CBSE Class 9 English Chapter 6 The Brook Summary, Explanation and Question Answers from Literature Reader (Communicative) Book

 

The Brook Class 9 – CBSE Class 9 English Literature Reader (Communicative) Book Lesson 6 The Brook Summary and Detailed explanation of the lesson along with the meanings of difficult words. Also, the explanation is followed by a Summary of the lesson. All the exercises and Questions and Answers given at the back of the lesson have been covered. 

 

 

The Brook Class 9 English Chapter 6

Lord Alfred Tennyson

 
 

The Brook Introduction

 

In this poem the poet is narrating a brook’s story in the first person. He has personified the stream and it talks of its beginning, the journey through various landforms and finally, its destination which is the river. The poet compares a man’s journey of life to the brook’s journey. The brook is eternal and flows forever whereas man is transient. The brook says that men come and go but it stays forever.
 
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The Brook Summary

 

The brook tells us about its journey as it flows towards its destination, a river which is full of water. 

It emerges suddenly from a place which is visited by water birds like the coot and heron. It flows with a lot of noise down the valleys. On its way it crosses many hills, ridges, villages, towns, bridges and farms to reach its destination, the river.

It makes sharp, loud sounds when it strikes hurdles like big rocks and diverts itself with a sharp turn. It forms bubbles and whirls when it reaches large spaces. It produces soft, sweet noises when it strikes small pebbles on its way.

The brook twists and turns and erodes its embankments gradually. It crosses many farms, vacant land and beautiful fairylands which are full of flowers. The brook compares itself with men that men come when they are born and go when they die but it is forever. It keeps on flowing and never ends. The brook is permanent whereas men are temporary.

Like men the brook also experiences different things. The flowers sailing on its surface are like the happy experiences of a man. The greedy trout fish is like an unhappy experience and the grayling fish shows shades of grey which represents those experiences which are

neither happy nor sad.

Sometimes there is foamy formation on the brook’s surface and its colour looks silvery which is so clear that the sand beneath the brook shines in a golden colour.

Then the brook is calm when it crosses lawns, gardens full of hazelnut trees and forget – me – not flowers. These are visited by lovers. The brook moves in varying speeds and different thoughts cross its mind as the swallow bird flies to its surface and catches its prey, the fish.

The sunlight which falls on the brook’s surface after passing through the trees forms a netted pattern. With the flowing brook, this pattern also moves and seems to dance on its surface.

At night, the brook makes very soft noises as it crosses wild areas. As the brook crosses small heaps of pebbles and watercress plants, its speed slows down. Finally, it completes its journey and reaches the destination, the river which is full of water.
 
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Video Explanation of The Brook

 

 
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The Brook Poem Explanation

 

I come from haunts of coot and hern;

I make a sudden sally

And sparkle out among the fern,

To bicker down a valley.

haunts: places frequently visited by

coot: a type of water bird with a white spot on the forehead

hern: heron, (another kind of water bird)

sally: emerge suddenly

fern: a flowerless plant which has feathery or leafy fronds

bicker: (here) flow down with a lot of noise

The poet writes that the brook comes from a place which is frequently visited by coots, herns, and various other kinds of water birds. The brook suddenly emerges among the fern plants. It then flows down a valley and it makes a lot of noise while doing so. 

 

By thirty hills I hurry down,

Or slip between the ridges,

By twenty thorpes, a little town,

And half a hundred bridges.

thorpes: a village

ridge: the line or edge formed where the two sloping sides of a roof meet at the top

The brook flows through thirty hills and slips down the path where two hills meet. It passes through around twenty villages, a little town, and half a hundred or fifty bridges.

 

Till last by Philip’s farm I flow

To join the brimming river,

For men may come and men may go,

But I go on for ever.

brimming: be full to the point of overflowing

The place through which the brook flows down and joins the overflowing river is Philip’s farm. The brook sees that the people working in the farm change with time but, the brook itself remains the same and continues flowing. This is a contrast between human and nature, and how humans are mortals who die at some point of life but the brook, which continues flowing, will never stop flowing.

 

I chatter over stony ways,

In little sharps and trebles,

I bubble into eddying bays,

I babble on the pebbles.

chatter: a series of short, quick high-pitched sounds

sharps: a musical tone semitone higher than the natural pitch

trebles: high pitched tune

eddying: spiral movement of water

babble: sound made when one talks gaily

The brook makes a series of short, quick high-pitched sounds when it splashes and flows down rocky pathways. One can see bubbles and high-pitched tunes coming from the brook when it flows down into bays. It flows down into the bays in a spiral manner, which results in bubbles, sharps and trebles. One can hear the sound of babbling when the brooks down a path full of pebbles, meaning that it sounds like multiple people are talking gaily.

 

With many a curve my banks I fret

By many a field and fallow,

And many a fairy foreland set

With willow-weed and mallow.

fret: flow or move in small waves

fallow: land left uncultivated to regain fertility

foreland: piece of land that extends into a river etc.

mallow: plant with hairy stems and leaves and pink, white or purple flowers

When the pathway is curvy, the brook flows down in small waves. It flows down fields, uncultivated land, forelands, and lands filled with willow-weed and mallow in the same manner.

 

I chatter, chatter, as I flow

To join the brimming river,

For men may come and men may go,

But I go on for ever.

chatter: a series of short, quick high-pitched sounds

brimming: be full to the point of overflowing

The poet repeats that the brook makes a series of short, quick, high-pitched sounds as it makes its way to its destination, which is the overflowing river. It reminds us of the contrasting nature of humans and nature, and how the brook continues flowing and will flow forever but humans, who are mortals, will die someday.

 

I wind about, and in and out,

With here a blossom sailing,

And here and there a lusty trout

And here and there a grayling

wind: move with a spiral manner

blossom: mature or develop in a promising or healthy way

lusty trout: a big freshwater fish

grayling: another type of freshwater fish

The brook moves in a spiral manner. It helps the plants mature in a healthy way by supplying them with sufficient amount of water, hence its sail or journey helps in the blossom of other elements of nature. It also gives life to aquatic animals like lusty trout, grayling and other freshwater fish

 

And here and there a foamy flake

Upon me, as I travel

With many a silvery waterbreak

Above the golden gravel,

foamy flake: Foam on surface of fast moving brook

silvery: something which is shiny or lustrous like silver

waterbreak: a place in a brook where the surface of the water is broken by irregularities on the bottom

gravel: sandy surface of Earth beneath the top layer

The poet describes that along with plants and animals, something else is present in the brook when it’s about to join the overflowing or brimming river. Due to the fast speed with which the brook travels, the water accumulates and turns into foam. This foam is present on the surface of the brook and it travels on top of the brook. Even when there are irregularities present on the bottom and the water is broken into small waves, the foam remains on top of the water. The waterbreaks, which are situated above the golden-coloured sandy surface of earth, do not disturb the shine of the water.  

 

And draw them all along, and flow

To join the brimming river

For men may come and men may go,

But I go on for ever.

The brook carries the foam and also sometimes the freshwater fish, and it joins the overflowing river. Again, the poet repeats that the brook will continue flowing into the river and giving life to aquatic animals, whereas the humans will die someday.

 

I steal by lawns and grassy plots,

I slide by hazel covers

I move the sweet forget-me-nots

That grow for happy lovers.

steal by: move somewhere quietly

hazel: a small tree or bush with edible nuts

forget-me-nots : a type of flowers

The brook flows through lawns and land full of grass quietly. It passes through hazel trees and bushes in a manner that makes it look like the brook is sliding. It flows through a type of flower named forget-me-nots, and provides water to it. This leads to the healthy growth of the flowers, which are eventually plucked to enrich the love between two happy lovers. Hence, in this stanza, we see how the brook enriches not only plants, trees, bushes, and animals, but also the love among human beings.

 

I slip, I slide, I gloom, I glance,

Among my skimming swallows;

I make the netted sunbeam dance

Against my sandy shallows.

glance: hit something at an angle and bounce off obliquely

skimming: Remove something from the surface, here fishes in the brook

swallows: a bird which dives into the brook for its prey, the fish

netted sunbeam: Pattern of a net formed when the sunlight passes through the trees and falls on the brook’s surface

sandy shallows: Base of the brook which is not deep and has sand

The brook moves with a smooth sliding motion. It travels through some gloomy or dark looking places, and it changes its direction when it hits some rocks. Many birds, who feed on fish, dive into the brook and remove the fish from the surface of the brook. When the sunlight passes through the trees and falls on the brook’s surface, a pattern of net is formed on the water. The continuous flow of the water in the brook makes the netted sunbeam dance, meaning that the wavering of the brook results in a blurry image of the netted sunlight, which is really hard to capture as it disappears and then appears too quickly. The sunbeam brightens up a part of the depth of the brook which is the sandy shallows, the part of the base of the brook which is not too deep and is covered with sand.

 

I murmur under moon and stars

In brambly wildernesses;

I linger by my shingly bars;

I loiter round my cresses;

murmur: speak softly

brambly: covered with brambles and ferns and other undergrowth

wildernesses: an uncultivated and uninhabited region 

linger: stay around something for some time

shingly: covered with small rounded pebbles

bar: ridges, sandy shallow

loiter: stand or wait around without apparent purpose

cresses: a pungent leaved plant like a cabbage

When it is nighttime, that is, the brook is flowing under the moon and the infinite number of stars, it sounds like a group of people are talking to one another in a soft voice and low volume. This is the murmuring sound that the brook makes during the night. When the brook enters an uncultivated and uninhabited region (a region where the weeds and the undergrowth is not maintained and hence it is brambly, and where no animal resides), the brook stays at the ridges and the sandy shallow for some time. Hence there is accumulation of water in those places. The brook becomes stagnant when it comes in contact with pungent leaved plants like cabbage which grow in it. 

 

And out again I curve and flow

To join the brimming river,

For men may come and men may go,

But I go on for ever.

Although the brook is said to be stuck at one place when it gets accumulated in the ridges, sandy shallows and around cresses, the water eventually starts flowing again in a curved manner. It then joins the overflowing river. Due to the whole process of the brook becoming stagnant at one point but immediately starting to flow again is in contrast with the permanent stagnant nature of humans. The brook is a continuous water body and it does not stop even after encountering several obstacles. Hence the brook cannot be stopped. However, we humans have a limited life span and we can be stopped by death.

 

Literary Devices

 

  1. Rhyme Scheme: abab
  2. Personification: A non human object or an animal is given abilities to behave like a human. Like they speak, feel, see, hear. Here the brook has been personified. It is present throughout the poem.
  3. Alliteration: Repetition of a consonant sound in the beginning of two or more consecutive words. Like sudden sally, men may, with willow weed.
  4. Repetition: Any word or sentence may be repeated in the same stanza or in the poem to emphasize or create rhyming effect. 

To join the brimming river,

For men may come and men may go,

But I go on for ever.

  1. Inversion: The structure of a sentence is reversed. The object is placed before the subject to lay emphasis and create distinction.

By thirty hills I hurry down

  1. Onomatopoeia: Use of sound words to create dramatic effect. Like chatter, babble, murmur.
  2. Anaphora: The same word is repeated at the start of consecutive sentences. Like I bubble into….. I babble on…….
  3. Antithesis: Words which contrast or have opposite meanings are used. Like come go, in out.
  4. Asyndeton: It is a style of writing in which conjunctions are not used in the sentence.

Like I slip, I slide, I gloom…….
 
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The Brook Question Answers

 

Exercises

 

Q1. After reading the poem, answer the following questions.

The poet has used a number of words which indicate ‘movement’ and ‘sound’. Make a list of these words from the poem

Ans. a. Movement words

  1. Sally
  2. Sparkle
  3. Hurry
  4. Slip
  5. Slide
  6. Flow
  7. Curve

 

b. Sound words

  1. Bicker
  2. Chatter
  3. Murmur
  4. Sharps
  5. Trebles
  6. Babble

 

c. Onomatopoeia

  1. Bicker
  2. Chatter
  3. babble

 

Q2. The following is a flow chart showing the course of the brook. Can you fill in the blank spaces with help from the phrases given below?

flow chart

 

a) passes under fifty bridges

b) comes from the place where coots and herons live

c) passes lawns filled with flowers

d) crosses both fertile and fallow land

e) goes through wilderness full of thorny bushes

 

Ans. 1. b) comes from the place where coots and herons live

  1. a) passes under fifty bridges
  2. d) crosses both fertile and fallow land
  3. c) crosses both fertile and fallow land
  4. e) goes through wilderness full of thorny bushes

 

Q3. On the basis of your understanding of the poem, answer the following questions by ticking the correct choice.

(a) The message of the poem is that the life of a brook is __________ .

(i) temporary

(ii) short-lived

(iii) eternal

(v) momentary

Ans. (iii) eternal

 

(b) The poet draws a parallelism between the journey of the brook with __________

(i) the life of a man

(ii) the death of man

(iii) the difficulties in a man’s life

(iv) the endless talking of human beings

Ans. (ii) the death of man

 

(c) In the poem, the below mentioned lines suggest that __________ .

“And here and there a lusty trout ,

And here and there a grayling”

(i) the brook is a source of life.

(ii) people enjoy the brook.

(iii) fishes survive because of water.

(iv) the brook witnesses all kinds of scenes.

Ans. (iii) fishes survive because of water.

 

(d) Select the option that matches the given words/phrases with the appropriate literary device used by the poet.

 

Words Literary Device
i) Chatter; Babble; Murmur 1. Alliteration- the occurrence of the same letter or sound at the beginning of adjacent or closely connected words
ii) Men may come and men may go but I go on forever 2. Onomatopoeia-the formation of a word from a sound associated with what is named
iii) fairly foreland; with willow seed; foamy flake; golden gravel 3. Inversion – reversal of the normal order of the words and phrases in a sentence
4. Refrain – a word, line or phrase that

is repeated within the lines or stanzas

of the poem itself.

 

(i) i-2, ii-1, iii-4 

(ii) i-4, ii-2, iii-3

(iii) I-2, ii-4, iii-1 

(iv) i-1, ii-2, iii-3

Ans. (iii) i-2, ii-4, iii-1

 

(e) The first-person narration of the brook allows the reader to

(i) appreciate Tennyson’s use of symbols.

(ii) realize the ultimate goal of the brook.

(iii) experience the soothing effect of the sound of water.

(iv) understand the brook’s experience as a living organism

Ans. (iv) understand the brook’s experience as a living organism

 

Read the given extracts and answer the questions that follow by selecting the correct options.

A. With many a curve my banks I fret

By many a field and fallow,

And many a fairy foreland set

With willow-weed and mallow.

 

(i) Choose the option that best describes the brook’s journey in the given stanza. It is a journey full of__________ .

a) comfort and luxury

b) trials and tribulations

c) sorrow and misery

d) joy and laughter

Ans. b) trials and tribulations

 

(ii) The poet has used the pronoun ‘I’ to refer to the brook and thus employed a literary device in his depiction. Choose the option that uses the same literary device as used in the first line.

a) The magnitude of the bottomless ocean was divine.

b) The angry walls echoed his fury.

c) A mother is like a lioness protecting her cubs.

d) I felt the power of the gushing stream.

Ans. d) I felt the power of the gushing stream.

 

(iii) The brook seems to be fretting in the given stanza. This word has been used by the poet to depict the ________ of the flowing brook.

a) force

b) kindness

c) silence

d) beauty

Ans. a) force

 

B. I linger by my shingly bars;

I loiter round my cresses;

And out again I curve and flow

To join the brimming river,

For men may come and men may go,

But I go on forever.

 

(i) Choose the option that includes words that best describe the characteristics of the brook, as revealed in the given extract.

  1. perpetual 
  2. silent 
  3. twisted
  4. unbound 
  5. interrupted

a) 1, 3 and 4

b) 1, 2, 4 and 5

c) 1, 2, and 3

d) 1, 2 and 4

Ans. a) 1, 3 and 4

 

(ii) The line, ‘men may come and men may go’

a) mocks the shortness of the brook’s life as it goes through its journey.

b) highlights the eternal nature of human life as opposed to its own.

c) contrasts the eternal nature of brook against short-lived human life-span.

d) highlights the eternal story of men that the brook comes across during its journey.

Ans. c) contrasts the eternal nature of brook against short-lived human life-span.

 

iii) What do the words, ‘linger and loiter’ show about the brook?

a) Its continuity

b) Its slow movement

c) Its powerful force

d) Its ultimate purpose

Ans. b) Its slow movement

 

Q4. Answer the following questions.

 

  1. Why does the brook ‘sparkle’ ?

Ans. The brook sparkles when it emerges in the backdrop of green fern plants. The bright sunlight makes it sparkle and shine.

 

  1. ‘Bicker’ means ‘to quarrel’. Why does the poet use this word here?

Ans. ‘Bicker’ means the sound of noisy discussion. As the brook flows hurriedly down the steep valley, it makes a similar noise as if a noisy discussion is being done.

 

  1. Why has the word ‘chatter’ been repeated in the poem?

Ans. The poet wants to emphasise on the word ‘chatter’ and so it has been repeated. The brooks often chatter or makes continuous sound as it flows.

 

  1. ‘I wind about, and in and out’. What kind of a picture does this line create in your mind?

Ans. The line creates a scene where we imagine the brook as flowing in a zig zag pattern like a maze of a whirlpool.

 

  1. What does the poet want to convey by using the words ‘steal’ and ‘slide’?

Ans. The words ‘steal’ and ‘slide’ refer to the quiet, noiseless movement of the brook.

 

  1. ‘I make the netted sunbeam dance’. What does ‘the netted sunbeam’ mean? How does it dance?

Ans. ‘Netted sunbeam’ means that the sunbeam passes through trees and shrubs as it reaches the brook. So it makes a netted pattern which is called the netted sunbeam. When the water flows, this pattern seems to dance on the brook’s surface.

 

  1. What is a ‘refrain’ in a poem? What effect does it create?

Ans. The refrain in the poem is

‘For men may come and men may go

But I flow for ever.’

The use of this line repeatedly puts emphasis on the fact that man is transient and temporary whereas the brook is eternal, it is never – ending.

 

  1. Why has the poet used the word ‘brimming’ in the line, ‘to join the brimming river?

Ans. The word ‘brimming’ means full to the top. It gives the image of a river which is full of water.

 

Q5. Identify the rhyme scheme of the poem, The Brook.

Ans. The Rhyme Scheme is abab.

 

Q6. The poem is full of images that come alive through skilful use of words. Describe any two images that appeal to you the most, quoting the lines from the poem.

Ans. ‘To join the brimming river’, with this line, we can imagine a stream of path merging with the overflowing river. ‘By twenty thorpes, a little town, and half a hundred bridges.’, by reading this line, we can imagine the brook crossing numerous villages, towns and bridges before merging with the brimming river.

 

Q7. The brook appears to be a symbol for life. Pick out examples of parallelism between human life and the brook from the poem.

Ans. The brook appears to be a symbol for life. We can see this with the help of the following extracts from the poem – 

I chatter, chatter, as I flow

To join the brimming river,

For men may come and men may go,

But I go on for ever.

With many a silvery waterbreak

I linger by my shingly bars;

I loiter round my cresses

And out again I curve and flow

The poet tells us that even though the brook goes through multiple obstacles in its path, it goes around its obstacle in a curved manner and eventually reaches the destination, that is the brimming river. There are many things in its path that break the water into small waves. However, the brook does not waver and continues flowing and chattering. The poem also highlights the contrasting nature of the brook and humans, and how the brook will continue flowing forever, but there is a point in every human beings’ life when they will encounter death.
 
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