An Elementary School Classroom in a Slum
Class 12 - English (Core)
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.
Q1: Why is the map called a bad example?
Q2: Why is Shakespeare described is wicked?
Q3: Where do the children spend their lives?
Q4: What does the reference to 'slag heap' mean?
Q5: What do 'fog' and 'endless night' stand for?
1: The map is a bad example because it does not depict their own world of narrow lanes and hovels.
2: Shakespeare is described as wicked because any learning about him makes no sense for the children. They are troubled by hunger, despair and failed aspiration, learning about Shakespeare would not make their lives any better.
3: They live in destitute like rats in their dark little holes. Fog and darkness dominate their lives.
4: The feeble and bloodless bodies of the poor children are termed as 'slag heap'.
5: It refers to early morning to late at night. It implies every day is the same for the slum children.
Question 2 (CBSE 2012, 2013):
...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.
Q1: Who is the unlucky heir?
Q2: What has he inherited?
Q3: Who is sitting at the back of the dim class?
1: The lean and thin boy having rat's eyes and a stunted growth is the 'unlucky heir'.
2: He has inherited the contorted disease of his father. This disease has led to stunted growth.
3: A little young boy with stunted growth is sitting at the back of the dim class.
not this map, their world,
Where all their future’s painted with a fog,
A narrow street sealed in with a lead sky
Far far from rivers, capes, and stars of words.
Q1: Where is the map?
Q2: Who does the word 'their' refer to?
Q3: What does the poet think of their future?
1: The map is on the wall.
2: The word 'their' refers to slum children.
3: The poet thinks of their future as dim. In the poem, it is depicted as 'fog' since there is no future for them.
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.
Q1: To whom does 'they' refer?
Q2: What would they break?
Q3: What does the poet want for them?
Q4: What other freedom should they enjoy?
1: The word 'they' refers to the concerned authorities who are governing the elementary school for the slum children.
2: The would break the horrid walls of slum children's world which have isolated them from our world.
3: The poet wants the slum children to get right kind of education which would bring happiness, warmth and prosperity in their lives.
4: The slum children should get an opportunity to stand out from their surroundings and fight for a cause.