Thursday, October 13, 2011

10/13/2011 09:23:00 PM - , 1 comment

Magic of Words - Look At A Tea Cup

Look at a Teacup, written by Patricia Hampl, is a complicated and quite motivating essay which shows the distinction between the traditional norms, notions and dogmas with the new ideology of modern world. There is generation gap between the old and new.
The writer is the speaker of the essay who says that her mother had bought a teacup in 1939. The highly decorated but plain looking cup is the major concern of the essay. Numerous ideas are connected and concerned with the tea cup, so it is the memento of entire events of the past. The speaker gives the specific emphasis to the teacup and its elation to art and architecture of the Mid-Twentieth century. The writer further associates the tea cups with the historic events, esp. in the time of Hitler and during the Second World War.  Then, the speaker praises the tea cup, its charm and pictures of flowers that are painted in the teacup. The every discussion between the speaker and her mother are concerned around the teacup, it is the focal point of their discussion.  As the writer’s mother was from Czechoslovakia, she bought the teacup in 1939, the same year she got married and the Second World War also began. The teacup reminds the mother as her own native country and the history of her native land. The outer and inner descriptions of teacup are highly praised by the writer. The teacup is considered as the golden one with its pale water-green colour. There is also a band of gold on the inner circle of the saucer (plate), It is shiny and there are thin bands of gold around the edges of the saucer and cup on the borders of the cup and its saucer light sides of gold are outlines. The combination of colour and flower inside and outside the teacup are very attractive. The flowers inside the teacup are seemed as if it is live and animated. 
The essay gives the minute details about the tragedy caused by the war. When she describes the destructive war, she becomes sad and upset. They both have the contrasting opinion and ideas about the world and war. Apart from that they have also different opinion about the family and work. The daughter gives emphasis on work whereas the mother insists that the family is the most important thing in the world.
            The major subject they discuss in the essay is the issue of marriage. The mother has the conventional opinion about the marriage but the speaker disagrees from her opinion. The mother often worries about the marriage of her daughter but the daughter shows reluctance about the marriage and stand firmly in the statement. The speaker might have detested the marriage as she had seen the forceful love attempts between her father and mother. The speaker once found her father pulled her mother’s back and hugged her and kissed her forcefully in the kitchen. The event detests her from the marriage. She wants the mutual understanding in marriage, but such type of unusual, self-centered and inappropriate steps form strong hate on the tradition form of marriage.
When the mother got married, the condition of the entire Europe was devastating. Firing, bombing and mass killing made her fearful that she would die. She escaped from her home country as it was destroyed by the war; likewise the factory of teacup was also destroyed. Everything destroyed by the Second World War but the tiny teacup she bought in the year of her marriage was remained unbroken. The sky becomes cloudy from smoke of fire of bombs. So the teacup is the unchared (not burned) finger from the mid-century bonfire.  
The essay also shows the relation between the men and women. The women during the Second World War were maltreated and highly dominated. The writer said that the roses were fallen from the sky to destroy the life of women. Roses were thrown as bomb to women; it means the condition and plight of women were very low and miserable. The essay here shows the contradiction between the old traditions as represented by mother and the modern value and thinking as represented by the speaker (daughter). The opinion and beliefs on women have been drastically (radically, severely) changed nowadays and they are treated as equal to men in most part of the world.     
This essay even claims that the writing can be the way of finding various details and perspective of people, discovering implication in apparently minor events, and of making associations between seemingly disparate (unequal) elements. The mother has escaped the magnitude of history by retreating (withdrawing, moving back) into pragmatism (practicality, common sense, way of thinking result and way of evaluating theories). But Hampl has the positive ideas to escape history by fighting it. She slightly refuses to carry on old traditions like marrying and bearing children. There is the contrast between the old tradition and the new generation.

Describe the teacup and saucer.
Ans: The teacup and saucers were brought by Patricia Hampl’s mother in 1939. The cups were made in Czechoslovakia and each has a stamp ‘Czechoslovakia’ on the bottom. Each cup was made of finest china clay. The cup is water green in colour, which the essayist tells is even hard imagine. There are golden lines on cups’ edges on base and on the edges and inner circle of the saucer. There isn’t any other decoration outside the cups.
But the inner decorations make the cups special and supreme example of Czech art. There are flowers falling inside the cup. Those flowers do not seem pasted. They appear as if someone has shaken a bundle of flower and all the flowers are cut in motion. No two flowers are of same kind or colour. Neither any two of them are falling from same altitude. There is a golden circle inside the cups, which shine beneath the falling flowers. In short the cups and saucers are extremely beautiful, delicate and definite.

Mention the difference between the mother and the daughter.
Ans: Patricia Hampl and her daughter are different in their ideas. For mother “family” is most important thing in the life of a woman. It is a place where she can find food, shelter, protection and love. These things include every need of women in a traditional patriarchal society. To start a family, one must marry, which is a sacred in situation of her.
Patricia Hampl is a modern feminist so she is aware about the pathetic condition of a woman in the society. She thinks to rescue women from that condition. Work should be considered as the most important thing. Work can make them independent, whereas family makes them dependent. Unlike her mother, she doesn’t have any regard for the age old, norms, value and tradition. She regards marriage a tragic end. It is bond in which only a woman loses her individuality. She is aware how the woman of her mother’s generation fell on beds paired with their husband and couldn’t stand again in their lives. Therefore she has refused to fall. She doesn’t think marriage was important in her mother’s time as well. According to her, the only benefit they got was a license to set physical relation, but she thinks one does not necessarily need to marry to establish physical relations. One can have sexual satisfaction before marriage as well and the marriage must not be taken as a license for sexual gratification.
The mother is introvert and in shy even to express her love for her husband. She is submissive in nature and always suppresses her wishes. It was not only the case of essayist’s mother but of every woman of that generation. To prove that she has recalled an event when her mother was assigned to write an essay on Hitler at high school, although nobody in the class liked that. They completed an assignment without any complain.
The mother like all traditional women kills her valuable time in thinking about minor things but the daughter is bold enough to express her idea and fulfill her wishes. Unlike the traditional women of her mother’s time, she doesn’t want to kill her time in nonsense gossips. In fact through this essay, she appeals every woman to come out of their usual role and uplift their status themselves.

Explain the cup is a detail, a small uncharred finger from the mid century bonfire.
Ans:  The mid century bonfire is the reference to the Second World War. It was the most devastating war that the human civilization had ever seen. About 55 million people were killed besides living many more million homeless, crippled and wounded. Almost all the countries of Europe had to bear unprecedented loss of life and property in the awful fire of war. One of such countries, which burnt in the conflagration of war, was Czechoslovakia. Patricia Hampl has a set of teacup, which was made in Czechoslovakia safe with her. She considered it is a part of Czechoslovakia since the country itself was burnt in fire of World War II. She regards it an uncharred finger. It is not only the concrete example superior Czech art but also reminds us the destruction of the Second World War, the falling bodies soldiers, falling bombs, crumbling countries. Thus she thinks it a detail, which could provide enough information to rewrite the history.


ya....the answers are good enough