"Amanda!" is a short poem about the mental state of a young school going girl, who is always checked and instructed by her elders, most probably by her mother and is given a long list of do's and don'ts. Feeling annoyed, she brushes aside the instructions and finds escape in dreams of a life full of liberty, where she may live according to her own whims and fancies.
This poem depicts the state of a little girl's mind who is constantly instructed about do's and don'ts by her elders. She is told not to hunch her shoulders and to sit up straight. She is told to finish her homework and to tidy her room. She is forbidden from eating a chocolate that she has. But all the time, the little girl, Amanda, keeps dreaming of a life of freedom in the open. She dreams of mermaids in the sea, of roaming barefoot in the dusty street and of the golden-haired Rapunzel who lived alone in a high tower. She takes no note of what is being said to her. Then she is rebuked for being moody and sulking all the time.
The poem centres around Amanda. Therefore, the poet has rightly titled this poem after the chief character. The title is followed by a mark of exclamation which indicates that Amanda is being addressed and commanded. The punctuation mark reveals the authoritative, dominating, unsympathetic tone adopted by the mother in addressing her daughter.
The poem has a conversational style where only one speaker, that is the mother, voices her views. The thoughts of the child which are put in parenthesis are not uttered. The child seems to be listening in silence but in reality, her imagination, which is fast at work, transports her from her home, to sea, to the roadside, to an old castle and thus she wishes to escape the perpetual nagging by the mother.
In the four stanzas uttered by the mother, Amanda's name appears twelve times. Each of these stanzas gives jolts and jerks to the child, hence the stanzas spoken by the mother are written in free verse but the poet has used rhyme scheme for the thoughts of the child, who imagines a blissful life full of liberty and joy.
Don’t bite your nails, Amanda!
Don’t hunch your shoulders, Amanda!
Stop that slouching and sit up straight, Amanda!
(There is a languid, emerald sea,
where the sole inhabitant is me—
a mermaid, drifting blissfully.)
One of the parents (the father or mother) sees Amanda biting her nail The parent tells Amanda not to
bite her nails. She is also asked not to bend her shoulders and to sit up straight. The parent nags
Amanda for sitting lazily with her shoulders bent into a stoop,
But Amanda is lost in her own dreams. She imagines herself to be a mermaid drifting joyfully with the soft waves of the green sea. She imagines that she is the sole inhabitant of the beautiful sea and there is no one to nag or disturb her.
Did you finish your homework, Amanda?
Did you tidy your room, Amanda?
I thought I told you to clean your shoes, Amanda!
(I am an orphan, roaming the street.
I pattern soft dust with my hushed, bare feet.
The silence is golden, the freedom is sweet.),
The parent asks Amanda if she has finished her homework. She is asked if she has tidied her room. She had been asked to clean her shoes also. The parent asks her if she has done that. But Amanda is lost in her own thoughts. She imagines herself to be an orphan with no parents to nag her. She feels happy in being an orphan. She imagines that she is roaming in the street with bare feet. She is making soft patterns as she puts her feet gently in the dust. There is all silence about her with no one to nag her. For the little girl, this silence is golden and this freedom is so sweet.
Don't eat that chocolate, Amanda!
Remember your acne, Amanda!
Will you please look at me when I'm speaking to you Amanda!
(I am Rapunzel, I have not a care;
life in a tower is tranquil and rare;
I'll certainly never let down my bright hair!)
The parent sees Amanda eating a chocolate, and tells her not to eat it. The parent says that Amanda must
not have forgotten the acne that she had got previously, However, Amanda is lost in her own dreams and
doesn't look up to the parent. At this, the punt feels irritated and says that Amanda should at least
look at him/her when he/she a speaking to her.
But Amanda remains lost in her dreams. She imagines herself to be the golden-haired Rapunzel who lived in a castle and had no care. Amanda imagines that life for Rapunzel must have been very peaceful and wonderful in the castle. However, she says that she won't It down her bright hair the way Rapunzel had done. All the troubles of Rapunzel, as we know, had started because of her doing so.
Stop that sulking at once, Amanda !
You're always so moody, Amanda !
Anyone would think that I nagged at you.
The parent keeps talking to Amanda about the various do's and don'ts, but Amanda remains lost in her own dreams. The parent thinks that Amanda is not responding because she is angry. The parent feels annoyed and asks Amanda to stop sulking at once. He (She) says that it has become a habit with Amanda to remain irritated always. On seeing her, one would say that the parent has nagged at her and that is why Amanda is looking gloomy. The parent doesn't want Amanda to give others such an impression.
Q1. How old do you think Amanda is? How do you know this?
Ans. I think Amanda is a teenager, that is. around 12 or 13. She has acne on her face Usually girls at this age have them on their faces.
Q2. Who do you think is speaking to her?
Ans. It is either her mother or father, one speaking to her.
Q3. Why are Stanzas 2, 4 and 6 given in parenthesis?
Ans. Stanzas 2, 4 and 6 are given in parenthesis because they are not spoken by the speaker. Here there is a change in narration. These stanzas reflect the thoughts of a day-dreaming girl, that is, Amanda.
Q4. Who is the speaker in Stanzas 2, 4 and 6? Do you think this speaker is listening to the spesie in Stanzas 1, 3, 5 and 7?
Ans. In stanza 2,4 and 6 the speaker is Amanda. In Stanza 2 the speaker is Amanda in the form of a mermaid, in stanza 4 in the form of an orphan and in stanza 6 in the form of a fairy. She does not listen to the speaker of stanzas 1, 3, 5 and 7 as she is a day-dreaming girl.
Q5. What could Amanda do if she were a mermaid?
Ans. If Amanda were a mermaid, she could move about in the green sea blissfully.
Q6. Is Amanda an orphan? Why does she say so?
Ans. No, Amanda is not an orphan wandering in the street. It is clear in stanza 4. She says so becau she wants to have freedom which perhaps she does not have being a parental child.
Q7. Do you know the story of Rapunzel? Why does she want to be Rapunzel?
Ans. Rapunzel is the heroine' of a fairy story. She is a beautiful girl with long hair. She is imprisoned in a tall tower by a witch. In the story a handsome prince comes and is able to climb to the top of the tower to meet her. He calls out to her, "Rapunzel, Rapunzel, let down your long hair." Amanda wants to be Rapunzel because then she will have long hair and her prince charming will come to rescue her from her dull life.
Q8. What does the girl yearn for? What does this poem tell you about Amanda?
Ans. The girl yearns for freedom. She wants to lead her life the way she likes. Perhaps she does not get freedom in her house. That is why, in her day-dreams, she imagines her to be free and charming.
Q9. Read the last stanza. Do you think Amanda is sulking and is moody?
Ans. The speaker thinks that Amanda is sulking. In fact, Amanda is not happy with her surroundings. She often escapes to the world of day-dreams. That is why, when she comes back from those dreams to the world of harsh reality, she seems to be sulking.
Q10. How does Amanda is seen behaving when the poem starts? What does the speaker ask her not to do?
Ans. When the poem beings, we find that Amanda is biting her nails. She is hunching her shoulders. She is sitting in a slouching posture. That is why, the speaker asks her to behave normally. He asks her not to bite her nails and hunch her shoulders. She should sit up straight.
Q11. How is the sea portrayed in the poem "Amanda"?
Ans. The sea is portrayed as peaceful and beautiful in the poem. If Amanda is a mermaid, she could move about in the green sea blissfully.
Q12. What three things did the speaker ask Amanda to do which she has not done?
Ans. The speaker asks Amanda to finish her homework. Then he asks her if she has cleaned up her room. Finally, he finds that her shoes are not clean even though he had asked her to clean them.
Q13. How does Amanda describe her life as an orphan?
Ans. Amanda says that she is an orphan. She is free and roams the street. There is a soft dust in the street under her feet. She walks silently and creates patterns on the soft dust with her bare feet. She thinks t silence is golden and freedom is sweet.
Q14. Why is Amanda forbidden to eat chocolate? How does Amanda behave when she is addressed by the speaker?
Ans. The speaker acks Amanda not to eat chocolate. It is because she has had acnes already at chocolate might create more pimples. Amanda listens to the speaker without raising her face.
Q15. Why does Amanda say, 'I am Rapunzel'? What does she promise not to do?
Ans. Rapunzel was a beautiful girl with long hair. She was locked up in a tower by a witch. In her imagination, Amanda thinks herself to be like Rapunzel who led a peaceful life. She promises never to let down her bright hair.
Q16. What does the speaker tell Amanda in the end? What is the speaker afraid of?
Ans. The speaker thinks that Amanda is sulking and moody. He thinks that Amanda is always moody. He asks her not to sulk because he is afraid that people will think that he is nagging Amanda.
Q17. What is the Central Idea of the poem 'Amanda'?
Ans. Every child feels that he/she is controlled and instructed not to do one thing or another. The child feels that his/her freedom is being curtailed. In this poem the poet Robin Klein expresses the views of a small girl, Amanda, about liberty in life. How does the girl react to the restriction imposed upon her by her parents it is very interesting. The central idea of the poem is that children love freedom. They do not want many restrictions on their activities. Secondly, they have a dream world of their own. They like to spend most of their time in that dream world. But the elders are always destroying that dream world by ordering them around.
Q18. What picture of Amanda does the poem, 'Amanda' depict?
Summarise the poem, 'Amanda' in your own words.
Ans. This poem depicts the state of mind of a little girl. She is constantly nagged by her parents. She is told not to hunch her shoulders and to sit up straight. She is told to finish her homework, tidy her room and to clean her shoes. She is forbidden from eating chocolates. But all the time, the little girl, Amanda, keeps dreaming of a life of freedom. She dreams of mermaids drifting joyfully in the beautiful sea and of roaming barefoot in the dusty street. She takes no note of what is being said to her. Then she is rebuked for being moody and sulking all the time.
Q1. Who is the poet of the poem 'Amanda'?
A) Leslie Norris
B) Robert Frost
C) Carolyn Wells
D) Robin Klein
Q2. What was Amanda doing?
(A) biting her nails
(B) hunching her shoulders
(C) slouching her back
(D) all of the above
Q3. What is the meaning of 'slouching'?
B) Sit in a lazy way
C) lie down
D) bend backwards
Q4. What had the speaker asked Amanda to do?
(A) doing her homework
Q5. What task was given to Amanda by the speaker?
(A) doing homework
(B) Cleaning room
(C) cleaning shoes
(D) all of the above
Q6. How does Amanda imagine herself?
Q7. What does Amanda consider herself?
(A) good player
(C) very intelligent
(D) very rich
Q8. What does the speaker forbid Amanda to eat?
(D) all of the above
Q9. How does the speaker describe Amanda?
(C) both (A) and (B)
(D) none of the above
Q10. What will Amanda’s behaviour make people think?
A) her mother loves her
B) her mother harasses her
C) her mother is understanding
D) both 1 and 3
Q11. What could Amanda do if she were a mermaid?
A) be in the green sea
B) lead a relaxing life
C) All of the above
D) None of the above
Q12. Name the literary devices used in the line 'Stop that slouching and sit up straight'.
Q13. Name the literary device used in the line 'Don’t bite your nails Amanda! Don’t hunch your shoulders Amanda!'
Q14. What does she want to do as an orphan?
A) walk freely in the streets
B) play in dust with bare feet
C) All of the above
D) None of the above
Q15. Name the literary device used in the line 'freedom is sweet'
Q16. What does she imagine being when she pictures herself in a tower?
D) None of the Above
Q17. Who was Rapunzel?
(A) a fairy
(B) a witch
(C) a prince
(D) all of the above
Q18. Who had imprisoned Rapunzel?
(A) the king
(B) the prince
(C) a witch
Q19. What does she picture herself as in the last stanza?
D) None of the Above