Students can prepare for their exams by studying NCERT Solutions for Class 12 English Vistas Chapter 8 Memories of Childhood was designed by our team of subject expert teachers.
Memories of Childhood NCERT Solutions for Class 12 English Vistas Chapter 8
Memories of Childhood NCERT Text Book Questions and Answers
Memories of Childhood Reading with Insight
The two accounts that you read above are based in two distant cultures. What is the commonality of theme found in both of them ?
‘The Cutting of My Long Hair’ and ‘We too are human beings’ are two autobiographical accounts of two women who belong to two distinct and distant cultures. The author of ‘The Cutting of My Long Hair’ Gertrude Simmons Bonnin, born in 1876 was an extraordinarily talented and educated Native American Woman. She struggled and triumphed in a time when severe prejudice prevailed towards Native American culture and women.
As a writer, she adopted the penname ‘Zitkala-Sa’ and in 1900 began publishing articles. Her works criticised dogma, and her life as a Native American woman was dedicated against the evils of oppression. In this account she tells us how helpless, desperate and pathetic she felt when her hair was shingled, which was considered not only against tradition but an act of cowardice also.
In the other account, ‘We too are human beings’ another woman “Bama”, the pen-name of a Tamil Dalit woman from a Roman Catholic family, tells us how she felt when she became aware of the anguish of being an untouchable, when she was studying in the third class. The commonality of theme found in both of these stories is the fight of two distinct but downtrodden woman who dared to fight against oppression and injustice. They dared to fight against the inhuman treatment which the mighty and the powerful people of society inflicted upon them.
It may take a long time for oppression to be resisted, but the seeds of rebellion are sowed early in life. Do you agree that injustice in any form cannot escape being noticed even by children ?
Perhaps oppression against down-trodden is as old as the human history is. Only from time to time it has just changed its form. The mighty and powerful have always been thinking themselves superior to the weak and poor and have been always exploiting them.
So it may take a long time for oppression to be resisted. But it is also a fact that the seeds of rebellion are sowed early in an oppressed person’s life. When persons like Bonnin and Bama watch themselves or other, they turn rebellious, whatsoever their age might be. In such cases, one’s reaction to the oppression is more important than the age at which a person is forced to be rebellious.
Zitkala-Sa was a little girl and Bama was in third class only when they became victims of oppression and injustice of the society. But the incidents of Bonnin’s hair being shingled and Bama’s awareness of ugly face of untouchability cast an indelible impression on their minds.
Bonnin escaped herself and was hidden under a bed to avoid her hair being forceibly shingled. Bama determined to excel in studies so that she could be accepted by the people of higher castes. Both of them tried to oppose the long-established ways of society and became rebellions at a very tender age.
Bama’s experience is that of a victim of the caste system. What kind of discrimination does Zitkala-Sa’s experience depict ? What are their responses to their respective situations ?
Zitkala-Sa is the pen-name of an American Indian woman Gertrude Simmons Bonnin who was born in 1876. Bama is a contemporary Indian Tamil Dalit writer whose experience is that of a victim of the caste system which she saw through the eyes of a child. She saw how even the elderly people of her community were maltreated and discriminated on the basis of their low caste. They were treated as untouchables by the upper caste people. Their mere touch was considered enough to pollute anything belonging to the persons of upper castes.
But what Zitkala-Sa suffered as a child was an oppression caused because of the racial discrimination. The native American Red Indians were treated as animals by those outsiders who had settled in their country. They were insulted and humiliated. They were not treated with equality and respect. They were looked down upon as was done in case of Bama’s community. Such inhuman treatment made both the women of different ages rebellious. However, they emerged as excellent writers who wrote a realistic and powerful account of the sufferings and humiliating experiences about the people of their communities.
Memories of Childhood Extra Questions and Answers
Memories of Childhood Extra Questions Short Answer Type : (30-40 words)
What does Zitkala-Sa tell about the weather on her first day in the land of apples ?
Zitkala-Sa is the pen-name of an extraordinarily talented’ and educated Native American woman. The weather on her first day was a bitter cold one and the snow still covered the ground.
Was there quietness after the bell had rung for breakfast ?
No, after the bell had rung for breakfast there was annoying clatter of shoes on bare floors, which made it a very noisy place. The constant clash of harsh noises also made it a noisy place within which Bonnin was securely tied.
How were the Red Indian girls dressed ?
The Red Indian girls wore stiff shoes and dresses which were closely sticking to their bodies. The small girls wore sleeved aprons and their hair was cut closed to the head.
How did Zitkala-Sa sit for the dinner ?
When a small bell was tapped, Zitkala-Sa pulled out her chair and at once slipped into it from one side. When she found nobody else sitting, she began to rise. Then a second bell rang and all were seated at last.
What warning did Bonnin’s friend Judewin give her ?
Judewin knew a few words of English. She had overheard the pale face woman talk about cutting their long heavy hair close to the head. This was the terrible warning which Judewin gave her.
What did the shingled and short hair signify according to Bonnin’s culture ?
According to their culture, only unskilled warriors who were captured had their hair shingled by the enemy. Among other people, short hair was worn by mourners and shingled hair by cowards.
Where did Zitkala-Sa hide herself ?
To escape from her hair being shingled, Zitkala-Sa hid herself in a large room with three white beds in it. The room was very dim as its windows were covered with dark green curtains. She hid herself under the bed.
Why was the girl tied to a chair in Memories of Childhood ?
The girl Zitkala-Sa refused to accept their decision because they wanted to cut her hair and she felt insulted because of this i.e., cutting of her hair.
When and why did Bonnin miss her mother the most ?
Bonnin missed her mother the most when her long hair were shingled like a coward’s. She moaned for her mother, but nobody consoled her as her mother used to do.
Mantion any two reasons because of which it would take thirty minutes to an hour for Bama to reach home ?
It was actually possible to walk the distance from school to home in ten minutes. But Bama would usually take half an hour. On her way back home, she would watch all the fun and games that were going in the streets, in the shops and in the’ bazaar.
What did Bama watch the cyclist doing ?
Bama watched the cyclist who had not got off his bicycle for three days, and kept pedalling as hard as he could from break of the day. She saw that the rupees notes were pinned on to his shirt to encourage him.
In which manner did an elder of Bama’s street carry the packet in the bazaar ?
An elder of Bama’s street came along from the direction of the bazaar. He was carrying the small packet of something like ‘vadai’ or green banana bhajji in a peculiar manner. He was holding out the packet by its string, without touching it. ,
To whom and in which manner did the elder hand over the packet ?
The elder went straight to the landlord, bowed low and extended the packet towards him. He was cupping the hand that held the string with his other hand. The landlord opened the packet and began to eat the vadais.
“That is why he had to carry the package by its string.” What did Bama’s elder brother tell her about it ?
Bama’s elder brother explained to her that everybody believed that they were upper caste and, therefore, must not touch them. They would be polluted if they did. That is why the elder had to carry the package by its string.
How did Bama react when her brother told her that the elder being untouchable could not hold that package in his hand ?
Bama felt terribly sad. She felt so provoked and angry that she wanted to touch those wretched vadais herself straightway. How they could believe that it was disgusting if one of them held that package in his hands.
Why did one of the landlord’s men ask Bama’s brother on which street he lived ?
One day when Bama’s brother was on his way to home, one of the landlord’s men asked him his name and on which street he lived. If he knew on which street he lived, he would know his caste too.
Why did Bama’s elder brother advise her to ‘work hard and learn’ ?
Bama’s brother told her that being Dalits they were never given any honour or dignity or respect. To get these, he advised her to study and make progress to throw away these indignities.
Memories of Childhood Extra Questions Long Answer Type: (125-150 words)
Who was Zitkala-Sa ? How did she find her first day in the “land of apples” ?
Zitkala-Sa was the pen-name of an extraordinarily talented and educated Native American Woman, Gertrude Simmons Bonnin. She found her first day as a bitter cold one. The snow still covered the ground, and the trees were bare. A large bell rang for breakfast.
There was clatter of shoes on bare floors and it seemed to her a noisy place within which she was securely tied. A pale-faced woman, with white hair, came up after the girls who were marching into the dinning room. These were Red Indian girls, in stiff shoes and dresses which were closely sticking to their bodies. The small girls wore sleeved aprons and their hair was cut close to the head.
Then a small bell was tapped, and each of the pupils drew a chair from under the table. Zitkala-Sa pulled out her chair and at once slipped into it from one side. But when she turned her head, she found that she was the only one seated. Just as she began to rise, a second bell was sounded. All were seated at last, and she had to crawl back into her chair again. Then a third bell was tapped and everybody picked up his knife and fork and began eating. But she began to cry because by this time she was afraid to undertake any more risk.
Why did Zitkala-Sa have to hide herself ?
Late in the morning Zitkala-Sa’s friend Judewin gave her a terrible warning. Judewin knew a few words of English. She had overheard the pale-face woman talking about cutting their long heavy hair. Their mothers had taught them that only unskilled warriors who were captured had their hair shingled by the enemy. Among their people, short hair was worn by mourners, and shingled hair by cowards. They discussed their fate for some moments.
Judewin said, “We have to submit, because they are strong.” But Zitkala-Sa rebelled. She said that when no one was noticing, she disappeared. She moved slowly and quietly up the stairs as far as she could. Along the hall she passed, without knowing where she was going.
Turning aside to an open door, she found a large room with three white beds in it. The windows were covered with dark green curtains, which made the room very dim. As there was nobody else, she directed her steps towards the corner farthest from the door. She crawled on her hands and knees under the bed and laid comfortably in the dark comer. Zitkala-Sa had to hide herself so that her hair was not shingled.
Was Bonnin successful in hiding herself? What did they do after finding her ?
Bonnin would tremble with fear at her hiding place whenever she heard footsteps nearby. In the hall loud voices were calling her name. She knew that even Judewin was searching for her. But she did not open her mouth to answer. Then the steps were quickened and the voices became excited. The sounds came nearer and nearer. Women and girls entered the room. Bonnin or Zitkala-Sa held her breath and watched them open closed doors and peep behind large trunks.
Someone then threw up the curtains, and the room was filled with sudden light. She did not know what caused them to look under the bed. She was caused them to look under the bed. She was dragged out though she resisted by kicking and scratching wildly. Thus she could not be successful in being remained hidden.
Then she was carried downstairs and tied fast in a chair. However, she cried aloud, shaking her head all the while until she felt the cold blades of scissors against her neck. She heard them gnaw off one of her thick strands of hair. But she had lost her spirit. Since the day she was taken from her mother, she had suffered extreme insults and humiliations. And now her long hair was shingled like a coward’s. In her severe suffering of mind, she moaned for her mother. She felt like one of many little animals driven by a herder.
Why did Bama take unusually long time while walking home from school ?
Bama was a little Dalit girl who was studying in the third class. She would walk home from school with an old bag hanging from her shoulder. It was actually possible to walk the distance in ten minutes. But usually it would take her half an hour to one hour to reach home.
On her way she would while away the time, watching all the fun and games that were going on in the streets, in the shops and in the bazaar. On her way, she would watch the performing monkey, the snake which the snake charmer kept in its box and displayed from time to time.
She would also watch the cyclist who had not got off his bicycle for three days and the maariyaata temple. She would watch the huge bells hanging in the temple, the pongal offerings being cooked in front of the temple, the dried fish stall by the statue of Gandhi. She would also see the sweets stall, the stall selling fried snacks and all the other shops next to each other. Each and everything would pull her to a stand-still and not allow her to go any further.
On her way back home, Bama would sometimes watch addresses by various political parties, or a street play or a puppet show or a stunt performance. All these would happen from time to time. But almost certainly there would be some sort of entertainment going on. All these and some other sights taken together would stop her from going further. That is why Bama would take unusually long time while walking home from school.
What did Bama find funny in an elder man of her street carrying a package ? Was it really funny ?
One day, while coming from school Bama saw an elder of her street coming from the direction of the bazaar. She wanted to laugh loudly at the sight of such a big man carrying a small packet in a funny way. She guessed that there was something like ‘vadai’ or green banana ‘bhajji’ in the packet because the wrapping paper was stained with oil. That elder man came along, holding out the packet by its string, without touching it.
She thought that if he held the packet like that, won’t the package come undone and the ‘vadais’ fall out. She saw the elderly man went straight up to the landlord, bowed low and extended the packet towards him, cupping the hand that held the string with his other hand. The landlord opened the parcel and began to eat the ‘vadais’.
Bama went home after watching all this. She narrated the whole story in all its “comic details” to her elder brother. But the brother was not amused like her. He told Bama that the man was not being funny when he carried the package like that. He told her that everybody believed that they were upper caste and, therefore, must not touch them. If they touched them, they would be polluted. That is why he had to carry the package by its string. But when Bama heard this, she did not want to laugh any more. Rather she felt terribly sad.
How did Bama react to her awareness of the first experience of untouchability ? How did her elder brother encourage her ?
When her elder brother told Bama that the elder man was carrying the packet in such a way that he would not touch ‘vadais’, she felt so angry and provoked that she wanted to touch those “wretched” ‘vadais’ herself straightway. Bama wondered why they should have to fetch and carry for these people.
The thought of an important elder of their bowing and bringing snacks to this fellow who just sits there and eats greedily, made Bama angry. She thought that they too were human beings. She thought that they should work in their fields, take home their wages, and leave it at that.
Bama’s elder brother, who was studying at a university, had come home for the holidays. Her elder brother told Bama that because they were born into the community of untouchables, they were never given any honour or dignity or respect. He told her that if they did study and make progress they could throw away these indignities. So he encouraged Bama to study with care and learn all she could.
He told her that if she did always ahead in her lessons people would come to her of their own accord and attach themselves to her. So her elder brother advised her to work hard and learn to the maximum extent. Her brother’s words made a very deep impression on her. She stood first in her class and many people became her friends.
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