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A Photograph SHIRLEY TOULSON Class 11th English
A Photograph Question Answers
Think it out
1. What does the word ‘cardboard’ denote in the poem? Why has this word been used?
Ans: In the poem, the word ‘cardboard’ means a frame which supports the photograph. This word had been used in the poem because the picture is very old when the cardboard was used as a photo frame.
2. What has the camera captured?
Ans: The camera has captured the poet’s mother and her two cousins, Betty and Dolly, on the beach. They went for paddling where her mother’s uncle captured the photo in between the moment. Her mother was around twelve years old and was in the middle. She was holding the hands of her cousins who were on the side of her. It was her mother’s favourite past memories.
3. What has not changed over the years? Does this suggest something to you?
Ans: The lines ‘And the sea, which appears to have changed less’ depicts that the sea which touched her mother’s feet is the one which has not changed over the years. Whereas, her mother and her cousins grew older. The sea symbolises eternity and immortality. Human being has a life span and has to die one day. Life is not permanent. The poet is sad about her mother’s demise twelve years ago and her laugh is her favourite past memory.
4. The poet’s mother laughed at the snapshot. What did this laugh indicate?
Ans: The poet’s mother laughed at the snapshot recalling her favourite past memories. She looked back at the photograph and remembered how their parents would dress them up for the beach holiday. Her laugh indicated her remembering the innocent days and the nostalgia feeling. Behind the laugh is also a feeling of pain that those days won’t be back.
5. What is the meaning of the line “Both wry with the laboured ease of loss.”
Ans: the above lines means that the poet’s mother felt pain whenever she saw the old photograph because the innocent childhood days would never be back. Those are just the memories. While the poet has lost his mother twelve years ago and she misses her a lot and recalls her laughing and pointing out the outfits they used to wear at the beach holidays. Both of them lost something.
6. What does “this circumstance” refer to?
Ans: The words ‘this circumstance’ refers to the present situation of the poet which is the painful memories of her mother who have been deceased twelve years ago. While looking at the old photograph of her mother’s childhood makes her miss her more. She remembers her laughing and how the photograph was her favourite past memory.
7. The three stanzas depict three different phases. What are they?
Ans: the first stanza depicts her mother’s childhood days when she was twelve years old or so. It talks about a photograph of her with her two cousins on a beach holiday. Her uncle took the photograph. Her mother changed over the years as she grew older. While the sea which touched their feet in that beach holiday hadn’t changed over the years.
In the second stanza, the poet talks about her childhood days when her mother used to look at the photograph and recalls everything mentioned in the first stanza.
In the last stanza, the poet shares that her mother is dead as many years ago as was her age in the photograph. She died twelve years ago. The poet is recalling her mother’s old memories while looking at the photograph. She is in pain and misses her deceased mother. She has no words to describe her grief.