AD's English Literature : April 2011

Thursday, April 28, 2011

UGC NET Solved Paper III ; Subject -- English ;December : 2009 Analysing an unknown poem (Report from the Hospital by Polish poet Wisława Szymborska)


(  In the newly structured syllabus it is in Paper III, Section IV)

UGC NET Solved  Paper  III ; Subject -- English  ; December :  2009.

This section contains five (5) questions based on the following poem.
Each question should be answered in about thirty (30) words and carries five (5) marks. (5 × 5 = 25 marks)

Wisława Szymborska
We drew lots, who would go and see him.
It was me. I got up from our table.
It was almost time for visiting hours.
He said nothing in reply to my greeting.
I tried to take his hand – he pulled it back
like a hungry dog who wouldn’t give up a bone.
He seemed ashamed of dying.
I don’t know what you say to someone like him.
As in a photomontage, our eyes would not meet.
He didn’t ask me to stay or go.
He didn’t ask about anyone at our table.
Not about you, Bolek. Not about you, Tolek. Not about you, Lolek.
My head began to ache. Who was dying for whom ?
I praised medicine and the three violets in the glass.
I talked about the sun and thought dark thoughts.
How good there’s a staircase to run down.
How good there’s a gate to be opened.
How good you’re all waiting for me at our table.
The smell of a hospital makes me sick.

1. Comment on the form of the poem.
Ans: The proper lyricism in this poem seems to be absent as the poem is in the free verse with no regular rhyming pattern. However, the stanza division can be chalked out as 3+3+3+3+3+3+1 and most importantly the emotional integrity of the poem arrests our mind.

Friday, April 22, 2011

How to analyze a poem : Technicality & Ethics

The beautiful part in reading literature is the reading poetry. In fact, you too enjoy the practice of making clever rhymes or noting down your own feelings in loose sentences, known as poetry. The periodicals and newspapers make a large demand for these exercises in rhyme and rhythm: it is really nice to see you born as poet.

As a Student of Literature, however, you have to read rather than write most of Keats, Shelley, Wordsworth, Chaucer, Byron, Eliot, Sidney, Spenser, John Donne, and John Milton, some William Shakespeare, a little Dryden, and a certain amount of Tennyson. While reading a poem and reaching to its meaning you are following the prime of an objective observer rather than a creative articulator. Before we go any further, I want to set some straight points regarding an analysis of a poem.

*      You have to develop your own ideas based on the raw material of the poem you are about to read. This process is important to validate your own version of reading the text. As long as you approach the task positively, you cannot be wrong! The raw material of the poem is its words, syntax, versification, thought content and obviously its felicity of expressions. To extend these points you have to search for rhetoric, genre, style, type etc. As you know answers lay hidden in questions. So never stop questioning yourself over the text.

*      The next key point is reaching the author doing some research about the author’s life and work, using reference books. Always remember a poem is a natural plant in the field of author’s creativity. Authors might have a fertile land but the very climate is the time the author represents. So, reaching the author means reaching the author and his time. After re- reading the text you can see many a moon in the domain in your thought. Here you can compare the contents with the predictions you have made in the previous phase.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Short Questions From The age of Pope (1700-50)

The age of Pope (1700-50)

Historical Events  &  Literary Events

1700 BEGIN OF London Club
1702 First daily newspaper
1727 Death of Newton
1775 War of American independence begins.
1776 America declared independent.
1789 Outbreak of French Revolution.
1726 Gulliver’s Travells by Jonathan Swift.
1749 Tom Jones by Henry Fielding
1766 The Vicar of wakefield by Goldsmith
1719 Rabinson crusoe by Defoe.
1728 Beggar’s opera by Gay.
1712 The Rape of The Lock by Pope.
1740 Pamela by Richardson.

English Rulers

1702-1714 Anne
1714-27 George
I1727-1760 George II


1667-1745 Jonathan Swift
1668-1744 Alexander Pope
1689-1761 Samuel Richardson
1707-1754 Henry Fielding
1728-1774 Oliver Goldsmith
1672-1719 Joseph Addison
1716-1771 Thomas Gray
1721-59 Collins
1700-48 Thomson
1731-1800 Cowper
1709-84 Dr. Johnson

Monday, April 18, 2011

The Various Use of Symbols in Virginia Woolf's To the Lighthouse

Introduction: Written from multiple perspectives and shifting between times and characters with poetic grace, To The Lighthouse is not concerned with ordinary story telling. Rather through integrate symbolic web it reads the mind and recounts the passage of multiple experiences of different characters in the novel.The key symbols in To The Lighthouse are are – the sea, the lighthouse, Lily’s painting, the window, and the personalities of Mrs. Ramsay and Mr. Ramsay. They are all woven together, along with many other less important ones, into a central meaning, which suggests Mrs. Woolf’s conception of life and reality. Let them study closely under the following heads.

The eternal flux of time and life – The sea: The sea with its waves is to be heard throughout the novel. It symbolizes the eternal flux of time and life, in the midst of which we all exist; it constantly changes its character. To Mrs. Ramsay at one moment it sounds soothing and consoling like a cradlesong, at others, “like a ghostly roll of drums remorselessly beating a warning of death it brings terror. Sometimes its power “sweeping savagely in, “seems to reduce the individual to nothingness, at others it sends up ‘a fountain of bright water” – which seems to match the sudden springs of vitality in the human spirit.

The Lighthouse – a whole cluster of suggestion: The lighthouse holds a whole cluster of suggestions. It is a mystery, yet a concern for day-to-day living. It is at once distant and close at the mercy of its destructive forces. The lighthouse surrounded by sea always illumines and clarifies the human condition in someway. Farther, it is the quest for the values the lighthouse suggests. The tower is frequently shadowed in mist, its beams are intermittent in the darkness, the moments of assurance they bring the momentary, but upon these assurances reality rests, by landing on the general doubts, something which seems to triumph over the eternal cycle of change. To reach the lighthouse is to establish a creative relationship.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011


poets create literary history and tradition by using and passing on poetic structures and ideas about life and art from generation to generation. They transmit information about the cultural life of the country. Their Literature can be a source of pleasure and a stimulus towards the citizens’ personal development. Much of the literary importance of Poets and their work stems from their use of moments that evoke an identity. In common usage, an identity indicates a realization or understanding that comes from an personality. Poet's identity, however, occur during his literary life. It covers the wide gamut of -- TEXT, TEXTURE, PLATFORM, SOCIETY, UNIVERSALITY etc.

Although great poetry is sometimes said to be timeless, poets think of their writing as part of history, and they intentionally imitate earlier poets. The idea that a poem should be original is a relatively recent development, dating from English romantic poets of the early 19th century. Read More Poetry In fact many avant-garde experimenters of the 20th century—poets seeking to break with existing conventions of poetry—have turned their attention to ancient poetries or to oral practices that continue today. The word “original” contains the word “origin—”and for the modern poet the search for new poetic forms is often a matter of looking back at the past ones. Prior to the 19th-century emphasis on the original, imitation of earlier models was not only acceptable but was the standard way of learning to write poetry and becoming a poet in other people’s eyes. Even in the New World Canadian and American poetry began with poets asserting their voices by writing in the forms of European and English poetry.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

The Characteristics of Romantic Poetry

The Romantic Movement lasted from about 1750 to about 1870, is often defined as second Renaissance. Romanticism cannot be identified with a single style, technique, or attitude, but romantic writing is generally characterized by a highly imaginative and subjective approach, emotional intensity, freedom of thought and expression, an idealization of nature, and a dreamlike or visionary quality.

 The Romantic Movement is both a revolt and revival .This movement in literature and the revolutionary idealism in European politics are both generated by the same human craving for freedom from traditions and tyranny. The Romantic Movement revives the poetic ideals of love, beauty, emotion, imagination, romance and beauty of Nature. Keats celebrates beauty, Shelley adores love, Wordsworth glorifies nature Byron idealizes humanism, Scott revives the medieval lore and Coleridge amalgamates supernatural. As a result, the Romantic Movement revolts against the ideals, principles, intellectualism, aristocracy and technicality of Augustan period and smoothed the run of broad emotional gallery of substance relinquishing the rigidity of ‘form’. 

Friday, April 8, 2011

The Problems of Learning English Literature For Rural Indian Students

The article "The Problems of  Learning English Literature  For   Rural Indian Students" is based on my own observations and sharing views with students in India, supplemented by information collected from other resource persons in this field. A major source of information has been the large number of sighs and whims on exam papers, written by students.

Field survey of "The Problems of Learning English Literature For Rural Indian Students” took place during the rainy season 1999 when I was volunteering in a village primary school. This was during a rare and colourful phase of my transition, when I was preparing myself teaching and setting up structures for the continuation of my work. Further investigations have been made during visits to different schools and colleges in India and coaching tutorial to my students ranging primary to teaching aspirant from 2000 to till date. The better part of my study is conducted with rural students who have been studying English Literature in graduation or masters. 

Repeatedly my students have claimed that when they are trying to make the attempt of writing their feelings on a particular literary piece, words are bound to become insane. We can't dive into the vast ocean of their problems here. We'll rather get acquainted with a brief outline of their problems and their extensive feelings. 

A Brief Survey of Middle English Metrical and Alliterative Romance

 Simply speaking, romances are fantasies in which the authors make the fullest use of their imagination and fancy and create an ideal world, which bears little or no semblance with real life. In the middle of the fourteenth century a revival of the old English alliterative verse occurs through romances, which develops – side by side with religions literature. This literature is inspired by French romantic poems and centers around Chivalry. There is an absence of originality but the fervour of nationalism is present in the literature of this period. Heroes and subjects connected with Britain are given reference in the romantic cycles of chivalry. British stories are valued most and the native poets get material for their original works.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Rhetorical devices as used by Francis Bacon in his Essays

Francis Bacon in his writing Essays rather drives at a masculine and clear expression than at any fineness or affectation phrases. He rejects the flowing, ornate and copious Ciceronian style and follows the mode of Lypsian brevity and the cryptic aphoristic Senecan sentence structure. Despite this quite paradoxically Bacon is a rhetorical writer and his Essays are marked by the general ornateness, the fondness of imagery, the love of analogy and metaphor, which are so much in the taste of the time. It is also very highly Latinized. But it’s most important characteristics are its marvelous terseness and epigrammatic force. Here is an unparalleled power of packing his thoughts into the smallest possible space. Here is ‘infinite riches in a little room’. We will now try to access the rhetorical devices as employed in the two essays  – of studies & of Discourse.

Model Answer For S S C English Teachers (Pass)

  1. Do you trace ‘Myth making faculty’ in Shelley and Keats?
Substantiate your answer.

Ans. Myth making faculty means the poetic articulation, on something with utmost devotional zeal. Thus a common phenomena of life or nature Turn to be legend or mythical by the treatment of the poetic art. In Keats and Shelley such a quality is abundand. In Nightingale it is metamorphosed into a bird of spiritual and devide entity and takes a journey to get ‘permanent’. In ‘skylark’ too, the bird becomes a symbol of devine joy and bless and becomes a myth for Shellian creativity.

  1. How do you know that Shelley’s Skylark is true not a creature of ‘flesh and blood’?

Ans. Through some concrete categorical hints from the poem we can easily form the ideal of the disembodied form of the bird skylark. It is a ‘spirit’ and ‘bird thou never west’. It is the spirited entity being the ‘cloud of fire’ with an ‘unbodied joy’.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

UGC NET Solved Paper II ; Subject -- English ;June : 2010

Paper-II 2 J-3010
Paper – II
Note : This paper contains fifty (50) objective type questions, each question carrying two (2)
marks. Attempt all the questions.


1. The epithet “a comic epic in prose” is best applied to

(A) Richardson’s Pamela
(B) Sterne’s A Sentimental
(C) Fielding’s Tom Jones
(D) Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe

("Comic prose epics" is a type of epic derived from the serious epic that satirizes contemporary ideas or conditions in a form and style burlesquing the serious epic. It is also noted  as mock epics Exm: The Rape of the Lock (1712) by the English poet Alexander Pope. Several novels also fall into this category. Fielding himself refers to his two novels, Joseph Andrews and Tom Jones, as "comic prose epics". In the preface Joseph Andrews, Fielding described his own fictional form as "a comic romance" or a "comic epic poem in prose," and in Tom Jones as a "heroical, historical prosaic poem" ; a form of "prosai-comi-epic writing" . In defining the novel as an epic genre, Fielding emphasized its function in presenting a broad picture of an era, but one, unlike verse epic, in which primarily the weaknesses of humanity are put on display. So the critics do vary on the genre of these novels. Nonetheless from the given options as Joseph Andrews is not there, Tom Jones is right option. )

2. Muriel Spark has written a dystopian novel called
(A) Memento Mori
(B) The Prime of Miss Jean
(C) Robinson
(D) The Ballad of Peckham Rye

( The Republic( 4th century bc ) by Greek philosopher Plato,Sir Thomas More 's Utopia (1516), Francis Bacon 's The New Atlantis (1627)  dealt with the fictional island of ideal society which is better than reality. They are popularly known as 'utopian' novel. However, many other works followed and established a slight new genre, named dystopian (antiutopian) fiction where life is worse than reality. Dystopia is found  in Spark’s best known novel is The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie (1961) other example: Aldous Huxley's Brave New World. It is the story of an eccentric Edinburgh schoolteacher seen through the eyes of an admiring (but later disenchanted) pupil. Rowe has written that "Nothing is wasted in [The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie], which is so much about a waste of human energy." 

Other close option is The Ballad of Peckham Rye (1960) authored by Spark . But here Spark wanted “to write something light and lyrical – as near a poem as a novel could get, and in as few words as possible”)

Friday, April 1, 2011

UGC NET syllabus : Subject : English

UGC National Eligibility Test 
English Syllabus

Subject : English 

The UGC-NET will be conducted in objective mode from June 2012 onwards. The Test will consist of three papers. All the three papers will consist of only objective type questions and will be held on the day of Examination in two separate sessions.

Session I

Paper I ( general compulsory objective paper)
Questions: 60 out of which 50 questions are to be attempted 
Marks: 50x2 = 100
Time: 1¼ Hours (09.30 a.m. to 10.45 a.m.)

Session II 

There will be two question papers, Paper – II and Paper – III 

Paper – II 

Note: It will cover 50 Objective Type Questions (Multiple choice, Matching type, True / False, Assertion – Reasoning type) carrying 100 marks.

Questions:  50 questions all of which are compulsory
Marks: 50x2 = 100
Time: 1¼ Hours (10.45 a.m. to 12.00 Noon.)

Questions Covers:

  1. Chaucer to Shakespeare
  2. Jacobean to Restoration Periods
  3. Augustan Age : 18th Century Literature
  4. Romantic Period
  5. Victorian Period
  6. Modern Period
  7. Contemporary Period
  8. American and other non – British Literatures
  9. Literary Theory and Criticism
  10. Rhetoric and Prosody
  11. Linguistics
  12. Comparative Literature


Paper – III
(The Commission decided that Paper-III be converted into objective type from the ensuing examination scheduled in June 2012. • Further, the Commission also recommended that the action may also be initiated for the development of question banks.
There should be 75 Objective Questions covering the history of English Literature and Critical Approaches. Link@ UGC)

Questions: 75 questions all of which are compulsory.

Marks: 75x2 = 150
Time: 2½ Hours (01.30 p.m. to 04.00 p.m.)

Questions Covers:
These objective tests, I think, are designed to assess current performance  in an academic area of a student. Your achievement is viewed as an indicator of previous learning; it will also be used to predict future academic success. A test administered in a UGC setting would typically include separate measures of Literature, language skills and reading comprehension, arithmetic literary data computation and problem solving, Linguistics, and social studies. In Such a case Electives are not so selective; rather whole literary circle is the syllabi, I think.

Critical Appreciation of Ted Hughes' Hawk Roosting

Hawk Roosting is an Animal Poem Depicting Violence and Brutality

Hawk Roosting, included in the volume Lupercal is Ted Hughes’ one of the best poems like View of A pig, Wodwo, Crow etc. It is Ted Hughes’ many sided, vivid, startling, and yet truthful observation. The hawk while ‘resting’ a top the wood with closed eye expresses his happy state and satisfaction. He thinks of his prey with sense of pride and authority. We will now analyze the poem as an animal poem, study of violence, depiction of Nature and its simple structure under the following heads.

            Hawk Roosting is a monologue of a hawk, a bird of prey, attacking smaller birds and eating them to feed himself. Hughes’s reputation as a poet of the world of animals to an extend relies on  Hawk Roosting which is a hawk’s eye view of the world. The egoistic hawk here asserts his point of argument  that trees, air, sun and earth are there only for his convenience; that the purpose of creation was solely to produce him; that the world revolves at his bidding; and all other creatures exist only as his prey. This egoistical hawk says:
            "It took the whole of creation
            To produce my foot, my each feather:
            Now I hold creation in my foot…………."
Thus the poem reveals to us the hawk’s own peculiar point of view and his peculiar consciousness.

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An English Teacher;    M. A.(English) , D. Ed., B. Ed., UGC- NET Qualified

"Dear Readers/ Students, I am a huge fan of books, English Grammar & Literature. I write this blog to instill that passion in you."