Get here the summary, questions, answers, textbook solutions, extras, and pdf of the poem “A Thing of Beauty” by John Keats of Assam Board (AHSEC / SEBA) Class 12 English textbook. However, the given notes/solutions should only be used for references and should be modified/changed according to needs.
Summary: Among the best English Romantic poets, John Keats is a significant figure. The opening line of this poem, which also serves as its title, is one of the most well-known lyrical phrases in the entire world. It is an exception to his poem “Endymion: A Poetic Romance.”
According to Keats, happiness that lasts forever and never fades is a beautiful thing. A beautiful thing can provide you with joy, and that joy only grows with time. Our spirits are lifted, and it facilitates beautiful living by allowing us to breathe freely. In reality, anything beautiful might end up serving as a calming bower for us, where we are free to walk about as we want. For us, it can be comparable to a restful night’s sleep, complete with delightful and lovely dreams. A thing that is wonderful bestows upon us an abundance of health and delightful breath. In other words, it can bring all that is good and positive into our lives.
According to Keats, there are constantly fresh obstacles to overcome, and we must do so every day. Therefore, we require something durable and robust to anchor us to each new day on Earth. A beautiful thing can help us prepare for any upcoming challenging day. It enables us to move forward in life and relish each new moment. Dejection and dark moments are all around us. We have lost our sense of honour and goodness. There are darker nights and unstable worldviews. However, a beautiful thing can make us smile in the midst of these trying circumstances and teach us how to survive despite numerous uncomfortable and unfavourable phases. The few exquisite things in the cosmos are therefore undoubtedly eternal.
The poet continues by listing the lovely things that, in his opinion, provide us with joy and vitality. He speaks of the gorgeous moon and the old sun, as well as the several types of shade that trees, no matter how old or young, provide. These trees provide adequate shade for the lowly sheep. Then there are the beautiful daffodil blossoms that inhabit the green environment. Mischievous clear streams of water relieve the thirst of so many lives on earth by turning the hot season into cold days for the animals lurking among the bushes. Even in the deepest of forests, there are low-lying plants, and here and there, close to those plants, are lovely white roses in bloom. Anyone can get endless joy from the entire sight because it is so magnificent.
Keats also spoke of some lovely things that are not physically present. He discusses the majesty of the Day of Judgement when God honours the best of the dead who are buried. The Day after One’s Death is such an intriguing and beautiful thought. Also prevalent in our society are the numerous old tales. When we hear them, we are carried away and have countless enjoyable moments. He says these are the building blocks of some everlasting elixir that God, who is in heaven, is pouring down on us. In other words, according to Keats, God made the world’s beautiful objects to bring people joy, excitement, and a sense of awe. These earthly pleasures provide us just as much joy as the everlasting drinks in heaven do for the angels.
Textual questions and answers
1. List the things of beauty mentioned in the poem.
Answer: In his poem “A Thing of Beauty,“ Keats mentions several natural objects that are beautiful and pleasing to our senses. The sun, the moon, young and old trees, brisk daffodils, clear streams, and dense fern growth in the forest with a sprinkling of fragrant blossoms.
2. List the things that cause suffering and pain.
Answer: Despite the blessings of nature, there are a few things that cause a man to suffer. They are man’s lack of noble virtues, which casts a pall of sadness over him, and people’s evil methods for finding meaning in life. They suffer as a result of their inability to appreciate nature’s benevolent creations.
3. What does the line, “Therefore are we wreathing a flowery band to bind us to earth’ suggest to you?
Answer: This line implies that man has a strong bond with nature. Despite the gloom and misery, the two are inextricably linked. The flowery band symbolises the beauty of this bond that keeps us happy and cheerful for eternity.
4. What makes human beings love life in spite of troubles and sufferings?
Answer: Beauty’s everlasting appeal and appreciation keep sorrows and sufferings at bay. Man’s appreciation of beauty manifests itself in love. Beautiful objects lift our spirits and enable us to appreciate life.
5. Why is “grandeur” associated with the “mighty dead”?
Answer: The “mighty dead” are legendary people who have left inspiring deeds and admirable sagas that have inspired and enthused us for generations. Their exemplary accomplishments have been immortalised through the channels of history, and so glory and grandeur are associated with them.
6. Do we experience things of beauty only for short moments or do they make a lasting impression on us?
Answer: Things of beauty have enduring appeal, and unlike ephemeral objects of beauty, they are eternal and cannot be dimmed, diminished, or destroyed by time or space. Beauty is a constant source of joy and never fades away.
7. What image does the poet use to describe the beautiful bounty of the earth?
Answer: To describe the earth’s beautiful bounty, the poet uses the image of “an endless fountain of immortal drink, pouring unto us from the heaven’s brink.” The sun, the moon, trees, plants, and flowers, among other things, are all part of this bounty, and they never fail to enliven a tired and weary soul.
Additional/extra questions and answers/solutions
1. How does Keats justify the idea that a thing of beauty is a source of eternal joy?
Answer: John Keats, a great admirer of natural beauty, believes that a thing of beauty is a constant source of pleasure. It is a never-ending source of joy that can never be depleted. A man steeped in misery and misfortune is soothed and consoled by beauty.
2. What and why do we wreathe every morning?
Answer: Every morning, we wrap ourselves in a flowery band that connects us to the earth. This is a connection that keeps us in constant contact with nature and all of its beautiful bounty.
14. What increases steadily throughout “A Thing of Beauty”?
Answer: The loveliness or beauty of a thing grows over time. Its beauty endures forever and never vanishes or becomes nothing.
15. What should we do, according to the poet Keats, to keep our “despondence” at bay?
Answer: Keats urges us to maintain a tight connection with nature’s beauty, which never wanes or diminishes, in order to keep our despondency at bay. Through his own actions, man makes his life unhappy, but certain forms of beauty do wonders and lift our gloomy spirits.
16. Elaborate the phrase “A Thing of Beauty is a Joy Forever.”
Answer: A thing of beauty, in Keats’ opinion, is a source of unending joy. Its beauty never diminishes or vanishes into thin air; rather, it just gets more beautiful with time. It also provides us with safety so that we can sleep peacefully. According to Keats, examples of such beautiful things include the sun, moon, and old and new trees that blossom and spread their branches to offer shelter beneath their lush covering to the plain sheep. In addition to the daffodils and their green surrounds, other beautiful features are the clear streams of water that provide a cool refuge from the summer heat and the mid-forest thickets that are perfumed with musk roses in bloom. Keats also saw as things of beauty the legends and tales of “the mighty dead” who inspire us with their noble actions. According to the poet, the things that are beautiful around us are like “immortal drink” that nature’s “endless spring” pours out for us as a supply of perpetual joy.
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