On the Face of It
By- Susan Hill
SHORT ANSWERS TYPE QUESTIONS
Q1. Why is Derry startled as soon as he enters the garden?
Ans. Derry, a boy of fourteen, climbs over the boundary to enter Mr Lamb’s garden assuming it to be empty. Mr Lamb’s ‘Mind the Apples’ startled Derry.
Q2. Why does Derry enter Mr. Lamb’s garden?
Ans. Derry thought there was no one in Mr Lamb’s garden. He did not come to steal apples but out of curiosity.
Q3. Why does Derry want to go home as soon as he comes face to face with Mr Lamb?
Ans. Derry thought the garden was an empty place and had come out of curiosity. On seeing Mr Lamb, Derry wanted to go home because he felt that Mr Lamb like other people would find his face repulsive and frightful.
Q4. What is the attitude of Mr Lamb to Derry who comes to his garden?
Ans. Mr Lamb is gentle and friendly. He is not repulsed by Derry’s appearance and tells him to mind the crabapples. He urges Derry to stay on.
Q5. What terrible complex did Derry suffer from?
Ans. One side of Derry’s face was severely burnt by acid. Nobody liked him or befriended him. They were repulsed by his ugly face and avoided him. He withdrew on account of this and avoided people.
Q6. Why does Derry feel that Mr Lamb had changed the subject?
Ans. Derry feels that Mr Lamb had changed the subject because he was afraid to ask him about his burnt face. Others had also done this before. He felt that people merely pretended the physical impairment wasn’t there.
Q7. Why does Derry not like being with people?
Ans.When people looked at Derry’s face they found it repulsive. They thought it was the ugliest thing they had ever seen. Some were afraid of what they saw. Derry did not like being with people who reminded him of his scars. He spurned people because he felt rejected and unloved.
Q8. ‘We’re not the same’, says Derry. How does Mr Lamb try and convince him that there is no essential difference between them?
Ans. Mr Lamb tells Derry, that despite apparent differences, they are the same. They have life and are growing. Both of them have a physical disability. The differences are superficial and unimportant.
Q9. What is Mr Lamb’s response to Derry saying that the tin leg did not trouble him?
Ans. Derry feels that Mr Lamb can cover up his tin leg and people would not even get to know. Mr Lamb replies that if he got affected, people would still make fun of him. One has to stop bothering people and their reaction to one’s disability.
Q10. Why did kids call Mr. ‘Lamb Lamey-Lamb’? How does he feel about it?
Ans. Mr Lamb had an artificial leg. His limb had been blown off in a bomb explosion. The street children called him Lamey-Lamb. It no longer troubled him as he had come to terms with his disability.
Q11. Why is one green plant called a ‘weed’ and another ‘flower’?
Ans. Mr Lamb says there is no difference between a weed and a flower. They are variations of the same life which is all important. They are both growing and they both represent life — developing or growing with Mr Lamb and Derry. There is inherent oneness in God’s creation.
Q12. Why do people’s consolations fail to console Derry?
Ans. Derry feels that he is too ugly to be consoled. He has been advised to take inspiration from those who have been blinded, born deaf, invalid or mentally retarded. Since Derry has none of these disabilities, he should realise that he was more fortunate than them. He feels sermons cannot make his face change to a handsome one.
Q13. What peculiar things does Derry notice about the old man?
Ans. Deny felt Mr Lamb had no friends and lived a lonely life. He had no curtains. He was not fond of shutting things in. He liked the light and the darkness. He also liked to hear the wind and listen to bees singing.
Q14. What did Derry feel about the conversation the two women had at the bus stop?
Ans. Deny once overheard a woman who went by him when he was at a bus stop whisper about him. She told the other woman that his face was a terrible thing. It was a face only a mother could love. Deny felt it was a cruel thing to say and it upset him very much.
Q15. Why does Mr Lamb narrate the story of a man who locked himself in a room because he was afraid?
Ans. Mr Lamb told Derry a story of a man who was afraid of everything in the world. He went into his room and locked the door. A picture fell off the wall on his head and killed him. He narrated this story to make Deny realize that building a wall around him would not help. Derry needed to shed his fears and live life.
Q16. What arguments does Derry give to convince his mother why he wanted to go to the old man’s garden?
Ans. Derry told his mother that Mr Lamb had a tin leg. He lived in a huge house with no curtains. Derry wanted to be in Mr Lamb’s garden and listen to things that matter.
Things nobody else had ever said. Things he wanted to think about. He added it was nothing to do with his face but about what he felt.
Q17. What made Derry decide to go to the old man?
Ans. Derry decided to go to the old man because he had promised him that he would come. Mr Lamb had helped him add a new meaning to his life. It was no longer about his face and looks but about what he thought. He no longer wanted to shun people. Deny knew that if he didn’t go back, he’d never go anywhere in this world again.
Q18. Comment on the ending of the play ‘On the Face of it’.
Ans. Mr Lamb who lived a full life in spite of a disability and loneliness helps Deny overcome his fears. He falls down exactly as Derry had said he would earlier in the play. Mr Lamb has left the reformed Derry to complete the good work he had started. Even though the ending appears sad there is hope in the form of young Derry.
Q19. Why did Mr Lamb leave his gate always open?
Ans. Mr Lamb was a lonely man. The gate was always open. People would often come in. Kids came for the crabapples and for toffee. Mr Lamb was not afraid of anything and he did not mind strangers entering his house or garden.
Q20. How does Mr Lamb keep himself busy when it is a bit cool?
Ans.When it got cooler, Mr Lamb kept himself busy by getting the ladder and a stick to pull down the ripe crabapples. He made jelly out of them.
Q21. What is the bond that unites the two – Mr Lamb, the old man, and Derry, the young boy?
Ans. Mr Lamb and fourteen-year-old Derry suffer from a physical impairment. The old man has a tin leg because he got one of his legs blown off in the war. Derry has one side of his face disfigured and burnt by acid. It is the feeling of empathy that creates the bond. Mr Lamb draws Deny out and infuses positivity into him giving him the courage to believe in himself as a person.
Q22. How does Derry interpret the fairy story ‘Beauty and the Beast’? What does he feel about himself?
Ans. The story about the inner beauty being more important than the outer appearance has often been narrated to Deny. The beast in the story changed into a handsome prince. Derry feels his situation will never change. No one kissed him, not even his mother. She only kissed him on the other side of the face.
Q23. Why does Derry’s mother oppose his going back to Mr Lamb?
Ans. Derry’s mother has heard things about the old man. Though they have been here for only three months, she had been warned. She wants to protect Deny.
Q24. How does Mr Lamb react when Derry enters his garden? [All India 2017]
Ans. Deny entered Mr Lamb’s garden by climbing over the garden wall. He had thought that it was an empty place. He didn’t know there was anybody there. He just wanted to be in a secluded place. On seeing Mr Lamb Deny was startled. He clarified that he didn’t enter to steal anything. Mr Lamb tried to comfort Derry and allay his fear by saying that anybody could enter the garden. He asked him to pick up ripe apples lying in the long grass.
Q25. What kind of garden does Mr Lamb have? Why does he like it? [All India 2017]
Ans.Mr Lamb’s garden was an empty, unkempt garden where both weeds and flowering plants grew side by side. There was a Crab apple tree which was laden with ripe, red and orange fruits. There was also a beehive. The gate always remained open. Lamb enjoyed talking to anyone who cared to walk in. The garden was a source of solace to his lonely life. He enjoyed the sunshine and living in the lap of nature.
26. How does Mr Lamb keep himself busy when it is a bit cool?
Ans. When the weather was cool, Mr Lamb would take a ladder and a stick and pull down the crab apples. He would make jelly with the ripened oranges and golden apples to keep him occupied.
27. As told by Mr Lamb, why did a man lock himself up in his room and what happened to him?
Ans. The man locked himself up in his room because he was afraid that a bus might run him over or a man might breathe deadly germs onto him, or a donkey might kick him to death, or lightning might strike him down or he might slip on a banana skin and fall and people would laugh at him. But in spite of locking himself in the room, he died as a picture fell off the wall on his head.
28. If you were to give a different ending to the story ‘On the face of It’ how would you end it?
Ans. I would have given a happy ending to the story. I would not like Mr Lamb to die at the end. Instead, Derry would be received by Mr Lamb and they both would become good friends.
29. How does Deny interpret the fairy tale ‘Beauty and the Beast’? What does he feel about himself?
Ans. Deny says Beauty loved the Beast and so she kissed him and he changed into a handsome prince. But this would not happen to him because no one was going to kiss him. Even his mother kissed him on the other side of the face.
30. Why did Mr Lamb help Derry?
Ans. Mr Lamb himself was handicapped. He knew the difficulties faced by people like him. But he was very optimistic and wanted to motivate and inspire others. He wanted Deny to look at the things with a different perspective. It was his nature of generosity, love and altruism that compelled bun to help Derry.
31. In what sense is the friendship between Mr Lamb and Derry fruitful?
Ans. The friendship between Derry and Mr Lamb proved very fruitful for Derry. Mr Lamb changed Derry’s attitude to life and gave him the courage to face the challenges of bravely. His way of living a life in its utmost utility proved to be an inspiration for Derry who finally came out from the inferiority complex and started living a normal life.
32. Why does Deny tell Mr Lamb that he is afraid of seeing himself in the mirror?
Ans. Half of the face of Deny was burnt as the acid spilt over his face. This resulted in an ugly scar on his face. He was afraid of seeing his ugly face in the mirror as it reminded him of his ugliness and made him feel scared and depressed.
33. According to Derry, what did people think and say about him?
Ans. Derry’s half of the face was burnt and deformed. According to him, people either ignored him or had pitied him. Some even made fun of him and called him ugly and the devil. They were scared of him and showed their sympathy for him.
34. What did Derry’s mother think of Mr Lamb?
Ans. Derry’s mother did not have a good opinion about Mr Lamb. She said that she had heard many things about Mr Lamb. She didn’t want to Deny to go to meet him. She believed Mr Lamb to be a dangerous person who lived alone in a big home.
35. What qualities of Mr Lamb attracted Deny to him?
Ans. Positive attitude towards life attracted Deny towards Mr Lamb. He always looked at life in a positive and realistic way. He was always motivating and inspiring. His zeal to live life fully in all circumstances attracted Derry to him.
36. Why does Mr Lamb leave his gate open?
Ans. Mr Lamb was always on the lookout for the company of good friends. That’s why he kept his gate open. He wanted people to come and meet him at any time. This is symbolic of his openness to accept the world.
37. Which peculiar things does Deny notice about Mr Lamb?
Ans. Mr Lamb appeared to be a particular person to Deny because he was not able to understand many of the things which Mr Lamb said. Mr Lamb told Deny to keep his ears shut and ignore the people for what they say. His positive approach to life in spite of his handicap was a peculiar thing for Derry.
38. “It ate my face up. It ate me up,” says Deny to Mr Lamb. What is this a reference to and how does the play bear out the latter part of the statement?
Ans. Derry’s face is burnt with acid-scarred and disfigured. He is pitied by others. In fact, the acid ate up his face. It also disfigured his personality. This led him to a sense of self-pity and withdrawal. He was not able to face the people and their unkind and insensitive remarks.
39. ‘The world’s got a whole face, and the world’s there to be looked at.’ How does this statement reflect Mr Lamb’s state of mind and how does this help in changing Derry’s outlook to life?
Ans. This statement reflects Mr Lamb’s positive and optimism to life. He believes that one must face life with positivity and accept everything courageously. The world is a beautiful place and we must enjoy its beauty by meeting and interacting with people. This positive attitude of Mr Lamb changed Derry’s state of mind and he was able to overcome his inferiority complex and low self-esteem.
40. Despite all that the old man says, he is yet a lonely old man. How is this brought out in the course of the play? How does Mr Lamb overcome this?
Ans. Mr Lamb is an old man with a tin leg. He is alone and lives in a big house with a big lawn. Though he is very optimistic towards life and accepts everything very positively, his loneliness is evident from the fact that he has left his gate and windows open so that people can come in whenever they want. He overcomes this loneliness by getting himself involved in making toffees, jelly, etc. with the nab apples that grow in his garden. He loves to talk and spend time with the children who come to his lawn.
41. ‘Because if I don’t go back there, I’ll never go back anywhere in the world’ says Derry to his mother. How do these words reflect Derry’s state of mind? How does he come to feel this way?
Ans. These words show that Derry’s state of mind has been changed. Motivated and inspired by Mr Lamb has become confident and bold to accept and face the world in spite of his infirmity. He was no more pessimist and has started taking life as a challenge.