Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Principles of Good Writing by L. A. Hill

  • What are Hills prescriptions for writing well?

Ans: L.A. Hill prescribes that to write well one should write clearly and logically. For this s/he should think clearly and logically. If s/he cannot do this, s/he should practise it taking on a particular problem.

  • “At first you may find...very difficult...practice will improve your abilities”. In what context does the author say this?
  • What does Hill prescribe for improving one’s command of vocabulary?

Ans: Hill prescribes that in order to embolden one’s vocabulary, s/he should read widely and carefully. S/he should keep a notebook and write down striking words and expressions. A good dictionary is also necessary for exact meaning and use of words..

  • “Writing is 99 percent hard work and 1 percent inspiration”. Why does the author say this?

Ans: Hill thinks that one can learn to write well by regular and frequent practice. Inspiration plays a rare role even for most famous writers. What is necessary most is disciplining oneself to the act of writing.

  • How does Hill advise the reader to find topics for writing?

Hill advises the budding writer to read the newspapers carefully so that s/he may find examples of human joys and tragedies, which will give ideas for writing. S/he should also keep a notebook for writing down ideas.

  • How, according to Hill, should a writer present his/her theme?

Ans: According to Hill, the opening paragraph should be written in such a way that it is able to catch the reader immediately. It should contain the gist of the topic. One may start with a paradoxical point of view, but it should be cleared away in the rest of the writing.

  • What are the things that Hill advises the writer to avoid?

Ans: Hill advises a writer not to put in his/her personal problems which may not interest the readers. He also forbids the budding writer to force his/her personal impression upon the readers through writing. He also says that a writer should not imitate someone else’s style. S/he should not employ jargons, officialese, obsolete expressions, rhetorical expression and empty verbiage.

Keats’s Ode to Autumn

  • Why is autumn called “Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness...maturing sun”?

Ans: The plants and fruits which were born in spring attain maturity in autumn. The rays of the sun help the fruit ripen. The poet imagines that autumn and the sun act together to supply the vines with grapes.

  • “Until ten...clammy cells.” Explain the situation as imagined by the poet.

Ans: In autumn when the late flowers are still in bloom, the bees go on collecting honey in spite of the fact that during summer they had collected enough honey. They mistake autumn for summer and think that the summer will never while their cells are overflowed with honey.

  • How does the poet personify autumn in the poem?

Or, Any question on the second stanza.

Or, Imaginative power of the poet.

Ans: Keats here presented autumn in its four striking aspects of the seasonal activities. First, autumn is seen as the harvester, seated careless on the granary floor with the gentle breeze playing with her hair. Secondly, autumn is personified as a tired reaper who falls asleep drugged by the fragrance of poppy. Thirdly, autumn is imagined as a gleaner on her way home across a brook with load of corns on her head. Fourthly, autumn is seen as a cider-presser who, seated beside a vat, watches the apple-juice oozing out.

  • Why does the poet say “Where are the songs of Spring?”

Or, What makes the poet put this question?

Ans: In the final stanza of the poem the poet reaches the understanding that with the attainment of maturity of everything in nature, the resourcefulness in nature is on the verge of giving way to bareness and scarcity of the winter. So nature is visibly taking the shape towards the direction. This makes the poet mourn while comparing the vitality and vibrancy of spring with those of autumn.

  • Explain the expression “...barred clouds bloom the soft-dying day/And touch the stubble-plains with rosy hue...”

Ans: The declining autumnal sun casts its glow on the clouds, which take a rosy flavour. When this glow of the setting sun is cast on the bare fields with stumps, everything looks rosy.

  • Why does the poet say “...thou hast thy music too...”? What constitutes the music of autumn?

Ans: In the final stanza of the poem the poet reaches the understanding that with the attainment of maturity of everything in nature, the resourcefulness in nature is on the verge of giving way to bareness and scarcity of the winter. But he is also conscious of the fact that autumn has its own beauty and music. The numerous sounds produced by the gnats, swallows, lambs, crickets and Robin Red Breast collectively produce the autumnal symphony.

  • What characterises the music of autumn? Or, Why does the autumnal music bear a melancholic overtone?

Ans: In the final stanza of the poem the poet reaches the understanding that with the attainment of maturity of everything in nature, the resourcefulness in nature is on the verge of giving way to bareness and scarcity of the winter. The insects and animals instinctively understand this and that is why the sounds made by them are marked by apprehension and sadness.

Yeats's The Wild Swans at Coole

The autumnal pathway to the Coole Lake is still mysterious. The photo is published under the generous permission of Ms. Leah Hansen, and it originally appeared in twingomatic.blogspot.com.

  • How does Yeats portray the beauty of autumn?
Ans: In the poem The Wild Swans at Coole Yeats presents a sombre beauty of the autumnal landscape. The trees are leafless and the paths across the wood are dry. The Cole Lake is full of water to the brim. As there is no wind, its surface is so calm that the clear sky is reflected on it.
  • How many swans were there in the Shore of Coole Lake?
  • “I have looked upon those ...tread”. Why does the poet say that “now my heart is sore”?
Ans: Nineteen years ago when the poet first visited the lake one day at a twilight of autumn, he saw the swans fly through the air in small circles lover by lover. When they flew away above his head joyously, the whole air was filled with the music of their wings. All this made him happy and content. But now he has grown old in body and soul. He feels bitter and sad at the fact that he now cannot enjoy the sight as he had done in his youth.
  • “Their hearts have not grown old....” Why does the poet say so?
Ans: Standing on the shore of the Coole Lake after a gap of nineteen years the poet feels that unlike himself, the swans have not grown old in body and spirit. Full of youthful vigour they can enjoy paddling through the cold water and winning the hearts of their beloved and mating with them.
  • Why does the poet call the swans “mysterious creatures”?
Ans: As darkness looms large over the surface of the Coole Lake, it seems to the poet that the swans, as if, belong to a different world different from the humans, a world not marked by mutability.