English CBSE Class 11 NCERT Hornbill Chapter 1 The Portrait of a Lady Free Solution of Extra Questions and Answers – Extract Based Questions Short Answer Questions Long Answer Questions and Value Based Questions


(Extra Questions)


Extract Based Questions

EB 1. People said that she had once been young and pretty and had even had a husband, but that was hard to believe. My grandfather’s portrait hung above the mantelpiece in the drawing room. He wore a big turban and loose-fitting clothes. His long, white beard covered the best part of his chest and he looked at least a hundred years old.

(i) Who is the author of the above extract?

(a) Kushwant Singh

(b) James Harriot

(c)Gordon Cook

((d)Alan east

Answer: (a)

(ii) Who has been referred as ‘she’ in above extract

(a) sister of the author

(b) mother of the author

(c) grandmother of the author

(d) aunt of the author

Answer: (c)

(iii) Which word in the extract means ‘picture of face’?

(a) turban

(b) beard

(c) portrait

(d) mantelpiece

Answer: (c)

(iii) Which of the following has not been depicted in the portrait?

(a) beard

(b) turban

(c) clothes

(d) ornaments

Answer: (d)

(iv) According to the extract, how old did the grandfather look in his portrait?

(a) hundred years

(b) less than hundred years

(c) more than hundred years

(d) none of the above

Answer: (c)

(v) Which of the following correctly describes the phrase ‘best part’ as used in the extract?

(a) beautiful portion

(b) major portion

(c) minor portion

(d) front portion

Answer: (b)

(vi) Was grandfather of the author alive when he wrote this narration?

(a) yes

(b) no

(c) no idea

(d) one cannot know

Answer: (b)


EB 2. She hobbled about the house in spotless white with one hand resting on her waist to balance her stoop and the other telling the beads of her rosary. Her silver locks were scattered untidily over her pale, puckered face, and her lips constantly moved in inaudible prayer. Yes, she was beautiful. She was like the winter landscape in the mountains, an expanse of pure white serenity breathing peace and contentment.

(i) What does the word ‘hobbled’ mean in the above extract?

(a) ran

(b) moved

(c) jumped

(d) relaxed

Answer: (b)

(ii) What does the phrase ‘silver locks’ mean in above extract

(a) locks made of silver

(b) shining locks

(c) white hair

(d) short hair

Answer: (c)

(iii) We can infer from the passage that colour of dress of ‘she’ was

(a) blue

(b) rose

(c) scattered

(d) white

Answer: (d)

(iv) How do you think ‘beads of her rosary’ helping her?

(a) helping her move

(b) helping her become steady

(c) helping her say her prayers

(d) helping her to look old

Answer: (c)

(v) Which word used in the above extract is synonym of ‘satisfaction”?

(a) serenity

(b) peace

(c) stoop

(d) contentment

Answer: (d)

(vi) Which figure of speech has been used in ‘She was like the winter landscape in the mountains’?

(a) contrast

(b) synecdoche

(c) simile

(d) anaphora

Answer: (c)

EB 3. My parents left me with her when they went to live in the city and we were constantly together. She used to wake me up in the morning and get me ready for school. She said her morning prayer in a monotonous sing-song while she bathed and dressed me in the hope that I would listen and get to know it by heart; I listened because I loved her voice but never bothered to learn it.

(i) Who is being referred as ‘her’ in above extract

(a) mother of the author

(b) sister of the author

(c) grandmother of the author

(d) mother of the author

Answer: (c)

(ii) What does the phrase ‘get to know by heart’ mean?

(a) like

(b) memorise

(c) appreciate

(d) despise

Answer: (b)

(iii) According to extract, which of the following works were done by ‘she’?

  1. She said her morning prayers
  2. She sang good songs
  3. She woke up the author in the morning
  4. She woke up author in the evening
  5. She dressed up author
  6. She hoped that author would learn prayers

(a) 1, 2 and 6

(b) 2, 3 and 5

(c) 1,3, and 6

(d) 4,5 and 6

Answer: (c)

  • Which word in the extract is synonym of ‘unvarying’?
  • left
  • monotonous
  • sing-song
  • bothered

Answer: (b)

  • Author listened to ‘her’ prayers because he
  • wanted to memorise it
  • he liked her
  • he liked her voice
  • she ordered him to listen

Answer: (c)

(iv) From which of the chapter above extract has been taken?

(a) Portrait of a Lady

(b) The Adventure

(c) Silk Route

(d) Mother’s Day

Answer: (a)


EB 4. I would tell her English words and little things of western science and learning, the law of gravity, Archimedes’ Principle, the world being round, etc. This made her unhappy. She could not help me with my lessons. She did not believe in the things they taught at the English school and was distressed that there was no teaching about God and the scriptures.

(i) Why grandmother of author could not help author with his lessons?

(a) she did not want to

(b) she did not know the subjects

(c) author did not want her to help him

(d) author did not talk to her

Answer: (b)

(ii) According to the extract, which of the following were not told by the author to his grandmother

  1. English words
  2. French words
  3. law of gravity
  4. world being flat
  5. energy conservation principles

(a) 2,4 and 5

(b) 1,3 and 6

(c) 2,5 and 6

(d) 1, 4 and 6

Answer: (a)

(iii) Grandmother unhappy with school because of 

(a) no teaching about God

(b) no teaching about scriptures

(c) both 1 and 2

(d) none of the above

Answer: (c)

(iv) According to the extract, what was the medium of instructions in the school?

(a) Hindi

(b) Tamil

(c) English

(d) Malayalam

Answer: (c)

(v) Which word in the extract is synonym of ‘coached’?

(a) learning

(b) distressed

(c) believe

(d) taught

Answer: (d)

EB 5.When I decided to go abroad for further studies, I was sure my grandmother would be upset. I would be away for five years, and at her age one could never tell. But my grandmother could. She was not even sentimental. She came to leave me at the railway station but did not talk or show any emotion. Her lips moved in prayer, her mind was lost in prayer.

(i) What is meant by the phrase ‘one could never tell.’

(a) author did not want to tell about his destination

(b) author feared his grandmother may die before his return

(c) author was afraid his grandmother

(d) author did not want to leave his grandmother

Answer: (b)

(ii) Which word in the extract is synonym of ‘higher’?

(a) emotional

(b) even

(c) upset

(d) further

Answer: (d)

(iii) Why did author think that his grandmother would be upset?

(a) he was going for higher studies

(b) he was going abroad

(c) he was going broke

(d) he was going away for five years

Answer: (b)

(iv) While coming to railway station, why was the grandmother silent?

(a) she was sentimental

(b) she did not want to show her emotions

(c) she liked being quiet

(d) she was not in talking terms with the author

Answer: (b)

(v) For what tenure author was going abroad?

(a) four years

(b) three years

(c) fifteen years

(d) five years

Answer: (d)

(vi) When author returned from overseas, was his grandmother alive?

(a) yes

(b) no

(c) Not mentioned in the extract

(d) None of the above

Answer: (c)


EB 6. She still had no time for words, and while she clasped me in her arms I could hear her reciting her prayers. Even on the first day of my arrival, her happiest moments were with her sparrows whom she fed longer and with frivolous rebukes. In the evening a change came over her. She did not pray. She collected the women of the neighbourhood, got an old drum and started to sing.

(i) Which of the following is synonym to ‘frivolous rebukes’ as used in the extract?

(a) deep fires

(b) minor scolds

(c) simple jokes

(d) plain talks

Answer: (b)

(ii) Which of the following are true in respect of activities performed by grandmother

  1. talked a lot
  2. recited her prayers
  3. fed her sparrows
  4. she prayed in the evening
  5. she danced in the with women of neigbourhood

(a) 1, 2 and 3

(b) 2,3 and 4

(c) 2 and 3

(d) 4 and 5

Answer: (c)

(iii) What did grandmother enjoyed most?

(a) saying her prayers

(b) playing her drum

(c) feeding her sparrows

(d) collecting women of neighbourhood

Answer: (c)

(iv) What was the occasion described in the extract?

(a) arrival of author from village

(b) return of author from abroad

(c) arrival of author in the morning

(d) arrival of author at the railway station

Answer: (b)

(iv) What can be definitely said about time of arrival of the author?

(a) morning

(b) evening

(c) afternoon

(d) before evening

Answer: (d)


EB 7. All over the verandah and in her room right up to where she lay dead and stiff wrapped in the red shroud, thousands of sparrows sat scattered on the floor. There was no chirruping. We felt sorry for the birds and my mother fetched some bread for them. She broke it into little crumbs, the way my grandmother used to, and threw it to them. The sparrows took no notice of the bread.

(i) Why birds were not chirruping?

(a) they were dumb

(b) author had ordered them

(c) there was no sound in the room

(d) they had understood the grandmother was dead

Answer: (d)

(ii) What was colour of the cloth with which grandmother was covered?

(a) green

(b) yellow

(c) red

(d) purple

Answer: (c)

(iii) In your opinion, why did author’s mother brought some bread?

(a) she thought birds had come to eat bread

(b) she had some extra bread in the house

(c) she wanted to pay homage grandmother

(d) she had done it without any thinking

Answer: (a)

(iv) Which word in the extract is synonym of ‘spread’?

(a) threw

(b) scattered

(c) wrapped

(d) fetched

Answer: (b)

(v) Which of the following rightly explains the phrase ‘took no notice of’ as used in the extract?

(a) did not write notice

(b) did not give any direction

(c) did not pay any attention

(d) did not worry

Answer: (c)

Short Answer Questions (30-40 words)

SA 1. How author has described her grandmother?

Answer: She was an old lady who had wrinkles on her face. She was short, fat and slightly bent. She always wore spotless white dress and moved around the house with one hand on her back. Her white hair were carelessly spread and she constantly said her inaudible prayer.



SA 2. What could the author not believe about his grandfather?

Answer: Author could not believe that his grandfather had a wife or children. He looked so old in his portrait that he could have had only grandchildren.


SA 3. Why author calls her grandmother ‘an expense of pure white serenity’?

Answer: The grandmother had white hair that were usually spread across her pale and puckered face. She always wore spotless white dress. She always remained calm. Hence the the author calls her ‘an expense of pure white serenity’.



SA 4. How grandmother took care of author while they stayed in the village?

Answer: The grandmother bathed him and got him ready for the school. She arranged his slate, inkpot and pen. She escorted her to the school and they returned home together. She helped him in doing his home-work.



SA 5. Why grandmother started feeding sparrows in the city?

Answer: In village she used to feed stale chapattis to street dogs. In the city there were no street dogs. So she started feeding sparrows in the courtyard of the house.


SA 6. What routines confirm that grandmother had faith in God and religion?

Answer: Grandmother used to regularly say her prayers. While being in village, she went to temple every day and read scriptures. She used to feed stray dogs.

She continued her habit of saying prayers in city. She started feeding sparrows in her city house.

Thus she was a religious lady.



SA 7. Why friendship between the author and grandmother became weak? Did it ever break?

Answer: When they moved to city, author started going to an English medium school in a bus. Now grandmother was not able to help him in his homework. Later the author got a separate room for himself. These weakened the friendship.

They were always friends.

SA 8. What were thoughts of grandmother about the English medium school and lesson of music?

Answer: She could not understand teachings of English medium school. She was unhappy that scriptures were not taught there. So she did not like the school.

She thought that music is for harlots and beggars. So she was against music  being taught in the school.



SA 9. What changes grandmother had to make in her routine in the city?

Answer: In city house grandmother concentrated more on her prayers. She started spending more time at spinning wheel. She did not talk much to anybody. She started feeding sparrows.

SA 10. Why grandmother had to make changes in her routine in the city?

Answer: The author started going to an English medium school in a bus. So there was no need to escort him. She could not help him in his homework. There were no street dogs in the city. Later author shifted to a separate room.

Hence she had to make changes to her routine.



SA 11. ‘At her age one could never tell’. Explain this sentence.

Answer: The author was going abroad for higher studies for five years. Because of her old age, nobody was certain how long more would grandmother live. This is meaning of the sentence.

SA 12. How did grandmother celebrate home coming of her grandson?

Answer: She called all women of neighbourhood. She arranged an old drum. She played the drum for several hours and sang songs of warriors coming back to their home. With great persuasion she was stopped to avoid overstraining herself.



SA 13. When did grandmother break her routine of prayer? Why was it broken?

Answer: She broke her routine of prayers on the day her grandson returned from abroad.

She was very happy on arrival of her grandson. She played the drum and sang for several hours. In her happiness, she missed saying her prayers.

SA 14. How did sparrows behave on the day of death of grandmother?

Answer: Thousands of sparrows came and sat quietly in the verandah and around the grandmother in the room. They did not eat the bread crumbs thrown at them. When the grandmother’s corpse was carried away, they flew away without making any sound.


SA 15. What were views of grandmother about western education?

Answer: Grandmother could not understand English and science being taught in the city school. She was distraught that there was no teaching about God and scripture. She was against music being taught in the school.

In nutshell, grandmother did not approve of the curriculum of the western education.


Long Answer questions (120-150 words)

LA 1. How did friendship between the author and his grandmother started and then changed with passage of time? Please describe.

Answer: During early childhood of author, his parents had shifted from village to city. He stayed in the village with his grandmother. She bathed him, got him ready to school, arranged for his slate, inkpot, pens etc. She escorted him to school and returned together. She helped him in his homework. During this period their friendship was strongest.

Later they both shifted to city. Author was going to an English medium school in a bus. Grandmother did not escort him. Teachings in the schools were not understood by grandmother. Interaction between them reduced.

When author went up to University, he was shifted to another room. This further reduced their interactions. So their friendship further weakened.

However they were emotionally attached to each other. She came to see him off at the railway station. He cherished the moist imprint of kiss by her. She celebrated his return by singing for long hours.

LA 2. Compare routine of grandmother in village with that in city. Why did such change happen?

Answer: In village the grandmother was very busy. She used to bathe and get the author ready for school. She arranged her slate, inkpot etc. She escorted him to the school. She read scriptures at the temple. And they both returned together. She used to tell her beads of rosary and say her prayers. She routinely fed street dogs.

In the city she devoted more time to her prayers. She had started spending more time in front of her spinning wheel. She talked less with people. She started feeding sparrows.

In city the author was going to an English school in a bus. She did not escort him. She could not help the author in his homework. When author went up the University, he was allotted a separate room. There were no street dogs in the city. These were the reasons for change in her routine.

LA 3. Enumerate instances from the text to indicate that grandmother was interested in education of her grandson. Do you think her concerns about education in city school were justified? What tells you that later she had reconciled with new set of education?

Answer: Grandmother was taking utmost interest in education of author.

While they were in village she bathed him and got him ready in time. She escorted him to the school. She also helped him in doing his homework.

When they moved to city, she continued to make him ready for the school though there was no need to escort him to school. She took interest in his learnings. She could not understand principles and aspects taught in the school Thus she could not help in his homework.

She was not happy that medium of instruction in city school was English. She was also not happy because music was being taught there. I feel this is ill founded. The curriculum of school is decided for overall development of students. They cannot be learning the same aspect throughout their life. Hence her anxiety was not justified.

She had gone to the railway station to see the author off for his higher studies. Thus we can infer that later she had reconciled with new system of education.

LA 4. Grandmother was unhappy that in city school education about God and scriptures was not being extended. Do you feel that such education should be provided in schools?

Answer: In the text it is mentioned that grandmother was unhappy because education about God and scriptures was not given in the school.

I am of the opinion that her anxiety was justified. Each one of us needs to be taught about our culture. Religion and scripture are part of our culture. Keeping away from such a rich heritage will make us alien within our own country.

Our scriptures are replete with moral stories and fables. We need to emphasise on moral values in our society. School is the best medium to start building an excellent moral character among future leaders.

Such education has become more important after the effect of social media and misuse of internet. Even small build-up of moral values can make a huge positive impact towards a safe society and development of our nation.




(Extra Questions)


Extract Based Questions 

EB 1. The cardboard shows me how it was

When the two girl cousins went paddling,

Each one holding one of my mother’s hands,

And she the big girl — some twelve years or so.

(i) What is name of the poet of the poem from which the above extract has been taken –

(a) Ted Hughes

(b) Shirley Toulson

(c) Walt Whitman

(d) Kamla Das

Answer: (b)

(ii) What does the word ‘cardboard’ represent in the extract?

(a) a piece of paper

(b) a hard copy

(c) a photograph

(d) a plain paper

Answer: (c)

(iii) How many girls are depicted in the cardboard?

(a) two

(b) three

(c) four

(d) one

Answer: (b)

(iii) Who was the eldest girl in the picture?

(a) author’s cousin

(b) mother’s cousin

(c) author’s mother

(d)cousin’s cousin

Answer: (c)

(iv) The word ‘big’ as used in the extract means

(a) youngest

(b) eldest

(c) shortest

(d) bravest

Answer: (b)

(v) Which poetic devise has been used in second line of the extract?

(a) alliteration

(b) repetition

(c) metaphor

(d) anaphora

Answer: (a)

EB 2. All three stood still to smile through their hair

At the uncle with the camera. A sweet face,

My mother’s, that was before I was born.

And the sea, which appears to have changed less,

Washed their terribly transient feet.

(i) What is the name of the poem through which above extract has been taken?

(a) The Laburnum Top

(b) The Voice of the Rain

(c) A Photograph

(d) Childhood

Answer: (c)

(ii) Which poetic device has been used in the first line of the extract?

(a) alliteration

(b) repetition

(c) metaphor

(d) anaphora

Answer: (a)

(iii) Who had clicked the photograph?

(a) author’s uncle

(b) mother’s uncle

(c) cousin’s uncle

(d) none of the above

Answer: (a)

(iv) What has changed least in the  photograph?

(a) sea

(b) mother

(c) cousin

(d) uncle

Answer: (a)

(v) Which word in the extract is antonym of ‘permanent’?

(a) still

(b) terribly

(c) transient

(d) through

Answer: (c)

(vi) Which word in the extract is antonym of ‘ugly’?

(a) stood

(b) still

(c) smile

(d) sweet

Answer: (d)

EB 3. Some twenty — thirty — years later

She’d laugh at the snapshot. “See Betty

And Dolly,” she’d say, “and look how they

Dressed us for the beach.” The sea holiday

Was her past, mine is her laughter.

Both wry With the laboured ease of loss.


(i) Who are Betty and Dolly?

(a) author’s cousins

(b) uncle’s cousins

(c) mother’s cousins

(d) none of the above

Answer: (c)

(ii) Which word in the extract has been used to mean ‘favourite’?

(a) beach

(b) wry

(c) past

(d) ease

Answer: (c)

(iii) Which poetic device has been used in ‘laboured ease of loss.’?

(a) alliteration

(b) oxymoron

(c) metaphor

(d) anaphora

Answer: (b)

(iv) What is the most enjoyable thing for the author?

(a) holiday at sea

(b) photograph of her mother

(c) laughter of her mother

(d) dressing up for beach

Answer: (c)

(v) Who would laugh at the photograph?

(a) cousin

(b) uncle

(c) mother

(d) author

Answer: (c)

(vi) Which word in the extract mean ‘a few’?

(a) wry

(b) some

(c) how

(d) ease

Answer: (b)

EB 4. Now she’s been dead nearly as many years

As that girl lived. And of this circumstance

There is nothing to say at all.

Its silence silences.

(i) Who has been referred as ‘she’ in the above extract?

(a) author

(b) cousin

(c) mother

(d) uncle

Answer: (c)

(ii) Which poetic device has been used in last line of the sentence?

(a) repetition

(b) oxymoron

(c) alliteration

(d) anaphora

Answer: (c)

(iii) What is meant by ‘There is nothing to say at all.’

(a) poet has nothing to speak

(b) poet has spoken enough

(c) poet has spoken very less

(d) poet has none to speak to

Answer: (d)

(iv) Which word in the extract is synonym of ‘about’?

(a) dead

(b) nearly

(c) many

(d) nothing

Answer: (b)


Short Answer Questions (30-40 words)

SA 1. Explain the contrast expressed between sea and human beings in the poem ‘ A photograph”?

Answer: The sea has not changed much but life of human beings has changed a lot. Their preferences have changed. The mother has died and the poet has become middle aged.

 Thus poet has impressed that needs, deeds and circumstances of life goes on changing.

SA 2. What can you infer about childhood of the mother of poet?

Answer: In the photograph shows mother at sea-shore with her cousins Mother used to laugh while looking at the photograph.

Thus we can infer that the mother had enjoyed her childhood. It was full of fun time and family time. 


SA 3. What impression can you form about the mother of poet?

Answer: She was a pretty girl since her childhood. She had enjoyed decent family time during her childhood. She believed in treasuring memories of the past. Her attachment with present is shown by the love of her daughter towards her.

Thus she had balanced past and present.


SA 4. What can you understand from ‘sea, which appears to have changed less’?

Answer: It implies that change in the physical or external world happens at a slower rate. But changes in the life of human beings are faster. Our emotions change a lot.  One needs to tolerate the loss of near and dear ones.

SA 5. What do infer about feelings of poet in the poem “A Photograph’?

Answer: The poet is getting nostalgic to recall childhood days of her mother and her own childhood days.  They both had enjoyed their favorite pastime and togetherness. The poet is sad that her mother is no longer with her.


Long Answer Questions (120-150 words)

LA 1. In the last line of the poem ‘A photograph’ the poet writes ‘the silence silences’.  Do you agree with the thoughts of the poet? Please elucidate.

Answer: Every living being is mortal. One who has taken birth will surely die some day. Buddha has advised to remain nonchalant even in cases of utter grief. 

We would always cherish the memories of our loved ones even after their death. The time spent, the emotional bonding would be in our heart forever.

But we need to remember that the life must go on. We must keep progressing. This can be done only when we have taken every eventuality into our stride.  We must remain calm and composed.

Let us remember that we need to transfer good moral and emotional values to next generation. We need to inculcate principles of karma into their life style.

Thus ‘the silence silences’ does not depict the right philosophy of life. The ‘show must go on’ needs to be the guiding principle of life.


LA 2. Life is never stationary but it is transient. But can always sail through difficult situations by recalling the good moments of life. Please elucidate.

Answer: The only constant thing in life is that will change. Right from the beginning of one’s birth, life undergoes several changes. Every stage of life like childhood, middle age and old age brings about its own situations. There are some pleasant moments and some tough situations.

One should adore the happy moments of life. These are treasures of life. These motivate us and propel us to life of karma. Thus we can work ourselves for improvement and remain hopeful about better future.

The circumstances are changing almost every day. Difficult times do not remain forever. We must cherish the pleasant time and use to build a ‘can do’ attitude amongst ourselves. It is our moral responsibility to transmit and inculcate this attitude to next generation.

This paves the way for success and happiness.



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