Question 1 : Read the extract given below and answer the questions that follow.
(i) Why was the narrator shocked?
Answer : As the narrator entered the school, he heard a girl in violent protest. She was shouting at a boy, Denham. The girls were playing and Denham was obstructing them. The narrator was shocked to hear them brutally use bad language in the school. He was paranoid to think that if students would use such language in his class also.
(ii) What explanation was given by Mrs. Drew regarding the children?
Answer : Mrs Drew told the narrator that students indeed used foul language in the class but mostly they did not mean what they were saying. Most of the time they were merely showing off. The words themselves were not in their minds. She also said that the older students deliberately made use of such offensive words to shock and to offend.
(iii) What did Mrs. Drew suggest to the narrator?
Answer : Mrs. Drew suggested the narrator like others he should adopt a policy of ignoring such things. She told him that often it was a good policy to behave as if one did not hear. Although, she could not tell him how to deal with the situation, she motivated him to do the best he can.
(iv) What happened after the narrator went inside the classroom?
Answer : From outside the classroom, the narrator could hear sounds, of talk, laughter and movement. He went inside and walked directly to his desk, seated himself and waited.
The children were standing about in groups and paid no attention to his entrance. But gradually the groups dispersed and they seated themselves. The narrator waited until everyone was quietly settled and then called the attendance register.
(v) Why was the collection of dinner money important?
Answer : The school dinner was a real boon to both children and parents. The prices ranged from eightpence to threepence, depending upon the number of children of school age in the family. The child received a hot midday meal, well-balanced and satisfying. Those who were not able to pay even these small amounts could enjoy it for free. They were also given free mid-morning milk.
Question 2 : Read the extract given below and answer the questions that follow.
(i) How does the narrator describe the girls of his class?
Answer : These were twenty-six girls in the class. The narrator describe many of their faces that bored traced of make-up inexpertly or hurriedly removed. This gave their obvious youth a slightly tawdry and jaded look. These were really young women who sat there, quiet and watchful, gypsyish in their flashy cheap earrings and bracelets.
(ii) How were the boys different from the girls of the class?
Answer : The boys were scruffier, coarser, dirtier. Everything about them induced a planned conformity- the T-shirts, jeans, haircuts, the same wary sullenness. None of it really belonged to them. It was worn, assumed in and out of school like a kind of armor, a gesture against authority; a symbol of toughness as thin and synthetic as the cheap films from which it was copied.
(iii) Why were the orchestral selections usually from the classical works?
Answer : Usually the orchestral selections were from the classical works, or vocal recordings by outstanding artists like Paul Robeson, Maria Callas, Marian Anderson and others. It was so as in this way, it was hoped to widen their musical interest beyond the jazz and boogie-woogie offerings of the midday dance sessions.
(iv) Describe the assembly?
Answer : The children sat in rows facing the stage and the teachers sat in line behind them. The assembly was a simple affair without religious bias or emphasis. It began with a hymn and prayer in which every child joined, either actively, or merely by being there. There was an invocation for guidance, courage and divine help for each and all.
(v) How did the students react to the classical records that were being played?
Answer : The students listened silently to the records that were being played. Everyone of them sat still, unmoving and attentive, until the very echo of the last clear note had died away. Their silence was not the result of boredom or apathy, nor were they quiet because it was expected of them or through fear of consequences. But they listened actively and attentively with the same raptness they had shown in their jiving. Their bodies were still but their minds and spirits were involved with the music.
Question 3 : Read the extract given below and answer the questions that follow.
(i) Why was Clinty? What has she told the narrator?
Answer : Everyone called Mrs Clintridge as Clinty. She asked about Braithwaite’s first class. She advised him to be very firm and not take any crap in the class. She told him that the children came from such families where if they committed a mistake, they would often be hit. Hence, he should be harsh with them.
(ii) What was the change that the narrator brought in his behaviour?
Answer : Braithwaite became very strict with the students. He was angry and his voice was brittle. He was deliberately sarcastic in his remarks. All the time he kept his voice sharp and loud, cutting off their laughter.
(iii) What had happened to Mr Hackman?
Answer : Mr Hackman was the former teacher who was replaced by Mr Braithwaite, the narrator. Mrs Clintridge pointed out that he tried to be popular with the students. He, thus, made a mistake by giving the students too much rope and they used it to hang him.
(iv) About which ‘fight’ did the narrator talk about?
Answer : The narrator talked about the ‘fight’ between him and the students. The students continuously tried to challenge his authority. They merely wanted to maintain a kind of established convention of resistance to a new teacher, watching closely for any sign of weakness or indecision.
(v) How did the narrator retaliate to the behaviour of the students?
Answer : The narrator spoke to the students in a sarcastic tone keeping his voice sharp and loud, cutting off their laughter. He ridiculed them. He said that it was both interesting and encouraging to discover that they have a sense of humour, about something as simple as weights.
He also mocked at their inability to read simple passages in their own language. He said that many folk would have been disturbed and distressed at their lack of knowledge, but in their case they found such a lack amusing.