Students of Class 10 can access the NCERT Solutions for all the Poetry based chapters of First Flight Textbook of English. These answers have been provided by the subject experts after a detailed analysis of the latest CBSE marking scheme and model answer sheets. These answers will be useful for in-depth learning and framing appropriate answers for the Class 10th Board Exams 2020-21.
Chapter - 1 (Dust of Snow)
Ques: What is a “dust of snow”? What does the poet say has changed his mood? How has the poet’s mood changed?
Answer: The ‘dust of snow’ means the fine particles or flakes of snow. The sudden shower in the form of the dust of snow changed the poet’s mood. The poet’s mood changed from sad to happy. He felt refreshed and wanted to enjoy the rest of the day.
Ques: How does Frost present nature in this poem? The following questions may help you to think of an answer.
- What are the birds that are usually named in poems? Do you think crow is often mentioned in poems? What images come to your mind when you think of a crow?
- Again, what is ‘a hemlock tree’? Why doesn’t the poet write about more ‘beautiful’ tree such as a maple, or an oak, or a pine?
- What do the ‘crow’ and ‘hemlock’ represent-joy or sorrow? What does the dust of snow that the crow shakes off a hemlock tree stand for?
Answer: Frost presents nature in a very different manner in the poem,
- Generally, poets take birds and trees which are known for their beauty and good qualities like peacock, parrot, cuckoo, mynah, and trees full of beautiful flowers and fruits, etc. But here Frost has taken a totally different approach. He chose a crow, which is not often used in poems. Crow is black in colour with a very harsh voice and is believed to be a symbol of bad omen. Thinking of a crow brings very depressing and sorrowful pictures to our minds.
- A hemlock tree is a poisonous plant with small white flowers. The poet, Robert Frost, didn’t choose to use an oak, maple or pine tree. Instead, he chose the hemlock tree and left all the beautiful trees present in the world. Actually he did so to present his mood and feelings.
- The crow and hemlock tree represent sorrow and depression felt by the poet in this materialistic world. The dust of snow is the symbol of natural joy and energy. The dust of snow that the crow shakes off a hemlock tree means passing through the sad and depressing moments the pet is entering into the time full of joy and optimism.
Chapter - 2 (Fire and Ice)
Ques: For Frost, what do ‘fire’ and ‘ice’ stand for? Here are some ideas
Answer: ‘Fire’ stands for greed, avarice, lust, conflict, and fury. ‘Ice’ stands for cruelty, intolerance, rigidity, insensitivity, coldness, indifference and hatred.
Ques: What is the rhyme scheme of the poem? How does it help in bringing out the contrasting ideas in the poem?
Answer: The rhyme scheme of the poem is- a b a a b c b c b
This rhyme scheme helps in bringing out the contrasting ideas of ‘fire’ and ‘ice’ presented in the poem. The poet mentions that both fire and ice are probable ends of this world. He talks about how fire represents desire and can, therefore, be a cause of the end of the world. Frost also mentions ice in between to symbolize that the coldness and indifference towards one another will be enough to end the world. In the second stanza, he says that he knows of enough hate in the world to be sure that even destruction through the ice . would be sufficient to bring about the end of the world.
Chapter - 3 (A Tiger in the Zoo)
Ques: Read the poem again and work in pairs or groups to do the following tasks.
- Find the words that describe the movements and actions of the tiger in the cage and in the wild. Arrange them in two columns.
- Find the words that describe the two places and arrange them in two columns.
Now try to share ideas about how the poet uses words and images to contrast the two situations.
Answer: 1. In the Cage - Stalks, Few steps of his cage, Quiet rage Locked in a concrete cell, Stalking-the length of his cage Ignoring visitors. He hears the last voice Stares at the brilliant stars.
In the Wild - Lurking in shadow, Sliding through long grass, Snarling around houses, Baring his white fangs, his claws, Terrorising the village.
Few Steps of His Cage
Shadow Long Grass, Water
Locked Concrete Cell
Hole, plump dear
Behind Bars Visitors
Houses of Jungles Edge
Ques: Notice the use of a word repeated in lines such as these
- On pads of velvet quiet, In his quiet rage.
- And stares with his brilliant eyes At the brilliant stars.
What do you think is the effect of this repetition?
Answer: This repetition is a poetic device used by the poet in order to increase the intensity of the tiger’s rage and his helpless silence. ‘Velvet quiet’ refers to the quiet velvet pads of the tiger, which cannot run or leap. They can only walk around the limited space in the cage. The use of ‘quiet rage’ symbolizes the anger and ferocity that is building up inside the tiger as it wants to run out into the forest and attack a deer, but the rage is quiet because he is locked in the cage and is helpless. The repetition of ‘quiet’ has, thus, brought immense beauty to the poem. Similarly, the use of ‘brilliant’ for the tiger’s eyes as well as the stars also brings out the magnificence of these lines. The tiger stares at the brilliant stars with his brilliant eyes dreaming about how beautiful his life could be in the forest. The repetition thus gives a wonderful effect to the poem.
Chapter - 4 (How to Tell Wild Animals)
Ques: Does ‘Dyin’ really rhyme with ‘lion’? Can you say it in such a way that it does?
Answer: No, ‘Dyin’ does not rhyme with ‘lion’. If we change the pronunciation of the lion by speaking it as ‘lying’ then it may rhyme with the word ‘dyin’.
Ques: How does the poet suggest that you identify the lion and the tiger? When can you do so according to him?
Answer: A lion is a large and tawny beast. A Bengal Tiger has black stripes on its yellow coat. A lion roars when it falls upon its prey, while a tiger attacks silently. We can identify the two while roaming in the jungle.
Ques: Do you think the words ‘lept’ and ‘lep’ in the third stanza are spelt correctly? Why does the poet spell them like this?
Answer: The words ‘lept’ and ‘lep’ is not spelled correctly. The poet has spelt them like this in order to maintain the rhythm of the poem. The correct spelling of the words, ‘lept’ is leapt and ‘lep’ is a leap. The poet has intentionally spelt them incorrectly to create a sense of humour.
Ques: Do you know what a ‘bearhug’ is? It’s a friendly and strong hug-such as bears are thought to give, as they attack you! Again, hyenas are thought to laugh and crocodiles to weep (‘crocodile tears’) as they swallow their victims. Are there similar expressions and popular ideas about wild animals in your own language (s)?
Answer: A bearhug is when the bear hugs his prey tightly with both hands and presses him to death.
There are indeed similar expressions and popular ideas about wild animals in every language. For example, in Hindi, we say ‘Magarmach ke aansu aaana’ (Crocodile tears) ‘Haathi ke daant dikhane ke aur, khane ke aur’, ‘Ab pachtaye hot kya jab chidiya chug gai khet’, ‘Girgit ke tarah rang badalna’.
Ques: Look at the line ‘A novice might nonplus.” How would you write this ‘correctly’? Why is the poet’s ‘incorrect’ line better in the poem?
Answer: The line “A novice might nonplus” can be written correctly as “A novice might be nonplussed”. However, the poet’s incorrect line is better in the poem as it maintains the rhyme scheme of the poem. By writing it incorrectly, ‘nonplus’ rhymes with ‘thus’.
Ques: Can you find other examples of poets taking liberties with language, either in English or in your own language? Can you find examples of humorous poems in your own language (s)?
Answer: One can find plenty of examples in poetry where poets take liberties with language. This is called ‘poetic license’. Poets take such liberties in order to create proper rhyming and rhythm. For example, in the following lines, the word ‘prest’ is used instead of ‘pressed’ so that it may rhyme with ‘breast’.
A tree whose hungry mouth is prest Against the earth’s sweat flowing breast
Ques: Much of the humour in the poem arisesfrom the way language is used. Although the ideas are funny as well. If there are particular lines in the poem that you especially like, share these lines with the class, speaking briefly about what it is about the ideas or the language that you like or find funny.
Answer: The way the poet has used language and ideas in the poem is indeed humourous. The lines from the poem that appears to be funny are “A noble wild beast greets you”. The idea that a wild beast is going to welcome you is quite funny. The language in the line, “He’ll only lep and lep again” is also very humorous. The concept of ‘lep’ from the word ‘leopard’ generates humour
Chapter - 5 (The Ball Poem)
Ques: Why does the poet say, “I would not intrude on him”? Why doesn’t he offer him money to buy another ball?
Answer: The poet says, “I would not intrude on him” because he does not want to intervene in the natural process of learning. He wants the boy to learn the meaning of loss on his own. He also doesn’t offer him money to buy another ball because that would be worthless. He wants the boy to learn the lesson of responsibility.
Ques: “ …. staring down All his young days into the harbour where His ball went…. ” Do you think the boy has had the ball for a long time? Is it linked to the memories of days when he played with it?
Answer: Yes, the boy has had the ball for a long time. When it bounced into the water, all his memories of the days of childhood flashed in front of him. This led to a realization that those moments would not come back, just like the ball. He can buy new balls and can similarly create new moments, but those that are gone would not return.
Ques: What does “in the world of possessions” mean?
Answer: “In the world of possessions” means that the world is full of materialistic things. Here everything and every action is made to possess something, whether it is the possession of land, property, money, or any other thing. The poet suggests that losing a ball, which is a very small thing, would make the boy understand what it is like to lose something that one possessed
Ques: Do you think the boy has lost anything earlier? Pick out the Words that suggest the answer.
Answer: No, it seems that the boy had’not lost anything earlier. The words that suggest so are ‘He senses first responsibility in a world of possessions’.
Ques: What does the poet say the boy is learning from the loss of the ball? Try to explain this in your own words.
Answer: The poet says that the boy is learning to cope up with the loss of the ball. He is experiencing grief and learning to grow up in this world of possessions. He learns that there are so many things in life that are lost and cannot be brought back. He is sensing his first responsibility as he has lost the ball. The boy will learn how to stand up and leave the losses behind as he would have understood the true meaning and nature of the loss.
Chapter - 6 (Amanda)
Ques: How old do you think Amanda is? How do you know this?
Answer: Amanda is about a 9-10-year-old school going girl. She is being scolded for things typical for that particular age. Her parents are trying to inculcate in her good manners and etiquette. Amanda is very innocent and immature.
Ques: Who do you think is speaking to her?
Answer: One of her parents is speaking to her. Most probably it is her mother. In a traditional household, the mother is held responsible for the conduct of the child. In this case, also, the range of instructions suggests that the speaker is Amanda’s mother.
Ques: Why are stanzas 2, 4 and 6 given in parenthesis?
Answer: Stanzas 2, 4 and 6 are given in parenthesis because they reflect the inner thoughts of Amanda. They can be taken as the reaction of the child for the instructions given in stanzas 1, 3 and 5. Here, there is an alternate sequence of scolding of the mother and corresponding reaction to it given by the child. Also, parenthesis is used here to make the reading of ‘ the poem friendly
Ques: Who is the speaker in stanzas 2, 4 and 6? Do you think this speaker is listening to the speaker in stanzas 1, 3, 5 and 7?
Answer: Speaker of the stanzas 2, 4 and 6 is the child, Amanda. No, she is not paying any attention to the speaker of stanzas 1, 3 and 5 as she is lost in a world of her own. Her imagination provides her an escape from her sorry reality.
Ques: What could Amanda do if she were a mermaid?
Answer: Amanda wishes to be a mermaid so she could carelessly move along on a languid emerald sea. She just wishes to be carried away by the green sea waves slowly and gradually. Amanda longs for a place where she is all by herself as her happiness is not dependant on any other human being. Hence, she desires to be a mermaid because, for a child, the mermaid is a symbol of freedom and wonder.
Ques: Is Amanda an orphan? Why does she say so?
Answer: No, Amanda is not an orphan, though she wishes to be one. She is so much stressed with the continuous nagging of her parents that she imagines herself to be better without them. The mere presence of her parents around her depresses her. Amanda is a little girl who seeks ‘golden’ silence and ‘sweet’ freedom. She wishes to roam around streets and draw patterns with her bare feet. Indeed it is horribly depressing that Amanda expects being an orphan.
Ques: Do you know the story of Rapunzel? Why does she want to be Rapunzel?
Answer: Story of Rapunzel – Rapunzel’s story revolves around her life on a tower Rapunzel was made to live on a high tower by a witch. She eventually got used to living there. She was happy and satisfied with her life. Rapunzel had very long golden hair, using which the witch used to pay her a visit. The fate of Rapunzel took a turn when one day a prince came to meet her using her hair. The witch had punished both of them by separating them. Finally, they met after a couple of years only to be united forever this time. Amanda Wishes to live like Rapunzel on a high tower away from everyone. She seeks peace and harmony. That is the reason Amanda wishes to be like Rapunzel. However, she also makes a point that in order to avoid being disturbed she would never let her hair down for anyone to climb to her. She needs no one to make her life happy.
Ques: What does the girl yearn for? What does this poem tell you about Amanda?
Answer: A girl like Amanda yearns for freedom and space for herself. She is incapable to fulfil the expectations of her parents. Amanda is no less than a symbol for all the children who face similar fate irrespective of class, colour or nationality. Traditional societies demand a certain type of behaviour from the individuals and the training to produce such begins at a very young age. Parents ignore the innocence and understanding level of their children and thereby the young ends up killing their imagination and thoughts.
Ques: Read the last stanza. Do you think Amanda is sulking and is moody?
Answer: No, Amanda is neither sulking nor moody. She is simply not interested enough in the nagging business of her parents. Amanda cares more about her imagination and thought process over the manners her parents are trying to inculcate into her.
Chapter - 7 (Animals)
Ques: Notice the use of the word ‘turn’ in the first line, “I think I could turn and live with animals…”. What is the poet turning from?
Answer: In this line here, the poet wants to turn from a human into an animal. This turning is symbolic of the poet’s detachment from human beings and their nature and his appreciation of the animal kind.
Ques: Mention three things that humans do and animals don’t.
Answer: Animals do not cry and complain about their conditions. They do not. commit sins and therefore do not weep for them. They are also very satisfied creatures and have no desire to possess material things. Humans, on the contrary, complain all the time, commit all sorts of sins and are affected by the madness of owning things.
Ques: Do humans kneel to other humans who lived thousands of years ago? Discuss this in groups.
Answer: Yes, humans kneel to other humans who lived thousands of years ago as it is a cultural tradition to do so. (Students can discuss their own culture with their classmates and share the rituals and traditions of their culture and also get to know about other cultural practices.)
Chapter - 8 (The Trees)
Ques: 1. Find, in the first stanza, three things that cannot happen in a treeless forest.
- What picture do these words create in your mind: “….. sun bury its feet in shadow…..1′? What could the poet mean by the sun’s ‘feet’?
Answer: 1. The three things that cannot happen in a treeless forest are – the sitting of a bird on trees, the hiding of insects and the sun burying its feet in the shadow of the forest.
- The sun’s ‘feet’ refers to the rays of the sun that fall on the earth. When there is no shadow on the ground, because there are no trees, the rays fall directly on the ground. In a forest with trees, the shadow hides the sun rays and it seems that the sun is burying its feet in the shadow that fall from the trees.
Ques: 1. Where are the trees in the poem? What do their roots, their leaves and their twigs do?
- What does the poet compare their branches to?
Answer: 1. In the poem, the trees are trapped in the poet’s house. Their roots work all night to disengage themselves from the cracks in the veranda floor. The leaves try very hard to move towards the glass and put a lot of pressure on it so that it breaks, while the small twigs get stiff with exertion.
- The poet compares the branches to newly discharged patients of a hospital. The large branches of the trees become cramped due to the roof above them, and when they get free they rush stumblingly to the outside world. While doing so, they look half-shocked like the patients, who wait for a long time to get out of the hospital.
Ques: Now that you have read the poem in detail, we can begin to ask what the poem might mean. Here are two suggestions. Can you think of others?
- Does the poem present a conflict between man and nature? Compare it with A Tiger in the Zoo. Is the poet suggesting that plants and trees, used for ‘interior decoration’ in cities while forests are cut down, are ‘imprisoned1, and need to ‘break out’?
- On the other hand, Adrienne Rich has been known to use trees as a metaphor for human beings: this is a recurrent image in her poetry. What new meanings emerge from the poem if you take its trees to be symbolic of this particular meaning?
Answer: Since a poem can have different meanings for different
readers and the poet can mean two different things using the same imagery, both these meanings can be justified in. context of the poem:
- Yes, the poem presents a conflict between man and nature. Man has always caused much harm to nature, without realizing that it actually is a harm to the human race. Humans cut down forests for forest goods, which has destroyed a lot of natural beauty. By keeping trees inside walls and denying them their natural home, they are denying them their freedom. That is why the trees want to move out. Similarly, in the poem A Tiger in the Zoo, the poet shows that animals feel bounded by cages and they want to get free and run wild in the open.
- If trees have been used as a metaphor for human beings, then the poem would mean that like the trees, humans too want to break free of the boundaries that life puts on them. Modern life with all kinds of physical comfort has also brought a lot of moral downfalls. Our lives have become busy and we have become selfish and greedy. Man would also want to enjoy the beauty of nature and go out in the open and be free, just like trees.
Chapter - 9 (Fog)
Ques: 1. What does Sandburg think the fog is like?
- How does the fog come?
- What does ‘it’ in the third line refer to? CBSE 2012
- Does the poet actually say that the fog is like a cat? Find three things that tell us that the fog is like a cat. say that the fog is like a cat? Find three things that tell us that the fog is like a cat.
Answer: Sandburg thinks that the fog is like a cat.
- The fog comes silently like a cat on its small feet.
- ‘It’ refers to fog.
- The poet does not actually say that the fog is like a cat, but he uses the metaphor of cat for comparison.
Three things that tell us that the fog is like a cat are:
- It comes silently like a cat on its small feet.
- It looks over like a cat.
- It sits on its haunches like a cat.