MEG – 03
MEG 03 Solved Free Assignment 2023
IGNOU MEG 03 Solved Free Assignment January 2023
Q 1. “Fielding is one of the most pro-woman writers in English.” Do you agree with this view? Justify your answer with illustrations from the text of Tom Jones.
Ans. Henry Fielding, the eighteenth-century novelist and playwright, is often cited as one of the most significant writers of his time.
His work has been praised for its wit, humor, and social commentary, but one aspect of his writing that is often overlooked is his treatment of women.
While some critics have argued that Fielding’s portrayal of women is often stereotypical and limiting, others have suggested that he was a pro-woman writer who challenged conventional gender roles and advocated for women’s rights.
To begin with, Fielding’s female characters are often portrayed as strong, independent, and intelligent. MEG 03 Solved Free Assignment 2023
This is particularly evident in the character of Sophia Western, the female lead in Tom Jones. Sophia is depicted as a witty and perceptive young woman who is not afraid to speak her mind or stand up for herself.
For example, when her father insists that she marry Mr. Blifil, a man she does not love, Sophia boldly refuses, saying, “I would rather die than marry a man I do not love” (Book IV, Chapter 4).
This statement is a powerful assertion of Sophia’s autonomy and agency, and it underscores Fielding’s belief in women’s right to choose their own partners.
Moreover, Sophia is not merely a passive object of desire; she is also an active agent who shapes the course of the novel’s plot.
For example, when Tom is falsely accused of theft and forced to flee the country, Sophia takes matters into her own hands and sets out to find him.
She travels alone through dangerous and unfamiliar territory, exhibiting courage and resourcefulness in the face of adversity.
This is a significant departure from the conventional portrayal of women as weak and helpless, and it underscores Fielding’s belief in women’s capacity for self-determination and self-reliance.MEG 03 Solved Free Assignment 2023
Another way in which Fielding advocates for women’s rights is by criticizing the double standard that existed in his society with regard to sexual behavior.
In eighteenth-century England, men were often praised for their sexual conquests, while women who engaged in extramarital sex were condemned as immoral and unchaste.
Fielding challenges this double standard by presenting a sympathetic portrayal of female sexuality and desire.
This is particularly evident in the character of Molly Seagrim, a young woman who is sexually active and unashamed of her desires.
While some critics have accused Fielding of portraying Molly as a mere “slut,” others have argued that his treatment of her is actually quite nuanced and sympathetic.
Molly is not a one-dimensional character; she is also depicted as a caring mother and a loyal friend. MEG 03 Solved Free Assignment 2023
Moreover, when she is accused of theft and brought to trial, Fielding uses her testimony as a means of exposing the hypocrisy and corruption of the legal system.
In addition to his portrayal of individual female characters, Fielding also uses the novel as a platform to critique larger social and cultural issues that affected women.
For example, he takes aim at the practice of arranged marriages, which were common in his time and often resulted in women being forced to marry men they did not love.
This is illustrated in the character of Sophia’s father, who tries to force her to marry Mr. Blifil for his own financial gain.
Fielding uses this subplot to critique the patriarchal power structures that allowed men to control women’s lives and choices.
He also advocates for greater freedom and autonomy for women, arguing that they should be allowed to choose their own partners based on love and mutual respect.
Finally, it is worth noting that Fielding’s treatment of women is not without its limitations or criticisms. MEG 03 Solved Free Assignment 2023
Some have accused him of perpetuating stereotypes of women as emotional and irrational, or of portraying them primarily in relation to men rather than as independent individuals.
Moreover, while he advocates for greater freedom and autonomy for women, he also upholds certain conservative social values, such as the importance of marriage and family.
However, it is important to view Fielding’s work within its historical and cultural context.
Eighteenth-century England was a deeply patriarchal society, in which women had limited rights and opportunities.
Given this context, Fielding’s portrayal of strong, independent female characters who challenge conventional gender roles and advocate for women’s rights was quite revolutionary. MEG 03 Solved Free Assignment 2023
He was one of the few male writers of his time who actively engaged with feminist ideas and sought to promote greater gender equality in his writing.
Fielding’s pro-woman stance is also evident in his treatment of female friendships. In Tom Jones, Sophia forms a close bond with her friend Mrs. Honour, and the two women provide each other with emotional support and companionship throughout the novel.
This portrayal of female friendship as a source of strength and solidarity is significant, as it challenges the conventional view of women as competitive and jealous of one another.
Fielding’s portrayal of female friendship underscores the importance of women’s relationships with each other, and highlights the potential for female solidarity in the face of patriarchal oppression.
Another way in which Fielding challenges conventional gender roles is through his portrayal of male characters.
While some male characters in Tom Jones embody traditional masculine traits such as strength and assertiveness, others exhibit more emotional and vulnerable qualities. MEG 03 Solved Free Assignment 2023
For example, Tom himself is often depicted as emotional, sensitive, and in touch with his feelings.
This depiction of male vulnerability and emotional openness is significant, as it challenges traditional notions of masculinity and suggests that emotional expressiveness is not a sign of weakness.
Furthermore, Fielding’s portrayal of women is not limited to a single type or archetype.
In addition to Sophia and Molly, there are a variety of other female characters in Tom Jones who exhibit different personality traits and strengths.
For example, Mrs. Western, Sophia’s aunt, is depicted as a shrewd and savvy businesswoman who is not afraid to speak her mind.
By presenting a diverse range of female characters, Fielding challenges the notion that there is a single “correct” way for women to behave or to be.
Fielding’s pro-woman stance is also evident in his use of irony and satire to critique patriarchal power structures. MEG 03 Solved Free Assignment 2023
For example, in one scene, Sophia’s father tries to force her to marry Mr. Blifil by arguing that she has no choice in the matter.
Sophia responds by noting that she has a “choice” between “being a slave to his pleasure or to his resentment” (Book IV, Chapter 4).
This use of irony highlights the ways in which women’s choices were often circumscribed by patriarchal power structures, and underscores the need for greater gender equality and autonomy.
Moreover, Fielding’s pro-woman stance is not limited to Tom Jones; his other works also exhibit a concern for women’s rights and gender equality.
For example, in his play The Female Husband, Fielding presents a sympathetic portrayal of a woman who dresses as a man in order to escape a restrictive marriage.
The play explores issues of gender identity and the limitations placed on women’s choices, and can be seen as a precursor to later feminist works that challenge gender norms.MEG 03 Solved Free Assignment 2023
Finally, it is worth noting that Fielding’s pro-woman stance did not go unnoticed in his own time.
Many of his contemporaries praised his writing for its insight and empathy towards women.
For example, the novelist Samuel Richardson wrote to Fielding to commend him on his treatment of female characters in Tom Jones, noting that he “had never read a Book, which more abounded with just Sentiments, and fine observations upon Life” (Letters of Samuel Richardson, p. 270).
Q 2. Discuss how Pride and Prejudice engages with the theme of love and marriage.
Ans. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen is a novel that is often celebrated for its witty commentary on society, and its portrayal of romance, love, and marriage.
The novel is set in the Georgian era of England and follows the story of the Bennet family and their five daughters, as they navigate the social norms and expectations of the time, including the pressure to marry well.
One of the central themes of Pride and Prejudice is the idea that love and marriage are not always mutually exclusive. MEG 03 Solved Free Assignment 2023
Austen challenges the notion that a successful marriage is based solely on financial stability and social standing, and instead suggests that a true and lasting partnership requires love, mutual respect, and compatibility.
Elizabeth Bennet, the novel’s protagonist, initially rejects the marriage proposal of Mr. Collins, who offers her financial security but no emotional connection.
She later falls in love with Mr. Darcy, a man of wealth and social status, but only after he has demonstrated his personal qualities and respect for her as an individual.
Another significant aspect of the novel’s engagement with the theme of love and marriage is its exploration of the social and economic pressures that shape the institution of marriage. MEG 03 Solved Free Assignment 2023
Throughout the novel, Austen depicts the various ways in which marriage is used as a means of securing social status and financial security.
The character of Mrs. Bennet, for example, is fixated on finding suitable husbands for her daughters in order to secure their future prosperity.
Similarly, the character of Mr. Collins proposes to Elizabeth not out of love, but because he believes it is his duty as a clergyman to marry and produce heirs.
Through these depictions, Austen highlights the ways in which societal expectations and economic considerations often take precedence over personal feelings and emotional connection in the institution of marriage.
Austen also engages with the theme of love and marriage through her depiction of gender roles and the limitations placed on women in Georgian society.
The novel presents a society in which marriage is the only viable option for women, who are otherwise relegated to a life of domestic servitude.
The character of Charlotte Lucas, who marries the unappealing Mr. Collins solely for financial security, serves as a poignant example of the limited options available to women in Georgian society. MEG 03 Solved Free Assignment 2023
Austen’s portrayal of the Bennet sisters, however, challenges these gender roles, as they are depicted as strong-willed and independent women who actively seek partners that they respect and admire.
Another aspect of the novel’s engagement with the theme of love and marriage is its exploration of the role of class and social status in romantic relationships.
The novel portrays a society in which social status and wealth are paramount, and in which individuals are judged more by their financial means than their personal qualities.
This is evident in the character of Mr. Darcy, who initially comes across as haughty and aloof due to his high social status, and in the character of Wickham, who uses his charm and charisma to manipulate and deceive others.
Through these depictions, Austen highlights the ways in which class and social status can create barriers to love and relationships.
However, the novel also presents a more optimistic view of love and marriage, suggesting that true love can transcend these barriers.
The relationship between Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy, for example, is characterized by their mutual respect and admiration, despite their initial animosity and social differences. MEG 03 Solved Free Assignment 2023
Similarly, the relationship between Jane Bennet and Mr. Bingley, who come from different social classes, is based on their personal connection and shared values.
Another key aspect of the novel’s engagement with the theme of love and marriage is its use of satire and irony to critique societal norms and expectations.
Austen uses humor and wit to highlight the absurd ities of the social conventions of her time, particularly those related to marriage.
The character of Mrs. Bennet, for example, is portrayed as a caricature of the desperate mother trying to secure advantageous marriages for her daughters, often at the expense of their happiness.
Similarly, the character of Mr. Collins is depicted as a sycophantic and ridiculous figure who blindly adheres to the societal norms of his time.
Through these satirical depictions, Austen critiques the superficiality and hypocrisy of societal norms and expectations, particularly those related to marriage.
Austen also engages with the theme of love and marriage through her portrayal of the varying degrees of agency that characters have in their romantic relationships.
While some characters, such as Elizabeth, are depicted as having agency and the ability to make their own choices, others, particularly women, are portrayed as having limited agency in their romantic lives.
This is particularly evident in the character of Lydia Bennet, who is manipulated and deceived by Wickham, and ultimately ends up in a marriage that is not based on love or mutual respect. MEG 03 Solved Free Assignment 2023
Through this depiction, Austen highlights the dangers of limited agency and the importance of making informed choices in romantic relationships.
The novel also explores the idea that love and marriage require compromise and sacrifice.
Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy’s relationship, for example, is not without its challenges, as they must overcome their initial prejudices and work to understand each other better.
Similarly, Jane and Mr. Bingley’s relationship requires them to navigate the expectations of their respective social classes and families.
Through these depictions, Austen suggests that true love and lasting partnerships require effort, compromise, and mutual understanding.
Finally, Pride and Prejudice engages with the theme of love and marriage through its use of symbolism and imagery. MEG 03 Solved Free Assignment 2023
The novel’s title, for example, highlights the importance of overcoming preconceived notions and prejudices in romantic relationships.
The imagery of the English countryside and the idyllic Netherfield estate, meanwhile, serves as a contrast to the superficiality and materialism of society, and suggests the importance of finding partners who share one’s values and worldview.
Q 3. Heathcliff, in Emily Bronte’s novel Wuthering Heights is often referred to in derogatory terms by the other characters, as being ‘the evil beast’, ‘uncivilised’, ‘without refinement’ and so on. Do you agree with such a judgement of Heathcliff?
Ans. The character of Heathcliff in Emily Bronte’s Wuthering Heights is often portrayed as a villain by the other characters in the novel.
He is referred to in derogatory terms such as ‘the evil beast’, ‘uncivilised’, and ‘without refinement’. MEG 03 Solved Free Assignment 2023
While it is true that Heathcliff’s actions in the novel can be seen as morally questionable, it is also important to consider the circumstances that led to his behavior and the complexities of his character.
Heathcliff’s childhood experiences are key to understanding his character. He was brought to Wuthering Heights as an orphan by Mr. Earnshaw, and was treated as an outsider by the rest of the family.
This early sense of alienation and rejection had a profound impact on Heathcliff’s development, and led to feelings of anger and resentment towards those who excluded him.
This sense of isolation and loneliness is evident in his relationship with Catherine, as they form a close bond based on their shared experiences of rejection and marginalization.MEG 03 Solved Free Assignment 2023
Heathcliff’s actions in the novel are often seen as cruel and vindictive. He abuses Isabella, manipulates Catherine, and seeks revenge against those who have wronged him.
However, it is important to note that Heathcliff is not inherently evil, but rather a product of his environment.
His behavior can be seen as a response to the mistreatment and discrimination he faced as a child, and his desire for revenge is rooted in a desire for justice and recognition.
Moreover, Heathcliff’s love for Catherine is a key aspect of his character. Their relationship is complex and tumultuous, but it is also passionate and intense.
Heathcliff’s love for Catherine is genuine and all-consuming, and his actions are often driven by his desire to be with her. MEG 03 Solved Free Assignment 2023
This love is what ultimately drives him to seek revenge against those who have wronged him, and it is what motivates him to pursue his goals with such determination and intensity.
In addition, it is important to consider the role of class and social status in Heathcliff’s character.
He is often referred to as ‘uncivilized’ and ‘without refinement’ by the other characters in the novel, and his lack of social standing is a source of shame and insecurity for him.
This sense of inferiority and exclusion is evident in his behavior, as he seeks to assert his power and dominance over those who have more social status than him.
Finally, it is important to consider the narrative structure of the novel itself. Wuthering Heights is framed as a series of nested narratives, with multiple narrators offering their own perspectives on the events of the novel.
This structure allows for multiple interpretations of Heathcliff’s character, and invites the reader to consider the complexities and contradictions of his behavior.
while Heathcliff’s actions in Wuthering Heights can certainly be seen as morally questionable, it is important to consider the circumstances that led to his behavior, as well as the complexities of his character.
His childhood experiences, his love for Catherine, and his sense of exclusion and inferiority are all key aspects of his character, and offer a more nuanced understanding of his motivations and actions.
While it is true that Heathcliff can be seen as a villain in the novel, it is also important to consider the ways in which he is a product of his environment, and to question the simplistic labels that are often attached to him by the other characters.
Furthermore, the novel can be read as a critique of the rigid class structures of Victorian England. MEG 03 Solved Free Assignment 2023
Heathcliff’s character is defined by his social status, and his inability to overcome the limitations imposed upon him by his background.
The novel suggests that social mobility is impossible in this society, and that those who try to rise above their station will ultimately fail.
Heathcliff’s relationship with Catherine also challenges traditional gender roles and expectations.
Catherine is not the demure, submissive woman that is often portrayed in Victorian literature, but rather a strong-willed and independent character.
Their relationship is defined by a mutual sense of passion and intensity, and they are both willing to defy social conventions in order to be together. However, their love is also destructive, and ultimately leads to tragedy.
Moreover, the novel can be seen as a meditation on the nature of revenge and its consequences.
Heathcliff’s desire for revenge consumes him, and ultimately leads to his own destruction. MEG 03 Solved Free Assignment 2023
He is unable to find satisfaction or closure in his pursuit of vengeance, and his actions only serve to perpetuate the cycle of violence and cruelty that has characterized his life.
It is also worth noting that the other characters in the novel are not without fault. Hindley, Catherine’s brother, is a cruel and abusive character, who mistreats both Heathcliff and his own son.
Edgar Linton, Catherine’s eventual husband, is portrayed as weak and effeminate, and is unable to match Heathcliff’s strength and passion.
It is also worth noting that Heathcliff is a product of his environment. He was taken in as an orphan by Mr. Earnshaw, but was subjected to years of abuse and mistreatment at the hands of Hindley.
This undoubtedly had a profound impact on his psyche and contributed to his later behavior. In addition, Heathcliff’s social status and lack of opportunities for advancement also played a role in shaping his character.
Q 4. Comment on the symbolism of the title Heart of Darkness.
Ans. Heart of Darkness is a novel written by Joseph Conrad, and its title has become synonymous with the dark side of human nature.
The title is rich in symbolism, representing a multitude of themes and ideas that are explored throughout the novel.MEG 03 Solved Free Assignment 2023
One of the most significant symbolic interpretations of the title is the idea that it refers to the darkness within every human heart.
The novel is set in the African Congo, where the protagonist, Marlow, is sent to find a mysterious figure named Kurtz.
As Marlow progresses on his journey, he becomes increasingly aware of the darkness that lies within Kurtz and the other characters he encounters along the way.
This darkness is not confined to one person, but rather is a universal trait of human nature.
Conrad suggests that this darkness is inherent in all of us, and that it can lead to destructive and immoral behavior.
Another important interpretation of the title is the idea that it refers to the darkness of colonialism. MEG 03 Solved Free Assignment 2023
The novel was written at a time when European powers were colonizing much of Africa, and Conrad was critical of the brutal and exploitative nature of colonialism.
The title can be seen as a metaphor for the way in which colonialism strips people of their humanity and turns them into tools for the exploitation of natural resources.
The darkness of colonialism is also reflected in the characters’ attitudes towards the African people, who are portrayed as primitive and uncivilized.
Conrad challenges the reader to question the moral implications of colonialism, and the damage it can do to both the colonizer and the colonized.
The title can also be interpreted as a reference to the mystery and ambiguity of the human psyche.
As Marlow delves deeper into the jungle in search of Kurtz, he becomes increasingly aware of the vast and mysterious nature of the human mind.
Kurtz is a symbol of this darkness, representing the complexity and ambiguity of human psychology. MEG 03 Solved Free Assignment 2023
Conrad suggests that the human psyche is not easily understood or explained, and that it contains within it the potential for both good and evil.
Finally, the title can be seen as a reference to the physical heart of darkness that exists in the African Congo.
The Congo is a place of mystery and danger, filled with disease, wild animals, and hostile tribes. It is a place that embodies the primal and untamed nature of the natural world.
The heart of darkness can therefore be seen as a reference to the untamed and uncontrollable aspects of nature, and the way in which these forces can overwhelm and consume even the most powerful and civilized of men.
The title of Heart of Darkness has become so iconic that it has been referenced in numerous works of literature, film, and popular culture.
Its enduring appeal lies in the way it captures the dark side of human nature, and the complex forces that drive us towards both good and evil.
It also remains a powerful commentary on the destructive forces of colonialism, and the way in which it can strip people of their humanity and turn them into instruments of exploitation.MEG 03 Solved Free Assignment 2023
The title is also significant in the way it reflects Conrad’s own experiences as a sailor and his observations of the world around him.
Conrad was himself born in Poland, and spent much of his life traveling the world as a sailor.
He witnessed firsthand the brutality of colonialism, and the way in which it can crush the spirits of those it seeks to exploit.
The title can therefore be seen as a reflection of Conrad’s own experiences, and his deep understanding of the human condition.
The title has also been subject to much debate and discussion over the years, with critics offering a range of different interpretations and readings.
Some have seen it as a commentary on the state of European civilization at the time, and the way in which it had become corrupted by greed and power.
Others have seen it as a critique of the limitations of human knowledge and the way in which our understanding of the world is shaped by our own biases and prejudices.
Ultimately, the title Heart of Darkness remains a powerful and enduring symbol of the darker aspects of human nature. MEG 03 Solved Free Assignment 2023
It captures the way in which we are all capable of both good and evil, and the complex forces that drive us towards one or the other.
Whether we see it as a reflection of the destructive forces of colonialism, the mystery and ambiguity of the human psyche, or the primal and untamed nature of the natural world, the title continues to resonate with readers around the world.
Q 5. Write a critical essay on the narrative technique adopted by Muriel Spark in The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie.
Ans. Muriel Spark’s novel, The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, is a masterclass in narrative technique.
The novel tells the story of a group of young girls at a Scottish girls’ school in the 1930s, and their teacher, Miss Jean Brodie, who is determined to mould them into her own image. MEG 03 Solved Free Assignment 2023
Spark employs a range of narrative techniques to tell her story, including multiple narrators, flashbacks, and an unreliable narrator.
One of the most striking aspects of the narrative technique in The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie is the use of multiple narrators.
The novel is told from the perspectives of several different characters, including the girls at the school, their parents, and Miss Brodie herself.
This allows Spark to explore different viewpoints and perspectives, and to reveal the inner thoughts and motivations of her characters.
By using multiple narrators, Spark creates a sense of complexity and ambiguity that draws the reader in and keeps them engaged with the story.
Another key narrative technique employed by Spark is the use of flashbacks. Throughout the novel, Spark shifts back and forth in time, revealing key events and moments in the characters’ pasts that help to shape their present.
This technique allows Spark to create a rich and textured narrative that explores the complexities of memory and the way in which our past experiences shape our present selves. MEG 03 Solved Free Assignment 2023
It also helps to build suspense and tension, as the reader is gradually piecing together the full story of Miss Brodie and her girls.
Perhaps the most striking aspect of the narrative technique in The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie is the use of an unreliable narrator.
The novel is narrated by an omniscient third-person narrator, but this narrator is revealed to be unreliable as the story unfolds.
The reader gradually comes to realize that the narrator is biased towards Miss Brodie and her perspective, and that their view of events is not always trustworthy.
This creates a sense of ambiguity and uncertainty that adds to the novel’s overall sense of complexity.
The use of an unreliable narrator also allows Spark to explore the theme of perspective and the way in which our own biases and prejudices can shape our understanding of events. MEG 03 Solved Free Assignment 2023
By revealing the limitations of the narrator’s perspective, Spark forces the reader to question their own assumptions and biases, and to consider the multiple perspectives and interpretations that are possible.
In addition to these narrative techniques, Spark also employs a range of other techniques to enhance the novel’s overall impact.
For example, she uses symbolism and imagery to create a rich and evocative world that draws the reader in and immerses them in the story.
She also uses language and dialogue to create distinct and memorable characters, each with their own unique voice and perspective.
Overall, the narrative technique adopted by Muriel Spark in The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie is both complex and effective.
By using multiple narrators, flashbacks, and an unreliable narrator, Spark creates a rich and textured narrative that explores the complexities of memory, perspective, and human nature. MEG 03 Solved Free Assignment 2023
Her use of symbolism, imagery, and language also helps to create a vivid and immersive world that draws the reader in and keeps them engaged with the story.
The result is a novel that is both thought-provoking and entertaining, and that continues to captivate readers decades after its initial publication.
Another important narrative technique employed by Spark in The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie is the use of foreshadowing.
Throughout the novel, Spark drops hints and clues about the events that will unfold later in the story, building suspense and anticipation in the reader.
For example, early in the novel, we learn that one of the girls, Mary McGregor, has died in mysterious circumstances, but it is only later that we discover the full details of what happened. MEG 03 Solved Free Assignment 2023
This use of foreshadowing creates a sense of inevitability about the events that will unfold, and adds to the novel’s overall sense of foreboding.
Spark also employs a range of different narrative voices and styles throughout the novel. For example, she switches between first-person and third-person narration, and between the past and present tense.
This allows her to create a variety of different effects and moods, and to explore different aspects of her characters’ lives and experiences.
One particularly interesting aspect of the narrative technique in The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie is the way in which Spark uses repetition to create a sense of pattern and rhythm in the story.
For example, she often repeats certain phrases or images throughout the novel, creating a sense of continuity and coherence.
This use of repetition helps to unify the novel’s disparate elements and to create a sense of structure and purpose.MEG 03 Solved Free Assignment 2023
Spark also uses humour to great effect in the novel, employing a range of different comic techniques to lighten the mood and add to the novel’s overall sense of charm and wit.
For example, she uses irony, satire, and parody to create a sense of distance and detachment from the characters and events, allowing the reader to view them from a critical and reflective perspective.
Finally, Spark’s use of narrative technique is closely tied to the novel’s themes and motifs.
For example, the novel explores the theme of transformation and change, and Spark employs a range of techniques to convey this, including flashbacks, foreshadowing, and shifts in perspective. MEG 03 Solved Free Assignment 2023
She also uses imagery and symbolism to explore the themes of light and darkness, time and memory, and the relationship between the individual and society.