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  1. #1
    thedaffodils's Avatar
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    Smile Little Boy by Charles Lamb

    Hello Anglika,

    Could you please give me answers as following at your convenience? I still have a lot of problems on reading Charles Lamb's essays. I read this essay by the aid of Chinese translation. But I don't really understand the author's sentiments.

    Q1: Why did Lamb call nectarines and peaches forbidden fruit?

    Q2: Why was Lamb, as a little boy, happy to stay in a quite and deserted big house, but not played with other boys? From the descriptions, I think Lamb was a very sensible, lonely and he indulged himself in his lonely world. His companions were plants, sunshire and fish.

    Q3: I think Lamb compared himself to the great sulky pike and he woundn't like play with his peers. Right?

    Q4: What makes this article by Lamb classic essay? What are the striking features?

    Q5: Why are there so many dash marks in the article?

    Q6: Do you think it is necessary to learn some the author's profile before study a piece of classic works?

    Thanks in advance!

    -------------------------------



    How I never could be tired with roaming about that huge mansion, with its vast empty rooms, with their worn-out hangings, fluttering tapestry, and carved oaken panels, with the gilding almost rubbed out---sometimes in the spacious old-fashioned gardens, which I had almost to myself, unless when now and then a solitary gardening man would cross me---and how the nectarines and peaches hung upon the walls, without my ever offering to pluck them, because they were forbidden fruit, unless now and then, ---and because I had more pleasure in strolling about among the old melancholy-looking yew-trees, or the firs, and picking up the red berries, and the fir-apples, which were good for nothing but to look at ---or in lying about upon the fresh grass, with all the fine garden smells around me---or basking in the orangery, till I could almost fancy myself ripening too along with the oranges and the limes in that grateful warmth-or in watching the dace that darted to and Fro in the fish-pond, at the bottom of the garden, with here and there a great sulky pike hanging midway down the water in silent state, as if it mocked at their impertinent friskiness, ---I had more pleasure in these busy-idle diversions than in all the sweet flavors of peaches, nectarines, oranges, and such like common baits of children.
    Last edited by thedaffodils; 03-Aug-2008 at 18:52.

  2. #2
    Anglika is offline No Longer With Us
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    Default Re: Little Boy by Charles Lamb

    Quote Originally Posted by thedaffodils View Post
    Hello Anglika,

    Could you please give me answers as following at your convenience? I still have a lot of problems on reading Charles Lamb's essays. I read this essay by the aid of Chinese translation. But I don't really understand the author's sentiments.

    Q1: Why did Lamb call nectarines and peaches forbidden fruit? They were difficult to grow, and not very common, so small boys were forbidden to pick them.

    Q2: Why was Lamb, as a little boy, happy to stay in a quite and deserted big house, but not played with other boys? From the descriptions, I think Lamb was a very sensible, lonely and he indulged himself in his lonely world. His companions were plants, sunshire and fish. I don't think he is saying he doesn't want to play with other children, but is expressing the pleasure of having this large, empty, interesting house to himself.

    Q3: I think Lamb compared himself to the great sulky pike and he woundn't like play with his peers. Right? I honestly think it is simply a description of a pool. I don't read anything else into it.

    Q4: What makes this article by Lamb classic essay? What are the striking features? I am bucking out of this question - sorry. However, I hope someone else will have an answer.

    Q5: Why are there so many dash marks in the article? Fashionable at the time.

    Q6: Do you think it is necessary to learn some the author's profile before study a piece of classic works? It could help to fill in the background. His life was difficult and sad, and he wrote these essays as an escape from the problems as well as to earn extra money. This is a very brief account: Charles Lamb

    This is more extensive: Charles Lamb

    Thanks in advance!

    -------------------------------
    Do keep going with Lamb - he is a lovely writer.

  3. #3
    thedaffodils's Avatar
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    Smile Re: Little Boy by Charles Lamb

    Hello Anglika,

    Thank you for introducing me to the world of Charles Lamb and answering my questions.

    I'd like to rely on your taste about literature.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Little Boy by Charles Lamb

    Quote Originally Posted by thedaffodils View Post
    Q1: Why did Lamb call nectarines and peaches forbidden fruit?
    I hope you don't mind. Peaches and nectarines were not common in the UK then (or now, for that matter). They could only be grown in conservatories and were only given to kids as special treats.
    Q2: Why was Lamb, as a little boy, happy to stay in a quite and deserted big house, but not played with other boys?
    Old, big houses full of old furniture have always been interesting places to explore. Any intelligent kid would be delighted to have one such house to enjoy and explore.
    Q3: I think Lamb compared himself to the great sulky pike and he woundn't like play with his peers. Right?
    No, I don't think so. It's just a description and no more to me.
    Q4: What makes this article by Lamb classic essay? What are the striking features?
    Interesting question, but unanswerable. But any book which can still be read, and enjoyed, a couple of hundred years after it was written can be considered a classic in my opinion.
    Q5: Why are there so many dash marks in the article?
    A mark of the times; now we use different fonts and different colours. - and different icons.
    Q6: Do you think it is necessary to learn some the author's profile before study a piece of classic works?
    I do, background is always important.

  5. #5
    thedaffodils's Avatar
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    Smile Re: Little Boy by Charles Lamb

    Rebel: thank you very much for answering my questions in a run.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Little Boy by Charles Lamb

    Basically I'm saying the same Anglika said, but maybe it will help you, too.

  7. #7
    MrPedantic is offline Moderator
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    Default Re: Little Boy by Charles Lamb

    Q1: Why did Lamb call nectarines and peaches forbidden fruit?

    As a supplement to Anglika's and Reb's horticultural observations: this may be too obvious a point to mention; but the phrase "forbidden fruit" alludes to the fruit which Eve presented to Adam, in the Book of Genesis.

    Q3: I think Lamb compared himself to the great sulky pike and he woundn't like play with his peers. Right?

    One of Lamb's familiar books was The Compleat Angler, by Walton; and the pike turns up quite often in its pages. I would therefore be inclined to trace Lamb's comments on the pike to this passage in Walton:

    The Pike is also observed to be a solitary, melancholy, and a bold fish; melancholy, because he always swims or rests himself alone, and never swims in shoals or with company, as Roach and Dace, and most other fish do: and bold, because he fears not a shadow, or to see or be seen of anybody, as the Trout and Chub, and all other fish do.
    Q4: What are the striking features?

    Two aspects of the Essays that might be worth investigating are their diction (i.e. Lamb's choice of words) and their rhythm. Lamb's style looks back to certain 16th and 17th century writers, e.g. Sidney, Walton, Webster, Burton, Browne. He takes great pleasure in archaic phrases, literary allusions, and old-fashioned superstitions.

    Q5: Why are there so many dash marks in the article?

    The triple hyphens in your text represent "em dashes", i.e dashes of this length . Long dashes are very common in manuscripts of that period, and serve for almost any punctuation. Here, they add an informal, epistolary note; Lamb uses them mostly for parenthetical comments, and sometimes in place of a colon, to introduce a summary, etc.

    Q6: Do you think it is necessary to learn some the author's profile before study a piece of classic works?

    With Lamb, the Essays are his profile.

    Best wishes,

    MrP

    Not a professional ESL teacher.

  8. #8
    thedaffodils's Avatar
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    Smile Re: Little Boy by Charles Lamb

    Hi MrP,

    Thank you very much for the instructive answers.

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