Class 2nd PUC English Textbook Solutions

TO THE FOOT FROM ITS CHILD – Class 2nd PUC English Textbook Solutions

 CHAPTER: – 8
TOPIC: – TO THE FOOT FROM ITS CHILD
PABLO NERUDA

SUMMARY
 
In this poem „To the foot from its child‟ poet Pablo Neruda has used „foot‟ as a metaphor to the trails and tribulations of human life, his birth and his death, his dreams and realities. The  child  „foot‟  when  it  is  born,  does  not  have  the awareness to be a Butterfly or an Apple.  
But as the child grows up and faces the hardship of life like walking  on  stones  and  bits  of  glasses,  the  ladders  and  the paths in the rough earth, the foot realizes that it is merely a foot  and  it  cannot  fly  like  butterfly  nor  it  can  be  bulging fruit on a branch. Because  the  child‟s  foot  is  hurt  and  injured  while  walking and  doing  everyday  work;  it starts wearing a „Shoe‟ so the „Foot‟  feels  defeated  and  just  like  a  fallen  prisoner,  is condemned to live in a shoe. In the darkness of the shoe, it soon begins to understand the world in its own way.  
As the „foot‟ is enclosed in the darkness of the shoe, it can only feel out like a bindman. It can only feel the hardships a man  has  to  face  to  survive  in  this  harsh  world.  It  is  also unable to see the other foot on a man‟s leg. Then age starts catching up with the foot i.e., the child grown into a young man, then he grows old and feeble. The  „Foot‟  which  is  enclosed  in  the  darkness  of  shoe  also grows  old. The soft nails  of the baby foot  grow  harder and change  themselves  into  opaque  substance,  hard  as  a  horn. The tiny toes grow bunched and out of trim. They begin to look like eyeless reptiles.  
Later  as  the  young  foot  grows  older  they  grow  callused, they  become  rough  and  are  covered  with  the  scars  of  the injuries  which  occurred  during  the  man‟s  struggle  to survive in this world. But this change is hard to accept.  
Even  though  it  is  old  now,  the  „foot‟  blindly  and  without rest and sleep continues to walk. It continues to walk up and down,  through  fields,  mines,  markets  and  ministries, whether  it  is  a  man‟s  foot  or  a  woman‟s  foot,  the  „foot‟ invariably has no time to stop or take off the shoe. It has no time  for  love  or  sleep  until  when  man  decides  to  stop  i.e., the man is dead.  
Then  the  foot  is  buried  underground  unaware,  because  of the  darkness  inside.  Even  though  it  is  buried,  the  foot  is unaware  that  it  has  ceases  to  be  a  foot  or  if  they  were burying  it,  so  that  it  could  fly  like  a  butterfly  or  could become an apple. After a man dies his soul is free, but during his life time can never choose to follow his dreams or aspirations, because to survive  he  has  to  work  hard  and,  the  trials  and  tribulations of this life.

I.    Answer the following questions in a word, a phrase or a sentence each: –

1.    What would the foot like to be?
Ans: The foot would like to be a butterfly or an apple.  

2.    What does time teach the child?
Ans:  Time  teaches  the  foot  that  it  cannot  fly  and  also cannot be a fruit bulging on the branch of a tree.  

3.    Why does the child’s foot feel defeated?

Ans:  The  child’s  foot  feels  defeated  because  the  outside world does not allow the child’s foot to fulfill its dreams.  

4.    Which words convey the real experiences of the foot?
Ans:  The  words  ‘stones  and  bits  of  glass,  streets,  ladders, and  the  paths  in  the  rough  earth’  convey  the  real experiences of the child’s foot.  

5.    What  does  the  line  ‘until  the  whole  man  chooses  to stop’ mean?
Ans: The line, ‘until the whole man chooses to stop’ means until the person dies  

6.    What  did  the  foot  find  when  it  descended underground?
Ans: When the foot  descended underground  it knows  that it did not know that it had ceased to be a foot.  

7.What does the ‘shoe’ represent in the poem?
Ans: The shoe represents societal norms and traditions by which one is bound or the framework given by society.  

8.    What would the foot like to be?            
Ans: The foot would like to be an apple or a butterfly.  

9.    Where  is  the  defeated  foot  condemned  to  live according to the speaker of ‘To the foot from its child’?                                                                
Ans: In a shoe  

10.    What would like to be a butterfly or an apple in the poem ‘To the foot from its child’?           
Ans: Foot / Child’s foot  

11.    What would the foot like to be in ‘To the foot from its child’?                  
Ans:Butterfly or an apple  

12.    Mention  any  one  of  the  places  through  which  the foot walks in ‘To the foot from its child’?              
                                                             
Ans:Fields/ mines/ markets/ ministries  

13.  ‘………….  Condemned  to  live  in  a  shoe’  suggests that the foot is                                               
a) a prisoner
b) a criminal
c) forced to give up its’ dreams

Ans: a) a prisoner and c) forced to give up tts‟ dreams       

II. Answer the following questions in a paragraph of 80 – 100 words each: – 

III. Answer the following questions in about 200 words:   
 
1.  Bring  out  the  stages  of  hardships  faced  by  the  foot after being confined in a shoe.
OR
Explain the various stages of hardships faced by the foot after being confined in a shoe.                       
Ans:As  the  child  learns  to  walk  and  starts  walking  on stones,  bits  of  glass,  streets,  ladders  and  the  rough  surface of  the  earth,  the  child’s  foot  becomes  aware  of  its  role.  It learns that it is a foot and cannot become a butterfly bulging fruit  on  a  tree.  Once  it  realizes  that  it  is  a  foot,  it  is defeatedin realizing its aspirations and gets imprisoned in a shoe.  Inside  the  shoe,  it  tries  to  understand  theworld  in  its own  way,  alone,  like  a  blind  man  groping  (feeling)  in  the dark.  During  this  period  its  soft  nails  ofquartz  become opaque, are bunched together, and look like eyeless reptiles with  triangular  heads,grow  callused  and  are  covered  with faint  volcanoes  of  death.  These  changes  happen  because, oncethe child’s foot becomes an adult’s foot, it walks as the foot of a man or woman and keeps walking in thefields as a farmer,  or  as  a  grocer  in  the  markets,  or  as  aminer  in  the mines or as a church minister or a government worker, until its  death.  Thus,  the  foot  experiences  the  hardships  of  life and loses its ‘soft’ and flowery petal-like form.  

2. Describe the different stages of transformation of the foot after it is condemned to live in a shoe?                                                                           
Ans:  In  the  poem  ‘To  the  Foot  from  its  Child’,  the  foot stands  as  a symbol  for  the  body  of  a  human  being  and  the child  is  a  symbol  for  the  soul.  The  child’s  foot  does  not realise that it is a foot but wants to be a butterflyor anapple. But  soon,  the  foot  faces  a  lot  of  difficulties  once  when  the individual  starts  walking.  The  harsh  realities  of  life  in  the form of stones, bits of glass, rough roads, ladders make the foot  understand  that  it  cannot  achieve  its  dream.  Then,  the foot  is  confined  in  a  shoe  and  feels  defeated  and imprisoned. The tiny petaled toes grow inside the dark shoe and become hard and rough. The foot knows no rest, walks continuously through fields,  markets, mines and  ministries. It  becomes  deformed  and  the  person  grows  old  and  dies. Throughout  the  life  of  a  person,  the  foot  leads  life  facing challenges, not realizing its dreams.   

3.  Trace  the  stages  of  the  foot’s  transformation  as portrayed in ‘To the foot from its child’?    

OR
The  poem  “To  the  Foot  from  its  Child’  depicts  the progression  from  childhood  through  adulthood  to  old age and finally, death. Discuss.   
OR
The  poem  To  the  Foot  from  its  Child’  is  a  journey  of human life. Elucidate.                       
OR
Describe  the  various  stages  that  the  foot  goes  through and  what  the  foot  learns  and  how  it  changes  at  each stage.               
OR
Discuss how the journey of the child’s foot is similar to the journey of life.
Ans:In  the  poem  “To  the  Foot  from  its  Child’,  Pablo Neruda  expresses  his  view  of  life  using  themetaphor  of ‘foot.  The  poem  begins  with  a  description  of  the  child’s naivety.  The  child’s  foot  doesnot  know  that  it  is  a  foot.  It dreams  of  unlimited  possibilities.  It  wants  to  become  a butterfly  enjoyingunbridled  freedom  and  enjoying  the pleasures of life symbolized by apple. The poet expresses the experience of the child’s foot when it  is  exposed  to  reality  in  the  real  world.  It  walks  over stones,  streets,  ladders,  bits  of  glass,  paths  in  the  rough surface of earth. All these symbolically stand for obstacles, problems,  difficulties  and  hurdles  that  one  encounters  in real  life.  When  the  child’s  foot  faces  these  realities,  it attempts to fight them, and it becomes aware that it was in an illusory world and it does not have infinite possibilities in life but  has to serve as a foot only. It is also convinced that it cannot become a butterfly  or an apple. The  outside forces  capture  him  and  he  is  imprisoned  in  a  shoe.  Now, from that of an infant foot, it has grown to be an adult and now  the  adult  has  been  forced  to  live  like  any  human individual.  

Then,  we  get  a  description  of  the  changes  that  the  child’s foot undergoes inside the shoe Its nice, soft, petal-like toes lose  their  ‘lustre’  and  the  nails  become  harder,  the  toes grow bunched andlook like eyeless reptiles, grow callused and  are  covered  with  faint  volcanoes  of  death.  Inside  the shoe the adult foot is like a blind man  groping in the dark. This  state  depicts  the  helplessness  of  man  when  he  faces the  harsh  realities  of  life  as  a  member  of  the  society.  He slogs without respite and keeps on walking, until his death. He works in fields, markets, mines and ministries either as a man‟s or a woman’s foot. He does not find time to enjoy his  rightful  pleasures  of  life  like  ‘love’  and  ‘sleep.  Finally, the  foot  ceases  to  walk  when  the  man  dies.  When  he  is buried  the  foot  goes  underground.  But  now  he  does  not know that he is no longer a ‘foot. In his consciousness he is equal  to  the  child’s  consciousness  and  hence  he  again dreams of becoming a butterfly or an apple. Thus, the poet depicts  his  view  of  life,  tracing  its  characteristics  through different stages like infancy, reaching maturity, adulthood, old age and finally death. Thus, the poem also brings out a cyclical  view  of  life  –  birth,  infancy,  maturity,  adulthood, old age, death and rebirth.            

4. Examine how Neruda’s poem works out the contrast between colorful dreams and humdrum reality of life.

Ans:The  poet  uses  ‘foot’  as  a  metaphor  for  the  child  and describes the  dreams and realities  of  life. The child  in the beginning is unaware that it is a foot and aspires to become a  butterfly  or  an  apple.  As  it  grows  and  starts  walking, facing  the  difficulties  of  life-walking  on  stones  and  the paths  on  the  rough  earth’  it  realizes  it  cannot  become  a butterfly  or  an  apple,  which  signifies  freedom.  The  child when  it  walks  on  rough  surface  wears  shoe  to  protect  the foot.  The  foot  feels  defeated  and  imprisoned  inside  the shoe.  It  feels  like  a  blind  person  in  darkness.  It  wishes  to communicate with the other foot but unable to do so. As  change is natural, the ‘foot’ also grows young, then old and feeble.  After  death,  it  is  buried  underground  and  it  is ignorant  that  there  is  darkness  even  in  underground  as  it gains the child-like innocence. It again dreams of becoming an apple or a butterfly.  Man’s  spirit,  dreams  of  enjoying  unlimited  freedom  in  this world, but it has to pass through several obstacles before it matures  into  an  adult.  He  learns  to  face  the  humdrum realities of life, remains a prisoner and keeps on working  until he dies. After death he loses all human awareness and again dream of becoming a butterfly or an apple.  

5.  Neruda’s  poem  is  a  salute  to  the  ordinary  human being, who continues with life braving all odds? Do you agree? Give reasons.
Ans:Yes,  Neruda’s  poem  is  a  salute  to  the  ordinary  human being as he is the symbol of hard work. He is seen working continuously  to  achieve  his  goal  in  life,  and  lead  a meaningful  and  complete  life.  The  poet  uses  ‘foot’  as  a metaphor for his view of life. Life begins in infancy and in the poem, life begins as an infant foot. The child’s foot does not  know that it  is a foot. It starts walking  over stones bits of glass. Streets, ladders and the rough surface of the earth. It realizes it is only a “foot” and cannot become a fruit or a butterfly.  Since  it  has  to  serve  the  role  of  a  foot  it  is imprisoned  in  a  shoe.  The  child’s  foot  as  it  grows  old, serves  as  the  foot  of  a  man  or  a  woman,  working  in  the fields  or  a  woman  working  in  the  fields,  market,  mines, ministries  and  work  hard  day  and  night  until  it  dies.  Thus, the freedom of the childhood is lost when a person become an  adult  facing  a  life  of  constant  work  and  struggle.  

6.  Is  Neruda  criticizing  how  society  crushes  childhood dreams and forces people into rigid moulds?  

Ans:Yes,  Neruda  tries  to  criticize  the  society  that  is crushing  childhood  dreams  making  them  aware  of  their limitations  and  thus  transforming  people  into  rigid moulds.The  poet  uses  ‘foot’  as  a  metaphor  for  his  view  of life.  Life  begins  in  infancy  and  in  the  poem,  life  begins  as an  infant  foot.  The  child’s  foot  does  not  know  that  it  is  a foot.  It  starts  walking  over  stones  bits  of  glass  on  streets, ladders  and  the  rough  surface  of  the  earth.  It  realizes  it  is only a “foot” and cannot become a fruit or a butterfly. Since it  has  to  serve  the  role  of  a  foot  it  is  imprisoned  in  a shoe.The child’s foot as it grows old, serves as the foot of a man  or  a  woman,  working  in  the  fields,  a  woman  working in  the  fields,  market,  mines,  ministries  and  work  hard  day and night until it dies. Thus, the freedom of the childhood is lost when a person become an adult facing a life of constant work  and  struggle.  As  a  child  one  can  think  of  infinite possibilities, while as an adult, one becomes aware of their limitations,  The  child’s  foot  had  more  freedom  than  the adult’s  The  shoe’  represents  the  framework  given  by  the society  in  the  form  of  society  norms  and  traditions,  a  man has to abide by , thus enforcing people into rigid moulds.  

7.    What  does  the  poem,  ‘To  the  Foot  from  its  child’ convey about life?                                        
Ans:  In  this  poem  ‘To  the  Foot  From  its  Child’,  Pablo Neruda  conveys  his  views  of  life,  through  his  description of a foot.  The  speaker  in  this  poem  describes  the  changes  in  a person’s foot from  childhood to  death. Neruda has chosen the  foot  to  represent  man’s  body  and  the  child  represents his soul. The foot wants to be an apple or a butterfly. But it wakes  up  from  these  dreams  and  faces  a  life  of  constant work  and  struggle.  The  foot  walks  without  stopping.  It  is defeated by the earth’s roughness and gets imprisoned in a shoe. The tiny pedaled toes grow inside the dark shoe and become  hard.  The  soft  nails  become  rough  like  “eyeless reptiles”.  The  foot  becomes  deformed,  coarsened  and robotic. It awaits its fate like the  darkness  of approaching death. The person grows old and  dies. The soul  moves on but the body (the foot) is buried and becomes a part of the earth on which fruit trees grow. Through this poem, Pablo Neruda  conveys  how  life  takes  away  people’s  free  spirits until they are freed again by death.

RECAPITULATION:
   
•    Foot- the symbol of the journey of life   
•    Continuously toiling   
•    The child‟s dream-butterfly or an apple   
•    Hardships teaching the lesson of reality   
•    Soft nails grow into hard opaque substance   
•    Blind foot walks everywhere   
•    Foot descending into underground   
•    Death marks the end of journey  

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