Extract Based Questions
Read the extracts given below and answer the questions that follow.
Question 1 : Who was Mr Oliver? What was his profession?
Answer : Mr Oliver was the main character of the story. He was an Anglo-Indian teacher in a school boarding on the outskirts of Shimla. He was a bachelor, who used to stroll into the town in the evening. The whole story revolves around him and contrast of his character that took place when he encountered the unexpected situations.
Question 2 : How did Mr Oliver usually spend his evenings?
Answer : Mr Oliver usually spend his evenings in the Shimla bazaar, which had cinemas and restaurants. He used to stroll into the town in the evening as he was a bachelor and returned after dark taking a shortcut through the pine forest to the school.
Question 3 : What route did he take while returning? Why did he take it?
Answer : While returning to school in the night, after spending time in Shimla Bazaar, Mr Oliver used to take a shortcut through pine forest. Mr Oliver was quite bold and did not fear the terrible sounds made by pine trees when strong winds blew. As he wanted to reach the school in less time, Mr Oliver used to take his shortcut.
Question 4 : What did Oliver carry with him when he walked through the pine forest?
Answer : Unlike most of people, Mr Oliver used to take shortcut thorough the pine forest, but the forest was dark and full of zig-zag ways so he carried a torch with him when he walked through the pine forest.
Question 5 : What did Mr. Oliver see when he was returning back while passing through the pine forest?
Answer : Mr Oliver was returning through the pine forest as usual. He was holding a torch to see the path but the light was quite dim as battery was low. Suddenly, something drew his attention. When he threw the light of his torch on it, he found it to be a figure of a boy sitting on a rock and weeping with his hands on his face. He was surprised as at this time boys were not supposed to be our school.
Question 1 : Why did Mr Oliver feel uneasy when he walked through the pine forest?
Answer : While walking back through the pine forest, he saw a strange figure of a boy. He was weeping and producing strange soundless voice. This made Mr Oliver feel uneasy.
Question 2 : Describe the posture of the boy. Where was he sitting?
Answer : The boy sat on the rock with his head down and he held his face in his hands and his body shook continuously. It seemed an indication that the boy was either in some pain or freezing with cold.
Question 3 : Why did Mr Oliver move closer to the boy?
Answer : Mr Oliver moved closer to the boy in order to recognise him. While coming back through the pine forest, Mr Oliver spotted a figure of a boy sitting on a rock. Though he was in hurry and wanted to reach under warmth of quilts, he stopped and to get a better view of his face he moved closer to him.
Question 4 : What did Mr Oliver ask the boy?
Answer : When Mr Oliver moved closer to the boy he realised that he was crying. This made Oliver believe that the boy was in trouble so to know the reason of his trouble, he asked him why he was crying.
Question 5 : How did Mr Oliver react when he saw the face of the boy?
Answer : While passing through the pine forest, Mr Oliver saw a boy sitting alone on a rock. Initially, he was angry but when he saw the boy crying in continuously , he went near him and asked him to look up. As the boy lifted his face which was without eyes, nose of lips the torch fell from Mr Oliver’s hands and he ran towards the school building crying for help.
Question 1 : Why did Mr Oliver tell the boy that he should not be out there at his hour?
Answer : When Mr Oliver saw the boy sitting alone on the rock at the night in the pine forest, it appeared strange to him. He felt that the young boys should not stay away from their homes at that time of the night. So, he told him that he should not be out there at that time.
Question 2 : What did Mr Oliver sense when he saw the boy crying?
Answer : Mr Oliver sensed that there was something wrong when he saw the boy crying. Mr Oliver moved closer to the boy so that the could know that exactly who he was, but the boy was holding his head down. When he realised that he was weeping, he felt something was wrong there as why would a boy weep sitting on a rock in such a terrible weather.
Question 3 : How did the boy’s body shake? Why was it shaking?
Answer : The boy was sitting alone on the rock while Mr Oliver was passing from there. He saw that the boy was crying and his head hung down and he held his face between his hands and his body shook continuously. The boy was sitting on a rock amid the pine forest. The weather was extremely cold forcing Mr Oliver to reach his destination fast. This bitter cry was also making the body of the boy shake continuously.
Question 4 : Why did Mr Oliver think the boy to be a miscreant? What does the word indicate?
Answer : Mr Oliver thought the boy to be a miscreant as he was sitting on a rock amid the pine trees. It was late evening and the boys of his school were not supposed to be out as it was considered a punishable misdeed. The student who dared to be out at night must have been called a miscreant.
Question 5 : When did Oliver’s anger give away to the concern?
Answer : Mr Oliver thought the boy to be a miscreant, who should not be out at night so he felt angry. HE asked the boy the reason of his sitting there, but when he realised that he was weeping, his anger changed into concern. The weeping of the boy made him feel he might be in trouble so was in need of his help.
Question 1 : Who was Mr Oliver? Where did he encounter ‘It’?
Answer : Mr Oliver was an Anglo-Indian teacher. He encountered ‘it’ in the pine forest through which he was taking a short cut to school on the way back from Shimla.
Question 2 : Where did Mr Oliver work? Why did Life magazine describe this place as the ‘Eton of the East’?
Answer : Mr Oliver worked as a teacher in a public school located three miles from Shimla. Life magazine described this school as ‘Eton of the East’ because the school was conducted on the lines of English public schools. The boys, most of whom were from well-to-do Indian families, wore blazers caps and ties, another characteristic of English public schools such as Eton.
Question 3 : Why had Mr Oliver approached ‘It’ in the first place? What had he mistaken it for?
Answer : Mr Oliver had approached ‘it’ initially because ‘it’ appeared to be a boy who was crying and Mr Oliver wanted to know why ‘it’ was crying so that he could offer help. Mr Oliver had mistaken ‘it’ as a boy from the school, and no boy was allowed to be out of the school at that time as a matter of discipline.
Question 4 : What is a lantern? Who was holding the lantern? Why did Mr Oliver feel relieved at the sight of the lantern?
Answer : A lantern is a kerosene lamp with transparent case to protect the flame. It appeared to Mr Oliver as if a watchman was holding the lantern. Mr Oliver felt relieved on seeing the lantern because he had been terribly frightened. He felt that he had just then seen a ghost when he saw a boy without any facial features.
Question 5 : Briefly describe the meeting between the lantern-bearer and Mr Oliver. State on reason why ‘A Face in the Dark’ could be considered a horror story.
Answer : When Mr Oliver strumbled up to the watchman with the lantern, the watchman asked him what had happened and why he was running. When Mr Oliver told hi that he had just seen a ghost, the watchman raised his lantern to his own face, which was also featureless. The story ends here. The reason that the story ‘A Face in the Dark’ should be considered a horror story is that Mr Oliver encounters two ghosts within a short time, which are enough to scare anyone who goes through Mr Oliver’s experiences.
Question 1 : Which horrible sight frightened Mr Oliver? What happened after this?
Answer : When Mr Oliver saw the boy sitting alone on the rock at night in the pine forest, it appeared strange to him. He went to him and saw the face of the boy which had no eyes, nose or mouth. He got extremely frightened. His torch fell down from his trembling hand. He ran blindly through the trees and called for help.
Question 2 : Contrast the two different aspect of Mr Oliver’s character as a fearless man and a haunted fellow.
Answer : Mr Oliver is the protagonist of the story. The sudden change in his character surprises us. First, he is depicted as a fearless man, who bothers nothing while taking a path dark and full of eerie sounds, but just at the view of the boy’s face with no features, he gets frightened and starts running out of fear. He does not think even for a second to find the truth, instead cried for help, a sharp contrast to the fact that he is not nervous or imaginative man.
Question 3 : According to you, what type of the teacher Mr Oliver is? What do you like most about him?
Answer : Mr Oliver is an Anglo-Indian teacher. He is a bachelor. He has been teaching in an English Public School near Shimla. Though no incident related to school is given. We may conclude that he is a soft-hearted teacher, who is concerned about his pupils’ well being. Seeing the figure of the boy, he thought him to be one of the students of his school. He stopped to know the reason of his sitting there. His anger changed into concern when he listened the boy’s crying.
Question 4 : What answer did Mr Oliver give when the watchman asked him why was he running?
Answer : Gripped in fear Mr Oliver was running and crying for help. He was stopped by the watchman holding a lantern in the middle of the path, who asked him that he had seen a boy sitting on a rock and weeping, but he was without any eyes, ears, mouth and nose.
Question 5 : What message does the story convey? How does it affect you?
Answer : The message that the story conveys is man finds himself helpless in front of ghosts and supernatural things. In different course of time, a man may behave differently not holding to his permanent character. One should not boast of one’s good habits nor should be be ashamed of his shortcomings. The character of Mr Oliver strengthen our point when he runs away from the boy with no features out of fear, though we have been told that he is not a nervous or imaginative man. All of Mr Oliver’s courage vanishes at the sight of a ghost.
Question 1 : ‘A Face in the Dark’ is a supernatural story. Comment on it.
Answer : The story revolves around an Anglo-Indian teacher named Mr Oliver. It is set in a pine forest outside Shimla. It deals with the elements of supernaturalism, mystery and strangeness.
An Unusual Sight : Mr Oliver was returning to his school late one night from the outskirts of hill station of Shimla. He took a shortcut and was returning through the pine forest. There he saw the figure of a boy in the light of the torch. He stopped there. He went closer to the boy in order to recognise him and said, “What are you doing out there, boy?”
Unexpected Situation Faced by Mr Oliver : When the boy looked up Mr Oliver, he got firghtened to see that the boy had no eyes, ears, nose or mouth. It was just around smooth head with a school cap on top of it. He got frightened and the torch fell from his trembling hands. He started running towards the school and cried for help. This description of the boy’s face makes the story supernatural.
Face of the Watchman : Secondly, when he bumped into the watchman, he told him that he saw something very horrible – a boy weeping in the forest who had no face. The watchman was surprised to listen to this and asked him “Did he have the face like this?” The watchman had no eyes, no ears, no features at all and not even an eyebrow, which again shows supernatural element.
Question 2 : Draw the character sketch of Mr Oliver.
Answer : Mr Oliver is the main character of the story. The story represents the sharp contrast of his character as a fearless fellow. In the first few paragraphs, we are made to believe that he is not a nervous or imaginative man but as the story progresses we get to see a complete reversal of what we have been told.
No Family Responsibility : Mr Oliver is a bachelor so does not have any family responsibility. He may roam wherever and whenever he wants and this is the main reason why he strolls at Shimla Bazaar daily. He has no one to spend time with.
A fearless person : In the beginning , we are impressed with the fearlessness of his character when unlike the other passerby, he takes the path of pine forest. This shows that he is not a nervous and imaginative man, a quality that only a few men possess.
Concern for Others : To show concern for others is also one of his characteristics and it surfaces when he stops for a strange boy. He goes closer to him to know his problem. His anger changes into concern as soon as he realises that the boy is crying. He does not have control over his emotions.
Unreasonable and Timid : When the boy looks up and he finds that there is no eyes, ears, nose and mouth in the face, he becomes extremely afraid without thinking that it might have been some trick to frighten him. It shows that he jumps into the conclusion at once.
Question 3 : The story did not end here for Mr Oliver when he saw the boy’s face? What was the hidden trouble? Can you guess what would have happened after Mr Oliver saw the faceless watchman?
Answer : Exactly, the story didn’t end here. After encountering a boy with featureless face, Mr Oliver was badly frightened. Although, he was a very strong man.
Plight of Mr Oliver : He was gripped with fear. The torch fell from his trembling hand and he ran towards the school building. He cried for help. This strange and mysterious experience in the forest make him tense. He was puzzled and stumbled upto the watchman. And another shocking incident happened that the watchman too was without any features.
First Possibility : This incident would have left him in shock. He might have fainted at the same point where he saw that watchman. And next morning , some students and teachers from his own school might have found unconscious there. They must have taken him to the hospital. And when he regained senses, he found himself lying in the hospital bed. Then he must have narrated the whole incident to doctor and his fellow teachers.
Second Possibility : The other chances are there that he might have got a heart failure after encountering two featureless persons.
Third Possibility : Possibility could be that somebody might be playing some prank or trick with him in order to frighten him and he sensed that and acted very smartly.