BEGC-143 Solved Question Paper of June 2022 Term End Exam held in July 2022
Q1. Write short notes on any two of the following :
- Speaker’s tone in ‘The Emperor of Ice-Cream’
- Ramanujan’s poetic style
- Theme of Kashmir in the poem ‘Postcard of Kashmir’.
- Atmosphere created in ‘Mountain Child’
1. Speaker’s tone in ‘The Emperor of Ice-Cream’
The tones in the poem “The Emperor of Ice Cream” are varied. The speaker, who seems to be getting ready for something, gives instructions on how to carry out various tasks. The verbs “call,” “bid him,” and “let the boys” establish this. The commands start cascading one after the other. This conveys a sense of urgency and emphasises the necessity to finish the job at hand completely. A small dissonance is felt when the words “muscular” and “concupiscent,” which are used to describe the ice cream person and ice cream, respectively. These sentences are referred to as dissonant because they strangely cohabit with the speaker’s generally dry, authoritative tone while yet evoking a sense of pleasure and tactile detail. The usage of philosophical terminology thereafter becomes more sparse. The opening stanza begins, “Let be finale of seem.” This comment is a sudden departure from the speaker’s earlier instructions regarding the circumstance. It introduces the important distinction between appearance and reality. While “be” denotes the tangible reality, “seem” denotes that which we “perceive,” adding our own subjective understanding to what we see. Reality thus appears to be both subjective and ambiguous and yet provable. The phrase means that what is perceived or imagined comes to pass. The refrain that follows, “The only emperor is the emperor of ice cream,” likewise uses abstraction.
The first thing to note is that ice cream is referred to as the “emperor” in this context, which denotes a figure of absolute authority. The above-mentioned discordant word usage is influenced by the close proximity of two terms that are completely unrelated to one another. Together, the two assertions provide us a hint as to the meaning the poem is attempting to express. Before mentioning death and the dead body, the poet foreshadows what is to come in the poem by addressing existence, appearance, and sovereignty. The only unambiguous fact in this scenario is the ice cream, which is one of the puddings made for the funeral.
It emphasises that death is the only absolute authority in the greater system of material life. It is important to note that the poem’s major theme or idea is not revealed until the very end. This, together with the poem’s varied use of tones, adds to its experimental aspect, which makes it a modernist poetry. The event, which is actually a funeral, is not immediately clear. Near the end of the poem, the reader begins to understand the significance of the specifics and recognise the precise situation for which directions are given. This makes the poem stand out because, although having death as its central theme, its tone stays away from the subject matter.
Nowhere is there any melancholy or hopelessness. The speaker’s attitude hasn’t changed as a result of the incident. The absence of guidelines for funeral preparations is proof of this. The speaker drives home the point even further by specifically mentioning the woman’s lifeless body. He asks that it be covered, saying, “If her horny feet protrude, they come to indicate how chilly she is and foolish.” Since the word “cold” implies a lack of warmth, it also implies the absence of vitality. “Stupid” is an adjective that describes a lack of sound. The feet are also “horny,” a term used to describe her vivacious nature while she was alive. Instead of being devoid of melancholy, the poem is clear and crude in its depiction of the dead body.
2. Ramanujan’s poetic style
Short poems became A.K. Ramanujan’s favourite genre, especially in his final years. His lyrical style changed to be short, precise, and almost aphoristic after he translated the old Tamil and Kannada verses. He spoke in brief, vaguely interpreted oblique sentences. Most of these are transient ideas that poetry has crystallised. They don’t always move in one particular direction. Consider his poetry “Self Portrait,” for example. It has nine lines and a single sentence made up of several brief assertions.
I resemble everyone
But myself, and sometimes see
Despite the well-known laws
The portrait of a stranger,
Often signed in a corner
By my father
This poem is about a poet who has the capacity to both step outside of oneself and into the life of others. He is unable to recognise himself and, in fact, perceives his father–or someone else entirely – in his reflection. In reality, the self portrait and the stranger’s portrait are one. Ramanujan’s poems have been compared to the mediaeval vachana tradition, which featured succinct, lyrical axioms.
In his latter works, we find that the usage of opposites and contraries makes subjectivity more universal, according to Ramanujan’s wife Molly Daniels, who noted that his poetry demonstrate his “talent for yoking of the unlike.” The classical Tamil poets of two millennia ago, according to her, were Ramanujan’s “real contemporaries.” His brief song delivers a profound idea. In this way, he continues the legacy of traditional Tamil literature through his poetry.
Answer any two questions in about 150-200 words each
Q2. Explain with reference to the context any two of the following :
(a) Hurry up ! any minute
they will be bringing it
from the hospital –
a white model of our lives
Context: These lines are taken from the poem The Dead Baby by William Carlos Williams.
Explanation: The speaker’s tone has remained urgent throughout this stanza. Time hangs over everything with a crushing feeling. Williams maintains the logic of time and allows it to shape the speaker’s sentiment, in contrast to most modernist literature that would completely reject it. Before the dead baby is brought home, the house must be prepared for ceremonies. “A white model of our lives, a wonder,” is how the author describes the infant. A model is a focal point that serves as the foundation for anything else. The infant is the centre of attention in the family. However, the word “curiosity” brings back the feeling that there was something peculiar about the circumstances surrounding the baby’s death. It would be surrounded by fresh flowers, as per the ritual, when it is brought home.
(b) I resemble everyone
But myself, and sometimes see
despite the well-known laws
Context: These lines are taken from the poem On the Death of A Poem by A.K. Ramanujan.
Explanation: This poem is about a poet who has the capacity to both step outside of oneself and into the life of others. He is unable to recognise himself and, in fact, perceives his father – or someone else entirely – in his reflection. In reality, the self-portrait and the stranger’s portrait are one. Ramanujan’s poems have been compared to the medieval vachana tradition, which featured succinct, lyrical axioms.
In his latter works, we find that the usage of opposites and contraries makes subjectivity more universal, according to Ramanujan’s wife Molly Daniels, who noted that his poetry demonstrate his “talent for yoking of the unlike.” The classical Tamil poets of two millennia ago, according to her, were Ramanujan’s “real contemporaries.” His brief song delivers a profound idea. In this way, he continues the legacy of traditional Tamil literature through his poetry
Q3. Answer any three of the following questions :
(a) Comment on the title of the poem ‘Pariah God’.
The definition of “pariah” is examined in the poem “Pariah God.” Its etymology is the musical instrument word parai. Those who played the parai or the drum at weddings and funerals belonged to a particular social class that was regarded as lower in terms of caste. The favoured caste groups discriminated against those who belonged to this group. For a while, Dalits in Tamil Nadu were referred to as pariahs. Pariah also describes someone who is an outsider and does not fit into the social system. Thus, the term “pariah” encompasses both social history and the history of discrimination and ostracism experienced by Dalits in Tamil Nadu.
The poet’s experience is her own. Her grandpa participated in community activities by playing the parai, a musical instrument that gave the Dalits of Tamil Nadu the nickname Pariah. Her father was a labourer at EID Parry. Parai plays a significant role in the rituals involved in celebrations and funerals. Every year, one individual would be picked to play parai, and he would have to comply. When her father objected, the panchayat summoned him and expelled him from the community. It didn’t bother her father because he worked at Parry’s in Ranipet. In an effort to categorise Dalits as outsiders, they are constructed as pariahs. The Dalits are seen as pariahs and outcasts in their different areas of habitation.
Sukirtharani exposes the naming process and challenges the legacy of being a pariah in society in her essay “Pariah God.” One is brought back to the work of theorist Frantz Fanon, who in his book Black Skin, White Masks (1952) highlighted the stark differences between black settlements and white settlements as well as black marginalisation tactics. The poem has an I-You framework and a question-style construction. The “you” refers to a person in a privileged position, while the “I” is the Dalit voice. The poem addresses the privileged caste groups with both an indictment and a challenge. Written in five stanzas, the first three of the five begin with the phrase “You say,” which calls into question the use of naming and differentiating.
The poem illustrates how the upper caste groups label and classify the Dalits as outcasts. Sukirtharani draws attention to the fact that Dalits have been marginalised throughout their whole existence. They are “called” pariahs in every sphere of their existence, including the environment and various birds and animals. The first stanza’s first line, “You say,” inverts the regular order in an accusatory manner. The subordinate position of the Dalits is reversed in this first statement, and it is the members of the upper caste who are being questioned. In it, the light-giving, life-affirming sun is also brutal. The sun’s savagery is decried as a pariah.
The phrase “hot that burns your side” refers to how the dominant social groups refer to the sun’s abrasiveness as the “pariah sun.” Although the Dalits are not given credit for the sun’s light and life-giving qualities, they are, nonetheless, blamed for its heat. You say opens the second stanza once more in a questioning manner. This time, the bird who stole the grain that was lying out in the sun gets shunned. It’s interesting to see that the bird “steals” the grain by pecking at it naturally. Furthermore, the grain scattered out is unhealthy grain and is “worm-ridden.” The “pariah crow” is referred to when it picks at the useless grain that has been consumed by worms.
The crow is considered a pariah because of its natural behaviour, which is comparable to theft. This is how theft is connected to the underprivileged. The poetry of Sukirtharani demonstrates how their environment is hostile to their existence because their entire ecology is shunned. There is an ongoing conflict with the surroundings. Every facet of their existence serves as a constant reminder that they are outsiders in their own society. The I-you format is reiterated in the following stanza. In this culture, the dog that “snatches” the food from “your” hand is also demonised. Given that the dog snatches both the food and the “wrist,” this is a violent behaviour.
The dog “snatches,” the bird “steals,” and they are all stigmatised. As a result, the Dalits are not only “labelled” as pariahs but also have a bad connotation connected with them, such as being associated with violence and thievery. This phraseology illustrates how Dalits are imprisoned in a system that the higher castes built. The poem by Sukirtharani challenges these presumptions and suggests a path out of this framework. The poem is an exercise in writing back to contest this naming’s foundation. This unfair relationship to the other fortunate people dominates Dalit lives. The socially privileged’s conventions are challenged by writing.
The argument is reversed in the fourth stanza. On a different note, the first sentence gets started. Dalits are shown as useful labourers. As the labour force does not belong to the favoured caste, it implies how the pariahs execute their labour. The former merely get to enjoy the results of the latter’s labour. The reader is made aware of their actual labour in the fourth stanza, which begins, “Land is tilled” and ends, “Sweat is sowed.” Although the labour is despised, no one in society views them as a producer. They are solely used as “pariah labour,” not otherwise.
The first four stanzas list the many methods of creating a pariah, and the last stanza challenges this naming procedure by asking, “What is the name of that pariah god/who walks the earth blood thirsty?” This arbitrary naming method is reiterated in the first line. She questions whether there must be a “pariah god” if there is a group of people who are outcasts. But because the Dalits’ lives are robbed of their vitality, this god, who has given them a life of oppression and privation, is “blood-thirsty.” “Pariah God” explores and reveals the various ways that the dominant castes and social groupings make every part of daily life a pariah.
The poem is also intended as a protest against such naming techniques. It details the exclusive behaviours of the wealthy. A process of “inversion” called an investigation of the “pariah” status upsets the hegemonic caste groups’ strategies for exploiting and marginalising the Dalits.
(b) Discuss the use of language in Robert Frost’s poems.
In his writing, Frost used the informal, common language of New Englanders. He attempted to portray humour, sorrow, hysteric rage, and all other kinds of affects through the appropriate arrangement and word choice. This makes it evident that Frost’s diction has two characteristics that set it apart: first, a conversational tone, and second, a conversational tone. Each speaker in a conversation uses a different tone, intonation, annotation, and accent. Frost uses a range of conversational tenses. From character to character, it differs. In addition, the speech syntax is sloppy and broken. Parenthesis, oddities, ellipses, incomplete sentences, slow rhythms, unexpected ejaculations, repetitions, and abrupt openings are all characteristics of Frost’s style. There are occasions when the speaker lacks the patience to finish a sentence.
He breaks it up at a point where he feels that his meaning is conveyed. At other times, the speaker is too much excited to complete his meaning and breaks in the middle.
Frost is a great artist with words. His words are carefully chosen both with reference to their sense and their sound. He revised and polished what he wrote. He tried to express himself with utmost economy. Due to this many of his lines have an epigrammatic terseness and condensation. They can easily be memorised and quoted. Frost was well learned but his diction is never burdened with learning. He is not obscure and difficult like T. S. Eliot. Like Wordsworth he uses simple, colloquial diction. His imagery is drawn from the most common and familiar object of nature. In short, Frost’s language is simple but highly suggestive.
Frost’s conversational language is regional. He has succeeded in capturing the distinctive flavour and tone of Yankee speech. This regional touch is not imparted by the use of dialectic words. There are few dialectic or regional words in the poetry of Frost. The words he uses are the words that are in common use everywhere. The regional quality of his diction is seen not in the choice of words but in their arrangement. It is seen in his phrasing and idiom.
The conversational colloquial quality of Frost’s poetry is also seen in his rhythms. Most of his poetry is cast in the traditional iambic metre. But variations are introduced subtly and skillfully. Frost has never tried his hand at free verse but his variations are wider. His handling of rhythm is distinctive. He is able to capture the casual and informal rhythm pattern of the spoken language.
Frost is a great metrical artist. He is a great experimenter with stanzaic forms and verse forms. His skill is seen in his adoption old traditional metres to his own uses. He has experimented with odes, eclogues, satires, dramatic monologues and dialogues. He has employed ballad metre, sonnets, tereza rima, heroic couplets, blank verse and free invented forms. Frost avoids the formlessness and eccentricity of modern free verse and keeps the appropriate form and shape.
(e) Critically analyse the poem ‘Bequest’
“Bequest,” taken from the collection Ways of Belonging: Selected Poems (1990), presents Christian values and their changing meaning in contemporary society.
The suffocating atmosphere of a Christian home is the focus of De Souza’s poem “Bequest,” which is distinct from some of her earlier works like “Catholic Mother,” which was published in 1979. While “Bequest” concentrates on the subject woman who must fight numerous conflicts, “Catholic Mother” contrasts the condemning Christian community with the silent woman figure. Bequest exposes the plight of women in modern society on one level and exposes the condition of circumstances surrounding this topic – namely, the manner of life in a Christian household.
Comprehension de Souza’s works requires an understanding of these two topics. The majority of her poems are about strong, tenacious women who must contend with challenges brought on by their environment. She does the same for us in “Bequest.” The subject who appears in the poem as a figure is tired of people who seem to have power over her. She does not comport herself like the conventional Indian woman who defers to authority, keeps quiet, and observes decorum. She, on the other hand, expresses her opinions loudly and is definitely not the type to give in or accept the status quo.
She would not relate to individuals who uphold and ensure that social norms are followed, or who “recommend” them to her as “stern standards,/others say float along.” She finds both possibilities undesirable. The third voice in the poem then enters, saying, “He says, accept it as it comes,” refers to how he distributes the poem’s lines. The patriarchal attitude is represented by the male figure “he,” which basically means take things as he wants them to be. De Souza exhibits hatred for the voices that seek to silence women as well as a determination to combat them. When she describes her revulsion at seeing an image of Christ holding his bleeding heart in his hands and thinking, “ugh,” at the opening of the poem, she is expressing her hatred for those who defend tradition and patriarchy. This is there in the last stanza when she says –
“It’s time to perform an act of charity
bequeath the heart, like a
spare kidney –
preferably to an enemy”.
In this feminist poem, the female subject expresses her opinions. Her poetry becomes jarring because they take aim at both patriarchal and religious institutions at once. She expresses her opinions on both in an outrageous manner.