What Does Catacombs Signify In Elementary School?


What Does Catacombs Signify In Elementary School
What do the ‘catacombs’ refer to in the poem ‘An Elementary School classroom in a slum’?


Posted by Yahgsh Wbwohwb 2 years, 9 months ago CBSE > Class 12 > English Core

1 answers

Gaurav Seth 2 years, 9 months ago Catacombs means a underground cemetery, The poet use the symbol of the catacombs in connection with the lives of the children of the school of the slum because for them the map which is hanging on the wall of classroom doesn’t belong to them, It is a world of rich and shutting the doors for these poor children like cemetery.0 Thank You ANSWER
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What do catacombs Symbolise?

View Page: Enter into the underground.

The Good Shepherd, a common symbol


The “Orante” or “Orans”
The Valata discussed earlier is a symbol of the Orante. Above the Orante is a Peacock, another symbol used in early Christian imagery, symbolizing immortality. It is said that a peacock’s skin remains forever.


The Monogram of Christ
Look closely to see the Greek letters X (chi) and P (ro).


The fish continues to be a popular symbol of Christ even today




The catacombs of Rome are the ancient pagan, Christian, and Jewish underground cemeteries. Originally, Christians were buried alongside non-Chrstians in the catacombs. The Christian catacombs date from the second to the fifth centuries AD. At first, the catacombs were merely burial places; places where Christians could meet to perform funeral rites and celebrate the anniversaries of the martyrs and the dead. During the persecutions for the third century, Christians used the catacombs as places of momentary refuge for the celebration of the Eucharist. Although it has been suggested that the catacombs were secret hiding places for Christian worship, this is merely a myth. Despite the large rooms and chambers of the catacombs, Christians did not use them to escape the persecutions aboveground; instead, such rooms were used to hold meals for the dead, a ceremony performed by both Christians and non-Christians of the time. Michael White, a professor at the University of Texas, writes, “So, we have to imagine as part of their daily life, as part of their regular activity, Christians, just like their pagan neighbors, going down into the catacombs to hold memorial meals with dead members of their families.” As the early Christians were continuously persecuted, they began the use of symbols in order to express their faith without openly drawing attention to themselves. These symbols appear on the walls of the catacombs and are carved upon the slabs that seal the tombs. These symbols were carved and painted upon the walls of the catacombs for all visiting Christians to see and recognize as a sign of faith. A symbol is a concrete sign or figure that stands for an idea or a spiritual reality, a visible sign of something invisible. The main symbols are the Good Shepherd, the “Orante” or “Orans”, the monogram of Christ, and the fish. The Good Shepherd is a young man with a lamb around his shoulders who represents Christ and a soul that he has saved. The “orante” is a praying figure with open arms that signifies a soul that lives in divine peace. The monogram of Christ is formed by the first two letters of the Greek word “Chistos” or Christ: X (chi) and P (ro). When this monogram was inscribed on tombstones, it meant that Christians were buried there. The fish, a widespread symbol of Christ, often contains the Greek letters IXTHYS (ichtus). Written vertically, the letters form an acrostic meaning Iesus Chirstos Theou Uios Soter, meaning Jesus Christ, Son of God, Savior. Other symbols used in the catacombs include the dove and an olive branch, symbolizing a soul that has reached divine peace, and the phoenix, a mythical Arabian bird, which, according to ancient beliefs, arises from its ashes after a thousand years. The phoenix is the symbol of the resurrection of the bodies. Overall, the symbols, along with the frescos depicting scenes from the Old and New Testaments, “form a miniature Gospel, a summary of the Christian faith.” Although many of these symbols are seen as strictly Christian symbols today, they arose from pagan symbols that had existed in Rome before Christianity. What we call the Good Shepherd, for example, is a shepherd with a sheep over his shoulders that we tend to think symbolized the biblical stories of Jesus and the lost sheep. As written by Frontline’s Michael White: “From Roman perspective, this is the virtue of philanthropy, of love of humanity, and it’s one of the most important virtues of Roman civic and public life. The Christians seem to take it over very readily and apply it to the gospel virtues as well. In the case of the ‘orans’ figure., this is the old pagan virtue of piety, of loyalty to the state, and so the person standing with eyes up cast toward heaven and hands in a gesture of appeal to the gods could have been seen by a pagan as a sign of loyalty to the state, loyalty to the old gods. To the Christians it becomes loyalty to the God of Jesus Christ.” In learning about the symbols and art of early Christianity, it is important to view the larger picture rather than merely assume the Christians invented these symbols themselves. As with many things considered new and different, the art and symbolism within the Christian catacombs are merely adaptations of pagan symbols fit to the Christian faith.

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What is the symbolism in an elementary school classroom in a slum?

An Elementary School Classroom in a slum – English Notes – Class XII

  • You can grab notes for other chapters from,
  • An Elementary School Classroom in a slum
  • Stanza –1 ‘Far —– this’. –

a) The children of a slum school present a pathetic & miserable picture. Sitting in their classroom in a slum area they are far away from the strong blowing waves which are a symbol of a world full of freedom & natural beauty. They have pale lifeless faces (pallor) & not the bubbly childhood freshness on their faces.

They are like rootless, wild plants (uprooted, unwanted weeds). They have no permanent homes/shelter or security like rootless plants. Waves are strong – It shows that the waves are full of freedom & beauty. b) ‘The tall —– head’ – The girl sitting there is depressed & distressed due to the burden of poverty, misfortunes & so keeps her head down.

c) ‘The paper—–bones’–The boy is very thin with bulging eyes, inquisitive & timid like a rat searching for food, contentment & security. His growth is blocked & the body remains undeveloped due to malnutrition. He is called an ‘unlucky heir’ as he has inherited from his father not money & property but twisted bones & diseases.

He is under-nourished & deprived of the basic amenities of life. ‘Reciting —desk’–The thin boy is reciting a lesson from his desk as if describing in detail his father’s gnarled disease. d) ‘At back —–this’ – The class is called dim as the atmosphere is dull, dreary, full of despair, in a pathetic condition.

An unnoticed sweet young boy sits at the back of this class. He also loves to dream of outdoor games, to move out into the open, to visit places, other than their dull, drab classroom (‘other than this’). ‘This’ also refers to the dull & monotonous routine of his class which doesn’t interest him.

  • He dreams of being free, enjoying the beauty of nature like squirrels in tree rooms.
  • The boy may be surviving in a sad situation but doesn’t stop hoping for future.
  • Metaphor is used in ‘squirrel’s game’ to show that he wants to play like squirrels.
  • Metaphor is used in “His eyesdream” & the boy represents both- a glimmer of a wary hope & a shiver of mental depression.

Stanza 2 ‘On sourwords’- a) The colour of sour cream is off-white. The walls symbolize the pathetic condition of the children highlighting the decaying aspect. b) The gifts given as donations including the picture of Shakespeare are hung on these walls but his literature & works don’t hold any interest for them.

c) In the early morning time the sky is cloudless & the domes of institutions of the civilized world shine in every city in a picture. There is also a picture of the beautiful Tyrol valley (full of fragrant flowers) in the classroom & the children here can never experience its fragrance & beauty since they are condemned to live in the slum.

Contrast has been used here also to show that the entire atmosphere of the school is one of inactivity which contrasts with the cloudless sky at dawn & concrete domes which override the cities. The elementary school in a slum is so squeezed & suppressed under the domes of the civilized valley that the children are unaware of the beauty of the sky at dawn.

D) The map of the world is being shaped & reshaped according to the free will of dictators & powerful people like Hitler and this world is being imposed on others. ‘Awarding the world’- imposing on us & others. ‘Its world’- the world as shaped by dictators. The map of the world in the classroom is symbolic of hopes & aspirations as it motivates the children to explore the world beyond the world which has been awarded to them by God.

For these children this map is meaningless. Their own dirty & unpleasant surroundings (these windows) form their world. Their dirty & stinking world is far away from the spacious world of rivers, capes & stars (which are a symbol of hopes). The map of the world doesn’t include their narrow lanes & cramped holes in it.

  • Rivers are a symbol of freedom.
  • E) They live in a world where the fog of uncertainty dominates their future (‘wherefog’).
  • Metaphor is used in ‘future fog’.
  • Just as fog blurs one’s views in winters, the slum children’s future is blurred by hopelessness & lack of empathy.
  • Words’- description of natural beauty in literature has no meaning for them as they can’t enjoy living there & getting freedom from their own poor living conditions.

Metaphor is used in ‘lead sky’. Lead colour suggests dull & dark sky showing that there is no hope for the slum children. Stanza -3 ‘Surelydoom’- a) They don’t take interest in Shakespeare’s work. The world described in the map is also bad for them as they can’t enjoy its beauty with its ships (luxury, development), sun (natural beauty) & love (feelings of humanity, pity) & it raises their hopes & aspirations which may never be fulfilled.

  1. B) ‘Tempting—-night’–In order to get their dreams fulfilled, such children are even tempted to adopt wrong ways.
  2. The lives full of miseries secretly enter into their cramped holes (showing that they live without any identity) & remain from their birth (where life is like fog of uncertainty) to death (where life is like an endless night).

c) ‘On —– stones’– On heaps of waste (metaphor to describe their lives) these children wander around with their bones peeping out of their skins (symbol of poverty). Their spectacles with mended glasses look like broken bottles on stones. ‘Broken bottles on stones’ symbolize shattered hopes on rocks of life.

Metaphor is used in ‘spectacles of steel’. d) ‘Alldoom’- Their time is spent in the foggy (uncertain future) slum. The slums are like living hells which are blots on the maps of the civilized world reminding that their development is futile. Stanza -4 ‘Unlesssun’- a) Unless powerful people like governors & visitors break these windows & bring the children out of dirt, nothing can happen.

The world of the civilized should open up for these children like windows & not shut upon them like graves. A simile is used to show that the windows of the slum dingy rooms where these children study, look like lids of catacombs or cemeteries. b) Let them come out of their narrow & dirty slums & see the green fields which symbolize hope.

  1. Their world also should extend to the sky blue waves rising over the golden sand which portrays golden hopes & world.
  2. C) ‘This map becomes their world’ – Let the map include their little school.
  3. The map is symbolic of the world which they never get & yet aspire for.
  4. D) ‘Let their tongues—sun’–Let books containing pages of age old wisdom be open to them & their tongues be able to express freely & fearlessly.

Only such people create history whose language has the warmth & strength of the sun. Let them have freedom of expression & learning. Sun here refers to the light of education as the educated alone can change the world.

  2. Q1) Describe the images of distress, pain & disease.
  3. – Faces like rootless weeds, hair torn round pallor, paper seeming boy, stunted unlucky heir, twisted bones, gnarled disease, future painted with fog, skin peeped through by bones, slum as big as doom, lives like catacombs.

Q2) The poem has been written against the background of the 2nd world war. Why doesn’t the poet describe the heroes & generals instead of slum children? -The poet is both a pacifist & a socialist. So he hates wars & is concerned about social injustice, class inequalities & talks of 2 worlds & the gap between them & how it can be bridged.

  • Q3) The poem begins with a pessimistic note but ends optimistically.
  • Comment.-
  • Poem begins with a detailed description of distress, pain, diseases but ends with a note of hope that the gap between the 2 worlds can be bridged.
  • Q4) Whom does he give a clarion call & Why?
  • – To people of the civilized world to bridge the gap & bring the children out of slums & provide education.

Q5) Crushed under poverty, diseases & miseries, do the children have dreams & hopes? What & how? – Refer to squirrels games. : An Elementary School Classroom in a slum – English Notes – Class XII
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What does catacombs refer to Class 12?

An Elementary School Classroom in a Slum Important Stanzas For Comprehension – Read the stanzas given below and answer the questions that follow each: 1. Far far from gusty waves these children’s faces. Like rootless weeds, the hair torn around their pallor: The tall girl with her weighed-down head.

The paper- seeming boy, with rat’s eyes. Questions (a)Where, do you think, are these children sitting? (b)How do the faces and hair of these children look? (c)Why is the head of the tall girl ‘weighed down’? (d)What do you understand by ‘The paper-seeming boy, with rat eyes’ ? Answers: (a)These children are sitting in the school classroom in a slum which is far far away from the winds or waves blowing strongly.

(b)The faces of these children look pale. Their uncombed and unkempt hair look like rootless wild plants. (c)The head of the tall girl is ‘weighed down’ by the burdens of the world. She feels depressed, ill and exhausted. (d)It means that the boy is exceptionally thin, weak and hungry.2.

The stunted, unlucky heir Of twisted bones, reciting a father’s gnarled disease, His lesson from his desk. At back of the dim class One unnoted, sweet and young. His eyes live in a dream, Of squirrel’s game, in the tree room, other than this. Questions (a)Who is the ‘unlucky heir’ and what will he inherit ? (b)What is the stunted boy reciting ? (c)Who is sitting at the ‘back of the dim class’ ? (d) ‘His eyes live in a dream’—what dream does he have ? Answers: (a)The lean and thin boy having rat’s eyes and a stunted growth is the ‘unlucky heir’.

He will inherit twisted bones from his father. (b)He is reciting a lesson from his desk. He is enumerating systematically how his father developed the knotty disease. (c)A sweet young boy sits at back of this dim class. He sits there unnoticed. (d)The boy seems hopeful.

  1. He dreams of a better time—outdoor games, of a squirrel’s game, of a room made inside the stem of a tree.
  2. He dreams of many things other than this dim and unpleasant classroom has, such as green fields, open seas.3.
  3. On sour cream walls, donations.
  4. Shakespeare’s head, Cloudless at dawn, civilized dome riding all cities.

Belled, flowery, Tyrolese valley. Open-handed map Awarding the world its world. Questions (a) What is the colour of the classroom walls?What does this colour suggest ? (b) What do these classroom walls have ? (c) Which two worlds does the poet hint at?How is the contrast between the two worlds presented? (d) Explain:(i) ‘Open-handed map’ (ii) ‘Awarding the world its world’.

  1. Answers: (a)The colour of the classroom walls is ‘sour cream’ or off white.
  2. This colour suggests the decaying aspect and pathetic condition of the lives of the children in a slum-school.
  3. B) The walls of the classroom have pictures of Shakespeare, buildings with domes, world maps and beautiful valleys.

(c)The poet hints at two worlds : the world of poverty, misery and malnutrition of the slums where children are underfed, weak and have stunted growth. The other world is of progress and prosperity peopled by the rich and the powerful. The pictures on the wall suggesting happiness, richness, well being and beauty are in stark contrast to the dim and dull slums.

  • D) (i) ‘Open handed-map’ suggests the map of the world drawn at will by powerful people/ dictators like Hitler.
  • Ii) ‘Awarding the world its world’ suggests how the conquerors and dictators award and divide the world according to their whims.
  • This world is the world of the rich and important people.4.

And yet, for these Children, these windows, not this map, their world, Where all their future’s painted with a fog, A narrow street sealed ip with a lead sky Far far from rivers, capes, and stars of words. Questions (a)What are the ‘children’ referred to here? (b) Which is their world? (c) How is their life different from that of other children? id) What is the future of these children? Answers: (a)Those children are referred to here who study in an elementary school classroom.

  • B) Their world is limited to the window of the classroom.
  • They are confined only within the narrow streets of the slum, i.e., far away from the open sky and rivers.
  • Their view is full of despair and despondency.
  • The life of the children seem to be bleak.
  • C) “The slum children spend their life only in the narrow streets of the land.

They do not get the basic necessities of life. They are deprived of food, clothing and shelter. But the main thing that they differ from other children is freedom. They do not enjoy the freedom of life. (d) The future of these children is uncertain and bleak.5.

Surely, Shakespeare is wicked, the map a bad example, With ships and sun and love tempting them to steal For lives that slyly turn in their cramped holes From fog to endless night? Questions (a)Who are ‘them’ referred to in the first line? (b)What tempts them? (c)What does the poet say about ‘their’ lives? (d)Explain: ‘From fog to endless night’.

Answers: ()Here ‘them’ refers to the children studying in a slum school. (b)All beautiful things like ships, sun and love tempt the children of slum school. (c) The poet says that the children spend their lives confined in their cramped holes like rodents.

Their bodies look like skeletons because they are the victims of malnutrition. Their steel-frame spectacles with repaired glasses make them appear like the broken pieces of a bottle scattered on stones. Their future seems to be bleak. id) Their future is foggy or uncertain. The only certainty in their lives is the endless night of their death.

In other words, their birth, life and death are all enveloped by darkness.6. On their slag heap, these children Wear skins peeped through by bones and spectacles of steel With mended glass, like bottle bits on stones. AII of their time and space are foggy slum.

So blot their maps with slums as big as doom. Questions (a)What are the two images used to describe these slums? What do these images convey? (b)What sort of life do such children lead? (c)What blot’ their maps? Whose maps? (d)What does the poet convey through ‘So blot their maps with slums as big as doom’? Answers: ()The images used to describe the slums are: (i)slag heap (ii)bottle bits on stones (iii)foggy slums (iv)slums as big as doom.

(Any two acceptable) These images convey the misery of the children and the poverty of their dirty and unhygienic surroundings. (b)In the dirty and unhygienic surroundings the slum children lead very pathetic and miserable lives full of woes, wants, diseases, poverty and uncertainty.

(c) These living hells i.e. these dirty slums blot their maps. These are the maps of the civilized world—the world of the rich and great. (d) The poet conveys his protest against social injustice and class inequalities. He wants the islands of prosperity to be flooded with the dirt and stink of the slums.7.

Unless, governor, inspector, visitor, This map becomes their Window and these windows That shut upon their lives like catacombs. Questions (a)Why does the poet invoke ‘governor’, ‘inspector’, ‘visitor’? What function are they expected to perform? (b)How can ‘this map’ become ‘their window*? (c)What have ‘these windows’ done to their lives? (d)What do you understand by ‘catacombs’? Answers: (a)Governor, inspector and visitor are important and powerful persons in the modem times.

The poet invokes them to help the miserable slum children. They are expected to perform an important role in removing social injustice and class inequalities. They can abridge the gap between the two worlds—the beautiful world of the great and rich and the ugly world of slums. (b)Two worlds exist. This map’ refers to the beautiful world of prosperity and well being inhabited by the rich and great and shaped and owned by them.

Their windows’ refer to the lairs, holes or hovels of the dirty, stinking slums where the poor and unfortunate children of slums live. The slum children will be able to peep through windows only when the difference between the two worlds is abridged. (c)These windows’ of dirty surroundings have cramped their lives, stunted their growth and blocked their physical as well as mental development.

They have shut them inside their filthy, dull and drab holes like the underground graves. (d) ‘Catacombs’ means a long underground gallery with excavations in its sides for tombs. The name catacombs, before the seventeenth century was applied to the subterranean cemeteries, near Rome.8. Break O break open till they break the town And show the children to green fields, and make their world Run azure on gold sands, and let their tongues Run naked into books the white and green leaves open History theirs whose language is the sun.

Questions (a)‘Break O break open’. What should they ‘break*? (b)Explain: ‘. till they break the town’. (c)Where will ‘their world’ extend up to then ? (d)What other freedom should they enjoy? Answers: (a)They should break all the barriers and obstacles that bind these children and confine them to ugly and dirty surroundings.

  • B)Till they come out of the dirty surroundings and slums of the town and come out to the green field and breathe in the open air.
  • C)Then their world will be extended to the gold sands and azure waves as well as to the green fields.
  • D) They should enjoy freedom of acquiring knowledge as well as freedom of expression.

Let the pages of wisdom (contained in the books) be open to them and let their tongues run freely without any check or fear.
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What has been referred to catacombs?

Catacombs refer to an underground cemetery below the surface of the earth with recesses for tombs. In the poem, the slum is referred to as a catacomb because it seems to be out of the purview of global attention. The slum people seem to inhabit a cemetery which is completely removed from people’s attention because this moribund place is under the surface of the earth.

  • This is a satirical comment on the fact that politicians and statesmen are so adept at ignoring the existence of such places that they seem to be graveyards with dead people buried in them rather than those who are alive.
  • The existence of the slum people is immaterial and absolutely irrelevant to those in power because it does not affect their policies or decisions.

They are too small to effect any change.
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What is symbolism for elementary students?

Symbolism Examples, Definition & Worksheets For Kids Not ready to purchase a subscription? Click to download the free sample version Symbolism is when one object or thing stands in the place of something else, such as an idea, another object, a person, or a place.

  • For instance, all countries have flags for their own country.
  • The flag symbolizes the country.
  • The flag stands in place of the country.
  • A symbol is the object that is sitting in the place of a different idea or object.
  • The American flag has stars and stripes.
  • The flag itself symbolizes the entire United States of America.

The 50 stars on the flag symbolize each state that makes up the entire country. Since we cannot place a picture of every state on the flag, or draw the entire country on it, we use the stars and stripes in place of the states and country. We can also think of restaurants and stores when we think of symbolism.

  1. Many restaurants have a logo, or an icon, that they use for their store.
  2. The logos represent the entire restaurant and what the restaurant serves.
  3. Stores also have their own logos that represent what they sell.
  4. For instance, a restaurant that sells tacos may have a cartoon taco on their sign outside.
  5. The taco indicates what kind of food the restaurant sells.

The cartoon taco is symbolism for the restaurant and what that restaurant sells. In some instances, we can use objects to symbolize people. For instance, we often use an apple to represent teachers. A good apple symbolizes a great teacher. We think of crowns, thrones, or castles when we think about kings and queens.

When we see a stethoscope, or the instrument a doctor uses to listen to your heart and lungs, we think of a doctor. Symbolism can be used to represent ideas too, or those things we cannot hold or see. Our phones use symbolism in this way. When we open an email, the envelope image on the screen symbolizes an email or a message from someone else.

The picture of a musical note usually represents music. The image of a camera might symbolize the pictures on a phone. If someone draws a heart, they might mean the heart as a sign, or symbol, of love or kindness. There are signs we see every day that hold symbolism and suggest some other meaning.

For instance, stoplights symbolize meanings. A red stoplight symbolizes stopping. Red could also symbolize danger, depending on the situation. Green symbolizes go, or it symbolizes that everything is alright. Yellow symbolizes caution, or suggests that those around should be careful. Near schools, there are often signs that show a parent and a child walking as they hold hands.

Drivers read this and know that they should look out for individuals, especially children, crossing the road. The sign carries symbolism, or the meaning, that the driver then understands. Images that carry symbolism are especially important in situations like driving, because the driver needs to understand what the sign means very quickly.
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What does the world catacombs imply of the slum children?

Answer: The word ‘Catacomb’ in context of slum children imply near death existence.
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What is the English definition of catacombs?

Noun.1. ( usually catacombs) an underground cemetery, esp. one consisting of tunnels and rooms with recesses dug out for coffins and tombs.
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Why is it called the catacomb?

Why Catacombs? The term “catacombs” used as the name for a network of subterranean burial grounds has been widely accepted as being derived from the Greek kata kumbas (=Latin, ad catacumbas, or “near the hollows”). The expression may have been originally a topographical reference to the site of a first-century pagan cemetery between the second and third milestones of the Appian Way.

  1. The cemetery lay in a deep hollow, a former quarry, that had been left partly open to the sky and in part dug underground as a series of tunnels, well suited for various types of burials (1).
  2. In the second half of the third century, when, according to P.
  3. Testini, the site could have been “penetrated” by Christianity (2), it became the center for the veneration of Peter and Paul.

In the fourth century, a church was built over the cemetery as a memorial or sanctuary for the cult of the two saints, the Basilica Apostolorum. It is believed that the site was associated with the apostles because, during the persecutions of the Christians by the emperor Valerian in 257, the saints’ relics were taken from the necropoleis where they had been buried after their deaths and reburied at the via Appia site for safety.

There are records of a celebration of their cult there on June 28, 258. In the fourth century, their bones were returned to the original graves (3). When the remains of St. Sebastian were buried in the cemetery, the church was renamed for him. The cemetery under San Sebastiano was one of perhaps four that continued to be visited by pilgrims into the Middle Ages, and the special sanctity of this burial site may be the reason that the term “catacomb” came to be used for all such subterranean cemeteries, private or communal.

The names of the Roman Jewish catacombs and a number of the Christian sites are, like the word catacomb itself, toponomical, derived from street locations or from distinguishing landmarks. Other catacombs, such as those of Priscilla, Domitilla, and Praetextatus, were named for affluent Roman families who evidently had made land available to early Christians for burial places from which the catacombs were later developed.

  • After the onset of the fourth century, many Christian burial grounds received the names of martyrs entombed within them (4).
  • Martyr cults were particularly popular from the fourth century on, reminiscent of the hero cults of more ancient times.
  • The building of martyrial shrines and cemetery basilicas led to an increase in the density of the burials in the Christian catacombs because of the desire of the faithful to be buried close to the venerated tombs.

The devotion to the memory of the Christian martyrs, as well as the impression made by the catacombs on the sensibilities of the Christians in late fourth-century Rome, were expressed in the words of Jerome (5): When I was a youth in Roe, studying liberal arts, it was my custom on Sundays.

To visit the sepulchers of the apostles and martyrs. And often did I enter the crypts, dug in the depths of the earth, with their walls on either side lined with the bodies of the dead, where the darkness was such that it almost seemed as if the psalmist’s words were fulfilled: ‘Let them go down quick (alive) into hell.’ Here and there a ray of light.

filtering down as in a funnel relieves the horror of the darkness. But, again, cautiously moving forward, the impenetrable night engulfed me, and I was reminded of the words of Vergil: ‘Everywhere, dread fills the soul; the very silence dismays’ (6).

P. Pergola, Le catacombe Romane, Rome: Carocci, 1998, pp.22, 181-185. A theory of Father Ferrua was that the site might have received its name from a signboard of a nearby inn called Ad Cumbas (“near the small boats”) or a relief depicting two or more small boats: A. Ferrua, Guide to the Basilica and Catacomb of Saint Sebastian, 1978, p.7. Testini, Cimiteri cristiani, pp.216-218, 221.M. Guarducci, Peter, pp.25-26; Pergola, Le catacombe romane, pp.184-185; J. Stevenson, The Catacombs: Life and Death in Early Christianity. Nashville: T. Nelson, 1985, p.32. An exception to the above described origins of catacomb names is the Catacomb of Callisto, which was named for the overseer of the cemetery: Stevenson, The Catacombs, p.25. The secretary of Pope Damasus, Jerome (340-420) was a Latin and Hebrew scholar whose translation of the Bible into latin is known as the Vulgate.J.N.D. Kelly, Jerome, His Life, Writings, and Controversies, New York: Harper & Row, p.22; Ps.55:15; Aeneid 2, 755.

: Why Catacombs?
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What is symbolic representation for kids?

– Symbolic play happens when your child starts to use objects to represent (or symbolize) other objects. It also happens when they assign impossible functions, like giving their dolly a cup to hold. It’s a time when creativity really starts to shine.
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What are children symbolic of?

The child represents innocence, purity, wonder, receptivity, freshness, noncalculation, the absence of narrow ambition and purpose. As yet innocent of life, the child portrays the beginning, the origin of all. It symbolizes a primordial unity, before differentiation has taken place.
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What are symbols in early childhood?

What is Symbolic Play? – Symbolic play is a type of play that young children engage in, where they use an object or toy to represent something else. By definition, symbolic play involves “pretend playing” with objects or toys that are symbols representing other objects that the child needs as part of the pretend scenario. What Does Catacombs Signify In Elementary School
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What is the moral of an elementary school in a slum?

The theme of the poem is the social injustice and class inequality faced by slum children.
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What is the message conveyed through the poem in an elementary school in a slum?

Solved papers for 12th Class English Solved Paper

Answer: The poet conveys the message that the life of the children living in slum is limited to their filthy dark room only. They have no future or hope and they don?t know the outer world. This problem can be solved only when a school inspector, educationist or a governor comes here.

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What is the symbolism in the poem among school children?

‘Among School Children’ Symbols Both the dance and dancer are symbolic here: the dance here represents life, which is a series of moments/actions/events from youth to old age. The dancer is the person living that life—going through the ‘steps’ that life entails. A person can’t be separated from their own life.
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How does the poet describe the classroom walls What do they symbolize?

The poet describes the classroom walls as pale and dirty. They are adorned with Shakespeare’s donated image, a scene depicting dome houses. The walls also have a world map and beautiful valleys that stand in sharp contrast to the dingy, dreary and gloomy environment in which these slum kids live.
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What are the poetic devices used in the poem an elementary classroom in a slum?

An Elementary School Classroom in a Slum Stephen Spender Stanza wise Analysis The poet deals with the themes of social injustice and class inequalities in this unique poem. The poem is written in free verse and paints a bleak picture of a school in a slum.

  • Stanza -1
  • Far far from gusty waves these children’s faces.
  • Like rootless weeds, the hair torn round their pallor:
  • The tall girl with her weighed-down head. The paper-
  • seeming boy, with rat’s eyes. The stunted, unlucky heir
  • Of twisted bones, reciting a father’s gnarled disease,
  • His lesson, from his desk. At back of the dim class
  • One unnoted, sweet and young. His eyes live in a dream
  • Of squirrel’s game, in tree room, other than this.

In the first stanza, he paints a grim picture of the miserable condition of the children in the slum. There is no energy or vigor on the faces of these children. With their pale faces and unkempt hair, they look like uprooted weeds. Their lifeless faces show that they are uncared for.

The poet goes on to describe a few children individually to show how miserable their condition is. Each child seems to be weak, hungry and malnourished. There is a tall girl in the class who sits with her head low because she is mentally and physically exhausted carrying the burden of poverty. The poet mentions ‘ the paper seeming’ boy who is extremely thin with hungry eyes like a rat.

There is another boy awho suffers from bone deformities, a disease that he inherited from his father. When he stands to recite his lesson he presents his father’s disease of twisted bones. There is one sweet boy sitting at the back of the class who is distracted from his lessons and dreams of squirrel’s games in a tree room outside the class.

  1. Stanza -2
  2. On sour cream walls, donations. Shakespeare’s head,
  3. Cloudless at dawn, civilized dome riding all cities.
  4. Belled, flowery, Tyrolese valley. Open-handed map
  5. Awarding the world its world. And yet, for these
  6. Children, these windows, not this map, their world,
  7. Where all their future’s painted with a fog,
  8. A narrow street sealed in with a lead sky
  9. Far far from rivers, capes, and stars of words.

In the next stanza, the poet shifts his attention from the children to the condition of the classroom. On the walls of the classroom, a number of donated pictures are seen to be hanging. These have been donated by rich and well-off people. Among these pictures are Shakespeare’s portrait, pictures of famous monuments, beautiful valleys of Tyrol in Austria.

There is also a map of the world which is made and reshaped by people. This map tells the children that it is their world. The map stands for progress and prosperity; it is the world of the rich. But, for these children, this map is not their world. Their world is the world that is visible through the classroom window.

What they witness outside these windows is the only world that they have ever seen. Here, they see a future that is ‘ painted with a fog,’ which symbolizes uncertainty. All they see outside is a filthy street, covered with a sky full of smoke, which seems heavy like lead sealing their future and hurling them into darkness.

  • Stanza-3
  • Surely, Shakespeare is wicked, the map a bad example.
  • With ships and sun and love tempting them to steal —
  • For lives that slyly turn in their cramped holes
  • From fog to endless night? On their slag heap, these children
  • Wear skins peeped through by bones and spectacles of steel
  • With mended glass, like bottle bits on stones.
  • All of their time and space are foggy slums.
  • So blot their maps with slums as big as doom.

All the hangings on the walls are mere temptations for these children, well beyond their reach. These pictures tempt them to make an escape from their miserable life into the beautiful life represented through the pictures. It tempts them to steal in order to escape from the grey world of the slums.

There Shakespeare is said to be wicked and the map a bad example. Life in their cramped houses gradually changes from being uncertain to complete hopelessness. These children living amidst heaps of garbage have bodies with bones peeping through layers of skin. This suggests that even their basic needs like food are not met.

Amenities provided to them like their spectacles are heavy and of cheap quality which adds to their woe. They spend their entire life(time) in the foggy slum (space) which is the only world they know. These slums are nothing less than a living hell and hence a blot in the world of the rich.

  1. Stanza- 4
  2. Unless, governor, inspector, visitor,
  3. This map becomes their window and these windows
  4. That shut upon their lives like catacombs,
  5. Break O break open till they break the town
  6. And show the children to green fields, and make their world
  7. Run azure on gold sands, and let their tongues
  8. Run naked into books the white and green leaves open
  9. History theirs whose language is the sun.

Spender brings the poem to an end on a positive note. He shows a ray of hope for improving the condition of these slum children and also shows the way for it. According to him, the people in power (like Governor, inspector, and influential visitors) should take initiative to bring about the required changes.

The progressive world should become the world of the slum children as well. And their windows which act as a barrier between them and development should be broken. The slum life should be eradicated and the slum children should be brought out of their narrow lanes into the green fields and golden sands; because surroundings play an important role in shaping one’s personality.

They should be given the freedom to acquire knowledge so that they are able to read freely and express themselves freely. The language of the well-read and the well-educated gains the strength of the sun and they gain the power to create history. Figures of speech in the poem

Figure of speech Example
Simile Like rootless weeds
Metaphor The paper-seeming boy
Metaphor civilized dome riding all cities
transferred epithet Civilized dome
Metaphor their future’s painted with a fog
Metaphor A narrow street sealed in with a lead sky
Metaphor On their slag heap
Metaphor lives that slyly turn in their cramped holes
Simile like bottle bits on stones
Simile these windows that shut upon their lives like catacombs
Metaphor History is theirs whose language is the sun
zeugma the verb “reciting” in this line applies to the “gnarled disease” and “his lesson”.
synecdoche “His eyes live in a dream” in which the poet refers to the eyes of the boy in place of the boy.
personification Civilized dome riding all cities
Metonymy awarding the world its world
Alliteration street sealed, far far from
Polysyndeton / climax ships and sun and love
Rhetorical question from fog to endless night?
Irony the donations hung in the sour walls do not match the actual surroundings
Symbol Sun is the symbol of power

An Elementary School Classroom in a Slum
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What are the poetic devices used in the poem an elementary school in a slum?

Poetic devices are used by a poet to create effects in poetry, and they are called literary devices, such as structure, rhythm, grammar, and verbal and visual elements. It is a style used by poets of different ages to create appealing effects in their poems.

  1. Do poetic devices and elements play any role in understanding poetry? Poetic devices and poetic elements will assist you in comprehending the poetry of An Elementary School Classroom in a Slum.
  2. Metaphor, simile, metaphor, symbol, and imagery are poetic devices.
  3. There are certain elements like structure and plot, meter, rhyme, subject, speaker, poetic devices, theme, tone and mood, and syntax.

Written by an eminent teacher with more than 25 years of experience as a lecturer in English.
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