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The Lunatic - Four Levels | The Flax-Golden Tales

Laxmi Prasad Devkota, Nepal (1909 – 1959)

The Lunatic - Four Levels | The Flax-Golden Tales

The Lunatic

Literal Comprehension: This poem “The Lunatic” by Laxmi Prasad Devkota is his own translation of Nepali Poem “Pagal”. The person or speaker of the poem is mad who tells about his uncommon activities just opposite from normal sane people. He sees the sound, hears the sight and tastes the smell. He can see Helen in a rose. He works with a sixth sense. He speaks such language that the world does not accept. There is one in subtracting one from one in his maths. There is a heart that melts and makes the world of vapor. His dream world is full of thorns, not roses. People call him a mad while sitting in the wintry sun, listening to cuckoo’s song and weeping over people’s death. He calls prostitutes are dead bodies and ruler and leaders are real fools. The great king is a beggar for him. Other’s heaven is his hell and others’ god is his worse. When he sees a number of injustices done upon powerless, innocent people by powerful, he is much violent and turns to be like a volcano. He/ takes himself really mad because he can’t hear thousands of such injustices and inequalities exist in this society and the world ruled by fools.

Interpretation: “The Lunatic” is an autobiographical poem by a famous Literary star Nepali Literature late Laxmi Prasad Devkota. Looking to the then society full of injustices he has pivoted through ideas and feeling in this poem. The speaker has made a world of contrasts where oppositions are the desirable aspects by which the poet wants to have a systematic and humane world. He has used a mask of mad person but actually, the so-called sane persons are mad and foolish. By using his characters like confidence, imagination, abnormality, aggression, rebellion he wants to break down all the values of social injustices and dominations. In a violent and challenging tone, the poet wants to demolish all social, personal and any types of dominations. The skillful presentation of sane and insane characters, activities and state the poet might be trying to challenge to so-called civilized, high class and rulers who enjoy in controlling others and looting the innocents. The poem is the best example of political protest poem.

Critical Thinking: It is natural for us not to accept any type of injustice, domination and inhuman behaviors. But the poet’s senses of tasting, smelling, hearing, sight and seeing the sound are really mad like. Again, The poet has used a mask to criticize the ample social personal injustices done in any name. How can a person visualize sound, hear the sight and taste the smell? Can one work with sixth sense? Though we can disagree in some aspects of him, still we can’t deny what is his intention in the poem. The poem’s thirst is to be rebellious against any injustice is ever praiseworthy and ever convincing one. This depth idea is hidden under the surface abnormality of Lunatic in this poem.

Assimilation: After reading this persuasive poem I got the insight into why people become rebellious. What is the world and what is the truth and how the innocent and honest people are made Scapegoat by so-called civilized and powerful people? The poem made me remember the poem of famous poet Emily Dickenson “Much Madness is Divinest Sense” The speaker has been called insane and sent to prison because she doesn’t accept what majority says. She is against injustice and domination so she doesn’t say. She is against injustice and domination so she doesn’t like to say white to black. If one doesn’t do what the group says then he/she is called insane. Similarly, the speaker of this poem “The Lunatic” is taking the side of truth and so-called sane are mad and he is really sane. The poem also taught me that we should not accept any injustice by any cost.

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