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CBSE Class 12 English Value Based Questions – Prose (Flamingo)
THE LAST LESSON
Answer the following value based questions.
Franz thinks, “Will they make them sing in German, even the pigeons?”
After reading the chapter, you realise that man has an intense desire to subjugate others. You feel that in the modern world, there is a strong need for brotherhood. Write an article in about 120-150 words for a national magazine on this.
In the chapter ‘The Last Lesson/ France loses two districts to Germany. The Germans pass the order that from now on, only German will be taught in the school.
As Franz is attending his last class in French, he suddenly hears the pigeons on the roof, cooing in a low tone. He wonders whether the Germans will make the pigeons too sing in their language. This remark is a French boy typical reaction to the imposition of learning German. This also shows the extent to which the Germans would go in their attempts at practising linguistic chauvinism.
This makes it clear that man has a strong desire to impose his will upon others, to subdue others. In this strife-ridden world, there is a strong need for compassion, tolerance and brotherhood, which alone can lead us towards peace and prosperity.
‘My Last French Lesson! Why I hardly knew how to write! I should never learn any more! I must stop there, then!
The problem of school dropouts and illiteracy / backwardness still plagues our country. What qualities on the part of the administration, educationists and youth do you think will help to surmount this hurdle?
India is a country with a very poor literacy rate. In spite of all the government efforts to raise the level of literacy, the problem of school dropouts and rampant illiteracy still remains. The administration and the educationists of our country must have a clarity of vision of how to go about solving these problems, besides having a strong political will to do so.
They must bring about awareness among parents and children about the importance of education for removing backwardness and illiteracy. In this context, it is important that the affluent and well-off people need to give back to society by helping the government in such ventures. Government can use the educated youth to spearhead the process of removing this hurdle to progress by employing their services. This can be further speeded up by giving a stipend to such youths who volunteer for this task during their holidays.
“Poor man! It was in honour of this last lesson that he had put on his fine Sunday clothes, and now I understood why the old men of the village were sitting there in the back of the room. It was because they were sorry, too, that they had not gone to school more. It was their way of thanking our master for his forty years of faithful service and of showing their respect for the country that was theirs no more.”
M Hamel was dressed formally as a mark of honour to his last lesson. He had served the institution for forty years wholeheartedly. The villagers had come to display their respect for the country which was another’s from now onwards.
After reading ‘The Last Lesson’, can you compare any of your teachers with M Hamel? What values did he possess that every teacher should be endowed with? Are you a true patriot? Can you be one of those villagers? Explain.
A teacher is expected to be a role model, as was M Hamel, a strict disciplinarian and yet loved by the students. He taught passionately. He was proud of his language, expecting the same from his students. Apart from being an ideal teacher, he was also a patriot.
My class teacher, Ms Ambika Sharma, rightly deserves to be compared with M Hamel as she is endowed with all the qualities M Hamel possessed.
Besides Hamel, the villagers too were full of the spirit of patriotism. They wanted to display their respect to their nation despite the bitter knowledge that their country was being occupied by the Germans. I feel greatly moved by their love for their country.
I am greatly inspired by the lives of Sardar Bhagat Singh, Lokmanya Tilak, Mahatma Gandhi and a number of other martyrs who sacrificed their lives for the sake of our motherland. I too want to do something for my country.
“It is his karam, his destiny.” Says Mukesh’s grandmother.
The above lines show that the bangle-makers of Firozabad have lost all hope. Do you feel that a ‘God-given lineage’ can be broken? Why or Why not? Write an article in about 120-150 words.
Key to Success
The people who have the fire of desire in their hearts create their own destiny. One will face hardships throughout his path, but only they will reach the destination who have the courage to fulfil their dreams. History and even the society we live in are replete with examples of such people who fought their humble and pathetic conditions and emerged as winners. By the sheer force of determination, an individual can accomplish the tasks that seem difficult due to his situation in life. Although the lack of opportunities is many times a hurdle, yet a man has the ability to rise above his circumstances. The fact is that one’s occupation is not a God-given lineage. It is just a dictate made by some selfish people, and a man can break it by his strong will power and one should not forget that where there’s a will there’s a way.
Answer the following question in about 100 words.
Most of us do not raise our voice against injustice in our society and tend to remain mute spectators. Anees Jung in her story, ‘Lost Spring’ vividly highlights the miserable life of street children and bangle-makers of Firozabad. She wants us to act. Which qualities does she want the children to develop?
Anees Jung wants the children to become free from the vicious cycle of poverty into which they have fallen due to the middlemen, sahukars and law enforcement officials. She wants them to be bold enough to raise their voice against their oppressors. She wants them to be fearless and optimistic so that they can dream of taking up other occupations, just like Mukesh, who wants to be a motor mechanic. She wants them to become free from their traditional occupations so that they can be free from injustice and exploitation and realise their life’s ambitions. She sees the spark of such a quality in Mukesh, who is willing to go to any lengths to become a motor mechanic. She wants some people to help them develop these qualities so that they can take up respectable jobs which will improve their financial condition.
Read the following and answer the question that follows.
“None of them know that it is illegal for children like him to work in the glass furnaces with high temperatures, in dingy cells without air and light.”
As citizens of this country what do you think is our duty? What steps can youngsters like you take to reduce the scourge of poverty?
Our duty as citizens of India is two-fold. Firstly, we should arrange for providing a better education to such children. Secondly, we should also educate their parents about the ills and dangers of making their children work in inhuman conditions.
These duties can be carried out in various ways. The youth can work with NGO’s working in this area by joining them on a part-time basis to create an awareness in both the parents and their children of their rights and duties. They can even devote some of their time for coaching the poor children in their studies.
For ensuring a better livelihood for the parents, co-operative societies can be created which provide soft loans to the parents to establish and run their own small businesses. The parents can also attend night schools under the adult education schemes. Here again the youth can make an important contribution by imparting education at such centres.
The story ‘Deep Water’ has made you realise that with determination and perseverance one can accomplish the impossible. Write a paragraph in about 120-150 words on how a positive attitude and courage will aid you to achieve success in life.
The story ‘Deep Water’ teaches us how, in spite of all odds, our positive attitude and courage to fight can help us achieve success in life. The narrator’s phobia of water has gripped him for quite a long period of his life, but by adopting a positive attitude and summoning courage to fight his fear, make him successful.
Douglas engages an instructor to learn swimming. There are initial failures, as his fear returns to haunt him each time he is lowered in the pool. But he does not let his fear overpower him. His training is a long and slow process, but he is patient and never gives up.
Douglas’ perseverance and courage teach us that a firm will and determination, coupled with a bold attitude, can help us win over all obstacles, and achieve what looked impossible earlier.
Roosevelt said, ‘All we have to fear is fear itself.” Do you agree ? Why/ Why not ?
The quote, “All we have to fear is fear itself”, by the American President, Franklin D Roosevelt, is absolutely true. It is only the fear of consequences which prevents us from taking an action and hampers our progress.
William Douglas’ fear of drowning makes him develop an aversion to water, avoid going near water bodies, or indulge in water sports. When he is able to overcome his fear with the help of the instructor, he succeeds. Likewise, there are numerous incidents around us that show how fear cripples the mind of an individual and society, and acts as an impediment to growth.
The other lessons in the textbook also support the view. The bangle-makers of Firozabad in ‘Lost Spring’ fear that the police would put them in jail, so they accept their exploitation, and do not organise themselves into co-operatives.
It is only when we are able to.overcome our fear, that we can step ahead and progress in life.
“The experience had a deep meaning for me, as only those who have known stark terror and conquered it can appreciate. In death there is peace. There is terror only in the fear of death, as Roosevelt knew when he said, ‘All we have to fear is fear itself.” Because I had experienced both the sensation of dying and the terror that fear of it can produce, the will to live somehow grew in intensity.”
Douglas, notwithstanding his aversion to water and extreme exhaustion, keeps on trying to conquer his fear of water and finally emerges victorious.
We all have one fear or another but few of us are able to overcome it. What innate quality did Douglas possess that he succeeded in overcoming his fear of water?
It is true that we all suffer from one weakness or the other. Some of us are able to overcome it and the rest live with that very weakness, unable to overcome it, getting more and more habituated to live with it. Douglas originally belonged to the second category. He had experienced both the sensation of dying and the terror that the fear of death can cause. Whenever he tried to swim, his aversion to water and fear overpowered him, not allowing him to swim. But he had strong willpower to conque&,his weaknesses and he did it. His hard determination, courage and toil as well as honest labour help him win over his terror. It was the fear that he was fearing. Finally, he overcome every hurdle and emerged perfect, free from all weaknesses.
‘The Rattrap’ is a story which shows that basic human goodness can be brought out by understanding and love. Do you think this is practical in approach? Why/Why not?
Describe how the story, ‘The Rattrap’ shows that basic human goodness can be brought out by understanding and love.
‘The Rattrap’ is a story of a peddler who used to earn his living by selling small rattraps. But since his business was not profitable, he very often indulged in stealing. He stole thirty Kronor from a crofter who extended his hospitality to him.
Later he was given a place to stay by a young girl against her father’s wishes. She was a noble girl who showered affection on the peddler and convinced her father to let him stay with them for Christmas. The peddler was highly touched by her behaviour and before leaving the house returned the stolen thirty kronor and a small rattrap as a gift.
This shows that the peddler was not a bad man at heart, but only forced by his unfortunate circumstances, to steal things. But the love, trust and understanding shown by the girl revived his basic human goodness.
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’?
‘The Rattrap’ is a story of a peddler who used to earn his living by selling small rattraps of wire. Since his business was not profitable, he resorted to petty thievery. Nobody treated him with kindness or respect. The first act of compassion was shown by the crofter who gave him shelter. But the peddler stole his money and ran away.
Later, he was given a place to stay due to the efforts of the daughter of the ironmaster. She not only requested her father to let the peddler stay for Christmas, but also treated him like a real captain.The peddler was highly touched by this act of concern and compassion and before leaving the house, left the money he had stolen from the crofter. This shows that goodness is latent in the human heart which can be brought out by concern and compassion.
The daughter stood there quite embarrassed and hardly knew what to answer. That morning she had felt so happy when she thought how homelike and Christmassy she was going to make things for the poor hungry wretch. She could not get/ away from the idea all at once and that was why she had interceded for the vagabond. “I am thinking of this stranger here,” said the young girl.
“He walks and walks the whole year long and there is probably not a single place in the whole country where he is welcome and can feel at home. Wherever he turns he is chased away. Always he is afraid of being arrested and cross-examined. I should like to have him enjoy a day of peace with us here — just one in the whole year.”
The tramp is a fraud, but he displays the beauty of his heart. On the other hand, the ironmaster’s daughter is just opposite to her father.
Every human being is endowed with some positive characteristic or beauty of heart, and that comes out automatically when the time comes. Similarly, both the tramp and the daughter exchange the beauty of their hearts at the right time. How?
During his stay at the house of the ironmaster, the tramp had an opportunity to steal the Christmas gifts but he stole nothing. Rather, he presented a Christmas gift to the ironmaster’s daughter on Christmas.
Although the ironmaster never wanted the tramp to stay at his house, his daughter was compassionate and wanted him to stay. She realised his misery and loneliness and wanted him to have some peace and happiness on Christmas eve. The tramp was so touched by her behaviour that he could no more practice his deceiving ways which had become so much a part of him. He not only returned the stolen money but also left a small rattrap as a gift. Thus the tramp displayed the beauty of his heart by presenting a gift, while the daughter displayed it by giving shelter to the tramp.
Exploitation is a universal phenomenon. The poor indigo farmers were exploited by the British landlords to which Gandhiji objected. Even after our independence we find exploitation of unorganised labour.
What values do we learn from Gandhiji’s campaign to counter the present day problems of exploitation? The weak have always and at all times been the victims of injustice and exploitation. .
We see two real examples of exploitation in our texts. One is of the indigo sharecroppers at the hands of the British during the pre-independence era. The other is of the bangle-workers of Firozabad, which is an instance of exploitation of unorganised labour after independence. Numerous such incidents are also reported in the newspapers. Gandhiji taught us a highly effective way to counter the problem of exploitation. The exploited are fear-stricken. The real relief comes for them when they get free from fear. Next is the path of non-violence and civil disobedience. Not bowing to the demands of the oppressor can do wonders for the exploited.
Finally, Gandhiji’s lesson in self-reliance is the most important to curb the menace of exploitation. Until one is self-reliant, he cannot fight against injustice.
”Freedom from fear is more important than legal justice for the poor.” Do you think that the poor of India are free from fear after Independence?
When Gandhiji learned about the poor conditions of the peasants of Champaran, he concluded that the peasants were so crushed and fear-stricken that going to law courts was useless. The real relief would come if they were free from fear.
The conclusion that Gandhiji reached is still true. The peasants of Champaran were exploited by the foreign rulers, while the poor of India today are victimised by the bureaucrats, moneylenders and corrupt politicians. Years of exploitation have destroyed all hopes and dreams of the poor. They don’t try to challenge injustice. They fear that the oppressors will find some way to prove them guilty. There is no leader among them who can encourage them to fight against their tormentors. They live miserably and will continue to do so until they are free from fear itself. This fear prevents them from taking any action or step which would help them alleviate their misery and poverty.
Read the following extract and answer the question that follows.
“Several days later, Gandhi received a written communication from the magistrate informing him that the Lieutenant-Governor of the province had ordered the case to be dropped. Civil Disobedience had triumphed, the first time in modern India.”
Since our childhood we are taught not to indulge in disobedience to anyone. But Gandhi did not and finally, Civil Disobedience won.
After reading ‘Indigo’ and the above statement, how can we display disobedience occasionally and succeed? Explain.
Disobedience is usually not considered a characteristic of desirable behaviour. Here, in this chapter, we see someone as great as Gandhiji indulge in disobedience, and still achieve success. However Gandhiji practiced disobedience against the unjust rules laid down by the Britishers. He waged a peaceful ‘war’ against the Britishers by the method of Civil Disobedience.
Disobedience is not permitted in society. However, if we are fighting for a noble cause, it does not matter if we are disobedient. If our disobedience can solve the problems of innocent sufferers, we may need to be disobedient sometimes.
A child should normally be obedient to its elders, but when they are exploiting him, then he has to be disobedient. This disobedience will be justified because he has a right to raise his voice against exploitation.
Sophie lives in her fantasies. She hopes to make it big. You realise that the modern day youth are also like that. You decide to write an article about the need to dream and how it can prove to be harmful sometimes.
We all hope to achieve our inner dreams and desires some day. Dreams are like a guiding light, they make us work harder. It is only when we dream big that we can achieve something great in life, because every dream precedes the goal. It is well said that the one who doesn’t dream cannot reach his goals. But how much living in a fantasy world is good? The modem day youth has the tendency to drift away in their wild fantasies without realising reality. Being always in a dream world actually does more harm than good.
This doesn’t mean that we should be afraid to dream. What is needed is a balance. We must never forget the difference between imagination and reality. It is important to dream, because only then we can strive to achieve our goals. Just forgetting reality in the pursuit of dreams is harmful.
Now I have become sad, she thought. And it is a hard burden to carry, this sadness. Sitting here waiting and knowing he will not come I can see the future and how I will have to live with this burden. They of course will doubt me, as they always doubted me, but I will have to hold up my head remembering how it was. Already I envisage the slow walk home and Geoff’s disappointed face when I tell him, ”He didn’t come, that Danny. ” And then he’ll fly out and slam the door. “But we know how it was,” I shall tell myself, “Danny and me.” It is a hard thing, this sadness.
Sadness is really difficult to carry. And more difficult is to carry unfulfilled desires.
After reading the above statement and ‘Going Places’ how far do you feel that sadness and unfulfilled desires can’t be carried for a long time? Elucidate.
Sadness and unfulfilled desires are both difficult to carry. Their burden produces more and more sadness. Sophie, the protagonist of the story ‘Going Places’ has been nurturing her dreams since her childhood. She dreams of becoming a fashion designer, a manager, or an actress when she grows up. Besides, she has taken a fancy for Danny Casey, a young footballer, and often imagines being with him. She has been telling stories regarding her imaginary meetings with Danny.
To create twists in something which has not happened is really painful, as one is cheating oneself only. Her poverty, her shattered dreams and unfulfilled desires are very painful as she has to carry them permanently.
In real life too, if one is sad and there is no way to mitigate this sadness, every passing moment adds to more and more sadness, and unfulfilled desires are often a source of sadness.
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