Tamil Nadu 12th Standard English Book Answers | A Father to his Son

12th English : A Father to his Son

12th Standard English Book Unit 5.2 A Father to his Son Book Back Answers

Unit 5.2 > A Father to his Son

Warm up

Every parent is anxious about the welfare of his / her children. Parents express their anxiety by advising them almost all the time. What kind of advice do you frequently receive from your parents? Fill in the bubbles. Tick the ones you like to follow implicitly and give reasons for the ones you don’t like to follow.

12th Standard English Book Unit 5.2 A Father to his Son Book Back Answers

  • Wash your fingers before eating.
  • Don’t stay awake till late night.
  • Who are you talking to over the phone for a long time?

Glossary

  • humdrum monotony – boring routine
  • soft loam – fertile soil
  • lashes – whips
  • thwarted – frustrated
  • white lies – lies told to avoid hurting one’s feelings
  • quest of lucre – money gained in a dishonourable way
  • resenting – disliking

1. Fill in the blanks choosing the words from the box given and complete the summary of the poem.

Lines 1-25

The poet Carl Sandburg gives a vivid description of a father’s worldly (1) wisdom in directing a son who is at the threshold of his (2) manhood. Here the father motivates his son to be like a hard (3) rock and withstand life’s (4) challenges and sudden betrayals. (5) Life is like a fertile soil. We can make our life fruitful if we are gentle, and take life as it comes. At times (6) gentleness overtakes harshness. The growth of a (7) tender-flower can split a rock. One should have a (8) deep desire and strong will to achieve. Greed for (9) money has left men dead before they really die. Good men also have fallen prey in quest for (10) easy money. Time for (11) leisure is not a waste. When you seek knowledge never feel ashamed to be called a (12) fool for not knowing, at the same time learn from your (13) mistakes and never (14) repeat it.

deep desire repeat manhood gentleness mistakes
easy leisure fool life money
wisdom rock challenges tender-flower

Lines 26-44

Do (15) introspect often, and do not hesitate to accept your shortcomings, avoid (16) white lies to protect self against other people. Solitude helps to be (17) creative and (18) final decisions are taken in silent rooms. Instead of being one among many, be (19) different if that is your nature. The son may need lazy days to find his (20) inherent abilities, to seek what he is born for. He will then know how free imaginations bring (21) changes to the world, which (22) resents change. During such resentment, let him know that it is time for him to be on his own, and (23) work to achieve like Shakespeare, the Wright brothers, Pasteur, Pavlov and Michael Faraday.

changes introspect inherent work resents
white lies creative different final decisions

2. Based on your understanding of the poem answer the following questions in one or two sentences

a) How would the poet’s advice help his son who is at the threshold of the manhood?

The poet’s advice would help his son face life’s challenges and sudden betrayals confidently.

b) ‘A tough will counts.’ Explain.

One should have a deep desire and strong will power to achieve.

c) What happened to the people who wanted too much money?

The people who wanted too much money were dead years before their burial.

d) What has twisted good men into thwarted worms?

The search for more in a dishonourable way has twisted good men into thwarted (frustrated) worms.

e) How would his being alone help the boy?

Being alone will help him to be creative and make final decisions.

f) Where are the final decisions taken?

The final decisions are taken in silent rooms.

g) What are the poet’s thoughts on ‘being different’?

The poet says that instead of being one among many, his son should be different if it is easy and natural.

h) Why does the poet advise his son to have lazy days?

The son may need lazy days to seek his deeper motives and find his inherent talents.

i) The poet says

‘Without rich wanting nothing arrives’ but he condemns ‘the quest of lucre beyond a few easy needs.’ Analyse the difference and write.

One should earn money honestly. He should be satisfied with sufficient money to lead his life. Without the desire for earning money, one cannot satisfy one’s basic needs. But the search for money dishonestly should be discouraged. One should not accumulate money beyond essential needs.

3. Read the lines given below and answer the questions that follow

a) “Life is hard; be steel; be a rock.”

i) How should one face life?

One should face life by being like a rock.

ii) Identify the figure of speech in the above line.

Metaphor.

b) Life is a soft loam; be gentle; go easy,
And this too might serve him.”

i) Why does the poet suggest to take life easy?

Life is like a fertile soil. We can make our life fruitful by being gentle and taking life easy.

ii) Identify the figure of speech in the above line.

Metaphor.

c) Tell him solitude is creative if he is strong
and the final decisions are made in silent rooms.

i) Can being in solitude help a strong human being? How?

Yes. Being in solitude helps a strong human being to introspect and make final decisions.

ii) Identify the figure of speech in the above line.

Transferred Epithet.

d) Tell him time as a stuff can be wasted.
Tell him to be a fool every so often

i) Why does the poet suggest that time can be wasted?

Time can be wasted for leisure.

ii) Identify the figure of speech in the above line.

Repetition.

e) Tell him to be a fool ever so often
and to have no shame over having been a fool
yet learning something out of every folly
hoping to repeat none of the cheap follies

i) Is it a shame to be a fool at times?

No, it is not a shame to be a fool at times. But follies should not be repeated.

ii) What does one learn from every folly?

One learns some lessons from every folly and hopes not to repeat anyone of the follies.

f) – – – – – – – – – Free imaginations
Bringing changes into a world resenting change.

i) How does free imagination help the world?

Free imagination helps the world by introducing changes.

ii) Identify the figure of speech.

Transferred epithet.

g) Pick out the alliterated words from the poem and write.

And this might stand him for the storms

stand – storms.

4. Find out the synonym of the underlined word in each of the following sentences.

a) and guide him among sudden betrayals
and tighten him for slack moments.

Reference:-

These lines are taken from the poem ‘A Father to his Son’ written by Carl August Sandburg.

Context:-

This is in the beginning of the advice given by a father to his son.

Explanation:-

The poet wants to direct his son who is reaching manhood. He motivates his son to be like a hard rock. He can face life’s challenges and untoward breach of trust by being firmly resolved. ‘Slack moments’ refers to a state of depression.

b) Brutes have been gentled where lashes failed.

Reference:-

This line is taken from the poem ‘A Father to his Son’ written by Carl August Sandburg.

Context:-

This line comes when the poet wants to say that life is sometime soft and we may need to be
gentle.

Explanation:-

The poet motivates his son reaching manhood to be steely resolved. This will make him face the challenges of life and sudden betrayals. At times gentleness overtakes harshness. Thrashing may fail to change a man. But a gentle approach will make a brute good-natured.

c) Yet learning something out of every folly
hoping to repeat none of the cheap follies

Reference:-

These lines are taken from the poem ‘A Father to his Son’ written by Carl August Sandburg.

Context:-

In the course of giving advice to his son, the father utters these words.

Explanation:-

The poet directs his son who is reaching manhood to be a successful person. From his experience he advises his son to be careful in certain areas. Here he says making mistakes is not something to feel ashamed of. We can learn many things from our mistakes. But we should be careful not to repeat the mistake.

d) He will be lonely enough
to have time for the work

Reference:-

These lines are taken from the poem ‘A Father to his Son’ written by Carl August Sandburg.

Context:-

The poet wants to say that being in solitude, his son will make some changes.

Explanation:-

The poet wants his son to know how free imaginations bring changes to the world which resents change. During such resentment he will know that it is time for him to be his own and try to achieve like great people.

6. Answer the following questions in a paragraph of about 100 words each.

a) Explain how the poet guides his son who is at the threshold of manhood, to face the challenges of life.

“Life is hard; be steel; be a rock.” And this might stand him for the storms

The poet, Carl August Sandburg motivates his son to be like a hard rock to face the challenges of life and betrayals. He can make his life fruitful if he is gentle and takes life easy. He must have a firm will power and deep desire to achieve. He should earn sufficient money to satisfy his basic needs. But he must remember that too much money has killed men and left them dead before their burial.

He must know that it is not a shame to be called a fool. At the same time, he must learn lessons from the mistakes and avoid repeating the follies. He must introspect often and accept his weaknesses. He must not tell white lies to protect himself. Being alone will help him make wise decisions. He can be different if that is his nature. Finding his inherent talents and deeper motives, he must work to achieve like Shakespeare, Wright Brothers, Pasteur and so on.

Tell him to be different from other people
If it comes natural and easy being different

b) How according to the poet is it possible for his son to bring changes into a world that resents changes?

Bringing changes into a world resenting change.

The poet directs his son who is reaching manhood. He motivates him to be as hard as steel to face the challenges of life and sudden betrayals. He tells his son that he may need lazy days to seek his deep motives and find his inherent abilities. He will then know how free imagination can bring changes to the world. It is indeed that the world may disagree to the changes suggested. It may repel them. But with his firm will power and gentle ironical approach, he can convince the world of desirable changes for a better and brighter tomorrow. The growth of a frail flower can shatter and split a rock. At times gentleness overtakes harshness. Thus according to the poet, it is possible for his son to bring changes into a world that resents changes.

He will be lonely enough to have time for the work, he knows as his own.

Listening

Listen to the poem read by the teacher or to the recorded version and write a synopsis in
about 100 words. The teacher can choose any three stanzas

The first three stanzas

Abraham Lincoln writes a letter to his son’s teacher in which he expects the teacher to guide him to face the world confidently. He wants his son to learn that all men are not honest. But at the same time, the teacher can tell him that for every scoundrel, there is a hero who is upright and honest. There is a dedicated leader among greedy politicians. There is a friend who will stand by him when he is surrounded by enemies. Let his son avoid envy and learn how to laugh quietly. He should know that it is easy to win over bullies. Let him know the value of reading books. But he must have free time to think deep on the eternal mystery of nature.

Speaking

Tell him too much money has killed men
And left them dead years before burial:”

These are the lines you have just read from the poem.

Given below is a well-known quotation.

“Cowards may die many a times
before their death”.

Study the quotation and identify the adverse human qualities that are worse than ‘death’ and discuss the underlying message conveyed.

An aimless life is more than death. One should live for one’s family and society. So, life without aim or ambition is worse than death. There are some people who flatter and praise those with power or wealth and they die before their burial. Similarly, the parasites – those who live on others – are a burden on a civilized society. Such people’s life is worse than death. Inability to fight against despotic rule and bearing with the bestial cruelties of the oppressor are worse than death. Those who indulge in terrorism and cowardly act of killing the innocent people are dead before their burial.

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