An Elementary School Classroom in a Slum Important Questions CBSE Class 12 English
Extract Based Questions (4 Marks)
Question.1. Read the extract given below and answer the questions that follow.
“ And yet, for these
Children, these windows, not this map, their world,
Where all their future’s pointed with a fog,
A narrow street sealed in with a lead sky Far far from rivers, capes and stars of words.”
(a) Who are the ‘children’ referred to here?
(b) Which is their world?
(c) How is their life different from that of other children?
(d) Why is the future of these children “painted with a fog”?
Answer. (a) The ‘children’ referred to here are the poor children living in the slum.
(b) Their world comprises of the dull and unpleasant classroom and its windows, amongst the dirty surroundings of the slum
(c) The children of the slum are emaciated and poverty-stricken, as against the other children who are healthy and have all the comforts and luxuries of life. The life of the slum children is filled with darkness and hopelessness.
(d) The future of these children is dark and uncertain. So, the speaker says that it is painted with a fog.
Question.2. Read the extract given below and answer the questions that follow.
“ And, yet for these .
children, these windows, not this map. their world,
Where all their future’s painted with a fog.”
(a) Which map is the poet talking about in the above lines?
(b) To what do the words, these windows, their world”, refer?
(c) What sort of future do the slum children have?
(d) Why is all their future painted with a fog?
Answer. (a) The poet is talking about the map which depicts only the world of the rich and the important, the world that comprises civilised domes, bells, flowers and the scenic beauty of nature.
(b) “These windows” refers to the windows of the school classroom where the slum children are sitting.
“Their world” refers to the world of the poverty-stricken slum dwellers. It has narrow lanes, small congested houses, foggy skies and dim classrooms.
(c) The future of the slum children is dark and uncertain. They have no hopes for their future.
(d) Their future is painted with a fog as it is not clear. They are not well-educated, and there is no one to guide them.
Question.3. Read the extract given below and answer the questions that follow.
“With ships and sun and love tempting them to steal….
For lives that slyly turn in their cramped holes From fog to endless night?” (Delhi 2014; Modified)
(a) Who are ‘them’ referred to in the first line? “
(b) What tempts them?
(c) What does the poet say about their lives?
(d) What do you understand by “from fog to endless night”?
Answer. (a) ‘Them’ here refers to the poor, emaciated children of the slum.
(b) They are tempted by all the beautiful things of the world, the luxuries and the lifestyle that the rich enjoy. The are tempted to steal as they cannot possess these otherwise.
(c) The children of the slum live amidst dirty surroundings in cramped houses which are dark and unpleasant. The poet is not happy with the way these children are compelled to live.
(d) “From fog to endless night” means that from morning till night the poor children of the slum have a miserable existence; they suffer from morning to night everyday.
Question.4. Read the extracts given below and answer the questions that follow. ‘
……….The stunted, unlucky heir
of twisted bones, reciting a father’s gnarled disease,
His lesson, from his desk. At the back of the dim class
One unnoted, sweet and young.
(a) Who is the unlucky heir?
(b) What has he inherited?
(c) Who is sitting at the back of the dim class? (AH India 2013; Modified)
(d) Explain, “reciting a father’s gnarled disease.”
(a) Who is the ‘unlucky heir’ and what has he inherited?
(b) What is the stunted boy reciting?
(c) Who is sitting at the back of the dim class? (Delhi 2012; Modified)
(d) How has the ‘unlucky heir’ been depicted here?
Answer. (a) The boy with stunted growth and twisted bones is the ‘unlucky heir’.
(b) He has inherited the gnarled disease of his father, and as a result, his growth remains stunted.
(c) An unnoted, sweet young boy is sitting at the back of the dim class. He is dreaming of squirrels playing games on trees.
(d) The boy with stunted growth has inherited a disease from his father, which makes him a living example of his father’s poverty and suffering.
(a) The boy with stunted growth and twisted bones sitting at the desk, is referred to as ‘unlucky heir’ because he has inherited the gnarled disease of his father that makes him a living example of his father’s sufferings.
(b) The stunted boy is reciting his lessons, but due to his knotty disease, his voice is weak and sick.
(c) At the back of the dim class, a boy is sitting who has a sweet nature. He is dreaming of
squirrels playing games on trees. ‘
(d) The ‘unlucky heir’ has been depicted here as one with stunted growth and twisted bones.
Question.5. Read the extract given below and answer the questions that follow.
Far far from gusty waves these children’s faces.
Like rootless weeds, the hair torn around their pallor
The tall girl with her weighed-down head. The paper-seeming boy, with rat’s eyes.
(a) What are the children compared to?
(b) Why do you think the tall girl is sitting with a weighed down head?
(c) Give two phrases which tell us that the children are under-nourishedlAll India 2012; Modified]
(d) What is the condition of the boy?
Answer. (a) The children are compared to rootless weeds’.
(b) The girl is sitting with a weighed down head probably because she is depressed due to abject poverty or family tussles.
(c) The phrases are ‘like rootless weeds, and ‘the paper-seeming boy with rat’s eyes’.
(d) The boy sitting in the classroom is as thin as paper, due to malnutrition. He has bulging eyes like that of a rat.
Question.6. Read the extract given below and answer the questions that follow.
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
(a) Why is Shakespeare described as wicked?
(b) Explain, “from fog to endless night.”
(c) What does the reference to ‘slag heap’ mean?
(d) How do they live in their holes?
Answer. (a) Shakespeare has been described as ‘wicked’ because the children are not aware of his literary genius. In their school, hardly any learning takes place, as they are troubled by hunger, despair and failed aspirations.
(b) With reference to the passage, ‘from fog to endless night’ refers to early morning to late night. It means that every day is the same for the slum children.
(c) The bloodless bodies of the poor children are referred to as ‘slag heap’.
(d) They live like rats in their cramped little holes. Their houses are small, dirty and congested. Fog and darkness dominate their lives.
Question.7. Read the extract given below and answer the questions that follow.
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.
(a) To whom does ‘they’ refer?
(b) What would they break?
(c) What does the poet want for them?
(d) What other freedom should they enjoy? (All India 2011; Modified)
Answer. (a) The word ‘they’ refers to inspectors, visitors, governors and those who are in authority.
(b) They would break the grim walls of the slum children’s world which shut the children off from our world.
(c) The poet wants that these children should be properly educated, so that they get the energy and warmth of the sun which is symbolic of light and knowledge.
(d) The slum children should get adequate opportunity to know the world and find their place under the sun.
Question.8. Read the extract given below and answer the questions that follow.
………On their slag heap, these children
Wear skins peeped through by bones and spectacles of steel With mended glass, like bottle bits on stones.
All of their time and space are foggy slum.
So blot their maps with slums as big as doom.
(a) Which two images are used to describe these slums?
(b) What sort of life do these children lead?
(c) Which figure of speech is used in the last line? (All India 2010; Modified)
(d) What does ‘slag heap’ refer to?
Answer. (a) The images used to describe the slums are ‘foggy slum’ and ‘slums as big as doom’.
(b) The homes of these children are very cramped and dingy. They are almost like holes and these children live in them like rats. They are deprived of the picturesque beauty and gift of nature.
(c) The figure of speech used in the last line is a simile, ‘slums as big as doom’.
(d) ‘Slag heap’ refers to the hunger-stricken bodies of the slum children, which seem to be garbage heaps.
Short Answer Type Questions (3 Marks, 30-40 words)
Question.1. What change does the poet hope for in the lives of the slum children? (Foreign 2014)
What does the poet want for the children of the slums? (Foreign 2010)
Answer. The poet wishes for a better life for the children of the slums. They should have access to education because education is the key to prosperity. They should be given countless opportunities to explore the world. They need to break free from the confines of their weak world into a world which should welcome them with open arms. The self-centred attitude of the affluent classes should be broken to relieve the children from all misery.
Question.2. To whom does the poet in the poem, ‘An Elementary School Classroom in a Slum’
make an appeal? What is his appeal? (Compartment 2014; Modified)
Answer. The poet makes an appeal to his readers, especially the educated and well-off people, to help the poor children of the slum come out and get free from their miserable surroundings. His appeal is that these children should be given quality education, because education holds the key to their emancipation.
Question.3. Which words/phrases in the poem, ‘An Elementary School Classroom in a Slum’ show that the slum children are suffering from acute malnutrition?
(Compartment 2014; Modified)
Answer. The words/phrases in the poem which show that the slum children are suffering from acute malnutrition are “the hair torn round their pallor”, “paper seeming boy”, “stunted, unlucky heir of twisted bones” and “wear skins peeped through by bones.”
Question.4. The poet says, “And yet, for these children, these windows, not this map, their world.” Which world do these children belong to? Which world is inaccessible to them?
Answer. The children belong to the world of poverty and misery in the dingy slum areas. The world of the rich, with all the comforts and luxuries of life, is inaccessible to them.
Question.5. How does the poet describe the classroom walls? (Delhi 2010)
Answer. The walls of the classroom are pale and dirty. They are decorated with the donated picture of Shakespeare, a scene depicting buildings with domes, a world map and beautiful valleys, which stand in sharp contrast to the dingy, dismal and gloomy atmosphere in which these slum children live.
Question.6. What message does Stephen Spender convey through the poem, ‘An Elementary School Classroom in a Slum’? (Odd 2013,Foreign 2011)
Answer. The poet wants that the children of the slums should get rid of their dismal lives. They should be educated and brought out from their ugly surroundings. He feels that it is the responsibility of the affluent classes to free these poor children from the life of hunger and misery.
Question.7. Why does Stephen Spender say that the pictures and maps in the elementary school classroom are not meaningful? (Delhi 2009)
Answer. The pictures and maps in the school are meaningless for the slum children because they stand in sharp contrast to the dingy, dismal and gloomy atmosphere in which these slum children live. These things have no meaning for those who are deprived of the basic amenities of life.
Question.8. What does the poet wish for the children of the slums? (Delhi 2008)
Answer. The poet wants that the children of the slums should break free from the rut of their dreary existence. They should experience nature at its best, as well as frolic around in a carefree manner. They should be educated and be able to transform themselves.
Question.9. Why does the poet Stephen Spender call the map a bad example? (All India 200)
Answer. The map represents the beautiful and wonderful world outside. However, this world is beyond the reach of the slum children. Their hopes and aspirations are confined to their world of despair and diseases. So Stephen Spender calls the map a bad example.