Read the extracts given below and answer the questions that follow.
Question 1 : How was the patriot treated at the beginning?
Answer : The patriot says that just a year ago, on the very same day when he entered the city, people welcomed him warmly. His paths were decorated with roses and myrtles. There were sounds of bells resounding in the air. People gathered to see the great leader who performed great deeds for his nation. People were very happy and excited.
Question 2 : Explain the ‘with myrtle mixed in my path like mad’.
Answer : The second line of the stanza states the path of the martyr was decorated with myrtle (a decorative flower). It was done so as to welcome the patriot. Numerous myrtle flowers were spread on his path. They were falling on his path like mad people scattering here and there.
Question 3 : Why did the house-roofs seem to heave and sway?
Answer : The house-roofs seemed to heave and sway as people had gathered to welcome their hero, ‘the patriot’ who came to the city after a victory. They wanted a glimpse of their hero so they approached to the roofs of the houses. Here, the patriot remembers the feelings of immense joy and love at the time of his welcome , a year ago on the very same day.
Question 4 : What is meant by the phrase ‘the church-spires flamed’ in the above stanza?
Answer : The phrase ‘the church-spires flamed’ has been used to describe happiness and joy of people when they welcomed their hero. It shows that the minarets and domes of churches looked like flames, due to colourful flags used to decorate the city to welcome the patriot.
Question 5 : What is the significance of the last line of the stanza?
Answer : The last line signifies that a year ago the patriot was welcomed warmly by the people. This makes the reader more curious as to how he is treated by his people now. It is mentioned so as to contrast the difference in the life of the martyr in the ‘past’ to what is happening at ‘present’ quite intelligibly. It also displays the irony involved in the line that it was the same day last year when he was hailed as a hero against today when he is being taken through the same streets to be hung.
Question 1 : Describe ‘the air broke into a mist’.
Answer : The people were giving a warm welcome to the patriot. They were ringing the bells and raising slogans. These different voices got mixed and produced a sort of music. Due to this the air became misty and heavy.
Question 2 : What does ‘The old walls rocked’ mean?
Answer : It refers to the incident when the patriot returned a year ago. The people were standing on an old structure and were cheering by ringing bells. The cheering was so loud that it seemed to rock the walls of the structure.
Question 3 : Explain the third line of the above given stanza. What did it suggest about the mood of the crowd?
Answer : It states that the people were so happy when he came at the same time last year that if he had asked from for anything else, they would have given it to him. They would have even given him on which their livelihood depended.
Question 4 : Do you think that the people were ready to sacrifice anything for the patriot? How?
Answer : Yes, the people were ready to sacrifice anything for the patriot. This is mentioned in the last line where the people ask him if he want them to get anything else for him. Everybody wanted to honour him and at that time whatever he wished was of the utmost importance for the people.
Question 5 : What did the patriot want from the people?
Answer : As per the stanza, the patriot did not want the cheer, the applause of the people and extravagant celebrations that die down with time. He was looking for something more permanent. He wanted them to fetch something immortal for him such as the Sun’s admiration. In other words, he wanted to live in the memories as a hero forever.
Question 1 : Who is ‘I’ in the above extract? What does ‘leaped at the sun’ means?
Answer : In the above extract ‘I’ has been used by the poet for the hero. It means that the patriot has done the impossible for the people. The task that he accomplished, could not be accomplished by anyone else.
Question 2 : Discuss the mood of the patriot in the given lines.
Answer : The patriot is in a regretful mood in the given lines. He is said that even after doing great works for the people , he is called a traitor . All the sacrifices that he made for his countrymen has gone in vain.
Question 3 : What does ‘Nought man’ signify in the poem?
Answer : ‘Nought’ means no here. It means that no man could have been able to accomplish what had been done by the patriot. He also wants to express that no other man was as patriotic as he was because he did the work called impossible by other men.
Question 4 : Describe ‘what I reap’ in above stanza.
Answer : It means the result of the poet’s actions. The poet had done the impossible for his people. However, the reward that he got from the people at the end of it was not what he had expected. He expected a honourable life for whatever he had done for his people but what he got was the tag of a traitor the fruit of his patriotism.
Question 5 : Explain the last line of the poem in given stanza.
Answer : It describes that a year ago on the same day patriot was given a warm welcome by the people. He was shown a lot of respect, honour and concern by the people. A year back patriot was given celebrity status. However, now he has been branded as a traitor by the same people. This type of behaviour of the people hurts the sentiment of the patriot.
Question 1 : Who is the speaker? Where is he being taken? Why?
Answer : The speaker is the patriot who is giving the monologue in the poem. He is being taken to the place where criminals and traitors are publicly hanged, called Shambles’ Gate because his patriotic deeds have been misunderstood as a traitorous deeds.
Question 2 : Describe the scene when he had walked down the same street a year ago.
Answer : When he had walked down the same street a year ago, the path was decorated with rose and myrtle flowers. People were standing on the rooftops of their houses. They cheered him as he passed because he was a great hero at that time.
Question 3 : Where does the speaker think all the people had gathered that day? Why does he think so?
Answer : The speaker thinks that all the people had gathered that day at ‘Shambles Gate’ , where criminals and traitors are publicly hanged. He thought so because people love to watch a spectacle such as a public hanging.
Question 4 : Describe the speaker’s physical condition.
Answer : The speaker’s physical condition is that his hands are tied behind by a tight rope -so tight that it cuts his wrists. He is bleeding from his forehead as the people are throwing stones at him which are causing injuries to him.
Question 5 : What is the central message of the poem? Does the poem end on a note of hope or despair? Give one reason for your answer.
Answer : The central message of the poem is that sacrifices of the leaders are misunderstood by the people. It stresses the point that not all decisions made or supported by the people are the right decisions, or even in their own interest. The poem ends on a note of hope because the patriot believes that it is God who will reward him according to this true merit.
Question 1 : What does ‘rain’ signify here?
Answer : ‘Rain’ signifies that the patriot has become wet due to the falling rain. This has made him lose all his dignity. It may also symbolise that the patriot is innocent as he is washed clean in the rain.
Question 2 : How do the crowd show their displeasure with that patriot?
Answer : The crowd have distanced themselves from the patriot whose achievements were lauded and appreciated one year ago. He is soaking in rain and hands are tied with a rope which is hurting his wrists. Some angry people are throwing stones at him as a result of blood is coming out of his forehead.
Question 3 : Why is the patriot bleeding? Why cannot he save himself?
Answer : People are throwing stone at the patriot and as result he gets injured and bleeds. He feels the flowing of blood from his forehead. He cannot save himself as he is chained, his hands are tied with a rope. He is being taken to Shambles Gate where he will be hung so he cannot run to save himself.
Question 4 : Explain ‘For they fling, whoever has a mind’.
Answer : This means that the people who are throwing stones at the patriot are the one who have an active mind. The patriot does not seem to be angry with these people as he thinks that they have misunderstood him.
Question 5 : Explain ‘year’s misdeeds’.
Answer : This means that the patriot’s achievements of the past one year have been changed to misdeeds. In a way, that people have forgotten his service to them as he is being punished for the good that has been done by him for them. It is a brilliant portrayal of the imperfect public commendation memory.
Question 1 : Explain the first line of the stanza.
Answer : The first line of the stanza describes the patriot’s entry (birth) into the world and his exit (death). This also signifies his entry and exit from his position of power and the people’s mind, to his execution as a traitor.
Question 2 : Explain the second line of the above given stanza.
Answer : It means that some people die of doing good. He looks at his circumstances as his pride. He believes that he stood by the right things and thus considers himself victorious in defeat, as his work benefited his people.
Question 3 : The patriot wishes that he should have died in power, why?
Answer : The poet wishes that he should have died while he was in power. This is because he felt insulted as after doing so much good for his people he is being hanged. On the other hand, he believes that if he had died while he was in power, he would not have been insulted like this.
Question 4 : In what way does the patriot feel safe?
Answer : Even though he is dying, the poet feels safe as he knows that he has been moral and has done the right things in life. Therefore, he thinks that he would go to heaven where he will not have to face punishment for the things he has not done.
Question 5 : How does the above extract reflect the feeling of patriot towards God? What does God say to the patriot?
Answer : The patriot’s religious beliefs have been reflected and his belief in after life has been showcased when he mentions how he will be received by God. God tells the patriot that his sins will already he washed when he dies. This is because the people have punished him for his sins and he is now free of all corruption. He then askes the patriot what he expects from him now.