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Semester Examination

Master of Arts in English (Year-II)


Common Wealth Literature in English (MAENG203B)
Time Duration: 3:00 Hrs. Max. Marks: 70
Min. Marks: 28
Attempt any five questions: - (5*14)
I. Describe the Tagore’s views on the relationship of the individual the universe.
II. Explain the comments on V.S.Naipaul’s quest for identify.
III. Write the significance for Dudek’s views on poetry.
IV. “Australian poetry reveals the influence of the east rather than of the west on the
Australian poets”. Discuss.
V. Write a detail note on the significance of the title ‘The Lion and The Jewel’.
VI. Examine the symbolism in the novel, Cry the beloved country.
VII. Give a detail introduction to the role of nature in the poetry of Canadian poets.

Answer: -
1. These walls leave their mark deep in the minds of men. They set up a principle
of 'divide and rule' in our mental outlook, which begets in us a habit of securing
all our conquests by fortifying them and separating them from one another. We
divide nation and nation, knowledge and knowledge, man and nature. It breeds
in us a strong suspicion of whatever is beyond the barriers we have built, and
everything has to fight hard for its entrance into our recognition. When the
first Aryan invaders appeared in India it was a vast land of forests, and the
new-comers rapidly took advantage of them. These forests afforded them
shelter from the fierce heat of the sun and the ravages of tropical storms,
pastures for cattle, fuel for sacrificial fire, and materials for building cottages.
And the different Aryan clans with their patriarchal heads settled in the
different forest tracts which had some special advantage of natural protection,
and food and water in plenty.

Thus in India it was in the forests that our civilization had its birth, and it took a
distinct character from this origin and environment. It was surrounded by the vast
life of nature, was fed and clothed by her, and had the closest and most constant
intercourse with her varying aspects.
Such a life, it may be thought, tends to have the effect of dulling human intelligence
and dwarfing the incentives to progress by lowering the standards of existence. But
in ancient India we find that the circumstances of forest life did not overcome man's
mind, and did not enfeeble the current of his energies, but only gave to it a
particular direction. Having been in constant contact with the living growth of
nature, his mind was free from the desire to extend his dominion by erecting
boundary walls around his acquisitions. His aim was not to acquire but to realize, to
enlarge his consciousness by growing with and growing into his surroundings. He felt
that truth is all-comprehensive, that there is no such thing as absolute isolation in
existence, and the only way of attaining truth is through the interpenetration of our
being into all objects. To realize this great harmony between man's spirit and the
spirit of the world was the endeavour of the forest-dwelling sages of ancient India.

In later days there came a time when these primeval forests gave way to cultivated
fields, and wealthy cities sprang up on all sides. Mighty kingdoms were established,
which had communications with all the great powers of the world. But even in the
heyday of its material prosperity the heart of India ever looked back with adoration
upon the early ideal of strenuous self-realization, and the dignity of the simple life
of the forest hermitage, and drew its best inspiration from the wisdom stored there.

The west seems to take a pride in thinking that it is subduing nature; as if we are
living in a hostile world where we have to wrest everything we want from an
unwilling and alien arrangement of things. This sentiment is the product of the city-
wall habit and training of mind. For in the city life man naturally directs the
concentrated light of his mental vision upon his own life and works, and this creates
an artificial dissociation between himself and the Universal Nature within whose
bosom he lies.

2.Answer:- A House for Mr. Biswas traces the story of a man’s struggle to make
something valuable out of a circumscribed and mediocre existence. It is a struggle
symbolized by the hero’s efforts to own his ‘own’ house, which in a way, is to own his
own his own life. Out of this simple plot of a lone man’s struggle to free himself from
oppressive force of his in-laws and failing health, Naipaul creates an epic novel,
powerfully tragic which the story argues can be the fate of everyman in a rootless
society.

The theme of rootlessness of an exile and psychological effects of colonialism finds


its fuller treatment in A House for Mr. Biswas. The novel begins with Mohun Biswas, a
sacked journalist dying at the age of 46 in his irretrievably mortgaged house in Sikkim
Street, St. James, Port of Spain. He is penniless. He has had months of illness and
despair, has a wife and four children. And yet he is struck again and again "by the wonder
of being his own house, the audacity of it; to walk into his own front gate, to bar entry to
whoever he wishes, to close his doors and windows every night, to hear no noises except
those of his family." The substance of the novel has to do with the transformation of Mr.
Biswas from a slave into a free man, the sign and emancipation of that emancipation
being his house:
"How terrible it would have been, at this time, to be without it… Worse, to have lived without
even attempting to lay claim to one's portion of the earth."
Biswas' heroic struggle to attain dignity and fulfill his aspirations as reflected in his
desire to own his own house becomes an allegory of the attempt to emancipate oneself
from determinist dependence. Though he is dimly aware of the implications of his
odyssey within the small society, he intuitively apprehends the futility of his situation in
his fascination for a memorable image of ignorance and placeless glimpsed from a
passing bus. Gordon Rohlehr, in this connection comments:
"The description of Hindu life in Trinidad exactly parallels all the descriptions of Hanuman
House. The Chase, the Barracks, Green Valum and finally the house in Port of Spain around
which the Tulsis build a wall. The whole story has shown the difficulty of escape and the
uselessness of rebellion."
Even as a child in his parents' home, Biswas is regarded as an ill-fated child. He has had
an inauspicious birth and his sixth finger of malnutrition has marked him out for
misfortune. Everything he touches has unfortunate consequences and his many 'crimes'
culminate in his indirectly causing his father's death. Though he is for the most passive,
he is unable to escape his assigned role as generator of tragedy. It is a fitting beginning
to a life history of dependence and of dignity denied.

5.Answer:- The significance of the play's title lies in the symbolic nature of
these two names. The "Lion" is an elderly man, Baroka, whose power and
potency are referred to frequently, and his sexual potency is seen as indicative
of his status as a man and, to some extent, as a ruler and chieftain of his village.
The lion's symbolic meaning is one of the most legendary of the natural world.
The singular male leader of a pride of male and female lions is often the eldest
male of the pride. This male lion is dominant and is frequently challenged by
younger males. The eldest male keeps his position of power by besting the
other males in fighting or by intimidating them into backing down from
challenging his dominance, thereby winning the right to mate with the females.
The "jewel" is not a living symbol, and this is appropriate since Sidi is considered
valuable for her youth and beauty and is somewhat objectified. She is like a
beautiful possession on display at Baroka's side, much like a piece of jewelry or
a jewel in a crown. The precious nature of a jewel is often associated with
royalty, so Sidi is not only an attractive companion, but also an asset to Baroka's
standing as a monarch. Sidi is wooed by a younger man who also admires her
beauty, but he is an intellectual and does not possess the animalistic power of
the "lionlike" Baroka. It is as if Sidi needs this power of the flesh and blood to
balance her abstract existence as an object of beauty. Also, since she is led to
believe that Baroka is impotent, she may think her beauty and worth somehow
reawaken his potency, thereby reaffirming her own precious value.
The significance of the title The Lion and the Jewel depicts the relationship
between the two leading characters of the play. The chieftain of the village
Ilujinle, a Yoruba village in West Africa, is named Baroka, and is known as the
"Lion." He is sixty-two years old and is able to deceive the village belle, Sidi. As
the title indicates, Sidi is the "Jewel" of the village who gets tricked by Baroka
and ends up sleeping with him. Sidi is a vain, flirtatious individual who is awed
by Baroka's plan to use her image on Ilujinle's stamps. Baroka is the most
revered man in the village and cunningly convinces his senior wife, Sadiku, that
he is impotent. Baroka is aware of the fact that Sadiku will gossip and spread
the information to the beautiful Sidi. Sidi believes Sadiku and enters Baroka's
palace, unaware of his plan to woo her. The "Lion" successfully engages in
sexual relations with the "Jewel," and she ends up marrying him.

6.Answer:- Cry, the Beloved Country Symbols


Johannesburg
The city of Johannesburg is a complex symbol in the novel. As a large
metropolis, it is a meeting place as well as a melting pot. It is also an urban
center that serves as a host for crime and violence. The city is so large that
tracing people and their whereabouts is difficult.

As the center of the gold-mining industry, Johannesburg is also of critical


economic importance to South Africa. This is apparent in the novel when the
potentially crippling effects of a miners' strike are discussed.
For Stephen Kumalo, Johannesburg represents a new and forbidding scene.
It takes him some time to adjust to the rhythms and ways of the big city.
What he learns of Johannesburg is not encouraging, for the most part, since
his sister, Gertrude, and his son, Absalom, have turned to dissolute lives
there. Paton devotes a significant amount of space to his descriptions of the
city. On the whole, his verdict seems negative. As he says at the end of
Chapter 23: "No second Johannesburg is needed upon the earth. One is
enough."

Abraham Lincoln
Abraham Lincoln (1809–65) served as the 16th president of the United
States (1861-65). He was president during the American Civil War, which
began in April 1861 and concluded in April 1865. Today, Lincoln is revered
as the Great Emancipator, because he freed slaves in the Southern states in
1863. He is also respected as a leader who tried to bind up the nation's
wounds following its most severe internal conflict.

In Cry, the Beloved Country, Lincoln assumes a prominent place as Arthur


Jarvis's hero. When James Jarvis visits his son's house, he finds several
books about Lincoln. James reads both the Gettysburg Address and the
Second Inaugural Address. In these important texts, Lincoln sets forth his
ideals, and James finds them inspirational.
As a symbol, Abraham Lincoln stands for equality, justice, and selfless
sacrifice. Paton assumes his readers will know Lincoln fell to an assassin's
bullet in April 1865.

The Land
Paton's original editor at Scribner's, Maxwell Perkins, commented that one
of the most important characters in Cry, the Beloved Country was the land
of South Africa. Paton's lyrical celebration of the land's beauty, and his
periodic laments for its disintegration, add a symbolic dimension to the
novel.
In the novel's opening paragraph, Paton lyrically evokes the beauty of the
land of Natal, home to Stephen Kumalo and his family. Periodically, however,
the narrator draws attention to the drought that cripples agriculture in the
region. This concern takes center stage in Book 3, where agricultural
redevelopment—sponsored by James Jarvis, in large part—assumes a major
role.
The young agricultural expert, Napoleon Letsitsi, emphasizes that the road
back to normalcy and productivity will not be short or easy. But by the end
of the novel, Stephen Kumalo and many of the other characters are inspired
with the hope that the land—so beautiful and yet so scarred—will at length
recover.

3.Answer:- Louis Dudek, poet, critic, professor and literary activist (b at Montréal 6 Feb 1918;
d at Montréal 22 March 2001). He was educated in Montréal and went to McGill (BA), where he
wrote for the McGill Daily. His early poems began to appear in 1941-42 in the McGill Daily, and at
about this time he became involved with First Statement, the first of a series of engagé acts in the
little press and little magazine movement in Canada. In 1944 Dudek moved to New York, where he
entered graduate school at Columbia; his doctoral dissertation was published as Literature and the
Press (1960). In 1951 Dudek returned to Montréal to take up an appointment at McGill. While in
New York, he had continued to contribute poems, reviews and articles to Northern Review.

In 1952, together with Irving Layton and Raymond Souster he established Contact Press, a venture
which published most of the important Canadian poets of the fifties and sixties,
with Cerebus (1952), the first title, being a jointly authored collection of poetry. With Layton and
Aileen Collins, whom he later married, he founded an avant-garde magazine in 1954, CIV/n, and in
1956 established The McGill Poetry Series, launching the careers of Leonard Cohen and Daryl
Hine.

In 1957 Dudek founded his own little magazine, Delta (1957-66), a vehicle for his poetry and
ideas, and in which he featured the work of many promising new poets. His own writing had been
evolving steadily out of the lyricism and social concern of East of the City (1946) into the longer,
meditative statement of Europe (1954, The Transparent Sea, 1956, and En Mexico, 1958). He had
become (not unlike his friend and correspondent, Ezra Pound) less a poet of the everyday and more
a critic of civilization. He had also developed a distinctive poetic voice: thoughtful and undramatic.
At odds with the literary histrionics and the cultural currents of the 1960s, Dudek withdrew into his
teaching and the writing of his long poem, Atlantis (1967).

In 1963 he joined with others to found a little press, Delta Canada (1963-71), which published
his Collected Poetry (1971). Between 1965 and 1969 Dudek wrote a regular column on books, film
and the arts for the Montreal Gazette. This activity together with his reviews, articles and radio
talks has remained fundamental to Dudek's perception of the poet's and the critic's role in society. In
1967 he published The First Person in Literature, and in 1974 Dk/Some Letters of Ezra Pound.
His Selected Essays and Criticism appeared in 1978 to be followed by Technology & Culture: Six
Lectures in 1979. The later poetry, typified by the collection Continuation 1 (1981), harks back to
an earlier book, Epigrams (1975), and is an experiment in recording the fragmentary poetic
moment. A selection of his poetry entitled Cross-Section: Poems 1940-1980 was published in 1981,
and Zembla's Rocks in 1986.

An anthologist of note (Canadian Poems 1850-1952, 1952, with Irving Layton; Poetry of our Time,
1965; The Making of Modern Poetry in Canada, 1967, with M. Gnarowski; and All Kinds of
Everything, 1973), and frequent speaker, Dudek influenced the teaching of poetry in Canadian
schools and universities. Prior to his retirement he was Greenshields Professor of English. He was a
Member of the Order of Canada.

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