All Summer in a Day, Ray Bradbury

Extract I

 

“Ready? … for a look at the hidden sun.”

Question (i): What is suggested in the extract above?

Answer (i): In the above extract the children are getting ready for the moment when the rainfall would stop. They are peering out of huge glass windows for a look at the sun which is hidden, and as predicted by the scientists, was expected to come out of clouds soon. This suggests that these children live somewhere where sight of sun is rare.

Question (ii): The story opens with the question “Ready? What are the characters getting ready for?

Answer (ii): The characters are getting ready for the moment when the rainfall would stop for two hours so that they could go out for a glimpse at the sun and basked in the sunshine.

Question (iii): Why do you think the sun is hidden?

Answer (iii): The story is set on the planet Venus where it rains incessantly and the sky is forever filled with clouds hiding the sun during daytime.

Question (iv): Why are the children peering out?

Answer (iv): The children are peering out of huge glass windows of an underground school building for a look at the hidden sun which is expected to come out of clouds soon.

Question (v): Give an example of a comparison from the extract above. Explain the comparison.

Answer (v): The children are compared with so many roses and so many weeds intermixed together.

The author is comparing the children to roses and weeds, because they are closely bunching together and just like roses and weeds they need sunlight. The author is also hinting that they are not all sweetness and innocence.


Extract II

 

“And this was the way life … it’s stopping! Yes, yes!”

Question (i): What kind of people are there on planet Venus?

Answer (i): A group of school children lived on the planet Venus with their families. They are the children of men and women who had come to Venus from Earth on rockets to set up a civilisation and live out their lives in underground colonies. They were born on Venus and were only two years old when the sun was last seen. They seem excited about appearance of the sun and are looking forward to experiencing sunshine for the first time in their lives.

Question (ii): What does the phrase “rocket men and women” indicate?

Answer (ii): The phrase “rocket men and women” refer to people who had migrated from Earth to Venus in rockets.

Question (iii): What is referred to as the “raining world” why?    

Answer (iii): The planet Venus is referred to as the “raining world” because it rains there incessantly. The sun remains hidden and comes out of cloud for only one hour, once every seven years.

Question (iv): “It’s stopping!, it’s stopping!” What is stopping? What does it tell us about the lives of the characters?

Answer (iv): It has been raining constantly for seven years and the rain was now stopping.

The characters are schoolchildren who are nine years old and do not remember to have seen the sun before. Continuous rainstorms on planet Venus had confined their activities within echoing tunnels of the underground city. Since, the sunshine was a rare occurrence on Venus, children are excited and are looking forward to basking under brilliant sunshine for the first time in their lives.

Question (v): State how the story is based on science fiction.

Answer (v):The story is based on science fiction because it takes place in distant future on planet Venus. Men and women from Earth had gone there in rockets to set up civilization and live out their lives in underground buildings. Also, in reality, Venus is a hot planet with atmosphere consisting mainly of carbon dioxide, clouds of sulfuric acid and trace amounts of water. But in the story it is described as a “raining world” where days are filled with the drum and gush of water.


Chief Seattle’s Speech, Chief Seattle

In 1854, the “Great White Chief” in Washington made an offer for a large area of Indian land and promised a “reservation” for the Indian people. Chief Seattle was an important Native American leader in the middle of the 19th century. He was considered very wise by everyone. It is said that he delivered a heartfelt speech to the governor of the state of Washington. It was a memorable speech because of its recognition of the necessity to preserve the land, an important and timely topic today. A translation of the speech was published in the Seattle Sunday Star newspaper on October 28, 1857.


Extract I

“Yonder sky that has wept tears … greetings of friendship and goodwill.”

Question (i): Who speaks these words? Give the meaning of:

“Yonder sky that has wept tears of compassion upon my people for centuries untold”

Answer (i): These words are spoken by Chief Seattle.

It means that circumstances have been favourable for his people for countless centuries. His tribe has prospered and reached its glory during this period.

Question (ii): Why does the speaker say “tomorrow it may be overcast with clouds”?

Answer (ii): Chief Seattle fears that the day is not far when their race might disappear. Seattle says this because he has to take tough decision of surrendering their land to White people in return for protection from lurking enemy tribes.

Question (iii): Who is the ‘Great Chief at Washington’? What has the Great Chief done to Seattle and his people?

Answer (iii): Seattle believes that George Washington, the first President of the United States of America, is the Great Chief at Washington.

The Great Chief has sent kind greetings of friendship and goodwill to Seattle and his people.

Question (iv): How much are Seattle’s words reliable as far as the Great Chief is concerned?

Answer (iv): Seattle’s words are like stars that never change. Whatever he says the Great Chief at Washington can rely upon with as much certainty as he can upon the return of the sun or the seasons.

Question (v): Briefly state the reaction of Chief Seattle to the greetings sent by the Big Chief at Washington?

Answer (v): Chief Seattle says that Big Chief at Washington was being kind to them for sending greetings of friendship and goodwill, even if he has little need for their friendship in return.


Extract II

“His people are many. … in need of an extensive country.”

Question (i): Compare the number of Chief Seattle’s people with that of the White Chief. How does the narrator illustrate this fact?

Answer (i): Chief Seattle’s people are few and resemble the scattering trees of storm-swept plain, whereas, White Chief’s people are many like the grass that covers the vast prairies.

Question (ii): What message does the White Chief send to the native people?

Answer (ii): The White Chief conveyed the message of buying the land of native people. The natives will have to surrender their land to the White people and have to move away from their ancestor’s land to the land reserved for them.

Question (iii): A little later, how does Seattle describe that his people were numerous once upon a time?

Answer (iii): Seattle says that there was a time in the past when his people covered the land as the waves of a wind-ruffled sea covers its shell-paved floor.

Question (iv): State the message sent by the White Chief to the native people. What is the reaction of Chief Seattle to the message?

Answer (iv): White Chief sent a message expressing his wish to buy the land of the native people and was willing to offer them enough land to live comfortably.

Chief Seattle reacted by saying that the message appeared just, even generous, for the Red Man no longer has rights on their land, and the offer of reservation for native people seemed to be wise as their population was declining and are no longer in need for an extensive country.

Question (v): What happened when the White man began to push the natives Westward? Should the native people take revenge on the White men? Why?

Answer (v): When the White man began to push the natives Westward the impulsive young men of Seattle’s tribe grew angry and launched revengeful action against the White man. White men were more in number and powerful, any attempt at revenge would be futile and wholly self-destructive. Moreover, old men who stay at home in times of war and mothers who have young sons to lose would have lost everything and gained nothing.


Extract III

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My Greatest Olympic Prize, Jesse Owens

Jesse Owens was expecting to win gold medals especially in the broad jump event hands down. He was startled to see a tall German boy named Luz Long hitting the pit at almost 26 feet on his practice leaps. Hitler had kept Long under wraps, evidently hoping to win the jump with him. Owens, being a black American, was infuriated by Hitler’s deception and got preoccupied with the thought that if Long won, it would add some new support to the Nazis’ Aryan-superiority theory. Owens fouled twice in his qualifying jumps and was left with one attempt. At this point, the tall German introduces himself as Luz Long and said encouragingly, “You should be able to qualify with your eyes closed”.


Extract I

“I wasn’t too worried about all … of those gold medals.”

Question (i): Which games are referred to in the extract above? Who wasn’t too worried about them?

Answer (i): The Olympic Games were being held in Berlin in the summer of 1936.

Jesse Owens, a black American athlete, had trained hard for the Games and wasn’t too worried about them.

Question (ii): Why were nationalistic feelings high during these Games?

Answer (ii): Hitler had propagated the myth about Aryan-supremacy theory and had childishly insisted that his performers were members of a master race and, therefore, would naturally outperform participants of inferior non-Aryan races. So, the nationalistic feelings were at an all-time high during these Games.

Question (iii): In which game was the speaker expected to win the gold medal? Why?

Answer (iii): In the broad jump event the speaker was expected to win the gold medal because, a year ago, as a sophomore at Ohio State University, he had set a world record of 26 feet 8-1/4 inches.

Question (iv): When the speaker went for his trials, he was startled to see somebody. Whom did he see? What has the speaker said about him?

Answer (iv): The speaker was startled to see a tall boy hitting the pit at almost 26 feet on his practice leaps. He was a German named Luz Long and Hitler had kept him under wraps.

The speaker said that if Long won, it would add some new support to the Nazis’ Aryan-superiority theory.

Question (v): What did Owens do to succeed in the competition?

Answer (v): Owens had trained, sweated and disciplined himself for six years with the Games in mind. He had his eye especially on the running broad jump as he had set a world record a year ago and it was expected of him to win that Olympic event hands down.


Extract II

“A little hot under … was superior and who wasn’t.”

Question (i): Who is the speaker of above lines? What was the speaker preoccupied with?

Answer (i): Jesse Owens, the black American athlete, is the speaker.

Jesse Owens was expecting to win gold medals especially in the broad jump event hands down. He was startled to see a tall German boy named Luz Long hitting the pit at almost 26 feet on his practice leaps. Hitler had kept Long under wraps, evidently hoping to win the jump with him. Owens, being a black American, was infuriated by Hitler’s deception and got preoccupied with the thought that if Long won, it would add some new support to the Nazis’ Aryan-superiority theory.

Question (ii): Give the meaning of:

  • hot under the collar

Answer (a): Jesse Owens was angry because Hitler had kept Luz Long under wraps, evidently hoping to win the jump with him.

  • Der Fuhrer

Answer (b): It is a political title which means leader of the Nazis and refers to Adolf Hitler.

Question (iii): Where was the speaker determined to go? What did he intend to do?

Answer (iii): The speaker was determined to go out to the broad jump tracks.

The speaker was told that Hitler had kept Luz Long under wraps. He was furious about Hitler’s methods to prove Aryan supremacy by any means necessary and resolved to shake the beliefs of Hitler and his master race by outperforming his Nazi opponent.

Question (iv): How did the speaker perform in his trials? Give reason for his unexpected performance.

Answer (iv): The speaker performed poorly and fouled in first two attempts of his qualifying jumps.

The speaker was surprised to see outstanding performance of Luz Long on his practice leaps. This got him preoccupied with the thought of a Nazi winning the gold medal and was driven by anger while initiating his leap, thus fouling twice.

Question (v): What was the Nazis’ Aryan-superiority theory?

Answer (v): Nazis believed that Germans belonged to a master race and called themselves Aryans. They considered themselves genetically superior and were born to rule non-Aryan races. In 1936 Berlin Olympics Adolf Hitler, leader of the Nazi party wanted to demonstrate his racial superiority by dominating the Games. Hitler had trained a talented German named Luz Long and kept him under wraps in order to startle the world record holder Owens and win the broad jump event.


Extract III

“Did I come 3000 miles … a fool of myself?”

Question (i): What made the speaker of the extract bitter? Why was he making fouls?

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Hearts and Hands, O Henry

Hearts and Hands by O. Henry is a story about two acquaintances who meet on a train. When Mr. Easton encounters Miss Fairchild, he is handcuffed to another man. Miss Fairchild gets excited when she learns that her old friend from Washington has become a marshal. One passenger on the train, however, realizes that things are not as they seem.


Extract I

“As they passed down the aisle … accustomed to speak and be heard.”

Question (i): Which coach is referred to in this extract? How can you conclude that the coach was crowded?

Answer (i): The coach of the eastbound B&M Express is referred to in this extract. The only vacant seat left was a “reversed one facing the attractive woman”. This tells us that the coach was crowded.

Question (ii): Name the young woman in the coach. What is said about her just before the extract?

Answer (ii): The young woman in the coach is named Miss Fairchild. She is described as an elegantly dressed, pretty young woman who had all the luxuries and who loved travelling.

Question (iii): Which linked couple is referred to in the extract above? In what way were they linked?

Answer (iii): The linked couple referred to in the extract is Mr. Easton and marshal. They were handcuffed together.

Question (iv): Describe the reaction of the young woman on seeing the two men.

Answer (iv): At first, she saw them indifferently with a ‘distant, swift disinterest’. As soon as she recognized Mr Easton she smiled at them and started conversing.

Question (v): What was the relationship between Mr. Easton and the young woman?

Answer (v): Mr. Easton and the young woman were old friends.


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Extract II

“It’s Miss Fairchild … from his keen, shrewd eyes”.

Question (i): Who said, “It’s Miss Fairchild”? Which hand of his was engaged? How?

Answer (i): Mr. Easton said “It’s Miss Fairchild”. Mr Easton’s right hand was engaged as it was handcuffed to the left hand of the marshal.

Question (ii): Why did the young lady’s look changed to bewildered horror? What changes were seen in her due to horror?

Answer (ii): As soon as the young lady saw Mr Easton handcuffed to another man, the glad look in her eyes changed to bewildered horror. She got upset, ‘the glow faded from her cheeks and her lips parted in a vague, relaxing distress’.

Question (iii): What did the glum-faced man say about the marshal? As per the context here where was the glum-faced man being taken? Why?

Answer (iii): The glum-faced man had been keenly observing the countenance of Miss Fairchild change from glad to horror when she saw her old friend Mr Easton handcuffed. To bring her some relief he said that he was a convict and Mr. Easton was a marshal who was taking him to Leavenworth prison on charges of counterfeiting .

Question (iv): With reference to question (iii) above explain what happened in reality.

Answer (iv): In reality, the glum-faced man was the marshal and Mr Easton was the convict. Mr Easton was handcuffed to the marshal and was being taken to prison. The marshal came to know in the train that Mr. Easton and Miss Fairchild were old friends. To save Mr. Easton from humiliation in front of old friend and at the same time to assure Miss Fairchild, the marshal introduced himself as a convict.

Question (v): Explain the significance of ‘hands’ in the story.

Answer (v): The real marshal presented himself as a convict to save Mr. Easton from humiliation in front of old friend Miss Fairchild. He also dispelled her doubts when he lied about Mr. Easton being a marshal. An astute passenger who was sitting nearby noticed that Mr Easton right hand was handcuffed. A marshal would never handcuff his right hand to the left hand of a convict, and in fact Mr Easton was the convict and not the glum-faced man who posed himself as convict. The handcuffed ‘hands’ were significant for revealing the true identities of Mr. Easton and the marshal.


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Extract III

“Oh! said the girl, with deep breath … position as that of ambassador, but–“

Question (i): Why did Miss Fairchild call Easton, a marshal? What was he in reality?

Answer (i): Miss Fairchild called Easton a Marshal because the real marshal made her believe so by lying for him. In reality, Easton was a convict and was being taken to prison by the real marshal on charges of counterfeiting.

Question (ii): Explain why Easton was going to Leavenworth.

Answer (ii): Easton was going to Leavenworth prison because he was convicted of counterfeiting.

Question (iii): Give the meaning of:

(a) Money has a way of taking wings unto itself.

Answer (a): Mr. Easton is referring to the idea that money goes away too quickly and their lives in Washington were expensive.

(b) to keep step with our crowd.

Answer (b): Mr. Easton is referring to the idea that money is required to attract dignity and acceptance among the wealthy upper class of Washington.

Question (iv): What did Easton say he was doing in the past?

Answer (iv): Easton said that he was making money in the past but it was not enough to keep up with high society in Washington that is why he took up the position of a marshal in the West.

Question (v): What did Fairchild say about Easton’s life in Washington? Why was she not likely to see Easton in Washington soon?

Answer (v): Fairchild was surprised to learn that Easton had discarded his adventurous life in Washington to become a duty-bound marshal out West. She was not likely to see Easton in Washington soon because she believed that he was now a responsible marshal and the nature of his duty would not allow him to travel to East when he wished.


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An Angel in Disguise, Timothy Shay Arthur

A poor woman who was hated during her life by nearly everyone in her village, dies while intoxicated and leaves two daughters and a son behind to fend for themselves. The towns people pitied these children, and the two oldest were taken in by new families, but the youngest Maggie, who was crippled, was left alone because nobody wanted to deal with her disability. A man named Joe Thompson decided to take her in for the night but planned on bringing her to the poor house the next morning, because he knew his wife would not approve of her. When Joe brought Maggie home in his arms, his wife Mrs. Thompson was enraged that he brought that “sick brat” into her house.


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Extract I

“Death touches the spring….old tumble-down hut…”

Question (i): Which woman is referred to here? How did she die?

Answer (i): The ‘woman’ referred to here is Maggie’s mother. She died of excessive alcoholism. She had fallen upon the threshold of her own door in a drunken fit and died in the presence of her three children.

Question (ii): What kind of relations did the woman have with others? Why do you think it was so?

Answer (ii): The woman had very bitter relationship with the village folks because she had been despised and scoffed. They did so because she had very bad habit of drinking.

Question (iii): What did the neighbours take to the old hut?

Answer (iii): The neighbours took the dead woman to the old hut.

Question (iv): What kind of living conditions were the woman and her children subjected to?

Answer (iv): The woman and her children did not get any food to eat, they did not have clothes to wear.

Question (v): What was the prospective future of the children after the death of their mother?

Answer (v): John a boy of twelve year age was a stout lad who could earn his living by working with any farmer and was eagerly adopted by farmer Jones. Kate aged between ten and eleven, being a bright active girl was taken by Mrs. Ellis to work in her house as a maid. Maggie the youngest of the siblings was bed-ridden due to a spinal injury and was pitied by everyone. Nobody was willing to adopt her as she was considered of no use and would be dependent on others forever. She was adopted by a childless compassionate man named Mr. Thomson.


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Extract II

“Pitying glances were cast….who wanted a bed-ridden child?”

Question (i): Who was glanced at with pity? Why?

Answer (i): Maggie was glanced at with pity because she was crippled and bed-ridden since two years due to spinal injury and she appeared pale and thin.

Question (ii): Give the meaning of:

(a) “her wan and wasted form.”

Answer (a): Maggie’s pale and thin form.

(b) “even knocked at them for entrance.”

Answer (b): Maggie’s appearance arouse intense feelings of pity and sadness in the hearts of neighbours and disturbed them with the thoughts of her well-being.

Question (iii): Which incident made the child bed-ridden?

Answer (iii): Two years before Maggie had fallen from a window and her spine got injured. She had not been able to leave her bed since, except when lifted in the arms of her mother.

Question (iv): Which shelter was suggested by one of the neighbours for the “bed-ridden” child? Why?

Answer (iv): One of the neighbours suggested that Maggie should be sent to the poorhouse as no one was willing to take trouble for raising a child who could not perform any household work due to her disability.

Question (v): What role does the child play in the life of:

(a) Joe Thompson

Answer (a): The moment Joe held Maggie in his arms, he felt affectionate towards her. He could immediately connect with her as a father figure and felt as if love had sprung back into his dull life.

(b) Jane Thompson

Answer (b): Being a childless woman, Jane had become ill-tempered, irritable and desolate, with nobody to take care of. But Maggie’s presence aroused motherly feelings in her and brought back happiness and joy in her life.


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Extract III

“It’s cruel thing to leave….into her thin white face”

Question (i): Who are having a conversation in the above extract? What is the main topic of their conversation?

Answer (i): The wheelwright man named Joe Thompson and blacksmith’s wife is having a conversation. The main topic of their conversation is about the fate of the orphaned and disable child named Maggie. The villagers instead of helping her only mouthed verbal sympathy for the disabled child and left her alone in the hovel. Joe felt that villagers showed cruelty on her by leaving her alone in the hovel.

Question (ii): Why was Maggie’s effort to raise herself painful?

Answer (ii): Two years ago Maggie had injured her spine and because of the injury she had become bed-ridden. She could leave her bed only when lifted in arms of her mother. After her mother’s death she had to raise herself to an upright position and sat on the bed without anybody’s help. The effort of raising herself from bed caused her lot of pain.

Question (iii): What thought terrified Maggie? What did she exclaim to Mr. Thompson?

Answer (iii): The thought of being left alone and helpless in the hovel terrified Maggie. Maggie exclaimed to Mr. Thompson pitifully begging him not to leave her all alone in the hovel.

Question (iv): Why do you think the man stood with a “puzzled air”? What did he do when he went into the hovel?

Answer (iv): The man stood with a “puzzled air” because he was confused and unable to decide whether to leave Maggie alone in the hovel or take he with him. If he took her with him then his wife would not accept Maggie and treat her badly.

When he went into the hovel he assured Maggie that he is not going to leave her alone. He then wrapped her body in the clean bedclothes and lifted her in his strong arms and took her home.

Question (v): What kind of man was Joe Thompson? How can you say so?

Answer (v): Joe Thompson was a kind hearted and a compassionate man.

We can say so because it was only he who chose to adopt helpless and disabled Maggie and take care of her whereas everybody in the village wanted her to be sent to a poorhouse.


 

Extract IV

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