IGNOU MEG 05 Free Solved Assignment 2022- Helpfirst

MEG 05

Literary Criticism & Theory

MEG 05 Free Solved Assignment

MEG 05 Free Solved Assignment Jan 2022

Q. 1. Bring out the salient features of Plato’s attack on poetry

Ans. Plato can be easily interpreted as someone who is an enemy of the art, because considered all the forms of art like painting, poetry, drama, etc. as inferior and imitation of imperfect world which in itself is an imitation of ultimate reality.

So, why Plato? A question worth concern. Because Plato did not intend evaluate the value of aesthetic pleasure all he wanted to show that art is inferior to ultimate reality and through art one cannot attain level of ultimate truth.

His ideas and concern were certainly not artistic, but philosophic. He was worried that art can cause some sort of emotional arousal in audience, which is not good for an ideal human being, as he versioned in his Platonic Utopia.

In order to get to the idea of Plato on poetry and other art forms, the best book to refer is his Republic, wherein he talks about the idea of a perfect state and divides it in three different categories.

In his utopian state the philosopher are the administrator and ruler and they have a great understanding of the true nature of things.

In this state poetry is welcomed because it is an enemy of the reason and does not consider the value of reason much, which is very close to philosophers.

And that is why teaching of poetry and other art form is not healthy for the creation of perfect moral character which is required in an administrator.

Another thing which is to be noted that in curriculum of Greek education one of the prominent poet was Homer. From Plato Homer should not be taught, because his portrayal of Gods and heroes is not ideal.

He has portrayed Gods as human like. And such a portrayal is not good form the formation of a worthy character. MEG 05 Free Solved Assignment

In the similar vein the theater must not be appreciated because while enacting plays actors shed their own character and tries to put on someone else, which is not praiseworthy, therefore forbidden in Platonic Utopia.

Apart from above points, for Plato art was an imperfect presentation of reality and the artist sometimes pretend to know thing which they are not even aware of For example, Homer was no military general, nor did he fight any war but still he write about warring heroes.

Homer was also not a teacher of some reputation, but still he is said to have written the words of wisdom on everything.

All these points, make Plato conclude that art and by extension artists should be abandoned in his utopian vision of state.

Let us now take a look at the Pluto’s view of mimesis.

Platonic View of Mimesis :

Historically, the word ‘mimesis’as re-enactment first appears in such rituals, and the historical origin of the term, as located in Dionysian cult drama, coincides this meaning in that ‘mimesis’ in both cases refers to imitation, representation and expression

It is argued that myth, and divine symbols of the rituals are transformed to artisticdramatic representation through which it became possible to represent the divinity and Gods in drama.

Tragedy, for instance is the transformation of the myth and rituals.
In a different context ‘mimesis’ may refer to identi-fication.

People identify themselves by means of their mimetic ability when they see themselves in the other and perceive a state of mutual equality. In this sense, ‘mimesis is distinct from mimicry, which implies only a physical, and no mental relation.

That is, a person regards the Other as equal and assumes the ‘Other to be doing the same in reverse. MEG 05 Free Solved Assignment

Associated with the physical aspect of ‘mimesis’ is its performative aspect, as an actualization, a presentation of what has been mimetically indicated. Thus, the term “mimesis’ is combined with an action-oriented speaking.

Plato takes the term ‘mimesis’ with several meanings and connotations in the dialogues and alters the meaning of the term according to the context in which he uses it.

He uses ‘mimesis in the context of the education of the youth; he discusses the function of ‘mimesis’ as likening oneself to another in speech and bodily behaviour and as addressing the lower part of man’s soul; he also refers to the epistemology and metaphysics of the concept.

He takes the word ‘mimesis’ with pedagogic attributes and uses it in educational and ethical context when he says ‘guardians of an ideal state should be educated to imitate only what is appropriate’.

In the third book of the Republic, for instance, Plato provides further definitions of ‘mimesis’, centering on the relation between ‘mimesis’ and poetry, “mimesis’ and education and also poetry and education.

Since young people learn essentially through imitation, it is significant to select the models’. ‘Mimesis suggests unfavorable effect on the part of the young people and poetry is one important source of the youth’s experience with examples and models’;

therefore, if the world of models and examples ought to be controlled in the interest of education, poetry must be likewise subject to control. Plato argues the case in the Republic as follows: MEG 05 Free Solved Assignment

The youth cannot distinguish what is allegorical from what is not, and the beliefs they acquire at the age are hard to expunge and usually remain unchanged. That is important that the first stories they hear should be well told and dispose them to virtue.

The contents, forms, and representational modes of poetry play an important ethical role in the education of guardians and should, because of the effects they exercise through mimetic process, be based on ethical principles.

Young people should only imitate brave, sober, pious and noble men, which will increase their strength and will not infect them with weakness.

In this sense, it is argued in the Republic that tragedy and comedy, as mimetic poetry, represent injustice among the Gods in the assertion that gods are responsible for unhappiness among people.

In the Platonic conception, gods cannot be evil, heroes cannot be weak. The poet’s representation violates the truth and by representing the deficiencies of gods and heroes, has negative effect on the community and the education of youth.

Theory of Forms :

As Socrates had proposed in the Meno, the most important varieties of human knowledge are really cases of recollection. Consider, for example, our knowledge of equality.

We have no difficulty in deciding whether or not two people are perfectly equal in height. In fact, they are never exactly the same height, since we recognize that it would always be possible to discover some difference-however minute-with a more careful, precise measurement.

By this standard, all of the examples we perceive in ordinary life only approach, but never fully attain, perfect equality. MEG 05 Free Solved Assignment

But notice that since we realize the truth of this important qualification on our experience, we must somehow know for sure what true equality is, even though we have never seen it.

Plato believed that the same point could be made with regard to many other abstract concepts: we have genuine knowledge of truth, goodness, and beauty no less than of equality.

Things of this sort are the Platonic Forms, abstract entities that exist independently of the sensible world. Ordinary objects are imperfect and changeable, but they faintly copy the perfect and immutable Forms.

Thus, all of the information we acquire about sensible objects (like knowing what the high and low temperatures were yesterday) is temporary, insignificant, and unreliable, while genuine knowledge of the Forms themselves (like knowing that 93 – 67 = 26) perfectly certain forever.

Since we really do have knowledge of these supra-sensible realities, knowledge that we cannot possibly have obtained through any bodily experience,

Plato argued, it follows that this knowledge must be a form of recollection and that our souls must have been acquainted with the Forms prior to our births.

But in that case, the existence of our mortal bodies cannot be essential to the existence of our souls – before birth or after death – and we are therefore immortal.

The supra-sensible world of Plato must be considered as constituting a multiplicity of subsistent ideas which find their unity in the Idea of the Good (God).

Platonic Ideas in fact are but the realities which refract the single Idea (the Good). Granted, then, the identity of the Good and of the True and the Beautiful, all ideas are at the same time true, good and beautiful, i.e. perfect models.

The world of Ideas is the world of true reality.

The existence of a transcendent world (Ideas) presents Plato with new and grave problems regarding cosmic and psychic nature. MEG 05 Free Solved Assignment

Both the sensible world and the human intellect participate in the world of transcendence, the first under the form of essence and the second under the form of Ideas.

How can this participation be understood? In other words, what is the relationship between the sensible world and that of transcendence;

why are Ideas present in the human mind independent of all contact with the sensible world? The attempt to resolve these new problems forms what we will call the cosmology and the psychology of Plato.

The Lower Status of Art :

The Symposium contains Plato’s other major analysis of beauty. Socrates claims to be quoting his teacher Diotima on the subject of love, and in the lesson attributed to her she calls beauty the object of every love’s yearning.

She spells out the soul’s progress toward ever-purer beauty, from one body to all, then through all beautiful souls, laws, and kinds of knowledge, to arrive at beauty itself.

Two remarks suggest that works of art count as beautiful things. Diotima describes the poet’s task as the begetting of wisdom and other virtues.

Ultimately moved by desire for what is beautiful the poet produces works of verse; and who would not envy Homer or Hesiod? And yet, aside from these parenthetical comments, the Symposium seems prepared to treat anything but a poem as an exemple of beauty.

(In a similar spirit the Philebus’s examples of pure sensory beauty exclude pictures).
The Republic contains several tokens of Plato’s reluctance to associate poetry with beauty.

The dialogue’s first discussion of poetry, whose context is education, censors poems that corrupt the young.

Then almost immediately Socrates is speaking of cultivating a fondness for beauty among the young guardians. Their taste for beauty will help them prefer noble deeds over ugly vulgar ones. MEG 05 Free Solved Assignment

How can Plato have seen the value of beauty to education and not mentioned the subject in his earlier criticisms? Why couldn’t this part of the Republic so much as concede that false and pernicious poems affect the young through their beauty?

If anything, Plato takes pains to prevent beauty from appearing in poetry. Republic calls the beauty of poetic lines a deceptive attractiveness.

Take away the decorative language that makes a poetic sentiment sound so right and put it into ordinary words, and it becomes unremarkable, much as young people’s faces beautified by youth later show themselves as the plain looks they are.

MEG 05 Free Solved Assignment
MEG 05 Free Solved Assignment

Q. 2. Write short notes on the following:

(a) Aristotle’s theory of tragedy

Ans. The Six Elements of Tragedy: Although we are going to look at all the six elements of tragedy separately, but one thing should be noted that these elements act like a unity when on the stage and that the separate looking is only for the sake of analysis.

When Aristotle talks about them classifying into internal and external, then also it is only for the sake of convenience in analyzing it.

Another thing should be noted about these elements that they are not as obvious as visual auditory content of theatre, and also that none of these elements is more important than other. MEG 05 Free Solved Assignment

People often take myth as more important for Aristotle calls it as ‘soul of tragedy, but it is not the case. He, by any means, does not mean that other elements are less important than myth.

The role that myth plays is that of holding the other elements of the play structurally. Play as a complete performance, than it shows a very complex structure which, of course, comprises speaking, dancing, gesturing, singing, etc.

The story or the series of events is considered as the basic structure of the play, but when looked from the point of view of the complete performance it is only the ground for the other elements to act upon.

Myth (Plot) and Ethos (Character)

Aristotle defines plot as “the arrangement of the incidents” i.e. not the story itself but the way the incidents are presented to the audience, the structure of the play.

According to Aristotle, tragedies where the outcome depends on a tightly constructed cause-and-effect chain of actions are superior to those that depend primarily on the character and personality of the protagonist. MEG 05 Free Solved Assignment

Plots that meet this criterion will have the following qualities (context):

In a perfect tragedy, character will support plot, i.e. personal motivations will be intricately connected parts of and prosperous, so his change of fortune can be from good to bad.

This change “should come about as the result, not of vice, but of some great error or frailty in a character.” Such a plot is most likely to generate pity. The term Aristotle uses here, hamartia, often translated “tragic flaw,” has been the subject of much debate.

The meaning of the Greek word is closer to “mistake” than to “flaw,” and I believe it is best interpreted in the context of what Aristotle has to say about plot and the law or probability or necessity.”

In the ideal tragedy, claims Aristotle, the protagonist will mistakenly bring about his own downfall-not because he is sinful or morally weak, but because he does not know enough.

The role of the hamartia in tragedy comes not from its moral status, but from the inevitability of its consequences.

Myth or Plot as organic Whole

According to Aristotle the plot must be “a whole,” with a beginning, middle, and end. The beginning, called by modern critics the incentive moment, must start the cause-and-effect chain but not be dependent on anything outside the compass of the play (i.e. its causes are downplayed but its effects are stressed).

The middle, or climax, must be caused by earlier incidents and itself cause the incidents that follow it (i.e. its causes and effects are stressed). MEG 05 Free Solved Assignment

The end, or resolution, must be caused by the preceding events but not lead to other incidents outside the compass of the play (i.e. its causes are stressed but its effects downplayed); the end should therefore solve or resolve the problem created during the incentive moment (context).

Aristotle calls the cause-and-effect chain leading from the incentive moment to the climax the “tying up” (ord.), in modern terminology the complication. He therefore terms the more For Aristotle plot must be “complete,” having “unity of action.”

By this Aristotle means that the plot must be structurally self-contained, with the incidents bound together by internal necessity, each action leading inevitably to the next with no outside intervention, no deus ex machine.

According to Aristotle, the worst kinds of plots are ‘episodic,’ in which the episodes or acts succeed one another without probable or necessary sequence”; the only thing that ties together the events in such a plot is the fact that they happen to the same person.

Playwrights should exclude coincidences from their plots; if some coincidence is required, it should have an air of design,” i.e., seem to have a fated connection to the events of the play.

Similarly, the poet should exclude the irrational or at least keep it “outside the scope of the tragedy,” i.e. reported rather than dramatize.

While the poet cannot change the myths that are the basis of his plots, he “ought to show invention of his own and skillfully handle the traditional materials” to create unity of action in his plot.MEG 05 Free Solved Assignment

Two kinds of Myths, Simple and Complex

Aristotle classifies plot in two different categories, simple (aploi) and complex (peplegmenoi). Simple plots have only a “change of fortune” (catastrophe).

Complex plots have both “reversal of intention” (peripeteia) and “recognition” (anagnorisis) connected with the catastrophe.

Both peripeteia and anagnorisis turn upon surprise. Aristotle explains that a peripeteia occurs when a character produces an effect opposite to that which he intended to produce, while an anagnorisis “is a change from ignorance to knowledge, producing love or hate between the persons destined for good or bad fortune.”

He argues that the best plots combine these two as part of their causeand-effect chain (i.e. the peripeteia leads directly to the anagnorisis); this in turns creates the catastrophe, leading to the final “scene of suffering”.

Pathos or Suffering

Pathos describes the powerful emotions of pity and fear aroused in the audience of a tragedy. Aristotle names pathos as one of the components of the tragic plot, along with anagnorisis and peripeteia.

Poetics 14 discusses good and bad combinations of pathos with the knowledge or ignorance of the agent.MEG 05 Free Solved Assignment

“Ranked from worst to best, by Aristotle, these are the four logical possibilities of pathos: Pathos is about to occur, with knowledge, but does not occur.

Pathos occurs, with knowledge. Pathos occurs, in ignorance. Pathos is about to occur, in ignorance, but does not occur”.

The emotional effect peculiar to the tragic action is therefore that of promoting the experience of feelings such as pity and terror, which constitute the ultimate end at which the representation of the mythos aims.

Ethos or Charaeter

One of the six components of tragedy, character refers to the human beings represented in the drama. Aristotle stresses that the central aim of tragedy is not to depict human personalities, but rather to represent human action.

Character can be considered as second in importance to plot in Aristotle’s hierarchical organization of these elements; representation of character should always enhance the plot.

Augustus Taber Murray examines the importance and degree of interaction between plot and character.

He does this by discussing Aristotle’s statements about plot and character in his Poetics: that plot can exist without character, but character cannot exist without plot, and so character is secondary to plot. MEG 05 Free Solved Assignment

Murray maintains that Aristotle did not mean that complicated plot should hold the highest place in a tragedy play. This is because the plot was, more often than not, simple and therefore not a major point of tragic interest.

Murray conjectures that people today do not accept Aristotle’s statement about character and plot because to modern people, the most memorable things about tragedy plays are often the characters.

Murray does, however, concede that Aristotle is correct in that
“There can be no portrayal of character … without at least a skeleton outline of plot.”

Hamartia or The Tragic Falling:

The Greek word that describes what many people refer to as the “tragic flaw” of the hero of Greek tragedy, hamartia has a complex meaning which includes “sin,” “error,” “trespass,” and “missing the mark” (as in archerymissing the bull’s-eye).

The “mistake” of the hero has an integral place in the plot of the tragedy. The logic of the hero’s descent into misfortune is determined by the nature of his or her particular kind of hamartia. Aristotle first introduced hamartia in his book Poetics.

However through the years the word has changed meanings. Many scholars have argued that the meaning of the word that was given in Aristotle’s book is not really the correct meaning, and that there is a deeper meaning behind the word.

In the article “Tragic Error in the Poetics of Aristotle,” a scholar by the name of J.M. Bremer first explained the general argument of the poetics and, in particular, the immediate context of the term.MEG 05 Free Solved Assignment

He then traces the semasiological history of the hamart-group of the words from Homer (who also tried to determine the meaning behind the word) and Aristotle, concluding that of the three possible meanings of hamartia (missing, error, and offence), the Stagirite uses the second in our passage of Poetics.

It is, then a “tragic error, i.e. a wrong action committed in ignorance of its nature, effect, etc., which is the starting point of a causally connected train of events, ending in disaster.

Today the word and its meaning, is still up in the air, even so the word is still being used in discussion of many plays today, such as Hamlet and Oedipus Rex.

Hamartia is often referred to as tragic flaw and has many examples throughout literature, especially in Greek tragedy.

Isabel Hyde discusses the type of hamartia Aristotle meant to define in the Modern Language Review,

“Thus it may be said by some writers to be the ‘tragic flaw’ of Oedipus that he was hasty in temper; of Samson that he was sensually uxorious; of Macbeth that he was ambitious; of Othello that he was proud and jealous-and so on… but these things do not constitute the ‘hamartia of those characters in Aristotle’s sense” (Hyde 321).

This explains that Aristotle did not describe hamartia as an error of character, but as a moral mistake or ignorant error. MEG 05 Free Solved Assignment

Even J.L. Moles comments on the idea that hamartia is considered an error and states, “the modern view (at least until recently) that it means ‘error’, ‘mistake of fact, that is, an act done in ignorance of some salient circumstances”.

(b) Poet as “a man speaking to men”

Ans. The Definition of Poetry: For all good poetry is the spontaneous overflow of powerful feeling, and though this be true, Poems to which any value can be attached were never produced on any variety of subjects but by a man who, being possessed of more than usual organic sensibility, had also thought long and deeply.

For our continued influxes of feeling are modified and directed by our thoughts, which are indeed the representative of all our past feelings; and, as by contemplating the relation of these general representatives to each other, we discover what is really important to men, so by the repetition and continuance of this act,

our feelings will be connected with important subjects, till at length, if we be originally possessed of such sensibility, such habits of mind will be produced, that by obeying blindly and mechanically the impulses of these habits, we shall describe objects, and utter sentiments of such a nature, and in such connection with each other,

that the understanding of the reader must necessarily be in some degree enlightened, and his affections strengthened and purified.

In this Preface to his Lyrical Ballads, Wordsworth makes some general observations, very much seemingly in a Neoclassical vein, about the object of representation of poetry. Basically, his view is that art holds a mirror up to nature.

He argues that poetry is the “most philosophic of all writing” because its “object” is truth, not individual and local, but general, and operative”. The poet, “singing a song in which all humans join with him, rejoices in the presence of truth as our visible friend and hourly companion”. MEG 05 Free Solved Assignment

In a manner that is very much in keeping with the emotiveness synonymous with the Age of Sensibility which occurred in the second half of he eighteenth century, he argues that this truth that is “carried alive into the heart by passion”.

Wordsworth draws a contrast between poetry and other forms of knowledge. Poetry offers the image of man and nature” but is not impeded by the “obstacles which stand in the way of the fidelity of the biographer and historian”.

Sounding a similar note to Sidney, Wordsworth argues that there is no object standing between the poet and the image of things”, whereas a thousand” obstacles stand between the things themselves and the “biographer and historian”.

By the same token, where the man of science is concerned with the “particular facts of nature” which are the object of his studies, the poet imitates, “whether in prose or verse”, the “great and universal passions of men, the most general and interesting of their occupations, and the entire world of nature”.

In making the comments above, Wordsworth sounds a very Neo-classical note. However, the Preface was also designed to serve as a defense of the radically different subject-matter and style of the Lyrical Ballads and functions, consequently, as a poetic manifesto of sorts.

He advances what was for the time and place a revolutionary perspective on poetry that has had a huge impact on subsequent poetry to the point where his assumptions have largely become common place. MEG 05 Free Solved Assignment

He argues that his “principal object” of description (or subject-matter) (and, by extension, about which all poets should write) was to represent “incidents and situations from common life”.

A philosophical goal informs Wordsworth’s intentions in this regard. His purpose in depicting commonplace incidents and situations is to trace the primary laws of our nature”, in particular, the manner in which we associate ideas in a state of excitement”.

Like Wollstonecraft, Wordsworth has in mind here the views of Locke on the nature of the mind as well as the so-called ‘associationism of David Hartley whose views were inspired by Locke.

Wordsworth is particularly interested in capturing how the human mind responds through the senses when it is excited or aroused by its encounter with the physical world and how the ‘simple’ ideas which come to be formed thereby are later associated or combined with others to produce ‘complex ideas.

How is the depiction of humble folk conducive to these ends? Wordsworth reveals that he chose to represent what he calls “[hJumble and rustic life” in comprehended, and are more durable; and, lastly, because in that condition the passions of men are incorporated with the beautiful and permanent forms of nature.”

MEG 05 Free Solved Assignment
MEG 05 Free Solved Assignment

(c) The woman as the ‘second sex

Ans. Position of Women: This time in the history of feminism is also called as the second wave of feminism. It came as a response to the experiences of men in World War II and their interactions with women and families upon their post-war return home,

the late 1940s post-war boom, an era not only characterized by an unprecedented economic growth, a baby boom, suburban expansion and the triumph of capitalism, but also an era marked by a consistent effort to re-establish pre-war patriarchal social trends.

This fact was clearly illustrated by the media of the time; for example television shows such as Father Knows Best and Leave It to Beaver idealized domesticity, placing women in a closed sphere where they were only expected to fulfil the roles of housewives and mothers.

Although not popularized until 20 years later, in her work The Second Sex, Simone de Beauvoir examined, as early as 1949, the notion of women being perceived as “other” in the patriarchal society. MEG 05 Free Solved Assignment

She went on to conclude that male-centered ideology was being further accepted as a norm and enforced simply by the ongoing development of myths, and that the fact that women are capable of getting pregnant, lactating, and menstruating is in no way a valid cause or explanation to place them as the second sex.”

Furthermore, Cynthia Fuchs Epstein notes that in 1963 Betty Friedan explicitly objected to the mainstream media image of women, stating that placing women at home limited their possibilities, horizons, and was a mere waste of talent and potential.

The perfect nuclear family image depicted and strongly marketed at the time, she wrote, did not reflect happiness and was rather degrading for women.

Though it is widely accepted that the movement lasted from the 1960s into the late 1990s, the exact years of the movement are more difficult to pinpoint and are often disputed. The movement is usually believed to have begun in 1963, when “Mother of the Movement” Betty Friedan published her bestseller,

The Feminine Mystique and President John F. Kennedy’s Presidential Commission on the Status of Women released its report on gender inequality.

The report, which revealed great discrimination against women in American life, along with Friedan’s book, which spoke to the discontent of many women (especially housewives), led to the formation of many local, state, and federal government women’s groups as well as many independent women’s liberation organizations.

Friedan was referencing a “movement” as early as 1964.

The movement grew with legal victories such as the Equal Pay Act of 1963, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and the Griswold vs. Connecticut Supreme Court ruling of 1965 and in 1966 Friedan joined other women and men to found the National Organization for Women.

Amongst the most significant legal victories of the movement after the formation of NOW were a 1967 Executive Order extending full Affirmative Action rights to women, Title IX and the Women’s Educational Equity Act (1972 and 1975, educational equality),

Title X (1970, health and family planning), the Equal Credit Opportunity Act (1974), the Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978, the illegalization of marital rape and the legalization of no-fault divorce in all states, a 1975 law requiring the U.S. Military Academies to admit women, and many Supreme Court cases, perhaps most notably,

Reed v. Reed of 1971 and Roe v. Wade of 1973. However, the changing of the social attitudes towards women is usually considered the greatest success of the women’s movement.

(d) Base-superstructure relationship in Marxist criticism

Ans. How To Interpret Superstructure?: Superstructure can be simply defined as the ideologies that dominate a particular era, all that “men say, imagine, conceive,” including such things as “politics, laws, morality, religion, metaphysics, etc.”

For Marx, the superstructure is generally dependent on the modes of production that dominate in a given period. Superstructure is a term from Marxist social analysis, central to the materialist concept of history and social development.

In the social production of their life, men enter into definite relations that are indispensable and independent of their will, relations of production which correspond to a definite stage of development of their material productive forces.

The sum total of these relations of production constitutes the economic structure of society, the real basis, on which rises a legal and political superstructure, and to which correspond definite forms of social consciousness – K. Marx in the Preface to 4 Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy.

It is argued that Marx’s attempt to conceptualize social structure cannot be reduced to the base/superstructure model. Marx shows that the economic structure or base is not a structure of people. It is an abstract and empty structure of the relations between the productive forces in the economy.

The actual persons or forces play no part of the structure. Taken out of the actual world, and into the empty, abstract domain of the economic structure, a power is simply the ability to perform a particular action.

Taken in aggregate, the economic structure would be a set of these abilities, and the positions with more abilities consequently become the dominant class.

In this structure there are no normative constraints, there is simply material possibilities, and enabling powers.

The normative image of relations of production only appears after the actors and forces are placed in the structure, and the superstructure is placed over the top.

Marx argues that the fundamental base of any society, which permeates and shapes all its other legal, political and intellectual characteristics, is the social relations of production: the social and technological way that production is organized and carried out.

These relations of production provide the social foundation on which develops the superstructure of legal and political relations and human intellectual ideas and consciousness.

Law as Superstructure:

What is law and who forms it? Actually, at every point in history some of the human minds are always at work to frame law in order to legitimize the misappropriations of socially generated resources by a few in the society.

In fact it is the owing class which misappropriates the surplus in a legal way. This makes the existing law a perspective for the state to function under, and also at the same time offers sufficient space to the large bureaucracy and judiciary to expand by the implementation and administration of justice.

The irony is evident here. We need to look at the version of justice, which is projected to the masses by the privileged section of the society.

The way justice is explained and interpreted is completely dependent on the requirement of mode of production and is projected by the privileged section as something which is moral, spiritual, ethical and universal.

Going on with this point of view we can simply understand justice as the social sanction for the simple purpose of exploitation and misappropriation, however the owing class would call it their right and not misappropriation.

This simple complex is, however, very complex if worked out in philoso-phical terms. It would be interesting to notice in this respect, that how legal celebrities go on with the debates on the topic in all over the world.

We can understand legal superstructure in terms of the working of the mode of production as both are quite close.

It deals directly with the reason or logical justification behind the social distribution and helps in persuading and convincing the working class that the only right they have is on what they receive as wages.

In this way the extremes of their rights are limited and by extension their psyche and consciousness.

Unlike legal superstructure others like philosophical, cultural and legal superstructures can be said to have a delicate link with base, because the individuals who are operative in these spheres, share a notion of independent operation.

The Political Superstructure:

According to Marx, the most important place of human existence is political realm, as it is the only realm where people struggle and fight their battle for the change. The formation of political groups, like political parties are very crucial as it reflects the idea of specific class ad helps in the mobilization of the masses on behalf of that specific class.

In this context it is important to look at the role which trade unions played in England and France in the mid-nineteenth century, as they help in attracting attention towards the burning issues of the age.

How crucial is politics to the ruling bourgeois class can be very well understood in terms of the fact that it has enabled entrepreneurship and industry to decisively seize economic power from feudal nobility and aristocratic class in seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.

Considering the role which politics played in the history, it would not be unjustified to call it a science of changing the society.

One reason that Marx and other later thinkers gave utmost importance to the political superstructure is that, it works directly on the base to transform its working. Politics is always concerned about present and contemporary.

It also provides an activist edge to philosophy, ideology, religious beliefs, culture and literature.

The Religious Superstructure:

It may not sound normal that the concept of God and religion shares a tangible link or connection with the social structure and that the universal or so called eternal religious values have their roots in the social functioning of their times.

These so called religious principles form a concrete link with the society in which exist and work upon an important a definite role.

These help in changing people’s point of view and ideologies. There is little doubt that these religious and divine values seem to guide people form a distant spiritual standpoint and does not appear to have any connection with the mundane human existence, but this very stance of religious outlook is questionable.

In fact we can go ahead and label of social pressure and compulsions on the various religious beliefs and practices which exist in the society.

Lots of changes which Christianity has undergone after renaissance can be related to the various social and political changes in the society of Europe.

Another important point which we must bring our attention to is the two different conceptions of God, i.e. feudal conception of God and capitalist conception of God. The feudal conception of God is very different from that of the capitalist conception of God;

the former is operative, overbearing and paternally beneficent, while the latter is relatively sympathetic, friendly and persuasive.

It would be quite interesting to look at the various aspects of relational principles from this point of view which lets us peek into the ba foundation of religious belief, which in fact is deeply rooted in the social practices of the time.

In this context looking at the Milton’s idea of God and the son would be fascinating, as Milton in his magnum opus Paradise Lost attribute highly divine attitudes in his portrayal of God and the Son.

As the there was a radical change at the base, the entire idea of God and Christianity underwent a radical transformation in the writings of eighteenth century.

Let us now look at the two very clear end points of the religious superstructure. The first end-point of this superstructure touches the religious, spiritual and emotional state of the ordinary people,

whereas the at the second end point we have highly religious thinkers, poets, and writers who reflects the new responses to the already established norms and notions of religious and spiritual beliefs.

Both of these ends amalgamate to answer the new and fresh social questions. Let us understand this by the help of Parson Adams, a character from Fielding’s Joseph Andrews. Adams is not a typical and traditional follower and preacher of Christianity rather he has been portrayed by fielding as a good friend, a person who enjoys a lot, and is interesting in reading and drinking.

Though there is no doubt that his basic foundation is essentially Christian in nature, but within that we witness a new and radical eighteenth century English response to Christianity.

We can say that Adams is a representation of a religious superstructure and Fielding, who depicts the working of this superstructure in the novel, seems to enjoy the presence of strong secular component of it.

Adams can be seen as the symbol of religious requirement of the time, without whose help the new emerging merchants and traders can never think of internalizing with the old and traditional view or conception of Christianity.

He can be seen as the concrete construction of Christian idea of the eighteenth century, which shows genuine spirit if helpfulness, learning, loyalty and optimism.

The working of philosophical and cultural superstructure is still more intricate. And the dominant reason which makes them work in a very peculiar fashion is that they deal directly with the ideas, feelings and emotions.

The key point which distinguished philosophy with that of the religion is ‘faith’. In religion one has to just preach or tell, ana everything else is being done by the faith of listener, but in philosophy one has to work out, analyze and explain in order to make people understand.

In religion faith does not allow people to question the tenet but question is the mainstay of philosophy, without which the entire concept would fall.

This concept of philosophical superstructure makes it more independent from base and the two end-points that we have discussed earlier do not exist in case of philosophical superstructure.

While understanding these key concepts one must keep in mind that there is no one-to-one correlation between these superstructures and the economic mode and that people would only see economic mode as distortion than in realist propor-tion.

The Realm of Culture as Superstructure:

In case of culture and literature, we confront the more autonomous and independent nature of superstructure.

These segments of human life in different phases of history project different emotions of human existences in such a way that they appeared to be our own feelings and emotions of the present time.

Some of the questions which we must care to thinks upon here are: What is this way? Does this in any way means that a kind of intensity enters into the emotions and feeling represented which makes them attractive to the audience?

Perhaps, this is the reason that literature which was produced somewhere very far in time and place manages to disturb the chords of emotion in our heart. And in this way we cannot claim that culture and literature have direct link with a specific base.

They give a kind of impression which suggests that they do not belong to the realm of superstructure of a particular era and are related to humanity as a timeless and universal phenomenon.

This point of view can be approached from a different angle as well.

Though there is no doubt that literature, religion and philosophy has some universalistic features, but still they have some very close relationships with the social environment they exist in and also in one specific respect, that of the role they play, they evolve as a part of the society as economy.

Those active men and women who are deeply indulge into the process of shaping and changing the environment which concerns itself with faith, values, ideals and constructed norm, take the responsibility to shape and construct these.

It is important to understand that faith, value, and ideals are not something which are constructed in heaven but are made on earth by people like us.

They only appear to be God given or universal. And because they are constructs by some specific class of the society, they always try to keep an eye on it in order to ensure the security and safety of their own class in the existing construction.

This makes superstructure not being left isolated from base but it constantly and consciously works in order to perpetuate the class rule in the society.

It is also true that the processes which concern with the intellectual and emotional life of people also are related to their vital social interests.

We also must agree with the fact that the state authority or the governing forces which come out is open in order to support the religious thinkers, writers, and priest also in way patronize them.

In this context, it is important to understand that not all the writers and intellectual geniuses are being patronized by the state authority or the governing forces, but only those writer and thinkers who willfully choose to overlook the question of justice and inequality.

The idea of the entire argument is to stress that the ruling class or the privileged sections of the society are deeply interested in the construction of the values and ideals.

Out there we see some writers and thinkers who not only take the responsibility of upholding but also explain the religiosity and spirituality, while there are other thinkers and writers and intellectuals who not only critically examine these values and ideals of religious and spiritual nature, but also question them from various different angels.

The privileged section or the powerful section of the society attains a sort of hostile attitude towards these writers and intellectuals whose views are not friendly to the existing construction of norms and values.

We can clearly sense that Marx was not only interested in demarcation between the superstructure and structure but also between the different kinds of superstructures.

The entire drill clearly points out that superstructures have no direct correspondence with social reality of the time in which they exist and they also have some specify of their own. But one must be vary careful here, as this specificity might get confusing.

This concept of specificity must not be used in order to make distinction between the superstructures and base neither it should be used to make demarcation between different superstructures.

In all the superstructures, the cultural superstructure is the one which is most distanced from the base, but in the time of intense change cultural superstructures also attain some political overtones and get set for the direct work on the base.

Let us try to understand by taking an example where political and literary superstructures work in an agreement.

In a way we can say that the political activity at a specific point during the history represents two sections of the society – governing and governed class – standing facing each other in very bitter and intense hostile confrontation.

Another thing that governing class do is to misinterpret and distort the emerging political alternatives with the help of their political formations.

In this regard it is worthwhile to look back in history and observe the way in which the feudal structure reacted and tried to suppress the merging democratic trends, in England. Andrew Milner in this regard says,

“By the seventeenth century the subordinate capitalist mode of production had developed to the point at which it came into clear contradiction with the dominant feudal mode” (John Milton and the English Revolution – London: Macmillan, 1981, p. 66).

One must not get the view that feudal construction was replaced by the new democratic ideal because it was weak and meek. The struggle between the two was way more violent and rough than one can imagine today.

It took around one hundred and fifty years to replace the feudal mode of structure and after the struggle of all these years filled with hostility, finally in the 18th century the England saw the new class marching with the complete dominance in the society.

As now we stand very far in history, we can clearly see that this historical emergence was in a way inevitable, but the case was not the same with people who were physically there in that violent time of history. It is difficult to imagine the condition of those writers who witnessed this conflict and bore the pressure of the day upon their nerves.

Some of the writers who tried to capture this long and complex process of change, and in deed did it very well, are John Milton, Henery Fielding and William Blake. It is interesting to see the way their writing talks about the good and bad, acceptable and unacceptable, desirable and undesirable.

We cannot claim that these writers were humanist but of course they were a strong critic of the things which would against the interests of common masses.

Let us now look at a question for our better understanding. What is difference in the operation of the cultural superstructure and or more relevantly literature and that of the political activities of the time?

The question is legitimate enough, as the gap between the two superstructures is clear enough. For example, literature is always concerned with issues which are related to emotion and moral needs of the people and also takes them very sharply on an altogether different level.

Another point to be made here is that literature also makes use of imaginative mode which helps it focus and concentrate of the vital and central areas of the life of people.

Also this imaginative mode helps writer to concentrate upon those areas of human existence, which have the ability to become the symbols of the dynamic human behaviour in the course of time.

The Nature of Base and its Politics:

Marx was of the view that the change in the base in real history attracts lots of violence. The reason behind this idea is fairly simple. Marx knew that the governing class or the privileged section of the society would always a put a great deal of resistance against the forces which intends to bring change.

After all it is impossible to convince an owner to give up all his property, wealth and other privileged for the greater good of the society and in capitalism greater good has always a chance to wait and what cannot wait is personal profit.

And this view of the society is there in spite of the fact that many of the poets, religious thinkers, intellectuals and priests have spoken against the evil influence money, power and prestige.

We must agree that these people are right in the way the observed and analyzed the society of their time. But who cares about these thoughts and ideals, at least not the owing class. The fact is that the owner should go to any extent in order to protect their privileges in the society.

In this context it is justified look at the Cromwellian revolution which happened in England, and wherein the history saw the emergence of the entire society against the throne in order to dethrone the king, and they did dethrone the king and took over the rein of power. No matter what perspective we take, still we will find that the transition from the monarchy to republicanism was not peaceful at all.

During this conflict there were lots of people who supported the idea of monarchy, as they were threatened by the new emerging ideas of equality and justice.

These people stood in side of the king, who was believed to have the divine sanctioned superiority and with help of traditional authority would sway the mind of the common English man. Even the king got threatened by the new idea of equality, justice and human endeavour.

The kind made a decision to ride roughshod on those who were the master of new values after looking at the danger of the new values.

And he was supported positively by the aristocracy on this attack against the forces of change. Against the king and the aristocracy stood the newly emerged merchants and traders who had their roots in the commonality of English life.

They took the opportunity make the common mass come into their tent and thus tried to capture important points of power. There is no doubt that a great deal of planning and strategy was required for the purpose of their unity. These were accused for going against the high notion of morality and idealism.

Today, the English criticism that we study is not capable of giving due respect to these aspects of the Cromwellian revolution.

A probable answer would be that the criticism we have today is not very strongly equipped in the sense that it cannot stand the pressure of bourgeois ideology and therefore show little or no sign regarding an objective and free outlook.

Also it is, in some way, biased against the concept of change and does not support the idea of dynamic thought. We will deal with issue later, for now let us get back to the issue of antagonism which existed between the aristocracy and the common Englishman in the seventieth century England.

We know about the historical happenings like the Charles I. After the execution of Charles I, his son flew away from England to France. The power which came in the hand of common people did not last for long but there happened something which made a difference.

The mortal blow which had been dealt the prevailing base made the situation entirely different from what it was before revolution. There was a significant change in the land relation and subsequently the merchant class became more powerful than they were ever before.

They made their path directly into the Parliament and the politics inside the Parliament was no longer able to determine the sections of society which emerged recently. To quote Milner, “The English bourgeoisie had disposed one of the recalcitrant king, and it was to prove perfectly capable of disposing of another ion 1688…

In this manner, the whole structure of the feudal absolutist state was abolished and replaced by the quite different set of the political institution which composed the constitutional monarchy”.

‘Superstructure’: Some Conceptual Difficulties

It is the base, which witness the great and decisive changes and it is base which see two opposing classes fight each other for their survival. Superstructure is not the one where such a clash or violent struggle happens.

To quote Marx, “With the change of the economic foundation, the entire immense superstructure is more or less rapidly transformed.” Here in the quotation the word ‘transformed’ is of great significance as according to Marx, the changes which occur in the base is followed by the superstructure.

An excellent example is the legal superstructure which facilitates and legitimizes the changes which occur in the base. In the case of law, at first we notice the changes which and its influence and later we see that law follows the restructured base.

But the case of philosophy, ideology and culture differ from that of the case of law. In philosophy people try to analyze the negative and positive effect of the changes or in other word they try to attempt a critical analysis of the new emerging ideals and values which the change is about to bring, much before the occurrence of social upheaval.

The same is the case with satisfaction, grievance and complaints regarding the changes are reflected much before the actual happening. Considering this argument we can say that these entire superstructures influence the base rather than getting transformed by it.

This warns us not to take the word ‘transform literally and also compel us to understand Marx’s word from a different perspective. An important question which comes on the surface here is – if the changes take place in the base first then what makes the people of superstructure aware of the their conditior of existence?

Or the question can also be put in another way – what compels people to become active in the political superstructure and throw away the existing construction of trend in the base in order to make the productive power to flow freely towards the development in historical direction? It is better to think over the question from the way Marx’s theory of base and superstructure appear to a person.

Next issue which comes in this context is related to the historical conflict. According to the Marx one has to understand distinctly the nature of ideological transformation of the legal, political, religious, aesthetic or philosophical -in short ideological forms in which men become conscious of this conflict between productive forces and relation of production) and fight out.”

Marx does not go into detail while expressing his views on the relationship of base and superstructure. The idea of the Marx behind talking about the relationship of base and superstructure was to make clear that these concepts should be understood in terms of theory and abstraction.

He sort of hoped that social thinkers would understand the concept of base and would realize its crucial existence. Marx’s idea of the base confirmed that the theory of idealist thinkers that the social reality was some sort of clay open for wishful molding by human being, was no way right.

It was not possible for Marx to emphasize the importance of social change at the level of modes of production without presesnting base as a decisive and quite difficult factor. Let us look at the Marx said once again, “The philosophers have so far merely interpreted the world. The point, however, is to change it.”

This simply means that the social reality must be taken from the hands of philosophers and given to those who can really change the society i.e. the producers and the proletariat. Until such a thing would happen nothing is going to change.

The idea of meant to work against those idealist thinkers who merely tried to interpret the world while the beneath this interpretatior the process of operation and suppression of the working class continued as freely as river.

According to Marx, the combination of forces and relations of production means that the way people relate to the physical world and the way people relate to each other socially are bound up together in specific and necessary ways.

People must consume to survive, but to consume they must produce, and in producing they necessarily enter into relations which exist independently of their will.

For Marx, the whole ‘secret’ of why/how a social order exists and the causes of social change must be discovered in the specific mode of production that a society has.

He further argued that the mode of production substantively shaped the nature of the mode of distribution, the mode of circulation and the mode of consumption, all of which together constitute the economic sphere.

To understand the way wealth was distributed and consumed, it was necessary to understand the conditions under which it was produced.

A mode of production is historically distinctive for Marx, because it constitutes part of an ‘organic totality’ (or self-reproducing whole) which is capable of constantly re-creating its own initial conditions, and thus perpetuate itself in a more or less stable ways for centuries, or even millennia.

By performing social surplus labour in a specific system of property relations, the working classes constantly reproduce the foundations of the social order. Normally a mode of production shapes the mode of distribution, circulation and consumption, and is regulated by the state.

When however new productive forces or new social relations develop that conflict with the existing mode of production, this mode of production will either evolve without losing its basic structure, or else begin to breakdown.

This then gives rise to a transitional era of social instability and social conflict, until a new social order is finally consolidated, with a new mode of production.

(e) Patriarchy

Ans. Most forms of feminism characterize patriarchy as an unjust social system that is oppressive to women. As feminist and political theorist Carole Pateman writes, “The patriarchal construction of the difference between masculinity and femininity is the political difference between freedom and subjection.”

In feminist theory the concept of patriarchy often includes all the social mechanisms that reproduce and exert male dominance over women. Feminist theory typically characterizes patriarchy as a social construction, which can be overcome by revealing and critically analyzing its manifestations.

Q. 3. How are myths and archetypes examined to grasp the significance of twentieth century English

Ans. Northrop Frye And Myth Criticism: It is not an easy task to summarize the work of Northrop Frye in few paragraph, in fact it is going to be very difficult.

But not looking at his contribution to the literary criticism at all would be a big mistake, which at least we should not commit.

We already know that Frye was critical of the methods employed by New Criticism. He did not approve of something that is, the uniquely differentiated, isolate self who creates the isolate romantic image”. He was also against the romantic-symbolist image of originality.

Apart from what we have gone of Frye, the most important contribution that he made in the theory of literary criticism is that of his Myth Criticism, which aims at denying any form of originality on the writer’s part.

In his famous book Anatomy of Criticism which came out in the year 1957, Frye talks about various phases, sub-phases and taxonomies of poetry. In this book he tries to understand the question; how literature works?

In the end of the book he set about “formulating the broad laws of literary experience, and in short writing as though he believed that there is a totally intelligible structure of knowledge attainable about poetry, which is not poetry itself, or the experience of it, but poetics.”

According to Lentrichhia, Frye is not engaged in his mission to deny something which cannot be denied at all. After all there must be a line of demarcation between the self and the other selves at the specific level of existence.

For Frye believes that at the most deepest and genuine level of existence, which we may consider to be far beyond the conscious comprehension of the being, the self is a generous sort of medium peculiarly suited for the transmitting of literary studies called archetypal mythoi and images.

Frye was certainly against the subjectivism in criticism, as he hoped that literary critics would use their subjectivism in criticism, as he hoped that literary critics would use their subjectivism and their own dispute of taste.

His this hope has its root in his assumption that, it a small number of abiding literary universals which control all literary expression, ‘four narrative pre-generic categories which are ‘logically prior to the usual literary genres.

Another view of Frye which was against the Romantic thoughts was his idea of centrifugal and centripetal movements.

Romanticism celebrated the uniqueness in the text authorized by the isolated subject, while contrary to this belief Frye bring in his theory of myth about the unconscious self.

In his theory he spoke about the origin and the authority of the literary text whose identity is not unique.

Marx and Marxism

The ideas of Marx and Engels were one of the most influential factors in the modern thought.

Though originally Marx wrote in the nineteenth century, but the influence of his writings in literature can be perceived to be at its fullest only in the twentieth century. Therefore the writing of Marx and its influence must be given a look.

The basic foundation of Marxist critics are derived from the general aesthetics and literary criticism which, of course, also considers the Marxist theory.

Most of the critical theories have their basic foundation, and Marxist critical theory is not an exception in this case but what is different with Marxist criticism is that it began by seeking to change the direction of the philosophy.

This idea can be very well understood by what Marx famously said: “The philosophers have only interpreted the world; the point is to change it.” One of the philosophers, who influenced Marx to a certain extent, was Hegel.

George Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel was a German philosopher who spoke about the idea of dialect of the thesis, antithesis, and synthesis. Hegel also applied his theory to the problem of historical evolution which was represented by Weltergeist.

Both Marx and Engels adopted Hegel’s dialectical method. Engels on Hegel’s importance to Marx and himself wrote:

“What distinguishes Hegel’s mode of thinking from that of all other philosophers was the exceptional historical sense underlying it.

However abstract and idealist the form employed, the development of his ideas, runs always parallel to the development of world history, and the latter is indeed supposed to be only the proof of the forms.”

Hegel himself wrote in the introduction to his Philosophy of History, about his views on the direction and all human being. He wrote: “The histories of the world is none other than the progress of consciousness freedom”.

In this line of Hegel the important key word which one need to think upon is ‘consciousness and the method by which one should attempt to trace the history is dialectical.

Both of the concept and the method which were central to Hegel’s writing also became the core foundation of Marxist criticism and theory.

Before we really go on to the Marxist criticism and theory it is important for us to understand the key concept of consciousness and the method of dialect. And the best text to discuss these core ideas would be no other than Hegel’s Phenomenology of Mind.

What does phenomenology of mind means? In simple terms it is the study of the way in which mind appears to us as phenomenology is the study of the way in which things appear to us. In his Phenomenology of Mind, Hegel traces different forms of consciousness.

The main aim of Hegel in this book seems to be the ‘exposition of knowledge as a phenomenon’. Phenomenon can be defined as something of which sense or mind directly takes a note, i.e. appearance.

What appears to us is what our mind takes a note of things. Though, Hegel’s phenomenology is very large and complicated and we do not have that much of space here to discuss, therefore we will take a brief look at the key ideas of Hegel’s Phenomenology of Mind.

In his book, Hegel truth or absolute truth or just absolute. Hegel meditate upon the detailed history of the process of training and educating consciousness itself up to the level of science”.

Once done with this, he then goes on to reflect upon the self-consciousness, which is a stage in the course of development of consciousness, wherein it can reflect upon itsell.

Marxist Criticism :

Marx made a clear distinction between the idealist and materialist philosophy. He further divided materialist into two namely mechanical and dialectical. Mechanical materialist are those who consider the life from the point of view of Newtonian physic and for them everything is predetermined and can be predicted.

All we need is the right apparatus to look for it. On the other hand dialectical materialism suggest that the world we know can be considered as the product of dialectical process which takes into account thesis and antithesis which give way to synthesis, which eventually itself becomes a new thesis and thus gives rise to antithesis, and so on.

Marx argues that this process of dialect provides a very rich sensuous manifestation, and this is what is responsible for human experience of things.

In fact the entire process of thinking as we conceive of it is nothing but this abstraction. If we go by this view then we will realize that all the ideas which come to our mind is the abstraction of the objective experience.

These ideas are determined by the three important factors in three different contexts. Historically, the ideas are determined by the time period in which they arise.

Socially the ideas are determined by the society which in a way is the matrix of the ideas and economically the ideas are determined by the resources which are available to the person who is generating the ideas.

On of the most practical and brilliant example of this could be law which is always the byproduct of the time, the society and economic class.

If we apply this theory of Marx into the art then any form of art must be determined by the circumstance and situation which are prevent at the time, in the society and in the economic class to which the artist belong.

Marx himself did not throw much light on his issue, but those who considered themselves to be Marxist after Marx, argued that art has the power to influence human behaviour.

And that for this reason they considered bourgeois and capitalist art to be dangerous because it is capable of influencing people to be a part of bourgeois and capitalist system, from which they could never be freed.

Literary criticism felt a distinct set of problem with the formulation of theoretical and political formulation of Marxism.

The first need which was felt was that of the reformulation of the status which all the symbolic activity enjoyed like law, religion, language, etc.

All these symbolic activities were regarded secondary and supplementary in relation to the basic economic mode of production. The relationship between these forms a paramedical shape.

The base of this structure is that of the basic socio-economic relations. And it is on this relation that the superstructure rests, which comprises of art, law, religion, politics, etc. And it is the structure of the base which decides the relationship of the superstructure.

It is not that this structure of socio-material reality, which is metaphorical in nature, has been quietly accepted. There has been many questioned this structure. Even there had been some difference between the views of Marx and Engels on issue of the autonomy of art and literature.

Many questions, since then, have been raised regarding the dialectical mediation or the interchange between the different levels of the structure, and also about the relative autonomy of the some areas.

It seems that this metaphor is too simple to explain the complex nature of exchange. Scholars have regarded Marxist theory as methodological separation between the two domains at the level of investigation.

At the same time it has also been assuming a correlation between the value which is produced by the 197 symbolic process and the value of material production. Thus, what we see here is that there is a deviation from the theory of social domain towards the theory of class agent who belong to the social domain.

And this movement has a logical consequence which acknowledge the movement from the theory of superstructure towards the theory of ideology.

Ideology :

Originally ideology was defined with the reference to ‘democracy and individualism’ as something which affirmed the transcendence of ideas of the mind.

According to the French Revolution institute de France ideology was “the generic study of ideas that existed as universal is the realm of reason (rather than history)”.

Marx turned the meaning of the term upside down nearly fifty years after the coinage of the term. He completely rejected the self-serving world view of the middle class.

For him the traditional meaning of the term ideology was nothing, but the representation of a false consciousness: a system of belief about the world and one’s own relation to it, which reflects the view of the social class which is dominant.

So Marx undertook the task of exposing the misrepresentation of the term and also peeling off the false layers and expose the truth to the world. If a literary critic would apply this theory then it would appear that he/she is someone who offers opposition.

The fore we must understand that Marxist criticism is not that simple in practice as it appears. A Marxist critic does not tries to expose but to illuminate, does not try to debunk rather decode the meaning of the text.

This basic opposition always lies between those who seek to form an imaginary world and those who try to unearth the basic foundation of it.

Considering the meaning of ideology as ‘false consciousness, we must say that still its relationship with literary criticism is problematic.

Earlier philosophers like Kant and Hegel did not claim that consciousness can lead to any ultimate reality or truth or absolute knowledge, but Marx’s theory of false consciousness gave a hope of attaining an objective knowledge of reality.

Marx chose the mechanistic and deterministic science of 19th century as a basic foundation for the formulation of his scientific analysis. Marxism tried to understand the objective impact of ideology in shaping the social laws of causality.

Considering this argument, ideology with subjectivity seems only as an obstacle which must be removed. Scientists advocated for the ultimate objectivity of its method and interference which must not include any form of subjectivity, no matter what it might be.

Further there was an attempt by the Marxists of “Frankfurt Institute of Social Research” to reformulate Marxism from a science into a social philosophy.

This attempt made by scholars of Frankfurt School disengaged or at least tried to disengage the cultural and philosophical Marxism from the problems and laws which were its own. The consequence of it became prominent much later after the Second World War.

The form of Marxism that the world witnessed now was one which did not warn against the false consciousness rather concentrated on consciousness per see.

Now ideology was seen as something which is a see through or pass through, which should be displaced in order to see the reality rather it became a terminus under examination.

An obvious question would be that what could be the relation of the theory proposed by Marxists with the literature. We can use the Marxist theory for our understanding of literature form a specific perspective.

In a way the students of literature are lucky as Marxists have long taken interest in literature and therefore we can obviously trace the emergence, growth and the evolution of Marxism simultaneously with the changes in the course of modernism.

Another interesting phenomenon is the engagement of the Marxist critics with the modernism and also the way the explored the relationship between the ideology and realism.

Althusser’s ‘Ideological State Apparatus’:

Louise Althusser was one of the prominent figures who argued over the question of ideology. One thing that we must understand the reflecting upon the theories of Althusser we need to deviate from one tradition of Marxist criticism to another.

For Althusser the materialist economist Marx was more important than that of the social historian.

He considered ideology to be real, but at the same time a non-historical reality. He later said that ideology is composed of any specify context rather it is constant structure of social knowledge and also that it is “omnipresent and transhistorical”.

As Freud said that conscious is something which is internal, Althusser stressed that ideology is external and which is always there as representation of imaginary relationship which people build up with their condition of existence.

Althusser made a radical change in the way reality was perceived, as he stressed that reality does not depend upon the real condition of existence.

In his most famous essay, Ideology and Ideological State Apparatus, he considers literature as one of the productive activities, and also that imaginary world must not be considered as the expression of representation of what is real.

The two approaches towards the understanding of literature are important. The first one sees literature as a production, and therefore it must be considered, as a produced object, to be a component of general system of social production.

The second view sees literature as productive activity, and therefore it must be considered as a distinct practice of signification, i.e. a practice producing signs; therefore it must be related to other practice of signification like law, religion, etc.

whatever the case may be, it for sure that literary discourse has its own reality. What is important for is to concentrate on the word ‘discourse’, as the reflection of the text falls under the realm of ideology, and literary discourse shares the notion of both ideology and is also capable of reflexive relation to it.

Althusser argued that ideology produces workers who consciously become subject of the capitalist system, as capitalism requires not only worker, but those who are willing to become its subject and accept the status quo.

And it is in this regard ideology plays an important role. He argued that ideology is not a matter of conscious beliefs, attitudes or the values, and nor it is a matter of false consciousness’ rather it is about the representation of a relationship which imaginary in nature and which people build up with their real existence.

In words of Althusser, it “is a representation of the imaginary relationship of individuals to their real condition of existence”.

In the post-structuralism world the theory of Marxism got influenced by various other theories like deconstruction, Lacanian psychoanalysis, and that of the Foucault.

Q. 4. What is Structuralism? How is it helpful in grasping the appeal and intent of a literary text?

Ans. How To Interpret Superstructure?: Superstructure can be simply defined as the ideologies that dominate a particular era, all that “men say, imagine, conceive,” including such things as “politics, laws, morality, religion, metaphysics, etc.”

For Marx, the superstructure is generally dependent on the modes of production that dominate in a given period. Superstructure is a term from Marxist social analysis, central to the materialist concept of history and social development.

In the social production of their life, men enter into definite relations that are indispensable and independent of their will, relations of production which correspond to a definite stage of development of their material productive forces.

The sum total of these relations of production constitutes the economic structure of society, the real basis, on which rises a legal and political superstructure, and to which correspond definite forms of social consciousness – K. Marx in the Preface to A Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy.

It is argued that Marx’s attempt to conceptualize social structure cannot be reduced to the base/superstructure model. Marx shows that the economic structure or base is not a structure of people.

It is an abstract and empty structure of the relations between the productive forces in the economy. The actual persons or forces play no part of the structure.

Taken out of the actual world, and into the empty, abstract domain of the economic structure, a power is simply the ability to perform a particular action.

Taken in aggregate, the economic structure would be a set of these abilities, and the positions with more abilities consequently become the dominant class.

In this structure there are no normative constraints, there is simply material possibilities, and enabling powers.

The normative image of relations of production only appears after the actors and forces are placed in the structure, and the superstructure is placed over the top.

Marx argues that the fundamental base of any society, which permeates and shapes all its other legal, political and intellectual characteristics, is the social relations of production: the social and technological way that production is organized and carried out.

These relations of production provide the social foundation on which develops the superstructure of legal and political relations and human intellectual ideas and conscious-ness.

Law as Superstructure:

What is law and who forms it? Actually, at every point in history some of the human minds are always at work to frame law in order to legitimize the misappropriations of socially generated resources by a few in the society.

In fact it is the owing class which misappropriates the surplus in a legal way. This makes the existing law a perspective for the state to function under, and also at the same time offers sufficient space to the large bureaucracy ana judiciary to expand by the implementation and administration of justice.

The irony is evident here. We need to look at the version of justice, which is projected to the masses by the privileged section of the society.

The way justice is explained and interpreted is completely dependent on the requirement of mode of production and is projected by the privileged section as something which is moral, spiritual, ethical and universal.

Going on with this point of view we can simply understand justice as the social sanction for the simple purpose of exploitation and misappropriation, however the owing class would call it their right and not misappropriation.

This simple complex is, however, very complex if worked out in philoso-phical terms. It would be interesting to notice in this respect, that how legal celebrities go on with the debates on the topic in all over the world.

We can understand legal superstructure in terms of the working of the mode of production as both are quite close. It deals directly with the reason or logical justification behind the social distribution and helps in persuading and convincing the working class that the only right they have is on what they receive as wages.

In this way the extremes of their rights are limited and by extension their psyche and consciousness.

Unlike legal superstructure others like philosophical, cultural and legal superstructures can be said to have a delicate link with base, because the individuals who are operative in these spheres, share a notion of independent operation.

The Political Superstructure:

According to Marx, the most important place of human existence is political realm, as it is the only realm where people struggle and fight their battle for the change.

The formation of political groups, like political parties are very crucial as it reflects the idea of specific class and helps in the mobilization of the masses on behalf of that specific class.

In this context it is important to look at the role which trade unions played in England and France in the midnineteenth century, as they help in attracting attention towards the burning issues of the age.

How crucial is politics to the ruling bourgeois class can be very well understood in terms of the fact that it has enabled entrepreneurship and industry to decisively seize economic power from feudal nobility and aristocratic class in seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Considering the role which politics played in the history,

it would not be unjustified to call it a science of changing the society. One reason that Marx and other later thinkers gave utmost importance to the political superstructure is that, it works directly on the base to transform its working.

Politics is always concerned about present and contemporary. It also provides an activist edge to philosophy, ideology, religious beliefs, culture and literature.

The Religious Superstructure:

It may not sound normal that the concept of God and religion shares a tangible link or connection with the social structure and that the universal or so called eternal religious values have their roots in the social functioning of their times.

These so called religious principles form a concrete link with the society in which exist and work upon an important a definite role. These help in changing people’s point of view and ideologies.

There is little doubt that these connection with the mundane human existence, but this very stance of religious outlook is questionable. In fact we can go ahead and label of social pressure and compulsions on the various religious beliefs and practices which exist in the society.

Lots of changes which Christianity has undergone after renaissance can be related to the various social and political changes in the society of Europe.

Another important point which we must bring our attention to is the two different conceptions of God, i.e. feudal conception of God and capitalist conception of God.

The feudal conception of God is very different from that of the capitalist conception of God; the former is operative, overbearing and paternally beneficent, while the latter is relatively sympathetic, friendly and persuasive.

It would be quite interesting to look at the various aspects of relational principles from this point of view which lets us peek into the basic foundation of religious belief, which in fact is deeply rooted in the social practices of the time.

In this context looking at the Milton’s idea of God and the son would be fascinating, as Milton in his magnum opus Paradise Lost attribute highly divine attitudes in his portrayal of God and the Son.

As the there was a radical change at the base, the entire idea of God and Christianity underwent a radical transformation in the writings of eighteenth century.

Let us now look at the two very clear end points of the religious superstructure. The first end-point of this superstructure touches the religious, spiritual and emotional state of the ordinary people,

whereas the at the second end point we have highly religious thinkers, poets, and writers who reflects the new responses to the already established norms and notions of religious and spiritual beliefs.

Both of these ends amalgamate to answer the new and fresh social questions. Let us understand this by the help of Parson Adams, a character from Fielding’s Joseph Andrews.

Adams is not a typical and traditional follower and preacher of Christianity rather he has been portrayed by fielding as a good friend, a person who enjoys a lot, and is interesting in reading and drinking.

Though there is no doubt that his basic foundation is essentially Christian in nature, but within that we witness a new and radical eighteenth century English response to Christianity.

We can say that Adams is a representation of a religious superstructure and Fielding, who depicts the working of this superstructure in the novel, seems to enjoy the presence of strong secular component of it.

Adams can be seen as the symbol of religious requirement of the time, without whose help the new emerging merchants and traders can never think of internalizing with the old and traditional view or conception of Christianity.

The working of philosophical and cultural superstructure is still more intricate. And the dominant reason which makes them work in a very peculiar fashion is that they deal directly with the ideas, feelings and emotions.

The key point which distinguished philosophy with that of the religion is faith’. In religion one has to just preach or tell, and everything else is being done by the faith of listener, but in philosophy one has to work out, analyze and explain in order to make people understand.

In religion faith does not allow people to question the tenet but question is the mainstay of philosophy, without which the entire concept would fall.

This concept of philosophical superstructure makes it more independent from base and the two end-points that we have discussed earlier do not exist in case of philosophical superstructure.

While understanding these key concepts one must keep in mind that there is no one-to-one correlation between these superstructures and the economic mode and that people would only see economic mode as distortion than in realist propor-tion.

The Actual and Potential Role of Philosophy as Superstructure

It is the abstract nature of philosophical concepts which help in formation of coherent pattern of the ordinary details of life. Well, this is an important aspect form the standpoint of social function.

The ordinary happenings in life does not make much sense, or rather say that they do seem to be important unless they are seen as a part of a specific phenomenon.

Philosophy draws our attention towards these daily happenings, by placing them in a general perspective. Thus philosophy helps us in comprehending so called insignificant happing and tells us that they are not as insignificant as they might appear to us.

When this act of thought is put into the context of ruling class ideas, it would appear that they try to harness this intellectual branch of study for the sheer political use. But this does not work as there is a problem.

The nature of philosophy is not passive and that it can stretch itself beyond the limits set by the governing class.

This happens in many a case that philosophy becomes a useful tool in the analysis of the existing mode and when it is taken to a step higher, it can give an impression of universality,

What would be the result if we go ahead and question the moral practice or preference of a given time? This question can help us understand that philosophy works as a double edged weapon, because of its social potential.

In a given point of time we question certain happenings in the society, for the simple reason that we do feel satisfied enough with those happenings.

This clash which takes place between the opposing views in th superstructure enables us to evolve new principles of behaviour. Due to this we start looking at the ideas and principle which are there in the present and are rooted in the past.

Let think that we take some ideas which have their roots in past and question their validity in the new situation of the present.

This will put us in a very different intellectual scenario. To use the Marx’s phrase, we will confront “reality withy reason”.

It is very much possible that while questioning the thoughts we are to an extent inspired by the development of other nations or at least we have those development in our mind. This gives the immensity to the course of philosophical discourse.

Q. 5. Postmodernism lays special emphasis on identity and difference. Discuss.

Ans. Departure From Modernism: Modernism, by respecting the role of reason, allowed society to seek solutions to many nagging problems which had been allowed to exist during medievalist.

Furthermore, by respecting the individual, modernism also encouraged the formation of protective individual rights.

But things went too far. Because modernism defines humanity in terms of the thinking self, it fails to understand the non-rational elements of human nature, including the spiritual. It also utterly fails to comprehend the limits of reason and objectivism.

In effect, modernism dehumanizes us by convincing us that we are only a small cog in a great mechanistic universe.

And modernism leads to a breakdown in human relationships by exalting individualism and analysis. On the whole, modernism has kept us from a relational, holistic approach to life.

Postmodernism seeks to correct the imbalances of modernism. It reminds us that we do not possess an unlimited potential to understand and change the world for our own purposes. Rather, we exist in the world and in relation to it

Postmodernism is a reaction to modernism. It corrects problems from the past, but also over-reacts to those problems, leading to an exaggeration.

So, the chief strengths of postmodernism are in what it corrects, and it’s chief weaknesses are in what it over-corrects.

Let’s look at an example. Under modernism, the prevailing theory of truth was known as the correspondence theory of truth.

That is, something was felt to be true in so much as it corresponds to objective reality found in the world. The correspondence theory of truth caused people to believe that scientific truth equals absolute truth.

Postmodernism corrects this by denying the equivalency between scientific truth and absolute truth.

All scientific conclusions are now understood to be tentative simply because no one has ever made the infinite number of observations required to learn if there are any exceptions,

So, postmodernism corrects modernism by helping us to understand the limits of our reasoning ability and knowledge. But postmodernism then presses things too far.
things too far.

Vhodshah am It adheres to a coherence theory of truth. That is, something is true for us only in so much as it coheres with our other perceptions about the world.

But this new theory of truth makes science to be just a collection of independent research traditions, each having its own perspectives and language games. But if taken to the extreme, this can lead to the absurd.

Modernism began in the 1890s and lasted till about 1945. Postmodernism began after the Second World War, especially after 1968.

Modernism was based on using rational, logical means to gain knowledge while postmodernism denied the application of logical thinking.

Rather, the thinking during the postmodern era was based on unscientific, irrational thought process, as a reaction to modernism. A hierarchical and organized and determinate nature of knowledge characterized modernism.

But postmodernism was based on an anarchical, non-totalized and indeterminate state of knowledge. Modernist approach was objective, theoretical and analytical while the post-modernism approach was based on subjectivity.

It lacked the analytical nature and thoughts were rhetorical and completely based on
belief.

The fundamental difference between modernism and postmodernism is that modernist thinking is about the search of an abstract truth of life while postmodernist thinkers believe that there is no universal truth, abstract or otherwise.

Modernism attempts to construct a coherent world-view whereas postmodernism attempts to remove the difference between high and low.

Modernist thinking asserts that mankind progresses by using science and reason while postmodernist thinking believes that progress is a only way to justify the European domination on culture.

Modernist thinking believes in learning from past experiences and trusts the texts that narrate the past. On the other hand, postmodernist thinking defies any truth in the text narrating the past and renders it of no use in the present times.

Modernist historians have a faith in depth. They believe in going deep into a subject to fully analyze it. This is not the case with postmodernist thinkers.

They believe in going by the superficial appearances, they believe in playing on surfaces and show no concern towards the depth of subjects.

Modernism considers the original works as authentic while postmodernist thinkers base their views on hyper-reality; they get highly influenced by things propagated through media.

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