INDIAN WRITING IN ENGLISH
BEGC 103 Solved Free Assignment 2022
Section – A
Q. 1. Explain the reference to the context the following.
(i) He even poured a little paraffin upon the bitten toe and put a match to it. I watched the flame feeding on my mother.
Ans. Context: These lines are taken from the poem Night of the Scorpion composed by Nissim Ezekiel.
Explanation: The poet remembers the dark rainy night when his mother was stung by Scorpion It was raining heavily, a scorpion had taken shelter, under a sack of rice.
When the poet’s mother went to get rice from the granary, the scorpion bit her and disappeared in the rain
The neighboring peasants came in large numbers with candles and lanterns. They chanted the name of God to paralyze the evil one, they wanted to stop the scorpion from moving.
They believed the effect of the poison would increase with the movement of the scorpion. They wanted to kill it, but it wasn’t found anywhere.
The poet’s mother was in great pain. The people prayed that all the sins of her previous birth be burnt. BEGC 103 Solved Free Assignment 2022
They believed the world to be unreal and wanted the pain to absolve all her sins, and decrease the sufferings of the next birth also. More and more people walked in. The poet’s mother continued to suffer and was in great pain.
(ii) And the way it carried off three village houses,
One pregnant woman
And a couple of cows
Named Gopi and Brinda, as usual.
Ans. Context: These lines are taken from the poem A River by A.K. Ramanujun.
Explanation: ‘A River’ by A.K. Ramanujan is a four stanza poem that is separated into uneven sets oflines. The first stanza contains sixteen lines, the second: eleven, the third: seven, and the fourth: fifteen.
They do not follow a specific rhyme scheme, but there are moments ofrepetition which help create rhythm.
Most clearly, there is a refrain that is used in the second stanza and the fourth, and is onlyslightly changed. The speaker describes what happened during this particular flood, andthen restates the same thing.
This works in two ways, first to emphasize the loss. But, at the same time, it also desensitizing the reader. One comes to expect tragedy, as those whoreside in the city do, and see it as another aspect of the flood/drought.
The poet had nowhere mentioned the name of any human individual but he gives the cows names of divine figures. BEGC 103 Solved Free Assignment 2022
This is to convey the importance of the cows to the villagers; the cows aresacred to the villagers and also their main source of livelihood.
(iii) Fed on God for years
All her feasts were monotonous
For the only dish was always God
And the rest mere condiments.
Ans. Context: These lines are taken from poem Blood composed by Kamala Das.
Explanation: The remorse that Kamala Das feels at havingfailed to abide by the values associated with the old house and the grandmother is more clearly expressed in the poem “Blood” which runs at two levels literal and allegorical.
At the literal level it describes the remote ancestry and the old blood of her family of which her great grandmother was the living example.
The great grandmother was deeply religious having been “fed on God for years”, and proud of the purity of her family’s blood. She was, however, greatly concerned about the threatened ruin of the old house.
(iv) Bangle sellers are we who bear our shining loads to the temple fair… Who will buy these delicate, bright Rainbow-tinted circles of light?
Ans. Context: these lines are taken from Bangle sellers composed by Sarojini Naidu
Explanation: The poem, ‘Bangle Sellers ‘, throws light on Sarojini Naidu’s view of Indian womanhood. BEGC 103 Solved Free Assignment 2022
The poem has the view that the delicate bright rainbow-tinted bangles are the lustrous token of the lives of women which should be radiant.
A woman’s first duty is to be happy since her happiness radiates happiness to others who come into contact with her. BEGC 103 Free Solved Assignment
Every woman should aspire to be a happy daughter and wife. Marriage to an Indian woman means much more than to a man since the woman is in most cases economically dependent.
Therefore, marriage is a turning point in a woman’s life. The poet says the heart’s desire of a bride is the rich red colour of her bangles.
The would-be bride reacts to the laughter of his close friends as they tease her about her coming marriage. BEGC 103 Solved Free Assignment 2022
She sheds tears as she leaves for her husband’s house. The bridal laughter and the bridal tears are like the bangles she wears, “Tinkling, luminous, tender and clear”.
‘Bangle Sellers’ relates to the different stages in a woman’s life and each stage has different bangles appropriate to it.
The “rainbow-tinted circles of light” carried by the bangle sellers to the temple fare are lustrous tokens of radiant lives/for happy daughters and happy wives’.
The poem focuses on the radiance and not on the desolation. The poem links the description with reflection in Bangle Sellers’. The poem has 4 stanzas of 6 lines each rhyming aa bb cc.
Section – B
Q1. Give a character sketch of The Master.
Ans. The Master is a Holyman, who befriends the tiger. He calls in the “Save Tiger Committee” to prevent the tiger from being shot by Alphonse, the hunter.
But when Alphonse gives a substantial bribe to the Committee members to get from them the permit to kill the tiger, the Master with his power of suggestion makes the drunk Alphonse go to sleep. BEGC 103 Solved Free Assignment 2022
After that he unlocks the door to let the tiger out of the headmaster’s room and leads him out of Malgudi towards the distant hills.
When the Master and the tiger passed through villages, the people were dumbstruck to see them and were became silent.
At one place, two groups of men were in a bloody fight and dispersed as soon as they saw the tiger and the Master.
The incidents made the Master comment that a tiger’s presence was a must in every town and village to maintain peace and discipline.
The Master thought it would be best to hand over Raja the tiger to the head of a zoo because he decided to attain Samadhi and as he would not be there to protect Raja from being attacked by the other creatures of the jungle, nor prevent him from starving to death.BEGC 103 Solved Free Assignment 2022
The Master, a man of prosperity, who participated in the Quit India Movement and lived at Ellemmna Street with his wife and children, left one night behind everything for seeking spiritual heights and to seek the illumination of a true Sanyasi.’
Very much in the manner of Sidhartha, he acted to merge his soul with the universal soul. Master is Raja’s transformer.
He brings about a drastic change in the life of the dreadful animal Raja. Acceping the Master, as his teacher Raja the tiger yields himself to the mysterious powers of Master and becomes his follower.
The two-the ‘Guru’ and ‘Chela (teacher and disciple) return to the green foliage of Memphis hills where they pass their days in philosophical speculations which mainly involve teaching of the Bhagwad Gita’.
The nameless Master of the tiger is undoubtedly a real saint who has obtained spiritual maturity and strength after ‘Sadhana. BEGC 103 Free Solved Assignment
‘Master’s wife appears at the end of the novel. Once, Master was experiencing spiritual pleasure in the company of the tiger.
Master saw a woman visitor coming and Master guided the tiger Raja to keep himself out of sight. Acting on the direction of Master Raja observed everything through leafage.
The woman was the master’s wife. As a faithful Indian wife, she laid down before master, which indicates her profound respect for her husband who has a noble soul.
Q. 2. Discuss the theme of feminism in the novel The Binding Vine.
Ans. The theme of Feminism: Feminism as a socio-economic-political movement started in the 18th and 19th centuries in Western countries.
The movement demanded the right to property, the right to vote, and other legal rights for women. Later the movement demanded equal rights for women and raised several other issues concerning women’s status in society.
In The Binding Vine, Shashi Deshpande depicts women’s submission, their lack of voice, society’s attitude to their suffering, and the abuse of women.
She also shows the changes in social perception. For example, Urmi certainly has more choices than her predecessors like Mira, Akka or Inni.
In this novel, men are absent except Dr. Bhaskar and Kalpana’s father. Kalpana’s father appears like a shadow and Dr. Bhaskar has a minor role to play,
However, men are powerfully depicted. The three main women characters around whom the novel revolves suffer indirectly because of their men.
Other women like Akka, Inni, Shakutai, and Sulu suffer directly. Thus, the novelist creates a world in which men impose their influence and women have no voice.
If they oppose or break their silence, they suffer like Kalpana. Only a woman like Urmi can speak out.BEGC 103 Solved Free Assignment 2022
Her raising of voice may not help Kalpana directly but it generates public opinion and creates awareness. After Kalpana’s rape case appears in the media, demonstrations were held and questions raised in Assembly.
The Binding Vine has a feminist theme because Shashi Deshpande has depicted women’s submission, their lack of voice, the society’s attitude to their suffering and the abuse of women in the novel.
She also presents the changes in social perception. For example, Urmi certainly has more choices than her predecessors like Mira, Akka or Inni.
Men are absent except Dr. Bhaskar and Kalpana’s father. Kalpana’s father appears like a shadow and Dr. Bhaskar has a minor role to play.
The three main women characters around whom the novel revolves suffer indirectly because of their men.
Other women like Akka, Inni, Shakutai and Sulu suffer directly. Thus, the novelist creates a world in which men impose their influence and women have no voice.
If they oppose or break their silence, they suffer like Kalpana. Only a woman like Urmi can speak out. BEGC 103 Solved Free Assignment 2022
For Mira, her husband’s love is suffocating. Urmi tried to know about her mother-in-law Mira through the old diaries and poems.
As Urmi reads her poems, she knows about her resentment to her husband’s assault on her body every night. She does not like sex.
She shows her unwillingness but her husband never tries to understand her. Urmi finds anger and resentment in the writings of her mother-in-law.
Mira could not have told her feelings to anyone so she consigned her deepest thoughts to her diaries.
when Urmi reads these writings many decades after the death of her mother-in-law she re-creates the personality of Mira and finds her to be a progressive person for her times.
Urmi plans to publish Mira’s poems but she has to consider various social and family factors before she publish the poems.BEGC 103 Free Solved Assignment
Q. 3. Critically analyze the poem A Riverete Limited
Ans. Interpretation: The poem, “A River”, is about a river in the ancient city of Madurai in the heart of Tamil Nadu.
Madurai is a “City of temples and poets”. In this city, the poets sing of cities and temples. The river Vaikai flows through Madurai, which has about two thousand years of Tamil culture. BEGC 103 Solved Free Assignment 2022
The river is “A point of departure for ironically contrasting the relative attitudes of the old and new Tamil poets, both of whom are exposed for their callousness to suffering, when it is so obvious, as a result of the floods”.
The poem has 39 lines. The first three lines tell us about the location of the river Madurai, a city of ‘temples and poets’.
The succeeding lines tell about the loss and havoc wrought by the devastating floods. In summer when the river grows lean and dry, it bares to the sight the sand, ribs, straw and women’s hair clogging the water gates, the bridges with patches of repair, and the wet and dry stones glistening in the sun.
The ancient poets sang only of the floods, not of the ruins and ravages caused by them. Ruins and ravages are highlighted in the lines that follow.
The ancient poet paid a casual visit to the river when it was in its full fury, and when the people talked of its speedy rising, submerging the ‘cobbled steps’ and the “bathing places, and when the stories were whispered around about the sweeping off the three village houses and the drowning of ‘one pregnant woman’ and ‘a couple of cows/ named Gopi and Brinda’.
His visit was no more than a pleasure trip or a curiosity trip undertaken in a sportive mood, for he was totally indifferent towards the losses and sorrows of the people.
The new poets have also adopted the same sort of attitude.
These poets never versified the agonies and miseries of the people of the drowning of the pregnant woman, with perhaps twins in her belly who died before their birth, of the carrying away of the three village houses and a couple of cows.
The poem may be a welcome attempt at showing the poet’s concern about the sufferers and the bereaved. It shows the poet’s sympathy for them.
Thus, it is a realistic portrayal of the people’s unmerited suffering at the hands of cruel and uncontrollable Doomsters, who often heap ‘travails and teens’ on humanity.
The poet shows his love not only for human beings but for all creatures. The poem may be titled River but is less about a river than about poetry itself.
Style BEGC 103 Solved Free Assignment 2022
The poet has used sweet and simple language in the poem. Lines and stanzas also vary. Imagery or symbolism has been used to convey compassion.
The tone is ironic, particularly in the portrayal of the indifferent attitude of the old and new poets towards the destructive role of the river. Village houses, pregnant woman, coins, and rivers are part and parcel of rural life.
The old city of Madurai owes greatly to the river for it is the seat of Tamil culture. If we keep the cultural efflorescence of many big Indian cities in mind,
we shall discover that it was mainly because of the positive contributions of the rivers and the seas, which served as the real source of conveyance and transportation in those good old days.BEGC 103 Solved Free Assignment 2022
Big cities like Delhi, Agra, Kanpur, Allahabad, Varanasi, Patna, Calcutta, Mumbai, Chennai, Madurai, and many others are all situated on the banks of the rivers and the sea.
The poet cannot think of the sand-ribs, straw, and women’s hair clinging to the water gates, the rusty bars under the bridges with patches of repair all over them.
They have neither time nor leisure for such things. They move about in this world like elfins or spirits, having no concern with the tragic sides of human existence.
Ramanujan has a unique tone of voice, a feather that accounts for the characteristic style of his poetry.BEGC 103 Solved Free Assignment 2022
Floods do not seem to affect anyone, its havoc goes unnoticed even by the ‘new’ poets who could be expected to be socially conscious but are not.
Their claims to be new or modern are exposed. Unable to shake off the burden of the past, they only repeat what the old poets have said.
Thus, the poem makes an oblique comment on the sterility of much of contemporary Tamil Poetry – an opinion that isn’t overtly stated.
When the river dries to a trickle in the sand,’ every summer, its sand ribsil are bared, its water gates are clogged with “straw and women’s hair,” and the wet stones thus exposed glisten like sleepy crocodiles.”
The dry ones look like “shaven water-buffaloes lounging in the sun.” These images are fresh, original and memorable.BEGC 103 Solved Free Assignment 2022
The poet adds that he visited the city for a day when they actually had the floods.
Again, we are given some vivid images of the rising river, of the pregnant woman being carried away, and of the almost comical pair of cows called Gopi and Brinda.
The poets ignored what all the people were talking about, but Ramanujan embellishes what happened during the floods by making the pregnant woman expect twins.
Q. 4. Discuss both the surface and deeper meaning of ‘The Lost Child’.
Ans. A little boy walks with his parents to the annual fair in Kangra. The lilt and joyous innocence of his excitement are contagious, and everything is a source of wonder and glee. Never had the dragonflies been so tempting.
Never had the blossoms been so redolently lovely. Never had nature been so rich and fecund.BEGC 103 Solved Free Assignment 2022
At the fair itself, the child is all eyes, all ears, agog at the color of the vast crowd, at the sounds of the hawkers’ cries, at the smells of those mouth-watering jalebis, at the many things to buy and amusements to enjoy.
Everything he sees, he wants – a burfi, a garland, colored balloons to owing all the while that he cannot have them.
Most miraculous of all is the ferric wheel before which the boy stands raptly for a long time. Its enticements prove too much: The instant, recognition! They were not there, and he was Lost.
How on a sudden lost. In that single stroke of separation from his parents, innocence and security had fallen away, replaced only by dread and fear and trembling.
Upon the heels of the all-too-sudden knowledge of aloneness comes another kind if knowledge, that if human callousness: Every little inch of space here was cogitated with men but he ran through people’s legs, his little son lingering: “Mother, father!”
The crowd became very thick: men jostled each other, heavy men, with flashing, murderous eyes and hefty shoulders. BEGC 103 Solved Free Assignment 2022
The poor child struggled to thrust away between their feet but, knocked to and fro by their brutal movements, he might have been trampled underfoot…
At last, one kind man protectively pucks up the boy. To distract and console him, he carries his charge from one stall to another.
Here, Anand parallels the end of the story with the beginning, fie they go back to the balloon man and to the roundabout and to the sweet vendor.
This time, though, the good man’s urgings that the child partake of all things that a little while before had been his heart’s desire are in vain.
In the last sentence of the prose poem, The child turned his face from the sweet shop and only sobbed: I want my mother, I want my father. BEGC 103 Free Solved Assignment
The subjective reality of mind, the pleasure principle, now is all gone, the conscience that is super-ego, punishes him by making him feel guilty.
This is revealed through his rejection of the objects around and his longing for his parents. The happy and excited face of the child in the beginning of the story stands in deep contrast to the sobbing, apprehensive face towards the end.
The child may be taken to represent human consciousness in the early stages of purity and innocence. BEGC 103 Solved Free Assignment 2022
It is only when he comes in contact with reality that he becomes really susceptible to experience. And the experience is not always pleasant or wholesome.
His parting from his parents implies fall from grace and banishment from Eden. He strays into the hell of his own making because he cannot resist temptations.
His fall, like Adam’s, is the result of his inordinate cravings and desires. The fact that he renounces the once-cherished pleasures gives promise of a return to grace.
The lost child also reminds of the aphorism of Guru Nanak that we are all children lost in the world fair” and thus emanates from a basic poetic impulse – the song of innocence and experience in the mind of man. BEGC 103 Free Solved Assignment
Anand has shared his obvious inclination towards the psychological sense of security on the top of the hierarchy of one’s basic needs.
As this sense of security is the natural corollary of kin-bonds, specifically the parent-child relationship, its loss inevitably may lead to the dread of isolation, frustration, even to neurosis. BEGC 103 Solved Free Assignment 2022
Anand seems to say that individual feels powerless, insecure, and isolated when the sense of securities offered by primary ties are withdrawn and he becomes aware of himself as a separate of the big family tree-taking whatever he has derived from the roots and developing his distinguished identity.
Section – C
Q. 1. Discuss the elements of satire, irony and humour in A Tiger for Malgudi, quoting examples from the text.
Ans. Satire, Irony and Humour: Satire, irony and humour are interrelated. Walter Allen says Narayan’s works are seemingly all-embracing, compassionate acceptance of the absurdities, pathos, frustrations of everyday life.
Narayan translates human qualities into his writing with the help of satire, irony and humour. BEGC 103 Solved Free Assignment 2022
Satire: It is a literary device used diminishing a subject by making it appear ridiculous. In this novel, A Tiger for Malgudi, the writer has used satire in different contexts.
For example, Raja, the tiger, passes satirical comments on human nature: “Human beings have their own theories. and it is always amusing to hear them think about us. Such ignorance and self-assurance!”
“For one used to the grand silence of the jungle, the noisy nature of humanity was distressing.”
“Tigers attack only when they feel hungry unlike human beings who slaughter one another without purpose or hunger.”
The Master also makes some satirical comments:
“Never use the words beast or brute. They are ugly words coined by man in his arrogance. Human beings think all other creatures are brutes’, awful word.”
“He is no brute…no more than any of you here.”
At the Collector’s office, Narayan satirises the behaviour of the officials who do not take prompt action on the tiger but insist on official formalities.
“The Collector observed them for a moment and said, ‘Have you brought your petition in writing?’ They looked terrified, having no notion of the world of letters.
The Collector felt compassionate and said, ‘I can’t take action unless there is a written petition.BEGC 103 Solved Free Assignment 2022
Go to a petition writer…. Get the petition on a stamp paper of one rupee and fifty paise and leave it with my clerk at the office. Then I’ll fix a date for inspection and take action.”
In the school scene also, there are satirical remarks on the overemphasis on official formalities.
While discussing the ways to get rid of the tiger, some teachers remark: “We can’t buy even a cane except through the D.P.I’s sanction.”
On the rampant corruption in government bifices and on cortupt officials, Narayanmakes his characters offer satirical comments as follows: “Every time we come, we bring him some offering: cucumbers or sugarcane, pumpkin, melon, or anything else.
Never see him bare-banded, and yet he is unhelpful.”
In the school scene. the Chairman of the local chapter of the Save Tiger Project who first does not allow Mr. Alphonse to shoot the tiger – declares the tiger a man-eater and gives written permission to Mr. Alphonse after accepting a substantial bribe from the latter. BEGC 103 Solved Free Assignment 2022
These instances show that Narayan’s satire is mild, and not bitter.
Trony: It is a device in which the writer uses a word or statement to say the opposite of what the literal meaning of the word is. In dramatic irony, the character is ignorant of a situation the author shares with the audience.
In this novel, when Captain proposes a trapeze act through a ring of fire, his wife Rita opposes it and says: “I’m not prepared to spare any of my girls or set fire to myself just to please your fancy. I’m not an orthodox wife preparing for sati.”
Ironically, Rita commits suicide (Sati) after her husband’s death.
Another ironic situation happens on the film set. Captain first refuses to use the whip or electric metal gadget on the tiger whom he loves but he uses the electric gadget on the tiger after he overcomes by greed for money.BEGC 103 Free Solved Assignment
Humour: It is a device in which incongruities of life are used to create a humorous situation.
The conversation between Captain and his wife is an example: “All our animals…are in excellent condition”, he boasted at breakfast.
“Yes” said his wife, they are tended better than your family”.
“You must say something unpleasant – otherwise you are never happy.” “Your beloved animals may also have something to say if they could speak.”
“While your wit and eloquence are reserved only for the tiger and the rest, I suppose.”
“Yes, they need introduction not you: why are you always talking like this? Something wrong with our horoscopes….” “Your horoscope and the tigers seem to be better matched,” She would say. BEGC 103 Solved Free Assignment 2022
Satire, irony, and humor are interrelated. Sometimes irony is present in satire and humor is present in satirical comments and ironical situations.
Q. 2. The Binding Vine is a stream of consciousness novel. Do you agree? Give reasons for your answers.
Ans. The Binding Vine as a Stream of Consciousness Novel: Stream of consciousness refers to a narrative technique by which a writer chooses to tell his story.
William James used this phrase for the first time to characterize the unbroken flow of thought and awareness in the waking mind.
James’ reference was to psychology. In literature, when a story runs in the mind of the main character, his senses seem to work in the past.
The character remembers his past and the flow of thought takes us back and forth. The thoughts, memories, feelings, and past associations create the world of the novel.
We see and feel everything in relation to the character. To describe the scenes, the novelist uses interior monologue, long introspective passages, flashbacks, dreams and fantasies. BEGC 103 Solved Free Assignment 2022
In interior monologue, the characters reveal their thoughts and feelings by talking to themselves.
The time is not clock time; it is psychological time. Clock time is a measure to determine the time in terms of duration-hours days, weeks, months and years.
Psychological time has no relation to clock time; it is experienced by the individual and is subjective. Psychological time shifts constantly from past to present and to the future.
Many writers have used the stream of consciousness technique but we cannot say that they all followed a similar pattern.
They have perfected it from time to time by making minor changes, keeping the main pattern intact. BEGC 103 Solved Free Assignment 2022
The Binding Vine is a stream of consciousness novel because it is told from the consciousness of the main character, Urmi.
It is through Urmi’s laments that what happened to Urmi, her daughter died and she is grief-stricken. Her consciousness works through associations.
Anu’s death reminds Urmi of Baiajji’s death, and Baiajji reminds her of her girlhood days in Randburg. We know about Urmi’s staying with her grandparents through her thoughts going back and forth reveal this fact.
From her conversation, interior monologue and her thoughts, we know her feelings.
Her childhood was a happy one, but she missed her parents and held Inni her mother, responsible for sending her away.
Urmi often makes use of the interior monologue when she comments on life situations and Mira’s philosophy of life.
For example, we do not know that Mira was raped in marriage; we only know that she dreaded her husband’s advances.BEGC 103 Solved Free Assignment 2022
Urmi comments. “What has happened to Kalpana happened to Mira too”.
This comment is not spoken out, it is nonverbal and yet, it is revealing. A powerful example of interior-monologue is Urmi’s summing up at the end of the novel.
It gives us solid proof of Urmi’s optimism, her philosophy of life, her strength, and her success in getting over her grief. At the beginning of the novel she resolves,
“I will not break” and by the end, she shows that she is not broken.
The time used is psychological time but it is intermingled with clock-time in the Kalpana episode. Kalpana’s rape takes place in the present but we know through Shakutai.
Now, it is Shakutai’s memory that is at work. The prese is revealed with the day-to-day happenings in Shakutai’s life – Sulu’s suicide, her husband’s visit, and Prakash’s wayward behavior.
Shakutai reminiscences only when she is recounting some past experience. Otherwise, it is her present that is more saddening and the future that is scary.
During this period, Urmi also lives in the present and records her movements in clock-time, like her visit to darhaskar, her stroll on the sea-shore and the second visit of Amrut. Past and present mingle. BEGC 103 Solved Free Assignment 2022
Q. 3. Write a detailed note on the rise, development and the main characteristics of the short story
Ans. The Rise and Development of the Short Story: Interest in stories is as old as human history.
Before the art of writing was known, early human beings must have narrated tales to one another.
They were perhaps transmitted by word of mouth from one generation to the next. The oldest recorded example is perhaps the Egyptian tale of The Two Brothers dating from 3200 B.C.
The Jataka and Panchatantra tales are India’s contribution to the world of stories and have continued to interest people through the ages.
These along with fables of Aesop, stories in the Bible, and the tales from the Arabian Nights are all precursors of the short story.
The Rise of the Short Story
The short story as a literary form emerged in the early 19th century. However, the term ‘short story was used BEGC 103 Solved Free Assignment 2022
The Development of the Short Story
We will know about some well-known story writers, who were masters of this art.
Nathaniel Hawthorne (1804-1864): He is an American novelist and a short story writer.
Edgar Allan Poe (1809-1849): Poe is a famous 19th-century American short story writer. Both Hawthorne and Poe have written about the unusual and the terrible.
Their stories are full of horror and the supernatural. Poe’s ‘The Masque of the Red Death’ is an appealing short story.
Guy de Maupassant (1850-93): A French writer, Maupassant is one of the masters of the short story.
He wrote about the private joys and sorrows of individuals instead of about momentous events.
With his acute observation, he portrayed the world as he saw it. His stories move swiftly and logically giving only the essential details of character and situation.
His stories end with a sting in the tailor an ironic twist that takes the reader by surprise. ‘The Necklace’ is an example. BEGC 103 Solved Free Assignment 2022
A pretty and vain young wife of a clerk wants a higher social status and borrows a diamond necklace from a rich friend to wear at the Minister’s ball.
She is a tremendous success as even the Minister notices her, but the fabulous evening brings the seeds of tragedy, for she loses the necklace.
She suffers a ten-year period of drudgery and deprivation to buy a necklace to replace the lost one.
When she finally reveals this to her friend, from whom she had borrowed the necklace, the friend remarks: ‘But mine was fake!’ This, then, is the stingin-the-tail, a technique that Anton Chekov (1860-1904), the Russian master of the story also adopted.
Chekov’s stories probe the tragic element of the small things in life.
The Kiss ‘ is the story of a shy young man who, during a dinner party, ventures into a dark room and he is kissed by a young lady who had probably mistaken him for her lover.
The young man develops an absurd romantic dream around the incident which only shatters when he finally realizes that the kiss was not meant for him. Chekov explores the pathos of the situation.
R.L. Stevenson (1850-1894): His stories feature evil action and moral corruption. Thomas Hardy’s (1840-1928) Wessex Tales carry a sense of tragedy that pervades all Hardy’s work. BEGC 103 Solved Free Assignment 2022
Henry James (1843-1946) and Joseph Conrad (1857-1924) were interested not so much in brevity as in form.
The conventional short story has a beginning, a middle, and an end. Stories written at present are more open-ended, in the sense that there is no clear beginning, middle, and end. In India, the short story as a literary form is popular in all the regional languages.
Many of the short stories written in vernacular languages are translated into English. Mulk Raj Anand, R.K. Narayan, Raja Rao, Anita Desai, and Kamala Das are some of the famous Indian short story writers in English. BEGC 103 Free Solved Assignment
Writers are now writing different types of short stories. There are short stories published by popular periodicals and literary short stories.
These stories are racy and full of interesting incidents. We read them for enjoyment. When we read a literary short story, we get enjoyment and get an understanding of life and human nature. BEGC 103 Solved Free Assignment 2022
What is a Short Story?
A short story is a piece of prose fiction complete in itself and of a moderate length. It means all stories written in verse cannot be called short stories.
Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, written in the closing years of the 14th century, can be an interesting collection of stories, but as they cannot be taken as examples of the short story because they are written in verse.
A short story is different from a tale or fable because it is not just a story but a complex and developed literary form that can be traced only to the early 19th century.
A tale is primarily an oral form. The oral tradition of storytelling still exists in villages where generations of children, sitting around the fire on a winter evening, still listen to stories of fairies, gods, and demons.
A fable is a short tale that usually gives a moral. The characters in a fable are generally animals talking like human beings. Panchtantra is a collection of fables.
Short stories are also different from parables. A parable is a story that presents a moral. The contemporary short story also has meaning, but it is not a parable because that meaning in itself is not important. BEGC 103 Solved Free Assignment 2022
A short story is also different from an anecdote that relates an interesting happening or a series of happenings or events. A short story may also present these events.
In a short story, these happenings or events are not important in themselves but are a manifestation of the true nature and significance of a character or situation.
How ‘Short’ is a Short Story?
Edgar Allan Poe (1809-1849) says that a short story requires from half an hour to one or two hours in its perusal. Given below is a prize-winning short story:
I was on the train from London to Edinburgh.
There was this man, seated across from me.
Do you believe in ghosts?’ he said,
‘No’, I said,
It looks more like an anecdote. Most stories are anecdotal but in a short story, the events are not important in themselves but usually highlight a character/characters or situation.
There are very short stories or rather long ones like those of Joseph Conrad (1857-1924) which can be called novellas. A novella is somewhere between a short story and the novel in length.
What is a Short Story About?
A short story can be about anything. It may be about a scene, a series of connected incidents, a moral issue, an aspect of life, a phase of character, or an interesting experience. BEGC 103 Solved Free Assignment 2022
A short story illuminates some aspects of life or characters. A well-written short story must convey the impression of completeness. Stories must have organic unity.
It does not mean just a unity of a beginning, a middle and an end Stories must have an organic whole. Without an arm, the body is no longer an organic whole but is mutilated.
What is it that matters in a Short Story?
A short story defies the exact definition. An effective short story however must arouse and hold the reader’s interest and must convey a sense of completeness, in a style that suits the content. BEGC 103 Free Solved Assignment
Q. 4. Why is it important for protagonist to learn swimming in the story Swimming Lessons’?
Ans. Learning swimming is important for the protagonist because he feels that he must know swimming to be one among the Canadians otherwise he would just be an outsider who was living with them but was not one of them.
His initial inability to swim is symbolic of the difficulties he faces as an immigrant.
But his resolve to take lessons in swimming and consequently to swim would make him like the other Canadians whose culture he would assimilate.
Swimming has been used as a metaphor for his acceptability by the new culture.
Rohinton Mistry’s “Swimming Lessons” is not very dramatic. Very little actually happens in the story and the narrator seems to miss a lot of what does happen until other characters point it out to him.BEGC 103 Solved Free Assignment 2022
There are some minor social interactions, numerous finely-turned descriptions of scenes from the narrator’s daily life, and several cutaways to his memories and scenes of his mother and father in Bombay.
But altogether, it is certainly not the short story as envisioned by Edgar Allen Poe, who invented the genre and thought it should focus on a single compelling dramatic
Nor is it like the short fiction of James Joyce, whose addition to the genre was the concept of the “epiphany,” or sudden psychological realization on the part of a central character, as an alternative to Poe’s single effect.
Mistry’s closest historical model is the turn-of-the-century Russian writer and dramatist Anton Chekhov, whose “psychological realism” chronicled the ordinary lives of pre-revolutionary Russia’s middle class.
While avoiding dramatic scenes, Chekhov gave readers insights into the hearts and minds of his believable and sympathetic, if shabby, characters.
Likewise, Mistry explores the loneliness and anxieties of his modern ensemble of unremarkable people. BEGC 103 Solved Free Assignment 2022
His characters fill today’s sterile apartment complexes rather than estates on the outskirts of Moscow, but the feeling is the same.
Nothing happens, sentences never quite get completed, even the title event of the story, the swimming lessons, don’t work out and are quietly dropped.
Just beneath the surface, however, the characters lead lives of quiet desperation and make bumbling attempts to reach out to each other.
They engage our sympathy because Mistry makes them real and likable despite their pettiness and quirks.
The narrator in the story undertakes creative writing in order to understand both the present and the new cultures.
At the outset, it appears as if the story collection is a substitute for the narrator’s weather-report-like letters to his parents.
It also shows how he is recreating his past and childhood through memories of his life in Firozesha Baag. BEGC 103 Solved Free Assignment 2022
The story portrays Kersi as having taken yet another step in the process of adaptation, without losing his roots. It is the only one story that is fully set in Canada.
However, even here the Canadian world is juxtaposed with Indian memories. The maximum impact of displacement and alienation is reflected in this story.
It also deals with his personal identity, recollections of his homeland, and his adjustment to a new ambiance.
Kersi attempts to yoke the realities of existence in Bombay and Toronto and discover the true essence of human existence, which is the same community.
He explores the problem of dual identity that must necessarily shift its precincts. Though he sheds his ethnic identity in Canada, the white society is still not home”.
The protagonist in this story is an exile in the true sense of the term since he faces rejection in the white man’s land. Here, the protagonist is not a native’ but an immigrant who may be viewed negatively by the white majority.
Q. 5. Discuss the theme of the poem Enterprise by Nissim Ezekiel.
Ans. The poem ‘Enterprise ‘has reference to the fallouts of frustration in a barbaric city. It is an allegory of the pilgrimage theme with a suggestion of futility.
The journey from the city to the hinterland is a metaphor for contrived change from frustration to fulfillment. BEGC 103 Solved Free Assignment 2022
Even here a ‘shadow falls’ on the group because “Differences arose/On how to cross a desert patch”.
The group ignores the thunder which is nothing but the inner voice of a man. It should have guided the group.
A man deprived of the inner voice or insensitive to the call of his own soul invariably rushes into impediments. There is complete disillusionment at the end of the journey.
Instead of bringing any sense of fulfillment, the trip had only darkened every face’. The pilgrims are like the Magi in Eliot’s poem.
The futility of the whole enterprise, the struggles on the way, the deprivations the group undergoes, and the failure to compromise the intention of the journey with its end are succinctly brought out in the final clinching line of the poem: Home is where we have to gather grace.
Enterprise indicates that the word has vast symbolic potential. It could refer to something as broad as the independence of India or it could even be a critique of romantic idealism.
There is a gradual progression of moods in the poem, from hope, almost to despair at the end, but what gives the poem both coherence and strength is the detached realism of the speaker’s voice. BEGC 103 Solved Free Assignment 2022
As the observer, witness and narrator, he holds a grim commitment to the truth of the moment, never letting himself slide into rage or self-pity.
The poem is also a rewriting of the ancient Biblical story of the Exodus. Here, the journey is to a promised land across deserts, but after all the travails and hardships, it isn’t all that fulfilling in the end.
A question mark is placed on the very value of such ventures. The poet concludes: “Home is where we have to earn our grace.”
This longer line has a lot of narrative weight in it, coming as it does at the very conclusion of the poem BEGC 103 Solved Free Assignment 2022
The attitude that the poet encourages then, maybe called “stay at home” – stay where you are and all things will come to you.
No need to embark upon ambitious enterprises. The poem also criticizes all those who like the great imperialists and colonialists sought their fortunes upon distant shores.
Or else, this is an interrogation of all grand narratives with their false promises.
Such questions are not answered precisely but enough information is provided to give us a sense of what they are about.
It would be a good idea to make a careful inventory of all the information that is offered in the poem. BEGC 103 Free Solved Assignment
How is this information controlled? What sort of gaps exists? How do these gaps enhance the richness of the text? As a modern poem, “Enterprise” offers rich dividends to the sort of close reading that New Critics recommend.
While many poets are satisfied with just a glimpse of the truth, Ezekiel probes the feelings of personal loss and deprivation till ultimately he reaches the core of truth.
This is one of his main characteristics. Scores of his poems
are obviously written for personal and therapeutic purposes.
In this poem, a situation is viewed with an ironic angle with a hope that it would offer some consolation, a still point, or some momentary stay against the feelings of loss and deprivation. BEGC 103 Solved Free Assignment 2022
The enterprise which was started as a pilgrimage ultimately filled a sense of loss in the group members. Some were broken, some merely bent’ Ezekiel says.
The concluding stanza throws light on the whole event.
This is the tragedy of modern humanity where every enterprise ends in futility. Life is like a pathless wood and there is no purpose in taking up any enterprise.
The Vedic man according to Nissim Ezekiel’s philosophy moved from darkness to light. Hence this enterprise was meaningful. BEGC 103 Free Solved Assignment
But the modern man is simply a misfit for noble missions. Like Eliot’s Prufrock or Audents ‘hero he wastes a valuable life afflicted by fear in trivial acts.
The pilgrims in the ‘Enterprise’ ignore the call of conscience and consequently some are broken, some bent.
The poet makes an emotive use of language and through that emotive use of language he reaches the conclusion, “Home is where we gather grace”.
Like a Frost poem, ‘Enterprise’, begins in delight and ends in wisdom. The delight is in taking up the enterprise, in taking up the action.
Without action, no human being can live. Wisdom constitutes in the darkened faces and in their discovery that there was nothing unique about them.
The poem can be meaningfully related to Lord Krishna’s conception of Karma Yoga which expects us to remain active and to submit ourselves to law and duty.
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