Wednesday 16 December 2020

Fathers and Sons


Fathers and Sons                                                                       


[There is something universal about the message in the lesson. All the fathers of this world not only think but are sure that their sons are fools. In the same way, all the sons are sick of the absurdity of their fathers. Here the sons, although proven fools, claim their mental superiority over their fathers. Alexander Pope, a great poet of the 18th century, has rightly said so in a famous couplet: “They call their fathers fools, so wise they grow. Their wiser sons no doubt, will think them so.”]

‘Come in, Harry’ said Peter Everton kindly at the front door.

He took his old friend into the sitting-room, and they sat down in front of the fire. Their wives were in London, and the two men liked a talk when they had the time. Their sons were running about outside the windows. Everton sat down, but he looked through the window first. ‘My son George has nothing in his head,’ he said sadly. ‘George can’t think at all. Every other boy in the town has a better head than George. Poor boy! What kind of life is he going to have? I wanted him to be a doctor, but he’ll never be a doctor. Doctors have to think.’ He laughed sadly. ‘Oh, he can’t be as bad as my boy Vernon,’ said Harry Glossop. ‘Vernon has never been a thinker and he never will be one. It’s very sad. He’ll never be rich. He’ll be poor all his life.’ ‘Your Vernon must be a lot better than my George,’ said Everton. He did not know much about Vernon, but he knew his own son well. ‘No one can be as bad as George. His head’s made of wood. Let me show you.’

He opened the window and asked George to come in. The boy soon ran into the room. His face was red and he looked happy. ‘George,’ said his father, ‘what did you say yesterday about a car? Do you want a new car?’ ‘Oh, yes please, Father. A big car, please. A car for myself.’

‘But you’re too young to own a car.’

‘Oh, that doesn’t matter,’ said George.

‘But the laws of England don’t let small boys own cars.’

‘Oh, I don’t care about the laws,’ said George. ‘So can I have a big car, please? A red one?’

Everton took out a twenty pound note and gave it to his son. ‘Here’s a pound,’ he said. ‘I was in the town this morning, and I saw some big new cars in a flower shop in Hudson street.

Do you know Hudson Street?’

‘Oh yes, Father.’

‘Right! Take this note and go to the flower shop. You’ll see a lot of cars there. Buy the car that you like best.’ The boy thanked his father, took the twenty pound note and ran happily out of the room. The two men could see him through the window. The boy ran into the road and turned along it with twenty-pound note in his hand. ‘You see?’ said Everton, looking at his friend. ‘George wants to buy car for twenty pounds, and he’s going to a flower shop to buy it. What has he got in his head?’ ‘Oh,’ said Harry. ‘My Vernon’s just the same. I’ll show you.’

He called his son into the room. ‘Vernon, my boy,’ said Harry Glossop kindly, ‘do you remember Rope Street?’

 ‘In the town, Father? Oh yes. You work there, don’t you?’ ‘That’s right. I want you to go there at once. Your mother wants me to go home. She has just telephoned. Our house is on fire. It isn’t very late yet and I may still be at work in Rope Street. So go and look there.

If I’m still there, please tell me to go home at once. Be as quick as you can!’

The boy went out and ran along the road after his friend George. Glossop looked at Everton sadly. ‘What do you think of that?’ he asked. ‘Yes,’ said Everton. ‘That was bad, wasn’t it? He didn’t think very quickly then, did he? ‘He didn’t think at all. He never thinks. He can’t think.

He’ll run all the way to Rope Street, but he’ll not find me there. So he’ll run all the way back here to tell me the great news.’ The two boys were walking along the road and talking.

‘My father can’t think very well,’ said George. ‘He gave me a twenty-pound note to buy a car at a flower shop. But it’s a long way to the flower shop and he gave me nothing to pay for a taxi. I must keep this money to pay for the car, so I’ll have to walk all the way there. Then, after I buy the car, I’ll have to walk all the way back. Why couldn’t he give me some more money?’

‘You’re right,’ said Vernon, walking by his side. ‘Men can’t think. They don’t even try. My father’s just as bad as yours. He told me to go to Rope Street to find him. Mother wants him to go home. Our house is on fire. But it’ll take me nearly an hour to walk to Rope Street, and there was a telephone on the table near his chair. He knew about it, too, because Mother telephoned to him about the fire. He said so. Why didn’t he telephone to Rope Street and tell himself to go home? He could do that very quickly. But now he’ll have to wait for an hour or more before I tell him about the house. So the fire will burn the house to the ground. It makes me very angry. Men can’t think, can they?’





a better head : a better brain


He would have been successful, had he been born with a better head!


doesn’t matter : is of no consequence or importance


It does not matter whether one is a Muslim or a Christian so long as he is blessed with a real human heart.


too young to own a car : so young that he/she should not have a car He is too young to own a car.





A. Comprehension Questions

(i) Answer the following questions:


1. What were the two men talking about?

Ans. The two men were talking about their sons. Each man thought that his son was the dullest boy, a person without brains and having no power of thinking.


2. Why couldn’t George be a doctor?

Ans. George, according to his father, was a brainless boy. He could not think, whereas doctors have to think. Hence, George could not be a doctor.


3. What did Harry say about Vernon?

Ans. Harry said that his son Vernon was never a thinker and he could never be so. The boy would never be rich.


4. What did George want to own? How much money did he get for it?

Ans. George wanted to own big car. He got twenty pounds from his father to buy it.


5. Where was George sent by his father?

Ans. George was sent to Hudson Street by his father. He was told to visit a flower shop and buy one car from that shop.


6. Where did Harry ask Vernon to go?

Ans. Harry asked Vernon to go to Rope Street.


7. What did George think about his father?

Ans. George thought that his father could not think very well. He had asked him buy a car from a flower shop by giving him only twenty pounds.


8. What did Vernon say about his father?

Ans. Vernon said that his father was as bad as George’s father. He had told him to go to Rope Street to find him. It could take him a long time to reach Rope Street.


9. What did both the fathers conclude at last?

Ans. At last, both the fathers came to the conclusion that their sons could not think. Both had blindly followed their instruction and gone to Hudson Street and Rope Street respectively.


10. What did both the sons conclude at last?

Ans. Both the sons thought that their fathers had issued orders without thinking. At last, they came to the conclusion that all elderly men like their fathers could not think.



 (ii) Tick The Right Answer:


1. Peter said George could not

(a) walk

(b) think

(c) study

(d) play


2. George could not own a car because

(a) his father did not have enough money.

(b) laws of England didn’t allow small boys to own cars.

(c) he didn’t know how to drive.

(d) there were no cars available.


3. Vernon was sent by his father to

(a) call the police.

(b) to call his father.

(c) to the flower shop.

(d) to call his mother.


4. George was angry with his father because

(a) he didn’t give him money to pay for the taxi.

(b) he asked him to go to a flower shop.

(c) he couldn’t buy a big car.

(d) he couldn’t think.


5. Vernon was angry with his father because

(a) he didn’t give him money.

(b) he sent him with George.

(c) he didn’t use the telephone.

(d) he sent him to his mother.



B. Vocabulary Exercises

(i) In each of the following sentences there is one word spelt incorrectly. Pick out the word and write the spelling correctly:


1. In the first instance, notify the police and then contact your insurance company.


2. The child could not resist the temptation.


3. Their sons were running outside the windows.


4. Father couldn’t do that very quickly.


5. Their quarrel ended after I intervened.


6. The paintings were sold for absurdly high prices.


7. If we work hard, nothing is impossible.


8. The workers were on an indefinite strike.


9. George was a foreigner in India.


10. He made elaborate arrangements for his daughter’s marriage.


(iii) a. Fill in the blanks with the words given

believing                                              wayside                                        pace                                             nap

goal                                                        steady                                         boasting                                      challenge

accept                                                   beaten                                         route                                            darted










The hare was once boasting of his speed before the other animals. “I have never yet been beaten,” “said he, “when I put forth my full speed. I challenge anyone here to run a race with me.” The tortoise said quietly, “I accept your challenge.” “That is a good joke,” said the hare; “I could dance around you all the way.” “Keep your boasting till you’ve beaten me,” answered the tortoise. “Shall we start the race?” So a route was fixed and a start was made. The hare darted almost out of sight at once, but soon stopped and believing that the tortoise could never catch him, lay down by the wayside to have a nap. The tortoise never for a moment stopped, but went on with a slow but steady pace straight to the end of the course. When the hare woke up from his nap, he saw the tortoise just near the winning-post. The hare ran as fast as he could, but it was too late. He saw the tortoise had reached the goal. Then said the tortoise:

“Slow and steady wins the race.”


b. Fill in the blanks with the words given:

piece                                                     caw                                        exchange                                           trust

bright                                                    beak                                     glossy                                                    greet

snapped                                              walked                                 surpass









A fox once saw a crow fly off with a piece of cheese in its beak and settle on a branch of a tree. “That’s for me, as I am a fox,” said Master Reynad, and he walked up to the foot of

the tree. “Good-day, Mistress Crow,” he cried. “How well you are looking to-day: how glossy are your feathers! How bright is your eye! I feel sure your voice must surpass that of other birds, in melody and sweetness just as your figure does; let me hear but one song from you that I may greet you as the Queen of Birds.” The crow lifted up her head and began to caw, but the moment she opened her mouth the piece of cheese fell to the ground, only to be snapped up by Master Fox. “That will do,” said he. “That was all I wanted. In exchange for your cheese I will give you a piece of advice for the future : “Do not trust flatterers.”



C. Grammar Exercises

(i) Look at the following sentences:

“That was bad, wasn’t it?


“He didn’t think very quickly then, did he?”


These are question tags. Look at the way they are added to the negative as well as the affirmative statement.



Now add question tags to the following statements:


(a) You aren’t afraid of snakes.

Ans. You aren’t afraid of snakes, are you?


(b) This isn’t yours.

Ans. This isn’t yours, is it?


(c) Mary doesn’t confide in you.

Ans. Mary doesn’t confide in you, does she?


(d) This small child can read English.

Ans. This small child can read English, can’t he?


(e) She’s got lovely green eyes.

Ans. She’s got lovely green eyes, hasn’t she?


(f) Her father is proud of her.

Ans. Her father is proud of her, isn’t he?


(g) We must hurry.

Ans. We must hurry, mustn’t we?


(h) Jack hasn’t got a house.

Ans. Jack hasn’t got a house, has he?




(ii) Rewrite the following using indirect speech:


(a) “He didn’t think at all. He never thinks. He can’t think,” said Harry about his son.

Ans. Harry said about his son that he had not thought at all. He added that he never thought and he couldn’t think.

(b) “Vernon, my boy,” said Harry Glossop kindly, “do you remember Rope street?

Ans. Harry Glossop asked his boy, Vernon in a kind manner if he remembered Rope Street.


(c) “I know the place well because I used to live here,” said he.

Ans. He said that he knew the place well because he used to live there.


(d) “I’ll do it tomorrow,” he promised.

Ans. He promised that he would do it the next day.


 (e) Jack said to Peter, “I will not lend you any money.”

Ans. Jack told Peter that he would not lend him and money.


(f) “You used to be a good football player,” she reminded him. “Why don’t you take it up again?”

Ans. She reminded him that he used to be a good football player, and asked him why he didn’t take it up again.


(g) “If the children do anything clever, you call them your sons,” complained his wife. “But if they do anything stupid, you call them mine.”


Ans. His wife complained that if the children did anything clever, he called them his sons; but if they did anything stupid, he called them hers.





(iii) Fill in the blanks with the interrogative pronouns:


(a) I asked what she was speaking.


(b) Oh! what you have done?


(c) Whose shirt is this?


(d) Which book are you reading?


(e) Whom do you wish to see?


(f) What did she say at the party?


(g) Which of the movies do you like the best?


(h) Which is better, money or fame?


(i) What is our life worth?






D. Pronunciation Practice


You must have noticed a vertical mark placed in some words in the dictionary. This vertical mark is placed in front of the syllable (part of the word) which is accented. This part of the word should be made more prominent by using an increased muscular effort.


Read the following words with proper accent as shown:

be`gin                            engi`neer              pho`tography               ciga`rette

to`day                  millio`naire          bi`ography                             ther`mometer

a`bove                  addres`see           exami`nation                hy`pocrisy

be`hind                pa`yee                  chi`nese                          elec`tricity

re'pent                 de'mocracy          fa`miliar                       `beautiful




E. Creative Writing and Extended Reading

1. Read the one-act play ‘The Mother’s Day’ by J.B. Priestly. What is the message conveyed in it? Write down in 10 lines.


2. Write a paragraph on:

A Father’s Duties towards His Children


A Son’s Duties towards His Father


3. Suppose you had a quarrel with your father. You are now genuinely sorry. Write a letter of apology to him.


1.     Imagine that you committed a wrong and the guilt is hanging heavy on your head and heart. Write a confessional statement to your father, accepting everything and promising never to behave like that in future.



Just a little fun:

There was a young lady of Lynn,

Who was so uncommonly thin

That when she essayed

To drink lemonade,

She slipped through the straw and fell in.