ICT Outsourcing Definitions and Types

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ICT outsourcing can be said as one of the current trends for companies around the world to do their business processes. It is estimated that ICT outsourcing starts in the early 1990s where Kodak uses external partner to handle its ICT resources. As Kodak does not have the expertise in ICT, they hire another company to help them handle the ICT resources. This phenomenon occurs because companies would like to concentrate their core business functions among other benefits. After merely 20 years, outsourcing is now needed by a lot of companies mostly at customer support and also back-office processes and this affects Malaysia as well. Currently, Malaysia is known as a main outsourcing hub for the world, where it is currently ranked third globally behind China and India in the outsourcing industry. This shows how significant outsourcing is to developing countries in Asia.

Outsourcing Definition

Outsourcing is defined as a concept of contracting out part of the organization’s business process to a third party that has the specific skills and services. The third party must have the skills needed by the organization so that the outcome of the outsourced job is as expected. Outsourcing can also be explained as the movement of one or many business functions of a company including its assets to an outside service provider who gives a defined service for an agreed duration of time and payment on a written agreement.

From these two definitions, we can see that outsourcing can be defined with the following characteristics:

1. A company transferring one or many business process to a third party.

2. A third party has the skills and services required for the business process.

3. Has an agreement or contract between the two parties on the price and expected outcome.

Types of Outsourcing

Outsourcing can be separated into two types, namely total outsourcing and selective outsourcing.

The first one is total outsourcing, where the IT budget being used to pay the external vendors is approximately 80% or more than the total. For outsourcing activities that only took less than 80% from the total IT budget, it will be called as selective outsourcing. It is named as ‘selective’ because the company will select only one or several IT functions to be outsourced to a third party.

Aside from these two main outsourcing types, there are also other types of outsourcing that are usually the sub-division from these two main types like insourcing and transitional outsourcing.

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7 Do-It-Yourself Last-Minute Halloween Costume Ideas

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Halloween is nearing, and if you still haven’t thought of costumes for the upcoming scare-fest, you might be wracking your brains for ideas that can’t be beat. Unfortunately, many of us are really busy. As much as we would like to focus on Halloween costume hunting, there’s such a thing as real life, and we all have to attend to work, chores, and errands. So when your kids come knocking at your bedroom door begging to get a Halloween costume on the morning of October 31st, you know you’re in for it.

Fortunately, you don’t have to worry too much, as there are literally hundreds of Halloween costume ideas that you can DIY for yourself or your kids on a short notice. What’s great is that you don’t even have to break the bank doing it. Here are a few ideas.

1 – The Athlete

Surely you have someone in your family who has played ball. You don’t have to be the star quarterback or the pointguard. You just have to look the part. If your kids are into sports, then why not suggest that they go out trick or treating as a team-complete in their athletic uniforms. This also goes for cheerleading attires.

2 – The Ghost

You’ve seen it in the cartoons, so why not try it in real life. Get an old white sheet and cut out eye holes. You’re a ghost! The getup is not complete without moans and groans, so practice your moaning and groaning before midnight. You can add chains for that tormented soul effect.

3 – Ninja

Get a ski mask and wear an all-black attire. If you have a toy sword (or maybe even a decorative sword), then wear it on your belt. Now what makes you a ninja is not only your attire. Try to move stealthily around all day. Move against walls and don’t get caught in plain sight of people. When you cross the lawn, don’t walk. Tumble!

4 – Mad Scientist

Wear an old white lab coat and eyeglasses. For effect, mess up your hair and set it with mousse or gel. Bring test tubes and beakers wherever you go. Think of Dr. Emmet Brown from Back to the Future. Now that’s a crazy costume idea.

5 – The Backwards Person

Wear your clothes all backwards. Wear your shirt and pants backwards, complete with belt and necktie. You can even wear sunglasses or eyeglasses at the back of your head for effect.

6 – The Corpse

Wear your best formal attire. Make it so formal it would seem you’ve come straight out of the coffin. Now apply very pale makeup and wear very dark lipstick. Apply thick, black eye shadow. To complete the effect, act the part. Walk slowly-as if you haven’t used your joints for decades.

If you haven’t got the time, don’t sweat it. You can rummage around your closet and maybe you’ll find something that will look scary or novel enough to be your Halloween costume. If you can find an outfit from the 80’s, now that’s something to scream about:

7 – The 80’s Guy or Gal

Sure, the 80’s are making a comeback. But the 2010’s 80’s are different from the real thing. Maybe you still have some leftovers from the past few decades sitting at the bottom of your closet. Wear skinny jeans and a white T-shirt with rolled-up sleeves. Wear high-cut sneakers. Get yourself a thick headband and try to wear your hair as if you had a mullet. If you have long hair, you can curl it like crazy. Bring along a big boombox on your shoulder to complete the effect. Now, that’s scary!

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Source by Shauna Milton

Euthanasia – Insight on End of Life Decisions

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Twice in my life I have watched the health of a loved one deteriorate until their body could no longer support life on its own. It's like watching someone drown while holding a life preserver in your hand, except the victim has made a legal choice to refuse your help. In each case, a precarious but necessary decision was made-whether or not to allow euthanasia.

There are two types of euthanasia. Passive Euthanasia, which involves "not taking action" to prevent death, (when doctors refuse from using life support to prolong the life of a terminally ill patient) and active euthanasia, which requires an action on the part of a doctor or medical practitioner to "pull the plug" or administrator a lethal injection to bring about the pending death of a critically ill patient.

Life support replace a failing bodily function. When patients have treatable conditions, life support may be used temporarily while the condition is stabilized and the body is able to resume normal functioning. At times though, the body never regains its ability to function without life support. My grandmother refused to be placed on life support or be revived if he was code blue. My uncle, on the other hand, was placed on life support and suffered day after day while confined to a hospital bed for almost a year. Connected to tubes that fed him and machines that breathed for him, he could not talk or do anything for himself-things a healthy person would take for granted. Both my grandmother and my uncle were dying a slow death. My grandmother refused the life preserver. My Uncle accepted a life raft with a slow leak in a sea of ​​sharks.

Some people believe that it is not wise to circumvent the dying process. The late psychiatrist and famous author, Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, shared that her experience in working with thousands of dying patients and their families convinced her that euthanasia was wrong even for patients with terminal illness. She believed that euthanasia (which she called suicide) cheats people out of the opportunity to complete their unfinished business. The unfinished business she referred to is the contemplation of the ultimate meaning of one's life. She felt the "end of life" period is a time for resolving old disputes, mending relationships, and coming to a final recognition and appreciation of all the good things that have been a part of one's life. Personally, I believe we need to do this daily! Dr. Kubler-Ross believed that, despite their compassionate motives, those healthy bystanders who encourage or even assist in euthanasia are stealing the last precious moments of these patients' lives. I understand her theory, but I believe that every person's unfinished business must eventually come to an end. If one is unable to live without life support, and feels his business is complete, it would be cruel to force them or their family to suffer needlessly.

USA Today has reported that, among older people with terminal illnesses who attempt suicide, the number suffering from depression reaches almost 90%. Even Jack Kevorkian, the notorious "suicide doctor," said at a court appearance that he considers anyone with a disease who is not depressed "abnormal." Kevorkian and others who argue in favor of physician-assisted suicide believe that even though depression is treatable; the disabling disease is not. Treating depression in critically ill patients will help to alleviate some of the emotional despairs, but it does little to relieve physical symptoms. The patient will still lie on "death row" until the grim reaper comes.

My grandmother was diagnosed with emphysema fifteen years before his struggle to breathe confided him to his climate-controlled bedroom. Much of the last year of his life was spent in a hospital. The non-stop care for his declining health was beginning to take its toll on my family who never left his side. My grandfather knew that he would not be able to recover from his illness and lead a normal life. Therefore, he signed a document in which he requested that he not be resuscitated or placed on life support in the event of cardiac or respiratory arrest. I remember talking with him in his final days. I asked him if he was ready to die. "I believe I am," he affirmed. He passed peacefully in the hospital without the assistance of life support.

Every person has a right to choose and no one should be denied the God-given power of free will. I believe a person, who is kept alive by machines against his / her will, becomes a victim of someone else's choice.

We have more compassion for our pets than we do for our dying family members. We will euthanize our sick and dying dog, but we will allow our loved one to suffer to the end. I'm not trying to pin guess on anyone about any end of life decision they may have made for someone, I am simply making an observation in hopes of helping others avoid the end of life trauma that my uncle ended.

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10 Ways to Beat Irritability During Perimenopause

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What’s really going on when you find yourself snapping at the cat for no real reason, or wildly impatient with the slow checkout girl – more than usual, I mean!!

If you’re in your 40s or early 50s, it might it be menopause. Or it might not. Up to 50 percent of all perimenopausal women experience disturbances in mood, including irritability. In fact, it can be one of the first signs that you are perimenopausal!

Your hormones may be off-balance and cause extra irritability as estrogen levels decline. It could feel like PMS on steroids!! A study involving menopausal and post-menopausal women found that irritability with others was associated with increased levels of Folicule Stimulating Hormone (FSH) and Lutenizing Hormone (LH), hormones that are markers of ovarian aging and menopause.

Being irritable and intolerant with those around you, including your spouse, children and pets has consequences and none of them contribute to personal peace. Expressing irritability can alarm and upset loved ones and make you feel guilty for being miserable to those who don’t deserve such a generous expression of your wrath! And that’s not all, at this time of your life you may examine your past and future and decide to put all your relationships under a microscope to determine whether they’re worth the energy it takes to maintain them.

Irritability symptoms may include:

  • Feeling stressed during a ‘regular’ day
  • Insomnia
  • Feeling ‘on edge’
  • Lasting out in anger or frustration or screaming with rage
  • Less tolerance with people and events
  • Reduced patience
  • Over-reaction to something that wouldn’t have bothered you in the past
  • Irritability is a general symptom with many explanations.
  • Your irritability may have nothing to do with menopause. It could be connected to psychological and lifestyle factors including stress, major life changes, a history of depression or mood disorders, physical inactivity, excess consumption of caffeine, alcohol or drugs, or poor diet.
  • Physical causes can include drug withdrawal or reaction, cancer, headache or migraine, head trauma, anemia, viral infection, diabetes and hypoglycemia.
  • Irritability can be a side-effect of chronic diseases such as hypertension, cardiac disease, diabetes or thyroid disease.
  • Irritability can be caused by caffeine, hunger and poor nutrition.
  • Your irritability may be the result of lack of sleep from another menopause indicator: insomnia.
  • Other menopausal symptoms, such as hot flashes, loss of libido, vaginal dryness, and more, can cause or contribute to irritability.
  • Hormone imbalance yes, but the greater change is occurring in your brain which is rewiring during perimenopause. New growth of the myelin sheath, the coating that insulates nerves and speeds up the connection between nerve cells, is happening in the part of the brain responsible for emotional learning. These changes create greater clarity and help us shift from caring for others to more self-nurturing activities. Hence the irritability when asked to do things (e.g. help with homework, making meals) that you might have done in the past without thinking.
  • Irritability and relationship-housecleaning at mid-life may be the result of reaching the breaking point for tolerating an unsatisfactory relationship that’s gone on for far too long. That’s probably a good thing! It may surprise you to know that many years of simmering, unresolved emotions may also be related to various ‘dis-comforts’ or ‘dis-eases’ in your body. This is what’s known as the ‘mind-body’ connection to disease. Do you have toxic emotions or resentments that are negatively affecting your quality of life? Do you have negative feelings about important people in your life that are overshadowing your good feelings? These feelings need to be resolved – now.

How can you beat irritability? Self-nurturing is the key!

  1. Take time for yourself; either alone or with positive, kind people.
  2. Pursue pleasurable calming hobbies such as beading, knitting, gardening or other activities such as listening to your favorite music, having an Epsom salts bath or change your routine and learn new things by taking a class.
  3. Learn and use stress-reduction techniques including relaxation breathing exercises, yoga, meditation, tai chi, visualization and get more fresh air and sunshine – every day!
  4. Make a commitment to nourish and love yourself by eating healthier foods. Consider the benefits of nutritional cleansing to help you reach your wellness goals! (See my blog “Healthy Affordable Weight Loss Through Nutritional Cleansing” for more information.)
  5. Be sure to get enough B-vitamins, calcium, and magnesium every day.
  6. Keep alcohol and caffeine to a minimum.
  7. Get regular exercise – a universal healing tool – it provides benefits for just about any condition you can name. Hate exercise? Consider getting a top-of-the line rebounder exercise machine – trampoline – so you can ‘hop on’ any time of the day to change your energy and get blood and oxygen flowing to your brain!
  8. Take an honest look at what’s going on in your life and ask yourself if the situation is serving you now. If you had to do it over again, would you? Is it better to let it continue, or have short-term pain for long-term gain? Your answers may help you to decide to renegotiate your relationships with family and friends. This could include changing ‘unwritten contracts’ with your spouse and/or children that have in the past made it OK for them to make last-minute requests that rob you of your down time, or expect that you’ll do all of the cooking or housecleaning. This can be challenging and take time to get everyone in the family on board, but you’ll feel respected and empowered as you stand up for yourself and eventually get your needs met.
  9. Share your life and problem-solve with trusted friends and relatives, or a good therapist. It’s worth being vulnerable with the right people. Try it and see.
  10. Learn and use an easy, simple procedure called Emotional Freedom Techniques (a.k.a. EFT or ‘tapping’) at www.EFTUniverse.com! This amazing procedure helps you release long-standing stress and is a tool for finding greater personal peace. EFT has been used for 20 years by doctors, therapists, coaches and holistic practitioners all over the world! You can learn it in 3 minutes and you can use it on yourself with great success! While some issues require repeated tapping and/or the help of a therapist who will bring objective eyes to your issue, EFT has been known to permanently resolve long-standing physical and emotional symptoms within minutes! When you’re ready to release the root cause of what’s holding you back in one or more aspects of your life, if, you’ve ‘tried everything’ and nothing has helped, you can find permanent relief with EFT to resolve issues of anger, irritation, fear, anxiety, and more. Take a few moments to imagine how it would feel to set down a 50-pound weight you’ve been carrying everywhere for years. That’s how I feel when I let go of garbage from my past and no longer allow it to control what I do now.

There’s no urgency to change most of what goes on in our lives, except for the urgency we give it – usually based on how much we want things to change. You deserve to feel good about yourself and the world around you. The sooner you take the first step that feels right to you, the sooner your life will get back on track. You’ll have shifted the energy and will soon find yourself feeling calmer and more like the eye of the storm than the hurricane!

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Source by Wendy Vineyard

Write About Home Decor for Elle Decor Magazine

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Elle Decor magazine is where any article writer would want to see your name in. Not to mention that it pays well, publishing in Elle Decor is very prestigious and would be at the top of any writer’s resume. Writing about any subject related to home decor requires a good homework to be done before you come up with your article aspiring to catch the editor’s eye.

Choose the Right Topic

The homes featured in Elle Decor magazine are only the finest and the most elegant. So if you pitch an article about shabby chic or primitive decoration, the editor is unlikely to want your writing. Homes that fit Elle Decor magazine can be found in every city, but you, the writer, must figure out where. A good place to look is your city’s Christmas or spring tour of homes. Only homeowners who have great decor and are proud of it would put their home on a tour.

After you have identified a house that you think reaches Elle Decor magazine standards, check through past issues to make sure that particular house has never been profiled. Also, make sure to come up with a fresh approach. The editor will never take a story on a home’s distinctive topiary, for example, if she ran another topiary story the previous month.

Elle’s editorial board requires sophistication first, but beyond that, the magazine features styles from all over the world. Though the magazine is originally French, Elle’s home decor style is rather international.

Send Your Query

Just like with any magazine, you must find out about Elle Decor’s editorial guidelines – the magazine’s rules for submission. The guidelines will specify word count limit for each section: features, reviews and trends. Some editors require that you send relevant pictures with your submission. Reference to your previously published work is also a common requirement.

Being such a prestigious magazine, Elle Decor doesn’t highlight the right contact information and the editorial guidelines. Getting this information and sending a dazzling letter to the right person at the right time is actually part of your pitch. If you can get a piece of paper in front of the right editor – a super busy woman with plenty of secretaries to intercept bad letters – it shows you probably have the tenacity of a good writer.

If you are new to writing, starting with Elle Decor will hardly be possible because previously published articles are a must. You can write for some other magazines, get some experience along with good references, and then try to get to Elle Decor bearing in mind the above-mentioned suggestions.

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Arlene J Chai’s Eating Fire And Drinking Water: The Identity Search In Historical Context

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I. Introduction

“There is sense… a plan behind everything that happens.”

(Eating Fire and Drinking Water, 1996)

In life, more often than not, we need to make hard choices, to consider people around us for our actions, who are either directly or indirectly connected to us, to shape the kind of world we want to live in, or aptly put, a world we want our children to inherit, and figuratively, be dreamers of a just and humane place where internal and external happiness exist, where people are in close companionship with what they regard as essential and where reverence to the Divine being is evident. Until such time that we feel complete and satisfied in our internal and external quests can we simply relax and anticipate the coming event/s to unfold.

The fundamental premise of finding the essence of one’s existence has been attributed to Plato more than 2,000 years ago and to date, the multitudinous battle cry of situating oneself in the world of varied essences is too loud a cry that it has found its niche in all disciplines and in all respects of life.

From this stance, the student critic anchors her analysis of Arlene Chai’s contemporary historical novel Eating Fire and Drinking Water. In simpler sense, the moral-philosophical underpinnings of the novel vis-à-vis its socio-historical context are given consideration. To underscore the backdrop of the novel, the student-critic uses the highlights of the paper of Alfred McCoy (1999) with his objective presentation of the Filipino’s traumatic experience under the Marcos regime.

II. The Novelist

Chai is a Filipino-Chinese-Australian, who migrated to Australia with her parents and sisters in 1982 because of the political upheaval. She became an advertising copywriter at George Patterson’s Advertising Agency in 1972 and has been working there since. It is there that she met her mentor Bryce Courtney, who continuously inspires her to improve her work. She graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree from Maryknoll College. She is famous for her ability to weave the political struggle of the Philippines so well into her fiction, so much that she is often compared with Isabel Allende, a successful magical realist Chilean novelist. She won the Louis Braille Adult Audio Book of the year for her novel “On the Goddess Rock” in 1999. Her first novel, The Last Time I saw Mother (published in the US and the UK) is an Australian bestseller. Although she has produced four novels since 1995, all of them exploring complex and often bittersweet relationships between generations of families and individuals, it is Eating Fire and Drinking Water, her second book that is most absorbing if not thought provoking.

III. The Novel’s Socio-Historical Context and Background

Arlene Chai’s “historicity” in this novel, although not comparable to Tolstoy (in Russia and the world over) in magnitude, scope and breadth maybe dissected in its chronicle of the political turmoil and upheaval in the Philippine political arena while embarking in a larger and better sense of search for man’s existence and its appurtenances, not putting aside its aesthetics and the diverse impact of arts in its entirety to humanity.

The text of Eating Fire and Drinking Water is divided into a prologue and four parts – the first being an appetizer, a teaser and the others the thematic narrative of “… the breezy, breathless saga of revolution and self-discovery.” (The New York Times)

The novel is set against the backdrop of the remarkable Marcos regime specifically the last years of the 1960s and the first two years of the 1970s when the Philippines witnessed the radicalization if not socio-political awakening of the country’s student populace. Students in various colleges and universities held wide and massive rallies and demonstrations to express their grievances on top of frustrations and resentments. On January 30, 1970, demonstrators numbering about 50,000 students and laborers stormed the Malacañan Palace, burning part of the medical building and crashing through Gate 4 with a fire truck that had been forcibly commandeered by laborers and students. The Metropolitan Command (Metrocom) of the Philippine Constabulary (PC) repulsed them, pushing them toward Mendiola Bridge, where, hours later, after an exchange of gunfire, four persons were killed and scores from both sides injured. Tear gas grenades finally dispersed the crowd. The event is known today as the First Quarter Storm.

Violent student protests did not end there. In October 1970, a series of violent events occurred on numerous campuses in the Greater Manila Area, cited as “an explosion of pillboxes in at least two schools.” The University of the Philippines was not spared when 18,000 students boycotted their classes to demand academic and non-academic reforms in the State University, ending in the ‘occupation’ of the office of the president of the university by student leaders. Other schools in which scenes of violent student demonstrations occurred were San Sebastian College, the University of the East, Letran College, Mapua Institute of Technology, the University of Santo Tomas, Far Eastern University and the Philippine College of Commerce (now Polytechnic University of the Philippines). Student demonstrators even succeeded in “occupying the office of the Secretary of Justice Vicente Abad Santos for at least seven hours.” The president (El Presidente Marcos) described the brief “communization” of the University of the Philippines and the violent demonstrations of the left-leaning students as an “act of insurrection.” (wikipidia.org)

Also recurrent in the novel is the lifestyle and inclination to arts of prominent personages both in the upper and lower rungs of society. Even the controversial and highly politicized wedding events concerning the Marcos children are given graphic presentation. During the Marcos regime, glamorous first lady Imelda Marcos had a vision to make the Philippines a hub of latest fashion, sophisticated art, and refined culture. She realized this vision through various million-dollar infrastructure projects. Such projects included the Cultural Center of the Philippines, which was meant to promote and preserve Filipino art and culture. It was established in 1966 and was designed by Leandro Locsin, a Filipino architect (who appreciated the use of concrete, as is evident in the facade of the main building.) On its opening day in 1969, there was a three-month celebration with a musical and other series of events. It was such a grandiose occasion that even Mr. and Mrs. Ronald Reagan were in attendance.

The Cultural Center of the Philippines was created in 1966 through Executive Order no. 30. It was formally inaugurated on September 8, 1969, starting a three month long inaugural festival opened by the epic musical ‘Dularawan’. In the novel, the controversy that haunts the construction of this historical infrastructure finds its place amidst the twisting of actualities and the rendering of deliberate artistic manipulation while also down siding its direct and indirect relation to prominent figures in social and political arenas.

IV. The Novel’s Analysis

“I sought to find a pattern, a deeper purpose, for, at the time, the events I am about to recount seemed random and arbitrary. The reporter in me, you see, insists there is order in the universe. And my own life attests to this. Besides, to deny the existence or order means to believe in a world of permanent chaos. And I find such a concept unacceptable.”

(Eating Fire and Drinking Water, 1996)

Exemplifying a style that extrapolates a different sense of fatalism, a rare kind of raw spirituality, and an elevated sense of paradox embedded in life’s mysticism, Arlene J. Chai’s Eating Fire and Drinking Water is a case in point.

The novel tells of an orphaned protagonist, journalist by profession Clara Perez, situating herself in the world of work while struggling in her journey for an identity search. Perez has grown tired of covering trivial subjects and wants to at least be given an assignment with substance to spice up her seemingly dull existence. When she was asked to cover and investigate about a fire that ensued in a small street, which happens to kill an old Chinese store owner, she tracked a web of complicated happenings, flaring up one after the other, leading to her unknown and bitter-sweet past as heightened by confrontation to her parents’ love story.

Set at a time when the people in the Philippines were awakened to call for government’s political reform, the novel capitalized on Perez’ involvement in the increasingly violent student demonstrations. As her involvement in these tumultuous activities deepened as the stories within stories unfolded, we discover that her own life’s history was closely connected to that of her country, that resemblance to what she had been covering as a reporter was to become her shocking force as she delved deeper to the facts of her stories.

“How was I to know that this fire in a street I had never been to would somehow eat away at my life’s invisible boundaries so that into it would come rushing names and faces which until then were unknown to me?”

(Eating Fire and Drinking Water, 1996)

Perez is in a way connected and disconnected physically and socially to other individuals in the novel. It is through these connections/disconnections that we were presented with the essences in Perez’ life. Little did she know and little did we realize that the larger her world becomes as she expands with people and with her involvement in their lives that her world will shrink to become smaller yet laden with bits and pieces to complete the whole puzzle, that of her being Clara Perez, the Don as her father and Socorro, her mother.

No surprise that when she met her mother, she confronted her with the statement:

I am Clara. The child you gave away, – and she continued almost dispassionately, – People are always making choices. Choosing consciously or choosing by default, but choosing nevertheless. Why did you choose to do this? What drove you to it? I want to know your mind at the moment of choosing.

(Eating Fire and Drinking Water, 1996)

Comparatively, the larger demand of the students that the government return what belongs to the people and the more gigantic clamor for the right to rule their own country may be seen as Perez’ desire to get hold of a personal identity that had been denied her by her mother at the very least, or of her wish fulfillment to finally get acquainted with her roots if not resolve her identity crisis to end her agony if not her feeling of overwhelming emptiness. Her routine assignment also leads her to find the identity of a father who is missing in her life, the Don who has made her a ‘bastard’ when he put family obligations and prestige above his attachment to a loved one being the first in the first family.

Essentially, the novel relates about relationships, creating an atmosphere which could only be drawn from the backdrop of a culturally, historically and politically diverse country as the Philippines, during Ferdinand Marcos’ (El Presidente) twenty one years of dictatorship. The story capitalizes on many interesting characters and events, which depict if not encapsulate the Marcos regime. Satirically, it chronicles brutal treatments to student activists and demonstrators on the one hand and traces lifestyle of political figures and their eccentricities and innuendos on the other.

Abounding the intricacies that unfold as one reads Chai’s novel is the defamiliarization of prominent personas of the late sixties and early seventies in the Philippines, ‘El Presidente’ and Madam, Judge Romero Jimenez – ‘the Hanging Judge’, the Defense Minister – ‘Butcher of the South’, the senator and his mistress and the more figurative ones such as those of the store-owner, Charlie the Chinaman; Don Miguel Pellicer – the sugar baron and the student activists like Bayani and the countless others. Although one may find it puzzling to figure out whether these characters are typical stereotypes or true-to-life, one may autodidact that there is historical basis in the conception of these names.

Drawing out some implications that go far beyond one’s country, McCoy (1999), professor of History at the University of Wisconsin at Madison and one of the foremost researchers/analysts of developments in the Philippines elucidated the legacies of the Marcos dictatorship in his paper, Dark Legacy: Human Rights Under The Marcos Regime to wit:

1. Looking back on the military dictatorships of the 1970s and 1980s, the Marcos government appears, by any standard, exceptional for both the quantity and quality of its violence.

2. Under Marcos, moreover, military murder was the apex of a pyramid of terror-3,257 killed, 35,000 tortured, and 70,000 incarcerated.

3. Under martial law from 1972 to 1986, the Philippine military was the fist of Ferdinand Marcos’s authoritarian rule. Its elite torture units became his instruments of terror.

4. But as the gap between legal fiction and coercive reality widened, the regime mediated this contradiction by releasing its political prisoners and shifting to extra-judicial execution or salvaging.

5. During 14 years of martial law, the elite anti-subversion units came to personify the regime’s violent capacities:

6. Officers in these elite units were the embodiment of an otherwise invisible terror.

7. Instead of a simple physical brutality, these units practiced a distinctive form of psychological torture with wider implications for the military and its society.

8. The Marcos’s regime’s spectacle of terror opens us to a wider understanding of the political dimension of torture-one that is ignored in the literature on both the human rights and human psychology.

9. Instead of studying how torture harms its victims, we must, if we are to understand the legacy of martial law, ask what impact torture has upon the torturers.

10. Between the poles of local impunity and global justice, the Philippines emerged from the first decade of the post-Marcos period with signs of a lingering trauma.

11. Freed from judicial review, the torturers of the Marcos era have continued to rise within the police and intelligence bureaucracies, allowing the pervasive brutality of martial law to persist.

12. Under impunity, culture and politics are recasting the past, turning cronies into statesmen, torturers into legislators, and killers into generals.

13. Beneath the surface of a restored democracy, the Philippines, through the compromises of impunity, still suffers the legacy of the Marcos era-a collective trauma and an ingrained institutional habit of human rights abuse.

In his conclusion, McCoy (1999) aptly said that as the Philippines reaches for rapid economic growth, it cannot afford to ignore the issue of human rights and if the Philippines is to recover its full fund of social capital after the trauma of dictatorship, it needs to adopt some means for remembering, recording, and, ultimately, reconciliation. Further, he said that no nation can develop its full economic potential without a high level of social capital, and social capital cannot, as Robert Putnam teaches us, grow in a society without a sense of justice. Chai’s novel, Eating Fire and Drinking Water, is in a way a reconstruction if not creative representation of this great era in Philippine history, a way of recording, of remembering the bitter past while subtly crying for social justice and imposing the necessity of knowing the essences of human existence.

Weaving such a story of individual stories linked up with the protagonist’ (Perez’) discovery of her real identity displays Chai’s craft as a writer. For to weave them all together and triumphantly subsist the characters and the political story of El Presidente’s terrifying regime as apt background and fitting setting to a personal story, that of a bereft young lady in an orphanage run by nuns, is definitely exemplary.

The presence of binary opposites as illuminated by other important personages like Bayani, the student leader, and Colonel Aure, an “artist of suffering whose canvas was the human body” appointed by the government to arrest, torture and eventually murder Bayani worked with Perez to prove some points. These two towering individuals in the novel appeared as symbols of two extreme value systems — Bayani the good, and Aure the evil. It is between these two value systems that the people in the Philippines struggle for their freedom and democracy. We meet characters who were inexplicably linked to the others, both tender and violent as figurative descriptions may seem appropriate. There were subtle, delicate if not dainty moments that bespoke of the metaphysical links between the characters and their link to the unseen entity that helped shape each individual’s destiny, that of the china man and Socorro, that of Socorro and the nuns, that of Socorro and the Don, Perez’ father. This in extreme contrast to the more violent, brutal if not arresting moments like that of the graphic description of Colonel Aure’s violent handiwork, the injustice that the military have repeatedly done to their own people in order to zip their mouths. It is further with Chai’s observations on the impacts of these two value systems upon individual lives in the Philippines.

Chai’s words on the one hand seemed cathartic as she summoned the stains and stench of poverty, the narcissistic political corruption of the time while she also extrapolated on the cleanness of one’s soul albeit the nuances of life, how the chasm between good and bad maybe reconciled by the purity of one’s spirit. Her vision cannot be underestimated.

This embraced what Fred Millett (1950) in his book, Reading Fiction, clearly suggested that, “Every work of fiction implicitly and many works of fiction explicitly, express the philosophical, ethical or religious attitudes of the writer. The writer’s choice of a subject implies that he feels that the subject is worth treating and his preference for this subject implies his rejection of other subjects as less important. And almost no work of fiction is so brief to suggest what the writer regards as good and what he regards as less good or evil.”

V. Conclusion

Chai has her own ‘historicity” as evidenced by the way she chronicles her accounts of the political upheaval in the Philippines. On the upper hand, she touches a larger social dimension of struggling with the essence of human existence which the student-critic believes to be more transcendental if not moral-philosophical. In life, one’s person is never complete without its clear lineage, its linear direction of kinship and affinity, suffice to say that we holistically appreciate a tree when we take cognizance not only of the leaves on the branches but also the roots that are found underneath. Only then can we claim that we have sufficiently considered a tree in its entirety, a person in his ‘totality’ – that is one who knows and is conscious of his parental lineage, of his glorious or bitter-sweet past and is ready to inherit a world that is never free of surprises, a world whose history evolves as humanity evolves.

VI. References:

Chai, Arlene J. Eating Fire and Drinking Water. New York: Ballantine Books, 1996.

McCoy, Alfred W. 1999. (Dark Legacy: Human Rights Under The Marcos Regime) Closer Than Brothers: Manhood at the Philippine Military Academy. New Haven: Yale University Press.

Millett, F.B. 1950. Reading Fiction: A method of Analysis with Selections for Study. New York. Harer and Brothers Publishing.

Wellek, Rene. 1963. Concepts of Criticism. New Haven and London. Yale University Press




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Create Some Pretty Pats of Butter

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Pretty pats of butter can add interest to your dining table or buffet. You can make them easily, in a wide variety of shapes, with an inexpensive candy mold you purchase at a department store or specialty shop that carries candy making supplies. Here's all you do:

Soften multiple sticks of butter. Use a knife to spread the softened butter even into a candy mold (flip the mold over once you have some butter in it, to make sure the butter is filling the mold completely; the butter tends to leave "gaps" of empty space, even when you feel like you're filling the mold solidly). Freeze the filled mold until the butter is firm.

When firm, pop the butter pats out of the mold. Line a large pan or baking dish with waxed paper. Layer the butter pats in the pan, with a piece of waxed paper between each layer to keep the pats from sticking together. Refrigerate the molded pats until you're ready to serve them. At serving time, place some crushed ice in a bowl and place the pats on
top of the ice to keep them cold.

A heart-shaped candy mold is perfect for butter that will be used at a wedding reception or rehearsal dinner. Candy molds comes in all sorts of shapes and sizes. Just choose one that is right for your special occasion.

For pretty herb butters, add some of your favorite chopped herb (s) to the butter before putting it in the mold.

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Using Character Sheets in Fiction Writing

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Writing fiction is a bit like baking a cake. You need the right ingredients in the right amounts, or it will turn out awful. For fiction, you need the right combination of plot, action, description and character development to bring your story to life for your reader.

Character development can be one of the most important things about writing fiction. You want to create a realistic group of characters to move your plot along and to do that you need to know them. But how much do you really have to know about them before you start writing?

Well, that depends on the kind of story you are writing. The length of your tale will dictate the amount of character information you will need to make them come to life. For simplicity’s sake, I’ve broken my character sheet down into what I use for each type of writing. Your character sheets may vary.

Flash Fiction

Writing flash fiction is one of the hardest types of writing. You have to create a story with just the minimum of words and it has to make sense. For most flash fiction, you only need the most basic character information.





Hair color and style:

Eye color:

Complexion and skin tone:

Character’s body build:

These should be enough to create a flash fiction character.

Short Stories

Short stories have a higher word count, so the characters in those should be more developed. You have more leeway with your character’s descriptions and can even give background information, which will make them more real for your readers. Use the above information and add the following:

Character back story:

Identifying marks:

Facial features:

Hand features:


Mannerisms or gestures:

Novellas and Novels

Novellas and novels require the most detailed characters because they are as much character driven stories as plot driven. Character sheets with more detailed physical description, personality traits, and an extensive background will go a long way to making your story one that pulls a reader in and keeps them reader from beginning to end. Use all of the above plus the following:

Strongest personality traits:

Weakest personality traits:

Needs of the character:


Father’s name:


Physical appearance:

Mother’s name:


Physical appearance:

Sibling’s names and descriptions:

Favorite sayings:

Interests and hobbies:

Favorite foods:

Favorite colors:




Financial situation:

Future plans:

Possessions this character values most:

What drives your character:

How does your character handle conflict:

What is standing in your character’s way:

What is their favorite room and why:

What vehicle do they drive:

Favorite sport(s):

What are your character’s prejudices:

How does your character feel about love:

About crime:

What is their neighborhood like:

What is your character’s philosophy on life:

What is your character’s family life like:

You also should have a rough background and timeline for this character, from childhood through the start of the story. Break it down into 5 year spans, unless your character is fairly old, then go with 10 year spans. Finally, have a profile summary, taking everything you have for the character and write up a one or two paragraph summary. It is a good way to focus your character’s information, and could be used in your story.

Book Series

When writing a series of books about the same characters, it is imperative to keep some kind of record of their traits. Do not rely on your memory when it comes to writing each book. As an avid reader of series books, it is amazing the number of times a character’s eyes have been dark blue in one book and dark brown in another then gone back to blue. While most casual readers won’t catch that kind of mistake, your dedicated readers will. It costs you nothing to keep a notebook with your character sheets and reference it when writing the next book in your series. It will go a long way to keep the continuity of your books intact.

A note on describing clothing. Unless clothing change is crucial to your story’s plot limit your fashion descriptions. You do not need to tell every single piece of clothing your character is wearing. A basic idea of their attire is enough for most readers.

Your characters are as important to your story as your plot. Developing them will help bring your tale to life, but taking the time to plan them out prior to writing is a great way to make them real to you and your reader.

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A Short History of Apple

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Since its humble beginnings as a computer company flogging hand built machines conceived by an out of work college dropout, the Apple empire has certainly come far. Today, Apple Inc has almost 50,000 employees and reported a $14 billion profit in 2010, becoming one of the most valuable computer technology companies in the world. Moreover, it has become a unique brand phenomenon with Apple products being snatched up all across the world – and consumers are still clamouring for more.

From the first Apple I to the iPhone 4 – here’s a look back at some of big Apple wins and a few of its failures through the years.

1976 – Apple was first founded on 1 April 1976 by Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak and Ronald Wayne. Wayne subsequently sold his share of the company back to his partners for $800. The first offering by the company was a hand built Apple I personal computer retailing for $666.66.

1977 – The Apple II was introduced. Boasting colour graphics, open architecture and a floppy disk drive interface, the Apple II was positioned well ahead of its competitors and subsequently became the personal computer of choice for the business world with the VisiCalc spreadsheet program.

1983 – The Apple Lisa was launched, the first to feature a Graphical User Interface (GUI).

1984 – Apple launches the Macintosh with its powerful TV commercial directed by Ridley Scott. The Mac was a success thanks to its advanced graphical capabilities – perfect for desktop publishing.

1985 – Co-founder Steve Jobs resigns from Apple and goes on to develop a new computer company, NeXT Inc.

1989 – 1991 – Macs go portable with the Macintosh Portable and the PowerBook, which set the ground for the layout and ergonomic design for most future laptops and personal computers.

1986 – 1993 – During this time, Apple produces a few product flops including a digital camera, portable CD players and video consoles. The Newton was Apple’s foray into portable handheld computing devices but also had limited success.

1996 – Apple purchases NeXT, bringing Steve Jobs back into Apple as an advisor. He eventually became the interim CEO until 2000 when he officially stepped into the role permanently.

1998 – The iMac, with its advanced digital video editing capabilities, would become the launching pad for Apple’s return to being a computer industry leader.

2001 – Apple introduces the first generation iPod which would revolutionise the digital music industry and become hugely successful with almost 300 million iPod units in its various forms and generations sold since its debut.

2003 – To follow up on the iPod’s success, Apple launches its iTunes store.

2005 – Apple releases its popular line of Intel powered computers with the introduction of the popular MacBook, MacBook Pro and iMac. These would eventually come to replace its previous models of the PowerBook, iBook and Power Mac. Today, the Intel powered models have been updated and re-released and continue to be some of the most popular computer models sold today.

2007 – The first Apple iPhone is launched revolutionising smart phone technology and mobile computing. The App Store allowed third party developers to make and distribute iPhone compatible applications, including some of the most popular games today, like Words with Friends and Angry Birds.

2010 – Continuing to blaze new paths, Apple introduces the iPad tablet computer that worked with all iPhone applications. The iPad has already sold almost 15 million units in its first year and consumers are already looking to buy or rent an iPad 2.

Today, Apple fans are waiting for more updates on their favourite products with the iPhone 5 and the iPad 2 expected to debut in 2011.

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John Galsworthy – English Novelist and Dramatist, Co-founder and First President International PEN

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John Galsworthy’s authorship seems to develop unusually smoothly, pushed on by a conscientious and indefatigable creative impulse. Yet he is not one of those who have turned to the literary career rapidly and without resistance. Born, as the English put it, with a silver spoon in his mouth, that is, economically independent, he studied at Harrow and Oxford, chose the law without practicing it, and traveled all over the world. When, at the age of twenty-eight, he began writing for the first time, the immediate reason was the exhortation of a woman friend, and it was to Galsworthy a mere recreation, evidently not without the inherent prejudices of the gentleman, against the vocation of writing. His first two collections of tales were published under the pen name of John Sin john, and the editions were soon withdrawn by the self-critical beginner. Not until he was thirty-seven did he begin his real authorship by publishing the novel The Island Pharisees (1904), and two years later appeared The Man of Property, the origin of his fame and at the same time of his monumental chief work, The Forsyte Saga.

So went the citation for Galsworthy on the occasion of his receiving the Nobel Prize for literature in abstentia

Galsworthy was born at Kingston Hill in Surrey, England into an established upper-middle-class and wealthy family, his father, John Galsworthy, a lawyer and director of several companies and his mother, nee Blanche Bartleet, the daughter of a Midlands manufacturer. Galsworthy attended Harrow and New College, Oxford, training as a barrister and was called to the bar in 1890. Not keen to begin practicing law, he traveled abroad to look after the family’s shipping business interests whilst pursuing an unlucky love affair. During the period of his studies, he gained fame as a cricket and football player, but not with his writings. Only that once he planned to write a study of warm-blooded horses.

During his travels he met Joseph Conrad, then the first mate of a sailing-ship moored in the harbor of Adelaide Australia, and the two became close friends. In a letter he noted: “The first mate is a Pole called Conrad, and is a capital chap though queer to look at; he is a man of travel and experience in many parts of the world, and has a fund of yarns on which I draw freely.” This meeting convinced Galsworthy to give up law and devote himself entirely to writing.

In 1895 Galsworthy began an affair with Ada Nemesis Pearson, the wife of one of his cousins. with whom he lived in secret for ten years, because he did not want to cause distress to his father, who would not approve of the relationship. With his father’s death in 1904, Galsworthy became financially independent and in 1905 married Ada. They stayed together until his death in 1933. She even inspired many of Galsworthy’s female characters. Her previous unhappy marriage with Galsworthy’s cousin formed the basis for the novel The Man of Property (1906), which began the The Forsyte Saga novel sequence which established Galsworthy’s reputation as a major British writer.

From the Four Winds a collection of short stories was Galsworthy’s first published work in 1897, which with several subsequent works, were published under the pen name John Sinjohn. It would not be until The Island Pharisees (1904) that he would begin publishing under his own name, after the death of his father. His first play, The Silver Box (1906) became a success, and he followed it up with The Man of Property (1906), the first in the Forsyte trilogy.

Although he continued writing both plays and novels it was as a playwright he was mainly appreciated at the time. Along with other writers of the time such as Shaw his plays addressed the class system and social issues. Two of his best known plays were Strife (1909) and The Skin Game (1920).

He is now far better known for his novels and particularly The Forsyte Saga, the first of three trilogies of novels about the eponymous family and connected lives. These, as with many of his other works, dealt with class, and in particular upper-middle class lives. Although sympathetic to his characters he highlights their insular, snobbish and acquisitive attitudes and their suffocating moral codes. The first appearance of the Forsyte family was in one of the stories in Man of Devon (1901). The saga follows the lives of three generations of the British middle-class before 1914. Soames Forsyte, married to beautiful and rebellious Irene, was modeled after Arthur Galsworthy, the writer’s cousin. Soames rapes his wife, which was the fate Ada Galsworthy suffered at the hands of her former husband Arthur. In the second volume, In Changery (1920), Irene and Soames divorce. She marries Jolyon Forsyte, Soames’s cousin, and bears a son, Jon. Soames and his second wife, Annette Lamotte, have a daughter, Fleur. In the third volume, To Let (1921), Fleur and Jon fall in love, but Jon refuses to marry her. The second part of Forsyte chronicles, containing The White Monkey (1924), The Silver Spoon (1926), Swan Song (1928), starts on an October afternoon of 1922 and closes in 1926. ‘A Silent Wooing’ and ‘Passers By’, the two interludes, came out in 1927.

Galsworthy returned again to the world of the Forsyte books in 1931 with a further collection of stories, On Forsyte Change. Romain Rolland, the writer of Jean-Christophe (1904-1912), coined a special term, the roman-fleuve, to descibe this kind of series of novels, which can be read separately, but which form a coherent narrative.

Although Galsworthy chronicled changes in the middle-class family in England, he said in the preface of The White Monkey, that the English character had changed very little since the Victorianism of Soames and his generation. “He emerged still thinking about the English. Well! They were now one of the plainest and most distorted races of the world; and yet was there any race to compare with them for good temper and for ‘guts’? And they needed those in their smoky towns, and their climate a remarkable instance of adaptation to environment, the modern English character! ‘I could pick out an Englishman anywhere,’ he thought, ‘ and yet, physically, there’s no general type now!’ Astounding people!”

Galsworthy is viewed as one of the first writers of the Edwardian era; who challenges in his works some of the ideals of society depicted in the literature of Victorian England. The depiction of a woman in an unhappy marriage is a recurring theme in his work. Through his writings he campaigned for a variety of causes including prison reform, women’s rights, animal welfare and censorship, most of which have limited appeal outside the era in which they were written.

Galsworthy’s first four books were published at his own expense under the pseudonym John Sinjohn. After reading Maupassant and Turgenev, Galsworthy published Villa Rubein (1900), in which he started to find his own voice. These early efforts, written under the influence of Kipling and Russian novelists, he later labeled as heavy and exaggerated. The Island Pharisees (1904) the first book which came out under his own name. Galsworthy wrote originally in the first person, then in the third, and revised it again. Its final version was not finished until 1908.

In Galsworthy’s satire against the Island Pharisees, the fundamental feature that was to mark all his subsequent works was already apparent. The book deals with an English gentleman’s having stayed abroad long enough to forget his conventional sphere of thoughts and feelings. He criticizes the national surroundings severely, and in doing so he is assisted by a Belgian vagabond, who casually makes his acquaintance in an English railway compartment and who becomes his fate. At that time Galsworthy was himself a cosmopolite returned home, prepared to fight against the old capitalistic aristocratic society with about the same program as George Bernard Shaw, although the Englishman, contrary to the Irishman who fought with intellectual arms, above all aimed at capturing feeling and imagination. The pharisaical egoism of England’s ruling classes, the subject of Galsworthy’s debut, remained his program for the future, only specialized in his particular works. He never tired of fighting against all that seemed narrow and harsh in the national character, and the persistence of his attacks on social evil indicates his strong impressions and deeply wounded feeling of justice.

With the Forsyte type he now aimed at the upper middle class, the rich businessmen, a group not yet having reached real gentility, but striving with its sympathies and instincts toward the well-known ideal of the gentleman of rigid, imperturbable, and imposing correctness. These people are particularly on their guard against dangerous feelings, a fact which, however, does not exclude accidental lapses, when passion intrudes upon their life, and liberty claims its rights in a world of property instincts. Beauty, here represented by Irene, does not like to live with The Man of Property; in his bitter indignation at this, Soames Forsyte becomes almost a tragic figure. Fifteen years later that he again took up his Forsytes, the effects of the World War had radically changed the perspective. But now this work expanded; In Chancery (1920) and To Let (1921) and two short story interludes were added, and thus The Forsyte Saga proper was completed. Not finished with the younger members of the family, Galsworthy wrote A Modern Comedy, a new trilogy whose structure is exactly like that of its predecessor and consists of the three novels, The White Monkey (1924), The Silver Spoon (1926), and Swan Song (1928), united by two short story interludes. These two trilogies together form an unusual literary accomplishment. The novelist has carried the history of his time through three generations, and his success in mastering so excellently his enormously difficult material, both in its scope and in its depth, remains an extremely memorable feat in English literature.

In the foreground of this chronicle is everyday reality, as experienced by the Forsytes, all personal fortunes, conflicts, and tragicomedies. But in the background is visible the dark fabric of historical events. See, for instance, the chapter describing how Soames with his second wife witnesses the funeral of Queen Victoria in grey weather at the Hyde Park fence, and the rapid survey of the age from her accession to the throne: «Morals had changed, manners had changed, men had become monkeys twice removed, God had become Mammon – Mammon so respectable as to deceive himself.» In the Forsyte novels we observe the transformation and the dissolution of the Victorian age up to the onset of the modern age.. In the first trilogy comes to life the period that in England effected the fusion of nobility and plutocracy with the accompanying change of the notion of a «gentleman», a kind of Indian summer of wealth before the days of the storm. The second trilogy, no longer called «saga» but «comedy», describes the profound crisis of the new England whose task is to change the ruins of the past and the improvised barracks of wartime into its future home. The gallery of types is admirably complete. Robust businessmen, spoiled society ladies, aunts touching in an old-fashioned way, rebellious young girls, gentlemen of the clubs, politicians, artists, children, and even dogs – these last-mentioned especially favored by Galsworthy – emerge in the London panorama in a concrete form, alive before our eyes and ears.

The situations recur as a curious documentation of the oscillation and the undulation in a family of given hereditary dispositions. The individual portraits are distinguished, and the law of social life is at work.

One could observe in these novels how Galsworthy’s view gradually changes. The radical critic of culture rises by degrees to a greater objectivity in his appreciation and to a more liberal view of the purely human. There is his treatment of Soames, at first satirized, but then described with a respect that, reluctantly growing, finally changes into a genuine sympathy. Galsworthy has seized upon this sympathy; his characterization of Soames’s personality thoroughly worked out becomes the most memorable feature of the Forsyte saga and the comedy of the descendants. One of those masterly final episodes of Swan Song, in which Old Soames, having driven to his ancestors’ village on the west coast, finds with the help of an old census map the place where the Forsytes’ farm had been situated, where only a single stone marks the site; lingers in the reader’s mind. Something like the ghost of a path leads him down into a valley of grass and furze. He breathes in the fresh, rough sea air which goes a little to his head; he puts on his overcoat and sits musing, his back against the stone. Had his ancestors built the house themselves at this lonely place, had they been the first to settle down here? he wonders. Their England rises before him, an England «of pack horses and very little smoke, of peat and wood fires, and wives who never left you, because they couldn’t probably». He sits there a long time, absorbed in his feeling for the birthplace.

«And something moved in him, as if the salty independence of that lonely spot were still in his bones. Old Jolyon and his own father and the rest of his uncles – no wonder they’d been independent, with this air and loneliness in their blood; and crabbed with the pickling of it – unable to give up, to let go, to die. For a moment he seemed to understand even himself.»

To Galsworthy Soames thus becomes one of the last representatives of static old England. There was no humbug in him, we are told; he had his trying ways, but he was genuine. The sober prosaic respectability is in this manner duly honored in Galsworthy’s realism. As time passed, and the weary, cynical laxity grew more and more visibly modern, the chronicler found that several traits which under other circumstances had been little appreciated, perhaps really constituted the secret of the British power of resistance. On the whole, Galsworthy’s later novels are permeated with a patriotic feeling of self-defense that appears also in his descriptions of the home and studies of nature. Even these last-mentioned are rendered with a more tender and more anxious poetry, with the feeling of protecting something precious yet already shadowed by certain loss. It may be old chambers where people have established themselves as if to remain there forever. Or it may be an English garden park, where the September sun is shining beautifully on bronze-colored beech leaves and centenary hedges of yew.

It is above all in The Country House (1907), in Fraternity (1901), and in The Dark Flower (1913) that his mature essential character is seen. In the novel of the manor he created perhaps his most exquisite female portrait, Mrs. Pendyce, the type of the perfect, unaffected lady with all the modest tragedy which surrounds a truly noble nature, condemned to be restrained if not destroyed by the fetters of tradition. In Fraternity he represented, with a discreet mixture of pity and irony, the unfulfilled martyr of social conscience, the aesthete who is tortured by the shadows of the proletarian masses in London, but is not able to take the decisive step and carry out his altruistic impulse of action. There we also meet the old original Mr. Stone, the utopian dreamer with his eternal monologues beneath the night sky, indeed one of Galsworthy’s most memorable types. The Dark Flower, may be called a psychological sonata, played with a masterly hand and based on the variations of passion and resignation in the ages of man. Even in the form of the short story Galsworthy has often been able to evoke an emotional response through contrasts of shadow and light which work rather graphically. He can do this in only a few pages which become animated by his personal style, for example, when he tells about such a simple case as that of the German shoemaker in «Quality», the story of the hopeless struggle of good craftsmanship against low-price industry.

By appealing to education and the sense of justice, his narrative art has always gently influenced contemporary notions of life and habits of thought. The same is true of his dramatic works, which were often direct contributions to social discussion and led to definite reforms at least in one area, the administration of public prisons in England as through Justice (1910), a realistic portrayal of prison life that roused so much feeling that it led to prison reform.

His dramas show an unusual richness of ideas combined with great ingenuity and technical skill in the working out of scenic effect. When certain inclinations are found, they are always just and humane. Galsworthy’s plays, written in a naturalistic style, usually examines some controversial ethical or social problem. In The Forest (1924), for example, he brands the inconsiderate spirit of greed that, for crass purposes, exploits the heroism of the British world-conquering mind. The Show (1925) represents the defenselessness of the individual against the press in a family tragedy where brutal newspaper curiosity functions like a deaf and unchecked machine, removing the possibility of any one being held responsible for the resultant evil.

Loyalties (1922), dealing with the theme of anti-Semitism and which was also the best of his later plays depicts a matter of honor in which loyalty is tested and impartially examined in the different circles where it is at work, that is, the family, the corporation, the profession, and the nation. The force of these and other plays is in their logical structure and their concentrated action; sometimes possessing an atmosphere of poetic feeling that is far from trivial. especially in A Pigeon (1912) and A Bit o’ Love (1915) which, however, did not meet with such brilliant success on the stage. The Silver Box (1906), like many of his other works, has a legal theme giving a bitter contrast of the law’s treatment of the rich and the poor thus showing that there is one law for the rich and another for the poor. Later plays include The Skin Game (1920), filmed by Alfred Hitchcock in 1931, and Escape (1926), filmed for a second time in 1948 by 20th. Century-Fox, starring Rex Harrison. In the story a law-abiding man meets a prostitute and accidentally kills a police in defending her. He escapes from prison, and meets different people before giving himself up.

Although on the whole Galsworthy’s plays cannot be rated artistically with his novels, they confirm quite as plainly how strongly he sticks to his early ideal of liberty. Even in his rather cool dramatic works we meet a steady enemy of all oppression, spiritual as well as material, a sensitive man who with all his heart reacts against lack of consideration and never gives way in his demand for fair play.

We find in Galsworthy a definite musical charm catching and keeping the hidden feelings. His intuition is so infallible that he can content himself with a slight allusion and a broken hint. Galsworthy’s irony is such a singular instrument that even the tone separates him from any other writer. There are many different kinds of irony. One principal kind is negative and can be compared to the hoar-frost of the windows in a house where there is no fire, where the hearth has grown cold long ago. But there is also an irony friendly to life, springing from warmth, interest, and humanity; such is Galsworthy’s. His is an irony that, in the presence of tragicomic evil, seems to question why it must be so, why it is necessary, and whether there is nothing to remedy it. Sometimes Galsworthy makes nature herself take part in that ironic play about human beings, to underline the bitterness or sweetness of the incidents with the help of winds, clouds, fragrances, and bird cries. Assisted by this irony he successfully appeals to the psychological imagination, always the best ally of understanding and sympathy.

As we have alreagy seen , Galsworth had a quest for adventure, altruism and social commitment. This continues throughout the rest of his life. During World War I, for instance, he tried to enlist in the army, but was rejected due to his shortsightedness. He instead worked in a hospital in France as an orderly. He worked for the Red Cross in France, and helped refugees in Belgium. Galsworthy refused knighthood in 1917 in the belief that writers should not accept titles. He also gave away at least half of his income to humanitarian causes.

In 1924 Galsworthy founded PEN, the international organization of writers, with Catherine Dawson Scott and was elected as its first president. Galsworthy and Dawson Scott after contacting American writers had a center started in New York. At its inaugural meeting, April 19, 1922, at a dinner in the Coffee House Club, where about forty people gathered to which he sent a message of good will; read by Alexander Black, Chairman of the Executive Committee. Galsworthy sent warmest greetings to the new American Center and set down the central idea and hope upon which P.E.N. was founded:

We writers are in some sort trustees for human nature; if

we are narrow and prejudiced we harm the human race. And

the better we know each other….the greater the chance

for human happiness in a world not, as yet, too happy.

One of Galsworthy’s ideas from the beginning that there should be an International Congress each year, to which all the Centers would send their delegates was first held in London in 1923 with an impressive number of centers, and representatives from Belgium, Czechoslovakia, Denmark, France, Italy, Norway, Rumania, Spain, Sweden, and the United States. The following year the American Center hosted an International Congress, in May 1924, consisting of three days of festivities and discussions, the highlight being a gala banquet at which a letter from John Galsworthy was also read by Mrs. Dawson Scott, which emphasized the reason behind P.E.N. hospitality:

I beg you earnestly to believe that our meetings are not

just festivity, but gestures of friendliness which have

a deep and wide-reaching significance….Friends, the

P.E.N. Club was a great dream….I believe I speak from

your hearts, as well as from my own, when I say: “With

this dream we will go forward till we have made of it a

great reality.” Good fortune to you all and may you serve

this dream.

In January of 1933, a year after the Budapest Congress, John Galsworthy died from a brain tumor at his London home, Grove Lodge, Hampstead , leaving his Nobel Prize money in a trust fund for P.E.N., the last gift and contribution to an organization he loved and nurtured, watching it grow and take shape. In accordance with his will he was cremated at Woking and his ashes scattered over the South Downs from an aeroplane, but there is also a memorial in Highgate ‘New’ Cemetery.

The popularity of his fiction waned quickly after his death but the hugely successful adaptation of The Forsyte Saga in 1967 renewed interest in the writer. A number of John Galsworthy’s letters and papers are held at the University of Birmingham Special Collections. He produced 20 novels, 27 plays, 3 collections of poetry, 173 short stories, 5 collections of essays, 700 letters, and many sketches and miscellaneous works. Galsworthy’s socially committed work was attacked by D.H. Lawrence and Virginia Woolf who said in her essay ‘Mr. Bennett and Mrs. Brown’, that the Edwardian writers “developed a technique of novel-writing which suits their purpose. . . But those tools are not our tools, and that business is not our business.” The younger generation of writers accused Galsworthy of being thoroughly embodied of the values he was supposed to be criticizing. On the other hand, his influence is seen in the works of Thomas Mann, and he was widely read in France and in Russia. The Forsyte Saga gained a huge popular success as a BBC television series in 1967.


Nobel Lectures, Literature 1901-1967, Editor Horst Frenz, Elsevier Publishing Company, Amsterdam, 1969

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Source by Arthur Smith