Here are the summary, questions, answers, and notes of the poem Mother’s Tears by Dr Sedengulie Nagi which is a part of Alternative English Syllabus of class 9 for students studying under Nagaland Board of School Education. However, these notes should be used only for references and additions/modifications should be made as per the requirements.
SUMMARY: Mother’s Tears by Dr Sedengulie Nagi presents a subject that is universal in the grief that all mothers share at losing their sons. The poem talks about a mother who wanted to give the best of she had to her son whom she loved unconditionally. Though she did not have many resources, she tried to make it up with her love, affection and helping hand.
She tried to give her son everything he wanted and never refused him for anything or question his habits and lavish lifestyle. She did not want to measure his joys in ethics. But sadly, all these only led him to go astray and get indulged in substance abuse. The world started to make fun of him and hate him but the mother could not be like the world. Seeing her son in this condition, her heart ached. She regretted at how she raised him and realised that loving him was not supposed to be giving in to all his demands.
l. Explain with reference to context.
1. Though I failed to offer him a silver spoon,
Endow him with a plate of gold and riches;
I did with the least I possessed, eked out
My love, affection and helping hand.
a. How did the mother compensate for her lack of riches?
b. Explain her frugality.
c. What is the underlying mood?
Answer: a) The mother compensated for her lack of riches but providing her son with everything she had and giving him all her love affection and helping hand.
b) The mother did not have much wealth or riches but she wanted to make up for it by showering him with utmost love, support and whatever she could afford.
c) The underlying mood is that of sadness and regret of the mother who is not able to offer Hasan all the wealth that could buy him anything.
2. Never had I refused a single coin;
Forbidden-not a word for this lovely lad;
Nay not, question his habits and lavish lifestyle;
I pondered, ‘why his joys should be measured in ethics.’
a. How does the mother regard her son? Identify the phrase.
b. What did the mother give her son in full measure?
c. When does the reader sense that there is trouble?
Answer: a) The mother regards her son with immense affection and unhealthy liberty. The phrase in question is “Forbidden-not a word for this lovely lad.”
b) The mother gave her son in full measure all the joys she could afford.
c) When the mother gives her son all the joy without thinking of ethics, we as readers sense that there is trouble.
3. Tho’ the world hates him, made mockery of him-
My love didn’t waver, my hope didn’t stop;
Is this a birth-pang for a new son? I vainly cried;
I shed tears, if it could wash away his sins.
a. ‘Is this a birth-pang for a new son?’Explain.
b. What does the word ‘vainly’ convey?
c. The mother uses ‘if’ – ‘if it could wash away his sins.’ How does this indicate what the mother really believes?
Answer: a) By ‘Is this a birth-pang for a new son?’ the mother compares the pain she suffered while she was carrying her son in her womb with the suffering she is suffering now because of the lifestyle of her son.
b) The word vainly conveys that though she is suffering for her son like the way she suffered when he was in her womb, this time there will not be a new son.
c) The mother asks if her tears of anguish would wash away his sins. This is the feeling of desperation where she wants her son to have a second chance at life.
ll. Answer the questions.
1. What does the phrase ‘mother’s tears’ evoke in you?
Answer: The phrase ‘mother’s tears’ reminds me of the unconditional love that a mother has for her children. In the poem, the mother did everything for her son’s happiness and gave him absolute liberty only to ruin him in the process. The mother’s tears remain a common factor both the times when she tried to give her son everything she could and when everything that she gave to her son made him a spoilt person.
2. Is this a personal tragedy, or is it a larger story? what makes you think so?
Answer: I think it is both a personal tragedy as well as a larger story. The mother in question in this poem love her son unconditionally like any mother would love her son. She tried to give him everything he demanded without thinking of ethics though she did not have many resources. In the process, she ruined her son he got indulged in drugs, drinks and harmful relationships.
This is not an individual story but a phenomenon that is becoming more and more relevant in the present context in which absolute liberty becomes hard to handle from many, and lack of discipline and moral ethics facilitates liberty to ultimately ruin lives.
3. Is this a strong mother or a weak mother? Justify your answer.
Answer: The mother in question in this poem is not a strong mother because she easily gives in to the demands of the son and she does not make ethics a priority. While it is important to learn the needs of a child and try to provide him or her with whatever he or she needs, a mother should also understand that not everything her child demands is a need. There are times when she should say ‘no’. In this poem, however, the mother never tries to say no to her son which ultimately makes him the person she would not want him to be. He becomes the reason for her tears. The ruined life of her son is in a way also because of her.
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