Goodbye, Mr. Chips

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When my cousin who’s about to complete his University expressed his dislike for James Hilton’s Goodbye Mr.Chips, I became defensive and wasted no time in suggesting that story is not that much boring and while we were busy sharing our thoughts, my uncle who himself read this story in his intermediate course intervened and also showed his lack of interest about the atmosphere in Mr. Chips.

It’s been thirty years that Mr. Chips is a part of intermediate course in my country and for some time a debate is going about removing it from syllabus.

Mr. Chips is a story of a school teacher about which it’s said that Hilton created this character after his father.

Originally written in 1934, the story is adapted into cinemafilms and two television presentations.

When some people are of the view that it should be removed and replaced by some modern tale, my mind takes me back to the time when our teacher would ask one of us to read a chapter from Mr. Chips and later she would translate it in Urdu for us.

At the end of lecture we were asked to prepare notes from guide books.

It was her way of teaching literature and this is the common way in which the novella is taught to our students in colleges.

Eminent Professor Bhem Singh Dihya from India always reminds his students that literature is a study of life and we cannot study Mr.Chips without establishing its connection with life.

In life, we often meet persons like Mr. Chips. They’re ordinary in appearances but they possessed some some special qualities.

Hilton’s character Mr. Chips knew how to teach languages and with this quality, he succeeded in leaving strong impact upon generation of students in his time.

Mr. Chips was a sincere soul and as a teacher, he did hardwork to achieve a high status at a Brookfield school.

How can we say that the world of Mr. Chips has grown old when themes of sincerity and hardwork towards one’s job are still relevant in our society of 2018?

Another criticism which is put forward by the opponents of this story is about love affair of Mr. Chips. They consider Katherine and Chips relation dull and boring.

Unlike modern tale of Twilight series, the love affair of Katherine and Chips was such that there’s lack of show of emotions in it but the reader needs to study the underlying theme in this love story of Katherine and Chips.

Katherine’s influence changed not only chauvinistic attitude of Mr. Chips but also altered him in a way that he became more effective teacher in a class.

How can we consider such kind of love dull when its influence alters personality to that much extent?

It somehow takes me back to 2008 when suicide attacks were common in country.  Once it happened that while we were in class a suicide blast killed dozens of policemen near our University. Confusion erupted among students and phones started to ring immediately. Other teachers informed our Professor but he continued giving his lecture.

Our minds were so occupied with the situation outside that we didn’t grasp a thing from his lecture.

Now, there’s a scene in Hilton’s story where Mr. Chips in the midst of bombing not only kept on teaching Latin but also carried on cracking jokes so to divert the attention of frightened students in his class.

Our teacher on that day in our University class didn’t try to calm us down. He only wanted to complete his lecture and though he succeeded in doing so, he unlike Mr. Chips failed to leave any impact upon his students.

When my cousin is of the view that reading Mr. Chips is a mere waste of time, I’m of the opinion that it’s not the time to say good bye to Mr. Chips. Literature never gets old. It can’t be associated with certain time period and keeping this in view we still can learn a lot from Mr. Chips.

 

 

 

What is it that you require to become a writer?

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Is it about ‘writing space’ or is it about some kind of ‘inspiration’ that is necessary to write? Is it only good imagination that gives rise to powerful writing?

Lately, I’ve been trying to find answers for these questions and have recently came across a tedtalk by Markus Zusak on yout tube.

Zusak who is an author of New York Times bestseller The book Thief explains that these are problems in life for which a person wants some solution and in order to get away from them, he becomes a writer.

This phenomenon sounds interesting to me and Harry Potter’s writer J. K Rowling came to my mind. Prior to publishing her novel, Rowling was going through lots of troubles in her life. She was a single mother and in absence of any kind of permanent job, she was in need of money.

Rowling’s strong imagination was the reason behind her success but that were also problems in her life which compels her to use her imagination in an effective way.

Reign of Queen Victoria in England is famous for its novelists and Charles Dickens is considered one of the greatest English writers of his time. When his father was in debtors’ prison, Dicken left school to work in factory. Dickens’ was quite young when he was forced to live a life away from his family and while working as a child, he experienced the problems which poor working class faced in society.

Facing issues and on getting first hand experience of life, Dicken with the help of his imagination created some unforgettable characters in literature.

Wilkins Micawber, Ebenzer Scrooge and Oliver Twist are considered some of his memorable characters.

An author while writing her memoir writes

” My sharpest memory is of a single instant surrounded by dark”

Which means that these are dark moments in life which leave strong impression on our minds and writer is a sensative person to express his emotions well from such moments.

Tolstoy in Anna Karenina writes

“Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.”

Which shows that in unhappiness there are many shades while in happy moments we often don’t find much which can stir or move our soul. Troubles in life provides us with many ideas to get away from them.

It’s not always necessary for a writer to own some perfect writing space, it’s anywhere that an idea can struck him.

Going back to that tedtalk by Markus Zusak, he tells that while writing a draft for his book, he literally tore and threw away many pages. He was confused about selecting his narrator and while looking at the pile of crumpled papers, an idea came to his mind.

Previously when he was considering taking girl to be his narrator, he was facing lots of issues but when he decided to make death a narrator of his book, everything went smooth.

It was out of the box thinking and once the novel was well received, he concluded that his journey of writing The book thief was not easy. He was sure that problems helped him in creating such a compelling piece of writing.

Have you read this book by Markus Zusak? Do you agree that these are problems in life which often helps writer in his writing.

Image Coutesy: Unsplash

Daily Prompt: Study

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Reading literature is fun but studying it for exams can sometimes be tough. That being said, I admit I need to prepare for my paper of Novel.

To the lighthouse by Virginia Woolf is an easy read but preparing its underlying themes is a lengthy process.

There’s this theme of “relation of art to life” that makes me think of writing process which I feel is similar to the “pangs of creation” which an artist feels for his painting. Woolf through her character of Liliy Briscoe has depicted this fact that in order to create, artist needs to connect with life.

And that makes me think that in writing too, a relaxed mind and a heart free of any ill-feelings can create wonders on paper.

via Daily Prompt: Study

For Whom the bell tolls

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It’s been a day that I’ve finished reading this novel and still I’m finding it difficult to get myself detach from this powerful narrative.

There is a power in simplicity and by the time I was at the last paragraph, I was convinced that a writer needs not to use only flowery statements to convey his message.

“For whom the bell tolls” written in a backdrop of Spanish Civil war, is regarded as a best work of fiction. It’s a tale of an American guy Robert Jordan who is on a mission to blow up a bridge. So, here goes a story of almost four days which the writer skillfully expanded on 300 pages.

Hemingway is known for his unique style of writing. His journalistic background helped him in producing the best work in literature. The concise, clipped and abrupt sentences depict his telegraphic style of writing.

Today, while thinking about “Robert Jordan” as a typical Hemingway hero, I came to understand the meaning of the term “grace under pressure”. For, reading some last paragraphs of novel were an intense experience.

I don’t know why but the last moments remind me of the movie “Van Rayan’s Express”. My father love this dialogue.

“If only one gets out, it’s a victory”.

I won’t like to appear as a “spoiler” here. So, if you haven’t got a chance to read Hemingway and if you love reading war stories then you’ll enjoy reading this tale. Here is a beautiful passage from the book.

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BLACK BEAUTY : The autobiography of a horse

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“Black Beauty” by “Anna Swell” is a classic English literature, and is counted among the 100 greatest novels of all time. The only novel of “Anna Swell” was a great success and the writer died just after the five months of the publication of the novel.

While, reading this novel, I was experiencing mixed feelings.  The moment when Black Beauty ran to save the life of her mistress brought tears in my eyes and Black Beauty’s showing love to his master was a moment of elation for me.

“Black Beauty” is a story of trust and loyalty. It is a beautiful tale of friendship which narrates the story of a horse and his journey from his birth to his old age.

The moments of flogging and the misery of a poor overloaded horse are beautifully narrated.  It is a story which starts from a lush green farm.  Moving from one hand to another, Black Beauty became a cab horse and also worked as a work horse.

This intriguing tale is written in a first person narrative. The scenes are so vividly described that the book is sure to leave an everlasting impact upon its reader’s mind.

Have you read this book? What really inspires you about the horses?

Have you read “Adam Bede”?

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I like reading Novels and I’m quite a fan of “Victorian literature”. That “golden age” of novel writing has always fascinated me.

The literature of Victorian era beautifully depicts the social, moral and political aspects of that society. I’ve recently studied “A Tale of Two Cities” and now I’ve started reading “Adam Bede”.

I’m finding it hard to build an association with the characters here. I really want to read it and for that I need to know about your thoughts.

Have you read this novel? What inspires you about the story?