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

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Indigo NCERT Solutions for Class 12 English Flamingo Poem 1

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

Before You Read

Q.Ageing is a natural process; have you ever thought what our elderly parents expect from us?

Answer:Aged people usually undergo pangs of loneliness and need companionship. The pessimistic approach they develop towards life can be shunned only if we provide them with abundant love, care, importance and empathy. They expect their children to sit calmly and talk to them about the happenings of their lives and to take their suggestions for making significant decisions. Their lost vitality can thus be easily rejuvenated. This happiness will encourage them to live life enthusiastically.


My Mother at Sixty-six Think it out

Q1. What do you think is the pain and the ache that the poet feels?

Answer:The poet was driving back from her parent’s home to Cochin, and she gazed at her mother, sleeping, beside her. The poet felt agonized at the thought of her mother growing old. The realisation that her mother was inching towards death made the poet sad as she was plagued by the thought of losing her.

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

Answer :The young trees are personified in the poem. They seem to be running in the opposite direction when seen through the window of the moving car. The movement is juxtaposed with the expression on the mother’s face i.e. ashen like a corpse. The movement of the children and the trees is in stark contrast with the stillness associated with the mother.

Q3. Why has the poet used the image of the merry children “spilling out of their homes”?

Answer:The poet saw the children rushing out of their homes. The children were young and full of life, a sad contrast to her aged mother. They represented joyousness and vitality, a contrast to the ashen visage of the poet’s ageing mother. The image of the children lends a contrast to her mood.

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

Answer :The mother has been compared to the late winter’s moon which is dull and shrouded. It symbolizes the ebbing of life. The moon brings to the poets mind night or the approaching end of life. The mother like the late winter’s moon is dull, dim and dismal.

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

Answer:The parting words of the poet and her smile signify her pain and fear of losing her mother. She tried to put on a brave front by hiding her fear behind a smile. She tried to hide her fear from her mother as she called out, “See you soon, Amma.” The smile also might mean a forced optimism which allowed her to believe that her mother might yet live for a long time


My Mother at Sixty-six Extra Questions and Answers

Q1. What are the words that convey the poet’s agony?

Answer:Looking at her mother, drained of colour, the poet realizes that her mother had grown old and weak and had come to the end of her life. The words “familiar ache” universalizes the emotion. She talks of her mother’s frailty by comparing her to a “corpse”. She desired to dispel the pain by looking out of the car window. In the end, she was unable to speak; she could only smile.

Q2. Explain the contrasting situations in the poem? Why does the poet do so?

Answer:The poem throws up various contrasts to drive home the idea and fear of the mother inching close to death. First, the mother’s lifelessness in the car is contrasted to the activity outside—the trees running, the children spilling out and the airport buzzing with activity. It contrasts with the sadness and pain in the car with the euphoric mood outside. The poet uses the contrast to highlight the dissimilarity of both the situations

Q3. The mood and setting in the poem comes a full cycle. Explain.

Answer:The poet begins with a concern and grief of the mother’s lifelessness in the car. The poet then describes the energy and jubilation outside. Once again, the mood recoils into sadness and worry, at the end of the poem, when the poet talks of her mother being pale like a late winter’s moon.


My Mother at Sixty-six Value Based Question

Q1. The poem deals with the subtleties of human relationships. Justify.

Answer:The poem, “My Mother at Sixty-six” revolves around the theme of advancing age and the consequent fear of loss and separation. As the poet was on the way to airport in Cochin, she was struck by the realization that her mother was old and frail, and was overwhelmed by the fear of her parent’s impending death. She observed her mother, in her twilight years, pale and waning like the winter moon.

Like any other child, she too remembered having harboured the insecurity of losing a parent that seemed to be presently unfolding in her life. Beset with sorrow and insecurity, at the end of the poem, she bid goodbye to her aged mother at the airport. The poet undergoes the universal emotions of grief and fear of losing a parent to old age and death. Kamala Das’ eloquent and poignant verse brings out the motif of transience and passing time.


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