A Roadside Stand by Robert Frost


Paraphrase

In this poem, the poet contrasts the lives of poor and deprived countryside people who struggle to live, with the thoughtless city people who don’t even bother to notice the roadside stand that these people have put up to sell their goodies.

Lines 1 to 6

The poem begins with a description of the roadside stand and the intent behind it. A small farmer is builds a vegetable stand on the edge of the highway outside his house, hoping that passing cars would buy the goods and earn a little money to help the cities fall into ruin. He’s just trying to make a living, he doesn’t beg for money.

Lines 7 to 13

However, no cars ever stop and those who even glance in the direction of the stand without any feeling of concern or relatedness (out of sorts) just comment on how the building spoils the view of the surroundings or how badly painted the incorrectly pointed North and South signs are or to notice, without interest, wild berries and squash for sale in the stand or in the beautiful mountains.

Lines 13 to 22

The farmer tells the rich travelers that if they meant to be cruel, they should keep their money, and that the damage to the view is not as important to him as the disappointment he feels at being ignored. He just wants some (city) money to experience the plush life (make our beings expand) depicted by the movies and other media, which he is said to be denied by the political parties.

Lines 23 to 31

Frost goes on to say that, despite the fact that these people have benefactors (good-doers) who plan to move them to villages where they will have convenient access to the cinema and the supermarket, they are simply selfish (‘greedy gooddoers’ and’beasts of prey’) and only support these “pitiful kin” to benefit themselves indirectly. The altruists want to make these villagers fully dependent on them for all of their rewards and comforts, stripping them of their ability to reason and be self-sufficient. ‘The ancient way’ could refer to the old way of working during the day and sleeping at night. The new ‘greedy good doers,’ who teach these people not to use their minds, are reversing this pattern.They are unable to sleep at night because they have not performed during the day, or because their new lifestyle is upsetting.

Lines 32 to 43

Frost then shares his personal feelings, saying that he can’t bear thinking about the farmer’s broken dreams. The open windows of farmer’s house appear to wait all day just to hear the sound of a car stopping to make a purchase. They are still frustrated, however, because cars just stop to ask for the price, to ask for their way forward, to reverse or to ask for a gallon of gas. ‘Polished traffic’ refers to the upper class who drive their cars to their destinations (with a mind ahead) presumably to another area, oblivious to the countryside roadside stand, and if they were distracted by it (even for a moment), they appeared out of place in it (out of sorts).

Lines 44 to 51

According to the poet, these country folk (“the necessary raise of spirit”) have not found the progress needed. Their lifestyles offer sufficient proof of this. He also thinks that it would be better to only bring these individuals out of their misery and struggles of life. However, he wonders how he might feel if someone tried to do him this supposed service until logical thought returns to his mind.


Summary


The poem “A Roadside Stand,” written by Robert Frost presents the lives of poor deprived people with pitiless clarity and with the deepest sympathy and humanity.

The poem is about a farmer who puts a little new shed in front of his house on the edge of the road. A few thousand cars are speeding past it. He wants to sell wild berries, squash and other products. He doesn’t really like charity. He’s trying to sell his products for the money. He believes that money can give him a better lifestyle than he saw in movies. His hopes are never fulfilled, however. People in cars are going past without even giving a cursory look at their stall. And if few of them happen to look at it, they see how the letters N and S were wrong. They believe that such badly painted signs ruin the beauty of the countryside. However, a couple of cars have stopped. One of them wanted to make a U-turn. It came to the farmer’s yard, and it spoiled the grass. Another car stopped to get to know the way. And one of them stopped because of the need for petrol, although it was quite obvious that the farmer did not sell petrol.

The poor people of the village had little income. They didn’t see a lot of money. They are leading a life of poverty. Some good-doers are known to plan to eliminate their poverty. They were aiming to buy their property on the roadside to build theaters and stores. They’re planning to move the villagers to the village huddled together. They wanted to teach them ways that could change their good and healthy habits. They even tried to teach them to sleep during the day. The ‘greedy good-doers’ and ‘beneficial beasts of prey’ wanted to force the benefits on the poor villagers and to befool them.

The poet feels quite miserable at the pitiful suffering of the poor villagers. He even had a childish desire for all the poor to put an end to their pain in one stroke. But he knew it was childish and futile. So, he wants someone to relieve him of his pain by killing him.

Themes

Robert Frost, a well-known American poet, often discussed the themes of human tragedies and fears, as well as their eventual acceptance or resolution, in his poetry. He deals with the lives of poor deprived people of the villages in his poem,’ A Roadside Stand,’ with a consistency that is perceptive and at the same time portrays his deepest sympathies and his human feelings. The poem also illustrates the unfortunate fact that growth and prosperity are unevenly distributed between cities and villages, causing misery and unhappiness among those who live in the latter.

The poet describes the feelings of the owners of a readside shed, who seem to wait interminably for those whizzing by in their gleaming cars to stop and buy something from the shack—some fruit, some modest vegetables, or even stop and rest in the beautiful mountainscape. They yearn for the feel of hard currency, which is a sign of relief from hardship in their poor lives. However, it seems to be a futile hope that any who do look their way are either repulsed by the blot on the landscape, their shed, which seems to distract from the landscape’s beauty, or pause to ask for directions. Some people use the space to turn their cars around, causing damage to the turf.

The poet is outraged at the callous attitude of the government, the civic authorities and the social service agencies, who appear to be helping them but actually end up harming them, The news says that these poor people are to be moved to the vicinity of the towns near the theater and the shops, where they will be well looked after and have nothing to worry about. The poet, however, regards this as a great disservice to the people who will be robbed off their voices and their freedom and ability to find solutions to their problems. Indulged in oblivion by this false and perhaps short-lived sense of security, the villagers will forever lose their ability to make their own calculated decisions for themselves and become pawns in the hands of their so called benefactors who are wating to take over their land. This will ultimately culminate in a futile sense of dissatisfaction for the villagers.

The poet is filled with sorrow to see the almost childish longing that seems to emanate from the shed on the roadside, for a life depicted in the films, a life so far removed from their village life.

The unthinking occupants of a car stopping at the shed to buy a gallon of gas exemplifies the disconnect between town and village views of the villagers. They are unable to realize that the villagers’ lives are far away from theirs, so full of the comforts provided by the material world.

The poet is saddened by the fact that the rural poor have never experienced the satisfaction that comes from a sense of well-being and contentment. He feels that by improving the lives of the villagers, it will be easy to silence these moaning voices once and for all, but he doubts the wisdom of this reckless act.


Questions and Answers


1. “It is in the news that all these pitiful kin

Are to be bought out and mercifully gathered in

To live in villages, next to the theatre and the stone,

Where greedy good doers, beneficent beasts of prey

Swarm over their lives enforcing benefits

That are calculated to soothe them out of their wits, And by teaching them to sleep all day,

Destroy their sleeping at night the ancient way”.

a) What is in the news?

Ans. It is in the news that the poor are to be relocated to better surroundings near the theatre and the shops.

b) Which word in the verse means the same as ‘generous’ in the above lines?

Ans. ‘Beneficent ‘

c) Who is going to exploit the rural people and how?
Ans. The politicians and the Government exploit the poor by offering them benefits.that are supposed to solve their problems but in reality only add or pose problems of a different nature thereby making them feel cheated.

d) How will the greedy good doers soothe the rural poor out of their wits?

Ans. By offering them free benefits like housing and other facilities, they rob the poor of their voice to protest and lull them into a feeling of false security.

e) Who is referred to as beasts of prey and why?
Ans. The politicians in power and in opposition and they make no difference in the conditions of the rural poor.

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Q. What is a roadside stand in the poem?

Ans. The poem “A Roadside Stand”, composed by Robert Frost is about a farmer who puts a little new shed in front of his house on the edge of a road. Several thousands of cars speed past it. He desires to sell wild berries, squash and other products. He does not like charity.

Q. Where was the roadside stand what was its condition?
Ans. The roadside stand was present in front of an old house at the edge of the road. It was in a miserable condition. The owner lacked resources to give it an artistic look. Hope this information will clear your doubts about topic.

Q. What was on sale on the roadside stand?

Ans. The roadside stand was set up by the rural folks for selling some ordinary things of daily use. Among them they offered wild berries in wooden quarts. There were crooked-necked gourds with silvery hard lumps but the city folk did not stop to purchase these items.

Q. What are N and S signs?

Ans. “N” and “S” are letters that are frequently mistakenly written backwards by children, and others of a low level of literacy. For that reason, if written on backwards on a sign they denote a barely literate writer.

Q. Why did no one stop to buy at the roadside stand?
Ans:- People in the car had money in their pockets. Yet they did not stop at the stand to buy anything . They thought it means to stop at such a place shop there.

Q. Who are the pitiful kin Why are they called so?
Ans- These pitiful kin refers to the villagers who have been deprived of their home and land. they will be mercifully gathered in to live in villages near the theatre and store.

Q. What is the prayer of owner of the roadside stand? OR
What was the plea of the folk who had put up the roadside stand?
Ans: The people of the roadside stand sat in prayer that some city traffic should stop by and buy their wares so that they could make some money to improve their life beyond mere survival.

Q. Why are the cars called selfish?

Ans. The passing cars that don’t stop there are called selfish cars because they purchase nothing.The first car stopped there to use the yard to have a turning.

Q. Why has the requisite spirit never been found?
Ans. The requisite spirit has never been found because modernization or urbanization finds no relevance in the scheme of country money or country scale of gain.

Q. What are the usual complaints made by the city men when they stop at the roadside stand?
Ans. Having failed to see the wretchedness of the poor, they complain that the roadside stand, with its artless paint, ruined the beauty of the nature. Another Complaint is that the letters are wrongly written.

Q. What is the childish longing that the poet refers to why is it in vain?

Answer: The ‘childish’ longing that the poet refers to, is the longing of these rural people that one day at least someone of all the thousand selfish people who pass in their luxurious cars, will halt even if it is only to enquire about a farmer’s miserable plight.

Q. What does the poet say about the greedy gooddoers and the beneficent beasts of prey?
Ans. The poet says that the government and other social agencies seem to help the rural people and make promises like the moving pictures. They will swarm them only to earn benefit out of them. They are like wild animal flesh-eaters.

Q. Why was a person turned out of sorts?

Ans. In the world of printing, these letters were called ‘sorts’. Sometimes, while composing a page, the typesetter ran out of sorts. When this happened, when he didn’t have enough letters to complete the task at hand, he often became irritated or frustrated.

Q. What are the poetic devices used in the poem “A Roadside Stand” ?
Ans.
Transferred epithet – ‘polished traffic’ and ‘selfish cars’

Personification – ‘the sadness that lurks behind the window’, ‘the roadside stand that too pathetically pled’

Alliteration – ‘greedy good doers’ and ‘beneficent beasts of prey’, ‘pathetically pled’

Oxymoron – ‘greedy good doers’ and ‘beneficent beasts of prey’

Short Questions

I Answer the following questions in 30-40 words.

1. Why was the ‘little old house’ extended towards the road?
Ans.The little old house, the roadside stand, existed on the roadside to make a living out of the city money. The owners of the roadside stand expected to attract the rich city men by extending the stand closer to the road.

2. Which traffic is referred to here? Why are they ‘speeding?’
Ans. The traffic referred to here is the cars and other vehicles of the rich people from and to various cities. These rich city men are in great hurry to make money by doing business in the city.

3. Why is the Stand’s existence said to be ‘pathetic?’
Ans.The roadside stand’s sole expectation is the flow of city-money into their hands. But their expectations are never fulfilled as the rich men are not considerate about them and hence a pathetic existence for the roadside stand.

4. How do the poor people look at the city money?
Ans.For the poor people at the roadside stand money is very essential for growth and survival. It boosts the growth of the city and the city people.

5. What is the flower of the cities?
Ans.Prosperity/growth is the flower of the cities. As the flower is the crowning glory of a plant, growth becomes the flower of a city. The city men – rich enough to be insensitive to the sufferers – pass by, in their cars. While passing by the roadside stand, they grow angry and speed away, cursing the poor.

6. Explain, ‘passed with a mind ahead.’
Ans. The city people who passed by the roadside stand were self-centered and their minds were restless with greed for money and ambitions for great profits in their business.

7. What are the usual complaints made by the city men when they stop at the roadside stand?

Ans. The rich people to and from the cities usually have the same sets of complaints. Having failed to see the wretchedness of the poor, they complain that the roadside stand, with its artless paint, ruined the beauty of the nature. Another complaint is that the letters are wrongly written.

8. How senseless do the rich men’s complaints sound to the poor people?
Ans. For the poor people of the roadside stand, the rich men’s complaints, that the landscape is distorted with their poor sense of color, that they sell poor quality fruits and that they have a low literacy level, sound to be childish and infuriating and senseless.

9. How did the poor people “mar” the landscape?
Ans. The poor people mar/ruin the beauty of the landscape by putting road side stand on the roadside and with the artless paint of signs that with N turned wrong and S turned wrong.

10 What does, ‘beauty rest in a mountain scene’ mean?
Ans. Beauty resting in a mountain scene is probably a scenic painting made by the inhabitants of the roadside stand meant for selling to the rich people.

11 What do the poor people of the roadside stand feel when the city men decline from buying anything?

Ans. When the rich city men decline to buy articles from the roadside stand, the poor runners of the stand feel dejected and angry. They ask the city men to keep their money with them and leave the roadside stand without further bargain or comments.

12 Why is the poet’s complaint different from that of the rich city men?
Ans. The rich city men have their hollow complaints that come out of their failure to understand the core level struggles of the poor. But the poet is concerned for the poor and therefore his complaints are relevant.

13 What do you mean by the trusting sorrow of the poor people?
Ans. The poor people are instinctively sensitive and expectant to the promises of the rich and the mighty. They believe their hollow promises and wait for their realization. But finally their hopes give way to the miserable realization that the promises made by the rich are not meant to be fulfilled.

14 What do you understand when the poet says that the trusting sorrow of the poor people is ‘unsaid?’

Ans. The poor people place their trust in the fake promises of the rich people and the ruling parties and consequently become sorrowful. The poet complains that this sorrow of the poor people has not been brought to the serious concern of the concerned authorities, media and the public.

15 How are the rich politicians responsible for the misery of the poor people?
Ans. The rich and corrupted politicians keep the money assigned by the government for the poor people in their own malicious hands and make selfish use of them, thus depriving the poor people of their rights, happiness and all that they deserve.

16 How do the rich ‘enforce benefits’ on the poor?
Ans. In business, promises wrapped up in glossy appearances have great value. The rich business people convince the poor of the advantages of their new schemes and promotions and make them buy their products and be their customers.

17 What sort of calculation is made to ‘soothe the wits of the poor?’ How does this calculation work?

Ans. The business minded city people attract the poor people with their well-planned promotional offers and promises. These promises and offers are such a way calculated that the poor people cannot escape the traps of the rich. The business man’s calculations work well as there is a more efficient brain behind all these promises

18 Why do the people at the roadside stand talk ‘crossly’ with the rich people?
Ans. The poor people sometimes become angry with the rich people. The latter refuse to buy the wild berries at the stand at a price demanded by the owners of the stand. They indulge in bargain and blame the berries and squash. But the poor, who know the rich people are so mean, grow angry at their unwillingness to help them by parting with a little amount of their money.

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19 How is money important for the village people?
Ans. The village people think that money is important for growth in the village. They hope to make improvements in their wretched state of life.

20 What are the two significant roles of money in the lives of the poor people?
Ans. Money is the measuring rode of growth for the village people. They estimate their economic growth by means of the small amount of money at hand. Similarly, money is necessary for a villager to feel confident. He feels a ‘lift of spirit’ with money in reach.

21 Why is money never found in the villages?
Ans. It is a common truth that countryside is backward and therefore it remains poor and penniless. Moreover the country folks are easy targets of the politicians and business-men and therefore they are easily cheated and looted. Besides, if these poor people are given money then they will migrate to prosperous cities or make a city in the place of their village.

II Read the extract and answer the questions that follow:

A

‘It would not be fair to say for a dole of bread,

But for some money, the cash, whose flow supports

The flower of cities from sinking and withering faint.’

1. Why is it unfair to say that these people are begging for a ‘dole of bread?’
Ans. Unlike the beggars, who beg unconditionally, shamelessly and sometimes unreasonably, the people of the roadside stand have something to sell, some information to share and a noble reason behind their begging.

2. What do the poor people really expect from the rich?

3. How do the poor people look at the city money?
Ans. For the poor people at the roadside stand money is very essential for growth and survival. It boosts the growth of the city and the city people.

4. What is the flower of the cities? How?
Ans.The flower of the cities are those who have the money and whose cash flow supports the cities so that they do not sink and wither.

B

The polished traffic passed with a mind ahead,
Or if ever aside a moment, then out of sorts…wrong’

1. What do you mean by ‘polished traffic?
Ans. ‘Polished traffic’ refers to the more wealthier or posh individuals from the city. They do not even pause to buy something from the roadside stand. Even if they were to stop near the stand, it would only be to ask for directions or to admire the landscape which was supposedly “marred” by the clumsy shack.

2. Explain, ‘passed with a mind ahead.’
Ans. The phrase ‘with a mind ahead’ suggests that the people who pass the roadside stand in their polished cars conveniently overlook the roadside stand as their mind is focussed only on their destination.

3. What are the usual complaints made by the city men when they stop at the roadside stand?
Ans. Having failed to see the wretchedness of the poor, they complain that the roadside stand, with its artless paint, ruined the beauty of the nature. Another Complaint is that the letters are wrongly written.

C

‘Offered for sale wild berries in wooden quarts,
Or crook necked golden squash with silver warts, or beauty rest in a beautiful mountain scene, You have the money, but if you want to be mean.’

1. What articles are ‘offered for sale’ at the stand?
Ans. The roadside stand was set up by the rural folks for selling some ordinary things of daily use. Among them they offered wild berries in wooden quarts. There were crooked-necked gourds with silvery hard lumps but the city folk did not stop to purchase these items.

2. What qualities of the ‘offered articles’ make them unfit for sale?
Ans. Ans. The articles for sale at the roadside stand are wild and therefore lack the polished look of the similar articles available in the cities. Moreover, these articles are not packaged properly and they are far expensive than those in the cities.

3. What does, ‘beauty rest in a mountain scene’ mean?
Ans. Beauty resting in a mountain scene is probably a scenic painting made by the inhabitants of the roadside stand meant for selling to the rich people.

A. 1.Why is it unfair to say that these people are begging for a ‘dole of bread?’

Ans. One may think that the poor people at the roadside stand are beggars,but they are not. Unlike the beggars, who beg unconditionally, shamelessly and sometimes unreasonably, the people of the roadside stand have something to sell, some information to share and a noble reason behind their pleading.

B. 2.What do the poor people really expect from the rich?

Ans. The poor people expect a small share of the money from the rich people.

3. How do the poor people look at the city money?

Ans. For the poor people at the roadside stand money is very essential for growth and survival. It boosts the growth of the city and the city people.

4.What is the flower of the cities? How?

Prosperity/growth is the flower of the cities. As the flower is the crowning glory of a plant, growth becomes the flower of a city.

B.1. What do you mean by ‘polished traffic?

Ans. Polished traffic portrays the insensitive attitude and gentlemanly appearances of the city-men. They appear to be ‘polished’ outside but their minds do not understand the sufferings of the poor people.

2. Explain, ‘passed with a mind ahead.’

Ans. The city people who passed by the roadside stand were self-centered and their minds were restless with greed for money and ambitions for great profits in their business.

3. What are the usual complaints made by the city men when they stop at the roadside stand?

Ans. The rich people to and from the cities usually have the same sets of complaints. Having failed to see the wretchedness of the poor, they complain that the roadside stand, with its artless paint, ruined the beauty of the nature. Another complaint is that the letters are wrongly written.

4. How senseless do the rich men’s complaints sound to the poor people?

Ans. For the poor people of the roadside stand, the rich men’s complaints, that the landscape is distorted with their poor sense of color, that they sell poor quality fruits and that they have a low literacy level, sound to be childish and infuriating and senseless.

5. How did the poor people “mar” the landscape?

Ans. The poor people mar/ruin the beauty of the landscape by putting up on the roadside. Their houses are painted in the most unprofessional manner with the most mismatching paint.

6. What does ‘of signs with S turned wrong and N turned wrong’ convey?

Ans. The Roadside STAND has an S and an N in Stand. The owner of the stand is illiterate so he has errected the board with wrong spelling with S and N inverted.

C. 1. What articles are ‘offered for sale’ at the stand?

Ans. Wild berries in wooden containers, crook-necked golden squash with silver warts and paintings of mountain scenery are for sale at the roadside stand.

2. What qualities of the ‘offered articles’ make them unfit for sale?

Ans. The articles for sale at the roadside stand are wild and therefore lack the polished look of the similar articles available in the cities. Moreover these articles are not packaged properly and they are far expensive than those in the cities.

3. What does, ‘beauty rest in a mountain scene’ mean?

Ans. Beauty resting in a mountain scene is probably a scenic painting made by the inhabitants of the roadside stand meant for selling to the rich people.

Q. What is the voice of the country?

Ans. The voice of the country is that the rich people have no concern for them, and that they are being exploited, cheated and given false promises by the parties in power, and that there is no end for their miseries.

Q. Why can’t the poet help ‘own’ the relief of helping the poor out of their poverty at one stroke?

Ans. The poet wants to see that the poor people are given some kind of help and support by the rich people but he knows that this would not happen. When he fails to see this, he allows himself to dream that these poor people have been helped by some supernatural powers to alleviate their miseries.

Q. What kind of a relief does the poet dream for the poor people?

Ans. The poet dreams of a supernatural help for the poor people, a touch of magic or the like, so that the poor people will be redeemed from their state of poverty and misery instantly.

Q. Why does the poet seek an unrealistic solution for the poor people’s distress even though he himself blamed them earlier for their ‘childish longing in vain?’

Ans. The poet, unlike the greedy good-doers, genuinely wishes to get the poor people out of their pain, poverty and endless miseries but he is sad and helpless to see that there is no one to help them come out of their poverty. This helplessness drives the poet to seek an unrealistic solution for the poor people’s misery.

1. From which anthology is the poem A Roadside Stand taken?

A: A Further Range(1936)

2. The woods are lovely dark and deep is from the poem

A: Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening

3. Euthanasia is a term which means——–

A: Mercy killing

4″ The sadness that lurks near the open window”-what is the figure of speech employed here?

A: Personification

II Answer the following questions in a sentence or two each:

1. What are the reasons for which a car may stop in front of the roadside stand, according to the farmer?

Ans. According to the farmer a car may stop in front of the roadside stand to enquire the price of the produce, to demand a gallon of petrol ,to ask the route or to merely reverse the car. But unfortunately no one would purchase the farm produce.

2. What is the promise offered by the motion pictures?

Ans. The promise of motion pictures is the prosperity and glamour portrayed by Hollywood films

3. What is the attitude of the city dwellers towards the roadside stand?
Ans. Having failed to see the wretchedness of the poor, the city dwellers complain that the roadside stand, with its artless paint, ruined the beauty of the nature. Another complaint is that the letters are wrongly written.

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4. Explain the figure of speech in ‘selfish cars’ and’ polished traffic’.

Ans. The figure of speech is transferred epithet. Polished traffic portrays the insensitive attitude and gentlemanly appearances of the city-men. They appear to be ‘polished’ outside but their minds do not understand the sufferings of the poor people. The cars are selfish because the people who travel in them are self-centered.

5. How is the country’s sale of gain contrasted with that of the city?

Ans. Money is the measuring rod of growth for the village people. They estimate their economic growth by means of the small amount of money at hand. He feels a ‘lift of spirit’ with money in his reach. The city dwellers are hurrying to make money while the village people are not able to acquire money to taste the luxuries of city life.

6. Who are the’ beneficent beasts of prey’ and the ‘greedy good doers’?

Ans. The business class and the political parties and leaders are the greedy good-doers mentioned here. These good doers intend to make money out of the poor people by appearing beneficent to them. Similar to ‘greedy good-doers,’ ‘the beneficent beasts of prey’ is also an indication to the greedy people who make money in the name of social and political and charitable works. Both the expressions are oxymoronic and alliterative.

Paragraph Questions

III. Answer the following questions in a paragraph not exceeding 100 words each

1.Comment on Frost’s skilful use of figures of speech in the poem.

Ans. A number of figures of speech have been used to emphasize on the poem’s theme.

Transferred Epithet:

It is a figure of speech in which the modifier is shifted from the animate to the inanimate

There are two examples of transferred epithet in “A Roadside Stand.”

a. ‘Polished traffic’ referring to the city dwellers who pass by the countryside and sometimes they take out a moment to scrutinize the surroundings around them.

b. ‘Selfish cars’ is yet another use of a transferred epithet. This refers to the car owners who do stop at the roadside stand but to ask about the police or the gas stations.

Personification:

“The sadness that lurks behind the open window there…” here sadness is an example of personification. Sadness dwells in the windows of the farmers because they wait for cars to stop and make a purchase.

Alliteration and Oxymoron: Alliteration is the repetition of consonants in a sequence of words. ‘Greedy good doers’ and ‘beneficent beasts of prey’ are examples of alliteration as the consonant g and b are repeated. Oxymoron is the juxtaposing of terms which are contraries or opposing ideas. Here’ greedy and good’, ‘beneficent and beast’ are contrary ideas.

2. What is the persona of the farmer that is revealed in the dramatic monologue?

Ans. The villagers are hurt and angry- they feel the pain of rejection and the meanness of the city-dwellers. They are heartless in their indifference. While their complaint is only against the scenery, the complaint that the rural people have is that their needs have been ignored. All they desired was to share a bit in the abundance of city wealth, to experience some of the luxuries that they had seen in films, in the Hollywood movies. Someone had suggested to them that it was the political party in power that had been preventing them from getting rich.

3. Do you think euthanasia would be a better title for this poem? Justify

Euthanasia or mercy-killing, is sometime administered to people who are terminally ill and for whom there is no hope .Frost says that he admits that he thinks death is the only solution to put them out of their deep grief and pain. Some critics are of the view that Frost is talking about euthanasia symbolically. In that, eventually ,as the city grows ,it will completely obliterate the rural areas and its people, or in other words ,the city will bring about the death of the villages Cities will prevail, villages will disappear. Cities and city-dwellers will live, while villages and village-dwellers will die.

4. How does the farmer access city life?

Ans. Frost goes on to say that even though these people have benefactors (good-doers), who plan to relocate them in villages where they can have easy access to the cinema and the store, they are actually selfish (‘greedy good-doers’ and ‘beasts of prey’) and only help these “pitiful kin” to indirectly advantage themselves. The altruists wish to make these villagers completely dependent on them for all their benefits and comforts, thus robbing them of the ability to think for themselves and be independent. ‘The ancient way’ could mean the old way when people worked during the day and slept at night. This is being reversed by the new ‘greedy good doers’ who teach these people to not use their brain. They are unable to sleep at night because they haven’t worked during day time or because they are troubled by their new lifestyle.

Long Answer Questions

Answer the following questions in not more than 300 words each

1.Analyse the poem as a critique of modernization.

Ans. The poem begins with a description of the roadside stand, and the intention behind it, which is for the farmer to earn some money from people passing in their cars. However, no cars stop and the people who do notice the roadside stand are critical of how it spoils the view because it is ugly, or that it is badly painted and the signs for North and South are wrongly pointed. No one notices the berries and the squash that are for sale. The farmer tells the travelers to keep their money if that’s the way that they feel and points out that the view is not as hurt as he is by them ignoring him. All he wants to do is to be able to enjoy some of the things that they take for granted. Frost expands his theme by saying that ‘good-doers’ who want to re-locate the country people into the cities so that they can access stores and cinemas are actually doing harm because they are forcing these people to become reliant and unable to think for themselves. The poem continues with the poet’s personal feelings of his despair at the dashed hopes of the farmer. He continues with the thought that the country people have made no progress and it might be better to put them out of their misery, but then good sense prevails and he puts himself in their position. The poem is a critique of modernization because of the meaninglessness and lack of emotion in the rich people. They city dwellers who are supposed to be the products of modernization only show lack of concern for the products of farmers and even find fault with them. In their mad pursuit of making profit they cease to show kindness or compassion towards poor. Indeed the poor villagers are victimized by property speculators, capitalists and politicians who conspire to rob them of their native land and lure them into mesmerizing world of the cities where they cease to think and act for themselves. But the villagers do not feel oneness with city life even after they settle there. Instead they feel the hollowness of city life and face the reversal of time and work ethics. The decline of the poor, the innocent and agrarian way of life is contrasted with the unfeeling, hollow attitude of the modern. The poet tries to convey the idea that modernization diminished not only the past but the innocence of villagers.

2. Comment on the symbolic significance of the roadside stand

Ans. The roadside stand symbolizes the farmers wish to enjoy the luxuries of city life. It is a symbol of the lives of poor and deprived countryside people who struggle to live with the thoughtless city people who don’t even bother to notice the roadside stand that these people have put up to sell their goods at the edge of the highway outside. It is also a symbol of hope of the farmers since they believe that passing cars would buy the produce and earn a bit of the money that supports cities from falling into ruin. However, no cars ever stop and the ones that even glance in the direction of the stand without any feeling of compassion only comment about how the construction spoils the view of the surroundings or how badly painted the wrongly pointed North and South signs are or to notice without interest the wild berries and squash for sale in the stand or the beautiful mountain scene. The farmer tells the rich travelers to keep their money if they meant to be mean and that the hurt to the view is not as important as the sorrow he feels on being ignored. He only wishes for some money so that he may experience the luxuries portrayed by the movies and other media, which the political parties are said to be refusing him. Frost goes on to say that even though these people have benefactors, who plan to relocate them in villages where they can have easy access to the cinema and the store, they are actually selfish and only help these “pitiful kin” to indirectly advantage themselves. The altruists wish to make these villagers completely dependent on them for all their benefits and comforts, thus robbing them of the ability to think for themselves and be independent. In that sense roadside stand symbolizes wealth or money by which the poor dream of becoming rich. It is also a symbol of the diminishing past. The open windows of the farmer’s house seem to wait all day just to hear the sound of a car stopping to make a purchase. However they are always disappointed, as vehicles only stop to enquire the price, to ask their way ahead, to reverse or ask for a gallon of gas. Thus Roadside Stand is symbolic of the vain hope of poor people to become rich.

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