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NEW LITERATURES IN ENGLISH


ASSIGNMENT FOR MEG 08
July 2014 - January 2015 session
Programme: MEG
Assignment Code: MEG-08/TMA/2014-15
Max Marks : 100
Attempt all the ten questions and answer each question in approximately 450-500 words.
1. What are some central issues in the emergence of South Asian Literatures in English? Discuss with
reference to Indo-Anglian fiction.
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2. Discuss the significance of the title A Grain of Wheat.

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3. What are the main issues explored in the play A Dance of the Forests.

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4. Discuss the various connotations of the title Ice Candy Man.

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5. Discuss A House for Mr. Biswas as a diasporic novel.

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6. A variety of stances are seen in Caribbean poetry which reflect the regions experience of colonization.
Discuss with examples from the poems you have read.
10
7. Attempt a critical analysis of the poem Ananse and comment on the magical realist elements present
in it.
10
8. Attempt a character analysis of the twins Waldo and Arthur in the novel, The Solid Mandala.

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9. Discuss the thematic concerns present in the novel The Stone Angel.

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10. New Literatures in English is a possible advance on Commonwealth Literature. Do you agree?
Give reasons for your answer.
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ASSIGNMENT SOLUTIONS GUIDE (2014-2015)

M.E.G-8
New Literature in English
Disclaimer/Special Note: These are just the sample of the Answers/Solutions to some of the Questions given in the
Assignments. These Sample Answers/Solutions are prepared by Private Teachers/Tutors/Auhtors for the help and guidance
of the student to get an idea of how he/she can answer the Questions of the Assignments. We do not claim 100% Accuracy
of these sample answers as these are based on the knowledge and capability of Private Teacher/Tutor. Sample answers
may be seen as the Guide/Help Book for the reference to prepare the answers of the Questions given in the Assignment.
As these solutions and answers are prepared by the private teacher/tutor so the chances of error or mistake cannot be
denied. Any Omission or Error is highly regretted though every care has been taken while preparing these Sample Answers/
Solutions. Please consult your own Teacher/Tutor before you prepare a Particular Answer and for uptodate and exact
information, data and solution. Student should must read and refer the official study material provided by the university.

Q. 1. What are some central issues in the emergence of South Asian Literatures in English? Discuss with
reference to Indo-Anglian fiction.
Ans.
During the 1990s, the world has seen an emergence of fundamentalism and fascism. This has necessitated to
look for literature and genre beyond the nationalistic structures and aesthetic. These challenges are embedded in
divers ways in :
(i) feminist criticism highlighting new areas while striking at the patriarchical traditional concept of literature.
(ii)Emergence of oral and performance technique in the contemporary and newly emerging Asian and African
literatures.
In Midnight's Children we have
(i) mixed colloquialism instead of standard English.
(ii) use of oral narrative traditions;
(iii) dispensation with chronological and linear traditions of narrative and occurrences, and
(iv) a narrative which is not exclusive of digressiveness and is marked by looking process.
Amit Chaudhari wrote in THE HINDU on July, 29, 2001 :
English prose style, in the hands of writers like Chaudhury (who learnt English as a second language) and
Naipaul, has been an instrument of ambivalence; neither of these two writers, among the greatest post-colonial
stylists of English prose, come from the upper reaches of their respective societies. In Chaudhuris hands, English
prose style, becomes the measure of one who feels he does not quite belong .... On the other hand, Rushdie's khichdi
prose, with its Bombay mix of Hindi, English and Indian English, is a hegemonic language..... of an upper middle
class generation in post-independence, post-liberalization India... this khichdi language is far from an African
creole or pidgin, or being a language of the dispossessed.
As pointed by Chaudhuri, Rushdie writes a khichdi prose.
(i) Indeed, Rushdie has claimed the Indian writing in English being superior to regional language writing.
(ii)In fact, P. Lals claim is also on similar lines :
Without trying to be facetious, I should like to suggest that only in English can real Indian poetry be written :
any other poetry is likely to be Bengali-slanted or Gujarati-based and so on ....
Q. 2. Discuss the significance of the title A Grain of Wheat.
Ans. The title of the novel is based on the Bible:
Thou fool, that which thou sowest is not quickened, except it die. And that which thou sowest, thou sowest not
that body that shall be, but bare again, it may chance of wheat, of some other grain.
(I Corinthians, 15 : 36)

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It implies that a grain of wheat (or my other grain) has the potentiality of having a rebirth. However, before
that it must first die. This, however, happens only through the will of God. It is just like the phoenix rising again
from its own ashes.
Hence, the image of rebirth and regeneration after death is the central image in the novel. Here, this image
implies the nationalist struggle for freedom against colonialism. In the early parts of the novel in the Waiyakis
martyrdom it is stated that Waiyaki's blood contained within it a seed, a grain, which gave birth to a movement ....
Thus, Waiyaki's rebirth takes place in the form of a powerful movement.
Kihika draws an analogy between the African freedom fighter and Christ :
I die for you, you die for me, we become a sacrifice for one another. So I can say that you, Karanja, are Christ.
I am Christ. Everybody who takes the Oath of Unity to change things in Kenya is a Christ. Christ then is not one
person. All those who take up the cross of liberating Kenya are the true Christs for us Kenyan people
(A Grain of Wheat, p. 95)
In his natural argumentative way Kihika says: Pressed people have a cross to bear. The Jews refused to carry
it and were scattered like dust all over the earth.....In Kenya we want deaths which will change things, that is to say,
we want true sacrifice. But first we have to be ready to carry the cross.
(A Grain of Wheat, p. 95)
Christs failure is connoted in Kihika's words who had even more clearly said, Jesus had failed.
It is because in colonial Africa, Christianity is an alien religion which was an accomplice helping the colonialist.
Another tool which helped the colonialists was the continued use of English language. Ngugi appeals to the
suffering masses the world over to carry the cross which enables them to bear. The oppressed Africans are like
Jews scattered all over the earth. They need help from all religions and human organisations. Thus, Ngugi's is a call
to the persecuted and oppressed people for regeneration through : revolution and hearing of hardships of death and
rebirth.
Characterization in A Grain of Wheat
Two main features of characterisation in A Grain of Wheat are :
Distinct peculiar circumstances of the characters, and
their sense of identity with the community.
In presenting characters like Warui and Wambui, we have Ngugis commitment regarding historicisation of
marginal men and women.
Q. 3. What are the main issues explored in the play A Dance of the Forests.
Ans. Some of the important issues of the play are :
(i) Nigerian Independence.
(ii) The relation of tradition to history.
(iii) The relation of the artist to politics.
Explanation:
Nigerian Independence:
The following points should be noted:
1. The performance of this play formed a part of celebrations of the Nigerian independence.
2. The drama of decolonization is described beautifully in the following words by Franz Fanon:
Decolonization never takes place unnoticed, for it influences individuals and modifies them fundamentally. It
transforms spectators crushed with their inessentiality into privileged actors, with the grandiose glare of historys
floodlights upon them. It brings a natural rhythm into existence, introduced by new men, and with it a new language
and a new humanity. Decolonization is the veritable creation of new men. But this creation owes nothing of its
legitimacy to any supernatural power; the thing which has been colonized becomes man during the same process
by which it frees itself.
The three living characters in the play who go through the process of decolonization in the play are: (i) Demoke
(ii) Rola and; (iii) Adenebi.

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All the three hold others rather than themselves responsible for their woes.
Examples:
(i) Demoke tells a lie about killing Oremole.
(ii) Rola does not own responsibility for the death of her two lovers.
(iii)Adenebi mentions the death of seventy persons in a lorry accident as a result of a government official
having accepted a bribe, but he is not ready to accept his own responsibility in any way in this case.
Later, these very characters have to relive in history and they get changed.
Examples:
Rola is chastened.
(a) Demoke while confessing his guilt, also
(b) helps the Half-child to be restored to its mother, and
(c) for the sake of expiation, climbs the totem pole, though he knows that it can cause his death.
The positive side of decolonization is clearly visible in this change over the night-long celebrations, when
Demoke himself confesses that they are all changed.
Soyinka is, however, a realist or pragmatic playwright who does not think that with the attainment of
independence, all the ailments of Nigeria will vanish.
Thus, in one of his interviews in 1993, he expressed his shock and disappointment over the attitude and living
style of the native rulers of Nigeria after attaining independence:
Within five minutes, I knew that we were in serious trouble. It was clear that they were more concerned with
the mechanisms for stepping into the shoes of the departing colonial masters, enjoying the same privileges, inserting
themselves in that axial position towards the rest of the community. I saw the most naked and brutal signs of
alienation of the ruler from the ruled, from the very first crop. There were one or two exceptions, of course. And then
I realised that the enemy within was going to be far more problematic than the external, easily recognisable enemy.
(Maja-Pearce, 145)
It should be borne in mind that A Dance of the Forests is modelled on the Yoruba New Year Festival which
takes place in March.
(ii) In this festival purificatory and expiation rites are performed, and people confess their guilts. Thus, they
begin the new year afresh.
Drawing an analogy, the Nigerian independence marks a new era like the new year. As in the New Year Festival,
the people are invited to participate in the celebrations. In the play, the people from history from the past ages
have also been invited. The invitees include the ancestors. It is because the Yoruba believe the ancestors to be links
between the mortal and the immortal gods. They have the power to intervene on behalf of the mortals.
Notwithstanding all this, the important point to be noted is that:
The Dead Man and the Dead Woman are two of the persons who have been invited to participate in the
festivities.
They have come as invitees, guests having been especially invited and not come of their own.
However, none of living are ready to help them when they need it most.
Instead of offering any help to these dead people in trouble, it is rather flaunted that wrong people have been
invited.
The Relation of Tradition to History
There is a vast difference in the world of: imagination and idealism and reality, pregmatic living. On the
surface of it, the people idolize and worship their ancestors, but the reality is different. In the play-within-a-play, we
learn the double roles of a number of characters. The noble Dead Man and the Dead Woman who had fought tyranny,
are no layer revered. They are rather termed as traitors and so they are known in history. They are considered to be
wrong invitees, wrong guests. Madame Tortoise is ready to put to risk human life just for the sake of a canary. She
tries to allure men with her physical and sexual charms and overtures. Any man not responding to her advances is
considered less than a man. Tyrants like Mata Kharibu still rule the roost in the modern world. Thus, history repeats
itself, as man probably learns nothing from history. Even if all characters in the play have changed over the night, yet

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they have probably not got a grain of wisdom. Still, this change at least signifies that independence in itself is an
important thing this is the process of decolonisation.
The Relation of the Artist to Society
Soyinka's viewpoint in this context is related to his political activism. He believed that an artist must not be
living in an ivory tower and that he should be socially awake and politically active. He believed that an artist had the
potentiality to bring about a change in society. Indeed, it is the responsibility of an artist to bring to surface the evils
prevalent in society. An artist's aim should be to: highlight evils and negative points which should be shunned. stress
positive points which should be adopted. In many of his plays we have some craftsman figure. In A Dance of the
Forests, we have Demoke who is: at first a crafts man who carves the totem pole and then the Court Poet. Demoke's
life as an artist is at risk when he climbs the totem pole to consummate the expiation ritual. Thus, he is ready to
sacrifice his life for a social cause. Then, he has to face another danger to his life for the trivial satisfaction of a ruling
person, as the tyrant Madame Tortoise happens to be when she orders him fetch her canary.
Demoke when he has attained a certain height, wants to put to risk the life of his apprentice by sending him to
fetch the canary, through Madame Tortoise expresses dissatisfaction over this arrangement. Later, however, Demoke,
the Court Poet, has to expiate in another way and that is when he saves the Half-Child from Eshuoro.
Since the sacrificial basket is put on his head by Eshuoro's jester, he has to climb the dangerous totem pole, but
he does his duty calmly and sincerely and as he falls, he is saved by Ogun. In the Yoruba mythology, Ogun is the
patron of artists, carvers and iron workers. Thus, before being capable of claiming redemption, according to the
African tradition, one must face fears boldly and go in for the purificatory ritual at any cost. The artists purificatory
trial, resulting in his death or survival, either way leads to the transformation of the entire community. In A Dance of
the Forests, past and present are merged, as Forest Father gets identified with the artists, Soyinka in particular.
Q. 4. Discuss the various connotations of the title Ice Candy Man.
Ans. Bapsi does not tell the real name of Ice-Candy-Man. She simply calls him by this name. The novel was

published in 1988 in London under this name. This title was as per the intentions of Sidhwa. In 1991, an
American edition of the novel was published under the title Cracking India. This title appeared to
emphasise the partition of India. It appeared that the expression ice-candy could confuse it with drugs.
Hence, the change in the title. Sidhwa, however, prefers the name Ice-Candy-Man because of the political
connotations. On page 88 of the novel, we find Lenny the adult narrator, making a mention of the Ice
lurking deep beneath the hypnotic and dynamic feminity of Gandhis non-violent exterior. The authoress
meant that the politicians had no real concern about the sufferings of the common people. She felt that even
the renowned leaders such as the following were cold as ice (indifferent) to the sufferings of the people
caused by Partition: (a) Gandhi (b) Nehru (c) Subhash Chandra Bose (d) Lord Mountbatten (viceroy) The
political leaders only stir up trouble and it is the common people who have to suffer.
These political leaders whether of India such as Gandhi, Nehru, etc. or of Pakistan such as Jinnah, etc. change
their shape every now and then like ice-candy. They shift their role and view-point frequently and trap the common
people through their power of rhetoric and glib talk. Sidhwa, in fact, holds the politicians responsible for the partition
and bloodbath caused by communal riots and bigotry which were the gifts from the political leaders.
In the novel Ice-Candy-Man provides the desired metaphor when he shifts his professions: In summer, he sells
ice-candy. In winter, when ice-candy is not much in demand, he becomes a birdman whence he even takes pride in
deceiving his customers. Thus, the title has very subtle meanings and is very apt according to contents of the novel.
Q. 5. Discuss A House for Mr. Biswas as a diasporic novel.
Ans. Away from the motherland, the diasporans feel a sense of loss and gloom. To bridge cultures through
widening of experience needs the diasporic sensibility. If A House for Mr. Biswas is read on postcolonial premises,
this diasporic unhappiness becomes clear. Mr. Biswas did find a house in the Sikkim street at last, but it was an ideal
one upto his expectations. He only consoled himself with its illusory benefits like the soothing shade of the laburnum
tree. The Root and Route metaphors : These two metaphors are used in the study of diasporic literature

by Paul Gilroy in The Black Atlantic : Modernity and Double Consciousness. The Root Metaphor : t
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pertains to the reconstruction of a pure, uncontaminated, genuine homeland as dreamt by the first generation
of immigrants.
In A House for Mr. Biswas, Pundit Tulsi dreams of returning to India, but his dream remains unfulfilled till his
death. Naipaul's grandfather, as he tells in Finding the Centre, died when he was returning to his native village
near Gorakhpur.
The Route metaphor : suggests that the journey to plantations and the relations and interactions the indentured
immigrants had with their colonizers/masters/planters. Their relations were only those of slaves and masters, and
this has contaminated the diasporic memory and ethos for ever. According to Vijay Mishra ((B) Ordering Naipaul
: Indenture History and Diasporic Poetics, p. 195), the route metaphor is located in :
(a) the ship and
(b) the plantation barracks.
Regarding the ship Mishra says : The ship ... is the first of the cultural units in which social relations are resited
and renegotiated. For the old, exclusivist Indian diaspora, the ship produced a site in which caste purities were
largely lost (after all the crossing of the dark ocean, the kalapani, signified the loss of caste) as well as a new form of
socialization that went by the name of jahaji-bhai (ship-brotherhood). Social interactions during these lengthy sea
voyages began a process that led to the remaking of cultural and ethinic identities, to a critical self-reflexivity of the
kind missing from the startified and less mobile institutions of the homeland.
The indentured immigrants had no prior experience of a foreign country and the restrictions that were imposed
on them in the plantations. Hence, life there was a virtual hall for them. It was like an exile.
In the barracks : each family got just one room. There was no separate place such as : kitchen bathroom or
toilet.
This is how a Fijian Indian poet, Satendra Nandan (now living in Australia), has described life in the barracks
in his poem Tota's Tale :
An empty line of twenty-four rooms: Eight feet by twelve feet. Once it housed native workers. Eight died:
others fled Who would live among the dead? Homeless I had come in search of paradise This house of hell was now
all mine.
(Nandan, Lines Across Black Waters, 11-12)
In the present, novel, Mr. Biswas had to live in the barracks of Green Vale. This life of great privation gooded
him to have a house of his own. The indentured immigrants had to work from 12 to 16 hours daily. The wages were
low. These wages remained unchanged throughout the nine years of indenture. They got about 25 cents per day. Out
of this amount, over one third was deducted for the supply of ration. They were not allowed legally to share their
rations. Hence, Naipaul says :
Growing up in Trinidad, I had never wanted to be employed. I had always wanted to be a free man. This was
partly the effect of my peasant Indian background and the colonial agricultural society of Trinidad. And though it
had not been easy in the beginning. I had remained a free man.
(Naipaul, A Turn in the South, p. 261)
Even, the descendents of the indentured immigrants could not get the much-desired independence. In the
barracks, there was a struggle for space, which is likewise visible in the Hanuman House. In the latter, this space was
available freely only to :
(a) Mrs. Tulsi
(b) Shekhar, her elder son
(c) Owad, her younger son and
(d) Seth, her sister's husband and manager of her estate.
In the barracks (as in the Hanuman House, in general) everything had to be shared. there was no privacy, even
for living, and keeping one's valuables.
The dolls house was broken by Shama because it was bought only for Savi and not all the children in the
Hanuman House.
Still, it was the Hanuman House which gave same comfort to Mr. Biswas.
In this home, Hanuman himself was a source of strength, both : physical and spiritual.

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The indentured immigrants believed that like Rama, one day they would return to their mother land in a state of
glory.
Q. 6. A variety of stances are seen in Caribbean poetry which reflect the regions experience of colonization.
Discuss with examples from the poems you have read.
Ans.From the start of the 20th century, there has been manifestation of diasporic approach to Caribbean

literature. Diasporic literary production can be studied from the works of post-colonial intellectuals as :
(i) Homi Bhaba; (ii) Gayatri Spivak; (iii) Salman Rushdie, etc.
However, Caribbean writers both from home and abroad have given their own interpretation. While drawing
on metaphors for interpretation, Bhaba has talked of metaphoricity in his Dissemination : Time, Narrative and
the Margins of Modern Nation. In his opinion, Their metaphorical movement requires a kind of doubleness in
writing.... (i)A major theme in the diaspora literature is, thus, this doubleness pointed out by Bhaba. (ii) Closely
related to it, or by implication, the diaspora literatures have posited themselves at the interstices of culture, without
a centred casual logic, in the words of Bhaba. As compared to other post-colonial societies where the migrant
population is significant in the metropolitan centres, of power, the position is different and more complex in the
Caribbean islands. All ethnicities in the Caribbean except the Amerindians, the original inhabitants of the islands,
can be considered to be diasporic, according to Stuart Halls emphasis on diversity; hybridity and difference in the
New World.
If we go after the literal meaning of the word diaspora (taking a cue from its Biblical connotations), it refers to
those scattered tribes which can identify themselves with some sacred homeland. In the case of the Caribbean
people, we trace their relationship with: India; China; Africa, etc.
Brathwaite has studied at length the theme of emigration and/or escape in Caribbean writing.
Some of the works examined by him in this connection are :
C.L.R. Jamess Minty Aley (1936); Alfred Mendes's Black Fauns (1935).; Galahad of Samuel Salvon's
novel The Lonely Londoners.
George Lammings The Pleasures of Exile (1960) is also about the migration of the West Indian writer, as
colonial and exile, from his native kingdom... Lamming also points out how the exiled writers want : opportunities
for publication and hunger for recognition. Herein lies the pleasure and paradox of exile. Lamming has more
recently used the word frontier for the Caribbean presence in : North America and Europe. By frontier is implied
the borders of civilization.
Just as Lamming has expressed a reversal of centre-periphery hierarchy, Louise Bennett's poem : Colonisation
in Reverse gives the same idea :
What a joyful news, Miss Mattie; Ah feel like me heart gwine burs- Jamaica people colonizin Englan in
reverse. By de hundred, by den tousan, From country and from town, By de ship-load, by de plane-load, Jamaica is
Englan boun.
(Hinterland, 62)
In nation language, the arrival of immigrants in England, as mentioned in the poem, can be termed a historical
revenge.
Q. 7. Attempt a critical analysis of the poem Ananse and comment on the magical realist elements
present in it.
Ans. Analysis: Ananse is only a presence who looks through glass without winking. But this presence has a
thinking faculty. His brain is green, like a green chrysalis that stores leaves. Thus, stories (or memories) are stored as
is a dark attic. He weaves words, being a spiderman, and has riddles and conundrums to offer. He is the repository
of ancient histories. In earlier times, the griots moved from village to village and sang songs of ancient heroes to
be villagers who gathered to hear them.
Now, Ananse has taken the place of those griots. Tacky and L'Ouverture were among the chieftains who cared
not a fig for their life and revolted against the colonial rule. Numerous revolutionaries lost their lives. A large-scale
destruction was caused which is very graphically described by the poet in the lines:
dead lobster pot crews, wire, red sea shell, coconut trees' hulls, nodding skulls, black iron bells, clogged ....
There can be found no glamour in this human loss. The poor cannot measure the depth of Ananse's doings.
Now, he is plotting to bring some other change in history. a new fall from heaven refers to
(i) the lame Hephaestus a deity of ancient Greece and

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(ii) Legba a deity of west African mythology.


Now Ananse is threading (like a spider) the moon/moonlight stories to trap new victims. Another revolution
may be heard when fire that boils in his belly. Certain other words refer to the fire of revolt or revolution :
(a) eyes, fireflies, sparks,
(b) crashing coals' waterfalls,
(c) grey ashes ...
(d) ...... cindars,
(e) burnt memories' eyes in the hot hut.
The line walloboa wood words gives it a local touch as walloboa is a local tree. Black beating heart of him
... refers to the resentment and rebellious feelings among the blacks. Ananse is : dry story world-maker wordbreaker and also creator. He creates new worlds after destroying the old ones. He takes recourse to the jugglery
of words language to achieve his aim. He is disturbed in his machinations as the dog barks. This may also refer
to the disturbance created by the white men by coming to the African and Caribbean world where life was going on
smoothly. It is almost clear that Ananse's association with the lame-legged craft god of Greek mythology is only
symbolic. His real association is with the African culture and mythology.
Magical Realism is actually a term which normally pertains to fiction, but Brathwaite has given his own
interpretation of it while using it in poetry :
How the metaphors and images interlock and interweave and interpenetrate each other, so that you increasingly
have .... a seamless kind of poetry, increasing without punctuation, where images inform, flow and influence each
other. It is a kind of surrealism as well, but magical realism, I think, is nearer to it, because it is the transformation of
reality into the prism of imagination and light.
(Interview 22)
The poem is surrealistic as: there is fusion of images in it. stylistic analysis of the poem reveals the running of
short lines into each other.
An osmosis of human actions into the natural environment is vividly conveyed in the broken use of man
grove for mangrove. This is a realistic representation in the sense that the guerrilla fighters in Africa often
identified themselves with their natural surroundings.
Q. 8. Attempt a character analysis of the twins Waldo and Arthur in the novel, The Solid Mandala.
Ans. In the Solid Mandala, we have the paradoxical love-hate relationship between the twins : (i)

Waldo and; (ii) Arthur.

In the opinion of Thelma Harring,


In tracing the development of a major writer one perceives continuity as well as growth : each new work is
organically related to its predecessors, yet this does not preclude the possibility of surprise.
Harring further says : Presenting with a compression equalled only in The Aunts story, two lines as simple
and ordinary to outward view as those of the parkers in The Tree of Man, The Solid Mandala uses them to explore
further the theme of man's potential divinity, already treated on an epic scale in Von and Riders on the Chariot.
Peter Craven opines: From the late 1960s there was a drift away from the mythopoeic, away from the symbols
of the bush country. This is discernable in the later work of Patrick White. The Solid Mandala (1966) is a story of
two brothers, one cosmically inclined and mad, the other schizoid yet sane. The book displays not only White's
interest in the ideas of Jung, but his willingness to experiment with black comedy and kitchen-sink realism. After
The Solid Mandala White never again sounded the biblical note of The Tree of Man.
(Craven, 46)
This novel is a microcosmic presentation as opposed to the macrocosmic one in the sense that : It pertains to
only the life and world of two twins common or average persons from the subwerbs of Sydney. It does not contain
a multiplicity of characters. It does not present an expansive vision. It does not offer elaborate narratives.
However, in spite of the apparent microcosm, there are vital points beyond the limited world of the twins,
which have been posed in the novel: nature of artistic creation; search for spiritual and emotional wholeness; the

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holocaust and an encroaching ethos of materialism.


A timeless theme is put in a contemporary context in the opening and closing sections of the narrative which is
divided into four unequal parts. In these two sections (first and last), Mrs. Poulter is the main character. We learn
about the bachelor twins through the perspectives of : Mrs. Poulter and Mrs. Dun. In the second and third sections
are depicted the lives and thoughts of : Waldo and Arthur : first from Waldo's perspective and then briefly from
Arthurs perspective. Mrs. Poulter and Mrs. Dun are travelling by bus between : Sarsaparilla and Barranguli. The
narrative starts with the bus journey. While the two ladies are introduced directly, Brown brothers are mentioned
through the conversation.
The first section in entitled : In the Bus. The Brown brothers stumble along the road between the two places
with their blue terriers : Runt and Scruffy he materialistic perspectives are clearly discernible in the conversation of
the two women. Throughout the first section minute materialistic details are observable on the part of women regarding
half-penny, penny, etc.
As Mrs. Poulter makes a mention of her neighbours, Mister Browns, Mrs. Dun feels they must be having
superior social status. When she learns that they are from England, she feels satisfied. Strongness of Waldos name,
a petty matter as it is, also emerges as a point between the women. Mrs. Duns limited range of mental vision is
obvious from the conversation. This narrow materialistic thinking is only a reflection of the society in which these
women live. The two women present the picture of the two old Brown brothers as being : snobbish repulsive and
intriguing. They reveal the two old men's physical state as : tottering holding each other by the hand. Earlier
Mrs. Poulter characterizes them as a couple of no-hopers with ideas about themselves. Mrs. Dun declares : They're
nothing to me.
The second section is named Waldo. The third section is named Arthur. Here, we learn the same story
through two perspectives. The Omniscient narrator, however, is there, as ever to give his comments. According to
Thelma Herring, the predominant emotion in the Waldo section is hatred born of: deep-seated insecurity and
increasing isolation.
Waldo feels or finds himself in a disadvantageous relationship to his twin brother. He feels awfully motified
and humiliated on seeing Arthur being preferred over him and even surpassing him is his own area of activity. Waldo
had in his mind a superior self-image as regards to Arthur.
This image is shattered as he learns: Arthur wins Dulcie's affection; he reads literary classics; concerns himself
with larger questions of life and even actually writes. The shattering of this image, first slowly, then quickly, infuses
in Waldo a hatred of things, and people. Despair overtakes him as he realizes the vanishing possibility in the success
of things he wanted to do in life.
Thus, Waldo is tormented by hatred for others and self-hatred.
Arthur
In the third section entitled Arthur there are a concern for positive relationships and
an
almost
religious spiritual search for wholeness. In the Waldo section, the episodes had appeared in their crude form. Now,
most of them get filtered through Arthur's mellow perspective.
Whatever caused humiliation to Waldo, becomes for Arthur a source of affection and part of a process of
personal enlightenment.
Even if the two brothers are twins, they are, as Thelma Herring points out opposites physically, mentally and
spiritually.
Waldo :
He is a pseudo-intellectual.
becomes a librarian.
hates people around him.
wants to becomes a novelist and is in search of some material for this purpose.
is alienated from the realities of life because of having an elitist view of life as well as of himself.

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Arthur :
is seemingly a simpleton.
He was a failure at school.
However, he has a flair for figures.
He accepts the realities of life humbly as he has to work as a Grocer's assistant.
He loves : people and dogs. Others also love him. He wants to share life with others.
As we learn :
Their experiences, however often coincide : they love the same woman (after their different fashions), both
write poems and read books, each acquires a dog, both on occasion play the woman, both give Mrs. Poulter a
child (Waldo in the form of a plastic doll, Arthur by accepting the relationship himself), each is accosted by a
whore on the night that the Second World War ends, each becomes in a sense the other's murderer.
Waldo believes that he is the leader. He thinks that he is the protector of Arthur. Arthur accepts that he is
protected by Waldo. But he also thinks that he is the protector of his whole family.
Q. 9. Discuss the thematic concerns present in the novel The Stone Angel.
Ans. In general, Laurence has Left wing sympathies. However, The Stone Angel is about the actions, follies and
aspiration of the middle class. The protagonist Hagar Shipley is full of pride for his bygone Scottish baronetcy and
self-made success in Canada.
Hagar is unable to show concern for the farmers during the great Depression of the 1930s and miserable
condition of Metis of Manawaka.
Laurence wants to convey Hagar as a representative of numerous people during this period who showed no
concern for social justice or reforms.
View of Fate in The Stone Angel
In this novel, we have fate as a blend of circumstance and character. Because of the complex interaction of
these two forces, the individual gets victimised. He becomes a victim of the jokes or jests of God. (The Stone
Angel). In Margaret Laurence : An Appreciation (p. 77) Michael A. Peterman says :
It is the pendulum like oscillation between impulses of order and disorder, respectability and passion, dynastic
pride and individual need that dictate the unfolding of her (Hagard's) life and characterize her blindness.
Development of Canada
The novel has to say a lot about the enterprising, mad pattern of settlement and development in Canada.
According to Michael A. Peterman, The Stone Angel suggests the success with which Laurence shaped her
novel to present a compelling version of formative stages of Canadian identity. In linking her vision to that of her
friend, historian W.L. Morton, she assimilated Morton's work with her own experience and the past of her people.
(Margaret Laurence : An Appreciation, p. 80)
3. In writing this novel, she was influenced by her friend historian W.L. Morton's work : Manitoba : A
History. She herself says :
When I first read (it), she adds, it was with a tremendous sense of excitement, combined with an angry sense
of having been deprived, when young, of my own heritage. I have since done a great deal of reading of prairie
history, but it was Morton who first gave me the sense of my place's long and dramatic past.
(Books that Mattered to Me, 1981)
The Quest for Understanding
The stone angel is an attempt : to know more; to understand better and recognize the best and most worthwhile
in human life.
According to Clara Thomas, The Stone Angel is one of many-prismed conflict, between the individual's needs
and demands and society's, between God's law and man's understanding and interpretation of that law, between the
rule of the community and the rule of the heart, between pride and love.
(Pilgrims Process : Margaret Laurence and Hagar Shipley)

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Freedom, Faith and Life's Meaning


Laurence once said that she was influenced by only one novelist Joyce Cary. Carys novels are characterized
by : freedom; faith revelations of life's meanings and purpose.
As far as Laurence is concerned, she: speaks of freedom as a major theme and shows the workings of faith and
grace in her characters, whereas Cary wrote about such things theoretically.
Like William James, she believed to be converted, to be regenerated to receive grace, to experience religion,
to gain an assurance, are so many phrases which denote the process, gradual or sudden, by which a self hitherto
divided, and consciously wrong and inferior and unhappy becomes unified and consciously right, superior and
happy, in consequence of its firmer hold upon religious realities. (The Writer and the Theme, p. 78)
All these things are described in Hagars experiences.
Pride in Financial Success
Given below is an extract from page 15 of The Stone Age, pertaining to Hagar's life in her childhood in the
1880s:
Id be about eight when the new Presbyterian church went up. Its opening service was the first time Father let
me go to church with him instead of to Sunday School. It was plain and bare and smelled of paint and new wood, and
they hadnt got the stained glass windows yet, but there were silver candlesticks at the front, each bearing a tiny
plaque with Fathers name, and he and several others had purchased family pews and furnished them with long
cushions of brown and beige velour, so our few and favoured bottoms would not be bothered by hard oak and a
length service.
On this great day, the Reverend Dougall MacCulloch said feelingly, we have to give special thanks to those
of our congregation whose generosity and Christian contributions have made our new church possible.
He called them off, the names, like an honour role. Luke McVitie, lawyer, Jason Currie, businessman, Freeman
McKendrick, bank manager, Burns MacIntosh, farmer, Rab Fraser, farmer.
Father sat with modestly bowed head, but turned to me and whispered very low I and Luke McVitie muste
given the most, as he called our names the first.
(The Stone Angel, p. 15)
The desire for and pride in getting financial success, in getting ahead was linked to religion at that time. It was
believed that one who succeeded in the world through hard work, had also succeeded in Gods terms. This is the
reason Jason Currie in the novel strains every nerve to: get success take pride in this success and link it to his
religion :
He was a self-made man. He had started off without a bean, he was fond of telling Matt and Dan, and had
pulled himself up by his bootstraps.... The devil finds work for idle hands. He put his faith in homilies. They were his
Pater Noster, his Apostles Creed. He counted them off like beads on a rosary, or coins in the till. God helps those
who help themselves. Many hands make light work.
The Theme of Exile and Communication
According to Margaret Atwood : Margaret Laurence was no bulldozer. Nor was she the least bit interested in
being a legendary figure; she was far too involved in the joys and despairs of being human.
Throughout all the African and Canadian works of Laurence is the theme of experience of foreignness
special recognition coming to the exiles and difficulty of communicating over cultural barriers.
In Somaliland, she studied five books of Moss is a Gideon Bible. She was perennially impressed by the line :
Thou shalt not oppress a stranger, for ye know the heart of a stranger, seeing ye were stronger, in the land of
Egypt.
The problem of communication arises because of being: an exile a misfit one thrown out of traditional mode of
living due to compulsion of circumstances, etc.
Q. 10. New Literatures in English is a possible advance on Commonwealth Literature. Do you agree?
ive reasons for your answer.

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Ans. It should be borne in mind that the non-British authors whose works emerged from the cross-cultural
contact between the British colonisers and the colonised natives have not always been rightly appraised as it happened
with the valuation of Toru Dutt's poetry by Edmund Gosse.
According to Norman Jeffares : it is quite understandable that :
Literature should be judged according to cosmopolitan standards and not national standards. The literatures of
different nationalities and regions : provide local colour, and also enrich the English language.
The word English (with capital E) stands for the English spoken by native speakers of the language. The
word english (with small e) stands for an english spoken by non-natives. Such as english is part of the term
World Englishes. It is different from a standard code, English.
Thus the term New Literatures in English refers to the distinctiveness of these works offering diversity such
as : (a) thematic (b) linguistic (c) formal
It should be noted that the, modern theoreticians, prefer to use the term Postcolonial for literatures from the
commonwealth countries.
The term can be explained on the institutional-temporal basis, and political, social and economic basis.
(a) The Institutional-temporal basis
Walsh Walder had expressed his views regarding the prescription of local texts in syllabi at the Univeristy of
Cape Town in South Africa. The first school of Commonwealth Literature in England was founded at Leads University
in 1964. However, even before that, in 1958, the first institute of Commonwealth Literature was founded at Aarhus
University in Denmark by Professor Greta Hort. It was, however, in 1970 that William Walsh was appointed as
professor to the first chair of Commonwealth Literature.
(b) Political, Social and Economic Basis : In this connection, the following points should be noted :
These factors became an object of study for the reason of contemporaneous conditions, for example, India and
Pakistan gained independence in 1947. Nigeria in 1960 and Kenya in 1963. In 1960, the West Asian Federation was
formed. The writings that arose out of : national strivings and the process of decolonization had a major impact
internationally, as Walder points out.
During the 1950s and 1960s, that is in post-war Britain, a large nuclear of migrants from its former colonies
arrived, as from : (a) Asia, (b) Africa and (c) the Caribbean.
This had a deep impact on Britain, e.g. the Immigration Act was passed in 1968 to exclude the non-whites from
a sense of national belonging. This, however, also led to the production of what came to be known as Black
(cultural) Commonwealth Literature.

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