My Mother at Sixty-Six Class 12: Important Questions and Answers

If you're studying for your CBSE Class 12 English exam, you may be looking for resources to help you prepare. One important poem to know is "My Mother at Sixty-Six" by Kamala Das. Here are some key questions and answers to help you understand the poem and its themes.

my mother at sixty six class 12 important questions answers

SubjectEnglish Language & Literature
Chapter NameMy Mother at Sixty-six
TypeImportant Questions and Answers
Book NameFlamingo

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My Mother at Sixty-six Class 12 Questions and Answers

Q. No. 1) Driving from my parent’s
home to Cochin last Friday
morning, I saw my mother,
beside me,
doze, open-mouthed, her face
ashen like that
of a corpse and realized with pain
that she was as old as she
looked but soon
put that thought away…

i. Choose the option that best applies to the given extract.

  1. a conversation
  2. an argument
  3. a piece of advice
  4. a strategy
  5. a recollection
  6. a suggestion


a. 1, 3 & 6

b. 2, 4 & 5

c. Only 5

d. Only 1

Ans. Option (c)

ii. Choose the book title that perfectly describes the condition of the poet’s mother.

Title 1Title 2Title 3Title 4
You're Only Old Once!
by Dr. Seuss
The Gift of Years
by Joan Chittister
The Book You Wish Your Parents Had Read
by Philippa Perry
You're Only Old Once!
by Dr. Seuss

a. Title 1

b. Title 2

c. Title 3

d. Title 4

Ans. Option (c)

iii. Choose the option that applies correctly to the two statements given below.

  • Assertion: The poet wards off the thought of her mother getting old quickly.
  • Reason: The poet didn’t want to confront the inevitability of fate that was to dawn upon her mother.

a. Assertion can be inferred but the Reason cannot be inferred.

b. Assertion cannot be inferred but the Reason can be inferred.

c. Both Assertion and Reason can be inferred.

d. Both Assertion and Reason cannot be inferred.

Ans. Option (c)

iv Choose the option that displays the same literary device as in the given lines of the extract.

her face
ashen like that
of a corpse…

a. Just as I had this thought, she appeared and…

b. My thoughts were as heavy as lead that evening when …

c. I think like everyone else who…

d. I like to think aloud when …

Ans. Option (b)

Q. No. 2) And looked out at Young
Trees sprinting, the merry children spilling
out of their homes, but after the airport’s
security check, standing a few yards
away, I looked again at her, wan, pale
as a late winter’s moon and felt that old
familiar ache…

i. What is the most likely reason the poet capitalized ‘Young Trees’?

This was to

a. convey a clearer meaning.

b. highlight the adj.-noun combination.

c. enhance the contrast.

d. draw a connection with the title.

Ans. Option (c)

ii. Choose the option that appropriately describes the relationship between the two statements given below.

  • Statement 1: The poet knows her mother has aged.
  • Statement 2: The poet feels the pain of separation.

a. Beginning – Ending

b. Cause–Effect

c. Question – Answer

d. Introduction – Conclusion

Ans. Option (b)

iii. Choose the option that completes the sentence given below.

Just as the brightness of the winter’s moon is veiled behind the haze and mist, similarly, __________________.

a. the pain of separation has shaded the mother’s expression.

b. age has fogged the mother’s youthful appearance.

c. growing up has developed a seasoned maturity in the poet.

d. memories warm the heart like the pale moon in winter.

Ans. Option (b)

iv. Choose the correct option out of the ones given below.

my moter at sixty six question answer

a. Option 1

b. Option 2

c. Option 3

d. Option 4

Ans. Option (d)

v. The sight of young trees and merry children, on the way to Cochin, is _____ the poet’s aging mother.

a. like a divine assurance for

b. in sharp contrast to

c. a distraction from pain for

d. the bridge between the poet and mother

Ans. Option (b)

vi. The phrase ‘old familiar ache’ has been used to refer to a fear, in this extract. This phrase can also be used to

a. compare physical pain with mental agony.

b. elicit someone’s unanswered queries.

c. substantiate reasons for aches and pains.

d. describe a longing one has been aware of.

Ans. Option (d)

Q. No. 3) The tone of the poet in the poem is primarily a combination of ________ and ________.

  1. dauntlessness
  2. apprehension
  3. dejection
  4. disappointment


a. 1, 2

b. 2, 3

c. 3, 4

d. 1, 4

Ans. Option (b)

Q. No. 4) In the poem, My Mother at Sixty-six, all that the poet did was smile and smile and smile…, Her smile is

a .sudden, in response to her mother’s.

b. meaningful and loaded with love.

c. accompanied with tears of farewell.

d. put on to cheer her mother

Ans. Option (d)

Q. No. 5) …I looked again at her, wan,
as a late winter’s moon and felt that
familiar ache, my childhood’s fear,
but all I said was, see you soon,
all I did was smile and smile and
smile...... (My mother at Sixty-six)

i. What is the speaker's emotional state when looking at her mother?

a. Confused and disoriented

b. Nostalgic and longing

c. Empathetic and understanding

d. Fearful and apprehensive

Ans. Option (d) [The speaker mentions feeling an "old familiar ache" and "childhood's fear" when looking at her mother. This suggests a sense of fear or apprehension that is rooted in the speaker's past experiences with her mother.]

ii. What does the use of the word "but" at the beginning of the line, ‘ but all I said..’, suggest?

Ans. It suggests a contrast between the speaker's internal emotional response and her outward behavior.

iii. Select the word that WILL NOT complete the sentence appropriately. The description of the mother as "wan, pale / as a late winter's moon" creates a vivid image of ________.

a. vulnerability

b. sensitivity

c. frailty

d. Mortality

Ans. Option (b)

iv. State whether the given statement is TRUE or FALSE. The poetic device used in the line, ‘pale as a winter’s moon’ is the same as the one used in the line, ‘the winter wind wistfully wailed at night’.

Ans. FALSE [the poem’s line  holds a simile/metaphor whereas the other line is an example of alliteration - w sound]

v. What message do these lines highlight, in the context of familial relationships, and the speaker’s sense of anxiety and fear at the prospect of losing her mother?

Ans. The poem highlights the importance of cherishing and appreciating the people we love,  while we still can. [quality time -life is transient and similar]

vi. Complete the sentence appropriately. The repetition of the word, ‘smile’ suggests that _______________.

Ans. ...the speaker is trying to hold back her emotions and remain composed, despite the pain she feels at parting from her mother.

vii. Which of these is true about the poet's 'childhood's fear'?

a. It has resurfaced and is painful to experience.

b. It has been revealed to her mother and shared openly.

c. It has been forgotten and is a bitter-sweet memory now.

d. It has emerged as new information and is a strange experience.

Ans. Option (a)

viii. Select the option that shows the correct relationship between (1) and (2).

  1. The poet looks at her mother's aging face.
  2. The poet remembers an old fear she used to have as a child.

a. (1) is the result of (2).

b. (1) is the cause of (2).

c. (2) is false but (1) is true.

d. (2) furthers the meaning of (1).

Ans. Option (b)

Q. No. 6) Why does the poetess look at ‘young trees’ and ‘merry children’?


  • To distract her mind from unhappy thoughts of her mother’s old age.
  • To look at the freshness of life.

Q. No. 7) What different images does the poet use to convey the idea of her mother‟s old age?

Ans. i. Late winter’s moon

  • Her pale, bloodless, and wrinkled face resembles that of a corpse.
  • She has no vigor and energy left in her. She looks wan and pale.

ii. The sprinting trees and merry children are happy and young.

  • They present a contrast to the mother’s pain and old age and the poet’s worry and fear.
  • They symbolize youth, vigor, and spring whereas the mother is old, decaying, and frail.

Q. No. 8) The pain of separation is expressed both literally and metaphorically in this poem. Elucidate.

Ans. In the poem "My Mother at Sixty-Six," Kamala Das expresses the pain of separation both literally and metaphorically.

Literally, the speaker and her mother are physically separated by distance and time, as the mother is asleep in the car while the speaker drives. This physical distance creates a sense of sadness and loss for the speaker, who is aware that she may not have many more opportunities to be with her mother.

Metaphorically, the pain of separation is expressed through the speaker's reflections on the passage of time and the inevitability of aging and mortality. The mother's wrinkles and greying hair are described as signs of her advancing age, which reminds the speaker that they are both growing older and will eventually be separated by death.

Q. No. 9) Comment on the tone of the poem with references to “My Mother at SixtySix”.

Ans. The tone of the poem "My Mother at Sixty-Six" by Kamala Das is poignant, melancholic, and reflective. The speaker conveys a sense of sadness and nostalgia for the past, while also expressing a profound appreciation and love for her aging mother.

Q. No. 10) Imagery was an effective literary device to bring out the contrast between the “merry children” and the mother. Comment.

Ans. In the poem "My Mother at Sixty-Six," imagery is used as an effective literary device to bring out the contrast between the "merry children" and the mother. The speaker uses vivid and evocative descriptions to paint a picture of the scene, highlighting the stark difference in mood and energy between the two groups.

The children are described as "spilling out of their homes" creating a sense of joy and energy. In contrast, the mother is described as "pale," "sleeping," and "waning," creating a sense of fragility and decline. The comparison to the late winter moon further emphasizes her aging and mortality.

Q. No. 11) The poet does not directly mention the fear of her mother’s death and yet she is successfully able to convey the same through different poetic techniques. Discuss.

Ans. The first technique used by the poet is the description of the mother's physical appearance. The poet describes her as having an "open-mouthed" doze, and her face is compared to that of a corpse, with an "ashen" color. This description creates a sense of unease and suggests that the mother's age and mortality are on the speaker's mind.

The use of simile is another effective technique used by the poet. The mother is compared to a "late winter's moon," which is a symbol of decline and impending death. This simile creates a somber mood and further emphasizes the speaker's fear of losing her mother.

The use of sensory imagery also helps to convey the fear of the mother's death. The silence in the car is described as "pale," which creates a sense of discomfort and anxiety. The slow, soft breathing of the mother is also described in detail, which suggests that the speaker is paying close attention to her mother's physical state and is fearful of any changes.

In addition, the use of repetition in the final lines of the poem, where the speaker repeats the word "smile" three times, creates a sense of forced cheerfulness and suggests that the speaker is trying to hide her true emotions of fear and sadness.

Q. No. 12) 'A smile does not always indicate happiness.' Does My Mother at Sixty-Six reflect this statement? Justify your response with an example from the poem.

Ans. Yes, the poem reflects this statement.

This can be observed when the poet becomes painfully aware of the possibility of losing her aging mother and chooses to hide it behind her smile / she hides the fear of losing her mother behind her smile to show her mother a happy face.

Q. No. 13) State the common issue faced by most of the aged in the current times, with reference to the poem My Mother at Sixty-six.

Ans. Common issue: absence of supporting presence/ loneliness/alone when children move away.

Explanation: the poet lived away from her mother.

Q. No. 14) Imagine you are the poet’s friend.

Write a dialogue exchange between yourself and the poet where the latter confides in you about her fears and asks for your advice.

What would your advice be –to face her fears, to ignore them, or something else?

Ans. Me: Hey, what's up? You seem a bit down today.

Poet: Yeah, I've been feeling a bit anxious lately.

Me: Is everything okay? Do you want to talk about it?

Poet: It's just that I saw my mother recently and she looked so old and frail. It made me think about her mortality and I can't shake this feeling of fear.

Me: I can understand why that would be scary. It's natural to be afraid of losing loved ones.

Poet: But I feel like I can't focus on anything else. I'm always worried about her and it's affecting my work and my relationships.

Me: Have you considered talking to someone about your fears? Maybe a therapist or counselor?

Poet: I haven't thought about that, but it might be a good idea. I just don't want to burden anyone else with my problems.

Me: It's not a burden, it's important to take care of your mental health. And talking to someone can really help you process your feelings and find ways to cope.

Poet: You're right, I think I'll look into that. Thank you for listening and for your advice.

Me: Of course, anytime. Remember, it's okay to feel scared and it's okay to ask for help. You don't have to go through this alone.

Also Read: Class 12 Important Questions and Answers

Hope you liked these questions and answers from Class 12 English My Mother at Sixty-Six by Kamala Das. Please share this with your friends and do comment if you have any doubts/suggestions to share.

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12 thoughts on “My Mother at Sixty-Six Class 12: Important Questions and Answers”

  1. The most well prepared set of questions I have ever read on the internet amd this is coming from a teacher of 9 years experience.

    1. metaphorically means your imagination or mental emotion or understanding that is not actually given in lines but bring inference whereas literally means exact meaning what is given lines or physical emotion that you can directly bring after reading….

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