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1. Justify the title of the poem “Asleep in the Valley “?

Ans: In the poem ‘Asleep in the Valley’ Arthur Rimbaud has beautifully expressed the harsh reality of war. In the poem, the poet describes the killing of a young soldier against the background of a scenic green valley. It seems that the soldier is asleep with an infantile smile. But as the poem zooms in, it is revealed that the soldier is actually dead. There are two red holes on the sides of his body. He is a casualty of war. He is sleeping a perennial sleep. So, the title of the poem is ironical and it is appropriate par excellence.

2. “The humming insects don’t disturb his rest.” –Who rests and where? Why is his rest not disturbed by the insects? (HS 2020)

Ans: In Arthur Rimbaud’s poem ‘Asleep in the Valley’ the young soldier who is a casualty of war rests in a small green valley.

The young soldier’s rest is not disturbed by the humming insects because he is dead. Initially, it seems that the soldier is sleeping in the valley. But the two red holes in his body reveal that he is shot dead. He has left this world of consciousness. Now his sense organs are not able to receive any kind of sensory stimulus. So the humming of the insects does not reach him and his eternal rest is not disturbed.

3. “His smile/ Is like an infant’s…” Whose smile is being referred to here? Why is his smile compared to the smile of an infants? How does Nature take care of him? (HS 2019)

Ans: The smile of young dead soldier is referred to in Arthur Rimbaud’s poem ‘Asleep in the Valley’.

In the poem, the dead soldier is young and a young soldier is quite ignorant about the cruelty and futility of war. He does what his superiors orders him to do. He is quite innocent and virtuous like a child. He is clueless about cost of a war. His infantile smile even after his death reveals that he is nothing but a victim of war. By comparing his smile to the smile of an infant, the brings out the naked truth – the absurdity and futility of war.

Nature is very kind towards the dead soldier. Mother Nature prepares a warm sun-soaked bed and a pillow made of fern for him. He will not catch cold as mother nature keeps him warm. The feet of the soldier are placed among the flowers. It seems that Mother Nature is very careful of her child.

4. How does the poet express the futility of war through his poem ‘Asleep in the Valley’? What message does he want to convey? (HS 2018)

Ans:  Arthur Rimbaud’s poem ‘Asleep in the Valley’ is a anti-war poem. In this poem through the death of a young soldier, the poet sketches the naked reality of war. War brings nothing but destruction and casualties. The two red holes in the body of the soldier is a proof that ignorant and innocent young youths are butchered in war. The reference of the death of the soldier as ‘asleep’ clearly shows the sarcastic note of the poem. The poem tells us about the futility, cruelty and brutality of war. The death of the soldier in the splendour of nature clearly shows that the poet is against any kind of war.

Through this poem,the poet wants to convey the message that war does not bring peache. It brings nothing but destruction. It takes years for a child to grow young.  But war destroys a youth in the blink.

5. “In his side there are two red holes.” –Who is the person referred to here? What do the ‘two red holes’ signify? What attitude of the poet to war is reflected here?(HS 2018)

Ans: A young dead soldier is referred to in Arthur Rimbaud’s poem ‘Asleep in the Valley’.

The ‘two red holes’ indicates that the young soldier has received fatal wound of bullets and it has caused his death.

In this poem through the death of a young soldier, the poet sketches the naked reality of war. War brings nothing but destruction and casualties. The two red holes in the body of the soldier is a proof that ignorant and innocent young youths are butchered in war. The reference of the death of the soldier as ‘asleep’ clearly shows the sarcastic note of the poem. The poem tells us about the futility, cruelty and brutality of war. The death of the soldier in the splendour of nature clearly shows that the poet is against any kind of war.

6. “A soldier, very young, lies open-mouthed” –Who is the soldier referred to here? Narrate in your own words how the soldier lies in the valley. ( HS 2016)

Ans: The very young soldier who is lying dead in the splendour of nature is referred to in Arthur Rimbaud’s poem ‘Asleep in the Valley’.

The soldier who lies open-mouthed in the valley is a very young. He receives fatal wound of two bullets in the side of his body and it has caused his death. He lies open-mouthed in the heavy undergrowth with a pillow made of fern in the valley. He is pale in his green sun-soaked bed. His feet are placed among the flowers. He sleeps peacefully in sunlight with one hand on his breast. He has an infantile smile on his face.

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