Fritz Questions and Answers ISC Class 11 and Class 12

Short Questions

Part – 1

(a) Referring closely to the short story ‘Fritz’, relate why Jayanto wanted to visit Bundi instead of any other place.

Answer : The main purpose of Jayanto’s visit to Bundi was to refresh his memories of his childhood. Perhaps he was haunted by the doll Fritz which he had buried under a tree in the circuit house at Bundi.

Jayanto’s father had worked in the Archaeological Department in Bundi thirty-one years ago. Jayanto had childhood memories about the town. So on his insistence to visit his childhood town, Bundi in Rajasthan, Shankar (the narrator) agreed to accompany him. Shankar knew that the Fort of Bundi was famous as a tourist attraction. Both the friends stayed in the circuit house where Jayanto had spent some years with his family. After arriving in Bundi  Jayanto became somewhat quiet. While taking a stroll in the garden , he recalled that there used to be a deodar tree. He was very happy to locate it in a corner. Then childhood memories were revived in his mind slowly. Both the friends went to see the fort. They came back . Suddenly Jayanto recalled something. He told Shankar about a doll of an old  man named Fritz. Fritz was a gift from one of his uncles who had brought the doll from Switzerland.

(b) What does he tell the narrator about Fritz?

Answer : Jayanto told the narrator about Fritz, a doll of an old man, which he got from one of his uncles. Fritz was an ordinary doll which Jayanto , the protagonist in the story, got from one of his uncles. His uncle had brought it for him from Switzerland. It was a twelve-inch-long figure of an old man. It was dressed in a traditional Swiss style. It was very lifelike. It was possible to bend and twist its limbs. Its face had a smile on it. It has a Swiss cap on its head. Its clothes were perfect with belt, buttons, pockets, collars and socks. There were even little buckles on the shoes. The doll had been bought in a village in Switzerland. The man who sold it to Jayanto’s uncle jokingly said, “He’s called Fritz. You must call him by this name. He won’t respond to any other.”

As a child Jayanto was highly obsessed with the doll. Though he had many toys, he would almost always play with it. Sadly, one day the doll was left carelessly in the lawn and was taken away by some stray dogs. It was found in a very bad condition. Its face was disfigured beyond recognition. Fritz was practically dead. It was then buried under a deodar tree.

(c) What is your reaction to the ending of the story?

Answer : It is the hallmark of a story to end on some unexpected surprise which is described as ‘the sting in the tail.’ ‘Fritz’ is one of these stories which shock us at the end and force us to think beyond the text.

Throughout the story, Fritz is described as an ordinary doll. It was a gift to the protagonist Jayanto when he was a child and lived with his family in Bundi. He was very fond of it. One day it was taken away by some stray dogs from the lawn. It was found totally disfigured. It was buried under a deodar tree. Thirty-one years later, Jayanto visited the place. Jayanto had a strange experience during the night. He felt as if something had walked over his chest. There were two tiny footprints on the quilt. Jayanto told his friend the next day:

‘Fritz’ came into our room last night. Those little marks on my quilt were his footprints’.

Shankar was naturally shocked. He thought how an adult could be obsessed with such an absurd idea. In order to dispel this idea the ground underneath the deodar tree was dug. What lay there was simply amazing and horrifying:

There lay at our feet, covered in dust, laying flat its back, a twelve-inch-long, pure white, pen little human skeleton.

The story comes to an abrupt end here. As readers, we feel equally shocked. How can it be possible for a doll to convert itself into a human skeleton. Is it possible that Fritz was an inactive ghost? We have heard about ghosts who indulge in horrifying acts. They are often invisible, or they appear in ghastly forms. At least they act or behave like humans in some way. But we have rarely heard of ghosts as inactive things. Thus, the ending of the story is quite unusual, and perhaps here in lies the interest of the story. We are forced to think beyond the text.

Part – 2

(a) What do you know about Fritz? What role does it play in the story?

Answer : Fritz was not the usual kind of doll little girls play with. It was, no doubt a toy, but of a different kind. It was a twelve-inch-long figure of an old man dressed in traditional Swiss style. Jayanto’s uncle had brought it for him Switzerland. Apparently it was very life-like. Although it was not mechanized yet it was possible to bend and twist its limbs. It wore a swiss cap with a yellow feather sticking out from it. Its clothes were perfect especially in their minor details. Belt, buttons, pockets , socks, collars-everything was flawless. The most remarkable thing about Fritz was the smile on its face. The man who sold Fritz to Jayanto’s uncle had jokingly said, “He’s called Fritz. You must call him by this name. He won’t respond to any other.”

Fritz plays a very important role in the story. He remains in focus throughout the story. Was he a mere doll or an inactive ghost? Nothing can be said about it.

(b) Describe the circuit house in which Jayanto as a child used to play.

Answer : The circuit house was a splendid single storeyed building, built during the time of the British. It must have been at least a hundred years old. The rooms had high ceilings. The skylights had long dangling ropes which were used to open to shut them. It was furnished with old furniture, cane chairs and tables. The verandah faced the east. Opposite it was a big garden with a large number of roses in full bloom. Behind these roses, there were growing a lot of tees. These trees served the purpose of a dwelling place for a vast section of local birds. Here one could easily see parrots and peacocks. Outside the compound the notes of parrots and others birds could he heard.

(c) The Story Fritz can be called a strange and unusual ghost story . Discuss.

Answer : A ghost story is one in which an evil spirit in the form of a ghost plays a significant role to frighten the readers. The atmosphere in such a story evokes creepiness. There is no explanation of the supernatural happenings.

Fritz is an unusual ghost story because it has most of the elements of a ghost story. To being with. It is set in contemporary times but at a place which is remote and lonely. The circuit house where the main incidents take place in a building at least a hundred years old. In this old house the hero Jayanto and his friend stay for the night. This setting has an old world charm about it.

In this mysterious setting Jayanto revives memories of childhood. He remembers a deodar tree which used to be in the garden, when he was only six. The discovery of the tree reminds him of a Swiss doll named Fritz with whom he used to have one sided conversations. Then he recalls how Fritz was torn by stray dogs. He also remembers his burying the doll.

At night weird incidents take place. Jayanto tells that something has crept over his chest. Little foot marks on the quilt are also found. Several questions crop up in the mind. How could a doll move about? If the doll were inactive whose marks could be there on the quilt? Again one wonders how could a battered doll turn into a human skeleton. Those who believe in the reality of supernatural would declare that the doll was a ghost. But those who have no faith would find nothing to explain about Fritz. Anyway, Fritz remains an unusual ghost story.

Part – 3

(a) What childhood memories did the right of the old deodar evoke in Jayanto?

Answer : While taking a stroll in the garden after tea Jayanto suddenly stopped walking and said, “Deodar.” He recalled that there used to be a deodar tree. He was very happy to locate it in a corner. Then childhood memories began to come in his mind slowly. Jayanto stared at the trunk of the tree for sometime. Suddenly he recalled something. He told Shankar about a doll of an old man named a Fritz. Fritz was gift from one of his uncles who had brought the doll from Switzerland. It was twelve-inch-long figure of an old man, dressed in traditional Swiss style. Jayanto, as a child, was very fond of it. He almost always played with it. One day it was badly disfigured by some stray dogs. The doll was buried under the deodar tree which Jayanto had found out.

(b) How did Fritz become an obsession with Jayanto in his childhood?

Answer : Shortly before Jayanto left for Bundi with his parents his uncle who had returned from Switzerland gave him a doll. It was not a usual doll. It was a twelve-inch-long figure of an old man dressed beautifully is Swiss style. Jayanto liked it very much. Though he had many toys, he would almost always play with it. Grdually the doll became an obsession with him. He forgot all his other toys. He played only with Fritz. A time came when he began to spend hours just talking to Fritz. Their conversation used to be one-sided. But Fritz had such a funny smile on his lips and such a look in his eyes that it seemed to him as though Fritz could understand every word that Jayanto spoke. Jayanto’s parents warned him not to overdo things but he did not listen to anyone. All the time that he had at his disposal was given to Fritz.

(c) How does the ending of Fritz strike you?

Answer : All good stories end on some unexpected surprise which the critics often call-‘the sting in the tail’. Fritz also ends on an unexpected note which shocks us at the end. Throughout the story, Fritz is described as an ordinary doll. It was a gift to Jayanto from his uncle who had returned from Europe. The doll was a twelve-inch-long figure of an old man, dressed in traditional Swiss style. Jayanto liked it very much. He almost always played with it. One day it was taken away by some stray dogs. It was found totally disfigured. It was then buried under a deodar tree. After thirty one years, when Jayanto visited this place he recognised the deodar tree under which Fritz was buried.

At night Jayanto had a strange experience. He felt as if something had walked over his chest. There were two tiny footprints on the quilt. When he told this to his friend Shankar, he was shocked. To dispel this idea the ground underneath the deodar was dug. What lay there was simply amazing. There lay at their feet, a twelve-inch-long, pure white perfect little human skeleton.

The story ends here. How can it be possible for a doll to convert itself into human skeleton? Is it possible that Fritz was an inactive ghost? Such questions are left unanswered at the end. Thus the ending of the story is quite unusual.

Part – 4

(a) How did Fritz meet his ‘death’?

Answer : Once Jayanto had located the deodar tree, the memories of that place began to return one after the other. He remembered that one day they were sitting out in the lawn having tea. Jayanto was not old enough to have tea. So with his family members, he was sitting on the grass. Fritz was lying beside him. Suddenly he desired to have tea and insisted on getting it. When he was given tea the cup titled and some of the hot tea fell on his pant. At once he ran inside to change, leaving Fritz there. When he came back Fritz was not there. He looked around. Quite soon he found that two stray dogs were having a tug of war with Fritz. In the process Friz’s clothes were torn and his face was battered beyond recognition. In short Fritz was dead. With a heavy heart Jayanto buried Fritz under the deodar tree. He was not able to procure a little box, so he buried him like that. Since then the memory of Fritz lay buried in his sub-conscious mind.

(b) What did Jayanto experience one night at the circuit house? What was Shankar’s opinion about it?

Answer : The location of deodar tree in a corner of the little garden led to the awakening of memories of childhood. Jayanto clearly remembered the doll he loved so much and the way it was mutilated by two stray dogs. That night when Jayanto and Shankar went to sleep Jayanto had a strange experience. He felt something walking over his chest. With this he suddenly woke up but there was nobody in the room . Both the doors were bolted from inside. He had the feeling that there must be small animals like rat or cat in that circuit house but it did not seem possible. Shankar to got up when he heard a slight noise. He searched under the bed, behind suitcases and everywhere but could not find anything. To add to their confusion Jayanto found on the cover of his quilt tiny, circular marks. Shankar suggested that they might have been made by a cat but Jayanto was not satisfied. Shankar concluded finally that the marks may have been on the quilt before he used it. In his heart of hearts he thought that Jayanto only had a bad dream. Memories of childhood had upset him.

(c) Discuss Fritz as a mystery story.

Or,
The story Fritz is a kind of thriller or a mystery. Discuss it.

Answer : The supernatural or paranormal has always attracted ordinary human beings. Even in the modern age there is no dearth of those who claim to have first hand knowledge of a supernatural being – a ghost or a spirit. Human beings have always been fascinated by the things which are beyond human understanding, the things which send a feeling of creepiness down their spine.

‘Fritz’ is a kind of thriller or a mystery story. It contains a remarkable blending of the elements of the real and the weird. The arrival of Jayanto and Shankar in Bundi and the location of deodar tree/ the descriptions are highly realistic. It is only in the night when Jayanto suddenly wakes up an element of weird is introduced. The arrival of someone , when both the doors are bolted and the walking of something on the chest of Jayanto is very thrilling. Again the digging of the ground by the gardener and the finding out of ‘a twelve-inch-long , pure white, perfect little human skeleton’ is highly thrilling and exciting. The most important thing is that  the writer has not tried to explain the happening in any way. It is left to the imagination of the readers to interpret the story the way they like.

Part – 5

(a) With a view to bring Jayanto back to normalcy, what did Shankar suggest?

Answer : Observing that Jayanto’s mind was obsessed with an absurd idea of Friz, Shankar decided to bring him back to normalcy. For this he decided to suggest to Jayanto that if he was sure he had buried Fritz at exactly that spot under the deodar tree, why should they not dig the ground there. In this way the would be able to find some remnants of Fritz such as the buckle of a belt or brass buttons on the jacket. If Jayanto agreed, he might be able to rid himself of his weird notions after this. Shankar felt that if it is not done Jayanto would continue to be haunted by the strange dreams every night and if this thing continued, he might go mad one day. Shankar suggested this to Jayanto who liked the idea. But Jayanto was doubtful where they would find a spade or who will do the digging. This problem was solved by the gardener.

(b) What did they find when they dug up the ground about a yard from the deodar tree? How did they react?

Answer : It was the month of October. The weather was not at all warm yet the gardener’s shirt-collar was soaked in sweat. Jayanto kept staring at the ground unblinkingly. The gardener continued to dig. Suddenly Jayanto made a strange sound. When Shankar looked at him, his eyes were bulging. Raising his hand he pointed to the hole. The finger of his hand was trembling. There lay at their feet, flat on its back a twelve-inch-long , perfect little human skeleton. Shankar gaped at the ground open-mouthed in horror, amazement and disbelief. Wonder-struck Jayanto uttered only these words. “What is that?” The spade slipped from the gardener’s hand when he saw the skeleton.

(c) The story ‘Fritz’ has an open ending. Comment and elaborate.

Answer : ‘Fritz’ is an interesting story with an open ending. It shocks us at the end and forces us to think beyond the text. Throughout the story Fritz is described as an ordinary doll a twelve-inch-long figure of an old man dressed in traditional Swiss style. Jayanto almost always played with it till it was taken away by two stray dogs and badly disfigured. It was then buried under a deodar tree.

After thirty-one years when Jayanto revisited this place he located the deodar tree and told the story of Fritz to his friend Shankar. At night Jayanto had a strange experience. He felt as if something had walked over his chest. There were tiny footfprints on the quilt also. Jayanto had a strong belief that Fritz came into their room that night. Shankar was shocked but he did not believe it . In order to dispel this idea, the ground underneath the deodar tree was dug. What they found there was simply shocking.

There lay at out feet, covered in dust, lying flat an its back, a twelve-inch-long, pure white, perfect little human skeleton.

The story comes to an abrupt end here. As readers, we feel equally shocked. How can it be possible for a doll to convert itself into a human skeleton? Is it possible that Fritz was an inactive ghost? We have heard about ghosts who indulge in horrifying acts. They are often invisible, or they appear in ghastly forms. At least they act or behave like humans in some way. But we have rarely heard of ghosts as inactive things. Thus, the ending of the story is quite unusual. It is open ending we are forced to think beyond the text.

Long Questions

Question 1 : Who was Frtiz? What significance does it have in the story?

Answer : Fritz was an ordinary doll which Jayanto, the protagonist in the story, got from one of his uncles. His uncle had brought it for him from Switzerland. It was a twelve-inch-long figure of an old man. It was dressed in a traditional Swiss style. It was dressed in a traditional Swiss style. It was very lifelike. It was possible to bend and twist its limbs. Its face had a smile on it. It had a Swiss cap on its head. Its clothes were perfect with belt, buttons, pockets, collars and socks. The doll had been bought in a village in Switzerland. The man who sold it to Jayanto’s uncle jokingly said, “He’s called Fritz. You must call him by his name. He won’t respond to any other.”

As a child Jayanto was highly obsessed with the doll. Though he had many toys, he would almost always play with it. Sadly, one day the doll was left carelessly in the lawn and was taken away by some stray dogs. It was found in a very bad condition. Its face was disfigured beyond recognition. Fritz was practically dead.

The doll was buried under a deodar tree. Many years passed. The matter was forgotten. Jayanto left the town and grew up elsewhere. After thirty-one years, he came back to the town (Bundi in Rajasthan) , accompanied by his friend Shankar (the narrator) . The old memories came back. Jayanto recognised the deodar tree where he had buried Fritz. He told his friend everything regarding Frtiz.

That night when Jayanto was sleeping he felt that something had crept over his chest. He thought it might be a cat or a rat. When again he had the same feeling, he was dazed. Shankar dismissed it as the figment of his imagination. Jayanto said it was Fritz who moved on his chest. The two tiny marks on the quilt seen by Jayanto and Shankar added to the mystery. On Shankar’s suggestion the ground underneath the deodar tree was dug. Both the friends were horrified to discover in place of the doll a human skeleton – twelve-inch-long, pure white perfect. Here the story ends on a note of mystery.

Thus, Fritz remains in focus throughout the story. Who was he? A mere doll, or an inactive ghost? Nothing can be surely said about it.

Question 2 : Describe the visit of Jayanto to Bundi as described in the story. What made him come to his childhood town, and what happened there?

Answer : Jayanto’s father had worked in the Archaeological Department in Bundi thirty-one years ago. Jayanto had childhood memories about the town. So on his insistence to visit his childhood town, Bundi in Rajasthan, Shankar (the narrator) agreed to accompany him. Shankar knew that the Fort of Bundi was famous as a tourist attraction. Both the friends stayed in the circuit house where Jayanto had spent some years with his family. After arriving in Bundi Jayanto became somewhat quiet. While taking a stroll in the garden, he recalled that there used to be a deodar tree . He was very happy to locate it in a corner. Then childhood memories were revived in his mind slowly. Both the friends went to see the fort. They came back. Suddenly Jayanto recalled something . He told Shankar about a doll of an old man named Fritz. Fritz was a gift from one of his uncles who had brought the doll from Switzerland. It was a twelve-inch-long figure of an old man, dressed in traditional Swiss styel. Jayanto, as a child, was very fond of it. He almost played with it. One day it was badly disfigured by some stray dogs. The doll was buried under the deodar tree which Jayanto found out.

At about ten in the night both Jayanto and Shankar wen to their beds to sleep in a large room. At night Jayanto woke up and complained that something had walked over his chest. Later, he showed two tiny marks on the quilt, too. Shankar dismissed the whole idea as the whim of a tired mind. In the morning Jayanto said that Fritz came into his room last night, and that those little marks on the quilt were its footprints.

In order to dispel the quaint idea from his friend’s mind, Shankar approached a gardener. The gardener agreed to dig the ground underneath the deodar tree where Fritz was buried. When the ground was dug, the two friends could not believe their eyes:

“There lay at our feet, covered in dust, lying flat on its back, a twelve-inch-long, pure white, perfect little human skeleton.”

The story ends on this unexpected mysterious note. Who was Fritz , then? A mere doll? Then how could it turn into a human skeleton?

Question 3 : In what way is the story ‘Fritz’ a strange and unusual ghost story?

Answer : A ghost story is often a scary or horror story. It has an evil spirit in the from of a ghost meant to frighten us. In some ghost stories, the figure of the ghost is comical. In The Canterville Ghost, the ghost is so powerless and helpless that it become a laughing stock even for children. The atmosphere in a ghost story is such as to evoke creepiness. There is no explanation of any supernatural happening . The setting is often the writer’s or reader’s own day.

‘Fritz’ by Satyajit Ray is a ghost story which is somewhat unusual. There is no doubt that it has most of the elements of a usual ghost story. It is set in the contemporary times, and at a place which is remote and lonely. The small, sleepy town of Bundi in Rajasthan forms a suitable background. The circuit house where the main incidents take place is a big, lonesome place. The ancient Fort of Bundi only adds to the mystery about the place. The circuit house where the protagonist, Jayanto, and his friend Shankar, the narrator, stay during their visit is at least a hundred years old. The whole setting has an old-world charm. The rooms here have high ceilings and the skylights have long  dangling ropes which can be pulled to open and shut them. One can see parrots, peacocks and several other local birds around.

In this mysterious setting, Jayanto revives memories of his childhood which lead to some strange happenings at night. He remembers a deodar tree which used to be in the garden when he was here at the age of six, after a gap of thirty-one years. The discovery of the tree reminds him of his Swiss doll – a twelve-inch-long old man named Fritz. He recalls his one-sided conversation with Fritz for hours together. Then he recalls the day when Frtiz was torn apart and disfigured by stray gods. He clearly remembers his buying the doll under the deodar tree.

The old memories lead to weird and eerie incidents at night.   The narrator, Shankar, finds Jayanto fully awake and scared. Jayanto tells him that something has crept over his chest. He suspects some cat or rat might have climbed up his bed. Later, he declares, that it was Fritz who came into the room, and that the little marks on the quilt were his footprints. Several questions crop up in our mind : How could a doll move about? If the doll were inactive, whose marks could be there on the cover of the quilt?

Jayanto’s obsession with the idea of Fritz moving about on his chest is both horrifying and ludicrous. It is here that for the first time we confront the fact of an unusual ‘ghost’ . Normally, the ghost is a figure of flesh and blood, or at least is very active. The ghost in the from of a non-living, inactive doll is simply unimaginable. Some oblique hints of its being an entity other than a lifeless doll are provided by Jayanto himself.

Fritz had such a funny smile on his lips and such a look in his eyes, that it seemed to me as though he could understand  every word. Sometimes I wonder if he would actually converse with me if I could speak to him in German.

The man who sold Fritz to Jayanto’s uncle in Switzerland made a statement in jest, which acquires sinister meaning in retrospect at the end of the story. ‘He’s called Fritz. You must call him by his name. He won’t respond to any other.’

The reality of the doll comes to light only when the ground underneath the deodar tree is dug on the suggestion of the narrator. How could a battered doll turn into a human skeleton? The twelve-inch-long , pure white, perfect little human skeleton in place of a doll of the same size defies all rational explanations.

Those who have faith in the reality of the supernatural would at once declare that the doll Fritz was a ghost. But those of who have no such faith would find nothing to explain the reality of Fritz.

Thus, ‘Fritz’ with an unusual ‘ghost’ is basically a supernatural story. The writer has been able to create a feeling of ‘creepiness’ by blending atmosphere, emotion and plot harmoniously together. The unusual, inactive ghost in the story makes it a pleasant aesthetic experience.

Question 4 : The story ‘Frtiz’ has a sting in the tail? Does this make it more interesting or more intriguing ? Elaborate.

Answer : It is the hallmark of a story to end on some unexpected surprise which is described as ‘the sting in the tail’. ‘Frtiz’ is one of those stories which shock us at the end and forces us to think beyond the text.

Throughout the story, Frtiz is described as an ordinary doll. It was a gift  to the protagonist Jayanto when he was a child and lived with his family in Bundi. The doll has a twelve-inch-long figure of an old man, dressed in traditional Swiss style, Jayanto almost always played with it. He was very fond of it. One day it was taken away by some stray dogs from the lawn. It was found totally disfigured. It was buried under a deodar tree. Thirty-one years later, Jayanto visited the place. He recognized the deodar tree under which Fritz was buried. He told everything about Frtiz to his accompanying friend Shankar (the narrator).

Jayanto had a strange experience during the night. He felt as if something had walked over his chest. There were two tiny footprints on the quilt. Jayanto told his friend the next day:

‘Fritz came into our rom last night. Those little marks on my quilt were his footprints’.

Shankar was naturally shocked. He thought how an adult could be obsessed with such an absurd idea. In order to dispel this idea the ground underneath the deodar tree was dug. What lay there was simply amazing and horrifying:

There lay at our feet, covered in dust, lying flat on its back, a twelve-inch-long, pure white, perfect little human skeleton.

The story comes to an abrupt end here. As readers we feel equally shocked. How can it be possible for a doll to convert itself into a human skeleton? Is it possible that Fritz was an inactive ghost? We have heard about ghosts who indulge in horrifying acts. They are often invisible, or they appear in ghastly forms. At least they act or behave like humans in some way. But we have rarely heard of ghosts as inactive things. Thus, the ending of the story is quite unusual, and perhaps herein lies the interest of the story. We are forced to think beyond the text.