(Explanation, Meaning of difficult words)

Author – Katherine Mansfield


Word Meaning
Figure Person
To be feared To be afraid of
Avoid To keep away
Responded Replied, Answered
Glad Happy
Sense Feeling
Relief Easiness
Carriage Vehicle
Growing Becoming
Fainter Weaker, Lesser

The author is describing feeling of a small girl. The little girl was afraid of this person and she did not want to meet him. She wanted to remain away from him. The person was her father. She did not want to meet him often. Every morning father used to go out of the house to work. Before going for work he used to come to the room of the little girl and give her a kiss. She used to say goodbye to her father. She felt happy and relaxed when sound of his vehicle become lesser and lesser.

Author wants to say that the little girl was afraid of his father. She became tense because of his presence. She felt relaxed when father was away.



Father used to come back home in the evening. He would sit in the drawing-room. The little girl used to stand near the staircase. She would hear voices of her father. Father would ask for tea. He used to enquire if the paper had come. She would request mother of the little girl to check if the paper was lying outside. He would also ask to bring his slippers.



Word Meaning
Take off Remove
Slip down Climb down slowly

Kezia is name of the little girl.  Her mother would call her to come to the drawing room. Mother used to say that if Kezia is a good girl she would climb down and remove shoes of father. Kezia would slowly climb down the staircase. Very slowly she would cross the hall and open the door of the drawing room.by pushing it.

Word Meaning
Spectacles Reading glass
Terrifying Fearful, Causing fear
Stutter Stammer

Before Kezai reached near her father, he would put on his spectacles. He would look at Kezia from above his spectacle. Kezia used to get afraid by that style of his father. The father used to ask Kezia to quickly remove his boots and take these outside.

Then father would ask her if she had been a good girl throughout the day. [This probably means if Kezia had obeyed her mother and did not do any mischief.] Kezia used to reply that she did not know about it.

While replying she used to stammer. Father would copy her style. He would further say that if Kezia continued to stammer, he mother might take her to a doctor for consultation.



Word Meaning
Given it up Stopped the habit
Wretched Bad, Terrible, Sad
On the brink of About to do something

She had stopped the habit of stammering while talking to other people. Kezia stammered only when she was talking to her father. This was because she used to make excessive try to be careful while speaking to her father.

Her father would further ask why Kezia was looking so sad that day. He used to advise her mother to look happy. He used to compare her looks with that a child who was about to commit suicide.

Then he would ask Kezia to carefully take his teacup back to the table.

Word Meaning
Especially Particularly
Giant Very big, Huge

Kezia was a little girl. So her father looked very big to her.  Particularly his mouth opened very wide when he yawned. Whenever Kezia thought about her father, she thought that he was a huge person.

Word Meaning
Sleeping soundly In deep sleep
Nice talk Friendly talk

In the afternoon of every Sunday, Grandmother of Kezia used to send Kezia to the ground floor. Grandmother thought that Kezia would have a friendly talk with her parents. [Probably Kezia lived in a room on first floor. She shared that room with her grandmother]

But when Kezia came to drawing room, her mother would be reading something. While her father would be lying on the sofa. He would put his handkerchief on face. His feet used to be on one of the best cushions of their house. He would be in a deep sleep and snoring.

So Kezia could not have any discussion with her parents in afternoons of Sunday.

Word Meaning
Gravely Seriously Sadly,

In the drawing room Kezia would sit on a stool. She would seriously and continuously look at his father. After waking up father would stretch himself a bit. He would ask the time and then look at Kezia. She would advise Kezia to not to stare at him, He would insult or tease Kezia by saying that she looked like an owl.

Word Meaning
Kept indoors Was asked to remain in the house

One day Kezia was suffering from cold. She was not allowed to go out of the house on that day. That day her grandmother told Kezia that birthday of his father was next week. She suggested that Kezia should make a pin-cushion for his father. She should use yellow coloured silk cloth for making the cushion. Grandmother thought that it would be a beautiful gift for father of Kezia.

Word Meaning
Laboriously With lot of effort
Wandered into Walked into
Look for To search
Scrap Waste material, Unrequired material

Kezia made lot of efforts to make the cushion. She used two layer cloth to make the cushion. She stitched three side of the cushion. Now she needed to fill it up with something. She did not know what she should do. Her grandmother had gone out of the house to a garden. She went into the bedroom of her mother. She was searching for some waste material to fill in the cushion.

Word Meaning
Discovered Found
Gathered Collected
Tiny Very small
Stuffed Filled
Sewed Stitched

On the table which was kept near the bed, she found lot of papers. She thought that those were not required by anyone. So she collected those. She tore those papers into small pieces. She used those pieces to fill the cushion. After that she stitched the fourth side of the cushion. Now the cushion was ready.

Word Meaning
Hue and cry Uproar, Shouting, Hullaballoo
Great speech Important speech

That night there was lot of shouting and uproar in the houses. Father had written a speech. He was to give that speech at the Port Authority. Papers on which that speech was written could not be found. All the rooms were searched to find those papers. Servants were asked if they had seen those papers. At last Mother came into the room of Kezia.



Word Meaning
Screamed Shouted
This instant Immediately, At once

Mother asked Kezia if she had seen some papers on the table of their room. Kezia replied that she had seen those paper. She tore those papers to make the surprise gift of Father. Mother shouting with anger and surprise. Mother ordered Kezia to immediately come down to the dining room.

Word Meaning
Dragged Pulled
Pacing Walking, Walking quickly
To and fro From one point to other and back
Sharply Harshly, Angrily

While Kezia was walking towards ground floor, she was also pulled to walk quickly. There, Father was walking from one end to the other and back. He had kept his hands on his back. He angrily asked what had happened. Mother explained everything to him. [Mother explained why Kezia had torn those papers.]

Word Meaning
Whispered Spoke in low voice, Murmured
Fetch Bring
Damn The word damn is used to curse a thing or a situation
Put to bed Be ordered to sleep

Father asked Kezia if she had torn those papers. Because of fear she spoke in very low voice that she had not done it. Father aasked Mother to take Kezia to her room. He also asked to bring that surprise gift. Owing to his anger, Father cursed the gift. He advised Mother that Kezia should now sleep.

Word Meaning
Shadowed Dark, Without light

Kezia was continuously crying. Therefore she was not able to explain to her parents why she had torn those papers. She was lying on her bed. The lights were switched off so her room was dark. It was evening time. Small amount of light that was coming into the room had made some pattern on the floor. Even those patterns looked sad to her. [Meaning that Kezia was very sad] Then father entered the room. He was having a ruler in his hand. Father told that he would beat Kezia for the mistake she had committed.

Word Meaning
Bedclothes Bedsheets and other sheets to cover oneself
Once and for all Permanently

Kezia shouted ‘No, no’. She hid herself under the sheets that were on the bed. Father pulled the sheets away. He ordered Kezia to sit in the bed. He asked her to hold out her little soft hands. He further told that it was necessary to teach a permanent lesson to Kezia. After that she will always remember not to touch anything which did not belong to her.

Kezia told her father that she was making a gift for his birthday. But Father did not listen to her. He brought the ruler down. Father hit on little pink coloured palms of Kezia with the ruler.

Word Meaning
Wrapped Covered
Rocked Moved gently
Rocking chair A chair built on two curved pieces so that it can move

After that beating, grandmother of Kezia covered her in a shawl. Grandmother had put Kezia in a rocking chair and rocked her in the chair. She had covered Kezia in a shawl.  Even after many hours of the incident Kezia was sobbing.  She asked her grandmother why God created father. She wanted to say if God had created Father to beat his children. She was deeply hurt.

Word Meaning
Hanky Handkerchief
Blow nose Clean nostrils by blowing air out of nostrils

Grandmother gave a clean handkerchief to Kezia. She advised Kezia to clean her nostrils by blowing her nose into the hanky. Grandmother advised Kezia to sleep. Grandmother told Kezia that by the morning she would forget about the incident. Grandmother had tried to explain to Father that he should not have beaten Kezia. But Father was very angry that night.

But the little girl could never forget the incident. Every time she saw her father, she used to put her hands behind her back. Her cheeks used to become pink because of fear.

Word Meaning
Macdonalds Family of Mr. Macdonald
Next door A house adjacent to one’s house
Tag A type of outdoor game
Turn hose on him Spray water on him with a pipe
All the time Throughout , Every time

Family of Mr. Macdonald lived in the house which was adjacent to house of Kezia. They had five children. Through a gap in the boundary wall of her house Kezia looked into their house. They all were playing ‘tag’. The youngest baby, Mao, was sitting on the shoulder of Mr. Macdonald. His two small daughters had caught his coat pockets. They all were running around in their garden. They were laughing. On one occasion the boys sprayed water on their father through a hose pipe. Mr. Macdonald was laughing all the time.



After seeing these activities, Kezia understood that all fathers were not alike. They had different behaviours. One day, all of a sudden, Mother of Kezia became sick. So Mother and Grandmother went to hospital.

Now Kezia was alone in the house. Only their cook, whose name was Alice, was at house. During daytime Kezia was not afraid. In the evening, Alice requested Kezia to go to sleep. That time, suddenly Kezia was afraid.

Word Meaning
Nightmare A frightening dream
Grannie Grandmother
Whispery Full of whispers, As if someone is speaking

Kezia asked Alice what she should do if she had a frightening dream. She further told that many times she has such dreams. During such situations, Kezia goes to her Grandmother. They sleep together. Kezia told that she could not stay alone in the dark. She feels as if someone is speaking in a low voice.


Alice advised that kezia should now sleep. He removed her socks. He further advised that she should not shout otherwise her father will get disturbed.

Word Meaning
Butcher One who sells meat
Dreadful Frightening,
Beside Near
What’s the matter What happened

But the same old fearful dream came to Kezia. A meat seller was having a big knife and a rope with him. He was coming nearer and nearer to Kezia. He had a frightening smile. Kezia was not able to move. She was standing still and shouted to call her Grandmother. Kezia woke up from this fearful dream. She was shivering. When she opened her eyes he saw that her father was standing near her bed. He was having a candle in his hand. He asked Kezia what had happened.


Word Meaning
Put away Removed
Tucked up Covered with sheets or blankets

Kezia told him that she had seen a butcher with a knife in her dreams. She wanted to be with her Grandmother. Father blew off the candle. He lifted Kezia in his arms. He carried her through the passage to his bedroom. This was a big bedroom. A newspaper was lying on the bed. He removed the newspaper. And carefully laid the little girl on the bed. He nicely covered the child using a sheet or a blanket.

Word Meaning
Beside Near
Half asleep Feeling very sleepy but awake also
Butcher’s smile all about her Still thinking about the smile of butcher
Crept Moved slowly
Snuggled Moved in a comfortable situation

Father also slept on the same bed near Kezia. The little girl Kezia was still feeling very sleepy. She imagined about the smile of the butcher. She was actually afraid of her nightmare. So she moved closer to Father. She put her head under the arm of her father. Now she was feeling comfortable. She was not afraid.  The darkness of the night did not bother her.  Father could feel that Kezia’s feet were cold because of fear. So he advised Kezia to rub her feet with his feet. This was her feet would become warm.


Word Meaning
Look after To take care of

Father was very tired. So he fell asleep before the little girls could sleep. A funny thought came to the mind of Kezia. She thought that Father was really not getting help from anyone. He was not as small as Kezia was but still not very big. Nobody ever took care of him. His body was not as soft as that of Grandmother. But Kezia felt comfortable.

Word Meaning
Stirred Moved
Sighed Took a deep breath
Hear it going Hear its movements
Have a big heart Being generous, Being helpful

Kezia thought that everyday Father had to go to work to earn livelihood for the family. When he returned he was very tired. It was not possible for him to play like Mr. Macdonald does.  And she had torn her beautiful speech. Suddenly she move a bit and took deep breath.  Father asked her if she had any problem or she was having one more dream. The little girl replied that her head was on his heart. She could hear beats of his heart. Dear Father you are very generous.




Rain on the Roof


Poet – Coates Kinney


Word Meaning
Humid shadows Dark clouds full of water
Hover Float,
Starry sphere Sky that is full of stars
Melancholy Sadness
Gently Softly
Poetic Devices
When the humid shadows hover Alliteration
Over all the starry spheres Alliteration
And the melancholy darkness Personification

Dark clouds which are full of water are floating in the sky. The sky is full of stars.  But because of dark clouds stars are not visible.  The darkness because of clouds causes sadness. The rain drops start falling, meaning that it is now raining. The rain drops are like tears of sadness falling from sky. It implies that presently poet is in sad mood.



Word Meaning
Bliss Happiness, Blessing
Cottage chamber Small bed room
Patter Sound of rain drop falling on something
Soft rain overhead Soft sound of raindrops falling on roof
Poetic Devices
What a bliss to press the pillow Alliteration
Of a cottage-chamber bed Alliteration
And lie listening to the patter Alliteration
And lie listening to the patter Onomatopoeia

The poet says when it is raining and dark outside and it is a blessing and so comfortable to lie on the bed of my small bed room. It feels so good to keep my head on a pillow.  While the poet is lying on his bed, he thinks that the sound of raindrops falling on the roof of my bedroom is quite soft.


Word Meaning
Tinkle Sound usually a ringing sound
Shingle Rooftop
Fancy Imagination
Dreamy fancies Imaginations in a dream
Poetic Devices
Every tinkle on the shingles Onomatopoeia
Into busy being start, Alliteration

The poet says that every sound of rain falling on the rooftop is creating an echo in his heart. When he listens to such sound several imaginations he had seen in his dreams starts coming to him once again. Poet wants to say that owing to the sound of raindrops he is able to recall his memories of the past. These probably comes in his dreams and imaginations.


Word Meaning
Recollections Past memories
Weave Create
Woof In this poem it means mind
Patter Sound of rain drop falling on something
Poetic Devices
Of the rain upon the roof. Alliteration
As I listen to the patter Onomatopoeia


Word Meaning
Years agone Years gone by, Previous years
Ere Before
Darling Dear, Here it refers to poet
Dreamers One who dreams, Here it refers to poet
Dawn Early morning before rise of the Sun
Poetic Devices
Now in memory comes my mother, Alliteration
To regard the darling dreamers Alliteration
Ere she left them till the dawn: Alliteration

The poet says that now his mother comes into his memory. She is as affectionate and as lovely as she used to be many years ago. She used to love all her darlings – the poet and his siblings. She would allow the poet to sleep till the morning so that he could have his dreams.


Word Meaning
Fond Affectionate, With lot of love,
List A powerful desire, Crave, A strong feeling
Refrain A short sentence or para repeated,

Something done again and again.

The poet can even today feel the affectionate looks of her mother. She always looked. at the poet with love. The poet still wants to have affection of her mother. He has a strong desire for affection of his mother. Whenever poet listens to the sound created by raindrops falling on his rooftop, he is reminded of his mother and her affection.




1 Comment

karan · December 13, 2021 at 2:22 am


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