TMA03 – Part 1
According to the author of this extract, what aspects of Faraday’s life and work contributed to his reputation? How does the picture presented here compare to the picture of Faraday’s reputation in his own lifetime?
The natural philosopher Michael Faraday was born in 1791, into a relatively poor family; his father was a blacksmith and his mother a domestic servant. Faraday’s education was of no real merit; despite this, he went on to become one of the most famous “scientists” of the 19th Century. The given extract from The Times editorial (18th June 1891) celebrated the centenary of Faraday’s birth. This essay will examine and highlight the aspects of Faraday’s life that contributed to his reputation according to this editorial.
The editorial celebrates the fact that Faraday “loved science for the sake of science.” (Times Faraday Editorial, in AA100 Assignment Booklet, 2008, Milton Keynes, p.23); he shunned the route to wealth and riches from his discoveries in favour of the pursuit of the truth. This reflects the notion that Faraday was a gentleman of science, which was a popular Victorian idea of the period.
Being of the upper classes, the readers of The Times would have appreciated Faraday’s dedication to his work and high moral code. Faraday’s goals were to further knowledge; he was not interested in the possible future applications of his findings. Instead, his aim was discovery in its purest form and investigating for the pursuit of knowledge: “His eye was fixed upon truth itself and not upon the useful results that might come from the knowledge of it.” (Times Faraday Editorial, in AA100 Assignment Booklet, 2008, p.23)
... to a point where our scientist do not consider Eskimo science (general knowledge) as a valid enough foundation for conservation. So these ... is the incredible knowledge these people use every day. A vast store of both spiritual and observatory science that has served ... the case with topics concerning native people, this knowledge will probably be lost in time. This article makes one think about man ...
Faraday was determined to entertain the visitors to his lectures and fascinate them with the experiments on display. Perfecting such techniques of delivery became one of the main drivers to the fame and celebrity he achieved, and again would appeal to a Victorian audience.
Indeed, the celebratory lectures held by Lord Raleigh and Sir James Dewar at the time of the editorial exhibited ‘scientific miracle’ experiments that “Faraday himself would have rejoiced to see.” (Times Faraday Editorial, in AA100 Assignment Booklet, 2008, p.23)
Faraday often used such experiments as a way of enhancing his reputation with the upper classes, hoping to position science at the forefront of society, which by Victorian times had been achieved.
Whilst the editorial correctly presents Faraday as a pioneer of scientific discovery in the 19th Century, there are several key aspects of his life omitted. For example, is no mention of his ambition to be famous. Whether the pursuit of fame was to promote science or himself we cannot be certain, although Faraday’s roots as a member of the Sandemanian Church suggest that he adhered to “an ideal of public service and to use science to benefit society.” (Falconer & James, 2008. p.96)
Indeed, the church played such a crucial role to Faraday he felt the need to turn down the presidency of the Royal Society in 1848 and 1858 and the presidency of the Royal Institute in 1864. Faraday was of the belief that becoming president would be self-serving and not true to Sandemanian ideals. Despite this strong commitment, again there is no reference to his faith in the editorial.
Similarly, there is no mention of the Royal Institution or the fact that Faraday lived and worked there for over 30 years. It is true that Faraday was the “dominant public figure there for nearly four decades.” (Falconer & James, 2008. p.113) and created the Royal Institution that is familiar today. It is also true that his position at the Institute helped create the fame and popularity that Faraday enjoyed and carefully cultivated.
... only estimate where caesurae should be. Finally, the poem has no rhyme scheme, or rhyme of any kind. These characteristics all aid in ... and is different in each of his poems. His poems, “nobody loses all the time,” “pity this busy monster, ... g and r. These letters are seen together four times throughout the poem, only arranged in different orders and with different capitalization ...
The omission of such major aspects of Faraday’s life may seem bewildering to a modern reader; however, it could be suggested that such details would be superfluous to the interests of the 1891 audience and the style of the editorial. Faraday’s achievements are remembered here in a formal, yet joyous manner that could be likened to an obituary.
In conclusion, when analysing text it is essential to understand the source and context of the piece. Often vital pieces of information are omitted to cater for the reading audience. Indeed, Faraday’s life was far more complicated than portrayed in The Times editorial.
Times Faraday Editorial, 18th June 1891 p.9; reprinted in AA100 Assignment Booklet, (October 2008), Milton Keynes, The Open University p.23
Falconer, I., James, F. (2008) ‘Fame and Faraday, in Moohan, E. (ed.) Reputations (AA100 Book 1), Milton Keynes, The Open University, p.87-121.
Constructing a reputation – Faraday (2008) (AA100 – DVD), Milton Keynes, The Open University
TMA03 – Part 2
Read the following poems by Thom Gunn and Thomas Flatman. In no more that 600 words compare the ways in which the two poets represent cats.
This essay will attempt to compare how the poem “Apartment Cats” by Thom Gunn and “An Appeal to Cats in the Business of Love” portray the animals in the poets’ use of structure and language.
Initially it is important to look at the structure and formation of the poems.
Gunn’s “Apartment Cats” uses a structured 6-line stanza and a relatively constant syntax. In contrast, Flatman’s poem is a far more structured sonnet suggesting a poem focused on love in line with a sonnet’s traditional subject. The octet uses an AABBCCDD rhyming scheme and the sextet uses an unfamiliar AACDDC scheme. The use of couplets in the first verse and the switch to a different scheme in the second verse helps to reinforce the move in focus of the poem.
In “Apartment Cats” however, the rhyming scheme is hard to interpret. There is certainly rhyme in the piece; the final words of line 1 and 5 in verse 1: “door“ and “floor”; line 1 and 4 in verse 3: “paws” and “claws”; however these rhymes are in rather jumbled. This variation in rhyme perhaps hints at the unpredictability of movement in cats.
... both of these the author use rhyme to draw you into the poem. The rhyme at the ends of the lines ... all of the lines in the two poems ends in continuing rhyme. The two poems I will be talking about are, ... a few lines that are thrown into the poem that don't rhyme directly but are there for the meaning that ... the story easier. You hear the rhyme and it almost keeps the poem going in a metrical sense. It ...
Flatman’s poem uses much more anthropomorphic imagery than Gunn’s, EXAMPLE
In contrast, Gunn uses “The Girls wake” (Gunn, in AA100 Assignment Booklet, 2008, p.24 l.1) as the opening, immediately humanising the cats yet next moving into a description of their animalistic behaviour. This strong contrast is most apparent within the first verse where affectionate cats are displaying submitting behaviours to their owner: “White bib exposed, and stomach of soft fur” (Gunn, in AA100, 2008, p.24 l.6)
Flatman’s poem is much more personified, describing love in an anthropomorphic way: “Who best feels the pangs of a passionate lover” and being wise “for why she is wise” (Flatman, in AA100, 2008, p.25 l.2 &6).
Gunn also hints at the movement of the cats much more than Flatman. The short, monosyllabic “and pad up to the door” (Gunn, in AA100, 2008, p.24 l.1) words used here suggest a lightness and gentle movement. Flatman in contrast uses the oxymoron “spit love”, (Flatman, in AA100, 2008, p.25 l.1) suggesting aggression and power, themes which are prevalent throughout the poem.
Both poems are similar in the way they portray cats fighting. In “Apartment Cats”, the play flight described is perhaps to fight for the attention of the owner whilst the ‘fight’ is portrayed as fast and filled with sexual energy: “Their eyes get wild, their bodies tense” (Gunn, in AA100, 2008, p.25 l.11).
As soon as the fight becomes serious, it ends.
Flatman, on the other hand, describes the fights with much more violence: “… your scratches and your tattered fur” and even death: “hazard their necks in the fray” (Flatman, in AA100, 2008, p.25 l. 3 & 11)
These examples show how the poets differently represent cats. Gunn portrays the cats as playful, certainly loving of their master with an awareness that once play gets out of control they are able to step away. Flatman however depicts the cats as aggressive, sexual beings that fight for a mate.
Flatman appeals for the cats to look for love instead and not risk themselves in the pursuit of sex. It could be argued that the poet is using the cats as a metaphor for the human pursuit of sex and suggesting that cats can escape when things go wrong “Both hazard their necks in the fray; Only cats when they fall…Keep their feet” (Flatman, in AA100, 2008, p.25 l.10-14) whereas that is not necessarily true of Gunn’s poem he is primarily looking at the habits of the cats.
... start of the poem emphasizes the speaker’s initial scrutiny of the fish. The contrast of both ... fish, “He didn’t fight. He hadn’t fought at all.” These lines speak ... “Rainbow, rainbow, rainbow!” where the poem has reached its climax the speaker has come to ... fishes beauty inside. The comparison latter in the poem “Like medals with their ribbons frayed and ...
In conclusion it appears that one of the most important differences of the poem is the time period in which they were written. Flatman wrote in the late 17th Century and Gunn in the late 20th Century. Flatman was required to hide human sexuality in his poem about cats. Gunn was free to write however he wanted.