Pastoral writing is really about politics. How far do you agree?

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  • Pastoral writing is really about politics. How far do you agree?
    • Tess of the D'ubervilles
      • Urbanisation
        • At the beginning of Tess of the d'Urbervilles, nothing in this rural way of life seems affected by Britain's urbanisation and the problems of modernity. Yet as the novel progresses, Hardy makes us aware that there are changes:Increasingly there is greater movement of people in search of employment. The dispossession of country people becomes a common occurrence. For example, after Tess's father dies, the rest of the family are forced out of their cottage and have to find temporary accommodation.
          • The growing use of farm mechanisation is depicted: Tess has to work on a primitive combined harvester.Hardy is aware he is writing for city people, so he explains a lot of this but not everything.
      • Social divison
        • Tess's life is dominated by economic factors, many of them determined by social class. Late Victorian society was very class-structured. In the novel, there are clear distinctions between:Professional middle-class people (for example, Angel's family)Farmers and liviers, like Dairyman CrickCopyholders or freeholders (for example, Tess's father)Skilled farm labourersUnskilled labourers.
          • Rural society was very stratified in its classes. Among the farming community, there would be lifeholders, or ‘liviers', who had security of tenure as long as they lived. Sometimes, this right to lease could be passed on to the next
            • However, even while seeming very traditional, society was becoming more mobile:Tess's family is downwardly mobileAlec's family is upwardly mobile – the economic boom of Victorian industrialisation meant that there was a lot of ‘new money' in the hands of those who previously would not have been expected to possess so much.
              • Meanwhile, the employment options for agricultural workers were growing more insecure:work was becoming increasingly seasonal and temporary farming methods were being mechanised.
            • generation. Hardy makes use of this law in The Woodlanders to show how suddenly fortunes could be reversed as a result of a lease not being handed down. Then there would be labourers who lived in ‘tied' cottages, so that when their contract ended, they had to leave them. By the end of the century contracts were typically for a year only.
    • Hardy's view of established religion
      • Holy Thursday
        • Innocence
          • Experience
          • From 1782 onwards there was an annual service in St Paul's Cathedral for the children of London's charity schools on the first Thursday in May, which may have been attended by as many as 6000 children
          • It is possible to read the poem as a description of innocence or as an ironic attack on the attitudes that make the charity schools necessary (eg lambs may simply refer to the innocence of the children or to the fact that they are the sacrificial victims of an uncaring society. Of which these can co-exist
          • 'wands as white as snow': The wands can be seen as signs of the beadles' office which is performed  with purity of motive, or as a means of punishment to curb the natural warmth of youthful desire with the snowy frigidity of old age ('the beadles are grey headed'
            • 'red and blue and green': The uniforms of their different schools
          • 'red and blue and green': The uniforms of their different schools
      • Religion had great political influence in 1794
    • As You Like It
      • Satire
        • Touchstone
        • Jacques desire to be a licensed fool
        • he is immediately forced to confront the chief dilemma of the would-be satirist: the possibility that his intentions will be ignored and his words misconstrued as referring not to general moral concerns—the vices of humankind, for example—but rather to specific realities, persons, events
      • Shakespeare’s use of historical data and political events of the time to influence the themes of his plays. The Enclosure Crisis of the 1590’s, when noblemen annexed and cleared the forests that had traditionally been open to settlement by the peasant class, was used to create huge farms. They used their political power to withhold their crops, drive up the price of food, and create famine .
        • The use of the name Forest of Arden was intended to evoke memories of Robin Hood, for that forest was the area where displaced people went to live and to plan attacks on the gentry. (Wilson 10)Poaching game from the forests, damaging trees by nailing messages to them, living in areas that would not normally have been inhabited, and cross-dressing of women would have been instantly recognizable to the audience as representations of civil disobedience taking place in the real Midland forests
        • “The play is powerfully inflected by narratives of popular resistance and the harshness of its social climate... where customary culture is disintegrating with the stress of social mobility and competition"
        • The dispossession of Duke Senior and the loss of Orlando’s income and property rights both speak to us of the issues facing Britain at that time.
    • Context
      • Romantics
        • Rousseau
          • 'Man is born free, and everywhere he is in chains.'
        • Romanticism was characterized by its emphasis on emotion and individualism as well as glorification of all the past and nature, preferring the medieval rather than the classical. It was partly a reaction to the Industrial Revolution, the aristocratic social and political norms of the Age of Enlightenment, and the scientific rationalization of nature.
  • Hardy's view of established religion
    • Holy Thursday
      • Innocence
        • Experience
        • From 1782 onwards there was an annual service in St Paul's Cathedral for the children of London's charity schools on the first Thursday in May, which may have been attended by as many as 6000 children
        • It is possible to read the poem as a description of innocence or as an ironic attack on the attitudes that make the charity schools necessary (eg lambs may simply refer to the innocence of the children or to the fact that they are the sacrificial victims of an uncaring society. Of which these can co-exist
        • 'wands as white as snow': The wands can be seen as signs of the beadles' office which is performed  with purity of motive, or as a means of punishment to curb the natural warmth of youthful desire with the snowy frigidity of old age ('the beadles are grey headed'
      • Religion had great political influence in 1794
    • Context
      • Romantics
        • Rousseau
          • 'Man is born free, and everywhere he is in chains.'
        • Romanticism was characterized by its emphasis on emotion and individualism as well as glorification of all the past and nature, preferring the medieval rather than the classical. It was partly a reaction to the Industrial Revolution, the aristocratic social and political norms of the Age of Enlightenment, and the scientific rationalization of nature.
    • Virgil
      • Christopher Marlowe
        • Sir Walter Raleigh- 'The nymphs reply to the shepherd'
          • Theocritus
          • Offers an anti-pastoral perspective
    • Primogeniture
      • As You Like It
        • Satire
          • Touchstone
          • Jacques desire to be a licensed fool
          • he is immediately forced to confront the chief dilemma of the would-be satirist: the possibility that his intentions will be ignored and his words misconstrued as referring not to general moral concerns—the vices of humankind, for example—but rather to specific realities, persons, events
        • Shakespeare’s use of historical data and political events of the time to influence the themes of his plays. The Enclosure Crisis of the 1590’s, when noblemen annexed and cleared the forests that had traditionally been open to settlement by the peasant class, was used to create huge farms. They used their political power to withhold their crops, drive up the price of food, and create famine .
          • The use of the name Forest of Arden was intended to evoke memories of Robin Hood, for that forest was the area where displaced people went to live and to plan attacks on the gentry. (Wilson 10)Poaching game from the forests, damaging trees by nailing messages to them, living in areas that would not normally have been inhabited, and cross-dressing of women would have been instantly recognizable to the audience as representations of civil disobedience taking place in the real Midland forests
          • “The play is powerfully inflected by narratives of popular resistance and the harshness of its social climate... where customary culture is disintegrating with the stress of social mobility and competition"
          • The dispossession of Duke Senior and the loss of Orlando’s income and property rights both speak to us of the issues facing Britain at that time.
      • Particular emphasis will be placed on the Elizabethan’s preoccupation with primogeniture, the system of inheritance or succession by the firstborn, traditionally the eldest son
        • Shakespeare often debated concerning the crises points of late-Elizabethan culture: the transformation of older patterns of communal organization under the pressures of new forms of social mobility, an emergent market economy, and the paradoxically concomitant stratification of class relations; the more specific problems of conflict over land-use rights, the enclosure of common land and its attendant violence, poverty and vagrancy.
    • 'flowers': The children; the flowers came from the town
    • 'mighty wind': As well as suggesting the physical power of their singing, could suggest its spiritual power by echoing description of the first coming of the Holy Spirit on the apostles

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