Mystery of the Talking Fan by Maude Robin


Summary of the Poem

‘Mystery of the Talking Fan’ is a short poem written by Maude Rubin. As the title implies, this poem is about the poet’s observation of the movement and operation of a ceiling fan, which is a very familiar and common object in our surroundings. In the poem, the poet personifies “the fan” and refers to it as “HE.”

The ceiling fan is making a lot of noise in the room. The noise is called electrical chatter. The speaker is puzzled about the fan’s message. He assumes the loudness is the fan’s way of expressing its feelings. It eludes  the speaker. But one day, someone adds oil to the fan’s motor. Oil makes the fan quieter. It is as quiet as water. The speaker fears he will never understand what the fan was trying to communicate. Thus, the poet claims that the fan that talks holds a mystery.

Text of The Poem

Once there was a talking fan– Electrical his chatter.
I couldn’t quite hear what he said
And I hope it doesn’t matter
Because one day somebody oiled
His little whirling motor
And all the mystery was spoiled—
He ran as still as water.

Explanation of the poem



The author opens the poem by mentioning an electric ceiling fan that generates a lot of noise. In response to the noise, the poet asserts that the fan is talking; he claims that it is attempting to communicate with him. The poet refers to the fan’s sounds as “electrical chatter.”

Furthermore, the poet claims that he could not figure out why there was so much noise coming from it or what the fan was trying to communicate to the poet by its chatter. To put it another way, he claims he could not figure out what was wrong with it. And this puzzled the poet, who could not figure out what was wrong with the talking fan.

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The poet then claims that before he could solve the mystery, an electrician arrived and oiled the fan’s deafening whirling motor. After then, the fan’s movement became smooth and silent. And it was here that the enigma of the talking fan was finally solved. The mystery of why the fan was talking was finally solved.

But what was the nature of the mystery? The mystery was that it was chattering because its rotating motor needed oiling; that it was requesting the attention of an electrician. And after it was oiled, it began to function quite smoothly, with no more noise to be noticed. The’mysterious talking fan’ was suddenly as quiet as water and operated as a silent fan.

Questions and Answers

Multiple Choice Questions

1. Talking fan in the poem is
a) an electric fan b) a hand fan
c) a cricket fan d) a film fan
Ans. an electric fan

2. It is fan’s electrical noise that sounds like
a) song b) a shriek
c) melody d) fan’s chatter
Ans. fan’s chalter

3. The fan was demanding
a) air to rotale
b) electric energy to work
c) oil in his motor
d) none of these
Ans. oil in his motor

4. The motor of the fan must have been oiled by
a) its master b) the lady of house
c) a driver d) a mechanic
Ans. a mechanic

5. The silent running of the fan is compared
to
a) a fast runner b) silent blowing
c) silent flowing of water
d) all these
Ans. silent flowing of water

6. The poet draws the attention of the
reader to
a) a hand fan b) a walking fan
c) a cricket fan d) an electric fan
Ans. an electric fan

7. For the poet the fan’s chatter was
a) musical b) charming
c) pleasing d) an electric fan
Ans. an electric fan

8. The name of the poet of ‘Mystery of the
Talking Fan’ is ________
a) Shirley Bouer b) Maude Robin
c) Kit Wright d) John Keats
Ans. Maude Robin         

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9. Who is the ‘he’ in the first line of the extract? (a) The poet   (b) The mechanic
(c) The talking fan  (d) The mother
Ans.The talking fan

10. Why did the talking fan’s chatter come to an end?

(a) Somebody repaired the motor.
(b) The poet asked him to shut up.
(c) The fan fell on the ground.
(d) The poet left the house.
Ans. Somebody repaired the motor.

11. Choose the synonym of the word ‘whirling.

(a) Rotating  (b) Chatting
(c) Obscurity  (d) Story
Ans. Rotating

Textual Questions

Q. Fans don’t talk, but it is possible to imagine that they do. What is it, then, that sounds like the fan’s chatter?
Ans. The noise produced by the fan’s motor owing to a lack of oiling was compared to the fan’s chatter.

Q. Complete the following sentences.

(i) The chatter is electrical because ……………….. .
Ans. the fan functions on an electrical motor and the noise was being produced by its motor

(ii) It is mysterious because ……………….. .
Ans. The poet was unable to comprehend what the fan was saying

Q. What do you think the talking fan was demanding?
Ans. The talking fan appears to be demanding attention. It required a lot of lubrication. It went silent the instant it was greased.

Q. How does an electric fan managed to throw so much air when it is switched on?
Ans. An electrical fan has three blades and a rotating motor. The motor begins to revolve as soon as it is turned on, forcing the blades to move in a circular motion. This creates a lot of pressure, which forces the air downward in all directions.

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Short Answer Type Questions

Q. Why was all the ‘mystery’ spoilt?
Ans. The poet could hear the fan’s noise, but she could not understand it. However, the opportunity to decode and grasp it was quickly gone when the fan’s motor was oiled by someone. The talking fan then fell silent.

Q. Who do you think or understand what the talking fan wished to convey?

Ans. The talking fan appeared to be constantly chatting and making a lot of noise. Others, besides the poet, might be able to hear it as well. Despite her curiosity, the poet made no attempt to grasp what the talking fan said.

Q. Why does the poet say, “I hope it doesn’t matter”?
Ans. The poet hoped that the fan’s conversation would not make much of a difference.

Q. Who oiled the motor?
Ans. The poem does not say who oiled the motor, but it was not the speaker.

Q. What was the connection between the motor and the fan’s chatter?
Ans. The fan’s noise was caused by a shortage of oil in the motor.

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