[Mosaic : Reading In The Genres] When Icicles Hang By The Wall [Questions & Answers]

1. Why does Dick blow his nails?
Ans. Dick blows his nails to keep his fingers warm from the cold winter.

2. Why and when is the milk frozen?
Ans. The milk is frozen after it is milked from the cow and brought inside the home due to the cold winter season.

3. Why does the poet use the word "staring" to describe the owl? Is the owl's cry really a 'merry' note? In what way does the owl's cry contrast with the other details of the poem?
Ans. The poet uses the word "staring" to describe the owl because owls have huge eyes and at night it looks like the owl is staring. No, the owl's cry isn't really a merry note as it is a freezing cold night and the owl is actually crying in pain from the cold weather. The owl's cry contrasts that the entire poem is actually describing the freezing situation everyone is going through.

4. What is ironic about the reference to the person?
Ans. The ironic thing about the person is that he is coughing because of the freezing cold weather instead of doing his daily prayers.

5. How is the owl's call evocative of winter?
Ans. The owl's call is evocative of winter as it deeply summarises the entire theme of the poem. That is about the freezing cold winter.

6. Explain how the poem presents the harshness of winter without actually using words like "cold", "unpleasant", etc.
Ans. The poem presents the harshness of winter pretty cleverly without using the words which would actually describe the winter.