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Poem 1 - A Photograph Summary | English Class 11 PDF Download

Key Points of the Poem

  • A Photograph Summary compares the internal state of nature and the momentary state of humans. 
  • In the poem, poetess describes a photograph of her mothers’ childhood. 
  • In the photograph of time when she went for a sea holiday with her two girl cousins. 
  • Also, poetess contrasts between nature, altering at the pace of a snail and the fast-changing human life. 
  • Poetess remembers how her mother laughs at the photograph and feel disappointed at the loss of her childhood joys. 
  • However, then, the sea holiday was her mother’s past and now her mother’s laugh is the poetess’s past. 
  • At different periods of time and with great difficulty, both resolve with their respective losses and the pain that involves in remembering past. 
  • Besides, for the poetess, his mother’s death of her mother brings great sadness and a dire sense of loss. 
  • Moreover, the painful ‘silence’ of the situation leaves her without words.

Detailed Summary  


The poem commences with the poetess discovering her mother's photograph tucked away in neglected cardboard boxes. The picture, devoid of any protective frame, appears vulnerable to the ravages of time, highlighting its susceptibility to decay. In the photograph, the poetess's mother stands surrounded by younger siblings, showcasing her strength as she supports her cousins. Captured with joy and enthusiasm, the image portrays the young girls, including the poetess's mother, facing the camera amidst crashing sea waves, symbolizing their resilience.
Poem 1 - A Photograph Summary | English Class 11In the second part, the poem shifts to the mother's later years, as she reminisces about the day depicted in the photograph. Despite the fond memories, there is an undertone of sadness as the mother confronts the passage of time. She playfully mocks their youthful attire, attempting to cope with the inevitable changes that come with aging. Looking back at her 12-year-old self becomes a bittersweet attempt to reconnect with her childhood, serving as a poignant reminder of the relentless march of time.In the third part, the poetess recalls her mother after her passing. The photograph becomes a cherished memory, binding mother and daughter even in death. The poetess finds solace in imagining her mother's laughter, reminiscent of the joy captured in the seaside photo. Remarkably, the time elapsed since her mother's demise corresponds to the poetess's age in the picture, a coincidence or irony that underscores the cyclical nature of life and death. Both the poetess and her mother learn to embrace change and reconcile with their memories, despite the fleeting nature of happiness.
While death usually brings silence and emptiness, the poetess finds her mother's demise to be a powerful, inspiring force. It compels her to express her emotions through a tribute and poem. In this acceptance, there is a silent acknowledgment of the ultimate silence that death brings, marking the culmination of the poem's journey.

Conclusion  


In a photograph summary, the poetess wants to say that death is unavoidable so embrace your life.

Literary Devices


Alliteration – repetition of a consonant sound at the beginning of two or more consecutive words. The instances of alliteration in the poem are as follows-
Stood still
Through their
My mother’s
Terribly transient
Silence silences
Oxymoron – a term which contradicts itself
Laboured ease
Epithet – a phrase expressing a quality of a person or something
Terribly transient

Difficult Words


Word - Meaning 

  • Paddling = wading, splashing 
  • Transient = fleeting, temporary 
  • Snapshot = photo, picture
  • Dressed = clothed, attired 
  • Beach = seashore, coastline 
  • Wry = twisted, skewed
  • Laboured = effortful, strained
  • Circumstance = situation, scenario
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FAQs on Poem 1 - A Photograph Summary - English Class 11

1. What is the poem "A Photograph" about?
Ans. The poem "A Photograph" is about the memories associated with a photograph. It describes the emotions and feelings that are evoked when one looks at an old photograph, and how one can be transported back in time through the memories it holds.
2. Who is the speaker in the poem "A Photograph"?
Ans. The speaker in the poem "A Photograph" is not explicitly mentioned. However, it can be assumed that the speaker is the person looking at the photograph and reminiscing about the memories associated with it.
3. What is the tone of the poem "A Photograph"?
Ans. The tone of the poem "A Photograph" is nostalgic and reflective. The speaker is looking back on a past moment and reminiscing about the memories associated with it. The tone is wistful and bittersweet, as the speaker acknowledges that the moment captured in the photograph is in the past and can never be relived.
4. What literary devices are used in the poem "A Photograph"?
Ans. The poem "A Photograph" uses several literary devices, including imagery, metaphor, and personification. The use of imagery helps to create a vivid picture of the scene captured in the photograph, while the metaphor of the "frozen waterfall" represents the way in which memories can be captured and preserved. The personification of the photograph as a "silent witness" adds to the sense of nostalgia and reflection in the poem.
5. What is the central message of the poem "A Photograph"?
Ans. The central message of the poem "A Photograph" is that memories are powerful and can transport us back in time, even when the moment captured in the photograph is long gone. The poem also suggests that photographs serve as a way of preserving memories and can act as a comfort to those who long for the past.
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