A Photograph – Important Questions

In ‘A Photograph’ poet, Shirley Toulson, describes her feelings about the photographs of her mother taken when she was twelve years or so. She feels that human life is short lived. It is ever changing. A human being grows older and older. The memories of the past make us sad. The poet feels how her mother twenty or thirty years later would comment on it. But in the event of her death, there is silence only.

Important Question and Answers

Q. What do you learn about the poetess’ mother from ‘A Photograph’?

Ans. The poetess’s mother was a big girl at the age of twelve. She had a sweet face and enjoyed swimming as well as wading in sea water with her cousins. Years later she would have laughed at the clothes they had put on for the sea holiday.

Q. When was the photo taken? Whom does it show?

Ans. The photo was taken when the poet’s mother was simply a girl and was unmarried. She, with her cousins, went for a sea holiday. They stood together smiling at uncle when he took their photograph.

Q. How did the three girls face the camera?

Ans. They were in their beach clothes. The wind had blown their hair across their faces. They were grinning through their hair.

Q. How did the poet’s mother look then? How did the sea look?

Ans. The poet’s mother looked like a big girl then. She looked beautiful with a sweet face. It was before the poet’s was born. The sea seemed to be washing their feet which are subject to death. However, the sea appears not to have changed.

Q. ‘And of the circumstance’ thus nothing to say at all. Its silence silences’ says the poetess’s in ‘A Photograph. ’ What is she referring to?

Ans. ‘The circumstance, refers to the situation that was captured in the photo years before when the poet’s mother stood for a photograph.

Q. Why do you think, does the poet’s say nothing about her mother’s death?

Ans. The poet’s has no words to express her reaction to this solemn and painful incident. Death silences everyone. The extensive quietness and prevailing gloom silences her.

Q. Explain ‘Terribly transient feet’.

Ans. The sea has not changed much with the passage of time. It is in sharp contrast to short, transient and temporary life and existence of human beings.

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