NCERT Solutions for Class 12 English Flamingo Book Poem 2 An Elementary School Classroom In A Slum Important Question Answers
Looking for An Elementary School Classroom In A Slum question answers (NCERT solutions) for CBSE Class 12 English Flamingo Book Poem 2? Look no further! Our comprehensive compilation of important questions will help you brush up on your subject knowledge. Practising Class 12 English question answers can significantly improve your performance in the board exam. Our solutions provide a clear idea of how to write the answers effectively. Improve your chances of scoring high marks by exploring Poem 2: An Elementary School Classroom In A Slum question answers now. The questions listed below are based on the latest CBSE exam pattern, wherein we have given NCERT solutions to the chapter’s extract based questions, multiple choice questions, short answer questions, and long answer questions.
Also, practising with different kinds of questions can help students learn new ways to solve problems that they may not have seen before. This can ultimately lead to a deeper understanding of the subject matter and better performance on exams.
- Extract based Questions
- Multiple Choice Questions
- Short Answer Questions
- Long Answer Questions
- An Elementary School Classroom in a Slum Important Question Answers
- CBSE Class 12 English Notes, Lesson Explanation, Question Answers
- CBSE Class 12 English MCQ Question Answers
- Class 12 English Flamingo Book Chapter wise word meaning
- Class 12 English Flamingo Poems Word meaning
- Class 12 English Vistas Book Word meanings
- CBSE Class 12 English Important Question Answers
- Character Sketch of Class 12 English
Poem 2 An Elementary School Classroom In A Slum Extract Based Questions
Extract-based questions are of the multiple-choice variety, and students must select the correct option for each question by carefully reading the passage.
A. Far far from gusty waves these children’s faces.
Like rootless weeds, the hair torn around their pallor:
The tall girl with her weighed-down head. The paper-
seeming boy, with rat’s eyes. The stunted, unlucky heir
of twisted bones, reciting a father’s gnarled disease,
his lesson, from the desk. At back of the dim class
one unnoted, sweet and young. (CBSE QB, 2021)
- The phrase ‘weighed-down head’ DOES NOT refer to being
A) burdened by poverty.
B) ashamed of her plight.
C) distressed due to difficulties.
D) dizzy with a headache
Ans. D) dizzy with a headache
- Pick the option that matches the words / phrases with the literary device.
|1 like rotting weed||A metaphor|
|2 paper-seeming boy||B pun|
|3 Reciting||C synecdoche|
A 1-A, 2-D, 3-C
B 1-D, 2-B, 3-A
C 1-D, 2-A, 3-B
D 1-B, 2-A, 3-C
Ans. C 1-D, 2-A, 3-B
- Pick the option that enumerates the tone of the poet in this extract.
A 2, 4 and 6
B 1, 4 and 5
C 3, 5 and 6
D 1, 3 and 6
Ans. A 2, 4 and 6
4. The ‘gusty waves’, most likely, indicate
A survival and struggle.
B verve and brightness.
C drudgery and dullness.
D animation and alertness
Ans. B verve and brightness.
B. “And yet, for these
Children, these windows, not this map, their world,
Where all their future’s pointed with a fog,
A narrow street sealed in with a lead sky
Far far from rivers, capes and stars of words.”
1. Who are the ‘children’ referred to here?
Ans. The ‘children’ referred to here are the poor children living in the slum.
2. Which is their world?
Ans. Their world comprises the dull and unpleasant classroom and its windows, amongst the dirty surroundings of the slum.
3. How is their life different from that of other children?
Ans. The children of the slum are malnourished and impoverished, in contrast to other children who are healthy and have all of life’s comforts and luxuries. The slum children’s lives are filled with darkness and hopelessness.
4. Why is the future of these children “painted with a fog”?
Ans. The future of these children is dark and uncertain. So, the speaker says that it is painted with a fog.
C. This map becomes their windows and these windows
That shut upon their lives like catacombs,
Break O break open till they break the town
And show the children to green fields, and make their world
Run azure on gold sands, and let their tongues
Run naked into books the white and green leaves open
History theirs whose language is the sun. (CBSE QB, 2021)
1. Pick the option that is NOT TRUE according to this extract.
A The children should be allowed to read books and form their opinions.
B Education without breaking the shackles of poverty, is meaningless.
C The policy makers show the reality of the world to the children.
D The children see the world of poverty and misery through the windows
Ans. C The policy makers show the reality of the real world to the children.
2. Which figure of speech is used in – ‘these windows
That shut upon their lives like catacombs’
Ans. B Simile
3. Look at the given book covers. Pick the option that reflects the meaning of ‘catacomb’ in the extract.
A Option 1
B Option 2
C Option 3
D Option 4
Ans. C Option 3
- On the basis of the extract, pick the opinion that is closest to that of the poet:-
A Option 1
B Option 2
C Option 3
D Option 4
Ans. B Option 2
D. “With ships and sun and love tempting them to steal-
For lives that slyly turn in their cramped holes
From fog to endless night? (Delhi 2014)
1. Who are ‘them’ referred to in the first line?
Ans. ‘Them’ here refers to the poor, emaciated children of the slum.
2. What tempts them?
Ans. They are tempted by all the beautiful things of the world, the luxuries and the lifestyle that the rich enjoy. They are tempted to steal as they cannot possess these otherwise.
3. What does the poet say about their lives?
Ans. The children of the slum live amidst dirty surroundings in cramped houses which are dark and unpleasant. The poet is not happy with the way these children are compelled to live.
4. What do you understand by “from fog to endless night”?
Ans. “From fog to endless night” means that from morning till night the poor children of the slum have a miserable existence; they suffer from morning to night everyday.
E. “Surely, Shakespeare is wicked, the map a bad example,
With ships and sun and love tempting them to steal –
For lives that slyly turn in their cramped holes
From fog to endless night? On their slag heap, these children
‘Wear skins peeped through by bones and spectacles of steel
With mended glass, like bottle bits on stones.
1. Why is Shakespeare described as wicked?
Ans. Shakespeare has been described as ‘wicked’ because his literary genius has no meaning in the children’s life. For them everyone is wicked and bad because no one bothers about them.
2. Explain, “from fog to endless night.”
Ans. With reference to the stanza, ‘from fog to endless night’ refers to a dull and dark life which remains from early morning to late night. It means that the life of these children is not bright and promising. During the day it is covered with fog which symbolizes a bleak future. And endless night means the dark future has no sign of changing.
3. What does the reference to ‘slag heap’ mean?
Ans. The bloodless bodies of the poor children are referred to as ‘slag heap’.
4. How do they live in their holes?
Ans. They live like rats in their cramped little holes. Their houses are small, dirty and congested. Fog and darkness dominate their lives.
F. “………On their slag heap, these children
Wear skins peeped through by bones and spectacles of steel
With mended glass, like bottle bits on stones.
All of their time and space are foggy slum.
So blot their maps with slums as big as doom.”
1. Which two images are used to describe these slums?
Ans. The images used to describe the slums are ‘foggy slum’ and ‘slums as big as doom’.
2. Who are these children?
Ans. These children are the students sitting in the elementary classroom in the slums.
3. Which figure of speech is used in the last line?
Ans. The figure of speech used in the last line is a simile, ‘slums as big as doom’.
4. What does ‘slag heap’ refer to?
Ans. ‘Slag heap’ refers to the hunger-stricken bodies of the slum children, which seem to be garbage heaps.
G. The tall girl with her weighed-down head. The paperseeming boy, with rat’s eyes. The stunted, unlucky heir Of twisted bones, reciting a father’s gnarled disease, His lesson, from his desk. At back of the dim class One unnoted, sweet and young. His eyes live in a dream…(CBSE Sample Paper 2021)
1 The poet draws attention to the problem while describing the boy as paper-seeming.
Ans. A. malnutrition
2 Which option has the underlined phrase that applies the poetic device used for ‘rat’s eyes’?
A. He shut up like a clam when interrogated.
B. She runs as swift as a gazelle.
C. He is considered the black sheep of the family.
D. She ran away chattering with fear.
Ans. C. He is considered the black sheep of the family.
3 Select the correct option to fill the blank. The tall girl’s head is weighed down due to the_____.
A. effect of diseases
B. need for concentration
C. desire to remain unnoticed
D. burdens of poverty
Ans. D. burdens of poverty
4 The literal meaning of ‘reciting’ refers to delivering the lesson aloud. What does its figurativemeaning refer to?
A. Showing extra interest in the lesson.
B. Carrying his father’s disease.
C. Resigning to his disease and condition.
D. Voicing the poor conditions, he lives in.
Ans. B. Carrying his father’s disease.
5 How does the ‘unnoted’ pupil present a contrast to others?
A. He appears to be in a world of dreams.
B. He struggles with the fulfilment of dreams.
C. He seems taller than most.
D. He sits in the dimmest part of the classroom.
Ans. A. He appears to be in a world of dreams.
Multiple Choice Questions for Poem 2 An Elementary School Classroom In A Slum
Multiple Choice Questions (MCQs) are a type of objective assessment in which a person is asked to choose one or more correct answers from a list of available options. An MCQ presents a question along with several possible answers.
Q1. How can powerful people help the poor children?
A) by fighting with the government
B) by fighting with the powerful
C) by bridging gaps of inequalities and injustice
D) by fighting with the rich
Ans. C) by bridging gaps of inequalities and injustice
Q2. What does the poem describe?
A) A classroom in a slum area
B) social setup of India
C) different mindsets
D) beauty of the surroundings
Ans.A) A classroom in a slum area
Q3. What does the poet wish for the children of the slums?
A) He wishes them to be happy and healthy
B) He wishes a good change for them
C) he wants them to enjoy the bounties of nature
D) All of these
Ans. D) All of these
Q4. “Far far from gusty waves these children’s faces.
Like rootless weeds, the hair torn round their pallor”:
What do these words express?
A) poor state of the classroom
B) poor plight of children’s homes
C) poor plight of teachers
D) poor plight of the slum children
Ans. D) poor plight of the slum children
Q5. Why is the head of the tall girl ‘weighed down’?
A)by the burden of studies
B) by the burden of work
C) by the burden of her world
D) All of these
Ans. C) by the burden of her world
Q6. What is the meaning of ‘The paper seeming boy, with rat eyes’?
A) boy holding a paper
B) thin and well maintained body
C) the boy has eyes of a rat
D) weak and malnutritioned boy
Ans. D) weak and malnutritioned boy
Q7. What kind of look do the faces and hair of the children give?
A) rich and beautiful faces
B) bright, coloured hair, neat faces
C) healthy appearances
D) pale faces, scattered and undone hair
Ans. D) pale faces, scattered and undone hair
Q8. “His eyes live in a dream”- what is the dream?
A) watching a movie
B) going abroad
C) eating ice cream
D) dream of better times with games and open spaces
Ans. D) dream of better times with games and open spaces
Q9. Who was sitting at the back of the dim class?
A) a girl
B) all the children
C) a teacher
D) a young boy
Ans. D) a young boy
Q10. Who is the unlucky heir and what has he inherited?
A) a fat, dark boy, has inherited obesity from his mother
B) a short, thin boy, has inherited stunted growth from his family
C) an intelligent boy, has inherited intelligence from his grandfather who was an army man
D) thin boy with eyes like those of a rat, has inherited a deformed body from his father
Ans. D) thin boy with rat’s eyes, has inherited a deformed body from his father
Q11. What is the stunted boy reciting?
A) a happy song from his seat
B) a religious song in a group
C) a prayer song from the front of the class
D) a lesson from his desk
Ans. D) a lesson from his desk
Q12. What does the color of the classroom walls point out?
A) happy and poor state
B) happy and rich state
C) poor condition of the slum
D) none of these
Ans. C) poor condition of the slum
Q13. What does the expression ‘Open handed map ” show?
A) the shape of the map is like that of a hand
B) the poor can not access the world
C) the poor are powerless
D) maps are open to all, they reveal everything
Ans. D) maps are open to all, they reveal everything
Q14. ‘Awarding the world its world’ what do these words express?
A) the world is ours
B) the world is yours
C) the world belong to the poor
D) the world is shown as it is seen by the rich
Ans. D) the world is shown as it is seen by the rich
Q15. In what sense are the slum children different?
A) they do not get opportunities to play sports
B) they cannot go to schools
C) their parents and teachers do not love them
D) because of no access to hope and openness of the world
Ans. D) because of no access to hope and openness of the world
Q16. What kind of future do the slum children have?
A) very hopeful
C) clear like water
D) hopeless and uncertain
Ans. D) hopeless and uncertain
Q17. The metaphor ‘lead sky’, is used by Stephen Spender to bring out… (CBSE SQP 2021-22)
A. the image of sky-high constructions in the slum.
B. a response to death and destruction.
C. the strong dreams and aspirations of the children.
D. a sense of hopelessness and despair.
Ans. D) a sense of hopelessness and despair.
Q18. What do the words ‘From fog to endless night’ mean?
A) bright light outside the slum classroom
B) bright future which the slum promises
C) hopelessness of life
D) Dark and uncertain future of slum children from birth to death
Ans. D) Dark and uncertain future of slum children from birth to death
Q19. Mention any two images used to explain the plight of the slum children.
A) open handed map, tyrolese valley
B) from his desk, of squirrel’s games
C) belled, flowery
D) foggy slums, bottle bits on stones
Ans. D) foggy slums, bottle bits on stones
Q20. What blots the maps of the slum children?
C) stones in the streets
D) Dirty slums
Ans. D) Dirty slums
Q21. What does the poet show through expressions ‘so blot their maps with slums as big as doom’?
A) the world map is interesting for them
B) the slums are never ending and disasterous for the slum kids
C) the slum kids cannot find the slum on the image of the world map
D) the slums have different maps which are no longer available
Ans. B) the slums are never ending and disasterous for the slum kids
Q22. What have the classroom windows done to the children’s lives in the poem?
A) they do not bring fresh air because they are closed
B) they are broken and need repair
C) the windows open in the slum and the children enjoy the scene outside the window
D) the windows open in the slum and they have never gone out of this area
Ans. D) the windows open in the slum and they have never gone out of this area
Q23. What other freedom the poet wants the slum children to enjoy?
A) Freedom of travelling by aeroplane and exploring new places
B) freedom to spend money and buy all that they desire
C) freedom to eat junk food and gain weight
D) freedom of knowledge, wisdom and expression
Ans. D) freedom of knowledge, wisdom and expression
Q24. What does the expression ‘Break O break open’ suggest?
A) barriers on the road must be broken
B) barriers of garbage heap must be broken
C) barriers of dirty environment must be broken
Ans. C) barriers of dirty environment must be broken
Q25. What does the poet want?
A) to send the children out of the slums
B) to send the children to America
C) to send the children to open fields
D) to send the children to a beach
Ans. A) to send the children out of the slums
Q26. Based on the poem, choose the correct option with reference to the two statements given below.
Statement 1: The poet is in anguish at the plight of the children in slums and is sympathetic towards them.
Statement 2: The poet presents an exaggerated version of the struggles of the slum children, to garner sympathy. (CBSE QB, 2021)
A Statement 1 is true but Statement 2 is false.
B Statement 1 is false but Statement 2 is true.
C Both Statement 1 and Statement 2 are true.
D Both Statement 1 and Statement 2 cannot be inferred.
Ans. A Statement 1 is true but Statement 2 is false.
Q27. A child in the slum experiencing the dreary life would have the least access to (CBSE QB, 2021)
Ans. D education.
Q28. Pick the quote that highlights the contrasting image portrayed in the poem:- (CBSE QB, 2021)
A ‘The worst form of inequality is to try and make unequal things equal.’
B ‘An imbalance between the rich and poor is the oldest and most fatal ailment of all republics.’
C ‘We must work together to ensure equitable distribution of wealth, opportunity and power in our society.’
D ‘No amount of artificial reinforcement can offset the natural inequalities of the human individual.’
Ans. B ‘An imbalance between the rich and poor is the oldest and most fatal ailment of all republics.’
Q29. Pick phrases that portray ‘poverty and hopelessness’ in the poem. (CBSE QB, 2021)
1. slag heap
2. spectacles of steel
3. gusty waves
4. run azure on gold sands
5. mended glass
6. squirrel’s game
7. language is the sun
A) 2, 4 and 7
B) 1, 3 and 5
C) 3, 4 and 6
D) 1, 2 and 5
Ans. D) 1, 2 and 5
Q30. Why are the pictures and maps meaningless?
A) they are fake and show a false things which do not exist in real life
B) they are old and have faded away so no one can see them
C) they show vastness which is opposite to the world and needs of the children in the classroom
D) All of these
Ans. C) they show vastness which is opposite to the world and needs of the children in the classroom
An Elementary School Classroom In A Slum Short Answer Questions (including questions from Previous years Question Papers)
In this post we are also providing important short answer questions from the poem My Mother at Sixty Six for CBSE Class 12 Boards in the coming session. These questions have been taken from previous years class 12 Board exams and the year is mentioned in the bracket along with the question.
Q1. What change does the poet hope for in the lives of the slum children?
Ans. Stephen Spender wishes to improve the lives of slum children. He wants the officials to assist these poor children in leaving their deplorable surroundings. He wishes that these children receive an education because education is the key to success and would help them succeed in life and leave the slums behind.
Q2.To whom does the poet in the poem, ‘An Elementary School Classroom in a Slum’ make an appeal? What is his appeal? (Compartment Delhi 2014)
Ans. The poet appeals to his readers, particularly the educated and well-off, to assist the poor children of the slum in getting out and away from their deplorable surroundings. His plea is that these children receive a good education since education is the key to their liberation.
Q3. Which words/phrases in the poem ‘An Elementary School Classroom in a Slum’ show that the slum children are suffering from acute malnutrition? (Compartment All India 2014)
Ans. ‘The hair torn round their pallor,’ ‘paper-seeming boy,” “stunted, unlucky heir of twisted bones,’ and ‘wear skins peeped through by bones’ are some of the words or phrases in the poem that indicate that the slum children are suffering from acute malnutrition.
Q4. What message does Stephen Spender convey through the poem, ‘An Elementary School Classroom in a Slum’?
Ans. The poet wishes for the poor children’s freedom from a life of hunger and misery. He wishes that the children receive high-quality education. They should be removed from their filthy surroundings and placed in the soothing embrace of nature.
Q5. How does the poet describe the classroom walls?
Ans. The walls of the classroom are creamy and dirty. They are in need of fresh paint. They are adorned with a donated image of Shakespeare. The walls also feature a world map and beautiful Tyrol valley, which contrast sharply with the dingy, dreary, and gloomy environment in which these slum children live.
Q6. Why does Stephen Spender say that the pictures and maps in the elementary school classroom are not meaningful?(Delhi 2009)
Ans. The images displayed on the classroom walls depict the civilized world. Shakespeare’s portrait is useless to the slum children because they will never read his works. They have never ventured out of the dirty slum, so they cannot even think that a pretty place like the Tyrol valley exists in real life. The map depicted on the wall is not their world and is unrelateable. Their world is limited to the confines of their classroom and the slum where they live. As a result, they are meaningless.
Q7. What do you think is the color of sour cream? Why do you think the poet has used this expression to describe the classroom walls?
Ans. Sour cream is a pale yellow colour thick liquid. This expression was used by the poet to depict the walls which are dirty and lack proper paint. Instead of brightening the children’s miserable lives, these shabby walls add to their misery and dreariness.
Q8. The poet says, “And yet, for these children, these windows, not this map, their world.” Which world do these children belong to? Which world is inaccessible to them?
Ans. The children belong to a world of poverty and misery in the filthy slums. The rich’s world, the world beyond the slum, with all of life’s comforts and luxuries, is inaccessible to them.
Q9. In spite of despair and disease pervading the lives of the slum children, they are not devoid of hope. How far do you agree?
Ans. These children from the slums may have hollow eyes both from disease and misery, but they still have hope. They bravely combat life’s battles, like heroes whose wins are never acknowledged, but they nevertheless make valiant attempts to survive through all the obstacles. Their optimism is fueled by the governor, the inspector, the guest, and the community’s understanding which maybe false but is promising on the face.
Q10. What is the irony in ‘run azure on gold sands?’
Ans. Azure represents freedom, while gold sand represents the desolate lives of slum children. The irony in the phrase is that it refers to the hopeless lives of children whose lives are like deserts due to poverty and who are unable to reach the sky, i.e. freedom. They are imprisoned and trapped in their slums.
Class 12 Poem 2 An Elementary School Classroom In A Slum Long Answer Questions
Q1. If you were given the responsibility to ensure that children of the slums have a life of mental and physical freedom, what would be the first few things you would do towards the same?(CBSE QB, 2021)
Ans. Like mentioned in the poem “An Elementary School Classroom In A Slum”. Children are impoverished, and some of the major issues they face include poverty, lack of education, and others. If I were given the responsibility of ensuring their upliftment, the following are some of the basic steps I would take:
a. Government-sponsored free education should be made mandatory for all children. Many children work in a variety of settings where the working conditions are not conducive to a pleasant working experience.. Mental stress, combined with unfavorable working conditions, leads to a decrease in mental well-being.
b. Educating them on their human rights in society so that these children are not exploited by individuals who hold power over them by age, gender, etc.
c. Attempting to improve the economic situation of families by providing employment opportunities. This is possibly one of the most important steps in their upliftment, since if most of the students in the classroom had parents who were earning more than meager income then, the students would possibly not be in such an environment.
Q2. Voicing one’s opinion against injustice is the first step in the struggle for equality. Comment with reference to the poem. (CBSE QB, 2021)
Ans. When we tolerate injustice, it gives the offender the confidence to continue his or her behavior. The situation will not change unless we speak out for justice. We must stand up for what we believe in, even if it means going at it alone. Tolerating injustice is a greater sin than committing injustice.
The poem, ‘An Elementary School Classroom in a Slum’ deals with social injustice, class inequalities, and attacks on capitalistic economies in which the rich become richer while the poor face increasing problems and misery. They have no opportunities and have become victims of social injustice. In this poem, Spender advocates for equal educational opportunities for the poor and underprivileged. Thus, proving that voicing one’s opinion against injustice is the first step in the struggle for equality.
Q3. Compare the change in the poet’s attitude from being angry and aggressive in the second stanza to being cynical in the third. (CBSE QB, 2021)
Ans. Spender describes the classroom and its contents in the second stanza. It is important to note here that the entirety of the second stanza is written in an angry and an aggressive tone. The classroom is strewn with “donations.” The maps, books, and “Shakespeare’s head” that give the students hope for something beyond their bleak existences are gifts from the very hands that hold them back in their economic and social circumstances. The “donations” may provide students with a glimpse of another world, but not their own. The children in “An Elementary School Classroom in a Slum” are trapped by their proletarian parents’ social and economic status.
However, Spender changes his attitude and tone from angry and aggressive in the second stanza to being cynical in the third wherein he responds cynically to the reality of the students’ futures. Shakespeare is “wicked,” he says, and the map is a “bad example.”His cynical interpretation of the “donations” is that they were given not to instill hope in the students, but rather to force them to commit crime and thus be labeled as thieves.
Q4. You have been asked to deliver a speech in the assembly on the role of the youth in bridging the gap between the rich and the poor. Write the speech draft. (CBSE QB, 2021)
You may begin like this:
I stand before you today, to voice my thoughts on…
Greetings, dear friends
I stand before you today to share my thoughts on the role of youth in closing the wealth gap. In India, the wealth disparity is a major issue. In economic terms, the poor have less purchasing power, while the rich have more purchasing power.
The poor-rich divide can manifest itself in a variety of ways, including educational, income, lifestyle, housing needs, and food needs, to name a few. The government has made numerous attempts to close this gap, including plans that were part of the Five-Year Plan year plans and excellent concepts from highly educated individuals were not implemented due to corruption. It is not being implemented in the best way possible, which is why it is taking so long for it to come into effect.
The elementary children of the slum are the ones who amongst many others suffer the most due to this poor-rich divide. The children are neglected, ashamed, malnourished, anguished and not provided for. These children from the slums may have hollow eyes both from disease and misery, but they still have hope. They bravely combat life’s battles, like heroes whose wins are never acknowledged, but they nevertheless make valiant attempts to survive through all the obstacles. Their optimism is fueled by the governor, the inspector, the guest, and the community’s understanding which may be false but is promising on the face. With proper plans and their implementations these children can benefit greatly and the government can lessen the poor-rich divide simultaneously.
Q5. You are a member of the ‘Interact Club’ of your school that conducts ‘Teach the Young’ programme in the slums in the neighborhood. It is a programme to teach young children living in the slums. Write a diary entry to share your experience of teaching these children and your interactions with them. Combine your ideas with those revealed in the poem. (CBSE QB, 2021)
Ans. 15th February 20XX, Monday
The ‘Interact Club’ that I am a member of has organized a Teach the Young’ programme in the slums in the neighborhood. It is a programme to teach young children living in the slums. Children in slum areas require education in order to advance and improve their lives. But their parents won’t let them go to school because they don’t have the money to send them to a good, well-known school to learn. The students in the elementary school live in extremely impoverished surroundings which makes it difficult for them to study. Their future if continued in the same surroundings looked bleak and therefore, We invited them to join our school and told them they wouldn’t have to pay anything. We will be making all the arrangements like financing their education and providing them with books, notebooks, pen, pencil and other stationary material. They now understand the significance of education in the lives of today’s youth. We will also assist them with their financial situation. We are very delighted to assist them.
Q6. Explain the theme of the poem, ‘An Elementary School Classroom In A Slum”.
Ans. Stephen Spender addresses the issue of social injustice and class inequality in this poem. He introduces the theme by referring to two distinct and incompatible worlds. The rich and civilized world has nothing to do with the world of narrow lanes and cramped holes. The chasm between these two worlds highlights social and economic disparities. The poet introduces this theme by using vivid imagery to describe the plight of the slum children. Their physical appearance reflects their poverty, and even the classroom they are in is dull and lifeless. The poet expands on the theme of inequality by juxtaposing the world of children with the world outside. Their classroom walls are adorned with images of Shakespeare, a beautiful valley, and a map. All of these are symbols of a world beyond the slum children’s reach. Though the pictures and map depict a world of beauty and privilege, it is a far cry from the reality of the slum children. The poet emphasizes the concept that the people in authority need to take measures to end this class inequality and give the slum children a chance for a better life.
Q7. Briefly write about how the poet has described each child sitting in the class.
Ans. The poet has described each child in the class as follows:-
- There is a tall girl who is so thin that her entire weight is concentrated in her head, or she may have been burdened with other responsibilities instead of enjoying her life.
- A very lean/thin boy is malnourished, and his eyes, like those of a rat, yearn for food.
- A boy has been described as unlucky because he inherited his father’s unusual disease of twisted bones.
- A sweet/innocent and unnoticed boy renders his presence in class pointless. Perhaps the dreams he sees do not come true. The boy is more interested in observing a squirrel’s game in the tree room than in what is going on in class.
Q8. Bring out the significance of the sense of dejection and despair in the poem, ‘An Elementary School Classroom in a Slum.’
Ans. In the poem, the poet expresses his dejection and despair about the numbing poverty of slum children’s lives. These children are ‘rootless’ because their lives are unstable. They are insecure and malnourished, living a life of pain and despair. The sour cream color of their school walls reflects their depressed demeanor. They lack the usual zest for life. Their world is far removed from the outside world depicted in school books, maps, paintings of a Tyrolese valley, and Shakespeare. Education has shown them the way to liberation, but they are ironically trapped in a situation in which their education only serves to limit their options and makes them aware of their miserly existence.
Q9. In this poem, without being didactic, Spender interprets the poverty- stricken yet onward struggling men. Justify.
Ans. Spender paints a grim realistic picture of children growing up in slums and attending the gloomy elementary schools that serve them. They have never left those filthy settlements. Poverty is their greatest curse. The children are neglected, ashamed, malnourished, anguished and not provided for. The poet provides suggestion to improve their lives. The first step is to end the slums. The next step is to get the kids out of the dark and into places that are sunny and green. Then provide them education which will become meaningful for them. Therefore, Spender in the poem interprets the poverty-stricken environment of the children and continues to provide solutions to these problems without being didactic.
Q10. Why do you think Shakespeare is ‘wicked’ and the map ‘a bad example’ to these children?
Ans. Shakespeare’s study and portrait are wicked because for these children, English Literature and Shakespeare hold no relevance. They cannot relate these things to their life. The life of the slum is full of struggle for survival and so, the schools also do not teach anything related to Shakespeare’s work
The world map, with its colorful projections of the earth, is also a bad example to these slum children. The world that they have seen is the slum and they cannot imagine the world as shown in the map.
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