Short Questions (30-40 Words)
Question 1 : At the dining table why did Zitkala-Sa begin to cry when others started eating?
Answer : Zitkala-Sa was disturbed due to the constant noises and murmuring of people. She was also sad for having lost her freedom and moreover she was being watched by a pale-faced lady when she was at the dining table. Due to all these things she started crying.
Question 2 : According to Zitkala-Sa what does ‘eating by formula’ mean?
Answer : According to Zitkala-Sa, ‘eating by formula’ meant following an eating-decorum in the dining room. At the sound of the first bell the pupils drew a chair from under the table. All were seated when the second bell was sounded and when the third bell was tapped everyone started eating with forks and knives.
Question 3 : How did Zitkala-Sa’s first day in the land of apples begin?
Answer : The first day in the land of apples was a bitter-cold one. Secondly, the atmosphere of the school was dictatorial and regimental, which was detested by Zitkala-Sa.
Question 4 : Why did Bama reach home after school?
Answer : On her way back from school, Bama got attracted by the little trivialities on the street. The buzzing market, the snake charmers, the lemurs in cages etc, all caught her attention. Thus, it took Bama thirty minutes to return home from school.
Question 5 : Why was Zitkala-Sa in tears on the first day in the land of apples?
Answer : Zitkala-Sa was in tears on the first day in the land of apples because she did not like the regiment like treatment in her school and was forced to part with her heavy, long hair. She also missed her mother badly.
Question 6 : What comic incident did Bama narrate to her brother? Why was he not amused?
Answer : Bama narrated the incident of seeing an elder of her street walking towards a landlord, carrying a food packed by its strings without touching it to her brother. Bama’s brother was not amused as he knew that the elder’s behaviour was due to him being an untouchable.
Question 7 : Which words of her brother made a deep impression on Bama?
Answer : Bama’s brother told her that as they were untouchable, the only way they can earn respect was by making progress by studying hard. These words made a deep impression on her.
Question 8 : What is common between Zitkala-Sa and Bama?
Answer : Both Zitkala-Sa and Bama had experienced discrimination in their childhood. While Zitkala-Sa had been a victim of oppression at the hands of the whites in her boarding school, Bama felt and experienced untouchability early in life for being born in an untouchable family.
Question 9 : Why did Zitkal-Sa resist the shingling of her hair?
Answer : Zitkala-Sa did not wish to get her hair cut because her mother’s words were deeply embedded in her mind. Her mother had told her that only the hair of prisoners of was shingled by capturers and short hair was worn by mourners.
Question 10 : What sort of shows or entertainment attracted Bama?
Answer : The snake charmer, the performing monkey, the pedalling cyclist, street plays, puppet shows and stunt performances were a few interesting things that were watched by Bama in the bazaar as she got attracted by them.
Question 11 : What were the articles in the stalls and shops that fascinated Bama on her way back from school?
Answer : On her way back from school, Bama witnessed a variety of interesting things which fascinated her such as the dried fish stall, the sweet stall and the stall selling fried snacks. The other things that fascinated her were needles, clay beads and instruments for cleaning out the ears.
Question 12 : How could Bama rise above the indignities?
Answer : Bama could rise above the indignities by studying hard and learning as much as she can. This way she would make new friends and earn the respect of the people of upper class in her classroom.
Question 13 : How long would it take Bama to walk home from her school?
Answer : It would take around 30 minutes to an hour for Bama to walk home from her school as on the way to home from her school Bama would spend time watching the various shows going on the streets, the shops and the various items kept there for sale.
Question 14 : What did Zitkala-Sa feel when her long hair was cut?
Answer : When her long hair was cut , Zitkala-Sa felt anguished and pained and felt like an animal driven by a herder. She thought that she was a wooden puppet who had been tossed about in the air. She also cried and missed her mother very much and felt like an animal driven by a herder.
Question 15 : What was the advice that Annan give to Bama? Did she follow it?
Answer : Annan told Bama that as they were untouchables, the only way for them to earn respect was by studying hard. Yes, Bama paid heed to his advice by studying hard and standing first in her class.
Question 16 : “I felt like sinking to the floor,” says Zitkala-Sa. When did she feel so and why?
Answer : When Zitkala-Sa’s shawl was removed from her shoulders, she felt very embarrassed due to her clinging dress. That was when she felt like sinking to the floor.
Question 17 : What did Judewin tell Zitkala-Sa? How did she react to it?
Answer : Judewin told Zitkala-Sa that the hostel authorities were going to cut the long hair of girls. She also told her that they would have to submit, for they could not fight the strong authorities. However, Zitkala-Sa disagreed and decided to put up a fight and resist it.
Question 18 : Why did the landlord’s man ask Bama’s brother in which street he lived? What was the significance?
Answer : The landlord’s man asked Bama’s brother in which street he lived so that they could know about his caste. The significance was that people belonging to different castes lived in different streets.
Question 19 : Why was Zitkala-Sa terrified when Judewin told her that her hair would be cut short?
Answer : Zitkala-Sa is an American Indian. In her culture, short hair is worn by mourners and shingled hair by cowards. So, she got terrified when Judewin told her that her hair would be cut short.
Question 20 : When did Bama first come to know of the social discrimination faced by the people of her community?
Answer : Bama first came to know about the social discrimination faced by the people of her community when she was a student of class three and saw, on her way back from school, an elderly man carrying a small packet containing some eatables by a string without touching it.
Question 21 : How did Zitkala-Sa try to prevent the shingling of her hair?
Answer : To escape the hair-cut, Zitkala-Sa crept upstairs unnoticed. She entered a large room and crawled under the bed in the dark. She stayed there for some time but was eventually caught.
Question 22 : Describe the experience Bama had on her way back home which made her feel sad.
Answer : Bama got sad when one day on her way back home, she was an elder of her street carrying a small packet of eatables by holding a string.
She did not understand as how come a packet that has been wrapped twice become polluted if someone put his hand on it.
Long Questions (120 – 150 Words)
Question 1 : What were Zitkala-Sa’s experiences on her first day in the land of apples?
Answer : The first day in the land of apples was bitterly cold and as the bell rang for breakfast, there was an annoying clatter of shoes which Zitkala-Sa no peace. Though her spirit tore itself in struggling for its freedom, it was of no use. She was placed in a line with the Indian girls and marched into the dining room. All the girls were rather immodestly dressed in tightly fitting clothes. As Zitkala-Sa sat down she observed that she was being keenly watched by a strange pace faced woman. Later her friend Judewin gave her a terrible warning that this pale faced woman was talking about cutting their long, heavy hair. Zitkala-Sa crept into a room and crawled under a bed and huddled herself in the dark corner so that she could avoid her hair being cut. But women and girls entered the room and dragged her out. She resisted by kicking and scratching wildly. Inspite of her resistance she was carried downstairs, tied fast in a chair and her long hair was shingled.
Question 2 : How did the scene she saw in the market place change Bama’s life?
Answer : Bama usually reached home late from school as she walked alone leisurely watching and enjoying the sights in the bazaar. One day on her way back, she saw the harvest being threshed. The landlord stood watching the work being done. It was then that Bama saw one of the elders coming down the street holding a packet by a string. The packet contained vadais for the landlord. At first Bama thought that the elder man was being funny. But later her brother told her that the elder man was of low caste so he was not allowed to touch the vadais brought for the landlord. This scene infuriated Bama and brought about a change in her life wherein she decided to study well, make a position for herself and rebel against caste inequalities.
Question 3 : What activities did Bama witness on her way back from school?
Answer : Bama’s home was a ten-minutes walking distance from her school but it usually took her from half an hour to an hour to reach home. On her way back, many activities and sights caught her attention. Bama got attracted to many novelties and oddities on the street like the performing monkey, the snake charmer’s snake, the wild lemur in a cage, the pedalling cyclist, the Maariyaata temple and its huge bell, etc. She also noticed the pongal offerings being cooked in front of the temple. There was a dried fish stall near the statue of Gandhiji and a sweet stall and a stall selling fried snacks.
Puppet shows, street plays, public meetings of political parties were other entertaining activities. She would see the waiters pouring coffee and vendors chopping onions. She also admired the various seasonal fruits that flooded the market.
Question 4 : Describe how Zitkala-Sa tried in vain to save her hair from being cut. Why did she want to save her hair?
Answer : Zitkala-Sa’s friend Judewin warned her that her hair was going to be cut. Judewin knew a few English words and had overheard the pale face woman talking about cutting the native India girl’s long hair. This news shocked Zitkala. Her friend told her to accept her fate but she was not ready to submit and decided to fight against this oppression. She disappeared unnoticed and went into a room where she crawled and hid under a bed, cuddling herself in a dark corner. But she was caught and dragged out. She then resisted by kicking and scratching wildly as she was carried down and tied fast to a chair. As they gnawed at her long hair, she kept shaking her head. No one came to her aid. Zitkala was desperate to save her hair because among her people short hair was kept by mourners and shingled hair was a sign of cowardice. So she did not want her long hair to be cut.
Question 5 : What are the similarities in the lives of Bama and Zitkala-Sa though they belong to different cultures?
Answer : Bama and Zitkala-Sa belonged to different cultures. But both had experienced oppression and discrimination in their childhood.
Bama was born in a lower class family and was upset to see the humiliations suffered by the members of her community.
They were considered untouchables, were made to live apart, run errands and bow humbly to people of the upper castes.
On the other hand, Zitkala-Sa was a victim of severe prejudice that prevailed against the native Americans. In the boarding school, her blanket was forcibly taken off her shoulders. At the same time, the forced cutting of her long hair only made her feel like a defeated warrior, for in her culture, short hair was only worn by mourners.
Thus, both Bama and Zatkala-Sa have suffered as young marginalised communities.
Question 6 : What oppression and discrimination did Zitkala-Sa and Bama experience during their childhood? How did they respond to their respective situations?
Answer : Zitkala-Sa was a native American who was forcibly sent to a Christian school . She resisted the strict regimentation in the school. She hated cutting of her hair because in her culture short hair was worn by mourners. When her friend Judewin told her that they would have to give in, she disagreed and decided to fight against it.
Bama, on the other hand, belonged to a marginalised, untouchable community. She was upset to know the discriminatory treatment given to the members of her community. She was infuriated at this inhuman practice of casteism. In order to gain respect from the upper caste people she studied hard and stood first in her class. Due to this many students from the upper class became her friends.
Value Based Questions
Question 1 : In India, the so-called lower castes have been treated cruelly for a long time. Who advised Bama to fight against this prejudice, when and how?
Answer : Bama’s brother Annan told her about this class discrimination when she narrated him an incident in which a man was carrying a small packet by holding it by a string. He went to the landlord, bowed low and extended the packet towards him. Bama found this situation funny but her brother told her that there was nothing funny when the man carried packet by the string for his landlord. The upper class people believed that the low caste people should not touch them even though they were supposed to do whatever they (the upper caste people) wanted them to do for them.
Annan advised Bama to study with care and learn all that she could. She should stay ahead of others in her lessons so that they would come to her by themselves. Then only could they throw away all those indignities.
Question 2 : Untouchability is not only a crime, it is inhuman too. Why and how did Bama decide to fight against it?
Answer : Untouchability is not only a crime, it is inhuman too. This fact was brought in front of Bama by her brother Annan when she narrated the incident of a man bringing vadas for his landlord by holding the vada packet by a string.
Bama belonged to a community which is considered untouchable and low caste. High caste people regarded them as very low people whose touch will pollute them. Annan told her that the only way to get back honour and dignity was to study hard and progress; then only could they throw off all the indignities.
Bama decided to fight against such inhuman treatment. She studied hard and established her own identity. She could also make many friends because of her education. Thus she was able to regain her dignity and honour.
Question 3 : The two accounts that you read in the story are based in two distant cultures. What is the commonality of theme found in both of them?
Answer : Oppression and exploitation of the indigenous people, the women and the weak is the harsh reality of all countries and civilisations throughout the world. In a similar vein, the struggle of these marginalised people is something we call can indentify with. This is the thread of commonality running between the accounts of Zitkala-Sa and Bama.
The only difference between them is the time gap and their vastly different cultures. Zitkala-Sa is a native American who belongs to the late 19th century, whereas Bama is a prominent Dalit belonging to the contemporary era. Zitkala-Sa belong to a marginalised community which was exploited to the hilt. Her identity was questioned throughout and finally taken away from her. Bama on the other hand, is a victim of untouchability, casteism and strong discrimination.
Question 4 : It may take a long time for oppression to be resisted, but the seeds of rebellion are sowed very early in life. Do you agree that injustice in any form cannot escape being noticed even by children?
Answer : Zitkala-Sa and Bama, both were school-going children when they witnessed rough treatment being given to them or their community.
Both episodes prove that injustice in any form does not escape notice even by children. Zitkala-Sa revotls and resists against the school authorities with all her might because she does not want her hair to be cut short like that of a mourner. Bama too realises the oppression that her community faces. She puts up a fight by bringing laurels to her community through her school achievements. Thus, she proves that she is superior to the so called upper caste. So, it is rightly proved that children know of injustice and react to them in their own unique ways.