Here you’ll find a short summary of NBSE Class 10 alternative English chapter ‘TO Sleep’ by Toshi Langu and questions and answers. However, these notes should be used only for references. These materials should be modified/changed as per the needs.
SUMMARY OF THE POET TO SLEEP BY WILLIAM WORDSWORTH: In this poem To Sleep by William Wordsworth personifies sleep, addressing it as the mother of good health and new thoughts. He asks it to bring him the rest he needs during the night to enjoy the blessings of each new day. He had not been able to sleep for two nights. He lies in bed imagining different sights, both small and big, and sounds, both soft and loud, hoping to be able to sleep thereby. He pictures a flock of sheep walking by, slowly one behind the other as well as the wide, colourful expanses of green fields, white sheets of water and blue skies.
He imagines the gentle murmur of falling rain and the soft, soothing buzz of bees as well as the roar of water falling into the sea and gusty winds. But he cannot sleep. He would soon hear real sounds of daybreak, both immediate and distant; the song of birds in his garden and the call of the cuckoo. He tells sleep that everything that happens during the day is valuable only after a restful night. He pleads with it to come to him as a blessing to separate night from day.
I. Choose the correct Option.
1.Which of the following is another great Poem by Wordsworth?
Answer: a. Tintern Abbey
2. What is the most important function of the rhyme scheme in this poem?
Answer: b. It gives special emphasis to the sounds and sights that Wordsworth imagines.
3. Which of the following statements on Nature is reflected in the poem you have just read?
Answer: a. Nature is a living, breathing personality.
4. What can you surmise about Wordsworth from the poem?
Answer: b. He elevates the ordinary to the level of extraordinary with the power of his imagination.
5. Why are ‘fresh thoughts’ important to Wordsworth as a poet?
Answer: a. A poet necessarily has to be original and creative in his writing.
II. Explain with reference to content.
1. A flock of sheep that leisurely pass by
One after one; the sound of rain, and bees
Murmuring; the fall of rivers, winds and seas,
Smooth fields, white sheets of water, and pure sky;-
a. Where does the poet see all of the above?
b. What is he trying to do?
c. He gives a vivid description. What does this tell you about the poet?
Answer: a. The poet sees all of the above while he lay awake in his bed, unable to sleep.
b. The poet is trying to fall sleep by imagining all the different sounds that nature enriches the world with.
c. This tells us that the poet is a very keen observer in nature and find absolute delight in it.
2. Even thus last night, and two nights more I lay,
And could not win thee, Sleep! by any stealth:
a. How has he spent the two previous nights?
b. In what context is the word ‘stealth’ used here?
c. What is the poet longing for?
Answer: a. The poet has spent the two previous night lying awake in his bed, thinking about different sounds of nature as a trick to win sleep but failed.
b. The word ‘stealth’ here is used to exaggerate the extent the poet went to fall asleep and the tricks he followed when he needed not have used them in the first place.
c. The poet is longing for a good sleep after two nights of sleeplessness.
III. Answer the questions.
1. What is the problem presented in the poem?
Answer: In the poem To Sleep by William Wordsworth presented the problem of insomnia that the poet is suffering from. He is not able to fall asleep at nights despite using many tricks to pursue sleep which Wordsworth needs to enjoy the resplendence of nature during the day.
2. What are the ways in which the poet tries to sleep?
Answer: He lies in bed imagining different sights, both small and big, and sounds, both soft and loud, hoping to be able to sleep thereby pictures a flock of sheep walking by, slowly one behind the other as well as the wide, colourful expanses of green fields, white sheets of water and blue skies. He imagines the gentle murmur of falling rain and the soft, soothing buzz of bees as well as the roar of water falling into the sea and gusty winds. But he cannot sleep.
3. How does the poet use personification in the poem?
Answer: In this poem, Wordsworth personifies sleep, addressing it as the mother of good health and new thoughts. He asks it to bring him the rest he needs during the night to enjoy the blessings of each new day.
IV. Going beyond
1. How does this poem bring out Wordsworth’s love of Nature and the countryside?
Answer: The poem brings out the poet’s love of nature and countryside through detailed descriptions of the different sounds of nature which we often ignore, but not Wordsworth. He remembers every sound of nature and thinks about them at nights when he is failing to fall asleep. His minute attention to nature betrays his immense love for it and the countryside.
2. Why does the poet address sleep as a mother? How does the personification help us to appreciate the poet’s idea of sleep?
Answer: The poet addresses sleep as a mother because like a mother soothes away all our sores when we are tired and need someone to fall to, sleep soothes away all our tiredness of the day and prepare us for the next days. Like mother, without sleep, we will be poor versions of ourselves.
The personification helps us to appreciate the poet’s idea of sleep which is very much apt and makes sense as, like a mother, sleep always embraces us in her arms when we are tired and we feel healing instantly. The personification here allows us to picture the utmost importance of sleep.
Additional/extra questions and answers/solutions
1. How does the poem address problems that contemporary people face?
Answer: The poem speaks to the issue of people today wanting to fall asleep immediately by taking sleeping pills. It implies that sleep should be welcomed rather than forcibly induced because it is a necessary and natural part of life.
8. In the poem’s final stanza, how does the speaker feel about the morning?
Answer: The speaker of the poem expresses a sense of longing and eagerness for the morning in the poem’s final stanza. He implies that the riches of the morning, or the joy and freshness it brings, are meaningless without sleep. In his prayer, he asks for sleep to bring “fresh thoughts and joyous health” and act as a “blesséd barrier between day and day.” This could be an indication that the speaker is looking forward to and appreciating the rest and renewal that sleep will bring.
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