2017 O Level Paper
Through the use of a goblet the poet explores how natural life is destroyed and shaped by external forces. Discuss with reference to The Earthen Goblet.
Natural life destroyed shaped by external forces
Harindranath Chattapodhyaya is an Indian poet who was an educator and activist. In the earthen goblet he explores the complications of modern society through the use of an extended metaphor – this can be considered a conceit or an allegory. In this essay I will elaborate how different forces can impose changes on different people and how this can disrupt many lives.
In the first stanza, the speaker invites the goblet to speak. Goblets, generally, do not speak. They do not have a voice. But the poet is giving a voice to the voiceless through the poem. In its helplessness, we learn that the goblet has been subjected to many unpleasant and even highly traumatic and life-altering changes. It is evident that these things have taken place without the Goblet’s consent.
‘Before the potter gave you to the world.’
Furthermore, the Potter treats the goblet not as a person. The Potter fails to perceive the goblet as valuable or deserving any dignity – he only sees it as his creation; it is something to be given to the world, just like a product would be introduced. This points to the objectification of different people groups. This could stand for many different processes and systems; the education system is one of them. The natural tendencies or skills and talents of children are mostly ignored in schools because the syllabus to ben covered is seen as the most important detail which governs the education. But the children are not free to grow as they are, developing their talents as they like. Sometimes their talents get sidelined because of the demanding and rigid school work or pressure and expectations from family or society.
The Potter is merciless, and forcefully changes the nature of the unshapely clay and the literary devices used by the writer shows us how painful this experience is.
‘From the great Potter’s hand that burned so warm.’
‘Captive on the Potter’s wheel.’