The Bangle Sellers – Important Questions

The Bangle Sellers was first published in 1912 by Sarojini Naidu in her collection of poems called ‘The Bird of Time’. The poem stands out as a social message that not only discusses the lives of Indian women but also the lives of bangle sellers.

Important Question and Answers

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

Bangle sellers are we who bear
Our shining loads to the temple fair…
Who will buy these delicate, bright
Rainbow-tinted circles of light?
Lustrous tokens of radiant lives,
For happy daughters and happy wives.

1. What is meant by “shining loads”? Where are the bangle sellers going to sell their bangles and why?

Ans. In this stanza, “shining loads” means the various types of bright and colourful bangles that the bangle sellers carry. The bangle sellers are going to the temple fair. They are going there to sell their bangles to women of different age groups i.e., in different stages of life.

2. What rhyme scheme is followed in the poem? Who are the buyers of the bangles suggested here? Describe the bangles mentioned in the extract.

Ans. Each stanza of the poem is arranged in three couplets that follow the rhyme scheme of aabbcc. The buyers suggested here are happy daughters and wives. The bangles described here are delicate, bright, colourful like a rainbow, and shining.

3. What do the metaphorical expressions ‘shining loads’, ‘delicate, bright rainbow-tinted circles of light’ and ‘lustrous tokens of radiant lives’ imply?

Ans. These metaphors describe their features like brightness, softness and colourfulness that make them catchy and fascinating. Due to these features, the bangles are a symbol of positivity, happiness, beauty and hope rather than just objects of cosmetic value worn by women on their wrists.

4. Explain how the poet uses her descriptive skills to present facts. Give two examples from the extract?

Ans. In this extract, the poet touches upon the popularity of bangles not merely as an ornament, but also as a deep-rooted cultural symbol that allows them a kind of freedom in terms of choosing and buying something according to their own preferences. The extract also suggests that temples, apart from being the centres of spiritual activities, may also account for economic activities in the form of purchase and sale of different items and goods used by people.

5. Give the relevance of the role of bangle sellers in a traditional Indian set-up, according to this extract?

Ans. Bangle sellers are a community of people who can be easily spotted. The bangles they sell are a distinctive mark of womanhood and femininity in India’s socio-cultural context. They also symbolise an old and culturally established practice associated with women in the traditional Indian society. Thus, bangle sellers can be regarded as people who are responsible for maintaining an old tradition, which in turn lends uniqueness to womanhood.

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

Some are made for a maiden’s wrist,
Silver and blue as the mountain mist,
Some are flushed like the buds that dream
On the tranquil brow of a woodland stream,
Some are aglow with the bloom that cleaves
To the limpid glory of new born leaves

1. What type of bangle is suitable for a maiden’s wrist? Why are silver and blue colours compared to the mountain mist?

Ans. According to the speaker, some of the bangles that are suitable for a maiden’s wrist are blue and silver like the mist in the mountains. Some others are reddish in colour like the flushed buds found along a stream. Then, there are others that glow like newborn leaves. Mountain mist is characterised by beauty, freshness and purity. That is why silver and blue colours are compared to it.

2. In what way are the buds set to dream? Explain the simile used here?

Ans. Here, the speaker is alluding to the appearance of a particular type of bangle suitable for maidens. She says that it looks rosy with a glow like ‘the buds that dream on the tranquil brow of a woodland stream’. The figure of speech used here is simile because two dissimilar things (‘bangle’ and ‘buds’) are compared here for an attribute that is identical (their ‘rosiness’).

3. Explain the line: “On the tranquil brow of a woodland stream.”

Ans. In this line, the speaker has used the phrase ‘tranquil brow’ to imply the calm height or crest of a stream flowing through a forest. It’s rather plausible to read it with the noun phrase ‘the buds that dream’, which precedes it. Keeping in mind the use of words like ‘dream’, ‘tranquil’ and ‘brow’, it seems to be an example of personification.

4. How are the bangles compared to the new born leaves?

Ans. Describing one type of bangles, the speaker states that it has a pure, untrammelled glow of freshness. This glow of freshness is compared here to the brightness and charm of nascent leaves. The comparison here is metaphorical, because unlike what we see in case of a simile, ‘like’ or ‘as’ has not been used to compare two dissimilar objects.

5. What colours of the bangles are meant for maidens? What do the colours symbolize?

Ans. Silver, blue, rosy red and leaf-green are the the colours of the bangles that are meant for maidens. While silver is the symbol of purity and brightness, blue symbolises emotional intensity and depth. Rosy red and leaf-green colours are symbols of beauty and freshness, respectively.

6. The word ‘some’ has been repeated in the poem for a purpose. What is it? Which phrases used in these lines reflect the poet’s keen understanding of the beauty of nature?

Ans. The word ‘some’ represents the different types of bangles in the poem. ‘Mountain mist’, ‘woodland stream’ and ‘newborn leaves’ are the phrases reflect the poet’s keen understanding of the beauty of nature.

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

Some are like fields of sunlit corn,
Meet for a bride on her bridal morn,
Some, like the flame of her marriage fire,
Or, rich with the hue of her heart’s desire,
Tinkling, luminous, tender, and clear,
Like her bridal laughter and bridal tear.

1. What do the first two lines of the extract explain? What is being compared to the “fields of sunlit corn”? Why?

Ans. In the first line, some bangles are compared to ‘fields of sunlit corn’. In the context of a bride to whom it relates, it suggests the bright and joyful prospect of a new phase of life that is about to begin. Thus, the colour of the bangles described here corresponds to the appearance of a bride preparing to set out for a fresh and extremely meaningful journey in her life.

2. What does the simile ‘the flame of her marriage fire’ suggest about the colour of some bangles? Which phrases used in these lines tell you about the life of a married woman?

Ans. It suggests that some bangles referred to by the narrator are crimson red or orange resembling the colour of the flames of marriage fire. The phrases that tell us about the life of a married woman are ‘a bride on her bridal morn’, ‘flame of her marriage fire’, ‘bridal laughter’ and ‘bridal tear’.

3. Explain with examples the simile and metaphor used in these two lines. Some, like the flame of her marriage fire, Or, rich with the hue of her heart’s desire,

Ans. In the first line, the colour of some bangles is likened to the flame of marriage fire. The figure of speech used here is simile, implying that the bangles referred to are yellow in colour. In the second line, another comparison has been made between the colour of bangles and the colour of desire of a bride’s heart. The figure of speech employed here is metaphor, because the comparison is more direct.

4. Bring out the applicability of the line: “Some, like the flame of her marriage fire”.

Ans. In traditional Indian society, the flame of marriage fire holds immense significance. It is regarded as a symbol of promise, hope and assurance for an enduring bond of life that marriage essentially signifies. As the speaker states, some of the bangles worn by a newly married woman have the colour of marriage fire. This suggests that the yellow colour of these bangles seems to be reflecting the same promise, hope and assurance as does the marriage fire.

5. What do the contrasting images of ‘bridal laughter ‘ and ‘bridal tear ‘ imply here?

Ans. The phrase ‘bridal laughter’ captures the mood of natural joy and happiness exhibited by a young woman after her marriage. It reinforces the significance of marriage as a source of fulfilment and self-satisfaction for a young maiden. ‘Bridal tear’ probably suggests a bride’s grief caused by her separation and going away from her childhood home.

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

Some are purple and gold flecked grey
For she who has journeyed through life midway,
Whose hands have cherished, whose love has blest,
And cradled fair sons on her faithful breast,
And serves her household in fruitful pride,
And worships the gods at her husband’s side.

1. How does the narrator describe an adult or middle-aged woman?

Ans. As the narrator says, an adult or middle-aged woman is an embodiment of emotional stability, equanimity and self-assurance. She may look back and see herself performing a number of tasks for the betterment of her family. She exudes a sense of contentment as she knows that she has performed her duties and now, she is in a position to see the fruits of her commitment and dedication to family values, with pride. Thus, the phase of life she is passing through marks the peak in her life.

2. What special significance does the phrase “fruitful pride” hold in the above extract?

Ans. The phrase ‘fruitful pride’ has been used in this extract to indicate the basic trait of a woman’s involvement in household tasks. In a traditional social system like ours, a woman is expected to play multiple roles and perform a lot of duties. Her commitment, though undervalued at times, is selfless and undemanding. This is propelled by the conviction that her dutifulness will bear fruits some day, and prove to be beneficial for the entire family. The phrase ‘fruitful pride’ suggests the realization of this hope in some way or the other that brings in for her a sense of contentment with her work as a homemaker.

3. For which type of women are the bangles described in these lines, suitable for?

Ans. The bangles described in these lines have colours that are completely different from those described earlier. This is because the type of women they are suitable for are seasoned, experienced, balanced, judicious and emotionally poised. They have travelled a long way on the path of life and have seen the seeds of their dedication grow into plants. They have performed their household duties on all counts, with a sense of selfless commitment.

4. Discuss the use of colour imagery in the extract.

Ans. Purple and grey are colours that signify depth and maturity. Women and men usually develop these traits in their understanding, after a transition from youth to adulthood. Due to this change, their preferences also change. Bangles of purple and grey colours, as the speaker says, are therefore suitable for middle-aged women. Thus, the use of colour imagery indicates the poet’s mastery as a very sensitive, empathetic and discerning observer of life.

5. Comment on the changes in the life of a woman vis-à-vis the colour of her bangles.

Ans. As the speaker says, colours of bangles correspond to the different stages of life of those women who wear them. Accordingly, bangles of different hues are referred to for women who are unmarried and those who have just begun the journey of married life. Life of a middle-aged is marked with maturity, calm of mind and sense of contentment. She has already spent a greater part of her life as wife, mother and homemaker. Corresponding to this change, the speaker states that bangles of purple and golden grey colours are meant for her. Here, the speaker seems to be offering a view of life based on its segmentation into interrelated patterns of existence each of which comprises a set of emotions, ideas and practices explicable in terms of certain colours.

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