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Reading Comprehension

  1. Furthermore, insofar as any conclusion about its author can be drawn from five or six plays attributed to him, the Wakefield Master is without exception considered to be a man of sharp contemporary observation. He was, probably clerically educated, as indicated by his Latin and music, his Biblical and patristic lore. Even today he is remembered for his his quick sympathy for the oppressed and forgotten man, his sharp eye for character, a ready ear for colloquial, vernacular turns of speech and a humor alternately rude and boisterous, coarse and happy. Therefore in spite of his conscious artistry as can be seen in his feeling for intricate metrical and stanza forms, he is regarded as a kind of medieval Steinbeck, indignantly angry at, uncompromisingly and even brutally realistic in presenting the plight of the agricultural poor.

    It is now fairly accepted to regard the play as a kind of ultimate point in the secularization of the medieval drama. Therefore more stress has been laid on it as depicting realistically humble manners and pastoral life in the bleak of the west riding of Yorkshire on a typically cold night of December 24th. After what are often regarded as almost ''documentaries'' given in the three successive monologues of the three shepherds, critics go on to affirm that the realism is then intensified into a burlesque mock-treatment of the Nativity. Finally as a sort of epilogue or after-thought in deference to the Biblical origins of the materials, the play slides back into an atavistic mood of early innocent reverence. In actuality, the final scene is the culminating scene and also the raison d’etre of the introductory ''realism.''

    Superficially the present play supports the conventional view of its mood of secular realism. At the same time, the ''realism'' of the Wakefield Master is of a paradoxical turn. His wide knowledge of people, as well as books indicates no cloistered contemplative but one in close relation to his times. Still, that life was after all a predominantly religious one, a time which never neglected the belief that man was a rebellious and sinful creature in need of redemption . So deeply (one can hardly say ''naively'' of so sophisticated a writer) and implicitly religious is the Master that he is less able (or less willing) to present actual history realistically than is the author of the Brome Abraham and Isaac. His historical sense is even less realistic than that of Chaucer who just a few years before had done for his own time ''costume romances,'' such as The Knight's Tele, Troilus and Cressida, etc. Furthermore, used highly romantic materials, which could excuse his taking liberties with history.

    1. Of the following statements, which is not true of Wakefield Master?
      1. He and Chaucer were contemporaries.
      2. Wakefield Master is remembered as having written five or six realistic plays.
      3. His plays realistically portray the plight of the country folk of his day
      4. His writing was similar to that of John Steinbeck.
      5. He was an accomplished artist.

      Ans : D

    2. The word 'patristic' in the first paragraph is used to mean:
      1. patriotic
      2. superstitious
      3. folk
      4. relating to the Christian Fathers
      5. realistic

      Ans : D

    3. The statement about the ''secularization of the medieval drama'' (opening sentence of the second paragraph) refers to the
      1. Introduction of religious themes in the early days
      2. Presentation of erudite material
      3. Use of contemporary materials
      4. Return to early innocent reverence at the end of the play
      5. Introduction of mundane matters in religious plays

      Ans : E

    4. From the following what would the writer be expected to do in the subsequent paragraphs:
      1. Make a justification for his comparison with Steinbeck
      2. Put forth a view point, which would take up the thought of the second paragraph
      3. Point out the anachronisms in the play
      4. Discuss the works of Chaucer
      5. Talk about the lack of realism in the works of the Wakefield Master.

      Ans : B

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