THE GRASS IS REALLY LIKE ME
– Kishwar Naheed
C1.) Read the poem silently and answer the following questions after discussing your response in pairs or in groups.
1.) What does the poet mean by the phrase, “raise its head?”
Answer: The phrase means to seek freedom.
2.) Explain the phrase, “unfurl underfoot to fulfil itself.”
Answer: The above phrase emphasizes that the blade of grass grows despite many hurdles in the same way a woman seeks her identify and position despite many downfalls and problems.
3.) Refer to lines four and five. Are they contrasting? Which one do you think is the poet referring to?
Answer: Yes, both the lines are contrasting. It refers to the wetness of the grass. The poet is referring to the heat of emotion.
4.) The poet is associating herself with the grass. Why? When she says “me” is she referring to just herself or the entire womenfolk?
Answer: When the grass grows, it is leveled by lawnmower and is not allowed to raise its head even to seek its freedom of live life. In the same way, a woman is not allowed to have her identity and show her individuality in this patriarchal world. The poet talks about the entire womenfolk.
5.) Do you think the “lawnmowers” are the same in the case of the grass and the poet?
Answer: Lawnmowers take away the freedom of the grass by cutting it down in the same way men don’t allow women to have their freedom.
6.) Pick out the line from which the poet shifts the attention from “grass” to “woman.” Who is the “you” in line 11?
Answer: How you strive and endeavour to level woman down too! The above lines shift the attention from “grass” to “woman” “You” is male who bring down the woman.
7.) What does the phrase “scorching defeat” refer to? What does the poet mean by the words “grafted on to the earth?”
Answer: The phrase “scorching defeat” refers to the emotional defeat of the women who surrender in front of the men. The words “grafted on to the earth” mean that women live their lives helplessly as if they are not worthy of anything or any freedom.
8.) What is the poet trying to tell us in lines 18 and 19?
Answer: The poet tries to tell that women who courageously try to achieve their individuality are brought down by the men. They are treated just like unworthy thing.
9.) “But neither the earth’s nor woman’s
desire to manifest life dies”
Explain the meaning of the above lines.
Answer: The above lines signify the determination of the women. No matter how many times a woman is brought down or taken her individuality away, just like the grass she doesn’t stop living.
C2.) Put the following lines in the table given below according to the figure of speech used in them. The first one has been done for you.
Simile Metaphor Personification
The grass is also like me
But they are merely straw not grass. As soon as it can raise its head
Obsessed with flattening it into velvet,
Mows it down again
Fear is the tax that conscience pays to guilt.
Work is food for noble minds.
Man needs God as he needs water and oxygen.
A1.) Read the poem silently and choose words from the box that describe the mood of the poet. Give reasons for your answer.
The poet is resentful because she doesn’t have enough freedom. She is quite pensive about the fact her identity is suppressed. She is wistful because she doesn’t lead the life the way she wants. She feels dejected at the ways of life.
A2.) Look at the following phrases that are associated with certain ideas. Match them with the corresponding ideas given in the box below. The first one has been done for you.
1.) unfurl underfoot – try to free itself
2.) fulfil itself – prosper
3.) scorching sense of shame – embarrassed
4.) heat of emotions – insult
5.) scorching defeat – shameful defeat
6.) raise its head – be proud
7.) make way for the mighty – outshine
A3.) Discuss the answers for the following questions with your partner and then write them in your notebook.
1.) The poet says “the grass is also like me.” How does she bring out this relationship in the second stanza?
Answer: The poet here emphasizes that whenever the grass tries to grow it is mowed down by lawnmower. In the similar way whenever a woman tries to seek freedom or her identity men suppress her and take away from her.
2.) Explain the ironical ideas used by the poet in the last stanza. How do you analyze them?
Answer: In the last stanza the poet tells that whenever a woman tries to seek her own world courageously she is deprived of that. The way grass becomes just a straw in the same way the woman lives without any hopes. Her existence is seems to be unworthy.
3.) The poet has used some unusual words and phrases to evoke images in the reader’s mind as for instance, “scorching sense of shame.” Such a poetic device is called imagery. Pick out such phrases from the poem.
Answer: raise its head
mows it down again.
scorching defeat of their courage
grafted on to the earth
straw not grass