NCERT Solutions For Class 12 English


Robert Lynd is an exceptionally humorous and great writer. His articles are simple, amusing and satirical. His style of composing is rich and enchanting. In his essay “Forgetting”, Robert Lynd expounds on the main causes of forgetting and furthermore clarifies what things are usually forgotten by individuals.

“Forgetting” is a short essay. From a layman’s perspective, Lynd gives his views about forgetting or disremembering. His keen observation of forgetfulness among old and young vis-a-vis small and routine matters is minutely described in the essay.

Summary of Forgetting

The essay begins with the writer‘s surprise at the publication of a list of articles lost by travellers at a railway station in London. Lynd says that absentmindedness has puzzled the readers of the list. Lynd doubts that such type of absentmindedness and wonders at the efficiency of human memory. Ordinarily, a person remembers everything that is expected of him.

However, there is a twist to the argument like in the matter of taking medicines. Lynd imagines that only an extraordinarily systematic mortal can always remember to take his pills. Medicine is the easiest thing to remember because it is taken before, during or after meals and the meal itself should remind us about it. But people still forget to take medicines even if they are truly interested in taking them. In his view, chemists make a lot of fortunes out of the forgotten medicine. Same is the case with posting letters. This, he thinks, might be due to lack of interest in other people‘s letters but again he contradicts his own opinion by saying that he forgets to post some of his own letters. As for the things that are forgotten in the trains and taxis, Lynd says walking sticks he himself often forgets. He does not carry an umbrella for fear of losing it.

As for the items lost in trains, it is the young rather than the adults who forgot to take their belongings. Lynd says that as players returning from the playfields still think of the game they are either happy or sad depending on have they won or lost. Such imagination keeps them away from the real world and they forget their belongings.

Lynd then talks about anglers or fishermen who also forget their fishing rods when they return to their homes after the day‘s fishing. This is because they are always concocting tales in their heads. Whether it is an angler who forgets his a fishing rod or a poet who forgets to post a letter, their forgetting or loss of memory is a blessing in disguise as their minds think about matters more glorious. For Lynd, such kind of forgetting is a virtue as it helps them in making the best of life and thus the mediocrity of things does not bother them.

The tone of the essay gets serious as Lynd raises some genuine points. A comparison is drawn between memory and intellect and Lynd says that men with exceptional memories are considered to be efficient but the truth is that they may lack intellect. Poets and writers have better and sharper memories than those of politicians and statesmen.

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In the concluding paragraph of his essay, Lynd ends from where he had started. Ordinarily, we all have a good memory and if a person does not possess it, he is regarded as eccentric. Again, he resorts to an example of a father who took his baby out in a pram on a sunny morning and got tempted to take a glass of beer in a bar thus slipped into it leaving the baby outside. After some time his wife happened to pass through that site and recognizing her baby she was shocked at her husband‘s callous attitude. She decided to teach her husband a lesson and took the baby with her thinking of how her husband would get terrified when he comes out and finds the baby has been stolen. Not to her expectations, when her husband comes home and asks what is in the lunch today and having forgotten all about the baby and the fact that he had taken the baby out in the morning.

For Lynd, only philosophers are capable of such kind of absent-mindedness. He concludes by saying that most of us are born with the efficient power of memory otherwise, the institution of the family could not have survived in any great modern city.

Theme/ Message

Forgetting is the core of the essay and the author has approached it through many routes giving examples from real life. The author has quipped several times in order to amuse the reader and to prove that forgetting is not such a curse or bane as it is thought to be in society. Furthermore, forgetting is a common phenomenon which forms part and parcel of human life. It cannot be ruled out or wished away. On a serious note, the author underlines the importance of an ordinarily good memory because the fabric, communication and safety of society depend on it. If all of us turn out to be like the poets and philosophers, the plight of society needs not be underlined.

Significance of the Title

Lynd‘s essays are humorous, satirical and simple. The subject matter of most of his essays is concerned with chores of daily life and he draws his characters from it. The title of the essay is appropriately chosen as the subject matter under discussion and the message, thereof, symphonize with each other. The title assumes greater significance because it does not refer to any ideal perspective. Forgetting is about a common man’s persona. The title is a living manifestation of our being human. We are a pack of efficiencies and errors. Forgetting is one of the important characters in the story of a common man which Lynd has boldly and beautifully portrayed.

Forgetting by Robert Lynd


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Long answer types question

1. What are the most common things we often forget? OR
What does Robert Lynd say in defence of forgetfulness?

Ans. Forgetting is a very important lesson by Robert Lynd. Forgetting is also good merit of man’s life. The writer says that there are certain things about which people are generally forgetful. The reason is not due to the weakness of their memory but we often forget the things in our daily life. It is the common habit of every person. Forgetting is not mental weakness. It is a boon as well as a curse.

Some people forget to take their medicines timely. There are few people who remember to take them regularly. Posting letter is another thing which people forget easily. They hold their letters in hands but forget to drop it into the post boxes.

People also forget their books, walking sticks and umbrellas. The young men also forget their articles on trains and taxies. The sportsmen forget their football and bats because their minds are full of the victory or defeat. Generally, anglers forget they’re fishing- rod.
The modern man remembers telephone numbers, addresses, time for lunch and dinner etc. It is said that great men often forget small things. We can’t hope from Socrates or any great poet like Thomas grey to remember to post a letter. After forgetting small things, man achieves great things.

The moment of forgetfulness is the moment of great joy and excitement. For example, the sportsmen forget their bats and balls when they leave the train. But a man who is like a remembering machine is never a wise man.
Thus, the writer advises us that we should forget some common things, then we will be able to remember some noble things in life. Forgetting results in higher things. It is a virtue and makes a man wiser and happier in life.

2. What according to Robert Lynd, are the advantages of forgetfulness?
Ans. Forgetfulness has its own advantages. It makes a man happy. It enables him to reach the object of his greater interest. The movement of forgetfulness is the moment of great joy. Such a man lives in imagination.

Failures and disappointment make a man unhappy. he forgets ordinary things. But due to it, forgetful people are able to create something new and original. They enjoy a better life than those who have strong memories.

The absent-minded man makes the best of his life. People who most often shows a forgetful nature include poets, composers of music, philosophers, anglers, sportsmen and statesmen. The reason behind it might be that they are lost thoughts of higher value things, so they forget small matter things.

3. What are the things, which modern man, generally forgets in daily life? Who are the people, who most often show a forgetful nature?

Ans. A modern man remembers a lot of things. Still, there are a lot of things, which he forgets. He forgets to take medicine. He loses walking sticks, books, umbrellas, bats, balls, fishing rods. Posting letters are also forgotten.

People, ho most often show a forgetful nature include poets, composers of music, philosophers, anglers, sportsmen and statesmen. The reason behind it might be that they are lost in thoughts of higher value things, so they forget small matter things.

4. Why does writer consider the absent mindedness in people such as anglers and poets a virtue?

Ans. Robert Lynd gives a list of people who are generally absent-minded. He says that anglers are lost in the dreams of their imaginary achievements. So, they forget their fishing rods. Poets have more responsibility for writing good poetry. So, they forget small things like posting letters.
The reason behind it might be that they are lost in thoughts of higher value things, so they forget small matter things. So, the writer considers the absent mindedness in people such as anglers and poets a virtue because their minds are filled with more glorious matters.

5. “It is the efficiency rather than the inefficiency of human memory that compels my wonder”— What instances of an efficient human memory are given by Lynd in Forgetting? Name a few of the ‘matters’ regarding which memory works inefficiently.

Ans. In his essay on Forgetting Robert Lynd gives a number of examples of efficient human memory. A modern man keeps many things in his memory; names of actors, actresses, sportspersons, addresses of friends, appointments for lunch and dinner and telephone numbers. In his everyday living, he does everything he has to do. He even switched off the light before going to bed.
But despite such efficient memory, man forgets to make medicines regularly, post letters in time and keep umbrellas, walking sticks and books in mind.

6. What, after the writer of Forgetting, is the commonest form of forgetfulness? Show how this form of forgetfulness affects all including the writer.

Ans. In his essay Forgetting, Lynd says that the commonest form of forgetfulness occurs in the matter of posting letters. It is so common that Lynd cannot trust his departing guest to post his letter. Even if he does, he puts his guest under oath to post his letter. He humorously says about himself: “anyone who asks me to post a letter is a poor judge of character”. He carries the letter in his hand. But he remembers to post it always after passing the first letter-box. Weary of holding it, Lynd puts the letter in his pocket. Soon he forgets all about it. The unposted letter leads an unadventurous life in his pocket. At home, he faces embarrassing questions. And the guilt is brought out of his pocket.

7. What made many people wonder at their fellows’ absentmindedness?

Ans. Robert Lynd says that he is astonished by the efficiency of human memory. A present man remembers even phone numbers and names of performing artists and on-screen characters and cricketers and footballers and murderers. Hence he can recollect nearly everything in his life. For instance, modern man does not forget a single thing of his apparel when dressing. So also, nobody forgets to close the front door when going out. Lynd says that the institution of the family survives in modern societies since common individuals have effective memory power.

8. “There are it must be admitted, some matters in regard to which the memory works with less than its usual perfection” –mention a few instances OR
Chemists make their fortunes out of the medicines people forget to take!”


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Forgetting by Robert Lynd


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