“Background, Casually” Explanation
A poet rascal clown…..refused to spin.
Reference to the Context— These lines presenting the poet a compound of the three qualities, his personality, his nature and his poverty, have been extracted from an autobiographical poem entitled Background, Casually, written by Nissim Ezekiel.
Here Nissim Ezekiel describes his personality as a mixture of the poet, a rogue and a jester. He was a timid boy by nature. He was even surrounded with the feelings of fear. His personality was very poor. He was very lean and thin. Due to his poverty, he was deprived from the boyish entertainments.
Explanation- Nissim was, at his birth, a child endowed with a poetic talent but he was a lost a child having in him a potential for rogue and for clowning. He was scared child. He was a child easily frightened. Due to being the victim of the feelings of utter fear, he was very nervous. He would neither sleep nor eat. He was a lean and thin boy. He could not indulge himself a games like other normal healthy children. He never learnt the art or the technique of flying a kite. What he really means to say is that he did not get the opportunities which most boys got of enjoying the usual boyish sports or past times such as flying a kin. He did not have enough money to buy a top of his own, so he borrowed, a top from some other boy, but when he tried to make it spin, he failed because he did not know the technique of using it, just as he did not know the technique of flying a kite. All this means that Ezekiel as a boy did not have the opportunity to mix and mingle freely with the other boys. The reason for this isolation from the other boys was that he was a few while the other boys were either Hindus or Muslims or Christians.
I went to Roman…………boxed my ears.
Reference to the Context- These lines presenting callous treatment, troubles and torments given to the poet by his school fellows, have been extracted from an autobiographical poem entitled Background. Casually, written by Nissim Ezekiel. Here the poet recalls his school days. Due to being a Jew, he was ill-treated and tormented by his school fellows. All the school fellows had harsh and tyrannical attitude for him. The Christians accused him of belonging to the race which was responsible for the Crucifixion of Christ.
Explanation- When Nissim grew up, he went to school. He was not a Christian but a Jew. So, the Christian boys were unkind to film. Because of being a Jew, he was very callously treated by his school fellows. In that school Nissim had to study in a hostile atmosphere. He was a studious boy. He concentrated mainly upon his lessons. He repeated the lessons until he learnt them by heart and memorised them. They abused him for being a Jew whom they considered to be a betrayer of Christ. Even though these boys were Christians, they did not practice the Christian charity. But the irony behind the other boys tormenting a Jewish boy lay in the fact that this Jewish boy won a prize for being the best student to have learnt the scripture which included not only the Old Testament but also the New Testament. He thus proved to his tormentors that he was better versed in Christian scriptures than the Christians themselves. But the joy of award was short lived and then something else happened to remind Ezekiel that he belonged to a much hated religion. A Muslim boy, who was good at sports and who had therefore a well-built body, slapped and beat Ezekiel.
I grew in terror………used a knife.
Reference to the Context- These lines depicting the harsh, cruel and tyrannical attitude of the Hindus, who were known for their generosity and humanity, have been extracted from an autobiographical poem entitled Background Casually, written by Nissim Ezekiel.
Here the poet does not spare the Hindus either. He describes them as great bullies. They also terrorized the poor Jew boy. They had lost their qualities of generosity, humanity, love and affection and brotherhood. They had also become cruel.
Explanation- According to the poet, he was getting education in hostile atmosphere. He was living among the cruel school fellows. His school fellows had filled his heat with the feelings of terror. His school fellows did not spare any occasion of teasing and tormenting him. Hindus too were equally unkind. Though they were undernourished, still, they were very strong and terrified the poet. He too had a condescending attitude towards them for their preposition were always wrong and in his opinion they were inactive and lazy dullards. One day, when a lot of noise was going on around him and he was being teased and tormented by some of his school-fellows, he used a knife to attack one of them. He did so in utter desperation and not because he was a brave lad.
At home on Friday………….the less I found.
Reference to the Context- These lines presenting a great downfall of the poet’s moral standards have extracted from a autobiographical poem entitled Background, Casually, written by Nissim Ezekiel.
Here the poet says that for want of religious zeal and moral standards, he had become wicked. Even the preaching’s of priests could bring no improvements in his character and conduct and they could not instill religious zeal into him
Explanation- His parents were true embodiment of moral, religious and ethical values. They offered the usual prayers on Friday nights. His parents observed that he was losing his moral standards and that he was not paying sufficient attention to his religious analysis about him, he realises that his moral standards were not of the highest order, and he was not worthy enough to; be a Jewish priest. He heard the noble preaching of great priest and yogic, but he could not be inspired. He could not preserve the religious fervor which his father expected.
Twenty-two……….my basement room.
Reference to the Context- These lines depicting the poet’s pathetic financial state and his companions, have been extracted from an autobiographical poem entitled Background, Casually, written by Nissim Ezekiel. Here the poet depicts about the broken financial condition of is family. It was his parents’ extremely desire that after schooling, their son should go abroad the higher educational but it was the inability to afford the expenses.
Explanation- When the bitter days of his school education were over, his parents thought that their son should get higher education is abroad, but they were badly broken in financial state. They had of course, so money to pay the fare far abroad. They thought that their dream could not be fulfilled for want of money and their son would be deprived from getting higher education in abroad. At that same moment they found a helping hand of one of the family friend. He showed humanity and generosity and without self-interest, he agreed to pay for Ezekiel’s passage to England. For want of money, he could not get any better lodging than a basement room. He describes that in London, philosophy, poetry and poverty were his three companions who shared his basement room.
The London seasons……..I had failed.
Ref. to the Context- These lines presenting poet’s incapability to do anything conspicuous, have been extracted from an autobiographical poem entitled Background, Casually, written by Nissim Ezekiel. Here the poet says that in London, he could do nothing important. He was under the impression that he was failure. He lived there without having fellows He completely ignored the outside surroundings of London. He could get no glimpse of external atmosphere. There he came in the contact of a woman.
Explanation- The poet lived a hard and cheerless life in London. He lived all alone there for two years. He was sad and miserable. His life in London could give him no fruit of success. He was a failure man. His poverty and failures created in him a feeling of inferior, He became indifference. He nourished a feeling in his heart and mind that he was a worthless man and he could do nothing in his life. Then he became acquainted with a woman who began to keep company with him. Perhaps she fell in love with him. She cheered him and made him conscious of his manhood. At the same time he realised that he had not made any progress in any direction and that, in fact, he had failed in every way. It was a bitter realisation and so he decided to get back to India.
In everything,……..laugh again at home.
Ref. to the Context- These lines depicting poet’s utter poverty and despair, has been extracted from an autobiographical poem entitled Background, Casually written by Nissim Ezekiel.
Here the poet tells us that when he decided to leave London for India, he was utterly helpless in financial state. It was a great problem before him how he could reach India. In order to reach India, he had to undertake menial jobs on Cargo-ship,
Explanation- He became entirely during his London stay. He could not make any achievements there. He lived there a lonely life. When it was unendurable for him to stay in London for longer, he resolved to leave for India, but had a great problem of money. He had not enough money to pay the fare for his destination. So, he took a menial job on an English Cargo-ship carrying French guns and other weapons of war to Indo-China. As this ship was to stop at Mumbai on its way to Indo-China, Ezekiel scrubbed the decks in order to be brought to is country. On reaching Mumbai, he was overwhelmed with happiness. When he saw his parents there, he was able to laugh once more.
“Background, Casually” (Stanza 8 to 15)– Click Here
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