CBSE Class 10 English Assignment - Fiction-The Letter

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CBSE Class 10 English Assignment - Fiction-The Letter. Students are advised to refer to the attached assignments and practice them regularly. This will help them to identify their weak areas and will help them to score better in examination. Parents should download and give the assignments to their children for practice.

FICTION: THE LETTER

SUMMARY

The story deals with the boundless faith and trust of an individual who believes in

destiny and God.

Ali, a weakening old man regularly comes to the post office early in the morning

with the expectation of receiving a letter of his only daughter Miriam who has

settled far away from him after her marriage.

Ali’s wait for the letter gets prolonged and becomes a test of his patience and

faith.

The post office staff always makes him a laughing stock and plays pranks with

him, calls him mad and disrespects his fatherly sentiments, even then he remains

undeterred.

Ali was not such a person in his youthful days, he was a passionate ‘shikari’ and

loved killing animals and birds. His only daughter lived with him. A

transformation takes place in him after the marriage of her and then he realises

that everything in this world is governed by love and that pain of separation is

unavoidable. He gives up hunting and since then he comes to the post office to

know about the wellbeing of his daughter.

His trust in humanity and humans suffers as he is ill-treated by everyone in the

post office including the Post Master whose daughter has also settled far away

from him after the marriage.

Ali makes request to the Post Master to help him out in getting the letter of his

daughter but the Post Master insults him by calling him a ‘pest’.

Ali does not come to the post office for many days and when he returns he feels

like approaching the end of his life. In frustration he decided to make an offer to

one clerk of the post office. He requests the clerk to place the letter of his

daughter at his grave yard when it comes and as a favour for this he offers five

golden guineas to him.

The story takes an interesting turn around when the Post Master finds himself in

trouble as his daughter get ill at her in-laws place and he becomes anxious to

know about her well- being. Now he understands the fatherly emotions of Ali.

The Post Master changes his attitude and outlook towards humans & letters.

Finally a letter arrives which is addressed to Ali and then the Post Master decides

to hand it over to Ali personally as part of his repentance. He waits for Ali in the

morning and gets an illusion that he has faced Ali and handed him the letter of

his daughter, but to his greater shock he comes to know that Ali has died a few

days back.

CHARACTER SKETCH OF THE MAIN CHARACTERS

COACHMAN ALI

Ali symbolises faith, determination and patience. His later part of life is in total

contrast with his earlier part. In the earlier part of his life his only identity is his

passion for hunting. In fact, it is his addiction without which he can’t dream his life.

He is merciless, cruel and insensitive but as soon as his daughter gets married, we

find a contrasting Ali in him. Now he understands human life in a better way. He

experiences the pain of separation and very soon he gives up hunting. He shows

great determination and patience in dealing with life and people. It is only because

of his unbinding faith and patience he is able to drag his otherwise a cheerless life.

EXTRACT BASED COMPREHENSION QUESTION EXERCISES

[A] “Beholding the wooden arch of this building, the old man was filled with the joy that

the pilgrim feels when he first sees the goal of his journey.”

(a) What makes the old man feel joyful?

(b) Why is the old man called a pilgrim?

(c) What is the meaning of the word- ‘pilgrim’?

Answers.

(a) The sight of the post office of the town makes him feel joyful.

(b) The old man comes to the post office with the devotion and faith of a pilgrim

heading for a worship place and in that respect he is called a pilgrim.

(c) a person who makes a journey to a holy place

[B] “But for the faith and love that warmed him, he could not have borne the bitter

cold.”

(a) How could the old man bear the bitter cold?

(b) Why does he go to the post office regularly?

(c) What do you mean by ‘faith and love’ in the given context?

Answers.

(a) His faith in the Almighty and his love for his daughter helped Ali in bearing the bitter

cold.

(b) Ali regularly goes to the post office with the expectation of getting the letter of his

only daughter.

(c) ‘Faith’ stands for Ali’s faith in the Almighty and ‘love’ stands for Ali’s love for his

daughter.

[C] “Now he understood the meaning of love and separation. He could no longer enjoy

the sportsman’s pleasure and laughter at the bewildered terror of the young

partridges bereft of their parents.”

(a) How has Ali understood the meaning of love and separation?

(b) How he used to react at the hunting of young partridges?

(c) What is the meaning of the word-‘bewildered’?

Answers.

(a) Ali’s only daughter gets married and settles far away from him, he has not got any

news of his daughter for the past five years. His loneliness and separation with his

daughter makes him understand these feelings.

(b) Earlier, Ali used to enjoy and laugh at the hunting of the young partridges.

(c) confused or unable to understand anything

[D] “Here look at this!” and Ali produced an old tin box and emptied five golden guineas

into the surprised clerk’s hands. “Do not look so startled”, he continued. “They will

be useful to you and they can never be to me.”

(a) Why did Ali give five golden guineas to the clerk?

(b) Why were the golden guineas of no use to Ali now?

(c) What is the meaning of the word-‘startled’?

Answers.

(a) Ali gave five golden guineas to the clerk so that the clerk placed his daughter’s at his

graveyard.

(b) The golden guineas were of no use to Ali now as he believed that he was going to die

soon.

(c) shocked/surprised

SHORT ANSWER QUESTIONS WITH ANSWERS

Q.1. Why did Ali give up hunting?

Ans. After the marriage of his only daughter Ali became alone. This loneliness made him

realise the meaning of love and pain of separation. He understood that by hunting he

was separating young animals and birds with their parents and so he decided to give

up hunting.

Q.2. The Postmaster says to Ali, ‘What a pest you are, brother!’ Do you agree with the

statement? Give reasons for your answer.

Ans. No, Ali is not a pest. Though he daily comes to the post office, he never disturbs the

staff in imparting their duties. In fact, he never tries to enter the room and waits

patiently outside and only tries to enter the room when he is called by the post office

staff jestingly. He also never argues with anyone. All this goes to show that he is not

a pest.

Q.3. What brought about a change in the Postmaster’s attitude?

Ans. The Postmaster’s attitude changed when his daughter lay ill in another town and

he waited anxiously for her news. This worry and anxiety about his daughter

changed him. His fatherly heart recognised Ali’s emotions for his daughter. Because

of this realisation he gave up his arrogance and became a genuine human being who

could understand others.

Q.4. How did the post office staff treat Ali?

Ans. For the post office staff Ali was a laughing stock. They treated him to be a mad

person who visited the post office without any reason. They used to play with his

emotions. They could never realise the fatherly emotions of Ali. Their behavior was

undesirable.

VALUE BASED QUESTION WITH

ANSWER

Q. It is essential to respect everyone’s feelings. Bring out this message with reference

to the story.

Answer. The value that one can derive from the story is that we should always respect

the feelings of others irrespective of the status or the position of the individual

and must not disrespect and disregard the sentiments of others. Life has its own

ways and means and it returns to us whatever we offer to it.

In the story the same idea is reflected. Coachman Ali’s daughter gets married and

leaves him. Now, he understands the meaning of love and separation. Since then he

has been making visits to the post office with the expectation of getting a letter of

his daughter. In place of helping him out and consoling him, the post office staff

ridicules him. Even the Postmaster also behaves rudely with him and even terms

him a pest. But when he suffers with the same trauma and agony, he realises his

mistakes and regrets for his behavior and wishes to help Ali. In this way, we come

to realise that it is imperative to respect everyone’s feelings because one never

knows when one will have to face the same situation.

ADDITIONAL SHORT ANSWER/VALUE BASED QUESTIONS FOR

PRACTICE SHORT ANSWER QUESTIONS:

Q.1. How does the Postmaster understand the feelings of Ali?

Q.2. The post office staff displays a total lack of empathy towards Ali. Justify

the statement.

Q.3. Why did Ali stop coming to the post office?

Q.4. Why were Ali’s eyes filled with the tears of helplessness when he visited the post

office after may days?

Q.5. How can you say that Ali was a great shikari?

Q.6. Why is the Postmaster shocked when Lakshmi Das informs him about Ali’s death/

Q.7. Why was the Postmaster tortured by doubt and remorse?

VALUE BASED QUESTIONS

Q.1. ‘Ali symbolises love, patience and faith.’ These are the essential elements

which bind this world. Justify the statement in the context of the story.

Q.2. The story also reflects upon the fact that persons at higher posts must carry greater

sense of sympathy and responsibility. Express your views in the light of the story.

Q.3 ‘Life ensures balance and justice for everyone.’ Justify the statement in the context

of the story

Please click the link below to download CBSE Class 10 English Assignment - Fiction-The Letter

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