An Elementary School Classroom in a Slum |An Elementary School Classroom in a Slum NCERT Question and Answers Class 12

In this poem, the poet has advocated for those children who are unable to afford a good school and studied in a slum school. He further explained that they lacked good education and life in the absence of money. Check out – An Elementary School Classroom in a Slum Summary and Difficult Words

An Elementary School Classroom in a Slum MCQs Questions Video 

1. An Elementary School Classroom in a Slum  About the Writer

 Stephen Harold Spender was born on 28 Feb. 1909 (Kensington, London). His father Harold Spender was a journalist and his mother Violet Hilda Schuster was a poet and painter.

He was an English poet, novelist, and essayist. His all works are concentrated on the themes of social injustice and class inequalities. He was appointed poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the United States Library of Congress in 1965.  

He dropped his University College, Oxford without having a degree. He died on July 16th, 1995 at the age of 86 years.

2. An Elementary School Classroom in a Slum  Theme

The poet has compared two different worlds at the same time. One is for the poor and the second one is for civilized.

The poor live a deficit life. The central message revolves around social injustice and class inequalities. The poet presents a wide description of an elementary school classroom in a slum.

3.  An Elementary School Classroom in a Slum Stanza Wise Explanation

3.1 An Elementary School Classroom in a Slum  Stanza 1

Far far from ………………………… other than this

3.2 Main Points

  • Faces are not energetic
  • Like rootless weeds, unwanted plants
  • Hair is uncombed, dull faces
  • A tall girl bowed down head
  • Paper seeming boy (metaphor), rat’s eyes (metaphor)
  • Inherited disease
  • Another boy sitting at the last row, not noticed
  • Eyes are bright, lost in the imagination

3.3 Difficult Words

  • Gusty (waves) storm हवा का झोका 
  • Pallor (wanness) पीलापन
  • Reciting (enumerate) सुनाना
  • Gnarled (rough) जिद्दी

3.4 Explanation:

The poet has depicted a picture of an elementary school which is situated in a slum. The children going to such schools have no good future. They are compared to the rootless weeds.

Their hair is uncombed and their faces are dull. There is a tall girl having a bowed down head all the time. Spender thinks that she is burdened by poverty. There is the other boy who is very weak and lean like a paper.

He has a lot of dreams in his rat’s eyes. A boy who has inherited the disease from his father is sitting unnoticed on the last bench and reciting the lesson. The poet finds his bright eyes full of dreams but he is lost in the imagination of playing with squirrels in the treehouse.

There is a contrast between the closed classroom and the openness of the tree room.

4. An Elementary School Classroom in a Slum  Stanza 2

On sour cream  ………….  Stars of words

4.1 Main Points

  • Dirty wall of the classroom, like sour cream
  • Donated posters are hung
  • Shakespeare’s picture
  • Tyrolese valley
  • Open-handed maps
  • All pictures are meaningless
  • The contrast between rural and urban education
  • Future can be like shining stars

4.2 An Elementary School Classroom in a slum Difficult Words

  • Dawn  (morning) सुबह
  • Narrow (shrink) संकुचित
  • Sealed (locked) बंद होना
  • Capes (A large piece of land that sticks out into the sea from the coast) जमीन का उभरा भाग

4.3 Explanation:

In the second stanza, the poet describes the classroom which is not properly painted. He compares the dirty walls to sour cream.

There are many beautiful pictures like cities, Tyrolese valley, maps, and many others hung on the wall of the classroom. The picture of Shakespeare is also hung on the wall who is bald-headed.

At sunrise, the sun rises up horizontally and is semi-circular like a dome shape. It seems to be behind all the cities. All these pictures are meaningless to them because their world is altogether different from our world.

Their future is lost in the darkness of the classroom. These children are far away from the radiant light of knowledge and education.

5. An Elementary School Classroom in a Slum  Stanza 3

Surely, Shakespeare ……………. Big as doom

5.1 Main Points

  • Meaningless Picture
  • Wicked Shakespeare
  • Lacks a colourful life
  • Fog of uncertainty
  • Poor surroundings
  • Girls wearing spectacles broken
  • Hellish life, ignored children

5.2 Difficult Words

  • Wicked  (foul) दुष्ट
  • Tempting (alluring) लुभाना
  • Slyly (cunningly) चालाकी से
  • Cramped (pain in the muscles) मांसपेसियों का ऐंठन
  • Slag  (scoria) धातु का कचरा
  • Blot (spot) धब्बा

5.3 Explanation:

The poet is deeply associated with their pain. He says that they are living a cursed life where there is no one to love and care for them. They find the map meaningless.

Shakespeare is very wicked for them because he has depicted the exaggerated world without caring for these children. They stay in a small house and their life is away from natural beauty such as sunshine, rivers, islands, etc.

They live life in the world of darkness without a good future. The children have inherited diseases as gifts. They are very lean and weak and suffer from malnutrition. The surroundings are very poor.

The girls wear spectacles of steel which is broken. The poet simply wants to say that the children living in such places have to struggle a lot for living life without any good availability of resources.

6. An Elementary School Classroom in a Slum  Stanza 4

Unless governor …………….. is the sun

6.1 Main Points

  • Life is away from the civilized world
  • Civilized people can bring change
  • Catacomb

6.2 Difficult Words

  • Azure (Bright blue) आसमानी रंग
  • Naked (bare) खुला

6.3 Explanation:  

The Government can change their life. The poet sympathetically urges the government to make the world map a reality for them. They also deserve a life of comfort.

The barriers must be broken that come in their path of success by providing good resources. The civilized people can help them to change their dreams into realities.

They must be helped to realize the true natural beauty leaving the world of darkness. They must be given chance to gain a quality education. They will also go through white and green leaves.

The white leaves symbolise the books and the green one is for nature. In the end, the poet says that there should be equal opportunity to get an education and live life for all children.

an elementary school classroom in a slum

7. An Elementary School Classroom in a Slum Summary

 An Elementary School Classroom in a Slum by Stephen Spender revolves around the theme of social injustice and class inequalities. Stephen has a keen interest in politics.

 In this poem, we get a true picture of an elementary school in a remote area. The children going to such school have no life and meaning of education. Their eyes are small like rats. Their bones are twisted.

They are like rootless weeds. Their hair is untidy and their faces clearly show the plight of their existence. There is a particular girl who has a bowed down head that shows the burden of life. The poet also describes the condition of the classroom which is dirty and not properly painted. 

There are many pictures like Shakespeare, Tyrolese valley, open-handed maps. But, all are meaningless because their world is far from beautiful nature such as rivers, valleys, and seas.

In the third stanza, the poet curses Shakespeare and calls him “wicked” because Shakespeare has poisoned the children’s minds by misleading them that the world is beautiful.

The poet urges the government to pay great concern towards these unfortunate children. Their lives can be changed by proving them with good resources. Their dreams can be turned into reality. 

They must be helped to realize the true natural beauty leaving the world of darkness. They must be given chance to gain a quality education. At last, the poet says that the window should be broken.

These children must experience the outer world. They should be given equal opportunities to get an education and to live life.

 8. An Elementary School Classroom in a Slum Question and Answer

1. What do you think is the colour of sour cream? Why do you think the poet has used this expression to describe the classroom walls?

The ‘sour cream’ indicates the condition of the classroom which is not properly painted.  The poet says that there is no one to care about the wall of the classroom. In the same fashion, these poor slum children have no one to love and care for.

2. The walls of the classroom are decorated with pictures of ‘Shakespeare’, ‘buildings with domes’, ‘world maps’, and beautiful valleys. How do these Contrast with the world of these children?

The pictures hung on the wall of the classroom exert a negative influence on the children’s life. They are unable to connect themselves with these beautiful pictures. Their world is altogether different from our world.

3. What does the poet want for the slum children? How can their lives be made to change?

The poet wants equal rights for all the slum children to live life and to get an education. Their lives can be made to change with the help of love and care. The Government and higher authorities must pay great attention to these children.

9. An Elementary School Classroom in a Slum  Extra Question Answer

1. What were the things on the wall of the classroom?

There were many beautiful pictures like Tyrolese valley, open-handed –maps, rivers etc. hung on the wall of the classroom. The picture of Shakespeare was unable to push the positive meaning into the children’s minds.

2. What is the central message in the poem, “An Elementary School Classroom in a Slum”?  The poet advocates for those children who are

Socially and economically back. The boys and girls should not be discriminated against on the basis of social injustice and class inequalities. He simply wants equal rights for these children to get an education and to live life.

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