MEG Solved Assignments

MEG 01 British Poetry Solved Assignments 2021-22

All of the answers to MEG 01 British Poetry 2021-22 can be found below; just click on the questions, which will take you to a new page containing the answers.

MEG 01 British Poetry Solved Assignments 2021-22

MEG – 01


ASSIGNMENT 2021 – 2022

(Based on Blocks (1 – 10)

MEG 01/TMA 01/ 2021-22

Max. Marks: 100

Answer all questions.

1.Explain with critical comments any two of the following passages with reference to their contexts: 10+10

(a) Where was heard the mingled measure From the fountain and the caves. It was a miracle of rare device, A sunny pleasure-dome with caves of ice!

(b) We sat grown quiet at the name of love; We saw the last embers of daylight die, And in the trembling blue-green of the sky, A moon, worn as if it had been a shell Washed by time’s waters as they rose and fell, About the stars and broke in days and years.

(c) Weep no more, woful shepherds, weep no more, For Lycidas your sorrow is not dead, Sunk though he be beneath the watery floor. So sinks the day-star in the ocean bed, And yet anon repairs his drooping head, And tricks his beams and with new spangled ore,

Flames in the forehead of the morning sky: So Lycidas sunk low, but mounted high, Through the dear might of him that walk’d the waves.

(d) When the stars threw down their spears, And water’d heaven with their tears, Did he smile his work to see Did he who made the Lamb make thee?

2. Write a critical note on Chancer’s art of portraiture in The General Prologue. 20

Answer: Geoffrey Chaucer was a good observer of people’s behaviour. He was familiar with the human mind before it became a scientific field. It is exemplified in “The Prologue to the Canterbury Tales.” In this book, he draws a large number of characters. Every character exemplifies Chaucer’s mastery of characterisation. He develops lifelike characters and paints each one with meticulous attention to detail. In reality, he is well-known for two reasons: first, he is a realist, and second, Chaucer’s characterisation skills are legendary. He uses both of these aspects to create realistic characters.

Chaucer uses beautiful colours in his writings and portrays various people from his time with meticulous attention to detail. He is, indeed, a brilliant painter who works with words rather than colours. Without a doubt, he has The Seeing Eye, a retentive memory, the capacity to choose, and the ability to elucidate. His meticulous attention to the tiniest details of his characters, such as their clothing, appearance, and demeanour, allows him to portray them as real people rather than bloodless abstractions.

His Prologue is a genuine photo gallery, with thirty pictures on the wall, each with its own unique features and quirks. It’s more like a big parade, complete with all the life and movement, colour, and music. Indeed, his characters are morally and socially reflective of English society in genuine and identifiable kinds, and much more so of mankind in general. As a result, the characters in Chaucer’s “The Prologue” are suitable for people of all ages and from all walks of life. Despite the fact that the concept of the Canterbury Tales was based on Giovanni, an Italian poet, Chaucer’s characterisation method is distinct and unique. As a consequence, his characters are not just of his generation, but also global. They are people, not just kinds. The pilgrims represent humanity at its best. The intricacies of their physical appearance, social position, and temperament are so beautifully portrayed that the entire man or woman comes alive before our eyes, making it a real 14th-century picture gallery.

In English literature, Chaucer would be the first brilliant character painter. Chaucer’s thirty portraits provide an outstanding depiction of society at the period. The many pilgrims symbolise various professions. The doctor, the soldier, the Oxford Clerk, and the Friar, for example, each symbolise specific characteristics that define their respective professions. The Knight, the Squire, and the Yeoman symbolise the warlike aspects. Agriculture is typified by ploughmen, Millers, Reeves, and Franklins. The liberal professions are represented by the Sergeant of Law, the Doctor, the Oxford Clerk, and the Poet himself. The Wife of Bath, the Weaver, and the Merchant and Shipman represent industry and trade, respectively. Provisional transactions are represented by a Cook and a Host. The secular clergy are represented by the Poor Person and the Summoner, whereas the monastic communities are portrayed by the Monk, the Prioress, and the Pardoner. Since a result, the characters in the Canterbury Tales are both types and individuals, as each symbolises a certain profession or social class and depicts specific individual traits, complete with their own peculiarities of clothing and speech.

The description of each man’s horse, furnishings, and array by Chaucer reads like a memoir page. He explains things in the most natural, kind, and amusing way possible. Although Chaucer’s characters are typical of their trade, they also have characteristics that are unique to them. As a result, his characters stand out among their peers. Because he imbues them with unique characteristics. These characteristics set people apart as individuals. The Shipman, for example, has a beard; the Wife of Bath is ‘Som-del deef’ and ‘gat-toothed;’ the Reeve has long and thin legs; the Miller has “a wart topped by a tuft of hair” on his nose; the Summoner’s face is full of pimples; and the Squire is “as fresshe as the monthe of May”.

In reality, virtually every pilgrim has his or her own approach. He alternates between full-length portraits and thumb-nail drawings, yet even in the sketches, Chaucer communicates a great feeling of personality and portraiture depth. Chaucer does not utilise a theatrical technique; instead, he employs a descriptive and narrative style that is appropriate for the subject of The Canterbury Tales. He, unlike Wycliffe and Langland, has a wide compassion and affection for all of the characters, both good and bad. With Chaucer, we share a feeling of camaraderie. They are proven to have the same characteristics, humours, and behaviours as men and women of various ages throughout the globe. Their characteristics are universal, and although some have changed places, their essence remains the same. In illustrating the travellers’ portraits, Chaucer used the contrast method. Both the good and the evil rub shoulders. The Parson and the Ploughman are paragons of virtue, whereas the Reeve, the Miller, and the Summoner are monsters of vice. Chaucer’s characters, like Shakespeare’s, are three-dimensional, with length, width, and depth. The Wife of Bath and the Monk, for example, are complicated characters. Because of the characteristic aspect in his characterisation, Chaucer has been dubbed an excellent representational poet of his day.

3. Consider Herbert as a religious poet. 20

4. Comment on the opposition of art and life and youth and old age in ‘Sailing to Byzantium’. 20

Answer: The poem “Sailing to Byzantium” by William Butler Yeats is about the passage of time and how one may become immortal. Because Yeats lived from 1865 to 1939, this poem, written in 1926, expresses his concerns of becoming old and being obsolete. The narrator of this poem is interested in the human/animal situation, which states that we are born, live, and die. The narrator looks for a location where he may join the historical monuments and live on forever. He selects Byzantium, which is now known as Istanbul, because of the city’s rich history and the many monuments devoted to the past that it contains. He believes that by being a monument himself, he will be able to overcome the state of humanity.

The opening line of this poem says that the young are in charge in the narrator’s nation, while the elderly are becoming has-beens. In this opening sentence, it is pretty reasonable to assume that Yeats is talking to Ireland. The Anglo-Irish Treaty created the Irish Free State in Ireland in 1922. Because Ireland had previously been under English rule, the new separation brought with it a new generation of leaders. Younger radicals took over the existing laws and government personnel. Beginning in 1922, Yeats was elected to the Irish Senate for two terms. He also received the Nobel Prize in Literature, making him the first Irishman to receive this distinction. When Yeats composed this poem, he was sixty-one years old, so it’s understandable that he was thinking about what it meant to be old and how to remain current in such a fast-changing world. Ireland was reaching a new era in which the attitude was “out with the old, in with the new; change is for the young, not the old.”
The notion of youthful love, simplicity, and naivety is promoted by young people being in one other’s arms. It may also be compared to how the Irish Free State is similar to a youthful love relationship: everything is still fresh and wonderful, and there haven’t been any serious problems yet.

This stanza is finished by a sequence of natural pictures by Yeats. Birds will be a recurring image throughout the poem, since they symbolise freedom. “Those fading generations-at their song” is a reference to the life cycle of birds (animal condition), in which they hatch, develop, mate, and die. In this poem, music and song play an important part; in the second stanza, Yeats utilises them to awaken the spirit.

The fish and mackerel are the subject of the following natural picture. Salmon are born in fresh water and then travel to the ocean to mature over the course of many years. They return to their birthplace and deposit their eggs when they are ready to mate. The majority of salmon perish only a few days after depositing their eggs. Because a female mackerel may lay up to one million eggs at once, Yeats refers to “mackerel-crowded waters.” Salmon have limited life spans, and their whole existence revolves on reproduction; it is both the beginning and the end of their existence. Yeats argues in lines 5 and 6 that everything that is born must die; this is the essence of life. Everything must perish, whether you are a fish, a bird, or a person.

The opening stanza’s final two lines resemble Yeats’ subject phrase. He’s implying that the old can’t be heard above the love songs of youth, and that the elderly are ignored since they aren’t youthful and beautiful.

The term “sensual music” may also apply to bird sounds, which might be interpreted as a mating call. The monuments are images of history that relate to the elderly. The young are dazzled by their hormones, vitality, and the desire to be young, thus they ignore the monuments. Yeats is implying that just because someone is elderly does not mean they have lost their wits; they are still valuable. Monuments should be respected rather than overlooked.

The second verse begins with Yeats declaring that being an elderly man is a trivial matter. Line 10’s “tattered coat” symbolises an old man’s skin; it’s worn out, worthless, and essentially a rag. An elderly man’s bones serve as the “stick.” This comparison is used to demonstrate humanity’s fragility; in the end, we’re all just skin and bone. Line 10 concludes with the phrase “unless,” which establishes that there is hope; life does not have to stop with infirmity, and the old may become eternal monuments. In line 11, the narrator requests that the elderly get up and sing; that they be heard. “The soul claps its hands and sings” is evocative of William Blake, who “saw the spirit of his deceased brother ascend to heaven, ‘clapping his hands for joy,’” . The narrator is telling the elderly to sing louder so they won’t be forgotten. He is encouraging them to boldly sing their heritage. In line 12, the word “tatter” refers to the coat from the comparison in line 10 and is also used to represent the elderly man’s life experiences. Every scar, or rather every tatter in a coat, has a tale to tell. Human skin serves as the “mortal clothing.” The narrator claims that he has been looking for a location with magnificent monuments where he may be a part of history.

I believe that in ancient Byzantium, perhaps before or since recorded history, religious, artistic, and practical life were all intertwined, and that architects and artisans…spoke to the many as well as the few. The painter, mosaic artist, gold and silversmith, and holy book illuminator were virtually impersonal, almost without awareness of particular design, immersed in their subject-matter and that of an entire people’s vision.

“Byzantium,” according to Yeats, is the only location where art and man are one. It is the only location where history has been accurately represented. Art and monuments in Byzantium are unaffected by anything other than their topic; they are genuine historical representations that are respected.

In verse three, Yeats summons the God’s wise men to free him from his human state and grant him immortality. To emphasise the gravity of his plea to the sages, Yeats starts with the exclamation “O.” A sage is someone who is well-known for their knowledge. The sages are God’s saints in this poetry; they are the chosen ones who will dwell on eternally in the hearts of worshippers. They embody everything he aspires to be.

The gold mosaic in line 18 is most likely a reference to the mosaics that Yeats observed at Ravenna, Italy’s San Apollinaire Nuovo. They have a gold backdrop with rows of saints. “Perne in a gyre” literally translates to “spiral swirl.” Yeats is begging the saints to sing his history/song as they emerge from the holy fire. He wants them to eat his heart, which is unfortunate since its vessel is failing. He aspires to be immortal and transcend mankind. His body is the dying beast. His spirit want to go on indefinitely, but he understands that his body is incapable of doing so. The body has no idea how valuable the things it holds, which is what Jesus means when he says “it knows not what it is” (3.23). A smart trick or a crafty contrivance is referred to as an artifice. He wishes for the sages to employ a trick to make him immortal.

This stanza also conjures up images of the mythical phoenix. The phoenix is a brightly coloured bird with a lifespan of 500 to 1,000 years. When a bird feels that its life is coming to an end, it will construct a nest made of twigs. This nest catches fire, burning both the nest and the phoenix; from the ashes, a new phoenix rises. This cycle will go on indefinitely. The phoenix is slain and then reborn from the holy fire. When the phoenix cries, it is believed to sound like a lovely melody. In verse three, Yeats discusses reincarnation, requesting that the sages remove his earthly covering so that he may be reincarnated as a creature that would never die.

He doesn’t want to be reborn into another being or natural object after he dies, since he would face the same dilemmas as before.  He wants the Grecian goldsmiths to change into something made of gold (the Greeks were the ones who built Byzantium in the first place). He believes that the only way his soul can survive eternally is to become an item that will be treasured by future generations.

Yeats wrote, referring to a tree made of gold and silver that would be used to keep the Emperor awake, “read somewhere that in the Emperor’s palace at Byzantium [there] was a tree made of gold and silver, and artificial birds that sang,”. Because these gold birds cannot die and their history will be linked to the Emperor’s, Yeats want to be one of them. Scholars and people alike study and respect royalty, and their legacy will go on in perpetuity, as the narrator wishes for himself. The narrator overcomes the human predicament in the poem’s last phrase. He has no bounds; he will sing about the past, present, and future. The ultimate aim of a writer is to be remembered for all time by his work; the narrator believes that by writing this poem, it will become his artifice for all time.

5. Comment on the themes of death and suicide in the poetry of Sylvia Plath. 20

Answer: Sylvia Plath’s poetry covers a wide range of topics, although she is most known for her work on the subject of death. Death is a major subject in Sylvia Plath’s poetry, and it overshadows all other themes. Death is just one of the topics in Sylvia Plath’s poetry that causes discomfort and even agony to the contemporary reader. Sylvia has produced at least a dozen poems with death and transfiguration as significant topics, similar to Emily Dickinson, who has written hundreds of poems on the subject. There are also subtle thematic allusions to death in a number of other works. However, this does not imply that there is any similarity between Emily and Sylvia in terms of their attitudes about death. Both happened to live in separate eras, with distinct drives to affect people’s minds. And, of course, they all had distinct emotional makeups, educational backgrounds, and surroundings. Focusing on the subject of death, Sylvia is compared to the few other New England poets, including Bradstreet, Edward Tailor, and, of course, Emily Dickinson. Sylvia’s preoccupation with death, as well as her approach to the topic, hits moderns more than any previous treatment of death. Death and dying are taboo topics in contemporary Western cultures. Death should not entice us as much as life should. One only comes into this world once, and discussing death simply serves to detract from man’s little pleasures and pleasures in life. Individuals seem concerned about the future, because death, especially suicide, denies future years’ blessings. The feature is considered and planned by the moderns. That is perhaps why, even when Sylvia speaks of merging with the sun or the Cosmos in order to get a deeper knowledge of the truth of the cosmos, moderns dismiss her as insane. Sylvia has the fortitude to face taboo topics like as death and suicide, much as D.H. Lawrence, James Joyce, and Henry Miller had the courage to discuss their era’s portrayed sexuality.

Nobody can dispute that death is the biggest of all concerns that has plagued humanity from the dawn of time. As Bertrand Russell correctly pointed out in “The Conquest of Happiness,” the notion of that haunts most men and makes them miserable. Humans with brave hearts want to know what happens to them when they die. Curiosity may become too much to bear at times, and many people welcome death in order to learn more about the nature of life beyond death. Sylvia Plath, on the other hand, is not just a well-educated contemporary woman, but also a great artist with boundless creativity and insight. “Death is an act of self-destruction that lets the reader concentrate his attention on the persona’s agony and suffering,” says the poet in poems like “Edge” and “I am vertical.” Edge’s next quote makes it obvious that her bare feet are saying, “We’ve gone this far, now it’s done.” This shows that the speaker’s continuous tolerance of suffering has come to an end, and the depiction of bare feet denotes her vulnerability owing to a lack of production, perhaps from society. This poem is often cited by critics as an example of the death instinct, which Sigmond Freud refers to as self-destruction in particular. The characters in Edge and I Am Vertical are trying to make a statement and are met with social disapproval.

This implies that society imposes its viewpoint on individuals, resulting in social constraint and a loss of freedom.

The moon has nothing to say about, according to the Edge, and using that persona’s death would leave others untouched. Such statements indicate to the egocentric character of the individuals around us.

Death isn’t only a way to get away from the harsh realities of life. An escape from life may lead to the personas wanting something more. Edge’s persona seeks perfection, which she achieves via death. “She has folded them back into her body like petals of a rose,” she explains. The rose is often portrayed as possessing characteristics of beauty and purity that the persona desires. The lady has been refined, and her dead corpse wears a triumphant grin, demonstrating a feeling of finality and justice. I am vertical has a similar mindset, with the character saying, “I desire the longevity of one world and the boldness of the other,” alluding to a tree and a flower, respectively. The phrases also convey the speaker’s yearning for what she lacks. More significantly, the persona believes that her death would bring acceptance and acknowledgment. As a result, there is a hint in Plath’s poems that the character is dissatisfied with her existence and turns to death for fulfilment and a fresh start.

The concept of death as a method of rebirth and resurrection is one of the elements that distinguishes Plath’s poetry.

I am vertical’s usage of the term sky depicts death as a spiritually exalted and fulfilled condition. She considers death as a means to an end, with Greater Awareness as the goal. It’s anyone’s guess what that higher consciousness will be like, and how it will be experienced via self-destruction. Intellectuals, especially those who are artistically inclined, keep racking their brains to understand the nature of the dying experience, and also what death is probable to bring with it. Some of man’s logical actions may seem irrational to a large number of others. Poets like Plath Sexton and Berryman, on the other hand, speak to the embodied voice of death in people. It definitely does not follow that one must begin to contemplate death as a way of gaining higher consciousness or as a way of escaping. When Sylvia considers death while being firmly anchored in this world, she appears to be at her finest. Life in the present moment may provide a sense of transcendence. Sylvia has given us a lot of writings that stresses continuity; people who are alive now have a connection to the past as well as the future. She embraces human society, and her poetry, at least a significant portion of it, gives sufficient testimony to the reality that communal bonds, whether painful or soothing in character, result in beautiful works of poetry that educate one concerning the nature of existence in this world.

In “Daddy”, she expresses how her father’s death has been a cause of emotional anguish for her.

She’s going to metaphorically murder Daddy, I thought to myself. She doesn’t want the Daddy to bother her. It’s unclear if she was successful in doing so. She blamed her father in part for her suffering since he neglected his illness and died too soon. She believes he might have lived longer if he had sought medical advice sooner. To her, his death was a kind of suicide. She was never quite able to forget it, she mentions murdering her mother in one of her journals, thinking her to be unfathomably nasty. Because she lacks the courage to murder another person, she attempts to commit herself just at the age of 18.This is the point at which attempting suicide may be seen as a way of escaping.

Nevertheless, the second effort, which proves to be successful, seems to be partially the consequence of her sorrow and partly the product of her desire to experience cosmic consciousness resistance.

She finished writing “Ariel” nearly a week before she died. Ariel seems to be the pinnacle of existence in this universe, embodying the yearning to unite with a larger, stronger, and much more powerful entity than herself. She seems to have been compelled to erase the particular unique, being, or identity by gazing inward in order to learn more about the truth of being, by peeping into her own being. This is presumably required in order to experience larger being senses. She seems to have been overwhelmed by the need to encounter something which is beyond the particular unique being’s awareness. As a result, the subject of death achieves a pinnacle in “Ariel,” it takes on a new rich and multifaceted colour. According to ‘Ariel,’ her death isn’t just the consequence of a wish to flee; it’s welcomed in order to have a new experience of existence. As a result, ARIEL is a path towards consciousness.

In summary, the subject of death may be seen throughout many ways in Sylvia Plath’s poetry. Death, self-consciousness, and a voyage into the realm of awareness all come up at different times.

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