Evans Tries an O-level Solutions for Class 12 English Vista Chapter 7 with Answers

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Q1. What kind of a person was Evans?

Answer: James Roderick Evans was a jail bird. The prison officers called him ‘Evans the Break’ as he had escaped from prison three times. At present he was in a solitary cell in Oxford Prison. He was quite a pleasant sort of chap—an amusing person who was good at imitations. He was not at all violent. He was just a congenital kleptomaniac. It meant he suffered from the disease of involuntarily stealing things. This was disease with which he was bom.

Q2. What were the precautions taken for the smooth conduct of the examination?

Answer: The Governor of Oxford Prison took precautions for the smooth conduct of the examination. The examination had been arranged in the prisoner’s cell itself. The door of the cell had been locked one day before the examination. Even the cell was thoroughly searched. Steps were taken to ensure checking of ways that could help him in his escape. Jackson, the senior prison officer, had himself conducted the search.

Q3. Will the exam now go as scheduled?

Answer: Everything had been in order for the exam to begin on its scheduled time, but a last-minute plan change was ordered by the apprehensive Governor. He also ordered the invigilator to be frisked as another precautionary measure, before allowing him to do his assigned job. That wasted some time and the test started at 9:25 am, ten minutes later than planned.

Q4. Did the Governor and his staff finally heave a sigh of relief?

Answer: The Governor heard the door of the cell clang for the last time. The examination was over. Stephens escorted McLeery to the main gates. His Scots accent seemed broader and he seemed to have grown slimmer under his long black overcoat. Stephens was happy
that the morning had gone pretty well. In short, the Governor and his staff finally heaved a sigh of relief.
Their relief was, however, shortlived. On returning to the cell of Evans, Stephens found a person sprawling back in a chair. Blood dripped from his closely cropped front part of head on to his small black beard and over the white clerical collar down into the black clerical front. Stephens shouted wildly for Jackson. It was suspected that Evans had hit McLeery and walked out impersonating him. A search began for Evans dressed as a parson.

Q5. Will the injured McLeery be able to help the prison officers track Evans?

Answer: No, McLeery did not help the prison officers track Evans. Instead, they were misguided by him. Evans was impersonating as McLeery and therefore, tricked the police officers into believing that Evans had run away. In reality, Evans was sitting right in front of them in the guise of McLeery and laughing at their credulous nature.

Q6. Will the clues left behind on the question paper, put Evans back in prison again

Answer: The clues in the paper were meant to trick the prison officials especially, the over¬confident Governor. The Governor is led to a hotel, where he finds Evans. Evans, however, befools him and escapes again.

Q7. Where did Evans go?

Answer: Evans left the prison disguised as parson McLeery who had been injured by the examinee Evans. He pretended to guide the authorities to help them track Evans. When the police car reached the Examination offices on Elsfield Way, McLeery (Evans in disguise) grogged. An ambulance was called in from the Radcliffe and he was left there.
Evans got into a car as arranged beforehand. It had soap, water, clothes and a map. He removed blood stains from hair, peeled the false beard, changed clothes, put on a smart new hat. Then he drove to the Golden Lion in the middle of Clipping Norton. He was traced in this hotel by the Governor of Oxford Prison following the clues in the German text on the German question paper.

Reading with Insight

Q1. Reflecting on the story, what did you feel about Evans’ having the last laugh?

Answer: Having the last laugh’ symbolises gaining victory over one’s rival towards the end. Evans too had the last laugh in this story as he succeeded in fooling the jail officials from the beginning till the end. However, the last act of fooling the Governor was quite surprising. As he was handcuffed and pushed into the police van by the prison officer, it seemed as if it was all over for him. However, ‘Evans the Break’ still had an ace up his sleeve. The van driver and the prison officer taking him away were his own men.

As the prison van turns right from Chipping Norton, the prison officer unlocked the handcuffs and ordered the driver to drive fast. The driver enquired where they had to go. Evans recommended that they go to Newbury, since it was the place that the Governor would ever think of searching. So we see how Evans has the last laugh at every turn in this story.

Q2. When Stephens comes back to the cell he jumps to a conclusion and the whole machinery blindly goes by his assumption without even checking the identity of the injured ‘McLeery’. Qoes this show how hasty conjectures can prevent one from seeing the obvious? How is the criminal able to predict such negligence?

Answer: When Stephens walked beside ‘McLeery’, he noticed that his Scots accent was more pronounced and he looked slimmer. He was happily ruminating on the fact that the Governor had asked him, and not Jackson, to see McLeery off the premises. But much to his horror, when he decided to take just one last look at Evans, he saw the injured ‘McLeery’ instead and raised an alarm. McLeery, who was actually Evans in disguise, managed to have himself escorted to the hospital from where he escaped.

Though the police had seen Evans day in and day out, yet he had managed to give them the slip. Negligence to corroborate evidence and to fall for the general frenzy, outwitted the officers and the governor. The criminal, on the other hand, observed the people around him and plotted to take advantage of their complacence and weakness. Jackson and Stephens were so anxious to outdo one another that they were taken on a ride by the criminal.

Q3. What could the Governor have done to securely bring back Evans to prison when he caught him at the Golden Lion? Does that final act of foolishness really prove that “he was just another good-for-a-giggle, gullible governor, that was all”.

Answer: The Governor should have escorted Evans himself to the Oxford Prison. He had only two persons with him, and later it turned out that these two persons were associates of Evans. One of them, who posed to be the silent prison officer instructed the driver to move on faster. The driver, who spoke in a broad Scots accent, was the person who acted as the Reverend S. McLeery. The Governor should have at least checked the identity of the staff to whom he was entrusting the prisoner.
Secondly, he should have contacted Mr Jackson and Mr Stephens, the two prison officers, Detective Superintendent Carter and Detective Chief Inspector Bell, who were all searching Evans.

It was perhaps his over excitement and childish enthusiasm at his arm-chair reasoning in locating the hide-out of Evans and catching him at the Golden Lion, that he threw all cautions to wind and acted foolishly by reposing confidence in wrong persons. Evans and his associates had befooled him earlier as well. The German teacher and the invigilator were friends of Evans. The correction slip sent from Examination Branch was a clever device to convey the route of escape and the hide-out. The Governor’s last act of foolishness really proved that he was only worth being laughed at as he was too credulous and trustful.

Q4. While we condemn the crime, we are sympathetic to the criminal. Is this the reason why prison staff often develop a soft comer for those in custody?

Answer: It is common to say that we should hate the sin and not the sinner. Nobody can be perfect in the world. If we see a sinner suffering for his sin, we feel sympathetic towards him as a human being. Likewise, a criminal is sent to jail for his crime, the prison staff should treat him as a human being and not as a criminal. The crime he committed becomes a thing of the past. Now, we can see his suffering.

Thus, the prison staff often develop a soft corner for those in jail. When Evans wishes to give O-level German exam, they help him by making preparations for the same. They wish him luck. Even though the Governor and the rest of the staff were befooled by Evans, the Governor wishes him goodbye just like an old friend with a wish to see him again.

Q5. Do you agree that between crime and punishment it is mainly a battle of wits?

Answer: Between crime and punishment, it is mainly a battle of wits. Courts have become battlegrounds of sophistry, hyperbole, and obfuscation. This is the reason why seasoned criminals, taking advantage of the situation, go unpunished. There is a relationship between intelligence and crime. As in the story, Evans was a kleptomaniac but managed to outsmart the entire team of police officers. So much so that he was escorted out of the prison by the men in uniform, arrested and he managed to escape again in the wake of a confession.

His plan was brilliant and his tactics ingenious, such as getting his friends to masquerade as a German teacher and as the invigilator, concealing blood in a rubber ring, getting directions through the means of a question paper, and the correction of the paper. He manages to outwit the entire police force.

Extra Questions of Evans Tries an O-level

Q1. How did Evans manage to plan the escape from, prison?

Answer: The Governor had taken enough precautions. Evans had no visitors. He had no letters. Evans told the Governor that he had got lots of friends. He gave the example of his German teacher. The Governor said he was from the Technical College. Evans seemed to enjoy all this and asked if he had checked it. Reluctantly, the Governor had to admit that far more was going on than he thought or imagined.

Q2. What was his German teacher’s opinion of Evans’ proficiency in German?

Answer: Evans’ German teacher was doubtful of Evans’ language ability. He felt that Evans could not even understand basic pleasantries in German.

Q3. What two purposes did the correction slip serve? Which of them did Evans consider more important?

Answer: The correction slip provided Evans the name of the hotel and its location. Secondly, it contained the exact time the exam started. The really important thing for Evans was that the phone rang just before the exam finished. Thus, he was able to get the prison officers out of the way for a couple of minutes.

Q4. Who do you think made the call to announce a correction in the question paper? What was its purpose?

Answer: One of Evans’ accomplices would have called impersonating as the Assistant Secretary from the examination board. The real purpose was to include information about the escape plan.

Q5. What did the inmates of the prison come to know by tea-time?

Answer: They came to know what had really happened. Earlier, it was presumed that Evans had impersonated McLeery and walked out of the prison. The truth was that Evans, impersonating McLeery, had stayed in.

Q6. How did the Governor react to the two phone calls he received in quick succession?

Answer: The Governor reacted sharply but in a positive way. He was informed by the secretary for modern languages that there was a correction slip to be informed to the candidate. He allows and the correction is explained to Evans. He does not doubt anything.

Q7. What did Detective Superintendent Carter inform the Governor about Evans?

Answer: Superintendent Carter informed the Governor that McLeery had spotted Evans driving off along Elsfield Way. They had got the number of the car all right. They had given chase immediately, but they had lost him at the Headington roundabout. He assumed that Evans must have doubled back into the city.

Q8. Who was the bleeding man in the cell? What was he doing?

Answer: The bleeding man in the cell was none other than Evans himself who the officials presumed to be the invigilator. McLeery, as he was presumed to be, seemed to hear the officers at hand, as his hand felt feebly for a handkerchief from his pocket, and he held it to his bleeding head. He tried to speak but could give only a long low moan.

Q9. What conclusion did the Governor arrive at after reading the German text on the question paper?

Answer: The text advised Evans to drive to the Headington roundabout from Elsfield Way. The Examinations Board was in Elsfield Way. Someone from the Board must have been involved in the escape plan from the very beginning. It was clear from the question paper and the correction slip.

Q10. How was the invigilator escorted out of the prison? What was Stephens’ reaction?

Answer: Stephens escorted McLeery to the main gates. He noticed that the invigilator’s Scottish accent seemed more pronounced than ever, and his long black overcoat created the illusion that he had suddenly grown slimmer. Nevertheless, Stephens felt pleased that the Governor had asked him, and not Jackson, to see McLeery off the premises.

Q11.What was the phone call for during the examination?

Answer: The phone call, was supposedly, from the Examinations Board that instructed candidates offering German, 021-1 to note a correction. McLeery was instructed to call out the correction carried in the examination paper.

Q12. Why was the Governor angry with Jackson?

Answer: Jackson had spent two hours in Evans’s cell the previous evening. He had confidently reported that there was nothing hidden away there. Yet Evans had concealed a false beard, a pair of spectacles, a dogcollar and other material of a priest. He also had a weapon with which he hit McLeery across the head.

Q13. Where was Evans after his escape from the prison?

Answer: Evans was at a hotel, Golden Lion, dressed smartly in a smart new hat to conceal his hair that he had cropped so closely. When the narrative returns to him, he was seen directing the receptionist to send him the morning papers.

Q14. What truth did the enquiries about injured “McLeery” from

(i) Carter and
(ii) the Radcliffe reveal?

Answer: Carter said that he was in the Radcliffe. He was really groggy near the Examination offices. They rang for the ambulance from there. The accident department of the Radcliffe informed him that there was no parson named McLeery there. They had sent an ambulance to Elsfield Way, but the fellow had vanished from there by then.

Q15. What were the contents of the small brown suitcase that McLeery carried?

Answer: The contents of the small brown suitcase that McLeery carried were a sealed question paper envelope, a yellow invigilation form, a special ‘authentication’ card from the Examination Board, a paper knife, a Bible, a copy of ‘The Church Times’ and a small semi-inflated rubber ring.

Q16. Jackson had thoroughly searched Evans’s cell for two hours the previous evening. How then was Evans able to disguise himself as a parson?

Answer: Evans had really nothing hidden in the cell. It was McLeery who had worn two black fronts and two collars. Evidently, Evans put on one set of these. He used the blanket to cover his act. The parson suddenly seemed to have grown slimmer when he left the Oxford Prison.

Q17. How does Evans escape from the jail?

Answer: Evans decided to appear for O-level Examination in German. For the same, the Governor sought permission from the Board. McLeery the parson from St. Mary Mags came to invigilate.

In reality, he was an accomplice of Evans and had imprisoned the real parson. In the cell, the two exchange places. This was made possible because Evans had covered himself in a blanket. At the end of the exam, Evans walks out a free man disguised as the parson.

Q18. Tell me one thing before we go. How on earth did you get all that blood to pour over your head?” asks the Governor. How does Evans react to this question?

Answer: Evans looked a little happier. He said it was very clever to get a couple of pints of blood into a cell. There was none there to start off with. The “invigilator” got searched before he came in. Evans refused to disclose it as he might use that trick again. Governor then enquired if it was anything to do with a little rubber ring for piles. Evans grinned and asked if it wasn’t clever.

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