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Chapter- 7 English Language and Literature
Evans Tries an O-Level
About the Author
Colin Dexter – A Short Biography
Norman Cohn Dexter (1930 — 2017) was an English crime writer known for his Inspector Morse series of novels and adapted as a TV television series, Inspector Morse. His characters have spawned a sequel series, Lewis, and a prequel series, Endeavour. In 1996, Dexter won a Macavity Award for this short story.
Theme / Central Idea of the Lesson. Analysis of Evans Tries an O-Level
The theme of the story ‘Evans Tries an O Level’ is a clever escape planned by a convict on the pretence of taking a language exam in prison. The convict even after being caught, still has the last laugh and makes his escape.
The story also brings to light the fact that one should not underestimate one’s opponent. The police officers were thorough in their preparations but they underestimated Evans and his power to give them the slip
This is a detective fiction dealing with the account of the jailbreak by Evans, a criminal, who was an expert in mg from prison. The story deals with his smartness, foresight and planning his escape. With his meticulous planning and keen observation, Evans outsmarts the prison authorities. The story deals with the clever escape Evans and the Governor’s pursuit to catch him. Evans, with his ready wit and charm, proves at the end that things are not what they seem to be’ and we should not jump to the conclusions hastily.
Justify the title of Evans Tries an O-Level
Justification of Title
The term `O-Level’ in the story refers to the basic test. This examination is at the centre of Evans’ successful escape. It is in the guise of taking the 0-level exam in German that Evans plans and executes his escape successfully. Conducting the 0-level examination by the prison authorities gave Evans the chance to make a successful exit from the prison. It is also the question paper of this examination that helped the Governor track Evans at the Golden Lion from where Evans makes his final successful escape by fooling the Governor.
It is a hint at the preparations that Evans had taken to make his escape successful. The title is appropriate.
Precautions taken to prevent Evans’ escape during the
1.Evans in a solitary room – incommunicado.
3. Nail file and scissors taken out.
4. A priest as an invigilator.
5. McLerry’s bag checked. Pen knifewas taken away.
6. Initially guard in the cell. Later when outside, checking on Evans after every minute or two minutes.
7. Cell bugged and letting Evans see it so there would be no attempt to escape.
8. All messages or phone calls to go via the Governor.
9. Well guarded with all officers on alert; two locked doors between Evans’ cell and the yard, which had a high wall.
Mistakes made by the Prison Authorities
Despite knowing that Evans was always breaking out of jail and although they suspected he would try to break out again, the prison authorities still made many mistakes.
- The validity of the German tutor not checked.
- Evans allowed to sit for an exam knowing he wasn’t academically inclined and not checking whether he had learnt any German at all.
- Letting Evans see the name of the invigilator on the form.
- Jackson’s mistakes:
(i) Not taking more precautions in verifying the invigilator’s identity despite knowing Evans knew his name.
(ii) Letting Evans wear the cap for good luck.
(iii) Allowing McLeery to take the rubber tube inside.
(i) Not going into the cell despite seeing that Evans was just sitting there not writing at all.
(ii) Not verifying the Governor’s phone call.
(iii) Despite seeing that McLeery looked slimmer while going out, not checking him.
6. Governor’s mistakes:
(i) Appointing Stephens, a new guard, to guard Evans.
(ii) Allowing Stephens to move out of the cell when Evans protested.
(iii) Letting Evans know that the cell was bugged.
(iv) Letting the Examination Board phone call go through without verifying its authenticity.
(v) Letting Evans wear a blanket.
(vi) Knew how shrewd Evans was but believing he had left the correction paper behind by mistake and believing the information in it.
(vii) Calling for the police,not the ambulance.
(viii) In the end, letting Evans escape a second time in a van without verifying the guards despite knowing how conniving Evans was.
7.Everyone just accepted Stephens’ belief that the man in the cell was McLeery as he was bleeding and did not check his wounds.
8.Getting fooled by Evans pretending to be McLeery although everyone knew Evans was a good mimic.
Reasons for Evans’ Success
1.A very well thought out innovative plan which was brilliantly conceived and excellently executed:
(i) Knew no one would stop him from studying or taking an exam so used that as an excuse.
(ii) Took time to implement the plan; no hurry.
(iii) Every aspect of the plan made foolproof — clothes being brought in, call for correction, blood in the tube.
(iv) Did not do the obvious- escape during recreation.
2.His own character:
3.An excellent judge of people and knew how to deal with them:
(i) Played on Jackson’s compassion — cap
(ii) Used Stephen’s ego — walk McLeery to gate
(iii) Knew Governor was fair — asked Stephens to go out; even permission for the exam.
(iv) Understood how people took things for granted — would believe a bleeding man would be McLeery,not Evans — no checking done of tutor or invigilator.
(v) Knew everyone would be too flustered to check the wounded man’s injuries.
- Good mimic — Scottish accent.
- Presence of mind — using a blanket to change.
- Had self-control — even when Jackson baited him.
- Alert — saw invigilator’s name.
- Good supportive friends.
- Earlier experience in jail and at escaping.
Reasons for Readers Support of Evans
- Not evil; harmed no one; likeable; good humoured.
- Underdog; so sympathy with him.
- Excellent plan; deserved to win; too many mistakes made by authorities.
- Admire one man making the authorities look foolish.
- When caught took his defeat supporting.
- Good; allowed Evans to sit for the exam.
- Cautions; took all safety measures.
- Fair, despite misgivings, complied with Evans requests
- Intelligent; understood he had been duped.
- Simple; didn’t realize the extent of the deception.
- Gullible; as Evans fools him again at the end.
Short and Simple Summary of the lesson in English– Evans Tries an O-Level/ Summary in simple Words/ Critical appreciation of the lesson – Evans Tries an O-Level
Evans, a congenital kleptomaniac, was imprisoned thrice and had managed to escape from prison. It was for this reason that he is called, ‘Evans the Break’. He was greatly skilled at impersonating other people. He expressed a desire to appear in 0-level German Examination which also was his effort to break the prison. The Governor contacted the examination board and arranged an O’level exam for Evans. The board contacted St. Mary Mags and requested Rev. Stuart McLeery to go to the prison to invigilate the exam. The Governor took utmost care to see that Evans would not use this opportunity to escape. Every care was taken to make Evans prepare for the exam. He was tutored by a German tutor for six months. The day before the exam the tutor wished him luck.
On the day of the exam, Jackson visited Evans cell and took away everything that may help him injure the invigilator Rev. Stuart McLeery. At the same time prison officer, Jackson, and a newly appointed officer, Mr Stephens, were making sure that Evans had no potential weapon to make a jailbreak during the exam. Evans had put on a bobble hat. Inside the hat, Evans concealed his cropped hair which he managed with merely a razor. When Jackson ordered him to remove that hat, Evans requested the officer Mr Jackson to let him keep it as he considered the cap to be his lucky charm. Evans’ cell was bugged so that the Governor could himself listen to what transpired in the cell. The invigilator Rev. S. McLeery too was searched so that he did not have anything that Evans could use to attack him in an attempt to escape. Having done so, they found that the parson McLeery had a semi-inflated rubber tube in his briefcase. On enquiring the reason for which the tube was brought, the person replied it was a cure for his extremely painful disease of piles. Having made a decent parson disclose a secret, the two officers felt embarrassed.
The exam began. Stephen, every now and then peeped into the cell. The exam went on smoothly. Exam began in full swing. The Invigilator remained reading his magazine, Stephens went up and down the corridor, the Governor himself listened to the loudspeaker that caught conversations from Evans’ cell and Jackson kept a watch of all the rest. The Governor received a call from the examination centrethat there was a correction slip. The Governor dialled the number to check but got the engaged tone on the other side. The Governor assumed that he was overreacting.
The invigilator instructed Evans to enter the Index No. 313 and Centre No. 271 on the sheet and begin the test. After the examination, McLeery left and being escorted out by Stephens who noted that McLeery replied to his enquiry in a more pronounced Scots accent. When he returned to check on Evans, he saw him in the invigilator (actually Evans) sprawled and bleeding. He assumed that Evans had attacked McLeery and escaped disguising as him. He informed the Governor. The latter was to be hospitalized but he insisted on guiding the authorities about the route Evans was to take. There was confusion as the second phone call had asked for the prison van and officers in a remand case. The Governor allowed the bleeding person to help after which he would be taken to the hospital. Evans disguised as the person informed them that he was alright and asked them to follow. Thus he escaped the prison. When the invigilator was not found in the hospital they went to the residence of Rev. S. McLeery only to find him”bound and gagged in his study in Broad Street”. He had been there, from 8.15 a.m. Now everything was clear to the Governor. Evans had escaped the prison.
Evans finally reached his hotel triumphant over his escape only to be shocked to find the Governor waiting for him in his room. The Governor told him that the Index No. and the Centre No. gave him the hint of Evans true location. Evans confessed his act and shared the details of his plot. But by taking the hint from the question paper the Governor reached the hotel where Evans was and captured him and came to know how he planned his escape and said that his game was over. Evans surrenders himself to the Governor. The Governor told Evans they would meet soon. The moment they drove away, the so-called prison officer – a friend of Evans – unlocked the handcuffs and asked the driver to move fast and Evans instructed that they turn towards Newbury. Evans, thus, had the last laugh.
The story begins in the Oxford prison where the Governor contacts the Assistant Secretary of Examination Board on the telephone. Evans, one of the prisoners, wanted to appear for the O-Level German exam. He was already taking private tuitions. The Governor, when asked by the board, confirmed that Evans was not violent but a congenital kleptomaniac. It was decided that he would appear for the exam in the cell and a person from St. Mary’s Church would invigilate and Evans should remain ‘incommunicado’.
All the preparations for Evans’s examination were made. He had escaped from the jail three times earlier and was supposed to be shifted to another house later. The Governor was very irritated by Evans and did not want to take any chance.
On June 7, at 8:30 p.m., the German tutor, who was giving private tuition to Evans, wished him ‘Good luck’ as he had his exam the next day. On 8th June, Mr Jackson and Stephens, the two jail officers, entered Evans’ room and took all the precautionary steps. They took away his razor after he shaved along with his nail scissors and nail file. They asked Evans to take off his untidy white and red hat but Evans requested them to let it remain with him as it was his lucky cap. At 8:45, Reverend McLeery left his flat and reached the prison. He had a small brown briefcase containing a sealed question paper, a yellow immigration form, a special ID card, a paper knife, the Bible and a newspaper. The exam was to be held at 9:15 in Evans’ cell. At 9:10, the Governor switched on the receiver. Evans’ cell was locked and prison officers were on alert. The examination started with the paper Do. 0251 and Index no. 313 and centre no. 271. At 9:40, the Governor got a call from the Examination Board that a correction slip was left behind and so the Governor allowed the correction slip with the spelling of ‘Golden Lion’. The Examination continued and Stephens kept a watch on the cell. At 10:50 Evans requested for permission to wrap a blanket around him. At 11:25, the exam got over. Stephens personally escorted McLeery to the prison gate. He was looking slimmer and his Scots accent was more prominent. Everything went off wet Stephens thought of having a last look at Evans before getting relieved and was shocked to find a man lying in Evans’ chair, covered with blood.
It was McLeery. Evans was reported to have escaped. Police and ambulance were called. McLeery showed the question paper and said that he knew where Evans was. The Governor instructed McLeery to be taken to the hospital. He was shown a photocopied sheet. Detritus Carter arrived and he took McLeery along with him to provide medical assistance to him on the Elsfield Way where Evans could be found as this was the message written on the question paper.
After some time, Carter reported that Evans could not be traced out and he had left McLeery at Radcliffe hospital. The Governor called at the hospital and found that there was no McLeery. Later it was discovered that the real McLeety was found gagged and bound in his house. Now the fact came to the notice that it was Evans who had stayed as McLeery in the cell.
Meanwhile, Evans was enjoying his freedom at a luxurious hotel. But he was surprised and shocked to find the Governor in his room. Evans felt defeated and confessed that there was no mistake in the spelling of Golden Lion but it had been done since the hotel had not been fixed. Correction slip was used to convey the name of the hotel and know what time the exam had started. The Governor told Evans that when he put 313/217 he knew that it referred to the middle of Chipping Norton. McLeery had worn two collars, two black fronts, etc. and Evans had changed all this get-up under the blanket. The governor was keen to know from where did he get blood to pour on his face. Evans admitted that it was pig’s blood in the rubber ring that McLeery had brought.
Now Evans is handcuffed and ushered into the prison van. The van left and it turned right from Chipping Norton. The prison officers unlocked the handcuffs and asked Evans where he would like to go.
In fact, they were Evans’ friends. Evans had once again outsmarted the Governor.
Main Characters of the Story
Evans: Evans is a ‘congenital kleptomaniac’ and is known as ‘Evans the Break’. He is a genius in planning and is an excellent manipulator. His entire plan is well planned and each step is calculated. Apart from being clever, Evans is a keen observer. It is due to his intelligence, presence of mind and cleverness that he is taken out of the prison house by Carter himself who is unaware of the fact that the man whom he is taking out is not the person but Evans himself. He is an excellent actor and understands human psychology so well. He knew that the jail authorities will never think that it was Evans who stayed back and it is McLeery who ran away. He acted so well that nobody doubted him. He was a genius as finally in spite of being arrested by the Governor, he was able to escape because of his friends disguised as police officers.
The Governor: The Governor of H.M. Prison is a very intelligent and vigilant person but at times he overestimates himself. He is extra cautious in Evans’ case but is too much dependent on his staff and makes hasty conclusions. He is full of ideas and many a time his hunches prove true but he never investigates them. Though he is always conscious of Evans’ cleverness, he fails to understand Evans’ psyche.
His conjectures brought the successful implementation of Evans plans. He does not cross-examine the identity of the wounded man and is led on. However, he is intelligent and analytical. He is able to put two and two together and locate the Golden lion hotel and reach Evans. But as usual, in his zeal to look efficient, he does not check the identity of the prison officers. This results in the escape of Evans.
Jackson: Jackson is a young and alert prison officer. Like the governor, he is very alert and enthusiastic about his lie is very keen and serious and being a senior is good at giving instructions and orders to his subordinate Stephens. Though he looks stern, he is soft at heart and is gullible. He allows Evans to wear his cap on and doesn’t doubt him. He is so excited that he fails to notice small but important details. He is careless not to check McLeery thoroughly and so failed to note two cloaks, two beards and two collars that McLeery was wearing. He was so casual about his duty that didn’t even bother to go and check Evans after the exam was over.
MULTIPLE CHOICE QUESTIONS
MULTIPLE CHOICE QUESTIONS (MCQ – TEST)(1 Mark Each)
1. ‘Evans Tries an O Level is a———the criminal and the jail authorities
(a) thenarration of (b) satire of
(c) battle of wits between(d) tragic conflict between
2. Evans outwits the prison officialsand has———
(a) the last laugh
(b) to be captured
(c) a surprise in store for him
(d) a lot of fun at the circus
3Evans is good at ———–
(a) making calculations
(b) learning languages
(c) predicting the moves of his rivals
4.Evans was escorted out of prison by ———-
(a) the officials themselves
(b) by his friend
(d) the Secretary of Examinations
5. The Governor of———- contacted the Secretary of Examination on the telephone
(a) Newbury Prison
(b) Radcliff Prison
(c) Elsfield Prison
(d) Oxford Prison
6.The Governor contacted the Secretary of Examination on———–
(a) early February
(b) early March
(c) early April
(d) early May
7.Evan wanted to appear in O Level——— Examination
(a) French (b) Italian
(c) Spanish (d) German
8.The Examination was to be held on———-
(a) February 11 (b) June 8
(c) July 12 (d) November 18
9.The Secretary agreed to make an arrangement of a person from———-to act as an invigilator
(a) St. Agnes Mags
(b) St. Francis Mags
(c) St. Mary Mags
(d) St. Xavier Mags
10. Evans was popularly known as————-
(a) Evans the Intelligent
(b) Evans the Quiet
(c) Evans the Unrest
(d) Evans the Break
11.Evans had escaped from jail
(a) 3 times (b) 4 times
(c) 5 times (d) 6 times
12.Evans had started night classes the previous ———-
(a) July (b) August
(c) September (d) October
13. Evans’ tutor wished him good luck one day before the examination on——
(a) February 10 (b) June 7
(c) July 11 (d) November 17
14.At——- on the examination day, two prison officers visited Evans
(a) 7:00 am (b) 7:30 am
(c) 8:00 am (d) 8:30 am
15.The names of the officers who visited Evans before the examination were——–
(a) Jackson and Stephens (b) Jackson and Bell
(c) Jackson and Carter (d) Carter and Bell
16.Jackson calls Evans jocularly ———–
(a) our little bird (b) our intelligent Evans
(c) our little Einstein (d) our great Evans
17. Jackson instructs Stephen to take away———–
(a) the bag (b) the razor
(c) the scissors (d) the knife
18. Jackson was critical of Evans filthy looking red and white———-
(a) suit (b) coat
(c) shirt (d) bobble hat
19. The Governor had got Evans cell ——— because he did not want to take chances with Evans, the master planner.
(a) bugged (b) guarded
(c) watched (d) locked
20.The invigilator was———
(a) Jackson (b) Stephens
(c) McLeery (d)Governor
21. Governorswitched on the receiver at———-
(a) 9:00 am (b) 9:10 am
(c) 9:20 am(d) 9:30 am
22.What surprised the officers in McLeery’ssuitcase?
(a) a rubber ring (b) a Bible
(c) a pen knife (d) a hat
23.McLeery said he was suffering from ———
(a) diabetes (b) cough
(c) piles (d) cold
24.The name of the paper was ——–
(a) 021-1 (b) 021-2
(c)021-3 (d) 021-4
25.The Index number was———–
(a) 303 (b) 313
(c)323 (d) 333
26.The centre number was ———
(a) 217 (b) 227
(c)271 (d) 297
27.The examination started at ——-
(a) 9:15 am (b) 9:25 am
(c)9:35 am (d) 9:45 am
28.At ____ a.m. the Assistant Secretary for modern languages inform the Governor about an oversight regarding a correction slip
(a) 9:35 (b) 9:40
(c) 9:45 (d) 9:50
29. Evans is told about the corrections on——— by McLeery
(a) page three, line fifteen (b) page three, line nine
(c) page two, line twelve (d) page two, line fifteen
30. At 10:50 am Evans requests that he be allowed to put a——- as he was feeling cold
(a) a scarf around his neck (b) a cap on his head
(c) gloves on his hands (d) blanket around his shoulder
31. At 11:22,——– minutes before the examination was to be over Jackson called Stephens telling him that the Governor wanted to speak with him
(a) 2 (b) 3
(c) 4 (d) 5
32. Stephens was instructed to accompany ——— personally to the main gate
(a) McLeery (b) Jackson
(c) Governor (d) Evans
33. The wounded man in the cell was———
(a) McLeery (b) Jackson
(c) Stephens (d) Evans
34. Police help is sought and Detective Superintendent——- approached McLeery, he told the Superintendent he knew where Evans was
(a) Adams (b) Carter
(c) Bell (d) Burn
35. McLeery directed the superintendent to lead him towards ——-
(a) Radcliff Hospital (b) Elsfield Way
(c) Broad Street (d) Oxford Lane
36.The Governor found McLeery bound and gagged in his study in ———
(a) Oxford Lane (b) Elsfield Way
(c) Broad Street (d) Baker Street
37. Carter tells Governor that he had left Evans at————
(a) Radcliff Hospital (b) Broad Street
(c) St. Mary’s Mag (d) Elsfield Way
38. Evans had escaped the prison and was eating delicious ————-
(a) pizzas and coke (b) fish and chips
(c) burger and chips (d) fish and coke
39. The police laid their hands on Evans in a hotel named ————
(a) the Lion’s Den (b) Lion’s Cage
(c) the Golden Lion (d) the Golden Web
40. What was filled in the plastic ring in McLeery’s suitcase?
(a) red colour (b) human blood
(c) pig’s blood (d) goat’s blood
1.(c) battle of wits between 2. (a) the last laugh
3.(c) predicting the moves of his rivals 4. (a) the officials themselves
5.(d) Oxford Prison 6. (b) early March
7.(d) German 8. (b) June 8
9.(c) St.Mary Mags 10.(d) Evans the Break
11.(a) 3 times 12. (c) September
13.(b) June 7 14. (d) 8:30 am
15.(a) Jackson and Stephens 16. (c) our little Einstein
17.(b) the razor 18. (d) bobble hat
19. (a) bugged 20. (c) McLeery
21. (b) 9:10 am 22. (a) A rubber ring
23. (c) piles 24. (a) 021-1
25. (b) 313 26.(c) 271
27. (b) 9:25 am 28. (b) 9:40
29. (a) page three, line fifteen 30. (d) theblanketaround his shoulder
31. (b) 3 32. (a) McLeery
33. (d) Evans 34. (b) Carter
35. (b) Elsfield Way 36. (d) Broad Street
37.(a) Radcliff Hospital 38. (b) fish and chips
39.(c) the Golden Lion 40.(c) pig’s blood
Short Answer Type Questions (30 to 40 words)
SHORT ANSWER TYPE QUESTIONS (3 Marks Each)
1.How was the Reverend Stuart McLeery dressed and why?
Ans. Reverend Stuart McLeery was wearing a long black overcoat and a shallow-crowned clerical hat. His spectacles had thick lenses. He was carrying a small brown suitcase. It was actually a cold and chilly day and hence he was dressed in a long overcoat.
Q2. What was the significance of the two phone calls the Governor received after a quarter of an hour of the start of the examination?
Ans.The first phone call was made by the Assistant Secretary of the Examination Board. It was regarding a correction slip for the German paper that Evans was writing. The word `Golden Lion’ was to be used in place of ‘Golden Lowe’. The second call came from the Magistrate’s Court. They needed a prison van and a couple of prison officers for a remand case.
Q3. How did the prison machinery swing into action? What did they overlook?
Ans. Prison officers started shouting orders as soon as they discovered that Evans had escaped. Sirens were blown. Puzzled prisoners pushed their way along and doors were banged and bolted. Phones were ringing everywhere. Jackson and Stephens supported McLeery on either side and brought him to the prison yard. The identity of the injured `McLeery’ remained unchecked.
Q4. What did the Governor think of Evans and his plan after ringing up Detective Chief Inspector Bell?
Ans.The Governor admired clever Evans and his beautifully laid plan. He also commented on Evans’ carelessness in leaving behind the question paper. He said that all criminals got caught because they left important clues behind. He was sure that they would soon be able to catch Evans and put him in prison once again.
Q5. What two purposes did the correction slip serve? Which of them did Evans consider more important?
Ans.The correction slip revealed the name of the hotel and its location. He had to go to `Golden Lion’. It also contained the exact time the exam started. For Evans, it was an important thing that the phone rang just before the exam finished. Thus he was able to get the prison officers out of the way for a couple of minutes.
Q6. What did Evans’ own hair look like? How then did he impersonate McLeery?
Ans. Evans’ hair was long and wavy while McLeery had closely clipped hair, almost next to the scalp. Jackson had removed Evans’ scissors, so he had to remove his hair off with a razor. After that he kept his head covered with a bobble hat to prevent being noticed.
Q7. How did the Governor of Oxford Prison locate the hiding place of Evans?
Ans.The Governor told Evans that he had used the same method as Evans had done. The six-figure reference 313/271 was formed by two hints- Index number 313 and centre number 271. If one took an Ordinance Survey Map for Oxfordshire, this number would land bang in the middle of Chipping Norton.
Q8. What request did the Secretary of the Examination Board receive from the Governor of Oxford Prison?
Ans.The Governor of Oxford Prison’s request was to create an examination centre in the prison for one candidate named James Roderick Evans who wanted to appear in O Level German Examination to be held on June 8.
Q9. What enquiry did the Secretary of the Examination Board make about Evans?
Ans.The Secretary of the Examination wanted cursory details about the examinee regarding his nature. He wanted to know if Evans was a violent sort of a person. He was told that there was no record of violence.
Q10. Who met Evans on the eve of the examination?
Ans. Mr Jackson and Mr Stephens visited Evans on the morning of the Examination. They visited him to ensure that he did not have any weapon with him. Evans was called Evans the Break as he had escaped from Prison three times.
Q11. What puzzled Mr Jackson about the contents in McLeery’s suitcase?
Ans. Jackson saw a smallish semi-inflated rubber ring. Even a young child might have to struggle into it. Jackson questioned McLeery about it who replied that he carried it as he suffered from piles.
Q12. Why did the Governor doubt the phone call from the Examination board for the correction in the paper? What did he do?
Ans.The Governor doubted the phone call from the Examination board for the correction in the paper because he thought it might be a fake call. He tried to verify the call. He held the incoming call and from the other line called the Examination Board. Since the number was busy he assumed the call was a genuine one.
Q13. How did Stephens keep an eye on Evans? What did he notice on looking through the peep-hole in Evans’ cell?
Ans. Stephens peeped after every one minute. He found Evans sitting with his pen between his lips and staring straight in front at the door. McLeery sat on his chair reading the ‘Church Times’. His right index finger was hooked beneath the narrow clerical collar. The fingers of the left hand were slowly stroking the short blackboard.
Q14. What request did Evans make about half an hour before the end of the examination? What did Stephens think about it?
Ans. Evans requested if he could put the blanket on his shoulders as it was chilly and McLerry told him to be quick about it. A minute later, Stephens was surprised to see a grey regulation blanket draped round Evans’ shoulders. Stephens was misled into believing that Evans was feeling cold.
Q15. What did Stephens see when he peeped through the hole of the cell of Evans after leaving McLeery at the main gate of the prison?
Ans. Stephens thought of looking at Evans once again after leaving McLeery at the main gate. He saw a terrible sight. A man with short hair presumably McLeery in a pool of blood was sprawling back in Evans’ chair.
Q16. How did McLerry want to help the police?
Ans.The injured McLeery said that he knew where Evans was. He wanted to accompany the police in finding the culprit. He insisted that he did not need to be hospitalized as he was all right. To further his point, he showed the question paper to the Governor to impress upon him that Evans had befooled everybody.
Q17. What important clues were hidden in the German Question paper?
Ans.There was a photocopied sheet hidden in the German question paper. It was very cleverly pasted on the last blank sheet. It had instructions written in German. It has instructions that the plan should be followed. The vital point in time was three minutes before the end of the examination. It further read that he must not hit the person hard and overdo the Scot accent. He was to move the Headington roundabout and then make way to Newbury.
Q18. Where was the real McLeery?
Ans.The real Rev. McLeery was gagged and tied in his room since 8:15 am. The two men visited McLeery in the morning. They gagged him and tied him in his study. Since 8:15 in the morning, the real McLeery had been in his own house. It was Evans accomplice who had come as McLeery to the examination centre.
Q19. How did Evans manage his final escape?
Ans.Evans was handcuffed and made to sit in the prison van. But the Governor was complacent and Evans’ accomplices were inside the van. As the van turned to the Oxford Road, the silent prison officer who was Evans’ friend unlocked the handcuffs. Evans suggested that they go towards Newbury. Evans had his final escape.
Q20. Who, do you think, has the last laugh- The Governor or Evans? How?
Ans.It is Evans who has the last laugh in the story. The two persons, i.e. driver and the silent prison officer turn out to be the accomplices of Evans. The Governor became complacent as he thought he had nabbed the prisoner and would soon put him in prison. But Evans escapes once again.
Q21. What kind of a person was Evans?
Ans. Evans’ full name was James Roderick Evans. The prison officers called him `Evans the Break’ as he had escaped from jail three times. He was quite a pleasant sort of chap — an amusing person who was good at imitations. He was not violent. He was a congenital kleptomaniac.
Q22. What were the precautions taken for the smooth conduct of examinations?
Ans.Evans was in a solitary cell. Reverened Stuart McLeery, a person from St. Mary Mags was the invigilator. Evans’ cell was thoroughly checked. The nail file and scissors taken out. McLeery’s bag was also checked for potential weapons that could be used by Evans. A penknife was taken away. All messages and phone calls to Evans were to go through the Governor. His solitary cell was well guarded with all officers on alert and two locked doors between Evans’ cell and the yard, which had a high wall. Initially, Stephens, a guard, was in the cell. Later, when outside, he checked on Evans after every minute or two.
Q23. Will the injured McLeery be able to help the prison officers track Evans?
Ans.The injured McLeery was Evans. He spoke in broken phrases and told the prison officers to get the police. He drew the attention of the Governor to the German text on photocopied sheet on the last page. When the police arrived, McLeery or Evans told the officer to go to Elsfield Way. The Governor told Detective Carter to take the injured McLeery with him. He was only pretending to guide the officials. His purpose was to escape.
Q24. How did the clues left behind on the question paper, put Evans back in prison again?
Ans.The text on the last page of the German question paper contained the plan of escape. It had important clues of the route which was from Elsfield Way to the Headington roundabout and from there to Newbury. The other clue was the index number 313 and the centre no. 271. The six figures brought the Governor in the middle of Chipping INorton. Golden Lion was also alluded at in the paper.
Q25. Where did Evans go?
Ans. Evans accompanied Detective Carter to track the convict. When the car reached the Examination offices in Elsfield Way, McLeeryor Evans in disguise grogged. He asked for an ambulance to be called for and left there. A car was arranged. He removed blood stains, the false beard, changed clothes and drove to Golden Lion in Chipping Norton.
26. What did the Detective Superintendent inform Governor about Evans?
Ans. Detective Superintendent Carter was told by the Governor to take McLeery along with him to catch Evans. Carter informed the Governor that McLeery had spotted Evans driving off along Elsfield Way. They chased him but lost track of him at the Headington roundabout.
27. What kind of a person was Evans? Why did he want to sit for 0-level German examination?
Ans. Evans was a congenital kleptomaniac. He was in prison and was famous for being ‘Evans the Break’. He was a genius in planning. He was very observant too. He wanted to sit for the O-level German Examination as part of his plan to escape from the prison.
28. How was Jackson instrumental in Evans’ escape from prison?
Ans. Jackson was instrumental in Evans’ escape from prison because he allowed Evans to wear his old cap. Evans told him that it was his lucky hat and due to his compassionate nature, Jackson allowed him to wear the cap which concealed the haircut of Evans. He had cut his hair in the same style as the examiner McLeery had.
29. Why did Evans insist on wearing his hat, despite Jackson’s orders?
Ans. Evans befooled Jackson by telling him that the hat was his lucky charm. He requested him to allow him to wear it as he was going to appear for the examination. In fact, he had hidden his haircut under this cap. But Jackson couldn’t understand his plan and allowed him to wear the cap on compassionate grounds.
30. At 11:22 a.m., there was a call for Stephens. Who had made the call and for what?
Ans. The call was made by the friends of Evans outside the prison so as to divert Jackson from the close supervision of Evans. He was removed from his duty for some time so that Evans could give finishing touches to his make-up to look like McLeery.
31. What shock awaited Stephens when he peeped inside Evans’ cell after the Exam?
Ans. When Stephens peeped inside Evans’ cell, he found that McLeery was all smeared in blood and sprawled on Evans’ chair. He presumed that it was McLeery and Evans escaped after injuring the invigilator.
32. Who is Carter? Why was he summoned?
Ans. Caner is the Detective Superintendent. The Governor called him after he came to know of Evans’ escape. He told him to take the injured person with him as only he seemed to know what was happening and could help him to catch Evans.
33. Who were the two visitors who paid a visit to Evans’ cell on the Examination day?
Ans. These were two prison officers who were deputed by the Governor. Senior prison officer Jackson, an officer of the `D’ wing and officer Stephens, recently recruited, were kept on special duty to keep a vigil during the conduct of O-level German Exam for Evans.
34. Why was Evans reluctant to remove his hat?
Ans. Evans had cut his hair short. It was part of his escape plan. He had to impersonate McLeery. So he got his hair cut short. But in order to conceal this fact from the prison authority, he wore a hat. He was reluctant to remove the hat on the pretext that it was his lucky charm. What was the purpose of the correction slip?
35. How did the Governor locate Evans in his hotel?
Ans. The Governor finally realised that is was McLeery who had escaped and it was Evans who had stayed back in the guise of McLeery. It was foolish to send him out with Detective Carter. The Governor put the index no. and centre no. 312/271 together and derived the pin code of the area. with the help of ordnance map of Oxfordshire, he managed to locate Evans’ hotel, Golden Lion.
36. How did Evans manage to get blood smeared on his face?
Ans. It was the examiner who got that blood for Evans. It was brought in the rubber-ring that McLeery carried with him in his briefcase. It was pig’s blood which was mixed with human blood to stop clotting. This blood was smeared on his face by Evans.
37. How did Evans manage to get McLeery’s get-up in the cell?
Ans. McLeery was wearing two collars, two gowns and two spectacles along with his own clothes. It was so cleverly done that nobody could detect it. So, one collar, one gown, one false beard and a pair of spectacle were used by Evans to disguise as parson for his escape.
38. Who are the prison officers in the end who handcuffed Evans? Why does one of them have “a broad Scots accent”?
Ans. The prison officers who handcuffed Evans, in the end, were no other than his friends. The man with ‘a broad Scots accent was no other than the man who came as McLeery. He was clever enough to flee just right in front of the Governor’s eyes.
Important Long/ Detailed Answer Type Questions- to be answered in about 100 -150 words each Value based questions-
ESSAY TYPE QUESTIONS (6 Marks Each)
Ql. Give an account of the blunders committed by the prison authorities which helped Evans in escaping from the prison.
Ans. Prison authorities made many blunders. It was only because of these mistakes that Evans could escape from prison. The hatching of the escape plan started with the German tutor’s entry. The German teacher who had been coming to take Evans’ classes was Evan’s accomplice. Everyone assumed that he was a teacher from the technical college. The invigilator’s identity was also not verified.
On the Examination day, Jackson’s not getting Evans’ ‘bobble-hat’ removed was a blunder. If Stephens had not been shifted out from the cell, the escape would not have been possible. Jackson should have searched McLeery thoroughly and seen the rubber ring closely.
The prison staff blindly believed that the injured man was the invigilator, though it was Evans playing a trick on them. When Evans was arrested, the Governor was complacent and sent him in a prison van, leaving Evans in the hands of his own accomplices. He, thus, lost Evans who made his final escape.
Q2. Attempt a brief character sketch of ‘Evans the Break’.
Ans. Evans comes across to us as a highly clever, manipulative and shrewd individual. A non-violent kleptomaniac by birth, he was a jail-bird having being put in prison several times and escaping as many as three times. He was an amusing chap, good at imitations and a star at the Christmas concert. He had an unkempt physical appearance but a cheerful smile which he used for the prison officers.
A cunning and resourceful person, Evans is able to use his presence of mind time and again, to his utmost advantage. He makes a request to Mr Jackson to allow him to put on his bobble hat but complains to the invigilator against Stephens whose presence disturbs his concentration. He is polite when he makes special requests to suit his convenience or rather when he plans to put his plan into action. He is quick to disguise himself as parson McLeery and spill blood on himself to appear injured. He is a clever manipulator and uses this quality to win the confidence of the police officers.
Evans enjoys the faith, support and active cooperation of his team of dedicated comrades. They are meticulous in their planning and work out the minutest details in order to carry out their plans without any mishaps. Even in the worst circumstances, Evans does not lose his cool. He has the last laugh when he is able to fool the police officers and the Governor and escapes for the fourth time.
3. What purpose did the question paper and the correction slip serve? How did they help both the criminal and the Governor?
Ans. The correction slip served two purposes in the escape of Evans. Firstly, it confirmed the name of the hotel where Evans had to stay after his escape and, secondly, it confirmed the time when the paper started.
The slip also helped the Governor to find out the exact location of Evans. As the Governor could understand German, so after reading it, he realised that Evans was in Newbury. So he cracked the code through Index no. 313 and the centre no. 271 written on the paper. This gave the Governor the information that 313/271 was the pin code for the middle of Chipping Norton where he reached to arrest Evans at Golden Lion hotel.
4. How was Evans able to devise a foolproof plan for his escape from prison as well as procure items for his disguise in spite of severe instruction and strict observation?
Ans. As part of his plan to escape the prison, Evans expressed his desire to learn German and passing O-level examination. The prison authority after consulting the board, allowed a tutor to come into the cell and give him tuitions in German. In fact, the tutor was part of his team arranging his escape. Evans was to appear for examinations. The test would be given in the prison cell and a priest was arranged as an invigilator. At the end of the test, Evans impersonated as the invigilator McLeery and remained inside the cell, pretending to be injured while the other escaped. In fact, it was the invigilator who had come wearing two coats, two collars, two pairs of spectacles and two false beards and the pig blood in a rubber tube. As a result, in spite of strict vigil by the prison authorities, he was able to escape from the prison.
5. What could the Governor have done to securely bring back Evans to the prison, when he caught him at the ‘Golden Lion’? What does this final act of the Governor prove?
Ans. The Governor was intelligent and had good analytical power. He very cleverly located the Golden Lion hotel and deciphered Chipping Norton on the map of Oxfordshire. He reached there and caught Evans. Evans was handcuffed and sent back to the prison in the prison van. But here the Governor again did the same mistake as he did earlier of relying on his staff. He never bothered to cross-check the identity of prison officers. So Evans was taken away by his own friends disguised as the prison officers. And once again Evans escaped leaving the Governor shocked and surprised.
6. Give a character sketch of the Governor of Oxford Prison based on your understanding of the story `Evan Tries An O-level’.
Ans. The Governor of H.M. Prison is a very intelligent and vigilant person but at times he overestimates himself. He is extra cautious in Evans’ case but is too much dependent on his staff and makes hasty conclusions. He is full of ideas and many a time his hunches prove true but he never investigates them. Though he is always conscious of Evans’ cleverness yet he fails to understand Evans’ psyche.
His conjectures brought the successful implementation of Evans plans. He does not cross-examine the identity of the wounded man and is led on. However, he is intelligent and analytical. He is able to. put two and two together and locate the Golden Lion hotel and reach Evans. But like always, in his zeal to look efficient, he does not check the identity of the prison officers. This results in the final escape of Evans.
7. How did the negligence of the prison officers prove to be a boon for Evans?
Ans. The prison officers prove to be a pack of “good-for-a-giggle’ officers who were no match to the clever Evans. First, negligence on their part was not to verify the identity of the German teacher. They could not even identify McLeery, the imposter who came to the cell right under the nose of the prison authorities.
Jackson’s casual attitude towards the hat of Evans was another blunder. He showed his negligence in not even searching McLeery though, otherwise, his false beard and two collars and gowns could have been identified. Moreover, nobody tried to establish the identity of the wounded man and the Governor himself facilitated his escape by sending him out with Carter. Finally, the biggest negligence was not to verify the authenticity of prison officers with whom he sent Evans after he was captured. All this proved to be a boon for Evans to escape.
8.. What precautions were taken by the prison officers for the smooth conduct of examination?
Ans. Evans was called ‘Evans the Break’, so all possible precautions were taken by the prison officers for the smooth conduct of the examination. His razor, nail cutter and nail file were all taken away. His cell was bugged at the time of examination. The Governor himself was in direct touch with the prison house and the officers. After McLeery entered the cell for examination, Evans’ cell was locked. The Governor had a fear that Evans might overpower the invigilator. He instructed Jackson to have a physical check-up. There was tight security in the jail and everything was put on high alert. Thus, the prison officers took all possible precautions for the smooth conduct of the examination.
9. What role is played by McLeery, in contributing to the success of Evans’ escape plan?
Ans. McLeery plays the most significant role in Evans’ escape. He impersonates Reverend McLeery and reaches the prison. He has great acting skills and is so confident and intelligent that the jail authorities do not suspect him. It is his smartness to wear two beards, two collars and two gowns which help Evans to escape. Throughout, McLeery sits like a person, giving specific instructions like index no, the centre no, etc. He is smart enough to answer Jackson regarding the rubber tube.
It is not only once but even at the end, it is his friend who appeared as a driver of the prison van to steer Evans to freedom from H.M. Prison. Thus it was McLeery who was instrumental in the success of Evans’ escape plan.
10. ‘Evans the Break’ lived up to his Christian name. Discuss the steps undertaken by Evans to plan his escape.
Ans. ‘Evans the Break’ was a name given to Evans because of his jailbreaks. He had escaped thrice and fourth time also he lived up to his name despite all the precautions and security arrangements made by the prison authorities.
His escape plan started with the German tutor who was his friend. He decided to take the 0-level exam, as part of his plan. An imposter came as an invigilator and smuggled all necessary things required to befool the prison officers. So Evans dressed up as McLeery, splashed blood on his face and got away very easily.
Even when the Governor was able to catch him, he had another trick up his sleeves. The prison officer whom he was handed over was not the real officer. The van belonged to the prison authorities but the men had been replaced by his friends. So Evans was successful in escaping by befooling the officers.
11. What lapses on the pad of police and prison authorities helped Evans to escape from prison?
Ans. The prison officers prove to be a pack of “good-for-a-giggle’ officers who were no match to the clever Evans. First negligence on their part was not to verify the identity of the German teacher. They could not even identify McLeery, the imposter who came to the cell right under the nose of the prison authorities.
Jackson’s casual attitude towards the bobble hat of Evans was another blunder. He showed his negligence in not even searching McLeery thoroughly otherwise his false beard and two collars and gowns could have been identified. Moreover, nobody tried to establish the identity of the wounded man and the governor himself facilitated his escape by sending him out with Carter. Finally, the biggest negligence was not to verify the authenticity of prison officers with whom he sent Evans after he was captured. All this proved to be a boon for Evans to escape.
12. Who was supposed to invigilate the exam? What did he carry with him to fulfil his duty to satisfaction?
Ans. Reverend McLeery, a person from St. Mary’s Church was supposed to invigilate the exam. The person carried a small brown suitcase which contained a sealed question paper, a yellow invigilator form, a special ID card, a paper knife, the Bible and a newspaper. All the paraphernalia that was required for the escape of Evans was also brought by McLeery. In fact, he was not the person but Evans’ friend who wore two collars, two gowns and two beards to execute Evans’ escape plan. He also brought a rubber tube which had pig’s blood mixed with human blood to prevent it from clotting.
Thus, McLeery had brought everything for the satisfactory fulfilment of his duty as an invigilator as well as to help Evans escape.
Value Based Questions and Answers of Evans Tries an O-Level
1. Habits and nature formed in the adolescence become rigid and indelible. This is quite evident in Evan’s character. Write an article on the importance of providing a good environment at the adolescent age.
Ans. Importance of Good Environment for Adolescents
Adolescence is considered to be the most crucial period for the all-round development of a person. At this age, rapid developments such as physical, mental and emotional take place. Every adolescent chooses his role model and tries to imitate him/her. If a good environment and exposure are provided to an adolescent at this age, he/she grows into a mentally and physically healthy adult who is productive for the society and the nation. This is the most important phase of human life. The image, the thought process, the habits are formed at this age remain forever. Evans had been a victim of negative growth in his early years. As a result, in spite of being so clever, his personality has found negative growth. It must have been due to the company of his friends and the circumstances he had faced in life. Thus, it is the environment which is most important for adolescents.
2. Evans was so smart and clever that in spite of strict vigil, he managed to escape the prison. This shows his intelligence. But he used all his brain for the wrong purpose. Had this capability been utilized for some good purpose, it would have contributed to the betterment of society or nation. The similar situation is of the youth of today. Write a speech to be delivered in the morning assembly urging the youngsters to use their skills for constructive purposes.
Ans. Good morning. Respected principal, teachers and dear friends, today I am going to express my views on the importance of using our skills for the constructive purpose. It is said that young age is the most powerful time in a person’s life. At this age, one is full of energy, enthusiasm, power and hopes. We, the youngsters are the future of our nation. We all are fortunate to get the best education and good living provided by our teachers and parents. Our education and exposure have provided us with skills and knowledge. It is believed that youngsters arc smarter than adults, especially in the use of technology. But it is said that freedom and responsibility come hand in hand. Thus, we have to make sure that we use our skills and knowledge for constructive purposes. We should not like Evans to utilize our intelligence for breaking the laws and other negative purposes. It is our duty to a responsible citizen of society and nation and uses our skills for the upliftment of our society and country.