1st years English Note 2018 HIS FIRST FLIGHT
English Note Unit 1: First Attempts and Challenges
HIS FIRST FLIGHT
- The young seagull is afraid of flight. He thinks that his wings are not strong enough to support his body. He also lacks the necessary courage of facing the sea. The sprawling sea under his ledge had once terrified him when he had attempted to flap his wings. The seagull believes that he would fall into the sea and would die if he tried to fly.
- The young seagull is a parasite. He depends on his family for his food. He can get food if he takes his flight which he is unwilling to take. His parents and siblings want him to he self-reliant. Therefore, they refuse to feed him and force him to take his flight for food.
- The mother picks up a piece of fish and starts flying towards the seagull. The seagull becomes hopeful that she is bringing him food. But when the mother reaches near the ledge, she suddenly stops. The seagull wonders why she is not delivering the food. The sight of food tempts him. As a result, he jumps at the food, falls into the space and takes his flight.
- The young seagull was initially falling headlong but when he flapped his wings, he felt He was no longer afraid. He developed feeling that he had always been able to fly. He also realized that his wings were strong enough to support his body. The seagull became confident and started enjoying his flight. He also was facing the sea without any fear.
- The important thing about the bird’s first flight is that Nature is essentially good and There is nothing cruel about it. This view can be illustrated through the character of the mother. She does appear merciless when she refuses to feed the seagull. But she is, in fact, cruel to be kind. Her occasional sadism is for the goodness of the seagull.
- The important lesson one can derive from “His First Flight” is that self-preservation is the first law of Nature. To care for one’s own life is the top priority of every The seagull does not take his flight despite the repeated persuasion and threats of the family members. And when he takes it, it is because he cannot resist the temptation of food due to extreme hunger. For him, the safety of his life always comes first.
- It is quite difficult to do something for the first time because one does not know enough about it. There is the feeling of strangeness about it. The mystery around the thing makes one afraid. Also, worry about the result makes the person reluctant. The fear of possible loss or suffering leads to passivity.
1.2 FIRST YEAR AT HARROW
- Churchill had hardly celebrated his twelfth birthday when he started taking exams. The examinations were always great trial to him. He did not like to take exams. Moreover, he was never tested in subjects that he liked. Also, he was asked questions that he did not know, and was never asked those that he knew.Churchill and the examiners had different tastes about the subjects. He liked poetry, history and writing essays. The examiners, on the other hand, favoured Latin and mathematics. In this clash, the examiners were the winners. Churchill was never tested in those subjects that he liked.
- Welldon was a man who never tested students on face value. He would focus on the general ability of the students. Churchill, as a matter of fact, did not know the ABC of Latin prose. He could not accurately answer the questions in the paper. Mr. Welldon did not judge him on the basis of his paper presentation, but on the basis of his competence in Latin prose which was evident from his random and illegible writing in the paper.
- The names-of the students were printed in the school list in an alphabetical order. Since, Churchill’s name started with an “S”, therefore, his name was placed almost at the end of the list. There were two boys after Churchill on the list. And these two also quit the school due to unknown reasons. So Churchill was left at the end of the list. And that is the reason that he also considered his situation as “unpretentious” in
- Somervell used to teach Churchill English parsing. He had his own method of teaching. He would take a long sentence and would split it into its components—subject, verb, object etc.—by means of different colours. Students would then recognize a particular component by its colour. It was a kind of drill which they did almost daily.
- Same as question No. 3
- Churchill’s name had appeared almost at the bottom of the merit list. He was not among the talented students. Therefore, he was not allowed to learn Latin or Greek languages. He was taught English which was not considered a sign of scholarship. So because of his position on the merit list and his academic pursuits, he did not enjoy a good reputation in the school.
- Churchill and other students were considered mediocre. They were called dunces. Such students were taught English only. The intelligent students at Harrow were allowed to learn Latin and Greek. These languages were the signs of scholarship.
- Churchill was considered a mediocre at Harrow School. He learnt his own native language English. The intelligent students learnt Latin and Greek and were awarded prizes and got distinction during school time. But they had to learn English again in order to make progress or get jobs in practical life. Since Churchill had already learnt English, therefore he was not at any disadvantage.
- Students should first learn their native language. They can then learn other foreign languages if they need or wish to lear9. But the native language must have instrumental It should be marketable. If it gularantees advanced education and a decent living, then no doubt students should learn it on priority basis.
- Churchill’s basic purpose is not just to tell an entertaining story but to highlight the importance of native language. He believes that students should first learn their native : They can then learn other foreign languages if they need–or wish to learn. But the native/national language must have instrumental value. It should be marketable. It should guarantee advanced education and a decent living.
1.3 SEPTEMBER, THE FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL
Reference: These lines are taken from “September, the First Day of School” written by Homard Nemerov.
Context: In this poem, the poet depicts the feelings of a father about his son. He starts with the first day of school when he is taking his son to school. Then he expresses his views about the school curriculum, and contends that children have tough time at school. But he hopes that, like Joseph’s story, the schooling will prove beneficial to his son.
Explanation: The speaker, a father, says that he is taking his son to school. They are holding each other’s hands. He has the company of his son on the way to school.
They get to the school and when he leaves his son at the first-grade classroom, he starts crying. The son is reluctant to enter his classroom. He shows a bit resistance, but, finally, releases the hands of his father. The speaker says that his son is brave. He does not dwell much upon going back with him.
The father also starts weeping. The tears in eyes are not for his son, but for himself. He is reminded of his own childhood when his father had brought him here and he had wept. That’s why he says that my tears are selfish. Like his son, perhaps he also had great difficulty in releasing his father’s hand.
Paraphrase: I am taking my son to his school. He reads in the first grade. When I drop him at the door of his classroom, he weeps a bit. He is brave as he releases my hand after showing some resistance. I then reminisce my past when, perhaps, I also had very tough time in disengaging my father’s hand. The tears in my eyes are selfish as they are for me, not for my son.
Explanation: The school children face some difficulties in school. These problems are faced collectively as well as individually. The first challenge is learning a language. Students have to learn a foreign language in school. Next, they are asked to learn mathematics. They try to understand numbers in mathematics. The students also do different activities. They are engaged in a great number of different activities like puzzles, toys, and blocks etc. which are not so easy to understand.
The speaker says that the school curriculum is highly illogical and dictatorial. The school children are subject to very tough tasks which they cannot easily understand. Also, the students are not given any option in the selection of the subjects. They have to submit to both material and immaterial areas of study. The students learn courses related to morality, ethics and mind. They also study science subjects which explain laws about :physical universe. The students are simply passive followers and they have no active role in designing courses for themselves.
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Paraphrase: The school children face some challenging tasks in the school. They confront these challenges individually as well as collectively. They learn languages, mathematics and do numerous other activities. The scholastic assignments are very • illogical and dictatorial. The students have to submit before them. Some of these subjects are related to spiritual aspect of human life and some are about physical aspect.
Explanation: The speaker gives a Biblical allusion. He refers to the story of Joseph. Joseph as a boy once dreamed that the sheaves and the stars are prostrating before him. They are showing their submission to him. The contents of the dream signaled the prophethood of Joseph. When his brothers came to know about this dream, they became jealous. They put Joseph to very tough time. He paid a huge price for his dream. But it proved very beneficial in the end. It was in a way blessing in disguise for Joseph. He became the governor of Egypt due to this mishap.
Paraphrase: Prophet Joseph once dreamed that the sheaves and the stars are prostrating before him. He was a little boy that time. His brothers became jealous of him when they came to know about this dream. Joseph paid a huge price for this dream. Yet, the dream proved very beneficial as he later became the governor of Egypt. This dream was a blessing in disguise for him
Explanation: The speaker says that his son has gone into his classroom. He then speculates about the future of his son. He is not sure that he will survive long enough to see his upcoming future. He is still a child and his future is far away.
The speaker says that he is hopeful about his son. He would have a bright future but he is not exactly clear about the form of his future life. The speaker says that he is not going to impose his own choice upon his son. He will decide himself about his career.
The speaker then thinks about the teachers. He wishes that the teachers may have fatherly attitude towards his son. They may be caring like his father towards his son. Rather, they might love him more than he does. The speaker then imagines a situation when a teacher would care about his son more than he does. He is not interested in knowing any such situation.
Paraphrase: My son has entered his classroom. Would I live long enough to see him as a mature man? His future is very far away. I am hopeful about his future, but do not know exactly the shape of his future career. I wish he may find fatherly teachers who would be more caring than I am. I have no idea how that would look when a teacher loves my son more than I do.
Explanation: The speaker says that our habits are mostly ceremonial. The tears that we shed when our sons attend their schools on their first day are also ritualistic. Rarely, we are original in our dealings. The schooling is very hard experience. But the speaker wishes that it may prove very kind and beneficial. May his son have a good life after passing through such difficult experiences.
Paraphrase: Our weeping is mostly ritualistic. I pray that this hellish experience of schooling may prove Paradise for my son.
Unit 2: Environment and Nature
2.1 IT’S COUNTRY FOR ME
- Joal is a thoroughgoing farmer. He never feels uneasy while carrying out his responsibilities. He is very enthusiastic about farming. It is his universe. Hence, when his mother calls him to feed the lamb, he comes out and does it happily. His attitude towards Lamby is very friendly.
- The Holland farm is located in the tiny town of Scales Mound. It was bought by James Holland, Joal’s great-great-grand father, in 1860. The farm covers a total area of 245-acre. It is a self-sufficient farm. The Hollands raise livestock —cattle and a few sheep on it. They also grow food like corn, oats and hay that their animals need. The farm is also the source of income for the Hollands. They sell the surplus food and animals and make handsome money.
- Joal is a teenager but he works like an adult. His stamina is like that of a grown-up man. He carries out a number of chores after his school. . He is very enthusiastic about farming. Joal can operate machines, can drive a tractor, walk and run numerous miles and can lift several pounds of grain. He also never misses any opportunity to learn about farming from his father and brothers.
- Joal’s father and brothers say that farming is a good profession. The cutting edge of this profession is that one is always independent. One does not have to work as a subordinate. One does not have to dance to the tune of a boss. Joal smiles and says that he has many bosses and points to his dad and brothers sitting around the table. They all laugh. Joal, of course, is kidding. He completely agrees with them about the rewards of farming.
- Farmers need to have multiple skills in order to operate a big farm like the Hollands’ farm. They should possess the skill to drive heavy and powerful vehicles. They should know how to fix a fault in machines. They should know the art of raising livestock and should also act as veterinarians. The farmers should also be agriculturists, and should know about business tactics as they will have to sell the surplus food and animals.
- Joal is a thoroughgoing farmer. He never feels uneasy while carrying out his He is very enthusiastic about farming. It is his universe. Hence, his decision to stay on the farm is very sensible one. He is made for farming. He simply has no interest in the city life and, as a matter of fact, he is not fit to live in the city.
2.2 OUR ENVIRONMENT
- initially, human beings took the earth, water and air as the background setting of human These elements were taken for granted and were considered as ordinary things. The natural resources were unlimited. The air was fresh and clean. Rivers and oceans were unpolluted. With the passage of time, human beings became careless and they started using rivers and oceans for producing energy. Also, they threw the trash in the water. This way the environment got polluted.
- Environment, according to the writer, is no more the concern of the scientists. It has become the problem of every individual in the society. A polluted environment poses threats to the life of every individual. It can affect people directly or indirectly. Also, environment has become so polluted that people of one particular class cannot clean it. Every person should take care of it and should try to keep it clean.
- The complex net of relationships that living things have to their physical environment is called ecosystem. There is natural balance in the ecosystem. The population of the organisms is regulated according to the food supply. This balance is achieved through natural disasters like diseases, earthquake, floods or cyclones. Also, the dependence of organisms on other organisms for their food leads to predation and, as a result, this balance is sustained.
- All organisms are tightly connected to one another and to their environment. There is inter-dependency among them. They depend upon each other for food, shelter and Any change in one part can have serious repercussions for others. Plants, for instance, make food which is eaten by other organisms. Therefore, any damage to plants also means damage to herbivores.
- The question before the society is about the cleaning of the environment. What should human beings do to compensate for the damage they have done to the environment?
- There can be two possible modes of compensation. The first is to pay cash in order to Cleanse rivers and oceans. The second is that human beings give up some of their luxuries and machines that pollute the environment. They should reduce their consumption which is the major cause of pollution. The second mode, according to the writer, is more productive.
- If society does not properly respond to the issue of pollution, it will simply be disastrous. Rivers and oceans would become hazardous. Air will become highly toxic. There will be no fresh air to breathe. The polluted environment will adversely affect human health and life. The world will become inhabitable.
- The people of Pakistan are not aware of their environment. They have no concern for it. They are, by and large, ignorant about environmental issues. Consequently, the environment is decaying day by day. Trash and littering are thrown everywhere. Rivers and oceans are mostly used for the disposal of the waste. Clean air and water is simply becoming a rarity in Pakistan.
- Both the government and society should accept responsibility for environmental The proper role of the government is to make laws about the environment. Some courses about ecology should be introduced at every level of education. This will create awareness about the environment. The society should support the government in the implementation of laws. Every individual of the society should take of their trash and should try to keep the environment clean2.3
TEARS OF NATURE
Reference: These lines are taken from “Tears of Nature” written by Graem King. Context: In this poem, the poet personifies the physical nature and presents her as a mother. The environmental objects are depicted as the children of nature. Any damage to the environment makes the nature cry. But, unfortunately, human beings are indifferent to their environment and they do not learn anything about the protection of the environment. .
Explanation: The poet says that he just heard a cry. This was the Mother Nature who was crying over the cutting of the tree.The nature is personified as a mother The trees are her children. Just like a mother cries over the death of her child, so does the nature cries over the falling, tree. The poet laments the fact that human beings are not learning about their environment. They always ignore it. Time matures human mind, but in case of environment, human mind has not matured.
Paraphrase: The nature cries like a mother. She has lost a child in the form of tree. One thinks that human beings will learn about environmental protection, but they do not learn anything about it.
The poet here refers to Ozone layer. He says that the scientists say that Ozone layer is in danger. There is a big hole in it. This damage to the layer is done by the environmental pollution. Since the layer is not visible, therefore human beings do not believe in the damage done to it. The poet says that we never believe in something unless we see it with our own eyes. As Aristotle once said that among all senses, seeing is the most credible one. Human beings are suspicious about the destruction of Ozone layer as they cannot see it with naked eyes. This daniage to the layer puts the environment in danger as ultraviolet radiations will strike the earth and will cause numerous diseases. The destruction of the layer makes the nature cry.
Paraphrase: The scientists say that Ozone layer has been damaged by environmental pollution. But human beings do not believe in it as they cannot see the layer with their eyes. The nature cries like a mother over the damage done to the layer.
The poet in (hese lines refers to the emission of harmful gases from the chimneys. These gases go up and pollute the air. Coal is used as fuel due to which very poisonous smoke comes out of the chimneys of the industries. Contrary to coal. solar energy is environment-friendly. It does not cause any pollution. But human beings use coal in their factories and avoid using solar energy. The poet says that we will learn about this fact as time passes by. But, unfortunately, we have learnt one thing and that is nothing.
Paraphrase: coal burns in the chimneys of the industries and the harmful smoke goes up. Solar energy is pollution-free. But human beings avoid using it. One thinks that human beings will learn about environmental protection, but they do not learn anything about it. Stanza 4
The poet says that human beings make ships and rockets. They manufacture technologically advanced space shuttles and submarines. These objects cause pollution. Ships move in the sea and pollute its water. Space shuttles also have their side effects. Human beings can make ships within the second shake of the lamb’s tail, but they do not do anything to protect the sea pollution. This pollution of the sea hurts the nature. The sea is like her child. She laments the loss of purity of the sea water.
Paraphrse: Human beings manufacture ships and space shuttles. They run ships in the sea and pollute its water. They are not bothered by this pollution. The nature cries like a mother over the pollution of the sea water.
The poet says that every day we hear headlines on TV or in the newspaper. The breaking -news is mostly about the extinction of certain species. But we are not moved by such news. We remain quiet and adopt a diplomatic stance towards it. Human beings say that the death of a particular species does not concern us. It is the job of the wildlife ‘department to tackle it. The poet says that we will learn about this fact as time passes by. But, unfortunately, we never learn. The only thing that we have learnt is that we have learnt nothing.
Paraphrase: We hear breaking news about the extinction of certain species, but we remain quiet. We are real diplomats regarding such issues. -One thinks that human beings will learn about environmental protection, but they do not learn anything.
The poet says that we never care about the coming generation. We ignore the future. We just care about the present. The preservation of the environment is very necessary. But no one is ready to take the initiative. Every one waits for the other to start protecting the environment. The Mother Nature cries over the indifferent attitude of human beings. The poet says that we will learn about this fact as time passes by. But, unfortunately, we never learn. The only thing that we have learnt is that we have learnt nothing.
Paraphrase: We are not bothered by the future. We simply ignore it. No one is ready to protect the environment. The nature cries like a mother over the damage done to the environment. One thinks that human beings will learn about environmental protection, but they do not learn anything about it.
Unit 3 Changing Attitudes
3.1 The Blanket
- When the story begins, Peter and Granddad think about the going away. Then they go outside and talk about the harmonica. Granddad tells Peter that he will play some old tunes for him. Their discussion then gradually turns towards the blanket. The blanket is a gift from Peter’s Dad to his Granddad. Granddad is going to be sent to old age house by Dad. Hence, the blanket has been brought as a farewell gift for him.
- The blanket is a gift from Peter’s Dad to his Granddad. Dad is going to send Granddad to old age home. The blanket is brought as a farewell gift. Granddad is leaving the house, and is moving to old age home. The blanket, therefore, is labeled as a going away gift. Peter is quite angry at his Dad for sending Granddad to senior citizen facility.
- Dad wants to marry a pretty young girl. He plans to start a new happy life with her. Once married, he will not be able to take care of Granddad. Also, Granddad will, in a way, disturb his matrimonial life by complaining about different types of bodily diseases. Therefore, he decides to send Granddad to old age home.
- The girl visits Peter’s house in order to say farewell to Granddad. When she sees the blanket that Dad has brought as a gift for Granddad, she gets upset.- She tells Dad that he should not have bought such an expensive blanket for his father. Also, Granddad did not actually need any double blanket. He could easily have managed with a single blanket. Her persistent talk about the blanket makes Dad angry.
- The girl visits Peter’s house to say farewell to Granddad. When she sees the blanket that Dad has brought as a gift for Granddad, she tells Dad that he should not have bought such an expensive blanket. Also, Granddad did not need any double blanket. Her persistent talk about the olanket makes Dad angry. Peter then intervenes and suggests that Dad should cut the blanket into two. This will make it a single blanket. Granddad will take one half and Peter will give the other half to Dad when he is sending him to old age
- The final scene of the story is very moving. The three characters get very emotional and start crying. Dad, perhaps, realizes how wrong he was. So he cries. Peter has achieved his goal of undoing the plan of sending Granddad to old age home. He, therefore, might be crying because of extreme happiness. Granddad is not sent to senior citizen facility and will enjoy the company of Peter: Therefore, he also starts crying.
- Granddad is a quite sensitive man. He reacts very emotionally to the entire situation. He .constantly talks about his sending away to old age home. It shows his concern about it. His way of talk is mostly ironical. Quite often, he means the opposite of what he says. His comment about Dad’s prospective marriage with the pretty girl shows that he does not approve it as Dad will then send him.to old age home. He wants to stay at home and to listen to the cries of the babies. He loves Peter and wants to spend most of his time with him.
- Peter is a precocious child. He is pre-Maturely developed. He undoubtedly is a very intelligent child. His suggestion to Dad about the blanket shows that he is pretty sharp. Peter displays a very affectionate, caring, sympathetic and devoted attitude towards his Granddad. He loves his Granddad. Therefore, he does not want him to be sent to old age home. He is also a good son. He does not want his Dad to commit the mistake of sending Granddad to old age home as he as a son will not like to do the same with his father.
- Dad is actually-good by-heart. But, circumstantially, he becomes bad. It is because of the pretty girl that he becomes blind in his happiness and ignores his other family members. When peter asks him to cut the blanket in two as he will be receiving the other half once old, his eyes open. He realizes his mistake and apologizes to Granddad for being selfish.
- Human relationship needs love, care and sympathy. It demands devotion. Relationship based on these values is very enduring as we see in the relationship between Peter and If there is any material interest, then relationship cannot last for long time. The relationship between Dad and the pretty young girl is an example of it. The fragile relationship between the two stands in sharp contrast to the solid and firm relationship between Peter and Granddad.
3.2 The Way It Was and Is
- Bill Cosby had no interest in the classical music that his father liked. His father would always force him to listen to it. However, he would pretend that he liked it. Cosby would smile with respect during the performance. He would also move his head backwards and forwards rhythmically. In fact, he would consider the music as trash.
- Bill Cosby liked modern pop music. He had no stomach for old classical music. The musicians that Cosby would listen during his youth were all rock musicians. They were Sonny Rollins, John Coltrane, Dizzy Gillespie, Miles Davis, Thelonious Monk, Bud Powell and Philly Joe Jones. •
- Cosby says that American society encourages consumerism. It asks the parents to spend money in order to make their children happy. He was also falling into the same He wanted to make his daughter happy. Therefore, he went to buy the stereo for her.
- Cosby refers to the generation gap that exists between the young and the old. He as a father now belongs to old generation. He fails to appreciate the music played by his But he pretends to like it saying that, perhaps, modern music is different from old music. There is now something more to music than melody, harmony and rhythm. What he actually means is that modern music is just loud and unpleasant sound lacking the qualities of true music.
- The heavy thumping sound of the stereo makes those things locomotive that ordinarily do not move. Things like plates, cups, silverwares and the salt and the pepper shakers started moving. The chandelier began to swing and the chairs started Cosby tells his wife that their house is perhaps located on a major geographical fault. He also believes that the house is going to fall. and his end is approaching near. He, therefore, expresses his profound love for his wife.
- Cosby contends that there is a big generation gap between the old and the young. The old have their own life styles and the young have theirs. The existing vacuum between the two generations can be closed if there is mutual understanding between the two. They can reach to common grounds if they change their tastes and lifestyles. Since this is a distant possibility, therefore, Cosby says that this gap will always be there. It will keep on widening as the two are not willing to compromise their modes of life.
- The old and the young have different mind sets. The two generations have their own likes and dislikes. They have different life styles. Each generation sticks to its gun. They think their way of life as correct and criticize the other way of life as incorrect. Each generation cannot digest what the other likes. They do not show any respect to the values of other generation. Consequently, the gap between the two is widening and there is no tangible hope of reconciliation.
- Children usually consider their parents as out of date. They believe that their parents or elders do not keep themselves up to date about the modern trends. They, therefore, do not seek guidance from their elders about the modern trends and fashions. The elders get involved in the problems of life so much that they do not have time to know about the ongoing modern trends in music. Their children, therefore, never consider them as hip. And when the children grow up and become parents, they receive the same treatment from their children.
3.3 The Most Beautiful Flower
Reference: These lines are taken from “The Most Beautiful Flower” written by Cheryl L. Costello- Forshey.
Context: In this narrative poem, an old lady tells her story of disillusionment and the subsequent enlightenment. She is very pessimistic due to failures in life. A small blind boy changes her outlook towards life. The liveliness of the boy makes her think about her life and she becomes an optimist. She decides to see beauty in life and to ignore its ugliness
Explanation: The speaker, an old lady, says that she came to a park, and sat on an empty bench. This bench was under an old willow tree. The branches of the tree were sprawled in a very disorganised manner. She was disappointed with life. Life has always pulled her down when she tried to go up. It seemed as if life was my sworn enemy. Therefore, she had a logical reason to have an unpleasant outlook of life. The selection of the willow ‘tree also shows that the lady is sad. While she is thinking about the failures of life,
Explanation: In these lines, the old lady says that the blind boy made her aware about the reality of life. She realized that there was nothing wrong with the world. The world was not bad. She actually had turned blind and had failed to see reality. A few failures in life should not make one pessimist. The boy was blind but full of optimism. This single encounter with him brought huge changes in her life. She started seeing beauty in life. She promised to focus on the bright side of life and to ignore its dark side. So she, in a symbolic gesture, held the flower to her nose and started enjoying its fragrance. She was sure that the blind boy would now try to change the pessimistic outlook of another person with another flower.
Paraphrase: Through the eyes of the blind boys, the old lady discovered the true meaning of life. The world was not problematic; she was rather a bit more pessimistic. She was blind to the beauties of life. She experienced an unusual change in her life, and started focusing on the beautiful aspect of life. The worn flower suddenly turned beautiful and started enjoying its fragrance. She was sure that the blind boy would now change the life of another hopeless person with another wild flower the way he did it with her.
Unit 4: Acquiring Values
4.1 The Scholarship Jacket
- The small Texas school that Marta attended had a distinct tradition. It would award a beautiful gold and green jacket to a student who would get straight A till grade eighth. The student was called the class valedictorian and he/she would deliver a farewell speech on graduation night. The jacket had a big gold S on the left side and the awardee’s name was written in gold letters on the pocket.
- Marta was a very intelligent and hardworking student. She had got straight A since her first grade. Since the scholarship jacket was given to someone who had maintained the highest grades for eight years, therefore she was expecting to get it. Her oldest sister also had won the same jacket. She somehow believed that this scholarship jacket runs in her family.
- Marta had an athletic body. She also was very active. But she could not participate in sports because of economic reasons. Her father was a farm labourer who could not make enough money to support his family. In order to take part in sports, the students were to pay registration fees, uniform costs and had to travel outside the town on their own Since Marta was from a very humble background, therefore she could not afford such expenditure.
- When Marta went to pick her sports shorts, she heard her two teachers talking about her. One was Mr. Schmidt who was her history teacher, and the other was Mr. Boone who was her mathematics teacher. They were discussing the scholarship jacket. Schmidt believed that Marta deserves to get it as she is straight A since the first grade..Boone, on the other hand, wanted to disregard merit and to give it to Joann whose father was very rich and a member of the school board.
- Schmidt who was Marta’s history teacher believed in merit. Mr. Boone, Marta’s mathematics teacher, was asking Schmidt to falsify Marta’s academic record so that Joann might get the jacket. Schmidt refused to do it and favoured Marta in getting the jacket. Mr. Boone was a greedy person who sided with Joann only because her father was the owner of the only store in the town and was a member of the school board.
- The scholarship jacket awarded to the class valedictorian in small Texas school was free. When it was Marta’s turn to get it, the school changed the policy. It was decided that the awardee had to pay fifteen dollars in order to get If the first candidate failed to pay the required fee, it would be given to next in line. This policy was in fact made in order to pave the way for Joann, and to deprive Marts of the jacket.
- Marta was supposed to pay fifteen dollars in order to get the scholarship jacket. Since she did not have money, so she asked her grandfather. The grandfather gave a very witty He said that scholarship means something that is free. If you pay for it, it is no longer scholarship jacket. It is just like you go to a shop, pay fifteen bucks and get it.When Marta told the principal about her grandpa’s view that one should not pay for scholarship jacket, there was a sea change in the mind of the principal. He was really impressed by it, and told Marta that he would ask the board to make it free this time. He said that Marta’s position would be treated as an exception and she would get- the jacket free this year.
- Although Marta is a very poor girl, she is very intelligent and hardworking. She has been straight A since her first grade. It shows that she is a great genius. She is very committed to her studies. Marta also respects her teacher and the principal. Despite their maneuvering, she does not .become negative towards them. She rather accepts her fate and braces herself to unhappy fact of not getting the jacket.
- Schmidt who is Marta’s history teacher believes in merit. His refusal to falsify Marta’ academic record testifies his moral stature and his professional integrity. Mr. Boone, math teacher, is a greedy person who sides with Joann only because her father is the owner of the only store in the town and is a member of the school board. He seems devoid of any morality and professional ethics.
- The principal of the school is good by heart but is circumstantially bad. He initially asks Marta to pay fifteen bucks for the jacket. When Marta tells him what grandpa had told her, he is moved. He changes his mind and decides to award the jacket to the deserving candidate, Marta. He, perhaps, has been temporarily influenced by people like Mr.
- Marta’ grandfather is a type of stolid person. He rarely shows his– When Marta informs him about winning the jacket, he does not respond in any serious manner. He just smiles and then assumes his work. He undoubtedly is a wise person. When Marta tells him about the jacket fee, he gives a very witty reply. He says that scholarship means something that is free. If you pay for it, it is no longer scholarship jacket. It is just like you go to a shop, pay fifteen bucks and get it.
- Schmidt who is Marta’s history teacher believes in merit. His refusal to falsify Marta’ academic record testifies his moral stature and his professional integrity. He is strikingly a noble person. Mr. Boone, math teacher, is a greedy person who sides with Joann only because her father is the owner of:the store in the town and is a member of the school board. He seems devoid of any morality and professional ethics. He is just the antithesis of Mr. Schmidt.
- The scholarship jacket awarded to the class valedictorian in small Texas school was free. When it was Marta’s turn to get it, the school changed the policy. It was decided that the awardee.had to pay fifteen dollars in order to get it. If the first candidate failed to pay the required amount, it would be given to next in line. The main reason behind this change was to deprive Marta of the jacket and to make Joann eligible for it. They were favouring Joann because her father was the owner of the only store in the town and was a member of the school board.
4.2 A Long Walk Home
- Jason had just learned driving. He did not have enough opportunities to drive the car. When his father asked him to drive him to Mijas, he readily accepted it. He thought that he would capitalize upon this opportunity to satiate his desire for driving the car. As a beginner, he loved the opportunity to put his driving skill into use.
- Jason had actually been to the cinema for watching movies. When he got late, he decided to pacify his father with lies. He told his father that the car, had some major problems and needed repair. Also, the mechanic took longer time. He took unexpectedly longer time in fixing the problems. He, in fact, was lying as the car had already been fixed when his Dad called the garage.
- Jason-told lies in order to justify his coming late. -When his father reminds him that he knows that Jason is lying, he feels embarrassed. The father blames himself instead of putting blame on Jason for his lies. He says that he has failed as a father. There is something seriously wrong with his t training. He has failed to properly educate his son. That’s why he cannot tell truth to his own father.
- Jason’s lies makes his father really upset. He blames himself instead of putting blame on Jason for his lies. But, interestingly, the father does not punish Jason in the conventional manner. He rather decides to punish himself as he had failed as a father to properly train his son. So he decides to walk for 18 miles as a kind of penance for his wrongs. It’s a kind of self-punishment. The father wants to pay for his wrongs that he had done in connection with his son’s brought up.
- When Jason lies to his father regarding his coming late, the father decides to take 18 miles walk as a kind of penance. He wants to punish himself as he had failed as a father to properly train his son. Despite the repeated requests of Jason, his father does not get into the car. When Jason sees his father in such physical and emotional distress, he feels extremely guilty. For him, it is the worst day of his life.
- Jason’s father does not angry due to Jason’s coming late. It is actually his lies about the car that makes his father angry. For him, it is his failure as a father. He realizes that there is perhaps something missing in his training due to which his son lied to The greatness of his father lies in the fact that he blames himself for all this. He points finger to himself for Jason’s lies and does not punish Jason. He considers himself as a failed trainer.
- Jason’s father could punish his son in the conventional way. But he opts for psychological method. His decision to take 18 miles walk was very painful for his This made him more conscious about his lies. Had his father penalized him in the common manner, Jason would not have learnt his lesson. So it would not be wrong to say that his response to Jason’s lies was very sensible and very appropriate.
- There are di flerent possibilities of Jason’s learning from this experience. One can say that it made him aware about the best type of punishment. One is conventional way of physical or verbal abuse. This type of punishment is not that much painful. The other is mental or psychological punishment. This type of punishment is more effective and painful than physical abuse as Jason himself experiences it when he sees his father taking 18 miles walk.
4.3 Be the Best of Whatever You Are
Reference: These lines are taken from the poem “Be the Best of Whatever You Are” written by Douglas Malloch.
Context: This poem is about human achievements in this life. The poem talks about different
possibilities and encourages the human beings to do or try to do the best. It is not the outcome of
struggle that matters but the struggle itself. The poem develops these ideas through contrasting
examples. It is better to shoot for the stars for at least you will land on the moon is the message that the poems conveys.
Explanation: The speaker addresses the readers and says that there are two possibilities: one is to be a pine tree on the top of the hill and the second is to be a bush in the valley. You can become a small bush that might grow on the bank of a stream. Pine tree means eminent position in life. If you cannot be a well-known person, at least you should try to become a less-known person. Once you become a bush, then you should try to be the best bush. You should endeavor cross every possible limit in it. It is always better to be something than nothing.
Paraphrase: If you cannot become a pine tree on the top of a hill, you can become a small bush that grows on the bank of a stream. If you fail to reach the top, try to get the best possible position at the bottom.
Explanation: In these lines, the speaker says that if one failed to be a bush, at least he or she could become small grass that grows on the highway. The grass would make the highway lush green and hence beautiful. The speaker further talks about two possibilities: muskie and bass fish. Muskie is bigger in size to bass. It would be quite good if one becomes muskie. It would mean more elevated position in life. If this is not achieved, then one should try to be a bass fish. One should be a bass which is very active and full of vitality. This would ensure some respectable existence to the person.
Paraphrase: If one could not become a bush, one could become small grass that makes the highway beautiful. If one cannot become a muskie fish, then one should try to be a bass which is full of life and vitality.
Explanation: In these lines, the speaker says that all human beings cannot become equal.
Diversity is a universal law. Some will become captains and some will become crew members.
But everyone must do something. There is always a work to be done. No one should be idle.
Everyone must be busy in doing something. Some should shoulder difficult tasks and some are supposed to do easy jobs. Whatever the nature of the work is, it should be performed with is this belief that the task is easy and it is about to be done.
Paraphrase: All of us cannot become captains. Some will become crew members. There is a work for everyone here. Some will perform challenging jobs and some should do easy jobs. Whatever the job is, it must be done with this mind that it is about to be accomplished.
Explanation: In these lines, the speaker says that there are innumerable possibilities for achievements. If it is difficult to become a highway, it is possible to be a walking trail. Highway is more useful for humanity as compared to the trail. But you should always try to become something that might be beneficial to humanity. Similarly, the sun has more utility than stars. Though it is smaller in size, b it is more useful. One should try to be the sun. If the person fails to be the sun, the other possibility should be on the board. The speaker contends that size does not make one a winner or a loser. It is the performance that is a key to one’s success. One should try to be best of whatever one tries to do or achieve in life.
Paraphrase: If one cannot become a highway, one can become a walking trail. If one fails to be useful like the sun, one can become a star. Size does not make you a winner or a loser. Performance is the key to success. One should try to be the best.
Unit 5: he Lighter Side
5.1 Fly Away
- Helfer was asked to provide five thousand trained flies. The call came from the director of a movie who wanted to shoot a scene. The scene was about a dead-looking thing. Helfer would not only make the flies sit on the dead body, but he would also make them fly when desired by the director. The flies would crawl on the special-effect baby for a while and then would leave it.
- Helfer studied the law of nature in order to be successful in this mission. He also visited his friend Professor Jonathan Ziller who was an entomologist and a researcher. The professor gave him a batch of fly larvae which would hatch on the morning of the shoot. He also instructed Helfer to use tranquilizer for making the flies unconscious. Their drowsy state would make them crawl on the body. Once the effect of the tranquilizer has subsided, the flies would waken up and would be airborne thereby leaving the dead body.
- When Helfer arrived at the studio, he was received with tongue-in-cheek attitude. The director and the crew members were skeptical about his success. When the camera rolled. to everyone’s surprise he made the flies sit on the special-effect baby. He applied the tricks suggested to him by his friend Jonathan Ziller. The flies crawled on the dead body for a while and then left it. So Helfer very successfully achieved the task assigned to him by the director.
- When Helfer arrived at the studio, he was received with tongue-in-cheek attitude. The director and the crew members were skeptical about his success. They made different jokes about his forthcoming performance. The director even told him that he would double his fee if he successfully achieved the assigned task. And when he actually demonstrated his skill, the director and the crew were initially flabbergasted. Then they broke into whole-hearted appreciation and gave him a big hand.
- Helfer kept the tranquilizer hidden because he wanted to give this impression that he has actually trained the flies. The crawling and the subsequent flight of the flies were due to the effect of tranquilizer. If the director and the crew had seen the tranquilizer, then Helfer would definitely have lost his credibility. Helfer also tricked them when he took out flies from the box and started counting them. He tried to impresses upon them that he is actually separating the trained flies from the untrained ones.
- The way Helfer executed the plan of making the flies sit on the dad body and then leaving it shows him a very clever person. The plan was actually suggested by one of his friends Professor Jonathan Ziller. Helfer put his ideas into practice. But he did it so skillfully that neither the director nor the crew members suspected him of using the They got this impression that Helfer is a de facto insect trainer.
- Helfer presents himself as a skillful insect trainer on the eve of film shooting. When he arrives at the studio, he takes out flies from the box and starts counting them. He impresses upon the director and the crew that he is actually separating the trained flies from the untrained ones. He even calls the flies by names to suggest that he has really trained them.
- When Helfer successfully achieves the assigned task, the director and the crew break into He, however, does not display any unusual feelings. He gives an impression that this was just one of those common tasks that he performs as a matter of routine. Therefore, he remains straight- faced and jokingly tells the director that he has trained 432 flies that can dance on his arm.
- The director was shooting a scene which was featuring a special -effect baby. He wanted to create this illusion that the dead thing is a real human baby and is swarmed by flies. He, therefor, asks Helfer to provide five thousand trained flies. Helfer does the same He makes use of tranquilizer but camouflages his art and gives this impression that he has actually trained the flies. Through his skillful execution of the plan proposed by his friend Jonathan Ziller, he also creates the illusion that the flies have been trained and are swarming and leaving the dead body on his directives. Therefore, it is quite justified that he should not have revealed his secret to the director. He did not violate any professional ethics as the director himself was not revealing the truth about the dead-looking baby body.
5.2 The Man Who was a Hospital
- Jerome became suspicious about his liver after reading a patent liver-pill circular. This circular had a detailed account of various symptoms by which one could tell that his or her liver was out of order. Once he had read it, he came to believe that his liver has become Jerome is a type of neurotic person. He is also hypochondriac person_ a person who is abnormally worried about his health. Therefore, the mere reading of a circular makes him doubtful about his liver.
- Jerome visited the British Museum for reading a pharmacology book. He wanted to know the treatment of a slight ailment, hay fever. After reading a few pages, he came to believe that he had all the disease he read about in those pages. So he started reading it Interestingly, except housemaid’s knee, he had all the diseases from A to Z in the book. Since, he was having a lot of diseases. Therefore, he says that he came out of the British Museum as a ruined person.
- The author is a type of neurotic person. He is also hypochondriac person a person who
is abnormally worried about his health. Whenever he reads the symptoms of a disease, he becomes suspicious that he is suffering from it. The diagnosis will also correspond exactly to his sensations about the disease. Once he reads a book about diseases, he develops this misgiving that he has havin2, all the diseases, and is, therefore, a walking hospital.
- After reading the pharmacology book, the author developed misgiving that he was suffering from numerous diseases. Only housemaid’s knee had not inflicted his body. Hetook it a sort of indifference. Why had this disease ignored him? Could the disease not condescend to inflict his body? Therefore, he felt hurt. The absence of this disease put his status of walking hospital in doubt.
- After reading the pharmacology book, the author developed misgiving that he was suffering from numerous diseases. He had all the diseases from A to Z he read in the book. 1-le was in fact a walking hospital. Since medical students need the study of diseases, and he had all possible diseases, therefore he considers himself an acquisition to the medical The students need not to visit hospital for diseases. They just have to walk around him, and they will become qualified doctors.
- The lesson accurately justifies the saying, “little knowledge is a dangerous thing.” The author lacks necessary knowledge about diseases, and he pretends to know about them. His uneasiness about his health is actually caused by his little knowledge about pharmacology. He should have consulted a medical expert about the diseases. A person should not try to be the jack of all trades.
- The doctor gives a very witty advice to the author. He tells him that a person should not fill his head with the things that he or she cannot properly understand. Every field has its own Whenever any help is needed, the specialist of the field should be consulted. Only an expert’s opinion should be sought. A person should not try to be the jack of all trades. Being an author, Jerome probably does not have as much knowledge about medicine as the doctor can have. Therefore, he should have visited his friend before passing any judgement about his health.
5.2When I’m an Old Lady
Reference: These lines are taken from the poem “When I’m an Old Lady” written by Joanne Bailey Baxter.
Context: The poem depicts the feelings of an old lady during her old age. The speaker of the poem imagines herself to be an old lady, and thinks about the time when grows old, and starts living with her grown-up children. She will behave like a kid and will play different pranks with her children. The main idea of the poem is that a mother always enjoys the mischief and wayward behavior of her children no matter how great a nuisance and naughty they are.
Explanation: In these lines, the speaker of the poem talks about her old age. She says that she will live with her kids once she grows old. She will stay with each one of them during her old age. But she will not be an old bore who will make her kids very boring. She will be a very active old lady. Rather she will behave like a kid. She will try to return the happiness and joys of her kids. They tried to make her happy by different means and deeds. She wants to replicate their each and every deed of happiness. The speaker actually is referring to all those mischievous acts that her kids did and which made her happy. She will try to pay back their acts of happiness by behaving like a kid. Her wayward behavior will make her kids very happy and excited. They will enjoy her childish behavior the way she enjoyed theirs. The speaker repeats the idea that she will do all these things once she is old and she starts living with kids. The idea of living with her children suggests that she would not like to live in an old age home.
Paraphrase: When the speaker of the poem is an old lady, she would love to live with children. She will try to make them happy the way they made her happy during their childhood. She will try to pay their every act of happiness. Her acts will surely provide pleasure to her children.
Explanation: In these lines, the speaker of the poem mentions some of the mischief she will do when she is old. She will, for instance, write on the wall with different colours red, white and blue. She will do a kind of graffiti on the walls of the house. The motive behind it will be to tease her kids. In addition, she will also jump on the sofa wearing her shoes. She will not take off h,f.r shoes while jumping on the furniture. Another mischievous trick will be
to drink soda or cold drinks from the carton and then leave the carton outside. She would not put it back in the fridge as it is normally put inside the fridge or refrigerator. She will also annoy her kids by filling their cases with unnecessary products or garments. When her children will their cases for some necessary stuff, they will find them filled with trash or other unwanted materials. Hence, they will not only feel disturbed but will also shout because of anger. The speaker repeats the idea that she will do all these things once she is old, and she starts living with kids. The idea of living with her children suggests that she would not like to live in an old age home.
Paraphrase: The speaker of the poem will annoy her kids by applying different tactics. She will do a lot of graffiti on the walls using different colours. She will not take off her shoes while jumping and skipping on the furniture. She will not put the carton back in the fridge once she has taken a soda or juice out of it. She will fill the bags or cases of her children with unnecessary materials, and they will shout in anger when they will find such stuff in the cases.
Explanation: In this stanza, the old lady says that she would make her kids angry by spilling sugar and bleach over the floor. Since they will be on phone, therefore, they will not be able reach her. This is the best time for mischief. They will try to prevent her from mischief by snapping their lingers or shaking their heads. Since they will be busy on phone, therefore, they will not be able to stop her verbally. They will use different non-verbal means or gestures for this purpose. .She further sys that she will hide under the bed once they are free. As children hide themselves under the bed when they do anything naughty, so will she. Hiding under the bed is the best refuge in such situations. The speaker repeats the idea that she will do all these things once she is old, and she starts living with kids. The idea of living with her children suggests that she would not like to live in an old age home.
Paraphrase: The speaker of the poem will make her children angry by spilling sugar and bleach over the floor. Her children will be talking on phone, so they will not be able stop her verbally. They will apply different non-verbal means like snapping their fingers or shaking their heads in order to prevent her from her mischief. When she has done her pranks, she will
then hide herself under the bed. But all these acts will be carried out once she is old and she is living with her grown-up children.
Explanation: In this stanza, the speaker of the poem says that 1 will continue with my mischief during dinner time as well. When my kids call me for dinner, I will not eat what they want me to eat. They might have cooked green beans or meat or salad for dinner. But I will eat okra only. I will go against their wishes. Moreover, I will fill my mouth with okra the way children they do and will not eat it in the socially acceptable manner. Another thing that I will do in order to incense my children is to spill milk all over the table. This act will naturally make them angry. I will then run and hide under the table. The speaker repeats the idea that she will do all these things once she is old and she starts living with kids. The idea of living with her children suggests that she would not like to live in an old age home.
Paraphrase: The speaker says that she will not eat what her children want her to eat. They will expect her to eat green beans or meat or salad. She will put okra in her mouth instead. She will spill milk all over the table. When it has made her children angry, she will run away and hide herself under the table. She will do all these things once she grows old and starts living with her grown-up children.
Explanation: In these lines, the speaker says that my childish behavior will continue even during TV time. While watching TV, I will sit very close to it. Just like parents do not want their children to sit very closely, in the same manner my kids would like to discourage my sitting very close to TV. But even then I will sit very near to TV set. This will really make my children angry. Moreover, I will keep on flipping the TV channels. I will not watch one channel consistently. This will be yet another way of provoking my children. I will also squint my eyes and will try to keep them crossed as long as possible. This is, of course, one of the favorite sports of children. As it is a known fact that children are usually disorganized regarding their stuff. So the speaker says that she will do the same. She will throw her socks in different directions once she has taken them off. She will play in the mud till evening. Like children, she would love to be in the dirt. The speaker repeats the idea that she will do all
further informed that he will be put to death in the public square. This will be done in order to make him an example for all those rebels who speak against the king. The king, being a merciless tyrant, does not show any mercy towards anyone who dares to speak his laws.
- When Damon hears about the imprisonment and the subsequent severe punishment of Pythias, he becomes extremely sad. He rushes to the prison and persuades the guard to let him speak to his friend. He offers Pythias any possible help, but Pythias tells him that nothing can save him. Since the king is a merciless tyrant, therefore he does not nurture any hope. He expects the worse to happen.
- After his arrest, Pythias does not see any hope of survival. He, however, tells his friend Damon that he is worried about his mother and sister. He tells Damon that he does not know what will become of them once he has been put to death. He is concerned about their source of income and livelihood. Damon consoles his friend and says that he will take care of them. He will take care of them as if they were his own mother and sister.
- After his arrest. Pythias does not see any hope of survival. He, however, tells his friend Damon that he is worried about his mother and sister. He tells Damon that he does not know what will become of them once he has been put to death. He is concerned about their source of income and livelihood. Damon consoles his friend and says that he will take care of them. He will take care of them as if they were his own mother and sister. Pythias thanks his friend and informs him that he has some money to leave them. But there are some other things that he wants to arrange. He wishes to go and see them before he is put to death.
- Pythias is known as a man of word throughout Sicily. He is considered an honorable man who has always been true to his words. He has never broken any promise he has made so far. He is, therefore, a very trustworthy man and every Sicilian takes him for his It is on this ground that Damon proposes that he will ask the king to let him out of the prison for a few days so that he may meet his mother and sister.
- When Pythias expresses his desire of seeing his mother and sister before he dies, Damon comes up with two proposals. First he tells Pythias that he will request the king to let him out of the prison for a few days. Since Sicilians regard him as a man of words, so the king will also trust Iiim. When Pythias points out the unfeasibility of this scheme and contendsthat the king will not trust him due to the sensitivity of the situation, he comes up with the second proposal. He says that he will replace Pythias in the prison and let him go out to see his mother and sister. In case Pythias does not return on time, the king may kill him in his place.
In case Pythias does not return on time, the king may kill him in his place.
- Damon first requests the king to let Pythias go home for a few days to say farewell to his mother and sister. He tells the king that Pythias promises that he will return at the appointed time. His words can be trusted as Sicilians regard him as a man of words. The king declines the proposal saying that his words can be trusted in ordinary business affairs, but now it is a matter of his life and death. Pythias is a traitor but not a fool. To test his honesty in such critical time will be testing his honesty too much. Damon then comes up with the second proposal and says that he is willing to replace Pythias in the
- Damon comes up with two proposals in order to let Pythias out of the prison: first, he requests the king to let Pythias go home for a few days to say farewell to his mother and He tells the king that Pythias promises that he will return at the appointed time. When the king declines the first suggestion, he comes up with the-second proposal and says that he is willing to replace Pythias in the prison. In case Pythias does not return on time, the king may kill him in his place. This suggestion makes the king very curious. Initially he does not believe in his words and asks Damon to repeat the proposal. When Damon says that he really means what he says, the king agrees to his idea. He wants to test his honesty. He tells Damon that the proposed swap of prisoners will be made. If Pythias failed to return in two weeks' time, Damon would be executed in his place.
- Pythias did not like Damon's bargain with the king. He did not want Damon to endanger his life by replacing him in the prison. Life is very unpredictable, and Damon could lose his life in case something went wrong and Pythias did not return on time. But Damon persuades his friend Pythias to leave and eventually he sets out for his home.
- When Pythias gets home and arranges his business affairs so that his mother and sister would be able to live a comfortable life for the rest of their life, he says a last farewell to them. Pythias still has three days’ time in order to get back to the city. His mother tells him to stay for another day as it will take two days to get back to the city. Pythias replies that he cannot afford to stay another day for Damon is locked up in his prison cell while he is away. I-Ic also tells her that his death may bring better days for his people. So she should not weep for him.
- When Pythias is going back to the city, he is intercepted by two robbers. They take his money and tie him up to a tree. Pythias requests them to take the money but do not delay him longer as he is to die by the king’s order three days from now. Furthermore, if he does not return on time, his friend will die in his place. The two robbers do not believe in his story and call it a “likely” story. The first robber says that a man would be very fool to go back to prison for death. The second robber says that what man would be fool enough to die for another man.
- When Pythias gets late due to the two robbers, Damon’s hands are tied behind his back, and he is taken into the public square for execution. The king comes and sits on the high platform. He tells Damon that the time is nearly up, and Pythias has not come back to give him back his life. Damon replies very confidently that he has faith in his friend. If he has not returned, he is sure that it is through no fault of his own. He will not have done it deliberately. He further tells the king that he is ready to die happily in his place. At this the king loses his temper and says that he must die in case Pythias fails to return on time.
- When Pythias returns back, and informs the king that his delay happened due to robbers, the king gets alert. He says that he will ensure the arrest and the subsequent punishment of the robbers as they nearly killed an innocent man. The king takes it as an insult that his kingdom has robbers. Furthermore, the king still considers Pythias guilty and that is why he argues that the delay of Pythias might have caused the killing of an innocent person like Damon.
- The king lets the two friends Damon and Pythias free due to their strong friendship. He is highly impressed by their great loyalty to each other. He openly acknowledges that hePeople have divergent opinion about Pythias' return. Some are sceptical about his return. They believe that why should he come back put his head under the king's axe. They believe that friendship is friendship, but a man's own life is something stronger and more There are others who do not doubt the integrity of Pythias. They are absolutelysure about the fact that Pythias is an honorable man, and that he would never like to be the killer of his friend by not returning on time. has never seen such strong attachment and trust between men in all his life. He further says that he might be considered a cruel tyrant by the people, but he carl never kill any man who proves such sincere and true friendship for another man. The king gets so much impressed that he is willing to swap all his money and power for one friend like Damon or Pythias.
- The play Damon and Pythias depicts the ideals of freedom and democracy. Though the true virtues of friendship loyalty, trust and sincerity can be the sub theme of the play, but the whole action of the play revolves around the struggle for democratic values. The spirit and passion that we witness in the two friends Damon and Pythias come to the spotlight because of their ability to stand up against the dictatorship of the king. Therefore, it is safe to say that the play gives us the theme of freedom as the first arid the last principle Of human life.
- Among the three characters, the king’s character is the most striking. Damon and Pythias are good but they are absolutely good. They are completely flawless. They are good from beginning of the play until the end. The king, on the other hand, changes for the better. At the beginning of the play, he is a cruel tyrant but at the end he becomes a merciful king and forgives Damon and- Pythias ondccountoNheir strong friendshipApersoirwho undergoes positive changes is more admirable than the one who remains a stock character with no changes in sight.
The sublime concept of friendship that one_sees in the play seems a_distant idea in the current age of materialism, selfishness and corruption. People are now motivated by selfinterest in their friendship. The trends and fashions of the modern age are different. The standards of friendship have changed from immaterial to material values. A person will rarely make friendship on the basis of the character or the ethical qualities of a person. Therefore, it can be said that the type of friendship that we see between Damon and Pythias is a utopian idea in the contemporary ageassumes the role of a typical dictator and announces that he will set an example of Pythias for all those who dare to voice their concern against his inhumane laws.A Vigilant KingThe king has very keen eyes on his kingdom. He wants a stable Sicily free of any disturbance. It is because of this law and order situation that he tries to punish Pythias ery harshly. Pythias is right in his own place, but the king has his own understanding of
right and wrong. He believes that monarchy is the best form of government, and that
people should not be allowed to make their own laws. He also shows his watchful nature
when he is informed about robbers. He cannot trust his ears that robbers can invade his
kingdom. He, therefore, issues directive that the robbers must be arrested immediately
and brought tojustice.A Quick-Wittcd KingThe king is quite smart and intelligent. He takes decisions according to the situations.
Since he is a king, therefore he 'speaks and behaves like a king. His language is typical of
king. He uses words and phrases that convey his authoritative nature. He is very quick in
taking decisions. When Pythias speaks against his laws, he at once awards him life
sentence. He shows no mercy in stately affairs. He is very rational and avoids
emotionality in such matters. He is also very curious. He agrees to the idea of swap
between Damon and Pythias because of his curiosity. When Damon tries to convince himabout the truthful nature of Pythias, he reminds him that Pythias might be a man of words
in ordinary business matters but now it is matter of life sentence. To allow freedom for afew days to a person who is under life sentence is testing the person’s honesty rather toomuch.A Round CharacterThe king is a multifaceted character. Unlike Damon and Pythias, he does not remain
fixed during the course of action. He undergoes positive changes_ from a cruel tyrant to a
considerate king. Damon and Pythias are ﬂat characters. They are absolutely good and
remain good throughout the play. The king, on the other hand, is ignoble at the beginning
and becomes noble at the end. His nobility happens because of his appreciation for the strong friendship of Damon and Pythias. He is really moved by their loyalty and sincerity to each other. He is. therefore, a more realistic character than Damon and Pythias.
A loving King The king wins the heart of the people when he grants amnesty to Damon and Pythias. He shows immense ﬂexibility at the end of the play. Not only are Damon and Pythias given pardon, but they are also praised in lofty words. He announces that he is ready to give all his power and wealth in exchange for a friend like Damon or Pythias. This makes him a very loving king and also prevents the play'from becoming a tragedy.
Damon is an important character in the play. He plays the role of Pythias’ friend. If
Pythias initiates the action, Damon completes it. He has a number of qualities due to
which the play assumes such an interesting dimension. Some of his qualities are givenbelow.
Damon is a true and sincere friend. He enjoys deep attachment with his friend
Pythias. He has great care for his friend. When he hears about Pythias’ arrest, he feels
heartbroken. He rushes to the prison and persuades the guard to allow him to speak to
his friend. He makes very serious attempts to pull his friend out of the quagmire.
Hence he comes up with two proposals. First, he requests the king to let Pythias go
home for a few days to say farewell to his mother and sister. He tells the king that
Pythias promises that he will return at the appointed time. When the king declines the
ﬁrst suggestion, he comes up with the second proposal and says that he is willing to
replace Pythias in the prison. In case Pythias does not return on time, the king may
kill him in his place. Similarly, when the king visits him in the prison and reminds
him about the delay of 'Pythias andthe imminent execution, he repeats his trust and
faith in Pythias and says that If Pythias has not returned, he is sure that it is through
no fault of his own. He will not have done it deliberately. He further tells the king that
he is ready to die happily in his place.
A Democratic PersonDamon is a person who believes in the supremacy of democracy. He cannot tolerate the suppression of human spirit. For him, freedom is the first and the last principle of
human life. Like his friend Pythias, he is willing to lay his life for freedom.
The narrator also veriﬁes his support for democracy and his hatred for kingship by saying
that only Damon and Pythias have the guts to rise against the cruel laws of the king.
His support of Pythias against the king clearly shows his belief in individual as well
as collective freedom.A Calm and Composed PersonOne of the praiseworthy qualities of Damon is his calmness. He displays great consistency throughout the play. He never gets tensed no matter how tense the situation is.
In one ofthe scenes when the king mocks him for making the bargain, he answers him very calmly and contends that he trusts his friend and that his delay might have been caused by some untoward incident.A 'l‘horoughgoing GentlemanDamon is a very noble person. He is a great humanist. He believes in the service of humanity.
Damon knows that Pythias has raised voice against the king for the people.
He, therefore, supports him in his endeavors. When Pythias expresses his desire to seehis mother and sister before he dies, Damon comes forward and helps him. It showshis humanlsm and gentlllty.A Wise PersonDamon. indeed, is a very intelligent person. In his discussion with the king, he is clever enough to point out first the possibility of allowing freedom to Pythias and
then replacing him in the prison. He is quite calculated in his plans. He would not liketo put his life in any danger and would like to save his skin as much as possible.