The Lost Child
By- Mulk Raj Anand
EXTRACTS FOR COMPREHENSION
Read the following extracts and answer the questions that follow in one or two lines.
His father looked at him red-eyed, in his familiar tyrant’s way. His mother, melted by the free spirit of the day was tender and, giving him her finger to hold, said, “Look, child, what is before you!”
(a) When did the father look red-eyed at the child?
Ans: The father looked red-eyed at the child when he pleaded for toys that were in the shops lined the way to the fair.
(b) Who is a tyrant? Was the father actually a tyrant?
Ans: A tyrant is a cruel man who always keeps his self-interest supreme.
The father was not a tyrant in this sense of the term. He was simply a strict disciplinarian as a parent.
(c) What was the ‘free spirit of the day’ that made the mother ‘tender’?
Ans: It was the day of the festival of spring and all were in a mood to rejoice. The mood of festivity was the free spirit that made the mother soft-hearted.
(d) Why did the mother ask the child to look before him?
Ans: The mother asked the child to look before him because she wanted to divert his attention from the toys in the shops without upsetting him after his father’s stern refusal.
But he half knew as he begged that his plea would not be heeded because his parents would say he was greedy.
(a) Who is ‘he’ in this line?
Ans: ‘He’ is the little boy from the story “The Lost Child”.
(b) What was the plea made by him?
Ans: He made the plea to his parents to buy him the sweetmeat burfi being sold at the entrance of the fair.
(c) How did he ‘half knew’ that his plea would not be heeded?
Ans: The child’s parents were strict disciplinarians and would generally refuse to grant him his wish. So he somewhat knew that his request would not be heeded to this time as well.
(d) What did he do after this?
Ans: He moved on without waiting for an answer from his parents, assuming their silence to be a refusal.
The poor child struggled to thrust away between their feet but, knocked to and fro by their brutal movements, he might have been trampled underfoot, had he not shrieked at the highest pitch of his voice.
(a) Where was the child at this time? Why?
Ans: The child was amid a crowd of people in the shrine because he had got separated from his parents and was desperately looking for them.
(b) What was he trying to do?
Ans: He was trying to make his way through the feet of the crowd in order to find his parents.
(c) Why could the child have got trampled?
Ans: The child could have got trampled because the shrine was crowded and he was so small that people did not realise his presence around their feet.
(d) Why did the child shriek?
Ans: The child shrieked “Father, Mother!” because he was terribly scared about getting lost.
“Will you have a ride on the horse?” he gently asked as he approached the ring. The child’s throat tore into a thousand shrill sobs and he only shouted, “I want my mother, I want my father!”
(a) Who is ‘he’ in the first line of the extract? Whom is ‘he’ offering a ride on the horse?
Ans: ‘He’ is the kind man who rescues the child from getting trampled in the shrine. He asks the lost child for a ride on the horse.
(b) Why does ‘he’ ask for a ride?
Ans: The kind man asks for a ride because the child was crying inconsolably for his parents and he wanted to quieten the child by diverting his attention.
(c) Why did the child’s throat ‘tore into a thousand shrill sobs’?
Ans: The child’s throat tore into a thousand shrill sobs because he was extremely scared and wanted to be united immediately with his parents.
(d) Why did the child shout, “I want my mother, I want my father!”?
Ans: The child shouted for his father and mother because he felt insecure in their absence. They were more important to him than toys, sweets, garlands or ride on a roundabout.