The Rattrap NCERT Solutions for Class 12 English Chapter 4 with Answers

We have Provided the NCERT/CBSE Solutions chapter-wise for Class 12 English Chapter 4 The Rattrap with Answers by expert subject teacher for latest syllabus and examination. Students also can take a free NCERT Solutions of The Rattrap. Each question has right answer Solved by Expert Teacher.

NCERT Solutions Class 12 English Flamingo Prose

Page No. 34

Q1. From where did the peddler get the idea of the world being a rattrap?

Answer: During one of his usual plodding, the peddler thought on the subject of rattraps. It presented him with the idea of the world being a rattrap and he grew fond of thinking this way.

Q2. Why was he amused by this idea?

Answer: The peddler was amused by the idea of the world being a giant rattrap because he was never treated kindly by the world. Therefore, he harboured hard feelings for it and loved ‘to think ill of it’ by comparing it with a giant rattrap.

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

Answer: No, the peddler did not expect the kind of hospitality that he received from the crofter. This was because usually he was greeted by ‘sour’ and unfriendly faces whenever he knocked on doors and requested for shelter.

Q4. Why was the crofter so talkative and friendly with the peddler?

Answer: The crofter was so talkative and friendly with the peddler because he always lived alone and he needed company. He wanted to share his feelings with somebody. The peddler had sufficient time and he had to pass the night, so he listened peacefully.

Q5. Why did he show the thirty kronor to the peddler?

Answer: The crofter had told the peddler that by supplying his cow’s milk to the creamery, he had received thirty kronor in payment. The peddler seemed to doubt it. So, in order to assure his guest of the truth he showed the thirty kronor to the peddler.

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

Answer: No, the peddler did not live up to the confidence reposed in him by the crofter. In fact, he abused the trust of the crofter. He returned after some time, opened the window of the cottage and stole the crofter’s hard-earned money.

Page no. 34

Q1. What made the peddler think that he had indeed fallen into a rattrap?

Answer: The peddler realised that he must not walk on the public highway with the stolen money in his pocket. He went into the woods. He kept walking without coming to the end of the wood. Then he realised that he had fallen in the rattrap. He had let himself befooled by a bait and had been caught in.

Q2. Why did the ironmaster speak kindly to the peddler and invite him home?

Answer: The ironmaster walked closely up to the peddler. In 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, spoke very kindly and invited him home.

Q3. Why did the peddler decline the invitation?

Answer: The peddler declined the invitation of the ironmaster to go to his house. He had stolen thirty Kronors from the house of the crofter who lived in that area. So the peddler thought that going up to the manor house would be like throwing himself voluntarily into the lion’s den.

Page No. 41

Q1. What made the peddler accept Edla Willmansson’s invitation?

Answer: The peddler accepted Edla Willmansson’s invitation, who was the daughter of the ironmaster. In a very compassionate and friendly manner, Edla Willmansson had won the confidence of the peddler. She told the peddler that he would be allowed to leave just as freely as he would come to their house. She requested him to stay with them only oyer Christmas Eve. Because her genuine and friendly request, the peddler accepted her invitation.

Q2. What doubts did Edla have about the peddler?

Answer: When Edla Willmansson looked compassionately at the peddler, she noticed that the man was afraid. She at once knew that he had either stolen something or else had escaped from jail.

Q3. When did the ironmaster realise his mistake?

Answer: The ironmaster had first seen the tramp in the dim glow of the furnace. He had taken him to be his old regimental comrade, but when the tramp had come down cleanly shaven and dressed in a borrowed suit of the master, the ironmaster at once realized that it had been a case of mistaken identity. He had taken the tramp to be his old regimental comrade.

Q4. How did the peddler defend himself against not having revealed his true identity?

Answer: The peddler explained that he had not tried to pretend as his acquaintance. He was not at fault. All along he had maintained that he was a poor trader. He had pleaded and begged to be allowed to stay in the forge. No harm had been done by his stay. He was willing to put on his rags again and go away.

Q5. Why did Edla still entertain the peddler even after she knew the truth about him?

Answer: The peddler’s true identity came to light the next morning. But Edla served the peddler not as her father’s old comrade. Even after knowing the reality about the peddler she wanted him to stay with them on Christmas Eve and enjoy a day of peace. In her view it was not proper to chase away a person whom they had invited on Christmas.

Page No. 42

Q1. Why was Edla happy to see the gift left by the peddler?

Answer: Edla was the daughter of the ironmaster. She had invited the peddler to her house, but when she was in church, she came to know that the peddler had stolen the money from the crofter’s house. She was worried that he might have stolen things from her house too. But later, she was overjoyed to see the gift and all things untouched.

Q2.Why did the peddler sign himself as Captain von Stahle?

Answer: The ironmaster has invited the peddler to his house mistaking him for Captain von Stahle. He was welcomed there and looked after as captain even after the reality became known. The peddler got a chance to redeem himself from dishonest ways by acting as an honourable Captain.

Page N. 43

Q1. How does the peddler interpret the acts of kindness and hospitality shown by the crofter, the iron master and his daughter?

Answer: The peddler interprets the acts of kindness and hospitality shown by the crofter, the iron master and his daughter differently. He cheats the crofter as he provides his company in his loneliness and helps him pass time. He wants to get a couple of kronor from the iron master and is surprised at the contrasting style of behaviour of father and daughter. He is touched by the kindness, care and intervention of Edla on his behalf.

Q2. What are the instances in the story that show that the character of the ironmaster is different from that of his daughter in many ways?

Answer: There are various instances in the story that show that the character of the ironmaster is different from his daughter in many ways. The ironmaster, mistaking the peddler as an old acquaintance, insists on inviting him to his house to spend Christmas evening. The peddler time and again declined his invitation.

Then the ironmaster sent his daughter hoping that she would have better powers of persuasion than him. With her ; compassionate and friendly behaviour, she was able to win the confidence of the peddler, whoagreed to go to her home.

But when the valet had bathed the peddler, cut his hair and shaved him and he was dressed in a good-looking suit, the ironmaster realised that he was not his old regimental comrade. The ironmaster threatened to call the sheriff and asked him to get out of his house immediately.

But his daughter said that he ought to stay with them today. She was more sympathic to “the poor hungry wretch” than her father. She thought that he should enjoy a day of peace with them just one in the whole year. She asked him to keep his father’s suit as a-Christmas gift. Thus her behaviour changed the peddler who left with her the money stolen by him.

Q3. The story has many instances of unexpected reactions from the characters to others’ behaviour. Pick out instances of these surprises.

Answer: The story does have many instances of unexpected reactions of the characters in response to others’ behaviour. The first was the crofter’s reaction to the peddler. Instead of the sour faces which ordinarily met him, the old man, without wife or child, was happy to get someone to talk to in his loneliness. He was very welcoming. But, the peddler, despite the hospitality, stole his money.

The second was the ironmaster, who mistook the peddler to be his friend Nils Olof, and tried to take him to his house. But, he was quick to turn his back when he realized his mistake.The third was the arrival of the ironmaster’s daughter, who realized that there was something amiss about the peddler but took him in. Even when the father and daughter found out the truth, the daughter stood by him. She wanted him to enjoy a day of peace with them.The peddler, in turn, surprised everyone when he returned his stolen booty. He honoured the trust reposed in him by Edla.

Q4. What made the peddler finally change his ways?

Answer: The peddler had lived a life of privation and constant rejection. It had made him cynical and embittered. Self-preservation had become his sole objective and he could not sense the difference between right and wrong. He had lost his sense of self-worth, having lived in penury with no home to call his own and not even a name to answer to. He had to resort to begging and petty thieving to survive and life offered no pleasure at all. The sadness and monotony of his life had convinced him of the fact that life was like a huge rattrap and just as the cheese and pork in the traps that he made were the bait, so also the riches, joys, shelter and the food that life offered were the bait. As soon as anyone let himself be tempted, it closed in around him and all came to an end. He took pleasure in thinking of all the acquaintances who had been caught in this trap. However, the meeting with the ironmaster’s daughter was the turning point in his life. The kindness, the concern, and the understanding that she showed him touched the core of his heart and transformed his way of thinking.

Q5. How does the metaphor of the rattrap serve to highlight the human predicament?

Answer: The story deals with the metaphor of ‘Rattrap’. It refers to the theory that life is one big rattrap. It exists for a purpose to set baits for people. It offers riches and joys, luxuries and comforts, food and shelter, heat and clothing exactly as a rattrap offers cheese and pork. The moment anyone lets himself be tempted to touch the bait, it closes on him and then everything comes to an end. The peddler in the story was caught into the trap by the hospitality received at the crofter. His extreme poverty forced him to steal the money. He was at this moment caught into the trap of his own guilt.

Even at the ironmaster’s house he is caught in his own trap. But it is Edla’s extreme kindness and generosity which enabled him to come out of this trap of his and leave the house as a freeman, after confessing his wrong deed and leaving the stolen money. Thus, the metaphor of rattrap very aptly highlights the fact that if you take something you want wrongfully, you will usually get trapped in life.

Q6. The peddler comes out as a person with a subtle sense of humour. How7 does this serve in lightening the seriousness of the theme of the story and also endear him to us?

Answer: The peddler has a subtle sense of humour, which is revealed during his interactions with the ironmaster and his daughter after the truth about him becomes known. He is neither afraid of being turned out in cold in rags nor of being sent to prison. He makes the ironmaster laugh with his metaphor of the rattrap. His letter with the Christmas present to Edla is a fine example of his capacity to make others laugh at him. Thus, he lightens the seriousness of the theme of the story and also endears himself to us.


Discuss the following in groups of four. Each group can deal with one topic and present the views of your group to the whole class.

Q1. The reader’s sympathy is with the peddler right from the beginning of the story. Why is this so? Is the sympathy justified?

Answer: From the beginning, the rattrap seller is shown as a victim of his situation and not a downright evil character. The peddler had to resort to beggary and stealing because his business is not profitable enough to make both ends meet. His condition of penury does not allow him to be fully righteous. Moreover, we find that he lacks friends and guide to steer him in the right path. The sympathy is justified because in the end we find out that the peddler is capable of appreciating genuine goodness and hospitality. When he is treated with respect and kindness, he reciprocates the same in the best way he can.

Q2. The story also focuses on human loneliness and the need to bond with others.

Answer: The Rattrap deals with the issues of human loneliness and the need to bond with others. Not only the peddler but also other characters like the crofter, the ironmaster and Edla emphasise this fact.

The peddler’s conscience had left him because he had been lonely in his predicament, for a long time. But Edla’s kindness and hospitality changed him. The crofter, on the other hand, is a lonely fellow whose craving for company leads him to give shelter to a vagabond, and he ends up getting robbed. Even, the ironmaster and his daughter suffer from loneliness. They crave company on Christmas Eve and are excited when they get the opportunity to serve a guest.

Q3. Have you known/heard of an episode where a good deed or an act of kindness has changed a person’s view of the world?

Answer: Yes, I know how the kindness of a Bishop transformed a hard-hearted beastly convict into a man again with faith in God and human values. The story is presented in the form of a famous play ‘The Bishop’s Candlesticks’
The Bishop provides food and shelter at midnight to a runaway convict who threatens him with a knife. Long years of imprisonment and harsh treatment in the prisonship has transformed the man into beast and he is devoid of all human feelings now. The convict runs away with the Bishop’s silver candlesticks, but is caught by the police.
In order to save the convict from further punishment and torture, the Bishop tells the police officer that the fellow is his friend and he had himself given him the candlesticks. This kind act of the Bishop melts the hard heart of the convict. He sobs and weeps. He promises to be a man again.

Q4. The story is both entertaining and philosophical. Discuss.

Answer: The story is told in the form of a fairy tale with a happy ending. The narrative is interesting with many surprises and attention-grabbing dialogues. The twists and the unexpected reactions of the characters often astonish the reader making the story entertaining.
However, the author has carefully managed to weave philosophical elements into the storyline. The rattrap peddler’s comparison of the whole world with a giant rattrap makes this an interesting commentary on how such people end up getting trapped in the giant chasm. The story also makes an observation on the inherent goodness of people. It also showcases how goodness and kindness shown by some people can change others’ perspective.

Page No 43

Q1. The man selling rattraps is referred to by many terms such as “peddler, stranger” etc. Pick out all such references to him. What does each of these labels indicate of the context or the attitude of the people around him.

Answer: He is referred to as a vagabond, intruder, tramp, ragamuffin and poor hungry wretch. These labels indicate the context or the attitude of the people around him. The people

  • Had no respect for him.
  • Felt he was a burden.
  • Did not care to know him or his problems.
  • Could pity him, but were not really compassionate.

Q2. You came across the words, plod, trudge, stagger in the story. These words indicate movement accompanied by weariness. Find five other such words with a similar meaning.


  1. He made them himself at odd moments.
  2. He raised himself.
  3. He had let himself be fooled by a bait and had been caught.
  4. a day may come when you yourself may want to get a big piece of pork.
    Notice the way in which these reflexive pronouns have been used (pronoun + self)
  5. In 1 and 4 the reflexive pronouns “himself’ and •‘yourself” are used to convey emphasis.
  6. In 2 and 3 the reflexive pronoun is used in place of personal pronoun to signal that it refers to the same subject in the sentence.
  7. Pick out other examples of the use of reflexive pronouns from the story and notice how
    they are used.

Answer: 1. He had not come there to talk but only to warm himself and sleep.

  1. To go up to the manor house would be like throwing himself voluntarily into the lion’s den.
  2. there is no one at home except my oldest daughter and myself.
  3. But he laughed to himself as he went away …
  4. apparently hoping that she would have better powers of persuasion than he himself.
  5. The stranger had stretched himself out on the floor…
  6. It would never have occurred to me that you would bother with me yourself, miss.
    8…… if he had not been raised to captain, because in that way he got power to clear himself.
    In sentences 3, 5 and 7 the reflexive pronouns ‘myself, “himself and ‘yourself are used to convey emphasis.
    In sentences 1, 2, 4, 6 and 8, the reflexive pronoun is used in place of personal pronoun to signal that it refers to the same subject in the sentence.

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