A Photograph Summary Class 11 English | English Hornbill

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Reported by Anshika Saxena

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A Photograph Summary: In this article, we have provided the Summary of Poem Photograph Class 11 English. Students can go through this to have a proper understanding of the poem.

A Photograph Summary
A Photograph Summary

Summary of the Poem a Photograph Class 11 English

First Stanza

“A Photograph” by Shirley Toussaint is a poem about the nostalgia and longing that comes with looking at old photographs. The poem is a tribute by the poet to her mother. The poet is looking at a photograph of her mother who is holding hands with her two cousins. The poet has used the word “cardboard” for the old photograph of her mother. The two girls were smiling and paddling and the poet’s mother was the eldest of them. She was around twelve years of age. All of their hair were coming on their faces but still, they were smiling. And one of the uncles was taking their picture.

The poet comments that this particular picture of her mother was taken way before the poet was born. The sea which appears to have changed less which were washing the feet of the mother. The poet has presented a contrast between two things the sea and the feet or we can say the age of a person. The sea remains here permanently with change in it but the mother will age and will change.

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Second Stanza

In the second paragraph, the poet says that after almost twenty-thirty years after when the mother saw these photographs she was very excited and happy and told the poet how they used to dress up for the beach. The sea holiday was the past of her mother and was her favorite memory of her childhood. For the poet, the laughter of her mother was her past and her favorite memory of her mother. As her mother is no more the laugh of her mother was a thing of the past as she can’t see her mother laugh again. For both of them, the memory was a cherished thing that is now lost in time and can’t be brought back and can’t live the moment again.

For her mother, the memory of the photograph was a distant as well as cherished one, and the time can’t be brought back. So for both of them, the memory was a thing of the past. The use of the word ‘Laboured Ease’ is an oxymoron because two different words of opposite meanings are used together. The time that both of them that is the poet as well as her mother could not bring back is their loss. In the last stanza, the poet says that it had been years since her mother had passed away and the circumstances have changed only she had silence. And that silence too had its own silence and disappointment.

Third Stanza

The poet is depicting three different stages of life in three different stanzas. In the first stanza, the poet is describing the childhood stage of her mother when she was young. She had a young face and a smile on her face when she used to go to the beach with her cousins. This memory was also very dear to the mother also as after many years she used to look up these photographs and remember the good old days. The second stage of the poem is after twenty-thirty years after the photograph was taken and the mother was looking at that particular photograph fondly and even asked her daughters ‘Betty’ and “Dolly” to look at the photograph and how they used to dress up for the beaches on those days. And the last stage the poet is describing is when she herself is looking at the photograph of her mother and remembering her. It has been quite some time since her mother died and now the poet is remembering her. She remembers her mother’s smile and laughter when she used to look up the photograph. Now everything was in the past. It was long since the mother died and the only thing which is there of her laughter.

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Conclusion of A Photograph Summary

Overall, “A Photograph” is a beautiful and moving poem that explores the nature of memory and nostalgia. The central theme of the poem can be a memory of lost time and how brief our life is. Through the lens of a single photograph, the speaker reflects on the passage of time, the transience of youth and beauty, and the power of memory to evoke emotions long after the people and places that we love are gone. As time flies we lose everyone dear to us all we had with us are their memories. The poem is a poignant reminder of the importance of cherishing the people and moments that matter to us, and of the way in which photographs can help us to preserve and honor those memories.

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