Life as a ‘Brief Candle’ blown out by Death: A Critical Analysis of Mahesh Dattani’s Brief Candle

Tapashree Ghosh

Assistant Professor, Dhruba Chand Halder College. ORCID: 0000-0002-4107-8045.

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 Volume VII, Number 2, 2017 I Full Text PDF

DOI: 10.25274/bcjms.v7n2.v7n2eng02


Mahesh Dattani’s Brief Candle deals with the life of cancer patients and is set in a hospital where cancer patients are about to stage a comic play to raise fund for their hospice. The play-within-the-play is a farce containing explicit sexual overtones, jokes and funny dialogues. In using the play-within-the-play technique Dattani is following a Shakespearean tradition. The research paper makes an in-depth thematic study of the play and analyses the philosophy of life that emerges from the play. Death is the predominant theme of Brief Candle. Faced with the fear of oblivion, Vikas, an AIDS patient who dies of cancer, realises the philosophy of life and rightful living and he spreads his understanding of life to everyone onstage and offstage. Every moment lived with enthusiasm, vitality and mirth is every moment denied death.

Keywords: Death, cancer, fear, life, laughter

Being an Animal on 9/11: Reinterpreting Rainer Maria Rilke’s “The Panther” and “The Eighth Elegy”

Tim Keane, Borough of Manhattan Community College, CUNY, New York, USA

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I am ashamed of almost always tending toward a gesture of shame when appearing naked before what one calls an animal, a cat, for example, a seeing animal naked down to its hair…

                                                                                            -Jacques Derrida.


Recalling the individualized past through the prism of collectively witnessed cataclysms might compensate us for the constant reduction in the density of our existences.  In the United States, the production of such recuperative accounts is often triggered by the 9/11 anniversary. Among New York City-based friends, stories about the ‘morning of,’ September 11, 2001 are recounted with a vehemence in contrast to the banality of the account: “I was getting out of the subway when–“, or “I was in my office having coffee and looking out the window when–“. This 9/11 anniversary storytelling ritual reflects a particularly human requirement that being (existence) occasionally be invigorated by a dialectal focused on catastrophe, as if the intensity of daily existence has for too long been leveled by routine, and by recorded history itself, by what Marcel Proust calls “voluntary memory” and what Virginia Woolf names the “cotton wool” of biography.