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Thursday, June 4, 2015

Poem Analysis,Subject Summarisation And Explanation : 'Brotherhood : Homage To Claudius Ptolemy' By Octavio Paz

The fourth poem in the Class XI WBCHSE English B syllabus is 'Brotherhood' composed by the legendary,noble prize winning Mexican poet Octavio Paz.The poem has been written on a search for the realisation that no matter how little every human being in this huge universe is,every little being still has a very special and unique place in the scheme of the universe.
Paz himself drew from Marxism,Surrealism( Surrealism is a cultural movement that began in the early 1920s, and is best known for its visual artworks and writings. The aim was to "resolve the previously contradictory conditions of dream and reality.")
and Extentialism (Existentialism is a philosophy that emphasizes individual existence, freedom and choice. It is the view that humans define their own meaning in life, and try to make rational decisions despite existing in an irrational universe.).
The juxtaposition of concepts as diverse as the three make his works remarkably unique and effective in the reader's eye.

Brotherhood : Homage To Claudius Ptolemy 
(Credit : Source)

I am a man: little do I last
and the night is enormous.
But I look up:
the stars write.
Unknowing I understand:
I too am written,
and at this very moment
someone spells me out.



(Original Photograph from Photograph Source)



Poem Analysis,Summarisation And Explanation

The poem has been written in free verse and as such,this is a part of modern poetry rather than the last three poems we have covered from the syllabus,all of which were more or less inspired from romanticism and associated values.
This poem,as can be readily understood,is based mostly on extentialism.It has been written as homage to Claudius Ptolemy,who was a Greco-Egyptian writer of Alexandria, known as a mathematician, astronomer, geographer, astrologer, and poet of a single epigram in the Greek Anthology who lived in Rome around 100 AD.This is perhaps because of Ptolemy's contribution in making us understand the concept of the universe based on which Paz composed this poem.


The first four lines of the poem neatly offsets in the last four lines. The opening line describes how an individual pales into insignificance as a mere being in this vast universe.
When this mere being looks up at the sky,he is able to read the inspiration and knowledge that stars are able to write.



Starry Night Over the Rhone, 1888, oil on canvas by Van Gogh

And almost unknowingly,he realises that the purpose of his life too,has been written in the sky.This act of writing is not casual,it is deliberate in nature.And now that he realises this,he is able to create a definiteness that assures him of his own identity,assures him of visibility within the mighty vastness.




Special Credit : 'Mindscapes : Higher Secondary English Selections' Printed by Orient Blackswan on behalf of West Bengal Council of Higher Secondary Education (WBCHSE).





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21 comments:

  1. It was great... Should be published at the end of the book replacing the current one.

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    1. Glad that you think so! Thank You!

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    2. I cant understand through this blog how the title "Brotherhood" is signified?

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    3. I think I as a humanbeing has an identity in this vast universe. Stars are helping us in making out the idea that we are not alone in this universe.There is a relation of brtherhood among us all. So we have an identity .When the poet was hopelessly searching of this relation ,he looked at stars and they embraced him.Even scientists hava a query 'Are we alone in this earth?' Every ventuure tries to seek the existence of reality.

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    4. Hello 'Anonymous', I'm sorry for getting back this late. I think 'Unknown' has answered the query with some very valid insight.

      However, if you're writing an answer from an academic perspective, I think a little more attention to the way you're writing things helps. So, for instance, you might like to say - Human beings, as individual creatures inhabiting the planet are blessed with the capability to 'sense'. Among the vast array of feelings and sensations that they can perceive and experience, that of vulnerability is one. Like Carl Sagan says, "Tiny creatures like us can bear the vastness only through love." By looking at the infinite, and trying to introspect into the endless dimensions that constitute it, we might get to realise that we, as human beings are not alone. The collective conscious of 'being' comes from the existence itself. We somehow resemble the night sky lined by tiny, little stars. We, as fellow human being, in relation to other people, are therefore associated from times immemorial. The association is eternal, is inevitable, like the predetermined concept of destiny. That is perhaps why the poem has been named 'Brotherhood'.

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    5. Thank you very much.you helped me a lot

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  2. Thank you for the help..It helped me a lot..

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  3. Wasn't Ptolemy the one who offered to explain the movements of astral bodies through his theory of the eight celestial spheres with the earth at the centre? The Christian church endorsed this geocentric--and implicitly anthropocentric-- view of the universe for obvious reasons. Interestingly, Brotherhood also presents a universe where Man has a special significance- not as the nucleus of the Universe, but as a being whose consciousness resonates with the distant stars across abysses of darkness. He is intensely aware of the finiteness of his existence, and yet can feel the bonds of brotherhood with the infinite.

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    1. Yeah, even though I am intrigued to talk more about the evils shared by 'religion' through ages, I think the poem somehow satisfies our eternal longing for understanding infinite to a certain extent. And Paz was Marxist in his life, so I'd also believe he didn't really pay much attention to Ptolemy's 'errors' that were later manifested as 'truth' by the church in order to retain hegemony and hence, power.

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  4. Thank you. But whay the title "BROTHERHOOD"? What does the title stands for?

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    Replies
    1. Human beings, as individual creatures inhabiting the planet are blessed with the capability to 'sense'. Among the vast array of feelings and sensations that they can perceive and experience, that of vulnerability is one. Like Carl Sagan says, "Tiny creatures like us can bear the vastness only through love." By looking at the infinite, and trying to introspect into the endless dimensions that constitute it, we might get to realise that we, as human beings are not alone. The collective conscious of 'being' comes from the existence itself. We somehow resemble the night sky lined by tiny, little stars. We, as fellow human being, in relation to other people, are therefore associated from times immemorial. The association is eternal, is inevitable, like the predetermined concept of destiny. That is perhaps why the poem has been named 'Brotherhood'.

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  5. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  6. I need a fulfillment summary note on this poem.plz

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    Replies
    1. What do you actually mean by 'a fulfillment summary note'?

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  7. I want to know why is human life very short

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    Replies
    1. "Who are you, who am I?/ To know the reason why/ Some are born, some men die/ Beneath an infinite sky..."

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  8. Is dis poem has an open ending or close ending

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