Old Folks Laugh

alternative english
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Here you’ll find a short summary of NBSE Class 10 alternative English chapter ‘Old Folks Laugh’ by Toshi Langu and questions and answers. However, these notes should be used only for references. These materials should be modified/changed as per the needs.

SUMMARY OF THE POEM OLD FOLKS LAUGH BY MAYA ANGELOU: The poem is a tribute to the positive attitude that elderly people develop towards life. It is a realistic image of them laughing aloud without worrying about how they look when they laugh. Now they do not care what people think of them though there was a time when they did. They do have their troubles when they knit their brow with worry and put on a false, bright smile to cover their anxiety. But when they remember happy times, they laugh with no restraint, with no pretence of maintaining an appearance.

As they guffaw, their bellies shake like a jingling tambourine. Soon, the spit/drool dribbles from the sides of their mouths and their heads shake on their stiff necks. Their laughter is infectious as if they are ridding the world of care. They have known hard times and happy times and remember both. Their laughter is a sign of their triumph over sadness. Now they look forward to releasing in death and willingly forgive life for the state they are in.

I. Choose the Correct option.

1. Which of the following words describes the frailty of old folks?

Answer: b. wobble

2. Which line from the poem indicates that old folks are not self-conscious?

Answer: b. When old folks laugh, they free the world.

3. What is the meaning of the word ‘promise’ in the poem?

Answer: d. Death is inevitable

4. What is the purpose of the full stop used in the lines winding the lines between their brows. Old folk allow their bellies to jiggle…

Answer: d. To show that the old folks’ days of caring about what other people think are over.

5. Why does the poet describe death as ‘dear’?

Answer: a. Death is a relief from the problems that come with old age.

II. Explain with reference to context.

1. Saliva glistens in
the corners of their mouths,
their heads wobble
on brittle necks, but
their laps
are filled with memories

a. Who is being addressed in this poem?
b. What is the attitude of old people when they laugh?
c. What does the poet mean by their laps are filled with memories?

Answer: a. Old people are addressed in this poem.

b. When old people laugh, they don’t care about what the world will think about the way they laugh. They just are real and uncontrolled.

c. By their laps are filled with memories, the poet meant that the old people treasure all the memories they lived carefully and close to them like a child.

2. When old folks laugh, they consider the promise
of dear painless death, and generously
forgive life for happening
to them.

a. What makes the old people want to forgive life?
b. Why do they think about death?
c. What quality of old people does the poet talk about in these lines?

Answer: a. The promise of a painless death makes the old people forgive life.

b. They think about death because they have lived their lives with all the hardships that life had to offer and now that they are old and feeble and content, they think of death as an escape.

c. The fearlessness of the old people to face death because of the contentment of eventually growing old despite all hardships is shown in these lines. They are no more afraid of dying.

III. Answer the question.

1. When and why do the old folks pretend?

Answer: The old folks pretend during times of their troubles or remembering their troubles to hide their anxieties from others. They knit their brow with worry and put on a false, bright smile to cover their anxiety.

2. What kind of an impression would they make on others when they laugh loudly?

Answer: When they laugh loudly, they leave an infectious impression on others and free the world. They teach the world how to laugh without worrying about how they look when they laugh which most of the young people cannot do as they are very much careful about maintaining a poised countenance.

3. What do we know about the old people?

Answer: Through the poem Old Folks Laugh by Maya Angelou, we know that old people have a positive attitude. They laugh aloud without worrying about how they look when they laugh. They do not care what people think of them though there was a time when they did. They do have their troubles when they knit their brow with worry and put on a false, bright smile to cover their anxiety. But when they remember happy times, they laugh with no restraint, with no pretence of maintaining an appearance. They have known hard times and happy times and remember both. Their laughter is a sign of their triumph over sadness. They look forward to dying and willingly forgive life for the state they are in.

IV. Going beyond.

1. What is the main idea portrayed in the poem?

Answer: The poem Old Folks Laugh by Maya Angelou is a tribute to the positive attitude that elderly people develop towards life. It is a realistic image of them laughing aloud without worrying about how they look when they laugh. They do not care what people think of them though there was a time when they did. They do have their troubles when they knit their brow with worry and put on a false, bright smile to cover their anxiety. But when they remember happy times, they laugh with no restraint, with no pretence of maintaining an appearance. They have known hard times and happy times and remember both. Their laughter is a sign of their triumph over sadness.

Get notes of other chapters of NBSE Class 10 Alt. English


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