Points of Discussion in Class

1) Conceptualisation of (Applied) Literature

Literature apparently means whatever is written; but its difficult to pin it down through definitional frameworks; it is always in making; denotes a potentiality, a space of expression, reception and conception; coordinates of literature are author, text, reader and cultural environment; ‘discourse’ is important..it means system of thoughts or ideas which both conditions and is a product of the existing power structures in society; like other signifying practices, literature is a signifying practice in culture; it shapes and is shaped by different social, economic, political structures of thought; interacts with the existing power dynamics vis-a-vis race, class, gender and other contours of one’s identity; therefore literature should be understood in terms of discourse; it is discursive in nature; hence the transition from pure literary studies to cultural studies; hence applied literature; such pursuits of signifying practices are necessary because life is a complex in which many a times there are multiple answers to a question; life is not a graceful mathematical equation; it is a melting pot of human consciousnesses; hence the significance of the course.

2) Literary Text: Night of the Scorpion by Nissim Ezekiel

Structure & style:

The narrator recalls and appears to be believable; chiselled beginning & end; pithy expressions such as “I remember the night…” or “My mother only said…” undercut the otherwise elaborate narration of the poem; alliteration: “parting with his poison”; metaphor of lightning: “Flash of diabolic tail”; anthropomorphic similes are use to depict the villagers: flies, giant scorpions, buzzing (onomatopoeia) the name of God; “peace of understanding”: a muddled representation of the bibilical words (“peace of God that passes all understanding”); the dominant tone is satirical

Discussion on the villagers:

Can be seen in both positive and negative lights

Discussion on the father:

In the moment of desperation he renounces scientific thinking


Probably a quack.

End of the poem:

The mother probably dies…she is cremated in front of the child..

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