NCERT Solutions for Class 11th English core chapter 9 – A Photograph


Question 1. What does the word ‘cardboard’ denote in the poem? Why has this word been used?

Answer : The photograph is probably stuck on a cardboard. The mother is no longer alive. She is, now, as lifeless as the cardboard. The poetess has used work ‘cardboard’ to imply that the lively presence of her mother cannot be felt anymore. She is just a memory. The cardboard, also, is just a non-breathing piece, which reminds her of her mother who, once upon a time, was alive.

Question 2. What has the camera captured?

Answer : The camera has captured the three girls the poetess’ mother and her two cousins who tried to stand to smile through their hair. They were at the beach.

Question 3. What has not changed over the years? Does this suggest something to you.

Answer : The sea has not changed over the years. It suggests that the prominent features of nature do not change much. Human beings come and go, but nature always remains.

Question 4. The poetess’ mother laughed at the snapshot. What did this laugh indicate.

Answer : The poetess’ mother laughed looking at the snapshot because, suddenly, she was reminded of her happy and carefree childhood days.

Question 5. What is the meaning of the line, ‘‘Both wry with the laboured ease of loss’’.

Answer : The poetess is sad about the fact that her mother’s laughter is history. Her mother feels the same for her childhood days. The word ‘wry’ here means disappointment. Both of them are disappointed and dejected over their loss.

Question 6.  What does, ‘this circumstance’ refer to?

Answer : ‘This circumstance’ refers to the death of the mother of the poetess. The happy and carefree girl seen in the photograph is no longer alive. The poetess could not help being sorry and sad to think of her mother a objected person. Who is no longer alive.

Question 7. The three stanzas depict three different phases. What are they?

Answer : The first stanza depicts the happy and carefree days of the poetess’ mother when she was a young girl. That  is her childhood. The second stanza depicts the middle age when the poetess’ mother has forgotten to laugh because of the depressing circumstances.

The last stanza depicts a stage when the poetess mourn’s the loss of her mother in a symbolic way. The mother’s loss is not only a physical one but one of her identity, which leaves the poetess speechless.

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