Question 1 : How did the Governor, Oxford Prison describe Evans to the Secretary, Examination Board?
Answer : The Governor described Evans as a pleasant sort of person who was good at imitating people to the Secretary , Examination Board. He also mentioned that he was a congenital kleptomaniac and had no record of violence.
Question 2 : What was the German teacher’s opinion of Evan’s proficiency in German?
Answer : Evans’ German teacher had a very low opinion of his proficiency in German. He thought that Evans had a very little chance of clearing the O-level Exam.
Question 3 : What could the Governor have done to securely bring Evans back to the prison from the ‘Golden Lion’?
Answer : The Governor should have travelled himself in the van with Evans and in case he was unable to do so, he should have checked the credentials of the guards escorting Evans to securely bring Evans back to the prison from the ‘Golden Lion’.
Question 4 : What important call did the Governor receive when the examination was going on?
Answer : The important call that the Governor received when the examination was going on was from the magistrate court. He was asked to provide a prison van a couple of prison officers for a remand case.
Question 5 : What precautions were taken for the smooth conduct of Evans’ O-level examination?
Answer : Thorougly checking Evans’ prison cell a night before the exam, removing of all sharp objects from his cell, frisking of the invigilator and checking his suitcase were the precautions taken for the smooth conduct of Evans’ O-level examination.
Question 6 : What kind of person was Evans? Why did he want to sit for the O-level German examination?
Answer : Evans seemed to be quiet a pleasant and astute person. He was a kleptomaniac and had managed to escape the prison thrice. His desire to sit for the O-level German examination was only a plot to foci the authorities and escape the prison.
Question 7 : How do we know that Evans had no chance of getting through the O-level German examination ? Why did he take the test?
Answer : We know that Evans had no chance of getting through the O-level German examination as his instructor had commented that he hardly had any chance of getting through the exam.
Question 8 : On the day of the examination, with what excuse did Evans keep Stephens out of his cell? What was the actual reason?
Answer : Evans gave the excuse of being unable to concentrate on is exam if Stephens was sitting behind him.
The actual reason was to get Stephens out of the cell so that he could make arrangements for his escape.
Question 9 : What are the contents of the small suitcase that McLeery carried?
Answer : The suitcase that McLeery carried had a sealed question paper envelope, a yellow invigilation form, a special authentication card from the Examination Board, a paper knife, a Bible, the current copy of Church Times and a small semi-inflated rubber ring.
Question 10 : What did the Detective Superintendent inform the Governor about Evans?
Answer : The Detective Superintendent informed the Governor that McLeery had spotted Evans in a car and had taken down the car’s number. They tried to chase the car but lost it after sometime.
Question 11 : How did the Government find out where Evans was?
Answer : The Governor thought about the six digit reference number and after putting the two numbers, the index and the centre number together and with the help of the ‘Ordinance Survey Map for Oxfordshire’ he reached the hotel to find Evans.
Question 12 : Who was Carter? What did the Governor ask him to do?
Answer : Carter was the Detective Superintendent. The Governor had asked him to take Evans, who was disguised as injured McLeery, along considering that he knew where Evans could be.
Question 13 : How did the Governor react to the two phone calls he received in quick succession?
Answer : The Governor had a sharp presence of mind and wanted to give Evans no chance to escape. So, he verified the first phone call he received. However, he did not do so with the second call as he thought he was being paranoid.
Question 14 : How did the question paper and the correction slip help the prisoner and the Governor?
Answer : The purpose of the cleverly superimposed photocopied sheet on the question paper and the correction slip was to finalise the details of Evans’ plan of escape. It also helped the Governor to locate the place where Evans was hiding.
Question 15 : Why did Evans not take off his hat when Jackson ordered him to do so?
Answer : Evans knew that the duplicate McLeery, who was to invigilate during the O-level German examination, had short hair. So he cropped his hair to pass off as McLeery later and wore a hat on exam day. Hence, he did not take off his hat when Jackson told him to do so.
Question 16 : How does McLeery explain the presence of a small semi-inflated rubber ring? What did it actually contain?
Answer : McLeery tells Jackson that he is suffering from haemorrhoids (piles) and the ring helps him when he has to sit for a long time. In reality, the ring contained pig blood, which Evans would splatter on his head and escape from the hospital as McLeery who had been injured.
Question 17 : What clues did the answer sheet of Evans provide to the Governor?
Answer : The index number 313 and the centre number 271 on the answer sheet proved to be the clues for he Governor. Putting the two together and with the help of the Ordinance Survey Map for Oxfordshire, he managed to catch Evans in the hotel.
Question 18 : How did Evans outwit the Governor in the end?
Answer : Evans outwitted the Governor in the end by escaping again. This was due to the fact that he knew the prison officer who handcuffed him and the driver who was driving the van.
Question 19 : Who do you think has outwitted the other-Evans or the Governor? How ?
Answer : Evans had outwitted the Governor in the end. This was because he was able to escape again after being caught by the Governor at the hotel.
Question 1 : Describe the precautions taken by the prison officers to prevent Evans from escaping.
Answer : As Evans had tried to escape before, the prison authorities had taken all possible precautions for the smooth conduct of the examination.
Evans’ cell was thoroughly checked a night before and all sharp-edged objects like razor, nail-file , scissors, etc. were taken away from him. The suitcase of the invigilator, McLeery, was carefully checked before he entered the cell. Also, the Governor had himself decided to supervise the examination by listening in through the microphone connected to Evans’ cell. Prison officer Stephens was deployed to observe Evans from the peep-hole every minute or so. Another prison officer Mr Jackson was in constant contact with the Governor on the phone. Both the gates of the wings of Evans’ cell were locked tightly.
Thus the authorities left no stone unturned in ensuring the smooth and safe conduct of the examination.
Question 2 : How did the negligence of the prison officers prove to be a boon for Evans?
Answer : The prison authorities had taken multi-step detailed precautions for the safe conduct of the examination. However, some lapses on their part at critical moments proved to be a boon for Evans.
First of all, one tried to verify the identity of the invigilator McLeery and that turned out to be a key mistake in this case. Similarly, the identities of the van driver and the officer who handcuffed Evans were not verified. All of them later turned out to be Evans’ accomplices.
The Detective Superintendent also acted hastily and did not drive the injured McLeery to the hospital.
This gave Evans the chance to escape. Finally, the Governor, who had a sharp presence of mind and hawk-eyed vigil, made the greatest blunder. When he nabbed Evans at the hotel, he did not bring him to the jail with him and sent him with a driver and a prison officer. Thus, Evans escaped yet again.
Question 3 : Give a character sketch of the Governor of Oxford Prison based on your understanding of the story, ‘Evans Ties an O-level’.
Answer : The Governor of the HM Prison, Oxford, appears to be a kind-hearted fellow at the start as he arranges for an O-level exam for a prisoner renowned for his ability to escape. He was, though, quite skeptical of Evans and made every arrangement to make sure that Evans had no means to escape.
He was also very proud and self-conscious. He did not want Evans to disgrace him by escaping from his prison. He had a sharp presence of mind, which was clear from the fact that he cross checked every call that was made to the prison that day.
However, he got over-confident of his arrangements and gave Evans the opportunity to escape.
Also, he was a person who did not mind showering praise on a prisoner. When Evans revealed his secret plan to him, he admired him. At last, he proved to be just another gullible Governor when Evans tricked him again and successfully escaped. His overconfidence and self-praise let him down.
Question 4 : How was the injured McLeery able to befool the prison officers?
Answer : Evans acted really well as the ‘injured’ McLeery. The fake blood that was supplied to him by his invigilator friend was pouring down from his head. With a ‘feeble’ hand, he got his handkerchief and held it to his bleeding head. In fact in that process, he was able to hide his face from the eyes of the prison officer. He was in so much pain that he could hardly utter a coherent word! In this way, he concealed his voice and was able to dodge the officers.
The moment he heard the suggestion of bringing in an ambulance, he interrupted and asked them to call the police; he offered them his help in tracing Evans whom the authorities thought had escaped. This was a part of his plan in which all the officers got trapped.
Evans acting as the injured McLeery fooled all the officers and hence he got successful in making them believe that the injured invigilator was really trying to help them. Thus, by his superb acting of an injured person, he was completely successful in befooling and confusing the prison officers.
Question 5 : What purpose did the question paper and the correction slip serve? How did they help both the criminals and the Governor?
Answer : The purpose of the photocopied sheet that was superimposed on the question paper and the correction slip was to supply the details of the plan of escape to Evans without uttering a single word. It was a well-thought out meticulous plan. It was also meant to make the authorities believe that the wounded man was McLeery himself. And at that moment, it worked as was thought and the authorities got trapped.
However, there is a wise saying ‘iron cuts iron’. Just like that, if that superimposed question paper and correction slip helped Evans, then the same also helped the Governor in locating the place where Evans was hiding.
The six digit number of the correction slip i.e., the index number and the centre number 313/271, helped the Governor . He put these numbers together and with the help of the Ordinance Survey Map of Oxfordshire reached the hotel where Evans had decided to hide for the day.
Question 6 : In spite of the precautions taken by the Governor, Evans was able to escape. How do you think he was able to do it?
Answer : Evans, the habitual jail-breaker outwits everyone and inspite of all the precautions taken by the Governor he is able to escape from prison. From the very beginning when the German teacher enters the prison to the last encounter between the Governor and Evans in the hotel, the latter outsmarts them at each stage and proves that they are no match for his crafty scheming. Evans carries out all his plans ‘right under their noses’, turning tables on them, making the prison authorities appear as ‘good for nothing’ officers.
For example, he knew that Mr Jackson who used a rough tone had some compassion for him. He granted Evans’ request to keep the filthy looked red and white bobble hat on his head during the examination. The hat was actually to hide his recently cropped hair. Also he knew that prison officers will blindly go by assumption. He pretended to pose as ‘injured’ McLeery in the cell. No one checked the identity of ‘injured’ McLeery as it was assumed that Evans had hit McLeery and escaped.
In fact, Evans is actually, officially escorted out of jail by the prison officials themselves. Finally at the hotel, when the Governor feels that he has been able to nab Evans, he dodges him and slips away.
Value Based Question
Question 1 : When Stephen comes back to the cell he jumps to a conclusion and the whole machinery blindly goes by his assumption without even checking the identity of the injured ‘McLeery’. Does this show how hasty conjectures can prevent one from seeing the obvious? How is the criminal able to predict such negligence?
Answer : Evans has assessed the weaknesses of the jail officers successfully. When he saw the injured McLeery in the cell he was so overwhelmed that he did not even check who he really was and neither did anyone else. It did not occur to anyone to question how there could be two persons – one in the cell and the other who had been escorted out by Stephens.
It was for this reason that friends of Evans, who posing as Governor on the phone, had directed Stephens that he himself should escort the person out when the exam finished. The Governor and his officers, in effect actually led Evans out of the prison. The question paper is left behind to further mislead the Governor. This shows that Evans planned his strategy after thoroughly understanding the behaviour of the prison officers.
Question 2 : While we condemn the crime, we are sympathetic to the criminal. Is this the reason why prison staff often develop a soft corner for those in custody?
Answer : ‘Crime’ and ‘criminals’ are usually considered synonymous. However, our perception changes when we see a criminal suffering or serving his punishment. This happened with the prison staff also. Noticing a criminal suffering in the prison, they developed a soft corner for him. They looked at him as a human being and not as a mere criminal. They started noticing and appreciating his mental capabilities rather than remembering his crime.
In the story, Jackson lets Evans keep his hat on after being informed about it being lucky for Evans. Evans knew of the emotional side of Jackson and so hit it directly through his talk about ‘lucky charm’, and managed to fool the stern and practical officer. Even the Governor could not help noticing his intelligence when caught him in the hotel. Thus, he was not cruel or stern with Evans, and regrettably, took him leniently.