Wuthering Heights — Character of Catherine

July 31, 2013 at 1:57 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte

Catherine Earnshaw Linton
Character Analysis

Miss. Catherine Earnshaw– later, Mrs.Catherine Linton– is the central character in Emily Bronte’s gothic novel Wuthering Heights. From the beginning, she appears as an enigmatic, stubborn and defiant woman, who shreds the readers’ moral sense and imagination. She is rebellious, very loving, and passionate. As an empathetic person she trips, gets up, and again trips till her passion and maverick mind consumes her.

In the novel, she first makes her appearance posthumously – in a page in her diary that falls into the hands of the new tenant Lockwood during the latter’s one-night stop-over at the house of Heathcliff. Thereafter, she appears as a ghost desperately trying to sneak into the house. It is clear that she has departed from the earth much earlier, leaving Heathcliff, her lover, pining for her company. Thus, begins her enigmatic entry into the plot.

Nelly Dean becomes the narrator to describe the persona of Catherine to the readers. She is not very much older than Catherine. Nevertheless, she takes care of her with motherly care. Even till the time of her death, Nelly remains at her bed side. The upbringing of the prematurely born baby of Catherine falls on Nelly.

Despite the apparently strong bonding between the two, Nelly does not appear to be charitable in her portrayal of Catherine. Nelly is the only person who tries to rein in the wayward mind of Catherine. When the matter of Edgar’s marriage offer came up, Nelly cautions Catherine not to go ahead, because, by all accounts, Catherine was so much emotionally bonded to Heathcliff. Catherine does not heed Nelly’s advice and goes ahead with the marriage with Edgar, the wealthy suitor. Mischievously, Catherine makes no attempt to erase Hearhcliff’s love from her mind. She knows how absurd it is to nurse the romantic feelings with her ex-lover Heathcliff, but she does not care. The schism in her life widens in stead of narrowing.

Catherine, as a child was un-polished, wild and stubborn. Although she marries Edgar for the lure of the wealth, status and comforts of the Edgar family, she makes little effort to mend her maverick mind. The Heathcliff connection is too strong for her to break free.

Even when she is on the family way with Miss Catherine in her womb, she can not restrain her wandering mind. She fantasizes about being Mrs. Heathcliff one day although her love for Edgar, her husband, does not wane. As a woman, how could she belong to two men? But, she was too deviant to restrain herself.

When Catherine was convalescing at the Thurscrush Grange (Edgar’s house) nursing her ankle, she became a polished woman – just the type to fit into the Edgar family. She returns to Wuthering Heights (her paternal house) with the qualities and traits of becoming the wife of an aristocratic affluent young man.

Nelly vividly describes the pre-marriage meetings between Miss Catherine and the doting and loving young Edgar. He is bent upon winning her heart. He lavishes his romantic feelings on her. Curiously, he is not put off by her unruly temperament and loves her for this waywardness! Even the presence of Heathcliff in her heart does not detract Edgar. At times, Edgar, the suitor, in his anxiety to appear suave and soft, fears Miss Catherine.

Quite awkwardly, even after the marriage, Heathcliff continues to call on Mrs. Catherine Linton at the Thrushcrush Grange. Edgar gnashes his teeth in disapproval, but puts up with his wife’s abominable conduct. The threshold of tolerance soon comes, and Heathcliff is virtually shoved out of Thrushcrush Grange by Edgar.

Heathcliff knows he is doing something very immoral when he tries to get close to Catherine. However, it is his desire for revenge rather than his love for her that drives him to indulge in such show of affection.

While trying to dissect Catheine’s abnormal character, one must reflect on the very abnormal childhood she had. With no father to mentor her, she was left to fend for herself in the company of Heathcliff spending whole day-light hours in the wilderness of the surroundings. This left the young impressionable Catherine to imbibe Heathcliff’s boorish ways. In her later life, this imprint of savageness proved to be her undoing.

After Catherine is married to Edgar, she naively hopes that her husband would allow her to retain Heathcliff in her mind for good. Even she hopes that she could help Hearhcliff rebuild his career with her husband’s money. Her intention was to enable him to get a respite from Hindley. Hethcliff, on the other hand, finds it impossible to reconcile to the loss of Catherine. He perceives it as a betrayal which needs to be avenged.

Catherine departs at the middle of the novel leaving the readers cringe with the thoughts of the horrific events that would unfold. She reappears as a ghost, as a tormentor and an enigma. Torn between Edgar, her husband, and Heathcliff, her lover, she seethes in pain. The readers suffer too, trying to grapple with the morbid memories.



Robert Frost’s Love and a Question — Summary

July 30, 2013 at 6:10 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Love and a Question by Robert Frost — Summary and a short analysis

Robert Frost was an avid observer of Nature. He reveled in the pristine environment of his New England home in America. He had a keen eye for the beauty of the lonely woods, majestic trees, the solitary paths, the snowflakes of winter, and the vast forbidding loneliness around him. Despite being lost in his pursuit of Nature’s bounty, he delved into the un-ending crises of conscience, the call of duty and the conflict of emotions that torment an ordinary mortal. So, through his poetic praise of Nature, he reminds the readers about the philosophical intrigues of human existence and the frailty of man’s moral fibres.

The poem ‘Love and a Question’ may appear to a lay reader as a small episode in the life of a wanderer. However, the poem brings into focus the moral dilemma and the conflicting calls of conscience that we all grapple with in our daily lives.

The poem opens with a scene where a pedestrian looking helpless, weary and lost approaches a house for a night’s shelter. The house stands in a lonely woody area. It is an evening, and the road is lonely as winter’s cold is beginning to grip the surroundings. For a lonely person not of great means, it is an awful place and time to be in. His condition is miserable. Anxiety and helplessness are writ large upon his face.

The owner of the house, whom he approaches, has just been married. He is in his house with his young vivacious wife, whose ‘face is aglow in the hearth’s fire.’ His wife’s sensuousness has set his mind afire too. A night of torrid love in the arms of his wife awaits him. Her lips appear irresistible. Clearly, the feeling of passionate love races in the house owner’s mind when the stranger knocks on his door.

In a romantic occasion such as this, to have a stranger at home amounts to a rude interruption to the torrent of passion that awaits to engulf the husband and his young wife.

The husband feels bad to turn down the innocuous request of the stranger for just a night’s shelter. The place is so desolate. There is no other place for the stranger to wait out the dark cold night. The altruistic streak in his mind tells him to accede to the stranger’s request for shelter, but then, that would mean loss of a night of sensuous once-in-a-life pleasure with his newly-wed wife.

The husband feels pulled in opposite directions. Surging attraction for marital pleasures tells him to turn the man away, where as the plight of the shelter-less man in the cold dark night tells him to let him in. He is caught between compassion and carnal desires – between conscience and lust.

After some vacillation, the man finds the attraction of his young wife’s bosom too irresistible to forsake. He gives a piece of loaf and some little money to the stranger, and lets him go – to suffer the  appalling winter night.

It is a triumph of the pull of worldly pleasures over the lofty feelings of benevolence and sacrifice. The housekeeper succumbs to the charm of his young wife whom he adores. But, in refusing shelter to a hapless stranger in such harsh environment, he commits a monumental moral blunder.

Robert Frost, no doubt, has a deep understanding of the moral dilemma faced by ordinary mortals as they wade through their lives. He knew, most humans fall too easily to the lure of worldly pleasures, but some others rise to the occasion to demonstrate the power of conscience over the fragile mind.


Precis writing –How phrases and phrasal verbs help

July 27, 2013 at 5:14 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Write concisely with fewer words and great style — The many uses of ‘LOOK’


There are many phrases and phrasal verbs with the word ‘Look’. See how, by intelligent use of these, you can make your writing shorter and crispier. Very useful for précis writing.

Look some one in the eye …

The man had a long criminal history. He had faced police interrogators and prosecution lawyers so many times in his life that their angry searching eyes rarely unnerved him. He could easily disown his role in a crime even when the interrogator is right in front of him confronting him with video footages to prove his involvement. [Number of words =57]

You may write it like this. – The hardened criminal could look his interrogators in the eye to deny his complicity in the crime despite conclusive video footage to nail him. His long history in crimes enabled him to remain unfazed before police and court. [Number of words = 38]

Look before you leap ……

Clamour for American military intervention in Syria is growing as the death toll so far crosses 1,00,000. But, unlike Bush, Obama is quite circumspect as he sees how difficult it has been to draw down the country’s military presence in Afghanistan. He wants to weigh the military and political costs of participation before he orders his military to get involved. [60 words]

You may write it like this. – Deaths in Syria have crossed 1, 00,000 leading to strident demands for American military intervention. Obama, unlike Bush, is hesitant about the idea. With the difficulty in extricating American troops from Afghanistan at the back of his mind, he wants to look before he leaps. [45 words]


Look someone up and down …

The car carrying four burly bearded Sikhs stopped at the check gate in a remote area in Afghanistan. The Afghan soldier mistook them to be Taliban fighters. From a safe distance he looked them from head to toe thoroughly before coming forward to frisk them. [45 words]

You can also write like this. … At a remote check gate, the Afghan sentry stopped the Sikhs’ car and looked them up and down as he thought they were Taliban fighters. He stepped forward to frisk them apprehensively. [32 words]

—————————————————–More examples later–———————————–

Writing concisely — for Precis and essay writing

July 25, 2013 at 9:00 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Writing concisely for clarity ….

Use verbs directly. It will make the sentence shorter and meaning clearer.

a. The primary focus of this coaching programme is to train you in post-earthquake survival techniques. – Avoid this style.

This coaching programme focuses on post-earthquake survival techniques. – Better to write like this.

b. Getting ‘Organic Farm Products’ certification is a process that is going to take years of disciplined and regulated farming. —– Avoid this.

Getting ‘Organic Farm Products’ certification will take years of disciplined and regulated farming. —- Better to write like this.
c. There are 15 mango trees and 5 guava trees in our orchard. —– Avoid this.

Our orchard has 15 mango and 5 guava trees. — Better
d. This mosque has become old and needs to be renovated. —- Avoid

This old mosque needs renovation. —- Better
e. The astrophysicist’s research is helpful in properly understanding what happens in the Sun’s interior. ——-Avoid

The astrophysicist’s research helps us to understand the Sun’s interior better. —Better
f. The findings of the extensive clinical trials are that oral intake of Vitamin C is more effective in combating common cold than taking popular anti-cold drugs. —– Avoid

Extensive clinical trials suggest that taking Vitamin C orally fights cold better than the popular anti-cold drugs. —- Better
g. There was a strong disagreement between the two brothers about the way to divide the dead father’s property. —- Avoid

Both brothers disagreed strongly about the way the dead father’s property was to be divided. … Better
h. Before the commencement of the ceremony, the delegates were served tea. — Avoid

Tea was served to the delegates before the ceremony started. —— Better
i. After examining the recordings in the Black Box, the engineers still could not provide an explanation as to why the aircraft suffered the crash. — Avoid

After examining the Black Box, the engineers failed to conclude the reasons of the air crash. — Better


Answers to Annoying errors in English –Dangling clauses

July 24, 2013 at 4:41 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Answers …

Correct the following sentences. —
a. A wife says about her scientist husband, “As a scientist, his laboratory is his home away from home.”

Correct answer ..  A wife says about her scientist husband, “As a scientist, he treats his laboratory as his home away from home.”

b. An advertisement of India’s telephone company BSNL reads, ‘With the broadest range of cellular services, no other company serves you better than BSNL.”

Correct answer …. An advertisement of India’s telephone company BSNL reads, ‘With the broadest range of cellular services, BSNL serves you better than any other company.”

c. The young lady wrote about her fiancé, “Fresh out of law college, finding a job was difficult for Anwar.”

Correct answer … The young lady wrote about her fiancé, “Fresh out of law college, Anwar found it difficult to get a job.”

d. The novel is a haunting tale of compulsive love, revenge and unbearable humiliation by an English novelist of the early nineteenth century.

Correct answer …The novel, written by an English novelist of the early nineteenth century, is a haunting tale of compulsive love, revenge and unbearable humiliation.

e. The crumbling Jinnah House in Mumbai is likely to be renovated after years of disuse as a museum.

Correct answer … The crumbling Jinnah House in Mumbai is likely to be renovated for becoming a museum after years of disuse.

f. A group of retired journalists will soon be publishing a national news letter for retired army personnel based in Lahore.

Correct answer … A group of retired journalists based in Lahore will soon be publishing a national news letter for retired army personnel.

g. Both prosecutors and defense attorneys will present the court with evidence.

Correct answer … Both the prosecutor and the defense attorney will present evidence before the court.

—————— Your comments and suggestions welcome—————————


NCERT English — Annoying errors in English

July 23, 2013 at 7:30 am | Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment
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Annoying mistakes in English writing 1 ——-

(Made mostly by Indian and Pakistani students)


Example 1 …

Having been fined by her teacher for coming to school with unpolished shoes, buying a shoe polish and brush was uppermost in her mind. Wrong

Having been fined by her teacher for coming to school with unpolished shoes, she kept buying a shoe polish and brush uppermost in her mind. Correct


Because she had been fined for coming to school with unpolished shoes, buying a shoe polish and brush was uppermost in her mind. Correct
Example 2 …

Unlike grown-up men and women, the airport police generally do not frisk babies and toddlers. Wrong

Unlike grown-up men and women, babies and toddlers are generally not frisked by the airport police. Correct


Babies and toddlers, unlike grown-up men and women, are generally not frisked by the airport police. Correct
Example 3 ..

Responding to an advertisement for driver, one Pargat Singh shot a mail that read,
‘With 20 years of driving experience in army, you can count on Pargat Singh.’

He received a reply from a prospective employer saying, ‘Sorry, Pargat, I don’t have 20 years of driving experience.’
To avoid such a hilarious situation, Pargat should have written, “I have twenty years of driving experience in the army. On this basis, you may consider my case.’

Correct the following sentences. —

a. A wife says about her scientist husband, “As a scientist, his laboratory is his home away from home.”

b. An advertisement of India’s telephone company BSNL reads, ‘With the broadest range of cellular services, no other company serves you better than BSNL.”

c. The young lady wrote about her fiancé, “Fresh out of law college, finding a job was difficult for Anwar.”

d. The novel is a haunting tale of compulsive love, revenge and unbearable humiliation by an English novelist of the early nineteenth century.

e. The crumbling Jinnah House in Mumbai is likely to be renovated after years of disuse as a museum.

f. A group of retired journalists will soon be publishing a national news letter for retired army personnel based in Lahore.

g. Both prosecutors and defense attorneys  will present the court with evidence.

——————————ANSWERS WILL BE POSTED ON JULY 25, 2013———————-

Bar girls of Mumbai — freed from Patil’s pontification

July 21, 2013 at 9:07 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Prudishness at its extreme

R.R. Patil, the Home Minister of Maharastra is like ‘The Ingenious Gentleman Don Quixote of La Mancha’. He leads a one-man crusade against ‘immorality’ in the teeming metropolis of Mumbai. His trouble is that the High Court and the Supreme Court undo whatever good work he does to bring back the men and women of the city from the path of vice.

The Supreme Court of India has upheld the earlier Bombay High Court order striking down the Maharastra government order banning dance bars that had proliferated all over the city. Mr. Patil, who pushed for the ban order with missionary zeal, must retrospect now. His order threw nearly 60, 000 girls of different age groups out of their profession and livelihood. His government did precious little towards the rehabilitation of these helpless women. The misery he inflicted on such a large number of vulnerable women is disproportionate to the good that supposedly accrued to the society after the dance bars discontinued their activities. Some of these women went back to their villages to see poverty ravage their lives. Many others, desperate to sustain their families, were pushed to vicious flesh trade. It added to the criminality of Mumbai’s under world. Some bar girls committed suicide.

Many bar owners, nonetheless, continued their activities as they could grease the palms of the police. The end result was not a ‘reformed’ city life that Patil had so naively hoped for, but a government that looked so pitiably aloof and detached from the realities of life in Mumbai.

Mumbai has its prostitution hotspot in a corner named Kamathipura. It is home to thousands of women who, clad in garish costumes, stand in front of their sacks to openly solicit clients. It is possibly the nastiest face of Mumbai. Poverty, destitution and deprivation make these women stoop to the lowest depths of human existence. What does Patil do for them? Preciously little, because lifting the fallen people from abyss demands long arduous work. It needs funds, commitment, and a readiness to work in the grass roots level. The political class Patil belongs to have none of the required attributes.

In public life sermonizing is easy, so is passing some legislations that bring about cosmetic changes to a society with deep-rooted malaise. For the layman, they look so comical. In the Chowpatty area, the government ordered felling of trees that were seen to be providing cover for men and women enjoying some romantic time.

In a recent move the government mulled over the idea of banning lingerie-wearing mannequins from shop fronts. If this is considered vulgar and corrupting, the government has a really long list of things that need to be taken out of public view.

Why do the likes of Patil arrogate to themselves the power to chastise the population? In the whole world, the Taliban does it, so do the police in ultra-orthodox countries like Saudi Arabia. Clearly, India has no place for such puritanism.


Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte — Heathcliff’s chracterizaion

July 21, 2013 at 6:48 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Character analysis of Heathcliff in Wuthering Heights

Heathcliff enters Emily Bronte’s gripping novel Wuthering Heights quietly. He is a starving faltering urchin when Heathcliff picks him up. By the time the novel ends, he is a landlord of two properties in the area, the Thruscrush Grange and the Wuthering Heights. But, this ‘rags-to-riches’ journey has been one of failures, bitterness and emotional devastation. Emily Bronte has so masterly described the trials and tribulations of Heathcliff that he emerges as the story’s central character deeply etched in the readers’ imagination.

Lockwood, the solitude-loving tenant, introduces his reclusive landlord Heathcliff, when he says, “solitary neighbor I shall be troubled with”. We can sense that Heathcliff hated human company, remained aloof and had an air of being headstrong. We can guess that the first encounter between the tenant with his landlord was a prelude to much harsher and unpleasant things to come.

Heathcliff’s curt replies, his brash manners, his propensity to needlessly look stern and grim come out quite clearly as Lockwood gets acquainted with Heathcliff and the people around him. Heathcliff is a miser in communication and courtesy, and appears vainglorious. He appears to be insensitive to the feelings of others; even his new tenant can not escape a doze of his imperiousness. He does not introduce the members of his family to the visitor – a minimum courtesy that is ended to a first time visitor to the family. The confusion that results jars Lockwood’s mind.

Emily Bronte is quite adept in creating a forbidding environment in the Heathcliff household. There are the dogs to accentuate the unwelcoming nature of Heathcliff’s household. The dogs do their duty; they add to the discomfiture of the visitor, but do not batter him – just the way Heathcliff is rude to the visitor, but stops short of asking him to leave.

After telling the readers hoe awful Wuthering Heights is with its incongruous inhabitants, the author takes us to the day Heathcliff, the dark-skinned vagabond boy, lands in Wutherring Heights. The depressing scene is further aggravated by comments such as “…it’s as dark almost as if it came from the devil” and the fact that Mrs. Earnshaw “was ready to fling it outdoors” upon his arrival. This contemptuous reception of the orphan boy Heathcliff sets the tone of the story. The child is left to grow up with Hindley and Catherine, the Earnshaw children. Hindley pours scorn on the newcomer in every possible way, but the boy seldom revolts. Such placid acceptance of humiliation by Heathcliff moulds his nature and temperament in a very unusual manner in the later years.

In heaping abuse and insults on the orphan, Hindley, unknowingly, charts the course of events that will have profound implication on almost every character in the novel. The unceasing torment of Hindley makes Heathcliff deeply disgruntled in the core of his heart. The scars inflicted by Hindley’s taunts torment him, making him behave like demon in certain situations.
Emily Bronte portrays Catherine as a passionate, caring and rather obstinate girl who bonds with Heathcliff with ease. The duo enjoys one another’s company. Heathcliff continues to be treated unfairly by the Linton household too. On one occasion, the Lintons ask Catherine to stay in their house for a few days, but do not extend the same courtesy to Heathcliff, the permanently dis-advantaged boy handicapped by his colour and his orphan background.

The Lintons are shown as affluent and people of fine taste. This contrasts with Heathcliff’s poor and cursed background. On returning from the Linton’s house, Catherine kisses Heathcliff with all her passion, but turns around to comment that he was ‘black and cross’. This shatters Heathcliff. The taunt lingers in his psyche dictating his conduct for the rest of the story. Heathcliff vainly tries to change his physical appearance by asking the housekeeper to groom him. The author vividly describes how uncouth and repelling Heathcliff looked. It is meant to sharpen the contrast and bring the misery of Heathclif to focus. The Lintons, in comparison, looked suave and aristocratic.

As Catherine and Edgar draw near to each other, Heathcliff’s sense of dejection increases. He suffers in silence, not able to alter the course of events in his romantic life. Heathcliff is a wounded soul by now seeking revenge against all the indignities heaped on him. He decides to take on Hindley first. After Catheine’s decision to marry Edgar becomes known, he decides to leave Wuthering Cross, only to return with a vengeance three years later.
He returns a changed man. He has grown taller, stronger and more athletic. Obviously, he exudes an air of self-assurance. But his raw craving for revenge has not waned a bit. His civilized exterior barely hides this animal instinct. From now on, Heathcliff appears to be in the driver’s seat. Edgar Linton looks boyish and frail before him. He looks “seemed quite slender and youth-like”. People guess that Heathcliff had spent the three years in the army to get such a robust appearance. It means trouble for his adversaries, particularly Edgar – the man who stole Catherine from him. But, anger against Hindley burns stronger than that against Edgar.

On arrival at the Wuthering Cross, Heathcliff is keen to see Catherine first before he begins to settle scores with Hindley. Catherine’s spell over Heathcliff remains strong. She unknowingly tempers his desire for revenge against Hindley. He visits her quite regularly at the Thrushcrush Grange. The story takes a new turn here when it becomes known that Isabella, the younger sister of Edgar, had fallen in love with Heathcliff. Catherine, knowing Heathcliff well, dissuades Isabella, but to no avail. The gentle innocent Isabella is enamoured of the strong, stout, fierce and pitiless Heathcliff. Catherine smells danger in this liaison. She says,
“I’d as soon put that little canary into the park on a winter’s day as recommend you to bestow your heart on him! (…) He’s not a rough diamond – a pearl- containing an oyster of a rustic; he’s a fierce, pitiless, wolfish man.”

This is the first time Catherine herself speaks about Heathcliff’s real character, and it is the last evidence the reader has been so eagerly waiting for. The real Heathclif come out clearly now. But, this unraveling of the savage interior of Heathcliff does not deter Isabella. Four months after Heathcliff’s return, she elopes with him. Heathcliff did not eye Isabella’s beauty as much as he eyed her share of her paternal property. Isabella becomes disillusioned with Heathcliff soon. She sends a ter to the housewife and asks:“Is Mr. Heathcliff a man? If so, is he mad? And if not, is he a devil?”. Heathcliff’s unsavoury interior comes to focus all over again. She concludes her letter by assuring both the receiver and the reader that “a tiger, or a venomous serpent could not rouse terror in me equal to that which he wakens”. It strengthens the impression deep in his heart, Heathcliff was hideous and vile. Heathcliff’s yearning for revenge begins to unravel.

When Catherine falls sick, Heathcliff visits her. He does not care how her Edgar feels about his visits. Despite knowing that Edgar strongly disapproved of his coming, Heathcliff persists with such brazen show of love for her in her husband’s house. Such brazenness of Heathcliff is socially and morally indecent. One can conclude that one of the intentions of Heathcliff’s visit was to offend Edgar. Heathcliff wants to avenge the scar inflicted by Edgar in snatching Catherine away. Obviously, Heathcliff is an unforgiving person who does not feel a bit ashamed about expressing his love to a married lady. The visit stopped only after an intimidating show of force by Edgar.

After the death of Catherine, Heathcliff is either unable or unwilling to close the space he had inside his heart. He continues his search for an opportunity to take revenge on Edgar, Hindley and all those who had tormented him earlier for different reasons. This shows how vengeful and cruel Heathful is.

He digs up Catherine’s grave eighteen years after her burial to be able to hold her remains passionately. Such behaviour is weird, insane and hideous. This shows the extremes to which Heathcliff could go to calm his raging passions. The narrator revels here that Heathcliff had been visited by her ghost regularly. This shows how stubborn she was in her love for Heathcliff. The bond between the two was absurdly intimate and intriguing. In this aspect, Heathcliff was so akin to Catherine.

Heathcliff is a bundle of passion, cruelty, emotions and crudity. The element he lacks is forgiveness, mildness and compassion. He smiles only but once in the whole story. Very few readers will fully comprehend the nature and disposition of Heathcliff. Perhaps, Isabella’s question: “Is Mr Heathcliff a man? If so, is he mad? And if not, is he a devil?” will unanswered forever.

Quick steps to good English 23 — The danger of the ‘dangling’ participle

July 20, 2013 at 4:21 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Quick steps to good English 23 …

Common errors made by students –The ‘dangling’ participle

The dangling Participle … Parts of speech such as ‘Going through the book’, ‘Walking along the river side’, ‘moving her hand on her son’s back’ etc. are participles. Often in-experienced writers use them wrongly, letting them dangle erroneously.

Example 1 .. Going through your expense error, a totaling error was found. Wrong

When his expense account was checked, a totaling error was found. Correct

Example 2 .. Working the whole day under the hot sun, a few minutes rest in the shade was well-deserved by him. Wrong

As he worked under the hot sun the whole day, he deserved to rest in the shade. Correct

Example 3 .. The couple walked hand in hand for almost a kilometer. They ran into a old friend.

Some writers join the two as ..

Walking hand in hand for almost a kilometer, the couple ran into an old friend. Wrong
Correct it like this.

The couple had walked for almost a kilometer when they ran into an old friend. Correct

Example 4 .. While writing the poem, the phone rang and disturbed me. Wrong

When I was writing the poem, the phone rang and disturbed me. Correct
While I was writing the poem, the phone rang and disturbed me. Correct

Example 5 … Although used by a half a million passengers a day, the standard of Mumbai’s sub-urban rail system disappointed the World Bank team. Wrong

Although Mumbai’s sub-urban rail system is used by half a million passengers a day, its standard disappointed the World Bank team. Correct

Example 6 .. Relieved of the responsibility to run the bank, there is need for all of us to review our efficiency. Wrong

Now that we have been relieved of the responsibility to run the bank, there is need for all of us to review our efficiency. Correct

——————————————–MORE EXAMPLES LATER———————————–


NCERT English –Best Seller by O. Henry — in modern day English

July 19, 2013 at 10:03 am | Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Rendering in modern-day English
Best Seller 
By O.Henry

Para 1 .. One day last summer, I (the narrator) went to Pittsburgh on business.

Para 2 .. The chair-car I was traveling on was almost packed to its capacity with rather well-to-do passengers. The ladies inside the car wore brown-silk dresses with square yokes with lace insertions and dotted veils. They didn’t like the idea of the windows slid up as they wanted the full unrestricted view of the outside. The men were an assorted lot of varying professions, heading towards different destinations. I reclined on the chair no. 7 and nonchalantly looked over towards chair no. 9. I could see small, black and bald-spotted head.

Para 3 .. Suddenly I saw that the man who sat in chair no.9 flung a book towards the window. The book was the best-seller – The Rose Lady and the Trevelyan. When the man turned towards the window, I could get a better view of him. I realized I had run into an old acquaintance of mine – John A. Pescud of Pittsburgh. He worked as a traveling salesman for a plate-glass company there. I was seeing him after nearly two years.

Para 4 .. We soon sat face to face enjoying the encounter. What followed was a good chat over many things – rain, prosperity, health, residence and destination we both were heading to. Happily for me, our conversation did not drift towards politics.

Para 5 .. Pescud was a robust man, small in height, with a broad grin. While talking, he fixed his gaze right on the face of the man he was speaking with.

Para 6 .. Pescud worked for Cambria Steel Works. He was proud of it and its product – the plate-glasses. He was a local man, quite decent and law-abiding.

Para 7 .. I had never talked to Pescud earlier on such matters as romance, literature and ethics. Our interaction had remained centered around local topics.

Para 8 .. On this meeting aboard the train, I could get to talk to Pescud in more detail. He was upbeat about his business. He told me how the inflow of orders had improved after the party convention. Pescud was to get down at Coketown.

Para 9 .. Pescud was quite blunt when it came to his views on the book he was holding — The Rose Lady and the Trevelyan. Holding the book in his hand in a way that showed his disapproval of the book, he wondered if I had read any such book rated as bestsellers. He was alluding to the absurdity of the story that had an affluent well-dressed American who fell in love with a European princess traveling with an assumed name.

Para 10.. I added my comments to the stereotypical plot of the story – The American follows the princess to her father’s kingdom. The American finally meets the lady of his dreams in her home and engages in a long conversation with her apparently to win her heart. The lady draws the man’s attention towards the gulf that existed in their social backgrounds. Unnerved by this, the American makes a labourious attempt to assure the lady that America had no dearth of men of affluence and status.

Para 11 .. The masculine American “hero” kicks aside anyone coming in his way to the princess. Even the king’s guards suffer the ignominy. Like this, we mocked the author of the books who weave such absurd stories.

Para 12 .. Pescud concurred to the idea and rubbished the book as nothing better than pulp fiction.

Para 13 .. Then, Pescud espouses his views about the compatibility between men and women proposing to tie the nuptial knot. In his view, men and women normally seek out their life partners from similar social backgrounds.

Para 14 .. Perhaps, to illustrate the point further, Pescud held the book in his hand and tried to open the page which had the most absurd description.

Para 15 .. Pescud read out the line, ‘Trevelyan is sitting with Princess Alwyna at the back end of the tulip-garden. He reads further …

Para 16 .. ‘Say not so, earth’s dearest and sweetest of earth’s fairest flowers. Would I aspire? You are a star set high above me in a royal heaven; I am only myself. Yet, I am a man, and I have a heart to do and dare. I have no title save that of an uncrowned sovereign; but I have an arm and a sword that yet might free Schutzenfestenstein from the plots of traitors.

Para 17 .. Pescud was quite derisive in his criticism of the plot. He said, ‘Just think of a Chicago man flaunting a sword to accomplish some imaginary saviour’s act.’

Para 18 .. I told Pescud that there was enough substance in his criticism of the story and the book. He felt that fiction-writers should not stray too much away from reality and invite ridicule from rational readers. They should not mix Turkish pashas with Vermont farmers or English dukes with Longisland clamdiggers or Cincinnati agents with the Rajas of India.

Para 19 .. Pescud added ‘plain businessmen must not be tagged with very well-placed, affluent social class.” Pescud was quite critical of people who buy the best-sellers in such good numbers. He was emphatic that books that have highly imaginary plots are low quality fiction which need to be shunned by people with even the minimum intelligence.

Para 20- .. Before Pescud’s vociferous condemnation of popular fiction that have highly-contrived plots, I looked powerless. I meekly submitted that I had not read such books for quite sometime.
Trying to steer away from the discussion which was stretching my patience by then, I broached another subject. I asked him about the way his business was going.

Para 21 .. The mention of his business buoyed up Pescud’s mood instantly. He said how he had two salary hikes already, and how he was expecting some good commission for his sales. He was also going to get some shares of the company. He had managed to buy a house – a sure sign that his fortunes were looking up.

Para 22 .. I asked him if he had met any girl yet with whom he could settle down.

Para 23 .. Pescud lighted up, as if he had a lot many things to say.

Para 24 .. It was quite a pleasant revelation for me. I joked about it saying my friend had delved into the world of romance from the world of plate-glass.

Para 25 .. Pescud seemed to be quite joyfully modest. He was more than willing to tell me all about his foray in to the domain of romance.

Para 26 .. Pescud said it all happened when he was traveling by train to Cincinnati eighteen months ago. He saw a girl who appeared to him to be so enchanting at first sight.

Para 27 .. The girl was reading a book. Pescud looked on at her, feasting his eyes on her beauty.

Para 28 .. The girl changed train at Cincinnati and headed towards Louisville by a sleeper class train. After reaching Louisville, she went on through Shelbyville, Frankford, and Lexigton. Along there, Pescud had difficulty in catching up with her. The trains all appeared to be running late, traveling languidly. The trains stopped at junctions instead of towns before drawing up.

Para 29 .. Pescud tried his utmost to stay out of the girl’s sight, but stalked her nonetheless. Finally, she got off at a nondescript place in Virginia – a place that had about fifty houses.

Para 30 .. In the background, there were mules, red mud, and speckled hounds.

Para 31 .. She was received by a tall old man with vanity. The escort took the girl’s sling bag from her. Then they walked along a steep uphill track. Pescud maintained a good distance from the duo posing as if he was doing something very innocuous like searching for the lost ring of his sister.

Para 32 .. On reaching the top of the hill, they entered a gate. What Pescud saw there left him utterly bewildered. A huge mansion with nearly thousand feet high pillars stood there. There was a surfeit of beautiful roses of many types. There were the beautiful lilacs too. The mansion along with its sprawling surroundings looked as imposing as the Capitol in Washington.

Para 33 .. Deciding to step back for a while, Pescud was relieved to find that the girl was fairly well off. He wondered who could be the owner of such a majestic building. Agog with curiosity, he decided to go back to the village to make inquiries about the building and its inmates.

Para 34 .. Pescud found a hotel in the village. Its signboard read ‘Bay View House’. The name appeared a little funny because there was no ‘bay’ any where near. There was a horse-grazing field though, stretching in front of the hotel. Pescud tried to put on the airs of a business person of some importance by giving his business card and declaring in somewhat pompous manner that he sold plate-glasses.

Para 35 .. With a little effort, Pescud got the inn-keeper talking.

Para 36 .. When Pescud made inquiries about the mansion and its occupants, the inn-keeper was somewhat amused to find that his guest knew little about the occupants of the land-mark house of the area. He told Pescud that Col. Allyn lived there. The Colonel was the most prominent man in the area. Being the oldest inhabitant of the village, he had gathered a lot of clout. The inn-keeper happened to know the daughter well, too. He told Pescud that she had been to Illinois to see her aunt. It was possibly during her return train journey that Pescud had seen her.

Para 37 .. Pescud checked into the hotel. On the third day, he could get to see the lady of his dreams. She was taking a stroll in the front yard right to the paling fence. Pescud was overjoyed. As a mark of courtesy, he raised his hat. This was the only way he could communicate to a lady – a total stranger.

Para 38 .. Pescud asked, “Excuse me, can you tell me where Mr. Hinkle lives?”

Para 39 .. She looked almost with total indifference towards Pescud, but her glance said she was a bit amused too.

Para 40 .. She replied that to her knowledge there was no one by the name Mr. Hinkle in Birchton.

Para 41 .. For Pescud, this answer seemed to open a door for continuing the chat. He asserted that he was quite serious and would appreciate a more sincere answer. He said, “No kidding, I am not looking for smoke, even if I do come from Pittsburgh.”

Para 42 .. She replied, ‘You are quite distant from your home.’ Pescud was elated.

Para 43 .. He said, “I could have gone a thousand miles farther.” It was a cryptic remark, almost inviting her to ask the next question.

Para 44 .. In course of following her, he had dozed off on a bench at Shelbyville station. Fortunately for him, the sound of the incoming train made him sit up. He managed to get into the train which she too took. She had clearly noticed that he was stalking her. She found out that he had managed to get into her train.

Para 45 .. For Pescud, it was a plot that he had failed to hide from the girl’s eyes. Nevertheless, he ventured to disclose his intentions, very politely and honestly. He told about his profession, his income, and of course, the way he has been enamoured of her.

Para 46 .. She smiled and blushed at Pescud’s statement, but she never took his eyes of him –perhaps more as a trait than anything else.

Para 47 .. She told that it was the first time someone had spoken to her like that. She asked him about his first name again.

Para 48 .. ‘John A.’, said Pescud.

Para 49 .. She had another surprise to spring on Pescud. She knew that Pescud had almost missed his train at the Powhatan Junction. Saying this, she had a hearty laugh, much to the amusement and surprise of Pescud.

Para 50 .. Quite taken aback by the girl’s observation, Pescud asked her how she knew so much about his missing the train at the Powhatan Junction.

Para 51 .. She replied, “Men are very clumsy.” She virtually swept Pescud off his feet by disclosing that she knew he was following her. She had expected him to come forward to speak to her, but she was glad he didn’t.

Para 52 .. Both of them became quiet for a while. After that, she pointed her finger towards the large house she lived in.

Para 53 .. She said her family – the Allyns – had lived in Elmcroft for nearly a century. There was a degree of concealed pride in her voice. She said that her parental mansion had 50 rooms, a reception room and a large balcony. The ceilings of the ball room and the reception room were 28 feet high. She said her ancestors were the ‘belted earls’. (a ceremonial title given to eminent people before the 17th century)

Para 54 .. She proceeded to describe the enormous hold her father had over Elmcroft. Even a drummer could not come in without his permission. Then, more as humour than as threat, she said how she could get locked in her room for talking to a stranger.

Para 55 .. The first encounter had gone well for Pescud by any account. He ventured to ask her if he could drop in again to see her.

Para 56 .. She, however, cut short his surging optimism rather abruptly. Reluctant to talk to him any further as both of them had not been introduced till then, she said it was time to call it a day. She appeared to have forgotten his name in the meantime.

Para 57 .. He asked her to say his name.

Para 58 .. With a little irritation, she uttered ‘Pescud’.

Para 59 .. Not a bit nonplussed, he coaxed her to say his full name.

Para 60 .. She said, ‘John’.

Para 61 .. He asked, ‘John-what’.

Para 62 .. “‘John A.,’ said she, with her head held high. ‘Are you through, now?”.

Para 63 .. He declared he was coming to see her father, the ‘belted earl’ the next day.

Para 64 .. With some humour, she said that she was sure her father would set his fox-hounds on him.

Para 65 .. Pescud had a repartee ready. He said the dogs would have a lot of chasing to do as he was a hunter too, with quick feet.

Para 66 .. The girl wanted to end the dialogue fast. Suggesting that it was time for her to go back in, she wished him happy return journey. She was not sure whether Pescud was heading back to Minneapolis or to Pittsburgh.

Para 67 .. Minneapolis was not where he was heading, replied Pescud. He said good night to her, but before finally breaking off for the day, he asked what her name was.

Para 68 and 69 .. She hesitated for a moment. She playfully pulled a leaf from a plant, and told him that Jessie was her name.

Para 70 .. He said ‘Good-night’ to her, calling her by her name Miss Allyn.

Para 71 .. Next morning sharp at 11am, Pescud was there at the main door of World Fair main building. He rang the bell. After nearly 45 miniutes an old man appeared and asked him what he wanted. Pescud handed over his business card and told the old man that he wanted to see the colonel (Miss. Allyn’s father). The old man ushered Pescud in.

Para 72 .. Pescud went in looking intently at the interior. It gave the impression of being a house in decay. Old, aristocratic furniture lay there on the floor, all virtually crying for attention. Their number was also not much when compared to the size of the house. Framed photographs of ancestors adorned the walls reminding the visitor of the faded glory of the past and the waning fortunes of today.
Colonel Allyn made his appearance after a while. His gait was royal, and his exterior exuded vanity and dignity. His presence seemed to bring back to life the regalia and splendour of the days gone by. The Colonel’s frayed clothes did not dampen either his spirit or the aura of greatness he liked to wear around him for good.
The colonel’s presence made Pescud look rather small about himself. He grew nervous, very uncomfortable at the imposing presence of the old colonel. But, Pescud regained his composure soon. He was asked to be seated. Then, drawing himself up, he proceeded to apprise the colonel why he had come, how he had been enchanted by Miss Allyn’s charm, and how he had followed her from Cincinnati. He also told Col. Allyn everything about his salary, job, prospects and his moral moorings.
Pescud was indeed nervous wondering how the old man would react, but he continued with his bio-data presentation.

Para 73 .. To much relief of Pescud, the colonel gave a hearty laugh. He felt such occasions when the old man laughed must have been very few and far between indeed.

Para 74 .. Pescud’s encounter with the colonel lasted for two hours. After hearing out the prospective suitor of his daughter, the old man opened up, shooting questions at the visitor. Pescud answered all of them quite diligently.
He beseeched Colonel Allyn to give him a chance to try and win Miss Allyn’s heart. If he failed, he would retreat gracefully, the young visitor promised.

Para 75 .. The old man got into a reflective mood trying to take a journey down his memo0ry lane. He said, “There was a Sir Courtney Pescud in the time of Charles 1.” He was trying to find out if this Pescud was in any way related to the deceased Pescud.

Para 76 .. Pescud humbly denied any link with the family the colonel was referring to. He told the inquisitive old man that they were rooted to Pittsburgh where one of his uncles lived. He was into real estate. Another uncle on whom fortune had not smiled, lived in Kansas. He proceeds to narrate an anecdote about a captain of a whaling ship who made a sailor say his prayers.

Para 77 ..The colonel appeared to be getting into a jovial mood. He said he did not know such anecdote.

Para 78 .. Pescud narrated the anecdote. The colonel was all ears.

Para 79 .. The old man’s jovial interior was fast coming to the fore. He said he would narrate a fox-hunting story in which he himself had been an actor.

Para 80 .. Pescud got to meet Miss Jessie Allyn two evenings later. The three sat together in the porch.
He stole a moment with Jessie when the old man had paused to recollect another story from his past.

Para 81 .. Pescud enjoyed every moment of the evening.

Para 82 .. Jessie appeared to be in a light joyful mood too. With a cryptic smile on her face, she told Pescud that her old father was going to narrate another story of his – the one about the old African and the watermelons. There was a set pattern to it. Her father narrated his anecdotes in predetermined sequence. The Yankees first, the Game rooster second, and then came the African and the Watermelons. The one on Pulaski City could follow next.

Para 83 .. It was a tryst that lifted Pescud’s spirits greatly. While going down the steps, he nearly tripped. So excited he had become!

Para 84 .. Jessie seemed to know that the occasion had left Pescud swimming in a pool of joy.

Para 85 .. Jessie, too, was affected with the intoxicating moments of romance. She went back to the room, jumping the window with youthful energy.

Para 86 ..THE SCENE CHANGES. The porter shouted ‘Coketown’.

Para 87 .. Pescud gathered his baggage and his hat with a great satisfaction of accomplishment.

Para 88 .. Pescud disclosed that he married Miss Allyn a year ago, built a house in East End and settled there along with his father inlaw, the colonel.

Para 89 .. I glanced at the surroundings of the sleepy Coketown. It looked so primitive and un-romantic with its huts all over the place and the mounds of slag and clinker. It was the ugly face of the industries that operated nearby.

Para 90 .. I asked Pescud why he was getting down at Coketown where there did not seem to be much scope for selling plate-glass.

Para 91 .. Pescud narrated how on one occasion, he had taken his wife Jessie to Philadelphia for an outing. While on their way back, in Coketown Jessie happend to see some petunias planted in a pot. She remembered that there were petunias in her parental home in Virginia. Pescud said he was getting off the train there to see if he could get some petunias for his lovely wife Jessie. It seemed the romance had not waned a bit long after the marriage.
Pescud got off the train, giving me the business card and inviting me to his house.

Para 92 .. It began to rain as the train moved on. A lady in the compartment wanted the windows raised to fend off the rain drops. The porter came, as usual, with his wand and lighted up the compartment.

Para 93 .. I (the narrator) glanced downwards to find the discarded book – The Rose and the Trevelyan – still on the floor. I carefully pushed it a little further so that the raindrops do not make it wet.

Para 94 .. In a sad reflective mood, I said, “Good luck to you Trevelyan, may you find the petunias for your princess.”


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