Thursday, April 23, 2020

What symbols are used in the poem “Asleep in the Valley”? / Discuss “Asleep in the Valley” as a symbolic poem.

Answer:   From the very title to the end of the poem, the poet Rimbaud has superbly included symbols in the poem “Asleep in the Valley” to rouse the sense of anti-war. The poet uses symbols while mentioning different colours, words to establish the contradiction between life and death. The poet uses colours like ‘green’, ‘silver’ etc. that symbolize ‘life’ and on the other hand, the use of ‘pale’ symbolizes death. Also, throughout the poem, the poet has included so many words and phrases in symbolic way like “lies open mouthed”, “asleep”, “at peace”, “the humming insects do not disturb his rest” only to establish the fact that the soldier is dead or casualty of war. Also at the very end of the poem, the poet uses symbolism—“There are two red holes” that indicates the death of the soldier. Besides, in the line “Ah, Nature, keep him warm; he may catch cold”, the poet uses the word ‘warm’ that symbolizes life and the word ‘cold’ that symbolizes death. So, in every sense, it is a perfect symbolic poem.

“Ah, Nature, keep him warm; he may catch cold”—Explain the line.

Answer:   This extract belongs to Arthur Rimbaud’s poem Asleep in the Valley. This is an appeal from the poet to the Nature. When the poet realizes that the lying soldier is dead, the poet is heard to remark this statement. The word “warm” symbolizes life and the word “cold” symbolizes death. Poet thinks that Nature brings life on this earth with her warm. Poet also believes that Nature holds the secret of life and now only she can give back life to the dead soldier. So, the poet tells the Nature to keep the soldier warm to rouse him from his eternal sleep.

“……………………………….……..his smile Is like an infant’s—gentle, without guile”—bring out the comparison implied here.

Answer:  This extract belongs to Arthur Rimbaud’s poem Asleep in the Valley. This poem tragically describes a dead soldier lying open-mouthed in a beautiful valley. The open mouth of the soldier makes the poet imagine that as if the soldier is smiling. And the poet compares soldier’s smile to the smile of an innocent infant. An infant has no cares for the world and he smiles without any reason. The poet thinks that now like an infant, the soldier is careless about everything as he has no earthly bounds due to his death. The smile of dead soldier may also signify that his death is now better to him than his life. Actually through this irony, the poet mocks at the dishonest warmongers who nip the lives of innocent soldiers in bud.

Discuss the significance of the title of the poem Asleep in the Valley.

Title of the poem 
Asleep in the Valley

Answer:   The title of the poem Asleep in the Valley directly reflects the main theme of this poem. Here the poet Arthur Rimbaud opens the poem with the description of a green valley. The chanting river, its silvery strands, fresh sunlight, and the presence of different plants of bushes and flowers make the valley beautiful. Then the poet introduces us with the main character of this poem, a soldier lying dead in a valley. Poet also informs us that his death has been caused by the wounds of two bullets of battle field. Here the word “asleep” in the title signifies the tragic death of the soldier. Thus the poet through this poem describes a beautiful valley where a soldier is asleep i.e. lying dead. So, the title is very much apt.

Give a description of nature described in the poem Asleep in the Valley.

Description of nature

Answer:    French poet and adventurer Arthur Rimbaud won renown among the Symbolist movement and markedly influenced modern poetries. Here his poetry Asleep in the Valley, though, ends tragically, but it starts with a fine natural description. In this poem, the poet portrays a valley fantastically. The valley is a lush and there remains the tranquil and solitary situation. A slow stream gurgles down its centre, carving a zigzag way through the alpine rock getting erupted from the mountain top. This stream makes a long, silvery strand on the bright grass. The sun’s rays have filled the whole atmosphere. The valley is covered with different kinds of tress and large stretches of green grass and weed from which flowers bloom. The insects are humming through the grass. The sunlight bathes the valley in its radiance and the makes the chest of valley warm. The valley seems to shine in its own natural beauty. 

Give the substance of the poem Asleep in the Valley.


Answer:  The poem Asleep in the Valley, written by the symbolist poet Arthur Rimbaud, is a war poem. This poem has a very blissful and tranquil beginning. The poet arrests the mind of the readers by the mention of green valley, chanting stream, silvery sparkling of stream-water, mountains in the very first stanza. The sunlight fills the valley. Then (the poet introduces us with a pale, open-mouthed soldier, sleeping in ‘warm, green, sun-soaked’ heavy undergrowth. This introduction makes the readers very curious about the soldiers. Then the poet gives further description of the soldier. The soldier’s feet are among the flowers. The poet compares the soldier’s open mouth to the smile of an infant as if the soldier has no care in the world like an infant. In the last three lines, the poet makes the scenery and the situation both contradictory to each other. The expressions “in his side there are two red holes” and the “humming insects don’t disturb his rest” make the readers sure that the soldier is already dead. Now nothing can awake him.)


Wednesday, April 22, 2020

My Own True Family By Ted Hughes

My own true family

Ted Hughes

Once I crept in an oakwood – I was looking for a stag.
একদা আমি হামাগুড়ি দিয়ে একটি ওক বনে প্রবেশ করলাম-- আমি খুজছিলাম একটি ছেলে হরিণ।

I met an old woman there – all knobbly stick and rag.
আমার সাক্ষাৎ হলো একজন বৃদ্ধা মহিলার সাথে সেখানে-- তার নড়বড়ে শরীরে রয়েছে লাঠি এবং জীর্ণ কাপড়।

She said; 'I have your secret here inside my little bag.'
তিনি বললেন, 'আমার এই ছোট্ট ব্যাগের মধ্যে রয়েছে তোমার সমস্ত রহস্য।'
Then she began to cackle and I began to quake.
তারপর তিনি ফোকলা হাসি হাসতে শুরু করলেন এবং আমি কাপতে শুরু করলাম।
She opened up her little bag and I came twice awake –
তিনি তার ছোট্ট ব্যাগটি খুললেন এবং আমি দ্বিতীয়বারের জন্য জেগে উঠলাম--
Surrounded by a staring tribe and me tied to a stake.
(দেখলাম) আমি ঘেরাও হয়ে আছি একভাবে তাকিয়ে থাকা উপজাতিদের দ্বারা এবং আমি একটি খুঁটিতে বাঁধা রয়েছি।
They said: 'We are the oak-trees and your own true family.
তারা বলল: 'আমরা হলাম ওক গাছ এবং তোমার সত্যি কারের পরিবার।
We are chopped down, we are torn up, you do not blink an eye.
আমাদের কেটে ফেলা হয়, আমাদের ছিঁড়ে ফেলা হয় , তোমরা একবারও দৃষ্টিপাত করো না।
Unless you make a promise now – now you are going to die.
যদি না তুমি একটি প্রতিজ্ঞা করো -- তাহলে এখন তুমি মরবে তুমি।
'Whenever you see an oak-tree felled, swear now you will plant two.
যখনই তুমি দেখবে একটি ওক গাছ কাটা হয়েছে, প্রতিজ্ঞা করো এখন, তুমি দুটি গাছ লাগাবে।
Unless you swear the black oak bark will wrinkle over you
যদি প্রতিজ্ঞ না করো, তাহলে কালো ওক গাছের বাকল তোমায় জড়িয়ে ধরবে
And root you among the oaks where you were born but never grew.
এবং তোমায় অক গাছের মাঝে পুতে দেব যেখানে তুমি জন্মেছিলে কিন্তু কখনোই বেড়ে ওঠো নি।
This was my dream beneath the boughs, the dream that altered me.
এটি ছিল গাছের ডালের নিচে আমার স্বপ্ন, যে স্বপ্ন আমাকে পরিবর্তন করে দিয়েছিল।
When I came out of the oakwood, back to human company,
যখন আমি ওক বন থেকে বেরিয়ে এলাম মানবজাতির সঙ্গ তে
My walk was the walk of a human child, but my heart was a tree.
তখন আমার হাঁটা ছিল একজন মানব শিশুর হাঁটার মতো, কিন্তু আমার হৃদয় টি ছিল একটি গাছের মত।

Analysis of the poem  : The poet Ted Hughes has presented a harsh cruelty of human towards tree. Here the poet shows how we ignore the importance of trees and deforest them discarding the casualty of it. Trees are the pillar of our life. We can not live for a single moment without trees. Trees give us Oxygen, fruit, food, wood etc. But we does not show any sympathy for them. We forget that our sweet world is livable only for tree. Rather, we cut them indiscriminately. Throughout this poem, the poet has shown how and why we should treat trees like our own true family members and as well as how the trees feel when we torture them, kill them.

         At the very beginning of the poem, we see that a young child (may be the poet himself) creeps in an oak wood in search of a male deer. At that very moment he meets an old lady looking supernatural. She is unsteady on her stick and she has rag on her body. She mysteriously informs the child that she holds the secret of his life inside her little bag. Her loud cackle makes him horrid and quake and she opens her little bag. Immediately, something happens to the child as if he has taken birth for the second time with different feelings and knowledge and he discovers himself surrounded by a staring tribe and tied to a stake. These tribes are none but the oak trees. Those oak trees announce themselves as the true family members of human beings because like genuine family members they are protecting our live and our natural environment. The oak trees complain to the child against human being. They states that we, the human beings cut, torn up trees for our own sake and none as well as that child does not show any sympathy, care to tree. Now oak trees have confined him and want a promise from him that he have to plant two tree when he sees an oak tree felled. The trees threaten the child if he does not swear, they will wrap him with black oak-bark and root him among the oak trees in the soil where he will not able to move and remain there till his death.

         At last the poet reveals that actually the child is asleep beneath the boughs oak trees and it is nothing but his dream. That dream alters the child mentally. When he comes out of the wood, he can realize that though his walk, talking are like human, his heart becomes a heart of a tree that can feel the pain of trees. Thus the poet delivers a message that we all should protect tree and stop felling of trees for the sake of our existence on our sweet world.


West Bengal Board of Secondary Education

Class: V

Class: VI

Class: VII

Class: VIII

Tuesday, April 14, 2020

Discuss “The Proposal” as a one-act play.

As a one-act play

Answer:  Anton Chekhov’s play “The Proposal is a perfect example of one-act play. It obeys the rules of unity of time, plot and action. It deals with only one theme developed through one situation to one climax in order to produce the maximum of effect and that is to put forth a marriage proposal. The total plot is one dimensional. It treats the problems of everyday life like marriage. Like a perfect one-act play, also in this play, action begins right at the start of the play. Also, there are no breaks in the action; it is continuous. The play starts and ends within a short span of time. Besides all the three characters are here central and indispensable (অপরিহার্য) for the construction of the play. It is notable that there is no more side character to disgrace the progress of the story. Thus, this play stands as a perfect one-act play in all aspects. 

What does Chubukov at first suspect for Lomov’s coming? How does Chubukov react when Chubukov comes to know about the proposal?

Answer: Chubukov at first suspects that Lomov has come to borrow money. He immediately resolves that he will not give him any money. 

Chubukov becomes over-excited and happy to hear that Lomov has come to ask for Natalya’s hand for marriage. He becomes so emotional that he cannot control his tears. He then embraces and kisses Lomov and expresses his long-time desire to get Lomov as his son-in-law. He calls for God’s blessing for Natalya and Lomov. He says that he is off his balance with joy. At last he goes out to call for Natalya.

Discuss the Social Life of the-then Russia.

Social life

Answer:   In the one-act play The Proposal, the playwright Anton Chekhov portrayed a fine social life of the bourgeoisie in Russia through three dramatic characters. The then Russian people’s major livelihood was agriculture. They were apparently very polite-speaking persons. But when the fact of their interest came, they became desperate to full that. They considered marriage as a social necessity. There was no place of love in marriage. Just as One character Lomov wanted to marry his neighbor Chubukov’s daughter Natalya only to fulfill his own sake. On the other hand, once other characters savagely behaved with Lomov when situation went against them. Again they behaved sweetly with him when the matter came about their own interest regarding marriage of Natalya. So in that society, all ran after profits.

“Oh, What a burden lord to be father of a grown-up daughter”—Who mkes the remark and who is the daughter? Why does the speaker think that grown-up daughter is a burden?

Answer:    In the one-act play The Proposal by Anton Chekhov, Chubukov makes the remark.

 Here the grown-up daughter is Natalya.

 A grown-up daughter has to be married off to a good bridegroom and every father has that huge responsibility. Until his daughter’s marriage is done, he suffers from it as if the grown-up girl is a burden to him. Here Chubukov is not exception at all. He is very much desperate to finish off the matter of his daughter’s marriage. Lomov comes to propose Natalya for marriage. But twice Lomov and Natalya involves into argument before Lomov proposes her. Even Chubukov argues with Lomov severely forgetting the marriage proposal. So it seems difficult to arrange Natalya’s marriage. So, Chubukov considers his daughter Natalya as a burden.

Character of Chubukov.

Character of chubukov

Answer:    In the one-act play The Proposal, the playwright Anton Chekhov has magnificently presents three interesting characters and Stephen Chubukov is one of them. He was a land owner. He is very much desperate for his 25-year old daughter Natalya’s marriage. He always pretended to be calm, a good neighbour as well as a polite speaking person. But actually, like his daughter. He never missed a chance to argue and quarrel with Lomov. He welcomes Lomov in a polite manner and is happy when he says he has come to propose to his daughter. But again he badly quarrels with Lomov over simple matters. Again later, he does not waste the time to fix marriage when both are agreed though little ago, he was terribly insulting Lomov. Chubukov is projected as a loving father but a greedy man who is desperate to get good match for his daughter. Overall Chubukov is an impetuous and hypocritical man, always runs after his sake.

Character of Lomov.

Character of lomov

Answer:   The major protagonist in the one-act play The Proposal by Anton Chekhov, Lomov is introduced as a landowner and the neighbour of Chubukov. He is a man of 35 with severe palpitation. At that certain age, he feels the necessity of marriage in his life. He selects Natalya, the daughter of Chubukov to marry.  His choice to marry her is not due to his love for Natalya; rather he thinks so only for his care. He is brave and fashionable too as he directly comes to Natalya to propose her wearing fine clothes.  He is habitual to pick up quarrel for nothing. He always gets excited over simple conversation. He has great esteem about himself. He thinks himself as a man of principle.

Character of Natalya.

Character of Natalya 

Answer:   In the one act play The Proposal by Anton Chekhov, Natalya is introduced as the daughter of a land-owner Chubukov. She is a young girl of 25. She is also the neighbour of Lomov and she is adept in household works. Besides her good looking, she is educated too. At the very beginning of the play, we see that she is very formal as she greets Lomov with warmth and she is very gracious too as she permits Lomov to smoke. Natalya also has the sense of appreciation as she compliments Lomov upon his dressing. But she is a quarrelsome girl by nature as she begins to quarrel with Lomov oxen meadows, superiority of their dogs. Even forgetting that Lomov is their neighbour and presently a guest, Natalya abuses him and forces him to get out. But when she comes to know about the reason of Lomov’s visiting their house, she becomes infuriated, desperate to marry him and while wailing, blames her father for Lomov’s departure. So, Natalya is a hypocritical, obstinate and as well as a love-sick girl.

Write down the attack and counter-attack of three main characters on hunting strategy.


Answer:  After getting involved into argument over oxen meadows, the three main characters Lomov, Natalya and Chubukov again got busy in argument over their hunting strategy. This argument started with the conversation over the superiority of their dogs. Then suddenly Natalya cursed Lomov saying that being a bad hunter Lomov should go back home and sit on the kitchen oven to catch black beetles, not going after foxes. It followed Chubukov’s statement. He stated that a hunter like Lomov should remain at home with his palpitation and should not track any animal. Chubukov also said that Lomov was habitually an arguer, not a hunter. But Lomov was not less in any account than them. He is heard to remark that Chubukov used to go to hunt only to meet the count to intrigue as he was a real intriguer.

“Why yell like that”—Who said this and to whom? What was that other person trying to prove? Bring out the incident.

Answer:    In the one act play The Proposal by Anton Chekhov, Chubukov said this to Lomov.

Lomov came to Natalya’s house to propose her for marriage. But before conveying his proposal, Lomov got involved into argument with her over the ownership of a disputed land called Oxen Meadows. Here Lomov tried to prove that the oxen meadows belong to him giving many oral proofs.

Hearing the argument, Natalya’s father Chubukov came on the spot and when Chubukov failed to calm Lomov, he also became heated and Chubukov was heard to remark that he would not give up his own land and would not want anything of others. He ordered him to stop his mouth and threatened him to send his peasants to the meadows to occupy it.

"Bring him back/ fetch him…….”—Who says this and to whom? Why is the speaker so excited? Bring out the irony from the context.

Answer:   In the one act play The Proposal by Anton Chekhov, Natalya says this to her father Chubukov.

Lomov comes to his long-time neighbour Chubukov’s house to give the proposal to marry his daughter Natalya. But before conveying his proposal, Natalya and Lomov get involved into argument over the ownership of a disputed land called Oxen Meadows. But due to severe palpitation, Lomov cannot carry on the argument and leaves their house. Then when Natalya asks her father about the reason of Lomov’s arrival, father informs her about the real reason of lomov’s coming and Natalya gets upset and begins to wail for missing the chance of marrying Lomov because she is also like a love-sick cat and is adult enough to marry, especially Lomov.

Natalya has actually no love for Lomov. She just wants to marry Lomov to lead her life smoothly. That is why, before knowing the matter of proposal, she badly abuses Lomov and after knowing about proposal, she becomes desperate to marry Lomov forgetting her earlier act. Here the irony lies.

Describe the argument between Lomov and Natalya over superiority of their dogs.


Answer:    Once at Natalya’s house, Natalya and Lomov got engaged into argument over the ownership of Oxen Meadows and Lomov left her house. Then again he came again when her father Chubukov brought him back. Then Natalya tried to bend that earlier subject to romance. But instead of discussing  marriage, they again started arguing over the superiority of their dogs. Natalya tried to establish their dog Squeezer’s superiority saying that it was young and thoroughbred. On the other hand Lomov became busy in discovering all the defects in her dog. He was heard to remark that Squeezer was overshot as its upper jaw was taller that the lower one. On the other hand, Natalya described Lomov’s dog Guess as a worn-out cab-horse. Her father also supported her in that argument saying that Guess was short in muzzle and old. That fight continued for a considerable length of time.                   

How do Ivan and Natalya get involved into argument for the first time? OR Why does Lomov leave Natalya’s house?

Oxen Meadows episode

At the very beginning of the one act play The Proposal by Anton Chekhov, Ivan is seen to come to his long-time neighbour Chubukov’s house to propose his 25 years old daughter Natalya for marriage. Chubukov accepts his proposal with pleasure and sends Natalya to Ivan. Ivan was a hypochondriac and while trying to convey the reason for his coming, he suddenly gets into argument with Natalya over the ownership of a territory called Oxen Meadows. It was a disputed land between their respective properties. Argument starts when Ivan is about to convey her proposal and mentions that he owns that meadows. The argument becomes furious gradually. They loudly began to prove their ownership. Lomov completely forgets the fact of proposal and marriage. Ultimately, getting very angry, when Ivan does not carry on the argument due to his palpitation, he leaves their house.

Monday, April 13, 2020

Why does Lomov consider Natalya as his perfect would be wife?

Answer:  Lomov once comes to Natalya’s house to propose her for marriage. He thinks her as his perfect would be wife because firstly, Natalya is a beautiful girl of 25. Secondly, she is an educated girl as well as an excellent house-keeper. Besides she belongs to his long-time, respected, well-known neighbouring family. On the other hand, getting 35 years old and having severe palpitation, Lomov has no better chance to search a perfect girl than Natalya. And ultimately he thinks that it would be better to him to lead a normal and regular life if he marries Natalya.

Why did Lomov want to get married?

Answer:      When lomov was 35, he had to make up his mind to get married finally. He thought that if he took more time in search of perfect, real love, he would never get married in his life. Besides he considered that his age belonged to a critical stage of life and he was suffering from severe palpitation. His suffering became worst when he went to sleep. No sooner had he got into bed than something pulled his left side and he jumped like a lunatic. But again when he went to sleep, there was another pull which might happen for twenty times. For this reasons, to lead a quiet and normal life, Lomov decided to get married.

Show the relation between Lomovs and Chubukovs.

Answer:   From the very first beginning of the play The Proposal by Anton Chekhov, we are told that there remains a very good and friendship relation between two neighbours Lomovs and Chubukovs for long. Both the family members have respect for each other. It is going on from generation to generation. Besides they are always helpful to each other. Once Chubukov lends their threshing machine to Lomov postponing their own threshing. In past times, their relation was so good that they did not mistrust each other and without any agreement, Lomov’s aunt’s grandmother gave the free use of their Oxen Meadows to Natalya’s great grandfather.

Discuss the play The Proposal as a satire. /OR/ Discuss the theme of the play The Proposal.

Answer:  The farce explores the process of getting married and could be read as a satire on the upper middle class and courtship. The play points out the struggle to balance the economic necessities of marriage and what the characters themselves actually want. It shows the characters' desperation for marriage as comical. In Chekhov's Russia, marriage was a mean of economic stability for most people. They married to gain wealth and possessions or to satisfy social pressure. The satire is conveyed successfully by emphasizing the couple's foolish arguments over small things. The main arguments in the play revolve around The Oxen Meadows and two dogs. 

Discuss the significance of the title of the play "The Proposal".

Answer:   Right from the beginning to end of the play The Proposal, we see that the total play is built on a single point that is its title. Once Lomov comes to his long-time neighbour Natalya’s house to propose her for marriage. But after few trivial talks with Natalya and her father, suddenly before proposing her, Lomov engages into argument with them over the ownership of a disputed land called Oxen Meadows. Getting sick, when Lomov leaves their house, Natalya comes to know about Lomov’s coming and she begins to lament over the loss. Again when Lomov is called back, before Lomov makes the proposal another argument occurs over the superiority of their dogs. Hence the entire play is connected with the matter of proposal. So the title is very much apt. 


 (Chekhov’s one act play The Proposal’s beginning as well as its total plot, central point build on a marriage proposal of Lomov to Natalya. In this play all the three characters are seen to be anxious for marriage. On the one hand, Natalya’s father is very much keen to arrange his daughter’s marriage as his daughter has been adult enough. On the other hand, Lomov is very much interested to get married for his physical condition and social needs. From the very beginning it is seen that Lomov comes to Natalya’s house to propose her for marriage. But as he fails to propose her due to argument over Oxen Meadows, the flow of the play continues to flow. When Natalya comes to know about the proposal, she becomes desperate for marriage) but it has been too late as again the two sides engaged themselves into argument over their dogs. Hence the entire play is connected with the matter of proposal. So the title is very much apt.

Show how all the characters are eager for marriage.
How much was marriage important to all the characters?

Answer: Bracket portion of Qu-1 . + So it seems that all the characters are very much eager to get married or make other get married.


The Proposal


Anton Chekhov

Anton Chekhov







Extra Questions: 

19. “ What proposal?”—who is the speaker? What was her reaction to listen to the answer? 

Answer:  See Question No- 9 

20. “Forgive us Ivan Vassilevitch, we were all a little heated”—who is the speaker? Why they were heated? 

Answer:  See Question No- 8  (Dog episode.) 

21. “I don’t want anything of yours…….”—describe the incident. 

Answer:  See Question No- 7  (Oxen meadows episode.) 

22. “You are not a neighbor, you are a grabber”—context 

Answer:  See Question No- 7  (Oxen meadows episode.) 

23. I’ll have the matter taken to court”—contest. 

Answer:  See Question No- 7  (Oxen meadows episode.)