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BEGC-110: British Literature: 19th Century

BEGC-110: British Literature: 19th Century

IGNOU Solved Assignment Solution for 2022-23

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Assignment Code: BEGC-110/2022-2023

Course Code: BEGC-110

Assignment Name: British Literature: 19th Century

Year: 2022-2023

Verification Status: Verified by Professor


Maximum Marks 100


Answer all Questions

Section A


Q.I Explain with reference to context the following lines: 4 x 5 = 20


(i) Let us swear an oath, and keep it with an equal mind,

In the hollow Lotos-land to live and lie reclined

On the hills like Gods together, careless of mankind.

Ans) The above lines are taken from ‘The Lotos-eaters’ by Alfred Lord Tennyson. In this poem, Tennyson has arranged the words in such a way that makes them sound like music. This makes the reader very impressed. It makes sense and sounds good at the same time. By using contrasts well, the poet is able to bring up both the calm place where the mariners are now and their rough past.


The first thing the speaker says is that the Lotos grows everywhere they look. It can live in places that are both dry and wet. They say they will take an oath to ignore the rest of humanity and only do enough work to lie around on the island and eat lotos. Now, the sailors agree to make a promise and stick to it ("with an equal mind"). They will always live in the land of the Lotos. They will live and relax in their new home. But wait, that word "hollow" comes up again. Because they are in a valley, that could just mean "low." Most of the time, though, we don't think of good things when we hear that word. We also associate it with nothingness, lying, and being on the surface. Lotos-land might not be so great after all. They will be like gods, watching people but not getting in their way. This is not a true picture of the Greek gods, who were most famous for not being able to stay out of people's lives. They were always changing the way things went in the past. The sailors say that this is how they think the Gods spend all their time. The sailors want to be like the gods of ancient Greece. They want to sit together in the hills, like the gods do on Mount Olympus. They won't care about what happens to other people or be "careless." They think they will finally be free from all of life's hard work.

(ii) No! let me taste the whole of it, fare like my peers,

The heroes of old,

Bear the brunt, in a minute pay glad life’s arrears

of pain, darkness and cold.

Ans) The above lines are taken from ‘Prospice’ by Robert Browning. In the poem, Browning talks about death in the form of a dramatic monologue. In the whole poem, he uses dark images to show what death is like. This imagery is what the speaker stands up against and fights against. So, he won't crawl to his death. Instead, he will face it with courage and resolve. Because behind the dark doors is a reward for him: the light. His true love. This dark imagery is put next to the light at the end of "Prospice" to give a hopeful view of death.


In the lines above, the first line backs up this view. The person speaking wants to "taste all of it." He wants to know what's going on when it's his turn. So, he is hopeful that he can deal with what death brings. In the next line, the words "heroes of old" are used. This shows that the person speaking is brave and will face death with his head held high. No one will be able to hide.

(iii) One summer morn forsook

His friends, and went to learn the gypsy lore,

And roam'ed the world with that wild brotherhood,

And came, as most men deem'd, to little good,

But came to Oxford and his friends no more.

Ans) The above lines are taken from ‘The Scholar Gipsy’ by Matthew Arnold. It is based on a storey about a professor who quit his job to join a group of gipsies. Here, Matthew Arnold shows how he feels about the loss of a way of life. It's a record of a sick society and way of life. Modern life is a disease. He didn't like the stress and tension of modern life at all. What he liked about village life was how peaceful and quiet it was. This is what he's sad about here. England was becoming more industrialised, and the farming way of life was slowly going away. People from the country moved to the city to look for work, and this led to slums, dirt, and violence. Peace and quiet in the country were being replaced by violence, stress, and tension in the city. Arnold is sad about this.


Glanvil's book The Vanity of Dogmatizing was lying next to him on the grass. It told the storey of a poor Oxford scholar who left his studies and friends to join a group of gipsies. He went all over the world with this wild tribe and never came back. The poet says he had read this storey many times. In fact, Arnold used this storey from Glanvil's book as the inspiration for his poem "The Scholar Gypsy." In this sentence, he is holding Glanvil's book, in which he has read the storey of the poor Oxford scholar who, when he couldn't find a job, left his friends and went to learn gypsy folklore, never to return to Oxford or his friends.

(iv) Then joining hands to little hands

Would bid them cling together,

“For there is no friend like a sister

In calm or stormy weather;

Ans) The above lines are taken from ‘Goblin Market’ by Christina Rossetti. The poem is about how people can be tempted, fall, and be saved. Even though Rossetti said it was a poetic fairy tale, most people agree that it is a very sexual work that explores a common theme of his: what happens to the woman who has fallen. We follow Laura's path into temptation and thinly veiled lust, which leaves her broke and unsatisfied in the world. Her sister Lizzie comes to her rescue and shows her where she went wrong. Together, they tell the storey as a warning to future generations, so they won't give in to temptation.


As Laura tells the storey to her kids, she tells them that "there is no friend like a sister/In calm or stormy weather." This means that sisters should stick together. Sisters "save" each other and make each other stronger. At the end of the poem, Laura gives her children a lesson. With this ending, it seems like the storey may be a metaphor for addiction or losing one's innocence, but the main message is that sisters are important. People often said that Rossetti's poems had strong feminist undertones, and it looks like that's the case here.

Section B


Q. II Answer the following questions in about 300 words each: 4 x 5 =20


1. What role did the women play in the French Revolution as seen in A Tale of Two Cities?

Ans) The women in the book are a big part of how the other characters and the plot develop. The women in the book are used as building blocks to show how powerful and manipulative women are over men. Lucie Manette's character has all the qualities that are needed to have power and influence over men, and her interactions with other male characters show what other characters are like. Charles Dickens shows Lucie as a fragile, kind, and delicate woman who goes from being a daughter to being a wife and mother without a hitch. The storey is about Lucie and what she does and thinks. Through Lucie, the author shows how caring and loving women are, how they support the men in their lives, and how the love of a woman can heal and change men.


Madame Defarge takes charge of the horrible things that are happening during the French Revolution, like murders and bad plans. At that time, people didn't think that a woman would be involved in brutal murders and be a leader. She goes against all the traditional roles for women and instead becomes the leader of a group of angry people during the French Revolution. She has to deal with the deaths of people she cares about, which drives her to seek revenge and hate. Also, the author shows Madame Defarge as a woman who acts the same as and sometimes even better than her husband. Unlike most women of that time, she doesn't stay at home. Instead, she's always in the wine shop with her husband, defying the roles that society gives women.


Miss Pross was a big part of what it means to be a mother. She proved to be Lucie's real mother, but she also did more than that. She cared for her "ladybird" Lucie with all her heart. She took care of Lucie Manette when her father was in jail, even though she didn't have to. Lucie is the only person Miss Pross cares about, and her love for her is unbounded and endless. She is a loyal, honest, kind, and good woman who stood by the Manette family through every hard time and fought until her last breath to keep Lucie safe.


Charles Dickens shows that women have many different sides through these characters. He also shows that women play an important role in the lives of men. Dickens shows that women can be anything, whether it's a mother, a nurse, a soldier, or a leader. It's pointless to limit them to stereotypes, and it's stupid to think that women can only be weak and gentle. In every field, women are just as good as men, and sometimes they are even better.


2. Trace the theme of fatalism in the novel The Mayor of Casterbridge.

Ans) The book The Mayor of Casterbridge is about fate and how it affects people's lives. It makes it clear that life in general is just an episode of a drama and that fate, not a god, is in charge. The book shows Henchard's fate and the things that happen to him that he can't change but that are controlled by his fate and lead to his tragic fall. When Henchard was drunk, he sold his wife Susan and Elizabeth Jane to Richard Newson in the inn for five guineas. This was the first step in Henchard's fate. After this happened, Henchard was doomed, even though he didn't sell his wife and daughter on purpose. Instead, he did it because he was drunk. In search of his wife and daughter, fate and destiny led him to Casterbridge, where he starts a new life as the owner of his own farm business.


Henchard's life was always going to be hard, and he couldn't do anything to make the things he wanted happen. Henchard could see what he wanted, but different things kept him from getting what he wanted. His wife was controlled by fate, and most of what he did in the past was because he played with the situations around him. It can also be seen in the book, where Henchard's life was controlled by fate, which caused his business to fail. Henchard's farm was going downhill because the seasons were changing. He wanted Donald Farfrae to help him, but he soon found out that he was hitting on his daughter Elizabeth. This made him angry, so he fired him. When Henchard tries to blackmail Lucetta, the furmity woman shows up and soon finds out that Henchard sold his wife. This hurt his reputation in Casterbridge a lot, and it's ironic that Lucetta's letters to Henchard were also made public, which led to her death. This is also another part of fate in which Henchard is just a puppet and the whole situation is out of Henchard's control and being run by fate.


3. What poetic devices has Browning employed in his poem ‘Meeting at Night’?

Ans) The poetic devices used by Browning in his poem ‘Meeting at Night’ are as follows:


  1. Alliteration: The poet uses alliteration to create a rhythm just like the waves of the sea. For example:

a) The grey sea and the long black land;

b) And the yellow half-moon large and low;

c) As I gain the cove with pushing prow,

d) A tap at the pane, the quick sharp scratch


2. Caesura: The poet gives a pause in the ending lines of the second stanza to suggest a normal conversation. For example:

a) A tap at the pane, the quick sharp scratch

b) And a voice less loud, thro’ its joys and fears,


3. Onomatopoeia: The poet uses Onomatopoeia so that readers could exactly understand what the speaker was doing. For example:

a) And quench its speed i’ the slushy sand.

b) A tap at the pane, the quick sharp scratch


4) End-stopped Lines: The poet uses end-stopped lines to give a poetic and rhythmic effect to the poem. For example:

a) And quench its speed i’ the slushy sand.

b) Then a mile of warm sea-scented beach;

c) And blue spurt of a lighted match,


5) Polysyndeton: The poet uses polysyndeton to suggest the seemingly endless nature of the speaker’s journey, there is always one step, followed by another and then another. For example:

a) And the yellow half-moon large and low;

b) And the startled little waves that leap

c) And blue spurt of a lighted match,


6) Enjambment: A few examples of enjambment from the poem include:

a) And the startled little waves that leap

b) In fiery ringlets from their sleep,

c) A tap at the pane, the quick sharp scratch

d) And blue spurt of a lighted match.


4. Write a critical appreciation of the poem ‘The Splendour Falls’.

Ans) The poem is full of vivid images and lyrical allusions. It covers a wide range of ideas, from elves living in a parallel world to the memories and echoes we leave behind when we die. The poem is made up of different ideas, and poetic devices make it more interesting to read. When the word "splendour" falls, the whole meaning of the poem comes out. So, the title is strange and tells us to expect an unsettling tone and a strange, magical valley. Another beautiful thing about this poem is that it asks philosophical questions and has dramatic rhetoric.

Nature has its own way of doing things that has nothing to do with the way people live or what they do. And yet, there may be times when the two are the same. Tennyson's lyrics do a beautiful job of capturing these kinds of times. Some of his lyrics are good examples of pathetic fallacy, which is the idea that the world reflects the poet's or persona's feelings. You should pay attention to how Tennyson uses action verbs like falls, shakes, leaps, flies, dies, blows, replies, and flies to show how the scene changes quickly. Both the light and the sounds change. They move on their own, which affects the things around them. But what's more important is how they make the speaker feel.

Section C


Q. III Answer the following questions in about 600 words each: 4 x 15 = 60


1. Write a detailed note on Dickens’ representation of the French revolution.

Ans) Dickens uses a lot of different techniques in A Tale of Two Cities to give the revolution the brightest colours possible. At the most basic level, he uses the images of blood-drinking and eating that are used in so much English writing about the French Revolution in the 1800s, from conservative pamphlets and newspapers to Carlyle's more famous account. In A Tale of Two Cities, the idea of blood-wine is brought up in a vague way. When the poor people of St. Antoine rush to drink the red wine that has been spilled on the street, we react most to their poverty. When a "tall joker" dips his finger in the red wine and writes "Blood" on a nearby wall, we think that a connection is being made between an oppressed people and a bloody revolution, which is a fair assumption. On the other hand, the new meaning that wine takes on already links the people to the act of blood drinking, and when Dickens talks about "the tigerish smear around the mouth" of one of the partygoers, it becomes impossible to separate the idea of the revolutionary masses from the idea of cannibalism.


As the book goes on, the blood imagery loses its more positive meanings, like freedom, sacrifice, or the idea that revolution is a justifiable response to oppression and becomes more and more linked to being a predator.


Dickens writes directly about what is going on in France, and blood becomes La Guillotine's main food:

Lovely girls, bright women, brown haired, dark haired and grey youths; stalwart men and old; gentle born, and peasant born; all red wine for La Guillotine, all daily brought into light from dark cellars of loathsome prisons, and carried to her through the streets, to slake her devouring thirst.


This idea that the revolution was just a long time of killing each other gives Dickens a reason to show the revolution not as a series of real events but as a nightmare. In the scene where the men and women come to the grindstone to sharpen their weapons, Dickens is not so much interested in describing what life was like in Paris during the French Revolution as he is in putting together images that make the reader feel like they are in hell.

In A Tale of Two Cities, as in a lot of conservative writing about the French Revolution, the events of the 1790s are associated not only with blood and gore, but also with the complete breakdown of both civil and natural order. Burke's idea of the revolution was based on the idea that the revolutionary lawmakers were in "a violent hurry" to tear everything down. In A Tale of Two Cities, the way the revolutionary courts work shows that "order" has broken down.


Dickens says the following about the jury that tries Darnay:

Looking at the jury and the turbulent audience, he might have thought that the usual order of things was reversed, and that the felons were trying the honest men. (Book III)


In these circumstances, it's not surprising that Darnay is found guilty based on the testimony of his own father-in-law, which is the most "unnatural" thing that could happen. A lot of what Dickens says about the French Revolution is based on the idea of "unnaturalness." It shows up in Dickens's frequent references to the drought, which historians say was one of the reasons for the revolution, but which Dickens portrays as one of its effects. It also shows up in the jokes about the guillotine and, most of all, in how the French Revolution seems to have blurred the lines between men and women. Almost all of the conservative people who wrote about the French Revolution were horrified by how women were "desexualized" during that time.


2. “Character is destiny and destiny is character.” Discuss this statement keeping in mind Henchards role in the novel The Mayor of Casterbridge.

Ans) Michael Henchard is a powerful, active man. He has some good qualities, but they are very different from the things about him that are less good. So, even though Henchard has obvious flaws, he is still able to love deeply. He gets strong enough to suffer quietly for his own sins, and it is his willingness to take the wrath of the gods that gives him great stature.


Henchard's character in The Mayor of Casterbridge seems to be true to this idea. The rise and fall of his career show how much power fate has. Henchard's life has not gone in a straight line, though. Hardy has given him so many traits that go against each other that he often seems like a clumsy and unrealistic character. People who are against determinism don't believe in fate. It's one reason why critics still argue about Hardy's book.


Thomas Hardy shows Henchard as a strong-willed man who has taken on too much in his life. He gives in to these pressures, and in the end, he dies a low death. Whether it's because he's poor or because of bad luck, Henchard ends up making a mess of his life. Hardy has shown that he has some flaws, such as an odd temper that can cloud his judgement and cause him to make bad choices. Henchard is a complicated person who is hard for people who care about him to handle. He also doesn't want to be understood too much, but he wants to be successful and is torn between his personal feelings and his ambition. He has left his family behind, or his family has left him. Hardy makes connections between Henchard's life and things like fate and sin to show that even though people are strong, they are still subject to natural forces. In this way, he has given Henchard more depth and made the readers feel sorry for him. The best thing about Hardy is that he made a person who sold his wife, which is a terrible thing to do, into a hero who is worth caring about. At least Henchard stays that way for most of the book.


Chance and coincidence play a big part in how Hardy builds his plots. Most people would think that selling a wife is unlikely. Also, it seems unlikely and sudden that Newson would come back from the dead to ruin Henchard's happiness. Chance is shown by the fact that Lucetta doesn't show up when Henchard wants to return her letters and that these same letters end up in the wrong hands. Again, the bad weather can be seen as another bad turn of events. It is quite a coincidence that the same furmity woman who saw the wife-sale at Weydon-Priors shows up in faraway Casterbridge to recognise and report Henchard, who was judging her.


The question is not whether or not these things could have happened. The point is that one man keeps getting into trouble. When The Mayor of Casterbridge came out, Hardy was afraid that the book would be called "improbable" by critics. He didn't think it was important to tell common stories. He thought that a storey should be told only if it was "worth telling." To put it simply, the storey must be different. Because of this, we shouldn't just look for things that happen in real life. Even though the plot depends on luck and coincidence, it is well put together. Some readers think Hardy's plot doesn't give his characters a good chance of making it through.


3. Critically analyse Browing’s ‘My Last Duchess’.

Ans) In the first line of the poem, the Duke of Ferrara points to a portrait of a woman on the wall. He says that this woman was his previous Duchess. He also talks about how lifelike the portrait is. He then says that it's a great piece of art and praises Fra Pandolf's skill, saying that it took him a full day of work to get the portrait to where it is now. He then tells the envoy to take a seat and look at the painting. So far, he had found that whoever saw the portrait always asked him, if they were brave enough, how the Duchess got that look on her face. In another aside, the Duke says that only he is allowed to pull back the curtain that covers the portrait. He tells the ambassador that he's not the first person to ask him about it.


In a slightly ironic way, the Duke tells the envoy that his Duchess's face didn't light up with happiness just because he was there. He says that the painter probably said something normal about how the lady's mantle was placed. The Duchess was easily pleased by such niceties, which made her smile. The Duke, who knows how to talk to people well, takes a moment to think of the right word to describe the woman. He doesn't like how she liked everything she saw. He can't believe she doesn't care about anything. Whether she was wearing jewellery given to her by her husband, watching the sun set, being given a branch of cherries from the orchard by someone who wanted to please her, or riding the white mule around the terrace, the Duchess would blush or show her happiness to everyone.


He then tries to get the envoy's sympathy by asking him how he could have handled the situation without losing his dignity. He just says that he didn't know how to tell her what he wanted. He couldn't tell her why he didn't like the way she was acting or how she didn't follow the rules or went too far. He wasn't sure if the Duchess would let herself be told she was wrong without getting angry. If she did, it would still mean she had "stooped." And this is something that the Duke would never, ever let himself do. He is quick to tell the envoy that she liked him because she smiled at him every time, she saw him. But because he was so proud of his special name, he couldn't stand it when she smiled at other people as well. As this got worse, he gave the orders that were needed to stop her from smiling for good.


After telling the storey of what happened to his poor ex-wife, the Duke looks at the painting again with the eye of a connoisseur. Then he tells his guests to get up so they can go downstairs and join the rest of the group. But before they join the rest of the group, the Duke cleverly says what he wants to say. He hopes that the generous master of the envoy will be able to give him the dowry he wants when he marries the master's daughter. But the Duke, who is always polite and proper, says that he is thinking about marrying the Count's daughter not for her dowry but because he is very impressed by her qualities. At this point, the envoy probably falls behind to let the Duke go down first. The Duke is kind enough to insist that they go down together. As they walk down, the Duke points out a rare bronze statue of Neptune taming a seahorse that was made by the famous sculptor Claus of Innsbruck.


4. Write a critical appreciation of Arnold’s poem ‘The Scholar Gypsy’.

Ans) "The Scholar Gipsy" shows clearly how M. Arnold feels about life. Men's thoughts are filled with problems. The poet wants people to have clear goals and stick to them. Modern men are easily distracted because they are stuck between two worlds: one that is dead and the other that can't come to life. So, the need of the hour is to help the new age rise from the ruins of the old. In the Scholar Gipsy, he talks about the kind of leadership that can help men move from the old world to the new. He talks about how important it is to have a central idea in life, like faith, idealism, or a way of thinking about life that can help men get rid of their hesitations, doubts, scattered efforts, and uncertain ends.


"The Scholar Gipsy" is a pastoral elegy in the style of the original Greek version. Pastoral poetry is a type of poetry that is about life in the countryside. Here, the poet imagines himself as a shepherd who spent the night with another shepherd looking for the Scholar Gypsy, who was thought to still be alive and wandering around Oxford's fields and hills. Shepherds, village girls, a housewife, and Oxford riders coming back from the market help give the impression that this is real pastoral poetry. So, the poem takes us into the world of poetry known as the pastoral. The poet's sad mood comes out in the way he criticises the modern world, which he says has no goal, principle, purpose, or moral values. It is an elegy because it is a lament for a person who lived in the 1600s and whom Arnold admired. This person was not the poet's friend.


The poem sounds very close to home. Here, the poet's life and the Scholar Gipsy's life are brought together in a close way. The poet didn't like the way people lived in the modern world and tried to get away from it. The Scholar Gypsy is shy, quiet, and thoughtful, and he loves being outside a lot. He never hung out with men who were interested in things. Arnold is a lot like the Scholar Gipsy in all of these ways.


Life is criticised in "The Scholar Gipsy." This poem by Amold is very negative about life and what it has to offer. People all over the world agree with his criticisms of Victorian life. There are people in all times and places who have no goals, are restless, don't believe in God, are stoic, and waste their mental and moral energy by trying to kill themselves. This poem shows all of these things clearly. The poet's description of modern life "with its strange disease, its sick hurry, and its divided goals" is very imaginative and poetic. The whole poem is filled with a "Virgilian cry," which is the voice of a spirit that is almost crushed by the weight of life.


The poem is unique in its artistic qualities. The poem's rhythm is based on that of Keats's Odes. The poem is made up of stanzas with ten iambic lines that rhyme in a complicated way. The poet was in a philosophical mood, which comes through in the slow pace of the verse and the deep thoughts. The language is clear and easy to understand, and the style is elegant and polished. The complex simile at the end is in the classical style of Homer and Milton. This is a great example of how philosophy and poetry can work together.

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