NCERT Solutions for Class 11 English Hornbill Chapter 1 The Portrait of a Lady
Understanding the text
Question 1. The three phases of the author’s relationship with his grandmother before he left the country to study abroad.
Answer:- Before he left the country to study abroad, the author had three phases of his relationship with his grandmother:
When he was younger, he went to the village school, and his grandma helped him get ready and took him to class.
When he was a kid, he used to ride the bus to school in the city. He shared a room with his grandma, but she couldn’t help him with his schoolwork any longer because now he was in english medium.
When he was matured, he went to university and was granted his own room. The bond of friendship has been severed.
Question 2. Three reasons why the author’s grandmother was disturbed when he started going to the city school.
Answer:- The following are three reasons why the author’s grandma was disturbed when he started going to the city school:-
- She didn’t believe in what they taught in English medium schools
- She was upset that there was no teaching of God or the Bible.
- She didn’t like music as a subject , because she believed it was not meant for good citizens and gentlemen. It was the monopoly of prostitutes and beggars.
Question 3. Three ways in which the author’s grandmother spent her days after he grew up.
Answer:- The three ways in which the author’s grandmother spent her days after he grew up are following.
- She accepted her loneliness and avoided interacting with the author.
- She sat at her wheel from sunrise to sunset, spinning and chanting prayers.
- She took a break in the afternoon to feed the sparrows.
Question 4. The odd way in which the author’s grandmother behaved just before she died.
Answer:- The author’s grandmother refused to speak to them just before she died. She wasn’t going to waste any more time now. She hadn’t prayed the night before as she was singing homecoming songs and beating the drum. She seemed uninterested about their complaints. She was happily praying and telling beads in her bed.
Question 5. The way in which the sparrows expressed their sorrow when the author’s grandmother died.
Answer:- Thousands of sparrows surrounded the author’s grandmother’s body, but they didn’t chirrup. They completely ignored the bread crumbs thrown by the author’s mother to feed them. They flew away peacefully when the grandmother’s body was brought away. In this manner, the sparrows expressed their grief when the author’s grandmother died.
Talking about the text
Talk to your partner about the following.
Question 1. The author’s grandmother was a religious person. What are the different ways in which we come to know this?
Answer:- The author’s grandmother was a religious person, there are following point that support this statement:-
- She went to the temple every morning to read the scriptures.
- She always muttered inaudible prayers at home and told the rosary beads.
- While helping the author in getting ready for school, she kept repeating prayers like a song. She wished that the author had memorised it.
- She disliked English school because there were no teaching about the Bible or God.
- Even when spinning in her spinning wheel, she would repeat prayers.
- She continued to tell rosary beads and pray till she exhaled her last breath.
Question 2. Describe the changing relationship between the author and his grandmother. Did their feelings for each other change?
Answer:- The author was fully dependent on his grandma when he was a child. When they moved to the city, their friendship took a new turn. She was no longer able to accompany him to school because he took the bus. They shared a room, but she was unable to assist him with his studies. She was not a supporter of what he was taught in school. She was disappointed that there was no teaching on God or the Bible. She was offended that music was being taught as well. She kept her criticism to herself. She didn’t speak to him much after that.
Their feelings for each other, however, remained unchanged. They still loved each other deeply. When the author was going to abroad for further studies, she went to see him off at the train station. She was emotionless, yet she silently kissed his forehead. This was likely the final sign of physical touch between them, according to the author. She greeted the author at the station when he returned after five years. She clasped him in her arms and hugged him. She sang songs and beat an old drum in honour of his return in the evening.
Question 3. Would you agree that the author’s grandmother was a person strong in character? If yes, give instances that show this.
Answer:- Yes, I agree that the author’s grandmother has a strong character. She was a woman of strong convictions. Despite her lack of formal education, she was more concerned about the author’s education. She struggled to adapt to the western way of life, English, and science education.
She was a devout woman whose lips were always moving in silent prayer as she counted the beads on her rosary. She went to the temple every day to read the scriptures. She was disappointed when she realised that the Bible and God were not taught in the New English School of Khushwant.
She was a sweet woman who used to feed the dogs and birds. She had a strong mind. She refused to speak to her relatives before she died because she didn’t want to waste her time. She wanted to make up for the time she had missed praying to God the night before. She continued to tell rosary beads and pray till she exhaled her last breath.
Question 4. Have you known someone like the author’s grandmother? Do you feel the same sense of loss with regard to someone whom you have loved and lost?
Answer:- Do it yourself.
Thinking about language
Question 1. Which language do you think the author and his grandmother used while talking to each other?
Answer:- The grandmother of the author was not much educated. As a result, I believe the author and his grandmother talk in their native tongue – Punjabi.
Question 2. Which language do you use to talk to elderly relatives in your family?
Answer:- I talk to elderly relatives in my family in Hindi and greet them in English.
Question 3. How would you say ‘a dilapidated drum’ in your language?
Answer:- In my language, a dilapidated drum is referred to as a ‘phata-purana dhol.’
Question 4. Can you think of a song or a poem in your language that talks of homecoming?
Answer:- There are several poetry and folk songs that tell of the brave warriors’ achievements. All of this is about warriors returning home after winning a battle.
Working with words
Question:- I. Notice the following uses of the word ‘tell’ in the text.
- Her fingers were busy telling the beads of her rosary.
- I would tell her English words and little things of Western science and learning.
- At her age one could never tell.
- She told us that her end was near.
Given below are four different senses of the word ‘tell’. Match the meanings to the uses listed above.
- make something known to someone in spoken or written words
- count while reciting
- be sure
- give information to somebody
1. telling the beads
count while reciting
2. tell her
give information to somebody
3. one could never tell
4. told us
make something known to someone in spoken or written words
Question:- II. Notice the different senses of the word ‘take’.
- to take to something: to begin to do something as a habit
- to take ill: to suddenly become ill
Locate these phrases in the text and notice the way they are used.
Answer:- These sentences are used in the text as —
- to take to: She took to feeding sparrows in the courtyard of our city house.
- take ill: The next morning she was taken ill.
Question:- III. The word ‘hobble’ means to walk with difficulty because the legs and feet are in bad condition.
Tick the words in the box below that also refer to a manner of walking.
Answer:- The words in the box that also refer to a manner of walking are –