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LONG ANSWER QUESTIONS
Q1. Harold’s parents were too perceptive and concerned. Yet they failed to see the reality of their son’s interests. Bring out the truth of this statement by giving evidence from the text.
Ans. Harold’s parents were extremely proud of his intelligence. They knew that he was a prodigy and were highly concerned that Bill’s profession should be hidden from him. They regarded him as a person showing a bit too much class for them. But they failed to see the reality of their son’s interests. This is evident from the reaction of Harold when he comes to know the reality. He cries and says that it was a rotten thing to hide everything from him. He tells them that he had a bet with his friend, Dicky Saunders, that Jimmy Murphy would not last ten rounds. Harold also tells Jerry that he’s been interested in all these things since he was a kid. He also says that all the fellows with him were very keen on discussing about the boxers' performances. Harold himself names the boxers one after the other, which amazingly shows his field of interest which his parents were completely unaware of.
Q2. Do you agree that Mrs. Bramble is obsessed of dominating not only her husband but also her son?
I do believe that Mrs. Bramble is obsessed with dominating both her husband and her son. She refers to herself in the third person when she talks to her son. Harold doesn’t like this because he feels that she does so as she considers him a baby.
While talking to her husband too, Mrs. Bramble is quite blunt. When she sees Bill who has come home while he was supposed to be training, she gets angry and says, “I want a plain answer to a plain question. What are you doing here, Bill, instead of being at the ‘White Hart?” When Bill tells her that he is not going to fight with Murphy, she’s furious and says, “How about the money?” She also says,“ Goodness knows I’ve never liked your profession, Bill ....” These instances clearly show that she fully dominates and controls the life of her husband too.
Q3. Life will never be the same again for Harold. In a day, his world has changed. Unable to keep the suspense that his father is a famous boxer ‘Young Porky’, he writes a letter to his friend Philip, expressing his happiness. Write this letter for him.
May 2, 2011
I have got some big news to share with you and cannot wait.
Do you know we were talking too often about the game of boxing? In school also, I have friends with whom I used to have bets for the victory of our favourite boxers. But the most shocking discovery for me is that my father himself is the most famous boxer, ‘Young Porky.’ Shocked?
It so happened that my parents kept it hidden from me that my father was a professional boxer. They had told me that he was a commercial traveller. They told me that they had hidden this fact from me because this profession involved a lot of wraths, and they thought that it would hurt me to know that my father was doing something so disgraceful. Phillip, I’m just taken aback by their simplicity, love, and care for me!
I am so happy and proud of being the son of such a famous boxer. For the coming contest, I had a bet with my friend, Dicky Saunders that ‘Young Porky’ would defeat Jimmy Murphy — not knowing that my father was Young Porky. Do you know Philip that students tease me in school by calling me ‘Goggles’. Had they known that my father is ‘Young Porky’, they would never dare to do so. I am so happy that now I can really boast about this among my schoolmates. I can’t tell you how full of pride I am that it's my father who has achieved that level of admiration of people which many others yearn for!
It will really take quite some time for me to get used to this happiness. At present, I’m just numb with the excitement of being the son of such a great person. I can even imagine your reaction at reading this letter.
How’s everybody at your place? Do reply soon.
Q4. Bill has made a comeback. He has gone back to what he liked best – boxing. He makes a diary entry revealing his feelings and surprise at failing to judge his son.
May 3, 2011
I had decided to fight my last boxing fight, the twenty round contest with Murphy at the National Sporting Club, for which I was training at the White Hart. I had thought that I would retire from the boxing profession after this and join some school or college as an instructor. Jane and I were so afraid that if Harold, our child with such high intellectual capabilities, would come to know of my boxing profession, he would die of shame. But when I decided to withdraw from this last contest too, Jerry, the trainer became too wild, and in a fit of anger, told the truth to Harold. I was shocked to death at this!
The way Harold reacted jolted me out of an unreasonable feeling of guilt. I am so ashamed that I had misjudged my own son! In fact, Harold cried and was sad that I had hidden this fact from him. He was so proud of the fact that I was ‘Young Porky’ for whose victory he was betting with his friends in the school. I am so amazed at the fact that Jane and I, who were so concerned about the welfare of our son, did not have the least idea that he was so fond of boxing. How I repent about all the years that I have wasted by not sharing my achievement with my son! He would have been so happy and proud of it — only if we had understood his likes and dislikes. On our part, both Jane and I were extra cautious about Harold’s intellectual bent of mind and did not want to hurt him at all. Anyway, now when everything is clear, I have decided not only to carry on with my boxing career but also to excel in it further. Even Jane, who did not earlier approve of my profession, will be proud of it. Harold has really been far maturer than we thought him to be.
Q5. Give a character-sketch of Harold.
Harold was just like any other child. How was his personality reflected in the end different from what you had read in the beginning? Discuss. [CBSE 2010 (Term-II)]
Ans. Harold is just ten-years-old, and for his age, he has achieved far more. He is a ‘prodigy’, a child who has exceptional intellectual qualities, and so his parents regard him as ‘being of a superior order’. He is hardworking and a brilliant student, who is devoted to his books. His behaviour is also exemplary, and he is a model of goodness and perfect intelligence. In spite of all this, he is not proud of his intellectual level. In fact, when he comes to know of his father’s boxing profession, the way he associates so much value to it, is amazing for everybody present there.
He is an absolutely down-to-earth person, with no airs about himself. His character surely reveals that he believes in perfection and has a lot of respect for excellence, be it in the field of studies or sports. He is not a dumb bookworm, but an active and smart person who carries his own opinion, and knows how to express it too.
Q6. Do you think Bill Bramble was cut out to be a professional boxer on all counts?
Ans. Bill Bramble’s character reveals that to be a professional boxer one need not be violent in nature, especially with people in one's private life. So far as his profession was concerned, he was a tough boxer to fight with. This is evident from the admiration millions of people had for him, and from the way, newspapers liked to cover his achievements. So his nature and his profession can be considered as absolutely contradictory to each other. But his ability to hit his fellow-man in the eye while apparently aiming an attack on his stomach, and vice versa, had won him laurels. Among London’s teeming millions there was not a man, weighing eight stone four, whom he could not overcome in a twenty round contest.
Thus, in my opinion, he was surely cut out to be a professional boxer on all counts.
Q7. Mrs. Bramble has finally realised that Harold has grown up. He is no more her pet, he is a mature young boy with his private likes, dislikes, and convictions. She writes a diary entry, expressing her surprise and her failure in misjudging the other dimensions of Harold’s personality. Write this diary for her.
May 3, 2010
For me, Harold was always a very small child, and I talked to him as if he was a baby. I could sometimes feel that he did not like to be addressed in such a way as I could see a slight frown on his brow. But the way he handled the entire situation, the entire tension, told us that he is a mature young boy and has his private likes, dislikes and convictions. I am absolutely shocked at my failure to judge my own son’s personality. I never had even the slightest inkling that he was so fond of boxing and that he had so much respect and admiration for ‘Young Porky’. Both Bill and I were hiding the fact that his own father was ‘Young Porky’ because we thought, he being such a brilliant student academically, would be ashamed of his father’s profession. But were proved wrong. In fact, he felt bad that we had hidden this fact from him. He said that he was proud of his father being ‘Young Porky’ and that he would feel great telling his friends about it. We are so relieved and admire our son all the more now. I must say that Harold is not a baby as I used to think but a mature person with a well-defined personality, and I’m very happy about it.
Q8. Do you think that Harold’s parents did the right thing by hiding that his father was a professional boxer?
Ans. The bond between parents and a child is not only very close and emotional, but also based on the firm ground of total trust. All ethics, values are imparted to the child by his parents. Love, tender care grows manifold as the child grows. In case of the Bramble family, they thrived in the glory of their prodigy–Harold. No wonder, Harold always performed better than their expectations. He was of keen intellect, winning prizes everywhere. In fact they basked in the sunshine of his achievements that they started getting an inferiority complex. They hesitated to do anything that would bring disgrace or make him feel that they were less respectable than others.
Bill Bramble had immense pride in his boxing skills. Media, fame, money that once attracted him the most, faded away once Harold was born. They thought that boxing was uncultured, was meant for “men of wrath and they could never bring anything of this type to Harold’s notice. So began the season of deceit, hiding secrets, though it is all for their dear son’s welfare.
In the process of hiding the truth, they end up hurting their son the most. Parent’s achievements mean the world for the children. This falsehood had caused permanent scars on the psyche of Harold. He may not show, but deep within, he would never forgive his parents. In their over protectiveness, they had failed to note that Harold was a young boy, with the natural craze for games and betting. He suffered due to peer-pressure; his natural desire was the subject of envy among his classmates, which his parents had deprived him of.
So parents should be cautious, shield their child from problems, but not overshadow his growth. Honesty and trust are the most important factors for any relationship to grow.
Q9. How was Mr. Bramble’s nature in total contrast to his physical abilities?
Ans. Mr. Bramble was a successful boxer by profession, which requires immense physical strength to defeat the opponent. He was a tough fighter and was affectionately known to a large section of the inhabitants of London, as “Young Porky”. Among all London’s teeming millions, there was not a man, weighing eight stone four, whom he could not overcome in a twenty round contest.
But Mr. Bramble’s nature was a total contrast to his physical abilities. In private life, he was the mildest and the most obliging of men, and always yielded to everybody. At one place in the story, the writer describes his walk as that of a ‘diffident crab’ implying that he did not have much self-confidence. His sensitive nature and sense of sacrifice for his son also show how soft he was at heart.