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English Class 12th ~ Chapter 8. Memories of Childhood (Zitkala-Sa & Bama)

            Memories of Childhood 

Memories of Childhood👦👧 | CH - 8 | Vistas | Zitkala-Sa and Bama ...

PART – 1


Points to Remember
1. That was the first day of the narrator in a new school.
2. A large bell rang to call the children for breakfast and then there was a lot of movement in the corridors.
3. She felt humiliated as her dress was very tight and her blanket was removed.
4. A small bell was tapped to draw the chairs from under the tables.
5. There was another bell to make them take their seats.
6. The narrator was new to the system of the bell so she sat down at the first bell only.
7. She was noticed by the higher authorities, which frightened her a lot.
8. Late in the evening her friend Judewin told her that they are going to cut her hair.
9. The narrator decided to struggle before submitting.
10. She disappeared and crept up stairs.
11. She hid herself under the bed in a large room.
12. She heard people searching for her.
13. She was scared but was not ready to surrender.
14. She resisted by picking and scratching wildly.
15. Ultimately she was dragged from there and her hair was shingled. She wept and remembered her mother.
16. It was the beginning of her miseries as she was treated like an animal.

PART – 2


–By Bama

Points to Remember
1. When Bama was in class third, she was too innocent to know about untouchability.
2. She enjoyed her life in observing things and events on her way home.
3. She took about an hour in coming back watching the events on her way home.
4. She watched all the fun and games, novelties and oddities in the streets, shops and market place.
5. She would watch puppet show, snake charmer, chopping up of onion, pouring of coffee and all such interesting things.
6. One day she saw a thrashing floor where the people were driving cattles in pairs round and round.
7. Just then saw an elderly person of the village holding a packet by its string in a funny manner.
8. She was surprised and amused at the manner of carrying that packet.
9. She reported about the funny incident to her brother.
10. Her brother told her that the elderly man was not funny. He was carrying the packet in that strange manner as he could not touch it.
11. He explained her that the man was untouchable so he was humiliated.
12. He advised her to work hard in her studies, if she wanted to be respected.
13. Bama took that lesson seriously and worked hard throughout her life.

1.What were the indignities that the new girls were subjected to at Carlisle Indian School?
Ans. The girls were scrutinized thoroughly and supervised by a grey- haired woman. They were made to wear tight fitting immodest clothes and stiff shoes. During breakfast a systematic and regimental discipline was observed. The girls with long hair had to get them shingled and they had to submit to the authorities who were strong, unfeeling and cruel.

2. How had Zitkala – Sa been subjected to extreme indignities?
Ans. Since the day she was taken from her mother Zitkala had suffered many indignities. She was stared at and tossed like a wooden puppet. Her long hair was shingled like a coward's. In her pain
when she cried for her mother no one came forward to comfort her. She was just like one of the animals driven by a herder.

3. What did judewin tell the narrator? What was the effect?
Ans. Judewin who could understand a little English informed the narrator that the strange woman intended to cut their long hair. But the
narrator had learnt from her mother that the enemy cut the hair of the unskilled warrior when they are captured and among their people mourners wear short hair and cowards shingled hair. So, she
decided to resists. She hid herself under a bed in a dark room.

4. Why was Zitkala-Sa so averse of having her hair cut?
Ans. It was an age old tradition among the people of tribe, to which Zitkala-Sa belongs, to maintain their long shining and beautiful hair. It was believed that only the warriors or the mourners get their hair shingled. Short hair worn by the cowards as per their tradition. So, obviously Zitkala-Sa never wanted her hair to be cut short.

Short Answer Questions

1. Why did Bama take half hour to an hour to cover the distance to her home that would normally take only ten minutes?
Ans. She walked very slowly and watched every scene, shop, snake charmer, man paddling his bicycle to win prizes and so on. She liked to see the Maariyatta temple, the Pongal celebrations, the
statue of Gandhi and the sweet and snack stalls. Everything stopped her and attracted her attention. She also stopped to the processions of the political parties, street play or a puppot show or stunt performance.

2. How did Bama first come to know of the social discrimination faced by the people of her community?
Ans. She saw an elder carrying a small packet by its string without touching it. The elder went straight to the landlord. He bowed low and extended the packet towards him. The landlord opened it and started eating. She was amused to see the incident. On reaching home, she narrated the incident to her elder brother Annan. But
her brother was not amused. He explained that the man was from a low caste and the landlord was from the upper caste. Everybody believed that they would be polluted if they are touched by the low caste people.

1. "Children are keen observers. they notice every happening in their surroundings. Injustice in any form can not escape being unnoticed by them." Explain with reference to "Memories of Childhood".

Ans. Even the slightest action of the elders in their immediate surroundings never go unnoticed by the children. They do not reconcile with their fate but become rebel as and when find a chance. They tend to raise their voice against the injustice; it may not bear fruit immediately like in case of Zitkala-Sa and Bama. But sown a seed of rebellion they become more sensitive, receptive and readily get an idea of any injustice done to them. If got right grooming, with their courage, will power, hard work, determination, grit and far-sightedness, these seeds(children) bloom. In both the versions of "Memories of child hood", thought depicted are from societies in different parts of world. Both the
women belong to marginalized sections of their respective societies, suffered a lot but never gave up. Being observant they took calculated steps i.e., Education, to up bring themselves from the mess of ignorance and atrocities.

2. How did Annan advise his sister Bama regarding untouchability and what was its effect on her?

Ans. Annan is a thoughtful and considerate elder brother. He guides her and explains the social stigma of untouchability . He told that the elder carrying Vadai was not amusing but pathetic. He
was the victim of social prejudice. Bama became angry and annoyed Annan guides her in right direction. He believe that people of their community should study and outshine others to earn respect in society. Bama follows his timely advice and grows up to be a balanced and well respected individual of the society.

Questopn.1. Why was Zitkala-Sa in tears on the first day in the land of apples? (All India 2014)
Answer. Zitkala-Sa was in tears on the first day in the land of apples because she was forced to part with her heavy, long hair. To avoid it, she even hid herself under the bed but she was soon found out and tied fast to her chair. She cried in protest but it all went in vain and she felt the blades of the scissors against her neck and heard them gnaw off her thick braids.
Questopn.2. What comic incident did Bama narrate to her brother? Why was he not amused?
(Foreign 2014)
Answer. While walking back home from school, Bama saw an elder of her street walking towards the landlord, carrying a food packed by its strings without touching it. This made her shriek with laughter. When she narrated the incident to her brother, he was not amused and told her that people of their caste were considered untouchables and that is why the elder carried the packet by its string.
Questopn.3. Which words of her brother made a deep impression on Bama? (Delhi 2014)
Answer. Bama’s brother had told her that because they were born in a particular caste, they were stripped off all honour and dignity. For them, the only way to get their due respect was to make progress by studying hard. Bama took her brother’s words very seriously and excelled in academics to stan^first in her class.

Questopn.4. What is common between Zitkala-Sa and Bama? (Compartment 2014)

Answer. Both Zitkala-Sa and Bama had experienced discrimination in their childhood. While Zitkala-Sa had been a victim of oppression at the hands of the whites in her boarding school, Bama felt and experienced untouchability early in life for being born a ‘dalit’,

Questopn.5. What sort of shows or entertainment attracted Bama? (All India 2013)

Which activities of the people would Bama watch keenly in the bazaar?
Which actions of the people would Bama watch keenly in the bazaar? (Foreign 2011)
Answer. The bazaar on the way home was always buzzing with activities. The snake charmer, street plays, puppet shows and stunt performances were a few interesting things going on there.
Bama used to love all these things.

Questopn.6. What were the articles in the stalls and shops that fascinated Bama on her way back

from school? (All India 2013)
Answer. On her way back from school, Bama witnessed a variety of interesting things which fascinated her. She saw the dried fish stall, the sweet stall and the stall selling fried snacks. Then there were wild lemurs, needles, clay beads and instruments for cleaning out the ears on sale. She loved to watch the waiters cool the coffee and the chopping up of onions.

Questopn.7. What did Zitkala-Sa feel when her long hair was cut? (Delhi 2011)

Answer. When her long hair was cut, Zitkala-Sa felt anguished and pained. She thought that she was a wooden puppet who had been tossed about in the air. She was really distressed by the fact that nobody came to comfort her like her mother did. She missed her mother very much and felt like an animal driven by a herder.

Questopn.8. What was the advice that Annan gave to Bama? Did she follow it? (All India 2011)

Answer. Annan told Bama that because they were born in a particular community, they were stripped of all honour, dignity or respect. The only way to get all this back was to study hard and make progress. Annan told Bama that education was the key to acceptance by the society so she must learn her lessons really well. Yes, Bama paid heed to his advice and stood first in her class.

Questopn.9. “I felt like sinking tcffhe floor,” says Zitkala-Sa. When did she feel so and why?

(All India 2011)
Answer. When Zitkala-Sa’s shawl was removed from her shoulders, she felt very embarrassed due to her c.linging dress. That was when she felt like sinking to the floor. She considered herself as one of the little animals driven by a herder.

Questopn.10.What did Judewin tell Zitkala-Sa? How did she react to it? (All India 2011)

Answer. The hostel authorities were going to cut the long hair of girls. Wearing short hair was against Zitkala-Sa’s culture. Judewin told her that they would have to submit, for they could not fight the strong authorities. However, Zitkala-Sa disagreed and decided to put up a fight and resist it.

Questopn.11.What does Zitkala-Sa remember about the first day in the land of apples? (Foreign 2011)

Answer. the first day in the Ian8 of apples was a ‘bitter-cold one’ firstly because the snow still covered the ground and the trees were bare. Secondly, die atmosphere of the school was not at all cordial. It was dictatorial and regimental. The author did not understand the language spoken there or the cuiture followed.
She detested the way in which even the day to day activities like eating and dressing up were done ‘by formula’. Even the teachers seemed to be ruthless.

Questopn.12.Why was Zitkala-Sa so averse to having her hair cut ? (Foreign 2011)

Answer. Zitkala-Sa did not wish to get her hair cut because her mother’s words were deeply embedded in her mind. Her mother had told her that only the hair of prisoners of war was shingled by captors. In their culture, short hair was worn by mourners and shingled hair by cowards.

Questopn.13.Why did the landlord’s man ask Bama’s brother on which street he lived? What was

the significance? (Delhi 2010)
Answer. One day, when Annan was returning home from the library, one of the landlord’s men approached him and asked him his name. Thereafter the man asked him in which street he lived. He specifically asked this question because it was aimed at finding out his caste. Annan narrated this incident to Bama to let her know the indignity and humiliation their community had to suffer.

Questopn.14.Why was Zitkala-Sa terrified when Judewin told her that her hair would be cut short?

(All India 2010)
Answer. Zitkala-Sa is an American Indian. In her culture, short hair is worn by mourners. As it is, she was disturbed and embarrassed by the rooms of the school. She got all the more terrified when Judewin told her that her hair would be cut short.

Questopn.15.Why did Bama take thirty minutes walking home from school when she could have

covered the distance in ten minutes? (All India 2009)
Answer. On her way back from school, Bama got attracted by the little trivialities on the street. The buzzing market, the snake charmers, the lemurs in cages etc., all caught her attention. Thus, it took Bama thirty minutes to return from school, when she could have covered this distance in ten minutes.

Questopn.16.When did Bama first come to know of the social discrimination faced by the people of

her community? “(Delhi 2009)
Answer. Bama was a Tamil Indian belonging to the dalit community. She first came to know about the social discrimination faced by the people of her community when she was a student of class three. She saw, on her way back from school, an elderly man carrying a small packet containing some eatables by a string without touching it.
She found it very funny but was shocked to know from her brother that since that bag was for the landlord, it was not to be touched by the dalit who was carrying it. Thus it was carried in such a manner.

Questopn.17.How did Zitkala-Sa try to prevent the shingling of her hair? (Delhi 2009)

Answer. To escape from her hair being cut, Zitkala-Sa crept upstairs unnoticed. She entered a large room and crawled under the bed in the dark. However, she was ultimately found, was dragged out, carried downstairs and tied to a chair. Finally, despite her fierce resistance, her long braid were chopped off.

Questopn.18.Describe the experience Bama had on her way back home which made her feel sad.

(Foreign 2009)
Answer. One day, when Bama was on her way back home, she saw that an elder of ‘her street’ was carrying a small packet of vadai or green banana bhajji. He was holding the packet by its string without touching it. This was because he was an untouchable and his touch would have rendered it unfit for the consumption of the upper caste landlord.
This experience made her feel sad because the incident portrayed that from the beginning, our society has been divided on rigid caste lines. The lower castes have suffered untold miseries and humiliations by the upper caste people.
Long Answer Type Questions (6 Marks, 120-150 words)

Questopn.19.What activities did Bama witness on her way back from school? (Compartment 2014)

Answer. Bama’s home was a ten-minute walking distance from her school but it usually -took her from half an hour to an hour to reach. On her way back, many activities and sights caught her attention.
Bama got attracted to many novelties and oddities on the street like the performing monkey, the snake charmer’s snake, the wild lemur in a cage, the cyclist and spinning wheels, the Maariyaata temple and its huge bell, etc. She also noticed the pongal offerings being cooked in front of the temple. There was a dried fish stall near the statue of Gandhiji. There was a sweet stall and a stall selling fried snacks.
Puppet shows, street plays, public meetings of political parties were other entertaining activities. She would see the waiters pouring coffee and vendors chopping onions. She admired the various fruits that flooded the market according to the seasons.

Questopn.20.What are the similarities in the lives of Bama and Zitkala-Sa though they belong to

different cultures? (All India 2009)
Answer. Bama and Zitkala-Sa belong to different cultures. But both have experienced oppression and discrimination in their childhood.
Bama was born a ‘dalit’ and was upset to see the humiliations borne by the members of her community. They were considered untouchables, were made to live apart, run errands and bow humbly to people of the upper castes.
On the other hand, Zitkala-Sa was a victim of severe prejudice that prevailed against the native Americans. In the boarding school, her blanket was forcibly taken off her shoulders. At the same time, the forced cutting of her long hair only made her feel like a defeated warrior, for in her culture, short hair was only worn by mourners.
Thus, both Bama and* Zitkala-Sa have suffered as young members of marginalised communities.

Questopn.21.What oppression and discrimination did Zitkala-Sa and Bama experience during their childhood? How did they respond to their respective situations? (All India 2008)

Answer. Zitkala-Sa was a native American who was forcibly sent to a Christian school. She resisted the strict regimentation of the school. She hated cutting of her hair because in her culture short hair is worn by mourners. When her friend Judewin told her that they would have to give in, she disagreed and decided to fight against it.
Bama, on the other hand, belonged to a marginalised, untouchable community. She was upset to know the discriminatory treatment meted out to the members of her community. She was infuriated at this inhuman practice of casteism.
Both Zitkala-Sa and Bama refused to accept any type of oppression, exploitation or victimisation. Zitkala-Sa throughout her career as a writer criticised dogma and dedicated her entire life to fight against tryanny and oppression. Bama became a Tamil dalit writer and ushered a newness and freshness in her writings. Both of them tried to shed light on the atrocities committed by the oppressors on the hitherto marginalised communities.

English Vistas Class 12th CBSE

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