NCERT CORNER :
1. Why does the poet say, “| would not intrude on
him”? Why doesn’t he offer him money to buy
another ball?[CBSE 2020]
Ans :The poet says,” I would not intrude on him” because he does not want to interfere in the natural process of learning. He wants the boy to learn the meaning of loss on his own.
🔹He also doesn’t offer him money to buy another ball because that would be inutile . He wants the boy to learn the lesson of responsibility and accept that losses are a part of life.
2. “…… staring down
All his young days into the harbour where His
Do you think the boy has had the ball for a long
time? Is it linked to the memories of days when
he played with it?
Ans. Yes, the boy has had the ball for a long time. It is linked to the memories of days when the boy played with it.
🔹Yes, it appears that the boy has had the ball for a long time. When it bounced and fell into the water, all his childhood memories of wonderful days flashed in front of his eyes. He realised that those moments would never come back, just as the ball. He felt that he can buy new balls a dime a dozen and those would create new vista of memories or moments for him, but those that are lost with the ball into the water would never ever return.
3. What does “in the world of possessions” mean?
Ans. The phrase“in the world of possessions”means that in this living world everyone is conscious of their materialistic possession. Modern world coaxes us into the path of materialism and encourages a sense of possession and belongingness. Every one is in the race of gaining more and more. In the poem, the poet indicates that losing of the ball by the boy may be a paltry thing , but this would give him a realization of loss and the experience of losing memories associated with it.
4. Do you think the boy has lost anything earlier? Pick out the Words that suggest the answer.
Ans : No, it seems that the boy has not lost anything earlier. The line from the poem i.e. ‘He senses first responsibility in a world of possessions’ suggests that the boy hasn’t lost anything previously.
5.What does the poet say the boy is learning from the loss of the ball? Try to explain this in your own words.
Ans : The poet tries to convey that the boy has gained the abilities to cope up with the loss of his ball. The experience of grief and melancholy in this world full of possession makes him learn that there are several valuable things in life that are lost and cannot be brought back. He is sensing his ‘first sense of responsibility’ as he has lost the ball. The boy learns to stand up and leave the loss behind as he moves ahead in his life and understands the true meaning and significance of loss.
6. Write the central idea of the poem.
Or, Write the sum and substance of the poem “The Ball Poem”. [CBSE2016]
Or, What does John Berryman want to convey through his poem? [CBSE2011]
Ans: The poet John Berryman in this poem describes the grief of a boy over the loss of his ball. With that loss he senses his first responsibility in a materialistic world. The poet suggests that the people whom we love and our materialistic possessions will not stay with us forever. One has to understand the nature of
loss and learn to cope up with the The child has to learn that loss is a part of everyday life and still life goes on.
7. “Money is external”. What does the poet mean by this expression?(CBSE2014) (SA and LA Type Question)
Ans : By the expression ‘money is external’ the poet signifies that money can not always bring happiness in one’s life. The poet wants the boy to understand about his responsibility and that the loss is immaterial.Money can buy our materialistic needs like wealth, luxury,and comfort but it can never buy human emotions like love, childhood,and the memories associated with our losses. Here the loss of the ball by the boy can be averted as he can buy another ball but the nostalgia associated with the ball can not be bought back by money. Hence money is external as Benjamin Franklin rightly says :
“Money has never made man happy, nor will it, there is nothing in its nature to produce happiness. The more of it one has the more one wants.”
8. A popular quote states: ‘Responsibility is
self-taught’. How does the poem address this
Ans : The quote ‘Responsibility is self-taught is central to the poem. The poet addresses this thought by becoming an observer to the situation of the boy. He could have gone to the boy and offered him a new ball.But he wanted the boy to learn for himself that his irresponsibility cost him the ball.After losing the ball the boy will be more responsible and vigilant about his belongings to avoid losing something in future.
9. Suggest a suitable by-line for ‘The Ball Poem’
with a reason for your choice.
Ans :As the given poem talks about the understanding of responsibility and the need of moving ahead, the by line for the poem will be :
Understanding Responsibility and Moving Ahead.
More Bylines : 1.“Life is a Process of Give and t.. Take”
2. The Acceptance of Responsibility Rewards Oneself with Greatness.
By-line/ Byline : Cambridge dictionary defines that byline is ” a line at the top of a newspaper or magazine article giving the writer’s name”.
Here a byline should be understood as a short phrase or sentence that describes the theme of the poem.
10. ‘He senses first responsibility’ – What responsibility is referred to here?
Ans:The responsibility referred to here is
how to stand up or bear the loss in this world of possession through self-understanding and trying to console oneself on his own as the boy who lost his ball was trying to do.
11.Does the lost ball stand for the metaphor of the boy’s lost childhood? How?
Ans. The boy has lost his ball into the harbour. It will not be found back again. However, through the metaphor of the lost ball, the poet wants to signify a bigger loss i.e.the loss of his childhood days .Like the lost ball, the childhood days which he cherishes still now,have been lost forever.This makes the loss unconsolable.
12.What is the general rule of this ‘world of possessions’? Why is money
Ans. Getting and losing is a natural cycle.Many more boys before him bought and lost their balls. This process will go on forever. However, no amount of money can buy back the same ball that has been lost forever. Money is external and has its
own limitations. Wealth can’t compensate such emotional losses such as the loss of one’s childhood days.
13.How is the boy learning the ‘epistemology of loss’ from the loss of his ball? What he has to learn?
Ans. The boy has to understand the true nature of the loss or what it means to lose something. Gain and loss are the two sides of the same coin.The boy has to learn how to move forward irrespective of the losses like the loss of the ball he has suffered in the past.
Epistemology : The branch of philosophy that examines the nature of knowledge, its presuppositions and foundations, and its extent and validity.
14. Why does the poet say, “Balls will be lost always”?
Ans: Here, balls are the symbol of man’s
possessions. We love our things. Some things are dearer to us than the others. But nothing is
permanent in life. We may lose our dear things. Then we suffer from a sense of loss. This is experienced by everyone in life.That is why, the poet says, “Balls will be lost always”.
LA Type Question :
15 .Should the boy be allowed to grieve for his ball? If his loss is irreparable or irretrievable, then how should one handle it? What lessons can be learnt?
Ans : Yes, the boy should be allowed to grieve for his ball, as he had that ball for a long time. Numerous old memories are associated with it since his childhood. Moreover, when a person is trying to come over his grief on his own, then one should not intrude or disturb him as it may break his chain of thoughts and may annoy him. One should have self-consolation,and self -understanding in order to bear the loss. Self-realisation and understanding are more effective and lasting than when it is done by an external force or agency or a person.
16. Why is it important for everyone to experience loss and to stand up after it?
It is significant to experience loss and to stand up after it in order to be strong and to move forward in the race of life. One needs to be strong enough to deal with loss and any kind of hardships.Staying strong and bold is the only way to
survive.Moreover, one needs to learn to
accept and let go and not cling to something that
they can never have. One should understand that
the past is gone and it will never come back.This helps us in breaking all the boundaries into
freedom.The poem teaches us a philosophy of life through the loss of ball i.e. ” Loss is a universal truth in our life.” We have to lose something at one point of time. Nothing is eternal. Everything is subject to death and decay. The struggles of life will develop your inner strengths. Going through the difficult phases of life and deciding not to surrender oneself is the real strength one needs to find. Through the loss of ball, the boy learns real knowledge of the world. If he is able to bear the loss,he will be able to face the difficulties of life gallantly .The boy must know how to stand up after a loss. It is very essential for every human being to be able to move on or stand up after being knocked down. Here,the ball signifies losing something valuable that can not be bought or replaced .It will remind the boy to protect and preserve his possessions in future.The poet wants us to understand that loss is inevitable and everyone must learn to cope up with the loss with forbearance and fortitude.
17. Why does the poet not offer money to the boy to buy another ball?
Ans: The boy in the ‘The Ball Poem’ for the first time in his life,experiences the grief of losing a much loved possession, i.e.his ball.He does not want to intrude the boy as he wants him to feel what it is like to lose something : ” Now he senses first responsibility/ In a world of possessions.”
The poet wants him to be able to cope with his loss.He does not offer him ‘money’ to buy another ball because he wants the boy to understand that money cannot buy the memory or happiness attached with the ball. Numerous old memories are connected with it since his childhood. Moreover, when a person is trying to come over his grief on his own, then one should not intrude him as it may break his chain of thoughts and may annoy him. One should have self-consolation,and self -understanding in order to bear the loss. Self-realisation and understanding are more effective and lasting than when it is done by an external force or agency or a person.
He wants him to be responsible enough to let go of things and move on in life. Once something is lost, it may never be restored. This realisation will help him have mature outlook towards life.