What if

NCERT Solutions Class 6 English – Unit 9 Poem

Working with the Poem

Question 1. 

(i) Who is the speaker in the poem?

(ii) With your partner list out the happenings the speaker is worried about.

(iii) Why do you think she/he has these worries? Can you think of ways to get rid of such worries?


(i) The speaker in the poem is the poet, Shel Silverstein.

(ii) The speaker is worried about the following things:

  1. What if he is dumb in the school?
  2. What if the swimming pool is closed?
  3. What if he gets beaten up?
  4. What if there is poison in his cup?
  5. What if bolt of lightning strikes him?
  6. What if he gets sick and dies?
  7. What if he doesn’t grow taller?
  8. What if his parents get divorced?
  9. What if his teeth don’t grow straight?
  10. What if he never learns to dance?

(iii) Such worries arise because of the fears in our mind. Some of such fears arise when we have seen something similar happening around us.

Such fears and worries can be avoided by sheer will power and optimistic mindset.

Question 2.

Read the following line.

Some Whatifs crawled inside my ear.

Can words crawl into your ear? This is an image. The poet is trying to make an image of what she/he experiences. Now with your partner try and list out some more images from the poem.


Some of more such images from the poem are:

“And pranced and partied all night long

And sang their same old Whatif song:”

“Everything seems swell, and then

The night-time Whatif strikes again!”

Question 3.

In groups of four discuss some more ‘whatifs’ that you experience in your day to day life and list them out.

(i) —————————————————————————————————

(ii) —————————————————————————————————

(iii) —————————————————————————————————

(iv) —————————————————————————————————

(v) —————————————————————————————————

(vi) —————————————————————————————————

And now write a poem of five or six lines with the ‘whatifs’ that you have listed.


Do it yourself.

Extra Questions and Answers

Extra Questions Very Short Answer Type

Question 1.
What was the reason behind the child’s fear in the poem?

The child was worried about his future because any mishap can happen anytime in life. There seems to be lack of security in child’s mind.

Question 2.
When did strange things hit the child’s mind?

Strange things hit the child’s mind when she was lying on her bed the last night.

Question 3.
What do you understand by ‘Whatif song’?

The ‘Whatif song’ in the poem means what will happen in case such a change takes place in the child’s life.

Extra Questions Short Answer Type 

Question 1.
Do you think the child’s fear was unnecessary?

Yes, the child’s fear was unnecessary because she was only assuming things. Nobody is sure about future and it is a mystery for everyone. Thinking too much about future is needless and waste of time.

Question 2.
What happened the next morning when the child wakes up?

The child wakes up the next morning and everything was fine. She was afraid of many things last night, but felt good in the morning, but soon started thinking what will happen if those terrifying moments appear again in her mind. The child is in habit of worrying unnecessarily.

Question 3.
What does the poem Whatif talk about? Give a few examples of some of the child’s worries or cynical fears.

Children in general have some fears and worries. Their thinking can’t be rational or probable. The speaker gives a long list of some unusual situations or mishaps. These fears haunted her in sleep.

She wondered what would happen if she lost her power to speak or got beat up, or got sick and died. Moreover, she might fail/miss the test, or her hair grew green or she was struck by lightning, or a war broke out, and her parents got divorced. By morning she became normal again.

Questions 4.
Who is the speaker in the poem Whatif? What is she worried about? Can you suggest ways to get rid of silly fears?

The speaker in the poem is a girl. She is haunted by fears and worries. These are related to her safety. There is no sequence or substance in her fears. Such baseless and absurd fears trouble us when we go to bed.

These are like frightening dreams, only a cowardly or weak minded person entertains such fears. One can get rid of them if one tells oneself firmly to shed all worries.

Extra Questions Long Answer Type

Question 1.
What kind of fears and doubts arise in the child’s mind?

The child was worried what will happen if she loses the power to speak or if her school closes the swimming pool. She was anxious if she gets beaten up or if somebody puts poison in her cup. The child might fall sick and die. She might get hit by lightning and she might stop growing in height.

There can be other bad situations such as wind might tear up her kite or a war breaks out. It is possible that her parents might get separated and her teeth can grow irregularly., She might not be able to learn dance and tear her pants.

Question 2.
What is being an optimist or pessimist?

For a person, being always optimistic is very much essential to lead a happy and healthy life. It is important to understand that life is full of ups and downs. Sometimes we are happy and sometimes sad. There may come different kinds of problems in our life.

Instead of being monotonous it is preferred to face the issues and try to find the solution for the same. Optimism always helps to find a key for any kind of problem. If a person continues to be pessimistic, it becomes difficult to live a peaceful life. The person never gets strength to survive in difficult time. Thus, it is always important to be an optimist rather than a pessimist.

Summary in English

The narrator is a young girl. Her mind is sometimes filled with doubts and fears. At night such unpleasant situations haunt her. She wonders what will happen if she loses her power to speak, or if the school closes the swimming pool, or if she gets beaten up, or if somebody puts poison in her cup.

It is also possible that she may get sick and die, or fail in the examination, or stop growing in height, or is hit by lightning. The other such bad situations are that the wind may tear up the kite, or a war breaks out, or her teeth grow irregularly, or she may never learn to dance.

When she wakes up next morning, everything looks fine and normal. But her fears return at night again.

Summary in Hindi

लेखक एक युवा बालिका है। उसके दिमाग में कभी-कभी संशय और भय भर जाते हैं। रात को ये दुखदायी स्थितियाँ उसके दिमाग को मथती रहती हैं।उसे हैरानी है कि क्या परिणाम होगा यदि वह अपनी वाक्शक्ति खो बैठे, अथवा उसका स्कूल स्विमिंग पूल के इस्तेमाल पर पाबन्दी लगा दे, अथवा कोई व्यक्ति उसकी धुनाई कर दे अथवा उसके प्याले में विष घोल दे।

यह भी संभव है कि वह स्वयं बीमार पड़कर भगवान को प्यारी हो जाये, अथवा वह परीक्षा में फेल हो जाये अथवा उसका कद बढ़ना थम जाये अथवा उस पर आकाशीय बिजली गिर जाये। अन्य ऐसी बुरी स्थितियाँ हैं कि पवन उसकी पतंग फाड़ दे, अथवा विश्व में युद्ध छिड़ जाये अथवा उसके दाँत टेढ़े-मेढ़े उगे अथवा वह कभी भी नृत्यकला न सीख पाये।

जब वह अगली सुबह उठती है तो सब कुछ ठीक-ठाक और सामान्य पाती है। पर उसके भय पुन: रात को उसे तंग करने लगते हैं।