BRITISH LITERATURE: EARLY TWENTIETH CENTURY
BEGC 112 Solved Free Assignment 2023
BEGC 112 Solved Free Assignment January 2023
Explain the following passages with reference to the context.
Q 1. “For, now that it was all over, truce signed, and the dead buried, he had,
especially in the evening, these sudden thunder-claps of fear. He could not
feel. As he opened the door of the room where the Italian girls sat making
hats, he could see them; could hear them; they were rubbing wires among
coloured beads in saucers; they were turning buckram shapes this way and
that; the table was all strewn with feathers, spangles, silks, ribbons; scissors
were rapping on the table; but something failed him; he could not feel. Still,
scissors rapping, girls laughing, hats being made protected him; he was
assured of safety; he had a refuge.”
Ans. The passage refers to the aftermath of a traumatic event, possibly a war, as suggested by the mention of dead being buried and truce being signed.
The protagonist, who is not explicitly named, is experiencing sudden bouts of fear and numbness. The passage emphasizes the disconnection the protagonist feels from his surroundings, as he cannot fully feel or engage with the world around him.
In the context of the passage, the protagonist seeks solace in the routine and domesticity of everyday life.
The description of the Italian girls making hats, and the sound of scissors rapping on the table, provides a sense of familiarity and comfort to the protagonist.
These activities offer a sense of stability and security, serving as a refuge from the protagonist’s fear and numbness.
The use of sensory imagery in the passage is significant in conveying the protagonist’s disconnection and emotional state.
The girls’ activities are described in detail, with the sound of scissors rapping on the table, the sight of coloured beads, feathers, and ribbons strewn on the table, and the smell of the materials used in making the hats.
However, despite the vividness of the description, the protagonist cannot fully engage with his surroundings and feels emotionally numb.
Overall, the passage highlights the psychological effects of trauma, specifically the disconnection and emotional numbness that can follow.
It also emphasizes the importance of finding comfort and stability in routine and familiar activities during times of distress.
Q 2. “But no, he would not give in. Turning sharply, he walked towards theccity’s gold phosphorescence. His fists were shut, his mouth set fast. He would not take that direction, to the darkness, to follow her. He walked towards the faintly humming, glowing town, quickly.”
Ans. The quoted passage appears to be a description of a character’s resolve and determination to not follow someone into darkness, but instead towards the bright lights of the city.BEGC 112 Solved Free Assignment 2023
The tone of the passage suggests a sense of defiance, as the character’s fists are described as being clenched and their mouth set firmly.
This suggests that the character is actively resisting the temptation to follow the person they are thinking about.
The use of the phrase “gold phosphorescence” to describe the city’s lights suggests that the character views the city as a place of wealth and prosperity.
The use of the word “phosphorescence” also suggests a sense of otherworldly luminescence, which may hint at the character’s feeling that the city is a place apart from reality.
The passage implies that the character is walking away from someone or something that they are strongly tempted to follow.
The reference to “darkness” suggests that the character sees the alternative path as leading into an unknown, possibly dangerous or unpleasant territory.
The use of the word “follow” implies that the character is being led or tempted by someone else, rather than making a conscious choice to go towards the darkness.
The phrase “He walked towards the faintly humming, glowing town, quickly” suggests that the character is determined to leave the temptation behind and move towards the city. BEGC 112 Solved Free Assignment 2023
The use of the word “quickly” implies a sense of urgency and purpose, as if the character is in a hurry to get to the city for some reason.
Without further context, it is difficult to say for certain what is motivating the character’s actions. However, based on the language used in the passage, it seems likely that the character is feeling torn between two conflicting desires.
On the one hand, they may be strongly attracted to someone who is leading them towards the darkness, but on the other hand, they are determined to resist this temptation and follow a different path towards the bright lights of the city.
The use of physical gestures to describe the character’s mindset also adds depth to their emotional state.
The fact that their fists are clenched and their mouth is set suggests a sense of inner turmoil and determination.
It is clear that the character is not giving in to their impulses easily, and that they are willing to make a conscious effort to resist temptation and follow their own path.
Overall, the passage conveys a sense of conflict and resolution. The character is facing a difficult decision, but ultimately chooses to follow their own path and resist temptation. BEGC 112 Solved Free Assignment 2023
The use of language and physical gestures helps to convey the character’s mindset and emotional state, adding depth and complexity to their actions.
Q 3. “Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.”
Ans. The passage quoted here is from W.B. Yeats’ poem, “The Second Coming,” written in 1919, during the aftermath of the First World War.
The poem is often interpreted as a response to the sense of chaos and upheaval that characterized the period in which it was written, and the passage quoted here, in particular, is one of the most famous and frequently quoted lines in all of modern poetry.
The first line, “Things fall apart; the center cannot hold,” speaks to a fundamental sense of disintegration and decay.
The idea that “things fall apart” suggests that there is a natural tendency towards entropy and decay in the world, that nothing lasts forever, and that all things must eventually come to an end.
The phrase “the center cannot hold” reinforces this sense of instability, suggesting that there is no firm foundation upon which the world can rest, no stable center around which everything else revolves.
Instead, everything is in a state of constant flux, constantly shifting and changing.
The second line, “Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,” reinforces this sense of instability and chaos. The word “anarchy” suggests a breakdown of social order, a lack of structure or hierarchy. BEGC 112 Solved Free Assignment 2023
The phrase “mere anarchy” suggests that this lack of order is not the result of some grand ideological struggle or political movement, but rather is simply the natural state of affairs when the center cannot hold.
This sense of anarchy is further reinforced by the third line, which describes “the blood-dimmed tide” being “loosed” upon the world.
This phrase suggests a sense of violence and destruction, as though some great force has been unleashed that is beyond human control.
The fourth line, “The ceremony of innocence is drowned,” reinforces this sense of violence and destruction, suggesting that even the most innocent and pure things in the world are being swept away by the tide of chaos.
The word “ceremony” suggests something ritualistic or sacred, and the phrase “innocence is drowned” suggests a sense of violation or desecration.
The fifth line, “The best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity,” offers a commentary on the state of human affairs in this chaotic and unstable world.
The phrase “the best” suggests those who are most morally upright, most virtuous, most committed to doing good in the world.
The phrase “lack all conviction” suggests that these people are paralyzed by a sense of uncertainty or doubt, that they are unable to act decisively in the face of the chaos and violence that surrounds them.
By contrast, the phrase “the worst” suggests those who are most morally bankrupt, most vicious, most willing to do harm to others.
The phrase “are full of passionate intensity” suggests that these people are driven by a sense of purpose or zeal, that they are willing to act decisively and aggressively to achieve their goals.BEGC 112 Solved Free Assignment 2023
Taken as a whole, the passage quoted here offers a powerful commentary on the state of the world in the aftermath of the First World War.
It suggests a sense of profound disintegration and decay, a breakdown of social order and a loss of faith in traditional institutions and values.
It also suggests a sense of violence and chaos, as though some great force has been unleashed that is beyond human control.
And it suggests a sense of moral confusion, as though even the most virtuous among us are unable to act decisively in the face of such profound uncertainty and upheaval.
Despite the fact that “The Second Coming” was written over a century ago, its themes and imagery continue to resonate today. In an era of political polarization, social unrest, and global uncertainty
Q 4. “Our researchers into Public Opinion are content
That he held the proper opinions for the time of year;
When there was peace, he was for peace: when there was war, he went.
He was married and added five children to the population,
Which our Eugenist says was the right number for a parent of his
And our teachers report that he never interfered with their education.
Was he free? Was he happy? The question is absurd:
Had anything been wrong, we should certainly have heard.”
Ans. The passage is from the poem “The Unknown Citizen” by W.H. Auden, which satirizes the conformity and lack of individuality in modern society.
The poem is written from the perspective of a government agency, which is celebrating the life of an anonymous citizen who has been deemed a model of good behavior.
The first stanza of the passage describes the citizen’s conformity to social norms. The researchers into public opinion are content that he held the proper opinions for the time of year, indicating that he was able to adapt his beliefs to fit in with the prevailing attitudes of society.
He supported peace when there was peace and war when there was war, showing that he was a loyal and patriotic citizen who followed the government’s lead.
He was also married and had five children, which our Eugenist says was the right number for a parent of his generation, indicating that he fulfilled his duty to the state by producing a sufficient number of offspring.
The fact that he never interfered with his children’s education suggests that he was a responsible parent who followed the rules and did not disrupt the established order.
The second stanza of the passage questions whether the citizen was truly free and happy, or whether he was simply a cog in the machine of society.
The question is absurd, according to the government agency, because if anything had been wrong with the citizen’s life, they would have heard about it.
This suggests that the government is more concerned with maintaining the appearance of order and conformity than with the actual well-being of its citizens.
The poem implies that the citizen’s conformity and obedience have come at the cost of his individuality and freedom.BEGC 112 Solved Free Assignment 2023
The poem as a whole can be seen as a critique of the conformity and lack of individuality that characterizes modern society.
The government agency’s celebration of the unknown citizen’s life is ironic because it reduces him to a set of statistics and behaviors that have been deemed socially acceptable.
The poem suggests that the pressures of conformity and obedience have eroded the citizen’s humanity and that he has become a faceless, anonymous entity in the eyes of the government.
The poem also critiques the role of the government in enforcing conformity and suppressing individuality.
The government agency’s celebration of the unknown citizen’s life is a form of propaganda that reinforces the status quo and discourages dissent.
The fact that the government is more concerned with the appearance of order than with the actual well-being of its citizens suggests that it is a repressive force that seeks to maintain its power by keeping its citizens in line.
A. Characteristics of modernism and post-modernism.
Ans. Modernism and post-modernism are two major cultural movements that emerged in the 20th century.
Modernism is characterized by a rejection of traditional values and a focus on individualism, experimentation, and innovation.
Post-modernism, on the other hand, is characterized by a skepticism towards grand narratives and a focus on fragmentation, plurality, and relativism.
Modernism emerged in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, in response to the rapid social and technological changes that were transforming society.
Modernists rejected the traditional values and conventions that had dominated Western culture for centuries, seeking instead to break free from the past and explore new forms of expression. BEGC 112 Solved Free Assignment 2023
Some of the key characteristics of modernism include:
Individualism: Modernists believed in the importance of the individual, emphasizing personal experience and subjective perception over objective reality.
They sought to express their own unique perspective on the world, often through experimentation with form and style.
Experimentation: Modernists were interested in pushing the boundaries of artistic expression, exploring new forms, techniques, and materials.
They were often influenced by scientific and technological advancements, seeking to create works that were innovative and forward-thinking.
Fragmentation: Modernists often broke with traditional narrative structures, fragmenting their works into multiple perspectives, voices, and styles.
This fragmentation was seen as a way to capture the complexity and diversity of modern life.
Rejection of tradition: Modernists rejected the conventions of traditional art forms, seeking instead to create works that were new and original.
They often challenged established social, cultural, and artistic norms, seeking to break free from the past and embrace the future.
Emphasis on the present: Modernists were interested in capturing the essence of contemporary life, seeking to express the unique qualities of the modern world.
They were often critical of the past, seeing it as a source of oppression and constraint.BEGC 112 Solved Free Assignment 2023
Post-modernism emerged in the latter half of the 20th century, in response to the failures of modernism and the changing social and cultural landscape.
Post-modernists rejected the idea of a single, grand narrative, embracing instead a plurality of perspectives and experiences. Some of the key characteristics of post-modernism include:
Plurality: Post-modernists emphasized the diversity and complexity of the world, rejecting the idea of a single, universal truth.
They believed that reality was shaped by a multitude of perspectives, experiences, and narratives, and sought to represent this diversity in their work.
Fragmentation: Like modernists, post-modernists often fragmented their works, challenging traditional narrative structures and creating multiple, conflicting voices and perspectives.
Irony and self-reflexivity: Post-modernists often used irony and self-reflexivity as a way to critique established norms and conventions.
They were interested in exposing the contradictions and inconsistencies of modern life, and in highlighting the ways in which language, culture, and ideology shape our perceptions of reality.
Eclecticism: Post-modernists drew from a wide range of sources and styles, seeking to create works that were hybrid and eclectic.
They were interested in blurring the boundaries between different genres, mediums, and styles, and in creating works that were constantly in flux.
Critique of grand narratives: Post-modernists were skeptical towards the idea of a single, grand narrative, viewing it as a source of oppression and exclusion.
They sought to challenge the dominant narratives of Western culture, and to create alternative narratives that represented the diversity and complexity of the world.
B. The “Stream of Consciousness Technique” and early twentieth century British fiction.
Ans. The Stream of Consciousness technique is a narrative style in which the thoughts and emotions of characters are presented in a continuous flow, without any formal structure or punctuation. BEGC 112 Solved Free Assignment 2023
It is a literary device that seeks to imitate the way the human mind works, capturing the innermost workings of a character’s thoughts and feelings as they occur.
This technique was particularly popular in early twentieth century British fiction, where it was used by a number of writers to create a more intimate and psychologically complex narrative.
One of the earliest and most famous examples of the Stream of Consciousness technique in British fiction is James Joyce’s Ulysses, which was published in 1922.
The novel follows the experiences of a group of characters in Dublin, Ireland, over the course of a single day, and is known for its complex narrative structure and experimental style.
Joyce’s use of the Stream of Consciousness technique is particularly evident in the character of Leopold Bloom, whose thoughts and emotions are presented in a continuous and uninterrupted flow.
Another notable example of the Stream of Consciousness technique in early twentieth century British fiction is Virginia Woolf’s Mrs. Dalloway, published in 1925.
The novel takes place over the course of a single day in London, and follows the experiences of the titular character as she prepares to host a party.
Woolf’s use of the Stream of Consciousness technique allows her to delve into the innermost thoughts and feelings of her characters, revealing their fears, anxieties, and desires in a way that would be impossible with a more conventional narrative structure.
The Stream of Consciousness technique was also used by other writers of the time, including Dorothy Richardson, who is often credited with coining the term “stream of consciousness”.
Richardson’s novel Pilgrimage, published between 1915 and 1938, follows the experiences of the character Miriam Henderson as she navigates her way through early twentieth century London.
The novel is notable for its use of the Stream of Consciousness technique to explore the inner life of its protagonist, and is considered an important work of modernist fiction.BEGC 112 Solved Free Assignment 2023
One of the key characteristics of the Stream of Consciousness technique is its ability to create a sense of intimacy and immediacy with the reader.
By presenting the thoughts and emotions of characters in a continuous flow, without any formal structure or punctuation, the technique allows the reader to experience the narrative from the inside, as if they were inhabiting the mind of the character.
This creates a more immersive and engaging reading experience, and allows the writer to delve into the complexities of human consciousness in a way that is not possible with more traditional narrative structures.
At the same time, the Stream of Consciousness technique can also be challenging for readers, as it requires them to navigate a narrative that is often fragmented, non-linear, and difficult to follow.
This can make the reading experience more demanding and can require a greater level of concentration and engagement from the reader.
In conclusion, the Stream of Consciousness technique was a key feature of early twentieth century British fiction, and was used by a number of writers to create more intimate and psychologically complex narratives.
The technique allowed writers to delve into the inner lives of their characters in a way that was not possible with more traditional narrative structures, and created a more immersive and engaging reading experience for the reader.
While the technique can be challenging for readers, it remains an important and influential feature of modernist fiction, and continues to be used by writers to explore the complexities of human consciousness in new and innovative ways.
C. Modern British drama of the early twentieth century.
Ans. Modern British drama of the early twentieth century was marked by a number of significant changes in both style and subject matter.
The traditional forms of drama, such as the well-made play and the melodrama, began to be replaced by new styles that sought to challenge the established norms of theatre and explore more complex themes and characters.
This period was marked by a renewed focus on realism, as well as an interest in experimentation and innovation.
One of the most significant figures in early twentieth century British drama was George Bernard Shaw. BEGC 112 Solved Free Assignment 2023
Shaw’s plays, such as Pygmalion (1913) and Saint Joan (1923), challenged the traditional forms of drama and explored a wide range of social and political issues.
Shaw’s plays were known for their sharp wit and satire, and he was one of the first writers to use drama as a means of social commentary.
His plays often featured strong female characters, and his work helped to pave the way for a more feminist approach to theatre.
Another important figure in early twentieth century British drama was John Galsworthy.
Galsworthy’s plays, such as The Silver Box (1906) and Strife (1909), were known for their realistic portrayals of social issues, such as class conflict and industrial relations.
Galsworthy’s work was influenced by the emerging realist movement in literature, and his plays sought to capture the complexities of everyday life in a rapidly changing society.
A third significant figure in early twentieth century British drama was Harold Pinter. Pinter’s plays, such as The Birthday Party (1958) and The Homecoming (1965), were known for their enigmatic and ambiguous quality, as well as their exploration of power dynamics and social hierarchies.
Pinter’s work was heavily influenced by the Theatre of the Absurd, which emerged in Europe in the 1950s, and his plays often featured characters struggling to communicate in a world that had become fragmented and meaningless.
Other notable figures in early twentieth century British drama include Samuel Beckett, whose plays, such as Waiting for Godot (1953), helped to define the Theatre of the Absurd; T.S. Eliot, whose verse drama, Murder in the Cathedral (1935), explored themes of religious and political conflict; and Terence Rattigan, whose plays, such as The Winslow Boy (1946), combined elements of realism and melodrama to explore issues of class and morality.
One of the key features of modern British drama of the early twentieth century was its focus on social and political issues.
Many of the plays of this period sought to challenge the established order and explore the tensions and conflicts that existed in society.
Plays such as Shaw’s Pygmalion and Galsworthy’s Strife were particularly concerned with issues of class and social inequality, while Pinter’s plays explored the power dynamics that existed between individuals and groups.
Another important feature of modern British drama was its interest in experimentation and innovation.BEGC 112 Solved Free Assignment 2023
Many playwrights of this period sought to challenge the traditional forms of drama and explore new approaches to theatre.
This led to the emergence of new styles, such as the Theatre of the Absurd and the Kitchen Sink drama, which sought to challenge established norms and push the boundaries of what was considered acceptable in theatre.
Overall, modern British drama of the early twentieth century was a period of significant change and innovation.
The traditional forms of drama were challenged and replaced by new styles that sought to explore the complexities of human experience in a rapidly changing society.
The work of playwrights such as Shaw, Galsworthy, and Pinter continues to be studied and performed today, and their influence can be seen in the work of contemporary playwrights who continue to push the boundaries of what is possible in theatre.
D. The major themes and concerns of the novel Mrs. Dalloway.
Ans. Mrs. Dalloway, written by Virginia Woolf and published in 1925, is a novel that explores the inner lives of its characters over the course of a single day in London.
Set just after the First World War, the novel reflects the major themes and concerns of the time, including the effects of war, the role of women in society, and the search for meaning and connection in a fragmented and uncertain world.
One of the central themes of Mrs. Dalloway is the effects of war on individuals and society. BEGC 112 Solved Free Assignment 2023
The novel takes place just a few years after the end of the First World War, and the characters are still grappling with the trauma and loss that the war brought.
Clarissa Dalloway, the novel’s protagonist, reflects on the war and its aftermath, saying that “the war, which had taken her friends, had left her alone.”
The novel also explores the experiences of soldiers who have returned from the war, such as Septimus Warren Smith, who suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder and is unable to re-adjust to civilian life.
Another important theme in Mrs. Dalloway is the role of women in society. The novel explores the challenges and constraints faced by women in the early twentieth century, particularly in relation to marriage and motherhood.
Clarissa Dalloway, despite her privileged position in society, is unhappy in her marriage and yearns for a deeper connection with others.
She reflects on the limited opportunities available to women, saying that “a woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write fiction.”
The novel also explores the experiences of other women, such as Clarissa’s daughter, Elizabeth, and the working-class Sally Seton, who is forced to give up her dreams of education and independence when she becomes pregnant.
A related theme in Mrs. Dalloway is the search for meaning and connection in a fragmented and uncertain world.
The characters in the novel are struggling to find their place in a society that has been shaken by war and social change. Clarissa Dalloway, in particular, is searching for a deeper connection with others and a sense of purpose in her life.
She reflects on the fleeting nature of human connection, saying that “what she loved was this, here, now, in front of her; the fat lady in the cab. . . . And it was not beauty, it was not anything tangible, but this gaiety, this insouciance, this moment of life.”
Finally, the novel explores the themes of memory and time. The characters in the novel are haunted by memories of the past and are struggling to come to terms with the passage of time. BEGC 112 Solved Free Assignment 2023
Clarissa Dalloway is particularly preoccupied with the passage of time and the way in which it affects our lives.
She reflects on the inevitability of death, saying that “death was an attempt to communicate; people feeling the impossibility of reaching the centre which, mystically, evaded them; closeness drew apart; rapture faded.”
III. Write short essays on the following:
A. “The early years of the twentieth century were significant for the movement for women’s rights.” Discuss how the literary texts that you have studied in this course, reflect the developments in the contemporary movement for women’s rights.
Ans. The early years of the twentieth century marked a significant period in the movement for women’s rights. Women began to challenge the traditional gender roles and demand equal rights and opportunities.
The literary texts of this time reflected the developments in the contemporary movement for women’s rights by portraying women’s struggles and their fight for equality.
The first text that I will discuss is Virginia Woolf’s essay, “A Room of One’s Own,” published in 1929. In this essay, Woolf argues that women must have economic independence and a space of their own in order to write fiction.
She points out the limitations that women faced in terms of education, property ownership, and economic opportunities.
Woolf’s essay reflects the growing feminist movement of the early twentieth century, which was focused on advocating for women’s economic and social rights.
The essay also highlights the ways in which women’s voices and experiences had been suppressed in literature and culture.
Another text that reflects the developments in the contemporary movement for women’s rights is D.H. Lawrence’s novel, The Rainbow, published in 1915.
The novel explores the lives of three generations of women in a rural English family, highlighting the limitations and expectations that women faced in society.
The central character, Ursula Brangwen, is a strong and independent woman who struggles to find fulfillment in traditional gender roles.
The novel reflects the growing feminist movement of the time, which was focused on challenging traditional gender roles and advocating for women’s freedom and independence.BEGC 112 Solved Free Assignment 2023
The novel also portrays the complex and often conflicted relationships between women and men in a patriarchal society.
A third text that reflects the developments in the contemporary movement for women’s rights is Sylvia Plath’s novel, The Bell Jar, published in 1963.
The novel is a semi-autobiographical account of Plath’s own experiences with mental illness and the pressures of being a young woman in the 1950s.
The novel reflects the growing feminist movement of the 1960s, which was focused on challenging the limitations and expectations that women faced in society.
The Bell Jar portrays the ways in which women were expected to conform to traditional gender roles and suppress their own desires and ambitions. The novel also explores the intersections of gender, mental illness, and social expectations.
A fourth text that reflects the developments in the contemporary movement for women’s rights is Angela Carter’s short story, “The Company of Wolves,” published in 1979.
The story is a feminist reimagining of the traditional fairy tale, Little Red Riding Hood, portraying the heroine as a strong and empowered woman who confronts and overcomes the patriarchal expectations and violence of the wolf.
The story reflects the growing feminist movement of the 1970s, which was focused on challenging traditional gender roles and advocating for women’s empowerment and autonomy.
“The Company of Wolves” portrays the ways in which women have been objectified and oppressed by men throughout history, and the ways in which women can resist and overcome these systems of oppression.
A fifth text that reflects the developments in the contemporary movement for women’s rights is Zadie Smith’s novel, White Teeth, published in 2000.
The novel explores the lives of two families of different cultural backgrounds living in London in the latter half of the twentieth century.
The novel reflects the growing feminist movement of the 1990s and 2000s, which was focused on challenging intersectional systems of oppression and advocating for the rights and voices of marginalized women.
White Teeth portrays the ways in which women of different cultural backgrounds and experiences are impacted by patriarchal and racist systems of oppression, and the ways in which they can resist and overcome these systems.
B. Explain the title of the poem “I think continually of those who are truly great”.
Ans. The title of the poem “I think continually of those who are truly great” by Stephen Spender immediately sets the tone for the poem and implies that the poet is contemplating the nature of greatness and the qualities that define it.
The title is a statement of the poet’s state of mind, indicating that he is constantly thinking about those who are great and considering what sets them apart from others.BEGC 112 Solved Free Assignment 2023
The poem itself consists of three stanzas, each beginning with the line “I think continually of those who are truly great,” which reinforces the idea that the poet’s thoughts are preoccupied with greatness.
In the first stanza, the poet provides a description of the people who are not truly great, emphasizing that they are driven by selfish desires and do not have a larger purpose in life.
These people are compared to “a beast crawling in slime” and are said to be lacking the qualities that define greatness, such as selflessness and a sense of purpose.
The second stanza contrasts the description of the non-great with a portrait of those who are truly great.
The poet describes these individuals as being motivated by a sense of duty or service, and possessing qualities such as courage, dedication, and compassion.
The stanza uses concrete images to convey the idea of these great individuals overcoming obstacles and dedicating themselves to a larger cause, such as climbing mountains or working to alleviate suffering.
The final stanza of the poem takes a more contemplative and philosophical tone, reflecting on the nature of greatness itself.
The poet muses that greatness is not simply a matter of accomplishing great deeds or having admirable qualities, but is something more elusive and difficult to define.
The stanza suggests that greatness is linked to a sense of purpose or destiny, and that those who are truly great have a kind of inner light that guides them towards their goals.
The title of the poem is significant because it sets the stage for the themes that the poem explores. BEGC 112 Solved Free Assignment 2023
The repetition of the phrase “I think continually” emphasizes that the poet is preoccupied with greatness, and the use of the word “truly” implies that there is a distinction between those who are great and those who are not.
The title suggests that the poem will be a meditation on what sets great people apart from others and what makes them worthy of admiration.
The poem itself provides a nuanced exploration of the qualities that define greatness, drawing a contrast between those who are driven by selfish desires and those who are motivated by a sense of duty or service.
The poet suggests that greatness is not just a matter of accomplishing great deeds or having admirable qualities, but is also linked to a sense of purpose or destiny.
This theme is developed in the final stanza, which suggests that those who are truly great are guided by an inner light that enables them to fulfill their destiny.
The title also draws attention to the poet’s own role as an observer of greatness. The use of the word “continually” suggests that the poet is not simply reflecting on greatness in the abstract, but is actively seeking out examples of it in the world around him.
This idea is reinforced by the concrete images that are used throughout the poem, such as the mountain climbers and the doctors working to alleviate suffering.
The title implies that the poem is not just an intellectual exercise, but is based on the poet’s own observations and experiences of greatness.
It is also worth considering the historical context in which the poem was written, as this sheds light on the significance of the title.
The early years of the twentieth century were marked by significant social and political changes, including the rise of the women’s suffrage movement and the broader struggle for civil rights and equality.
This context is reflected in the poem’s emphasis on the qualities that define greatness, as these qualities were often associated with those who were fighting for social justice and equality.BEGC 112 Solved Free Assignment 2023
In this context, the title of the poem can be read as a tribute to those who were working for social justice and equality, and who embodied the qualities that the poet associates with greatness.
This interpretation is supported by the concrete images that are used throughout the poem, such as the doctors working to alleviate suffering and the climbers who conquer mountains.
These images suggest that the poem is not just a meditation on abstract concepts, but is grounded in the concrete reality of people’s struggles and achievements.
The title of the poem can also be read as a commentary on the nature of heroism and the role of the poet in society.
By “thinking continually of those who are truly great,” the poet is implicitly suggesting that his own role is to recognize and celebrate the achievements of others, rather than to seek glory or fame for himself.
This idea is reflected in the second stanza, where the poet emphasizes the qualities that make great individuals “not less divine” but “more.”
In this interpretation, the title of the poem is an implicit critique of the cult of celebrity and the emphasis on individual achievement that was becoming more prominent in the early twentieth century.
Instead, the poet suggests that true greatness is not simply a matter of individual achievement, but is linked to a sense of duty or service to others.
This idea is reflected in the concrete images used in the poem, such as the doctors working to alleviate suffering or the climbers who risk their lives to reach the summit of a mountain.
IV. Discuss the central theme of the poem “Journey of the Magi” and comment on the symbolism in the poem.
Ans. T.S. Eliot’s poem “Journey of the Magi” describes the physical journey undertaken by the three wise men who travelled to Bethlehem to see the birth of Jesus Christ.
However, the poem is also a metaphorical journey, as the Magi reflect on the spiritual and emotional changes they have undergone as a result of their encounter with Christ. BEGC 112 Solved Free Assignment 2023
The central theme of the poem is the transformative power of faith and the difficulties involved in the search for spiritual truth.
The poem begins with the Magi reflecting on the hardships they have faced during their journey, which has involved long and difficult travel through harsh terrain.
They also describe the difficulties they have faced in trying to understand the significance of the star that has led them to Bethlehem, as it has not been a straightforward journey.
The imagery used to describe the journey, such as “the worst time of the year” and “the ways deep and the weather sharp,” conveys a sense of struggle and adversity.
As the poem progresses, the Magi describe their encounter with Christ in the stable, and reflect on the changes that this has wrought in them.
The Magi are struck by the contrast between the humble surroundings of the stable and the glory of Christ’s birth, which is described using rich and vivid imagery: “A hard time we had of it. / At the end we preferred / To travel all night in the smell of the hay / And hear the angels singing to the shepherds, / And then came the three kings from the east / Bearing gifts.”
The Magi’s encounter with Christ leads to a sense of spiritual transformation, as they reflect on their former way of life and the difficulties involved in the search for spiritual truth. BEGC 112 Solved Free Assignment 2023
The imagery used in the final stanza of the poem, which describes the Magi returning to their own lands, is especially significant in this regard.
The Magi describe how they have “no longer any hope / Of turning back,” and how they now see their old way of life as “a new beginning”:
“We returned to our places, these Kingdoms,
But no longer at ease here, in the old dispensation,
With an alien people clutching their gods.”
The symbolism in the poem is also significant in terms of the central theme. The journey undertaken by the Magi can be seen as a metaphor for the search for spiritual truth, with the hardships and obstacles encountered along the way representing the difficulties involved in this search.
The star that leads the Magi to Bethlehem can be seen as a symbol of hope and guidance, while the stable where Christ is born represents the humble beginnings of the Christian faith.
The gifts that the Magi bring to the infant Jesus are also significant, as they symbolize the spiritual significance of Christ’s birth.
The gold represents Christ’s kingship, the frankincense represents his divinity, and the myrrh represents his sacrifice on the cross.
The Magi’s gifts therefore represent their recognition of the spiritual significance of Christ’s birth, and their acknowledgement of his status as a divine and holy figure.
Furthermore, the poem also explores the idea of the Magi’s journey as a representation of the end of one era and the beginning of another.
The Magi’s journey and their encounter with Christ can be seen as marking the transition from the old dispensation, where pagan gods were worshipped, to the new dispensation, where Christ is recognized as the savior.
The line “this Birth was / Hard and bitter agony for us, like Death, our death” suggests that the Magi have undergone a kind of death and rebirth through their encounter with Christ, and that their former way of life has been rendered obsolete by their newfound faith.BEGC 112 Solved Free Assignment 2023
The poem also employs a unique structure, with a mix of both free and rhyming verse.
This structure serves to mirror the Magi’s journey, which is a mixture of both chaos and order.
The free verse represents the chaos and disorder of the Magi’s journey, while the rhyming verse represents the order and structure that they find in their encounter with Christ.
In conclusion, T.S. Eliot’s poem “Journey of the Magi” explores the transformative power of faith and the difficulties involved in the search for spiritual truth.
Through rich and vivid imagery, powerful symbolism, and a unique structure, the poem conveys the physical and spiritual journey of the Magi, and the transformative impact that their encounter with Christ has on their lives.
The poem remains a powerful meditation on the themes of faith, perseverance, and courage, and continues to resonate with readers today.