The Striders: MBOSE Class 11 English Core notes, answers

The Striders mbose
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Get summaries, questions, answers, solutions, notes, extras, PDF of Class 11 English Core textbook (Resonance), Chapter 2, The Striders by K Ramanujan, which is part of the syllabus of students studying under MBOSE (Meghalaya Board). These solutions, however, should only be treated as references and can be modified/changed. 

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In “The Striders,” A.K. Ramanujan paints a vivid picture of water striders, delicate insects that seem to defy gravity as they move on the surface of water. The poet urges readers to search for these “thinstemmed, bubble-eyed water bugs” and observe their unique movement.

These insects, with their fine, capillary legs, appear weightless as they perch on the water’s surface, described metaphorically as “ripple skin.” This imagery highlights the delicate balance they maintain, emphasising their lightness and the tension of the water’s surface.

Ramanujan notes that it is not only prophets who can walk on water; these bugs also exhibit a miraculous ability. He describes how the water bug sits on a “landslide of lights,” immersing itself in its small, reflective world, referred to as a “tiny strip of sky.”

Through minimalistic yet powerful language, the poet captures the essence of these creatures, their interaction with their environment, and the poetic beauty of their seemingly mundane existence.

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Line-by-line explanation of the poem

And search / for certain thinstemmed, bubble-eyed water bugs.

The poet begins by urging the reader to look carefully for specific water bugs. These insects are characterized by their thin, delicate legs and prominent, rounded eyes.

See them perch / on dry capillary legs / weightless / on the ripple skin / of a stream.

He describes how these bugs appear to sit lightly on their slender legs, which remain dry despite being on water. They seem weightless as they rest on the surface of a stream, which the poet calls “ripple skin” to emphasize the delicate and almost ethereal nature of the water’s surface.

No, not only prophets / walk on water.

Here, the poet makes a comparison to the biblical story of prophets who performed miracles by walking on water. He suggests that these tiny bugs also perform a kind of miracle by effortlessly skimming the surface.

This bug sits / on a landslide of lights / and drowns eyedeep / into its tiny strip / of sky.

The poet continues to describe the water bug, stating that it sits amid a sparkling, shifting array of light reflections on the water, which he refers to as a “landslide of lights.” The bug immerses itself visually in this bright, narrow world, which he poetically calls its “tiny strip of sky,” highlighting how the insect’s entire world is contained in this small, reflective space.

Textual questions and answers

Answer these questions briefly

1. Can water striders be seen easily? What is the poet telling us to do to be able to see them?

Answer: No, they are not easily seen. The poet tells us to search for them.

2. Which are the two phrases that he uses to describe the water bug?

Answer: Thinstemmed and bubble-eyed.

3. How can their legs be dry when they are on water? Find out how they remain dry from your Science teacher or on the Internet.

Answer: Their legs are covered in tiny hairs that trap air, creating a layer of insulation that keeps them dry.

4. Why is the poet describing the surface of the water as ripple skin? Does it tell you whether the water bug goes deep into the water or just strides on the top of the surface?

Answer: It indicates the water bug strides on the top of the surface.

5. Why is the bug’s sky a mere tiny strip?

Answer: Because the bug’s view is limited to its immediate surroundings on the water surface.

Appreciating the poem

Can you form a picture in your mind of the bug and the way it moves by reading this poem?

Answer: Yes, the poem describes the bug perched on dry, capillary legs, appearing weightless on the water’s surface, which allows us to visualize its delicate and light movements on the water.

Beyond the text

When a human being walks on water, it is called a miracle. Have you heard of a prophet who walked on water?

Answer: Yes, Peter is known for walking on water according to the Bible.

Appreciating form and language

1. Do you notice how stark and minimalistic the poem is? And yet, the poet has succeeded in drawing a vivid image of the water strider. How has the poet achieved this?

Answer: By using precise and evocative language, the poet paints a vivid picture of the water strider with minimal words.

2. Study the phrase ‘ripple skin’. This expression is a metaphor. It tells us that the water strider strides on a ripple which is as thin as skin. He does not use words like ‘as’ or ‘like’ to make the comparison.

Answer: The poet uses ‘ripple skin’ to convey the delicate and thin nature of the water’s surface, emphasizing the lightness and grace of the water strider.

3. Explain how ‘landslide of lights’ or ‘tiny strip of sky’ is a metaphor.

Answer: ‘Landslide of lights’ suggests a sudden, overwhelming brilliance that surrounds the water bug, while ‘tiny strip of sky’ emphasizes the limited, yet significant, world seen by the bug from its position.


Imagine you have to write a paragraph on the water strider for your Biology class. Using the information you have learnt, describe the strider in 100 words.

Answer: The water strider, a fascinating insect, can be found skimming the surface of ponds and streams. Equipped with thin, capillary-like legs, it effortlessly perches on the water, appearing weightless. These legs remain dry due to water-repellent hairs, allowing the strider to stride across the water’s surface without sinking. Its bubble-like eyes give it a distinctive appearance. This remarkable bug creates ripples as it moves, its movements seemingly defying gravity. The poet AK Ramanujan vividly captures this image, comparing the water’s surface to ‘ripple skin’ and highlighting the strider’s delicate interaction with its aquatic environment.

Extra fill in the blanks

1. The poet tells us to search for certain thinstemmed, bubble-eyed water bugs and to see them perch on dry capillary legs ________ on the ripple skin of a stream. (Weightless/Heavy)

Answer: Weightless

2. The water bug sits on a landslide of lights and ________ eyedeep into its tiny strip of sky. (Drowns/Rises)

Answer: Drowns

3. The poet uses the phrases ‘thinstemmed, bubble-eyed’ and ‘capillary legs’ to describe the ________. (Water bug/Stream)

Answer: Water bug

4. The poet describes the surface of the water as ________ skin, indicating the water bug stays on the surface. (Ripple/Smooth)

Answer: Ripple

5. The bug’s sky is a mere tiny ________. (Strip/Cloud)

Answer: Strip

6. The phrase ‘ripple skin’ is a ________ comparing the water surface to skin. (Metaphor/Simile)

Answer: Metaphor



7. The poet’s minimalistic style creates a vivid image of the ________. (Water strider/Forest)

Answer: Water strider

Extra true or false

1. The poet compares the water surface to ‘ripple skin’.

Answer: True

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7. ‘Ripple skin’ is an example of a simile.

Answer: False

Extra question and answer

1. “And search for certain thinstemmed, bubble-eyed water bugs.”

(i) What should one search for according to the poem?

Answer: Certain thinstemmed, bubble-eyed water bugs.

(ii) How are the water bugs described in these lines?

Answer: They are described as thinstemmed and bubble-eyed.

(iii) What action is suggested in these lines?

Answer: To search for the water bugs.

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9. Explain the significance of the metaphors “landslide of lights” and “tiny strip of sky” in the poem.

Answer: The metaphor “landslide of lights” describes the reflective and dynamic play of light on the water surface where the water strider sits. It captures the dazzling, ever-changing nature of light on the rippling water, emphasizing the delicate and almost surreal environment in which the water strider exists. The “tiny strip of sky” metaphorically represents the limited perspective and narrow field of vision available to the water strider. This emphasizes the small scale and focused existence of the bug, highlighting how even a tiny creature can have its own unique and profound interaction with its environment.

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