World Literature and Enlightenment

1. What is Kant’s view on Enlightenment? How does one become enlightened? Do you agree?

Kant starts the essay instantly answering the question “what is enlightenment?”. Thus, in accordance with Kant, the enlightenment is the outing of an individual from the self-insured minority. It practically stands for the people’s understanding of their own apprehension, which is free from the will of any other agents. Kant explains that this apprehension should be self-incurred rather than being imposed by others, at the same time when minority does not presuppose the shortage of understanding, but the deficiency of bravery to utilize it for oneself.

It is much easier to be a constituent of the minority, than thinking for oneself. In order to become enlightened, it is crucial to utilize one’s own reasoning on a contrary to listening to the leadership provided by some specific text or a governor. Kant demonstrates that people who rule over the minorities can easily understand that it is hazardous to allow the controlled society becoming enlightened. I totally agree with Kant that the only thing necessary for enlightenment concerns freedom. In other words, the last stands for the freedom to utilize reasoning openly. In accordance with Kant, the open usage of reasoning stands for a scholar’s usage of reasoning in front of the whole literate world. Kant claims that such open usage of reasoning alone is able to involve the enlightenment among people. On the other hand, Kant points out that private reasoning might be nearly limited until it does not impede the enlightening process. I believe that freedom is significant for the enlightenment. Human beings should be able to utter their ideas and thoughts. Thus, the freedom of thought will assist in spreading ideas, which will make other people think for themselves.

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2. Did you find “The Rape of the Lock” amusing and entertaining?

“The Rape of the Lock” is highly amusing. The work unifies both the author’s satire outline and his impacts from the Greek and Roman traditions, which allows making something absolutely entertaining and simultaneously obvious. This poem is probably the most prominent sample of the mock-epic genre in the English language. In fact, the epic had long been believed to be one of the most serious literary forms. In the case of this poem, Pope does not use mock-epic for mocking this form itself, instead it helps to deride the society for its inability to elevate to epic standards. It helps to expose society’s triviality by opposing it against the greatness of the traditional epic subjects combined with the courage and firmness of epic characters. The poem emphasizes the absurdness of a society, where valuables have lost all balance, at the same time when the trivial is treated as genuinely significant issue. The author demonstrates the society, which is unable to discern between things, which are important and issues, which are omissible. The poem mocks people it demonstrates by depicting them as undeserving of a form, which actually suits a more heroic culture. The poem is highly entertaining, as almost each constituent of the contemporary scene invokes an image from the epic tradition or the classical worldview. All of these constituents are unified with such artfulness and expertise that the text becomes amazing and remarkable. Author is highly competent in transformations that are striking and filled with moral undertone. The great epic battles transform into attacks of plunging and coquettish ruptures. The great Greek and Roman gods are transformed into inefficient pixies.

3. Barbauld’s “Washing Day,” like Pope’s mock epic, also uses poetic language and diction to describe ‘washing day.” What line(s) engaged you most, and why?

The “Washing Day” demonstrates two discrepant viewpoints on the events, which are occurring on the washing day. The first one demonstrates how all people, except the author feel about the chores, which should be executed during the day. On the other hand, the second one depicts the view of the author being a child. The poem brings the reader’s attention to the amusement and purity of childhood, and the author is able to achieve this by her selection of words and poetic language. The last few lines engaged me the most. The words utilized in these lines clearly demonstrate the purity of a child. Floatable bubbles, dreams and clouds allow the author to paint a picture of child’s thoughts. The end of the poem demonstrates how the author associates the hot air balloon trip with the mission of a child swelling bubbles. Bubbles belong to amusement, at the same time when the balloon might be stressful for adults. I also was really engaged by the very end of the poem. In fact, the last two lines are the perfect example of author’s sarcasm: “Earth, air and sky, and ocean, hath it’s bubbles, and verse is one of them- this most of all”. The author demonstrates that all of the main powers in life have issues, which are worthwhile laboring over. The majority of them are correlated with specific tasks conducted by people. Thus, hot air balloons in the sky, boats in the ocean and all mechanic artifices belong to the things, which are created by people. As these items have apparent significance to people, which makes it acceptable to drudge over them. The poem demonstrates that even poetry is crucial enough in this manner.

4. In what ways is “The Mouse’s Petition” an Enlightenment document?

The poem written by Anna Barbauld, was created in response to animal experimentations performed by her friend Dr. Priestley. In fact, the concerns regarding the animal rights appeared in the Enlightenment and Romantic periods for the first time. Thus, the poem “The Mouse’s Petition” condemns all the experiments on animals for scientific evolvement. The facts demonstrate that Anna Barbauld saw a mouse in a cage and decided to put the poem inside the cage for Dr. Priestley to read. The usage of the first-person narration from the mouse perspective provides this mouse with the capacity to sense, feel the pain, and ideate. The mouse adjures the captivator to “hear pensive prisoner’s prayer, / For liberty that sighs”. Thus, the poem argues in whimsical form the equal entitlement to life of all created beings. Addressed to a brilliant natural philosopher, the poem subtly comments on the sense of superiority fostered by enlightenment science. Therefore, the poem created by Anna Barbauld is indirectly intended to become a prosecution of cruelty executed by Dr. Priestley. On the other hand, a poem can be viewed as a reminder of the necessity for humanity in the treatment of animals. The poem is highly unusual in the fact that places the reader in the plaintive position of the caged but freeborn mouse. The author reminds Dr. Priestley and all readers that all heaven’s living creatures are entitled to receive well-known philosopher’s delicacy, softness and compassion. This position definitely makes the poem an Enlightenment document.