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Novels society and history: Pol. Science

Question: Explain the role of novelists in the field of social reforms in India with the help of any three examples.

Answer:

  1. The novel Saraswativijayam stresses the importance of education for the upliftment of the lower castes.
  2. The writer of novel Indulekha wanted his readers to appreciate the new values of education and criticise the ignorance.
  3. Novelist like Munshi Premchand wrote about the poor conditions of peasants and how they were being exploited by the landlords.

Question: Mention some important reasons for the popularity of the novels.
Or
Explain, how did novels become a popular medium of entertainment among the middle class during the late nineteenth century in India.
Or
Why were the novels widely read and become popular very quickly?
Or
How did novels become popular among masses?
Or
Assess the reasons for the popularity of the novel in Europe?

Answer:

  1. Cheap: Novels were very cheap as compared to manuscript. These circulated among few people. In contrast, because of being printed, novels were widely read and became popular very quickly.
  2. Novels catered to the need of common people: Printing created an appetite for new kinds of writing. As more and more people could now read, they wanted to see their own lives, experiences, emotions and relationships reflected in what they read. Novels, ideally catered to this need. It soon acquired distinctively Indian forms and styles. For readers, it opened up new worlds
    of experience, and gave a vivid sense of the diversity of human lives.
  3. New Readers: The novel first took firm root in England and France. Novels began to be written from the seventeenth century, but they really flowered from the eighteenth century. New groups of lower-middle-class people such as shopkeepers and clerks, along with the traditional aristocratic and gentlemanly classes in England and France now formed the new readership for novels.
  4. Hiring novels: Technological improvements in printing brought down the price of books and innovations in marketing led to expanded sales. In France, publishers found that they could make super profits by hiring out novels by the hour. The novel was one of the first mass-produced items to be sold.
  5. New absorbing and believable world: The worlds created by novels were absorbing and believable, and seemingly real. While reading novels, the reader was transported to another person’s world, and began looking at life as it was experienced by the characters of the novel. Besides, novels allowed individuals the pleasure of reading in private, as well as the joy of publicly reading or discussing stories with friends or relatives. In rural areas people would collect to hear one of them reading a novel aloud, often becoming deeply involved in the lives of the characters.

Question: How did Charles Dickens focus on the life of the industrial workers and the terrible conditions of urban life in his novels? Explain with examples.
Or
Explain the themes and issues of the . novels of Charles Dickens with examples.
Elaborate upon the contribution of Charles Dickens in the field of novel writing.
Or
Novels of Charles Dickens deal with which changes of the 19th century Britain? Mention any three such changes.
Or
Which type of problems were highlighted by the novelist, Charles Dickens through his novel? Explain from any of his two novels.
Or
Explain any three aspects highlighted by Charles Dickens in his novel “Hard Times”.

Answer: Charles Dickens was the foremost English novelist of the Victorian era. He wrote about the terrible effects of industrialization on people’s lives and characters. His novels Hard Times and Oliver Twist became world famous,

  1. Hard Times: His novel Hard Times (1854) describes Coke-town, a fictitious industrial town, as a grim place full of machinery, smoking chimneys, rivers polluted purple and buildings that all looked the same. Here workers are known as ‘hands’, as if they had no identity other than as operators of machines. Dickens criticized not just the greed for profits but also the ideas that reduced human beings into simple instruments of production.
  2. Oliver Twist: In other novels too, Dickens focused on the terrible conditions of urban life under industrial capitalism. His Oliver Twist (1838) is the tale of a poor orphan who lived in a world of petty criminals and beggars. Brought up in a cruel workhouse, Oliver was finally adopted by a wealthy man and lived happily ever after.

Question: Novels had explained and focused on the terrible conditions of urban life under industrial capitalism. Justify.

Answer:

  1. Industrialization and Charles Dickens: In the nineteenth century, Europe entered the industrial age. Factories came up, business profits increased and the economy grew. But at the same time, workers faced problems. Cities expanded in an unregulated way and were filled with overworked and underpaid workers. The unemployed poor roamed the streets for jobs, and the homeless were forced to seek shelter in workhouses. The growth of industry was accompanied by an economic philosophy which celebrated the pursuit of profit and undervalued the lives of workers. Deeply critical of these developments, novelists such as Charles Dickens wrote about the terrible effects of industrialization on people’s lives and characters. His novel Hard Times (1854) describes Coketown, a fictitious industrial town, as a grim place full of machinery, smoking chimneys, rivers polluted purple and buildings that all looked the same. Here workers are known as ‘hands’, as if they had no identity other than as operators of machines. Dickens criticized not just the greed for profits but also the ideas that reduced human beings into simple instruments of production. In other novels too, Dickens focused on the terrible conditions of urban life under industrial capitalism. His Oliver Twist (1838) is the tale of a poor orphan who lived in a world of petty criminals and beggars. Brought up in a cruel workhouse Oliver was finally adopted by a wealthy man and lived happily ever after. But not all novels about the lives of the poor gave readers the comfort of a happy ending.
  2. Emile Zola’s: Germinal (1885) on the life of a young miner in France explores in harsh detail the grim conditions of miners’ lives. It ends on a note of despair: the strike the hero leads fails, his co-workers turn against him, and hopes are shattered.
  3. Writings of Thomas Hardy: Thomas Hardy the 19th century British novelist wrote extensively about traditional rural communities of England that were fast vanishing.

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