Hello friends! I am giving you A Roadside stand poem brief summary and important questions and answers solutions of Class 12 NCERT English flamingo book. This short poem is written by Robert Frost. The line-to-line explanation and analysis are helpful for both AHSEC and CBSE board. Class 12 English Question papers ahsec notes.

About the Poet

Robert Frost (1874-1963) was an American poet, highly regarded for his realistic depictions of the early rural life in New England. Frost was awarded the Pulitzer Prize four times. In his poetry, Frost often examined social and philosophical. 

A Roadside stand summary

In this poem, the poet Robert Frost talks about the cold behavior shown by the privileged people of the society towards the poor farmers and other poor classes. For the purpose, he presents the picture of a roadside stand and the people related to it who suffer much in their lives. 

The beginning of the poem describes an old small house near the roadside, and a little new shed was attached to it from the outside. The shed was built in the front part of the house which happened to be on the edge of the roadside. There were many vehicles and motor cars which kept moving up and down the road. The new, shed was put up as a small stand (shop) but it was not attractive at all, it had no appeal. The poet says that the stand was put up to earn a little cash money, not to receive some begged pieces of bread. The poet ironically says that the flow of finances is always a good sign for any economic system, so by purchasing something and spending some money at the poor stand would help the flow of this money.

Beautiful and precious vehicles speedily pass by the poor roadside stand and are always inattentive. On the contrary, if someone sitting inside those vehicles looks at the stand his face dampens by the thought that the beauty of the place is destroyed by the awkward pictures drawn on the stand. These pictures or signs are painted to attract customers but the art is very badly performed which makes the rich people angry. The signs Painted on the stand include some wild cherries or golden squash that are meant for sale there. A beautiful mountain is also seen. The people passing through that road have all money in their pockets to spend, but those people would not wait and stop to buy things at such a pitiable Stand. Going to that place would be mean to their dignity.

According to the poet, the sad thing is not that the roadside stand is looked down upon by the people, but the sad fact is that the suffering and mental agony of the poor people are not fully expressed. They believe that they have put up this stand away from the city so that they can earn some money to improve their Iives. They hope in vain that the money would help them to make their lives better and beautiful like what they see in the motion pictures. The opposition party says that the party in power (the Govt) is not going to make this possible to allow the poor to improve. But we all see that after coming to power, the same opposition party would turn deaf to the problems of the sufferers. At that time the other opposition will accuse this party. So, these accusations and transfer of responsibilities will continue forever and the plight of the poor people will remain the same.

The next lines are bitter and the poet satirizes the authorities concerned regarding some newspaper articles he mentions the newspaper reports in which the government declares that it pays the farmers against their land ownership and all the people would be comfortably settled in the villages near the cities. Every necessary facility would be made available to them, the theatres and the big stores would be set up. The innocent poor are fooled to think that the government would take full care of them and they would be spared of all their hardships. But the poet says that these cunning politicians are greedy beasts of prey, they pretend to be well-wishers, but actually, they only stop the poor from improvement. They are horrible swarms of drones who aim to fool the poor and ignorant. They deceive the poor and snatch away all their hopes and happiness and themselves enjoy their luxuries.

The poor farmer on the roadside stand keeps waiting the whole day for someone to buy their things. But their waiting goes in vain when no one comes to their shed. The pet expresses that it is unbearable to see the sad faces of the poor ones who sit all day in the stand, no one even notices them. The sounds of car brakes and car doors make the poor ones hopeful, they desire that someone might stop and come to buy something and ask the prices of things. But nothing like this happens. When one of the vehicles stops, it is only to turn back and not as a customer. Another man stops only to ask about the road. Yet another man stops to ask whether petrol is sold in the stand, and on getting a negative answer he gets irritated. Here the poet says that the man asking for petrol at such a place away from the city is a fool, he must be able to know from the condition of the place that petrol would not be available there. 

The last part of the poem says that the well-being and prosperity of the poor farmers are not taken into account in the statistics and economic policies of the nation. This is what the rural people complain about their progress and growth are not desired and allowed by the authorities. The poet here expresses that he would be relieved and be very happy if the pain and sufferings of these poor farmers come to an end someday. He wishes that they be strong enough and are able to help the poet when he is in some trouble. He wishes that the poor farmers should be in a position to help and take care of others instead of being helped by others or being pitied.

Animated video

A roadside stand question answer

Think it out

1. The city folk who drove through the countryside hardly paid any heed to the roadside stand or to the people who ran it. If at all they did, it was to complain. Which lines bring this out? What was their complaint about?
The Complaints of the city folk who drove through the countryside was that the artless & clumsy paint painted on the roadside stand had spoiled the landscape. They were also irritated at the part that the letter 'N' and 'S' turned wrong.

2. What was the plea of the folk who had put up the roadside stand?
The folk who had put up the roadside stand pleaded pathetically for some money or ready cash for their survival. Money city-dwellers passed through the road and the folk expected them to stop there for buying their goods.

3. The government and other social service agencies appear to help the poor rural people, but actually do them no good. Pick out the words and phrases that the poet uses to show their double standards.
The two phrases that the poet uses to show their double standards and the social service agencies are
(i) Greedy good-doers.
(ii) Beneficial beast of prey.

4. What is the 'childish longing that the poet refers to? Why is it 'vain'?
The poet has the childish longing that he could hardly bear the pain of the farmer and wants to put the all poor people out of their pain at one stroke. This longing of the poet is in vain because it is never possible for him to help all the poor people out of their pain.

5. Which lines tell us about the insufferable pain that the poet feels at the thought of the plight of the rural poor?
"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"

Previous Years Questions Solutions

1. What is in the 'news' as mentioned in 'A Roadside
Stand'? (2015, 20)
Ans: It was in the news that the innocent rural flok would be brought out with all their belonging and settled in villages. They won't have to think for themselves anymore as the so-called 'good-doers' will take care of them.

2. Why do the people who are running the roadside stand 'ask for some city money'?(2015)
Ans: The people who are running the roadside stand ask for some city money to bring some changes and prosperity in their lives.

3. 'Of the thousand selfish cars' some stop there but not for buying something. Why do they stop there at all? (2016)
Contrary to the expectations of the poor farmers' cars never stop by their roadside stands. If sometimes they do at all, it is only to use the yard to back and to turn round the car. Some time cars stop only to ask their way ahead or to ask for a gallon of gas(petrol).

4. Who will soothe the rural poor out of their wits and how? (2016)
Ans: Some cunning and selfish city people will soothe the rural poor out of their wits. They will swarm over their lives and earn money befooling them. They are cruel like flesh-eating wild animals and destroy the peace and sleep of the innocent rural folk.

5. What is being sold in the Roadside stand? (2017, 12)
Ans: Wild berril̥s and crook-necked squash and such other products are sold on the roadside stand.

6. What is the 'childish longing that the poet refers to? Why is it 'vain'? (2017, 12)
Ans: The poet has the childish longing that he could hardly bear the pain of the farmer and wants to put the all poor people out of their pain at one stroke. This longing of the poet is in vain because it is never possible for him to help all the poor people out of their pain.

7. Who referred to as the 'flower of cities' in 'A Roadside Stand'? (2018)
The best thing about the cities is referred to as 'the flower of cities'.

8. Which things irritated the passers-by who stooped at the road-side stand? (2018, 12) 
The passers-by who stooped at the road-side stand was irritated at the part that the letter 'N' and 'S' turned wrong.

9. How did the travellers on the highways react to the roadside stand? (2019)
Ans: The travelers on the highway reacted very strangely to the roadside stand. They didn't even stop and bought any goods from the poor people. If any traveler would stop there, it is only for the turn round the car or to ask ahead direction or ask for petrol.

10. What is the word 'Pathetic' used for the roadside stand? (2013)
The word 'Pathetic' is used for the roadside stand because it is totally unattractive and has no appeal to passers-by.

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