ICSE Class 9 English Literature Sample Question Paper 3 with Answers

Section A – Drama
The Merchant of Venice : Shakespeare

Question 1.
Read the extract given below and answer the questions that follow :
Portia : By my troth, Nerissa, my little body is aweary of this great world.
Nerissa : You would be sweet madam, if your miseries were in the same abundance as your good fortunes are : and yet, for aught I see, they are as sick that surfeit with too much as they that starve with nothing. It is no mean happiness therefore to be seated in the mean : superfluity comes sooner by white hairs, but competency lives longer.
Portia : Good sentences and well pronounced.
Nerissa : They would be better, if well followed.

(i) “My little body is aweary of this great world.” What does Portia mean by these words and where is the scene taking place ?
(ii) What is Nerissa referring to when she says, “You would be, sweet madam”?
(iii) They are as sick that surfeit with too much as they that starve with nothing.’ How does Nerissa express her stance though she is aide to Portia ?
(iv) ‘Competency lives longer.’ Explain these words.
(v) How do you think that Portia’s situation is in truth wearisome ?
(i) Portia is referring to the long list of suitable she has to meet before any one of them chooses the right casket with her portrait. This is the great burden she is facing who is otherwise, free to enjoy the fortunes. The scene happens in a room in Portia’s house, in Belmont.

(ii) By saying the given line, Nerissa means that Portia would be tired, if she had bad luck than wealth and good luck. As a lady-in-waiting, whose station in society is lower than that of Portia, she explains that Portia’s sufferings are not of great magnitude.

(iii) Nerissa is considered as a close friend of Portia, and though her station is lower than that of Portia, she speaks her mind. She states that people with too much wealth and fortune suffer just as much as those who starve with nothing to eat or have. Nerissa is bold in articulating her thoughts and has wise words for Portia.

(iv) The word ‘competency’ here means capability, know-how, or proficiency. It states that a skill is required to endure in a world full of wearies and burdens. Nerissa explains that superfluity or trying to cope with excesses will not live longer, but competency or skills will help one stand longer and stronger. Nerissa also makes a subtle dig at the imagined troubles of the rich, while the common man has more than enough to overcome.

(v) Portia, the rich and famous young woman who has suitors from all across the lands, in truth has no say in the matter, of her father’s edict. Portia’s fate is sealed until one chooses the right casket. Her happiness rests on someone else’s choice and not her own, and this is her burden. In addition, she has to meet and entertain all the suitors who come to win her over, whether she desires it or not. In this manner of speaking, one can say that her “little body is aweary of this great world.”

ICSE Class 9 English Literature Sample Question Paper 3 with Answers

Question 2.
Read the extract given below and answer the questions that follow :

Shylock : To bait fish withal: if it will feed nothing else, it will feed my revenge. He hath disgraced me, and hindered me half a million, laughed at my losses, mock’d at my gains, scored my nation, thwarted my bargains, cooled my friends, heated mine enemies, and what’s his reason ? I am a Jew. If a Jew wrong a Christian, what is his humility ? Revenge! If a Christian wrong a Jew, what should his sufferance be by Christian example ? Why, revenge! The villainy you teach me, I will execute, and it shall go hard but I will better the instruction.

(i) Who has insulted Shylock and in what manner ? Where does the scene take place ?
(ii) How does Shylock plead his case ?
(iii) How do Christians insult Jews according to Shylock ?
(iv) What are the disparities in how the Christians and the Jews look at each other ?
(v) To whom is Shylock addressing and why ? Explain.
(i) Antonio has insulted Shylock by making him lose out on interest, then mock him for his loss as well as gains, insulted his nation, and also made him deprive of friends and incited his enemies. The scene takes place in a street in Venice.

(ii) Shylock says Christians and Jews are created in the same manner and proportions; just like Christians have hands, organs, limbs and senses, likes and dislikes the Jew also possess the same. They feed on the same food, are injured by the same weapons, get the same diseases, are cured by same medicines and suffer the same climatic conditions. They bleed, they laugh and die in the same way; so is the case with revenge too.

(iii) According to Shylock, Christians insult Jews, both with words and actions. They do not allow them to do decent business, taunt them in Rialto, spit on their faces and dresses, and call them names.

(iv) In all ways Christians have the upper hand. When Christians insult Jews, it is justified as revenge for some wrongdoing, and when Jews wrong them, they are worthy to be taken revenge on. According to Shylock, since both are made in the same way and both react in the same way, Jews can also take revenge in the same way.

(v) Although Salarino is there, Shylock is actually indulging in a monologue that is almost like a soliloquy, revealing his innermost thoughts. His deep hatred for all the grievances undergone by him and the rest of his tribe are revealed here. His intention to exact the flesh of Antonio to feed the fish shows his deep feelings of revenge.

ICSE Class 9 English Literature Sample Question Paper 3 with Answers

Question 3.
Read the extract given below and answer the questions that follow :
Shylock : I am debating of my present store,
And, by the near guess of my memory,
I cannot instantly raise up the gross
Of full three thousand ducats. What of that ?

Tubal, a wealthy Hebrew of my tribe, 

Will furnish me. But soft ! How many months
Do you desire ? (To Antonio) Rest you fair, good signior;
Your worship was the last man in our mouths.
(i) Who is the speaker ? Identify the context.
(ii) Explain :
(a) Debating of my present store ?
(b) Cannot instantly raise to the gross ?
(iii) Who is Tubal ? What function has he in the play ?
(iv) State in your own words what does the speaker say to Antonio ? Comment on their relationship.
(v) What is the meaning of the last line “Your worship was the last man in our mouths” ?
(i) Shylock is the speaker. Antonio’s ships had sunk in the sea and consequently he had no money to finance the trip of Bassanio, his friend. So they go to Shylock to take loan. Then Shylock informs Bassanio that he does not have enough ready money and he will have ‘ to ask another wealthy Jew to raise enough ducats for him.

(ii) (a) Means Shylock does not have ready cash in hand to lend to Antonio.
(b) Shylock cannot raise the requisite sum immediately.

(iii) Tubal is a wealthy Jew of Venice and Shylock’s friend. He is Shylock’s confidante and helps him in many ways. He goes to track his friend’s daughter Jessica, who had eloped with an Englishman and informs him about a list of things she bought including a monkey with the ducats stolen from her father. He also brings Shylock the news that Antonio is on the verge of bankruptcy, thus providing an impetus to his wicked plan.

(iv) Shylock says that he does not have full three thousand ducats with him but Tubal, a rich Jew could help him in raising the amount. To Antonio, he politely says that he and Bassanio were talking about him just before he reached there. Shylock has racial prejudice towards Antonio for being a Christian and also wants to take revenge on him for lending money without interest at Rialto, thereby bringing the rate of usury down in Venice. Antonio has no respect for the other due to his attitude to money lending.

ICSE Class 9 English Literature Sample Question Paper 3 with Answers

(v) Shylock says that Antonio was the subject of his conversation with Bassanio. Although he addresses Antonio as ‘Your worship’, he has scant respect for him. Ironically, the word ‘mouth’ reminds us of Shylock’s intention of feeding his grudge towards Antonio, and his decision to exact his pound of flesh.

Sections B – Poetry
A Collection of Poems

Question 4.
Read the extract given below and answer the questions that follow :
Old Kaspar took it from the boy,
Who stood expectant by;
‘ And then the old man shook his head,
And, with a natural sigh,
“T is some poor fellow’s skull/’ said he,
“Who fell in the great victory,
“I find them in the garden,
For there’s many here about;
And often when I go to plough,
The ploughshare turns them out.
For many thousand men,” said he,
“Were slain in that great victory.”

(i) What happened to the person whose skull was found by Peterkin ?
(ii) Were the children educated by Old Kaspar on war ? How was his recollection of the war ?
(iii) Whom did the skull belong to ? What was Kaspar’s opinion about it ?
(iv) What did Kaspar say about skulls ? How does he treat the death of the slain ?
(v) What would be your reaction if you come across a skull ? Does it matter whose skull it is ?
(i) As Peterkin and Wilhelmine were playing around near the house, the boy found a large and smooth thing near the rivulet. It was a skull. He brought it to his grandfather who told them that it must have belonged to one of the hundreds of soldiers who fought in wars and lost their lives in the struggle. The person whose skull was found must have died as a result of war and his skull must have flown along the rivulet from somewhere reaching the area near Kaspar’s house.

(ii) The discovery of the skull made Kaspar tell the children about wars and the cause of deaths. He told them about a battle that took place near their house and how it was necessary to fight for victory. The truth is that the old man himself hardly knows anything much about wars. But the tone in which he explains the victory seems to imply for those who agree with war and that the deaths of hundreds and thousands is the fair price for victory.

ICSE Class 9 English Literature Sample Question Paper 3 with Answers

(iii) Peterkin found a skull near the rivulet and brought it to his grandfather. His grandfather told them that a war had taken place some time back and this must be the skull of one of the many soldiers who fought and died in the war. Kaspar was not shocked or surprised to see the skull because he had seen many such skulls around while ploughing the field and working on the crops.

(iv) Kaspar informed the children that the skulls were not a big deal and he had often found a number of them while working in the fields. He says that the skulls are a result of the many deaths in the war, but it is said that war resulted in a great victory so the deaths are not a big deal.

(v) The skulls have always served as symbols of death and destruction. When a person comes across a skull and especially that of a human being, it is natural for the person to feel shocked and scared. If I ever come across a skull, I would surely be shaken. It does not really matter whose skull it is, whether of a human or an animal. Nor does it matter of what race, gender or colour the person was.

ICSE Class 9 English Literature Sample Question Paper 3 with Answers

Question 5.
Read the extract given below and answer the questions that follow :
Some are meet for a maiden’s wrist,
Silver and blue as the mountain mist,
Some are flushed like the buds that dream
On the tranquil brow of a woodland stream,
Some are aglow with the bloom that cleaves
To the limpid glory of new born leaves.
(i) What is the meaning of the word ‘meet’ in the poem ?
(ii) What natural phenomenon has the poetess used to describe the bangles in the lines given above ?
(iii) Who in the poem is said to be dreaming ? Why has the poetess used the term ‘dreaming’ for them ? Are they actually dreaming ?
(iv) What has the glow of some bangles been compared with ?
(v) What importance do bangles have for women ? What do you think is the most attractive quality of bangles ?
(i) The poetess narrates how the bangle sellers are calling out to the people in the market and selling their merchandise. The bangle sellers are introducing their bangles to the crowd of buyers near their shops. They suggest different bangles for different women and recommend the silver and blue bangles for a young maiden. The word ‘meet’ is used to say that the bangles are suitable for a young woman.

(ii) The poetess has made use of many attributes to describe the bangle sellers wares. She describes the colours of the bangles using imagery of nature. She talks about the silver and blue bangles for maidens using the example of mountain mist. She also makes use of the words ‘blooming buds’ and new born leaves’ for the description of bangles.

(iii) While using natural imagery to describe colourful bangles, the poetess at one instance mentions blooming buds. The poetess says that the buds are dreaming peacefully near the stream in the woods. She uses the word ‘dream’ to define the action of the buds because they have not yet bloomed and their future is unclear yet. The buds are still and calm so it seems that they are having a beautiful dream.

(iv) The bangle sellers are praising their merchandise so as to attract the buyers in the market. The poetess talks about some bangles that are bright green in colour. In order to describe them, she uses the similitude of fresh green leaves. The poetess says that the bangles are brightly shining the way newly born leaves glow.

(v) Bangles are worn by women in many cultures as an adornment and accessory. Indian women enjoy a very close relationship with bangles and they give a lot of importance to it. They relish the shiny rings of glass and metals on their hands as they enhance their beauty and make their hands look more attractive. The most attractive quality of bangles is their lustre and bright colours. They beautify the wrists of the wearer.

ICSE Class 9 English Literature Sample Question Paper 3 with Answers

Question 6.
Read the extract given below and answer the questions that follow :
What does he plant who plants a tree ?
He plants a friend of sun and sky;
He plants the flag of breezes free;
The shaft of beauty, towering high;
He plants a home to heaven anigh;
For song and mother-croon of bird
In hushed and happy twilight heard
The treble of heaven’s harmony
These things he plants who plants a tree.

(i) How does a tree get to be friends with the sun and the sky ? Are they related to each other despite the distance between them ?
(ii) What accessories to a tree are mentioned in the aforementioned lines ?
(iii) Why does the poet connect a tree to a home to heaven’ ?
(iv) How has the poet described the atmosphere of the morning ?
(v) How different would be our mornings with and without trees ?
(i) The poet has described the tree as a friend of the sun and the sky. In spite of the great distance between them, they are very closely related to each other. The survival of the tree is dependent largely on sunlight from the sun and rain from the sky. The sun, the sky and the tree are said to be friends as they benefit from each other in some way or the other.

(ii) A tree without leaves and flowers beauty. There are certain accessories to a tree that makes it a beautiful and admirable sight. A coat of green leaves is an evidence of the tree’s health. It is indeed a pleasure to look at a tree with leaves, flowers and fruits. The poet has also mentioned a few accessories of a tree. Sweet breezes blow from a tree and chirping birds make their home on its branches. These birds croon happy songs.

(iii) The poet says the tree is a home to heaven and by that he is referring to the beauty one sees in the tree. The sunlight from the sky and the water from the clouds come together to nourish the tree and the signs of their glory are seen in the majesty of the tree laden with fruits and leaves. The birds that make their nests on the branches of the tree sing cheerful songs and their joy mirrors how the tree itself is heaven for them.

ICSE Class 9 English Literature Sample Question Paper 3 with Answers

(iv) The poet describes the beauty of the tree along with the glory of the morning. He mentions how the tree stands tall majestically and emits freshness in the air. Sweet breeze blows to and from the tree and calms the atmosphere. The birds are singing songs in the morning which signify a merry start of the day.

(v) Trees are eternal symbols of life and they are greatly responsible for the purity of air on Earth. The presence of trees is essential for human survival. Our mornings, our lives are all largely dependent on these elements of nature. Mornings without trees are unimaginable. There will be no fresh breezes, no chirping of birds, no flowers on the pathways, and no fruits for breakfast. One cannot imagine mornings without the greenery of trees as that is the only thing that comforts our eyes, amidst the harsh visuals of cities.

Section C – Prose
A Collection of Short Stories

Question 7.
Read the extract given below and answer the questions that follow :
“Yes”, he said, “I stayed, you see, taking care of animals. I was the last one to leave the town of San Carlos.” He did not look like a shepherd nor a herdsman and 1 looked at his black dusty clothes and his gray dusty face and his steel rimmed spectacles and said, “What animals were they ?” ‘
(Old Man at the Bridge- Ernest Hemingway)
(i) Who is the speaker ? To whom is he speaking ? What do you know about San Carlos from the text ?
(ii) Describe the circumstances in which the other person is now.
(iii) Why was the person the last one to leave the town ? What ultimately made him leave ?
(iv) What was the speaker’s only worry ? Ultimately he decides not to worry about two creatures. What were they and why ?
(v) What does the narrator convey in the last, paragraph of the story ?
(i) The old man is the speaker of these lines. He is speaking to the narrator. San Carlos, in Spain, was old man’s native town which was twelve kilometers away from the place where the old man was sitting.

(ii) The other person is the narrator, who is a soldier. He is doing his duty of observing the advancement of the army across the bridge. He is also among the volunteers to help the civilians. When he crosses the Pontoon bridge near the Ebro River, which people are crossing to escape from the war zone, he observes an old man sitting, wearing steel- rimmed spectacles and very dusty clothes. He is concerned about the old man’s safety and asks him to cross the bridge and catch a truck towards Barcelona.

(iii) The old man was the last one to leave the town because he was anxious about the safety of the animals he was taking care of which included two goats, a cat and four pairs of pigeons. He had no family but these animals were his only family. He was feeling guilty that he had not been able to save the lives-of the animals which were dependent on him. He was forced to leave his hometown San Carlos to escape from the artillery fire from the enemy as the Civil War had broken out in Spain.

ICSE Class 9 English Literature Sample Question Paper 3 with Answers

(iv) The old man’s only worry was his innocent helpless animals who were left unattended when he was displaced by the Civil War. He didn’t have any family in the form of human beings but these pets were his only family and he was compelled to leave them alone. He was least worried about the safety of the cat as it could look after itself. Then, there were pigeons which would fly away from the cage, he had left unlocked.

(v) In the last paragraph, the narrator wanted to convey that nothing could be done of the old man. He could see his forthcoming death because the old man was not ready to move. He refused to get up as he was tired and extremely weak. The fascists were moving towards Ebro and the day was overcast so there were no planes in the sky to attack the people. That was his only good luck but soon they would cross the bridge and the old man would meet his fate. Thus, the story ends with the soldier’s anxiety for the old man and old man’s anxiety for his animals.

Question 8.
Read the extract given below and answer the questions that follow :
“You’ll excuse me for speaking, miss, but, I see you’re acquainted with the marshall here. If you’ll ask him to speak a word for me when we get to the pen he’ll do it, and it’ll make things easier for me there. He’s taking me to Leavenworth prison. It’s seven years for counterfeiting.” “Oh!” said the girl, with a deep breath and returning colour. “So that is what you are doing out here ? A marshall ?” (Hearts and Hands- O. Henry)
(i) What explanation was given by the other man to the young woman about Mr. Easton ?
(ii) What reason was given by Mr. Easton for not going to Washington ?
(iii) Why did Miss Fairchild call Mr. Easton ‘Dashing Western Hero’ ?
(iv) “My butterfly days are over”, what kind of irony is there ?
(v) Why were Miss Fairchild’s eyes rested upon the glittering handcuffs and what did the other man explain her ?
(i) When the other man saw that young lady was acquainted with Easton who was handcuffed, he sensed Easton’s embarrassment. On the other hand, the pretty woman was in a state of bewilderment, so he called Easton as marshal who was taking him to the Leavenworth prison for seven years of imprisonment in the case of counterfeiting.

(ii) Mr. Easton told the woman that he wanted to do something. According to him “Money has a way of takings unto itself” and to live in Washington, a lot of money is required. He saw the opportunities in the West as well. Miss Fairchild was surprised to know that Easton has preferred life in West to become marshal over life in West to become marshal over life in Washington.

(iii) In the course of conversation, the ruffled man told Miss Fairchild that he was being taken to Leavenworth prison for seven years of imprisonment in the case of counterfeiting. As the conversation continued, the woman was surprised to learn that Easton had given up the life in Washington to become a marshal in West. She was impressed with this and called him ‘Dashing Western Hero’ who ride and shoot and face all kinds of dangers.

(iv) There is a verbal irony here as Mr. Easton was not talking of his good days with Miss Fairchild. Rather he was talking about locked up and not being free like a butterfly. His freedom had been snatched away because of his wrong act. But Miss Fairchild thought that he was talking about his social days as he had up a job of responsibility, he won’t be able to move as freely as he was earlier.

(v) Miss Fairchild encountered Mr. Easton, one of her old acquaintances in the same coach on the train to Denver in which she was traveling. She spoke to him but was surprised to see him handcuffed with the other man. The other man guessed her embarrassment and gave her an explanation. She then continued to chat with him but her eyes were still on handcuffs. The other man told her that she should not worry as all the marshals handcuffed themselves to their prisoners.

ICSE Class 9 English Literature Sample Question Paper 3 with Answers

Question 9.
Answer the following questions with reference to Ruskin Bond’s short story, ‘A Face in the Dark’.
(i) What do you know about Mr. Oliver and the school he worked in ?
(ii) What bizarre incident took place one day when Mr. Oliver was coming back from Simla Bazaar ?
(iii) One what two planes can you evaluate the incidents in the story ?
(i) Mr. Oliver, the protagonist of the story, ‘A Face in the Dark’, was an Anglo-Indian teacher who worked in one of the prestigious schools in Simla. He had been teaching in the school for several years. He was a bachelor. It has been his habit to go to Simla Bazaar, which was three miles away from the schooL There he might watch movies or dine in a restaurant, and return after dark, taking a short cut through the pine forest. He was not a nervous person, nor given to much of imagination, so he was not scared of walking through the forest which would make an eerie sound when strong winds blew.

(ii) Mr. Oliver was returning after spending some time in Simla Bazaar. He took the pine forest route. It was a lonely path, dark and eerie. In the flickering light of the torch, he saw the figure of a boy, sitting alone on a rock. The boy was crying, It was a strange soundless weeping which made the teacher, rather uneasy. He held his head in his hands and his body shook convulsively. The concerned teacher insisted that the boy should look up and tell him his trouble. To his utter shock, when the boy looked up, he realised, he had no eyes, ears, nose or mouth. It was just a smooth head, with a school cap on top of it. Immediately, he turned and ran towards the school. He encountered the watchman and told him about the boy without features. The watchman held the lantern to his face and asked whether the face was like his. He also did not have any features. Even Mr. Oliver, with his rational outlook had a fit of terror at the confrontation of what might have been supernatural.

ICSE Class 9 English Literature Sample Question Paper 3 with Answers

(iii) The Story can be evaluated at two levels : either as a weird supernatural experience or on a rational ground. Dark, lonely path through a pine grove, the eerie sound made by the wind, the reservation the locals had in using the short cut, all create an illusion of the supernatural. A boy sitting on a rock with his head down, his face covered with his hands, his body shaking in soundless sobs, the flickering torchlight revealing a face without eyes, ears, nose or mouth; enough to make any man shake with fear.

That was exactly what the school master went through on that bizarre night. On the top of it, he encountered another being of the same strange face in the form of a watchman, carrying a lantern. It is a perfect setting for a ghost story.


On the other hand, Mr. Oliver is described as a man, who was not easily given to nervousness or imagination. Perhaps, the lonely walk in the stormy night, might have led him to imagine something supernatural like a ghostly figure. A boy’s school cap lying on a rock or a mask someone left behind, might have created an illusion in the flickering light of his torch. The same fear might have made him imagine the watchman too as being faceless.

The story ends with a sense of ambiguity, leaving the ending open. The reader has to decide whether they were ghosts, whether they were optical illusions or whether the whole thing was a prank played upon the teacher by a mischievous student.

ICSE Class 9 English Literature Question Papers with Answers

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