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UPSC English Paper 1 2021

2021 UPSC English Paper-1




Questions Paper Specific Instructions

Please read each of the following instructions carefully before attempting questions:

• There are EIGHT questions divided in Two Sections.
• Candidate has to attempt FIVE questions in all
• Questions no. 1 and 5 are compulsory and out of the remaining, any THREE are to be attempted choosing at least ONE question from each Section.
• The number of marks carried by a question/part is indicated against it.
• Answers must be written in ENGLISH
• Word limit in questions, wherever specified, should be adhered to.
• Attempts of questions shall be counted in sequential order. Unless struck off, attempt of a question shall be counted even if attempted partly. Any page or portion of the page left blank in the Question-cum-Answer Booklet must be clearly struck off.


Q.1) Write short answers of the following. Each question should be answered in about 150 words:

(a) Explain how the theatre in the Elizabethan period was the focal point of the age.

(b) What is the historical and critical value of referring to a disparate group as the Metaphysical Poets?

(c) What is the difference between epic and mock epic?

(d) Discuss Romanticism as a broad movement of thought in philosophy and literature.

(e) How did the Industrial Revolution affect literature in the Eighteenth Century?

Q.2) Answer all of the following:

(a) Nature and society are frequently contrasted in The Tempest. Trace this theme throughout the course of the play.

(b) John Donne’s poetical works are noted for their metaphorical and sensual style. Explain this with reference to the poems prescribed in the syllabus.

(c) Examine Milton’s treatment of Adam and Eve in Paradise Lost, particularly his opinions concerning marriage and gender roles appropriate to each sex.

Q.3) Answer all of the following:

(a) Comment on the role of epic machinery in The Rape of the Lock.

(b) Explain how through his poetry Wordsworth is overtly exploring an intimate correlation between mankind and nature.

(c) Does the speaker in Tennyson’s In Memoriam accept the fact that memory is a selective, filtering experience? What is the role of filtering in the poem?

Q.4) Answer all of the following:

(a) By considering the dramatic effects of King Lear, evaluate the view that despite the appalling suffering, the world of the play is not without hope.

(b) Henrik Ibsen’s A Doll’s House is generally considered a feminist work. Do you agree with this view? Why or why not?

(c) Discuss Wordsworth as a sonneteer with special reference to the sonnets prescribed in the syllabus.


Q.5) Study the following poem and answer all the questions which follow :

See it, the beautiful ball
Poised in the toyshop window,
Rounder than sun or moon.
Is it red? is it blue? is it violet? It is everything we desire, And it does not exist at all.
Non-existent and beautiful? Quite. In the rounding leap of our hands, In the longing hush of air,
We know what that ball could be,
How its blues and reds could spin To a headier violet.
Beautiful in the mind,
Like a word we are waiting to hear, That ball is construed, but lives
Only in flash of flight,
From the instant of release
To the catch in another’s hand.
And the toy withheld is the token Of all who refrain from play- The shopkeepers, the collectors Like Queen Victoria,
In whose adorable doll’s house
Nothing was ever broken.

(a) What are the two toys mentioned in the poem? What do they represent?

(b) How do alliteration, consonance and assonance create movement in the poem?

(c) What is the tone of the poem?

(d) How is the idea of waiting expressed in the poem?

(e) Explain what the poet wants to convey through the allusion to Queen Victoria in the final stanza.

Q.6) Answer all of the following:

(a) Through Gulliver’s Travels Jonathan Swift comments on England’s growing power. Justify.

(b) Elaborate how Jane Austen in Pride and Prejudice depicted a world in all its narrow pride and prejudice with unswerving accuracy and satire.

(c) Discuss Tom Jones as a bildungsroman and a picaresque novel.

Q.7) Answer all of the following:

(a) Explain Dickens’ criticism of the Gradgrind Theory of Education in Hard Times. 15

(b) The conclusion of The Mill on the Floss reiterates the nature-nurture debate in a subtle way. Elaborate.

(c) Hardy makes coincidence an integral part of the structure of his novels and Tess of the d’Urbervilles is no exception to this rule. Elaborate the statement with illustrations from the novel.

Q.8) Answer all of the following:

(a) How does Mark Twain’s use of the Mississippi River as the setting for The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn help define the theme of freedom versus slavery?

(b) How may one apply the pattern of ‘retributive justice’ to the principal characters in Hard Times? Illustrate.

(c) In what ways might knowledge of the social context in which Tess of the d’Urbervilles was written and first published contribute to an understanding of the novel?