Author's Diction~Vipin Behari Goyal: February 2016

Friday, February 26, 2016

Philosophical Poems The Stolen Boat By William Wordsworth

When The Majestic Becomes The Monstrous


The stolen melons are the sweetest, stolen apples taste the best. The poet has reminiscences of adolescent age when he stole a boat for a ride. The poet in the very first line says that he was ‘led by her’ to the place where the boat was moored. The nature (or her) steered him to steal the boat. The pleasure is not absolute, but a ‘troubled pleasure’ that pricks his conscience even after he has retrieved the boat at its former place. So the aftermath of the ‘stolen’ thing is a haunted conscience that troubles the thief for a long time. It may trouble lifelong depending upon the severity of crime, mental condition when the ‘crime’ was committed and the sensitivity of the person to react to a situation.

During the adolescent age mind is experimenting and experiencing many new things. It has more attraction towards things forbidden by society. Stealing is not necessarily for permanent possession or consumption of a thing. The boat was stolen for a ride and was to be moored in the same place once the adventure of the journey was over. The innocence in stealing makes the poem attractive. The magnitude of the crime is trifle and readers are full of sympathy for pious thief.

The poem is a confirmation of the age old saying ’guilty conscience pricks the mind’. The guilt may supersede the magnitude of the offense. The monster is within us. The daring is not in confrontation, but in hurried escapism to save the psyche from some irreversible damage. The poet decides to turn back with ‘trembling oars’. Things appear beautiful from a distance, when we go closure the ugly side is revealed. Sometime the revelation is so all of a sudden that a person is taken aback with a shock of the unexpected. The unreconciled psyche sends a danger signal and ‘defense mechanism’ insist on avoiding the cause of trouble.

All craggy hills have hidden monsters. If the boat was not a stolen one, the boy could have enjoyed the lofty and majestic hills, the shades of colour bathed in moonlight, the silence and solitude. The journey in a stolen boat started with a beautiful scenery of ‘small circles glittering idly’, ‘elfin pinnace’, ‘silent lake’, ‘like a swan’ are some beautiful perceptions of untroubled mind. The mind is mesmerised, and has obliterated the moral coaching done by society. The ‘natural’ seems to have won over the ‘artificial’. Society is appalled by pleasure of an individual and it always strikes with a greater force. The majestic becomes monstrous due to change in perception. The means become more important than the end. Poet surrenders his inner 'Self ' which is molded by outer forces. He is compelled to retreat. Even the retreat is not graceful as the ‘way back’ to ‘covert of the willow tree’ also appears ‘stolen way’. The poet is now ‘in grave and serious mood’. The ‘familiar shapes’ become scary and pleasant images of trees, sea, sky, green fields and majestic mountains are vanished. Now a ‘grim shape’ that keeps on ‘growing stature’ stands between him and stars symbolic of ‘material self’ and ‘pure self’. Every experience teaches a lesson. The poet gets a peep into ‘unknown modes of being’ a ‘darkness’, ‘solitude’ or ‘blank desertion’. Those parts of his existence were hidden somewhere in depth, hitherto.

Travelling at sea was never a smooth sailing for mankind. Even the veterans had many kinds of illusion and hallucination in the calm of the sea during a voyage. The adolescent mind of the poet is quite imaginative. An ‘optical illusion’ is easily transformed into ‘fear of unknown’ which is an integral part of the human psyche. Society exploits this fear to frame the structure and framework of institutions.

© Vipin Behari Goyal

Other Related Post

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Miseries of Modern Man as depicted by Harold Pinter in the play The Caretaker

Why Absurd is Meaningful?

Definition of modern man: Modern Man is indefinable. He is bunch of certain capabilities which are flexible and one is frequently replaced by another when caught in the whirlpool of flux of society.

1. Any man is a Modern man if he is capable of dropping the Hydrogen Bomb and Atom Bomb on innocent people without any shame or guilt. While doing the act he thinks that he is playing God.

2. Any man who is buying land on the Moon and Mars is a Modern Man.

3. Modern Man thinks that once he was Ape Man and in the future one day he would be Super Man, only he has to grasp more than he can hold. He believes in the Theory of Evolution.

4. Modern Man believes in his Negative Capability. He has infinite strength to face uncertainty. The world is not a closed rational system, the erratic and eccentric stand a better chance of understanding the world than a rational man.

5. Modern Man is proud of agnosticism, commercialisation, technology, anything that widens the gap between rich and poor.

Modern Man has three faces- Mike, Aston and Davies in The Caretaker by Harold Pinter. Mike and Aston are brothers and Davies is a tramp. All of them are directionless. In the play Shoes have been used symbolically. They are symbolic of the right path, action and destination, which all the three are utterly lacking. Despite being aimless they are ready to lend shoes and thus show path to others without caring for its appropriateness.

All the three suffer from isolation. At the beginning of Act I Mike is alone on the stage and at the end of play Davies stands alone on the stage. Mike rejects the audience and walks away after thirty seconds without uttering a single word. He attracts the attention of the audience at the garbage scattered in the room. Davies stands alone rejected by both, the brothers as well as the audience. The means of communication have decreased the capacity of Modern Man for genuine communication. Fear of rejection is due to lack of genuine communication.

All the three are opportunist and leave no chance to take advantage of each other. Aston has not brought Davies home out of charity. He wants to use him as an assistant and take his help in constructing a shed in the backyard of the house which is his long awaited dream. He collected Davies as he collects all other junk with the objective of putting them to use someday. Davies after realising that Mike is the owner of the house plays tricks to separate brothers. Mike is using his imbecile elder brother as caretaker.

Since society is always undergoing a transformation and time has lost its sanctity as Past, Present and Future, Modern Man feels loss of identity. All the three characters are insecure due to loss of identity. They either do not have any past history or they were oblivious of it. Mike was declared as mental patients and electric shocks were given to him whenever he tried to talk sensibly. He suffered from erratic memory lapses and lost his identity as a complete rational man. Davies confesses that original papers establishing his true identity are at Sidcup for the last seven years and he is living with a false name-Bernard Jenkins. Papers have become the only source of identity of Modern Man. The true identity of real self has lost the meaning.
Mike is mysterious and no one knows where he lives and what does he do?

Modern Man is a great planner and same is true for all the three characters. Mike is planning to renovate the house, Aston is planning to construct a shade in the backyard and Davies is planning to collect his papers from Sidcup. All are waiting for appropiate time, which never comes.

All the three characters are Biblical. Davies is Dionysus or the wandering Jew, Mick is dark angel and Ashton is bright angel as well as Christ himself as carpenter trying to build a church. Expulsion of Davies is also allegorical to the expulsion of Adam from Garden of Eden.

All the three have invisible parents, which shows that parents have become aliens for Modern Man. Beside this all the three suffer from racial hatred, fear of rejection, distrust, hallucinations, confinement, distorted values, sexual perversions(exchange of notes between Aston and Davies) and ennui which is the hallmark of Modern Life. The birth of new theories like Absurdism, Cynicism, Skepticism Nihilism and atheistic existentialism is consequential.  

In the end Mick hurls the Buddha statute against the gas stove and it breaks. This is highly symbolic. Buddha is a symbol of peace and compassion. The broken statute is symbolic that the option of peace is now obsolete. All the compassion which both the brothers demonstrated for Davies is also lost. It also symbolises that iconoclastic faith prevails in aimless and purposeless life.

Mike passionately outbursts '' I got to think about all directions. I don't stand still. I am moving about ,all the time. I am moving...all the time. I have got to think about future...".

That's the damnable misery of it

Just an absurd thought:
Wriggle if you cannot walk: Walk if you cannot run ~Vipin Behari Goyal

1.Thomas Nagel: Mortal Questions, 1991. ISBN 0-521-40676-5
2. Barrett, William (1977). Irrational Man: A Study in Existential Philosophy. Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Press. ISBN 0-8371-9671-X.
3.Esslin, Martin (1961). The Theatre of the Absurd. OCLC 329986
4.Great moments in the theater By Benedict Nightingale
262 pages. Oberon Books

© Vipin Behari Goyal

Other related Post

Saturday, February 6, 2016


Literature Fails to Provide Solution


Racism is like a Problem-Play of literary genre. It has been fully exposed with all its evils, but it does not provide any solution for it. It seems that neither the authors are serious in finding solution nor the readers are eager to read literature based on. The books written by intellectual blacks who have suffered and wrote semi autobiographical novels are good for academic courses and discourses but even voracious readers have not heard about them or are not interested in reading them. Many such books fall in the much overlooked genre of Post-Colonial literature.

Only exception is "To Kill A Mocking Bird" by Harper Lee which is still classified as an all time bestseller and must-read book. She died on 19 Feb 2016 at the age 89.

Two recent incidents are enough to ponder how deep this evil has penetrated in the psyche of society. In India a Tanzanian girl was molested, beaten and almost stripped by mob when she tried to save her Sudanian friend from mob in Bengaluru. Displacement of Hatred by colour of skin is not uncommon all over the World. Law is taken in hand and mob passes its verdict without trial, in a country which is the largest democracy of the world. The girl tries to board a city bus to escape but she is denied entry. She unsuccessfully tries to cover her body with her hands and looks at the mob with pleading eyes. The whole scenario is horribly barbaric. A cruel dance of savagery in one of the most educated, technically advance cities of India, proudly known as the "Silicon Valley of India". Do they have the heart of silicon as well?

The second incident took place in Canada. The Defense Minister of Canada is a Sikh. He was objected while delivering speech in parliament by an opposition member demanding "English To English" translation. It is a mean kind of racism that has percolated in the veins of society. No one is ashamed, only politicians give statements in media to enhance their international anti-racist image.


Derek Walcott in his poem says “You in the castle of your skin, I among the swineherd”. George Lamming has used this quotation after little alteration in his book “In the Castle of My Skin”. Many interesting episodes have been narrated to establish the point. The Inspector visits the primary school on Empire Day. He addresses Barbados as “Little England”, the boys sing “God save the king”, and pennies are distributed.

Those Black who rise up in the society by imitating White, also start exploiting other Blacks who are slaves or slave-like, indentured servants.”White” rationalised that they are spreading the light of religion and civilisation. Rudyard Kipling ’s “The White Man’s Burden is best known example of this idea. While returning from the beach protagonist and his friends hide in a bush to watch a party at landlord Creighton’s palace. His daughter was making love with a Marine Captain and was disturbed by boys. Later she accused that some native boys tried to take her virtue and everyone believed her. The boys opined “The English are fond of shadows. They never do anything in open.”The duality in the youth of Barbados as individual “I” and “Also I “ can be explained by Carl Jung’s Theory of Collective Unconsciousness'. The duality of oppressor and oppressed is illusory.

As the Supervisor in the above story is set as “Black against Black”, similarly “White against White” in “The Tree of Man” by Patrick White, and “White against Brown” in “No New Land” by M. G.Vassanji are other examples of serious literature is trying to draw the attention of the world towards the severity of the problem, though none of it suggests any remedy.

© Vipin Behari Goyal

Other related Post

Monday, February 1, 2016

Stream of Collective Unconsciousness

An Effort to Correlate William James and Carl Jung

Carl Gustav Jung and William James

Modern Man is Superman. He is Ape-man in making in cyclic order or disorder. Learning and unlearning are also cyclic and at times it  could be arduous to decide which one is more difficult. The stream of consciousness does not decide the thought process without an evocation. Politics is an integral part of poetry. The conflict is observed and absorbed, but not necessarily resolved. Perception itself is a resolution. Form is an embellishment. Naked truth is not a beauty, only embellished truth is capable of creating the illusion which is loved by egocentric psychopaths.

The alley is full of rats and cockroaches. Some of them are metamorphosed. They seek inspiration from the unknown, invisible pink unicorn. Terror and ugliness have the same repercussions on egalitarians, humanist and even feminist. It attacks on the shadow the existence of which is always deniable. The denied existence culminates into collectiveness. The Sun does not sink at horizon alone. It takes away the collective shadows and allows natural darkness to pervade.

The beauty of art is in the unconscious mind of the beholder. He has no option but to appreciate it. All ugliness when put together becomes a beautiful stream. The stream is transient, to hold it one should practice transience. Art is reflection of Ugly as Beauty. The weavers are forever doomed. If the mirror were broken the Lady of Shallot would die, even without meeting her beloved.

Nothing is ordinary. Ordinary cannot exist. The existence itself is an evidence of extraordinariness. Though it does not matter that existence is hollow, so far art of affectation is alive. This art is deeply seated in the collective unconscious of Human Archetypes, which was either in the past or will take birth in the future. In any case water is the house and wriggling is the fate. The shadow is resurrected with fire out of ambers. Extinguishers have eternal patience.

The gap between what we are and what we ought to be is filled with stinking garbage. To remain where you are is the safest way. Salvage is an act of imagination. It nourishes art. Meanwhile, create art out of garbage around you, and someday you may cross the impassable sea. It is possible  that you will be disappointed after reaching at the other end since the description of 'ought to be' is flexible.

Unlock the complex. It is only in your mind. Simplicity is the key. Vision is obscured by subjectivity. Search for your own answers, and you will find they corroborate with the universal answer, codified in a Sanskrit or Latin verse.


Dark shades of purple do not enchant a cat, especially the Black Cat. Her obsession with flash is her void. Nothing would ever fill it. Take the chance, but do not admire. Do not ride on her back, she has a tendency to jump from well to well.

All illuminated souls dwell together. The wisdom acquired by them percolates through seven heavens. Don't be a Banyan, be a leaf of grass. The intensity of receptiveness is more important.

The elements never betray, but senses may. Huge monstrous waves do not teach the same lessons as ripples do. A gentle breath invigorates and a thunder tests your stamina.

(This is the gist of preface of my forthcoming book. Please do not quote without permission)

 ©  Vipin Behari Goyal

Other similar post: