1. Copy and complete the following paragraph about the theme of the play in pairs:
The play deals with a _______________and __________________Bishop who is always ready to lend a _________________hand to anyone in distress. A _________________ breaks into the Bishop’s house and is ___________________________and warmed. The benevolence of the Bishop somewhat ________________the convict, but, when he sees the silver candlesticks, he ____________________ them, and runs away. However, he is _______________________and brought back. He expects to go back to jail, but the Bishop informs the police they are a _______________________________. The convict is ___________________by this kindness of the Bishop and before he leaves he seeks the priest’s blessing.
Answer- The play deals with a kind and charitable Bishop who is always ready to lend a helping hand to anyone in distress. A convict breaks into the Bishop’s house and is fed and warmed. The benevolence of the Bishop somewhat confounds the convict, but, when he sees the silver candlesticks, he steals them, and runs away. However, he is arrested and brought back. He expects to go back to jail, but the Bishop informs the police they are a gift. The convict is moved by this kindness of the Bishop and before he leaves he seeks the priest’s blessing.
5. (a) Working in pairs give antonyms of the following words-
(i) Kind-hearted − unkind, cruel
(ii) Unscrupulous − moral, good
(iii) Forgiving − censure, punish
(iv) Stern − funny, lenient
(v) Benevolent − greedy, selfish
(vi) Credulous − skeptical, suspecting
(vii) Generous − mean, miserly
(viii) Pious – impious, irreligious
(ix) Suspicious − innocent, trustworthy
(x) Sympathetic − merciless, uncaring, unconcerned
(xi) Understanding − misunderstanding, intolerant
(xii) Wild − civilized, gentle
(xiii) Innocent bad, blamable, corrupt
(xiv) Penitent − happy, unashamed
(xv) Clever − foolish, idiot
(xvi) Brutal − generous, humane, kind, nice
(xvii) Cunning − kind, naive
(xviii) Caring − ignoring, neglecting
(xix) Sentimental – indifferent, unemotional
(xx) Trusting- disagree, dispute, reject, renounce
(xxi) Protective − attacking, harmful, hurtful, injurious
(xxii) Concerned − happy, undisturbed, unperturbed
(xxiii) Honourable − disrespectful, unhonourable
(xiv) Embittered − pleasant, genial
Page No: 129
(b) Select words from the above box to describe the characters in the play as revealed by the following lines from the play.
|Lines from the play||Speaker||Quality revealed|
|1. “You told him she was feeling poorly, did you? And so my brother is to be kept out of bed, and go without his supper because you told him she was feeling poorly.”|
|2. __________ “take my comforter, it will keep you warm.”|
|3. “If people lie to me they are poorer, not I.”|
|4. “You are like a child. I can’t trust you out of my sight. No sooner my back is turned than you get that minx Marie to sell the silver salt-cellars.”|
|5. “My dear there is so much suffering in the world, and I can do so very little.”|
|6. “My mother gave them to me on − on her death bed just after you were born, and − and she asked me to keep them in remembrance of her, so I would like to keep them.”|
|7. “I am too old a bird to be caught with chaff.”|
|8. “You have your soul to lose, my son.”|
|9. “Give me food or I’ll stick my knife in you both and help myself.”|
|10. “__________they have made me what I am, they have made me a thief. God curse them all.”|
|11. “Why the devil are you kind to me? What do you want?”|
|12. “I − I − didn’t believe there was any good in the world…but somehow I − I − know you’re good, and − and it’s a queer thing to ask, but could you, would you bless me before I go?”|
|Lines from the play||Speaker||Quality revealed|
|1. “You told him she was feeling poorly, did you? And so my brother is to be kept out of bed, and go without his supper because you told him she was feeling poorly.”||Persome||Stern, Unsympathetic|
|2. __________ “take my comforter, it will keep you warm.”||Bishop||Kind-hearted, caring|
|3. “If people lie to me they are poorer, not I.”||Bishop||Pious, Understanding|
|4. “You are like a child. I can’t trust you out of my sight. No sooner my back is turned than you get that minx Marie to sell the silver salt-cellars.”||Persome||Caring|
|5. “My dear there is so much suffering in the world, and I can do so very little.”||Bishop||Sympathetic|
|6. “My mother gave them to me on −on her death bed just after you were born, and − and she asked me to keep them in remembrance of her, so I would like to keep them.”||Bishop||Sentimental|
|7. “I am too old a bird to be caught with chaff.”||Convict||Cunning|
|8. “You have your soul to lose, my son.”||Bishop||Pious|
|9. “Give me food or I’ll stick my knife in you both and help myself.”||Convict||wild, brutal|
|10. “__________they have made me what I am, they have made me a thief. God curse them all.”||Convict||pitiless, brutal|
|11. “Why the devil are you kind to me? What do you want?”||Convict||Suspicious|
|12. “I − I − didn’t believe there was any good in the world…but somehow I − I − know you’re good, and − and it’s a queer thing to ask, but could you, would you bless me before I go?”||Convict||repentant|
Page No: 130
6. Answer the following questions briefly
(a) Do you think the Bishop was right in selling the salt-cellars? Why/why not?
Answer – Yes, the Bishop was right because it is the demand of an ideal behaviour. He could not see the thought of an old and sick lady to be thrown out of the house due to non-payment of rent. He always helped people in times of need.
(b) Why does Persome feel the people pretend to be sick?
Answer – Persome felt that people pretended to be sick to take an undue advantage of the Bishop. She was of very protective nature and got disturbed to see that the entire humanity was turning upon her brother for charity and kindness.
(c) Who was Jeanette? What was the cause of her death?
Answer – Jeanette was the wife of the convict. She died due to illness and starvation.
(d) The convict says, “I am too old a bird to be caught with chaff.” What does he mean by this statement?
Answer – The convict meant that he has was experienced so that he couldn’t be befooled. He couldn’t trust anyone not to report to the police and get him arrested.
(e) Why was the convict sent to prison? What was the punishment given to him?
Answer- The convict was sent to prison for stealing a loaf of bread. He was sentenced to ten years in a prison hulk.
(f) Do you think the punishment given to the convict was justified? Why/ why not? Why is the convict eager to reach Paris?
Answer – The punishment given to the convict was not at all justified. It is too inhuman for someone who was caught stealing just to feed his sick wife. The aim of punishment should be the realization of guilt not to make someone revengeful.
The convict is eager to reach Paris because it was a big city and the Police would never be able to find him there.
(g) Before leaving, the convict asks the Bishop to bless him. What brought about this change in him?
Answer- The Bishop’s benevolent, kind and caring attitude had brought about a change in the convict. That is why before leaving for Paris, he asks the Bishop to bless him.
7. Read the following extract and answer the questions that follow by choosing the correct options.
A. Monseigneur the Bishop is a ————ahem!’
(a) Why does Persome not complete the sentence?
(i) she used to stammer while speaking.
(ii) she was about to praise the Bishop.
(iii) she did not wish to criticise the Bishop in front of Marie.
(iv)she had a habit of passing such remarks.
Answer- (iii) She did not wish to criticise the Bishop in front of Marie.
(b) Why is she angry with the Bishop?
(i) The Bishop has sold her salt-cellars. (ii) The Bishop has gone to visit Mere Gringoire.
(iii) He showed extra concern for Marie. (iv) She disliked the Bishop.
Answer – (i) The Bishop has sold her salt-cellars.
Page No: 131
B. ‘She sent little Jean to Monseigneur to ask for help, and—’
(a) Who sent little Jean to the Bishop?
(i) Mere Gringoire (ii) Marie (iii) Persome (iv) Marie’s mother
Answer – (i) Mere Gringoire
(b) Why did she send Jean to the Bishop?
(i) so that he could pray for her (ii) as she knew that he was a generous person
(iii) as she was a greedy woman (iv) as she was a poor woman
Answer – (ii) as she knew that he was a generous person
C. ‘I offered to take her in here for a day or two, but she seemed to think it might distress you.”
The Bishop wanted to take Mere Grngoire in because _________.
(a) The Bishop wanted to take Mere Grngoire in because _________.
(i) she was sick (ii) she had no money
(iii) she was unable to pay the rent of her house (iv) she was a close friend of Persome
Answer – (iii) she was unable to pay the rent of her house
(d) Persome would be distressed on Mere Gringoire’s being taken in because ________.
(i) she did not want to help anyone
(ii) she felt that Mere Gringoire was taking undue advantage of the Bishop
(iii) she was a self-centred person
(iv) she would be put to a great deal of inconvenience
Answer – (ii) she felt that Mere Gringoire was taking undue advantage of the Bishop
8. The term irony refers to a discrepancy, or disagreement, of some sort. The discrepancy can be between what someone says and what he or she really means or verbal irony. The discrepancy can be between a situation that one would logically anticipate or that would seem appropriate and the situation that actually develops or situational irony. The discrepancy can even be between the facts known to a character and the facts known to us, the readers or audience or dramatic irony.
Working in groups of four complete the following table. Find instances of irony from the play and justify them.
|I believe you want to convert me; save my soul, don’t you call it? Well, it no good … see? I don’t want any damned religion.|
• What nonsense, brother, she is young she won’t hurt. (She doesn’t think it is very cold outside.)
• The Bishop says that he doesn’t want to sell them (the candlesticks).
Why the devil do you leave the window unshuttered and the door unbarred so that anyone can come in?
• The convict says that they feed you in hell, i.e., prison.
• The Bishop tells his sister that he doesn’t want to sell the candlesticks.
My mother gave them to me on her death bed just after you were born, and … and she asked me to keep these in remembrance of hei; so I would like to keep them.
• Sergeant: Yes Madam we found this scoundrel slinking along the road, and as he wouldn’t give any account of himself we arrested him on suspicion.
Convict: I’ll take his candlesticks and go.
Later the convict says, “it’s a queer thing to ask, but-could you, would you bless me before I go.”
• Later, Persome says to her brother that he should not have stayed out in such a cold night.
• In the next breath he says that perhaps it is a sin to set such store by them.
If the door had been barred the convict couldn’t have entered the house.
• He was arrested and sent to prison for stealing to buy food to feed himself and his hungry wife.
• Later, he gives them as a gift to the convict.
Later he hands the convict the candlesticks and tells him to start a new life.
• When the convict is brought for identification, the Bishop tells the sergeant that this gentleman is his very good friend.
• Later, he tells the Bishop that he is glad he didn’t get away with them.
Answer- A few situations and ironies have been provided for your help-
Punishment given to the convict made him rebellious instead of reforming him.
In the beginning, the convict wished to kill the Bishop but, later he asked for his blessings.
The convict stole the candlesticks but, he was unwilling to take them when Bishop gave them to him.
The bishop who was an ideal worshipper of truth tells a lie to save the convict from further punishment.
The Bishop treated the convict as a guest but the convict stole his precious silver candlesticks.
Page No: 133
9. Identify the situations which be termed as the turning points in the convict’s life?
Answer – The Convict, when was caught and brought to the Bishop’s house, was asked to be released by the Bishop saying that he is a friend to him. The Bishop also gives him his mother’s only memory i.e. candle-sticks. This entire incidence makes convict believe that there still exists humanity. This is the turning point in the convict’s life.
10. The convict is the product of the society he lived in, both, in terms of the suffering that led him to steal a loaf of bread, as well as the excessive sentence he received as punishment for his “crime”. He was imprisoned for stealing money to buy food for his sick wife, this filled him with despair, hopelessness, bitterness and anger at the injustice of it all.
Conduct a debate in the class (in groups) on the following topic. Instruction for conducting a debate (and the use of appropriate language) are given in the unit “Children” of the Main Course Book.
Answer- To be conducted in the classroom as an activity
11. The Convict goes to Paris, sells the silver candlesticks and starts a business. The business prospers and he starts a reformatory for ex-convicts. He writes a letter to the Bishop telling him of this reformatory and seeks his blessings.
02nd November, 2016
Blessings bring laurels. I got a new life because of your blessings. I have become a ‘human’ again. I went to Paris to start a new life. I sold the silver candlesticks and got a good amount to start life afresh. I invested the money in business and it made me a prosperous man. With the money earned, I started a reformatory for ex-convicts. They say hate the sin but never the sinner. Everyone is gifted with a human heart. Feelings of compassion, pity and sympathy are never dead in man. They may hibernate for a period of time. But someone like you can rekindle them. Even the hardest of criminal can be transformed into a ‘man’ again. The reformatory’s main focus is to arouse human kindness, sympathy and compassion for our fellow beings. We make them earn money through various handicrafts and cottage trades. I hope you will oblige all of us by your noble presence and bless us to achieve our aim.
Your loving son
12. The play is based on an incident in novelist victor Hugo’s ‘Les Miserable.’ You may want to read the novel to get a better idea of the socio-economic conditions of the times and how people lived. Another novel that may interest you is Charles Dickens ‘A Tale of Two Cities.’
Divide yourselves into two groups in the class and read a book each. Later you
may want to share your views of the book each group selected. Select an incident
from the novel to dramatise and present before the class.