Here, you will find summaries, questions, answers, textbook solutions, pdf, extras etc., of (West Bengal Board) WBBSE Class 10 (Madhyamik) English (Bliss, second language) Lesson 4: My Own True Family by Ted Hughes. These solutions, however, should be only treated as references and can be modified/changed.
In the poem “My Own True Family” by Ted Hughes, the speaker recounts a dream he had while searching for a stag in an oakwood. There he encounters an old, ragged woman who claims to hold his secret in her little bag. She cackles as she opens the bag, putting the speaker under a spell. He finds himself surrounded by a tribe and tied to a stake.
The tribe reveals themselves as oak trees, the speaker’s “own true family.” They accuse humans of chopping them down and tearing them up without remorse. They threaten to kill the speaker unless he swears to plant two new oaks whenever he sees a felled oak tree. If he refuses, the black oak bark will wrap around and root him among the oaks where he was born but never grew.
This dream transforms the speaker’s conscience. When he emerges from the oakwood back to human company, he retains the outward appearance of a human child but his heart has become a tree. The dream serves as a moral awakening, making the speaker aware of the damage inflicted on nature by exploiting its resources. He now feels a deep connection and responsibility to the oak trees, which the poem implies represent all of nature. Ultimately, the poem is a warning that humans must protect the environment before it is too late.
Once I crept in an oakwood – I was looking for a stag.
The speaker was searching for a stag (deer) in an oakwood forest.
I met an old woman there – all knobbly stick and rag.
He encountered an old woman dressed in ragged clothes.
She said: ‘I have your secret here inside my little bag.’
The old woman claims she holds a secret of the speaker’s in her bag.
Then she began to cackle and I began to quake.
She laughed in a creepy way, causing the speaker to tremble in fear.
She opened up her little bag and I came twice awake —
Opening her bag put the speaker under a spell, making him more alert/aware.
Surrounded by a staring tribe and tied me to a stake.
He finds himself surrounded by a tribe and tied to a stake.
They said: ‘We are the oak trees and your own true family.
The tribe reveals they are oak trees, the speaker’s “true family.”
We are chopped down, we are torn up, you do not blink an eye.
They accuse humans of chopping down trees without remorse.
Unless you make a promise now – now you are going to die.
They threaten to kill him unless he makes an oath.
‘Whenever you see an oak – felled tree, swear now you will plant two.
For every felled oak, he must plant two new ones.
Unless you swear the black oak bark will wrinkle over you
If he refuses, the black oak bark will wrap around and kill him.
And root you among the oaks where you were born but never grew!
His body will be rooted among the oaks, his “true” home.
This was my dream beneath the boughs, the dream that altered me.
This all occurred in a dream that transformed the speaker’s conscience.
When I came out of the oakwood, back to human company,
Emerging from the woods back to civilization…
My walk was the walk of a human child, but my heart was a tree.
Outwardly a child, but inwardly his heart now belonged to the trees.
Choose the correct alternative to complete the following sentences (MCQs)
1. Creeping in an oakwood, the poet was looking for a
a) goat b) stag c) rhinoceros d) buffalo
2. Whenever an oak tree is felled, the number of trees the poet must plant is
a) two b) three c) five d) four
3. When the poet came out of the oakwood, his heart was that of a
a) stag b) tree c) human child d) old woman
State whether the following statements are True or False. Provide sentences/phrases/words in support of your answers:
1. The old woman held the poet’s secrets in her little bag.
Answer: True. She said: I have your secret here inside my little bag.
2. The tree tribe said that the poet is bothered to see the chopping down of oak trees.
Answer: False. We are chopped down, we are torn up, you do not blink an eye.
3. The poet never came out of the oakwood.
Answer: False. When I came out of the oakwood, back to human company.
Answer the following questions
1. When did the poet come twice awake?
Answer: When the old woman opened her bag, the poet awoke twice.
2. What would happen to the poet if he failed to make the promise?
Answer: The poet would die if he failed to keep the promise.
3. What was it that altered the poet?
Answer: The dream of his own true family altered the poet.
Grammar in use
Change the following into indirect speech:
1. Rahul asked Dipa, “Will you go to school today?”
Answer: Rahul asked Dipa if she would go to school that day.
2. Rita said to Ayesha, “Please give me a glass of water.”
Answer: Rita requested Ayesha to give her a glass of water.
3. The old man told the little girl, ” May you be happy!”
Answer: The old man wished that the little girl might be happy.
Do as directed
1. Ranjan said, ” Who does not know the name Rabindranath?” (Change into affirmative sentence)
Answer: Ranjan said,”Everybody knows the name Rabindranath.”
2. Sangeeta runs faster than any other girl in her class. (Rewrite using the positive degree of faster)
Answer: No other girl in the class runs as fast as Sangeeta.
3. Kaushiki blamed her friend for the trouble. (Rewrite using the noun form of ‘blamed’)
Answer: Kaushiki put the blame on her friend for the trouble.
Your school is going to host the Inter-school District Sports Competition. Suppose you are the Secretary of the Sports Club of your school. Write a notice (within 100 words) calling students to participate in the competition. Mention the time, date and venue of the competition. Your notice should be countersigned by the Headmistress/ Headmaster of your school.
July 28, 2023
Inter-School District Sports Competition
The school is delighted to announce the hosting of the Inter-School District Sports Competition on the 15th of August, 2023. We are inviting enthusiastic and talented students to represent our school in various sports. Trials will commence from the 1st of August, at our school’s sports ground from 4 PM onwards.
Don’t miss this golden opportunity to showcase your talent and sportsmanship. For more details, the undersigned can be contacted.
Secretary, Sports Club
1. The experience of the poet presented in the poem is
a) a reality b) a dream c) falsehood d) none of the above
2. The poet crept in
a) a tunnel b) an oakwood c) a hole d) a trench
3. The poet was looking for a
a) dog b) cat c) woman d) stag
4. The poet came across
a) a stag b) a child c) an old woman d) an old man
5. The young child met a) a forester
b) an old man c) an old woman d) a stag
6. The old woman was
a) very smart b) looking nervous c) richly dressed d) unsteady and poorly dressed
7. The poet began to quake when the old woman
a) laughed b) cackled c) smiled d) shouted
8. Here ‘cackle’ means
a) to babble b) to remain silent c) telling lies d) none of the above
9. The poet was tied to a
a) post b) pillar c) peg d) tree
10. The oak tree complained that
a) the old woman cackled b) they are chopped down, torn up but the humans remain indifferent c) they are not watered every day d) they are tied to a stake
11. A ‘staring tribe’ refers to
a) local inhabitants b) the primitive people c) homeless people d) the oak trees
12. “Surrounded by a staring tribe…” -Here, the word ‘tribe’ refers to
a) oak trees b) pine trees c) teak trees d) cherry trees
13. The oak trees are his
a) true family b) true friends c) enemies d) well-wishers
14. Unless he made a promise, the poet was going to
a) live b) die c) be free d) be happy
15. Coming out of the wood the poet returned to
a) human world b) tree world c) Disney world d) his own family
16. The theme of the poem ‘My Own True Family’ is
a) importance of family b) importance of man c) importance of trees d) importance of wildlife
17. “You do not blink an eye” -By this, the trees mean
a) human beings are indifferent b) human beings are cruel c) human beings are caring d) human beings have weak eyesight
Extra true, false, supporting statement
1. The poet was looking for an old woman.
Answer: False. I was looking for a stag.
2. The old woman held the poet’s secrets in her little bag.
Answer: True. She said: I have your secret here inside my little bag.’
3. The poet began to cackle.
Answer: False. Then she began to cackle and I began to quake.
4. The old woman opened her little bag.
Answer: True. She opened up her little bag.
5. The poet was surrounded by a staring tribe.
Answer: True. Surrounded by a staring tribe.
6. Man cares little with the felling of trees.
Answer: False. We are chopped down, we are torn up, you do not blink an eye.
7. The oak trees told the child in his dream that whenever an oak tree is cut down he should plant two oak saplings.
Answer: True. ‘Whenever you see an oak-tree felled, swear now you will plant two.’
8. The poet was threatened to be rooted in his house.
Answer: False. And root you among the oaks.
9. Nature is determined to teach human beings a lesson for their misdeed.
Answer: True. Unless you make a promise now – now you are going to die.
10. When the child woke up from his dream he forgot all about the oak trees.
Answer: False. When I came out of the oak wood, back to human company./My walk was the walk of a human child, but my heart was a tree.
11. The poet walked out of the oakwood as a tree.
Answer: False. My walk was the walk of a human child.
Extra questions and answers
1. What is the name of the poem? What is the name of the poet?
Answer: The title of the poem is ‘My Own True Family’. It was composed by Ted Hughes.
2. Why did the poet creep in an oakwood?
Answer: The poet walked carefully through the oak forest to find a stag.
3. How did the old woman look?
Answer: The old woman was wearing rags and carrying a knobby stick and a small bag.
4. Why did the poet begin to quake?
Answer: The poet began to shake when the old woman began to laugh.
5. Who was staring at the poet?
Answer: The tribe of oak trees was staring at the poet.
6. Who are mentioned as the ‘staring tribe’?
Answer: The oak trees in the wood are referred to as the ‘staring tribe’.
7. What would the narrator have to promise?
Answer: Whenever an oak tree was chopped down, the poet would have to pledge to plant two more.
8. How was the walk of the poet described at the end of the poem?
Answer: At the conclusion, the poet’s walk was described as that of a human child.
9. What kind of a poem is ‘My Own True Family’?
Answer: The poem “My Own True Family” is symbolic. It talks about the poet’s enchanted encounters in an oak wood. It makes a strong case for why we should work to preserve the environment for the benefit of future generations.
10. What did the trees complain about?
Answer: The trees protested that they were ruthlessly chopped, but the poet showed no interest in saving them.
11. What was the demand of the oak tree?
Answer: The oak tree demanded that whenever the poet saw a felled oak, he must plant two replacements.
12. Describe the old woman in your own words.
Answer: The old woman had a knobbly stick and wore rags. She carried a strange little bag and made bizarre noises.
13. What happened when the old woman opened her little bag?
Answer: When she opened her bag, the poet became very aware of the staring tribe of oak trees complaining about his indifference to their destruction.
14. What was the promise that the poet had to make?
Answer: The poet had to promise to plant two oaks whenever one was chopped down, to make him conscious of protecting nature.
15. Write the name of the poet of the poem.
Answer: The poet of the poem is Ted Hughes.
16. How did the oakwood describe their sad condition to the poet?
Answer: The oakwood described their sad condition to the poet by saying “We are chopped down, we are torn up, you do not blink an eye.” They accused humans of exploiting trees without any remorse.
17. What does the old woman symbolise?
Answer: The old woman symbolizes nature or the spirit of the oakwood.
18. What is the message of the poem?
Answer: The message of the poem is that humans must protect nature and the environment before it is too late. We must restore what we have destroyed.
19. Who was surrounded by a staring tribe and where was he tied to?
Answer: The poet was surrounded by a staring tribe and tied to a stake in his dream.
20. Who were the poet’s own true family?
Answer: The oak trees were the poet’s own true family.
21. What did they say to the poet to do?
Answer: They told the poet he must plant two new oaks for every oak tree that is felled.
22. What did the old woman say to the poet?
Answer: The old woman told the poet “I have your secret here inside my little bag.” She claimed to know a secret about the poet.
23. How did the oak trees threaten the poet?
Answer: The oak trees threatened to kill the poet, to root him among them, if he did not swear to plant two new oaks for every felled oak.
24. What change took place in the poet when he came out of the oakwood?
Answer: When the poet came out of the oakwood, his outward appearance was that of a human child, but his heart had been transformed – his heart was now a tree. He gained a new conscience and love for the trees.
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