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MEG 03 British Novel Solved Assignment 2021-22
MEG – 03
ASSIGNMENT 2021 – 2022
(Based on Blocks (1 – 9)
MEG 03/ TMA 01/ 2021 -22
Max. Marks: 100
Answer all questions.
Answer: The Man of the Hill incident, in particular, has sparked debate among most critics of the twentieth century. Its examination may assist us in identifying Fielding’s broader social and moral concerns. The study may also offer insight on Fielding’s perspective on the novel’s epic character. For example, R. S. Crane, an American critic of the New Criticism school, is dissatisfied with Fielding’s numerous remarks, explanations, and incidents in the book since, in his opinion, Fielding simply “says” his viewpoint with their assistance. Crane is particularly unsure about the “good values this (the Man of the Hill’s event) may have” in the novel’s narrative structure.
Fielding, on the other hand, has framed the incident as the old man’s “History” and “Story.” Fielding’s stated goal is to incorporate “his history” and “story” into Tom Jones’7. Second, the Man of the Hill’s tale – his entire story from childhood to old age – is based on facts. Isn’t that what we mean when we talk about history? However, “story” may also refer to a fictitious narrative – something that people in their environment see and portray. The tale is told by the Man of the Hill himself. Maybe he’s trying to explain his choice to live alone, shut off from the world he was born into. As a result, he tells the tale, which is an imaginary creation. Let us now consider some of the most significant elements of Fielding’s “Story” and “History” as given in the old man’s words. In the book, “a really remarkable adventure” arises from the encounter of Tom Jones and Partridge, both travellers, with the Man of the Hill, which is not simply in terms of an event involving theft and physical assault. It’s also Tom and Partridge’s encounter with someone who has gone through the highs and lows of life and has been through a lot of suffering. That is how the Man of the Hill’s life storey is described as “the tale of an unhappy man,” which Tom and his friend listen to with bated breath.
It is a story that begins when the Man of the Hill was a kid and ends after he has reached the conclusion that he has lived a full life “Interest in a single man. It is a story that begins when the Man of the Hill was a child and ends when he has come to the conclusion that “Man alone, the king of this globe, the last and greatest work of the Supreme Being, below the sun; man alone has basely dishonoured his own nature, and has called his Maker’s goodness into question by dishonesty, cruelty, ingratitude, and accursed treachery” (43 1). It’s a lengthy statement, and the Man of the Hill seems to be trying to find the right words to express himself. While man has been described to as “the ruler of the world” and “the last and greatest achievement of the Supreme Being” in this portrayal of human nature, there is the recognition, based on observation and experience, that he is really “imperfect” and a “vile beast.”
The Guy of the Hill is an elderly man who has lived in isolation for a long time when he expresses this perspective of humanity. Despite Tom’s persuasive arguments, he stays steadfast in his conviction. Only once (when the old man speaks to Tom and Partridge) does the old man deviate from his resolve to avoid people and engage in an open discussion with another creature. In this episode, Tom, the devoted listener, says very little. Tom’s remark appears at the very conclusion of the story. His goal is to understand and interpret the elderly man’s account of a sequence of events in his ovq unique situation as a student.
If we do the math, the elderly man has mentioned personal and societal events that occurred in late-seventeenth-century England. In this inquiry, honest care, and absorption of facts about social life, the reader of the book is meant to feel one with Tom. This seems to be the author’s goal. Tom, according to Fielding, is the character who is discriminating, critical, developing, making mistakes, and learning. Tom’s schooling includes the story of the Man of the Hill.
The Man of the Hill’s personality is shaped by his many travels throughout his life, from his home to Oxford and then to London, as well as numerous little towns and villages across the United Kingdom and Europe. He shares the characteristic of travelling across the globe in search of peace of mind with Tom Jones. In reality, there are many more parallels between Tom Jones’ persona and the Man of the Hill’s circumstances. The Man of the Hill, for example, has an unloving mother and a kind, well-intentioned father. He also has a sibling who has turned to evil and has become a formidable foe to his younger brother, who is a bright and talented young man. The Man of the Hill’s exposure to the surroundings at Oxford, London, and elsewhere serves as a powerful reminder of Tom’s ordeals on his trip. Both have a positive, helpful, and giving personality. It’s mainly because of these and other parallels that Tom pays close attention to the Man of the Hill’s “History.”
When Tom’s attention is diverted by Partridge’s questions and inane comments, he (Tom) expresses obvious anger and frustration, not only because they are inconsiderate actions. Tom’s thoughts seems to be torn and churning as he listens to the Man of the Hill’s tale unfold step by step.
We get the sense that Tom Jones is facing his own destiny from the way he and the Man of the Hill strike up a cordial connection at the start of their encounter. In this case, the Man of the Hill feels obligated to Tom since he rescued his life when it was threatened by thieves. This is how the two react to one other as they begin their discussion, which leads to a lengthy recounting of the Man of the Hill’s life: “Whoever you are or wherever you are going,” the elderly man said, “I have obligations to you that I will never be able to repay.” “I repeat once again that you have none,” Jones responded, “because there can be no worth in risking something in your service on which I place no value.” And nothing is more repulsive to me than existence.” I’m sorry, young guy, that you have any cause to be so sad at your age, said the stranger. Yes, sir, I am the most miserable person on the face of the earth, Jones said.
As the elderly gentleman gets more interested in Tom’s circumstances. He goes on to say, “Perhaps you have a friend, or a mistress.” “The other responded, “How could you say two things sufficient to drive me insane?” Jones exclaims. “Either of them is enough to drive any guy insane,” the elderly man said. “Sir, I have no more questions. Perhaps my inquisitiveness has already taken me too far.” “Indeed, sir,” Jones exclaims “I cannot condemn a burning desire that I am experiencing right now. You’ll forgive me if I say that everything I’ve seen or heard since I first entered this home has combined to pique my interest. Something exceptional must have compelled you to choose this path in life, and I have cause to believe your past is not without tragedies ” (402).
In fact, we observe that Tom takes the initiative in this discussion and requests that the elderly man tell him about his life experiences. Why? “Your own past is not without tragedies” provides such strong signals of the presence of sorrow in Tom’s life that the reader may forget about the Man of the Hill for a minute and concentrate only on Tom’s mental condition.
Despite the numerous parallels we see between the elderly man and Tom, Fielding purposefully creates a contrast between them. Tom was once a misbehaving kid, a foundling. Squire Allworthy is an exception to the rule that there are few, if any, nice gentlemen in Tom’s immediate vicinity who would take care to defend and protect the vulnerable. On the other side, there are swarms of cheaters, thieves, and rogues wandering the streets who could provide an alternate career path to a capable young man seeking money and the luxuries that come with it. Tom might easily join the gang of gamblers against whom he happens to protect unfortunate men and women, much as the Man of the Hill did during his day. They manage to avoid nasty methods since they both have an unusual point of ethics and fellow-feeling, showing their fundamental Christian qualities in their situations.
The social environment surrounding them, though, remains unchanged. This, in my view, is something that Fielding clearly emphasises in the Man of the Hill episode, and something that we sometimes overlook in our lengthy debates about narrative structure.
Characterisation, sarcasm, narrative style, and so on are all examples of Fielding’s work. This picture of society, in my opinion, is inextricably linked to the author’s use of different methods to familiarise us with the environment in which the author lived. The importance of the Man of the Hill episode lies in the fact that it is more rigorously “realistic” and narrowly “historical” than the “History of Tom Jones,” which may be classified as a “success tale” in a limited sense “It is supported by a huge number of chances and coincidences.
Fielding, the astute observer of social trends, deliberately inserts Tom Jones’ encounter with the Man of the Hill so that he may delve into the dynamics of Tom’s development in the book with a critical presence. According to William Empson, via the old man’s narrative, “The Old Man offers the extremes of degradation and heavenly pleasure that Tom has no time for; as part of the framework of ethical thinking, he is crucial to the book, the keystone at the centre of the arch… The book’s whole setting in the 1745 Rebellion comes to life when it collides with the Old Man’s philosophy and practise. The event is intended to be such an apparent bringing together of the strands that it cautions us to keep a watch on Tom’s future moral growth, far from being “episodic.”” Beyond the fact that the Man of the Hill is a clunky and therefore superfluous presence in “Tom Jones,” the average western reader nowadays can hardly understand the rationale behind his existence.
The amount of instances in Fielding’s books alerting the reader to murders, rape, molestation, waylaying, and other crimes on rural roads and in towns cannot be overlooked. The ‘developed’ western world seems to be uncomfortable with its “History.” It wants to forget about its history. Fielding as a social reality presenter at this time is embarrassing. The irony and abstract philosophy underlying the sarcasm in Fielding’s books pique the attention of the modern western critic. The reader from a third-world nation would be wise to be sceptical of Fielding’s many abstract accolades. As a result, these admirations may be traced back to contemporary Western politics and philosophy.
In reality, the contrast between the Man of the Hill and Tom Jones helps us understand the development of Tom Jones’ colossal image, a figure that allows us to view eighteenth-century society as a playfield for a hero’s athletic exploits. Tom Jones, in contrast to the Man of the Hill’s profound and complete isolation, is a striving and active figure who sees his situation differently. Tom’s persona has a lot of appeal since he is pursuing a goal, which is something that the current framework enables a hero with the confidence of a competitor to do. Tom is a great blend of broad qualities like honesty and sincerity, as well as an amorality that slams against traditional rigidities and hypocrisies of the day. The difference between the Man of the Hill’s and Tom Jones’ attitudes also revealed Fielding’s intellectual and perspectival leaning toward Tom’s successful fulfilment of his life’s journey. It’s a term for “comedy,” or the author’s effective settlement of issues via his or her involvement. Fielding seems to have made the conscious decision to help Tom overcome his feelings that “nothing is so despicable in my sight as life.”
As a result, we can understand how important aesthetic coherence is in contemporary critical thinking. In a certain kind of book, the notion of the author conversing with the reader is crucial. The writer is a teacher and a moral counsellor in addition to being an entertainment. Because the episode provides a “History” that puts Tom in context, the Man of the Hill episode is an essential element of the book. The reader is asked to compare and contrast the two historical eras – the late seventeenth century and the mid-eighteenth century.
Answer: Every irony is defined by a contradiction between reality and appearance. Jane Austen employs irony in a variety of ways. She employs it in her narrative style to reveal the inconsistencies, if not outright contradictions, that lie underneath the surface harmony, giving her style a deep nuance and depth and allowing it to be examined and understood on many levels. Her characterisation uses irony to reveal her character’s misinterpretation of others as well as their own self-deception. Her conversations are full of dramatic irony; they have one meaning for the speaker and a completely other one for the reader, who has more knowledge than the speaker. In light of what occurs later in the book, specific words said by a certain character and certain circumstances are sometimes imbued with sarcastic meanings. Jane Austen’s use of irony gives her narrative compactness, clarity, and complexity, depth to her characters, a humorous touch to her storyline, and keeps her reader titillated and entertained.
Ironic theme in ‘Pride and Prejudice’
The subject of Pride and Prejudice, like those of Jane Austen’s other works, lends itself to a sarcastic reading. Pride and Prejudice shows the difference between “intricacy and simplicity as those words apply to personality” on an ironic level. The complexity of Darcy and Elizabeth contrasts with Jane and Bingley’s simplicity. The first two have depth, but it is because of their depth that they are exposed to the perils of Pride and Prejudice. The last two are straightforward, and their simplicity proves to be a strength. But the readers must decide which is more appealing and even preferable: the complexity of the first two or the simplicity of the third. Both complexity and simplicity have their advantages; both are desired; on the other hand, both have their drawbacks. One may want to be both complex and straightforward at the same time, but the irony is that they are mutually exclusive and irreconcilable.
The narrative has an ironic tone to it.
The sarcastic tone of Jane Austen’s book is set in the opening sentence: “it is truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession a good fortune in must be in want of wife.” The first part of the phrase implies that the book is about some great ‘universal’ truth. When this fact is discovered to be connected with a common societal problem—marriage—there is an ironic deflation in the second part. People believe that a well-to-do young guy should be on the lookout for a suitable bride based on the phrase alone. It hides a sarcastic notion that things could be the opposite way around in actuality. It’s quite possible that the women in this young man’s area want such a spouse, and he may be the hunted rather than the hunter. When the young man is referred to as the “rightful property” of some young woman in the following line, Jane Austen’s connotations become apparent. “The business of her life was to have her daughters married, its consolation was visiting and news,” Jane Austen says in the same chapter, summarising Mrs. Bennett’s character. The sarcastic inference here is that she is unlikely to exhibit much discriminating in who they select as their husbands, a reality subsequently reinforced by Lydia’s feeling of exaltation in Wickham’s marriage. As the readers got familiar with their pride, elitism, and selfishness, the sarcastic connotations of the phrase “very beautiful women” became apparent. The book is written in such a sarcastic tone.
The irony of the situation
The ironic twist has been added to the majority of the events and situations in Pride and Prejudice. Mr. Darcy says of Elizabeth, “She is not beautiful enough to entice me,” but is quickly enthralled by her big eyes. He removes Bingley from Netherfield because to the imprudence of a marital connection with the Bennett family, but forms the same relationship himself. When Elizabeth’s heart is too full of Wickham, Collins proposes to her. Darcy proposes to her just when she despises him the most. Mr. Collins is certain that Elizabeth is not the kind of girl who would turn down the first marriage proposal and accept the second, yet that is precisely what she does. The militia’s departure from Meryton was supposed to put a stop to Lydia’s flirtations; instead, it leads to her elopement.
The scandal surrounding Lydia’s misdeeds may have ruined Elizabeth’s chances of marrying Darcy, but the affair actually pulls them closer together. Miss. Caroline Bingley takes no chances when it comes to throwing doubts on Elizabeth and her family. But she only succeeds in exposing her own bad breeding and alienating Mr. Darcy by doing so. Lady Catherine’s involvement in preventing Elizabeth and Darcy from marrying helps to hasten the process. There are many examples of this kind of irony throughout the book, and they may be found at any point.
Irony of personality
Character irony is considerably more prevalent than situational irony. Isn’t it strange that Elizabeth, who prides herself on her vision and scorns Jane’s lack of awareness of reality, is blinded by her prejudices? Darcy has always prided himself on being a gentleman, but his proposal to Elizabeth is far from gentlemanly. Wickham may seem elegant on the surface, polished and rewinding his manners, but he is an unredeemed monster at heart. The Bingley sisters despise the Bennets’ vulgarity, yet they are as vulgar. The truth is that inconsistencies and contradictions are inherent in human nature, and Jane Austen, delighted by them, depicts them for the entertainment and enlightenment of his readers.
Irony as a rich source of humour
Jane Austen’s irony is always a vehicle for great humour. She loves portraying character inconsistencies, yet she never lets them spoil the mood of pleasure and laughter that pervades her books. The suitors are repelled by Mrs. Bennett’s vulgarity, but only for a short time. Lydia’s irresponsibility threatens her reputation, yet her marriage to Wickham does come to fruition in the end. It’s worth noting that the wicked figures Wickham and Lady Catherine are the ones that bring Elizabeth and Darcy together. One of the most notable aspects of Pride and Prejudice is dramatic irony. At each step, the distinction between appearance and reality is stressed.
Wickham looks elegant and intellectual on the surface, yet he is a villain. Darcy seems to be a slob, yet the reader finds him to be a gentleman. Caroline attempts to get Darcy to dislike Elizabeth, but the more she disparages her, the more he is drawn to her. Mrs. Bennett’s attempts are intended at luring suitable suitors in, but all she manages to do is scare them away. Lydia’s elopement with Wickham is intended to put Elizabeth’s marriage to Darcy in jeopardy; it really makes it happen. Lady Catherine tries to prevent the marriage, but she only succeeds in making it possible. Darcy forbids Bingley from marrying a Bennett girl, but he eventually marries one. Elizabeth assures Collins that she isn’t the kind of girl to turn down the first offer and accept the second, yet she does just that. On a narrative level, there is a tragic irony that pervades almost every page of the book. After all, Mrs. Bennett reminds her husband, their children can’t be expected to understand their parents. And what smart parents they are. Mr. Bennett declares that Wickham is his favourite son-in-law, and why shouldn’t he be after all the trouble he’s caused?
Both the action and the characters in Pride and Prejudice grow via conversation. Jane Austen seldom makes straightforward observations, descriptions, or analyses. She usually stays in the background, letting her drama play out on its own or revealing her characters via short, snappy conversations.
What others have to say about her characters may also help the reader understand more about them. Mr. and Mrs. Bennett are introduced in the opening chapter, followed by a summary of their key characteristics by the author. Before he makes a physical visit at Long Bourn, the reader gets to know Mr. Collins via his letters. Lady Catherine is initially seen via Collins’ eyes, then through Wickham’s, and lastly through the reader’s eyes at Rosings. Some of the moments have a lot of emotional intensity and vividness. The hero Darcy, Elizabeth’s repartees at Netherfield, the two proposal sequences, and Elizabeth’s confrontation with Lady Catherine Jane Austen shows herself to be a great playwright with a flawless ear, a perfect sense of timing, and a keen sense of climax and anti-climax in such situations.
Jane Austen’s irony isn’t bitter or cynical, and it doesn’t represent her cynicism. It’s funny, but it’s not simply for the sake of local amusement. It elicits introspection on some of life’s most pressing problems. As a result, irony is neither indifferent nor responsible in her hands. Jane Austen is impartial in her observation and portrayal of life’s fact, but not in her assessment of the moral principles that govern it. She has her own ethos, her own set of values (whether or not they are sufficient is a separate matter), and she is remarkably consistent in her pronouncements about human behaviour. As a result, in her hands, irony is a tool for moral insight rather than a rejection tool.
Answer: The title of Charles Dickens’ book “Great Expectations” suggests to Pip’s “great expectations,” which are multifaceted and always changing. His high hopes are reflected in his desire of becoming a gentleman, which he receives in the shape of his wealth. His yearning for a particular frigid star called Estella is another manifestation of his aspirations. Each of the novel’s three sections deals with a different expectation, and we see how Pip adapts to his shifting expectations.
Pip passes through three stages in his existence, each with its own set of expectations:
Pip is a destitute orphan who lives with his sister and her blacksmith husband. On Christmas, he meets an escaped criminal and thanks him for his assistance, the criminal sets him up with a hidden inheritance. One day, a lawyer appears and informs him that he will be receiving money or “high expectations,” and that he must get a different education if he wants to become a gentleman rather than a blacksmith.
The title also refers to expectations that something good or wonderful is about to happen, but it hasn’t happened yet. When a mystery benefactor bestows wealth to Pip, he arrogantly abandons his pals in and hops for his “great expectations”
Pip’s first opinion of London is that it is ugly and filthy when he arrives. Despite this, he has high hopes, and Jaggers and his clerk, Wemmick, tell him of his new living quarters. When Pip reaches the age of 21, he goes to Jaggers to learn more about his anticipated wealth and, perhaps, the name of his benefactor. Jaggers promises him a 500-pound yearly stipend till he learns who his donor is, but he refuses to say when he will learn who his benefactor is. He also informs Pip that once his donor is exposed, Jaggers’ company will come to an end, and he will not be notified.
The title also suggests to the readers’ high expectations, which Dickens relies on for his fantastic narrative twists. The title’s many levels of significance provide a fascinating reading experience. In the book, Dickens effectively depicts the expectations of other characters.
Expectations of Miss Havisham
Miss Havisham is a rich, eccentric old lady who lives near Pip’s hamlet in a mansion named Satis House. She flits about her home in a worn bridal gown, keeps a rotting feast on her table, and surrounds herself with clocks set to twenty minutes to nine. Miss Havisham was dumped by her fiancé only minutes before her wedding when she was just a young lady, and she now has a grudge against all men. Her goal is to exact vengeance on the male, therefore she decides to adopt Estella and raises her to be the instrument of her vengeance, teaching her lovely ward how to shatter men’s hearts.
Expectations of Magwitch
When Pip is a kid and Magwitch is an escaped prisoner, they meet for the first time. Magwitch never forgets Pip’s generosity in the marsh, and later in life, he spends his time and energy to acquiring money, which he then gives to Pip in an anonymous manner.
Magwitch expects Pip to be a gentleman in every sense of the word, and he has high expectations.The title’s tragic irony is that expectations are seldom high. A man is defined by his actions. A parasite and an idiot are those who expect to be provided. Pip’s view of society is reflected in the title. He hails from a poor blacksmith family and has high hopes for what he’ll be able to achieve. Pip’s “great” expectations grow less and less as the novel continues. When he meets Magwitch (as Uncle Provis), he realises how much he’d prefer be back at the forge than live up to all of his lofty aspirations for the upper crust.
The storyline of Great Expectations is also notable for demonstrating the uniqueness of Dickens’ brilliance more than any of his prior tales. Everyone must have noticed two opposing tendencies in his mind’s activity, which are harmonised in this book. His ability to accurately see objects and people is unusually broad, clear, and minute; nevertheless, his observation, sharp and true to reality as it is, is not a dominating capacity, and is challenged or controlled by his disposition’s strong inclination toward sad or comic idealisation. Perhaps these characteristics are best seen in conflict and divergence in The Old Curiosity Shop, and the outcome is a beautiful juxtaposition of romantic sensitivity, melodramatic improbabilities, and wide comedy. The comedic characterisation is overdone to the point of caricature, while the serious characterization is transformed into romantic unreality. Richard Swiveller and Little Nell are adamant about not combining their forces. In both the funny and sad sections, there is plenty of evidence of talent, yet the aesthetic impression is one of anarchy rather than coherence.
In Great Expectations, on the other hand, Dickens seems to have conquered forces that had before dominated him. He has fairly found that, like Thackeray, he cannot tell a tale as if he were just a bystander, a simple knowing spectator of what he describes and portrays; as a result, he has based his storyline and characterisation solely on observation. As we read Vanity Fair and The Newcomes, we are struck by how true the characters and events are. There are no guiding concepts or unsettling idealizations to be found. Everything comes to an end, just like it does in real life. Great Expectations demonstrates a capacity of exterior observation finer and deeper than Thackeray’s, but the overall sense is not one of objective reality due to the existence of other characteristics. The author visibly use his observations as raw material for his creative powers to work with; he does not record, but invents, and he creates something natural only within the circumstances set by his own mind. He moulds, disposes, penetrates, colours, and contrives everything, and the whole action is a sequence of occurrences that could only have happened in his head and are impossible to imagine as really occurring. Yet, in none of his other works, he demonstrates a keener understanding of actual life, as well as a clearer vision and grasp of what is referred to be the world. The book is an artistic work, not just a series of amusing and tragic events, and it shows that Dickens is still at the peak of his abilities, not on the slide.
The novel’s characters also demonstrate how thoroughly it has been considered, since, although none of them arouse the same personal interest as Sam Weller or tiny Dombey do, they are more suited to each other and the narrative in which they appear than is typical of Dickens. They all work together to create the overall impression that the work left on the mind. Individually, they will be among the author’s most unique creations. Miss Havisham, Estella, and Biddy, as well as Magwitch and Joe Gargery, Jaggers and Wemmick, Pip and Herbert, Wopsle, Pumblechook, and “the Aged,” Miss Havisham, Estella, and Biddy, must be considered positive contributions to the characters developed by Dickens’ vast and varied imagination.
Pip, the hero, is wonderfully shown throughout, and it is from his thinking that the whole portrayal gets its shape and colour. Weak, dreamy, pleasant, anxious, ambitious, ineffective, the subject and sufferer of Great Expectations, his personality is dispersed across the story. Joe is a wonderful guy with a heart that is too big for his words to convey, but whose patience, fortitude, compassion, and beneficence show brightly through his jumbled English. Magwitch whose memory was limited only to the days of his youth when he used to steal turnips to earn his living in Essex. The character is not only strong in and of itself, but it also provides all philosophical investigators into the phenomena of crime with poignant and unique suggestions. Dickens follows the rule of the great master of characterisation in this magnificent work, seeking “the spirit of kindness in things bad.”
The romance’s style is very true to reality. The author is so engaged in the things before his thoughts, so deeply in serious, that he has less of those comic expressive caprices with which he was before prone. Some of the old humour and fantasy are gone, but we can’t help but admire the effects created by his almost austere commitment to the work’s primary theme. In our thorough understanding of the things and events they communicate, we are hardly aware of his words in passages of description and narration. Although there are fewer quotable epithets and phrases than in Dombey & Son and David Copperfield, the sights and events imprinted on the mind are possibly more frequent and vividly depicted. The poetical aspect of the writer’s talent, his alteration of Nature’s shapes, colours, and sounds by seeing them through the lens of an imagined mind, is particularly apparent throughout the work’s descriptions. Not only is nature described, but it is also personalised and humanised.
Overall, we are ecstatic to be able to state that Great Expectations is a masterpiece. We’ve never understood the irrational pleasure with which certain reviewers seem to take in seeing the subtle indications of creative intellect’s decline. We empathise even less with people who find an even meaner pleasure in claiming that a popular writer’s final work is unworthy of the brilliance that created his first. Great Expectations, in our view, is a work that demonstrates that we may anticipate a series of romances from Dickens considerably surpassing in strength and creative ability the works that have already earned him such acclaim among the age’s writers.
4. What role do Aziz, Fielding and Godbole play in A Passage to India? 20
Answer: Muriel Spark’s most renowned work, The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, is generally regarded as a typical novel that exemplifies her unique style. The book has now become a contemporary classic, and Jean Brodie has established herself as one of the most famous characters in English literature of the twentieth century. Spark’s storytelling style gives the book a unique appeal that imbues the characters with real-life realism. Miss Jean Brodie is said to have been inspired in part by Spark’s teacher, Christine Kay, and this personal aspect contributes to the work’s aesthetic brilliance.
Human desire becomes the central theme of the book, and the many aspects of human nature are shown on the vast canvas of Spark’s creative talent. Love and betrayal, adoration and jealousy, vengeance and remorse all become dichotomies in one’s life. Spark’s multitude of emotions are expertly crafted to provide a very intuitive look into the wants and motivations that drive people to take action.
The unusual and peculiar style of storytelling is perhaps the most striking aspect of The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie. To delve into her characters’ interior mindscapes, Spark uses an omniscient narrator. The narrator’s voice is constantly there in the background of the tale like a lurking presence. The reader is made aware of the intricacies that lay underneath the individuals’ attitudes and peculiarities by carefully examining their actions and motivations. Many reviewers have remarked on how Spark pushes the concept of authorial control to its logical conclusion. She keeps a close eye on her characters, giving the impression that the whole event has been well planned. Sandy’s mindscape is continuously scrutinised, and she is both the focalizer and the focalized in the majority of the scenarios. As a result, Sandy becomes the diegetic figure through whom the whole Brodie universe unfolds. Sandy’s viewpoint captures the breath-taking beauty of Edinburgh, the intriguing charisma of Miss Jean Brodie, and the many emotions that her pupils express in their personal and professional lives.
Spark often employs flashbacks and flash forwards to weave thematic and structural signifiers into the story. The tale starts while the sisters are still in high school and are completely enamoured with Miss Brodie. However, the reader discovers within a few pages that Miss Brodie has been deceived by one of the girls who made up her exclusive circle. Before the conclusion, the identity of the perpetrator is also revealed. The reason for the treachery, on the other hand, is disclosed until towards the conclusion of the tale, and it is this dramatic discovery that gives the story’s ultimate climactic release. The flashbacks and flash forwards transport the reader back and forth in time, allowing them to get a better understanding of the whole painting. The story’s pace is maintained not just by the sense of mystery, but also by the gradual unveiling of the many aspects of a previously revealed secret. The name of the girl who betrayed Miss Brodie is not kept a mystery, since it is obvious from the start that Sandy is the one who provides the damning information against her instructor. However, the motivations that drive Sandy to betray her mentor take centre stage, since these motivations eventually form the story’s pivot.
Another intriguing feature of narration is that it maintains a nearly constant speed throughout the book. Spark excels in keeping a consistent narrative tension throughout the film. There are no abrupt accelerations or decelerations, yet the narrator’s voice keeps the reader interested even without them. Spark’s brilliance as a writer rests in her ability to keep a consistent tone. The betrayal’s secret, the betrayer’s identity, Miss Brodie’s affairs, Sandy’s affair with Mr. Teddy Lloyd, and Joyce Emily’s murder are all events told in the same speed and tone. Spark does not utilise a faster speed to convey urgency; instead, all events, no matter how little or important, are conveyed at the same pace. There are no major revelations that shock the reader into consciousness. Brodie’s shocking disclosures and Sandy’s choice to betray Brodie are told at the same pace as the weather in Edinburgh or the city’s landscape. Despite the presence of an omniscient narrator, there is no overabundance of knowledge about the protagonists’ inner turmoil.
Brodie’s betrayal anguish or Sandy’s emotional quandary are never fully addressed. The reader is allowed to come to their own conclusions about the many elements strewn over the novel’s creative canvas. The narrative’s non-linearity does not cause any confusion since Spark writes with remarkable clarity, and her characters and story events mirror this clarity in presentation. It’s essential to remember that Spark’s authorial identity is distinct from that of the narrator in this situation. The omniscient narrator’s moral and ethical viewpoints may be reflected in a specific character, but this cannot be regarded as the authorial position from a post-modern perspective. The narrator’s casual rejection of Mary Macgregor as a foolish and clumsy girl is echoed in Sandy’s remarks as well. Peter Robert Brown makes a point about how the narrative voice repeatedly emphasises Mary’s ignorance. He claims that the narrator is making a conscious effort to demonstrate Mary’s ignorance. He does, however, differentiate between the narrator’s voice and Sparks’ own point of view. He declares:
Because Mary is reduced to a dumb, quiet, blameable, and eventually dead lump, we never learn of her latent potential. Spark never truly lets us to connect with Mary as a victim, and she never explicitly protests Mary’s oppression. However, she is far from being morally neutral when it comes to Mary. I take it that Sparks’ ethical aim is to get us to think about not just the role that story and narration may play in the victimisation process, but also about how we are constantly engaged in such processes.
Thus, the act of narration raises important issues about how the narrative voice attempts to predetermine our value judgments about different circumstances and people in subtle and devious ways. In fact, the reader’s views may be affected by the narrator’s attitudes. As a result, it’s critical to call into question the narrative voice’s apparent endorsement of prevailing ideologies. The omniscient narrator’s assessment of Mary and the magnetic aura connected with Miss Brodie are two of the narrator’s most prominent themes. Nonetheless, these concepts are not presented by Spark as genuine points of view. And it is here that the astute reader comes into play.
When Sandy is the focalizer, the story likewise sees a steady build-up of tension. Her childhood observations and mature reflections show a deep-seated struggle in her mind. This tension is exacerbated when the narrative voice attempts to preserve impartiality that differs from that of the characters.
While a result, Sandy’s different views of Miss Brodie create a tension within the main story, as other pupils continue to hold her in high esteem. It might be claimed that Sandy becomes the primary focus because of this difference in perception. Her amazement and desire to please gradually give way to a growing awareness and discomfort, which eventually transforms into bitter indifference.
Sandy’s internal monologues are populated with characters from different literary works, and her dialogues serve as mini-narratives inside the text’s main narrative. These mini-narratives let Sandy create an alter-ego where she can be herself without the constraints of Miss Brodie’s intimidating presence. She doesn’t have to adhere to the Brodie set’s ideas and value systems, and as a result, she feels free. As a result, these story levels create a parallel universe of identity development in which Sandy realises her own unique potential. Spark shows how Sandy becomes the most opinionated member of the Brodie gang by using this storytelling technique. Miss Brodie constantly compliments Sandy on her insight, which, paradoxically, is what allows her to view her instructor in a new and more realistic perspective.
In The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, change or transfiguration emerges as a central theme that runs throughout the story. The primary difference arises between Miss Jean Brodie and Sandy Stranger, the two key protagonists. The irony comes from the fact that, although Miss Brodie preaches about transfiguration, Sandy is the one who gets transfigured. Miss Brodie’s life mission is to transform her pupils into an exclusive group of miniaturised versions of herself. She often says, “Give me a girl while she’s impressionable, and she’ll be mine for life”. Miss Brodie’s presence charms the little girls of Brodie set, who are very impressionable at such a young age. They see that she is different from the other instructors, and as a result, they begin to imitate her ideas. Miss Brodie’s concept of transfiguration does not imply a shift in their viewpoints or a widening of their horizons. Rather, she focuses on instilling her vision and ideals in the young girls. As a result, Miss Brodie’s concept of transfiguration becomes a static paradigm characterised by a considerable lack of tolerance.
Sandy, on the other hand, goes through an emotional and spiritual change. Miss Brodie despised the Roman Catholic faith, which she embraced. It’s unclear if this transformation is the result of true trust in the Catholic Church or a blatant disregard for Brodie’s beliefs. Sandy’s emotional transformation is probably the most significant occurrence in the narrative since it is this pivotal moment that changes them. Sandy’s opinion with Miss Brodie evolves as she matures from a little child to an adult. Her childhood’s naive idealism is replaced with a painful knowledge of her mentor’s flaws. Sandy’s realisation, along with a touch of jealously, leads her to make a choice that will alter their lives forever. Her eventual betrayal of Miss Brodie is surprising, given that she was the Brodie family’s most loyal member. As a little kid, she tries to overdo everything to impress Miss Brodie and it is this over-enthusiasm that becomes catastrophic in her relationship later on. Sandy goes too far to complete the cycle of transfiguration, proving Miss Brodie’s warning that “one day, Sandy, you will go too far.” “We witness Sandy experience a more deep series of changes throughout the book than Brodie’s,” Gerard Carruthers correctly observes, “who, for all her contradictory posturing, remains a fairly static figure stuck in her own rather pitiful space”.
In The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, Muriel Spark captures the mysterious aspect of the human mind. The primary plot revolves on the struggle created by Miss Brodie’s and Sandy’s different beliefs. The book has a timeless reputation in popular culture because it tackles a variety of important themes concerning human nature. The notion of morality is vehemently criticised, and Spark warns of the dangers of Miss Brodie’s unclear logic. Because of her fascist worldview, she rejects the concept of emotional responsibility for her pupils. She deliberately cultivates a self-image in her pupils that is mired in layers of deception. She deliberately instils this picture in the Brodie set’s brains, and it is this act of intellectual deceit that alters their life.
Brodie’s self-image becomes very troublesome as a result of her extravagant self-delusions. The problem is that she actively believes in this self-perception. She doesn’t stop to consider the moral boundaries imposed by her self-image. She passionately defends the legitimacy of her faulty philosophy, oblivious to the consequences for the impressionable young minds she affects. And it is for this reason that she is completely perplexed when she hears of the act of treachery. Miss Brodie’s powerful charm and her pupils’ unquestioning devotion are used by Spark to remark on the power of manipulation. As a result, The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie transforms into a potent reflection on human psychology and its ramifications in our sociocultural mindset.