Amanda Summary in English by Robin Klein

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Poet NameRobin Klein
Born28 February 1936 (age 84 years), Kempsey, Australia
GenreChildren’s and young adult fiction
Movies and TV ShowsHating Alison Ashley, Say a Little Prayer, Halfway Across the Galaxy and Turn Left
AwardsDromkeen Medal, Grammy Award for Best Music Film

Childhood —

A Period of Fantasies:

Childhood is a period when children indulge in fantasies. But when they start growing up, their parents expect them to behave more responsibly. Parents start nagging and giving instructions at every step. Children don’t want to be instructed and guided the way their parents want. They feel that their freedom is being curtailed. If parents keep on nagging, their children escape to the dreamy world of fantasies. They don’t want to come out of this fanciful world so early.

Amanda is biting her nails:

Her mother asks her not to do so. Nor does the mother want that she should hunch her shoulders down. She wants her to sit straight. Amanda seems to be drooping her body towards one side. Her mother wants her to adopt a right posture and sit up straight.

Amanda doesn’t Bother:

Amanda doesn’t bother what her mother wants. She is lost in her dreamy world. She imagines as if she were in a quiet emerald island. There is no one there except her. There, she moves around freely and blissfully like a mermaid.

Mother gives Instructions:

Amanda’s mother asks if she has finished her homework. She asks if she has made her room tidy or not. Amanda has not cleaned her shoes yet. Her mother has already asked her to clean her shoes.

Prefers to be an Orphan:

Amanda doesn’t want to be instructed at every step. She wants to lead her own kind of life. She prefers to be an orphan roaming aimlessly around the streets. She wants to walk over the soft dust with her bare feet. She wants her bare feet leave patterns or designs on the dust. She wants to lead a silent and peaceful life. She wants to preserve her freedom. It is the sweetest thing to her in life.

No Chocolate:

Amanda’s mother instructs her not to eat chocolate. She must remember that she has acne. Eating chocolate can create problems for her. Amanda doesn’t bother what her mother is saying. Nor does she look at her mother when she is giving her instructions. The mother expects her to look towards her while she is speaking.

Amanda Becomes Rapunzel:

Again, Amanda doesn’t care a bit what her mother says. She is again lost in her dreamy world. She imagines herself as Rapunzel living in a lonely tower. In that tower, life is free from all cares. It is rare peace and tranquility that prevails there all the time. She is proud of her beautiful hair as Rapunzel was. She will certainly never let down her bright hair like her.

Mother Finds her Moody:

Amanda’s mother asks her not to sulk or feel unhappy any more. She feels that Amanda is always moody and keeps on behaving like that. She must stop sulking and feeling unhappy. Otherwise, people will think that Amanda is unhappy because her mother is always nagging at her.


Theme


The greatest wealth that a child wants to possess is his/her freedom. And the thing that he she never likes
is the constant nagging, unwanted instructions and even overprotection of the parents. ‘Amanda’ is the
story of a young girl who is constantly controlled and instructed to do one thing or the other by her parents. Every child wants to enjoy the dreamy and romantic world of his/her childhood. She doesn’t want to cut this romantic and fascinating world of hers short. Any kind of instruction or interference curtails her freedom. She doesn’t want to be denied chocolate and wants to sit and behave exactly as she wants. She would rather indulge in fantasies than clean her room or her shoes. She wants to postpone growing up. She wants to remain a child for just a little bit longer.


Message


Robin Klein wishes to convey that extreme parental restriction does not allow children to blossom fully
and freely. The poem is about an adolescent girl Amanda, who like every child feels that her freedom is
curtailed. She feels her life is controlled by lots of dos and don’ts. She wants freedom from all restrictions.
She dreams to lead a life of a mermaid in a languid, emerald sea with her being the only inhabitant there.
She feels that an orphan has more freedom than her. She also wished to lead a calm and quiet life in a
tower like that of Rapunzel with nobody to disturb her. Amanda can only hope that her parents will allow
her freedom of action and expression.

Justification of the Title


The title ‘Amanda!’ is quite suitable as its central character is a young girl Amanda. The poem sketches
the mental state of a young girl, nagged and reprimanded continuously by her mother. The control on her is so constant that she has mentally switched off and has chosen to live in her own beautiful inner world, free of restraints.


Key Points (Train of Thoughts)


• The little girl Amanda is biting her nails.
• Her mother asks her not to do it.
• Amanda is putting her shoulders down to one side.
• Her mother asks her to lift up her shoulders and adopt the right posture.
• Amanda seems to be stooping on one side.
• Her mother asks her to sit up straight.
• Amanda doesn’t bother what her mother says.
• She is lost in a world of dreams and fantasy.
• She imagines herself as a mermaid.
• She lives in a peaceful emerald sea all alone.
• She is moving all around freely and blissfully like a mermaid.
• Amanda’s mother asks if she has finished her homework.
• She asks if she has made her room tidy and clean.
• Amanda’s mother reminds her that she instructed her to clean her shoes and she hasn’t done so.
• Amanda doesn’t care a bit what her mother says to her.
• She is again in the world of dreams and fantasy.
• She prefers to be an orphan than living such a life.
• She wants to roam around the streets freely and aimlessly.
• She wants to walk on the soft dust with her bare feet.
• The pressing of the feet will create designs on the soft dust.
• She loves silence, and freedom is the sweetest thing that she values in her life.
• Again, Amanda’s mother stops her from eating chocolate.
• She must remember that eating chocolate might cause her some problem.
• Her mother reminds her to observe good manners.
• She must not look the other way when her mother is speaking to her.
• Again, Amanda ignores her mother.
• She imagines herself as Rapunzel living in a tower where there is a reign of peace and tranquility.
• Amanda is proud of her beautiful hair and would not let them down like Rapunzel.
• Amanda’s mother calls her moody.
• She asks her to stop being sulky and unhappy at once.
• If she remains unhappy, people will think that her mother has been nagging her.


PARAPHRASING


Stanzas

  1. Don’t bite your nails, Amanda!
    Don’t hunch your shoulders, Amanda!
    Stop that slouching and sit up
    straight,
    Amanda!


    Meanings

    The mother said to Amanda, ‘‘Don’t put your nails in your mouth and bite them. Don’t lower down your shoulders, Amanda. Stop bending down, and sit up straight, Amanda!’’

    Stanzas
  2. (There is a languid, emerald sea,
    where the sole inhabitant is me—
    a mermaid, drifting blissfully.)

    Meanings

    Amanda is lost in her imagination and doesn’t bother what her mother is instructing her to do. She imagines herself at a small island where the sea is calm and looks greenish like an emerald. She imagines that she is the only inhabitant on that island. There, she would drift around blissfully like a
    mermaid freely.

    Stanzas
  3. Did you finish your homework,
    Amanda?
    Did you tidy your room, Amanda?
    I thought I told you to clean your
    shoes, Amanda!

    Meanings


    Amanda’s mother again asks her if she has finished her homework and if she has made her room clean and tidy. She also reminds Anand to shoes.

    Stanzas
  4. (a am an orphan, roaming the street.
    I pattern soft dust with my
    hushed, bare feet.
    The silence is golden, the freedom is
    sweet.)

    Meanings


    Again Amanda doesn’t give any reply to the questions posed by her mother. She is again lost in her imaginary world. She imagines herself as an orphan. She is wandering the streets of the town. She is barefooted. Her bare feet walk on the soft sand and their movements create designs and patterns on the soft sand. She realises that silence is golden and freedom is the sweetest thing in the world.

    Stanzas
  5. Don’t eat that chocolate, Amanda!
    Remember your acne, Amanda!
    Will you please look at me when I’m
    speaking to you,
    Amanda!

    Meaning


    Amanda’s mother is giving instructions to her and says ‘‘Don’t eat that chocolate, Amanda! Remember, you have acne and must be careful, Amanda! Will you please look towards me when I am speaking to you, Amanda?’’

    Stanzas
  6. (a am Rapunzel, I have not a care;
    life in a tower is tranquil and rare;
    I’ll certainly never let down my bright
    hair!)

    Meaning

    Again Amanda instead of giving any reply to the questions asked by her mother, loses herself in her imaginary world of dreams. She imagines herself to be Rapunzel. Like her, she doesn’t care for anybody. She lives quietly alone in a tower like Rapunzel. She pledges that she will never let her
    bright hair down.

    Stanzas
  7. Stop that sulking at once, Amanda!
    You’re always so moody, Amanda!
    Anyone would think that I nagged at
    you, Amanda!

    Meaning


    Amanda’s mother asks her not to look unhappy and sad. She should look a little more cheerful. Amanda has been very moody and of unstable nature. She asks her again to look cheerful, otherwise people will blame her mother of nagging and troubling her continuously.
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