Parliament of World's Religions Swami Vivekananda on the Platform of the Parliament of Religions The Parliament of Religions opened on 11 September 1893 at the Art Institute of Chicago. On this day Vivekananda gave his first brief address. He represented India and Hinduism. Though initially nervous, he bowed to Saraswati, the goddess of learning and began his speech with, "Sisters and brothers of America!". To these words he got a standing ovation from a crowd of seven thousand, which lasted for two minutes. When silence was restored he began his address. He greeted the youngest of the nations in the name of "the most ancient order of monks in the world, the Vedic order of sannyasins, a religion which has taught the world both tolerance and universal acceptance." And he quoted two illustrative passages in this relation, from the Bhagavad Gita—"As the different streams having their sources in different places all mingle their water in the sea, so, O Lord, the different paths which men take, through different tendencies, various though they appear, crooked or straight, all lead to Thee!" and "Whosoever comes to Me, through whatsoever form, I reach him; all men are struggling through paths that in the end lead to Me." Despite being a short speech, it voiced the spirit of the Parliament and its sense of universality. Dr. Barrows, the president of the Parliament said, "India, the Mother of religions was represented by Swami Vivekananda, the Orange-monk who exercised the most wonderful influence over his auditors." He attracted widespread attention in the press, which dubbed him as the "Cyclonic monk from India". The New York Critique wrote, "He is an orator by divine right, and his strong, intelligent face in its picturesque setting of yellow and orange was hardly less interesting than those earnest words, and the rich, rhythmical utterance he gave them." The New York Herald wrote, "Vivekananda is undoubtedly the greatest figure in the Parliament of Religions. After hearing him we feel how foolish it is to send missionaries to this learned nation." The American newspapers reported Swami Vivekananda as "the greatest figure in the parliament of religions" and "the most popular and influential man in the parliament". His speeches at the World’s Parliament of Religions held in September 1893 made him famous as an ‘orator by divine right’ and as a ‘Messenger of Indian wisdom to the Western world’. After the Parliament, Swamiji spent nearly three and a half years spreading Vedanta as lived and taught by Sri Ramakrishna, mostly in the eastern parts of USA and also in London. THE LOTTERY TICKET o In the short story “The Lottery Ticket” by Anton Chekhov, a couple which thinks they may have won the lottery fantasize about how to spend the winnings. Chekhov’s portrayal of the couple and the depiction of the setting dramatize the theme that some believe that those that find joy in life are lucky, as if they were winners of the state lottery, not masters of their own destiny. Chekhov demonstrates how paralyzing depending on good fortune can be as opposed to striving for growth, happiness, and satisfaction to improve one’s lot in life. Through the characterization of the main character, Ivan, Chekhov sets the tone as he identifies Ivan as a “middle-class man who lived with his family on an income of twelve hundred a year and was very well satisfied with his lot” (1). Chekhov proceeds to illustrate how even the possibility of a life transformation can be euphoric demonstrating the irony of how people seemingly content with their lives are actually yearning for a more rewarding life. The anticipation of their lives changing brings enthusiasm to their otherwise predictable and dull life. As Ivan and his wife refrain from seeking the number of the ticket, they share a thrilling adventure filled with heart-thumping excitement as they “began laughing and staring at one another in silence”(Chekhov 2). For a brief moment, they share something new, stimulating, and different. This expectation alone is a source of happiness. Though the outcome is not likely, they delight in the mental images of how winning seventy five thousand dollars could transform their lives. Chekhov is demonstrating how the couple believes they are not empowered to initiate such a change through their own achievements. Then as though Ivan’s subconscious forces him to see through the illusion that he and his wife have failed to achieve oneness he states, “the ticket is yours”(Chekhov 2). . Many features of the setting in the Ivan’s fantasy suggest wealth will bring a new start for Ivan with fresh vegetables from the earth. A life of leisure with long walks, lying around on the sofa reading magazines. Chekhov demonstrates through Ivan’s reference to his children how often people have regrets about their past and if only the circumstances were different their lives would be fulfilled. The reality is that the summer that follows is dark and gloomy POLONIUS ADVICE TO LAERTES (BATTERY OF ADVICE) This is text translation apart from this you have to read the background context and summary of this. POLONIUS: POLONIUS: Yet here, Laertes? Aboard, aboard, You’re still here, Laertes! Aboard, for shame! aboard, for shame! The wind sits in the shoulder of The wind sits in the best part of your your sail,(60) sail, And you are stay'd for. There, my And the ship waits for you. There, blessing with thee. my blessing with you! And these few precepts in thy And see that you write these few memory precepts See thou character. Give thy In your memory. Give your thoughts thoughts no tongue, to yourself, Nor any unproportion'd thought his And don’t act without thinking. act. Be friendly, but by no means vulgar. Be thou familiar, but by no means Those friends you have, and their vulgar.(65) friendship tested, Those friends thou hast, and their Anchor them to your soul with adoption tried, hoops of steel, Grapple them to thy soul with But don’t spend your money on hoops of steel; entertaining But do not dull thy palm with Each newly acquired, unproven entertainment friend. Beware Of each new-hatch'd, unfledged Of getting into a quarrel, but, once comrade. Beware you are in, Of entrance to a quarrel; but being Fight so that the man you fight with in,(70) may beware of you. Bear't that the opposed may beware Listen to what every man says, but of thee. speak to few. Give every man thy ear, but few thy Take each man's opinion, but reserve voice; your judgment. Take each man's censure, but Buy as costly clothes as can pay for, reserve thy judgment. But not made fancy, rich, and Costly thy habit as thy purse can certainly not gaudy. buy, For the clothes often tell what kind But not express'd in fancy; rich, not of man you are, gaudy;(75) And the ones in France of the best For the apparel oft proclaims the rank and station man, Are most choosy and generous in And they in France of the best rank that regard. and station Neither a borrower nor a lender be. Are of a most select and generous, For a loan often loses both the loan chief in that. and the friend, Neither a borrower nor a lender be; And borrowing dulls the edge of the For loan oft loses both itself and economy. friend,(80) This above all, to your own self be And borrowing dulls the edge of true, husbandry. And it must follow, as the night the This above all: to thine own self be day, true, You cannot then be false to any man. And it must follow, as the night the Goodbye. My blessing instill these day, things in you! Thou canst not then be false to any man. Farewell. My blessing season this in thee!(85) HA’ PENNY Alan Paton’s short story “Ha’penny” sums up, in many ways, the author’s life experiences during some of the worst phases of the apartheid system in South Africa. Paton was a white man who opposed the bigotry and the cruel segregationist policies against black Africans. When he was not writing, Paton worked at a boys’ reformatory, trying to find ways to improve the lives of incarcerated South African youths. Paton is best remembered for his novel Cry, the Beloved Country (1948), which is credited with having spread around the world the story of the suffering that black Africans were enduring in South Africa under apartheid. Like the author’s famous novel, the short story “Ha’penny” also deals with some of the consequences of apartheid. Set in the 1960s, the story provides readers with an intimate look at the challenges of one man attempting to change the lives of those who find themselves at the bottom of the heap in a country that holds little regard for them. THEME OF THE STORY The main character, Ha’penny, is a troubled twelve-year-old orphan who has spent much of his youth living on the streets. The story opens after Ha’penny has been caught stealing and is imprisoned. The narrator, an official at the reformatory, befriends the young boy, attracted to him because of the colorful stories the boy relates. Intrigued by a few contradictory elements in the boy’s stories, the narrator researches Ha’penny’s background and discovers that the boy has fabricated some of the more important details. When the narrator confronts the boy, everything about their relationship unravels, as does the boy’s mental and physical health. In the process, the narrator must confront his actions how to teach youths. Some of the themes of this story include the consequences of strict segregation based on the color of one’s skin, the need for familial love, and loneliness. First published in 1961 in the collection Tales From a Troubled Land, “Ha’penny” remains a popular short story in English literature classes. SUMMARY OF THE STORY Ha Penny “Ha’penny, a short story written by Alan Paton, is about a young orphan who wants to be taken in by a family. Ha’penny is a believable character and is characterized directly by his background and indirectly by his actions and motivation. Ha’penny is a mosuto, which is a member of the Black South African people. He comes from Bloemfontan and twelve years old. He is naughty and uncontrollable but also clever. He lives in a reformatory with six hundred other boys. He is believed to have a “mother [who works] in a white persons house and he [has] two brothers and two sisters”, however, he was “with no relatives at all” (411). Although, he told others he had a family, he had made it all up. “Taken from on home to another,” he was really never taken in and never had a steady life (411). He always had different changes and experiences. Having been raised without the support of a family or discipline from a parental figure, he always craved to have a family of his own. Throughout the story it is revealed to the reader that Ha’penny is in need and desires a family; however, the family he desires to become a part of wants absolutely nothing to do with him. His mother, Mrs. Betty and his two brothers Richard and Dickie and sisters, Anna and Mina were in fact a real family. Although, Ha’penny was not in anyway related to them “he wrote to her as a mother and she [is] no mother of his, nor [does] she wish to play any such role” (412). Ha’penny always wrote to her, but she never replied. “She has no thought of corrupting her family” (412). Just because he was in a reformatory he is believed to be a delinquent; moreover, he is so in need of a family of his own. He did as he was told and because of this he had no record in the reformatory. So in need to be a part of this family “but did not know the secret to open her heart” (413). Throughout the story he tries his best to reach out to Mrs. Maarman. Ultimately, it was too late by the time Mrs. Maarman could accept him into her family; the boy was seriously ill and was in his death bed. During this time Mrs. Maarman developed a motherly relation, for which the boy was craving all through his life, and had build a lot of confidence in the boy saying that she would take him or adopt him into her family when once he gets well; and she gives him all those petty pleasures the boy mentioned in his letters. Soon after this the boy died and Mrs. Maarman was devastated and gave him a decent death by adopting him and giving him her SUR name. This is how the story of twelve year old boy takes a shape and ends in a very sad note. Not only in African countries, even in countries like India we have many such juvenile delinquents. In fiction, Wilde dealt with some characteristics that appeared in every story he wrote: the action will develop in the heart and in the typical areas of the English high society; the characters are prototypes −aristocrats, students, artists, wealthy people− of the social classes to which they belong, more as generic masks than a portrait of the specific person, because a mask is more eloquent than a face; formal elements: causality, occurrence, secret and irony. He also uses in his tales some symbolic elements, such as the numbers three and seven (that are said to have biblical symbolism). Occasionally, the short stories muse got to Wilde at his children's bedside, whom he used to tell beautiful tales before sleeping. In other occasions, he created short stories as an example of his statements or as a sample of his brilliant inventiveness. Wilde did not talk: he told . He told slowly; his own voice was wonderful. The writer gathered together in three collections the tales that he had published in several magazines: The Happy Prince and other tales, 1988 (The Happy Prince, The Nightingale and the Rose, The Selfish Giant, The Devoted Friend and The Remarkable Rocket) ; A House of Pomegranates, 1891 (The Young King, The Birthday of the Infanta, The Fisherman and his Soul and The Star−Child); Lord Savile's Crime and other stories, 1891(Lord Arthur Savile's Crime, The Sphinx without a secret, The Canterville Ghost and The ModelMillionaire). Nightingale and the Rose (1888) and The Devoted Friend (1888). THE NIGHTINGALE AND THE ROSE Summary The Nightingale and the Rose is a story in which the first character that appears is a Student. This boy is sad because a girl promised to dance with him on condition that he brought her red roses, but he did not find any red rose; there were white roses and yellow roses, but he could not find red roses. While he was moaning because her love would not dance with him, four characters from nature started to talk about him. A little Green Lizard, a Butterfly and a Daisy asked why he was weeping, and the Nightingale said that he was weeping for a red rose. The first three characters said that weeping for a red rose was ridiculous. The Nightingale, who understood the Student, started to fly until she saw a Rose−tree. She told him to give her a red rose, and she promised, in exchange, to sing her sweetest song, but the Rose−tree told her that his roses were white, and he send the Nightingale to his brother that grew round the old sun−dial. The Nightingale went to see this new Rose−tree, and after promising the same in exchange for a red rose, the Rose−tree told her that his roses were yellow, but he send the Nightingale to his brother, who grew beneath the Student's window, so the Nightingale went there, and when she arrived, she asked the Rose−tree to give her a red rose. The Rose−tree said that his roses were red, but that the winter had chilled his veins and the frost had nipped his buds, so he could not give her a red rose. The Rose−tree gave her a solution: he told her that if she wanted a red rose, she had to build it out of music by moonlight and stain it with her own heart's blood. She had to sing to the Rose−tree with her breast against a thorn; the thorn would pierce her heart and her life−blood would flow into the Rose−tree veins. The Nightingale said that death was a great price to pay for a red rose, but at the end, she accepted. The Nightingale went to see the Student and told him that he would have his red rose, that it was her who was going to build it up with her own blood; the only thing she asked him for in return was to being a true lover. Although the Student looked at her, he could not understand anything because he only understood the things that were written down in books. But the Oak−tree understood and became sad because he was fond of the Nightingale, and asked her to sing the last song and when she finished, the Student thought that the Nightingale had form, but no feeling. At night, the Nightingale went to the Rose−tree and set her breast against the thorn. She sang all night long. She pressed closer and closer against the thorn until the thorn finally touched her heart and she felt a fierce pang of pain. The more the rose got the red colour, the fainter the Nightingale's voice became, and after beating her wings, she died. The rose was finished, but she could not see it. The next morning, the Student saw the wonderful rose under his window. He took it and went to see the girl and offered her the rose, but she just say that the rose would not go with her dress and that the Chamberlain's nephew had sent her real jewels and that everybody knew that jewels cost far more than flowers. After arguing with her, the Student threw the rose into a gutter, where a cart−wheel went into it, and he said that Love was a silly thing and that he preferred Logic and Philosophy. Characters The Student is the first character in the story. He is a boy who dreams of dancing with the girl he loves, but he is worried because he does not have a red rose, that that was what the girl asked for in return of dancing with him. He dedicates his life to books: he likes Philosophy, and he considers books the only useful thing in life. We have an example of this when the Nightingale tells him that he is going to have his rose: The Student looked up from the grass, and listened, but he could not understand what the Nightingale was saying to him, for he only knew the things that are written down in books. The three next characters could go together: the little Green Lizard, the Butterfly and the Daisy. They are all personified elements of nature. They think that it is ridiculous to weep for a red rose, and the Green Lizard even laughed outright. The next character is our protagonist. The Nightingale is all goodness. She thinks that the most important thing in the world is love, and she even gives her life for love. The three next characters could go together too. The three Rose−trees, although the important one is the one who has the red rose. He tells the Nightingale to die for a red rose. The last character is the daughter of the Professor, the girl the Student loved. She makes much of material things and she looked down on the rose the Student gave her just because it had less material value than the jewels another boy sent her. Time and Space The action takes place in the room of the Student, when he is reading at the end of the story; in the garden that is near the Student's room's window, where we find the Rose−tree that has the red rose and where the Nightingale knows about the problem the Student has and the last places is the daughter of the Professor's house, where she despises the Student and his rose. We can easily see in the story that the action develops in some hours. The evening and the night of one day, when the Nightingale listens to the laments of the Student, when he find the Rose−tree that can give her a red rose and when she dies building the red rose for the Student; the other period of time is the next morning, when the Student goes to talk to the girl he loves. In the story we do not see any flashback, we see a liner GIFT OF INDIA AN APPRECIATION Sarojini Naidu was a patriot, a great follower of Gandhiji and his principles of non-violence. She was a child prodigy in the galaxy of intellectuals in the literary world. Besides being a linguist, she has to her credit, a number of poems which reflect her love for her country that is India. In this poem, ‘GIFT OF INDIA’, we have the outpourings of a bleeding heart. Written in the context of the Great War of 1914-1918, the poem is emotionally surcharged with the sentiments of the poetess towards our martyrs and the sacrifice of the sons of the Indian soil. During the period, India was still squirming under the atrocities and exploitations of the British rule. Sarojini could not at that time explicitly accuse the British for using Indians as pawns in the war. The English had usurped the sovereignty of India in its entirety. Through immoral methods they had projected themselves as the rulers and denied us our legitimate rights in our own country. Sarojini cries out that though the English had taken over our entire country and monopolized its prosperity, the loss is insignificant in comparison to the ruthless killings of our Indian warriors who were duty bound to serve the self-assumed monarchs of India. The invaluable gift of so many lives of our beloved sons to the British can never be undermined by anybody. The Indians were in no way involved in the cause or the outcome of the war but they were unscrupulously deployed for the benefit of the English against the Germans and their allies. If we may be allowed to speak, we can boldly proclaim that history reveals that the disposition of the English towards the Indians was no better than that of the Americans towards the black slaves. Unfortunately Sarojini did not enjoy the freedom to be so abruptly outspoken in a country under subjugation. She alludes to Persia (now Iran), Egypt, Flanders (Belgium) and France, the specific lands wherein the Indians at the mercy of the British were sent to war. The poetess portrays a heart rending picture of the pathetic dead soldiers through touchingly apt similes. The lifeless soldiers in their graves in a foreign land of Persia were like pearls strewn in abandon along the shores by the waves. The poetess laments for the unfortunate womb of Mother India that had borne those sons and who had been torn away from her bosom so heartlessly. Again, the broken shells on the sands of Egypt come to her mind. The soldiers with severed limbs, whose bodies had been relieved of their courage and bravery resembled the shells that had been deserted by the living creatures within them. The soldiers lying motionless and disheveled on the bloodstained battlefield with their beauty stripped off by the handiwork of destiny are likened to the withered beauty of flowers scattered in a sun parched meadow. Sarojini declares that in the annals of history, none other than our sacred India can be honoured for having made such a priceless gift to any country. The heart of Mother India is heavy with the immeasurable sorrow and grief she has suffered. We alone can realize the extent to which we Indians have been subjected to the ravages of the war. Hopeful prayer is the only source of solace even while our anguished hearts with overwhelming sorrow swell with pride at the thought of our gracious and valorous soldiers. Sarojini visualizes that soon good sense would prevail in the world when hatred or fear would no longer take the toll on human lives. Peace would be the order of the day in the shattered world, when once one of the warring countries is crowned with victory. This thought seems to be her ray of light at the end of the gory, dark tunnel of war. Last but not the least, we can wholeheartedly offer our grateful thanks to our men who had fearlessly charged at the altar of death. How can their sacrifice be ever forgotten? Their names, engraved in history with the indelible ink of their own blood, will speak volumes of their greatness for many generations to come. LA BELLE DAME SANS MERCI La Belle Dame sans Merci Notes `La Belle Dame sans Merci" or "The Beautiful Lady without Pity" is the title of an early fifteenth-century French poem by Alain Chartier which belongs to the tradition of courtly love. Keats appropriates this phrase for a ballad which has been generally read as the story of a seductive and treacherous woman who tempts men away from the real world and then leaves them, their dreams unfulfilled and their lives blighted. For all the beguiling simplicity of the surfaces of this literary ballad, it is one of the most difficult of Keats's poems to explain, and open to many interpretations. It has been alternately suggested, for example, that it is about the wasting power of sexual love and / or the poet's infatuation with his muse. This particular analysis will examine the `La Belle Dame sans Merci' as a poem about a femme fatale and offer a feminist interpretation of the ballad. A femme fatale or fatal woman conventionally tempts man with her beauty and ultimately causes his destruction. There are many such figures in traditional supernatural ballads concerned with a faery's seduction of a human; notable examples include Tam Lin and Thomas the Rhymer. That the knight-at-arms in this poem has been enchanted, enthralled, is immediately suggested by his wandering in a desolate wasteland where the plant life has withered and no birds sing. He himself is in a decline; he is pale and the rose in his cheeks, like the sedge, is withering. In trying to explain his state to his questioner, he makes us highly suspicious of the lady whom he encountered. What is there in his description that makes the lady sound dangerous? To start with, he identifies her as a supernatural being, a `faery's child' with `wild wild eyes' suggestive perhaps of madness. She speaks a strange language, and in her elfin grotto she lulls him to sleep. There may be a suggestion here that she is potentially treacherous since `lull' can denote an attempt to calm someone's fears or suspicions by deception. The lady's responsibility for his condition seems to be confirmed in the dream he has of the death of pale kings, princes, and warriors who claim 'La Belle Dame sans Merci / Hath thee in thrall!' `And this is why I sojourn here' he tells his questioner, apparently referring back to this 'horrid warning' of the dream. He stays because he is in thrall to the beautiful lady without pity. A haunting ominous effect is created through Keats's use of the formal features of the traditional ballad. Frequent repetition is one such feature; in the original oral ballad form this would have been an aid to memory as well as emphasising particular points when the poem was recited. What is the effect of repetitions of words, phrases, and lines in Keats's literary ballad? Repetition is also found in the alliterative and assonantal effects of such lines as `Her hair was long, her foot was light', `made sweet moan', and `wild wild eyes'. Also following the ballad manner, the words are deployed tersely. Why might Keats choose such language in striking contrast to his more usual luxuriant mode? Although he follows tradition in using a four-line stanza or quatrain rhyming abcb, he makes one notable adjustment. Normally a ballad line has about eight syllables with four stresses in the first and third lines and three in the second and fourth. Keats shortens the last line of each stanza: it has only two stresses and usually only four syllables. This creates the effect of the stanza being abruptly cut off, of something being absent or withheld. So exactly what is being withheld in this poem? We are, in fact, given very little information about anything. We know nothing about the speaker who interrogates and describes the knight. We know very little about the lady, only what the knight tells us; we are offered no interpretation of his experience; indeed, the knight's story opens up more questions than it answers. What is the significance of this lady and why should she want to enthral the knight? Let us turn back to the "belle dame" then, but, rather than focusing on what he tells us she does to him, let us consider what he says he does to her. The knight is hardly just a helpless victim. He courts her, and creates garlands and bracelets and belts that can be seen not only to decorate but also to bind and enclose her. He claims possession of her: `I set her on my pacing steed'. As soon as they reach her `elfin grot', we are given the perplexing and unexplained suggestion that she herself is now unhappy. 'she wept, and sigh'd full sore'. The lady has been defined as a cruel enchantress, but does she actually do anything that can be said to be cruel or enthralling? Does she even seduce him? If she speaks in `language strange', how can he be sure she said "I love thee true". It would seem that he translates what she says into what he wants to hear. Once we question his translation of her words we are also forced back to question the lines 'She looked at me as she did love, / And made sweet moan'. How do we read the ambiguous syntax here: does he mean she looked at him while she loved him or she looked at him as though she did love him? A feminist critic might point to the many ambiguities, contradictions and lacunae in the text to offer a counter-reading in which it is the lady who is, in a sense, the victim. Such a reading would focus less on her actual identity, which we can know little about anyway, and more on the patriarchal order which defines and interprets her identity. Are then any binary oppositions established in the poem which might fit with this set of oppositions? Who defines the lady as 'la belle dame 'sans merci', as the femme fatale in this ballad? Keats places the definers and interpreters firmly within the patriarchal world. It is the knight who tells the story, who describes the lady for us and his questioner. The knight and the kings, princes and warriors who appear in his dream, belong to the masculine world of strife and action, government and politics. All have been attracted to the feminine bower world of the lady and her "elfin grot"; they have luxuriated in the pleasures she has provided. They have succumbed not so much to the lady but to something within themselves which desires to withdraw from the masculine world of duties and responsibilities. The lady provides the knight with sweet foods and lulls him to sleep. Now we are trying to see things from her perspective, we become more aware of the extremely ambiguous nature of that word 'lulled'. It can indeed mean to calm someone's fears or suspicions by deception. It can also, however, more innocently mean to soothe with soft sounds and motions, as a mother might soothe a child to sleep. We can assume that the pale kings and warriors with `starved lips' have had a similar experiences to the knight. In the lady's world they regress in an almost infantile manner. Then, recognising that the power and stability of the patriarchal world depends on the rejection of this, urge to withdraw, the kings, warriors, and princes have placed the blame squarely upon the woman, defined her as the temptress who has the knight in thrall. And the knight seems to authorise this definition: `And this is why I sojourn here', he tells his questioner. Wandering in this barren landscape, he is neither in the masculine world of strife and action nor the feminine world of the bower. In succumbing to his desire to withdraw from the duties and responsibilities of the former into the luxurious pleasuress of the latter he has undermined the definitions and assigned roles of male and female. Now neither is open to him; he is in limbo. A reading such as given above would fit well with Keats's general ambivalence concerning romance and the bower. Would it further illuminate such figures as the serpent woman `Lamia' and the `Fair plumed Syren' Romance in `On sitting down to Read King Lean once again"? LUCK BY MARK TWAIN Luck is an 1886 short story by Mark Twain. The story concerns a decorated English military hero, Lord Arthur Scoresby, a total idiot who triumphs in life through good luck. At the time of the Crimean War Scoresby is a captain. Despite his complete incompetence, everyone misinterprets his performance, taking his blunders for military genius, and his reputation is enhanced with every false step he makes. At the climax of the story, Scoresby mistakes his right hand for his left and leads a charge in the wrong direction, surprising a Russian force which panics and causes a retreat of the Russian army, thus securing an Allied victory. Another interpretation of the story is that the Reverend is simply jealous of the successes Scoresby has achieved. The Reverend, in the past, was an instructor at a military academy, where he taught a young Scoresby. According to the Reverend, Scoresby was a poor student, and "blundered" his way through promotions. When the war began, the Reverend joined the conflict, but with a lower rank of his ex-student. Throughout the story one can see that the Reverend is bitter, and his apparent distaste for the lord seems at odds with his role as a clergyman. The "absolute fool" in the story is not Scoresby, who ascended the ranks of the military through action, but rather the Reverend, who cannot accomplish anything in his lifetime. Plot summary The story concerns a decorated English military hero, Lord Arthur Scoresby, a total idiot who triumphs in life through good luck. At the time of the Crimean War Scoresby is a captain. Despite his complete incompetence, everyone misinterprets his performance, taking his blunders for military genius, and his reputation is enhanced with every false step he makes. At the climax of the story, Scoresby mistakes his right hand for his left and leads a charge in the wrong direction, surprising a Russian force which panics and causes a retreat of the Russian army, thus securing an Allied victory. This story is said to be based on a real person.