Sunday, August 31, 2008

Featuring the book: Pygmalion - by George Bernard Shaw

The original story of Pymmalion was drawn from a Greek mythology. A sculptor who mistrusted the virtue of women, Pygmalion kept to himself, devoting himself to his art. One day, he created a statue of a woman. She was so beautiful, and the sculptor so lonely, that he fell in love with his creation and prayed to the goddess Aphrodite to give him a wife who resembled the statue. Instead, the goddess brought the statue itself to life. The ancient writer Apollodorus, telling his earlier version of the myth, called this statue-turned-woman Galatea.

George Bernard Shaw's Pymalion is a modern-day retelling of this myth that transforms Galatea from a silent statue to a vibrantly independent woman who talks back to the teacher who criticizes her speech. Shaw's Galatea, Eliza Doolittle, is a spirited working girl, who, in learning to speak like a duchess, displays a fierce intelligence and independence. Henry Higgins, a bachelor phonetician, not unlike Shaw himself - brilliant, articulate, and more passionate about his work than anything else, had vowed to teach the "rapscallionly flower girl" something. Like Shaw, he is unusually close to his mother and largely uninterested in romance. He can be charming when he wants something, but when he doesn't get what he wants, he can be petulant, arrogant, and bullying. Though it is clear by the end of the play that Higgins is attached to Eliza, he absolutely refuses to make any declaration of love to her. Like Pygmalion, Higgins congratulates himself on "creating" a woman, but unlike the lovelorn sculptor, he refuses to treat her any better than he treats anyone else.

Stated by the editor of the reprinted edition of the novel, that Pygmalion needs no preface at its beginning, but a sequel at its end. The way the story hit me was much like a narcotic which I cannot take control of contemplating, for it didn't leave me an expected decent ending at all. Its upshot was really a bang since I was very much relishing the lusciousness of the plot at first, but could nowhere to find its final point. Here, i realized lately that that its ending was perhaps fabricated with a cooperative division for the mind of reader himself. Something should be left for the imaganation; I guess that is the perfect line for that. And so here I go, bits of the peice are still clinging unto my brain, coaxing for the next taradiddle. And they seriously wouldn't want to forfeit, not bloody likely!

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