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English Literature Notes For Class 12

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By take through Notes, the students will get knowledge how to write a Journal and prepare them accordingly.

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    Where have all the Birds Gone? Comprehending This chapter deals with a very significant theme—the sudden decline in the population of birds. It may not be significantly visible but their population is declining rapidly and we may realise their importance in our lives only when they become completely extinct. That would be a great loss. The author recollects the days of his childhood which was spent in such close proximity to birds. Such was his closeness that he had befriended a parrot that would come to him regularly and sit on his head. However, these days he hardly gets to hear the sounds of birds and longs for them. He wonders where all the birds have gone. Words — Meanings, Pronunciations, Thesaurus anew — once again truant (tru-unt) — absentee; deserter; dodger; runaway shovel — a tool resembling a spade with a broad blade and upturned sides, used for removing earth, snow, etc. migratory (mai gray-tre) — moving from one place to another continuously perches (puchess) sits on the edge of something; balances; roosts; rests agrarian (uh grair-i-uhn) — related to agriculture outskirts — borders; edges; periphery dangling hanging in such a manner so that swinging is possible chisel (chi-zl a hand tool with a long blade that is used to cut or shape wood, stone or metal perpendicularly (per-punh-dik-yuu-lerly) at an angle of 900 to a surface captivate (kaptivate) — attract; beguile; bewitch; enamour; enchant; enrapture; mesmerise hatched (ha-ch'd) something that has come out of its nest linger — slow to move off; dally; dawdle; delay; hover; lag; persist; procrastinate deftly skilfully; adroitly; adeptly; dextrously; nimbly Intimate — close and friendly; affectionate; loving; familiar ecstasy (ek-stuh-si) — bliss; delight; delirium; elation; euphoria; fervour; rapture arboreal (ar-bor-i-uhl) — tree dwelling recounted — here, retold umpteen — many alas sadly Analysing 1. a. Yes, the birds shown in the picture are quite familiar to our surroundings. They are seen mostly in the spring season when it is neither too hot nor too cold. b. Birds linger in our surroundings mostly because of trees where they can build their nests and confinue to look for food.
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    c. The birds may have gone to other places where they can find trees or their populations might have dwindled because of human encroachments and the consequent disbalance of their ecology. d. Birds are needed not only because of their beauty but also because they help to maintain the ecological balance. 1. Birds Vishu akshi Weaver-birds Parrots Wood ecker 11. Time of visit March and A ril When young stalks come out of rice fields When the paddy is rl e enou h to harvest Place of shelter To of ve bi trees Coconut trees black- alm trees Holes made wood eckers and by Food Tender paddy grains Ripe paddy stalks Worms 1. Farmers in Kerala begin their agricultural activities with the beginning of the New Year, Vishu, in April. 2. The New Year festival of Kerala is closely related to the beginning of agricultural activities. 3. The narrator's favourite hobby was to wander through the paddy fields, watching the different kinds of birds and how they nest. 4. The sights that the narrator enjoyed were to watch the little weaver-birds balance themselves on tender stalks and squeeze milk out of the green rice. 5. The narrator would be captivated by the beautiful sight of the woodpecker while it was at its work—its strong legs, red crest, the dark red stripe on the face and black beak that would make the tak tak tak sound while chiselling a hard frunk. 6. On the headless trunk of the thunderstruck tree, three parrot nests had been built. 7. The boy requested the woodcutters to spare the tree as there were so many birds living on it. 8. The fellow parrots accompanied the parrot when it would come to meet the narrator in the evening and then take him away in the morning. 9. The parrot would land on the head of the author as soon as he would return home in the evening and when they flew away in the mornings, the birds would sing in unison. 10. The writer's daughter wants to hear the real story again and again.
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    11. The woodpeckers, parrots and weaver-birds cannot be seen in the writer's neighbourhood because there are hardly any trees for them to live on, and even paddy cultivation in the villages is declining. All these are the results of growing urbanisafion. 11. 1. Since fime immemorial, birds, animals and plants have been ingrained in our cultural heritage because they are not only mentioned but closely assimilated in our mythological and ancient classical texts like the Vedas, the Pwanas, the Upanishads, the Jataka tales, Ramayana and Mahabharatha. Therefore, it was a sacred duty of all human beings to protect these plants and animals and they were integral members of almost every household. Birds were particular favourltes and people would regularly feed them With milk or grains or bananas. Sometimes, the birds would be kept in cages so that they could be prevented from being harmed by other animals, but mostly, they would be allowed to remain free. 2. The narrator tried to save the chicks by first pleading with the woodcutters to spare the tree, which had three bird nests on it. But, when the woodcutters laughed him off and the tree was ultimately felled, the narrator went about searching for survivors. One chick was found to be alive and the narrator brought it home. 3. The parrot struck balance betxveen his family bonds and his friendship in a very efficient manner. His fellow parrots would accompany him to the coconut tree in the morning and then come back In the morning to take him away. 4. The author was Initially unhappy that the parrot stopped coming to meet him after sometime because their friendship had been for more than three years and he was used to its coming and resting on his head. 5. The rapid human encroachments into forest areas and farm lands have led to massive deforestation and, therefore, a decline in the bird population because they have nowhere to build their nests. Also, the setting up of high-tension electric wires and tall mobile towers, has affected the bird population too. As a result we are missing out on their aesthetic presence on earth. 6. Due to urbanisation, there is encroachment into forest and farmlands. Consequently, there is extensive deforestation and displacement of animals and birds from their natural habitats. This has two kinds of adverse effects. In the first instance it affects birds that migrate to other places and gradually there is a decline in their population because everywhere the condifions are the same. In the second instance, it affects wild and ferocious animals that sometimes retaliate by taking a toll on human lives. For example, in the Sunderbans area, the number of tiger attacks on human beings have multiplied in the last few years because of the rapid encroachments made into its habitat. 7. In order to invite birds into our localities, we should plant more trees and ensure that they have enough grains and seeds to eat and lots of water to drink. Moreover, one should also ensure that high-tension electric poles be set up at a distance from trees so that mishaps like electrocution can be prevented.
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    111. 1. What is the importance of Vishu in Kerala? In Kerala, Vishu marks the beginning of the New Year in April and the commencement of the agricultural season. Immediately after Vishu, paddy would be sown once again with the hope that the rain gods would not betray them. 2. is the Bishupakshi and how is it related to agriculture? The Bishupakshi IS a bird which always goaded the farmers to wake up early and begin their agricultural activitles even if the rains played truant. From the first week of March, the bird would sing its Litthumkaikottum (seed and spade song) till the end of April. 3. According to the author, which is the only other bird that sings as beautifully as the Bishupakshi? According to the poet, the only other bird that sings as beautifully as the Lishupakshi is the cuckoo. 4. does the author say that the song of the Bishupakshi is missing in the present? In the present, the song of the Bishupakshi cannot be heard any longer because it might have observed that even after repeated urgings, people of the village do not take their seeds for the purpose of sowing and neither is there any place for sowing seeds in the granary district of Kerala. But, what the author's personal viewpoint IS that it might be a migratory bird and used to perching on tall trees, but as there are no trees In the neighbourhood, so it does not visit the neighbourhood any longer. 5. Xhat are thookkanaam kmwikaT? Where would they build their nests? The thookkanaam kwwikal are the weaver-birds that would build their nests from the end of palm leaves. 6. Where would the weaver-birds be found and why did the author like watching them? Describe how their habits as narrated in the text. The weaver-birds would be found building their nests from the edges of the palm trees that were present on the outskirts of the paddy fields along with the coconut trees. Hundreds of these small birds would come to the fields when the young stalks come out on the rice fields and they would land on the paddy to squeeze the milk from the tender rice. The author enjoyed watching them balance themselves on the tender rice stalks, busy in their activities. 7. What was the task assigned to the author by his father? The author's father assigned him the task of scaring the birds away by banging tin-drums. 8. other sight did the author like? The author liked the sight of the parrots flying away with stalks dangling from their sharp beaks. These parrots used to come in flocks at the time of the harvesting of the ripe paddy plants. 9. What knowledge does the author share about the nests of parrots?
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    The author shares the information that the nests of the parrots are neatly crafted holes on the trunks of palm trees. However, these holes are actually dug by woodpeckers in search of worms. Parrots occupy these holes after the woodpeckers leave. 10. What picture of the woodpecker does the author give? The author informs us that the woodpeckers have strong legs, red crests and red streaks across their faces. Their beaks are long, sharp and strong like chisels. Also, seemingly, the woodpeckers may be the only birds that can work perpendicularly along tree trunks. 11. How had the author known that there were at least three parrot nests atop the headless, thunderstruck tree frunk? The author knew this because he had seen many parrots entering the holes and coming out to bring food to the little ones. 12. X/hat did the author see after the headless, thunderstruck coconut tree was sawed off and fell with a thud? The author found that two newly-hatched chicks had fallen out of their nests and were smashed to death. In the second nest there were smashed eggs and in the third, only one small chick had managed to survive. 13. How did the author identify that the chick was a parrot? The chick could be identified as a parrot only by the shape and colour of its beak because no feather had come out at that time. 14. How did the chick develop into a bird under the care of the author? The author took the chick home and began feeding it with milk. Within two weeks it could it bananas and two months later It was grown up enough to be able to fly. 15. Describe the close bonding between the parrot and the author. As soon as the author returned from school every day, the parrot would fly down from the coconut trees and land on his head. Thereafter, it would jump on to the author's finger and drink the milk from the plate by keeping its upper beak stationary and moving its tongue and the lower beak to and fro. After that, the parrot would fly onto his shoulder and eat paddy from the author's palms. It put each grain between the upper and the lower beaks and deftly removed the chaff by pressing the lower beak against the upper one and swallowed the rice. After the feeding was over, the parrot would get into the cage and go to sleep by putting its head under the right wing. Then the author would close the cage and keep it near his pillow. Every morning, sharp at 6, the bird would begin to stir and as soon as the door of the cage was opened it would first fly to the author's head and then to the hand and after hastily having some milk, fly away like an arrow. After the bird had fully grown up, it would go far and wide unknown to the author, but after 6 0' clock every evening, the parrot would be back on the coconut tree, waiting for the author. If someday, he was away from home then the bird would roost on the coconut tree and fly away in the morning. And the most interesting part of it was that all the fellow parrots would be there
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    with him when the bird would come in the evening and then take him away every morning, making musical sounds as a chorus. On his part, the author gave the bird all the freedom it was born to. 16. Although the author missed the companionship of the bird, why was he happy for it? The author was happy for the bird because the parrot was not denied the joys and ecstasy of the arboreal life to which it was born. 17. How old is the author's younger daughter and what does she wish after listening to her father's story every time? The author's younger daughter is five years old and every time she hears her father narrate his real-life story, the little girl demands that she be shown a woodpecker that builds nests for parrots. 18. Has the author been able to fulfil his daughter's wish? Why? The author has not been able to fulfil his daughter's wish because birds are hardly seen around the locality any longer. This is probably because paddy cultivation is almost non-existent in his village now and these birds, which feed primarily on paddy, can no longer adjust with this man- made 'climate change' or 'cultivation change' 19. What has the author been waiting for ever since? Ever since, the author has been waiting for the long lost sound of the woodpecker at work. Vocabulary 1. awestruck — feeling very impressed dumbstruck — unable to speak because of surprise stage-struck — enjoying theatre a lot and wishing very much to be an actor moonstruck — crazy because he/she is in live star struck — impressed by famous people sun struck — heatstroke caused by excessive exposure to the sun 2. Across: fringe, the outer edge outskirts tool used to shape wood, stone or metal press firmly squeeze Down: thin stem stalk feathers on a bird's head — crest view sight chisel feeling or state of very great happiness — ecstasy save — spare 3. arbored — having trees on both sides Abor Day — tree planting day
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    arboreous full of trees arborescent — treelike shape arboretum — place where many kinds of trees grow arboriculture — scientific cultivation of trees arborist — a specialist in planting and maintenance of trees Grammar Modal Auxiliary Verbs express necessity or possibility. For example, must, shall, will. 'Would and 'could refer to necessities or possibilities in the past whereas 'might' and 'may' refer to necessities or possibilitles in the future. 1. i. 'In the past ... would start anew'. (Typical activities in the past.) ii. 'And this song would be heard only in March and April'. (Typical acfivifies in the past.) iii. 'Beautifully crafted nests of the weaver-birds . . to scare these birds away'. (Typical activities in the past.) .. dangling in their beaks'. (Typical activities in the past.) IV. 'When paddy is ripe v. 'I would go after him'. (Habitual past.) .. land on my head'! (Habitual past.) vi. 'He used to linger on the coconut trees vii. 'I would show him my finger viii. 'After filling hid little stomach ix. 'I didn't know where he went . x. 'They would be wonderstruck . paddy from my palm'. (Habitual past.) fly away like an arrow'. (Habitual past.) coconut tree in the evening'. (Habitual past.) . chorus'. (Habitual past.) 2. 'But he wouldn't fly long'. There is only one such sentence in the text. 3. (i) 'This summer . or even visit us'. (ii) 'His family bonds .. .with me'. 4. (i) It may be a vase. (ii) It might be two faces. (iii) It may be a freehand drawing. Extension 1. Why should we have birds? Birds are important members of the earth's biodiversity and do not merely serve an aesthetic purpose. Like all living creatures on earth, even birds have their role cut out. For example, birds are the greatest indicators of climate change because they continuously migrate from place to place. For them, the ideal climatic conditions are in spring and autumn. In winter, most birds migrate from the colder regions to the warmer regions, especially where there are a lot of trees and water bodies. If these regular visitors stop coming to a place for after sometime, It is Indicative of the deteriorating climatic conditions of the place.
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    Secondly, as birds feed on insects they reduce the problem of insect attacks on crops and plants to a great extent and consequently, there is lesser use of Insecticides and pesticides. This characterisfic of birds IS of great help to those who own orchards and vine yards. Birds also help in pollinafion and therefore the scattering of plant seeds over vast areas. This is beneficial because the seeds get an opportunity to germinate in different soil and climatic conditions and with the help of scientific studies, intensive cultivation methods can be practised. Thirdly, birds are predictors of natural disasters. They are sensifive to the sudden and drastic changes in the atmosphere just preceding cyclones, earthquakes and tsunamis. Therefore, a thorough study of birds can help us to be better prepared to face such disasters. Fourthly, studies of birds do help us to study evolutionary adaptations and, therefore, prepare us for the future. Fifthly, showing our love and concern for our avian companions proves our natural appreciation for our earth and its inhabitants. Lastly, birds have proved to be of great help to aeronaufical engineers, climatologists and psychologists. The streamlined skeletal structure of birds helps engineers in conceptualising and designing lighter and faster aircrafts and cars. Their importance to climatologists have already been discusses. Even psychologists study birds with great interest to understand their adaptive behaviour, their means of communication and their social hierarchy.

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