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BEGC-111: Women's Writing

BEGC-111: Women's Writing

IGNOU Solved Assignment Solution for 2022

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Assignment Code: BEGC-111/2021-22

Course Code: BEGC-111

Assignment Name: Women’s Writing

Year: 2021-2022

Verification Status: Verified by Professor


Max. Marks: 100

This assignment is split up into three sections: A, B and C.

Attempt ALL the questions.




Explain the following with reference to the context:


Q1. I wonder if it hurts to live –

And if They have to try –

And whether – could They choose between –

It would not be – to die – 5

Ans) In "I measure every Grief I meet," the speaker examines the nature of human suffering. The poem is long by Dickinson standards, filling out a whopping ten quatrains. The speaker then ponders the possibility that the depth of hurt might cause the suffering one to wish for death; she wonders if the sufferers think about or contemplate making the choice between continuing to live in pain and committing suicide.


Q2. The language I speak

Becomes mine, its distortions, its queerness

All mine, mine alone. It is half English, half

Indian, funny perhaps, but it is honest,

It is as human as I am human, don’t

You see? 5

Ans) The poem An Introduction is an autobiographical verse of Kamala Das that throws light on the life of a woman in the patriarchal society. She writes in her own tongue, complete with all of its flaws and peculiarities. Although the language is not totally English, she believes it to be honest because, like her, her language is imperfect, which is a perfectly acceptable thing. In these sentences, she asserts her ownership of the English language as well as her ability to use it freely. She is flawed, but that is what makes her human. As a result, she should not be chastised for her errors or shortcomings. But she asks why society overlooks or even condemns men's errors while questioning women's errors, despite the reality that everyone in the world is flawed.


Q3. You need no book, Rasha Sundari

no paper or pen either

you have the black, smudgy kitchen wall

for your magical scribbles

lines, ellipses, curves

all of them your secret codes for

a whole new world. 5

Ans) Lakshmi Kannan wrote the poem "Don't Wash" to honour and pay tribute to Rasha Sundari Debi's amazing energy and grit: a woman who risked her reputation in her refusal to accept anything lying down. Rasha Sundari's fight against insurmountable odds was aided by a mix of intelligence and tenacity. She had only been able to shred a page from her husband's book, Chaitanya Bhagwat, and retain one of her son's palm leaves on which he practised writing privately with her. She was always imagining and re-imagining words in order to re-create them. Despite having very little, she taught herself to read and write, eventually becoming a well-known author whose life inspired many women to fight social injustice. The poem's final four lines imply that the written alphabet is strange, full of "magical scribbles" that appear to the ignorant as a complex maze of geometrical patterns - "lines, ellipses, curves." Women may only enter the world of knowledge - "a whole new world" – by not washing off this strange writing. The poem goes beyond Rasha Sundari's personal circumstances to encourage women everywhere to face social criticism full on and not be scared of what society can/will say. Women can only live on equal terms if they sacrifice their safety in order to gain access to reading and writing - the "hidden codes" to empowerment.


Q4. When some day in distant parts she dwells

Where what the people be like! I know not,

Will they awaken her on gentle, mellow sounds?

Or will they, I misgive, snatch her sleep away? 5

Ans) 'Solitude - for the Girl Child' is a moving song that is also melodic and full of unexpected pictures. It's a prayer for her daughter from a mother. The mother's heart breaks at the prospect of her child having to grow up with and amid strangers who may not value her individuality. The poem employs the picture of a sleeping girl-child to depict innocence, yet she will be made aware of the actual world sooner or later, where love and consideration for a little girl are in short supply. The daughter is a stunning young lady. She is characterised as a "houri," a girl who is so gorgeous that she appears to be a gift from heaven.


This concerns the mother because the daughter will inevitably attract a slew of suitors. She is anxious at the prospect of leaving home to live among strangers who may admire her. The mother gets exceedingly concerned about what may happen to her daughter, who has always slept undisturbed in her parents' home and has only been talked to quietly. There's a good chance that the individuals she ends up living with will have a totally different lifestyle and attitude than they do — people who are noisy and disrespectful to women. The poem concludes on a tense note, with the mother expressing her biggest concern that her daughter may lose her mind and never sleep again.




Q5. What are the issues that Mary Wollstonecraft touches upon? 10

Ans) The work, which has long been regarded as the foundational text of Western feminism, continues to contribute to modern social thought in a variety of ways. Slaves and Western women, even middle-class women, are frequently linked by Wollstonecraft. She looks at the psychology of the materially dependent to see why women tend to accept the prejudices that are held against them. She connects race-based chattel slavery to gendered bondage, revealing how "women's masters" profit from the creation of a subhuman female to carry out their plans. She pulls the amorphous "woman question" into the limelight of civil and human rights by referring to gendered oppression as slavery, and she raises public awareness of the relationship between public political institutions and private personal systems.


Many more strands in the web of social injustice are addressed in A Vindication of Women's Rights. Readers will notice that some topics and key words are repeated. These draw attention to the history of Wollstonecraft's issues as well as contemporary concerns. "Tyrant," "mob," "despotism," "liberty," "natural" (vs "artful"), "moral," "virtue," "vice," "revolution," and "reason" are some of these notions. These terms may be traced back to the Western philosophical movement known as the Enlightenment, as well as upheavals that were overturning monarchical governments. Her structure was likewise created with her contemporaries in mind. Wollstonecraft's writing is elliptical: rather than confronting topics head-on, she revisits them often, demonstrating their importance by studying them from a variety of perspectives.


This approach was designed to appeal to the literate British audience of the time, who she claimed had a "fear of innovation." As a result, A Vindication of the Rights of Woman is written in layers, mirroring how prejudices affect layers upon layers of human experience. A Vindication of the Rights of Woman, far from being a dead debate, continues to address current issues. Wollstonecraft, for example, claims that neither the soul nor the mind has a sex. At the same time, she recognises that men are physically stronger in general, whereas women are inherently driven to please and relate. Many of the issues identified by Wollstonecraft in her article have changed shape in the two centuries since her death, but they are still as serious and pertinent.


Q6. Comment on the changed perspective in Chandrabhati’s Ramayana. 10

Ans) The daring act of releasing the characters from their epic trappings and re-telling the storey with purely human beings grappling with and regretting the injustices brought about by their destiny awards Chandrabati's Ramayana its own significance. Despite being a deity incarnate, the Sita of the Ramayana is usually considered as a key emblem of chastity and subservience. One of Valmiki's key goals for the epic, according to him, was to highlight Sita's magnificence. Sita, stripped of her heroic persona, is portrayed with the empathy, and understanding that comes with being a woman in a man's world by Chandrabati.


Sita, according to Chandrabati, is doomed to be unhappy for the rest of her life. Sita is exiled with her husband, kidnapped by a demon king, and finally forced to undergo an Agni Pariksha (fire trial) by her husband, who prioritises his own honour over her love. While the epic, according to its genre, portrays Ram's courageous adventures and Sita's unwavering "greatness" in the face of her life's horrible hardships, Chandrabati writes as if she is weeping for a woman she knows well, like a daughter or a sister. Chandrabati isn't interested in greatness; instead, he demonstrates that even gods, when incarnated as humans, aren't immune to human suffering.


The poem's second section is written in the style of a Baromasi, which were poetry written and sung by women throughout northern India. The feminine experience was described in these songs by linking it with the many seasons of the year. The overarching theme was the sorrow and suffering that came with being a woman. Chandrabati successfully converts Sita into the everywoman – the representative of womanhood in India, rather than the unachievable womanhood codified in the epics – by writing in the Baromasi style.


Chandrabati's Ramayana even criticises Ram for his acts, which is unusual among the roughly 300 different versions of the Ramayana. When Ram intends to banish Sita because he doubts her loyalty to him, Chandrabati screams angrily:


As forests burn with wild fires,

As rivers overflow with floods,

Ram raged wild, insane,

Eyes hibiscus red, blood rushed to Ram’s temples,

Nostrils breathed fire; the crown of his head was about to crack.

In the fire that Kukuya had kindled that day,

Sitadevi would burn along with Ram

And the city of Ayodhya would burn as well,

Abandoned by Lakshmi the kingdom would be destroyed

Paying heed to others’ words lead to your own destruction.

Chandrabati says, poor Ram, you have totally lost your mind.


The Ramayana of Chandrabati conducts a number of subversions at the same time. It raises questions about the status of women in India by contrasting the goddess with a common woman. As a result, this storey about expressing Sita's suffering also becomes a symbol of solidarity and power, a song that allows women to speak and find community beyond time and space.


Q7. How does Ambai critique patriarchy in her story? 10

Ans) Along with the criticism of 'images of women,' another criticism emerged, emphasising the man-made nature of language and attributing women's discomfort to its inherent patriarchal bias. This debate sparked more discussion about males and women's language usage patterns, as well as women's writing inventions such as "silence, euphemism, and circumlocution." These are some of the techniques women have tried to get around censorship, which they have also faced in other cultural situations. Interestingly, Ambai's narrative "Squirrel" provides a rich metonymic and introspective portrayal of the (probably) female archivist and researcher's efforts to recover women's literature in a dusty, musty library, where treasured books lie in neglected dust heaps.

In the storey "Direction," Ambai reveals her adamant feminism by narrating the storey of Lord Vishnu and Goddess Lakshmi, proclaiming the latter as an Adishesha while sleeping on her serpent-bed. The gendered classification of male and female is tied to a person since birth, depending on the sex they are born with. In fact, it is the anatomy/bodies that are given significance and, in various ways, offer worth to their sex. According to V. Geetha, the framing of norms of different roles and responsibilities from males and females that are expected in a patriarchal society is nothing more than a way to fix/limit their areas of work, style of clothing, right to education, and choice of learning; but what is most important behind this distinction is the male's access to resources and power, which cements the male's position as superior and more powerful than the female.


The narrative "Vaaganam" finest exemplifies the inequitable treatment of women, albeit in a comical way. "It would be better to wash the motorbike in cow dung-water or to bathe Chithi herself in cow dung," the debate begins as Chithi sits on the motorcycle. "Girls with shattered limbs and legs never got married," it is stated. But what if a young boy loses a limb? A girl's ambition of riding a bicycle is realised when she comes across a vehicle—an electronic one—on which she travels long distances, gaining subjectivity by defying society's gendered views on what women should/can do and what they should not?" She, who descended from all those who rode in chariots made of snakes, lions, swans, and horses, now had her own vehicle." The triumphant cry of female power is quite audible here.


Q8. Can The Yellow Wallpaper be described as self-confessional literature? Elaborate. 10

Ans) Yes, The Yellow Wallpaper be described as self-confessional literature. Some self-expression quotes are explained below:


John is a physician, and perhaps—(I would not say it to a living soul, of course, but this is dead paper and a great relief to my mind—) perhaps that is one reason I do not get well faster.

The secret that the narrator confides to her journal concerns the paradox of receiving treatment from a doctor who doesn’t believe the patient is ill. Writing down how she really feels, and in this case, what she really suspects about her treatment, gives the narrator relief. Even though she feels she cannot share this suspicion with anyone else—or maybe she already did and had her ideas rejected—she experiences respite from her anxiety in expressing the observation. The fact that her husband/doctor forbids her self-expression shows the lack of understanding that exists between them, resulting in her worsening mental health.


There comes John, and I must put this away,—he hates to have me write a word.

The narrator expresses how she feels when she sees John approach and she must put away her writing. Readers understand that she has been writing this text against the direct orders of John, her husband and doctor, who believes writing weakens her health. Despite respecting her husband’s opinion and skill in general, in her own case she feels she knows better—that writing heals her. Or perhaps she does not know for sure that writing helps, but she cannot help herself. She simply is a writer and therefore must write. When John says he hates for her to write, he says indirectly that he hates for her to be herself.

I think sometimes that if I were only well enough to write a little it would relieve the press of ideas and rest me.

The narrator’s mental health is declining. John, her husband, and doctor, forbids her to write under the impression that writing exacerbates her mental instability, but she continues to surreptitiously document her thoughts. In fact, she produces this account, explaining all she goes through during her illness. Now, she attributes her intensifying depression to her lack of energy to write at all. Meanwhile, her thoughts and ideas continue to press in unabated, but she has no healthy way of contending with them anymore. The narrator reaches a point at which only a radical change in treatment will bring her back from mental collapse.


I don’t know why I should write this. I don’t want to. I don’t feel able. And I know John would think it absurd. But I must say what I feel and think in some way—it is such a relief!

The narrator reveals the tremendous struggle she faces—being forbidden by John to write, yet desperately needing to write or even express her ideas aloud. John’s continued discouragement of writing and other forms of self-expression makes the narrator increasingly depressed and thus less able to write, even in John’s absence. Nevertheless, she feels compelled to continue writing this account, when she can, and finds expressing herself a relief. Unfortunately, journaling functions as the only form of relief open to her, since she must otherwise suppress her ideas—even about her own treatment—and this situation proves inadequate to keep her mentally healthy.





Q9. How does Sunlight on a Broken Column reflect the society of that time and place? 20

Ans) Sunlight on a Broken Column is set in a setting that will be unknown to readers who do not live in cities such as Hyderabad, Lucknow, or Bhopal, which have a sizable Muslim population. As a result, identifying the differentiating characteristics of Muslim culture, behavioural standards, and social structures, particularly among Zamindari (landed aristocratic) households, is critical. We believe that by defining some of the characteristics that are relevant in this context, you will have a better understanding of the storey and its characters.


Lucknow's Nawabi

Lucknow, as the capital of Awadh/Oudh, welcomed all the nobles fleeing the political upheavals in Delhi. The fall of the Mughal empire in the early eighteenth century resulted in the Wily transplantation of Delhi culture to the United Provinces (now Uttar Pradesh). The culture, together with its major dilettantes - those who patronised it and those who practised it - went from Faizabad to Lucknow. This civilization possesses "a level of grandeur and complexity seldom equalled in any other Indo-Islamic society," according to some.


Those with big estates and the ability to please the British were awarded with titles, with Nawab being one among them. Though the collapse of the Lucknow monarchy in 1856 led to the gradual relocation of this culture to the court established in Matia Buj (Calcutta), much of it stayed as long as the feudal system existed in Uttar Pradesh. This culture was extinguished after the British left in 1947. Wazid Ali Shah was a patron of the arts, a composer, and a natural seeker of pleasure and entertainment. He did, however, have a strong interest in architecture. During his period, the various monuments mentioned by Attia Hosain arose.


Upheavals in the Novel “Sunlight on a Broken Column”

The protagonist of Attia Hosain's novel is born in the early twentieth century, and we last see her in 1952, when she is married, widowed, and the mother of a fourteen-year-old daughter. While Laila has a comfortable life in her mixed family, her progressive guardian, Hamid Chacha, allows her to attend convent school and then university, ostensibly in accordance with his deceased brother's desires.


Current political events have a significant impact on Laila's life. The family's financial and social setup is affected by the breakdown of the 2'mindari system, the Freedom movement, India's partition, and the subsequent departure of one of Laila's cousins to Pakistan. The majority of 2amindars had sworn allegiance to the British and were now in an awkward predicament. The events inevitably resulted in widespread social changes — lower-level hierarchies, interpersonal equations, and communal issues all underwent significant changes, and the novel ends with the central symbol - the house 'Ashiana' - being sold to a stranger "Strangers who have been declared evacuee property are insensitive. The house is still standing, but all of the contents have been removed; only an elderly caretaker remains "..


The Period Society of Lucknow

When the narrative begins, the narrator, Laila, is fifteen years old. Her parents died when she was just eight years old, in 1926. In 1933, she is fifteen years old and is being raised in the home of her paternal grandfather Baba Jan. One single paternal aunt Abida, a widowed aunt Majida, and her daughter Zahra, who is Laila's age, make up the extended joint 18mily. There are also distant relatives like the feudal retainer, Hakim Bua, and others who come and go. Baba Jan's impending death is mentioned, as well as discussions regarding Laila's future, Hamid Chacha's household, Eid, Bakrid, Holi, and Diwali. This is very much the life of a girl child raised behind the purdah by mostly women, who may be semi-literate but are strongly ingrained with their society's cultural ethos.


Q10. What do you think women’s writing seeks to express? 20

Ans) Since the development of feminism in the nineteenth century, which peaked in the later decades of the twentieth, there has been an increasing amount of literature created by women in every genre. Studies of women's writings have indicated that several recurrent themes frequently appear at the top of the list in women's literature. Since the beginning of the feminist movement, the number of literary works has expanded as a result of women's emancipation and revolt, with the ideal of female equality as a central theme.


The concentration on expressing and recognising women's perspectives on their own experiences is one of the most common themes in feminist writing. Previously, it was males who wrote about women from their own point of view; now, the goal of feminist writing is to put women in a position of authority over their own lives and experiences, to hear and believe women's voices.

The changing perceptions of women and their roles in society and in the home were reflected in the literature of the time, with images such as the fallen woman, the seduced servant girl, and the wronged lady being denied the support and protection of her husband serving as examples. However, stereotyped images of women from the time dominated the depicted characters: on the one hand, the good woman, the real mother, who was selfless, tender, and loyal, loving and caring for her family; on the other hand, the bad woman, the real mother, who was selfless, tender, and loyal, loving and caring for her family; on the other hand, the bad woman, the real mother, who was selfless, tender, and loyal, loving and caring for her family; on the other


Consider the case of a female author. The absence of a feminist literature theory and a feminine aesthetic in Indian English writing make developing a feminist canon challenging. Suniti Namjoshi, who now lives in the United Kingdom and writes from there, is the only writer who has claimed the feminist label for her work. Nonetheless, many female writers have included feminist literary elements into their work. Namita Gokhale is without a doubt one of them. She writes as a woman with a deep experience of love and grief, as well as the network of ties that females develop to share memory and pass it on as a legacy. Her first book, Paro: Dreams of Passion (1982), was also the first to emphasise the middle-class Indian woman's sexuality.


The novel was a watershed moment for the unafraid and unabashed expression of female desire that ran through it. Female sexual desire and awareness are topics that Indian society avoids discussing. The stillness was broken by Namita Gokhale. Every book she authored demonstrated her maturity as a writer, particularly as a woman writer. Her surroundings are her awn cherished Kumaon, a land she loves intimately and where she knows the whims and fancies, grandmothers, aunts, and spirits first-hand. But it's also Delhi, her home and workplace, where Gods, Graves, and Grandmother brings together the anonymity, macabre balance of power, and battle for survival (1994). Whether in these works or in Sojourn or A Himalayan Love Sloly (1996), or Mountain Echoes (1998), Gokhale successfully engraves for us the problem, fears, and brutality of a feminine existence that treads the fine line between tradition and modernity in our cultures.

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