ICSE Class 10 Literature in English 2019 Sample Paper

Class 10 English

Attempt five questions in all from only three text books. You must attempt at least one question from each of the Sections A, B and C and not more than two other questions from the same books you have already compulsorily chosen.


The Merchant of Venice: Shakespeare

Question 1

Read the extract given below and answer the questions that follow:

MOROCCO: Mislike me not for my complexion,
The shadowed livery of the burnished sun,
To whom I am a neighbour and near bred.
Bring me the fairest creature northward born,
Where Phoebus' fire scarce thaws the icicles,
And let us make incision for your love
To prove whose blood is reddest, his or mine.
I tell thee, lady, this aspect of mine
Hath feared the valiant. By my love I swear
The best-regarded virgins of our clime
Have loved it too. I would not change this hue
Except to steal your thoughts, my gentle queen.

PORTIA: In terms of choice I am not solely led
By nice direction of a maiden’s eyes.
Besides, the lottery of my destiny
Bars me the right of voluntary choosing.

(i) Where is this scene set? Account for Morocco’s presence in this place. [3]

(ii) What can you assess of Morocco’s appearance and character based on the given extract? [3]

(iii) Mention any three actions that Morocco says he would be happy to perform in order to win Portia. [3]

(iv) What does Morocco have to swear before he makes his ‘hazard’? [3]

(v) Portia speaks of ‘the lottery of my destiny’. What exactly is she referring to? What in your opinion are Portia’s feelings regarding this matter? [4]

Question 2

Read the extract given below and answer the questions that follow:

SHYLOCK: Shall I not receive my principal?

PORTIA: Thou shalt have nothing but the forfeiture,
To be taken at thy peril, Jew.

(i) Explain what Portia means by the above words. [3]

(ii) How does Shylock respond to her words? [3]

(iii) What more does Portia tell Shylock about the Laws of Venice as applicable to an ‘alien’ (foreigner)? [3]

(iv) What does Antonio propose to do with his share of Shylock’s goods? [3]

(v) What role does Portia play in this scene? What does this reveal of her character? [4]

Question 3

Read the extract given below and answer the questions that follow:

Antonio: But little: I am arm'd and well prepared.
Give me your hand, Bassanio: fare you well!
Grieve not that I am fallen to this for you;
For herein Fortune shows herself more kind
Than is her custom: it is still her use
To let the wretched man outlive his wealth,
To view with hollow eye and wrinkled brow
An age of poverty; from which lingering penance
Of such misery doth she cut me off.

(i) Where is this scene set? To whom are these words addressed? To what question does Antonio respond with the words, ‘But little:’? [3]

(ii) What does Antonio mean when he says, “Grieve not that I have fallen to this for you”? [3]

(iii) What does Antonio instruct Bassanio to do immediately after speaking these lines? [3]

(iv) What is Bassanio’s response to this speech? [3]

(v) On what note does Antonio conclude his speech? What does this reveal of Antonio’s attitude to life and death? [4]

The Mousetrap: Agatha Christie

Question 4

Read the extract given below and answer the questions that follow:

MOLLIE: (Moving down to the sofa and sitting) Oh! I do so want everything to go well at first. First impressions are so important.

GILES: (Moving down to Right of the sofa) Is everything ready? Nobody’s arrived yet, I suppose?

MOLLIE: No, thank goodness. I think everything’s in order. Mrs. Barlow’s hooked it early. Afraid of the weather, I suppose.

GILES: What a nuisance these daily women are. That leaves everything on your shoulders.

MOLLIE: And yours! This is a partnership.

(i) When and where does this conversation take place? Briefly describe the weather outside. [3]

(ii) On whom do Mollie and Giles wish to make a favourable impression? Why is it important that they do so? [3]

(iii) Who is Mrs. Barlow? Why has she left early? [3]

(iv) Explain what Mollie is referring to when she says, “This is a partnership.” [3]

(v) What mood does the playwright seek to create in the above extract? What techniques does she use? [4]

Question 5

Read the extract given below and answer the questions that follow:

Mrs. Boyle: You’re very young.

Mollie: Young?

Mrs. Boyle: To be running an establishment of this kind. You can’t have had much experience.

Mollie: (backing away) There has to be a beginning for everything hasn’t there?

Mrs. Boyle: I see. Quite inexperienced. (She looks around) An old, old house. I hope you haven’t got dry rot. (She sniffs suspiciously).

Mollie: Certainly not!

(i) State the three complaints that Mrs. Boyle makes. [3]

(ii) What answer does she give when Giles tells her that she is welcome to leave? [3]

(iii) What does this tell you about her character? [3]

(iv) Who is she really? [3]

(v) What happens to her at the end? Why? [4]

Question 6

Read the extract given below and answer the questions that follow:

Trotter: We don’t actually know a thing. All we’ve got so far is that the woman who joined with her husband in ill-treating and starving those children has been killed, and hat the woman magistrate who was responsible for placing them there has been killed. (He moves down to Right of Sofa.) The telephone wire that links me with police headquarters has been cut…

(i) What is Mollie’s response to this? How is she answered? [3]

(ii) What news does Trotter give Mollie about the children’s father? [3]

(iii) What is Mollie’s ‘surmise’? [3]

(iv) Why is Major Metcalfe a possible suspect? [3]

(v) How is the mystery solved? [4]


A Collection of Poems

Question 7

Read the extract given below and answer the questions that follow:

And then the old man shook his head,
And with a natural sigh –
“’Tis some poor fellow’s skull,” said he,
“Who fell in the great victory.”
(After Blenheim, Robert Southey)

(i) Who is the old man? What causes him to sigh? [3]

(ii) What incident prompted the old man to give an account of the Battle of Blenheim? [3]

(iii) How did the battle affect the old man’s family? [3]

(iv) Name the two countries that fought each other in the battle. Which army won? What reason does the old man give for the victory? [3]

(v) Point out the refrain in the poem. What effect does the refrain have on the reader? What do you think is the poet’s attitude to war? [4]

Question 8

Read the extract given below and answer the questions that follow:

‘All right!’ you’ll cry. ‘All right!’ you’ll say,
‘But if we take the set away,
What shall we do to entertain
Our darling children? Please explain!’
(Television, Roald Dahl)

(i) What important lesson does the poet say he has learnt at the start of the poem? [3]

(ii) Describe some of the scenes that the poet says he has seen in houses which have televisions. [3]

(iii) List the ways in which television viewing affects the mind of a ‘beloved tot’. [3]

(iv) What other activity does the poet recommend to entertain children? Mention two ways in which this activity would benefit them. [3]

(v) What does the poet advise readers to do at the end of the poem? What does he assure them will happen if they followed his suggestion? What would you say is the central idea in this poem? [4]

Question 9

Read the extract given below and answer the questions that follow:

Their logs held tight in death‘s still hands
Was proof of human sin.
They didn’t die from the cold without
They died from the cold within.

(i) What was the weather like when the six people found themselves together? [3]

(ii) Why wouldn’t the third man put his piece of log in the dying fire? [3]

(iii) What did the black man see in his piece of wood? Give an instance from the poem to show that his feelings were somewhat justified. [3]

(iv) Who among the gathering was an opportunist? How can you say so? [3]

(v) Would you say that ‘The Cold Within’ is an apt title for this poem? Give reasons for your answer. [4]


A Collection of Short Stories

Question 10

Read the extract given below and answer the questions that follow:

He gave her a shove. But she did not move, rather she let herself be moved only by him and nothing else. They edged away from her; they would not look at her. She felt them go away.

(i) Who is ‘she’? Describe her. [3]

(ii) Where is this story set? Mention any two ways in which the way of life on their planet differs from life on earth. [3]

(iii) To what does she compare the sun? What does this tell us about her? [3]

(iv) Why did the other children not come to her aid when William shoved her? [3]

(v) How does her behaviour set her apart from the others? Why do you suppose the other children treat her the way they do? [4]

Question 11

Answer the following questions with reference to R.K. Narayan’s short story entitled ‘A Horse and Two Goats’:

The foreigner followed his look and decided that it would be a sound policy to show an interest in the old man’s pets. He went up casually to them and stroked their backs with every show of courteous attention. Now the truth dawned on Muni. His dream of a lifetime was about to be realised.

(i) What did Muni often dream of? [3]

(ii) How was the foreigner dressed? Why did Muni feel the urge to run when he first laid eyes on him? What stopped him from doing so? [3]

(iii) Muni assumed that a recent incident had brought this visitor to his village. Give details of this incident. [3]

(iv) What was the visitor actually interested in? What did he offer Muni soon after they met? Why did the offer surprise Muni? [3]

(v) Which part of the story do you find most amusing? Give reasons for your answer. [4]

Question 12

Answer the following questions with reference to Ernest Hemmingway’s short story, ‘The Old Man at the Bridge’,

(a) Explain why the narrator takes so much time to converse with the old man. Use details from the story to support your answer. [4]

(b) What statements from the story suggest that the old man is about to give up on life? Quote specific statements to back your answer. [4]

(c) How does Hemingway show that war disrupts the lives of ordinary people? Is this portrayal realistic? Explain why you think so. [8]

Animal Farm: George Orwell

Question 13

Read the extract given below and answer the questions that follow:

These three had elaborated old Major’s teachings into a complete system of thought, to which they gave the name of Animalism.

(i) Who had elaborated on Old Major’s teachings? [3]

(ii) When and where did they hold their secret meetings? How did the meetings end? [3]

(iii) What had Old Major said about the ‘nature of this life of ours’? [3]

(iv) Who were the most faithful disciples? How did they contribute towards the preparations for the rebellion? [3]

(v) Mention any two changes that were seen on the farm in the days immediately after the rebellion? How would you justify such change? [4]

Question 14

Read the extract given below and answer the questions that follow:

Snowball had made a close study of some back numbers of the Farmer and Stockbreeder which he had found in the farmhouse, and was full of plans for innovations and improvements….Napoleon produced no schemes of his own, but said quietly that Snowball’s would come to nothing, and seemed to be biding his time. But of all their controversies, none was so bitter as the one that took place over the windmill.

(i) In what ways, according to Snowball, would the building of a windmill make the lives of the animals easier? [3]

(ii) How did the animals respond to the idea of building a windmill? [3]

(iii) What did Napoleon do just before the animals could vote on Snowball’s Windmill proposal? What was the outcome of his action? [3]

(iv) What did Napoleon announce after Snowball’s expulsion? [3]

(v) Compare the character traits of Napoleon and Snowball. Show how the Windmill controversy led to the confrontation that had been building since the start of the novel. [4]

Question 15

With reference to George Orwell’s “The Animal Farm”, answer the following questions:

(i) What are some of the problems that the animals faced during the winter? Why did the animals wish to conceal their suffering? [4]

(ii) Why did the Hens rebel against Napoleon? What was the result of their rebellion? [4]

(iii) Do you think life was better or worse for the animals on Animal Farm since the revolution? Use examples from the text to support your answer. [8]

The Call of the Wild: Jack London

Question 16

Read the extract given below and answer the questions that follow:

And this was the manner of dog Buck in the fall of 1897, when the Klondike Strike dragged men from all the world into the frozen North.

(i) What is meant by, ‘the Klondike Strike’? Why did it attract men to the frozen North? Why did these men require dogs? [3]

(ii) Who is Buck? Give a brief description of his parents. [3]

(iii) What act of treachery does Manuel, the gardener’s assistant commit? Why does he do this? [3]

(iv) Name the men who buy Buck from the man in the red sweater. What does Buck learn of their nature? [3]

(v) Describe Buck’s first encounter with snow. How does it serve as an introduction to what lies ahead of him in the days to come? [4]

Question 17

Read the extract given below and answer the questions that follow:

A warning snarl told him that the trespasser was Spitz. Till now Buck had avoided trouble with his enemy, but this was too much. The beast in him roared. He sprang upon Spitz with a fury which surprised them both, and Spitz particularly; for his whole experience with Buck had gone to teach him that his rival was an unusually timid dog, who managed to hold his own only because of his great weight and size.

(i) Why did Buck attack Spitz? What was the nature of the relationship that existed between Buck and Spitz? [3]

(ii) Where did their masters decide to make camp? Describe the weather conditions at the time. [3]

(iii) Briefly describe the unexpected happening which distracted the dogs and their masters just then. [3]

(iv) What do you learn about Spitz’s character from his actions during the ‘unexpected happening’? [3]

(v) What was the condition of the camp when the dogs returned at daybreak? To what extent is Buck’s behavior guided by his instinct to survive? [4]

Question 18

Answer the following questions with reference to Jack London’s, ‘The Call of the Wild’.

(i) What are the “laws of club and fang” that Buck learns in chapter II? How are these laws different from what Buck was used to? [4]

(ii) What trait in Buck’s character ensures that he will survive in the north? How is this aspect of his character shown in the story? [4]

(iii) Show with references drawn from the text how Buck balances his love for Thornton with his more primitive self. [8]