Telangana SCERT 8th Class English Guide Telangana State Unit 1A The Tattered Blanket Textbook Questions and Answers.
TS 8th Class English Guide Unit 1A The Tattered Blanket
PRE-READING (Motivation/Picture Interaction):
Look at the pictures and answer the questions that follow.
What do you observe in the pictures ?
These two pictures are family photographs. The first photograph with limited members reflects a nuclear family. In this photograph we can see a husband and a wife with their two children. The second photograph with many members reflects a joint family. In this photograph we can see the people of three generations. There are grandmother and father, sons and daughters and grandchildren.
What type of families do we find in our present society ? Why ?
We find nuclear families in our present society nowadays. Formation of nuclear families started during the last four decades. Many changes took place in family culture and society. The needs of family were increased to a large extent in financial matters. Modernisation and industrialisation took place. People feel that smaller family units could move more easily to find economic opportunities in other areas. People who are educated in a family should move from their home towns in search of jobs.
Which family do you like ? Why ?
I like joint family. The joint families are happy ones. The elders in the joint family with their vast experience give good pieces of advice to the younger ones and put them in right direction. The younger ones learn co-operation, sacrifice, selfless service, obedience, sympathy and broad-minded nature, etc. The child, the employed, the sick, the aged and physically disabled people are well taken care of. There would be more affection and love among the members of the joint family.
I like small family. Small families help every country in controlling the growth of population. A small family promises well-fed and healthy family members. Parents in a small family can pay due attention to the upbringing and needs of their children. The children are exposed to more educational, intellectual and cultural opportunities. Hence, I can say that a small family is a happy family.
Debate : “Small families are happy families.”
Child 1 : I personally feel that small families are happy families. The living cost of larger family is much higher as it needs to expend more on food, cloths, education and other things when we compare with the expenses of a small family. A small family promises well-fed and healthy family members. In a small family, kids receive more love and attention from the parents.
Child 2 : In my opinion, large families which have more members are happy families. In large families children get a chance to receive more feedback from peers about the way they act and they have more opportunities to interact with peers. In a small family, it is hard to find someone that one can get along with, so one feels lonely.
Child 1 : My knowledgeable opponent is of the opinion that large families are happy families. I am sorry to differ with him/her. Children from small families fare better than children from large families. In small families, parents have more time to devote to the caring of children. Parents look after them well.
Child 2 : I disagree with my opponent’s opinion. In big families, children learn empathy, teamplaying, time management and how to avoid disputes.
Child 1 : It’s my feeling that parents in a small family can fulfil the needs of one or two kids. They can pay due attention to their upbringing and needs. In a big family, parents can’t give their best support to everyone but in a small family, parents have few children to look after so they can give more support to them.
Child 2 : That’s purely your idea but the reality is different. I think that it is a blessing to have a big family. If we have aunts, uncles and others along with us we learn more from them. With their vast experience, they give good pieces of advice to the younger ones and put them in the right direction.
Child 1 : I don’t agree with my worthy opponent. Small families help every country in controlling the growth of population. The growth in population effects the quality of life.
Child 2 : I feel that everyone would take care of everyone else in a big family. The child finds a lovely time playing with his/her peers. The old people have the company of younger ones.
Child 1 : In my opinion, small families provide a good environment for children to grow up. In a small family, children are exposed to more educational, intellectual and cultural opportunities. In a large family there is a lack of privacy but it is not the case with a small family. Hence I opine that small families are happy families.
Child 2 : I feel that parents in a large family divide the chores and responsibilities among the children so they can do work faster. The holidays can be more festive with all the members of the family. They celebrate together each and every important occasion. Therefore I conclude that large/big families are happy ones. I prefer to be a member of a big family.
Answer the following questions.
Why didn’t the mother recognise Gopi ? How did he feel?
The mother did not recognise Gopi because she lost her power of memory. He was not much worried. He took it in an easy manner.
Why do you think Gopi didn’t get anything for his mother?
Gopi has no love for his mother. It is proved when he came back home after five years. That too, to ask his sister to sell his share of property for getting money.
The mother could not remember Gopi. Do you think Gopi remembered his mother? What does it suggest?
Gopi did not remember his mother. He came to see her after five years. That too, with the intention of asking his sister to sell his share of property for getting money. It suggests that he has no love for his mother.
What is meant by the expression the ‘tattered blanket’?
In the light of the lesson the ‘tattered blanket’ means a ‘wounded soul’.
Why didn’t Gopi answer his sister’s question, ‘Do you remember your Amma?’
Gopi did not answer his sister’s question whether he remembered his Amma because he ”eally did not remember his mother.
If you were Gopi’s sister, how would you respond to his behaviour?
If I were Gopi’s sister, I would be angry with him. I would not allow him to sell his share of property.
I. Fill in the blanks with the most appropriate words from the box. Remember, the box has some extra words.
All my attempts to make him happy proved ________.
It was very cold. So, ________ in a corner.
Forced by her parents, Sita ________ took the diploma course.
What are you ________? I can’t hear you.
The news that he was denied promotion caused ________ to him.
II. Tick (✓) the words that are similar in meaning to the underlined words.
His mother made a futile attempt to get up.
It’s all tattered now.
There is a cold mist in the mornings.
It’s iust like a bali of knotted yarn.
a. very small
b. rounded tightly
b. rounded tightly
I can’t make both ends meet with my salary.
a. earn a lot of money
b. spend a lot of money
c. earn just enough money
d. give all that one has
c. earn just enough money
Phrases and Noun Phrases:
I. Look at the following sentences from the text and observe the underlined part in each sentence.
She saw a bald, fat, middle-aged man.
• Which word in the underlined part is important?
• The underlined part in the above sentence has more than one word. It is called a phrase.
• The underlined part ‘a bald, fat middle-aged man’ functions as a Noun Phrase.
• Here the word ‘man’ is important and all other words add more information to that word. So it is called a Noun Phrase.
Detailed Information on Noun Phrases:
A noun phrase includes a noun—a person, place, or thing—and the modifiers which distinguish it.
You can find the noun dog in a sentence, for example, but you don’t know which canine the writer means until you consider the entire noun phrase: that dog, uncle Raju’s dog, the dog on the sofa, the neighbor’s dog that chases our cat, the dog digging in the new flower bed.
Modifiers can come before or after the noun. The ones that come before might include articles, possessive nouns, possessive pronouns, adjectives, and/or participles.
Articles: a dog, the dog
uncle Raju’s dog,
the neighbor’s dog,
the police officer’s dog
Possessive pronouns: our dog, her dog, their dog
Adjectives: that dog, the big dog, the spotted dog
Participles: the drooling dog, the barking dog, the well trained dog
Modifiers that come after the noun might include prepositional phrases, adjective clauses, participle phrases, and/or infinitives.
Prepositional phrases: a dog on the loose, the dog in the front seat, the dog behind the fence
Adjective clauses: the dog that chases cats, the dog that looks lost, the dog that won the championship
Participle phrases: the dog whining for a treat, the dog clipped at the groom¬ing salon, the dog walked daily
Infinitives: the dog to catch, the dog to train, the dog to adopt
Less frequently, a noun phrase will have a pronoun as its base—a word like we, everybody, etc.—and the modifiers which distinguish it. Read these examples: We who were green with envy
We = subject pronoun; who were green with envy = modifier.
Someone = indefinite pronoun; intelligent — modifier.
No one important
No one = indefinite pronoun; important – modifier.
Textual Exercise – 1
Identify some more noun phrases from the story and write them below.
a. a futile attempt
b. a thin bath towel
c. her wrinkled cheeks
d. my salary
e. a long time
f. a red blanket
g. a great help
Textual Exercise – 2
Complete the sentences with noun phrases using the words given in brackets.
I bought ________, (beautiful/a/umbrella/red).
I bought a beautiful red umbrella.
We saw ________ in the zoo. (baby/a/elephants/of/couple).
We saw a couple of baby elephants in the zoo.
Our grandfather lives in ________ (big/house/a/stone-built).
Our grandfather lives in a big stone-built house.
Ramya has ________ (nice/a/sari/silk).
Ramya has a nice silk sari.
I. Read the following paragraph, taken from the story.
Delhi is too expensive. You know I have four children to look after now. I can’t make both ends meet with my salary. And one has to keep up one’s status. It will be a great help if I can raise some money by selling my share of the family property. I came to talk it over with you.
Now, write a short essay on how to keep up family ties despite economic pressures (You may use the hints given below).
- Impact of economic pressures
- Lack of time to spend with the family
- Lack of love and affection
- Absence of human relationships
What makes us happy? Is it money, job, house, clothes, rich food, luxury or something else? Yes, it is something else. It is healthy relationship among family members – dad, mom, children, husband, wife etc. We deeply desire to live happily. The impact of economic pressures, lack of time to spend with the family, lack of love and affection among the members of the family and absence of human relationships have played a vital role in destroying the family ties in recent times. To avoid this and keep the family ties in a good condition we have to take care.
We, Indians give strong values to family relationships. It is our culture that has been followed from olden days. In earlier days and in some parts of India, still there are joint families. Joint families comprise many people – father, mother, children, grandparents, grandchildren etc. In these families, there will be a strict hierarchy. The elder person in the family will be the head of the family. Ladies do household duties, look after their children, take care of their husband and parents etc. There will be a number of children in a joint family. They will learn to share what they have with others, to love and respect elders, to adjust themselves to the society or others from their younger age.
But nowadays the number of joint families is getting low (decreasing). Parents are working. Children are studying apart from their parents. They can’t always stay together with their grandparents. Thus the concept of nuclear families has emerged. In nuclear families, there will be father, mother and at most two children. The parents take -care of their children. Also the income of parents is more compared to those in olden days.
Traditions give us a feeling of security — an important thing for adults and children. They help us feel that the world is a good place and life is worth living. They can be especially important when there are transitions in family life. Economic pressures are common in everybody’s life. So don’t allow them dominate your family relationships. People are busy nowadays.
They usually don’t find time to spend with the members of their family. But we should spend our leisure time and holidays for our children and other members of the family. The first road block in the path of healthy relationship is non communication or critical communication. So we should have effective and positive communication with our family on regular basis.
Let the television be silent. Let us listen to our brothers, sisters, children, husband, wife, grandfather and grandchildren. We should show our love and affection in time of need. In a family it is important to show affection to each other. A family can grow closer as they receive love and support from each other. When we are interested in others and kind to them, we begin to understand and appreciate them more. We also begin to understand how much our kindness means to others. When family members show kindness to each other, families work together better. One thing that can help is being able to understand how others feel. Understanding how others feel is called empathy.
I. Listen to your teacher making an announcement and answer the following questions.
An Announcement on the Radio
Prashanth, a thirteen year old boy has been missing since last Sunday. The boy is in blue trousers and pink T-shirt. He can speak Telugu, Hindi and English. He has fair complexion. He is fond of movies. His parents are much worried about him. Whoever finds Prashanth will be rewarded. You may contact the Sub-Inspector of Police, Vidya Nagar, Thiruvananthapuram. (Mobile No. 99XXXXXX00)
Answer the following questions.
What is the announcement about?
The announcement is about the missing of a thirteen-year-old boy, Prashanth.
What are the features of Prashanth?
Prashanth is in blue trousers and pink T-shirt. He has fair complexion.
Where do you generally listen to such announcements?
We generally listen to such announcements in crowded places like bus stops, markets etc.
Think of some announcement you may make or listen at school.
A boy from the dais of a school assembly says ‘My school bag is missing. It is red. It consists of 6 textbooks, 10 notebooks, a compass box and my lunch box. Whoever finds my bag will be rewarded with a 5 star chocolate. You may contact me at Class – VIII, Section – ‘A’. My name is Vinay Kumar.
What are the other ways to trace the missing persons or things?
Sticking posters on walls, giving announcements in newspapers, announcing on TV, publishing pamphlets etc., are the other ways to trace the missing persons or things.
Family related information.
Is yours a nuclear or joint family ?
Now write a paragraph describing the types of families using the information given in the above tree diagram.
Write which type of family you prefer and why.
Types of Families:
A nuclear family is a family group consisting of father and mother and their children, who share living quarters. This can be contrasted with an extended family.
Nuclear family grows out of joint/extended family when there is migration from village to city for employment or other reasons where joint family is not possible due to paucity of needed larger residential accommodation, different occupation etc. That is why it is mainly seen in urban areas, cities and metropolis.
Nuclear families may also exist in rural areas because the joint family cannot go on indefinitely owing to physical and social limitations. There is a limit to the number of people a house can accommodate and thus, there is bound to be fission into smaller nuclear families in the family cycle of development.
Merits of a Nuclear Family :
Unlike the joint family, there is greater degree of freedom for spouses in the nuclear family. The status of the woman is higher and she often takes up employment outside the home. The material well-being of children, such as healthcare and education, is higher because of more resources available. Nuclear families are adaptable to social change.
The nuclear family misses all the advantages of joint living. It is too isolated and uncon-nected to elicit support or assistance during need or crisis. Its limited size poses practical problems for child rearing and care, more so when the mother works outside.
Children are deprived of a wider social world, emotional bonding, love and affection that a joint family provides. The old parents are left in the village or at old age homes without personal care.
Joint Family :
Joint Family is an extended family arrangement prevalent among the Hindus of the Indian subcontinent, consisting of many generations living under the same roof.
All the male members are blood relatives and all the women are either mothers, wives, unmarried daughters, or widowed relatives, all bound by the common relationship. The joint family status being the result of birth, possession of joint cord that knits the members of the family together is not property but the relationship.
Six key aspects of Joint Family are :
- head of the family takes all decisions
- all members live under one roof
- share the same kitchen
- three generations living together (though often two or more brothers live together, or father and son live together or all the descendants of male live together)
- income and expenditure in a common pool, property held together.
- a common place of worship
- all decisions are made by the male head of the family.
Merits of a Joint Family :
The joint family is ideally suited for land-based rural families for its economic, social and psychological advantages. The joint operation of property allows increased efficiency of pooled labour and economies of a single kitchen and household. It provides for efficient geriatric and childcare, as there are many women to look after them.
This enables mothers to work in fields or do household work. Children grow up with care, love and affection from grandparents, uncles, aunts, cousins etc., besides their own parents. Joint family is an ideal setting to learn virtues of co-operation and collective living for the young people.
Family festivals and occasions can be celebrated more elegantly, enhancing the prestige of all the members. In general, joint family ensures the happiness and well-being of all its members.
Joint families may also own industries/business (besides agriculture). There are many well known industry/business houses running their enterprises jointly owned them by brothers etc., in a joint family.
The system is not without disadvantages though. Women in general have a low status and are often excluded from decision-making. There is little freedom for junior male members. The family, more based on tradition, may not be open to change or accepting new elements. The weight of the family is heavy on young couples. It hinders the process of individual freedom.
When compared with nuclear family system, joint family system has many merits and advantages. So I strongly prefer joint family system.
The Tattered Blanket Summary in English
Kamala Das’s ‘The Tattered Blanket’ exposes the bitter truths of life in a stunningly simple manner. After five years Gopi comes to Kerala to see his mother. Gopi is a big officer in Delhi living with his wife Vimala and his children. He has come to Thiruvananthapuram as a part of his official assignment. He just dropped in on his way back to meet his mother. His mother is very old. She lives with his eldest sister Kamala who is a widow. When he arrived unexpectedly at his home in the countryside, his mother was lying in an armchair on the veranda.
The mother fails to recognise her son Gopi. She believes that Gopi is still a school boy. She doesn’t recognise anybody. Sometimes her memory is quite sharp, sometimes she forgets the present, but remembers the past. When her memory is very sharp, she asks about Gopi’s letters from Delhi. Kamala tells her a lie that everything is fine with Gopi, his wife and kids. But Gopi doesn’t write any letters to his mother.
The mother doesn’t recognise her son. She asks her son Gopi ‘Who is your Amma? What is her name? Where does she live Is it far from here?’ But the mother has the picture of her son in her mind. She says, ‘My son is in Delhi a Government Officer. He has Kesariyogam (well settled). He draws a salary of two thousand five hundred rupees.’
The mother tells Gopi if he meets her son, ask him to send her a blanket. A red one. She has a blanket, the one Gopi bought for her when he was studying in Madras. It is all tattered now, just a ball of knotted yarn. Gopi has come home to ask his sister to sell his share of land and get some money for him. Kamala knows that Gopi has come only for money, not to see their mother. It took more than five years for hir, to find time to come home.
Kamala says, ‘Amma is eighty three now. I don’t think she will pull on much longer. It took you so long to visit her after the last time.’ But Gopi has his excuses for not visiting Amma. He says ‘But Amma can’t remember who I am.’
The story ends with Kamala’s question to Gopi, ‘But do you remember your Amma?’ Amma doesn’t recognise her son because she has lost her power of memory. In fact forgetfulness is a blessing for her. Her son doesn’t have any love for his mother.
This is one of the brilliant short stories penned by Madhavikutty in Malayalam. Her focus has always been on the tormented female self, craving for love. She is concerned with the condition of women and the way in which they were betrayed by society. In ‘The Tattered Blanket’ the mother craves for her son’s love. Her son is evergreen in her memory. But she has been overpowered by forgetfulness. She needs a red blanket because the old one is tattered. Here the blanket represents the warmth of her son’s love. She actually needs her son’s love. The tattered blanket symbolises the tattered soul of the mother.
In ‘The Tattered Blanket’ Kamala Das (Madhavi Kutty) portrays the poignant voice of wounded womanhood.
About the Author:
Kamala Das (1932-2009) is the daughter of the famous Malayalam poet- Balamani Amma and V.M. Nair. She is an internationally known poet, short story writer and novelist who writes effortlessly both in English and Malayalam. She has received many awards for her literary work. Some of them are Asian Poetry Prize, Kent Award for English Writing from Asian Countries, Asian World Prize, Sahitya Academy Award and Vayalar Rama Varma Sahitya Award.
thinna (n) : sit out (elevated place on the veranda)
futile (adj) : unsuccessful
huddled (v) : held arms and legs close because of fear or cold
thinna (n) : platform
reluctantly (adv) : not willing to do something
screwing up eyes : narrowing the eyes to look more carefully
dropped (v) : came/visited
note of alarm : fear or worry
awkwardly (adv) : uncomfortably
wrinkled (adj) : having folds in skin on face
quite (adj) : reasonably ; to some degree ; to some extent
on toes (idm) : busy, ready to work
mumbling (v) : speaking unclearly and quietly
exasperatedly (adv) : very annoyed
Kesarlyogam (n) : well settled (in Malayalam)
tattered (adj) : torn
knotted (adj) : twisted into a ball
irritation (n) : annoyance/impatience/anger