NCERT Solutions for Class 11 English Woven Words Chapter 12

Telephone Conversation Class 11

Chapter 12 Telephone Conversation Exercise Answers & Summary

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Word meaningsunderstanding the poem : Solutions of Questions on Page Number : 115

Q1 :  

Notice these expressions in the poem and guess their meaning from the context:

rancid breath squelching tar
spectroscopic flight of fancy  
rearing on the thunderclap brunette
peroxide blonde clinical assent
raven black  

 


Answer :

  • rancid breath: Rancid means a matter which is offensive or disagreeable. Thus, the voice in which the lady speaks to the poet is under an immensely nasty or insulting breath.

  • squelching tar: The verb squelch means to strike or press with crushing force. Thus, the expression used here is that of a huge amount of compressed tar, the dark coloured product obtained after distillation of coal or wood, expressing the complexion of the poet.

  • spectroscopic flight of fancy: The word spectroscopy originated from the concept of dispersion of visible light into seven different colours. Thus, the word explains the dispersed flow of thoughts of the lady after talking to the erudite poet. Her fancies of a "dark" man gained wings and attained new levels of interpretations when she had to submit to the fact that she knew lesser than the person on the other side of the line.

  •  rearing on the thunderclap: A thunderclap refers to something resembling the sudden occurrence of a thunder, as in loudness or unexpectedness.

  • brunette: Brunette here refers to dark hair and, often, dark eyes and darkish or olive skin.

  • peroxide blonde: This expression refers to a harsh or unnaturally bleached palm and sole of feet rather than a natural fair complexion. Peroxide is a chemical which is used as a bleaching agent.

  • clinical assent: The voice of the lady in the poem seemed clinical while assenting to the poet's revelation. It refers to the concerned voice based on a vivid and actual observation of the poet, giving in to the situation after a lot of thought and inspection.

  • raven black: Here, raven black is a metaphorical expression to describe the intensity of the colour black. Raven is supposedly a very large, dark complexioned bird of the crow family. This metaphor is usually used to describe dark-skinned people.

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Q2 :  

State the central issue in the poem.


Answer :

The central issue dwells around the ironical fact that when a person is in search of shelter, the questions being asked are based on his skin colour and not the usual queries exchanged like that of the rent, the amenities provided and other basic requirements in an apartment. The landlady is shown to have possessed a very shallow racist behaviour in the poem and ironically, the poet is shown to be sorry for something which he was born with. Discrepancies between what appears to be and what really is create a sense of verbal irony that helps the poem display the ridiculousness of racism.

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Q3 :  

There are intervals of silence in the interaction between the landlady and the prospective tenant. What are the reasons for this?


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Q4 :  

How is colour highlighted in the poem and why? List all the words in the poem that suggest colour.


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Q5 :  

Which are the lines in the poem that impressed you the most and why?


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Understanding the poem : Solutions of Questions on Page Number : 116

Q1 :  

You know what 'hide-and-seek' is. What would 'hide-and-speak' mean?


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Q2 :  

Certain words in the poem are in capital letters — why?


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Q3 :  

Why do you think that the poet has chosen the title 'Telephone Conversation'? If you were to suggest another title for the poem, what would it be?


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Q4 :  

The power of poetry lies in suggestion and understatement. Discuss this with reference to the poem.


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