Friday, November 28, 2014

L-3 The Rocking-horse Winner - XI English Elective - Woven Words

UNDERSTANDING THE TEXT

  1. What was the reason for young Paul’s restlessness at the beginning of the story? How did it find expression?

    ANSWER:
    Young Paul is restless at the beginning of the story because he was told by his mother that they were not lucky therefore don't have enough money to have a car and other luxuries of life. Besides young Paul had a feeling that deep down his mother was not as happy as she appeared to be. She blamed young Paul's father for not being lucky and making her unlucky as well because she was married to him. 
    This restlessness found an expression in the form of young Paul riding his rocking horse and mentally intensified thinking that he was lucky. While riding the horse young Paul appeared to posses some kind supernatural power and his eyes shone bright. 

  2. Why do you think Paul’s mother was not satisfied with the yearly birthday gift of 1,000 pounds for five years?

    ANSWER:
    Paul's mother was not satisfied with the yearly birthday gift of 1000 pounds for five years because she was an unsatisfied lot. She always had the feeling that she deserved a better treatment from life and this resulted in not showing any enthusiasm for the handsome birthday gift from Paul. Instead Paul started to hear more whispers from the house for more money.
  3. What was the reason for the anxiety of Paul’s mother as he grew older?

    ANSWER:
    The anxiety of Paul's mother grew as Paul grew older because now his tense behaviour, and too much indulgence in horse races and betting was taking a toll on his health. She was very concerned so she inquired to her house maid Miss Wilmot about him in the middle of the party. She also tried to send away Paul to a boarding school so that he could focus more on his studies and less on horse races. Little did she realise that the Paul is the victim of her own making. His efforts to prove himself lucky and bring more money in the house took him to the border of autism and finally he paid for his schizophrenic with his life.
  4. Paul’s final bet made the family rich but cost him his life. Explain. 

    ANSWER:
    Paul is a child who desperately seeks her mother's love and attention. He want to hear that unlike his father he is lucky. But the mother over burdened with the extra baggage of civility and modern lifestyle doesn't realise her child's intentions. Instead there was a feeling in the household that they need more money and even more money. Paul takes it upon himself to prove that he is lucky. He schizophrenically rides his rocking horse and imagines himself lucky. This he did frequently. Meanwhile he started betting on horse races with the help of Basset, their gardener. He bet only on the horses which he happened to know to be lucky during his frantic rocking horse ridings.
    As the events proceeded and he gifted his mother a handsome amount of 5000 pounds, the voices in the house for money grew louder. The pressure on him compelled to bet on races which he shouldn't have put his money in because he received no hint for the lucky horse from the rocking horse ridings. But he did bet and lost. This made him more morose. Before the Derby he was extremely schizophrenic to get a winner. He stopped eating and thought all the time about the race and winning. He spent much time on his rocking horse to get a clue. In the process he became autistic and seriously ill, but got his hint. He indicated Basset to bet on the horse Malabar and he won 80,000 pounds. But it all was a little too much for the young child and he died.
TALKING ABOUT THE TEXT
  1. 'Luck is necessary for success in life'.

    ANSWER:
    There are many who believe luck is important and one may find many such who believe in hard work. It is not though that those who believe in luck do not work hard. It is just that they believe in “do your best and God will do the rest However, there are those who completely blame their fate for everything and do not do anything to change or improve it. Still there are people that believe that hard work is greater than luck and that it has the power to change the destiny. One may find various beliefs around them and it depends on what they chose to believe in.
  2. Although Paul's mother liked to be rich she did not approve of betting on horses.

    ANSWER:
    Paul's mother foolishly wished to be rich and yet was not able to achieve or materialise her desire. She blamed it on her husband for being unlucky. However, she was one of those humans who do not tread as per their cloth. She was used to a lavish lifestyle and blamed her husband and misfortune for low income. Yet there was one thing appreciable about her that she was against gambling. She did remark in her conversation with her brother that she had seen her family members pursuing it and how it led to their fall. She advised her son to not indulge in it and made him promise that he will not think about racing horses any more.
  3. What were the voices that Paul heard? Did they lead him to success in the real sense?

    ANSWER:
    Although the house Paul and his family lived in was a pleasant one, the money they had was not enough to maintain the social position they had to keep up. The mother realised that father had no luck to make enough money so she decided to do something on her own. It was then that the house started whispering from every corner that “there must be more money The sounds started haunting the place and made Paul very uncomfortable and distressed and disturbed him. Though there were expensive gifts coming on Christmas, Paul could hear behind the shining rocking horse that “there must be more money It is plausible that Paul was schizophrenic and imagined the voices on being stressed due to their misery. As it is written in the text that no body said it aloud and there is no mention of anyone else hearing such voices, it is clear that Paul imagined his fears giving them voice. Paul's fear transferred into him through his mother constantly haunted him and became his driving force. The boy was oedipal and unknowingly wished to replace his father from his mother's life. So, the autistic boy drove his shinning horse ferociously until he “got there and would be sure of the horse that would win the next race. There were times when he was not sure, so he would be careful. The gardener Bassett was his partner throughout. Later even uncle Oscar joined as such was the conviction with which Paul used to declare the winning horse's name, and the horse used to win in actual. Call it clairvoyance or sheer luck, which he aspired to have to prove to be worthy of his mother's luck, Paul made money by betting on horses and finally left 80,000 pounds for his family by losing himself.

APPRECIATION

  1. Examine the communication channels in the story between
    a. Paul and his mother
    b. Paul and Bassett
    c. Paul and his uncle
    d. Basset and Paul's uncle
    e. Paul's mother and his uncle

    ANSWER:
    a. Paul and her mother shared the most intimate conversation through eyes. Though they were not actually love bound to each other as in the first paragraph, the author says that it was the children and the mother alone who knew that there was no love in their relation, they knew it because they read in each other's eyes.

    b. The friendship of Paul and Bassett or to say more clearly their partnership was an affectionate relation between them. Bassett knew and understood what the rest failed to even notice. He brought all the news of racing horses to Paul and then the clairvoyant Paul will decide in his trance who was to be the winner.

    c. Paul and uncle Oscar became partners soon after uncle discovers that Paul has an uncanny knowledge that makes him predict the winning horse. However, there is more to it, he realises that the whole betting thing was making Paul nervous and was hampering his health. However, Oscar Creswell asks Paul on how to win by betting, to which the child innocently replies that he just knows who is going to win once he “gets there".


    d. Bassett and uncle Creswell shared a bond since long back. However, as Bassett had promised to Paul he never told about his betting to uncle Oscar as well. But later he found himself explaining things to Creswell and the three of them became partners.


    e. It would be totally unfair to call Hester that harsh a lady for she did care about her children after all, however, she gave importance to materialistic gains. When she realised her sons obsession with the racing horses, she asked Bassett the gardener to keep Paul away from Oscar so it did not affect her son's health. She realised that the obsession was proving to be neurotic for her son and she wanted her son to be healthy and for that she risked her relation with her dear brother.
  2. How has the author linked the symbol of the rocking-horse to Paul's triumphs at the races?

    ANSWER:
    The rocking-horse is one of the three symbols present in the story that Lawrence has dealt with throughout the story. The horse is symbolic of the victory that Paul achieves at last. The materialistic gain and the importance of money over love. The whispering that haunts Paul that “there must be more money and the rocking-horse are interrelated. The want of money to achieve the love of mother that he never had, he goes on betting and earning more and more, thus, proving his luck. The boy when asked his mother for what is luck, she explained him that luck is what brings one money. The boy is disheartened to know that his father has no luck and so will not make money. He is sad at the implication that he will never have his mother's love who is all consumed by indebtedness. The boy, autistic as he is, with some clairvoyance rides his horse harder and ferociously till he “gets there It shows his desperation to physically win his mother's love by winning the race and thus earning more money, as “there must be more money Post the ride, Paul will stand facing the horse with his legs apart and he would look at the bent head of the horse and its shining eyes. These interpret just one thing, the determination, the wanting, the longing for money. It is about success, money, love and most importantly, winning. And Paul gets it all, he wins and gets her mother the money through his triumphs in races. And he even found her love as she grew too concerned about her son's obsession with the races that eventually killed him.
  3. The ending of the story is an instance of irony. Suppose Paul had not died at the end, how would you have reacted to the story?

    ANSWER:
    It is true that a tragedy digs a deeper mark than a happy ending. It causes an emotional catharsis in the audience. Had the story had a happy ending it would have been pleasant, however, the reader would not have felt the emotions and passion that drove Paul to his inevitable climax. Yet some may find it not justified to have killed the boy at the end of the story that went so well with Paul achieving what he wanted all the while, money and love both. He sacrificed his life to bring to his mother what his father couldn't and thus proved to be worthy of her affection, which hungered for. However, one can not have all the happiness in the world. They say that God is cruel when he gives us something, he gives it to us only with one had while taking away with the other our most cherished possession. So, it can not be said that the death of Paul was justified or other way round; however, it is ironical. Had he lived post the Derby win, who knows what shape the story might have taken. Maybe what happens happens for some good yet it would have brought the story to a happy ending had Paul lived.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Poem 01 - The Peacock - English Elective Class XI Notes - Woven Words

Poem 01 - The Peacock

UNDERSTANDING THE POEM

  1. Comment on the lines that make you visualise the colourful image of the peacock.

    The lines which help us visualise the colourful image of the peacock are as follows:
    “a flash of turquoise”, “A blue shadow will fall over you", “To shut those dark glowing eyes”, “Violet fringed with golden amber”.
    These lines give us a clear picture of the magnificent bird in all its glory.
  2. What are the cues that signal the presence of the peacock in the vicinity?

    A loud sharp call, flash of turquoise, a disappearing tail end, a blue shadow, the wind changing its direction and the awakening of the cat and its stretch are an indication that a peacock is in the vicinity.
  3. How does the connection drawn between the tail and the eyes add to the descriptive detail of the poem?

    The pattern on the tail of a peacock looks like eyes, but these eyes cannot be blinked. Rather the tail when contracted appears to give an illusion of blinking a lot of eyes together. This adds to the descriptive details of the poem.
  4. How does the poem capture the elusive nature of the peacock?

    The poem captures the elusive nature of the peacock by describing its activities that signal its presence indirectly. For example in the opening line of the poem we hear “His loud sharp call”, or we get a “glimpse of the very end of his tail” in the last line of the first stanza.
    If someone tries his best to get a glimpse of the elusive bird, he “might see the peacock turning away as he gathers his tail”.
    Such a description presents a very elusive nature of the peacock.
  5. The peacock is a colourful bird. How does the poem capture the various colours that its plumage displays?

    The poem captures the various colours of the peacock’s plumage by use of expressions like “turquoise”, “blue shadow”, “dark glowing eyes” and “Violet fringed with golden amber”. These expressions as we can see present the colours associated with peacocks very beautifully.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Poem-02 - Let Me Not to the Marriage of True Minds - English Elective Class XI Notes - Woven Words

Poem-02 - Let Me Not to the Marriage of True Minds by William Shakespeare

Let me not to the marriage of true minds
Admit impediments. Love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds,
Or bends with the remover to remove:
O no; it is an ever-fixed mark,
That looks on tempests, and is never shaken;
It is the star to every wandering bark,
Whose worth's unknown, although his height be taken.
Love's not Time's fool, though rosy lips and cheeks
Within his bending sickle's compass come;
Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,
But bears it out even to the edge of doom.
If this be error and upon me proved,
I never writ, nor no man ever loved.

PARAPHRASE OF THE POEM

Let me not declare any reasons why two true-minded people should not be married. Love is not love which changes when it finds a change in circumstances, or bends from its firm stand even when a lover is unfaithful: Oh no! it is a lighthouse that sees storms but it is never shaken; Love is the guiding north star to every lost ship, whose value cannot be calculated, although its altitude can be measured. Love is not at the mercy of Time, though physical beauty comes within the compass of his sickle. Love does not alter with hours and weeks, but, rather, it endures until the last day of life. If I am proved wrong about these thoughts on love, then I recant all that I have written, and no man has ever [truly] loved.

NOTES 

marriage...impediments (1-2): T.G. Tucker explains that the first two lines are a "manifest allusion to the words of the Marriage Service: 'If any of you know cause or just impediment why these two persons should not be joined together in holy matrimony'; cf. Much Ado 4.1.12. 'If either of you know any inward impediment why you should not be conjoined.' Where minds are true - in possessing love in the real sense dwelt upon in the following lines - there can be no 'impediments' through change of circumstances, outward appearance, or temporary lapses in conduct." (Tucker, p. 192). 

bends with the remover to remove (4): i.e., deviates ("bends") to alter its course ("remove") with the departure of the lover. 

ever-fixed mark (5): i.e., a lighthouse (mark = sea-mark).
Compare Othello (5.2.305-7): 

Be not afraid, though you do see me weapon'd;
Here is my journey's end, here is my butt,
And very sea-mark of my utmost sail. 

the star to every wandering bark (7): i.e., the star that guides every lost ship (guiding star = Polaris). Shakespeare again mentions Polaris (also known as "the north star") in Much Ado About Nothing (2.1.222) and Julius Caesar (3.1.65). 

Whose worth's unknown, although his height be taken (8): The subject here is still the north star. The star's true value can never truly be calculated, although its height can be measured. 

Love's not Time's fool (9): i.e., love is not at the mercy of Time. 

Within his bending sickle's compass come (10): i.e., physical beauty falls within the range ("compass") of Time's curved blade. Note the comparison of Time to the Grim Reaper, the scythe-wielding personification of death. 

edge of doom (12): i.e., Doomsday. Compare 1 Henry IV (4.1.141): 

Come, let us take a muster speedily:
Doomsday is near; die all, die merrily. 
_____ 

Sonnet 116 is about love in its most ideal form. The poet praises the glories of lovers who have come to each other freely, and enter into a relationship based on trust and understanding. The first four lines reveal the poet's pleasure in love that is constant and strong, and will not "alter when it alteration finds." The following lines proclaim that true love is indeed an "ever-fix'd mark" which will survive any crisis. In lines 7-8, the poet claims that we may be able to measure love to some degree, but this does not mean we fully understand it. Love's actual worth cannot be known – it remains a mystery. The remaining lines of the third quatrain (9-12), reaffirm the perfect nature of love that is unshakeable throughout time and remains so "ev'n to the edge of doom", or death. 

In the final couplet, the poet declares that, if he is mistaken about the constant, unmovable nature of perfect love, then he must take back all his writings on love, truth, and faith. Moreover, he adds that, if he has in fact judged love inappropriately, no man has ever really loved, in the ideal sense that the poet professes. The details of Sonnet 116 are best described by Tucker Brooke in his acclaimed edition of Shakespeare's poems: 

[In Sonnet 116] the chief pause in sense is after the twelfth line. Seventy-five per cent of the words are monosyllables; only three contain more syllables than two; none belong in any degree to the vocabulary of 'poetic' diction. There is nothing recondite, exotic, or metaphysical in the thought. There are three run-on lines, one pair of double-endings. There is nothing to remark about the rhyming except the happy blending of open and closed vowels, and of liquids, nasals, and stops; nothing to say about the harmony except to point out how the fluttering accents in the quatrains give place in the couplet to the emphatic march of the almost unrelieved iambic feet. In short, the poet has employed one hundred and ten of the simplest words in the language and the two simplest rhyme-schemes to produce a poem which has about it no strangeness whatever except the strangeness of perfection. (Brooke, p. 234)

UNDERSTANDING THE POEM

  1. ‘Constancy’ is the theme of the poem. Indicate the words, phrases and images that suggest the theme.

    "an ever-fixed mark", "never shaken"; "Love’s not Time’s fool", "Love alters not", "bears it out even to the edge of doom" are some of the expressions that suggest the theme that love is permanent.
  2. Why do you think the poet has used so many ‘negatives’ to make his statement?

    ‘negatives’ are an effective tool to prove one’s point. It highlights the other side of the coin to bring home the positive points of the statement very effectively. In this case the poet puts forward all the negative aspects that love is taken for, and then argues that love is something permanent and beyond physical beauty.
  3. What does the line ‘I never writ, nor no man ever loved’ imply?It implies that if the poet is proved wrong about these thoughts on love, then he will recant all that he has written, and no man has ever [truly] loved.

Poem 06 - Mother Tongue - English Elective Class XI Notes - Woven Words


Poem - 06 Mother Tongue

UNDERSTANDING THE POEM

  1. The quill is the central element in the poem—what does it symbolise?

    The quill symbolises the Sharade script. A script is central to propagate and preserve any language. In this case the poet is eager to make a point for her mother tongue Dogri which was originally written in Sharade script but for reasons unknown happened to be written in Devanagari script. So she personifies the reed and requests it to give a quill and the reed instantly agrees to do so saying that it is also the servant of the Shahni like the poet herself and ready to serve her.
  2. You notice a sense of urgency in the poet’s request—what is the reason for this?

    The reason for the sense of urgency shown in the poem is because of fast depleting base of Dogri language in its native speakers and the influence of other languages/scripts on it. The poet is concerned that if the Dogri speaking population is not ready to serve the Shahni(Dogri) then it will be too late to save the language.
  3. How has the poet brought out her emotional attachment to her mother tongue?

    The poet has brought out her emotional attachment to her mother tongue in the form of this beautiful poem wherein she treats her mother tongue as Shahni(Queen) and the poet herself as a maid to the service of the queen. The emotional height is reached when the reed instantly agrees to cut its hand and give it away for the service of Shahni in the form of a quill.
  4. Personification is a figure of speech that attributes human qualities to inanimate things and abstract ideas. How has it been used in this poem?

    The poet has beautifully used the tool of personification for her mother tongue Dogri and its script Sharade. Dogri has been personified as Shahni(The Queen) and Sharade script has been personified as the queen’s maid in the form of a quill. The dramatization of the reed cutting its hand to offer for the service of the queen animates the entire poem and rouses the reader to stand up for the greater cause of saving/serving one’s mother tongue.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

L-2 A Pair of Mustachios - English Elective Class XI Notes - Woven Words

L-2 A Pair of Mustachios

UNDERSTANDING THE TEXT


  1. What do you understand of the natures of Ramanand and Azam Khan from the episode described?

    Ramanand, the grocer and the money lender, is quiet cunning and possess a servile nature that is fit for his business of selling groceries and money lending. He never gets angry but prevails on his customers like Azam Khan with cleverness and by provoking the so called pride. It is also evident that Ramanand regards his customers as always right at least in principle. So he always keeps his business first and pride secondary.

    Azam Khan on the other hand is a victim of so called pride. He is still lost in the past glory of his forefathers. He is arrogant, full of anger and short sighted. He is ready to sell all his property for the sake of keeping Ramanand’s moustaches down, which was suitable to his(Ramanand) class. Obviously Azam Khan is living in his past. He is impractical, short tempered and doesn’t know what is good or bad for him.

  2. Identify instances in the story that show the business acumen of Ramanand.

    Ramanand is a good businessman. His business acumen is evident from the fact that he readily agrees to lower his moustache on Azam Khan’s request. But he lowers only one tip of his moustache just to cleverly provoke Khan to bring in more of his property for mortgage. Unlike Khan he never gets angry and keeps his business interests above all his priorities.

  3. Both Ramanand and Azam Khan seem to have very fixed views. How does Ramanand score over Azam Khan towards the end of the story?

    Ramanand and Azam Khan have a fixed view regarding themselves and each other. They are part of the social milieu that believes in the categorization of people on the basis of their moustaches. Ramanand belonged to goat class while Khan sahib belonged to tiger class moustache. They are both in harmony with the fact that they should not trespass into each other’s boundaries.

    Ramanand scores over Azam Khan at the end of the story by turning up the tip of his goat moustache so that it looked like a tiger moustache. This enrages Azam Khan and he is tricked into selling all his property to Ramanand.

APPRECIATION

  1. Comment on the way in which the theme of the story has been introduced.

    The theme of the story-mustachios has been introduced in a scientific but light manner. The opening lines describe the rigid habit of various sections of Indian society regarding wearing moustaches according to their class.

    The writer is actually ridiculing the social mores which force people to live within false pride and put their honor and property at stake for something that has no value in the modern world.

    The writer then moves on to narrate a story from his own village about Azam Khan and Ramanand. Azam Khan represents that class of society which is still living in the world of yore. Whereas Ramanand is the representative of the business class, which is always bent upon leeching people out of their money and property by hook or crook.

  2. How does the insertion of dialogue in the story contribute to its interest?

    Inclusion of dialogues in a story enables the writer to express things in their actual perspective. It allows him to include words and expressions which a writer normally would not write on his own. For example when Azam Khan gets angry he says to Ramanand: “You know what I mean, seed of a donkey!” or “I tell you, turn that tip down or I shall wring your neck.

    Such dialogues add a dramatic effect in the story and make it more lively and interesting.