Word Meaning, Summary, Important Questions Of Chapter 8 Memories of Childhood | Class 12

Chapter 4 A Thing of Beauty

Hindi Meaning Of Difficult Words | Chapter 8 Memories of Childhood

1Belfry part of a bell towerघंटाघरsteeple, campanile
2Crashingbreak throughचूर चूर होकरbump, smack, blast
3Frenzymadness, maniaउन्मादcraze, delirium, insanity
4Bedlamuproar, unrestहंगामाdisarrangement, affray, madhouse
5Infuriateangerक्रुद्ध करना enrage, nettle, roil
6Shingledcutting of hairसिर के बाल महीन काटना………….
7Moccasinsslipper or shoeमोकासिन…………..
8Immodestindecentनिर्लज्जcheeky, shameless, unpardonable
9Spied notice, spotदेखनाobserve, see, spot
10Mutteringsprivately explained complaintsफुसफुसाहटrumble, whisper, babble.
11Venturehere, a risky taskजोखिम का कामrove, wander, stray
12Unskilled untrainedअकुशलinartificial, inartful, unapt,
13Capturecatch, arrestपकड़ना hold, seize
14Mournersa person at a funeralमातमgriever, sorrower, weeper.
15Cowardweaklingडरपोक sissy, sneak, capon
16Fategod’s willकिस्मतluck, fortune, destiny
17Squeakingmaking high pitched soundचूँ चूँ.…………
18Dimdarkधुंधलाhazy, misty, cloudy
19Peeredtry to seeझाँका look up, snoop, peep
20Reverentlywith deep respectआदरadorably, respectfully, with compliments
21Resisthold out againstविरोधprotest, opposition, antagonism
22Gnawhere, cutदांत से काटनाdisconnect, mow, curtail
23BraidHairs bind into a plaitचोटीsummit, plait, topping
24Meeklyquietly, submissivelyकोमलता सेtenderly, mellowly, peacefully
25Tossedthrownफेंक दियाemit, , shove, plunk
26Anguishpain, agonyपीड़ाsuffering, soreness, hurt
27Comfortconsole, sympathyआराम rest, ease, amenities
28Reasonedhere, discussedतर्क करनाargue, reason, , dissert
29Noveltiesnewnessनयापनrecency, freshness
30Oddities strange thingsविचित्रताqueerness, variety, weirdness
31Lemuran animalबंदरmonkey, pug
32Harangueto give lectureभाषणspeech, oration, recitative
33Savourya salty or spicy dishस्वादयुक्तappetizing, peckish, savoury
34Payasamsweet dish made with rice and milkखीर…………..
35Sack bagथैलाbale, gunny
36Ledgeshelfशेल्फmantelshelf, shelving, projection
37Treadmoveचाल gait, ploy, movement,
38Double uplaugh out loudज़ोर से हंसेंclinch, constrict, contract.
39Provokedevokeभड़कानाarouse, foment, aggravate
40Wrapcoverचादरmuffle, cloak, enfold
41Pollutedimpureप्रदूषितharmful, foul, dirty

About The Poet | Jitkala-Sa | Chapter 8 Memories of Childhood

Jitka-Sa (February 22, 1876-January 26, 1938) birth name Gertrude Simmons was an American who strove to expand opportunities for native Americans and to safeguard their culture. She went to a Quacker Missionary School but she was uncomfortable with the school’s harsh discipline and its curriculum. It was devised to teach Euro American ways and history instead of native American culture.

Bama is the pen-name of a Tamil Dalit woman from a Roman Catholic family. She has published three main works: an autobiography, ‘Karukku, 1992 a novel, ‘Sangati, 1994; and a collection of short stories, ‘Kisumbukkaaran’, 1996. The following excerpt has been taken from ‘ Karukku Karukku’ means ‘palmyra’ leaves, which with their serrated edge on both sides, are like double edged swords. By a felicitous pun, the Tamil word ‘Karukku’, containing the word ‘Karu’, embryo or seed means freshness, newness.

Short Summary Of Chapter 8 Memories of Childhood In English

  1. The Cutting of My Long Hair

The first day in the school was a nippy cold one with snow all around.

The narrator recalls that the first day in the land of apples was a nippy cold one with the ground still covered in snow. As the sound of the large metallic bell assaulted the sensitive ears of the narrator, she understood that it was time for breakfast. The harsh racket caused by the clattering noise of the shoes, mixed with an incomprehensible murmur, agitated the narrator to the extent that in spite of putting up a good fight all hope of freedom seemed lost.

On her way to the dining room, while standing in a line of girls, the narrator could not help but notice some of the other Indian girls. They wore dresses, which clung to their body and stiff shoes. The small girls had their hair shingled. The narrator felt ashamed because she did not have her blanket. However, it was the group of other Indian girls, who wore tight fitting clothes that seemed immodest to the narrator.

Once in the dining room, the narrator heard the sound of a small bell being tapped. At this moment, each of the pupils pulled out a chair from under the table. Thinking that they could sit now, the narrator quickly slipped into hers. Seeing all the pupils still standing, the narrator started to rise. However, a second bell was sounded and the pupils sat on their chairs. A man’s voice was heard muttering something at one end of the hall. The narrator’s eyes wandered to look for the man, she noticed that other pupils were sitting with their heads bowed. As she looked around narrator’s eyes met the pale-faced women’s eyes, who had a stern countenance. The man ceased to speak and a third bell was sounded, which was an indication that they could start eating. Overwhelmed by the eating by formula’, and her hopeless situation, the narrator bursts into tears.

As the day progressed, narrator’s friend Jude win who knew few words of English, warned narrator that she had overheard pale-faced woman talk the cutting of her and other Indian girls’ heavy long hair. The narrator felt distraught because

she remembered her mother to used say that only warriors captured by the enemy, mourners and cowards wore shingled or short hair. Jude win and most of other girls were willing to submit. But the narrator rebelled. As the moment of cutting of her long hair neared the narrator, unnoticed by everyone, fled the scene. Trying not to make any noise she moved slowly and quietly up the stairs looking for a place to hide. She walked into a large room with beds. The room was quite dark and a perfect place for the narrator to hide. She crawled under bed in the corner farthest from the door. However, soon she heard footsteps and loud voice in the hall, calling out her name. Even though the narrator did all that she could to not get caught. the pale-faced woman found her dragged her out and carried her downstairs. She resisted with all her might, kicking and scratching wildly, but it was all in vain.

Tied fast in a chair, crying and shaking her head, she felt the cold scissors against her neck as they cut her hair.

The narrator say in the end she had faced many indignities since she was taken from her mother When her hair was cut, she needed her mother to comfort her, but no one came. The day her long hair was cut, the narrator had lost her spirit.

  1. We Too are Human Beings

The narrator recalls the time when she was studying in third standard. She had not heard of untouchability yet, but she had experienced and humiliated by it.

Talking about her childhood, she taking half an hour to one hour to reach home from school, which was merely ten walking distance. She took so much time because on her way back, she stopped to watch the things happening around her. The fun, games, entertaining novelties, oddities in the the bazaar, etc. appealed to the narrator a lot. There were so many amazing things to observe, for instance, the performing monkey, the snake charmer and his snake, the cyclist who had been peddling for three consecutive days. She Pongal offerings being cooked at Maariyaata temple, heard speeches given by politicians watched street plays, puppet shows, the cooling of coffee, etc. The market, the narrator noticed, was flooded with seasonal fruits and vegetables. A number of desserts and snacks being prepared in sweet shop tempted the narrator. Watching all this while coming back from school delayed her.

One day, the narrator saw the landlord seated on a sacking spread over a stone ledge watching the proceedings as the people of her caste worked hard to separate grain from the straw. The narrator found it humorous that muzzled cattles were being driven round and round by the men.

She then saw an elderly man from her village coming from the direction of the bazaar. The big man was carrying a small packet of vadai, in such a way that the narrator almost burst out laughing. He held out the packet by its string and tried not to touch it. The man went to the landlord, bowed low and offered him the packet of vadais with both hands, neither of which touched the landlord’s food.

When the narrator finally reached home, she narrated the story to her elder brother and started laughing. However, Annan did not laugh. He explained to her that people like the landlord considered themselves belonging to upper caste. For them, people like the elderly man, her brother, she herself and others from her community belonged to the lower caste; they were untouchables in the eyes of the society. To the people of the upper caste, touching an untouchable would mean the former has been polluted. That is why the elderly man did not hold the packet of vadais from the bottom.

Hearing all this, the narrator was furious that such an important elder of the community was reduced to doing such petty and odd jobs. She thought whether the upper caste people were so devoid of human feelings that they did not consider other lower caste people too are human beings.

Annan then advised her that since they were born into this community, the only way they could claim respect and honor was by studying hard and making progress. He told the narrator to learn as much as she could. If she was always ahead of everybody in her lessons, people would come to her on their own and attach themselves to her. Therefore, it was important for her to work hard and learn.

Those words said by Annan made a deep impact on the narrator’s mind. She studied with great effort and stood first in class. Since she was a bright student many people became her friends, just as Annan had said.

Important Previous Year Questions From Chapter 8 Memories of Childhood

SAI (2 marks)

  1. “I felt like sinking to the floor,” said Zitkala-Sa. When did she feel so and why? (2020)
  2. Describe the scene at the threshing floor observed by Bama on her way back from school. (2020)
  3. Why did Bama reach home late after school? (Delhi 2014)
  4. Which words of her brother made a deep impression on Bama? (Delhi 2014)
  5. Why was Zitkala-Sa in tears on the first day in the land of apples? (AI 2014)
  6. What is common between Zitkala-Sa and Bama? (Delhi 2014 C)
  7. Why did Zitkala-Sa resist the shingling of her hair? (AI 2014 C)
  8. What were the articles in the stalls and shops that fascinated Bama on her way back from school? (AI 2013)
  9. What did Zitkala-Sa feel when her long hair was cut? (Delhi 2011)
  10. What advice did Annan offer Bama? (Delhi 2011)
  11. What did Jude win   tell Zitkala-Sa? How did she react to it? (AI 2011)

SA II (3 marks)

  1. What frantic efforts did Zitkala-Sa make to save her hair from being cut? (AI 2019)
  2. At the dining table why did Zitkala-Sa begin to cry when others started eating? (AI 2016)
  3. How did Zitkala-Sa’s first day in the land of apples begin? (AI 2016)
  4. According to Zitkala-Sa what does ‘eating by formula’ mean? (AI 2016)

LAI (5 marks)

  1. What activities did Bama witness on her way back home from school? (AI 2014 C)

LA II (6 marks)

  1. Why did Bama stroll in the market place instead of hurrying back home? Describe the sights she enjoyed seeing there. (Delhi 2019)
  2. It may take a long time for oppression to be resisted, but the seeds of rebellion are sowed early in life. How did Zitkala-Sa face oppression as a child and how did she overcome it? (2018)
  3. Untouchability is not only a crime, it is inhuman too. Why and how did Bama decide to fight against it? (Delhi 2017)
  4. We too are Human Beings’ highlights high caste-low caste discrimination in society. How do low caste people suffer on account of this? What advice is given to Bama to overcome this problem? (Foreign 2015)
  5. How did the scene she saw in the market place change Bama’s life? (Delhi 2015 C)

LA III (7 marks)

  1. Zitkala-Sa’s experience in Memories of Childhood is that of a victim of the racial discrimination. What kind of discrimination does Bama’s experience depict? What are their responses to their respective situations? (AI 2013)

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Answer Of Chapter 8 Memories of Childhood​ For The Above Questions

  1. It was her first day in school, Zitkala-Sa was marching into the dining room with other girls in a line. She tried to be conspicuous because she felt she was modestly dressed as her blanket has been removed from her shoulders hence she felt like sinking to the floor.
  2. Bama on her way back from school stopped by to watch the threshing floor set up in the corner of the street. She saw people were working hard. They were driving cattle in pairs round and round to beat out the grain from the straw. The animals were muzzled up and did not get to eat the straw. The landlord was watching the proceedings seated on a piece of sacking spread over a stonie ledge.
  3. Bara spent time watching games and other entertaining sights, which came along the way. She enjoyed herself looking at the shops and bazaar, at the novelties and oddities. All this made Bama reach home late after school.
  4. After hearing from Bama what happened on her way home, Bama’s elder brother told her that although people do not get to decide the family they are born into, they can outwit the indignities inflicted upon them if they are well read and successful. This left a deep impression on her.
  5. Zitkala-Sa felt quite uncomfortable at the dining table. She was not used to eating by formula Le.. wait for the sound of the bell to commence eating, Moreover, the noise and the bedlam of languages and the Matron continuously staring at her, all of it disturbed her. Zitkala-Sa felt embarrassed and out of place. This is why she began to cry at the dining table when others started eating
  6. Both Zitkala-Sa and Bama came from marginalised communities. In their childhood, both women had to face discrimination on the basis of race and caste respectively. Miffed by the social injustice since they were young, they protested against it. They both became writers when they grew up and used their education to fight against discrimination.
  7. Zitkala-Sa resisted the shingling of her hair because in her culture, long hair was valued. In her culture, it was only the warriors captured by the enemy, cowards and mourners who wore their hair shingled or short.
  8. The articles in the stalls and shops, which fascinated Bama on her way back home from school included dried fish stall by the statue of Gandhi, the sweet stall, the stall selling fried snacks. Other than that the hunter gypsy with his lemur, selling needles, clay beads and instruments to clean out the ears; the way each waiter cooled the coffee, people sitting in front to the shops, chopping onions, etc. all this attracted Bama.
  9. When Zitkala-Sa’s long hair was cut, she felt indignant and helpless like a puppet. She felt as if she was an animal driven by a herder and hoped her mother was there to comfort her. After her hair was cut, Zitkala-Sa felt as if she had lost her spirit.
  10. Annan advised Bama to throw away indignities and study hard and make progress. He said to her, “study with care and learn all you can. If you are always ahead in your lessons, people will come to you on their own accord and attach themselves to you. Work hard.”
  11. Judewin was a friend of Zitkala-Sa. She understood some words of English. She had overheard the white woman telling that they would cut her long and heavy hair. She said that Zitkala-Sa would have to agree to it.

At first Zitkala-Sa was distraught by the idea of shingling of her hair. But soon after, she decided to rebel against those who tried to cut her hair; she wasn’t going to give in without a fight.


  1. Zitkala-Sa tried all that she could do to save her hair from being cut. When she heard that her hair were going to be chopped off she ran upstairs into a room where the windows were covered with dark coloured curtains. She hid herself under a bed, but was caught. She cried and resisted with all her might and kept shaking her head all the while her hair was being cut. She lost spirit when she heard the scissors grow off one of her thick braids.
  2. Refer to answer 5.
  3. It was a bitter-cold day. The snow still covered the ground. A large bell rang for breakfast. The peace of the morning was disturbed by the annoying clatter of shoes, constant clash of harsh noises and an undercurrent of many voices murmuring in an unknown language.
  4. On the very first day, in the city of apples, Zitkala-Sa came across ‘eating by formula’, which was the fixed procedure for breakfast. Once everyone was in the dining room, the sound of the first bell indicated all pupils to pull out their chairs. At the second bell, all had to sit down. At the far end of the dining hall, a man said the prayer and the pupils bowed their heads finally, at sound of the third bell, everyone started eating with forks and knives. This made her feel out of place and overwhelmed her.
  5. On her way back home from school, Bama itnessed many activities, which truly caught her attention. Instead of hurrying back home, Bama she strolled through the bazaar. She saw many fun activities and games. She saw a monkey performing, a snake charmer putting his snake on display, a cyclist who had been cycling for three days non-stop. When the narrator walked past the Maariyata Temple she saw the huge bell tower. She saw Pongal offerings being prepared. She even heard the politician’s speech. As she walked a little further, she saw the dried fish stall near Gandhi statue. The narrator was amazed to see the Narikkuravan hunter gypsies with a wild Lemur in a cage. She enjoyed her walk back home from school.
  6. Refer to answer 16.
  7. Zitkala-Sa’s experience in Memories of Childhood’ is that of a victim of the racial discrimination. Zitkala-Sa is a native American girl sent to a convent school, where she is treated badly at the hands of white people who consider themselves a superior race. Zitkala-Sa has to abide by many rules and regulations, which overwhelm her on the very first day of her school. She, along with others, is made to eat by formula’ and it distresses her. It is the cutting of her long hair, which makes her hysterical. In her community, only mourners and cowards wear their hair short. So, when it is her turn to get her hair shingled, she decides, she is not going to submit without a struggle. When she is dragged out from under the bed and carried downstairs, she resists by kicking and scratching wildly. She fights getting her hair cut by shaking her head while her hair is being shingled. Later, Zitkala-Sa goes on to become a powerful writer and uses this power to voice her opinion and fight oppression by the so-called superior race.
  8. Bama saw one of the elders from her village coming down the street holding a small packet of vadai meant to be given to the landlord. The aged man was being careful not to touch it, he held the packet by its string. An amused Bama, narrated the incident to her older brother. He told her that the old man, being a dalit, was not allowed to touch the vadai brought for the landlord. Bama learnt from her brother that day, about the atrocities and discrimination meted out to the members of her community in the name of caste. He told her to study hard and learn as much as possible, people would come to her on their own. Bama did exactly what her Annan had urged her to do. She studied well and became a famous contemporary writer who raised her voice against the caste inequalities.
  9. In We Too are Human Beings, Bama highlights the high caste-low caste discrimination prevailing in the society. The high caste people have a firm social standing and enjoy every benefit they can derive because of it. On the other hand, having been segregated and marginalised, the low caste people have to suffer in every walk of their life.

The have to face prejudices and social stigma of being born in a low caste community. Whether a child or an adult, man or woman belonging to the backward sections of the society, has to suffer humiliation in some way or the other.

In her childhood when Bama felt the indignation caused by learning about untouchability and discrimination, her elder brother advised her to work hard and learn as much as possible because only education can uplift her. It would help her in establishing an identify and thus, a position in the society.

  1. Bama was in school when she first came to know of the social discrimination faced by the people of her community. On her way back home from school she saw an elderly man carrying a small packet containing some eatables; he was holding it by its strings and not at all touching it. She found it funny at first but, soon, was shocked to know from her brother that it was a form of discrimination the people of their community had to face because they were Dalits.
  2. Zitkala-Sa’s experience in ‘ Memories of Childhood’ is that of a victim of the racial discrimination. Bama, on the other hand, experienced discrimination on the basis of her caste. Zitkala-Sa is a native American girl sent to a convent school, where she is treated badly at the hands of white people who consider themselves a superior race. Zitkala-Sa has to abide by many rules and regulations, which overwhelm her on the very first day of her school. She, along with others, is made to eat by formula’ and it distresses her. It is the cutting of her long hair, which makes her hysterical. In her community, only mourners and cowards wear their hair short. So, when it is her turn to get her hair shingled, she decides, she is not going to submit without a struggle. When she is dragged out from under the bed and carried downstairs, she resists by kicking and scratching wildly. She fights getting hair cut by shaking her head. A slightly different, but equally disturbing struggle, Bama has had already seen, felt, experienced and been humiliated by what untouchability is/was. The discrimination, in the beginning, is not quite evident to Bama until she sees an elder member of her community carry a packet of eatables by a string for a man of upper caste. It is from her older brother that she comes to know about the ill-treatment meted out to the Dalits by the members of the upper castes. This information terribly saddened and infuriates Bama as she feels that such discrimination is unfair and unjustified. Even after facing discrimination in their respective lives, Bama and Zitkala-Sa both became powerful writers and used this power to voice their opinion and fight oppression by the so called superior caste or race.

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