MEG – 11
MEG 11 Solved Free Assignment 2023
IGNOU MEG 11 Solved Free Assignment January 2023
Q 1. Discuss the background and qualities of Romanticism as reflected in 19th Century American novel.
Ans. Romanticism, as an artistic and intellectual movement, emerged in the late 18th century and dominated Western culture in the 19th century.
It was a reaction against the rationalism and industrialization of the Enlightenment era, and emphasized emotion, individualism, imagination, and a connection with nature.
Romanticism had a profound influence on American literature, particularly the novel, during the 19th century. MEG 11 Solved Free Assignment 2023
One of the key background factors that influenced Romanticism in American literature was the changing social, political, and economic landscape of the 19th century.
The United States was undergoing rapid transformation with the growth of industrialization, urbanization, and westward expansion.
The country was grappling with the impact of these changes on individual and societal values, and Romanticism emerged as a response to these transformations.
Romanticism in American literature was characterized by several distinct qualities. Firstly, it emphasized the importance of emotion and intuition over reason and logic.
Romantic writers celebrated the emotional and passionate aspects of human nature and portrayed characters who were driven by their feelings and instincts.
For example, Nathaniel Hawthorne’s novel “The Scarlet Letter” (1850) explores the emotional turmoil of its protagonist, Hester Prynne, who is condemned by society for committing adultery. MEG 11 Solved Free Assignment 2023
Her emotional journey and inner struggles are central to the novel, reflecting the Romantic emphasis on emotional depth and complexity.
Secondly, Romanticism in American literature celebrated individualism and the uniqueness of the human spirit.
Romantic writers often portrayed protagonists who were rebels or outsiders, challenging societal norms and conventions.
Herman Melville’s novel “Moby-Dick” (1851) is a classic example of a Romantic novel that explores the individualistic quest for meaning and purpose in the face of an indifferent universe.
The protagonist, Captain Ahab, is a larger-than-life figure who represents the Romantic ideal of the individual pursuing his own destiny, even at the cost of his own destruction.MEG 11 Solved Free Assignment 2023
Thirdly, Romanticism in American literature emphasized imagination and the power of the creative mind.
Romantic writers often portrayed artists and poets as visionary figures who were capable of transcending the mundane world and accessing higher truths through their artistic imagination.
Edgar Allan Poe’s short stories, such as “The Fall of the House of Usher” (1839), are known for their vivid and imaginative descriptions of eerie and supernatural events.
Poe’s works reflect the Romantic belief in the power of the imagination to reveal hidden truths and mysteries of the human condition.
Another key quality of Romanticism as reflected in 19th century American novels was its connection with nature.
Romantic writers celebrated the beauty and power of nature, often portraying it as a source of spiritual inspiration and renewal.
This was particularly relevant in the context of the rapidly changing American landscape during the 19th century, as writers grappled with the destruction of nature due to industrialization and westward expansion.
Ralph Waldo Emerson’s essay “Nature” (1836) and Henry David Thoreau’s book “Walden” (1854) are seminal works of American Romanticism that explore the relationship between man and nature, and advocate for a deeper connection with the natural world as a means of self-realization.
Romanticism in American literature also reflected a sense of nostalgia and longing for the past. MEG 11 Solved Free Assignment 2023
As the country rapidly modernized, Romantic writers often looked back to a mythical past or distant history as a source of inspiration.
Washington Irving’s short story “Rip Van Winkle” (1819) is a prime example of this, as it portrays a protagonist who falls asleep for 20 years and wakes up to find that his familiar world has changed beyond recognition.
The story reflects a Romantic longing for a simpler, more idealized past, and serves as a critique of the rapid changes brought about by industrialization and modernization.
Furthermore, Romanticism in American literature often depicted a sense of the sublime, which refers to the awe-inspiring, overwhelming, and often terrifying aspects of nature or the human experience.
This was reflected in the works of writers such as Edgar Allan Poe and Nathaniel Hawthorne, who often explored dark and mysterious themes, delving into the depths of the human psyche and the unknown aspects of existence.
For example, Poe’s poem “The Raven” (1845) captures the sense of the sublime through its haunting imagery and eerie atmosphere, evoking feelings of fear, awe, and wonder.MEG 11 Solved Free Assignment 2023
In addition, Romanticism in American literature often conveyed a sense of idealism and optimism, despite the challenges of the changing times.
Romantic writers believed in the power of the human spirit and the potential for individual and societal transformation.
This is evident in works such as Louisa May Alcott’s novel “Little Women” (1868), which portrays the struggles and aspirations of the March family as they navigate the complexities of life during the American Civil War.
The novel reflects the Romantic belief in the inherent goodness of humanity and the potential for personal growth and social progress.
Moreover, Romanticism in American literature often explored themes of freedom and the pursuit of liberty. MEG 11 Solved Free Assignment 2023
The United States, with its history of revolution and democratic ideals, provided a fertile ground for Romantic writers to explore the concept of freedom, both individual and collective.
Mark Twain’s novel “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” (1884) is a notable example, as it depicts the journey of a young boy, Huck, and his friend Jim, a runaway slave, as they navigate the Mississippi River in search of freedom.
The novel explores the complexities of race, morality, and societal norms, and reflects the Romantic belief in the power of individual agency and the pursuit of personal freedom.
Q 2. Discuss the common themes in the novels of Theodore Dreiser. Answer with suitable examples.
Ans. Theodore Dreiser, a prominent American novelist of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, is known for his naturalistic writing style and his exploration of the human condition in a rapidly changing society. MEG 11 Solved Free Assignment 2023
Throughout his body of work, Dreiser addresses several common themes that are central to his novels, offering a deep and often critical examination of American society, human nature, and the struggles of individuals in the face of societal forces.
One of the prominent themes in Dreiser’s novels is the relentless pursuit of the American Dream and its often elusive nature.
Dreiser portrays the American Dream as a tantalizing goal that promises success, wealth, and happiness, but is often unattainable for many of his characters.
In his novel “Sister Carrie” (1900), the protagonist Carrie Meeber, a young woman from a small town, comes to Chicago with dreams of becoming a successful actress.
However, she quickly realizes that the path to success is fraught with challenges, and she is forced to make moral compromises and face harsh realities to achieve her goals. MEG 11 Solved Free Assignment 2023
Similarly, in “An American Tragedy” (1925), the protagonist Clyde Griffiths aspires to a life of material wealth and social status, but his pursuit of the American Dream ultimately leads to tragic consequences.
Dreiser also explores the impact of societal forces on individuals and their moral dilemmas.
He portrays a society that is often indifferent and even hostile to the struggles of individuals, particularly those who are disadvantaged or marginalized.
In “Sister Carrie,” Dreiser depicts the harsh realities of urban life, where people are judged by their material wealth and social status, and the pursuit of success often leads to moral compromises and corruption.
For example, Carrie’s relationship with her wealthy lover Hurstwood reflects the societal expectations of the time, where women were often dependent on men for financial security, and the consequences of breaking social norms were severe.
In “An American Tragedy,” Clyde’s desperate attempt to climb the social ladder and escape poverty leads him to commit a heinous crime, highlighting the corrupting influence of societal forces on individuals.
Another recurring theme in Dreiser’s novels is the struggle between fate and free will. MEG 11 Solved Free Assignment 2023
Dreiser portrays his characters as products of their environment, shaped by their circumstances and the forces beyond their control.
In “Sister Carrie,” Carrie’s fate seems to be determined by her external circumstances, as she is often at the mercy of her lovers, employers, and the societal expectations placed upon her.
Similarly, in “Jennie Gerhardt” (1911), the protagonist Jennie is a victim of her circumstances, as she struggles with poverty, societal norms, and the limitations imposed upon her as a woman.
However, Dreiser also presents moments of free will and agency in his characters, where they are able to make choices and assert their individuality, albeit with consequences. MEG 11 Solved Free Assignment 2023
For example, in “Sister Carrie,” Carrie makes choices that impact her own destiny, albeit with moral ambiguities and uncertainties.
Dreiser’s novels also explore the complexities of human relationships and the dynamics of love and desire.
He portrays love as a powerful force that can drive individuals to both great heights and tragic depths.
In “Jennie Gerhardt,” Jennie’s love for her illegitimate child and her unwavering devotion to her lover, Lester Kane, despite his social status, highlight the depth and complexity of human emotions.
In “The Financier” (1912), Dreiser presents the tumultuous relationship between the protagonist Frank Cowperwood and his lover Aileen Butler, which is marked by passion, desire, and betrayal.
Dreiser’s portrayal of love andndesire is often realistic and nuanced, reflecting the complexities and contradictions of human emotions and relationships.
Dreiser also explores the impact of social class and wealth on individuals and their interactions. MEG 11 Solved Free Assignment 2023
He depicts a society where wealth and social status are highly valued, and those who possess them have power and influence over others.
In his novels, characters from different social classes often clash, and the vast divide between the rich and the poor is a prominent theme.
For example, in “The Financier,” Frank Cowperwood’s pursuit of wealth and success leads him to engage in unethical and corrupt practices, reflecting the corrupting influence of wealth and power.
In “Sister Carrie,” the social and economic differences between Carrie and her lovers, Hurstwood and Drouet, play a significant role in shaping their relationships and outcomes. MEG 11 Solved Free Assignment 2023
Dreiser portrays the harsh realities of social class and wealth disparity, and the impact they have on individuals’ lives.
Furthermore, Dreiser’s novels often explore the tension between individualism and societal norms.
His characters frequently face conflicts between their desires for personal autonomy and the expectations imposed upon them by society.
In “Jennie Gerhardt,” Jennie faces societal judgment and condemnation for her choices as an unwed mother, reflecting the strict societal norms of the time.
In “An American Tragedy,” Clyde struggles with the societal expectations of morality and religion, as he is torn between his desires and the consequences of societal norms. MEG 11 Solved Free Assignment 2023
Dreiser portrays the struggles of individuals who dare to defy societal expectations and pursue their own desires, often with dire consequences.
Q 3. Attempt a critical analysis of the novel Light in August.
Ans. “Light in August” is a novel written by the renowned American author William Faulkner, first published in 1932.
Set in the fictional Yoknapatawpha County, Mississippi, Faulkner’s novel is known for its complex characters, rich symbolism, and exploration of race, religion, and morality in the American South during the early 20th century.
The novel tells the story of multiple characters whose lives intersect and intertwine, delving into their struggles, conflicts, and search for identity in a deeply divided and morally complex society. MEG 11 Solved Free Assignment 2023
One of the central themes in “Light in August” is the exploration of racial tensions and the legacy of slavery in the American South.
Faulkner portrays a society deeply divided along racial lines, where racism and prejudice are pervasive, and the remnants of slavery still cast a long shadow.
The novel follows the character of Joe Christmas, a biracial man who struggles with his identity and the societal expectations placed upon him.
Christmas is haunted by his mixed heritage, which isolates him from both the white and black communities.
He faces discrimination, violence, and persecution due to his racial ambiguity, reflecting the deep-seated racism and bigotry of the society.
Faulkner also portrays the destructive nature of racism and its impact on individuals and communities.
The character of Joe Christmas is a tragic figure, whose life is marred by the consequences of racism. MEG 11 Solved Free Assignment 2023
He experiences a sense of alienation and displacement, as he is neither fully accepted by the white community nor welcomed by the black community.
His search for identity and belonging becomes a futile and destructive quest, leading to a series of violent events that ultimately result in his tragic downfall.
Faulkner’s portrayal of Christmas serves as a critique of the damaging effects of racism, highlighting its destructive impact on individuals and society as a whole.
Another significant theme in “Light in August” is the exploration of morality and the complexities of human nature.
Faulkner presents a morally ambiguous world, where characters are often torn between conflicting desires and impulses.
The novel challenges traditional notions of morality and explores the blurred lines between good and evil, right and wrong.
For example, the character of Joe Christmas engages in violent and immoral acts, yet he is also shown to be capable of kindness and compassion.
Similarly, other characters in the novel, such as Lena Grove and Reverend Gail Hightower, struggle with their own moral dilemmas and conflicting desires.
Faulkner’s exploration of morality in “Light in August” reflects the complexity and ambiguity of human nature, challenging simplistic notions of good and evil.
Faulkner’s portrayal of gender and sexuality is another important aspect of “Light in August.” The novel features strong female characters who challenge traditional gender roles and expectations. MEG 11 Solved Free Assignment 2023
Lena Grove, a young pregnant woman searching for the father of her child, is portrayed as independent, resilient, and resourceful, defying traditional gender norms of passivity and dependence.
Lena’s determination and agency in pursuing her own goals stand in contrast to the male characters in the novel, who often struggle with their own vulnerabilities and insecurities.
Faulkner also explores the themes of sexuality and desire in the novel, particularly through the character of Joe Christmas.
Christmas’s sexuality and sexual identity are complex and often contradictory, reflecting the societal taboos and stigma associated with homosexuality during that time period.
Symbolism plays a crucial role in “Light in August,” adding depth and complexity to the novel. Faulkner uses various symbols to represent different aspects of the story and its themes.
For example, the name “Christmas” itself carries symbolic significance, representing the tension between darkness and light, sin and redemption, and the struggle for identity. MEG 11 Solved Free Assignment 2023
The character of Joe Christmas embodies this symbolic duality, as he grapples with his biracial heritage, societal expectations, and his own inner demons.
The setting of Yoknapatawpha County also serves as a symbolic representation of the South and its troubled history.
Faulkner’s fictional county is a microcosm of the American South, with its deeply ingrained racism, social hierarchies, and moral complexities.
The rural landscape, with its dilapidated houses, overgrown fields, and decaying plantations, symbolizes the decay and decline of the Old South, as well as the lingering effects of slavery and its aftermath.
Faulkner’s vivid descriptions of the landscape serve to enhance the atmosphere of the novel and provide a symbolic backdrop for the characters’ struggles and conflicts.MEG 11 Solved Free Assignment 2023
Religion and spirituality are also recurring themes in “Light in August.” Faulkner explores the role of religion in shaping the characters’ beliefs, actions, and motivations.
The character of Reverend Gail Hightower represents the struggle with faith and the loss of religious conviction, as he grapples with his past mistakes and failures.
The character of Lena Grove, on the other hand, represents a more innocent and simplistic form of faith, as she clings to her religious beliefs as a source of hope and comfort in her journey.
Faulkner also uses religious imagery and symbolism, such as the image of the burning bush, to convey deeper spiritual and moral truths in the novel.
In addition to its themes and symbolism, the characters in “Light in August” are complex and multi-dimensional, representing different facets of Southern society and the human condition.
Joe Christmas, in particular, is a deeply flawed and enigmatic character, whose internal struggles and external actions drive the narrative.
Christmas is torn between his desire for acceptance and his need for independence, his search for identity and his fear of rejection.
He is both a victim and a perpetrator, reflecting the complexities of race, morality, and sexuality in the South. MEG 11 Solved Free Assignment 2023
Other characters, such as Lena Grove, Byron Bunch, and Joanna Burden, also grapple with their own struggles, desires, and moral dilemmas, adding depth and richness to the novel.
Q 4. Discuss theme, plot, narrative techniques and style of the novel Black Spring.
Ans. “Black Spring” is a novel written by Henry Miller and published in 1936. It is known for its controversial and avant-garde nature, challenging traditional notions of plot, narrative techniques, and style.
In this analysis, we will explore the themes, plot, narrative techniques, and style employed by Miller in “Black Spring”.
“Black Spring” delves into several themes that are recurrent in Miller’s work. One of the central themes of the novel is the exploration of human sexuality and its relationship with creativity and art. MEG 11 Solved Free Assignment 2023
Miller portrays characters who are driven by their sexual desires and who often struggle to reconcile their inner desires with societal norms and expectations.
The novel also delves into the themes of freedom, self-expression, and the search for identity, as the characters navigate the societal constraints and cultural norms of their time.
Additionally, “Black Spring” explores themes of existentialism, individualism, and the rejection of traditional societal structures and institutions.
“Black Spring” does not follow a conventional plot structure. It is a loosely connected series of vignettes, episodes, and stream-of-consciousness passages that are more concerned with the exploration of the inner thoughts, feelings, and experiences of the characters rather than a linear narrative arc.
The novel does not have a clear beginning, middle, or end, and the events and incidents that take place are often disconnected and fragmented.
The plot of “Black Spring” is nonlinear and episodic, reflecting Miller’s unconventional approach to storytelling and his rejection of traditional narrative structures.MEG 11 Solved Free Assignment 2023
Miller employs a variety of narrative techniques in “Black Spring” that contribute to its unique style.
One of the notable techniques used by Miller is the stream-of-consciousness narrative, in which the inner thoughts, memories, and experiences of the characters are presented in a continuous flow without any clear delineation between them.
This technique allows Miller to delve into the characters’ psyche and provide insight into their inner worlds.
The stream-of-consciousness narrative also contributes to the fragmented nature of the plot, as the story unfolds through the characters’ disjointed thoughts and perceptions.MEG 11 Solved Free Assignment 2023
Another narrative technique used by Miller in “Black Spring” is the incorporation of autobiographical elements.
Like many of his works, “Black Spring” draws heavily from Miller’s own life and experiences, blurring the lines between fiction and autobiography.
Miller uses the novel as a medium for self-exploration and self-expression, often inserting himself as a character in the story.
This blurring of the lines between reality and fiction adds to the novel’s experimental and unconventional nature.
Miller’s writing style in “Black Spring” is known for its raw, visceral, and provocative nature. MEG 11 Solved Free Assignment 2023
He employs a frank and explicit language, often using graphic sexual imagery and explicit language to explore the themes of sexuality and desire.
Miller’s writing style is characterized by long, rambling sentences, with frequent use of parentheses, dashes, and ellipses.
His prose is highly descriptive and sensory, capturing the sights, sounds, smells, and emotions of the characters and their surroundings.
Miller’s writing style is also marked by his use of humor, satire, and irony to critique societal norms and institutions.
Furthermore, Miller’s style in “Black Spring” is marked by his rejection of traditional literary conventions. MEG 11 Solved Free Assignment 2023
He eschews traditional punctuation, capitalization, and paragraphing, and often employs unconventional typography and spacing.
Miller’s disregard for conventional grammar and punctuation adds to the novel’s unconventional and experimental style, challenging traditional notions of literary norms and expectations.
Q 5. What are the major themes and characters of the novel The Catcher in the Rye.
Ans. “The Catcher in the Rye” is a novel written by J.D. Salinger and published in 1951. It is a classic work of American literature that has been widely studied and analyzed for its themes and characters.
In this analysis, we will explore the major themes and characters present in “The Catcher in the Rye”.MEG 11 Solved Free Assignment 2023
Alienation and Isolation: One of the central themes of “The Catcher in the Rye” is the sense of alienation and isolation felt by the protagonist, Holden Caulfield.
Holden struggles to find his place in the world and feels disconnected from the society around him.
He is critical of the adult world, which he sees as phony and corrupt, and he struggles to form meaningful connections with others.
Throughout the novel, Holden’s sense of alienation and isolation is palpable, and it drives much of his behavior and actions.
Innocence and Loss of Innocence: Another major theme of “The Catcher in the Rye” is the concept of innocence and the loss of innocence.
Holden is obsessed with the idea of protecting the innocence of children, particularly his younger sister Phoebe. MEG 11 Solved Free Assignment 2023
He sees the adult world as corrupting and damaging to the innocence of children, and he strives to shield them from this corruption.
However, as the novel progresses, Holden realizes that innocence is not something that can be preserved forever, and he himself is grappling with the loss of his own innocence as he transitions into adulthood.
Phoniness and Authenticity: The theme of phoniness and authenticity runs throughout the novel, with Holden frequently expressing his disdain for people he sees as fake or phony.
He is critical of societal norms, conventions, and expectations that he sees as artificial and hypocritical. MEG 11 Solved Free Assignment 2023
Holden values authenticity and genuineness, and he often feels frustrated and disillusioned by the superficiality and insincerity of the adult world.
Depression and Mental Illness: “The Catcher in the Rye” also explores the theme of depression and mental illness.
Holden is depicted as a troubled and emotionally unstable character, struggling with depression, anxiety, and trauma.
He exhibits signs of mental distress throughout the novel, including his frequent mood swings, erratic behavior, and distorted perception of reality.
The novel portrays the impact of mental illness on an individual’s thoughts, feelings, and actions, and sheds light on the challenges of coping with such conditions.
Identity and Authenticity: Holden’s search for identity and authenticity is a central theme in the novel. MEG 11 Solved Free Assignment 2023
He is constantly grappling with questions about who he is, what he wants to be, and how he should navigate the complexities of the adult world.
He struggles with conforming to societal expectations while also yearning for individuality and uniqueness.
The novel delves into the theme of identity formation and the challenges of reconciling one’s inner self with the external world.
Holden Caulfield: Holden is the protagonist and narrator of “The Catcher in the Rye.” He is a troubled and complex character who is struggling with various emotional and psychological issues. MEG 11 Solved Free Assignment 2023
Holden is a teenage boy who has been expelled from multiple schools and is wandering aimlessly in New York City.
He is deeply alienated and disconnected from the adult world, and he often exhibits erratic behavior and engages in self-destructive actions.
Phoebe Caulfield: Phoebe is Holden’s younger sister, and she is one of the few people in the novel with whom Holden feels a genuine connection.
Phoebe is portrayed as innocent and pure, and Holden is determined to protect her from the corrupting influence of the adult world.
She serves as a symbol of innocence and represents Holden’s longing for the preservation of purity in a corrupted society.
Allie Caulfield: All ie is Holden’s younger brother who has passed away before the events of the novel. Holden deeply mourns the loss of Allie and often reflects on their close relationship. MEG 11 Solved Free Assignment 2023
Allie is portrayed as a pure and innocent figure in Holden’s mind, and his death has a significant impact on Holden’s mental state and outlook on life.
Mr. Antolini: Mr. Antolini is a former English teacher of Holden’s and is one of the few adult figures in the novel who genuinely cares for Holden.
He tries to reach out to Holden and offers him advice and guidance. However, Mr. Antolini’s actions towards Holden are interpreted ambiguously, and his motives are questioned by Holden.
Mr. Antolini represents the complexities of adult relationships and the blurred lines between sincerity and phoniness.MEG 11 Solved Free Assignment 2023
Sally Hayes: Sally is a former girlfriend of Holden’s, and their relationship serves as a reflection of Holden’s struggle with intimacy and relationships.
Sally represents the superficiality of the adult world and embodies the kind of person that Holden despises – someone who conforms to societal expectations and lacks authenticity.
Holden’s interactions with Sally highlight his difficulty in forming meaningful connections with others and his desire for genuine relationships.
“The Catcher in the Rye” follows the events of a few days in the life of Holden Caulfield, a teenage boy who has been expelled from his boarding school and is wandering around New York City. MEG 11 Solved Free Assignment 2023
The novel is presented in the form of Holden’s first-person narration and is characterized by his distinct voice and unique perspective on the world.
The plot of the novel is largely episodic, with Holden engaging in various encounters and adventures during his time in New York City.
He interacts with different people, including old friends, strangers, and acquaintances, and his interactions reveal his deep sense of alienation and disillusionment with the adult world.
Holden struggles with his own inner demons, including his depression, anxiety, and memories of his deceased brother Allie, which further impact his perception of reality.MEG 11 Solved Free Assignment 2023
Throughout the novel, Holden engages in erratic and impulsive behavior, such as getting into fights, drinking excessively, and engaging in casual sexual encounters.
He also reflects on his past, his relationships, and his dreams for the future, often with a sense of cynicism and bitterness towards the adult world.