- 1 SECTION A
- 2 I. Explain the following passages with reference to the context.
- 3 1. “For, now that it was all over, truce signed, and the dead buried, he had,especially in the evening, these sudden thunder-claps of fear. He could notfeel. As he opened the door of the room where the Italian girls sat makinghats, he could see them; could hear them; they were rubbing wires amongcoloured beads in saucers; they were turning buckram shapes this way andthat; the table was all strewn with feathers, spangles, silks, ribbons; scissorswere rapping on the table; but something failed him; he could not feel. Still,scissors rapping, girls laughing, hats being made protected him; he wasassured of safety; he had a refuge.”
- 4 2. “But no, he would not give in. Turning sharply, he walked towards thecity’s gold phosphorescence. His fists were shut, his mouth set fast. Hewould not take that direction, to the darkness, to follow her. He walkedtowards the faintly humming, glowing town, quickly.”
- 5 3. “Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhereThe ceremony of innocence is drowned;The best lack all conviction, while the worstAre full of passionate intensity.”
- 6 4. “Our researchers into Public Opinion are contentThat he held the proper opinions for the time of year;When there was peace, he was for peace: when there was war, he went.He was married and added five children to the population, Which our Eugenist says was the right number for a parent of hisgeneration.
- 7 And our teachers report that he never interfered with their education.Was he free? Was he happy? The question is absurd:Had anything been wrong, we should certainly have heard.”
- 8 SECTION B
- 9 II. Write short notes on the following:
- 10 A. Characteristics of modernism and post-modernism.
- 11 B. The “Stream of Consciousness Technique” and early twentieth centuryBritish fiction.
- 12 C. Modern British drama of the early twentieth century.
- 13 D. The major themes and concerns of the novel Mrs. Dalloway.
- 14 III. Write short essays on the following:
- 15 A. “The early years of the twentieth century were significant for the movement for women’s rights.” Discuss how the literary texts that you have studied in this course, reflect the developments in the contemporary movement for women’s rights.
- 16 B. Explain the title of the poem “I think continually of those who are trulygreat”.
- 17 SECTION C
- 18 IV. Discuss the central theme of the poem “Journey of the Magi” and comment on the symbolism in the poem.
|Title||BEGC-112: IGNOU BAG Solved Assignment 2022-2023|
|Degree||Bachelor Degree Programme|
|Course Name||BRITISH LITERATURE: EARLY TWENTIETH CENTURY|
|Programme Name||Bachelor of Arts (General)|
|Last Date for Submission of Assignment:||For June Examination: 31st April|
For December Examination: 30th September
I. Explain the following passages with reference to the context.
1. “For, now that it was all over, truce signed, and the dead buried, he had,
especially in the evening, these sudden thunder-claps of fear. He could not
feel. As he opened the door of the room where the Italian girls sat making
hats, he could see them; could hear them; they were rubbing wires among
coloured beads in saucers; they were turning buckram shapes this way and
that; the table was all strewn with feathers, spangles, silks, ribbons; scissors
were rapping on the table; but something failed him; he could not feel. Still,
scissors rapping, girls laughing, hats being made protected him; he was
assured of safety; he had a refuge.”
Ans: The passage describes a character who experiences sudden bouts of fear and an inability to feel. The context suggests that the character has recently experienced some traumatic event that has left him emotionally numb. Despite feeling disconnected from his surroundings, the character seeks solace in the everyday activities around him. In this case, he enters a room where Italian girls are making hats and takes comfort in the sounds and sights of their work. The noise and activity of the room provide a sense of safety and refuge for the character. The passage conveys the character’s struggle to connect with his surroundings and his search for comfort in the wake of a traumatic event.
2. “But no, he would not give in. Turning sharply, he walked towards the
city’s gold phosphorescence. His fists were shut, his mouth set fast. He
would not take that direction, to the darkness, to follow her. He walked
towards the faintly humming, glowing town, quickly.”
Ans: The passage describes a character who is determined not to give up or give in to the darkness. The context suggests that the character has just experienced a difficult or emotional event involving a person he cares about deeply. Despite feeling an urge to follow that person into the darkness, he resists and instead turns towards the bright lights of the city. He is resolute and determined, clenching his fists and setting his jaw. The character is depicted as strong-willed and decisive, willing himself to move forward and away from the darkness that threatens to consume him. The passage conveys the character’s resolve to resist temptation and to keep moving forward, even in the face of adversity.
3. “Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.”
Ans: The passage is from the poem “The Second Coming” by William Butler Yeats, and it describes a sense of chaos and disintegration in the world. The opening line, “Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold,” suggests that a fundamental order or stability has broken down, leading to anarchy and destruction. The “blood-dimmed tide” and “ceremony of innocence” being drowned suggest violence and corruption.
The final two lines suggest that those who are virtuous or “the best” lack conviction or the will to act, while those who are “the worst” are driven by intense passion, potentially leading to even more chaos and destruction.
Overall, the passage conveys a sense of despair and a loss of faith in humanity’s ability to maintain order and goodness in the world. The imagery of violence and destruction creates a haunting and ominous atmosphere, as the poem suggests that the world is on the brink of collapse.
4. “Our researchers into Public Opinion are content
That he held the proper opinions for the time of year;
When there was peace, he was for peace: when there was war, he went.
He was married and added five children to the population, Which our Eugenist says was the right number for a parent of his
And our teachers report that he never interfered with their education.
Was he free? Was he happy? The question is absurd:
Had anything been wrong, we should certainly have heard.”
Ans: The passage is from the poem “The Unknown Citizen” by W. H. Auden, and it satirizes the conformity and lack of individuality in modern society. The poem describes a man who is praised for his conformity and adherence to social norms. The researchers into public opinion note that he holds the proper opinions for the time, suggesting that he does not deviate from what is expected of him. The fact that he adds exactly five children to the population, the number deemed appropriate by eugenicists, reinforces this idea.
The passage ends by questioning whether the man was truly free and happy, but the speaker considers the question absurd, implying that the man’s conformity and apparent success in adhering to societal expectations is sufficient evidence of his contentment.
II. Write short notes on the following:
A. Characteristics of modernism and post-modernism.
Ans: A. Characteristics of modernism:
Modernism is a cultural and artistic movement that emerged in the late 19th century and continued to dominate the artistic landscape until the mid-20th century. Some of the key characteristics of modernism include:
- A rejection of traditional values and conventions: Modernist artists and writers sought to challenge the norms and values of their societies and create new forms of expression.
- Experimentation with form and style: Modernist artists and writers experimented with new forms and styles of art, literature, and music, often incorporating elements of abstraction, fragmentation, and non-linear narrative.
- Focus on the individual: Modernist artists and writers placed a strong emphasis on the individual experience, often exploring themes of alienation, isolation, and the breakdown of traditional social structures.
- An interest in technology and the future: Modernist artists and writers were often fascinated by the potential of technology and the possibilities of the future, and they sought to incorporate these themes into their work.
B. Characteristics of post-modernism:
Post-modernism is a cultural and artistic movement that emerged in the late 20th century as a reaction to the modernist movement that preceded it. Some of the key characteristics of post-modernism include:
- A rejection of grand narratives: Post-modernists rejected the idea that there is a single, universal truth or narrative, and instead embraced multiple, fragmented perspectives and narratives.
- An emphasis on language and discourse: Post-modernists focused on the power of language and the ways in which it shapes our understanding of the world, often using techniques such as irony, parody, and pastiche.
- Blurring of boundaries between high and low culture: Post-modernists sought to break down the distinctions between high and low culture, often incorporating elements of popular culture, such as advertising, into their work.
- Self-reflexivity and metafiction: Post-modernists often used self-reflexivity and metafiction to draw attention to the constructed nature of their work and the process of art-making itself.
B. The “Stream of Consciousness Technique” and early twentieth century
Ans: The stream of consciousness technique is a narrative style that seeks to capture the innermost thoughts and feelings of a character, often presenting them in a fragmented, non-linear manner that resembles the flow of the character’s consciousness. This technique was developed in the late 19th and early 20th centuries and was particularly influential in the early twentieth century British fiction.
Many early twentieth century British novelists, such as Virginia Woolf, James Joyce, and Dorothy Richardson, used the stream of consciousness technique to explore the inner lives of their characters and to challenge traditional narrative structures. Virginia Woolf’s novel “Mrs Dalloway” is a notable example of the use of this technique, as she employs it to present the thoughts and experiences of several different characters over the course of a single day in London.
The stream of consciousness technique was particularly well-suited to the exploration of modernist themes, such as the breakdown of traditional social structures, the individual’s search for identity and meaning, and the dislocation and fragmentation of experience in the modern world. By immersing the reader in the subjective experiences of the characters, the technique allowed writers to capture the complexity and richness of human consciousness, as well as the ways in which individual experience is shaped by larger historical and cultural forces.
C. Modern British drama of the early twentieth century.
Ans: Modern British drama of the early twentieth century was characterized by a number of important developments in form and content. These developments reflected the broader social, political, and cultural changes that were taking place in British society during this period.
One of the most significant trends in early twentieth century British drama was the move away from the more conventional forms of drama that had dominated the Victorian era, such as melodrama and well-made plays. Instead, writers began to experiment with new forms and techniques that were more in line with modernist sensibilities.
For example, many modern British dramatists, such as George Bernard Shaw, sought to use drama as a means of exploring complex social and political issues. They often used satire and irony to critique the social and political institutions of their day, and they were not afraid to tackle controversial subjects such as sexuality, class, and religion.
Another important development in early twentieth century British drama was the emergence of the “problem play.” This was a form of drama that dealt with contemporary social problems, such as poverty, prostitution, and women’s rights, and that sought to use drama as a means of effecting social change. Examples of this genre include John Galsworthy’s “Justice” and “Strife,” as well as Harley Granville Barker’s “The Voysey Inheritance.”
Finally, early twentieth century British drama was characterized by a renewed interest in theatrical experimentation and innovation. For example, the Irish playwright Samuel Beckett began to explore the limits of theatrical form and language in his plays, such as “Waiting for Godot,” while the English playwright Harold Pinter experimented with the use of language and silences to create tension and ambiguity in his plays, such as “The Caretaker.”
D. The major themes and concerns of the novel Mrs. Dalloway.
Ans: “Mrs. Dalloway” is a modernist novel by the British author Virginia Woolf, published in 1925. The novel explores a single day in the life of Clarissa Dalloway, a middle-aged socialite in post-World War I London. The novel is known for its innovative use of stream of consciousness narration and its exploration of themes such as time, memory, identity, and the nature of consciousness.
Some of the major themes and concerns of “Mrs. Dalloway” include:
- The nature of identity: The novel explores the complex and often conflicting aspects of Clarissa Dalloway’s identity, as well as the ways in which individual identity is shaped by social and cultural forces.
- The passage of time: The novel is structured around the passing of a single day, and it reflects on the fleeting nature of time and the ways in which the past continues to influence the present.
- Memory and nostalgia: The novel is filled with memories and reminiscences, which are used to explore the characters’ pasts and the ways in which memory shapes their present experiences.
- Social class and gender: The novel is set in a world of social stratification and explores the ways in which social class and gender intersect to shape individual experience.
- Madness and mental illness: The novel also explores the theme of mental illness, particularly through the character of Septimus Smith, a World War I veteran who suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder and is driven to suicide.
III. Write short essays on the following:
A. “The early years of the twentieth century were significant for the movement for women’s rights.” Discuss how the literary texts that you have studied in this course, reflect the developments in the contemporary movement for women’s rights.
Ans: The early twentieth century was a significant period for the movement for women’s rights, as women began to demand greater equality and opportunities in various aspects of life. This period saw a rise in feminist activism and literature that reflected these developments in society.
Many of the literary texts studied in this course reflect the growing feminist consciousness of the time. Virginia Woolf’s “A Room of One’s Own,” for example, explores the social and economic barriers that prevent women from achieving success as writers. Woolf’s essay argues that women need space and resources to pursue their creative work, and that the patriarchal society must change to allow for greater gender equality. Similarly, Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s “The Yellow Wallpaper” critiques the social and medical treatment of women, which often confined them to the domestic sphere and dismissed their intellectual and emotional needs.
In addition to fiction, poetry was also an important genre in the feminist literary movement. The works of Edna St. Vincent Millay, for instance, challenged traditional gender roles and celebrated female sexuality and independence. Her poem “A Few Figs from Thistles” expresses a desire for freedom and individuality that was not traditionally available to women.
The works of these authors and others demonstrate the feminist consciousness and growing social awareness of the early twentieth century. Through their literary contributions, they helped to bring attention to the unequal treatment of women and helped pave the way for greater social and political change in the years to come.
B. Explain the title of the poem “I think continually of those who are truly
Ans: The title of the poem “I think continually of those who are truly great” by Stephen Spender is a reference to the speaker’s admiration for individuals who he considers to be truly great. The poem celebrates the qualities that make someone truly great, such as selflessness, courage, and a dedication to justice and equality.
The phrase “truly great” implies that there are many people who are considered great by society, but who may not possess the qualities that the speaker considers to be truly great. The poem is a reflection on the nature of greatness and the values that the speaker believes are most important.
The title also sets the tone for the poem, which is contemplative and reflective. The speaker is not celebrating the great achievements of individuals, but rather their inner qualities and character. The title suggests that the speaker is preoccupied with thoughts of these individuals, perhaps because they provide a source of inspiration or hope in a world that is often marked by conflict and injustice.
Overall, the title of the poem serves as a reference point for the speaker’s reflections on greatness, as well as a reminder of the values that he admires and seeks to uphold.
IV. Discuss the central theme of the poem “Journey of the Magi” and comment on the symbolism in the poem.
Ans: “Journey of the Magi” is a poem by T. S. Eliot that describes the physical and spiritual journey of the Magi to Bethlehem to witness the birth of Jesus. The central theme of the poem is the idea that spiritual transformation often involves a painful and difficult process of letting go of old beliefs and ways of life. The poem is also about the search for truth and the yearning for a deeper understanding of the divine.
One of the key symbols in the poem is the imagery of the journey. The Magi’s journey is both physical and spiritual, and it represents a pilgrimage to a new way of life. The difficult conditions of the journey, such as the harsh weather and the discomfort of travel, are symbolic of the hardships that the Magi must endure to reach their destination. The journey is also symbolic of the transformation that the Magi undergo as they abandon their old beliefs and accept the truth of the Christian faith.
Another important symbol in the poem is the star that the Magi follow. The star is a symbol of guidance and direction, leading the Magi towards the birthplace of Jesus. The star is also a symbol of hope, representing the promise of a new beginning and the possibility of spiritual transformation.
The final lines of the poem, where the Magi express their doubts about the journey and its ultimate meaning, are also significant. These lines suggest that the journey has not been easy, and that the Magi are still struggling to fully understand the significance of their experience. However, the poem also suggests that the journey has been worth it, as it has led the Magi to a deeper understanding of the divine and a new way of life.
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