IGNOU Assignment Solutions 2024 (MEG-11)- American Novel

meg-11 ignou assignment answer 2024

Course Code: MEG-11/ 2023-24
Max. Marks: 100

  1. Critically examine the chief characteristics of Black American Women’s writings. Illustrate your answer with reference to the novel prescribed in your syllabus.
  2. Discuss the common themes in the novels of Theodore Dreiser. Answer with suitable examples.
  3. Would you agree that Faulkner explores the issue of racial identity through the portrayal of the character of Joe Christmas in Light in August ?
  4. Critically comment on the concept of the ‘‘American Dream’’ in The Great Gatsby.
  5. Discuss the major themes and characters of the novel The Catcher in the Rye.

Click Here for Download Assignment Questions PDF

meg-11 ignou assignment answer 2024

MCQ Gallery

Answer all questions. All questions carry equal marks. (20)

Black American women’s writings encompass a rich and diverse literary tradition that reflects the intersectionality of race, gender, and class in the United States. These writings often exhibit distinctive characteristics shaped by the experiences, struggles, and triumphs of Black women in America. In examining the chief characteristics of Black American women’s writings, it becomes evident that their literature is marked by themes of identity, resistance, resilience, and empowerment. One novel that exemplifies these characteristics is “Beloved” by Toni Morrison.

1. Exploration of Identity

Black American women’s writings often explore complex notions of identity, grappling with questions of selfhood, belonging, and cultural heritage. These writers navigate the complexities of racial and gender identities, challenging conventional stereotypes and reclaiming narratives of empowerment. In “Beloved,” Morrison delves into the psyche of Sethe, an escaped slave haunted by the trauma of her past. Sethe’s journey towards self-discovery and healing serves as a poignant exploration of the complexities of Black female identity in a society rife with systemic oppression and violence.

2. Confrontation of Historical Trauma

Black American women’s writings confront the legacies of slavery, segregation, and institutional racism, shedding light on the enduring impact of historical trauma on Black communities. These writers bear witness to the atrocities of the past while striving to envision a future free from oppression and injustice. In “Beloved,” Morrison vividly portrays the horrors of slavery through the character of Sethe, whose desperate act of infanticide is a harrowing reminder of the dehumanizing effects of chattel slavery. Through Sethe’s story, Morrison confronts readers with the brutal realities of America’s history of slavery and its enduring legacy of trauma.

3. Emphasis on Resilience and Survival

Black American women’s writings celebrate the resilience and strength of Black women in the face of adversity. These writers highlight the ways in which Black women navigate and resist oppression, drawing on their collective resilience to survive and thrive in hostile environments. In “Beloved,” Morrison portrays Sethe as a symbol of maternal resilience, whose love for her children empowers her to endure unimaginable hardships and transcend the traumas of her past. Sethe’s unwavering determination to protect her family embodies the resilience and fortitude of Black women throughout history.

4. Centering of Black Female Voices

Black American women’s writings center the experiences and perspectives of Black women, challenging dominant narratives that marginalize or erase their voices. These writers assert the importance of Black female subjectivity and agency, reclaiming their narratives from a history of silencing and erasure. In “Beloved,” Morrison gives voice to the experiences of Black women who have been historically marginalized and oppressed. Through characters like Sethe, Denver, and Beloved, Morrison amplifies the voices of Black women, allowing them to speak their truths and assert their humanity in a society that seeks to diminish their worth.

5. Commitment to Social Justice and Liberation

Black American women’s writings are often imbued with a commitment to social justice, equality, and liberation. These writers use their literary platforms to critique systems of power and advocate for transformative change. In “Beloved,” Morrison exposes the injustices of slavery and its enduring impact on Black communities, calling attention to the ongoing struggle for freedom and equality. Through her evocative prose and powerful storytelling, Morrison challenges readers to confront the legacy of slavery and actively engage in the fight for social justice.

In conclusion, Black American women’s writings encompass a dynamic and multifaceted literary tradition characterized by themes of identity, resistance, resilience, and empowerment. Through their narratives, these writers confront the complexities of Black female experiences and challenge dominant narratives that seek to marginalize or erase their voices. “Beloved” by Toni Morrison exemplifies these characteristics, offering a profound exploration of Black female identity, historical trauma, resilience, and the pursuit of justice.


Theodore Dreiser, one of the most influential American novelists of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, is known for his realistic portrayals of human ambition, social inequality, and the relentless pursuit of the American Dream. Throughout his body of work, Dreiser explores themes that reflect the complexities of human nature and the challenges of navigating a rapidly changing society. Some common themes found in Dreiser’s novels include the pursuit of success, the corrupting influence of wealth and power, and the struggle against societal expectations.

1. The Pursuit of Success

A central theme in many of Dreiser’s novels is the relentless pursuit of success and its consequences. Dreiser’s characters often strive for material wealth, social status, or personal achievement, only to encounter obstacles and moral dilemmas along the way. In “Sister Carrie,” the protagonist Carrie Meeber seeks fame and fortune in the bustling metropolis of Chicago, but her pursuit of success leads her down a path of moral compromise and disillusionment. Similarly, in “An American Tragedy,” Clyde Griffiths’s ambition for social advancement ultimately culminates in tragedy when he resorts to murder to eliminate an obstacle to his success.

2. The Corrupting Influence of Wealth and Power

Dreiser frequently explores the corrupting influence of wealth and power on individuals and society as a whole. His novels often depict characters who are seduced by the allure of money and social status, only to become morally bankrupt or morally compromised in their pursuit of material gain. In “The Financier,” Frank Cowperwood’s insatiable greed and ambition lead him to engage in unethical business practices and financial fraud, ultimately resulting in his downfall. Similarly, in “Jennie Gerhardt,” the titular character’s relationships with wealthy and powerful men ultimately bring her sorrow and disillusionment.

3. Social Inequality and Class Struggle

Dreiser’s novels frequently address issues of social inequality and the struggle for upward mobility in American society. His characters often come from humble or disadvantaged backgrounds and must contend with the barriers imposed by class prejudice and economic disparity. In “Sister Carrie,” Carrie Meeber’s journey from a small-town girl to a successful actress highlights the challenges faced by individuals striving to improve their social and economic status. Similarly, in “The Titan,” Dreiser explores the clash between labor and capital as the protagonist, Frank Cowperwood, becomes embroiled in labor disputes and struggles to maintain his position of power in the face of worker unrest.

4. The Struggle Against Societal Expectations

Dreiser’s novels often depict characters who rebel against societal expectations and norms, challenging conventional ideas of morality, gender roles, and social propriety. In “Jennie Gerhardt,” the protagonist defies societal conventions by entering into relationships with men outside of marriage and asserting her independence in a male-dominated world. Similarly, in “An American Tragedy,” Clyde Griffiths’s desire for personal freedom and autonomy leads him to reject the constraints of his religious upbringing and pursue his own desires, regardless of the consequences.

5. The Fragility of Human Happiness

Another recurring theme in Dreiser’s novels is the fragility of human happiness and the inevitability of suffering and disappointment. Dreiser’s characters often experience fleeting moments of joy or success, only to be confronted with adversity and tragedy. In “Sister Carrie,” Carrie Meeber’s initial excitement and optimism in the pursuit of her dreams are gradually eroded by disillusionment and despair. Similarly, in “The Financier,” Frank Cowperwood’s quest for wealth and power ultimately leaves him feeling empty and unfulfilled, despite his material success.

In conclusion, Theodore Dreiser’s novels are characterized by their exploration of timeless themes such as the pursuit of success, the corrupting influence of wealth and power, the struggle against societal expectations, social inequality, and the fragility of human happiness. Through his realistic portrayals of human ambition and folly, Dreiser offers profound insights into the complexities of the human condition and the challenges of navigating a rapidly changing world. His works continue to resonate with readers today for their profound exploration of the human experience.


Yes, William Faulkner’s novel “Light in August” undeniably delves into the complex issue of racial identity through the portrayal of the character Joe Christmas. Set in the racially charged atmosphere of the American South, Faulkner’s exploration of Joe Christmas’s racial ambiguity and his search for identity serves as a powerful commentary on the destructive effects of racism and the struggle for self-definition in a society plagued by prejudice and intolerance.

1. Joe Christmas’s Racial Ambiguity

Joe Christmas’s racial identity is a source of confusion and speculation throughout the novel, as he is believed by some characters to be of mixed race. Born to a white father and a mother of ambiguous racial heritage, Joe’s appearance and heritage render him a social outcast, caught between the black and white communities. His ambiguous racial identity makes him a target of discrimination and violence, highlighting the arbitrary and destructive nature of racial categorization in the Jim Crow South.

2. Internalized Racism and Self-Hatred

Joe Christmas’s struggle with racial identity is further complicated by his internalized racism and self-hatred. Growing up in a racially segregated society, Joe internalizes the racist attitudes and stereotypes that surround him, leading to a profound sense of alienation and self-loathing. His inability to reconcile his mixed heritage with societal expectations fuels his sense of isolation and drives him to desperate acts of violence and self-destruction.

3. The Legacy of Slavery and Racial Violence

Faulkner explores the legacy of slavery and racial violence in shaping Joe Christmas’s identity and experiences. The novel delves into Joe’s traumatic childhood, marked by abandonment, abuse, and the specter of racial violence. His experiences as a young boy witnessing the lynching of a black man leave an indelible mark on his psyche, fueling his sense of rage and alienation. Faulkner vividly depicts the pervasive influence of racism and its devastating impact on individuals’ lives, underscoring the inescapable legacy of America’s history of slavery and racial oppression.

4. Society’s Rigid Racial Hierarchies

The portrayal of Joe Christmas’s struggle with racial identity exposes the arbitrary and oppressive nature of society’s rigid racial hierarchies. Faulkner critiques the absurdity of racial categorization and the absurd lengths to which individuals will go to enforce racial boundaries. Joe’s experiences highlight the absurdity and cruelty of racial prejudice, demonstrating how the arbitrary assignment of racial categories can destroy lives and perpetuate systemic injustice.

5. The Search for Identity and Belonging

At its core, Joe Christmas’s story is a poignant exploration of the universal human quest for identity and belonging. Joe’s search for self-definition reflects the broader struggle of individuals to find their place in a world defined by rigid social hierarchies and arbitrary classifications. Faulkner’s portrayal of Joe Christmas’s search for identity serves as a powerful indictment of the destructive effects of racism and the human cost of societal prejudice and intolerance.

In conclusion, William Faulkner’s novel “Light in August” offers a searing exploration of the issue of racial identity through the portrayal of the character Joe Christmas. Through Joe’s experiences, Faulkner exposes the arbitrary and destructive nature of racial categorization, the legacy of slavery and racial violence, and the universal human quest for identity and belonging. Faulkner’s portrayal of Joe Christmas’s struggle with racial identity remains as relevant and resonant today as it was when the novel was first published, serving as a powerful reminder of the enduring impact of racism on individuals and society.


In F. Scott Fitzgerald’s seminal novel “The Great Gatsby,” the concept of the “American Dream” is both a central theme and a critical commentary on the disillusionment and moral decay of the Jazz Age. Through the lives of its characters, Fitzgerald explores the myth of the American Dream, depicting the pursuit of wealth, success, and social status as ultimately hollow and devoid of meaning. While the characters in the novel strive to achieve the material trappings of the American Dream, their pursuit ultimately leads to tragedy, highlighting the emptiness and moral corruption at the heart of the American Dream.

1. The Illusion of Wealth and Success

In “The Great Gatsby,” the American Dream is closely associated with the pursuit of wealth and social status, particularly among the characters of Jay Gatsby and Tom Buchanan. Gatsby, the epitome of the self-made man, amasses a vast fortune through dubious means in pursuit of his idealized vision of success and the love of Daisy Buchanan. Similarly, Tom Buchanan, born into old money, represents the entrenched aristocracy that sees wealth and social status as entitlements rather than achievements. However, Fitzgerald portrays the pursuit of wealth and success as an illusion, as characters like Gatsby and Tom ultimately find themselves unfulfilled and morally bankrupt despite their material riches.

2. The Corruption of the American Dream

Fitzgerald critiques the corruption of the American Dream through the moral decay and superficiality of the characters in the novel. The pursuit of wealth and social status leads to moral compromise, deception, and betrayal, as characters sacrifice their integrity and values in pursuit of their ambitions. Gatsby’s illicit activities, Tom’s infidelity, and Daisy’s shallowness all serve as indictments of a society where materialism and hedonism reign supreme. Fitzgerald suggests that the relentless pursuit of the American Dream has corrupted the moral fabric of society, leaving its inhabitants spiritually bankrupt and disillusioned.

3. The Elusiveness of Happiness and Fulfillment

Despite their outward success, the characters in “The Great Gatsby” are ultimately disillusioned and dissatisfied, highlighting the elusiveness of happiness and fulfillment in the pursuit of the American Dream. Gatsby’s extravagant parties, lavish lifestyle, and obsessive pursuit of Daisy fail to bring him the happiness and fulfillment he seeks. Similarly, Daisy’s privileged existence leaves her feeling trapped and unfulfilled, as she grapples with the emptiness of her life. Fitzgerald suggests that the pursuit of the American Dream is ultimately a futile endeavor, as true happiness and fulfillment cannot be found in material wealth or social status.

4. The Symbolism of the Green Light

The green light at the end of Daisy’s dock serves as a powerful symbol of the American Dream and Gatsby’s unattainable desires. Gatsby associates the green light with his romantic idealization of Daisy and his aspirations for success and happiness. However, the green light also represents the illusory nature of the American Dream, as Gatsby’s pursuit of Daisy and his dreams ultimately leads to tragedy and disillusionment. The green light symbolizes the unreachable aspirations and unattainable dreams that define the pursuit of the American Dream in the novel.

5. The Tragedy of the American Dream

In “The Great Gatsby,” Fitzgerald presents the pursuit of the American Dream as a tragic and ultimately futile endeavor. The characters’ relentless pursuit of wealth, success, and social status leads to moral decay, disillusionment, and ultimately, tragedy. Gatsby’s death, Tom and Daisy’s moral bankruptcy, and Nick Carraway’s disillusionment serve as poignant reminders of the destructive consequences of the American Dream. Fitzgerald suggests that the pursuit of material wealth and social status is incompatible with the ideals of happiness, fulfillment, and moral integrity, ultimately leading to the downfall of those who seek it.

In conclusion, F. Scott Fitzgerald’s “The Great Gatsby” offers a critical commentary on the concept of the American Dream, portraying it as an illusion that leads to moral decay, disillusionment, and tragedy. Through the lives of its characters, Fitzgerald explores the emptiness and moral corruption at the heart of the American Dream, suggesting that true happiness and fulfillment cannot be found in material wealth or social status. “The Great Gatsby” serves as a cautionary tale about the dangers of pursuing the American Dream at the expense of one’s integrity, values, and humanity.


“The Catcher in the Rye,” written by J.D. Salinger, is a classic coming-of-age novel that explores the themes of alienation, identity, innocence, and the loss of innocence. Through the perspective of its protagonist, Holden Caulfield, the novel delves into the complexities of adolescence and the struggle to navigate the transition from childhood to adulthood. Here, we will discuss the major themes and characters of “The Catcher in the Rye.”

1. Alienation

One of the central themes of the novel is alienation, as Holden Caulfield feels disconnected and estranged from the world around him. Holden struggles to connect with others, feeling isolated and disillusioned by the phoniness he perceives in society. His alienation is exacerbated by the loss of his younger brother, Allie, whose death haunts him and further separates him from those around him. Throughout the novel, Holden’s sense of alienation leads him to retreat into a world of cynicism and disillusionment, as he searches for authenticity and meaning amidst the superficiality of adult society.

2. Identity

Identity is another major theme in the novel, as Holden grapples with questions of selfhood and authenticity. Holden struggles to define himself in relation to the world around him, feeling a sense of identity crisis as he grapples with the pressures and expectations of society. He rejects the conformity and phoniness he sees in others, instead longing for authenticity and individuality. Throughout the novel, Holden’s quest for identity is a central driving force, as he searches for meaning and purpose amidst the chaos and confusion of adolescence.

3. Innocence and the Loss of Innocence

In “The Catcher in the Rye,” innocence and the loss of innocence are recurring motifs that permeate the narrative. Holden is acutely aware of the fragility of innocence, both in himself and in others, and he longs to protect the innocence of children from the corrupting influences of adulthood. Holden’s preoccupation with innocence is tied to his desire to preserve the purity and authenticity he associates with childhood. However, as the novel progresses, Holden comes to realize that innocence cannot be preserved indefinitely, as he grapples with the realities of adulthood and the inevitable loss of innocence that comes with growing up.

4. Holden Caulfield

Holden Caulfield is the novel’s protagonist and narrator, whose voice and perspective drive the narrative forward. Holden is a complex and conflicted character, whose alienation, cynicism, and vulnerability are palpable throughout the novel. Despite his bravado and cynicism, Holden is deeply sensitive and empathetic, longing for connection and authenticity in a world he sees as superficial and phony. Holden’s journey throughout the novel is one of self-discovery and growth, as he grapples with the complexities of adolescence and the challenges of navigating the transition to adulthood.

5. Supporting Characters

“The Catcher in the Rye” features a cast of memorable supporting characters who serve to highlight different aspects of Holden’s personality and worldview. Characters such as Phoebe, Holden’s younger sister, represent innocence and purity, serving as a source of comfort and connection for Holden amidst his feelings of alienation. Other characters, such as Sally Hayes, Carl Luce, and Mr. Antolini, serve as foils to Holden, highlighting different perspectives on adulthood, identity, and society.

In conclusion, “The Catcher in the Rye” is a timeless novel that explores the themes of alienation, identity, innocence, and the loss of innocence through the perspective of its protagonist, Holden Caulfield. Through Holden’s journey of self-discovery and growth, J.D. Salinger offers a poignant exploration of adolescence and the complexities of navigating the transition to adulthood. The novel’s enduring relevance lies in its universal themes and its ability to resonate with readers of all generations.

Also Read:

Scroll to Top