Saturday, 31 October 2015

Fashionable Affectations (Essay) by Richard Steele

Fashionable Affectations                                Richard Steele

Richard Steele and Joseph Addison are the pioneers of English essays. Steele started the “Tatler” and afterwards “Spectator” and finally the Guardian were followed. Through these periodicals, these great writers published their essays. “Fashionable Affections” is one of such articles. It is a turning point in English literature. Most of the essays of Richard Steele are satires. His essays are noted for originality, good humour, warm feeling and understanding.  They criticize the social and political evils of the society. Richard Steele says that he wants to reform English society through his periodical essays. In this essay titled “Fashionable Affections” Richard Steele laughs at the hypocrisy of young men and women of English society. It is full of humour, wit and irony.

2.  Richard Steele says that English people are generally far better than they appear to be. But they follow certain fashionable affections in order to get good publicity. Most people have some hidden ambition to become famous, but they don’t have the talent and ability to achieve this fame. So they pretend to be sick or blind or cripple in order to attract people’s attention. One day the author met a healthy young man in a coffeehouse. He said that he was sick and on strict diet-drink. Even young healthy ladies pretended to be sick and they said that they had no appetite. But they secretly ate their meals in their rooms and came to the table with a full stomach so that others would notice that they could not eat anything. Another fashionable affectation among the people is short sightedness. Some people pretended to be lame and they could not walk properly. So they used a walking stick.  The limpers were followed by the lispers. They could not pronounce the letters “H” or “S”.  Some others pretended to be deaf. So their flatterers repeated what they said. Some young men boasted that they were atheists, but they said their prayers in the morning and evening at home. Some others were marriage-haters, but they were seen running after some beautiful girls. The author says that in old days also people followed such fashionable affectations. For example Alexander the Great had a wry neck. So his courtiers imitated him to make him happy and turned their heads to one side, whenever they appeared before him. But Alexander was clever enough to find out this kind of hypocrisy and he angrily boxed one of them on the ear. Then all the courtiers set their heads upright.
3.  Richard Steele says that fashionable affectations are motivated by several factors. Most important among them was that people wanted to become famous in the society. But these people didn’t have the talent and ability to achieve this. So they used some ugly tricks to attract the attention of the people. For example some young men knocked down watchmen, broke windows and abused potters, overturned constables and blackened sign posts. These young men were neither terrorists nor rogues. They only wanted to become famous by any means. They put money in the room for the repairing of the windows.
1.  What are the fashionable affectations that amuse Richard Steele?   --  2nd paragraph
2.  What is the motive of many affectations, according to Richard Steele – 3rd   -do-
3. Lady Dainty is convinced……and be unable to eat in public – 1st & 2nd paragraphs
4. Alexander the great……they come into his presence              -- 1st & 2nd paragraphs
5. Of the like turn are your marriage-haters, who…her refusal    -- 1st & 2nd paragraphs
6. One could hardly find a knocker….these beaux espirits           -- 1st & 3rd paragraphs
Drafted, printed and circulated among the students of Prathibha College, Karuvarakundu by K.J. Thomas dated 15-9-2007



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