My Mother at Sixty-Six Short Question Answers

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My Mother at Sixty-Six Short Question Answers

                                              By- Kamala Das

1. What is the kind of pain and ache that the narrator feels?

Ans. The emotional pain and ache that the narrator feels is the realization that her mother has grown old and is frail and pale like a corpse.

2. Why are the young trees described as sprinting?

Ans. 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.

3. Why has the narrator brought in the image of the merry children ‘spilling out of their homes’?

Ans. The narrator highlights the helplessness and frailty of old age with the help of contrasts. The listless mother dozes off open-mouthed, whereas the children spill out of their homes signifying movement and energy, which the old people are bereft of. The image of the children spilling out of their homes and trees sprinting provides a contrast to the lack of vitality in the mother.

4. Why has the mother been compared to ‘late winter’s moon’?

 Ans. The mother has been compared to the late winter’s moon which is dull and shrouded. It symbolizes the ebbing away of life. The moon brings to the narrator’s mind, the night or the approaching end of life.

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5. What do the parting words of the narrator and her smile signify?

Ans. The parting words ‘see you soon Amma’ are used by the narrator to reassure the mother and to infuse optimism in the narrator herself. She accepts the reality of her mother’s approaching death, yet keeps up the facade of a smiling, happy face in order to put up a brave front. It requires a lot of effort and hence the poet has used the poetic device of repetition to emphasize this.

6. What childhood fears do you think the narrator is referring to in the poem ‘My Mother at Sixty Six’?

Ans. The narrator refers to the fears a child has of losing a parent or getting lost somewhere and thus getting separated from them or even one’s own process of ageing. The narrator felt this kind of fear while looking at her mother’s aged and pale face. She was afraid that she might never see her alive again.

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7. What does the narrator mean by ‘all I did was smile and smile and smile…’?

Ans. The narrator realizes the pain and aches she would feel at separating from her mother. It was her childhood fear that she was experiencing once again. She was trying to hide her true emotions from herself and her mother by smiling and smiling.

8. What does the narrator’s mother look like? What kind of images has been used to signify her ageing?

Ans. The narrator’s mother is sixty-six years old, looks pale like a corpse. The imagery of death has been created by this comparison.

9. What were the activities that the narrator saw outside the car window?

Ans. The narrator saw young trees speeding past which seemed as if they were sprinting or running fast. Happy, enthusiastic and energetic children could be seen running out of their homes. They present an image of youth and energy in comparison to the lack of energy of the narrator’s mother.

10. Why does the narrator look outside? What does she perceive?

Ans. The very thought of separation from her mother upsets and depresses the narrator. She experiences the fear that she may never meet her mother again. In order to drive away such negative thoughts, she looks out of the window and her mind gets diverted when she sees trees moving rapidly and children playing merrily.

11. What does the narrator do after the security check-up? What does she notice?

Ans. Immediately after the security check-up at the airport, and standing a few yards away from her mother, the narrator observes her mother once again and compares her to the pale, colourless winter’s moon, marking the last phase of her life, i.e., her old age. She is pained to see her in such a condition and the fear of separation returns in her, once again.

12. What is the narrator’s familiar ache and why does it return?

Ans. The narrator is pained to see her mother old and pale. This arouses the ‘familiar ache’ in her heart which she used to experience in her childhood.

13. Why does the narrator smile and what does she say while bidding goodbye to her mother?

Ans. The narrator smiles in order to put up a brave front so that her mother does not observe her pained and frightened look. She smiles in order to reassure her mother and says that she would see her again soon.

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14. What poetic devices has the poet used in ‘My Mother at Sixty-six’?

Ans. The poem is rich in imagery. Devices of comparisons and contrasts are also used by the poet to draw out the difference between youth and old age. She describes the mother’s face using similes ‘ashen like a corpse’, and ‘late winter’s moon’. The merry children playing happily are contrasted with the old, weak and pale mother.

15. What kind of pain does Kamala Das feel in ‘My Mother at Sixty Six’? [Delhi 2017]

 Ans. The pain that Kamala Das feels is the pain of separation from her mother by death. She had also felt it in her childhood.

16. Why are the youngsters described as springing? (My Mother at Sixty-six) [Delhi 2017]

Ans. The poetess is in the car on her way home to the Cochin airport. She looks outside some young children were running and playing. The poetess seems to contrasts her ageing mother with the youngsters’ full of life.

17. Why does Kamala Das compare her mother to ‘a pale winter’s moon’? [Delhi 2017]

 Ans. The late winter’s moon is calm and hazy with a dim lustre; it loses its vitality and power. So the poetess compares her mother’s calm, colourless and withered face to the late winter’s moon. She has become weak and was due to her age of sixty-six.

18. Having looked at her mother, why does Kamala Das look at the young children? [All India 2017]

Ans. While driving her car, the mother was sitting with her. She was dozing with mouth open. Her face was pale and ashen. She looked like a corpse. She was deeply depressed and pain started troubling her mind. In order to put these troubled thoughts away, she looked at the outside world which was full of life, activity and energy. This distraction made her feel happy.

19. What was Kamala Das’s childhood fear? [All India 2017]

 Ans. After seeing her mother at sixty-six in a pale like a corpse face, her childhood fear of separation from her mother returns. She is deeply pained lest she should not find her mother alive after her return. These thoughts are painful and distressing to her.

20. In the last line of the poem, ‘My Mother at Sixty-six’, why does the poet use the word ‘smile’ repeatedly? [All India 2017]

Ans. In the last line, the poet repeats the word ‘smile’. This repetition brings out the poet’s need to hide her pain from the mother and even herself and to pretend that all was well and they would meet again. The smile heightens the contrast between her inner pain and outward behaviour.

21. How does Kamala Das try to put away the thoughts of her ageing mother?

Ans. In order to put away the thoughts of her ageing mother, the poetess started looking out of the window of the car at young trees sprinting, the merry children spilling out of their homes.

22. What is the kind of pain and ache that the poet feels?

 Ans. Whenever the poet looks at the colourless and pale face of her mother, her old familiar pain realising that her mother was ageing and would die soon.

23. Why are the young trees described as ‘sprinting’?[Delhi 2010]

Ans. The young trees are described as “sprinting” because when we look at them from a moving car, they seem to be running fast in the opposite direction.

24. Why has the poet brought in the image of the merry children ‘spilling out of these home’? [Textual)

Ans. The image of the merry children ‘spilling out of their home’ is to suggest the idea of youth and beauty in contrast to the ashen-like pale wan face of her ageing mother. This image emphasises the fact that the old mother has lost the vitality, energy, charm, beauty and youth.

25. Why has the mother been compared to the late winter’s moon?

Ans. The mother has been compared to the late winter’s moon as she is very old and her face is ashen, pale and withered. She looks very dull and lifeless like the late winter’s moon.

26. What do the parting words of the poet and her smile signify?

Ans. The parting words express the poet’s optimism. These words console the mother that she would soon visit her again. She smiles to conceal her fear and pain of separation from her mother and gives her ageing mother an assurance of survival.

27. What was Kamala Das fear as a child? Why do they surface when she is going to the airport?

Ans. As a child, the poet always had a fear of getting separated from her mother. There was a sense of insecurity and fear of losing her mother. The childhood fear reappeared when, while going to the airport, she looked at the pale and withered face of her mother and realised that her mother was ageing and she might lose her soon.

28. What were the poet’s feelings at the airport? How did she hide them?

Ans. The poet was full of pain and fear of being separated from her ageing mother. The fear of losing her mother gripped her. But she bade her mother goodbye with a smile to give her hope of survival and meeting again.

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