Mending Wall: NBSE Class 11 Alternative English summary, answers

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Get here the summary, questions, answers, textbook solutions, extras, pdf of the poem Mending Wall by Robert Frost of NBSE Class 11 Alternative English. However, the given notes/solutions should only be used for references and should be modified/changed according to needs.

mending wall

Summary: Robert Frost, the great American poet, wrote “Mending Wall.” It’s an exciting and interesting poem about human boundaries or limitations and their societal benefits. The poem tells the story of two neighbours who meet each year in the spring to repair the stone wall that separates their farms. 

The poem Mending Wall focuses on the activity of mending a wall, which the speaker and his neighbour do every year during the spring. The speaker of the poem sees no need for a boundary because neither of them has anything valuable to keep in lawns. Their farm consists solely of trees. Repairing the wall is an unreasonable activity, according to the poet. He then notices stones falling from the wall and remarks that even nature is not in favour of this fence between the farms. However, because his neighbour is committed to his traditions, he tries to justify the construction. He highlights the importance of boundaries and distances in relationships. The message he delivers, however, captures the reader’s attention—that most relationships can function well with boundaries.

The poem’s major themes are exploration, curiosity, and the need for the gap that the poet discovered in the poem. The poem also depicts a conflict between the two neighbours. They do, however, meet every year in the spring to repair the wall, but the speaker is unable to comprehend the importance of the wall between their farms. The poet inquires of the neighbour about the construction of the wall out of curiosity. Nonetheless, he receives no satisfactory response. When his neighbour emphasises the importance of separation, he is implying that good fences keep the relationships affectionate and warm.

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A. Answer the following questions briefly.

1. What are the two things that cause gaps in the wall?

Answer: There is something in nature, according to the poet, that does not like the wall. What causes the gaps in the wall is unclear, but it could be the result of both natural and human activity.

2. How do the two characters fix the wall?

Answer: When it comes time to repair the wall in the spring, the speaker and his neighbour will fill the gap and replace the boulders that have fallen to each side with great difficulty because some are shaped like loaves of bread while others are formed like balls.

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5. What does the poet mean by, ‘what I was walling in or walling out’?

Answer: The line “what I was walling in or walling out” implies that if the poet ever builds a wall, he will first ask himself why he is building the wall or what purpose the wall will serve to him. He will also consider whether such a wall will displease anyone.

6. Why does the neighbour appear as if he is moving in the dark?

Answer: The neighbour appears to be moving in the dark because he is an orthodox person who lives in ignorance and is unwilling to question traditional beliefs or his forefathers. Building the wall is a requisite dictated by tradition for him.

B. Critically analyse the following lines and answer the questions with reference to the context.

1. Something there is that doesn’t love a wall,
That sends the frozen-ground-swell under it,
And spills the upper boulders in the sun;
And makes gaps even two can pass abreast.

a. What could be the object that doesn’t love a wall?

Answer: According to the poet, there is “something” that does not like a wall. It could be a conscious natural force or entity. It is possible that he believes that there should be no barriers in human relationships.

b. What does it make the frozen ground do?

Answer: Nature’s force causes the frozen ground beneath it to swell.

c. What does ‘it’ do to the wall?

Answer: “It” crumbles the boulders as a result of natural action, wreaking havoc and destroying the wall by creating gaps large enough for two people to pass through.

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c. What is the element of humour in this excerpt?

Answer: The element of honour in this excerpt is that the speaker’s apple trees will never get across to eat the neighbour’s pine cones.

3. He moves in darkness as it seems to me,
Not of woods only and the shade of trees,
He will not go behind his father‟s saying.

a. Why does the neighbour appear to be moving in darkness?

Answer: As he continues to embrace the traditional belief of maintaining a wall, the neighbour appears to be moving in the dark. It is not only physical darkness but also an emotional and psychological one.

b. From where is the darkness emanating?

Answer: The darkness is emanating from the neighbour’s orthodoxy and his belief in the tradition of preserving a wall that no longer appears to be relevant.

c. Is she poet eluding the neighbour’s adherence to his father’s advice as to the darkness?

Answer: Yes. As the darkness falls, the poet observes his neighbour’s adherence to his father’s advice. He never seems to deviate from his father’s advice that “good fences make good neighbours.”

C. Answer the following questions in detail.

1. The poet seems to be contradicting himself lie stating his obvious dislike of the idea of a wall yet he participates in it. Does von agree?

Answer: Frost’s disdain for boundaries and barriers that separate man from man and lead to emotional alienation is reflected in this poem. He is not a follower of old beliefs and traditions. He believes that in the land of freedom and discovery, such borders are not required to maintain human relationships.

The irony is that he contradicts himself when he expresses his dislike for the idea of a wall while also participating in its repair. The speaker may mock his neighbour’s obstinate wall construction. It is possible to regard the activity of mending as a kind of “outdoor game.” However, he does not fail to join his neighbour in mending the wall. Indict. It is up to the initiates to notify the neighbour that the wall needs to be repaired and that a date has been set.

The speaker claims there is no need for a wall, but his participation in erecting the wall implies that he felt there was a need for a wall. It could also imply that the speaker derives some benefit, some satisfaction, from the activity of wall-building. A fence is typically associated with separation and the establishment of boundaries, but in this poem, it serves as a motivator for two neighbours to collaborate to achieve a common goal, thereby building a relationship.

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3. Why do good fences make good neighbours?

Answer: To maintain privacy, a fence serves as a boundary. In the poem, the neighbour believes that a strong barrier between individuals is essential for maintaining a quality relationship between humans. 

It depicts the concepts of human barriers, friendship, and communication, as well as a sense of security gained as a result of maintaining “good fences” among neighbours. A harmonious relationship can be maintained if boundaries are established because neighbours will not end up fighting over whose property is whose. The fence will aid in the elimination of excessive liberty as well as a potential conflict. Fences also help people maintain their individuality. As a result, if these fences are strong and built with love and understanding, human relationships will be stable and peaceful. However, as with anything, these fences should not become a barrier to people communicating with one another. Barriers must be sufficiently erected to ensure that privacy is not jeopardised. Borders are not crossed, and there is always a sense of sanctity in various relationships.

Extra/additional questions and answers/solutions

1. What, according to the poet, are the causes of walls breaking?

Answer: According to the poet, there is something in the world that does not appreciate a wall. In the winter, heavy frost disturbs the wall, causing stones at the top of the walls to fall and gaps to form. Hunters, once again, dislike walls. Hunters purposefully create gaps in walls to drive rabbits out of their hiding places. In the winter, the mischievous elves are also responsible for causing damage to the walls.

2. Who are the poem’s two neighbours?

Answer: In the poem, the two neighbours are farmers. One of them is the poet himself. In his orchard, he grows apples, while his neighbour grows pine. These two farms are separated by a wall. These two neighbours present a stark contrast in their respective points of view. One point of view is that of the poet who wishes to demolish the wall. He does not want to repair the wall because he sees it as a symbol of discrimination because it divides. His neighbour, on the other hand, supports the idea of erecting a wall. He believes that good fences make for good neighbours. Thus, by using the example of two neighbours, the poet highlights the difference between one man’s and the other’s nature.

3. What are the signs in the poem that show nature does not care for a wall?

Answer: “Something there is that doesn’t love a wall,” the poet begins the poem. The poet is implying that there is a mysterious power in nature that does not like building walls between neighbours. This power causes the ground beneath it to swell. As a result, some of the wall’s upper boulders fall to the ground, resulting in a large gap. The cause of a wall collapse is sometimes known. It is carried out by rabbit hunters. However, it is not always known. A gap in the wall is caused by a supernatural force. Nobody has ever seen them being manufactured. When they meet to repair the wall in the spring, they notice these gaps. 

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7. Discuss the irony in the poem “Mending Wall”?

Answer: The greatest irony in the poem “Mending Wall” is that even though the speaker realises that there should be no wall between the neighbours, he continues to assist in the construction of the wall. As the poem progresses, the speaker discusses how every winter, all kinds of natural forces, including the land and animals, conspire to destroy the wall.

8. What does the Mending Wall’s wall represent?

Answer: The wall in the poem ‘Mending Wall’ represents two distinct points of view, one from the speaker and the other from his neighbour. The wall not only divides the estate but also acts as a barrier to friendship and contact.

9. Why does the poet think the spring season is mischievous?

Answer: Because the gaps in the wall are discovered during the spring, the poet considers it is a mischievous time of year.

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