Short Questions (30-40 Words)
Question 1 : How does Mr Lamb react when Derry enters his garden?
Answer : Mr Lamb tries to remove Derr’s fears when he enters Mr Lamb’s garden. In fact, he welcomes Derry into the garden. He tells Derry that his house is open to all.
Question 2 : What kind of garden does Mr Lamb have? Why does he like it?
Answer : Mr Lamb’s garden has flowers, fruit trees as well as a place for rearing bees. He likes the garden because it keeps him busy by looking after the plants, braking the crab apples from the trees and making jam out of them.
Question 3 : How did Derry’s handicap damage his life?
Answer : Derry was afraid of meeting people and lived a lonely life due to his handicap. He even hated himself and thought negatively about himself.
Question 4 : Why does Derry stay away from people?
Answer : Derry stayed away from people because they were scared of him. This was due to the fact that one side of Derry’s face was burnt due to acid falling on it.
Question 5 : Why did Derry insist that he would go back to Mr Lamb?
Answer : Derry insisted that he would go back to Mr Lamb as he wanted to help Mr Lamb in getting the crab apples down from the tree.
Question 6 : Why did Mr Lamb help Derry?
Answer : Mr Lamb and Derry were both victims of physical impairment. Mr Lamb helped Derry because he wanted him to change his perspective towards life and enjoy every moment of it.
Question 7 : In what sense is the friendship between Mr Lamb and Derry fruitful?
Answer : The friendship that flourished between Mr Lamb and Derry was ineed fruitful. Mr Lamb’s unending enthusiasm and zeal to live life despite all odds helped Derry change his outlook towards life.
Question 8 : If you were given a different ending to the story,’On the face of it’ how would you end it?
Answer : The ending of the story, ‘On the Face of It’ is very sad as Mr Lamb is probably dead. In my opinion Derry should have saved Mr Lamb from falling by holding the ladder at the last moment.
Question 9 : As told by Mr Lamb, why did a man lock himself up in his room and what happened to him?
Answer : As per Mr Lamb, a man locked himself up in his room as he was scared of everything. He got killed after a few days when a picture fell off the wall and hit his head.
Question 10 : How does Mr Lamb keep himself busy when it is a bit cool?
Answer : Mr Lamb was a person who could survive and enjoy all circumstances and seasons. When it got cooler, Mr Lamb kept himself busy by breaking the crab apples from the trees in his garden and making jelly from them.
Question 11 : What peculiar things does Derry notice about the old man, Lamb?
Answer : Derry noticed that Mr Lamb kept his gate open and did not have curtains in his home as they shut things out. He also said that he had a lot of friends but when Derry asked about their names he could not answer.
Question 12 : Who was Derry? What did he suffer from?
Answer : Derry was a fourteen year old boy. One side of his face was burnt up due to acid falling on it. Hence, he suffered from a lot of complexes, hated himself and did not like to be around people as they were scared of him.
Question 13 : Why does Mr Lamb leave his gate always open?
Answer : Mr Lamb always left his gate open because he did not mind strangers entering his house or garden. As he lived alone, he hoped someone would come inside whom he could talk to if kept his gate open.
Question 14 : What is the bond that unites the two – Mr Lamb, the old and Derry, the small boy? How does the old man inspire the little boy?
Answer : It is physical disability in different forms that creates a bond which unites the old man and Derry. The old man inspires Derry by asking him to ignore what people say about him and urging him to think positively.
Question 15 : What qualities of Mr Lamb attracted Derry to him?
Answer : Mr Lamb was a person full of life. Sadness or negativity found no place in his world. His undying optimism and ever friendly attitude drew Derry towards him.
Question 16 : What did Derry’s mother think of Mr Lamb?
Answer : When Derry informed his mother of Mr Lamb and that he wanted to go to his place, she did not like it. She thought that he was not a good man as she had heard bad things about him.
Question 17 : How does Mr Lamb try to remove the baseless fears of Derry?
Answer : Mr Lamb tries to remove the baseless fears of Derry by telling him that nothing in this world is worthless. He advises Derry to ignore people’s comments and hear only those things that are worth hearing.
Long Questions (120 – 150 Words)
Question 1 : Both Derry and Lamb are victims of physical impairment, but much painful for them is the feeling of loneliness. Comment.
Answer : Mr Lamb and Derry both were victims of physical impairment. Mr Lamb had an artificial leg made of tin and Derek had a scarred face. Undoubtedly, both had suffered humiliations in life on account of their handicaps.
However, loneliness and a sense of alienation was also experienced by Derry and Mr Lamb on account of disability. The actual pain and inconvenience caused by the disabilities is often much less than the sense of alienation felt by the disabled person. Derry suffered from severe negative complexes because of his burnt face. He became a pessimistic loner as people got scared of him and stayed away from him. So, he indulged in self pity and was always suspicious of the intention of others. His anger and frustration made him withdrawn.
Mr Lamb, on the other hand, was a loner who craved for company and acceptance. Though outwardly he was an always jovial, outgoing and optimistic, he was an extremely sensitive person. Derry and Mr Lamb’s physical disabilities caused pain and suffering not only to their body but also to their minds and soul.
Question 2 : Derry sneaked into Mr Lamb’s garden and it became a turning point in his life. Comment.
Answer : Derry, a complex-stricken lad of fourteen, is a victim of inferiority complex which is borne out of misinterpretation of himself and the world. He suffers from an acute sense of self-hatred and rejection due to his burnt face and this leads him to total alienation. Mr Lamb too has a disability , a tin leg, but he never allows his handicap to interfere with the peace and pleasures of his life.
Mr Lamb’s meeting with Derry brings a turning point in the latter’s life. He gives Derry confidence and persuades him to develop a positive attitude towards life. His message to Derry is very clear that alienation and withdrawal is not the solution . Derry believes in running away from people but Mr Lamb lives among people. Derry’s brief association with Mr Lamb proves to be quite rewarding. Mr Lamb teaches him a new perspective of looking at life, people and things.
Derry decides never to get back to his old habit of seclusion. His burnt face will no longer interfere with his self-respect, poise and confidence. He will gradually learn to find his place in the mainstream of life. Mr Lamb helps Derry rediscover himself and gives a new meaning to his life. Now Derry wants to leave his handicap behind, forge ahead in life and live life of the fullest.
Question 3 : What change took place in Derry when he met Mr Lamb?
Answer : Mr Lamb’s meeting with Derry, a complex-stricken lad with a burnt face, becomes a turning point in Derry’s life. Mr Lamb teaches Derry to look positively at the world and love and admire everything he sees and hears. He encourages Derry to make friends with people and not to be bothered by their comments. He reminds Derry that he can live a normal life as he has two legs, two eyes, two ears and a brain like everyone else.
Mr Lamb warns Derry against hating people. He says that one who hates others gets burned himself in the fire of hatred. Derry notices that despite his handicap, Mr Lamb, lives a normal independent life. His life and attitude attract Derry and he now becomes determined to live and face the world boldly. He becomes more confident of himself and gets rid of his habit of ‘self-pity’.
Question 4 : Derry said, ‘It (acid) ate me up’. How did this fact affect his attitude towards life?
Answer : Derry’s attitude towards life becomes totally bitter after the acid burns one side of his face. He suffers from a sense of alienation, low self-esteem and self-rejection. Derry’s suffering is further aggravated by the feeling that he is unwanted and no one loves him. His behaviour also results from people’s indifference, lack of concern and compassion for physically impaired people. He feels their words of sympathy lack of genuineness and so he gets very hurt when they unwillingly remind him of his impairment. Derry always remains very conscious of his handicap. He says that no one will ever love him because he will continue to look ugly. He does not like Mr Lamb’s sermonising as he feels that it or anything else cannot change the ugliness of his face. Thus Derry feels a terrible sense of frustration and loneliness due to his severely burnt face.
Question 5 : What is the bond that unites the two – the old Mr Lamb and Derry, the small boy?How does the old man inspire the boy?
Answer : The bond that unites Mr Lamb and Derry is the loneliness and alienation they experience on account of their physical disabilities .Mr Lamb lost a leg in the war and has a tin leg while Derry has an acid burn on one cheek which given him an ugly appearance. The actual pain and inconvenience caused by a disability is often much less than the sense of estrangement felt by a disabled person. But, unlike Derry, Mr Lamb always maintains a positive attitude towards life and is a downright extrovert.
Mr Lamb inspires Derry by tellling him not to focus on the shortcomings of life and his handicap and instead try to enjoy the blessings of life. He tells him to be thankful to God for giving him two arms, two legs, two eyes and ears, a tongue and a brain and advises him to be friendly with everyone around him. Mr Lamb’s words of wisdom inspire Derry and towards the end of the story we see him adapting the attitude and path that have been shown by him. Derry’s long conversation with Mr Lamb helps him overcome his inferiority complex and low self-esteem.
Question 6 : Derry and Mr Lamb both are victims of physical impairment but their attitudes towards life are completely different. Explain.
Answer : Derry, a fourteen year old boy, did not expect anything out of life. A pessimist, he had lost all self-regard and led an isolated existence. He felt unwanted because he had a scarred face.
Mr Lamb, on the other hand, was full of life. Although he lived alone and had a tin leg, he kept himself busy by tending to his garden , his bees and making toffee and jelly. He welcomed everybody to his house and garden. He enjoyed sitting in the sun, reading books and gardening. Although kids mocked him by calling him ‘Lamey Lamb,’ he did not bother about it. He was an apostle of optimism, enthusiasm and hope.
Thus we see that there is a striking contrast between Mr Lamb and Derry.
Question 7 : Do you think Derry’s chance meeting with Mr Lamb would prove meaningful to him? Answer giving valid reasons.
Answer : When Derry met Mr Lamb, he was a fourteen year old boy who had lost all zest of life. He had lost all self-regard and suffered from a terrible inferiority complex due to his scarred face. He hated meeting people and reamined withdrawn.
After meeting Mr Lamb, Derry was filled with enthusiasm for life. Mr Lamb’s words had a profound effect on him and he changed drastically. He was not overtly conscious of his ugly face any longer. We could get a reflection of Derry’s transformation in Scene two, when he reached his house after a brief encounter with Mr Lamb.
He told his mother, “You shouldn’t believe all you hear.” He categorically told her that he wanted to go back to Mr Lamb to listen to bees signing and him talking.
In the end, he rushed to meet his mentor to keep his promise to the old man. Looking at these developments, one is bound to conclude that Derry hopefully would not become secluded once again. He would certainly be confident and happy in the future.
Value Based Questions
Question 1 : Both Derry and Lamb are physically impaired and lonely. It is the responsibility of the society to understand and support people with infirmities so that they do not suffer from a sense of alienation. As a responsible citizen, write in about 100 words what would you do to bring about a change in the lives of such people.
Answer : As a responsible citizen it is my responsibility towards society to understand and support people with infirmities. I will always try to be supportive and considerate towards them. I will treat them as equals and encourage them to take part in all activities. It will be my endeavour to ensure that they do not suffer from a sense of alienation and I will also advocate inclusive education for them. Campaigning for their social acceptance, I will raise hope and encouragement for their empowerment.
Question 2 : The actual or inconvenience caused by a physical impairment is often much less than the sense of alienation felt by the person with disabilities. What is the kind of behaviour that the person expects from others?
Answer : A person with any physical impairment can live life with respect and honour, if he is not ridiculed and punished with heartless pity. He expects empathy rather than sympathy.
If everyone looks down on him with a condescending approach, he may never be able to come out of his sorrow, and consequently ,will go back into his own secluded world. He is already undergoing tremendous mental and emotional pressure. So, he expects others to be understanding, rather than remind him of his disability.
In the play, both Derry and Mr Lamb are in a similar situation. Mr Lamb, as an adult, is able to cope with such problems, but Derry, being a child, is not able to untangle this web alone.
He develops a strong liking for this old man because he spoke the words, a person with such a problem would want to hear.