Friday 29 December 2023

A Slumber did my Spirit Seal

A Slumber Did My Spirit Seal

                                  By William Wordsworth

Analysis of the poem: 

§  The poem ‘A Slumber Did My Spirit Seal’ is composed by William Wordsworth, a renowned English poet and better known as nature poet of Romantic Era.

§  The poem is subjective as it describes the poet’s emotions and experience associated with earth’s daughter, Lucy whose reference can be found in some of his poems. Lucy is a personification of an idea or abstract identity of nature that is adored by the poet.

§  The poem reflects the themes that nature has an identity, and there is a connection between the human spirit and the natural world. It is a recurring theme in Romantic poetry, reflecting the idea that humans are intimately linked to the natural world.

§  The poem is divided in two stanzas, consisting a quatrain each (stanza of 4 lines). It has proper rhyme scheme with each alternate line rhyming as 'abab'.

Wordsworth's language and imagery evoke a sense of both tranquility and melancholy, inviting readers to ponder over the mysteries of life and death.

§  The tone of the poem is elegaic and melancholic as the poet feels sad remembering Lucy, the nature’s daughter who died young. The tone of the poem is also philosophical as the poet conveys that we get mixed with, and become a part of nature after our death.

§  One is clearly able to make out the message of the poem that we are a part of nature which embodies life and death, and life goes on despite the death of our loved ones.


Line by Line Explanation


A slumber did my spirit seal—

I had no human fears.

She seemed a thing that could not feel

The touch of earthly years.

The poet begins by stating that his spirit was sealed or closed off as if in a state of slumber and this slumber symbolises eternal sleep, here it is the death of his loved one. He wants to convey that his spirit experiences a state of profound sleep or death like state which has caused a numbness. This happened due to the death of Lucy, the daughter of earth. The poet was so emotionally connected with Lucy that after her death which is eternal sleep, his soul also experiences the same state of slumber which has forbidden him to feel anything.

Due to this sad state, the speaker is unable to experience human fears which refers to the human sensations. Probably, the poet has stopped experiencing any sensations as he is in utter grief and shock after Lucy’s death. This implies that poet undergoes a sense of calmness or departure from the anxieties or fears of life as he has accepted the death as a truth of life after initial emotional turmoil. He feels that she, in spite of being alive, was away from fears, weaknesses or any impact of earthly life such as aging, diseases, pain, stress, etc. Here, the poet presents the girl as an embodiment of nature which is eternal and ceaseless, untouched by the passage of time, free from the effects of years or aging that is faced by mortals or human beings.

 Video on Slumber did my spirit seal

No motion has she now, no force—

She neither hears nor sees,

Rolled round in earth’s diurnal course

With rocks and stones and trees.

The earth’s daughter is described to be having no movement nor energy. After death she can’t move and unable to do anything. She can’t see nor can she hear. The poet wants to convey that death has snatched all her senses which enable all the mortals to see, hear, walk and feel in their life. She can’t do anything that humans do as she has become a part of earth after her death and that is the destiny of all the mortals. Now, she moves along with earth’s rotation and revolution. She rolls and rolls just like all the physical features of earth such as rocks, trees, stones and all the spheres. She is now a part of the cyclical nature of the earth's daily course or rotation. Lucy, being the daughter of nature, was a part of earth and shall remain a part of its existence even after her death. Here, the poet conveys the philosophy of human life that we humans are constituted of soil, and shall become the part of this earth only, after death.

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Summary / Synopsis

·       "A slumber did my spirit seal" is a reflective and contemplative poem that explores themes of nature, time, and the enduring connection between the human spirit and the natural world.  

The poet is in a state of profound stillness or death like numbness, where his spirit is sealed in slumber, because Lucy, the daughter of earth, is dead. She becomes unresponsive to the passage of time such as motion, energy and senses of life. She eventually mixes with the natural elements of the earth. Wordsworth often explored themes of nature, mortality, and life in his poetry, and so he did in this poem. Lucy is associated with inanimate elements of earth such as rocks, stones, and trees, after death. It implies all living beings’ return to, or integration with, the earth and its components.


The poem deals with multiple themes ranging from a personal loss due to death of a beloved one, to the continuity of life. The poem reflects the theme that nature has an identity and there is an unbreakable connection between the human spirit and the natural world. The poem also discusses on mortality of human life and the enduring power and ceaselessness of nature.



The poem brings out the message through the poem that we are a part of nature which embodies life and death, and we have to go back to the elements of nature after our death. He emphasises that nature has an identity and we are no different from nature hence we shouldn't be indifferent towards any loss or damage to nature nor we should cause any harm to nature. The poet conveys that the life goes on despite the most unbearable loss i.e. death of our loved ones. 

 Poetic Devices

A slumber did my spirit seal — Alliteration, pathos, symbolism

I had no human fears Alliteration, paradox, symbolism

She seemed a thing that could not feel – Consonance, paradox  

The touch of earthly years – Symbolism

No motion has she now, no force — Alliteration, Repetition, Assonance

She neither hears nor sees –  Alliteration, Assonance, Consonance

Rolled round in earth’s diurnal course – Alliteration, Consonance, Imagery

With rocks and stones and trees – Imagery, Repetition, Consonance, Polysyndeton

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Questions – Answers

Q1. How does the poet imagine her to be, after death?

Ans. The poet feels that after death Lucy has become a part of earth. Now, she moves along with earth’s rotation. She rolls and rolls just like all the spheres of earth such as rocks, trees, stones and all the features of the earth. She is now a part of the cyclical nature of the earth's daily rotation or daily course. Lucy, being the daughter of nature, was a part of earth and shall remain a part of its existence even after her death.

Q2. Why could she not feel the touch of earthly years?

Ans. The poet says that after death Lucy is free from the weaknesses and impact of earthly life. Now, she has ceased to grow and she won’t face aging and other blemishes. Now, she will remain away from the phases of human life on this earth as she has become a part earth itself.

Q3. What does the poet mean by ‘A slumber did my spirit seal’? 

Ans. Through this line the poet means to say that a slumber which refers to the sudden death of Lucy came as a shock to the poet. The grief of losing his beloved made him numb and unable to feel anything. It seems to him as if a deep sleep had closed off his spirit and, shut his mind and heart and that’s why he was unable to perceive any emotion or human fears.


No motion has she now, no force—

She neither hears nor sees,

Rolled round in earth’s diurnal course

With rocks and stones and trees.

Q1. What does ‘diurnal course’ mean?

Q2. Who is the poet talking about? 

Q3. Why doesn't she have any motion or force? 

Q4. Where is she now?

Q5. What does the poet want to convey in these lines? 

Q6. Which poetic device is used in last two lines? 


A1. The phrase ‘diurnal course’ means daily course. Here, it refers to earth's rotation or movement of earth on its axis within 24 hours.

A2. The poet is talking about Lucy, earth's daughter who is dead now. 

A3. She doesn't have any motion or force because she is dead, hence free from any blemishes or blessings of earthly life. 

A4. She has now become a part of earth or nature as it happens with living soul after his/her death. After our death we get mixed into soil as we are a trifle part of eternal nature.

A5. The poet wants to convey in these lines that our life on this earth is transient or temporary and the nature is eternal. We are a part of nature and have to return to nature after our transient life. 

A6. The poetic device is used in last two lines is Imagery as an image of the earth and its physical features is created. 

Wednesday 27 December 2023

Book That Saved the Earth

The Book That Saved the Earth

                                By Claire Boiko


Analysis : 

·       ‘The Book That Saved the Earth’ is a humorous play written by CLAIRE BOIKO. It is a science fiction involving the characters most of whom are aliens from Mars.

·       This play describes how ‘Mother Goose’ a well-known book of nursery rhymes in English, was successful in saving the planet Earth from a Martian invasion.

·       The play is about how Martian invasion is foiled by a book which is an important medium of education, and how language is a powerful tool to establish earth’s supremacy over other planets which don’t have books.

·       The dialogues are interesting and clever and are able to expose the main plot of the play and speak all about the characters.

·       Interesting characters like Think Tank and his apprentice, Noodle are most important elements of the play, who reveal the story and add humour and interest to the development of the story.

·       The play expounds the age old truth that education is the most powerful tool of civilisation, advancement and progress, but half knowledge and incomplete information is highly dangerous.


Summary /  Synopsis:

§  The curtain rises in the Museum of Ancient History: Department of the Twentieth Century on the Planet Earth. The Historian talked about a Martian invasion in the year 2040. She showed the video where, in the opening scene two Martians, Think Tank and Noodle were talking about their invasion fleet which they had sent on the Earth to invade it. Think Tank considered that he was the most intelligent creature and worthy ruler of Mars though he was not. Noodle used to speak to him using salutations and give him due respect considering him his boss. Noodle established contact with the crew who had landed in Centreville Library on Earth.

§  Think Tank started speaking to his crew – Iota, Omega and Oop and asked them to describe the place and the weird things they were holding in their hands. The crew didn’t know that they had arrived at an Earth library and were perplexed about what books were for, as they hadn’t ever seen a book. They were misled by Think Tank who mistook those weird looking things for sandwiches and asked the crew to eat the sandwiches to prove him right.

§  Later, Noodle found out that those things are not be eaten but, were intended for communication. Then, Think Tank ordered them to listen to the books which he considered to be ‘communication sandwiches’ After Noodle's advice and reminder the crew took vitamins and were able to read the book after that. The crew chose the book ‘Mother Goose’ a collection of nursery rhymes to read.  But, they could only read the words. They were not able to understand proper explanation of the rhymes because it was tough for them to read figurative meaning from the books.

§  Think-Tank interrupted and started explaining the rhymes. He also felt terrified and disturbed to know that earthlings had advanced to mix agriculture with mining and discovered to grow cockle shells and rare metals in their fields. He was extremely horrified after hearing the lines like ‘cow jumped over the moon’, ‘a little dog laughed’, and ‘dish ran away with a spoon’. Think-Tank believed that Earthlings have advanced to the point where even pets can be raised to have emotions and domestic animals had been trained to go in space. He concluded that Earthlings had taught millions of cows to launch interplanetary invasion.

§  Furthermore, seeing the image of 'Humpty Dumpty' which resembled Think-Tank's large balloon shaped head, he was terrified of the lines 'Humpty Dumpty had a great fall,' fearing that Earthlings would seize Mars and overthrow Think-Tank.

§  As Think Tank was afraid excessively, he ordered his crew to return to Mars and forget the idea of invading Earth. He also fled to Alpha Centauri, a star, hundred million miles away from Mars. The play concluded with the Historian informing that Noodle became the Chief of Mars and he established cordial relations with the earth. The people on earth helped Noodle build a library in Marsopolis. The curtain falls.

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The play expounds the age old truth that education is the most powerful tool of civilisation, advancement and progress, but half knowledge and incomplete information is highly dangerous. We must take a comprehensive view of things before reaching the conclusion that's what Think Tank couldn't do. We should look into the details, and not come out with superficial conclusions or wild guesses as it may be hazardous.

 The play teaches us to be smart, informed and knowledge seeking person like Noodle, and not a proud, vain, ill-mannered and authoritative boss like Think Tank.

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Important Question Answers

Q1. How could a book save the earth from Martian invasion?

Ans. ‘Mother Goose’, the book of nursery rhymes frightened the Martian invaders as Think Tank wrongly decoded the meaning of its rhymes concluding that earthlings have already planned to invade Mars and are far ahead in terms of scientific and technological advancements. They transcribed from the rhymes that the people on earth had developed the technology to grow shells and rare metals like silver and they had taught their cows to go on moon and, thus cows could be sent on interplanetary invasion. This wrong interpretation by Think Tank scared him so much that he called his invasion fleet back and ran away from Mars to Alpha Cetauri. Eventually, the earth evaded the invasion due to a book, ‘Mother Goose’.


Q2. How does Noodle very smartly put up his ideas before his boss without offending him or hurting his sentiments?

Ans. Noodle is very smart, clever and manipulative. He knows how to put in his ideas or opinions without offending his boss, Think Tank or without letting him know that his ideas are not so good. Noodle uses the words like insignificant idea, trifling mind or cloudy piece of data for his suggestions even when his ideas are brilliant as he doesn’t want to be condescending towards his boss as well as retain his job with dignity.




Monday 11 December 2023

Snake and the Mirror

The snake and the Mirror

                                By Vaikom Muhammad Basheer


·       The story ‘The Snake and the Mirror’ is written by Vaikom Muhammad Basheer in Malyalam. It is translated in English by V. Abdulla.  

·       ‘The Snake and the Mirror’ is an interesting and humorous story about a homeopathic doctor who had an interesting but terrifying encounter with a cobra.

·       The doctor was very fond of his own good looks and hopeful of his future prospects. This influenced his way of telling the episode and making fun of his own situation. He narrated entire episode in such graphic and lively manner that his listeners listened to him in complete attention and bewilderment.

·       The story involves lot of humour, interest, twist, wit and suspense which are integral elements of a good story.


Summary  /  Synopsis

·       "The Snake and the Mirror" by Vaikom Muhammad Basheer is a humorous and interesting short story that narrates an unusual and terrifying encounter between a homeopathic doctor and a snake in his small rented room. The story unfolds as the doctor, who is a bachelor and has recently set up his medical practice. His earning is not good enough for a comfortable life.

·       He was getting ready for bed but it was a hot day and the house was not electrified. He decided to read and took out a book ‘Materia Medica’.

·       The doctor heard familiar sound of rats three times. Meanwhile the mirror on his table attracted his attention and he made two decisions, one of them was to have a clean shave and grow a thin moustache to look more handsome after all he was a bachelor, and a doctor. He took another earth shaking decision to keep an attractive smile on his face to look more handsome. He also disclosed his desire to marry a successful doctor who was fat so that she wouldn’t catch him if he committed a mistake.

·       After some time he stopped hearing that noise of rats, and then, the doctor noticed a snake coiled on his shoulder. The doctor remained remarkably composed, realising the intensity of the danger he was facing. He suddenly thought of medicine which he should apply if he got bitten by snake. He wasn’t having any medicine and so he smiled at himself and his foolishness.

·       The snake, however, got distracted by its own reflection in the mirror, leading to a comical moment where the doctor contemplated whether the snake was admiring its own beauty or making decisions about its appearance.

·       Despite the danger, the doctor managed to quietly leave the room and run to safety. The story concludes with a humorous twist, revealing that the doctor's possessions were stolen by a thief, leaving behind only the doctor's dirty vest as a final insult.

·       At the end, he revealed that his wife was slim and good at running, which was a humorous irony.

·       The narrative is laced with irony, as the doctor, who initially contemplated marriage to a wealthy and fat woman, finds himself in a life-threatening situation with a snake. The story explores themes of fear, quick thinking, and the unpredictability of life, all presented in a humorous and engaging manner.


·       The chapter clearly highlights that the stories told in a dramatic and lively manner cast immense impact on the listeners leaving them in rapt attention and amazement.

·       The story teaches us not to be hopeless or panic in problematic situations. We should not be depressed or scared in adverse situations as fear forces us to act suddenly and foolishly, and take wrong decisions, which may make the things worse. The doctor, though he was scared, kept patience and waited for the right moment which arrived at last. One should be patient and steady enough to think and take logical decisions and wise steps in all circumstances.

Saturday 9 December 2023



                                     By Vikram Seth



·       The chapter ‘Kathmandu’ is written by Vikram Seth based on his personal experiences, and that’s why he has successfully brought out true picture of a tourist spot in Kathmandu.

·       Vikram Seth, an Indian writer and novelist, has written several novels and poems. He is renowned for his novels such as A Suitable Boy, The Golden Gate and An Equal Music and the collection of his poems, Mappings.

·       This chapter presents a beautiful glimpse of the capital city of Nepal, Kathmandu which is varied in its heritage and cultural variety, rich in arts and handcrafts, land of temples and a heaven for tourists.

·       The Hindu and Buddhist temples of Kathmandu tell that people of Nepal accept their cultural and religious diversity and welcome all their good things in foreign cultures making them a part of their culture for ever.

·       The chapter about Kathmandu demonstrates Nepal’s richness in tourist destinations, temples, markets and its arts and crafts highlighting its geographical variety, cultural richness and economical strength.

·       This chapter touches upon write’s personal interest for music through a beautiful description of a flute seller in the market streets of Kathmandu, the capital city of Nepal.


Synopsis / Summary 

In the chapter ‘Kathmandu’, the author describes his experience of travelling the city. When he arrives in the city, he secures a cheap room in the town centre where he rests for an extended period during his stay in the city. Accompanied by Mr. Shah's son and nephew, he explores two temples of significance to Hindus and Buddhists. Pashupatinath, a Hindu temple, is described as a place of bustling activities, featuring priests, devotees, tourists, animals, and even a brief encounter with Nepalese royalty. The devotees pushed and elbowed one another to get ahead, monkeys ran and fought everywhere and the police pushed western devotees saying that they were not Hindus. The scene captures the chaotic yet vibrant atmosphere of religious fervour.

As a complete contrast, the narrator visits the Baudhnath stupa, a Buddhist shrine, where a sense of stillness prevails. The stupa is surrounded by small shops owned by Tibetan immigrants. The scene offers a peaceful heaven amidst the busy streets at outer circle. The chapter paints a vivid picture of Kathmandu's diverse and lively atmosphere, from crowded narrow streets adorned with artistic objects and crafts to the quiet and serene and ambiance around the Buddhist stupa.

The chapter concludes with a poignant reflection on the impact of flute music heard in the city square. The flute seller, with his array of bamboo flutes, plays meditatively, creating a universal and intimate connection through the shared language of music. He describes various other types of flutes from various countries such as China, Japan, America, etc. The narrator finds himself unexpectedly moved by the bansuri's familiar phrases, contemplating the significance of such details, which he previously might not have noticed in his returns from abroad.

The narrator immerses himself in the city's mercenary and religious aspects, indulging in local treats and observing the daily life around him. Despite considering various travel routes, he decides to head home, purchasing a flight ticket from Nepal Airlines.

The chapter captures the rich tapestry of Kathmandu's cultural, religious, and sensory experiences, blending the chaotic with the serene and the mundane with the profound.

Important Terms

Shrine                  Temple, small place of worship

Febrile confusion:       hurried activity, complete chaos

Haven:                 a safe place

marzipan:            a sweet made with grated almond

brazier:                open stove

nauseating:          sickening

per-se:                 by itself

Important Question - Answers 

Q1. Compare and contrast the atmosphere in and around the Baudhnath shrine with the Pashupatinath temple.

Ans. The atmosphere in and around the Baudhnath shrine is completely different from that of the Pashupatinath temple. There is an atmosphere of ‘febrile confusion’ in the Pashupatinath Temple. Priests, hawkers, devotees, tourists, cows, monkeys, pigeons and dogs roam through the ground in the temple. There are so many worshippers that some people trying to get the priest’s attention are elbowed aside by others pushing their way to the front. At the main gate, some saffron-clad Westerners struggle for permission to enter but the policeman didn’t allow as they are not ‘Hindus’. A fight breaks out between two monkeys. One chases the other and one jumps onto a shivalinga, then runs screaming around the temple. At the Baudhnath stupa, the Buddhist shrine of Kathmandu, there is, in contrast, a sense of stillness and quietness. Small shops stand on its outer edge of the stupa. Unlike Pasupatinath temple, there are no crowds and no hue and cry. This stupa is a haven of quietness in spite of the busy streets around, and which is a complete contrast to the atmosphere at the Pashupatinath Temple.