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THE LITTLE GIRL
By- Katherine Mansfield
EXTRACTS FOR COMPREHENSION
Read the following extracts and answer the questions that follow in one or two lines each.
To the little girl, he was a figure to be feared and avoided. Every morning before going to work he came into her room and gave her a casual kiss.
(a) Who does ‘he’ refer to in this extract?
Ans: He refers to the father of the little girl, Kezia.
(b) What were the feelings of the little girl towards him?
Ans: The little girl was afraid of him and tried to avoid him.
(c) What did ‘he’ do before going to work every morning?
Ans: Before going to work every morning, he came to the room of the little girl and casually kissed her.
(d) What does this gesture show about him?
Ans: This gesture shows that he loved her girl but was not very expressive in his affection.
She never stuttered with other people – had quite given it up – but only with Father, because then she was trying so hard to say the words properly.
(a) Who is ‘she’ in this extract?
‘Ans: She’ is Kezia, the little girl who was afraid of her father.
(b) What had she ‘quite given up’?
Ans: She had quite given up the occasional stuttering in front of other people.
(c) How did ‘she’ speak in the presence of her father?
Ans: In the presence of her father, Kezia stuttered while speaking and displayed lack of confidence.
(d) Why did ‘she’ speak so differently before her father?
Ans: Being afraid of her father, Kezia hesitated to speak to him. Whenever she had to, she would stutter and sound different because her natural speech would be obstructed.
He was so big – his hands and his neck, especially his mouth when he yawned. Thinking about him alone was like thinking about a giant.
(a) Who is ‘he’ in the above extract?
Ans: In this extract, ‘he’ refers to the father of Kezia, who was a veil, strict disciplinarian.
(b) why does the speaker find him so big?
Ans: The speaker is his little daughter Kezia who was very scared of him. Hence she finds him so big – with big hands, neck and mouth.
(c) why does the speaker think of him as a giant?
Ans: The speaker, Kezia, thought of him as a giant because to a small girl like her, his big body structure was as frightening as that of a giant of children’s stories.
(d) When did his mouth especially appear big?
Ans: His mouth especially appeared big when he opened it wide while yawning.
“Mother, go up to her room and fetch down the damned thing – see that the child’s put to bed this instant.”
(a) Who speaks these lines and to whom?
Ans: Kezia’s father speaks these lines to his mother.
(b) What is the mood of the speaker in these lines?
Ans: The speaker, Kezia’s father, is in a very angry mood while speaking these lines because Kezia had torn his important speech to pieces.
(c) What does the speaker refer to as the ‘damned thing’?
Ans: The ‘damned thing’ referred to by the speaker, Kezia’s father, is the pin-cushion Kezia had made for him.
(d) Who is the ‘child’ here? Why does the speaker wish the child to be put to bed immediately?
Ans: The ‘child’ here is Kezia. Her father, the speaker, wishes her to be put to bed immediately because he is furious at the damage caused by her. He does not want to lose his anger further due to her presence in front of him.
“Here’s a clean hanky, darling. Blow your nose. Go to sleep, pet; you’ll forget all about it in the morning. I tried to explain to Father but he was too upset to listen tonight.”
(a) Who speaks these lines to whom and when?
Ans: The kind and affectionate Grandmother speaks these lines to a sobbing Kezia after she is hit on her little pink palms with a ruler by her father.
(b) Why does the speaker offer a clean hanky?
Ans: Grandmother, the speaker, offers a clean hanky because Kezia had been crying after she was punished by her father for tearing his important papers. She needed a clean hanky to blow her nose.
(c) What did the speaker want the listener to forget? Why?
Ans: Grandmother, the speaker, wanted Kezia, the listener to forget all about the beating that she had got from her Father. She wanted her to forget it because the punishment was not given to hurt her but to make her understand that things belonging to others must not be touched.
(d) What did the speaker try to explain to Father?
Ans: Grandmother, the speaker, tried to explain to Father that Kezia was a ‘little girl and had not destroyed the papers intentionally. She was, in fact, trying to complete his surprise birthday gift.
“What’ll I do if I have a nightmare?” she asked. “I often have nightmares and then Ginnie takes me into her bed – I can’t stay in the dark – it all gets ‘whispery’…”
(a) Who is the speaker in these lines? Who is being addressed here?
Ans: In these lines, the speaker is Kezia, the little girl and she is addressing Alice, the cook.
(b) What happens when the speaker has nightmares?
Ans: When Kezia has nightmares, she is comforted by her grandmother who takes the little girl into her bed.
(C)Why can’t the speaker stay in the dark?
Ans: Kezia can’t stay in the dark because she is a little girl and the deep silence of darkness scares her.
(d)Where is Grannie right now?
Ans: Kezia’s Grannie is at the hospital with Kezia’s mother who is unwell.
“Oh,” said the little girl, “my head’s on your heart. I can hear it going. What a big heart you’ve got, Father dear.”
(a) Who is the little girl in these lines?
Ans: The little girl in these lines is Kezia.
(b) Where has she put her head? Why?
Ans: Kezia has put her head on the big heart of her father. She has done so because she is free from her fears and nightmare and is happy to discover the tender and loving side of her otherwise strict daddy.
(c) What can the little girl hear?
Ans: Kezia can hear the heartbeat of her father. Symbolically, it means that she can understand the true love that is buried deep in her father’s heart.
(d) How does the little girl feel at this time?
Ans: Kezia feels happy and safe at this time. She does not think her father to be cruel, dominating, and giant-like. Instead, she knows that he is actually a kind, loving, and considerate person with a big heart.
8. Slowly the girl would slip down the stairs, more slowly still across the hall, and push open the drawing-room door.
By that time he had his spectacles on and looked at her over them in a way that was terrifying to the little girl.
(i) Name the lesson.
(ii) What did the little girl’s mother tell her?
(iii) Where was her father?
(iv) Why was her father’s look terrifying for her?
(i) The name of the lesson is The Little Girl’.
(ii) She told her to come down and take off her father’s boots.
(iii) He was in the drawing-room.
(iv) Her father’s look was terrifying for her because she was afraid of him.
- She never stuttered with other people — had quite given it up — but only with Father} because then she was trying so hard to say the words properly.
“What’s the matter? What are you looking so wretched about?
(i) Who is ‘you’ here?
(ii) With whom is she talking here?
(iii) How did she speak with other people?
(iv) Why did she stutter before her father?
(i) ‘You’ is Kezia, the little girl here.
(ii) She is talking with her mother here.
(iii) She never stuttered with the other people.
(iv) She stuttered before her father because she was afraid of him.
- What are you looking so wretched about? Mother, I wish you taught this child not to appear on the brink of suicide… Here, Kezia, carry my teacup back to the table carefully.”
He was so big — his hands and his neck, especially his mouth when he yawned. Thinking about him alone was like thinking about a giant.
(i) What is Kezia afraid of?
(ii) Whom does the author think like a giant?
(iii) What does her father with her mother to teach Kezia?
(iv) How does Kezia’s father look physically?
(i) Kezia is afraid of her father and does not want to face him.
(ii) The author compares Kezia’s father with a giant.
(iii) Kezia’s father wishes to her mother that she would teach her not to appear on the brink of suicide.
(iv) Kezia’s father has very big hands and neck and his mouth look huge when he yawns.
- Her grandmother told her that father’s birthday was next week and suggested she should make him a pin-cushion for a gift out of a beautiful piece of yellow silk.
Laboriously, with double cotton, the little girl stitched three sides. But what to fill it with? That was the question. The grandmother was out in the garden, and she wandered into the mother’s bedroom to look for scraps.
(i) Who is ‘she’ referred to in the above passage?
(ii) What did her grandmother suggest her?
(iii) What was her problem?
(iv) What does the pin-cushion symbolise for her?
(i) `She’ is referred to Kezia.
(ii) Her grandmother suggested that she should make a pin-cushion and gift it to her father on his birthday.
(iii) Her problem was to find scraps to fill the pin-cushion.
(iv) It symbolises her love and affection for her father.
- 12. Laboriously, with double cotton, the little girl stitched three sides. But what to fill it with? That was the question. The grandmother was out in the garden, and she wandered into the mother’s bedroom to look for scraps. On the bed-table, she discovered a great many sheets of fine paper, gathered them up, tore them into tiny pieces, and stuffed her case, then sewed up the fourth side.
That night there was a hue and cry in the house. Father’s great speech for the Port Authority had been lost. Rooms were searched; servants questioned. Finally, the mother came into Kezia’s room.
(i) Why did the little girl go to her mother’s bedroom?
(ii) What did she discover on the bed table?
(iii) Why was there a hue and cry in the house?
(iv) Why did she need paper sheets?
(i) She went to her mother’s bedroom to search for something to stuff the pin cushion.
(ii) She discovered a great many sheets of fine paper on the bed-table.
(iii) There was a hue and cry in the house because the great speech for the Port Authority was missing.
(iv) She needed them to fill the pin-cushion.
- That night there was a hue and cry in the house. Father’s great speech for the Port Authority had been lost. Rooms were searched; servants questioned. Finally, the mother came into Kezia’s room.
“Kezia, I suppose you didn’t see some papers on a table in our room?”
“Oh yes,” she said, “I tore them up for my surprise.”
(i) Who made a hue and cry in the house?
(ii) Why were the servants questioned?
(iii) How did Kezia’s mother ask her about the papers?
(iv) Why did Kezia tear up the great speech?
(i) Kezia’s father made a hue and cry in the house.
(ii) They were questioned to know about the papers on which the great speech was written.
(iii) She asked her about the papers in a polite manner.
(iv) She needed scraps to fill her father’s gift.
- And she was dragged down to where Father was pacing to and fro, hands behind his back.
“Well?” he said sharply.
(i) Who is ‘he’ here?
(ii) Why was she making a ‘pin-cushion’?
(iii) Why were the servants questioned by her father?
(iv) What quality of her is reflected in the above lines?
(i) ‘He’ is Kezia’s father here.
(ii) She was making it present her father on his birthday.
(iii) The servants were questioned by her father because his great speech was missing.
(iv) She had a great love for her father.
- Hours later, when Grandmother had wrapped her in a shawl and rocked her in the rocking chair, the child clung to her soft body.
“What did God make fathers for?” she sobbed.
“Here’s a clean hanky, darling. Blow your nose. Go to sleep, pet; you’ll forget all about it in the morning.
(i) Why was the little girl sobbing?
(ii) How did the grandmother show her love for the girl?
(iii) What did the girl want to know about the father?
(iv) What kind of memory do children have as expressed in the above lines?
(i) The little girl was sobbing because she was beaten by her father.
(ii) The grandmother wrapped her in a shawl and rocked her in the rocking chair.
(iii) The girl wanted to know why the father gives punishments to children.
(iv) Children forget things quickly.
- “Oh, a butcher — a knife — I want Grannie.” He blew out the candle, bent down and caught up the child in his arms, carrying her along the passage to the big bedroom. A newspaper was on the bed. He put away the paper, then carefully tucked up to the child. He lay down beside her. Half asleep still, still with the butcher’s smile all about her it seemed, she crept close to him, snuggled her head under his arm, held tightly to his shirt.
Then the dark did not matter; she lay still.
“Here, rub your feet against my legs and get them warm,” said Father.
(i) What was Kezia’s nightmare?
(ii) How did her father comfort her?
(iii) Where did she see the butcher?
(iv) How did her father behave when she had a nightmare?
(i) In her nightmare, Kezia saw a butcher, with a knife and a rope in his hands.
(ii) He asked her to rub her feet against his legs to make them warm.
(iii) She saw him in the nightmare.
(iv) He behaved with love and affection.
- He was harder than Grandmother, but it was a nice hardness. And every day he had to work and was too tired to be a Mr Macdonald…She had torn up all his beautiful writing…
(i) Who does ‘He’ refer to here?
(ii) How could the hardness of Kezia’s father towards Kezia be nice to her?
(iii) Why couldn’t her father be a Mr Macdonald?
(iv) What did Kezia regret about?
(i) Here ‘He’ refers to Kezia’s father.
(ii) His hardness kept Kazia in the discipline.
(iii) Her father worked very hard and was too tired to be a Mr Macdonald.
(iv) Kezia was regretted about tearing up her father’s papers.