Friday, July 9, 2021

My Mother at Sixty-Six;NCERT Solutions and Summary for Class 12

                    My Mother at Sixty-Six
                                             -Kamala Das
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"My Mother at Sixty-Six" by Kamala Das is a brief portrayal of her sudden realization that her mother has grown old and may leave her forever soon.The poet shares her feelings through the poem.

Stanza-#1:"Driving from .... but soon"

Once the poet had went to visit her mother.While  returning,she was on her way to the airport to catch a flight back to Cochin.She saw her mother beside her.Her mother was already fast asleep.Her ageing face was smoky in colour like ash and this made the poet think about her mother.While sleeping,her mouth was wide open and she resembled a dead body.The poet realised that her mother was already old.She was pained to see her like that and felt genuine sympathy for her.She could already comprehend that her mother needed love,affection and care.However,all this made her feel gloomy and for a change in mood,she looked out of the car window.

Stanza-#2:"put that .... few yards"

In order to come out of her gloom,the poet shifted her glance and looked out of the car's window.There she saw young trees which seemed like sprinting at a fast pace.She also saw many little children running out of their houses into the playgrounds.All these were in deep contrast to the fact that her mother was rapidly ageing with every passing day.The young trees and children symbolised energy,life and happiness while her mother was listless and pale.While she was in deep thought,they had already reached the airport.At the airport security check,when the poet was about to leave,she glanced at her mother.

Stanza-#3:"away,I .... and smile......"

Her mother appeared weak just like the moon in the winter season which seems to have lost all its strength and glory.She again felt that familiar ache and that fear of losing her dear mother like in her childhood days.As a child,she was always very apprehensive that her mother may leave her at any point of time.At this point of time in life,her fears were just going to materialize as her mother was about to die soon.However,she didn't unveil her feelings and stayed strong.She smiled and bid her farewell soon.She told her that she would be seeing her soon.She wanted her mother to live long so that they could meet each other.

Difficult Words:
1)Doze:A short and light sleep.
2)Ashen:(Here) Very pale.
3)Corpse:A dead body.
4)Sprinting:(Here)To grow rapidly.
5)Spilling:(Here)Moving out in great numbers.
6)Wan:Unnaturally pale,as from physical or emotional distress.

Rhyme Scheme:
Free Verse

Poetic Devices:
1)Simile:"face ashen like a corpse"
               "as a late winter's moon"
2)Personification:"trees sprinting"
3)Repetition:"smile and smile and smile"
4)Metaphor:"children spilling"

For the definition of these literary devices,please visit our blog:

About Author:
Kamala Das, popularly known as 'Madhavikutty' was an Indian post in English as well as in Malayalam. She was born on 31st of March in 1934 and died on 31st of May in 2009.Her popularity in Kerela is based chiefly on her short stories but at the same time she was a widely read columnist and wrote on various social stories such as women, children and politics among others.

NCERT Questions:
A)Think it out.
1)The emotional pain and ache the poet feels is due to the realization that her mother has gone old and has become frail and pale like a corpse. Any moment she could leave for her heavenly abode. She is deeply pained to see her mother who had already lost all her enthusiasm and energy for life.

2)The young trees are personified in the poem. As the poet was travelling in the car along with her mother, the trees seemed to move in the opposite direction with a rapid pace. To the poet's eyes, they are full of energy and enthusiasm whereas her mother was asleep with her mouth wide open as a corpse. The movement of the trees is in stark contrast with the stillness associated with the mother.

3)The poet highlights the helplessness and fraility of old age with the help of contrasts.Her mother dozed off with her mouth wide open completely still.In a striking contrast to this, the children come out in large numbers from their houses to play, signify movement,energy and enthusiasm.

4)The poet compares her mother to the late winter's moon which is dull and shrouded in order to highlight her listlessness and lack of enthusiasm Like the winter moon wans away, the phrase symbolizes the ebbing away of life. This highlights the fact that her end is approaching fast.

5)The parting words 'see you soon Amma' used by the poet to reassure herself as she was of the opinion that her mother's end is approaching fast. The poet has already accepted the reality yet she keeps up her smile to make her seem strong.The poet has used 'repetition' as a literary device as putting this brave front requires a lot of effort.

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