Thursday, February 28, 2013

Book Review, Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

Frankenstein, or the modern Prometheus by Mary Shelly is a commendable work of commentary on feminism and the power to create (life as well as technology). As in most books, one can draw parallels between the personal life of the author and the characters of the book. The writing style is exceptional, especially considering Shelly’s mere age of 19 yrs at which point she started working on this novel.

Even as the book was started in lieu of a ghost story contest, the author relates to us in subtle undertones, the social climate of the post industrialisation era, she was living in. Her views on feminism and science aren’t related in isolation from her personal life.

Mary’s mother died in child birth and her husband, the famous poet Percy Bysshe Shelly left her to chase his romantic interests after she gave birth to a still born child. It is debatable as to whether there was a connection between the still birth and his infidelity. We see that Victor Frankenstein too leaves his 8ft tall baby, or as he calls it-  the monster. Frankenstein’s cousin, Elizabeth seems less human and more of an alter ego of Frankenstein to me; the last shred of his feminine self that struggles to survive in the masculine world.

We see how Shelly mocks the patriarch who abandons his own creation, much like God who condemns his children to mortality and pain. Even as patriarchy is mocked, matriarchy is absent and the presence of the ‘female’- inconsequential. It is ironic how Elizabeth, the only trace of the feminine is murdered by Frankenstein’s own masculine creation.   

Friday, February 22, 2013

Ze Rolling Stones !

Haven't we heard this verse before?
"I bet your mama was a tent show queen, and all her boy
Friends were sweet sixteen.
Im no schoolboy but I know what I like,
You should have heard me just around midnight."
It's written and sung by the modern poets of all time-The Rolling Stones! 
This is one is a classic case of Tongue 'not' in cheek ;)

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Book Review of Dracula by Bram Stoker

‘Dracula’ is largely about sex, an unspeakable topic in Victorian times.
Stoker has repeatedly used blood as symbolic of semen as it appears to me.
In this book he discusses forbidden themes such as rape, sexually assertive women, homosexuality and so forth.

Dracula is empowered not only with the much desired gift of immortality but also with unchallenged control over women (and beasts).Despite Dracula’s notorious image, his virtues of patriarchy, hyper masculinity and chauvinism are in agreement with those of the Victorian society. Mina’s emotional portrayal of violation after being “penetrated” by the Count is very similar to those that would be reflected by a rape victim. Not only does the Count demonstrate physical dominance, but also intellectual superiority; he has the women of his castle ”trained” in such a manner that the narrator of the passage (Harker) compares it to the domestication of animals

Women are expected to be na├»ve, innocent and virtuous, sexual desire should be absent unless commanded by the husband for procreative sex. A woman who is sexually assertive is deemed as evil, beastly or under the control of Satan.For instance “The fair girl went on her knees and bent over me, fairly gloating. There was a deliberate voluptuousness which was both thrilling and repulsive, and as she arched her neck, she actually licked her lips like an animal, till I could see in the moonlight the moisture shining on the scarlet lips and on the red tongue as it lapped the white, sharp, teeth” (Stoker 50) highlights this.

These opinions seem to mock the then order of things for even as Stoker uses stereotypes, the way they are used makes all the difference in the interpretation of the book.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Book review of Alice in Wonderland and Through the looking glass

Dodgson has an image of a man of suspect sexuality. His relationship with children has always been a controversial subject and this controversy only strengthens the underlying queer tone of the book.
The term ‘Queer’ is attributed to the animals, situations and Alice herself in the two books. It adopted a homosexual connotation much after the first book was published and yet, its usage in these books seems to point at something more severe than 'eccentric' behaviour.
Alice is the perfect illustration of a ‘queer’ individual dropped in a ‘queer’ world surrounded by ‘queer’ characters. The problems faced by her are metaphorical of the ones faced by a person of alternate sexuality in the real world. She constantly struggles with what she has been conditioned to believe and what she encounters in this 'strange' land.
Alice finds herself trapped in a room, where the only escape to the garden of Eden is through a rat hole path guarded by a small locked door. As she struggles with her identity she finds it hard to come to terms with her sudden transformations, much like a queer individual coming out to oneself. In this struggle she begins to compare herself with Ada and realises that "She's she and I'm I". Note, the sexual ambiguity associated with "I'm I". The fear of loneliness engulfs Alice, making her choose the identity imposed on her by societal constructs, rather than the one she'd like to discover for herself. Just when all is lost, she finds herself in the company of queer characters.
Her repentance on not remembering the ways and lessons of the real world reduce as she discovers more about the world under. We see Alice becoming more and more comfortable with herself and the world she has been catapulted into.
In my opinion, Dodgson addressed his suppressed sexuality in a very artistic way in these books. 

Goku Shoes

Wearable Art Project
© Karan Vohra - Karan Leo Arts
Do you want to get your wishes come true? Do you have no problem with fighting aliens and becoming a monkey once in a while?
Well if yes you have the GOKU horoscope :D :p
For everyone two years older and younger than me and everyone having a heart two years younger or older than me, we bring you 

Friday, February 8, 2013

Brief Analysis of Household Tales by Grimm Brothers

These tales typify parental roles. There seem to be strong unchanging characteristics associated with fathers, step-mothers and biological mothers.
The father is shown in most stories as a powerless figure, unbothered by the plight of his biological children and gullible to the charms of his second wife. In ‘Aschenputtel’, Aschenputtel’s father never shows his disapproval on the way she is treated by her step-mother. One wonders whether he even disapproves in the first place.
In Hansel and Gretel, the father leaves his biological children in the forest to be starved to death. The repetitive misogynistic tone of the stories makes you believe that it was the step-mother who cajoled the father into performing this cruel act. Thus the presence of an evil, malicious and unreconstructed step-mother helps in exonerating the father of all his crimes. The father is insensitive irrespective of the absence of a step mother as seen in ‘King Thrushbeard’. Most of the tales conclude in delicious revenge or a ‘happily ever after’ consolation, while the father is part of neither.
The Grimm brothers lost their father at a young age and the absence of a father in their childhood is evident in the presence of an inconsequential father in the stories. We have low expectations from a widowed man playing the role of a single father even today. Are these stories partly responsible for that image in our mind?
There is no examination of the step-mother, she is the villain. Period. These stories have conditioned our mind to associate wickedness with step-mothers. The biological mother too is unexamined though she is portrayed as angelic. She is manifested in several forms, be it in the form of nature in the story of ‘Aschenputtel’ or in Hulda in ‘Mother Hulda’.
Hence, these structured tales with their recurrent plots and typified characters manage to set ingrained notions of rigid parental roles in society

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Einstein Shoes ∏ ∞

On our mind is a mind like no other, eccentric, playful, genius and brutally honest. He makes me think of a green "black-board" :P, which might not be the case for you, the important thing however is that he makes u think and an image will always pop up in your mind on hearing his name- Presenting, Professor Albert Einstein with his Green "black-board"