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MEG-12: A Survey Course in 20th Century Canadian Literature

MEG-12: A Survey Course in 20th Century Canadian Literature

IGNOU Solved Assignment Solution for 2022-23

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Assignment Code: MEG-12 / TMA / 2022-23

Course Code: MEG-12

Assignment Name: A Survey Course in 20th Century

Year: 2022 -2023

Verification Status: Verified by Professor


Attempt all TEN questions and answer each question in approximately 500 words.


Q 1. What are some major concerns that dominate 20th century Canadian Literature? Give a reasoned answer. 10

Ans) Literature that is considered to be Canadian is literature that was written by Canadians. These Canadian authors made significant contributions to the shaping of Canada through the provision of abundant records of explorers and pioneers, the collective record provided in discoverers' journals and master-builders' memoirs, and the pages of political and constitutional history. The history of Canada is not yet complete; however, if it were, it would have produced such things as industry, commerce, democratic government, the Church, education, art, and literature. This is because Canada, a large body, was gradually becoming a great nation.


The national, economic, social, and political climates of Canada all have an effect on the literature that is produced in Canada. The British, the French, and the Aboriginal cultures were the most prominent in Canadian literary canons. The English language and the French language each have significant contributions to make to Canadian literature. In the writing produced in Canada during the 1900s, the conflict that arises between modernization and more conventional ways of living became increasingly prominent. In addition, authors researched various aspects of Canadian society, including politics, daily life, and social issues. Local writers frequently centred their works on the culture and customs of their hometowns.


At the turn of the 20th century, a wider range of voices was heard in Canadian writing published in English. Some of the people who wrote in Canada were originally from North and South America, while others came from Japan and the Caribbean. Their tales almost always involved some form of oppression or prejudice.


The majority of critics have brought up the themes of nationalism and region in Canadian literature. These authors depicted Canada as a "physical desert, a cultural wasteland, and a raw land of investment opportunity and resource extraction." They were initially inspired to write about different societies, but as time passed, they rejected writing about romantic adventures in the frozen north and focused on enhancing Canada's culture and society by writing specifically for it.

The last twenty years have seen a remarkable flowering of Canadian literature in all Drama forms, and drama has kept up with this development quantitatively. There are more theatres and actors now, which means there are more Canadian dramatists and plays. Whereas in the not-too-distant past, it was difficult for formative plays to gain a hearing, the situation has now changed so dramatically that one dramatist recently claimed Canada as "the easiest country in the world" to "get a play produced." Of course, this is not a situation that guarantees quality. In recent years, the number of plays that could reasonably be expected to be part of a permanent repertory has remained disappointingly low.


There are numerous explanations for this sorry state of affairs. Theatrical awareness is not something that can be learned overnight, and many contemporary dramatists lack the foundational experience on which to build. Young playwrights repeatedly demonstrate a depressing ignorance of their craft's traditions.

Q 2. Write a detailed note on the contributions of Atwood and Ondaatje to recent Canadian poetry. 10

Ans) Margaret Atwood, best known for her novels, is widely regarded as one of Canada's most prominent and prolific contemporary writers. However, Atwood's fame stems from her numerous contributions to the poetry and short storey genres. Furthermore, Atwood’s writings as a critical analyst, historian, and essayist have appeared in a wide range of scholarly material ranging from college and university textbooks to important literary journals and anthologies. Her international reputation began in 1961, with the publication of her first poetry collection, Double Persephone. Since then, Atwood has contributed to every major literary genre, making her Canada's most productive writer of her generation. Atwood's fiction has been widely translated into various languages, further enhancing her international reputation.


Atwood is as good a poet as she is a writer of novels. Her books of poetry include:

  1. The Animals in that Country (1968)

  2. Procedures from Underground (1970)

  3. Power Politics (1971)

  4. Two Headed Poems (1978) and a few others.


Selected Poems was published in 1976. The Oxford Book of Canadian Poetry was edited by her. Surfacing is her best-known novel. She writes in a straightforward manner. The viewpoint is frequently that of an alienated individual. The everyday world is frequently disrupted. It appears to her to be a place of deception. Her poetry is remarkable for the power of her imagery and the vivid precision of her language. Some short poems are excellent examples. Her lyrics are brief and laconic, and they provide sharp insights into the speaker's mind. In her 'longer' poems (which are frequently series of linked poems), she develops symbolic and visionary explanations of existence's ironic dualities.


Ondaatje’s contributions to Canadian Poetry

OC Michael Ondaatje is a poet, novelist, filmmaker, and editor (born 12 September 1943 in Colombo, Sri Lanka). Michael Ondaatje's work blends the real and the fantastic, poetry and prose. His longer narrative works, which are frequently based on the unconventional lives of real people, may include documentary as well as fictional elements. Ondaatje's imagery is distinguished by its preoccupation with multiculturalism, a penchant for the bizarre, exaggerated, and unlikely, a fascination with the secret codes of violence in both personal and political life, and a continuing interest in movies, jazz, and friendship. His work is also notable for its cinematic qualities, as evidenced by his frequent use of montage techniques and sparse dramatic dialogue.


Michael Ondaatje was born in Sri Lanka in 1943. He studied in England and then moved to Canada in 1962. His works include:

  1. Dainty Monsters (1 967)

  2. Rat Jelly (1973)

  3. The Cinnamon Peeler (1990)


His style is surreal, chaotic, and dynamic, and he has a sense of 'the other,' which often leads to vivid gesture poetry. Like Atwood, Ondaatje has served as a model and inspiration for the development of the neo-surrealist method in Canadian poetry. One distinction is that, whereas the novelist uses a monotone to emphasise a strange shift in image, Ondaatje uses a shifting voice and unpredictable juxtapostious. The Collected Works of Billy the Kid is his well-known hybrid work.


Q 3. Write a detailed note on the genre of the Canadian long poem. 10

Ans) Poetry that is written in or about Canada often takes the form of the Canadian long poem. The term refers to poetry that has been written in Canada or by Canadians in either of the country's official languages, which are English and French. It also includes a smaller body of work written in other European and Indigenous languages.


The earliest works of poetry, which were penned for the most part by travellers, painted a favourable picture of the newly discovered lands, writing primarily for readers in Europe. One of the earliest works to be produced was Robert Hayman's Quodlibets, which was written in Newfoundland and published in 1628. Minority French Canadian poetry, primarily from the province of Quebec, began to flourish in the nineteenth century, and over the course of the twentieth century, it went through modernism and surrealism on its way to developing a unique voice that is filled with ardour, politics, and vivid imagery.


Despite the fact that English Canadian poetry began to be written not long after European colonisation, many of the country's first famous muses date back to the Confederation period, which took place in the middle to late nineteenth century. Long poems written in Canadian English during the 20th century and belonging to a specific literary genre. While retaining a uniquely Canadian point of view, Anglo-Canadian muses embraced European and American lyrical inventions such as modernism, confessional poetry, postmodernism, new formalism, concrete and visual poetry, and slam.


Poetry written by non-age French Canadians, primarily from Quebec, experienced a golden age in the nineteenth century, which led to the development of the long poem as a genre in Canada. In the 20th century, he developed a distinctive voice by moving through modernism and surrealism on his way to creating works that were filled with passion, politics, and vivid imagery. The genre of long poems written in Canadian English. Because of its proximity to both English and French poetry, Montreal developed into a fertile ground for the progression of poetry, giving rise to notable movements such as the Montreal Group and notable poets such as Irving Layton and Leonard Cohen. The Bohemian Embassy Coffee House and Nichol's became the epicentres of poetry activity in both Toronto and Vancouver, which both rose to prominence as important poetry centres.


The leading poetry workshop, which was largely written by callers, provided a glowing description of the new homes. This poetry workshop was primarily directed toward an audience in Europe. One of the earliest known workshops was Robert Hayman's Quodlibets, which was written in Newfoundland and published in the year 1628. With the expansion of English language communities toward the close of the 18th century, poetry aimed at original compendiums began to appear in original journals. These journals were first published. These scribbles were inspired by English poetry that was written during the same time period as them, and their primary purpose was to reflect the artistic values that were prevalent at the time.


The development of Native Canadian writing in the latter half of the 20th century was fuelled by a growing awareness of Native identity in conjunction with the fight for Indigenous rights.


Q 4. Write a detailed note on the main character of the novel Surfacing. 10

Ans) Atwood doesn't name Surfacing's narrator to emphasise the universality of his social alienation. The narrator's psychological transformation is unknown. Due to her many roles, the narrator is emotionally numb and isolated. Grief and wilderness overexposure contribute. Social alienation also contributes to the narrator's insanity. The narrator's transformation improves her social standing. The narrator realises that withdrawing from society will kill her. The narrator comes to new conclusions about how to handle society's ills. She vows to reintegrate into society without succumbing to old pressures.


The Narrator

Surfacing's unnamed protagonist. The narrator reveres nature, is deeply private, anti-American, and introspective. She is a self-employed artist. She and her boyfriend, Joe, as well as her friends, David and Anna, search for her missing father on a remote island in Quebec. The narrator suffers from debilitating emotional numbness as a result of social alienation and distrust of love, which eventually resolves itself through a grand psychological transformation. On the island, she eventually goes insane. She lives as an animal for a time, but eventually transforms into a more enlightened being. Surfacing is entirely made up of the narrator's raw thoughts and observations.


Because the novel's central narrator is an unnamed protagonist, everything is filtered through her perspective and memories. That deep embeddedness in her mind becomes problematic in terms of our efforts as readers to piece together the story's "reality," because we eventually realise that her memories are frequently distorted or outright false.


Consider when the narrator is staring at Anna, who is lounging on the dock:

Except for the bikini and her hair colour, she reminded me of myself at sixteen, sulking on the dock, resentful of being away from the city and the boyfriend I'd proven my normalcy by obtaining; I wore his ring, too big for any of my fingers, around my neck on a chain, like a crucifix or a military decoration.


We think we're getting a deep insight into the narrator's sullen adolescence at the time, but we soon realise there are some gaps and distortions in her recollection. Her "boyfriend" was actually a married man, and they used the ring to make getting a hotel room together easier at times. So, not exactly the picture of adolescent "normalcy" she had painted at first, was it?


Her most obvious and blatant lie, however, is her claim to have had a child. She honestly believes this for about three-quarters of the novel, until she suddenly realises, she had an abortion at the behest of her married boyfriend (whom she had mistakenly remembered as being her ex-husband and father of her living child).


In short, the unnamed narrator isn't the most trustworthy source we've ever encountered. However, her ability to recognise the gaps in her memory suggests that she has evolved throughout the novel; she is now willing to confront the past head-on—an important step in shaking off the passivity and "victim" status that she appears to have embraced before taking that dip in the lake.

Q 5. Gabrielle Roy very realistically presents the lives of the people of Quebec in her novel The Tin Flute. Discuss it with examples from the novel. 10

Ans) Gabrielle Roy was born in St. Boniface and worked as a teacher in Manitoba for many years. Despite this, she does not appear on the list of Manitoba writers published by Wikipedia, but she does appear on the Quebec list. That could be because the novel is set in Montreal's St. Henri district during the early days of World War II. It is probably her most famous book, but I believe that some of her other books, such as Where Nests the Waterhen and her collection of short stories in the books Garden in the Wind and Enchanted Summer, are superior. That's not to say this is a bad book; in fact, it's fantastic. It only has a few awkward passages that a more experienced writer would have smoothed out.


St. Henri was a poor Montreal neighbourhood during the 1930s. Without fault, many men couldn't find work. Florentine Lacasse's father, Azarius, was unemployed. Even the Lacasses relaxed. Florentine worked as a waitress and gave most of her earnings to her mother. She's not pretty and too thin, but she catches Jean Levesque's eye. He invites her to the movies, but she declines. Florentine falls for Jean despite this.


Meanwhile, Rose-Anna Lacasse struggles at home. Rose-Anna is about to give birth to Florentine's sixth sibling. Azarius loses his taxi driving job. Rose-Anna is evicted, so she searches St. Henri for a new home. Rose-Anna is the story's hero because she feeds her kids. Florentine's salary is all she has, but she has other worries.



In the storey, the men find salvation by joining the army. The money that the government will send home to their families will be extremely helpful while the men are away. Nobody seems to consider that they might have to pay for it with their lives. It would have been interesting to see how everyone fared after the war if Roy had written a sequel.


The poor often believe that if they associate with the wealthy, they'll get rich. Florentine works at the Five and Ten so her family can afford their pitiful home in St. Henri, Montreal. Florentine believes Jean is her ticket out of poverty. Florentine thought she could smell the great city if she leaned closer to him. St. Catherine Street, store windows, Saturday-night crowd... She dated boys occasionally, but they took her to the local movie theatre or a dingy suburban one. This unknown young man made the lights brighter, the crowd gayer, and springtime in St. Henri's wretched trees.


Examples abound. Roy is a great realist novelist of the 20th century. Her realism differs from Austen and Eliot. She emphasises the cityscape more. She follows French Symbolist poets who were unafraid of city life. This makes The Tin Flute more "naturalist." Character, environment, and thematic threads intertwine, giving the novel a rich texture. Her 'naturalism' differs from writers who include gruesome details for shock value. She combines the two.


The Tin Flute's diverse reactions to the War highlight Roy's realistic society's complexity. Rose-Anna, a peacenik, sympathises with women whose loved ones are fighting. Jean Levesque and Azarius respond differently. The Tin Flute has tragic individual, social, and global undertones. Internal and external forces threaten the characters' lives and harmony. The War is important in D. Nearly everyone discusses the war. She understands social class.

Q 6. In what ways is The English Patient a modernist novel? Discuss it. 10

Ans) The English Patient is a work of historical fiction written by Michael Ondaatje that takes place in the countryside of Tuscany during the Second World War. The novel "The English Patient" is written in a manner that is considered to be postmodern, which means that it contains several prominent examples of postmodern style figures. To get things rolling, it is essential to get a firm grasp on what postmodernism and modernism are as well as the central themes that define each of these schools of thought. A product of the First World War, modernism is an intellectual movement that challenges established norms and calls into question long-held customs. It was an attempt to shake up long-standing customs and instil a sense of uncertainty and unease. There are many aspects of modernism that are shared by postmodernism, particularly narrative strategies.


Intertextuality, self-awareness, multiple perspectives, metafiction, and fragmentation are central ideas in the postmodernist philosophical movement. Postmodernism does, however, share some of the values and themes associated with "modern" thought, particularly in literary works. For instance, fragmentation is a phenomenon that occurs quite frequently in both modern and postmodern forms of literature. Why did Michael Ondaatje choose to write this novel using figures that are reminiscent of the postmodern style? In what ways does this impact the reader as well as the narrative? Why should one devote their time to learning about postmodernism?


Although "The English Patient" is a historical fiction novel, it contains a lot of poetical elements that make the text itself a work of art. This is an example of the common postmodern style figure known as a breaking of genre. Even if the novel is extremely descriptive, describing everything down to the minutest of details, the poetry in the book does not significantly detract from the experience because it still acts as a mediator between the descriptiveness and the detail. It actually makes the reading of the text simpler and more enjoyable, so it isn't doing anything to ruin it.


When describing how these postmodern themes affect the text, it is important to first answer the question of why these themes are important. The novel is made more interesting to read as a result of the fragmentation, which also gives us the impression of being in a realistic setting. Because the reader is given the opportunity to delve into the thoughts and feelings of the characters, the hazy line that separates reality from fiction is an essential component of the reading experience. In this particular instance, breaking the rules of a genre is done in order to make the reading experience more enjoyable. These particular three postmodern themes aren't the only ones that appear in the book, but from a reader's perspective, they are the ones that have the most impact on how they feel about the experience of reading the book.


Therefore, Michael Ondaatje has been successful in creating a one-of-a-kind reading experience by making use of these postmodern themes. Nonetheless, this experience is crafted with the help of these central themes. Therefore, postmodernism is extremely helpful because it provides tools that are necessary for the reading of future fiction. Although the philosophy may no longer be practised, its influence can be seen plainly not only in "The English Patient," but also in a great number of other novels. The central tenets of postmodernism in literature are very much alive and continue to be of great use.

Q 7. Attempt a critical assessment of “A Mother in India”. 10

Ans) "A Mother in India" is about a mother who reunites with her daughter after twenty-one years but has no maternal instincts. Despite the fact that it was written at the turn of the century, it is a position that would make any modern feminist proud. It is unusual to find a woman at the turn of the twentieth century who is bold enough to take a stand against established and expected social conventions.


Sara Jeannette Duncan, then 37, gave birth to a child in 1900. Unfortunately, the child died shortly after birth. Perhaps Duncan's late pregnancy embarrassed her and influenced her maternal ambivalence when she says, "Since an unfortunate [perhaps because unwanted] infant must be brought into the world and set adrift."


Mrs. Farnham proposes a four-year reunion with her daughter. Surprisingly, the milk of maternal affection flows abundantly. Perhaps the intervening time has softened and thawed her. "Her four motherless years filled me with remorse and brought tears to my eyes; she deserved all the compensation she could get. My days and nights on the ship were filled with a longing to possess her; the betrayed tenderness of the previous four years rose up in me and sometimes caught in my throat ". She felt proud as she cried. "1 was her mother, after all."


Finally, the reunion takes place. "The unforgettable image of a little girl, unlike anything we had imagined, bravely trotting across the room. Half-way, she came to a halt, terrified by the strange faces, and ran straight back to her Aunt Emma's outstretched arms ". The mother reacts strangely, as if she has been slapped, as if she has been denied what is rightfully hers; her expectations explode in her face. Although she says, "The most natural thing in the world, no doubt," her true feelings described later give this statement a ring of insincerity. Why should the mother sit down if this is the most natural thing in the world? "a bystander, aloof and silent... sat motionless, staring at my alleged baby, breaking her heart at the sight of her mother.


Even now, I find it difficult to remember my rage. I didn't touch her or speak to her; I just sat there watching my alien possession ". The child's fear is understandable, but the mother's rage is astonishing. And when she is asked to kiss her sleeping daughter, her response that she didn't think she could take advantage of her suggests not only deep hurt, but also that the milk of motherly love and kindness has suddenly dried up. "I spent an approving, unnatural week in my farcical character, bridling my resentment and hiding my mortification with pretty phrases; in theory, I was Cecily's mother, but in reality, I was John's wife." The tragic lot of these women was to choose between husband and child, and they knew they would fail as either wife or mother.


A favourite Anglo-Indian theme is the infancy of alienation. "The alienation that follows is more painful than the initial separation." Ducan presents a personal case study set within the Anglo-Indian socioeconomic reality. The responsibilities of being an imperialist's wife, the equally binding dictates of Anglo-Indian social custom, and Mr. Farnham's flinty, uncharitable individual personality all appear to have played a role in the development of this 'Mother in India.' Duncan blames the circumstances for the monstrosity that Helena Farnham appears to commit or reflect. Behind the victim's mask, one detects distinct Anglo-Indian instincts for self-centeredness and superiority.


Q 8. Who are the main characters in The Tin Flute? Who emerges as the most arresting character from among these? 10

Ans) The main characters in The Tin Flute are:


Florentine Lacasse

This young woman has been tasked to support her entire family with her meagre income at a lunch deli, but she's really more interested in Jean Levesque, the young machinist who comes by the shop to flirt with her.



Daniel is Florentine's younger brother who is sick throughout the novel. Eventually, he is hospitalized by the illness, which ends up being leukaemia.



The family matriarch who worries about her family. She is pregnant after all with her twelfth child. One day, she asks her husband to borrow a work truck to drive her back to her family's land in the country. She discovers that city life is more difficult than her family's rural life.



The patriarch who disappoints as a provider throughout the entire novel. He gets fired for stealing a truck from his workplace, even though he always planned on returning it. When France is taken over by Germany, Azarius finds a new employment with the British army fighting the Nazis.


Jean Levesque

This young flirt keeps coming to hang out with Florentine, but when Florentine finally gets the house all to herself, and Jean shows up, he can't help but feel disgusted by Florentine's poverty. They have sex, and he leaves, never to be heard from again.


Emmanuel Letourneau

But Florentine has this other suitor, a military officer who has been courting her for some time. Finally, when she turns up pregnant, she accepts his proposal and convinces herself the baby is his.


The most Arresting Character in The Tin Flute

Waitress Florentine Lacasse, who is only nineteen years old and works at the restaurant known as "Five and Ten," is the primary provider for her large family. While Florentine's father, Azarius, struggles to keep a job due to his ongoing unhappiness, Florentine's mother, Rose-Anna, stays at home to take care of all eleven of her children. Florentine has aspirations of leading a better life and falls in love with Jean Lévesque, a driven and successful machinist-electrician.


 Florentine's dreams of a better life come true. Jean gives in to Florentine's advances because he has an ego that needs to be stroked. He quickly grew tired of the relationship and decided to introduce her to a friend of his named Emmanuel, who was a soldier on leave at the time. Emmanuel finds himself falling in love with Florentine. In spite of this, Florentine's attraction to Jean will have significant repercussions in her life; the more obsessive her feelings for Jean become, the more exposed she will be to harm. The event that marks the novel's defining turning point is when Jean sexually assaults Florentine, which leads to her becoming pregnant with Jean's child. She conceals the fact that she is pregnant and marries Emmanuel because he has pledged to provide for her after the birth of their child. This decision allows her to sidestep the archetype of the "fallen woman."


Q 9. ‘Characterization in The Ecstasy of Rita Joe follows allegorical writing in its accent on white and black shades of characters.’ Critically comment. 10

Ans) There is an undercurrent of the allegorical method in Ryga's approach to character development. The structure of the play is very similar to that of a parable. The main character is a young woman named Rita. The most harm is done to her. It is impossible to assist her, and she refuses to accept assistance. She yells out, but no one pays attention to her. She has her own hopes and aspirations, but they will all be for naught because she will eventually commit mass rape and commit suicide. She is partially bewildered and unyielding, but the majority of it is beyond her ability to control anyway. Her father, David Joe, along with a few other people, are both feeble and helpless. The evil that prevails is represented by a number of different factors, one of which is the murderers. The teacher is suffering as a result of the current state of the education system as well as her own limitations.


Rita's memory of her rural upbringing conjures up images of a peaceful and bucolic past, but those days are gone forever. Degradation, misery, and hardship are all that the urban present has to offer. There is a particularly elaborate fantasy in which Rita and Jairnie delight. They both agree that raising a family in the big city is their ultimate goal. It slams into the unattractive reality that Clora Hill had no choice but to give her children up for adoption. The scene in Jairnie's room that begins with the insinuated promise of making love and ends in despondency and frustration is a perfect example of this. The moments spent with Eileen are sweet, but they are also tinged with a certain melancholy.


When we look at the darker side of humanity, we see that there are people like those white thugs who raped Rita and threw Jairnie in front of an approaching train. They fit into this category.


The use of black and white by Ryga in his artwork is a signature style of his. The majority of the time, he discusses them in an allegorical manner. The vast majority of them each represent a single quality that is an integral component of the overall parable structure that Ryga employs. This, in turn, is something that fits in nicely with the instructive aspect of Ryga's dramatic art. He is a dramatist who has a message, and he enjoys hammering it down in a tone that is loud and clear.


The two primary characters in the storey Both Rita and Jaimie's lives are driven by a variety of desires, each of which dominates their decisions. They long for affection and companionship while requiring only a basic level of convenience. They are also interested in the necessities of life. They require employment with some degree of significance. They are in need of dignity and respect. All of these things are hidden from them by the white society. The difference between the way of life of white people and that of native people is too great. Rita is the target of multiple characters' efforts to frame her.


Rita has the ability to see and imagine things that are unavailable to a good number of the other characters. The Magistrate spends a lot of time talking about how important it is to maintain good personal hygiene, but the majority of what he says takes on a sinister tone because he and Rita are working in opposite directions. The conflict between the two exemplifies, in a sense, the conflict that exists between the two different cultures. The dominant white culture does not show enough respect for the dominant native culture to fully appreciate it or make room for it.


Q 10 What are the various types of criticism that Frye talks about in Anatomy of Criticism? 10

Ans) Frye argues that criticism should be regarded as a science. As physicists look for the laws of gravity underlying our experience of the physical world, such a science is interested in studying the underlying patterns and categories of literature. That is, criticism should be inductive, derived from reading literature itself. Frye offers four such categories in the essays that follow. Each category allows for a different type of criticism.


In the "First Essay," Frye begins with modes. A mode is the power of action that characters in a work of literature have. According to Frye, there are primarily five modes. The first, mythic, is when characters, like gods, are superior to their world and to the reader. The main character in the romantic mode is a hero who is better than his surroundings but is still a man, not a god. In a high mimetic mode, the character is an admirable human being, but he is not more powerful than his surroundings. That character, in a low mimetic mode, is like an everyman, equal to everyone. Finally, in an ironic mode, the characters are lower than the average man, such as scoundrels.


Frye examines symbols in his "Second Essay." He considers five different aspects of symbols that can be discussed, or five different types of symbols. Each refers to a symbol's relationship to something else. The symbol in a motif is only related within the work of literature itself. The symbol in a sign refers to something outside of the text, naming or describing the world. The symbol in an image not only refers to the outside world but also evokes specific feelings. An archetype is an image that appears in multiple works of literature.


Finally, a symbol in a monad refers to something universal, such as human nature. In terms of frame of reference, the five different types or "phases" of symbol thus progress from small to large: from being contained within the text itself to referring to all of mankind.


The "Third Essay" discusses myths, which are collections of symbols. Images can appear together in master plots such as good versus evil. Frye discusses several of these types of groupings, particularly in terms of the imagery involved: imagery of the divine world, human world, animal world, vegetable world, and so on. However, he is particularly interested in a recurring pattern that divides imagery into four phases that correspond to the four seasons: spring, summer, autumn, and winter. From the birth of spring to the death of winter, imagery has a lifecycle similar to that of a year. According to Frye, these four phases correspond to four "mythoi," or primary literary categories: comedy (spring), romance (summer), tragedy (autumn), and satire (winter).


Frye turns his attention to genre in the "Fourth Essay," which he defines as the primary form in which a work of literature is presented. According to Frye, there are four major genres. Dramas are works that are primarily performed on stage by actors. Epos are works spoken by a poet to an audience, which include classic Greek epics such as the Odyssey, as well as any poem intended to be recited aloud. Lyrics are works addressed from one poet to another, such as an address to God or a lover. Finally, fictions are works that are primarily printed on paper. This includes all contemporary novels.

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