A Roadside Stand by Robert Frost is well explained through Introduction, Message, Theme, Title, Characters, Summary in English, Summary in Hindi, Word meanings, Complete lesson in Hindi, Extracts , Long answers, Short answers, Very short Answers, MCQs and much more by Edumantra.
Extra Questions, Notes, Assignment and study material for Class 12th as Per CBSE Syllabus
Poem- 5 English Language and Literature
A Roadside Stand
By- Robert Frost
Introduction of the lesson – A Roadside Stand
Robert Frost, in this poem, presents the lives of rural people who have a roadside stand with stark clarity and with the deepest sympathy and humanity. They wait in vain for the passing cars to stop selling their products.
Pointwise Summary of the lesson – A Roadside Stand / Brief note on the Lesson
The poet presents the lives of poor underprivileged people, who are barely noticed by their more fortunate counterparts.
The small old house stood on the edge of the road. It had a tiny newly constructed shelter wherein was the stand. The road was busy because of the heavy traffic that sped across. This was a roadside stand, that seemed to beg pathetically for financial assistance to sustain itself. The poor people waited in vain for the cash flow which sustained life in cities. The sophisticated vehicles moved ahead oblivious of this stand that begged for attention.
Even if these people did give the country people thought, it was because they felt that these people had marred the beauty of the landscape with the inelegant paint or because the direction signs were twisted wrong. These stands sold wild berries in wooden containers or golden squash with a silver lump in twisted necked bottles. There was nothing sophisticated that they had to offer, other than the pleasure of a beautiful mountain landscape.
The city dwellers had the money but were selfish as they did not want to part with it. On the contrary, they complained about the fact that the stand had marred the aesthetic beauty of the scene.
However, far from the city, the roadside stand begged for some little sustenance. The poor did not aspire to expand their business but sustain their livelihood.
They believe in the help that had been promised to them by the political parties in their manifestoes and the movies that they saw.
This poor community had been provided at the theatre and the store. This was merely an illusion. Ironically, it was provided to benefit them but in actuality, it was a distraction that removed them from their reality for a brief period. The people who pretend to be their benefactors are greedy exploiters who intrude in their lives, forcing benefits and lulling them into a false complacency. The city dwellers—’greedy good-doers, beneficent beasts of prey’—squeezed benefits out of them. Like flies, they swarm over their lives to cheat them for their selfish gains. They teach them ‘how to sleep’ and lull them into complacency, and in the process rob them of their peace.
The poet finds it unbearable to see the childish longing of the people as they wait for customers in vain. There is a great deal of sadness as they wait near the open window almost openly praying for people to stop. They hope that one car will stop to inquire about the prices of farm products. One did stop but only to back and turn around. Another stopped but only to ask directions and a third to ask for gas.
In the end, the poet pleads the cause of these people. No amount of material gains of the country can uplift the people while these masses live a subnormal existence. He would be relieved if these people are put out of their misery in one stroke. But, in his saner moments, he realizes that it is not a simple job. He wonders how he would feel if someone came to him and offered to put him out of his misery by killing him.
Read the extracts and answer the questions given below.
1.The little old house was out with a little new shed
In front at the edge of the road where the traffic sped,
A roadside stand that too pathetically pled,
It would not be fair to say for a dole of bread,
But for some of the money, the cash, whose flow supports
The flower of cities from sinking and withering faint.’
(a) Where was the stand?
Ans: –It was constructed outside a small, old house, by the side of the road.
(b)What words bring out the contrast in the rural and urban folk?
Ans: – The city folk ‘sped’ across while the stand ‘pathetically pled’ for some cash that sustained the life of city dwellers. There was a huge gap between the rich and the poor.
(c)What did the stand expect?
Ans: – It expected some money for sustenance.
(d)Bring out the ironic situation in these lines?
Ans: – Most of the money supported urban dwellers and there was not enough to support these rural dwellers. The idea conveyed is that the stand pleaded for some cash that supported the elite living in towns.
(e)Explain the poetic device: ‘A roadside stand that too pathetically pled.’
Ans: – The poet has used personification. The stand begged like a human for some sustainable.
2. The polished traffic passed with a mind ahead,
Or if ever aside a moment, then out of sorts
At having the landscape marred with the artless paint
Of signs that with N turned wrong and S turned wrong
Offered for sale wild berries in wooden quarts,
Or crook-necked golden squash with silver warts,
Or beauty rest in a beautiful mountain scene,
You have the money, but if you want to be mean,
Why keep your money (this crossly) and go along.’
(a)What does ‘polished traffic’ imply?
Ans: – They imply sophisticated and elegant vehicles, indicating the wealth of the owners.
(b)What did the people speeding across feel?
Ans: – Most people were indifferent, some who gave the stand a thought were critical of it as they felt that it was destroying the beauty of the area.
(c)What did the stand offer its customers?
Ans: – If offered wild berries in wooden containers, golden squash with silver warts, and a moment of respite in beautiful surroundings.
(d)Why were the city folk critical of the stand?
Ans: – They were critical of the stand for they felt that it had marred the landscape.
(e)What do these lines spell about the city folk?
Ans: – They were mean and insensitive.
3. ‘The hurt to the scenery wouldn’t be my complaint
So much as the trusting sorrow of what is unsaid:
Here far from the city, we make our roadside stand
And ask for some city money to feel in the hand
To try if it will not make our expanding,
And give us the life of the moving-pictures’ promise
That the party in power is said to be keeping from us.’
(a)What was the general complaint against the stand?
Ans: – The general complaint against the stand was it destroyed the scenic beauty.
(b)What did the rural people expect?
Ans: – A better life that the party in power has promised.
(c)What is the poet’s complaint?
Ans: – The poet complains of the betrayal of the trust of the rural people by the politicians.
(d)What does the stand symbolize?
Ans: – It is symbolic of the poor, rural folk.
4. It is in the news that all these pitiful kin
Are to be bought out and mercifully gathered in
To live in villages, next to the theatre and the store,
Where they won’t have to think for themselves anymore,
While greedy good-doers, beneficent beasts of prey,
Swarm over their lives enforcing benefits
That is calculated to soothe them out of their wits,
And by teaching them how to sleep they sleep all day,
Destroy their sleeping at night the ancient way.’
(a)What has been provided to the village people?
Ans: – A theatre and a store are next to where they stay. Artificial necessities have been created for the villagers without attending to their real needs.
(b)Why have these facilities been provided?
Ans: – This has been done to keep them distracted from the real issues.
(c)Who are ‘greedy good-doers, beneficent beasts of prey’? Why?
Ans: – The city people are the greedy ones as they draw benefit and cheat the poor people out of the reward that is rightfully theirs.
(d)Name the poetic device used, ‘greedy good-doers, beneficent beasts of prey’.
Ans: – Oxymoron
(e)What is implied by ‘by teaching them how to sleep they sleep all day’?
Ans: – The villagers have been lulled into a sleep of complacency but robbed off their peaceful night shop.
(f)What is the ‘ancient way of sleeping’?
Ans: – Peacefully
5. ‘Sometimes I feel myself I can hardly bear
The thought of so much childish longing in vain,
The sadness that lurks near the open window there,
That waits all day in almost open prayer
For the squeal of brakes, the sound of a stopping car,
Of all the thousand selfish cars that pass,
Just one to inquire what a farmer’s prices are.
And one did stop, but only to plough up grass
In using the yard to back and turn around;
And another to ask the way to where it was bound;’
(a)What is ‘childish longing’?
Ans: – It is the childish and futile longing of the stand-owners that the vehicles would pause to buy the farm products being sold at the roadside stall.
(b)Why is the ‘longing in vain’?
Ans: – The city folk is too indifferent and callous to the plight of the rural folk.
(c)What does the poet pray for?
Ans: – He prays that someone would halt there for the poor who sell their farm products on the roadside stall.
(d)Why did the three cars in the thousands pause?
Ans: – (i) the first one to plough up the grass
(ii) Second, to ask the way (iii) Third, to ask if they could sell a gallon of gas.
(e)Explain: ‘to where it was bound’.
Ans: – bound—destined to go; speeding
6. ‘And another to ask could they sell it a gallon of gas
They couldn’t (this crossly); they had none, didn’t it see?
No, in-country money, the country scale of gain,
The requisite lift of spirit has never been found,
Or so the voice of the country seems to complain,
I can’t help owning the great relief it would be
To put these people at one stroke out of their pain.
And then the next day as I come back into the sane,
I wonder how I should like you to come to me
And offer to put me gently out of my pain.’
(a)What did the car ask for?
Ans: – It asked for a gallon of gas.
(b)What was the reaction at not finding it?
Ans: – The car owner became angry.
(c)What would relieve the poet?
Ans: – Putting the poor out of their misery by death.
(d)When the poet comes ‘back into the sane’ what does he realize?
Ans: – He realizes the irrationality of his desires. He also realizes how he would feel if someone offered him a similar solution.
(e)What does the poet appeal?
Ans: – The poet appeals for a solution to the problem of the roadside owners.
Important Long/ Detailed Answer Type Questions- to be answered in about 100 -150 words each
1.Through this poem, Frost underlines his sympathy for the rural people in opposition to the uncaring capitalistic elite. Justify.
Ans: – Robert Frost presents the lives of the disadvantaged poor and in the process shows the rich urban as being pitiless and indifferent.
On the one hand, he paints a pathetic picture of the lives of the poor who beg for financial assistance to sustain themselves. They do not aspire to expand their business. They seek help that has been promised to them by the political parties in their manifestoes. Ironically, the products of these people are what give the city dwellers enough to live their glamorous life. They move in sophisticated vehicles insensitive to the terrible plight of the poor that begs for attention. These self-absorbed city dwellers have the money but do not want to part with it. They have bought the poor and collected them to live near the theatre and store, not for their benefit but as a distraction that removes them from their reality. Frost refers to the city dwellers as ‘greedy good-doers, beneficent beasts of prey’ as they drain the very life out of the poor. Like flies, they swarm over their lives to cheat them for their selfish gains. They teach them ‘how to sleep’ and lull them into complacency, and in the process rob them of their peace.
2. The rural-urban divide causes immense anguish to the poet. How does he express this?
Ans: – The poet is upset looking at the miserable plight of the poor and their vain childish longing that one day at least one of all the teeming cars will stop to buy their products. The situation spells despondency because, for the city people, the poor rural folk is non-existent.
Frost pleads the cause of these people. No amount of material gains of the country can uplift the people while these masses live a subnormal existence. He would be comforted if these people are put out of their misery. But, in his saner moments, he realizes that it is not a simple job. Nevertheless, he pleads for help for these people that will put him out of his agony.