Get here the summary, questions, answers, textbook solutions, extras, and pdf of the poem The Ball Poem by John Berryman of Assam Board (SEBA) and Tripura Board (TBSE) Class 10 English (Second Language) textbook. However, the given notes/solutions should only be used for references and should be modified/changed according to needs.
Summary: ‘The Ball Poem’ is a poem about losing something you care about and learning to grow up without it. It’s about a young boy who was having fun with his prized possession, his ball. The ball accidentally skipped from his grasp and landed in a nearby body of water. The little boy chased it down but discovered it was out of reach. He became depressed to the point of trembling. He lost his favourite possession, which he cherished, in a matter of seconds. He knew there would be other balls, but this one held a special place in his heart and brought back memories for him. He becomes depressed, and the loss of his ball drowns out his childhood memories.
The poet expresses regret for not being able to intervene and console the boy by offering him money to buy another ball. But a new ball would not have made the boy feel any better because he was so attached to his old one. Because of the loss of the ball, the poet suggests that the boy is learning how to stand up in a world of possessions. He recognises that his possessions may be taken from him or he may lose them forever, and he must learn to live without them. Because the loss was immense for him, this minor incident taught the boy responsibility. Money is external because it can not replace lost memories or the things we treasure. He will gradually learn to stand up and be brave, leaving his losses behind because he will have understood the true meaning of loss.
Textual questions and answers
1. Why does the poet say, “I would not intrude on him”? Why doesn’t he offer him money to buy another ball?
Answer: The poet wishes for the young boy to grasp the significance of loss in life. He recognises that a replacement ball will not be able to compensate for his loss, as the ball he lost held many childhood memories for him. Because he wants to teach him about the epistemology of loss – the knowledge and nature of loss – the poet does not offer him money to buy another ball. He wants the boy to realise that nothing in this world lasts forever and that he must move on, forgetting his losses.
2. “……. staring down/All his young days into the harbour where/ His ball went…”. Do you think the boy has had the ball for a long time? Is it linked to the memories of days when he played with it?
Answer: Yes, it appears that the boy had the ball for a long time, as his grief at its loss was palpable. It was obvious that he had played with it frequently because it had been a part of his life for so long, and all of his childhood memories flashed before him. He realised that, like the ball, the memories and moments would not come back to him.
3. What does “in the world of possessions” mean?
Answer: The phrase “in the world of possessions” refers to people’s desire to accumulate more and more materialistic goods. Money is the means by which they can obtain these materialistic possessions. Money is an outside entity that has its own set of constraints. While money can buy many things, it cannot compensate for emotional losses such as the loss of one’s childhood days, according to the poet.
4. Do you think the boy had lost anything earlier? Pick out the words that suggest the answer.
Answer: The boy didn’t seem to have lost anything previously. The words that suggest so are that he senses his first responsibility in a world of possessions.
5. What does the poet say the boy is learning from the loss of the ball? Try to explain this in your own words.
Answer: The boy is learning to deal with the losses he will experience in life as a result of the loss of the ball. He is maturing in this world of possessions. This minor loss of the ball will prepare him for the fact that many things in life must be lost and cannot be replaced. He realises the world and everything in it are ephemeral.
Additional/extra questions and answers/solutions
1. How did the boy lose his ball? How did he react to it?
Answer: The boy in The Ball Poem was out in the open with his favourite ball when it bounced and landed in the drain, which was full of water. His initial reaction to losing it was one of sadness and disappointment. He felt like he had lost a piece of his childhood along with the ball.
2. Explain in brief the central theme of The Ball Poem?
Answer: The theme of The Ball Poem is that we lose things we love and are attached to in this world. We must not be discouraged, dejected, or desperate; instead, we must try to stand up and bear the loss through self-understanding. It also implies that, while wealth is necessary for survival in this materialistic world, it can not compensate for emotional losses or be used to buy intangibles like love, attachment, and memories.
10. Why is it critical for everyone to suffer loss and rise from it?
Answer: Everyone needs to suffer loss and rise above it in order to be strong and move on with their lives. No matter how much it aches on the inside, one must remain strong. The only way to survive is to stay strong. Furthermore, one must learn to accept and let go rather than clinging to something they will never have. It is important to realise that the past is gone and will never return. Loss can sometimes assist us in maturing and dealing with adversity, such as loss. This aids us in tearing down all barriers to liberation.
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