Class 2nd PUC English Textbook Solutions

I BELIEVE………….DISAPPEAR – Class 2nd PUC English Textbook Solutions

CHAPTER: – 9
TOPIC: – I BELIEVE………….DISAPPEAR
ROBERT ALFINO WITH JORGE LUIS BORGES  

SUMMARY
This  is  basically  in  the  form  of  an  interview  where  two men  of  literature  get  an  opportunity  to  discuss  various issues  related  to  life  and  literature.   Borges  is  a  short story writer,  an  essayist,  a  poet  and  a  translator.   His  famous works  include  varied  concepts  like  dreams,  libraries, mirrors,  philosophy,  religion,  and  God.   As  Alifano  the person  who  interviewed Borges  knew  well the areas  of  his interest.   He  asked  questions  pertaining  to  the  same.  Alifano  wanted  to  know  the  first  great  literary  work  that Borges had studied. As an answer to it, Borges explains his father‟s library as he felt that the collection of books was so huge  that  he  could  gain  a  comprehensive  knowledge  of various subjects.  
Borges appears to be very emotional when he describes his mother.   He  recollects  how  she  had  been  so  huffed,  on  the other  hand,  he  could  not  reciprocate  that  affection  and  a sense  of  guilt  buried  in  him  explodes  during  this conversation.   As  a  general  observation,  he  tells  that  all children are bound to take their mother for granted and will realize  her  importance  when  she  is  no  more  with  them.  When  asked  about  blindness,  he  modestly  admits  that initially,  it  was  quite  difficult  for  him  because  he  had reached a completely unknown world and many-a-times he had to suffer embarrassment and humiliation   
The  entire  episode  is  viewed  in  a  philosophical  way  when he  tells  people  that  all  such  negative  aspects  are  given  as raw material and only a few of them can transmit them and convert  their  miserable  condition  into  an  accomplishment.  He  further  feels  that  he  has  to  enjoy  that  period  of  strive and  should  also  pretend  that  he  is  not  blind  and  that  is  the main  reason  he  bought  books  and  filled  his  library  with them.   
Trying to interpret a  dream  in a  way  Borges  did  or does  is quite unique because, at the age of 83, a blind man is ready to  take  up  a  challenge  of  trying  to  write  a  book  on  the history  of  books  is  not  every  man‟s  outlook.  Trying  to explain  the  nature  of  a  book  or  piece  of  literature,  he explains the same keeping the reader in mind.  When a poet has  created  something  and  he  fails  to  make  the  reader understand,  then  the  entire  process  of  creation  is  a  futile attempt.  Poetry is a magical, mysterious and unexplainable event but it is not something that cannot be  comprehended without m the involvement of the reader.    
Quoting  Emily  Dickinson,  “This  quiet  dust  was  gentlemen and  ladies”,  he  explains  how  the  inclusion  of  two  words gentlemen  and  ladies  in  the  place  of  men  and  women creates  magic  and  enhances  the  poetic  quality.   Further,  he speaks  about  metaphors  and  why  they  are  very  important and an integral part of literature.  
Borges  is  very  confident  that  never  ever  in  the  future, books could/would be replaced by something  else and the reason  he  quotes  should  be  agreeable  to  everyone.   He argues  in  a  scientific  way  and  feels  that  the  other inventions  of  man  are  just  an  extension  of  the  physical body.  The telephone, an extension of our voice, telescope and  microscope  extensions of sight, sword and plough the extension of our hands, but it is only the book which is the extension  of  imagination  and  memory  both  abstract concepts which are not dependent on any external object.
Literature is a controlled dream and books are supposed to be  the  memories  of  all  centuries,  therefore  irreplaceable and  that  is  the  main  reason  if  books  disappear,  history would  disappear.  Indirectly  he  gives  a  hint  that  man  will also disappear.  
 “I  Believe  That  the  Books  Will  Never  Disappear” is  a part  of  excerpts  from  “Twenty-Four  Conversations  with Borges”,  interviews  of  Jorge  Luis  Borges  by  Roberto Alifano. Jorge  Luis  Borges  is  an  Argentine  short  story  writer, essayist, poet and translator. Here  he  talks about  his  early years  of  reading,  his  family,  his  blindness,  books,  poetry, metaphors and literature.   
First Reading / on his mother
Borges  proudly  says  that  he  was  educated  at  his  father‟s library  where  he  first  read  Grimm‟s Fairy  Tales.  His mother, according to him, was an extraordinary person but he  regrets  having  not  been  understanding  of  her.  Besides, his mother was an intelligent and a gracious woman.    
On blindness
Blindness to Borges is a way of life. He calls it a resource and  that  all  things  have  been  given  to  us  for  a  purpose. Humiliations,  our  misfortunes,  our  embarrassments  are given to us as raw materials so that we may shape our art.   
On reading – books
Borges  says  that  he  still  buys  books.  In  every  book  he finds  a  need  for  something  more.  A  book  can  be  full  of errors,  but  the  book  always  retains  something  sacred, something  mortal,  something  magical  which  brings happiness.  
On Poetry
He  believes  that  poetry  is  something  so  intimate,  so essential that it cannot be defined without oversimplifying it. Poetry  is the aesthetic act. It is the poetic act that takes place when the poet writes it and the reader reads it. Poetry is a magical, mysterious and inexplicable event.  
On metaphors
Metaphors  exist  from  the  beginning  of  time.  He  seems  to reduce  all  metaphors  to  five  or  six  which  are  essential metaphors.  They  are:  time  and  a  river;  life  and  dreams; death and sleep; stars and eyes; flowers and women.  
On disappearance of books
will  never  disappear.  He  says  that  book  is  the  most astounding  of  many  human  inventions.  All  the  others  are extensions  of  our  body.  Only  the  book  is  an  extension  of our imagination and memory.   
On literature
He says that Literature is a dream, a controlled dream. Our past  is a  sequence  of  dreams.  Books  are  the  great  memory of all centuries. He concludes that if books disappear, surely history would disappear, and surely man would disappear.  Borges  believes  that  modern  developments  in communications cannot replace books and that the books  

I.    Answer the following questions in a word, a phrase or a sentence each: –

1.    What was the first literary reading of Borges?
Or      

Which  was  Borges’s  first  literary  reading  in  an English Version?               
Ans: Grimm’s Fairy Tales in an English Version.  

2.    Why  do  all  children  feel  guilty  when  their  mothers die?

Ans:  All  the  children  take  their  mothers  for  granted  when they are around.  

3.    What is blindness to Borges?
Ans: It is a way of life.  

4.    Which library was burning in the dream of Borges?
Or     
Which  library  does  Borges  visualize  in  his  dream?                   
Or     
Mention  the  name  of  the  library  which  was  attacked by countless volumes of  flames in the dream of Borges?      
             
Ans: The library of Alexandria.  

5.    What  does  the  book  always  retain  even  if  it  is  full  of errors?
Ans:  It  retains  something  sacred  and  something  mortal something magical.  

6.    When  does  the  poetic  act  takes  place,  according  to Borges?
Ans: When the poet writes poetry and a reader reads it.  

7.    When does the poet fail according to Borges?
Ans:  When  the  reader  doesn’t  feel  the  poetic  event  upon reading it, it’s a failure on the part of the poet.  

8.    What is Borges’ belief about the task of the poet?
Ans: To discover metaphors.  

9.    Which  is  the  most  astounding  invention  of  man according to Borges?  
                                  
Ans: Invention of books.  

10.    What is considered as the extension of our voice?
Ans: The telephone.  

11.    What is considered as the extension of our sight?

Ans: Telescope and microscope.  

12.    What is considered as the extension of our arms?

Ans: The sword and the plough.  

13.    What  is  considered  as  the  extension  of  our imagination and memory?

Ans: Books.  

14.    Whom  does  Borges  consider  as  an”intelligent andgracious woman”?
Or       
Whom did Borges look upon as an intelligent and a gracious woman?        
        
Ans: His mother–Dona Leonor.  

15.  Which  is  the  example  of  precise  words  from  the poem by Emily Dickinson, according to Borges? 

Ans: “This quiet dust was gentlemen and ladies”  

15.    When  according to Borges, would  history and  man disappear?

Ans: With the disappearance of the books.  

16.    Where was Luis Borges educated?
Ans: He was educated in his father’s library.  

17.    When, according to Borges, would history and man disappear?                 

Ans: When books disappear / If books disappear.

II.    Answer the following questions in a paragraph of 80 – 100 words each: 
III.    Answer the following questions in about 200 words:  

1.    What  does  Jorge  Luis  Borges  say  about  poets  and metaphors?
Ans:  According  to  Jorge  Luis  Borges,  poetry  is  an aesthetic  act.  It  is  not  a  group  of  words  or  symbols.  The poetic act takes place when the poet uses the right words in the  right  place  to  bring  out  the  feelings.  A  poet  uses metaphors  to  make  his  description  effective.  Metaphors have  existed  from  time  immemorial.  Borges  says  that  a poet  must  discover  more  and  more  effective  metaphors than  that  already  exist.  Borges  tells  us  that  poets  should use the old metaphors well as people across all cultures are receptive  to  them.  Poet  is  not  just  about  discovering  new metaphors. He feels metaphors like time and river, life and dreams,  death  and  sleep  make  poetry  magical  and mysterious.  

2.    Why  does  Jorge  Luis  Borges  think  that  book  is  the most astounding invention of man?

Ans:  Borges,  an  Argentine  writer  and  a  scholar,  is  an ardent  admirer  of  books  and  likes  to  spend  most  of  his time either reading books or writing. Every book is sacred to  him.  Borges  believes  that  books  will  never  disappear.  He feels that books are the most astounding invention. All other  inventions  are  used  to  help  our  parts  of  the  body whereas a book is an extension of our imagination and  memory.  He  feels  reading  a  book  is  dreaming  and remembering  the  past.  Books  play  an  important role  in  the evolution  of  man.  It  is  the  best  thing  that  could  have happened to the mankind.

3.    What,  according  to  Borges,  is  the  important  factor that is necessary into the making of literary art?
Ans: According to Borges, there are many things which go into  the  making  of  literary  art,  including  poetry.  The  poet has to use precise words to describe his emotions and what he wishes to convey. Only then, can he touch the chords of the  reader’s  heart.  The  poet  may  be  describing  common place  ideas,  but  it  is  the  use  of  certain  words  and  phrases which give it a magical and poetic quality and transform the idea  from  a  trivial  to  a  mysterious  and  Divine  form  which captures  the  reader’s  imagination.  Borges  quotes  a wonderful  line  in  a  poem  by  Emily  Dickinson  which  is  a fine  example  to  support  his  view  on  the  importance  of finding  precise  words  in  the  art  of  poetry.  “This  quiet  dust was gentlemen and ladies”, conveys the idea that we will all be  dust  one  day  which  is  a  boring  idea,  but  the  use  of  the phrase “gentlemen and ladies”, gives it a poetic quality and lifts it  out  of the  ordinary and  elevates  it to a  different and sublime  level  of  creativity.  If  she  had  written  “men  and women”, it would have failed as poetry; it would have been very ordinary.  

4.    What are Borges’s view on poetry?
Or
Discuss Borges’s view on poetry and poem.                                
Or
Define Borge’s definition of poetry.       
      
Ans:  Borges  says  that  poetry  is  something  so  intimate,  so essential that it cannot be defined  without over simplifying it. It would be like attempting to describe the colour yellow, love  and  fall  of  leaves  in  the  autumn.  He  believes  that poetry is the aesthetic act; that poetry is not poem, for poem may be nothing more than a series of symbols. Poetry is the poetic act that takes place when the poet writes it, when the reader reads  it and it always  happens  in a slightly  different manner. According to Borges, poetry is magical, mysterious and  unexplainable  although  not  incomprehensible.  If  one does  not feel the poetic  event upon reading  it, the poet has failed.  

5.    According  to  Borges,  poetry  is  an  aesthetic  art. Explain.

Ans:  In  the  opinion  of  Borges,  a  poem  is  a  series  of symbols. The poetic act takes place when the poet writes it, whenthe reader reads it, and it always happens in a slightly different  manner.  Poetry  is  a  magical,  mysterious  and  an unexplainable  event.  If  this  event  is  not  felt,  then,  the  poet has  failed  to  convey  his  message.  He  feels  that  poetry  is something  which  cannot  be  defined  without oversimplifying  it.  He  gives  an  example  of  Emily Dickinson’s  poem  in  which  the  words  have  magical  and poetic quality. Finding the precise words is important in the art or Poetry.

6.    What values does Borges see in literature? Why is it important for the future of mankind?

Ans:  Literature  has  its  own  value  in  our  life  because  it describes  what  we  are  and  what  we  have  been  and  also what we will be. Borges says that our past is nothing that a  sequence  of  dreams.  He  states  that  the  books  are  the great memory of all centuries. They are a bridge between past,  present  and  future.  They  transfer  the  information from one period to another. Therefore, he feels that if the book  disappears,  surely  our  history  would  disappear  and man  would  disappear. In order to  keep  ourselves alive in future, we need to protect literature which mirrors ourlife.

7.    Borges says that  books  will  never  disappear  in spite of modern modes of communication. Explain.                                                                       
Or
In  spite  of  modern  modes  of  communication,  Borges believes that books will not disappear Illustrate.
Or
Why does Borges say that books will not disappear?

Ans: According to Borges, among the many inventions of man,  the  book  is  undoubtedly  the  most  astounding  of  all. All  others  are  extensions  of  our  bodies.  The  telephone  is the  extension  of  our  voice,  the  telescope  and  the microscope are  extensions  of  our sight and the sword  and the plough are extensions of our arms. Only the book is an extension of our imagination and memory. Modern modes in  communications  have  not  developed  anything  to  work as a substitute for our imagination and memory.  

8.    How  does  Borges  look  upon  his  blindness?  Explain                
Ans:  Though,  Borges  was  blind,  he  took  it  positively.  As an  artist,  he  used  it  as  a  raw  material  for  his  creative  art. He  positively  said  that  humiliations,  misfortunes  and embarrassments are the stepping stones to achieve success in life. His blindness was not an obstacle for him, and even though he was blind, he used to buy books and worked on them.

9.    What are the views of Borges on blindness?                    
Ans:  Borges  accepted  his  blindness  as  a  way  of  life.  He was not unhappy, believed that his blindness is a resource and  as  an  artist,  he  has  used  it  as  a raw  material  to  shape his art. In  his  opinion, we should accept our  humiliations, misfortunes  and  embarrassments  and  use  them  as  raw materials  for  our  future  growth  and  prosperity.  In  Borges case, he prefers to believe that these raw materials help an artist to feel more intensely and to transform the miserable circumstances  of  our  life  into  eternal  works  of  art  and thereby overcome them.

10.    Why  does  Borges  say  that  the  books  will  not disappear in spite of modern modes of communication?                                                              
Ans:  Borges  was  a  great  Argentine  writer  and  a  scholar. He has written a lot of short stories, essays and poems. He is an ardent admirer of books and likes to spend most of his  time  either  reading  books  or  writing.  Every  bookis sacred to him.  The  interviewer  Alifano  asks  him  if  books  would disappearas  more  and  more  technologicaldevices  for communications  are  invented  and  used  by  people.  To  this Borges  replies  that  he  believes  books  willneverdisappear. He  says  book  is  the  most  astounding  invention.  All  other inventions  are  used  to  helpour  partsof  the  body  whereas book  is  an  extension  of  our  imagination  and  memory.  He feels reading a book is dreaming and remembering the past. If  books  disappear,  history  and  surelyman  will  disappear. So he feels books will notdisappear.  

KEY POINTS TO REMEMBER:  

  Borges was educated by his father’s library
  His mother Dona Leonor was an extraordinary person.
  Borges became blind   Blindness was a way of life and a resource
  He suffered humiliation and embarrassment.
  He wanted to write a history of book.
  Poetry is intimate and essential   It is the aesthetic act.
  Book is the most astounding invention of man.
  Only the book is man’s imagination and memory.
  Borges believes that books would never disappear.
  If  books  disappear,  surely  history  and  man woulddisappear.
  Because books are the great memory of all centuries
  Time  and  river,  life  and  dreams,  death  and  sleep,  stars andeyes, flowers and women are the metaphors.  

RECAPITULATION:  

  Luis Borges had a multifaceted personality
  Educated from father‟s library
  Great respect for mother
  Feels guilty for not giving the deserved happiness to her
  Blindness is a way of life   Everything is given for a purpose
  Humiliations,  misfortunes  and  embarrassments  as  raw material   Poetry an aesthetic
act
  Poetry-magical, mysterious and unexplainable
  Books  are  the  extension  of  our  imagination  and memory  

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