AD's English Literature : UGC Practice Set: 10 Common Clarification from English Literature

UGC Practice Set: 10 Common Clarification from English Literature

 Q1. What is Rhyme Royal? Comment on its use by Chaucer.
  Ans. The Rhyme Royal Stanza consists of seven lines usually in iambic pentameter. The Rhyme scheme of this stanza is a-b-a-b-b-c-c. In practice this stanza can be constructed either as a terza rima and two couplets (a-b-a, b-b, c-c) or a quatrain and tercet (a-b-a-b, b-c-c). This allows for good deal of variety especially when the form is used in long narrative poems.
 Chaucer first used the Rhyme Royal stanza in his long poems – Troilus and Criseyde and Parliament of Fowls. He also used it for The Canterbury Tales in the Man of Law’s Tale, The Prioress Tale and the Clerks Tale and in a number of shorter lyrics.

Q2. The role of “witches in Macbeth”.
Ans. The witches play a very central role in the play. The very beginning of the play is from their predictions. They act many times, as a means by which the real natures of people come to light. They serve to advance the story, reveal human weakness, heighten the tension and give the audience a hint of things to come. They do not however, control Macbeth or anyone else in the play. Shakespeare uses them to add an element of supernatural Spectacle and sensationalism; as a means by which the action of the play moves forward as they feed both Macbeth’s ambition and his paranoia, and lastly as the voice of the omniscient playwright. 

Q3. What is meant by “Restoration” in English literary history?
Ans. After the death of Cromwell, his son was unable to carry forward his father’s policies. He did not have the confidence of the army and hence he was removed. Royalist elements began to stir and in the face of civil unrest and inadequate leadership, in 1660 after the promises made by Charles II in the declaration of Breda, he was once again restored to the throne. Many royalist exiles returned from France and were rewarded. This return of Charles II to the throne is known as “The Restoration”. The literature and drama (heavily influenced by French drama) are known as Restoration literature and Restoration Comedy respectively.

Q4. Define Mock Epic with examples.
Ans. A Mock Epic is a poem employing lofty style and conventions of epic poetry to describe trivial and undignified series of events. It is thus a kind of satire that mocks a subject by treating it in an inappropriately grandiose manner. Mock epics incidentally make fun of the elaborate conventions of epic poetry, including invocations, battles, supernatural machinery and epic similes. The major examples of this form are Alexander Pope’s The Rape of the Lock and The Dunciad. 
Q5. Comment on Coleridge’s use of the Supernatural.

Ans. Samuel Taylor Coleridge is one of the great poets of the Romantic Age and despite the small amount of the poetry he wrote, as compared to others, his work is of great value. His style is simple and clear. Supernaturalism is his specialty. He writes about Supernatural elements and events and describes their in such a way that they appear natural and life like. The aims to describe something which is unseen; which is beyond nature. He does not create horror by describing deformity etc. but the horror originates from the situation. His poems “The Ancient Mariner”, “Christabel” and “Kubla Khan” show a liberal use of the supernatural.

Q6. Describe the qualities of Romantic prose.
Ans. Despite the fact that the literature of the Romantic age is dominated by poetry, its prose is equally important. The herald of the Romantic Age itself, the Preface to the Lyrical Ballads was a prose piece which brought in a new era in poetry and introduced new critical principles in literature. Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s Biographia Literaria was another such work. Other important critical works are Keats’ Letters and Shelley’s Defence of Poetry. Charles Lamb and Hazlitt also wrote a significant amount of essays and practical criticism which commented on 18th Century drama. The periodical essay also became popular and autobiographical elements introduced to it by Lamb’s Essays of Elia and De Quincy’s. Confessions of an English Opium Eater. 

Q7. Identify Utilitarianism as reflected in any one of Dickens Novels.
Ans. Despite the fact that utilitarian and materialist mindsets are continuously criticized in Dickens work, Hard Times is one novel which completely satirizes the Utilitarian thought.
“Now, what I want is, facts. Teach these boys and girls nothing but facts. Facts alone are wanted in life. Plant nothing else, root out everything else”. These words establish the dominance of utilitarian thought right from the beginning of the work. Gradgrind and Bounderby both represents utilitarian thought in the novel as Dickens shows how such relentless emphasis on facts harms the lives of the children.

Q8. How does Sidney probe the Superiority of Poetry to History and Philosophy in An Apologie for Poetry?
Ans: According to Sidney Poetry is superior to all the other branches of sciences, as poetry serves true knowledge which is self knowledge. In this respect, poetry is superior to Philosophy and History. Philosophy deals with abstract percepts which cannot be understood by the young, and History deals with concrete facts from which the readers may have difficulty to derive universal truths. Poetry combines both these advantages, and presents universal truths like philosophy through concrete examples like History.

Q9. What is the subject of Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart ?
Ans:  Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart defines Igbo society in south-East Nigeria of pre-colonial state.   The complex individual, social and tribal-political relations in the Nigerian pre-colonial state can be seen in Achebe’s novel.  In fact, South-East Nigeria and Igbo tribe is one of the prime focuses of Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart. Along the things of the complex, ethnic, religious and regional divisions Achebe’s Things Fall Apart is characterized by understanding of the tribes and their custom though the perspective of an African.  

Q10. What are the characteristics of Romanticism in the essays of Charles Lamb?
Ans: Many of the works of Charles Lamb are reflective of the literary Romanticism of his age. He was more interested in content over form; the expression of thought and feeling was paramount in his writing. His work was imaginative, frequently examining with some wonderment those aspects of life that cannot be explained through rational thought or analysis, life's mysteries. Like other Romantics, Lamb was fascinated with the past, with antiquity, and with fantasy.

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