CBSE Class 12 English Flamingo Book Poem 5 A Roadside Stand Summary, Video Explanation & Question Answer

A Roadside Stand Introduction

In ‘A Roadside Stand’, the poet Robert Frost describes the miserable condition of the people living in the countryside. The city people who drive through the countryside hardly stop at the roadside stand nor do they care tor the people who run it. If at all they do stop, they do so to criticise the place and the people. Frost describes the lives of the poor people with pitiless clarity and with deepest sympathy and humanity. 

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A Roadside Stand Video Explanation

 


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A Roadside Stand Summary

roadside stand

There is a roadside stand at the edge of the road. Those who established it certainly did so to earn money. They expected their prospective customers to stop there and buy things. But the rich and the refined people drive past without stopping there. The roadside stand offers ordinary things for sale like wild berries and golden gourds.

The people who run this stand hope for city-money so that they may also prosper. There is a news that their land will be bought by the government. The so called good doers and greedy people exploit them. Some people who pretend to be generous are even worse than flesh-eating wild animals. These greedy people want to mint money by befooling the innocent rural people.

The people who run this roadside stand hope that some car will stop there. They keep their windows open so that some customer may oblige them. But some come only to back or turn around the car or to ask the way where it is bound.

stroke

The poet will feel greatly relieved if all their pains and troubles are removed at one stroke. Death is far better than their miserable living.

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Summary in Hindi

सड़क के किनारे स्टैंड है। जिन्होंने इसे स्थापित किया, उन्होंने निश्चित रूप से पैसा कमाने के लिए ऐसा किया।  उन्हें उम्मीद थी कि उनके संभावित ग्राहक वहीं रुकेंगे और चीजें खरीदेंगे। लेकिन अमीर और परिष्कृत लोग बिना रुके अतीत  उस शेड् को पार कर जाते हैं। सड़क के किनारे का स्टैंड बिक्री के लिए साधारण चीजें पेश करता है। वहां खेतो मे उगाई गयी जंगली जामुन और सुनहरी लौकी बेची जाती है। जो लोग इसे चलाते हैं, वे नगर-धन की आशा रखते हैं, कि वे भी समृद्ध हों। समाचार है कि उनके घर और  जमीन को खरीदा जाएगा।

तथाकथित अच्छे कर्ता और लालची लोग उनका शोषण करेंगे। कुछ लोग जो उदार होने का दिखावा करते हैं, वे मांस खाने वाले जंगली जानवरों से भी बदतर हैं।  ये लालची लोग बेगुनाह ग्रामीण जनता को बेवकूफ बनाकर पैसे की ढलाई करना चाहते हैं। इस सड़क के किनारे दौड़ने वाले लोग उम्मीद करते हैं कि कोई गाड़ी वहीं रुकेगी। वे अपनी खिड़कियां खुली रखते हैं ताकि कुछ ग्राहक उन्हें उपकृत कर सकें। लेकिन कुछ तो केवल पीछे आने के लिए आते हैं या कार को घुमाते हैं या यह पूछने के लिए कि उनकी मंजिल को कौन सा रास्ता जाता है  यह कहाँ से बंधी है।

 कवि को बहुत राहत महसूस होगी यदि एक ही झटके में उनके सारे कष्ट दूर हो जाएं। उनके दयनीय जीवन से मृत्यु कहीं बेहतर है।

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A Roadside Stand Explanation

The little old house was out with a little new shed 

In front at the edge of the road where the traffic sped, 

A roadside stand that too pathetically pled, 

It would not be fair to say for a dole of bread, 

But for some of the money, the cash, whose flow supports 

The flower of cities from sinking and withering faint. 

The polished traffic passed with a mind ahead, 

Or if ever aside a moment, then out of sorts 

At having the landscape marred with the artless paint

 

Pathetically: In a way that arouses pity, especially by displaying sadness

Dole of Bread: a tiny portion of bread 

Marred: Spoilt

 

There was a small house with a new shed outside it. The road was busy with cars and other vehicles moving here and there. The shed was built to display items on sale and the owner expected the passing vehicles to stop by and buy the things or at least have a look at them. The condition of the shed aroused one’s pity because it displayed the sad feelings of the owner who was desperate to earn some money. They did not seek any favour or piece of bread from the city people but wanted some money because the flow of money helps everyone to use it and benefit from it. Just like the money with the city people helps them lead a better life, similarly, if it will flow from their pockets into the pockets of the shed owner, it will benefit his life too. The cars that pass by are sparkling but they never notice the shed. They are thinking of their destination only. If by chance they do stop at the shed, they just complain that the shabby paint of the huts and sheds there has spoiled the beauty of the landscape.

wooden quarts

Of signs that with N turned wrong and S turned wrong 

Offered for sale wild berries in wooden quarts, 

Or crook-necked golden squash with silver warts, 

Or beauty rest in a beautiful mountain scene, 

You have the money, but if you want to be mean, 

Why keep your money (this crossly) and go along.

The hurt to the scenery wouldn’t be my complaint

Squash: here, a fruit

Warts: A small growth on the outer surface

Crossly: In an annoyed or angry way

Here the poet says that as the people living in these sheds are poor their surroundings are not well-maintained. The signboards indicating directions of north and south are pointing towards the wrong directions. The sheds have farm produce on sale – wild berries, golden squash fruit with silver coloured marks on it, kept in wooden baskets. The place is beautiful and people should stop here and enjoy the mountain scenery. If they have money then they should buy some things but if they are selfish then they should keep their money with themselves and not stop there. The poet says that he does not complain that the sheds have spoiled the scenery of the place.

 

So much as the trusting sorrow of what is unsaid: 

Here far from the city we make our roadside stand 

And ask for some city money to feel in hand 

To try if it will not make our being expand, 

And give us the life of the moving-pictures’ promise 

That the party in power is said to be keeping from us. 

The poet says that these people who have opened the shed are keeping faith in a promise which was never done to them. Here, the promise is their expectation that the cars passing by will stop at the shed and buy some stuff from them. They have built this shed far from the city and they expect that the city people will flow some money out of their pockets into the hands of the shed owner. The shed owner wants to feel the money on his hands. Just like they see in pictures that the one who works hard achieves quick success and money, they have laid their trust on these ideas and expect to get some money. Frost adds that the political party in power has stopped the flow of cash from the city dwellers to the rural people.

 

It is in the news that all these pitiful kin 

Are to be bought out and mercifully gathered in 

To live in villages, next to the theatre and the store, 

Where they won’t have to think for themselves anymore, 

While greedy good-doers, beneficent beasts of prey, 

Swarm over their lives enforcing benefits 

That are calculated to soothe them out of their wits,

And by teaching them how to sleep they sleep all day, 

Destroy their sleeping at night the ancient way.

Kin: one’s family and relations

Beneficent: generous or doing good

Beasts of Prey: an animal killing other animal

Out of their wits: their perplexed or terrified state

It is in news that soon all these sheds and huts will be bought by the government and these people will be relocated to the villages. Near their houses there will be movie theatre and grocery store. They will be so happy there that they will not worry about their future. The poet says greedy good-doers and beneficient beasts i.e. such people who show to be doing good deeds but are actually greedy and are animals of prey who show that they are benefitting the other persons but in reality, they destroy them. The rich people and politicians are described as greedy good-doers and beneficient beasts because they show that they are helping the poor shed owners but in reality nothing like that is done. Actually, they are encircling their lives and forcefully giving them such benefits which have been well planned and will put these poor people in a confusion. These people cannot decide what is good for them and what is harmful. These selfish people tell to the poor that now they can relax but in reality, they themselves sleep all day long. Also, they destroy their sleep at night too as has been happening since the past.    

 

Sometimes I feel myself I can hardly bear 

The thought of so much childish longing in vain, 

The sadness that lurks near the open window there,

That waits all day in almost open prayer 

For the squeal of brakes, the sound of a stopping car, 

Of all the thousand selfish cars that pass, 

Just one to inquire what a farmer’s prices are.

And one did stop, but only to plow up grass

In using the yard to back and turn around;

In vain: without success or a result

Lurk: be or remain hidden so as to wait in ambush for someone or something

Plow: move in a fast and uncontrolled manner

The poet says that this kiddish desire in the hearts of these shed owners is useless. He cannot tolerate their sadness which they go through when they open the window of the shed, waiting for a car to stop and buy something. They wait there the whole day and it seems that they are doing a prayer seeking a buyer for their goods. They pray for the vehicles to step on the brakes and want to hear a car stop by. There are many cars carrying selfish people but hopefully, some may stop by just to ask the prices of the produce grown by the farmers there. One car did stop there but just to disturb the grass when they back their car and turn around. 

 

And another to ask the way to where it was bound;

And another to ask could they sell it a gallon of gas

They couldn’t (this crossly); they had none, didn’t it see?

No, in country money, the country scale of gain,

The requisite lift of spirit has never been found, 

Or so the voice of the country seems to complain, 

I can’t help owning the great relief it would be 

To put these people at one stroke out of their pain.

And then next day as I come back into the sane, 

I wonder how I should like you to come to me 

And offer to put me gently out of my pain.

Requisite: required / needed

Sane: sensible / realistic

Some stop by to ask directions of their destination. Some cars stop by to buy fuel for their cars. Poet gets annoyed and says that do they not have any idea that these poor people cannot afford to sell fuel. He adds that the kind of work these villagers do and the kind of things they sell, it cannot lead to the required upliftment. The resources are too less to help them get rid of their problem. Their situation demands such a solution which would be a relief to put them out of their problems in one go. The next day, the poet thinks that when he is realistic then he expects the rich to visit and help them get rid of their problem in one go, perhaps with death.

 

Figures of Speech

Transferred Epithet: (a) Polished traffic (b) Selfish cars

Personification: 1) A roadside stand that too pathetically pled

Metaphor: Trusting Sorrow 

Oxymoron & Alliteration: ‘Greedy good-doers’ and ‘beneficent beasts’ of prey.

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A Roadside Stand Question and Answers

  1. The city folk who drove through the countryside hardly paid any heed to the roadside stand or to the people who ran it. If at all they did, it was to complain. Which lines bring this out? What was their complaint about? 

Ans. The lines that indicate this are as follows-

The polished traffic passed with a mind ahead, 

Or if ever aside a moment, then out of sorts 

At having the landscape marred with the artless paint

 

They complained about the shabby paint on the walls of these sheds that has spoiled the beauty of the landscape.

 

  1. What was the plea of the folk who had put up the roadside stand? 

Ans. They pled for flow of cash from the pockets of the city dwellers into their hands so that they can also make good use of the money. They want to feel the money on their hands. 

 

  1. The government and other social service agencies appear to help the poor rural people, but actually do them no good. Pick out the words and phrases that the poet uses to show their double standards.

 

  1. What is the ‘childish longing’ that the poet refers to? Why is it ‘vain’? 

Ans. The desire of the shed owner that some cars will stop by to buy something or at least to enquire the prices of the farmer’s produce is the childish longing. It is vain or futile because no car stops by. They wait with windows open and pray all day but the effort is wasted.

 

  1. Which lines tell us about the insufferable pain that the poet feels at the thought of the plight of the rural poor?

Ans. These lines indicate the poet’s feeling-

 

I can’t help owning the great relief it would be 

To put these people at one stroke out of their pain.

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