Exam tips for those who appear for board exams (CBSE)

Dear students,

Let me begin by asking you the following questions:

  • Are you on the verge of taking one of your most important exams in your lives?
  • Are you tensed?
  • Do prepare with a meticulous plan for the exam?
  • Do your teachers and parents scare you with their predictions and expectations?
  • How much time do you spend to study?
  • Which subject do you find it very difficult and easy?
  • Which learning materials and guides do you use?
  • Do you rely on some guides and other supplementary materials?
  • Are you confused?
  • Do you have exam fever and exam-related  stress?

If you say yes to any of these questions, here are some tips for you:-

  • After all, your board exam is not the end of the world. You have a long way to go. Don’t take it so seriously that you spoil your remaining life. In my personal opinion, it is just another exam with some importance. It may be decisive of your career, but not your life. In the present exam pattern you are likely to come up with flying colours. So be cool and composed. Don’t be anxious and tensed up.
  • Make a plan for your study. Study systematically. Divide your time judiciously. Spend more time for difficult subjects like mathematics and science. But never neglect any subject totally. A meticulous plan will boost your confidence and will-power. Your plan should match with your school’s plan so that you may  have a  smooth run.
  • Spend some time for physical exercise every day. It is not scientific and healthy to spend too much time for study. You need to occasionally rejuvenate your body. Go for a walk. Spend some time talking to your friends. But don’t use smart phones because it will stress your eyes. Listen to good music. It will quieten your mind.Be thoughtless for some time.
  • Try to improve your learning skills through practice. Work on your hand writing. Try to improve your memory through some memory enhancing techniques.Improve your vocabulary through reading. Work also with your listening skills.
  • Know your strengths and weaknesses. Don’t try to live up to the expectation of your parents and teachers. They may have unrealistic dreams and hopes. You know who you are. Be happy with what you have. Stop comparing with others. Stop competing with others. Don’t be jealous of others. There may be some one who is better than you in some subjects. But remember you have your own unique ability which others do not have. Try to work on that instead of being jealous of others. Accept yourself who you are and what you are.

Modal Verbs: an overview with examples $ links

Must – to have to, or to be highly likely. Must can be used to express 100% certainty, a logical deduction or prohibition depending on the context.

  • It must be hard to work 60-hours a week. (probable)
  • You must listen to the professor during the lecture. (necessity)
  • She must not be late for her appointment. (necessity)
  • It must not be very hard to do. (probable)

Can – to be able to, to be allowed to, or possible. Can is a very common modal verb in English. It’s used to express ability, permission and possibility.

  • It can be done. (possible)
  • She can sleepover at Sara’s house this weekend. (allowed to)
  • The car can drive cross country. (able to)
  • It cannot be done. (impossible)
  • The doctor said he cannot go to work on Monday. (not allowed to)
  • She cannot focus with the car alarm going off outside. (not able to)

Could –to be able to, to be allowed to, or possible. Could is used when talking about an ability in the past or for a more polite way to ask permission.

  • Mark could show up to work today. (possible)
  • Could I come with you? (allowed to)
  • When I was in college I could stay up all night without consequence. (able to)
  • Mark could not come to work today. (possible/allowed)
  • Last night I could not keep my eyes open. (able to)

May – to be allowed to, it is possible or probable

  • May I sit down here? (allowed to)
  • I may have to cancel my plans for Saturday night. (possible/probable)
  • She may not arrive on time due to traffic. (possible)

Might – to be allowed to, possible or probable. Might is used when discussing something that has a slight possibility of happening, or to ask for permission in a more polite way.

  • Chris might show up to the concert tonight. (possible/probable)
  • Might I borrow your computer? (Many people don’t say this in American English, instead they would say Can I borrow your computer? Or May I borrow your computer?)

Need – necessary

  • Need I say more? (necessary)
  • You need not visit him today. (not necessary)

Should – to ask what is the correct thing to do, to suggest an action or to be probable. Should usually implies advice, a logical deduction or a so-so obligation.

  • Should I come with her to the dentist? (permission)
  • Joe should know better. (advice/ability)
  • It should be a very quick drive to the beach today. (possibility)
  • Margaret should not jump to conclusions. (advice)

Had better – to suggest an action or to show necessity

  • Evan had better clean up the mess he made. (necessity)
  • Megan had better get to work on time tomorrow. (necessity)

Will – to suggest an action or to be able to

  • John will go to his second period class tomorrow. (action)
  • It will happen. (action)
  • She will see the difference. (be able to)
  • Eva will not drive the Volkswagen. (not do an action)
  • Joe will not study tonight because he has to work. (not be able to)

Would – to suggest an action, advice or show possibility in some circumstances

  • That would be nice. (advise/possibility/action)
  • She would go to the show, but she has too much homework. (action)
  • Mike would like to know what you think about his presentation. (action)
  • modal auxiliaries

Here are some useful links:-

  1. http://grammar.ccc.commnet.edu/grammar/auxiliary.htm
  2. http://www.myenglishpages.com/site_php_files/grammar-lesson-modals.php
  3. http://www.englisch-hilfen.de/en/grammar/hilfsverben1.htm
  4. https://www.tesol-direct.com/tesol-resources/english-grammar-guide/modal-auxiliary-verbs/
  5. http://www.quickanddirtytips.com/education/grammar/modal-auxiliary-verbs
  6. http://www.perfect-english-grammar.com/modal-verbs.html
  7. http://www.learnenglish.de/grammar/verbmodal.html

Continuous and comprehensive evaluation -CBSE

   Classes I-V

The academic session is divided into three terms.
I Term– April to August
II Term– September to November
III Term– December to March

Scholastic Areas
The students are evaluated on various parameters through oral and written Class tests, Cycle tests, Activity tests and daily class performances throughout the term for all the subjects. Special emphasis is laid to enhance reading, writing and conversation skills in both English and Hindi.
Various competitions such as Hindi and English Calligraphy, Recitations, Creative Writings and Spell Bee Competitions, Maths, Science and General Knowledge Quiz are organized to make the evaluation system more activity oriented.
Co-scholastic Areas
In line with CCE system, General Knowledge, Environmental Education, Physical Education, skills in Art, Music and Dance, Computers and Reading skills are assessed regularly. In addition, Art and Craft competitions, Music and Dance Competitions, Sports activities are also used as an evaluation tool.
Life Skills
The Life skills depicting the personal traits of a student are judged in accordance with CCE system. These consist of qualities such as confidence, obedience, regularity and punctuality, discipline, respect towards others and school property, neatness etc.
The term wise weightage for scholastic areas in an academic session is as follows:

Class I Term
(April  to August)
    II Term
( September  to  November)
       III  Term
( December  to  March)
  I,II & III            30%                   35%                  35%
  IV & V            35%                   35%                  30%
   Classes VI – X

The academic session is divided into two terms:
I Term: April to September
II Term: October to March
Each child is assessed in both scholastic and co-scholastic areas. For the assessment of the scholastic areas, each term will have two formative assessment(FA) and one summative assessment(SA). The weightage  of each assessment in a term for an academic session is as follows:

Period of assessment April-July July-September September October-December December-March March
 Type of assessment  FA  1  FA  2  SA 1  FA  3 FA  4 SA  2
 VI -X  10%  10%   30%  10% 10% 30%

Assessment of Co- scholastic areas is reported once in class IX and class X each. The students are assessed on various parameters for life skills , work education, visual and performing arts, and attitudes and values towards teachers, schoolmates, school programmes and environment.
The students are also assessed for literary and creative skills, scientific skills, information and communication technology and organizational and leadership skills. In addition, the students also participate in various health and physical activities and are assessed by the teachers accordingly.

 

ASL-dos and don’ts

The CBSE has introduced ASL ( ASSESSMENT OF SPEAKING AND LISTENING)  for high school students to assess the speaking and listening skills of students. I feet that it is a good evaluation tool as these two language skills are the two core skills one needs to master English Language. Here are some dos and don’ts

Dos

  • Prepare a write up of what you are going to speak during the speaking assessment.
  • Listen to the examiner properly.
  • Speak with ease.
  • Try to initiate discussion in the problem solving task.
  • Be relevant, don’t ramble.
  • Use connectives and conjunctions to join or link your ideas.

Don’t s

  • Don’t be panic.
  • Don’t read from a paper.
  • Don’t interrupt.
  • Don’t ramble.
  • Don’t be artificial, be yourself.
  • Don’t speak too fast or too slow.
  • Don’t assume anything before hearing properly.

These are some important points to be careful of. Ultimately, be confident and all the best for your exam!

 

Two Gentlemen of Verona (A.J.Cronin)

Two gentlemen of Verona is a touching story of Jacopo and Nicola, two brothers aged 12 and 13, who do odd jobs and live a hard life themselves to sustain and treat their elder sister Lucia who is suffering from tuberculosis of the spine.

A.J Cronin uses the title of William Shakespeare’s famous  play, the Two Gentlemen of Verona in an ironic manner. Cronin’s portrayal of these modern ‘gentlemen’ of Verona redefines the concept of what it means to be a gentleman. Cronin shows us that one may polish boots or sell newspapers, but it is the magnanimity of heart and nobleness of purpose that actually determines whether one is a true gentleman.

The story recounts the hard life chosen by the two young boys so that they could pay for the treatment of the sister afflicted with tuberculosis. The boys exhibit sincerity and devotion to the cause and maturity they display in their actions gives a new hope for humanity.

The writer and his friend are stopped at the outskirts of Verona by two small boys when they drive through lower hills of the Alps. The boys are brothers, Nicola the elder and Jacopo the younger one. They were selling wild strawberries .Next time when they meet the boys, they were polishing shoes in the public square. Interacting with them, the writer comes to know that they do various tasks. One mid night, they see the boys resting on the stone of a footpath. Nicola sat tired with a bundle of unsold newspapers. His brother was sleeping by putting his hand on Nicola’s shoulder. The narrator asks the boys if they save the money for emigration to America, they deny and say that they have other plans. The writer offers them help for which Jacopo asks him to drop them at Poleta by their  car. The writer accepts their request.

The next afternoon they reach the village located on a hill. The two boys are dropped from the car. After sometime, the writer follows them and finds from the nurse about the two boys and their sister. She tells him that their father, a famous singer died in the war. A bomb had destroyed their home. They had a cultured life, but due to the war, they were left alone on road. Lucia was a good singer, but now she is suffering from tuberculosis and the boys are working hard day and night for the treatment of their  sister. Their selfless actions, nobility and devotion touch the writer’s heart and show a greater hope for mankind.

Questions for study

  1. What are the qualities of a “gentleman”? Work with your partner and complete the following web-chart by listing the qualities of a gentleman.

Answer: industrious, courageous, humble, honest, responsible.
2. Based on your discussion above, what do you think the story is about?
Answer: I think the story is about a person who bears amiable nature. The story is based on the theme of human ethics.
3. Based on reading of the story answer the following questions by ticking the correct options.
1. The driver did not approve of the narrator buying fruit from the two boys because
(a) the boys were untidy and poorly dressed
(b) the strawberries were not fresh
(c) they were asking for a heavy price
(d) the driver did not approve of small boys who worked
Answer: (a) the boys were untidy and poorly dressed
2. The narrator was most impressed by the boys’
(a) desire to earn money
(b) willingness to work
(c) ability to perform many tasks
(d) sense of fun
Answer: (b) willingness to work
3. Nicola was not pleased when Jacopo asked the narrator to drive them to Poleta as he
(a) did not want a stranger to become involved with their plans
(b) preferred going to Poleta by train so that he could enjoy the scenery
(c) did not want to ask anyone for favours
(d) did not want to take help from someone he did not know well
Answer: (a) did not want a stranger to become involved with their plans
4. The narrator did not go inside Lucia’s room as
(a) he did not want to intrude into their privacy
(b) he thought that the boys would object
(c) Lucia would not welcome a stranger
(d) the boys would feel he was spying on them
Answer: (a) he did not want to intrude into their privacy
5. The boys were the first to join the resistance movement against the Germans because
(a) the Germans had hurt their sister
(b) the Germans ruled the city
(c) the Germans had ruined their family
(d) the Germans had destroyed their home
Answer: (c) the Germans had ruined their family
6. The author did not speak to the boys on their return journey because
(a) he thought the boys would prefer to keep their secret
(b) he thought the boys were ashamed of their sister’s condition
(c) he thought they wouldn’t tell him the truth
(d) he thought the boys might ask him for money for their sister

Answer
: (a) he thought the boys would prefer to keep their secret.

5. What do you understand by the following statements?
(a) “We do many things, sir,” Nicola answered seriously. He glanced at us hopefully.
Answer: This statements shows that the two boys were not ashamed of doing menial jobs such as shoe polish or fruit-vending. When the narrator saw them working as shoe shine boys he was surprised as he had seen them selling wild strawberries the previous day. He asked them about it. Then Nicola, the elder brother spoke that they did many things. Nicola said that they also did a lot of other things for a living. The boys hoped that the narrator would ask for their services and in return would earn some good money.
(b) He coloured deeply under his sunburn, then grew pale
Answer: This statement shows the uneasiness of the speaker, Nicola. The narrator was astonished to see that boys worked hard day and night and yet lived meagerly. He wanted to know what the boys did with the money they earned. When he questioned Nicola, he appeared uncomfortable. Perhaps the boys were not used to anybody questioning them regarding their earnings, and the narrator’s question embarrassed them.
(c) He smiled uncomfortably. “Just plans, sir,” he answered in a low voice.
Answer: When the narrator suggested that the boys were saving to emigrate to the States.
Nicola responded that how much ever they wished to do that, currently they had other plans, which he was unwilling to and uncomfortable sharing with the narrator.
(d) Yet in both these boyish faces there was a seriousness which was far beyond their years.
Answer: This statement reflects that both the boys Nicola and Jacopo were mature enough to face the hardships of life. They were only 13 and 12 years yet they looked and behaved wonderfully remarkable. They were childish and innocent yet they were wise, responsible and mature.
6. Answer the following questions briefly.
(a) Why didn’t Luigi, the driver, approve of the two boys?
Answer: Luigi, the driver didn’t approve of the shabby appearance of Nicola and Jacopo. They were wearing old and worn out clothes.
(b) Why were the narrator and his companion impressed by the two boys?

Answer: They were very impressed by the boys because they were highly committed and devoted towards work at such a young age. They were ready to do all sorts of odd jobs to earn money. They exhibited dedication, determination and sincerity while working.

(c) Why was the author surprised to see Nicola and Jacopo working as shoeshine boys?
Answer: The narrator was surprised to see Nicola and Jacopo shining shoes because he thought that selling fruits was their only occupancy.
(d) How were the boys useful to the author?
Answer: The boys were useful to the author in many ways. They showed them city as guide, heelped them in getting a pack of American cigarettes, bought tickets for the opera for them, told them about good restaurants and ran all their errands.
(e) Why were the boys in the deserted square at night? What character traits do they exhibit?
Answer: The two boys were selling newspapers in the windy, deserted square at night. They were waiting for the last bus from Padua. They would sell their newspapers when it came in.
It shows their sense of hard work and patience. They could work till midnight.
(f) The narrator asks the boys, “Must you work so hard? You both look rather tired.”
The boys reply, “We are not complaining, sir.” What do you learn about the boys from their reply?
Answer: When the narrator saw them selling newspapers till midnight, he asked them if they must do work so hard as they both looked tired. . At this, Nicola replied that they were not complaining about it. It means that both the boys had a lot of courage and patience of working hard. It shows their willingness and readiness to work.
(g) When the narrator asks the boys about their plans, they are evasive. Why don’t they disclose their problems?
Answer: The boys don’t disclose their problems to the narrator when he asked them about their plans because they did not want to loose their dignity and self-respect by asking anyone for sympathy or financial help.
7. Discuss the following questions and write the answers in your notebook.
(a) Appearances are deceptive. Discuss with reference to the two boys.
Answer: ‘Appearances are deceptive’. It is very much true in the case of two boys but in the positive sense. In spite of their appearance, the narrator bought fruit from them. In the following days, the narrator discovered that the boys did a lot of other things apart from selling fruit, they sold newspapers, they were shoeshine boys, tourist guides and ran errands. All this made the narrator think that the boys were working so hard to save money to emigrate to America. However, it is revealed during the course of the story that their only motive was to be able to pay for their sister’s treatment. War had destroyed most of their family and yet it had not filled them with despair. The boys were working day and night to save whatever was left. Behind their shabby appearances were hidden two noble souls whose dedication and selflessness promises a new hope for mankind.
(b) Do you think the boys looked after Lucia willingly? Give reasons for your answer.
Answer: The boys loved their sister. She was the only family left after the war was over. When they realized that their sister had tuberculosis of the spine, they got her admitted to a hospital. The ultimate mission of the boys’ life centered on the welfare of their sister Lucia. Day and night, they slogged and starved only to provide for medical expenses for Lucia. This couldn’t have been done without their will and desire.
(c) How does the story ‘Two Gentlemen of Verona’ promise hope for society?
Answer: Both Nicola and Jacopo show selflessness and reflect great dignity in their behaviour. They are deeply devoted to save their sister. In their earnest endeavour they become role models, epitomes of sacrifice who can enlighten the path for rest of the humanity to follow.
8. Look at the Italic words in the following examples.
(a) We bought their biggest basket, then set off toward town.
(b) One night we came upon them in the windy and deserted square.
(c) He bit his lip, then in a rather put out tone he said, ‘Very well.’
(d) I shook my head and turned away.

Here are a few more. Match the phrases to their meanings.

Phrases Meanings
set up to start on a journey
break down to tolerate a situation or a person
set off to lose control of your feelings and start crying
put up with to enter
put off to be faced with or opposed by
put on to start/ establish a company
come in to refuse/ reject
come across to postpone
come up against to try to get help/advice/ sympathy from someone
turn down to wear
turn in to meet or find by chance
turn to to inform on or deliver up

Now use the phrases given above to complete the following sentences.

  1. The landlord was suspicious of the two men staying in his flat so he called the police and _____________them _____________
    2. Early in the morning we packed our bags and _____________ for a hike over the mountain.
    3. Janvi _____________some photographs of her grandfather in the old trunk.
    4. My father _____________ his own business 10 years ago.
    5. The Bank _____________ Paul’s request for a loan.
    6. The Corporation’s decision to reduce the leave of the employees _____________ a lot of opposition.

Answer

Phrases Meanings
Set up to start / establish a company.
Break down to lose control of your feelings and start crying.
Set off to start on a journey.
Put up to tolerate a situation or a person
Put off to postpone
Put on to wear
Come in to enter
Come across to meet or find by chance
Come up against to be faced with or opposed by
Turn down to refuse/ reject
Turn in to to inform or deliver up
Turn to to try to get help/advice/ sympathy from someone

 

  1. The landlord was suspicious of the two men staying in his flat so he called the police and turned themin
  2. Early in the morning we packed our bags and set off for a hike over the mountain.
  3. Janvi came across some photographs of her grandfather in the old trunk.
  4. My father set up his own business 10 years ago.
  5. The Bank turned downPaul’s request for a loan.
  6. The Corporation’s decision to reduce the leave of the employees come up againsta lot of opposition.
    10. The narrator realises why Nicola and Jacopo work so hard. Yet he does not go in to meet their sister nor does he speak to them about what he learns from the nurse. Working in groups, discuss the following aspects of the story and share your views with the class.
    (a) The love and devotion, and the family values Nicola and Jacopo display.
    Answer: Nicola is only 13 years old and Jacopo is 12. Yet, they have a man’s heart each. They work hard day an night, never mind doing petty jobs like vending strawberries, hawking newspapers, polishing shoes. They show tourists round the town and run errands. They do all this to earn money which is used for the treatment of their sister who has been suffering from tuberculosis of spine. It vividly depicts their love, devotion and the family values.
    (b) Their pride in themselves and their family
    Answer: Nicola and Jacopo are not ashamed of doing petty jobs to earn money for the treatment of their sister, Lucia who is afflicted with tuberculosis. War has not broken thei spirits. They are proud of themselves and their family. Though children, they do not want any help or favour from anyone. It shows their pride in thmslves and their family.
    (c) The trust they place in the narrator
    Answer: Before leaving, the narrator asks if he would be of any help to them, Jacopo requests the narrator to send them to Poleta in their car which they might not have asked anybody. After initial disagreement between the brothers and reassurance from the narrator they agree to go with him. They are very comfortable and trust him completely.(d) The reason the narrator does not disclose to them that he knows their secret.
    Answer: Nicola initially is not comfortable with the narrator driving them to Poleta. After some thinking they agree.The moment they reach their destination they jump out of the car and do not ask the narrator to come with them. On the other hand, they suggest him to spend time at a café in the village. The narrator understands their reluctance to share their purpose of visit with him and, therefore, does not disclose to them that he knows their secret.
    11. As the narrator, write an article on the lesson of love, faith and trust that you have learnt from the two young boys of Verona.
    Answer

IT DOESN’T TAKE YEARS TO GAIN MATURITY

 

Tragedies and adversities either bring out the best, or the worst, among people. They prove to be great testing times which end up in glory or disaster. The bitter and indomitable struggle of Nicola
and Jacopo, amidst the ravages of war, takes on epic proportions. The two young boys depict great maturity, wisdom and faith in the invincibility of human spirit. The die-hard nature of two boys
changes the nature of people around them, with their vibrant spark of humanity.

The two boys not only create a home to survive from the rubble, but pitch in their best efforts to
sustain their sister Lucia. Their intrinsic vitality encourages them to take up any work that is available i.e. shining shoes, selling newspapers and fruits or escorting the tourists for sightseeing.
They don’t mind eating black bread or figs, or wearing torn clothes because they’re single-mindedly focused on their sister’s treatment. The boys resort to any kind of emotional blackmail or charity to provide for their sister. Their dignity and perseverance show their extreme faith in their own ability to cater to their sister’s medical treatment.
So, the relentless struggle of two boys offers a kaleidoscopic view of love, tenderness, wisdom and trust, which even a catastrophic war failed to crush.

  1. After her brothers’ visit, Lucia writes a page in her diary about her past life and her present situation. As Lucia write the diary entry in about 150 words.

    Answer


    Date:
    Day:
    Time:

I am very happy today because my brothers Nicola and Jacopo came to see me. They told me that they had come with a kind man by car. Jacopo was chirping. You know, he is as lively as a squirrel. Nicola is mature like a man. He looks after me as parents. How loving and affectionate they are!
I feel very lonely when they are not here. I know, they have to go to city to find some work thee. After all, they have to pay the hospital charges every week.
The demon of war has snatched our comfortable and cultured life. Dear Father, I remember, he was a famous singer. I, myself, had been training as a singer. But the Germans came with their bombs and destroyed our home. We are homeless, starving and suffering. It was a bad winter.
For months, we had to keep ourselves alive in a sort of shelter we built with our own hands amidst the rubble. For three years, the Germans ruled the city. We grew up to hate the Germans. Both of them joined the resistance movement. last year when the war was over, we had peace at lat. they came back. They found me ailing. I was diagnosed suffering from tuberculosis of the spine.
They brought me in the hospital. Now, I am showing steady recovery. One day I will walk and sing again.
This is all due to their efforts. I understand that they at this young age. Normally, an elder siblings looks after the younger ones, takes care of them. In my case, it is opposite. I will be grateful to them for the sacrifice they are making for me. They are embodiments of love, devotion and sincerity. They are my family. Moreover, they are my God on this earth. I am indebted to them for what they are doing forever. I owe them my gratitude.
May God bless these noble souls long and happy life!
Amen!
Lucia

The Frog and the Nightingale by Vikram Seth

Vikram Seth (1952-) is an Indian novelist and poet. He has written several novels and poetry books. He has received many awards from India and abroad. ‘The Frog and the Nightingale’ is a famous poem which has many ramifications and nuances to the modern world. Once upon a time time a frog croaked in Bingle Bog from dawn to dusk. Other creatures of the bog hated his voice. The stupid cacophony- the stupid and unpleasant voice of the frog came out loudly from the base of the sumac tree. Nothing could silence frog. Other creatures resorted to many ways like throwing stones, sticks, bricks and praying, complaining and even insulting. But it all went in vain and could not kill the spirit of the determined frog. One night a nightingale came. It perched upon the Sumac tree in the cold and pale moonlight singing melodiously.The dog was dumbstruck and sat with open mouth. The whole Bog stared towards the sumac tree admiring the song of the nightingale. It was in rupture when the nightingale ended the song, it applauded. Ducks and herons came to the nightingale as she sang. But the solitary frog wept  in the summer moon out of jealousy. All the creatures- frogs, teals and tiddlers were cheered by the song and they called it divine and asked her to sing more and more. Nightingale who was not familiar to such applause sand till morning without a pause. Next night as the nightingale was about to sing, it was interrupted by the croak of the frog. It hopped and croaked and the nightingale asked the frog, “sorry, was it you who spoke?” The frog said, “yes” and told her that he owned that tree in the Bog. He was widely known for his splendid baritone. He also added that he  wrote songs for Bog  and Trumpet off and on. Then the nightingale asked the frog if he liked her song. The frog replied that her song was not bad it was much long. The technique was fine. But the song lacked some power. The nightingale confessed his mistake with a ‘sigh’. She was greatly flattered and impressed that such a famous critic had discussed her art and throat. She humbly told him that she thought her song was not divine but it was at least hers. The heartless frog told her that it was not much to boast about. Without proper training she would remain merely a beginner. But if he gave her that training she would be a winner. The training could be provided only by him or few others. The nightingale spoke to the frog with great love that it was a was a fairy tale to meet the frog. She said that the frog was the Mozart, the great musician, in disguise who had come to earth before her. The frog told her that he would charge a modest fee for his training and it wasn’t meant to hurt her. The nightingale got inspired. Flushed with confidence and fired with both art and adoration she sang. She was a success and she became a great celebrity.Animals from miles around flocked towards the magical sound of the nightingale. The frog with great accuracy and precision counted the heads of animals and charged admission fee from each. Next morning it was raining. But the frog began the nightingale’s vocal training. The nightingale told him that she couldn’t sing in that weather. The frog, however, spoke with love that they would sing together. They sand up together for six hours. She started shivering. Her voice became hoarse and she started quivering. The nightingale was silent and had little sleep. But in the night her throat revived. She started singing again. The sumac tree was bowed with titled crowd of the hearers of her song. The Owl of Sandwich, Duck of Kent, Mallard and Milady Trent, Martin Cardinal Mephisto, The Coot of Monte Cristo, ladies wearing shining tiaras sat twittering in the interval. The frog saw them twitter with both sweet and bitter joy. Everyday, the frog would scold her saying that she must practice longer till she gets voice like his grew stronger. In fact, the frog had sold her songs for silver. The frog told her that in the second song last night she got nervous in the middle. He asked her lovingly to lay much emphasis on  trills that audience may enjoy such frills.

The frog asked the nightingale that she must make the public happier by giving them something sharp and thrilling. They must aim at increasing the money. He also reminded her that she still owed him sixty shillings. Day by day the nightingale grew more sorrowful and pale. Night after night her tired song became quick and unsteady. Moreover, the birds and beasts grew tired at such dull sound. As a result, the ticket office gross crashed. The nightingale grew more morose because her ears had been addicted to free applause which had now stopped. Singing into the night gave her on delight now.

The frog got puffy with anger. He called the nightingale brainless  and told her that she was on the stage. He asked her to use her mind and follow fashion. She must fill her lungs with passion.  The nightingale trembled and was terrified to fail. She was blind with tears. She heard the frog silently and tried to sing. She puffed up to sing. But she burst a vein and due to that she died.

The poem is relevant and thought provoking in this modern materialistic and consumerist world. The frog represents the exploiter and manipulator. The nightingale represents the exploited and manipulated lot. In fact, the nightingale herself is responsible for her own downfall as such men are bound to fail before the crafty and deceitful persons. She is really brainless that she doesn’t see into things. She is innocent and credulous to the extent that whatever the frog says is accepted by her. She must have been worldly wise, careful and alert and should have seen beyond what what the frog tells her.

Another moral of the poem is that a poor self-image can do irreparable damage to a person. A poor self-image leads to lack of self-confidence and self-esteem and people who possess them are prone to other’s influence. They are easily flattered. Eventually all these would lead to their own downfall.

Text book solutions

1. Have you come across people who are not what they seem to be – like someone who is extremely friendly and helpful yet you are not very comfortable with him /her as you feel it is a put-on? Have a class discussion about such people and why you feel as you do.
Answer: Yes, I have come across such persons. They pretend for having a virtuous character, moral or religious beliefs etc., that they don’t really possess. At first, They are or can be successful in impressing others. However, when the real picture is revealed, they are subjected to embarrassment and humiliation. They also lose their popularity and the previously formed impression gets marred.
2. The following is a summary of the poem but it is jumbled up. Write out the events in their correct order to form a continuous paragraph.
(a) As a result, her voice lost its beauty, and the other creatures stopped coming to hear her sing.
(b) Soon the nightingale became famous, and creatures from miles around came to hear her sing.
(c) All the creatures in the bog cheered and clapped at her beautiful song.
(d) He offered to train the nightingale, so that she could sing even more beautifully.
(e) So the frog could sing unrivalled in the bog once more.
(f) The next night the frog introduced himself.
(g) The frog charged an admission fee, and earned a lot of money from these concerts.
(h) A frog croaked all night in a bog, in an unpleasant voice.
(i) But the frog made the nightingale rehearse continuously in the rain.
(j) One night a nightingale began to sing in a melodious voice.
(k) Finally the nightingale burst a vein and died.
Answer
(h) A frog croaked all night in a bog, in an unpleasant voice.
(j) One night a nightingale began to sing in a melodious voice.
(c) All the creatures in the bog cheered and clapped at her beautiful song.
(f) The next night the frog introduced himself.
(d) He offered to train the nightingale, so that she could sing even more beautifully.
(b) Soon the nightingale became famous, and creatures from miles around came to hear her sing.
(g) The frog charged an admission fee, and earned a lot of money from these concerts.
(i) But the frog made the nightingale rehearse continuously in the rain.
(a) As a result, her voice lost its beauty, and the other creatures stopped coming to hear her sing.
(k) Finally the nightingale burst a vein and died.
(e) So the frog could sing unrivalled in the bog once more.
3. Answer the following questions
(a) How did the creatures of Bingle bog react to the nightingale’s singing?
Answer: The creatures of Bingle Bog favoured the nightingale’s songs to a great extent. In fact, they gathered in crowds to hear the nightingale sing. Animals and birds, from far and wide, came to hear her sing her melodious songs.
(b) Which are the different ways in which the frog asserts his importance?
Answer: The frog asserts his importance by being authoritative, territorial and imposing. He pretended to be a great singer and he also said that he was the reporter of Bog ‘Trumpet’. He boasted that he was a music critic and a musician like Mozart and was ready to train her.
(c) Why is the frog’s joy both sweet and bitter?
Answer: The joy of the frog was sweet as the nightingale could gather so many people to attend her concert. The more the audience, the more would be the earning, which the nightingale was bound to pay to the frog as tuition fees. Moreover, he was happy that he succeeds in torturing the bird and pushing her towards death. However, it was bitter as he knew deep within his heart that the nightingale’s talent surpassed his own and thus, nobody as great as the present audience had ever come to hear him from far and wide. It was pure jealousy.
(d) Why was the frog angry?
Answer: The frog was angry because the nightingale had ceased to sing melodiously. Her song was so dull that no one liked it. This had suddenly crashed the income of frog.
(e) How did the frog become the unrivalled king of the bog again?
Answer:The frog became the unrivaled king of Bingle Bog, after the death of the nightingale. Now no bird or animal would compete with the frog in singing. Secondly, all of them over there were greatly scared of him.
f. Discuss the following questions and write the answers in your note-books.
(a) Bring out the irony in the frog’s statement – ‘Your song must be your own’.
Answer:Irony is a literary device which means the expression of one’s meaning by saying something which is the direct opposite of one’s thoughts. Earlier the frog tells the nightingale that she should not boast about on her original songs but later on he finds fault in the nightingale by saying: “Your song must be your own.” So there is an instance of irony in this statement.
(b) Do you think the end is justified?
Answer: The end faced by the innocent nightingale is pitiful yet justified. It portrays the truth where evil people have an upper-hand over the innocent ones. Thus, it is natural that the ‘innocence’ of the nightingale is killed by the ‘cruel and crafty designs’ of evil symbolised by the frog.
(c) Do you think the nightingale is ‘brainless’? Give reasons for your answer.
Answer: No, I don’t think the nightingale is brainless. Being simple, innocent, shy or dismissive doest not mean foolish. It is only being noble. She wanted to be a successful and accoladed singer. So, she accepted the frog’s advice of giving her vocal training. Her only fault was that she lacked confidence.
(d) In spite of having a melodious voice and being a crowd puller, the nightingale turns out to be a loser and dies. How far is she responsible for her own downfall?
Answer: The nightingale is, herself, responsible for her own downfall. She doesn’t use her capability to judge and evaluate sweet-tongued people. That why she is killed by the evil designs of the frog who ploys her to her death.
(e) Do you agree with the Frog’s inference of the Nightingale’s character? Give reasons for your answer.
Answer: Yes, I agree with the frog’s notion of the Nightingale’s character. Being flattered and submissive and timid, she invited her own death upon herself. She should have been able to see through the frog’s plots and reverted accordingly. However, her innocence didn’t allow her to evaluate the frog’s tricks.

Snake by D.H Lawrence Summary

Snake by D.H Lawrence

snake

‘Snake’  is a poem composed skillfully on a simple theme. A snake visited the poet’s garden to quench its thirst. It emerged from the recesses of the earth. It was a hot day. The Etna’s smoke, a volcano in Sicily, heightened the heat. It was   quite natural that a snake comes out of its abode, a hole, to quench or satiate its natural appetites. The poet has come out of his house with a pitcher to fetch water. The poet had to wait till the snake disappeared because it  had come at the trough prior to the poet.

The poet describes the snake as ‘earth-brown, and ‘earth golden’. The voice of his education told him that such snakes must be killed for in Sicily the black snakes are innocent. The golden snakes are dangerous. It is shows a prejudiced society. In fact, the poet was afraid of the snake. If he doesn’t kill the snake he would be considered as a ‘coward’. The poet instinctively likes the snake. Thus he treats it like a guest. He also feels honoured that it had come to drink at its water trough.

 Instead of receiving the ‘guest’ showing hospitality, the ‘educated and civilized’ poet tries to throw a log at it. After drinking the water the snake raised its head just like cattle do  and flashed his forked tongue. It drank some more water and started going back. The poet suddenly filled with a protest against the idea of the snake withdrawing into its hole. He puts down his pitcher, picked up a log and hurled it at the snake. The snake twisted violently and and vanished into the hole in the wall.

The poet later feels remorse in that act. Furthermore, he is trying to expiate for that ‘mean act’ in future. The snake was frightened by poet’s odd behavior and returns to its abode.The poem is a self-critique. It is also a social criticism. It unfolds the negative impact of social conditioning. Instead of feeling sympathy for other creatures man has become selfish and a ‘fearful being’. The practical wisdom told him that this brown snake is poisonous and it must be killed. This  points its finger to man’s prejudice to other creatures. Man misjudges creatures with its colour. Man’s urge to terminate all those creatures who are the potential threat to him is revealed here in poet’s uncouth behaviour. Who is responsible for that?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=52qUVAwhsRI

It is human education that alienated human beings from nature. Man acts on an impulse to survive himself. In course of such struggle to exist he deliberately ignores or ‘take for granted’ the right to live of all other creatures. We human beings fight for our rights. We formulate international laws to protect human rights. What about the rights of other creatures on this planet, and who is bothered about it? Do they also have the same right as we have to exist?

The poet quenches his thirst by drinking from his cup and nobody intimidates him. On the other hand, when this ‘King in exile’  does this same thing it is targeted and destined to be killed. This is a biased behaviour. The poet should have shown hospitality. He never should have tried to kill it. Only social conditioning and education compelled him to do so.

dh lawrenceTo put it brief, the poem skillfully criticizes modern human education, which is one-sided, alienated from nature and selfish. By telling that he wants to mend his ways, the poet calls for a reconstructive, redefined idea of education which would enable man to live close to nature. It demands a collaborative living. It also suggests a mutual collaborative existence giving equal room and right for other creatures to exist and lead a peaceful life as human beings.