Marshlands Questions & Answers

Hi Everyone!! This article will share Marshlands Questions & Answers.

This poem is written by Emily Pauline Johnson. In my previous posts, I have shared the questions and answers of My Native Land, Coming Home to Delhi and That Little Square Box so, you can check these posts as well.

Marshlands Questions & Answers

Word Galaxy

  • Marshlands – areas of low and flat land that are flooded in wet seasons and covered with patches of water at all times
  • Rim – the edge of the sky – where it meets land
  • Brim – the top edge of the marsh – where it seems to meet the sky
  • Dank – unpleasantly wet and cold
  • Mildews – type of fungus
  • Lagoon – lake of sea water that is partly separated from the sea by rocks or sand
  • Monotone – sound that continues on the same note without getting any louder or softer
  • Homing – returning home after a long journey
  • Rushes – type of tall grass that grow in water
  • Lichens – grey, green or yellow plants that spread over the surface of trees
  • Swathed – covered
  • Steals – twilight sets in quietly before anyone notices
  • Swale – marsh
  • Sedges – grass-like plants
  • Vapour – fog

Question 1: The speaker refers to the edge of the sky as its ‘lip’.

(a) Why has she described the lip as ‘sun-lost’? How has it lost the sun?

Answer: Marshlands by Emily Pauline Johnson, portrays a pristine picture of marshlands untouched by the human activities. Silence characterizes the marshlands, making the imagery more vivid. The first stanza describes the sky that is looking down at the marshes. The lip is “sun-lost” because the sun has almost vanished from the sky. It is cloudy with an impending storm.

(b) What does the ‘sun-lost lip’ meeting the ‘brim’ of the marsh look like?

Answer: The thin wet sky yellows at the ‘rim’ when the sun-lost lip touches the brim. The poet here is talking about the horizon which is reflecting some sunlight in contrast to the overcast sky above the marshlands.

Question 2: What in the marsh look like ‘large cups of gold’? Can you explain why they have been described like that?

Answer: The low lying pools of mud in the swamps are filled with moss and mould. They look like ‘large cups of gold’.

There are mildews growing in these low-lying pools. The waning sunlight reflects in these pools, making them resemble large cups of gold.

Question 3: Why has the wild goose come to the marsh? Where is it going?

Answer: The wild goose has come to the marsh looking for shelter, for the night. The goose knows that somewhere amongst the ‘rushes’ and ‘oozing lichens’ it can find its home.

Question 4: Which words from the poem tell us how big the crane is and how fast it is flying?

Answer: The word, “heavy wing” tells us that the crane is quite big. Its flight has been described as “lazy”. This means that the crane was probably not flying very fast.

Question 5: How is the fog that comes over the marshes described? Do we know what time of day it is when the fog arrives?

Answer: The fog that comes over the marshes has been described as “thick, grey and humid”.

It is almost night when the fog creeps up around the marshes. We can deduce this from the phrase, “while the marshes sleep”.

Question 6: The poem describes what the marshlands are like during a shift in time in the day. What shift is this?

Answer: The poem describes the appearance of the marshlands during sunset.

Marshlands Questions & Answers

Question 7: What breaks the silence of the marshlands? What do you think is the effect of one lone sound in the expanding stillness of the marshes?

Answer: In a nagging monotony, the lizard shrills his tune from among the marshlands. This tune breaks the silence of the swamps.

The effect of one lone sound in the infinity of stillness makes the impact of silence profound. It in fact magnifies the silence and eventually gets engulfed by it.

Question 8: Have the marshlands changed from the first stanza to the last? Compare how different they look and feel.

Answer: The transformation of the marshlands takes place in a short time-span, between sunset and nightfall. The poet has experimented with the colours of the marshlands which turn from yellow to golden and finally to shadowy grey when fog enshrouds the wetlands at night.

Question 9: There is a contrast of darkness and light in the description of the pools of water in the marsh. What words bring out each of these characteristics?

Answer: The words, ‘low-lying’ and ‘dank’ depict darkness in the pools of water in the marsh. In contrast, the words ‘glint’ and ‘cups of gold’ portray light in the pools.

Question 10: Hushed lie the sedges, and the vapours creep. Can the words ‘appear’ or ‘move’ be used as replacements for ‘creep’ in this line? Why do you think the poet has used ‘creep’ instead of these other options? What effect does it give to the image of the vapours and the poem?

Answer: The words ‘appear’ or ‘move’ would not have the same effect as ‘creep’ in this line. By creep, the poet depicts the slow and eventual emergence of the fog across the marshlands.

Question 11: And like a spirit, swathed in some soft veil,
Steals twilight and its shadows o’er the sale,

In these lines, the poet has given movement, life and action to twilight.

(a) Which word describes the movement of twilight? What kind of movement is it?

Answer: The word, ‘steals’ describes the movement of twilight. It is a fast and instant movement, the way something is stolen in the blink of an eye.

(b) What creature has twilight been compared to? In what way does twilight look or behave like it?

Answer: Twilight has been compared to a spirit or a ghost. It is shadowy and clandestine. One cannot predict its motive or next course of action.

Question 12: Now, look at the last stanza and describe how the poet has brought the marsh alive.

(a) Would you describe the images created in the poem as beautiful? Or are they unpleasant? Or does the beauty exist side by side with the unpleasant? Give examples of images from the poem to support your answer.

Answer: The imageries created by the poem ‘Marshlands’ are beautiful, as well as unpleasant. On one hand, the poet describes the low lying pools as damp and mossy. On the other, she compares them with large cups of gold. She talks about valiant cranes flying over the swamps in search of shelter. The next moment, she depicts lichens clinging to the vegetation.

(b) Do you think the poet is saying something about nature or the world using her choice of images?

Answer: The poet used strong images in ‘Marshlands’ to show natural environment in its own beauty, untouched and not polluted by the human hands. The marshlands are presented here as a perfect ecosystem for all species to cohabit peacefully. Silence and stillness characterise the marshlands, occasionally disturbed by the passing of different birds and animals.

So, these were Marshlands Questions & Answers.

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