At the time Jane Austen’s novels were published – between 1811 and 1818 – English literature was not part of any academic curriculum. In addition, fiction was under strenuous attack. Certain religious and political groups felt novels had the power to make so-called immoral characters so interesting that young readers would identify with them; these groups also considered novels to be of little practical use. Even Coleridge, certainly no literary reactionary, spoke for many when the asserted that “novel-reading occasions the destruction of the mind’s powers.”
These attitudes towards novels help explain why Austen received little attention from early nineteenth-century literary cities. (In any case a novelist published anonymously, as Austen was, would not be likely to receive much critical attention.) The literary response that was accorded to her, however, was often as incisive as twentieth-century criticism. In his attack in 1816 on novelistic portrayals “outside of ordinary experience,” for example. Scott made an insightful remark about the merits of Austen’s fiction.
Her novels, wrote Scott, “present to the reader an accurate and exact picture of ordinary everyday people and places, reminiscent of seventeenth-century Flemish painting.” Scott did not use the word ‘realism’, but he undoubtedly used a standard of realistic probability in judging novels. The critic Whately did not use the word ‘realism’, either, but he expressed agreement with Scott’s evaluation, and went on to suggest the possibilities for moral instruction in what we have called Austen’s ‘realistic method’ her characters, wrote Whately, are persuasive agents for moral truth since they are ordinary persons “so clearly evoked that we feel an interest in their fate as if it were our own.” Moral instruction, explained Whately, is more likely to be effective when conveyed through recongnizably human and interesting characters than when imparted by a sermonizing narrator. Whitely especially praised Austen’s ability to create character who “mingle goodness and villainy, weakness and virtue, as in life they are always mingled. “Whitely concluded his remarks by comparing Austen’s art of characterization to Dickens’, starting his preference for Austen’s.
Yet, the response of nineteenth-century literary critics to Austen was not always so laudatory, and often anticipated the reservations of twentieth-century literary critics. An example of such a response was Lewes complaint in 1859 that Austen’s range of subject and characters was too narrow. Praising her verisimilitude, Lewes added that, nonetheless her focus was too often only upon the unlofty and the commonplace. (Twentieth-century Marxists, on the other hand, were to complain about what they saw as her exclusive emphasis on a lofty upper middle class.) In any case having being rescued by literary critics from neglect and indeed gradually lionized by them, Austen steadily reached, by the mid-nineteenth century, the enviable pinnacle of being considered controversial.
It can be inferred from the passage that Whately found Dickens’ characters to be
The public distribution system, which provides food at low prices, is a subject of vital concern. There is a growing realization that thought Pakistan has enough food to feed its masses three square meals a day, the monster of starvation and food insecurity continues to haunt the poor in our country.
Increasing the purchasing power of the poor through providing productive employment leading to rising income, and thus good standard of living is the ultimate objective of public policy. However, till then, there is a need to provide assured supply of food through a restructured more efficient and decentralized public distribution system (PDS).
Although the PDS is extensive – it is one of the largest such systems in the world – it has yet to reach the rural poor and the far off places. It remains an urban phenomenon, with the majority of the rural poor still out of its reach due to lack of economic and physical access. The poorest in the cities and the migrants are left out, for they generally do not possess ration cards. The allocation of PDS supplies in big cities is larger than in rural areas. In view of such deficiencies in the system, the PDS urgently needs to be streamlined. In addition, considering the large food grains production combined with food subsidy on one hand and the continuing slow starvation and dismal poverty of the rural population on the other, there is a strong case for making PDS target group oriented.
The growing salaried class is provided job security, regular income, and percent insulation against inflation. These gains of development have not percolated down to the vast majority of our working population. If one compares only dearness allowance to the employees in public and private sector and looks at its growth in the past few years, the rising food subsidy is insignificant to the point of inequity. The food subsidy is a kind of D.A. to the poor, the self-employed and those in the unorganized sector of the economy. However, what is most unfortunate is that out of the large budget of the so – called food subsidy, the major part of it is administrative cost and wastages. A small portion of the above budget goes to the real consumer and an even lesser portion to the poor who are in real need.
It is true that subsidies should not become a permanent feature except for the destitute, disabled widows and the old. It is also true that subsidies often create a psychology of dependence and hence is habit – forming, killing the general initiative of the people. By making PDS target group oriented, not only the poorest and neediest would be reached without additional cost, but it will actually cut overall costs incurred on large cities and for better off localities. When the food and food subsidy are limited the rural and urban poor should have the priority in the PDS supplies. The PDS should be closely linked with programs of employment generation and nutrition improvement.
What, according the passage, would be the outcome of making the PDS target group oriented?