CBSE Class 12 English My Mother at Sixty-six VBQs

Question. The tone of the poet in the poem is primarily a combination of _________ and ________.
1. dauntlessness
2. apprehension
3. dejection
4. disappointment
a) 1, 2
b) 2, 3
c) 3, 4
d) 1, 4

Answer : B

Question. The phrase ‘old familiar ache’ has been used to refer to a fear, in this extract. This phrase can also be used to
a) compare physical pain with mental agony.
b) elicit someone’s unanswered queries.
c) substantiate reasons for aches and pains.
d) describe a longing one has been aware of.

Answer : D

Read the given passage and answer the questions that follow:

Driving from my parent’s
home to Cochin last Friday
morning, I saw my mother,
beside me,
doze, open mouthed, her face
ashen like that
of a corpse and realized with pain
that she was as old as she
looked but soon
put that thought away…

Question. Choose the option that applies correctly to the two statements given below.
Assertion: The poet wards off the thought of her mother getting old quickly.
Reason: The poet didn’t want to confront the inevitability of fate that was to dawn upon her mother.
a) Assertion can be inferred but the Reason cannot be inferred.
b) Assertion cannot be inferred but the Reason can be inferred.
c) Both Assertion and Reason can be inferred.
d) Both Assertion and Reason cannot be inferred.

Answer : C

Question. Choose the option that displays the same literary device as in the given lines of the extract.
her face
ashen like that
of a corpse…
a) Just as I had I had this thought, she appeared and…
b) My thoughts were as heavy as lead that evening when …
c) I think like everyone else who…
d) I like to think aloud when …

Answer : B

Question. Choose the option that best applies to the given extract.
1) a conversation
2) an argument
3) a piece of advice
4) a strategy
5) a recollection
6) a suggestion
a) 1, 3 & 6
b) 2, 4 & 5
c) Only 5
d) Only 1

Answer : C

Question. Choose the book title that perfectly describes the condition of the poet’s mother.
CBSE Class 12 English My Mother at Sixty-six VBQs_1
a) Title 1
b) Title 2
c) Title 3
d) Title 4

Answer : C

Read the given passage and answer the questions that follow:

And
looked out at Young
Trees sprinting, the merry children spilling
out of their homes, but after the airport’s
security check, standing a few yards
away, I looked again at her, wan, pale
as a late winter’s moon and felt that old
familiar ache…

Question. What is the most likely reason the poet capitalised ‘Young Trees’?
This was to
a) convey a clearer meaning.
b) highlight the adj.-noun combination.
c) enhance the contrast.
d) draw a connection with the title.

Answer : C

Question. Choose the option that completes the sentence given below.
Just as the brightness of the winter’s moon is veiled behind the haze and mist, similarly, __________________.
a) the pain of separation has shaded mother’s expression.
b) age has fogged mother’s youthful appearance.
c) growing up has developed a seasoned maturity in the poet.
d) memories warm the heart like the pale moon in winter.

Answer : B

Question. Choose the correct option out of the ones given below.
CBSE Class 12 English My Mother at Sixty-six VBQs_2
a) Option 1
b) Option 2
c) Option 3
d) Option 4

Answer : D

Question. Choose the option that appropriately describes the relationship between the two statements given below.
Statement 1: The poet knows her mother has aged.
Statement 2: The poet feels the pain of separation.
a) Beginning – Ending
b) Cause – Effect
c) Question – Answer
d) Introduction – Conclusion

Answer : B

 

Short Answer Type Questions 

Question. How does Kamala Das try to put away the thoughts of her aging mother? 
Answer.Troubled by the thoughts of her aging mother, Kamala Das tries to distract herself by not looking at her mother’s old, ashen face. Instead, she looks out of the car window at young trees sprinting and happy children running out of the their homes. 


Question. What was the poet’s childhood fear?
Answer.Poet Kamala Das, in her poem, ‘My Mother at Sixty-six’ says that since childhood, she feared separation from her mother. The thought of losing her mother has been making her uncomfortable ever since she was a little girl. 


Question. Why has the poet’s mother been compared to the ‘late winter’s moon’? 
Answer.The poet’s mother looks pale and worn out, devoid of the energy and enthusiasm of youth. In the twilight of her life, she appears as lackluster as the winter moon. 


Question. Why are the young trees described as ‘sprinting’? 
Answer.The poet is in a car on her way to the Cochin airport. She looks outside from the moving car and feels the young trees seem to be running along with them. By describing the young trees as ‘sprinting’ the poet wants to show a striking contrast between their liveliness and her mother’s fading youth. 


Question. What were the poet’s feelings at the airport? How did she hide them? 
Answer.At the airport, the poet feels worried about her aging mother. She is anxious that soon she is going to lose her mother; final separation (by death) from her mother scared her. To hide her fear and anxiety, she smiles and calls out ‘see you soon Amma’. A cheerful farewell allows her not to show her pain. 


Question. What were Kamala Das’ fears as a child? Why do they surface when she is going to the airport? 
Answer.As a child, Kamala Das feared losing her mother.
When she is going to the airport, the fear resurfaces while she gazes at her mother. She realises that her mother is growing old and frail and nearing death. 


Question. Why are the young trees described as ‘sprinting’? 
Answer.The young trees are described as ‘sprinting’ because the poet wants to show a contrast between the young trees and her old mother. 


Question. What is the significance of the parting words of the poet and her smile, in ‘My Mother at Sixty-six’? 
Answer.The poet’s parting words of assurance and her smile are a deliberate attempt to hide her anxiety and fear of loss and separation. Alternatively, they are also significant because they reflect poet’s hope to see her mother again, reassuring her mother at the same time. 


Question. Why are the youngsters described as springing? 
Answer.The youngsters in the poem, ‘My Mother at Sixty-six’ are described as springing because they are symbolic of youth, liveliness and joy. In contrast to the poet’s frail and aging mother the children appear to be young and spirited. 


Question. What were the poet’s feelings as she drove to Cochin airport? 
Answer.As she drove to Cochin airport, the thought that her mother looked old and withered, disturbed the poet. Her childhood fears haunted her again. 

 

Extract Based Questions 

Read the extracts given below and answer the questions that follow : 

1.Old
Familiar ache, my childhood’s fear,
but all I said was, see you soon,
Amma,
all I did was smile and smile and
smile... ... ... 

Question. What does the phrase, ‘familiar ache’ mean?
Answer. The pain that her mother was growing old and the fear of separation. 


Question. What was the poet’s childhood fear?
Answer.The poet’s childhood fear was that of her mother growing old and final separation. 


Question. What do the first two lines tell us about the poet’s feelings for her mother?
Answer.The poet loves her mother a lot and she feared losing her. 


Question. What does the repeated use of the word, ‘smile’ mean? 
Answer. 
The word ‘smile’ was repeatedly used as the poet hid her feeling from her mother by smiling and reassuring herself. 

 

2.  I saw my mother
beside me,
doze, open mouthed, her face
ashen like that
of a corpse and realised with
pain …… 

Question. Who is ‘I’?
Answer.‘I’ in the above extract is the poet narrating the incident from a daughter’s point of view. 


Question. What did ‘I’ realise with pain?
Answer.The poet realised with pain that her mother is nearing old age. 


Question. Why was the realisation painful?
Answer.The poet is pained by the realisation because her mother now looked as old as she was, her bodily infirmities that have come, show that she was approaching her death and it was a hard fact to accept for the poet. 


Question. Identify and name the figure of speech used in these lines.
Answer.
The figure of speech used is simile and the line is, ‘ashen like that of a corps’. 

 

3.I saw my mother,
beside me,
doze, open mouthed, her face ashen like that
of a corpse and realised with pain
that she was as old as she
looked but soon
put that thought away, .... 

Question. What worried the poet when she looked at her mother?
Answer.The poet was worried about her mother’s advancing age and she feared final separation from her mother. 


Question. Why was there pain in her realisation ?
Answer.There was pain in the poet’s realisation because her mother now looked as old as she was, her bodily infirmities that comes with old age were visible on her face. The poet was having a hard time accepting the thought of finally losing her mother. 


Question. Why did she put that thought away ?
Answer.The poet put that thought away because she was going away from her mother and the thought of separation was too painful for her to bear. The realisation that old age was quickly approaching her mother filled her mind with unpleasant thoughts about losing her, which saddened and scared her deeply. 


Question. Identify the figure of speech used in these lines. 
Answer. 
The figure of speech used is a simile- “Like that of a corpse”. 

 

4.looked out at young
Trees sprinting, the merry children spilling
out of their homes, but after the airport’s
security, I looked again at her, wan, pale as a late winter’s moon and felt that old familiar ache, ... ... ... 

Question. How can the trees sprint?
Answer.The trees seem to sprint because as the car moves ahead, the movement of the trees is backward. 


Question. Why did the poet look at her mother again?
Answer.The poet’s feeling of anxiety and fear for her mother’s health made her look again at her mother. 


Question. What did she observe?
Answer.She observed her mother’s pale appearance, resembling the late winter moon. 


Question. Identify the figure of speech used in these lines. 
Answer. 
Simile – Pale as a late winter’s moon 

 

5.I looked again at her, wan, pale
as a late winter’s moon and felt that
old
familiar ache, my childhood’s fear,
... ... ... 

Question. Who is ‘her’?
Answer.‘Her’ is poet’s mother. 


Question. Why did the poet look at ‘her’ again?
Answer.The poet looked at her mother again due to anxiety and worry. 


Question. What was the poet’s childhood fear?
Answer.The poet’s childhood fear was that of losing her mother, the pain of ultimate separation. 


Question. Identify the figure of speech used in these lines. 
Answer.
Simile – pale as a late winter’s moon. 

 

6. ... ... ... ... and felt that old
familiar ache, my childhood’s fear,
but all I said was, see you soon, Amma
All I did was smile and smile and smile... 

Question. Name the poem.
Answer.The name of the poem is ‘My Mother at Sixty-six’. 


Question. What was the poet’s childhood fear?
Answer.Since childhood, the poet feared her ultimate separation from her mother. 


Question. What does her smile signify?
Answer.She smiles in order to hide her true feelings, fear and anxiety. 


Question. What does the word ‘ache mean’.
Answer.The word ache means pain. 

 

7.Driving from my parent’s
home to Cochin last Friday
morning, I saw my mother, beside me,
doze, open mouthed, her face ashen like that
of a corpse and realised with pain
that she was as old as she looked... 

Question. Where was the poet driving to?
Answer.The poet was driving from her parents’ home to the Cochin airport. 


Question. Why was her mother’s face looking like that of a corpse?
Answer.Her mother’s face was looking like that of a corpse because she had aged quite a lot, was weak and had lost her youthful energy and enthusiasm. 


Question. What did the poet notice about her mother? 
Answer.
The poet noticed that her mother was sleeping with her mouth open, her face had become ashen, lacking the youthful glow. This made the poet realise that her mother was “as old as she looked”. 

 

8. ... but soon
put that thought away, and
looked out at young
trees sprinting, the merry children spilling
out of their homes,... 

Question. What thought did the poet drive away from her mind?
Answer.The poet drove away from her mind the thought of her mother’s impending death. 


Question. What did she see when she looked out of the car?
Answer.When the poet looked out of car, she saw sprinting trees, happy children coming out of their homes to enjoy themselves. 


Question. What did she see that the joyful scene did not help her drive away the painful thought from her mind?
Answer.
The poet looked at her mother’s face once again and experienced the old familiar ache, the childhood fear of losing her mother. She gazed at her mother’s pale appearance the joyful scene did not help her drive away the painful thoughts from her mind. 

 

9. ……… but soon
put that thought away and
looked out at young
trees sprinting, the merry children spilling
out of their homes, 

Question. Which thought did the poet put away?
Answer.The poet put away the thought of her aging mother and her gradual declining health. It pained her to think about losing her mother to death soon and the invertible final separation. 


Question. What do the ‘sprinting trees’ signify?
Answer. ‘Sprinting trees’ signify energy, youth and activity. The poet wants to contrast young trees with her old mother. 


Question. What are ‘the merry children spilling out of their homes’, symbolic of?
Answer.
The merry children spilling out of their homes’ is symbolic of happiness, energy and playfulness. It can also be symbolic of poet’s sad thoughts being contrasted with ‘merry children’. 

 

10. ...and felt that old
familiar ache, my childhood’s fear,
but all I said was, see you soon, Amma,
all I did was smile and smile and smile... 

Question. What was the childhood fear that now troubled the poet?
Answer.Since her childhood the poet feared that one day she would lose her mother. Now, looking at her aging mother’s ashen face and fragile body the old fear came back to trouble her. 


Question. What do the poet’s parting words suggest?
Answer.The poet’s parting words suggest that she hopes to see her mother again even though she fears she might lose her sooner than later. 


Question. Why did the poet smile and smile?
Answer.
The poet smiled and smiled because it was a deliberate attempt to hide her fear and anxiety of loss and separation from her mother. 

 

11. ……… but soon
put that thought away, and
looked out at young
trees sprinting, the merry children spilling
out of their homes. 

Question. Who looked out at young trees?
Answer.The poet looked out at the young trees. 


Question. Which thought did she put away?
Answer.She put away the sad thought of her mother’s impending death. 


Question. What do young sprinting trees signify?
Answer.
The young sprinting trees signify youthfulness, energy and life. 

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Flamingo Chapter 2 Lost Spring
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Flamingo Chapter 3 Deep Water
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Flamingo Chapter 4 The Rattrap
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Flamingo Chapter 5 Indigo
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Flamingo Chapter 6 Poets and Pancakes
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Flamingo Chapter 7 The Interview
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Flamingo Chapter 8 Going Places
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Poem Chapter 1 My Mother at Sixty-six
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Poem Chapter 2 An Elementary School Classroom in a Slum
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Poem Chapter 3 Keeping Quiet
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Poem Chapter 4 A Thing of Beauty
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Poem Chapter 5 A Roadside Stand
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Poem Chapter 6 Aunt Jennifers Tigers
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Vistas Chapter 2 The Tiger King
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Vistas Chapter 3 Journey to the end of Earth
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