Friday, 6 April 2018

Practice questions for An Elementary School Classroom in a Slum

I.   Stanza 1
1                 “Far far…this.”
  1. Identify the figures of speech used in the first line (at least three).
  2. Why have the children been compared to “rootless weeds”? What figure of speech is it?
  3. Prepare a list of students that you find in the classroom, and mention the quality, trait or feature that stands out for each.
  4. What is so significant about the expression, “rat’s eyes”?
  5. Bring out the irony in the expression, “unlucky heir”.
  6. How according to you is the last boy in the class different from the rest? Do you think he brings in hope amid despair, hopelessness and gloom?

II.    Stanza 2
      “On sour cream…words.”
  1. What figure of speech has the poet used in the first line? What impact does the expression, “sour cream” have on the overall atmosphere in the Elementary School Classroom?
  2. Identify one example of Synecdoche used in the first line. Explain why it has been used.
  3. Draw an itemized list of “donations” that people have made for the elementary school classroom.
  4. What is an “open-handed map” and why is not as good as “these windows” when it comes to representing or “Awarding the world its world”?
  5. Explain, “all their future’s painted with a fog,” what figure of speech is “fog”?
  6. Explain, “A narrow street sealed in with a lead sky”.
  7. How is the last line of the second stanza related to the first line of the first stanza?
  8. What do the words, “stars of words” refer to?

     III. Stanza 3
    “Surely, Shakespeare…doom.”
  1. Why is “Shakespeare wicked”? Why is “the map a bad example”?
  2. In what way do “ships and sun and love” tempt them to steal?
  3. What does the poet mean by the expression, “lives that turn in their cramped holes”? What do “cramped holes” refer to?
  4. Identify the figure of speech used in the fourth line.
  5. What does, “slag heap” refer to?
  6.  Explain, “skins peeped through by bones”.
  7.  What is the pun in the words, “spectacles of steel”?
  8. Why does the poet want to “blot their maps with slums as big as doom”? What kind of a mood is the poet in?

     IV. Stanza 4
     “Unless…the sun.”
  1. What does the poet what "governor, inspector, visitor" to do?
  2. What will happen when “governor, inspector, visitor” don’t do what the poet wants them to do?
  3. Identify the figure of speech used in the third line and explain its use.
  4. What is the symbolic meaning of “gold sands,” “books” and “green leaves”?
  5. Although not specifically mentioned, who is the ideal teacher as hinted or implied by the poet in the last stanza?
  6. What examples of experiential learning do you find in the last stanza?
  7. What does the poet mean by the expression, “History theirs whose language is the sun”?  

Short answer questions

  1. Write a brief note on the poet’s style of writing.
  2. What is the problem of the elementary school children in a slum, and what is Spender’s solution to the problem?
  3. How do the donations in the elementary school classroom impact the students?

Long answer questions
  1. Explain how Spender’s Poem, An Elementary School Classroom in a Slum describes the economics of the lack of equity. Describe how an artificially created need for Shakespeare’s literature, paintings, and an open-handed map have impacted the children. 
  2. Explain how it is a fallacy to believe that one can teach underprivileged children on an empty stomach.
  3. Justify the statement that An Elementary School Classroom highlights the gulf that exists between the rich and the poor.

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