Chapter 6 Amanda (poem)
Thinking about the Poem
How old do you think Amanda is? How do you know this?
Amanda is about a 9-10 year old school going girl. She is being scolded for things typical for that particular age. Her parents are trying to inculcate in her good manners and etiquettes. Amanda is very innocent and immature.
Who do you think is speaking to her?
One of her parents is speaking to her. Most probably it is her mother. In a traditional household mother is held responsible for the conduct of child. In this case also, the range of instructions suggests that the speaker is Amanda’s mother.
Why are stanzas 2, 4 and 6 given in parenthesis?
Stanzas 2, 4 and 6 are given in parenthesis because they reflect the inner thoughts of Amanda. They can be taken as the reaction of the child for the instructions given in stanzas 1, 3 and 5. Here, there is an alternate sequence of scolding of the mother, and corresponding reaction to it given by the child. Also, parenthesis is used here to make the reading of ‘ the poem friendly
Who is the speaker in stanzas 2, 4 and 6? Do you think this speaker is listening to the speaker in stanzas 1, 3, 5 and 7?
Speaker of the stanzas 2, 4 and 6 is the child, Amanda. No, she is not paying any attention to the speaker of stanzas 1, 3 and 5 as she is lost in a world of her own. Her imagination provides her an escape from her sorry reality.
What could Amanda do if she were a mermaid?
Amanda wishes to be a mermaid so she could carelessly move along on a languid emerald sea. She just wishes to be carried away by the green sea waves slowly and gradually. Amanda longs for a place where she is all by herself as her happiness is not dependant on any other human being. Hence, she desires to be a mermaid because for a child, mermaid is a symbol of freedom and wonder.
Is Amanda an orphan? Why does she say so?
No, Amanda is not an orphan, though she wishes to be one. She is so much stressed with the continuous nagging of her parents that she imagines herself to be better without them. The mere presence of her parents around her depresses her. Amanda is a little girl who seeks ‘golden’ silence and ‘sweet’ freedom. She wishes to roam around streets and draw patterns with her bare feet. Indeed it is horribly depressing that Amanda expects being an orphan.
Do you know the story of Rapunzel? Why does she want to be Rapunzel?
Story of Rapunzel – Rapunzel’s story revolves around her life on a tower Rapunzel was made to live on a high tower by a witch. She eventually got used to living there. She was happy and satisfied with her life. Rapunzel had very long golden hair, using which the witch used to pay her a visit. The fate of Rapunzel took a turn when one day a prince came to meet her using her hair. The witch had punished both of them by separating them. Finally they met after a couple of years only to be united forever this time. Amanda Wishes to live like Rapunzel on a high tower away from everyone. She seeks peace and harmony. That is the reason Amanda wishes to be like Rapunzel. However, she also makes a point that in order to avoid being disturbed she would never let her hair down for anyone to climb to her. She needs no one to make her life happy.
What does the girl yearn for? What does this poem tell you about Amanda?
A girl like Amanda yearns for freedom and space for herself. She is incapable to fulfil the expectations of her parents. Amanda is no less than a symbol for all the children who face similar fate irrespective of class, colour or nationality. Traditional societies demand a certain type of behaviour from the individuals and the training to produce such begins at a very young age. Parents ignore the innocence and understanding level of their children and thereby the young ends up killing their imagination and thoughts.
Read the last stanza. Do you think Amanda is sulking and is moody?
No, Amanda is neither sulking nor moody. She is simply not interested enough in the nagging business of her parents. Amanda cares more about her imagination and thought process over the manners her parents are trying to inculcate into her.