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A PHOTOGRAPH

 

 

 

 

CLASS-XI(ENGLISH)

A PHOTOGRAPH

 

Summary

 

INTRODUCTION

The poet remembers her mother who died about twelve years ago. There is a photograph taken when her mother had gone for a sea holiday with her cousins and her uncle. Looking at the photograph, she experiences the great loss of her mother.

The poet looks at the photograph of her mother, which was taken when her mother was 12 years old. She had gone for a sea holiday with her cousins Betty and Dolly and while they were paddling, her uncle took a photograph of them. Each of the cousins was holding the hands of the poet’s mother who was the eldest among them. All the three of them stood smiling through their hair while the photo was taken. Her mother had a sweet face. All these happened before she was born. Years fled past since then. Her mother grew up into an adult. They all underwent changes while the sea stood still. After about twenty or thirty years the poet’s mother would look at the photograph laughing nostalgically and remembering the past. She would appreciate the dress worn by her cousins Betty and Dolly. The sea holiday belonged to the past of her mother and the poet still remembers how her mother would laugh looking at the snap shot. For the poet both these bring great sadness and an acute sense of loss. He mother died 12 years ago and now the poet has nothing to say about this circumstance of the photograph.

 

UNDERSTANDING THE LESSON THROUGH KEY SENTENCES:

  1. The poet looks at the cardboard on which there is a childhood photograph of her mother.
  2. She had gone for a sea holiday with two her cousins Betty and Dolly
  3. While they were paddling, their uncle took a photograph of them.
  4. Both the cousins were holding the hands of her mother who was the eldest among the girls.
  5. This was before the poet was born
  6. Time fled past since and all those who are in the photograph underwent changes while the sea remained the same.
  7. Her mother would look at the photograph after about twenty to thirty years and laugh nostalgically.
  8. Now for the poet her mother’s laughter and her sea holiday is a thing of the past.
  9. Her mother died about 12 years ago.
  10. The silence of the photograph silences the poet.
  11. She experiences great loss.

 

QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS

Q.1      What does the word ‘cardboard’ denote in the poem? Why has this word been used?

  1. ‘Cardboard’ refers to the photograph only. In the past photographs used to be fixed to a cardboard and hung from the wall for everyone to see it.

 

Q.2.     What has the camera captured?

  1. The camera has captured some happy moments from the childhood of the poet’s mother. It was a scene taken from a beach where she had gone with her cousins and her uncle for a sea holiday. The girls were paddling in the water.

 

Q.3.     What has not changed over the years? Does this suggest something to you?

  1. The sea has not changed over the years. It is still the same. The sea symbolizes eternity.

 

Q.4.     The poet’s mother laughed at the snapshot. What did this laugh indicate?

  1. This laugh indicates her remembering her past. She looked back to her childhood with nostalgia and remembered the innocent joys of her childhood days.

Q.5.     What is the meaning of the line “Both wry with the laboured ease of loss”

  1. ‘Both’ refers to the sea holiday as remembered by her mother and the poet remembering her mother’s laughing face. Both these now belong to the past. Her mother is no more now.

Q.6.     What does “this circumstance” refer to?

  1. ‘This circumstance’ refers to the circumstance when the photo was taken.

Q.7.     The three stanzas depict three different phases. What are they?

  1. The three stanzas depict three different phases. The first stanza refers to the childhood of the poet’s mother. The second stanza refers to the poet’s childhood when her mother was an adult. The last stanza refers to the poet’s adulthood when she is not with her mother.
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