Abou Ben Adhem by Leigh Hunt
ABOU BEN ADHEM
INTRODUCTION: The poem “Abou Ben Adhem” is a short, fable-like poem written by J.H. Leigh Hunt. It is a poem with a religious concept. It suggests people can best express love for God by simply loving their fellow human beings. The poet has conveyed the ideas of happiness, peace and love through easy and flowing rhymed couplets.
Important Word Meanings
1.Angel – a spirit who is believed to be a servant of God
2.Bold – brave and confident
3.Peace – state of being calm and quiet
4. Presence – the fact of being in particular place
5.Tribe – a group of people of the same race
6.Vanished – disappeared
7. Accord -agreement of opinion
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.
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?
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?
The literary term is assonance.
3. In your own words, what question does Abou ask the angel in his room?
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?
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?
Hunt seems to infer that God loves most not those who worship him best, but those who love and care for all men most.
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.