Back to: Maharashtra Board Class 10th English Guide & Notes
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In the poem, “The Twins” written by Henry Sambrooke Leigh, the poet has tried to portray the frustration and the problems faced by twins in their lives. Identical twins are very difficult to be separated as their appearance and their resemblance are uncannily similar.
In form and feature, face and limb. I grew so like my brother, That folks got taking me for him, And each for one another. It puzzled all our kith and kin, It reached a fearful pitch; For one of us was born a twin. Yet not a soul knew which.
In the first stanza of the poem, the poet portrays the difficulties faced by identical twins. He used humor in his poem, even while talking about the problems. The speaker of the poem is one of the twins, who describes how he got into trouble throughout his entire life. The root cause of his troubles is the similar features of the likeness. He says that he is so like my brother, that it is difficult to tell them apart.
People around him got confused between both the brothers as they’re so alike in their appearance and in their way of living. It was so confusing that even the readers might get confused about which twin is the speaker and which twin isn’t. Throughout the poem, the speaker complains about the fact that they were always misunderstood for not a soul knew which.
One day, to make the matter worse. Before our names were fixed. As we were being washed by nurse, We got completely mixed; And thus, you see, by fate's decree, Or rather nurse's whim. My brother John got christened me, And I got christened him.
In the second stanza, the speaker claims that the matter became worse when their names were fixed. The nurse apparently mixed up both their names. The speaker then says that it might be their luck or maybe it was because of nurse’s whim that the names got exchanged. The speaker’s name was supposed to be named John, is given to his brother and I got christened him.
This fatal likeness even dogged My footsteps, when at school, And I was always getting flogged, For John turned out a fool. I put this question, fruitlessly, To everyone I knew, “What would you do, if you were me, To prove that you were you?'
In the third stanza, the speaker tells that their Fatal likeness even followed them to school. This speaker often got punished for his brother’s troubles and foolishness. The speaker is finally irritated and restless and asks the reader what would they have done to prove that you were you. This speaker asks the readers if there is any solution to prove his self identity in times like this.
Our close resemblance turned the tide Of my domestic life, For somehow, my intended bride Became my brother's wife. In fact, year after year the same Absurd mistakes went on, And when I died, the neighbours came And buried brother John.
In the final stanza, the speaker says that being twins and the close resemblance created serious problems for them. Serious matters like when the speaker’` to be bride actually ended up marrying his brother, as they looked for the same. Throughout life, the same ridiculous and absurd mistakes went on. Even at the very end of the life, when it was actually the speaker who died, the neighbors came and buried John.
In the final stanza, the speaker exaggerates when he says that his bride got married to his brother or his brother was buried instead of him. He plays nice humor in the last stanza as brother and sister would never allow such things to happen, irrespective of whether they are twins or not.
This poem portrays the commonly known mistakes of twins. The poet has tried to show the frustration of being a twin by using humor in this poem. He berates the problems that a twin might face in his or her day-to-day life.