Topic outline

    • Foreign Lands (Poem-By Robert Louis Stevenson)

      About the poem

      A.  Read to understand

      Answer these questions.

      1. By ‘foreign’, the poet means something that is

            a)   not real.     b) unfamiliar.    c) far off.

      Ans. unfamiliar


      2. Make a list of all that the child poet sees on climbing up the cherry tree?

      Ans. The child poet saw many things on climbing up the cherry tree such as garden decorated with flowers, a dimpling river pass, dusty road that goes up and down and people walking in to town.


      3. Pick out the lines that suggest the river reflects the sky.

      Ans.”I saw a dimpling river pass

             And be the sky’s blue looking-glass”

      4. What kind of river would you call ‘grown-up’?

      Ans. A grown up river is the one which enters the sea.


      5. Why does the child poet wish for a ‘higher tree’?

      Ans. The child poet wished for a higher tree so that he could see more beautiful places such as the place where the river enters the sea and where the roads lead into fairy land.


      6. What kind of place does the child poet imagine in the last stanza?

      Ans. In the last stanza, the child poet imagines a fairy land where children dine at five and all the toys come alive.


      7. Do you think the child poet lived a very sheltered and protected life, with little freedom? Give reason(s) for your answer.

      Ans. According to me, the child poet lived a very sheltered and protected life, with little freedom because

            i      The child climbed up the cherry tree so that he could see as many places as he can.

            ii      The child, in last stanza, imagines of fairy land where he will be able to live his life freely.


      B.  Discuss

      1.   The child’s sense of adventure makes him climb the cherry tree. What would you do to seek adventure?

      Ans. I would seek adventure in traveling around the world. (Answer will vary)


      2.   Children, in the poet’s time, used to climb trees and play in the open. In what ways do you think the activities of children today are different from those in the past?

      Ans. Children today spent very less time playing outside. Splashing in puddles, building sandcastles, climbing up a tree, playing hide and seek, planting seeds, building a den, playing pooh sticks, hunting for bugs, going stargazing and making daisy chains were the activities of children in past. These simple outdoor pleasures missed out on by today's computer-loving children.


      3.   The poet recalls the joys of his childhood in the poem. Share with the class what you enjoyed doing most when you were younger. Also, share what is it that you enjoy doing most today?

      Ans. I enjoyed playing hide and seek when I was younger. Now, I enjoy playing football.


      C.  Read to appreciate

      Read the last words in each line of the first stanza of the poem. You can see that the last words in the first two lines and the last words in the third and fourth lines form two pairs of rhyming words. Now, read the last words in each line of the other stanzas. Do you observe the same pattern throughout? This pattern is the rhyme scheme of the poem.

      Yes, we observe the same pattern throughout.

      1. Study the rhyme schemes of the poems you have read so far in this book and write them here.

            a)   Problem solving   abcb

            b)   Missed   abab

            c)   A Spaceship Landed Over There  abcb

            d)   Little by Little    aabb

            e)   The brook   abab

      Now, read these lines from the poem.

            I saw a dimpling river pass

            And be the sky’s blue looking-glass

      In these lines, the poet says the river, by reflecting the blueness of the sky, becomes a ‘looking-glass’. Here, two unlike things (river and looking glass) are being treated as one, having the similar quality of reflection. Such a comparison is called a metaphor.

      We can compare the river and the looking glass in another way. We can say that ‘the river is like a looking glass’. This type of comparison is called a simile.

      2. Identify whether the comparisons in these lines are similes or metaphors. One has been done for you.

            a)   It is raining cats and dogs.                                       metaphor

            b)   Her eyes were fire in rage.                                       metaphor

            c)   She was a tigress on the battlefield.                          metaphor

            d)   He behaved like a complete stranger.                        simile

            e)   He is the apple of his mother’s eye.                           metaphor

            f)    The fur was like silk-soft and smooth.                        simile

            g)   They are as alike as two peas in a pod.                      simile

            h)   The teacher showered him with praise.                       metaphor

            i)     The answer to the problem is as clear as crystal.         simile

            j)    The room was a furnace on the hot summer day.         metaphor