Friday, August 18, 2023

Wind by Subramania Bharati class 9 English NCERT Solutions

Exploring Subramania Bharati's Poetic Masterpiece: Wind

Complete Poem Text

Wind, come softly.
Don’t break the shutters of the windows.
Don’t scatter the papers.
Don’t throw down the books on the shelf.
There, look what you did — you threw them all down.
You tore the pages of the books.
You brought rain again.
You’re very clever at poking fun at weaklings.
Frail crumbling houses, crumbling doors, crumbling rafters,
crumbling wood, crumbling bodies, crumbling lives,
crumbling hearts —
the wind god winnows and crushes them all.
He won’t do what you tell him.
So, come, let’s build strong homes,
Let’s joint the doors firmly.
Practise to firm the body.
Make the heart steadfast.
Do this, and the wind will be friends with us.
The wind blows out weak fires.
He makes strong fires roar and flourish.
His friendship is good.
We praise him every day.


Subramania Bharati, a celebrated Tamil poet and nationalist, left an indelible mark on Indian literature with his profound verses that eloquently captured the spirit of his time. In this blog post, we delve into one of his timeless poems, translated from Tamil by A.K. Ramanujan. The poem, simply titled "Wind," speaks of the wind's power and its relationship with humanity, weaving a tapestry of themes and emotions that continue to resonate with readers.

Summary of the Poem

In "Wind," the poet addresses the wind as if having a conversation with a sentient force of nature. The poet implores the wind to approach gently, urging it not to wreak havoc on windows, papers, or books. The wind's playful actions are highlighted, as it disrupts and scatters objects, tearing pages and bringing rain. The wind is portrayed as a whimsical entity that mocks the vulnerable and exploits their weaknesses.

The destructive nature of the wind is further depicted as it ravages everything in its path: houses, doors, rafters, wood, bodies, lives, and hearts. The poet paints a vivid picture of decay and vulnerability, illustrating the wind's power to winnow and crush. Despite the poet's entreaties, the wind remains untamed, refusing to adhere to human commands.

To counter the wind's destructive tendencies, the poet suggests a solution: building strong homes, securing doors, strengthening the body, and fortifying the heart. By doing so, the poet believes that humanity can earn the wind's friendship. The wind is portrayed as a discerning force that distinguishes between weak and strong fires. It extinguishes feeble flames while nurturing robust ones, symbolizing its role in testing and fortifying the human spirit.

The poem concludes with a sentiment of praise for the wind, acknowledging its might and acknowledging the intricate relationship between humans and nature.

Various Themes in the Poem

  1. Power of Nature: The poem underscores the uncontrollable power of nature, represented by the wind, which can both nurture and destroy.
  2. Fragility and Strength: The contrast between fragile and robust elements — weak structures versus fortified homes, feeble fires versus strong blazes — reflects the themes of vulnerability and resilience.
  3. Human-Nature Connection: The poem explores the intricate relationship between humans and nature, emphasizing the need to coexist harmoniously and earn nature's favor.
  4. Symbolism: The wind serves as a symbolic representation of challenges and adversities in life that must be confronted and overcome.

Analysis of the Poem

"Wind" by Subramania Bharati is a vivid portrayal of nature's capriciousness and the delicate balance between human strength and vulnerability. The wind's actions serve as a metaphor for the unpredictable trials of life, emphasizing the importance of fortitude and adaptability. The poet's call to build strong homes and resilient hearts suggests that while nature cannot be controlled, human response and preparedness can mitigate its impact.

The poem's tone evolves from a plea to a declaration of human agency. It conveys the idea that humans can earn the wind's respect by displaying strength and resolve. The contrast between the wind's treatment of weak fires and strong fires underscores the theme of growth through adversity. Just as the wind strengthens strong fires, challenges in life can foster personal growth and resilience.

Additionally, the poem's praise for the wind illustrates a sense of acceptance and acknowledgement of nature's supremacy. It captures the humility and awe that humans experience in the face of nature's power, reinforcing the interconnectedness of all living things.

In conclusion, "Wind" is a lyrical masterpiece that encapsulates the complexities of human existence, the unpredictable nature of life's challenges, and the potential for growth through resilience. Subramania Bharati's poetic brilliance shines through as he weaves a tapestry of words that resonates with readers across generations, inviting them to contemplate their relationship with the world around them and find strength in the face of adversity.

Thinking about the Poem

Q1. What are the things the wind does in the first stanza?

In the first stanza, the wind blows violently, breaks the shutters of the windows, scatters the papers, throws down the books on the shelf, tears the pages of the book, brings rain, pokes fun at the weaklings and destroys everything in its path.

Q2.  Have you seen anybody winnow grain at home or in a paddy field? What is the word in your language for winnowing? What do people use for winnowing? (Give the words in your language,
if you know them.)

ANSWER: Yes, I have seen the winnowing process in my village. In my mother tongue (Hindi) it is called "Osana" or "Phatakna".(अनाज पछारना; फटकना, ओसाना)

Q3. What does the poet say the wind god winnows?

ANSWER: The poet suggests that the wind god winnows and crushes frail and decaying aspects of existence, including houses, doors, rafters, wood, bodies, lives, and hearts. This imagery emphasises the wind's power to test and eliminate vulnerabilities, leaving behind only the sturdy and resilient.

Q4. What should we do to make friends with the wind?

ANSWER: To make friends with the wind, the poet advises building strong homes, securing doors firmly, strengthening the body, and steadying the heart. By demonstrating resilience and strength, humans can earn the wind's favour and protection.

Q5.  What do the last four lines of the poem mean to you?

ANSWER: The last four lines of the poem express gratitude and reverence for the wind's actions. They signify an acknowledgement of the wind's dual nature — its ability to extinguish weak fires while nurturing and amplifying strong ones. The lines convey an understanding of the wind's role in shaping and testing life's challenges.

Q6. How does the poet speak to the wind — in anger or with humour? You must also have seen or heard of the wind “crumbling lives”. What is your response to this? Is it like the poets's?

ANSWER: The poet speaks to the wind with a mix of both awe and respect. There's a hint of humor in the tone, as the poet playfully scolds the wind for its mischievous behavior. Regarding "crumbling lives," both the poet and I recognize the wind as a metaphor for adversity and challenges that can lead to the breakdown of human lives and spirits. While the poet's response reflects a call to fortify oneself against life's trials, my response aligns with the understanding that challenges, though difficult, can lead to growth and resilience.

Extra Questions

Q1. What are various poetic/literary devices used in the poem?

These are the poetic devices used in the poem "Wind" by Subramania Bharati:
  1. Personification: The wind is addressed directly and attributed with human-like qualities, making it a central character in the poem.

  2. Irony: The speaker's statements often carry an ironic tone, where the literal meaning is contradicted by the actual situation, creating a subtle tension.

  3. Imagery: Vivid and sensory descriptions of the wind's actions, like breaking shutters, scattering papers, tearing pages, and crumbling objects, create a strong visual and emotional impact.

  4. Metaphor: The wind is metaphorically used to represent challenges and adversity in life, emphasising its power to disrupt and affect various aspects of existence.

  5. Repetition: The repetition of the word "crumbling" emphasises the gradual destruction caused by the wind, emphasizing its impact on different elements.

  6. Alliteration: The repetition of consonant sounds, such as "frail crumbling," "crumbling doors," and "crumbling rafters," creates a rhythmic and melodic quality in the poem.

  7. Contrast: The poem contrasts weak and strong, frail and firm elements, highlighting the theme of vulnerability and strength.

  8. Symbolism: The wind serves as a symbol for larger forces that shape human lives, emphasising the broader connections between nature and existence.

  9. Enjambment: Lines flow into one another without a pause, creating a sense of continuity and a natural rhythm.

  10. Anaphora: The repetition of the phrase "You" at the beginning of multiple lines emphasises the wind's actions and impact.

  11. Oxymoron: Contradictory terms like "frail crumbling" and "crumbling hearts" create a contrast and evoke deeper thought about vulnerability and resilience.

  12. Tone: The poem's tone shifts from a scolding and pleading tone to a more accepting and reverent tone, conveying a range of emotions.

10 MCQs based on the poem Wind

1. What is the primary request the poet makes to the wind in the poem? 
a) To blow strongly 
b) To come softly 
c) To bring rain 
d) To scatter papers

2. In the poem, the wind is described as being clever at poking fun at: 

a) Strong fires

b) Weaklings

c) Rain clouds

d) The poet

3. What does the wind "winnow and crush" according to the poem? 

a) Strong fires 

b) Books on the shelf 

c) Weaklings and decaying elements 

d) Rain clouds

4. The poet suggests that to make friends with the wind, one should: 

a) Challenge it 

b) Build strong homes and fortify the heart 

c) Ignore it 

d) Avoid it

5. What does the wind do to weak fires according to the poem? 

a) Strengthens and nurtures them 

b) Extinguishes them 

c) Ignites them further 

d) Creates a whirlwind

6. The wind's actions on weak structures and fires are used as metaphors for: 

a) Political turmoil 

b) Emotional strength 

c) Adversities in life 

d) Joyful celebrations

7. The poet's tone towards the wind changes from: 

a) Reverence to anger 

b) Praise to indifference 

c) Playfulness to acceptance 

d) Fear to admiration

8. What is the effect of the wind on papers and books in the poem? 

a) It organizes them neatly 

b) It scatters and tears them 

c) It brings rain on them 

d) It blows them away completely

9. The wind is described as mocking which of the following in the poem? 

a) The poet's pleas 

b) Strong fires 

c) Rain clouds 

d) Weak structures

10. What does the poet emphasise as a way to counter the wind's destructive tendencies? 

a) Hiding from the wind 

b) Building weak structures 

c) Strengthening and fortifying oneself 

d) Challenging the wind's power


  1. b) To come softly
  2. b) Weaklings
  3. c) Weaklings and decaying elements
  4. b) Build strong homes and fortify the heart
  5. b) Extinguishes them
  6. c) Adversities in life
  7. c) Playfulness to acceptance
  8. b) It scatters and tears them
  9. d) Weak structures
  10. c) Strengthening and fortifying oneself 

Monday, August 14, 2023

15 multiple-choice questions (MCQs) based on the poem "Father to Son" by Elizabeth Jennings:

Following are 15 multiple-choice questions (MCQs) based on the poem "Father to Son" by Elizabeth Jennings:

1. What is the central theme of "Father to Son"?

   a) The joys of parenthood

   b) The complexities of family relationships

   c) The challenges of school life

   d) The beauty of nature

2. What does the metaphor of "planting a seed" represent in the poem?

   a) The father's love for gardening

   b) The father's attempt to shape his son's growth

   c) The son's interest in farming

   d) The importance of environmental conservation

3. In the poem, how long have the father and son been living together?

   a) A few months

   b) A couple of years

   c) Many decades

   d) A lifetime

4. What do the lines "We speak like strangers" suggest about the relationship between the father and son?

   a) They communicate openly and honestly

   b) They have a close and loving bond

   c) They have a distant and unfamiliar connection

   d) They frequently argue and disagree

5. What does the father wish for his son to do?

   a) Travel the world

   b) Pursue a conventional career

   c) Return to the familiar "father's house"

   d) Never leave home

6. The phrase "why anger grows from grief" indicates the son's struggle with:

   a) Joy and excitement

   b) Indifference and apathy

   c) Disappointment and frustration

   d) Love and affection

7. The repeated image of "an empty hand" symbolizes the father's:

   a) Generosity

   b) Anger

   c) Helplessness and yearning

   d) Rejection

8. What emotion does the father seek to shape into a new love?

   a) Happiness

   b) Sadness

   c) Anger

   d) Confusion

9. How does the son feel about the idea of returning to the "father's house"?

   a) He is eager to return

   b) He is indifferent

   c) He is resistant to the idea

   d) He is excited about the prospect

10. The poem's rhyme scheme is:

    a) ABAB

    b) AABB

    c) ABBABA

    d) ABCB

11. The phrase "Silence surrounds us" suggests:

    a) A lively conversation

    b) A peaceful atmosphere

    c) A lack of communication

    d) A harmonious relationship

12. What does the father wish to forgive in the poem?

    a) His son's mistakes

    b) His own shortcomings

    c) The past misunderstandings

    d) The challenges of life

13. The metaphor of "empty hand" can be interpreted as a symbol of:

    a) Material wealth

    b) Emotional distance

    c) Physical strength

    d) Intellectual prowess

14. What is the tone of the poem "Father to Son"?

    a) Joyful and celebratory

    b) Indifferent and detached

    c) Sad and reflective

    d) Angry and confrontational

15. What universal theme does the poem address?

    a) The joys of parenthood

    b) The challenges of generational differences

    c) The excitement of adventure

    d) The importance of wealth


1. b) The complexities of family relationships
2. b) The father's attempt to shape his son's growth
3. b) A couple of years
4. c) They have a distant and unfamiliar connection
5. c) Return to the familiar "father's house"
6. c) Disappointment and frustration
7. c) Helplessness and yearning
8. b) Sadness
9. c) He is resistant to the idea
10. c) ABBABA
11. c) A lack of communication
12. c) The past misunderstandings
13. b) Emotional distance
14. c) Sad and reflective
15. b) The challenges of generational differences

Father to Son by Elizabeth Jennings Summary Themes Questions and Answers NCERT Class 11 English

Detailed analysis of "Father to Son" by Elizabeth Jennings:

Title and Theme: The title "Father to Son" immediately suggests the theme of the poem, which is the complex and often strained relationship between a father and his son. The poem delves into the challenges of understanding, communication, and the emotional gap that exists between generations.

Stanza 1: In the opening stanza, the speaker expresses a sense of bewilderment and distance in their relationship with their child. Despite living together in the same house for years, the speaker feels that they do not truly comprehend their child's thoughts and emotions. This lack of understanding prompts the speaker to reflect on their attempts to connect with their child based on memories from the past.

Stanza 2: The second stanza contemplates the idea of nurturing and guiding the child's growth, likening it to planting a seed. However, there is a sense of uncertainty about whether the seed has taken root and grown in the child's own territory ("the land is his and none of mine"). The metaphor highlights the challenge of nurturing a sense of connection and shared experience.

Stanza 3: The third stanza reveals the strained nature of their current relationship. The two communicate like strangers, and there is a noticeable lack of understanding between them. The speaker reflects on the disconnect between the child's interests and their own, expressing a sense of alienation from the son's world and passions.

Stanza 4: In this stanza, the speaker reveals their desire for the son to return to the familiar ("prodigal") environment of the father's house, longing for a connection reminiscent of the past. This can be interpreted as a wish for the son to embrace a more conventional and recognizable path in life, rather than forging his own unique path.

Stanza 5: The fifth stanza expresses the father's willingness to forgive the son for his choices and to find a new kind of love born from sorrow and understanding. This highlights the complexity of the emotional journey for both father and son.

Stanza 6: In this stanza, the poem shifts to a more introspective tone, as both father and son acknowledge their shared existence on the same Earth. The son's statement about not understanding himself reveals a universal struggle with self-awareness and identity. The lines "why anger grows from grief" suggest a recognition of the son's emotional struggles.

Stanza 7: The final stanza encapsulates the essence of the poem's theme. Both the father and the son are portrayed as reaching out for connection and forgiveness, symbolized by their "empty hand." The longing for something to forgive underscores the depth of their emotional yearning for understanding and reconciliation.

In "Father to Son," Elizabeth Jennings skillfully captures the complex dynamics of a father-son relationship, emphasizing the challenges of understanding and bridging the emotional gap between generations. The poem reflects on the universal themes of communication, empathy, and the intricacies of familial bonds.

Summary of the poem

"Father to Son" by Elizabeth Jennings is a reflective poem that explores the strained relationship between a father and his son. Despite living together, the two feel like strangers, unable to truly understand each other. The father attempts to connect based on memories from the past, but there is a sense of disconnect between their worlds. The father wishes for the son to return to the familiar, yet also seeks to forgive and find a new kind of love. Both express a longing for understanding and reconciliation, symbolized by their outstretched but empty hands. The poem delves into the complexities of generational differences, communication, and the emotional journey of a father and son trying to bridge the gap between them.

The theme of the Poem

The theme of "Father to Son" by Elizabeth Jennings revolves around the complexities of family relationships, particularly the strained bond between a father and his son. The poem explores various facets of this theme:
  1. Communication and Understanding: The poem highlights the challenges of communication and understanding between generations. Despite living together, the father and son struggle to connect emotionally and comprehend each other's perspectives.

  2. Generational Divide: The poem delves into the gap that can exist between different generations. The father's attempts to relate to his son based on his own experiences are met with a disconnect, illustrating how generational differences can lead to a lack of mutual comprehension.

  3. Desire for Reconciliation: The father expresses a longing for reconciliation and a renewed relationship with his son. He yearns for the son to return to the familial fold, even though he acknowledges the son's need to forge his own path.

  4. Forgiveness and Acceptance: Forgiveness is another key theme. The father is willing to forgive and seeks to shape a new love from the sadness he feels. This emphasizes the importance of acceptance and understanding despite differences.

  5. Identity and Self-Understanding: The son's statement about not understanding himself touches on the theme of self-identity and self-discovery. This reflects a broader theme of individuals' struggles to comprehend their own emotions and motivations.

  6. Emotional Struggles: The poem addresses emotional struggles, such as grief and anger, that can arise within family relationships. The father and son both grapple with complex emotions as they navigate their connection.

In essence, "Father to Son" delves into the intricacies of familial bonds, the challenges of bridging the gap between generations, and the yearning for understanding and reconciliation despite differences.

Think it out

Q1. Does the poem talk of an exclusively personal experience or is it fairly universal?

ANSWER: The poem "Father to Son" by Elizabeth Jennings touches on themes and emotions that are fairly universal, making it relatable to a wide range of readers beyond just the personal experience it may have been inspired by.

While the poem may have been inspired by a specific personal experience or relationship, its exploration of generational divide, communication challenges, the desire for reconciliation, and the complexities of family dynamics are all themes that resonate with many people. The struggles depicted in the poem are not limited to the particular individuals mentioned; they reflect broader human experiences within familial relationships.

Q2. How is the father’s helplessness brought out in the poem?


The father's sense of helplessness in "Father to Son" is effectively conveyed through several aspects of the poem, including imagery, language, and the exploration of his emotions. Here are some ways in which the father's helplessness is brought out:

  1. Strained Communication: The poem begins by emphasizing the lack of understanding between the father and the son. Despite living together for years, they are depicted as essentially strangers, unable to communicate effectively. This lack of connection underscores the father's helplessness in trying to bridge the emotional gap.

  2. Metaphorical Imagery: The metaphor of planting a seed and nurturing it illustrates the father's attempt to guide and shape his son's growth. However, the uncertainty about whether the seed has grown and the land belonging to the son's world emphasize the father's limited control over the son's choices and development. This metaphor symbolizes the father's inability to fully influence his son's path.

  3. Yearning for Reconciliation: The father expresses a desire for the son to return to the "father's house" and the familiar, which can be seen as a longing for the son to come back to a more conventional and known path. This wish reveals the father's sense of powerlessness in accepting the son's independent choices.

  4. Empty Hands: The repeated image of "an empty hand" symbolizes the father's inability to connect with his son on an emotional level. The image suggests a reaching out for understanding and reconciliation, but it remains unfulfilled, highlighting the father's helplessness in bridging the emotional divide.

  5. Emotional Struggle: The father's emotions, such as grief and a willingness to forgive, reflect his internal turmoil and sense of helplessness in navigating the complexities of their relationship. His acknowledgment that he does not understand his own emotions ("I cannot understand / Myself") further underscores his feelings of helplessness and confusion.

  6. Yearning for Shared Love: The father's desire to shape a new love from sorrow signifies his hope for a renewed connection with his son, even in the face of their differences. This yearning emphasizes his helplessness in trying to mend the relationship.

Collectively, these elements in the poem paint a picture of a father who is struggling to bridge the emotional gap between himself and his son, highlighting his sense of helplessness and the challenges he faces in understanding and connecting with his child.


"Father to Son" by Elizabeth Jennings portrays a father's profound helplessness in bridging the emotional gap with his son. The poem illuminates their strained communication, existing as strangers despite cohabitation. The metaphor of planting a seed showcases the father's attempt to guide his son's growth, yet uncertainty persists over its fruition in the son's own realm. The father's wish for the son's return to the familiar "father's house" unveils his struggle to accept the son's divergent path. Repeated references to "empty hands" signify unfulfilled efforts to connect, and the father's emotions of grief and forgiveness exemplify his internal turmoil. Ultimately, the father yearns to transform sorrow into a new bond, underscoring his deep helplessness in reconciling with his son amid the complexities of their relationship.

Q4. Identify the phrases and lines that indicate distance between father and son.

ANSWER: In "Father to Son" by Elizabeth Jennings, several phrases and lines indicate the emotional distance between the father and son:

1. "I do not understand this child"

2. "We speak like strangers"

3. "There's no sign of understanding in the air"

4. "Yet what he loves I cannot share"

5. "Silence surrounds us"

6. "I would have / Him prodigal, returning to / His father's house"

7. "Rather than see him make and move / His world"

8. "He speaks: I cannot understand / Myself, why anger grows from grief"

9. "We each put out an empty hand"

These phrases and lines highlight the lack of understanding, communication, and emotional connection between the father and son, underscoring the theme of distance and estrangement in their relationship.

Q5. Does the poem have a consistent rhyme scheme?

ANSWER: Yes, the poem "Father to Son" by Elizabeth Jennings has a consistent ABBABA rhyme scheme in each stanza. This means that the first, fourth, and fifth lines of each stanza rhyme with each other, and the second and third lines rhyme with each other. This rhyme scheme contributes to the poem's structure and rhythm.

Sunday, August 13, 2023

15 multiple-choice questions (MCQs) based on the poem "A Photograph" by Shirley Toulson

1. What is the central theme of the poem "A Photograph"?

   a) Nature's beauty

   b) Childhood friendships

   c) The power of photography

   d) Memory, time, and loss

2. What does the photograph capture in the opening stanza?

   a) A family gathering

   b) A moment of laughter and play by the sea

   c) A scenic landscape

   d) A formal portrait

3. How does the mother react when she looks at the photograph?

   a) She becomes sad and teary-eyed.

   b) She laughs and reminisces about the past.

   c) She becomes angry and frustrated.

   d) She feels indifferent and uninterested.

4. What role does the sea play in the poem?

   a) It symbolizes the fleeting nature of time.

   b) It represents a barrier between the characters.

   c) It is a backdrop for the photograph.

   d) It is a source of conflict in the narrative.

5. What does the line "Both wry with the laboured ease of loss" suggest?

   a) The characters are happily reminiscing about the past.

   b) The characters are unaffected by loss.

   c) The characters are struggling to cope with loss.

   d) The characters are disconnected from their memories.

6. What does the phrase "And of this circumstance there is nothing to say at all" imply?

   a) The circumstances surrounding the photograph are trivial.

   b) The characters have no memories to share.

   c) Words are insufficient to express the impact of loss.

   d) The circumstances are too complex to understand.

7. What literary device is used when the sea is described as having "changed less"?

   a) Simile

   b) Metaphor

   c) Personification

   d) Alliteration

8. The photograph in the poem is primarily a symbol of:

   a) Joyful moments

   b) Childhood innocence

   c) Timeless beauty

   d) Memory and nostalgia

9. What emotion does the mother's laughter at the photograph convey?

   a) Sorrow and regret

   b) Nostalgia and joy

   c) Bitterness and anger

   d) Indifference and detachment

10. The phrase "laboured ease of loss" suggests:

    a) Loss is easy to cope with.

    b) Loss is an insurmountable burden.

    c) Loss becomes more manageable over time.

    d) Loss is an unchanging emotion.

11. What does the phrase "silence silences" signify in the context of the poem?

    a) The absence of sound in the photograph

    b) The impact of the mother's absence

    c) The peacefulness of the sea

    d) The serenity of memories

12. The poem explores the theme of:

    a) Adventure and exploration

    b) Romantic love

    c) Family reunions

    d) The transitory nature of life

13. The speaker's relationship with the mother in the poem is:

    a) Strained and distant

    b) Filled with conflict

    c) Nurturing and supportive

    d) Reflective and contemplative

14. What does the phrase "smile through their hair" imply about the girls in the photograph?

    a) They are shy and reserved.

    b) They have long, unruly hair.

    c) They are carefree and happy.

    d) They are hiding their emotions.

15. The photograph captures a moment that:

    a) Was staged for the camera

    b) Represents a significant event in history

    c) Evokes a range of emotions and memories

    d) Depicts a scene of conflict and turmoil


1. d) Memory, time, and loss
2. b) A moment of laughter and play by the sea
3. b) She laughs and reminisces about the past.
4. a) It symbolizes the fleeting nature of time.
5. c) The characters are struggling to cope with loss.
6. c) Words are insufficient to express the impact of loss.
7. b) Metaphor
8. d) Memory and nostalgia
9. b) Nostalgia and joy
10. c) Loss becomes more manageable over time.
11. b) The impact of the mother's absence
12. d) The transitory nature of life
13. d) Reflective and contemplative
14. c) They are carefree and happy.
15. c) Evokes a range of emotions and memories

A Photograph by Shirley Toulson Analysis Theme Summary and Questions Answers Solved Class XI English Core

"A Photograph" is a poignant and nostalgic poem by Shirley Toulson that captures the essence of a photograph as a powerful reminder of the past and the emotions it evokes. The poem reflects on the fleeting nature of time and memories and how a simple photograph can hold a world of emotions within its frame. Here's the poem:

A Photograph

The cardboard shows me how it was
When the two girl cousins went paddling,
Each one holding one of my mother's hands,
And she the big girl - some twelve years or so.
All three stood still to smile through their hair
At the uncle with the camera, A sweet face,
My mother's, that was before I was born.
And the sea, which appears to have changed less,
Washed their terribly transient feet.

Some twenty-thirty- years later
She'd laugh at the snapshot. "See Betty
And Dolly," she'd say, "and look how they
Dressed us for the beach." The sea holiday
Was her past, mine is her laughter. Both wry
With the laboured ease of loss.

Now she's been dead nearly as many years
As that girl lived. And of this circumstance
There is nothing to say at all.
Its silence silences.

In this poem, the speaker reflects on a photograph that captures a moment in time when her mother and her cousins were young and carefree, playing by the sea. The photograph becomes a portal to the past, evoking memories of the simple joys of childhood. As the years pass, the mother ages, and the speaker realises the fleeting nature of life and the inevitability of loss. The final lines highlight the deep impact of her mother's death and the profound silence that accompanies such a loss. The photograph becomes a symbol of both memory and absence, carrying within it a world of emotions and stories.

The theme of 'A Photograph' by Shirley Toulson

The poem "A Photograph" by Shirley Toulson is a reflection on the power of a photograph to evoke memories and emotions from the past. The poem begins with a description of a photograph that depicts the speaker's mother and her cousins playing by the sea. The image captures a moment of innocence and happiness, with the mother holding hands with her cousins and the sea washing their feet.

As time passes, the photograph becomes a cherished keepsake, and the speaker's mother laughs at the snapshot, reminiscing about the carefree days of her youth. The sea holiday represented in the photograph becomes a cherished memory for the mother, while the speaker's own connection to it is through her mother's laughter.

However, the mood of the poem shifts as the speaker acknowledges the passage of time. The mother has now been dead for many years, and her absence is keenly felt. The poem's concluding lines emphasise the profound silence that accompanies the loss of a loved one and the inability of words to fully express the impact of such a loss.

In essence, the poem explores the bittersweet nature of memories, the fleetingness of time, and the lasting emotional impact of a single photograph, which serves as a powerful link between the past and the present.

Various Themes in the Poem 'A Photograph' by Shirley Toulson

The poem "A Photograph" by Shirley Toulson explores several interconnected themes, each contributing to the overall emotional depth and impact of the poem:

  1. Memory and Nostalgia: The central theme of the poem revolves around memory and nostalgia. The photograph serves as a trigger for memories of the past, transporting the speaker back to a time when her mother and cousins were young and carefree. The poem highlights how a simple image can evoke powerful emotions and memories that linger long after the moment has passed.

  2. Time and Change: The passage of time and the inevitability of change are prominent themes in the poem. The photograph captures a moment frozen in time, yet the people and circumstances it depicts have changed drastically over the years. The poem reflects on the fleeting nature of life and the contrast between the joyful past and the somber present.

  3. Loss and Absence: The poem touches on the theme of loss and absence. The speaker's mother, who is depicted in the photograph, has passed away, leaving a void in the speaker's life. The silence that "silences" in the final lines of the poem conveys the depth of the speaker's grief and the inability to fully express the impact of losing a loved one.

  4. Family and Relationships: The photograph captures a moment of familial connection, with the mother holding hands with her cousins. The image represents a bond of love and unity among family members. However, as time passes, the poem also explores the changing dynamics of family relationships and the emotional distance that can result from the passage of time and loss.

  5. Transience and Impermanence: The poem underscores the transient nature of life and experiences. The image of the sea washing the characters' feet symbolizes the fleeting nature of moments, emphasizing that nothing remains static. The impermanence of human existence is contrasted with the enduring nature of the photograph as a tangible artifact of the past.

  6. Communication and Expression: The poem touches on the limitations of language and communication in conveying complex emotions. The final lines suggest that the depth of the speaker's feelings and the impact of loss cannot be adequately expressed through words, reinforcing the idea that some emotions are beyond verbal description.

Overall, "A Photograph" weaves together these themes to create a reflective and poignant exploration of memory, time, loss, and the emotional resonance of a single image.

Literary Devices used in the poem

"A Photograph" by Shirley Toulson employs several literary devices to enhance its emotional impact and convey its themes effectively:
  1. Imagery: The poem is rich in visual imagery, creating vivid mental pictures for the reader. The descriptions of the photograph, the sea, and the characters' actions help the reader visualise the scene and the emotions involved.

  2. Metaphor: The sea is metaphorically used to represent the passage of time and change. It washes the characters' feet, symbolising the transient nature of moments and experiences.

  3. Symbolism: The photograph itself serves as a symbol of memory and nostalgia. It becomes a representation of the past and a tangible link to the speaker's mother and her memories.

  4. Personification: The sea is personified when it is described as having "changed less." This imbues the sea with human-like qualities and emphasises its role in preserving the memories encapsulated in the photograph.

  5. Enjambment: The poem utilises enjambment, where lines continue without a pause beyond the end of a stanza or verse. This technique mimics the flow of memories and emotions, creating a sense of continuity and connection between different ideas.

  6. Alliteration: The repetition of consonant sounds at the beginning of words, such as "Betty and Dolly," adds a musical quality to the poem and emphasises the names of the characters.

  7. Irony: The poem employs irony in the contrast between the carefree, happy moment captured in the photograph and the sombre tone of the present, where the mother has passed away and the speaker reflects on her absence.

  8. Repetition: The phrase "and of this circumstance" is repeated, underscoring the idea that there is nothing that can be said to fully capture the impact of the mother's death.

  9. Oxymoron: The phrase "laboured ease of loss" combines contradictory terms to convey the complex emotions of grief and the struggle to come to terms with loss.

  10. Juxtaposition: The poem juxtaposes the joyful memory of the sea holiday with the silence and absence of the present, creating a stark contrast between the past and the present.

  11. Euphemism: The poem uses the phrase "she's been dead" as a softer way to express the mother's passing, conveying the delicate nature of the subject matter.

These literary devices contribute to the poem's evocative and thought-provoking nature, enhancing its exploration of memory, time, and the emotional impact of loss.

A Photograph Question Answers

Think it out

Q1. What does the word ‘cardboard’ denote in the poem? Why has this word been used?

ANSWER: In the poem "A Photograph" by Shirley Toulson, the word "cardboard" is used to refer to the backing or material on which the photograph is mounted. It serves as a physical description of the photograph, highlighting its tangible nature and emphasising its existence as a physical object.

Q2. What has the camera captured?

ANSWER: The camera has captured a specific moment in the past, depicting the scene where "the two girl cousins went paddling." In this moment, the mother and her two girl cousins are seen holding hands and standing still in the water, smiling through their hair at the uncle who is taking the photograph.

Q3. What has not changed over the years? Does this suggest something to you?

ANSWER: In the poem "A Photograph" by Shirley Toulson, the line "And the sea, which appears to have changed less" suggests that the sea, as depicted in the photograph, has remained relatively unchanged over the years. This observation draws attention to the enduring nature of natural elements like the sea, which can serve as constants amidst the passage of time and the changes in human lives.

This notion of the unchanged sea could symbolize the idea that certain aspects of the world remain constant and unaffected by the transient nature of human existence. It contrasts with the people in the photograph, who have grown older, and especially with the speaker's mother, who has since passed away.

Q4. The poet’s mother laughed at the snapshot. What did this laugh indicate?

ANSWER: The poet's mother laughed at the snapshot in the photograph as a form of nostalgia and reminiscence. Her laughter indicates a sense of fondness and joy as she recalls the memories associated with the captured moment. The photograph triggers a connection to her past, reminding her of the carefree days when she was young and playing with her cousins by the sea.

Q5. What is the meaning of the line “Both wry with the laboured ease of loss.”

ANSWER: The line "Both wry with the laboured ease of loss" encapsulates the bittersweet irony of the speaker and her mother's emotions. "Wry" signifies a blend of bitterness and humor, reflecting their coping mechanism. "Laboured ease" conveys the oxymoronic weight of grief becoming a familiar companion. Together, the line unveils their complex relationship with loss—acknowledging its weight, yet embracing it with a sense of resigned acceptance, revealing the intricate interplay between sorrow and the passage of time.

Q6. What does “this circumstance” refer to?

ANSWER: "This circumstance" refers to the mother's death and the emotions it entails. The phrase signifies the challenge of expressing the profound impact of loss. In acknowledging the limitations of words, the speaker conveys the depth of their grief and the overwhelming silence that follows. It encapsulates the difficulty of articulating the complex emotions surrounding death, highlighting the ineffable nature of profound loss and the silence that envelops it.

Q7. The three stanzas depict three different phases. What are they?

ANSWER: The three stanzas of "A Photograph" paint distinct phases. The first captures joyful innocence by the sea, with cousins holding hands, immortalized by the camera. The second shifts to the present, as the mother's laughter recalls that moment, juxtaposing past and present. In the third, a somber tone emerges as the mother's passing is contemplated, and the struggle to express the impact of her loss is acknowledged. "And of this circumstance there is nothing to say at all" underscores the challenge of verbalizing deep emotions. The poem weaves memory, time, and the poignancy of silence, forming a reflective narrative on life's fleeting nature and the enduring power of photographs.


Q1. How does the photograph in the poem serve as a metaphor for the human experience of time and memory? Explain how the frozen image captures the complexities of the past and its impact on the present.

ANSWER: The photograph acts as a frozen slice of time, encapsulating a moment of joy and innocence. It becomes a metaphor for memory itself, capturing a specific instance while also representing the larger flow of time. The present is influenced by the past, just as the memory evoked by the photograph influences the emotions and reflections of the speaker. The photograph also hints at the fleeting nature of moments, suggesting that while the image remains unchanged, the people and circumstances it portrays have evolved.

Q2. The sea is a recurring element in the poem. Analyze the significance of the sea as a symbol, considering its role in the captured moment, its unchanged nature, and its juxtaposition with the changing lives of the characters.

ANSWER: The sea serves as a symbol of continuity and change. Its unchanged nature in the photograph contrasts with the changing lives of the characters, illustrating the permanence of nature amidst the transitory human experience. The sea represents the passage of time and the constancy of the natural world, while also underscoring the impermanence of human life and the ephemeral quality of memories and emotions.

Q3. In the context of the poem, what could the phrase "Both wry with the laboured ease of loss" reveal about the ways in which individuals cope with and express grief? How might this concept apply to real-life experiences of loss?

ANSWER: The phrase "Both wry with the laboured ease of loss" suggests that grief is a complex emotion that combines elements of irony, bitterness, and acceptance. It conveys the idea that while grieving is a challenging and laborious process, over time, people become accustomed to carrying the weight of loss. This concept of "laboured ease" implies that grief remains present, but individuals learn to navigate it with a certain degree of familiarity, humour, and acceptance.

Q4. Explore the idea of silence as a theme in the poem. How does the concept of silence evolve from the carefree laughter captured in the photograph to the profound silence of grief in the later stanzas? What might the poet be suggesting about the limitations of language and the power of unspoken emotions?

ANSWER: Silence is a significant theme in the poem, representing both the unspoken emotions that the photograph evokes and the inability of language to fully convey the depth of grief. The transition from the joyful laughter captured in the photograph to the silence that accompanies loss highlights the profound impact of absence and the limitations of verbal expression. The poem suggests that silence can be a powerful form of communication, allowing for a deeper understanding of complex emotions that words may fail to capture.

Q5. Consider the emotional journey of the speaker throughout the poem. How does the speaker's perspective shift from the beginning to the end? Discuss how the speaker's reflections on the photograph and the mother's death contribute to a deeper understanding of the poem's themes.

ANSWER: The speaker's journey reflects a shift from a nostalgic and reflective perspective in the second stanza to a more contemplative and somber tone in the third stanza. The speaker's reflections on the photograph evoke a sense of nostalgia and connection to the past, while the acknowledgment of the mother's death introduces a more introspective and pensive mood. This shift emphasizes the passage of time, the impact of loss, and the enduring power of memories in shaping the speaker's emotional landscape.

Saturday, August 12, 2023

Landscape of the Soul - Summary Chapter 4 - class 11, Explanation, Question Answer


In this chapter, the author skillfully explores the contrasting realms of Chinese and European art through the lens of two captivating stories. Our journey begins amidst the splendour of eighth-century China, where Emperor Xuanzong of the Tang dynasty commissions the gifted painter Wu Daozi to adorn a palace wall with his artistry.

As the Emperor gazes upon the wall's vibrant tableau, his attention initially fixates on the surface beauty. Yet, the perceptive painter redirects the Emperor's focus to a hidden cave nestled at the mountain's base. With a tantalising promise, the painter extends an invitation to reveal the secrets within.

Stepping into the depths of the cavern, the painter crosses its threshold, and with an almost magical gesture, the entrance seals shut behind him. A single clap of his hands acts as a catalyst, causing both the wall's painted scene and the artist himself to dissolve into the ether, leaving the Emperor in a state of wonder.

In another narrative strand, we encounter an artist wrestling with a whimsical notion, hesitating to depict the eye of a dragon lest the mythical creature spring to life and take flight. This tale, firmly rooted in the European artistic tradition, then unfolds to encompass a masterful Blacksmith who finds his heart captivated by the daughter of a fellow artist. However, their love faces an impediment – her father's disapproval due to the Blacksmith's humble trade.

Undeterred, the determined Blacksmith gains clandestine access to the painter's studio, where he ingeniously paints a lifelike fly onto the artist's latest creation. The fly's lifelike appearance is so convincing that the painter instinctively swats at it before realising it is an integral part of the artwork. This clever stratagem secures the Blacksmith's place as an apprentice in the painter's workshop.

A romance blossoms between the Blacksmith and the painter's daughter, culminating in marriage and the Blacksmith's emergence as one of the era's celebrated painters.

These stories illuminate the distinct artistic philosophies that underscore creative expression in disparate corners of the globe. In Europe, the artist strives to unveil a tangible perspective, channelling their vision into a visual plane accessible to the observer. The pursuit of perfection, meticulous representation, and the art of illusion define this approach.

In contrast, China's artistic paradigm eschews replication of the literal, instead harnessing the artist's inner voice and spiritual resonance to conjure abstract compositions. Embracing this sense of abstraction, the viewer embarks on an open-ended journey, entering the painting's portal from any vantage point and traversing realms guided by personal imagination.

Central to this concept is 'Shanshui,' a fusion of 'mountain' and 'water,' which, when interwoven, gives birth to the very essence of 'landscape.'


The chapter "Landscape of the Soul" discusses the differences between the Chinese and European views of art. The Chinese view is based on an imaginative, inner, or spiritual approach, while the European view aims to achieve a perfect illusionistic likeness. The Chinese painter wants the beholder to enter his mind, while the European painter wants the viewer to borrow his eyes. The chapter also discusses the importance of "outsider art," which is the art of untrained visionaries. Overall, the chapter highlights the importance of the spiritual and conceptual space in Chinese art and the active participation of the viewer.

Wednesday, August 2, 2023

New Learning to Communicate Coursebook class 6 page 17

A1. B It's alright. Accidents happen.
A2. B No problem, I have plenty of pens.
A3. B That's okay. I understand.
A4. B I'm sorry! I didn't mean to.
A5. B I'm sorry for being late. Traffic was terrible.

The Thief's Story by Ruskin Bond Summary and Question Answer Solution Class 10 Footprints Without Feet Chapter 2

Summary of 'The Thief's Story'

The story revolves around two individuals: Hari Singh, a 15-year-old thief, and Anil, a man in his mid-twenties who enjoys watching wrestling matches. Hari, seeking an easy target, approaches Anil, hoping to rob him. However, as they converse, Hari begins to develop a genuine friendship with Anil, who kindly offers him work as a cook, despite knowing about Hari's penchant for stealing.

Over time, Hari becomes fond of working for Anil, preparing meals and assisting with groceries. He occasionally steals one rupee from the grocery money, but Anil doesn't mind, demonstrating immense trust in the young thief.

One day, Anil proudly shows Hari a bundle of money earned from selling a book to a publisher. Although Hari has had ample opportunities to steal from Anil, he refrains due to the trust and care Anil has shown him, making the act seem less appealing.

However, temptation eventually gets the better of Hari, and he decides to steal Anil's money while he sleeps. Intent to escape the city, Hari heads to the train station but hesitates, unsure of the reason for his hesitation. Realising the potential of education and honest work, he returns the stolen money and resolves to change his ways.

The next morning, Anil pays Hari with a wet 50 rupee note, indicating that he knows about the attempted theft. Despite this, Hari feels genuine happiness, knowing that he has saved himself from the wrong path.

The story portrays the transformative power of trust, compassion, and self-realisation, guiding Hari away from a life of crime towards a more honourable and hopeful future.

The Thief’s Story Question Answers

Question 1. What are Hari Singh’s reactions to the prospect of receiving an education? Do they change over time? (Hint: Compare, for example, the thought: “I knew that once I could write like an educated man there would be no limit to what I could achieve” with these later thoughts: “Whole sentences, I knew, could one day bring me more than a few hundred rupees. It was a simple matter to steal — and sometimes just as simple to be caught. But to be a really big man, a clever and respected man, was something else.”) What makes him return to Anil?

Answer: Hari Singh firmly believes that education can lead him to an honest and prosperous life. His conviction about the potential of education remains unwavering. He understands that by acquiring knowledge and skills, he can significantly increase his earnings. Despite his past as a thief, Hari's desire for education doesn't diminish.

The trust, care, and kindness shown by Anil leave a lasting impact on Hari. Anil's belief in him and his willingness to provide food, support, and guidance motivate Hari to return to him. Hari recognizes that Anil's support and teachings are essential for his transformation and growth. Their bond becomes a catalyst for Hari's determination to embrace education and pursue an honest path to a better life.

Question 2. Why does Anil not hand the thief over to the police? Do you think most people would have done so? In what ways is Anil different from such employers?

Answer: Anil's decision not to hand over the thief to the police stemmed from his belief that Hari Singh had genuinely realised his mistake and felt remorseful for his actions. Anil sensed Hari's guilt and the sincerity of his desire to change his ways, which led him to return the stolen money. Anil saw an opportunity to offer Hari a chance at redemption and becoming a better person.

In today's world, it is rare to find someone like Anil who possesses such patience and compassion. Most people would likely report a thief to the authorities without considering the possibility of redemption. In modern society, thieves are often seen as criminals, even if they show remorse for their actions. Trusting someone who has broken that trust once takes immense courage. However, despite this, the narrator believes that if a person genuinely realizes their mistake, they should be given a second chance to earn back trust and prove their commitment to change.

Question 3. Who does ‘I’ refer to in this story?

Answer: In this story, “I” refers to the thief, who introduces himself as Hari Singh.

Question 4. What is he “a fairly successful hand” at?

Answer: He was quite adept at robbing and deceiving people of their money, and he had achieved a fair amount of success in his criminal endeavours.

Question 5. What does he get from Anil in return for his work?

Answer: Upon proposing the idea of working for Anil, the thief learns that Anil cannot afford to pay him. However, they reach an agreement that if the thief can cook for Anil, he will be provided with meals. Realising the thief's lack of cooking skills, Anil takes it upon himself to teach him how to cook, write his name, form complete sentences, and even perform basic arithmetic. In the meantime, Hari also continues his habit of stealing small amounts from the daily grocery money.

Question 6. How does the thief think Anil will react to the theft?

Answer: The thief believed that if Anil discovered the theft, he would indeed feel saddened, not so much because of the monetary loss but more because of the breach of trust.

Question 7. What does he say about the different reactions of people when they are robbed?

Answer: The thief shares his observations, noting that in his experience when someone greedy gets robbed, they exhibit fear; when someone wealthy faces theft, they display anger; and when a poor person is robbed, they tend to accept the situation with resignation.

Question 8. Does Anil realise that he has been robbed?

Answer: Although the notes were soaked and damp from the previous night, Anil likely realized that he had been robbed. Surprisingly, he chose not to confront the thief and instead handed him a 50-rupee note, stating that he would now be paying him a monthly salary going forward.