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For 2024 Board Exam
CBSE Competency Based Questions:
Class 10
Class 12

English Important Board Questions 2023

Updated: Feb 26

Important Lessons for Board Examination 2023 . Click the Lesson below to directly read the Lesson.


The Trees

Q1.What are the three things that cannot happen in a treeless forest?

Ans: The three things that connot hapen in a treeless forest are

(a) birds canot sit on trees

(b) insects cannot hide and

(c) the sun cannot bury its feet in shoadow.

Q2. What are the cramped boughs compared to and why?

Am. The cramped boughs are compared to patients who have been newly discharged

from the hospital. The patients had been confined to their beds in the hospital and their limbs are cramped.

Similarly, the boughs too were restricted by the roof of the house from growing and spreading out, and so are cramped.

Q3. What do the whispers in the poet's head mean?

Am The 'whispers in the poet's head mean intimations of change. The author had known that change was coming, that people would let go of all things that restricted them and confined them to an unnatural state. They would sooner or later seek their freedom.

Q4. The glass is breaking- what does this symbolize?

Ans: The glass symbolizes barriers that confine us. They are often invisible, and so we do not even realize what we are trapped under. But now such barriers are breaking, and people, women especially, are stepping out and seeking their true potential.

Long Questions

Q1. In what way does the poem The Trees remind us of evils like deforestation and excessive urbanisation and of the conflict between man and nature?


Adrienne Rich, in her poem 'The Trees', creates a vivid impage of an empty forest where, without trees, birds cannot perch, squirrels cannot hide and the sun cannot 'bury its feed in shadow', for there is nothing to cast a shadow.

All the trees are confined to a house or a greenhouse, where they are grown away from their natural surroundings. The trees long to break free and move out into the forest, where they belong.

The poem can be understood as a grim reminder of evils such as deforestation and urbanisation. Human beings, with their insatiable greed for more land, cut down acres upon acres of forests to build cities.

Plants are given a small space in human habitats where they are no longer in a symbiotic relationship with nature. Animals, insects and other creatures that rely on plants and trees lose their habitat, which further interferes with the ecosystem and the food chain. 'The Trees', therefore, displays the conflict between man and nature.

Q2. Adrienne Rich is known to use trees as a metaphor for human beings. Discuss the poem "The Trees' in light of this statement.

In the poem "The Trees, the poet uses trees as a metaphor for human beings, and being a feminist writer, women in particular. She describes a strange scenario where trees are uprooting themselves from the floor of the house, leaves are straining towards the glass windows and branches are shuffling under the roof to move out into the forest. The occurrence is not literal. It is symbolic of human beings breaking free of their confines to reach out to a state of existence that is natural and unenforced. The house symbolizes the fetters that bind us, while the forest is the unencumbered boundless space. The exodus of trees from the house to the forest signifies human beings, and women especially, breaking free of age-old shackles and seeking a union with absolute nature.

Q3. What common element do the poems 'A Tiger in the Zoo' and 'The Trees' share? Explain.

The common element in 'A Tiger in the Zoo' and 'The Trees' is the encaging of nature. In the former, we see the contrast between who is pacing with frustration inside his cage in a zoo, and who ought to be in the jungle, hunting for his prey, terrorising human beings and sleeping under the stars.

He is, however, in captivity; he a spectacle for visitors and his strength is waning due to confinement and lack of activity apart from pacing the length of his cage. The trees in the latter poem by Adrienne Rich also go through a similar ordeal for their twigs turn stiff after exerting themselves against the glass of the greenhouse.

The branches are cramped and have no freedom, no space to spread out in all their glory in their natural surroundings. The trees, like the tiger, ought to be in the forest. Human beings are the common enemy here, who carry on with their hubris that they can contain nature, without considering the catastrophic consequences of their actions.


( Hubris: (in literature) the fact of somebody being too proud. A character with this pride usually dies because he/she ignores warnings.

(साहित्‍य में) पात्र की हेकड़ी, अक्‍खड़पन, हेकड़ीबाज़ या अक्‍खड़ पात्र जो चेतावनियों की उपेक्षा करने के कारण प्रायः मारा जाता है)


Q1. What does the poet compare the fog with and why?

The poet says that the fog comes only for a while and then it goes away. By comparing the fog with the cat, the poet says that like a cat, the fog sits on its haunches or hips for a while and looks over the city and its harbour.

Cats cannot sit and relax in one place as they always stay alert and are ready to punce on a prey squuatting on their haunches. Similarly, the fog does not settle down anywhere and only hovers over the city before moving on.

Q2. Why does the poet introduce the image of a harbour in the poem?

Ans: The image of a 'harbour' suggests a departure. The image of the fog looking ove the harbour draws a panoramic image of a city covered in fog. The fog gazes over the harbour in anticipation of the departure as the day brightens.

Q3. Which literary device is used in the line ' The fog comes on little cat feet'.

Ans: The literary device used here is metaphor. The fog here is compared to a cat. A cat always walks silently. Similarly, the fog creeps over the city slowly and silently. The poet uses the cat as a metaphor to describe the fog.

Q4. Why does the poet say that the fog sits on silent haunches looking over harbour and city?

Ans: Just a s a cat sits on its haunches and silently observes its surroundings, the fog lingers in the air silently and does not announce its presence loudly and then gradually disappears. The poet has personified the fog in this poem.

Long Question:

Q1. How does the poet use imagery in the poem 'Fog'?

Ans: In the poem the poet Carl Sandburg uses imagery to draw an analogy between fog and a cat. He compares fog to a cat by saying that it arrives as silently as s cat on its 'litlle cat feet', thus personifying it.

He introdues the image of a cat sitting on its haunches while overlooking a harbour and the city to give the reader an idea of how the fog silently fills the air and exists over the landscape of the city. It moves on as noiselessly as it arrives, just like a cat goes away on its own after sitting silently and observing its surroundings.

The Book That Saved the Earth

Q1. Why were books important for the people of the twentieth century?

Ans. The twentieth was also called the Era of the Book. In that century, there were books about everything, from anteaters to Zulus. Books taught people the how, when, where, and why of things. They illustrated information, educated the people, and even decorated their houses. But the most significant thing a book ever did was to save the Earth from the Martian invasion of 2040.

Q2. How does Think-Tank regard himself? What does it tell you about him?

Ans. Think-Tank regards himself as the most fantastically intellectually gifted being in the universe. He admires himself in the mirror and thinks himself, with his big head like a balloon, to be very handsome. Think-Tank is a narcissist. He thinks highly of himself and belittles others. Even when he is corrected by Noodle, he appropriates the information and relays it as if it were his own.

Q3. What is Think-Tank's opinion about Earth and the Earthlings?

Ans. Think-Tank's opinion of Earth and Earthlings is derogatory. He calls Earth 'a ridiculous little planet' and 'primitive ball of mud, and Earthlings, with their tiny heads, quite ugly.

Q4. Why do you think Think-Tank mistakes the books for sandwiches?

Ans. Think-Tank mistakes the books for sandwiches for just as sandwiches have two slices of bread and some filling in between, so do books have two covers and pages in between them.

Q5. What is the 'code' in the 'communication sandwiches? What does Think-Tank ask the space people to do to be able to decipher the 'code'?

Ans. The code in the 'communication sandwiches refers to the printed text in the books. To decipher the code, Think-Tank asks the space people to take the vitamins that the Martian chemical department had given them to increase their intelligence.

Q6. What guesses are made by Think-Tank about the books found on earth?

Ans. Think-Tank first guesses that the books are sandwiches. Then he thinks that they are communication sandwiches, to be listened to. When Noodle suggests that the Earthlings did not listen to the sandwiches; they opened them and watched them, Think-Tank says they are eye communication sandwiches. He says that the letters are codes, and demands them to be decoded. He misinterprets the nursery rhymes, thinking that Earthlings were more intelligent than Maritans and calls back the imminent invasion of Earth.

Long Questions:

Q1. A misunderstanding of cultural differences can cause confusion and conflict. Based on your reading of the play, how can such conflicts be avoided to maintain peace and harmony?

Ans: The play analyses how misunderstanding of cultural differences between different races or groups can cause confusion and conflict. In the play, language becomes a code to be deciphered, but the deciphering happens with - and within - the limited scope of one group's vocabulary.

For example, for Think-Tank, everything is about asserting his power and superiority, which he is able to do only by attacking and invading. Thus, his vocabulary and understanding of life is restricted to violence and militaristic manoeuvres. He therefore panics at what he believes is Earth's ability to destroy him and Mars.

However, as we see in the end, achieving peace and amity is not impossible. It requires patience, an open mind and a willingness. to learn which, in the case of this play, result in libraries on Mars.

The play teaches us that by consistently trying to educate ourselves about other cultures - without prejudice or preconceived notions, without imposing a meaning on something based on our own limited perspective - we can overcome confusion and conflict, and eliminate misunderstanding to achieve peace and harmony.

Q2. In Martian history, which ruler would be remembered as great-Think-Tank or Noodle? Give reasons.

Ans. In Martian history. Noodle would without a doubt be remembered as a great ruler. While Think-Tank is 'great and mighty, Noodle is 'wise and wonderful. This sums up the kind of rule that the two gave to the people of Mars.

Think-Tank is power hungry. He demands total submission from his people, and wants to expand his control in the universe by bringing other plants under his rule. He has a high opinion of himself - he brooks no contradiction for he can make no mistake.

Noodle, on the other hand, is wise and pragmatic. He does not follow a policy of conquest as he is not hungry for power and control. Rather, he focuses on collaboration. Under his rule, Earth resumes contact with Mars, and the two planets have friendly relations.

Mars benefits from this - Martians now know the difference between sandwiches and books. They also know how to read and have a library of their own in their capital city of Marsopolis.

Q3. How did Think-Tank decide to confirm his theory that the books were sandwiches? How did his team react?

Think-Tank declared that the books were sandwiches because Earthlings were always eating sandwiches. The front and back covers of the books seemed like slices of bread to him, while the pages looked like some sort of filling. To confirm his theory, he ordered Captain Omega to eat it.

Afraid of what an unknown object on an unknown planet would taste like, the team followed the orders unwillingly. Omega said that Lieutenant Iota had not had her breakfast and should therefore be the one to eat it.

Iota deflected the command by saying that she could not be so impolite as to eat before her Sergeant. Oop, the lowest in the chain of command, thus reluctantly had to obey the orders and take a bite of the book.

Q4. Compare and contrast the characters of Noodle and Think-Tank.

The characters of Think-Tank and his apprentice Noodle are polar opposites. Think-Tank is a power-hungry leader obsessed with titles and honours. He expects his subordinates to be servile and does not like to be contradicted or doubted. We see this when he forces Noodle to go over his salutation again after Noodle misses a part.

For Think- Tank, no work is urgent enough until the formalities of bowing and salutations are properly completed. He is also an inefficient and unimaginative leader who cannot come up with one original thought or idea. Noodle, on the other hand, is intelligent and sensible.

Although afraid of Think-Tank', he courageously expresses his thoughts about what the books and the library on Earth might be. His ideas are stolen by Think-Tank, who exposes his ungratefulness by not giving Noodle due credit.

Think-Tank is also a coward as he, despite being the leader, flees to Alpha Centauri instead of facing Earthlings because of which the wise and wonderful Noodle replaces him as the ruler of Mars and her two moons.

Q5. Based on what you have read in the story "The Book that Saved the Earth', write a note on Mars and the Martian people.

Ans. Mars is the neighbouring planet of Earth. However, there is a lot of difference between the two planets. Mars has advanced greatly, but perhaps not in the way an Earthling would understand. The Martians have achieved a lot in science and technology. They travel through space, explore other planets and want to conquer them. They are militarily strong, and are ruled by a despotic king.

The ruler, regarded as the most intellectually gifted person in the universe, expects complete allegiance from all Martians. The Martians have balloon heads which they consider a mark of intellect the bigger the head, the more intelligent the person is. But they also appear to be automatons. They do as they are directed with little ability to think and judge for themselves. They take vitamins to increase their intelligence. Only Noodle appears to be an exception.

A Question of Trust

Q1. What are the subtle ways in which the lady manages to deceive Horace Danby into thinking she is the lady of the house? Why doesn't Horace suspect that something is wrong?


  • The lady pretends that she has come down from the upper storey of the house, and says that she could hear Horace's sneezing from there.

  • She walks to the fireplace and straightens the ornaments there.

  • She speaks to Sherry, the dog. in a familiar manner.

  • She says that she has returned just in time, but had not expected to encounter a burglar in her house.

  • She picks up a silver box from the table and takes a cigarette from it.

  • She says that she has forgotten the number code of the safe, implying that she knew it but has been careless.

  • These are the subtle ways which the lady manages to deceive Horace Danby into thinking she is the lady of the house.

Q2. "Horace Danby was good and respectable - but not completely honest". Why do you think this description is apt for Horace? Why can't he be categorised as a typical thief?

Ans. This description is apt for Horace because despite being a good locksmith and earning enough to keep two assistants, he has a secret. He is a thief who steals from rich households in order to buy rare and expensive books. He cannot be categorised as a typical thief because he has a successful business and lives comfortably. He steals to indulge in an expensive fetish. He has been to jail only once and robs safes only once a year. He does not do it regularly as a common thief would do.

Q3. Horace Danby was a meticulous planner but still he faltered. Where did he go wrong and why?

Ans. Despite the fact that Horace Danby was a meticulous planner, he faltered because he was duped by the lady in the red dress who was an expert thief herself. He had planned to enter the house when it would be empty, so he was not very careful when he sneezed inside the house. He had not counted on any one being present there. When the lady in the red dress pretended to be the lady of the house, he assumed that she was speaking the truth. He believed her completely. so much so that he begged her to let him go because he thought she would call the police. His naiveté made him falter.

Q4. Why did Horace Danby think that people who own valuable things are foolish?

Ans: The owners of the house at Shotover Grange had been rather careless to let an article come out in a magazine that described their house in detail. The article gave a plan of all the rooms of the house and showed a picture of the drawing room. The article even mentioned that the painting on the wall of the drawing room hid a safe.

Q5. Why did the police arrest Horace? Why was this unusual?

The police arrested Horace for the robbery at Shotover Grange. This was unusual because it was uncharacteristic of Horace to be careless; even more so was the fact that he had been allegedly asked by the mistress of the house to break open the safe in question. When Horace tried to tell this to the police they did not believe him because the real mistress of the house was not the one he had 'helped'.

Q6. Why do you think Horace did not realise that he was being deceived?

Horace successfully robbed safes for years to facilitate the expansion of his book collection. However, he was deceived at Shotover Grange by a mysterious woman. It may be that Horace fell victim to overconfidence, distraction due to hay fever, as well as being intimidated by the woman's confident behaviour.

Long Questions:

Q1. What do you understand by 'honour among thieves'? Can there really be honour among thieves? Comment in the light of the story.

The expression 'honour among thieves' refers to the concept that thieves do not encroach upon or compromise one another's activities by respecting professional boundaries. It also refers to the general belief that criminal individuals have a moral code of their own.

It is amusing to consider that according to the expression essentially dishonourable people themselves have a code of honour. It is also difficult to concede that while they are willing to steal and harm others, they will not do so with their own kind. This double standard, along with the fact that they choose to participate in illegal activities, makes it difficult to think of thieves as honourable people.

The story itself proves the opposite of the idea of 'honour among thieves'. Not only did the mysterious lady take away what Horace had come to steal, she ensured that she got him in trouble for it too, proving that it is irrational to expect honourable behaviour from dishonest people.

Q2. How did the mysterious lady outwit Horace Danby?

The lady in red used her presence of mind and observation of human nature to outwit Horace. She took advantage of his hay fever attack and took him by surprise. Her confident manner and subtle behaviour -petting the family dog and referring to it by name, adjusting the ornaments over the fireplace and taking a cigarette out of a silver case -convinced Horace that she was the lady of the house. Her amused behaviour gave Horace hope and made him eager to impress her. He removed his gloves as a gesture of respect. She utilised Horace's fear of imprisonment and cooked up a story to convince him to open the safe for her. The fingerprints left behind due to his carelessness caused him to be implicated for the robbery despite not possessing the jewels. Instead, the woman got the jewels and escaped unscathed without doing any work.

Q3. Appearances can be deceptive. Discuss this statement with reference to the characters of Horace Danby and the lady.

Ans. Appearances can be deceptive, and this saying is amply proved by both Horace Danby and the lady. Horace is regarded as a good and respectable citizen, for that is what he appears to be. He is fifty years old, a bachelor, and has a respectable business that allows him to live in comfort. But what people do not know is that he has a dangerous addiction - collecting rare, expensive books - for which he breaks the law and robs houses.

The lady is a young and pretty woman. She has the grace and carriage of a lady, and Horace has no difficulty in believing that she is the mistress of the house. But she is not she is a thief just like him, and has come to Shotover Grange with the same intentions. She acts like the lady of the house, arranging ornaments on the fireplace, petting the dog and taking a cigarette from the cigarette box - all actions meant to show familiarity with the house. But by the end of the story we know her to be a trespasser and thief.

Q4. Horace Danby was punished for a crime he did not commit. Do you feel sorry for him? Why? Why not?

Ans. Horace Danby is punished for a crime he did not commit, but there were several other similar crimes committed by him for which he should have been punished, but he was not. So far, Horace had been caught only once. He has robbed several homes if one is to go by one robbery a year.

After all, Horace is fifty years old. and must have started young. So, though he is arrested for a crime he did not do, we do not feel sorry for him. Had the young lady not outsmarted him, Horace would have robbed the safe at Shotover Grange and made off with the jewellery quite easily.

In any case, the theft would have been accomplished, and Horace would have regarded it as another feather in his cap, either for his success at breaking the safe and stealing, or for the success at having escaped even after being caught red-handed.

How to Tell wild Anilmals

Q1. What is the difference between an Asian lion and a Bengal tiger?

The Asian lion is a large animal with a yellowish-brown hide. It roar after killing its prey. The Bengal tiger on the other hand has yellow fur with black stripes. It preys on human beings.

Q2.. How do we differentiate between a leopard and a tiger?

A tiger has yellow fur with black stripes whereas a leopard is covered with spots. The tiger will eat us while the leopard will leap on us and attack again and again.

Q3. Expain the use of humour in the poem.

Ans. The poem 'How to Tell Wild Animals' is a humorous poem because it suggests funny ways to identify animals. In fact, they are funnily dangerous ways. For example, a way to tell an Asian lion is to see if it roars while you are dying, or to notice if a yellow animal with black stripes eats you to know that it is a Bengal tiger.

The humour in the poem also draws from its language which has been used creatively for comic effect. For example, when talking about the leopard, the author misspells 'leapt' as 'lept' and 'leap' as 'lep'. She does this to create a rhyme with the first part of the word 'leopard' which is pronounced as 'le-pard'.

The poet also draws on familiar expressions in English such as 'bear hug, 'crocodile tears' and 'laugh like a hyena' to suggest ways to identify the animals. When she talks of the 'true chameleon, she probably draws on the idioms 'changing colour like a chameleon' and 'showing one's true colours.

Q4. Compare the tigers in 'A Tiger in the Zoo' and 'How to Tell Wild Animals".

In 'A Tiger in the Zoo' the tiger is trapped, unable to fulfil its natural role in the wild. It is living a constrained life in the grim confines of a zoo. Leslie Norris contrasts the man-made surroundings with the idyllic one, of the jungles. The poem highlights the reduced circumstances of animals in zoos and emphasises their need to be conserved in natural territories.

'How to Tell Wild Animals', on the other hand, depicts the tiger as the 'noble, wild beast'. It shows the animals in their natural habitats. They are wild and free as they should be. Carolyn Wells celebrates the untamed and unconstrained quality of the animals as suggested by the use of the word 'wild' in the title.

While 'A Tiger in the Zoo' poem depicts the artifical habitat of the teiger, the second poem depicts the tigers in their natural habitat.

Q4. What is the central idea of the poem?

The central idea the poem is to introduce wild animals in a humorous way through their basic characteristics. Although the traits of animals like hyenas, crocodiles and chameleons can be compared to human behaviour, the poem as such does not have any intended message.

The poet uses popular ideas about wild animals in describing their natural behaviour. By presenting unrealistic scenarios of danger with identifying features of the animals, she adds humour to the poem. It also portrays the humorous use of language through wordplay, poetic devices and misplacement of words.

The Tale of Custard the Dragon

Q1. Why did Custard cry for a nice safe cage? Why is the dragon called “cowardly dragon”?

Ans: Custard felt secured inside a protected cage as he was timid in nature.

Dragon is timid in nature. He felt scared every time and wanted to cage himself to feel secured all the time. Therefore, he is referred to as ''cowardly dragon''.

Q2. Writers use words to give us a picture or image without actually saying what they mean. Can you trace some images used in the poem?

Ans: The following are the instances of images used in the poem:

  • the dragon's mouth like a fireplace.

  • the dragon's nose like a chimney

  • Belinda being as brave as a barrel full of bears.

  • Custard going at the pirate like a robin at a worm.

  • Custard lashing his tail like chains in a dungeon.

Q3. Why do you think Custard's attack on the pirate is significant?

Ans: Throughout the poem Custard was mocked by everyone for being cowardly. However, when the need arose, he alone jumped up to help Belinda without any thought for his own safety. Thus he proved that he was not a coward at all.

Q4. Don't judge a book by its cover. Explain this proverb in the context of 'The Tale of Cuistard the Dragon.

Ans: Those who make tall claims do not perform when needed, whereas supposedly meek people show their true mettle in times of crisis. Belinda's pets are a perfect example of this. Mustard the dog believed he was as brave as a tiger in a rage. Tigers are ferocious enough and when they are in a rage, all steer clear of them. Ink and Blink claimed to be so fierce that they could chase lions down the stairs. Even Belinda herself was believed to be as brave as a barrel full of bears. Only Custard said that he yearned for a nice safe cage, away from all scary objects. However, when the pirate attacked, Belinda paled and shouted for help. All her 'brave' pets fled in terror while the cowardly Custard charged at the pirate and gobbled him up. Hence, they proved that none of them was true to their portrayal.

Q5. Courage and confidence have nothing to do with appearance. Compare and contrast Valli and Custard to evaluate this statement.

It is believed that bigger creatures are more courageous and confident than smaller ones. People relate courage with size and strength. However, Valli and Custard prove that these qualities have nothing to do with age or appearance.

Custard is a fire-breathing dragon with sharp teeth, spikes and scales, daggers on toes and a powerful tail. Yet he is perceived to be scared of everything and wants the safety of a cage. When the situation demanded the Custard fought tooth and nail ( मुकाबला करना) with the dragon and killed him. His brave encounter with the custard proved that a book should not be judged by its cover.

On the other hand, eight-year-old Valli fulfils her desire to go on a bus ride all by herself by showing courage and confidence beyond her years. She meticulously plans her journey, resolutely saves money for the bus fare and embarks on a journey which could have been frightening for a child of her age. She overcomes her fear with confidence and fulfils her wish to go to the nearby town in a bus.

Thus in both the characters Custard and Valli proved that courage and commitment have nothing to do with appearance.

The Proposal

Q1. Why did Lomov choose to marry Natalya Stepanovna?

Natalya Stepanovna was Lomov's neighbour & Chubukov's daughter. She was twenty-five years old. Lomov felt that Stepanovna was an excellent housekeeper, not bad-looking, and well-educated. He also probably thought that marriage would help him to expand their mutual busines prospects.

Q2. What does 'Oxen Meadows' refer to? Why did Lomov and Natalya quarrel over it?

'Oxen Meadows' refers to a piece of land that was situated between Chubukov's birchwoods and the Burnt Marsh. Lomov claimed that it belonged to him and was only leased to the Chubukovs many years ago.

Natalya insisted that Lomov was lying and that the Meadows belonged to her and her father. This led to a quarrel between the two.

Q3. Good neighbours don't behave like that, Stepan Stepanovitch! You're not a neighbour, you're a grabber! Why did Lomov say this?

When Lomov and Natalya argued about who owned Oxen Meadows, Chubukov sided with his daughter. In spite of Lomov's requests and a statement that he had the documents to prove his ownership, Chubukov did not change his mind. He insisted on being spoken to respectfully on account of his old age. Thus, Lomov called him a landgrabber in agitation.

Q4. In what way did Lomov and the Chubukovs insult each other?

Lomov and the Chubukovs insulted each other at the slightest provocation. Natalya called Lomov a rascal and a monster. Chubukov called him a villain, a scarecrow, a wizen-faced frump, a blind hen, stuffed sausage, a malicious, double-faced intriguer, a pettifogger, pup and fool. Lomov called Chubukov an old-rat and a Jesuit.

Q5. Was Natalya eager for Lomov to propose? Explain with reasons.


Why did Natalya change her attitude after learning about Lomov’s proposal?

As a twenty-five year old woman in nineteenth century Russia, Natalya was aware that she was already too old to get married. She was apprehensive ( चिंतित, आशंकित) that she might not find another suitor. She went into a frenzy (उन्‍माद, पागलपन) when she found out that Lomov had intended to propose her. She asked her father to call him and changed her attitude towards Lomov.

Long Questions:

1. Lomov and Natalya’s marriage would be a marriage of convenience. Do you agree? Explain.

Ans: Lomov requested Chubukov for his Natalya’s hand in marriage. He consiered his age as a reason to get married. He saide that he was already thirty-five and it might be too late for him if he did not marry Natalya. He had a heart condition and irregular sleeping patterns, and he believed that only marriage could help regulate his life.

Lomov's reason to marry Natalya was that he considered her to be an excellent house-keeper, She was also well-educated and not bad-looking. On hearing his intention to marry Natalya, Chubukov told him that she would certainly accept because she was in love with him.

Her interactions with Lomov, however, contradicted this. She argued with him about a piece of land, but when she found out that he had come to propose, she quickly changed her opinion and agreed that the land was his. She was twenty-five, and her fear of remaining unmarried seemed to be at the core of her acceptance. Therefore, it seemed like their marriage is a marriage of convenience.

Q2. Do you think all of us should know how to manage our anger? What happens when emotions are governed by materialsitic ambition? Answer with reference to the story.

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Q3. What, according to you, is the turning point when Natalya accepts Lomov’s claims of owning the Oxen meadows?

  • When Chubukov informs Natalya that Lomov has come to propose to her, she lapses into hysterics & sends her father to fetch him back.

  • Lomov comes in complaining about his heart & other ailments. Natalya wastes no time in apologising.

  • She agrees with Lomov that the Meadows are his, and tries to get him around to propose to her.

  • But again they fight over the superiority of their respective dogs. Lomov’s nerves fail & he collapses. Thankfully, however, it is only a faint & Lomov soon recovers.

  • Natalya tells him that the Oxen Meadows are really his because she wants him to propose to her.

  • Marriage with Lomov was a far more attractive proposition than the ownership of the Meadows. Thus Chuvukov’s information to Natalya about Lomov’s visit as well as Lomov’s sudden faint , in my opinion, is the turning point when Natalya accepts Lomov’s claim of owning Oxen Meadows.

Q3. The pride in property, even the superiority of dogs, take priority over love and marriage. The characters lack patience, stop listening to each other, and then contradict each other. Do you think these quarrels will promise a happy life? What qualities would you consider for a well-matched couple? Justify your answer with reference to Lomov, Natalya & Chubukov.

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Nelson Mandela

Q1. At the beginning of his speech, Mandela mentions ‘ an extraordinary human disaster’. What is an extraordinary human disaster ? What is ‘glorious human achievement’ he speaks of at the end?

Ans: By ‘an extraordinary human disaster’ Mandela means the exploitation of the Black people by the Whites for decades together leading to untold suffering and multitude of deaths.

‘Glorious human achievement’ refers to the abolishment of the evil practice of apartheid and the birth of democracy where there will be no discrimination of any sort henceforth.

Q2. What does Mandela thank the international leaders for?

Mandela thanks the international leaders for their indispensable presence in his investiture ceremony as the first Black President of South Africa.

He thanked all distinguished international guests for having come to take possession with the people of their country of what is, after all, a common victory for justice, for peace, forhuman dignity.

Q3. What "twin obligations" does Mandela mention?

Ans: "Twin obligations" refers to obligations to one’s family, to his parents, to his wife and children as well as his obligation to his people, his community and his country.

Q4. How does Mandela contrast these “transitory freedoms” with “the basic and honourable freedoms”?

Ans: "Transitory freedoms" refers to the freedom that we enjoy during our childhood. This is very much transitory in nature as when we grow up, such types of freedom take a back seat. But when we grow up, "the basic and honourable freedom" is what we crave for because it is a kind of freedom that is required for every one of us as adults in a civil society.

Q5. What does Mandela mean by “depths of oppression” create “heights of character”?

Ans: The statement “depths of oppression” create “heights of character” means that the more hardships you face in life, the more mental endurance you develop. Mandela illustrates the concept very aptly when he said that the decades of oppression and brutality inflicted on the Blacks had produced the likes of Oliver Tambos, the Walter Sisulus, the Chief Luthulis, the Yusuf Dadoos, the Bram Fischers, the Robert Sobukwes of our time.

Q6. How did Mandela’s understanding of freedom change with age and experience?

Ans: Mandela’s understanding of freedom change with age and experience. Mandela realized that the chains on anyone of his people were the chains on all of them. Similarly, the chains on all of his people were the chains on him. According to him, one is not truly free if he is taking away someone else’s freedom, just as he is not free when his freedom is taken away from him. Therefore, both the oppressor and the oppressed need to be liberated to ensure freedom in the right sense.

Q7. How did Mandela’s ‘hunger for freedom’ change his life?

Ans: As a young man Mandela saw that it was not just his freedom that was curtailed, but the freedom of everyone in his Black community. Therefore, he joined the African National Congress, and then the hunger for his own freedom became the greater hunger for the freedom of his people. It was this desire for the freedom of his people to live their lives with dignity and self respect that animated his life and he began to work tirelessly for the emancipation of his community from the tyranny of the Whites.

The Making of a Scientist

Q1.“Without the support and motivation of his mother, Richard Ebright would not have been a successful scientist.” Do you agree? Elaborate.

Ans : It is true that without the support and motivation of his mother, Richard Ebright would not have been a successful scientist. It was his mother who recognised his driving curiosity and bright mind. She always encouraged his interest in learning. She organised trips for him , bought him telescopes, microscopes, cameras, mounting materials and other equipments to help hie learn.

Q2. Why did Richard Ebright give up tagging of butterflies?

Ans : Ebright lost interest in tagging butterflies because it was tedious and there was not much feedback. He could capture only two butterflies.

Q3. How did Richard Ebright excite the world of science at the age of twenty-two?

Ans : At the age of twenty-two, Richard Ebright excited the scientific world with a new theory on how cells work. Richard Ebright and his roommate explained the theory in an article published in the ‘Proceedings of the National Academy of Science’.

Q4. When and how did Ebright get the idea of his new theory about cell life?

Ans : During the junior year, Ebright got the idea for his new theory about cell life. He was looking at X-ray photos of the chemical structure of a hormone. Seeing the photos, he believed that the photos gave him the answer to the puzzle—how the cells can read the blueprint of its DNA.

The Sermon At Benares

Q1. According to Gautama Buddha, how can a person get a peace of mind?

Ans: A person can get peace of mind only if he draws out the arrows of lamentation, complaint and grief. Grieving and lamentation only increases the pain of loss. Those who overcome all sorrows become free from sorrows, and be blessed.

Q2. When did Kisa Gotami understand the significance of Buddha's teaching?

Ans: Buddha changed her understanding when he told her to collect mustard seeds from only those families that had never experienced a loss of a dear one. She then realized that she had been selfish in her grief. She came to know that death is common to all; yet in this valley of desolation there is a path that leads him to immortality who has surrendered all selfishness. Thus she understood the significance of the Buddha's teaching.

Q3. What did Kisa Gotami realize as she saw the city lights flicker up and die?

Ans: Kisa gotami saw the lights of the city flicker up and were extinguished and the darkness of the night prevailed everywhere. She then realized that the fate of humans is similar to the lights- we are born only to die. Death is common to all and she had been selfish not to realize it in her grief.

Q4. How did Buddha explain the mortality of man in his preaching? How does a human obtain peace of mind.


  • Death and suffering according to Buddha are inescapable in life. As one is born, so one must suffer in his lifetime and die.

  • The life of mortals in this world is troubled and brief and combined with pain. A human being who is born can by no means avoid death.

  • As ripe fruits are early in danger of falling, so mortals when born are always in danger of death.

  • As all earthen vessels made by the potter end in being broken, so is the life of mortals.

  • Both young and adult, both those who are fools and those who are wise, all fall into the power of death; all are subject to death.

How to obtain peace of mind?

  • A person can get peace of mind only if he draws out the arrows of lamentation, complaint and grief.

  • Grieving and lamentation only increases the pain of loss. The only way out of human suffering therefore is to stop complaining and grieving.

  • Those who overcome all sorrows become free from sorrows, and be blessed.

Q5. The sight of a sick man, an aged man, a funeral procession and a monk made Siddhartha leave his home and go out in search of enlightenment. What lesson about life do you learn from this episode?

ANS: Siddhartha lived a life full of luxuries till the age of twenty-five. Once when he went outside to hunt, he saw a sick man, an aged man, a funeral procession and finally, a monk begging for alms. The sight moved Siddhartha so much that he left the home and went in search of enlightenment. The incident revealed a great truth — life is short. Beauty, riches, comforts all are transitory and vanish one day.

If we all understand this fact and work towards making our life valuable for others, there would be no fight, grudges and pain. When somebody does something wrong, he/she forgets that one day we are going to be punished for our wrong deeds. In our trouble, we should have faith in God to struggle in life and wait for good times to come.

Q6.What is the truth of life, according to Buddha? How should a wise man behave in times of trouble or misfortune?

Ans: According to Buddha, all men are mortal. One who is born, is sure to die. All things in nature die and are reborn—be it animals, plants or objects. Some people start behaving like a madman whenever a problem arises in their life. They lose their sense of reasoning and become depressed. But this is not a solution to come out of your grief. A sensible person understands the realities of life and remains balanced in all the situations. The lesson here is that whenever we come across a problem, we should try to find out its solution. Instead of blaming our fate or others, we must think deep for the reason of that problem. By being calm, resolute and contented, most of the problems can be solved.

Mijbil the Otter

Q1. Mijbil is an active animal who shows many emotions. Explain with instances from the text.

  • Mijbil is shown having human qualities throughout the story.

  • Mijbil’s intelligence is clear from his attempts to turn on and off the tap in the bathtub.

  • It can even dribble the ball and juggle the objects without even dropping them.

  • He understands the narrator’s love for him and follows him everywhere.

  • Mijbil spent most of his time in playing with a rubber ball with its feet. He dribbled and threw it. He was a fun-loving animal. He played with a plastic ball too. He had invented his own game.

  • Mijbil, the otter, was a fun-loving intelligent animal. He loved water. On the first day, he went wild with joy in the water. Next day, Mijbil escaped from the bedroom and entered the bathroom. He struggled with the tap till it had a full flow of water.

Q2. How can you say that Mijbil loved to be in water which was its natural habitat? Explain with reference to the story.

  • The following instances prove that Mijbil loved to be in water.

  • The narrator made a body-belt for him and took him on a lead to the bathroom, where for half an hour he went wild with joy in the water, plunging and rolling in it, shooting up and down the length of the bathtub underwater, and making enough slosh and splash.

  • Next day, Mijbil escaped from the bedroom and entered the bathroom. He struggled with the tap till it had a full flow of water. In less than a minute after he entered the bathroom, he had turned the tap far enough to produce a trickle of water. Soon Mijbil would turn on the water taps himself to fill the bathtub and had a rollicking time in the bathroom.

  • The narrator provides freedom to the otter to do what he likes the most—playing and rolling about in water in the bathtub like a playful and naughty child. Mijbil was allowed to spend most of his time in play without caring for the room being dirty.

  • Thus we can see that Mijbil loved being flanked by water all around. He loved to play with water whenever the opportunity presented itself.

Q3. From your reading of the story 'Mijbil-the Otter' describe how the writer portrays the otter and its relationship with humans.


  • The narrator has revealed some interesting facts regarding his pet, Mijbil the otter. The main purpose behind this is to arouse feelings of empathy and concern for pets as well as wild animals.

  • The narrator Maxwell and Mijbil share a unique relationship. Narrator’s considerate behaviour helped him in winning the trust of the otter, an otherwise wild animal.

  • He provides freedom to the otter to do what he likes the most—playing and rolling about in water in the bathtub like a playful and naughty child.

  • Mijbil was allowed to spend most of his time in play without caring for the room being dirty. It shows the narrator’s concern and empathy for the creature.

  • He has compassion and empathy for him. He takes every care for his safety. He understands his needs and fulfils them.

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