Flamingo My Mother at Sixty-Six - Solutions

 CBSE Class 12 English Core

NCERT Solutions
Poem 1
My Mother at Sixty-Six

Page No: 90 Before You Read

1. Ageing is a natural process; have you ever thought what our elderly parents expect from us?
 : Aged people usually undergo pangs of loneliness .They need companionship. The pessimistic approach they develop towards life can be shunned only if we give them company and importance .They expect their children to sit calmly and talk to them about the happenings of their lives and to take their suggestions for making significant decisions. Their lost vitality can thus be easily rejuvenated. This happiness will encourage them to live life enthusiastically.

Page No: 91 Think it Out

1. What is the kind of pain and ache that the poet feels?
Answer : The emotional pain and ache that the poet feels is due to the realization  that her mother has grown old .She has become frail and pale like a corpse. She  is dependent on her children. The ache also refers to the  childhood fear when the poet felt insecure without her mother.This sense of insecurity pervades and revisits the poet due to the mother’s old age and her approaching end.

2. Why are the young trees described as 'sprinting'?
 : The young trees are personified in the poem. They seem to be running in the opposite direction when seen through the window of the moving car. The movement is juxtaposed with the expression on the mother’s face i.e. ashen like a corpse. The movement of the children and the trees is in stark contrast with the stillness associated with the mother.The vibrancy of youth and the inertia of old age can be corelated here in this expression.

3. Why has the poet brought in the image of the merry children 'spilling out of their homes'?
 : The poet highlights the helplessness and frailty of old age with the help of contrasts. The mother dozes off with her mouth open, whereas the children spill out of their homes.This  signifies movement and energy, enthusiasm and vivacity, which the old people are bereft of.

4. Why has the mother been compared to the 'late winter's moon'?
 : The mother has been compared to the late winter’s moon which is dull and shrouded. It symbolizes the ebbing of life. The moon brings to the poets mind night or the approaching end of life. The mother like the late winter’s moon is dull, dim and dismal.

5. What do the parting words of the poet and her smile signify?
 : The parting words ‘see you soon Amma’ are used by the poet to reassure the mother and to infuse optimism in the poet herself. The poet accepts the reality yet keeps up the façade of smiling in order to put up a brave front. It requires a lot of effort for the poet to stabilise . Hence the poet has used the poetic device of repetition.