Loading....
Coupon Accepted Successfully!

 

Question-1

Explain the following:

a) Social changes in Britain which led to an increase in women readers

b) What actions of Robinson Crusoe make us see him as a typical coloniser.
c) After 1740, the readership of novels began to include poorer people.
d) Novelists in colonial India wrote for a political cause.

 

Solution:
a) The most interesting aspect of the novel was the involvement of women. The middle classes become more prosperous in the 18th century. Women had leisure time to read as well as write novels. Novels began exploring the world of women. Many novels were about domestic life – a theme which women were able to identify with. Women drew upon their own experience, wrote about family life and earned public


b) Robinson Crusoe, the hero, is an adventurer and slave trader. He is ship wrecked on an island. He treats coloured people not as human beings equal to him, but as inferior creatures. He rescues a ‘native’ and makes him his slave. He arrogantly names the slave Friday, without consulting him.


c) The printing technology improved by 1740. This brought down the cost of books. There were innovations in marketing also. Books were sold in cross roads and travellers were able to buy them. Circulating libraries were started by enterprising business men. All this led to poorer people being able to read books


d) In colonial India , novelist were anxious about the society. They were disturbed about colonial rule and the way the Indians were treated by the British. Colonial rulers regarded the contemporary culture of India as inferior. Indian novelists tried to produce a sense of national belonging and cultural equality with their colonial masters, through their writings.

Question-2

Outline the changes in technology and society which led to an increase in readers of the novel in eighteenth-century Europe.

Solution:
The novel is a modern form of literature. The invention of printing made this form of literature possible. In ancient times manuscripts were handwritten and circulated among very few people. With the advent of printing novels were widely read and became popular very quickly.

Novels produced a number of common interests among the fast growing population of the cities in western countries. The readers were drawn into the story and identified themselves with the lives of fictitious characters in the novels.
 

In the beginning novels were costly and the poor could not afford to by it. When circulating libraries started in 1740, the poor had access to novels.
 

Serialisation created a sense of suspense, and the readers discussed the characters of a novel for weeks.
 

The most interesting aspect of the novel was the involvement of women. The middle classes become more prosperous in the 18th century. Women had leisure time to read as well as write novels.
 

Novels began exploring the world of women. Many novels were about domestic life – a theme which women were able to identify with. Women drew upon their own experience, wrote about family life and earned public recognition.
 

Technological improvements in printing also brought down the price of books. Publishers used different method to sell their books. Their marketing strategies led to expanded sales. In France, publishers hired out novels by the hour and made huge profits.

Question-3

Write a note on:

a) The Oriya novel
b) Jane Austen’s portrayal of women
c) The picture of the new middle class which the novel Pariksha-Guru portrays.

 

Solution:
  1. In 1877-78, Ramashankar Ray, serialised the first Oriya novel, Saudamani. Fakir Mohon Senapati , was another famous novelist from Orrisa. His novel Chaa Mana Atha Guntha, which means ‘six acres and thirty-two decimals of land’ deals with the question of land and its possession.
  2. It is the story of Ramchandra Mangaraj, a landlord’s manager cheats his idle and drunken master and then eyes the plot of fertile land. This path breaking work showed that the novel could make rural issues an important part of urban preoccupations.
  3. Novels began exploring the world of women. Many novels were about domestic life – a theme which women were able to identify with Jane Austen, a famous woman novelist, wrote about the 18th century women in rural Britain. Her books portrayed a society which encouraged women to look for ‘good’ marriages and find wealthy or propertied husbands.
  4. The Characters Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice are preoccupied with marriage and money. The novel starts with the line ‘It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife.’
  5. Srinivas Das’s novel, Pariksha-Guru was published in 1882. This novel reflects the inner and outer world of the newly emerging middle classes. The characters in the novel find it difficult to adapt to the colonised society. They are keen on preserving their own cultural identity. The world of colonial modernity seems to be frightening and irresistible to the characters. The novel tries to teach the reader the ‘right way’ to live. It advises ‘sensible men’ to be worldly-wise and practical, to remain rooted in the values of their own tradition and culture.

Question-4

Discuss some of the social changes in nineteenth-century Britain which Thomas Hardy and Charles Dickens wrote about.

Solution:
Charles Dickens, in his novel, Hard Times, wrote about the terrible effects of industrialisation on people’s lives and characters. It captured the workers problems, the way they were over worked and under paid.

Coketown, is a fictitious industrial town in Charles Dickens’s novel. It is described as a grim place full of machinery, smoking chimneys, polluted rivers and buildings that all looked the same. In this town workers are known as ‘hands’, as if they had no identity other than as operators of machines. Dickens criticised the greed of the factory owners and the way they reduced human beings into simple instruments of production, for profits.

Thomas Hardy was a famous British novelist, of the 19th century. He wrote about the rural communities of England.

One of Hardy’s very famous novels was Mayor of Casterbridge. It was written in 1886. The hero of the novel was Michael Henchard, is a successful grain merchant, who eventually became the mayor of the farming town of Casterbridge. He is an independent-minded man who follows his own style in conducting business. He is portrayed as being unpredictably generous and cruel with his employees. The hero’s rival is projected as being even-tempered.

From these characterisations we see that Hardy mourns the loss of the more personalised world that is disappearing, even as he is aware of its problems and the advantages of the new order.


Question-5

Summarise the concern in both nineteenth-century Europe and India about women reading novels. What does this suggest about how women were viewed?

Solution:
Novels began exploring the world of women. Many novels were about domestic life – a theme which women were able to identify with, The imaginary world of the novel was alarming and many felt that there may be an adverse effect on the public. People, especially women and children were advised to stay away from the influence of novels. Novels were seen as easily corruptible.

People felt that the conservative woman many take to asserting herself in society.

Novels portrayed women as being bold and independent. This caused concern for many.

Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre talks about a young girl who is independent and assertive, though in actual fact girls at that time were expected to be quiet and well behaved.Jane, the heroine, at the age of ten, protests against the hypocrisy of her elders with startling bluntness.


Women novelists not only popularised the domestic role of women, they also dealt with women who broke established norms of society

Jane Austen, a famous woman novelist, wrote about the 18th century women in rural Britain. Her books portrayed a society which encouraged women to look for ‘good’ marriages and find wealthy or propertied husbands.

 

In India , women novelist did not have an easy time though. The men were suspicious of them and they had to write in secrecy. Some could write only if their men folk protected them. The effect of novels on the reader worried many people.
 

People, especially women and children were advised to stay away from the influence of novels. Novels were seen as easily corruptible.

Soon women began to write novels. Some women authors also wrote about women who changed the world of both men and women.

Question-6

In what ways was the novel in colonial India useful for both the colonisers as well as the nationalists?

Solution:
Colonial administrators found ‘vernacular’ novels a valuable source of information on native life and customs. This information was useful for them in governing the Indian society, where there was a large variety of communities and castes.
 

The new novels in Indian languages had descriptions of domestic life of the people. They portrayed the culture, dress code, habits, religious beliefs and practises of the people of that particular region.
 

Some of these books were translated into English, by British administrators or Christian missionaries.


Nationalists used novels to criticise the defects in the society and suggest remedies.

Writers used the novel to propagate their ideas about society among a wider readership.

Novels were used to establish a link with the past. Thrilling stories of adventures and intrigues of the past were retold in these novels. This created a sense of pride in the minds of the Indians.
 

In colonial India, novelists were anxious about the society. They were disturbed about colonial rule and the way the Indians were treated by the British. Colonial rulers regarded the contemporary culture of India as inferior. Indian novelists tried to produce a sense of national belonging and cultural equality with their colonial masters, through their writings.

Question-7

Describe how the issue of caste was included in novels in India. By referring to any two novels, discuss the ways in which they tried to make readers think about existing social issues.

Solution:
Novels were written about the marriage practices of upper-caste Hindus in Kerala.

These novels influenced the views of the younger generation in Kerala. They wanted new laws regarding marriage and property.


Chandu Menon’s Indulekha
Suri Nambuthiri, the foolish landlord who comes to marry Indulekha, is the focus of much satire in the novel. The intelligent heroine rejects him and chooses Madhavan, the educated and handsome Nayar as her husband. The young couple move to Madras, where Madhavan joins the civil service. Suri Nambuthiri, desperate to find a partner for himself, finally marries a poorer relation from the same family and goes away pretending that he has married Indulekha.

Chandu Menon wanted his readers to appreciate the new values of his hero and heroine and criticise the ignorance and immorality of Suri Nambuthiri.

Novels like Indulekha were written by members of the upper castes, and were primarily about upper-caste characters.


Potheri Kunjambu,’s Saraswativijayam
Potheri Kunjambu, a ‘lower-caste’ writer from north Kerala, wrote a novel called Saraswativijayam in 1892. This navel strongly attacks caste oppression. This novel shows a young man from an ‘untouchable’ caste, leaving his village to escape the cruelty of his Brahmin landlord. He converts to Christianity, obtains modern education, and returns as the judge in the local court.

Saraswativijayam stresses the importance of education for the upliftment of the lower castes.


Question-8

Describe the ways in which the novel in India attempted to create a sense of pan-Indian belonging.

Solution:
Indians were depicted as weak, divided, and dependent on the British during the colonial period. These writings did not satisfy the tastes of the new Indian intellectuals. The intellectual Indian was not happy with the traditional Puranic stories of the past which depicted gods and demons and were filled with fantastic and supernatural beings.

Indians now wanted to read novels which showed Indians as independent and brave.

In Bengal, many historical novels were about Marathas and Rajputs. These novels produced a sense of a pan-Indian belonging. They imagined the nation to be full of adventure, heroism, romance and sacrifice. These were qualities that the common man wanted to identify with.

Bhudeb Mukhopadhyay’s Anguriya Binimoy (1857) was the first historical novel written in Bengal. The hero of this novel, Shivaji, engages in many battles against a clever and treacherous Aurangzeb. The daring travails of Shivaji were welcomed by the readers.

The novel was so powerful that it could inspire actual political movements.





Test Your Skills Now!
Take a Quiz now
Reviewer Name