“Against Idleness and Mischief” by Lewis Carroll
The poem “Against Idleness and Mischief” by Lewis Carroll is a didactic poem that encourages children to be productive and active in their daily lives. The poem describes the hard work and productivity of the busy bee and contrasts it with the negative consequences of idleness.
The first stanza of the poem focuses on the little busy bee and its diligent work ethic. The bee is depicted as using its time effectively to gather honey from every opening flower. The speaker admires the bee’s productivity and ability to improve each shining hour.
In the second stanza, the poem shifts focus to the bee’s skills in building its hive and storing the honey it has gathered. The bee’s efforts are seen as not only productive but also meticulous and well-organized. This highlights the value of hard work and attention to detail.
The third stanza emphasizes the importance of being productive and busy in one’s own life. The speaker states that they too would like to be busy, whether it be in works of labour or sill. The final two lines of this stanza state that Satan finds mischief for idle hands to do, suggesting that idleness can lead to negative or harmful behaviour.
The final stanza encourages children to spend their time engaged in activities that are productive and beneficial, such as reading books, working, or engaging in healthful play. By doing so, they can ensure that they will have something good to show for their time when they look back on their lives.
Overall, the poem is a call to action for children to avoid idleness and make the most of their time through hard work, productivity, and positive activities. It reinforces the idea that being productive and active is not only beneficial for personal growth but also helps to prevent negative or harmful behaviours.
Questions and Answers
Here are some questions with answers that can check a child’s awareness, sensitivity, and creativity related to the poem “Against Idleness and Mischief” by Lewis Carroll:
Q. What is the poem about?
Answer: The poem is about the importance of being productive and active in life, as idleness can lead to negative or harmful behaviours.
Q. Who is the speaker admiring in the first stanza of the poem?
Answer: The speaker is admiring the little busy bee.
Q. What does the bee do all day according to the poem?
Answer: The bee gathers honey from every opening flower.
Q. What is the message of the third stanza?
Answer: The message of the third stanza is that it is important to be busy and productive in one’s life and that idleness can lead to mischief.
Q. What are some examples of productive and beneficial activities mentioned in the final stanza?
Answer: Examples of productive and beneficial activities mentioned in the final stanza include reading books, working, and engaging in healthy play.
Q. How can you apply the message of the poem to your own life?
Answer: Answers may vary, but children could reflect on their own activities and consider how they can be more productive and engage in positive activities.
Q. What other examples of hard work and diligence can you think of besides the bee in the poem?
Answer: Answers may vary, but examples could include farmers, scientists, doctors, teachers, and many others.
Q. How can being productive and engaged in positive activities help make a difference in the world?
Answer: Answers may vary, but children could consider how their own actions and efforts could contribute to positive change in the world around them.
Q. Can you think of a situation where being idle led to negative consequences?
Answer: Answers may vary, but examples could include times when procrastination led to missed opportunities, or when boredom led to engaging in negative or harmful behaviours.
Q. What are some other ways you can be creative and productive besides the examples mentioned in the poem?
Answer: Answers may vary, but children could consider activities such as creating art or music, volunteering, pursuing a hobby or interest, or exploring new ideas and experiences.