Anushree RaviREFLECTION STATEMENT “FERREUS” WORD COUNT: 1,500 (excluding footnotes)?!1

Anushree RaviThe open-ended nature of the English Extension 2 course has allowed me to create a politically motivated narrative which places its foundations upon the effects of the repression of an individual’s ambitions for power, and their consequent mania over the notion. Creating a domino effect, this prompts political corruption and the manipulation of governance in order to attain a position of power. Through the depth study of Arthur Miller’s allegorical play, The Crucible in Advanced English Module C: Representations of People and Politics, the inexplicable relationship between the repression of an individual and a poisonous ambition revealed itself as the cause of political corruption and manipulation of power. Thereby, the fanatical climb to utmost power in the backdrop of Indian politics from the time of the 1975 National Emergency of India till the early 2000s, experienced by my antiheroine Manisha Dhawan, was the abstract setting for my narrative, Ferreus. Along with being visualised in a tempestuous period of time, the location is placed in the state of Meghalaya, the most politically imbalanced state in India. In a time of national chaos, the accession to power was based on political bias, and at times was void of democracy. Fuelled by my interest in Indian social and political issues, the Emergency of 1975 led me to study the influences of personal agenda over the wellbeing of a nation. Through my research, I was led to the prominence of the Prime Minister, Mrs. Indira Gandhi. Although the event caused a social, political and economical catastrophe, there was hardly any evidence of her involvement in the event. Exploration into newspapers at the time such as ‘Times of India’, ‘Indian Express’ and ‘India Today’ led to uncovering articles such as, July 2nd, Forty Years Ago: 20 Point Programme 1and How Indians Protest, which brought up the detriment to the nation decades after the 2″July 2, Forty Years Ago: 20-Point Programme”. 2018. The Indian Express. 1 Joseph, M. 2007. “How Indians Protest – Times Of India”. The Times Of India. 2!2

Anushree RaviEmergency had happened, placing forward their facts with minimal testimonies of persons involved or similarly confronting opinions. The lack of evidence regarding the causes of such a major event caused me to investigate the extent to which politicians had control over a nation, for which I could only find minimal media verification. At this stage, I was able to find that there were underground sources of media, namely the Satyavani magazine. Restricting aspects such censorship led to my 3questioning of the extent of political rule in a nation.. The conceptual intentions of my work were to create an engaging, yet didactic piece which reflects the turbulent and somewhat manipulated Indian politics during the period of the Emergency; the warped nature of politics, and; the role of ambition and materialism in attaining a goal at the detriment of all else. My ulterior intention however, was to shape a female character, whose own empowering ambitions are stunted and repressed by the society at the time, and mutates into a maniacal character who is fixated on her desire of power. My narrative’s principles lie in the repression of ambition as the catalysts of political corruption, and providing an apt opinion “to push the world in a certain direction, to alter other peoples’ idea of the kind of society that they should strive after.” 4The concept of my story began to take its form through independent investigation, possessing more clarity towards the end of the writing process. With the investigation having a somewhat infinite nature, I was inclined to reconsider my concepts often, and this led to an evolution which travelled parallel to my research process. In studying Romanticism in the English Extension 1 course, I had exposure to several philosophers and their theories on the diminishing morals of society over the time of mankind’s evolution. My concept lies in the works of Jean-Jacques Rousseau, such as Discourse on the Origin Pathak, D. 2015. “Satyavani: How One Underground Magazine Thrived During Emergency 1975”. Homegrown 3 Orwell, G. 1946. “Why I Write”. Gangrel.4!3

Anushree Raviand Inequality Among Men and Of the Social Contract where lay a discontent with the operation of society, and an innate pessimism with the seeming growth of humanity. Through the study of Rousseau’s theories, I understood that the 1975 National Emergency of India was the result of “…depravity being due to the corruption of man’s essence by civilisation.” 5The initial workings of my concept were set into motion through my fascination with the powerful nature of politics in general, and I decided to use the Emergency as a subject to understand the overall operation of political and personal agenda. While developing links between my concept and the English Extension 1 course, I was led to Dark Romanticism through the study of ways of thinking in Mary Shelley’s novel, Frankenstein, and my own study of texts such as Oscar Wilde’s novel, The Picture of Dorian Gray and Edgar Allan Poe’s short story, The Tell-Tale Heart. Dark Romanticism appeared as a genre which I interpreted as harbouring a pessimistic approach towards society, and presented the “darker side of awareness…the uncomfortable sense of being in a fantasy world which is about to reveal the secrets of the human personality”. My concept 6also touched elements of Hindu philosophy, inspired by the ancient Hindu epic, Ramayana, in discussing the notion of karma. Such ideas are exhibited in Manisha Dhawan, as the narrative begins with her selfish and envious nature and concludes with the negativity of her actions returning to her with the death of her son. These fit together in a way in which both were incorporated into the scheme of political corruption, but did not possess an ideology on which my story could purpose. Upon further research, Rousseau’s philosophies proved as ideal to tracing political corruption back to the corruption of mankind. The Discourse on Inequality ‘tracked the degeneration of mankind from a primitive state of nature to modern society in detail’. This led to 7 Younkins, Edward W. 2005. “ROUSSEAU’s “GENERAL WILL” AND WELL-ORDERED 5SOCIETY”. Quebecoislibre.Org. Howells, C. A. 1978. Love, Mystery, And Misery: Feeling In Gothic Fiction. London: Althone Press.6 “Jean-Jacques Rousseau > By Individual Philosopher > Philosophy”. 2008. Philosophybasics.Com. 7!4

Anushree Ravithe exploitation of rights and freedom, and government became more powerful at the expense of individual liberty. When analysing people in power, Rousseau theorises that mankind has been corrupted by the artificiality of society. Civilisation led to the notion of amour-propre, an artificial 8pride which encourages individuals to compare themselves against others, create unnecessary fear in themselves and possess grotesque pleasure in the pain of others, similar to the tall-poppy syndrome. With extensive investigation into the historical details of the time such as unique names, the fashion and style, the stereotypes associated with women, and the treatment of politicians from 1975 to early 2000s, I was motivated to create a realistic personality both in Manisha’s looks and mannerisms and, in her raw and sensitive personality. Consequently, Manisha developed to be a woman who presented herself ‘regally’, in confirmation with her status and ‘mother-like’, in 910compliance with gender stereotypes of the times. Congruent to the nuances of my concept, the structure and technical features have been moulded to provide references to the concept. With karma being defined as ‘the sum of a person’s actions in this and previous states of existence, viewed as their fate in future existences’, the non-linear structure of my narrative adheres to one’s actions in the past influencing their future. The narration of the events in the flashbacks placed contrastingly with the present indirectly explain the consequences of Manisha’s past choices and how they presently cause desolation to her. Similar to Homer’s use of flashbacks in his epic, Odyssey, the time shifts from past to present tell a metaphorically linear story while being structured in a non-linear manner. O’Hagan, Timothy. 1999. “Rousseau On Amour-Propre”. Proceedings Of The Aristotelian Society 99 (1): 57-75. doi:810.1111/1467-9264.00047. ‘Ferreus’. Pg. 19 Ibid. Pg. 7 10!5

Anushree RaviAilsa Cox’s Writing Short Stories: A Routledge Writer’s Guide makes the statement on the nature of a short story, saying “The short story has the flexibility to capture the heat of the moment.”. Opening my narrative in a situation of tension, the characters’ weaknesses are shown, 11and their raw, humane tendencies are revealed to the reader. Creating the tension also enabled me to create Manisha’s personality as impenetrable and complex . The title of the narrative, Ferreus, meaning ‘iron-like’ in Latin, is a reflection of the Manisha’s ’round character’ in the story as appearing harsh and unyielding, yet motherly and caring, even while being under the heat of power and ambition. It is through the independent research of ideas studied in the Advanced English Module C: Representations of People and Politics and the Extension English elective, Romanticism that my narrative’s concept evolved and made way for an intended audience. My intended audience consists of educated and mature readers, between the ages of 25-35, who are familiar with this specific historical and cultural context. However, my story holds value for all of society, as its basis is on the ideas of human nature’s degeneration over time and the philosophy of karma are topics of universal discussion. Writing Ferreus has increased my understanding of the nature of political corruption, and has reshaped my opinions on its causes from just sheer selfishness to deeply ingrained flaws in human nature. Ergo, my audience can acknowledge the holistic notion that flaws in the social arrangement only stem from the ingrained flaws in human personalities, and that these are bound to increase over the development of people over time. Cox, Ailsa. 2005. Writing Short Stories: A Routledge Writer’s Guide. Oxford: Routledge.11!6