Pupil Analysis – Father Returning Home (Arnav Gupta)

Q: How does Chitre explore the central theme of “Man’s estrangement from a man made world” by portraying the character of a father?

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The poem ‘Father Returning Home’ written by Chitre explores the loneliness and the utter alienation experienced by a common man. The journey is detailed by portraying the journey of a common man on a metropolitan rush which makes the poem rather simple to connect with the readers (reread this as you’ve said journey twice at the beginning of the sentence. Also be a bit bolder – add some judgement, what is this journey like?). The central theme of the poem is ‘Man’s estrangement from a man made world’ that revolves around this lackluster father – to reflect upon the absence of human companionship in today’s society. (this introduction is a bit cobbled together. What you basically want to do is answer the question by saying: In this poem Chitre explores one man’s estrangement from the modern world through POINT A (body paragraph 1), POINT B (body paragraph 2), POINT C (body paragraph 3) and so on and so on.) 

Dilip Chitre, an Indian poet (fine, but irrelevant context unless you make it significant to our understanding of the poem/your interpretation), details the hardships of his father through the form of a poem in order to explore the ideas of familial love and the struggles faced by parents to support the livelihood of their family. The poem is divided into 2 equal stanzas and with no rhyme scheme. By narrating the poem in a rather cold and formal language, Chitre is successful in creating a dull and somber mood. (this paragraph is a bit odd. How have you answered the question? You haven’t you’ve just given an overview of the poem. I want you to get straight on with your answer rather than explaining how the poem has been constructed)


The ideas of hardships, boredom, alienation and struggle is detailed as the Father is seen traveling on late evening local trains. The idea of boredom and loneliness is highly evident in the lines (repeating the same words of your earlier sentence, better if: This dull existence is explore as the father is ‘quotation’) “Standing among Silent commuters”. (try, wherever possible, to integrate quotations into the flow of your sentence. This improves the flow dramatically)  This simply suggests the lack of interaction with each other and expounds on the theme of social alienation. (big words, but not saying a great deal that you haven’t said in your first sentence: … lack of interaction of the father and demonstrates that he has no connection with those around him. However, the fact they are all ‘silent’ further suggests that his feeling is not unique. I also think I would bring in what we see later about the way he is treated by his sons to make the point that he is similarly irrelevant within his family, despite working his ass off)  The father’s boredom is strengthened by showing how irrelevant the outside world is for him – as they drift across his “Unseeing Eyes” – oxymoron. (integrate your mention of a technique and you need to explain why his eyes are unseeing, you are leaving the examiner too much work to do) The idea of hardship and struggles is easily portrayed (I think ‘easily portrayed’ is an awkward phrase and means basically nothing. I get what you mean, but I think you should just get straight to the idea that this image creates sympathy) by using words like “eyes dimmed by age” – which create sympathy for the working father who is old and seen weak (as a result of his struggle to provide for his family). Chitre’s writing is successful in creating an overall mood of dread and somber with setting this scene under “Humid Monsoon Light” – that even evokes more sympathy for this man travelling. (you need to actually analyse. Use a quote and then tell me what it means and why it is significant in relation to the question you are answering) However, with even using an enjambment (Line 1 to 6) simply explains on his lengthy journey that adds on to his level of tiredness and alienation. (you really need to use an anchor sentence to readdress and refocus on the question)

The father’s irrelevance to other travelers is implicitly expressed in the simile “Like a word. Sentence”. Just like how a word being removed from a very long sentence makes no major change to its meaning – similarly the father’s presence is not significant to the human race. (this is much better – quotation + explanation of its significance) Chitre has even made his journey from the station to his house seem long with words ‘hurries, length, crosses” (explain how as I don’t understand) and even shows his urgency to reach home – in order to escape these parameters of isolation. Colour symbolism like ‘grey’creates a dull and isolated impression. (how does this last sentence relate to the rest of the paragraph? It feels tagged on and disconnected. Also use an anchor as you are drifting away from the question and haven’t addressed it since the beginning of the last paragraph)

The theme of ‘man’s estrangement from a man made world’ is even seen to survive at his own house where he is denied of companionship. (really solidly stated point, well done) Firstly, the writer begins the paragraph by detailing his ordinary day to day tasks ‘drinking weak tea…book’. This may hint at isolation as all these activities are undertaken alone. (explanation a bit unclear: why does drinking tea hint at isolation? I’d say the level of the father’s sacrifice is further demonstrated through his actions when he reaches home. He drinks ‘weak tea’, which suggests that he lives moderately and without excess, again a sacrifice in order to provide what his children and family need. In addition, he is seen immediately turning to a ‘book’ rather than talking with his children, suggesting isolation even here.) It is at this point where we see the father being affected due to the boredom and loneliness as he is contemplating upon such an impactful question of man’s estrangement from a man made world in the complete privacy of a toilet. The fear of this subject is seen as he is seen to ‘tremble’ in the next line. The idea of man’s estrangement is even seen as his own children have refused to converse and show any attachment to him. This creates a very lonely and lacklustre figure who’s both outside and inside world have refused to share companionship with him. (good joining up of ideas from across the poem) The effects of time passing fast also shows how much he is used to performing the same tasks- which is suggested by the caesura in the line ‘jokes and secrets. To sleep.’ The effect of introducing the caesura shows how fast time flies through the course of his regular activities. (brilliant, it’s difficult to comment on structure confidently, but this sounds really authoritative) Dilip Chitre (drop the first name, just call him Chitre) even uses allusions to the past ‘dreaming of his…Through a narrow pass’. The idea of introducing this allusion reflects upon the desires of the past – where human companionship and familial love were essentially present. ‘Nomads’ entered the country in large groups which signified a sense of community and togetherness which lacks in today’s fast moving world. In short, the father dreams of the past due to the dissatisfaction he possesses with the present.(this paragraph is really very good, a bit of a touch up at the beginning and it would be superb)

This poem as whole not only explores the lack of companionship in today’s society but even shows the hardships and struggles experienced by our parents to compliment our livelihood. To a large extent it talks about man’s estrangement and social alienation illustrated through the use of striking imageries and similes.(blah blah, cope out! All poems use imagery and different techniques, I don’t care. Tell me specifics) The poet reflects on his own experiences as he views the lack of social companionship in today’s major cities.(better than your introduction, but still not really recapping all the key points you raised)

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Comments

Arnav, you’ve got a firm understanding of the poem, but the structure of your essay isn’t great. I would recommend treating an introduction as a plan of the three or four main points or ideas you are going to use to answer the question, and the conclusion to confidently assert what you have demonstrated through the rest of the essay.

Targets:

 – Introduction – don’t bother telling me about the poet or faffing around giving me an overview of the poem. Instead, as above, treat it as a plan of what is to come – plan three or four points that you will use to answer the question and briefly introduce them.

– Keep focused – if you make a clear point at the beginning of a paragraph make sure you stay focused on it throughout the paragraph. Don’t bring in other bits and bobs that are unrelated.

– Deal with quotations – if you have deemed a quotation important enough to include then you need to explain what it means and why it is significant in relation to the question you are trying to answer.

– Anchor sentences – a mini conclusion of how you have answered the question at the end of each paragraph. This will not only make the points you are trying to explain clearer, but will also reset your focus on the question and ensure you don’t go too far off track.

Band 4 Mark 15/25

This is a reasonable personal response with some good understanding of language features, meaning generated and even some structural bits and pieces. However, it is occasionally a little light on exploration and detailed analysis of specific quotations from the text and the structure of the essay at times means that your ideas are difficult to extrapolate.

 

Author: Mr Sir

Although I've only been teaching Literature since 2011 and did my degree in History, I think that makes me better placed than many Lit teachers to provide notes that make sense and aren't garbled and wrapped up with inaccessible terminology and effluent nonsense. After adventures in Uganda and Uzbekistan, I am now settling down in the Netherlands. However, currently I am just about as unsettled as I have ever been, with a new job, a new baby, a new country and a hundred other things going on! Ask me a question, collaborate or abuse me.

6 thoughts on “Pupil Analysis – Father Returning Home (Arnav Gupta)”

  1. is it ok if we write an answer without the use of complicated words and all?cant we just make it simple but at the same time giving the examiner a clear idea of what we are talking about?

    1. Yeah, there is no need to be overly complicated. I often think that people who write above themselves make their ideas quite unclear and incomprehensible. However, that said, you don’t want to be informal. I would recommend using a lexicon you’re comfortable with, but avoiding being informal, abbreviating or using slang to make your points.

  2. Hi sir,

    I notice in this essay that the body paragraphs seem to be of varying lengths. What I know from knowledge is that it puts a bad impression on the examiner. Would you agree?

    Yoloman

    1. No, that’s not a problem at all. It really depends on how much you have to say about the particular issue you are analysing. As long as a paragraph thoroughly explores what you want to explore, then you’ll be fine.

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