Gujarat Board GSEB Class 12 English Textbook Solutions Vistas Chapter 8 Memories of Childhood Textbook Exercise Important Questions and Answers, Notes Pdf.
Gujarat Board Textbook Solutions Class 12 English Vistas Chapter 8 Memories of Childhood
GSEB Class 12 English Memories of Childhood Text Book Questions and Answers
Reading with Insight
Answer the following questions in about six to seven sentences each:
The two accounts that you read above are based in two distant cultures. What is the commonality of theme found in both of them?
The autobiographical accounts included in the ‘Memories of Childhood’ are by two women from socially marginalized sections in two distant cultures of the world. One highlights the evil practice of racial prejudice while the other talks about the hierarchical Indian caste system and untouchability. The first part traces how the author, a Native American, was victimized at the hands of the European staff of her boarding school.
The second account gives a picture of the hardships and humiliations faced by the Indian ‘Dalits’ from the eyes of a third standard student. Although they are set in different cultures, both the stories share a similar theme. They show the sufferings and oppression faced by their respective communities. The practice of social stratification is rebuked by both the authors. Zitkala-Sa’s hair was ‘shingled’ at the behest of Europeans who considered themselves superior to the Native Americans.
On the other hand, Bama witnessed untouchability being practised openly where people from ‘lower castes’ were considered impious and were not even allowed to touch the people from the upper castes. From a very young age, both Zitkala-Sa and Bama start protesting and resisting in their own ways.
It may take a long time for oppression to be resisted, but the seeds of rebellion are sowed early in life. Do you agree that injustice in any form cannot escape being noticed even by children?
The world has been gripped in the web of stratification, oppression and discrimination at many levels. While the adults have grown used to this, the innocence of childhood does not understand hatred and prejudice. However, their keen observant eye is capable enough to notice any form of injustice and discrimination. When subjected to such evil practices, their sensitive minds and hearts are deeply affected.
Perplexed, they often resist in their own simple ways. In the lesson, the two girls describe their encounters with inequality. Zitkala-Sa, in the very first line, reports that her first day in school was ‘bitter-cold. For her, it not only describes the weather but also represents the atmosphere of the boarding school.
The overly disciplined students of the school and the European staff were unfriendly or ‘cold’ towards her, and the vain struggle against her hair being shingled was a ‘bitter experience for her. On the other hand, Bama walked on her brother’s footsteps to protest against the practice of untouchability through education. She studied wholeheartedly to reach a position where people would forget her ‘caste’ and feel proud to befriend her.
Bama’s experience is that of a victim of the caste system. What kind of discrimination does Zitkala-Sa’s experience depict? What are their responses to their respective situations?
While Bama was subjected to caste discrimination and untouchability, Zitkala-Sa was a victim of racial prejudice. Zitkala-Sa was packed off to a European missionary school where, being a local tribal, she was looked down upon. Her precious, long and heavy hair, which was her pride, was shingled. She tried to resist with all her might but, ultimately, she was forced to give up her struggle. On the contrary, Bama, who witnessed the malpractice of untouchability, decided to blur the difference of castes with the light of education.
Under the guidance and supervision of her elder brother, she judiciously utilized her anger and sense of rebellion to study hard and outwit any form of prejudice. She understood that a social change would be possible only if these so-called lower castes make an effort to study and, thus, make progress. It can easily be noticed that though both the protagonists tried to protest against the injustice they faced, the paths they chose are remarkably different.
Through this journey of rebellion, Zitkala-Sa is forced to give in; on the contrary, Bama successfully implemented her brother’s advice to finally top in her class. While Zitkala-Sa continued to rebel by criticizing the evils of racial prejudice through her works, Bama opted for a more subtle way to carry forth her silent yet effective demonstration.
Memories of Childhood Summary in English
Memories of Childhood Summary:
1. The Cutting of My Long Hair – Zitkala-Sa:
The Cutting of My Long Hair by Zitkala-Sa is a short story about racial discrimination. The story is based on true events happened with author at one point of time. The narrator recalls her difficult days in a boarding school somewhere in Europe. The narrator is a small girl with Native Indian roots. She looks different there and she doesn’t understand their language, English. She remembers that her first day there is quite a cold one … with snow all around the ground.
She is at a dining hall where she gets annoyed by constant murmur and clatter of shoes of students. Students’ activities in the boarding school are guided by bell ringing. The narrator feels uncomfortable with all this system … as she mixes up when to sit and when to eat and when to stand. Out of fear, she begins crying. She is not alone there. She sees at the opposite door a line of boys entering the dining hall and in that she sees three boys that belong to her race i.e., Native Indian. The boys too are feeling uncomfortable and out of place in this foreign land.
Among all this confusion, there is that elder lady, probably the warden; she is a pale-faced woman with strange air. She has a fixed gaze on this new girl. Next day, late in the morning, her friend Judewin comes to her and says that the pale-faced woman was talking about shingling her long and heavy hair.
To this, the narrator becomes upset, as she was told by her mother that short and shingled hair are meant for lost warriors and cowards. At this moment, she remembers her mother and the values taught by her. The narrator decides to give up some resistance before surrendering for the cutting of her hair.
As when people begin calling her name, she goes upstairs in a dark room and hides under a bed but to no avail. People come searching for her and drag her out and finally, she has had her hair cut short. So, in this story, we see that there is colour discrimination, the narrator was brown being a Native Indian and the boarding school where she was enrolled was in Europe where mostly white people lived and ruled the land as per their protocols. Thus, she had no choice but to abide by their rules and regulations.
2. We Too Are Human Beings – Bama:
We Too Are Human Beings by Bama is a story about untouchability that have been persisting in India for many centuries. The narrator of this story is an untouchable herself. She remembers her childhood when she wasn’t aware of social discrimination that existed in the world, but one day she sees something bizarre that changes her perception about the outside world existed beyond her little vista.
The narrator is a student of third grade and usually, after school, she reaches home quite late because she gets fascinated by colours of the outside world that existed between her home and school. She comes traversing a whole bazaar and a few streets which are always full of various colourful activities and so on.
One day while returning home, she sees that an elderly tall man from their street is carrying a packet by string, and also he’s walking with utmost caution and care. In her street thrashing of crops is taking place and the landlord is seated on a stone ledge. The tall man gives that packet to that landlord, who then opens the packet and eats Vadai from it. The narrator feels that an act of comedy.
She, upon reaching home, narrates the incident to her elder brother Annan. He tells her that happens because of social differences. People who are of upper-caste do not like any lower-caste person touching them, by doing so they feel polluted. The narrator feels angry upon knowing this terrible difference and she expresses her anger by saying that her people should not work for these upper caste people.
It is Annan that encourages her to study well so that she always remains above all this social hue and cry. Annan makes her understand that good education will help them to rise above the segmented society which in turn will help them overcome social barriers. Taking Annan’s advice quite seriously, the narrator studies hard and stands first in her class, due to that many of her classmates approach her for help and also appreciate her brilliance.
This story takes place in Tamil Nadu and it depicts the picture of untouchables of India, as how they struggle to live freely or roam freely wherever they want to. It is also true that education dispels the darkness caused by superstitions and social barriers. Thus, the narrator is aptly correct in saying that education has the power to lift people above from their miseries and other constraints.