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What is the meaning of the 4th Paragraph of "60" by Rabindranath Tagore?

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nitinh | Student, Grade 9 | eNotes Newbie

Posted June 26, 2012 at 8:21 AM via web

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What is the meaning of the 4th Paragraph of "60" by Rabindranath Tagore?

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akannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted June 27, 2012 at 7:48 AM (Answer #1)

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The fourth paragraph is probably the most important in terms of bringing out Tagore's themes in the poem.  It is in this paragraph that Tagore speaks to the idea of how the children are playing and enjoying a world that might challenge their conception of innocence.  The children exist in their own subjectivity, filled with joy and a certain amount of bliss.  Prior to this, Tagore has hinted at the way of the world being in somewhat of diametric opposition to this subjectivity.  Yet, it is in this paragraph/ stanza where Tagore characterizes the world, in the form of the sea, as an element that challenges the fundamental subjectivity of the children.  The images of a sea as a force that can overwhelm this subjectivity and sense of childhood as a blissful identity is evident in the descriptors that Tagore gives.  The "laughter" and "smile" of the sea are elements that seek to be more of a natural predator to the children, oblivious of the strength of the natural world.  Tagore does not condemn the children in this paragraph, but rather brings out the way of the world in stark opposition to what the children represent.  In this, there is a clash between the subjectivity of the children and the objective nature of the world that can negate or blight such subjectivity.

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ramlakshmi | High School Teacher | Honors

Posted June 26, 2012 at 4:54 PM (Answer #2)

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'The sea surges up with laughter 
and pale gleams the smile of the sea beach. 
Death-dealing waves sing meaningless ballads to the children, 
even like a mother while rocking her baby's cradle. 
The sea plays with children, 
and pale gleams the smile of the sea beach.'

Here Tagore brilliantly brings out the mutual affection that exists between the sea and the children . The sea is proud and happy like a mother who stands guard over her children at play . The innocent children who just love the closeness of the sea are so endearing that the sea seems to smile at them affectionately. The waves, which are intimidating to those greedy adults who are after its riches ( pearls  fishes etc,) are gentle with the children.They appear to produce a lullaby to the playing children. The children have nothing to fear from the sea. On the other hand , people who try to exploit its treasure and overstep their limits will have to pay a heavy price for their attempts.    

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