What is a summary of the poem "Superior" by Rabindranath Tagore?

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mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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A Nobel Prize winner for Literature, both a philosopher and a pragmatist, Rabindranath Tagore often translated his own poetry into English; this ability to do so is beneficial because as the author, he knows the precise intent of his work. His poems are described as musical and lyrical.

  • Here is a summary of the poem "Superior":

The poem is written in the voice of an unimaginative schoolmaster who tells the mother with unconscious irony, "Your baby is so absurdly childish." He faults the child with further dramatic irony for not being able to distinguish between the concrete and the mundane and that which is not: 

She does not know the difference between the lights in the
streets and the stars.
When we play at eating with pebbles, she thinks they are real
food, and tries to put them into her mouth.

Yet, when the schoolmaster reads the alphabet from a book, the child tears the pages and laughs "with joy." When he says "Father," she should know, as everyone else does, that her father is not there; still, she looks around with wonder. Further, this teacher does not understand the child's fright when the donkeys of the laundry man stand near him and the child screams, and for "no reason," she calls out "dada." In the final lines, the schoolmaster informs the mother,  

Your baby wants to catch the moon. She is so funny; she calls
Ganesh Ganush.

And concludes with the same line with which he began, "Mother, your baby is silly! She is so absurdly childish!" displaying further his great lack of understanding for the humanistic values that the child intuitively grasps. 

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