My mother at sixty-six (66) poem short summary, textual and previous years papers questions answers of class 12 AHSEC English or CBSE are notes written here. Also short and extra important question notes are provided with proper explanations. 

my-mother-at-sixty-six-question-answer


 Summary of the poem

The poem is the expression of the poetess personal experience in which she describes about her ageing mother. Kamala Das has a distinguishing place among the Indians writing in English, her poems have a depth of feelings, emotions, passions and realistic expressions related to our daily lives. In this poem, she expresses her own experience as a daughter and as an individual also. She talks about a very common and very ordinary paradoxical situation of human life, we do realize that this ordinary experience becomes really special at some moments of our lives, we often feel for some people but cannot succeed in expressing the same.

The poetess describes a Friday morning when she was driving from her parents home to the Cochin airport. She says that her mother was sitting near her in the car. On the way, the poetess happened to look at her mother who was at that time sixty-six years of age. The mother was in a state of drowsiness and her mouth was open. What the daughter notices is that the mother, at the moment, seemed to be a dead person with her pale face and sleepy state. Suddenly the poetess feels that her mother would not live much longer, but since the thought was so painful to her she tried to drive away the feeling from her mind. She began to gaze at the beautiful green trees on the road which appeared to be moving. She could watch young children running here and there in enjoyment.

The poetess reached the airport and underwent the security check, she looked at her mother standing outside a distance away. She looked at her mother's pale face once again and saw the whiteness in it. She compares this white of her mother's pale face to that of the moon's face in the late wintertime. The poetess felt an old and familiar pain in herself and finds it troublesome to bear it. She remembers that even in her childhood she would feel the same ache when overpowered by some fear. She only experienced and felt these things but did not say anything to her mother about her emotions. She only said, "See you soon, Amma." She was speechless and sad but kept smiling and smiling. It seems that she tried to hide her tears behind her smile.

Textual Question Answer

1. What is the kind of pain and ache that the poet feels? (2014)
Ans:
Looking at the pale and corpse-like ashen face of her old mother the poet felt deep pain and her heart ached. She had been familiar with this pain since her childhood which was caused by the fear of losing her mother.

2. Why are the Young trees described as 'sprinting'?
Ans:
The young trees are described as 'sprinting' because the poet and her mother was driving in a car and the trees flew past backwards. Childhood of the poet was also passing fast like them, about which the mother was worried.

3. Why has the poet brought in the image of the merry children spilling out of their homes? (2013,16 )
Ans:
While the poet was driving to the Cochin airport she was deeply pained to see her old mother dozing open-mouthed sitting beside her. Her face was pale and greyish like that of a Corpse. To put that sad thought away, the poet brought in the image of the merry children 'spilling out of their homes' is symbolic of youth and vigour which was a stark contrast with the dismal image of the corpse inside the car.

4. Why was the mother been compared to the 'late winter's moon'? (2012,15,17,20)
Ans:
The poet compared her old mother's pale and withered face with the winter's moon because the moon in the winter season is veiled by mist and fog and so it seems to lose its brightness. Her mother's face is also like a wintry moon without glow and brightness.

5. What do the parting words of the poet and her smile signify? (2019)
Ans:
The parting words "See you soon, Amma", give an assurance of life to an old and weak lady. The mother 'ashen face' looks like a corpse. Similarly, the poet's continuous smiling is an attempt to overcome the ache and fear inside her heart and to assure the old lady that they will meet soon.

Previous years paper Solutions AHSEC (2012-20)

1. “driving from my parent’s
home to Cochin last Friday
morning, I saw my mother,
beside me doze, open-mouthed, her 
face ashen like that of a corpse…” (2012,19)
(i) Where was the poet driving to?
Ans: She was driving from her parent's home to Cochin Airport.
(ii) what did she notice when her mother sat beside her?
Ans: She noticed her mother who was sitting beside her. She was napping with her mouth opened.
(iii) Find words from the passage that mean 'sleep lightly' and 'dead body'. 
Ans: Sleep lightly - Doze
         Dead Body - Corpse
(iv) Why was her mother's face like that of a corpse?
Ans: The poet mother's face is like that of a corpse because of her mother's pale face, sleepy state and old age.

2. Why was the mother been compared to the 'late winter's moon'? (2012,15,17,20)
Ans: The poet compared her old mother's pale and withered face with the winter's moon because the moon in the winter season is veiled by mist and fog and so it seems to lose its brightness. Her mother's face is also like a wintry moon without glow and brightness.

3. Why has the poet brought in the image of the merry children spilling out of their homes? (2013,16 )
Ans: While the poet was driving to the Cochin airport she was deeply pained to see her old mother dozing open-mouthed sitting beside her. Her face was pale and greyish like that of a Corpse. To put that sad thought away, the poet brought in the image of the merry children 'spilling out of their homes' is symbolic of youth and vigour which was a stark contrast with the dismal image of the corpse inside the car.

4. "But at the airport's security Check, standing a few yards away,
................all I did was smile and smile and smile.. (2014)
(i) What did the speaker do after the security check?
Ans: After the security check, the poet stood a few yards away and looked at her mother's face again.
(ii) Why did the poet compare her mother's face to a late winter's moon?
Ans: The poet compared her old mother's pale and withered face with the winter's moon because the moon in the winter season is veiled by mist and fog and so it seems to lose its brightness. Her mother's face is also like a wintry moon without glow and brightness.
(iii) What was the poet childish fear?
Ans: The poet childish fear was the fear of death and decay when one starts ageing. Ageing and decay spare none.

5. " But soon put that thought away and looked out at young 
    Trees sprinting, the merry children spilling out of their homes" (2014)
(i) Who looked out at the young trees?
Ans: The poet, Kamala Das, looked out at young trees.
(ii) Which thought did the speaker put away?
Ans: The speaker tried to put away the thought that her mother was old as she looked.
(iii) What do young sprinting trees signify? (2020)
Ans: The sprinting trees signified youth and vigour.
(iv) What did the poet see the children doing?
Ans: The poet saw merry children spilling out of their homes.

6. What is the kind of pain and ache that the poet feels? (2014)
Ans: Looking at the pale and corpse-like ashen face of her old mother the poet felt deep pain and her heart ached. She had been familiar with this pain since her childhood which was caused by the fear of losing her mother.

7. Explain the statement: "I saw my mother ....her face ashen like that of a corpse". (2014,19)
Ans: This line has been taken from the poem "My Mother at Sixty-six". In these lines, the poet describes her ageing mother on the day she was driving to Cochin airport. Her mother was sitting beside her in the car. She saw her dozing with her mouth open. Her face was ashen like that of a corpse. She was really pale and looked very old. The poet felt deep pain and her old fear of losing her mother returned.

8. "....and felt that old familiar ache, my childhood's fear,
   but all I said was, see you soon, amma,
   all I did was smile and smile...". (2015)
(i) What was the childhood fear that now troubled the poet?
Ans: The poet childhood fear was the fear of death and decay when one starts ageing. Ageing and decay spare none.
(ii) What do the poet's parting words suggest? (2019)
Ans: The parting words of the poet reveal both hope and fear. At Sixty-six anything can happen to the mother. But she hides her real fear. She assures her mother that they will meet again soon with a smile on her face.
(iii) Why did the poet smile and smile?
Ans: The body language of the mother worried the poet. But she had to hide her real feelings from her mother. She only smiled and smiled to reassure that they would meet soon.

9. What do young sprinting trees signify? (2020)
Ans: The sprinting trees signified youth and vigour. Looking out from a fast-moving car the young trees outside seemed to sprint backwards fast.

10. What are the 'merry children spilling out of their homes' symbolic of? (2018)
Ans: The 'merry children spilling out of their homes' symbolic of youth and vigour.


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