ICSE Class 9 English Literature Sample Question Paper 1 with Answers

Max Marks : 80
[2 Hours]

General Instructions

  • Answers to this Paper must be written on the paper provided separately.
  • You will not be allowed to write during the first 15 minutes.
  • This time is to be spent in reading the question paper.
  • The time given at the head of this paper is the time allowed for writing the answers.
  • Attempt five questions in all from only three text books.
  • You must attempt at least one question from each of the Sections A, B and C and not more than two other questions from the same books you have already compulsorily chosen.
  • The intended marks for questions or parts of questions are given in brackets [ ].

Section A – Drama
The Merchant of Venice: Shakespeare

Question 1.
Read the extract given below and answer the questions that follow :
Shylock : Therefore I part with him; and part with him
To the one that I would have him help to waste
His borrowed purse- Well Jessica, go in :
Perhaps I will return immediately :
Do as I bid you; shut the doors after you :
Fast bind, fast find;
A proverb never stale in thrifty mind.

(i) Shylock says, “Therefore I part with him”; From whom does Shylock part ? Why does Shylock not bid a tearful adieu to ‘him’ ? [3]
(ii) Where is Shylock going ? What does Shylock “bid” Jessica to do prior to these lines ? [3]
(iii) Explain the line : ‘Fast bind, fast find’. What does Shylock want to ‘find’ ? Bring out the irony in these words. [3]
(iv) What reasons does Shylock give for his unwillingness to leave the house ? [3]
(v) Racial prejudice is a major theme in the preceding scenes. However, Jessica is portrayed as an exception. Use examples from the text to demonstrate how Jessica is shown to be different from her father and others of her community. [4]
Answer:
(i) Shylock parts from Launcelot. Shylock does not bid him adieu tearfully because he thinks of Launcelot as a lazy servant who would never work fast at a task which would benefit his master; he could sleep at daytime better than a wild cat and, besides, he has now pledged his allegiance to the man who squanders the wealth which he has borrowed from Shylock. Thus, parting with Launcelot does not make him emotional at all.

(ii) Shylock is going out for supper, in response to the invitation from Antonio and Bassanio. He tells Jessica that he saw a bad omen in his dream and fears for his wealth. He is reluctant to leave his wealth unsupervised and, thus, repeatedly urges her to keep all the windows and doors locked and commands her to be vigilant, so as to avoid any unwanted incident.

(iii) The proverb, ‘Fast bind, fast find’, means that the closely guarded things are kept the safest. Shylock seeks to find solace in the fact that his own daughter will be guarding his prized possessions. The irony in these words and his false sense of security is that Jessica, the very person he trusted with their safekeeping, was the one who ran away with all of it, when she eloped with Lorenzo.

(iv) The reasons that Shylock gives for his unwillingness to leave the house are that he was invited to supper for flattery, rather than out of love; he is unwilling to part with his beloved possessions, especially when he had seen a bad omen in a recent dream. He is afraid that the masked procession might be used as an opportunity at robbing his house.

(v) The first example is seen when, while talking to Portia for the first time, the Prince of Morocco apologizes to Portia for his dark complexion, saying ‘Mislike me not for my complexion’, even though he is of a higher stature than she is. This shows the prevalence of racial discrimination in the Elizabethan era. Another such example comes from Jessica when she exclaims to Launcelot about the heinous sin in her ‘being Jewish’. She thinks that it is a sin to be a Jew and her father, Shylock, is to be blamed for her being sinned as she is his daughter.

ICSE Class 9 English Literature Sample Question Paper 1 with Answers

Question 2.
Read the extract given below and answer the questions that follow :
Arragon : What many men desire! That “many” may be meant, ’
By the fool multitude, that choose by show,
Not learning more than the fond eye doth teach;
Which pries not to the interior, but like the martlet,
Builds in the weather on the outward wall,
Even in the force and road of casualty.
I will not choose what many men desire,

(i) Why is Arragon in this place? What is the inscription that he has just read, and on  which casket was it found ? [3]
(ii) List the conditions that Arragon had to promise to abide by before he was allowed to choose a casket. [3]
(iii) Explain in your own words, the comparison that Arragon makes between the  martlet and the foolish multitude. [3]
(iv) Which casket does Arragon eventually choose ? What does he find inside the casket that he chooses ? [3]
(v) How does Arragon respond when he discovers that he had made the wrong choice? [4] What does this reveal about Arragon’s character ? [4]
Answer:
(i) Arragon is in this place because he wants to marry Portia and, for that reason, has arrived to try his luck at choosing the casket. The inscription he just read is written on the golden casket, it says, “Who chooseth me, shall gain what many men desire.”

(ii) The conditions that Arragon has promised to abide by are, firstly, he shall not disclose which casket he chose to anyone; secondly, should he choose the wrong casket, he shall never court a maiden with the intention to marry her. Finally, he vowed to leave there immediately, should he choose the wrong casket.

(iii) The comparison made by Arragon, between the martlet and the foolish multitude, is just like the martlet, a majority of the foolish people build their nests on the external wall which is subject to the harsh weather conditions and external threats. He says that such men are sure to fail as they put themselves in such unwelcoming conditions.

(iv) He eventually chooses the silver casket. The casket contains a picture of an idiot who seems to be winking at Arragon and the casket also holds a scroll to offer to whoever chooses it.

(v) Arragon, being an arrogant character, refuses to believe that he made the wrong choice. When Portia ridicules his choice and Arragon himself, he accepts the reality and accepts depressingly his overconfidence which he carried in the beginning that he had come to get Portia, who he thought he deserved. In the end, the prince is honest enough to admit having been foolish. He states he has become twice as foolish as he was when he arrived.

ICSE Class 9 English Literature Sample Question Paper 1 with Answers

Question 3.
Read the extract given below and answer the questions that follow :
Nerissa : Your father was an ever virtuous: and holy men
at their death have good inspirations :
therefore, the lottery, that he hath devised
in these three chests of gold, silver and
lead, whereof who chooses his meaning
chooses you, will, no doubt, never
be chosen by any rightly but one who shall rightly love.

(i) What are the terms of the lottery referred to in the above extract? Who devised it ? [3]
(ii) How do you know that Portia was not happy with this lottery ? [3]
(iii) Name any six suitors who came to woo Portia. [3]
(iv) What does Nerissa say to comfort Portia ? What is Nerissa’s opinion of Portia’s father ? [3]
(v) Which casket does the Prince of Morocco choose ? What leads him to make this choice ? [4]
Answer:
(i) The terms of the lottery are that the man who chooses the right casket will be deemed worthy of courting Portia and will be allowed to marry her. But, should the man choose the wrong casket, he shall leave Belmont immediately and vow never to get married, i.e., swear to die a bachelor. The lottery was devised by Portia’s late father.

(ii) Portia’s unhappiness regarding the lottery is clearly put forth when she tells Nerissa that the terms of the lottery upset her. She dislikes the fact that she may not marry someone of her own volition, nor can she refuse marriage if she finds the chooser of the right casket unlikable.

(iii) The suitors who came to woo Portia were the Neapolitan Prince, the Count Palatine, Monsieur Le Bon, the Prince of Morocco, the Prince of Arragon, and Bassanio.

(iv) Nerissa comforts Portia by saying that the only person who will be able to choose the right casket will be not of materialistic value but the one that Portia would value in her heart of hearts. Nerissa’s opinion of Portia’s father is quite an esteemed one. She thinks what he thought of by way of the lottery was a justified plan to ensure a happy life for his daughter once he is gone.

(v) The Prince of Morocco chooses the golden casket. What makes him choose it was the inscription on it that said that the casket contained what many men desired. Having known the fact that Portia was desired by many suitors from across the world, he felt that the golden casket was the right one. Hence, he decided to pick the golden casket.

ICSE Class 9 English Literature Sample Question Paper 1 with Answers

Section B – Poetry
A Collection of Poems

Question 4.
Read the extract given below and answer the questions that follow :
He plants the forest’s heritage
The harvest of a coming age
The joy that unborn eyes shall see
These things he plants who plants a tree.

(i) Explain how a tree is the ‘forest’s heritage’. [3]
(ii) What is meant by ‘mother-croon of bird’ ? How do birds sing? When do they sing ? [3]
(iii) What is the ‘treble of heaven’s harmony’ ? [3]
(iv) How far is a tree ‘the harvest of a coming age’ ? [3]
(v) What stirs the heart of a man who plants a tree ? [4]
How does a tree planter do civic good ?
Answer:
(i) A tree is the forest’s heritage because it will not be ready for eyes to feast upon anytime soon. But when it has matured into a beautiful spectacle, its planter will no longer be around; rather the future generations will be the ones able to see the fruit of the labour of the generations past and they will love and cherish the legacy that their ancestors have left behind for them.

(ii) ‘Mother croon of bird’ means the soft humming sound which the mother bird uses to call out to its little hatchlings. The way of the birds’ singing feels like the treble of heaven’s harmony. The lullabies of the mother birds are heard at twilight when there is no audible distraction in the surroundings.

(iii) The phrase ‘treble of heaven’s harmony’ refers to the way in which the different high pitched sounds of the singing birds harmoniously align to form a blissful melody.

(iv) ‘The harvest of a coming age’ is said in this context to shed light upon the fact that by the time the tree becomes mature or comes of age, it will become an object of inspiration and admiration for the coming generations or the ‘coming age’. It will provide crops to the future generations. Surely, the upcoming generations will reap all the benefits of the trees that are being planted now.

(v) The planter’s ‘blessings on the neighbourhood’ come to fruition when the tree he planted grows into a beautiful spectacle that entrances the hearts of the growing nation and conveys his wishes and blessings to the coming generations long after his death. A tree planter does civic good by planting a tree by helping restore the nature and by leaving a lesson, for his descendents, of love and mutual respect.

ICSE Class 9 English Literature Sample Question Paper 1 with Answers

Question 5.
Read the extract given below and answer the questions that follow :
The last man of this forlorn group
Did naught except for gain.
Giving only to those who gave.
Was how he played the game.

(i) Why does the poet call the group ‘forlorn’? Who were the people who made up this group? What did each of them possess ? [3]
(ii) What prevents the woman and the poor man in the group from sharing what they have ? [3]
(iii) Why did the rich man sit back ? What was his opinion of the poor ? [3]
(iv) Explain how the black man saw in this situation, an opportunity for revenge. [3]
(v) What happens to this group of people at the end of the story ? [4]
What could they have done to change their fate ?
Justify the title of the poem, ‘The Cold Within’.
Answer:
(i) The poet calls the group ‘forlorn’ because of their inevitable doom which was caused due to their mutual selfishness. The people comprising the group were from different walks of life and each of them had an opposite person whom they disliked. They each possessed a log of wood.

(ii) The fact that there was a black man in the group prevented, the woman from sharing her log of wood. The poor man refrained from sharing his log of wood as he felt disdainful towards the ‘idle rich’.

(iii) The rich man decided not to share his log of wood as he did not agree of the poor. He felt that the poor people were miserable because of their ‘shiftless’ nature.

(iv) The black man saw the situation as a chance to avenge the white people for the atrocities committed by them against the black folk in the past. He saw the scenario as an opportunity to spite the white people and teach them a lesson by keeping his log of wood to himself.

(v) The selfish nature of the people in the group led each one of them towards their end. They could have easily changed their fate, had they shared what they had, by burning their logs one at a time. The title ‘The Cold Within’ is quite justified because what caused their tragic end wasn’t the cold outside but their own cold-heartedness.

ICSE Class 9 English Literature Sample Question Paper 1 with Answers

Question 6.
Read the extract given below and answer the questions that follow :
For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude.

(i) Who is the speaker? Describe the sight that greeted his eyes when he was out walking in the countryside. [3]
(ii) Where were the daffodils growing ? To what does the poet compare the flowers ? [3]
(iii) What effect does the scene have on the poet ? [3]
(iv) What is the ‘wealth’ mentioned in the poem ? How do the daffodils outdo the waves ? [3]
(v) Compare the poet’s mood at the start of the poem with his mood at the end. [4]
What do you suppose causes this change in mood ?
Answer:
(i) The speaker of the above lines is the poet, William Wordsworth. The sight that greeted the poet, when he was walking by the countryside, was a ‘host of golden daffodils’, growing ‘beside the lake’.

(ii) The daffodils were growing ‘beside the lake, beneath the trees’. To the poet the flowers growing along the bay appear like the innumerable stars shining in the sky and so he compares the daffodils to the ‘never-ending line of stars, twinkling across the Milky Way’.

(iii) The scene has a positive effect on the poet as the peaceful and joyous sight alleviates the agony of his lonesomeness. The scene’s soothing nuance converts his loneliness into contentment.

(iv) The ‘wealth’ mentioned in the poem, contrary to monetary affluence, is the spiritual contentment which will bring peace to the poet’s mind for as long as he shall live. The poet says that the sparkling waves danced in the breeze, but the beauty of the bright daffodils surpassed their beauty. The daffodils seemed to dance with the breeze with much more liveliness and their sight seemed happier than the waves which did not bring as much joy as the yellow flowers.

(v) In the beginning of the poem, the poet feels ‘lonely as a cloud’. He is disheartened and a bit depressed of being forlorn. Towards the end of the poem, the agony of his solitude gradually transforms into a feeling of contentment which is caused by the serenity of the daffodils ‘fluttering and dancing in the breeze’.

Section C – Prose
A Collection of Short Stories

Question 7.
Read the extract given below and answer the questions that follow :
“What are you doing out here, boy?” asked Mr. Oliver sharply, moving closer so that he could recognize the miscreant. But even as he approached the boy, Mr. Oliver senses that something was wrong. The boy appeared to be crying. (Face in the Dark- Ruskin Bond)
(i) Who was Mr. Oliver ? How did he usually spend his evenings ? [3]
(ii) Mention any three facts about the school at which he worked. [3]
(iii) Where did Mr. Oliver find the boy ? How could he tell that the boy was ‘weeping’ ? [3]
What made Mr. Oliver feel uneasy ?
(iv) What did Mr. Oliver see when the boy finally looked up ? [3]
What was Mr. Oliver’s immediate reaction ?
(v) To whom does Mr. Oliver turn for help ? What does he discover about this person ? Mention any two effective methods that the author has used to create an eerie atmosphere in the story, ‘A Face in the Dark’.[4]
Answer:
(i) Mr. Oliver was an Anglo-Indian teacher in a prestigious school in Simla. He had been teaching there for several years. Mr. Oliver usually strolled into town in the evening, wandering in the Simla market, returning after dark, when he would take a shortcut through the pine forest.

(ii) From before Kipling’s time, the school’had been running on English public school lines; most of the students there belonged to wealthy aristocratic families and wore uniforms that imitated the British. In a feature on India, the Life magazine had once called the school the ‘Eton of the East’.

(iii) Mr. Oliver found the boy in the pine forest located on the outskirts of Simla. He could tell that the boy was crying by observing his posture; his head hung down; his face covered with his hands and his body shook convulsively. The strange and soundless weeping of the boy made him feel uneasy.

(iv) When the boy finally looked up, Mr. Oliver realised that he had no eyes, no mouth; in fact, the boy had no facial features at all. His immediate reaction to the eerie turn of events was that he shot off in the direction that he came from, running blindly in the dark forest, terrified.

(v) Mr. Oliver turns for help to the first person he sees. He sees a watchman when he reaches the school and when he narrates the incident that took place, he discovers the watchman to be faceless, same as the boy he just ran away from. The two methods used by the author to create an eerie atmosphere were the magnificent use of verbal imagery and the suspense created right from the beginning.

ICSE Class 9 English Literature Sample Question Paper 1 with Answers

Question 8.
Read the extract given below and answer the questions that follow :
It was my business to cross the bridge, explore the bridgeheads beyond and find out to what point the enemy had advanced. I did this and returned over the bridge. There were not so many carts now and very few people on foot, but the old man was still there. (Old Man at the Bridge- Ernest Hemingway)
(i) Describe the old man seated near the bridge. [3]
(ii) Describe the scene at the bridge at the beginning of the story. [3]
(iii) What was the narrator’s duty ? [3]
(iv) Why did the old man have to leave his home ? [3]
Why was he the last one to leave town ?
(v) How does Hemingway show us the effect of war on the lives of common people through the story of the Old Man at the Bridge ?[4]
Answer:
(i) The old man who sat near the bridge wore steel rimmed spectacles and very dusty clothes. He seemed determined not to move but when the soldier returned from his survey, he seemed to understand that the real reason behind the old man still being seated there was actually that he was too tired to move.

(ii) There were a lot of people in a rush to get across the bridge in the beginning of the story. There were a lot of carts, carriages and trucks trying to get across the pontoon bridge in such a hurry that a mule-carriage driver decided to get across by crossing the stream rather than waiting for his turn at the bridge. There were a lot of farmers trudging through the ankle deep mud; the soldiers helped the mule-carriage get across when its wheel got stuck in the mud.

(iii) The narrator’s duty was to cross the bridge and explore the bridgehead beyond in order ‘to find out what point the enemy had advanced’ and then report back to his officials. His job, in a way, was to find out how much time they had to carry out the evacuation so as to avoid any unnecessary preventable civilian casualties.

(iv) The old man had to leave his home due to the danger of artillery being fired upon them. The Captain warned all the civilians to evacuate the area as it was too close to where the war was going on and it was no longer safe for civilians to live.

After the narrator’s persuasion, the old man finally ‘got to his feet, swayed from side to side and then sat down backwards in the dust.’ He kept saying to himself, “I was only taking care of the animals.” Perhaps he was last in thought about leaving his animals and his home, where he had been living for long and is anxious about where to go.

(v) The author shows the readers the adverse effects of wars on the common folk by narrating how innocent people are forced to abandon their homes, their livelihood, their precious memories and their prized possessions. Not to mention the loss of internal and external peace, the loss of life and resources is colossal and all in vain as nobody gains anything from these futile wars.

ICSE Class 9 English Literature Sample Question Paper 1 with Answers

Question 9.
Answer the following questions with reference to T.S. Arthur’s short story, ‘An Angel in Disguise’:
(i) How did the children’s mother die ? [4]
What did the villagers decide to do about the children ?
(ii) What did Joe see when he looked in through the brightly lit window of his home [4] later that evening ? Why does this scene fill him with a sense of relief ?
(iii) How does the author describe Mrs. Thompson initially ? [8]
Trace the change in Mrs. Thompson’s nature from the time that Maggie enters the Thompsons’ home.
Answer:
(i) The mother of the children was unemployed and became addicted to drinking due to her depression. One fateful day her excessive drinking exceeded the threshold of what her body could bear; she had a stroke and dropped dead in front of her frightened children. The villagers decided to take the boy and the older girl in out of outward pity as their real motives were selfish. John was taken in due to his stout build and Kate was taken in due to her sharp wit. Although, nobody wanted to take in poor Maggie due to her physiological disability.

(ii) When Joe looked into the brightly lit room from the window, he saw, to his pleasure, the sight he had longed to see for quite a while. He saw Mrs. Thompson sitting in Maggie’s room and having a very compassionate and motherly discussion with the little girl. This scene fills him with a sense of relief because it assures him that his wife had finally accepted Maggie.

(iii) The author initially describes Mrs. Thompson as a rude and disdainful woman who was forced to become so due to her being childless. The author made it appear as if her hateful nature was caused by the lack of a child in her life upon whom she could shower her love and give her motherly care to. Maggie’s arrival in Mrs. Thompson’s life brought her something that she longed for.

She became a completely different woman who afterward developed a tender and loving nature and a more understanding approach towards what life throws her way. The title of the story aptly precedes the events of the story, although, there are two angels in disguise; Mr. Thompson is the first angel as he saves Maggie from a dreadful fate and the second angel is Maggie herself as she changes Mrs. Thompson for good and fills the lives of a childless couple with joy.

ICSE Class 9 English Literature Question Papers with Answers

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