Thinking About the Poem
In pairs, attempt the following questions
Why does the poet say, “I would not intrude on him”? Why doesn’t he offer him money to buy another ball?
The poet says, “I would not intrude on him” because he does not want to intervene in the natural process of learning. He wants the boy to learn the meaning of loss on his own. He also doesn’t offer him money to buy another ball because that would be worthless. He wants the boy to learn the lesson of responsibility.
“ …. staring down All his young days into the harbour where His ball went…. ” Do you think the boy has had the ball for a long time? Is it linked to the memories of days when he played with it?
Yes, the boy has had the ball for a long time. When it bounced into the water, all his memories of the days of childhood flashed in front of him. This led to a realisation that those moments would not come back, just like the ball. He can buy new balls and can similarly create new moments, but those that are gone would not return.
What does “in the world of possessions” mean?
“In the world of possessions” means that the world is full of materialistic things. Here everything and every action is made to possess something, whether it is the possession of land, property, money, or any other thing. The poet suggests that losing a ball, which is a very small thing, would make the boy understand what it is like to lose something that one possessed
Do you think the boy has lost anything earlier? Pick out the Words that suggest the answer.
No, it seems that the boy had’not lost anything earlier. The words that suggest so are ‘He senses first responsibility in a world of possessions’.
What does the poet say the boy is learning from the loss of the ball? Try to explain this in your own words.
The poet says that the boy is learning to cope up with the loss of the ball. He is experiencing grief and learning to grow up in this world of possessions. He learns that there are so many things in life that are lost and cannot be brought back. He is sensing his first responsibility as he has lost the ball. The boy will learn how to stand up and leave the losses behind as he would have understood the true meaning and nature of loss.
The Ball Poem Extra Questions and Answers Class 10 English First Flight
Extract Based Questions [3 Marks each]
Read the following extracts carefully and answer the questions that follow.
What is the boy now, who has lost his ball, What, what is he to do? I saw it go Merrily bouncing, down the street, and then Merrily over – there it is in the water! No use to say – ‘O there are other balls’: [CBSE 2012]
(a) What has happened to the boy?
(b) Why does the poet say ‘No use to say – ‘O there are other balls’?
(c) Which word means ‘happily’?
(d) Where did the ball go?
(a) The boy was very sad as he had lost his ball.
(b) The poet says so as the loss of the ball is of a major consequence to the boy.
(c) Merrily means happily.
(d) The ball went to the water.
An ultimate shaking grief fixes the boy As he stands rigid, trembling, staring down All his young days into the harbour where His ball went. I would not intrude on him, A dlime, another ball, is worthless.
(a) Where had the boy’s ball gone?
(b) How has the loss affected the boy?
(c) Why was ‘he’ trembling, staring down?
(d) What does the poet mean by ‘first responsibility’?
(a) The boy’s ball went into the dark waters of the harbour.
(b) The boy is very much troubled at the loss of his ball. He stands still, trembling and staring at his ball.
(c) He was trembling, staring down as he had lost his ball.
(d) By ‘First responsibility’, he, means to look after his things properly.
He senses first responsibility
In a world of possessions. People will take
Balls, balls will be lost always, little boy.
And no one buys a ball back. Money is external. [CBSE 2014]
(a) What does the boy understand?
(b) What does the word ‘balls’ signify?
(c) What is meant by the word ‘possessions’?
(d) What does “In a world of possessions mean?”
(a) The boy learns to grow up and understands his first responsibility.
(b) ‘Balls’ signify the boys’ innocence and happy young days.
(c) ‘Possessions’ means something that is owned or possessed.
(d) It means that everybody loves to possess things or materials in their names.
He is learning, well behind his desperate eyes,
The epistemology of loss, how to stand up
Knowing what every man must one day know
And most know many days, how to stand up.
(a) What is the boy learning?
(b) Why are boy’s eyes desperate?
(c) What do you mean by ‘epistemology of loss’?
(d) What every man needs to know one day?
(a) The boy is learning to cope up with the loss.
(b) Boy’s eyes looks desperate as he is sad to see his ball gone forever.
(c) ‘Epistemology of loss’ means to understand the nature of loss.
(d) Every man needs to know one day that loss may occur to him and he would have to bear it up.
Short Answer Type Questions [2 Marks each]
What does John Berryman want to convey through this poem? [CBSE 2011]
Poet, John Berryman wants to convey the importance of loss and responsibility in life. We all should learn our responsibility and how to cope up with the loss.
How does the boy feel at the loss of his ball?
The boy is very much troubled at the loss of his ball. He experiences grief at the loss of his much loved possession. Like a statue, he keeps staring at the ball with his desperate eyes.
Write the sum and substance of the poem “The Ball Poem”. [CBSE 2016]
In “The Ball Poem”, Berryman tells us about how our childhood can quickly fly by, as quickly as a ball is lost and how we sometimes unsuspectingly must grow up and face hardships, like loss.
“Money is external”. What does the poet mean by this expression? [CBSE 2014]
The poet makes the boy understand about his responsibility as the loss is immaterial. Money is external as it cannot buy memories, nor can it replace the things that we love, the things that really matter.
Why does the poet think that it is useless to give the following suggestion to the boy?
‘No use to say- ‘O there are other balls’:
According to the poet, it is useless to console the boy by saying that he can get another ball in place of the lost one. The boy had a long association with the ball. It was, thus, useless to give him such a suggestion because he wanted to get back the ball that he had lost.
Why did the poet not offer the boy money to buy another ball? [CBSE 2015]
The poet watched the boy who had plunged in grief at the loss of his ball. He did not offer the boy money • to buy another ball. He felt that another ball could not console the boy. It seemed that the boy had the ball for a long time. The poet also wanted the boy to realise the epistemology of loss.
Why did the boy feel so sad at the loss of his ball?
When the boy lost the ball, he plunged in grief. He stood staring down the harbour where his ball was lost. The boy was affected profoundly by the loss of his ball because it had been with him for a long time. It was linked to the memories of the days when he played with it.
Long Answer (Value Based) Type Question [8 Marks each]
Why is it important for everyone to experience loss and to stand up after it? [CBSE2014]
It is important for everyone to experience loss and to stand up after it in order to be strong and to get on with life. One
needs to stay strong no matter how much it hurts inside. Staying strong is the only way to survive. Moreover, one needs to learn to accept and let go and not cling to something that they can never have. One should understand that the past is gone and it will never come back. Experiencing loss sometimes helps us to grow up and face hardships, like loss. This helps us in breaking all the boundaries into freedom
MCQ Questions for Class 10 English First Flight Poem 5 The Ball with Answers
Who is the poet of the poem ‘The Ball Poem’?
(a) Sylvia Plath
(b) W.B Yeats
(c) Robert Frost
(d) John Berryman.
Answer: (d) John Berryman.
Why are the boy’s eyes desperate?
(a) Because he has lost his ball.
(b) Because he has lost his money.
(c) Because he has lost his gloves
(d) None of the Above
Answer: (a) Because he has lost his ball.
What does ‘in the world of possessions’ means?
(c) Materialistic things
(d) None of the Above
Answer: (c) Materialistic things
Where was the boy staring down?
(a) the sea
(b) the ocean
(c) the harbour
(d) the lake
Answer: (c) the harbour
Name the literary device used in “And no one buys a ball back.”
Answer: (c) Alliteration
Why does the poet decide not to condole the boy?
(a) He is busy
(b) He is indifferent
(c) It will be of no use
(d) He is happy
Answer: (c) It will be of no use
According to the poet, what is the child learning?
(a) to bear loss
(b) to take care of things
(c) to be responsible
(d) to be careful
Answer: (a) to bear loss
What does a ball cost?
(a) 5 dimes
(b) 10 dimes
(c) 1 dime
(d) 4 dimes
Answer: (c) 1 dime
What is the boy playing with?
Answer: (b) ball
Name the literary device used in “Merrily bouncing, down the street, and then Merrily over — there it is in the water!”
Answer: (d) Anaphora