From Literature

‘My own heart let me more have pity on’

Hopkins’ poem portrays a mind and self dwelling in a particular moment of turmoil, and the persona self-describes this psychological unravelling as it evolves from a state of anguish and despair into one of elevation and hope. The self, through the presence of this transition, is thus depicted to possess potential for transformation, capable of arriving at a more restful and reassured spiritual state from the disquietude of psychological agitation.

Angelo in Measure for Measure

This passage begins with Angelo’s soliloquy as he reveals the internal conflict between restraint which he had always strictly believed himself to live by, and the liberation of his growing sexual desires for Isabella. It then transitions immediately to a dialogue between Angelo and Isabella, revealing to the audience Angelo’s growing self-awareness as he gives in to his sexual temptations and allows them to manifest in his speech. Hence, Angelo is presented through this passage as a man susceptible to human passions and temptations of the flesh, just like any other fallible human being, contrary to earlier depictions of him in the play.

Expectations of Women in Pride and Prejudice

Pride and Prejudice, set in the early 19th century, is one of Austen’s most striking novels in terms of exploring the significance of being a woman then, as well as the social expectations and restrictive conformities tied to it. As such, the given passage highlights the austerity of society’s lens of scrutiny and extremity when viewing women. Furthermore, the passage accentuates how different hierarchical upbringing and social environments can affect the way women themselves view their own sex and by extension, marriage. However, this scene also acts as a benchmark, foreshadowing Darcy’s change in attitude further in the novel, when he learns to accept that the ideal woman does not exist, but the perfectly imperfect one does.

Reflection on Literature Festival 2019 #2

One of the performances that piqued my interest was that of A Bout, adapted from Edward Albee’s Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? Although I have yet to read the entire play, I felt that the performance was a creative take on the conflicts and dynamics between George and Martha. The conflicts between the two were framed as a series of boxing matches, which had a rather whimsical mood to it. The enthusiastic announcer, the pompous entries of both “contestants” and the blaring fanfare that plays after each round was amusing and created a grandiose and theatrical atmosphere. However, beyond the entertainment value of this setup lies the intensity of the relationship between the two. Rather than inflicting physical wounds on their opponents as in a normal boxing match, the two engaged verbal abuse and mockery of each other, causing psychological wounds.

Reflection on Literature Festival 2019 #1

I found the presentation of Pride and Prejudice: The Sequel in a modern-day context where the characters were at a party very interesting as it emphasised the relevance of the ideas in the text to modern society. For example, we see Elizabeth’s strong feminist qualities, which are applicable to today, through her repudiation of the shallow mindsets of the other characters, especially Lydia and Kitty, as well as her rejection of societal expectations. The modern use of language allows us to link these ideas involved to those in the text. The use of language also helped me better understand the relationship between Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy as I was able to understand Mr. Darcy’s slow inclination towards Elizabeth through the language used when describing his inner conflict and the dialogue in their interactions.

The Drive towards Self-destruction in Ariel

While the theme of self-destruction may conventionally appear damaging or deleterious, Plath portrays the motif of self-annihilation in a different light through the persona’s acceptance or embrace of pain and suffering. In addition, the drive towards self-effacement and destruction is not only concurrent with the desire for a new identity, but can also be reversed in order to resurrect the sense of self. Thus, these poems explore the mind’s reaction to self-destruction, and its capability to gain control and achieve transcendence when the self is threatened by hostile environments.

Mr Collins’ Significance

Write a critical commentary on the following passage (from Chapter 15), relating it to the presentation of Mr. Collins and his significance in the novel. Mr Collins, in the passage, is depicted as a man of hubris and extreme self-importance. His lack of humility as the clergyman, an authoritative religious figure, seems to be Austen’s way of criticising the supposed morally significant characters in the Regency era. The flippant attitude he holds towards marriage, reveals his nature as superficial, in the pursuit of a wife, highlighting the censure Austen holds for the transactional value marriage has been reduced too. Lastly,…

Fragile States of Mind and Self

Woman in Mind and Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf are arguably disparate plays: thematically, one charts a woman’s descent into madness, while the other captures the domestic madness inherent in disappointed couples. I would however argue that the two plays are similar in their presentations of fragile states of mind and equally fragile identities. Both Woman and Woolf show fragile states of mind through familial conflicts, as seen through Susan and Gerald’s depressing interactions and George and Martha’s disparaging verbal conflicts. Both plays also evince the fragility of identity through the use of hostile external forces by having Susan succumb to a psychologically destructive nightmare, while Martha is seen to be expunged of her false identity as a mother through George’s exorcism. The ultimate intentions of both plays, however, differs greatly.


Both poems ‘The Art of Disappearing’ by Sarah Holland-Batt (Poem A) and ‘Disappearance’ by Boey Kim Cheng (Poem B) portray personae who deal with the disappearance of different collections of things in different ways: Poem A presents the disappearance as a result of change in one’s life and the subsequent accepting and firm manner of dealing with these losses of things in the past; Poem B, on the other hand, suggests disappearance is a form and result of loss, where the persona seems to struggle with attempting to cope with these losses. The tone of the poems, though speaking of the same subject matter of disappearance, thus differs as well. A is firmer and realistic, while B is nostalgic and pessimistic.