English Literature of Various Periods
Literature is the product of context (i.e. in time and space). Consequently, like all art, literature tends to evolve, responding to contextual changes. English literature is no exception. In this paper, we look at four key periods (Anglo-Saxon period, the Middle Ages, The Renaissance, and the 18th Century Literature) and how literature has changed accordingly. In this respect, this paper cites distinctive differences in style, theme, and language.
Literature in Various Periods: Styles, Themes and Language
Anglo-Saxon Period Literature
This period (between 450-1100) followed the settlement of Saxons and other Germanic tribes in England after the departure of Roman settlement. The literature styles and genres at this time were mainly meant to be performed. These included epic poetry, sermons, hagiography, and chronicles, among others. This was mainly the form of alliterative verse form, which utilized alliteration, accent, quantity of vowels, and the pattern of syllabic accentuation. This consisted of five permutations based on the scheme of a base verse. We see style in Beowulf, of the period’s surviving and most popular epic poems (Drabble 57).
The style of the literature of the time makes sense. It followed in the style of earlier Germanic war language and poems. The emphasis on performance had to do with the fact that the literature at the time was mainly passed by word of mouth. Therefore, alliterative verse gave the literature a musical aspect, making it easy to remember (Roberts 16).
The themes of the Anglo-Saxon literature were mainly religious, particularly Christianity. The people had just been converted to Christianity on their arrival in England. Beowulf, although set in Scandinavia, is famous among the English. Perhaps this is because it resonates with the heroic story-line of the Christian heroism.
The Middle Ages (1100-1500)
The use of Anglo-Saxon language (heavily influenced by the Germanic language) in England began to fade after the end of Norman Rule in 1066. The Norman Rule had led to the rise of a new aristocracy, which brought with it a new language and culture. French language found a suitable channel in the French Law, which became the standard legal language (used in the parliament and courts). However, the French Rule had not been uniform across the lands. Therefore, the new English (known as Middle English) existed in several dialects, so that various writers used the language that corresponded with their regions (including culture) (Drabble 27).
These literary works were influenced by various aspects of the Norman culture. For example, some works were based on original works of the Anglo-Normans. This period saw the rise of the first major English writers, including Geoffrey Chaucer and William Langland, among others.
Thematically, although religious literature was still common, some of the works seemed to be defining independence of thought and standing. In The Cantebury Tales, Chaucer is said to have legitimized the Middle English as his own.
The Renaissance (1500-1660)
This period saw the rise of, among many other good writers, Shakespeare. As the title suggests, it was the period of self-realization among the English envisaged in the works of the writers at the time. During this period, with the introduction of the Printing Press, vernacular literature increasingly gained ground. This was the period of cultural artistic renewal. It was the period of poetry and drama. English writers at the time were influenced by Medieval Theater, as well as the rediscovery of Roman dramatists. The works were, therefore, marked with tragedy and comedy. Ultimately, the works were largely experimental. Shakespeare, for example, wrote plays of various genres (including tragedies, comedies and histories). A good number of his works are referred to as tragicomedies. The use of tight double plots were futuristic, paving the way for romantic nature of greatest comedies of the 1590s (Long 36).
The 18th Century Literature
This period marked the development of the modern novel as a literary genre. In fact, this was the time when the first English novels were produced. This was the age of enlightenment, a period that saw changing attitudes towards Christianity and the church (Long 51). The underlying theme expressed the deviation from convention. In this respect, literature explored the themes of social upheaval, political satire, attempts to reverse personal status, geographical exploration among others. At this stage, the modern English language, albeit with its corruptions from the French language, language was fully developed.
As this paper proves, the evolution of the English literature was inspired by the evolution of the society that inspired it. Every period seems to prompt a certain response in the people and the writers became their voice, the ones to expose the societal psyche at every period.
Drabble, Margaret. The Oxford Companion to English Literature, 6th Edition, London:
OUP Oxford, 2006. Print.
Long, William J. English Literature: Its History and Its Significance for the Life of the
English Speaking World, The Project Gutenberg EBook of English Literature, 2004. Web, 10 December 2013
Roberts, Chris. Heavy Words Lightly Thrown: The Reason Behind Rhyme, Thorndike
Press, 2006. Print.
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The ‘spoils of poynton’, by James Henry is a novel about Fleda Vetch, a principled but weak-willed young woman who finds herself in a feud between a mother, Mrs. Gereth, and a son, Owen Gereth. Mrs. Gereth is an antique collector whose husband has just died and left all her antique collections to his son Owen. Owen wishes her mother to move out of the family home in which he is planning to bring in his wife Mona Brigstock, after their marriage. However, his mother does not like Mona whom she considers being a heretic. She, therefore, hopes to marry off her son to a better lady. Fleda who is invited by Mrs. Gereth to live at the house in Poynton is expected to stop the marriage by endearing herself to Owen. This request sets the stage for a range of dilemmas that Fleda has to deal with in her attempt to aid both mother and son. She also has her personal interests. At last, only one side ends up winning (Dover para 1)
Fleda’s dilemma starts when she is invited to Poynton by Mrs. Gereth so that she can experience the beautiful house and the several treasures in it. Fleda is enchanted by the beautiful house at Poynton and all its treasure. When Owen brings Mona to see his inheritance, Mrs. Gereth shows her disdain towards Mona whom she feels does not know the value of her antiques. Fleda’s thoughts are caught between two opposing sides whereby she does not know whether to support Mona’s attitude of disinterest towards the beautiful antique (James 11) or Mrs. Gereth’s rudeness towards Owen and Mona (Dover para 5). Fleda, who is made uncomfortable by the argument between mother and son is torn between, going back to her father’s house in London, or staying in to enjoy the spoils of Poynton which she has started getting accustomed to. Her love for the big Jacobean house makes her decision not to go back to London (Dover para5).
Once Mrs. Gereth expresses her dislike for Mona, she asks Fleda to help end the marriage between Owen and Mona. Mrs. Gereth promises Fleda that she will give up everything if Fleda marries her son. (James 50). Although Fleda admits in her heart that she loves Owen, she is caught between the moral dilemma of expressing her real feelings towards Owen, whom she is not sure will return the love or just leaving him to continue loving Mona, whom she believes will never let him go. In this case, Fleda is torn between love and principle. And all she can promise to Mrs. Gereth is that she would try to stop the wedding. However, she lacks both the assertion and decision to make such a move (James 51).
Other than Mrs. Gereth’s request that she prevent the marriage between Owen and Mona, Fleda finds herself promising Owen that she would convince his mother to move to Ricks, a dower House in Essex that Mrs. Gereth inherited from her auntie. This offer to help Owen is a big dilemma since Fleda is in love with him and helping him would mean that she was willing to sacrifice her love. Deep down in her heart, she hopes that Owen will for some reason consider his mother’s side and leave Mona for her (James para 5).
Chapter six indicates the biggest dilemma suffered by Fleda. At this point, she has made two pacts. The first one is with Mrs. Gereth. Although Mrs.Gereth has agreed to move to Ricks, she will only do that on the condition that Owen allows her to move out with everything she treasures. However, Owen will only allow her to take away those that belong to her and not any of the antiques. The two sides use Fleda to plead for their cases. Fleda is caught in a dilemma whereby she is cannot either tell Mrs. Gereth of the promise she has made to help Owen or tell Owen that she does not possess enough influence over Mrs. Gereth’s decisions. She is burdened by the expectations of both parties on her and her only solution is to leave Poynton, which she sincerely loves, and move back to her father’s humble lodging in London. She provides the excuse that she is going back there to help her sister Maggie with wedding preparations. Fleda is caught by surprise when Mrs. Gereth sends her a letter informing her that she has moved to Ricks, in addition, Owen, whom she meets by accident in London insists on buying her a thank you gift for allegedly convincing his mother to move (Dover para 7).
Soon after Maggie’s wedding, Fleda goes to stay in Ricks. However, she is embarrassed by the fact that Mrs. Gereth’s new house is overflowing with the treasures that she stole from Poynton. Once again, Fleda finds herself in a dilemma. Her heart is full of love and admiration for Owen and for this she is willing to leave Ricks after seeing the amount of wealth his mother has stolen from him. However, Fleda knows that Owen does not see her as a lover and so she chooses to remain faithful to Mrs. Gereth who has promised to leave all her antiques with someone who can appreciate them. That someone in her opinion is Fleda (Dover para 8).
Freda’s dilemma worsens when Owen comes to Rick to ask his mother to return the stolen antiques to the Poynton house. Instead of talking to his mother, he chooses to use Freda to plead with her mother to return the treasures, without which Mona will refuse to marry him. Freda agrees to talk to Mrs. Gereth on his behalf. When Owen expresses his concern over Freda’s home situation, just in case Mrs. Gereth throws her out for taking his side Freda throws him outside in fear that he might say something that will reveal his true feelings for her. In this case, she once again chooses to do something that goes against her heart for something which will eventually give Mona the chance of marrying Owen (Dover para 9). Although Freda’s reflection of her relationship with Owen tells her that she has very little chance with him, she decides to ask his mother to return the antiques to Poynton. However, she is hopeful that there will be other reasons to cause a breakup between Owen and Mona (Dover para 10).
When Mrs. Gereth confronts Fleda and asks her to tell the truth concerning Owen’s requests and intention, Fleda is once again caught in the moral dilemma of telling the truth concerning Mona’s refusal to get married before the antiques have been returned to Poynton. When Mrs. Gareth asks her why she is taking Owen’s side she decides to invent an inexistent story about Owen’s decision to apply legal enforcement in getting back the stolen antiques (Dover para 11). Fleda revelations concerning Owens intentions send Mrs.Gereth into trying to fix her into another dilemma. She asks Fleda to do everything she can to get Mona away from Owen. Mrs.Gereth promises to delay the wedding by delaying to return what she stole from Poynton. (Dover, para 12).
Fleda feels pressured by the requests from both mother and son and decides not to cooperate with her. She feels that despite his mother’s insistence that she still has time to steal Owen away from Mona, Owen is only devoted to Mona and he is willing to do anything to get her hand in marriage. Instead, she decided to help Owen recover his treasure. When Mrs. Gereth asks her to meet with Owen in London to relay the message that she won’t be returning the treasure until he finds himself a favorable wife, Fleda refuses to go and instead sends a letter asking Owen to be patient with his mother. It is not easy for Fleda to deliver on both promises, and Mrs. Gereth’s insistence makes her go back to her father’s lodging in London (Dover para 13-14).
When Owen visits Fleda to ask about his mother’s decision, he opens up to her about his problems with Mona, then reveals that he has always loved someone else. Fleda is caught between supporting Owens’s intended marriage to Mona and on another side inquiring whether she is the young lady that Owen has always been in love with. Although she can tell the truth based on the kind words that Owen has said of their friendship, she prefers to play ignorant and pester Owen to reveal the girls’ names. But she loses her chance of happiness when then their conversation is interrupted by Mrs. Brigstock’s, Mona’s mother’s visit (Dover 15-16). Owen writes and visits Fleda days later. When he tells Fleda about his argument with Mrs. Brigstock, and that he considers himself free, Fleda gains the courage to choose what she has always wanted. She sends him to go and personally break up with Mona (Dover 17).
Elated by the news of Owens breaking up with Mona, Mrs. Gereth returns everything to Poynton. But just when Fleda thinks her dilemmas are over, Owen marries Mona at the registry office ending Fleda’s dreams of becoming a Gereth (Dover 21). Indeed, her long history of dilemmas becomes her downfall. She not only loses the man she loves but she is also too late to pick a choice item from Poynton before it mysteriously burns down with all its content (James 106).
Dover, Adrian. The spoils of Poynton: Story synopsis: Story synopsis, n.d. Retrieved on December 1st 2011 from: http://www.henryjames.org.uk/spoynt/synop_inframe.htm
James, Henry. The spoils of Poynton. New York, NY: Digireads.Com Publishing.
I was raised in a small and a simple family in the one of the most interactive states of America. I was born and raised in Texas City where our family runs a huge ranch that always kept us busy. Although I was born a reserved and less sociable person, I was very active and involved with the family activities. I did not have so many friends and people easily noticed how reserved I was. My mother and siblings were very interesting people to be with to the point that I could hardly stay away from them. We usually went to visit our relatives when we had thanksgiving dinners and during social holidays such as Christmas. I was always happy to spend time with my family.
It had been a while since I stopped looked at my dad’s pictures. He was handsomely built and I figured out it was one of the attributes my mother fell for. He was in the army and he hardly spent his time with us because he was always in the camp or out for wars. I was always getting worried and I once asked my mom;”Mom, what if dad dies one day in the battlefield?” My mom was amazed by my question but as always, she made humor out of it;”I told him to never appear on the frontline.” We all laughed when my younger sibling added that that was being a coward.
The army was finally returning from Vietnam from battle and after the states homecoming party, we would have our own homecoming for my dad at home. I was thrilled as I counted months turn into weeks and weeks into days. I had one issue though, my dad wanted me to become like him. I was afraid that ‘becoming like him was not being a soldier.’ So, I waited for dad so eagerly just like everyone in the house but was so cautious not to trigger a conversation that would make him suggest enrolling me into an army training camp. We worked on the ranch every day after school, supervising to see everything was in good shape as well as helping our mother with many chores in the house. We were brought up to be independent and for that reason our parents did not hire any nanny or a housekeeper. We managed to work together as a team and every time we were happy of our achievements.
When it was a few weeks before the homecoming for my dad, I had a terrible dream. Dad was there into the battlefield with his colleagues. The attackers were approaching and the people that were on the front line, started going behind exposing those that were behind. In the dream, my dad was the commander and therefore he had to lead his team. The soldiers were scared because the multitude approaching was too huge and was immensely equipped. I saw my dad walk towards the enemy with his riffle while the others started running away. My dad was shot and he fell down groaning in pain. He asked me to find the shooter and avenge for his death between his cries. I then saw my mother cry and asking him why he went on the frontline. My mother cried in pain and asked me to avenge for his death once the burial was over. This scared me off and I started crying saying “I can’t be a soldier, I can’t fight, please please!”
I was woken up by murmurs around me. I practically thought we were at the funeral when I opened my eyes and saw my Mom and siblings. I could not believe it was a dream because everything seemed so real. My siblings were giggling all along as I retold my nightmare. I was sweating and they were making fun of me saying I was crying just so I could not hold a gun. They were calling me a coward. Deep down I knew there was some truth that I could not admit to them but I lied to them that the tears on my eyes down to my ears were from mourning the ‘purposed death of my dad.’ Then I called my mother and asked her privately to ask my dad not to force me into the army. She smiled and said no parent could do that.
Finally, the big day approached and all plans were underway at the state level as well as the family level. We did not go to the ranch that whole week waiting for the Friday that the soldiers would meet their families. We were all excited because after those months dad was so far away, we would finally see him. I reread all the letters that he sent to us and I could feel he was so close to us. All the plans were smooth and everyone seemed happy. Three days before they could embark on the journey, the state received yet another bad news. Twelve soldiers lost their lives after a landmine exploded. The names were still not released and everyone got shocked. My mother rushed to the headquarters to ask of her husband. We waited eagerly for her to come home with the news. I surfed on the internet to have a clue but I did not succeed. Darkness of grief engulfed my family. My mother came late but luckily, my dad was safe. Then I thought to myself, what are the families of the deceased feeling? What are their children going to do? What will become of them? Why do we have terrorists? I did not rejoice any longer because I felt the pain of those families. I did not even realize the big day approach. All I was aware of, was that when I saw my dad, and hugged him, I said to him; “Dad, I want to be soldier when I grow up so that I can protect other children from terrorists!” I decided to face my fears and protect the innocent.
I was just from the class and my friends did not give me a break. The phone kept ringing because they wanted me to join them for a bikini party for one of our friends. I was in a hurry because I had to pass through the canteen and grab some snacks because I was hungry. My friends called every other minute and I could only now run because they were waiting for me. I bought a soda from the canteen, some crisps, and a hotdog. Then I staffed them in my bag pack and headed for the gate. I immediately realized that the weather was changing and I had to go back for my umbrella from the class. I made it there very swiftly and grabbed it and my raincoat. Then I rushed from the class with much anticipation to make it early before the party begun. It is everyone’s desire to have fun with people of the same age group and with similar goals. I did not look back but kept on forging ahead and my mind focusing on how I would get entertained to clear off the stress of the week.
Just as I got to the streets and tracing the way to where my friends were waiting to pick me, a very heavy downpour begun. Water splashes were being blown from side to side by the heavy winds that carried along some papers, plastics, and leaves. It was not expected because winter was already over and summer had kicked off. Everybody was rushing from this corner to another trying to hide their heads from the rainwater. Luckily, I had my raincoat on and my umbrella at hand. I was among the lucky few with umbrella while others were already in hotels, inside shopping malls, inside vehicles, banks, schools, hostels and many other places that shielded them from the intense downpour. I looked around, everyone was running, children making chill screams, couples kissing in the rains, taxi men hooting for passengers, old people walking toward the buildings, and everyone was busy.
Everyone was busy apart from just one person. I looked across the streets to see why he did not move but the view was blurred by the misty air and heavy down pour. The man had coiled himself up at the side of the road and the rain was pouring down on him. I was astonished and my curiosity drove me towards him. All I could see was his back behind his really thin T-shirt. The T-shirt was worn out and the man shivered terribly. I walked closer and closer towards him. No one was near this place. People had run to find shelter at the other side of the street because the rain poured at an elevated angle. I walked up to him and upon turning to have a glimpse of his face, I was filled with pity and sorrow engulfed me. I could not believe that people passed him as they run to find shelter from the rain.
This man was about the age of sixty. His wrinkled face seemed troubled and saddened. He had suffered a lot not only this rainy day nut also other instances. He was a cripple. He was paralyzed from waist downwards and he used his hands to pull his body during movement. I knelt down beside him and asked him his name. He just looked at me with tired eyes. I could not help feeling pity for him and I really fought back my tears. He was wet and water was dripping from every part of his body. I told him my name but he did not respond. I wondered if he was dumb too! It could be so unfair for the gods to deny that much to just one person! I removed my raincoat and put it on him. He did not move a muscle. I removed my bag pack and removed the hotdog. I handed it to him. He looked at me and I nodded to him to convince him take the hotdog. He stretched his wrinkled hand and took the hotdog. He ate hungrily as I sat beside him and held the umbrella for both of us. His face started to brighten as he ate the hot dog. I could not tell him to stand, or ‘let’s walk to the building’ so I just stayed with him until he was through.
When the rain was over, he looked at me with his kind eyes. “Thank you so much my daughter. No one has ever done that for me. May you be blessed.” Since I could not host him because I had no place for my own, I felt so much pain leaving him alone in the streets. Darkness was falling. I patted his shoulder and asked him to take care of himself and use the umbrella in case it rained again. As I walked away, I looked back and tears rolled down my cheek. I wondered where he would sleep, what he would do in the cold and asked God to help the street families.
Thematic analysis of literature
Richard Ford’s novel The Sportswriter has very many educational themes. The book examines people’s attitudes towards life. The most outstanding theme is that of Quiet despair. Frank Bascombe is a protagonist in this novel and the mentioned theme is highlighted through his actions and lifestyle. Frank Bascombe has lost his son and family in a very short span of time. He is in dire need of company. He wants to feel appreciated and to explore his weaknesses and shortcomings. Frank Bascombe lives in constant despair and he is willing to do everything there is to find a direction in his life. He believes that is he attaches himself to someone who cares for him, he can finally understand himself. Unfortunately, the woman that Frank chooses to do this with refuses to accept the proposal of being his lover.
Through his life and observations, Frank is trying to say that it is pleasurable to live in isolation within the limitations that he sets for himself. However, Lynette Arcenault does not agree with Frank’s assertions. She points out that alienation cannot help frank forget about his family. Frank’s despair is as a result of the randomness of life. He says that “down deep we’re all reaching out for a decent rewarding contact every chance we get.” Franks despair is also highlighted when he stops writing literature for no apparent reason. He does not want to think of the future. He relishes living in the present. In a nutshell, the theme of despair is highlighted clearly through Frank’s words and actions. Despite efforts by friends to help him get over his past, Frank is not willing to listen.
Communication English Essay
Smoking rates in Australia have been steadily decreasing over the past few years. Statistics show that in 1945, a whopping 70% of men in the country smoked, and this figure had dropped to 13.8% by the year 2010. Twenty-six percent of the women population smoked in the year 1945, but this figure had reduced to 9.8% by the year 2010. The smoking rates in Australia have dramatically reduced for several reasons. To begin with, the government came in very strongly and put controls on the use of tobacco. These controls were implemented through strategies like high taxes on tobacco, making it very expensive to access. Mass media education on the negative effects of tobacco use enlightened many people. This is because people became more aware that tobacco smoking is responsible for diseases like cancer of the lungs, stomach, kidney, nose, throat, pancreas, bladder and lips, asthma, stroke, blindness, liver cirrhosis and heart disease.
The greatly reduced smoking rates in Australia highly contrast with those in developing countries. It is estimated that there are about 1.3 billion people who smoke, with an astounding 82% being citizens of low and middle-income nations. Smoking accounts for 20% of deaths in men, and 5% in women. Research shows that tobacco use in the form of smoking increases by 3.4% annually in developing countries1. Revelation that is more shocking is that while smoking in developed countries will have reduced to 29%, down from 34%, the trend will have shot up to 71% in the developing countries. Australians consider smoking as an unhealthy habit and find it socially repelling. That is why smoking is public areas like restaurants and bars and other social places have been banned.
What are the reasons behind the increasing smoking rates in developing countries? This paper looks at the smoking habits in India and reports the following findings. Tobacco smoking in India has a direct correlation to poverty levels. It has been reported that people who live on the streets and have no place to call home spend more on cigarettes than they do on food. Tobacco is mainly grown in developing countries and India has not been left behind. It is claimed that tobacco farming brings many returns to the farmers, but on the contrary, tobacco farmers are among the poorest in the population. The cost of production is normally higher than the returns that the farmers get after sales. Since tobacco farming is labor intensive and many farmers are not able to invest in labor, most of them engage their children in the farms from a very early age. This makes the children grow up with an orientation in the tobacco world, knowing its use and in the process, they end up experimenting with cigarette.
The cycle continues from one generation to the next. When children start smoking at an early age, the addiction that results makes it hard to quit smoking, and this is why the trend is on the rise. Tobacco companies that but the raw materials from the farmers in developing countries have had a large impact on the way advertising is done to promote tobacco products. Advertising has a major impact on the use of tobacco, as one brand convinces people that smoking is ‘smooth all the way.’ Most of these adverts forget to remind people that cigarette smoking is harmful to their health. Low levels of education in India and other developing countries have contributed significantly to the levels of ignorance about the negative effects of tobacco smoking. People have little or little awareness of diseases that are caused by smoking and the implications thereof2. On the other hand, if they are aware of the diseases, they are hardly concerned that they could be victims of these diseases and treating them would be a costly affair. Poor academic performance has led many youths in India into losing their self-esteem. As a result, they have resulted into cigarette smoking with an aim of fitting in with the rest of the elites who are hooked into the habit of smoking tobacco. Low self-esteem causes people to isolate themselves from others. Smoking hence becomes their next best companion. Cigarettes are easily accessible to both the old and the young in many towns all over India, as it is the case in all of the developing countries3. They sell cheaply and with just a few coins, one can be able to acquire a whole pack of the product.
Lack of control measures by the government to put a ban on cigarette smoking is another reason that promotes smoking among the Indian population. The fact that this country grows tobacco and the government has allowed it, explains why there are no bans on smoking tobacco. For many stressed people in developing countries, smoking is a medium through which they get to release their stressful thoughts. As one respondent of a research study responded, watching the smoke disappear into air makes them feel as though their problems are disappearing as well. With this kind of mentality, quitting smoking becomes a very hard task even for those who come to realize that smoking only leaves them poorer and does not sort out their problems. Governments in developing countries, with the help of health agencies form developed countries should step in to curb the smoking habit and create awareness on the dangers of smoking among its citizens. This way, many problems that occur because of smoking will be eliminated.
Andrews, R.L. & . Franke, G.R, (2010). The determinants of cigarette consumption: A meta-analysis, Journal of Public Policy & Marketing, Vol.10, pp. 81-100.
Chatterji, S., Kowal, P., Mathers, C., Naidoo, N., Verdes, E., Smith & James P., (2008), The Health Of Aging Populations In China And India, Health Affair, Vol. 27, no.4, pg. 1052
Hwai-Hui, F. (2009). Elucidating smoking behavior in developed and developing countries, African Journal of Business Managemen,t Vol.3, no. 11, pp. 685-694
Hwai-Hui, F. (2009). Elucidating smoking behavior in developed and developing countries, African Journal of Business Management, Vol.3, no. 11, pp. 685-694
3 Chatterji, S., Kowal, P., Mathers, C., Naidoo, N., Verdes, E., Smith & James P., (2008), The Health Of Aging Populations In China And India, Health Affair, Vol. 27, no.4, pg. 1052
Andrews, R.L. & . Franke, G.R, (2010). The determinants of cigarette consumption: A meta-analysis, Journal of Public Policy & Marketing, Vol.10, pp. 81-100
First Impressions of Harry and Sally
When Harry and Sally met on their way to New York, there was a great disconnect in their communication since they could not agree on anything. While one seemed to like “tomatoes” the other one wanted “potatoes” and their general views were frequently parallel. The first impression of Harry of Sally was that she was an idealistic woman who believed in things that were not practical. Whereas Sally saw just saw Harry as a friend and a boyfriend of her friend, Harry looked at Sally as a girl she was in love with. An important factor that comes out in the first encounter between Sally and Harry is to have exchange of responses whether they are positive or negative. Sally, on the other hand, thinks that Harry is too obscene, cannot be taken seriously and loves women particularly when she proposes a friendship and Harry says “You realize of course that we could never be friends… men and women can’t be friends because the sex part always gets in the way” No man can be friends with a woman that he finds attractive. He always wants to have sex with her.”
Harry thinks Sally is a woman does not know what she wants and somewhat she does not know what she wants. In a nut shell, Sally and Harry see each other’s dark side when they first meet and each one thinks that the one has the wrong attitude towards life such that, they don’t seem to have a meeting point. However, it can be argued that the perception that Harry had of Sally was clouded by feminine stereotypes that generally cloud both verbal and non-verbal communication between sexes, and general miscommunication and misinterpretation. The first time they met they did not like one another, until they met again and did not recognize one another.
Harry’s and Sally’s Experiences, Values, Beliefs, and Attitudes and Influecence in Impressions Formation
Past experiences, societal values, beliefs and attitudes played a great role in the impressions created in the minds of the two “friends.” Sally was conforming to the societal rules where women do not talk about sex so openly especially within a new encounter. Societal values dictate that men are direct and daring in their speech while women are expected to be more discreet and not talk personal and sex issues so openly. In addition, the society and particularly men, have a general attitude that there cannot be a platonic friendship between a man and a woman. Society allows men to have a direct eye contact and to use more positive and straight postures without having to make a lot of preparations and minding their appearance. This created an impression to Sally that Harry was disorganized and took things casually without focussing attention on the fine details.
Cultural values inform the non-verbal communication between different men and women. While verbal communication between Sally and Harry showed a conflict between their attitudes and their impression of one another, their non-verbal communication showed attraction between the two, which became the starting point of their friendship.
Harry and Sally had both been through divorce in their past marriages that informed their attitude towards one another. Women represented by Sally tend to approach relationships with a lot of scepticism after a divorce. They analyse the issue surrounding a man while men takes issues in a very casual and simple manner. This creates a negative impression of Harry as a promiscuous man before they each learns to speak the same language.
Change of Impressions throughout the Film
As Harry and Sally get to know one another and share their experiences, they learn to break the communication barriers between them and see one another beyond their cultural beliefs. To start with, Harry decided to break his rule on male-female friendship and agrees to be friends with Sally and separate sexual and platonic relationships. Non-verbal communication between Sally and Harry also immensely contributed to the change of impressions between the two. In the process, they realize that it is not just Sally who is kooky and quirky but Harry is too, though, in their own different ways. Non-verbal communication helped reveal the feelings of attraction harboured within them.
In addition, women require some time to start telling on their emotional and personal experiences that starts to give women personal satisfaction in the communication processes between man and a woman. Harry takes note of this intimacy that women require to let out on their emotions by asking Sally for how many minutes need to be held after sex. It is only when women get to this level of personal satisfaction that they can be able to understand communication with men with the ease and directly as men express it. No wonder Harry says “It is so nice when you can sit with someone and not have to talk.”
Uncertainty Reduction Strategies Utilized by the Characters
Humour as Harry adopts a certain accent to create a verbal affection
Call the whole thing off
Direct interaction through friendship Use of odd-couple communication