Chapter-4 The Rattrap- Extra Questions and Notes

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Extra Questions, Notes, Assignment and study material for Class 12th as Per CBSE Syllabus

Chapter- 4 English Language and Literature

           Lesson Name- The Rattrap

                                                                                                       By- Selma Lagerlof

 About the Author                                               

Selma Lagerlof – A Short Biography

 Selma Lagerlof (1858 – 1940) was born in Ostra Emterwik, Vtirmland, Sweden. She was brought up on Marbacka, the family estate, which she did not leave until 1881 when she went to a teachers’ college in Stockholm. In 1885 she became a teacher at the girls’ secondary school in Landskrona. She had been writing poetry ever since she was a child, but she did not publish anything until 1890. Her stories have been translated into many languages. A universal theme runs through all of them, a belief that one can awaken the innate goodness in a human being through love.

Theme / Central Idea of the Lesson. Analysis of Lesson Name

Theme

 “The Rattrap” written by Selma Lagerlof is a short story about an old, disillusioned peddler and thief who is taken in and shown generosity by a young woman. Her kindness changes his bitter attitude toward life.

Justify the title of (Lesson Name)

Justification of Title

Selma Lagerlof gives a very apt and logical title to the story. The metaphor of the rat trap is very effectively used. The whole world is nothing but a big rat trap. All riches, joys, food and shelter are just baits. The moment anyone touches the bait, the rattrap closes in on him. Then everything comes to an end.

Moral/ Message of the lesson – (Lesson Name)

Message`

In the story, the author Selma Lagerlof conveys a definite message. The story has a universal appeal. The essential goodness in a human being never dies. It can be awakened through understanding and love. Miss Edla awakens the basic goodness of the peddler. He is transformed into a noble person in the end.

CHAPTER NUTSHELL

Set amidst mines of Sweden, rich in iron ore – manner of a fairy tale.

About the Tramp: sad and monotonous life, had sunken cheeks, eyes gleaming with hunger.

 Got material from (a) farms (b) begging

Philosophical thought: the whole world is a rattrap-lures with riches, joys, shelter, food, heat & clothing exactly as rattrap offers cheese & pork-lures rat then closes in on him.

Turning point in life: One dark evening-saw grey cottage & asked for shelter-welcomed by lonely owner-earlier crofter at Ramsjo ironworks, now had a cow-milked-earned about 30 corners-hung in leather bag, window frame, offered supper, tobacco, played cards, next morning tramp parted from crofter, half hour later returned, stole money, went to public highway. Entered the woods-confusing forest, felt trapped, exhausted, heard hammer strokes from the iron mill Ramsjo & took refuge, met master smith & helper who were unaware of his approach because of sounds of big bellow, waterfall, sharp wind & rain.

 Reaction: glanced indifferently & nodded a haughty consent without a single word.

 Owner of Mill

Prosperous man-on night inspection-saw tramp-mistook for Nils Olof (Captain Von Stahle)-persuaded to go to manor house-tramp declined offer-would be like throwing into lion’s den-tramp kept quiet on mistaken identity, expecting gentlemen to throw him some kroner. The owner sent Edla – his daughter: persuasive, not pretty, modest, compassionate, Edla could sense tramp was hiding/escaping, tramp gave in, accepted fur coat, offer to spend Christmas Eve with him, while riding had evil forbodings and repented.

Secret Revealed on Christmas Eve

 Hospitality, bathed, shaven, clean new clothes – owner realized mistaken identity, Tramp confessed – reacted angrily to the threat of calling sheriff – repeated his belief that the whole world was a rattrap, Edla persuaded father to let him stay, promised his Christmas cheer.

Christmas Morning

Edla and father at church – heard about theft at crofter’s house returns dejected, find a package left by a tramp, confessed to making mistake, thanked daughter for giving second chance, returned stolen money + rattrap + letter, behave like real Captain, signs as Captain.

Theme

Life is one big rattrap, if you take something wrongfully then you get trapped. By consequences of your actions, however, one deserves second chance to redeem himself.

Short and Simple Summary of the lesson in English– (Lesson Name)/ Summary in simple Words/ Critical appreciation of the lesson – (Lesson Name)

Summary

The story is told in the manner of a fairy late and starts with ‘once upon a time there was a poor man who sold rat-traps of wire’. His income from the traps was not enough. So he also begged and stole petty things at times. Once an idea struck him that the world was like a rat-trap full of temptations to trap men. Man is tempted by the baits of wealth, power like a rat is tempted by the cheese in a rat trap. The man selling rat-traps lived a poor life without enough food or proper shelter. So he looked upon the world like this in the light of his own sufferings. Once he took shelter in the house of a man who had been a crofter in Ramsjo Iron-Works. The man was without any family and lonely. He welcomed the peddler.

The crofter was friendly and generous. He was offered supper and tobacco. They also played a game of cards told him about his life and showed him the thirty kroner that he kept near the window. The peddler stole the money and left. Initially, he was happy to get the money but very soon fearing detection, he avoided the highway. He then saw the forge of the Ramsjo Iron-Works and went there to spend the night near the forge. At that time, the iron-master, the owner of the factory, came in. The iron-master mistook him to be his old friend, Nils Olof, with whom he had served in the regiment. To help his friend who he perceived had fallen into bad days, he invited the peddler to his house. The peddler realized that the iron-master was making a mistake but he did not correct him in the hope that he might give him some money.

He did not want to go to the ironmaster’s house as he feared that he might be detected. The iron-master sent his daughter when he failed to convince the peddler. The kind-hearted daughter of the iron-master, Edla Willmansson, was compassionate and loving. She suspected that the man might have committed some crime. But she ignored that and thought that the man, haunted by fear, must have lived a miserable life. She wanted to give him at least a night’s peace and security. She assured the peddler that in her house, he would be safe and he would be free to leave anytime. She persuaded him to be her guest on Christmas Eve. The genuine compassion Edla showed gave the man a sense of peace and security. He slept as if he wanted to make up for the sleepless nights he had spent throughout his life. The following morning, on Christmas Eve, the ironmaster and his daughter discussed how to help the peddler. The ironmaster planned to help him regain his health and also to assist him in finding a vocation for himself. The peddler was bathed, shaved and given a haircut. When he presented himself to his host. The ironmaster realised that it was not his comrade. He threatened to call the sheriff but Edla intervened. She persuaded her father to let him stay and not to chase away a person who had been promised good cheer by the ironmaster. The daughter gave him the suit that he was given to wear and she invited him next Christmas also and assured him of secrecy and security. The peddler was overwhelmed. The next morning, he left the manor house. But before leaving, he left the packet containing the thirty kroner of the crofter. He wrote a letter to Edla asking her to return the money to the crofter. He wrote that she had treated him with respect as if he were a real captain. She had treated him as a man and not as a thief. That genuine regard had induced him to be a better man and give up stealing. The genuine compassion and kindness of Edla changed the life of a thief and turned him into a better man.

MULTIPLE CHOICE QUESTIONS

MCQ Based Questions-

MULTIPLE CHOICE QUESTIONS (MCQ – TEST)                                                                        

1.The peddler’s rattraps were made of

 (a) wood         (b) aluminium

(c) wire            (d) plastic

2.The rattrap peddler used to resort to

(a) thievery and begging        (b) teaching

(c) counselling                         (d) preaching

3.The vagabond compared the whole world to a

 (a) planet                               (b) universe

(c) space                                  (d) rattrap

4.The peddler often thought about people who

 (a) had caught rats                (b) who had been tempted to touch the bait

(c) were thieves                      (d) were priests

5.The old man in the grey cottage

(a) welcomed the peddler (b) shooed away the peddler

(c) fought with the peddler (d) got into an argument

6.The old man and the peddler played a game after supper. The game was

 (a) rummy                              (b) moulds

 (c) Snakes and ladders           (d) Ludo

7.The old man was very generous with his

(a) confidence                         (b) money

(c) food                                    (d) guest

8.The old man told the peddler that he had been an

(a) milkman                            (b) crofter

 (c) carpenter                          (d) Goldsmith

9.The crofter had received a payment of

(a) forty kroner                       (b) thirty kroner

 (c) twenty-five kroner            (d) ten kroner

10.What was the mistake made by the old man when the peddler was in his house?

 (a) he asked his address        (b) called the police

 (c) showed him where he had kept his thirty kroner (d) abused him

11.The rattrap peddler returned to the man’s house in order to

 (a) steal the thirty kroner                  (b) say thanks to the old man

 (c) take the bag he had left behind (d) note down the address of the old man

12.What did the peddler realize when he walked and walked in the forest without coming to the end of the wood?

 (a) felt sorry for himself

(b) felt very foolish at his decision

(c) he realized he had only been walking around in the same part of the forest

(d) he had to call up home now

13. He felt he had been fooled by a

 (a) prankster              (b) bait

(c) crofter                    (d) policeman

14. The peddler heard some hard thumping sounds coming from

 (a) an iron mill           (b) a thresher

 (c) a harvester           (d) a windmill

15. The peddler entered the gate of the iron mill with the intention of

(a) asking for food                              (b) meeting the master smith

(c) shelter from rain and cold            (d) chatting with his friends

16. Who came to the iron-mill on a round of inspection?

 (a) the policeman                              (b) the ironmaster

(c) the caretaker                                 (d) the security guard

17. The ironmaster mistook the rattrap peddler for

 (a) an old regimental comrade         (b) an old servant

(c) an old employee                            (d) an old cousin of his wife

18. The peddler was invited by the ironmaster to stay at his house. This made the peddler

(a) jump up with joy                            (b) feel uncomfortable

(c) feel guilty                                       (d) feel alarmed

19. The ironmaster lived in the manor with his

 (a) sons                                               (b) wife

(c) oldest daughter                             (d) old mother

20. Who was finally able to convince the peddler to go to the ironmaster’s house as a guest during Christmas?

 (a) the blacksmith                              (b) the apprentice

 (c) the ironmaster’s daughter           (d) the guard at the iron mill

21. The name of the ironmaster’s daughter was

(a) Emily Dickinson                             (b) Edla Willmansson

 (c) Sophia Loren                                 (d) Mary

22. The young girl first suspected the peddler to be a

 (a) smart young man                         (b) foolish fellow

(c) thief                                               (d) insane person

23. The purpose of her visit to the iron-mill was to

(a) persuade the rattrap seller to spend Christmas Eve at their house

(b) propose to him

(c) counsel him

(d) advise him to give up stealing

24. What made the peddler agree to go with the girl?

(a) Her beautiful looks                        (b) Soft voice

(c) Stern expression                            (d) Friendly manner

25. The girl had brought with her the following article to make him feel warm

(a) A blanket                                       (b) A woollen shawl

 (c) A sweater                                      (d) A fur coat

26. Sitting in the carriage with the young girl, the rattrap seller was deep in thought. He felt

(a) guilty at having stolen the crofter’s money (b) ashamed at coming with the girl

(c) nervous and tense                                                 (d) confident

27. The first move of the ironmaster was to make sure that the guest could

(a) gain some flesh on his bones                    (b) have verification done

 (c) be given some money                              (d) be given some clothes

28.The second thing of priority for the rattrap seller was to

(a) make him sleep comfortably                    (b) take him to a doctor

 (c) get him a better job                                 (d) to marry him to someone

29. What did the ironmaster feel when he saw the rattrap seller after he was well groomed by his valet?

(a) Not pleased                                   (b) Very happy

(c) Suspicious                                      (d) Angry

30. The reason for his unhappiness was that

(a) he looked ugly now                                               (b) he came to know he was a thief

(c) he had made a mistake in recognizing him          (d) he hated the way he looked

31. The stranger’s reaction to the ironmaster was

(a) he made no attempt to hide his feelings              (b) he was angry

 (c) he denied it completely                                        (d) he started screaming

32. The tramp argued with the ironmaster saying that

(a) he could just go back                                             (b) he was smarter than them

 (c) he could celebrate Christmas                              (d) he did not want to marry Edla

33. The rattrap peddler gave the ironmaster a lecture on

 (a) how the world is a rat trap                                  (b) how to be honest

 (c) how to be ethically correct                                  (d) how to be professional

34. The reaction of the ironmaster to the peddler’s lecture was that

 (a) he shouted at him                                                (b) he made fun of him

(c) he laughed                                                                         (d) he slapped him

35. What did the ironmaster’s daughter say when the peddler was about to leave?

(a) she asked him to stay for that day only

(b) she said she wanted to go with him

(c) she told him not to mind what her father had said

(d) she asked him to leave after 2 days

36. The daughter wanted the peddler to stay so that he could

 (a) enjoy at least Christmas with them         (b) eat a meal with them

(c) play cards with them                                 (d) play a game of poker with them

37. The rattrap peddler spent most of his Christmas Eve

 (a) laughing                                                    (b) singing

(c) playing                                                       (d) sleeping

38. Where did the ironmaster and his daughter learn that the peddler was a thief?

(a) at the church                                 (b) at the market

 (c) at a play                                        (d) in the house of a friend

39. What did the package left for Edla contain?

 (a) a small rattrap with 30 kroner on it        (b) a small bangle

(c) a necklace                                                  (d) a diamond ring

40. The rattrap peddler left a note with the package. The note was signed as

(a) the peddler                                    (b) the thief

 (c) the tramp                                      (d) captain Von Stahle

ANSWERS

1.(c) wire

2. (a) thievery and begging

3.(d) rattrap

4. (b) who had been tempted to touch the bait

5.(a) welcomed the peddler

6. (b) moulds

7.(a) confidence                                        

 8. (b) crofter

9.(b) thirty kroner

10. (c) showed him where he had kept his thirty kroner

11.(a) steal the thirty kroner

12.(c) he realized he had only been walking around in the same part of the forest

13. (b) bait

14. (a) an iron mill

15. (c) shelter from rain and cold       

16. (b) the ironmaster         

17. (a) an old regimental comrade                

18. (b) feel uncomfortable

19.(c) oldest daughter

20. (c) the ironmaster’s daughter

21. (b) Edla Willmansson                                 

22. (c) thief

23. (a) persuade the rattrap seller to spend Christmas Eve at their house

24. (d) friendly manner                                        

25. (d) a fur coat

26. (a) guilty at having stolen the crofter’s money

27. (a) gain some flesh on his bones

28. (c) get him a better job

29. (a) not pleased

30. (c) he had made a mistake in recognizing him

31. (a) he made no attempt to hide his feelings

32. (a) he could just go back

33.(a) how the world is a rat trap                   

 34. (c) he laughed

35. (a) she asked him to stay for that day only

36. (a) enjoy at least Christmas with them

37. (d) sleeping

38. (a) at the church

39. (a) a small rattrap with 30 kroner on it

40. (d) Captain Von Stahle

Short Answer Type Questions  (30 to 40 words)

SHORT ANSWER TYPE QUESTIONS                                                                                      

Q1. From where did the peddler get the idea of the world is a rat trap?

 Ans. The tramp went around selling small rattraps made of scrap wire. One day he was struck by the idea that the whole world was nothing but a big rat trap. It existed only to set baits for people. It offered riches and joys, shelter and food, heat and clothing in the same manner, as the rattrap offered cheese. As soon as someone let himself be tempted to touch the bait, it closed in on him and then everything came to an end.

 Q2. Why was he amused by this idea?

Ans. His own life was sad and monotonous. He was a vagabond, lonely and isolated from me any family life. The world had treated him harshly. So it gave him some joy to think of the world this way. It became a pastime for him to think of people letting themselves being caught in the dangerous trap of others who were still circling around the bait.

Q3. Did the rattrap maker expect the kind of hospitality that he received from the crofter?

Ans. The peddler was surprised at the kind of hospitality that he received at the crofter’s home. He was invited inside with a smile and he was made to feel quite welcome instead of the usual hostile and sour faces that he met. He was served hot porridge for supper and the crofter shared his pipe tobacco with him. They also played a game of moulds. Thus the tramp was treated well by the crofter.

Q4. What made the man think that he had fallen into a rat trap?

Ans. After stealing the money from the crofter, the tramp turned into the forest. He wanted to avoid walking on the road. Confused and disoriented by the trees in the forest and the narrow twisting paths, he realized that he was lost. Tired and cold, he lay down in despair feeling that the forest had transformed into a rattrap. He felt guilty as if he was caught by the bait.

Q5. Why did the ironmaster speak kindly to him and invite him home?

Ans. The ironmaster made a mistake in recognizing the tramp. Due to his shabby appearance and the fading light near the furnace he thought the man to be his old regimental comrade, Captain Von Stahle. Thus he addressed him warmly and invited him home.

 Q6. Did the peddler respect the confidence reposed in him by the crofter?

Ans. The peddler betrayed the trust that the crofter had on him by breaking the window pane and removing the thirty boners from the leather pouch. He had seen the crofter keeping the money in the pouch and hanging it on a nail near the window frame.

 Q7. What made the peddler think that he had indeed fallen into a rat trap?

Ans. After having stolen thirty kroner from the crofter, the peddler realized that he could not walk on the public highway and so he turned off the road into the woods. It was a big and confusing forest and the paths twisted back and forth. He walked for a long time without coining to the end of the woods. He finally realized that he had been walking around in the same part of the forest. Recalling his thoughts about the world, and the rattrap he realized that he had let himself be fooled by a bait and had been caught.

Q8. Why did the ironmaster speak kindly to the peddler and invite him home?

 Ans. The ironmaster walked closely up to the peddler and looked him over very carefully. Due to the uncertain reflection from the furnace, he mistook the man as his old regimental comrade Captain Von Stahle. He addressed the stranger as Nils Olof and invited him home to spend the Christmas with him and his daughter.

 Q9. Why did the peddler decline the invitation of the ironmaster?

Ans. The peddler was aware of the fact that the ironmaster had extended an invitation to his comrade Captain Von Stahle. He also knew that after stealing the crofter’s money, he was at a risk of getting caught. So, he declined the invitation.

Q10. What made the peddler accept Edla Willmansson’s invitation?

Ans. Edla’s ability to persuade and convince the peddler to stay on, made him accept the invitation. She was compassionate and friendly. She asked him not to be afraid and assured him that he could go away freely after Christmas dinner. She begged him to join them for Christmas. Her sincerity and friendly nature made the peddler accept the invitation.

Q11. What doubts did Edla have about the peddler?

Ans. Just as Edla lifted the peddler’s hat he jumped up abruptly and seemed to be quite frightened. Her kind looks, her compassionate and friendly nature could not calm him. She perceived that it looked as if he had stolen something or had escaped from jail.

Q12. When did the ironmaster realize his mistake?

Ans. The ironmaster realized his mistake when he met the stranger the next morning. The valet had bathed him, cut his hair and shaved him. Moreover, he was dressed in a suit which belonged to the ironmaster. He wore a white shirt, a starched collar and whole shoes. When the ironmaster saw him in broad daylight it was impossible to mistake him for an old acquaintance. The ironmaster threatened to hand him over to the sheriff.

Q13. How did the peddler defend himself against not having revealed his true identity?

Ans. The peddler explained that he had made no pretensions regarding his true identity. He was not at fault. All along he had maintained that he was a poor trader. He had requested to be allowed to stay alone. He was willing to put on his rags again and go away.

 Q14. Why did Edla still entertain the peddler even after she knew the truth about him?

Ans. Edla did not think it proper to chase away a human being whom they had invited to their house and promised Christmas cheer. She understood the reality of the peddler’s life and wanted him to enjoy a day with them. Hence she still entertained the peddler even after knowing the truth about him.

Q15. Why was Edla happy to see the gift left by the peddler?

Ans. Edla was happy to see the gift left by the peddler. It was a small rattrap in which lay three wrinkled ten kroner notes. There was also a letter written in a large jagged handwriting. It was a confession made by the peddler. He did not want to embarrass her in the Christmas season by his deeds.

Q16. Why did the peddler sign himself as Captain Von Stable?

Ans. The ironmaster had invited the peddler to his house mistaking him for Captain Von Stahle. He was welcomed there and looked after as a Captain, even after the reality became known. The peddler got a chance to redeem himself from his dishonest ways by acting as an honourable Captain. He did so by gifting Edla a small rattrap with three wrinkled ten kroner notes and a letter saying that he did not want her to be embarrassed in the Christmas season by a thief and he wanted to behave as if he were a real Captain.

 Q17. ‘The next day both men got up in good season’. Why? Who are the men and what did they do after getting up?

 Ans. The two men are the old crofter and the rattrap peddler. The crofter got up early in the morning to milk his cow. His guest also wanted to get up because the host was awake. Both left the cottage at the same time. The crofter locked the door and put the key in his pocket. Thereafter they both bade each other goodbye and went their own way.

Q18. How did the peddler feel after robbing the crofter? Why did he discontinue walking on the public highway?

 Ans. The peddler after having stolen the money felt pleased with himself. Then he realized the danger of being caught by the police if he chose to go on the highway. Hence, he decided to continue his way through the dense woods to avoid getting caught.

Q19. Why did the blacksmith fail to notice the entry of the peddler in the forge?

Ans. The forge was a noisy place. The big bellows groaned and the burning coal made cracking sounds. The fire boy was shovelling charcoal into the furnace noisily. A waterfall roared outside. The sharp north wind made the rain strike the brick-tiled roof. Hence the blacksmith did not notice the peddler entering the forge.

Q20. What two plans did the ironmaster reveal to his daughter at breakfast on Christmas Eve? How did the daughter react?

 Ans. The ironmaster firstly decided that the old regimental comrade (the peddler) had to gain some flesh on his bones. Then he must choose a different profession and not run around the country selling rattraps. The daughter reacted by saying that the previous night there was no indication to show that he had once been an educated man.

 Q21. Why was the crofter so talkative and friendly with the crofter?

 Ans. The crofter had no wife or child. His circumstances and temperament made him talkative and friendly with the peddler. He was lonely so he was happy to get someone to talk to. This made him generous with his confidences.

 Q22. Why did the crofter show the thirty kroner to the peddler?

 Ans. The crofter had told the peddler that by supplying coins milk to the creamery, he had received thirty kroner in payment. The peddler gives an expression of disbelief. In order to reassure the peddler, the crofter showed him the corners.

Q23. What were the contents of the letter addressed to Miss Willmansson?

Ans. The peddler did not want Edla to be embarrassed at the Christmas season with a thief. As she had been nice to him as if he were a captain, the former would be nice to her as if he were a real captain. He asked her to return the thirty kroners to the old crofter. The rattrap was a present from a rat who would have been caught in the world’s rattrap if he had not been raised to captain. It was in his capacity of a captain that he got power to clear himself.

Q24. Describe the peddler?

Ans. The peddler was poor and wore shabby ragged clothes. His cheeks were sunken and hunger shone in his eyes. He was tall, with a long grey beard and a bunch of rattraps dangling on his chest.

Q25. The peddler thinks that the whole world is a rat trap. This view of life is true only of himself and of no one else in the story. Comment. Answer in about 120-150 words.                                   

Ans. The peddler doesn’t think kindly of the world and its people. For him, the world is a big rattrap to trap the people in. The luxuries of the world are the baits that tempt the people to get trapped. The world has been very unkind to him. So it gives him a great pleasure to think ill of it. Ironically, he finds himself trapped like a rat when he steals the thirty kronor of the credulous crofter. Subsequently, it leads him to Edla’s home where he receives nothing except kindness. It is true that this bitter view of the world is his own subjective one. In fact, the world has no dearth of genuinely kind people like the crofter, Edla and even the ironmaster. All treat him kindly. Edla believes in compassion and Christian values and eventually touches the goodness in him and helped him see the world in a positive light.

Important Long/ Detailed Answer Type Questions- to be answered in about 100 -150 words each Value based questions-

Q1. The Rattrap is a story where a good deed or an act of kindness changes a person’s view of the world. Discuss with reference to the theme.

Ans. ‘The Rattrap’ is an entertaining and philosophical story that reveals the theme of the human tendency to redeem oneself from dishonest ways. The tramp proves the idea that the essential goodness of human beings can be awakened through understanding and love. Circumstances had forced the peddler to indulge in petty crimes. Even though he used to sell rattraps made from scrap metal, his poverty had brought out the worst in him, making him bitter and killing his conscience.

The tramp’s view of the world was a cynical one: he envied those who were better off than him. He believed the world to be like a rat trap that offered temptations like shelter and food for entrapping victims. The peddler did not hesitate to steal money from the crofter even though he enjoyed his hospitality and warm welcome. Pangs of guilt troubled him when he lost his way in the forest. His bitter and hardened temperament received a chance for repentance when he encountered the ironmaster and his daughter.

The author brings an effective twist in the story to show that innate goodness exists in all human beings. It takes a little love, understanding and an act of friendship to bring it to the fore. The iron master’s daughter showed him sympathy, honour and respect and gave him a sense of dignity. This touched a chord in the heart of the peddler who at once felt that he was no longer the nameless tramp that he had been all his life but somebody with an identity. He redeemed himself by returning the stolen money as he had felt motivated by Edla’s kindness.

Q2. How has the author of ‘The Rattrap’ developed the theme of the story?

Ans. The author, Selma Lagerlof has beautifully dwelt on the theme of The Rattrap’ and used the rattrap as a metaphor to develop the theme. Almost all human beings find it hard to resist the temptation of material goods or benefits and consciously fall into the trap. The world is a rattrap where human beings constantly fall prey to various baits kept for them.

However, the author has brought across the idea that all human beings possess an essential goodness which can be tapped through love, compassion and understanding.

An individual can redeem himself from dishonest ways if he makes an effort.

The peddler of rattraps calls the world a big rat trap. The material benefits like riches and joys, shelter and food, heat and clothing are temptations that lure a person to fall into the rat trap. Once a person accepts the bait, he or she is trapped forever. The peddler gets tempted to steal the crofter’s money. He is too afraid to move about in the open, hence moves through the woods. Later, it is the kind, sympathetic and generous treatment given to him by Edla and her father that helps him get transformed and free himself of the guilt and mend his ways. The rattrap becomes a symbol of worldly temptations and the peddler symbolizes man’s efforts to escape them.

Q3. The peddler believed that the whole world is a rat trap. How did he himself get caught in the same? Answer in about 120-150 words.                                                                            

Ans. The sad and poor life of the peddler makes him bitter. One day when he was thinking of his rattraps, suddenly he was struck by an idea that the whole world is nothing but a big rat trap. It just sets baits for people. The world offers riches, joys, shelter, food and clothing. They are just baits. As soon as anyone touches the bait, the rattrap closes in on him. Then everything comes to an end.

Ironically, The peddler himself becomes the rat. The peddler can’t overcome the temptation of stealing the bait of 30 kronor of the hospitable crofter. Again the metaphor of the rattrap comes into his mind when the ironmaster invites him to his manor house. The peddler doesn’t want to go there. It means voluntarily throwing himself into the lion’s den. He surrenders when he is persuaded by Miss Willmansson to go there.

 Finally, the peddler feels released from the rat trap. It is due to the deep sympathy, kindness, love and understanding shown by Miss Willmansson towards him. He raises himself above petty temptations. He would have been trapped in the world’s rattrap if he had not been raised to a captain. That gave him the strength to come out of that trap.  

VALUE BASED QUESTIONS

 Answer the following questions.                                                                                          

Q1. The Rattrap is a story which shows that basic human goodness can be brought out by understanding and love. Comment.

Ans. The Rattrap is a story about an old disillusioned peddler and thief who is taken in and shown generosity by a young woman called Edla. The peddler was a poor man who begged and stole petty things at times. Edla’s compassion gave the peddler a sense of peace and security. It induced him to be a better man and give up petty thieving. The author shows how the essential goodness of a person never dies. It can be awakened through understanding and love. Edla awakened his basic goodness and the peddler returned the thirty kroner that he had stolen.

Q2. The world is nothing but a trap of worldly baits. Discuss the essential values required by a person to overcome the temptations of life.

 Ans. The Rattrap is a story of a peddler who was also a petty thief. He sold rattraps and believed the world to be like a rat trap that offered temptations like food and shelter for entrapping victims. He did not hesitate to steal the money from the crofter even though he enjoyed his hospitality.

We all find it difficult to resist the temptation of material goods and fall into the trap. However human beings possess an essential goodness which can be awakened through love, compassion and respect. An individual can redeem himself from dishonest ways if he makes an effort.

 

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