The poem Childhood is written by Marcus Natten and he himself through this piece of text remembers his lost childhood. He tells the readers that he has lost his innocence and the world seems to be very tough and harsh. He recalls and warns about those people who just manipulate and change as per the situation around them. He finally locates childhood in the face of an innocent infant.
Childhood Class 11 Central Idea
The poem deals with the lost childhood in the harsh world and the poet try to relocate in the face of an innocent infant. He recalled many times and told the readers that the world is ready to snatch away your innocence and basic nature by manipulating you every time and through their hypocritical behavior.
He also was surprised to know there is no hell and heaven and nowhere in geography. Next, adults are hypocritical in nature and they tend to develop this factor in children and innocent people also. Their actions never match their words and produce their own thoughts.
In the last stanza, the poet wants the readers to know and locate their childhood. It had gone and can be found on the face of an innocent infant.
Childhood Class 11 Summary
When did my childhood go? Was it the day I ceased to be eleven, Was it the time I realized that Hell and Heaven, Could not be found in Geography, And therefore could not be, Was that the day! Meanings
- Ceased – come to an end
In the above stanza, the poet wonders where his childhood had gone. He said and wondered that maybe it had come to an end when he was 11 years old. Or it may come to an end when Hell and Heaven were nowhere to be found. He came to know that these were imaginary and could not be found even in geography.
When did my childhood go? Was it the time I realized that adults were not all they seemed to be, They talked of love and preached of love, But did not act so lovingly, Was that the day! Meanings
- Preached – talked or spoken
In the above lines, the poet again wonders and asks the same question about where his childhood has gone? He wonders what may be his childhood and innocence left when he shattered seeing the world with new eyes and new perception. He says that adults are hypocrites and their actions do not match with their preachings. They talk about love but never behaved like adults and spread love. They are double-faced and know how to manipulate everyone.
When did my childhood go? Was it when I found my mind was really mine, To use whichever way I choose, Producing thoughts that were not those of other people But my own, and mine alone Was that the day!
In the third stanza, the poet repeats the same question as to where his childhood has gone. He searched for possibilities and wondered about that day when his childhood was gone or snatched away. When he realized he could have his own thoughts and p[erceptions related to the world and people. He was no longer bound by anyone. His thoughts are free and his own. When he became master of his own deeds and intellect he realized that this must be the day when his childhood separated away from him.
Where did my childhood go? It went to some forgotten place, That’s hidden in an infant’s face, That’s all I know.
- Infant – newborn baby
In the last stanza, the poet does not repent of his lost childhood and innocence. He said that it has gone to some forgotten place where he is not able to locate it. He wants to enjoy this innocence and now it can be relocated or found on an infant’s face. He has treasured only sweet memories of his childhood and he knows that it will soon vanish. He believes that childhood remains till a man is an infant.
Literary devices used in the poem childhood
- Rationalism – the poet rationalizes the lost childhood when he was eleven and when he found out that hell and heaven don’t exist and are not found in geography.
- Refrain – a group of phrase which is repeated in the poem
When did my childhood go?
Was that the day!
- Individuality – He realized that he can use his own perception and can produce his own thoughts. He discovered his own way of thinking.
- Antithesis – where two opposite words are used together in a sentence in a poem
Hell and Heaven
- Alliteration – The occurrence of the same letter of sound at the beginning of closely connected words
- The time
- My mind
- Whichever way
- Thoughts that
- Inversion – when the subject-verb order is reversed
To use whichever way I choose
Childhood Summary Class 11 [NCERT Solutions]
Q1. Identify the stanza that talks of each of the following:
Individuality, rationalism, hypocrisy
The stanzas that talk of each of the quality in questions are given below:
- individuality: Third stanza
- rationalism: First stanza
- hypocrisy: Second stanza
Q2. What according to the poem, is involved in the process of growing up?
According to the poet, the loss of his childhood along with his innocence is lost as soon as he grows into an individual with his own way of thinking. The loss is compensated by when one reaches adulthood and gains understanding, rational thinking, and self-confidence.
Q3. What are the poet’s feelings towards childhood?
The poet feels it is an important stage and is a process through which one can feel changes. The child accepts everything whatever his adult says as they do not possess any rational thinking and for the rules are absolute. He does not regret it.
Through this poem, the poet tells that the world is harsh and there is a huge difference in actions and preaching by the adults. The childhood is snatched away by hypocritical thinking of the world, but at last, the poet does not repent of his lost childhood because he has developed into a human being who has his own way of thinking and way of looking at the world.