The Farmer’s Wife by Volga (P. Lalita Kumari) – Questions and Answers

I. Answer the following questions in one or two sentences each.

1- Who is the narrator / speaker in the poem?

The narrator is the wife of a farmer who committed suicide due to crop failure.


2- Who is the poem addressed to?

The poem is addressed to the dead farmer.


3- Who is the ‘sinner’, according to the poem?

The farmer’s wife.


4- Why did the farmer commit suicide?

Because his cotton crop failed.


5- What does the expression ‘you crossed over’ mean?

He passed away, died, committed suicide.


6- What memories of her husband trouble the farmer’s widow?

The memories of her dead husband’s abuse.


7- Describe the meaning of the phrase ‘harvest of my womb’.

‘Harvest of my womb’ means the children of the farmer’s wife.


8- What does the wife say about death?

One should not embrace death but be brave enough to struggle with life.


9- What is needed to avoid death?

A firm heart.


10- What does the farmer’s wife want to teach her children?

To ‘clench a fist’ not just for a handful of rice, but to ‘clench a fist’ to battle and struggle for life.


II. Answer the following questions in a paragraph of not more than 100 words each.

1- After her husband’s death the farmer’s wife has been forced to take up a lot of responsibilities. What are these responsibilities? What is the wife’s attitude towards these responsibilities?

The farmer’s wife, now, has too many responsibilities; she has to find for herself along with her four children. She has to face her husband’s creditors from whom he had taken credit to grow the cotton crop. She is not at all discouraged by these responsibilities. She, with her firm heart, faces these responsibilities. She not only does this, but also teaches her children to face life bravely and never to give up. (73 words)


2- The poem contrasts the characters of the farmer and his wife. What are these contrasts? How are they different from each other?

The farmer is virtuous (honest and righteous), but the wife thinks she is a sinner because she is left by her dead husband to face life all alone. The farmer was abusive but the wife was loving and affectionate. The farmer was a coward, and could not face life’s struggles so he committed suicide. The wife is brave and lives to struggle with life. He embraced death but she embraced life and the struggle for life. (75 words)


3- Discuss the poem as a lament of the farmer’s wife on her husband’s death.

The poem is a lament (express grief verbally) of the farmer’s wife on her husband’s death. Although the farmer abused her, hated her, and kicked her when he was drunk, she remained an obedient wife. She did not even have a single thought in her mind that the farmer would commit suicide and would leave her alone with four children to take care of. In addition, to pay off the farmer’s debt. She and her children grieve his death. The farmer’s death is like a blow to her. However, she embraces life for the sake of her children. (95 words)


4- Why does the farmer’s wife resolve to live?

The farmer’s wife resolves (decides) to live to take care of her children, ‘The harvest of her womb’. She does not want to abandon them to the wind like worm-eaten cotton pods. She, with her all courage, embraces life and teacher her children not to embrace death, but to bravely face life and its struggles.

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