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Amanda Poem | NCERT Solution | CBE Questions | Board Exam 2024

Updated: Jul 30, 2023

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  • Robin McMaugh Klein is an Australian author of books for children.

  • She was born on 28 February 1936, in Kempsey, New South Wales, Australia.

  • Klein’s books won the CBCA Children’s Book of the Year Award in both the Younger Readers and the Older Readers categories as well as a Human Rights Award for Literature in 1989 for her book ’Came Back to Show You I Could Fly.’

  • Klein is widely considered one of Australia’s most prolific and beloved authors.

  • Her writing often features young protagonists who rebel against their structured environment.

Theme/Lesson Synopsis

  • The poem highlights core issue of parenting.

  • The poet suggests to us that we should do parenting in a non-threatening and caring environment.

  • Instead of disciplining the child from our own perspective, the wishes and feelings of the child should also be taken care of.

Summary of the poem

The poem 'Amanda' by Robin Klein portrays the perspective of a parent addressing their child, Amanda. The parent is constantly telling Amanda what not to do, correcting her posture, reminding her of chores and responsibilities, and expressing concern about her choices. Throughout the poem, Amanda daydreams about being in different fantasy worlds - a mermaid in an emerald sea, an orphan roaming the streets, and Rapunzel in a tower. These daydreams serve as an escape from the parental pressures and expectations.

The poem reflects the theme of parenting and the contrasting desires of the parent, who seeks to discipline and guide Amanda, and Amanda herself, who yearns for freedom and autonomy. The parent's constant instructions and concerns create a sense of suffocation for Amanda, leading her to retreat into her imaginative worlds to find solace and peace.

In summary, 'Amanda' by Robin Klein presents the struggles of parenting and the importance of finding a balance between providing guidance and nurturing a child's independence and individuality. The poem highlights the need for parents to consider their child's wishes and feelings while fostering a caring and non-threatening environment.

Stanza-Wise Explanation

Stanza 1

Don’t bite your nails, Amanda! Don’t hunch your shoulders, Amanda! Stop that slouching and sit up straight, Amanda!


Hunch – Bending the upper portion of body in forward position Slouching – To stand, sit or move in lazy and downward direction


  • In these lines Amanda is being instructed by her parents about not biting her nails and sitting lazily with her shoulders in bended position.

  • The child-Amanda- is being trained by her parents about acceptable behaviour in the society. But the parents seem to be annoyed with her indicated in the poem by exclamation mark.

Stanza 2

(There is a languid, emerald sea, where the sole inhabitant is me— a mermaid, drifting blissfully.)


Languid – Without any force or interest

Mermaid – An imaginary sea creature having a woman’s head and body with a fish’s tail.

Drifting – A slow and steady movement.


  • This stanza is given within first bracket in order to indicate the free-flowing thought of Amanda.

  • The child-Amanda- is thinking about a situation where she is a joyful mermaid sailing alongside soft waves of a green sea in complete freedom.

  • Amanda is wishing to have freedom, which is indicated by her thoughts.

Stanza 3

Did you finish your homework, Amanda? Did you tidy your room, Amanda? I thought I told you to clean your shoes, Amanda!


Tidy – Here to ‘Clean her room’.


  • In this stanza as well Amanda is given a set of instructions like

_ If she had done her homework.

_ If she had cleaned her room

_ To clean her shoes.

  • Initially these instructions appear to be a normal set of instructions given by every parent.

  • But exclamatory sign in the last line indicates annoyance of her parents.

Stanza 4

(I am an orphan, roaming the street. I pattern soft dust with my hushed, bare feet. The silence is golden, the freedom is sweet.)


Orphan – Having no parents.

Roaming- moving aimlessly.

Pattern (verb)- draw pattern


Bare- without any slipper/shoes.


  • Amanda yet again is transported in her own imaginary world where she is an orphan girl roaming in the street aimlessly.

  • She appears to be very sad in real world. Therefore, she escapes in a world of her own making.

  • In her own world of freedom, she draws pattern with her quiet, bare feet.

  • In her imaginary world she is enjoying her freedom without parental interference.

Stanza 5

Don’t eat that chocolate, Amanda! Remember your acne, Amanda! Will you please look at me when I’m speaking to you, Amanda!


•Acne – Skin disease characterized by pimples, especially on face.


  • Amanda is again given a set of instructions like

  • Not to eat chocolate as she has acne

  • To look at her parent’s face when they are speaking to her.

  • Her parents seem to be indulging too much in the upbringing of their daughter.

  • Amanda does not like to be under the CCTV surveillance of her nagging parents all the time.

Stanza 6

(I am Rapunzel, I have not a care; life in a tower is tranquil and rare; I’ll certainly never let down my bright hair!)


Rapunzel – a German fairy tale character who was made to live alone in a high tower and had very long, beautiful golden hair. She was held captive by a witch Dame Gothel, who used to come up to the tower by climbing her long hair.

•Tranquil –to be in peaceful state of mind.


  • Amanda imagines herself to be a fairy tale character called Rapunzel, who seemed to have no worry.

  • Like Rapunzel, she imagines herself living in a tower, the life of which is calm and quiet and is also very rare.

  • But like Rapunzel, Amanda would not allow anyone to use her bright hair.

Stanza 7

Stop that sulking at once, Amanda! You’re always so moody, Amanda! Anyone would think that I nagged at you, Amanda!


Sulking – To be angry or upset about something.

Nagged – To irritate (someone) by complaining about his or her attitudes again and again.


  • Amanda’s parents think that Amanda fails to oblige their instructions. Therefore, they are annoyed.

  • Her parents complain that Amanda is very moody.

  • In their effort to teach their daughter accepted norms of behaviour in the society, parents think that they are responsible enough. But in the process, they have snatched the identity of the child. Thus the child lives in her own world and longs for freedom.


  • The poem highlights the issue of upbringing a small child, Amanda.

  • The Poet seems to suggest that in the process of disciplining a child, parents should never snatch the freedom and identity of a child.

  • In a bid to make the child become acceptable in the society, parents have made her a slave to their arbitrary wishes.

  • Her imagination is not given enough space. Therefore, the child wishes to be a mermaid, an orphan, fairy-tale character- Rapunzel.

  • The continuous nagging on the part of her parents has made her get lost in the world of her own making where there is enough freedom for her.

Significance of the allusions of a Mermaid, an Orphan and Rapunzel in the poem

The allusions to a mermaid, orphan, and Rapunzel in the poem 'Amanda' by Robin Klein serve as metaphors for Amanda's daydreams and her desire for freedom and escape from the pressures of parental expectations.

1. Mermaid: The image of a mermaid in an emerald sea represents a fantasy world where Amanda can be free and unburdened. Mermaids are often associated with a sense of enchantment and beauty. By imagining herself as a mermaid drifting blissfully in a secluded sea, Amanda longs for a life without the constraints and constant instructions imposed upon her by her parent.

2. Orphan: The notion of being an orphan roaming the streets symbolizes Amanda's desire for independence and the ability to make her own decisions. Being an orphan may imply a sense of freedom from parental authority and control. In this daydream, Amanda seeks solace in solitude, finding comfort in the silence and freedom of the streets.

3. Rapunzel: Rapunzel, the fairy tale character known for being locked in a tower, reflects Amanda's wish to escape from the parental demands and live a life free from constant nagging and monitoring. By envisioning herself as Rapunzel in a tranquil tower, Amanda explores the idea of escaping the pressures of the outside world and enjoying a peaceful, autonomous existence.

The significance of these allusions lies in their contrast to the parent's constant reprimands and demands. Amanda uses these daydreams as a coping mechanism to escape the reality of her overbearing parent and find moments of tranquility and self-determination. These allusions emphasize Amanda's need for space and understanding, highlighting the complexities of the parent-child relationship and the importance of providing children with room to develop their individuality and imagination.

NCERT Solution

1. How old do you think Amanda is? How do you know this?

Ans: Amanda is a teen aged girl. The line that gives us indication of her teenage is ‘Remember your acne, Amanda!’’

2. Who do you think is speaking to her?

Ans: Her mother seems to be speaking to her.

3. Why are stanzas 2, 4, & 6 given in parenthesis?

Ans: These stanzas are given in parenthesis because they are the daydreaming thoughts of Amanda. They are not the part of the conversation with her mother.

4. Who is the speaker in stanzas 2, 4 and 6? Do you think this speaker is listening to the speaker in Stanzas 1, 3, 5 and 7 as she is lost in her own thoughts?

Ans: Amanda is the speaker in stanzas 2,4, and 6. She is not listening to the speaker in Stanzas 1,3,5 and 7 as she is lost in her own thoughts.

5. What could Amanda do if she were a mermaid?

Ans: If she were a mermaid, Amanda would swim around blissfully in a placid emerald sea where she would be the only inhabitant.

6. Is Amanda an orphan? Why does she say so?

Ans: No, Amanda is not an orphan. She says so because she does not approve of her nagging mother who restricts her freedom of being independent. She wants to break loose of unsolicited parental interference.

7. Do you know the story of Rapunzel? Why does she want to be Rapunzel?

Ans: I came to know about Rapunzel from this poem. She was a beautiful girl who had been locked up in a tower by a witch to live all alone. She had such beautiful long and strong hair that the witch could climb up the tower with the help of her hair.

Amanda wants to be a Rapunzel so that she could lead a secluded life in the tower away from the parental interference. In such a secluded life, no one can dictate terms to her and she can lead a peaceful life.

8. What does the girl yarn for? What does this poem tell you about Amanda?

Ans: The girl yearns for moving away from unsolicited parental interference.

The poem tells us that Amanda is disturbed by the constant nagging on the part of her mother. She always dictates terms over her and does not let her live an independent life. Therefore, Amanda takes recourse to her fairy thoughts and imagines herself as a mermaid drifting blissfully in her emerald sea. She also wants to be Rapunzel living alone in a tranquil tower.

9.Read the last stanza. Do you think Amanda is sulking and is moody?

Ans: Amanda is neither sulking nor is she moody. She is lost in her daydreaming thoughts so as to get away from the pungent reality of her unhappy life, which is riddled with unsolicited parental interference.

CBE Questions

Q1. Question: How do the daydreams of Amanda (mermaid, orphan, Rapunzel) contrast with her reality as depicted in the poem?

Answer: Amanda's daydreams of being a mermaid, orphan, and Rapunzel present a stark contrast to her reality in the poem. While her daydreams embody freedom, independence, and a sense of tranquility, her actual life is overshadowed by constant parental demands and criticisms. The fantasies serve as an escape from the suffocating reality where she longs for understanding and individuality. In her daydreams, Amanda seeks solace and an opportunity to be herself, emphasizing the disconnect between her inner desires and the pressures imposed upon her, creating a poignant portrayal of the tension between parental expectations and a child's need for autonomy.

Q2. What is the significance of the recurring parental instructions in the poem, and how do they affect Amanda's behavior and emotions?

Answer: The recurring parental instructions in the poem highlight the parent's well-intentioned but excessive concern for Amanda's well-being. These instructions become overwhelming for Amanda, leading her to retreat into daydreams as a way to cope with the constant pressure. They create a sense of frustration and rebellion in Amanda, which is evident in her daydreams and the contrast between her fantasy worlds and the real world.

For 6 Marks

The recurring parental instructions in the poem 'Amanda' play a significant role in highlighting the parent's well-meaning but overbearing approach towards their child. These instructions are evident throughout the poem, such as "Don’t bite your nails, Amanda!", "Don’t hunch your shoulders, Amanda!", "Did you finish your homework, Amanda?", and "Don’t eat that chocolate, Amanda!".

The impact of these instructions on Amanda's behavior and emotions is twofold. Firstly, they create a sense of suffocation and frustration in Amanda. The constant nagging and correction from the parent make her feel confined and unable to express herself freely. This is reflected in lines like "Stop that sulking at once, Amanda!" and "Anyone would think that I nagged at you, Amanda!", which suggest that Amanda feels unfairly judged and misunderstood.

Secondly, Amanda's daydreams of being a mermaid, orphan, and Rapunzel serve as coping mechanisms to escape from the reality of the parental instructions. They act as an emotional outlet, allowing her to find moments of tranquility and individuality amidst the pressures imposed upon her. For example, the lines "I am an orphan, roaming the street. I pattern soft dust with my hushed, bare feet. The silence is golden, the freedom is sweet." demonstrate how Amanda's daydream of being an orphan allows her to find solace in a world free from constant instructions and monitoring.

Overall, the recurring parental instructions not only reflect the parent's concern for Amanda's well-being but also reveal the unintended consequences of their approach on her emotional state and desire for independence. The poem underscores the importance of a balanced and understanding parenting style that allows children like Amanda to grow and explore their individuality without feeling restrained.

Q3. How does the poem 'Amanda' explore the theme of individuality and the tension between parental guidance and a child's need for independence?

Answer: The poem 'Amanda' delves into the theme of individuality and the delicate balance between parental guidance and a child's yearning for independence. The parent's constant instructions and demands, such as "Don't bite your nails, Amanda!", "Did you tidy your room, Amanda?", and "Will you please look at me when I’m speaking to you, Amanda!", reveal their desire to mold Amanda according to their expectations. However, Amanda's daydreams of being a mermaid, orphan, and Rapunzel signify her desire for autonomy and freedom from parental constraints. For instance, "I am Rapunzel, I have not a care; life in a tower is tranquil and rare; I’ll certainly never let down my bright hair!" portrays her wish to break free from the parental restrictions. The poem underscores the importance of acknowledging and respecting a child's individuality while providing guidance and support in their journey towards independence.

Q4. Discuss the role of imagination and daydreaming in 'Amanda'. How does it serve as a coping mechanism for Amanda?

Answer: The poem 'Amanda' highlights the role of imagination and daydreaming as a coping mechanism for the protagonist, Amanda. Her daydreams of being a mermaid, orphan, and Rapunzel provide an escape from the reality of constant parental instructions. For example, "There is a languid, emerald sea, where the sole inhabitant is me—a mermaid, drifting blissfully" shows how she finds solace in her mermaid fantasy. These imaginative worlds allow Amanda to seek freedom, tranquility, and individuality. Through daydreaming, Amanda copes with the suffocating environment, creating spaces where she can assert her true self and temporarily escape from the pressures of parental expectations.

Q5. Analyze the impact of the poem's structure and repetitive nature on the reader's understanding of Amanda's emotions and struggles.

Answer: The poem's structure, with the parent's repetitive instructions interspersed with Amanda's daydreams, effectively conveys the ongoing cycle of parental pressure and Amanda's yearning for freedom. The repetition emphasizes the constant and suffocating nature of the parent's demands, making the reader empathize with Amanda's emotions and struggles. It also highlights the importance of understanding a child's perspective and allowing them space to grow and explore their imagination.

Extra Reading

Story of Rapunzel

The fairy tale of Rapunzel is a classic story that has been popularized by the Brothers Grimm in their collection of fairy tales. It tells the story of a young girl named Rapunzel, whose life takes a dramatic turn when she becomes trapped in a tall tower by an evil witch. Here is a summary of the fairy tale:

Once upon a time, a couple longed for a child, and their wish was granted when the woman became pregnant. The couple lived next to a beautiful garden that belonged to an enchantress, and the woman's craving for the leafy greens in the garden grew uncontrollable. The husband decided to sneak into the garden to fulfill his wife's wish, but he was caught by the witch. In exchange for his life, the enchantress demanded that they give her their unborn child once it was born.

Reluctantly, the couple agreed, and when Rapunzel was born, the witch took her away and locked her up in a secluded tower deep in the forest. The tower had no doors or stairs and could only be accessed by climbing up Rapunzel's long, magical hair, which had grown incredibly long over the years.

As Rapunzel grew up, she spent her days in the tower, singing and talking to herself. One day, a handsome prince heard her melodious voice while passing by the tower. Intrigued, he found a way to reach Rapunzel and was enchanted by her beauty and kind heart. They soon fell in love and made secret plans to escape the tower and live happily ever after.

The witch, however, discovered their secret meetings and was furious. She cut off Rapunzel's long hair and banished her into a faraway desert. Then, she lured the prince into the tower using Rapunzel's cut hair as a trap. When the prince climbed up, he was met with the witch's wrath. In his desperation and heartbreak, he jumped from the tower and landed on thorny bushes, blinding him.

For years, the prince wandered the wilderness, a blind and broken man. Meanwhile, Rapunzel survived in the desert and eventually gave birth to twins, a boy, and a girl. They lived a difficult life until, one day, fate brought the prince back to the desert. He heard Rapunzel's voice again and followed it to her location. Their tearful reunion healed his blindness, and they embraced each other and their children.

The prince took Rapunzel and their children back to his kingdom, where they lived happily ever after as a family. The wicked witch faced the consequences of her actions, and Rapunzel and the prince learned valuable lessons about love, sacrifice, and the power of inner strength.

Allusion of the fairy tale character Rapunzel in Literature

The allusion of Rapunzel refers to a story or reference that makes a connection to the fairy tale of Rapunzel. The original story of Rapunzel was popularized by the Brothers Grimm and has been retold in various forms throughout history. The tale generally revolves around a young girl named Rapunzel who is locked in a tower with no doors or stairs and has long, beautiful hair. A wicked witch or sorceress is typically the one who keeps Rapunzel isolated in the tower.

The primary elements and themes of the Rapunzel allusion often include:

1. Imprisonment and isolation: Rapunzel's captivity in the tower symbolizes isolation and confinement, which can represent various aspects of human existence, such as emotional isolation, societal constraints, or personal limitations.

2. Beauty and vulnerability: Rapunzel's beauty, particularly her long hair, is a central aspect of the story. It can be seen as a symbol of vulnerability and innocence, highlighting how beauty can attract both benevolent and malevolent attention.

3. Freedom and escape: The desire for freedom and escape from the constraints of the tower is a significant theme in the tale. Rapunzel's eventual escape or rescue is often a key turning point in the story.

4. Love and romance: In many versions of the tale, Rapunzel's encounters with a prince or a young man outside the tower lead to a romantic relationship, emphasizing the theme of love and the longing for connection.

5. Mother-daughter relationships: In some versions, the wicked witch or sorceress who keeps Rapunzel in the tower may act as a mother figure. This aspect explores complex mother-daughter dynamics, jealousy, and possessiveness.

6. Transformation and growth: As Rapunzel navigates her circumstances, she undergoes personal growth and transformation, which can serve as a metaphor for the coming-of-age journey or the development of inner strength.

The allusion of Rapunzel is often used in literature, films, and other artistic works to draw on these thematic elements and evoke a sense of enchantment, longing, and the human experience of overcoming challenges and seeking freedom and love.

What is a Mermaid?

A mermaid is a mythical creature that is often depicted as a half-human, half-fish being. In folklore and mythology, mermaids are said to inhabit the seas and oceans, captivating the imagination of people for centuries.

The typical representation of a mermaid features the upper body of a human, including the head, torso, and arms, while the lower half resembles that of a fish, with a tail instead of legs. The appearance of mermaids can vary across different cultures and artistic interpretations, but they are generally portrayed as beautiful and alluring beings.

Mermaids are known for their enchanting voices and singing abilities, which they use to lure sailors and travelers toward them. In some tales, mermaids are benevolent creatures, helping sailors in distress or serving as protectors of the sea. However, in other stories, they are portrayed as more malicious, leading ships to crash on rocks or causing storms.

The concept of mermaids can be found in various cultures worldwide, including Greek mythology, where they were associated with sea goddesses like Amphitrite and Thetis. In medieval European folklore, mermaids were often depicted as symbols of danger and temptation.

Throughout history, mermaids have been a popular subject in literature, art, and popular culture. They continue to appear in modern stories, films, and various forms of entertainment, captivating audiences with their mythical allure and mysterious nature. Despite their fantastical origins, the allure of mermaids endures as they continue to evoke a sense of wonder and fascination about the mysteries of the deep seas.

What is the source of the reference of Mermaids?

The concept of mermaids has roots in various ancient myths, folklore, and historical accounts from different cultures around the world. The references to mermaids can be found in the following sources:

1. Ancient Mythology: Mermaids have connections to ancient mythologies from different civilizations. In Greek mythology, sea nymphs called Nereids were often associated with the sea and were sometimes depicted as mermaid-like beings. Additionally, stories of water spirits and sea creatures resembling mermaids can be found in other ancient cultures, such as the Assyrians, Babylonians, and Sumerians.

2. Folklore and Legends: Mermaids appear in the folklore and legends of coastal communities and seafaring cultures. Stories of mermaids have been passed down through generations, often serving as cautionary tales about the dangers of the sea or as explanations for maritime phenomena.

3. Medieval European Folklore: During the medieval period, stories of mermaids became more prominent in European folklore. They were often depicted as dangerous creatures associated with shipwrecks, storms, and sailors' deaths.

4. The Arabian Nights: In "The Arabian Nights," also known as "One Thousand and One Nights," there is a story called "The Little Hunchback," where a fisherman encounters a beautiful mermaid.

5. Literary Works: Mermaids have been featured in literary works, such as Hans Christian Andersen's fairy tale "The Little Mermaid" and John William Waterhouse's painting "Hylas and the Nymphs," inspired by Greek mythology.

6. Sailor Accounts: Throughout history, sailors have reported seeing mermaid-like creatures during their voyages. These sightings, often influenced by optical illusions and encounters with marine animals, contributed to the enduring belief in mermaids.

7. Art and Visual Representations: Mermaids have been depicted in various forms of art, including paintings, sculptures, and tapestries, dating back to ancient times. These artistic representations further popularized the image of mermaids.

8. Modern Popular Culture: Mermaids have become prominent figures in modern popular culture, appearing in books, films, and television shows. The enduring fascination with mermaids continues to influence contemporary works of fiction and entertainment.

While the specific origins of the mermaid legend are challenging to pinpoint, their presence in diverse cultural traditions and historical accounts highlights their enduring allure and the human fascination with the mysteries of the sea.

Recommended Reading



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