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Sunday, July 8, 2012

A Photograph: Theme and Summary

Our days captured in still pictures have the power to once again evoke smiles and tears of the past. A search for the lost happiness in photographs is uplifting and saddening, both at the same time. Who would not want to relive the days when the friends and family were together and days passed by without a worry. But after the momentary happiness, the present only pinches more as the void after their departure makes itself felt harder.
The poet here presents a poignant scene of the rush of memories felt when she looks at her mother’s smiling picture from before she was born. The smile was heartening but poles apart from her morose expression later in life. If not in reality, the poet got the warm comfort of her smile through the photograph.
Through the poem, we realize the essential worth of a picture, and how memories of the past prove a fuel for future life.

The poet looks at the photograph of her mother, which was taken when her mother was 12 years old. She had gone for a sea holiday with her cousins Betty and Dolly and while they were paddling, her uncle took a photograph of them. Each of the cousins was holding the hands of the poet’s mother who was the eldest among them. All the three of them stood smiling through their hair while the photo was taken. Her mother had a sweet face. All these happened before she was born. Years fled past since then. Her mother grew up into an adult. They all underwent changes while the sea stood still. After about twenty or thirty years the poet’s mother would look at the photograph laughing nostalgically and remembering the past. She would appreciate the dress worn by her cousins Betty and Dolly. The sea holiday belonged to the past of her mother and the poet still remembers how her mother would laugh looking at the snap shot. For the poet both these bring great sadness and an acute sense of loss. He mother died 12 years ago and now the poet has nothing to say about this circumstance of the photograph.
1. The poet looks at the cardboard on which there is a childhood photograph of her mother.
2. She had gone for a sea holiday with two her cousins Betty and Dolly
3. While they were paddling, their uncle took a photograph of them.
4. Both the cousins were holding the hands of her mother who was the eldest among the girls.
5. This was before the poet was born
6. Time fled past since and all those who are in the photograph under went changes while the sea remained the same.
7. Her mother would look at the photograph after about twenty to thirty years and laugh nostalgically.
8. Now for the poet her mother’s laughter and her sea holiday is a thing of the past.
9. Her mother died about 12 years ago.
10. The silence of the photograph silences the poet.
11. She experiences great loss.


  1. Easy to understand well.. Thank!

  2. Thank you.
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  3. Wat is the setting this poem