We have Provided the NCERT/CBSE Solutions chapter-wise for Class 11 English Hornbill Prose Chapter 1 The Portrait of a Lady with Answers by expert subject teacher for latest syllabus and examination. Students also can take a free NCERT Solutions of The Portrait of a Lady. Each question has right answer Solved by Expert Teacher.
NCERT Solutions Class 11 English Hornbill Prose
Understanding the text
Q1. The three phases of the author’s relationship with his grandmother before he left the country to study abroad.
Answer: The story traced three phases of the author and grandmother’s friendship. The primary phase was the happiest time and it was when the relationship between author and grandmother blossomed. Author and grandmother were constantly together in the village. Grandmother raised him during the initial years of his life when his parents were busy settling their lives in the city. She used to wake him up and get him ready and accompany him to school. It is in the second phase when their friendship saw a steep turn. Author and grandmother shifted to the city, and he went to an English medium school, in a motor bus. Grandmother could no longer accompany him to the school and hence they grew apart. During the third phase, they lost all the common ties. The author was given a room of his own in the university and soon moved abroad for five years, leaving grandmother behind and alone. Even though they still loved each other, their communication became nil.
Q2. Three reasons why the author’s grandmother was disturbed when he started going to the city school.
Answer: The grandmother was unhappy as she could no longer help the author with his lessons. As he had started learning the rudiments of science, she became distressed at the absence of scriptural studies at school. She disapproved of his learning music which she considered lewd and befitting beggars and harlots.
Q3. Three ways in which the author’s grandmother spent her days after he grew up.
Answer: When the author was a child, grandmother’s entire day revolved around him. From walking up to accompany him to school, the author and grandmother spent their entire day together. After the author grew up and they shifted to the city, their lives grew apart. He became busy with his work and studies, so eventually, grandmother accepted her seclusion. She started spending the majority of her time by the spinning wheel, reciting her prayers. In the afternoon she relaxed for a while on the veranda feeding the sparrows with breadcrumbs. It was the happiest half an hour of the day for her.
Q4. The odd way in which the author’s grandmother behaved just before she died.
Answer: The grandmother told the family that her end was near. She had omitted to pray, she was not going to waste any more time talking to us. She lay peacefully in bed praying and telling her beads.
Q5. The way in which the sparrows expressed their sorrow when the author’s grandmother died.
Answer: The dead body of the author’s grandmother was surrounded by thousands of sparrows which did not chirrup. They did not even notice the bread crumbs which were thrown by the author’s mother to feed them. They quietly flew away once the corpse of the grandmother was carried away. Hence, this way the sparrows expressed their sorrow when the author’s grandmother died.
Talking About The Text
Talk to your partner about the following.
Q1. The author’s grandmother was a religious person. What are the different ways in which we come to know this?
Answer: The author recalls his grandmother as a very religious person. In his earliest memories he recalls her hobbling about the house telling the beads of her rosary. As she bathed him she said her morning prayer, hoping that he, too, would learn it. While he studied in school, she read scriptures inside the temple.
Q2. Describe the changing relationship between the author and his grandmother. Did their feelings for each other change?
Answer: While living in the village the author and his grandmother were intimate friends. A turning point came in their relationship when they came to the city to live with author’s parents. When the author joined in the city-school the grandmother remained confined to home. She could not help him in studies. She was also unhappy about the kind of education being given to the author at the English school. The grandmother became disturbed as there was no teaching about God and scriptures in the new school. She reconciled herself with spinning and feeding the sparrows. When the narrator grew up, he went to university and then went abroad. Then the link of friendship between the author and his grandmother was broken. His grandmother accepted her seclusion with resignation. No, their feelings for each other did not change in spite of the distances growing between them.
Q3. Would you agree that the author’s grandmother was a person strong in character? If yes, give instances that show this.
Answer: The Grandmother displayed exemplary strength by undertaking strenuous parental responsibilities while fulfilling her surrogate role when her grandson was left with her, in the absence of his parents. Her strong moral fibre was succinctly imbibed into her little charge as she sang religious prayers while bathing and dressing him.
She adjusted to the changed city lifestyle with ingenuity, taking to feeding sparrows, spinning, and telling the rosary beads. Even when disaproving of the instructions and cultural orientations of the English school, her protests were never vocal. She remained affectionate without being overly demonstrative. She came to see off her grandson when he was leaving for England, without emotional scenes and organized a zesty musical soiree on his return. She had a strong intuitive streak and had premonitions of her end, a quality restricted to personalities with insightful strength.
Q4. 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: Yes, I knew someone like the author’s grandmother. My grandmother passed away recently and she held a close space in my heart and life. The intense sense of loss is very heart-wrenching as I spent fifteen years of my life with her. She was a source of constant support and strength for me and parting away from her was difficult.
Thinking about language
Q1. Which language do you think the author and his grandmother used while talking to each other?
Answer: The author and his grandmother must be talking in Punjabi, their mother tongue, -‘f
Q2. Which language do you use to talk to elderly relatives in your family?
Answer: I belong to a Hindi speaking area. I use Hindi while talking to elderly relatives in my family.
Q3. How would you say ‘a dilapidated drum’ in your language?
Answer: The answer could vary with your mother tongue. In my mother tongue, i.e., Hindi, it is “phata-hua dholak.”
Q4. Can you think of a song or a poem in your language that talks of homecoming?
Answer: There are numerous poems and folk songs that sing of the exploits of the brave warriors. All these talks of the homecoming of the warriors after winning a war.
Working with words
I. Notice the following uses of the word ‘tell’ in the text.
i) Her fingers were busy telling the beads of her rosary.
ii) I would tell her English words and little things of Western science and learning.
iii) At her age one could never tell.
iv) 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.
i) make something known to someone in spoken or written words
ii) count while reciting
iii) be sure
iv) give information to somebody
(i) Telling the beads (ii) count while reciting
(ii) Tell her English words (i) make something known to
(i) One could never tell (iii) be sure
(iv) Told us (iv) give information to somebody
II. Notice the different senses of the word ‘take’.
Q1. to take to something: to begin to do something as a habit
Answer: She took to feeding sparrows in the courtyard of our city house.
(Here it is used for taking to feeding sparrows as a habit.)
Q2. to take ill: to suddenly become ill
Locate these phrases in the text and notice the way they are used.
Answer: The next morning she was taken ill.
(Here it means she became suddenly ill)
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.
haggle, shuffle, stride, ride, waddle,
wriggle, paddle, swagger, trudge, slog,
Answer: Words referring to walking
shuffle, stride, waddle, wriggle, swagger, trudge
Notice the form of the verbs italicised in these sentences:
(i) My grandmother was an old woman. She had been old and wrinkled for the twenty years that had known her. People said that she had once been young and pretty and had even had a husband, but that was hard to believe.
(ii) When we both had finished, we would walk back together.
(iii) When I came back, she would ask me what the teacher had taught me.
(iv) It was the first time since I had known her that she did not pray.
(v) The sun was setting and had lit her room and verandah with a golden light.
These are examples of the Past Perfect forms of verbs. When we recount things in the distant past, we use this form.
Answer: Notice the form of verbs highlighted in the sentences below:
(i) They had already reached their destination when the rain came.
(ii) Before she left me, we had worked together for six months on that project.
(iii) The teacher had explained the poem twice, to help students understand it well.
(iv) Since I had lived there it was the first time it began to rain.
(v) The full moon in the sky had scattered its light everywhere.
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