Question 1 : Read the extract given below and answer the questions that follow.
(i) What does the narrator mean by- “The afternoon lessons passed without incident”?
Answer : The narrator points out that unlike earlier, the afternoon lessons went on smoothly without any disturbances. The children listened to the narrator and did the tasks assigned to them. They did not disobey and were quiet throughout the afternoon lessons.
(ii) What was the usual behaviour of the students that afternoon?
Answer : The children neither chatted not laughed. They did not in any way challenged Braithwaite’s authority. However, at the same time they were uncooperative. They listened to the narrator and did the tasks assigned to them , like a machine. They were cold towards Braithwaite.
(iii) How did they react on receiving pleasantries from the narrator?
Answer : Narrator’s attempts at pleasantries were received with a chilly lack of response. The atmosphere of the class was filled with hostility. The students were cold and uncooperative. They were silent and watchful all the time. they did not entertain or respond to any of the narrator’s pleasantries.
(iv) What was the substantial cause for their behaviour?
Answer : The narrator’s attempts at pleasantries were received with a chilly lack of response. The substantial cause for this behaviour of the students was the narrator’s earlier remarks. The narrator had mocked at them with sarcastic remarks. He ridiculed them to an extent that they now turned hostile toward him.
(v) What was the most important thing of all for the narrator?
Answer : Every staff member asked the narrator about the morning lessons. They all gave him some tips from their own experiences with the students. It became very clear to the narrators that most of his colleagues wanted him to make good. They all encouraged him. They had accepted him unconditionally as one of them and that was the most important thing of all.
Question 2 : Read the extract given below and answer the questions that follow.
(i) What did the narrator encounter on his way back to home?
Answer : On his way back to home, the narrator passed by a tiny tobacconist shop, on a short distance from the school. He noticed a black notice board hanging on the upper part of the open doorway. On the notice board were pinned a number of cards, advertising goods for sale and accommodation required or available.
(ii) What did the narrator think after reading the notice board?
Answer : When the narrator looked at the notice board he thought about his long trip to Brentwood twice each day. Travelling was tiring enough during the May season and in winters it would be even worse with its wet and snow. He thought it might be a good idea to find suitable accommodation near to the school.
(iii) Describe the owner of the shop?
Answer : The man, the owner of the shop, stood just inside the doorway of the shop, half camouflaged against the background of candy jars and slatted wooden boxes of soft drinks. His face was round and unshaven with a pale blob above his collarless stripped shirt which bulged heavily at the waist. His thumbs were hooked into the narrow braces on which his baggy trousers depended.
(iv) Why was the narrator amazed?
Answer : The narrator was amazed at the unexpectedness of human kindness showed by the owner of the shop. When the man came to know that the narrator was a teacher looking out for an accommodation, he advised him that the advertised accommodations were not suitable for him. He said that sometimes he has good accommodations which would suit the narrator.
(v) What did the narrator discuss with Belmonts?
Answer : The narrator discussed the situation in the classroom with Mom and Dad Belmont. He listened carefully to their counsel. They agreed that it was very necessary for Braithwaite to gain the children’s confidence and respect before their resentment crystallised into some unpleasant incident which might forever wreck any possibility of future good relationship with them. It was, thus, agreed that Braithwaite needed to establish a good relationship with the students before things got worse for him.
Question 1 : “They had accepted me unconditionally as one of them.” Discuss.
Answer : Braithwaite did not go to the dinning hall for lunch. The constant noise there was a source of irritation for him. He had a realisation that teaching was not as easy as he had expected. Miss Blanchard entered and soon they started to have a pleasant conversation and discovered many common interests. Miss Blanchard asked how his class went and he gave the details. Braithwaite also said that he would do as Miss Clintridge had suggested.
Then one by one other teachers also returned from their lunch. They all were concerned about Braithwaite. They asked him about the morning’s progress. Mrs Drew cautioned him not be be very hard on the students. She said that the students were harmless. They were not bad once Braithwaite get to know them. Mrs Dawes tried to defend them by saying that they were not as bad as people had painted them. However, Grace said that they were indeed what people said about them. If someone heard them when these students were together, it would ‘make their hair curl’. Weston also commented, not on the students but on Braithwaite. Although, it angered him but he kept his cool and ignored him just like others.
In other words, most of his colleagues gave him tips based on their experiences. They all wanted to help him cope up with the students. They were always ready to guide him and offer him advice whenever he wanted. Braithwaite did not experience any kind of prejudice from them. They never looked down upon him. Although, Weston’s remarks sounded racist, Braithwaite knew that he never meant what he said.
It was now clear to Braithwaite that his colleagues wanted him to make good. They all wanted him to be successful. They constantly encouraged him through the difficult times. Braithwaite knew that they had accepted him unconditionally as one of them. And this was the most important thing of all for Braithwaite.