Poem 2- An Elementary School Classroom in a Slum
By- Stephen Spender
Reference to Context
1. Stanza 1- ‘Far far from…….other than this.’
a) How does the poet describe the children in the beginning of the poem?
b) Why is the tall girl’s head weighed down?
c) What does the poet mean by ‘rat’s eyes’?
d) Why does the poet refer to the stunted child as ‘unlucky heir’?
e) How is the child sitting at the back of the classroom different from other children?
2. Stanza 2 –‘On sour cream walls….. stars of words.’
a) Explain ‘sour cream walls, donations’
b) What does Shakespeare’s head symbolize?
c) How is the presence of the picture of a ‘civilized dome’ in the classroom ironical?
d) What is the Tyrolese valley famous for?
e) What kind of a world do these children belong to? What does ‘lead sky symbolize?
3. Stanza 3- ‘Surely Shakespeare is wicked…..as big as slum.’
a) Why is Shakespeare wicked?
b) How is the world map a bad example?
c) Explain line 3 of the stanza.
d) What does the phrase ,’ fog to endless night represent’?
e) How does the poet express his anguish?
4. Stanza 4- ‘ Unless governor……language is the sun.’
a) What does the poet desire from the educated and powerful people ?
b) What do catacombs imply? How is the world of the slum children like catacombs?
c) What does the poet mean by green fields and golden sands?
d) What does the poet wish for the children to be provided with?
e) Discuss the last line