MEG 03 Solved Assignment 2020
BRITISH NOVEL: MEG – 03
July 2019 and January 2020
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Title – BRITISH NOVEL: MEG – 03
University – Ignou
Assignment Types – PDF, SOFT COPY /Handwritten on order
Course – Master in English (meg)
Medium / Language –ENGLISH MEDIUM
Session – JULY 2019, JANUARY 2020
Subjects code – MEG 03
Assignment Submission Date – July 2019 session के लिए – 30 June 2020, January 2020 session के लिए – 30 September 2020.
MEG 03 Solved Assignment 2019 – 2020
MASTER’S DEGREE IN ENGLISH
(For July, 2019 and January, 2020 Session)
BRITISH NOVEL: MEG – 03
Q. 1. As a reader from the Third World can you relate to the events and happenings in Fielding’s Tom Jones? And would you agree that ‘Tom Jones is so simple that it makes no great demand on you as a reader’?
Discuss with reasons.
Ans. Opinion differ in two extremes. Some people believe that Fielding gave not much attention to plot. This implies that he gave an overwhelming attention to characterization. On the other hand, some believe that he was all for plot. This plainly means that he was almost indifferent to depicting realistic and plausible characters. The truth lies somewhere in between the two extremes.
Nobody can deny that Fielding was a great realistic who delineated real men and women of his age with all their virtues and vices, without moralizing or presenting any consistent ethical or philosophising canons.
According to Cron, “Fielding begins his character building in Somersetshire with Squire Allworthy, Squire Western, Tom Jones, Young Bilfil, Sophia, a philosopher, a clergyman, a doctor, a house-keeper and a gamekeeper. He starts Jones on a journey to London, introducing chance acquaintances by the way. I more hurried journeys,
Jones is followed by Sophia and Allworthy and Western. When Fielding gets them to London, he brings them into contrast with the more highly reasoned men and women of the town, as represented by Lord Fellamar and Lady Bellaston. The immense canvas, when filled, contains forty figures.” (Development of the English Novel, 1952, p. 52)
MEG 03 SOLVED ASSIGNMENT 2020
It is clear that Fielding’s canvas is very large. He virtually presents a Chancerian gallery of portraits widely different in dress, tastes, manners and station in life. We have Squires Allworthy and Western who represent the landed gentry. Lady Bellaston and Lord Fella Mar are the members of an ultra-modern fashionable corrupt and depraved when society. We have Thwackum the tutor and Square the philosopher who belong to the middle-class. Mr. Partridge is a jack of all trades. He is at once a school-master, a barber, a surgeon, a tailor and a host of other things. Then we have land ladies, inn-keepers, servants, soldiers, maid-servants, gatekeepers and others.
We have a good number of female characters of different hues and moral standings, though most of them are
corrupt. Sophia is the heroine. She has a high moral sense. She is a paragon of beauty and a model of obedience, but
at the same time, she is self-willed as far as her love for the hero is concerned and at last she has her way.
MEG 03 Solved Assignment pdf
Lady Bellaston, Mrs Waters and even Mrs Fitzpatrick are women of weak moral characters. Mrs Honour too is found hidden behind the curtains in a room with the hero.
Fielding’s characters are well-defined and the author gives a minute description of them in most the cases. According to Baker, “Even such minor personages as Supple, Squire Western’s led-curate the, irresponsible man of fashion, Lord Fellamar who tries to win Sophia by force, the disreputable attorney, lawyer Dowling, the rakish, easy- going Nightingale and the nameless crowd of innkeepers and their shrewish wives, doctors, soldiers, ructics, gypsies and non-descripts have not only something to do in the complications of the story, but are also essential to the
completeness of the picture.”(History of the English Novel, Vol. IV)
It is often said that Fieldings characters are flat. E.M. Forster says this in his “Aspects of the Novel” about the flat characters : “Flat characters were called humours in the seventeenth century and are sometimes called types, and sometimes caricatures. In their purest form they are constructed round a single idea or quality; when there is more than one factor in them, we get the beginning of the curve towards the round.” (Aspects of the Novel, Edward Arnold & Co.
London, 1953, p. 65)
We should bear in mind the last part of Forster’s assertion : “When there is more than one factor in them, we get
the beginning of the curve towards the round.” Thus we have in Tom Jones, the hero conflicting between idealism
and falling prey to sexual activities, the heroine obedient and yet rebellious to parental authority and Mr. Western
With what minute details Fielding depicts even apparently the most insignificant of his characters, may be noted from the delineation of Miss Bridget’s character as under—
“He now lived, for the most part, retired in the country, with one sister (Miss, Bridget), for whom he had a very tender affection. This lady was now somewhat part the age of 30, an aera, at which, in the opinion of the malicious, the title of old maid may, with no impropriety, be assumed. She was of that species of women, whom you rather commend for good qualities than beauty, and who are generally called by their own sex, very good sort of women – as good a sort of woman, madam, as you would wish to know. Indeed she was so for from regretting want of beauty, that she never mentioned that perfection (if it can be called one) without contempt; and would often thank God she was as handsome as Miss such a one, whom perhaps beauty had led into errors, which she might have otherwise avoided. Miss Bridget Allworthy (for that was the name of this lady) very rightly conceived the charms of person in a woman to be no better than snares for
herself, as well as for others and yet so discrete was she in her conduct, that her prudence was as much on the guard,
as if she had had all the snares to apprehend which were ever laid for her whole sex. Indeed, I have observed (tho’ it
may seem unaccountable to the reader) that this guard of prudence, like the trained bands, is always readiest to go on
duty where there is the least danger. It often basely and cowardly deserts those paragons for whom the men are
wishing, sighing, dying, and spreading every net in their power; and constantly attends at the heels of that higher
order of women, for whom the other sex have a more distant and awful respect, and whom (from despair, I suppose
of success) they never venture to attack.”(Book I, Chapter 2)
This makes us pause to ponder that Fielding, in spite of all the details he gives about a particular character may not intend to assign him or her a role in conformity with his or her descriptions. Thus we have a great detail about Allworthy, but we do not find his role in the novel corresponding to those descriptions.
MEG 03 BRITISH NOVEL Solved Assignment
Similarly, Mr. Bilfil does not get so many descriptive notes from the pen of the novelist, but his role in the novel is very crucial. But for his machinations, the novel would have turned into a static statue.
We know quite well that Fielding’s real aim was to present human living being and throbing who presented a true picture of the society of his times and in this endeavour, he fared squarely well.
Compton–Rickett presents a gist of Fielding’s realistic representation of the society of his times when he
“The society that Fielding painted was a coarse and noisy one, but Fielding draws attention to the fact that “it’s bark is worse than its bite”, that it is more frivolous and thoughtless than deliberately bad. His genial humour playing over its rough surface, easily and spaciously, irradiates everyone who is not a hypocrite or a muff. The essential humanity of his characters is their most attractive asset and this gives much astonishing vitality to his work. His
treatment of hypocrisy is the least satisfactory illustration of his art, for his hearty deterioration of it prevents him
even from making his hypocrites plausible. Minor affectations he can deal with tolerantly and pleasantly enough,
and one recalls Parson Adams urging Joseph Andrews to resign his Fanny “peaceably, quietly and contentedly, ”
by philosophic considerations conveniently deduced from the Bible and from Seneca than being suddenly faced with a calamity of his own, the supposed loss of his child, when straight way the affectation of philosophy slips from him. On the whole this humour of Fielding is nowhere more pleasantly expressed than in the picture of the lovable person—good-hearted, absurd, and most impractical of men; like a full-blooded Don Quixote.”
U.J. Long gives us a very potent clue to Fielding’s claim of being the real founder of the English novel, as the specific attention he gives to the portrayal of his characters—
“In all his work sincerity is perhaps the most marked characteristic. Fielding likes virile men, just as they are, good and bad, but detests shams of every sort. His satire has none of swift’s bitterness, but is subtle as that of Chaucer, and good-natured as that of Steele. He never moralizes, though some of his powerfully drawn scenes
suggests a deeper moral lesson than anything in Defoe or Richardson; and he never judges even the worst of his
characters without remembering his own frailty and tempering justice with mercy. On the whole, though much of his
work is perhaps in bad taste and is too coarse for pleasant or profitable reading, Fielding must be regarded as an
artist, a very great artist, in realistic fiction; and the advanced student who reads him will probably concur in the judgement of a modern critic that, by giving us genuine pictures of men and women of his own age, without moralising over their vices and virtues, he became the real founder of the modern novel.”
Fielding had tried his long hand at the drama before endeavouring to be a dramatist. He wrote sixteen dramas
in all. That’s not a small number. Thus he had acquired a dramatic art which he brought to advantage in his novel.
Thus, he says in Book VIII, Chapter (I) of Tom Jones–
“The world hath been often compared to the theatre; and many grave writers, as well as the poets, have considered human life as a great drama resembling, in almost every particular, those scenical representations, which Thespis is first reported to have invented, and which have been since received with so much approbation and delight in all polite countries.”
Fielding does not make any claim regarding perfection of his models since perfect characters are not available in society. It means he wants to present true and realistic picture of society only. He says candidly— “If thou dost delight in these models of perfection, there are books enow written to gratify thy taste; but, as we have not in the course of our conversation, ever happened to meet any such person, we have not chosen to introduce any such here.”
This is the reason why Fielding’s characters are sometimes called ‘fallible paragons.’
It will not be out of place to examine what Fielding himself has to say about his art of characterization, since he is fortnight is asserting his views candidly—
“But we who deal in private character, who search into the most retired recesses, and draw forth examples of virtue and vice from holes and corners of the world, are in a more dangerous situation. As we have no public notoriety, no concurrent testimony, no records to support and corroborate what we deliver, it becomes us to keep within the limits not only of possibility, but of probability too … In the last place, the actions should be such as may not only be within the compass of human agency, and which human agents may probably be supposed to do; but they should be likely for the very actors and characters themselves to have performed; for what may be only wonderful and surprising in one man, may become improbable, or indeed impossible when related of another.”
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