Get here the summary, questions, answers, textbook solutions, extras, and pdf of the poem (Chapter 8) “Father to Son” by Elizabeth Jennings of the Assam Board (AHSEC / SEBA) Class 11 (first year) English (Hornbill) textbook. However, the given notes/solutions should only be used for references and should be modified/changed according to needs.
Summary: This is the heartfelt story of a distraught father who desperately wants to form a loving relationship with his son. They’ve shared a home for a long time, but there’s a world of difference between them. He thinks back on his son’s younger years and longs to reconnect with him. There is a note of sadness in his voice as he expresses his sorrow at having fathered a son who does not value his father. A lack of communication and understanding has turned them into strangers in their own homes.
Although the son resembles his father physically, that is about the extent of any shared qualities they share, especially not affection. Because his father’s roof is also his own, the father would prefer that his son stay with him in the family home rather than leave and build another. The father is willing to forgive his son and accept him back into his home, holding on to the hope that a new and stronger bond of love can emerge from their current tragedy.
As a result of fundamental character differences, both parties have felt the pain of being split up. Even though they share the same planet, the gulf between them seems to widen with each passing day. They want to be closer to each other, and they both want the other to forgive them.
Think it out.
1. Does the poem talk about an exclusively personal experience or is it fairly universal?
Answer: The poem’s message can be understood by anyone. The poem gives a first-person account of the trauma a father goes through when he stops recognising his own son. However, this widening chasm is a widespread illness in the contemporary world. Even though it’s every father’s dream to have his child grow up in the same house as he does and adopt all his values and principles, every child wants nothing more than to strike out on his own, think for himself, and leave his own mark on the world. In this way, the poem reflects the universal desire of fathers to bridge the vast chasm that separates their children from their own.
2. How is the father’s helplessness brought out in the poem?
Answer: In every line of the poem, the father is shown to be helpless. He hopes to restore the close bond they shared when the son was young. His son, he realises, does not fit in with his way of life. They have trouble talking to one another, and when they do, it’s like listening to complete strangers. The father wants his son to come back home, where he is willing to forgive him for everything that has happened. Nonetheless, there is still no sign of any of this becoming more than a wish.
3. Identify the phrases and lines that indicate the distance between the father and son.
Answer: The phrases and lines that indicate the distance between father and son are :
- ‘I do not understand this child’
- ‘I know nothing of him’
- ‘We speak like strangers’
- ‘there’s no sign of understanding in the air’
- ‘what he loves I cannot share’
- ‘Silence surrounds us’,
- ‘He speaks: I cannot understand…..’
4. Does the poem have a consistent rhyme scheme?
Answer: The rhyme scheme of the poem is: a, b, b, a, b, a.
Additional/extra questions and answers/solutions
1. What is the father attempting to convey to his son?
Answer: The father expresses his longing for companionship and closeness to his son. He is at a loss to explain what went wrong between them, but he wishes more than anything that they could be together again.
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