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A Roadside Stand

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CBSE Gujarat Board Haryana Board

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Class 10 Class 12
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What is the childish longing that the poet refers to? Why is it vain?

Robert Frost in the poem ‘A Roadside Stand’ has given a very lively picture of the poor rural people waiting for the polished city traffic to stop at the stand and help them with money. The poet thinks that they suffer from a childish longing.

They wait there all the day long to hear the sound of cars to stop there by applying its brakes. They wait so eagerly but hardly anyone of the thousand passing cars stop there. They keep their windows to attract them but all in vain. They don’t complain about but the sadness of the untold trusting sorrow lurks on their faces.

Their hope of getting some help of money or cash flow remains unfulfilled. Their all day wait longing proves to be the childish longing in vain. The poor innocent rural people get deeply hurt.


The city folk who drove through the countryside hardly paid any heed to the roadside stand or the people who ran it. If at all they did, it was to complain. Which lines bring this out? What was their complaint about?

The poet, Robert Frost, through his poem ‘A Roadside Stand’ has presented a universal countryside picture. The city folk drive fast through the countryside in their cars. They show their indifference towards the rural folk. If at all they did, it was only to complain. The following lines will bring this out -(i) ‘Then out of sorts’.

At having the landscape marred with the artless paint.

(ii) ‘Of signs that with N turned wrong and S turned wrong.’

They complain the artless paint has spoiled the complete landscape. On seeing N and S turned wrong, they feel irritation.


What was the plea of the folk who had put up the roadside stand?
Why do the people who had put up the roadside stand want some city money to fell in hand?

The poor rural people had put up the roadside stand in the countryside. It was here the speeding city folk cars could wait a while and see the beautiful natural mountains and landscape. They can buy the fruits and other things put on sale for them.

The rural people pathetically plead that the speeding polished traffic to stop for a while. They wait all day for the cars to stop and buy something and give them money. They wanted to earn money from them. That is why, they had put up the roadside stand in the countryside.

Tips: -



Which lines tell us about the insufferable pain that the poet feels at the thought of the plight of the rural poor?

Robert Frost, sees the poor rural people waiting for the polished city traffic to stop and help them with city money. But their waiting and this childish longing go in vain. Robert Frost gives the readers, the hint of his insufferable pain as -

“Sometimes I feel myself I can hardly bear

The thought of so much childish longing in vain.”

“I can’t help owning the great relief it would be

To put these people at one stroke out of their pain.”


The government and other social service agencies appear to help the poor rural people, but they actually do them no good. Pick out the words and phrases that the poet uses to show their double standards.

Robert Frost says that the city good-doers, other social agencies and the government do them no good. They all make very attractive promises. They are indifferent towards their promise to settle them. Their promises are like the moving pictures for them that don’t improve their lot. They swarm around the poor villagers, destroy their peace and night sleep. Their double standard is evident from -

“While greedy good-doers, beneficent beasts of prey

Swarm over their lives enforcing benefits. That are calculated to soothe them out of their wits.”