THE LITTLE GIRL
By- Katherine Mansfield
ESSAY TYPE QUESTIONS
Q.1. How did the little girl start understanding her father?
Narrate in about 100 words the story ‘The Little Girl’.
Ans. Kezia was a little girl. She was very afraid of her father. To her, he looked like a giant. He spoke very loudly in the house. So she always avoided him. One day she tore up an important speech written by her father. He became very angry and beat her with a stick. Kezia started weeping. She wondered why God had made fathers.
One day Kezia’s mother was ill. She was taken to the hospital. Kezia was alone in the house. At night she had a bad dream. She cried with fear. Her father took her to his own bed. She lay beside him. Then she realised that her father was not bad. lie had to work hard. lie had no time to play with her. It was her fault to tear up the speech. Now Kezia felt that her father was large-hearted
Q.2. Kezia slept one night with her father and changed her opinion about him. What was her opinion about her father before? What change did take place?
Ans. Earlier Kezia thought that her father was a cruel man. She always avoided him. She saw that her neighbour Mr Macdonald loved her children. But her father never cared for her. One day Kezia’s mother Was taken to a hospital. Kezia was alone in her room. At night she had a nightmare. She cried with fear. Her father took her to his bed. She slept with him. Her father asked her to rub her feet against his legs to make them warm. She felt sorry for her father. He worked hard. the lie was so tired that he had no time to play with her She realised that it was her fault to tear up the sheets. Now it appeared to her that her father was not a hard-hearted man
3 Relate in your own words the pin-cushion incident.
Ans. The little girl wanted to gift a pin-cushion to her father on his birthday. She took a piece of yellow silk and stitched its three sides. She left the fourth side for filling. But she did not know’ what to fill it with. She found some sheets of paper. She tore them into pieces. She stuffed the cushion with them. She then stitched the fourth side also. Unfortunately, those papers contained a very important speech. It was written by her father. When he came to know that Kezia had torn the papers, he was very angry. He took a ruler and hit Kezia on her hands.
4. Write a short character-sketch of Kezia’s father.
Ans. Kezia’s father has big hands, neck and mouth. In the beginning, he appears to be a very cruel person. He never talks to his daughter kindly. He never plays with her. Once Kezia tears up his speech. He beats her badly. But in fact. he is not cruel. He is very good at heart. One day Kezia cries out at night. She has a nightmare. Her father comes and carries her to his room. He puts her by his side. Now Kezia feels how her father loves her. In fact, he has to work very hard. He becomes too tired to play with his daughter. But the little girl thinks her father does not love her. At last, she does come to know how dearly her father loves her
5Write a short note on the relationship between Kezia and her father.
Ans: The relationship between Kezia and her father was a delicate one. He was a conventional disciplinarian and as the head of the family, he asserted his authority over everyone, including his little girl. He often scolded her for her sad looks and for stuttering. She was made to take off his shoes and put them outside when he returned home from the office in the evening. He even punished her when she mistakenly tore his important papers. He did not give her even one chance to explain herself and failed to see her loving intention behind the mistake. As a consequence of her father’s overly strict behaviour, Kezia developed a strong fear for him. She preferred to stay out of his sight and was relaxed only during his absence from the house. She compared him to be a giant – a dreadful creature for little children. After being beaten by him with a ruler, she even questioned the purpose of God in making fathers.
However, this dry relationship undergoes a drastic change towards the end of the story. Father displays his soft corner when Kezia is alone and gets scared by her nightmare. He carries her in his arms to his room, tucks her comfortably in his bed, lies down close to her and gives her the assurance that children seek from parents. This protective, caring and considerate side of her father arouses her sympathy for him. She realises that he has a big heart which is full of love for her.
6. How did Kezia once earn her father’s wrath? What punishment did she get for her mistake? Was it justified? What light does this incident throw on her father’s character?
Ans: Kezia once earned her father’s wrath for tearing his speech for the Port Authority to stuff a pin-cushion she was making for him as a birthday present. When he discovered that Kezia was the culprit, he punished her by beating her little pink palms with a ruler to teach her not to touch what did not belong to her.
I think it was a very harsh punishment for an innocent mistake of a fond little daughter. It is true that the papers were extremely important for him and their loss must have caused him a lot of inconveniences but he should have understood and appreciated the fact that Kezia was making a birthday present for him. Gentle but firm words would have sufficed to teach the sensitive Kezia that she should not touch things that do not belong to her. But Father instead chose to beat her little pink palms with a ruler. That was much too cruel on his part.
This incident shows that he was a very cruel and insensitive father who demanded a very high standard of discipline from his daughter and could not tolerate any disobedience.
7. How do you interpret the behaviour of Kezia’s mother towards her?
Ans: The behaviour of Kezia’s mother towards her is unlike the expected role played by mothers in households. Perhaps, her husband’s strict nature does not leave enough room for her to pay the desired attention to her daughter. The story reveals that her relationship with her daughter is distant. She treats the little girl in accordance with her husband’s expectations. She orders her to take off her father’s shoes and put them outside as this would indicate obedience. On Sunday afternoons, she spends time engrossed in a newspaper sitting with her husband instead of talking to her daughter. When Kezia mistakenly tears the papers of her father, she drags her downstairs to face the wrath of Father. She does not try to soothe her when Father scolds and beats her. Neither does she defend her or try to protect her in any way. That is why Kezia turns to her grandmother to fulfil her need for motherly care and affection.
8. Why did Kezia feel drawn towards her grandmother?
Ans: Failing to get any expression of affection from her Parents, especially her father, Kezia feels drawn to her grandmother. She turns to her to fulfil her need for love and protection. Grandmother too showers abundant love upon the little girl. She keeps trying to build her bond with her parents. She advises Kezia to talk to her parents when they would be relaxing in the drawing-room on Sunday afternoons. Again, she tells Kezia about Father’s birthday and suggests that she should make a pin-cushion for him as a present. When Father beats Kezia, it is a grandmother who consoles and comforts her by covering her with her shawl and allowing the child to cling to her soft body. Earlier too, whenever Kezia would get scared by her nightmares, grandmother would take her in her own bed. Hence, her affinity and support make Kezia look up to her for everything.
9. Kezia decides that there are “different kinds of fathers.” What kind of father was Mr Macdonald and how was he different from Kezia’s father? (Textual)
Ans: Mr Macdonald, Kezia’s next door neighbour, had five children and Kezia would often see them playing in their garden.
One day, when Kezia looked through the gap in the fence she saw the Macdonalds playing the game ‘tag’. It was evening, and Mr Macdonald had just returned from work but unlike her father, he looked happy and energetic. He was having a good the hose on him and he tried to catch them laughing two girls time with his children – baby Mao was on his shoulders, were hanging on to his coat pockets and the party ran around the flower beds, shaking with laughter. Mr Macdonald’s sons turned This happy scene made Kezia conclude that there were different sorts of fathers. Mr Macdonald was so different from her own father. He was not at all strict, was always happy and thoroughly enjoyed the company of his children.
In contrast, her own father was often in an angry mood and remained much too busy in his work. She dreaded him and avoided his company as much as she could. Whenever she was with him, he would get upset because out of fear she would stammer and fumble and look silly.
His strict discipline and his domineering nature would often make Kezia wonder what God made fathers for.
10. How does Kezia begin to see her father as a human being who needs her sympathy? (Textual)
Ans: Kezia was used to being scolded by her father and sometimes even got punishment for her little mistakes. She lived in awe of him, for he would often find fault with her manners, behaviour, speech, her general timidity and silliness. Little wonder then that she would tremble, stutter and look clumsy in front of him. He would often find her looking wretched as if she was on the verge of committing suicide.
However, a nightmare one night made Kezia discover the tender, caring and loving side of her father. Since her mother and grandmother were away to a hospital, Alice, the Cook, had put her to sleep but she was bothered by her usual nightmare of a butcher with a knife and a rope, and a dreadful smile. When her father heard her shrieking, he came to her room, lifted her in his arms and took her to his room. He comforted her and tucked her up nicely and slept next to her. He told her to rub her feet against his to warm them. She snuggled her head under his arm and held tightly to his shirt. At that moment, she discovered that her father was very much a human being and needed her sympathy. He was big, hard, snug and reassuring but there was no one to look after him. These thoughts filled her heart with love and affection for him.
Q11. Every father has a love for his child whether he expresses his love or not. Comment on the basis of the story “The Little Girl”.
Ans. Fathers are not alike. Some play with their children while others love and care for them. They show their love to them by working hard and giving them all the facilities as well as instructions. Though they never express their love they have a deep love for their child. Kezia’s father belongs to the second type. He did not believe in showing off his affection for his daughter. He believed in showing his love by making her future more secure. When she tore his papers unknowingly, he beat her harshly. But in thean end, we find him a very loving and caring father. Thus it is true that every father loves his child’s but the way of love is different from one person to another. Most of the fathers live their dream in their children. Their strictness is also a kind of love.
Q12. Father who seems hard from outside is not so from within. Comment on this statement with reference to Kezia’s father in ‘The Little Girl’.
Ans. Parents’ contribution in shaping and framing the life of their kids cannot be compared with anything. The values, courage, and virtues are all implanted by parents at a young age. The early years of a child’s life are very delicate, his future is made or marred at this age. For cultivating good qualities, for making their kids better than them, they have to chide, scold or show their strictness but, in reality, a spring of love remains behind it. As in the story ‘The little girl’, Kezia’s father appears strict to her and she makes her opinion about him as a strict and hard-hearted father but when she realises the warmth of love she understands the love of her father.
Q13. How can you say that punishments given by parents hold love for you?
Ans. Parents are very fond of their children. They always desire to see them on the top. If they punish them, it does not mean that they want to hurt them. Kezia had stuffed the pin-cushion with the papers that contained important speech, which was great damage for her father. If her father beat her, he only wanted to teach her that she should value the important things in life. So his punishment had a lesson for Kezia and before doing any work, she would think twice whether the work that she was going to do was right or wrong.
Q14. “That night there was a hue and cry in the house.” Why did her father get agitated?
Ans. One day, when Kezia was kept indoors due to cold, her grandmother suggested her to make a pin-cushion for her father. She stitched three sides of the cushion and went to her mother’s bedroom to look for scraps with which she could fill the cushion.
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 and then sewed up the fourth side.
That night there was a huge hue and cry in the house because those papers were very important. It was a great speech for the Port Authority. So her parents were in search of those sheets. This was the reason that her father got agitated and punished her with a ruler.
Q15. How does Kezia begin to see her father as a human being who needs her sympathy?
Ans. One night Kezia had a nightmare which made her too terrified. She was crying out of fear. When she woke up, she found her father beside her bed with a candle in his hand. He asked her what the matter was. When he came to know about her nightmare, he blew out the candle, bent down and caught up the child in his arms. He carried her to the big bedroom. He laid her on the bed and pulled the covers up around her. Apart from this, he lay down beside her.
After some time, still half asleep, she crept close to him, snuggled her head under his arm and held tightly to his shirt. Now she felt comfortable.
Her father told her to rub her feet against his legs and get them warm.
Now, Kezia realised that her father was not as harsh as she thought. She realised that her father had to work all day long and got so tired that he could not play with her. She realised that her father wanted her to understand his compulsion. At bottom, he was a very good person.