NCERT Solutions for Class 12 English Poem Chapter 2 an Elementary School Classroom in a Slum for the new academic session 2022-2023. All the answers are given here in simplified format so that students can understand easily.

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Theme of the poem

The poem is a criticism of the utter negligence of slum children’s need for education and all round growth. The poet, Stephen Spender wants the life of the slum children be changed. He wants their poverty to end. Poet highlights the social injustice and class inequality prevailing in the society. The poet strongly feels that the lives of these children will be miserable and unfulfilled unless they are educated.

Their physical appearance shows signs of their poverty and even the classroom that they are in is a dull and lifeless place. He wishes that these children must be exposed to the world of books and should be properly educated so that they can get themselves free from the confine of the slum because education is the only way to transform their lives. Poet appeals to the educated and affluent section of the society to do something to make lives of slum children better. The rich people and the government will have to do more for them.

Think it out (Page No. 93)

Q1

The tall girl with her head weighed down means The girl

[A]. is ill and exhausted
[B]. has her head bent with shame
[C]. has untidy hair
Q2

The paper-seeming boy with rat’s eyes means the boy is

[A]. sly and secretive
[B]. thin, hungry, and weak
[C]. unpleasant looking
Q3

The stunted, unlucky heir of twisted bones means the boy

[A]. has an inherited disability
[B]. was short and bony
Q4

His eyes live in a dream. A squirrel’s game, in the tree room other than this. This means the boy is

[A]. full of hope in the future
[B]. mentally ill
[C]. distracted from the lesson
Q5

The children’s faces are compared to ‘rootless weeds’. This means they

[A]. are insecure
[B]. are ill-fed
[C]. are wasters

What do you think is the colour of ‘sour cream’? Why do you think the poet has used this expression to describe the classroom walls?

The colour of ‘sour cream’ is off- white .The poet has used this expression to suggest the poor are ill equipped in slum schools.The sour cream walls of the school which were probably painted with the help of donated money are in really bad condition and looks like rotten cream. These walls perhaps have not been painted for years and the future of the kids also looks like sour inside the classrooms.This is a satire on the social and political system by the poet.

The walls of the classroom are decorated with pictures of ‘Shakespeare’, ‘buildings with domes’, ‘world maps’ and beautiful valleys. How do these contrast with the world of these children?

All these pictures with which classrooms are decorated are symbol of good literature, hope, aspiration, civilization, natural beauty and good hopes.On the contrary the world of these children are in contrast with these pictures because in these slum classrooms value of education is minimal, their life is dull and without hope.They spend major part of their lives in rag picking and wandering around streets and never enjoy the beauty of nature and valleys.The lives of these children are confined in the narrow streets of the slum which are full of disease and despair.Such pictures are used in classrooms for formalities but kids are never taught about their history or bravery.

What does the poet want for the children of the slums? How can their lives be made to change?

Poet wants a new and beautiful life for the children of slums.He wants these children to come out of the narrow streets of the slum which are full of disease and despair.He wants them to enjoy to the fullest and experience the better things in life.The poet strongly feels that the lives of these children will be miserable and unfulfilled unless they are educated.He wishes that these children must be exposed to the world of books and should be properly educated so that they can get themselves free from the confine of the slum because education is the only way to transform their lives.He feels sad to see that these poor children are following the footsteps of their parents and are carrying forward their wrong tradition.If the local administration implements the policies made by the government properly, it can completely change the lives and future of children living in slums.

Class 12 English Poem 2 Short Answer Type Questions
    1. Which children are referred here?What is unusual about their faces?
      Poet is referring to the children of slums.Their faces are pale and dull. These are the children who are put into labour in workshops or restaurants from a young age to earn money in part times.Deprived of cheerfulness and enthusiasm they seem to be worn out and exhausted with burden of poverty.
    2. What does the expression “far far from gusty waves” signify?
      The expression signifies that instead of enjoying their childhood in the lap of nature, enjoying freely in the open ground or beaches their childhood is confined to the dark and dirty walls of slum. Good education, good toys and better environment they miss all these necessary things which are extremely important for mental and physical development at this growing age.They have to bear the brunt of all these things for their rest of the life.
    3. Explain “weighed down head”.
      The tall girl is burdened with poverty and she is so suppressed that her body and head have been bowed down with the burden of misfortunes.They also have the right to live like other children but the social system forces them to join hands in household chores at a very young age which bows their head forward.
    4. What did poet compare with rat’s eyes and why?
      Poet compares the eyes of the boy to that of a rat because the poor undernourished child is deprived of the basic amenities of life. His eyes are uncertain and timid like the eyes of a rat and on the lookout for food and security.
What do slum children inherit from their parents?

The slum children inherit the disease and despair from their parents and thus became carrier of disease and poverty.Like their parents make their living by doing small jobs and don’t pay attention to studies.Moreover they engage children in work from a young age in the race to earn more.If children get the right education at the right age, then they will not be attracted towards smoking and drinking like their parents.

Explain “on sour cream walls, donations”

The expression signifies the poor and ill equipped environment of the slum schools. The sour cream walls of the school room which were probably painted with donations looks like rotten cream. These walls are in really bad condition, May be the walls have not been painted for years and it also tells us the sour future of kids inside the classrooms. Most of schools do not have proper infrastructure like class rooms, black boards, drinking water, toilets and sanitary facilities. The school environment is so suffocating that the students are discouraged from attending the classes which is why the dropout rate is also high in these schools.

What bounties are these children deprived of?

These children are deprived of the bounties of nature. They spend their life confined in the filth and dirt of narrow streets of their slum and never get an opportunity to come out and enjoy the beauty of nature, the snow tapped mountains, stars and beauty of rivers. According to the report, Indians born in low-income family would take seven generations to even approach the country’s mean income. Unfortunately, the basic facilities that young children need at this age are not available to them.Good education is a far cry, they get slippers and good clothes only at the time of election.

What is the ambience of an elementary school in a slum?

An elementary school in a slum is ill-equipped and poor in infrastructure. No real teaching or learning is possible there. These schools exist merely for the namesake. Hardly any teaching staff or administrator takes care of them. Even food known as mid day meal served in elementary schools failed to comply the quality standards. The government only concentrates on statistics as to how many number of schools they are able to cover and provide food. They don’t give importance to quality. At many places there are no benches and desks for children. They study sitting under trees in an open field. In today’s digital age when children are studying in private schools with projectors and unbreakable ceramic boards, the kids in elementary schools are still studying with ordinary chalk boards or stone slates.

What is the wish of the poet?

Poet strongly wishes that these children must be exposed to the world of books. They should be properly educated so that they break the vicious circle of slum and get themselves free from the confine of these slums .Poet feels that education is the only thing which can transform their lives. The poet wants society and especially the government to do their bit in improving the pathetic state of these students and slum schools too to help them live an enriched life in all aspects. He wants to see children of all sections of society together in a place where no one discriminate with anyone.

Class 12 English Poem 2 an Elementary School Classroom in a Slum
NCERT Solutions for Class 12 English Poem 2
NCERT Solutions for Class 12 English Poem 2 Question answer