Treasure Trove A Collection of ICSE Short Stories Workbook Answers Chapter 3 Notes A Horse and Two Goats

Treasure Trove A Collection of ICSE Short Stories Workbook Answers Chapter 3  Notes A Horse and Two Goats – ICSE Class 10, 9 English

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About the Author

Rasipuram Krishnaswami Ayyar Naranayanaswami was born in Madras, a large industrial coastal city in India, on October 10, 1906. He was known for his works set in the fictional South Indian town of Malgudi. He was a leading author of early Indian literature in English, along with Mulk Raj Anand and Raja Rao. His family was Brahmin, the highest caste of Hindu society. When he was still young, the rest of his family moved to Mysore, a smaller city in the heart of the country. Narayan stayed in Madras with his grandmother, who read him classic Indian tales and myths from an early age and encouraged his imagination. He was not a serious student; he believed that the educational system was too regimented and that it discouraged students from thinking creatively, so he decided not to work hard and ended up failing several subjects and his college entrance exams.

After graduation, Narayan went to work in a government office in Mysore, but he was no more suited for mundane office work than for formal education. He tried teaching for a while, but did not last long as a teacher, either. What he wanted to be was a writer. At first, most of his stories were rejected. For three or four years he lived at home and earned less than five dollars a year, worrying and embarrassing his family.

Narayan highlights the social context and everyday life of his characters, and he has been compared to William Faulkner, who also created a similar fictional town, and likewise explored with humour and compassion the energy of ordinary life. Narayan’s short stories have been compared with those of Guy de Maupassant, because of his ability to compress a narrative. However, he has also been criticised for the simplicity of his prose.

In a career that spanned over sixty years, Narayan received many awards and honours, including the AC Benson Medal from the Royal Society of Literature, the Padma Bhushan and the Padma Vibhushan, India’s third and second highest civilian awards. He was also nominated to the Rajya Sabha, the upper house of India’s parliament.

In 1933 he married a woman named Rajam, who encouraged him in his writing. To help support his wife and daughter, he tried journalism, starting out as a correspondent for the ‘Madras Justice’ and working his way up to junior editor. Rajam lived only five years as his wife, dying of typhoid in 1939. By that time Narayan had published three novels, and had begun, under the shortened name R. K. Narayan, to attract international attention. Finally, he was able to quit his newspaper job and become a full-time fiction writer. His fourth novel, The English Teacher (1945), features a character patterned after Rajam and describes Narayan’s own struggles to deal with her death. All of his fiction, most of which takes place in the fictional town of Malgudi and all of which is in English, gives a realistic portrayal of middle-class life in India, with its caste system and long-standing traditions, and many of his stories are based on real events.

Narayan is one of the most widely read of the Indian authors writing in English. He has published more than thirty novels and collections of short stories and essays, and was still producing new work well into his eighties. He has been honored for his work in India, in Great Britain, and in the United States, where he has been made an honorary member of the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters. His own humble views of his life and success are presented in his memoir, ‘My Days’ (1984).

About the Story

First published in Madras, India, in the newspaper, ‘The Hindu’ in 1960, “A Horse and Two Goats” did not achieve wide international audience until 1970 when it became the title story of R. K. Narayan’s seventh collection of short stories, ‘A Horse and Two Goats and Other Stories’. It reached an even wider audience in 1985 when it was included in ‘Under the Banyan Tree’, Narayan’s tenth best-selling collection. By this time Narayan was well established as one of the most prominent Indian authors writing in English in the twentieth century. The story presents a comic dialogue between Muni, a poor Tamil-speaking villager, and a wealthy English-speaking businessman from New York. They are engaged in a conversation in which neither can understand the other’s language. With gentle humor, Narayan explores the conflicts between rich and poor, and between Indian and Western culture.

Narayan is best known for his fourteen novels, many of which take place in the fictional town of Malgudi. Many of the stories in his thirteen short story collection also take place in Malgudi, but “A Horse and Two Goats” does not. This accounts for the fact that the story has attracted very little critical commentary; however, all of the attention it has drawn has been positive. The story is seen as a fine example of Narayan’s dexterity in creating engaging characters and humorous dialogue, but it is not considered one of his greatest works.

Plot

  1. Muni is a poor resident of Kritam, one of the thousands of inconspicuous villages situated in the Holy land of India. Muni was once a proud owner of a large flock of sheep and goats, but lost most of his riches, and is now the desolate owner of just two goats. He and his wife are in the last stage of their lives.
  2. Despite his poor life, Muni is a dreamer and an avid food lover. Away from the prying eyes of villagers, he spends most of his time idling near the rocky highway, where his usual seat is the pedestal of a large clay horse.
  3. One day, as he was sitting in his favourite place, an American comes to him to inquire about gas. As Muni knows just two words of English, Yes and No, he finds it difficult to satisfy the queer red man.
  4. The American is smitten with the chaste Tamil.
  5. The American notices the beautiful clay horse, is impressed with the unparalleled art, and makes an offer to Muni to buy the horse at an exorbitant price. As Muni sits on the platform nonchalantly, he has mistakenly identified him as the owner of the horse.
  6. The American is able to buy the horse, by giving a hundred rupee note to Muni, while Muni thinks that the stupid foreigner has paid him too much for two paltry goats and goes home happily.
  7. His wife thinks he has stolen the money and is angry.

Theme

The central theme of Narayan’s work, “A Horse and Two Goats,” is the clash of cultures, specifically the clash of Indian and Western cultures. Using humor instead of anger, Narayan demonstrates just how far apart the two worlds are: the two cultures exist in the same time and space, but literally and metaphorically speak different languages. The two main characters in this story couldn’t be more different: Muni is a poor, rural, uneducated, Hindu, brown; the American is wealthy, urban, educated, probably Judeo- Christian, white. As a good Hindu, Muni calmly accepts the hand that fate has dealt him, while the American is willing and able to take drastic and sudden action to change his life (for example, flying off to India, or throwing away his return plane ticket to transport a horse statue home on a ship). Each man is quite ignorant of the other’s way of life.Unlike many stories about culture clash, the conflict here is merely amusing. The inability to communicate in a common language in this story leads only to confusion, not to any real harm. In fact, although each feels vaguely dissatisfied with the conversation, the men do not realize that they are not communicating. Each speaks at length about his own life and local calamities, with no awareness that the other hears nothing. At the end of their encounter each man has what he wants or needs, and neither man has lost anything of value.

Another theme interwoven in this story is the disparity between wealth and poverty. The most important difference between Muni and the American is in their respective level of wealth. Narayan takes great pains in the opening of the story to show how desperately poor Muni is, and to emphasize that even in his time of “prosperity” his standard of living was still greatly below that of most Americans. The American takes for granted his relative wealth and seems  unaware of the  difference  between Muni and himself. He casually offers cigarettes to a man who  has never seen  one, complains about four hours without air conditioning to   a man who   has never had electricity, brags about enjoying manual labor as a Sunday     hobby  to a  man who grew up working in the fields from morning until night, and without a thought gives Muni enough money to open a business. He is not trying to show off; he simply accepts his wealth as his right. His very casualness emphasizes the gap between them. Narayan in no way condemns the man for being wealthy, or for not stepping in to aid poor Muni, but he wants the two men and their relative wealth to be clear, so that the relationship between wealth and poverty can be evaluated.

Knowledge and Ignorance is juxtaposed thematically in the story. “A Horse and Two Goats” explores the different ways that a person can be educated. Muni, who grew up a member of a lower caste at a time when only the Brahmin, the highest caste, could attend school, has had no formal education. He has not travelled beyond his village, and he likes to watch trucks and buses go by on the highway a few miles away so that he can have “a sense of belonging to a larger world.” He does not even know his own age. He does, however, have an impressive amount of knowledge of the two major texts of his literary heritage, the Ramayana and the Mahabharata, which he has learned by acting in plays and by listening to speakers at the temple. He knows the stories, and he is able to mine them for truth and wisdom when he needs them.The American, on the other hand, has had the full benefits of an American education. He has a roomful of books that he values as objects:“you know I love books and am a member of five book clubs, and the choice and bonus volumes mount up to a pile in our living room”, but there is no evidence that he understands or values what is inside them. On one level, he is familiar with the larger world around him in a way that Muni never will be. However, even on this trip to India “to look at other civilizations,” he does not seem to be looking at India for what it is, but only for a reflection of—and ornaments for—his own life. The uneducated Muni tries to tell him the significance of the horse statue, but the American sees it only as a living room decoration. Of course, the language barrier prevents him from receiving Muni’s interpretation, but it never even crosses his mind to ask. Narayan, in this story shows that there are at least two ways to be ignorant.

Highlights of Speech/or Summary

“A Horse and Two Goats” is set in Kritam, “probably the tiniest” of India’s 700,000 villages. It opens with a clear picture of the poverty in which the protagonist Muni lives. Of the thirty houses in the village, only one, the Big House, is made of brick. The others, including Muni’s, are made of “bamboo thatch, straw, mud, and other unspecified materials.” There was no running water and no electricity, and Muni’s wife cooked their typical breakfast of “a handful of millet flour” over a fire in a mud pot. Muni had shaken down six drumsticks from the drumstick tree growing in front of his house, and asked his wife to prepare them for him in a sauce. She agreed, provided he could get the other ingredients, none of which they had in the house: rice, dal (lentils), spices, oil and a potato.

Muni and his wife have not always been so poor. There was a time when he considered himself prosperous as then he had a flock of forty sheep and goats which he would lead out to graze every day. But life had not been kind to him or to his flocks: years of drought, a great famine, and an epidemic had taken their toll. As Muni belonged to a low caste he was never permitted to go to school or to learn a trade. Presently he was left with two goats, too scrawny to sell or to eat. He and his wife had no children to help them in their old age, so their only income was from the odd jobs his wife occasionally took on at the Big House. Muni had exhausted his credit at every shop in town, and so when he asked a local shopkeeper to give him the items his wife required to cook the drumsticks, he was sent away humiliated.

Muni’s wife sent him away with the goats saying, “Fast till the evening.” Muni took the goats to their usual spot a few miles away: a grassy area near the highway, where he can sit in the shade of a life-sized statue of a horse and a warrior and watch trucks and buses go by. The statue is made of weather-beaten clay and had stood in the same spot for all of Muni’s seventy or more years.

As Muni watched the road and waited for the appropriate time to return home, a yellow station wagon came down the road and pulled over next to him. A red-faced American man dressed in khaki clothing got out and asked Muni where to find the nearest gas station. He noticed the statue, which he found “marvelous.” Muni’s first impulse was to run away, assuming from the khaki clothes that the foreigner was a policeman or a soldier. But Muni was too old to run any more, and he could not leave the goats. The two began to converse—if “conversation” can be used to describe what happens when two people speak to each other in separate languages, neither understanding the other. “Namaste! How do you do?” the American said in greeting, using his only Indian word. Muni responded with the only English he knew: “Yes, no.”

The American, a businessman from New York City, lighted a cigarette and offered one to Muni, who knew about cigarettes but had never had one before. He offered Muni his business card, but Muni feared it to be a warrant of some kind. Muni launched into a long explanation of his innocence of whatever crime the man was investigating, and the American asked questions about the horse statue, which he wanted to buy. He told Muni about a bad day at work, when he was forced to work for four hours without elevators or electricity, and seemed completely unaware that Muni lived that way every day. By now he was convinced that Muni was the owner of the statue, which he was determined to buy.

The two talked back and forth, each about his own life. Muni remembered his father and grandfather telling about the statue and the ancient story it depicted, and tried to explain to the American how old it was. “I get a kick out of every word you utter,” the American replied. Muni reminisced about his difficult and impoverished childhood working in the fields, and the American laughed heartily. Muni explained about the statue: “This is our guardian. … At the end of Kali Yuga, this world and all other worlds will be destroyed, and the Redeemer will come in the shape of a horse.” The American replied, “I assure you this will have the best home in the U.S.A. I’ll push away the bookcase. . . . The TV may have to be shifted. … I don’t see how that can interfere with the party—we’ll stand around him and have our drinks.” It is clear that even if the two could understand each other’s words, they could not understand each other’s worlds.

Finally, the American pushes one hundred rupees into Muni’s hand—twenty times Muni’s debt with the shopkeeper. He considers that he has bought the horse, and Muni believes he had just sold his goats. Muni ran home to present the money to his wife, while the American flagged down a truck, got help in breaking the horse off its pedestal, and drove away with his purchase. Muni’s wife did not believe her husband’s story about where the money came from, and her suspicions only increased when the goats found their way home. The story ends with her shrieking at him, and Muni appears to be not much better off than he was at the start.

Characters

Muni

Muni, an old and desperately poor man, is the protagonist of the story. We know this when his wife tells him, “You only have four teeth in your jaw, yet you are craving big things.” Having very little teeth is often associated with being too young or too old.. The author also utilized the word “craving,” which is associated with longing, and more importantly, not having something you long for. This suggests that Muni and his wife lead very poor lives. He and his wife have almost no income and no children to help take care of them. Every day, Muni took the goats out to graze on the scarce grass outside of town, while his wife put something together for an evening meal. Although Muni is initially described as poor, the author then goes on to say that he wasn’t always as poor as he is. “In his prosperous days Muni had owned a flock of forty sheep and goats and sallied forth every morning driving the flock to the highway a couple of miles away. There he would sit on the pedestal of a clay statue of a horse while his cattle grazed around. He carried a crook at the end of a bamboo pole and snapped foliage from the avenue trees to feed his flock; he also gathered faggots and dry sticks, bundled them and carried them home for fuel at sunset.” The word “prosperous” is associated with wealth and success, which suggests that Muni had something of the sort. The author also utilizes words such as “sallied,” “carried,” and “bundled,” all of which are associated with labor and work. This suggests that he had enough animals to be able to perform manual labor on a daily basis and earn enough to be able to “sit on the pedestal of a clay statue of a horse while his cattle grazed around.” It is evident that while he worked hard, he trusted in the abundance of his stock enough to be able to sit down. The entire passage is written in the past tense, which highlights the fact that Muni was prosperous before the story takes place.

Muni is shown to be very cautious, paranoid to some extent. Like many poor and struggling people, he fears authority- figures, and so he fears the American who steps out of a strange car wearing khaki clothes. While the man tries to talk with him about the statue, Muni babbles on about a recent murder and the end of the world. This is portrayed in the passage during Muni and the foreigner’s encounter, “Muni shrank away from the card. Perhaps he was trying to present a warrant to arrest him. Beware of khaki, one part of his mind warned. Take all the cigarettes or bhang or whatever is offered, but don’t get caught. Beware of khaki.” Words such as “shrank,” “warned,” and “bewared,” are all associated with fear and dread, emotions which are associated with wariness.

Muni is also portrayed to be extremely distrusting, not only of others but also of himself, to some extent. “But all these seemed like memoirs of a previous birth. Some pestilence afflicted his cattle (he could of course guess who had laid his animals under a curse) and even the friendly butcher would not touch one at half the price…and now here he was left with two scraggly creatures. He wished someone would rid him of their company too. The shopman had said he was seventy. At seventy, one only waited to be summoned by God. When he was dead, what would his wife do? They had lived in each other’s company since they were children. He was told on the day of their wedding that he was ten and she was eight.” This passage mainly focuses on Muni’s recollections, which at his old age, seem to be faltering him. The usage of the words “seemed” and “guess,” both have connotations of uncertainty. Both these words are used in the context of Muni’s memories, suggesting that he is unsure of himself and does not trust even his own mind and experiences. Some other phrases which also suggest are “memoirs of a previous birth,” “he was told on the day of their wedding that he was ten and she was eight,” and “the shopman had said he was seventy.” These phrases utilize words such as “memoirs,” “told,” and “had said,” suggesting that these memories had to be reiterated to him, because he doesn’t trust himself and others don’t trust him to remember it well. The extent of Muni’s knowledge is also displayed. The fact that he does not trust his own knowledge shows that he is not confident about the information he knows, and does not know a lot and has not gone through proper schooling.

At the end he seems to have temporarily escaped his money troubles, but his bad luck continues when his wife suspects him of theft and threatens to leave.

The American

The American comes riding into the story in a yellow station wagon. A businessman who works in New York and commutes from Connecticut. He is dressed in the khaki clothing worn by American tourists in the tropics. He speaks only English, and is surprised to find that Muni can speak only Tamil. Although he is in the tiniest village in India, he expects to find a gas station and English-speaking goatherds.

He shown to be a pleasant man and a businessman by trade. Although not much is said about his character, we can deduce that he is friendly and genuine. This is highlighted in the line, “The Tamil that Muni spoke was stimulating even as a pure sound, and the foreigner listened with fascination. ‘I wish I had my tape recorder here,’ he said, assuming the pleasantest expression.’” The line utilizes the words “fascination” and “pleasantest,” suggesting that the foreigner is being very gracious to Muni despite the fact that he can’t understand him.

Once he sees the statue of the horse, he must own it for his living room. He is astute enough to know that money talks, even when he can’t speak the language.

Muni’s Wife

Muni’s wife has spent some sixty years with him (neither of them is sure about their ages), through prosperity and poverty. Although she is gruff with him now, she is willing ^ to indulge his request for a special meal. She works as hard as he does, or harder, getting up at dawn to fix his morning meal, and taking odd jobs at the Big House when their stores are low.

She often scolds him when he complains. This is reiterated in the line, when his wife says to him, ‘You are getting no sauce today, nor anything else. Fast till’ the evening, it’ll do you good. Take the goats and be gone now,’ she cried and added, ’Don’t come back until the sun is down.’” This entire passage is written in imperative form, and his wife uses many words and phrases that have negative connotations, such as “no,” “nor,” “be gone,” and “don’t come back.” This shows that she is exasperated with him and wishes him to be out of the house. Poverty has worn her down: her first reaction when she sees the hundred rupees is to accuse Muni of stealing.

The shopkeeper

The shopkeeper is a moody man who has given Muni food on credit in the past, but who has been pushed past his limit. Muni owes him five rupees, and although they share a bit of a humorous conversation, the shopkeeper will not give him any more.

Title

The title is very apt as the whole story revolves around the statue of the horse and the two goats. Muni grazes his goats at a grassy spot near the highway and sits under the shade of the statue. An American stops by and wants to purchase the statue of the horse. Muni cannot understand the American and thinks he wants to buy his goats. The American thrusts hundred rupees into Muni’s hands, the two men leave the place where they met, each taking away something of value. The comic characters of Muni and the American, could be identified with the roles of the “two goats” in the title.

Setting

The story takes place in Kritam, “probably the tiniest” of India’s 700,000 villages. Its. four streets are lined with about thirty mud and thatch huts and one Big House, made of brick and cement. Women cook in clay pots over clay stoves, and the huts have no running water or electricity. A few miles away, down a rough dirt track through dry fields of cactus and lantana bushes, is a highway leading to the mountains, where a large construction project is being completed. The meeting between Muni and the red-faced man was intended to take place between about 1945, when televisions became generally available to Americans, and 1960, when the story was published, but the date is not central to the story. Even today there are many villages in the world without modern technological conveniences, and many travellers who do not realize that not everyone lives as they do.

Style

Part of the fairy-tale element in this story is the result of the author’s use of coincidence. From a Western point of view, the story’s big coincidence—Muni’s opportune meeting with a rich American—may seem a fault: It undercuts the Western sense of probability, of order. However, that is apparently R. K. Narayan’s purpose. From a Hindu point of view, which sees the universe in flux, the coincidence is quite logical. In the Hindu view, anything can happen, though contingencies (or actions of the gods) usually balance out over time: Muni is wiped out by the pestilence but reinstated by the American. Just as Muni sells the American an avatar of a Hindu god, so Narayan slyly introduces the Hindu context into this story, complete with a lesson in theology, a reference to the great Hindu epics, and a wild conversation that mirrors the Hindu universe.

Narayan’s ability to present Hindu culture to the West is aided by one of the smoothest English styles in the world. Narayan has developed,his style over a long career, and “A

Horse and Two Goats” shows the style at its best—simple, supple, subtle, able to encompass the Hindu worldview and the demands of story writing at the same time. The style entertains without calling attention to itself.

Critical Appreciation

Over a prolific career spanning more than fifty years, Narayan has published fourteen novels, thirteen collections of short stories, and eleven other volumes of essays, translations and memoirs. He is known primarily for his many novels and short stories set in the fictional, small Southern Indian town of Malgudi, and most critics and reviewers focus on these stories. Reaction to Narayan’s work has always been quite positive. P. S. Ramana, in a short section of his Message in Design: A Study of R. K. Narayan’s Fiction, focuses on “how, by manipulating the narratorial position, focus, tone, attitude and commentary, the author is able to almost overlook the darker side of the experience to produce a highly humorous and ironic tale.

In this story of paradoxes and conflicts, Narayan touched many issues, be it the curse of childlessness, the crude apathy of mankind to the lesser mortals, or the irrepressible instinct of a man to show off his intelligence. The story is quite rich in mythological stories as well. Muni is an old man seeped in religion and is able to rattle off the avatars of Vishnu in his rustic easy manner, impressing the American unknowingly. As two protagonists indulge in a directionless dialogue, it is only the reader who knows both sides of the story and is able to laugh at the idiosyncrasies of life.

Once the nature of Muni’s world has been established by Narayan, both the plot and the comedy of the story hinge on the disruption of that routine .This is a formula Narayan uses frequently, and always with consummate skill. In “A Horse and Two Goats” the seemingly timeless routine is interrupted when a car stops and a “red-faced foreigner,” an American whose vehicle has run out of petrol, asks for directions to the nearest gas station.

“A Horse and Two Goats” is narrated in the third person by an omniscient narrator who reports clearly and objectively on the characters’ words, actions, and memories, but who does not comment or judge. The narrator describes Kritam’s erosion and Muni’s decline dispassionately, without regret; conversations between Muni and his wife, or Muni and the shopman, are told from Muni’s perspective, but with his calm acceptance of whatever fate brings him. This restraint is important to the understated humour of the  dialogue between Muni and the American; Narayan trusts the reader to interpret the absurd conversation without his having to explain his point of view through his narrator, “Notice that this response has nothing to do with the question asked,” or “See the irony in this remark.” When the two men leave the place where they met, each taking away something of value, neither has been accused by the narrator—nor by the reader—of foolishness or evil. By creating a narrator who tells the story without judging it, Narayan presents two believable characters with human flaws, but two characters for whom the reader can feel compassion and sympathy nonetheless. The conflict is between two like able characters, or two worthy cultures, not between good and evil.

Narayan makes adept use of realism In his fiction one finds simple and accurate presentation of common, everyday life as it is lived by identifiable characters. Narayan pays careful attention to the small details of Muni’s life: where he lives, what he eats, how he coughs when he smokes his first cigarette. Although many of the small details, like the drumstick tree and the dhoti where Muni puts his hundred rupees, are particularly Indian, they are also basic enough to human experience and so are easily understood by an international audience.

An integral part of Narayan’s art is the humour and understanding the humour in his fiction is important to understanding his world view. Humour which is affectionate and sympathetic to humanity and human foibles, is often distinguished from wit, which looks more harshly on human fallibility. For Narayan, who looks at the world through the lens of his Hindu faith, weakness and strife are to be accepted and transcended, not railed against. When he creates the comic characters of Muni and the American, which could be identified with the roles of the “two goats” in the title, he laughs at them gently and kindly, not critically.

A very different story indeed, written in the affable style of Narayan. A situational comedy where each misunderstanding brings a fresh peal of laughter. A perfect amalgamation of religious philosophy and modern thought!

Muni, the central character of the story, is a typical Narayan hero who has achieved little, and who feels he has been dealt with unsympathetically by the world around him, and by fate. Unlike most of Narayan’s heroes, though, he is a lower-class village peasant, rather than the usual middle-class Malgudi-dweller, and he is very poor, as the appalling conditions of his life, always present behind the humour of the story, attest. Indeed, on one level this tale provides the non-Indian reader with a glimpse of the type of poverty and hardship that must be endured by the millions of Indians who, like Muni, have barely enough food to keep them alive:

His wife lit the domestic fire at dawn, boiled water in a mud pot, threw into it a handful of millet flour, added salt, and gave him his first nourishment of the day. When he started out, she would put in his hand a packed lunch, once again the same millet cooked into a little ball, which he could swallow with a raw onion at midday.

Glossary

  1. Dotting: spread out.
  2. Flourish: thrive.
  3. Microscopic: very small.
  4. Revenue: the income of a government from taxation.
  5. Sprawled: stretched out.
  6. Furrowed: long, narrow, shallow trench made in the ground.
  7. Hooped: encircled with.
  8. Grandiose: impressive.
  9. Gorgeous: very attractive.
  10. Gargoyles: A comically carved human or animal face or figure.
  11. Balustrade: A railing.
  12. Sallied: marched out.
  13. Crook: a bent or curved implement, sickle.
  14. Snapped: broke
  15. Faggots: a bundle of sticks bound together as fuel.
  16. Miller: one who works in a mill.
  17. Nourishment: the food necessary for growth.
  18. Tethered: fastened.
  19. Craving: strong desire.
  20. Sauce: a semi-liquid substance served with food to add flavour.
  21. Upturned: upward directed.
  22. Imp: a small devil.
  23. Eloped: ran away secretly.
  24. Itinernt: wandering, roving.
  25. Displaying a remarkable memory for old facts: showing the old debts.
  26. Observations: scrutiny, calcualtions figure.
  27. Impelled: forced.
  28. Swarga: heaven.
  29. Mumbled: murmured.
  30. Sneered: gave a mocking smile.
  31. Shearing: cutting the wool off a sheep.
  32. Elated: carried away.
  33. Pestilence: epidemic.
  34. Scraggy: thin and bony.
  35. Summoned: called.
  36. Thrashed: hit.
  37. Progen: offspring.
  38. Barren: childless.
  39. Spurn: turn away.
  40. Pedestal: base on which a statue is mounted.
  41. Crouch: bend down.
  42. Scythe: a tool with curved blade especially for cutting long grass.
  43. Bulging: swelling eyes, when the eye balls look large.
  44. Brocade: a rich fabric woven with a raised pattern, typically with gold or silver thread.
  45. Sash: waistband.
  46. Vandals: persons who deliberately destroy or damage property.
  47. Novelty : something unfamiliar or new.
  48. Spectacles: shows that are exciting to watch.
  49. Assortment: a varied mixture.
  50. Sputtered: produced explosive sound.
  51. Mauled: attacked and wounded.
  52. Extricate: release.
  53. Fidgeted: made small movements through nervousness.
  54. Gainsay: deny.
  55. Slanderers: the people who spread rumours.
  56. Undaunte: not afraid.
  57. Wary: suspicious.
  58. Reeling: tottering
  59. Unimpeded: unhindered.
  60. Ingratiatingl: intending to gain approval.
  61. Camphor: a substance with an aromatic smell and bitter taste.
  62. Reminiscence: memories.
  63. Stimulating: arousing interest.
  64. Adversaries: enemies.
  65. Progeny: children.
  66. Wayfarers: travellers.
  67. Yama Loka: Hell.

For More Resources

Treasure Trove A Collection of ICSE Short Stories Workbook Answers Chapter 10 Notes All Summer in a Day 

Treasure Trove A Collection of ICSE Short Stories Workbook Answers Chapter 10 Notes All Summer in a Day – ICSE Class 10, 9 English

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About the Author

Ray Douglas Bradbury (22 August 1920 – 5 June 2012) was an American fantasy, science fiction, horror and mystery fiction author. Best known for his dystopian novel Fahrenheit 451 (1953) and for the science fiction and horror stories gathered together as The Martian Chronicles (1950) and The Illustrated Man (1951), Bradbury was one of the most celebrated 20th- and 21st-century American genre writers. He wrote and consulted on many screenplays and television scripts, including Moby Dick and It Came from Outer Space. Many of his works have been adapted into comic books, television shows, and films.

Ray Bradbury was born on 22 August 1920 in Waukegan, Illinois, to Esther Bradbury, a Swedish immigrant, and Leonard Spaulding Bradbury, a power and telephone lineman of English descent. He was given the middle name “Douglas,” after the actor Douglas Fairbanks. An aunt read him short stories when he was a child. This period provided foundations for both the author and his stories. The Bradbury eventually settled in Los Angeles in 1934, when Bradbury was 14. Bradbury—who was in love with Hollywood— was ecstatic.

Bradbury was a reader and writer throughout his youth. He knew as a young boy that he was “going into one of the arts.” In 1931, at the age of eleven, young Ray began writing his own stories. In his youth, he spent much time in the Carnegie library in Waukegan, reading such authors as H. G. Wells, Jules Verne, and Edgar Allan Poe. At age twelve, Bradbury began writing traditional horror stories and said he tried to imitate Poe until he was about eighteen. In Beverly Hills, he often visited the science fiction writer Bob Olsen for mentorship as well as friendship while Bradbury was a teenager. They shared ideas and would keep in contact.

Ray Bradbury was free to start a career in writing when, owing to his bad eyesight, he was rejected admission into the military during World War II. Bradbury sold his first story, “The Lake”, for $13.75 at the age of twenty-two

It was in UCLA’s Powell Library, in a study room with typewriters for rent, that Bradbury wrote his classic story of a book-burning future, The Fireman, which was about 25,000 words long. Bradbury was once described as a “Midwest surrealist” and is often labelled a science fiction writer

About the Story

This story is set on the planet Venus, where the sun shines for only two hours once every seven years. It opens on the day that the sun is due to make its appearance once again. Margot and the other children in her school on Venus are nine years old. “All Summer in a Day” is a science fiction short story by Ray Bradbury, first published in the March 1954 issue of The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction.

Plot

Only two things happen in terms of plot: the sun comes out and Margot, who longs so deeply to see it, is locked away in a closet by the other children. The rest is the longing mood Bradbury evokes.

  1. Introduction: The story is about a class of schoolchildren on Venus, which in this story is a world of constant rainstorms, where the Sun is only visible for two hours every seven years.
  2. Conflict: One of the children, Margot, moved to Venus from Earth five years earlier, and she is the only one in her class to remember sunshine, since the Sun shone regularly on Earth. She describes the Sun as “a penny”, or “like a fire in the stove”, and the other children, being too young ever to have seen it themselves, do not believe her. She is bullied and ostracized by the other students and is locked in a closet down a tunnel.
  3. Climax: As the Sun is about to appear, their teacher arrives to take the class outside to enjoy their two hours of sunshine and, in their astonishment and joy, they all forget about Margot. They run, play, skip, jump, and prance about, savouring every second of their newly found freedom. “It’s much better than sun lamps!” one of them cries.
  4. Rising action: Suddenly, a girl catches a raindrop in her hands. Thunder sounds, and they start to cry and run back inside. At this point one of them remembers Margot, who is still locked in the closet. Ashamed, they let her out of the closet, standing frozen, embarrassed over what they had done, and unable to “meet each other’s glances.”
  5. Conclusion: The precious Sun had come and gone and, because of their despicable act, Margot, who loved the Sun the most, had missed it.

Theme

The theme for “All Summer in a Day” is bullying and jealousy. Kids, and people alike, can be so mean when they are confronted with someone different than their current understanding or when they are jealous. Margot had known what the sun looked and felt like when she lived on Earth; but, the children of Venus who get to see the sun for two hours once every seven years could not relate to her experience

Highlights of Speech/or Summary

In “All Summer in a Day,” a group of schoolchildren live on the planet Venus with their families. They are nine years old, and they are eagerly awaiting a momentous occasion. After 5 years of continuous rain, the scientists on Venus have predicted that the sun will come out that day today for a brief period of time. The children have only seen the sun once in their lives, but they were two years,old then and don’t remember how it looked. To prepare for the day, they had constantly read about the sun and completed classroom activities, such as writing a poem, about the sun.

This is true for all but one of the children. Margot, a thin, pale girl that the rest of the children resent for various reasons, had lived in Ohio until she was five. She still had many memories of the sun, and the sun continued to fascinate her. Margot refuses to participate in any classroom activity that doesn’t include the sun. In fact, she had been in a depressed state for most of her time on Venus. Rumours have it that her parents were strongly considering taking her away from the underground colony on Venus and back to her home on Earth.

Margot looks out of the window, waiting silently for the rain to stop and the sun to ,  come out. The other children become upset with her and begin to push and taunt her.Suddenly, the children seize Margot and conceive the idea to hide Margot in a closet while their teacher is gone. Margot resists but they overpower her and lock her in a faraway closet.

The teacher returns and they all go to the tunnel’s exit, as she thinks everyone is present and accounted for from her class. Then, moments later, the rain stops and the sun appears. All of the children exit the tunnels and begin to run around and enjoy the sun. It is unlike anything they could imagine. They exult, “It’s better than the sun lamps, isn’t it?” as they run around the jungles of Venus.

After playing, and enjoying the weather, one of the girls cries out because she was ,cradling a big, fat raindrop in her hand. Everyone stopped. They stood for a moment,thinking about how wonderful the sun felt on their skins. While they do this, the rain clouds move in. The sun retreats; the rain falls harder. All of the children stop for a moment before re-entering the tunnels, reflecting on how wonderful the past hour was.

As they re-entered the hallway, they asked their teacher questions. “Will it really be seven more years?” Once again, another student gave a muffled cry. She remembered that Margot was still in the closet. She had been there for the entire time that they were outside enjoying the sun-soaked weather. They slowly walked towards the closet where they had left Margot, and they were all nervous to approach it. They slowly walked to the closet door, and no noises were emitted from behind the closet door. They unlocked the door and Margot slowly emerged.

Characters

Margot

Margot was a thin and delicate girl who looked as if she had been lost in the rain for years and the rain had washed out the blue from her eyes and the red from her mouth and the yellow from her hair. She was an old photograph dusted from an album, whitened away and her voice wa thin and raspy like that of a ghost.

Margot, is a sensitive, melancholy little girl whose soul’s sadness seems reflected in the ever present rain. The sun in this story becomes the metaphor for all our longings and desires.
Margot is a child who just doesn’t fit in. Margot is from Earth, and the other children are from Venus. In addition to that, Margot is delicate and sensitive and just doesn’t associate with the other kids.’ They turned on themselves, like a feverish wheel, all tumbling spokes. Margot stood alone.’

Margot came from Earth to Venus five years ago. She accurately recalled the sun and the way it looked and felt as it shone on her when she was back in Ohio. However, this is not the case with the other children. They were far too young to remember what the sun was like when last it shone upon them. They could only imagine the warmness of that sun upon their arms and legs. Margot tells the others that the sun is round like a penny and hot like a fire in the stove. The other children accuse her of lying, and they show their resentment of her seeming superiority.

Other children

They are pale and colourless, not just physically but also emotionally. The lack of the sun has not only washed away the colour on their skin but also their compassion and empathy for other people. They do not gain this until they’ve spent time under the sun’s rays. The sun is life giving for the landscape as well as the inhabitants of Venus. The children are mean and jealous when confronted with someone different than their current understanding. The children are cruel to Margot because she is different, and because they are jealous. Due to their actions, she misses seeing the sun. Only then do the children regret what they have done.

Title

The story is about the wonderful experience that the sun brings to the inhabitants of Venus. This story is set on the planet Venus, where the sun shines for only two hours once every seven years. It opens on the day that the sun is due to make its appearance once again. Margot and the other children in her school on Venus are nine years old. Margot came from Earth to Venus five years ago. Therefore she accurately recalls the sun and the way it looked and felt as it shone on her when she was back in Ohio. However, this is not the case with the other children.They were far too young to remember what the sun was like when last it shone upon them. They can only imagine the warmness of that sun upon their arms and legs. Margot tells the others that the sun is round like a penny  and hot like a fire in the stove. The other children accuse her of lying, and they show their resentment of her seeming superiority by locking her in a closet. When the Venus rains finally stop and the sun comes out, it sends a flaming bronze color throughout the jungle growth. The children soak up the life-giving sunshine until the rains start to fall again. The children now know that Margot was telling the truth about the sun. Then and only then do they remember that Margot is still locked in the closet.

Thus the story being about the short lived experience of the benefits of the sun we can correctly say that the title, ‘All Summer in a Day,’ is apt and suggestive.

Setting

This story is set on the planet Venus, where the sun shines for only two hours once every seven years. It opens on the day that the sun is due to make its appearance once again. Margot and the other children in her school on Venus are nine years old. Margot came from Earth to Venus five years ago. Therefore she accurately recalls the sun and the way it looked and felt as it shone on her when she was back in Ohio. However, this is not the case with the other children. They were far too young to remember what the sun was like when last it shone upon them.

Style

Bradbury uss very evocative and picturesque language. His style is lucid and descriptive. Bradbury doesn’t just say it rained all the time, but describes the rain: “the sweet crystal fall of showers and the concussion of storms so heavy … A thousand forests had been crushed.” Likewise, Bradbury lingers over descriptions of the sun. It is like “gold” or a “lemon crayon,” “flaming bronze” and a “warm iron.”

Bradbury repeatedly uses similes and poetic language to describe this sun and this world. Rather than hurtle us forward from event to event in this story, Bradbury encourages us, through his description, to stop and to experience being drenched in what it is like to be on this imaginary Venus.

Critical Appreciation

Prior to the sun’s appearance, the children are described as being so pale that they are almost colourless. The rain had washed the yellow from their hair, the blue from their eyes, and the red from their lips. The good qualities in their personalities have also seemingly been washed away because the children are quick-tempered and spiteful. That they are cruel by locking Margot in a closet never occurred to them. The sun, however, depicts a restoration for the children. It gives colour to their washed-out appearance, and it also enables them to possess new encouragement, strength, and wholeness in their lives. Finally the children remember Margot, but for her, it is too late — she must wait seven years to see the sun again.

Bradbury uses a variety of metaphors to depict an image of life on Venus, an idea that is foreign to us yet familiar through Bradbury’s language. Not only does his language bring us a clear image of Venus, but it also creates the tangible feeling of discovering the pleasures of the sun. Venus ‘was the colour of rubber and ash, this jungle, from the many years without sun. It was the colour of stones and white cheeses and ink, and it was the colour of the moon.’ The reader is instantly able to picture Bradbury’s Venus landscape with his illustrative language.

The power of the sun over the children living on Venus is notable. They are pale and colourless, not just physically but also emotionally. The lack of the sun has not only washed away the colour on their skin but also their compassion and empathy for other people. They do not gain this until they’ve spent time under the sun’s rays. The sun is life giving for the landscape as well as the inhabitants of Venus.

Margot’s initial exclusion from the group may speak of the difficulties of integrating immigrants into a community. Margot struggles to fit in everyday of her time on Venus, and she does not get along with the other children. They resent her for her past experiences on Earth with the sun, and they are also angry and jealous that she had the opportunity to travel back to Earth regardless of the financial costs. Though abstract, Margot represents one version of an immigrant story.

At the conclusion of the story, the children who were once hypercritical of Margot begin to arrive at an understanding of what she had been feeling since arriving in Venus. They did not understand her depression or refusal to participate in certain activities, primarily because they did not understand how Margot was so enraptured by the sun. It is not until they spend time outside, basking in the sunlight, that they begin to comprehend how much Margot sacrificed when she moved from Ohio to Venus.

This development in the story highlights a broader theme of ignorance and its presence and absence throughout the story. When the children only knew “sun lamps” and could not remember the last time the sun had shone, the daily monotony of rain was not a major concern in their lives. They were ignorant to the possible benefits of the sun. Now that they have experienced the sun and their ignorance has lifted, it would be difficult to shift back to the constant rain. As the rain begins to fall once again, they are disheartened when they ask their teacher, “Will it be seven more years?” They finally comprehend the gravity of their teacher’s answer.

Bradbury doesn’t just say it rained all the time, but describes the rain: “the sweet crystal fall of showers and the concussion of storms so heavy … A thousand forests had been crushed.” Likewise, Bradbury lingers over descriptions of the sun. It is like “gold” or a “lemon crayon,” “flaming bronze” and a “warm iron.”

Bradbury repeatedly uses similes and poetic language to describe this sun and this world. Rather than hurtle us forward from event to event in this story, Bradbury encourages us, through his description, to stop and to experience being drenched in what it is like to be on this imaginary Venus. Only two things happen in terms of plot: the sun comes out and Margot, who longs so deeply to see it, is locked away in a closet by the other children. The rest is the longing mood Bradbury evokes.

There is conflict in the story. The central conflict of the story is that Margot does not fit in with the other children. It had been raining on Venus for seven years. The children, who are nine years old, do not remember ever seeing the sun. The sun is scheduled to come out, so the kids are very excited. Margot is excited too, but she is a child who just doesn’t fit in.Margot is from Earth, and the other children are from Venus. In addition to that, Margot is delicate and sensitive and just doesn’t associate with the other kids.’They turned on themselves, like a feverish wheel, all tumbling spokes. Margot stood alone.’

Glossary

  1. Weeds: wild plants
  2. Peering: looking closely
  3. Concussion: a temporary loss of consciousness.
  4. Spokes: thin bars of metal.
  5. Drenched: soaked.
  6. Savagely: brutally.
  7. Predict: forecast.
  8. Surged: moved quickly.
  9. Avalanche: a mass of snow that falls.
  10. Tornado: a violent storm.
  11. Muffled: making an unclear sound.
  12. Tumultuously: loudly
  13. Resilient: able to feel better quickly.
  14. Squinte: looked at.
  15. Savoured: relished.
  16. Wailed: moaned.
  17. Hurricane: a violent storm.
  18. Gigantic: huge.
  19. Solemn: serious.
  20. Glanced: liked
  21. Vanishing: disappearing.

For More Resources

 

Treasure Trove A Collection of ICSE Short Stories Workbook Answers Chapter 9 Notes My Greatest Olympic Prize

Treasure Trove A Collection of ICSE Short Stories Workbook Answers Chapter 9 Notes My Greatest Olympic Prize – ICSE Class 10, 9 English

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ICSE SolutionsSelina ICSE SolutionsML Aggarwal Solutions

About the Author

James Cleveland “Jesse” Owens (September 12, 1913-March 31, 1980) was an American track and field athlete and four-time Olympic gold medalist.

Owens specialized in the sprints and the long jump and was recognized in his lifetime as “perhaps the greatest and most famous athlete in track and field history”. His achievement of setting three world records and tying another in less than an hour at the 1935 Big Ten track meet in Ann Arbor, Michigan, has been called “the greatest 45 minutes ever in sport” and has never been equalled. At the 1936 Summer Olympics in Berlin,Germany, Owens won international fame with four gold medals: 100 meters, 200 meters, long jump, and 4 * 100 meter relay. He was the most successful athlete at the games and as such has been credited with “single-handedly crushing Hitler’s myth of Aryan supremacy.”

The Jesse Owens Award is USA Track and Field’s highest accolade for the year’s best track and field athlete. Owens was ranked by ESPN as the sixth greatest North American athlete of the twentieth century and the highest-ranked in his sport.

About the Story

“My Greatest Olympic Prize” is the heart-touching experience of Olympic gold medalist Jesse Owens. Adolf Hitler believed in the Aryan Superiority theory. He thought that his German athletes belonged to a master’s race and they would perform better than other participants in the 1936 Olympics, Berlin. So nationalistic feelings were running high. The American Negro athlete Jesse Owens took six years of painful practice, purposely to break the theory of Hitler. He had already made a world record in long jump just the previous year. So he expected to win the gold medal easily.

Owens’ “My Greatest Olympic Prize” deals with friendship he had with Luz Long. While sharing his Olympic experience he also brings out the friendship he develops with Luz Long. Owens mind is filled with Olympic gold. Nothing could shake the spirit of Owens. He is not bothered about hostile feeling among the Germans. Hitler’s men believed in his theory of master race. In this backdrop Owens happens to meet Luz Long. Luz Long is a German. But he is friendly with Owens.

When Owen’s anger is pointed towards Hitler his performance suffers. Out of three qualifying jumps he faults in two. At this crucial moment Luz Long gives a solution. Long asks him to draw a line few inches behind the take off board. Owens follows his advice and qualifies for the final. On the same evening Owens meets Luz Long. They speak for

long. They speak about sports. They talk on world affairs. They also talk on several issues. Finally Owens departs. The next day Owens wins gold in long jump. He sets a new Olympic record of 26 feet 5 and 5/16 inches. Long is the first one to congratulate him. Hitler watched from a distance. At that moment Owens feels that all the gold medals he has won cannot equal his friendship with Luz Long. Long embodies the Olympic spirit of taking part and fighting well.

Plot

  1. Introduction: Jesse Owens an American Negro athlete participates in the 1936 Olympics in Berlin, Germany.
  2. Jesse’ s Poor Performance: An angry athlete will commit mistakes. Jesse Owens was no exception to this. He was hot under the collar (angry) with Hitler’s childish Aryan theory. So he committed mistakes. His performance in trial was very poor. He kicked the pit in disgust. But the German Luz Long performed well. He was qualified for the final. This disturbed Jesse Owens very much.
  3. The Help by Luz Long: Luz Long is a tall German long jumper. Though he is trained by Hitler, he does not believe in Hitler’s theory. Jesse Owens is his opponent player but he is friendly with him and even helps him to get qualified for final. He suggests to draw a line behind take off board and then to jump. He is not as emotional as Jesse.
  4. The win: Luz Long broke his past record in long jump. However it is Jesse Owens who won the gold medal by jumping 26 feet 5, 5/16 inches. Luz Long congratulated him by shaking his hand. Hitler glared at both of them.
  5. Jesse’s Greatest Olympic Prize: Coubert in is the founder of modern Olympic games. According to him, the true spirit of Olympic is not winning but taking part. It is not winning but fighting well that matters. Luz Long did not win. But he was a good example of Olympic spirit. To Jesse Owens, the greatest Olympic prize is not the gold medal but his new and noble friendship with Luz Long.

Theme

The story My Greatest Olympic Prize enunciates that the true spirit of Olympic is not winning but taking part. It is not winning but fighting well that matters. Luz Long did not win. But he was a good example of Olympic spirit. To Jesse Owens, the greatest Olympic prize is not the gold medal but his new and noble friendship with Luz Long.

The story shows that true friendship cannot be slave to racism or ideology and it is a meeting of minds and hearts.Adolf Hitler believed in the Aryan Superiority theory. He thought that his German athletes belonged to a master’s race and they would perform better than other participants in the 1936 Olympics, Berlin. Luz Long though trained by Hitler, he did not believe in Hitler’s theory. Luz Long believed that it is not winning but taking part that is significant. It is not winning but fighting well that matters. Luz Long did not win. But he was a good example of true friend. He motivated Jesse to show his best and win. To Jesse Owens, the greatest Olympic prize is not the gold medal but his new and noble friendship with Luz Long.

Highlights of Speech/or Summary

It is 1936. American Jesse Owens seemed sure to win the long jump competition in the Olympic games. The previous year he had jumped 26 feet, 8 1/4 inches, a record that would stand for 25 years.

As he walked to the long-jump pit, however, Owens saw a tall, blue eyed, blond German taking practice jumps in the 26-foot range. Owens felt nervous. He was acutely aware of the Nazis desire to prove Aryan superiority. And as a black son of a share cropper, he knew what it was like to feel inferior.

On his first jump, Owens inadvertently leapt from several inches beyond the takeoff board. Rattled, he fouled on his second attempt, too. One more foul and he would be eliminated.

At that point, the tall German introduced himself as Luz Long. ‘You should be able to qualify with your eyes closed!’ he said to Owens, referring to his upcoming two jumps.

For the next few moments, the African American and the white model of Nazi manhood chatted together. Then Long made a suggestion. Since the qualifying distance was only 23 feet, 5 1/2 inches, he suggested that Owen make a mark several inches before the takeoff board and jump from there, just to play it safe. Owens did that and qualified easily.

In the finals, Owen sets an Olympic record and earned the second of his four gold medals. The first person to congratulate him was Luz Long in full view of Adolf Hitler. Owen never again saw Long, who was later killed in World War II.

You could melt down all the medals and cups I have,’ Owens later wrote, and they wouldn’t be a platting on the 24-carat friendship I felt for Luz Long.’

Characters

Jesse Owens

Jesse Owens was an American Negro athlete who participated in the 1936 Olympics in Berlin. Jesse Owens took six years of painful practice, purposely to break the theory of Hitler. Fie had already made a world record in long jump just the previous year. So he expected to win the gold medal easily. Owens mind was filled with the Olympic gold. Nothing could shake the spirit of Owens. He is not bothered about hostile feeling among the Germans. Hitler’s men believed in his theory of master race. Owen is disheartened to see that Long wins one. Owens felt nervous. He was acutely aware of the Nazis desire to prove Aryan superiority.’ And as a black son of a share cropper, he knew what it was like to feel inferior. On his first jump, Owens inadvertently leapt from several inches beyond the takeoff board. Rattled, he fouled on his second attempt, too. One more foul and he would be eliminated.

But He makes a friend who motivates him. In this backdrop Owens happens to meet Luz Long. Luz Long was a German. But he was friendly with Owens. When Owen’s anger was pointed towards Hitler his performance suffered. An angry athlete commits mistakes and Jesse Owens was no exception to this. He was hot under the collar (angry) with Hitler’s childish Aryan theory. So he committed mistakes. His performance in trial was very poor. He kicked the pit in disgust. But the German Luz Long performed well. He. was qualified for the final. This disturbed Jesse Owens very much. Out of the three qualifying jumps he faulted in two. At that crucial moment Luz Long gave a solution. Long asked him to draw a line few inches behind the take off board. Owens followed his advice and qualified for the final. The friendship Jesse shared with Long was invaluable and beyond borders and race. On the same evening Owens met Luz Long. They spoke about sports. They talked on world affairs. They also talked on several issues. The next day Owens won gold in long jump. He set a new Olympic record of 26 feet 5 and 5/16 inches. Long was the first one to congratulate him. Owens later wrote, ‘You could melt down all the medals and cups 1 have,’ and they wouldn’t be a platting on the 24-carat friendship I felt for Luz Long.’

Jesse Owens was a great athlete. Owens specialized in the sprints and the long jump and was recognized in his lifetime as “perhaps the greatest and most famous athlete in track and field history”. He has been called “the greatest 45 minutes ever in sport” and has never been equaled. At the 1936 Summer Olympics in Berlin, Germany, Owens won international fame with four gold medals: 100 meters, 200 meters, long jump, and 4 x 100 meter relay. He was the most successful athlete at the games and as such has been credited with “single-handy crushing Hitler’s myth of Aryan supremacy.”

The Jesse Owens Award is USA Track and Field’s highest accolade for the year’s best track and field athlete. Owens was ranked by ESPN as the sixth greatest North American athlete of the twentieth century and the highest-ranked in his sport.

Luz Long

Luz Long is a tall, blue eyed, blond German long jumper. He was an inch taller than Jesse, and had a lean, muscular frame, clear blue eyes, blond hair and a strikingly handsome, chiseled face. Though he was trained by Hitler, he did not believe in Hitler’s theory.

Luz Long embodied the true spirit of Olympic that it is not winning but taking part that is significant. It is not winning but fighting well that matters. Luz Long did not win. But he was a good example of the Olympic spirit. To Jesse Owens, the greatest Olympic prize is not the gold medal but his new and noble friendship with Luz Long.

‘You should be able to qualify with your eyes closed!’ he said to Owens. Jesse Owens is his opponent player but he is friendly with him and even helps him to get qualified for final. He suggests to draw a line behind take off board and then to jump.

He is not as emotional as Jesse. He practiced well and did not get angry or disheartened at his performance. He did his best and did not let anything effect his game.

Long was a good athlete and had a sporting spirit . He became Owen’s friend and motivated him. He took pains to reassure Jesse. Although he’d been schooled in the Nazi youth movement, he didn’t believe in the Aryan-supremacy business.

Title

The title My Greatest Olympic Prize is apt. Jesse Owens was an American Negro athlete who participated in the 1936 Olympics in Berlin. Jesse Owens took six years of painful practice, purposely to break the theory of Hitler. He had already made a world record in long jump just the previous year. So he expected to win the gold medal easily. Owens mind was filled with the Olympic gold. Nothing could shake the spirit of Owens. When Owens’ anger was pointed towards Hitler his performance suffered. An angry athlete commits mistakes and Jesse Owens was no exception to this. He was hot under the collar (angry) with Hitler’s childish Aryan theory. So he committed mistakes. His performance in trial was very poor. He kicked the pit in disgust. But the German Luz Long performed well. He was qualified for the final. This disturbed Jesse Owens very much. Out of the three qualifying jumps he faulted in two. Owens happened to meet Luz Long. Luz Long was a German. But he was friendly with Owens. At that crucial moment Luz Long gave a solution. Long asked him to draw a line few inches behind the take off board. Owens followed his advice and qualified for the final. Long was the first to congratulate him.

The friendship Jesse shared with Long was invaluable and beyond borders and race. On the same evening Owens met Luz Long. They spoke about sports. They talked on world affairs. They also talked on several issues. The next day Owens won a gold in long jump. Owens later wrote, ‘You could melt down all the medals and cups I have, and they wouldn’t be a platting on the 24-carat friendship 1 felt for Luz Long.

Thus as the story highlights the invaluable friendship of these two athletes from the opposing sides the title is indeed appropriate.

Setting

The setting of the story is in Berlin , Germany when the Olympics were being held in the year 1936.
Jesse Owens was an American Negro athlete who participated in the 1936 Olympics in Berlin. Jesse Owens took six years of painful practice, purposely to break the theory of Hitler. He had already made a world record in long jump just the previous year. So he expected to win the gold medal easily. Owens mind was filled with the Olympic gold.

It was a time when Germany was ruled by Adolf Hitler who believed in the Aryan Superiority theory. He thought that his German athletes belonged to a master’s race and they would perform better than other participants in the 1936 Olympics, Berlin. So nationalistic feelings were running high. The American Negro athlete Jesse Owens took six years of painful practice, purposely to break the theory of Hitler. He had already made a world record in long jump just the previous year. So he expected to win the gold medal easily.

Style

The style, adopted by Jesse Owens to narrate the events at the Olympics in Berlin and his friendship and bonding with Luz Long, is lucid, simple and straightforward. The vocabulary used is not ambiguous or difficult to understand. The conversation between the two friends is simple and genuine and nothing jars or seems artificial or contrived.

Critical Appreciation

In My greatest Olympic prize the narrator Jesse Jones gives a first account of his experience at the Olympics in Berlin in 1936.

The author uses simple and straightforward language to describe his friendship with a German athlete. It was a time when Germany was ruled by Adolf Hitler who believed in the Aryan Superiority theory. He thought that his German athletes belonged to a master’s race and they would perform better than other participants in the 1936 Olympics, Berlin. So nationalistic feelings were running high. The American Negro athlete Jesse Owens took six years of painful practice, purposely to break the theory of Hitler. He had already made a world record in long jump just the previous year. So he expected to win the gold medal easily. The friendship Jesse shared with Long was invaluable and beyond borders and race. On the same evening Owens met Luz Long. They spoke about sports. They talked on world affairs. They also talked on several issues. The next day Owens won a gold in long jump. Owens later wrote, ‘You could melt down all the medals and cups I have,’ and they wouldn’t be a platting on the 24-carat friendship I felt for Luz Long.’The author uses simple conversation and dialogues to convey the genuine friendship they shared.

The author also conveys the spirit of sportsmanship through the example of the character Luz Long. ‘You should be able to qualify with your eyes closed!’ he said to Owens. Jesse Owens is his opponent player but he is friendly with him and even helps him to get qualified for final. He suggests Jesse to draw a line behind take off board and then to jump.

Long was a good athlete and had a sporting spirit. He became Owen’s friend and motivated him. He took pains to reassure Jesse. Although he’d been schooled in the Nazi youth movement, he didn’t believe in the Aryan-supremacy business.

Coubertin had declared that taking part in Olympics was more important than winning. The author uses simple language and characterization to show that Luz Long, being a true sportsman and an amazing human being, helped his fellow sportsman to qualify in his jump that made him win. This shows that Long believed in participating rather than winning. His rival’s winning did not make him jealous. On the contrary, he congratulated him with all his heart. This clearly exemplifies that Long believed in Coubertin’s words and passed the thought to Owens.

Thus the simple description by Jesse Owens gives valuable insights into true friendship and human values that transcend race and bias.

Glossary

  1. Sophomore: a student in the second year of college.
  2. Startled: surprised.
  3. Wraps: covers.
  4. Nervousness: anxiety.
  5. Chiselled: clear and strong features of a person.
  6. Tension: feeling of anxiety.
  7. Glared: looked at angrily.
  8. Epitome: embodiment.

For More Resources

Treasure Trove A Collection of ICSE Short Stories Workbook Answers Chapter 8 Notes The Blue Bead

Treasure Trove A Collection of ICSE Short Stories Workbook Answers Chapter 8 Notes The Blue Bead  – ICSE Class 10, 9 English

EnglishMathsPhysicsChemistryBiology

ICSE SolutionsSelina ICSE SolutionsML Aggarwal Solutions

About the Author

Norah (Aileen) Burke born on 2nd August 1907 in Bedford, England and was a well known novelist and non-fiction writer famous for her descriptions of life in India during the early 20th century.

Her father, Redmond St. George Burke, was a Forest Officer in India and her early childhood was spent travelling through the Indian forests, often on elephant back. The Indian jungle and her interactions with its wild animals inspired her autobiographical travel books Jungle Child (1956), Eleven Leopards (1965), and Midnight Forests (1966). She also wrote a short story “Journey by Night”.

Constantly changing camps, carrying their belongings by elephant, made education difficult, but she learned to write at the age of eight, and started writing stories straight away. She also read as much as she could, including bound volumes of Chums and Boy’s Own Paper, and even wrote and edited her own little magazine entitled The Monthly Dorrit.

She returned to England in 1919 to attend a school in Devonshire, and lived at her family home at The Auberies, Buhner, in Suffolk. Her first novel, Dark Road, was published in 1933,. After a second novel dealing with a European dictator (The Scarlet Vampire), she wrote Merry England, which was set in historical Suffolk.

By 1950, she had published 11 novels and her short stories and articles had appeared in more than 100 periodicals. Her work was published in France, Denmark, the Netherlands, Sweden, Irish Free State, Holland, Australia, America and Canada. In 1954, she was the winner of the New York Herald Tribune World Short Story Contest.

As well as fiction, Norah Burke was also an enthusiastic travel writer, relating many of her early adventures in autobiographical travel books Jungle Child (1956), Tiger Country (1965) and Eleven Leopards (1965). She also wrote about wildlife in King Todd (1963), Fire in the Forest and The Midnight Forest (1966) and numerous short stories. She collaborated with her father on his book of big game hunting and camp life in the Indian jungles, Jungle Days (1935).

She married Henry Humphrey R. Metlnvold Walrond (1904-1987), a lawyer, and had two sons. She lived for many years at Thorne Court., in Cockfield, near Bury St. Edmunds, Suffollk. She died in 1976.

About the Story

This is the heroic story of a twelve year old Indian girl who saved a gujjar woman from being devoured by a crocodile. There was a mugger crocodile laying in the water. A little 12-year-old girl name Sibia lived in a small village and she was marked for work from a very young age. She had never owned anything in her life In the village the woman would get paper grass from above the river. When they had enough they would take it to the bullock and sell it for money. One day when they were crossing the river on their way home, Sibia decided to rest. One of the Gujjar women went down to fill her two gurrahs with water. Things took a turn for the worst and all of a sudden a crocodile attacked the woman, biting on the woman’s leg. At that moment Sibia got up, sprinted, grabbed the hay fork and stabbed the crocodile in the eye with all her power. Immediately the crocodile let go and went away. Sibia saw a small blue bead lying by the river, she grabbed it. Since she was poor she didn’t have a necklace. She’d always wanted one like the other women, now she could make one with the blue bead. After that she went home and told her mother all about it.

Plot

  1. Introduction: The mention of the crocodile. Sibia’s day starts with a small breakfast, then she leaves to work in the fields with her mother.
  2. Climax: Women were travelling to the cliff to collect grass paper. On the way back Sibia gets left behind because she was day-dreaming. Sibia has to cross a river in order to get home and when she arrives at the river she sees a women being attacked by a crocodile “She was within a yard of the crocodile when it lunged at her.” Marks the beginning of climax.
  3. Rising Action: Sibia rushes in to save the woman and stabs the crocodile in the eye with her hay-fork. She helped the woman back home to camp ground. Sibia saves the women and cleans her wounds, then returns to the river to get her hayfork
  4. Tailing action: When Sibia bends down to retrieve her hay-fork she finds a blue bead. She excitedly went to her mother and told her about her blue bead.
  5. Conclusion: Sibia then returns home to her mother where she explains of her day’s events . She excitedly went to her mother and told her about her blue bead.“Beside him in the shoals where he lay waiting, glimmered a blue gem.”

Theme

The theme of the story “The Blue Bead” is that people often don’t realize that risk taking can lead to unforeseen achievements. This story is about a young girl named Sibia who one day goes to the fields with her mom to work. After working she gets left behind because she was daydreaming or she was lost in her own thoughts. In order to get home Sibia has to cross a river. While she’s doing that she sees a woman getting attacked by a crocodile. Sibia rushes to help the woman and she stabs the crocodile in the eye with a pitchfork. Sibia takes the injured woman back into the village where a group of people take her to get treated. When she returns to the river to get her pitchfork she finds a blue bead. In the end Sibia doesn’t tell her mother about helping the lady because she is more excited about finding the blue bead for her necklace.

The blue bead symbolizes that even the little things can make Sibia happy. We take many things for granted and don’t realize the little things that make us happy.

Crocodiles often attack humans in India and surrounding countries.It’s very unlikely that one would survive an attack, luckily, Sibia was there to save that woman. What goes around comes around. The crocodile attacks the Gujjar woman. Then the crocodile gets attacked by Sibia. Sibia saves the Gujjar woman and in return gets the blue bead. Sibia never gave up on getting jewellery and always tries her best to find solutions. Eventually she gets what she always wanted.

Highlights of Speech/or Summary

A mugger crocodile was laying motionless waiting for food, armored with his thick hide. Beside him lay a small blue bead. There was a village above the river. This was the home to a little girl, named Sibia. In all her life, she had never owned anything but a rag. From the moment Sibia was born she was marked for work. Today, she was going with her mother and the other women to get paper grass from above the river. When the women had enough, they would take it down to the bullock cart and sell it to the agent who would arrange for it to be sent to the paper mills. The women toiled all day at this work. On the way back, the woman passed the Gujjar people’s grass huts where some nomadic graziers would live until their animals finished grazing in that spot. The women were crossing the river and stepping on the ghats trying to avoid an attack from a crocodile. They all crossed safely and were on their way back home. Sibia was dawdling and the last to cross the stones, in the middle she decided to take a break. At that same moment, a Gujjar woman went down to the water to fill up her gurrahs. Out of the blue, a crocodile lunged at her. The crocodile’s jaws closed in on the Guljar woman’s leg, blood . spreading everywhere. Quickly, Sibia ran over and stabbed the crocodile in the eyes with her hay fork, the only weak part of that saurian. The crocodile reared up in convulsion, disappearing into the water. Sibia had saved the attacked woman. Sibia looked down near her hay fork, and noticed a small blue bead. She was ecstatic. Since she was poor she didn’t have a necklace. She’d always wanted one like the other women, now she could make one with the blue bead. Sibia picked it up, and went back home where her mother * awaited her.

Characters

The antagonist and protagonist in this short story are revealed through direct statements. The author (Norah Burke) tells us about Sibia and the crocodile.

Sibia

Sibia was a little girl, a thin starving child dressed in an earth—?coloured rag. straight white teeth. With her ebony hair and great eyes, and,her skin of oiled brown cream, she was a happy immature child—? woman about twelve years old. Bare foot, of course, and often goosey—? cold on a winter morning, and born to toil. In all her life, she had never owned anything but a rag. She had never owned even one anna—not a pice.

Sibia is the protagonist in this short story. Sibia’s character in this story is static, because she is simple throughout the whole story, and she does not change that characteristic of hers. Sibia is extremely observant and is quick to see the blue bead. She has lived a life of poverty and from the moment Sibia was born she was marked for work. She always dreams about jewellery and is happy to find the blue bead with which she can make a necklace. She appreciates the little things in life. She is only twelve years old but is ready to help others even at the cost of endangering her own life. When she lunges at the crocodile, not for a moment does she think of saving herself and running. Infact she behaves like a true soldier thinking of others before self. Yes, the woman would be dead if Sibia didn’t rescue her. In the end also she did not give importance to her act of bravery. Sibia didn’t tell her mother about how she saved the woman’s life because she was happy about finding the bead.

She was fearless and quick footed. When she saw the woman being attacked, Sibia leapt forward from boulder to boulder. She came leaping with the agility of a rock goat. Sometimes it had seemed difficult to cross these stones, especially the big gap in the middle where the river coursed through like a bulge of glass. But now she came on wings, choosing her footing in midair without even thinking about it, and in one moment she was beside the shrieking woman. She was adventurous and courageous. ‘With all the force in (Sibia’s) little body, she drove the hayfork at the eyes, and one prong went right in.’ Sibia shows that she is capable of disabling the crocodile, she demonstrates courage in an overwhelming, impressive manner Even after rescuing the woman from the crocodile she helped her and tended her wounds. “Sibia got her arms around the fainting woman…she stopped her wounds with sand, and bound them with a rag.” Sibia represents herself as a hero in this portion of the story, as she successfully defeated the crocodile in order to save a woman. Sibia is a 12 year old girl, and without hesitation or a second thought, she kills a crocodile. “With all the force in her little body, she drove the hayfork at the eyes, and with one prong went in -right in- while it’s pair scratched past on the horny cheek… He would die.” Therefore, along with Sibia’s young age, she simply attains courage to execute a vicious crocodile.

In the short story “The Blue Bead” by Norah Burke, courageous Sibia lives a simplistic life. To begin with, young Sibia creates commodities using simple utilities. She makes use of a single rag because, “[Sibia] [has] torn the rag in two to make skirt and sari.” She has made use of a simplistic object that we take for granted. She has found a way to make a simple object in life into a lot more and cherish it. In addition, Sibia attains courage to diminish the crocodile using a simple, sole implement.

Furthermore, events that occur in Sibia’s life are described as undetailed , unsophisticated events. For instance,Sibia goes through an adventurous battle with the crocodile and arrives home to her worried mother. Instead of stating (to her mother) about the colossal event that had occured, she simply says “I found a blue bead for my necklace, look!”, which is merely a miniscule detail from her adventure. Sibia experiences a life changing and life saving event, along with finding a blue bead, but she chooses to mention only the simplest event of her day to her mother. Conclusively, from the way Sibia lives, to the way she thinks and the way she speaks, Sibia’s courageous actions in life are very simplistic.

Crocodile

The author introduces the feisty crocodile simply foreshadowing what is to happen later. He ‘was twice the length of a tall man.’ It was vicious and it eating habits are described  eating habits
“Fed mostly on fish, but also deer and monkeys…and a duck or two…and a half-burned bodies of Indians…”

Title

The blue Bead was called that because of how the story ends. In the end of the story, Sibia finds a blue bead. After all the life changing and life saving events that happened, along with finding a blue bead, during the day she believes in putting aside the fact that she had saved the woman’s life, and feels happy because she had found a blue bead with which she could make a necklace. She had always wanted jewellery and now. she could have it. Thus for her the finding of the blue bead is the most significant.

Setting

The setting of the story took place somewhere in India, where deep in a wild forest flowed a great Indian river. The story took place during the day time when the sun shone brightly. As well as during the evening as the sun set, and Sibia could see the pink ultraviolet shadows as she came down to the stepping-stones.

Style

The Point of View used in this short story is Third Person Point of View. It is in oinniscient. The narrator repetitively uses the pronouns him, her, it, and them. The narrator knows the details of the girl, they and the crocodile. He says, She was within a yard of the crocodile when it lunged at her.’ The omniscient third person is where the narrator is talking about the crocodile, and on there when the Gujars are explained.

The story is narrated in the third person for hypothetical reasons. Perhaps the author had no option for a character who had an appropriate point of view for the story. If the author had chosen a subjective narrator only one point of view would be delivered to the reader. On the other hand an objective narrative point of view allowed the reader to comprehend a variety of point of views equally. Namely the narrator expresses the story without bias and states events as they occur without interpreting any person’s opinion or point of view.

Critical Appreciation

This story is about a young girl named Sibia who one day goes to the fields with her mom to work. After working she gets left behind because she was daydreaming or she was lost in her own thoughts. In order to get home Sibia has to cross a river. While she’s doing that she sees a woman getting attacked by a crocodile. Sibia rushes to help the woman and she stabs the crocodile in the eye with a pitchfork. Sibia takes the injured woman back into the village where a group of people take her to get treated. When she returns to the river to get her pitchfork she finds a blue bead. In the end Sibia doesn’t tell her mother about helping the lady because she is excited about finding the blue bead for her necklace.

The story, is about the bravery of a twelve year old Indian girl who saves a Gujjar woman from the jaws of a crocodile. When she sees the crocodile attacking the woman Sibia lunges with her hay fork and plunges it into the most vulnerable spot in the crocodiles body, its eye.

In the beginning the mood of the story expresses an aura of fascination and curiosity. As the story continues the mood transitions into unease and a sense of doubt because of the mention of the huge and vicious crocodile. One is left with a sense of foreboding. When Sibia witnesses the attack of the crocodile on the woman, she acted impetuously and with fearlessness to kill the beast. The author here introduces a sense suspense and hesitation for her survival.

Her brave act of lunging at the crocodile is an appropriate image because, it portrays an act of risk taking, or in other words taking a leap of faith. This was the act Sibia had taken as she gained the courage to rescue the woman from the ferocious crocodile.

As the story begins to express the array of sunshine, crystal water, golden shallows and forested hills, the atmosphere emitted a calm and serene vibe. When the crocodile was introduced the atmosphere became more tense and wary. As the story advanced to the climax, and Sibia rescued the women from the crocodile, the atmosphere changed from calm to erratic. The author uses the setting, atmosphere, and mood to help us understand the story’s theme by explaining and analyzing the basic structure of life as it is lived. There is conveyed a feeling of anxiety and calmness, while the author gives a visual description of various situations.

The author makes use of various literary devices to make the story interesting and * to forward his plot and theme. Metaphors like: “But now she came on wings, choosing her footing in midair” and “All her golden body decorated” are used to create word images. Similes are used to make unusual comparisons.’The sunset shuffled about it like gold dust”, “Where the river coursed through like a bulge of glass”, “She could look down over the river as if she was a bird” and “Heroism of the jungle is as common as a thorn tree”

Symbolism is extensively used to convey the point to be made. The blue bead represents Sibia’s happiness because she grew up in poverty. The blue bead is used as a symbol, it represents the riches and luxuries that she could never afford, and all she fought for in order to achieve it. It is also a symbol and reminder of her bravery and heroism on that day. The blue bead symbolizes even the little things can make them happy. Here where we take many things for granted and don’t realize the little things that make us happy.

The author also gives us a vivid idea of the condition of third world country like India with its very hot weather and very poor people working for little money living in mud buildings and encountering dangers in daily life.

There are various conflicts in the story. Sibia wants jewellery but cannot afford it.Has to work much harder than any child should and struggles to survive. Everyday Sibia has to cross the Indian River which is full of crocodiles. The grown Gujjar woman is attacked by the crocodile and the twelve year old Sibia kills the crocodile and saves the women. She does a good deed and is rewarded.

Then there is the conflict of lack of wealth in Sibia’s family. The author states in the beginning of the story:”She was a happy immature child woman, about 12 years old. Bare foot, of course, and often goosey cold on a winter morning, and born to toil. In all her life, she had owned anything but a rag.”Another major conflict highlighted in the story is Human vs Nature. The conflict was that a woman was attacked by a crocodile and Sibia was there to save the woman. This conflict served the purpose of telling us how brave and courageous Sibia was and how she found the blue bead.

Irony of various types is used by the author. “And Sibia bursting with her story cried ‘Something did! I found a blue bead for my necklace, LOOK!”’ is an example of dramatic Irony because we know something that another character does not know.

Another example of irony in the story would be “With all the force of her little body, she drove the hay fork at the eyes and with one prong went in- right in- while it’s pair scratched past on the horny cheek… He would die.”This is an example of situational irony because it is something that was unexpected.

The antagonist and protagonist in this short stoiy are revealed through direct statements. The author (Norah Burke) tells us about Sibia and the crocodile. The protagonist in this story is a 12 year old girl named Sibia. The antagonist is the dearth of wealth in her family. There is suspense in the story and foreshadowing. Suspense is introduced when the crocodile rests in the swamp that Sibia is passing, but Sibia isn’t aware of this. The author uses foreshadowing from the beginning when the crocodile is introduced to hint at the later attack. Foreshadowing is also used when the bead is introduced, to show it will play a big  part in the story.

Glossary

  1. Juggernaut: any large, overpowering, destructive force of an object
  2. Putrid: in a state of foul decay or decomposition, as animal or vegetable matter; rotten
  3. Perforated: pierced with a hole or holes
  4. Graziers: a person who grazes cattle for the market
  5. Toiled: hard and continuous work; exhausting labour or effort
  6. Convulsion: violent agitation or disturbance; commotion.
  7. Jostled: pushed roughly.
  8. Sleepers: heavy pieces of wood.
  9. Cliffs: rocks.
  10. Trilling: make high sound.
  11. Ferocious: violent , savage
  12. Formidable: impressive, powerful.
  13. Parasites: small animals that get their food from others.
  14. Milling: people moving in large numbers.
  15. Lunged: moved forward, attacked.
  16. Dazzle: impress.
  17. Encampment: a group of tents.
  18. Clinking: making sharp sound.
  19. Pastoral: rural.
  20. Sickle: a tool with a curved blade.
  21. Dawdle: to take a long time to go.
  22. Clatter: to make a sound.
  23. Convulsion: fit, shaking movement of body.
  24. Dragged: pulled.
  25. Wobbling: moving from side to side in an unsteady manner.
  26. Smudged: smeared.
  27. Wriggle: twist or turn your body.
  28. Morose: sad.
  29. Scolding: rebuke.
  30. Bead: a small piece of glass.

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Treasure Trove A Collection of ICSE Short Stories Workbook Answers Chapter 7 Notes The Little Match Girl

Treasure Trove A Collection of ICSE Short Stories Workbook Answers Chapter 7 Notes The Little Match Girl – ICSE Class 10, 9 English

EnglishMathsPhysicsChemistryBiology

ICSE SolutionsSelina ICSE SolutionsML Aggarwal Solutions

About the Author

Hans Christian Andersen was born in Odense, Denmark, on April 2, 1805. Andersen achieved worldwide fame for writing innovative and influential fairy tales. Many of his stories, including “The Ugly Duckling” and “The Princess and the Pea,” remain classics of the genre. He died in Copenhagen on August 4, 1875.

While the Andersen family was not wealthy, young Hans Christian was educated in boarding schools for the privileged. The circumstances of Andersen’s education have fuelled speculation that he was an illegitimate member of the Danish royal family. These rumours have never been substantiated.

In 1819, Andersen traveled to Copenhagen to work as an actor. He returned to school after a short time, supported by a patron named Jonas Collin. He began writing during this period, at Collin’s urging, but was discouraged from continuing by his teachers.

Andersen’s work first gained recognition in 1829, with the publication of a short story entitled “A Journey on Foot from Holmen’s Canal to the East Point of Amager.” He followed this with the publication of a play, a book of poetry and a travelogue. The promising young author won a grant from the king, allowing him to travel across Europe and further develop his body of work. A novel based on his time in Italy, The Improvisatore, was published in 1835. The same year, Andersen began producing fairy tales.

Despite his success as a writer up to this point, Andersen did not initially attract attention for his writing for children. His next novels, O.T. and Only a Fiddler, remained critical favorites. Over the following decades, he continued to write for both children and adults, penning several autobiographies, travel narratives and poetry extolling the virtues of the Scandinavian people. Meanwhile, critics and consumers overlooked volumes including the now-classic stories “The Little Mermaid” and “The Emperor’s New Clothes.” In 1845, English translations of Andersen’s folktales and stories began to gain the attention of foreign audiences. Andersen forged a friendship with acclaimed British novelist Charles Dickens, whom he visited in England in 1847 and again a decade later. His stories became English-language classics and had a strong influence on subsequent British children’s authors, including A.A. Milne and Beatrix Potter. Over time, Scandinavian audiences discovered Andersen’s stories, as did audiences in the United States, Asia and across the globe. In 2006, an amusement park based on his work opened in Shanghai. His stories have been adapted for stage and screen, including a popular animated version of “The Little Mermaid.”

Andersen sustained a serious injury in 1872 after falling from bed in his Copenhagen home. His final publication, a collection of stories, appeared the same year.

Around this time, he started to show signs of the liver cancer that would take his life. The Danish government began commemorating Andersen’s life and work before his death. Andersen died on August 4, 1875, in Copenhagen.

About the Story

‘The Little Match Girl’ or ‘The little girl with the matchsticks’ is a short story by Danish poet and author Hans Christian Andersen. The story, about a dying child’s dreams and hope, was first published in 1845. It has been adapted to various media, including an animated short film, a television musical, and an animated virtual reality story called “Allumette”.

‘The Little Match Girl’ is possibly one of the saddest holiday stories ever told. This story, by Hans Christian Andersen, is about a little girl who was sent out to sell matches on New Year’s Eve. No one has bought any of her matches, and so she is afraid her father will beat her if she goes home empty handed. She ends up huddled in a corner lighting match after match. With each match she imagines a beautiful scene. In one match she sees her recently deceased grandmother who takes the little girl to heaven with her. In the morning, the little girl is found frozen to death.

On a cold New Year’s Eve, a poor young girl tries to sell matches in the street. She is already shivering from cold and early hypothermia, and she is walking barefoot having lost her shoes. Still, she is too afraid to go home, because her father will beat her for not selling any matches, and also as the cracks in the house can’t keep out the cold wind. The girl takes shelter in a nook or alley and sits down.

The girl lights the matches to warm herself. In their glow she sees several lovely visions, including a Christmas tree and a holiday feast. The girl looks skyward and sees a shooting star, she then remembers her dead grandmother saying that such a falling star means someone is dying and is going to Heaven. As she lights the next match, she sees a vision of her grandmother, the only person to have treated her with love and kindness. She strikes one match after another to keep the vision of her grandmother alive for as long as she can.

After running out of matches the child dies and her grandmother carries her soul to Heaven. The next morning, passers-by find the girl dead in the nook, frozen with a smile on her face, and guess the reason for the burnt-out matches beside her. They feel pity for her, although they had not shown kindness to her before her death. They have no way of knowing about the wonderful visions she saw before her death or how gloriously she and her grandmother are now celebrating the New Year in Heaven

Plot

  1. Exposition: The exposition of the story is that the Little Maiden is left out on the streets, on a cold New Years Eve while every one is at home celebrating.
  2. Rising Action: The Rising action of the story is that the Little Maiden can’t return home because she hasn’t sold any matches. She doesn’t have anything to warm her up so she uses the matches to warm her up.
  3. Climax: When the little maiden lights up the matches to warm her up she notices that when she brings the matches close to the wall of one of the houses that it becomes transparent. Then she notices that there is an old sweet lady on the wall. She comes closer and then sees that the lady is her grandmother(who is dead and that is the only person that loved her). When she sees that the old lady is her grandmother she begs her to take her with her because she is suffering to much.
  4. Resolution: At the end of the story the little maiden is found dead by the wall that she found her grandmother and she is also found with a smile on her face. The little maiden leaves with her grandmother(which just means she dies at the end).

Theme

The story is a gentle reminder of the value of compassion and charity.
The theme of the story is that this little girl is trying to sell some matches so she can get money to bring back to her family, and it all depends on those matches but then at the end those matches help her to keep warm. The theme of this story has a lot to do with faith and her hope.Her hope is to get out of the cold for a little girl stranded in the cold she has a lot of faith and hope and that is what the author is trying to put out. to never give up hope or faith no matter what your situation bad or good keep thinking positive and never give up.

This story is about man vs. Nature. In the story the girl has to fight the weather but it is so cold. But in the corner, at the cold hour of dawn, sat the poor girl, with rosy cheeks and with a smiling mouth, leaning against the wall—frozen to death on the last evening of the old year.” And then again we are told,”In this cold and darkness there went along the street a poor little girl, bareheaded, and with naked feet.” ..’’She crept along trembling with cold and hunger—a very picture of sorrow, the poor little thing!”

Highlights of Speech/or Summary

“The Little Match Girl” is a sad story about a miserable young girl that touched the heart of many readers. The story begins on a cold winter night in which the snow never  stopped. It was a real, rough and cold dinner.

This small poor girl is trying to sell matches because she was ordered to do so by a strict father. He didn’t allow her to come home until it would not be done, otherwise she would get a beating. She was distracted by appetizing smells spreading from a house where a family was getting ready for New Year. She couldn’t resist the smell of freshly made turkey. The low temperature made it hard for her to be on the outside and she pressed herself against a corner, between two buildings and tucked her feet underneath herself to try to keep warm. The coldness was growing stronger and she couldn’t go home since she didn’t sell any matches. To get warm she decided to light up one match.When she lit each one of them, it pointed to those events that she always dreamed of.

After she light he match it reminded her of a fireplace. After the match burned out the cold came back. She lit up another match and then saw a beautiful set table with a lot of food. The turkey on the table started moving and went towards her but she never came to the girl because the match burned out. She decided to light up another one and saw a decorated Christmas tree and many candles around it. When she reached her hands to touch it the light went out. All of the candles started to rise towards the sky and one star fell down, leaving behind a mark. The girl thought that it meant somebody died and that it was their soul. In that moment she saw her grandma and in order to keep her near she lit up all of the matches. Her grandma took her with her to a place where hunger and coldness were gone. The next morning she was found frozen with a smile on her face. Everybody commented on her attempts to keep herself warm but nobody knew she waited for New Year with the prettiest pictures in her mind.

This is probably one of the saddest Andersen’s fairy tales set in the 19th century describing the unfortunate fate of a young child who is going through difficult times and dying of cold and hunger.

Characters

The little Match Girl

The little match girl is a main character. She is a major character in the story because the story is about her. She is also dynamic because she went from being alive to freezing to death. The little maiden at first had a pair of slippers but she lost them when two carriages were rolling down the street dreadfully fast. Then she was bear footed and dirty. “ When she left home she had slippers on, it is true; but they were of no use.They were very large slippers, which her mother had hitherto worn; so large were they; and the poop little thing lost them as she scuffled away across the street, because of two carriages that rolled by dreadfully fast.”

The little Match Girl has barely anything to keep her warm and is bare-foot. As she walks, she finds herself in a corner between two houses. Unable to continue and afraid to go home for fear of her father, she curls up there in the corner. The girl lights a match to keep her hands warm. When she does, she sees many things that make her feel better. On the last bundle of matches, she sees her grandmother. The girls dies and goes to heaven with her grandmother.

The young girl selling matches is a very determined child. She keeps going even after it’s made clear that she’ll never sell any matches. She’s also very innocent, wandering around without faltering. She doesn’t give up and remains innocent till the end.

Father

Her dad is a minor character in the story. He is static because he doesn’t change. He is in the story because he kicked the girl out and said she could not come back until she sells matches.

Grandmother

The grandmother is a minor character. She is also static. She is there when the girl is dying.

Setting

The setting in manly in one spot. She’s is in the city. This story is typically pictured occurring in a large, busy city such as Copenhagen. The main setting of this story is the corner between two houses where this little girl sits huddled together so she can try and stay warm. It is very cold out side. It is like the coldest part of the winter. The story takes place on a late night, the last night of the year. It is snowy and cold, and most families were inside enjoying their meals. The setting clearly reflects the author’s intent on the story. He wanted to create a calm world that was comparable to the girl’s feelings after she settled on the ground in the corner of two houses.” Most terribly cold it was; it snowed, and was nearly quite dark, and evening— the last evening of the year” More important are the places that this little girl imagines seeing with each match.

Critical Appreciation

The Little Match Girl is a little girl who was selling matches to earn some money. She had an evil father who beat her when she didn’t earn enough, so she was afraid to go home empty-handed. She lived in a cold attic, full of holes and drafts. The girl was good but miserable. She was freezing because it was poorly dressed and barefoot, and was very very hungry. When she lit a match to warm her up a little bit, she saw the beautiful scenes. First, a warm stove, a delicious goose, and beautifully decorated Christmas tree. Finally, she saw her dead grandmother. Although she did not know, the girl already had died, and the grandmother came after her soul. She took her somewhere where she will always be fed and warm.

The Little Match Girl is told in metaphors and with poetic license. One of the tools the author has used in Match Girl is to contrast everything from class structure to the contrast of emotions. At this time it is hard to think of a child dying, but it is a reality that has been present for quite some time. Those who have it all usually ignore those who beg for just one penny. Anderson’s story serves a good purpose in “reminding people to be charitable and help the poor during the holidays, and hopefully year round, to keep young children from suffering with poverty and death.” This isn’t much of a fairytale, more so a “folk tale for adults. These tales were often told orally during the times when the peasants could not read.

Child abuse was also common during that time. The girl is cold and hungry, she is also abused at home, increasing the pathos and stark reality of the story. As the girl lights her first match, she sees a vision of a large warm iron stove. Hallucinations are one of the symptoms of severe hypothermia which indicates that the match girl is slowly drifting away This shows that before the little girl has reached her fate the signs of mourning are already presenting themselves.                               –

During the Second vision Hans Christian Anderson wrote of a magical New Years Eve Feast that any poor hungry child would be overjoyed to partake in. During that time the poor could only dream of partaking in such an extravagant meal. Salaries were small and for some, times were very hard. This vision addresses how hungry the small girl truly is, and if she doesn’t freeze she shall surely starve.

The Third Vision of the night, only to be seen after the striking of another match, is a magnificent Christmas tree. It is brightly light and beautifully decorated. It was the sort of tree only to be found in a very wealthy home .The little girl then sees a star fall and claims ‘Someone is just dead!’ A Creole superstition states: ‘Shooting-stars are souls escaping from purgatory.’ This is almost as if the three visions before were wishes, but it is also thought, as for the timing of the short story that it either be the young girl’s soul ascending into heaven, or yet the cause for the final vision.

The small girl drew another match, and there her loving grandmother stood before her in the dark of the night, with no reservations, only kindness. The little girl knew that if the match were to run out her grandmother would disappear just like all her other wonderful visions, so in turn she struck the entire rest of the bundle on the wall, we now realize how truly close the small child is to freezing to death. The little girl pleads with her grandmother to take her back to heaven so “she took the little maiden, on her arm, and both flew in brightness and in joy so high, so very high, and then above was neither cold, nor hunger, nor anxiety—they were with God” Hans Christian Anderson believed this was a happy ending in his book. To relinquish the suffering of a little girl only to be joined with her one true relative and God, but many people don’t understand why a fairy tale would have such a sad ending.

Figurative language is used to contribute to the tone and theme. The overall theme and tone is similar to solitude and dreaming of a better life. The little girl is in solitude when she is lighting the matches and the figurative language directly contributes to this. It is also used to help readers comprehend the characters. Similes and metaphors are used to help you understand the character’s thoughts and actions.Example: “How it blazed, how it burnt! It was a warm, bright flame, like a candle.” “Where the light fell on the wall, there the wall became transparent like a veil.” “ And the matches gave such a brilliant light that it was brighter than at noon-day.” The author uses imagery to provide insight to the little girl and what she is experiencing on that cold night. The reasoning for this is most likely because she is the only character in the story and the story focuses around her actions. The author wanted us to feel what she felt and see what she saw.He clearly shows this by using the senses of sight and feel. Example: “She crept along trembling with cold and hunger…”

There are two symbols in this story. The first is the match, which symbolize warmth and hope. This symbolism is proven by how the child uses the matches to try and keep her hands warm. The second symbol is the cold itself. The cold is a symbol of sheer desperation and pure hopelessness. The cold freezes her feet and ends up killing the girl.

The conflict in the story is Human vs. Nature. Some examples are: “Cold and darkness there went along the street a poor little girl, bared headed, and with naked feet.” “The little maiden walked on with her tiny naked feet, that were quite red and blue from cold.” The short story was written from the Third Person Omniscient limited point of view. This is justified because we only know the thoughts, actions, and feelings of one character. The narrator does not interact in any events in the story and knows every aspect of the little girl and her only. “… and she held a bundle of them in her hand.” The story takes place on a late night, the last night of the year. It is snowy and cold, and most families were inside enjoying their meals. The setting clearly reflects the author’s intent on the story. He wanted to create a calm world that was comparable to the girl’s feelings after she settled on the ground in the corner of two houses. “Most terribly cold it was; it snowed, and was nearly quite dark, and evening— the last evening of the year” The author has used situational irony. This is because the little girl sells matches, which are meant to start fires and keep people warm. However, this girl has no shoes or gloves and is practically freezing to death. There is irony in the fact that the people find the girl and they find her with a smile on her face. This is weird because when people die they don’ die with a smile on their face. They don’t know why she had a smile on her face when she is found dead but we do. The author uses a flashback in the story to clarify the actions that the little girl sees when lighting a match. This essentially helps advance the plot. “ ‘Someone is just dead!’ said the little girl; for her old grandmother, the only person who had loved her, and who was now no more, had told her, that when a star falls, a soul ascends to God. She drew another match against the wall: it was again light, and in the lustre there stood the old grandmother, so bright and radiant, so mild, and with such an expression of love” The short story is about hope and belief in the future, belief that things will get better. In conclusion, Anderson’s short tale is not only a sad holiday story reminding us to give during the season, but a reality check. We all wish for things during the holidays, but for those that have nothing it is more of an actuality. Times may get hard but in remembrance of this small tale, you must be grateful for what you have.

Glossary

  1. Bitterly: strong and sharp in taste
  2. Apron: protective garment tied over clothes to keep them clean while cooking
  3. Perishing: to disappear, or to die because of harsh conditions or an accident
  4. Misery: great unhappiness
  5. Fancied: not plain, intricate and of high quality *6. polished : to make smooth or glossy
  6. Brass: a yellow alloy, metallic element, used to make items
  7. Vanished: to disappear suddenly
  8. Gauze: finely woven fabric, thin and almost transparent
  9. Halo: circle of light around the head or a religious painting, an aura of glory

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