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Please give a summary and critical appriciation of "The Lotus" by Toru Dutt.

In "The Lotus," the goddess of Love wants the goddess of flowers, Flora, to pick which one of all the flowers will be queen. Both the lily and rose are contenders, and factions emerge supporting either one, fighting against each other. By the end of the poem, Flora chooses to merge the colors of the lily and rose to create the lotus flower as queen. The lotus flower is known as a symbol of Hindu faith, and Toru uses it in her poem, combined with the Greek and Roman mythology, to mix the eastern and western sides of her identity.


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"The Lotus" by Toru Dutt is a beautiful example of a Petrarchan sonnet. In the opening lines, we see a conflict between the rose and the lily flower. The mythological goddess of Love, Aphrodite, has come to Flora, asking for a creation that would be seen as the new "undisputed queen" of all flowers:

Love came to Flora asking for a flower
That would of flowers be undisputed queen . . .

Both the rose and the lily use their "bards of power" to attempt to win this title. The rose will "never tower like the pale lily," but in the next line the author wonders if this truly makes the lily a lovelier flower.

In the final six lines of the poem, we find a solution to crowning an undisputed queen. The Goddess Flora creates a brand new flower, the lotus, which is both "rose red" and "lily white" and has characteristics of both flowers.

Interestingly, while the title of the poem is "The Lotus," the flower itself is not mentioned until the final lines of the poem. The lotus flower is a well known symbol of India as well as of the Hindu faith. We can see the author showcasing her pride in her own religion and culture as she presents the idea that the lotus is the most beautiful of all flowers.

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In Toru Dutt's poem, the speaker describes "Love" coming to "Flora" to hear her choice of which flower she thought should be named the "undisputed queen" of flowers. It seems that the rose and the lily had held that high regard for a long time. The "Bards of power/ Had sung their claims./ "The rose can never tower/ Like the pale lily with her Juno mien." As they discuss, the two "flower-factions" couldn't get away from the rose and the lily. They each decided that the "undisputed queen" must be "rose-red" and "lily-white." In the end, Flora gives the lotus, "rose-red" dyed,/ And "lily-white" — the queenliest flower that blows." The lotus flower is pink; the two sides have made a compromise.


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vashim | Student

The Lotus is a sonnet that bears features of the debate poem. It deals with the issue of crowning a flower as the queen. When Love looks for it, the choice cannot be made easily. Pets over the years have highlighted different aspects of the rose and lily, two contenderscontenders for the high honour, and in each case it seems that one has a better claim over the other. Two arguments - one each in favour of the rose and lily - are presented in the first eight lines of the poem. As Love's search for the perfect flower continues, the sestet sees the resolution of the argument. Love wants to have the best possible feature in "the queenliest flower that blooms". In such situation, it is the lotus which is given to Love which was not only "rose-red dyed" but also "lily-white" and is the most suitable candidate for the position of the queen of flowers. Although the poem is titled 'The Lotus', the flower is mentioned only towards the end of the poem. However, in characterising the lotus as a flower which has combined features of the rose and lily, Toru Dutt beautifully uses the so-called conflict between those two flowers to comment on the excellence of the lotus.

seemaritu | Student

The 'Lotus' by Toru Dutt is a beautiful poem containing a fancy of thoughts. the poem is personified love and flora the poet has compared flowers of rose and lily. they have been treated as rivals.Rose is symbol of beauty and love where as Lily is symbol of innocence and simplicity. At the end the Lotus as declared as the queen of flowers because it has the redness of rose and whiteness of lily therefore the goddess of vegetation (flora)declared lotus as flower of beauty and grandness.

mayagnair | Student

Toru Dutt is the mother of Indo Anglian poets, who died at her young age of 21 years.  The sonnet "The Lotus" is written in Petrarchian style and it raises a question in its octave and resolves the problem in its sestet.  Toru's love for Indian flower and hindu mythology is clearly visible in this simple poem of 14 lines.