Summary - The Best Christmas Present in the World Class 8 Notes | EduRev

Class 8 English by VP Classes

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Class 8 : Summary - The Best Christmas Present in the World Class 8 Notes | EduRev

The document Summary - The Best Christmas Present in the World Class 8 Notes | EduRev is a part of the Class 8 Course Class 8 English by VP Classes.
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The author went to a junk shop in Bridport. He noticed a roll-top desk. It was very old and made of oak. It was in a bad condition. It had burn-marks down one side. Since it was cheap, the author decided to buy it and get it repaired. He began working on it on Christmas Eve.

He removed the roll-top and tried hard to pull out the drawer. It had suffered much damage due to fire and water. The drawer was jammed. He hit it hard with his fist and pulled it out. He found a secret drawer underneath. He took out a small black tin box. There was a note on it that said: “Jim’s last letter, received January 25, 1915”. 


Summary - The Best Christmas Present in the World Class 8 Notes | EduRev


The letter  writer also wished to put it in her grave. Out of curiosity he opened the box. Inside it he found an envelope with the address: “Mrs. Jim Macpherson, 12 Copper Beeches, Bridport, Dorset.” The letter was dated Dec. 26, 1914. The letter had been written by Jim to his wife Connie. He was a soldier, set against the Germans during the First World War. Jim wrote to her that he was very happy because something wonderful had happened. 

The soldiers on both sides of the no man’s land were taking up positions in their trenches. It was Christmas morning, cold and frosty.

Jim saw the German soldiers waving a white flag. They were calling out the English soldiers to say Happy Christmas. It was a big surprise to be greeted like friends by the enemies. But it was true, not a trick. The English soldiers also wished them in return.
The leader said that they wanted to celebrate the festival. Jim was the office in command. He allowed his men to join the Germans. Grey coats and Khaki coats mingled in the middle. In the time of war, they were making peace. The German soldier who came first was named Hans Wolf. Before joining the army he used to play the cello in an orchestra. Jim had been a school teacher in Dorset. Hans lied that he knew Dorset  well. In fact, he had read about that place in Hardy’s novel, Far from the Madding Crowd.

The soldiers from the rival camps smoked, laughed, drank and feasted. Hans said that he liked the marzipan, the sweet covering on Jim’s bread. Jim wrote in the letter, that he had never seen or imagined a Christmas Party like that. They played football also. Both agreed on one point. The countries should have better resolved their disputes by playing a football or cricket match because no one dies in a match whereas war leaves behind orphans and widows.
The game was finished, so did the drinks and cakes. Jim told Hans that they hoped to see families as soon as the fighting ended by Christmas next year.
The author put the letter back into the envelope and drove into Bridport. He meant to hand over the letter to Connie (Mrs. Macpherson). Connie was now 101 years old. Her house had caught fire, but she was saved. She was in a conservatory.

The author wished her ‘Happy Christmas’ and gave the letter to her. She recognised the writing of her husband and felt very happy. She mistook the author for Jim who had come home, as promised on Christmas. She kissed the author on the cheek and asked him to read the letter to her. She wanted to listen to the voice of her husband. She said that he (Jim) himself was the best Christmas present to her.

Notes For the Teacher
Some suggestions given below are applicable to all prose lessons in the book.

  • A war story against the backdrop of Christmas, a festival marked by family reunion, exchange of presents and universal bonhomie. Connie, aged 101, receives a present from a stranger whom she mistakes for her long-awaited husband. What is the present — the letter or the mistaken identity of the visitor?
  • Spend about 20 minutes discussing the dates and events given under Before you read. Since the answers are given later in the book, the focus should be on the nature of each event — whether, in human terms, the event recalls defeat and destruction or endeavour and success. Let children express their own views. Even if their observations do not reveal any understanding of the nature of events, the discussion session will provide an excellent base for initiating work on the story under reference.
  • The story is sectioned into three parts. Parts II and III may be sectioned further according to convenience and time available.
  • Discuss each illustration with reference to the story. Illustrations are given for better comprehension and sharper visual appeal.
  • Comprehension Check at the end of each section is a recall of what children have read so far. Design while-reading comprehension exercises in the form of factual comprehension questions, multiple choice questions and/or completion of sentences, etc.
  • Here is one example in three formats:
    Factual or inferential comprehension (Answer the question in your own words.)
    Why is Jim ‘ashamed to say’ that Fritz ‘began it’?
    Multiple choice (Mark the right answer.)
    Jim is ‘ashamed to say’ that Fritz ‘began it’ because
    (i) he didn’t know how to do it.
    (ii) he wishes he had done it first.
    (iii) he didn’t want to do it.
    Sentence completion : (Choose the right item and complete the sentence.
    But it is true, _______________  that Fritz began it.
    (much to my delight / shame / dismay)
  • A related item here is the use of ‘begin’ and ‘start’ in appropriate contexts.
    Use ‘begin’ or ‘start’ appropriately in the following sentences.
    (i) What time do you _________ work in the morning?
    (ii) If we want to get there, we should ___________ now.
    (iii) The film ___________ at 7 pm.
    (iv) No matter how you try, the car won’t ___________.
    Very often ‘begin’ and ‘start’ can be used in the same way, though ‘start’ is more common in informal speech.  [See sentences (i) and (iii)]
    In some constructions only ‘start’ can be used. [See sentences (ii) and (iv)].
  • Questions under working with the text to be answered orally, later to be written in the copy book.
  • At the end of the lesson, draw children’s attention to the two quotations given in the box. Let them discuss how the story illustrates the same ideas. Then, ask them to find sentences in the story which appeal to them most. Here are some examples:
    We agreed about everything and he was my enemy.
    No one dies in a football match. No children are orphaned.
    No wives become widows.
    I know from all that happened today how much both armies long for peace.  We shall be together again, I’m sure of it. (It’s a good example of the use of ‘irony’ in the story.)
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