Read the following extracts and answer the questions.
Q1. ‘‘It was like watching one of these moving picture cartoons being put together.’’
(a) Explain ‘It’.
Ans: The apparition taking shape is referred to as ‘It’.
(b) What is like watching a cartoon movie?
Ans: The figure of the ghost taking full shape.
(c) What effect does it have on the ‘narrator’?
Ans: The narrator is shocked and surprised.
Q2. ‘‘We’re been called out of beds a little too often in recent years and now we’re through.’’
(a) Who has been called constantly?
Ans: The ghosts like Helen.
(b) What is unnatural about their being called?
Ans: People generally do not summon ghosts, so it is unnatural.
(c) What is the person’s complaint?
Ans: The ghost is fed up of being troubled at all odd hours.
Q3. ‘‘It’s .... so cheap! I got it at a bargain sale.’’
(a) What has been bought cheap?
Ans: The Ouija board.
(b) Do you think the narrator would be happy with this news? Why/Why not?
Ans: He was shocked and worried about the news.
(c) Who had asked the narrator to avoid its use?
Ans: The ghost Helen had threatened the narrator not to use the Ouija board.
Q4. ‘‘Someone has been trying to communicate with John through ........... Ouija ......... someone with the name of Helen.’’
(a) Who is Helen? What was her relationship with John?
Ans: Helen is the ghost and she had helped John with good plots for his stories.
(b) What is the Ouija Board? What is its purpose?
Ans: An Ouija Board is a talking board in which the ghosts answer the questions asked by people.
(c) How can one communicate through the Ouija?
Ans: The people ask questions and the ghosts answer them.
Q5. ‘‘John, there is not a bit of use trying to deceive me. What is it you are trying to conceal from me?’’
(a) Why was John trying to deceive the speaker?
Ans: John did not wish to frighten his wife by letting her see the ghost.
(b) Whom was he trying to conceal?
Ans: He was trying to hide Helen, the ghost.
(c) What was John afraid of?
Ans: John thought that his wife would faint at the sight of the ghost.
Q6. ‘‘I sat staring at it and presently noticed something just taking shape. It was exactly like watching one of these moving picture cartoons being put together.” [C.B.S.E. 2012 (T-2)]
(a) What was the narrator staring it?
Ans: The narrator was staring at the woman standing before him.
(b) How was the figure talking shape?
Ans. The figure was taking shape gradually.
(c) Who was gradually taking a definite shape part by part?
Ans: A ghost, called Helen, was gradually taking a definite shape.
Short Answer Questions
Q1. Why was the writer getting overconfident about his ability to write ghost stories?
Ans: Mr. Hallock, the writer had always managed to write good ghost stories, though he was not a specialist in these kinds of stories. Such stories were greatly in public demand. He was confident that somehow or the other, a good plot always appeared from somewhere and he was able to write a good story.
Q2. Seeing a ghost taking shape was ‘Like seeing of the moving picture cartoons put together.’ how?
Ans: Helen, the ghost, appeared in parts. First, a hand took shape, then some other body part, so on and so forth. The process in which the final apparition appeared in the end, was a matter of surprise. The ghost always took shape in bits and pieces like a cartoon in a moving picture.
Q3. What surprising revelation is made by the ghost? Why did the writer not believe her?
Ans: The writer was greatly surprised to discover that all the good plots of ghost stories had been supplied to him by the ghost Helen. The writer disbelieved her because he had never really seen her before. But the ghost said that she had sat on his shoulders and suggested the plots for his stories.
Q4. Why is the ghost fed up of the Ouija Board fanatics?
Ans: The ghosts are now fed up of being called again and again for answers and queries. They were pulled out of beds at odd times, so they were very tired. The Ouija Board crazy fans would keep asking questions, so this irritated the ghosts and proved to be tiresome and
Q5. What reasons are given by Lavinia for not getting rid of the Ouija Board?
Ans: Lavinia felt that the Ouija board was procured at a bargain price. Moreover, she felt that it would help her husband in writing ghost stories. It would also provide an interesting activity for her book-club meetings.
Q6. Why was the narrator shocked to see the activities of his wife’s Book Club?
Ans: The narrator was in for a great shock to see that all the ladies of his wife’s book-club were sitting near an Ouija Board. Helen, the ghost, had threatened the narrator that he must exert all his force to dissuade people from using the Ouija Board and keep calling ghosts now and then for their problems. So to see so many ladies using the board was a painful sight for him.
Q7. What controversy or furor was caused in the parlor by the name of ‘Helen’?
Ans: The narrator was forced to be a partner in the Ouija board game and to his horror he discovered that he was called a ‘traitor’ by the ghost. When Miss Hinkle wished to know the details, it was revealed on the Ouija Board that the person, who had called the narrator, a traitor, was someone with the name ‘Helen.’ This name created controversy since the narrator’s wife did not know anyone with that name.
Q8. Helen the ghost says, ‘‘I’m too tired to materialize.’’ What does she imply by the above statement?
Ans: Helen was too tired because she had to work overtime the earlier night answering all the questions of Lavinia’s friends. She took longer than before to appear in her full shape because she couldn’t be expected to retain all her faculties after answering all the Ouija Board fanatics of Lavinia’s book-club, all night.
Q9. Why did Helen pay a visit to the narrator again?
Ans: Helen paid a visit to the narrator because she had been sent to ensure that the narrator’s wife should get rid of the Ouija Board. She had come to threaten the writer and if he did not pay any heed then she would not help the narrator and suggest new plots for his stories
Q10. Lavinia entered the narrator’s room with a solid finality. What was her purpose?
Ans: Lavinia had become suspicious of the narrator that he was involved with some woman called ‘Helen’. So she had come to tell her husband that she was leaving him and moving out. She could not tolerate the infidelity of her husband
Q11. Why was the narrator unable to conceal Helen behind his back before his wife?
Ans: Lavinia refused to stand on one side, she jumped quickly to see who was standing behind her husband. She was already suspicious and noticed that her husband was trying to conceal someone behind his back. Even Helen did not disappear so both the women confronted each
other for the first time.
Q12. How did Lavinia react after facing Helen?
Ans: The writer had always thought that Lavinia was weak-hearted and she might faint at the sight of the ghost. But nothing like this happened. The interaction proved positive and Lavinia stood boldly and confidently before the ghost.
Q13. Why did the narrator have a strong urge to pen down his new story?
Ans: The narrator had undergone a great experience. It was scary, interesting, revealing and an excellent plot for any ghost story. A ghost story based on this kind of story was going to be a sure hit.
Q14. How did the narrator react to the appearance of the ghost? [C.B.S.E. 2012 (T-2)]
Ans: One day the narrator was asked by his employer to write a terrifying ghost story with supernatural elements because the public liked such stories. As he sat down to pen down the story, he started muttering questions to himself and surprisingly someone in the room answered them. The writer was greatly surprised to see a figure taking shape gradually. It was a woman, tall and angular, with fishy eyes, wearing spectacles. The writer was dumbstruck upon seeing a ghost standing before his eyes.
Q15. Why did Lavinia decides to leave her husband and what made her change her mind? [C.B.S.E. 2012 (T-2)]
Ans: The narrator had become suspicious of her husband, and believed he was involved with some woman, called Helen. Unable to tolerate the infidelity of her husband, she decided to leave him. But when she confronted Helen and came to know that she was only a ghost, Lavinia felt miserable to have created such a ruckus accusing her husband of infidelity. All this made Lavinia change her mind.