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BEGC 110


IGNOU BEGC 110 Solved Free Assignment

BEGC 110 Solved Free Assignment July 2023 & January 2024

Section A

Answer all questions.

Q. I. Explain with reference to context the following lines:

(i) There she weaves by night and day A magic web with colours gay.
She has heard a whisper say, A curse is on her if she stay
To look down to Camelot

Ans. Context: These lines are taken from The Lady of Shallot of Part II by Alfrad Lord Tennyson-II.

Explanation: Part II gives an evocative description with a lady weaving a colourful magic web.

The figures and scenes in the web represent the reflections of the outside world that she can see in the mirror that hangs on the wall opposite her window.

She is vaguely aware that a strange curse would befall her if she looks out of her window.

So, she continues to weave ‘steadily’, having accepted her strange condition. One day she bursts out: ‘I am half sick of shadows’. She shows a sense of frustration.

(ii) She had a heart-how shall I say?-too soon made glad,
Too easily impressed; she liked whate’er
She looked on, and her looks went everywhere.

Ans. The Duke, a suave conversationalist pauses for a moment to choose the correct word to describe the lady’s nature. She is very simple and easily impressed.

She likes everything. He puts it most delicately saying that ‘she had a heart… too easily impressed’. IGNOU BEGC 110 Solved Free Assignment

This is sarcastic and meant that for he had no sympathy with or understanding of the young Duchess’ innocence. He complains that she liked all that she saw.

(iii) The sea is calm tonight
The tide is full, the moon lies fair
Upon the straits; on the French coast the light
Gleams and is gone; the cliffs of England stand,
Glimmering and vast, out in the tranquil bay.

Ans. Context: These lines are taken from ‘Dover Beach’ by Matthew Arnold-II.

Explanation: The poet looks out upon a calm sea, and observes the fullness of the tide and the moon reflecting on the water.

Looking across the English channel, he notices the lights of the French coast fade away, while the cliffs of the English coast stand tall and bright, and the bay seems calm.

Then he addresses his wife, and implores her to come and look at what he is looking at, and to enjoy the night’s pleasant air.

He senses something is not quite right, and describes the spray where the water meets the moonlit land. IGNOU BEGC 110 Solved Free Assignment

The poet tells his wife to listen to the sound of the pebbles as the waves shift them back and forth, up the beach and down again. He notes this slow repeating action, and identifies it with eternal sadness.

(iv) Backwards up the mossy glen
Turn’s and troop’d the goblin men,
With their shrill repeated cry, “Come buy, come buy.”

Ans. Context: These lines are taken from ‘Goblin Market’ by Christina Rossetti.

Explanation: ‘Goblin Market’ looks like a “story poem”. Like a ballad, the poem narrates the story of two sisters who are lured by goblins. One of the sisters falls from grace, and sees subsequent redemption.

Its theme is similar to Milton’s Paradise Lost. Significant differences, however, are this poem has no male characters, except the goblins, which are not human but half- animals, whereas Milton’s epic speaks of the fall of Adam.

In ‘Goblin Market’, the female protagonist sees transgression and another female character, the erring girl’s sister, plays the role of a Christ-like saviour.

So, the central motif is the same: succumbing to temptation, suffering as punishment, sacrifice and redemption.IGNOU BEGC 110 Solved Free Assignment

In the beginning (I-80), the poem describes the situation: there are two sisters, Laura and Lizzie, young, innocent, and virginal. And there is temptation that lurks.

Strange and deformed goblins appear as fruit-sellers to seduce and destroy the innocence of the girls.

The goblins are fearsome yet fascinating, Laura finds herself being drawn towards them despite her sibling’s admonishments.

Lines 81-140 mentions Laura’s transgression: She takes the Goblins fruit, paying for them with a symbolic lock of her golden hair, and returns home satisfied.

A wise Lizzie upbraids her and reminds her of the harm the Goblins did to a certain Jeanie who had tasted their fruit and died in her youth.

Lines 141-183 describe Laura being intoxicated with the Goblin’s feast pays little attention to what Lizzie says.


Q. 1. What role does Madame Defarge play in the novel A Tale of Two Cities?

Ans. In Ernest Defarge and his wife, Madame Defarge, Dickens has created the ‘type’ “which organically binds together the general and the particular”.

Defarges are representatives of the oppressed and tortured proletariat who burn with class hatred, and they are realistically drawn. They are live human beings.

In Madame Defarge Dickens shows the de-humanization of a human being, dark and menacing, as a result of vicious tyranny.

Women played a central role in the uprisings that led to the French Revolution. Through the characters of Madame Defarge and The Vengeance, a fellow female revolutionary, Dickens rightly includes women at the center of the story.

However, his depiction of these women as aggressive, menacing Furies, who coldly calculate murder and revenge, takes their representation beyond the limits of social realism.IGNOU BEGC 110 Solved Free Assignment

Instead, as in many other Dickens novels – perhaps most famously with Miss Havisham in Great Expectations – female characters tend to be associated with murder and death.

In A Tale of Two Cities, these women are not merely associated with death, but are agents of it. In battle, “the women were a sight to chill the boldest.”

They are threatening, cold, merciless, and intimidating, even pathologically compelled to seek revenge.

And, tellingly, this pursuit of revenge has personal, emotional roots, as Madame Defarge ultimately seeks to avenge the murder of her brother by the St. Evre’mondes. IGNOU BEGC 110 Solved Free Assignment

It was very common at the time Dickens wrote the book to relegate female characters to the private sphere of personal and emotional relationships rather than the traditionally masculine public sphere of rational reasoning and political decision.

In A Tale of Two Cities, the factual and political reasons for the revolution are always discussed in an authoritative male voice, whether character or narrator.

On the other hand, violence and inevitable death in the story are often associated with women and their bloodthirsty desire for revenge.

Further, the novel contains hints that Madame Defarge’s motives are tainted by calculated self-interest rather than the selflessness implied in the motives of Monsieur Defarge and the Jacques.

Despite his inclusion of female revolutionaries, Dickens does not present them in the same vein that he does their male counterparts.

Ultimately, he seems to imply that it is women’s impulse for vengeance that exacerbates, or makes worse, the conflict, preventing calmer, more rational heads from prevailing and ending the bloodshed.

Q. 2. Attempt a character sketch of Susan Henchard from the novel A Mayor of Casterbridge.

Ans. Susan has plain look but has the potential for attractiveness in her mobile face. She is a ‘comely respectable body’ as the staylace dealer perceives her.

She appears meek and tolerant. However, she shows her anger when her husband goes too far to sell her. She flings her wedding ring in his face. She does not understand that the sailor is not her legal husband.

When he is declared drowned, she sets out in search of her long-lost husband Henchard. IGNOU BEGC 110 Solved Free Assignment

She is motivated purely by the consideration of providing a home for her daughter. She undertakes the search on her own and succeeds in finding him.

So, she cannot be called a meek and clinging character. After finding a place for her daughter in her husband’s house, she succeeds in her aim.

Casterbridge boys call her as ‘The Ghost’. Symbolically, she is a ghost from Henchard’s past and her arrival complicates his life for him.

In Hardy’s description, she is ‘a poor forgiving woman’. She does not have a major role but it is through her that Hardy sets the action of the novel in motion and causes the complication in the plot when she returns to Henchard.

Lucetta La sueur: She is the daughter of an army officer. She belongs to Jersey and has lived a somewhat reckless life. IGNOU BEGC 110 Solved Free Assignment

Her French name suggests foreign glamour. Henchard shares an intimate’ relationship with her.

She is ‘immoral’ by Victorian stan- dards and this unconcern for moral values has something to do with her alien antecedents.

Lucetta causes her own destruction. She is opportunistic and makes use of Elizabeth-Jane in getting close to her step-father, but she soon transfers her affections to Farfrae. She is also not hesitant to marry him in secret.

When Farfrae learns of the cause of her death, ‘a looming misery’ becomes ‘a simple sorrow’. Her death lacks the tragic grandeur that characterizes Henchard’s end.

Her role in the novel is primarily is aimed at heightening and intensifying Henchard’s rivalry with Farfrae.IGNOU BEGC 110 Solved Free Assignment

Elizabeth-Jane: Elizabeth-Jane is a loving daughter to Susan, a caring companion to Henchand when he is down and out and a discreet friend of Lucetta. is a selfless and unassuming girl. She has inherited her mother’s looks.

She blooms with prosper- ity, but remains sober and subdued. She also understands the dignity of labour as offers her services at the “three Mariners” mainly to defray the cost of their stay there.

She knows her respectability and does not eat at the rather disreputable furmity stall when her mother stops there to enquire after Henchand’s whereabouts.

Elizabeth-Jane is tolerant, reticent and generous. When provoked, she shows intense anger as she reprimands Henchand for his deceit in concealing her whereabouts from Newson.IGNOU BEGC 110 Solved Free Assignment

She is sensitive to the feelings of others and is willing to suppress her own desires so that those of others may thrive.

She is ‘well liked’ by Casterbridge society which, in general, spares no one from their critical observations.

She expects no happiness in life and does not want to tempt fate by dressing well even when she can afford to.

She has had a deprived life and Hardy sees that poetic justice is done when she finally marries Farfrae.IGNOU BEGC 110 Solved Free Assignment

Henchand loves Elizabeth-Jane intensely and when she spurns him, his spirit is totally crushed and he accepts his end, a lonely and bitter man.

After 18 years, Susan Henchard along with her now-grown daughter, Elizabeth-Jane, returns to the same fairgrounds where she was sold by her husband.

Susan recognizes the furmity tent and its proprietress, and she takes a private moment to ask the woman whether she remembers a husband selling his wife.

After a moment, the furmity-seller does remember, and she states that the man guilty of that deed came back to her tent a year later to ask her to send anyone who came looking for him to the town of Casterbridge.

Susan thanks the woman and sets off with Elizabeth-Jane for Casterbridge.

Q. 3. Critically analyse the passage from ‘The Lotos Beauty’.

Ans. Tennyson composed the poem ‘The Lotos-Eaters’ in 1830 while on holiday in the Pyrenees, the mountains between France and Switzerland.

It was first published in 1833 and after being radically changed was included in the poems of 1842. This poem shows Tennyson’s interest in narrative verse.

His use of medieval stories and classical mythology prove this. Here he refers to the philosophy of Ulysses, the famous Greek hero who features in Homer’s Odyssey.

We will study the grand finale of this poem. These lines counterbalance the mood of languor developed in the earlier parts of the poem.

‘The Choric Song’, the most famous part of the poem, is a masterpiece of metrical variation. After years of wandering, Ulysses and his mariners have come upon this enchanted island full of sensuous delights.

The poem is a debate in the mariners’ minds between the claims of duty and the vague pleasures and idleness of the island life.

The poem describes the strenuous life of the mariners and these are contrasted with the more gentle pace stressing the beauty of a life of abandon and forgetfulness.

Sensitive use of words creates a perfect fusion of sound and sense in this poem. The skilful use of contrast evokes both the present serene location of the mariners and their turbulent past. IGNOU BEGC 110 Solved Free Assignment

The yellow dust of the lotus flower that blooms everywhere on the island has a magical soporific effect on the sailors.

They recall their earlier hardships and urge each other to swear to stay on in this enchanted island. They believe living here would be nothing short of God-like.

The mariners think they would live here unmindful of others just like the gods who lie together in their gleaming abode drinking nectar and playfully and carelessly hurling bolts of disaster on the world.

They deliberate on the futility of human life. Men on earth work hard throughout their lives and hardly manage to make ends meet.

Yet finally they die – some go to hell to suffer endlessly while others go to heaven and rest their tired bodies in Elysian fields.

They also think of staying on shore instead of toiling on the seas. They also conclude that sleep is preferable to toil. The poet suggests that human life is futile.

Thus, the option one should choose is a life of rest and peace rather than duty and hardships. IGNOU BEGC 110 Solved Free Assignment

Mariners’ debate this whether to return home or whether to stay on the enchanted lotus island and live a life of idyllic peace and restfulness.

The debate is resolved in the final line when the mariners decide to stay on in that paradise. The ending of this poem is different from that of ‘Ulysses’.
The poem features a flexible and free handling of the metre.

Written in iambic lines of varied length of between three to seven feet, the poem has the rhythm of varied by switching over to trochees and in the sixth line of section 8 it suddenly becomes entirely trochaic.

Also, when the poet talks about the mariners’ life of toil, the lines become quick-paced, but when he refers to the indolent life of the island, the pace slackens, becoming more serene. IGNOU BEGC 110 Solved Free Assignment

The onomatepoeic excellence in the following lines evoke, mainly by the sounds of the words, the feeling of the sensuous life:

The Lotus blooms below the barren peak:
The Lotus blows by every winding creek:
All day the wind bathes low with mellower tone;
Through every hollow cave and alley lone
Round and round the spicy downs the yellow
Lotos-dust is blown.

The musical flow of words heightens the feeling of imagined peace and languor. This can be contrasted with the vigorous movement of the following lines:
‘Blight and famine, plague and earthquake, roaring deeps and fiery sands,
Clanging fights, and flaming towns, and sinking ships, and praying hands’.
With alliteration and assonance along with rhyme, the verbal music is perfectly adapted to the poet’s tone and the exotic scene.

Q. 4. Attempt a critical analysis of the poem ‘Pied Beauty”.

Ans. ‘Pied Beauty’ is a happy poem. It is a hymn of creation and praises the creator by praising his creation. It glorifies the things that are either ‘pied’ or spotted. The poet takes it as a manifestation of God’s creativity.

Hopkins gives a vivid sketch of some objects and their patterns as examples of this kind of beauty.IGNOU BEGC 110 Solved Free Assignment

The poem starts with a eulogy of the creator: “Glory be to God for dappled things”. The poet then mentions things which are dappled or spotted such as the sky that is dappled at dawn, with blotches of blue colour splashed against pale white, the contrast has been described as “couple-colour”.

It reminds him of “brinded cow” or “brindled” or “piebald” cow, whose hide is again a contrast of brown against white. The trout fish also has its body painted (stippled) with rose coloured moles. The next image is of a chestnut.

Its meaty interior cradled within its hard shell smoulders brilliance like coals in a fire, black on the outside, but glowing within as it splits and falls.

Finches the tiny birds are multi-coloured usually with specks on their wings; and the land- scape of a farmland, enclosed in patches, forms a pattern.

In the octave, the poet talks about the tools and equipment of his trade, which make a dappled pattern. IGNOU BEGC 110 Solved Free Assignment

Hopkins says man is only a part of the extensive natural world and even human achievements like trade, gear, tackle and trim, can be seen only as a part of the larger scheme of things.

In the final five lines, Hopkins delves into their natures or moral qualities. All things are highly original, unconventional and strange.

Whether they are freckled or fickle, with all their attributes of swiftness or slowness, sweetness or sourness, brightness or dimness, they come from him, the creator.

The creatures, in their multiplicity, affirm the permanence and immutability of God the father, and inspire the world to “Praise Him”.

The opening line follows the adulatory style of the Psalmist in the Old Testament. Interestingly, the ending also has a note of veneration: “else him!”.

These opening and ending rework the mottoes of Jesuits, “To the greater Glory of God” and “praise to God always”, making the poem similar to a ritual observance, thus giving it a traditional flavour.IGNOU BEGC 110 Solved Free Assignment

The parallelism in the first and the last lines, shows the larger symmetry of the poem: the octave, starting with praise, moves on to a laudatory inventory of creatures; the sestet, starts with a description of the characteristics of creatures and ends by praising the creator.

By contrasting ‘fickle’ with freckled, the poet introduces a moral tenor, which imbues a mere physical description with a deeper and denser significance.

It suggests an acceptance of unsightly and quirky things as beautiful creation. Thus, Hopkins deviates from conventional romanticism which sees beauty only in conventionally beautiful things.

Sprung rhythm gives vitality and vigour to the poem. Alliteration in lines such as “Glory be to God”, “Fresh firecoal chest- nut-falls, finches’ wings”, “plotted and pieced”, “fold, fallow”, “tackle and trim”, “fickle, freckled”, “swift, slow, sweet, sour”, and assonance like “rose-moles”, and “finches’ wings”, impart a great aural felicity to the poem. The use of compound words like “couple-colour”, and “fresh-firecoal” add vividness in the poem.


Q. 1. Write a detailed note on Henchand’s decline and downfall in the novel The More of Casterbridge.

Ans. Intoxicated Michael Henchard, a struggling hay-trusser, sells his wife Susan to a sailor, named Newson. She takes her child Elizabeth-Jane with her.

Soon after that, Henchard regrets his action and promises not to drink for the next twenty-one years. IGNOU BEGC 110 Solved Free Assignment

In the meanwhile, he becomes wealthy and gains power in Casterbridge. Newson gets drowned so his wife returns with Elizabeth-Jane, 18 years later, to find Henchard, Mayor of Casterbridge.

At the same time, a young Scotsman, named Donald Farfrae, arrives in Casterbridge. After Henchard insists, Donald agrees to work as his manager.

They develop a deep friendship. Henchard wants to marry his ex-wife Susan but he cannot do that immediately because he must first break off the intimate relationship that he had developed with a woman named Lucetta in Jersey.

Eventually Henchard remarries Susan. Henchard’s Decline and Downfall
Henchard is envious of Farfrae’s popularity.

He asks him to not to look at Elizabeth-Jane. Henchard is asked by Lucetta to return her letters. IGNOU BEGC 110 Solved Free Assignment

He takes them to the coach in which she would be passing Casterbridge, but cannot meet her.

In the meanwhile, Susan dies and Henchard wants to tell Elizabeth-Jane that she is his daughter. But before that, he find Susan’s letter revealing that Elizabeth-Jane is Newson’s child.

Thus, Henchard becomes alone again. Henchard’s attitude to Elizabeth-Jane changes from fatherly attitude to harsh indifference.

Lucetta, who moves to Casterbridge on hearing of Susan’s death, hopes to marry Henchard, but falls in love with Farfrae. Henchard also loses all his wealth when he buys corn on the advice of the weather prophet.

His social fall starts when the furmity woman of Weydon-Priors fair, recognizes him and reveals his past sale of his wife, to the people of Casterbridge. Henchard comes to know that Lucetta and Farfrae are married.

Farfrae gets Henchard’s house and property and employs Henchard. Farfrae becomes the Mayor. IGNOU BEGC 110 Solved Free Assignment

Henchard entrusts Lucetta’s letters to a messenger who delivers the letters to a mischievous gathering at Peter’s Finger inn at Mixen Lane.

They in turn organize a skimmington-ride in which they take the images of Henchard and Lucetta in procession across Casterbridge.

On seeing her public disgrace, Lucetta falls into a swoon, never recovers. Elizabeth-Jane returns to care for Henchard but after a while Newson returns.

Henchard tells him that Elizabeth- Jane is dead. Knowing that his lie will soon be exposed, Henchard leaves Casterbridge.

Newson returns and the father and daughter get re-united. Henchard returns with a gift for Elizabeth-Jane on the occasion of her wedding to Farfrae.

The gift is a bird in a cage, but leaves when she accuses him of deceiving her. Henchard dies soon after. IGNOU BEGC 110 Solved Free Assignment

His body is discovered by Farfrae and Elizabeth-Jane. His final note saying ‘that no man remember me’ is a fitting testament to his tragic life.

Role of Fate or Chance

Chance and coincidence play a major role in Hardy’s plot construction. The main improbabilities in the plot include the wife- sale and Newson’s return from the dead to destroy Henchard’s happiness.

Lucetta’s failure to turn up when Henchard wishes to return her letters and the letters falling in the wrong hands are examples of the workings of chance.

The failure of the weather is also a bad luck. It is a coincidence that the same furmity woman who sees the wife-sale at Weydon-Priors should appear in distant Casterbridge, to recognize and denounce Henchard, who was sitting in judgement on her. IGNOU BEGC 110 Solved Free Assignment

These misfortunes continue to hound one man. Despite the chance and coincidence, the plot is well constructed.

Q. 2. Write a detailed note on the revolutitance in Tabe of Two Cicies.

Ans. Dickens does not justify the revolution. He conceptualises the events resulting in the revolution almost entirely in Carlylean terms.

In A Tale of Two Cities, the revolution is a reaction to aristocratic oppression, the terrible crop that grows out of the seed that the aristocracy has sown, and as such includes the worst features of what it seeks to overthrow.

Dickens uses various devices to paint the revolution in the most lurid of colours. The blood-drinking imagery reveals so much of the 19th century English writing on the French revolution, from the conservative pamphlets and newspapers to Carlyle’s better-known account.

In A Tale of Two Cities, the blood-wine imagery is ambiguous. The poor residents of St. Antoine rush to lap up the red wine spilt on the street.

A “tall joker” dips his finger in the red wine and scrawls the word “Blood” on a nearby wall. A link is made between the oppressed people and the bloody revolution.

Dickens also mentions “the tigerish smear about the mouth” of one of the revelers it becomes impossible to separate the notion of the revolutionary from the idea of cannibalism. IGNOU BEGC 110 Solved Free Assignment

Later in the novel, the blood imagery is systematically de-linked from its more positive connotations, such as liberation, sacrifice or the idea that revolution is a justifiable response to oppression, and is linked more and more with predatoriness.

In A Tale of Two Cities, the events of the 1790s reflect the blood and gore as well as the complete breakdown of order, both civic and natural.

In A Tale of Two Cities the breakdown of “order” is manifest in the functioning of the revolutionary courts. The idea of “unnaturalness” underlies a great deal of what Dickens has to say about the revolution.

All the conservative writers on the revolution reacted with horror at the “desexualizing” of women during the revolution.

Dickens’ treatment of the revolutionaries and especially of Mme. Defarge In A Tale of Two Cities is more complex than his treatment of the French revolution. Mme. Defarge is the embodiment of the “unnatural” woman.

Dickens’s treatment of revolutionaries and the revolution is consistent. The revolutionaries are considered as part of the drought-stricken post-revolution landscape. IGNOU BEGC 110 Solved Free Assignment

Their upraised arms are compared to “shriveled branches of trees in a winter wind”. Dickens dramatizes the poverty of the revolutionaries to associate Mme. Defarge and her comrades with a sense of unhealthiness.

The most frightening feature of a revolution based on deprivation, For Dickens, is its propensity to destroy rather than build. The revo-lutionaries are committed to their cause. They are confident about their ultimate success.

The novel has evidences to suggest that the Defarges are not just outstanding organisers but also capable of surviving the onslaughts of a hostile administration. Mme. Defarge is the most striking figure among the revolutionaries.

Mme. Defarge is characterised by her calm deter-mination, razor sharp powers of observation and complete dedication.

Her refusal to stay within the bounds of domesticity suggests not her revolutionary perversity but her independence. Mme. Defarge is compared to Lady Macbeth in Shakespeare’s Macbeth. IGNOU BEGC 110 Solved Free Assignment

However, unlike Lady Macbeth, her role is never confined to just an instigator or advisor. She is an equal and even dominant partner in the revolutionary enterprise. She can overrule her husband at public forums.

Mme. Defarge’s independence is sustained by her outstanding leadership qualities. Nothing that has a bearing on the revolution escapes her, and she moves about in St. Antoine like a “missionary”, channelising the discontentment of its miserable folk for the cause of the revolution.

Dickens hates Mme. Defarge because of her very strengths, her unwavering dedication to the revolution and the propensity to sacrifice all human considerations for an abstract cause.

Despite hating her, Dickens pays Mme. Defarge a tribute by describing her strength.

Q. 3. Attempt a critical sumarry of he poem ‘Prospice’.

Ans. The poem starts with a rhetorical question – ‘Fear death?’ and it is clear the poet does not. He compares imminent death with a journey up a steep mountain.

A climber feels suffocated and shortness of breath as he climbs through the mists. In the higher up, the snowfall and the stormy blasts of wind seem to signify that the summit is approaching.IGNOU BEGC 110 Solved Free Assignment

In the same way, a man faces trials and tribulations before he meets death. The poet continues with the image of the climber toiling up a mountain, all turns dark, the storm rages fiercely as he approaches the position of the enemy.

The foe he refers to is the ‘Arch Fear’ death. The poet speculates the stages that one has to pass through before one’s death.

The darkness will intensify, and the storms will increase as he nears the stronghold of death, the enemy of life. There he will actually see death standing in his fearful form. But even the strong and brave must finally succumb to him.

Just as the journey ends when the climber reaches the summit after surmounting all difficulties similarly the poet will overcome all hardships and face death bravely.

All must eventu- ally die. The poet ponders over how after great struggle, life’s battles are won. IGNOU BEGC 110 Solved Free Assignment

One has to face and overcome many obstacles before he achieves the highest point at the end of a difficult journey.

The reward can only be had after a fierce struggle.
The poet says he has always been a fighter and would like to face death in a final and glorious battle. He will embrace death bravely with open eyes.

He would not like to slip into death with his eyes closed. He does not expect any concessions from death. He would not like death to gently take him away and he does not want to slink away quietly.

The poet wants to express that as he has had a happy life and as he has not suffered in life, he will be happy to undergo pain, cold and darkness so that he is able to finish the share of suffering that life might have assigned to him.

The poet has the belief that the brave person is able to turn even the worst situation to his own advantage.IGNOU BEGC 110 Solved Free Assignment

The moment of despair will soon end. And even though the storm may blow in all its fury and strange wild voices may be heard, all will gradually subside.

What does he wish to say? He simply means that the worst calamities die down if faced bravely. This then shall be his attitude to death. After the tumult, there will be peace and calm.

It seems as if the poet will then emerge from darkness and despair to light and hope. The poet will then be restored to his beloved whom he addresses as ‘thou soul of my soul!’ He will embrace her and forget all else which he leaves unto the care of God.

The poet moves from images of darkness to light, from despair to hope, from the pain of loss to the ecstasy of reunion with the beloved.

All this is possible with confidence in himself and faith in God. The poet literally looks beyond death to eternal and joyous life. IGNOU BEGC 110 Solved Free Assignment

Death thus is rendered powerless and ineffective. Not only is this poem about the conquest of death but also about his love for his wife, for this poem was written shortly after her death.

The prospect of being re-united with his beloved, even if it is in death, charges the poet with the courage to face death. It is a loving tribute to the memory of his beloved wife.

Q. 4. Discuss the surface as well as the deeper meaning of the poem ‘Goblin Market’.

Ans. ‘Goblin Market’ looks like a “story poem”. Like a ballad, the poem narrates the story of two sisters who are lured by goblins. One of the sisters falls from grace, and sees subsequent redemption.

Its theme is similar to Milton’s Paradise Lost. Significant differences, however, are this poem has no male characters, except the goblins, which are not human but half-animals, whereas Milton’s epic speaks of the fall of Adam.

In ‘Goblin Market’, the female protagonist sees transgression and another female character, the erring girl’s sister, plays the role of a Christ-like saviour.

So, the central motif is the same: succumbing to temptation, suffering as punishment, sacrifice and redemption.IGNOU BEGC 110 Solved Free Assignment

In the beginning (1-80), the poem describes the situation: there are two sisters, Laura and Lizzie, young, innocent, and virginal. And there is temptation that lurks.

Strange and deformed goblins appear as fruit-sellers to seduce and destroy the innocence of the girls. The goblins are fearsome yet fascinating.

Laura finds herself being drawn towards them despite her sibling’s admonishments. Lines 81-140 mentions Laura’s transgression: She takes the Goblins fruit, paying for them with a symbolic lock of her golden hair, and returns home satisfied.

A wise Lizzie upbraids her and reminds her of the harm the Goblins did to a certain Jeanie who had tasted their fruit and died in her youth.

Lines 141-183 describe Laura being intoxicated with the Goblin’s feast pays little attention to what Lizzie says.IGNOU BEGC 110 Solved Free Assignment

After they fall asleep, lines 184-198 present a pretty picture. The poet gives a detailed description, which is typical of Pre- Raphaelite poets.

A day after, a change comes over the errant girl. She goes about her works as usual but pines for the night when goblins would appear with their wares.

When the twilight gathers, her sister, Lizzie can hear the goblins call but Laura cannot.

This makes Laura believe that her desire for more fruit from the goblins would never be fulfilled, and that she will have a life of frustrated desire (199-268).

Lines 269-328 describe Laura’s suffering and decline. It appears that she will now suffer a fate as miserable as Jeanie’s.

Finally, when she is at death’s door, Lizzie decides to save her somehow, so she goes to the goblin men, and asks for some fruit. The goblins insist that she should eat the fruit in their presence but she refuses to do so.

After that they are enraged and attack her with the fruit, trying to force her to eat.

She stands stoically, braving their assault, and is covered with juices (329-446). In this dishevelled state, drenched with fruit-juices, Lizzie runs home and tells Laura to lick the juices off her. IGNOU BEGC 110 Solved Free Assignment

The ailing sister does so, and is saved but after suffering a raging fever (447-542).
The lines 543-567 shift the focus into the future and speak of the two sisters as grown women.

They have their homes and children and they warning their daughters of the dangers that may befall them if they go astray, advising them to stand by each other in times of need.

This narrative appears as though Christina Rossetti is reinforcing the Victorian ideal of womanhood. Laura is happy as long as she remains within the confines of domesticity.

She could ensure for herself a trouble-free existence accepting the repressive norms of society.

She has to suffer when she breaks the social taboo. Lizzie, who admonishes her from time to time, is a moral voice of the times, repeating the message which is socially correct.IGNOU BEGC 110 Solved Free Assignment

For some critics, the poem is an expression of Christina Rossetti’s underlying fear of sexuality. The goblins, in their evil, distorted guise, represent the latent fear of men that Christina Rossetti perhaps had.

The poet does not mention any normal man in the narrative. Even in the final part, ‘Goblin Market’ tells of Laura and Lizzie in their mature years, neither their husbands nor their sons are mentioned.

They are in the company of their daughters. A close bonding between them is stressed.

The two sisters also represent two sides of the poet: one stern, self-denying and ascetic, the other sensuous, hedonistic, and self-indulgent.

Lizzie represents the society with its repressive norms while Laura is the rebel, questioning and transgressing those norms.

Laura suffers because she breaks the rules. She pays a heavy price for not observing the moral code.

When she regains life and vitality through her sister by symbolically “eating” her, she is in a way ingesting the moral code,and accepting the social norms she had earlier transgressed. Thus, she can be happy once more.

Like other Pre-Raphaelite poets, Christina also presents a picture of a woman who is weak and vulnerable. Laura is similar to the type of women immortalized on the canvas by Dante Rossetti and his followers.

The protagonist is given traits such as a questioning mind (like her creator’s), a spirit of adventure, and the courage to face the consequences of rebellion.

Lizzie is presented as an individual that one may not break: for instance when she stands firm as a rock, facing the onslaughts of the goblins.

The poem may be compared to Keats ‘La Belle Dame Sans Merci’ where a loitering knight encounters a beautiful woman and succumbs to her charms.

The woman betrays him and he pines for her forever. Keats portrays a femme fatale (a deadly woman), but Christina Rossetti portrays les homme fatales (dangerous men). IGNOU BEGC 110 Solved Free Assignment

Though, the poet tackles a bold theme, she does not openly flout convention. She veils her point so effectively through the allegory that “Goblin Market” is often mistaken as children’s literature.

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