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

On the Face of It | Board Exam 2023

Updated: Jul 28, 2023

Lesson Architecture


  • This play depicts beautifully yet grimly the sad world of the physically impaired.

  • Two physically impaired persons Mr. Lamb with a tin leg and Derry with a burnt face, strike bond of friendship.

  • Mr. Lamb revives the almost dead feelings of Derry towards life.

  • He seems to have lost the will to live due to the strange behaviour of the people towards his burned face.

  • It is ironical that when he searches a new foothold to live happily, he finds Mr. Lamb dead.

  • In this way the play depicts the heart-rending life of the physically disabled people with their loneliness, aloofness and alienation.

  • But at the same time it is almost a true account of the people who don't let a person live happily if he lives and a person die if he dies willingly. A sense of desolation and disillusionment pervades the play and impinges on the readers' minds.

Extract Questions:

MR LAMB: Look, boy, look.... what do you see?

DERRY: Just....grass and stuff. Weeds.

MR LAMB: Some call them weeds. If you like, then.... a weed garden, that. There’s fruit and there are flowers, and trees and herbs. All sorts. But over there.... weeds. I grow weeds there. Why is one green, growing plant called a weed and another ‘flower’? Where’s the difference. It’s all life.... growing. Same as you and me.

DERRY: We’re not the same. MR LAMB: I’m old. You’re young. You’ve got a burned face, I’ve got a tin leg. Not important. You’re standing there.... I’m sitting here. Where’s the difference?

(i) Like the play, the given extract is a study in contrasts. What does Mr. Lamb seek to do by bringing up distinctions?

a) To explain that weeds are important and should be valued and cared for as much as flowers.

b) To emphasize that distinctions are made by man to serve specific purposes and uses.

c) To highlight that labels are arbitrary and essentially reflect a common life experience.

d) To remind Derry that the only difference that matters is that of attitude and experience.

Ans: c) To highlight that labels are arbitrary and essentially reflect a common life experience.

(ii) How would you describe Derry’s tone when he says – “We’re not the same”?

a) angry

b) perplexed

c) gloomy

d) practical

Ans: c) gloomy

(iii) Which of the following represents Mr. Lamb’s analysis of flowers and weeds?

a) Comparison is an act of violence against the self.

b) If you have a garden in your library, everything will be complete.

c) One man’s freedom fighter is another man’s terrorist.

d) The cosmos is within us. We are made of star-stuff.

Ans: c) One man’s freedom fighter is another man’s terrorist.

2. DERRY: What do you do all day?

MR LAMB: Sit in the sun. Read books. Ah, you thought it was an empty house, but inside, it’s full. Books and other things. Full.

DERRY: But there aren’t any curtains at the windows.

MR LAMB: I’m not fond of curtains. Shutting things out, shutting things in. I like the light and the darkness, and the windows open, to hear the wind.

DERRY: Yes. I like that. When it’s raining, I like to hear it on the roof.

MR LAMB: So you’re not lost, are you? Not altogether? You do hear things. You listen.

DERRY: They talk about me. Downstairs, When I’m not there.

(i) According to Mr. Lamb, what does the idea of being ‘lost’ signify?

a) He who does not hear what other people say is lost.

b) He who does not appreciate man and nature is lost.

c) He who does not pause to reflect on wind and rain is lost.

d) He who is closed off to nature and its wonders is lost.

Ans: d) He who is closed off to nature and its wonders is lost.

(ii) Read the following analysis of Mr. Lamb’s character based on the given extract. Choose the option that fills in the given blanks most appropriately: Mr. Lamb’s (i) ____________ and daily activities reflected the values he lived by and the kind of person he was. His openness, inquisitiveness, and his (ii) ____________ to nature were embodied in his work and words. Being close to and experiencing (iii) was not only significant to him, but was at the heart of finding meaning and (iv) ________ in life.

a) (i) preferences ; (ii) attunement ; (iii) nature ; (iv) direction

b) (ii) choices ; (ii) loyalty ; (iii) the world ; (iv) hope

c) (iii) words ; (ii) attitude ; (iii) gardening ; (iv) worthiness

d) (iv) sermons ; (ii) proximity ; (iii) life ; (iv) values

Ans: a) (i) preferences ; (ii) attunement ; (iii) nature ; (iv) direction

(iii) Choose the option that best describes the sequence of Derry’s emotions in the above extract:

a) shyness – friendliness – reluctant acceptance

b) inquisitiveness – nostalgia – mild sadness

c) curiosity – measured delight – disappointment

d) defiance – excitement – grouchy insecurity

Ans: c) curiosity – measured delight – disappointment

(iv) “You do hear things. You listen.” Choose the option that captures the difference between hearing and listening. hear: listen :: _________: _________

a) shut in: shut out

b) smile: laugh

c) act: reflect

d) chance: attend

Ans: d) chance: attend

Short Questions

Q1. How do you think Derry’s mother contributes to his sense of alienation and isolation? (On the Face of It). [CBSE Term-2 SQP 2022]

Ans. Derry’s mother was overprotective and didn’t understand her son’s longing for a companionship. She made him suffer in isolation by keeping him home because of his facial injury and looked at him with a sense of pity and snatched his dignity by always treating him like a helpless victim.

Q2. ‘It is not merely age but experience that counts.’ With reference to any one example from the text, comment on how Derry found Mr. Lamb different from other adults he had encountered. [CBSE Question Bank 2021]


  • Mr. Lamb's disability divorced him from the mainstream society and made him different from other adults.

  • He was experienced enough to ignore Derry’s disability and acknowledge the bright side of Derry's personality.

  • Derry found Mr. Lamb different as he never asked Derry about his face and did not want to know what happened unless Derry himself wanted to talk about it.

Q3. Why did Derry refuse to believe what his mother said against Mr. Lamb? [CBSE 2019]

Ans. Derry refused to believe what his mother said because by meeting Mr. Lamb and being touched by his kindness, he couldn't believe anything that was against him. He had also imbibed the lesson that Mr. Lamb impressed on him – to ignore negative comments of people and carry on with the bright side of life.

Q4. Why does Derry’s mother not want him to go back to visit Mr. Lamb? [CBSE 2018]

Ans. Derry’s mother does not approve of his company with Mr. Lamb as Mr. Lamb in the eye of the society was an unconventional man with a tin leg who lives alone in a big house. Derry's mother was not aware of the fact that Mr. Lamb was an influencer who would bring out a total tranformation in the life of her son. Therefore, she did want Derry to go back to Mr. Lamb.

Q5. Imagine that Mr. Lamb had not fallen off the ladder at the end. Recalling his conversation with the bees, do you think Derry’s return might have changed him as much as he had changed Derry? Elaborate. [CBSE Question Bank 2021]

Ans. Mr. Lamb tells Derry to shut out his ears towards those who speak mercilessly about him. Instead he should listen to sweet things like the buzzing of the bees. He should be optimistic about his perspective in life and accept the positive things.

Derry's return might have changed Mr. Lamb as he himself was lonely in life as Derry. He would have felt warmth in the company of Derry. Derry, on the other hand, would also have changed for the better as he had found a mentor in Mr. Lamb, who motivated him to look at the bright side of life.

Q6. Why does Mr. Lamb say ‘It’s all relative. Beauty and the beast.’?

Mr. Lamb was trying to tell Derry that some people will stare at either the beauty or the beast because this judgment depends on the person. Some people stare at beauty and some at the beast. The beauty and the beast are in the eyes of the beholder.

Q7. What does Mr. Lamb mean by the comparison of ' Weed and Grass' in his garden?

Ans: What is a weed on one side is a flower on the other. This shows that names and labels are arbitrary and only reflect a common life experience. It is all in our perspective what we see in life. Weeds and grass are an important part of our ecosystem. All live in perfect harmony with each other.

Q8. Why does Derry go back to Mr. lamb in the end?

Ans: Mr. Lamb has taught Derry the most important lesson of life. He has actually made him start living his life on his own and care not about his burnt face. What Mr. Lamb has said has opened Derry's eyes. Derry learns that things are the same and still different. It is man's mind that matters. We should focus on the bright side of our personality and ignore the negative aspect of it.

Competency-Based Questions (CBE)

Q1. ‘Things that matter. Things nobody else has ever said. Things I want to think about.’ What are the things that Derry is referring to ? How did Derry’s chance meeting with Mr. Lamb prove meaningful for him? [CBSE 2019]

Ans. This is what Derry tells his mother when he wants to go back to Mr. Lamb’s garden. The ‘things’ that Derry was referring to were the things that Mr. Lamb had spoken about in the conversation he had with him. They were deep thoughts which hadn’t occurred to Derry since few people actually spoke with him and fewer people had sustained conversations with him.

One of the ‘things’ was the way people react to disability. In Derry’s case, his disfigured face made people shy away from him. This in turn made him think he was ugly and even be afraid of his reflection.

Mr. Lamb indicated that his reflection was not him. Another of the ‘things’ was that disability need not be a drawback. Mr. Lamb climbed the ladder and harvested honey with a tin leg. He also had a house and a garden.

Therefore, Derry could learn from Mr. Lamb’s example to become someone in this world. Derry’s chance meeting therefore proved to be invaluable to him as he learnt to live a meaningful life from Mr. Lamb.

Q2. In today’s world, the mantra for success is considered to be the ability to think out of the box. At the same time, as in the play, acceptance is difficult for those who are different. As Derry says, “After I’d come home, one person said, He’d have been better off stopping in there. In the hospital. He’d be better off with others like himself.” How would you reconcile both these ideas, of a demand for difference, on one hand, and a need to isolate difference on the other hand? [CBSE Question Bank 2021]

Ans. In many areas of life today, the ability to think outside the box is prized. For example, in advertising and marketing. A new out-ofthe-box idea is appreciated. However, in some places difference is not tolerated.

For example, people treat those who look different from them in a particular way. Like a differentlyabled person is not seen in a positive sense but a negative one. So, it can be inferred that when it comes to things, difference is appreciated but when it comes to people, difference is not appreciated.

It is very difficult to reconcile these two opposites. It requires a mindset of enormous tolerance for difference and patience for people who look and are different. It is possible to reconcile them by constantly being exposed to difference of all kinds so that difference becomes the norm.

For example, a child who grows up a multicultural and diverse classroom with classmates from many countries will be automatically comfortable with people of all nationalities and perhaps even abilities than say someone who hasn’t had this exposure.

Q3. How did Mr. Lamb’s meeting with Derry become the turning point in Derry’s life? [CBSE 2015] Ans. Prior to his meeting Mr. Lamb, Derry is an angry and defiant fourteen-year old boy. He is afraid of meeting people because people comment on his appearance especially his disfigured face which is the work of acid. The way the world treats him makes Derry retreat into his own world.

When he climbs into Mr. Lamb’s garden, he doesn’t know that it would change his life. At first, he is scared but projects an exterior bravado by challenging Mr. Lamb several times. Mr. Lamb is an old eccentric who has a tin leg. He is a calm and serene, close to nature and likes to talk to people.

As Derry talks with Mr. Lamb, slowly he changes. Mr. Lamb makes him see the beauty of the world whether that is a weed or a flower. He also makes him see that living itself is taking a risk and no one can afford to live inside a room all their life.

He also makes him see that there are friends everywhere if Derry cares to look for them. He offers his hand in friendship to Derry who accepts reluctantly. The encounter with Mr. Lamb therefore changes Derry’s life.



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