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The Reconstruction of Identity of the Gentleman in Great Expectations

Madhumita Majumdar, Bhangar Mahavidyalaya, Kolkata

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      When people say that Dickens could not describe a gentleman, what they mean is …that Dickens could not describe a gentleman as gentlemen feel a gentleman. They mean that he could not take that atmosphere easily, accept it as normal atmosphere, or describes that world from the inside….Dickens did not describe gentleman in the way that gentlemen describe gentlemen…He described them…from the outside, as he described any other oddity or special trade.

G. K. Chesterton only put into words what was usually thought of Dickens during his life time. It was usually believed that Dickens could not describe a gentleman because he was himself not one. In 1871, Forster’s The Life of Charles Dickens reported the imprisonment of Dickens’ father on charges of debt non-payment and his own childhood employee status in the blacking factory. This revelation only gave confirmation to Dickens’ detractors that he was not the conventional gentleman. It stood ratified more by the words of Dickens daughter: ‘My father was not a gentleman – he was too mixed to be gentleman.’ (Kate Dickens Perugino, The Dickensian; 1980). When Dickens was writing his contemporary happened to be William Thackeray. Both Dickens and Thackeray were novelists of the middle-class emergence but at opposite ends of the scale. Thackeray’s area was the land between the aristocracy and the middle classes while Dickens was concerned with the lower reaches of the middle class in its most anxious phase of self-definition, struggling out of trade and domestic service.

Cities of Struggle and Resistance: The Image of the Palestinian City in Modern Arabic Poetry

Saddik M.Gohar, UAE University, UAE

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Abstract

This paper aesthetically articulates the representation of the Palestinian city in modern Arabic poetry in order to argue that while Arab -and non-Arab poets-incorporate  variety of attitudes toward the city ,  the presentation of the Palestinian city reveals a radical difference from the rest of Arabic and non-Arabic poetry  due to the peculiar history of struggle, resistance and victimization characterizing life in the Palestinian metropolis.  To the Palestinian poets, in particular, the city is part of a homeland they have lost or a refugee camp that has been resisting the invaders for decades.  Contrary to western cities  inhabited by alien residents such as Eliot’s Prufrock, or Arab cities populated by strangers, outsiders, whores, outcasts and political prisoners  as in the literary  cities of Badr Shaker Al-Sayyab  and Ahmed Abdul-Muti  Hejazi , the Palestinian city is inhabited by heroes and martyrs.  These heroes who appear in contemporary Palestinian poetry and take different shapes personify the struggle and resistance of a nation that has frequently refused to surrender at times of crisis.  Representing the spirit of the Palestinian people confronting  a world replete with  treachery and hypocrisy,  the Palestinian city and its nameless heroes , in contemporary Arabic  poetry, is an embodiment of  an eternal and unlimited Palestinian dream , the dream of return, rebirth and liberation.  In this context, the paper affirms that unlike Arab cities which are associated with decadence, corruption, exploitation and moral bankruptcy, the Palestinian city,  due to the Palestinian history of exile, resistance, victimization and pain, is viewed in Arabic/Palestinian poetry as a location of heroism,  struggle, defiance and martyrdom.

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