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Short Answer Questions

QUESTION.1: What does Khushwant Singh describe in The Portrait Of A Lady ? Answer: In The Portrait Of A Lady, Khushwant Singh draws a pen picture of his belovedgrandmother. He describes the relationship he enjoyed with her and the changes that occurred in their bond with time, as the years passed. QUESTION.2: How could the grandmother be beautiful without being pretty ? Answer: Grandmother was never a physically attractive women but she reflected a divine beauty from within. She was a symbol of peace, serenity and contentment. Her novel virtues gave her a spiritual beauty. QUESTION.3: What was the turning point of their friendship ? Answer: The narrators parents sent for them and they shifted to the city. It was the turning point in their friendship. Grandmother could not accompany him to the English or help him in his studies. She saw less of him and the distance grew. QUESTION.4: What opinion did the grandmother form of the English school in the city ? Answer: The grandmother did not like the English school in the city. She was sad that they did not teach anything about God and the scriptures. Nor was she interested in science. She hated music lessons given in the school. QUESTION.5: How were the grandmother and the narrator good and intimate friends in the village ? Answer: Grandmother woke her grandson up every morning and got him ready for school. She gave him breakfast, got him his slate, ink-pot and accompanied him to school. He was entirely dependent on her. QUESTION.6: Why did the grandmother hate music ? Answer: Grandmother considered that music was indecent and was meant for harlots and beggars. It was not meant for gentle folk or school children from respectable families. QUESTION.7: How did the sparrows mourn the death of grandmother ? Answer: The sparrows gathered in thousands around grandmothers dead body. They did not chirrup or touch the crumbs of bread thrown to them. They seemed to mourn her death in silence and flew away when her body was taken away for cremation. QUESTION.8: How did the grandmother celebrate the homecoming of her grandson ? Answer: Grandmother was overjoyed at the homecoming of her grandson. She collected the women of neighbourhood and was in the mood of celebration. She beat the drum and sang for hours about the homecoming of warriors. She even forgot to pray. QUESTION.9: Why did the grandmother stop talking before her death ? Answer: The old lady was taken ill. She had a mild fever. The doctor told her that she would be alright soon. But the grandmother declared that her end was near. She forgot to pray the last evening. She was not going to waste anymore time talking to them.

Long Answer Questions

QUESTION.1: Describe in brief the pen picture of the narrators grandmotherhighlighting her noble qualities. Answer: Khushwant Singh presents his grandmother as a symbol of love, care and affection. She was a highly religious and conservative lady but, a woman of generosity and nobility. she was like everybodys grandmother, loving her grandson immensely and caring for him with deep love and concern. She was not physically attractive. She was old, fat and short with a stoop and hobbled about the house with her hand supporting waist, reciting her prayers and telling her beads. In the village, she was actively involved in her grandsons life but when they shifted to the city, the bond of friendship was broken. Yet, she presented she presented a picture of peace and contentment always. Her love for animals was reflected in the way she fed the dogs and sparrows. She did not like the English school but, never interfered. She accepted every decision of her grandson regarding his life with a calm and composed manner. Even in death, she achieved peace and contentment. QUESTION.2: Describe the intimate relationship of grandmother with the sparrows. How did the sparrows mourn her death ? Answer: Grandmother had love and compassion for animals. In the village, she fed the street dogs with bits of chapattis. In the city, she took to feeding the sparrows. She would sit in the verandah in the afternoons and break the bread into small crumbs. She would throw these crumbs to the hundreds of sparrows that gathered around her. They would perch themselves on her legs, shoulders and even on her head and feel the air with their noisy chirruping. It was the happiest half-hour of the day for her. On the death of grandmother, the sparrows paid a silent tribute to her. Thousands gathered around her dead body. They did not chirrup or accept the bread crumbs given by mother. They mourned her death in silence and flew away after her body was taken away for cremation. QUESTION.3: Describe the friendship between Khushwant Singh and hisgrandmother. Answer: Khushwant Singhs grandmother was closely involved in bringing him up when the author lived with her in the village during his early life. She used to wake him up early in the morning. While bathing and dressing him, she sang her prayers, she hoped that the young boy would learn it by heart. She then gave him breakfast a stale chapatti with butter and sugar. Then they would go together to the temple and school. While the author learnt his lesson, the grandmother would holy books. They returned home together. A turning point came in their friendship when his parents called them to city. Although they shared a room, she could not help him much. She hated music, science and western education. The common link of their friendship was gradually snapped. Q.1: The authors grandmother was a religious person. What are the different ways in which we come to know this? Answer: The authors grandmother was a highly religious lady. Her one hand was always busy in telling the beads of her rosary. Her lips constantly moved in an inaudible prayer. She used to get up early in the morning. She did her morning prayer in a monotonous sing -song. In village, she accompanied the author to the school and in stead of returning home, she used to sit in a temple reading scriptures which was attached to the school. It was because of her religious nature that she could not like the new English school in the city. She was unhappy because there was no teaching about God and scriptures at the city-school. Being a religious lady and a widow, she could be seen hobbling about the house in a spotless white dress.

When she realized that her end was near, she stopped talking. She lay peacefully in bed praying and telling her beads till she took her last breathes. Question.1: Have you come back? said the woman. I thought that no one had come back. Does this statement give some clue about the story? If yes, what is it? Answer: Yes, the words of this statement made by Mrs. Dorling to the narrator give us many clues about the story. The given statement shows how the war caused devastation in the lives of the people of Holland. During the pre-war times and when the war was not in its full fury, Mrs. Dorling visited Mrs. S, the narrators mother frequently. Mrs. Dorling used to exploit her fears and insecurity. After each visit she took awayantiques and other valuable items from the narrators mother assuring her that she would keep those things safe during the war. Mrs. S trusted her to take care of the valuables while the narrator was not convinced of Mrs. Dorlings intentions. The narrator and her mother, Mrs. S had to leave Holland to save their lives during the war. After the war was over, Mrs. S was dead. The narrator came back and went to Mrs. Dorlings address in search of her mothers belongings. Mrs. Dorling was shocked and surprised to see narrator standing at her door when she made the above statement. Mrs. Dorlingsstatement clearly proves she knew the narrator already although she refused to recognize her. Rather she behaved rudely and unfriendly. This particular behaviour of Mrs. Dorling towards the narrator reveals her uncharitable,unfaithful nature and reluctance to return Mrs. Ss belongings to her daughter, which she had been using all these years. Question.2: The story is divided into pre-war and post-war times. What hardships do you think the girl underwent during these times? Answer: (Not important question for Exam pt. of view) Question.3: Why did the narrator of the story want to forget the address? Answer: Once the war was over the narrator went to Mrs. Dorlings address in search of her mothers belongings. But the woman pretended not to recognize her. Nor does she show any intention of returning the things which she had taken from the narrators mother. The narrator was shocked to see the nicebelongings of her mother lying unceremoniously in unpleasant surroundings in Mrs. Dorlings house. She felt nostalgic and resolved that she would not try to possess them. Their true owner was no longer in this world and the things seemed to have lost their worth. She felt that it was better to forget the address of the uncharitable Mrs. Dorling, which symbolizes a tragic past. Question.4: The Address is a story of human predicament that follows war. Comment. Answer: War brings with it death and destruction. Marga Mincos short story The Address describes human predicament that follows war. War in Holland had caused an upheaval in the lives of its people. People lost their lives, properties and homes. Mrs. S too was a victim of war. Even before the warwas in its full fury, Mrs. S felt insecure and afraid of losing her home and valuables. Her situation was exploited by her acquaintance Mrs. Dorling, who took away the valuable items and antiques assuring that she would keep them safe until the war was over. In fact, Mrs. Dorling had no intentions of returning the valuables as she was sure that Mrs. S and her family would not survivethe war. So when the narrator, Mrs. Ss daughter, went to Mrs. Dorlings house to claim those articles to which her mothers precious memories were associated, she became surprised to see the narrator, at her address, 46 Marconi Street and even pretended not to recognize her. The narrator was shocked to see the nice belongings of her mother lying unceremoniously in unpleasant surroundings in Mrs. Dorlings house. She felt

nostalgic and the things appeared to have lost their worth in absence of their true owner. Therefore, she decided to leave those things and forget the address forever. Thus the story presents the upheaval in the lives of the narrator and her mother caused by the war. The story shows how war brings a dehumanizing effect on human beings. It kills the finer feelings of love and sympathy. It makes man cruel and selfish. Question 1.Why did the narrator go to Number 46, Marconi Street? Answer: This was the address of Mrs. Dorling, the woman who had carried the valuable items from the narrators mother to her home giving assurance to keep them in her safe custody during war time. Before dying narrators mother gave this address to the narrator. So the narrator went there to claim the belongings of her mother. Question 2. "I was in a room I knew and did not know", says the narrator in the story 'The Address'. What prompted her to make this observation? Answer: The narrator found her in the midst of things she was familiar with and which she did not want to see again. However, she found these things in a strange atmosphere where everything was lying in a tasteless manner. The ugly furniture and the muggy smell created the feeling as if, she did not know the room. Question 3. "Of all the things I had to forget, that would be the easiest." What does the speaker mean by that? What is its significance in the story? Answer: The word "That" here stands for the address of Mrs. Dorling i.e., Number 46 Marconi Street. The story moves around the address which is also the title of the story. It is significant because, the address was very important for the narrator in the beginning of the story although, at the end she resolves to forget it as she wants to break off with the painful past and move on with the present into the future. Question 4. Who is Mrs. Dorling? Do you justify her behaviour in the story? Answer: Mrs. Dorling is an acquaintance of Mrs. S, the narrators mother. In the story Mrs. Dorling exploits Mrs. Ss fears and insecurity during the war. She insists Mrs. S and took away all her valuable things after giving assurance that she would keep them safe until the war was over. In fact, Mrs. Dorling had no intentions of returning the valuables as she was sure that Mrs. S and her family would not survive the war. So when the narrator, Mrs. Ss daughter, went to Mrs. Dorlings house to claim those articles to which her mothers precious memories were associated, she even pretended not to recognize her. In stead of returning those articles to the narrator, she shamelessly used them which actually belonged to the narrators mother and also behaved rudely to the narrator. So, in the context of the above Mrs. Dorlings behaviour can not be justified.

Question 5. Why did the narrator of the story The Address feel that she had rung the wrong bell? How was she then assured that she was at the right place?

Answer: When the narrator rung the door bell, a woman appeared half-hidden by the door. She refused to recognize the narrator even though she was told that the narrator was Mrs. Ss daughter. This made the narrator think that she had rung the wrong bell. But the woman remarked Have you come back? I thought that no one had come back. indicated her recognizing the narrator. Also when the narrator saw the lady wearing her mothers knitted green cardigan, the narrator got assured that the lady was Mrs. Dorling and she was at the right place. Question 6. Comment on the significance of the title of the story 'The Address'. OR, Justify the title of the short storyThe Address. Answer: Marga Minco very aptly titled the story 'The Address'. The narrator and her mother were victims of war. They had to flee from their house leaving all their nice belongings with Mrs. Dorling after getting an assurance from her for the safe custody of those things during the war. The narrators mother had told the address of Mrs. Dorling 46, Marconi Street to her daughter before she died during the war. When the war was over the narrator came back and went to Mrs. Dorlings address in search of those 'nice things' with which the fond memories of her mother were associated. But when the narrator reached there, she found all those things were lying in a very tasteless manner. Mrs. Dorling even pretends not to recognize her nor did she show any intention of returning those articles which she was using shamelessly. Sadly then the narrator feels this address has no meaning at all as the precious memories of the true owner were no longer cherished at their new address. The narrator in the end resolves to forget 46, Marconi Street forever. Hence, the title The Address is quite appropriate and bears a definite meaning for the story.

Q.2: Describe the changing relationship between the author and his grandmother. Did their feeling for each other change? Answer: The changing circumstances did have a bearing on the relationship between the author and his grandmother. Author and his grandmother lived as intimate friends in the village. A turning point came in their relationship when they came to the city to live with authors parents. The author joined an English school in the city. She remained confined to home as here she could not accompany him to the school. In the new English school she could not help him in studies. She could not like the kind of education being given to the author at the English school. The grandmother became disturbed as there was no teaching about God and scriptures in the new school. She reconciled herself with spinning and taking to feed the sparrows. When the narrator grew up, he went up to university and then went abroad. The common link of friendship between the author and his grandmother was snapped. His grandmother accepted her seclusion with resignation. No, their feelings for each other did not change though distances grew between them. Q.3: Would you agree that the authors grandmother was a person strong in character? If yes, give instances that show this. Answer: Yes, it is a fact that the grandmother was a very strong personality.

She was a highly religious lady. She was a conservative lady who hated modern views and ways. She had very strong personal likings and dislikes. Being a religious lady and a widow, she could be seen hobbling about the house in a spotless white dress. She used to get up early in the morning. She said her prayers in a monotonous sing-song. One of her hands was always telling the beads of her rosary. According to the author, she was a symbol of white serenity. She had peace and contentment. She had certain rigid ideas about life. She liked the village school because it was attached to the temple. She sat in the temple reading the scriptures. She hated the English school in the city for various reasons. She was unhappy that there was no teaching about God and the scriptures there. She was quite disturbed. They gave music lessons at the school. She considered it fit only for harlots and beggars and not meant for gentle folks. When the author returned from abroad after five years, he found her in the same condition. Before she died, she herself declared that her end was near. There were some unique changes in her behaviour. She lay peacefully in bed praying and telling her beads. It is quite difficult to show complete agreement with her outdated views. But she was a strong and determined character. She led her own kind of life and never compromised with her principals. She loved the narrator deeply but never tried to be sentimental or emotional. She had a lasting

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