Q. 1. It was sheer negligence on the part of the prison staff that helped Evans to escape. Comment. [Comptt., Delhi Set II, 2015]
How did the negligence of the prison officers prove to be a boon for Evans? [Foreign, 2014]
In spite of the precautions taken by the Governor, Evans was able to escape. How do you think he was able to do it? [Outside Delhi Set-II, 2012]
Ans. Value Points:
— letting Evans see the name of the invigilator on the form
— not taking more precautions in verifying the invigilator’s identity despite knowing that Evans knew his name
— letting Evans wear the hat for good luck
— allowing McLeery to take the rubber tube inside Stephens’s Mistakes:
— not going to the cell despite seeing that Evans was just sitting there not writing at all
— not verifying the Governor’s call
— not checking him despite seeing that McLeery looked slimmer while going out Governor’s Mistakes:
— appointed Stephens, a new guard to guard Evans
— allowing Stephens to move out of the cell when Evans protested
— letting Evans know that the cell was bugged
— letting the Examination phone call go through without verifying its call authenticity
— letting Evans wear a blanket
— assuming he had left the correction paper behind by mistake and believing the information in it
— calling for the police not the ambulance
— at the end, letting Evans escape a second time in a van without verifying the guards despite knowing how cunning Evans was
Detailed Answer: In spite of all the precautions taken by the Governor and his staff, they failed to foil Evans’ bid to escape because of certain lapses on their part. First of all, they called a teacher from the technical college to act as Evans’ German tutor, but never cared to check on him. Then, they engaged Reverend S. McLeery to invigilate but never cared to check on him when he came to discharge his duties.
When Stephens raised an alarm, they blindly went by his assumption that Evans impersonating as McLeery had walked out of the prison after injuring McLeery. They did not even bother to check the identity of the injured McLeery. Then, McLeery gave them the slip and disappeared. Belatedly they discovered that it was Evans impersonating McLeery who had stayed in. Finally, following the clues, the Governor nabs Evans at the Golden Lion Hotel. Here again, he acted foolishly. He rang up the local police station and asked them to send a police van which successfully took Evans away right from under his nose as no security check of the van was done.
Q. 2. Give a detailed account of the preparations made by the Governor for Evans James to write his examination. [Comptt. Delhi / Outside Delhi 2018]
What precautions were taken by the prison authorities for the smooth conduct of examination? [Delhi Set II, 2015] [Comptt., Outside Delhi Set-I, 2014]
What were the precautions taken by the prison officers to prevent Evans from escaping ? [Comptt., Outside Delhi Set II, 2014]
Describe the precautions taken by the prison officers to prevent Evans from escaping ? [Delhi Set-I, 2014]
What precautions were taken by the prison authorities to ensure that the German exam was conducted smoothly and also under strict security? [Delhi Set-I, II & III, 2011]
Ans. Value Points: Precautions taken by the prison authorities to prevent Evans’ escape:
— officer Jackson - the senior prison officer of D wing and Stephens who was newly recruited to the force, visited Evans’ cell
— checking of Evans’ cell before the exam
— two square tables were set opposite to each other and two hard chairs were placed in the cell
— his razor, nail file and nail scissors were removed from the cell
— a bugging device was installed in the cell so that the Governor could listen to any talk going on there
— stephens had to peep into his cell every few minutes.
— extra precautions were taken at the gates locked door between Evans’ cell and the yard with high walls
— all messages and phone calls to go via the Governor
— a person from St. Mary Mags was deputed as an invigilator
Detailed Answer: Evans, the prisoner was famous as ‘‘Evans, the Breaker’’. So the prison officers were quite alert while conducting the O’ level exam and took all the precautions to prevent him from escaping. First of all, it was requested that the board should conduct the exam in the cell itself and the request was accepted. Two prison officers, Mr. Jackson and Mr. Stephens, were appointed to make all necessary arrangements. They took away his razor as well as nail-scissors so that he could not use them for any type of injuries to McLeery, the invigilator. The cell was searched for two hours and every objectionable thing was removed. Heavy security arrangements were made in the cell. Stephens was given the charge of staying there all the time to keep an eye on Evans and also to leave McLeery at the gate when the exam was over. The Governor was all the time in touch with the officers so as to thwart any untoward incident. Hence, it was a foolproof plan on the part of the prison officials. Even then, Evans had the last laugh and escaped from the prison.
Q. 3. How was the ‘injured’ McLeery able to befool the prison officers? [Outside Delhi Set-I, 2012]
Ans. Value Points: Injured McLeery was Evans himself Evans impersonated McLeery with all make-up didn’t take an ambulance to avoid being taken to hospital found a German question paper to convince the Governor of Evans’ plans managed to leave the premises with the Detective Superintendent, Carter
Detailed Answer: All precautions had been taken for the smooth conduct of the O-level German examination. No one wanted to take chances with ‘Evans the Breaker’. He had already escaped from prison three times. The Governor had to make an unusual request to the Board to conduct the examination in the cell itself. One of the persons from St. Mary Mag was to invigilate.
The senior prison officer Jackson and prison officer Stephens left no stone unturned to make all the necessary arrangements. Evans’ razor and nail scissors were taken away as they could be used for cutting his throat or injuring McLeery. Jackson took two hours to search his cell and reported that nothing was hidden there. But Evans disturbed all his plans. He managed to procure a false beard, a pair of spectacles, a dog collar and some sort of weapon in his cell through the false McLeery. Actually, he had managed to keep the real McLeery securely bound and gagged in his study at Board Street. He had been there since 8:15 am.
This meant that McLeery never went to prison. Secondly, it was Evans who impersonated McLeery and stayed in the cell. Stephens made a hasty conclusion that the injured man in the chair was McLeery. The last act of folly on the part of the Governor was enough to let Evans slip out of his net. Thus, this was how the ‘injured’ McLeery was able to befool the prison officers and Evans was able to escape.
Q. 4. What purpose did the question paper and the correction slip serve ? How did they help both the criminals and the Governor? [Outside Delhi Set-III, 2012]
Ans. The question paper serves to send a message to Evans. McLeery draws the Governor’s attention to the photo-copied sheet superimposed over the last sheet of the question paper. It contains a message for Evans. He has been asked to follow the plan. The most important point in time, according to the message is three minutes before the end of the examination.
The Governor is unable to decipher the next line of the German text. Then, Evans has been asked not to hit McLeery too hard and not to overdo the Scots accent. The correction slip plays a crucial role in the plan of Evans’ escape. It kills two birds with one stone. At first, they had not been able to fix up a hotel. The correction slip gives Evans the name of the hotel where he is to stay. Secondly, it gives them the opportunity to know the time when the examination started.
Q. 5. Describe three tricks used by Evans to escape from the prison. [Comptt., Delhi Set-I/II/III, 2017]
Ans. Value Points: Tricks used by Evans
— taking O level exam with accomplice as invigilator / also tutor
— played on Jackson’s compassion- allowed to wear cap
— used Stephens’s ego
– to walk McLeery to gate
— knew Governor was fair
– asked him to remove Stephens from the cell
— had accomplice pose as McLeery
— cut his hair, covered with cap
— used blanket to cover himself
— devised plan B
— used correction slip
Detailed Answer: Evans, the habitual jailbreaker outwits everyone and in spite of all the precautions taken by the Governor he is able to escape from the prison. From the very beginning when the German teacher enters the prison to the last encounter between the Governor and Evans in the hotel, the latter outsmarts them at each stage and proves that they are no match for his crafty scheming. Evans carries out all his plans ‘right under their noses’, turning the tables on them, making the prison authorities appear as ‘good for nothing’ officers.
For example, he knew that Mr. Jackson who used a rough tone had some compassion in him. He granted Evans’ request to keep the filthy looking red and white bobble hat on his head during the examination. The hat was actually to hide his recently cropped hair. Also he knew that prison officers will blindly go by assumption. He pretended to pose as ‘injured’ McLeery in the cell.
No one checked the identity of ‘injured’ McLeery as it was assumed that Evans had hit McLeery and escaped. In fact, Evans is actually, officially escorted out of jail by the prison official themselves. Finally at the hotel, when the Governor feels that he has been able to nab Evans, he dodges him and slips away.
Q. 6. Attempt a character sketch of the Governor in the story, ‘Evans Tries an O-Level’ What was the only flaw in his handling of Evans? [Comptt., Outside Delhi Set-I/II/III, 2017]
Ans. Value Points:
- conscientious – does his duty, does not want a bad name
- meticulous – planned the exam
- kind and considerate, fair, methodical
- understanding, overcautious he was too considerate and humane towards Evans.
Detailed Answer: The Governor of the HM prison, Oxford, appears to be a kind-hearted fellow at the start as he arranges for an O-level exam for a prisoner notorious for his ability to escape. As he was quite skeptical of Evans, he made every arrangement to make sure that Evans had no means to escape. He was also very proud and self-conscious. He did not want Evans to disgrace him by escaping from the prison. He had a sharp presence of mind, which was clear from the fact that he crosschecked every call that was made to the prison that day.
However, he got over-confident of his arrangements and gave Evans the opportunity to escape. Also, he was a person who did not mind showering praise plan to him, he admired him. At last, he proved to be just another gullible Governor when Evans tricked him again and successfully escaped. His overconfidence and selfpraise let him down.