The Entrepreneurial State by Mariana Mazzucato Critical Essay
Updated: Jul 15th, 2019
The book titled The Entrepreneurial State is a recent publication, having been published in 2013. The book was published by Anthem Press. It is authored by Mariana Mazzucato, one of the key figures in the debate surrounding various economic issues in contemporary society. In the book, Mazzucato seeks to unravel the disparities between the private sector and the public sector.
The book notes that in most societies, the public sector is characterised by sluggishness of the services provided by the government to the people. In the book, Mazzucato (2013, p. 1) provides the reader with a detailed account of the role that should be played by the public sector with regards to investments and other issues of interest to the life of the common man.
Interestingly, the author examines investments made under the auspices of entrepreneurship and does not pay much attention to other forms of investment. The book examines a number of sectors in the economy. Some of the key sectors examined include the green revolution and the internet.
In this paper, the student provides a critical review of The Entrepreneurial State. The purpose of this review is to critically examine some of the elements addressed in the book and the manner in which Mazzucato addresses such elements.
In actual sense, this critical review looks at how the author (Mazzucato) is able to diagnose the faults found in the strategic decisions made by the various stakeholders in the society. The stakeholders whose strategic decisions are examined by Mazzucato and reviewed in this paper include the ‘strategists’ of any given society.
In the opinion of Mazzucato (2013, p. 1), some of the strategists referred to in this book are crucial to the socio-economic development of any society. They include, among others, private companies, governments, and other such agencies in the society.
In addition to the above strategists, the author points out that the individuals in the society are an important part of socio-economic development. In fact, the individuals can be regarded as some of the most important strategists in a given community.
In this book review, the student seeks to outline how the author (Mazzucato) helps the reader to develop a new perspective from which to view strategic decisions made by key stakeholders in a society. In this regard, the various elements, some of which are mentioned above, are viewed as crucial to the society.
In conclusion, the critical book review will highlight any missing concepts that the author may have overlooked in writing the book. Most importantly, the critical book review seeks to determine whether the author’s main hypothesis (as set out in the first few chapters of the book) is justified in the text or not.
The Entrepreneurial State: A Critical Review
Diagnosis of the Faults made in the Process of Formulating Strategic Decisions
In the outline of the book, Mazzucato (2013, p. 7) appreciates the key role played by the public sector in the society. He says that the public sector, which is represented (or, in some cases, represents) the state has a key role to play in making the various strategic decisions. To this end, the author affirms that there are many organisations in the society that make flawed strategic decisions as they carry out their duties in the society.
While putting forward their sentiments in the first chapter, Mazzucato (2013, p. 9) points out that a ‘crisis ideology’ is a clear sign that elements in the society end up arriving at poor strategic decisions no matter how hard they try. In addition, the author looks at the element of labour and how the same impacts on decisions arrived at by an organisation operating in a given society.
Organisations make a wide range of decisions in a bid to respond to the various challenges which arise in the community and within the organisations themselves. In the opinion of Mazzucato (2013, p. 9), such challenges are considered as crises in the life of the organisations. To this end, any decision made with regard to an existing crisis must be formulated with various specifics in mind.
The author opines that most organisations fail to take a firm stand on matters to do with response to crisis. In the recent past, many organisations have simply ignored to address pre-existing challenges in the society due to lack of a guiding ideology.
According to Mazzucato, the main strategists in any particular setting tend to make decisions based on the risk factor. Mazzucato (2013, p. 9) affirms that some people fear to address the various risk elements in a given business endeavour. As a result, many people are bound to make wrong decisions.
The author makes use of the book’s third chapter to explain how the state should address risk factors in their respective establishments. In this chapter, the author explains how the state is responsible for most of the landmark decisions made by the government and other strategists. For example, the state’s policies on taxes and such other issues determine how business organisations operate in the country.
In the 9th chapter of the book, Mazzucato (2013, p. 185) examines two phenomena that directly affect the decisions made by the various stakeholders in the society. The two are the socialisation of risk and privatisation of rewards. To this end, Mazzucato makes use of the chapter to enable the reader understand how companies end up making wrong decisions.
The author is of the opinion that risk begets rewards. In other words, some of the processes viewed as highly risky are the ones that are highly rewarding. An example is made of mankind’s ancestors, the cave men. The ancestors would have starved to death if they had not risked their lives and went out into the wild to get food. If that had happened, then the viability of the current generation would have remained ambiguous.
Mazzucato (2013, p. 187) explains that rational decisions are avoided by mankind ‘against’ awards. The author goes further to explain that in most cases, decisions are made in such a way that the rewards effectively offset the risks. For this reason, the author suggests that irrational decisions are arrived at if the risk element is removed from the overall equation.
The pressure that results from risky situations prevents persons from developing unnecessary greed in the market. An example of the same is observed in the debacle associated with sub-prime mortgages.
In this case, the state guaranteed to cover any risks that such institutions took in the property market at that time. As a result, the various financial institutions operating in the property market were not under pressure to avoid risky situations.
New Strategic Directions
In the book, Mazzucato (2013, p. 154) helps the audience to take into account other strategic directions that strategists can take in a bid to improve the welfare of the society. In this regard, such directions have an effect on individuals and other lead strategists within a society.
Consequently, the book invites the reader to consider new elements like the green revolution and alternative energy that equally impact on human life in the society. In addition, the author allows the audience to look into such issues as technology and its place in the matrix of decision making in the society. The aforementioned components help businesses to make decisions that are well informed.
In recent times, the author explains, issues surrounding food production have generated a heated debate. For example, many people continue to argue on the viability and safety of genetically modified organisms in the society today. Key players in this debate include the consumers, policy makers, and food experts, most of whom are scientists (Mazzucato 2013, p. 146).
According to the author, decisions pertaining to the production and consumption of food must take into account the stakeholders involved. For example, as much as policy makers are interested in enhancing food security, they must be aware of the fact that some food has negative impacts on the health of the consumer.
At this juncture, the book brings into focus the issue of the green revolution. In their writing, the author admits to the fact that consumers require organic organisms to enhance food security. As such, many organisations are involved in such kinds of productions.
Thus, strategic directions in such cases will ultimately depend on how each strategist has aligned their ideas and beliefs with the variables in their respective markets. Such kind of thinking is capable of breathing new life into economies that are sluggish in the public sector (Mazzucato, 2013, p. 163).
In the paragraphs above, it was mentioned that technology is an emerging variable that strategists have to take into consideration whenever they are deliberating on certain issues. According to Mazzucato (2013, p. 194), organisations must embrace new technologies if at all they expect to remain relevant in the market.
For instance, a manufacturing company must factor in the new technology of production in their operations if they expect to increase their output in terms of volume and quality. The author (Mazzucato) appreciates that in contemporary society, there is a marked increase in entrepreneurial spirit among players in the private and public sectors.
To this end, the book looks into the source of many such technologies. In addition, Mazzucato analyses how such technologies affect the quality of life of community members.
According to Mazzucato (2013, p. 196), the state remains the major source and determinant of entrepreneurial drive among companies. Consequently, the numerous technologies that exist are credited to this drive. For example, the tax policies adopted by the state determine the pace at which technology develops.
Economies with a sluggish public sector need to be alive to the fact that it is the state that needs to encourage entrepreneurship. It is the state that spurs the development of new technologies in the society. The author cites the example of the I-phone.
The device is a piece of technology whose existence would not have been possible without the input of the state. The state has created a favourable environment to facilitate the emergence and growth of start-up companies in the society. Such policies encourage technological advancements in the world today.
The pressure to provide clean and sustainable energy informs the author’s sentiments on matters to do with alternative sources of energy. In the book, wind and solar are featured as the best alternative sources of energy for present and future societies (Mazzucato, 2013, p. 204).
In this regard, strategists have a new variable to inform the decisions they make. For example, they have to factor in the need for clean and sustainable source of energy in making decisions touching on their companies’ operations.
The book mentions several success stories that are attributed to alternative sources of energy in the society. From the sentiments brought forth in the book, it is clear that the author seeks to encourage the government to take a leading role in developing alternative sources of energy.
Important Components not Discussed in the Book
The book is part of the texts recommended in the study of strategies in businesses. To this end, it is important to acknowledge Heller (2009) and his key elements of strategy (par. 5). Heller (2009) talks of, among other things, the ‘competencies’ of an organisation and the importance of financial forecasts.
The two are among the five important components of strategy. However, the book by Mazzucato is silent on these components of strategy. As a text meant to give direction on matters to do with how industry players can develop strategy, Mazzucato should have addressed the issue of components of strategy when writing the book.
Heller (2009, par. 5) indicates that developing a financial forecast is a sure way of making informed decisions in business. The book by Mazzucato should come clear and explain some of the ways through which organisations can develop a financial forecast mechanism for growth.
In this regard, the book should highlight the role of the government in developing financial forecast systems. Many governments’ financial processes are shrouded in mystery. To help in demystifying government operations, the book should shed some light on financial forecasting.
Another element that the book is silent about, and which should be mentioned, is the issue of business competencies. According to Heller (2009, par. 2), competencies are some of the traits an organisation should cultivate to ensure that the demands of consumers are met while at the same time preventing competition from imitating their products.
A book like Mazzucato’s should address the issue of competencies in detail. However, Mazzucato did not do this. Given that the book intends to demolish myths surrounding strategy decisions, the author should highlight some of the reasons why organisations should strive for competencies. Again, Mazzucato did not do this.
A book touching on the topic addressed by Mazzucato should discuss the different forms of competencies that exist in the market. Mazzucato does not address this issue adequately in the current book.
Heller (2009, par. 3) indicates that competencies can take different forms. Some of them include the reliable process and the customer-client relationship. The book should examine the culture of product development since this is one of the variables that necessitate decision making.
Having looked at the various sections of the book as discussed above, the author of this paper concludes that the text did meet its objectives. However, there are sections that should have been included. The book clarifies the many myths surrounding public and private sectors in the society.
Heller, I 2009, The five components of a business strategy. Web.
Mazzucato, M 2013, The entrepreneurial state, Anthem Press, London.
This critical essay on The Entrepreneurial State by Mariana Mazzucato was written and submitted by your fellow student. You are free to use it for research and reference purposes in order to write your own paper; however, you must cite it accordingly.
Innocence and Justice: The Comparison of Characters from Shen Congwen and Huang Chun-ming’s Works Compare and Contrast Essay
Updated: Aug 23rd, 2019
The paper argues that the female character described in Shen Congwen’s “Hsiao-hsiao” can be compared with the male character of Huang Chun-ming’s “The Drowning of an Old Cat” because of the observed similarities in the characters’ visions of innocence and justice.
It is important to focus on this issue because the comparison of the female and male characters who can be contrasted in relation to their ages and experiences is a controversial task, and many persons are inclined to share different points of view regarding the possible similarities while determining the differences clearly.
Although it is rather difficult to find similarities while focusing on the characters’ gender and age differences, it is important to concentrate on the fact of how Shen Congwen’s Hsiao-hsiao and Huang Chun-ming’s Uncle Ah-sheng are similar in their discussion of the ideas of innocence, justice, courage, and will, and how the authors emphasize these characters’ qualities to make them more realistic.
The approaches of Shen Congwen and Huang Chun-ming to developing the literary work and to conveying the main story’s idea are rather different, but these authors share the similar techniques while presenting the narratives’ main characters. The authors intend to portray the most realistic characters who should possess the most valued qualities to oppose the unjust situations and social issues.
Shen Congwen’s Hsiao-hsiao and Huang Chun-ming’s Uncle Ah-sheng can be discussed as innocent in relation to their human nature because they are oriented to preserving the original moral values and principles. From this point, Hsiao-hsiao discusses her problematic life conditions as satisfactory because she performs her duties as a human and social being (Congwen 229).
In his turn, Uncle Ah-sheng demonstrates his innocence while believing in justice and intending to prevent the authorities from ruining Clear Spring (Chun-ming 12). Thus, the authors operate the concept of the innocent human nature in order to contribute to proving the idea of their stories and in order to find the balance between depicting the idealized and realistic characters.
The characters depicted by Shen Congwen and Huang Chun-ming are not only innocent in relation to their human nature but they are also realistic because they are able to make wrong decisions and to act focusing on their feelings rather than on the moral and rational visions. To criticize the definite aspects of the traditional Chinese society, it is important for Shen Congwen to depict the main female character as rather willful and courageous while following her own path.
Thus, while following all the cruel codes of the Chinese society and principles of the married life, Hsiao-hsiao allows being seduced by the other man because of relying on her own sensitive perception and vision of the situation (Congwen 229). Moreover, being pregnant, Hsiao-hsiao succeeds to be rather patient while facing the threat of being cruelly punished.
It is possible to note that Hsiao-hsiao is depicted by the author as the embodiment of the opposition to the cruel Chinese traditions and morality based on the Confucius ideals. Thus, describing the possibility of punishment, Shen Congwen ironically states that Hsiao-hsiao “should have been drowned, but only heads of families who have read their Confucius would do such a stupid thing to save the family’s honor” (Congwen 235).
In this case, the action of ‘innocent’ Hsiao-hsiao is challenging and provocative in comparison with the ideas of those persons who rely on the Confucius ideals, and Shen Congwen manipulates these qualities of Hsiao-hsiao’s character in order to argue on the more complex social issues in her narrative.
In spite of the fact that the writing style of Huang Chun-ming differs significantly from Shen Congwen’s one, the role of the characters’ depiction to emphasize the narratives’ ideas is discussed by the authors similarly. That is why, it is necessary to refer to Huang Chun-ming’s depiction of Uncle Ah-sheng’s qualities used by the character during his fight for the justice and rights.
Hsiao-hsiao’s courage to oppose the moral and social norms is observed in the context of the young woman’s family when Uncle Ah-sheng’s courage to oppose the injustice is observed at the larger social level. Huang Chun-ming concentrates on Uncle Ah-sheng’s courage and confidence while providing his thoughts on the necessity to act and prevent the building of the swimming pool in the community.
Thus, the author uses Uncle Ah-sheng’s inner monologue to depict his ideas, “Won’t this be the end of Clear Spring? I won’t let them get away with it, and I absolutely won’t allow it! I’ll run home and tell the others” (Chun-ming 16). Uncle Ah-sheng can be characterized as determined to prevent the destruction of the sacred spring because he ‘absolutely won’t allow it’, and his activities support his decisiveness.
The characters portrayed by Shen Congwen and Huang Chun-ming are also realistic because the authors are inclined to preserve the balance between the demonstration of their righteousness and their obvious weaknesses. Uncle Ah-sheng is as focused on justice as Hsiao-hsiao is focused on finding the right way from the life problematic situations.
Thus, the obvious injustice and violation of the villagers’ rights noticed by Uncle Ah-sheng infuriated him, and he “couldn’t understand why others received the protection of the law for interfering with his and his friends’ actions, while the righteousness of his behavior was considered illegal” (Chun-ming 24).
Referring to these Uncle Ah-sheng’s thoughts, it is possible to state that Huang Chun-ming describes his character as rather self-confident because he expresses few doubts about the ‘righteousness of his behavior’.
These elements accentuated by Huang Chun-ming are correlated with Shen Congwen’s portrayal of her female character because Hsiao-hsiao is inclined to conclude about the righteousness of the other people’s actions and behaviours while referring to her own experience.
However, it is also important to note that, in general, the images of Hsiao-hsiao and Uncle Ah-sheng are quite positive and reflecting the best features of the human nature in order to contribute to the authors’ intentions to depict the realistic situations with involving the realistic characters.
In spite of the fact that in their stories, Shen Congwen and Huang Chun-ming present the female and male characters belonging to different age categories, the authors’ approaches to depicting Hsiao-hsiao and Uncle Ah-sheng are rather similar because of the idea to portray the realistic characters who can oppose to the cruelty and injustice of the society because of their inner power, innocence, feeling of justice, courage, and will experienced in many problematic situations.
Hsiao-hsiao and Uncle Ah-sheng as they are depicted by the authors are not idealized with references to their morality or righteousness, but they seem to be realistic and powerful because of their true human nature which helps the characters be alive and active while struggling against possible injustice.
Chun-ming, Huang. “The Drowning of an Old Cat”. The Taste of Apples. Ed. Huang Chun-ming. USA: Columbia University Press, 2001. 11-31. Print.
Congwen, Shen. “Hsiao-Hsiao”. Modern Chinese Short Stories and Novellas 1919-1949. Ed. Joseph Lau. New York: Columbia University Press, 1981. 227-236. Print.
This compare and contrast essay on Innocence and Justice: The Comparison of Characters from Shen Congwen and Huang Chun-ming’s Works was written and submitted by your fellow student. You are free to use it for research and reference purposes in order to write your own paper; however, you must cite it accordingly.
Bound for Glory as Autobiography: A Long Way Home Critical Essay
Updated: Aug 26th, 2019
The art of representing a person, let alone their work, is not an easy ask to pull off, which is the reason why so many biographers fail to create a proper image of a particular person.
When it comes to the analysis of a person’s life and accomplishments, one might give more credit to an autobiography, seeing how the author should know the subject better than anyone else. However, in most cases, authors are tempted to write about who they wish they could be rather than who they actually are, and Woody Guthrie’s famous Bound for Glory is no exception.
First of all, it is necessary to mention that there is actually nothing in Bound for Glory that could make an average reader cringe. Quite on the contrary, the story is narrated in a manner that seems well put together, the characters surrounding the lead are very memorable and the tone of the narration creates a unique atmosphere of the life of a boy in the American South of the early and middle XX century.
Much to Guthrie’s credit, he knew how to capture the magic of the ordinary, at the same time successfully resisting the desire to portray fun little moments as incredible journey of laugh and whimsy, or to stretch his personal tragedies to the scale of a universal catastrophe.
The main strengths of the book, however, come into the light as the supporting characters enter the narration and Guthrie take a back seat to the character development. The interaction of the characters is what makes the book so interesting to read; as soon as the characters start talking to each other, their unique traits come out in full blue, which the forced moments of environment descriptions cannot hold a candle to.
Weirdly enough, the elements of fiction, which occur in the book quite often, do not bother the reader much and, moreover, add much to the story. Instead of listing a range of facts of his life spiced with some of the obvious moments of coloring the truth, Guthrie manages to make unique characters by creating interesting dialogues, which represent the era that Guthrie is talking about in a very graphic way.
Even though most of the dialogues are clearly the figment of Guthrie’s imagination, one must give him credit for giving the numerous people that surrounded him at the time memorable personalities, and very likable ones at that.
The fact that Guthrie and a boy with a “heavy-set boy with a big-city accent” (Guthrie 6) share a legitimate moment of actually being honest to each other is very affecting, since both know that they have little to no chances to survive at the time of the Great Depression, yet they still manage to find something in common that will keep their spirits lifted in the eye of the storm, that thing in common being their appreciation of music.
The fact that Guthrie portrays the speech of the people surrounding him in a very honest way without making them look like angels descended from heaven makes these characters three-dimensional and, therefore, very easy to relate to for an average reader.
With such fleshed-out characters as Guthrie’s mother, who, with all her weirdness and tendencies for switching her mood from loving and caring to hysterical and psychotic, is still supportive and inspirational, his uncle, who introduced Guthrie to the art of playing the guitar and the songs of the South, his friend, and many other colorful characters that Woody came across in his life, the book turns into pure gold.
Sadly enough, the novel also has its problems; and, ironically enough, these problems come out in full blue as Guthrie starts narrating instead of tricking the readers into getting excited over his interactions with the people surrounding him. The simple manner in which Guthrie describes people and environment conflicts with obviously forced metaphors and other decorations that Guthrie throws into his story for no obvious reason.
For example, the passage describing a cattleman that Guthrie passes by seems to make its message too on-the-nose: “He smoked a pipe which had took up more of his time in the last twenty years than wife, kids, or his cow ranching” (Guthrie 112). It would have been much more natural if the far-fetched metaphors like this one had taken a lesser part of the novel.
However, for those readers who prefer to indulge into the character-building process, there is little to complain about; Guthrie knows how to keep the focus on the plot and the people in it. It is just that the moments like the one specified above seem to unnatural not to distract the readers from the story.
Anyway, it must be admitted that Guthrie did a good job of creating a story of his life. Perhaps, he was the only one who could possibly pull off the emotional drama and the artistry needed to describe his path of a musician. A decent work of literature, Bound for Glory is one of the few biographies that definitely leave an impression.
Guthrie, Woody. Bound for Glory. London, UK: Penguin Books, Ltd. 2004. Print.
This critical essay on Bound for Glory as Autobiography: A Long Way Home was written and submitted by your fellow student. You are free to use it for research and reference purposes in order to write your own paper; however, you must cite it accordingly.
Ha Jin’s ‘The Bridegroom’ and Kazuo Ishiguro’s ‘A Family Supper’ Term Paper
Updated: Aug 26th, 2019
Nowadays, it is becoming increasingly clear to more and more people throughout the world that the ongoing process of Globalization doesn’t only have strictly economic, but also psychological connotations. That is, the earlier mentioned process affects the manner in which individuals perceive the surrounding reality and their place in it.
This, of course, causes many conservatively minded people to criticize Globalization, on account of its assumed capacity to destroy cultural traditions, because the process in question implies the inevitability of unification and standardization.
However, while referring to Globalization in negative terms, it is often being the case that these people unintentionally expose the conceptual fallaciousness of their own line of argumentation, regarding the Globalization’s counter beneficiary effects. In my paper, I will explore the validity of the above statement at length, in regards to the short stories The Bridegroom by Ha Jin and A Family Supper by Kazuo Ishiguro.
Formally speaking, there is nothing new about the issue of a psychological incompatibility between the representatives of older and younger generations, tackled in Jin’s story. After all, it represents a well-known fact that, as compared to what it happened to be the case with young people, their parents tend to be much more conservative.
Nevertheless, there can be only a few doubts that there are clearly defined discursive overtones (concerned with Globalization) to The Bridegroom, which in turn imply that there was so much more to the earlier mentioned incompatibility between the character of Old Cheng, on the one hand, and the characters of Beina and Baowen, on the other.
The validity of this suggestion will become self-evident, once we analyze what were the innate motivations for Old Cheng to pursue with trying to ensure his adopted daughter’s happiness in the way he did. After all, it is specifically setting Beina up with a husband, so that she could get pregnant and to give birth to children, which Old Cheng considered his foremost duty, as a father: “When she (Beina) turned twenty-three and still had no boyfriend, I began to worry.
Where could I find her a husband? Timid and quiet, she didn’t know how to get close to a man. I was afraid she’d become an old maid” (Jin 472). Given the fact that the story’s plot unravels in China and the fact that Old Cheng appears to have been a rather traditionally minded individual, we can well assume that initially, he used to be a rural-dweller.
He came to the city in search of a better-paid employment and eventually ended up becoming an industrial worker – just as it happened to be the case with millions and millions of people like the character in question, throughout the course of the eighties and nineties. This simply could not be otherwise, because it is namely the abundance of peasants in pre-industrial China, which made it possible for this country to be set on the path of industrialization, in the first place.
As sociologists are being well aware of, it this specific category of citizens that traditionally served as the industrialization’s actual ‘fuel’, not only in China but in the rest of currently industrialized nations, such as Britain, the U.S. or Russia, for example. This provides us with a clue, as to why Old Cheng was strongly driven to marry off Beina at any cost.
This is because, despite having relocated to the big city, Old Cheng never ceased being a peasant, in the psychological sense of this word – his persistence in trying to make sure that Beina gets married serves as the best proof to the earlier suggestion’s legitimacy. The reason for this is apparent – people who reside in rural areas, have no other option but to affiliate themselves with agricultural pursuits, as the mean of ensuring their physical survival.
Hence, these people’s tendency to indulge in ‘baby-making’, whenever the opportunity presents itself – the more there are children in a particular rural-based family, the better are the chances for this family to enjoy a comparative well-being, as even young children can be successfully turned into agricultural helpers.
In big cities, however, there is no dialectically predetermined necessity for people to remain strongly committed to ‘baby-making’, as the realities of an urban living effectively eliminate preconditions for individuals to apply a particularly strong effort into trying to survive physically. Because the term ‘Globalization’ is essentially synonymous with the notion of ‘urbanization’, we can well suggest that Old Cheng’s failure in trying to help Beina was thoroughly objective.
Even though, as the story’s context implies, this character resided in the big city for a long time, he nevertheless could never adjust to the realities of an urban living. In its turn, this suggests that there is indeed a good reason to think of this person’s existential stance, exposed throughout the story’s entirety, as having been potentially counterproductive. Apparently, Old Cheng was simply incapable of expanding his intellectual horizons – hence, his consistently exhibited perceptual arrogance.
The discursive legitimacy of this suggestion can also be illustrated in relation to the theme of homosexuality, prominently featured in The Bridegroom. For example, there is a memorable scene in the story, where Old Cheng refuses to drink milk, poured into the mug for him by Baowen: “He (Baowen) poured a large mug of mailed milk for both of us, since there was only one mug in the room.
I didn’t touch the milk, unsure whether homosexuality was communicable” (486). This, of course, exposes Old Cheng as having been not an overly bright individual. However, it is not something that could be held against him, but rather the fact that Old Cheng’s attitude towards homosexuality did not change, even after he had a plenty of chances to learn that this ‘disease’ cannot be considered a disease per se, but rather a genetically defined mental condition, that poses no threat to the society, whatsoever.
After all, doctor Mai did explain to Old Cheng what homosexuality is all about: “Let me say this again: There’s no cure for your son-in-law, Old Cheng, It’s (homosexuality) not a disease. It’s just a sexual preference; it may be congenital, like being left-handed. Got it?” (487).
However, even after having learned this, Old Cheng could not help thinking of homosexuality as something morally wicked, because this practice did not make much of a sense in his mind of a primitively thinking peasant: “If homosexuality is a natural thing, then why are there men and women? Why can’t two men gel married and make a baby?” (488).
At the same time, however, Old Cheng remained thoroughly comfortable, while bribing governmental officials with two cigarettes-cartons. Apparently, it never occurred to him to think of bribery as an utterly immoral act. Partially, this explains why, despite corrupted Chinese governmental officials continuing to be sentenced to death, on the account of their bribe-taking practices, the majority of ordinary Chinese citizens (especially those who have been brought in the country) believes that there is nothing wrong about these practices.
In fact, in the Chinese language, the very notion of bribe (guanxi) implies its full appropriateness: “(Guanxi) is the establishment of a connection between two independent individuals to enable a bilateral flow of personal or social transactions” (Yeung and Tung 55). The reason for this is simple – China only recently became an industrialized nation, which is why the majority of people in this country continue to think ‘rurally’ – hence their tendency to give/accept bribes.
After all, in order to be able to survive in the rural areas, peasants need to rely on each other, which in turn naturally predispose them towards trying to win each other’s favor. Therefore, there is indeed a good rationale in believing that the intergenerational conflict, described in The Bridegroom, has been brought about by the process of Globalization (urbanization), which exposes people’s continual endowment with ‘traditional values’, as such that reflects their intellectual inflexibility and consequently – their reduced ability to act as the society’s productive members.
What has been said in the paper’s previous sub-chapter, also applies within the context of discussing the themes and motifs, contained in the story Family Supper by Kazuo Ishiguro. This is because, just as it happened to be the case with the earlier discussed story, the roots of the intergenerational conflict in Ishiguro’s story have to do with the fact that, as time goes on, the Globalization-related socio-cultural discourse changes the way in which people perceive the surrounding social reality.
In this respect, the narrator’s mentioning of the fact that his mother died, due to having been poisoned by a Fugu fish, has a strongly defined symbolic significance. This is because, by participating in the ceremony of eating this fish, individuals are expected to prove their courageousness. Apparently, they want to be considered as such that does not fear death too much.
Simultaneously, however, it reflects these individuals’ lessened ability to appreciate their lives, due to having been ‘trained’ to think of their own and other people’s physical existence; as such that does not necessarily represent the highest value of all. The earlier mentioned ‘training’ usually takes place in rural families with many children. If any of these children dies, his or her parents and siblings do not perceive it in terms of an unbearable loss, as there is still a plenty more left.
Given the fact that prior to WW2, Japan was an essentially agrarian country, the existential attitude, on the part of the narrator’s parents (reflected by their braveness in the face of death), makes a perfectly good sense. After all, the story context implies that they belonged to the ‘war generation’, which means that have been naturally prompted not to put their lives in a particularly high regard.
Therefore, there is nothing too odd about the narrator father’s tendency to glorify death, reflected by his favorable remarks, in regards to its former business-partner Watanabe, who after having sustained a bankruptcy, killed himself and its family: “After the firm’s collapse, Watanabe killed himself. He didn’t wish to live with the disgrace… A fine man. A man of principle” (Ishiguro 1).
Apparently, due to the specifics of its early upbringing and its wartime memories, the narrator’s father did in fact share the illusion that there could be a ‘higher’ purpose to one’s violent death. This also explains his subtly expressed belief that war is the only effective key to solving seeming unsolvable problems and that one’s willingness to sacrifice its life ‘glorifies’ the concerned individual: “During the war I spent some time on a ship… But my ambition was always the air force… If your ship was struck by the enemy, all you could do was struggle in the water hoping for a lifeline.
But in an airplane – well – there was always the final weapon” (3). The narrator and his sister Kikuko, on the hand, could not have possibly shared their father’s sentiment, in this respect. After all, as the story’s context suggests, both of them had traveled outside of Japan, without having experienced any emotional discomfort, whatsoever.
In fact, the story’s narrator appears to have resided in the U.S. for a considerable amount of time, which in turn enlightened him that, due to the realities of the late 20th century’s living, the notion of ethno-patriotism can no longer be considered discursively legitimate. This simply could not be otherwise, because while growing up in economically booming post-war Japan, the narrator and his sister were dialectically predetermined to affiliate themselves with the values of Globalization, as the ‘Earth-flattening’ process.
As Ohmae noted: “The global economy ignores barriers… The traditional centralized nation-state is another cause of friction. It is ill-equipped to play a meaningful role on the global stage” (5). Therefore, even though there can be only a few doubts, as to the fact that both: the narrator and his sister never ceased to respect their father, they nevertheless could never relate to him, in the emotional sense of this word.
Apparently, despite the particulars of their ethnic affiliation, they were essentially cosmopolites – thoroughly alienated from what the notion of ‘traditional values’ stands for. This is the reason why Kikuko would never skip a chance lightning up a cigarette, once her father was not around.
Nevertheless, unlike what it happened to be the case with the character of Old Cheng in Jin’s story, Ishiguro’s father proved himself intellectually honest enough to consider the possibility that the ‘old ways’, he cherished so much, might have been deprived of a rationale all along. This is exactly the reason why, contrary to the readers’ subliminal expectation, the fish that the narrator’s father prepared for supper, did not turn out to be a poisonous Fugu.
There is a memorable conversation that takes place between the narrator and his father at the end of the story, in which the latter does admit that Watanabe’s suicide could never be justified: “You think what he (Watanabe) did – it was a mistake?’. ‘Why, of course. Do you see it otherwise?’” (4). By saying this, the narrator’s father subtly recognized the sheer wrongness of those virtues, and he used to pursue while young.
What has been argued earlier in this paper, suggests that Globalization does not only affect the interrelationships between the representatives of different generations. Instead, it changes the very essence of how young and older people indulge in the socialization with each other. The reason for this is quite apparent – due to the Globalization’s discursive implications, older people can no longer be considered as such that have a plenty of wisdom about them.
Yet, this is not because, while addressing different challenges, throughout the course of their lives, the representatives of the older generations had failed at accumulating wisdom, but because what these people know about how the world turns around, does not contain the realization of the fact that humanity is standing on the threshold of a rather dramatic transformation.
After all, it is namely during the course of the last few decades (associated with the rise of the Internet) that the pace of the humanity’s socio-cultural and technological progress had attained a clearly defined exponential momentum. What is means is that there are indeed good reasons to believe that, when it comes to identifying the extent of the ethical appropriateness/inappropriateness of currently predominant socio-philosophical discourses, young people will be much more likely to succeed in it, as compared to what would have been the case with their parents or grandparents.
Apparently, the very fact that they were born in a time when Globalization started to undermine the soundness of a number of different classical notions/assumptions, in regards to what accounts for the humanity’s actual destiny, in general, and the purpose of one’s life, in particular, makes them cognitively attuned with what would be the ways of the ‘borderless brave world’.
I believe that the earlier deployed line of argumentation, as to the discursive significance of the intergenerational conflict, described in the stories by Jin and Ishiguro, fully correlates with the paper’s initial thesis.
Ishiguro, Kazuo 1982, A Family Supper. RTF file.
Jin, Ha 2000, The Bridegroom. Web.
Ohmae, Kenichi. Next Global Stage: Challenges and Opportunities in Our Borderless World. Upper Saddle River: Wharton School Publishing, 2005. Print.
Yeung, Irene and Rosalie Tung. “Achieving Business Success in Confucian Societies: The Importance of Guanxi (Connections).” Organizational Dynamics 25.2 (1996): 54-65. Print.
This term paper on Ha Jin’s ‘The Bridegroom’ and Kazuo Ishiguro’s ‘A Family Supper’ was written and submitted by your fellow student. You are free to use it for research and reference purposes in order to write your own paper; however, you must cite it accordingly.
History of the Peloponnesian War Essay (Book Review)
Updated: Jul 20th, 2020
This article focuses on the role played by inequality and morality in international politics based on Thucydides’ depictions of the Athenians
Because of globalization, international politics has lost its potential for moral relationships and virtuous action. Many argue that the growth of self-consciousness with freedom has disintegrated into pure self-centeredness, objectification, and instrumentality (Art & Robert 305).
As such, the human beings have become sociable. However, we have become friendly based on social relations such as poverty, slavery, and domination rather than on the realm of freedom, equality, and morality. This article focuses on the role played by inequality and morality in international politics based on Thucydides’ depictions of the Athenians.
In the book, Thucydides is depicted as the founder of scientific history and political realism. Thucydides asserts that the tactical relations of nations followed a visible and a repeated pattern (Art & Robert 9). He believed that in a given coordination of states, a definite chain of command among the states dictated the model of their associations.
According to him, a modification in the chain of command of weaker states did not have an effect on a specific system. However, an interruption in the hierarchy of stronger states dictated the pattern of their associations. In the book, it is apparent that that Peloponnesian war broke out because of the methodical alteration resulting from the rising control of the Athenian city-state trying to surpass the control of the city-state of Sparta.
From the depiction of the Athenians, it is apparent that Thucydides viewed international relations as immoral, lawless, and unequal. In Melian Dialogue, international politics are portrayed without justice and laws. As such, the stronger states dictate how the weaker states should behave and what they should do. This implies that international relationship plays a greater role in enhancing inequality and morality.
Usually, in the absence of international relations a state is governed based on social contract theory. Through this, weaker citizens are protected by the state from being exploited or abused by the stronger citizens. However, in the presence of international relations a weaker state might not be able to protect its citizens from being exploited or abused by the stronger states as indicated in the Melian Dialogue.
Under international relations, the contract theory becomes valid, as its basic principles are not applicable among interstate members. As depicted in Melian Dialogue, there are no regulations to protect legality and ethics of state interactions.
Equally, polarization among states can be blamed on international relations. It is alleged that Athenian brutality and arrogance towards the Malians and their neighboring states resulted in interstate polarization across Greece (Art & Robert 14). During the Cold War, several nations were divided because of the struggles waged by the Russians and the Americans.
Owing to this rivalry, weaker states suffered economically as the superpowers wage war in their lands. With the reference to Peloponnesian War described in the book, American attitude towards the non-western cultures was similar to the attitude the Athenians had towards their interstate members.
Based on the above illustrations, it is apparent that international relations enhance inequality and immorality through polarization. With polarization, weaker countries are treated less equally by stronger states. This should not only be perceived as archaic acts but also as immoral acts.
In Melian Dialogue, the Melians condemn the Athenians’ unjust and immoral deeds based on Greek ethics. They assert that gods are always on the side of those who preach universal justice. This implies that the Melians were opposed to Athenians interstate relations because it was going to make them subjects of the Athenians. In this regard, it can be argued that international relations make the weaker state subject of the stronger state.
Art, Robert J., and Robert Jervis. International politics: enduring concepts and contemporary issues. 10th ed. Boston: Pearson, 2010. Print.
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Sasenarine Persaud, “Canada Geese and Apple Chutney” Essay (Critical Writing)
Updated: Jul 5th, 2019
Immigrants have some common experiences that include uncertainty, fear and hope. Literatures on immigrants are mostly about racism, separation, and fraud. Caribbean fiction stories also draw ideas from this perspective writing about immigrants. Some of the ideas in Caribbean short stories are about local dialect, trade, culture and racial tensions between Northern and Southern worlds.
Individuals across the globe recognize these pieces of writing. The reason is that the stories are accessible and parallel to the lives of immigrants around the globe. This paper critically summarizes and analyzes the Caribbean story “Chutney” by Persaud Sasenarine. The author is a poet, novelist and short story writer born in Guyana. In this book, he is depicted to be a narrator and protagonist of the Indian culture.
The author has chosen to explore his ideas with long narratives. For example, the narrative of Guyana is a fiction story that explains the emotions of Guyanese people expected to migrate to North America. He continues to say that these individuals have often moved to the urban places, like Miami, New York and Toronto.
Unfamiliarity with the western culture and lack of connection to new homes forced the migrants to find ways of belonging. For example, they chose to make chutney from green apples rather than from traditional mangos. This kept them away from staying idle in public parks. This commonality is also used to describe the poor Geese originating from Canada.
The opening sections of “The dog” shows the sentiment of bewilderment. The dog is characterized as a spiritual family pet. It also brings out the different cultural relationships with animals. The use of other term to refer to the migrants shows that the author embraces philosophical orientations with deep fascination. It is also correct to say that the narratives are not overwhelming.
There is no complete story that appears real apart from “dookie”. It is a romantic tale between a Hindu boy and Muslim girl. A film with the same name also explains the westernization of the Hindu culture related to feminism. In the recent days, the Brahmin culture believes that a man should bless a woman. However, Persaud’s story is different because it talks about the opposite.
The use of dialogue and reflection shows that the author completed the story in a hurry to bring out different themes. In the first story, the author says that his grandfather was to train to Tantra. This demonstrates the author’s admiration for philosophical practices and beliefs. The beliefs are controversial because the author portrays the manipulation of physical laws mostly called Jadu or magic by other people.
The evasion of such expositions by the author raises questions of character validity. The Caribbean language is complex, hence, there are reasons for the author’s perspective.
In the first half of the stories, Persaud uses many narratives to bring out different themes of his writings. However, in the second half, the author uses imagery to characterize his characters. The author brings out the rhythm of the speech by using Sam Salvo-like English.
The lyrical tone used by most modern Caribbean writers is absent in Persaud’s work. Dialogues used by the author make the stories appear real to readers. By using phrases to describe the Guyanese culture, Persaud identifies five stories of unpredictable characters in the book. The greatest contribution of Persaud is the use of characters that appreciate tokens of humanity.
Modern Indo-Caribbean writers have not cultivated this contribution in their writing. The authors show a tiring nature of racial history. Persaud says that although he is well educated, the Asian origin memories will exist in his life forever. He applies this in his writing while talking proudly and courageously about Asian characters.
The second half of the book navigates through human wonder by telling stories of his Indian stars. He frequently eludes several philosophies on yoga to diminish the gap between his Asian memories and modern cogitations. The writer uses first, second and third persons to bring out the different dimensions of human interactions. Irony is also evident in the author’s work.
For example, Persaud says that a woman with painted eyebrows resembles a tree. Some of the alluded characters used by the author do not conform to the practice of the Hindus. For example, he named the second dog “Shiva”. This is similar to a catholic priest calling a dog “the holy virgin Mary”.
In conclusion, the tales by Persaud have widely been accepted due to the different accents in his writings. The author tries to capture the mind of the reader and not the heart. The closing story for the author (Arriving) seems odd. The title used creates a notion that the book has just begun.
Persaud’s poetry shows that he understands human travail in all mature and fashionable ways. In the author’s writing, a reader cannot find any soothing words. The plot of the story is based on truth with little fiction because the tales are widely accepted by other Canadian literature writers.
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In Pursuit of Excellence Critical Essay
Updated: Jul 5th, 2019
Terry Orlick’s book In Pursuit of Excellence is primarily intended for professional athletes who strive to attain the best results. However, it can also be of great interest to people who want to achieve success in a certain professional area that may not be related to sports. Furthermore, this book can benefit to people who support the idea of life-long learning.
This paper is aimed at examining the main lessons that can be derived from this text. One can say that some of the suggestions offered by Terry Orlick may appear to be self-evident, but they are often overlooked even by experienced professionals. Additionally, they can be useful for avoiding various pitfalls, such as the loss of motivation or inability to cope with stress. This is the main argument that can be put forward.
One of the most important points is that the pursuit of excellence should be based on the rational choice taken by an individual and his/her positive outlook. First of all, people should clearly identify meaningful reasons that prompt them to display their best qualities and reach the highest performance standards (Orlick, 2008, p. 5).
In turn, the inability to identify these motives is the main reason why some athletes become less competitive in the long term. This is one of the main points that can be made. So, one should clearly understand why he/she intends to gain leading positions in a certain field. This principle can be applied to people who work in other areas.
Moreover, many individuals can lose motivation provided that they pay attention only to hardships or challenges that they have to struggle with. Instead, they should focus on the positive aspects of their improved performance or the results that they can obtain (Orlick, 2008, p. 5). This is why it is critical to remember about the rewards of becoming the leader.
This issue should be considered by people who intend to display excellent results for a long time. In my opinion, this lesson is important because it helps an individual to retain the motivation for pursuing professional growth. In the future, I will rely on this recommendation provided by Terry Orlick.
In particular, it will be of great use to me when I may struggle with some professional difficulties or challenges. This is why this point should not be disregarded.
Apart from that, in his book, Terry Orlick emphasizes the importance of distraction control which is critical for people who want to be top-performers. The author provides several examples to illustrate this point. For instance, he speaks about the changes in the schedule, conflicts with teammates, financial difficulties, educational concerns, and so forth (Orlick, 2008, p. 89).
However, his recommendations can be of great value to other professionals. The problem is that in many cases, people’s performance declines, and this decline can be attributed to the changes in external environment or sudden stressors.
For instance, it is possible to mention that people can become less attentive to his/her work due to some emotional problems or interpersonal conflicts which have an adverse effect on a person’s professional results (Orlick, 2008, p. 89).
In turn, Terry Orlick argues that a person should reflect on the cases, when he/she lost the motive to improve the performance, Moreover, one should think about different ways of responding to difficulties (Orlick, 2008, p. 89). I think that this point is important because many people cannot concentrate on their work because of some minor problems or distractions such as disagreements with colleagues or business partners.
Therefore, one should know how to cope with these distractions. I will use this principle in the future. I am a supporter of life-long learning, but it is possible only in those cases, when a person can cope with stress or pressure. I will regard my performance and professional growth as my topmost priorities.
Moreover, I will make sure that the changes in my personal life d not prevent me from reaching high performance standards. This is one of the main issues that can be distinguished.
Additionally, Terry Orlick lays stress on the importance of small steps that are critical for the excellent performance of an individual. The writer mentions that sometimes the actions of athletes do not lead to immediate improvements; nevertheless, they be viewed as the foundations for the future professional growth (Orlick, 2008, p. 211).
This is one of the most important arguments that are made by the author. In many cases, people abandon their efforts to improve their skills because their activities do produce immediate results. As a result, they cannot find the incentive to work harder. This is one of the pitfalls that should be avoided by athletes and people who represent other professions.
They forget that in most cases, the pursuit of excellence can be described as a series of small steps that eventually lead to a person’s professional excellence.
This is why this lesson should not be overlooked. I will certainly remember about the warning of Terry Orlick, especially at the moments when my efforts do not bring immediate rewards. In my opinion, this perception of one’s progress is important for a student and a professional. This is why this point should be overlooked.
Moreover, Terry Orlick believes that athlete should not regard failures as sings of their ineptitude since this view is not productive. More likely, obstacles should be regarded as challenges that should be overcome. I think that this point is also essential for individuals who intend to be top-performers because they should remember that failures are often inevitable, but one should learn how to respond to them.
In turn, a person, who strives for excellence, should not perceive these challenges as some insurmountable obstacles. I will take this lesson into account, but I understand that every individual can encounter difficulties, and a professional should be ready to accept them. These are the main elements that may be considered by the readers of this book.
Thus, Terry Orlick book can benefit a great number of potential readers. It contains a series of recommendations that should be taken into account by people who intend to achieve outstanding results. Some of the points made by the author can help the readers adopt a more productive attitude toward their work or professional development.
Furthermore, this source is useful for avoiding potential pitfalls such as the loss of motivation. Furthermore, the recommendations given by the writer can help people better encounter difficulties. This is why this source can be of great interest to many readers who may represent different fields. This is why it should not be disregarded.
Orlick, Terry. (2008). In Pursuit of Excellence. New York: Human Kinetics.
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The European Colonization of Africans in Achebe’s Book “Things fall apart” Report (Assessment)
Updated: Aug 20th, 2019
Chinua Achebe published the book “Things fall apart” in 1958. The book’s theme is a description of the European colonization of Africans from an African perspective. The main character is Okonkwo who is a warrior and the village hero. It clearly describes arrival of missionaries in the Igbo community near the end of nineteenth century.
It shows how colonialism affected the Africans and their perspectives. The book was different from other African authored books in that it used the European literary tradition, which was very effective. It made a basis on which the other authors that followed took after.
Chinua Achebe created a link between the European and the common African. He used English rather than native languages commonly used after. Consequently, he was able to reach a wider audience though at the time most Africans were illiterate.
Criticism of the text
The book has faced numerous critics since its publication. For the last fifty years, these critics have somehow reduced the face value of the text in the book. The main criticism was that the book should have displayed more awareness of the art of African culture. In addition, it was evident that Achebe avoided European stereotypes and exoticism and their relationship with African’s image and individuality.
According to Achebe, it was evident that most African novel critics took novelistic realism at face value. The critics failed to recognize the more delicate workings of the texts they employed while overlooking the assumptions on which they are based on. Moreover, they fail to perceive that realism is an ism. In light of this, there have been various variations in the face value of the text in this book over the years.
On the other hand, the critics claim that Achebe’s main intention of writing this book was to emphasize that the pre-colonials spiritual beliefs were not inferior but only different from that of Europeans. For example, in the book, the practices and religious codes of Umuofia people have been unchallenged for ages. This forms another set of variation in the face value of the text in the book.
The book’s plot, characters, and structure form another source of criticism. Okonkwo as the main character is critical because he was a classical tragic hero. He has trouble in his life though he had a noble character. The book displays a classical hero having a tragic downfall because of the will of the gods.
The feminist critics on the other hand, noted that Achebe gave men cultural roles in the Igbo culture as opposed to women. In addition, these critics depicted that the text displayed a male dominated society. As a result, the face value of the text in the book has reduced as far as women are concerned.
These critics made a reader discover several things. First, it is important for Western readers to read the African literature sensitively. This would drastically reduce artistic and convections critics since they will understand the different social and historical background of African literature. In addition, the Western readers will change their perception towards Africans.
Literature is an art that gives the readers another perspective to life. It allows the writers to see realistic life in the sense that things do not go as expected. In this book, Achebe displays how life is unpredictable throughout the text. He does this by asserting that even a hero can have a weird or bad destiny.
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Personal Identify and Self-Reflection in The Death of Ivan Ilyich Explicatory Essay
Updated: Jul 8th, 2019
In the novella The Death of Ivan Ilyich, Leo Tolstoy explores the experiences of a person who has to re-evaluate his entire life and his relations with other people.
The protagonist is confronted the fact of his inevitable death, and this awareness prompts him to reflect on his identity as well his value for others. To a great extent, the narrative helps the author to portray the self-discovery of the main character.
In particular, Ivan Ilyich cherishes an illusion that he is a successful person who has achieved happiness; however, his terminal illness makes him see his shallowness and lack of empathy which is critical for the happiness of a human being.
These are the main questions that should be examined in greater detail. They can be viewed as the central themes examined by Tolstoy in this literary work.
It should be noted that at the beginning of the novella, Leo Tolstoy describes people’s reaction to the death of the protagonist.
For instance, Ivan Ilyich’s colleagues, who purport to be his friends, think only about their promotion, especially the opportunity to occupy the post held by the protagonist (Tolstoy unpaged). They have no concern for the wellbeing of his relatives.
Furthermore, his wife feels relief because she was too tired of Ivan Ilyich’s screams. This is one of the details can attract the attention of the reader.
By examining the behavior of various characters, the author demonstrates that other people were not emotionally attached to the protagonist. This is one of the main arguments that can be made.
Later, the author looks directly at the experiences of the main character. He perceives himself as an “intelligent polished, lively and agreeable man” (Tolstoy unpaged). On the whole, he believes that his life has been quite successful. It seems to him that he has fulfilled his talents.
According to the social standards of the nineteenth century, Ivan Ilyich could even be perceived as a role model for others. This is one of the main issues that can be identified. On the whole, Tolstoy shows that up to a certain moment, the main character remains fully satisfied with his himself.
Nevertheless, his terminal illness forces him to reassess his worldview. To a great extent, the narrative shows that the protagonist led a very shallow life; in particular, he only “amused himself pleasantly and decorously” (Tolstoy unpaged).
Moreover, the protagonist understands that he never paid attention to the inner qualities of other people. For example, his wife proves to be an ill-tempered person who does not care about the needs of other people.
The main character is astounded by her callousness at the time when he urgently needs her compassion. Similarly, his so-called friends pay little attention to his misfortunes.
Overall, these details show how Ivan Ilyich looks at his past behavior as well as values which turn out to be false. This is one of the main details that should be considered.
Moreover, in the course of the story, Ivan Ilyich comes to the conclusion that his life has been artificial because it lacked such an element as empathy for other people. In the past, he did not feel the need for empathy and this is why he underestimated its value.
However, he can better appreciate this quality when he notices that people, who surround him, lack this ability to put themselves in the position of others. There are only two exceptions; in particular, one should speak about his servant Gerasim and his son who try to help Ivan Ilyich.
In contrast, other people perceive his suffering as an inconvenience. This is one of the details produces an indelible impression on the main character who is firmly convinced that his wellbeing is vital for other people.
Leo Tolstoy shows how a single event can prompt a person to look more closely at one’s self-identity. Ivan Ilyich perceives himself as a successful individual who has achieved every possible goal.
Nevertheless, he eventually discovers that he has been a shallow person who failed to bring any value into the lives of others. Moreover, many of his beliefs prove to be erroneous, especially the conviction that he was a successful person.
This is one of the reasons why he is so afraid of his mortality. So, Ivan Ilyich’s self-reflection makes him look at many things from a different perspective.
Overall, the narrative of this novella is a powerful tool for describing the inner world of the protagonist and his subsequent transformation. The non-linear plot of the story helps Tolstoy to depict the way in which people respond to the death of Ivan Ilyich.
Moreover, this approach is important for describing the way in which the main character looks at his self-identity, his achievements, and values. The protagonist is forced to change his worldviews and values because he is put in a situation when his principles do not work.
He discovers that compassion is vital for the wellbeing of a person, and this is one of the things that he lacks.
Tolstoy, Leo. The Death of Ivan Ilyich. n. d. Web.
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A Review of “Lyrics Abbey” by Leila Aboulela Essay (Book Review)
Updated: Apr 9th, 2019
This paper is aimed at reviewing the novel Lyrics Abbey written by Leila Aboulela. This book was published in 2011. To a great extent, the work reflects significant social and political changes within the Arab world. The author focuses on the life of a well-to-do Sudanese family and the way in which these people are affected by the political transformation of the society.
Moreover, Leila Aboulela explores the internal conflict within the family, in particular, the opposition between the older and younger wives of Mahmoud Abuzeid. Overall, this novel centers on the idea of change and tradition. It shows how individual can adjust to new norms, rules and conditions while remaining faithful to one’s culture and tradition. This is the main thesis that this review will elaborate and illustrate.
From the very start, Leila Aboulela gives the readers some insights into the structure of a Sudanese family. By looking at the family tree presented at the very beginning, one can clearly see that the Abuzeid is a patriarchic family which is headed by Mahmous Abuzeid (Aboulela 2011, p. 1).
However, the readers can also see that this family is not entirely secluded from the outside world. For instance, at the beginning, Mahmud talks about the Korean War and its impact on cotton prices (Aboulela, 2011, p. 2). This example shows that the members of this family may be devoted to the local community, but they are also aware about the outside forces that can influence them.
Thus, Leila Aboulela demonstrates in a very subtle way that the family is not oblivious of changes. However, the main issue is that they do not try to understand the causes of the political upheaval in the Sudanese society and their consequences.
It should be noted that the action on the eve of Sudanese independence from Great Britain and Egypt (Levy & Latif, 2007, p. 27). This independence could lead to the changes in political leadership, economy, and probably the status of the Abuzeid family. At that time, many people accepted colonial rule of Great Britain (Sidahmed, 1996, 11).
The Abuzeid family also did not oppose to this rule. The characters do not reflect very much about the causes of rebellion against the colonial government, for example, absence of political rights, lack of educational opportunities, and extreme poverty (Daly, 2003, p. 398). These issues are not discussed by the members of the Abuzeid family.
Furthermore, Nur’s tutor, who is imprisoned by the police on false accusation, does not mention the students and political activist who were arrested by the state. In fact, they are described as “archetypal villains” (Aboulela, 2011, p. 50). These were the people who suffered from political oppression (Ruay, 1994, p. 32).
Thus, the author enables us to look at the political struggles in Sudan through the eyes of people who did not support the struggles against colonial rule. The readers can know that in 1956 both Egypt and Britain accepted the independence of Sudan, and the family would eventually have to adjust to the new power relations within the society (Breidlid, 2011, p. 180).
On the whole, Leila Aboulela enables the readers to see how the forces of change begin to enter the ordered life of people. This is one of the major strengths of this novel.
To some degree, the opposition between modernity and tradition is also mirrored in the conflict between Waheeba, who is an old Sudanese wife of Mahmous Abuzeid, and Nabilah, the younger wife coming from Egypt.
Nabilah wishes to return to Egypt which seems to her more progressive than Sudan. In contrast, Waheeba is content with traditional way of life. These women represent different values, namely willingness to preserve traditions and customs and aspirations for modernity. This example is important because it shows that the position of women is not clearly defined in Muslim (Jawad, 1998, p. 7; Welchman, 2007, 10).
Moreover, this conflict illustrates that Muslim women may have various opinions on the status within the family (Camiller, 2005, p. 41). Leila Aboulela skillfully shows how the difference in worldviews can manifest themselves within a family. This aspect of the plot definitely makes the novel more interesting.
Yet, the conflict between progress and tradition has other manifestations in this novel. The readers can see the contrast between Sudan and Egypt. At that point, Sudanese society was trying to find its own way development. It had to be independent from both Egypt and Great Britain (Rothermund, 2006, p. 115).
Leila Aboulela shows how the main members of the Abuzeid family experience life in these different countries. One can see that the family is torn between the traditional values of Sudanese society and increasing influence of the Western world. Thus, this is another form of conflict between the old cultural norms and new ones. The Abuzeids have to make their choices and it is not easy for them to do it.
However, there is a certain unifying force which restores the family bonds. In particular, one can speak about Nur. He was supposed to become the head of the family and many hopes and expectations were set for him by his family. However, his injury put an end to many of his ambitions.
He turned to poetry in effort to cope with his experiences. In his poetry, he describes the internal conflict within the family. Moreover, other people find strength to set aside their prejudices against one another and feel empathy for Nur. Thus, by describing Nur’s experiences, Leila Aboulela creates a very powerful and reaffirming message, which urges people to remember that hardships can be overcome if the family ties are not broken.
One of the ideas that the author strives to illustrate is that family has to be basis of a person’s happiness. It should not be ruined by any internal or external forces. This is how the head of the family, Mahmoud Abuzeid expresses this argument, “We are a family business, Sir.
We do not want outsiders to come between us” (Aboulela, 2011, p. 75). Thus, family is supposed to help a person overcome various difficulties. Although, people can disagree with the values of Mahmoud Abuzeid, this patriarch also helps other family members to reunite.
Overall, this novel gives the reader an insight into the life of a family who struggles with internal conflict and approaching social changes. The conflict between modernity and tradition lies at the core of this work.
Leila Aboulela has been able to illustrate this conflict and its impact on every member of the family. This is the main strength of this novel. This book can be viewed as a great literary work and as a historical source for people who want to know more about the life Sudanese society in the early fifties.
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