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BEGE-144: Understanding The Novel

BEGE-144: Understanding The Novel

IGNOU Solved Assignment Solution for 2023-24

If you are looking for BEGE-144 IGNOU Solved Assignment solution for the subject Understanding The Novel, you have come to the right place. BEGE-144 solution on this page applies to 2023-24 session students studying in BAEGH courses of IGNOU.

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Assignment Code: BEGE-144/TMA/2023-24

Course Code: BEGE-144

Assignment Name: Understanding the Novel

Year: 2023-2024

Verification Status: Verified by Professor

Section A


Q1) Write short notes in about 100 words each.


(i) Style

Ans) Style, in the realm of writing and art, refers to the distinctive and individualized way in which an author or artist expresses their ideas, emotions, and creativity. It encompasses a variety of elements, including word choice, sentence structure, tone, and literary devices. Style is a fundamental aspect of a writer's identity and is a key factor in setting one writer apart from another. Whether it is characterized by simplicity, complexity, humour, lyricism, or any other quality, a writer's style plays a crucial role in conveying their unique voice and creating a lasting impact on readers. It is a combination of artistic choices that define the artistry of the work.


(ii) Colonising the African Mind

Ans) "Colonising the African Mind" is a thought-provoking book by Dr. Chinweizu that explores the impact of colonialism on African societies. European colonial powers imposed their cultural, educational, and ideological values on Africa, leading to a psychological and intellectual colonization of African minds.

Dr. Chinweizu argues that this colonization continues to affect African identity, self-perception, and the way Africans perceive their own history and culture. The book calls for a reclamation of African cultural identity and a decolonization of African minds, emphasizing the importance of embracing African heritage and rejecting external influences that continue to shape African thought and consciousness.


(iii) Third World Novels

Ans) Third World novels, often categorized as post-colonial literature, emerged in the mid-20th century from regions formerly under colonial rule. These novels explore the complex legacies of colonization, cultural hybridity, and the struggles of newly independent nations. Writers like Chinua Achebe, Salman Rushdie, and Gabriel García Márquez have produced iconic Third World novels. They challenge Eurocentric narratives, depict cultural clashes, and grapple with issues like identity, decolonization, and globalization. These works play a pivotal role in reshaping the global literary canon, highlighting diverse voices, and offering a deeper understanding of the socio-political realities of post-colonial societies.

(iv) Edna Pontellier

Ans) Edna Pontellier is the central character in Kate Chopin's novel "The Awakening." She is a complex and conflicted woman living in the late 19th century who grapples with societal norms, gender roles, and her own desires. Edna's journey in the novel is one of self-discovery and liberation as she awakens to her own desires and independence. Her struggles to break free from the constraints of her roles as a wife and mother make her an iconic character in feminist literature. Edna's story is a compelling exploration of the limitations placed on women in her era and her pursuit of personal freedom and autonomy, which leads to a tragic ending.


Section B


Answer the following in about 350 words each.


Q1) Examine The Awakening using symbolism as a mode of enquiry.

Ans) "The Awakening" by Kate Chopin is novel rich in symbolism, with various elements representing deeper meanings and themes. Symbolism is a significant mode of inquiry in the book, enabling readers to delve into the complex emotional and psychological landscape of the protagonist, Edna Pontellier.

a)     The Sea: The ocean serves as a powerful and recurrent symbol in the novel. It represents freedom and escape, as well as the unknown and the subconscious. Edna's fascination with the sea grows as she becomes more disillusioned with her societal role as a wife and mother. The sea becomes a metaphor for her longing for liberation and a life beyond the confinements of her domestic duties.

b)     Birds: Birds appear throughout the story as symbols of various aspects of Edna's journey. The parrot in her husband's house represents the captivity and superficiality of her married life. In contrast, the bird with a broken wing, which Edna protects, symbolizes her own sense of brokenness and vulnerability. As the story progresses, she becomes increasingly bird-like in her movements, emphasizing her newfound sense of freedom.

c)     Art and Music: Edna's exploration of art and music represents her pursuit of self-expression and her journey to self-discovery. She learns to paint, which allows her to express her emotions and desires. Music, particularly the piano playing of Mademoiselle Reisz, symbolizes the intensity of her emotions and her connection to a more liberated, unapologetic woman.

d)     The House: Edna's house is a symbol of her entrapment in domesticity. The descriptions of her home underscore the stifling nature of her role as a wife and mother. As Edna begins to question her place in this traditional setting, she becomes increasingly uncomfortable in her own house, which prompts her to leave.

e)     Clothing: Throughout the novel, the symbolism of clothing reflects Edna's evolving sense of identity and freedom. Her white bathing suit represents her transformation and liberation, while her formal, constraining clothing represents her societal role. Her removal of these clothes in the final scene is a powerful symbol of her ultimate rejection of societal norms and her determination to embrace her true self.

f)      Mademoiselle Reisz's Music: The passionate and emotive piano playing of Mademoiselle Reisz symbolizes the unconventional and independent woman that Edna aspires to become. The music represents a life outside the confines of societal expectations, and it inspires Edna's desire for self-discovery and self-fulfilment.


Q2) Discuss Paraja as a text that deals with the economic plight of tribals.

Ans) "Paraja," a novel written by Gopinath Mohanty, is a powerful work of Indian literature that delves into the economic plight of tribal communities in Odisha, India. The story revolves around the Paraja tribe and their struggles in the face of economic exploitation, social injustice, and displacement.

a)     Economic Exploitation: The novel vividly portrays the economic exploitation of the Paraja tribe by both moneylenders and landlords. The moneylenders charge exorbitant interest rates, leading to insurmountable debts that trap the Paraja families in a cycle of poverty. The landlords exploit their labor, paying meager wages for backbreaking work in the fields. The economic woes of the Paraja community are exacerbated by the lack of alternative livelihood opportunities.

b)     Land Alienation: Land is central to the economic well-being of the Paraja people. The novel highlights the fraudulent and coercive methods employed by the landlords to grab the tribal lands. This dispossession not only robs the community of its primary source of livelihood but also results in their migration to urban areas in search of work, where they often face exploitation and discrimination.

c)     Drought and Famine: The Paraja tribe faces the recurring challenge of drought and famine. The novel vividly portrays the hardships endured by the community during drought periods, where the scarcity of water and crops intensifies their economic struggles. The vulnerability of the Paraja people to natural calamities further deepens their economic plight.

d)     Social Injustice: Social hierarchies and discrimination play a significant role in the economic deprivation of the Paraja tribe. The novel highlights the discrimination they face from the dominant caste groups, who exploit their vulnerability and perpetuate their economic subjugation. This social injustice further marginalizes the Paraja community and limits their access to resources and opportunities.

e)     Displacement and Migration: Due to the economic hardships in their native villages, many Paraja families are forced to migrate to urban areas in search of work. The novel portrays the harsh living conditions and exploitation faced by these migrants. The dislocation from their traditional way of life and culture further exacerbates their economic and social struggles.

f)      Resistance and Resilience: "Paraja" also reflects the spirit of resistance and resilience within the tribal community. The protagonist, Sukru Jani, symbolizes this resistance as he challenges the exploitation and oppression. His efforts to unite the community and protect their rights reflect the determination of the Paraja people to improve their economic conditions and regain control over their lives.


"Paraja" is a poignant literary work that shines a light on the economic plight of tribal communities in India, particularly the Paraja tribe. It underscores the multifaceted challenges they face, including economic exploitation, land alienation, drought, social injustice, and forced migration. The novel's portrayal of these struggles not only raises awareness about the economic challenges faced by tribal communities but also serves as a call for social and economic justice. Through the narrative of "Paraja," Gopinath Mohanty amplifies the voices of marginalized tribal groups and invites readers to reflect on the urgent need for equitable development and social reform in India.


Q3) What do you think does a literary text loose in the process of literary translation with reference to Paraja.

Ans) The process of literary translation involves the conversion of a text from one language to another while preserving its essence, style, and meaning. However, despite the best efforts of skilled translators, some elements may be lost in translation. When it comes to a complex work like "Paraja" by Gopinath Mohanty, which deals with intricate themes and cultural nuances, certain aspects may not fully carry over into the translated version.

a)     Cultural Nuances: "Paraja" is deeply rooted in the culture, traditions, and social fabric of the Paraja tribe in Odisha, India. These cultural nuances may not fully translate into another language. Specific rituals, customs, and the tribal way of life, which are crucial to the story's context, may not be as vividly conveyed in the translated version, potentially leading to a loss of cultural richness.

b)     Regional Dialect and Language Play: The novel incorporates regional dialects and language play that reflect the linguistic diversity of the region. Translators often face challenges in conveying these linguistic subtleties, which can be significant for the narrative. Certain wordplay, humour, or idiomatic expressions might be challenging to replicate accurately in the target language.

c)     Social Hierarchies and Caste System: "Paraja" delves into the social hierarchies and the caste system prevalent in the region. The complex dynamics of caste relations and the discrimination faced by the Paraja tribe are integral to the story. Translating these nuances may not fully capture the intricacies of the caste system, making it challenging for readers to grasp the depth of the social issues addressed in the original text.

d)     Sound and Rhythm: Literary works often rely on the sound and rhythm of the language to convey emotion and meaning. The musicality of Mohanty's prose may not be entirely reproducible in translation. The original's lyrical quality and the emotional resonance of the language may be difficult to replicate in the target language.

e)     Local Context and References: "Paraja" contains references to local landscapes, flora, fauna, and historical events specific to the region. These references might not be readily understood by readers from different cultural backgrounds. Translators may need to provide explanations or equivalents, which can interrupt the flow of the narrative.

f)      Socio-Political Context: The novel engages with the socio-political issues of its time, including land rights, displacement, and exploitation. Some of the historical and political context that underpins the narrative may require additional exposition in the translated version to ensure readers fully grasp the significance.


Q4) Criticially ananlyse the consequences of the white man’s arrival in Umuofia, in Achebe’s Things Fall Apart.

Ans) The arrival of the white man in Umuofia, as depicted in Chinua Achebe's novel "Things Fall Apart," has profound and far-reaching consequences for the Igbo society and its traditional way of life.

The white man's intrusion disrupts the equilibrium of Umuofia and leads to significant cultural, social, and individual transformations:

a)     Disruption of Traditional Culture: The white man's arrival disrupts the traditional culture and way of life in Umuofia. The introduction of new religious beliefs and the denigration of the Igbo gods challenge the core spiritual and cultural foundations of the community. As more Igbo people convert to Christianity, the traditional religious and social systems begin to erode.

b)     Conflict and Division: The presence of the white man leads to internal divisions within Umuofia. Some members of the community embrace the new religion and way of life, causing conflicts and tensions with those who hold onto their traditional beliefs. This division weakens the social cohesion that was once a hallmark of the Igbo society.

c)     Economic Disruption: The arrival of the white man also has economic consequences. The white man introduces a cash-based economy, which disrupts the traditional barter system and agricultural practices of Umuofia. The economic changes lead to new disparities and competition, altering the community's economic dynamics.

d)     Political Upheaval: The white man's arrival brings about significant political changes. The authority and leadership of the clan's elders and council are undermined by the white man's imposition of colonial governance structures. This shift in power dynamics weakens the traditional leadership and decision-making processes.

e)     Loss of Identity: The Igbo people, particularly the younger generation, begin to question their identity and cultural heritage in the face of the white man's influence. Many abandon their traditional names, customs, and values, leading to a sense of cultural loss and confusion.

f)      Social Unrest and Violence: As the tensions between the Igbo people and the white man escalate, violence ensues. The British colonial administration and its armed forces assert control through force and subjugation. The conflict results in the suppression of traditional practices and the subjugation of the Igbo people.

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