The poem my mother at sixty six is written by Kamala Das, a famous Indian poet. In this article, we will do the analysis of the poem my mother at sixty six in detail along with an explanation and summary.
My Mother at Sixty Six Poem
My Mother at Sixty Six About the poet
Kamala Das was born in Malabar, Kerala, in 1934. She is regarded as one of India’s most prominent poets. Her works are known for their uniqueness, versatility, and indigenous flavor of the land. Her writings do not reflect external factors; rather, her writings reveal her true inner feelings. She has numerous novels and short stories to her credit. She used the pen name “Madhavi Kutty” when she wrote.
My Mother at Sixty Six Introduction
In the poem titled “My mother at sixty-six,” the poet discusses her mother. This poem is about the relationship between mother and daughter (poet), and the poet expresses her feelings for her mother.
My Mother at Sixty Six Characters
The following section presents the poem my mother at sixty six characters’ names and character sketches.
- Poet (Name – Kamala Das)
- Poet’s mother
My Mother at Sixty Six Word Meaning
Doze: It means falling asleep or becoming sleepy. E.g. I doze off on the sofa and wake up with my head on my mother’s lap.
Ashen: The word ‘ashen’ has two meanings. The first meaning is ‘gray or ash-colored and the second meaning is ‘having a sickly or pale appearance’.
Corpse: The word “corpse” is a noun that refers to the dead body of a human or animal.
Sprinting: It means to race or move at full speed.
Merry children: It means happy children.
My Mother at Sixty Six Central Idea
The central idea of the poem my mother at sixty six is ‘ageing,’ which is an eternal law of nature. The following paragraphs explain it in detail.
In this poem, Kamla das depicts her mother as an ageing lady who has turned pale with the passage of time, creating a very realistic image of ageing. The poem’s central idea is ‘ageing,’ which is an eternal law of nature. Everything has to change one day, from the moment we are born to the moment we die. There are numerous physical, mental, and emotional changes. We meet many people in our lives, make friends, and many people leave us. When people we care about leave us, we experience a certain level of pain.
The poem is entirely focused on that pain. The poet also mentions a mother and daughter’s close relationship. A deep feeling filled with love and warmth, as well as apprehension. The fear of losing someone who is indispensable in one’s life. When we have to leave our loved ones and are afraid of not seeing them again, we experience deep pain.
My Mother at Sixty Six Summary
The following paragraph presents the summary of my mother at sixty six poem.
This is a beautiful poem written by Indian poet Kamala Das, who went by the pen name ‘Madhavikutty.’ In this poem, she expresses her love and attachment to her ageing mother.
The poet once went to see her mother. She was returning to the airport to fly back to Cochin. She turned to face her mother, who was sitting beside her in the car. Her mother had fallen asleep, and her ageing face had turned ash-colored. Her mouth was open, and she looked like a corpse. The poet realised her mother was getting old. She felt both her pain and sympathy for her. Her mother required love, affection, and attention.
In an effort to dispel the gloom, the poet shifted her gaze and looked out the car window. She observed young trees passing by there. Small children dashed from their homes into the playgrounds. These things contrasted with her mother’s ageing appearance. They represented vitality, life, and happiness.
As they approached the airport and the poet was about to board the plane, she cast one last glance at her mother. Her mother appeared frail and pale, much like the moon in the winter, which appears to have lost all strength. The poet experienced the agony and fear of losing her mother. She was taken back to her childhood when she was terrified of losing her mother. She couldn’t stand being separated from her mother even for a few seconds as a child. Her mother was about to die, and she would be without her for the rest of her life.
The poet didn’t say how she felt. She smiled and told her mother, “See you soon, Amma,” because she wanted her mother to live so they could see each other again.
My Mother at Sixty Six Explanation
The following paragraphs presents the explanation of my mother at sixty six poem.
When the poet is on her way to the Cochin airport with her elderly mother by her side, she looks at her intently and presents us with an image of her. The poet first gives us a glimpse of her elderly mother as they travel to the Cochin airport.
She likens her to a corpse. (she used the simile to compare her mother’s face to that of a dead person.) She is struck by the horror and pain of losing her mother as she looks at her mother’s pale and pallid face. The mother, with her drowsy expression and open mouth, is compared to a corpse. The poet depicts the typical love and affection that exists in a mother-daughter relationship.
The poet is distressed and shifts her focus outside the car in order to expel her negative emotions. She lifts her sad mood. Outside the window, there is new life and energy. The sprinting trees alongside the joyfully playing children represent life, youth, and vitality. The poet is reminded of her own childhood, when her mother was young, whereas now she is surrounded by the fear of losing her, which has made her insecure.
She is on her way to the airport to catch a flight. It represents departure and separation, which causes melancholy. As she waves goodbye to her mother, she is reminded of the image of her mother in her golden years. Again, a simile is used to compare her mother to a late winter moon, the light of which is obscured by fog and mist. Her personality has been influenced by the fact that she appears to be getting older.
The poet is experiencing the agony of separation after leaving her mother. Her childhood fear of losing her mother, which she believes was temporary at the time but may now be permanent as she may die of old age, is also haunting her. She is in so much pain that it is natural for her to cry, but she keeps a brave face and hides her tears with smiles.
She bids her mother farewell and says, “See you soon, Amma,” hoping to see her again. She hides her sorrow because she does not want to create a painful environment for her mother, and she tells her that just as she is happy and enjoying her life, her mother should be happy and enjoying her life as well.
My Mother at Sixty Six Theme
The following paragraph presents the theme of my mother at sixty six poem.
The poem centers on the theme of ageing and the fear that comes with loss and separation. It is a sentimental account of the mother’s impending death as seen through the daughter’s eyes. The seemingly brief poem explores the filial bond between mother and daughter against a backdrop of nostalgia and fear. Fear of the future without the mother and nostalgia for the past (time spent with her).
My Mother at Sixty Six Poetic Devices
The poem My Mother at Sixty Six uses the following poetic devices.
Alliteration: It is the repetition of a letter or sound in two or more words in a sentence. e.g. “my mother”, “that thought”, “I said was, see you soon”. It helps to give words that sound similar an extra emphasis so that they stand out in our minds and make it easier for us to remember them.
Anaphora: A poetic device in which a word or phrase is repeated to produce a poetic effect. e.g. the poet repeats these words, “thought away … thought” and “smile and smile and smile”. Anaphora is typically found in poetry and speeches as it creates a sense of unity and strengthens the argument. It can also be used to create an emphatic effect.
Metaphor: It compares two things that are not alike, but share some characteristics without the use of as or like. e.g. “the merry children spilling”. Metaphors are used all the time in everyday language and more formally, such as when writing poetry or literature.
Personification: It is a literary technique that gives human characteristics to non-human things such as animals or plants or non-living things. e.g. “trees sprinting”. This technique is often used to make the audience connect better with a certain object or event. For example, we can personify a storm as an angry god and make it more understandable for the audience.
Simile: It is a figure of speech that makes an explicit comparison between two things. In other words, it says that one thing is like another. A simile will always use the words “like” or “as” in order to make the comparison. e.g. “her face ashen like that of a corpse”, “as a late winter’s moon”.
Justify the title My Mother at Sixty Six
This poem describes the unique relationship between an elderly mother and her daughter. Her daughter has come to visit her mother, who is sixty-six years old. This poem is a beautiful depiction of a young girl’s concern for her elderly mother.
The title highlights the poet’s anxiety as her mother approaches the end of her life. At this age, her mother is frail, weak, and listless. With a heavy heart and a smile, she bids her mother farewell, recognising that this may be their final encounter. The smile is significant because it inspired hope in the mother and daughter that they would be reunited the next time the daughter visited her mother.
My Mother at Sixty Six Question Answers
The following section presents the NCERT solutions of my mother at sixty six poem in detail.
1. Ageing is a natural process; have you ever thought what our elderly parents expect from us?
Companionship, care, and love are important to elderly parents. They are elderly and thus unable to move as freely as they once did. They are lonely and would like their children to spend some time with them. A kind word and a few minutes of our time will bring them joy and make them feel loved and cherished. They feel depressed and abandoned when they are ignored and rejected. We must remember that we will all grow old, and there will come a time when we, too, will crave solitude and company.
2. What is the kind of pain and ache that the poet feels?
When the poet sees her mother’s pale, corpse-like face, she feels pain and ache. Her childhood pain about her mother abandoning her resurfaces in her heart. She realises her mother’s face has turned into the withered moon of winter, and she is nearing the end of her life. She believes that time and age spare no one and that both are unavoidable.
3. Why are the young trees described as ‘sprinting’?
The poet and her mother were riding in a car that was moving at a fast pace. The poet looked out the window to distract herself from the agonising realisation that she would soon lose her mother. Outside, the trees appeared to be moving in the opposite direction. To emphasise and contrast the mother’s growing age, the poet personified the trees as ‘young.’
4. Why has the poet brought in the image of the merry children ‘spilling out of their homes’?
A paradox for the poet’s elderly mother is the young children rushing out of their homes. While the children were young, active, and full of life, the mother was frail, weak, and motionless, as if she had dozed off. The children symbolise youth and vigour, whereas the mother symbolises inactivity and decay.
5. Why has the mother been compared to the ‘late winter’s moon’?
Winter is the last season of the year, just as the poet’s elderly mother was nearing the end of her life. Similarly, the mother was frail, weak, and pale, like the winter moon, which is frequently obscured by fog and mist. Her youth’s radiance had vanished.
6. What do the parting words of the poet and her smile signify?
The poet’s parting words, ‘See you soon, Amma,’ are intended to reassure her mother and the poet herself that she will not lose her mother. She smiles at her mother while putting on a brave face to hide her pain and fear.
My Mother at Sixty Six Important Questions and Answers
Having looked at her mother, why does Kamala Das look at the young children?
When the poet looked at her mother, she realised she was getting older and wouldn’t live much longer. This realisation was painful for her because she couldn’t accept the loss of separation. To distract herself, the poet looked out the window at the joyful children who were full of energy and vitality.
Why does Kamala Das compare her mother to ‘a pale winter’s moon’?
Winter is the last season of the year, and it represents the inevitable end, just as the poet’s elderly mother was nearing the end of her life. Similarly, the poet’s mother was grey, weak, and pale, like the dull and dim winter moon that is frequently obscured by fog and mist. Her youth’s radiance had vanished.
What kind of pain does Kamala Das feel in ‘My Mother at Sixty-Six’?
When the poet sees her mother’s pale, corpse-like face, she feels pain and aches. Her mother had grown older and weaker, and her face had turned into the withered moon of the winter season. She was terrified of losing her mother, just as she had been as a child. She realised her mother was probably nearing the end of her life.
What does the poet’s smile in the poem ‘My Mother at Sixty-Six’ show?
“See you soon, Amma,” the poet’s parting words, indicate that she is afraid of losing her mother but does not want her mother to know her true feelings. She smiles and assures her mother that they will definitely meet again in an effort to conceal her worry and anxiety and to instil hope in her mother’s mind. The poet’s parting words, however, were more for herself than for her mother.
Why are the youngsters described as sprinting?
The poet and her mother were seated in a swiftly moving car. Outside, the trees appeared to be moving in the opposite direction, prompting the poet to describe them as “sprinting.” In addition, the poet depicts young children rushing out of their homes, which is a paradox to her elderly mother. While the children were young, active, and full of life, the mother was frail, feeble, and inactive because she had fallen asleep.
How does Kamala Das try to put away the thoughts of her ageing mother?
The poet was distressed by the sight of her mother appearing extremely frail, pale, and distressed, and by the realisation that she was nearing the end of her life. To attempt to alter her train of thought, she gazed out the window. As the car moved at a fast pace, it appeared as though the trees were “sprinting” in the opposite direction. She also observed children, brimming with vitality and vigour, rushing out of their homes to play. The youth and vitality of the trees and children stood in stark contrast to the poet’s mother’s inactivity and deterioration.
In the last line of the poem My Mother at Sixty-Six’, why does the poet use the word ‘smile’ repeatedly?
The poet’s repeated use of the word ‘smile’ signifies her sense of self-assurance. By smiling, she falsely reaffirms her belief that everything will be alright while concealing her true emotions and fear from her mother. So that her mother does not lose hope, the poet reassures her mother that they will meet again.
How did Kamala Das’s mother look during the drive to Cochin?
During the drive to Cochin, the poet’s mother appeared pale and listless. The poet’s daughter observed that her mother’s health was deteriorating and described her as sick, lethargic, and lifeless as a corpse.
What were the poet’s feelings at the airport? How did she hide them?
The poet was sad at the airport because she feared she would never see her elderly mother again. However, she hid her anxiety and worry from her mother by putting on a brave front and smiling. Her words, “See you soon, Amma,” are an attempt to reassure herself and her mother that everything is in good enough condition.
Why has the mother been compared to the late winter’s moon?
The moon in late winter is calm and hazy, with a dim lustre. Its vitality and power drop significantly. As a result, the poetess compares her mother’s calm, colourless, and withered face to a late winter moon. Her age of sixty-six has caused her to become weak, wan, and pale. She has lost her strength and power.
What is the significance of ‘sprinting trees’ in Kamala Das’ poem?
The poetess is in a car on her way home to Cochin airport. She looks outside and feels the young trees seem to be walking past them. They appear to be sprinting or racing with the vehicle. The poetess compares and contrasts her mother’s slumbering state with that of young, thriving trees.
Why has the poet brought in the image of the merry children spilling out of their homes?
The poetess discusses the various phases of life. On one side, joyful children play and bask in the sun. They symbolise vitality, continuity, strength, action, and a carefree existence. On the other hand, she has an elderly mother. The cheerful children pouring out of their homes represent both the continuity of life’s activities and its spontaneous flow.