|An Angel in Disguise|
(i). How did the woman die? Give the meaning of -- "Death touches the spring of our common humanity."
Ans: The woman was died due to intoxication on the threshold of her house in front of her three scared children. The sentence "Death touches the spring of our common humanity" means all humanity is afflicted by death. The expression "spring of our common humanity" means all men and women are like flowers blossoming in the spring season. And death is the blight that withers these flowers. In simple words, the sentence means all human beings in the world, irrespective of their colour, religion, nationality, financial status, etc, have to die one day.
(ii). What kind of relations did the woman have with others? Why do you think it was so?
Ans: The woman did not have a good or pleasant relationship with others. She was not liked by the people of the village due to her bad behaviour and habits of drinking. She used to be hated, ridiculed at and angrily criticized by the people.
(iii) What change occurred in the behaviour of the neighbours after the woman's death?
Ans: The neighbours' attitude was changed as they heard about the death of the woman. The woman had three children John, Kate, and Maggie all of them were very young and little. When the mother of the children died they were helpless and in poor condition. The neighbours also felt pity for them as they had no food and clothes and had no one to take care of them.
(iv) What kind of living conditions were the woman and her children subjected to?
Ans. The woman and her children were subjected to pathetic living conditions. They lived in an old tumbled down hut. It was more than a place of shelter from summer & winter cold. The woman did not even have decent clothes of her own to be used for her burial.
(v) What was the prospective future of the children after the death of their mother? In the end of the story which child do you think was surrounded with love? Why?
Ans: The eldest child, John was adopted by farmer Jones. Kate, a girl between ten and eleven years was adopted by Mrs. Ellis, who had been looking out for a bound girl. But Maggie who had injured herself two years ago was not adopted by anyone. At the end of the story, Maggie was surrounded with love because Mr. and Mrs. Thompson giving her love as father and mother and consider Maggie as an Angel in Disguise.
(i)Who was glanced at with pity? Why?
Ans. Maggie was glanced at with pity. She was a boon like an angel but was not adopted by anyone as she was disabled. Nobody wanted to take her as she was crippled for the whole life.
(ii) Give the meaning of:
a) "her wan and wasted form."
b) "even knocked at them for entrance."
Ans. a) Maggie, the youngest child of dead mother looked pale and thin. And also as she was disabled for her whole life.
b) Maggie's innocence and sadness attracted everyone to take her with them.
(iii) Which incident made the child bed-ridden? Why did the mothers bring cast-off garments for Maggie?
Ans. Two years ago, Maggie had fallen from the window and had injured her spine which made her bed-ridden. The mothers brought cast-off garments for Maggie since she had lost her mother and had no one to look after her needs. Thus the garments were brought in order to wrap her in clean clothes so that she would be sent to the poor house.
(iv) Which shelter was suggested by one of the neighbours for the "bed-ridden" child? Why?
Ans. It was suggested that Maggie should be taken to the poor-house because for her it would be a blessed change where she will be kept clean, have healthy food, and be doctored.
(v) What role does the child play in the life of:
a) Joe Thompson
b) Jane Thompson?
a) Because of Maggie, Joe Thompson dared to argue with his wife which he usually didn't do. Later on, Maggie filled his life with love, happiness, and joy.
b) Being a childless woman, she had become ill-tempered, irritable and desolate, with nobody to take care of. But Maggie's presence aroused motherly feelings in her and brought back happiness and joy in her life.
(i) Who are having a conversation in the above extract? What is the main topic of their conversation?
Ans. Joe Thompson and Blacksmith's wife were having a conversation in the above extract. They were discussing, where Maggie should be sent after her mother had passed away.
(ii) Why was Maggie’s effort to raise herself painful?
Ans. Maggie's effort to raise herself was painful because she was a crippled child as she had injured her spine two years ago by falling from the window.
(iii) What thought terrified Maggie? What did she exclaim to Mr. Thompson?
Ans. The thought of being left all alone terrified Maggie because both his brother and sister were adopted but she was left alone in the hovel. She exclaimed to Mr. Thomson "Don't leave me here all alone.
(iv) Why do you think the man stood with a "puzzled air"? What did he do when he went into the hovel?
Ans. The man stood with a "puzzled air" because he did not know what to do. Neither did he want to leave Maggie alone, nor did he wish to send her to the poor house. When he went into the hovel, he supported Maggie and told her that she would not be left there alone. He wrapped her with his hands and bore her out into the air across the field.
(v) What kind of man was Joe Thompson? Give reasons to justify your answers.
Ans. Mr. Thompson was a rough and tough man. But unlike his external appearance, he was a kind-hearted man. Because he was only one person in the whole village who helped Maggie and cared for her.
(i) Whom did Mrs. Thompson see approaching? What "precious burden" was he carrying? Why is the burden precious?
Ans. Mrs. Thompson saw Joe Thompson approaching. He was carrying Maggie, who is regarded as a "precious burden". She was referred to be precious because she turned to an angel in disguise, who filled Thompson's home and heart with love.
(ii) What did Mrs. Thompson ask her husband? How did Joe Thompson react to it?
Ans. Seeing the child in her husband’s arm, Mrs. Joe Thompson sharply questioned: “What have you there?”. Joe did not reply immediately but pleaded and cautioned his wife with his looks, which asked her to be gentle. Joe spoke to his angry wife only after comfortably placing Maggie on a bed.
(iii) Describe Joe Thompson’s behaviour, since the day he brought the sick child home?
Ans. Joe formed a bond with the child as soon as he lifted her in his arms. Usually, Joe Thompson kept rigidly silent in front of his wife but that day he displayed a firmly-set countenance and a resolute pair of eyes.
He also answered his wife with real indignation for Maggie, something which he never did before.
iv) What reason did Joe Thompson give his wife for bringing the child home? What does it reveal about Joe Thompson's character?
Ans. Joe Thompson told his wife that he had brought Maggie home because she herself can't walk to the poorhouse. He would take her there the next day speaking to the guardians of the poor house regarding it. This reveals that he is a kind-hearted man.
v) What was the reaction of Mrs. Thompson when the sick child was brought in? How did her attitude change later? What, do you think, brought about the change?
Ans. Mrs. Thompson was at first, angry and continually questioned Joe about the fate of the child. Her loneliness and lack of a child had worsened her temperament and made her a cold-hearted person. Taking care of a little girl brought about changes in her previously cold heart and also aroused feelings of motherly love in her heart. The prescience of the child brought about the birth of feelings of motherly love which thawed her cold heart and made her able to love again.
(i) To whom did Mrs. Thompson not reply? Who was Maggie? What made Mrs. Thompson move towards Maggie in the little chamber?
Ans. Mrs. Thompson did not reply to Joe Thompson's question. Maggie was a bedridden child and badly diseased child who was taken by Mr. Thompson. Joe asked Mrs. Thompson to be kind by giving the views of Christ on little children. He also reminded her of Maggie's dead mother and loneliness, pain, and sorrow, which Maggie was undergoing at the movement. This brought a change in the heart of Mrs. Thompson and she went to see Maggie.
(ii) Why did Joe leave his wife alone with the child? What did Joe see when he came back home from his shop?
Ans. Joe was unsure as to how his wife, Mrs. Thompson would interact with Maggie although she permitted Maggie to live in the house. That is why he felt that it was appropriate to leave Maggie with his wife alone and went about for his work. Joe saw a light shining in Maggie's room. He saw Maggie's face through the window and also observed that his wife’s attitude towards Maggie had softened and she was caring towards the child.
(iii) Why did Joe consider light shining through the windows as a good omen?
Ans. Joe considered the light shining through the window a good omen because it was a sign of hope that revealed the change in Mrs. Thompson's attitude towards the girl. The lights symbolized to him the sunshine of love that would now fall upon their home.
(iv) Describe briefly Joe Thompson's characteristics traits as reflected in this extract.
Ans. Joe Thompson is a kind and generous person from within, who in spite of a having a hard exterior was quite soft-hearted from inside. He greatly enjoyed the company of children. Although he was quite a strong person, his association with Magnet, touched him deeply and he became extremely emotional at the disability of Maggi when the child was completely left alone. He even wanted to look after the helpless child which reflects his kindness and empathy. He even confronted his wife for being curious about bringing Maggi to home.
(v) What did Joe gather from Maggie’s facial expression? To what extent, did it relieve him? Why did it relieve him?
Ans. Joe was greatly relieved by Maggie’s facial expressions. When Joe Thompson returned home from his shop, he saw his wife talking to Maggie sitting on the bed with her back towards the window. Then he was trying to read the character of their conversation. From Maggie’s facial expression he came to know that his wife was asking questions and the girl was uttering a few words in answers. Though her expression was sad and tender, there was no sign of bitterness or pain.