Q1.The two accounts that you read above are based in two distant cultures. What is the commonality of theme found in both of them? [HOTS]
Answer:- The two accounts given in the chapter ‘Memories of Childhood’ showcase the physical and mental exploitation of the weaker sections. Though both Zitkala-Sa and Bama are far away from each other in their time and culture, they suffer at the hands of the authorities.
Zitkala-Sa was a victim of cultural invasion while Bama suffered class and caste discrimination. Both of them were rebellious and refused to submit. Zitkala-Sa, kicked, screamed and resisted her hair being cut but had to give up. Similarly, Bama is furious to see her community humiliated but was helpless. They both reacted positively and became champions in their own ways.
Q2. It may take a long time for oppression to be resisted, but the seeds of rebellion are sowed early in life. Do you agree that injustice in any form cannot escape being noticed even by children?
Answer:- Zitkala-Sa realised as soon as she entered the school run by the whites that they meant to change her into a different person from the one she had hitherto been raised to be. By taking away her cloak, which was an integral part of her native dress, they stripped her of her modesty. Her moccasins were taken away and she was given hard shoes to wear. The discipline that she was subjected to, violated her sense of freedom. She resented the fact that her hair was cut and shingled much against her wishes and this was the final blow to her self-respect. Her mother had always told her that short hair was worn as a sign of mourning, while shingled hair was a sign of cowardice.
Bama, on the other hand, was only in grade three when she was told by her brother that the humiliation that they often suffered was on account of the fact that they had had the misfortune of having been born into the caste of untouchables. She had seen an elder of their street being subjected to humiliation by the landlord and incidents such as these, seen early in life, impacted her deeply.
Q3. Bama’s experience is that of a victim of the caste system. What kind of discrimination does Zitkala- Sa’s experience depict? What are their responses to their respective situations?
Answer:- Both Zitkala-Sa and Bama belonged to ‘marginalised communities’ and faced oppression and discrimination during their childhood.
Zitkala-Sa came to know that the school authorities were going to cut the long, thick hair of the native American girls. It was a shocking news for Zitkala-Sa because in her community shingled hair was worn only by cowards.
She hid herself under a bed in a large room. But finally, she was caught and dragged out. She resisted by kicking and scratching wildly. She was carried downstairs and tied fast to a chair. She cried aloud, shaking her head all the while. But the cold blade of scissors gnawed off one of her thick braids. The poor girl was the victim of racial discrimination. She fought bravely and struggled till she was overpowered.
Bama was eight years old when she saw an elder of her community carrying a packet containing some food. The manner in which the man was holding the packet appeared funny and weird to the girl and she almost shrieked with laughter. Later, she came to know that the people of upper caste felt that they would be ‘polluted’ if the people of lower caste touched them. When she heard this, she didn’t laugh anymore, in fact, she felt terribly sad. She found it disgusting. She felt so agitated and provoked that she wanted to touch those Vadais herself right then.
Memories Of Childhood Short Questions and Answers
Q1.What does Zitkala-Sa remember about her first day in the land of apples? [Foreign 2013]
Answer:- Zitkala-Sa remembers that it was cold. There was snow outside. There was a rigid discipline imposed on the children. The teachers were emotionless and rigid. The entire school worked in a monotonous mechanical way. She was forced to get her hair shingled. She resisted a lot but finally had to give up. So it was the most unpleasant day for her.
Q2. How did Zitkala-Sa react to the various sounds that came when the large bell rang for breakfast. [Foreign 2012]
Answer:- In the Carlisle Indian School, Zitkala-Sa was annoyed and disturbed at the harsh voices that she heard with the sound of a large bell for breakfast. It had a loud metallic sound crashing through the belfry overhead and into her sensitive ears. Then there was an annoying clatter of shoes on the bare floors and constant clash of harsh noises with an undercurrent of many voices murmuring in an unidentified tongue. All this was bedlam to her.
Q3. ‘But this eating by formula was not the hardest trial in that first day.’ Says Zitkala-Sa. What does she mean by ‘eating by formula’? [Foreign 2012]
Answer:- In the Carlisle Indian School, the children moved like robots. They were herded together and tuned up to move when a bell sounded. The narrator was not aware of it and she felt amazed to see this. The children used to sit and start eating as per the ringing of the bell. Even the prayers were done with the ringing of the bell. The three bells were sounded, one after another and only then they could move and eat. Zitkala-Sa found it a crazy idea to do so.
Q4. Why was Zitkala-Sa in tears on the first day in the land of apples? [All India 2014]
Answer:- Zitkala-Sa faced a lot of humiliation on her first day at the Carlisle India School in the land of apples. Her long hair was forcibly cut. This was undignified for her because as per her culture and traditions only cowards or mourners had their hair shingled. Despite her resistance, the author was tied to chair and her hair was cut. This brought tears to her eyes and broke her spirit.
Q5. How did Zitkala-Sa try to avoid the loss of her long hair? [Foreign 2013]
Answer:- In order to avoid the cutting of her hair, Zitkala-Sa, crept up the stairs and hid herself under a bed in a corner place in an open room. But she was found out and dragged out. She tried to resist by kicking and scratching wildly. She was carried downstairs and tied to a chair. Her long thick hair was shingled.
Q6. What were the observations of Zitkala-Sa about the dress code of the children in the Catholic school?
Answer:- The narrator observed that the children in Carlisle Indian School were very immodestly dressed. They were in ‘closely clinging dresses’. They wore the stiff shoes that produced an annoying clatter on bare floors. The small girls used to wear sleeved aprons and had shingled hair. The characteristic blanket of the American Indians had been taken away from her.
Q7. What were Zitkala-Sa’s objections to the cutting of hair?
Answer:- Zitkala-Sa objected to the cutting of the hair because in her community cutting of hair was considered inauspicious and undignified. Only unskilled warriors, mourners or cowards had their hair shingled. So it was the greatest humiliation for anyone.
Q8. Why was Zitkala-Sa’s behaviour in dining room peculiar to others?
Answer:- The children of the Carlisle Indian School were trained to act mechanically. At the time of breakfast, they all lined up, and moved to the dining room when a bell was sounded. There were three bells at regular intervals to guide the students for eating. The first bell was to draw the chair, second was to make everyone sit and the third was to start eating. Bama didn’t know anything about it so she pulled the chair after the first bell and sat on it immediately. So her behaviour was peculiar to others.
Q9. Which words of her brother made a deep impression on Bama? [Delhi 2014]
Answer:- Her brother Annan told Bama that it was only with the help of education, that people of their community could earn respect for themselves. He said “if we study and make progress, we can throw away those indignities. So study with care, learn all you can.” He suggested to Bama to be keen in her studies and said, “If you are always ahead in your lessons, people will come to you of their own accord. So work hard and learn”. These words left a deep impression on her.
Q10. What comic incident did Bama narrate to her brother? Why was he not amused? [Foreign 2014]
Answer:- Bama narrated the funny sight that she witnessed in the marketplace. She saw that an elderly member
of their community was carrying some vadai for the landlord in a funny manner. He was holding the packet with a string without touching the packet. It was so comical to see that Bama burst out into laughter. But her brother told her that the man was holding the packet in that manner because he was an untouchable and not allowed to touch the things for the landlord.
Q11. What is common between Zitkala-Sa and Bama? [Delhi 2014 (C)]
Answer:- Both Zitkala-Sa and Bama belonged to the oppressed community. As a result, they were treated in an inhumane and undignified manner. They both experienced humiliation in their childhood which left a deep impression on their minds.
Q12. Why did it take Bama one hour to reach home?
Answer:- While coming back home from school, Bama passed through the marketplace. There were many spectacular sights which distracted Bama. She watched performing monkey, a man pedalling for many days, peddlers selling fruits, snakes, etc. coffee shops, fruit tree, huntergypsy, wild lemurs in cages and leaders of political parties giving speeches, puppet shows and street plays. All this mesmerized Bama. She got engrossed in all these things and used to take long to reach home.
Q13. Why did Bama find the situation funny when an elderly member of their community was carrying the packet in a particular manner?
Answer:- Bama saw an elderly man of her community carrying the packet of vadai for the landlord in a funny manner. The packet was tied with a string and the man was carrying it without touching it. It gave a very comical image which made Bama laugh.
Q14. Who was Annan? How did he justify the behaviour of the elder?
Answer:- Annan was Bama’s elder brother. He explained to Bama that it was obvious that the elderly man would carry the things in that manner because the people of their community were considered untouchables. They were not supposed to touch the things meant for the upper castes.
Q15. What were some of the oddities or the novelties that Bama watched on the way?
Answer:- While coming back from school, Bama watched performing monkey, snake charmer, a pedaller who would go on cycling for days together, and the huntergypsy with its wild lemur in cages, etc.
Q16. What details of the inhuman behaviour of the upper castes were given to Bama by her brother?
Answer:- Annan, Bama’s elder brother, told her that they belonged to a lower class and were considered as untouchables. They were denied dignity, respect or honour in the society. They were exploited and degraded and were forced to do manual work.
Memories Of Childhood Long Questions and Answers
Q1. Describe the episode in which Zitkala-Sa endured the cutting of her long hair.
Answer:- It was Zitkala-Sa’s first day at the Carlisle Indian School. Her friend Judewin had warned her that the palefaced woman was talking about the cutting of the narrator’s long hair. Zitkala-Sa was shocked and surprised at this because as per her mother only unskilled warriors or mourners had their hair shingled. So she decided to resist and struggle but not to submit. She crept upstairs unnoticed and hid under a bed in a dark room. She could hear loud voices calling her name and footsteps nearby. She was searched for and discovered. She was dragged out. She scratched and kicked and tried to resist but all in vain. Finally, she was tied fast to a chair and her thick braids were cut off. At this point she lost her spirit and felt extremely humiliated at being treated in an undignified manner.
Q2. It may take a long time for oppression to be resisted, but the seeds of rebellion are sowed early in life. How did Zitkala-Sa face oppression as a child and how did she overcome it? [Delhi 2018]
Answer:- Since the day the narrator, Zitkala-Sa, was taken away from her mother, she had suffered extreme humiliation. People had stared at her. She had been rudely tossed about in the air like a wooden puppet. Her blanket had been removed from he shoulders. She felt like she was immodestly dressed. She was so shocked and felt oppressed that she felt like sinking to the floor. Later, her soft moccasins were taken away. The moccasins were the traditional footwear of the local American Indians. The moccasins were then replaced by shoes that squeaked a lot. She saw the other girls in stiff shoes and tightly sticking dresses. The small girls wore sleeved aprons and had shingled hair. The worst humiliation was the narrator suffered, the snipping of her long hair.
It was as if the long hair of a coward was being cut off. She felt as if she was not a human being but one of the many little animals driven by a herder. The systematic erosion of the American Indian culture and disrespect to its customs was very oppressive.
She couldn’t resist oppression but the seeds of rebellion were sowed early in her life.
Q3. In India, the so-called lower castes have been treated cruelly for a long time. Who advised Bama to fight against this prejudice, when and how? [All India 2017]
Answer:- Bama learnt the stigma of social untouchability at a very early stage in her life. She witnessed an elderly man walking in a street holding out a packet of vadai by its string, without touching it. At that time, she found the incident very funny, but later learnt that the upper caste people did not touch anything given by the untouchable community to which she and her brother belonged. She was furious at the treatment meted out by the upper caste people and felt hurt.
Bama’s elder brother Annan advised her that if she studied and made progress, she would be able to throw away these indignities. To overcome all these issues, she needed to stay ahead in her studies and then people would come to her on their own and the brother was proved right. She studied hard, stood first in her class and later fought against the issues of injustice.
Q4. Untouchability is not only a crime, it is inhuman too. Why and how did Bama decide to fight against it? [Delhi 2017]
Answer:- ‘We Too are Human Beings’ raises the issue of social discrimination. Bama learns the stigma of social untouchability that the lower caste people were a victim of at a very early stage in her life. She witnessed an elderly man walking in a street holding out a packet by its string, without touching it. At that time, she found the incident very funny, but later learnt that the upper caste people did not touch anything given by the untouchable community to which she and her brother belonged. She was furious at the treatment meted out by the upper caste people and felt hurt. Bama’s elder brother Annan advised her that if she studied and made progress, she would be able to throw away these indignities. To overcome all these issues, she needed to stay ahead in her studies. She studied hard and stood first in her class and later through her writings she was able to fight the injustice.
Q5. What activities did Bama witness on her way back home from school? [All India 2014 (C)]
Answer:- Bama had a ten-minute distance from school to home but it took more than an hour for her to reach home. She saw interesting sights on the way. She used to pass through the market place. Here she saw all fun games, novelties, oddities, shops and bazar. She watched the performing monkey, a man pedalling for many days, the activities at the Maariyaata temple. On her way, she passed the statue of Gandhiji where she saw the sweets and snacks sellers, she also saw huntergypsy and wild lemurs in cages. At times she heard the political parties giving speeches, saw puppet shows and street plays. Coffee shops and fruit tree drew her attention and she didn’t feel like moving. She watched peddlers selling fried snacks, halwa and iced lollies. She also witnessed the scene at landlord’s house where some people were driving cattle to tread the com and the landlord was watching a threshing floor being set up.
Q6. “We too are human beings,” highlights high caste-low caste discrimination in society. How do low caste people suffer on account of this? What advice is given to Bama to overcome this problem? [Foreign 2015]
Answer:- ‘We too are human beings’ highlights the prevailing discrimination in the society in the name of high caste and low caste. In her childhood, Bama realised that she belonged to the lower caste and was considered ‘untouchable’. She found that the people of her community were exploited and humiliated. She felt sad, let down and angry and hated the exploitation. She believed it to be a curse against society. She wanted to protest against this system. Her brother advised her that it was only through education, they could gain respect. He advised her to work hard and learn. Bama obeyed her brother, studied hard with great determination and topped the class. As a result, many people tried to befriend her.
Q7. “It is better to have tried and failed, then never to have tried at all”. Bring out the truth of the statement with reference to the story.
Answer:- In ‘Memories of Childhood’, both Zitkala-Sa and Bama exemplify this statement clearly. They both tried to resist the oppression and discrimination. Both wanted to overcome the humiliation and indignities that they had to face in their childhood. Zitkala-Sa resisted the cutting of her long hair. Though she failed in that resistance at that moment, this incident gave her so much determination and strength that later on she was recognized as a champion fighter against the prejudices and humiliation against women of that time.
Similarly, Bama also grew up with great confidence to eradicate the evil of untouchability through her writings. She wrote about the exploitation and humiliation that people face due to class and caste discrimination.
Thus, both the women tried hard to work against oppression despite their failed attempts in the childhood.
Q8. The stories of Bama and Zitkala-Sa prove that to succeed in life one must be determined and hardworking. It involves grit, perseverance and enormous willpower. Write an article.
Answer:- Success Demands Work, Work and Work
Hard work is the key to success. There is no doubt success demands strong willpower and determination to excel. To succeed in life one must be clear about one’s goals and be full of grit and determination to achieve that goal. Both Bama and Zitkala-Sa exemplify these qualities. They both faced humiliation, torture and discrimination in their childhood, but didn’t give up. They were determined to work for the oppressed and continued their efforts as they grew up. Zitkala-Sa led many social movements and became a social activist. Bama kept on raising the issue of untouchability through her writings.
Hard work with the strong willpower can achieve difficult targets. There is nothing impossible for those who believe in themselves and never give up.
Q9. What inspiration did you get from the stories of Bama and Zitkala-Sa? Write your feelings in your diary.
7 March 20XX
It was such a different kind of feeling that I was filled with when I read about the childhood experiences of Zitkala-Sa and Bama. Though they both belonged to different times and cultures, yet their experiences of oppression and humiliation are similar. They both represent the strength of a woman. They both were tortured in the name of race and caste but they didn’t give in. They made their humiliation and indignities as their strengths and with their grit and determination and strong willpower, they both emerged as the champions of the oppressed women.
Zitkala-Sa became a social activist and worked for the upliftment of native American women and Bama, through her writings, evoked the spirit of equality and the need to eradicate untouchability and caste discrimination.
I am full of admiration for the two and wish that one day I would also be strong like them to raise my voice against injustice.
NCERT Solutions for Class 12 English Others Chapter
NCERT Solutions for Class 12 English Flamingo Prose
- Chapter 1 The Last Lesson
- Chapter 2 Lost Spring
- Chapter 3 Deep Water
- Chapter 4 The Rattrap
- Chapter 5 Indigo
- Chapter 6 Poets and Pancakes
- Chapter 7 The Interview
- Chapter 8 Going Places
NCERT Solutions for Class 12 English Flamingo Poetry
- Poem 1 My Mother at Sixty-six
- Poem 2 An Elementary School Classroom in a Slum
- Poem 3 Keeping Quiet
- Poem 4 A Thing of Beauty
- Poem 5 A Roadside Stand
- Poem 6 Aunt Jennifer’s Tigers
NCERT Solutions for Class 12 English Vistas
- Chapter 1 The Third Level
- Chapter 2 The Tiger King
- Chapter 3 Journey to the end of the Earth
- Chapter 4 The Enemy
- Chapter 5 Should Wizard hit Mommy
- Chapter 6 On the face of It
- Chapter 7 Evans Tries an O-level
- Chapter 8 Memories of Childhood