· Assignment Paper: 2
Ø Topic : Devices used by Ezekiel
vStudent’s name : Gandhi Pooja S.
o Roll no : 15
§ URL :gandhipooja151011.blogspot.com
ü Semester : 1
· Batch : 2010-11
Mr. Devarshi Mehta
Department of English
Nissim Ezekiel is a prominent name in twentieth century modern Indo-Anglian literature. Ezekiel was born in Mumbai in 1924, and was educated at Antonio D’souza High School and Wilson collage, Mumbai and Birkbeck College, London. He lives in Mumbai, where he is Reader in American Literature at the University. In 1964, he was a visiting professor at Leeds University, in 1974, an invitee of the U.S. government under its International visitors program; and in 1975, a cultural Award visitor to Australia. For some time he was Director of Theatre Unit, Mumbai.
The earliest to begin publishing poetry in Post-Independence era, Nissim Ezekiel, by virtue of his historical position, gains importance as the first of voyagers in a new situation. The title of his first volume, ‘A Time to Change’ (1952), has a happy, historical rightness. His works include ‘The Double Horror’, ‘Sixty Poems’ (1953), ‘The Third’ (1959). The form of Indians environment is strikingly very little in Ezekiel’s early volumes. Absorbed in his personal problems, involving morality, religion and love, Ezekiel has little time to note environmental detail but he used, this in later poems, ‘Background Casually’, ‘The Unfinished Man’(1960), ‘The Exact Name’(1965), ‘Three Plays’(1969), ‘Hymns in Darkness’(1977), ‘Snakeskin and other poems’(1974), ‘Letter day Psylms’(1982). He has had poems publishing in ‘Encounter’, ‘The Illustrated Weekly of India’, ‘London Magazine’ and ‘The Spectator’.
Ezekiel’s poetry is both the intrument and the outcome of his attempt as a man to come to terms with himself. His poems are imprint of a keen, analytical and trying to explore of loss and deprivation. The principles vocabulary is follows in poems: ‘nothingness’, ‘need’, ‘impulse’, ‘fear’, ‘love’, ‘ambition’, ‘truth’, ‘logic’, etc. one of the cardinal principles of Modernism: the presentation of concrete detail rather than abstractions. Tone is supreme important in his poems. Modern poetry has been shaped by the symbolist Imagist aesthetic but Ezekiel did not assimilate aesthetic of Yeats and Eliot.
Ezekiel is clearly a transitional poet. He has expressed the spirit of modern times and he is well-read scholar. His scholarship as well as craftsmanship is well reflected in his poems. Ezekiel uses all the ultra modern techniques of poetry writing and thereby, exhibits his high aesthetic sense in his poems. His poems are combination of imagination and reality. Some of his poems are:
‘Night of the Scorpion’
‘Night of the Scorpion’ published in ‘the Exact Name’,1965, is one of the finest poems of Ezekiel and has been universally admired, for its admirable depiction of a rural tradition of India, for its ironic contrasts, for its bringing together of opposites, and the warmth of human love and affection. It shows that Ezekiel is rooted in the Indian soil and aware of common human situations of day to day life.
In the form of a Ballad, the poet-persona narrates the episode of how his mother was stung by a Scorpion one rainy night. It becomes an occasion for the community to gather with different people giving different views and advice. The illiterate peasants look upon the poison coursing through the poet’s mother’s blood as a fight between God and the Devil:
“The peasants came like swarms of flies and buzzed the name of God a hundred times to paralyze the Evil one.”
The various consolatory remarks that the peasants make have their origins in deep-rooted philosophical beliefs in ‘karma’ and the cycle of birth and rebirth. The poison in the victim’s blood would purify sensuous desire and be a cure against vaulting ambition. Persuaded by the need of pain, and suffering in this unreal world. The peasants sit calmly around the poet’s and suffering mother with ‘the peace of understanding on each face’.
Contrasted against the superstitious village folk is the poet’s ‘rationalist sceptic’ father who tries all cures, rational and irrational, to alleviate the suffering of his wife. Yet another contrast is seen in the rite performed by the holy man to tame the poison. The poet observes all this and adds an ironic edge to the poem through his tongue-in-cheek humour.
The concluding lines of the poem showcase the intense feeling of a mother for the safety and security of her children:
“Mymotheronlysaid Thank God the scorpion picked on me and spared my children.”
In this poem, poet has used highly superstitious belief in rural tradition of India.
In this poem, poet has used the phrase; ‘flash of diabolic tail in the dark room’ is a symbol of evil. The poet has used the device of simile by comparing the peasants and swarms of flies. The words ‘scorpion’ and ‘shadow’ refers to alliteration. The poet has used the word ‘Evil’ refers to biblical reference. The phrases ‘swarm of flies’, ‘sum-baked walls’ refers to the device of metaphor. The phrase ‘clicked their tongues’ is the example of exaggeration. The poet has used the words; ‘poison’, ‘scorpion’ refers to verbal repetition. The poet has used the device of paradox through the lines ‘may the sum of evil balanced in this unreal world against the sum of good.’ The poet directly addressed to his mother and father and thereby the device of apostrophe is projected. The phrase, ‘I watched the flame’, ‘I watched the holy man’ is the example of structural repetition. The poet has used the word ‘evil’ is the antonym of the word ‘good’. At the end of poem, poet has used the device of sudden sharp turn to reflect the tragedy of Indian mother.
The poet has used the phrases, ‘more candles’, and ‘more lanterns’ refers to onomatopoeia.
‘The patriot’ is one of the finest lyrics of Ezekiel. The language is simple but sarcastic throughout. It reflects the patriotism with question form.
The poet is the patriot. He started arguing in favour of patriotism with reference to Mahatma Gandhi. It becomes an occasion to create the important of Ancient Indian Wisdom in compare with modern fashion and craze of foreign things. For example: ‘the mother’s day’ or ‘the father’s day’. The poet quote that now a days we often listen about terrorists and they must be at the age of students. That is not our tradition. The poet used ‘Lend me the ears’ means for that he must lend the ears from others. The poet put sarcastic remarks that everything comes but we have to patient in every situation.
The poet says with the ironical account of the principles of India, that now a days the drunkards drinks the wine for their thirst and pleasure. That is not our tradition. Ezekiel is completely teetotaller then even he puts remarks. The poet thinks about the prospects of world peace, he added that in world, people never think about brotherhood. But in India, we have many languages then even we have ‘brotherhood’ accept some funny habits. But sometime we tolerate each other.
In this poem, Ezekiel as a patriot represents the importance of Ancient Indian Traditions which are better than Modern Fashion or traditions.
In the poem, poet compares people of world with Mahatma Gandhi thereby; the device of simile is projected. The phrase, ‘Ancient Indian Wisdom’ refers to the example of synecdoche. The poet has used the lines, “I’m reading newspaper” and “I’m reading Times of India’ refers to structural repetition. The word ‘goonda’ is used for the ‘terrorist’ it refers to substitute. The phrase, ‘Lend me the ears’ is the example of personified metaphor. The poet is directly addressed ‘brothers and sisters’ as Indians and thereby apostrophe is used.
The poet used the present continuous tense while writing the poem. The phrase, ‘lovely drinks’ refers to the device of exaggeration. The word ‘teetotaller’ is the antonym of the word ‘drunkards’. The poet has used the rhetorical questions, ‘you want one glass lass?’ and ‘what you think of prospects of world peace?’ in the poem.
‘Poet, lover, birdwatcher’
The poem, ‘poet, lover, birdwatcher’ confirms the above observations. It is romantic and prose poem by Nissim Ezekiel. The title of the poem gives hint of the central theme. The poem tells about the lifestyles of three persons. They are; ‘the poet, lover, birdwatcher’.
Throughout the entire text of the poem, the poet goes on comparing the lives and works of the three possess some common qualities. They strive to reach their goals. However, they remain patient while working. They do not get excited nor do they become more enthusiastic. For example: the birdwatcher wanders from place to place in search of rare birds. Through they work patiently, they do not remain calm. The best poets wait for words years together and the lovers pursue their love restlessly. All the three do not use power to achieve their goals. They never dominate their target. They persuade so that their beloved willingly surrenders to them. Their movements are slow but they possess strong will power. They undergo numberless difficulties reach to their destination. The lover tries to understand the mind of his love and to do so; he probes into the unknown recesses of his beloved’s mind. The poet also tries to understand the human mind and then selects the exact words for the expressions of his feelings and ideas. When they succeed, their joy is boundless. The poet concludes that at the end even the deaf can hear and the blind can see.
This is the complex poem and it has a unique organic whole. The texture of the poem is a noticeable one. The poet has used the phrase, ‘the heart’s dark floor’ and thereby personified metaphor is used. Moreover, it is compared with a remote shore so simile is used. The phrase, ‘myths of light’ is the example of metaphor. The directly addressed to poet, lover, and birdwatcher thereby apostrophe is projected. The words, ‘birds’, ‘poets’ refer to the example of verbal repetition. The phrase, ‘timid wing’ is the example of exaggeration. The phrases, ‘The deaf can hear’, ‘the blind recover sight’ refers to the device of paradox. The word light is antonym of the word ‘light’ is antonym of the word ‘darkness’ used by the poet.
‘Philosophy’ is one of the more difficult lyric of Nissim Ezekiel. It is a meditative reflective poem and it states the superiority of poetry over philosophy. The language is simple and colloquial throughout.
Ezekiel studied philosophy in London where, “philosophy, poverty and poetry” three companions shared his, ‘basement room’. In this lyric also, he begins by stating his love of philosophy. It is spoken of as a place to which he often goes. While he studying philosophy, he forgets the reality of life. Hence it is a place away from existence. However, in that place it is all cold lucidity. Efforts are made to explain away things by logic and argumentation, so the poet misses the warmth of human life and human relationships which he finds in poetry. The philosopher is free from the limitations of real life. He can indulge any number of generalizations in the poem.
The poet makes rapid survey of the flow of time and gives the philosopher’s and also the time scientist’s evaluation of human life. Then poet carries his imagination backgrounds that it was a time when the earth was in its prime according to geological time-scale. Then time passes, and gradually evolution of human being takes place. All these passions which so agitated to man are merely “blinks in the eye of time.” The image may be violent and exaggerated, but all the same its functional value cannot be denied.
Science and philosophy can explain much, but still they fail to explain, they fail to throw light on certain aspects of human life, certain dark myths, certain hidden truths. But such wisdom is provided by poetry. Poetry studies common thing such as common human relationships, and so it is to be preferred to the cold abstraction of philosophy.
This is a short, powerful, discursive poem on the mysteries of the infinite philosophy with all its enquiry fails to unravel the ultimate truth. This is a meditative poem in which the poet tries to become fully integrated with the infinite.
The poet was very much attached with the philosophy at the beginning of poem but then he realize the importance of poetry so, the device of sudden sharp turn is projected. The words, ‘place’ and ‘planning’, ‘residues’ and ‘remain’ refers to alliteration. The phrase, ‘the mills of God’ is the example of metaphor. The poet has used the device of simile by comparing ‘residues of meaning’ with ‘darkest myths’. The phrase, ‘final former of light’ is the example of exaggeration. The poet used simple tense while writing the poem. The words, ‘explain’ refers to the device if verbal repetition. In the second stanza, poet carries his imagination backwards to prehistoric time, which refers to the device of flashback technique.
‘Goodbye party for Miss Pushpa T. S.’
Nissim Ezekiel’s poem “Good party for Miss Pushpa T.S.” is a very Indian poem in English in which the poet has not only parodied ‘pidgin’ or ‘babu English’, as it is called, but also made fun of the craze for, ‘foreign’, of fashionable young ladies and of their mental vacuity. It is a social satire in which the poet has treated ironical the affectations and pretentious as well as wrong use of English of Indian sahibs and Memsahibs. It is a common Indian mistake to use the present continuous tense in place of the simple present, and this fault of grammar has been parodied throughout the poem.
The poem is in form of a farewell speech. A party has been thrown in and a number of friends have been invited to it to bid goodbye to Miss Pushpa who is “departing for foreign” in two or three days to improve her prospects. Then the speaker praises the qualities of heart of Miss Pushpa. She is sweet, both externally and internally. She always similes, even when there is no reason for her to simile though she comes from a high family. The speaker does not remember exactly whether of Bulsar or Surat.
“I am not remembering now which place.
Surat? Ah, yes,
Once only I stated in Surat
With family members
Of my uncle’s very old friend
His wife is cooking nicely….
That was long time ago.”
There is a touch of drama when someone tells speaker that he belongs to Surat and then speaker continuous with his account of the many virtues of Miss Pushpa. She is very popular with both men and women. She always replies that she will do it to speak and do the summing up.
Ezekiel has used “we are meeting” for, “we have met”; “you are all knowing”, for, “you all know”, “I am not remembering” for, “I do not remember”. Ezekiel has successfully captured the flavor of Indian English in this admirable lyric.
The poet has used Babu English or Bazar English in this poem. The poet has used present continuous tense in place of simple present tense while writing the poem. The phrase, ‘departing for foreign’ refers to metaphor. The poet has used verbal repetition through the words, ‘Surat’, ‘smiling’. The poet used the word, women in place of ‘ladies’ thereby the devices of substitute is projected. Poet directly addressed to Miss Pushpa so apostrophe is used. In the poem, poet first writes about the farewell of Miss Pushpa then he divert from his way to writing the poem, that the speaker through about his past. Therefore, the device of digression is projected.
‘Background, casually’ is one of the biographical poems of Ezekiel, which shows him to be a very India poet writing in English. The poet reflects on his failures can achievements and gives expression to his love for the soil in unequivocal terms. He affirms that he is very much an India and that his roots lie deep in India. He says,
“I am not a Hindu and my background makes me a natural outsider: circumstances and decisions relate me to India. In other countries I am a foreign. In India I am an Indian.”
In the poem, Ezekiel documents some of the key formative influences that shaped his subjectivity. This is an autobiographical poem in which a note of self-mockery and irony predominates: ‘A poet rascal-clown was born”. Ezekiel’s Jewish background acquainted him quite early in his with alienation games. A Jewish boy growing up in an overwhelmingly non- Jewish environment, attending a Roman Catholic School, is plagued by fear and anxiety which is reflected in the line: ‘A mugging Jew among the, wolves the contempt shown for the ‘Hindu lads’ for their undernourished bodies, their passivity and the wrong use of positions is nothing but a mechanism of self- defence. At the same time, Ezekiel showed early signs of alienation from his own minority religious ethos were said.
“At home on Friday night the prayers
Were said. My morals had declined.
I heared of Yoga and Zen.
Could I, perhaps, be rabbi-saint?
The more I searched, the less I found.”
Restlessness, a characteristic of youth drove him abroad for a short stint:
‘Philosophy, poverty, and poetry, three companions shared my basement room.’
The basement room
Remains a true place
In my chronology.
Cold and bare it held
A rare turbulence
In check, for growth.
It becomes for Ezekiel a ‘metaphor of struggle.’ Women too proved to be poor provider of consolation: ‘I knew that I had failed, in everything, a bitter thought.’ Then a hasty retreat back to his place of alienation, an effort to make it his home: ‘And learned to laugh again at home.’
The condemnation of the uncouth Hindu turns into self-ridicule and irony. This is Ezekiel’s song of experience: ‘Married, changed jobs, and saw, myself a fool.’ In order to come to terms with his circumstances the poet resorted to the refuge of words: ‘The later dreams were all of words.’ But recognition was slow to come by. The bitterness and the pain are revealed in the lines: ‘I did not know that words betray. But let the poems come, and lost, That grip on things the wordly prize, I would not suffer that again.’ But Ezekiel is not a man to wallow in meaningless alienation games like most Indians authors do: ‘to cash in on, the inner and the outer storms.’ He has made his ‘commitments now.’ He has given himself to this ‘remote and backward place’, a final coming to terms with himself and his surroundings.
He (the poet) addressed himself as poet-rascal-clown in place of ‘I’ thereby the device of substitute is used. The poet directly addressed ‘the students’ and himself as a ‘fool’ so apostrophe is projected. The word, ‘Christ’, ‘Devil’ refers to biblical reference. The poet used the device of alliteration through the words, ‘philosophy’ and ‘Friday’, ‘poverty’ and ‘poetry’. The phrase, ‘English-cargo-ship’ refers to the device of metaphor. The word, ‘home’, ‘my father’, ‘prize’, ‘fool’, are the example of verbal repetition. The last three lines of the poem are the best example of the device of sudden sharp turn. The stanzas are not logically thing, the lake cohesion but the reason is that “my own exasperation.” ‘The song of my experience sung.’ Is autobiographical element in literature. The phrase, ‘London seasons’ refers to the device of ‘visual image.’ The torn of the poem is sarcastic and ironical. The subject matter of the poem is casually, autobiographical and subjective presentation of the poem is objective.
‘The visitor’ published in ‘The Exact Name’ is a short, simple, lyrical, and it demonstrates once again how Ezekiel is conscious of the ‘ordinariness of most events’.
The lyric opens with a reference to a common Indian superstition that the cawing of a crow foretells the arrival of some guest. The crow cawed not only once, but three times. It sat on the window, fixed its baleful eyes on the poet, it stretched out its neck and looked like ‘a nagging woman.’ The poet added that the through was comes three times but he cannot received the thought because of the crow, a symbol of thought lost somewhere ‘on the air of thought’. Then the poet was floated down. He was worried about the thought. In the third stanza poet wants to capture the idea of thought.
John thiene says:
“Poetry is then, according to this view, a form of erotic’s, a kind of love making that quietly for the muse to make the first move a medium that is both reticent and suggestive.”
The poet added that according to popular belief, the visitor would come either as angel or as devil. At last visitor came he was not like an angel or devil but he was an ordinary man. The poet was sympathetic to him. Because of the incident poet should aware of ‘ordinariness of most events.” He realizes that miracles take place only in imaginary world, and not in the real life.
The word, crow refers to the device of metaphor. The poet has used the device of verbal repetition through the phrase, ‘three times’. The poet has used the example of simile through comparing crow’s neck with ‘nagging woman’. The phrase, ‘the air of thought with muddy clothes is the example of exaggeration. The poet has used the device of sudden sharp turn because in first two stanzas poet ignores the thought but then he realize the importance thought while writing the poem.
‘Enterprise’, the lyric, was written in 1959 and published in ‘The Unfinished Man’. It is an allegory on human condition.
The poet says that when they started journey, first they were enthusiastic and happy but then he realize that he was not utilize the journey. Then he started observation through his experiences, which is connected with self-identity. They lost their way. Because of their different experiences, they could not solve the difficulties. They lost their one of the friend. After some time they realize that their arguments were so silly and trivial. They wanted to be an independent so their progress was stop. Then the poet realizes that he could not return to the sea because it was end. All of a sudden change come. They are disintegrated. Finally they reached their place but they were not happy, their goals were lost. Then they realized that the life was short and they waste their time in quarreling, their goals were turns into disappointment.
The poet has used the device of simile through comparing himself with pilgrimage. The words, ‘minds’ and ‘making’ refers to the device of alliteration. The words, ‘serpents’, ‘goats’ refers to the symbols of metaphor. The has used the device of sudden change that first they have hope at the last they were disintegrated. The phrase, ‘exalting minds’ refers to personified metaphor. The word, ‘Home’ is the example of visual image.
From these poem, we come to know that Nissim Ezekiel used many devices in his poems like sudden sharp turn, metaphor, onomatopoeia, substitute, apostrophe, alliteration, synecdoche, etc.