Explain the tug-of-war between generational duty and the pursuit of one’s “inclinations” in Robinson’s life?

2.     Explain the tug-of-war between generational duty and the pursuit of one’s “inclinations” in Robinson’s life? What sort of larger societal transformation does it dramatize? How does this generational divide play out in Austen’s Pride and Prejudice?

My notes for Austen’s generational divide: In Pride and Prejudice, there is a sense of a new generational divide, comparing the duty of older generation vs younger generation. In lecture, we learned that there is a lack of wisdom coming from the parents to the daughters. Mrs. Bennet is trying to marry her daughters off to wealthy men but she is not intelligent and is too loud. While Mr. Bennet is a good fellow but too unconcerned, too imprudent (pgs. 292, 293). He is happy to be a spectator to life, as he is amused by the comedy of matters of life, including snagging a good men for his daughters. Although, Mr. Bennet prefers to sit back and watch this play out, not help his daughters. Additionally, There is a generational breakdown, where the younger generation feeling like they are being let down or betrayed by the older generation. The older generation is not handing down support for the younger generation, a sort of neglect (pg 206).

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7.     What is an accomplished person according to Jane Austen? What can we infer is the true character flaw in her view?

9.     What is modern man’s cardinal sin according to Tolstoy? Contrast with Question #7. Contrast Austen’s notion of selfhood and Tolstoy’s.

10.  In what sense does the moral of Tolstoy’s story retain elements of Robinsonesque individualism? In what other sense does it reject them?

Sample Solution

  1. The tug-of-war between generational duty and the pursuit of one’s “inclinations” in Robinson’s life can be seen as a conflict between societal expectations and personal desires. Robinson is torn between fulfilling his duty towards his family, particularly his father, and following his own inclinations or desires. His father expects him to take over the family business and continue the established family legacy, while Robinson yearns for adventure and exploration.

This larger societal transformation dramatizes the changing values and expectations of different generations. It highlights the tension between tradition and progress, duty and freedom, and the clash of old and new ways of thinking. Robinson’s struggle reflects the evolving social norms and expectations of his time, where younger generations were increasingly seeking individual autonomy and personal fulfillment, challenging the rigid expectations and constraints of their elders.

In Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, the generational divide is also evident in the contrasting attitudes and behaviors of the older and younger characters. Mrs. Bennet represents the older generation’s obsession with securing advantageous marriages for her daughters to ensure their financial security and social status. Mr. Bennet, on the other hand, represents the detachment and indifference of the older generation towards actively participating in the affairs of their children’s lives.

This generational divide is portrayed as a source of tension and conflict in the novel, where the younger characters, particularly Elizabeth Bennet, feel let down and betrayed by the older generation’s lack of support and guidance. Austen critiques the flaws in the older generation’s approach to parenting and societal expectations, highlighting the need for a more balanced and enlightened approach that considers individual inclinations and desires.

  1. According to Jane Austen, an accomplished person is not solely defined by wealth, social status, or superficial accomplishments, but by a combination of qualities such as intelligence, moral integrity, good character, and refined manners. Austen emphasizes the importance of cultivating inner virtues, self-improvement, and self-awareness, rather than solely focusing on external achievements.

The true character flaw, in Austen’s view, is the lack of self-awareness, humility, and moral integrity. Characters who are superficial, vain, self-centered, or deceitful are portrayed as flawed, regardless of their external accomplishments. Austen emphasizes the importance of genuine goodness and moral values as the foundation of true accomplishment and selfhood.

  1. According to Tolstoy, modern man’s cardinal sin is his pursuit of selfish desires, materialism, and hedonism, which leads to moral decay, emptiness, and a sense of purposelessness. Tolstoy critiques the materialistic and self-centered nature of modern society, where individuals are driven by selfish desires and pleasures, leading to moral degradation and loss of meaning in life.

In contrast, Austen’s notion of selfhood is rooted in moral integrity, self-awareness, and self-improvement. She emphasizes the importance of cultivating inner virtues, empathy, and selflessness, rather than solely pursuing self-interests. Austen’s view of selfhood is more focused on genuine goodness, moral values, and human connections, whereas Tolstoy’s critique is more focused on the detrimental effects of modern materialism and selfishness.

  1. The moral of Tolstoy’s story retains elements of Robinsonesque individualism in the sense that it highlights the importance of personal choices, accountability, and the consequences of one’s actions. Tolstoy’s protagonist often faces the consequences of his own actions, which reflect his individual agency and responsibility. However, Tolstoy also rejects Robinsonesque individualism in the sense that he emphasizes the interconnectedness of individuals and the moral responsibilities towards others.

Tolstoy’s story emphasizes the importance of selflessness, empathy, and moral values, which go beyond individual desires and interests. It highlights the interconnectedness of…GET A COMPREHENSIVE ANSWER HERE



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