The Lotus by Toru Dutt

Detailed Summary of The Lotus

“The Lotus” is a gilded Petrarchan sonnet.  It exhibits Toru’s remarkable sensitivity to nature and colour. We come into many instances where we struggle for “positions” that may or may not be legitimate. This poem can be read in such a way that one should observe and accept both the positive and negative qualities. When the favourable traits are weighed and linked, we get an admirable quality. This poetry has a moral. It informs us.

Though we may see from the surface that the poet has highlighted the emergence of a flower called Lotus, there is a lot more to think about. Toru Dutt has personalised the flowers and given them the humanistic aspect of quarrelling.

The lotus has long been a favourite flower of Indian gods and goddesses. This flower is adored by both Lord Vishnu and Goddess Laxmi. In modern times, various awards have been named after the lotus, including the Padamshri, Padam Bhushan, and Padam Vibhushan.

Toru Dutt considers the lotus to be the most perfect flower in terms of colour and appearance. In the style of a beauty pageant, the poet portrays a conflict among flowers. The rose and the lily are competitors for the title of best flower. Flora, the goddess of flowers, picks the lotus as a flower of utmost beauty because it combines the whiteness of the lily and the scarlet of the rose. As a result, neither the lily nor the rose can compete with the beauty of the lotus.

Because the lily and rose are western flowers, the victory of the lotus symbolises Indian culture’s conquest over the western world.

Once upon a time, Love went to Flora (the Goddess of Spring and Florescence) and asked for a flower that would be a formidable queen among flowers. For a long time, the lily and rose had been rivals, particularly for this cause. Poets have sang about the “delicious rose” and the “stately lily.” One-half of the flower community believes that the rose will never be able to “tower” as high as the lily. (Normally, the lily plant and flower stand erect.) While the others emerged stating that the lily cannot be as “delicious” as the rose appears (the rose attracts the attention of every individual through her colour. This is a lovely use of the word). The harmony had been shattered yet again. Finally, Love made a decision and asked Flora to give him a flower that was as delicious as a rose and as stately as a lily. Flora gave birth to a lotus that was a mix of crimson and white. When they saw this, the rose and lily flushed scarlet with embarrassment and pallid with grief and disgrace. Since that time, the lotus has been regarded as the most beautiful of all flowers.

Reminder

✏️“The Lotus” is a sonnet.
✏️ This poem has metaphysical elements in it. E. g: “flower factions”
✏️ Rose is associated with deep passionate love.
✏️ Lily is associated with Christianity, purity-usually considered as a flower of light.

✏️ The poet involves in myth-making: e. g: the lily combines with the rose to create the lotus.

Analysis of the poem ‘The Lotus’

Toru Dutt was one of the first poets to write in Indian English. Toru Dutt, who was born in Bengal province in 1857 to the illustrious Dutt family, began writing at a young age. Despite her brief life, she established herself as one of India’s greatest poets. She possessed a God-given talent and writing talents, but her untimely death halted her career and made her India’s youngest poet. ‘The Lotus’ is one of the most beautiful flowers in Toru Dutt’s poetical garden. The poet offers the opinion that the Indian Lotus is the most beautiful of all flowers in this poem. The poem is written in a petrarchan sonnet form, with octaves and sestets. The poet presents the difficulty of choosing the queenliest of flowers in the Octave section. She offers the solution in the sestet section.

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The poem begins with a fight between the flowers. For a long time, the lily and rose battled for the title of “Queen of Flowers.” According to the poet, both lily and rose employed their ‘bard of power’ in their battle for this title. Because the poet had spent many years in European countries, she employed Greek and Roman legends to defend their point of view. The rose is said to never reach the level of the lily blossom because the lily has a strong will. This fractions of flowers reach a climax in the last line of the octave, as all flower groups form cliques in a terrible battle. The sestet section foreshadows the resolution of this rivalry. The poet expresses her ideas using Greek mythology. Cupid, the god of love, is represented by love in Greek mythology. At this fraction of flowers, the god of love appeared to Flora, goddess of flowers and spring, and asked her to produce a flower “as delicious as the rose” and “stately as the lily in her pride.” Flora develops a flower by merging the traits of a rose and a lily as a result. She designs the lotus flower, which blends the rose’s redness with the lily’s paleness.

Toru Dutt has thus elegantly articulated her opinions about the superiority of the lotus flower.As the home of deity in Hindu mythology, the lotus flower holds a prestigious rank among flowers. Toru Dutt wants to embrace her Indian heritage so that others may appreciate her passion for her homeland. The poem is written in petrarchan sonnet style, with the octave presenting the tensions caused by rival flowers with their good and negative features, and the sestet diffusing the tension by disregarding the claims of rose and lily and choosing lotus as the queenliest of flowers. The poet has made extensive use of figures of speech to describe his ideas. She is the embodiment of Love, Flora, Rose, and Lily. In “Rose can never tower like pale lily” and “a flower as delicious as the rose,” simile is regularly used to heighten competitiveness. Words like ‘Love,’ ‘Flora,’ ‘Juno,’ and ‘Psyche’ are stolen from Greek mythology, but they add to the poem’s beauty.

Literary Form

Alliteration

• But is the lily lovelier?
Flower-factions rang the strife in Psyche’s bower.
• “But of what colour?’—“Rose-Red,”…… 

Metaphysical Conceit

Flower-factions: flower is usually associated with beauty, peace and represents everything that is gentle. But in the poem, the word “faction” refers to the nature of quarrel. 

Questions and Answers

A. Tick the correct alternatives:

1. Who wrote ‘The Lotus’?
(a) Sarojani Naidu
(b) Toru Dutt
(c) R.K. Narayn
(d) Khuswant Singh

2. ‘Rivals’ in the poem are:
(a) the lotus and the rose
(b) the lily and the lotus
(c) the lily and the rose
(d) the lotus and love

3. Flora is the goddess of:
(a) fruits
(b) vegetables
(c) flowers
(d) milk

Comprehension Questions


Q. What does rose symbolize in the poem lotus?

Answer. The rose is presented as a potent symbol of beauty, romanticism, and deliciousness that poets have often employed. The lily is projected as a sign of stateliness and majesty. The lotus outperforms both in the symbolic projection because it combines beauty and stateliness (the rose and the lily).

Q. Who come to Flora with the demand of a beautiful flower?

Answer. Flora, the goddess of flowers and flora, is the recipient of the god of love. He requests the most exquisite flower, the queen of flowers, from her. For a long time, the red rose and white lily have been competing for this honour.

Q. Which flowers had been fighting for the highest place of honor who were the supporters of the two competing flowers?
Answer. For many years, the lily and the rose have been rivals, contending for the highest position of honour. The Lilly and the Rose were their names. The supporters of the two contending flowers were the famous bards or poets who always sang praises of their glory.

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Q. What do lotus flowers symbolize?

Answer. The Lotus flower is a symbol of purity, enlightenment, self-regeneration, and rebirth in many civilizations, particularly in eastern faiths. Its qualities are a perfect analogue for the human condition: the Lotus produces the most beautiful blossom even when its roots are in the dirtiest waters.

Q. Who approached to Flora for a flower and why?

Answer. Toru Dutt’s “The Lotus” begins with the goddess of love approaching the flower goddess, Flora, to produce a blossom that will unquestionably be the queenliest of all flowers. Both the lily and the rose use their “bards of power” in their battle for the title of queenliest flower. Toru exploits Greek and Roman mythology to back up her Hindu beliefs and to express her point of view. We approach the poem’s climax in line 8, as all of the flower groups form cliques in a painful battle within the soul’s core. Flora, the goddess of flowers, is tasked with making a flower that is “delicious as the rose” and “stately as the lily in her pride.” The solution to the difficulty of identifying the queenliest flower of all is described in lines 9-14 of the poem. Toru instructs Flora to create a flower that is both red and white, like a rose and a lily. As a result, Flora makes the lovely lotus flower by combining the features of a rose and a lily.

The lotus is both a national symbol of India and a symbol of Hinduism. The poem’s overarching theme is India’s pride in its culture and Hindu religion. The central theme of “The Lotus” is the concept of Hinduism as the ultimate religion of the globe.

Q.   Where do the flowers meet for the challenge? Who are the main characters of the challenge? Answer. The flowers meet at the bower of the goddess of love, Psyche, for the challenge. In Roman mythology, Psyche is Cupid’s love interest. Psyche is led to a bower (a green hideaway or nook) in their storey at one point. The bower is completely covered in plants and flowers. Flora is tasked with designing a flower that is “delicious as the rose” and “stately as the lily in her pride.”

Q .Who are the primary challengers in the poem The Lotus and why? Answer. The lily and the rose are the primary challengers; they have been long-standing rivals for that high honour. They compete for the title of queenliest flower through the use of their “bards of power.” They, like other flowers, have their devotees. Certain flowers claimed that rose was superior to lily, while others compared lily’s face to that of the gorgeous goddess Juno. Certain flowers aided in the growth of the lily, whereas others aided in the growth of the rose. Toru makes use of Greek and Roman mythology to reinforce her Hindu convictions and assert her power.

Q. What do the Rose and Lily symbolize?
Answer. Toru Dutt’s Sonnet “The Lotus” is part of a lengthy poetical dispute on the supremacy of the rose vs the lily, most famously William Cowper’s “The Lily and the Rose.” Because of its colour, Dutt paints the rose as romantic and delightful, in contrast to the lily, which is regal and majestic in stature. In Cowper’s poem, it is resolved that the two blossoms must reign as queens equally until there is a third to dethrone them. Dutt uses the gods’ and goddesses’ abilities, as well as the “Bards'” tradition, to put the lotus as the “queenliest” flower.

The symbolic image of flowers in the Sonnet the Lotus is striking. The rose is presented as a potent emblem of beauty, romanticism, and deliciousness that poets have frequently employed. The lily is projected as a sign of majesty and stateliness. The lotus, as a blend of beauty and stateliness, outperforms both in the symbolic projection (the rose and the lily). Perhaps it is because of this that the lotus is regarded as a symbol of divine-divinity, a combination of beauty and stateliness. ‘And Flora provided the lotus, “rose-red” coloured, / And “lily-white,”—the queenliest flower that blows,’ Toru Dutt writes.

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Q.  Who is the queenliest of flowers? How is the queenliest flower created? Answer. “The Lotus” by Toru Dutt, begins with the goddess of love, approaching the flower goddess, Flora to create a flower who would undisputedly be the queenliest of all flowers.

Flora must make a flower that is both red and white, similar to a rose. As a result, Flora develops a flower that combines the traits of a rose and a lily, resulting in the stunning lotus flower. Thus, the Lotus is crowned the queenliest of flowers.

In Western culture, the rose is portrayed as a powerful symbol of beauty, romanticism, and deliciousness by poets. The lily is projected as a sign of majesty and stateliness. The lotus, as a blend of beauty and stateliness, outperforms both in the symbolic projection (the rose and the lily). Toru therefore replaces traditional European notions of beauty, inspiration, and lyrical power with her own. Perhaps it is because of this that the lotus is regarded as a symbol of divine-divinity, a combination of beauty and stateliness.

Q.  Who creates the queenliest flower and why?
Answer. Flora, the flower goddess, develops a flower that is undeniably the queenliest of all flowers.
The goddess of Love want the queen of flowers to deliver to Psyche, and the two flowers most linked with love, according to the poem, are the rose and the lily. Finally, the goddess Flora is tasked with making a flower that is both “delicious as the rose” and “stately as the lily in her pride.” The solution to the problem of finding the queenliest flower of all is described in lines 9-14 of the poem. Toru instructs Flora to create a flower that is both red and white, like a rose and a lily.Flora, the flower goddess, then creates a flower that is undeniably the queenliest of all flowers.

Q. How did Flora solve the conflict between the lily and the rose?
Answer. Flora is tasked with developing a flower that is “as delicious as the rose” and “as stately as the lily in her pride.” The poem’s lines 9-14 describe the solution to the problem of finding the queenliest flower. Toru instructs Flora to create a flower that is both red and white, a rose and a lily. Flora, the flower goddess, then creates a flower that is undeniably the queenliest of all flowers.

Q. What is the rose symbol of in the poem The Lotus?
Answer. The rose is projected as one that has been often used by poets as a powerful symbol of beauty, romanticism and deliciousness. The lily is projected as a symbol of stateliness and majesty. In the symbolic projection the lotus surpasses both as it is a combination of beauty and stateliness, (the rose and the lily).
 
Q. What is the central idea of the poem The lotus?
Answer. The poem’s overarching theme is India’s pride in its culture and Hindu religion. The Lotus is centred on the concept of Hinduism as the supreme religion of the globe. Hinduism is a polytheistic religion that practises its ideas through idol worship.

Q. Who is the Juno in the poem The lotus?
Answer.  The lily bears Juno’s face or mien. Juno is the Roman goddess of the state; her protector of the state is most known for her warlike and majestic energy. Nonetheless, as a female divinity, she is the goddess of marriage and childbirth.

Q. Which flower has the mein of Juno?
Answer  Lily had the mien of Juno. Lily’s pale face resembled the graceful Goddess Juno.

Q. Why did the poet focus on the lotus flower in the poem?
Answer. This poem of Toru Dutt portrays the lotus as a symbol of perfection. The goddess of flowers settles the argument over who is entitled to be dubbed the queen of flowers. The lotus is the ultimate synthesis of the rose and lily’s greatest colours and characteristics.

Note: More questions in this section will be included very soon.

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