Thursday, March 9, 2023

Class XII – English – Vistas – On The Face Of It by Susan Hill: Theme Summary Explanation and Q&A Solved


"On the Face of It" is a play by Susan Hill that explores the themes of isolation, perception, and acceptance. The story follows two characters, Derry and Mr Lamb. Derry is a teenage boy with a scarred face ostracized by his peers because of his appearance. One day, Derry enters the garden of Mr Lamb, an elderly man with a prosthetic leg, seeking a place to hide. Despite their initial distrust of each other, the two characters begin to bond over their shared experiences of being judged based on their outward appearance.


Through their conversations, Derry learns to look beyond his scars and embrace life despite his physical differences. Meanwhile, Mr Lamb, also socially isolated due to his disability, finds a companion in Derry and learns to open up to the world again. The play ultimately explores the idea that acceptance and authentic connection can be found when we look beyond appearances and connect with others on a deeper level.


The theme of "On the Face of It" by Susan Hill explores appearances versus reality and the idea that authentic connections can be formed when we look beyond physical appearance. The play also explores the theme of isolation and its effects on individuals judged based on their outward appearance. Through the characters of Derry and Mr Lamb, Hill shows that society's perception of physical appearance can cause individuals to feel isolated and alone.


However, through their interactions, Derry and Mr Lamb learn to look beyond their physical differences and connect with each other on a deeper level. They discover that true acceptance comes from looking beyond appearances and understanding that everyone has a unique story and value as a person. Ultimately, the play suggests that by seeing beyond outward appearances and connecting with others on a deeper level, we can find companionship and a sense of belonging essential to our well-being.


"On the Face of It," a concise narrative penned by Susan Hill, details a fortuitous encounter between two disparate individuals, Derry and Mr Lamb, who hail from contrasting backgrounds and generations. The narrative artfully exemplifies the power of human interaction, underscoring the criticality of transcending physical appearances.

Initially, Derry was hesitant to engage with Mr Lamb owing to his facial disfigurement. However, he swiftly found a kindred spirit in the sightless elderly man. Their dialogue ultimately paved the way for mutual appreciation, prompting them to transcend their physical limitations and recognize each other's exceptional perspectives. Mr Lamb's recounting of his experience with blindness stimulated Derry to confront his own challenges and appreciate his strengths.

As the conversation deepened, Derry divulged his struggles and self-doubt to Mr Lamb, who listened with patience and empathy, ultimately providing him with words of tenderness and motivation. This interaction played a pivotal role in enabling Derry to acknowledge his self-worth and instilled in him a sense of optimism for the future. The deep bond between the two individuals transcended their differences, and they both recognized the beauty in each other's spirit.

The narrative culminates with Derry leaving the garden, imbued with newfound self-esteem and a sense of hope. This uplifting story serves as a poignant reminder that our physical appearance is merely a fraction of who we are, and that the essence of beauty lies in our relationships and the empathy we exhibit towards others. Susan Hill's adept narration and her ability to encapsulate the essence of human nature in just a few pages make "On the Face of It" an indispensable read for anyone seeking to fathom the power of empathy and connection.


Reading with Insight


Q1. What is it that draws Derry towards Mr Lamb despite himself?


In the play 'On the Face of It' by Susan Hill, Derry initially hesitates to approach Mr Lamb, a disfigured and isolated man who spends most of his time in his garden. However, as the two begin to talk, Derry is drawn towards Mr Lamb's kindness, empathy, and sense of humour.


Despite his own physical limitations, Mr Lamb can see past Derry's surface-level arrogance and hostility and connects with him on a deeper emotional level. He listens patiently to Derry's frustrations and fears and shares his experiences of overcoming hardship and finding joy in small moments.


As Derry spends more time with Mr Lamb, he sees the man's inner beauty and humanity rather than his physical appearance. This allows him to confront his prejudices and biases and develop newfound respect and admiration for Mr Lamb.


Ultimately, Mr Lamb can connect with Derry on a personal and emotional level, as well as his unwavering kindness and resilience, which draws Derry towards him despite himself.


Q2. In which section of the play does Mr Lamb display signs of loneliness and disappointment? What are how Mr Lamb tries to overcome these feelings?


In Act II, Scene 1 of Susan Hill's play "On the Face of It," Mr. Lamb exhibits indications of isolation and dissatisfaction.

Mr. Lamb, in this scene, discusses his past and reminisces about how he used to have companions and a wife, yet now he finds himself alone. He reveals that his spouse passed away numerous years ago, and he never remarried. His friends have either perished or relocated. He also mentions his son, whom he hasn't seen in years and who has no interest in reconnecting with him.

In an effort to conquer his loneliness and dissatisfaction, Mr. Lamb endeavors to bond with Derry by exchanging stories about his past and searching for common interests. He also tries to offer guidance and listens carefully to Derry's struggles. Moreover, Mr. Lamb finds pleasure in the natural world and the beauty that surrounds him, which he shares with Derry. However, despite his best efforts, Mr. Lamb continues to be plagued by loneliness and dissatisfaction.

Q3. The actual pain or inconvenience caused by a physical impairment is often much less than the sense of alienation felt by the person with disabilities. What is the kind of behaviour that the person expects from others?


Mr. Lamb, the protagonist of Susan Hill's theatrical production 'On the Face of It,' experiences a profound sense of loneliness and detachment due to his physical disability. Despite his amiable and benevolent nature, people tend to shy away from him, afraid of his physical appearance. Mr. Lamb yearns for someone to disregard his impairment and treat him like any other person.

Individuals with disabilities aspire to receive empathy, acceptance, and understanding from others. They long for society to acknowledge their capabilities beyond their physical limitations and accord them with the same dignity and compassion as they would offer anyone else. In the play, Derry, who also experiences a sense of alienation, initially avoids Mr. Lamb because of his appearance. As the two spend more time together, Derry learns to look beyond Mr. Lamb's disability and appreciate him for his personality. This newfound friendship helps Mr. Lamb overcome his feelings of loneliness and disillusionment, enabling him to be more forthcoming and trusting with Derry.

In conclusion, individuals with disabilities seek acknowledgement, kindness, and empathy. They implore society to recognize them as individuals beyond their physical impediments and acknowledge their unique abilities, interests, and emotions.


Q4. Will Derry return to his old seclusion, or will Mr Lamb's brief association effect a change in the kind of life he will lead?


Throughout Susan Hill's play 'On the Face of It,' the critical question of whether Derry will revert to his previous solitude or if his brief connection with Mr. Lamb will change his destiny needs an unambiguous response. However, the play hints that Derry has been impacted by his interactions with Mr. Lamb.

The play demonstrates how Derry's initial resistance to Mr. Lamb's overtures gradually succumbs to authentic camaraderie. Mr. Lamb's benevolence and sensitivity help Derry see past his physical deformities and establish a human bond. This is apparent in the scene where Derry assists Mr. Lamb in donning his coat, demonstrating his willingness to aid someone who has aided him.

Nevertheless, it is unmistakable that Derry still struggles with his apprehensions and uncertainties, primarily regarding how others view him. He frets that his peers will ridicule him for associating with an elderly man and fears that his time with Mr. Lamb will render him more susceptible to further emotional harm.

Overall, the play leaves the issue of Derry's destiny unresolved, suggesting that he must choose whether to persist in his solitary path or to embrace the possibilities for friendship and connection that Mr. Lamb has revealed to him.


How about...

using your imagination to suggest another ending to the above story.


As Derry sat beside Mr Lamb, he couldn't help but feel a sense of gratitude and comfort in his presence. Despite initial reluctance to engage with the old man, he realized he had found an unexpected friend in Mr Lamb.


Days turned into weeks, and weeks turned into months as the two continued to spend time together. Derry enjoyed Mr Lamb's company more and more, and he couldn't imagine returning to his old life of seclusion.


One day, Derry decided to take Mr Lamb on an adventure. They travelled to a nearby lake, where Derry rented a boat for them to enjoy. As they rowed into the water, Mr Lamb couldn't help but feel a sense of joy and wonder. He had never felt so alive in years.


As they rowed back to shore, Mr Lamb turned to Derry and said, "Thank you for showing me that life still has so much to offer. You have given me a reason to keep going, even when things seem bleak." Derry smiled and replied, "Thank you for reminding me I don't have to face the world alone. I have you now, and that's all that matters."


From that day on, Derry and Mr Lamb continued to explore the world together, experiencing new things and creating new memories. They were no longer alone, for they had found a true friend in each other.


FAQs – On the Face of It

  1. What is the title of the play, and who is the author?

·       The play's title is "On the Face of It", written by Susan Hill.

  1. What is the theme of the play?

·       The theme of the play "On The Face Of It" by Susan Hill is the power of human connection and the ability to find friendship and understanding in unexpected places.

  1. Who are the main characters in the play?

·       The main characters in the play "On The Face Of It" by Susan Hill are Mr Lamb, an old man, and Derry, a small boy who is very withdrawn and defiant.

  1. What is the physical condition of Mr Lamb?

· Mr Lamb has a physical impairment or disability; he lost his leg in the war and now uses a tin leg to get around.

  1. How does Derry feel about Mr Lamb at the beginning of the play?

·       Derry is initially afraid of Mr Lamb and wants to avoid him.

  1. What happens to change Derry's attitude towards Mr Lamb?

·       Derry becomes intrigued by Mr Lamb's positive outlook on life despite his physical disfigurement.

  1. What is the climax of the play?

·       The play's climax is when Derry confronts Mr Lamb about his loneliness, and Mr Lamb tears.

  1. What is the resolution of the play?

·       The play's resolution is left open-ended, but it is suggested that Derry has learned to appreciate the value of human connection and empathy.

  1. What is the message of the play?

·       The play's message is that appearances can be deceiving and that people should not be judged based on physical appearance.

  1. What is the significance of the title "On the Face of It"?

·       The title is a play on words, as it refers to both Mr Lamb's physical appearance and the surface-level interactions between the characters and the deeper emotions and motivations underlying their interactions.


Class XII - English - Vistas - Memories of Childhood Summary, Theme, Explanation and FAQs

Class XII - English - Vistas - Memories of Childhood Summary, Theme, Explanation and FAQs

Theme of The Cutting of My Long Hair

"The Cutting of My Long Hair" is an autobiographical story written by Zitkala-Sa, a Native American woman. The story is about her experience as a young girl who is forced to leave her tribe and attend a boarding school, where she is stripped of her long hair, which was a significant symbol of her cultural identity.

At the school, Zitkala-Sa is forced to adopt Western clothing, cut her hair, and learn English. She struggles to adjust to this new way of life, feeling lost and disconnected from her cultural heritage. Zitkala-Sa describes the feeling of having her hair cut as a traumatic experience that symbolizes the loss of her identity and culture.

The story goes on to describe Zitkala-Sa's attempts to resist the assimilation efforts of the school, including sneaking away to participate in traditional tribal ceremonies. Despite her efforts, she eventually realizes that she can never fully return to her old way of life.

"The Cutting of My Long Hair" is a powerful story that sheds light on the harsh realities of cultural oppression and the struggle for self-acceptance. It is a poignant reminder of the importance of cultural identity and the devastating impact of attempts to erase it.

Theme of We Too Are Humans by Bama

The story "We Too Are Humans" is a heart-wrenching tale of caste-based discrimination, written by Bama, a Dalit writer from Tamil Nadu, India. The narrator of the story is a young girl named Bama herself, and the account is autobiographical.

Through her poignant words, Bama describes the harsh reality of the caste system, which separates people based on their birth and denies them equal opportunities. The story revolves around a young girl from the Karuvaachi community who is constantly subjected to humiliation and discrimination by the dominant caste people in the village.

Despite the constant mistreatment, the young girl remains resilient and tries to pursue her dreams of education. However, her dreams are short-lived, and she is ultimately forced to drop out of school due to the caste-based discrimination she faces. The story concludes on a sad note, with the young girl being married off at a young age and losing all hope for a better future.

Bama's powerful portrayal of the harsh reality of caste-based discrimination through the eyes of a young girl is both heart-wrenching and eye-opening. Her writing serves as a reminder of the deep-rooted inequalities that still exist in many parts of the world and the urgent need to address them.

Reading with Insight (Questions and Answers)

  1. The two accounts that you read above are based in two distant cultures. What is the commonality of theme found in both of them?

    Two women from socially marginalized communities in different cultures share their autobiographical accounts in the "Memories of Childhood". One author highlights the evil practice of racial prejudice, while the other talks about the hierarchical Indian caste system and untouchability. In the first account, the author, a Native American, recounts her victimization at the hands of European staff at her boarding school. The second account depicts the hardships and humiliations faced by Indian "Dalits" from the perspective of a third-grade student.

Despite being set in different cultures, both stories share a common theme - the suffering and oppression experienced by their respective communities. Both authors rebuke the practice of social stratification. Zitkala-Sa's hair was forcibly cut by Europeans who believed themselves to be superior to Native Americans. In contrast, Bama witnessed open discrimination against "lower caste" individuals, who were considered impure and prohibited from even touching those from higher castes. From a young age, both Zitkala-Sa and Bama began to protest and resist in their own ways.

  1. It may take a long time for oppression to be resisted, but the seeds of rebellion are sowed early in life. Do you agree that injustice in any form cannot escape being noticed even by children?

    The world is plagued by stratification, oppression, and discrimination at multiple levels. While adults may be accustomed to this, children's innocence cannot comprehend hatred and prejudice. However, their observant eyes can detect any form of injustice and discrimination. When faced with such evil practices, their sensitive minds and hearts are deeply affected. They often resist in their own simple ways.

In their stories, the two girls recount their encounters with inequality. Zitkala-Sa describes her first day at school as "bitter-cold," which not only refers to the weather but also the atmosphere of the boarding school. The overly disciplined students and unfriendly European staff made her feel unwelcome, and the struggle against having her hair cut was a bitter experience. Meanwhile, Bama followed in her brother's footsteps to resist the practice of untouchability through education. She wholeheartedly pursued her studies, hoping to reach a position where people would forget her "caste" and be proud to befriend her.

  1. Bama’s experience is that of a victim of the caste system. What kind of discrimination does Zitkala-Sa’s experience depict? What are their responses to their respective situations?

    Zitkala-Sa experienced racial prejudice, while Bama faced caste discrimination and untouchability. Zitkala-Sa was sent to a European missionary school where she was rejected due to her indigenous background. Her pride, her beautiful, long, and heavy hair, was shorn. Despite her valiant efforts to resist, she eventually had to surrender. On the other hand, Bama, after witnessing untouchability, chose to use education to blur class boundaries. She channeled her anger and rebelliousness to excel in her studies, guided by her older brother. She realized that societal transformation could only occur if the so-called lower castes made an effort to study and progress. Although both heroines attempted to oppose the injustices they faced, their paths diverged significantly. Zitkala-Sa had to give in due to her disobedience, while Bama successfully followed her brother's advice to eventually come first in her class. While Zitkala-Sa continued to resist by condemning the horrors of racial prejudice through her works, Bama chose a more subtle but effective method to express her dissatisfaction.


  1. What is the significance of hair in Native American culture?

In many Native American cultures, hair is seen as a symbol of power, strength, and cultural identity. It is often left long and uncut as a way of honoring one's ancestors and connecting with the spiritual world.

  1. Why was Zitkala-Sa forced to attend a boarding school?

Like many Native American children in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Zitkala-Sa was forced to attend a boarding school as part of the US government's assimilation policies. The schools aimed to erase Native American culture and language by teaching children Western ways of life.

  1. How did Zitkala-Sa feel about her hair being cut?

Zitkala-Sa described the experience of having her hair cut as traumatic and painful. She felt that it symbolized the loss of her cultural identity and connection to her people.

  1. Did Zitkala-Sa ever return to her tribe?

Although Zitkala-Sa tried to resist assimilation and maintain a connection to her tribe, she never fully returned to her old way of life. She continued to work as an activist and writer, advocating for Native American rights and preserving their cultural heritage.

  1. What is the significance of Zitkala-Sa's name?

Zitkala-Sa's name means "Red Bird" in the Dakota language. It was given to her by her mother as a way of connecting her to her Native American heritage.

  1. How did boarding schools impact Native American communities?

Boarding schools had a devastating impact on Native American communities, causing the loss of cultural identity, trauma, and disconnection from traditional ways of life. They also contributed to the spread of diseases, malnutrition, and other health problems.

  1. Was Zitkala-Sa the only Native American child forced to attend a boarding school?

No, Zitkala-Sa was one of thousands of Native American children who were forced to attend boarding schools as part of the US government's assimilation policies. It is estimated that up to 100,000 Native American children attended boarding schools between 1879 and the 1960s.

  1. What is the legacy of boarding schools in Native American communities?

The legacy of boarding schools in Native American communities is one of trauma, loss, and cultural suppression. Many Native Americans today continue to struggle with the effects of these policies, including language loss, health disparities, and intergenerational trauma.

  1. What was Zitkala-Sa's legacy as an activist and writer?

Zitkala-Sa was a trailblazing activist and writer who worked tirelessly to advocate for Native American rights and preserve their cultural heritage. Her work helped to raise awareness of the injustices faced by Native Americans and inspire future generations of activists.

  1. What can we learn from Zitkala-Sa's story?

Zitkala-Sa's story is a powerful reminder of the importance of cultural identity and the devastating impact of attempts to erase it. It also highlights the resilience and strength of those who resist oppression and fight for justice. We can learn from her story by recognizing the ongoing struggles faced by Native American communities and working to support their rights and wellbeing.

Class XII - English - Vistas - Journey To the End of The Earth - Summary, Explanation, FAQs

Class XII - English - Vistas - Journey To the End of The Earth - Summary, Explanation, FAQs


The chapter "The Journey to the End of the Earth" in the textbook Vistas for Class 12 is an illuminating account of the author's expedition to the world's coolest, windiest, and driest continent - Antarctica. Tishani Doshi asserts that a visit to Antarctica is essential for comprehending the planet's past, present, and future. The study of this region is valuable since Antarctica holds the geological history of the world. She joined a group of students on their trip to the continent and had a thrilling experience exploring the mysteries of the icy region.


Geoff Green, a Canadian, created the "Students on Ice" program six years ago. This program takes high school students on a journey to Antarctica, providing them with educational opportunities that inspire them to develop a newfound appreciation and respect for our planet. The program has been successful because students witness the collapsing ice shelves and retreating glaciers with their own eyes, enabling them to comprehend the reality of the threat of global warming.

Antarctica has a simple ecosystem and lacks biodiversity, making it an ideal location to study how minor changes in the environment can have significant consequences. The author had the opportunity to work in Antarctica, experiencing the coldest atmosphere of the continent.

The narrator of "Journey to the End of the Earth" travels to Antarctica on the Russian research vessel, Akademik Shokalskiy, accompanied by a group of students. Starting her journey 13.09 degrees north of the Equator in Madras, she crossed six checkpoints, three oceans, and various ecosystems before reaching her destination after a hundred hours of travelling. Upon arriving at the Antarctic continent, she felt relieved and reflected on the isolation of the continent and its historical connection to India.

Six hundred and fifty million years ago, Antarctica was a part of the Gondwana supercontinent. There were no humans on Earth at that time, and the climate was warm, with a wide variety of flora and fauna. The supercontinent existed for 500 million years until it broke apart, leading to the formation of different countries and the Earth we know today. Antarctica provides insight into human evolution and where we are heading now, as well as the importance of Cordilleran folds and pre-Cambrian granite shields, ozone, and carbon.

During her two-week stay in Antarctica, the narrator was surrounded by midges, mites, blue whales, and endless expanses of enormous icebergs, with no human presence. The surreal twenty-four-hour summer light and eerie silence were often interrupted by the sound of breaking icebergs.

Humans have been on Earth for around 12,000 years and have had a negative impact on the environment during that time. Cities and megacities have encroached on Mother Nature, and the rapid increase in population has created additional distress. Human beings are competing for limited resources, and the average global temperature is rising, with a growing blanket of carbon dioxide around the world.

The narrator is concerned about unanswered questions regarding climate change, such as the complete melting of the West Antarctic ice sheets, the potential disruption of the Gulf Stream Ocean current, or the end of the world. Antarctica plays a crucial role in this discussion, as the Earth's present and future lie hidden within it.

The lesson to be learned is that small changes in the environment can have significant repercussions. Phytoplankton, microscopic nourishment for marine animals and birds in the region, will be affected by the depletion of the ozone layer, which will impact the lives of others in the region and the global carbon cycle. The narrator considers her experience in Antarctica unforgettable, as she and the students were instructed to disembark at 65.55 degrees South of the Equator, where they saw crabeater seals.

Tishani Doshi is awestruck by the balance of beauty at play on our planet. While she has unanswered questions, she remains optimistic that the next generation of children is full of idealism and will work to save the Earth.


The story is about Tishani Doshi's travelogue to Antarctica, which is covered in the Class 12th book "Vistas". Doshi journeyed for 100 hours to reach the continent, where she worked in the coldest atmosphere of the Antarctic. She felt relieved to have finally arrived, and the simple ecosystem and lack of biodiversity made Antarctica an ideal place to study how little changes in the environment can have big consequences.

Geoff Green's "Students on Ice" program, which takes high school students to Antarctica, has been successful in inspiring educational opportunities and encouraging awareness and respect for the planet. The collapsing ice shelves and retreating glaciers that the students witness first-hand make them realize the real threat of global warming.

Antarctica has 90% of the Earth's total ice volume and can provide insight into human evolution and the planet's future. Doshi spent two weeks in Antarctica surrounded by an otherworldly landscape of icebergs, midges, mites, and blue whales. She reflects on the fact that humans have only been on Earth for 12,000 years but have already caused significant harm to the environment.

Doshi is alarmed by the impact of climate change and the depletion of the ozone layer. She wonders about the consequences of the West Antarctic ice sheets melting entirely, the disruption of the Gulf Stream Ocean current, and the possibility of the world coming to an end. Antarctica has a crucial role to play in this debate, as the Earth's present and future lie hidden in the continent.

Doshi's experience in Antarctica teaches her that little changes in the environment can have significant repercussions. The depletion of the ozone layer, for example, affects the lives of marine animals and birds, and the global carbon cycle. Despite the unanswered questions and concerns, Doshi is optimistic that the next generation is full of idealism to save the Earth.

The story provides an overview of the ecosystem of Antarctica and the impact of the global carbon cycle. The lack of biodiversity and ozone depletion are significant contributors to climate change. Antarctica's surreal twenty-four-hour summer light and eerie silence are awe-inspiring, and the story ends with Doshi peacefully watching seals sunbathing on ice.

Journey to the end of the Earth Question Answers

Reading with Insight

Q1. ‘The world’s geological history is trapped in Antarctica.’ How is the study of this region useful to us?


Antarctica's geological history provides valuable insights into the Earth's past, including the evolution of continents, ocean currents, and climate change. Scientists can study ice cores, which contain information about atmospheric conditions and temperature changes dating back thousands of years, and sediment cores from the ocean floor, which provide clues about the geological processes that shaped the continent. This information helps us to understand the mechanisms that drive climate change and can help to predict future changes. Additionally, Antarctica is a unique environment with extreme weather conditions, making it an ideal location for testing technology and conducting research that could benefit humans in various fields, such as medicine and space exploration. Overall, the study of Antarctica's geological history is essential for gaining a deeper understanding of the Earth's past, present, and future, and for finding solutions to global challenges.

Q2. What are Geoff Green’s reasons for including high school students in the Students on Ice expedition?


Geoff Green, the founder of the Students on Ice expedition, believes that high school students are the next generation of leaders and decision-makers, and including them in the expedition can help shape their perspectives on the world and its environment. He also believes that by exposing students to the Arctic and Antarctic regions, they will be inspired to become ambassadors for climate change action and conservation efforts. Additionally, Green believes that the expedition provides a unique learning opportunity for students, allowing them to see firsthand the effects of climate change on polar regions and ecosystems. By engaging with scientists, researchers, and Indigenous communities, students can gain a deeper understanding of the issues and challenges facing these regions and be equipped to advocate for their preservation in the future.

Q3. ‘Take care of the small things and the big things will take care of themselves.’ What is the relevance of this statement in the context of the Antarctic environment?


The statement "Take care of the small things and the big things will take care of themselves" holds immense significance in the Antarctic environment. Phytoplanktons, which serve as the primary food source for marine birds and animals, are small organisms that are vital for the survival of the entire ecosystem. The depletion of the ozone layer, caused by human activities, affects the growth of phytoplanktons and disrupts the carbon cycle, which can have severe consequences for marine life. Therefore, taking care of these small organisms can have a ripple effect on the processes of the larger animals and birds. This highlights the need for responsible and sustainable practices in the Antarctic environment to ensure the survival of the entire ecosystem.

Q4. Why is Antarctica the place to go to, to understand the earth’s present, past and future?

Antarctica is a unique and isolated continent that provides an unparalleled opportunity to understand the Earth's present, past, and future. The ice sheet in Antarctica stores the history of the Earth's climate and atmosphere over millions of years. Scientists can study the ice cores to gain insight into how the climate has changed over time and how it might change in the future. The continent's remoteness and extreme environment make it a perfect place to study the effects of climate change, which can provide insight into what the future may hold for the planet. Additionally, the unique and diverse range of species that inhabit the continent provides a rich opportunity for biological research and can help scientists better understand evolution and adaptation in extreme environments.

Wednesday, March 8, 2023

Class XII - Vistas - The Tiger King by Kalki - NCERT Solution

Class XII - Vistas - The Tiger King by Kalki - NCERT Solution

Introduction of the Story - The Tiger King

The story is a satire on the wealthy and influential kings of the past. To disprove the predictions of a fortune teller, the king of Pratibandapuram recklessly slaughters ninety-nine tigers. However, the hundredth tiger, which ultimately causes the king's death, escapes unharmed. Ironically, the prophecy comes true, despite the king's attempts to disprove it. Additionally, the king is killed by a lifeless wooden tiger, adding to the satire of the story.

Summary of the Story - The Tiger King

"The Tiger King" tells the story of King Jung Jung Bahadur of Pratibandapuram, a valiant warrior who was destined to die at the hands of a tiger according to the prophecy made by the chief astrologer when he was born. Being born in the hour of the bull, the tiger was predicted to be his enemy. To ward off the danger, the brave prince declared himself as the "Tiger King" and warned all tigers to be cautious of him.

When he ascended to the throne at the age of twenty, the king believed that killing a cow in self-defense was lawful and hence embarked on a tiger-killing spree. Despite being warned about the danger from the hundredth tiger, he continued to hunt them relentlessly. With no more tigers left in his kingdom, he married into a state with a high tiger population to fulfill his urge to hunt.

As he neared his goal of killing the hundredth tiger, his minister planted an old tiger in the forest for him to hunt. However, the tiger escaped the bullet miraculously, and the royal hunters killed it in secret to prevent the king's wrath.

Thinking he had cheated death, the king celebrated his son's third birthday and gifted him a poorly crafted wooden toy tiger, which he had bought at a high price due to the emergency rule. As the king and his son were playing with the toy, one of the sharp, protruding wooden pieces pierced the king's right hand, causing an infection that spread through his arm and eventually led to his death during surgery.

Ironically, it was the hundredth tiger, in the form of the wooden toy, that took revenge and killed the king.

Read and Find Out

Question 1. Who is the Tiger King? Why does he get that name?


The ruler of Pratibandapuram was known as the Tiger King, as he had gained fame for hunting down 99 tigers. Interestingly, it was foretold by royal astrologers at the time of his birth that he would ultimately meet his demise at the hands of a tiger.

Question 2. What did the royal infant grow up to be?

As he matured, the royal child became the ruler of Pratibandapuram and became fixated on a single goal: to hunt down one hundred tigers. He was driven by a desire to challenge a prophecy which claimed that his life would end at the hands of the hundredth tiger. To achieve his ambition, he ordered the extermination of all the tigers in Pratibandapuram and even married for this purpose. As a result of his relentless pursuit, he became famously known as the Tiger King.

Question 3. What will the Maharaja do to find the required number of tigers to kill?


The Maharaja will request his dewan to find a suitable bride for him to marry in order to obtain the necessary number of tigers to hunt. The ideal bride for a matrimonial alliance would come from a royal family and belong to a state with a significant tiger population. Since Pratibandapuram has no more tigers, the province of his father-in-law would provide him with an opportunity to hunt more tigers and achieve his goal of killing one hundred tigers.

Question 4. How will the Maharaja prepare himself for the hundredth tiger which was supposed to decide his fate?


The Maharaja will approach the hunting of the hundredth tiger with extreme caution, as it is said to be the cause of his death. When he encounters the hundredth tiger, he will take careful aim and shoot it. After the tiger falls to the ground, he will feel a sense of joy and quickly leave the area.

Question 5. What will now happen to the astrologer? Do you think the prophecy was indisputably disproved?


The astrologer passed away before the King of Pratibandapuram could fulfill his goal of killing one hundred tigers, which had become the sole purpose of his existence. Despite this, the prophecy could not be definitively disproven, as the king was ultimately killed by a tiger, although not by a real one or the hundredth one. The hundredth tiger, weak and almost lifeless, surprised everyone by fainting at the sound of the bullet whizzing past and thus escaping the king's bullet. Ironically, it was a "tiny little wooden tiger" from a toy shop that led to the demise of the Tiger King. While the king was obsessed with killing one hundred tigers, all other aspects of his life took a back seat.

Reading with Insight(Q&A)

Q1. The story is a satire on the conceit of those in power. How does the author employ the literary device of dramatic irony in the story?


The story "The Tiger King" is a great example of something called dramatic irony. This is when the audience knows something important that a character in the story does not. In the story, the Tiger King kills many tigers and thinks he is very powerful. However, an astrologer tells him to be careful when he tries to kill the hundredth tiger. The Tiger King ignores this warning and keeps hunting. Finally, he thinks he has killed the hundredth tiger, but it turns out to be very old and weak, and only faints. Everyone else can see this, but the Tiger King cannot. Then, in a very ironic twist, the Tiger King dies because of a little wooden tiger. This shows that the astrologer's prediction was right after all.

Q2. What is the author’s indirect comment on subjecting innocent animals to the willfulness of human beings?


The author of this story uses satire to show how people have been cruel to animals, just to satisfy their own desires. In the story, the maharaja kills tigers without thinking about the consequences. He does this to prove the astrologer wrong and to show that he is powerful. He thinks that killing tigers will make him superior to the animals, but he does not realize that his actions are causing the extinction of tigers in some places. The maharaja kills one hundred tigers to prove his point, without considering the pain and suffering that these animals go through. This story highlights the cruel treatment of animals and the selfish nature of some human beings.

Q3. How would you describe the behaviour of the Maharaja’s minions towards him? Do you find them truly sincere towards him or are they driven by fear when they obey him? Do we find a similarity in today’s political order?


The Maharaja had minions who were obedient and flattering. They were afraid of him and followed his orders to keep him happy. They didn't want to disobey him because it could lead to them losing their jobs or even their lives. The astrologer was scared of predicting the king's death, but he spoke up when the king asked him to do so. The Dewan, who should have advised the king not to kill tigers, didn't go against his wishes and even helped him marry a princess from a kingdom with many tigers. He gave the king an old tiger instead of advising him not to kill. The hunters were also afraid of losing their jobs, so they didn't tell the king that the hundredth tiger had survived. They killed it themselves. The shopkeeper sold the king a cheap wooden toy tiger but charged a higher price because of the emergency rules. The king's minions were motivated by fear, not loyalty or sincerity towards their ruler. This situation is similar to the current political scenario where people in power often don't deserve their positions and others pander to them for their own selfish gains rather than for the benefit of the country.

Q4. Can you relate instances of game-hunting among the rich and the powerful in the present times that illustrate the callousness of human beings towards wildlife?

There have been recent incidents of hunting where even the wealthy have displayed a disregard for wildlife. One such example is the Black Buck poaching case involving Bollywood celebrity Salman Khan, who has a fondness for game hunting. He illegally killed three Chinkaras in two separate incidents, despite the fact that Black Buck is an endangered species. Though he was charged with the offense, he was ultimately acquitted. Another example is that of Nawab Mansoor Ali Khan Pataudi, a renowned cricketer, who was also involved in killing a rare species of antelope.

Class XII - English - VIstas - The Third Level by Jack Finney - Summary, Explanation and FAQs

About the Author

Jack Finney, a renowned American author, was born on October 2, 1911 in the vibrant city of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Despite losing his father at the tender age of three, Finney persevered and went on to attend Knox College in Galesburg, Illinois. He was originally named John Finney but was later renamed Walter Braden Finney in honor of his father, though he remained known as Jack throughout his life.

Finney was a prolific writer, best known for his captivating science fiction and thriller novels. Two of his most famous works, "The Body Snatchers" and "Good Neighbor Sam," were adapted into popular films that captivated audiences worldwide.

Throughout his life, Finney received numerous accolades for his contributions to literature. He passed away on November 16, 1995 in Greenbrae, California, leaving behind a rich legacy. In recognition of his exceptional achievements, Finney was posthumously awarded the World Fantasy Award for Life Achievement.

It's worth noting that Finney's novels "Invasion of the Body Snatchers" and "The Invasion" were also adapted into movies, making him one of the few authors to have multiple works brought to the big screen. His enduring legacy continues to captivate readers and moviegoers alike, cementing his place as one of the most celebrated authors of the 20th century.

Summary of The Third Level

Jack Finney's "The Third Level" is a mesmerizing tale that seamlessly blends fact and fiction, ultimately exploring a man's desire to escape from the harsh realities of the present day. Charley, the protagonist, is unhappy with his life and his wife, yearning for a simpler time without the constant stress of war and societal pressures. His psychiatrist friend, Sam, believes that Charley's passion for stamp collecting is a form of escape into the past.

At Grand Central Station, where there were only two levels, Charley stumbles upon a third level by chance. He is constantly discovering new doorways, corridors, and tunnels, leading him to believe that the station is continually expanding like the roots of a giant tree. On this mysterious third level, Charley finds himself transported to a bygone era, complete with locomotives, brass spittoons, and naked gaslights. He longs to escape to Galesburg, a town he has only dreamt of, but his journey is nearly thwarted when he is mistaken for a cheater due to the old-fashioned currency he uses to pay his fare. Charley is forced to run back into the present day and never finds the third level again.

However, Sam, the skeptic, manages to locate the third level and successfully escapes to Galesburg of 1894. This gripping story highlights the power of the human imagination and the desire for escapism in the face of overwhelming reality. With its vivid imagery and clever plot twists, "The Third Level" is a timeless classic that continues to captivate readers.

Theme of The Third Level

The captivating tale of 'The Third Level' delves into the exciting genre of time travel. Jack Finney, a distinguished author who received the World Fantasy Award, skillfully merges fantasy and reality to paint a vivid picture of time travel. The story follows Charley, the protagonist, who yearns to journey to the third level - a serene and joyful world set in Galesburg, Illinois in 1894.

Aside from time travel, the story also explores the theme of escapism, a psychological refuge from the harsh realities of modern life. Charley's wife, Louisa, does not object to his desire to stay in the past, and Sam is equally content having left his previous profession behind.

At its core, 'The Third Level' exposes the vulnerable side of humanity. When faced with countless challenges, we humans often crave a respite from the chaos and search for possible avenues of escape. This captivating story highlights the intersection of time - an illusionary and dream-like experience that is not confined to the realm of sleep.

Charactersketch of Charley - The Third Level

Charley, a 31-year-old man who favored tan gabardine suits and straw hats, was in a hurry one night after work and decided to take the subway at Grand Central Station. As he navigated the station's two levels, he stumbled upon an unfamiliar exit that led him to a third level through a long, winding corridor.

On this third level, Charley observed fewer ticket windows, gas lights flickering in the darkness, and women dressed in old-fashioned, fully-covered attire. He picked up a newspaper from June 11, 1894, and discovered he could travel to any location in the United States in 1984 from this third level at Grand Central. Excitedly, Charley purchased two tickets for himself and his wife, Louisa, to Galesburg, Illinois, a peaceful destination far from the worries and insecurities of modern times.

Despite his enthusiasm, the clerk refused the currency Charley offered, and he left, planning to return with older currency. Unfortunately, he never found the corridor that led to the third level again.

When Charley confided in his psychiatrist friend, Sam Weiner, about his experience, Sam called it a "waking dream wish fulfillment." Sam believed Charley sought an escape from the present day's troubles and anxieties, which made him unhappy.

Charley was an intriguing character who often daydreamed and sought to escape the world's harsh realities. He was a romantic at heart, preferring the charm and simplicity of the past to the complexities and stresses of modern life. His adventures in the third level highlighted his deep longing for peace and serenity, which he found difficult to attain in the present.

Chractersketch of Sam - The Third Level

Sam Weiner is a character in the story "The Third Level", and he is Charley's friend and psychiatrist. He plays a significant role in the story as he is the one who concludes that the third level is a product of Charley's imagination, a way to escape the pressures of modern living.

Sam disappears from Charley's life, but his influence remains. Charley discovers a first-day cover in his collection, signed by Sam and from Galesburg, Illinois, dated July 18, 1894. It is revealed that Sam had moved to Galesburg, Illinois, in 1894 and set up a hay, feed and grain business, which was something he always wanted to do.

Sam's decision to leave his profession as a psychiatrist and start a new life in a different time and place shows that he was also seeking an escape, just like Charley. It adds another layer of complexity to the story and highlights the theme of escapism. Despite his disappearance, Sam's presence is felt in the story, and his actions have a significant impact on the plot.

Charactersketch of Luisa - The Third Level

At first, Charley's wife, Louisa, wasn't too happy about what Sam suggested regarding Charley's state of mind. This happened after Charley had shared his experience of visiting the third level of the Grand Central Station in New York. However, Sam went on to clarify that Charley wasn't unhappy in his marriage, but rather dissatisfied with the way things are in the modern world. He felt there was too much insecurity, fear, war, and worry, and to escape from it all, his mind had found solace in the utopian world of the third level.

Louisa didn't really believe in the existence of the third level until she saw a note sent by Sam himself from Galesburg, Illinois, dated July 18, 1894. This gave her the confirmation she needed, and she became actively involved in searching for the third level along with Charley.

Frequently Asked Questions - The Third Level

Q1. Why did Charley meet a psychiatrist?


Charley met a psychiatrist, since he was in a dilemma. He felt sure that he had been on the third level of the Grand Central Station, which everyone knows has only two levels. Even the Presidents of the railroads would swear on a stack of timetables that there were only two levels.

Q2. What was the psychiatrist’s diagnosis?


According to the psychiatrist, Charley's unhappiness stemmed from the pressures of modern-day living, which was characterized by insecurity, fear, war, and worry. The psychiatrist diagnosed Charley as someone who desired an escape from these negative aspects of the world.

Q3. What proof did the psychiatrist provide?


The psychiatrist and Charley's friends claimed that his stamp-collecting and collection of first-day covers were signs that he sought a temporary escape from reality, without providing any specific proof to back up their assertion.

Q4. What was Charley’s argument when the psychiatrist told him that the stamp collection was a temporary refuge from reality?


When the psychiatrist suggested that Charley's stamp collection was a temporary escape from reality, Charley countered by arguing that his grandfather lived in peaceful times yet was the one who started the collection. He believed that stamp collecting wasn't a mere temporary refuge from reality but a legitimate hobby, as evidenced by President Roosevelt's own collection.

Q5. How does Charley describe Galesburg, Illinois, 1894?


Charley depicted it as a charming town with a relaxed way of life, characterized by grand old frame houses, vast lawns, towering trees, and a serene atmosphere. In the summertime, locals could be seen lounging on their lawns, with men puffing on cigars and women fanning themselves with palm-leaf fans. It was a time when the first World War was still two decades away, and the second World War was yet to happen, forty years into the future.

Q6. What is a first-day cover?


A first-day cover is an envelope or postcard that is stamped on the first day that a new postage stamp is issued. It is usually cancelled with a special postmark indicating the date and location of the stamp's first day of issue. Collectors often keep first-day covers as a commemorative item or for their historical value.

Q7. What role does the first-day cover play in the story?


One evening, while sorting through his stamp collection, Charley stumbled upon a first-day cover that seemed out of place. The cover was addressed to his grandfather at his home in Galesburg, dated July 18, 1894. Upon further inspection, Charley discovered that instead of a blank sheet of paper, the envelope contained a letter from Sam. In the letter, Sam urged Charley to return to the third level with Louisa and to continue their search until they found it.

Q8. What was the content of the note that Sam wrote to Charley?


Sam claimed that he had discovered the third level and had already spent two weeks there. He described it as a place of peacefulness, tranquility, and serenity. Sam urged Charley and Louisa to continue their search for the third level until they found it, as he believed it was worth the effort.

Q9. How was Charley often lost on the Grand Central Station?


Charley had visited the Grand Central Station countless times. However, he often found himself lost in new doorways and corridors that he had never seen before. On one occasion, he entered a tunnel and emerged in the lobby of a hotel. Another time, he found himself in an office building, completely disoriented.

Q10. How did Charley compare the Grand Central to a huge tree? Why?

Charley had a knack for discovering new tunnels and staircases at the Grand Central Station. He started to suspect that the station was like a colossal tree, constantly growing and expanding by pushing out new corridors and tunnels like roots extending deeper into the ground.