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Chapter: 11th English : UNIT 3 : Prose: Forgetting

Forgetting: Reading Activity

English Prose: Forgetting by Robert Lynd.



Do you read general books and novels? Do you buy them or borrow them from a library?


When you go to a library, you will see different genres of books. Libraries classify books following the Dewey decimal system or the Library of Congress System.


The important sections of a library are: (i) The Reference section where Dictionaries, Encyclopaedias, Yearbooks, Atlases and Gazetteers are kept; (ii) The Stack where all books except those in the reference section are kept; (iii) The Journal Section where journals, both current and back issues are kept; (iv) The Electronic section where computers, xerox machines (reprography), DVDs and CDs are kept.


Most libraries have an online catalogue of holdings (e.g. books, journals, electronic publications and audio-visual materials) available with them. An online catalogue is a list of the materials available in the library, and this list can be accessed through the computer.


You can make use of the online catalogue to locate books and other materials. The most common ways of locating a book are by (i) author’s name (ii) title (iii) subject. If you type the author’s name, e.g. Shakespeare, William, the computer produces a list of all works written by Shakespeare that are available in that library.


Genres of literature are important to learn about. The two main categories separating the different genres of literature are fiction and nonfiction.


Nonfictionincludes Narratives Nonfiction, Essays, Biography, Autobiography etc.


Fiction includes Drama, Poetry, Fantasy, Humour, Fables, Science fiction, Short Story etc.


Now, read the following biographical extract on Sujatha Rangarajan, a Science-fiction writer, and answer the questions that follow.


1. Sujatha is the allonym of the Tamil author S. Rangarajan and it is this name that is recognised at once by the Tamil Sci-Fi reading community. You might have heard of Chitti and his extraordinary exhibition of different qualities in an incredible manner. The robot could excel a human being in any act beyond one’s imagination. Jeeno, a robotic dog which appeared in Sujatha’s science fiction novel “En Iniya Iyandhira” (My Dear Robot) formed the basis of Chitti’s character. Like Chitti, Jeeno was an all-rounder who could cook, clean and fight. Very high tech computer technology terms are used in the story. Jeeno, a pet robot, plays an important role throughout the story. As the story proceeds, it behaves and starts to think on its own like a human and instructs Nila, a human being, on how to carry on further.


2. In the preface of ‘En Iniya Iyandhira’, the writer states the reason for his attraction to the genre: “Science gives us the wonderful freedom to analyse thousands and thousands of alternative possibilities. While using it, and while playing with its new games, a writer needs to be cautious only about one thing. The story should draw some parallels or association from the emotions and desires of the present humankind. Only then it becomes interesting. Jeeno, the robot dog, was intelligent. But the character became popular only because of the robot’s frequently displayed human tendencies. It is no wonder that his works echo these words about him and will reflect in the minds of the readers who enjoy reading his novels to have a lifetime experience.


3. It was Sujatha, who set the trend in sci-fi stories. He had tracked the origin from Mary Shelly’s Frankenstein to his short stories. He has written 50 sci-fi short stories published in various Tamil magazines. His stories have inspired many readers to extend their reading to English sci-fi writers like Isaac Asimov. The themes were bold even if there was a dependence on very well - established characterisation of English fiction. Sujatha opened up a new world to us with his writings on holograms, computers and works like ‘En Iniya Iyanthira’, inspire many to study computer science.


4. He has been a great writer for more than four decades. He combined reasoning and science in his writings. Being a multifaceted hi-fi and sci-fi humanistic author, he expressed his views distinctively. He was the one who took Tamil novels to the next level. As an MIT alumnus and an engineer at BHEL, he was very good at technology. So, he narrated sci-fi stories impressively. His readers always enjoyed reading all his detective and sci-fi novels which featured the most famous duo Ganesh and Vasanth.


5. Sujatha has played a crucial role as a playwright for various Tamil movies which have fascinated movie lovers. Hence, it is fathomable that the writer’s perspective of future India enthuses every reader and paves a new way to reading sci-fi stories in English.


A. Answer the following questions in a sentence or two.

How was Jeeno different from other robots?

Jeeno starts to think on its own like a human. Hence it is different from other robots.

What precaution should one take while writing Science fiction stories?

While writing science fiction, one should ascertain whether the story draws some parallels or associations from the emotions and desires of the current human kind.

What inspired Sujatha’s themes?

Mary Shelly’s Frankenstein inspired Sujatha’s themes.

Why were Sujatha’s sci-fi stories impressive?

Sujatha expressed his views distinctively. He combined reasoning and science in his sci-fi stories. He inspired many students to study computer science.


B. Find words from the passage which mean the same as the following.

i.               difficult to believe (para 1) - incredible

ii.               a style or category of art, music or literature (para 2) - genre

iii.               having many sides (para 4) - multifaceted

iv.               capable of being understood (para 5) - fathomable

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11th English : UNIT 3 : Prose: Forgetting : Forgetting: Reading Activity |

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