Monday, 4 July 2016

Workbook Answers/Solutions of A Collection of ICSE Poems and Short Stories, A Psalm of Life by - Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

I. (i) The words ‘mournful numbers’ refer to the sorrowful verses, through which the speaker does not want to be told that life is a meaningless dream.

(ii) It means that life is a meaningless dream and an illusion. Life can be an empty dream if human beings spend their time meaninglessly without having a goal in life.

(iii) By saying, “the soul is dead that slumbers”, the poet intends to say that one, who spends his time aimlessly is really a dead man. Therefore, one must always be up and doing. The speaker, later in the poem, says that one should rely neither on the future nor on the past, but should live in the present moment with courage in oneself and trust in God.

(iv) Those who live an irresponsible life and while their away time aimlessly depict life as a meaningless dream. This does not reflect the true nature of human life.

(v) Yes, indeed a profound thinker can be a great poet because only a thinker can give vent to the feelings and aspirations of humanity at large and reflect the true nature of human life.
The moral principle hinted in the extract is that life is not an empty dream but has a serious mission.

(vi) The human attitude of irresponsible indulgence in useless pursuits and meaningless thinking is condemned in this extract.

Workbook Answers/Solutions of A Collection of ICSE Poems and Short Stories, I Believe by - Brucellish K Sangma

(i) ‘I’ in the first line of the extract refers to the poet. She wants to throw a pebble upwards to make a hole in the heavens to see the angels at play there.

(ii) By throwing the pebble upwards, the poet will be able to pierce the heavens and see the angels at play there. Symbolically, the act of ‘throwing the pebble upwards’ suggests the efforts made to rise in life to achieve unachievable goals.

(a) The phrase pierce the heavens means to make a small hole in the universe. It means to achieve unachievable goals with right efforts and conviction.
(b) The phrase See the angels at play means to see the spirits, who are believed to be the servants of God and who dwell in heavens.

(iv) The phrase ‘I believe’ signifies the poet’s dreams and aspirations whereas the phrase ‘I can’ signifies the determination and confidence of the speaker at what she believes she can achieve.

(v) The extract portrays the speaker as an optimistic, hard-working person who has the will and determination to achieve all her dreams and aspirations.

Workbook Answers/Solutions of A Collection of ICSE Poems and Short Stories, If Thou Must Love Me by - Elizabeth Barrett Browning

I. (i) The words ‘let it be for nought’ mean let it be for nothing. The speakers wants to tell her lover not to love her for any particular reason. The speaker wants her lover to love her for love’s sake only.

(ii)She does not want to be loved for her smile, her looks or for her gentle voice.

(iii)She does not want her lover to love her for particular traits like her appearance and good looks because these traits will fade with the passage of time.

(a) a trick of thought means a particular way of thinking, which may mislead her lover.
(b) A sense of pleasant ease on such a day means the qualities which may give a sense of comfort to her lover on a particular day.

Workbook Answers/Solutions of A Collection of ICSE Poems and Short Stories, A Doctor’s Journal Entry for August 6, 1945 by - Vikram Seth

I. (i) The morning was calm, beautiful and warm. The narrator was in a relaxed mood and preparing for his daily routine.

(ii) The narrator was startled on seeing two sudden flashes of light. He thought whether the flashes were magnesium flares seen during the war.

(iii) Due to the impact of the explosion, the roof and the wall of the building collapsed and the debris got scattered all over. The people suffered both physically and mentally. The explosion caused fatal injuries to the human beings, burnt their skin and made it drip off their bodies.

(iv)The narrator’s clothes got burnt, a splinter ripped through his thigh, his right side bled and his cheek was torn.

Workbook Answers/Solutions of A Collection of ICSE Poems and Short Stories, Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening by - Robert Frost


 (i) The woods belonged to a man, who lived in the village. The speaker has stopped by the woods to watch the snow filling up the woods.

(ii)The owner of the woods will not see the speaker stopping by the woods because he lives in the village.
The owner of the woods lives in the village, away from nature. Though he owns the woods, he cannot appreciate and enjoy the beauty of nature. Thus, there are man-made barriers which separate man from nature.

(iii) Woods, being “lovely, dark and deep”, symbolize sensuous enjoyment, the darkness of ignorance, as well as the dark inner self of man.
The village symbolizes society and civilization, beyond whose borders lie the woods.

(iv)The poet is standing just by the woods and looking at them. He is enchanted by the beauty of the woods.

(v)Yes, the poet is happy with his lonely state in the woods because:
(a) he finds solace in the thoughts that nobody is watching him; and
(b) he is enchanted with the natural beauty of the woods, snow and the frozen lake.

Friday, 5 February 2016

Workbook Answers/Solutions of A Collection of ICSE Poems and Short Stories, India's Heroes by - Anonymous

Workbook Solutions of India's Heroes by - Anonymous


 (i) Mrs. Baruah is a teacher, teaching the students of Class Eight. Her full name is Mrs. Reeta Baruah. She exclaims ‘wonderful’ when, in response to her question about the number of students who have completed their assignment, all the forty students raise their hand in affirmation.

 (ii) Mrs. Baruah gave an assignment to the students of Class Eight to write what they would like to be when they grew up. There were forty students in the class. All the forty student raised their hands in affirmation when Mrs. Baruah asked them if they had completed their assignment.

(iii) According to the author, the students fidgeted and shifted in their seats before Mrs. Baruah entered. This shows their eagerness to speak in front of their classmates. Their eagerness indicated that they had completed their assignment and were interested in sharing it with their classmates.

(iv) Ajit Basu was the first speaker. He spoke about his desire of becoming the best cricketer in the world. Sachin Tendulkar was his idol.

 (v) The next two speakers were Gayatri Chhabra and Sanjay Damle. Gayatri wanted to become a social worker, whereas Sanjay Damle wanted to become a pilot.

 (vi) Mrs. Baruah was an accomplished teacher, who had a student-centred approach of teaching.
 (a) She gave the students an assignment with which they could relate themselves, i.e., to write what they would like to be when they grew up. Consequently, all the students brought their completed assignments.
 (b) She was a strict disciplinarian. That is why the students maintained strict discipline in her class and spoke only when their turn came.


(i) ‘He’ refers to Kabeer. Kabeer seems to be a hard working and intelligent student. Though he was shy at making speeches before the entire class, he put in extra efforts to complete his assignment. He not only wrote something different from his classmates but also presented it with such confidence that he drew everybody’s attention and evoked the emotions of both his classmates and his teacher. 

(ii) No, he was not confident when he stood up to speak before the entire class. This is evident from the fact that his hands shook slightly and beads of perspiration appeared on his forehead, both being signs of nervousness.

(iii) The other children spoke about becoming social workers, pilots, movie stars, sportsmen and politicians. The speaker, unlike his classmates who spoke about the famous and successful personalities, spoke about the unsung heroes of India who laid down their lives to save the lives of their fellow countrymen, during the 2008 terrorist attacks on Mumbai.

 (iv) Major Sandeep Unnikrishnan joined NSG in January 2007. Before joining the NSG, he served two tenures with his battalion in counter-insurgency and counter-terrorist operations.

 (v) When the speaker spoke about the life of Major Unnikrishnan, there was complete silence in the class and everybody listened attentively. This was because the students were listening about the extraordinary sacrifice of a brave heart, who laid down his life, fighting the terrorists. It was different from the accounts of people about whom they had listened from their other classmates.

Workbook Answers/Solutions of A Collection of ICSE Poems and Short Stories, Journey by Night by Norah Burke

Workbook solutions of Journey by Night by Norah Burke


(i) ‘He’ refers to Sher Singh. He ran to get water, sticks and dung for the fire to get hot water for his sick, younger brother.

 (ii) The ‘child’ referred to in the extract is Sher Singh’s younger brother, Kunwar. He was suffering from acute stomach ache.

 (iii) Sher Singh’s mother was worried to see her child’s illness but she did not react at all. This was because she had gone through such ordeals many times when her other children had gradually moved towards death.

 (iv) Kalaghat was a town in the Solan district of Himachal Pradesh. It was fifty miles away from Sher Singh’s village, Laldwani. The villagers used to go Kalaghat by crossing two rivers and then taking a lift in a bullock cart or a broken-down truck.

 (v) Sher Singh was shocked to know that his brother had to be hospitalized. This was because of the belief prevalent among the jungle people that hospital was the place for those who were destined to die.

 (vi) The boy suggested that he would call his father to take his younger brother to the hospital at Kalaghat. The mother said that it would be too late before his father would reach home. It tells us that she was wise enough to judge the severity of her child’s deteriorating condition and that by the time her husband would return, the child’s condition would deteriorate further and may even prove fatal.


(i) Bahadur the Brave was the title given to Sher Singh Bahadur. He was given this title because of his deeds of courage, which 9 helped save the lives of many, whenever he accompanied an expedition in the forest in search of big game, either to photograph or shoot them.

 (ii) Bahadur lived in Laldwani village. He was a farmer by occupation. Besides farming, he was famous as a hunter.

 (iii) The members of the expeditions wanted Bahadur to join them because
 (a) he had a thorough knowledge of the forest around his village.
 (b) he was familiar with the sounds of animals and birds, which proved as an asset during a hunting or photographic expedition.

 (iv) Bahadur got scars on his body, when he was attacked by a tiger while saving one of his comrades from the tiger. The tiger’s claws tore open his flesh down his skull to the back of his shoulder and left the scars there.

 (v) Bahadur was away in jungle on a photographic expedition. His actions tells us that he was a brave and adventure-loving man, who was ever ready to be a part of any expedition in the jungle.

 (vi) Bahadur was negligent of his duties towards his family. Most of the times he used to be away in the jungle on hunting or shooting trips seeking adventure, overlooking the needs of his wife and children. It was because of Bahadur’s negligent attitude that his family suffered. Perhaps, it was Bahadur’s absence from his family for days together that his other children could not be saved from death, caused by cholera, influenza and jungle accidents.

Workbook Answers/Solutions of A Collection of ICSE Poems and Short Stories, My Lost Dollar by Stephen Leacock

Workbook Solutions of My Lost Dollar by Stephen Leacock


 (i) Todd is a Major in the army and the narrator’s friend, who had borrowed a dollar from the narrator a year ago. Todd and the narrator seem to be close friends because they meet each other frequently and the issue of the borrowed dollar does not make any difference in their trust and friendship for each other.

 (ii) Todd borrowed a dollar from the narrator to pay his taxi fare because he did not have any change with him. One year had passed since he borrowed the dollar from the narrator.

 (iii) Todd has failed to return the loan because of forgetfulness. This tells us that Todd is a careless and forgetful man.

(a) It means that the narrator’s friend’s act of borrowing a dollar and then forgetting to pay it back would not make any difference to their friendship.
 (b) The narrator means to say that if somebody borrows something from him, he will remember it throughout his life.

 (v) The human memory is strong in the case of lenders, whereas it diminishes with time in the case of the borrowers. For example, the narrator not only remembers that he had lent a dollar to his friend, Todd, but also the exact date on which he had lent the dollar. But, the borrower, i.e., the narrator’s friend, Todd not only forgets of having borrowed a dollar, he does not even get any hint from a number of indirect references made by the narrator about debts.

 (vi) No, the narrator does not seem to have any hope of being paid back the dollar his friend has borrowed. This is because a year has already passed since his friend has borrowed the dollar. He seems to have totally forgotten about it because a number of indirect references given by the narrator about debts does not have any effect in reviving his friend’s memory.


(i) Todd was away for three weeks to Hamilton, Bermuda. He wrote to the narrator about the extreme temperature conditions in Bermuda, the temperature reaching nearly 100° F.

 (ii) The narrator went to the railway station to receive Todd because he felt that his friend, Todd might feel happy to see him waiting for him on the station after being away for three weeks. This shows that the narrator values friendship and does things that makes his friend happy.

 (iii) Todd and the narrator were close friends. They liked each other’s company and therefore, met practically everyday at the club and remained in touch with each other. There existed trust and mutual understanding between the two. The small issues of one dollar did not affect their friendship in anyway.

 (iv) The University Club of Montreal, where Todd and the narrator used to meet practically everyday is referred to. The narrator suggested that they should take a taxi because that might remind his friend of the dollar he had borrowed from him a year ago for paying his taxi fare.

 (v) The narrator and his friend, Todd talked about the latter’s trip to Bermuda. Then, they talked about the currency used in Bermuda and whether it is at par with the American Dollar. During the conversation, the thought of the dollar borrowed by Todd was at the back of the narrator’s mind.

Workbook Answers/Solutions of A Collection of ICSE Poems and Short Stories, God lives in the panch by Munshi Premchand

Workbook solutions of God lives in the panch by Munshi Premchand


 (i) Alagu and Jumman were close childhood friends. They used to till their land in common, were partners in money lending business and used to take care of each other’s household, in case of either’s absence.

(ii) The secret of their mutual trust and confidence was their mutual outlook and a community of ideas.

 (iii) Jumman’s father was a strict disciplinarian, who believed in the precept, “Don’t spare the rod, or you’ll spoil him.” As a result of his precept, his son grew up to be a fine scholar, who was unequal in the entire village for drafting petitions or drawing up a deed.

 (iv) Alagu’s father believed that a teacher’s blessings are necessary for transforming a student into a fine scholar and that his blessings can be attained by keeping his hookah fresh and feeding his chillum regularly. Alagu continued with his father’s advice and spent his time serving his teacher by keeping his hookah fresh and feeding his chillum. Consequently, Alagu failed to acquire much education.

 (v) Alagu was respected in the village for his wealth, whereas Jumman was respected for his learning.

Workbook Answers/Solutions of A Collection of ICSE Poems and Short Stories, The Kabuliwala by Rabindranath Tagore

Workbook solutions of The Kabuliwala by Rabindranath Tagore


 (i) The father in the extract is the narrator and the daughter is the narrator’s daughter, Mini. It can be concluded from the daughter’s questions that she is a talkative girl, always bursting with questions. 

(ii) The two fathers in the story are — the narrator and Rahamat, the Kabuliwala. The narrator is an author by profession, whereas Rahamat is a peddler, who brings seasonal goods from his country, Afghanistan and sells them in India.

 (iii) The most important traits of the daughter’s character are that she is talkative and always questioning. Her father says that her daughter has not wasted a single moment of her life remaining silent.

 (iv) The father had started writing the seventeenth chapter of his novel, the moment his daughter, Mini, entered the room. The father shows that he is patient with his daughter by listening to her volley of questions without saying anything and later joining her prattle and having a lively talk with her.

 (v) The main theme of the story, The Kabuliwala is human relationships that exist on different levels — the relationship between a father and his daughter, represented by the narrator and his daughter, Mini; the relationship between the Kabuliwala and Mini, a representation of the Kabuliwala’s relationship with his own daughter, who is far away from him; and Mini’s relationship with her mother, who is quite protective of her daughter.


 (i) The narrator is the speaker here. He was startled to see Mini laughing and talking with the Kabuliwala because initially she was scared of the Kabuliwala. She had the unknown fear that the Kabuliwala carried several living children like herself in his bag.

 (ii) The Kabuliwala was a peddler, who used to bring dry fruits and other goods from his country, Afghanistan and sell them in India. Kabuliwala was a tall, shabbily dressed Afghan, who used to wear a turban on his head and carry a bag over his shoulder and a few boxes of dry grapes in his hand.

 (iii) The first meeting between Mini and the Kabuliwala happened when she called him to her house. But when the Kabuliwala came, she got frightened and ran inside. She came only when her father called her out. She stood nervously, pressing her father’s body and looking suspiciously at the Kabuliwala and his bag. When the Kabuliwala offered her some raisins and apricots from his bag, she refused to take them and clung closer to her father with a redoubled suspicion.

 (iv) Mini overcame her fear of Kabuliwala when her father called her from inside the house to meet the Kabuliwala. Mini’s fear of Kabuliwala carrying several children like her in his bag subsided, when the Kabuliwala took out some dry fruits from his bag and offered them to her.

 (v) The narrator paid half-a-rupee coin to the Kabuliwala for the almonds and raisins he gave to Mini as gifts. The Kabuliwala gave the money to Mini.

 (vi) When Kabuliwala gave the money paid by Mini’s father to Mini, Mini’s mother got annoyed that her daughter had accepted the money from a stranger. Mini’s father rescued Mini from her mother’s wrath by taking her out for a walk.

Workbook Answers/Solutions of A Collection of ICSE Poems and Short Stories, The Bet by - Anton Chekov

Workbook Solutions of The Bet by - Anton Chekov


(i) The old banker hosted the party. The people who attended the party included journalists, intellectuals, a lawyer and a banker. The host was in a depressing and reminiscent mood.

 (ii) Capital punishment was the topic of discussion at the party. Life imprisonment was the alternative suggested in place of capital punishment.

 (iii) The majority of guests at the party were against giving death penalty as they considered it out of date, immoral and unsuitable for Christian states.

 (iv) The host’s view was that capital punishment was more moral than life imprisonment. He justified his view by stating that capital punishment kills a man at once, whereas life imprisonment kills a man slowly.

 (v) According to the young lawyer, both capital punishment and life sentence were immoral. But given a choice, he would go for life imprisonment because to live is better than not living at all. I am in/not in favor of capital punishment:
(a) Capital punishment achieves nothing but revenge.
(b) A criminal is a mentally sick person who must be cured of his ailment rather than be destroyed completely.
(c) Capital punishment does not reform the criminal but just eliminates him.
(d) Capital punishment does not act as a deterrent against crime. The claim that capital punishment reduces violent crime is inconclusive and certainly not proven.
(a) All humans have the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. When someone willfully commits crimes against his fellow humans, he should be given capital punishment.
 (b) Lesser sentence or life imprisonment will remove the fear and deterrence instilled by capital punishment.
 (c) When the criminals will be out, they will be free to resume their nefarious activities and even take revenge against the law enforcing agencies or the relatives of the victims.


(i) The bet stipulated that if the lawyer would remain in solitary confinement for a period of fifteen years, the banker would pay him two million rubles. It was wild and senseless because by accepting it, the lawyer would lose his freedom and the best years of his life in confinement, just for the sake of getting two million rubles.

 (ii) It tells us that the banker was a mean and heartless fellow, who sought to ruin the youth and the life of the lawyer by setting inhuman and unreasonable conditions for the bet.

 (iii) The lawyer accepted the bet as a challenge and for the sake of getting two million rubles. The lawyer’s act of accepting such a bet shows him to be a daring but greedy fellow.

 (iv) The banker warned the lawyer to think again about it because by undertaking such a bet, he would lose the best years of his life in prison. He also told him that voluntary confinement is much more harder than being in compulsory confinement. He felt sorry for the lawyer because the latter would ruin his life by undertaking the bet.

 (v) The banker questioned himself about the object of the bet, the good involved in lawyers’ losing fifteen years of his life and his throwing away two million rubles and whether the bet can prove that the death penalty is better or worse than life imprisonment. The banker’s desire to prove his point that capital punishment is better than life imprisonment prompted him to risk two million rubles on a bet.

(vi) The banker cursed the bet he undertook fifteen years ago because his fortune had declined and he was himself in debt. By paying the lawyer, two million rubles, he would be ruined. The lawyer, on the other hand, decided to forfeit the bet he had undertaken fifteen years ago, to prove the futility and fleeting nature of worldly possessions.

 (vii) The bet between the lawyer and the banker was unreasonable and inhuman because it put at stake the freedom and youth of a man for fifteen long years, just to prove which of the two options — capital punishment or life imprisonment is better. The lawyer staked more because he staked his freedom and his youth by being in confinement for fifteen years, whereas the banker staked only money, which can be recovered, unlike youth and time lost, which can never be regained.

Workbook Answers/Solutions of A Collection of ICSE Poems and Short Stories, Princess September by - W. Somerset Maugham

Workbook Solution of Princess September by - W. Somerset Maugham


 (i) The king said that he would cut off the queen’s head after the birth of their twelfth daughter. The king’s decision to cut off the queen’s head was strange because he was extremely fond of his queen. The queen felt uneasy on hearing the king’s decision to cut off her head because she knew that the king would be unhappy after doing so.

 (ii) The king and queen had nine daughters. They were named after the months of the year, because they were nine and the days of the week were not sufficient to name then. The king’s daughter’s were first named after the four seasons, then the days of the week and finally months in a year.

 (iii) Princess September had a very sweet and charming nature, whereas her elder sisters had embittered characters. The difference in their nature was because Princess September, being the youngest, had just one name, September, whereas her elder sisters’ names had been changed often, with the change in number of their siblings. The elder sisters of Princess September out of jealousy offered to buy her a green and yellow parrot to replace her singing nightingale.

 (a) The King’s liking for the parrot’s greeting, ‘God Save the King’ shows that he loved flattery.
 (b) The King’s act of giving presents on his birthday shows that he did not value the feelings or sentiments of those who used to gift him presents on other occasions as he used to give those presents to others on his birthday.

 (v) Although the king was fond of the queen, yet he decided to have her head cut off. This shows that he was not emotionally attached to her. The queen was finally saved when she gave birth to sons only and named them after the letters of the alphabet.

Thursday, 14 January 2016

Workbook Answers/Solutions of A Collection of ICSE Poems and Short Stories, The Last Leaf by - O' Henry


 (i) The first speaker in the extract is the doctor, who has come to examine Johnsy. He is an optimistic person, who strongly believes in the power of positive thinking.

 (ii) The ‘little lady’ is a reference for Johnsy. She is suffering from pneumonia.

 (iii) The ‘little lady’ has only one in ten chances of recovery. This is because she has lost her will to live and therefore, even the medicines fail to have any positive effect on her.

(iv) To the first speaker’s last question in the extract, Sue replied that a man is not worth thinking and Johnsy does not have a man on her mind. Johnsy does not consider men worth giving attention. This shows that she does not have a positive attitude towards men.

 (v) The ‘little lady’ actually has all the negative thoughts regarding her death on her mind. She believes that when the last ivy leaf falls from the vine, her life too will come to an end.

(vi) The first speaker, i.e., the doctor assured Sue that if she would be able to make Johnsy ask one question about the latest winter styles in cloak sleeves, he would promise one-in-five chances for Johnsy’s survival, instead of one in ten.

(i) Johnsy and Sue are two young artists, who share an apartment. They first met six months ago at a group table in Delmonico’s, a restaurant in New York City.

 (ii) The two girls’ common tastes and interests in art, chicory salad and bishop sleeves made them start a joint studio.

 (iii) Johnsy was looking outside the window to watch the leaves falling from an ivy vine on the wall of the opposite brick house. She was counting the number of the leaves falling from the ivy vine.

 (iv) She was sketching a pair of elegant horse show riding trousers and a monocle of the figure of the hero, an Idaho cowboy.

 (v) Johnsy had taken strange fancy to the falling ivy leaves from the vine. She believed that with the fall of the last ivy leaf from the vine, her life too would come to an end.

 (vi) She told Johnsy that her chances of recovery were ten to one. She told a lie to Johnsy to keep up her sagging spirits and revive a hope of survival in Johnsy.


(i) The first speaker here is ‘Johnsy’. She is waiting for the last leaf to fall from the vine and also her impending death.

 (ii) Johnsy told Sue to tell her when the last leaf from ivy vine would fall because she wanted to see the last leaf fall.

 (iii) Behrman is a painter by profession, who lives in the apartment beneath Sue and Johnsy. Behrman is an old man past sixty. He has a beard that looks like the beard of Moses, a sculpture by Michael Angelo. His beard curls down from his head and makes him look like a mythological creature having a man’s face and body of a little man that has magic powers but behaves badly.

 (iv) No, Behrman was not considered a professional success because in the last forty years of his career, he has not painted anything extraordinary.

 (v) Behrman used to earn his living by serving as a model to those young artists, who could not afford a professional for the purpose.

 (vi) Behrman’s attitude towards Sue and Johnsy was fraternal affection, for he was a striving artist like the two girls. Further, he had a fatherly affection for them for he considered himself as ‘especial mastiff-in-waiting’ to protect the two girls.

(i) When Behrman came to know about Johnsy’s strange fancy concerning the last leaf, he became quite angry and expressed his contempt and derision for such an idiotic imagination.

(ii) Behrman refused to pose as a model for Sue in the beginning because he was angry with Sue for allowing Johnsy to harbour such a strange fancy concerning the last leaf and her own death.

(iii) The strange fancy which has filled Johnsy’s mind was that she would die the very moment the last ivy leaf on the vine would fall.

(iv) Yes, Behrman after refusing initially, finally agreed to pose as a model for Sue. He did so because he had a fatherly affection for Sue and Johnsy and was concerned for their well-being. This shows that Behrman was a noble soul, whose heart was full of gentle feelings.