THE LOST CHILD –MULK RAJ ANAND
Mulk Raj Anand, an Indian writer in English is well known for his depiction of Indian society. The lesson, ‘The Lost Child’ vividly depicts Indian rural village with all its charm, pomp and gaiety especially during a festive season.
The main theme in this lesson is a child’s agony and desperate cry when he is suddenly lost in a crowd and realizes that he doesn’t have the warm protection of his parents. The child is taken by the parents to a fare during spring season. The child is filled with joy on seeing the fun and
grandeur around him. He wants to stop at every shop and every stall to enjoy the colourful scenes. But as the parents find the child lagging behind they keep shouting for him and the child is alerted. He has to keep moving lest he is lost in the crowd. Constantly the parents are monitoring
the child because they know the risk of losing the tiny child amidst the crowd that have flocked to enjoy or carry on their business in the fare.
As is common with kids this child too keeps pestering the parents to buy for him everything he comes across – the sweets, the flowers, the balloons and all other colourful things he sees in the fare. The child also knows that it is going to be a stern ‘No’ from his parents. So he keeps moving.
At the merry – go – round the child is determined to have his share of joy. He stubbornly asks his father for a round of merry – go – round. He realizes that his parents are nowhere near. The child is speechless and helpless. The child feels that the protective hand is taken off him. Fear overpowers the child and he starts crying frantically trying to search for his parents. The only words that escape the child’s choking throat amidst uncontrollable tears is ‘Mother‘, ‘Father’. A stranger who sees the lost child picks him and tries to pacify. He offers the child sweets,
balloons, flowers and all the beautiful things that the child had earlier pleaded for. But now the child doesn’t even look at them and firmly declines. All these things which had appealed so much to the child are no longer attractive. The child is crying only for his parents.
The child psychology is very effectively portrayed through this simple incident by the author.
The underlying theme of the story ‘The Lost Child’, is the universality of a child's desire for everything that his eyes clasp. All that the child witnesses from the toys lining the street, to the dragon flies in the mustard field to the snake swaying to the tunes of a Pungi obsesses the child. It is a visual assault on his senses. He looks at everything in wonder, his senses almost rejoicing being alive. His parents on the other hand are like a parental control filter, abstaining him from the lures of the illusionary world as if secretly knowing that what he needs most is entirely something else . A quiet reminder that the child must learn to prioritize what is important and what is not in life. In the end when the child loses his parents he understands what his parent’s silent gestures and reprimands were trying to teach him. He realizes now that what he wanted most were his parents. He continuously refuses everything that the kind stranger offers to console him with - exactly the very same things he was goading his parents for moments ago. Within minutes his life changes and offers him an entirely new perspective of looking at life and understanding it for what it really is .
I. Read the extract below and answer the questions.
1) “He hurried towards his parents, his feet obedient to their call, his eyes still lingering on the receding toys”.
a) Why was the child unwilling to move?
b) Why did his feet obey?
c) What made the child to linger still on toys?
2) “There was no reply. He turned to look at his parents. They were not there”.
a) What was the emotion followed after this?
b) What does this emotion indicate?
c) When does he realize that he has lost his way?
3) “Thinking to humour his disconsolate charge by a gift of sweets, the man took him to the counter of the sweet shop”.
a) Why does the child lose interest in the things that he wanted earlier?
b) What was the ‘humour’ here?
c) How does the story end?
II. Answer the following questions in 30-40 words.
1) What are the things the child sees on his way to the fair? Why does he lag behind?
2) In the fair he wants many things. What are they? Why does he move on without waiting for an answer?
3) When does he realize that he has lost his way? How have his anxiety and insecurity been described?
4) Why does the lost child lose interest in the things that he had wanted earlier?
5) What do you think happens in the end? Does the child find his parents?
III. Answer the following questions in 100-120 words.
1) Write a note on the theme of the story ‘The Lost Child’.
2) What were the things that the boy wanted to possess when he was with his parents?
3) Describe the condition of the child after he had lost his parents at the fair.
Please click on below link to downloadCBSE Class 9 English The Lost Child Worksheet Set A