Friday, October 22, 2021

An Elementary School Classroom in a Slum;NCERT Solutions and Summary for Class 12

  An Elementary School Classroom in a Slum
                                                 -Stephen Spender
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This poem by Stephen Spender gives a lucid description of a school classroom in a slum and the children in the class.The faces of the children were gloomy and their appearance  shows they are unwanted.They have diseased bodies inherited from their parents and are victims of poverty.

In the first stanza,the poet describes the children who study in an elementary school setup in a slum.The poet is of the opinion that the faces of the children are dull and without any energy.He even compares them to the unwanted weed.The children are also untidy as they haven't combed their hair.He also describes some of them individually.He describes a tall girl who seems to be burdened by poverty.Her head is bent because of tiredness and shame.Then,he moves to another boy who is so weak and thin that he compared him to a sheet of paper.The boy's eyes reflects greed and he wants to achieve everything.He moves on to a boy who is physically disabled.The poet considers him to be unlucky as he had inherited a disease from his father instead of any kind of amenities.However,at the back of the class,in a dark area he could make out a boy.The boy's eyes were bright and full of dreams.He was not paying attention to the class.It seemed as if he was interested in playing with the squirrels.

In this stanza,the poet has described the school 
and its surroundings.He at first describes the walls of the school and calls them like the colour of sour cream.This indicates that the walls are not clean and have not been painted recently.The walls are covered with various charts,maps and illustrations which must have been donated by various people.There is a picture of Shakespeare on the wall and his head seemed like a Sun rising at the horizon and semi-circular like a dome shape.There is a picture of the popular Tyrolese valley which not only has vibrant flowers but also dotted with churches.There is also an image of a map.But for these children,all these are quite irrelevant as it is quite different from what it is illustrated there as they live in a slum only.Their future is full of darkness and is compared to a narrow street which means there is no wide scope of development for these children.Their poverty has ensured that these children are kept away from the light of wisdom and education.

In this stanza,the poet describes various hardships within which these children grow.These slum-dwelling students feel that every other person is their enemy.For them,even Shakespeare is an evil man.They don't find the map to be a good thing.They were never loved by anyone which has eventually made them to steal from others.Their life in small homes and they have started to adjust to it.These are malnourished kids and are so thin that one could easily see their bones inside.Their spectacles look like stones which have been repaired with pieces of glasses sticking out of them.The poet tries to explain that these kids have to face so many hardships and adeversities in their lives.As these slums keep getting bigger,these will be eventually be led to the destruction of the future of these children.

The poet says the government should take notice of the problems being faced by those kids.He urges the government to change the life of these kids and make the world map a reality for them.There is an urgent need to break the restrictions which are put on them because of the lack of resources.The poet wants the authorities and the general public to help these students in achieving their dreams.The poet represents this as something like that they will be taken away from fog to the azure sky.This means that these kids will be taken away from the darkness of their present time to a bright future.He wants the students to get exposure to sands and all the beauty of nature.In his opinion,this will result in their progress and they will be able to paint a bright future for themselves.

Difficult Words:
1)Gusty:Having or showing gusto.
2)Pallor:An unhealthy pale appearance.
3)Gnarled:Knobbly, rough, and twisted,                                    especially with age.
4)Cramped:Uncomfortably small or restricted.
5)Slag:Criticize in an abusive and insulting                         manner.
6)Blot:A dark mark or stain made by ink, paint,                 dirt,etc.
7)Tyrolese:Relating Austrian state of Tyrol.
8)Azure:Bright blue in colour like a cloudless                       sky.

About Author:
Sir Stephen Harold Spender CBE was an English poet,novelist and essayist whose works are concentrated on themes of social injustice and class struggle.He was appointed Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the United States Library of Congress in 1965.

Poetic Devices:
1)Simile:Children are compared with rootless                      weed.
2)Metaphor:Boy is compared with paper as he                          is thin.
3)Repetition:Use of far to stress on the distance.
4)Assonance:Repetition of vowel sound ‘e’ in"Belled Flower" and "Tyrolese Valley".
5)Allusion:Reference to well-known person or                        place in "Shakespeare" and "Tyrolese                      Valley".
6)Anaphora:Use of repeated words in two                                  consecutive lines "Run azure And                            Run naked".

NCERT Questions:
A)Think it Out.

1)a)ii)has her head bent with same.
b)ii)thin,hungry and weak.
c)i)The boy has an inherited disability.
d)i)Full of hope in the future.
e)iii)Are wasters.

2)By the phrase,the colour of "sour cream",the poet means pale and dull.The poet used this expression to signify that the walls in the classroom are old.Moreover,they are also not freshly painted.The walls of the classroom also shows the bigger picture of how these schools have not got much resources at their disposal.

3)The various pictures on the wall are not similar to the world of these slum dwelling children because they have never got adequate facilities and education.They have always seen crime happening around them.That is why it is said in the poem that for these children Shakespeare is a wicked man.It is just irrelevant to him.Not only this,their world is the dirty slum area in which they live which is continuously expanding. Hence, the world maps which never show slums and the beautiful valley which is never seen and is out of reach of such children are in total contrast to what they see as their world.The poet has taken the poverty angle to such an extent where where he has criminalized poverty.

4)The poet advoctes for a better future for the children in the schools of the slums.He thinks that everyone must get equal chance to grow in his/her life.He urges the authorities and the general public to visit them and see their plight.He requests them through his poem to take them various beautiful places.He thinks that such acts will eventually motivate them more and compel them to study more.

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