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Sunday, October 01, 2017

AHSEC/CBSE - Class 11 English Notes: The Portrait of Lady

THE PORTRAIT OF LADY
1. Mention three phases of the author’s relationship with his grandmother before he left the country to study abroad?
Ans. The three phases of the author’s relationship with his grandmother were –
  1. The author spent his childhood under the love and care of his grandmother when his parents went to live in the city. They were very close to each other and the grandmother went to school with him and looked after him all the time.
  2. The second phase of their relationship was when they were called to join his parents in the city. Though the grandmother and the author shared the same room yet there was a gap between them now. His grandmother no longer when to school with him and could not help in his studies.
  3. The third phase of their relationship was when the author went up to university. This broke the common link of friendship between them as they now live in separate rooms. The old lady rarely talked to her grandmother.
2.Mention Three reasons why the author’s grandmother was disturbed when he started going to the city school.

Ans. Three reasons why the author’s grandmother was disturbed when he started going to city school were –
  1. First, as the author now studied English words, western science and learning, the grandmother could no longer help him with his lessons nor accompany him to school.
  2. Secondly, the grandmother was distressed to know that there was no teaching about God and the scriptures.
  3. Thirdly, the grandmother was disturbed to know that he was being taught music as for her music was a culture for lowly people.
3.Mention Three ways in which the author’s grandmother spent her days after he grew up.
Ans. Three ways in which the author’s grandmother spent her days after he grew up were –
  1. She spent most of her time at the spinning wheel and hardly spoke to anyone.
  2. She recited her prayers from sunrise to sunset sitting next to her spinning wheel.
  3. She spent the happiest hour in the afternoon by feeding the hundreds of sparrows in the verandah.
4. The odd way in which the author’s grandmother behaved just before she died.
Ans. (a) She collected the neighbourhood women, got an old drum and song of the home-coming of warriors in order to celebrate the return of her grandson.
(b) For the first time, she missed her prayers.
(c) She announced her impending death and lay down peacefully in bed, praying and telling her beads.
5.Mention the way in which the sparrows expressed their sorrow when the author’s grandmother died.
Ans. When the author’s grandmother died, the sparrows expressed their sorrow in the following ways –
  1. Thousands of sparrows gathered all over the verandah and in her room right upto where shy layed and sat scattered on the floor.
  2. The birds were not chirruping.
  3. They took no notice of the bread crumbs thrown to them by the author’s mother.
  4. The sparrows quietly flew away when the grandmother’s corpse was carried often.
6. Describe the changing relationship between the author and his grandmother. Did their feelings for each other change? [2012, 2015]
Ans. In the village the grandmother was the author’s constant friend. She used to wake him up and get ready for school. She accompanied him to his school and brought him back along with her. Besides taking every care of her, she helped him with his studies. But in the city he went to an English School and gradually his topics of conversation grew difficult, he began talking about law of gravity, Archimedes, the round shape of the earth etc. So, she could no longer help him in the studies and felt sad. She felt unhappy for the absence of religious teachings in that school. Most unpleasant for her was the music lessons which she hated. She almost stopped talking to him. But their feelings for each other never changed, the grandmother loved him equally and he too had the same regards for her.
7. Would you agree that the author’s grandmother was person strong in character? If yes, give instances that show this.
Ans. Yes the grandmother was a strong character. First, she was physically strong in spite of her old age, second she never sat idle, she span the wheel, recited prayers, fed the birds and may be did other things of her own. In the village she did everything for the author and took perfect care of him. Third, She was mentally strong, she never showed too much emotion or weakness; one reason for this was her faith in God. Again she was able to hold back her sadness when the author was going abroad, and even received him at the railway station after five years. She was duty bound and never missed her regular activities of life. She passed on this enthuusim and zeal to others also. Finally, we got to know from the evening prior to her death, that she could enjoy so well.
8. Have you known someone like the author’s grandmother? Do you feels the same sense of loss with regard to someone whom you have loved and lost? [2014]
Ans. My paternal grandparents had died before my birth, but I was blessed with the love of my maternal grandparents. My grandfather was also almost like Khushwant Singh’s grandmother.  He was a hardworking, punctual and diligent farmer who never spent a minute idle in his life. He was a strong and stout man, very tall and fair, he left for the fields early in the morning and even after the day’s work used to make things from bamboo like mats, baskets, containers for storing grains etc. and even nets for catching fish. He scolded his son (my uncle) who is a very lazy person and no way capable of working hard like his father. Even at the age of 75, my grandfather could climb coconut trees to fetch betel leaves. He was hurt if even a single grain was wasted while eating meals. This way he raised his big family very well and got his six daughters married as well. He passed away last year at 80 and I really miss his loving presence. I do feel his loss as I loved him dearly.
ADDITIONAL QUESTIONS AND ANSWER
Very Short Type Questions
1. Name the writer of the prose piece entitled “The portrait of a lady”?
Ans. Khushwant Singh is the writer.
2. Name the person with whom the narrator spent his childhood in the village.
Ans. The narrator spent his childhood with his grandmother in the village.
3. Where did the narrator study when he was in the village?
Ans. The narrator studied in a school attached to a temple in the village.
4. Who accompanied him to school in the village?
Ans. The narrator’s grandmother accompanied him to school in the village.
5. Who taught the children in the village school?
Ans. The priest taught the children in the village school.
6. What was taught in the village school?
Ans. Alphabets and Morning Prayer were taught in the village school.
7. How did he go to school in the city?
Ans. He went to school in a motor bus in the city.
8. Which creatures created ‘a veritable bedlam of chirrupings’?
Ans. The sparrows created ‘a veritable bedlam of chirrupings’.
9. Where did the narrator go for pursue further studies?
Ans. The narrator went abroad to pursue further studies.
10. Which creatures came to mourn the death of the grandmother?
Ans. The sparrows came to mourn the death of the grandmother.
SHORT TYPE QUESTIONS
1. Give a short description of the narrator’s grandfather as the appeared in the portrait.
Ans. The narrator’s grandfather’s portrait which hung above the mantel piece in the drawing room depicted him as hundred years old. He had a long, white beard which covered the best part of his chest and wore a big turban and loose fitting clothes. He did not appear as one who had a wife or children, but as one who had lots and lots of grandchildren.
2. Why did the narrator not believe that his grandmother was once young and pretty?
Ans. It was hard to believe for the narrator that his grandmother was once young and pretty because he had always seen his grandmother’s face  crisscross of wrinkles running from every where to every where. She had been looking the same terribly old lady for the last twenty years.
3. What was the turning point in their friendship?
Ans. The turning point in the author’s friendship with his grandmother was their shift to the city. There, she could neither accompany him to school not could help him with his studies as a result a gap developed between them. As time passes, they saw very less of each other.
4. Describe the grandmother’s feeding of the village dogs.
Ans. When they would walk back home together, the village dogs met them at the temple door. They followed them almost home. The grandmother would throw chapattis to them. The dogs would growl and fight with each other for the crumbs.
5. What was the grandmother’s opinion about the English school in the city?
Ans. The narrator’s grandmother had a very poor opinion about the English school in the city. She was quite sad and disappointed they didn’t teach anything about God and the scriptures at the school. Moreover she did not like that music lessons were given in English school as she thinks it was not meant for gentle folks.
6. Why did the grandmother go to the school along with the narrator?
Ans. The narrator’s grandmother was a very loving and caring woman. When the narrator’s parents left him in her charge when they went to the city, she looked after him in every possible way. She not only looked after him even accompanied him to the school and stayed in the temple attached to the school till his school gets over. It was her love for her grandson that she cared for him so much.
7. What did the priest teach at the village school?
Ans. The priest taught alphabets and Morning Prayer at the village school. He made the children stand in rows in either side and they would sing the alphabets or the prayer in a chorus.
8. Why did the grandmother keep one hand on her waist?
Ans. The grandmother was very old. She was slightly bent in her physique. So she couldn’t stand and walk with her body in an upright position. She had to keep one of her two hands on her waist. She did so to balance her stoop.
9. What were her views on music?
Ans. The grandmother did not like the idea of music lessons being taught in English school. She was very upset and disturbed when she came to know about it as to her music had loud associations. It was the monopoly of harlots and beggars and was not meant for gentlefolk.
10. How did the narrator and his grandmother developed a deep-rooted friendship?
Ans. When the narrator was quite young, his parents moved to the city and left him in charge of his grandmother. He and his grandmother stayed back in the village where she was his constant companion. She looked after him, woke him up and got him ready for school in the morning. She would give him breakfast and even accompany him to school which was attached to a temple and came back together. Thus, the narrator and his grandmother developed a deep-rooted friendship.
11. What did the priest teach at the village school?
Ans. The priest taught alphabets and Morning Prayer at the village school. He made the children stand in rows in either side and they would sing the alphabets or the prayer in a chorus.
12. How did the strong bond of friendship snap?
Ans. A gap developed between the narrator and his grandmother when they shifted to the city. Later when the narrator reached university, he was given a separate room of his own. This led to their separation and the bond of friendship which existed between them finally snapped.

13. What was the happiest hour of the day for the grandmother?
Ans. The happiest hour of the day for the grandmother in the city was when she took a break from the spinning wheel and feed the sparrows. Hundreds of these birds gather around her every afternoon as she threw bread crumbs to them.
14. Describe the grandmother’s feeding the sparrows?
Ans. When the narrator went up to university the grandmother was left alone. She spent her time by feeding the sparrows in the afternoon. She took a break from the spinning wheel, sat in the verandah, broke the crumbs of bread to them. Hundreds of birds gather around her and sat on her legs, shoulders and even head. She only smiled and never shooed them away.
15. What was the reaction of the grandmother when the narrator decided to go abroad?
Ans. When the narrator decided to go abroad for further studies, the grandmother was not upset. She was not even sentimental. She kept silent and did not show her emotions. Her lips moved in prayer and her fingers were busy telling the beads of her rosary. Then she silently kissed his forehead before departing.
16. How did the grandmother celebrate the home coming of the narrator from abroad?
Ans. The narrator’s grandmother gave a heroic welcome when he come back from abroad. Her excitement was seen in the way she fed the sparrows. In the evening she collected the women of her neighbourhood, took an old drum and kept singing for several hours to celebrate the home coming of the narrator.
17. Did the narrator find any transformation in the appearance of his grandmother after he returned from abroad?
Ans. No, the narrator did not find any transformation in the appearance of his grandmother. She did not look a day older and still was the same religious lady reciting her prayer when she clasped the narrator in her arms.
18. What did she do while lying on the bed before her death?
Ans. Just before the grandmother died, she said that her end was near. She did not want to waste any more time talking to others. She lay peacefully in bed praying and telling her beads. Her lips stopped moving and the rosary fell from her lifeless figures. There was peace on her face and the author and his family know that she was dead.
19. What is the difference between village school education and urban school education as brought out in the lesson ‘The Portrait of a Lady’?

Ans. In the village school the priest taught alphabet and Morning Prayer. There were lessons on scriptures and prayers were recited in chorus near the temple. But in the Urban school there were lessons in science and math. There were no lessons about God and scriptures. Moreover, music lessons were also imparted in urban school.

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