An Elementary School Classroom in a Slum NCERT Class 12 English Flamingo Poem Summary

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an elementary school classroom in a slum summary class 12

NCERT Solutions For Class 12 English Flamingo Poem An Elementary School Classroom in a Slum for revision. And also for better performance in tests and exams. The poet, Stephen Spender, in this poem, highlights the plight of underprivileged children that are the so-called beneficiaries of government-funded education. Below you can find a brief explanation of the lesson and NCERT Solutions For Class 12 English Poem An Elementary School Classroom in a Slum.

We also provide Notes and Lesson Plan. Our Study Rankers specially made them for better understanding. Students may read the PDF of NCERT Class 12 English Flamingo Poem An Elementary School Classroom in a Slum to practice concepts with NCERT Solutions and Extra Questions and Answers. We prepared these by keeping in mind the latest CBSE curriculum. Shine among your friends after scoring high in Quiz, MCQ, and Worksheet.

Let’s Summarise An Elementary School Classroom in a Slum

(Also find NCERT Solutions For Class 12 English Flamingo Poem An Elementary School Classroom in a Slum given below).

Quick Overview: An Elementary School Classroom in a Slum

The poem describes a primary school in a slum. Children studying in a slum classroom depict social injustice and perpetual poverty, prevailing among the slum dwellers. The poet expresses his belief that people who are ignited by the spirit of knowledge and learning are the ones who create history. It is a moral liability of everyone to break barriers between the haves and have nots and give a meaningful education to all. For history remembers only those people who are educated and have enlighted themselves for a better world.

Stanza-Wise Explanation of the Poem

(All the italicized lines given below have been taken from Stephen Spender’s poem, ‘An Elementary School Classroom in a Slum’. Also find NCERT Solutions For Class 12 English Flamingo Poem An Elementary School Classroom in a Slum below.)

Stanza 1

Far far from gusty waves these children’s faces.
Like rootless weeds, the hair torn round their pallor:
The tall girl with her weighed-down head. The paper-
Seeming boy, with rat’s eyes. The stunted, unlucky heir
Of twisted bones, reciting a father’s gnarled disease,
His lesson, from his desk. At back of the dim class
One unnoted, sweet and young. His eyes live in a dream,
Of squirrel’s game, in tree room, other than this.

Spender describe the miserable conditions of the children. The faces of the children are unlike the usual children of schools. Instead of being energetic, they are like rootless weeds, withered and worn out. They are unclean and untidy as they are malnourished, sick and hungry. Just as weeds are not wanted in the garden, so are these children of the slum unwanted in the society. They have pale faces. There hair is uncombed.

An Elementary School Classroom in a Slum A squirrel's game.

A tall slim girl has her head bowed down as though she is exhausted physically because of malnutrition and emotionally because of poverty. The other students of the class are also in the same situation. There is a boy who is as thin as paper again because of malnutrition and lack of civic amenities. He has eyes like that of a rat searching for food and betterment.

Learn more about : How to calculate SGPA
An Elementary School Classroom in a Slum Disease of Twisted Bones
Disease of Twisted Bones

Another child of the class who is a victim of a genetic disorder has gnarled disease of twisted bones and stunted growth. He has inherited this disease from his father and recites the lesson from his desk in a mellow and weak voice. In one corner of this early late and ill-equipped class is a sweet unnoted young child lost in the world of his dreams. The dull and monotonous classroom does not interest him and hence his mind deviates towards the squirrel in his free room. He too, dreams of fun and frolic in an open space.

Stanza 2

On sour cream walls, donations. Shakespeare’s head,
Cloudless at dawn, civilized dome riding all cities.
Belled, flowery, Tyrolese valley. Open-handed map
Awarding the world its world. And yet, for these
Children, these windows, not this map, their world,
Where all their future’s painted with a fog,
A narrow street sealed in with a lead sky
Far far from rivers, capes, and stars of words.
An Elementary School Classroom in a Slum Shakespeare's Head

The poet describes the dirty classroom. On the walls are displayed the names of people who have given donations. The bust of Shakespeare is displayed in the clear background of the sky. Walls have pictures of the beautiful Tyrolese Valley as well as a map of the world. The children’s eyes can only view a narrow road enclosed with a dull sky. It is quite a dreary and depressing place for children.

Have you revised Going Places?
An Elementary School Classroom in a Slum Sour Cream Classroom

Stanza 3

Surely, Shakespeare is wicked, the map a bad example,
With ships and sun and love tempting them to steal—
For lives that slyly turn in their cramped holes
From fog to endless night? On their slag heap, these children
Wear skins peeped through by bones and spectacles of steel
With mended glass, like bottle bits on stones.
All of their time and space are foggy slum.
So blot their maps with slums as big as doom.
An Elementary School Classroom in a Slum Steel Spectacles

The pensive poet suddenly turns aggressive and feels that Shakespeare is wicked. This is because he misleads the children. He shows them a beautiful world of ships Sun and love which is not only an real for them but has a corrupting influence on these children and instigates them to steal try to escape from their cramped holes. Their existence is indeed very sad. These children are so thin that it appears that they are wearing only skins. The spectacles they are wearing has glass which has been broken and mended. Their entire appearance reeks of their deprivation. The poet shows his outrage by suggesting that the maps on their walls should show huge slums, instead of beautiful scenic graphics.

Stanza 4

Unless, governor, inspector, visitor,
This map becomes their window and these windows
That shut upon their lives like catacombs,
Break O break open till they break the town
And show the children to green fields, and make their world
Run azure on gold sands, and let their tongues
Run naked into books the white and green leaves open
History theirs whose language is the sun

The poet reveals the appealing truth that there can be no change for the better unless a governor, school inspector or an educationalist or a visitor comes to the school. The map in their classroom is the only medium for the children to view the world outside their slums. The windows of the classroom shut them and confide them to their world of poverty and helplessness.

Who will help the slum children?

The poet appeals to those people who are in power to liberate these slum children from the horrendous life that they are leading. He also exerts the people themselves to break open these windows which appeared to have sealed the fate of these children. He would like to see these children bask in the education facilities in this world and run carefree on the golden sands and enjoy a new lease of freedom.

The poet earnestly believes that each and every child should be able to enjoy the fundamental rights of freedom. They should have access to all kinds of books, new as well as old. They should also be able to learn from nature around them.

Poem Analysis: An Elementary School Classroom in a Slum

  • Form (structure or pattern) of the poem – The poem has 4 stanzas with 8 lines each.
  • Style (literary elements used by the poet) of the poem – The poem is written in free verse.
  • Tone (the poet’s or reader’s attitude towards the subject) of the poem – The poem has a hopeful and helpless tone. Anger and despair is also prominent.

Poetic Devices

(Also find NCERT Solutions For Class 12 English Flamingo Poem An Elementary School Classroom in a Slum given below.)

  • Imagery – Descriptive language that can function as a way for the reader to better imagine the poem. From the poem:
    1. ‘weighed down’ — refers to the burden of poverty and hopelessness that weighs down these kids.
  • Repetition – The recurrence of a word or phrase to create emphasis. From the poem:
    1. ‘Break O break open till they break the town’
    2. ‘Far, far’
  • Metaphor – A figure of speech that directly refers to one thing by mentioning another. From the poem:
    1. ‘gusty waves’ — the privileged children are compared to energetic waves.
    2. ‘future’s painted with a fog’ — refers to the future of the slum children which is uncertain and unclear.
    3. ‘sealed in with a lead sky’ — refers to the dull and grey colour of the sky similar to the depressing future of the slum children.
Tired of studying? Here are some funny metaphors and similes to lighten you up!
  • Simile A figure of speech involving the comparison of one thing with another by using words like ‘as’ or ‘like’. From the poem:
    1. ‘like rootless weeds’ — the children have been compared to the unwanted section of society.
    2. ‘like bottle bits on stones’ — The spectacles frame their stony-eyed expressions.
  • Pun – The fact that there are words which sound alike but have different meanings. From the poem:
    1. ‘reciting’
      • literal — the boy is reciting the lesson.
      • figurative — he is more prominently reciting his father’s disease of twisted bones and deformity.
    2. ‘sour cream’
      • literal — the neglected walls have turned a dirty yellow.
      • figurative — a dismal place where all dreams turn sour.
  • Symbolism – The use of symbols to represent ideas or qualities. From the poem:
    1. ‘squirrel’s game’ — something that helps the child to escape the grim reality of his surroundings.
    2. `civilized dome riding all cities’ — cities that show the progress of the civilization and its marvellous architecture.
    3. ‘open-handed map’ — a map drawn arbitrarily by the people in power.

NCERT Solutions Class 12 English Flamingo Poem An Elementary School Classroom in a Slum

Think it Out

Q. 1. Tick the item which best answers the following.

  • The tall girl with her head weighed down means the girl
    1. is ill and exhausted
    2. has her head bent with shame
    3. has untidy hair

A) 1. is ill and exhausted.

  • The paper-seeming boy with rat’s eyes means the boy is
    1. sly and secretive
    2. thin, hungry and weak
    3. unpleasant looking

A) 2. thin, hungry and weak.

  • The stunted, unlucky heir of twisted bones means the boy
    1. has an inherited disability
    2. was short and bony

A) 1. has an inherited disability.

  • His eyes live in a dream, A squirrel’s game, in the tree room other than this means the boy is
    1. full of hope in the future
    2. mentally ill
    3. distracted from the lesson

A) 3. distracted from the lesson.

  • The children’s faces are compared to rootless weeds. This means they
    1. are insecure
    2. they are ill-fed
    3. are wasters

A) 1. they are insecure.

Have you revised The Last Lesson?

Q. 2. 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?

A) The classroom walls are painted in a off-white dull colour. These sour cream walls have been neglected and turned a dirty yellow colour. This is a symbol to a dismal place for the slum children, where all dreams turn sour.

Q. 3. The walls of the classroom are decorated with the pictures of ‘Shakespeare’, ‘buildings with domes’, ‘World maps’ and beautiful valleys. How do these contrast with the world of these children?

A) The walls of the classroom depict pictures of Shakespeare, sky-high buildings, maps and valleys of flowers. But, the world outside their classroom is full of poverty, hunger, and disease and deprived of hope and bright future.

Q. 4. What does the poet want for children of the slums? How can their lives be made to change?

A) Stephen Spender wants equal opportunities for the slum children to learn and earn. He wants them to be able to study to make a quality life for themselves. He believes that their lives can be changed when they are given good education, and a respectable life.

Some Frequently Asked Questions

Below are FAQs from NCERT Solutions For Class 12 English Flamingo Poem An Elementary School Classroom in a Slum

Q. 1. Why does Stephen Spender say that the pictures and maps in the elementary school classroom are not meaningful?

A) The pictures on the classroom walls portray a clean and civilised world. But, it is contrary to their real world outside their classroom which is full of poverty, hunger, and disease and deprived of hope and bright future. The portrait of Shakespeare is useless to the slum children because they will never be able to read his works. Hence, these are not meaningful.

Q. 2. Why do you think Shakespeare is ‘wicked’ and the map ‘a bad example’ to these children?

A) The portrait of Shakespeare is wicked because, due to lack of quality education and opportunities, the slum children will never relate to Shakespeare in English literature.
The map of the world with its colourful descriptions of the earth is a bad example to these slum children because their world is full of poverty, hunger, and disease. It is deprived of hope and bright future.

Conclusion: An Elementary School Classroom in a Slum

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An elementary school classroom in a slum summary enlightens us about the poor condition of the students. The schools are maintained poorly and it’s walls are yellow. The future of these kids is in dark. The poet also highlights the plight of underprivileged children that are the so-called beneficiaries of government-funded education

The above written includes the explanation and question answers of NCERT Solutions For Class 12 English Poem An Elementary School Classroom in a Slum. Browse our site for various detailed and easy NCERT Solutions and CBSE Notes and Comprehensive Summary.

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