Gaudy Night by Dorothy Sayers

Gaudy Night is a mystery fiction novel written by Dorothy Sayers. The novel revolves around the life of Harriet Vane, a detective. The novel progresses through a series of events in the life of the protagonist with a sense of feminism. The character of Harriet is well portrayed by the author as a young woman detective, facing troubles among the changing world.

About the author :

Dorothy L. Sayers is a renowned English crime novel writer, playwright, and poet. She is well known for her mystery novel series and short stories. She is also an essayist, essayist, translator, and Christian humanist. Her translation of Dante’s Divine Comedy is one of her best known works.

About the Novel :

Gaudy Night is the tenth series among her popular series about Lord Peter Wimsey. The protagonist, Harriet Vane, is a crime writer who is invited to attend the annual ‘Gaudy’ celebrations at the all-female Shrewsbury College, Oxford. However, the entire situation turns sour when some person starts making a series of malicious pranks. This includes poison-pen messages, vile effigies, obscene graffiti, and the destruction of a set of proofs. On the edge, Harriet asks her old friend, Wimsey to accompany her with the investigations.

The Dean of Shrewsbury mentions Harriet about the outbreak of anonymous letters, threats and vandalism. She guesses it to be someone apparently within the college, and so the scandal is dreaded. Harriet resides in the college for the next few months, researching the scandal and writing her book.

While she struggle with the case, she is forced to encounter her own feelings of love and marriage. She discovers that her love for academic writing is the result of her intellectual and emotional refuge. On the other hand, she narrows down the list of suspects. Her hinted suspicions and evidences at the college allow her to connect the case with a sexually frustrated female don.

Meanwhile her friend, Wimsey arrives while she stays in a dilemma about her relationship with him. Eventually, she gains a new understanding about him while working on the case together. The attacks on the campus create a crisis, making the entire college community tremble with fear and suspicion. There comes an attempt of suicide by student and also Harriet is physically assaulted, in which she escapes.

In the following turn of events, it is revealed by Wimsey that the perpetrator is one of the college servants. She is a widow of a disgraced academic in the northern university. Her husband has been exposed by an examiner for academic fraud, which destroys his career and induces him to suicide. Since the examiner is now at the Shrewsbury College, she widows seeks to take revenge against intellectual women for moving out of their ‘domestic’ sphere.

The novel ends with Harriet Vane accepting the proposal of Wimsey and their marriage is finalized.  The next part of the series continues with their wedding and honeymoon, which gets interrupted by a murder mystery, in the book, Busman’s Honeymoon.

Fast Food Nation by Eric Schlosser

Fast food Nation is a contemporary book written by an American investigate journalist, Eric Schlosser. The book brings forth the dark side of the contemporary fast food industry. The need for high production and fast preparation at low cost has made the fast food industry flourishing.

About the author :

Eric Schlosser is an American journalist and author born in Manhattan, New York. He is known for his works such as Fast Food Nation (2001), Reefer Madness (2003), and Command and Control: Nuclear Weapons, the Damascus Accident, and the Illusion of Safety (2013).

About the book :

Fast Food Nation: The Dark Side of the All-American Meal is best-seller book, about the United States fast food industry. In this book, Schlosser aims at bringing awareness about the things going behind the screens in the fast food industry to the consumers. He also includes few of his personal experiences with fast food restaurants.

Schlosser discusses about the influence of food habits in todays’ lifestyle to be the reason for majority of nutrition issues, health problems and obesity. Apart from these health consequences, the fast food industry today is hiding the method of preparation of these foods. The current scenario is that consumers are totally unaware of the food they are eating and how it has been brought to the table.

Undoubtedly, the American fast food industry is gaining popularity globally with its expanding food chains all over the world. The fast food industry is targeting its mass production and accumulation of funds, leaving behind the needs of fair working conditions and individual appreciation. Schlosser questions the mechanizations of these fast food industry behemoths and their quality of food production.

The objective of the author is to make the consumers aware about the negative influence of this fast food industry in their modern lifestyle. He adds to the fact that the consequences of consuming these foods impact both the health and the society. Through his personal visitations to various fast food company production houses, he tries to expose the unobvious things happening behind the manufacturing and production unit. Even though the fast foods are satisfying to the taste-buds, they are truly detrimental to health because of the added chemicals, preservatives and sugars.

Schlosser also hints the lack of federal oversight on these issues. Some of the social factors mentioned by the author are unsanitary slaughterhouses, hazardous working conditions, unfair workers treatment and exploitation. His investigation provides an insight about the manufacturing sector of these fast food industries, particularly how the products are made, what gets into it and who is responsible for the degradation of quality.

 

Cashless India

One of the current scenarios India is undergoing is the cashless economy Our Prime Minister Narendra Modi is aiming on.

We are aware that recently our Government banned the usage of old Rs 1,000 and Rs 500 notes. This was done in 2 ways:

  • By making the public being able to deposit the old notes in banks
  • By stopping the withdrawal of old notes from ATM’s

Ensuring the above said things take place in order, the government also started issuing the new Rs 2000 notes through banks and ATM’s.

The above said process was neither an easy task nor a time savvy one. The whole process of demonetization has resulted in a Cashless  India where every common man struggled/struggles to make even a normal purchase on a daily basis.

A few difficulties in taking up the change in a day to day level are:

  • People who have to go for job had/have to stand in long queues in banks in order to change old notes or withdraw money
  • People suffered a lot because of Cashless ATM’s during the initial stage of this process
  • In both the cases, government set a limit to withdraw which was again a problem since withdrawing money every time in such a chaos was a nightmare
  • While online transactions were still a good chance, purchasing for lesser amounts in normal shops was a great problem
  • Internet transactions might have been done by many, but there are so many people in India (especially over- 50 -aged group people) who do not even know what an online transaction is
  • Even if we think about going for online transactions, Internet usage cost is considerably high in India which is again an issue in having Internet Connection in every home

There are many such problems in the transformation that is taking place. We are in a situation where we keep thinking if this demonetization process is a boon or a curse to the society. Cashless India is facing many issues because of which only the public suffer. Still, hoping to see a corruption-less India and a country void of Black Money, it is the responsibility of each and every citizen to tolerate such scenarios for a few weeks.

Brave New World by Aldous Huxley – Current Society Comparison

Brave New World is an influential novel written by Aldous Huxley. It is a dystopian novel and indeed a satirical fictional piece of literature by Huxley. The reason for the book to be widely acknowledged today is the fact that one can relate it much closely to today’s society since it holds drastic similarities to the present. Despite any similarities to the present world, Huxley has managed to vision a world of scientific advancements and technological improvements. The book was originally published in 1932.

About the author :

Aldous Huxley is an English novelist, writer, and philosopher. He was graduated in English literature from Balliol College, Oxford. He is best known for his non-fiction books and a wide-range of essays. Some of his notable novels include Brave New World and The Doors of Perception.

Book Summary :

The novel portrays a Utopian world, visualizing the progress of industrialization and technology of the then period. It tries to provide an overview of possible future reality under the situation of technological advancement.

The author talks about various issues happening in London in a newly advanced Utopian nation. He describes the society, friendship, people’s behaviours, the World State, and genetic engineering advancements. The novel happens in London, in the Gregorian calendar year of AD 2540. Lenina Crowne, a hatchery worker and Bernard Marx, a psychologist are the main characters. We come to know about the society from these two characters and their encounters with the society.

Huxley describes two societies in the novel – the Savages, who are reserved ones and the Fordians, the technologically sophisticated ones. the Fordians lack stability and growth, despite being technologically advanced. They are conformed to their societal ideals, without any way for personal progress or growth. They are promiscuous and emotionally unstable. The society is not a healthy as the Fordians possess extreme totalitarianism, by destroying the social system and its members for universal happiness. The sheer materialism of current society can be related to the totalitarianism.

The society holds a caste system in which the Alpha caste are considered inferior. This is quite similar to the current world’s caste and class system. The reproductive process mentioned in the novel is much similar to the today’s cloning techniques and genetic developments. The society creates Deltas and Epsilons with specific characteristics through these methods. The author describes the use of a drug called ‘soma’ which help the Utopian world people for pleasure and to escape reality.

However, the fictional society does not resemble entirely with the modern society. There are several aspects that seem more or less common. This includes the materialism, usage of drugs, scientific advancements and tyranny of happiness. the author makes a vital point that the current society is on its way of changing the characteristics of the fictional society. In near future, it could be possible for our world to imitate the one portrayed by Huxley, but still, there are chances if not counterbalanced. Otherwise, human emotions and happiness could cease to exist for the sake of instant gratification.

Border Town by Shen Congwen – Book Review

Border Town is a Chinese novel written by Shen Congwen. The novel depicts the story of a teenage girl named Cuicui in small outskirts of a village. This coming of age novel has been adapted for a Chinese film as well.

About the Author :

Shen Congwen is a Chinese writer formerly romanized as Shen Tsung-wen. The author is best known for his plays about regional culture and identity. He has a greater influence on modern Chinese literature. He uses classical Chinese writing techniques in a vernacular style. Some of his works translated into English are The Chinese Earth, The Border Town, and Other Stories, Imperfect Paradise, and Recollections of West Hunan.

Book Summary :

Border Town depicts the story of Cuicui, a young country girl who aspires to find true love. The story opens in a Chinese rural region during the pre-Communist revolution. It revolves around the 13-year-old Cuicui living with her grandfather in a remote village. After her mother’s death, she becomes dutiful to her old grandfather, helping him in his chores. As a teenager, she is often taken away with thoughts of her age. She is occupied with romantic music and local customs related to nighttime dances.

Cuicui’s grandfather was a ferryman, transporting the townsmen across the crook to the nearby mountain town of Chadong. As the grandfather becomes aware of his old age, he worries about Cuicui’s future. He starts looking for potential suitors to Cuicui. Two eligible men from the same town woo Cuicui. However, Cuicui becomes concerned of the imminent death of her grandfather. She chooses one of her suitors but is unwilling to go with him, leaving her grandfather behind. Even though she loves the younger son and dreams of marrying him, she is less aware of her future life.

Meanwhile, her grandfather chooses one of her suitors, the elder son, as a match for Cuicui. But unfortunately, everything winds up to a tragic end. The elder son dies in an accident and the blame goes on the grandfather. Even the younger son could not marry Cuicui because of the family conflict after his brother’s death. He leaves to another town when Cuicui refuses to accompany him because of her grandfather. But her grandfather dies of cold, leaving Cuicui all alone in the village. With grief, Cuicui continues to live in the village, waiting for the younger son.

The story shows how life’s situation turns a person into independent and mature, only after heart-wrenching struggles. The author shows how one’s life choices can influence their destiny forever.

My Family (4 Lines, Short Essay, Brief Essay)

My Family :

  • Home is the best place in the world
  • I love my family and I wish to be in my home always
  • My grandparents and parents are so loving to me
  • They take care of me in such a way that I never felt lonely
  • Through them, I learnt being together is a great strength

My Family : (Short Essay)

Who is the richest person in the world? One who has money and lands?  No. Wealthy is a man is surrounded by people who care for him. If this statement is true, then I am the richest person in the world. We live as a big family with our grandparents, uncles and their kids. There is nothing as enchanting as listening to our grandparents  words. I have learnt a lot, not only from my parents, but also from my uncles and aunts. We watch TV together everyday to ensure that we spend time with everyone, at least once in a day. There is a lot that we gain by being a part of a big family, and I am blessed to get such a family.

My Family : (Brief Essay)

We live in a town that is much far away from my school. My school is located in a city and it is very reputed in our locality. Since my school is far away, I do not have my friends nearby. But, I have never felt lonely.

My family is a very big one where my uncles and my parents live together. My grandparents passed away 2 years back.  Still, we feel their presence in our unity. The lessons they taught, the culture they transformed into our minds and discipline that they cultivated in our heads are very strong. Only with the help of our uncles and parents my cousins and I have been good in academics. They help us in our studies and we have excelled in academics.

Being together is fun. We have occasional tours and weekend outings. Recently we went to the Zoo in the city and we enjoyed seeing the animals. Last vacation, we went for a long trip to major destinations in North India. It was an unforgettable trip and we went to many historical places too.

Other than fun, we can learn a lot from each other.  When I am with my cousins, who are both elder and younger to me, I am able to gain a lot of insights. This enhances my thinking and I am able to fine tune myself. It is always good to be as a big family. This is why our ancestors lived such a lifestyle. Though generations have changed and most families are nuclear now, we should try to meet and spend time with our close ones once in a while.

My Family (4 Lines, Short Essay, Brief Essay)

My Family :

  • I love my family very much
  • My family has everyone that I cherish the most in it
  • My father, my mother, My elder sister and I have never been apart
  • We care for each other in any point of life
  • There is nothing so safe and comforting as my family

My Family : (Short Essay)

Home is place where I feel heaven and my parents are the reason for it.  We 3, as a family have spent the best times of life. Only when we are at home, we feel happy.  Both my father and mother are working. Still, we find time to share our daily experiences. My mother takes extra care to prepare the most delicious food I like and she is my best friend. My father has always been my best companion and I would say he is my mentor. Without my parents, I would have not been what I am today. I love my parents very much and we always wish to be the lovable family as we are now, ever.

My Family : (Brief Essay)

When anybody speaks about being with their family, the first thing that comes in my mind is the happy moments I have experienced with my family.

Today, I am studying in a reputed school staying in the school’s accommodation. I miss my family very much. My father, my mother and my 2 sisters are my word.

There has not been a single day we have had dinner without the presence of other. Such a bond we have been into, we have been experiencing tough times during my childhood. My father lost his money in business. He did not give up yet. He proved he is a great fighter by beginning from the scratch again. My father is the example of hard work in life.

The strength I realize I think about my mother cannot be explained in words. We 3, as kids have always learnt to be bold and confident from our mother. She induces our skills and encourages us to go ahead.

The funniest moments of my life are those that I spent with my sisters. The silly fights and fun games we play are really unforgettable. As elder sisters, they have always taught me good and clean habits.

As I am here in a school far away from my family, I get to know how important they are, in my life. They have sent me to a reputed school with all great efforts believing I would succeed and excel in my  academics. I want to keep up their belief and become a great person like my parents one day. I am hoping to meet them soon during the summer vacation.

I love and miss my family very much.

Araby by James Joyce

Araby is a short story written by James Joyce. The story got published in his 1914 collection titled, Dubliners.

About the author :

James Joyce is an Irish poet and novelist. He has contributed much to the modernist avant-garde. He is regarded as one of the most influential authors of the 20th century. Some of the notable books of Joyce are Ulysses (1922), his novels, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man (1916), Finnegans Wake (1939), and his short-story collection Dubliners (1914).

Araby – summary :

Araby is a romantic story about a young boy, living in Ireland. The story presents the transformation of the boy into his adolescence years, discovering the reality of life’s journey. The story is in first-person narration, describing the world of the boy from his own senses.

The story takes place around the narrator’s home in the neighborhood in Dublin. The narrator is the boy himself. He has an obsession with his neighbor, Mangan’s sister. The author gives a vivid description of the obsession, from the perspective of the boy on his age of puberty. The boy narrates how the name of the girl summons his blood and how his body reacts to her words and gestures.

Later the story moves to a bazaar place where the narrator wanders. The Saturday’s bazaar named Araby, is where the girl wishes to go, but couldn’t make it because of her concert. However, the boy acts on his obsession for her and decides to go to the place. He even tells Mangan’s sister that he will bring a gift for her from the bazaar.

In the following days, the boy is obsessed with thoughts of the bazaar, where he never intended to go. He begins ignoring his schoolwork, and is filled with anticipation for the Saturday night. The boy arranges to get money for the bazaar from his uncle. However, when the day arrives, the boy’s uncle arrives home late, forgetting his obligation. So, the boys set out late for the bazaar.

On his arrival, most of the stalls are already closed and the place is filled with darkness. The entire place is empty and silent. Even in an open stall, he chooses not to buy anything as anything left seems unattractive or intimidating to him. He chooses to return empty-handed. The story ends with the boy gazing at the darkness and realizing himself as a puppet driven by obsessive desire. He sees himself as being mocked by vanity. The author ends the story describing the eyes of the boy as burning with anger and anguish.

The story leaves the readers with little outright moral answers to the questions of life. The author describes the condition of the boy, relating to the reality of his infatuation. Through the words, the author symbolizes emptiness and darkness of reality surrounding the boy in his age of adolescence.

The Tell Tale Heart by Edgar Allan Poe – Book Review

The Tell-Tale Heart is a short story written by Edgar Allan Poe. The story chronicles the life situation of an unnamed psychological character, who is the narrator. The story is all about the sanity of the narrator and his secret murder of an old man.

About the Author :

Edgar Allan Poe is an American writer and literary critic. He is best known for his short stories and poetry. Most of his tales focus on mystery and horror. He has contributed a lot to science fiction and introduced detective fiction genre in his literary works. Poe was born in Boston and brought up in Virginia by his adoption parents. Some of his notable collections of poems are The Raven (1845), Tamerlane and Other Poems (1827), and more.

About the Book :

Edgar Allan Poe’s The Tell-Tale Heart was published in1843. The story is one of the most famous works of Poe and belongs to the Gothic fiction genre. The story lacks particular details about both the main characters, but still establishes the needed engagement.

The narrator of the story is the murderer. He says that he has an intense urge to kill his neighbor old man. The hallucinations of the narrator are due to his insanity. He obsesses over the ‘vulture’ eye of the old man and is impelled to kill him. Even though he is insane, hides the corpse cleverly from the authorities and neighborhood. Even though he acts as normal as an ordinary man, his guilt haunts him. When the psychological madness within him intensifies, he senses paranoid delusions in his room. He hears a heartbeat noise, which he thinks to be of the old man’s. The noise increases further, driving him completely insane. As a result, he couldn’t bear the sound anymore and finally confesses his murder to the authorities. He reveals the corpse to them and surrenders.

The story’s depicts the psychological disability of the narrator as the cause for the murder. The entire concept of the story is attributed to the obsession and mental conflict within the narrator’s mind and how it causes him to do atrocious deeds. Moreover, the narrator’s obsession with the old man’s imperfection is the driving force for the murder and insanity. The author tries to convey that psychological illness is a serious threat to the society. However, in today’s notion, this is an unacceptable or totally intensified concept.

Generation Me by Jean Twenge – Book Review

‘Generation Me : Why Today’s Young Americans Are More Confident, Assertive, Entitled – and More Miserable Than Ever Before’ is written by Jean M. Twenge. This book speaks of the lives of a particular generation of people, whom Twenge calls as Generation Me. She considers the people after 1970s as belonging to this GenMe group.

About the Author :

Dr. Jean Twenge is a contemporary author, speaker and a professor of psychology. Twenge writes this provocative book, exploring the status of today’s younger generation. She has written hundreds of scientific articles, journals, and books chapters.

About the book :

In this book of psychology, the author puts an assertion that the GenMe people are more confident, tolerant, and open-minded than their previous generations; but still are disengaged, distrustful, and narcissistic, living a miserable life. She states that this generation holds the highest self-esteem but also the most depression. According to her, they are deprived of their needs and their expectations are crushed by the realities of life. The book clearly speaks of the reality of this GenMe when compared to the Millenials, Baby Boomers, and GenX’ers.

The author presents her views about this generation of youngsters. She argues that they are highly expectant in their ambitions and dreams, nevertheless, ultimately succumbing to the reality. They stress of self-esteem by the society  leads to their narcissistic behavior and unproductive outcomes. This generation particularly shows more sense of anxiety and cynicism in their thoughts, which becomes the reason for their depressive states.

According to the author, the GenMe is unrealistic of their expectations in life and are more self-centered. They are more on ‘the self’ attitude, owing to their belief of ‘they can be whatever they wish to be’. The reason behind this attitude can be traced to the cultural and social forces influencing them in various ways. The outcome of such attitude is obsession towards materialism and body-piercing tattoos. It also leads to increased adolescence issues.

The author emphasizes the fact that this generation is starving for love and affection. The GenMe fails to realize that the lifestyle of Baby Boomers – though not exciting – is a stable and less-depressing one. They lack warm interpersonal relations, easy-to-reach neighbors, and a solid family life.

Overall, Twenge suggests on improving this generation and mentions how the generation has to be actually dealt with. Even though her thoughts are exaggerating the current generation as a destructive one, she does it in a less positive manner. She tries to bring a thoughtful influence on her GenMe readers to look forward to the lifestyle of their previous generations and learn from them.