Short Questions (2 Marks)
Question 1 : Who is the ‘Accidental Tourist’? Why is he called so?
Answer : The author, Bill Bryson, is the accidental tourist. He is called so because he is prone to committing accidents while travelling. He would do everything wrong whenever he would be travelling anywhere.
Question 2 : Where did the author go last on a big trip with his family? What did he search for in his bag at that time?
Answer : The author’s last big trip with his family was to London. He searched for his British Airways frequent flyer card in his bag at that time. He wanted to avail the facility but he couldn’t for he couldn’t open his bag.
Question 3 : Describe the author’s plight in cinema halls and hotels.
Answer : The author had difficulty in searching for washrooms in cinema halls. He ended up at the wrong place while searching for it. In hotels, the author would forget his room number and ask his room number at the hotel desks two or three times in a day. This was his plight at the cinema or hotels.
Question 4 : Describe the lady’s reaction on whom the author dropped the soft drink twice.
Answer : The lady on whom the author dropped the soft drink twice reacted by looking at the author with a shocked expression. Then, she uttered swear words which he had never heard in public before.
Question 5 : What precautions were taken by the author to avoid mischief when travelling alone?
Answer : The author did not eat, drink, lean over to tie his shoelaces or put a pen near his mouth when travelling alone to avoid mischief. He sat very quietly and at times on his hands so that they do not fly unexpectedly and create mischief.
Question 6 : Can you call the author ‘suave’? Why or why not?
Answer : We cannot call the author ‘suave’. A person is suave if he behaves in a relaxed , confident and pleasant way in social situations. However, the author keeps on committing accidents whenever he is travelling . Therefore, he can’t be called ‘suave’.
Question 7 : How do you know that the author’s family is aware of his situation?
Answer : We know that the author’s family is aware of his situation as his wife asks her children to take care of him whenever they are travelling together. The children used to take the lid off good for their father during the journey.
Question 8 : Why was the author unable to get the air miles?
Answer : The author was unable to get the air miles as his ticket was in the name of B Bryson and the card was in the name of W Bryson. Although the author tried to explain that Bill and William are the same person (the author), but the clerk did not agree to it.
Long Questions (8 Marks)
Question 1 : Describe the author’s encounter with a nun on a flight.
Answer : The author was really an accidental tourist. Even if he didn’t want to commit any error, he would fall prey to it. He would try to be suave, act suave and look suave but unfortunately all his efforts were next to nothing. He would commit a serious blunder and would become the sight of laughter. Once the author was travelling by air. A sweet little nun was sitting beside him. He accidentally dropped is soft drink on her lap. The flight attendant was called to clean her up and a replacement drink was provided to the author. Somehow, the author dropped the replacement drink on the nun again. The nun looked at him with a shocked expression on her face. The author was expecting with such an expression from her as he had drenched her twice. After that, she uttered a few curses that the author had not ever heard in public, certainly not by a nun.
Question 2 : What do you think the author suffered from? Justify your answer. How can he act normally?
Answer : By reading the incidents in the story, I can say that the author suffered from social anxiety. He always victimised himself whenever he was among the social gathering. He wanted to behave socially but the unfortunate ways lead to his frustration only. All the time, he was a man who would be laughed at. His efforts were to remain sober but he had never been able to stay so. This can be proved as the incidents, where he committed blunders, happened when either he was in the company of others or was travelling. For example, he would forget the number of the room where he is staying at a hotel or drop a soft drink on someone when he is travelling in an aeroplane. The author can avoid such social faux paus by staying calm. He should consider others as human beings like him and should not be afraid of or anxious in their company. He also needs to be careful while eating or drinking in public.