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The Happy Prince
By- OSCAR WILDE
EXTRACTS FOR COMPREHENSION
Read the following extracts and answer the questions that follow in one or two lines.
“I will put up there,” he cried. “It is a fine position with plenty of fresh air.” So he alighted just between the feet of the Happy Prince.
(a) Who is the speaker and what is he talking about?
The swallow is the speaker and he is talking about a suitable place to perch.
(b) What does ‘there’ stand for? Where was it?
‘There’ stands for the statue of the Happy Prince. It was high above the city on a tall column.
(c) Why was it a fine position?
It was a fine position because the little swallow could get plenty of fresh air over there.
(d) Why did the speaker alight just between the feet of the Happy Prince?
The speaker, the little swallow, alighted just between the feet of the Happy Prince because he thought the statue would protect him from uncertain weather.
“I hope my dress will be ready in time for the State ball,” she said. “I have ordered flowers to be embroidered on it, but the seamstresses are so lazy.”
(a)Who is the speaker? Who is she talking to?
The speaker is the loveliest maid of honour of the Queen. She is talking to her lover.
(b) Who has her dress? Why?
The seamstress has her dress because the maid of honour had ordered her to embroider flowers on it.
(c)Why does she call the seamstresses lazy?
She calls the seamstresses lazy because as a woman from the rich class she lacks an understanding of the sufferings of the poor.
(d) Is she right in considering the seamstresses to be lazy?
Give a reason. No, she is not right in considering the seamstresses to be lazy because it was hunger, cold, and fatigue that had interrupted the completion of order in time.
“Dear Prince,” said the swallow, “I cannot do that,” and he began to weep.
“Swallow, Swallow, little Swallow,” said the Prince, “do as I command you.”
(a)What is ‘that’ in these lines?
‘That’ is the order given by the Happy Prince to the swallow to pluck the sapphire from his eye socket and give it to the playwright.
(b)Why did the swallow begin to weep?
The swallow began to weep because he had a tender heart and he could not bear the thought of the Happy Prince losing his eye.
(c)Why did the Prince command instead of making a request to the swallow?
The Prince commanded instead of making a request to the swallow because the Swallow had refused to pluck the sapphire while the Prince was determined to help the writer.
(d)Why does the Prince say, “Swallow, Swallow, little Swallow”?
The Prince says, “Swallow, Swallow, little Swallow,” because he wanted to press upon the little bird the urgency of the situation.
(a)Who speaks these words to whom?
The Happy Prince speaks these words to the little swallow.
(b)Who is ‘he’ in these lines?
‘He’ is the young playwright who lived in a garret and struggled to complete his play due to cold and hunger.
(c)What does ‘it’ stand for? Why will ‘he’ sell ‘it’?
‘It’ stands for one of the sapphires which were used as the eyes in the statue of the Happy Prince. The writer will sell it to buy firewood and finish his play.
(d)How did the listener respond?
The listener, the little swallow, refused to pluck the sapphire from the eye socket of the Happy Prince and began to weep.
So they pulled down the statue of the Happy Prince. “As he is no longer beautiful he is no longer useful,” said the Art Professor at the University.
(a)Who pulled down the statue of the Happy Prince? Why?
The town authorities pulled down the statue of the Happy Prince because the Mayor had ordered it to be pulled down.
(b)Why was the statue no longer beautiful and useful?
The statue was no longer beautiful and useful because every precious jewel and every leaf of gold that covered it had been given away in charity by the Happy Prince.
(c)Point out the irony in this statement.
The statue of the Happy Prince had proved useful by helping so many poor and hungry people. Still, he was not admired for this sacrifice. Instead, his absence of beauty and uselessness were rued.
(d)What did they do after pulling down the statue?
They melted the statue in a furnace after pulling it down.