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Novels, Society and History: 10th SST

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.
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Novels of Charles Dickens deal with which changes of the 19th century Britain? Mention any three such changes.
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Which type of problems were highlighted by the novelist, Charles Dickens through his novel? Explain from any of his two novels.
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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 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.

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

Answer:

  1. Industrialisation 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 industrialisation 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 criticised 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.

Question: Who was Jane Austen? How do her novels give us a glimpse of the world of women in the general rural society in the early 19th century Britain?
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How did Jane Austen portray the women of 19th century in her novel?

Answer: 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 behaviour of the protagonists, who are preoccupied with marriage and money, as typifying Austen’s society.

Question: How did novels promote colonialism? Explain with an example of a novel.
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What kind of novels were written for young boys in the 19th century? Explain.
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How did novels make themselves relevant to young boys?
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Explain any five features of novels written for the young in the last stage of 19 th century.

Answer:

  1. New type of man: Novels for young boys idealised a new type of man: Someone who was powerful, assertive, independent and daring. Most of these novels were full of adventure set in places remote from Europe.
  2. Colonisers as hero and honourable:
    The colonisers appear heroic and honourable-Books like R.L. Stevenson’s’ Treasure Island (1883) or Rudyard Kipling’s Jungle Book (1894) became great hits.
  3. English Courage: G.A. Henty’s historical adventure novels for boys were also widely popular during the height of the British empire. They aroused the excitement and adventure of conquering strange lands. They were always about young boys who witness grand historical events, get involved in some military action, and show what they called the ‘English’ courage.
  4. Love stories and the young: Love stories written for adolescent girls also first became popular in this period, especially in the United States, notably Ramona (1884) by Helen Hunt Jackson and a series entitles What Katy Did (1872) by Sarah Chauncey Wolsey, who wrote under the pen-name Susan Coolidge.

Question: Explain the history of growth of novels in India.
Or
Explain briefly the history of Hindi novel from starting to excellence.

Answer:

  1. Beginning of the novels: The modern novel form developed in India in the nineteenth century, as Indians became familiar with the Western novel. The development of the vernaculars, print and a reading public helped in this process.
  2. Earliest Novels: Some of the earliest Indian novels were written in Bengali and Marathi. The earliest novel in Marathi was Baba Padmanji’s Yamuna Paryatan (1857), which used a simple style of storytelling to speak about the plight of widows. This was followed by Lakshman Moreshwar Halbe’s Muktamala (1861). This was not a realistic novel; it presented an imaginary ‘romance’ narrative with a moral purpose.
  3. Colonial period and novels: Novels began appearing in south Indian languages during the period of colonial rule. Quite a few early novels came out of attempts to translate English novels into Indian languages. For example, 0. Chandu Menon, a subjudge from Malabar, tried to translate an English novel called Henrietta Temple written by Benjamin Disraeli into Malayalam. But he quickly realised that his readers in Kerala were not familiar with the way in which the characters in English novels lived. So, he gave up this idea and wrote a delightful novel called Indulekha, which published in 1889 and, was the first modem novel in Malayalam.
  4. First Hindi novel: Many novels were actually translated and adapted from English and Bengali, but the first proper modern novel i.e. Pariksha Guru was written by Srinivas Das of Delhi.

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