ICSE English: Grammar Preposition Revision Exercise

Choose the right preposition:

1. He was touched _____________ pity when he heard the tale.

2. There is always a demand ___________ good tailor.
3. He was in great need ___________ money.
4. He fell ____________ with his best friend and refused to talk to him.
5. The pupils must commit this ___________ memory.
1. He was touched__________ pity when he heard the news.

2. You have no aptitude __________ business.
3. Need you bring __________ that topic again?
4. She insists ___________ wearing that dress.
5. I met an old friend __________ the party

1. Children often quarrel___________ their toys.

2. The waiter laid the table________ dinner.
3. She was annoyed__________ being disturbed.
4. He was anxious to be popular________ everyone.
5. It was kind____________ him to be so helpful.
1. She is a year older_________ I am.

2. They could not elicit any information _________ the prisoner.

3. She did not play the piano, because ___________ a septic thumb.

4. A basket was provided __________ the disposal of waste paper.
5. This fabric is superior____________ that one.

1. The teacher was pleased_______ the performance of the student.

2. He slept _________ eight o’ clock.

3. The cat sprang _________ the table.

4. I shall return________ an hour.

5. He will be dropped ___________ the team if he does not make a big score. 

William Shakespeare : As You Like It: Handbook:Drama: ICSE English

As you Like It : Shakespeare

As you Like it is a Romantic Comedy based on the conventions and practices of the Elizabethan Comedy.
Comedy is light and humorous drama with a happy ending.
The classical comedy follows the Three Unities of Time, Action, and Place.
The unity of action: a play should have one main action that it follows, with no or few subplots.
The unity of place: a play should cover a single physical space and should not attempt to compress geography, nor should the stage represent more than one place.
The unity of time: the action in a play should take place over no more than a single day.
Comedy, in its Elizabethan usage, had a very different meaning from modern comedy. is one that has a happy ending, usually involving marriages between the unmarried characters, and a tone and style that is more light-hearted than Shakespeare’s other plays. Patterns in the comedies include movement to a “green world”, both internal and external conflicts, and a tension between mind and heart.
A Shakespearean comedy
Shakespearean comedies tend to also include: A struggle of young lovers to overcome difficulty, often presented by elders; separation and re-unification.; mistaken identities;  a clever servant; heightened tensions, often within a family; multiple, interlacing plots and frequent  humorous play on words.

As You Like It William Shakespeare
Question Quest

Question 1

Rosalind: Shall we go, coz?

Celia: Ay. Fare you well, fair gentleman.

Orlando: Can I not say, I thank you? My better parts

Are all thrown down, and that which here stands up

Is but a quintain, a mere lifeless block.

Rosalind: He calls us back: my pride fell with my fortunesI’ll ask him what he would. Did you call, sir?

Sir, you have wrestled well and overthrown

More than your enemies.

Celia: Will you go, coz?

Rosalind: Have with you. Fare you well.

[Exeunt Rosalind and Celia]

Orlando: What passion hangs this weight upon my tongue?

I cannot speak to her, yet she urged conference.

O poor Orlando, thou art overthrown!

Or Charles or something weaker masters thee.

(a) What is the relevance of “a thousand crowns”? Why should have Orlando got more than a thousand crowns?

One thousand crowns is the amount that Orlando’s father Sir Rowland de Boys, has left in his will to Orlando. Sir Rowland bequeathed all his estates to the elder son Oliver and had directed to bring up Orlando to be laudable noble man.

Oliver has violated the instructions and treated Orlando as if he was a mere manual labourer in his household. Orlando should have gained a cultured upbringing and a superior grooming from Oliver, as per the terms in his father’s will.

He ought to have been educated to be an acceptable gentleman and he must have been provided with all the advantages of a man of noble birth. On the contrary, Orlando was denied a homely life and was abused dismally by Oliver.

Oliver made him eat with the servants and was deprived of the status of a brother. This saddens and infuriates Orlando. Orlando desires and values a worthy education appropriate of a noble man and a respectful position in his home more than a thousand crowns left to him by his father.

(b) Who is Charles? Why does he visit Oliver?

Charles had been confidentially informed that Orlando planned to enter the wrestling contest to be held in the court the next day. Charles tells Oliver that he was determined to wrestle for his fame and name and would not spare any one. Hence, Charles had come to entreat with Oliver to deter Orlando from participating in the wrestling competition. If Orlando persisted in rivalling with Charles, he felt that Orlando might come to severe harm. Orlando’s defeat might indirectly affront Oliver which Oliver wanted to avert.

(c) What does Oliver learn from Charles about the recent happenings in the court?

Charles informs Oliver that the old duke (Duke Senior), was banished by his younger brother (Duke Frederick). He also tells that a few lords loyal to the Duke Senior had accompanied the banished Duke to the Forest of Arden where they live as if they were in the Golden world. Duke Frederick was happy at this because the lords’ land and revenues add to his wealth. Moreover, as Celia, the daughter of Duke Frederick was very close and intimate with her cousin Rosalind (the daughter of Duke Senior), was not exiled. They were brought up together from their childhood and if Duke Frederick were to banish Rosalind, Celia would either follow her to exile or died of grief at the separation. Both Celia and Rosalind were at the court and were equally loved by Duke Frederick. He also opined that he had never seen two women love each other as intimately Celia and Rosalind.


Question 2

Rosalind: Shall we go, coz?

Celia: Ay. Fare you well, fair gentleman.

Orlando: Can I not say, I thank you? My better parts

Are all thrown down, and that which here stands up

Is but a quintain, a mere lifeless block.

Rosalind: He calls us back: my pride fell with my fortunes

I’ll ask him what he would. Did you call, sir?

Sir, you have wrestled well and overthrown

More than your enemies.

Celia: Will you go, coz?

Rosalind: Have with you. Fare you well.

[Exeunt Rosalind and Celia]

Orlando: What passion hangs this weight upon my tongue?

I cannot speak to her, yet she urged conference.

O poor Orlando, thou art overthrown!

Or Charles or something weaker masters thee.

(a) Why does Orlando wish to thanks Rosalind and Celia?

To everyone’s surprise, in the wrestling match between Charles and Orlando, Orlando effortlessly defeats Charles. The duke is infuriated to discover that Orlando is the son of his enemy, Sir Rolando de Boys. He leaves hurriedly without bestowing the prize to Orlando. Celia, hurt by her father’s conduct, compensates for his brusqueness. She cheers Orlando and affirms him that he has splendidly merited his win over Charles the wrestler.

Rosalind, whose father was a very much friendly with Sir Roland, is highly compassionate towards Orlando. She applauds Orlando and she gives him her necklace chain asking him to wear it in memory of her. She says to him that she desires to give him more, but cannot do so because of her present situation. Celia and Rosalind once again wish him well and both depart.

Orlando is disconcerted and inarticulate when they leave him. Before long, he utters the above words that he is powerless to thank them for their kind-heartedness. Hence, though he wishes to thank them he so dumbfounded that he cannot express his words of gratitude for their concern and kindness.

(b) Rosalind says that Orlando has overthrown more than his enemies. Why does she say so?

Elucidate: my pride fell with my fortunes

Rosalind has fallen in love with Orlando almost at first sight. Moreover, her adversity and her father’s affinity towards Orlando’s father lure her towards Orlando. She feels that Orlando has not only overthrown Charles the wrestler but also vanquished her heart.

my pride fell with my fortunes:

The banishment of her father has affected her life’s fortune and she feels depressed and crestfallen. Moreover, she is unashamed to make advancements towards Orlando as she is completely overcome by him. Hence, not only her prospects have fallen down but also her womanly self-respect too had declined.

(c) Explain:

My better parts

Are all thrown down, and that which here stands up

Is but a quintain, a mere lifeless block.

Love struck by Rosalind, Orlando is thrown off balance and speechless when they after his meeting with Rosalind and Celia. He feels that all his good qualities and self-confidence (better parts) are shattered. He feels as numb and still as a lifeless wooden block. He compares his dumbstruck condition to that of quintain.

Quintain is the wooden figure of a man set for novice riders for practising the tilting of their spear.

Question 3

Le Beau

Good Sir, I do in friendship counsel you

To leave this place. Albeit you have deserved

High commendation, true applause and love

Yet such is now the duke’s condition,

That he misconstrues all that you have done.

The duke is humorous: what he is, indeed,

More suits you to conceive than I to speak of.

What advice does Le Beau go on give Orlando?

Le Beau and Orlando are at the lawn in front of Duke Frederick’s castle, where Orlando had overthrown Charles the wrestler in the wrestling bout just took place.

Le Beau counsels Orlando to leave the place immediately. Although his accomplishment has brought Orlando enormous appreciation and adore, Duke Frederick is in extremely offensive humour that he misunderstands Orlando’s feat. The duke is temperamental and hence, Le Beau advises Orlando to judge by himself the vile temperament of the Duke and the offensive action the duke might take against Orlando.

2) Why does Orlando deserve high praise? Why has the Duke previously kept back his praise?

The novice Orlando in the wrestling match against Charles, the seasoned court wrestler had effortlessly defeated Charles, to everyone’s amazement. Orlando merited extraordinary commendation for his unexpected deed.

The Duke approve of Orlando when he upsets Charles. Yet when he comes to know that Orlando is the son of Sir Roland de Boys, he instantly changes his approach towards him.

Sir Rolando was a friend of the old banished Duke, he regards him his enemy. Hence, the Duke withholds his commendation and refrains from awarding the prize to Orlando..

3) What is meant by “humorous” in the extract?

The word “humorous” means “unpredictable and whimsical”. In the medieval times, the human body was believed to be constituted of four elements, viz., fire, air, earth and water. A man’s nature was thought to be regulated by the ratio in which these elements were blended. When Le Beau says that the Duke is humorous, he means that the Duke is he is unpredictable and whimsical.

An instance of the Duke’s humour can be witnessed in the whimsical banishment of Rosalind. When Celia and Rosalind are chitchatting in their in the palace, Duke Frederick and his lords enter their room. He decrees Rosalind to leave his court at once. If she violates his edict and she is found within ten days inside twenty miles of the court, she will penalised with death. Rosalind demands to know the reason for such a callous action against her. Duke Frederick says that he does not trust her and regards her traitor as she is the daughter of the banished Duke .Celia appeals for Rosalind but the Duke is adamant in his decree of banishment.

Question 4

Duke Senior:

……… I smile , and say,

“This is no flattery; these are counselors;

That feelingly persuade me what I am.”

Sweet are the uses of adversity.

Which, like the toad, ugly and venomous.

Wears yet a precious jewel in his head;

(a) How does Duke Senior compare his life in the forest with his life in the court?

Duke Senior observes the intemperate life in the Forest of Arden more satisfactory than the show of court life. He has become habituated with the life in the forest after living in exile there a substantial period. He compliments the trouble-free and carefree forest life and says that this calm and simple life is sweeter than the false and empty life of the court. The woods are devoid of danger as it is free from envious and ruthless rivals that can be found in the court life. Moreover, the court is full of intrigue and there is the possible danger of physical harm, conspiracy and assassination.

The sole foes in the woods are the changing seasons: the winter’s winds with its rude buffeting makes the Duke shiver with chill and ache as it blasts against his body. He faces the wintry winds smilingly since as they are more honest than the fake fawners of the court. The Duke calls them counselors as they truly and harshly illuminate what he really and admonishes his fragilities. Apart from its discomfiture, Nature provides priceless schooling in life. He and his fellow mates discover joy in each other company and the shared experience of the vagaries of Nature. The idyllic life makes them neglect their concerns and cares. The life in the Forest of Arden assists them to improve their faculties of fortitude. Nature engenders in the mind of the duke a philosophical and positive outlook on life.

(b) Elucidate: Sweet are the uses of adversity.

Sweet are the uses of adversity is an oft quoted sentence from Shakespeare. It means that, in spite of the hardship of an adverse situation in life, it has its own benefit in making us realise the reality of life. Suffering begets not only agony but also awareness.

Here, in spite of harshness and discomfiture of the life in the Forest of Arden, the Duke and his followers find the life pleasant and peaceful, free from care and concerns.

Duke compares adversity to a venomous toad with a precious jewel on its head. The toad is ugly and harmful yet carries on its head the jewel which can cure the perils of its poison.

It was a common belief in the old times that the poisonous toad carried on its crown a stone called toadstone that had the power to heal the effects of various poisons including that of the toad. The toadstone was medically priceless because of its healing property. The toad brings harm as well as the palliative for its harm. Hence, adversity is like the toad because it brings misery as well as the strength to withstand the misery.

Moreover, the adverse conditions the Duke and his loyal lords face provide them relief from the maddening crowd of the court. The life in the forest is instructive as it teaches to find a positive quality in everything in life. Even the stones, brooks and trees teach them invaluable lessons in humanity. The reclusive life provides them with ample time to contemplate on the intricacies of life and improve their understanding of the world.

Question 5

Describe the meeting of Rosalind, Celia, Touchstone with Corin.

When they arrive at the Forest of Arden, Rosalind, Celia and Touchstone are extremely tired. Fortunately they meet an old shepherd Corin who offer them help.

Even though he cannot directly help them as he is a simple shepherd to another man yet he tells them that his master’s estate with its cottage and flocks are up for sale. Silvius, the master, is love struck that he neglects everything but his love. Rosalind insists Corin to purchase it from Silvius for them and gives him money for the purchase. Celia persist that Corin should continue as their shepherd and offers enhanced wages to him. She is in love with place and wishes to spend her life comfortably in the forest. Corin agrees and takes them to the cottage.

Question 6

Elaborate Jaques’ Speech: The Seven Stages of man

Jaques equates the world to stage and the men and women as just actors or actresses on this wide stage of the world. Everyone has his entrance (birth) and his exit (death).

Men and women play many a part in the drama of life which can be segregated into seven acts. According to Jaques, the first stage of life is that of the infant who is wailing and retches milk in the nurse’s arms. It is helpless and has to be taken care of by someone. Jaques presents a cynical vignette of an infant in this speech.

The second stage is that of school boy with his intense – eyes and a gleaming morning fac. He reluctantly walks to school with school bag carping about his fate. He drags his feet and walks most unenthusiastically to school.

The third stage is the teenage years of a lover. He is fascinated by the opposite sex and goes through all the joys, fervour, frustration and disquiet that go with this complicated stage of life. He is so romantic that he compiles poems on such trivial aspects of his beloved, such as a eulogy of his mistress’ eyebrow, sighing deeply like the bellow of draught in furnace.

The fourth stage is that of the adult who is typified in the haughty soldier who wears a bushy beard that forms his face seem ferocious like that of a leopard. He swears and vows in a manly manner. He is courageous, valiant and go-getting and eager to create a niche in society. He is sudden in fight to guard his honour and fiercely guards his repute. He is all set to acquire honour even on the battleground at the peril of his own life.
The fifth stage is middle age represented in the character of the portly judge. In this the stage man is matured through his experiences and comprehends life fuller. He is mellow and solemn. His satisfaction in life gets expression in his appearance, demeanour and speech. The judge is austere and is full of wise saying He has flourished in life and has a well rounded stomach replete with the quality meat of the chicken. His beard is cut corresponding to the manner apt to his vocation.

In spite of the skill in which Jaques sums up the vignette of different stages we should always keep an eye for his satirical remarks in the speech.

The sixth stage of life is the onset of old age. He gets physically frail and his mental faculties degenerate. He becomes weak and thin. His wears ill-fitting trousers and flip-flops and has a wearied life. He looks comical with his bespectacled nose and the tobacco pouch hanging from the side-pocket. The breeches of his youth have been prudentially conserved and he wears them loosely now around his shrunken legs. His voice is feeble yet shrill and he mumbles and whispers incoherently.

The last stage is the senile old age, man’s second childhood. He forgetful and completely helpless akin to an infant child and relies on others to support him. He is so decrepit that he is sans teeth and sans everything and goes unnoticed by all.

The MelancholyJaques:

The Meeting of Jaques and Orlando is highly amusing as it is combat of words using intelligence to the core. Jaques’s self-assurance that he could win over Orlando in the contest of brains is derailed by Orlando’s sharp riposte. Hence he has to part with Orlando by spitefully addressing him Sir Love. Earlier Jacques announces to Orlando that the most awful flaw he has is to a lover to which Orlando retorts that it is a fault that he will not substitute for his finest virtue. Orlando calls Jaques Monsieur Melancholy.
In one of the early scenes, when the Duke Senior proposes that they hunt a deer for food, the duke himself is full of remorse at the need to slaughter a guiltless creature. Then, the first lord narrates to him of his meeting with the melancholy Jaques. Jaques was pointing out the miserable fate of an injured deer and sermonising on the sight of the tearful deer. He likened its situation to man’s life. The forsaken and wounded deer is just like a man forsaken by his dear and near when he has nothing. Jaques uses the spectacle of the wounded stag to express his severe censure of the ways of the world.

Question 6

What names do Rosalind and Celia adopt in the Forest of Arden here? Why?

In the Forest of Arden, Rosalind is known as Ganymede and Celia, is known as Aliena.

Celia’s father, Duke Frederick, had expelled Rosalind from the duchy. Celia, on account of her deep love for Rosalind, decides to go with her to the Forest of Arden. As beauty draws danger and being young, they opt to personate themselves as country people. Rosalind disguises herself as a man with a valiant and martial countenance and changes her name to Ganymede. Celia choose to go as her (his) sister and assumes the name Aliena.

Besides Duke Frederick will look for for them as soon as their running away is discovered. Hence, so as to conceal their identity they have changed their names.

Ganymede was the cup-bearer of Jupiter (otherwise known as Jove), the King of gods. He represents a delicate nature blended with beauty.
Aliena means a stranger or an exile which aptly denotes Celia’s present condition.

ICSE English Poetry Study Aid H L V Derozio The Harp of India

The Harp of India

Henry Louis Vivian Derozio
The Harp of India by H L V Derozio is a patriotic poem that pays a glorious tribute to the rich tradition of the art of Indian poetry which conveys the poet‘s deep anguish at the decline of the age of old art under the slavish shackles of British supremacy. Henry Louis Vivian Derozio was born in Calcutta [now Kolkata]. His father was Indo-Portuguese and his mother English. Though Derozio had very little of Indian blood in him, his upbringing in India greatly inspired in him Indian themes and sentiments. Derozio is generally regarded as the first Indian to write in English. Derozio’s poetic carrier was very short lasting only for about six years. Derozio, who held great promise as poet, unfortunately had premature death at the age of 23 when he was still at his prime. He is modern India’s first poet to give expression to his patriotism in verse, the first to sing of Freedom, the first to contemplate an intellectual renaissance for an ancient civilization through a new perception. In the poem The Harp of India the poet Derozio- an ardent admirer of India’s rich heritage, culture and tradition- laments the decline of the rich tradition of Indian literature during the period of British domination of India.The British imperialism made the Indian poets listless and they found nothing inspiring to compose literature except the misery of the nation. The poet Derozio pays a rich tribute to the Indian writers of the past who had enriched the Indian literature with their classic and enduring literary works and then expresses his wish to revive and rejuvenate, through his humble poetic efforts, the richness and glory of Indian literature. The poem is in the form of a Sonnet. Sonnet is a lyrical poem of 14 lines with definite rhyme scheme. Usually a Sonnet is divided into Octet [the first eight lines of the poem] and sestet [the remaining six lines of the poem]. In the Octet of the Sonnet the poet presents a problem and then tries to resole the problem in the sestet. Derozio makes a slight deviation in the tradition structure of the Sonnet that the Harp of India is divided into two equal divisions of seven lines each. However, he follows the thematic pattern of the Octet and the sestet with the presentation of the problem [the decline of Indian poetic tradition] and its resolution [its revival through his humble poetic efforts]. The poet Henry Louis Vivian Derozio refers to the rich art and tradition of Indian poetry as the harp of India. The poet commences the sonnet with a rhetorical question as to why the glorious tradition of Indian poetry lies neglected like a broken harp hung on the leafless and withered branch of a tree. He questions whether the art of India poetry which during the period of British domination of India was almost dead, must remain in this state of coma forever, like an unstrung harp. The poet recollects that the state of Indian poetry was once rich and glorious like the sweet melodies of a harp. Now that melody is heard no more as the present times provide no inspiration to the creative minds and hearts to revive the tradition of soul stirring poetic art. The breeze blows over the broken harp of poetry without drawing any melody from it. The prevailing conditions of the times have compelled the poets and the poetic inspirations to remain mute as if bound by the fetters of silence. The art of poetry thus lies neglected, silent, and abandoned like a ruined monument in the vast wilderness of the deserts. The poet then recollects that the art of poetry, in the hands of poets of greater genius than his own, had produced remarkable achievements, the way a deft musician produces enchanting music with his harp. The remarkable works of poetry brought for their creators accolades and wreaths of appreciation. The poets belonging to the glorious period of Indian poetry continue to survive long after their demise like flowers that continue to bloom on the graves of the poets long dead. The poet laments that the poets of literary genius of the past now lie cold in their graves and the once famous poetic art lies abandoned. However, he expresses his desire to revive the dying art of poetry of his country with his humble poetic abilities and make the skies of Indian literature reverberate with melody of poetic art just as a musician of a new generation revives a tradition of music with a musical instrument that had for a long period dwelt in oblivion and obscurity.
Word meanings and Explanation
Thou = the Harp
Here metaphorically referred to the Indian literary/poetic tradition.

Lonely = desolate, abandoned, forsaken, neglected
Withered bough Withered = dried up, lifeless
The present generation of the poets is listless and barren. Their creative energy has dried up and does not spark any poetic imagination.
Unstrung = without any strings
The unstrung harp is unable to create any songs. The poets, under the yoke of British supremacy, are sterile and incapable of writing poetry.
Thy music once was sweet
Thy music = the music of the harp Once = in the past Sweet = excellent
The harp used to produce excellent and pleasing music in the past. The poets of the past used to write classic poetry of everlasting quality and endurance.
Who hears it now?
No one hears to the old classical and sweet music of the harp at present. Similarly, the present generation neglects the excellent classic poetry of the ancient time.
Silence hath bound thee with her fatal chain Silence ( personification)
Fatal chain = deadly chain
The fatal chain, i.e. the shackles of slavish life under the British Dominance has made the Indian poetic tradition or the present generation of the Indian poets [thee] silent or impotent in their creative power.
Like a ruined monument (Simile)
The poet compares the present silent neglected state of the Indian poetry to a deserted and neglected monument in a barren desert.
Many a hand = many persons, here poets.
The figure of speech is synecdoche the hand stands for poet
Synecdoche a figure of speech in which the part stands for a whole.
Harmonious chords = the chords that create harmonious melody.
The ancient poets produced poems of excellence.
Fame = personification
The remarkable works of poetry brought for their creators accolades and wreaths of appreciation.
Those hands are cold now; those poets are dead now. Hands –synecdoche.
Thy notes divine The sweet divine music / the poems of great and everlasting appeal.
Wakened = revived
My country = indicates the patriotic feeling of the poet.
Strike the strain = write poems.
The poet Derozio wishes to revive,
through his poetic efforts,
the glory of Indian literature
and thereby restore the glory of his mother country India .

ICSE English: Poetry Study Aid Robert Frost The Road Not Taken

The Road Not Taken

Robert Frost

Extract I
Two Roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not take both
And be one traveller,long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth.
1. What is intended by diverged? What goes the yellow wood indicate?
Diverged means to ‘go in a different direction’. As the poet or the speaker of the poem started his journey he came to a point where the road forked in two different directions placing him in a dilemma.
The yellow wood suggests that the leaves of the trees are yellow and hence the season is autumn.
Some critics suggest that yellow colour, suggesting the onset of old age, denotes Robert Frost’s middle-aged status. (The poem’s autobiographical element). Frost wrote the poem when he was no longer young.
2. The poet or the traveler feels sorry. Why? Why does the poet stand long at the crossroads?
The poet-traveller, or the poet Robert Frost, during his morning walk in an autumn morning through the woods, comes across two roads diverging in two different directions. Frost is sad that he cannot take both the roads but has to make a choice between the two.
The poet stood at the crossroads, contemplating as to which of the two roads he should take, weighing both the roads for their merits.
See that Frost calls himself a traveller which transports the morning walk to a greater attribute.
In a metaphorical level, the walk of the poet symbolizes a man’s journey through his path of life. In his life, a man very often comes across crucial situations where he has to make a decision and his decision decides his course of life.
The two roads are, metaphorically, the choices that are before him. The poet’s delay suggests obliquely the need for deep thought and reflection of the consequences before we take a life-changing decision.
3. What is the dilemma faced by the poet-traveller?
When Frost confronted the diverging road, he was in a predicament. He could not immediately decide which road to take. Hence, He stood at the fork pondering which road to take. The phrase long I stood clearly indicates the poet’s dilemma in making a decision.
4. What is meant by undergrowth? Where did the first road lead?
Undergrowth is the brush (small trees and bushes and ferns etc.) growing beneath taller trees in a wood or forest. When Frost strained to find out the stretch of one of the roads stretch, he could see that the first road curved into the bushes at a distance.
5. What portrait of the rural scenes does Robert Frost give in the extract?
Frost is acclaimed as a pastoral poet. He uses the simple, colloquial diction of the rural people. The images used in the extract, such as ‘the yellow woods’ ‘undergrowth’, give the poem a savour of the country side. Even the incident described in the extract – a man in his morning walk coming across roads that diverge- is typically countryside.
6. What is the conflict presented in the extract?
The two diverging roads that the poet faces is the core conflict. The poet or the traveller is in a predicament which road he should take. The road offers conflicting options to the poet traveller, as he has no idea of the nature or the extent of either of the roads. He cannot make a decision immediately.
In real life also, we find in such situations where we are faced with conflicting choices and our choice or decision has a far-reaching impact. The decision we make not only affects our life but also has an effect on the life of our near and dear.
7. What does the two roads symbolise? What is the significance of choosing a road?
The two roads that the poet-traveller faces in his morning walk are symbolic of the choices that we have to encounter in our life. The morning walk itself is a metaphor for the great journey of life.
In the poem the poet, after prolonged thought, decides to take the road less travelled, accepting its challenges and uncertainties. The decision is final and irreversible and it has its own consequences, may be positive or negative.
In real life also we confront such critical situations where we face life-altering options. The decision we make is crucial. We should contemplate over the choices before as and decide our priorities. Once we make the decision and proceed accordingly, we can never reverse it. The life takes its own course, and it does not give a second chance to alter our decision and change our course of life. Hence, decide wisely.

Extract II
Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same.
1. Which road does the poet-traveller decide to take?
The poet poet-traveller takes the second road as it seems to be less used and less travelled than the first one.
The choice of the road in a way signifies the character of the traveller. He decides to take the road less travelled. This choice shows that that the traveller has his own perceptions of life, is a free spirit undaunted by the challenges and uncertainties of life.
2. In what manner did the second road have a better claim?
The second road appears at first glance to be less worn and therefore less traveled. Hence the road has a better claim.
3. Give the meaning of: it was grassy and wanted wear. Give the second meaning of wanted wear.
it was grassy and wanted wear= the road was full of grass; less travelled and hence was not much used.
Wanted wear here can have tow meanings:
i. Lacked = It was less used and hence not worn out.
ii. Desired = it longed or desired to be used or walked upon.
If we take the second meaning then we can see that the poet personifies the road. The road has a desire or longing which is a human attribute.
Personification is a figure of speech in which the poet gives human attributes to inanimate objects or ideas. Poets usually embellish their poems with such figures of speech to enhance the poetic quality.
4. Why did not the poet-traveller take the first road?
The first road, at first glance, appears to be a much-used road and more worn out. Hence he rejects the first road chooses the second road, the road less travelled.
This selection suggests that he has an independent spirit and does not wish to follow the crowd. After a moment, he concludes that both roads are about equally worn.
5. How does he assess the two diverging roads in the last two lines of the extract?
Frost takes the second road as it appears less trampled and wanted wear than the  first one. Yet later he realises that both the roads are equally worn out.
Extract III
And both that morning lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.
1. How did the roads look that morning?
On that particular morning, the poet discovers that the leaves that have fallen on both the roads are still quite yellow and are not trampled black by men.
2. Give the meaning of :
And both that morning lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
And both, i.e. both of the diverging roads.
Both the roads on that morning were covered with fresh leaves, yellow autumn leaves, which were not trod upon and the leaves have not turned black because they were not tramped down.
3. Why did he retain the first road for another day? Why is the poet-traveller doubtful of his return?
The poet remains committed to his decision to take the road he had already selected, saying that he will save the other road for another day. He wishes that he may be able to come back to the crossroads later and take the first road. He observes, however, that he probably will never pass this way again and thus will never have an opportunity to take the other road. Life being what it is, one thing leads to another. Life seldom gives us an opportunity to retrace our steps and change the path we have chosen.
4. How does the extract show the concern of the poet-traveller about decision making?
As the poet or the speaker of the poem started his journey he came to a spot where the road branched in two different directions placing him in a quandary. He was at a loss to decide what road to take; the poet stood at the intersection, speculating as to which of the two roads he should take, weighing both the roads for their merits. He has to make a decision but his decision will have far-reaching consequences. The poet is anxious to make the right decision so that the road he chooses will be the right one which leads him to the right destination. The possibility of making a wrong decision which may prove to be grave fills the mind of the poet with intense anxiety. Hence the poet stands for a long time to ponder over the various factors that should influence his decision.
The poet or poet-traveller of the event is symbolic of an individual on his life journey and the morning walk portrays the life’s journey itself. The crossroads represents a crucial moment in one’s life when we have to make a concrete decision which decides our future destiny. If the decision made, the choice taken is a wrong one, our life will be shallow and miserable. If on the other hand, the decision
made is the right one, our life will advance to prosperity and welfare. The likelihood of arriving at a wrong decision fills our mind with deep distress and acute anxiety.
5. What is the theme of the poem The Road Not Taken?
The poem ‘The Road Not Taken’ offers a profound perception into the process of decision making.The traveller at the crossroads of the diverging roads is symbolic of an individualat a decisive moment in his life’s journey. His decision or choice of future action is of utmost significance since the decision decides his destiny.
The poet Robert Frost through this poem asserts the importance of the right decision at the right time.
In life we have to make our choices; sometimes we have to make these choices without a full understanding of the state of affairs. Even then, we should arrive at decision only after carefully considering all the available options. We may regret our choice or we may be excited of our choice, but the choice at the crucial moment will determine and change the path of our life. Hence, the poem stresses the need for deep and critical analysis of the situation before we arrive at a life-transforming decision.
Extract IV
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I –
I took the one less travelled by,
And that has made all the difference.
1. What will the poet-traveller tell some time in future? What is the implication of narrating his story with a sigh?
In years to come, the poet-poet-traveller will be telling others about the choice he made on that particular morning when during his walk he came across a spot where two roads diverged and he decided to take the road apparently less travelled and less worn out. While doing so, he will sigh either with relief that he made the right choice or with regret that he made the wrong choice. Whether right or wrong, the choice will have had a significant impact on his life.
The traveller at the crossroads of the diverging roads is figurative of an individual at a key moment in his life’s voyage. His judgment or choice is of highest implication since the decision determines his destiny.
If he had made the right decision, his life would have prospered and his sigh will be a sigh of relief at having made a discerning choice. On the other hand, if the decision he made was not astute, his life would be mired in misery, and the sigh will be a sigh of regret for making an ill-judged choice.
2. What is meant by the road less travelled by? Do you think that the choice made him happy? Give a justification for your answer.
The road less travelled by literally means the road which is not usually frequented by men. However, the traveller and the road metaphorically stand for an individual in his life’s journey,the road less travelled by takes a different meaning. Figuratively it represents the path of life that is not usually preferred by men; but a path which is challenging and more adventurous with its own uncertainties.
The poem does not clearly state whether the choice made by the poet made him happy or sad. However, if observe the general run of life, we find that the individuals who have left their footprints in the history of humanity have always taken an uncharted path. Hence, we can safely conclude that the poet-poet-traveller was made happy by choosing the less travelled path, not the beaten track. The concluding line of the poem ‘And that has made all the difference’ implies the poet’s joy.
3. And that has made all the difference. What is your opinion of the difference- was it for the better or the worse? Substantiate your answer.
The poem does not clearly state whether the choice made by the poet made him happy or sad. However, if examine the way of the world, we find that the individuals who have achieved recognition and fame have always eschewed the beaten track.. Hence, we can reason that the poet-poet-traveller was made happy by choosing the less travelled path, not the beaten track. The concluding line of the poem ‘And that has made all the difference’ connotes the poet’s joy.
4. In the context of the poem, provide two reasons to point out that the poet-traveller regrets his decision of having taken the less travelled road.
When confronted with two divergent roads, the poet chooses the road apparently less travelled thinking that it had a better claim. Later, he realises that both the roads are equally worn out. So his choice of the second road is deprived of its significance which makes the poet sad. However, he gets comfort by thinking that he will come back later to the spot and take the other road. Yet, he regretfully realises that it is not possible to retrace the steps once taken as life does not give chances to change our chosen track.
5. What appeals to you in the poem?
The poem The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost is extremely appealing as it , in simple words and style , presents the importance of making judicious decision at critical moments in our life. In life we have to choose our options; sometimes we have to make these choices without a full awareness of the circumstances. Even then, we should come to a decision only after vigilantly considering all the offered alternatives. We may regret our choice or we may be thrilled of our choice, but the choice at the vital moment will determine and transform the path of our life. Hence, the poem emphasises the necessity for deep and serious reasoning of the circumstances before we arrive at a life-transforming decision.

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ICSE English Literature in English Poetry and Short Stories

Literature in English
(Two hours)

Answer to this Paper must be written on the paper provided separately.
You will not be allowed to write during the first 15 minutes.
This time is to be spent in reading the question paper.
The time given at the head of this Paper is the time allowed for writing the answers
Attempt one question each from Section A, B and C and any other two questions.
You should answer five questions in all.
All the questions carry equal marks.

girlballSection A
Poetry: The Golden Lyre
Question 1
Read the following extract and answer the questions given below:
They clicked their tongues,
With every movement that the scorpion made
his poison moved in mother’s blood, they said.
May he sit still, they said.
May the sins of your previous birth
be burned away tonight, they said.
May your suffering decrease
the misfortunes of your next birth.
May the sum of evil
balanced in this unreal world
against the sum of good
become diminished by your pain, they said.
a) Who clicked their come? Where are they now? Why are they there? How did they come there? Explain the comparison used to describe their arrival. [3]
b) Comment on the beliefs of the villagers that are expressed in the extract. [4]
c) Why does the poet repeat the phrase ‘they said.”? What effect does it produce? [2]
d) How was the mother finally relived of the pain? What was her reaction? What does the poet want to convey by making the react so? [3]
e) Elucidate on the theme of the poem. Apart from the theme of the poem what appealed to the most in the poem? Elaborate. [4]
Question 2
Read the following extract and answer the questions given below:
They, too, aware of sun and air and water,
Are fed by peaceful harvests, by war’s long winter starved.
Their hands are ours, and in their lines we read
A labour not different from ours.
1. Who are they referred to in the extract? What are the common elements shared by all? [2]
2. What are peaceful harvests? What does the poet want convey through this phrase? [3]
3. Explain: by war’s long winter starved [3]
4. Elaborate the meaning and significance of the lines;
Their hands are ours, and in their lines we read
A labour not different from ours. [4]
5. How does the poem bring out the concept of universal brother hood of man? [4]
Section B
Poetry: The Golden Lyre
Short stories: A Treasure Trove of Short Stories.
Question 3
Read the following extract and answer the questions given below:
We passed the school where children played,
At Recess- in the ring-
We passed the fields of Gazing Grain-
We passed the setting sun.
1. Who are the ‘We’ here? Where are they going? Why? [2]
2. What is the meaning and significance of ‘Gazing Grain’? Why does the poet use capital letters here? [3]
3. What does the setting sun symbolize? The poet later corrects herself regarding the setting sun? What is the import of this correction? [4]
4. What is the attitude of the poet to her fellow travellers? Exemplify. [3]
5. What is the theme and what is the conflict inherent in the poem? [4]
Question 4
Read the following extract and answer the questions given below:
At the next station the driver slowed down and stopped his train to water the engine. He got down to stretch his legs and decided to examine the head lamps. He received the surprise of his life: for just above the cowcatcher lay the major portion of the tiger, cut in half by the engine.
1. Briefly narrate the encounter between the brave Baldeo and the tiger. [4]
2. He received the surprise of his life. How did the surprise of his life happen? [4]
3. How did the death of Baldeo affect his family? [2]
4. Give a compact sketch of Baldeo. [4]
5. What is the theme of the story? [2]
Section C
Short stories: A Treasure Trove of Short Stories.
Question 5
Read the following extract and answer the questions given below:
It’s true; nobody ever tells us anything in this place. It’s when we go to sleep that the world of the elders awakens, opening like a magic casket. I want to stay awake and listen; I don’t know why I fall asleep halfway through. I wonder whose voice it is now; it seems as if someone is crying I suppressed tones. Is it Chotti Massi?
1. Who is the narrator of the story ‘Girls’? Why is the narrator not given a name? [3]
2. Why does the narrator think compare the opening of the world of elders to that of a magic casket? [3]
3. When the narrator asked Babu whether she could become a boy, how did he react? Why? [3]
4. How was Chotti Massi treated in her house? What was Ma’s advice to her? [3]
5. Whether girl or a boy, you occasionally find yourself in a similar plight as the narrator. Taking an example from the story, narrate briefly one of your experiences comparable to that of the narrator. [4]
Question 6
With close reference to the story The Sniper by Liam O’Flaherty, show how the author spotlights the theme of the story. [16]