Karnataka 1st PUC English Textbook Answers Reflections Chapter 11 An Old Woman

I. Answer the following questions in a word, a phrase or a sentence each:

Question 1.
‘You’ in the poem refers to
(a) the speaker.
(b) the passer by.
(c) the reader.
(d) anyone.
Answer:
(d) anyone.

Question 2.
What does the old woman offer to do?
Answer:
She offers to take you to the Horseshoe shrine which means that she wants to work as a guide.

Question 3.
What does she expect for her service?
Answer:
Fifty paise.

Question 4.
The lines, ‘You turn around and face her with an air of finality’ suggest that he decided to
(a) give her a fifty paise coin and get rid of her.
(b) allow her to take him to the shrine.
(c) end the farce.
Answer:
(c) end the farce.

Question 5.
The old woman’s eyes are compared to
Answer:
bullet holes

Question 6.
‘you are reduced to so much small change in her hand.’ Here the speaker is suggesting that
a. one is reduced to an insignificant position.
b. one feels that one is being cheated.
c. one feels a change in one’s personality.
Answer:
a. one is reduced to an insignificant position.

An Old Woman Additional Question and Answer

Question 7.
How does the old woman look?
Answer:
The old women’s eyes are like bullet holes and there are cracks that begin around her eyes and spread beyond her skin.

Question 8.
Where did the woman take the visitor to?
Answer:
To the Horseshoe shrine.

II. Answer the following questions in a paragraph each:

Question 1.
How is the plight of the old woman depicted in the poem?
Answer:
The poem “‘An old woman” depicts the worst condition of an old woman, who is an old beggar near the Horseshoe shrine. She holds the sleeves of the passers-by. and follows them asking for a fifty paise coin. Even though by appearance she looks like a beggar, she has her self respect and in return for the fifty paise, offers to show the tourists around the Horseshoe shrine. She laments about her helplessness in those wretched hills to eke out a living.

Her physical appearance evokes sympathy in the passers-by. Phrases like “bullet holes for her eyes, ‘‘cracks that begin around her eyes spreat beyond her skin”, and shatter proof crone describe the pathetic condition of her miserable existence.

Question 2.
The old woman in the poem is a self appointed tourist guide, not a‘ beggar. Do you agree? Give reasons.
Answer:
The “old woman’ though she is depicted in the worst condition and begs for a fifty paise coin, never loses her self respect and offers to be a guide to passers by. She never takes anything free from others, as she never be wants to a beggar. Though her physical appearance is very bad her mental condition to work and earn the fifty paise, shows that she was a self appointed tourist guide and not a beggar.

Question 3.
How does the speaker’s attitude undergo a change?
Answer:
The poet by depicting her physical appearance makes ‘An Old Woman’ more sympathetic The passer-by initially did not show much sympathy to her but later when he observes keenly her physical appearance and when she offered to become a tourist guide to show around the shrine, he was very much moved by her condition and admired her self respect.

Here, passer by represents anybody in general. Finally when he feels as if the sky was falling with the sound of plate glass clatter all around the old crone who was shatterproof and standing alone, he undergoes a change in attitude. So, the old woman was successful in evoking sympathy from anyone, in front of the temple.

III. Answer the following questions:

Question 1.
“The old woman reduces the self esteem of the speaker’ and makes him feel that he is nothing more than so much small change”. Comment.
Answer:
The poem ‘An Old Woman’ by Arun Kolatkar depicts the plight of an old woman. She is a woman who begs around a temple. Whoever passes around the temple, she grabs their sleeves and stick to them till she gets a fifty paise coin. In the beginning the passerby was asked for a fifty paise coin but he did not care for her. But she never left him and was behind him and tightenedher grip on his shirt till he took note of her ,
The poet highlights the traits of old women how they never leave until they get what they want.
The below lines justify –
“You know how old women are
They stick to you like a burr”.

She also laments that there was no other work in those wretched hills and old woman like her could do nothing more than showing tourist places as a guide. When she questioned, the passer by gazes at the sky through the ‘bullet holes” which are her eyes and is made uneasy.

Then the speaker observes the cracks under her eyes but he realises cracks are not only on her skin but beyond that. Then “the hills crack, the temples crack, the sky falls” these phrases suggest that his heart moves for her plight and he gets down from his self esteem and has a changed attitude.

The phrases “Cracks around her eyes” and “the cracking of hills and temples” suggest the old age of the woman and to become old is natural as hills and it is God’s gift to get cracks. This alerts us to the fact that everybody will get old and may have to lead a life like that woman in the poem. By overall view, the poet highlights that the old woman’s self respect is greater than her begging for a fifty paise coin.

Question 2.
What is the speaker trying to convey through the lines ‘And the hills crack, And the temples crack, And the sky falls’?
Answer:
The speaker is initially irritated by the old woman who holds on to his shirt and does not allow him to go She asked for a fifty paise coin and offered to take him to the Horseshoe shrine, but he has already seen it. She hobbles behind him. So, he now wants to get rid of her. When he turns towards her, she asks what she was supposed to do to eke out a living in those wretched hills.

Looking at her bullet hole eyes and cracked face, the speaker doesn’t know what to reply. He feels that all notions of dignity and respectability seem hollow when such helpless, old people are left to fend for themselves. He feels guilty and ashamed to face her as he is not able to help her in any substantial manner. All civilization seems to fall apart at the unspoken question of the old woman.

Question 3.
How do you relate the ‘cracks around her eyes’ to the cracking of hills and temples?
Answer:
The cracks around her eyes are symbolic of the hardships she has been through. The mountains and temples symbolize the speaker’s strong contentions about the old lady and our religious belief that giving charity is following dharmia, respectively. Crack around her eyes extend to the mountains and temples means her determination to live a life of dignity and hard work and not by charity, and this destroys both the beliefs of speaker and religion.

1st PUC English Textbook Answers

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