Memories of Childhood - Summary

Summary of Memories of Childhood Class 12 English

The Memories of Childhood summary comprises two autobiographical excerpts of Memories of Childhood written by ZitKala Sa and Bama.

Zitkala Sa experienced racial and cultural discrimination, whereas Bama is a victim of caste discrimination. In the summary of childhood memories, Zitkala Sa and Bama looked back and narrated the extracts of childhood, which reflects the relationship with the existing culture. Memories of childhood explanation recount both excerpts showing resistance and rigidity developed in both females who went through the cruel social differences during their juvenility.

First Part of Memories of Childhood Class 12 Summary

The Cutting of My Long Hair is the first part of class 12 English memories of childhood summary narrated by Zitkala-Sa, whose original name is Gertrude Simmons Bonnin. In this summary of childhood memories, Zitkala-Sa, a native American born in 1876, experienced severe prejudice. An American Indian shared her first day at Carlisle Indian School, located in Land of Apples, which was terrible and rough. It was cold, and she was terrified in the chaos of the irritating loud noises of the ringing bell from belfry, clanking shoes, and unending murmuring in English, a language unknown to her. The rules of the places were unknown to her. She could not acknowledge the rules at the breakfast table, which lead to several mistakes. Zitkala Sa shared an awkward experience where pupils had to pull chairs at the first bell. However, ZitKala Sa sat down immediately on listening to the first bell. Also, everyone had to sit on the second bell; she remained standing. She was feared and did not venture into anything when another bell rang to avoid errors. ZitKala Sa was scared of the woman with a pale face. She cried and sank to the ground as the whole incident infused humiliation into her. As the day continued, her friend Judewin spoke to her pale-faced woman.

Judewin also informed her about the chopping of her hair to shingled hair. Zitkala was baffled by this idea because she had grown with the mother's beliefs that only unskilled warriors and mourners have short hair. According to her culture, shingled hair was the symbol of cowardice. After Judewin left Zitkala to her destiny, Zitkala decided not to submit easily. She decided to struggle and rebel until the last moment she could. She hid under a bed present in an empty dark hall, windows covered by green curtains.  She heard footsteps; the sound increased, and finally, someone looked under the bed. She was dragged and tied to the chair. She fought, kicked wildly, cried out aloud. She resisted and continued to shake her head until her hair was cut. She recalled her mother, but no one was present to console her. Her spirits were crushed due to this merciless act. The cruelty reminded her of the comforts of her home. She felt like a little animal part of a group driven by a herder.

The Second Part of Memories of Childhood Summary Class 12

The second part of the summary of the chapter Memories of Childhood is - We two are human beings is autobiographical except Kurruku, written by author pen name Bama. In this summary of Memories of Childhood Bama, a Tamil Dalit narrates her experience in the third standard. She was not aware of the evil of untouchability, but she had experienced humiliation and embarrassment in her surroundings. 

Bama describes her day while returning from school. The distance from school to the home could be traversed in ten minutes. However, she took half an hour to reach home. She loitered to watch unending attractions like a temple, puppet show, monkeys, snake’s charmer showing snakes, stunt performance, Pongal celebration, and various snacks and savory stalls. Some of the others were always going on, which attracted her attention. If nothing was available these sites were available, she stopped to watch the chopping of onion and coffee clubs, almonds falling by wind, vegetables and fruits stall. On one fine day, she saw a threshing floor installed near a street. The landlord sat to watch the executions. An elder person who was carrying a small packet came to a street. He was holding a packet by string without touching it. He bowed and extended the packet to the landlord. Bama was surprised and amused to see all this event; however, she went home and narrated the story to her elder brother, Annan.

Annan explained to Bama that it is not funny how the older man held the packets. Annan explained that the man was from a low caste. He could not touch food as the landlord believed that they were from high caste and would get polluted if they touched him. As soon as Bama understood the event, she felt disgusted and sad. She wondered why poor people showered respect before such cruel people, and the rich forget that others are human beings.

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

Q1) What is the Conclusion of Memories of Childhood?

Ans: The two autobiographical excerpts are the summary Memories of Childhood. It describes the different types of social discrimination like racial and caste discrimination prevalent in the society which the two authors Bama and Zitkala Sa, had experienced during their childhood lives. These experiences made both women rigid due to societal pressures and harsh environments resulting from social differences. Both wounded females have shared the hardships suffered by the acts of social discrimination in their early lives.

Q2) What Type of Discrimination is Narrated in the Summary of the Chapter Memories of Childhood?

Ans: The Cutting of My Long Hair extracts depicts racial discrimination. Zitkala Sa experienced the racial difference in her boarding school. The culture of the school was completely different from the culture from which she belonged. The second extract, We two are human beings depicts caste discrimination where low caste people are considered untouchable. Not only low caste pay respect to high caste but also anything touched by low caste will be polluted.