5. IN THE STREET OF FRUIT STALLS (Jan Stallworthy)
CONTEXT: In this poem, the poet tells us that he is standing in the street of fruit stalls. Some children enchanted by the beauty of different kinds of fruit come here to buy fruit. They pick up a fruit and break it open. They pour the juice into their mouth. They enjoy the sweet spray of the juice. They forget all the miseries they are living in.
EXPLANATION: LINES 1 TO 5: In these lines, the poet portrays the scene of a street of fruit stalls. It is dark and wet because of dew drops. The shopkeepers have piled up various fruit in a conical form. They look like cannonballs. Actually, the world is threatened with war, misery, and poverty. The horror of war and poverty is very much present in the poet’s mind. That is why, the fruits look like cannonballs to him.
EXPLANATION: LINES 6 TO 10: In the first stanza, the poet portrays a street of fruit stalls. He thinks that these fruits are like cannon balls but in this stanza, the same fruits look beautiful and attractive to the children. The children forget everything and enjoy that time with full zeal. The difference is clear. The poet is grown up while the children are innocent and have no idea of the dark aspects of life.
EXPLANATION: LINES 11 TO 15: In these lines, the poet says that the children visit the street of fruit stalls. They are standing in the light of the lanterns. They are fascinated by the beauty of fruit. They pick up a fruit and break it open. The juice comes out and they pour the juice into their mouths. It also falls on their fingers, cheeks, noses, and chains. They look radiant like lanterns. They do not pay any attention to the poet who is sad and standing in a dark corner.
Q.NO. 1: Who has written this poem? Answer: This poem has been written by Jan Stallworthy. He is a poet as well as a biographer. However, his fame lies in writing biographies.
Q.NO.2: What is the theme of the poem? OR What is the central idea of the poem? OR write a critical note on the poem.
Answer: The world is threatened with war, misery, and poverty. The poet says that the children enter a street of fruit stalls and buy fruits, piled up in a conical form. To the poet, they look like cannon balls. However, the children relish the fruit with delight. He is satisfied to think that man’s quest for pleasure can never be finished.
Q.NO.3: What are the feelings of the poet standing in the dark street? (MN, FB, LR, GW-07, BP, LR, MN-08, 09, 10, SG-10, BP-11, DG-12)
Answer: Inwardly, the poet is dejected at the present condition of the world which is threatened with war. However, he is satisfied to think that man’s quest for pleasure can never be finished.
Q.NO.4: Why has the poet used “Cannonballs” to describe the fruit? OR Why do the fruit look like cannon balls to the poet? (MN-06, RWP, LHR-07, LHR, FB, GW, MN-08, BP-10, DG-10, FB-12)
Answer: The background of the poem is war and its horrible results. When the poet, who is sensitive to the threat of war, looks at the fruit piled up in conical form, they look to the poet as cannon balls.
Q.NO.5: Name the fruits mentioned in the poem. (SG-08)
Answer: The fruits mentioned in the poem are “Melon, Guava, and Mandarin.” They are piled up in conical form. They reflect hot red and golden colours.
Q.NO.6: “The children forget the dark street.” What does it mean? OR Why do little black children forget all about their problems? (GW-09, FB-10)
Answer: The children are innocent. They have no worries except hunger. Unlike the poet, they have no fear of war. That’s why, the children forget the dark street in which he is standing.
Q.NO.7: How do the small children enjoy the fruit? (AJK-11)
Answer: They pick up a fruit, break it open, and pour the juice into their mouths. It also falls on their faces. Their faces are brightened by the light of lanterns.
Q.NO.8: Discuss the scene of the street of the fruit stalls. GW-12)
Answer: In the street of fruit stalls, the fruits are piled up in conical shape. The lanterns are brightening up the fruits as well as the faces of the children. The poet is also standing there.