David Herbert Lawrence
Answers for all the questions from the poetry ‘Money Madness’ included in the CHSE +2 book ‘Invitation to English – 1’.
Think it out
1. Are all the people of the world mad for money? Which line implies this?
Answer – Yes, all humans in this world are possessed by the lure of money. The opening two lines point to this.
‘Money is our madness, our vast collective madness
And if the multitude is mad’.
It’d be unfair to label all and sundry as money mad. But certainly, the majority does fall in this category. Since time immemorial, callousness has been the norm for such individuals. As mankind has prospered with the passage of time, the collective madness has progressively exacerbated. The first line ‘Money is our madness, our vast collective madness’ implies this.
2. Are all the people equally mad for money or degree of madness varies from person to person?
Answer – The whole of mankind has been perceived by the poet to be gripped by lucre.
As far as the degree of madness is concerned, people of alternate extremities are bound to make up the the fabric of society at any given point of time. Then there’d some whose mental instincts surface with regards to the context. As the saying goes, there is no accounting for tastes. In other words, the degree of madness is just as diversified as the diversification in cultures, geographies and behavioural conditioning. Any generalization would be inaccurate.
3. How does a person feel when he parts with a pound of money?
Answer – While parting with a pound, a person feels a certain degree of sadness and loss.
A person experiences a fleeting sensation of sharp ache in his heart while he parts with a pound of money. Such persons desire to keep all their wealth to themselves, and are commonly termed as the misers. Miserliness appears to be taking increasingly more minds under its grasp. Such unfortunate turn of events sign towards the emergence of miserliness as a mental pandemic.
4. How does a person feel when he hands out a ten-pound note?
Answer – When giving out a ten-pound note, a man feels a tremor expressing his utter hesitation and grief.
Handing out a ten pound note makes the person feel excruciating pain in the deepest core of his heart. At the time of transaction, it appears to the person as if a part of him has been taken away. He is devastated at the unjust and unkind world that deprived him of the ten pound note so very dear to him. He pauses and dwells upon his irrecoverable loss.
5. What kind of feeling does money create in us? (Line 6 – 7)
Answer – Money gives a man an aura of superiority, vanity, and dignity.
Money always keeps us fearful and apprehensive. The higher the possession of wealth, the greater the anxiety in the owner’s mind. Man has traded his soul to money at the cost of his morality and dignity. It appears as if man kneels before money and begs it to never depart. The unquenchable lust of money robs us of our mental peace.
6. Are we really afraid of money or moneyed men?
Answer – We don’t dread money, but we feel awed at the sight of a moneyed man.
Money itself is actually a revolutionary concept that allows man to accumulate resources, a luxury that no other living being can afford. Man’s unwarranted attachment towards money has tainted its image, morphing it into a twisted devil. It’s always the moneyed men that we are afraid of. In their lives, accumulation of wealth takes the driving seat and overshadows their noble characteristics such as compassion, generousity, humility and humanity. Blinded by money, they manifest behaviour that’s wretched and vile.
7. What do people say about a man‘s worth?
Answer – People instinctively ask how much is the bank balance of a person, as if this is the single most important yardstick for measuring their worth.
People use money as the yardstick/benchmark to evaluate a man’s worth in society. The more wealth one possesses, the worthier he becomes, automatically. On the flip side, the ones who have a hand to mouth existence, are looked down upon by default. To the sane mind, it’s bizarre how low the bar is for individuals to judge other living beings of blood and flesh. The poor is humiliated at every opportunity and is repeatedly reminded of his subpar quality of living.
8. How many times is ‘dirt’ repeated in the poem? What does the poet mean by ‘dirt’?
Answer – The word ‘dirt’ appears four times in the poem. It has been used metaphorically to denote indignity, contempt, aloofness, and selfishness.
The word ‘dirt’ has been repeated five times in the poem. The poet repeats it as he wishes to stress on the predicament of the poor. By dirt, the poet wants to point at the insults and mockery the poor are generally subjected to.
9. How do money-mad men treat men-without- money?
Answer – Moneyed people look down upon those who are not so blessed, assuming them to be inferior, worthless, and unequal.
The money-mad men apparently deny to acknowledge the existence of the poor. They mock and degrade the poor individuals with unwavering consistency. The poor is provided barely enough to sustain their lives and the money-mad suck out their lives almost parasitically.
10. What does a man without money fear – poverty or dishonor by eating ‘dirt‘?
Answer – A man without money has to suffer indignity, sneer, and contempt.
Dignity and respect are the two priceless possessions of every man. Without them, a man turns into a mere puppet that dances at the signal of the puppeteers. He is treated as a slave and unspeakable torments are meted out to him without any option to walk away. So, it’s always the dishonour by eating ‘dirt’ that a man without money fears.
11. Why does the poet say ‘We must have some money’?
Answer – Without money, life becomes insufferable with insult, humiliation, and indignity coming in from all directions relentlessly. To have the minimum honor and respect, the poet feels that we must have some money.
As humans, we need to possess wealth in order to thrive in the society. The basic amenities of life can only be met by the means of money. Nothing comes free of cost and you get what you pay for. That’s why the poet aptly says that we need to have some money.
12. What does the poet mean by ‘bread’ (line 22), ‘shelter’ (line 23), ‘fire’ (line24)?
Answer – Bread means food, shelter means dwelling, and fire means fuel to cook and keep oneself warm.
Bread refers to the food we consume to survive. Shelter means our homes that protect us from the adversities of the wild nature. Being homeless in this day and age is arguably the worst punishment one could suffer. Fire means domestic heating and cooking appliances that help regulate the indoors temperature and cook food respectively. Without access to room heating, the people in the Nordic regions would freeze to death.
13. Do you think ‘bread’, ‘shelter’ and ‘fire’ should be free? Explain why you think so.
Answer – Logically, these three basic needs of life should be free particularly for the disadvantaged people. But, such welfare measures will cost a lot of money for the government. The moot question is if the government can mobilize the necessary resources.
From a purely humane point of view; bread, shelter and fire should be free for everybody. As a part of the human race myself, I’m naturally compassionate towards humans and value their lives more. But logically speaking, it’s nigh impossible to make all those free. It requires manpower to continuously produce all these substances and not to mentioned, there’d be third party involvement as well. All of them monetary compensation without which they would not have any incentive to continue working. The flow of money, if meddled with, threatens to rupture the balance of society. Thus, it doesn’t seem practical.
14. Why does the poet repeat the words ‘all and anybody’ in line 24?
Answer – The poet feels very strongly about the need for free access to food, shelter and fuel for everyone. This is why he repeats the words twice.
He repeats ‘all and everybody’ as he takes a sympathetic stance towards the less fortunate. His vivid imagination enables in to walk in the shoes of the poor not just in his immediate vicinity, but also around the globe. The feeling of dread takes over his consciousness and he expresses that state of mind with those words.
15. What does it mean to ‘regain our sanity’ (line 25)?
Answer -‘To regain our sanity’ means to reclaim our sense of good judgment, goodness, and all other virtues that separates humans from animals.
The poet is not all doom and gloom, rather, he sees a ray of hope in humanity. He believes, or at least wants to believe that mankind can still change its outlook and go back to the simpler days when money hadn’t taken the center stage. The choice of sanity in the world of insanity lies in the hands of the common people. The words ‘regain our sanity’ serves as a wake up call for all of us.
16. What are the two things implied in – ‘It‘s one thing or the other’?
Answer – The poet is convinced that we have to choose between the two ways – going blindly for money, and sacrificing al the noble vales of life, or wanton violence, unleashing of animal instincts a slid back to the ‘Stone Age’.
The poet foresees the consequences of the ongoing occurrences of his time. It is clear to him that greed will ultimately turn humans increasingly more violent with the passage of time. The two things in the line point at the two possible outcomes of mankind’s obsession with money. One is regaining our sanity and the other is to revert back our evolution, downgrading ourselves to insensitive and violent primal creatures.
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