My Mother At Sixty Six | Kamala Das | Poem 1 | Flamingo | English |
‘My Mother at Sixty Six’ written by ‘Kamala Das’ revolves around a natural problem namely ‘ageing’ which can’t be controlled or cured by any doctor or surgeon of this world. At the commencement of the poem, we find the poet (Kamala Das) travelling to Cochin airport for an unmentioned work. She is accompanied by her mother who is undergoing ageing and having pathetic condition. Soon, She finds her mother dozing off (taking nap) with open mouth. Moreover, her mother’s face is colourless and thereupon she looks like as if she were a corpse.
Having seen the deteriorating condition of her mother she fears of losing her. In order to get rid of stress, she puts away the thought of losing her mother who is on the verge of death according to her, she looks out of the car which is moving at a modest speed and observes some young trees running which a perfect example of ‘personification’ used by the poet. She finds herself in the same condition wherein she is running after her success in spite of seeing the old age of her mother.
Then, she looks at some merry (happy) children coming out of their homes which show their jolly and carefree attitude. Having spent some time with her mother, she reaches the airport where she once again looks at mother with the same colourless face and compares her to late winter’s moon which is an example of ‘simile’ used as a figure of speech. Despite her wish of staying with her mother, she puts up a fake smile on her face which clearly contradicts her intention.
She winds up the poem with an ironical phrase ‘see you soon amma’ which clearly indicates that she is hopeful to meet her mother again but on the contrary, she knows that she won’t be able to see her mother again when she comes back from there. We can clearly see the internal and external conflict between the poet’s thoughts in this poem.
Here the poet criticizes the attitude of youngsters who turn a blind eye from their parents who begot and brought them to this world. Furthermore, she adds about ‘ageing’ which one has to go through one day or the other willingly or unwillingly.
Poetic Devices Used in My Mother at Sixty Six
Here the poet uses various poetic devices like Simile, Personification, Alliteration, Repetition and Oxymoron.
Short Answer Type Questions
Q1. Where is the poet going? What is she afraid of in ‘My mother at sixty six’?
Ans. The poet is going to Cochin airport with her mother. She is afraid of losing her mother as the latter has grown old and weak with the passage of time. Her condition is deteriorating day by day therefore she is scared of losing her mother.
Q2. What thought does the poet put away? Why?
Ans. The poet puts away the haunting thought of losing her mother. She knows very well that her mother has grown old with the passage of time, the symptoms of her body and face are clearly indicating that she is on the verge of the death. Therefore, she takes that thought out of her mind.
Q3. What do the parting words of the poet signify?
Ans. The parting words of the poet signify an irony which can only be felt by the poet. She is stuck between her internal and external conflicts. She says “See you soon Amma” which shows that she is hopeful of meeting her mother soon but on the other hand, she knows that she will probably not be able to see her mother again due to her pathetic condition.
Q4. Why have the trees been called sprinting?
Ans. The trees here represent ‘youngsters’ of our country who are running blindly after success ignoring and avoiding their own parents. The poet criticizes them that they have no time for them but every other thing of this world. On the other hand, if we talk about the reality, it is actually the car which is moving not the trees.
Q5. Which poetic devices have been used in this poem?
Ans. Poet has used many figures of speech here such as;
‘Simile’ in ashen like that of a corpse,
‘Personification’ in young trees sprinting,
‘Oxymoron’ in Wan pale and
‘Repetition’ in Smile, Smile and Smile.
Besides, some more poetic devices have been used here to add expressions to the poem.
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