The School Boy Poem Question & Answers class 8 English

The School Boy Poem class 8 English: Here er are giving textbook solutions to poem exercise given in the Class 8 English NCERT book ‘Beehive’. Click here for more on class 8 English:

Textbook Exercise Question & Answers

Page: 81

Working with the poem

Q.1. Find three or four words/phrases in stanza 1 that reflect the child’s happiness and joy.

Ans. Words/Phrases Reflecting Child’s Happiness and Joy in Stanza 1:

  • “I love to rise in a summer morn”
  • “The birds sing on every tree”
  • “The distant huntsman winds his horn”
  • “And the skylark sings with me”

Q.2. In stanza 2, the mood changes. Which words/phrases reflect the changed mood?

Ans. Words/Phrases Reflecting the Changed Mood in Stanza 2:

  • “O! it drives all joy away”
  • “Under a cruel eye outworn”
  • “The little ones spend the day”
  • “In sighing and dismay”

Q.3. ‘A cruel eye outworn’ (stanza 2) refers to

(i) the classroom which is shabby/noisy.
(ii) the lessons which are difficult/uninteresting.
(iii) the dull/uninspiring life at school with lots of work and no play.

Mark the answer that you consider right.

Ans. (iii) the dull/uninspiring life at school with lots of work and no play.

Q.4. ‘Nor sit in learning’s bower
worn thro’ with the dreary shower’

Which of the following is a close paraphrase of the lines above?

(i) Nor can I sit in a roofless classroom when it is raining.
(ii) Nor can I learn anything at school though teachers go on lecturing
and explaining.
(iii) Nor can I sit in the school garden for fear of getting wet in the rain.

Ans. (ii) Nor can I learn anything at school though teachers go on lecturing and explaining.

Page: 82

Read the following poem and compare it with The School Boy.

The One Furrow
When I was young, I went to school
With pencil and footrule
Sponge and slate,
And sat on a tall stool
At learning’s gate.
When I was older, the gate swung wide;
Clever and keen-eyed
In I pressed,
But found in the mind’s pride
No peace, no rest.
Then who was it taught me back to go
To cattle and barrow,
Field and plough:
To keep to the one furrow,
As I do now?


“The One Furrow” and “The School Boy” explore different aspects of the educational experience and the pursuit of knowledge. Here’s a comparison of the two poems:


  1. Reflection on Education:
    • Both poems reflect on the speaker’s experiences with education. “The School Boy” criticizes the formal education system, highlighting its oppressive nature, while “The One Furrow” contemplates the speaker’s return to a simpler life after a disillusioning experience with advanced learning.
  2. Loss of Peace and Rest:
    • Both poems convey a sense of discontent or lack of fulfillment associated with the pursuit of knowledge. In “The School Boy,” the speaker experiences sorrow and dismay in the school environment, while in “The One Furrow,” there is a lack of peace and rest found in the mind’s pride.
  3. Return to Simplicity:
    • Both poems suggest a return to simplicity and a more natural way of life. In “The School Boy,” there is a longing for the joy and freedom associated with nature and childhood, while in “The One Furrow,” the speaker returns to a life connected to the land, symbolized by the “cattle and barrow, field and plough.”


  1. Nature of Critique:
    • “The School Boy” specifically critiques the oppressive nature of formal education, emphasizing the impact on a child’s natural joy. “The One Furrow” doesn’t critique education directly but rather depicts a personal choice to return to a simpler life after finding no peace and rest in advanced learning.
  2. Symbolism:
    • While both poems use symbolism, the symbols differ. “The School Boy” uses the metaphor of a caged bird to represent the stifled nature of a child’s experience, while “The One Furrow” uses images of a plough, field, and cattle to symbolize a return to a more grounded and agricultural lifestyle.
  3. Narrative Tone:
    • “The School Boy” has a more somber and critical tone, lamenting the loss of innocence and joy in the educational system. In contrast, “The One Furrow” has a reflective tone, contemplating the speaker’s personal journey and the decision to return to a simpler life.
  4. Focus on Different Stages of Life:
    • “The School Boy” primarily focuses on the experiences of childhood and the impact of formal education on a young person. “The One Furrow” spans a longer period, starting with the speaker’s youth, moving through a phase of advanced learning, and ultimately returning to a more agrarian lifestyle.

As we see, oth poems share themes of disillusionment with the complexities of life and a desire for a return to simplicity. However, they differ in their specific critiques, use of symbolism, narrative tone, and the stages of life they primarily focus on.

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