Class 11 English Poetry Chapter 1 A Photograph

Class 11 English Poetry Chapter 1 A Photograph answer to each chapter is provided in the list so that you can easily browse through different chapters Class 11 English Hornbill Poetry Chapter 1 A Photograph, Class 11 English Hornbill Poetry Question Answer, HS 1st year English Notes and select needs one.

Class 11 English Poetry Chapter 1 A Photograph

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Also, you can read the SCERT Class 11 English Poetry Chapter 1 A Photograph All Be Together” book Notes online in these sections Solutions by Expert Teachers as per AHSEC (SCERT) Book guidelines. Class 11 English Poetry Chapter 1 A Photograph Notes are part of SCERT All Subject Solutions. Here we have given Assam Board Class 11 English Poetry Chapter 1 A Photograph Solutions for All Subjects, You can practice these here.

A photograph

Chapter: 1


Infer the meanings of the following words from the context.

paddling : walking barefoot on the shallow water of the sea

transient : temporary; fleeting; that which does not stay forever


1. What does the word ‘cardboard’ denote in the poem? Why has this word been used ?

Ans : In the poem, the word ‘cardboard’ stands for the frame that supports and borders the photograph. The cardboard shows the poet of her mother’s lost childhood. It represented the photograph of her mother with her two cousins on the beach. This word has been used symbolically to emphasise on the transience of human life as against any form of art. Her mother remembered the past days and became nostalgic and happy for a moment but remembered that the photograph also shows the temporary lives of humans.

2. What has the camera captured ?

Ans. The camera captured a very fond memory. The photograph was taken on a beach holiday by the author’s mother and her cousins. It has captured a transient moment that rekindled nostalgia even years later.

3. What has not changed over the years ? Does this suggest something to you ?

Ans. The sea has not changed over the years.  Its waves are as fresh, shining and tireless as they were years ago. The changelessness of the sea reminds us of the changes in the human face with advancing age. On the contrary human life is transitory and this transience is compared to nature which is permanent and eternal.

4. The poet’s mother laughed at the snapshot. What did this laugh indicate?

Ans: The poet’s mother laughed at the snapshot taken when she was a young girl. This laugh’ indicated her joy at remembering an incident connected with her past life, when she was quite young and free from the tensions and worries of life. It was a momentary  journey to those happy times.

5. What is the meaning of the line “Both wry with the laboured ease of loss”?

Ans. The poetess is sad about the fact that her mother’s laughter is history. Her mother feels the same for her childhood days. The word ‘wry’ here means disappointment. Both of them are disappointed and dejected over their loss.Both remember their pasts with a laugh that conceals sadness as none can relive those lost moments. 

6. What does “this circumstance” refer to ?

Ans. “this circumstance” refers to the poet’s life without her mother. The present situation of the poet wherein the poet is absorbed in the painful memory of her dead mother.

7. The three stanzas depict three different phases. What are they ?

Ans. In the first stanza, An old photograph of the poet’s mother which was pasted on cardboard makes the poet recall the old memories of her mother’s childhood. The photograph is a depiction of her mother’s enjoyable moments at a sea-beach with her two cousins who were younger to her. They were walking in shallow water with bare feet near the beach. The mother was standing in the middle and holding hands of her two cousins, who were standing on each side. The poet’s mother was twelve years old then.  

In the second stanza, the poet talks about her childhood days when her mother used to look at the photograph and recalls everything mentioned in the first stanza.

In the third stanza,  20-30 years later the poet’s mother would look at the photograph and laugh nostalgically remembering the happy memories of her past. Poet’s Mother would look at the photograph and comment on the dresses worn by the cousins Dolly, Betty and herself.


1. Who had taken the photo and What did he capture?

Ans:- The photograph was taken by the brother/ uncle of Poetess’s mother.

The camera has captured a happy moment from the childhood days of the poet’s mother. She went to a beach holiday with two of her cousins.

2. What does “silences” mean in the poem?

Ans:- Silence is what surrounds their relationship and there is complete lack of communication between them. This expression from the poem ‘The Photograph’ by Shirley Toulson means the truth and mystery of the poet’s mother’s death fills him with sadness. The constant pain she experiences on account of her loss makes her silent.

3. Whose photograph is mentioned in the poem?

Ans:- Poetess mother’s photograph mentioned in the poem.

4. Why does the poet’s mother laugh looking at the photograph?

Ans:- The poet’s mother laughed at the happy memories of the moments that had passed long back. She remembers her two cousins and recalls the day memorialised in the photograph. Also, she makes fun of her and her cousins’ outfits.

5. Why does the poet feel nostalgic?

Ans:- Poet still remembers how her mother used to laugh at her childhood pictures as well as a sense of loss because that time would never come back. In the same way, the poet feels nostalgic thinking about her mother and her laughter which has become a thing of the past.

6. What does the poet say about her mother’s face? Does the poet appear to be grieving?

Ans:- The poet remarks that her mother had a sweet face, smiling and caring for her cousins who were younger to her. In the photo the poetess’s mother seems edged by her siblings, who are younger than her. Also, she highlights her mother’s strength as she supports her young cousins.

Although the death or end makes things go quiet and empty. However, the poetess finds her mother died to be loud and inspiring enough to pour her feelings out in the form of a tribute and poem. Thus, even though death finishes everything. But her mother’s death brings out a new response in her. Lastly, she accepts (silently) her resignation to the final silence of death.

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