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A Child is Born- Class 12 Heritage of words

A Child is Born        Germaine Greer 



‘A Child is Born’ is an extract of the book ‘Sex and Destiny’ written by an Australian writer Germaine Greer. The Given extract presents a comparison between parent-child relationship in the affluent West, and the traditional East.
According to the writer, the traditional society of the east has a certain procedures and ways for managing childbirth. These ways have been culturally and collectively acceptable because of their usefulness. For instance the taboos and prohibitions help to control the ancient and keep the unknown at boy. Since a pregnant woman will have many rein for events due to the support of the family members and neighbours, she begins to have a sense of security. At the same time a mother does not have to face the burden of reinventing the procedures as they have been set beforehand. A university graduate followed all these procedures and die-hard superstitions right from the beginning of her pregnancy. According to the author the graduate approached her pregnancy with all the seriousness. As a result the hospital authorities found it difficult to believe that she was in the second stage labor until the baby was about to be born. The writer refers to one of the disadvantages faced by a woman in this society. It is the question of mortality either of the baby or the mother. At this instance the writer asks a question whether the priority given to the aspect of reducing this prenatal mortality is justifiable, especially when it hinders the freedom to live in ones own way. Readers get surprised to see the author’s subtle suggestion that the rich experience a pregnant woman has in this society is more significant than the question of mortality.
The author refers to one of the practices of the traditional society of the East which is opened to criticism in the West. It is the practice of calling the woman as the mother of her first born baby. She explains the similar practice in the West where the woman’s lineage sinks under her husband’s name after marriage.
According to her, a woman in the East goes to live in the house of her husband. Being a stranger in new house, she longs to have a child so that she can feel herself as the member of the family. Besides, the birth of a child is found necessary because the children are born in response to the pressure from the whole family. Another important aspect of the East is the intimacy of the family. In order that a child can be more intimate with the members of the family, he or she is kept away from the parents. As the child is brought up among these members he or she becomes attached, which is necessary for the integrity of the family.
When the child is born, it is celebrated in the mother’s house and also in the house of her parents. The pregnancy is found to be a reward for the mother because she is allowed to spend a few times in the house of her parents before and after the child’s birth. New clothes are brought for both mother and the baby. After that all the women and girls gather and pass their time by singing and dancing. The program runs throughout night without the participation of any man.
In this society one finds a rosy picture of rearing child. For instance in Bangladesh children are looked after by the whole family. Different daughter-in-law looks after the children by sharing their responsibilities. If one daughter-in-law bathes the children, another one cooks 23 www.hsebnotes.com 

the meal for all of them. Thus, they are brought up in a pleasant atmosphere where they don’t need any toys to play. Unfortunately, the technological changes start creating many social problems. Some other families consider the hospitals and visiting them as the prestigious matter. This leads to the extra expenditure and the precious experience that a pregnant woman has otherwise is at stake. In hospitals they face a miserable condition without proper attendance of the nurses. Women screaming dreaming in the pools of blood without nurses by their side shock the visitors. Fortunately, the present communities are being more levelheaded and skeptical of this new technology. The essay ends with a suggestion that voices of women who are conscious and concerned about the rich experience should be given proper attention. In that case, the population explosion will take care of itself.

Important Questions from A Child is Born by Germaine Greer
Short Answer Questions

1. What kind of treatment does a woman in Bangladesh receive during her pregnancy and after the childhood? [2063] 2. What differences does the writer show between a traditional society and a modern society in matters of child bearing? [2066] 3. The essay ‘A Child is Born’ is often found controversial and one-sided. Do you agree? Give reasons for your agreement or disagreement. [2067]

Long Answer Questions
1. Discuss in about 200 words the advantages of child-rearing in a traditional society. How is the traditional child-rearing a beneficial practice for the child and young mother? [2059] 2. What differences does the writer show between a traditional society and a modern society in matters of pregnancy, child birth and childbearing? [2060, 2065] 3. Write in about 100 words about the values held by the traditional Nepali society in which a woman who cannot bear children is considered a failure in her personal life and a useless woman in the eyes of the society. Give your own views on the subject. [2061] 4. What about the place of a mother in the Nepali family with reference to different stages of her life. [2069]
Glossary: [taboos: something that you should not do because people generally think that is wrong, rein: have a lot of control over something, hinder: to make it difficult for someone to do something, subtle: not obvious, intimacy: special friendship or sexual relationship, prestigious: respected and admired, skeptical: doubting that something is true or useful]

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