Mystery of the Talking Fan


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The tutorial consists of the complete poem analysis taken from English Honeycomb Class 7, written by Maude Rubin named Mystery of the Talking Fan. This tutorial will guide you through the summary and a detailed explanation of the poem for a better learning through this tutorial.

Synopsis of Mystery of the Talking Fan

The poem draws our attention toward the mundane things around us that go unnoticed on the regular days of our lives. The poetess here has addressed a ceiling fan that might be hanging in her bedroom or home, making noise due to a rusted motor in the body of the fan. In the poem, Rubin treats the ceiling fan as something mortal that could talk or communicate with her in its electrical language.

Also, the poetess doesn't find its chatter amusing as she couldn't clearly understand what the fan was trying to tell her. And now the ceiling fan has stopped talking because someone has oiled his little rotating motor hence, wasted all the curiosity that was there in the poetess' mind.

Detailed Explanation of Mystery of the Talking Fan

Is there a ceiling fan in the room where you are sitting now? Is the fan quiet or noisy? If it is noisy, you may be sure it is a distant relative of the ‘talking fan’ in the poem which you are going to read.

Once there was a talking fan —

Electrical his chatter.

I couldn’t quite hear what he said

And I hope it doesn’t matter

Because one day somebody oiled

His little whirling motor

And all the mystery was spoiled —

He ran as still as water.

The writer has started the poem with an indulging statement that invites all the readers to understand the thing that she is experiencing and wants them to hear closely everything that personified ceiling fan has to say to us. She calls the fans in our rooms a distant relative of the fan hanging in her room just to create an authentic connection between the readers and the poem.

Stanza One

The speaker is narrating a story from sometime before about a talking fan who used to speak loudly in his mechanical language. Here, the poetess has personified the ceiling fan as a living thing and tries to convey that the fan was making a loud noise. She says that the sound of the ceiling fan was so annoying that she couldn't understand what the fan was trying to tell her and she hoped that there was nothing important. Because after some days of the noisy environment someone put oil into the motor of the fan and made his chatter stop.

Now she cannot hear a single chit-chat from the talking fan as he is running very smoothly as water flows in a river. All the curiosity that the noisy fan created has stopped as the oil spoiled the whole puzzling story of the talking fan she was trying to frame in her head.

Difficult Words from the Poem with Meaning

Distant – far away from someone

Chatter – short, informal talk

Whirling – to turn or rotate rapidly

Mystery – something strange or unknown

Spoiled – to lose a useful quality


Qns 1. Fans don't talk, but it is entirely impossible to believe they do. What is it, then, that sounds like fan chatter?

Ans. The rusty noise that the fan is creating due to the old oxidized motor makes the speaker feel like the fan is talking or chatting to her.

Qns 2. Complete the following sentences.

  • The chatter is electrical because ….

  • It is mysterious because …


  • The chatter is electrical because the motor of the fan runs through the force of electricity thus making the sound electrical.

  • It is mysterious because – we cannot understand the creaking sound coming from the motor of the fan.

Qns 3. What do you think the talking fan was trying to convey?

Ans. The talking fan was screaming loudly for help for his rusted motor. He was trying to grab the attention of the people in the house so that someone can oil its motor and it can simply go back to the silent and swift mode.

Qns 4. How does a ceiling fan manage to throw so much air when it is switched on?

Ans. A ceiling fan manages to throw so much air through an electric motor of little size fitted in it. The motor rotates and helps the three plates of the fan fastly in a circular motion when the fan is switched on.

Qns 5. Is there a "talking fan" in your house? Create a dialogue between the fan and a mechanic?

Ans. Do this dialogue activity with your classmate or by yourself and discover what your electrician might have talked about with the "talking fan


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