School Level Poetry Analysis 1 2th class(CBSE) My Mother at 66 Presented by Amirtha Devarajan
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Kamala Das (1934-2009) Distinguished Indian who composes literature in English as well as Malayalam Feminist: First Indian woman writing openly about women desires and experiences. Critically acclaimed work - An Introduction My Grandmother's house, The sirens, Summer in Calcutta
Stanza Wise Explanation
Stanza 1 MY MOTHER AT SXTYSIX -KAMALADAS My Mother at Sixty-Six: Driving from my parent's home to Cochin last Friday morning, I saw my mother, beside me, doze, open mouthed, her face ashen like that of a corpse The poetess is returning after her visit to her parent's home. En-route airport she finds her mother sleeping with mouth opened and face as pale as a dead body. Comparison with corpse: This line signifies that her mother's face had lost all its glow and color of youth due to ageing. It was lifeless.
and realized with pain that she was as old as she looked but soon put that thought away, and looked out at Young Trees sprinting, the merry children spilling out of their homes Stanza2 The poetrealizes that her mother has grown old and this thought is hard to digest. She diverts her attention from these disturbing thoughts by looking at "trees sprinting" and "merry children spilling out of their homes". "Trees sprinting"-Represents the notion of time: how fast time passes. "Sprinting" is an active movement in sharp contrast to a corpse. "merry children spilling out of their homes"-Children represent youth and energy in contrast to the poe 's mother. youth and energy in contrast to the poet's mother. 3
Stanza 3 but after the airport's security check, standing a few yards away, I looked again at her, wan, pale as a late winter's moon vShe was successful in diverting her thoughts earlier but those thoughts returned after passing the security vShe compares her mother's wan, pale, lifeless demeanor to a late winter's moon which lacks brightness and luster. Comparison with "late winter's moon" is significant as the late winter's moon looks lazy and lacks brightness and luster.
Stanza 4 and felt that old familiar ache, my childhood's fear, but all I said was, see you soon, Amma, all I did was smile and smile and smile.. "Familiar ache" hints at the Poet's old fear of loosing her mother returns. She tries to hide her emotions by saying "See you soon amma". Through this line she casts a ray of hope that she will get to see her mother again. "All I did was smile and smile and smile"- Through this line she does two things : Hiding her emotions and ending her meet with her mother on a positive note with hope (smile). familiar ache, my childhood's fear,
CRITICAL ANALYSIS The poem captures the complexities of human relations. It shows that ageing is an indispensable part which one has to accept. Structure: The entire poem is structured in a single sentence punctuated by commas indicating single thought throughout the poem.
QUESTION BANK 1. Why are the young trees described as "Sprinting"? (CBSE 2. What were the poetess' feelings at the airport? How did she 3. What do the parting words of the poetess and her smile 4. How does the poetess try to put away the thought of her 2012) hide them? (All India 2012) signify? ageing mother?
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