Archive for February, 2010

Test Prep

February 13, 2010


A Passage to India, E.M. Forster

Question 1

Ronny took no notice…. He did not mean to be rude to the two men, but the only link he could be conscious of with an Indian was the official, and neither happened to be his subordinate. As private individuals he forgot them.

Unfortunately Aziz was in no mood to be forgotten. He would not give up the secure and intimate note of the last hour. He had risen with Godbole, and now, offensively friendly, called from his seat, ‘Come along up and join us, Mr Heaslop; sit down till your mother turns up.’

Ronny replied by ordering one of Fielding’s servants to fetch his master at once.

‘He may not understand that. Allow me –‘ Aziz repeated the order idiomatically.

Ronny was tempted to retort; he knew the type; he knew all the types, and this was the spoilt Westernized.

(Part 1, Chapter VII, p. 70)

Use this extract as a starting point for a discussion of cross-cultural relations in A Passage to India. Your discussion should relate this passage to key motifs and preoccupations of the novel and to the novel’s form.

Question 2

Their mood was changed, and they recalled little kindnesses and courtesies. ‘She said “Thank you so much” in the most natural way.’ ‘She offered me a lozenge when the dust irritated my throat.’ Hamidullah could remember more important examples of angelic ministration, but the other, who only knew Anglo-India, had to ransack his memory for scraps, and it was not surprising that he should return to, ‘But of course all this is exceptional. The exception does not prove the rule. The average woman is like Mrs Turton, and, Aziz, you know what she is.’ Aziz did not know, but said he did. He too generalised from his disappointments – it is difficult for members of a subject race to do otherwise. Granted the exceptions, he agreed that all Englishwomen are haughty and venal. The gleam passed from the conversation, whose wintry surface unrolled and expanded interminably.                                                                                                                                   (Part 1, Chap II, pp. 10 -11)

Aziz was exquisitely dressed, from tie-pin to spats, but he had forgotten his back collar-stud, and there you have the Indian all over: inattention to detail; the fundamental slackness that reveals the race.

(Part 1, Chap VIII, p. 75)

Use these two extracts as a starting point for a discussion of the Passage to India’s examination of the problematic nature of “viewing”, “judging”, “reading”. What might the extracts suggest about the factors that make “viewing” difficult? How does the extract relate to formal issues of genre?

Question 3

…he felt Fielding’s fundamental good will. His own went out to it, and grappled beneath the shifting tides of emotion, which alone can bear the voyager to an anchorage, but may also carry him across it onto the rocks…. In every remark he found a meaning, but not always the true meaning, and his life, though vivid, was largely a dream. Fielding, for instance, had not meant that Indians are obscure, but that Post-Impressionism is; a gulf divided his remark from Mrs Turton’s, ‘Why, they speak English,’ but to Aziz the two sounded alike.

(Part 1, Ch VII, p. 61)

Fielding … had dulled his craving for verbal truth and cared chiefly for truth of mood. As for Miss Quested, she accepted everything Aziz said as true verbally. In her ignorance, she regarded him as ‘India’, and never surmised that his outlook was limited and his method inaccurate, and that no one is India.

(Part 1, Ch VII, p. 65)

Use these two extracts as a springboard for a discussion of what you take to be major thematic concerns in Forster’s novel. Your answer should include some discussion of form, and of key motifs used by Forster in his narrative.


Reserve slot programme

February 12, 2010


A SLOT Venue OS3 D SLOT Venue SHB5
Thurs 4 March 15:15 – 17:00

Essay Preparation Class, OS3

Tues 2 March 15:15 – 17:00

Essay Preparation class, SHB5

Thurs 25 Feb 15:15 – 17:00

Screening Monsoon Wedding

Venue to be announced

Tues 23 Feb 15:15- 17:00

Screening Monsoon Wedding

Venue to be announced

Thurs 18 Feb 15: 15 – 17:00

Test Preparation Class, OS3

Tues 16 Feb 15:15- 17:00

Test Preparation Class, SHB5

QI: Essay topics

February 12, 2010

ENGLISH 1003 – Indian Short Stories Essay.

Due: 8 March 2010, 12.00 – 14.00

Write an essay of 1500 words on ONE of the following topics:

1. “The Miracle of Purun Bhagat”  – Rudyard Kipling

Write an essay on the significance of the miracle in “The Miracle of Purun Bhagat”. You must cite evidence, quote and pay close attention to language during the course of your answer.

Some crucial passages and issues that you might want to consider in the course of your answer include:

1)      Is Kipling critical of the “superstition” of the villagers, their priest in particular?

2)      Is Kipling cynical about the “progressive and enlightened” states and “learned and scientific societies” referred to in the final sentence of the story, and, if so, why?

3)      What is the significance of this sentence: “He believed that all things were one big Miracle and when a man knows that much he knows something to go upon” (58)?

4)      What does Kipling mean when he writes that “all the miracle lies in keeping still, in never making a hasty movement, and, for a long time, at least, in never looking directly at a visitor” (58)?

5)      What language does Kipling use to describe nature in the story?


2. “The Remains of the Feast’ – Ghita Hariharan

I am still a novice at anatomy. I hover just over the body, I am beneath the skin. I have yet to look at the insides, the entrails of memories she told me nothing about, the pain congealing into a cancer.

She has left me behind with nothing but a smell, a legacy that grows fainter every day. For a while I haunt the dirtiest bakeries and tea-stalls I can find. I search for her, my sweet great-grandmother, in plate after plate of stale confections, in needle-sharp green chillies, deep-fried in rancid oil. I plot her revenge for her, I give myself diarrhoea for a week.

– Githa Hariharan, “The Remains of the Feast”

Write an essay in which you discuss the significance of food and the human body in the story.  Your essay should include an analysis of the above passage, commenting on the use of language and imagery. You should also refer to other sections of the story in order to build your argument.

Welcome to English I

February 12, 2010

Dear all English first years at Wits University,

Welcome to the department!  This blog will merely provide online access to information that will be available through other means, such as on noticeboards or handed out during lectures or tutorials.

Good luck for the year!