|The Little Match Girl|
(i). What was special about the particular evening in the story? What kind of weather was there in the evening?
Ans. The special thing about the particular evening in the story is that it was the last evening of the old year. It was New Year’s Eve. The weather was bitterly cold, Snow was falling and darkness was gathering.
(ii). The girl had slippers on, but they were of no use. Why? What happened to the slippers?
Ans. The slippers that the girl was wearing belonged to her dead mother. They were too big for her and hence were of no use. Moreover, one of them had lost when she cross the street to escape from two carriages, and another had been taken by a naughty boy.
(iii) How can you conclude from the extract that the girl was poor and dejected?
Ans. The girl was dejected and poor in a very sense because she was bare feet and was sent out on a cold night to sell matches. She did not have the warm clothes to protect herself from the cold nor she had footwear to protect her feet. No one bought matches from her so she was unable to earn a single penny. She was shivering and hungry.
(iv) Why was the girl out in the cold? What prevented her from going back home?
Ans. The girl was out in the cold to sell some matches so that she can earn some money. The girl did not dare to go home as she was unable to earn a single penny. Her father would surely beat her if she returned empty hand; moreover, it was so cold at home because there was nothing but a roof above them and the wind whistled through that.
(v) How appropriate is the title of the story? Give reasons to support your answer.
Ans. The title "The Little Match Girl" is quite an apt title as it revolves around a little girl, who sells matches. She had not given a name as she represents one of the many poor children belonging to the lower class in the Victorian Era, who had to face hardship because of poverty.
(i)Who is referred to as a little girl in the extract above? How did she lose her shoes?
Ans. "The Little Match Girl" or the protagonist of the story is referred to as a little girl in the extract. She lost one of her slippers when she crosses the street to escape from two carriages, and another had been taken by a naughty boy.
(ii) Why was the girl carrying matches with her?
Ans. The girl was carrying matches with her because she was trying to sell matches to earn money as she belongs to a poor family. She has lost her mother and her father is a very cruel man who forces his daughter to sell matches.
(iii) Why does the author describe the girl as a 'picture of misery'?
Ans. The author describes the girl as a 'picture of misery' because she was shivering with cold as she had no warm clothes and footwear to protect herself from the cold. She was hungry since morning and had no one to look after her at home.
(iv) What has not anybody bought from her and why? What was this act of selling used as a front of?
Ans. Nobody had bought matches from her because people were inside their houses enjoying the warmth and Laziness inside. This act of selling matches by the little girl shows the condition of the children in the Victorian Society.
(v) Explain how is the story interspersed with didactic elements. Give two examples of imagery used in this extract.
Ans. A didactic story is the one that is intended to teach people a moral lesson. This story is meant to teach, especially the wealthy, to show empathy for those, who do not have the basic necessities of life. It reminds them not to overlook the needs of their less fortunate brethren, especially innocent children. The author has used tactile imagery in the given extract. For example:
1. Her naked feet are becoming red and blue with cold.
2. Her hand became numb with cold.
(i) Where was the girl sitting? How did she try to warm her fingers?
Ans. The girl huddled down in a heap in a corner formed by two houses, one of which projected further out into the street than the other. Her thin hands were almost numb with the cold, which she tried to warm up by lighting match sticks.
(ii) Why did the girl do not dare to go home? Give reasons to support your answer.
Ans. The girl did not dare to go home because nobody has purchased matches from her. She did not earn even a penny. She knew if she would go home now his father will surely beat her.
(iii) Explain what kind of relationship the girl shared with her father.
Ans. The girl had an affectionless relation with her father. Her father was ruthless who sent her out to earn money in such a cold. She was a victim of child abuse and was not fed and clothed properly. She was scared to go home for the fear of being beaten by her father. The warmth of love which she should have got from her father was substituted by her lighting matches.
(iv) With reference to the story, bring out the theme of class differentiation.
Ans. The story portrays a realistic and crude view of society in the Victorian Era. It also deals with the theme of class differentiation. The depiction of the girl's clothes and her house with only the roof, through which wind whistled and large cracks stuffed with straw and rags, indicate that she belonged to the 'under-class' of the society. It was because of their poor financial condition that the little girl was sent on a cold night to sell matches.
(v) The children in Victorian society were not only orphaned but also deserted, neglected and abused. Give evidence from the story to prove this statement. Compare the life of children in rural India with children in Victorian society.
Ans. This sentence is proved as the little girl was selling the matches on the New Year's Eve, when others were enjoying in the Lazy corners. In Indian society, also many children in rural areas are subjected to the poverty, hunger and child labour.
(i) Who was 'she' referred to in the extract? Where was she? What happened when she lit the match stick?
Ans. The little match girl is referred to as she. She was sitting in a corner in the street. As soon as she lit the second match stick its light fell on the wall. She felt as if the wall had become transparent and she would see a sumptuous feast inside the room.
(ii) What did the girl see in the room when she lit the second match? What happened to these things after a moment?
Ans. The girl saw that there was a big table kept in the room. It was covered with a white sheet. The beautiful crockery of bone china was arranged on the table. A roasted goose was kept in the center of the table and its delicious smell was out in the air. After a moment, when the match stick blew out then nothing can be seen by the girl, all those things were disappeared and the only thick, cold wall can be seen.
(iii) Explain how the girl’s visions are symbolic of her undying hope.
Ans. A poor small, girl, suffering from cold, hunger and apathy of the people around her was capable of imagining certain things, which she must have longed for and which made her feel better, including an iron stove, a huge Christmas tree and a table laden with delicious food. The girl imagines her deceased grandmother's face, just because she had faith and hope.
iv) What does the light from the matches symbolize in the story?
Ans. It is by the lighting the matches that the little girl tried to keep herself warm and it is in the light of the matches that she sees the visions of an iron stove, a sumptuous feast, a twinkling Christmas tree, and her late grandmother. Thus, the matches in the story are symbolic of warmth from cold and the warmth of love, which the little girl was longing for. The matches are also symbolic of the light of God and hope.
v) Explain why the girl lit the whole bundle of matches at the end of the story? How does this reflect on her mental state?
Ans. When the little girl lit the match stick for the third time she saw her old grandmother. She was delighted to see her and said to her to take her along. She did not want her to vanish. As the rest of her visions had vanished so she lit up the entire bundle of matches to keep her grandmother in visibility. She longed for the love and affection which she could receive only from her grandmother.
(i) Which girl is referred to in the extract above? What does her "rosy cheeks" and "smiling lips" tell us about her?
Ans. The little girl who was selling the matches is referred to here. Her "rosy cheeks" and "smiling lips" signify that she had wonderful visions before her death. Now she was free from the anxieties of cold, hunger and fear as she had entered into the spare glory and joy.
(ii) What is referred to as "beautiful visions" in the extract above? How does the girl encounter these "beautiful visions"?
Ans. The visions which the little girl had in the light of the match stick is referred to as "beautiful visions" in the extract above. The girl was feeling cold. Her hands and feet were becoming numb due to cold so she lited the match sticks to warm herself when she encountered these visions.
(iii) What kind of relationship existed between the girl and her grandmother?
Ans. The little girl's grandmother was dead but was the only person, whom she fondly remembered. She has been described as the only one who loved the little girl. It seems that the little girl used to hear stories from her grandmother. She remembered her grandmother's view about the stars falling from the sky. The memory of her grandmother's love helped her to keep warm for some time, when the passers-by remained oblivious to her suffering.
(iv) How does the extract bring out the hope for a better life after death?
Ans. The girl had the hope that she would pull through the difficulties and therefore, she continued to keep herself warm by lighting the matches. She had faith in God that he would help her. When she lit a match and saw her grandmother, she did not want to lose her and therefore, lit the whole bundle of matches. She pleaded with her grandmother to take her to heaven with her where there would be neither cold nor hunger, nor any abuse.
(v) Give the brief character sketch of the little match girl. How is she a representative of children in Victorian Society?
Ans. The little nameless girl is the main character of the story. Though her age is not mentioned in the story, but from the size of the slippers, which belonged to her mother and which are too big for her, it appears that she might have been between seven to ten years old. Besides, she has been described as having tiny feet and little hands. She had rosy cheeks and long curly hairs. She belonged to a poor household, as is reflected through the description of her house.
On a chilly winter evening, she did not have enough warm clothes to protect herself from cold. She had to walk bare feet through the snow. She was sent out, on the last evening of the year, by her father to sell matches. Since begging was illegal during the Victorian Era, the poor used to sell matches on the street as a front for begging.
The little girl was a victim of child abuse. She was not fed and clothed properly by her family. She had to earn money herself by selling matches. The little girl was brave and faith in God. She did not give up despite hardships. She tried to keep herself warm by lighting matches and survive the pangs of cold and hunger.
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