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Short Answer Questions (with Solutions) - The Bishop’s Candlesticks - English Class 9

Read the following extracts and answer the questions given thereafter.

Q1. You are incorrigible. You will sell your candlesticks next. [CBSE 2011 (Term III)]

(a) Who speaks these words and to whom?

Ans. These words have been spoken by Bishop’s sister to Bishop.

(b) Why does the speaker consider the person incorrigible?

Ans. She considers him incorrigible because he had sold off his estate, furniture, and other valuables to help the poor and needy.

(c) What is special about the candlesticks?

Ans. Candlesticks were very special because they were a gift from his dying mother, whom he loved a lot.

Q2. Sold! Sold! Are you mad? Who sold them? Why were they sold? [CBSE 2011 (Term II)]

(a) Who is the speaker and who is he/she talking to?

Ans. The speaker is Bishop’s sister, Persome. She is talking to the Bishop.

(b) What has been sold?

Ans. The salt cellers, made of silver, have been sold.

(c) Who has sold them and why?

Ans. Bishop has sold the salt cellers to help an ailing lady by paying the rent of her house.

Q3. Tell you about it? Look here, I was a man once. I’m a beast now, and they made me what I am. They chained me up like a wild animal. [CBSE 2011 (Term II)]

(a) Who speaks these lines and to whom?

Ans. These lines have been spoken by the convict to the Bishop.

(b) Who made him a beast? How?

Ans. The police in the prison made him a beast by beating him and keeping him in unhealthy conditions.

(c) Which figure of speech has been used in the last line of the above extract?

Ans. The figure of speech used here is ‘similie’.


Q1. The convict says, “I am too old a bird to be caught with a chaff”. What does he mean by this remark?

Ans. He speaks this line when the Bishop wishes to go out to bring the keys of the cupboard to get him food. The convict is a hard-core criminal, and so he thinks that the
Bishop would go out and raise an alarm to get the police to arrest him. The convict has spent ten years in jail and is well aware of all the tricks and excuses that people make
to trap others. That is why he doesn’t believe the Bishop when he tries to go out to bring the cupboard keys.

Q2. Who was Jeanette? What was the cause of her death?

Ans. Jeanette was the wife of the convict. It was ten years back that a tragedy took place in his life. It was a bad year and he could not get any work. Jeanette was ill and there was no food in the house. So the convict stole to buy her food. But he was caught and given ten years imprisonment. The night he was sentenced, she died. It was the convict’s poverty that had led to her death.

Q3. “ I’m a number 15729 --------- I’ve lived in hell for ten years.” What was the background of this remark made by the convict?

Ans. By saying that he is not a man now but number 15729, the convict reveals the tragic life he had in the prison for the last ten years. The prison was like a hell where he was chained up like a wild animal and lashed like a hound. He was fed on filth, covered with vermin, slept on boards, and if he complained, he was lashed again. This torture had taken away his soul-changing him into a beast, so much so that he himself forgot that he was a human being and just remembered himself by the number given to him in the prison, i.e., 15729

Q4. The Bishop was God’s representative on earth in every sense of the term. Explain. [CBSE 2010 (Term II)]


Why was Bishop loved and revered by everyone in the Parish? [CBSE 2010 (Term II)]

Ans. The Bishop is God’s representative on the earth as he has love, compassion, forgiveness, etc. for others to such an extent as is not possible for any normal human being. He feels deeply pained at others’ problems and irrespective of any inconvenience he may have to face, he goes ahead to bring relief to the person concerned. Serving humanity is the only concern in his life with no consideration to the status, material benefits, etc. No doubt he is loved by everyone in the parish.

Q5. “There is so much suffering in the world and I can do so little.” Bring out the character of the Bishop in the light of this statement, giving examples from the text. [CBSE 2010 (Term II)]

Ans. The Bishop is an extremely compassionate person. His heart pains to see so much suffering in the world. He wants to do everything possible to help such people, and feels bad at how little he is able to do for them. He sells his silver salt-cellars to help Mere Gringoire who is bedridden. He gives his muffler to Marie, the maid, so that she can keep herself warm. The love and affection, and forgiveness that he shows to the convict reforms him completely. He even sacrifices his most precious candlesticks to help the convict settle in his life.

Q6. Why is the Bishop in the habit of leaving his doors and windows unshuttered?

Ans. The Bishop has dedicated his entire life to charity and benevolence. He is always prepared to welcome any needy and deprived person. He is a true Christian and wishes to extend all kinds of help to the ailing and the sick. To remain accessible to all, he does not lock his doors or close any windows. Moreover, he is not afraid of any evil or crime and has immense faith in God.

QQ7. Who is Mere Gringoire? What help does she receive from the Bishop?

Ans. Mere Gringoire is an old sick woman, who has been bedridden for a long time. She lives at the top of the hill and she has not been able to pay her rent. The Bailiff has threatened to throw her out of the house, unless she pays the rent. The Bishop sells the silver salt-cellars to Monseigneur Gervais, who had often admired them so that he could get the money to pay the rent for Mere Gringoire.

Q8. Why does Persome feel that the people pretend to be sick?

Ans. Persome feels that the people take undue advantage of the Bishop’s generosity and exploit his goodness and charitable nature. She shouts at Marie, when she learns that the Bishop has gone to see her ailing mother in the extreme cold. She is also disgusted at Mere Gringoire who is bedridden. Persome believes that her brother is a simpleton who cannot see through the people who feign to be sick.

Q9. Why was Bishop attached to the candlesticks and what did he do with them in the end. [CBSE 2010 (Term II)]

Ans : The silver candlesticks were a prized possession for both the Bishop and his sister. The candlesticks were a parting gift from the Bishop’s mother, when she was on her
deathbed. The Bishop could never think of parting with this memento in his lifetime. In fact, the candlesticks were the only thing he was emotionally attached to. He assures Persome that he would always take care of them despite all odds. But in the end, he gave the candlesticks to a convict to restart an honourable life.

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FAQs on Short Answer Questions (with Solutions) - The Bishop’s Candlesticks - English Class 9

1. What is the story of The Bishop's Candlesticks?
Ans. The Bishop's Candlesticks is a play written by Norman McKinnel. The story revolves around a bishop, his sister, and a convict who seek redemption and forgiveness. The convict steals the bishop's candlesticks, but the bishop helps him overcome his struggles and start a new life.
2. Who are the main characters in The Bishop's Candlesticks?
Ans. The main characters in The Bishop's Candlesticks are the bishop, his sister, and the convict. The bishop is a kind-hearted man who believes in forgiveness and redemption. His sister is a stern and judgmental woman who does not share the same beliefs as her brother. The convict is a desperate man who steals the bishop's candlesticks but later seeks forgiveness and a chance to start over.
3. What is the theme of The Bishop's Candlesticks?
Ans. The theme of The Bishop's Candlesticks is forgiveness and redemption. The play emphasizes the importance of forgiving others and seeking forgiveness when one has done wrong. It also highlights the power of kindness and compassion in transforming someone's life.
4. What is the significance of the candlesticks in The Bishop's Candlesticks?
Ans. The candlesticks in The Bishop's Candlesticks represent the bishop's faith and his connection to God. They also symbolize the light of hope and redemption that shines even in the darkest moments of life. The convict steals the candlesticks, but the bishop's compassion and forgiveness help him realize the error of his ways and find a new path in life.
5. Why is The Bishop's Candlesticks considered a classic play?
Ans. The Bishop's Candlesticks is considered a classic play because it deals with timeless themes of forgiveness, redemption, and compassion. The characters and their struggles are relatable and universal, making the play relevant even today. It is also well-written and has been performed and adapted numerous times, cementing its place in the canon of classic plays.
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