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Novels, Society and History: 10th SST

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

Answer:

  1. The invention of the print in the 18th century led to the popularity of the novels because now it became quite easy to print novels in large numbers. In ancient times, manuscripts were handwritten, and hence, their availability was very limited.
  2. The novels dealt with many social issues such as love and marriage, proper conduct for men and women, and so on. So common people were attracted towards them.
  3. Novels appealed to all the sections of the society, both middle class people like the shopkeepers and the clerks, as well as the aristocratic and gentlemanly classes.
  4. Novels not only attacked the ills of the society, but also suggested remedies. So they were much liked by one and all.
  5. The novels became a popular medium of entertainment among the middle class and women readers.
  6. Most of the novelists used the vernacular, the language that is spoken by the common people.

Question: Write a note on:
(1) Hie Oriya Novel
(2) Jane Austen’s portrayal of women
(3) The picture of the new middle class which the novel Pariksha Guru portrays.

Answer:

  1. The Oriya Novel: In 1877-78, ,Ramashankar Ray, a dramatist, began serializing the first Oriya novel Saudamani.
    But he could not complete it. Within thirty years, however, Odisha produced a major novelist in Fakir Mohon Senapati (1843- 1918).
    The title of his novel Chaa Maria Atha Guntha (1902) portrays six acres and thirty- two decimals of land. It announces a new kind of novel that will deal with the question Q ^ of land and its possession. It is the story of Ramchandra Mangaraj, a landlord’s manager, who cheats his idle and drunken master, and then eyes the plot of fertile landowner by Bhagia and Shariya, a childless ” weaver couple. Mangaraj fools this couple, and puts them into his debt so that he can take over their land. This path-breaking work showed that the novel could make rural issues an important part of urban-ans preoccupations. In writing this, Fakir Mohon anticipated a host of writers .in Bengal and elsewhere.
  2. Jane Austen was an English novelist who gives us a glimpse of the world of women in the general rural society in the early 19th century. Her novels make us think about a society which encouraged women to look for ‘good’ marriages, and find wealthy or propertied husbands. The first sentence of Jane Austen’s (1775-1817) Pride and Prejudice states: ‘It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.’ This observation allows us to see the behavior of the protagonists, who are preoccupied with marriage and money, as typifying Austen’s society.
  3. Pariksha Guru reflects the inner and outer world of the newly emerging middle classes.
    The characters in the novel are caught in the difficulty of adapting to colonized society and at the same time, preserving their own cultural identity. The world of colonial modernity seems to be both frightening and irresistible to the characters. The novel clearly intends to teach the reader the ‘right way’ to live, and expects all ‘sensible men’ to be worldly-wise and practical, to remain rooted in the values of their own traditions and culture, and to live with, dignity and honour.
    In the novel, we see the characters attempting to bridge two different worlds through their actions: they take to new agricultural technology, modernize trading practices, change the use of Indian language, making them capable to transmitting both Western sciences and Indian wisdom.
    The young are urged to cultivate the ‘healthy habit’ of reading the newspapers. But the novel emphasises that all this must be achieved without sacrificing the traditional values of the middle-class household. With all its good intentions, Pariksha Guru could not win many readers, as it was perhaps too moralising in its style.

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

Answer: Charles Dickens was the foremost English novelist of the Victorian era. He wrote about the terrible effects of industrialisation 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 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 criticised 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.

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