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Workbook Answers of A Work of Artifice || Treasure Chest Poems || Morning Star Beeta Publication

Section A: Multiple-Choice Questions

1. What does the word "Artifice" mean?

(a) Talent 

(b) Deception

(c) Beauty

(d) Nature

Answer: (b) Deception

2. The bonsai tree did not grow eighty feet tall as 

(a) the gardener whittled back its branches everyday 

(b) the gardener pruned it 

(c) it grew in a pot

(d) All of the above.

Answer: (d) All of the above.

3. The tree's hidden potential is that 

(a) it does not require any care 

(b) it can grow without water

(c) it can grow in a week

(d) it can grow to an enormous height.

Answer: (d) it can grow to an enormous height.

4. The Bonsai tree symbolises is a metaphor for 

(a) all trees 

(b) children

(c) men

(d) women

Answer: (d) women

5. What does "bound feet" suggest? 

(a) Binding of objects in feet 

(b) Putting restrictions on growth 

(c) Feet bound to shoes 

(d) Feet on earth.

Answer: (b) Putting restrictions on growth 

6. The gardener represents the ______ of the society.

(a) Patriarchs

(b) matriarchs

(c) all workers

(d) children

Answer: (a) Patriarchs

7. Why does the gardener whittle back the Bonsai's branches every day?

(a) to keep it tidy

(b) to shape it to his liking

(c) it is a routinę

(d) the gardener likes to do it

Answer: (b) to shape it to his liking

8. The gardener says that the tree is lucky because 

(a) it has a pot to grow in

(b) it is pretty and domestic

(c) it has special qualities

(d) it does not require water to grow

Answer: (a) it has a pot to grow in

9. The theme of the poem is

(a) suppression of women

(b) inequality

(c) deception

(d) all of the above

Answer: (d) all of the above

10. Who is referred to as 'your' in "it is your nature to be small and cozy"?

(a) The gardener

(b) Patriarchs

(c) The bonsai tree

(d) A woman and bonsai tree

Answer: (c) The bonsai tree

11. The gardener altered the tree's by changing its

(a) size

(b) natural habitat

(c) both (a) and (b)

(d) None of the above

Answer: (c) both (a) and (b)

12. The term 'dwarf' in the poem means

(a) to curb the needs

(b) to curb someone's growth

(c) to trivialise someone

(d) None of the above

Answer: (b) to curb someone's growth

13. Which figure of speech is used in the line 'how lucky, little tree'?

(a) Simile

(b) Metaphor

(c) Metonymy

(d) Irony

Answer: (d) Irony

14. With living creatures one begin very early to dwarf their growth. Whose growth is the poet talking about? 

(a) Men's 

(b) Plant's

(c) Children's

(d) Women's

Answer: (d) Women's

15. Why did the gardener limit the bonsai tree's growth?

(a) To keep it tidy and beautiful

(b) To stifle its growth

(c) To gift it to someone

(d) To protect the trees from winds

Answer: (a) To keep it tidy and beautiful

16. Which of the following is similar to the word 'crippled'? 

(a) Deformed

(b) Healthy 

(c) Small

(d) Sick

Answer: (a) Deformed

Section B: Context Questions

Extract I

Read the extracts given below and answer the questions that follow:

The bonsai tree in the attractive pot could have grown eighty feet tall on the side of a mountain till split by lightning.

(i) Which tree is the poet talking about? How tall would it have grown and in what circumstances?
Answer: The poet is talking about the bonsai tree. It could have grown as tall as eighty feet if it were on the side of a mountain.

(ii) What does the bonsai tree symbolise? Explain.
Answer: The bonsai tree symbolises women, specifically their suppressed potential and freedoms due to societal constraints and expectations.

(iii) Where would it have grown tall? How would have been its height its enemy?
Answer: The tree would have grown tall on the side of a mountain. Its height would have been its enemy as it could have been split by lightning due to its prominence and exposure.

(iv) Why do you think the poet used the words "attractive pot” in the extract?
Answer: The words "attractive pot" symbolise the societal constraints and beauty standards placed on women. While the pot may appear decorative and pleasant, it restricts the growth of the tree, just as societal norms limit the potential of women.

(v) What does "till split by lightning" symbolise? How is the tree protected from lightning?
Answer: "Till split by lightning" symbolises the potential dangers or challenges one might face in the outside world. In the context of the poem, it could refer to the societal justifications for limiting women's freedoms. The tree is protected from lightning by being kept small and confined in its pot, away from its natural habitat.

Extract II

Read the extracts given below and answer the questions that follow:
...carefully pruned it.
It is nine inches high. Every day as he
whittles back the branches
the gardener croons,

(i) How tall is the tree? Why did it not grow any further?
Answer: The tree is nine inches high. It did not grow further because it was carefully pruned by the gardener to keep it at that height.

(ii) Who prunes the tree? Why does he do so?
Answer: The gardener prunes the tree. He does so to restrict its growth and shape it according to his desires, symbolising the societal control over women.

(iii) What does 'croons' mean? Briefly describe the symbolism used here.
Answer: 'Croons' means to hum or sing in a soft, low voice. Symbolically, it represents the soothing and deceptive reassurances society gives women while imposing restrictions on them.

(iv) What role do the short lines of the poem play?
Answer: The short lines of the poem emphasize confinement and restriction, mirroring the limited growth of the bonsai tree and the suppressed potential of women.

(v) Identify the gardening vocabulary used in this extract. How do these aid in the artifice of the bonsai?
Answer: The gardening vocabulary used in this extract includes "pruned", "whittles", and "branches". These terms aid in the artifice of the bonsai by illustrating the meticulous care and manipulation exerted by the gardener, paralleling the societal constraints placed on women.

Extract  III

Read the extracts given below and answer the questions that follow: It is your nature to be small and cozy, domestic and weak; how lucky, little tree, to have a pot to grow in.

(i) What is the nature of the tree according to the gardener?
Answer: According to the gardener, the nature of the tree is to be small, cozy, domestic, and weak.

(ii) Is the tree lucky to grow in a pot? Explain the irony in this line.
Answer: The line suggests that the tree is lucky to have a pot to grow in. However, the irony is that the pot restricts the tree's growth and potential, just as societal norms confine women.

(iii) What effect do these lines have on the tree? Explain.
Answer: These lines emphasize the limitations placed on the tree. They convey the idea that the tree is conditioned to believe its confined state is natural and even fortunate, reflecting the societal conditioning of women.

(iv) Even though the tree had the potential to grow taller, it didn't. Why?
Answer: The tree didn't grow taller because it was pruned and restricted by the gardener, symbolising societal constraints that prevent women from realizing their full potential.

(v) If the tree was nurtured, it would've grown tall and reached its potential. Comment.
Answer: If the tree was nurtured and allowed to grow without restrictions, it would have reached its full height and potential. This mirrors the idea that if women were allowed the same opportunities and freedoms as men, they would also reach their full potential.

Extract  IV

Read the extracts given below and answer the questions that follow: With living creatures one must begin very early their growth: to the bound feet, the crippled brain, the hair in curlers, the hands you love to touch.

(i) Why should one begin very early? What do you understand by 'dwarf'?
Answer: One should begin very early to condition and restrict growth, ensuring that the subject remains under control. 'Dwarf' means to stunt or limit growth, both physically and mentally.

(ii) What is the significance of 'dwarf' and 'crippled'?
Answer: Both 'dwarf' and 'crippled' emphasize the intentional act of limiting or damaging growth and potential. These terms highlight the suppression of women and their potential by societal norms.

(iii) Briefly explain the meaning and significance of 'bound feet'?
Answer: 'Bound feet' refers to the ancient Chinese practice of tightly wrapping young girls' feet to prevent them from growing. This painful and crippling procedure was done to conform to beauty standards. It symbolises the extreme lengths to which societies go to suppress and control women.

(iv) "The bound feet" and "the hair in curlers" indicate that the poet is no longer talking about a tree. Who/what is the poet talking about? Justify.
Answer: The poet is talking about women. The references to "bound feet" and "hair in curlers" are practices associated with women and are used to highlight societal expectations and constraints placed on them.

(v) Explain the meaning and symbolism in "the hands you/love to touch"?
Answer: "The hands you love to touch" suggests intimacy and affection but also reflects the objectification of women. It emphasizes the dichotomy of how society cherishes women while simultaneously suppressing and controlling them.

Project Work

1. "It is your nature" - this line shows that women should accept the discrimination/suppression they face. Comment.
Answer: The line "It is your nature" is a reflection of society's attempt to normalize the suppression of women. By suggesting that it's in a woman's "nature" to be domestic, weak, and confined, the society tries to institutionalize discrimination. However, the poet challenges this notion throughout the poem. While on the surface, it may seem like an acceptance, the line is an indictment of the societal norms that force women into roles they never chose for themselves.

2. How does the poet comment on women's role during those times? 
Answer: The poet uses the metaphor of a bonsai tree to comment on the restricted roles of women during those times. Just as the tree is pruned and confined to a pot, women's potential and freedom were curtailed. Through references like "bound feet", "crippled brain", and "hair in curlers", the poet highlights the societal expectations and constraints placed on women. The continuous nurturing and pruning of the tree by the gardener mirror the societal conditioning women underwent to fit into predefined roles.

3. What inferences can be made about the poet?
Answer: Marge Piercy, through the poem, exhibits a deep understanding of societal constructs and the limitations they impose, especially on women. The poet's empathetic perspective towards women's suppression suggests her feminist inclinations. Piercy's bold critique of society indicates her progressive thinking and her desire for a more equal world.

4. How does the poet's use of metaphor affect the reader's understanding of the poem?
Answer: The use of the bonsai tree as a metaphor for women serves as a powerful imagery that makes the poem's message more poignant. By drawing parallels between the confinement of a tree and the suppression of women, the poet presents a vivid picture of societal constraints. The metaphor helps readers visualize the limitations imposed on women and feel the depth of their suppression. It makes the poem's message more relatable and impactful.

5. What is the poet trying to symbolise by the gardener pruning the tree and whittling back its branches?
Answer: The gardener's act of pruning the tree and whittling back its branches symbolizes the societal control exerted over women. Just as the gardener restricts the tree's growth to fit a certain aesthetic, society curtails women's potential to fit predefined roles. The pruning and whittling represent the societal norms, traditions, and expectations that hinder women from realizing their full potential. The gardener, in essence, embodies the patriarchal forces that seek to define and limit women's roles.

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