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Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Sample TE questions and answers

 1. Read the excerpt from 'Horegallu' The horegallu in our village holds special memories for me as it is inextricably linked with my grandfather. He was a retired schoolteacher and would spend hours every day, sitting under the banyan tree and talking to those resting there. When I would get tired of playing, I would sit next to him and observe the people he was speaking to and listen to their conversations. Most of them were villagers taking a break from their work in the fields nearby. They had to walk long distances each day, carrying heavy burdens on their heads. Tired out by the heat, they would drink the cool water, wash their faces with it and chat with grandfather.

Complete the sentences. a. The central figure in the passage is ............................ b. The word 'inextricably' means .................................. c. Horegallu is important because...................................................... d. The implied meaning of the expression 'heavy burdens' is ........................ (4)

 Ans:- a. The central figure in the passage is 'Grandfather.' b. Inextricably is an adverb that means in a manner that is impossible to unravel or separate from something else. c. Horegallu is important because it gives comfort to those who are tired of their burden. d. The implied meaning of the expression 'heavy burdens' is 'the burdens in the heart of the travellers.'

II. “A Horegallu is important in any journey. People carry their burdens according to our situation or capacities. Once in a while we need to stop, put down the burden and rest. Only then can we be refreshed to pick up the load once more. The Horegallu does just that, it helps them regain their strength.” Explain the message of the above lines in a paragraph.
(6) Ans:- The writer's grandfather a retired school teacher used to sit under a banyan tree and listen to the travellers or villagers who came to rest there. He did not give suggestions/solutions to their problems, but just patiently listened to what they had to say.

III. 'No one can solve your problem. You have to do it yourself', 'When a person is in trouble or under a lot of strain finds an outlet for his worries, it relieves half his burden.' This way she relieved them of their burden for a short while, till they are ready to pick themselves up and carry on with their journey. Explain the message of the above lines in a paragraph. (6) Ans:- The second person Ratna who acts as a horegallu was a colleague of the writer. She was middle aged, always smiling & was with the company for 25years. She also did 1more thing. Everyday during lunch hour she would sit with a different person & has a long chat with them. When asked what they chatted she would say 'They share their troubles with me. I only listen'. Everyone needs a Horegallu in their Life's journey. It can be a break, a talk with a friend, vacation, or even an argument which refreshes/refocuses you on your path. Some people are good listeners and trustworthy not to publicize your secrets/problems. We need such people in our life's and should thank them whenever we can.

IV. On the occasion of honouring Ratna for her selfless service to the society, one of her colleagues spoke the following words. (Fill in the blanks with an adjective/ adjective phrase/clause etc.) a. Ratna deedi is a -------------------- person. She is as simple as --------------. She spends hours with us-------------------------. She is very --------------------------- and -------------------- in solving -------------------problems. !! Ratna who--------------------- ---------------------- is our true friend. We always recall her ----------- words with gratitude. (4) Ans:- selfless, ABC, particularly, meticulous, wise, hard, listens and cares, kind.

V. Compare the two characters Grandfather and Ratna or give character traits of these persons (6) Ans:- Grandfather and Ratna have the role of a counsellor (Qualities of a good listener) - Liked long chatting with some persons during the break hours - Sharing troubles with patience and affection - Hear with sympathy and without any judgement - Never break the confidence and tell others secrets - Experiencing others problems - Passing through the stages of friendships - Attempt to discover what he or she was at the moment- Relieve their burden for a short while - Provide a safe, supportive and confidential space - Enable to find a better way of dealing with their situations - Helps to overcome the problems.

VI. Prepare a write -up on the significance of the title "Horegallu" .You may cite examples from the story to justify your stance. (8)

VII. Match box and Horegallu are the two inanimate objects which play vital roles in Ashapurna Debi's story "Match box" and Sudha Murty's anecdote "Horegallu". How do such objects serve their purpose in stories? Substantiate your views with situations from the texts. (8)

 VIII. Imagine that your class dramatizes the story "Horegallu" as part of Annual Day Celebration. You are assigned the task of welcoming the audience and introducing the play to them. Prepare the script of the speech for the occasion. (6)

 Prepared from Teacher Text SCERT +2 English


HOREGALLU -Notes by Thomas A A, GHSS Kattoor, Irinjalakuda and Girija M B, G H S S Elavally, Thrissur

HOREGALLU an anecdote by Sudha Murty

WRITER: Sudha Murty – D/o Dr S. R. Kulkarni, reputed physician and W/o Narayana Murty co-founder of Infosys – Social worker, member of Gates Foundation, founded many orphanages, - Writer of novels, Travelogues, Collection of short stories, books for children, etc

WRITINGS: Murthy is a prolific fiction author in Kannada and English. She has published several books, mainly through Penguin, that espouse her philosophical views on charity, hospitality and self-realization through fictional narratives. Some of her notable books in Kannada are Dollar Sose, Runa, Kaveri inda Mekaangige, Hakkiya Teradalli, Athirikthe, Guttondu Heluve. The book How I Taught My Grandmother to Read & Other Stories has been translated into 15 languages including Hindi, Marathi and Assamese. Her latest book is The Day I Stopped Drinking Milk. Other notable books by her are Wise and Otherwise, Old Man and his God,The Magic Drum And Other Favourite Storiesand Gently Falls the Bakula. Marathi movie 'Pitruroon' is based on a story by Sudha Murthy.

Introduction:-'HOREGALLU' is taken from a set of short stories (25) entitled ‘The Old Man and his God’. Sudha Murthy introduces real life experiences during her work. She holds up a mirror to the lives of the people in her village and attempts to trace their stress and spirit of daily.

Meaning of the Title:- 'HOREGALLU' literally means 'a stone that can bear weight' here it is 'a large flat stone placed horizontally over two vertical ones, thus making a stone bench on which anyone could sit and rest a while, chat with a fellow traveller and exchange news of the road.'

Significance of the Title:- In deeper sense-In the journey of life we have to face a number of challenges ,severe situations , conflicts and crises which disrupt the normal life cycle. In such situations need to put down the burden and rest. Horegallu gives the opportunity to do so. It helps people regain their strength .It is a symbol of people who are ready to give rest to the burdens (worries) of others by listening to them.
1. Author, Sudha Murty:- Remembers her childhood days and later her work in an office in Mumbai
 2. Grandfather:- A retired schoolteacher – used to sit under the banyan tree, talking to those resting there – refreshes the travellers by listening to their worries.
3. Ratna:- A senior clerk – middle aged – 25 years working experience – did the same thing that of the grand father by spending time with fellow workers during lunch hour – never betrayed secrets of others- always smiling - rejoices through the act of kindness.
4. Silent Characters a. Horegallu:- A symbol of a place (or persons) where you can take rest by unloading your burden (worries). b. Banyan Tree:- Stands for nature (or persons) which (or who) gives comfort to those who are tired.

 Theme and Message: Sharing and caring – the social togetherness. Importance of such persons who act like 'horegallu' (Grandfather and Ratna). Be patient and listen to others, we have two ears to listen (but one mouth to speak).
 Plot: Whenever the writer sees a horegallu, she remembers the two persons who were true horegallus .

Prepared by Thomas A A, GHSS Kattoor, Irinjalakuda. Edited by Girija M B, G H S S Elavally, Thrissur
click here to download the file

Saturday, June 27, 2015

unit 1/4 Sudha Murthy -A review

credits to

A useful review 
.............This one has a story called HoreGallu. 'HoreGallu' literally means 'stone that can bear weight'. These Horegallu are found under trees in villages where travellers, villagers can rest in between their journey or work. They usually have besides them a pot of cool water to quench & refresh the traveller along with much needed rest.

In this story the author is telling about 2people in her life who performed this duty selflessly. One was her grandfather a retired school teacher who used to sit under this tree and listen to the travellers or villagers who came to rest there. He did not give suggestions/solutions to their problems, but just patiently listened to what they had to say.

He used to say,

A Horegallu is important in any journey. People carry their burdens according to our situation or capacities. Once in a while we need to stop, put down the burden and rest. Only then can we be refreshed to pick up the load once more. The Horegallu does just that, it helps them regain thier strength.

The second person was a collegue who was middle aged, always smiling & was with the company for 25years. She did her mundane work with cheerfullness which was infectious. She also did 1more thing. Everyday during lunch hour she would sit with a different person & have long chats with them. When asked what they chatted she would say 'They share their troubles with me.I only listen'.

She also said

'No one can solve your problem. You have to do it yourself', 'When a person is in trouble or under a lot of strain finds an outlet for his worries, it relieves half his burden.'
This way she relieved them of their burden for a short while, till they are ready to pick themselves up and carry on with their journey.

Everyone needs a Horegallu in their Life's journey. It can be a break, a talk with a friend, vacation, or even an argument which refreshes/refocuses you on your path.

Some people are good listeners and trustworthy not to publicize your secrets/problems. We need such people in our life's and should thank them whenever we can.

A few weeks ago, working late at office & tired totally one of my best friend was online for chat. We chatted for 2-3minutes but it refreshed me to an extent I told her I was glad you came to chat. She was hesitant+she is always modest & said I didnt say anything motivational like you do, so why are you so happy about it. I said I didnt know, but maybe I just needed to talk to someone like her.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

An analysis of “Mending Wall”-chapter 2 / Resources / 1

Taken from 
 “Mending Wall” is a dramatic narrative poem cast in forty-five lines of blank verse. Its title is revealingly ambiguous, in that “mending” can be taken either as a verb or an adjective. Considered with “mending” as a verb, the title refers to the activity that the poem’s speaker and his neighbor perform in repairing the wall between their two farms. With “mending” considered as an adjective, the title suggests that the wall serves a more subtle function: as a “mending” wall, it keeps the relationship between the two neighbors in good condition.
In a number of ways, the first-person speaker of the poem seems to resemble the author, Robert Frost. Both the speaker and Frost own New England farms, and both show a penchant for humor, mischief, and philosophical speculation about nature, relationships, and language. Nevertheless, as analysis of the poem will show, Frost maintains an ironic distance between himself and the speaker, for the poem conveys a wider understanding of the issues involved than the speaker seems to comprehend.
As is the case with most of his poems, Frost writes “Mending Wall” in the idiom of New England speech: a laconic, sometimes clipped vernacular that can seem awkward and slightly puzzling until the reader gets the knack of mentally adding or substituting words to aid understanding. For example, Frost’s lines “they have left not one stone on a stone,/ But they would have the rabbit out of hiding” could be clarified as “they would not leave a single stone on top of another if they were trying to drive a rabbit out of hiding.”
In addition to using New England idiom, Frost enhances the informal, conversational manner of “Mending Wall” by casting it in continuous form. That is, rather than dividing the poem into stanzas or other formal sections, Frost presents an unbroken sequence of lines. Nevertheless, Frost’s shifts of focus and tone reveal five main sections in the poem.
In the first section (lines 1-4), the speaker expresses wonder at a phenomenon he has observed in nature: Each spring, the thawing ground swells and topples sections of a stone wall on the boundary of his property. In the second section (lines 5-11), he contrasts this natural destruction with the human destruction wrought on the wall by careless hunters.
The last sections of the poem focus on the speaker’s relationship with his neighbor. In the third section (lines 12-24), the speaker describes how he and his neighbor mend the wall; he portrays this activity humorously as an “outdoor game.” The fourth section (lines 25-38) introduces a contrast between the two men: The speaker wants to discuss whether there is actually a need for the wall, while the neighbor will only say, “Good fences make good neighbors.” The fifth section (lines 38-45) concludes the poem in a mood of mild frustration: The speaker sees his uncommunicative neighbor as “an old-stone savage” who “moves in darkness” and seems incapable of thinking beyond the clichéd maxim, which the neighbor repeats, “Good fences make good neighbors.

Mending Wall Forms and Devices (Critical Guide to Poetry for Students)

In his essay “Education by Poetry” (1931), Robert Frost offers a definition of poetry as “the one permissible way of saying one thing and meaning another.” “Mending Wall” is a vivid example of how Frost carries out this definition in two ways—one familiar, one more subtle. As is often the case in poetry, the speaker in “Mending Wall” uses metaphors and similes (tropes which say one thing in terms of another) to animate the perceptions and feelings that he wants to communicate to the reader. A more subtle dimension of the poem is that Frost uses these tropes ironically, “saying one thing and meaning another” to reveal more about the speaker’s character than the speaker seems to understand about himself.
When the speaker uses metaphor in the first four sections of “Mending Wall,” he does it to convey excitement and humor—the sense of wonder, energy, and “mischief” that spring inspires in him. Through metaphor, he turns the natural process of the spring thaw into a mysterious “something” that is cognitive and active: “something that doesn’t love a wall,” that “sends” ground swells, that “spills” boulders, and that “makes gaps.” He playfully characterizes some of the boulders as “loaves” and others as “balls,” and he facetiously tries to place the latter under a magical “spell” so that they will not roll off the wall. He also uses metaphor to joke with his neighbor, claiming that “My apple trees will never get across/ And eat the cones under his pines.”

In the last section of the poem, however, the speaker’s use of simile and metaphor turns more serious. When he is unable to draw his neighbor into a discussion, the speaker begins to see him as threatening and sinister—as carrying boulders by the top “like an old-stone savage armed,” as “mov[ing] in darkness” of ignorance and evil. Through this shift in the tone of the speaker’s tropes, Frost is ironically saying as much about the speaker as the speaker is saying about the neighbor. The eagerness of the speaker’s imagination, which before was vivacious and humorous, now seems defensive and distrustful. By the end of the poem, the speaker’s over-responsiveness to the activity of mending the wall seems ironically to have backfired. His imagination seems ultimately to contribute as much to the emotional barriers between the speaker and his neighbor as does the latter’s under-responsiveness.

Friday, June 19, 2015



Assignment to students.

Write your comments on the speech written by SNEHA RAVEENDRAN;12 SCIENCE;GHSS KOZHICHAL;KANNUR DT.

Is this speech informative or persuasive ?

hints- Purpose of the speech
Type of audience addressed
Structure : logical, clear, sequencing of ideas
Persuasive techniques: repetition, satire
Appropriate use of language: rhetorical devices
Use of stress, rhythm and intonation
Tone: formal/informal


Wednesday, June 17, 2015

a new video of the poem ANY WOMAN

Dear teacher,
Here is a new video of the poem ANY WOMAN, poem published in our blog.
please click the following link.
thanking you
thomas a a
ghss kattoor,

Monday, June 15, 2015



 "Stop it,Naw-wife, Don't cover up the forbidden fish with your pious spinach. We haven't been raised on donkey grass. Please explain . 

Dear Shalna,
In Bengali there are sayings like this.For example

শাক দিয়ে মাছ ঢাকা
(Shak die machh đhaka)
Translation: Covering fish with greens.

English Equivalent: To try to hush up your fault/bad deed/ mistake , when it is already known to many.
 So here it is evident that this is translation of a saying from Bengali which means "do not try to hush things up,when it is already known to many."

The reference may mean ,"don't cover your 

 love talks by saying that they 

were angry words...we know the truth.. ( ie . 

were really chatting with  him).

(  The explanation that  "it is a warning to Nomita that the other members in the family have already known something about the brawl inside her room.It is meaningless to hide the truth now." stands modified based on the letters from many readers like Smita and Lazin.)
(Smita, HSST  Eng ,Malappuram-wrote on 10/07/2015
I would like to express a humble disagreement if it hurts pls do forgive.

It is regarding the explanation which was
 Given in ur site for that bengali proverb.
In it,  it was explained that the brawl b/w nomita n ajit is evident to her sis in laws.
My question is how can it be explained that way when immediately after this comment frm one of the sis in laws,   nomita becomes shy,    just check the reply she gives. 
 not only that afterwards also it is clearly said that
In front of others both of them kept a clean image of good hus n wife.

(  COMMENT BY LAZIN 04/07/2015 -I'm referring to the ' forbidden fish ' explanation. Can we say that it is a warning to 

Nomita about their knowledge of their brawl. Nomita tries to convince 

them that it was just angry words but they r not ready to believe it..they 

feel that she finds the slightest excuse to get cosy with her husband. .so 

the reference maybe that don't cover ur love talks by saying that they 

were angry words...we know the truth. . ( ie . U were really chatting with 

Moreover Nomita never tries to reveal her husbands true colour to the 

household at any point in the story..which again brings out another of her 

character trait )B

forbidden fish-fish not allowed to be brought inside the kitchen / fish which is not edible -
figurative meaning- things which should not have been done; mistakes,bad deeds,faults
pious spinach-spinach bieng a vegetable  is openly used in every kitchen in Bengal.-here it is used to hide the forbidden fish placed in the plate
-figurative meaning- a beautiful veil to hide the naked truth;something hiding the truth.

This is an imagery taken from any bengali kitchen.
Fish covered with spinach is a special item.
Now can't we see that the "forbidden" fish can not be covered up with "pious" spinach.

We haven't been raised on donkey grass MEANS 

We are not foolish to believe your story.  We know that you are lying.  


Query  from Benny master,GHSS KOZHICHAL ,KANNUR

There are two ways of spreading light : to be the candle or the mirror that reflects it - Edith Wharton .



2.There are two ways in which people can live their life. They can either follow their heart and do what they want, or they can simply follow others. If your are the candle, then you can light the world yourself, or you can be the mirror lighting the world with someone else's light. 
It's a really pretty quote.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

12/UNIT1/LESSON 1/SPEECH-Education is the Key to Women Empowerment

 A speech on Education is the Key to Women Empowerment.(REF-PAGE 12,TEXT) 
Dear friends,

If you educate a boy, you  train a man. If you educate  a girl, you  train a village.
This ADAGE tells us a serious truth.
Education of women  is really pivotal. Then you will ask me ,”But…Aren’t girls getting education in  India ?”
Yes.Most of them have a chance to step into the primary schools. Then many of them are forced to discontinue learning  or disappear forever. The plight of the medical student Nirbhaya in Delhi speaks nothing else.
It is a mindboggling fact  that even in this modern era, women in India  face a lot of challenges.
We have heard a lot about the Nirbhaya documentary. No one would forget the sufferings of Jyoti Singh in Delhi. What caused the miseries of that poor girl ?
The documentary –they say-points out that  she was punished for venturing outside the house at night !
A woman should not behave like this !She should not have done like that !
Dear friends, This is the mindset  of the  majority of Indians.
We don’t have a concept of equality for women .The women in India are treated like lesser human beings. The women in India are marginalized, sidelined, humiliated, and shunned away from public spheres.
They are not given any top jobs.
You may speak about Kiran Bedi.
but how many Kiran bedis, do we have in india ? Not many.
How many women get recognition like Smitha Patil ? Only a few.
How many of them get elevated to the ranks of Indira Gandhi ?  Still only a few.
And why do women lag behind ? Why do women get killed even before coming out of their mother’s womb ? Even the parents are prejudiced against them.
Dear friends, if you have a vision that our  India must shine as  a great Nation,you have an uphill task here.
Come down to the ground realities.
Most women in India do not have access to higher education.
Most women in India can not claim equal  rights to their ancestral property.
Most women in India do not have any role in decision making. Not in their state.Not in their village.Not in their family.
Most women in India are not paid well though they are made to toil for hours like slaves.
Is this good for the development of our Nation ? No.
When women are not paid well,50 percent of Indians are not paid well.That will affect our ecomomy.
When women are disrespected,humiliated or exploited, a major chunk  of Indians are disrespected ,humiliated or exploited .That will affect our pride and unity.
That’s why we speak about supporting women. Empowering women. That is what we need now. For women empowerment, there are three requisites according to Christine Lagarde-learning,labour and leadership.
.Yes.The chairperson of the IMF  is right.
Education is the first and the foremost factor of women empowerment. If a girl is educated, she will have confidence. She will have employable skills.
Community groups like Kudmubasrees will enhance their financial status. Entrepreneurship will lead them to power.
Employment will make her stronger and daring to take up new challenges in the workplace. 
She can leave her comfort zone now and fly high like a bird.
They –I mean, the educated women-will become team leaders with the right mindset and making the right decisions at the right time.
Education can change the mindset.
This is what our country needs now. The right mindset. Compassion for the weaker section. Ensuring equality for men and women.  Strengthening  women empowerment.
This change will make India a heaven of freedom , equality and growth as great poets like Tagore had envisioned.
Education for women-qualty education for all women- is the key to WOMEN EMPOWERMENT .
 As Malala Yousafzai ,the Nobel prize winner for Peace this year says,
One pen ,one book and  one teacher can change the world…of women.
Thank you.

-prepared by Radhakrishnan.C.K,GHSS KAMBALLUR

Saturday, June 13, 2015




THE NSS unit of GHSS CHAYYTH has observed World Environment Day on 5th June 8, 2015 keeping the theme “7 Billion Dreams ,One Earth ,Consume with care” in mind.The programme began by the distribution of tree saplings by the Principal Prakasan T V. Tree saplings were given to each volunteers for planting and caring it.Volunteers planted some tree saplings in school premises.Then as an outdoor programme volunteers went to Karinthalam sacred grove for planting tree saplings.The programme was inaugrated by Panchayat President  Sri. Lakshmanan. Volunteers cleaned the grove surroundings and joined the programme.
Then the volunteers went to Thalayadukkam for attending a seminar as part of the agitation against mining related environmental issues and by giving solidarity to them and  joined the gathering.The leaders of the agitation against mining explained the environmental impact of the Laterite mining in that area.

 The day ended with volunteers having enlightened about social implications of mining and a new awareness for protecting our environment.

Friday, June 12, 2015


I. The following lines are taken from the poem, 'Any Woman'. Read the lines and
answer the questions that follow.
“I am the pillars of the house;
The keystone of the arch am I”.
Who is referred to as the pillar of the house?
2. What is the meaning of the word 'keystone' here?
3. What is the figure of speech used here?
4. Elaborate on the idea of the above lines.
1. Mother is referred to as the pillars of the house.
2. “Keystone” here means the most important part of a family – house.
3. The figure of speech used here is Metaphor. The poet metaphorically says that
mother of a family is the 'pillar' and 'keystone' of the house.
4. According the poet the mother in a family is the most important part of it –
keystone of an arch. If something happens to her, the family will be ruined. Hence
give such a consideration to her.
“Thou whom a woman laid in a manger
Take me not till the children grow!”
1. Who is the 'woman' referred to here?
2. What is the meaning of the word 'manger'?
3. What character trait of a mother is shown here?
4. Elaborate on the idea of the above lines.
1. Holy Mary, mother of Jesus Christ is the 'woman' referred to here.
2. 'Manger' means the box or trough for horses or cattle to feed from.
3. It shows selfless love and protective attitude of a mother.
4. The last two lines ring a biblical reference where one finds the element of sacrifice.
Jesus Christ was born to wash off the sins of humanity. Soon after his birth, Mother
Mary put him in a manger wrapped in old cloth. These lines are a prayer to Jesus
Christ to keep the mother alive till her children grow. At the same time these lines
speak of a mother's selflessness. She prepares to lay down or sacrifice her conscience
for the sake of her children.
1. What is the significance of the adjective 'precious' in the poem 'Any Woman'?
The adjective 'precious' is attached to children so as to express the dearness,
sweetness and the importance of children felt by the mother figure in the poem.
2. What is the significance of 'sacred ring' in the poem Any Woman'?
'Sacred ring' suggests the divine, godly circle or halo that is around the family
binding them (the young ones) within the protective powers of the mother.
3. What is the significance of 'wrap and woof'?
This is an imagery brought from weaving. The expression is used as a
metaphor underlying structure or strength on which something is built. Here it is
indicative of the grandness and immensity of the mother's strength to protect her little
4. In the first stanza, 3rd and 4th lines, what do the words 'ruin me' mean?
Does it mean ruin the home or mother?
'Take me away,and roof and wall
Would fall to ruin me utterly'
'Me' stands for mother or home?

'Me' in the third line is mother and me in the fourth line is the house/
(the family/home).I think it is a deliberate pun employed by the poet to stress the fact that mother is the house or the family. There is no home ,without the mother

Prepared by Smitha K &Thomas A A
GHSS Kattoor, Thrissur
Edited by blog admin.


Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Introducing the text -1/2/1B - ANY WOMAN-Suggestions/ alternatives ( From hand book )

Introducing the text -ANY WOMAN- Suggestions / alternatives ( From the handbook )
The learner
• listens to songs on motherhood and poems on women (“Spelling” by
Margaret Atwood, “Caged Bird” by Maya Angelou) Resultant feedback on the short film and consolidation by the teacher will lead to the reading of the poem.

“Spelling” by Margaret Atwood.(ANALYSYS GIVEN BELOW )

My daughter plays on the floor
with plastic letters,
red, blue & hard yellow,
learning how to spell,
how to make spells.

I wonder how many women
denied themselves daughters,
closed themselves in rooms,
drew the curtains
so they could mainline words.

A child is not a poem,
a poem is not a child.
there is no either/or.

I return to the story
of the woman caught in the war
& in labour, her thighs tied
together by the enemy
so she could not give birth.

Ancestress: the burning witch,
her mouth covered by leather
to strangle words.

A word after a word
after a word is power.

At the point where language falls away
from the hot bones, at the point
where the rock breaks open and darkness
flows out of it like blood, at
the melting point of granite
when the bones know
they are hollow & the word
splits & doubles & speaks
the truth & the body
itself becomes a mouth.

This is a metaphor.

How do you learn to spell?
Blood, sky & the sun,
your own name first,
your first naming, your first name,
your first word. 

Caged Bird

A free bird leaps
on the back of the wind   
and floats downstream   
till the current ends
and dips his wing
in the orange sun rays
and dares to claim the sky.

But a bird that stalks
down his narrow cage
can seldom see through
his bars of rage
his wings are clipped and   
his feet are tied
so he opens his throat to sing.

The caged bird sings   
with a fearful trill   
of things unknown   
but longed for still   
and his tune is heard   
on the distant hill   
for the caged bird   
sings of freedom.

The free bird thinks of another breeze
and the trade winds soft through the sighing trees
and the fat worms waiting on a dawn bright lawn
and he names the sky his own

But a caged bird stands on the grave of dreams   
his shadow shouts on a nightmare scream   
his wings are clipped and his feet are tied   
so he opens his throat to sing.

The caged bird sings   
with a fearful trill   
of things unknown   
but longed for still   
and his tune is heard   
on the distant hill   
for the caged bird   
sings of freedom.


The Conflict between Writing and Motherhood.
Spelling by Margaret Atwood is a poem about the travail of a woman in relation to her sex and profession, which in this case is writing. Margaret Atwood makes use of metaphorical context to elucidate her conviction about the struggles of a female writer. She agrees with Virginia Woolf, that a woman needs a room of her own in order to be able to write, but illuminates the conflict of motherhood that a woman goes through as a barrier to being a focused and successful writer.
The poem begins with the words “my daughter plays on the floor”, the reader immediately gets a picture of a woman typing or penning her thoughts down while watching her daughter play (line 1). Why Atwood would employ such an opening line is fascinating because one would expect a female writer to embrace and manifest the androgyny of a writer, which Woolf talks about in her book “A Room of One’s Own”. Woolf postulates that in one’s mind, there are two powers: one male, one female, and depending on the sexes, one is prominent than the other. However in order to be a genius writer, one needs to interact with the opposite sex in one’s mind, and bring such fusion to birth in one’s literary work. Perhaps, in line with the androgynous thoughts, the poem could have started with watching my child play on the floor which would have been a neutral statement and the sex of the narrator could be debated. However Atwood does the opposite of that, from the very first word, it is obvious that the poem is about motherhood and the narrator, feminine.
The notion of motherhood is emphasized in the opening stanza of the poem since it is taken for granted that it is the mother who is particularly focused on the educational development of a child.
“My daughter plays on the floor,
 with plastic letters,
 red, blue and hard yellow,
 learning how to spell,
 how to make spells” (1-6).
It is the mother who is amazed and focuses much attention on the learning development of her child. She is mostly the one who sits with her child, plays Lego and other developmental games with her daughter. She is the one who teaches her child the first few letters, words, shapes and object before handing him or her over to the educational system. With this opening stanza, the picture of a female narrator is solidified in the reader's mind.
As the picture of a mother looking at her daughter play with plastic letters stands out, one is fascinated with the colors chosen as the hue of the plastic letters, because they are basic primary colors and the building block of all others colors. This is a metaphorical way of showcasing the fundamental of learning and transitions effectively into
“learning how to spell,
 how to make spells (4-6).

Through this, the provision of the basic amenity of literacy is dealt with: the fact that words are fundamental to writing, reading and speaking. All through the first five lines, the innocence of childhood is expressed and one feels comfortable; however, the fifth line disorients the reader and indicates that all is not right in paradise. It is stated that the daughter is learning how to make spells. The infinitive before “spells” pronounces the word spell as a noun and not a verb (6). With this, the words take up a darker side and relates with witchcraft: a deeper side of construction and compellation with use of words.
This sense of disorientation is conveyed throughout the next stanzas. The second and third stanzas reveal a case of substituting motherhood with writing: locking of oneself in a room so that words can be formed and poems written; and denying one's daughters, believed to take after their mothers, thanks to time spent together. There is a struggle between the professional desire and the maternal instinct: a feeling of suppression. The struggle is enforced in the next stanza with use of an allegorical scene of a woman prevented from giving birth.
This illustration not only shows the travesty a woman goes through, but shows a similarity between a woman torn in war, and a woman torn between motherhood and professional success. Although on the surface level, it might seem that Atwood is exposing on the travesty that women went through during World War II--when soldiers tied the legs of women they had earlier raped thereby preventing them from giving birth, it is a little deeper. Atwood is focusing on the hindering of a female writer from being entirely fulfilled. The fruit of her womb can either be interpreted as either the natural birth of a child, or the birth of her mind’s idea. The woman is either hindered by chores of motherhood, if she were a female writer with child or she is hindered from being an effective mother by the vigorousness of her professional life-- the room behind the curtain which Virginia Woolf emphasizes, in A Room of One’s Own, that a female writer needs to have. Her thighs are tied while in labor so she would not bring to term the fruition of her womb and the seed of her man. The feeling of suffocation and turmoil which the woman who goes through such situation is projected in the reader’s mind, as one can see her being disoriented as the enemy tried to force her to go against the natural path her body is engineered to perform—bearing her child. One immediately understand that the use of such illustration is that she is a woman who is about to give birth to her mind’s progenies, but is hindered, with her hands tied with the chores of motherhood; or the reverse, she is a woman who desire to have a child but is hindered by the vigorousness of her professional life— the room behind the curtain which Woolf emphasizes that a female writer needs to have. One can see her being disoriented as the enemy (man, society and her maternal instinct) forces her against the natural path her body is engineered to perform—bearing her child, or her mind’s creation.
The fourth stanza also depicts man’s power and woman’s vulnerability to such uneasy supremacy. Man is described as the enemy, one who ensures that she does not give birth. This is ironical, since it is from man that the seed for such fruit of motherhood and writing is established. This allegory refers to the male dominating literary world which did not encourage a woman to be an artist, on the contrary she was snubbed, slapped, lectured and exhorted (Woolf 55). This was the reason why many women picked up male pseudonyms in order to publish their works and be treated as able contemporaries. This is also one of the reasons why Woolf criticizes Cambridge establishment very often in her works and makes it clear that a woman could be an incredible writer, only if given the right resources.
The climax of the disoriented feeling is provided in the 5th stanza. This time it is not the internal turmoil of the woman that is showcased, but rather who she is— “she is an ancestress, a burning witch” (21). She is a progenitor of many generations, one whose words are powerful so much that they make others fear the strength behind the words and condemn her-- she is referred to as a witch, but albeit a burning one. With this, “how to make spells” comes to one’s mind, since witches are associated with spells (6). But more importantly the theme of suppression is visible, the witches’ mouth is covered with leather to strangle the spells from bursting out since spoken words are powerful. She is deprived of the very thing that is inherent to her nature- reciting chants and spell. This stanza is reminiscent of Woolf’s analogy that if indeed Shakespeare’s sister had been born, “she would have gone crazy, shot herself or ended up in some lonely cottage outside the village, half witch, half wizard, feared and mocked at” (Woolf 49).
This particular illustration is fascinating because it deals with spoken word much more that the other stanzas do. The previous stanzas appear to be more focused on the written word and its creation. Perhaps, it is deliberate to show the relation with written and spoken words; words are powerful and significant, but their power is not kindled till they are spoken. That word conjured in the mind, written in the heart and tablets of stone or paper is ineffective until it is uttered. Perhaps this is a problem with female writers: they write but do not speak, and die without leaving their legacy behind.
To say that Margaret Atwood, Virginia Woolf, and many other women were concerned about the struggle and frustration of female writers is an understatement. They delve into issues that affect the productivity of a female writer and prevent her from executing her goals, dreams, ideas and words into realization. It is ironic that Atwood uses an unrestrained method, free verse, in addressing the constraint of a female writers. She is able to utilize the freedom to create structure and can afford to be spontaneous.  Conceivably, she is offering a solution to the issues addressed and advocating that a female writer should just give in to her instinct and not be flustered by the rules and the challenges of the profession.

Poem-A CAGED BIRD-  Analysis -
    Throughout history, there has been segregation between various races. Barriers between blacks and whites have existed for hundreds of years. During an era of white supremacy, the lives of African-American's were characterized by discrimination and limited opportunities. This was a period of African-American inferiority; which forced them to endure many inequities and injustices. This discrimination is a result of the tradition of whites. Blacks were forced to be servile and submissive due to these customs that were deeply ingrained in a prejudiced society. The only way for African-Americans to earn respect was for them to have a voice and stand up for their rights. Maya Angelou encouraged those of her ethnicity to do this in her poem Caged Bird.

    This poem is an extended metaphor. Although the speaker doesn't mention any races, it is clear that she is showing how the freedoms allotted whites are diametrically opposed to those given to the blacks. In the first stanza, the speaker illustrates how the free bird, or white race, is untroubled. It also shows how the white race has the audacity to own and govern society unjustly. The speaker concludes'' (the free bird) dares to claim the sky". This shows how whites demonstrated discrimination and prejudice toward blacks. Unfortunately, this deplorable conduct was condoned in society.

    In the second stanza, the speaker describes the actions of the caged bird, or African-Americans. The speaker says," But a caged bird that stalks down his narrow cage can seldom see through his bars of rage". This is an illustration of the anger and frustration blacks were forced to endure. They were mistreated because they were different and thought of as inferior. In line 1 and 2, the speaker says,” The free bird leaps on the back of the wind…,”. The speaker is conveying that whites believed they were superior over other races due to the prejudiced traditions in a segregated America. In the end, African-Americans knew it was necessary to stand up for their long-deserved freedom. A pattern of rhyme is also established to give this stanza an upbeat rhythm to emphasize the enraged attitude of the blacks. The speaker says, " His wings are clipped and his feet are tied so he opens his throat to sing". This highlights the disadvantages African-American's had to endure due to the color of their skin. It also shows that blacks yearned for equality so they stood up for their freedom.

    In stanza three, the speaker says, "The free bird thinks of another breeze... And the fat worms waiting on the dawn bright lawn". The breeze and fat worms are metaphors for all the hopes and opportunities that the whites had that the blacks didn't have. The speaker also uses auditory devices of alliteration and assonance to give the poem a continuous flow.

    This poem is a great metaphor that illustrates the attitudes African-American's experiences during segregation . During this discriminatory era, blacks were in a state of oppression due to the stolen opportunities and the hatred they regularly encountered. The African-American race knew it was necessary to have a voice and finally sing for their freedom.

    For a summary  OF  ANY WOMAN ;CLICK HERE