NCERT Solutions for Class 12 English Flamingo Poem 1 My Mother at Sixty-six

My Mother at Sixty-six NCERT Text Book Questions and Answers

My Mother at Sixty-six Think it out

Q1. What is the kind of pain and ache that the poet feels?

Answer:- The childhood fear of separation and the sadness associated with the thought of losing her mother is what the poet feels. While leaving her native place, the poet feels the guilt of not being able to take good care of her mother in her old age and hence, she is sad and pained. The mother’s aged, weak and pale frame is of great concern for the daughter and the nagging fear of her old mother departing in her absence ravages her mind.

Q2. Why are the young trees described as ‘sprinting’?

Answer:- The young trees are quite opposite to the poet’s old mother who is pale and aged. A tree symbolises youth and is full of life. Trees seem to be sprinting while her mother is in the last stage of her life.

Q3. Why has the poet brought in the image of the merry children ‘spilling out of their homes’?

Answer:- The poet, while returning from her native place, sees the joyous children rushing out of their homes, into the open, to play. These young children, full of energy and life are a sharp contrast to the ashen visage of her mother who is weak, dull and lifeless at the age of sixty-six. The enthusiasm and vitality of the children brings home, more emphatically, the painful realisation that her mother may breathe her last any day in the near future.

Q4. Why has the mother been compared to the ‘late winter’s moon’?

Answer:- The dull, weak, pale and aged visage of the mother is compared to a late winter’s moon which looks hazy, obscure and lacks shine and strength. Hence, the comparison is quite appropriate and the simile used is apt and effective. The mother has also lost the glow, vigour and vitality of her youth as she is sixty-six years old now.

Q5. What do the parting words of the poet and her smile signify?

Answer:- The poet had to leave her mother and her native place to go to her own home. She felt guilty to leave her mother, all by herself, alone, at this ripe age. Her mother needed love, respect, affection and togetherness, which the poet is unable to give her in plenty. Hence, to cover up her agony and pain of separation and loss, she puts on a long and cheerful smile on her face. She puts on a brave front to hide her fear behind a smile.

Before leaving, she says to her mother, ‘see you soon, Amma’ which definitely brought a faint ray of hope in the mother that she would survive long enough for the two to meet again. The smile, even if it was a hollow one, must have comforted both the mother and the daughter.

My Mother at Sixty-six Extra Questions and Answers

My Mother at Sixty-six Short Answer Questions

Q1.What were Kamala Das’ fears as a child? Why do the fears surface when she is going to the airport?

Answer:- Kamala Das fears that her mother would leave her alone and go away. These fears surface now as she looks at her old mother doze with her mouth open in the car.

Q2. How can suspension of activities help?

Answer:- The poet wants to prove that there can be life under apparent stillness. The poet invokes the earth as a living symbol to prove his point. The earth never attains total inactivity. Nature remains at work even under apparent stillness.

Q3. How does the poet describe her mother?

Answer:- Kamala Das describes her mother as old, pale and senile. As she was asleep, the poet noticed that her mother looked as pale and colourless as a dead body. She seemed to have lost the vitality of life.

Q4. Explain ‘pale as a late winter’s moon.’

Answer:- This is an example of a simile. The poet has compared her mother’s face to a winter’s moon. Winter symbolises death and a waning moon symbolises decay. Just like winter loses its magnificence and beauty when covered with fog and mist, similarly the poet’s mother has lost her youth and vitality, and has become inactive and withered.

Q5. Why did the poet promise her mother of a meeting in the near future?

Answer:- The poet was doubtful of seeing her mother again. She knew that the mother was also aware of the same. Yet, to encourage her mother, to leave a hope in her mind, to make herself strong, the poet promised a futile reunion in the future.

Q6. The poet’s repeated smile seems out of the place in a way. In which way is that appropriate?

Answer:- The poet had no reason to smile at the time of separation from her aged mother. She was deeply distressed and pained to separate from her mother when she was so old. Yet, to make the mother feel ‘there is nothing to worry,’ the poet attempted to be glad, cheerful and reassured her by her extended smile.

Q7. Why does the poet look at her mother again?

Answer:- The poet looks at her mother again for the last time to reassure herself that her mother is well. She drove away her thoughts of pain and fear which had surfaced on seeing her mother. It was a look of reassurance to meet her again.

Q8. What different images does the poet use to convey the idea of her mother’s old age?

Answer:- Late winter’s moon. Her pale, bloodless and wrinkled face resembles that of a corpse. She has no vigour and energy left in her. She looks wan and pale. The sprinting trees and merry children are happy and young. They present a contrast to the mother’s pain and old age and the poet’s worry and fear. They symbolise youth, vigour and spring, whereas the mother is old, decaying and frail.

Q9. What kind of pain does Kamala Das feel in ‘My Mother at Sixty-six’?

Answer:- Kamala Das has a childhood fear of her mother ageing and while going to the airport, she sees her ageing mother looking like a corpse as she slept open mouthed and pale.

Q10. Why are the youngsters described as springing?

Answer:- The youngsters are described as springing as they are full of life. Merry children were joyfully coming out in numbers from their houses and were a contrast to her ageing mother beside her in the car.

Q11. Having looked at her mother, why does Kamala Das look at the young children?

Answer:- After having looked at her mother, Kamala Das was in pain. She had a fear of separation from her mother. The children outside were symbolic of dynamism, joy and life. Hence, she wanted to divert her thoughts of her ageing mother.

Q12. In the last line of the poem, ‘My Mother at Sixty-six’, why does the poet use the word ‘smile’ repeatedly?

Answer:- Kamala Das wanted to make her mother feel that everything was fine. She wanted her to believe that they would meet soon. She also wanted to hide her fears about not meeting her next time. In fact, she wanted to put a brave front.

Q13. Why does the poet look at ‘young tree’ and ‘merry children’?

Answer:- The poet looks at ‘young trees’ and ‘merry children’ to divert her attention from the
gloomy thoughts of losing her mother. Looking at them was a ray of hope distracting her mind from the negative thoughts.

Q14. What does the poet’s smile in the poem, ‘My Mother at Sixty-six’ show?

Answer:- The smile on the poet’s face was an attempt to reassure her mother. She was masking the fear of separation. She was also trying to hide her concerns regarding the possibility of her mother’s demise. Besides, she was also trying to hide her guilt and sorrow for having to leave her mother at a time in her life when she needs the poet the most.

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