Two Gentlemen of Verona (By A.J. Cronin)
1)What had happened to the parents and the house of Nicola and Jacopo?
Ans- Nicola and Jacopo had lost their mother earlier only. Their father, who was an established singer, was killed in the war when Italy was attacked by Germany. Their house was blown off by a bomb, so both these brothers, as well as their sister Lucia, were rendered homeless.
2) Although Nicola and Jacopo are young boys, the narrator refers to them as ‘gentlemen’. Why does he do so?
Ans- In order to pay for the medical expenses of their ailing sister, Nicola and Jacopo worked hard; sold fruit and newspaper, polished shoes, etc. They had tremendous patience, self-respect, love and devotion. Family values along with their pride and determination make the narrator call them gentlemen.
3) “We do many things, sir,” Nicola answered seriously. What were those many things he was referring to?
Ans- They did different things like selling newspapers, fruits, polishing shoes, delivering messages, showing the tourists around the city, etc. They worked very hard to pay the bills of the hospital so that their sister could lead a normal life again.
Objective type questions (solved) OR Very short answer type
4.- The narrator was surprised to see the two brothers doing shoe shining because
Ans- He had seen them selling fruits earlier.
5- The ‘war’ referred to in the lesson was between
Ans.- Germanyand Italy.
6- When the Germans ruled their country, the boys-
Ans.- joined the ‘Resistance Movement’.
7- Once Nicola grew pale in the lesson because
Ans.- there was some problem which he didn’t want to share.
8-The narrator turned away because from the girl’s room because
Ans.– he did not want to disturb the family union
9-The narrator was desperate to know about the background of the boys as
Ans.–The scene inside the glass room had created curiosity in him.
10-Everything was so difficult and food was so scarce because
Ans.– The war had created shortages.
11- The fee was being charged from the boys for
Ans.– treating their sister’s illness.
12-The narrator was waiting for the boys outside the
13-They sat beside the narrator not speaking, probably, because
Ans.–They were thinking about their sister’s illness.
14-‘War had not broken their spirit’ means that
Ans.– they were determined to face all the difficulties war had brought upon them.
15- The boys lost their comfortable life because
Ans.–of the war.
16- After the bombing of their house, they
Ans.– built a sort of shelter with their own hands.
17- The boys joined the ‘resistance movement’ so that they could
Ans.- help in overthrowing the Germans.
18- ‘they were among the first to join the resistance movement’ means
Ans.- They did not wish to let go the opportunity to get even with the Germans and throw them out of their country. Also, it reflects their hatred for the Germans, for having brought upon them so many problems. They considered them as personal enemies.
19- Who is talking with Nicola?
Ans.- The narrator.
20- Why did the boys work so hard at such a young age?
Ans.-They worked so hard to pay the hospital bills of their sister who was suffering from tuberculosis of the spine.
21- “We are not complaining, sir.” What does this show about the nature of the boys?
Ans.- They were thorough gentlemen, highly patient, hard working, and dedicated to the cause of their sister. They accepted their fate stoically.
22- Why was Nicola glaring at his younger brother?
Ans.- He didn’t like the way Jacopo had asked the narrator, without any hesitation, to send them by his car to Poleta.
23 – “It won’t be any trouble.” Did the narrator really mean it?
Ans.- The writer really wanted to do something for the boys to express his appreciation for their hard work and dedication. Yes, he did mean it.
24- Why was Nicola’s tone ‘put out’ even when the narrator was eager to help them?
Ans.- Nicola did not want the narrator to know about his sister’s illness and other problems they were facing. He wanted to keep it all a secret as he was quite conscious of his self respect. Now, there was a chance of that secret spilling out, hence his tone was put out.
25- What did the driver warn them about and why
Ans.-He warned them not to buy the wild strawberries from the boys as much better fruit would be available in Verona.
26- “Besides, these boys…..”. What other reason did he give?
Ans.- He shrugged indicating that it was not good to buy them from the boys who were so shabbily dressed up.
27- Why did they go to Poleta every Sunday?
Ans.- They went to Poleta every Sunday to meet their ailing sister and pay for her treatment.
28- From the above lines, what difference do you find in the nature of two brothers?
Ans.- Nicola is more serious and mature as compared to his age, whereas Jacopo is still childish and doesn’t mind availing the opportunity of taking help from the narrator.
29- Why did the nurse pause at the little cubicle?
Ans.- She did not want to disturb the affectionate meeting between the two brothers and their sister.
30- ‘was listening to their chatter, her eyes soft and tender’ means that
Ans.- she was listening to their continuous and excited talk with love for them in her.
31- Who are referred to as ‘our friends’ by the writer?
Ans.- The two brothers Nicola and Jacopo are referred here as our friends.
32- Why does the speaker call them friends?
Ans.- The speaker had already met these boys before and bought fruits from them. They are no more strangers to him.
33- Why did the speaker not go in?
Ans.- ’She’ in the above extract refers to the nurse who is attending Lucia.
34 What did the speaker want to know from ‘her’? What does it reveal about his nature?
Ans.- He wanted to know almost everything about the two boys. This reveals that the narrator does not miss out to notice and observe human life and society no matter how subtle and trifle they might appear to others.
35- Why has ‘she’ been in the hospital and for how long?
Ans.- She has been in the hospital because she is suffering from tuberculosis of the spine for a year.
36- Why is it important for her to sing again?
Ans.- It is important for her to sing again as she had already received formal singing-training. She should do it to keep the family legacy and for the future of her two brothers. “When the resistance movement began secretly to form they were among the first to join. When the war was over, and we had peace at last, they came back to their beloved sister.”
37- Who is the speaker and who is he/she speaking to?
Ans.-The speaker is the nurse who is looking after Lucia.
38- Which war is the speaker referring to?
Ans.- The speaker is referring to the war between Germany and Italy.
39- Who are ‘they’? Why did they join the resistance movement?
Ans.- ‘They’ are Nicola and Jacopo, the two brothers. They were among the first to join the resistance movement to show their strong dislike and disapproval of the Germans.
Short answer type questions- (30-40 words)
40- Luigi did not approve of the two boys. Why?
Ans.- Luigi, the driver, did not approve of the two boys because of their untidy and ragged appearance. Moreover, he felt that better quality of strawberry would be found at Verona.
41- Why were the narrator and his friend impressed by the two boys?
Ans.- Although the two boys who were brothers, looked too shabby with worn out clothes, skinny figures, dark complexion and tangled hair, the narrator and his companion were impressed by the earnestness and devotion in their eyes, at their age.
42- What sight did the narrator and his friend see on the next day, in Verona?
Ans.- Next day in Verona, when they were coming out of their hotel, they saw the two boys bent over shoeshine boxes beside the fountain in the public square, doing a brisk business. They were surprised as they had thought that the two boys sold only fruits.
43 What opinion did the narrator make of the two brothers when they went on a round to visit places?
Ans.– As they went on a round, the narrator’s interest in them redeveloped by their striking conduct. He found them childish enough, and in many ways quite simple. Jacopo was bubbly as a squirrel. Nicola’s smile was stable and appealing. Yet in both the boyish faces there was a seriousness which was far beyond their years.
44- In which way could Nicola and Jacopo be relied upon to satisfy the needs of the narrator and his friend?
Ans.– The two brothers proved to be extremely useful to the narrator and his friend. Whenever they wanted a pack of American cigarettes, or seats for the opera or the name of a good restaurant, they would just contact Nicola and Jacopo, who satisfied their needs very well.
45- What did the narrator see in the deserted square?
Ans.- One night, in the windy and deserted square, the narrator saw the two brothers resting on the stone pavement beneath the lights. Nicola sat upright, tired. A bundle of unsold newspapers lay at his feet. Jacopo was asleep with his head resting upon his brother’s shoulder.
46- Why did Nicola grow pale when the narrator asked them about their expenses?
Ans.- The narrator had asked the boys what they did with their money as they did not seem to spend much on their clothes or food. Nicola grew pale because there was pain in his heart for his sister’s suffering, which he did not want to reveal to the narrator. He thought that he might have to reveal a well kept family secret about his sister’s suffering to the narrator-the mere thought of it hurt his self-respect and he grew pale.
47- Before leaving Verona, what did the narrator ask the two brothers and why?
Ans.- The narrator really admired the nature and behaviour of the two brothers. Doing something for them would give him happiness. So, he asked them if there was something he could do for them before leaving on Monday.
48- What caused a shock for the narrator when he drove the two boys to a tiny village?
Ans.- The narrator had thought that their destination would be some humble dwelling. But when, directed by Jacopo, he drew up at a large red-roofed villa, surrounded by a high stone wall, he could scarcely believe his eyes at what he saw.
49- What did the narrator see through the glass partition?
Ans.- The narrator saw that Nicola and Jacopo were sitting at the bedside of a girl of about twenty who was propped up on pillows, wearing a pretty lace jacket, and was listening to their chatter. Her eyes were soft and tender. She had a strong resemblance to her brothers.
50- Why did the boys hate the Germans?
Ans.– Due to German attack on Italy, the boys’ father was killed in the war. A bomb blast destroyed their house. They, along with their sister, came on the streets. Meanwhile, Lucia developed tuberculosis of the spine. Their life became very difficult, all because of the Germans and hence, they hated them.
51- Where did the nurse take the author in the hospital and what did she do?
Ans.– The nurse led the author through a cool, tiled hall into the villa which was more of a hospital. At the door of a little cubicle the nurse paused, put her finger to her lips, and with a smile gestured him to look through the glass partition.
52- What did the author see inside the small cubicle?
Ans.- The two boys were seated at the bedside of a girl of about twenty, listening to their chatter. She resembled her brothers. A vase of wild flowers stood on her table, beside a dish of fruit and several books.
53- Standing outside the cubicle, what did the nurse ask the author? What did the author do?
Ans.– The nurse asked the author if he would not like to go inside to meet Lucia as it would make her happy. He shook his head and turned away as he could not bear to intrude upon that happy family union.
54- What quality of the two boys impressed the narrator the most?
Ans.- There was an element of seriousness on the face of the boys which was far beyond their age. Their willingness to work was a kind of quality that impressed the narrator the most. During summer days, under the hot sun, they shined shoes, sold fruit, hawked newspapers, conducted tourists round the town, and ran errands.
55- Did the family of the boys have a comfortable life before? What made them impoverish?
Ans.-– Yes, the family was living a very cultured and comfortable life. Their father had been a well-known singer and sister Lucia had also been training as a singer. They had been living a peaceful life until the war between Germany and Italy which took away their father and all happiness, leaving Lucia suffering from the deadly tuberculosis of the spine.
56- How did the friendship develop between the narrator and the two boys ?
Ans.- For the first time, the narrator had met the boys at the outskirt of Verona and bought some fruits from them. He was impressed with them for some strange reasons. Thereafter, they frequently met at various corners of the city and developed a sort of instant friendship.
57- How did the boys prove useful to the narrator and his companion?
Ans.-The boys were frequently seen by the narrator and his companion for a week. Whenever the narrator or his driver Luigi wanted a pack of American cigarettes, or seats for the opera, or the name of a good restaurant, the boys would be relied upon to satisfy their needs.
58- What did the boys usually do on Sundays?
Ans.– Every Sunday, the duo usually hired bicycles to visit their village Poleta which is 30 kilometres from Verona city. They used to reunite with their beloved sister Lucia for an hour or two, pay her treatment charges and return to the city again.
59- Why did the narrator not tell the boys that he had come to know everything about them from the nurse?
Ans.– The narrator observed that the boys preferred to keep their sister’s illness and their family’s misfortune secret. He simply did not want to interrupt the earnestness displayed by the two boys and hurt their pride by intruding upon their privacy.
60- Why do you think Nicola and Jacopo would prefer to keep their family misfortune secret from the narrator?
Ans.– The two brothers were epithet of courage and confidence. They clearly did not like to live on charity and benevolence. They worked tirelessly with all sincerity to earn for the treatment of their ailing sister and sent across a message nothing is impossible if there is a will to do. They did not prefer people to take them as\ helpless boys and be sympathetic towards them.
61- Imagine that you are the narrator. After you return from Verona, you ponder upon the life of Nicola and Jacopo. Write a page in your diary reflecting your thoughts.
Ans.- 24th August, Thursday
I cannot but wonder over the life of Nicola and Jacopo. It is amazing to see such little boys having so much of determination to fight with the difficulties of life. With no parents and no one to help them, the work they are doing is beyond one’s imagination. Nicola, who is just thirteen years old and Jacopo, twelve, did every kind of work from shining shoes, selling fruit, newspapers, conducting tourists around the town, and running errands even during these summer days, under the hot sun. One windy midnight, it was amazing to see them sitting on the stone pavement at the deserted Square waiting for the bus to come so that they could sell the left over newspapers. It is really worth appreciating that they are doing so much of hard work so that they can earn enough to pay the hospital bills where their sister is getting treated for tuberculosis. I have immense respect for their spirit of not giving up easily. I pray that their sister gets well soon. They have no one else except her in their life.
62- “Yes,” I agreed. “They couldn’t do it better.” Why did the author say this to the nurse (150 words)
Ans.— The nurse told the narrator that every week, Lucia’s brothers made the payment for their sister’s treatment. She added with simplicity that neither did she know what they did to earn that money, nor did she ask them. She said that she knew that work was scarce in Verona but whatever may be the case, the boys paid the money regularly. She said that although she didn’t know what they did, but whatever they did was done very well. At this, the narrator said, “Yes”. “They couldn’t do it better.” The narrator knew well how much hard work the boys were doing to earn that money. He had seen them selling different items, polishing shoes, taking tourists on a round; in fact, anything they could do to earn as much as possible to pay the hospital bills and see their sister healthy again. These words spoken by the narrator contain the deepest regard he has for their courage and devotion.
63- Imagine that you are the narrator. Write a page in your diary reflecting your thoughts on how you felt after what you saw in the hospital, in about 150 words.
Today, I took Nicola and Jacopo to Poleta in my car. When we reached the destination, the boys leapt out of the car and just disappeared inside a big villa. Out of curiosity, I also went inside. I was shocked to see the two boys sitting near an ailing girl. I just peeped from outside the room and did not interfere when they were sharing their close moments with each other. A nurse told me about their tragic life. Now, I have understood why the two boys had been working so hard and why they were ready to do any kind of work. I have an immense appreciation for them. Even though they faced terrible miseries, they have not opted for begging. They have pride in themselves and their family. Even while going back in the car, I didn’t discuss anything about what I came to know of their family as I felt that the boys would feel more contented and comfortable if they knew that their secret was intact. My respect for them has grown even more now.
64- Why didn’t the two boys disclose their problems to the author ?
Ans.- Nicola and Jacopo were young yet they displayed a maturity that went far beyond their years. They did not confide in the author as they still had a sense of pride. They did not want anyone to intrude into their privacy. Moreover, they did not want to come across as greedy.
65-Justify the title ‘Two Gentlemen of Verona’.
Ans.– The two boys proved to be true gentlemen. They were kind and caring towards their sister and very polite towards others. They proved that only hard work pays. They never wanted to exploit others’ pity or kindness to achieve their end. Thus the title is justified.
66-Appearances are deceptive. Discuss with reference to the two boys.
Ans.- The two boys looked dirty and were wearing worn out clothes. Anyone could have mistaken them for beggars. However, the author’s interaction with them revealed that they were confident, optimistic and mature in thought and action. Therefore, one can say that appearances are deceptive.
67- Why were the boys waiting for the last bus from Padua ?
Ans.– The boys were very hard working. They gabbed every opportunity to work and earn money. They were waiting for the last bus to come as they could sell all their papers.
68-‘Where there is a will, there is a way’. How did the two boys of Verona prove it ?
Ans. Nicola and Jacopo faced a lot of hardships at a very young age. Their childhood was marred by war, poverty, disease and ill fortune. Yet they toiled and suffered to work too a better future Their home was bombed out in the war and they also lost their father early on in the war. The odds were against them but they did not give up. They were exposed to harsh weather and starvation. They had always known a comfortable and cultured life and now they were out on the streets. They built a shelter from amidst the rubble and managed to survive. After the war was over, they discovered that their sister Lucia was suffering from tuberculosis of spine. They too their sister to the hospital and persuaded them to take her in. They worked hard to ensure that they made the fee payment every week. They did odd jobs to earn money. They sold fruits, shined shoes, hawked newspapers, conducted tourists around the town. They did not complain or cry. War did not break their spirit. Their only endeavour was to see their sistr get well and they worked hard to ensure that she got proper medical care. They proved, without a doubt, that where there is a will, there is a way.