Abou Ben Adhem by Leigh Hun
Central Idea: This poem Abou Ben Adhem is is a short, fable-like poem written by an English poet James Henry Leigh Hunt. The central idea of this poem is that God love those who loves their fellow men. Love of fellow men is the best type of worship. Abou Ben Adhem’s name was top of the list of those, who love their fellowmen. In this the poet has conveyed the ideas of happiness, peace and love through easy and flowing rhymed couplets.
SUMMARY OF THE POEM
In this poem, the poet says that Abou Ben Adhem was a religious person. One night he was sleeping peacefully in his room when he was awakened by sparkling light. He noticed that the sparkling light was actually an Angel who was writing something in a golden book. Since Abou was a pious man, so he was not afraid of the Angel, but the silence of the room made him more courageous. He asked the Angel what he was writing on the book. The Angel replied that he was writing the names of all those who love God. Then Abou asked if his name was in the list. The Angel replied in the negative. Then he requested the Angel to enlist his name among those who loves his fellow men. The Angel wrote his name and disappeared.
The next night the angel appeared again with a great wakening light and showed Abou the list of the people whom God loves. Abou Ben Adhem saw his name on the top of the list and was happy.
Stanza Wise Summary
Abou Ben …….. his fellow men.
The poem Abou Ben Adhem by Leigh Hunt conveys a message that love for fellow beings is more important than love for God. In the opening lines of the poem, the poet wishes that may people like Abou, increase in the world. Such people are instrumental in spreading love and brotherhood in the world. One-night Abou woke up from a deep peaceful sleep.
‘Deep dream of peace’ gives a supernatural impact to the poem. The phrase is an example of alliteration, which is a figure of speech, where the consonant ‘d’ is repeated in ‘deep dream’.
It also symbolises that people like Abou sleep in peace because of their divine behaviour and character.
As he woke up by the light of the moon and the angel present in his room, he saw the angel, writing in a book of gold. The room seemed to be rich by the divine lights.
The poet uses personification in ‘making it rich’ and also a simile in the phrase ‘like a lily in bloom’. The poet describes the beauty of the room by these two figures of speech. He compares the beauty of the room to the beauty of a lily, which is in the process of blooming. ‘book of gold’ symbolises two things. First, that the owner is a divine messenger and second that the contents of the book are also divine.
The presence of the angel along with its light further enhances the already richly lit room of Abou. The peace and serenity made Abou bold as he was already a virtuously brave man and led a noble and pious life. He then boldly asks the angel what it was writing. To answer this question, the angel raised its head. It looked sweet and kind. It answered that the names of those who love God were beng listed. To this, Abou again asked if his name was there in the list. The angel’s negative reply made Abou feel sad and low.
Because of his optimism, he quickly overcame that lowliness and humbly requested his name to be written in a list of people who loved their fellow men.
The angel wrote ……. led all the rest.
The next four lines of the poem are describing the next night when the angel reappeared. The light which the angel came with on the second night was brighter, than the night before. The angel that night showed Abou the names of those who are loved by God and thus blessed by Him. In this list, Abou found his name on the top.
The short second stanza of the poem is a message to the readers. The reappearance of the angel, with a list where Abou’s name was at the top, proves that even God loves those who love His creation more than Him.
The key theme of the poem is seeking a path to God. Many people profess their love of God, but this love expresses itself as a noun in their lives; it is when love of God is a verb that one finds the path to God and is blessed by Him. The poem is almost like a fable in style, in that it is a lyrical teachable moment.It implies that people can better show their love for God by being kind to their fellow human beings. Just to say in words that they love God is not enough; people need to prove this love by behaving in the way that God has taught them.
The poem is set in Abou Ben Adhem’s bedroom after he awakens from a peaceful sleep, but it is still the middle of the night when he does so as the room is said to be “moonlit”.
Questions and Answers
1. What is the “it” of the poem’s fourth line?
Answer. The speaker is referring to his bedroom.
2. In the second line of this poem, the words “deep,” “dream,” and “peace” rhyme. What is the literary term for this repetition of interior vowel sounds within a short section?
Answer. The literary term is assonance.
3. In your own words, what question does Abou ask the angel in his room?
Answer. Abou asks the angel what it is writing in its book of gold.
4. What is the angel’s reply to Abou’s question? How does Abou react?
Answer. The angel tells Abou that he is writing the names of those who love the Lord, and reveals that Abou’s name was not on this list. Abou then asks the angel to write him down as one who “loves his fellow man.”
5. Why do you believe, at the end of this poem, Abou’s name “led all the rest” on the list of those who God had blest? What is Hunt trying to tell his reader by ending his poem this way?
Answer. Hunt seems to infer that God loves most not those who worship him best, but those who love and care for all men most.
Reading is Fun
Q. 1. What was the angel writing in the book of gold?
Ans. The angel was writing the names of those who loved God.
Q. 2. What did Abou ask the angel?
Ans. Abou asked the angel if his name is on the list of those who loved the Lord.
Q. 3. Why did Abou speak in a low voice?
Ans. . Abou was sad when the angel told him his name wasn’t in the book, but he requested it to record him as a lover of his fellow man. He wrote and vanished.
Q. 4. What do you understand by a ‘great wakening light’?
Ans. Ans. A great wakening light means light that shines in a virtuous person. It is the light which awakens Abou from his dream with a message from Lord.
A. Write T or F against each sentence in the space provided. If the statement is false, write the correct answer against the space provided and if it is true, put a cross against the space:
- The room of Abou Ben Adhem is made beautiful by sunlight. False
The room of Abou Ben Adhem is made beautiful by moonlight.
- The room of Abou is compared with the blossoming rose. False
The room of Abou is compared with the blooming lily.
- The angel wrote the names of those whom the Lord love the most. True
The name of Abou appeared at the bottom. False
The name of Abou appeared at the top leading everyone else.
- Abou Ben Adhem was sleeping when the angel came to his room. True
B. Pick out the abstract nouns from the poem.
Ans. Angel, vision, love, peace, dream
C. Form compound nouns from the following words by adding a word to it:
Tooth = Toothpaste/Toothbrush
Swimming = Swimming-pool
Class = Classroom
Black = Black-day/Black-gold
After = Afternoon Aftermath
Fine = Fine-Arts
Ice = Icecream/Iceberg
Pot = Potboy
Dust = Dustbin
Snow = Snowman/Snowfall
Good = Goodbye/Goodman
News = Newspaper
Q. Why is Moonlight compared to a lily in bloom?
Ans. One night, when Ben Adhem woke up from his deep and peaceful sleep, he saw that his room was full of moonlight, which made it look like a lily in full bloom because the room was very bright and rich. That is why Moonlight is compared to a lily in bloom.
Q. What is the significance of the book of gold?
Ans. In the poem Abou Ben Adhem, the fabled ‘book of gold’ symbolises its richness and its great worth. The angel used to write the names of people who love God. God takes the golden book of mankind and selects those close to Him that He will name in the coming year.
Q. What was the angel doing in Abou’s room?
Ans. The angel appeared in Abou’s room with a waking glow, and he wrote something in a book of gold. When Abou asked the angel what it had writing in the book of gold. The angel answered in a sweet voice that he was writing the names of the people who loved God.
Q. Why was Abou’s name not in the book of gold?
Ans. The angel was putting together a list of those who loved Heaven. But Abou Ben Adhem was not a man popularly known for the love of God, but for the love of his fellow human beings. That’s why his name did not appear in an angel’s book of gold. Not necessarily, in order to love your fellow people, you must love God.
Q. What was the angel writing?
Ans. The angel was writing the names of those people who loved God in the book of gold. … He requested the angel to write his name in another list of people who loved their fellow men.
Q. Who did Abou see in his room?
Ans. One night Abou Ben Adhem awoke from a peaceful dream and saw an angel in his room. The room was bright with moonlight and the angel look like a Lily in full bloom. The room was more brightened by the presence of the angel.
Q. What message does Hunt convey through his short poem Abou Ben Adhem? Discuss its relevance in today’s world?
Ans. The poem Abou Ben Adhem by Leigh Hunt conveys a message that love for fellow beings is more important than love for God. In the opening lines of the poem, the poetwishes that may people like Abou, increase in the world. Such people are instrumental in spreading love and brotherhood in the world.
Q. Which phrase points out the supernatural effect of the poem? What does the poet mean when he says ‘may his tribe increase’?
Ans. ‘Deep dream of peace’ gives a supernatural impact to the poem. The phrase is an example of alliteration, which is a figure of speech, where the consonant ‘d’ is repeated in ‘deep dream’.
‘May his tribe increase ‘ means that there should be more people like abou ben adhem . The narrator wants more and more people like ben adhem . He want people to love hisfellowmen just like ben adhem does
Answer the following questions
1. What is the meaning of may his tribe increase?
Ans. It is a compliment, which means that may there be more people like him in the world.
2. Describe the effect of moonlight.
Ans. The moonlight made Abou Ben Adhem’s room look rich and bloom like a lily.
3. What did Abou ben adhem ask the person who came?
Ans. Abou ben adhem asked the angel who came what it was writing in its book.
4. What was the person’s response to the question?
Ans. The Angel replied that it was writing ‘ The names of those who loved the lord .
5. What did Abou ben adhem requested the person to do?
Ans.Abou ben adhem requested the angel to write his name amongst those who loved his fellow.
Reference to Context
1.Awoke one …………………a lily in bloom.
a)What happened one night?
Ans.one night ,Abou ben adhem woke from deep dream of peace and saw Moonlight in his room making the room glow.
b) What did Abou Ben Adhem see in his room?
Ans. Abou ben Adhem saw an angel in his room writing in a golden book.
c) Highlight the simile in the extract.
Ans.’ Like a Lily bloom’ —– simile in this extract.
2. ‘what writers………………….Nay,not so?.
a) Who is referred to as the vision?
Ans. The angel is referred to as the vision.
b) Describe its look.
Ans. It had the book made of sweet accord.
C) What did Abou Ben adhem asked the vision?
Ans.Abou ben adhem ask the Angel if his name was one amongst those who love the Lord.
3. It came……………………………all the rest.
a) who came again with a wakening light?
Ans. The Angel came again with a wakening light.
b) what did he show Abou Ben adhem?
Ans. The Angel showed abou ben adhem the names of those people whom God had blessed.
c) what made Abou benAdhem happy ?
Ans. Abou Ben Adem was happy as his name was the first on the list of people whom God had blessed.