Friday, January 8, 2021

NEB Grade XI Compulsory English Note | Literary Studies | Unit 1 The Selfish Giant | Oscar Wilde

Unit: 1

NEB Grade XI Compulsory English Note | Literary Studies | Unit 1 The Selfish Giant | Oscar Wilde

The Selfish Giant

Summary

The Giant has a beautiful garden full of green grass, trees and flowers. As he has visited his friend, the Cornish ogre, the children enjoy playing in the garden. But when he returns after seven years, he sends the children away and keeps the garden closed up. As a result, all the seasons except winter refuse to grace the Giant's garden, and so only winter weather with frost, snow and wind prevails. With each passing day the Giant’s anxiety grows for his garden until one day he wakes up in the morning to hear the laughter of the children and to see the touch of spring in his garden. He is very happy and runs outside to play with the children who enters through a small hole in the fence. In the farthest corner of the garden, he sees one small boy blinded by his own tears of frustration because he can’t climb a tall tree. Unlike the other children, the little boy hugs and kisses the Giant for helping him to climb the tree. The spring prevails everywhere. Much to the Giant's sadness, the small boy who kissed him never appears again. The Giant grows very old and weak in the presence of the happy children sharing his garden space. When the Giant is nearing the end of his days, the small child comes to his garden again. The Giant is angry when he notices that the boy has imprints of two nails on his hands and feet. But the boy tells him not to be upset because they are wounds of love, and he comes to take the Giant to heaven. Shortly afterwards, the happy Giant dies, and his body is found lying under the tree, covered in blossoms.

Understanding the text

a.
...
Answer:
They used to play in the Giant's garden.

b.
...
Answer:
The Snow covered up the grass with its great white cloak and the Frost painted all the trees silver. Then, they invited the North Wind to stay with them.

c.
...
Answer:
The giant heard some lovely music.

d.
...
Answer:
I think spring season never came to the giant's garden because he didn't permit the children to play there.

e.
...
Answer:
He realized his mistake as the children stopped visiting the garden and the garden never experienced the spring season.

Reference to the context

a.
...
Answer:

i. 'There' refers to the Giant’s garden.

ii. 'They' refers to the children.

iii. They are saying so because the Giant doesn't let them play in his garden.



b.
...
Answer:

i. The Giant is the speaker.

ii. He is speaking to himself.

iii. The children are the ones who play in the Giant’s garden.

iv. The speaker is saying that 'the children are the most ........' because children or flowers are the source of happiness.


c.

When the Giant was very old and weak, he couldn’t play with the children any more. He sat in his armchair and watched the children playing. One winter morning, the little child whom he once helped to climb the tree appeared and offered him never ending and peaceful life in his garden i.e. heaven. At the same time, the Giant died. Thus, the occurrence of the child’s offer of eternal life in heaven and the death of the Giant is the coincidence. However, from the religious point of view, reappearance of the child, with prints of nails on the palms of the hands and feet, and the biological death of the Giant have a close association.

B.

The story ‘The Selfish Giant’ makes the use of personification as one of the main figures of speech which gives human qualities to the non-human objects. In the story, the technique of personification has made non- human entities more vivid or helped the readers understand and sympathize with or react emotionally to them. The effect of this is to make flowers, seasons, frost, snow, wind, hail and one of the trees to reinforce the story writer’s moral vision.


The flowers are personified when one of them begins to bloom, then sees there are no children in the garden, and goes back to sleep. This variety of personification continues with the happiness of snow and frost as the garden lacks the spring season and they invite the north wind to the garden. The wind is personified when it says with delight that they must ask the hail to visit the garden.

C.

The story ‘The Selfish Giant’ is a fairy tale. The story writer has adopted the approach of symbolism to teach the readers a moral lesson. The children symbolize innocence and love. Likewise, seasons represent hope, life and death. The tree is the symbol of patience whereas the corner of the garden stands for the heaven. The snow, the wind, and the frost signify grief, sorrow and discomfort.

D.

As a fairy tale, the story is full of figures of speech. Both the methods of personification and symbolism are used for winter, frost, snow, north wind and hail. The little child is presented as the Christian symbol. He is compared to Jesus Christ.

Reference beyond the text

a.

Oscar Wilde has covered the themes of unselfishness and love. At the beginning of the story the giant is very selfish and cold towards the children, and builds a high wall around the garden and puts a notice–board to stop them. But later he realizes his mistake when the children stop coming to the garden and the garden never experiences the spring season until he allows them to play in his garden. As he knows the meaning of love and sharing, the spring weather comes. Not only the Giant brings happiness to the children but he also ensures that he will get into Heaven with his act of kindness. The Giant’s nature is associated with that of human beings. We rarely share our belongings to any one even if someone is needed. We are selfish too. The story teaches us to share love to get love in return.

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