My Mother at Sixty – Six Summary Chapter Summary for 12th Class CBSE

My Mother at Sixty – Six Summary Chapter Summary for 12th Class CBSE

My Mother at Sixty-Six is a poem, and as such, it lacks characters in the conventional sense that one could find in a play or story. Rather, it has a speaker who muses over her feelings and views about her mother. The speaker of the poem serves as the main voice and lens through which the reader experiences the themes of aging, mortality, and the changing parent-child connection. 

My Mother at Sixty – Six Summary Chapter Summary

It is a very intimate and introspective work. Even though the speaker's mother plays a major role in the poem, her role is mainly symbolic, serving to highlight the larger issues of aging and its effects on familial relationships. The speaker's thoughts and feelings as she considers her mother's aging during an automobile accident are highlighted.

My Mother at Sixty – Six Summary

My Mother at Sixty-Six is a poignant poem written by Kamala Das, an Indian English poet. The poem reflects on the aging process and the emotional impact it has on the speaker as she observes her mother's physical decline. The central theme revolves around the inevitability of aging and the complex emotions it elicits in both the elderly and their loved ones.

My Mother at Sixty – Six Summary Chapter Summary-The speaker of the poem opens by describing her mother's appearance, emphasizing the marks of aging on her face and her graying hair. The speaker is especially affected by the knowledge that her mother, who was once lively and active, is now weak and fragile. The poem is set on a car ride, as the speaker watches her mother through the window and muses on the passing of time and the transient aspect of existence.

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As the journey progresses, the speaker becomes increasingly introspective, contemplating the mortality of her mother and the inevitable separation that death brings. The speaker grapples with the conflicting emotions of love, sorrow, and acceptance. There is a sense of helplessness and nostalgia as the speaker reflects on the moments shared with her mother in the past.

My Mother at Sixty – Six Summary Chapter Summary-The poem also explores the generational gap and the changing dynamics between the speaker and her mother. The mother, once the caregiver and source of strength, is now dependent on others for support. This reversal of roles adds another layer of complexity to the emotional landscape of the poem.

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The poem's final lines, in which the speaker concedes that aging is a fact of life and that it is temporary, express a profound sense of loss and resignation. There is acceptance and an understanding of the strong link between mother and daughter despite the pain.

Characters in My Mother at Sixty-Six

The Speaker:

The speaker is the narrator of the poem, and likely represents Kamala Das herself or a persona created for the purpose of the poem. The speaker's thoughts and emotions are central to the exploration of the impact of aging on the mother.

The Mother:

While the mother is not a character in the traditional sense within the poem, she is the subject of the speaker's reflections. The mother's physical appearance, emotions, and vulnerability in the face of aging are portrayed through the speaker's lens.

My Mother at Sixty – Six Summary Important Questions and Answers

Who is the poet of "My Mother at Sixty-Six"?

Kamala Das, an Indian English poet, is the author of "My Mother at Sixty-Six." Known for her powerful and emotionally charged poetry, Das explores themes of love, identity, and societal norms in her works.

How does Kamala Das try to put away the thoughts of her ageing mother? 

Kamala Das finds the thoughts of her ageing mother very painful and disturbing. It is hard for her to accept the fact of her mother growing old, as it brings back to her mind her childhood fear of losing her mother. She makes a deliberate effort to drive or put away such thoughts by looking out of the moving car, at the trees ‘sprinting’ and the joyful young children rushing out of their homes.

What were Kamala Das, fears as a child? Why do they surface when she is going to the airport?

As a child Kamala Das was insecure about losing her mother just as all young children often are. The same feelings are evoked inside her while she is on the way to the airport, as she sees her mother’s pale face, which is a sign of her old age and impending death.

Why has Kamala Das compared her mother to a “late winter’s moon”? 

The poet has used this simile as ‘the late winter’s moon’ looks too hazy and lacks brightness and lustre. Similarly, the mother, who is now sixty-six, is pale and has a shrunken and ashen face. She is devoid of the effervescence and exhilaration of youth.

What were the poet’s feelings at the airport? How did she hide them?

The poet was torn apart by the feeling whether she would see her mother alive the next time or not. She hid her feelings by smiling reassuringly at her mother.

Why has the poet brought in the image of the merry children spilling out of their homes?

The young children spilling out of their homes represent the exuberance and vigour of youth. They are in complete contrast to the poet’s mother. Perhaps the poet has used the image to bring out the pangs of old age.

Bring out the poetic devices used in the poem.

The poem ‘My Mother at Sixty-Six’ captures the complex subtleties of human relationships in a texture of symbols, imagery and other poetic devices.

The entire poem is structured in the frame of a single sentence, punctuated by commas. It indicates a single string of thought that runs throughout. There is a simile in the explicit comparison of the ashen face of her mother to that of a corpse. We find another simile in the comparison between the pale visage of her mother and the late winter’s moon, as her face has lost its brightness.

There is the use of personification in the line “Trees sprinting’, where trees are attributed with the quality of running swiftly, for enhancing the poetic effect. The poet has used alliteration in the use of the words ‘familiar’ and ‘fear’ with the repetition of the consonant sound |f|. It also suggests the poet’s familiarity with her childhood fear and the sorrow of losing her mother to death.



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