BEGC-134 Solved Question Paper of December 2021 Term End Exam held in March 2022
Write short notes on any four of the following in about 70-100 words each.
- Time in a novel
- Round characters
- Types of plots
- The post-colonial novel
- Extradisciplinary novel
1. Time in a novel
The degree of elaboration with which the setting is depicted depends upon a number of considerations, all of which the astute writer keeps in mind. Perhaps the first consideration is the importance of the setting in relation to the other essential elements in the story – plot and character. In some stories – especially contemporary stories that take place in surroundings that are familiar to most readers – the element of setting can be safely minimized. The particular setting, moreover, is not indispensable to the conversation that constitutes the body of the story, although the weather not only furnishes its title but also points symbolically to the problem raised by the slightly developed plot.
Another consideration for the conscientious writer is the probable familiarity of his setting. If the setting is one that is likely to be familiar to most of his readers, the writer needs to depict it in detail; he may assume that the details he selects will give his readers that pleasure of recognition that is one of the special values of familiar material. For example, although millions of Americans have never visited Coney Island, most of them are so well acquainted with the appearance and nature of the resort that the writer using this setting in a story for an American audience need feel no compulsion to present this particular setting elaborately.
Finally, the treatment of setting, like the treatment of character, will depend on the mode in which the writer is working, whether it is classical, romantic, or realistic. What we have said concerning the character in this connection is equally true of the setting. In classical stories – in Samuel Johnson’s Rasselas or Voltaire’s Candide, for instance – the setting is usually sketched in broadly. In romantic stories there is greater attention to detail, the writer may fall back on elements in the setting that have been accumulated by generations of romance writers. The Romantic Age brought in a passionate sense of identification with nature, and the idealization of it. It is soon reflected in the novel. In realistic stories, the writer must consider seriously the accuracy and fullness of his details, since it is one of the tenets of realism that the setting should be depicted with a high degree of circumstantiality. Faithful adherence to this tenet resulted in its development, in the middle and later 19th-century.
2. Round characters
Characters in a novel, short story, play, or film can be either round or flat. A round character is nuanced and well thought-out. They usually play an important role in the story. They are written specifically so audiences can pay attention to them for a specific reason.
A round character is a deep and layered character in a story. Round characters are interesting to audiences because they feel like real people; audiences often feel invested in these characters’ goals, successes, failures, strengths, and weaknesses.
3. Types of Plots
There may be many ways to order/sequence/arrange a plot which gives rise to different types of plots. According to Hudson, a plot may be loose where the story is composed of a number of detached incidents with the very little necessary or logical connection among themselves. For example, Daniel Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe or W. M. Thackeray’s Vanity Fair has a loose plot.
The second type of plot is an organic plot where separate incidents are knitted together and form and integral component of a definite plot-pattern.
Aristotle distinguished between a simple and complex plot so did Hudson. In a simple plot, only a single story is told and in the complex plot multiple stories go hand in hand. Thus, Thackeray’s Vanity Fair is said to have a simple plot since its stories are not properly amalgamated while Dickens’s the Bleak House has a complex plot as all the three threads of Esther Summerson’s story, the story of Lady Delock’s sin and the story of the great Chancery Suit by Jarndyce V. Jarndyce are dexterously linked together.
The American author of The Scarlet Letter, Nathaniel hawthorne of the 19th century identifies discusses four types of plots: tragic, comic, satiric or romantic according to the subject-matter or content of the novel but leaves out other types of novels, for example, political, psychological, historical and crime novels.
Thus, typologies of either novels or plots have a limited relevance no one cover all. However, the discussion about the typologies helps us understand the construction of plots varies from one novel to another and finally in understanding a novel.
A writer may adopt a simple or complex style depending on his approach and choice. Others still may use a style which can neither be defined simple or complex and defy and classification. Ernest Hemingway’s novel A Farewell to Arms (1929), opens with a simple yet powerful description:
In the late summer of that year we lived in a house in a village that looked across the river and the plain to the mountains. In the bed of the river there were pebbles and boulders, dry and white in the sun, and the water was clear and swiftly moving and blue in the channels. Troops went by the house and down the road and the dust they raised powdered the leaves of the trees. The trunks of the trees too were dusty and the leaves fell early that year and we saw the troops marching along the road and the dust rising and leaves, stirred by the breeze, falling and the soldiers marching and afterward the road bare and white except for the leaves.
American author Henry James uses a complex style to great effect in novels such as The Wings of the Dove (1902):
The two ladies who, in advance of the Swiss season, had been warned that their design was unconsidered, that the passes would not be clear, nor the air mild, nor the inns open – the two ladies who, characteristically had braved a good deal of possibly interested remonstrance were finding themselves, as their adventure turned out, wonderfully sustained.
Answer any two questions in about 150-200 words each
Q7. Write a detailed note on the use of symbolismin The Awakening.
SYMBOLISM IN THE AWAKENING
Art becomes a symbol of both freedom and failure. It is through the process of trying to become an artist that Edna reaches the highest point of her awakening. Edna sees art as a way of self-expression and of self-assertion. Birds are major symbolic images in the narrative. They symbolize the ability to communicate (the mockingbird and parrot) and entrapment of women (the two birds in cages; the desire for flight; the pigeon house). Flight is another symbol associated with birds, and acts as a stand in for awakening. The ability to spread your wings and fly is a symbolic theme that occurs often in the novel. Edna escapes her home, her husband, her life, by leaving for the pigeon house.
Edna is fully dressed when first introduced; slowly over the course of the novel she removes her clothes. This symbolizes the shedding of the societal rules in her life and her growing awakening and stresses her physical and external self. As she disrobes, the reader is presented with an internal voyeuristic view. When she commits suicide she is finally naked, she has shed everything she has in her quest for selfhood. But it is not only Edna who is symbolized in clothes, Adele is more “careful” of her face in the seventh chapter and wears a veil. Both she and Madame Leburn constantly make clothes to cover the body, and the woman in black and Mlle. Reisz never change their clothes, symbolizing their distance from any physical attachment.
There are several symbolic meals in the text and each stress mythic aspects in the text. The meal on Cheniere Caminada occurs after she awakens from a fairy tale sleep; the dinner party in chapter thirty is viewed by some as a re-creation of the Last Supper.
There are many houses in the novel: the one on Grand Isle, the one in New Orleans, the pigeon house, the house in which Edna falls asleep on Cheniere Caminada. The first two of these houses serve as cages for Edna. She is expected to be a “mother-woman” on Grand Isle and to be the perfect social hostess in New Orleans. The other two are places of supposed freedom. On the island she can sleep and dream, and in the pigeon house she can create a world of her own. In the same way, places have a similar significance.
Edna has struggled all summer to learn to swim. She has been coached by the men, women, and children on Grand Isle. In chapter ten, Chopin uses the concept
of learning to swim as a symbol of empowerment. It provides Edna with strength and joy. Also attached to the concept of swimming are the ideas of staying afloat and getting in over one’s head. Edna manages to do both.
The moon has many symbolic meanings in The Awakening. It is used as a symbol of mythic power and connects Edna with the Goddess Selene and the associated implications. She is strong and commanding, the goddess of the hunt. She is sexually aware of Robert for the first time, the fertility aspect of Artemis. Moonlight also symbolizes the struggle Edna has with the concepts of sexual love and romantic love. At the end of chapter ten, delicate images of “strips of moonlight,” are interposed with strong sexual feelings, “the first-felt throbbings of desire.” Joyce Dyer suggests that this juxtaposition “symbolically anticipates the problems Edna will have determining the relationship between sex and romance”.
Music is an important symbol in text, both Adele and Mlle. Reisz play the piano. Each woman functions to underscore a different aspect of the narrative. Adele is considered a musician by Leonce, but she does not play for art, instead she does so to keep her husband and children cheerful and to set time for parties. Mlle. Reisz, on the other hand, is disliked by all, but is granted status as a musician by only Robert and Edna. The issue of the piano playing echoes the issue of placement in society. If you follow the rules and norms whatever you accomplish is considered great, if you defy those rules you are shunned and dispairaged. Thus, the piano playing becomes a symbol of societal rules and regulations.
Sleep is an important symbolic motif running through the novel. Edna’s moments of awakening are often preceded by sleep and she does a great deal of it. Robert Levine calls it the “sleepiest novel in the American literary canon” and sees Edna’s sleep patterns as a rebellion against natural rhythms. Sleep is also a means of escape and of repairing her tattered emotions. In fairy tales, sleep is a key ingredient.
Q8. Comment on the plight of the tribals as represented in Paraja.
The Tribals in India comprise more than 700 communities, accounting 8% not total population of the country. They have been marginalized and excluded historically. The British rule used divide and rule policy by categorizing the tribal areas excluded and partially excluded area. Since the tribals have been simple and dependent on land for their livelihood, non tribals were prohibited from buying land in tribal areas to check the land alienation from tribals. However, state could acquire any kind of land as it was rationalised as for the state purpose which was for public good. The Governor was the supreme authority as per the principle of eminent domain. Even after the independence the exclusion continued.
As the tribals lived in the midst of nature, their social, cultural, political and economic life centered on land, forest and water. With the modern state the symbiotic relationship with the nature could not be maintained as the natural resources were looked at as the source profit and not subsistence. Individual rights and ownership of the resources was introduced. The oral history did not carry any value. Without written evidence the ownership was not recognized. As a result many tribals became landless or encroachers of the land they had been cultivating for years. Community councils run as per their culture and tradition got replaced by modern judiciary and governance systems.
The modern society found this society as primitive, backward, isolated. Therefore, those communities which are found (i) primitive in traits, (ii) distinctive culture (iii) shyness of contact with the public at large (iv) geographically isolated, and (v) socially and economically backward are sanctioned as scheduled tribes by the President of India. As there is no specific definition in our constitution, it is an administrative and political decision. It means that a community could be de-scheduled when it is found that they are no more primitive and so on. What will be social status of this community? Will they be Brahmin …… or Scheduled caste? Their problem has been primarily considered a problem of low-level technology, stark poverty, illiteracy, ill-health, behaviour pattern conditioned by ignorance and superstition, lack of motivation to take advantage of the benefits of modern science and technology and so on. Hence, until the eight Five Year Plan (1992-1997), the tribal social formation has been considered to represent a stage in the evolutionary scheme of human social organisation. The Ninth Five Year Plan shifted its focus from traditional welfare approach to rights approach through a process of empowerment viz: (i) Social; (ii) Economic Empowerment; (iii) Social Justice.
Answer any three questions in about 500-600 words each.
Q11. Attempt a feminist reading of The Awakening.
During the late 19th century, the time of protagonist Edna Pontellier, a woman’s place in society was confined to worshipping her children and submitting to her husband. Kate Chopin’s novel, The Awakening, encompasses the frustrations and the triumphs in a woman’s life as she attempts to cope with these strict cultural demands. Defying the stereotype of a “mother-woman,” Edna battles the pressures of 1899, that command her to be a subdued and devoted housewife. Although Edna’s ultimate suicide is a waste of her struggles against an oppressive society, The Awakening supports and encourages feminism as a way for women to obtain sexual freedom, financial independence, and individual identity.
Feminism is commonly thought of as a tool for educating society on the rights of women. It teaches that a woman is equal to a man in every civil and societal accord. Realizing this is not always the case, Charlotte Bunch, a noted lesbian feminist of the 1970s also defined feminism as “a way of looking at the world – a questioning of power [and] domination issues” (WIE).
Edna Pontellier’s suicide is the unfortunate pit falling of this otherwise feminist piece of literature. Her action, in fact, completely discredits the classification of feminism. Regardless of her ability to withdraw from her husband, venture out on her own, and buy her own home, Edna lacks a very important factor in feminist thinking. She believes that if she cannot obtain all that she wants immediately, all her expedients and her life are worthless and insignificant. After Robert leaves for Mexico, Edna feels as if his “going had some way taken the brightness, the colour, the meaning out of everything”. While she commendably untangles herself from the clutches of her husband’s culture, she undeniably wraps herself around the needs of another, living only for them Feminism definitely does not condone these kinds of actions; in fact, feminism “demands that a woman live for herself. A woman must be somewhat egotistical, care for her well-being first, and not base her life on the thoughts of another. Women can love, that is not a question, but a woman cannot let her life revolve around someone else’s world where she may be violently wrenched back to a hurtful reality”. “She felt no interest in anything about herself” because with never understanding this concept, she cannot grasp her femininity entirely. After Robert departs from her side, Edna finds “there was no one thing in the world she desired”. She then propels herself into believing that life is monotonous, a steady stream of disappointing setbacks that will never change, and thinks there is nothing she can do to bring anymore change to her world. She also discovers that no language can articulate her awakening, thus misleading herself into thinking that if she cannot eventually explain her actions, they are foolish actions of which she wants to defend, but cannot necessarily support. Throughout The Awakening, she grows increasingly depressed and passive toward life because of her “inability” to express herself and her belief that she is to be unhappy forever unless she gets exactly what she wants. “There were days when she was unhappy,” Chopin writes, “when it did not seem worthwhile to be glad or sorry, to be dead or alive; when life appeared to her like a grotesque pandemonium and humanity like worms struggling blindly toward inevitable annihilation”. Crippled beyond sensible thinking, Edna is like the “bird with a broken wing” that she observes, “beating the air above, reeling, fluttering, circling disabled down, down to the war”. Although her efforts to liberate herself from an oppressive society are respectable, her eventual suicide is an atrocious waste of her struggles and defies the very quintessence of feminism.
One of the most impressive ways Edna demonstrates her self-sufficiently is how she supports herself financially. Through a well-timed inheritance and a rebirth of her love for art, Kate Chopin releases Edna
into the independent world where she is in charge and is not reliant on anyone else.
Ignoring her husband because of her love for Robert and a new energy for discovering herself is another integral part of The Awakening’s feminist qualities.
Chopin illustrates through Edna that she believes that marriage without love is damaging for a woman.
Chopin positions Edna to fly well beyond the boundaries of accepted culture even though societal pressures tell her to act like a lethargic housecat. Edna learns through her experiences as a sexual, self-sufficient woman that she does not have to depend on men to be her own person. By breaking out of her caged life, Edna feels she no longer is tethered to the earth. She can finally control her life and ultimately determines her fate as a liberated, sexual, and independent woman.
The theory presented was that Edna knew what kind of man she was marrying and all these things she went through: her friendship with Madame Reisz leaving the house, entertaining her friends at the party, her situation with Robert and Arobin were all selfish efforts toward the ultimate freedom which is death.
Chopin faults Leonce as much as Edna for Edna’s problems. He is a cold fish. He is controlling and he puts on a show for friends and neighbors “proving” he is a model husband which he is not. He is Creole and I think Edna, being as reserve as she is, is not the best mate for him. He possibly needs an outwardly passionate woman to keep him interested and alive as a husband.
For a Creole he is reserve and he does not know how to respond to Edna’s reserve.
By the end of Chapter V we know the Pontelliers have problems and we know Robert is sympathetic towards Edna.
To this present day, women throughout America would be drastically different and would withhold fewer rights if it were not for women in the 19th and 20th century like the characters Madame Ratignolle, Edna Pontellier, and Mademoiselle Reisz in the novel The Awakening, by Kate Chopin. They shaped America into a place where freedom and equality for women is possible. Although the three women were different, they all contributed to different aspects of the feminist movement. Each character represents a distinct type of woman that strongly relates to the progressive stages of the great feminist movement in America. The female character, Madame Ratignolle, simply represents a “true woman,” who is everything that the society in the novel expects her to be and blindly follows the social duties of women. She is the perfect housewife and the perfect mother, who does everything that her husband expects her to do. In fact, Madame would give up anything, including her own life, for her children. It was women like Madame Ratignolle that encouraged other women like Edna Pontellier.
Q14. Who is a ‘subaltern’? Is there a subaltern voice in Paraja? Discuss.
The term subaltern means ‘of inferior rank’. The term “subaltern” in this context is an allusion to the work of Italian Marxist Antonio Gramsci (1881-1937). Literally, it refers to any person or group of inferior rank and station, whether because of race, class, gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity, or religion.
The SSG arose in the 1980s, influenced by the scholarship of Eric Stokes, to attempt to formulate a new narrative of the history of India and South Asia. This narrative strategy most clearly inspired by the writings of Gramsci was explicated in the writings of their “mentor” Ranajit Guha, most clearly in his “manifesto” in Subaltern Studies I and also in his classic monograph The Elementary Aspects of Peasant Insurgency. Although they are, in a sense, on the left, they are very critical of the traditional Marxist narrative of Indian history, in which semi-feudal India was colonized by the British, became politicized, and earned its independence. In particular, they are critical of the focus of this narrative on the political consciousness of elites, who in turn inspire the masses to resistance and rebellion against the British.
Instead, they focus on non-elites – subalterns – as agents of political and social change. They have had a particular interest in the discourses and rhetoric of emerging political and social movements, as against only highly visible actions like demonstrations and uprisings.
THE SUBALTERN VOICE
It may be important to look at some of the important issues and concern while defining subaltern voice as the voice of the tribals which make them the marginalized lot or the subaltern people.
Land alienation in different states including Orissa, bonded labour, disstressed migration, money lending and atrocities are what tribals have been facing when the outsiders started encroaching their areas since the British period. The availability of vast natural resources like land, forest, water, minerals coincided with the habitation of tribals in the country. As a result they have been deprived of their traditional sources of livelihood i.e. land, forest and rivers. The various problems have given rise to protests and reform movements among the tribals.
Q15. Write a brief essay on the creole background in The Awakening.
The word Creole means many things to many people. It derives from the Latin word “Creare,” meaning “to beget” or “create.” The Webster dictionary says a Creole is a “white person descended from the French or Spanish settlers of Louisiana and the Gulf States and preserving their characteristic speech and culture.” Creoles, a term first used in the 16th century in Latin America to distinguish the offspring of European settlers from Native Americans, blacks, and later immigrant groups. In colonial America the designally originally applied to the American-born descendants of European-born settlers. The term has since acquired varying meanings in different regions. In the United States, the state of Louisiana has a diverse Creole population. White Creoles are the French-speaking descendants of early French or Spanish settlers. Black Creoles are generally the French-speaking Louisianians of mixed race, once constituted a separate group, but have now largely assimilated into the black Creole population. These people have their own culture and customs and even a composite language derived from the French.
Cooking to Creoles and Cajuns is taken very seriously. In one of the nations largest, mass migrations, more than 10,000 fond permanent homes in Louisiana.
One of their popular fish dishes in New Orleans is the trout marguery. They lacked in education, they lived close to land, intermarried, and proudly retained their own customs, their religion and their own provincial form of the French language. Another major difference between Creoles and Cajuns is the fact that Creoles ate in the dining room, and the Cajuns ate in the kitchen. It was pungent, peppery, and practical since it was when Cajun cooking was all cooked in one single pot. Most Creoles called themselves “French,” spoke French and considered themselves the only true “natives”. There is three basic types of roux. The roux must always be stirred constantly to avoid burning it. They dominated New Orleans cultural and social life for more than 100 years, long before the “Americans” arrived. (Herrin, 82)
When New Orleans was founded in 1718, Creoles were strictly cosmopolitan city dwellers. The blond roux only takes 4 to 5 minutes to cook and the dark roux will take up to 20 to 25 minutes to cook. Creoles of Africa descent exerted a strong influence on Cajun culture and vice versa, affecting, the Cajuns music, foodways, and religion. In the West Indies the word Creole is used to identify descendants of any European settlers. The settlers named their region “Acadia” and were known as Acadians.