MP Board Class 12th Special English Important Questions Chapter 7 A Prayer for My Daughter
I. Answer the following questions in about 50 – 60 words each:
What do the words, ‘the future years had come’ symbolize in the poem?
This expression symbolizes years imagination about the coming days in context of the situation prevailing then. He fears about the coming time that might be full of violence and blood shed that had already started showing its sings.
What is the poet’s opinion about ‘overmuch beauty’? Does he want his daughter to possess it? (M.P. 2009, 18)
The poet wants his daughter to be beautiful but not that much, that make a stranger’s eyes distraught. He feels that overmuch beauty can disturb and distract. Beautiful women take their beauty as an end in itself. They forget their natural kindness.
What are the evil effects of ‘Horn of Plenty’? (M.P. 2010)
Hatred is the worst civil according to the poet. It makes one obstinate and vain. Horn of Plenty symbolises plenty of flowers, fruits and com and thus are symbol of prosperity. But those ladies who are laden with prosperity of beauty ruin their life by making wrong choices due to vanity. As Maud Gonne spoiled her beauty and doomed to her misfortune.
What qualities grow when the mind is without hatred? (M.P. 2011, Imp.)
If the soul is free from hatred, no misfortune can ruin the innocence and cheerfulness of a person. His daughter if not touched by hatred, would be capable of enjoying inner peace and happiness. Her soul would be able to find its fulfillment within itself. She would remain always happy even in the midst of misfortune and the hostility of the world.
Why does the poet want his daughter to have a life of custom and ceremony?
The poet wants his daughter to have a life of custom and ceremony. He prays that his daughter may be married in a good, aristocratic family. He thinks so because tradition always follows high spiritual values. There is no place for arrogance and hatred these. Arrogance and hatred is the trait of the masses or the commoners. The aristocratic way of life, however, is rooted in custom and tradition. Culture preserves spiritual values and is itself preserved by ceremony and tradition.
Explain the legend of Helen and Paris.
Helen was the daughter of Zeus and Leda. She was extraordinarily beautiful. She out of her arrogance eloped with Prince Paris of Troy. This elopement brought destruction of Troy. Her life too was ruined.
II. Answer the following questions in about 75 – 100 words each:
In the poem ‘A Prayer for my daughter’ nature in both its aspects-wild and joyous-serves as a background. Explain and illustrate.
The poem ‘A Prayer for My Daughter is typical poem of W. B. Yeats. It appears to be quite simple but the poet has enriched it with certain images. The violence of nature thunderous innocence of the sea is symbolic of the violence of man. The poet gives many examples of great beauties like Helen who represents Maud Gonne, Venus and their beauty proved disastrous for them. There are some images from nature also.
The wind and tree are to be found throughout. First stormy wind outside, and then the horn of plenty is transformed into-a windy instrument. Maud Gonne has taken ‘old bellows full of angry wind’. The spreading laurel-tree, which stands for tradition and customs is mentioned twice.
The intellectual hatred as of Maude Gonne brings its own punishment and the innocence and courtesy can, however, serve as a refuge or shelter against every ‘windy quarter’ or ‘bellows burst’. All these symbols give great significance to the thoughts expressed in the poem. It is quite apt to say that the poem contains ‘rich stores in a little room’.
What virtues does the poet want his daughter to be blessed with? (Imp.)
Because of his fear about a violent future the poet prays for safety of his new born daughter. He thinks that the only pressure shield is to inculcate some inner virtue which will give comfort to his daughter. If his daughter can have some virtues that would make her strong, But he has not prayed for any Christian virtues for his daughter.
He has only wished for certain abstract qualities – like innocence, freedom, kindness and gladness. He has not mentioned how these qualities can be built up. The poet has expressed his faith in tradition and ceremony but in a world of changing values it may be very difficult to preserve them under the stream of modem civilization. The poet is rather idealistic and has not addressed himself to the challenges which the world is facing today.
Why does the poet want his daughter to be free from ‘intellectual hatred’ and ‘opinionated mind’? (Imp.)
The poet in order to make his daughter’s future safe wants her to acquire some virtues which is the only way that can protect one from the bad days which have already creeped in. He feels that intellectual hatred is the worst kind of evil and a severe blow to the character.
So he would like his daughter abandon strong and stubborn opinions on any subject political or otherwise. He would like his daughter to avoid the weaknesses of Maud Gonne. It was because of her strongly held opinions. She was led to act foolishly. All her beauty and her good upbringing proved to be useless. She ruined her life by choosing a worthless person as John MacBryde for a husband.
So he wants his daughter to be free from ‘all intellectual hatred’ and ‘opinionated mind’ for only then she would be capable of enjoying inner peace and happiness and she would keep herself happy even in the midst of misfortune and the hostility of the world.
Why does the poet so much worried about the future of his new-born daughter? (M.P. 2014)
The poem ‘A Prayer for My Daughter’ is a personal poem of W.B. Yeats. It reflects the gloom of the poet and his fear of a stormy future. As this poem was written after the First World War, it reflects the post-war frustration. This poem, written soon after the birth of his daughter Annie, can be clearly comprehended with the background Yeat’s poem ‘The Second Coming’ written a month before the birth of his daughter.
In ‘The Second Coming’ the poet had a vision suggesting the end of the Christian era (an age of piety and rituals) and the advent of a new barbaric age. Besides the bloodshed in Ireland, consequent upon the Easter Rebellion of 1916 and the outbreak of Irish Civil War accompanied by World War-I had already filled the poet’s mind with gloomy forebodings.
The painful moments of the failures of his love affair with Maud Gonne were also in his mind. So the poet is scared for the safety of his daughter’s future and prays for her safe future by providing her shield of protection.