The proposal

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TEXTBOOK QUESTIONS SOLVED
THINKING ABOUT THE PLAY

1. What does Chubukov at first suspect that Lomov has come for? Is he sincere when he later says, “And I’ve always loved you, my angel, as if you were my own son”? Find reasons for your answer from the play.
Ans. Chubukov at first suspects that Lomov has come to borrow money. But when he tells the real purpose of his visit, Chubukov says that he has always loved him as if he were his own son. He is not sincere in saying this. Later when there is a controversy over Oxen Meadows and their dogs, he calls Lomov all sorts of names.


2. Chubukov says of Natalya, “… as if she won’t consent! She’s in love; egad, she’s like a love-sick cat …” would you agree? Find reasons for your answer.
Ans. Natalya is not in love with Lomov. This is borne out by her hot arguments with Lomov over the ownership of Oxen Meadows and the superiority of their respective dogs. But when she learns from her father that Lomov had come with a marriage proposal, she asks her father to bring him back. The reason is that she is desperate for marriage. Chubukov asks her to talk to Lomov herself.


3. (i) Find all the words and expressions in the play that the characters use to speak about each other, and the accusations and insults they hurl at each other. (For example, Lomov in the end calls Chubukov an intriguer; but earlier, Chubukov has himself called Lomov a “malicious, doublefaced intriguer.” Again, Lomov begins by describing Natalya as “an excellent housekeeper, not bad-looking, well-educated.”)
(ii) Then think of five adjectives or ajdectival expressions of your own to describe each character in the play.
(iii) Can you imagine what these characters will quarrel about next?
Ans. (i) Natalya calls Lomov: backbiter, rascal, dishonest, monster.
Lomov calls Natalya: excellent housekeeper, not bad-looking, well-educated.
Chubukov calls Lomov: the villain, the scarecrow, the blind hen, the turnip ghost, the stuffed sausage, wizen faced frump, double-faced intriguer, pup, old rat, Jesuit, milksop, fool.
Lomov calls Chubukov: intriguer, grabber, backbiter.
(ii) Natalya: argumentative, talkative, rude, well-educated, not bad looking. Lomov: possessive, talkative, rich, sick, assertive.
Chubukov: ill-tempered, money-minded, abusive, quarrelsome, insensitive.
(iii) These characters might quarrel next about their houses.


THINKING ABOUT LANGUAGE
I. 1.This play has been translated into English from the Russian original. Are there any expressions or ways of speaking that strike you as more Russian than English? For example, would an adult man be addressed by an older man as my darling or my treasure in an English play?
Read through the play carefully, and find .expressions that you think are not used in contemporary English, and contrast these with idiomatic modern English expressions that also occur in the play.
Ans. • You must excuse my apron and neglige.
• Double-faced intriguer.
• The stuffed sausage.
• What a weight off my shoulder, ouf.
• We are shelling peas for drying.
[Hints: ouf, frump, sausage, egad etc. are the words not used in Modern English]


2. Look up the following words in a dictionary and find out how to pronounce them. Pay attention to how many syllables there are in each word, and find out which syllable is stressed, or said more forcefully.
palpitations                    interfere                   implore                     thoroughbred
pedigree                          principle                  evidence                    misfortune
malicious                      embezzlement       architect                       neighbours
accustomed                    temporary           behaviour                      documents
Ans. Words                                                                 Stress on Syllables
palpitations                                                                        palp-‘itations (four)
interfere                                                                              in-ter-‘fere (three)
implore                                                                               im-‘plore (two)
thoroughbred                                                                    ‘thorough-bred (three)
pedigree                                                                              ‘pe-di-gree (three)
principle                                                                              ‘princi-ple (three)
evidence                                                                                ‘evi-dence (three)
misfortune                                                                             mis-‘for-tune (three)
malicious                                                                                ma’-li-cious (three)
embezzlement                                                                       em`-‘bezz’-lement (three)
architect arch                                                                           ‘-i-tect (three)
neighbours                                                                               ‘nei-bours (two)
accustomed                                                                                a-‘ccust-med (three)
temporary                                                                                   ‘tempo-rary (four)
behaviour                                                                                     beha’v-iour (three)
documents                                                                                   ‘doc-u-ments (three)


3. Look up the following phrases in a dictionary to find out their meaning, and then use each in a sentence of your own.
(i) You may take it that
(ii) He seems to be coming round
(iii) My foot’s gone to sleep
Ans. (i) You may take it that: suppose, assume
• I take it that you won’t come to the party.
(ii) He seems to be coming round: to come to senses.
• He was muttering. He will come round soon.
(iii) My foot’s gone to sleep: be numb.
• My boot has gone to sleep. So I can’t walk now.


II. Reported Speech
A sentence in reported speech consists of two parts: a reporting clause, which contains the reporting verb, and the reported clause. Look at the following sentences.
(a) “I went to visit my grandma last week,” said Mamta.
(b) Mamta said that she had gone to visit her grandma the previous week.
In sentence (a), we have Mamta’s exact words. This is an example of direct speech. In sentence (b), someone is reporting what Mamta said. This is called indirect speech or reported speech. A sentence in reported speech is made up of two parts—a reporting clause and a reported clause.
In sentence (b), Mamta said is the reporting clause containing the reporting verb said. The other clause—that she had gone to visit her grandma last week—is the reported clause.
Notice that in sentence (b) we put the reporting clause first. This is done to show that we are not speaking directly, butreporting someone else’s words. The tense of the verb also changes; past tense (went) becomes past perfect (had gone). Here are some pairs of sentences in direct and reported speech.


Read them carefully, and do the task that follows:
I. (i) Lomov : Honoured Stepan Stepanovitch, do you think I may count on her consent? (Direct Speech)
(ii) Lomov asked Stepan Stepanovitch respectfully if he thought he might count on her consent. (Reported Speech)
2. (i) Lomov : I’m getting a noise in my ears from excitement. (Direct Speech)
(ii) Lomov said that he was getting a noise in his ears from excitement. (Reported Speech)
3. (i) NATALYA : Why haven’t you been here for such a long time? (Direct Speech)
(ii) Natalya Stepanovna asked why he hadn’t been there for such a long time. (Reported Speech)
4. (i) Cnusurcov : What’s the matter? (Direct Speech)
(ii) Chubukov asked him what the matter was. (Reported Speech)
5. (i) NATALYA : My mowers will be there this very day! (Direct Speech)
(ii) Natalya Stepanovna declared that her mowers would be there that very day. (Reported Speech)


You must have noticed that when we report someone’s exact words, we have to make some changes in the sentence structure. In the following sentences fill in the blanks to list the changes that have occurred in the above pairs of sentences. One has been done for you.
1. To report a question, we use the reporting verb asked (as in Sentence Set 1).
2. To report a declaration, we use the reporting verb _______
3. The adverb of place here changes to _______
1. When the verb in direct speech is in the present tense, the verb in reported speech is in the _______ tense (as in Seffienct. Net 3).
5. If the verb in direct speech is in the present continuous tense, the verb in reported speech changes to tense. For example, _______ changes to was getting.
6. When the sentence in direct speech contains a word denoting respect, we add the _______adverb in the reporting clause (as in Sentence Set 1).
7. The pronouns I, me, our and mine, which are used in the first person in direct speech, change according to the subject or object of the reporting verb such as _______ _______ _______ or _______ in reported speech.
Ans. 1. asked       2. declared   [as in sentence 5]
3. there [as in sentence 3]        4. past
5. past continuous          6. respectfully
7. you, you, your, thine (your)


III. Here is an excerpt from an article from the Times of India dated 27 August 2006. Rewrite it, changing the sentences in direct speech into reported speech. Leave the other sentences unchanged.
“Why do you want to know my age? If people know I am so old, I won’t get work!” laughs 90-year-old A.K. Hangal, one of Hindi cinema’s most famous character actors. For his age, he is rather energetic. “What’s the secret?” we ask. “My intake of everything is in small quantities. And I walk a lot,” he replies. “I joined the industry when people retire. I was in my 40s. So I don’t miss being called a star. I am still respected and given work, when actors of my age are living in poverty and without work. I don’t have any complaints,” he says, adding, “but yes, I have always been underpaid.” Recipient of the Padma Bhushan, Hangal never hankered after money or materialistic gains. “No doubt I am content today, but money is important. I was a fool not to understand the value of money earlier,” he regrets.
Ans. Ninety-year-old A.K. Hangal, one of the Hindi cinema’s most famous character actors, asks laughingly why we want to know his age. He says if people know he is so old he won’t get any work. For his age he is rather energetic. We ask what the secret is behind his health. He replies that his intake of everything is in very small quantities. And he walks a lot. He further says that he joined the industry when people retire. He was in his forties. So he doesn’t, miss being called a star. He is still respected and given work. He tells that when actors of his age are living in poverty and without work, he doesn’t have any complaints. He adds that he has always been underpaid. Recipient of the Padma Bhushan, Hangal never hankered after money or materialistic gains. He regrets that he was a fool not to understand the value of money earlier. No doubt he is content today but he regrets that he did not understand the value of money earlier.


SPEAKING AND WRITING
1. Anger Management: As adults, one important thing to learn is how to manage our temper. Some of us tend to get angry quickly, while others remain calm.
Can you think of three ill effects that result from anger? Note them down. Suggest ways to avoid losing your temper in such situations. Are there any benefits from anger?
Ans. Anger affects our health adversely. It increases our blood pressure. The person becomes a victim of many heart diseases. We may lend ourselves in a unpleasant situation because of getting angry: We should remain calm and composed. No, it does not have benefit.


2. In pairs, prepare a script based on the given excerpt from The Home and the World by Rabindranath Tagore. You may write five exchanges between the characters with other directions such as movements on stage and way of speaking, etc.
One afternoon, when I happened to be specially busy, word came to my office room that Bimala had sent for me. I was startled.
“Who did you say had sent for me?” I asked the messenger.
“The Rani Mother”.
“The Bara Rani?”
“No, sir, the Chota Rani Mother.”
The Chota Rani! It seemed a century since I had been sent for by her. I kept them all waiting there, and went off into the inner apartments. When I stepped into our room I had another shock of surprise to find Bimala there with a distinct suggestion of being dressed up. The room, which from persistent neglect, had latterly acquired an air of having grown absent-minded, had regained something of its old order this afternoon. I stood there silently, looking enquiringly at Bimala.
She flushed a little and the fingers of her right had toyed for a time with the bangles on her left arm. Then she abruptly broke the silence. “Look here! Is it right that ours should be the only market in all Bengal which allows foreign goods?”
“What, then, would be the right thing to do?” I asked.
“Order them to be cleared out!”
“But the goods are not mine.”
“Is not the market yours?”
“It is much more theirs who use it for trade.”
“Let them trade in Indian goods, then.”
“Nothing would please me better. But suppose they do not?”
“Nonsense! How dare they be so insolent? Are you not…
“I am very busy this afternoon and cannot stop to argue it out. But I must refuse to tyrannise.”
“It would not be tyranny for selfish gain, but for the sake of the country.”
“To tryannise for the country is to tyrannise over the country. But that I am afraid you will never understand.” With this I came away.
Ans. Classroom activity.


3. In groups, discuss the qualities one should look for in a marriage partner. You might consider the following points.
• Personal qualities
— Appearance or looks — Attitudes and beliefs — Sense of humour
• Value system
— Compassion and kindness — Tolerance, ambition — Attitude to money and wealth
• Educational and Professional background
Ans. Marriage is the most important decision of one’s life. The partner or the soulmate has to be someone who makes your life smooth. The two souls have to be of similar mindset and values. Any conflict of ideas, views or ambition may make the life hell for both the partners. While selecting a partner one should look for professional background, education, attitude and beliefs and above all the value system.


4. Are there parts of the play that remind you of film dq scenes from romantic comedies? Discuss this in groups, and recount to the rest of the class episodes similar to those in the play.
Ans. Classroom activity.


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