Read the extracts given below and answer the questions that follow.
Question 1 : What does the poet mean when he says that the most important thing we’ve learned?
Answer : The poet is sharing his experience that he has witnessed, in almost all the houses that children have become addicted to TV watching which has badly affected their mental as well as physical growth. It has taught him that children should not be allowed to watch TV so he wants to share his experience with the parents.
Question 2 : Does poet’s use of adverb ‘Never’ three times signify anything?
Answer : The adverb ‘never’ is repeated three times which means ‘not ever’. The purpose of using it, is to emphasize on not using something which is not acceptable. The poet wants to emphasize that children should not be allowed to watch TV because it kills their creativity and rots their thinking skill. So, use of never has its own significance.
Question 3 : How does Television control the activities of the children?
Answer : The television makes the children sit glued to it as children watch TV open mouthed. They never blink while watching the TV which is really harmful to their eyes. TV watching makes the children totally lazy or inactive as they keep sitting and adopt inadvisable body postures while watching Television.
Question 4 : What is an idiotic thing?
Answer : An idiotic thing is a nick name for Television as it deprives the creativity of the children, it hampers their imagination and makes them inactive. It has turned children into couch potatoes, not playing outdoor games which later, results in ill-health.
Question 5 : Whom is the poet addressing in the poem? What is his motive?
Answer : The poet has penned his poem to highlight the bad influence of Television over children whose well being is the prime concern of their parents. So, he is addressing the parents whose children watch TV. His motive is to make people aware of the bad effects to TV and of the substitute of it so that a world without TV can be created. So, he advises the parents never to let their children go near the TV set and watch it. He emphasises that if possible the parents should not even install it.
Question 1 : What has the poet witnessed at every house?
Answer : The poet has witnessed at every house the children are watching TV. The most shocking thing that he has noticed that the children of one house follow the same postures as that of the other. They don’t do any activity rather staring at TV which draws all their attention toward it.
Question 2 : Which body part is affected most by Television?
Answer : The eyes are the most affected parts of the body. Children keep staring at TV without a pause even for a minute until their eyes start paining. This continuous watching TV badly affects the eyes. The child does not sleep properly which makes negative impact on his mind, his eye-sight may get weaker and there may be constant pain in them.
Question 3 : What other activities can be given to the children other than TV watching so that they are kept occupied?
Answer : The children can be engaged in indoor or outdoor games, reading books, pursuing their hobby of painting or playing music etc in the absence of TV. The children can be asked to help their parents in household activities so that they may not feel bored.
Question 4 : What does the poet want to illustrate by the last lines ‘Last week……… floor’?
Answer : The poet has been criticising the postures of the children while watching TV. Their continuous watching TV also infuriates him as it can affect their eyesight badly. To strengthen his point, he gives the example of a house that he visited last week. The members of the house were sleeping even in the day time. It was the result of their watching TV till their eyes were open, which could be late midnight. Hence they were compelled to sleep during day time, such was the effect of TV set.
Question 5 : What is the role of a TV set to make children inactive?
Answer : The poet declares a TV set guilty of making children inactive. It makes children addicted to it so they are not able to get rid of its spell. It confines them within the room in which it has been installed and forces them to stare at it continuously sitting or lying on a single place and same posture. Under its spell other physical activities become secondary so they are ignored. This ignorance of physical activities makes children inactive.
Question 1 : Explain the expression ‘until they’re hypnotised by it’.
Answer : The poet uses the line ‘until’ they are hypnotised by it’. He wants to draw the attention to the readers towards the effect of TV set on children. They stare the TV with such attention that they almost get hpnotised by it. As a hypnotised person does whatever he is dictated in the same way the children imitate whatever is shown in TV.
Question 2 : What does the phrase ‘all that ghastly shocking junk’ imply in these lines?
Answer : The poet Roald Dahl is of the opinion that so many channels including, kid channels roll out such non-sense programmes that are not worth watching at all. The poet calls such programmes as junk, as they are neither informative nor creative.
The language used by characters is very rustic. If child imbibes all this nonsense, his progress is really going to get stuck.
Question 3 : When a child watches TV what all advantages does a mother get?
Answer : The poet in a very amusing tone says that children do not indulge in hyper activities while watching TV like climbing a window sill or fighting and kicking each other as they remain glued to one place. A mother feels relieved and free to cook lunch or wash utensils without worrying too much about her children.
Question 4 : List the ways in which Television viewing affects the mind of our beloved a lot.
Answer : TV viewing affects the minds of the little children so much so that they start believing in what they are watching. They forget outdoor games and spend hours in watching TV. The children forget original creative thinking and get absorbed in what is being shown on TV.
Question 5 : Is is possible to throw away the TV sets in today’s world? What should be our balanced approach?
Answer : In today’s world, it is not possible to survive without a TV set at one’s house but parents should fix the TV watching hours for their children. There are some very educative programmes being telecast on TV, parents should focus on them. They must keep an eye on what their children are watching during that designated time. Moreover, if reading habit is residing in heart from the beginning, the children themselves will not spend too much time in watching TV.
Question 1 : How does Television kill child’s imagination?
Answer : The child of today spends hours together in front of the ‘idiot box’. He goes nothing else but watch TV all day. The child loses the capacity to think. He slowly loses the ability to understand and respond to the environment around him. In today’s scenario TV has killed the habit of reading books. As a result the child has lost his creativity and ability of imagination.
Question 2 : What is the significance of writing these lines in capital letters?
Answer : The winner has written these lines in capital letters to emphasise the disadvantages of TV watching. As these lines are written in capital letters, these lines show poet’s desperate attempt to draw reader’s attention towards the problems that too much watching TV can cause.
Question 3 : Explain this line “IT CLOGS AND CLUTTERS UP THE MIND”.
Answer : Watching junk on TV can have a negative impact on the child’s mind. As the child watches useless programmes on TV, he is away from reality. His mind’s creativity gets damaged, thinking power goes away and he remains absorbed in the images, he watches on TV. He lives far away from reality but does not understand . This TV watching messes up a child’s organised ideas and thoughts.
Question 4 : ‘HE CANNOT THINK – HE ONLY SEES’, What does this line suggest to us?
Answer : The poet wants to warn parents about the ill-effects of TV watching. The line clearly states that creativity and imagination of a child get damaged by watching TV everyday. The child is lost in a virtual world, oblivious of his surroundings. His analytic power does not develop. The poet categorically says that too much watching TV spoils the creativity of children as they are not able to use their brain to understand things.
Question 5 : What message does the poet convey through these lines?
Answer : The message is pretty clear. He tells that Television watching is very harmful activity. It rots our senses and kills imagination. It clutters up the mind. Parents need to inculcate the habit of reading in children right from childhood. The poet advises to throw the TV set away, install a nice bookshelf in its place and stuff it with books on various topics. In this way a new world will appear before them and they will be able to use their ability of imagination and creativity.
Question 1 : Explain , All right ‘you’ll cry ‘All right!’ you’ll say.
Answer : The poet wants to bring change in children’s lives by getting them rid of TV sets. It is not children who have to be convinced but their parents as they will decide whether to keep the TV set or throw it away for the welfare of their children. Here, he displays the possible reactions that he will receive when he will ask them to get rid of TV set. It will be a shock for them so they will cry and will ask many questions to get the solution of the problem.
Question 2 : What is the question? Why is it asked?
Answer : The question is what the parents will do to entertain their children in the absence of Television as without it they will get bored. The question is asked by the parents when they are asked to throw away their TV set for well being of their kids but they are in dilemma as they will be left with no option to entertain their children.
Question 3 : Why are the parents so concerned about the entertainment of their children?
Answer : The parents are so concerned about the entertainment of their children as it is very important for their development. If a child does not get entertained he will get bored and eventually will be used to it. It will affect his growth adversely while if he is entertaining himself, his mental and physical growth will be positive.
Question 4 : How does the poet answer the question asked by the parents?
Answer : The parents wants to know what they will do entertain their kids if they are to throw away TV set. At this the poet asks them another question what they themselves used to do when they were young and there was no television as it had not been invented then. He indirectly suggests them to use the same options to entertain their children as used by them.
Question 5 : What does he call monster and why?
Answer : The poet is very critical about Television and calls it the real culprit for the decline to children’s health and morality. According to him a monster first kills his prey and eats it, in the same way a Television just as a monster first kills the physical activities in a child then finishes them making the child inactive. In short TV set is the main reason behind the gradual inactivity in chidlren.
Question 1 : What surprises the poet?
Answer : The question of the parents what options should be there to entertain their children surprises the poet as according to him the parents are supposed to be knowing the answers themselves. He shows this when he asks them if they have forgotten and do not know how to entertain their kids without a TV set.
Question 2 : What alternative does the poet suggests to parents in place of TV?
Answer : The poet reminds the parents of the days when this monster called Television was not invented. Children used to read the books and spend a considerable time in reading only. He asks the parents to install a bookshelf in the house and loads it with lots of books of various kinds.
Question 3 : Which point does the poet try to stress here?
Answer : The poet wants to stress on the view that, parents should never allow children to watch TV or the better option is not keeping a TV set in their house. He further says that the task of finding such substitutes is quite simple. They do not have to take pains instead have to remember the things that used to entertain them when they were children.
Question 4 : What is the significance of capitalising some words in this stanza?
Answer : The poet has intentionally written some words in capital letters to highlight the importance of these words. READ is obviously the most important of all words capitalised. He perhaps wants to reinforce the importance of reading books, a habit which was practised by people when Television was not invented.
Question 5 : What is the central idea of the poem?
Answer : The central idea of the poem is that the poet associates Television watching with loss of imagination and creative abilities of the children. He hankers for the older days when life was simpler and people were fond of reading. The parents’ role in the development of children has been told very crucial as they are the ones who mould their children’s habit and behaviour. Reading is a very good habit for children. It enriches their minds and introduces them to a whole new world, they never knew existed.
Question 1 : Explain ‘And in the bedroom, by the bed, more books were waiting to be read’.
Answer : In the above lines, the poet talks about the great popularity of books due to which their presence was literally visible everywhere. This was because children were very fond of reading them. The number of books was so large that the process seemed to be almost everlasting, because there were always some books that ‘were waiting to be read.’
Question 2 : Describe the scene inside the houses when people were fond of reading books.
Answer : The poet very beautifully describes the scene when there used to be no TV sets. At that time children used to read books. There used to be books in children’s nursery, on the floor, in the bedroom, even at the bed. The description suggests that at that time reading used to be a passion with children and half of their lifetime was spent reading books.
Question 3 : How is the world depicted in stories or other books different from the one that is shown in the TV programmes?
Answer : The world of fantasy depicted in story books is based on pure imagination. The writer talked about unusual characters and situations to entertain and amuse the readers. Through the television programmes, children live in virtual reality. TV watching does not provide an opportunity for the children to develop their imagination or creative ability. Children are not able to imagine characters or situations that are described beautifully in books.
Question 4 : How does reading develop an imaginative mind?
Answer : Readings fairy tales and adventure stories certainly develops child’s creative ability as there is no ready image in front of him. He is reading something so he delves into imagination to bring that image in his mind whether it is of a dragon or a fairy or an adventure.
Question 5 : Is there a balance which could be struck between watching Television and reading books? What would that balance be?
Answer : Yes, I think it is not possible to throw out the TV sets from our houses. But most certainly TV watching can be limited to a few hours. The parents too must sacrifice their habit of TV watching if they want their children to reduce TV watching hours. Moreover, reading habit is to be inculcated right from their childhood. They can not be supposed to develop it over night. A balance can maintained between Television watching and reading books. Parents need to schedule time for children. Children should be made aware of the disadvantages of excess TV watching and of the advantages of reading books that open a whole new world before them.
Question 1 : What does the poet meant by ‘Those children living long ago!’?
Answer : The poet is talking about the childhood days of the parents who used to read books to entertain themselves. ‘Long ago’ symbolises the time when books were spirited read and were extremely famous among the children of that period. By ‘those children’ he wants to indicate the adults who were children that time. They could enjoy reading those books.
Question 2 : Why does the poet request the parents so earnestly?
Answer : Poet seems to be one of the biggest critics of Television and does not tolerate it at homes where it has enslaved their children . He wants children to get rid of it at any cost. It is possible only when parents are convinced to throw it so to convince the parents he repeats his request and even begs them to do so.
Question 3 : What should be installed in place of TV set and why?
Answer : Dahl advises parents to remove Television from the wall and in place of it a bookshelf should be installed. He is of the opinion that only reading books can replace the habit of watching TV. So, the bookshelf should be filled with a number of books that will be read by the children sooner or later without having any other options but to read.
Question 4 : What does the poet mean by the phrase ‘ignoring all the dirty looks’?
Answer : The poet says that bringing in a bookshelf as a replacement of TV set, may not be tolerated by the children in the beginning. The children may become restless and will try to blackmail their parents by crying and screaming. They will make such expressions as may compel them to reinstall Television. But for the welfare of the children, parents should ignore their looks as they are not real and may affect decision taken for their well being.
Question 5 : Does the poet seem to be favouring books as the replacement of TV set? Why?
Answer : Yes, the poet does seem to be favouring books as the replacement of TV set because being a children’s writer he knows that books not only entertain children but also improve their innovative and creative skills. There are certainly other options but they are not as fruitful as books as far as child’s creative and imaginative qualities are concerned. He focuses more on mental growth than on physical growth that shows that he is not much concerned about children’s physical growth.
Question 1 : How are children supposed to behave when TV set is removed?
Answer : As children have become addicted to watching TV, to remove will be an action that may suddenly change their behaviour towards their parents. They may become aggressive, may shout and yell at them and even may bite and hit them with stick compelling them to change their decision.
Question 2 : Parents play a major role in child’s development. Elaborate.
Answer : Yes, the role of parents in a child’s development is enormous. It is with the help of parents’ guidance that good habits can be developed in a child. In the context of TV watching , it becomes more critical as it can hamper their children’s mental as well as physical growth. The initial years of children are very critical so whatever is done and watched by them, should be properly monitored so that the development of children will remain smooth and continuous.
Question 3 : What does the poet promise and why?
Answer : The poet draws the possible future scenario where the children would be misbehaving with their parents for removing their dear idiot box from house. He promises that the parents need not worry as this situation will not last long and within one week of two, the children will take to reading books. They will explore a beautiful new world they have not witnessed yet.
Question 4 : What are some of the advantages of reading as mentioned by the poet?
Answer : The poet is very sure that reading improves a child’s knowledge, his power of imagination, and creative thinking. After reading books a child can grow wise and analytical and is able to decide between the right and the wrong. New thoughts will come to his mind after reading various types of books.
Question 5 : Is the transition from TV watching to reading books possible as instantly as suggested by the poet? What role parents play in this regard?
Answer : No , the transition from TV watching to reading books can be done instantly. The transition is beset with difficulties for parents. The balance can be stuck by parents by minimising TV watching on the condition that children equally spend time on reading books. Parents need to be patient and spend quality time with their off springs to being this transition. They need to establish the value of reading books in children’s life and they should themselves start this reading habit and read out the books to their children in an interesting manner. Once children start taking interest in reading, naturally they will spend less time in watching TV and will be motivated to read more and more books.
Question 1 : What is poet’s opinion about effects of TV watching by the children?
Answer : The poet is of the opinion that TV watching almost hypnotises the children and deprive their creativity. Watching too much Television fills up the mind of children with useless facts while at the same time destroying the ability to create or understand world of fantasy. Children become inactive, lazy and keep staring at the Television screens.
Question 2 : In modern households why parents find it convenient to allow the children to watch TV most of the time?
Answer : In modern household specially in nuclear families, there are less people to interact with one-another. The children are full of energy and if they are not kept occupied they are likely to indulge in jumping or fighting with each other. Many mothers find it very convenient that while children watch TV they are able to finish household chores like cooking or washing utensils peacefully.
Question 3 : How can reading habit create silence and creative atmosphere where parents can find time for themselves?
Answer : Here role of parents is of great importance. They must inculcate the habit of reading in their children right from their childhood. Children will be benefitted from reading variety of books and parents will get time to perform their household chores. It will be a totally different type of atmosphere where time will be spent gainfully not like an idiot in front of Television Set.
Question 4 : Do you think whether it is TV watching or playing video games and reading-moderation in all things fit into the equation of daily life. How?
Answer : Excessive use of anything be it watching TV, or playing video games or reading can have its own adverse affect. So, the keyword is ‘Moderation’ . In today’s world we can not throw away TV sets or disallow children to play video games. As being not exposed to these things they will be left behind in this cut-throat competitive world.
Question 5 : What has been referred to in this stanza as ‘that ridiculous machine’ and why?
Answer : The phrase ‘that ridiculous machine’ refers to Television sets. The poet has used many such adjectives like unclean, repulsive television screen, nauseating, foul etc. All these depict poet’s dislike for this machine called Television. There is obvious reason for the poet to call it so. The poet believes and it is true too that when we watch TV, it is a passive process on our part. We do not actively engage with the material as we do in reading. We live in virtual reality. This passivity ultimately makes the brain work at slower pace and ability to reason and think something out of the box becomes a distant dream.