History

Gems of Literature

Her works focus on subjects like, desire and loss, impermanence and beauty, the different dimensions of human mind’s connection to others and to the creatures and objects which co-exist with human beings in this perceptible world. The objects thus perceived are in the end, seamlessly integrated within the mind, "to disappear into and become us, and so allow us also to become them-animal, vegetable, mineral, word, all thoroughly mysterious and known." (Hirshfield, 1996) Hirshfield defines "three stances as the subjective, reflective, and objective modes", corresponding to the immature, slightly wiser, and ripe stages of consciousness. Within these constructs, she has created classics which uncover the silent subtleties of everyday life, ranging from the metaphysical and passionate to the political and scientific.
What is power, if it is indeed, incapable of influence Through the constructs of Jane Hirshfield, this dissertation shall delineate the power of literature to reveal the influences of memory and the structures of history. Two contemporary works of authors Anne Michaels, and Gao Xingjian, "Fugitive Pieces", and "Soul Mountain" respectively, are briefly discussed here, which illustrate the theory of Hirshfield that also find convergence in the thoughts of other authors like Azar Nafisi (" Reading Lolita in Tehran").
Anne MicAnne Michaels’s "Fugitive Pieces" is the story of a young, Polish boy, Jakob Beer who loses his parents and sister to the war, to escape which he hides himself in the "bog" or mud until he is rescued by a Greek geologist, Athos. Athos then becomes his foster father who educates him and gives Jakob a second lease of life. Herein one finds how everyday moments of life, the ordinary things like his mother straightening Jakob’s jacket, sewing a button, stirring a pan in the kitchen, become powerful images that stir uninvited memories of a tragic past. To the extent that, the protagonist, they become precious little moments – moments of life to be cherished in the innermost chambers of darkness, as if throwing light on the magnitude of its deprivation.
"so close I can feel her powerful hand on my own, feel her gentle fingers on my back, so close I can smell Mrs. Alperstein’s lotion, so close I feel my father’s hand and Athos’s hand on my head and my mother’s hands pulling down my jacket to straighten me out, so close I can feel Alex’s arms reaching around me from behind" (Michaels, 1996, p 170).
"I felt this was my truth. That my life could not be stored in any language but only in silence. the moment I looked into the room and took in only what was visible, not vanished. The moment I failed to see Bella had disappeared. But I did not know how to seek by way of silenceBella and I inches apart, the wall between us .." (Michaels, 1996, p 111).
Here he painfully remembers the beauty of his sister Bella, and the anguish he suffers at being left behind. He wished he too were dead so that, he could raise his spirit to with that of his other dead family members. He pines their absence and almost sub-consciously lives with them always, despite realizing that through Athos’s love he has had a second stint of life. Not surprisingly, he remains faithful to Athos and his memory after the latter’s death to the extent that his wife Alex leaves him.
"On Athos’s desk the night he died: a wooden box full of Meccano, the same set of metal

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