Summary of The Professor by Nissim Ezekiel

The Professor by Nissim Ezekiel is a satirical poem written in the form of a conversation between a professor and his student. A satire is way of criticizing a person, an idea or something where the poet uses humour to point out their faults and weaknesses. Here, the professor makes fun of himself by the way he speaks or thinks.

A professor is someone who should be proper in his subject or the medium he teaches. But the professor in The Professor is caricatured because of his erroneous dialect. A Professor can also be called a monologue because one can find that the professor speaks but listener does not say a word. The poem is composed in Indian English and the poet mocks Indians who finds prestigious to speak in English, even when they are not so good in it, rather than in their mother tongue.

Summary of The Professor by Nissim Ezekiel

(Lines: 1-11) The poem, The Professor begins with a question, ‘Remember me?’. The question is from a retired Geography professor to one of his former student. He then introduces himself as Professor Sheth who had once taught Geography to that student. Then he describes his current position, his family and his health.

He tells him that his wife has passed away few years back and by God’s will, all his children ‘are well settled in life.’ He also mentions that one of his sons is a Bank Manager and another is a Sales Manager. To describe their social and financial condition, the retired professor says they both own cars. Then he mentions about his third son whom he considers as the black sheep of the family.

(Lines: 12-21) The professor then talks about his daughters, Sarala and Tarala. He says that they both are married and leading a happy life. His son-in-laws ‘are very nice boys.’ The professor then proudly tells his student that he has eleven grandchildren. He even asks his student how many issues he has. The student probably says three when the professor says people are going in for family planning these days which is good.

The professor keeps on talking. He talks about the changing times and the importance of change. He talks about how the whole world is changing along with India. He then talks about the change in values. Old values are been replaced by new values.

(Lines: 22-36) The professor now talks a bit about himself. He says that he hardly go out because of his old age. Then he says his ‘health is O.K’ but he does have usual aches and pains. He is not suffering from diabetes, blood pressure or heart disease. He says proudly that he is healthy because of the good habits that he has cultivated from his youth.

He even enquires about his student’s health and is happy when he comes to know that the student is in good health. The professor reveals his age, he says that he is sixty nine and hopes to live for a hundred years. He jokes with his student that the latter was like a stick earlier but now he has gained weight and become a ‘man of weight and consequence.’ Finally, the professor asks him to pay a visit to his home if he ever comes near to his dwelling place.

Nissim Ezekiel (14 December 1924- 9 January 2004) was an Indian Jewish poet, playwright, editor, art critic. He was awarded the Sahitya Akademi Award for his Poetry collection, ‘Latter-Day Psalms.’

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54 thoughts on “Summary of The Professor by Nissim Ezekiel”

  1. Thank u a ton…..helped me very much in exams…but only a small grudge that u should extend the summary a little more like adding meaning to some difficult words……but again thank u….:)

  2. Great website ! thanks a lot! Hope to see some more of each poem/prose like the inner meaning or the type of questions that could be asked for the board exam. Hope this suggestion is considered ASAP.

  3. I’ve my own analisys of the poem the professor The poem has been started with a question “Remember me?” Usually professors are termed as absent minded. With this question the professor wishes to declare that he is not one. Rather he reminds the reader about his existance. The poet wishes to say that the professor is a person whom almost every person would like to forget. But he is the person who tries ham values in the student. Geography falls in the catagory of humanities. Humanities teach human values. By the change the professor means the human values are changing. In the name of value people are forgetting the old. To support his argument the poet brings in the various diseases prevailing today and the health of the professor. In conclusion the poet advises all to go to the professors to learn the human values. This my interpretation of the poem. If othets have any interpretation pl do not hesitate to convey.

  4. It’s really helpful n a nice effort to reach the requirements of the students…but,word meaning or annotations,critical appreciation etc.are needed….

  5. thanks a lot for your summaries they are really great, if you don’t mind can you write summaries for all the other poems and short stories for icse.

  6. in the summary there is a misconception and a wrong info is printed. the student does not give the answer that he has three children, it is assumed by the professor that he has three children, he is asking question to his student if he has three children. u can check it by going through the poem. you just need to give a look at that thing, except that every thing is fine. good summary and helpful

  7. What kind of third class summary ?
    We had better read poem than that of this tedious, unfolded, unuseful summary.

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