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LONG ANSWER QUESTIONS
Q1. Can you guess the thoughts that were raging in the Sergeant and Corporal Turnbull’s minds when Quelch happened to annoy them?
Ans. When Quelch interrupted the Sergeant, initially he did not react much and went on lecturing. But that interruption had angered him terribly in the mind, and so when his lecture was over, perhaps in the hope of revenge, he asked questions after questions from Quelch. The sergeant must have felt terribly miserable and helpless after this as Quelch gave all the answers, and it only resulted in his glory.
In the case of Corporal, interruption by Quelch had a stronger impact. Although initially he also did not react, his brow tightened, indicating that he completely resented Quelch’s interruption. He was more revengeful than the sergeant and to pull Quelch down, he assigned him the job of permanent cookhouse duties.
Q2. None had ever dared to outsmart and rub the Corporal in the wrong way. No wonder Turnbull’s ego was hurt, he felt outraged. He writes an informal letter to his friend, Peter Smith in Dunkirk, expressing his surprise at the unexpected behaviour of a new under trainee and how he set him right.
Now when I’ve settled down at this place, I thought of penning down a few lines to you. There is something very strange that I have come across here. Yesterday, while I was taking a lesson on a hand grenade, I had an encounter with a very strange under-trainee, called Quelch. Would you believe that he had the audacity and grit to interrupt me in my lecture by giving additional information on the subject just to prove his superiority over others? Not only that, his condescending and rude manner of speaking to me almost brought my blood to a boil.
I thought I must set him right, and so I assigned him the job of cookhouse duties to deflate his bloated ego. I could see that all the other members of the squad were very happy and relieved to get rid of this constant nonsense of Private Quelch. It seems he has just one aim in life-to pull-down everybody else around him, so I think the job assigned to him should be able to set him right.
Sometimes, this kind of discipline is also required. How about you and your new batch there? Rest on meeting.
Q3. What were the factors that led to the decline of Private Quelch? Do you think his fall from grace was justified? Why/Why not?
Ans. Private Quelch was a conceited young man who could not handle his own knowledge. He was brainy, diligent, enthusiastic, gifted with excellent memory but his modus operandi was wrong. Knowledge, if it is flaunted, used to overshadow and belittle others, can never bring significant gains. Knowledge is humility, its aim is to enlighten others.
In his pursuit of glory, Private Quelch disregards this basic fact. He is very self centred, egoistic and in his desperation to earn a stripe, he happily tries to trample others in the race. His knowledge does not bring glory, it results in condemnation. Sergeant and Corporal Turnbull hate him, they want him out of their way. They sense that he was a nuisance to the squad, so he is relegated to the cookhouse.
Quelch’s greatest flaw is that he is not genuine, every gesture, every action is ‘put on’, artificially planned to impress others. No wonder the squad is fed up of his sermonising through his endless lectures on human behaviour. So his fall from grace was expected and well deserved.
Q4. You expected appreciation for the Professor from Corporal Turnbull. But it was a shock of your life when the corporal assigned him permanent duty in the cook house. Write a diary entry expressing your feelings for him. (about 125 words) [CBSE 2011 (Term II)]
Today was the most shocking day of my life. In the morning when Corporal Turnbull was giving us a lecture on hand grenade, Quelch, as usual, interfered by giving the detailed knowledge he had on the subject. Corporal did not react and I was feeling very happy inside to see such a knowledgeable person amongst us. And when, after the lecture, corporal showered him with questions, he answered them with ease. I admired him for his diverse knowledge and expected an applaud from the corporal for him. At the end of the session when the corporal said, ‘‘The platoon officer has asked me to nominate someone for .....,’’ I thought that some important work was going to be handed down to Quelch, but I got the shock of my life when he was assigned the cookhouse duties. His knowledge did not bring him glory but resulted in condemnation. I am really feeling sorry for him.
Q5. Imagine you are the Professor. You have been given the permanent cookhouse duties as a punishment. Write a diary entry describing your feelings about the experiences you had there and also explaining your side of the story. [CBSE 2011 (Term II)]
29th August 2011
Today I felt greatly depressed and dejected when I was assigned permanent cookhouse duties for no fault of mine. Never in my mind, I had imagined that I’ll be punished for my knowledge. I didn’t want to annoy the corporal by exhibiting my knowledge of the subject. My sole aim was to excel in my field because being an orphan I had struggled a lot and wanted to do something big in my life. But it was very unfortunate of me that I did not know the right way to behave in the army as there was nobody to guide me. I do not know what destiny has in store for me. Whatever has happened I accept it as God’s will and will try to improve upon myself.