NO MEN ARE FOREIGN Summary, Literary devices, Question answers

In this poem the poet reminds us of the many ways in which we are all the same — for we are all human.

                                                           No Men Are Foreign

Remember, no men are strange, no countries foreign

Beneath all uniforms, a single body breathes

Like ours: the land our brothers walk upon

Is earth like this, in which we all shall lie.


They, too, aware of sun and air and water,

Are fed by peaceful harvests, by war’s long winter starv’d.

Their hands are ours, and in their lines we read

A labour not different from our own.


Remember they have eyes like ours that wake

Or sleep, and strength that can be won

By love. In every land is common life

That all can recognise and understand.


Let us remember, whenever we are told

To hate our brothers, it is ourselves

That we shall dispossess, betray, condemn.

Remember, we who take arms against each other


It is the human earth that we defile.

Our hells of fire and dust outrage the innocence

Of air that is everywhere our own,                                                                                   

Remember, no men are foreign, and no countries strange.



About the poet: – James Kirkup

James Harold Kirkup (1918 – 2009) was an English poet, translator, dramatist, auto-biographer and travel writer. He was the only son of a carpenter and studied in South Shields High School. Later he graduated from Durham University. He was a prolific writer and was skilled in writing ‘haiku’ and ‘tanka’. His epic ‘Pikadon’ deals with the bombings of ‘Hiroshima’ and ‘Nagasaki’. He wrote over 45 books and received the Atlantic- Rockefeller Award (1950). He became a fellow of the Royal Society of Literature in 1962.

Summary of the poem –

The poem deals with the theme of human equality and universal brotherhood. It is a wake-up call for the readers to realise the destructive effects of war and discrimination.

The first stanza starts with ‘remember’ indicating that people must reflect and remind themselves that the boundaries and discrimination in the minds of people are not real but creations of man’s mind.  He says that in spite of physical and cultural differences entire mankind is same and the divisions that make a country foreign are not made by nature hence unnatural . The entire earth is the home for mankind and therefore no country is foreign. Making reference to the Second World War, he says that soldiers who wear different uniforms are having the same humanity inside them. Despite the difference in their attires ‘a single body breathes’ in the sense that their emotions, needs and wants are the same. It is the same earth on which every human walks, thrives and will be buried after death. No matter what superficial differences we create; we shall lead the same type of life, and meet the same end.

In the second stanza the poet says that the basic needs of every human is the same. Everyone is bestowed with the ability to perceive and use the basic elements of nature like the sun, wind and water. People enjoy the bounties of nature during times of peace and face hunger during harsh winters and war. He means to convey the message that everyone has the same ups and downs in life during good and bad times and nature treats all living beings as equal. The hands of people in other parts of the world do the same type of work as we do and their thoughts and writings are similar to ours. Hence there is no difference among God’s creations.

The third stanza tells us that people in other countries see, sleep and wake up just like us. They have the same physical and mental abilities. They too have an inner strength which can be dominated by force but won over by love. Love is the universal language that is understood by all and can win over the greatest of strengths. The poet means to say that it is not through war but through empathy and love that people’s hearts can be won.

The poet warns the readers in the fourth stanza by saying that we should be vigilant of the negative forces who want to profit by spreading difference and hatred. Politicians, religious leaders and people with vested interests instigate the common people to take up arms and fight against each other. In harming each other due to the hatred spread by selfish leaders, it is we who suffer and face huge losses while the leaders who spread such hatred enjoy benefits and lead secure and comfortable lives.

The last stanza speaks of the negative outcomes of hatred and war. When people think of others as different and fight against each other, the world gets polluted with hatred and the blood of the dead. The world becomes a hell due to the anger, hatred and enmity among humans. Purity and innocence in the environment surrounding us is violated resulting in grief and loss. The poet ends the poem by reminding us that all men are the same and we must not think of people living in other counties as foreign and the other countries as strange. He wants everyone to change their mindset and be united, so that there is no excuse for war.

Glossary/ Word meanings

Stranger – an unknown person

Foreign – unfamiliar distant place

Harvest – crop

Labour – physical work

Dispossess: dislodge; deprive

Defile: make dirty; pollute

Outrage the innocence of: violate the purity of

Theme of ‘No Men are Foreign’

The theme of the poem is universal brotherhood and renunciation of war. The poet tells us that all humans are the same and are brothers.  We all have similar bodies and needs in life.  Our livelihoods are same and so are our ends. We all flourish in times of peace and suffer during winter. We all work and think in similar manner and live in the same earth; therefore, we must overcome superficial differences and live in a united manner.

Message of ‘No Men are Foreign’

The poet gives us the message that superficial differences are no excuse for war. Xenophobia or fear of foreigners is the basis of war, and common people must realise that war does not benefit them in any way so they must avoid war and live like brothers. Hatred, anger, differences yield negative results and therefore must be avoided at all costs.

Rhyme scheme – The poem is written in free verse and does not have a rhyme scheme.

Literary Devices in ‘No Men are Foreign’

Alliteration- (repetition of consonant sound)

body breathes’ ( ‘b’ sound is repeated)

Or sleep, and strength’ ( ‘s’ sound is repeated)

‘Land is common life’–  ( ‘l’ sound is repeated)

Metaphor- (indirect comparison without using as or like)

‘Beneath all uniforms’ – uniforms have been metaphorically used to refer to the different kinds of military dresses in different countries. It is ironical as it creates differences instead of uniformity.  Uniform can also be said to be ‘metonymy’ standing for the military.

‘war’s long winter starv’d’ –  the starvation faced during war and winter. Here ‘winter’ stands for the times of adversity when people suffer.

Repetition- (repeating words for emphasis)

Remember’ – This word has been repeated five times in the poem to emphasise the importance of implementing universal brotherhood.

The words in the first line have been reversed in the last line to re-emphasise the importance of uniting mankind for global peace.

Remember, no men are strange, no countries foreign’ – first line

Remember, no men are foreign, and no countries strange’ – last line

Transferred epithet ( when an epithet or adjective actually describes a different noun)

‘peaceful harvests’ – here the harvests are not peaceful but the peasants cultivating them are in peaceful times.

Enjambment – (Continuous consecutive lines of poetry without period or full stop to indicate flow of thought)

Stanza 1 – lines 1, 2, 3 and 4

Stanza 2 – lines 3 and 4

Stanza 3 – lines 1, 2, and 3

Stanza 4 – lines 1 and 2

Stanza 5 – lines 2 and 3

       Symbolism – (representing things or ideas through symbols)

        Fire – symbol of anger, hatred, and enmity

Thinking about the Poem

Question / Answers of ‘ No men are Foreign’

1. (i) “Beneath all uniforms…” What uniforms do you think the poet is speaking about?

Ans.  The poet is speaking of the various uniforms that soldiers of different countries wear or even the traditional dresses of people across which creates difference among people at the superficial level. He tells the readers that all men are similar beneath the uniforms.

(ii) How does the poet suggest that all people on earth are the same?

The poet tells us that beneath the superficial differences there is a sameness that unites all mankind. We walk on the same earth and on death are buried in the same earth. We enjoy the bounties of nature during the times of peace and face starvation during times of adversities. We work and think in similar pattern and our eyes and bodies function in the same manner.

2. In stanza 1, find five ways in which we all are alike. Pick out the words.

Ans. In stanza one the poet says that every individual and every place across the globe are similar. We have the same type of body though the superficial clothing is different. We breathe in the same manner, walk on the same earth and are buried in the same earth after death.  So the lives of individuals are alike in life and death.

The words which tell us so are-

  1. ‘no men are strange’
  2. ‘no country foreign’
  3. ‘a single body breathes’
  4. ‘walk upon is earth like this’
  5. ‘in which we all shall lie’
3. How many common features can you find in stanza 2? Pick out the words.

Ans. The common features mentioned in stanza two which are shared by humans are-

the elements of nature ‘sun, air, water’

the bounties of nature ‘peaceful harvests’

the adversities in life ‘war’s long winter starved’

similar labour ‘their hands are ours

similar thought ‘in their lines we read’

The poet wants to emphasize that the basic needs and work of humans are the same.

4. “…whenever we are told to hate our brothers …” When do you think this happens? Why? Who ‘tells’ us? Should we do as we are told at such times? What does the poet say?

Ans.  Generally during war times selfish leaders instigate common people to fight and lay down their lives. Even during times of peace, narrow minded politicians and religious leaders instil differences and cause riots leading to loss of lives and property.

They instigate people to fulfil their own selfish benefits.

The cunning political leaders and religious heads tell us to hate those who are different from us.

No, we should not follow this type of orders or advice it will harm our brothers, pollute the social environment and cause destruction to humanity.

The poet repeatedly tells us that the entire world is the same and wants to spread universal brotherhood.

Extra questions: ‘No Men are Foreign’

Q1. Why does the poet think that no men are foreign?

Ans. The poet tells us that every individual has the same type of body, has similar needs, lead the same type of life in the same earth and go back to the same earth after death therefore all are alike.

Q2. What do you understand by ‘peaceful harvests’?

Ans. Peaceful harvests refer to the crops grown and harvested during times of peace. The poet means to say that people can enjoy the bounties of nature during peaceful times.

Q3. Elucidate- ‘War’s long winter starv’d’.

Ans.  The phrase means that common agricultural activities cannot be carried on during war; hence people face deprivation and starvation during war. The times of war is compared with long winter when the land is covered by snow preventing people from enjoying bounties of nature.

Q4. Why does the poet say ‘their hands are ours’?

Ans. the poet means to say that the hands of people we consider as foreign do the same kind of work as we do.

Q5. Explain the extract – ‘and in their lines we read’.

Ans. Through their lines of writings and speech we can see that their thoughts are similar to ours. The lines in their faces also tell us that their labour that is the same as ours.


NCERT English Beehive Class – 9 – Solutions Ch -2 :Part – 2 The Shehnai of Bismillah Khan


Thinking about the Text

I.Tick the right answer.

1. The (shehnai, pungi ) was a ‘reeded noisemaker.’ – Pungi

2. (Bismillah Khan, A barber, Ali Bux) transformed the pungi into a shehnai.  A barber

3. Bismillah Khan’s paternal ancestors were (barbers, professional musicians). – Professional musicians

4. Bismillah Khan learnt to play the shehnai from (Ali Bux, Paigambar Bux, – Ali Bux

Ustad Faiyaaz Khan).

5. Bismillah Khan’s first trip abroad was to (Afghanistan, U.S.A., Canada). – Afghanistan

II. Find the words in the text which show Ustad Bismillah Khan’s feelings about the items listed below. Then mark a tick (4) in the correct column. Discuss your answers in class.

Bismillah Khan’s feelings aboutPositiveNegativeNeutral
1. teaching children musicPositive  
2. the film world Negative 
3. migrating to the U.S.A. Negative 
4. playing at temples  Neutral
5. getting the Bharat RatnaPositive  
6. the banks of the GangaPositive  
7. leaving Benaras and Dumraon Negative 

III. Answer these questions in 30–40 words.

1.Why did Aurangzeb ban the playing of the pungi?

Ans. Emperor Aurangzeb banned pungi in the royal residence for it had a shrill, unpleasant sound. ‘Pungi’ became the generic name for reeded noisemakers.

2. How is a shehnai different from a pungi?

Ans. A pungi is a reeded noisemaker and has a shrill unpleasant sound. A shehnai is an improved version of the pungi. It has a pipe with a natural hollow stem that is longer and broader than a pungi and has seven holes on the body of the pipe which helps in playing classical music.

3. Where was the shehnai played traditionally? How did Bismillah Khan change this?

Ans. The sound of shehnai was considered to be auspicious and was played in temples and in north Indian weddings. In the past it was also a part of the naubat at royal courts.

4. When and how did Bismillah Khan get his big break?

Ans. Bismillah Khan got his big break with the opening of the All India Radio in Lucknow in 1938. He soon became an often-heard shehnai player on radio.

5. Where did Bismillah Khan play the shehnai on 15 August 1947? Why was the event historic?

Ans. On 15th August 1947, the shenai was played by Bismillah Khan at Red Fort.

         This event was historic since India became independent on this day and Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru gave his famous speech ‘ Tryst with Destiny’.

6. Why did Bismillah Khan refuse to start a shehnai school in the U.S.A.?

Ans. Bismillah Khan was a very patriotic person and loved India. He refused to set up a school in U.S.A as he was extremely attached with Benaras, the banks of Ganga and Dumraon . When a student asked whether he would be amenable to move to U.S if the atmosphere of Benaras was recreated there; Khansaab retaliated by saying whether the Ganga could be transported there as well.

7. Find at least two instances in the text which tell you that Bismillah Khan loves India and Benaras.

Ans. Bismillah Khan’s love for India is reflected when he refuses to shift to the U.S to start a school there. He also said that he missed Benaras when he was in Mumbai and he missed Dumraon when he was in Benaras. He also refused to shift to Pakistan during separation.

Thinking about Language

  1. Look at these sentences

• Evelyn was determined to live a normal life.

• Evelyn managed to conceal her growing deafness from friends and teachers.

The italicised parts answer the questions: “What was Evelyn determined to do?”

and “What did Evelyn manage to do?” They begin with a to-verb (to live, to conceal).

Complete the following sentences. Beginning with a to-verb, try to answer the questions in brackets.

1. The school sports team hopes – to win. (What does it hope to do?)

2. We all want – to succeed (What do we all want to do?)

3. They advised the hearing-impaired child’s mother – to take her to a specialist. (What did they advise her to do?)

4. The authorities permitted us to -use the stadium. (What did the authorities permit us to do?)

5. A musician decided to – create a world record. (What did the musician decide to do?)

II. From the text on Bismillah Khan, find the words and phrases that match these definitions and write them down. The number of the paragraph where you will find the words/phrases has been given for you in brackets.

1. the home of royal people (1)  – royal residence

2. the state of being alone (5)    – solitude

3. a part which is absolutely necessary (2) – an indispensible component

4. to do something not done before (5) – improvise

5. without much effort (13) – effortlessly

6. quickly and in large quantities (9)  thick and fast

III. Tick the right answer.

1. When something is revived, it  – lives again (remains dead/lives again). 

2. When a government bans something, it wants it – stopped (stopped/started).

3. When something is considered auspicious, – welcome it (welcome it/avoid it).

4. When we take to something, we find it – interesting (boring/interesting).

5. When you appreciate something, you – find it good and useful (find it good and useful/find it of no use).

6. When you replicate something, you do it – for the second time (for the first time/for the second time).

7. When we come to terms with something, it is- no longer upsetting (still upsetting/no longer upsetting).

IV. Dictionary work

• The sound of the shehnai is auspicious.

• The auspicious sound of the shehnai is usually heard at marriages.

The adjective auspicious can occur after the verb be as in the first sentence, or before a noun as in the second. But there are some adjectives which can be used after the verb be and not before a noun. For example:

• Ustad Faiyaz Khan was overjoyed.

We cannot say: *the overjoyed man.

Look at these entries from the Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary (2005).

elder adi., noun adjective 1 [only before noun] (of people, especially two members of the same family) older: my elder brother • his elder sister 2 (the elder) used without a noun immediately after it to show who is the older of two people: the elder of their two sons 3 (the elder) (formal) used before or after sb’s name to show that they are the older of two people who have the same name: the elder Pitt • Pitt, the elder.awake adj., verb adjective [not before noun] not asleep (especially immediately before or after sleeping): to be half/fully awake; to be wide awake. I was still awake when he came to bed.

Consult your dictionary and complete the following table. The first one has been done for you

adjectiveOnly before nounNot before nounboth before and after the verb be
indispensable         Yes
impressed    Yes Yes
afraid    Yes Yes
outdoor   Yes  
paternal   Yes  
countless   Yes  
priceless Yes  

THE ROAD NOT TAKEN – Summary: Question/ Answers : Literary Devices



About the poet:

Robert Frost was born on March 26th, 1873 in San Francisco and died in January 29, 1963.  Frost mostly wrote about the life and landscape of New England. He avoided the poetic experiments of his time and was a poet of traditional verse forms and meter.  Frost, one of the best-known and most beloved American poets of the 20th century, won the Pulitzer Prize four times for New Hampshire (1924), Collected Poems (1931), A Further Range (1937), and A Witness Tree (1943).

             The Road Not Taken

                               Robert Frost

    Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,

    And sorry I could not travel both

    And be one traveler, long I stood

    And looked down one as far as I could

    To where it bent in the undergrowth;

    Then took the other, as just as fair,

    And having perhaps the better claim,

    Because it was grassy and wanted wear;

    Though as for that the passing there

    Had worn them really about the same,

   And both that morning equally lay

   In leaves no step had trodden black.

   Oh, I kept the first for another day!

   Yet knowing how way leads on to way,

   I doubted if I should ever come back.

   I shall be telling this with a sigh

   Somewhere ages and ages hence:

   Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—

   I took the one less traveled by,

   And that has made all the difference.

Summary of ‘ The Road Not Taken’

The poem ‘The Road Not Taken’ is about the choices that one makes in the journey of life. The road is the metaphor of that journey and the diversions in the road stand for the different choices that one comes across as one travels through life.

In the poem the poet describes his experience of a walk through the woods one autumn morning. As he walked through the wood he came across a diversion or a fork on the road. He wanted to make the correct choice and therefore found himself in a dilemma about choosing the right one. He wanted to travel through both the roads and felt sorry that he was unable to do so. Therefore, he looked as far as possible till the road curved among the bushes and was no longer visible.

After much contemplation he took the other road which looked just as good as the other. He thought that it had a greater claim for travelers as it was grassy and wanted people to travel through it. It wanted people to wear down the grassy road through use. Though, afterwards he felt that both the roads were walked on almost the same by travelers.

 It was early in the morning, and the fallen leaves were still fresh not having been stepped upon and turned black with the impact.  Therefore, the poet decided to keep the first well-travelled road for a later time and took the somewhat less frequented one. Though, in his sub- conscious mind he knew that it was a futile thought, as one way leads to the other and it was extremely doubtful that he would get the chance to travel the other road.

He then predicts that sometime in the distant future he would tell others with a sigh, that at some point in his life he had to make a choice between two options. He chose to take the less travelled road which made a difference in his life and decided his future.

Literary devices in ‘The Road Not Taken’

  1. Metaphor –  the road is the metaphor for journey of life
  2. Metaphor – the divergent paths are metaphors for choices in life.
  3. Symbolism – The roads symbolize the choices in our life.
  4. Anaphora – Repetition of ‘ and ‘ in lines 2, 3, 4
  5. Alliteration – ‘wanted wear’, ‘first for’, ‘then took’, ‘that the’
  6. Repetition – ‘ Ages and ages’ , ‘ and I / I took …’
  7. Repetition – ‘Two roads diverged in a’ (repeated I stanza 1 and 4)

Questions and answers:

1. Where does the traveller find himself?  What problem does he face?

Ans..The traveller finds himself in a wood during the autumn season. He comes to a point where the road diverges into two separate paths.

The road is the metaphor for the journey of life, and the fork in the road stands for choices in life’s journey.  The problem of the traveller is that he is facing a dilemma and is unable to decide which road or choice to take.

 2. Discuss what these phrases mean to you.
(i) a yellow wood

The yellow wood is the wood during autumn. The leaves have turned yellow and are about to fall. The autumn season is symbolic of the matured age of a man’s life.

(ii) it was grassy and wanted wear

The road was less travelled and was filled with grass. Here, the road is personified as it seems to want people to travel on that road, so that it could also become worn out like the other one.

(iii) the passing there

The passing there refers to the road on which people had trodden on the grass. To the traveller both the roads that morning seemed to be used almost the same. Here, the poet is using contrast and antithesis to express his repentance of having to make a choice as both options seemed to be equal.

(iv) leaves no step had trodden black

The traveller was travelling in the morning. So he finds that the freshly fallen leaves had not been walked over by anyone and hence they had not turned black and looked equally attractive and fresh. The roads symbolise equal opportunities.

(v) how way leads on to way

Although the traveller wanted to explore both the roads, he decided to take the less frequented one and keep the other one for future.  He also realizes that it was a futile thought as one way would lead to another and he would not be able to come back to explore the other road. Symbolically it means that the choices we make in life are permanent.

3. Is there any difference between the two roads as the poet describes them
(i) in stanzas two and three?

There wasn’t much difference between the two roads. Initially the traveller thought that he had chosen the less travelled grassy road, but after travelling for some time he realised that both roads were about the same. That is, he faced similar challenges in the path that he had chosen.

(ii) in the last two lines of the poem?

In the last two lines the travelled expresses his satisfaction in choosing the less travelled road. It was the correct choice which made a difference in his life. Though he sighs for lost opportunities, he is satisfied about the outcome of his choice.

Extra questions of ‘The Road Not Taken’

1. Discuss the appropriateness of the title ‘The Road Not Taken ‘.

Ans. The poet has chosen a negative sentence to convey to his readers that it was his wise decision not to make the common choice which made the difference in his life. The title thus appropriately brings out the wisdom of the poet’s decision to take the less travelled path.

2. What is the theme of ‘The Road Not Taken ‘?

Ans. The theme of ‘The Road Not Taken ‘ is the importance of making correct choices in life which decides our future.  It also points out the permanence of the choices that we take in our lives.

3. What is the message of ‘The Road Not Taken ‘?

Ans. The poem gives the message to its readers that it is important to take correct decisions at the correct time for living a life of satisfaction and success.

4. What is the rhyme scheme of the poem?

Ans. The rhyme scheme of the poem is abaab. The poem is written in four stanzas of five line each called quintain or quintet.


By Isaac Asimov

THEME of ‘The Fun They Had’

In the story ‘The Fun They Had’, Isaac Asimov, envisioned a futuristic world where a highly mechanized education system would replace the traditional school system, robbing the children of the fun in the class with their peers. The advancement of science and technology would ensure convenient, error-free and fast paced education through computerized home schooling but with definite drawbacks. The author tries to bring out a contrast between technology based education and the manual teaching learning done in traditional schooling system.

Message of ‘The Fun They Had

The author in ‘The Fun They Had’ gives us the message that no matter how advanced, convenient and error-free, computerized home- schooling becomes, it can never compensate the overall development that traditional schooling provides. In computerized home schooling system, children will miss out the inter-personal and social skills that children develop while interacting with their peers and teachers. The human touch in schools goes a long way in creating priceless memories in the journey of life.

Thinking About the Text
Answer these questions in a few words or a couple of sentences each.

Q1.How old are Margie and Tommy?

Ans. Margie is eleven and Tommy is thirteen respectively.

Q2.What did Margie write in her diary?

Ans. On the page dated 17th May, 2157, Margie wrote: ‘Today Tommy found a real book!’

Q3.Had Margie ever seen a book before?

Ans. No, Margie had never seen a book printed in paper, as the books they used were all tele-books or e-books.

Q4.What things about the book did she find strange?

Ans. Margie found the book strange as the words stood still instead of moving like they did on the screen. It also amused her to see that the content remained the same when they flipped back the page.

Q5. What do you think a telebook is?

Ans. A telebook is an electronic book that can be read on a screen. It is an eBook with moving words.

Q6.Where was Margie’s school? Did she have any classmates?

Ans. Margie’s school was right next to her bedroom.
No, she did not have any classmates as she was home schooled.

Q7.What subjects did Margie and Tommy learn?

Ans. The subjects mentioned in the story are geography, history and arithmetic. It is unclear what other subjects they learnt.

II. Answer the following with reference to the story.

“I wouldn’t throw it away.”

i)Who says these words?

Ans. Tommy says these words to Margie.

ii) What does ‘it’ refer to?

Ans. ‘It’ refers to the television screen Tommy’s telebook’s are stored.

iii) What is it being compared with by the speaker?

Ans. The speaker is comparing it with a real book.

Sure they had a teacher, but it wasn’t a regular teacher. It was a man.”

i) Who does ‘they’ refer to?

Ans. ‘They’ refer to the kids who attended traditional school system centuries ago.

ii) What does ‘regular’ mean here?

Ans. ‘Regular’ here means the computerized mechanical teacher from which Margie and Tommy learnt their lessons.

iii) What is it contrasted with?

Ans. It is contrasted with the convenient, fast and error-free method of teaching done by the mechanical teachers as compared to the manual teaching learning done by human teachers.

III. Answer each of these questions in a short paragraph (about 30 words).

Q1. What kind of teachers did Margie and Tommy have?

Ans. Margie and Tommy had mechanical teachers. Margie’s teacher has been described as large black and ugly with a big screen where the lessons were displayed. It had a slot where Margie had to put in her homework and tests using a punch code.

Q2. Why did Margie’s mother send for the county inspector?

Ans. The mechanical teacher had been giving Margie test after test in Geography which had been causing her performance to deteriorate. Concerned over this matter Margie’s mother called the county inspector.

Q3. What did he do?

Ans. The county inspector smiled at Margie and gave her an apple, and then he took the mechanical teacher apart in order to repair it. Within an hour he had put it back together and fixed the geography sector by gearing it to an average ten- year old level.

Q4. Why was Margie doing badly in Geography?

Ans. The mechanical teacher had been giving Margie test after test in geography due to which she was unable to keep up her performance. The county inspector helped her by slowing down the gear of the geography sector to an average ten – year old level.

Q5. What had once happened to Tommy’s teacher?

Ans. Tommy’s teacher had to be taken away for a month for repair, as the history sector of the mechanical teacher had completely blanked out.

Q6. Did Margie have regular days and hours of school? If so why?

Ans. Margie followed a regular routine for school with the mechanical teacher every-day, except Saturdays and Sundays.
Margie’s mother Mrs. Jones believed that little girls learnt best at regular hours. Therefore, Margie had a regular routine for school.

Q7. How does Tommy describe the old kind of school?

Ans. Tommy describes the old kind of school as a special building where kids of the same age went and studied together. He also mentions that the kids were taught by a human teacher who taught them lessons, asked them questions and gave homework.

Q8. How does he describe the old kind of teacher?

Ans. Tommy describes the old kind of teachers as smart humans who gave children homework, asked questions and taught many children of the same age in a class.

IV. Answer each of these questions in two or three paragraphs (100 –150 words).

Q1. What are the main features of the mechanical teachers and the schoolrooms that Margie and Tommy have in the story?

Ans. Margie and Tommy had mechanical teachers in the form of large black-screened computers on which various lessons were displayed. Margie’s teacher had a slot where she had to put in her homework and tests using punch code, which she had learnt when she was six. The teachers operated on the basis of sectors of different subjects. At times the mechanical teachers malfunctioned due to certain technical errors. Margie’s geography sector had to be geared to the average ten year old level; whereas, Tommy’s mechanical teacher had to be taken away for a month as the history sector had completely blanked out. The schoolrooms were situated in their homes. Margie’s classroom was right next to her bedroom.

Q2. Why did Margie hate school? Why did she think the old kind of school must have been fun?

Ans. Margie hated school as her mechanical teacher had been giving her test after test in geography and she had been performing poorly in the subject. Apart from her performance in the tests she had always hated it because she did not have any peers and found the classes monotonous.
She thought that the old kind of school must have been fun because all the children went to school together, and had fun learning the same thing together in the class. They could help each other out with the homework. They left for home together at the end of the day. All these things seemed exciting to Margie who had to learn from the boring mechanical teacher all by herself.

Q3. Do you agree with Margie that schools today are more fun than the school in the story? Give reasons for your answer.

Ans. Yes, I whole-heartedly agree that offline schools today are more fun than that of the story. Students indeed have a lot of fun going to school, interacting with friends and teachers and learning something different from each individual they interact with. The social and inter-personal skills that they learn go a long way in improving their personality and increasing their happiness index.
Unlike Margie students in traditional schools can have fun with their classmates. They can play with each other in the games period. Students learn a lot of co-curricular activities and have a glorious time during Annual Function, Sports Day and so on. All these activities make traditional schools a fun place to go to.

Thinking about Language


Read this sentence taken from the story:

They had once taken Tommy’s teacher away for nearly a month because the
history sector had blanked out completely.

The word complete is an adjective. When you add –ly to it, it becomes an adverb.

  1. Find the sentences in the lesson which have the adverbs given in the box

Awfully sorrowfully completely loftily
carefully differently quickly nonchalantly

Now use these adverbs to fill in the blanks in the sentences below.

(i) The report must be read carefully so that performance can be improved.
(ii) At the interview, Sameer answered our questions nonchalantly_______,
shrugging his shoulders.
(iii) We all behave differently____ when we are tired or hungry.
(iv) The teacher shook sorrowfully her head when Ravi lied to her.
(v) I completely_ forgot about it.
(vi) When I complimented Revathi on her success, she just smiled loftily_____
and turned away.
(vii) The President of the Company is awfully_____ busy and will not
be able to meet you.
(viii) I finished my work quickly___ so that I could go out to play.

An adverb describes action. You can form adverbs by adding –ly to adjectives.
Spelling Note: When an adjective ends in –y, the y changes to i when you
add –ly to form an adverb.
For example: angr-y angr-i-ly

  1. Make adverbs from these adjectives.

(i) angry – angrily (ii) happy – happily
(iii) merry – merrily (iv) sleepy – sleepily
(v) easy – easily (vi) noisy – noisily
(vii) tidy – tidily (viii) gloomy – gloomily

II. If Not and Unless

• Imagine that Margie’s mother told her, “You’ll feel awful if you don’t finish your history lesson.”
• She could also say: “You’ll feel awful unless you finish your history lesson.”

Unless means if not. Sentences with unless or if not are negative conditional sentences.

Notice that these sentences have two parts. The part that begins with if not or unless tells us the condition. This part has a verb in the present tense (look at the verbs don’t finish, finish in the sentences above).

The other part of the sentence tells us about a possible result. It tells us what will happen (if something else doesn’t happen). The verb in this part of the sentence is in the future tense (you’ll feel/you will feel).

Notice these two tenses again in the following examples.
Future Tense Present Tense
• There won’t be any books left unless we preserve them.
• You won’t learn your lessons if you don’t study regularly.
• Tommy will have an accident unless he drives more slowly.

Complete the following conditional sentences. Use the correct form of the verb.

  1. If I don’t go to Anu’s party tonight, _he will be upset.
  2. If you don’t telephone the hotel to order food, __you will go hungry.
  3. Unless you promise to write back, I _shall not let you go.
  4. If she doesn’t play any games, _she will become physically weak.
  5. Unless that little bird flies away quickly, the cat will eat it.
A new revised volume of Isaac Asimov’s short stories has just been released.
Order one set. Write a letter to the publisher, Mindfame Private Limited, 1632
Asaf Ali Road, New Delhi, requesting that a set be sent to you by Value Payable
Post (VPP), and giving your address.

Your letter will have the following parts.

• Addresses of the sender and receiver
• The salutation
• The body of the letter
• The closing phrases and signature

Your letter might look like this:
Your address

Date (DD/MM/YY)

The addressee’s address

Dear Sir/Madam,

Yours sincerely,

Your signature

Remember that the language of a formal letter is different from the
colloquial style of personal letters. For example, contracted forms
such as ‘I’ve’ or ‘can’t’ are not used.

4/H Netaji Subhash Road
Chennai – 07

05 May, 2022

Mindfame, Private Limited, 1632
Asaf Ali Road, New Delhi

Subject: Letter for ordering the revised version of Issac Asimov’s short stories.

This is to request you to send me a set of the revised version of Isaac Asimov’s short stories. Please send it by Value Payable Post (VPP) to the address mentioned below. Kindly send the set at the earliest.

Yours sincerely

T. Divya

4/H Netaji Subhash Road
Chennai – 07
Contact no. – xxxxxxxxxx



In groups of four discuss the following topic.

‘The Schools of the Future Will Have No Books and No Teachers!’

Your group can decide to speak for or against the motion. After this, each group
will select a speaker to present its views to the entire class.

You may find the following phrases useful to present your argument in the debate.

• In my opinion . . .
• I/we fail to understand why . . .
• I wholeheartedly support/oppose the view that . . .
• At the outset let me say . . .
• I’d/we’d like to raise the issue of/argue against . . .
• I should like to draw attention to . . .
• My/our worthy opponent has submitted that . . .
• On the contrary . . .
• I firmly reject . . .

Points in favour of the motion:

The schools of the future will have no books and no teachers because . . .
computer and digital technologies are more efficient.
internet has become a boon for students.
a vast amount of knowledge is available on the internet.
electronic gadgets are replacing human tutors.
educational software is replacing teachers
guardians feel at easy as students do not have to venture out.
experienced and competent teachers are not always available.
Variety of courses is offered for free over the internet.
YouTube videos offer free lectures which can cost a lot.
Paperless education will provide relief for environment.

Points against the motion.

The schools of the future will have no books. As a result,
The bond between teacher and students will be lost in case of mechanical teachers.
values and ethics will degrade in the society as mechanical teachers lack the human touch.
materialism and commercialism will reduce quality of life.
absence of human sentiments will make life worthless.
Robots and machines will enslave us
personal relationships will be affected as students will only be guided by gadgets.
students will not learn to be disciplined due to lack of guidance.
social and interpersonal skills will not develop in students.
overall development of students will be affected due to lack of physical activities.
feelings of brotherhood and unity will not develop in citizens