If you are looking for MEG-18 IGNOU Solved Assignment solution for the subject American Poetry, you have come to the right place. MEG-18 solution on this page applies to 2022-23 session students studying in MEG, PGDAML courses of IGNOU.
MEG-18 Solved Assignment Solution by Gyaniversity
Assignment Code: MEG-18 / TMA / 2022-23
Course Code: MEG-18
Assignment Name: American Poetry
Year: 2022 - 2023
Verification Status: Verified by Professor
Attempt any five questions. All questions carry equal marks.
Q 1. Trace the history of colonialism in America. 20
Ans) The history of European colonisation of North America from the early 17th century until the incorporation of the Thirteen Colonies into the United States of America following the War of Independence is covered by the colonial history of the United States. This history spans from the beginning of the 17th century until the end of the war. At the end of the 16th century, major colonisation efforts in North America were initiated by several European nations, including England (the British Empire), the Kingdom of France, the Spanish Empire, and the Dutch Republic. There was a high mortality rate among the first settlers, and some of the earliest attempts, like the English Lost Colony of Roanoke, were unsuccessful entirely. Despite this, prosperous colonies were founded within a few decades of the expedition's arrival.
Native Americans, also known as Amerindians (a name given to them by Christopher Columbus after he realised, he had sailed too close to America), considered the arrival of white people to be the beginning of the end of the world when they first inhabited the land that is now the United States. The arrival of white people in a land that had already been civilised by the "real" Americans, the Native Americans, is considered to be the beginning of colonialism in the United States. The United States of America initially existed as a settler colony and was a vast land that was conquered, plundered, and adopted by European immigrants. These immigrants came from Spain, the Netherlands, France, and England.
In the early days of the colonial period, the early settlers did not have the skills necessary to survive in the wilderness, which led to a number of challenges for them. The Pilgrims had agreed to settle in the area around the Hudson River by signing a contract with the Virginia Company. Unfortunately for them, the choppy waters, and severe storms that they encountered prevented them from arriving at their destination as planned. After 66 days at sea, they finally reached Cape Cod and dropped anchor in Provincetown on November 21. On December 18th, the Pilgrims anchored their ships and docked at Plymouth Rock, which is located on the western side of Cape Cod Bay. Prior to this, they had dispatched an exploratory party to the land.
The majority of their first winter in Massachusetts was spent aboard the Mayflower by the settlers who eventually settled in Plymouth. The following winter, the Pilgrims continued to live on the land, but they did so in wigwams and sailcloth tents. A great number of people fell ill and starved to death. Nearly one-quarter of them passed away before a ship carrying new provisions and sailing from England could reach them. Over the course of their time in the wilderness, the colonists gained knowledge of how to survive there through a combination of trial and error as well as the assistance of some of the more hospitable Native American tribes. By the 1700s, most of the nation's hamlets, villages, and towns were well-established. The colonists slowly developed their own customs, rituals, and ways of life over the course of their time in the new land. They eventually came to the realisation that this new land was actually their original home. They eventually came to regard land in the United States as their 'home' rather than their native European countries.
The Mayflower was the first ship to arrive in America with a human cargo, and it was quickly followed by a fleet of other vessels bearing an overwhelming population of European colonists. There were many different motivations for early European settlers to come to the Americas. Others came with the goal of expanding their financial opportunities, while others came in search of the freedom to practise their religion. Many people came with the intention of establishing new kingdoms, while others were intrepid seafarers and explorers seeking to learn more about the world. They founded 13 colonies, which later became the states of New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Roanoke, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Maryland, Georgia, Connecticut, Rhode Island, and Delaware. New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Roanoke, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Connecticut, Rhode Island, and Delaware. There were also a few colonies that were more dispersed, such as St. Augustine, which is located in what is now the state of Florida.
Q 4. Discuss some of the major figures of American Enlightenment. 20
Ans) The Enlightenment, also known as the Age of Reason, was a period from the late 17th century to the 18th century during which scientific ideas flourished throughout Western Europe, England, and the American colonies. Throughout the Enlightenment, writers produced poetry, plays, satire, essays, and other works. The novel was also on the rise. It was in its formative years, resulting in works such as Gulliver's Travels and Robinson Crusoe. Authors like John Milton were active in the world of poetry. Paradise Lost, his masterpiece, was published in 1667.
To understand the poetry of transitional poets such as Edgar Lee Masters and others, we must first understand the American Enlightenment of the 18th century, which fostered the spirit of rationality and scientific inquiry on which the American nation was to be properly founded. Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790) and Thomas Paine (1737-1809) were two pivotal figures in this regard. They made a direct contribution to the nation's formation. Benjamin Franklin, along with George Washington, John Adams, and Jefferson, drafted the Articles of Confederation and Perpetual Union, which are regarded as a "forerunner" of the American Constitution. Franklin, a self-made man, believed in hard work and "humane rationality." Hector St. John Crevecoeur (1735-1813) advocated for the virtues of hard work, tolerance, and prosperity. Interestingly, he attempted to define the 'American,' the identity of the new man who appeared in the new world:
This new man in America is either a European or a descendant of a European, which explains the strange mix of blood found in no other country. I could tell you about a family whose grandfather was English, whose wife was Dutch, whose son married a French woman, and who’s current four sons have four wives of different nationalities.... Individuals from all nations are merged here to form a new race of men, whose labours and descendants will one day affect global change.
The 'salad bowl' theory describes the spirit of coexistence among various ethnic groups, including non-white groups. This also contributed to the evolution of multiculturalism theory and practise in the United States during the 1960s and 1970s. Thomas Paine (1737-1809) was yet another personification of the spirit of liberty and equality. His pamphlet, Common Sense, was widely read. "In the stirring lines with which Paine introduced the pamphlet, we can already hear the seeds of the concerns that would lead America to determine the course of life for its citizens, Native Americans, immigrants, and slaves, and then to make it globally interventionist in the twentieth century."
In this context, Dutta is referring to Philip Freneau's depiction of this new America in his poem "On Mr. Paine's Rights of Man." The following poem lines may be quoted:
So shall our new nation, formed on Virtue’s plan,
Remain the guardian of the Rights of Man,
A vast republic, famed through every clime,
Without a king, to see the end of time.” (Qtd. in Dutta 130)
At different moments in American history this notion of the American ‘nation’ and the identity of its people would be asserted and problematised in fiction, poetry, and non-fictional works.
The American Enlightenment is important for understanding nineteenth and twentieth-century poetry in two ways: first, it emphasised the idea of America - its history, geography, and diverse natural resources, for example - by reinforcing concepts of the nation based on democratic ideals of justice, liberty, and equality; and second, it provided a rational, humane basis for America as a unique state where people from all over the world congregate.
Q 5. Write a critical note on Thoreau’s “Walden.” 20
Ans) Henry David Thoreau stayed at Walden Pond during the decade of the 1840s. During this time, he was living on Walden Pond and writing Walden, an autobiographical account of his time spent there. Transcendentalism is a philosophical movement concerned with deviating from societal norms and discovering one's own connection to the universe. Thoreau's writing of Walden was heavily influenced by this movement, and it was one of the primary influences on the author Goodman. As a direct consequence of this, maxims influenced by transcendentalism that pertain to all facets of life, particularly nature, are scattered throughout Walden.
Thoreau provided a number of comments on his viewpoints regarding the protection of the natural world, as well as on the scientific data entries regarding the environment of Walden Pond. Henry David Thoreau's nature maxims have remained relevant throughout time despite the fact that some of Thoreau's ideas have become out of date. These nature maxims have helped modern-day scientists understand global warming, encouraged people to protect the environment, and emphasised the importance of nature to our health.
Walden contains a number of accounts of natural aspects surrounding Walden Pond that help modern scientists understand the effects of global warming. These accounts can be found in Thoreau's book, Walden. For instance, Michelle Nijhuis wrote an article about how Thoreau's botanical notes have helped a number of scientists, such as Richard Primack and Miller Rushing, in their investigation into the effects of global warming. Nijhuis's article was published in an online journal. Primack and Rushing relied on Thoreau's original botanical notes, to which Alfred Hosmer contributed additional information sixteen years after the author's passing.
The combined notes of Thoreau and Hosmer contained the first flowering dates of over 700 different species that were found in the Walden Pond region. When Primack and Rushing compared Thoreau and Hosmer's notes to modern data, they discovered that certain types of flowers bloomed several weeks earlier than they did in Thoreau's time. This finding indicates that modern temperatures are warmer, which is a direct effect of global warming. They also found only 400 of Thoreau's estimated 600 species of plant life, which is indicative of the deterioration of our environment and possibly the effects of global warming. Through Walden, Thoreau ensured his continued relevance and immortality in the world of science by providing modern-day researchers with this botanical data.
In Walden, Thoreau discusses the life that exists on our planet. He compares the world we live on to living poetry and the leaves of trees. The meaning of this message can be gleaned from this imagery. Thoreau places a significant emphasis on the importance of recognising that our planet is alive and treating it as though it were so. Documentary series "Our Planet" on Netflix examines all of the regions and natural wonders of our planet, as well as the effects of climate change. The documentary Our Planet is pertinent because it offers support for Thoreau's transcendentalist ideas regarding the preservation of nature. Additionally, it lends credence to Thoreau's conviction that it is necessary to preserve the natural world.
Even though there are people who believe that global warming is just a myth, numerous scientific studies have shown that this is not the case. When it came to issues concerning the environment and climate change, Thoreau was years ahead of his time. Understanding the reality and veracity of climate change is absolutely necessary in light of the environmental maxims espoused by Thoreau. It is essential to keep in mind how significant the importance of the environment is. It would be extremely beneficial to recall and remember the words that Thoreau had written.
Q 6. Critically examine Harlem Renaissance in the context of early twentieth century American Poetry. 20
Ans) The Harlem Renaissance began with the Great Migration of the early twentieth century, when hundreds of thousands of black people migrated from the South to dense urban areas with more economic opportunities and cultural capital. According to Alain Locke, editor, journalist, and critic, it was "a spiritual coming of age" for African American artists and thinkers who took advantage of their "first chances for group expression and self-determination." Poets from the Harlem Renaissance, such as Langston Hughes, Claude McKay, and Georgia Douglas Johnson, explored the beauty and pain of black life, seeking to define themselves and their community outside of white stereotypes.
Poetry from the Harlem Renaissance took on a wide range of forms and subjects. Some poets, such as Claude McKay, combined culturally European forms, such as the sonnet, with a radical message of resistance, as in "If We Must Die." Others, such as James Weldon Johnson and Langston Hughes, incorporated specifically black cultural creations into their work, infusing their poems with ragtime, jazz, and blues rhythms.
The following collection includes a selection of poetry published during this time period, as well as essays by and about Harlem Renaissance writers, as well as audio recordings and discussions of their work.
Anne Spencer was another poet who is often referred to as a Background Harlem Renaissance activist. She addressed race and feminism in a straightforward but profound manner. Often using nature to express human emotions, she published during the 1920s and was in constant contact with intellectuals associated with the Harlem Renaissance, despite the fact that she lived and wrote in Virginia. Her work was featured prominently in Alain Locke's renowned anthology The New Negro: An Interpretation: Her poems were included in The Book of American Negro Poetry, edited by another Harlem Renaissance figure, James Weldon Johnson. Spencer was able to publish over 30 poems during her lifetime. Much of her work was published after her death in 1975 in Time's Unfading Garden: Anne Spencer's Life and Poetry. She was later included in the anthology Shadowed Dreams: Harlem Renaissance Women's Poetry. Much of Spencer's lost work was discovered and published by other famous poets in the latter half of the twentieth century.
Women were writing poetry in the early twentieth century in America, and some of them were discovered and published much later. Among the many women, Amy Lowell is frequently cited as the poet who advocated for imagist poetry and embraced its principles in her own work.
Another female poet, Marianne Moore, who famously gave Muhammed Ali's record 'I am the greatest,' may be the ideal poet to round out an exhaustive history of early twentieth-century American poetry. Her poem 'Poetry,' which is included below, provides an overview of Moore's thoughts on poetry.
To summarise, the early twentieth century saw American poets sow the seeds of globalisation and multiculturalism, in which a diverse range of voices, including women and immigrants, found a voice. The American spirit, which was an amalgamation of various cultural traits, found words in poetry, English language, and thus literature in the form of poetry morphed into a distinct genre that went to the common man. The educated readers who resulted from mass literacy campaigns strengthened the field of poetry. Furthermore, the poets benefited from the economic prosperity. Poets were compensated for their works, and grants and scholarships were available to aspiring poets. Poetry responded by becoming simple and understandable to all. Poetry captured the thoughts and dreams of ordinary people, whether they were farmers or commuters in a metro station. Poetry was no longer the domain of the wealthy and romantic.
Many African Americans were inspired by Sandburg during the Harlem Renaissance, and he helped to form jazz music. Such music expresses their joy and agony. Thus, he brings modernity to his subject-matter treatment and poetic credo.
Q 7. Discuss the role of John Crowe Ransom in 20th Century American Poetry. 20
Ans) From a thematic and stylistic standpoint, John Crowe Ransom's poems, written primarily between 1915 and 1927 but revised several times over the years that followed, reflected this preoccupation with regionalism and the struggle between reason and sensibility. Ransom's poetic world is mostly the South, not the South as it was when cotton and slavery were crowned heads, not the empirical South that sociologist’s study today, but a might-have-been South, a Chaucerian vision of gentleness in all senses.
Ransom was a "truly Southern writer," but he attributed this to "his style and his vision" rather than the poet's choice of themes and backgrounds. Regional characteristics, violence combined with elegance, affinity for unusual diction, concern with the insignia of feudalism and the chevalier as the embodiment of its values, mockery of the man of ideas, and so on are transformed by Ransom's double vision and irony into a poetry so distinctively his own that it is his individuality, rather than any regionalism, that first impresses the reader. However, it is difficult to imagine such poetry being written in twentieth-century American by someone who is not from the South.
Ransom's world is a world of fundamental opposites, a world where man is constantly made aware of "the inexhaustible ambiguities, the paradoxes and tensions, the dichotomies and ironies that make up modern life," wrote Thomas Daniel Young in a study of the poet. "Man's dual nature and the inevitable misery and disaster that always accompany the failure to recognise and accept this basic truth; mortality and the fleetingness of youthful vigour and grace, the inevitable decay of feminine beauty; the disparity between the world as man would have it and as it actually is, between what people want and need emotionally and what is available for them, between what man desires and what he can get," Young continued.
These various dualisms in Ransom's poetry are best described as a debate between the head and the heart, or, as Young put it, between reason and aesthetic sensibility. Ransom constantly sought a balance between the two, a balance that, however precarious, attempted to give equal time to logic and sentiment. He despised extremes of any kind and purposefully aimed for a detachment in his poetry that some critics perceived as cold and academic. However, Ransom believed that by establishing such an "aesthetic distance," he could provide the reader with a better view of his subject than poets who imbued their work with sentimentalism and other distracting personal attitudes.
Ransom is rightly regarded as a minor poet of the 1920s rather than a major poet of the modernist era, but he did write a few poems in which he demonstrated true mastery of poetic form and expression. His poetry is traditional in form and subject matter, but it has a modernist sensibility in its biting irony and refusal of nineteenth-century sentimentality. Ransom's best work is distinguished stylistically by its deft prosody, metaphysical wit, and satirical contrast of formal literary language with colloquial idiom.
Even though he won the National Book Award in Poetry for Selected Poems in 1964, the debate over whether Ransom will be remembered primarily as a poet, or a critic continues.
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