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.

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Class 11 English Poetry Chapter 1 A Photograph

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 : The cardboard denotes the piece of thick, hard paper which has preserved the photograph of the poet’s mother. It was always used to keep photos on a frame.

This word has been used symbolically to emphasise on the transience of human life as against any form of art. The cardboard lived on to show the smiling face of a twelve year old girl who had lived and died long back.

2. What has the camera captured ?

Ans. The camera has captured the pretty young girls, happy and smiling, at their beach holiday. 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. It brings out the fleeting nature of human life in stark contrast to the everlasting objects of nature. Man will come and man will go, but nature lives on forever. 

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. She was there with her younger cousins who held her hands. They were all dressed up for the beach. Her laughter, some twenty- thirty years later, indicated her nostalgia as she re-lived those moments in her memory. 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. Both mother and daughter have, at different phases of life, reconciled to losses. The mother had to accept the loss of the joys and happiness of childhood which later remained captured only in a photograph. As for the daughter(the poet), the sound of her mother’s laughter has become a fragment of her memory and she is trying to reconcile to that loss.

6. What does “this circumstance” refer to ?

Ans. “this circumstance” refers to the poet’s life without her mother. It is the emptiness that her demise had created in the poet’s life. She feels at a loss of words.

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

Ans. The first stanza is a recapitulation of a childhood moment in the life of the poet’s mother. It is the first phase where the mother is depicted as a twelve year old girl who went on a beach holiday with her two cousins.

The second stanza depicts a different phase where the twelve year old is a middle aged woman, the poet’s mother. She looks at her childhood photo and laughs at the memory of those happy days. Towards the end of this stanza, we realise that the Woman is dead.

The third phase in the last stanza describes the pall of gloom that accompanies death, and speechlessness on the part of the poet in trying to describe her feelings.


1. Why is the poem titled ‘A Photograph’ ?

Ans. The poem is titled ‘A Photograph because it is an old photograph that gives rise to the pensive mood of the poet. It is the photograph of her deceased mother in her childhood.

2. Whose photograph is mentioned in the poem ?

Ans. it is the photo of the poet’s mother in her childhood along with two little cousins holding her hands. The photograph was taken when the poet’s mother was twelve years old.

3. Who had taken the photo and what did he capture ?

Ans. The photo was taken by their uncle in his camera on the beach. He captured the smiles of three little girls as they stood there with hair flying over their face.

4. How does the poet contrast the ‘terribly transient feet with the sea ?

Ans. The sea waves that touched the little feet of these young girls still remain as they were, constantly rushing towards the shore.

But the smali feet had grown to bigger ones and finally disappeared from this world. One lived on and will always live while the other had only a temporary existence in this world.

5. What does the poet mean by the lines ‘The sea holiday was her past, mine is her laughter. ?

Ans. The two parts of this sentence has a huge gap of years in between. When her mother was alive, she fondly looked at the snapshot remembering the past when she was just a child. The sea holiday was her past that would never return. Years later, latter the  poet looks at the same snapshot and remembers the way her mother had laughed looking at it. That laughter belonged to the poet’s past which is never to return.

6. Why were ‘Both wry with the laboured ease of loss’ ?

Ans. Both of them had suffered losses at different periods of life. While the mother regrets the loss of the joys of childhood which shall never return, the daughter’s grief is the loss of her mother. something that cannot be compensated. The irony is that bott had to struggle to reconcile with their losses and come to terms with it.

7. What is it that silences the poet ? 

Ans. The intensity of grief over her mother’s death renders the poet speechless. The emptiness that she feels creates an all-pervading silence around her.

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