Amanda by Robin Klein

Amanda for CBSE Class X

About the author ..Robin Klein is an Australian writer of great renown. She was born in a family of nine children. Rearing so many children must have been an uphill task for her mother. As a child, she must have endured the frequent reprimands of her mother, and must have seen other siblings of her face the ire of a harried mother trying to bring up the children the right way. This poem Amanda, perhaps, bears the glimpses of her mother’s relentless things to do and not do. All children reeling under a nagging mother’s find the atmosphere at home repressive, and yearn to flee to a land where they could indulge in anything of their liking. This poem portrays the anguish felt by young children under their mother’s care, and their desire to break free and flee to a domain of complete freedom.

The poem…

First stanza .. Don’t bite your nails ………. Amanda.

Meaning .. The mother’s caution ..The mother sternly asks the little girl Amanda not to bite her nails (because it’s unhygienic), and sit erect. She doesn’t like the way Amanda sits in a lazy drooping way. (because it distorts the posture).

The child’s reaction ..Amanda squirms at her mother’s words. She conjures up a vision where, as a mermaid, she floats on a vast placid sea in complete solitude.

Second stanza .. Did you finish …. …. Amanda.

Meaning … The mother’s caution.. The mother queries if Amanda has finished her home work, done up the bed, and polished her shoes. The three queries coming one after another unsettles Amanda. She loathes the words, but is powerless.

Amanda’s reaction .. She laments her fate. In disgust, she imagines herself as an orphan (so that there is no mother to worry her) wandering aimlessly in a dusty track. She draws patterns on the loose dust using her bare feet. There is no sound, no screams, and no reprimands. The freedom appears so blissful, and so lifting.

Third stanza .. Don’t eat that chocolate ….. Amanda.

Meaning .. The mother’s admonishments .. She asks Amanda no to eat the chocolates (so relishing to a child), so that the acne is not exacerbated. As Amanda dips her head to avoid her mother’s angry face, the latter asks him to look directly at her.

Amanda’s reaction .. She sees herself as Rapunzel, the princess living alone her huge palace. With no one to breathe down her neck, she could unfetter hr mind and do anything she liked. ‘Life would be so enjoyable, there,’ she bemoans.

Fourth stanza .. Stop that sulking … Amanda.

The mother’s reaction.. She finds that Amanda has become unresponsive and surly. She wants her child to cheer up, and shed her sour mood. The mother fears that seeing Amanda so sad, and glum ad grumpy, others could assume that the innocent child had been too rudely dealt with by her mother.

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Questions and answers ..

  1. How old do you think…………….? Amanda possibly is aged between 8 to 10. She is going to school because she has to do homework. At this age, girls need continuous attention from their mothers. The youngsters resent such critical attention and resort to fantasy for temporary relief.
  2. Who do you think …. ? Most probably, it is her mother.
  3. Why are stanzas 2, 4 and 6 . ? These are the thoughts of Amanda. These are not in poem form. So, they are given in parenthesis.
  4. Who is the speaker …. ? The speaker is Amanda. The speaker in 1, 3, 5, and 7 is not listening to Amanda.
  5. What could Amanda ………? She would sail on the solitary ocean with no fears, no worries.
  6. Is Amanda an orphan …….? No, Amanda is not an orphan. She imagines to be one, because she detests her mother for the latter’s constant advices.
  7. Do you know the story ……? Rapunzel was a little girl living in a large mansion. She had ample freedom to whatever she liked.
  8. What does the girl yearn ….Amanda resents her mother’s frequent nagging. She wants to break free from the confines of her house, and go to a far-off place to live her own life.
  9. Read the last para …..? Amanda is obviously displeased with her mother’s hegemony. It shows in her body language. She has become somewhat withdrawn, and de-spirited.

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