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Memories Of Childhood NCERT Textbook With Solutions Book PDF Free Download
Chapter 8: Memories Of Childhood
The first day in the land of apples was a bitter-cold one; for the snow still covered the ground, and the trees were bare. A large bell rang for breakfast, its loud metallic voice crashing through the belfry overhead and into our sensitive ears.
The annoying clatter of shoes on bare floors gave us no peace. The constant clash of harsh noises, with an undercurrent of many voices murmuring an unknown tongue, made a bedlam within which I was securely tied. And though my spirit tore itself in struggling for its lost freedom, all was useless.
A paleface woman, with white hair, came up after us. We were placed in a line of girls who were marching into the dining room.
These were Indian girls, in stiff shoes and closely clinging dresses. The small girls wore sleeved aprons and shingled hair. As I walked noiselessly in my soft moccasins, I felt like sinking to the floor, for my blanket had been stripped from my shoulders.
I looked hard at the Indian girls, who seemed not to care that they were even more immodestly dressed than I, in their tightly fitting clothes. While we marched in, the boys entered at an opposite door.
I watched for the three young braves who came to our party. I spied them in the rear ranks, looking as uncomfortable as I felt.
A small bell was tapped, and each of the pupils drew a chair from under the table.
Supposing this act meant they were to be seated, I pulled out mine and at once slipped into it from one side.
But when I turned my head, I saw that I was the only one seated, and all the rest at our table remained standing. Just as I began to rise, looking shyly around to see how chairs were to be used, a second bell was sounded.
All were seated at last, and I had to crawl back into my chair again. I heard a man’s voice at one end of the hall, and I looked around to see him.
But all the others hung their heads over their plates.
As I glanced at the long chain of tables, I caught the eyes of a paleface woman upon me.
Immediately I dropped my eyes, wondering why I was so keenly watched by the strange woman. The man ceased his mutterings, and then a third bell was tapped.
one picked up his knife and fork and began eating. I began crying instead, for by this time I was afraid to venture anything more.
But this eating by a formula was not the hardest trial on that first day. Late in the morning, my friend Judewin gave me a terrible warning.
Judewin knew a few words of English; and she had overheard the paleface woman talk about cutting our long, heavy hair.
Our mothers had taught us that only unskilled warriors who were captured had their hair shingled by the enemy. Among our people, short hair was worn by mourners and shingled hair by cowards!
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NCERT Solutions Class 12 English Chapter 8 Memories Of Childhood
1. The two accounts that you read above are based in two distant cultures. What is the commonality of theme found in both of them?
Both the autobiographical passages, based upon two different cultures, represent the lives of two ladies from marginalized communities who look back at their childhood and think about their relationship with mainstream culture.
‘Memories of childhood’ plays autobiographical scenes by two women from culturally marginalized regions in two separate cultures of the world.
The thread of commonality that appears in both stories is the feeling of sadness and insult felt by both the women of marginalized societies.
One highlights the evil practice of racial prejudice while the other talks about the hierarchical Indian caste system and untouchability. The first account is by an American Indian woman.
The second account is characterized by a contemporary Tamil Dalit writer. The mentioned women relate to two different cultures. Pain and sorrow are experienced by both women in their early life.
Native Indians don’t get importance and respect for dignity in America. They are obliged to follow their tradition, whims, and trades.
The poor Indian lady was pulled out and tied to a chair and her long and dark hair was shingled.
Bama, on the other hand, awakened early to the dehumanization of having been born in a community of untouchables and hence directed all her power into fighting the prejudice of such a system. Both of them fight and protest against injustice and discrimination.
2. It may take a long time for oppression to be resisted, but the seeds of rebellion are sowed early in life. Do you agree that injustice in any form cannot escape being noticed even by children?
Yes, indeed, injustice in any form can’t escape being noticed even by children. The world is full of inequality. While the adults have grown used to this, the innocence of childhood does not understand hate and prejudice.
Innocent-looking children have their knowledge of the world and its people. In the case of the two extracts given in Memories of Childhood, this is evident.
Zitkala-Sa understood as soon as she entered the school run by the whites that they meant to transform her into a distinct person from what she had been before.
In the story ‘The Cutting of my Long Hair’ the author describes the emotional torture she has to go through because she is discriminated against based on her race.
She wants to have long and heavy hair, it is the culture of a society. Only cowards have shingled hair among them. She struggles and says she is defeated.
In the other extract “We too are human beings”, the writer addresses how she and her community is neglected by society under the appearance of untouchability. Bama has a first-hand experience of untouchability in India.
The people of high castes don’t think of the low castes even as human beings. She had seen an elder conquered by a landlord on a street and she observed how even the elders in her society are disrespected and despised.
3. Bama’s experience is that of a victim of the caste system. What kind of discrimination does Zitkala-Sa’s experience depict? What are their responses to their respective situations?
While Bama was subjected to untouchability and caste discrimination, Zitkala-Sa was a victim of racial prejudice. Zitkala-Sa was packed off to a European missionary school where, being a local tribal, she was looked down upon.
Bama and Zitkala-Sa highlight the humiliation and exploitation of the defeated people. They write about women from marginalized societies.
Zitkala-Sa belongs to the community of native Americans and she is expelled from her community and separated from its culture. She feels robbed of her name and dignity. The poor girl struggles till she is defeated.
On the other hand, Bama, who saw the violation of untouchability, decided to blur the difference of castes with the knowledge of education.
The people who belong to a low caste have to fight against the higher caste. She is motivated by the terms of her elder sibling, now works hard, and stands first in the class. Both Zitkala-Sa and Bama fought with courage against the humiliation they were subjected to.
NCERT Class 12 English Textbook Chapter 8 Memories Of Childhood With Answer PDF Free Download