This week in the 19th Century we had our last session on Dickens' Hard Times and turned to look at an amazing poem by Matthew Arnold (Dickens' contemporary) "The Scholar Gypsy". Like Dickens Arnold tried to find an alternative to the social and industrial problems of his age by seeking another culture with different values. Here it is the Gypsies with their amazing, relaxed, alternative way of experiencing life that attracted Arnold's attention (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gypsy). This is a wonderful poem for the way it describes how our life is so unbalanced compared to the lives of those who have opted for a simpler life, more in harmony with the natural world around them.
Here is an idea for you to ponder in your WordPress Literature Journal:
Thinking along the lines of Matthew Arnold (seeking for some deeper, more authentic way to lead your life) how could you imagine your life if you had complete freedom of choice? What would give you most personal satisfaction? Try to write either a poem, a short-short story or even a mini-essay on this topic..... and remember, as always, you are at liberty in your Literature Journal to create a topic of your own choice.
We speculated this week on two key ideas. One was the importance of humour (as in the humorous antics of the fool) as an antidote to pomposity in the world (of individuals and statesmen). We also explored a fascinating description of the stages of human development on the Earth from the Golden Age through to the Iron Age. These two ideas are clearly linked in the way that humour, or the antics of the fool, can be seen as a way for us to return to a Golden Time, a time free from the corrupting forces of greed and the abuse of power.
So.... what is a possible Literature Journal topic for this week, connecting with these ideas.
1/From your experience when is humour an agent for real social change?
2/Write a comic skit that undermines one of the things that you find most unseemly in the world around you.... most iron-age-like.
3/Write a letter to our Prime Minister telling him about the importance of the fool.