30. Reading Skills Comprehension: Sullivan

Read the following passage carefully:                                                                   


Sullivan has decided that he will look after his ailing mother, who is laid up with fever and pneumonia. He will therefore not be able to attend school. Devoted a son as he is he does everything that can lessen the agony and pain of his mother. When the physical condition of his mother worsens, Sullivan calls a doctor who prescribes a cough syrup for her. The dispensary is far away, and on his way to the dispensary, he passes by an old cathedral. In return for his mother’s getting well soon, Sullivan promises to spend a penny on a candle for the Blessed Virgin. When he reaches the dispensary, he is told that he will have to wait for the medicine as its preparation will take time. It is while waiting that he meets a girl, who is also there for some medication. Meanwhile, the medicine the girl had come for, is ready. The girl collects her bottle of medicine and readily waits for Sullivan. Happy at the company. Sullivan buys a pennyworth of sweets to share with the girl, while they wait for his bottle of medicine. When Sullivan’s bottle is ready, the girl innocently asks Sullivan to let her taste the medicine. Sullivan also asks if he can taste the medicine she is carrying. To this, the girl replies that hers tastes bad. Sullivan allows the girl to taste the medicine he is carrying. The girl finds the taste good. Both of them finish the contents of the bottle.

Now the reality of what has happened dawns on Sullivan and he starts crying bitterly. He curses himself for having spent the penny he had planned to buy the candle with. Feeling downcast and hopeless, Sullivan runs to the cathedral and, kneeling down before the Blessed Virgin, promises to buy a candle with the next penny if only she will cure his mother of her ailment. When he reaches home guilt-ridden he finds his mother all right and reveals everything to her. God had listened to his prayer.

On the basis of your reading of the above passage, answer the following questions briefly (8 marks)

(a) Why will Sullivan not be able to attend school?              

(b) At the cathedral, what promise does Sullivan make?                  

(c) What is Sullivan told on reaching the dispensary?                                                           

(d) Being happy at the girl’s company, what does Sullivan do?                                            

(e) Why does Sullivan start crying bitterly?                                                              

(f) On his way home, what does Sullivan do at the cathedral?                                                           

(g) Why is Sullivan kept waiting at the dispensary?

(h) What promise did Sullivan make if his mother would be cured?

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