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BEGE 144

Understanding the Novel

IGNOU BEGE 144 Solved Free Assignment

BEGE 144 Solved Free Assignment July 2023 & January 2024


Q. 1. Write short notes in about 100 words each:

(i) Style.

Ans. 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. IGNOU BEGE 144 Solved Free Assignment

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 remons-trance were finding themselves, as their adventure turned out, wonderfully sustained.

(ii) Colonising the African Mind.

Ans. In their quest for a permanent rule, the Europeans tried to enslave African mind. For this purpose, they introduced their own language, education, tradition, and religion.

At the same time, all customs and rituals of African people were termed as ‘savage’ and most of them were not allowed to be performed.

Polygamy was called inhuman and circumcision of girls at the onset of puberty was disallowed as it was considered savagery. Even certain type of dances and songs were banned.IGNOU BEGE 144 Solved Free Assignment

Early Resistance Against Colonial Rule.
The resistance against European control began when the Europeans started occupying African land.

There are historical records of violent resistance by the Zulu, the Xhosa and the Shona in southern part of the continent and by the Mazrue in eastern Africa.

However, these attempts failed due to military and technological superiority of Europeans. At the same time, resistance was never given up.

Africans and World War II
During 1920s and 1930s, the European atrocities on the Africans increased while Europe faced great political upheavals and in 1939, it plunged into war.

The World War II bagan when Hitler declared war over Britain and France. The human and material resources of Africa Britain and France in this war. Africans had to fight for the European masters as soldiers.

Struggles for Freedom

The end of war meant greater misery for Africans and large scale unemployment. The reconstruction of Europe after the war using colonial resources increased import of food and agricultural products from Africa.

All this caused food scarcity and steep price-rise. The discontent as a result of this situation gave birth to full-fledged freedom struggle.

Asia and African Struggles for Independence
The African soldiers who participated in war learnt that their European masters were not invincible. IGNOU BEGE 144 Solved Free Assignment

Further, the independence struggle in other colonies like Asia gave confidence to the Africans to carry out their struggle for independence with new vigour.

Colonial Responses to African Struggle for Independence
There were two kinds of responses by the colonial masters against the struggle.

They cracked down upon such movements in places like: Zimbabwe, Kenya, Congo and Algeria making the struggles long drawn and violent.

The responses in other colonies like Nigeria and Ghana was that of having talks with the leaders of the movements. When the colonies became free like Ghana in 1956, the decolonization process started.IGNOU BEGE 144 Solved Free Assignment

(iii) Third World Novels.

Ans. The term Third World arose during the Cold War to define countries that remained non-aligned or neutral with either capitalism and NATO (which along with its allies represented the First World) or communism and the Soviet Union (which along with its allies represented the Second World).

This definition provided a way of broadly categorizing the nations of the Earth into three groups based on social, political, and economic divisions.

Although the term continues to be used colloquially to describe the poorest countries in the world, this usage is widely disparaged since the term no longer holds any verifiable meaning after the fall of the Soviet Union deprecated the terms First World and Second World. While there is no identical contemporary replacement, common alternatives include developing world and Global South.

(iv) Edna Pontellier.

Ans. The Awakening was a self-description of Edna Pontellier. Edna went through a major transformation period during the book.

Edna went from a being a housewife who was obedient to a strong independent woman with emotions that she no longer suppressed.

Edna wants her own identity apart from her husband and kids. The rebelliousness of Edna is an example of her inters conflict.

The Awakening is a prime example of a self vs. self conflict with her unpleasant relationship she stops trying to please her husband and begins to conform and commit to what she wants. IGNOU BEGE 144 Solved Free Assignment

She commits adultery which is disastrous in Victorian times for a woman. Edna is stuck between her feelings for her husband and what she believes people will think about her if she is caught cheating.

Edna debates with herself through out the story about whether she should or shouldn’t do things and why.

Numerous scenes of birth and renewal are depicted. Various symbols placed throughout the book show Edna Pontellier’s awakenings. For instance, many references are made to oceans and water.

It is in the water that Edna has her first rebirth, but it is also the place where she chooses to die. IGNOU BEGE 144 Solved Free Assignment

Water symbolizes life, which is the reason that Edna’s renewal takes place there. By committing suicide, Edna escapes from the clutches of her husband and children.

Therefore, Edna’s death is considered a spiritual defeat. She realised she could not last in a world where she had to live up to society’s expectations of simply being a responsible mother and wife.

Just as the injured bird fell to the ground, Edna fell because she lacked the strength to overcome all the obstacles in her way.


Q. 1. Examine The Awakening using symbolism as a mode of enquiry.

Ans. 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. IGNOU BEGE 144 Solved Free Assignment

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. IGNOU BEGE 144 Solved Free Assignment

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. IGNOU BEGE 144 Solved Free Assignment

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. IGNOU BEGE 144 Solved Free Assignment

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”. Go back and re-read chapter 10.

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. IGNOU BEGE 144 Solved Free Assignment

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.IGNOU BEGE 144 Solved Free Assignment

Q. 2. Discuss Paraja as a text that deals with the economic plight of tribals.

Ans. 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. IGNOU BEGE 144 Solved Free Assignment

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. IGNOU BEGE 144 Solved Free Assignment

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. IGNOU BEGE 144 Solved Free Assignment

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.

Q. 3. What do you think does a literary text loose in the process of literary translation with reference to Paraja.

Ans. When we translate a non-literary text we do not face many difficulties because such texts contain facts and figures for which word to word translation serves the purpose.

However, in literary translations there are many kinds of meanings possible for the same phrase or sentence which put the translator in a difficult situation.

The cultural context, social background and historical underpinnings along with psychological treatment of a nocel build up a complex base for translation to the extent that two translations of the same novel by different persons might present two totally different realities. IGNOU BEGE 144 Solved Free Assignment

The effect that a story and plot can create in the original might be different and may get lost in translation.

For instance, no translated text is ever the same as the original due to certain changes that a novel undergoes in the process.

Thus, the enjoyment and the effect of reading an original work and a translated one are different.

Translation of novels, stories, plays and dramas follow a different set of rules and standards. These kinds of translations require the proper maintenance of the flow of the whole scene.

Instead of being simply too wordy the translator must be able to portray the emotions in front of the readers. IGNOU BEGE 144 Solved Free Assignment

If he fails to do so the readers will simply get bored and loose interest very easily. If the translation is used to remake a drama, then it is necessary that it should have that type of feel and style.

While doing this type of literary translation the translator must understand the scenes and their sequences so that he can translate them in a similar manner.

In order to translate in the best manner the translator should first find out the answers of some questions like what the readers will look for in a particular type of novel/play/drama and then he should finalize the style of translation.

He should make use of appropriate words in order to keep the enthusiasm level of the readers always up.

It is said that no literary translation can become the exact replica of the original text because more often than not during translation a literary text loses some of its subtleties and potentialities resulting in the loss of its expression.

A literary work gains on being translated because when a literary text is translated into other language it finds a larger audience that leads to understanding between different communities.IGNOU BEGE 144 Solved Free Assignment

Q 4. Criticially ananlyse the consequences of the white man’s arrival in Umuofia, in Achebe’s Things Fall Apart.

Ans. Okonkwo returns to Umuofia to find the clan sadly changed. The church has won some converts, some of whom are fanatical and disrespectful of clan custom. Worse, the white man’s government has come to Umuofia.

The clan is no longer free to judge its own; a District Commissioner, backed by armed power, judges cases in ignorance of tribal custom.

During a religious gathering, a convert (Enoch) unmasks one of the clan spirits. The offense is grave, and in response the clan decides that the church will no longer be allowed in Umuofia. They burn the building down.

Soon afterward, the District Commissioner asks the leaders of the clan, Okonkwo among them, to go and see him for a peaceful meeting.

The leaders arrive, and are quickly seized. In prison, they are humiliated and beaten, and they are held until the clan pays a heavy fine.

After the release of the men, the clan calls a meeting to decide whether they will fight or try to live peacefully with the white people.

Okonkwo wants war. During the meeting, court messengers arrive to order the men to break up their gathering. IGNOU BEGE 144 Solved Free Assignment

The clan meetings are the heart of Umuofia’s government; all decisions are reached democratically, and an interference with this institution means the end of the last vestiges of Umuofia’s independence.

Enraged, Okonkwo decapitates one of the messengers. The others escape, and because the other people of his clan did not seize them, Okonkwo knows that they will not choose war.

Embittered and grieving for the destruction of his clan’s independence, and fearing the humiliation of dying under white law, Okonkwo returns home and hangs himself, which is seen as weak and as an attack against nature, so much so that others from Umuofia cannot touch his body.

The District Commissioner and his messengers arrive at Umuofia to see Okonkwo dead, and are asked to take down his body since Ibo mores forbid clan members to do this. IGNOU BEGE 144 Solved Free Assignment

The Commissioner plans to write a book about his experiences dealing with undignified behavior in the area, titled The Pacification of the Primitive Tribes of the Lower Niger, which might include a small section about Okonkwo.

Obierika tells a story of how the first white man ever seen in Abame is initially a matter of curiosity, especially his skin colour and perhaps his bicycle.

When the villagers consult their Oracle, how -ever, it predicts that white men will be instruments of disaster for the clan.

Only then do the villagers take violent action against this individual white man, an action criticized as premature by Uchendu.

Although Okonkwo agrees that the men of Abame were foolish for killing the white man, his response, “They should have armed themselves with their guns and their machetes even when they went to the market,” illustrates that Okonkwo defies the Umuofian custom not resort to violence without first trying to negotiate a peaceful settlement and seeking the acceptance of war by its Oracle.

The Oracle never accepted a war with the white men, but it warned the villagers that the white men would spread destruction like “locusts.”

Ironically, the white men represent the coming of the locusts from Revelation in the Bible; the village will be destroyed, and among the villagers who aren’t harmed, nothing good will come to them.IGNOU BEGE 144 Solved Free Assignment

Of course, the retaliation by a large group of white men later – wiping out the entire village is out of proportion to the initial crime.

But this excessive action is Achebe’s way of beginning the novel’s characterisation of extremist whites and their oppressive, often uninformed and insensitive attitude toward the natives.

From this point on, the two groups are depicted as adversaries, and future conflict seems inevitable.

Mr. Brown, a missionary, begins winning converts to Christianity, though generally these are only outcasts or men of low rank.

However, with time, the new religion gains momentum. Nwoye becomes a convert after realizing that the new religion will provide him a remedy for the death of Ikemefuna and the twin children who are killed as part of tribe’s culture.

When Okonkwo learns of Nwoye’s conversion, he beats the boy. Nwoye leaves home.


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