Notes by Shilpi Rana
Asking questions or we can say rather good questions is all the more important even than providing answers.Pinto Sir made us acquainted with the types of consequences of the questions raised.He said that asking questions is the first step to become a "scholar".
To explain the art of preparing questions we took THE GENERAL PROLOGUE of Chaucer's THE CANTERBURY TALES and we were asked to prepare questions on it.Some of the questions raised were as follows :
- How is the fourteenth century society portrayed through the characters in THE CANTERBURY TALES?
- Elaborate on the literary devices in THE CANTERBURY TALES.
- Describe the stratification of the societythrough the analysis of the characters in THE CANTERBURY TALES.
- Are Chaucer's characters his own voice?
- Describe the influence of the church in THE CANTERBURY TALES.
- How is the concept of morality depicted in THE CANTERBURY TALES?
- What are the medieval concepts of literature engaged in THE CANTERBURY TALES?
- Is there more positive characters than negative characters in THE CANTERBURY TALES?
- Discuss the concept of eroticism in THE CANTERBURY TALES.
- How is the corruption of the church portrayed in THE CANTERBURY TALES?
After the above questions we had, we were explained what type of questions should be asked as we being postgraduate students.
- Ask questions which can make a long arguement. The answer of the question asked should not be a short and straight away answer, it should have a good content and should go on for pages. We can add "Discuss" or "Elaborate" or "Elucidate" to the questions.
- We must keep the time frame in mind while asking questions. Do not impose concepts which the time does not permit. Ask questions on the literary concepts used during the time and its impact on the then society.
- Ask questions on the literary techniques on the part of the author. What is the research area of the author and how is the work received by society as a whole, by the readers and as well as by us individually. For eg. In which genre of work does THE CANTERBURY TALES fall into - Is it novel, poem, epic, drama, etc.? The answer would be it is a Frame Narrative(where there are many stories within a story) like the stories of PANCHATANTRA, VIKRAM BETAAL , ARABIAN NIGHTS etc.
- Ask questions making an interplay of the characters in the text.
- Raise questions on the debates appeared in the text itself.
- Ask questions on the author's perspective itself.
These were some of the useful tips on how to frame correct questions even in order to perceive the text well.