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BEGC-134: Reading The Novel

BEGC-134: Reading The Novel

IGNOU Solved Assignment Solution for 2021-22

If you are looking for BEGC-134 IGNOU Solved Assignment solution for the subject Reading The Novel, you have come to the right place. BEGC-134 solution on this page applies to 2021-22 session students studying in BAG courses of IGNOU.

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Assignment Code: BEGC-134 / TMA-01/ 2021-22

Course Code: BEGC-134

Assignment Name: Reading the Novel

Year: 2021-2022 (July 2021 and January 2022 Sessions)

Verification Status: Verified by Professor


Answer all questions.


Section A


Q1. Write short notes in about 200 words each: 4 × 5 = 20


Q1. (i) Origins of the English Novel

Ans) The Origins of the English Novel, 1600-1740, combines historical study and readings of a wide range of texts to rethink the origins of the modern era's most popular genre. The Origins of the English Novel remains important reading today, fifteen years after its first publication. The anniversary edition includes a new preface in which the author describes dialectical approach and applies it to early modern gender concepts, reflecting on the book's significant response and debate since its debut.


McKeon believes that the novel evolved in response to the deep instability of literary and social categories, refuting popular ideas that link the novel's roots to the dominance of "realism" and the "middle class." Between 1600 and 1740, there were significant shifts in European beliefs on narrative truth as well as individual and collective virtue. According to McKeon, the novel arose as a cultural instrument designed to tackle the era's epistemological and social challenges.


Q1. (ii) Form and Content

Ans) In general, every known literary work, including the novel, may be divided into two categories: form and substance. Simply expressed, content refers to "what" a poem or book says, while form refers to "how" the poem or novel says whatever it does, as described in the previous lesson. These two inquiries, relating to the "what" and "how" of a literary work, are critical for anybody seeking to unravel the work's riddles. Everyone acknowledges that the two components have a tight link, albeit opinions on the nature of the relationship differ.


Marx thought that literature should disclose a coherence of form and content, and he burned several of his early lyric poems because his rhapsodic impulses were dangerously unrestrained; nonetheless, he was wary of overly formalistic writing. In an early newspaper article about Silesian weavers' songs, he asserted that simple stylistic exercises resulted in "perverted substance," which then imbues literary form with the stamp of "vulgarity." In other words, he demonstrates a dialectical understanding of the relationships in question: form is a result of content, but it reacts to it in a double-edged interaction. Marx's early observation in the Rheinische Zeitung concerning oppressively formalistic law – "form is of no significance unless it is the form of its content" – might equally be applied to his aesthetic beliefs.


Q1. (iii) Plot and Types of Plots

Ans) In a nutshell, plot is a plan for creating an engrossing series of events. This entire section on how to plot a novel's storey blueprint is... You should be able to move about freely without feeling restricted. Structured in such a way that you can tell a page-turning storey.


The distinct forms of plots were dubbed (a) Loose plot and (b) Organic plot by Hudson. Hudson distinguishes between a loose plot and an organic plot. In a loosely structured storyline, the storey is made up of a series of isolated episodes with little or no required or logical relationship between them. And the narrative's coherence is determined not by the action's machinery, but by the person or hero, who is the only unifying force.


Aristotle distinguished between two types of plots: simple plots and complex plots. A basic plot, he maintained, is mostly episodic, whereas a complicated plot contains both a reversal of fortune (peripetia) and recognition. According to the subject matter/content of the work, Nathaniel Hawthorne, a 19th century novelist, there are four types of plots: tragic, comedic, satiric, and romantic.


Q1. (iv) First Person Narrative

Ans) A novelist frequently develops a character/persona in the first person and tries to see other characters/situations through his/her eyes. We can call such a form of narration an instance of the first-person narrative mode when it is utilised consistently throughout a novel. The use of first-person narrative mode can lead us to believe that the narrator is the author or, at the at least, an alter ego of the author.


The following are some of the reasons why first-person narrative is preferred:

  1. It gives the storey a sense of authenticity by giving the reader the impression that he or she is hearing the storey directly from the horse's mouth.

  2. It gives the storey a sense of immediacy, which encourages the reader to become more involved.


Section B


Answer the following in about 300 words each: 4 X 7.5 = 30

Q1. Discuss briefly the two planes on which the action of a novel moves?

Ans) If a novel's action, like that of any other human activity, is to make sense to us, it must be situated in both time and space. Both ‘time' and ‘place,' as shown in a novel, are frequently imagined rather than real concepts. It's because a novelist is always eager to employ his or her prerogative of injecting a dash of fiction into whatever she or he is describing or narrating. In fact, it is this tendency to fictionalise time/place categories, as well as persons, events, or acts, that distinguishes a work of fiction from a work of history on the one hand and a journalistic report on the other.


Even when a novelist decides to describe a real or historical time/place category, as she frequently does, she does so in an unusual or unexpected manner. She or he may occasionally describe a genuine or known time/place in such a way that it appears to be very different from how we may have experienced, seen, heard, or read about it. This isn't to say that a novelist can't or shouldn't employ time/place categories without making them fictional. She/ he may do so frequently, and when she/ he does, the novel may take on a historical tone or take on a journalistic tone.


Because a novel depicts activity on a large scale, a lot of "time sequences" and "locations" are frequently used. It's worth noting that the action of a novel might progress in either a linear or disjunct manner. When the chronology of events is constantly preserved in the act of narration and there is an onward progress from one point to another, it is said to move in a linear fashion.


Q2. Write a short note on the novel of the Diaspora.

Ans) The word diaspora comes from an ancient Greek phrase that means "spreading or sowing of seed," and it currently refers to the entire process of forcibly removing individuals or ethnic populations from their homelands, their dispersal, and the resulting cultural developments, including literature. Diaspora writing, also known as diaspora literature, is a type of literature that emerged as a result of individuals moving from their homelands to other countries for a variety of reasons, including economic, social, and political ones.


Diasporic novels are considered transnational because they frequently involve two countries: the adopted one and the home country. Identity is a major issue in these books; characters must figure out who they are as they strive to adjust to a new environment. As their lives progress, contrasts emerge, and the old is pitted against the new, the past against the present, and the familiar against the alien.


Diaspora is etymologically derived from the Greek term "diasperien," where "dia" means "across" and "sperien" means "to sow or scatter seeds." Diaspora has historically referred to displaced communities of people who have been dislocated from their native homeland through migration, immigration, or exile. Diaspora refers to a displacement from one's country, circumstances, or environmental area of origin, and a move to one or more nation states, territories, or foreign countries. It was first used to characterise Jews living in exile from their homeland of Palestine. The term "diaspora" took acquired theological connotations in mediaeval Jewish texts and was used to depict the misery of Jews living outside of Palestine (586BC.). Diaspora, given the quickly changing world we currently live in, refers to a wide range of people and communities who are migrating around the world.

Q3. Do you think the novel has a future? Comment.

Ans) We observe that a deep current moves today against the novel. It is sought to be replaced by ‘popular fiction’ on the one side and journalistic writing on the other. Both exploit the sense of suspense and curiosity around ordinary questions of interest. Still further, the sociological aspect of the novel - it was called a documentary form since it adhered to the common details of existence and sought to capture the warp and weft of life in their immediate surroundings. The sociological novel in our context has been made redundant by long descriptions of cultural and social life in historical writings. In the very first decade of the twenty-first century, however, what has been witnessed is an anti-novel current. This means that the twenty-first century seems in some ways to be departing from the literary traditions followed in the last three centuries. The new opinion gives weight to direct statement and a first-person analysis of trends.


V S Naipaul, the famous novelist of the post-World War II era, had said that the new millennium calls for a kind of writing that deals with things head on, without softening their edges. As we observe the phenomenon, we also notice that ‘the common reader is more interested today in pop fiction that helps one to kill tine and take care of boredom. Pop fiction leaves no trace of the ‘effect’ of the work after another novel has been read. It is possible that in a cumulative way, pop fiction bolsters biases and prejudices, racial or national, but the individual work of pop fiction does little in terms of helping the reader re-look and examine one’s stock responses.


Robert Harris argued that novels have “moved away from the central position in our culture” while Claire Messud has suggested that “maybe in 50 years there won’t be novels” due to perceived declining attention spans in readers. As for writing itself, I think it’s future is the future of people’s need to escape their own complicated isolation by articulating something true about human experience, an expression which thereby links them to others and in some passing way defeats that isolation. And I see no end to that need.


Q4. Attempt a psychological reading of The Awakening.

Ans) Some of the most important occurrences in a novel or play are mental or psychological. These occurrences may result in spiritual awakenings, discoveries, or shifts in consciousness. The Awakening by Kate Chopin investigates the internal events in Edna Pontellier's life to provide the thrill, tension, and climax typically associated with exterior action. Chopin conveys the thrill of the situation through Edna's affairs. Edna falls in love with Robert, which is incompatible with her marriage to Leonce.

It not only goes against her marriage, but it also goes against women's values, especially at this time. Edna is troubled by her relationship with Arobin, but she maintains her awareness and avoids falling into the trap of being manipulated by a guy. Edna goes through a lot of excitement, but she also has to deal with a lot of uncertainty.


Through Edna's dialogues and exchanges with her husband, Chopin builds tension. The fact that Edna moves out of the house without her husband's permission is one of the occurrences that creates suspense. This conduct has a significant impact on their relationship. This is also the spot where she receives Alcee. Chopin generates a surprising amount of tension between the husband and wife for the historical period. When Edna acts, she is in her own headspace. It's a psychological struggle because she's aware that her husband disapproves of her actions.


Chopin also uses the symbolism of the ocean to reveal the climax. Edna Pontellier's death is foreshadowed by the ocean. When Robert and Edna can no longer be together, Edna fears her life is finished. She doesn't want to be with either her husband or Arobin. The ocean, as a metaphor of cleansing and liberation, represents the events that led to her suicide. Edna would not have had the psychological concept to drown herself in the water if she had not been exposed to the ocean and her inability to swim well. Overall, Kate Chopin reveals the excitement, tension, and conclusion of Edna Pontellier's life through mental or psychological discoveries. Edna's shift in consciousness is revealed by the internal activities and tensions that build up to the external action. Edna committed suicide as a result of all that had happened in her life.



Section C


Answer the following questions in about 400 words each: 4 X 12.5 = 50


Q1. How does Kate Chopin use symbolism in The Awakening to illustrate her point of view?

Ans) Chopin's use of symbols and pictures, rather than direct character speech or narration, is more effective in illustrating the concept of self-awakening.


In The Awakening, for example, art and music represent Edna's awakening as she discovers the differences in each character's usage and comprehension of music. Music is utilised to depict women's roles by contrasting typical and unusual expectations of women through the music performances of two different ladies.


Birds, as well as the idea of extending your wings to fly, are key metaphorical imagery throughout the storey. These birds are used to depict a variety of emotions and situations regarding freedom, failure, and the decisions Edna must make on her path to self-discovery. Edna starts out as a lovely, confined parrot, but as the image progresses, she becomes a crippled bird who can fly freely. A bird with a broken wing was beating the air above, spinning, flapping, falling crippled down, down to the river (Perkins, 627) in the novel's final awakening scene. Edna, like the bird, has left her cage and is unable to survive. Edna's only way out is to die.


The house on Grand Isle, her residence in New Orleans, the pigeon house, and the house near Cheniere Caminada are all mentioned in the storey. Edna's two mansions, one on Grand Isle and the other in New Orleans, represent cages for her because she must perform her social duties as "mother-woman" and "social hostess" in both. However, the other dwellings reflect Edna's independence, as she escapes to sleep and dream on Cheniere Caminada, and the pigeon house represents her freedom from her spouse, despite the fact that the visual of the pigeon house encourages you to believe that it is still a bird cage. Whether it's the ocean, gulf, or sea, water is the most important symbol in The Awakening. The ocean is a symbol of liberation and escape. The water also represents rebirth.


Adele Ratignolle and Mademoiselle Reisz, Edna's two female pals, also serve as symbols. Adele exemplifies the ideal Victorian lady by devotedly serving her husband, adoring her children, and being the quintessential "mother-woman." Edna is urged to conform to society and consider the children. Adele, as a loving, mother figure filled with domestic contentment, offers as a counterpoint to Edna's domestic and societal rebelliousness. Madmoiselle Reisz is Adele's polar opposite. Edna's last enlightenment is by her own autonomous decision of suicide views and societal standards, as Reisz represents the strong, independent artist who disregards Edna's choice of death over a life she cannot completely live.


Q2. How are social and political structures reflected in Paraja?

Ans) Both the text and the Paraja community have clearly defined social and political structures. Village officials, feudal masters (moneylenders), and government officials have a well-established relationship. The Paraja tribesmen are the only people who stay on the periphery or who gain the least. They aren't familiar with the legislation, and they aren't well-educated enough to comprehend the complexity of pen and paper. They are oblivious to their rights and responsibilities. Officials, paperwork, prison, and court frighten them so much that they are willing to suffer any punishment or pain rather than hear these words. They have no idea that their own people are involved in the nexus. The village's wealthy and intelligent citizens are complicit in the exploitative system that functions inside wider socioeconomic and socio-political institutions.


On behalf of the Raja, the Naika collects the rent and presents it to Ribini/the Revenue Inspector. Every villager is required to pay a plough tax to the Forest Guard, who is the only man of law they see or know. Then there are feudal lords like the Sahukar, who lend money in exchange for tribal people's work as bound labourers or even usurp their territory. Priests are available for religious needs, while the village elders meet to resolve all social issues.


A Paraja never sells his labour for compensation, but here, imposed economic circumstances force him or her to do so for wages, debts, and other purposes. Tribal migration as a result of numerous socio-economic elements such as misfortunes and non-tribal intrusion into tribal areas is one of the main causes of this phenomena. The tribals, on the other hand, are strongly rooted in their socio-cultural and geographical contexts, and being uprooted is painful and humiliating for them. Their land is their life, their only means of survival.


Tribal regions' socio-cultural, economic, and political concerns cannot be understood in isolation. These issues are intertwined, and the environment plays an unquestionable role in this predicament. There is not only a physical presence of the above, but also a spiritual bonding and emotional support for the people who live in these beautiful surroundings. As a result, local geography intersects with people's emotional geography, assisting in the formation of social structures in any location, tribe, or community.

Q3. Comment on the universality of Things Fall Apart.

Ans) One of the principal purposes of Achebe's books, according to one of his writings titled "Novelist as Teacher" (included in Morning Yet on Creation Day), is to educate his readers about the splendour of their former, pre-colonial life. This he does with the objective of ‘correcting' the distortions that Europeans have placed into Africa's history and culture in order to instil in Africans an inferiority mentality. They kept repeating the claim that Africa has no culture, history, or past in order to achieve their goal. They rationalised their colonisation of Africa by claiming that they came to ‘civilise' the continent. The phrase "white man's burden" is frequently used to refer to black Africans, demonstrating Whiteman's supremacy as well as his altruistic nature. Obviously, the claim that Africans have no history or culture is demonstrably untrue. In reality, this was a technique to maintain their control over the colonised people's minds. Things Fall Apart is a text about a specific society - the Ibo people - with the goal of regaining their self-confidence in this regard.


Things Fall Apart, on the other hand, is more than that. At another level, it's the storey of individuals or communities who, over time, become increasingly rigid in their outlook and refuse to acknowledge, let alone accept, changes in their circumstances. As a result, they get out of touch with current events, which leads to their untimely demise. This is true not only of Okonkwo and late-nineteenth-century Ibo society, but of any other civilization at any time. This is true of ancient Chinese, Indian, Greek, and Egyptian civilisations, for example. In this way, the work is about the human condition as a whole and has a universal tone. It's not that Achebe is blind to this aspect of his storey, or that this universal element has inadvertently slipped into the text. Let us not forget that Achebe chose the title for his work from a poem by the famous Irish poet William Butler Yeats called "The Second Coming," which discusses the cyclic flow of human history in terms of order and chaos. This obviously demonstrates that Achebe had in mind from the start the goal of writing a narrative that, while beginning with the storey of a certain people, eventually expanded to cover all of humanity.


Q4. Trace the development of the literary history of Literature from Africa.

Ans) The body of traditional oral and written literatures in Afro-Asian and African languages, as well as works written by Africans in European languages, is referred to as African literature. Traditional written literature is most representative of those sub-Saharan cultures that have engaged in Mediterranean cultures, as it is limited to a narrower geographic area than oral literature. Scholars in what is now northern Nigeria have established written literatures in both Hausa and Arabic, while the Somali people have generated a traditional written literature. There are also works in Geez (Ethiopic) and Amharic, two of the languages spoken in Ethiopia. (100 of 22008 words).


In the 1950s and 1960s, written material - novels, plays, and poetry - was referred to as "testimony literature." (See Kenneth W. Harrow's Thresholds of Change in African Literature, Heinemann and James Curry, Portsmouth and London, 1994.) A Grain of Wheat by Ngugi wa Thiong'o, Wole Soyinka's The Interpreters, Chinua Achebe's Things Fall Apart, and Flora Nwapa's Efuru are just a few of the works that could be classified as witness literature. These works are an attempt, in part, to reply against unflattering depictions of African culture and myths surrounding it. The testimonial literature, which is frequently written in the first person, is concerned with reflecting African realities and valorizing African culture.


The next generation of African authors wrote literature in European languages that has been dubbed "rebellion literature." These texts shift their attention from recovering and reconstructing an African history to responding to and revolting against colonialism, neocolonialism, and corruption. This literature is primarily interested on the current reality of African living, and it frequently portrays the past in a bad light. “Instead of a past, a family, and a cultural background being reconstructed in good terms, emblematic of African culture,” Harrow adds, “the past is frequently portrayed negatively, as something from which the protagonist must flee” (84). This literature form is shown by Mariama Ba's Une si longue lettre (So Long a Letter), Birgo Diop's L'Aventure Ambigue (Ambiguous Adventure), and Peter Abrahams' Tell Freedom.


Post-revolt writers are the final category into which African authors can be classified. These authors abandon realism in favour of developing new discourses and literary styles. They frequently use an ironic style and focus on harsh African countries. Sony Labou Tansi, Henri Lopes, Yambo Ouloguem, and Ahmadou Kourouma are examples of post-revolutionary literature's style and content.

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