The Bistro Styx Summary | Rita Dove | Major English Class 11 | Poem's Questions & Answers by Suraj Bhatt Neb English Support



The Bistro Styx Summary | Rita Dove | Major English Class 11 | Poem's Questions & Answers by Suraj Bhatt Neb English Support
Neb English Support 

The Bistro Styx Summary | Rita Dove | Major English Class 11 | Poem's Questions & Answers by Suraj Bhatt Neb English Support 

               Bistro Styx by Rita Dove 



Bistro Styx by Rita Dove


1. How does the poem begin? What differences does the mother notice in her daughter's appearance?


The poem begins with the narration of a mother who is waiting for her daughter at an art studio. The mother notices that her daughter has become quite thin in her physical appearance.

2. What does the colour of the daughter's clothes symbolize?


The grey skirt colour of the daughter's clothes symbolizes the death of human emotion and sensibility. When the daughter sees her mother, she becomes more formal than affectional. The feeling of the emotional faculty of humanity has been replaced by formality.

3. What kind of life does the daughter want to live?


The daughter wants to live her life in a very modern as well as sophisticated way. She prefers career, job, opportunity, modernity, fashion etc much than the old attitude, old values ​​and tradition. She also wants to be with her mom because she needs to compete in this modern world to maintain and keep her standards up to date.

4. What does the mother's expression "I've lost her" mean?


The mother's expression "I've lost her" means losing her daughter in the modern as well as sophisticated life of the chaotic city. The mother expresses her feelings in such a way as she finds her daughter completely changed and has forgotten her relationship, village life, tradition and rural values. 

5. What does the poem say about the relationship between the mother and the daughter? 


The poem says about the troubled relationship between the mother and the daughter. Here, the mother finds her modern daughter in the underworld of modern Paris abducted by modern civilization.



1. Read the extract and answer the questions that follow.

She was thinner, with a mannered gauntness

as she paused just inside the double

glass doors to survey the room, silvery cape

billowing dramatically behind her. What's this

a) Whose perspective is depicted in this stanza of the poem?


The mother's perspective is depicted in this stanza of the poem.

b) Who was thinner?


The daughter was thinner.

c) What does "What is this" imply?


"What is this" implies the mother's inability to recognize her daughter in the studio.

2. Explain the following stanza.

"How's business?" I asked, and hazarded

a motherly smile to keep from crying out:

Are you content to conduct your life

as a clichΓ© and, what's worse,


Here in this stanza, we find the narrator (mother) questioning her daughter. She asks her daughter after meeting her in the city's studio after a long time Here the narrator who is searching for her daughter in the city gets emotional to see her daughter's actual state. She asks her daughter about her business with her controlled sentiments. She prevents herself from her sentiments with her showy smile on her face. Seeing such a useless living style of her daughter she tries to find out her daughter's opinion regarding her lifestyle. The narrator asks her daughter whether she is satisfied with her stereotypical living style as well as tasks of the city as a cliche' or something worse in her life. The mother is in a dilemmatic state to see her daughter's condition. She controlled her tears and asks her about her life with a smiley face. She feels so bad after seeing her daughter's life in the city.



1. What kind of mythical allusion is created in the poem? What can be its significance?


Here in this poem "The Bistro Styx", the Greek mythical allusion to Demeter (mother) and Persephone (daughter) is created especially to create their troubled relationships. This is a poem taken from the collection Mother Love, 1995. It is a poem that tells the modern (or rather post-modern) story of a mother Demeter going in search of her daughter Persephone to the underworld of the city civilization. The original Greek myth on which this poem is based is about the mother-earth or the goddess of fertility who mourned for the disappearance of her daughter, who was abducted by her brother Pluto (or Hades). The daughter is eventually allowed to come back to the natural world on the condition that she would return for three months during the winter. The mother in this poem is supposed to symbolize not only mother nature but also the natural, emotive, permanent, and ideal culture of the rural world. The daughter who has herself gone to the city (not forcibly abducted by her uncle) does not want to return with her mother. The allegory is thus ironical also. Another mythological allusion is the river of forgetfulness;  Styx.  According to the myths, if a dead creature crosses the boundary between the world and the dead world and drinks the water of the river Styx, then it forgets everything about its previous birth as well as life.  The daughter's drinking wine looks like Styx's dead drinking water.  The daughter has forgotten her relationship, village life, tradition and rural values. 

Its significance can be the exploration of postmodern society. This kind of reality is also known as Mythopoeic reality. In this modern world, modern daughters are not being abducted by Hades but they are abducted in the name of career, job, and personality themselves. The mythical Persephone was always urging to go back to her mother but this modern Persephone has chosen to be the victim of the modern Hades willingly.

2. What is the theme of the poem?


The theme of the poem is the troubled relationship between the mother and daughter in the present world. This poem has shown the generation gap between old and new generations. The poem has presented a vast gap between the close relationships. We find a clash between traditional and modern norms and values.



1. Modern daughters are abducted themselves in the name of career, job, personality and lifestyles. Explain.


Yes, the above-mentioned statement is absolutely correct. The present world is the world of competition. In this world, people are too concerned about their education, career, job, personality and lifestyle. In the matter of modern daughters, they are seen abducted themselves in their lives. Daughters are seen much ambitious in the matter of shaping up their career, job, personality and lifestyle. They are seen struggling quite hard in search of better opportunities in different sectors. In the present world, most daughters are away from their native places and busy in their lives comprising various things to establish themselves. They have been focused on their career opportunities and lifestyles. They have quite different lifestyles which are away from their traditional norms and values. In most places, they are obliged to do those tasks which are against their interests. They are totally lost in the modern world to get their preferred living styles. They have forgotten various things from their past.

2. When the girls go to live in the cities, they forget their relation, life in the village, tradition and rural values. Do you agree? Justify your answer.


No, I don't agree with this statement that the girls go to live in the cities, they forget their relations, life in the village, tradition and rural values. This case is not applied to all girls. This case should not be generalised. Most girls move away and live their lives in cities but they never forget their native places. We can't generalise this case to all the girls. In my opinion, this case should be individualised. I agree that few girls forget their native places, relationships, traditional norms and values etc but not all. Still, we find most girls who live and work in the cities have a hearty connection with their native places and people. They never forget their native places. They take care of their people and love their native places even after marrying someone and living far away in the cities. They seem much devoted to their closers.

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Suraj Bhatt name is Suraj Bhatt. I'm an authour of this blog Neb English Notes/ Neb English Support. I have created this blog website for all those needy students and teachers who are in need of English notes of class 8 to Bachelor level. I'm from far Western Region: Mahendranagar, Kanchanpur, Nepal. I'm in Sindhupalchok District right now. I have been teaching here in Kalika Secondary School of Tekanpur for more than 11 years as a Secondary level English teacher. I believe in helping others. Thank you for visiting my Blog youtube instagram facebook

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