ICSEhub Practise Questions

The Cold Within

Warm-up Test [15 Marks]

1) What does the dying fire need?  [2]

 The fire is about to die out. It needs more wood to make others warmer. The six of the humans have logs in their hands. They could have saved the fire by thrusting the log into it and save themselves. They could have stood united at a crucial time and lend a hand without bothering about caste, color, creed or other divisive factors.

2) What is the background against which the poem is narrated? [2]

The poem is narrated against the background of six humans being trapped together by chance in bleak and bitter cold.

3) What did the black man see in his piece of wood in James Patrick Kinney’s poem ‘The Cold Within’?  [2]

In the poem ‘The Cold Within’, the black man saw a chance to take revenge by hurting the white wo/man by not sharing his wood to keep the fire burning.

4) Mention any two examples of alliteration in the poem. [2]

Any one :-

·         Six humans trapped by happenstance

·         In bleak and bitter cold

·         But the first one held hers back

·         For, of the faces round the fire

·         The black man’s face bespoke revenge

·         For all he saw in his stick of wood

·         They did not die from the cold without


5) What does the poet mean by “forlorn group” in the poem “The Cold Within” by James Patrick Kinney? Why does he use this term?  [5]

‘Forlorn’ means lonely, sad and hopeless. Here all the six persons were bearing discriminatory feelings in their minds. Even in the moment of distress, when life was at stake, they could not overcome the petty barriers of class, race and religion that divided them. When they had the resources to help each other and save all lives, they chose the other way around. Though they gathered around the fire to warm themselves, they were very much divided, distant and lonely in their hearts. That is why the term “forlorn group” is apt for them.

And, this forlorn group is a symbol for the whole human race. We, people all over the world, are similarly divided on grounds of race, religion, caste, gender and ethnicity. If we don’t learn to come out of these, we are all lost.

6) Discuss the literal and metaphorical meaning of the line-‘Their dying fire in need of logs’.[2]

·         Literally the line means that the fire in the center of the group was dying and needed to be kept alive with the use of logs.

·         Metaphorically it means that the fire of compassion in their hearts was dying- and the selfish refusal of each person to share his/her log of wood only worsened the situation.


Practise Questions

(These questions are designed to increase your in-depth understanding level of this poem. Ask your teacher to check the answers to know your mistakes)

1)    Create a table to answer the following :- [12]

What does the first man/woman hold back and why ?

What does the second man hold back and why?

What does the third man hold back and why?

What does the fourth man hold back and why?

What does the fifth man hold back and why?

What does the sixth man hold back and why?

2) What message is the poet trying to convey in the poem?How does he succeed in carrying out his task?

3) List the themes of the poem.

4)  In what way does the poem bring to light the feelings of the Blacks towards the Whites?

5)  . What proof of human sin is being referred to in the poem ?