Q. 1. How did the peddler respond to the hospitality shown to him by the crofter?
How did the crofter repose confidence in the peddler?[Comptt., Delhi Set-I, 2013]
Ans. The peddler was ungrateful for the hospitality shown by the crofter. The crofter welcomed him in his house when he had asked for the shelter. He took good care of him. He immediately put the porridge pot on the fire and gave him supper; then, he carved off a big slice from his tobacco roll and gave it to him. Finally, he brought out an old pack of cards and played ‘mjolis’ with him until bedtime. Not only this, the old man was just as generous with his ‘confidence’ as with his porridge and tobacco. He told him at once that in his days of prosperity, his host had been a crofter at Ramsjo Ironworks and had worked on the land. And now he had thirty kroners, which he had earned by selling the milk of his cow. He did all this because he was alone and felt happy to have his company. But the peddler betrayed the crofter’s trust. After they both had left in the morning, the peddler came back to the crofter’s house, broke open the window and stole the thirty kroners, which he had earned by selling the milk of his cow.
Q. 2. How did the seller of rattraps realize that he himself was caught up in a rattrap after he left the crofter’s cottage?[Comptt., Delhi Set-II, 2013]
Very soon after stealing the crofter’s money, how did the peddler realise that he was himself caught in a rattrap? [Foreign Set-I/II/III, 2017]
Ans. Value Points :
— after stealing, he avoided public highway-went to the woods
— got confused
— paths seem to twist back and forth
— the thirty kroners was the bait
— felt the forest closing upon him like a prison
Detailed Answer: After the peddler stole thirty kroners from the crofter’s house, he realized that he cannot continue on the public highway, but must turn off the road into the woods. During the first few hours, this caused him no difficulty. Later in the day, it became worse, for it was a big and confusing forest which he had gotten into. He tried to be sure to walk in a definite direction, but the paths twisted back and forth so strangely. He walked on, without coming to the end of the wood and finally, he realized that he had only been walking around in the same part of the forest. All at once, he recalled his thoughts about the world and the rattrap. Now his own turn had come. He had let himself be fooled by a bait and had been caught. The whole forest, with its trunks and branches, its thickets and fallen logs, closed on him like an impenetrable prison from which he could never escape.
Q. 3. Describe the peddler’s interaction with the ironmaster’s daughter. To what extent was he influenced by her ? [Comptt., Delhi Set-I & II, 2012]
How did Edla bring about a change in the peddler? [Comptt. Delhi/ Outside Delhi 2018]
Ans. Suggested Value Points :
— kind to the peddler
— treated him with respect
— persuaded him to accompany her
— fed him/ got him bathed/shaved
— saw to his comforts
— persuaded her father to let the tramp stay on
— invited him for the next Christmas eve
— gifted her father’s old clothes
Detailed Answer: The peddler met the ironmaster’s daughter for the first time at the forge. She had come to request him to come over to their house as her father had mistaken him to be an old acquaintance, a captain. She was able to convince him and took him home. At home, when her father realized that they had made a mistake and he was not the captain, the daughter was very polite and kept him at home as it was Christmas. The rattrap seller was greatly influenced by the ironmaster’s daughter. In fact, it was because of her that he had turned over a new leaf and returned the money that he had stolen from an old man. It was the kind nature of the girl that changed him.
Q. 4. There is a saying, ‘Kindness pays, rudeness never’. In the story, ‘The Rattrap’ Edla’s attitude towards men and matters is different from her father’s attitude. How are the values of concern and compassion brought out in the story, ‘The Rattrap’? [Outside Delhi Set-I, II & III, 2013]
How are the attitudes of the ironmaster and his daughter different? Support your answer with instances from the text.[Delhi Set-I, 2012]
Compare and contrast the character of the ironmaster with that of his daughter?
— Commits judgemental error, mistakes the stranger as his old regimental friend, requests him to come home.
— Shows friendliness by sending his daughter when the stranger declines the invitation.
— Attitude changes when the truth is revealed that the stranger is not his friend.
— Calls him dishonest and threatens to hand him over to the sheriff. Daughter
— More sedate, understanding and affectionate.
— Intervenes to stop her father from illtreating the stranger.
— Treats him like a captain and gifts him a suit.
— Provides him with a peaceful atmosphere.
— Is able to bring about a change in the peddler’s attitude.
Detailed Answer: The ironmaster, the father of Edla Wilmansson is completely different from his daughter. When the ironmaster, who owned the Ramsjo Ironworks goes for inspection there in the night, he sees the tall, ragged rattrap peddler and considers him as his old comrade. The ironmaster insists on taking the peddler to his home for Christmas Eve, but the rattrap peddler emphatically refuses to go to his house. He does so when Edla Wilmington, the daughter of the ironmaster, comes to take him. Edla Wilmington, the daughter of the ironmaster is a very kindhearted, compassionate and noble young woman. Though she is not pretty yet she seems modest and shy. It is only due to her compassionate and friendly manner that she is successful in persuading the peddler to go to their home to celebrate Christmas Eve. But when the rattrap peddler is bathed, shaved and dressed in the ironmaster’s suit, the ironmaster realises that he is not his regimental comrade Captain von Stahle. Although the ironmaster wants him to leave immediately, Edla requests the peddler to stay back just to enjoy one day of peace with them. She asks the peddler to sit down and eat. She tells him to keep her father’s suit, which he is wearing as ‘a Christmas gift’. Her behaviour towards him transforms the rattrap peddler and he returns the thirty kroners stolen by him requesting her to give the money back to the old crofter.
Q. 5. The peddler thinks that the whole world is a rattrap. This view of life is true only of himself and of no one else in the story. Comment. [Delhi Set-I/II/III, 2017]
Ans. Value Points :
— world is a rattrap- offers baits
— peddler deprived of food, shelter and money, easily trapped
— others- Crofter, Edla and Ironmaster not tempted
— in his own opinion only he suffers [CBSE Marking Scheme, 2017]
Detailed Answer: This view of life was true for the peddler because when he was offered food and shelter at the crofter’s house, which is like ‘bait’ for a rat, he took it and stole the crofter’s money. He then tried to run away from being caught and but got lost in the forest as it was big and confusing. Thus he considered the world as a big rattrap in which he had fallen and the crofter’s money was the bait.
Now his own turn had come as he had let himself be fooled by the bait and had been caught in the trap. He knew that ironmaster had mistaken him for someone else, yet he went with him. The peddler was thus deprived of food and shelter; got easily trapped by the temptations.
The other characters in the story, the crofter, the ironmaster and his daughter, have human bonds of love, and for them, the world is not a rattrap. They looked upon the world as a happy place to live and share happiness with others. Thus, the Peddler’s view about the world as a rattrap is true for him only as he got caught into the traps for food, shelter and money whereas the others were not tempted.
Q. 6. The peddler believed that the whole world is a rattrap. How did he himself get caught in the same? [Outside Delhi Set I/II/III, 2017]
Ans. Value Points :
— peddler gets tempted and trapped when he gets easy access to the crofter’s money
— realizes that he is in the trap when loses his way in the forest with the few kroners in his pocket
— again gets caught into the trap with Edla’s assurance of Christmas cheer
— repeatedly surrenders to worldly temptations
— realises, the world is a rattrap with all its worldly temptations like riches, joys, shelter etc.
Detailed Answer: The rattrap peddler came up with a theory that the whole world is a rattrap and that all the luxuries are merely baits. It gave him great pleasure to think of the world this way. One night, he took shelter in the house of an old and lonely crofter who was very generous. He gave the peddler a meal, talked to him and even shows him, the thirty kroners he had earned because of his cow. Tempted by the money, the peddler stole the money from the crofter and headed towards a forest. The dense forest was like a maze and he soon got lost, realising that the money was bait and now he himself was trapped in a rattrap. The peddler soon found refuge at an iron mill, where he was mistaken by the ironmaster for an old friend. Even though he refused to come to the ironmaster’s house, for fear of being caught, he was ultimately persuaded by Edla, the ironmaster’s daughter. The peddler once again regretted being caught, in a trap and wished he hadn’t stolen the money. By not trying to clear his identity, in hope of some more money, he was further trapped when his identity was uncovered the next day, he was still allowed to stay because of Edla’s intervention. Her kindness and faith in him ultimately allowed him to free himself from the trap in which he had been caught.
Q. 7. The story also focuses on human loneliness and the need to bond with others. Describe. [Delhi Set, 2010]
Ans. Value Points :
— poorly dressed, starving, lonely, tramp, wandered from place to place making small rattraps with material begged from stores or big firms, begged and committed petty thievery, scared of the police meeting with the old crofter
— the crofter’s loneliness and hospitality meeting with the ironmaster and his daughter (Edla)
— father - ready to turn him out when his real identity was known
— daughter treated him like a guest, offered him good food, clothes and shelter/treated him like the regimental officer as initially assumed by her father
— this treatment brought about a total transformation in the peddler - resolved to pull himself up, to live a life of respect and dignity
Detailed Answer: The themes of human loneliness and the need to have someone to share one’s joys and sorrows with, runs throughout the story. To begin with, the reader’s attention is drawn to the peddler who is lonely and in his loneliness, he makes rattraps and is left to his own meditation. When he knocks at the cottage, the crofter welcomes him and entertains him. It is because the crofter is lonely. He wants someone to talk to. He finds in peddler a good companion and tells him a lot about himself and his cow, even though the peddler is a complete stranger to him. Then, we find that the ironmaster and his daughter are also lonely. They live in a big house and have nobody else for company. So, they insist that the peddler should spend Christmas Eve with them. They take him to have but when the peddler gets dressed in the ironmaster’s clothes after shaving and bathing, his real identity is revealed. The ironmaster is ready to turn him out. But his daughter Edla intervenes and closes the door. She is not ready to turn a man out whom they have invited as a guest, she treats him like a regimental officer as initially assumed by her father. The peddler finds it strange. He had never expected this kind of hospitality. It brings out a change in him. There is a total transformation in him. He is resolved to pull himself up and live a life of respect and dignity.