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BEGC-112: British Literature: The Early 20th Century

BEGC-112: British Literature: The Early 20th Century

IGNOU Solved Assignment Solution for 2022-23

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Assignment Code: BEGC-112/TMA/2022-23

Course Code :BEGC-112

Assignment Name: British Literature: Early Twentieth Century

Year: 2022-2023

Verification Status: Verified by Professor


Max. Marks: 100


Answer all questions in this assignment.


Section A


I Explain the following passages with reference to the context. 10x4=40


1. “For, now that it was all over, truce signed, and the dead buried, he had, especially in the evening, these sudden thunder-claps of fear. He could not feel. As he opened the door of the room where the Italian girls sat making hats, he could see them; could hear them; they were rubbing wires among coloured beads in saucers; they were turning buckram shapes this way and that; the table was all strewn with feathers, spangles, silks, ribbons; scissors were rapping on the table; but something failed him; he could not feel. Still, scissors rapping, girls laughing, hats being made protected him; he was assured of safety; he had a refuge.”

Ans) The above lines are taken from ‘Themes and Issues in Mrs. Dalloway’ by Virginia Woolf. These are about the culture and society of the time when the book was written. When Mrs. Dalloway was written in the early 1920s, the author was very aware of the damage and destruction caused by the First World War. Another thing the book talks about is social criticism.


The above lines show that Septimus has feelings because he feels "thunderclaps of fear." He also clearly sees and understands his surroundings, so his lack of feelings is really about how different his mood is from that of the young women. In the context of the War, Septimus Warren Smith, a war veteran, becomes a symbol of the violence and cynicism of the present day. There, the First World War shows what it was really like. At first, Septimus thought it was a necessary thing to happen. Even though he lost his close friend Evans at the front, Septimus was not upset and thought of good things to come. He didn't care about the destruction he saw with his own eyes. Septimus's mind changed in a scary way because of the War. Even when everything is quiet, he hears the "thunderclaps of fear." "Something fails him" when he looks at a normal scene in the market, and he can't "feel." That is just the start, but it shows that he is getting sick in a deep way. So, we get the picture above of how the War affected Septimus' mind on the surface, first in a normal way and then in a scary way.


2. “But no, he would not give in. Turning sharply, he walked towards the city’s gold phosphorescence. His fists were shut, his mouth set fast. He would not take that direction, to the darkness, to follow her. He walked towards the faintly humming, glowing town, quickly.”

Ans) The above lines are taken from ‘Sons and Lovers’ by D. H. Lawrence. There are two parts to the book. Part 1 has six chapters that talk about the early years of the Morels' marriage, the birth and early years of their son Paul, the relationships and conflicts in their family, and the death of their oldest son William. Part 2 has nine chapters and focuses more on Paul's relationships with Miriam and Clara, as well as the death of Mrs. Morel, which leaves Paul "derelict." The next part of the passage talks about the "sudden change" that happened "about sixty years" before the storey starts. In the introduction to Sons and Lovers, Helen and Carl Baron say that the storey takes place in the English Midlands during the change from a mostly agricultural economy to an industrial one.


This stanza describes how Paul feels at the end of the book. He is lost and feels very dependent on others, but he tries very hard to stay away from the "darkness" of despair. The famous lines above are the last things in the book. He says that the ending of the book, where he walks determinedly toward the bright lights of Nottingham, is Paul's way of standing up for himself at a time in his life when death is pulling him the most. Some of Lawrence's most ambitious writing is in the last pages of the book. He is trying to describe a state of mind in which the mind feels disconnected from the world.


3. “Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;

Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,

The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere

The ceremony of innocence is drowned;

The best lack all conviction, while the worst

Are full of passionate intensity.”

Ans) The above lines are taken from ‘The Second Coming’ by W. B. Yeats. Yeats wrote the poem to mark the end of World War I, which had caused millions of people to suffer, die, be tortured, go hungry, and lose hope. Many books have been written about the apocalypse, and many of them talk about the signs that it's coming: it's always violent and huge, like a violent explosion that shakes the world to its core. In Yeats' poem, the end of the world is much quieter and more understated. It starts with the sounds of nature being upset.


Falcons have been used to hunt since the Middle Ages. They are very smart and loyal to their trainers, responding right away to any sound their trainer makes. The fact that the falcon flew so quickly away from the falconer shows that the delicate balance of the world has been upset. It's very Shakespearean to use the way nature acts to show how evil things are. When the evil Macbeth kills the good king in Macbeth, a lowly porter notices that the horses are eating each other and that there is a big, loud storm. This is the same kind of image manipulation, where an innocent picture of nature is used to show a big change from how things should have been.


We can see it all through the first stanza: Yeats's words have an edge of doomed and lost innocence ("things fall apart, the centre cannot hold"). The world as he knew it, which in this case was probably Europe, has started to fall apart. The Great War is still fresh in his mind, and the phrase "the centre cannot hold" can also refer to the battles that were fought in France, battles that left the country scarred beyond repair and struggling in the years after the war. "Blood-dimmed tide" can also refer to the same war, but besides the historical connection, it also refers to how people have changed nature. "Blood-dimmed tide" is water that has been tainted by blood, war, and a violent end.


4. “Our researchers into Public Opinion are content

That he held the proper opinions for the time of year;

When there was peace, he was for peace: when there was war, he went.

He was married and added five children to the population,

Which our Eugenist says was the right number for a parent of his generation.

And our teachers report that he never interfered with their education.

Was he free? Was he happy? The question is absurd:

Had anything been wrong, we should certainly have heard.”

Ans) The above lines are taken from ‘The Unknown Citizen’ by W. H. Auden. The poem is written from the point of view of a made-up government worker who sits at a desk all day and moves papers around. His decisions affect the lives of people he has never met.


The "researchers into public opinion" are like the people who call your house during dinner to ask who you're voting for and if your jeans are stone-washed or boot-cut. The UC did not have any strange or "wrong" ideas. He was a conformist, which means that he thought the same things as the people around him. He moved in whatever direction the wind was blowing. In fact, the beliefs of the UC were influenced by the seasons or "time of year." The third line is also funny. We picture a comedic pause after the word "war" "When there was peace, he was for peace; when there was war, he went." The line makes us think that it will end with "he was for war," but it doesn't. Instead, it ends with something much less sure. Because who could really be "for war"?


We would think that getting married and having kids would be one of a person's biggest achievements. But the State doesn't really care about such personal issues, so the bureaucratic speaker only mentions them briefly. From the State's point of view, it's good that the UC had so many children because a growing population usually helps a country's economy and makes sure there are enough soldiers just in case (cough, cough) a BIG WORLD WAR happens. You may not have heard of the historical term "eugenics" before. It refers to a social movement that thought that making changes to the human gene pool could make people better. Eugenics was based on genetics and the theory of evolution, which were both relatively new at the time. At the beginning of the 20th century, this new field of science was all the rage, but then a man named Adolph Hitler started to use its ideas. Most people now agree that eugenics was a bad idea, even if most of those who believed in it were not as bad as Hitler. In this poem, the eugenicist thinks he can control how many people there are by telling people how many kids they should have. This line is kind of creepy. It says that the speaker thinks the UC was a good parent because he didn't "interfere" with his kids' education. In other words, the State was in charge of how they were taught.


The poem ends with a final couplet that rhymes and goes in a very different direction from what the speaker has been talking about so far. Now he wants to know two things: "Was he alone? Was he content? "– That really does sound cool. The speaker doesn't find these questions interesting, though, and calls them "absurd." It's interesting that both of these questions are called "the question," as if being free and being happy were the same thing. In the last line, the speaker explains why the question is silly: if things were going badly for the UC, the State ("we") would have known about it, since they know everything. "We certainly should have" is a line from the speaker that is so sure of itself that it is almost scary. But the big joke here is that the person talking defines happiness as things not going wrong, not as things going right. From the government's point of view, it's much more important that people aren't too sad, so they don't make waves and stop buying things, than that they're happy with their lives.

Section B


II. Write short notes on the following: (4x5=20)


A. Characteristics of modernism and post-modernism.

Ans) The characteristics of modernism are as follows:

  1. Usually written from the first-person point of view.

  2. Mostly about how the characters' minds work and what they are thinking.

  3. Themes about how capitalism and machines can hurt people.

  4. Themes of being alone and being your own person.

  5. Tones that are mostly about how silly society is.

  6. Language that is very formal.

  7. Symbolism is there.


The characteristics of post-modernism are as follows:

  1. Postmodern works reject the idea that there is one right way to interpret them and instead celebrate chaos and randomness. Postmodern novels often use unreliable narrators to add to the extreme subjectivity and make it harder for readers to figure out what the storey is about.

  2. Modernist writers were sad about the loss of order, but postmodern writers love it. They often use black humour, wordplay, irony, and other playful techniques to throw off readers and make the storey hard to follow.

  3. Postmodernist literature took the fragmentation of modernism and made it bigger. This led to more collage-like forms, distorted time, and big changes in character and place.

  4. Postmodern literature focused on play and the lack of meaning. Postmodern writers started to use more meta elements in their novels and short stories. This drew attention to the fakery of their work and reminded readers that the author is not an authority figure.

  5. As a form of collage writing, many postmodern authors wrote their work so that it was clear that it was talking to other texts. Some of the methods they used were pastiche and combining high and low culture.


B. The “Stream of Consciousness Technique” and early twentieth century British fiction.

Ans) The time when modernism was at its peak was full of conflict and had no clear boundaries. It was seen as a fact of modern life, and the situation seemed to be getting out of hand. That was different from what Woolf's predecessors thought. Modernism, on the other hand, really focused on a dark and pessimistic point of view. In the new century, power and initiative were taken away from the citizen, the human individual who would see, think about, and analyse the existing social trends, when he would make conscious choices to become himself. In the new situation, the spread of capitalism made the average citizen into a helpless person who had to follow the rules and laws of the state. People who lived there became disconnected from their surroundings. In short, the Modernist trend had nothing to do with the times before it and didn't make sense. In Virginia Woolf's writing, this kind of Modernist model began to show up.


We could say that the strange thing about Modernism was that Stream of Consciousness turned into a new kind of fiction. It gave literary writing a unique style that followed the logic of thinking on the spot. That really changed the way people had thought up to that point. At the turn of the century, thought became less important. In representation, the presence of logic was turned down. That took away from the stability of thought, so to speak, and left the mental process open to the needs of moods and emotions. The human mind lost its sense of being sure of things.


So, Modernism and the Stream of Consciousness worked together to show that the raw mental processes of people are better than anything else. The paradigm showed up in the thoughts of characters in works of fiction, but there wasn't a clear pattern to how it showed up. It was a flow of words. We learn that a character's consciously chosen actions have something to do with him or her, either directly or indirectly. This means that thinking and remembering go over a lot of different things at the same time. In Stream of Consciousness fiction, a character would wake up in the morning and start to solve his or her problems with the pressure of the previous day still on his or her mind


C. Modern British drama of the early twentieth century.

Ans) When we talk about Modern British Drama from the beginning of the 20th century, the first name on the list is Irish-born George Bernard Shaw, who lived in Britain. He used the theatre as a lively place to talk about social and philosophical issues, and he wrote plays that were about things that were important at the time. Shaw is known for his wit, and the best way to describe his plays is as "serious comedies." Some of Shaw's plays are called "Problem Plays," which is another name for "Comedy of Ideas" and "Thesis Plays." These are meant to bring to life some current controversy or social problem, like women's rights, unemployment, prison reform, class privilege, etc., to get people to think and act. Problem plays usually focus on a social or political issue, show the problem that comes with the issue, and end on an open note, leaving it up to the audience to come up with a solution.


These plays weren't written to be theatrical or to make a beautiful piece of drama. Instead, they were written to bring attention to social problems and false beliefs. Also, a problem play isn't just a diagnostic tool; it's also a form of therapy. This means that it doesn't just explain what's wrong, but also suggests possible solutions that the audience will have to choose from. The slogan "art for art's sake" made Shaw laugh. He said that he wouldn't write even one sentence for art's sake, let alone a whole play. So, the first 30 years of the new theatre focused on social and political issues, and the plays were both satirical and rebellious. Shaw's plays weren't just about politics and society, as we've already said. They were also philosophical, trying to answer questions like "Who am I?" and "Why am I here?" Industrialization also had an effect on drama in the 20th century, which led to plays that lamented how humans were becoming more and more alone in a world that was becoming more and more mechanical.


D. The major themes and concerns of the novel Mrs. Dalloway.

Ans) Since it was first published a hundred years ago, this book has been interesting to many readers because of its themes and style. Sons and Lovers is based a lot on the author's own life. Since the storey takes place in the East Midlands of England, it is also a "regional novel." It is also one of the first English novels to be about life in the working class, and the author was born into a working-class family. The book also talked about sexuality in an open and honest way. Even though Sons and Lovers is in the great English realist tradition, it also has parts that are written in very metaphorical language.


So, we can say that Sons and Lovers has stayed popular for a long time because of things like: "its clear connections with Lawrence's own early experiences; its success in writing the East Midlands into the structure of the novel; its focus on the life of the working classes (which pushed the boundaries of English fiction, which had only touched on working class experience tentatively, if at all, until then); its honest and frank attitude toward sexuality;" and "its clear connections with Lawrence's own early.


III. Write short essays on the following: (10x2=20)


A. “The early years of the twentieth century were significant for the movement for women’s rights.” Discuss how the literary texts that you have studied in this course, reflect the developments in the contemporary movement for women’s rights.

Ans) With the slogan "Make it New," the early 20th century was mostly about rejecting the realism of the 19th century. When we talk about Modern British Drama from the beginning of the 20th century, the first name on the list is Irish-born George Bernard Shaw, who lived in Britain. He used the theatre as a lively place to talk about social and philosophical issues, and he wrote plays that were about things that were important at the time. Shaw is known for his wit, and the best way to describe his plays is as "serious comedies." Some of Shaw's plays are called "Problem Plays," which is another name for "Comedy of Ideas" and "Thesis Plays." These are meant to bring to life some current controversy or social problem, like women's rights, unemployment, prison reform, class privilege, etc., to get people to think and act. Problem plays usually focus on a social or political issue, show the problem that comes with the issue, and end on an open note, leaving it up to the audience to come up with a solution.


The first playwright to write a Problem Play was from Europe. It was the Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen, who wrote A Doll House, a ground-breaking play that changed the world. It shows serious family and social problems in a dramatic way and brings up the issue of women's rights. For the first time, patriarchal dominance was looked at, and conflicts between men and women were brought out into the open. Shaw's play Mrs. Warren's Profession looks at how people feel about prostitutes. In Candida, another of Shaw's plays, the main character, who has been happily married for about ten years, wants to remarry someone younger. This brings up the problem of marital happiness. Pygmalion, which was later made into the movie My Fair Lady, has an ending that isn't clear.


At the end of the storey, a flower girl who was raised and taught by an upper-class gentleman is seen wondering what her status will be since she can't go back to being a flower girl and she can't join the upper-class society because she comes from a working-class background. It is up to the audience to figure out what the problem is and what the answer is. Man, Superman, and Back to Methuselah all deal with the idea of "Life Force," which is a metaphysical term. Bernard Shaw's idea of "Life Force" is based on the idea that "life" is a "vital force" or "impulse" that tries to get more powerful through contemplation and self-realization. Man and Superman is not a drama because it doesn't have a lot of action. Instead, it is a long debate about a problem.


So, the first 30 years of the new theatre focused on social and political issues, and the plays were both satirical and rebellious. Shaw's plays weren't just about politics and society, as we've already said. They were also philosophical, trying to answer questions like "Who am I?" and "Why am I here?" Industrialization also had an effect on drama in the 20th century, which led to plays that lamented how humans were becoming more and more alone in a world that was becoming more and more mechanical.


B. Explain the title of the poem “I think continually of those who are truly great”.

Ans) The first line of the poem, "I always think of those who were Really Great," tells us that the poet is talking about really great people from the past. He or she is also talking about how the past is always connected to the present, so all those really great people are connected to us across time. As the poem goes on, it becomes clear that they have a close relationship with Nature, which gives them eternal life. Time can't make them forget. Like the sun, spring flowers, snowy mountains, and lush green meadows that are always there, these truly great heroes are always there and help us see the connection between Nature and the greatness of man.


Spender doesn't name or talk about the really great people in history. Simply put, they are heroes, but we don't know their names or faces. We remember them because of the heroic things they did, which have left marks in the sands of time and place all over the world. Some critics say that there isn't any heroism going on right now. But Spender only pays his respects to heroes from the past who helped make the world we live in today. He doesn't want to say that people today aren't brave enough. The poem is an expression of thanks for their great contributions that have made the world a better place and given us a better past than they had.


In general, this poem tries to explain what makes a person "truly" great. In the 1930s, when the poem was written, there was a war going on, which no doubt influenced the poet. But he's not just talking about soldiers when he says this. He is basically talking about anyone who fights for what they believe in without being selfish. The "Truly Great" can be poets, soldiers, or artists who work hard and don't care about themselves. What makes them who they are their actions, deeds, words, and works of art and design that inspire the generations that come after them. They changed the world, so we should be thankful for what they left us. People remember the truly great for how hard they worked from the time they were born until they died. Like the sun, which shines day and night as it moves from East to West and back to East, these famous people shone all the time they were alive.

Section C

IV. Discuss the central theme of the poem “Journey of the Magi” and comment on the symbolism in the poem. (20)



The Gospel of St. Matthew is the source for this poem, "Journey of the Magi." Jesus was born in Bethlehem, and the poem tells about the trip that three wise men make to see the birth of Jesus Christ. Magi is the plural form of the word Magus, which refers to the three wise kings of the east. The three wise men went to Bethlehem so they could see Jesus Christ born. The trip is hard because it takes place in December, when it is cold and snowy. The birth of Jesus marks the beginning of a new world. Jesus dies on the cross, and his followers create Christianity based on what he taught them.


His birth and death are a paradox because they mark the end of the pagan world order and the beginning of the Christian world order. So, "death" refers to both Christ's death and the end of the old religious order, which included the magical power of the Magi. "Birth" refers to both Jesus' birth and the start of Christianity. The Magi came to Bethlehem to see Jesus' birth. At the end of the poem, they look forward to Christ's death and resurrection, which mark the start of a new Christian era. So, the Magi's journey becomes a way to find hope again after feeling hopeless, a place where birth and death go hand in hand. Spiritually, the birth of a child is seen as the birth of Jesus, and his death is seen as the birth of a new world order. So, the journey is a spiritual journey that shows a big change in the world: the end of the old pagan order and the start of a new Christian order.


The poem is about Matthew's "aha!" moment. The name "Epiphany" comes from the Greek word "epiphaneia," which means "appearance" or "manifestation." It means that Jesus Christ showed himself to the world. The main idea of the poem is how spiritual and cultural events affect a person's identity and society as a whole. It talks about birth, death, and rebirth or renewal. Shelley's words, "When Winter Comes, Can Spring Be Far Behind?" are echoed by Eliot. The two things that happen on earth are winter and spring, hot summer and cold winter, day and night, morning and evening, full moon and new moon, light and darkness, and sunrise and sunset. Birth and death are both made up of two parts. The Magi's physical journey turns into a spiritual journey when he realises that life is a cycle of birth and death, as shown by Jesus' birth and death and the start of Christianity.



The Magi make their way to Bethlehem to see something wonderful. It turns out to be a journey of the spirit. The Journey through the harsh winter weather is hard, and it makes you wonder if it's worth it and if you're smart to do it. The months were the horrible winter months. If you know about Jesus' life, you know that he was born in the last week of December and was put to death on a cross in April, which is the spring season. In another poem, Eliot said, "April is the cruellest month. The change from winter to spring shows how birth and death are linked.


Sherbet, a sweet drink, is a symbol for sensual pleasure and, by extension, Pagan pleasure, which is hedonism or driven by a desire for sensual pleasures. When we look at the River as a symbol, we should remember that water is a symbol of Jesus. Jesus calls himself "the Living Water" in the Gospel of John. In this case, it stands for the Grace that Jesus gives. With water as the symbol, references are made to a running stream, plants, and a water mill, all of which suggest fertility, birth, and light. The water from the stream runs a mill that "beats the darkness." Moving water gives a watermill the power to turn its rotor, which can make enough electricity to power lights. In the Gospel of John, says that he is the Light of the World.


Scholars have different ideas about what the symbol "three trees low on the sky" means. Some think it means that Christ was crucified with two thieves on the other two crosses on either side of him. It can also mean God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. The Gospel of Luke says that Jesus was put on the cross with two thieves to make him look like a thief and a rebel. One of the two thieves was called the Penitent Thief. He was also called the Good Thief, the Wise Thief, the Grateful Thief, and the Thief on the Cross. He asks Jesus to "keep him in mind" when he gets to his kingdom. The other thief, known as the "unrepentant thief," dares Jesus to save himself and them both by asking Jesus to prove that he is the Son of God.


The "White Horse" is a sign of someone who tells people that Jesus is coming back. Christ, who is called the "True Vine," is shown by the leaves of a vine. The True Vine is a parable that Jesus told himself. In it, he says that his followers are like branches of himself, the "true vine." When Jesus said, "I am the true vine," he was trying to show people how important it is to be connected to Him through faith. A relationship with God that is strong and growing will bring peace in all situations, hope in hard times, strength in hard times, and joy.


The threshold of conversion is shown by the lintel. Dicing is another thing that the poem is about. The guys The word "gambling" comes from the storey of how Judas sold Jesus out for 30 pieces of silver and how Roman soldiers fought over Christ's clothes after he was killed. The Wine-skins are a reference to Jesus' parable about the "new wine." Christianity will be the new religion that fills new wine-skins. When the empty old wine skins are kicked, it shows that the old rule is being replaced by a new one.

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