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A. Complete the table with details from the story:


B. Answer the following questions:

1. “I can’t find the school spoon anywhere. And it’s brimstone morning today!”
a. Who said these words? Who else was present at the time?
b. Describe the speaker’s appearance. Why did the speaker need the spoon?
c. What happened on ‘brimstone morning’? And what, according to Mrs Squeers, was the purpose of it? What was the real reason for giving it to the boys?
d. Why did the boys agree to have the mixture?

Ans: a. Mrs Squeers said the abovementioned words. Smike was called in the room and was asked about the spoon.
b. When Mrs Squeers came to the room to ask for the spoon, she was wearing her night clothes and an ancient beaver bonnet. She needed the spoon to give brimstone and treacle to the boys, so that they don’t create trouble by falling sick. This would also reduce appetite, so they wouldn’t eat lots of food.
c. On the brimstone morning, the boys would get a dosage of the brimstone and treacle which was used as a tonic against certain ailments. When asked, Mrs Squeers said that it was for the purpose of purifying the boys’ blood. The real reason was to keep them from getting sick, so that they don’t create trouble by falling sick. This would also reduce appetite, so they wouldn’t eat a lot.
d. The boys were scared of getting punished, thus, they would consume the mixture.

2. “This is the class in English spelling and philosophy, Nickleby.”
a. What method of teaching was followed in the school, according to Mr Squeers?
b. How did he demonstrate the method to Nicholas?
c. Describe the classroom.
d. Why was Nicholas filled with dismay when he saw the students?
e. What did Nicholas understand about the Squeers from this episode?

Ans: a. Mr Squeers mentioned that the school followed a practical mode of teaching.
b. He called for the first boy, who was cleaning the lounge window. He spelt “clean winder” separately. According to him, when the boy would understand the words, he would go and do the task. He used another example of “bottiney.” According to him, when the boy knew that the word meant knowledge of plants, he would do his task of weeding and knowing more about them.


[blur]c. The schoolroom was chilled and had a stove in the corner of the room.
d. Nicholas saw that the teaching methods included lots of punishments. The boys would be afraid of these punishments, and they would regularly see their friends getting punished. He saw how miserable the boys are. Thus, it filled him with dismay whenever he saw them.
e. Nicholas realised that the Squeers used to treat the boys badly. Mrs Squeers would hit them and scold them. He also found out deficiencies in the teaching methods of Mr Squeers. He felt that the Squeers were not at all kind people.
3. ‘Touch that boy at your peril. I will not stand by and see it done.’
a. Who said these words and to whom?
b. Who is the boy being spoken about? What had he done?
c. Why was he going to be punished severely?
d. What made the speaker say these words? Describe what happened after this.
e. What role did Mrs Squeers play in the scene? Was it of any help?
Ans: a. Nicholas said these words to Mr Squeers.
b. The boy being spoken about is Smike. He ran away because he could not face the torment of Squeers anymore.
c. Mr Squeers would punish boys who tried to run away, by extreme means. Thus, he hit Smike.
d. Nicholas could not tolerate the torment on the boys anymore. Thus, he decided to step up and defend the innocent boys. He pounced upon Mr Squeers, and snatched the cane from him. He started beating Mr Squeers up. After this, he left and packed his bag. Finally, Nicholas chose to go back to London.
e. Mrs Squeers started crying for help, and tried to pull her husband away but was not successful.
C. Fill in the blanks with the noun forms of the given words:
a) People were admiring the beauty (beautiful) of the white roses.
b) The failure (fail) of this plan will have serious results.
c) I had to pay a heavy cancellation (cancel) charge for my flight ticket.
d) The submission (submit) date for the project is almost here.
e) We rushed out hearing some disturbance (disturb) in the street.
f) I have great admiration (admire) for his courage in a difficult situation.
g) The youngster’s knowledge (know) of history astonished the professors.
h) The realisation (realize) that he had been tricked came to him suddenly.
D. Fill in the blanks with the correct word pairs and state whether they are homonyms, homophones or homographs:
2. a. The morning dew on the grass made my shoes wet.
b. I could not go to school due to fever. (homophones)
3. a. The king asked the proud general to bow before him.
b. The child looked pretty with her hair tied back with a neat bow. (homographs)
4. a. The animals were herded into the pen.
b. Can you lend me your ink pen? (homonym)
5. a. The sly minister tried to meddle in the emperor’s business, and got punished.
b. The girl received a medal for her bravery. (homophones)
6. a. The night sky in the desert looks beautiful.
b. For dessert we had caramel pudding, with ice cream. (homophones)
7. a. We need flour, butter, eggs and sugar to bake a cake.
b. The annual flower show is very popular with the residents of the area. (homophones)
8. a. We learned about the life cycle of a caterpillar today.
b. The learned professor was looking for an able assistant. (homographs)
E. Change the sentences from active to passive voice:
a. She is drinking a cup of coffee.
Ans: A cup of coffee is being drunk by her.
b. The officers will bring you the papers.
Ans: The papers will be brought to you by the officers.
c. Manoj has made a birthday card for his mother.
Ans: A birthday card has been made by Manoj for his mother.
d. Rehan played the piano beautifully.
Ans: The piano was beautifully played by Rehan.
e. The police questioned him for two hours.
Ans: He was questioned by the police for two hours.
f. I cooked this meal especially for you.
Ans: The meal was cooked by me especially for you.
F. Change the sentences from passive to active voice:
a. The thief was finally caught by the villagers.
Ans: The villagers finally caught the thief.
b. By whom were you taught how to paint?
Ans: Who taught you how to paint?
c. Has the homework been done by you?
Ans: Have you done the homework?
d. The cat was chased by the dog all around the yard.
Ans: The dog chased the cat all around the yard.
e. A pair of brown shoes were bought by Mridul.
Ans: Mridul bought a pair of brown shoes.
f. Bina has been known to me for five years.
Ans: I have known Bina for five years.
G. Fill in the blanks with correct conjunctions:
1. He was lazy and was often late for school.
2. Aparna ate her lunch while she waited for the bus.
3. The thief stole not only my wallet but also my lunch box.
4. Although it was late, I stayed up to finish my homework.
5. Rakesh can neither do the chores at home, nor help out at the farm.
6. Although it was raining, yet they went sightseeing.
7. The children won’t learn unless we give them extra classes.
Additional questions & answers:
1. “Being older than the others, he had
suffered many more years of ill-treatment.”-
a) Who is ‘he’ in the above line?
b) What ‘ill-treatment’ is the author talking about?
c) Who used to treat them badly?
Ans: a) ‘He’ refers to Smike in this context.
b) The boys were ill-treated by the Squeers. They were often beaten by Mr Squeers, and insulted by Mrs Squeers. Also, they did not get a lot to eat, and were not cared for.
c) Mr and Mrs Squeers used to treat the boys badly.
2. What did Nicholas feel about the ‘practical’ mode of teaching?
Ans: Nicholas spotted many discrepancies in the ‘practical’ mode of teaching that Mr Squeers followed. He saw that the boys were extremely scared of punishments. The young boys would do everything that the Squeers wanted them to do. He felt pity for the students.
3. Describe the character Mrs Squeers.
Ans: Mrs Squeers was the wife of Mr Squeers, and she was the mistress of the boarding hall. Her task was to take care of the boys. Through the story, one can conclude that she was not a kind soul. She used to treat the boys very badly and sometimes hit them too. When Smike told her that the school spoon was in her pocket, she got furious and scolded Smike for contradicting her.
1. Why could Nicholas not wash himself in the morning?
A) He was too lazy
B) The pump was frozen
C) He was late for class
D) Mr Squeers asked him to skip shower for the day
Ans: B) The pump was frozen.
2. What was Mrs Squeers looking for in the beginning of the story?
A) The school spoon
B) Her beaver bonnet
C) Bowls to serve the mixture
D) A notebook
Ans: A) The school spoon.
3. “We purify the boys’ blood with it now and then”- Who is the speaker?
A) Mr Squeers
B) Nicholas
C) Smike
D) Mrs Squeers
Ans: D) Mrs Squeers.
4. What did the boys eat for breakfast?
A) Brown porridge and a small piece of bread
B) Pancakes and maple syrup
C) Soup and breadsticks
D) Bread toast and fruits
Ans: A) Brown porridge and a small piece of bread.
5. What was Mrs Squeers’ behaviour towards the boys?
A) She was a kind soul and loved the boys
B) She was mean and rude to them
C) She did not care much about the boys and did not look after them
D) She used to only like Smike
Ans: B) She was mean and rude to them.[/blur]

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