befriends and idolizes an egotistical young man named James Steerforth. David also befriends
Tommy Traddles, an unfortunate, fat young boywho is beaten more than the others.
David’s mother dies, and David returns home, where the Murdstones neglect him. He works at Mr.
Murdstone’s wine-bottling business and movesin with Mr. Micawber, who mismanages his finances.
When Mr. Micawber leaves London to escape his creditors, David decides to search for his father’s
sister, Miss Betsey Trotwood—his onlyliving relative. He walks a long distance to Miss Betsey’s home,
and she takes himin on the advice of her mentally unstable friend, Mr. Dick.
Miss Betsey sends David to a school run by a man named Doctor Strong. David moves in with Mr.
Wickfield and his daughter, Agnes, while he attends school. Agnes and David become bestfriends.
Among Wickfield’s boardersis Uriah Heep, a snakelike young man who ofteninvolves himself in matters
that are none of his business. David graduates and goes to Yarmouth to visit Peggotty, who is now
married to Mr. Barkis, the carrier. David reflects on what profession he should pursue.
On hisway to Yarmouth, David encounters James Steerforth, and they take a detour to visit Steerforth’s
mother. They arrive in Yarmouth,where Steerforth and the Peggottys become fond of one another.
When they return from Yarmouth, Miss Betsey persuades David to pursue a career as a proctor, a kind
of lawyer. David apprentices himself at the London firm of Spenlow and Jorkins and takes uplodgings
with a woman named Mrs. Crupp. Mr. Spenlow invites David to his house for a weekend. There, David
meets Spenlow’s daughter, Dora, and quickly falls in love with her.
In London, David is reunited with Tommy Traddles and Mr. Micawber. Word reaches David, through
Steerforth, that Mr. Barkisis terminally ill. David journeys to Yarmouth to visit Peggotty in her hour of
need. Little Em’ly and Ham, nowengaged, are to be married upon Mr. Barkis’s death. David, however,
finds Little Em’ly upset over her impending marriage. When Mr. Barkis dies, Little Em’ly runs off with
Steerforth, who she believes will make her a lady. Mr. Peggottyis devastated but vows to find Little
Em’ly and bring her home.
Miss Betsey visits London toinform David that her financial security has been ruined because Mr.
Wickfield has joined into a partnership with Uriah Heep. David, who has become increasingly infatuated
with Dora, vows to work as hard as he can to make their life together possible. Mr. Spenlow, however,
forbids Dora from marrying David. Mr. Spenlow diesin a carriage accident that night, and Dora goes to
live with her two aunts. Meanwhile, Uriah Heep informs Doctor Strong that he suspects Doctor Strong’s
wife, Annie, of having an affair with her young cousin, Jack Maldon.
Dora and David marry, and Dora proves a terrible housewife,incompetent in her chores. David loves her
anyway and is generally happy. Mr. Dick facilitates a reconciliation between Doctor Strong and Annie,
who was not, in fact, cheating on her husband. Miss Dartle, Mrs. Steerforth’s ward, summons David and
informs him that Steerforth has left Little Em’ly. Miss Dartle adds that Steerforth’s servant, Littimer, has
proposed to her and that Little Em’ly has run away. David and Mr. Peggottyenlist the help of Little
Em’ly’s childhoodfriend Martha, who locates Little Em’ly and brings Mr. Peggotty to her. Little Em’ly and
Mr. Peggotty decide to move to Australia, as do the Micawbers, who first save the dayfor Agnes and
Miss Betsey by exposing Uriah Heep’sfraud against Mr. Wickfield.
A powerful storm hits Yarmouth and kills Ham while he attempts to rescue a shipwrecked sailor. The
sailor turns out to be Steerforth. Meanwhile, Dora fallsill and dies. David leaves the country to travel
abroad. Hislove for Agnes grows. When David returns, he and Agnes, who has long harbored a secret
love for him, get married and have several children. David pursues his writing career withincreasing
-The Plight of the Weak
-Equality in Marriage
-Wealth and Class
GREAT EXPECTATIONS (Charles Dickens)
Pip, a young orphan livingwith his sister and her husband in the marshes of Kent, sits in a cemetery one
evening looking at his parents’ tombstones. Suddenly, anescaped convict springs upfrom behind a
tombstone, grabs Pip, and orders him to bring him food and a file for his leg irons. Pip obeys, but the
fearsome convict is soon captured anyway. The convict protects Pip by claiming to have stolen the items
One day Pip is taken by his Uncle Pumblechook to play at Satis House, the home of the wealthy dowager
Miss Havisham, who is extremelyeccentric: she wears an oldwedding dress everywhere she goes and
keeps all the clocks in her house stopped at the same time. During his visit, he meets a beautiful young
girl named Estella, who treats him coldly and contemptuously. Nevertheless, he falls in love with her and
dreams of becoming a wealthy gentleman so that he might be worthy of her. He even hopes that Miss
Havisham intends to make him a gentleman and marry him to Estella, but his hopes are dashed when,
after months of regular visits to Satis House, Miss Havisham decides to help him become a common
laborer in his family’s business.
With Miss Havisham’s guidance, Pipis apprenticed to his brother-in-law, Joe, who is the village
blacksmith. Pip works in the forge unhappily, struggling to better his education with the help of the
plain, kind Biddy and encountering Joe’s malicious daylaborer, Orlick. One night, after an altercation
with Orlick, Pip’s sister, known as Mrs. Joe, is viciously attacked and becomes a mute invalid. From her
signals,Pip suspects that Orlickwas responsible for the attack.
One day a lawyer named Jaggers appears with strange news: a secret benefactor has given Pip a large
fortune, and Pip must come to London immediately to begin his education as a gentleman. Pip happily
assumes that his previous hopes have come true—that Miss Havisham is his secret benefactor and that
the old woman intends for him to marry Estella.
In London, Pip befriends a young gentleman named Herbert Pocket and Jaggers’s law clerk, Wemmick.
He expresses disdain for his former friends and loved ones,especially Joe, but he continues to pine after
Estella. He furthers his education by studyingwith the tutor Matthew Pocket, Herbert’s father. Herbert
himself helps Piplearn how to act like a gentleman. When Pip turns twenty-one and begins to receive an
income from hisfortune, he will secretly help Herbert buy his way into the business he has chosen for
himself. But for now, Herbert andPiplead a fairly undisciplined life in London, enjoying themselves and
running up debts. Orlick reappears in Pip’s life,employed as Miss Havisham’s porter, but is promptly
fired by Jaggers after Pip reveals Orlick’s unsavory past. Mrs. Joe dies, and Pip goes home for the
funeral, feeling tremendous grief and remorse. Several years go by, until one night a familiar figure
bargesinto Pip’s room—the convict, Magwitch, who stuns Pip by announcing that he, not Miss
Havisham, is the source of Pip’s fortune. He tells Pip that he was so moved by Pip’s boyhood kindness
that he dedicated hislife to making Pip a gentleman, and he made a fortune inAustraliafor that very
Pipis appalled, but he feels morally bound to help Magwitchescape London, as the convict is pursued
both by the police and by Compeyson, hisformer partnerin crime. A complicated mystery begins tofall
into place when Pip discovers that Compeyson was the man who abandoned Miss Havisham at the altar
and that Estellais Magwitch’s daughter. Miss Havisham has raised her to break men’s hearts, as revenge
for the pain her own broken heart caused her.Pip was merely a boyfor the young Estella to practice on;
Miss Havisham delightedin Estella’s ability to toy with his affections.
As the weeks pass, Pip sees the goodin Magwitch and begins to care for him deeply. Before Magwitch’s
escape attempt, Estella marries an upper-class lout named Bentley Drummle.Pip makes a visit to Satis
House, where Miss Havisham begs his forgiveness for the way she has treated him in the past, and he
forgives her. Later that day,when she bends over the fireplace, her clothing catches fire and she goes up
in flames. She survives but becomes an invalid. In her final days, she will continue to repent for her
misdeeds and to plead for Pip’s forgiveness.
The time comes for Pip and his friends to spirit Magwitch awayfrom London. Just before the escape
attempt, Pip is called to a shadowy meeting in the marshes, where he encounters the vengeful, evil
Orlick. Orlick is on the verge of killingPip when Herbert arriveswith a group of friends and saves Pip’s
life. Pip and Herbert hurry back to effect Magwitch’s escape. They try to sneak Magwitch down the river
on a rowboat, but they are discovered by the police,who Compeyson tipped off. Magwitch and
Compeyson fight in the river, and Compeyson is drowned. Magwitch is sentenced to death, and Pip loses
his fortune. Magwitch feels that his sentence is God’s forgiveness and dies at peace.Pipfallsill; Joe
comes to London to care for him, and they are reconciled. Joe gives him the news from home: Orlick,
after robbing Pumblechook, is nowin jail; Miss Havisham has died andleft most of her fortune to the
Pockets; Biddy has taught Joe how to read andwrite. After Joe leaves, Pip decides to rush home after
him and marry Biddy, butwhen he arrives there he discovers that she and Joe have already married.
Pip decides to go abroad with Herbert towork in the mercantile trade. Returning many yearslater, he
encounters Estellain the ruined garden at Satis House. Drummle, her husband, treated her badly, but he
is now dead. Pip finds that Estella’s coldness and cruelty have been replaced by a sad kindness, and the
two leave the garden hand in hand, Pip believing that they will never part again.
-Ambition and Self-Improvement
-Crime, Guilt, and Innocence
WUTHERING HEIGHTS (EmilyBrontë)
In the late winter months of 1801, a man named Lockwood rents a manor house called Thrushcross
Grange in the isolated moor country of England. Here, he meets his dourlandlord, Heathcliff, a wealthy
man wholives in the ancient manor of Wuthering Heights, four miles awayfrom the Grange. In this wild,
stormy countryside, Lockwood asks his housekeeper, Nelly Dean, to tell him the story of Heathcliff and
the strange denizens of Wuthering Heights.Nelly consents, and Lockwood writes down his recollections
of her tale in his diary; these written recollections form the main part of Wuthering Heights.
Nelly remembers her childhood. As a young girl, she works as a servant at Wuthering Heights for the
owner of the manor, Mr. Earnshaw, and his family. One day, Mr. Earnshaw goes to Liverpool and returns
home with an orphan boy whom he will raise with his own children. Atfirst, the Earnshaw children—a
boy named Hindley and his younger sister Catherine—detest the dark-skinned Heathcliff. But Catherine
quickly comes tolove him, and the two soon grow inseparable, spending their days playing on the
moors. After hiswife’s death, Mr. Earnshaw grows to prefer Heathcliff to his own son, and when Hindley
continues his cruelty to Heathcliff, Mr. Earnshaw sends Hindley away to college, keeping Heathcliff
Three yearslater, Mr. Earnshaw dies, and Hindley inherits Wuthering Heights. He returns with a wife,
Frances, and immediately seeks revenge on Heathcliff. Once an orphan,later a pampered and favored
son, Heathcliff now finds himself treated as a common laborer, forced to work in the fields. Heathcliff
continues his close relationshipwith Catherine, however. One night they wander to Thrushcross Grange,
hoping to tease Edgar and Isabella Linton, the cowardly, snobbish children who live there. Catherine is
bitten by a dog and is forced to stay at the Grange to recuperate for five weeks, during which time Mrs.
Lintonworks to make her a proper younglady. By the time Catherine returns, she has become
infatuated with Edgar, and her relationship with Heathcliff grows more complicated.When Frances dies
after giving birth to a baby boy named Hareton, Hindley descends into the depths of alcoholism, and
behaves even more cruelly and abusively toward Heathcliff. Eventually, Catherine’s desire for social
advancement prompts her to become engaged to Edgar Linton, despite her overpowering love for
Heathcliff. Heathcliff runs away from Wuthering Heights, staying away for three years, and returning
shortly after Catherine and Edgar’s marriage.
When Heathcliff returns, he immediately sets about seeking revenge on all who have wronged him.
Having come into a vast and mysterious wealth, he deviouslylends money to the drunken Hindley,
knowing that Hindley will increase his debts andfall into deeper despondency. When Hindley dies,
Heathcliff inherits the manor. He also places himself in line to inherit Thrushcross Grange by marrying
Isabella Linton, whom he treats very cruelly. Catherine becomes ill, gives birth to a daughter, and dies.
Heathcliff begs her spirit to remain on Earth—she may take whatever form she will, she may haunt him,
drive him mad—just as long as she does not leave him alone. Shortly thereafter, Isabella flees to London
and gives birth to Heathcliff’s son, named Linton after her family. She keeps the boy with her
there.Thirteen years pass, during whichNelly Dean serves as Catherine’s daughter’s nursemaid at
Thrushcross Grange. Young Catherine is beautiful and headstrong like her mother, but her temperament
is modified by her father’s gentler influence. Young Catherine grows up at the Grange with no
knowledge of Wuthering Heights; one day, however, wandering through the moors, she discovers the
manor, meets Hareton, and plays together with him. Soon afterwards, Isabella dies, and Linton comes to
live with Heathcliff. Heathcliff treats his sickly, whining son even more cruelly than he treated the boy’s
mother.Three years later, Catherine meets Heathcliff on the moors, and makes a visit to Wuthering
Heights to meet Linton. She and Linton begin a secret romance conducted entirely through letters.
When Nelly destroys Catherine’s collection of letters, the girl begins sneaking out at night to spend time
with her frail younglover, who asks her to come back and nurse him back to health. However,it quickly
becomes apparent that Linton is pursuing Catherine only because Heathcliff is forcing him to; Heathcliff
hopes that if Catherine marries Linton, his legal claim upon Thrushcross Grange—and his revenge upon
Edgar Linton—will be complete. One day, as Edgar Linton grows ill and nears death, Heathcliff lures
Nelly and Catherine back to Wuthering Heights, and holds them prisoner until Catherine marries Linton.
Soon after the marriage, Edgar dies, and his death is quicklyfollowed by the death of the sickly Linton.
Heathcliff now controls both Wuthering Heights and Thrushcross Grange.
He forces Catherine to live at Wuthering Heights and act as a common servant, while he rents
Thrushcross Grange to Lockwood.Nelly’s storyends as she reaches the present. Lockwood, appalled,
ends his tenancy at Thrushcross Grange and returns to London. However, six months later, he pays a
visit to Nelly, and learns of further developments in the story. Although Catherine originally mocked
Hareton’s ignorance andilliteracy(in an act of retribution, Heathcliff ended Hareton’s education after
Hindley died), Catherine grows tolove Hareton as they live together at Wuthering Heights. Heathcliff
becomes more and more obsessed with the memory of the elder Catherine, to the extent that he begins
speaking to her ghost. Everything he sees reminds him of her. Shortly after a night spent walking on the
moors, Heathcliff dies. Hareton and young Catherine inherit Wuthering Heights and Thrushcross Grange,
and they plan to be married on the next New Year’s Day.After hearing the end of the story, Lockwood
goes to visit the graves of Catherine and Heathcliff.
-The Destructiveness of a Love That Never Changes
-The Precariousness of Social Class
JANE EYRE (Charlotte Brontë)
Jane Eyre is a young orphan being raised by Mrs. Reed, her cruel, wealthy aunt. A servant named Bessie
provides Jane with some of the few kindnesses she receives, telling her stories and singing songs to her.
One day, as punishment for fighting with her bullying cousin John Reed, Jane’s aunt imprisons Jane in
the red-room, the roomin which Jane’s Uncle Reed died. While lockedin, Jane, believing that she sees
her uncle’s ghost, screams and faints. She wakes to find herself in the care of Bessie and the kindly
apothecary Mr. Lloyd,who suggests to Mrs. Reed that Jane be sent away to school. To Jane’s delight,
Mrs. Reed concurs.
Once at the Lowood School, Jane finds that her life is farfrom idyllic. The school’s headmasteris Mr.
Brocklehurst, a cruel, hypocritical, and abusive man. Brocklehurst preaches a doctrine of poverty and
privation to his students while using the school’sfunds to provide a wealthy and opulentlifestyle for his
own family.At Lowood, Jane befriends a young girl named Helen Burns, whose strong, martyrlike
attitude toward the school’s miseriesis both helpful and displeasing to Jane. A massive typhusepidemic
sweeps Lowood, and Helen dies of consumption. The epidemic also results in the departure of Mr.
Brocklehurst by attracting attention to the insalubrious conditions at Lowood. After a group of more
sympathetic gentlemen takes Brocklehurst’s place, Jane’s life improves dramatically. She spends eight
more years at Lowood, six as a student and two as a teacher.
After teaching for two years, Jane yearnsfor new experiences. She accepts a governess position at a
manor called Thornfield, where she teaches a lively French girl named Adèle. The distinguished
housekeeper Mrs. Fairfax presides over the estate. Jane’semployer at Thornfield is a dark, impassioned
man named Rochester, with whom Jane finds herself falling secretly inlove. She saves Rochester from a
fire one night, which he claims was started by a drunken servant named Grace Poole. But because Grace
Poole continues to work at Thornfield, Jane concludes that she has not been told the entire story. Jane
sinks into despondency when Rochester brings home a beautiful but viciouswoman named Blanche
Ingram. Jane expects Rochester to propose to Blanche. But Rochester instead proposes to Jane, who
accepts almost disbelievingly.
The wedding day arrives, and as Jane and Mr. Rochester prepare toexchange their vows, the voice of
Mr. Mason cries out that Rochester already has a wife. Masonintroduces himself as the brother of that
wife—a woman named Bertha. Mr. Mason testifies that Bertha, whom Rochester married when he was
a young man in Jamaica, is still alive. Rochester does not deny Mason’s claims, but he explains that
Bertha has gone mad. He takes the wedding party back to Thornfield, where they witness the insane
Bertha Mason scurrying around on all fours and growling like an animal. Rochester keeps Bertha hidden
on the third story of Thornfield and pays Grace Poole to keep hiswife under control. Berthawas the real
cause of the mysterious fire earlier in the story. Knowing that itis impossible for her to be with
Rochester, Jane flees Thornfield.
Penniless and hungry, Jane is forced to sleep outdoors and beg for food. At last, three siblings who live
in a manor alternatively called Marsh End and Moor House take her in. Their names are Mary, Diana,
and St. John (pronounced “Sinjin”) Rivers, and Jane quickly becomes friends with them. St. John is a
clergyman, and he finds Jane a job teaching at a charity school in Morton. He surprises her one day by
declaring that her uncle, John Eyre, has died andleft her a large fortune: 20,000 pounds. When Jane asks
how he received this news, he shocks herfurther by declaring that her uncle was also his uncle: Jane and
the Riverses are cousins. Jane immediately decides to share her inheritance equally with her three
St. John decides to travel to India as a missionary, and he urges Jane to accompany him—as his wife.
Jane agrees to go to India but refuses to marry her cousin because she does notlove him. St. John
pressures her to reconsider, and she nearly givesin. However, she realizes that she cannot abandon
forever the man she truly loves when one night she hears Rochester’s voice calling her name over the
moors. Jane immediately hurries back to Thornfield andfinds thatit has been burned to the ground by
Bertha Mason, who lost her life in the fire. Rochester saved the servants butlost his eyesight and one of
his hands. Jane travels on to Rochester’s new residence, Ferndean, where he lives with two servants
named John and Mary.
At Ferndean, Rochester and Jane rebuild their relationship and soon marry. At the end of her story, Jane
writes that she has been marriedfor ten blissful years and that she and Rochester enjoy perfectequality
in theirlife together. She says that after two years of blindness, Rochester regained sightin one eye and
was able to behold their first son at his birth.
TESS OF THE D’URBERVILLES (Thomas Hardy)
The poor peddler John Durbeyfieldis stunned to learn that he is the descendent of an ancient noble
family, the d’Urbervilles. Meanwhile, Tess, his eldest daughter, joins the other village girls in the May
Day dance,where Tess briefly exchanges glanceswith a young man. Mr. Durbeyfield and his wife decide
to send Tess to the d’Urberville mansion, where they hope Mrs. d’Urberville will make Tess’sfortune. In
reality, Mrs. d’Urberville is no relation to Tess at all: her husband, the merchant Simon Stokes, simply
changed his name to d’Urberville after he retired. But Tess does not know this fact, and when the
lascivious Alec d’Urberville, Mrs. d’Urberville’s son, procures Tess a job tending fowls on the d’Urberville
estate, Tess has no choice but to accept, since she blames herself for an accident involving the family’s
horse, its only means of income.
Tess spends several months at this job, resistingAlec’s attempts to seduce her. Finally, Alec takes
advantage of her in the woods one night after a fair. Tess knows she does notlove Alec. She returns
home to her family to give birth to Alec’s child, whom she christens Sorrow. Sorrow dies soon after he is
born, and Tess spends a miserable year at home before deciding to seek work elsewhere. She finally
accepts a job as a milkmaid at the Talbothays Dairy.
At Talbothays, Tessenjoys a period of contentment and happiness. She befriends three of her fellow
milkmaids—Izz, Retty, and Marian—and meets a man named Angel Clare, who turns out to be the man
from the May Day dance at the beginning of the novel. Tess and Angel slowly fall in love. They grow
closer throughout Tess’s time at Talbothays, and she eventually accepts his proposal of marriage. Still,
she is troubled by pangs of conscience and feels she should tell Angel about her past. She writes him a
confessional note and slips it under his door, butit slides under the carpet and Angel never sees it.
After their wedding, Angel and Tess both confess indiscretions: Angel tells Tess about an affair he had
with an older woman in London, and Tess tells Angel about her history withAlec. Tess forgives Angel,
but Angel cannot forgive Tess. He gives her some money and boards a ship bound for Brazil, where he
thinks he might establish a farm. He tells Tess he will try to accept her past but warns her not to try to
join him until he comes for her.
Tess struggles. She has a difficult time finding work and is forced to take a job at an unpleasant and
unprosperous farm. She tries to visitAngel’s family but overhears his brothers discussing Angel’s poor
marriage, so she leaves. She hears a wandering preacher speak and is stunned to discover that he is Alec
d’Urberville, who has been converted to Christianity by Angel’s father, the Reverend Clare. Alec and Tess
are each shaken by theirencounter, and Alec appallingly begs Tess never to tempt him again. Soon after,
however, he again begs Tess to marry him, having turned his back on his -religious ways.
Tess learnsfrom her sister Liza-Lu that her mother is near death, and Tessis forced to return home to
take care of her. Her mother recovers, but her father unexpectedly dies soon after. When the familyis
evicted from their home, Alec offers help. But Tess refuses to accept, knowing he only wants to obligate
her to him again.
At last, Angel decides to forgive his wife. He leaves Brazil, desperate to find her. Instead, he finds her
mother, who tells him Tess has gone to a village called Sandbourne. There, he finds Tess in anexpensive
boardinghouse called The Herons, where he tells her he has forgiven her and begs her to take him back.
Tess tells him he has come too late. She was unable to resist and went back to Alec d’Urberville. Angel
leaves in a daze, and, heartbroken to the point of madness, Tess goes upstairs and stabs her lover to
death. When the landladyfinds Alec’s body, she raises an alarm, but Tess has already fled to findAngel.
Angel agrees to help Tess, though he cannot quite believe that she has actually murderedAlec. They
hide outin an empty mansion for a few days, then travel farther. When they come to Stonehenge, Tess
goes to sleep, but when morning breaks shortly thereafter, a search party discovers them. Tessis
arrested and sent to jail. Angel and Liza-Lu watch as a blackflagis raised over the prison, signaling Tess’s
-The Injustice of Existence
-Changing Ideas of Social Classin Victorian England
-Men Dominating Women
DORIAN GRAY (Oscar Wilde)
In the stately London home of his aunt, Lady Brandon, the well-known artist Basil Hallward meets Dorian
Gray. Dorian is a cultured, wealthy, and impossibly beautiful young man who immediately captures
Basil’s artistic imagination. Dorian sits for several portraits, and Basil often depicts him as an ancient
Greek hero or a mythological figure. When the novel opens, the artist is completing his first portrait of
Dorian as he truly is, but, as he admits to his friend Lord Henry Wotton, the painting disappoints him
because it reveals too much of his feeling for his subject. Lord Henry, a famous wit who enjoys
scandalizing his friends by celebrating youth, beauty, and the selfish pursuit of pleasure, disagrees,
claiming that the portrait is Basil’s masterpiece. Dorian arrives at the studio, and Basil reluctantly
introduces him to Lord Henry,who he fears will have a damaging influence on the impressionable,
Basil’s fears are well founded; before the end of their first conversation, Lord Henry upsets Dorianwith a
speech about the transient nature of beauty and youth. Worried that these, his mostimpressive
characteristics, are fading day by day, Dorian curses his portrait, which he believes will one day remind
him of the beauty he will have lost. In a fit of distress, he pledges his soul if only the painting could bear
the burden of age and infamy, allowing him to stay forever young. After Dorian’s outbursts, Lord Henry
reaffirms his desire to own the portrait; however, Basil insists the portrait belongs to Dorian.
Over the nextfew weeks, Lord Henry’s influence over Dorian grows stronger. The youth becomes a
disciple of the “new Hedonism” and proposes to live a life dedicated to the pursuit of pleasure. He falls
in love with Sibyl Vane, a young actress who performs in a theater in London’s slums. He adores her
acting; she,in turn, refers to him as “Prince Charming” and refuses to heed the warnings of her brother,
James Vane, that Dorian is no goodfor her. Overcome by her emotions for Dorian, Sibyl decides that she
can no longer act, wondering how she can pretend to love on the stage now that she hasexperienced
the real thing. Dorian,who loves Sibyl because of her ability to act, cruelly breaks hisengagement with
her. After doing so, he returns home to notice that his face in Basil’s portrait of him has changed:it now
sneers. Frightened that his wish for his likenessin the painting to bear the ill effects of his behavior has
come true and that his sins will be recorded on the canvas, he resolves to make amends with Sibyl the
next day. The following afternoon, however, Lord Henry brings news that Sibyl has killed herself. At Lord
Henry’s urging, Dorian decides to consider her death a sort of artistic triumph—she personified
tragedy—and to put the matter behind him. Meanwhile, Dorian hides his portraitin a remote upper
room of his house, where no one other than he can watch its transformation.
Lord Henry gives Dorian a book that describes the wickedexploits of a nineteenth-century Frenchman; it
becomes Dorian’s bible as he sinks ever deeper into a life of sin and corruption. He lives a life devoted to
garnering new experiences and sensations with no regard for conventional standards of morality or the
consequences of his actions. Eighteen years pass. Dorian’s reputation suffers in circles of polite London
society,where rumors spread regarding his scandalous exploits. His peers nevertheless continue to
accept him because he remains young and beautiful. The figure in the painting, however, grows
increasingly wizened and hideous. On a dark, foggy night, Basil Hallward arrives at Dorian’s home to
confront him about the rumors that plague his reputation. The two argue, and Dorianeventually offers
Basil a look at his (Dorian’s) soul. He shows Basil the now-hideous portrait, and Hallward, horrified, begs
him to repent. Dorian claims it is toolate for penance and kills Basil in a fit of rage.
In order to dispose of the body, Dorian employs the help of an estranged friend, a doctor, whom he
blackmails. The night after the murder, Dorian makes hisway to an opium den, where he encounters
James Vane, who attempts to avenge Sibyl’s death. Dorian escapes to his country estate. While
entertaining guests, he notices James Vane peering in through a window, and he becomes wracked by
fear and guilt. When a hunting party accidentally shoots and kills Vane, Dorian feels safe again. He
resolves to amend his life but cannot muster the courage to confess his crimes, and the painting now
reveals his supposed desire to repent for whatit is—hypocrisy. In a fury, Dorian picks up the knife he
used to stab Basil Hallward and attempts to destroy the painting. There is a crash, and his servants enter
to find the portrait, unharmed, showing Dorian Gray as a beautiful young man. On the floor lies the body
of their master—an old man, horribly wrinkled and disfigured, with a knife plungedinto his heart.
-The Purpose of Art
-The Supremacy of Youth and Beauty
-The Superficial Nature of Society
-The Negative Consequences of Influence
VANITY FAIR (William Makepeace Thackeray)
The novel opens at Miss Pinkerton's Academyfor young women, where readers are introduced to
Amelia and Becky, the novel's female protagonists. Amelia and Becky are friends, but they are nothing
alike. Amelia is kind and innocent and comes from a family with money. Becky Sharp, on the other hand,
is sharp and scheming and emerges from an impoverished situation. Miss Pinkerton, utterly disgusted
with Becky's behavior, sets her up in a governess position at the Crawleyestate.
Before she takes her position, Becky spends a little over a week at Amelia's home. She spends her time
ingratiating herself with the Sedleys andwooing Amelia's brother Jos, an overweight, shy and vain tax
collector on break from his jobin India. Becky nearly succeeds in arranging the marriage, until George,
Amelia's love interest, stepsin and convinces Jos he has behaved like a fool. Jos, humiliated, abandons
home and Becky, furious with George, moves on to her job.
The Crawleys are a rather despicable bunch and nothing like what Becky suspected. They are all
schemingfor the inheritance of Aunt Matilda, who is ill. Becky once againingratiates herself with the
family and earns the particular affections of Sir Pitt and Rawdon,who both ask for her handin marriage.
She admits begrudgingly to Sir Pitt that she agreed to marry Rawdon in secret, and everyone in the
familyis outraged when they hear this news.
Meanwhile, Amelia pines over George, who disrespects and disregards her while he is in the military.
Dobbin, who is George's closest friend andwho is also secretly inlove with Amelia, begs him to treat her
kindly. George eventually agrees to marry Amelia, but just as his father predicted, the Sedleys come to
financial ruin because of Mr. Sedley's poor business decisions. George's father disowns him in response
to Dobbin's efforts to get him to accept the marriage.
The Duke of Wellington has declared war on Napoleon's army; since all the men are in the military,
everyone goes to Belgium to prepare for the war. When the husbands go off to fight, the general's wife
takes care of the womenwho are left behind.Amelia worries about George, and Rawdon mourns having
to leave Becky, but Becky seems unconcerned about her soon-to-be husband and instead appears to be
developing a flirtation with George. Unfortunately, George dies in the Battle of Waterloo.
Sir Pitt, in the wake of his second wife's death, takes up with his butler's daughter, causing scandal at
the household. The young Pitt Crawley finds a sweet wife who manages to earn the approval of Aunt
Matilda,who never thought much of the older of Sir Pitt's sons. Both Amelia and Becky give birth to
sons, and for a while Becky and Rawdon manage tolive well on very little money; Becky is skilled at
avoiding payments. The Sedleys, on the other hand, continue to slip further into financial ruin. Amelia
sends Georgy, her son, tolive with the Osbornes because of her difficult situation.
When Sir Pitt dies,young Mr. Crawley inherits the estate and Aunt Matilda's money, and he invites
Becky and Rawdon and their son to come live with him. Becky ingratiates herself with a man named Lord
Steyne, who brings her outinto society, sends little Rawdon, her son, away from school, and generally
distracts her from her husband. When she neglects to send money to get Rawdon out of prison, where
he haslanded himself for unpaid gambling debts, he decides to investigate her new relationship. When
he returns home, he finds jewels in her belongings, and he decides to duel Lord Steyne. The fight is
avoided, but Rawdon moves away.
Dobbin returns to England, and he finds Amelia, whois still grieving the loss of George. Dobbin stays
anyway to help Amelia care for her son. Mr. Osborne dies and leaves some of his moneyfor Amelia and
Georgy, and three of them go off to Europe, where they find Becky. Becky admits toAmelia that she had
been developing a relationship with George, and Ameliafinally comes to her senses, sees George for
who he really was, and marries Dobbin.
SILAS MARNER (George Eliot)
Silas Marner is the weaver in the English countryside village of Raveloe in the early nineteenth century.
Like many weavers of his time, he is an outsider—the object of suspicion because of his special skills and
the fact that he has come to Raveloe from elsewhere. The villagers see Silas asespecially odd because of
the curious cataleptic fits he occasionally suffers. Silas hasended upin Raveloe because the members of
his religious sect in Lantern Yard, an insular neighborhood in a larger town, falsely accused him of theft
and excommunicated him.
Much shaken after the accusation, Silas finds nothing familiarin Raveloe to reawaken his faith and falls
into a numbing routine of solitary work. His one attempt at neighborliness backfires: when an herbal
remedy he suggests for a neighbor’sillnessworks, he is rumored to be a sort of witch doctor. Withlittle
else tolive for, Silas becomesinfatuated with the money he earns for his work and hoards it,living off as
little as possible. Every night he pulls his gold out from its hiding place beneath his floorboards to count
it. He carries onin this wayfor fifteen years.
Squire Cassis the wealthiest man in Raveloe, and his twoeldest sons are Godfrey and Dunstan, or
Dunsey. Dunsey is greedy and cruel, and enjoys tormenting Godfrey, the eldest son. Godfreyis good-
natured but weak-willed, and, though secretly married to the opium addict Molly Farren, he is in love
with Nancy Lammeter. Dunsey talked Godfrey into the marriage and repeatedly blackmails him with
threats to reveal the marriage to their father. Godfrey gives Dunsey 100 pounds of the rent money paid
to him by one of their father’s tenants. Godfrey then finds himself in a bind when Dunseyinsists that
Godfrey repay the sum himself. Dunsey once again threatens to reveal Godfrey’s marriage but, after
some arguing, offers to sell Godfrey’s prize horse, Wildfire, to repay the loan.
The next day, Dunsey meets with some friends who are hunting and negotiates the sale of the horse.
Dunsey decides to participate in the hunt before finalizing the sale, and, in doing so, he has a riding
accident that kills the horse. Knowing the rumors of Silas’s hoard, Dunsey makes plans to intimidate the
weaver into lending him money. His walk home takes him by Silas’s cottage, and, finding the cottage
empty, Dunsey steals the money instead.
Silas returns from anerrand to find his money gone. Overwhelmed by the loss, he runs to the local
tavernfor help and announces the theft to a sympathetic audience of tavern regulars. The theft
becomes the talk of the village, and a theory arises that the thief might have been a peddler who came
through the village some time before. Godfrey, meanwhile,is distracted by thoughts of Dunsey, who has
not returned home. After hearing that Wildfire has been found dead, Godfrey decides to tell his father
about the money, though not about his marriage. The Squire fliesinto a rage at the news, but does not
do anything drastic to punish Godfrey.
Silas is utterly disconsolate at the loss of his gold and numbly continues his weaving. Some of the
townspeople stop by to offer their condolences and advice. Among these visitors, Dolly Winthrop stands
out. Like many of the others, she encourages Silas to go to church—something he has not done since he
was banished from Lantern Yard—but she is also gentler and more genuinely sympathetic.
Nancy Lammeter arrives at Squire Cass’s famed New Year’s dance resolved to reject Godfrey’s advances
because of his unsound character. However, Godfrey is more direct and insistent than he has been in a
long time, and Nancy finds herself exhilarated by the evening in spite of her resolution. Meanwhile,
Molly, Godfrey’s secret wife,is making her way to the Casses’ house to reveal the secret marriage. She
has their daughter, a toddler,in her arms. Tiring after herlong walk, Molly takes a draft of opium and
passes out by the road. Seeing Silas’s cottage and drawn by the light of the fire, Molly’s little girl
wanders through the open door andfalls asleep at Silas’s hearth.
Silas is having one of his fits at the time and does not notice the little girl enter his cottage. When he
comes to, he sees her already asleep on his hearth, and is as stunned by her appearance as he was by
the disappearance of his money. A while later, Silas traces the girl’s footsteps outside and finds Molly’s
bodylying in the snow. Silas goes to the Squire’s house to find the doctor, and causes a stir at the dance
when he arrives with the baby girl in his arms. Godfrey, recognizing his daughter, accompanies the
doctor to Silas’s cottage. When the doctor declares that Molly is dead, Godfrey realizes that his secret is
safe. He does not claim his daughter, and Silas adopts her.
Silas growsincreasingly attached to the child and names her Eppie, after his mother and sister. With
Dolly Winthrop’s help, Silas raises the child lovingly. Eppie begins to serve as a bridge between Silas and
the rest of the villagers, who offer him help and advice and have come to think of him as an exemplary
person because of what he has done. Eppie also brings Silas out of the benumbed state he fell into after
the loss of his gold. In his newfound happiness, Silas begins toexplore the memories of his past that he
has long repressed.
The novel jumps ahead sixteen years. Godfrey has married Nancy and Squire Cass has died. Godfrey has
inherited hisfather’s house, but he and Nancy have no children. Their one daughter died at birth, and
Nancy has refused to adopt. Eppie has grown into a pretty and spirited young woman, and Silas a
contentedfather. The stone-pit behind Silas’s cottage is drained towater neighboringfields, and
Dunsey’s skeletonis found at the bottom, along with Silas’s gold. The discovery frightens Godfrey, who
becomes convinced that his own secrets are destined to be uncovered as well. He confesses the truth to
Nancy about his marriage to Molly and fathering of Eppie. Nancy is not angry but regretful, saying that
they could have adopted Eppie legitimately if Godfrey had told her earlier.
That evening, Godfrey and Nancy decide to visit Silas’s cottage to confess the truth of Eppie’slineage
and claim her as their daughter. However, after hearing Godfrey and Nancy’s story, Eppie tells them she
would rather stay with Silas than live with her biological father. Godfrey and Nancyleave, resigning
themselves to helping Eppie from afar. The next day Silas decides to visit Lantern Yard to see if he was
ever cleared of the theft of which he was accused years before.
-The Individual Versus the Community
-Character as Destiny
-The Interdependence of Faith and Community
The Lady of Shalott
This is a prettylong poem, and a lot goes on, but Tennyson makes it easier to follow along by breaking
the action up into four parts. We'll take you through them quickly, to give you an overview:
Part 1: The poem opens with a description of a field by a river. There's a road running through the field
that apparently leads to Camelot, the legendary castle of King Arthur. From the road you can see an
island in the middle of the river called the Island of Shalott. On that island there is a little castle, which is
the home of the mysterious Lady of Shalott. People pass by the island all the time, on boats and barges
and on foot, but they never see the Lady. Occasionally, people working in the fields around the island
will hear her singing aneerie song.
Part 2: Now we actually move inside the castle on the island, and Tennyson describes the Lady herself.
First we learn that she spends her days weaving a magic web, and that she has been cursed,forbidden
to look outside. Soinstead she watches the world go by in a magic mirror. She sees shadows of the men
and women who pass on the road, and she weaves the things she sees into her web. We also learn that
she is "half sick" of thislife of watching andweaving.
Part 3: Now the big event: One day the studly Sir Lancelot rides by the island, covered in jewels and
shining armor. Most of this chunk of the poem is spent describing Lancelot. When his image appears in
the mirror, the Lady is so completely captivated that she breaks the rule andlooks out her window on
the real world. When she does this and catches a glimpse of Lancelot and Camelot, the magic mirror
cracks, and she knows she's in trouble.
Part 4: Knowing that it's game over, the Lady finds a boat by the side of the river and writes her name on
it. After looking at Camelot for a while she lies downin the boat andlets it slip downstream. She drifts
down the river, singing her final song, and dies before she gets to Camelot. The people of Camelot come
out to see the body of the Lady and her boat, and are afraid. Lancelot also trots out, decides that she's
pretty, and says a little prayerfor her.
Ulysses (Odysseus) declares that there islittle point in his staying home “by this still hearth” with his old
wife, doling out rewards and punishments for the unnamed masses who live in his kingdom.
Still speaking to himself he proclaims that he “cannot rest from travel” but feels compelled tolive to the
fullest and swallow every last drop of life. He has enjoyed all hisexperiences as a sailor who travels the
seas, and he considers himself a symbol foreveryone who wanders and roams the earth. His travels
have exposed him to many different types of people and ways of living. They have alsoexposed him to
the “delight of battle” while fighting the Trojan War with his men. Ulysses declares that his travels and
encounters have shaped who he is: “I am a part of all that I have met,” he asserts. And it is only when he
is traveling that the “margin” of the globe that he has not yet traversed shrink and fade, and cease to
Ulysses declares that itis boring to stay in one place, and that to remain stationary is to rust rather than
to shine; to stay in one place is to pretend that all there is to life is the simple act of breathing, whereas
he knows thatin fact life contains much novelty, and he longs to encounter this. His spirit yearns
constantly for new experiences that will broaden his horizons; he wishes “to follow knowledge like a
sinking star” and forever grow in wisdom and inlearning.
Ulysses now speaks to an unidentified audience concerning his son Telemachus, who will act as his
successor while the great hero resumes his travels: he says, “This is my son, mine own Telemachus, to
whom Ileave the scepter and the isle.” He speaks highly but also patronizingly of his son’s capabilities as
a ruler, praising his prudence, dedication, and devotion to the gods. Telemachus will do hiswork of
governing the island while Ulysseswill do his work of traveling the seas: “He works his work, I mine.”
In the final stanza, Ulysses addresses the mariners withwhom he hasworked, traveled, and weathered
life’s storms over many years. He declares that although he and they are old, they still have the potential
to do something noble and honorable before “the long daywanes.” He encourages them to make use of
their old age because “ ’tis not too late to seek a newerworld.” He declares that his goal is to sail
onward “beyond the sunset” until his death. Perhaps, he suggests, they may even reach the “Happy
Isles,” or the paradise of perpetual summer described in Greek mythologywhere great heroeslike the
warrior Achilles were believed to have been taken after their deaths. Although Ulysses and his mariners
are not as strong as theywere in youth, they are “strong in will” and are sustained by their resolve to
push onward relentlessly: “To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.”
This poemis written as a dramatic monologue: the entire poem is spoken by a single character, whose
identity is revealed by his own words. The lines are in blankverse, or unrhymediambic pentameter,
which serves toimpart a fluid and natural quality to Ulysses’s speech. Finally, the poem is divided into
four paragraph-like sections,each of which comprises a distinct thematic unit of the poem.
This poem begins with the description of an abandonedfarmhouse, or grange, inwhich the flower-pots
are coveredin overgrown moss and an ornamental pear tree hangs from rusty nails on the wall. The
sheds stand abandoned and broken, and the straw (“thatch”) covering the roof of the farmhouse is
worn and full of weeds. A woman, presumably standing in the vicinity of the farmhouse, is describedin a
four-line refrain that recurs—with slight modifications—as the last lines of each of the poem’s stanzas:
“She only said, ‘My life is dreary / He cometh not,’ she said; / She said, ‘I am aweary, aweary, / I would
that I were dead!’”
The woman’s tears fall with the dew in the evening and then fall again in the morning, before the dew
has dispersed. In both the morning and the evening, she is unable tolook to the “sweet heaven.” At
night, when the bats have come and gone, and the skyis dark, she opens her window curtain andlooks
out at the expanse of land. She comments that “The nightis dreary” and repeats her death-wish refrain.
In the middle of the night, the woman wakes up to the sound of the crow, and stays up until the cock
calls out an hour before dawn. She hears the lowing of the oxen and seemingly walks in her sleep until
the cold winds of the morning come. She repeats the death-wish refrain exactly as in the first stanza,
except that this time it is “the day” and not “my life” thatis dreary.
Within a stone’s throw from the wall lies an artificial passage for water filled with black waters and
lumps of moss. A silver-green poplar tree shakes back and forth and serves as the only breakin an
otherwise flat, level, gray landscape. The woman repeats the refrain of the first stanza.
When the moon lies low at night, the woman looks to her white window curtain, where she sees the
shadow of the poplar swaying in the wind. But when the moon is verylow and the winds exceptionally
strong, the shadow of the poplar falls not on the curtain but on her bed and across her forehead. The
woman says that “the night is dreary” and wishes once again that she were dead.
During the day, the doors creak on their hinges, the fly singsin the window pane, and the mouse cries
out or peers from behind the lining of the wall. The farmhouse is haunted by old faces, old footsteps,
and old voices, and the woman repeats the refrainexactly as it appears in the first and fourth stanzas.
The woman is confused and disturbed by the sounds of the sparrow chirping on the roof, the clock
ticking slowly, and the wind blowing through the poplar. Most of all, she hates the early evening hour
when the sun begins to set and a sunbeamlies across her bed chamber.
“Mariana” takes the form of seven twelve-line stanzas,each of whichis divided into three four-line
rhyme units according to the pattern ABAB CDDC EFEF.
The speaker lives in a cottage in the countryside. Hislover, a blooming youngwoman named Porphyria,
comesin out of a storm and proceeds to make a fire and bring cheer to the cottage. She embraces the
speaker, offering him her bare shoulder. He tells us that he does not speak to her. Instead, he says, she
begins to tell him how she has momentarily overcome societal strictures to be with him. He realizes that
she “worship*s+” him at this instant. Realizing that she will eventually give in to society’s pressures, and
wanting to preserve the moment, he wraps her hair around her neck and strangles her. He then toys
with her corpse, opening the eyes and propping the body up against his side. He sits with her body this
way the entire night, the speaker remarking that God has not yet moved to punish him.
This poemis a dramatic monologue—a fictional speech presented as the musings of a speaker who is
separate from the poet.Porphyria already lies dead when the speaker begins. Just as the nameless
speaker seeks to stop time by killing her, so too does this kind of poem seek tofreeze the consciousness
of an instant.
My Last Duchess
This poemis loosely based on historical eventsinvolving Alfonso, the Duke of Ferrara, who lived in
the 16th century. The Duke is the speaker of the poem, and tells us he is entertaining an emissary who
has come to negotiate the Duke’s marriage (he has recently beenwidowed) to the daughter of another
powerful family.As he shows the visitor through his palace, he stops before a portrait of the late
Duchess, apparently a young and lovely girl. The Duke begins reminiscing about the portrait sessions,
then about the Duchess herself. His musings give way to a diatribe on her disgraceful behavior: he
claims she flirted witheveryone and did not appreciate his “gift of a nine-hundred-years- old name.” As
his monologue continues, the reader realizes withever-more chilling certainty that the Duke in fact
caused the Duchess’s early demise: when her behavior escalated, “*he+ gave commands; / Then all
smiles stopped together.” Having made this disclosure, the Duke returns to the business at hand:
arranging for another marriage, with another young girl. As the Duke and the emissary walk leave the
painting behind, the Duke points out other notable artworks in his collection.
“My Last Duchess” comprises rhyming pentameter lines. The lines do not employ end-stops; rather, they
useenjambment—gthat is, sentences and other grammatical units do not necessarily conclude at the
end of lines. The Duke is quite a performer: he mimics others’ voices, creates hypothetical situations,
and uses the force of his personality to make horrifyinginformation seem merely colorful. Indeed, the
poem provides a classic example of a dramatic monologue: the speaker is clearly distinct from the poet;
an audience is suggested but never appears in the poem; and the revelation of the Duke’s characteris
the poem’s primary aim.
Dover Beach (Matthew Arnold)
The seais calm that night. The sea is full of tides and the night is filled with moonlight. the armies - are
involved in battle on the shore. But the armies are calm as it is night.
The poet then calls his beloved to come to the window and watch the beautiful night. And the horizon
where the sea appears to meet the moon. If one can listenintently, one can also hear the sound made
by the pebbles drawn in and thrown out by the waves of the sea. These sounds strike a note of sadness
that is universal.
Long ago the same misery struck the lives of the characters created by Sophocles. The tragedy is
intensified in modern days by the loss of faith. Once upon a time the sea of faithwas full. As the waters
surround the earth, faith used to form a protective ring around humanlife. But in modern times that
faith has disappeared and its faith cry is heard far away. It has shrunk and withdraw itself to the edge of
Then the poet makes an earnest appeal to his beloved. He asks her to help him create an ideal world
within their room. The world outside has no joy, no love, nolight, no peace, no help and above all no
faith. So he requests his beloved to come forward to create a beautiful, new world. The world out side is
a dark plain where the armies clash witheach other in the night and are ignorant of what they are doing.
The poet meas that the individual should develop a sense of peace andjoy to compensate the general
loss and try to help himself in this dark ignorant world.
The Blessed Damozel (Dante Gabriel Rossetti)
Is a poemwrittenin 1847 by Dante Gabriel Rossetti. It was first published three years later, in
1850. This poem is romantic and hopeful in nature. It tells the story of a youngwomanwho dies
unexpectedly at a very young age. Her family and the young man who loves her are in disbelief.
They miss her terribly almostimmediately and have great difficulty imagining thatlife will go on without
her. Although she has only been dead a few days at the most,it seems to them like it has been years. It
seems more like an eternity to the man she had promised herself to and left behind. To him, she was
perfect, no one couldever replace her, she was the only woman for him.
This poem portrays a connection between physical features of life on Earth and spiritual wonders of
heaven. The man who the young woman has left behind has a very difficult time coping with her death.
He feels she is waitingfor him somewhere and he feels destined tofind her.
The young woman is on the edge of entering heaven but does not want to go without the man she
loves. She does not want to wait for him tojoin her. The young man still feels close to hereven though
her body lies still and motionless. At one particular moment, he is sure that her long flowing hair is
surrounding him but discovers instead that itis merely autumn leaves falling freely from the
trees. Nevertheless, this gives him hope that he will one day be reunited with the woman he had once
saw a future with. Meanwhile, his love sees many couples being reunited in heaven and cannot wait for
her turn to be able to once again be with the one she loves.
"The Blessed Damozel" gives off a sense of romance, sadness and hope in its twenty-four
stanzas. Although love islost through death, there is great hope thatit will be rekindled in the future,
even if not on Earth. When the lovers meet again, theirlove will be eternal in heaven. This poem helps
readers to experience the idea that death is not always the end, but sometimes a beginning to
something even greater and more powerful.
Pied Beauty (Gerard ManleyHopkins)
The poem opens with an offering: “Glory be to Godfor dappled things.” In the next five lines, Hopkins
elaborates with examples of what things he means toinclude under this rubric of “dappled.” He includes
the mottled white and blue colors of the sky, the “brinded”(brindled or streaked) hide of a cow, and the
patches of contrasting color on a trout. The chestnuts offer a slightly more complex image: When they
fall they open to reveal the meaty interior normally concealed by the hard shell; they are compared to
the coals in a fire, black on the outside and glowing within. The wings of finches are multicolored, as is a
patchwork of farmlandin which sections look different according towhether they are planted and
green, fallow, or freshly plowed. The final example is of the “trades” and activities of man, with their rich
diversity of materials and equipment.
In the final five lines, Hopkins goes on to consider more closely the characteristics of these examples he
has given, attaching moral qualities now to the concept of variety and diversity that he haselaborated
thus far mostly in terms of physical characteristics. The poem becomes an apology for these
unconventional or “strange” things, things that might not normally be valued or thought beautiful. They
are all, he avers, creations of God, which, in their multiplicity, point always to the unity and permanence
of His power and inspire us to “Praise Him.”
This is one of Hopkins’s “curtal”(or curtailed) sonnets,in which he miniaturizes the traditional sonnet
form by reducing the eight lines of the octave to six (here two tercets rhyming ABC ABC) and shortening
the six lines of the sestet to four and a half.The strikingly musical repetition of sounds throughout the
poem (“dappled,” “stipple,” “tackle,” “fickle,” “freckled,” “adazzle,” forexample) enacts the creative act
the poem glorifies: the weaving together of diverse things into a pleasing and coherent whole.
What Is Poetry? (John Stuart Mill)
1)Poetry is not "matter of fact or science."
2) Poetry's purpose is to "act upon the emotions."
3) The interest felt in a novel . . . and is derived from incident.
4) The interest excited by poetry comes from the representation of feeling.
5) Poetry worksinternally--this is the appeal of poetry.
6) Novels workexternally--this is the appeal of eloquence.
7) That whichis eloquent aims primarily to achieve a desired effect on other people.
8) That whichis poeticis "feeling confessing itself toitself . . . in symbols.
9) Eloquence is heard; poetry is overheard.
Mill begins his search for a definition of what poetry is by telling us whatit is not.Poetry is not "matter
of fact or science.Poetry's purpose is to "act upon the emotions." Science "addresses itself to the belief"
(roughly corresponding to Shelley's category of reason), while poetry addresses itself to the "feelings"
(Shelley's category of imagination).
But, Mill says, poetry isn't the only thingwhich acts on the emotions. Novelists work to make an
emotional impression on readers just as poets do. Here Mill makes his primary categorical
distinction.There is a radical distinction between the interest felt in a novel and the interest excited by
poetry for the one is derivedfrom incident, the other from the representation of feeling.”Poetry works
internally” ; “Novelswork externally”. Mill calls these the appeals of poetry and of eloquence. That
which is eloquent aims primarily to achieve a desiredeffect on other people that whichis poetic is
feeling confessingitself to itself in symbols which are the nearest possible representations of the feeling
in the exact shape inwhich it existsin the poet's mind." Eloquence isheard; poetry is overheard.
The passion for story is the passion of an individual's childhood of a society's primitivism. "The minds
and hearts of greatest depth and elevation are commonly those which delightin poetry."
The Pathetic Fallacy (John Ruskin)
Pathetic fallacy, poetic practice of attributing humanemotion or responses to nature, inanimate
objects, or animals. The practice is a form of personification that is as old as poetry, in which it has
always been common to find smiling or dancing flowers, angry or cruel winds, brooding mountains,
moping owls, or happylarks. The termwas coined by John Ruskin in Modern Painters (1843–60). In
some classical poetic forms such as the pastoral elegy, the pathetic fallacy is actually a required
convention. In Milton’s “On The Morning of Christ’sNativity,” all aspects of nature react affectively to
the event of Christ’s birth.
The Stars with deep amaze
Stand fixt in steadfastgaze
Ruskin considered the excessive use of the fallacy the mark of an inferior poet. Later poets, however—
especially the Imagists of the early 20th century, as well as T.S. Eliot and Ezra Pound—used the pathetic
fallacy freely and effectively.
The Study Of Poetry (Mathew Arnold)
In his anthology of English poetry, Arnold illustrates the allegedly objective critical judgment
of which he speaks in “The Function of Criticism at the Present Time” in terms of his
selection of those poetsworthyin his view of being anthologised. In his preface to the
anthology, he clarifies what he means by ‘judgment’ by turning his attention in particular to
the questions of literary history and canons. The main criteriainforming Arnold’s approach
to literary history here are literature’s higher truth (i.e. the degree to which a work captures
not the realities of this world but ideals, thatis, the perfection found in the world beyond
this and which is the standard by which we ought to organise life in the here and now) and
its moral value (i.e the impact for good which literature has on the reader). Only works that
meet these criteria ought to be part of that canon of worksworthy of being studied.
Using metaphors concerning rivers in what would prove subsequently to be a very
influential way, Arnold begins by arguing that the “stream of English poetry” is only
one “contributory stream to the world river of poetry” . He argues that we should
“conceive of poetry worthily, and more highly than it has been the custom” , that is, as
“capable of higher uses, and called to higher destinies, than those in general which man has
assigned to it hitherto” . He contends that we must “turn to poetry to interpret life for
us, to console us, to sustain us” because, as Wordsworth putit, itis the ‘breath and
finer spirit of all knowledge’ as a result of whichit is superior to science, philosophy, and
religion. To be “capable of fulfilling such high destinies” , however, poetry must be “of
a high order of excellence” . In poetry, for this reason, the “distinction between
excellent andinferior, sound and unsound or only half-sound, true and untrue or only halftrue,
is of paramountimportance” . It is in poetry that conveys the “criticism of life”
and which meets the “conditions fixed . . . by the laws of poetic truth and beauty”
that the “spirit of our race will find . . . its consolation and stay” . The criticism
of life “will be of powerin proportion as the poetry conveyingit isexcellent, rather than
inferior, sound rather than unsound or half-sound, true rather than untrue or half-true”
The “best poetry” is that which has a “power of forming, sustaining, and delighting us, as nothing else
can” . Its “most precious benefit” is a “clearer, deeper sense of the best in poetry, and of the strength
and joy to be drawn fromit” .
This sense should “govern our estimate of what we read” . Arnold contrasts this, what
he terms the “real estimate” , with “two other kinds of estimate, the historic estimate
and the personal estimate” , which are both “fallacies” . The former calculates a
poet’s merit on historical grounds, that is, by “regarding a poet’s work as a stage” in
the “course and development of a nation’slanguage, thought, and poetry” (thisis the
view advanced by Hippolyte Taine). The latter calculates a poet’s merit on the basis of our
“personal affinities,likings and circumstances” which may make us “overrate the
object of ourinterest” because the work in question “is, or has been, of high
importance” to us personally. Many people, Arnold argues, skip “in obedience to mere
tradition and habit, from one famous name or work in its national poetry to another,
ignorant of what it misses, and of the reason for keeping whatit keeps, and of the whole
process of growth in poetry” All this misses, however, the indispensability of
recognising the “reality of the poet’s classic character” , that is, the test whether his
work “belongs to the class of the very best” and that appreciation of the “wide
difference between it and all work which has not the same character” . Arnold points
out that “tracing historic origins and historical relationships” is not totally unimportant
and that to some degree personal choice enters into any attempt to anthologise works.
However, the ‘real estimate,’ from which derives the “benefit of clearly feeling and of deeply
enjoying the really excellent, the truly classic in poetry” ought to be the literary
The question arises: how exactly does one recognise the poet’s classic character?
How should one determine whether a given poet meets those criteriawhich allow him to be
ranked mong the best? The answer: the critic must compare the work in question to the
established classics, brief “passages,even single lines” drawn from which serve as a
“touchstone” for assessment purposes. They, when memorised, function as an
“infallible touchstone for detecting the presence or absence of high poetic quality, and also
the degree of this quality, in all other poetry” . Having to hand “concrete examples”
and “specimens of poetry of . . . the very highest quality” suffices to “keep
clear and sound our judgments about poetry, to save usfrom fallacious estimates of it, to
conduct us to a real estimate” . Given that the “characters of a high quality are what
is expressed there” , Arnold contends that poetic qualityis “far better recognised by
being felt in the poetry of a master, than by being perused in the prose of the critic” .
However, whatexactly doesit mean to say that this or that work possesses a ‘high
poetic quality’? Arnold answers that poetic quality residesin both the “substance and
matter” and the “style and manner” which are “inseparable” from and
“vitally connected” to each other. The former consists in what he terms somewhat
vaguely as a “higher truth and a higher seriousness” while the latter consists in the
equally vague “diction and movement” . For the work to posses poetic quality, both
substance and style must be present. In the early twentieth century, the influential British
critic F. R. Leavis would applyArnold’s criteria to the study of British literature in his famous
work of literary history and canon-formation, The Great Tradition. The Leavisite canon, his
views on whowas in and whowas out, the necessity,for example, to abandon Milton in
favour of Donne, Joyce in favour of Lawrence, shaped the views of generations of
subsequent criticseven here in the Caribbean.
The Descent of Man (Charles Darwin)
The main conclusion here arrived at, and now held by many naturalists who are well competent to form
a sound judgment, is that manis descended from some less highly organisedform. The grounds upon
which this conclusion rests will never be shaken, for the close similarity between man and the lower
animals in embryonic development, aswell as in innumerable points of structure and constitution, both
of high and of the most triflingimportance, - the rudiments which he retains, and the abnormal revisions
to which he is occasionally liable, - are facts which cannot be disputed. They have long been known, but
until recently they told us nothing with respect to the origin of man. Now when viewed by the light of
our knowledge of the whole organic world their meaningis unmistakable. The great principle of
evolution stands up clear and firm, when these groups of facts are considered in connectionwith others,
such as the mutual affinities of the members of the same group, their geographical distribution in past
and present times, and their geological succession. Itis incredible that all these facts should speak
falsely. He whois not content tolook, like a savage, at the phenomena of nature as disconnected,
cannot any longer believe that man is the work of a separate act of creation. He will be forced to admit
that the close resemblance of the embryo of man to that, for instance, of a dog - the construction of his
skull,limbs andwhole frame on the same planwith that of other mammals, independently of the uses
to which the parts may be put - the occasional re-appearance of various structures,for instance of
several muscles, which man does not normally possess, butwhich are common to the Quadrumana -
and a crowd of analogous facts - all pointin the plainest manner to the conclusion that man is the co-
descendant with other mammals of a common progenitor.
By considering the embryological structure of man, - the homologies which he presents with the lower
animals, - the rudiments which he retains, - and the reversions to which he is liable, we can partly recall
in imagination the former condition of our early progenitors; and can approximately place them in their
proper place in the zoological series. We thus learn that man is descended from a hairy, tailed
quadruped, probably arboreal in its habits, and an inhabitant of the Old World. This creature, if itswhole
structure had beenexamined by a naturalist,would have been classed amongst the Quadrumana, as
surely as the still more ancient progenitor of the Old andNew World monkeys. The Quadrumana and all
the higher mammals are probably derivedfrom an ancient marsupial animal, and this through a long line
of diversifiedforms, from some amphibian-like creature, and this again from some fish-like animal. In
the dim obscurity of the past we can see that the early progenitor of all the Vertebrata must have been
an aquatic animal, provided with branchiæ, with the two sexes united in the same individual, andwith
the most important organs of the body (such as the brain and heart) imperfectly or not at all developed.
This animal seems to have been more like the larvæ of the existing marine Ascidians than any other
The high standard of our intellectual powers and moral dispositionis the greatest difficulty which
presentsitself, after we have been driven to this conclusion on the origin of man. Butevery one who
admits the principle of evolution, must see that the mental powers of the higher animals, which are the
same in kind with those of man, though so different in degree, are capable of advancement....
The moral nature of man has reached its present standard, partly through the advancement of his
reasoning powers and consequently of a just public opinion, butespecially from his sympathies having
been rendered more tender and widely diffused through the effects of habit, example, instruction, and
reflection. It is not improbable that after long practice virtuous tendencies may be inherited. With the
more civilised races, the conviction of the existence of an all-seeing Deity has had a potentinfluence on
the advance of morality. Ultimately man does not accept the praise or blame of his fellows as his sole
guide though fewescape this influence, but his habitual convictions, controlled by reason, afford him
the safest rule. His conscience then becomes the supreme judge and monitor. Nevertheless the first
foundation or origin of the moral sense lies in the social instincts, including sympathy; and these
instincts no doubtwere primarily gained, as in the case of the lower animals, through natural selection.
The belief in God has often been advanced as not only the greatest but the most complete of all the
distinctions between man and the lower animals. Itis however impossible, as we have seen, to maintain
that this belief is innate or instinctive in man. On the other hand a belief in all-pervading spiritual
agencies seems to be universal, and apparentlyfollows from a considerable advance in man's reason,
and from a still greater advance in hisfaculties of imagination, curiosity and wonder. I am aware that the
assumed instinctive belief in God has been used by many persons as an argument for His existence. But
thisiS a rash argument, as we should thus be compelled to believe in the existence of many cruel and
malignant spirits, only a little more powerful than man; for the belief in them isfar more general thanin
a beneficent Deity. The idea of a universal and beneficent Creator does not seem to arise in the mind of
man, until he has been elevated bylong-continued culture....
Sexual selection has been treated at great length in this work, for, as I have attempted to shew, it has
played animportant part in the history of the organic world. I am aware that much remains doubtful,
but I have endeavoured to give a fair view of the whole case. In the lower divisions of the animal
kingdom, sexual selection seems to have done nothing: such animals are often affixedfor life to the
same spot, or have the sexes combinedin the same individual, or what is still more important, their
perceptive and intellectual faculties are not sufficiently advanced to allow of the feelings of love and
jealousy, or of the exertion of choice. When, however, we come to the Arthropoda andVertebrata,even
to the lowest classes in these two great Sub-Kingdoms, sexual selection haseffected much....
Sexual selection depends on the success of certain individuals over others of the same sex,in relation to
the propagation of the species;whilst natural selection depends on the success of both sexes, at all
ages,in relation to the general conditions of life. The sexual struggle is of two kinds; in the one it is
between the individuals of the same sex, generally the males,in order to drive away or kill their rivals,
the females remaining passive; whilst in the other, the struggle islikewise between the individuals of the
same sex, in order toexcite or charm those of the opposite sex, generally the females, which no longer
remain passive, but select the more agreeable partners....
The main conclusion arrived at in this work, namely that man is descendedfrom some lowly organised
form, will, I regret to think, be highly distasteful to many. But there can hardly be a doubt that we are
descendedfrom barbarians. The astonishment which I felt on first seeing a party of Fuegians on a wild
and broken shore will never be forgotten by me,< for the reflection at once rushed into my mind - such
were our ancestors. These men were absolutely naked and bedaubedwith paint, theirlong hair was
tangled, their mouths frothed with excitement, and theirexpression was wild, startled, and distrustful.
They possessed hardly any arts, and like wild animalslived on what they could catch; they had no
government, and were merciless to every one not of their own small tribe. He who has seen a savage in
his native land will not feel much shame,if forced to acknowledge that the blood of some more humble
creature flows in his veins.
Fiction Movies Links
- Oliver Twist: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nvl5Zl99YQk
- David Copperfield: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d40l3f_LX7Q
Charlotte Brontë :
- Jane Eyre: http://megashare.info/watch-jane-eyre-online-TXpJMk5nPT0
-Wuthering Heights: http://putlocker.bz/watch-wuthering-heights-2009-online-free-
- Dorian Gray: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yFJThpsLa4w
- Tess of the D'urbervilles: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NwEjOOdqGH0
Most usedVictorian questions:
-What Are the Main Characteristics of Poetryin the Victorian Age?
-When did the Victorian age begin and end ? Is it politics orliterature, or both, that define it ?
-Why is Charles Darwinimportant for the age? How importantis his workin evolution?
-What are the mostimportant themes infiction of this age?
-Tennyson succeeded Wordsworth as Poet Laureate in 1850. Why?
-How does the rise of science affect religion (faith) in this age?
-What is the role of poetry in the new age, according to Matthew Arnold ( in his The Study of Poetry) ?
-How does Tennyson convey Mariana’s despair in his poem Mariana ?
- Is Wuthering Heights a novel about love? If so,what kind ? If not, what isits primary theme?
- How does the loom representin Silas Marner, andindeed for the title character himself ?
-What is the theme of Blessed Damozel ? How many voices do we hear in the poem ?
- What is the meaning of concluding part of Dover Beach ?
-What marks off the Victorian age from the previous, the Romantic age, in literature?
-What is a social problem novel? Give examples/names of such novels.
-What kind of society does Oscar Wilde depict in his “The picture of Dorian Gray” ?
-What do Lowood, Moor House, and Thornfield represent ? (in view of literature you have read)
-Compare and contrast the qualities of Thrushcross Grange and Wuthering Heights.
-Discuss the character of Tess. To what extent is she a helpless victim ? When is she strong and whenis
-Discuss the character of Alec. Is he the villain of the novel? Does he really love Tess?
-Who speaksin the poem “Ulysses”? How does he reveal his identity? What kind of a poemis this?
-How can the separatedlovers unite in “The Blessed Damozel” ? What was the cause of their separation
in the first place?