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Father to Son Class 11 English Notes

Please refer to Father to Son Class 11 English Notes and summary provided below. The following summary and solved questions have been designed as per the latest syllabus and books issued by CBSE, NCERT, and KVS. By going through and learning the below notes for Class 11 English you will be able to understand the entire chapter and easily solve questions in your exams. Also, refer to the Class 11 English Chapter Summary for all chapters in your textbooks.

Class 11 English Father to Son Summary and Questions

The following Father to Son Class 11 English Notes and questions answers will help you to easily learn the entire chapter. You will be able to solve all questions in upcoming Class 11 English exams and score better marks


This poem has an autobiographical tone, an exclusive experience of the poet in relation to his own son. It is a little family drama. The father and his son have been living together in the same house for years. Instead of coming closer, they are drifting apart. There is a gap in understanding and communication. They don’t see eye to eye on any issue. Such a situation is a common feature in most of the families. The dominating father finds his son defiant. The new generation wants to live life on its own terms. The youngsters think independently. They cease to be on talking terms. The father feels helpless. He is ready to forgive the child provided the latter feels sorry. But he rarely tries to understand the young boy’s likes and dislikes, demands and dreams. The conflict is never resolved because they refuse to compromise.


The father and the son have been living together in the same house for several years. Yet there is no communication between them. They live like strangers. The father knows almost nothing about the son’s grievances and demands. He is unhappy yet eager to mend fences. He wants to analyse the situation and discover the reasons why their relationship has turned sour. The boy was quite nice when he was small.

The father fails to understand where he made the mistake in the upbringing of his child. Possibly he sowed the sickly seed on land which belonged to somebody else. The child bears resemblance with him but he thinks very differently from him. There is some gap in communication and understanding. He has perhaps failed to see the child’s point of view, his dreams and aspirations, his likes and dislikes.

The two are not even on talking terms. This is an unbearable situation. He is ready to ignore the boy’s wasteful habits when he comes back to his father’s house. He is pained to note that the grown-up son is planning to live separately in a world of his own creation. He plans to give his son all his love and stop grumbling. His top-most priority is to break the silence that has encircled them.

The son also talks sensibly. He also feels that the father and the son ought to live in the Same place and in the same house. But his obstinacy hurts and irritates the father. His sorrow turns into anger also because he feels defeated. Yet, he is ready for a compromise. In fact, both have the same desire to come together. They are only waiting for an excuse to forget the past and forgive each other.

I do not understand the child—the father is unhappy and confused. He confesses frankly that his son has become defiant, and he can’t see any reason for it; so try to build up—the father decides to analyse the reason for the stand-off between him and his son. He is eager to normalise his relationship and make peace with him. The son wasn’t so as a child.

Short Questions

Question. Why does the father say, ‘Silence surrounds us’?
 There is no interaction or conversation between the father and the son. They don’t speak a word to each other. Complete silence surrounds them when they are in the presence of each other.

Question. How is the father’s helplessness brought out in the poem?
Answer: The father gave his son all love and care when the son was a little child. He wanted his son to grow up into a man of his choice. But when the son grew up, he had a world of his own. He had his own likes and dislikes. The father did not like his profligacy. Thus there developed a sense of estrangement between the two. There was hardly any communication or conversation between them. The poor father now felt very sad and forlorn. He longed to build the
same relationship with his son that he had when the son was a little child. Now he was prepared to accept his son with all his profligacy. He was also prepared to forgive him for all the sorrows he had given him. All this shows how helpless the poor father is.

Question. Give the central idea of the poem, ‘Father to Son’.
Answer: This poem brings out the agony of a father who has lost all kinship with his son. This poem has a universal appeal. Children, when they grow up, form a world of their own. They hardly ever care how sad and forlorn the old parents feel.

Question. Identify the phrases and lines that indicate distance between father and son.
Answer: The following lines indicate the distance between the father and the son.
1. I do not understand this child.
2. I know nothing of him.
3. We speak like strangers.
4. There’s no sign of understanding in the air.
5. Silence surrounds us.


I do not understand this child
Though we have lived together now
In the same house for years. I know
Nothing of him, so try to build
Up a relationship from how
He was when small.

Question. What sort of a relation is the father trying to build with his son? What will be drawback of this relation?
Answer: The father, having failed to know the height of his son’s emotional growth, is trying to understand him as a child rather than attempting to understand what his son is at the moment. This sort of a relationship that the father is trying to build with his son will do more harms than any good because the father will always think that his son is a little child and will not understand his actual person.

Question. Where did the father fail? How could have he escaped the failure?
Answer: The father failed to understand his son. Instead of growing with his son, he attempted to build a relation with him understanding him as a little child whom he used to know and used to love.

Question. Why doesn’t the father know anything of his son? Or – Give reasons for the failure of the father son relationship.
Answer: The father has failed to understand his son because he could not grow with his son. When the son grew differently, the narrow-minded father felt uneasy and indifferent. He didn’t make any attempt to understand the changed world where his son grew up.

This child is built to my design
Yet what he loves I cannot share.
Silence surrounds us.

Question. Bring out the pun in the line, “Yet what he loves I cannot share.”
Answer: The line has got multiple meaning which is a pun. Here, while “what he loves” may refer to the things, trends and people that the son loves, “I cannot share” has got more than just a single meaning. In the first place it means the father is ashamed of mentioning his son’s crazes and in the other, the father is not allowed to or not willing to share what his son uses.

Question. The child is built to my design. Explain. From where did the building go different?
Answer: The father in the poem had a great expectation from his son but the son didn’t grow up to his expectations and designs. This deviation started when the son found his father’s design for him inappropriate and designed his own life in his way.

Question. The father here seems to be highly egoistic. Explain.
Answer: The father of the son appears to be self centered because of a few reasons. He, in the first place, has a design for his son because he believes that the son would not be able to design his own life.

Father to Son Class 11 English Notes

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