2023 JUPEB Literature Questions & Answers

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In “Murder in the Cathedral,” T.S. Eliot incorporates the use of a chorus to provide commentary, insight, and reflection on the events unfolding in the play. The chorus serves as a collective voice representing the people of Canterbury, expressing their fears, doubts, and hopes. Through their choral interludes, Eliot explores themes of faith, martyrdom, and the tension between individual conscience and political power.

One of the primary functions of the chorus is to offer a broader perspective on the central conflict. They act as a bridge between the audience and the characters, providing context and interpretation. Through their poetic language, they delve into philosophical contemplations, moral dilemmas, and societal implications. The chorus allows for a deeper exploration of the themes and ideas presented in the play.

The chorus also serves as a reflection of the collective consciousness of the people. Their emotions and thoughts mirror those of the community they represent. They express their concerns about Thomas Becket’s return to Canterbury and his confrontations with King Henry II. The chorus embodies the anxieties and hopes of a society torn between loyalty to their religious leader and allegiance to their king.

Moreover, the chorus acts as a source of guidance and wisdom. They offer advice to Thomas Becket, warning him of the consequences that await him if he continues to challenge King Henry’s authority. Their words carry weight and serve as a moral compass for both Becket and the audience.

The choral interludes also provide moments of reflection and introspection. They allow for pauses in the action, giving time for contemplation on significant events or decisions. The chorus reflects on topics such as martyrdom, sacrifice, and divine providence. These moments provide depth to the characters’ motivations and illuminate the moral dilemmas they face.

Additionally, Eliot uses the chorus to create a sense of ritual and ceremony. The choral passages are often structured in a repetitive and rhythmic manner, resembling liturgical chants. This enhances the religious atmosphere of the play and emphasizes its themes of faith and devotion.

In conclusion, the use of the chorus in T.S. Eliot’s “Murder in the Cathedral” serves multiple purposes. It offers a broader perspective on the central conflict, reflects the collective consciousness of the people, provides guidance and wisdom, and creates moments of reflection and introspection. Through their poetic language and rhythmic structure, the chorus adds depth and complexity to the play’s narrative structure while exploring themes of faith, martyrdom, and the tension between individual conscience and political power.


“Black Woman” is indeed a powerful Negritude poem that celebrates the beauty and strength of Black women, while also exploring themes of identity, heritage, and cultural pride. Let’s break it down:

1. Embracing African Identity: The poem highlights the importance of embracing African identity and heritage. It pays homage to the ancestral roots and cultural richness of Black women, emphasizing their connection to Africa and their role in preserving its traditions.

2. Celebration of Physical Beauty: Senghor exalts the physical beauty of Black women, describing their dark skin, voluptuous features, and graceful movements. Through vivid imagery and sensual language, he celebrates their unique aesthetics and challenges Eurocentric beauty standards.

3. Symbolism of Nature: The poem frequently uses natural imagery to depict the beauty and strength of Black women. References to rivers, trees, and the earth symbolize their resilience, rootedness, and life-giving qualities, drawing a parallel between nature and the African woman.

4. Empowerment and Liberation: “Black Woman” is a declaration of empowerment and liberation. It asserts the importance of self-acceptance, self-love, and pride in one’s cultural heritage, emphasizing that Black women have the power to shape their own narratives and reclaim their identities.

5. Rhythmic and Musical Language: Senghor’s use of rhythmic and musical language reflects the oral tradition of African cultures. The poem’s cadence and repetitions create a melodic quality, echoing the rhythms of African music and capturing the essence of Negritude.

“Black Woman” is a powerful ode to Black women, celebrating their beauty, strength, and cultural significance in a world that often marginalizes and overlooks them. It embodies the spirit of Negritude, a literary and cultural movement that aimed to reclaim African identity and challenge colonial narratives.

In “My Last Duchess,” Browning uses a dramatic monologue to reveal the speaker, the Duke, and his character. The poem is written in the form of a conversation between the Duke and an envoy who has come to negotiate the Duke’s marriage to another woman. Through the Duke’s words and actions, the reader is able to gain insight into his character and motivations.

The Duke’s words reveal his arrogance, possessiveness, and jealousy. He speaks of his last duchess in a way that suggests he was unhappy with her behavior and that he may have had her killed. The fact that he keeps her portrait behind a curtain and only reveals it to the envoy suggests that he is trying to control how the envoy sees him and his past actions.

The dramatic monologue is effective in revealing the Duke’s character because it allows the reader to see the world through his eyes. The poem is written in the first person, so the reader is able to hear the Duke’s thoughts and feelings directly. This creates a sense of intimacy and immediacy that would not be possible in a different form of narration.

Overall, the veracity of the statement that the dramatic monologue unveils the speaker is true in the case of “My Last Duchess.” The form of the poem allows the reader to gain insight into the Duke’s character and motivations through his own words and actions.

(a) The poem points out the transient nature of humanity, comparing it to various natural phenomena that are fleeting and temporary. It suggests that human life is short-lived and easily forgotten.

(b) The poet employs various devices to emphasize the transience of human life. He uses similes to compare humanity to falling stars, the flight of eagles, the fresh spring’s gaudy hue, silver drops of morning dew, a wind that chafes the flood, and bubbles on water. These similes create vivid images in the reader’s mind and highlight the fleeting nature of human existence.

Additionally, the poet uses personification when he refers to man’s “borrowed light” being called in and paid to night. This personification suggests that humans are merely temporary holders of a borrowed light (life) that is destined to be extinguished.

Furthermore, the poem utilizes a simple and direct language and structure, with each stanza presenting a different natural phenomenon and its parallel to human life. This straightforward approach enhances the impact of the poet’s message and allows for a clear and concise delivery of his ideas.

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