44. Reading Skills Comprehension: JAMAICAN

By | February 17, 2020

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JAMAICAN

Read the passage given below and answer the questions that follow:

1. One morning, about half-way between my front gate and the tram track, I noticed two little boys playing in the garden of the more modest cottages. They were both very little boys, one was four years old perhaps, the other five. The bigger of the two was a sturdy youngster, very dark, with a mat of coarse hair on his head and coal-black eyes. He was definitely a little Jamaican – a strong little Jamaican. The other little fellow was smaller, but also sturdy – he was white, with hazel eyes and light-brown hair. Both were dressed in blue shirts and khaki pants. They wore no shoes and their feet were muddy. They were not conscious of my standing there, watching them: they played on. The little white boy walked authoritatively up and down, and every now and then shouted at his bigger playmate. The brown boy shuffled along quietly behind him and did what he was told.

2. ‘Pick up that stick!’ The dark boy picked it up.

3. ‘Jump into the flowers!’ The dark boy jumped.

4. ‘Get me some water!’ The dark boy ran inside. The white boy sat down on the lawn.

5. I was amazed. Here before my eyes, a white baby – for they were little more than babies – was commanding his will upon a black baby. And the black baby submitted. I puzzled within myself as I went down the road

6. Was it that even as a boy he sensed that in his own country he would be at the white man’s beck and call? Could he, even at his age, tell the difference between himself and the white boy? And did the little white youngster, so young, such a baby, realize that he would grow to dominate the black man?

7. I could not bring myself to believe such a thing, and yet, with my own eyes I had seen a little dark boy take orders from a little white boy – a little white boy, obviously his social equal, and younger and smaller. Were we as a race, really inferior? So inferior that even in our infancy we realized our deficiencies, and accepted our position as the white man’s servant. For a whole day, I puzzled over this problem.

8. The next morning, the boys were there again, and a man was standing at the gate watching them. I stopped and looked, just to see what the white boy was making his little servant do. To my utter astonishment, the little dark boy was striding imperiously up and down the lawn, while the white youngster walked abjectly behind him.

9. ‘Get me a banana !’ (a) The little white boy ran into the house and reappeared shortly with a banana.

10. ‘Peel it for me !’

11 The little white boy peeled the banana and handed it to his dark master.

12. I saw it now. It was indeed a game, a game I had played as a child. Each boy took it, in turn, every alternate day to be the boss, the other, the slave.

13. I smiled as I remembered. I looked at the man standing by the gate. He was a white man. I remembered what I had thought yesterday. He, no doubt, I thought to myself, was wondering if the black race is superior to the white. I laughed gently to myself. How silly grown-ups are! And yet how clever we are, how wonderfully able we are to assign deep motives to childish actions! This man, I thought to myself, will puzzle all day on whether the blacks will eventually rise and rule the world. I will save him his puzzle. I will explain it to him. I went across to him.

14. ‘I know what you’re thinking,’ I said. ‘You’re thinking that maybe the black race is superior to the white because you just saw the little dark’ youngster on the lawn ordering the little white boy around. Don’t think that; it’s a game they play. Alternate days one is boss, the other, servant. It is a grand game. Yesterday, 1 saw the little white boy bossing the dark one and I worried all day over the dark boy’s realization of his inferiority so young in life! We are silly, we grown-ups, aren’t we?’

15. The man was surprised at my outburst. He looked at me smiling.

16.know all about the game,’ he said. ‘The boys are brothers, my sons.’, He pointed to a handsome brown woman on the verandah who had just come out to call in the children. ‘That’s my wife,’ he said.

17. I smiled. My spirit laughed within me. This is Jamaica, I said in my heart, this is my country, my people.

On the basis of your understanding of the above passage answer each of the questions given below with the help of options that follow:

 (a) The narrator had noticed the boys because 

(i) both were very young

(ii) one was black and the other white

(iii) they belonged to the same social status

(iv) the white was commanding the black even though he was younger by a year

(b) the writer was puzzled because

(i) he could not understand why the white boy was commanding the black boy

(ii) he could not understand why the black boy was obeying the white boy

(iii) both the above

(iv) none of the above

(c) the writer was pleasantly surprised the next day when…

(i) He saw the black boy commanding the white one

(ii) He realized that the children were just playing a game

(iii) It was not a case of discrimination as he had thought earlier

(iv) All the above

 (d) The writer approached the white man

(i)to put his doubts to rest

(ii) to reassure him

(iii) because he felt he was also misunderstanding the game being played by the children

(iv) to express his anguish at the game the children were playing to him

Answer the following questions briefly in your own words:

(e) What game were the children playing?

(f) Why was the writer surprised the next day?

(g) What did he realize then?

(h) What surprised the writer after his conversation with the white man?

(ii) What made the writer happy in the end?

(j) What lesson did the writer learn at the end?

(k) Find words from the passage which mean the same as each of the following:

(i) walk by dragging the feet (para 1)

(ii) in a wretched miserable manner ( para 8)

ANSWERS:-

 (a) (iv);           (b) (iii);

(c) (iv);             (d) (iii)

 (e) The children were playing a game where one would pretend to be the boss and the other would be the slave.

(f) He was surprised because whereas the first day the white boy had been bossing around the darker child, the next day it was the dark child who was ordering around the white child.

(g) He then realized that the children were just playing a game.

(h) He was surprised because the man told him that the two boys were brothers and his sons.

(i) He was happy because the family showed the true spirit ofJamaica, where people from different races and colours lived together in harmony. Thus, what he had seen was not a picture of the effects of discrimination in society, but rather of unity.

(j) The writer learnt the lesson of not making assumptions and judging what you see without knowing all the facts.

(k) (i) Shuffle;                         (ii) Abjectly

Download the above Passage in PDF Worksheet (Printable)

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