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Metaphoric Puzzle

In: English and Literature

Submitted By shakir
Words 2510
Pages 11
Shakir Hussain
Instructor: Dr. Hossain Al Mamun
Reg # 2009236059
ENG 416 – Literature in Translation
4th Year 1st Semester
Department of English
September 2, 2013.
Metaphor and Meaning: A Re-reading of The Prophet
Abstract:
The purpose of this study has been to investigate the metaphors and meaning in Kahlil Gibran’s (1883-1931) literary work The Prophet. Kahlil Gibran speaks in metaphors; perhaps that is the only way to speak about the truth. Through metaphor he gives indirect glimpses and spreads his philosophy of life. Every word in this book is a metaphor. Metaphors are used in this text to accelerate and enhance the meaning. The Prophet through its metaphors provides timeless spiritual wisdom on a range of subjects, including giving, eating and drinking, clothes, buying and selling, crime and punishment, laws, teaching, time, pleasure, religion, death, beauty and friendship. Corresponding to each chapter are evocative drawings by Gibran himself. Key Words: Metaphors, Kahlil Gibran, The Prophet, and Philosophy of Life. Kahlil Gibran is said to be the ‘People’s Philosophy’. Gibran’s The Prophet is a metaphor for the mystery of life. The author seeks the help of metaphoric language in order to present the confluence of philosophy and religion, experience and expectation, desire and duality of human life. The combination of poetic and prosaic style of this book is beautified by the use of many figures of speech. The passages of this book speak to soul. The insight sticks with readers throughout the rest of life and evolves with thoughts. The Prophet is a wonderful companion to keep close to us as we experience this wonderful journey called life. The Prophet begins with a man named Almustafa living on an island call Orphalese. Locals consider him something of a sage, but he is from elsewhere, and has waited twelve years for the right ship to take him home. From a hill above the town, he sees his ship coming into the harbor, and realizes his sadness at leaving the people he has come to know. The elders of the city ask him not to leave. He is asked to tell of his philosophy of life before he goes, to speak his truth to the crowds gathered. The author has used similes, metaphors, parables and many figures of speech to reveal the philosophy by Almustafa. Metaphor, we know that “a word or expression that in literal usage denotes one kind of thing is applied to a distinctly different kind of thing, without asserting a comparison” (Abrams 102). Death is a Journey, a Departure, and a Destination: The first chapter deals with the concept of death as a journey. Almustafa tells his followers “sons of my ancient mother, you riders of the tides, how often have you sailed in my dreams…I shall stand among you a seafarer among seafarers … a boundless drop to a boundless ocean” (Gibran 3). By these lines we understand that death is not a physical end, rather it’s a spiritual journey. Death is a new beginning to eternity. Gibran again compares life and death. He compares life with the river and the stream, and death with the sea and the ocean. Almustafa compares his desires with fountain; he compares himself with a harp, a flute, and a seeker of silence. Life is Sowing and Death is Harvesting: “If this is my day of harvest, in what fields have I sowed the seed, and in what unremembered seasons?” (7). Almustafa is returning during Ielool, the month of reaping, which suggests that he is about to reap what he has sown in life. He will get the reward for the thoughts he has had, and for the actions he has performed. Death is the time when one reaps what he has sown in life. It is the experiences and actions of life that are sown and reaped. Love is a Giver, a Receiver, a Guide, a Sovereign, a Gardener, a Farmer, and a Baker:
Gibran explains that to experience love is to go on a journey and it is love itself that is the guide of the journey. The roads that love leads to us may be difficult and painful, but we should follow them even if we know we may get hurt. Gibran uses parallel of wings as a tender example of an embrace, an embrace that may lead to a stabbing to our side. Gibran reminds us of its dangers and potential pain and suffering. At the same time he still tries to put across that these should not deter us from loving. As the author says: “For even as love crowns you so shall he crucify you” (11). Love shows us the way to enlightenment and teaches us the lessons of life. However we have to remember that we are not the ones who decide the destiny of our love, but it is indeed love that decides our destiny. This can be compared to the work of a guide; it is the guide who decides the best route for the people. We should follow the guide and trust his judgment. We find “When love beckons to you, follow him, though his ways are hard and steep…when he speaks to you believe in him…love gives naught but itself and takes naught but from itself.” (10,12). Marriage is Based on Love but not a Bond of Love: When questioned about marriage, the prophet departs from the conventional wisdom that it involves two people becoming one. A true marriage gives both people space to develop their individuality, in the same way that “the oak tree and the cypress grow not in each other's shadow”. (19). Though two persons enjoy married life, but each person has to give chance to other to enjoy his/her life in their own way. They should not interfere in each other’s own thoughts. Gibran says: “Love one another, but make not a bond of love … fill each other’s cup but drink not from one cup. Give one another of your bread but eat not from the same loaf.” (16). Parents are Bows and Children are Arrows: When questioned about children Almustafa answers “your children are not your children…they come through you but not from you … you are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth.” (20). Here the author explains that children actually belong to God. God looks after them. That doesn’t mean the parents have no responsibilities of their children. The parents should not teach their way of life to their children. They should let them live their own life. The parents have left behind the past, whereas the children are living in present. The parents have to advise their children to learn from the past to live a happy present in their own way. They are the children of tomorrow. They have their own thoughts. Work is Love Made Visible: It is not just the loss of a wage or even status that is so disheartening, but the feeling that you have been left out of the normal procession of life. Neither is it enough just to work for money alone. People think of work as a curse, the prophet says, but in doing your work “you fulfill a part of earth's furthest dream, assigned to you when that dream was born.” (35). Through work you express your love for whoever will benefit from it, and satisfy your own need to create. Those who enjoy their work know that it is a secret to fulfillment that we can be saved through what we do. Working with love is “to weave the cloth with threads drawn from your heart, even as if your beloved were to wear that cloth.” (34). Joy is Unmasked Sorrow: Sorrow carves out our being, says the prophet, but the space it makes provides room for more joy in another season of life. Joy and sorrow come together. To understand the value of joy sorrow is needed. When one can understand sorrow he strives for joy and thus his sorrow is removed. In one of his standout lines, he remarks, “Your pain is the breaking of the shell that encloses your understanding.” (61). Try to marvel at your pain as another experience of precious life. If you can do this, you can be more serene about your emotions, like the passing of the seasons. Few realize, the prophet says, that suffering is the means to heal us, “the bitter potion by which the physician within you heals your sick self.”(61). Consider, the next time you are in a state of sorrow, that it may have been self-chosen at some level of your being, to bring about an enlargement of your self. Without struggles we would learn nothing about life. House is Larger Body: Guard against the love of houses and things, the prophet warns, for these comforts erode the strength of the soul. If you attach yourself too much to the domestic luxuries of life, “Your house shall not be an anchor but a mast.” (40). You will be tied to it when the ship sinks. About clothes the prophet says, “Your clothes conceal much of your beauty, yet they hide not the unbeautiful.” (42). Wearing must be in a limit, and we should wear clothes keeping our culture and religion in mind. Metaphors on Freedom and Pleasure: The longing for freedom is itself a kind of slavery. When people speak of wanting to be free, often it is aspects of them they are trying to get away from. The prophet says, “Your freedom when it loses its fetters becomes itself the fetter of a greater freedom.” (58). About pleasure the prophet says, “Pleasure is a freedom song, but it is not freedom. It is the blossoming of your desires, but it is not their fruit. It is a depth unto a height, but it is not the deep nor the high.” (83). These lines mean pleasure is the way of happiness, but it is not happiness. It is not the final destination one is searching for. It is temporary. Reason and Passion, the Rudder and the Sails: “Your reason and your passion are the rudder and the sails of your seafaring soul.” (59). Reason and passion are inseparable. If any of them is broken or shaken one cannot reach to his goal. He may be stacked in the middle way. One’s reason must overpower passion if he wants to reach the goal. The prophet likens the soul to a battlefield, in which our reason and passion seem eternally opposed. Yet it does not do much good to fight either: You have to be peacemaker, loving all your warring elements before you can heal yourself. Self is a Boundless Sea: The prophet tries to convey to those gathered that the lives we lead on earth represent only a fraction of our larger selves. We all have 'giant selves' inside us, but we have to first recognize that they may exist. "In your longing for your giant self lies your goodness.”(77). In pursuit of self-knowledge, therefore, we are looking for the best in ourselves. He says, “self is a sea boundless and measureless … the soul unfolds itself, like a lotus of countless petals” (65-66). Here the author says a soul explores itself when it works over people. Self-knowledge is increased when it is unmasked and used for others’ welfare. Friend is Your Needs Answered, Field, Board, and Fireside: Friendship should not be based on purpose. The role of a friend is to fill the needs of other, not their emptiness. In Gibran words “Your friend is your needs answered … for you come to him with hunger, and seek him for peace.” (69). He tells his follower not to grieve when they part from their friends. Because a friend’s good parts guide him in his absence. And in friendship there should be spaces for laughter and sharing. About prayer the prophet says that one cannot ask for anything in prayer, because God already knows our deepest needs. As God is our main need, so we should not pray for other things, but ask for more of God. Daily Life is Religion: “Your daily life is your temple and your religion. Whenever you enter into it take with you your all.” (91). The people who feign as religious are suffered from hatred of God. They worships when they are in misery. But a real religious person never stops worshiping. His life is worship. His honesty, his loyalty, and his hard works are gratitude to the Almighty. He finds the presence of God in his creation. He feels God everywhere. Death is Freedom, an Ecstasy, Life and Death are One: Death is seen as freedom, but life is also seen as freedom, though a more restricted one. Once again Gibran compares life to darkness and death to light, life to a river and death to a sea. Gibran explains that life and death are two sides of the same coin. Just as light and darkness are connected to each other so are life and death. We find “For life and death are one, even as the river and the sea are one” (93). Gibran sees death as the ultimate promotion. Death is linked to a king and the dying person to a shepherd, which means that just as the king reins over the lives of shepherds, so does death reign over the lives of people. Gibran describes death as ecstasy. When we leave this earth journeying through life, we begin another journey in the next stage of progression. The book suggests that we should be glad of the experience of coming into the world, even if it seems full of pain, because after death we will see that life had a pattern and a purpose, and that what seems to us now as 'good' and 'bad' will be appreciated without judgment as good for our souls. The prophet also teaches that the separation we feel from other people and all forms of life while on earth is not real. We are merely expressions of a greater unity now forgotten. To sum up, it can be written according to the above analysis that Gibran’s use of metaphors to spread his philosophy is successful and attractive to the readers. The whole text is a collection of metaphors, which gives additional meaning to his philosophy of life. It is the beauty of the author to use these metaphors in a big purpose of searching the truth of life. The Prophet is the philosophy of the human being. It is the revelation of the truth.

Works Cited
Abrams, M. H. The Glossary of Literary Terms. 8th ed. Delhi: Akash press, 2007. Print.
Gabildi, Joseph. MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers. 7th ed. New Delhi: Afflicted East-West press Pvt Ltd, 2009.
Gibran, Kahlil. The Prophet. Mumbai: Jaico Publishing House, 2013. Print.
Palola, Emma Andersson. “ For Even As Love Crowns You, So Shall He Crucify You”. 2 Feb. 2012. Web. 22 aug. 2013.…...

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...Are Jigsaw Puzzles Educational?   Many companies advertise their products as being educational. How much of this terminology is sales promotion and jargon, and how much is fact? As an educator for many years, I can say with authority, that there is educational value in all types of jigsaw puzzles. The skills acquired and practiced in completing jigsaw puzzles are a foundational part of successful learning. Doing jigsaw puzzles develops several functions of the brain simultaneously as a child has fun and also learns. Most notably developed in this learning process are the abilities to reason, deduce, analyze, sequence, and develop logical thought and problem solving skills. Physically, eye-hand coordination and spatial awareness are also required to complete a jigsaw puzzle. Putting these benefits aside, I want to look particularly at the jigsaw puzzles that are labeled “Educational”. These puzzles are designed to teach a specific learning objective. Some examples of these might be a jigsaw puzzle map of the world, or of the solar system. The manufacturers claim that such puzzles will teach a child those specific facts. What educational value in reality do these types of puzzles contain?   Firstly the degree of the educational value of these types of puzzles is dependant on how the puzzles are used in the learning process. For example, let us suppose that the learning objective is to learn about the geography of the United States of America, specifically the position of......

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Corporate Investment Decision Practices and the Hurdle Rate Premium Puzzle

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