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Extra Questions and Answers for The Portrait of a Lady Class 11 English The Portrait of a Lady

Important questions for Chapter 1 The Portrait of a Lady has been prepared by our expert teachers. Students can read and learn from these questions and these are very important in their examination. Class 11 English Hornbill The Portrait of a Lady extra questions are very helpful in understanding the chapter. It also help in the revision of the chapter. Students can rely on these important questions and answers taken from the chapter The Portrait of a Lady to get good marks in their English Paper. By understanding these questions, students will be have better knowledge of the story.

Extra Questions and Answers for The Portrait of a Lady Class 11 English The Portrait of a Lady

The Portrait of a Lady Extra Questions Class 10 English

Short Answer Type Questions for The Portrait of a Lady

Question 1: How long had the narrator known his grandmother—old and wrinkled? What did people say? How did the narrator react?

Answer

The narrator had known his grandmother- old and wrinkled for the last twenty years. She was terribly old. Perhaps she could not have looked older. People said that she had once been young and pretty. They said that she even had a husband. The narrator found it hard to believe.


Question 2: How did the narrator’s grandfather appear in the portrait?

Answer

His grandfather looked very old. He had a long white beard. His clothes were loose fitting. He wore a big turban. He looked too old to have a wife or children. He looked at least a hundred years old. He could have only lots and lots of grandchildren.


Question 3: Which thought about the grandmother was often revolting and for whom?

Answer

The narrator’s grandmother was very old and wrinkled. She had stayed at this stage for the last twenty years. People said that once she was young and pretty. The narrator couldn’t even imagine her being young. So the thought was revolting to him.


Question 4: Explain: “As for my grandmother being young and pretty, the thought was almost revolting”.

Answer

The narrator’s grandmother was terribly old. She could not appear young and beautiful. Her face was a criss-cross of wrinkles. She was short, fat and slightly bent. The very idea of her being young and pretty did not appeal to the mind.


Question 5: The narrator’s grandmother ‘could never have been pretty, but she was always beautiful’. Explain the importance of the statement.

Answer

She was terribly old to appear pretty. Her face was a criss-cross of wrinkles. She was short, fat and slightly bent. She didn’t create any physical appeal or attraction. However, in her spotless white dress and grey hair she was a picture of serenity, peace, sobriety and beauty.


Question 6: Why was it hard for the author to believe that his grandmother was once young and pretty?

Answer

She was quite an old lady. She had been old and wrinkled for more than two decades. It is said that once she had been young and pretty. But it is hard to believe so.


Question 7: The narrator’s grandmother looked like the ‘winter landscape in the mountains’. Comment.

Answer

The grandmother was always dressed in spotless white. She had silvery hair. Her white locks spread untidily over her pale and wrinkled face. She looked like an expanse of pure white serenity. The stretch of snow over the mountains looks equally white and peaceful. So her silvery locks and white dress made her look like the winter landscape in the mountains.


Question 8: How did the narrator and his grandmother become good friends?

Answer

During his childhood, the narrator stayed with his grandmother in the village. She was his constant companion. She looked after him. She used to wake him up. She got him ready for school in the morning. She would give him breakfast. She went to school with him.


Question 9: Why could the grandmother not walk straight? How would she move about the house?

Answer

The grandmother was short and fat. She was also slightly bent. She put one hand on her waist to support the stoop. She could not walk straight. She walked like a lame person. She limped or hobbled about while moving.


Question 10: Describe how the grandmother spent her time while the narrator sat inside the village school.

Answer

The grandmother went to the school with the narrator. The school was attached to the temple. The narrator would learn alphabet and morning prayer at school. The grandmother would sit inside the temple. There she would read holy books. Thus she spent her time before they came back together.


Question 11: Grandmother has been portrayed as a very religious lady. What details in the story create this impression?

Answer

She visited the temple every morning and read scriptures. At home she always mumbled inaudible prayer and kept telling the beads of rosary. She would repeat prayers in a sing-song manner while getting the narrator ready for school. All these details create the impression that she was a religious lady.


Question 12: The grandmother had a divine beauty. How does the author bring this out?

Answer

The grandmother’s silvery locks scattered untidily over her pale and wrinkled face. This made her look like an expanse of pure white serenity. She had a divine beauty. She looked like the winter landscape in the mountains.


Question 13: What proofs do you find of the friendship between grandmother and grandson in this story?

Answer

The grandmother was closely attached to the narrator in his childhood. She woke him, got him ready and took him to school. She prepared his wooden slate. She waited in the temple while he studied in school. They returned home together.


Question 14: The grandmother was a kind-hearted woman. Give examples in support of your answer.

Answer

Grandmother had a very kind heart. She loved her grandson. She loved even birds and animals. In the village, she fed the street dogs. In the city, she would feed the sparrows.


Question 15: What is the significance of sparrows in grandmothers life?

Answer

When grandmother shifted to the city, she spent half an hour everyday feeding the sparrows. The birds became very friendly with her and came everyday in the verandah of her house. It was the happiest hour of the day. When she died after her short illness, hundreds of sparrows flew in the verandah and sat near her body. They were quiet and not chirping . They even ignored the bread crumbs given by the author’s mother. In this way they expressed their grief and their bonding with the grandmother.


Question 16: Give a pen picture of narrator’s grandfather as he appeared in the portrait?

Answer

The narrator’s grandfather looked like a hundred years old man in the portrait. He had a long white flowing beard. It came up to his chest. It looked as if he had lots and lots of grandchildren.



Question 17: Did the narrator like his grandmother telling him of the games she played as a child? If not, why?

Answer

The grandmother often told her grandson about the games she played as a child. Her stories looked quite funny. She looked childish. The narrator didn’t take them very seriously.


Question 18: Why did the grandmother keep one hand on her waist?

Answer

The grandmother was very old. She was slightly bent. She had to keep one of her two hands on her waist. She did so to balance her stoop.

Question 19: Explain. “As for my grandmother being young and pretty, the thought was almost revolting?”

Answer

The narrator’s grandmother was terribly old. She could not appear young and beautiful. Her face was a criss-cross of wrinkles. She was short, fat and slightly bent. The very idea of her being young and pretty did not appeal to the mind.


Question 20: How long had the narrator known his grandmother ‘old and wrinkled’? What did people say? How did the narrator react?

Answer

The narrator had known his grandmother to be old and wrinkled for the last twenty years. Shewas terribly old. Perhaps she could not become older. People said that she had once been young and pretty. They said that she even had a husband. The narrator found it hard to believe.


Question 21: Explain. “Old, so terribly old that she could not have grown older …. . . ”

Answer

The grandmother looked extremely old. She couldn’t have grown older anymore. She looked the same terribly old lady for the last twenty years.



Question 22: Why did the grandmother hate music?

Answer

The grandmother actually hated music. She thought that music was meant only for prostitutes and beggars. Music was not meant for school children from respectable families. It was not meant for gentle folk.


Question 23: The narrator’s grandmother looked like ‘the winter landscape in the mountains’. Comment.

Answer

The grandmother always wore spotless white clothes. Her locks of hair also looked silver white. Her spotless white dress and silver white hair made her look like the snowy mountains in winter. It is also because she exuberated peace and tranquility like the mountains.


Question 24: The grandmother had a divine beauty. How does the author bring it out?

Answer

The grandmother’s silvery locks scattered untidily over her pale and wrinkled face. This made her look like an expanse of pure white serenity. She had a divine beauty. She looked like the winter landscape in the mountains.

Question 25: How were the grandmother and the narrator good and intimate friends?

Answer

Actually, both of them were like good and intimate friends, she woke him up early in the morning and got him ready for school. She gave him a breakfast of stale bread with a little butter and sugar spread on it. She accompanied him to his school.


Question 26: Why did the grandmother accompany the narrator to his school? What did she do there?

Answer

The grandmother accompanied her grandson to his school. Actually, the school was attached to a temple. She sat inside the temple reading scriptures while he studied at the school.. They came back home when the school was over.


Question 27: What did the priest teach at the village school?

Answer

The priest taught the alphabet and the morning prayer at the village school. He made the students stand in rows on either side. They would sing the alphabet and the morning prayer in a chorus.

Question 28: Describe the feeding of village dogs by the grandmother.

Answer

When the grandmother and the narrator would walk back home together, the village dogs met them at the temple door. They followed them. The grandmother would throw chapattis to them. The dogs would growl and fight with each other for the crumbs.

Question 29: What was the turning point in their friendship?

Answer

The narrator’s parents brought them to the city. It was the turning point in their friendship. The city life and English school made all the difference. She didn’t accompany him to his school. Nor could she help him in his studies. They saw less of each other now.


Question 30: What opinion did the grandmother form of the English school in the city?

Answer

The grandmother didn’t like the English school in the city. She was sad as they didn’t teach anything about God and scriptures at the school. Nor was she interested in Science. She hated music lessons given in the school.

Question 31: How was the common link of friendship between the grandmother and the grandson snapped?

Answer

When the narrator’s family shifted to the city, the grandmother couldn’t accompany him to the school as she used to do in the village. Now he would go by motor bus. She was not able to help the grandson in his studies also. Thus the common link between their friendship snapped.


Question 32: Draw a comparison between village school education and city school education.

Answer

Elementary education was given in the village school. The pupils were taught alphabets and multiplication tables. It was quite simple confined to reading, writing and arithmetic. In the city school, English, Science and Music were taught. Unlike the village school there was no teaching about God and the scriptures.


Question 33: What were the happiest moments of the day for the grandmother?

Answer

The grandmother would sit in the verandah breaking the bread into little bits for the sparrows. Hundreds of sparrows would gather around her. They would perch on her legs, shoulders and even on the head. It was the happiest half-an-hour of the day for her.


Question 34: When did the common link of friendship between the narrator and his grandmother finally snap?

Answer

The narrator went to the university. Now he was given a room of his own. This separated the narrator from his grandmother. The common link of their friendship was thus finally broken.


Question 35: How did the grandmother react when the narrator decided to go abroad ? Was she upset?

Answer

The grandmother appeared to be quite normal. She knew that her grandson would be away for five years. She looked composed and didn’t show any emotion. She came to see him off at the station. She kissed him lightly on his forehead before departing.


Question 36: Why did the narrator think that the grandmother’s kiss was the last sign of physical contact between them?

Answer

The grandmother kissed the forehead of the narrator before he left for abroad. The narrator considered it the last sign of physical contact between them. He never expected his old grandmother to live for five more years, the time when he would be back.


Question 29. Grandmother never complained about anything. Her patience was beyond any measure. Mention any two instances.

Answer

Two instances that show the grandmother’s patience are:

  • When she fed the sparrows the birds used to sat on her head but she never shooed them away.
  • She did not become upset when the author went abroad for higher education. She accepted the decision in a calm and composed manner.

Long Answer Type Questions of The Portrait of a Lady

Question 1: Describe the friendship ‘between Khushwant Singh and his grandmother.

Answer

Khushwant Singh’s grandmother was closely involved in bringing him up when the author lived with her in the village during his early life. She used to wake him up early in the morning. While bathing and dressing him, she sang her prayers. She hoped that the young boy would learn it by heart. She then gave him breakfast—a stale chapatti with butter and sugar. Then they would go together to the temple school. While the author learnt his lesson, the grandmother would read holy books. They returned home together.
A turning point came in their friendship when his parents called them to city. Although they shared a room, she could not help him much. She hated music, Science and Western education. The common link of their friendship was gradually snapped.


Question 2: What image of the grandmother emerges from ‘The Portrait of a Lady’?

Answer

Khushwant Singh’s grandmother has been portrayed as a very old lady. She was short statured, fat and slightly bent. Her face was wrinkled and she was always dressed in spotless white clothes. She was a deeply religious lady. Her lips were always moving in a silent prayer. She was always telling the beads of her rosary. She went to the temple and read the scriptures.
The grandmother was a kind lady. She used to feed dogs in the village. In the city she took to feeding the sparrows. She had great affection for her grandson. She looked after him in the village. She could not adjust herself to the Western way of life, Science and English education. She hated music and was distressed to know that there was no teaching about God and holy books at Khushwant’s new English school. On the whole, she was a nice, kind-hearted and religious lady.


Question 3: Write a character sketch of the author’s grandmother by using following words: affectionate, caring, kind and benevolent, religious, a strong woman.

Answer

Khushwant Singh’s grandmother was a very old lady. She was short, fat and slightly bent. Her face was wrinkled. She had white hair. She was very affectionate. She was closely involved in bringing up the author. The two lived in the village. She was a caring grandmother. She would wake him early in the morning and get him ready for school. She served him breakfast and took him to school. She waited for him in the temple. She prayed while he studied. She returned with him.
She was kind and benevolent. She used to feed dogs in the village. In the city she took to feeding the sparrows. She was a deeply religious lady. Her lips were always moving in a silent prayer. She was always telling the beads of her rosary. She went to the temple and read the scriptures.
She was a strong woman with strong beliefs. Although she was not formally educated, she was serious about the author’s education. She could not adjust herself to the western way of life, Science and English education. She hated music. She was distressed to know that there was no teaching about God and holy books at Khushwant’s new English school. On the whole, she was a nice, affectionate, kind hearted and religious lady.


Question 4: The grandmother herself was not formally educated but was serious about the author’s education. How does the text support this?

Answer

The grandmother was quite serious about the author’s education. She woke him up in the morning and got him ready for school. She washed his wooden slate. She plastered it with yellow chalk. She tied his earthen ink-pot and reed pen into a bundle. She took him to school. He studied in school. She waited for him in the temple reading scriptures.
In the city, the author went to an English school in a motor bus. When he came back she would ask him what the teacher had taught him. She could not help him with his lessons. She did not believe in the things taught at the English school. She was distressed to learn that her grandson was being taught music. She considered it unfit for gentle folk.


Question 5: Gradually the author and the grandmother saw less of each other and their friendship was broken. Was the distancing in the relationship deliberate or due to demand of the situation?

Answer

During his boyhood, grandmother was a part of his life. He was completely dependent on her. The turning point in their friendship came when they went to city. Now, he went to school by bus. She no longer accompanied him. As the years rolled by they saw less of each other. For sometime she continued to wake him up and got him ready for school. When he came back she would ask him what the teachers had taught. She did not believe in the things that were taught at school. She was
distressed that there was no teaching about God and the scriptures. She felt offended that music was also being taught. She expressed her disapproval silently.
After this she rarely talked to him. When he went up to university, he was given a room of his own. The common link of friendship was snapped. Now she spent most of her time at the spinning wheel. Thus we find that the distancing in the relationship was due to demand of situation. The graph of life never follows a straight line.


Question 6: The word ‘portrait’ generally means a painting, a drawing or a photograph but here it implies a representation or impression of someone in language. Write a pen picture of your grandparents describing the qualities you admire and appreciate most.

Answer

I am lucky that my grandparents are still alive. They live in our native village. My grandfather is about 70. My grandmother is about 65. My grandfather served in the army before he retired as a colonel 20 years ago. He is still active and smart. He has strong will power and manliness in the way he carries himself. He is fond of walking and jogging. He looks after the family farm and briefs the workers every morning. In the evening he asks each of them to report the progress and work done. He believes in trusting people. Even then he has some surprise checks. My grandmother is a bit fat and small. She is slow moving. She is deeply religious. She visits the temple every morning. She supervises the household work and activities. She helps the poor and the needy. She is kind, generous and hospitable. My grandparents visit us in the city on important days such as birthdays or marriage anniversaries etc. We spend a part of our holidays with them. Their company is a blessing.


Question 7: Imagine that you are Khushwant Singh. Record the changes that came in your relationship with your grandmother as you grew up from kid to university student.

Answer

During my boyhood days I lived with my grandmother in the village. She used to wake me up in the morning and prepared me for school. She accompanied me to school. A turning point came in our friendship when my parents sent for us in the city. Now I went to an English school in the motor bus. I was taught English, Science, and music. She could not help me in my studies. She hated Science, music and Western education. We still shared the same room, but talked less and less. When I joined the university, I was given a separate room and our common link of closeness was finally snapped.


Question 8: Draw a character sketch of Khushwant Singh’s grandmother as portrayed by him in the lesson ‘The Portrait of a Lady’. (NCT 2007)
Answer

The narrator’s grandmother was a true picture of love, affection and care. She had all those virtues which grandmother’s generally have for their grandsons. She was highly religious but a conservative lady. The grandmother presented a picture of peace and contentment. Her spotless white dress and her silver white hair gave her spiritual beauty. The grandmother was not physically very attractive. She had deep love and affection for her grandson. She got him ready for school. She accompanied him to his school and came back home with him. She was a very religious lady. She was always telling the beads of her rosary. She had compassion even for animals and birds. She fed the village dogs. She took to feeding the sparrows in the city. But the grandmother was a conservative lady. She didn’t like the English language and Science. She hated music. She associated music with prostitutes and beggars.

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