The Roadside Stand
- The city folk who drove through the countryside hardly paid any heed to the roadside stand or to the people who ran it. If at all they did, it was to complain. Which lines bring this out? What was their complaint about?
Ans: “The polished traffic passed with a mind ahead,
Or if ever aside a moment, then out of sorts
At having the landscape marred with the artless paint
Of signs that with N turned wrong and S turned wrong.”
These lines bring out that the city folk who drove through the countryside hardly paid any heed (attention) to the roadside stand or to the people who ran it. If at all they did, it was to complain.
The city folk complained that the roadside stand and their artless paint have affected the scenic beauty of the mountain.
- What was the plea of the folk who had put up the roadside stand?
Ans: The folk who had put up the roadside stand had only one plea to the rich people. They wanted the people to stop there and buy something so that they can sustain their lives.
- The government and other social service agencies appear to help the poor rural people, but actually do them no good. Pick out the words and phrases that the poet uses to show their double standards.
Ans: The poet criticizes the government and other social service agencies relentlessly for showing double standards. They promised to give a life of their dreams and to uplift their standard of living but in reality all goes in vain. The poet uses phrases like “greedy good-doers” and “beneficent beasts of prey” to expose the double standards of those masked fellows.
- What is the ‘childish longing’ that the poet refers to? Why is it ‘vain’?
Ans: The folk who had put up the roadside stands were hoping that someday people will halt at their little shops and buy some goods. They wanted to earn some money and kept day dreaming about this. They waited to hear the squealing sound of a stopping car. The poet refers to this hope of the owners by the phrase ‘childish longing’.
The owners of the roadside stands kept waiting for customers but the rich people hardly stopped there. Sometimes a few stopped there to take a turn or to ask the way but not to buy anything. That is why their hope goes ‘in vain’.
- Which lines tell us about the insufferable pain that the poet feels at the thought of the plight of the rural poor?
Ans: “sometimes I feel myself I can hardly bear
The thought of so much childish longing in vain,
These lines tell about the insufferable pain that the poet feels at the thought of the plight of the rural poor. The poet found that all the hopes and dreams of those people were going in vain. No one was there to help them or even to buy something from them. On the contrary a few people were using their hopes to loot them.
- What were the things that were offered for sale in the roadside stands?
Ans: The roadside stands offered wild berries, crooked necked golden squash etc. for sale.
- “…that waits in almost open prayer..” What is the “prayer” the poet is talking about?
Ans: The owners of the roadside stand had only one hope that one day all the cars will stop at their shops and buy goods from them which will help them to support their lives. This hope is the “prayer” the poet is talking in the line “…that waits in almost open prayer…”
- The poet says that sometimes on or two cars stopped at the roadside stands. Why did those cars stop?
Ans: Sometimes on or two cars used to stop at the roadside stands. One of them used the yard to turn back the car, the other to ask the way where it was bound and another to ask if they could sell gas.
- What does the poet want to say through the following lines –
“The hurt to the scenery wouldn’t be my complaint
So much as the trusting sorrow of what is unsaid:”
Ans: Through these lines the poet expresses his deep concern about the owners of roadside stands. The poet is angry with the people who criticizes the shops and praises the landscape. He says that the people should look at the stalls to buy something but instead of that they blame the stalls for destroying the scenic beauty of the mountain. At this incident the poet is hurt as they ignore the poor farmers. The poet also said that he won’t have any problem if no one praises the natural beauty but he is very sad as the rich people breaks the hope of the poor farmers.
- Why the poet uses the phrases like “GREEDY GOOD-DOERS” and “BENEFICENT BEASTS OF PREY”?
Ans: The poet saw that in our society there are a few people who acts as kind man and aims at their own benefits. To show this kind of double standards the poet uses phrases like “greedy good-doers” and “beneficent beasts of prey”. These phrases also show the anger of the poet and his concern regarding the poor farmers.