HS First Year English Chapter 1 The Portrait of a Lady

HS First Year English Chapter 1 The Portrait of a Lady. Important questions for HS First Year English Questions Answers brings you latest queries and solutions with accordance to the most recent pointers NCERT. Students will clear all their doubts with regard to every chapter by active these necessary chapter queries and elaborate explanations that area unit provided by our specialists so as to assist you higher. These queries can facilitate students prepare well for the exams thanks to time constraint. HS First Year English Chapter 1 The Portrait of a Lady

HS First Year English Chapter 1 The Portrait of a Lady

(Questions and Answers)

Mention

Q. 1. The three phases of the author’s relationship with his grandmother before he left the country to go abroad.

Ans: The author’s first phase of relationship with his grandmother began when he was a child and before he started going to school. In those days she appeared old and wrinkled and he could not believe in the idea that once she had been young and pretty. She used to tell the author and the other children about the games she used to play during her childhood. The children found her stories absurd and treated them like the fables of the prophets she used to tell them.

The second and the most intimate phase of their relationship began when the author was left with his grandmother in the village while his parents had gone to live in the city. During those days the author and his grandmother were constantly together. She used to wake him up, bathe him, dress him and make him ready for school. She used to feed him with chapatis, butter and sugar. Together they went to school that was held in the verandah of the temple. While he learnt the alphabet and the prayer taught by the priest, the grandmother used to read scriptures inside the temple. After school they would together walk home feeding the village dogs with the stale chapattis which the grandmother had taken with her. The third phase of their relationship began when they arrived at the city home of the author’s parents. Still they lived in the same room and for some time the grandmother used to wake him up and make him ready for school. But their relationship began dwindling when the author was sent to an English school. He went to that school by motor bus. He was taught English words and some of the things of western science. Nothing about God and scriptures was taught. The grandmother did not like that sort of education. Then the author went up to university and was given a room of his own. Till then he used to share the same room with his grandmother. Their living in separate rooms snapped their link of friendship. The grandmother accepted her seclusion silently and without protest.

Q.2. Three reasons why the author’s grandmother was dis turbed when he started going to the city school.

Ans: The author and his grandmother were sent to come to the city house of the author’s parents. Then the author was sent to an English school. He used to go in a motor bus. While in the village his grandmother accompanied him to the school held in the varandah of the temple. Also they used to come back home together feeding the village dogs with the stale chapatis that the grandmother had taken with her. In the city it was not necessary for the grandmother to accompany the writer to his school, That was one of her disturbances.

Then the grandmother came to know from the author that in the city school English words and some of the western science were taught. She didn’t like lessons like the law of gravitation, Archimedes Principle and the earth being round etc. She felt disturbed when she learnt that nothing about God and the scriptures was taught in the school.

One day the author told her that they were being given music lessons. She felt very disturbed to hear that. This was because she believed that music had low ociation. According to her music was the monopoly of the prostitutes and the beggars and had nothing to do with gentlefolk.

The author’s grandmother was disturbed by the things mentioned above.

Q.3. Three ways in which the author’s grandmother spent her days after he grew up.

Ans: The intimacy between the author and his grandmother began to dwindle after they came to live in the city and the author was admitted to an English school. The grandmother did not like the things taught in the city school. Till then they used to live in the same room. When he went to University he was given a room of his own and thus their common link of friendship swapped. The old lady accepted her seclusion with calm resignation.

The grandmother changed her way of spending the day. From sunrise to sunset she would sit beside her spinning wheel spinning yarn and reciting prayer. She did not care to talk to anyone.

Only in the evening she used to relax for a while feeding the sparrows with crumbs of bread. She would break the bread into pieces and throw them to the sparrows. The birds in hundreds would sit round her. Some of them perched on her legs and shoulders. Some of them even sat on her head. She smiled but never drove them away. That used to be the happiest moment for her during the day.

Q.4. The old ways in which the author’s grandmother behaved just before she died.

Ans: After five years stay abroad the writer came back home. He was received by his grandmother at the station. She did not look a day older than what she had been five years before. She clasped him with her arms without any emotion. All the while she was reciting her prayers. In the evening a change came over her. She called in the women of the neighbourhood, got an old drum and started singing thumping on the drum. She sang home-coming of the warriors: She sang so long and so minutely that she had neglected her prayers. She had to be persuaded not to over strain herself.

In the following morning she was taken ill. She had a mild fever. The doctor said that she had nothing serious. But she herself declared that her end was nearing. She did not like to waste her time talking to anyone. She was absorbed in her prayer and telling the beads of her rosary. She lay peacefully. At one time her lips stopped moving and the rosary fell from her fingers. Her face turned pale. She lay dead. Her body was covered with a shroud of red cloth.

Thus she behaved in a strange manner before her death. She was over excited at the home coming of her dear grandson and exerted herself beyond her endurance. As a result she died. But she died peacefully praying and telling the beads of her rosary. 

Q.5. The way in which the sparrows expressed their sorrow when the author’s grandmother died. 

Or 

How did the sparrows react to the death of the author’s grandmother?

Ans: The writer’s grandmother used to feed the dogs when she was living in the village. After coming to the city she had to lead a secluded life. Then she took to feeding the sparrows in the afternoon. She would throw crumbs of bread and hundreds of sparrows feed on them. The birds would come close to her. Some of them would perch on her feet and shoulder. Some of them even sat on her head. But she would never drive them away.

When she died her dead body was covered with a shroud of red cloth. In the afternoon thousands of sparrows gathered in the varandah and in the room where the grandmother’s body was lying. The writer’s mother threw some crumbs of bread at them. But they refused to ceat. They took no notice of the crumbs of bread. When the corpse was carried off the sparrows quietly fled away. Though small birds they too condoled the death of their dear lady who used to feed them with affection. The crumbs were swept away in the following morning and thrown into the dustbin.

Talking About the Text

Q.1. The author’s grandmother was a religious person. What are the different ways in which we come to know about this?

Ans. There is no doubt that the author’s grandmother was a religious person. Prayer and telling the beads of her rosary were her constant practice. All the while her lips constantly moved in inaudible prayer. Getting up early in the morning she said her prayer in a monotonous sing song. She used to accompany the writer to the village school because she could read the scriptures inside the temple while he sang the prayer or the alphabet sitting in the verandah.Her deep devotion to religion made her a coservative old women. She did not like the western science taught to the author in the English school. She did not like the type of education in which nothing about God and scriptures was taught in the English school. She believed that music had lewd association. According to her music was the monopoly of the harlots and the beggars.

She never neglected her prayer and telling the beads of her rosary. Even while spinning yarn from dawn to dusk she continued to recite her prayer. While she went to see off the author and receive him at the station she continued to recite her prayer. The only time she missed her prayer was when she sang the home-coming of the warriors to celebrate the homecoming of her grandmother.

She fell ill. But her illness was mild. But she could feel that her death was approaching. She died reciting prayer and telling the beads of her rosary. She was so deeply religious that her love extends beyond humanity. Her feeding the dogs and the sparrows amply justifies this. She lived absorbed in prayer and died reciting prayer.

Q.2. Describe the changing relationship between the author and his grandmother. Did their feelings for each other change? 

Ans. Human life is not static. It goes on changing. So is the relationship. The author’s relationship went on changing with the passage of time. Situation changed and their relationship too changed. When the author was a child living with his grandmother only their relationship was intimate.. They lived very close to each other. The grandmother used to wake him up. bathed him, fed him and not only made him ready for school but accompanied him to and from school. At the school held in the temple the author learnt the alphabet and the prayers and the grandmother read the scriptures. Then they were sent to the city. That was the beginning of their separation from each other. The author was admitted to an English school where he was taught English words and western science. The grandmother did not like those things. She did not like his school when she was told that nothing about God or scriptures were taught in it. She did not like music taught to the student. Their separation widened and she began to spend her time spinning and reciting prayers.

When the writer went up to University and was given a room of his own their common link of friendship snapped. They began to see each other less and less. When the author went abroad and stayed there for five years they did not see each other.

No, their feelings for each other never changed. The grandmother went to the station to see off the writer when he went abroad. Again when he returned home after five years she went to the station to receive him. She celebrated his home coming by beating drums and singing home coming of the warriors. Thus it is seen that the distancing relationship between the author and his grandmother was never deliberate, but it was beyond their control.

Q. 3. Would you agree that the author’s grandmother was a person strong in character? If yes, give instances that show this.

Ans. Undoubtedly the author’s grandmother was a woman who was strong in character. She had a strong personality. Her faith in God, religion and the scriptures was unwavering. She used to spend her time reciting prayer and telling the beads of her rosary. She was a conservative woman who disliked western science, music and education in white nothing about God and scriptures was taught. Her sense of likings and dislikings was steady. As an old widow she wore clothes and never indulged in luxury. She liked to lead a poetic life reposing her trust in God. She was rigid in her views. She liked not only human beings. Her love extended beyond humanity. She thought it a pious act to feed the animals. In the village she fed the dogs and in the city she used to feed the sparrows. She was non violent. She did not drive away the sparrows, some of which perched on her legs and soldiers and even sat on her head. She was all along indulgent to them. The best quality of her character was that she never turned emotional. She accepted everything with equal calmness. She prefered work to idleness and so spent her time spinning from sunrise to sunset. She was a woman who could accept everything with calm resignation.

Q.4. Have you known someone like the author’s grandmother? Do you feel the same sense of loss with regard to someone whom you have loved and lost?

Ans. Yes. I have known my grandmother, my father’s mother very intimately. She was not very much different from the author’s grandmother. During my childhood and throughout my school life she was my best friend, philosopher and guide. I being the eldest child of my parents, was her first grandson. She showed all her love and affection to me.

I had the good fortune of growing up under her indulgent care. She would never rebuke me, not to speak of scolding or beating. But she was always watchful of my character. She was capable of detecting my small mistakes and would try to rectify me, making me realise my mistake. She used to wake me up early in the morning, bathed me, fed me and sat beside me at the reading table. As we lived in the village she would accompany us to our playground. While we played she watched. In the morning and evening she took care of my studies. She always inspired me to read well so that she would be able to see me becoming a big man in some noble profession. She was kind to all and full of affection. It was probably because of her inspiration that I could become what I am now.

It is sad to mention that my grandmother died in December last year. Her death is a personal loss to me. She passed away peacefully as if in a sleep. I shall never forget her love and affection and her indulgent care.

Thinking About Language

Q.1. Which language do you think the author and his grandmother used while talking to each other?

Ans. The writer, Khushwant singh was a Punjabi. He and his grandmother probably lived in a village in Punjab. Naturally they used Punjabi (Gurmukli) while talking to each other. 

Q.2. Which language do you use to talk to elderly relatives in your family?

Ans. Our’s is an Assamese family. Naturally I use Assamese to talk to elderly relatives in our family. 

Q.3. How would you say ‘a dilapidated drum’ in your language?

Ans. In my language “I will say a dilapidated drum’ as C (Phata dhol).

Q. 4. Can you think of a song or poem your language that talks of homecoming?

Ans.  

Thou brave son of mother land

Thine birthplace waits.

Defeating the enemy, wielding the sword,

Thou hero, come back home. 

We will welcome with love

We will welcome with victorious drum.

HORNBILL PROSE & POETRY

Sl. No.LessonLink
1The Portrait of a LadyClick here
2A PhotographClick here
3“We’re Not Afraid to Die…
If We Can All Be Together”
Click here
4Discovering Tut: The Saga ContinuesClick here
5The Laburnum TopClick here
6Landscape of the soulClick here
7The Voice of the RainClick here
8The Ailing planet:
The Green Movement’s Role
Click here
9The Browning VersionClick here
10ChildhoodClick here
11The AdventureClick here
12Silk RoadClick here
13My Impressions of AssamClick here
14Father to SonClick here

SNAPSHOTS

Sl. No.LessonLink
1The Summer of the Beautiful White HorseClick here
2The AddressClick here
3Ranga’s MarriageClick here
4Albert Einstein at SchoolClick here
5Mother’s DayClick here
6The Ghat of the Only WorldClick here
7BirthClick here
8The Tale of Melon CityClick here

Working with words:

  1. Notice the following uses of the word ‘tell’ in the text.
  2. Her fingers were busy telling the beads of her rosary.
  3. I would tell her English words and little things of western science and learning.
  4. At her age one could never tell. 
  5. She told us that her end was near.

Given below are four different senses of the word tell. Match the mean ing to the uses listed above. 

  1. Count while reciting.
  2. Make something known to someone in spoken or in written words.
  3. Be sure.
  4. Give information to somebody.

Matching the meaning to the uses listed above:

Meaning Uses
1. Make something known to someone in spoken or written words 1. I would tell her English words someone in spoken or written and little things of western science and learning
2. Count while reciting. 2. Her fingers were busy telling the beads of her rosary.
3. Be sure 3. At her age one could never tell.
4. Give information to somebody 4. She told us that her end was near.

II. Notice the different senses of the word ‘take’

  1. To take to something to begin to do something as a habit. 
  2. To take to: to become suddenly ill.

Locate these phrases in the text and notice the way they are used.

Answers:

  1. There were no dogs in the streets and she took to feeding sparrows in the courtyard. 
  2. The next morning she was taken ill.

III. The ‘hobble’ means to walk with difficulty because the legs and feet are in bad condition.

Tick the words in the box below that also refer to a manner of walking:

haggle shuffle stride ride waddle
wriggle  paddle swagger trudge slog

Answer: 1. stride: to walk with long steps. 

2. waddle: to walk or swing like a duck.

3. paddle: to walk in shallow water with bare feet.

4. swagger: to walk in a very proud and confident way.

5. Trudge to walk slowly with heavy steps.

6. slog: to walk steadily with great effort.

Noticing Form :

Notice the form of the verbs italicised in these sentences :

1. My grandmother was an old woman. She had been old and wrinkled for the twenty years that I had known her. People said that she had once been young and pretty and had even had a husband but that was hard to believe.

2. When we both had finished we would walk back together. 

3. When I came back she would ask me what the teacher had taught me.

4. It was the first time since I had known her that she did not pray. 

5. The sun was setting and had hit her room and verandah with a golden light.

These are examples of the past perfect forms of verbs. When we recount things in the distant past we use these forms.

Things to do

Talk with your family members about elderly people who you have been intimately connected with and who are not there with you now. Write a short description of someone you liked a lot. 

Ans: The man whom I liked the most, specially during my childhood and high school days, was my grandfather. With silvery hair and well trimmed white moustache he looked ripe and grand. The rubicon attire of his face added glaze to his handsome figure. He was a devoted follower of Mahatma Gandhi and a freedom fighter. He always wore a snow white khadi dress. As told by him he left school in 1930 in protest against Cunningham Circular and joined the freedom movement as a volunteer. He was a man of strong personality and did not compromise with anything that he thought to be wrong. During my childhood and high school days he was my friend, philosopher and guide. He also acted as my tutor for some time. He taught me Assamese, Sanskrit and Arithmetic. During leisure time he used to tell me stories of events of the freedom movement. To him Gandhiji was a living God. He passed away in the same year I had passed the HSLC examination. He is no more there to guide me. But his ideals have remained in my heart. I would like to be guided by them.

HS First Year English Hornbill(Prose) Chapter 1 The Portrait of a Lady

Khushwant Singh

Khushwant singh has drawn a brief but attractive and expressive pen picture of an old lady who is none but his grandmother. The writer had intimate relationship with her since his childhood. The writer’s parents who lived in a city sent for him and his grandmother. They went to the city and that was a turning point for both the writer and his grandmother. The old lady did not find any interest in things like English school, science and music learnt by the writer. Then the writer went abroad for higher studies. He came back home after five years. His home-coming was an occasion of celebration. The grandmother fell ill and died. Her death was a momentous event. It was mourned not only by the members of her family but also by the sparrows whom she used to feed every afternoon during her lifetime.

Summary of the story The Portrait of a Lady (in simple English)

The writers’ grandmother was an old woman. She was like everybody’s grandmother. The writer knew her for twenty years in the same physical condition. Her face was covered with wrinkles. It was said that once she had been pretty and even had a husband. The writer found that hard to believe. The portrait (picture) of the writer’s grandfather hung above the mantelpiece in the drawing room. The grandfather wore a big turban and loose fitting clothes. He had a long, white beard which covered the best part of his chest. He looked as if he were a hundred years old. He looked like a person who would not have a wife or children. His appearance showed as if he could have many grandchildren. For the writer the idea of his grandmother being young and pretty was somewhat disgusting. The old woman told of the games she used to play when she was a child. The writer found such stories as absurd and undignified on her part and he treated them like the fables of the prophets she used to tell them.

As for her appearance the grandmother had been short and fat and slightly bent. Her face was fully covered with wrinkles. The lines on the skin of her face ran from everywhere to everywhere. The writer believed that she had been always as she looked then and as he know her. She was so ripe in age that she could not have grown older. It seemed that she remained in that same physical condition and in the same state for twenty years. The writer thought that she could never have been pretty, but she was always beautiful she used to wear spotless white dress and wander about the house. While walking she would put a hand on her waist to balance her stoop. She continued to tell the beads of her rosary with her other hand. Her silvery hair lay scattered over her face while her lips constantly moved in prayers that could not be heard. She looked really beautiful. Her beautiful appearance has been compared with the winter landscape in the mountains which is an expanse of pure white breathing peace and contentment (satisfaction).

The writer and his grandmother were good friends. The writer’s parents lived in the city and he was left with the grandmother. As a result they were constantly together. The grandmother used to wake him up in the morning and get him ready for school. While she bathed him and dressed him she would sing in a monotonous prayer. She hoped that he would listen to and learn it by heart. The writer listened to her prayer because he loved her voice. But he never bothered to learn it. Then she would bring his wooden slate. She had already washed and plastered the slate with yellow chalk. She would also bring a very small ink pot, a red pen and tie them in a bundle and hand that over to him. The writer was given a breakfast of thick chapati with a little butter and sugar spread on it. After breakfast the writer and his grandmother would go to school together. She would take several stale chapatis with her to feed the village dogs.

The school was attached to the temple and so the grandmother always went to the school with the writer. The priest taught the students the alphabet and the morning prayer. The children sat in rows on either side of the verandah. They would sing in a chorus, the alphabet or the prayer. In the meantime the grandmother would sit inside reading the scriptures. When both of them finished they would come back home together. That time the village dogs would meet them at the temple door. They would follow them to their home growling and fighting with each other for the chapattis thrown to them. When the writer’s parents were comfortably settled in the city, they sent for the writer and his grandmother. That was a big event in their friendship. They continued to share the same room. But the grandmother would no longer go to the school with the writer. The writer used to go to an English school in a motor bus. There were no dogs in the street to be fed. The old lady began feeding the sparrows in the courtyard of their house in the city. As the years passed they saw less of each other. For some time she used

to wake him up and get him ready for school. When the writer came back from school she would ask what the teacher had taught him. The writer would tell her English words and little things of western science and learning. He would tell her the law of gravity, Archimide’s Principle and the world being round and such other things which made the grandmother unhappy. She could not help him with his lessons. She did not believe in the things taught in the English school. She was unhappy for the reason that nothing about God and the scriptures had been taught. She believed that music had lewd associations. She believed that music was the monopoly of the harlots and the beggars and it was not meant for gentlefolk. She said nothing but her silence meant her disapproval. After that she would talk to her rarely.

When the writer had gone up to University he was given a room of his own and the common link of friendship was snapped. His grandmother accepted her loneliness silently. She rarely left her spinning wheel to talk to anyone. From sunrise to sunset she sat by her spinning wheel and recited her prayers. Only in the afternoon did she relax for some time when she fed the sparrows. She would sit on the verandah breaking the bread into little bits. Hundreds of sparrows would collect round her crying noisily. Some of the birds came and perched on her legs and shoulders. Some even sat on her head. She smiled but she would never drive them away. That half hour was the happiest time for her during the day.

The writer decided to go abroad for further studies. He was sure that his grandmother would feel disturbed. He would be away for five years and at her age one could never tell. But she could tell. She was not even sentimen tal. She came to the railway station to see him off but she did not talk or show any emotion. Her lips moved in prayer and her mind was lost in prayer. Her fingers were busy telling the beads of her rosary. She kissed the writer’s forehead silently. He felt that he cherished the moist imprint as perhaps the last sign of physical contact between them.

But that was not so. The writer came back home after five years. His grandmother met him at the station. She did not look a day older than what she used to be five years before. She had no time for words. When she clasped him in her ms he could hear her reciting her prayers. Even on the first day of his arrival. her happiest moments were with her sparrows whom she fed longer and with pleasant rebukes.

In the evening a change came over her. She did not pray. She collected the women of the neighbourhood, got an old drum and started to sing. She played on the old drum for several hours. She sang of the homecoming of the warriors. She had to be persuaded to stop to avoid over-stressing. That was the first time

since the writer had known that she did not pray. The following morning she was taken ill. It was a mild fever and the doctor opined that, that would go. But the writer’s grandmother thought differently and told them that her end was nearing. She said that since only a few hours before the end of the last chapter of her life, she had omitted to pray, she would not waste any more time talking to them.

The writer and the others protested which she ignored. She lay peacefully in bed praying and telling her beads. Even before they could suspect, her lips stopped moving and the rosary fell from her hands. A peaceful pallor spread on her face and they knew that she was dead.

As was customary she was lifted from her bed and laid on the ground. Her body was covered with a red shroud. After a few hours of mourning her body was left alone as they had gone to arrange for her funeral. In the evening they went to her room with a crude stretcher to take her to be cremated. The sun was setting and had lit her room and verandah with a golden light. They stopped half way on the courtyard. All over the verandah and in her room thousands of sparrows sat scattered on the floor. There was no chirruping. The writer’s mother fetched some bread for them. She broke them into crumbs in the manner the old lady used to do and then threw the crumbs to them. But the sparrows took no notice of the bread. When the grandmother’s dead body was carried off the sparrows silently flew away. In the following morning the crumbs of bread were swept away into the dustbin.

This Post Has 11 Comments

Leave a Reply