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Chapter 1. Reading Comprehension: Prose (Language English For CTET & TET Exams)



One of the major aims of teaching a language is to enable the learner to express himself correctly in spoken as well as written form of the language. Therefore, evaluation of comprehension skills is a basic component of any competitive exam these days.
In this context, Reading Comprehension (RC) develops the skill to read the given text, process it and understand its meaning or point of view. In other words, reading comprehension evaluates an individual’s ability to comprehend the given text.

RC in Competitive Exams

In competitive exams, RC helps evaluate a student on many parameters. These parameters are given below:
1. Comprehension
2. Knowledge of grammar
3. Knowledge/skills of vocabulary
4. Expression and communication of thought
5. Coherence and cohesion – Logical and consistent arrangement of ideas and thought
6. Cognitive level of development Strategies to Solve Prose-based RC In competitive examinations, the level of RC is higher than the ones the students are habituated to solve in their school days. Because of this, the students are unable to understand the vocabulary, concept or theme of the passage. The only two solutions to this problem are clarifying concepts and practicing solving more and more RCs.
Let us start with the following strategies or tips that will help you solve RCs in competitive exams:
1. There are two approaches to solve RCs, i.e., ‘Top-down’ and ‘Bottom-up’. You are free to choose any of these approaches as per your strength.
(a) Top-down Approach: This approach is also known as ‘Conservative Approach’. This approach emphasises on reading the passage first and then going through the questions to solve them.
(b) Bottom-up Approach: This approach emphasises on reading the questions before reading the passage. This trick enables you to find out the answers of questions at the time of reading the passage. Though this approach requires a lot of practice, it effectively saves time during exam.
2. Coordination of eyes, hand and mind is compulsory at the time of reading a passage. Concentrate on what you are reading. Underlining important points or keywords may also be of great help at the time of practice, though marking, underlining or writing anything on the question paper should be avoided in the exam. Nonetheless, this practice will help you understand how and where to find useful information.
3. Generally, there are 3 to 4 types of questions asked on an
RC. These types may be as follows:
(a) Grammar-based
(b) Title or theme-based
(c) Statement, fact or conclusion-based (true/false)
(d) Vocabulary-based (synonyms/antonyms)
Practise solving all of them, focussing more on the one you find difficult.
4. It is important to divide your time as per your weaknesses and strengths. Instead of wasting time on the question you find difficult, it is advisable to first attempt the question you are easily able to answer. You can always come back to the question you have not attempted. Time management is one of the keys to success in any competitive exam.
5. The questions of RCs are based only on the information provided in the text. It is advisable not to use your previous knowledge of the topic or theme.
6. Improve your reading speed. It will save your time on reading and comprehending the text.
7. Improve your vocabulary skills such as knowledge of synonyms, antonyms, one-word substitutions, and idioms and phrases. Vocabulary skills will help you understand the literary meaning of the passage as well as answer any question directly based on vocabulary.
These skills may be improved by reading various English newspapers, story books and novels.
8. Practise solving RC of previous years’ papers. You will get to learn the question pattern and type as well as the difficulty level. After having understood how to solve RC, try solving some of the previous years’ paper in real time. It will help you assess yourself. But it is important to be honest while doing so.
9. Don’t panic. Understand that your mind and eyes need rest. If you feel exhausted, take a break of 5 or 10 seconds. Close your eyes and take a deep breath. It will refresh you and help you restart your work with new vigour.
10. Psychological factors also affect the efficiency.
Sometimes, just by looking at an RC, students develop a notion that the particular RC is difficult and they will not be able to solve it. Losing hope and confidence adversely affects the cognitive level and thereby the performance in the exam.
So, never lose your confidence and stay calm. Remember that you will succeed only if you try.
Types of Questions and Strategies to Solve Them Let us now move towards the question types of RC that are asked in CTET and how to solve them.
Type I: Questions related to title, theme and aim: CTET frequently asks questions related to the title or theme of the given passage. Such questions test the students’ ability to comprehend the ‘primary purpose’ of the given passage. To answer such questions, you must be skilled to draw out the writer’s views or ideas from the given passage.
Format of question stems: These questions are framed in the following manner:
The passage is related to ________.
► The writer describes ________.
► The theme of the given passage is ________.
► The author of this passage is primarily concerned with ________.
► Which one of the following is the most appropriate title for the passage?
Identification of the correct answer: The title or theme of a passage may be found using the wh-questions like when, why, what, how and who. For this, you will first have to make a oneor two-line summary of the whole passage in your mind. Then use the wh-questions to find the required answer from the summary.
Type II: Questions related to statements, facts or conclusions: Such questions are based on conclusion, decision, evaluation or judgement or some statement or fact from the passage.
Format of question stems: These questions are framed in the following manner:
Pick out the true statement.
► Pick out the false statement.
► Which one of the following is a characteristic of _______?
Which of the following ______ is suggested from the passage about ______?
You can conclude from this paragraph/passage that
► All the following statements about _____ are true except
► All the following statements about _____ are false except Identification of the Correct Answer For such questions, both comprehension of the text and information provided in the question have to be evaluated to reach the correct answer. Reason and logic play an important role here.
Sometimes, a simple sentence may be written in such a way that it becomes difficult to understand. Read them slowly and with full attention.
Type III: Questions related to vocabulary: These questions are generally related to synonyms and antonyms. Through such questions, the ability of the student to know the real as well as context-related meaning is judged. Apart from this, the knowledge of idioms, phrases and homophones is also assessed.
Format of question stems: These questions are framed in the following manner:
Which option describes or explains the word _______
(….. line)?
A word that can best replace the word _______ is ______.
► Opposite/antonym of the word _______ is ________.
► Which word is the closest in meaning to _______ (…..line)?
Identification of the Correct Answer Answering these questions is easy if you understand the technique to deduce the meaning from the text. Find the word or phrase in the passage and read it attentively to understand its meaning. Elimination method may also come handy here.
Negating the incorrect answer will help you reach the correct
one. But this technique requires practice.
You can improve your vocabulary skills by reading various English newspapers, stories and novels.
Type IV: Questions related to grammar: These types of questions are asked to check your grammar skills. Questions asked in this segment have an average level of difficulty.
Format of question stems: These questions are framed in the following manner:
Change the voice/tense of given sentence.
► Change the speech/narration of the sentence.
► Pick out the prefix/suffix in the word _______.
► Which part of the speech is the word _______ in the line ….?
Read the given sentence and identify its type.
► Read the given sentence and identify the underlined word/phrase.
Identification of the Correct Answer To identify the answer of a question based on grammar, it is very important to have the concept clear. But sometimes you may be able to find the correct answer from the context as well.
Another way to solve these questions is the application of the rule of elimination. This rule may be applied to strike out the incorrect options based on them being logically incorrect or merely odd. However, striking out ‘odd’ options is purely based on guesswork, which we advise to avoid. It is always advisable and preferable to know than to guess.




According to William Wordsworth, “Poetry is the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings: it takes its origin from emotion recollected in tranquility.” Teaching poetry in a language class enables the learner to appreciate the beauty of language and understand how language can be used effectively to express ideas, emotions and beliefs. To evaluate this understanding and appreciation of a learner, reading comprehension (RC) based on poetry comes in handy.
Poetry comprehension is not difficult if you have thorough knowledge of poetic devices. This will enable you to understand the hidden meaning as well.

Poetry-based RC in Competitive Exams

In competitive exams, poetry-based RCs help evaluate a student on many parameters. These parameters are as given below:
1. Comprehension
2. Imaginative or creative thinking capacity
3. Knowledge of literary devices
4. Aesthetic sense
5. Expression and communication of thought
6. Coherence and cohesion: Logical and consistent arrangement of ideas and thought
7. Cognitive level or development Strategies to Solve Poetry-based RCs The strategies to solve reading comprehension remain the same for prose and poetry. These strategies have already been discussed in the earlier module.
Types of Questions and Strategies to Solve Them Let us now move towards the question types of poetry-based RCs that are asked in CTET and how to solve them.
Type I: Questions related to title, theme, tone and central idea: To answer such types of questions, you must be skilled to draw out the writer’s views or ideas from the poem.
Format of question stems: These questions are framed in the following manner:
The poem is related to ________.
► The poet describes ________.
► The central idea of the given lines is ________.
► The poet is primarily concerned with ________.
► The most appropriate title is ________.
Identification of the correct answer: The poem should be read attentively, focussing more on the key words that may help you understand its tone or mood. Sometimes the title of the poem, if given, may also help you understand the meaning or theme of the text.
Type II: Questions related to figures of speech: The knowledge of poetic devices such as figures of speech and rhyme scheme is necessary to understand and appreciate the true meaning of poetry. CTET uses these types of questions to evaluate this understanding of students.
Format of question stems: These questions are framed in the following manner:
The poetic devices used ________.
► Pick out the figure of speech in ________.
► The rhyme scheme of the poem is ________.
Identification of the correct answer: To solve such questions, it is essential to have command over figures of speech, especially the ones frequently asked in CTET examinations. The confusion between figures of speech can only be resolved through practice.
Another field of study for these questions is the rhyme scheme.
It is important to understand that questions on the rhyme scheme are based more on pronunciation than on spellings of words, like the given lines:
Up above the world so high
► Like a diamond in the sky The underlined words are different in spellings, but have similar pronunciation because of which their rhyme scheme is ‘aa’.
Type III: Questions related to explanation and vocabulary:
The understanding of the meaning of the words, phrases or lines is judged by CTET through these questions. Besides, the students’ knowledge of the meaning of words, phrasal verbs or idioms is also judged.
Format of question stems: These questions are framed in the following manner:
Explain the underlined word in the given sentence.
► Describe the word _______ (….. line).
► A word that can best replace the word _______ is _______.
► Which group of words is the closest in meaning to _______
Identification of the correct answer: Apart from ‘knowing’ the meaning, these questions focus on ‘understanding’ the meaning. Words may acquire meanings other than their dictionary ones depending upon their usage or the context they are used in. Context-based meanings may be easily deduced from the text. You just need to find the asked word or phrase in the passage and read the sentence attentively to understand the meaning of the word.
You can also use the elimination method here. Negating the incorrect answer will help you reach the correct one. But this technique requires practice.


Answer the following questions by selecting the most appropriate option.
Passage 1 That’s the way it happened that Gilbert and his mother came back to their home at midnight. For this story isn’t about the hours in the city, it’s about reaching home so very late.
Gilbert was wide awake when the cab drew up at their own door, and he heard his mother exclaim. “Why, the house is lighted| There’s a bright light in the living room, and in the dining room too|” Mrs. Haywood had paid the driver, and he whirled the cab away before she thought. “I do wish I’d asked him to stay, until we could see what it means.” Gilbert was eager to press forward, but his mother put him behind her. She fully expected to see burglars searching for silver or taking money from the desk. But the sight that actually greeted her made her drop into a chair and laugh. And Gilbert| He threw up his cap, almost shouting. “That’s great, isn’t it, mother? Wasn’t it cute of Billikens to light up for us to get in?” Now Billikens was a beautiful white Persian kitten, which had come to Gilbert on his last birthday, and as full of mischief as a kitten could be, Billikens sat perched on the back of an easy chair under one of the lights, looking for all the world as if he tried to say, “I did it, for sure.”
1. The reason Gilbert’s mother said, “I do wish I’d asked him to stay” is that
(1) she did not want to enter a house where she expected thieves.
(2) she was scared of darkness and needed the company of someone.
(3) she wanted to know the reason behind the bright light in the living room before she entered.
(4) she wanted to ensure her son’s safety before entering the haunted house.
Ans: (3)
2. How many characters are there in this story?
(1) Seven
(2) Four
(3) Five
(4) Six
Ans: (2)
3. Billikens is the name of Gilbert’s ________.
(1) driver
(2) toy
(3) cat
(4) mother
Ans: (3)
4. Identify the true statement.
(1) Gilbert was sleepy when he reached home.
(2) Mrs. Haywood is Gilbert’s neighbour.
(3) Gilbert wasn’t afraid to enter the house, though his mother was.
(4) Gilbert’s driver is Mr. Haywood.
Ans: (3)
5. Who is the ‘I’ in the last sentence, “I did it, for sure.”?
(1) Gilbert
(2) Cab driver
(3) Mrs. Haywood
(4) Billikens
Ans: (4)
6. The main character of the story depicted in the passage is ________.
(1) Billikens
(2) Gilbert’s mother
(3) Mr. Haywood
(4) Gilbert
Ans: (4)
7. What made Gilbert’s mother drop into a chair and laugh?
(1) The realisation that there were no burglars or thieves at home.
(2) The sight of the cat being perched on the back of a chair, indicating that it was the one which lit the lights.
(3) The realisation of her mistake that she tried to hold back Gilbert for no apparent reason.
(4) She heard the words, “I did it, for sure.”
Ans: (2)
8. The word ‘whirled’ can be replaced with ________.
(1) hastened
(2) rotated
(3) swung
(4) sprang
Ans: (1)
9. An antonym of the word ‘eager’ is ________.
(1) anxious
(2) patient
(3) zealous
(4) keen
Ans: (2)
Passage 2 In these times of worldwide skyrocketing energy costs, experts are turning to perhaps the only energy source that is still immune to price fluctuations: the sun. Economic necessity appears to be largely responsible for the rapidly growing acceptance of solar heat as an alternative source. Electricity has been a clean and versatile form of energy that continues to grow in importance for lighting, heating and cooking, and for powering our increasingly automated and computerised society. The demand for electricity is expected to grow more in future than the average trend in the past. A mix of energy sources is required as hedge against shortages in any one area, and the electricity supply companies are taking a second look at renewable electricity generation technologies, particularly those based on the sun. Every 15 minutes, the sun delivers to the earth radiant energy to meet all mankind’s power needs for a full year. But harnessing this energy is complicated by two properties of sunlight: its diffuseness and its variability with the time of day, season and weather conditions. These factors pose formidable technical challenges for the efficient conversion of solar radiation into bulk, utilitygrade electric power. Nevertheless, solar technologies are attractive to utilities because they are environment-friendly and offer a low regulatory risk, limited capital risk and less lead time.
1. Experts are impressed with solar energy technologies because
(1) they are not considered environment-friendly.
(2) they have lower capital risk.
(3) they cannot be employed in less time.
(4) they are subject to fluctuations in weather conditions.
Ans: (2)
2. Which one of the following challenges is not associated with the harnessing of solar energy?
(1) Fluctuations in weather conditions.
(2) Diffused nature of sunlight received by the earth.
(3) Alternate sequence of day and night.
(4) Presence of water on the surface of the earth
Ans: (4)
3. An antonym of the word ‘formidable’ is ________.
(1) terrible
(2) unforeseen
(3) alarming
(4) insignificant
Ans: (4)
4. Identify the word closest in meaning to ‘complicated’.
(1) Natural
(2) Complacent
(3) Dissented
(4) Intricate
Ans: (4)
5. Why are power-generating companies looking at mixed energy options?
(1) The sources of energy are getting scarce with an increase in demand.
(2) Prices of electricity are controlled by the Central Government.
(3) Alternative sources of energy are absolutely free of regulations.
(4) They feel that they can tap the entire solar energy that reaches the earth.
Ans: (1)
6. The reason experts are looking at the sun as an energy source is that
(1) other sources of energy are depleting fast
(2) the demand for radiant energy has increased
(3) other sources of energy are comparatively expensive
(4) other energy forms pollute the environment
Ans: (3)
7. Why is the sun considered to be an important source of alternative energy?
(1) It is available free of cost.
(2) It is available everywhere in the world.
(3) It is not as clean and versatile a source of energy as electricity.
(4) It can satisfy human energy requirements provided it is tapped properly.
Ans: (4)
8. In the phrase “as hedge against shortages”, the word ‘hedge’ means ________.
(1) protection
(2) inspiration
(3) blessing
(4) convenience
Ans: (1)
Passage 3 The Silk Harvest The Bretton family spent the next week collecting and sorting their cocoons into baskets, grouping together, as well as they were able to, those that were to be kept for breeding, those that were soiled or imperfect and those that were double. They also separated the cocoons that were of different colours, for among the lot were not only white ones but many that were yellow, and even some of a greenish tint. This varied, Josef explained, with the different species of silkworms. Before the silk was reeled off, the cocoons would, of course, go through another and more thorough classification under the hands of the experts at the filature, as the reeling factory was called. But even this first rough grouping was a help to buyers.
In the meantime, some of the caterpillars that worked more slowly were still busy with their spinning and could not be disturbed. Accordingly, much care had to be taken in removing the cocoons that were finished. Those in the lower tiers of arches were first taken out and, afterwards, the ones higher up on the shelves. The sooner the cocoons could be collected after their completion, Josef said, the better, for within ten days, they depreciated from seven to eight per cent, and if sold in bulk, brought a lower price. In consequence, the Brettons, who were to sell their crop to a silk merchant who visited the town each year, promptly set about gathering their harvest as soon as possible.
1. The subject of the passage is closely related to ______.
(1) sericulture
(2) pisciculture
(3) apiculture
(4) horticulture
Ans: (1)
2. The Bretton family
(1) separated the cocoons on the basis of their colours only.
(2) collected silkworms and sold them to earn their living.
(3) tried to collect the cocoons as soon as they were ready for harvesting.
(4) were searching for another silk merchant who could come twice a year.
Ans: (3)
3. Which one of the following phrases gives the most appropriate title for the passage?
(1) Life Cycle of a Silkworm
(2) Silk Harvesting
(3) The Bretton Family
(4) Collecting Cocoons
Ans: (2)
4. The word ‘finished’ in “…removing the cocoons that were finished” is used to indicate
(1) the death of a silkworm due to suffocation.
(2) the completion of a cocoon by the caterpillar.
(3) the beginning of depreciation of the quality of a cocoon.
(4) the beginning of the harvesting season for sericulture.
Ans: (2)
5. Identify the false statement.
(1) Josef was the head of the Bretton family.
(2) The Brettons used to sell their harvests to silk merchants.
(3) The caterpillars still busy with their cocoon weaving were not disturbed.
(4) Cocoons were classified further by experts at the reeling factory.
Ans: (1)
6. The word ‘filature’ as used in the passage means
(1) a silk factory
(2) a place of silk harvesting
(3) a place for cocoon production
(4) a place where caterpillars are bred
Ans: (1)
Passage 4 The Interview Staple was close to running late for the interview, and as he ducked into the elevator, some fool stuck his foot into the gap between the closing doors, and the doors bounced off. Time was running. “Sorry,” said the other guy. Staple wanted to hit him so hard, but he punched his fist into the button for floor nine, giving it that lethal one-knuckle punch, and then they were rising, and then the other guy reached across and pushed the button for floor five, and that was another delay, and Staple had to restrain himself from killing the mutant intruder.
The interview room. A minute late. He was seated, and they were doing some preliminaries, and he had his hands in his lap, knuckles down on the fabric of his pants, and then he saw it… A skin flap was hanging loose from the knuckle with which he had punched the elevator button, and the man across the table was saying, “Mr. Staple?” “Pardon me,” said Staple, and fished his handkerchief out of his pocket, awkwardly, using his left hand – the handkerchief was in the right-hand pocket. Wiped his nose with it. “Touch of allergy,” he said, with a smile. Then, secretly wrapped it round his bleeding hand, which he would have to keep in his lap.
And it was so difficult| He gestured when he talked. That was a habit, unbreakable, and the left hand just didn’t do it for him, he needed the right, but the right was embargoed, evidence of exactly why he’d lost his last job.
“We’ll be contacting you within the next week or so,” said Derwent at the end of the interview, giving him a professional smile.
And Staple, walking out of the room, felt sure he was doomed, that he had failed the interview totally.
The truth was the reverse. Although he didn’t know it yet, Staple had the job. As a member of an embattled minority in a cruel and unfeeling world, Derwent was always ready to tip the scales in favour of a fellow left-hander.
1. The “doors bounced off” when someone put a foot in between the doors. The doors consequently
(1) separated themselves.
(2) broke away from the lift.
(3) started rattling.
(4) closed violently.
Ans: (1)
2. A “lethal one-knuckle punch” expresses the author’s
(1) disappointment that he was late already.
(2) frustration that he couldn’t hit back.
(3) repressed anger for what was happening that day.
(4) surprise at his own intolerant temper.
Ans: (2)
3. The ‘mutant’ in the story would be
(1) a new species formed by chromosomal change.
(2) a wild animal.
(3) a strange creature.
(4) a rude person.
Ans: (4)
4. “…right was embargoed” – the author wishes to convey an impression that his hand was
(1) legitimately non-functional.
(2) was heavily bandaged.
(3) covered up and hidden away in his left pocket.
(4) looking awkward as a finger was covered with blood stains.
Ans: (4)
5. To ‘duck into’ means to ________.
(1) rush in
(2) walk like a duck
(3) bend suddenly
(4) sneak into
Ans: (3)
6. The narrator got the job because Derwent
(1) noticed his injured hand.
(2) sympathised with a fellow left-hander.
(3) took pity on left-handed people.
(4) understood the narrator’s emotional state.
Ans: (2)
Passage 5 The Big Ben Every evening, some part of the British Commonwealth hears the chimes of Big Ben, largest of the bells in the clock tower of the Palace of Westminster. The bell is popularly called Big Ben, and it is this bell which chimes out the quarter hours to the people of London. For Britons at sea or living in distant lands, the sound of Big Ben is still a link with home, for the chimes are broadcast each evening by the British Broadcasting Corporation.
Big Ben has been chiming out the quarter hours now for more than one-and-a-half centuries. It started chiming on June 11, 1859.
At that time, the Parliament couldn’t decide what to name the bell. A light-hearted Member of Parliament called attention, in a speech, to the impressive bulk of Sir Benjamin Hall, Queen Victoria’s Chief Lord of the Woods and Forests.
“Call it Big Ben,” said the speaker, and the name stuck.
Big Ben is 9 feet in diameter, 7 feet 6 inches tall, and the thickness where the hammer strikes is 8.75 inches.
The clock that regulates the chiming of Big Ben keeps good time. In 1939, the Royal Astronomer made a 290-day check on the performance of the clock. He found that during this test, the margin of error was less than two-tenth of a second in 24 hours on 93 days and greater than one second only on 16 of the 290 days.
There was an unexpected lapse on August 12, 1945, and consternation swept through the Ministry of Works. On that dark day, the clock was five minutes slow. A flock of starlings had roosted on the minute hand.
1. Aside from popular usage, Big Ben is really the __________
(1) clock tower of the Palace of Westminster.
(2) great bell in the clock tower of the Palace of Westminster.
(3) exclusive radio signal of the BBC.
(4) name of Chief Lord of the Woods and Forests.
Ans: (2)
2. The year 1959 was the
(1) 59th anniversary of Big Ben.
(2) last year Big Ben was heard.
(3) 100th anniversary of Big Ben.
(4) year in which Big Ben was restored.
Ans: (3)
3. The word ‘consternation’ used in the last paragraph stands for ________.
(1) anxiety
(2) despair
(3) alarm
(4) sorrow
Ans: (3)
4. In the Royal Astronomer’s 290-day check, it was established that
(1) the clock was reasonably accurate
(2) the clock was losing time alarmingly
(3) the clock did not function properly for 93 days
(4) the clock was maintaining accurate time on all days
Ans: (1)
5. On August 12, 1945, Big Ben’s clock was __________
(1) bombed.
(2) 5 minutes slow.
(3) being checked for accuracy.
(4) 5 minutes fast.
Ans: (2)
6. For the Britons at sea or living in distant lands, the Big Ben serves as a link with home. It shows that
(1) the British are fond of travelling to far-off lands.
(2) the Big Ben has become a powerful national symbol.
(3) the British are very patriotic.
(4) the British are very sentimental.
Ans: (4)
7. People outside London can hear the chimes of the Big Ben because
(1) the bell’s sound is so loud that it can travel to all parts of the world.
(2) the legendary bell has become a global phenomenon.
(3) the BBC broadcasts the chimes.
(4) the recording of the bell’s chime is available all over the world.
Ans: (3)
8. The clock once lost five minutes because
(1) the maintenance was not done by the Ministry of Works.
(2) it was a dark day.
(3) some starlings had roosted on the minute hand.
(4) there was an unexpected lapse.
Ans: (3)
9. “Call it Big Ben” can be written in passive voice as
(1) Let it be called Big Ben.
(2) People should call it Big Ben.
(3) We may call it Big Ben.
(4) You will call it Big Ben.
Ans: (1)
Poem 1 Success Is Counted Sweetest Success is counted sweetest By those who ne’er succeed.
To comprehend a nectar Requires sorest need.
Not one of all the purple Host Who took the Flag today Can tell the definition So clear of victory.
As he defeated – dying – On whose forbidden ear The distant strains of triumph Burst agonized and clear| —Emily Dickinson
1. Name the poetic device used in “Success is counted sweetest/By those who never succeed”.
(1) Simile
(2) Metaphor
(3) Irony
(4) Exaggeration
Ans: (3)
2. “To comprehend a nectar/Requires sorest need. Here ‘nectar’ stands for
(1) heavenly drink.
(2) goal.
(3) happiness.
(4) information.
Ans: (3)
3. In the poem, “purple Host” refers to a person who
(1) wears purple garments.
(2) achieves victory.
(3) acts as a host of a party.
(4) enjoys a high rank.
Ans: (2)
4. The poem emphasises the superiority of
(1) success to defeat.
(2) material prosperity to poverty.
(3) defeat to victory.
(4) chance to hard work.
Ans: (3)
5. This poem deals with the law of ________.
(1) compensation
(2) justice
(3) irony
(4) conflict
Ans: (1)
6. In the poem, ‘flag’ symbolises ________.
(1) a nation
(2) uniqueness
(3) victory
(4) courage
Ans: (3)
Poem 2 If If you can keep your head when all about you Are losing theirs and blaming it on you, If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you, But make allowance for their doubting too; If you can wait and not be tired by waiting, Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies, Or being hated, don’t give way to hating, And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise.
If you can dream and not make dreams your master; If you can think and not make thoughts your aim; If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster And treat those two impostors just the same; If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools, Or watch the things you gave your life to broken, And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools.
—Rudyard Kipling
1. The word ‘twisted’ can be replaced by ________.
(1) moulded
(2) paired
(3) saluted
(4) simulated
Ans: (1)
2. In the first line, ‘head’ refers to
(1) holding of the head with both the hands.
(2) keeping up one’s calm and mental balance.
(3) taking care of one’s head to protect against an accident.
(4) ensuring that people regard you with respect and honour.
Ans: (2)
3. Which of the following qualities is hinted in “If you can wait and not be tired by waiting”?
(1) Kindness
(2) Courage
(3) Patience
(4) Nativity
Ans: (3)
4. The poetic device used in “not make dreams your master” is ________.
(1) exaggeration
(2) hyperbole
(3) simile
(4) personification
Ans: (4)
5. In the poem, ‘impostors’ stand for ________.
(1) two friends
(2) good and bad
(3) victory and defeat
(4) joy and sorrow
Ans: (3)
6. The central theme of the poem is associated with ________.
(1) escapism
(2) stoicism
(3) humanism
(4) pessimism
Ans: (2)
Poem 3 To a Butterfly I’ve watched you now a full half-hour; Self-poised upon that yellow flower; And, little Butterfly| indeed I know not if you sleep or feed.
How motionless|—not frozen seas More motionless| and then What joy awaits you, when the breeze Hath found you out among the trees, And calls you forth again| This plot of orchard-ground is ours; My trees they are, my Sister’s flowers; Here rest your wings when they are weary; Here lodge as in a sanctuary| Come often to us, fear no wrong; Sit near us on the bough| We’ll talk of sunshine and of song, And summer days when we were young; Sweet childish days, that were as long As twenty days are now.
—William Wordsworth
1. The poem has been written in the form of a ________.
(1) dialogue
(2) conversation
(3) drama
(4) monologue
Ans: (4)
2. The word ‘lodge’ can be replaced by ________.
(1) ‘fixed’
(2) ‘rent’
(3) ‘stay’
(4) ‘care’
Ans: (3)
3. The meaning of ‘self-poised’ as the word is used in the poem is ________.
(1) ‘instability’
(2) ‘talkativeness’
(3) ‘steadfastness’
(4) ‘self-obsession’
Ans: (3)
4. “I’ve watched you now a full half-hour”. This line hints at the speaker’s ________.
(1) loneliness
(2) contemplation
(3) obsession
(4) altercation
Ans: (2)
5. The poet uses the adjective ‘little’ for the butterfly to indicate that it is
(1) instinctive in nature.
(2) small in size.
(3) insignificant in existence.
(4) unimportant for humans.
Ans: (2)
6. “Sweet childish days, that were as long/As twenty days are now” indicate that
(1) the poet and his sister played in the garden during their childhood days.
(2) when we recollect past memories, we realise that time flies away fast.
(3) everything in this world is transient and all must meet death one day.
(4) one childhood day is technically equal to twenty adult days.
Ans: (3)
Poem 4 Common Cold
1. Go hang yourself, you old M.D.| You shall not sneer at me.
Pick up your hat and stethoscope, Go wash your mouth with laundry soap; I contemplate a joy exquisite I’m not paying you for your visit.
I did not call you to be told My malady is a common cold.
2. By pounding brow and swollen lip; By fever’s hot and scaly grip; By those two red redundant eyes That weep like woeful April skies; By racking snuffle, snort, and sniff; By handkerchief after handkerchief; This cold you wave away as naught Is the damnedest cold man ever caught|
3. Bacilli swarm within my portals Such as were ne’er conceived by mortals, But bred by scientists wise and hoary In some Olympic laboratory; Bacteria as large as mice, With feet of fire and heads of ice Who never interrupt for slumber Their stamping elephantine rumba.
1. What is the emotion that the poet displays in the first stanza?
(1) Anger
(2) Joy
(3) Jealousy
(4) Sympathy
Ans: (1)
2. Why and at whom does the poet show his emotion?
(1) At an old man because he has sneered at the poet.
(2) At a doctor for an incorrect diagnosis of his medical condition.
(3) At a friend who is happy at the poet’s plight.
(4) At a doctor who has said that the poet merely has a cold.
Ans: (4)
3. The poet describes his eyes as ‘two red redundant eyes’ because
(1) he cannot see properly due to the cold.
(2) they show how furious the poet is.
(3) they have been affected by an eye disease.
(4) in his medical condition, the poet is imagining things.
Ans: (1)
4. ‘Bacteria as large as mice’ is an instance of a/an ________.
(1) simile and a hyperbole
(2) metaphor
(3) personification
(4) alliteration
Ans: (1)
5. ‘Who never interrupt for slumber Their stamping elephantine rumba.’ The meaning of these lines is that
(1) the bacteria are continuously stamping their elephant-like feet.
(2) the cold-causing germs are causing much discomfort and pain to the poet without any break.
(3) the bacilli are so active that they refuse to go to sleep.
(4) the poet is not able to concentrate on his work due to the raging cold.
Ans: (2)
6. The general tone of the poem can be described as ________.
(1) satirical and harsh
(2) ironical and mocking
(3) whimsical and humorous
(4) sad and tragic
Ans: (1)
Poem 5 I Build Walls I build walls:
Walls that protect, Walls that shield, Walls that say I shall not yield Or reveal Who I am or how I feel.
I build walls:
Walls that hide, Walls that cover what’s inside.
Walls that stare or smile or look away, Silent lies, Walls that even block my eyes From the tears I might have cried.
I build walls:
Walls that never let me Truly touch Those I love so very much.
Walls that need to fall| Walls meant to be fortresses Are prisons after all.
1. What are the walls in this poem made of?
(1) Bricks or any physical material
(2) Cement and tiles
(3) Blood and flesh
(4) Hidden feelings and thoughts
Ans: (4)
2. The poet uses “walls” as a ________.
(1) simile
(2) personification
(3) metaphor
(4) alliteration
Ans: (2)
3. When walls act as a protection, they
(1) do not reveal what is inside.
(2) make one shed tears.
(3) touch the ones who are truly loved.
(4) surrender to strong feelings.
Ans: (1)
4. The expression ‘silent lies’ in the second stanza implies that
(1) walls are silent.
(2) walls are liars.
(3) walls make one hide one’s true feelings.
(4) walls lie silently around all of us.
Ans: (3)
5. Why is it not a good idea to have these “walls”?
(1) They act as a fortress.
(2) They act as a prison and keep loved ones away.
(3) They are made of bricks.
(4) They hurt others.
Ans: (2)

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