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EMANCIPATION IN BERNARD SHAW’S ARMS AND THE MAN AND MOLIERE’S TARTUFFE

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  • Chapters:5
  • Pages:74
  • Methodology:Descriptive
  • Reference:YES
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(English Project Topics & Materials)
EMANCIPATION IN BERNARD SHAW’S ARMS AND THE MAN AND MOLIERE’S TARTUFFE
TABLE OF CONTENTS

CHAPTER ONE
1.0  Introduction    -    -    -
1.1    Purpose of Study-    -    
1.2    Scope of Study-    -    
1.3    Methodology-    -    -    -    -
1.4    Theoretical Background    -    
1.5  Review of Related Scholarship  and Justification of Study    
1.6 Thesis Statement    -    -
CHAPTER TWO
 SOCIO-POLITICAL EMANCIPATION    
2.1 The Need for Individual Liberty    -
2.2 Freedom and Equality as Nuclei for Human Value     -
2.3 Triumph over Social Class Barriers -    -
CHAPTER THREE
INTELLECTUAL AND ECONOMIC EMANCIPATION    
3.1 Enlightenment as a Drive for Freedom    -    -
3.2 Agitation for a Capitalist Economy: The key to Financial Emancipation    
CHAPTER FOUR
STRATEGIES EMPLOYED IN THE QUESTS FOR EMANCIPATION
4.1 Self-Determination     -    -    -
4.2 Pursuit of Financial Empowerment -    -    
4.3 Freedom of Expression     -    -    
CHAPTER FIVE
Conclusion    -    -
Works Cited    -    -    -
 Chapter One
1.0   INTRODUCTION:
1.5       Purpose of Study:
This study sets out to examine emancipation as depicted in Bernard Shaw’s Arms and the Man and Moliere’s Tartuffe and also the strategies the playwrights employ to explore intellectual, socio-political and financial emancipation. The choice of these texts is based on the fact that both playwrights present characters from the lower class who seek freedom from the tough and oppressive grips of people in the upper class.
1.6    Scope of Study:
This essay concentrates on Bernard Shaw’s Arms and the Man and Moliere’s Tartuffe. Only the aspects of the texts which contribute to the subject-matter of emancipation are studied.
1.7    Methodology:
This research adopts a qualitative approach because it is based on content analysis of excerpts. The primary texts are read and relevant articles from online and print journals are cited. The emancipatory excerpts from the texts are studied based on Sigmund Freud’s Psychoanalytical Theory.
1.8     Theoretical Background:
This study is based on Sigmund Freud’s Psychoanalytical Criticism which centres on the human mind and personality make-up that account for liberation quests. The mind may be dormant or awake but whichever state it is in contributes largely to human actions. Freud argues that, ‘…if in such a division of personality, consciousness remains constantly bound up with one of the two states, this is called conscious mental state, and the other the unconscious’(10).When the mind is conscious, man becomes sensitive to happenings around him.
Over the years, Freud has developed different models of the human psyche. The first one is the Dynamic Model which contains the conscious (the rational) and the unconscious (the irrational) parts of the mind. Charlse E. Bressler explains this model thus:
The conscious, Freud argued, perceives and records external reality and is the reasoning part of the mind. Unaware of the presence of the unconscious, we operate consciously, believing that our reasoning and analytical skills are solely responsible for our behaviour. Nevertheless Freud is the first to suggest that it is the unconscious, not the conscious, that governs a large part of our actions. (121)
This model explains the interplay between the mindset of a man and his actions. With the pressing need to expand his argument, Freud develops a second model which is known as the Economic Model. It contains the pleasure and the reality principle which Bressler captures in these words:
…the pleasure principle craves only pleasures, and it desires instantaneous satisfaction of instinctual drives, ignoring moral and sexual boundaries established by society. The pleasure principle is held in check, however, by the reality principle, that part of the psyche that recognizes the need for societal standards and regulations on pleasure. Freud believed that both these principles are at war within the human psyche. (122)         
Freud,in this model, asserts that the human race in different societies has societal values that often conflict with man’s self-interest. For the sake of normalcy, the reality principle places a check on the pleasure principle. Based on this model, Freud further explains his studies on the human mind in his Topographical Model which Bressler quotes below:
Freud separated the human psyche into three parts: the conscious, the preconscious, and the unconscious. The conscious is the mind’s direct link to external reality, for it perceives and reacts with the external environment, allowing the mind to order its outside world. The preconscious is the store house of the memories that the conscious part of the mind allows to be brought to consciousness without disguising these memories in some form or another. As in his previously devised models, Freud contends that the third part of the psyche, the unconscious, holds the repressed hungers, images, thoughts, and desires of human nature. (122)
Once again, this model, like others, agrees with the fact that the human psyche (mind) relates with physical actions that everyone engages in. Bressler  summarises the Tripartite Model, the last psychological model put forward by Freud thus:  
This model divides the psyche into three parts: the id, the ego, and the super-ego . The irrational, instinctual, unknown and unconscious part of the psyche Freud calls the id. Containing our secret desires, our darkest wishes, and our most intense fears, the id wishes to fulfill only the urges of the pleasure principle. In addition, it houses the libido, the source of all our psychosexual desires and all our psychic energy…. The second part, Freud names the ego, the rational, logical, waking part of the mind, although many of its activities remain in the unconscious. Whereas the id operates according to the pleasure principle, the ego operates in harmony with the reality principle. It is the ego’s job to regulate the instinctual desires of the id and to allow these desires to be released in some non destructive way… the third part of the psyche, the superego, acts like an internal censor, causing us to make normal judgment in light of social pressures. (122-3)
The tripartite model clearly demonstrates how the mind aids every human action. Without the ego performing a check and balance function, the id can easily prompt reckless actions.
The psychoanalytical approach to literary interpretation, analysis and evaluation of literary texts is looked at from another scholar’s point of view. The perception of James S. Nairne is sampled in this essay since it is somehow different from Bressler’s. Nairne makes critical efforts to link Freud’s psychoanalytical concept to human personality which is related in one way or the other to the quest for emancipation. Russell Keat agrees that there is a link between psychoanalysis and human emancipation. This is contained in these words, ‘There may be senses or forms of freedom that are incompatible with determinism. My suggestion is only that we can understand the idea of psychoanalysis as an emancipatory process’(14). Freud’s Psychoanalytical theory dwells on the human mind and how it interacts with the outside world. This view is supported by Nairne’s argument which states that, ‘we ultimately control our own behavioral destiny, personality reflects our uniqueness as well as our environment and personal view of the world’ (399). The mind, according to Nairne, controls and coordinates the quests for a better place in society. Unlike Bressler who dwells on just the models which explain the components of our minds, Nairne points out Freud’s models that influence the human mind and personality. According to him:
Freud believed the human mind can be divided into three major parts: the  conscious, the preconscious, and the unconscious. The conscious mind contains the contents of current awareness-those things that occupy the focus of your attention at the moment. The preconscious mind contains inactive but accessible thoughts and memories-those things that you could easily recall, if desired, but are simply not thinking about the moment .Finally the unconscious mind houses all the memories, urges and conflict that are beyond awareness. Freud believed that the contents of the unconscious mind exert powerful and long-lasting influences on behaviour, despite the fact that they are hidden and unavailable to consciousness. (388)
Nairne strongly believes that the conscious, the unconscious and the preconscious parts of the human psyche control the mind, the seat of reasoning while the id, ego and superego control human personality. Nairne extends the frontier of his argument by saying that:
Freud believes that human personality consists of three parts, the id, ego and the superego. He was convinced that each of us is born with powerful instinctual drives, particularly related to sex and aggression, which motivate and control our actions. Freud used the term id to represent the portion of personality that is governed by these forces (translated from Latin, id means “it”). As a component of personality, the id seeks immediate satisfaction of natural urges without concern for the morals and customs of society… the superego is the part of our personality that encourages us to act in an ideal fashion-to act in accordance with the moral customs defined  by parents and culture. The superego is acquire from experience and it acts, in part, as a conscience; it makes us feel good when we act the way we should and feel guilty when our behaviour strays from acceptable standards… Sitting between the forces of the id and the superego, and acting as a mediator, is the third component of personality-the ego. The ego which comes from the Latin word for “I”, serves as an executive role in Freud’s conception of personality. The ego encourages you to act with reason and deliberation and helps you conform to the requirements of the external world. (389)
This means that the human personality and how it works can be decoded using Freud’s concept of human psychology. Every action human beings take can be traced back to the interaction among the id, the ego and the super-ego. Having explained Freud’s components of the mind from the point of view of Nairne and Bressler, that of M.H Abrams and Geoffrey Galt Harpham is also looked at. Abrams and Harpham state that psychoanalytical criticism, ‘deals with a work of literature primarily as an expression, in an indirect and fictional form, of the state of mind and the structure of personality of the individual author’ (289). This means that this theory has the power to mirror the hidden contents of authors’ minds and characters’ personalities. The strength of each person’s personality accounts for certain actions taken in the face of restriction. To support Abram and Harpham’s assertion, Catherine E. Seta et al say that, ‘a person’s actions reflect his/her underlying personality’ (369). This statement is valid because everybody walks, talks and acts based on how he or she perceives life. In other words, each person’s personality is proportionally related to his or her mental function.
Having examined the comments of scholars on Freud’s Psychoanalytical theory, it is necessary to state the place of the theory in this study. The force that triggers or propels anyone into action lies in his or her mental make-up. This force is tied around the id, ego and super-ego. Freud strongly believes that certain human wishes are locked behind the unconscious part of the mind and with undue pressure from the outside world, society, the id explodes into actions especially when the ego and super-ego cannot suppress its quest. It is on this account that this study examines some characters’ quests for emancipation in the primary texts. That is, based on Freud’s Psychoanalytical tenets, efforts are put together to decipher the disguised motives and wishes of characters chosen as literary specimens for this study. Attempts are made to reveal the contents of these characters’ personalities and mental states especially the premises and procedures they subscribe to in their struggles for emancipation. Therefore, the concepts of Freud’s psychoanalysis are used to understand what motivates characters’ emancipatory moves in Shaw’s Arms and the Man and Moliere’s Tartuffe. The positions of Nairne on Freud’s Psychoanalytical Criticism and that of Keats which states that ‘we can understand the idea of psychoanalysis as an emancipatory process’ are largely relied on in this study.   
1.5    Review of Related Scholarship  and Justification of Study:
Arms and the Man (Arms) is an important play of the 20th century. As a literary portrait of the era, it is considered a key text because it clearly documents contemporary happenings especially in Europe. One of the unspeakable events of the 20th century is war and Shaw in this play clearly depicts popular opinions people hold about war then. For instance, Stephen N.  Matsuba observes that the issue of war permeates the play. He puts this thus:
War is a highly visible element of Arms and the Man. The first act deals almost exclusively with Sergius cavalry charge at Silvnitza, and while the war between the Serbians and Bulgarians is over at the beginning of the second act, the business of war continues into the third.Sergius announces his resignation from the army(act 2,30).Petkoff asks Bluntschli for help in  drafting the orders for sending three cavalry regiments to Philipopolis (act 2,44),and act three opens with Bluntschli writing the orders and sending Sergius and Petkoff off to give these to the messengers(act 3,51).Moreover,the two principal male characters, Sergius and Bluntschli; never remove their uniforms,and Petkoff does not change into civilian clothing until the final act. Many critics perceived war as an important theme in the play. (8)
Shaw explores the issue of war that is peculiar to the 20th century and this has rightly been pointed out by Matsuba’s comment above. Shaw does not see war as what should be celebrated. As a matter of fact, he wrote Arms to challenge Virgil’s glorification of war in the poem ‘The Aeneid’ which begins with, ‘I sing of arms and of a man.’  May Ahmed Majeed agrees with the assertion that Shaw frowns at war. This he notes when he says that, ‘like other important subjects that affect society, Shaw in Arms and the Man takes up war for a satiric treatment. He criticizes a society that looks to war as a noble adventure’(435-6). Shaw indeed uses Bluntschli to trivialiSe the heroism attached to war. By carrying chocolate instead of cartridges inside his gun, he disregards war as legendary. Muhammad Iqbal and Amjad Ali thus describe Blunctschli in the light of Charles Darwins’ survival of the fittest’ assertion. Iqbal  and Ali hold that:
Bluntschli, of course is the character opposed to Sergius in the play. Whereas Sergius aspires towards a heroic death, Bluntschli’s interest is in living as long as possible: “ It is our duty to live as long as we can” and to preserve his life, he is prepared to perform acts which a Darwinian like Sergius would reject out of hand, such as obtaining the protection of a woman by threatening to shame her. Bluntschli is thus prepared to adapt to the world in order to survive. (Web)
Iqbal and Ali are of the view that a reasonable man should strive to survive and not involve himself in wars which are destructive. They see Sergius as an idealist and Bluntschli as a realist. To support their view, they quote from Arthur Granz that, ‘ Arms and the Man for Arthur Ganz denigrates the romantic dream of military glory. Bluntschli represents reality while Sergius stands for illusion’ (231). Shaw, as a satirist, tries to purge his society’s excesses and expose the danger violence holds for those who use it to achieve their goals. Azher Suleman notes that:
Shaw chose to set his place in the midst of a foreign war, in part so that he would offer some commentary about war. His purpose in this play is to attack the romantic notion of war and love by presenting a more realistic depiction of war, devoid of the idea that such death and destruction are both noble and romantic. These deconstructions make Arms and the Man a satirical comedy about those who would glorify the horrors of war and romanticism of love. However, Shaw was dedicated throughout his life to curbing violence especially that of war, and Arms and the Man was one of the vehicles he used to plead his case. (62)
As Suleman rightly points out above, war is so much glorified that army generals and powerful world leaders venture into it with pride. A popular dictum employed by the 20th century propagandists to plunge people into war is ‘dulce et decorum est pro patria mori’ ( it is sweet and glorious to die for your country). This statement is taken from Horace’s  ‘Odes’ and Wilfred Owen who also detests war like Shaw claims the statement is deceitful. He notes this in his poem entitled ‘Dulce et Decorum Est.’ After highlighting the destructive effects of the First World War, he concludes the poem by saying:
        My friend, you would not tell with such high zest
To children ardent for some desperate glory,
The old lie, Dulce et Decorum est
 Pro patria mori. (line 26-9)
While Owen attacks Horace’s adoration of  war through this poem, Shaw does the same through Arms. He uses the character of Bluntschli to mock the quests for glory through war. Majeed, quoting the words of Ivans Wilson, says that, ‘ lvans Wilson argued that ‘ modern war taught us that Shaw was largely right. Bluntschli is certainly not a heroic figure; he has joined as a mercenary, and for him war is a regrettable necessity, not a chance to obtain glory.’ Later Sergius realizes that soldiering is ‘the coward art’ (436).Wilson’s comment shows that war is simply all about murderous activities. It only plunges people into pain that is not justifiable. Those who become super heroes as a result of the war they fight achieve nothing but what Lucius Sergius Catiline calls ‘mournful victory’ (82).Williams Mackintire Salter also describes Arms as, ‘a burlesque on war, or rather on the romantic ideals of war (and indeed on romanticism in general): we have a very unconventional picture of the ordinary soldier to whom war is a trade like any other and who finds chocolate quite as practical as cartridges’ (451). Salter’s  description of war shows that it is not an ideal way to win honour. Moreover, he sees soldiering as a less noble profession. This means that war can only bring mournful victories to those who subscribe to it as a way of obtaining  honour. Anna Manevik also argues in this direction that , ‘in Arms and the Man, however, where the idealized image of the military is a central theme, the playwright questions and mocks the whole concepts of heroic soldiers’(7). Manevik clearly condemns war because it is destructive. She does not see it as a way of asserting one’s personality. She commends Bluntschli’s display of maturity in his bid to assert his strength of personality. She explains that:
Arms and the Man is considered to be a satire on love, war and heroism, but, as I have demonstrated, it can also be considered a poignant critique of notion of hegemonic masculinity as such. My interpretation of the play is that one of the things that Shaw wanted to convey was a message that there are alternative ways for men to gain respect and be considered highly masculine than through violence, economic power and oppression. Captain Bluntschli is the perfect example of a strong and skillful man who could have reached power and status through violent, economic and oppressive methods if he had chosen to do so. (18)
Manevik considers Bluntschli a realist, one who is guided by an honourable dignity that sets him above Sergius. Shahzad Ahmad Siddiqui and Syed Asad Raza support this view in their observations .They say that:
Arms and the Man is a wonderful play by Bernard Shaw that reflects wonderfully the element of realism. In this play, Shaw attacks genially the romantic notion of war and love. He has adopted a realistic approach in depicting every day activities which were common those days. Here Shaw attacks the social follies of society in order to bring a positive change for which he received criticism. (48)
Siddiqui and Raza hold that those who try as much as possible to be practical and objective about life often end up triumphantly. Bluntschli fits into this description because he acts on reasons and not emotion or any romantic ideology. Therefore, he is a leading realist in the play. This explains why he readily shares the opinion of Louka who discusses life with him on a realistic note.
    Fatemeh Azizmohammadi and Zohreh Tayari examine Arms beyond the scope of war. They look at the play from the angles of sex and gender differentiation. They say that, ‘There is masculinity in Louka’s character while annoying Nicola.She reveals her control through her interaction with Sergius. Mrs Petkoff also shows masculinity in controlling household work in the absence of her husband’(8). Louka, though a woman and a maid, has the right personality make-up to assert her place in her society. She puts Nicola and Raina  where they belong and nobody, not even Major Petkoff and Catherine, can stop her from marrying Sergius who is already engaged to Raina. Catherine also acts in the capacity of a husband over her household. It is on this note  Majeed says that ‘Shaw was among the limited number of men who supported the principle of equality between man and woman. Most of his heroines have the characteristics of the new woman. They are independent in spirit, self-confident, clear headed, morally courageous and emotionally well controlled’ (434). Azizmohammadi and Tayari, commenting on Shaw’s treatment of social class say that, ‘In Arms and the Man, Shaw portrays higher classes that control and rule over the lower classes through power, fear and custom’ (7). Indeed, right from the Victorian Era into the 20th century, class consciousness has ruled Europe. The upper class lord it  over the lower class members who are not expected to complain. This is the very situation Nicola finds himself.  Louka, unlike Nicola, fights to set herself free from the grip of the rich.
 Moliere’s Tartuffe has also enjoyed critics’ attention though many of the reviews are  written in French. However, the few translated into or written in English are cited in this essay. Most critics examine Tartuffe mainly as a work of literature challenging religious hypocrisy. One of such scholars is Edgar V. Roberts. He describes the double standard of Tartuffe thus:
You have heard that what you do speaks louder than what you say.  The same is true in literature, and sometimes actions illustrate important character traits. An author may create a character who professes honesty yet does dishonorable things. Uriah Heep in David Copperfied and Tartuffe in Moliere’s play Le Tartuffe have such characteristics. (12-13)
Roberts’ comment shows that Moliere’s apt use of irony shows the two sides of Tartuffe (with his hypocritical tendency) . Edgar Johnson who also looked at Tartuffe from Roberts’ point of view says, ‘Let Orgon be hypothesized by Tartuffe and his own cowardly superstition into becoming blind and cruel  to his own family, and Moliere will pepper him with follies of stinging arrows’ (197). Johnson describes Moliere as an active satirist who does not turn a blind eye to any form of vice. He uses the character of Tartuffe to expose the antics of pretenders and that of Orgon to condemn gullibility among those who blindly follow the likes of Tartuffe. Moliere considers the moral sensibility of men and women of his time to be important. He believes that literature must improve the morality of people. It is on this note that Gerry McCarthy says:
In his few critical writings Moliere occasionally argues the value of comedy in evoking moral problems and behaviours which may serve as examples of the pitfalls which attach to our everyday life in society. He also stresses repeatedly, pleasure. He was expected by those hostile to theatre to attempt a justification of the dangers of that pleasure and that justification was sought in the common place that the moral effect of the stage was aversive. (xvi-xvii)
McCarthy sees Tartuffe as a fun seeker and a deceiver who will stop at nothing in his bid to enjoy maximum pleasure at the expense of his helpers. Many religious leaders condemn Moliere for what they see as an attack on Christianity but in the preface to Tartuffe, Moliere justifies himself when he says that comedy ‘corrects men’s vice by means of agreeable lessons’ (308).
    In a comparative study of Tartuffe and Blifil in Henry Fielding’s The History of Tom Jones, a Foundling, James E. Evans says Tartuffe , ‘can be read as ridiculing not only hypocritical piety but also excessive piety, such as actions by those less consciously deceptive then Tartuffe or Blifil, whose excesses imply corresponding defects. As W.D Howarth points out, Tartuffe ‘was objected to by sincere churchmen of all shades of opinion and surely with every justification’ (103). Evans sees Tartuffe as an impostor who is a stain on the Christian faith. To support his claim, he quotes the comment of W.D. Howarth. Both Evans and Howarth therefore, conclude that religion has been used by many false teachers to defraud their followers. The statement of Karl Marx, ‘religion is the opium of the people’ is relevant here. Orgon and his mother  see Tartuffe as a holy man and in turn, Tartuffe plays on their ignorance by duping the Orgons’ household. Michael Hawcroft also studies Tartuffe from the point view of religion. His work which is based on the religious content of Cleante’s speech explains that, ‘Moliere makes Cleante express certain views of religious devotion simply because they are the artistic opposite of Tartuffe’s exaggerated and false piety’ (79). Hawcroft is of the view that Moliere has presented Cleante as Tartuffe’s rival or contrast. Cleante uses his sermonising speeches to counter the hypocritical speeches of Tartuffe. On the contrary, Hawcroft has identified some critics whose opinions counter  his. He lists and quotes their arguments thus:
Other critics are quick to find fault with Cleante and turn him into a ridiculous character in his own right. The list of alleged vices is long. Peacock finds him prolix, overly rhetorical and cowering. Fargher thinks he is unimpressive, cowardly, and inept. For Herzel, he is self-important, long-winded; “a ridiculous meddling bore”. Eustis is emphatic that Cleante is a ‘comic figure.’ (79)
Cleante, according to the critics in the quotation above quote, is not a perfect man himself. He is seen as a mere clown who attacks Tartuffe simply to protect his own relations. Hawcroft, however, concludes his study of Cleante’s characterization by saying  that:
 The critical dichotomy between eloquent sage and foolish bore, to which discussion of Ariste and Chrysalde have accustomed us, is once again evident in the case of Cleante. But since critical views of Cleante are also coloured by the various modern attitudes to the controversy which Tartuffe provokes, it is important to understand Cleante’s role in the context of this controversy. (79)
 The personality of Cleante is controversial and this explains why scholars view him differently. While Hawcroft sees him as a redeemer, others like Peacock, Fargher, Herzel and Eustis are of the opinion that Cleante is merely a clown whose argument cannot sway that of Tartuffe, the crafty impostor.
    From the available critical comments on Shaw’s Arms and Moliere’s Tartuffe, it is clear that no work has been done on the concept of emancipation. For Arms, scholars have mainly studied it from the angle of war and militarism and somehow from the socio-political point of view. No critic has studied the minor characters’ quests for emancipation. In the case of Moliere’s Tartuffe, scholars have mainly dwelt on its religious contents. In other words, the works found on the text are based on how Moliere uses Tartuffe to satirise religious hypocrisy of his time. Consequently, this study offers a fresh literary investigation which focuses on the concept of emancipation as explored in the text. As a departure from other studies, Freud’s Psychoanalytic criticism is employed to offer a new insight into the study of our primary texts. Therefore, this study presents itself viable as nothing has been done in this direction. This is to the best of the researcher’s knowledge which is based on the available literature reviewed above.
1.6 Thesis Statement:
Self-determination, the pursuit of financial empowerment and freedom of expression are fundamental to the quests for socio-political, intellectual and economic emancipation in Bernard Shaw’s Arms and Molere’s Tartuffe.

EMANCIPATION IN BERNARD SHAW’S ARMS AND THE MAN AND MOLIERE’S TARTUFFE

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Type Project
Department English
Project ID ENG0223
Price ₦3,000 ($9)
Chapters 5 Chapters
No of Pages 74 Pages
Methodology Descriptive
Reference YES
Format Microsoft Word

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    Details

    Type Project
    Department English
    Project ID ENG0223
    Price ₦3,000 ($9)
    Chapters 5 Chapters
    No of Pages 74 Pages
    Methodology Descriptive
    Reference YES
    Format Microsoft Word

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