ISC Reverie workbook answers : The Dolphins – technique of contrast


‘The Dolphins’

Question : How is the play of contrast important for the poem ‘The Dolphins’?

Answer: contrast is used to heighten the effect of difference between two or more entities.

     The technique of contrast is efficiently used in the poem to highlight the difference between the present confined state and the earlier free state of dolphins.

      The poem begins with a happy tone, where the  dolphins call their world a place where they can ‘swim’ or ‘dance’,but soon highlights the stark contrast between their natural habitat i.e. sea and their new home ,the pool. The tone abruptly changes from happiness to utter despair. The dolphin thinks  about its happy life  in the ocean and his present life in the confinement of the pool.

  They say
“We are in our element but  we are not free”.
      The dolphin says that their element remain same in both the places ,but their is a stark contrast between the two places. In the ocean, it was completely free, there was no boundaries in the vast ocean. Their was no one  to control their movements. But on the other hand it’s life  in  the pool is not free, the pool has a boundary  wall and it is limited.
   “There is a man and there are hoops.”
      Their  life  in the pool is monotonous. They have to follow the instructions of a man with hoop. They are enslaved and destined to perform tricks to entertain the visitors.

  “We were blessed and now we are not blessed .”

     The dolphins once  used to feel free and blessed in their “element”i.e. in the vast  and limitless ocean but now it is opposite. They are confined to a man made pool. They are no longer blessed as they  are forced to travel “same space” daily.

  The dolphin says

” We have found no truth in these waters, no explanation tremble  on our flesh.”

        Here they specifically draws comparison with those water in the ocean which were real and true. While there is no truth lies within this pool. The dolphins have very sensitive skin that react to minute changes in its environment. There is nothing pleasing in the water of the pool that can stimulate their skin (flesh), no explanation could help them to sense this new world.

The dolphins also says-
 “We see our silver skin flesh by like memory of somewhere else.”

  When they were in the sea their skin reflects the natural sunlight and shore like silver under the sun. Now it is an old memory of “somewhere else” as in this new world there is no Sun.
For Dolphins –
 “The moon has disappeared. We circle well -worn grooves of water on a single note”.

  The dolphins are now trapped where the moon is also disappeared around whose image once they used to circle around. But now they are forced to  perform tricks to entertain human beings. They now circle around the coloured ball on a single note of whistle blown by  the man with hoops.

  Their lives are rendered hopeless, there is a man constantly controlling them, there is no escape. The dolphins thus waiting for their impending death. 

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