An Educated Person – BA Alt. English – Questions and Answers

An Educated Person

Harold Nicolson

Questions and Answers (AECC – Block 01)

1. What means and methods do you think one has to adopt in order to be educated truly?
Answer- There can be quite a few ways to determine if a person is truly educated. But, none of these can be said to be free of flaw. Counting the number of years spent in school, or seeing the area of specialization of a person can be quite misleading. Sp, according to the author, a person can be said to be truly educated if they study the particular branch of knowledge that interests them, and then proceed to study other subjects that have some remote, but inseparable link with their core of interest. A gardener can be said to be educated if they acquire knowledge of Botany, aesthetics, floral decoration etc. Such comprehensive and wholistic knowledge of a subject makes the man ‘an educated person’, no matter how trivial his area of interest might be.

2. How does Nicolson explain the idea of liberal education, general knowledge and the notion of literary men?
Answer- Liberal education has undefined contours, no rigid walls, and no restrictions on free thinking. It allows the mind to foray into domains that could be of interest to the learner, even if it does not appear in the syllabus.
General knowledge is also a term that is frequently misunderstood. It is certainly not knowing something about everything, or acquiring specialized skills on a narrow range of subjects. A person can be described as having general knowledge, if they have done in depth of matters that relate to their core area of interest.
Going by similar logic, a literary man will be acknowledged as such if they study literature of varied genres, learn a second or even a third language, and read works of authors who have written books on their main areas of interest.

3. What according to you is the difference between quantity and quality? Give suitable examples.
Answer- A writer can write a large number of books, but can’t grip the mind of the readers because of the bland and sterile nature of the books. Such books are generally termed as ‘pulp fiction’. On the other hand, there are authors whose works have fascinated readers for centuries, triggered revolutions, and brought about reforms in the society. One example is Victor Hugo’s Les Miserables. This book shook the conscience of the society through its depiction of suffering, exploitation and cruelty in French society.

4. Do you think that the traditional education system was more effective that the present one? Elaborate your reasons.
Answer- The traditional education system taught artisanship, simple mathematics, and basic literature. It helped the students to make a living by adopting to certain crafts. On the contrary, the modern education system is much more elaborate, imparts a lot of knowledge, but does not equip the student to earn his livelihood. So, the modern system is much less need-based.

5. What contribution does ‘Humanities’ as a discipline serves the society?
Answer – Humanities provide the elixir of life to the human beings. It enables humans to engage in hobbies, write books, perform arts, and, thus, express the hidden creativity in them. Without ‘humanities’, life would be sterile, mechanical, and insufferably monotonous.

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