Featured Literary Device

Personification is a literary device that gives human characteristics to non-human things. This is a way for writers to bring inanimate objects, animals, or even abstract concepts to life for the reader. It allows the writer to create a more vivid image in the reader’s mind and engage their imagination

In the line “Son of the old moon mountains African” from John Keats’ poem “To The Nile”, the river Nile is personified as the “son” of the moon mountains. Rivers are inanimate and do not have familial relationships like humans do, but by attributing such a relationship, Keats brings the river to life. This gives the reader a greater understanding of the Nile, allowing them to see it as a living entity with its own story and lineage.


AELT text book cover

The Appreciation of English Literary Texts encompasses a spectrum of content sourced from various ethnocultural contexts, aiming to acquaint students with a plethora of literary devices. This book seamlessly integrates the past and present, offering a profound exposure to life’s diversity via meticulous curation.

“The Vendor of Sweets” by R.K. Narayan follows the life of Jagan, a sweet vendor in India. Set against the backdrop of changing traditions and generational conflicts, the novel explores Jagan’s journey towards self-discovery and his struggle to reconcile his traditional values with his son’s modern aspirations.

The Prince and the Pauper - Mark Twain

Mark Twain’s famous novel “The Prince and the Pauper” follows the fascinating journey of two teenage boys from different social backgrounds who trade places. This captivating narrative, set in Tudor England, explores issues of identity, relationships, and the sharp disparities between the affluent and the underprivileged.

Bringing Tony Home - Tissa Abeysekara

“Bringing Tony Home” is a brilliant modern version of a timeless genre, the bildungsroman, set in the 1940s and 1960s. In the titled novella, a young man returns to his childhood home in search of Tony, his beloved dog who was left behind when the family’s financial situation forced them to leave.

The Symbolic Inclusion of Birds in English Literature

Birds, vibrant and mystifying creatures of nature, have always found their quaint niche in the realm of English literature. Their roles soar beyond their ornithological reality and venture into the territory of allegorical representations and profound symbolism.

In some literary works, birds are depicted as the embodiment of freedom. They are often seen metaphorically entwined with the theme of liberty and uninhibited existence that the human spirit yearns for. For instance, the book full of coloured pictures of birds found by Nicholas in the short story “Lumber Room” by Hector Hugh Munro suggests the child’s yearning for freedom.

English literature also paints birds as harbingers of change, transition, and power. One such idea is found in Alfred Lord Tennyson’s poem, “The Eagle”. The poem embodies the life of a raptor bird, alluding to the mythological Acuila, the eagle that carried the thunderbolts of Zeus. 

Furthermore, birds, with their ability to ascend towards the heavens, have been symbolically correlated with spiritual quests and enlightenment. Their celestial journeys are illustrated as paths leading to divine wisdom and knowledge. This is seen in Junji Kinoshita’s drama  Yūzuru (Twlight Crane), when a crane transforms into a human and attempts to pay its debt to a poor farmer who saves it from a poacher.

In many instances, different species of birds serve as loaded representations of various human emotions. The nightingale, for instance, frequently appears as a symbol of melancholy, sorrow, and the discontinuation of love. In the short story “Nightingale and the Rose,” Oscar Wilde effectively uses a nightingale as an element of a fairytale to criticise the human world.



In "The Huntsman" by Edward Lowbury (1913–2007), a captivating narrative unfolds as Kagwa's encounter with a talking skull leads to a tragic twist of fate. This analysis delves into the poem's exploration of destiny, the impact of words, and the consequences of Kagwa's actions. The tale weaves a suspenseful narrative with elements of poetic irony, showcasing the profound power of storytelling.

The Earthen Goblet

In "The Earthen Goblet" by Harindranath Chattopadhyay, the speaker engages in a poignant dialogue with a clay goblet, unraveling a narrative of transformation and loss. This analysis explores the goblet's profound reflections on its creation, longing for its former state, and the inevitability of change. Through vivid imagery and metaphor, the poem delves into themes of identity, transformation, and the bittersweet passage of time.

richard cory

In Edwin Arlington Robinson's "Richard Cory," the poet delves into the intricate interplay of outward appearances and inner turmoil. Through the enigmatic figure of Richard Cory, a symbol of wealth and perfection, the poem unravels the paradox between external admiration and hidden despair, ultimately challenging the notion that material prosperity guarantees inner fulfilment.

farewell to barn and stack and tree

In A.E. Housman's poem "Farewell to Barn and Stack and Tree," the reader is confronted with a haunting narrative of fratricide. The poem delves into the grim aftermath of a violent act, juxtaposing the serene countryside with the horrors of a murder committed amongst the pastoral beauty. This analysis will unravel the intricate layers of emotion, guilt, and consequences woven into this tragic tale.

to the nile

In John Keats' poem "To the Nile," the poet invokes the majestic river with reverence and curiosity. Amidst the barren desert, the Nile stands as a symbol of life and abundance, nurturing civilizations throughout history. This analysis explores Keats' admiration for the Nile's fertility and its enduring allure, shedding light on themes of nature and the human connection to the natural world.

the eagle

Alfred Lord Tennyson's poem "The Eagle" soars into the realm of nature and power, offering a concise yet evocative glimpse into the life of a majestic bird of prey. With vivid imagery and succinct language, Tennyson captures the essence of the eagle's existence, inviting readers to delve into its symbolism and significance.

to the evening star

In William Blake's enchanting poem 'To the Evening Star,' the celestial entity takes centre stage, invoking a sense of ethereal beauty and tranquility, as it ushers in the night. This analysis delves into the poem's vivid imagery, evocative language, and profound emotions, offering a deeper understanding of the poet's connection to the natural world and the mysteries of the evening.




Theme – Nature

  • To the Nile – John Keats
  • A Bird Came Down the Walk – Emily Dickinson
  • The Eagle – Alfred Lord Tennyson
  • To the Evening Star – William Blake

Theme – Conflict

  • War is Kind – Stephen Crane
  • The Terrorist, He’s Watching – Wislawa Syzmborska
  • Farewell to Barn and Stack and Tree – A.E. Housman
  • Breakfast – Jacques Prevert(translated by- Reggie Siriwardena)

Theme – Society

  • Once upon a Time – Gabriel Okara
  • I know Why the Caged Bird Sing – Maya Angelou
  • Richard Cory – Edwin Arlington Robinson
  • Big Match 1983 – Yasmin Goonerathne

Theme – Life

  • The Earthen Goblet – Harindranath Chattopadhyaya
  • Father and Son – Cat Stevens
  • Fear – Gabriela Mistral
  • Clown’s Wife – John Agard

Theme – Humour

  • The Camel’s Hump – Rudyard Kipling
  • Upside Down – Alexander Kushner
  • The Huntsman – Edward Lowbury
  • Two’s Company – Raymond Wilson


  • The Nightingale and the Rose – Oscar Wilde
  • The Lahore Attack – Kumar Sangakkara
  • Lumber Room – Saki
  • An extract from “Wave” – Sonali Deraniyagala


  • Twilight of a Crane – Yu Zuwa Junji Kinoshita
  • The Bear – Anton Chekov


  • The Prince and the Pauper – Mark Twain
  • Bringing Tony Home – Tissa Abeysekara
  • Vendor of Sweets – R.K Narayan

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