Chapter 19 : To Sir, With Love Questions and Answers ICSE Class 10

Question 1 : Read the extract given below and answer the questions that follow.

“They boys seem to be a bit bothered by remarks you make to them during PT, Mr Bell.”

“To which remarks do you refer, Mr Florian?”

(i) Who is Mr Bell?

Answer : Mr Bell was a new supply teacher sent to help the staff at Greenslade School. He was tall and wiry and also had some experience with the Army Education Service. He was rather abusive and a bully.

(ii) Who was Mr Bell’s ‘special whipping boy’? Why?

Answer : Buckley, a boy in Braithwaite’s class, was Bell’s special whipping boy. He was not good at PT and games and Bell, fully aware of his physical limitations, would encourage him to try more difficult exercises, with the sole purpose of obtaining some amusement from the pitiful ridiculous results.

(iii) How did Mr Bell address Mr Florian? What are Braithwaite’s comments on this?

Answer : Bell addressed the Headmaster by his name and called him Mr Florian. He never used the term ‘Sir’ for him. Braithwaite thought that he considered below his dignity to refer to Mr Florian as Sir. Even when he granted him the ‘Mr Florian’ he gave to this form of address the suggestion of a sneer.

(iv) What derogatory things had been said by Mr Bell for the boys?

Answer : Mr Florian referred to the Weekly Reports and told Mr Bell that he had been unnecessarily critical of their persons. The boys had complained that he would often pass derogatory comments about them like, “Some of you stink like old garbage.” He would also say things about the state of their clothes.

(v) What did Mr Florian advise him?

Answer : After hearing Mr Bell’s explanation that he had simply asked the students to wash, Mr Florian replied that many of the students lived in homes where there were few facilities for washing. He did not have the slightest idea about the conditions prevailing in the area.

He told Mr Bell that he was himself a very experienced teacher but he should try to be a little more understanding about their difficulties.

Question 2 : Read the extract given below and answer the questions that follow.

“I had to, don’t you see; he just stood there refusing to obey and the others were watching me. I just had to do something.” His whole attitude was not defensive.

(i) Who is ‘I’ here? To whom is ‘I’ talking with? Where is the scene set?

Answer : ‘I’ here refers to Mr Bell, a teacher at the Greenslade School. He is talking to Mr ER Braithwaite, another teacher at the same school. The present scene is taking place in the staffroom of the school.

(ii) Who is ‘he’ in the above lines? What had ‘he’ refused to do?

Answer :¬† ‘He’ in the given extract refers to Buckley, Bell’s special whipping boy. He was not build for doing PT or games but tried his best. Bell had asked the class to do ‘astride vault’ and Buckley was very wisely staying away from it. However, this irritated Mr Bell and he forced Buckley to perform the vault.

(iii) What happened after ‘I’ had made ‘he’ follow his orders?

Answer : When Mr Bell forced Buckley to perform the vault, he launched himself at the buck in furious assault, and in spite of Bell’s restraining arms, he and buck crashed to the floor with a sickening sound as one leg of buck snapped off with the sound of a pistol shot. He was hurt pretty badly.

(iv) How did Potter react to the incident?

Answer : Braithwaite writes that after seeing Buckley on the floor, hurt by the crash, big, good-natured Potter seemed to have lost his reason. He snatched up the broken, metal-bound leg and advanced on Bell, screaming, “You bloody bastard, you bloody, bloody bastard.” He wanted to hit him with the leg.

(v) Why did Braithwaite think that things had got out of hands?

Answer : Buckley was pretty badly hurt in the incident and Potter might have hurt Mr Bell if it had not been the timely intervention of Braithwaite. Bell was shocked. Braithwaite told him that Buckley was a bit of a mascot with the others and probably that was why Potter got out of hand.

Long Questions

Question 1 : Mr Bell behaved like a bully and one day things went out of hands. What was the incident that happened between them and the boys of Braithwaite’s class? Was it the respect for Braithwaite that calmed the matters down?

Answer : Mr Bell was sent to the school to take some classes for the staff. It was arranged that he would take the PT periods of the senior class. He was a tough taskmaster and did not relent till each exercise was done with precision.

But he was also a sort of a bully. A student , Buckley, was his ‘special whipping boy’ as he was not good with exercises. However, Bell’s behaviour made him quite unpopular with the class and they condemned him heavily in their Weekly-Review. He was rebuked by Mr Florian for his degrading remarks and was asked to show some patience and discretion with the students.

One Monday, matters got out of hands. Mr Bell had deliberately asked Buckley to perform an exercise but the apparatus broke and he fell very badly on the floor. Seeing Buckley hurt, Potter lost his cool and charged towards Mr Bell, cursing madly, with the broken metal-leg, in murderous rage.

He would have hit Mr Bell if it had not been the timely interference of Braithwaite. Braithwaite got things a bit under control and sent the boys back to class while Buckley was attended. He told Mr Bell that Buckley was their favourite and thus, seeing him hurt, they could not keep control of themselves.

Braithwaite then went into the class and condemned what Potter had done. He wanted him to apologise. But it seemed that all reasons had left the boys. They were very angry. But Braithwaite made them understand that violence never did any good. People would push them to their limits and they must be able to control their anger. The boys did not agree as their friend was hurt.

However, Braithwaite was able to put some reason in their raged minds and they somewhat understood that what had happened was not in the right taste. They went to apologise to Mr Bell. Then Buckely arrived as jovial as ever. Behind him Mr Bell arrived and expressed that he was sorry for the incident. He did not want to escalate the matters.

It was Braithwaite’s influence over his class that saved the day. If it had been someone else stopping Potter, he would have been bludgeoned by him. But he could not do such a thing to Braithwaite. Moreover, they would have never apologised to Bell and animosity would have persisted between them.