Identify the correct option:
“Was he free? Was he happy? The question is absurd:
Had anything been wrong, we should certainly have heard.”
From the above lines, it can be inferred that the poet is
(Right Answer: B; explanation: The line is ironical because it implies the opposite of what it states; the question of the citizen’s freedom and happiness is of utmost importance for the poet)
“the peace of understanding on each face.”
Q. The above line pertains to
1. The father understood why the mother was groaning
2. The peasants thought they knew why the mother was groaning
3. The poet mocks at the lack of understanding of the peasants through a biblical allusion
Find the most suitable combination
(Right Answer: D ; Explanation: the father has nothing to do with this line)
Q. Explain with reference to the context: [Full Marks: 05]
Was he free? Was he happy? The question is absurd:
Had anything been wrong, we should certainly have heard.
Ans. The lines have been taken from the concluding part of the satiric poem “The Unknown Citizen” written by W. H. Auden. The poem gives an account of a ‘common’ citizen’s life from the perspective of an anonymous civil servant in the form of a dramatic monologue.
It may be said that the the questions asked in the quoted lines would not have occurred to the speaker; presumably, the poet inserts them so that we can gain a critical insight into the situation. The citizen for whom the marble monument is built has been reduced to a statistic to be used in graphs and flowcharts by various bureaucratic organisations. The question of his freedom and happiness is absurd to the speaker (the civil servant); but it is the most pressing one to the deceased unknown citizen. To the reader, the lines thus evoke the discrepancy between the two perspectives, thereby exposing the ruthless, dehumanising bureaucracy of a totalitarian government. The system claims to be cognisant of every single matter of the citizen’s life; but, ironically, it is oblivious of the most fundamental elements of his existence: freedom and happiness.
In examination, a type of question is often asked: “Answer with reference to the Context.” To answer this, the examinee needs to write the title of the text (poem/prose work) from which…
Expectations from the Examinee:
- Detailed reading (understanding & analysis) of the texts (cinematic and literary).
- Adequate contextualisation (application) of the texts vis-à-vis their respective historical (socio-politico-cultural) contexts.
- Critique (evaluation) of the issues raised by the texts.