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MEG-03: British Novel

MEG-03: British Novel

IGNOU Solved Assignment Solution for 2022-23

If you are looking for MEG-03 IGNOU Solved Assignment solution for the subject British Novel, you have come to the right place. MEG-03 solution on this page applies to 2022-23 session students studying in MEG, PGDBLT, PGDNOV courses of IGNOU.

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Assignment Code: MEG-03 / TMA / 2022-23

Course Code: MEG-03

Assignment Name: British Novel

Year: 2022 - 2023

Verification Status: Verified by Professor


Answer all questions in this assignment.


Q 1. “Fielding is one of the most pro-woman writers in English.” Do you agree with this view? Justify your answer with illustrations from the text of Tom Jones. 20

Ans) In 1749, Henry Fielding's novel The History of Tom Jones, a Foundling was published. It is his most well-known work, and subsequent authors such as W. Somerset Maughan and Samuel Coleridge considered it to be one of the greatest English novels ever written. The novel's goal is to investigate human nature through a variety of social issues and literary styles.


The book begins by providing background information on Tom Jones. Squire Allworthy is a kind and noble man who returns home to Paradise Hall one day to find a baby left on his bed by his parents. He gives the child to his sister Bridget while they look into the baby's origins. After hearing about Jenny in the village, Allworthy summons her for questioning.


Fielding is one of English fiction's most feminist authors. This is largely because he is not only an astute observer of reality, but also one who recognises and accepts people for who they are. This indicates that he does not wish to impose his views on them. His moralist bias shows up in his opinions and convictions, but not in his fictional representation. As we can see, he lets his characters go their own way. For example, if Fielding observes women of his era recklessly engaging in sexual liberties, he will examine the larger phenomenon rather than condemn and punish the specific women. Fielding is one of the most pro-women writers in English literature.


Fielding would have been harsh on them if they had acted freely and spontaneously. Fielding's comic genius and realism are encapsulated in this.


Illustrations from Texts of Tom Jones

Tom's sexuality, in my opinion, is equally uninhibited and pronounced as Fielding's. However, we must acknowledge that he shares this trait with women more than men. First, he found out about it from Molly, a woman conceived outside of the family or marriage-mould. His sympathy and kindness toward all women stem from his gratitude to both Molly and Jenny Jones. Tom possesses the softness, sentimentality, and consideration that women have instilled in him. In this regard, no other male in Tom Jones is comparable to Tom.


We should also consider that, with the exception of Tom, no male has true sexuality. Mr. Allworthy possesses an elevated level of intellectual toughness and stamina. He also has deep feelings, as we see in the novel's final book. But he is not the man to communicate on equal terms with a woman in a relationship. Squire Western is only interested in hunting. Square and Thwackum are unable to comprehend the true nature of sexuality. A woman is nothing more than a sexual object for BLifil. Look at how he fantasises about Sophia when he is alone. Sophia appears to him in his dreams as someone with a body that responds passively to male assault.


Pregnancy is an important aspect of Tom Jones' storey. Pregnancy also affects the lives of women on their own; there is no social arrangement in place to protect and assist pregnant women. It is a different matter that we do not always notice the hardships that women face in this regard.


A properly organised society would expect both men and women to bear the burden of pregnancy together. Instead, the society in Tom Jones subjects pregnant women to untold miseries and sufferings. Pregnancy, in fact, becomes a tool in the hands of eighteenth-century society to subjugate women. When we read Tom Jones, we discover that Fielding employs pregnancy as a literary device to highlight the social helplessness of women from various social strata.


Q 2. Discuss how Pride and Prejudice engages with the theme of love and marriage. 20

Ans) Pride and Prejudice is one of Jane Austen's most popular novels due to its multi-dimensional versatility of themes. "Jane Austen develops themes of the broadest significance, the novels go beyond social record, beneath the didactic, to moral concern, perplexity, and commitment," writes Andrew H. Wright.


Love and marriage, one of Pride and Prejudice's most important themes, is also the novel's central theme. This basic theme is demonstrated in the novel's oft-quoted opening sentence: "It is a universally acknowledged truth that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife."


True, the main preoccupation of Jane Austen's heroines is marriage, and life is a matrimonial ceremony for them. Pride and Prejudice dramatizes women's economic inequality, demonstrating how women were forced to marry unsuitable partners in order to gain financial security. Marriage was a major social concern in Jane Austen's time, and she was well aware of the disadvantages of being single, writing to her niece Fanny Knight, "Single women have a dreadful proclivity for being poor, which is one very strong argument in favour of matrimony."


Jane Austen defines good and bad reasons for marriage through five marriages. The four newlyweds are Charlotte Collins, Lydia Wickham, Jane Bingley, and Elizabeth Darcy. Mr. and Mrs. Bennet's previous marriage.

The marriage of Mr. and Mrs. Bennet is the worst example of its kind in the novel. They are pole apart in their thoughts and temperaments. Their marriage is shown to be a disaster, with the wife playing the part of a fool and the husband retreating to live an uninvolved life. Jane Austin says about this marriage: " Her (Elizabeth’s) father captivated by youth and beauty … had married a woman whose weak understanding and illiberal mind had very early in their marriage put an end to all real affection for her “. Their marriage lacks "emotional compatibility and intellectual understanding". The Bennet’s marriage ends in mutual forbearance.


Charlotte and Collins are the first newly-weds. Charlotte agrees to marry Collins solely for her financial security. It is relatively her advancing age that hastens her engagement. Charlotte tries to justify her position by giving argumentative reasons to Elizabeth: “I am not romantic you know; I never was, I ask only a comfortable home.” Thus, to Charlotte, marriage is an economic transaction undertaken in self-interest.


The runaway marriage of Lydia-Wickham is based on mere superficial qualities as sex, appearance, good looks, and youthful flirtation. The passion between the unprincipled rake, Wickham and the flighty Lydia is bound to cool, and in their unhappy conjugal life, mutual toleration is the nearest approach that can be expected.


The marriage between Jane and Bingley is a successful marriage of its kind. Jane Austen expresses her opinion about this marriage through the words of Elizabeth:

"All his (Bingley) expectations of felicity, to be rationally founded, because they had for basis the excellent understanding, and super excellent disposition of Jane, and a general similarity of feeling and taste between them."


However, unlike Darcy and Elizabeth, there is no planning in their relationships. Both the characters are too gullible and too good-hearted to ever act strongly against external forces that may attempt to separate them. So, their marriage is in between success and failure.


The fifth and final example of marriage is that of Elizabeth and Darcy. It is a kind of an ideal marriage based on the true understanding and cross examinations. According to Jane Austen, the courtship of Darcy and Elizabeth is a perfect union which sums up the purpose of her novel. Although it begins with the pride and prejudice; it passes through many stages as "it converts from full hatred to complete admiration and satisfaction".


For Darcy, Elizabeth is no longer the woman who is "not handsome enough to tempt him", as he admits that it is many months since I have considered Elizabeth as one of the handsomest women of my acquaintance.” Also, for Elizabeth, he is no longer "the last man in the world whom she could ever be prevailed on to marry" but he becomes the "man who in disposition and talents, would most suit her".

Thus, the theme of love and marriage is very aptly exemplified in Pride and Prejudice. Beginning with the arrival of Bingley and Darcy, both single men “in possession of a good fortune,” the novel traces the courtship of Jane-Bingley and Elizabeth-Darcy through various misunderstandings and hindrances, before they are happily married to each other. We can sum up above discussion in the words of Elizabeth: “There can be no doubt that it is settled between us already that we are to be the happiest couple in the world.”

Q 3. Heathcliff, in Emily Bronte’s novel Wuthering Heights is often referred to in derogatory terms by the other characters, as being ‘the evil beast,’ ‘uncivilised,’ ‘without refinement’ and so on. Do you agree with such a judgement of Heathcliff? 20

Ans) Heathcliff, the cranky, violent, vengeful antihero of Emily Bronte's Wuthering Heights, is left alone at the house with Cathy, the daughter of Heathcliff's dead rival Edgar Linton, and Hareton Earnshaw, the son of Hindley Earnshaw, the man who abused Heathcliff as a child, after his son Linton dies near the end of the novel. Heathcliff despises them both, and they despise him and each other at first. Cathy and Hareton grow closer and fall in love as time passes. Heathcliff cannot stand it because they both resemble his great unrequited love, Catherine Earnshaw.


Heathcliff had been full of vengeance and violence up until this point in the novel, but he is changed now. He lacks the will to exact vengeance on these two, and instead begins walking on the moors in the middle of the night. He does not eat or drink much, and he starts talking to the air, but he appears to be happy for the first time in his life. Heathcliff locks himself in his room one evening. The next morning, Nelly breaks in to find the window open and Heathcliff dead, soaked with rainwater, his eyes open and his mouth smiling.


Heathcliff tells Nelly, the maid at Wuthering Heights, that he wishes he had the energy to wreak havoc on Cathy, Hareton, and people in general. He simply cannot — all he wants at this point in his life is to be reunited with Catherine Earnshaw. He stops eating and, for the most part, stops socialising. Heathcliff's mood shifts abruptly after spending the night outside on the moors. As long as Heathcliff is alive, nature represents Catherine in its wildness and uncaring nature, so spending a night out there with nature is the same as spending a night with her. He is almost giddy with delight after his walk. He even smiles, which freaks Nelly out. He begins to murmur Catherine's name and talk to himself, in addition to being happy. Heathcliff's death provides him with another opportunity to get closer to Catherine. He swings open the window. It allows the wind, rain, and general nature to enter the room, as well as Catherine's ghost to enter the house and be with Heathcliff.


Bronte never explicitly states that Catherine's ghost haunts Wuthering Heights. Heathcliff's faith in her ghost is sufficient. Because a closed window prevents a ghost from entering, Heathcliff leaves his wide open.


Heathcliff arranges to be buried next to Catherine in her grave a few chapters before his madness. Right before he dies, he reminds Nelly of the arrangement, and his wish is granted. Heathcliff and Catherine are finally together, and Cathy and Hareton can marry without the interference of Heathcliff. Some villagers claim to see Heathcliff and Catherine's ghosts haunting the village and the moors together, but Lockwood is sceptical.


Wuthering Heights is a stormy place, whereas Thrushcross Grange is the appropriate home for the gentle Lintons. Heathcliff, a storm child, is brought to Wuthering Heights. He falls in love with Catherine, a storm child, but the novel's later events fuel his rage and hatred for the Earn-shaws and the Lintons. He is irritated by Hindley's harsh treatment, and he is disillusioned by Catherine's treachery. The shock of her betrayal and Hindley's mistreatment of him shakes his nature, and he resolves to settle scores by crushing everyone who has stood in his way, everyone who has played to sabotage his happiness.


Heath Cliff, who was brought to Wuthering Heights by Mr. Earnshaw and lodged with his family, is reviled by everyone in the house, primarily because of his skin colour. However, his master, Mr. Earnshaw, adores him, even more than his son, Hindley. As a result, Hindley's dislike for him grows stronger. He abuses Heath Cliff and frequently thrashes him. Heath Cliff, on the other hand, bears the mistreatment with patience. His fortitude is limitless, allowing him to bear any amount of suffering. He is always calm and uncomplaining. All along, he has been as tough as a cliff. This habit endears him to both Mr. Earnshaw and Catherine, his daughter.


Heathcliff reacted strongly to injustice and misfortune, but he never lost his mental equilibrium. After being disappointed in love, he did not become reckless like Hindley, nor did he succumb to the whims of fortune like Edgar Linton. He was a self-avowed rebel. He knew that because he was penniless and lacked physical assistance, he would have to fight his way through life alone. As a result, he took stock at each step and devised a method after careful calculation. He disliked both Hindley and Heathcliff.



The tragedies, wrong-headed decisions, remorseless cruelties, cowardice, and judgmental rejection of past life at Wuthering Heights and Thrushcross Grange are reversed and subsumed in the renewal of heart, mind, and soul of young Catherine, Hareton, and Heathcliff in the conclusion of Emily Bront's Wuthering Heights.

Q 4. Comment on the symbolism of the title Heart of Darkness. 20

Ans) The title contains the entire theme of the novel. The darkness represents Africa's dark civilization, and the heart represents the very heart of the African nation, where people are savage, inhuman, uncivilised, and completely ignorant. The title alludes to the unexplored storey and history of civil and uncivil spirit in nature and the human heart. It is obvious that human minds have a certain level of complexity. We cannot get rid of our negative thoughts all at once.


We are a hybrid of good and evil. The author wants us to believe that we have more or less darkness in our minds. We may never hesitate to expose them, or we may do so privately.


Heart of Darkness is full of symbols. In Heart of Darkness, everyone and everything means more than we might expect on the surface. The novel is based on historical facts as well as Conrad's own experiences. Conrad, on the other hand, has attempted to convey the deeper truths that lie beneath both facts. He certainly attempts to reveal the obscure truth that lies beneath through the novel.


Almost every character in Heart of Darkness has a symbolic meaning. Mr. Kurtz, the novel's central character, is highly symbolic. First, he represents the greed and commercial mentality of white people in Western countries. Mr. Kurtz's desire to collect as much ivory as possible demonstrates how white colonisers exploited backward people. Second, he represents the white man's overabundance of power. Third, the transformation that occurs in him during his stay among the savages represents the influence of barbarism on a civilised man.


Marlow's role is highly symbolic. For starters, he represents the spirit of adventure and a thirst for knowledge. His childhood dream of travelling to Congo and sailing down the Congo River becomes a reality only because of his inherent sense of adventure. His constant brooding and meditation on what he sees also represents a philosophical approach to human life.


Similarly, the characters have symbolic meaning. The Central Station Manager represents spiritual emptiness. Because he is spiritually barren, he cannot inspire respect, love, or fear. Despite the fact that he lacks originality and solid ideas, he can perform his manager's duties like a machine. Then there is the bricklayer, who acts as a spy and informant for the manager. Marlow refers to him as a "papier-mache Mephistopheles," which refers to his cunning and trickery. Then there are the white agents who loiter around the Central Station because they have nothing better to do. Marlow refers to them as "faithless pilgrims."


The cannibal crew on Marlow's steamer represent efficiency because they do not avoid work; they also represent self-control because they do not eat their flesh to satisfy their hunger.


The knitting women at the beginning of the novel represent Fate, who determines the fate of every human being on the planet because they appear to know everything about everyone who visits the Company's officer. The magnificent-looking native woman who appears on the riverbank as Mr. Kurtz is being taken away represents a woman's strong devotion and Loyalty to her Lord. Intended, Mr. Kurtz's fiancée, also represents Loyalty; she represents the hold of an illusion on a woman's mind. The Russian, who resembles a harlequin, represents curiosity, loyalty, and fidelity.


Finally, Marlow's journey into Congo is symbolic because it is a journey into Marlow's subconscious mind or the subconscious mind of making in general. A critic describes it as a psychological-anthropological journey. The novel's title itself is symbolic. The literal meaning of the phrase "heart of darkness" is the inmost region of the dry country known as Congo; however, it can also refer to the inmost region of a man's mind or soul. As a result, Marlow's incursion into the heart of darkness also implies a descent into the depths of his own soul. Because Marlow represents Conrad, the novel becomes a kind of exploration of Conrad's own mind during his visit to Congo. the meaning behind the title Heart of Darkness.

Q 5. Write a critical essay on the narrative technique adopted by Muriel Spark in The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie. 20

Ans) The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie is Muriel Spark's most famous novel and a good example of her style. Macmillan published it as a book in 1961 after it appeared in The New Yorker. Jean Brodie has become one of the most famous characters in 20th-century English fiction. Spark's narrative style gives the book's characters real-life poignancy. Spark's teacher Christine Kay may have inspired Miss Jean Brodie, adding to the work's beauty. In Spark's novel, human passion is the dominant motif and human nature's many facets are explored. Love and betrayal, admiration and jealousy, revenge and regret govern one's life. Spark's artfully structured emotions reveal the desires and motivations that drive people.


Love and betrayal, admiration and jealousy, revenge and regret govern one's life. Spark's artfully structured emotions reveal the desires and motivations that drive people. The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie's narration is striking. Spark's omniscient narrator probes her characters' minds. The narrator's voice lurks in the story's background. The reader is made aware of the complexity of the characters' actions and motives.


Before the end, the villain is revealed. The betrayal's motive is revealed at the end of the storey, providing a dramatic climax to an otherwise relaxed narrative. Analepses and prolepses help the reader gain a broader perspective of the entire canvas. Mystery and the slow revelation of a previously revealed secret sustain the narrative's momentum. Sandy gives incriminating evidence against Miss Brodie, so her identity is not a secret. But Sandy's betrayal motives become the story's pivot. The pace of narration is also consistent throughout the novel.


Spark succeeds in maintaining a uniform narrative tension. There are no sudden accelerations or decelerations but even without these shifts, the narratorial voice sustains the reader's interest. And therein lies Spark’s genius as a writer because she succeeds in maintaining an even tone.


The betrayal secret, the identity of the betrayer, Miss Brodie's affairs, Sandy's affair with Mr. Teddy Lloyd, and Joyce Emily's death are all narrated in the same pace and tone. Spark does not use a faster pace to convey urgency; instead, these events, whether minor or major, are relayed at the same rate. There are no moments of great discovery that shock the reader. Brodie's scandalous revelations and Sandy's decision to betray Brodie are described in the same tempo as the weather or scenery of Edinburgh.

Despite the presence of an omniscient narrator, there is no information overload regarding the characters' emotional turmoil. Brodie's betrayal angst or Sandy's emotional quandary are never fully explained. The reader is left to form their own opinions about the numerous details scattered across the novel's artistic canvas.


The narrative's non-linearity causes no confusion because Spark writes with great clarity, and her characters and plot sequences reflect this clarity in presentation. It is important to note in this context that Spark's authorial identity should not be confused with the narrator's identity. Although the omniscient narrator's moral and ethical viewpoints may be mirrored in a specific character and frame a post-modern viewpoint, this cannot be taken as the author's perspective. The narrator's dismissal of Mary Macgregor as a stupid and clumsy girl is mirrored in Sandy's remarks as well.


When Sandy serves as the focalizer, the narrative also sees a gradual build-up of tension. Her childhood observations and adult reflections reveal a deep-seated conflict in her psyche. This conflict is exacerbated when the narrative voice attempts to maintain objectivity that differs from the characters' point of view. As a result of Sandy's differing perceptions of Miss Brodie, there is some conflict within the main narrative, as other students still hold the teacher in high regard. It could be argued that Sandy becomes the primary focalizer as a result of this difference in perception. Her initial awe and eagerness to give way please gradually to a growing awareness and unease, which eventually transforms into bitter indifference.


Sandy's internal monologues feature characters from various literary works, and her conversations form smaller narratives within the text's larger narrative. These mini-stories help Sandy create an alter-ego in which she can be herself without feeling pressured by Miss Brodie's intimidating presence.

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