A Roadside Stand by Robert Frost – Important Questions

‘A Roadside Stand’ by Robert Frost is deeply moving poem which vividly depicts the plight and the complex dynamics that influence simple rural folk.

Important Questions with Answers

Q. Read the extract given below and answer the questions that follow:

Why greedy good-doers, beneficent beasts of prey,
Swarm over their lives enforcing benefits
That are calculated to soothe them out of their wits,
And by teaching them how to sleep they sleep all day,
Destroy their sleeping at night the ancient way.

  1. Who are greedy good-doers and beneficent beasts of pray? Why are they so called? The developers are greedy good-doers and beneficent beasts of pray. They apparently show that they are serving the poor villagers but in fact they are earning a lot of money out of their land. They pretend to be their beneficent but in fact they are hunting them.
  2. Who will be soothed out of their wits? How? The poor villagers will be soothed out of their wits. They are being befooled under the pretext that they are being relieved of their pains.
  3. How will their sleeping at night be destroyed? Now the villagers are wage-earners. They will have to work in the night shifts. Thus they will be deprived of their sleeping at night.
  4. Give the opposite of the word ‘soothe’. – Agiate

Q. Read the extract given below and answer the questions that follow:

Sometimes I feel myself I can hardly hear
The thought of so much childish longing in vain,
The sadness that lurks near the open window there,
That waits all day in almost open prayer
For the squeal of brokes, the sound of a stopping car.

  1. What is the ‘childish longing’ that the poet refers to? Why is it vain? – Waiting for the prospective customers is the ‘childish longing’. It is vain because they never turn up.
  2. Why does sadness lurk near the Open window? – A lurking sadness prevails near the open window because the owner’s longings prove of no consequence or futile.
  3. What does the owner of the roadside stand wait for and why? – The owner of the roadside stand goes on waiting the whole day for the sound of brake and the sound of stopping a car so that some prospective customers might turn up.
  4. Which word in the passage mean ‘scream’? ‘Squeal’.

Q. Read the extract given below and answer the questions that follow:

Of all the thousand selfish cars that pass,
Just one to inquire what a farmer’s prices are.
And one did stop, but only to plow up grass
In using the yard to back and turn around;
And another to ask the way to where it was bound;

  1. Why does the poet call the cars selfish? – Here the ‘cars’ mean the car owners. The poet calls the car owners selfish because they think only of themselves, their journey and self-interest.
  2. How do the rich city people ignore the rural people? – The rich city-people ignore the rural people. They bother to inquire the price of their product which is on sale.
  3. Why do people generally stop there? People generally stop there to use the yard to turn the car across. Another asks where the road leads to.
  4. What does the word ‘inquire’ mean? Request information

Q. Read the extract given below and answer the questions that follow:

No, in country money, the country scale gain,
The requisite lift of spirit has never been found
Or so the voice of the country seems to complain
I can’t help owning the great relief it would be
To put these people at one stroke out of their pain.
And then next day as I come back into the sane.
I wonder how I should like you to come to me
And offer to put me gently out of my pain.

  1. What does the poet mean by the line ‘the requisite lift of spirit has never been found? The life of the rural people is very miserable because they are in paucity of money. It is only the money that can lift their living standard, but which is not available there. This is why the spirit of the rural people remains depressed.
  2. What does the poet wish he could do for these people? The poet wishes to relieve the rural people of their pain at one stroke.
  3. What makes him change his mind? Next day when the poet comes to his senses, he thinks if some person would come to him and offer relieve him of his pain. This idea makes him change his mind.
  4. Which word in the passage ‘Necessary’? Requisite.

Q. The city folk who drove through the countryside hardly paid any heed to the roadside stand or the people who ran it. If at all they did, it was to complain. Which lines bring this out? What was their complaint about?

Ans. The people who drove through the countryside hardly paid any heed to the roadside stand or the people who ran it. The following lines bring this out.

“The polished traffic passed with a mind ahead,
Or if ever aside a moment, then out of sorts,… “

If ever they paid any heed, it was to complain. The following lines show it.

“At having the landscape marred with the artless paint.
Of signs that with N turned wrong and As turned wrong”
.

As these lines suggest, the complaint is that the people who ran the roadside stand marred the landscape. Their signboards seemed a blot on the beauty of the nature. In their artless paints, they gave the wrong turns to the alphabets also.

Q. What was the plea of the folk who had put up the roadside stand?

Ans. The plea of the folk who ran the, roadside stand was that the people who passed by their stands should buy things from them whenever possible. For these poor people – needed money.

Q. The government and other social service agencies appear to help the poor rural people, but actually do them no good. Pick out the Words and phrases that the poet uses to show their double standards.

Ans. The government and other social service agencies which appear to help the poor rural people, actually do them no good. The following words and phrases used by the poet show their double standard.

  1. greedy good-doors
  2. beneficient beasts of prey
  3. “Swaram over their lives enforcing benefits that are calculated to soothe them out of their wits. And by teaching them how to sleep they sleep all day Destroy their sleeping at night the ancient way.”

Q. What is the ‘childish longing’ that the poet refers to? Why is it ‘vain’?

Ans. The childish longing of the poet is that at least one of the selfish cars that pass by these shops would be interested in buying something from them. It is in vain because even when some cars stop, they do so to turn back or to ask the way where the car wants to reach.

Q. Which lines tell us about the insufferable pain that the poet feels at the thought of the plight of the rural poor?

Ans. The following lines tell us about the insufferable pain that the poet feels at the thought of the plight of the rural poor.

“I can’t help owning the great relief it would be
To put these people at one stroke out of their pain.”

Q. Have you ever stopped at a roadside stand? What have you observed there?

Ans. Yes, we have stopped at a roadside stand. We see a lot of people waiting for the bus. We also see some small shops there. Some vendors sell eatables and other articles there.

Q. Discuss in brief : “The economic well-being of a country depends on a balanced development of the villages and the cities.”

Ans. The statement has its importance. The Agriculture growth, cottage industries, infrastructure and the development of health and education in the villages are no less important than the Industrial growth, cottage industries and infrastructure etc. for the economic well-being of the country.

Q. What should the government do for the rural poor?

Ans. The government should provide the rural people with food, cloth and shelter. Facilities of health, education and opportunities for employment are for their uplift.

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