The Bangle Sellers Summary in English by Sarojini Naidu

The Bangle Sellers Poem Summary in English and Hindi Pdf. The Bangle Sellers Poem is written by Sarojini Naidu.

The Bangle Sellers Poem Summary in English by Sarojini Naidu

The Bangle Sellers Poem About the Poet

Sarojini Naidu (1879-1949) was a freedom- fighter, states person and poet. She is known as the ‘Nightingale of India’ because of the beauty and melody of her poetry. She is, perhaps, the foremost among Indians who have written poetry in English, and no anthology of poetry is considered complete without some poems of Sarojini Naidu. She, invariably, chose Indian subjects and themes for her poems.

Some of her important works are – ‘Folk Songs’, ‘Songs of Love and Death’, ‘The Temple : A Pilgrimage of Love’, ‘The Queen’s Rival’, ‘The Golden Threshold.’

The Bangle Sellers About the Poem

All about the Poem The Bangle Sellers:
The Bangle Sellers’ is a poem of typical Indian scene and sensibility. The bangles are happy tokens of happy lives. They are meant for women of all ages.

‘The Bangle Sellers’ is one of her well-known poems. It is included in her collection of poems called The Bird of Time. It focuses our attention on the social, religious and symbolic value of bangles in Indian culture. No Indian widow is supposed to wear bangles. The wearing of bangles is suggestive of happiness, peace and prosperity. The newly weds wear bangles of different hues from those worn by unmarried girls.

The first stanza of the poem describes the brief, familiar setting of the poem : a group of bangle sellers is on the way to the temple fair to sell their bangles. The bangle sellers are poor, but they do not talk of their poverty. One of the bangle sellers tells us of each stage in an Indian woman’s life in terms of the longing for bangles of a particular colour. Each stanza, in fact, deals with each of the three stages in an Indian woman’s life : as a virgin girl, as an expectant bride and as a mature matriarch.

The Bangle Sellers Poem Theme

I. Womanhood
According to the poet, the life of an average Indian woman passes through three main stages- as a maiden, as a bride and as a mother. Each of this stage is described by the colour of bangles. Thus, the main theme of the poem is that the bangles are a part and parcel of a woman’s life in India. Each colour or type of the bangles represents each stage in her life. Silver and blue or pink represent the stage of maidenhood. Yellow (the morning of wedding), fiery red (passionate longings in the bride’s heart, symbolic of her bridal night) are representative of the girl’s wedding. Gold and grey colours represent motherhood and matriarchy.

II. Patriarchy
The poet has not directly referred to the role and dominance of males in a woman’s life. But there are enough hints of patriarchal set-up in the poem. A man, as father, husband and son(s), plays an important role in every stage of her life. The last four lines have been criticised as a tacit approval of patriarchal ideology by a woman poet :

Whose hands have cherished, whose love has blest,
And cradled fair sons on her faithful breast,
And serves her household in fruitful pride,
And worships the gods at her husband’s side.

By using ‘fair sons’ the poet has only upheld the gender discrimination in Indian families. The last line, too, shows woman’s insubordination by her husband. Even if the idea is factual or ironic, it only goes to favour a set-up in which women are mere objects to be placed in fixed boxes.

The Bangle Sellers Poem Summary in English

Bangle Sellers
The poem ‘The Bangle Sellers’ deals with a group of bangle sellers who go to the temple fair to sell their bangles to earn money. It depicts a typical Indian scene and its sensibility.

It is divided into four stanzas of six lines each. The speaker is one of the group of bangle sellers going to a temple fair to sell their bangles. In the first two lines, the life of these poor bangle sellers carrying the load of shining bangles is made clear. By using the phrase ‘shining load’ the poet means to convey the happiness of these bangle sellers despite the toil involved in the work which does not give them money enough for a comfortable living.

The next two lines are in the form of the bangle sellers’ cry for the buyers to come and buy their goods. Their bangles are happy tokens of happy lives. They are meant for happy virgins and happy married women. In Indian culture, widows are forbidden to wear bangles (at least this was the practice in the past).

Bangles for the Maiden
The narrator uses beautiful imagery to describe bangles for the maiden’s wrist. For the unmarried girl lost in the dreams of a happy marriage there are bangles of misty silver, blue, pink and green colours. The young unmarried girl is implicitly described by the poet as a bud that dreams. The similes used come from the world of nature :

Some are flushed like the buds that dream
On the tranquil brow of a woodland stream,
Some are aglow with the bloom that cleaves
To the limpid glory of new born leaves.

Bangles for the Bride
The bride has strong longings and passion in her heart. The bangles that are suitable for her look like corn fields. They are golden yellow and even fiery red. Both these colours are symbolic of love and passion. The poet describes the period of woman at this stage as full of expectations and nervousness. The bride is happy at her marriage but is also sorrowful at the thought of her separation from her parents. She is as beautiful and tender as her bangles.

Bangles for the middle-aged housewife
Finally, there is the proud, middle-aged housewife who has successfully reared her sons, served her household and hence has the place of pride by the side of her husband at all the religious ceremonies. The bangles suitable for her are purple and gold flecked grey.

The Bangle Sellers Poem Stanza Wise Explanation

Stanza 1
The first stanza makes it clear that a group of bangle sellers are on their way to a temple fair so that they could make some money by selling bangles. Though they have carried the loads of bangles, they are not unhappy. That is why, the load of bangles, to them, are ‘shining loads’ meant for ‘happy’ daughters and wives. The multi-coloured bangles are beautifully described as ‘rainbow-tinted circles of light’. By repeating the word ‘happy’ the poet has emphasised the human element of the product. The daughters who expect to be married soon wear bangles to express their happy longings. The wives who wear bangles express their happiness and contentment in their marital life.

Stanza 2
The second stanza describes the bangles of various colours. Some of the bangles are silvery and blue and as misty as mountain mist. They are meant for the virgin girl who has countless longings for her married life. Some are as pink as buds that bloom on the calm surface of a forest stream. Some of these bangles are shining green whose freshness is close to the vivid beauty of the new born, tender leaves. All these kinds of bangles are suitable for unmarried girls. Their colours express their tender longings.

Stanza 3
In the third stanza, the narrator says that they have yellow bangles which look like corn fields. They are suitable for a bride on her marriage morning. Some fiery red bangles are like the flame of her marriage fire. They are expressive of the passion in her heart. They create a light ringing sound as the bride walks. They are shining and delicate, as the laughter of the bride (as she is getting married) or her tear (as she weeps at the separation from her parents).

Stanza 4
The fourth stanza describes the bangles meant for housewives or mothers who have given birth to their children. Some of these bangles are purple in colour and some are gold-flecked grey. All these bangles are meant for the married woman who is middle-aged, and whose hands have cared, loved, blessed and brought up her fair sons, and who has proudly served her family and has the honour of sitting by her husband’s side at religious ceremonies.

The Bangle Sellers Poem Glossary

Stanza 1
shining loads : refer to the loads of bangles which the bangle sellers carry happily
rainbow-tinted circles : bangles of different colours in the rainbow
lustrous tokens : bright signs
radiant lives : happy, prosperous lives

Stanza 2
meet : suitable
maiden : young unmarried girl
flushed : red coloured
buds : flowers still in bloom, not fully open, referring to virgin girls
tranquil : calm
woodland stream : stream in a forest
aglow : shining
cleaves : sticks closely to
limpid glory : clear beauty
new born leaves : here bangles of green colour are compared to the new born leaves

Stanza 3
sunlit corn : corn shining in the sun, referring to corn- coloured bangles (shining yellow)
bridal morn : the morning on which a girl is to become a bride
flame of her marriage fire : referring to fire-coloured bangles expressive of the passion in the heart of the bride
hue : colour
tinkling : creating a ringing sound (the use of onomatopoeia)
luminous : clear
tender : delicate
bridal laughter and bridal tear : refers to the bride’s happiness at her marriage and sorrow at the separation from her parents

Stanza 4
gold flecked grey : gold-covered grey coloured bangles, meant for housewives or mothers
life midway : middle-aged
cherished : enjoyed
blest : blessed
cradled : reared
at her husband’s side : a place of pride given in India to a woman after she has proved her worth as a daughter-in-law, wife and mother

The Bangle Sellers Poem Critical Appreciation

The title of the poem is ‘The Bangle Sellers’, and we expect to read about the life of the bangle sellers. However, the poem refers obliquely to their life in the first two lines of the poem. We are told that a group of bangle sellers is on their way to a temple fair to sell their wares. They cannot be as ‘happy’ as they have been described in a life of poverty and deprivation. They can, of course, appear to be happy !

Excepting these two lines, we are told nothing of the bangle sellers. The narrator, one of the bangle sellers, may be man or woman— we have no clue to the gender. Most probably, the narrator is a woman. She only talks about the bangles of various colours, and colours which are cherished by women in different stages of their growth. Thus, the poem is about bangles, each colour of which represents each stage a woman crosses as a maiden, as a bride and as a mother.

Thus, the title of the poem is inapt. It could have been ‘bangles’ or any other suitable title.

Simplicity and Lyricism
There is no doubt that” ‘The Bangle Sellers’ is simple, evocative and lyrical. Its rhythm appeals to us at once. There are some beautiful expressions which are captivating :

  • Rainbow-tinted circles of light
  • tranquil brow of a woodland stream
  • Lustrous tokens of radiant lives

Little Contemporary Value
Despite the poem’s evocative powers, it does not appeal to the modern reader. First, very few persons, at least in the urban areas, have ever seen the bangle sellers. Some very educated ladies have little or no charm left for old-fashioned bangles.

Moreover, the poet’s presentation of Indian scene and ethos is orthodox, almost in line with the outdated patriarchal ideology. The woman is presented as tender, weak, helpless and dependent. Man as father, husband and son determines her life. The image of the proud mother rearing her fair sons (no mention of daughters) and her hard-earned place at the side of her husband at religious rituals is unacceptable in our times of feminist outlook.

But the poem does have an appeal for the old, conservative and traditional people. It also has an appeal for those students of literature who love literary expressions.

The Bangle Sellers Poem Style and Literary Devices

‘The Bangle Sellers’ is written in a lyric form. It is remarkable for its verbal melody. It is short and gives expression to the single emotion or feeling of happiness. Like any other good lyric, it is a well-knit poem, possessing a definite structure. It is divided into four stanzas. The first provides a setting and introduction. Each of the subsequent stanzas deals with one important stage in an Indian woman’s life.

The rhyme scheme followed in each stanza is : aabbcc, which is a couplet-form. It is mainly responsible for the melodious effect and fast rhythm.

The poet has used effective colour imagery in the poem. For example, she chooses silver, blue and pink hues to represent maidenhood; yellow for the bridal morning and red or orange for the bridal night (representative of passionate longings in the heart of a bride); and purple and gold for motherhood to represent woman’s feelings of pride and fulfilment in her married life.

Most of the images come from the world of nature. Flowers, leaves, buds, streams, the sunlit corn, etc. have been used as comparisons. This is quite usual with the poets of Naidu’s age, at least in the Indian context. The radical modern- day imagery is missing in Naidu’s poems, and is perhaps unsuitable for her sensibility.

Literary Devices

Naidu is quite fond of using similes in her poetry. ‘The Bangle Sellers’ is no exception. In the second stanza, for instance, we have these similes:

  • Silver and blue as the mountain mist
  • Some are flushed like the buds that dream

There are three similes in the third stanza, using ‘like’:

  1. Some are like fields of sunlit com
  2. Some, like the flame of her marriage fire
  3. Like her bridal laughter and bridal tear

Metaphors are also comparisons, but they are more compressed and direct; as,

  1. ‘Rainbow-tinted circles of light’ – metaphor for bangles
  2. ‘shining loads’ – metaphor for bundles of shining bangles
  3. ‘flushed like the buds that dream’- metaphor for maidens lost in their dreams of marriage


  • Or, rich with the hue of her heart’s desire (the sound ‘h’)
  • Whose hands have cherished, whose love has blest (the sound ‘h’)

Leave a Comment