Class 11 English Hornbill The Portrait of a Lady

NCERT Solutions For Class 11 English Hornbill The Portrait of a Lady

Class-11th : chapter -1  the portrait of a Lady English Hornbill

Q.1 The three phases of the author's relationship with his grandmother before he left the country to study abroad.

Ans- the three phases of author's relationship with his grandmother before he left the country to study abroad-

1.Childhood : Grandmother and the author where are good friends. She used to get him ready and went to school with him everyday when he was in the village school. They were constantly together for few years.

2.Boyhood: the author and the grandmother went to the city to live with their family and thought this shared the same room there what the author used to go to school in a motro bus. her grandmother could no longer help him in his studies. 

3.Early youth : when the author went up to University he was give a separate room. the common link of friendship between them was broken. grandmother accepted his seclusion with resignation.

Q.2 Three reason why the author grandmother disturbed when he started going to the city school.

Ans - The three reason why the author's grandmother was disturbed when he started going to the city school- 

1. She was unhappy to know that we were taught about Western science and learning in school. code no longer help him is his lessons.

2. She was distressed to know that there was no teaching about God and the scriptures in the school.

3. Thirdly, She was  disturbed  to know that we were given music lesson in the school as music head lewd associations  to her.

Q.3 Way in which the author's grandmother spend hair day after he  grew up.

Ans. The three way in which the author's grandmother spent her days after the grew up- 

1. She accepted her seclusion quietly and used to live alone in her room.

2. Whole day she  used to sat by her spinning wheel and reacting prayers.

3. In the afternoon, she used to relax and feed the sparrows for half an hour. That was the happiest time of the day for her.

Q4. The odd way in which the author's grandmother  behaved just before she died.

Ans- Just before the day, the grandmother died she did not pray in the evening. she collected the women of the the neighborhood,  got an old drum and sang the home-coming of warriors. the first time when she did not pray.  the next morning she was ill she told us that her end was near and as she had omitted to pray last everything,  she was not going to waste any more time taking to us. She  lay peaceful in bed praying and telling her beads before sea died.

Q.5 The way in which the sparrows expressed their are slow when the author's grandmother died.

Ans. Thousand of sparrows set around the dead body of the grandmother. There was no chirruping. The author's mother threw some bread crumbs to  them the way grandmother used to. But the sparrows did not took notice of The bread crumbs. when the grandmother corpse was carried off , they all flew away quietly this is how the sparrows expressed their sorrow.

The portrait of a lady

Talking about the text

Talk to your partner about the following:

Q.1. The author's grandmother was a religious person. What are the different way in which we come to you know this? 

Ans- The author's  grandmother was a very religious and kind hearted women. she was always busy in telling the beads for her rosary in the house. her lips always moved in silent player. she daily read the scriptures at the village temple. Even while she was bathing and dressing her grandson for the school, she sang her prayers in a singsong way so that her grandson would learn them why heart. In the city, she kept  herself singing her prayers even on the spinning while. Thee time she went to see off her grandson at the station, she reminded busy in telling the beats of her  rosary and moving her lips in silent prayer. same was the state when the went to the station to receive him after 5 year. When her end was near,  she did not like to waste her time in taking. But  she lay  peacefully in her bed, praying and telling the beads of the rosary till it fell from her lifeless fingers. A peaceful pollar spread on her face and we knew that she was dead.

Q.2. Describe the changing relationship between the author and his grandmother. Did their feeling for each other change?

Ans- When the author's parents went to live in the city, he was left with his grandmother. They were very good friend. she used to wake him up, bathe him get him ready for school , give him breakfast and accompany him to his school . she used to help him in studies.

The phase of changing relationship occured  when they were called to live in the city. He was admitted to an English school . she couldn't any more help him in his studies because of English. She could not accompany him to school because he went to school in motor bus. though the she  woke him up in the morning and helped him get ready yet they talked a little to each other. On coming to know that the teacher taught him nothing about God and scriptures she become distressed. When she was told that they were given lesson in music at school she was very much disturbed. music thought, had lewd association and was the Monopoly of harlots and beggars. After that she rarely talked to him.

When the author went up to the university, she was give a separate room and the common link of friendship between them was snapped. They saw less of each other. She kept herself over her spinning wheel singing her prayers and feeding the birds. 

Yet she boundless love for her grandson. She went to see him off at the railway station when he was going abroad for higher studies. She went to receive him back to the railway station after 5 years. She celebrated his home-coming by singing and beating of the drum in the company of the neighbourhood women. That evening she didn't do her  prayer for the first time.

Q.3. Would you agree that the author's grandmother was a person strong in character? If yes given instance that show this.

Ans- Yes the author's grandmother was a person of strong character. Thoughts she had  on proper schooling and was not a formally educated but she was serious about the author's education. she used to wake him up, get him ready for school, when he was in the village with her. she used to accompany him to school and even help him in he is studies. In the city she  couldn't help him in his studies and was distressed to know that there was no teaching about the God and the scriptures.

The grandmother was a kind and benevolent lady. In the village she used to feed dogs and in the city the sparrow because there was no Street dogs. Hundreds of sparrows collected around her,  sat on her head shoulder and perched on her legs also. But she smiled and never shooed them away. She was like the winter landscape in the mountains, and expanse of pure white serenity breaking pieces and contentment.

In the village daily read scriptures in the temple and the continued telling the beads of her rosary  with silent prayers. She did her  prayers and the telling of the beads even in the city. she daily on her spinning wheel. she was always  in the spotless white dress with her silver locks scattered untidily over the face.

She was a lady of strong character. She refused  to talk to anyone in the family just before her death. she lay peacefully in the bed telling the beads of the rosary and moving her lips in silent prayers before she died. 

Q.4 Have you known someone like the author's grandmother? Do you feel the same sense of loss with regard to someone whom you have loved and lost?

Ans -  Yes, just like the author's grandmother, my grandmother was also there. She was also an affectionate, kind-hearted, benevolent and caring lady. She had boundless love for me. Every morning she used to wake me up and make me ready for school. Even at this stage of life, she was quiet smart and active. She used to help me in my studies and even used to play with me in the evening hours. Many a times she used to tell me bed time stories. That were mostly related to God and scriptures she was the firm believer of God, her lips always moved in prayer. She was gentle but firm. She laid stress on good habits and character building. She passed away when I had gone abroad for higher studies. When I came to know this I really felt very sad as there was a strong bonding between us. Though I was far away, but my heart was with her. When I came back and saw her portrait hanging on the wall, a sense of loss filled my heart. But the cheerful smile on his face filled my heart with love and confidence. I really miss her a lot. She occupies a very important place in my life.

  • Thinking about language

Q.1. Which language do you think the author and his grandmother used while talking to each other?

Ans- The author's grandmother was not much educated and they belonged to a Sikh family. So I think they used to talk in there mother tongue i.e. Punjabi.

Q.2. Which language do you use to talk to elderly relatives in your family?

Ans- I usually talk to my parents and grandfather in Hindi as it is our mother tongue. I talked to my brother, sister and cousins in English mostly As I talk both in Hindi and English, I am comfortable with both the language.

Q.3. How would you say'a  dilapidated drum' in your language?

Ans- in our language 'a dilapidated drum' means 'phata purana Dhol'

Q.4. Can you think for a song or  a poem in your language that talks of homecoming? 

Ans- Yes, there are many songs and poem that talks about the home coming of warriors after winning the battle that too, in both the language i.e Hindi and English.

  • Working with words

I. Notice the following uses of the word 'tell' in the text:

1.Her finger where busy telling the beads for hair rosary.

2. I would tell her English words and little think of Western science and learning.

3. At her age one could never tell.

4. She told us that her end was near.

Given below are four different senses of the word 'tell'. match the meanings to the uses listed above.

  1. make something known to someone in spoken or written words.

  2. Count while reciting

  3. be sure 

  4. give information to somebody 

Ans. 1.(b) 2.(d) 3.(c) 4.(a).

II Notice the different sense of the word "take".

1. To take to something: to begin to do something as a habit. 

2. To take ill :  to suddenly become ill.

Locate these phrases in the text and notice the way they are used.

Ans.1. There were no dogs in the streets and she took to feeding  sparrows in the Courtyard of our city house.

2. The next morning she was taken ill. it was a mild fever.

||| The word 'hobble'means to walk with difficulty because the legs and feet are in bad condition.

Tick the word in the box below that also refer to a manner of walking.

haggle.   shuffle.      stride.       ride.     waddle

Wriggle.   paddle.    swagger   trudge.  Slog

Ans.   shuffle , stride , waddle , swagger , trudge, slog 


Notice the form of verb italicised in these sentences: 

  1. My grandmother was an old woman. she had been old and wrinkled for the twenty years that I had known her. People said that she that she had once been young and pretty and had even had a husband, but that was hard to believe. 

  2. When we what had finished we would walk back together.

  3. When I can back she would ask me what the teacher had taught me.

  4. It was the first time since I had known her that she did not pray.

  5. The sun was setting and had lit her room and verandah with a golden light. 

These are example of the past perfect forms of verb when we recount things in the distant past we use this form.

Ans. Given just for knowledge.


Talk with your family members about elderly people who you have been intimately connected with and who are not. There with you now. Write a short description of someone you d a lot.

Ans.            My Grandmother

I have been intimately connected with my grandmother who is physically not there with me now but emotionally she is always there with me. I used to sleep with my grandmother and she used to tell me bedtime stories every night. Her stories were fanciful but end with a note of some good moral she used to help me in my studies and also my mom in cooking as she was very good in it. Everybody in the house was mad for the Aloo Parathas made by her. I am the only child of my parents. She was just like a shield for me. Whenever my parents were about to scold me. I ran to her arms and she was always there to escape me. When I was in eight class she passed away. I still remember her teachings, stories, prayers and good deeds. She was quite old but then too full of cheerfulness. She is the role model of my life. Sometimes I really miss her a lot.


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