ICSE Class 10 Literature in English 2020 Question Paper

Literature in English is Paper-2 of English. Duration of the paper is two hours. 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.

Section A - Drama

Answer one or more questions from only ONE of the following plays: The Merchant of Venice or The Mousetrap

The Merchant of Venice: Shakespeare

Question 1

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

Launcelot: But, I pray you, ergo, old man, ergo,
I beseech you, talk you of young Master Launcelot?

Gobbo: Of Launcelot, an’t please your mastership.

Launcelot: Ergo, Master Launcelot. Talk not of
Master Launcelot, father; for the young gentleman,
according to Fates and Destines, and such odd
sayings, the Sisters Three and such branches of leaning,
is indeed, deceased; or, as you would say
in plain terms, gone to heaven.

  1. What information does Gobbo seek from Launcelot at the beginning of this scene? What does Launcelot say has happened to Gobbo’s son? [3]
  2. Who are the ‘Sisters Three’? What role were they thought to play in the lives of humans? [3]
  3. Who was Launcelot’s master? What gift had Gobbo brought him? What does Launcelot want him to do with it? [3]
  4. What reasons does Launcelot give for wanting to leave his present master’s service? Whom does he wish to serve instead? [3]
  5. Why does Gobbo have trouble recognising Launcelot? What purpose does this scene serve in the context of the play? [4]

Question 2

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

SHYLOCK: To bait fish withal. If it will feed nothing
else, it will feed my revenge. He hath disgraced
me and hindered me half a million, laughed at my
losses, mocked at my gains, scorned my nation,
thwarted my bargains, cooled my friends, heated
mine enemies—and what’s his reason? I am a Jew.
Hath not a Jew eyes? Hath not a Jew hands, organs,
dimensions, senses, affections, passions? Fed with the
same food, hurt with the same weapons, subject
to the same diseases, healed by the same means,
warmed and cooled by the same winter and summer
as a Christian is? If you prick us, do we not bleed?

  1. Who is ‘He’? What does Shylock want from him? What does Shylock mean by ‘to bait fish withal’? [3]
  2. Explain in your own words any three ways in which ‘he’ had wronged Shylock. [3]
  3. According to Shylock, in what other ways did Jews resemble Christians? [3]
  4. How does Shylock use Christian example to justify his desire for revenge? [3]
  5. The given extract reveals two distinct emotions that Shylock experiences. What are they? Give one reason to justify each of these emotions. [4]

Question 3

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

Portia: The quality of mercy is not strained;
It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven
Upon the place beneath: it is twice blessed;
It blesseth him that gives and him that takes:
‘Tis mightiest in the mightiest; it becomes
The throned monarch better than his crown:

(i) Where does this scene take place? Why is Portia here? Why does Bassanio not recognise her? [3]

(ii) To what is mercy compared in these lines? Why is mercy said to be ‘twice blessed’? [3]

(iii) Explain the lines: ‘Tis mightiest in the mightiest; it becomes The throned monarch better than his crown: [3]

(iv) Later in her speech Portia mentions a sceptre. What is a sceptre? How, according to Portia, is mercy above the ‘sceptred sway’? [3]

(v) To whom are these words addressed? What does the person say in response to Portia’s words?

Portia is seen as the dramatic heroine of the play. Using references from the text mention any two aspects of her character that appeal to you most. [4]

The Mousetrap: Agatha Christie

Question 4

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

Giles: (Calling) Mollie? Mollie? Mollie? Where are you?

(Mollie enters from the arch Left.)

Mollie: (Cheerfully) Doing all the work you brute. (She crosses to Giles).

Giles: Oh, there you are - leave it all to me. Shall I stoke the Aga?

Mollie: Done.

  1. Where does the opening scene of the play take place? What song is played at the beginning of Act I? Who is the first character to appear on the scene? [3]
  2. What is the ‘partnership’ that Mollie speaks of later in this scene? Whose idea was it? [3]
  3. Who is Mrs. Barlow? Why is Giles annoyed with her? [3]
  4. Who is the first guest to arrive at Monkswell Manor? Describe this person. [3]
  5. What were this person’s expectations when he arrived at the Manor? To what extent were they fulfilled? [4]

Question 5

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

Mrs Boyle: I am Mrs Boyle. (She puts down the suitcase)

Giles: I’m Giles Ralston. Come in to the fire. Mrs Boyle, and get warm. (Mrs Boyle moves down to the fire.)

Mrs Boyle: A Major-Metcalf is it? -is carrying it?

Giles: I’ll leave the door open for him.

  1. Who is Mrs Boyle? Why is she in a bad mood? [3]
  2. Describe Major Metcalf. Mention any one action of his which indicates that he is a polite and courteous man. [3]
  3. How does Major Metcalf describe the weather outside? [3]
  4. What comments does Mrs Boyle make when she first encounters Mollie? [3]
  5. Mention three reasons that Mrs Boyle gives for being unhappy with Monkswell Manor. What is your impression of Mrs Boyle? [4]

Question 6

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

Trotter: It’s true, isn’t it, that Jimmy, the child who died, managed to get a letter posted to you? (He sits at the Right end of the sofa). The letter begged for help - help from this kind young teacher. You never answered that letter.

Mollie: I couldn’t. I never got it.

Trotter: You just-didn’t bother

(i) Explain what Mollie means by, ‘I couldn’t. I never got it.’ [3]

(ii) What was Trotter's real name? How was he related to Jimmy? How did he gain entry into the Manor? [3]

(iii) What did Trotter accuse Mollie of doing? How did he intend to punish her for it? [3]

(iv) Who had come to England in search of Trotter? How was this person related to Trotter? What clues from their past did this person use to remind Trotter of their childhood days? [3]

(v) Who had guessed Trotter’s identity correctly? Why was this person in the Manor? Mention two ways in which the setting of the play serves to heighten the air of mystery and suspense. [4]

Section B - Poetry

Answer one or more questions from this Section.

A Collection of Poems

Question 7

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

Bangle sellers are we who bear
Our shining loads to the temple fair…
- The Bangle Sellers, Sarojini Naidu

(i) Why does the poet use the word ‘delicate’ to describe the bangles? How is ‘rainbow-tinted circles of light’ an appropriate description of bangles? [3]

(ii) Explain the following phrases from the poem in your own words: [3]

  • Shining loads
  • Lustrous tokens of radiant lives
  • For happy daughters and happy wives

(iii) The poet uses several images of sight and sound to create a musical effect in the poem. Mention any three examples of these images. [3]

(iv) What are the emotions that the poet associates with a bride on her wedding day? What colours are the bangles on her wrist that reflect these emotions? [3]

(v) What colours does the poet associate with:

  1. a maiden
  2. a middle aged woman?

How does the poet describe the thoughts and concerns of women in both these stages of life? [4]

Question 8

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

But a caged bird stands on the grave of dreams
His shadow shouts on a nightmare scream
His wings are clipped and his feet are tied
So he opens his throat to sing.
- I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, Maya Angelo

(i) In the context of the poem who is a ‘free bird’ and who is a 'caged bird'? What mood do the above lines convey? [3]

(ii) How does a free bird live his life? What are the things he thinks of and dreams about? [3]

(iii) What does the caged bird sing about? What are the restrictions that a caged bird has to deal with? [3]

(iv) What do you understand from the title of the poem? What do you like about the poem? [3]

(v) Explain what you understand by the following lines:

  •  ‘…a bird that stalks down his narrow cage’
  • ‘he names the sky his own’ [4]

Question 9

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

Abou Ben Adhem (may his tribe increase!)
Awoke one night from a deep dream of peace,
- Abou Ben Adhem, Leigh Hunt

(i) What did Abou Ben Adhem see when woke from a deep sleep one night? [3]

(ii) What did Abou Ben Adhem ask the angel? What was the angel’s response? [3]

(iii) What did Abou request the angel to do when he learnt that his name did not appear among the names of those who loved the Lord? What does this reveal to us of Abou Ben Adhem’s character? [3]

(iv) When and how did the angel appear to Abou Ben Adhem again? What did the angel show Abou this time? [3]

(v) What does the poet mean by ‘May his tribe increase!’? Why do you think he says this? What is the central message of the poem? [4]

Section C - Prose

Answer one or more questions from only ONE of the following books that you have studied: A Collection of Short Stories or Animal Farm or The Call of the Wild

A Collection of Short Stories

Question 10

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

“Well, Mr. Easton, if you will make me speak first, I suppose I must. Don’t you ever recognize old friends when you meet them in the West?”

The younger man roused himself sharply at the sound of her voice, seemed to struggle with a slight embarrassment which he threw off instantly, and then clasped her fingers with his left hand.

“It’s Miss Fairchild,” he said, with a smile. “I’ll ask you to excuse the other hand; “it’s otherwise engaged just at present.”

(i) Describe Miss Fairchild and Mr. Easton. [3]

(ii) Where does the above conversation occur? Why was Mr. Easton embarrassed when Miss Fairchild addressed him? [3]

(iii) How was Mr. Easton’s other hand ‘otherwise engaged’? How does Miss Fairchild react when he raises his right hand to show her what he meant? [3]

(iv) How does Miss Fairchild feel about Mr. Easton? How does she try to convey these feelings to him? [3]

(v) The story has a surprise ending. How is the surprise revealed to the reader? [4]

Question 11

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

So the little girl walked about the streets on her naked feet, which were red and blue with cold. In her old apron she carried a great many matches, and she had a packet of them in her hand as well.

(i) Who was ‘she’? What can you conclude about her condition from the above description? [3]

(ii) What time of the year was it? Why did she not want to go home? [3]

(iii) What did she use the matches for? What happened when she lit the first match? [3]

(iv) Whom did she love dearly? What did she say when this person appeared before her? [3]

(v) What happened to the little girl at the end of the story? Would you consider this a happy ending or a sad one? Give one reason for your answer. [4]

Question 12

Answer the following questions with reference to Norah Burke’s short story "The Blue Bead"

(i) Describe Sibia’s experience at the Bazaar. What were the things that filled her with wonder? [4]

(ii) Who were the Gujars? Give a brief description of their lifestyle. [4]

(iii) Describe how Sibia rescued the Gujar woman from the crocodile. What did Sibia regard as the highlight of that fateful day? What does this tell us about Sibia? [8]

Animal Farm: George Orwell

Question 13

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

How they toiled and sweated to get the hay in! But their efforts were rewarded, for the harvest was an even bigger success than they had planned. Sometimes the work was hard;…

(i) What hardships did the animals face when they began the harvest? [3]

(ii) How long did they take to complete the harvest? What was the result? [3]

(iii) What other hardships did they face later that year? [3]

(iv) Describe the Sunday routine on Animal Farm. [3]

(v) What contribution did Boxer make to the farm work which earned him the admiration of his fellow creatures? [4]

Question 14

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

These two disagreed on every point where disagreement was possible. If one of them suggested sowing a bigger acreage with barley, the other was certain to demand a bigger acreage of oats, and if one of them said that such and such field was just right for cabbages, the other would declare that it was useless for anything except roots.

(i) Who were the two who disagreed on every point? What special skills did each of them possess? [3]

(ii) What was Snowball’s dream project? How, in his opinion, would it transform life on Animal Farm? [3]

(iii) How did Snowball work out the details of this project? Where did he do the planning? [3] 

(iv) How did the farm animals view Snowball’s effort? What was Napoleon’s response to it? [3]

(v) Later on, at a Sunday meeting of the farm animals, Snowball is expelled and Napoleon assumes charge. What immediate changes does he announce regarding the running of Animal Farm. [4]

Question 15

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

(i) What decisions were made regarding the retiring age of the animals at the beginning when the laws of Animal Farm were being formulated? [4]

(ii) What ‘improvements’ in their lifestyle compared to the days of Jones did Squealer point out to the animals when a reduction in their rations was announced to the animals during the next winter on Animal Farm? [4]

(iii) What stories did Moses the raven tell the farm animals? What effect did these stories have on the animals? What does this tell us about their living conditions? [8]

The Call of the Wild: Jack London

Question 16

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

During the four years since his puppyhood he (Buck) had lived the life of a sated aristocrat; he had a fine pride in himself, was ever a trifle egotistical, as country gentlemen sometimes become because of their insular situation.

(i) Where did Buck spend his puppyhood? Describe the place. [3]

(ii) Who were Buck’s parents? What do you know about them? [3]

(iii) What do you understand from the term, ‘sated aristocrat’? In what way did Buck’s life resemble that of a ‘sated aristocrat’? [3]

(iv) What did Buck do to prevent himself from becoming a pampered house-dog? [3]

(v) What historical event changed Buck’s life of ease forever? Which member of the household was responsible for bringing about this change? Why do you think this person acted in this manner? [4]

Question 17

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

On the other hand, possibly because he divined in Buck a dangerous rival, Spitz never lost an opportunity of showing his teeth. He even went out of his way to bully Buck, striving constantly to start the fight which could end only in the death of one or the other. (3.2)

(i) Who was Spitz? Why did he consider Buck ‘a dangerous rival’? [3]

(ii) How did the ‘dominant primordial beast’ which grew in Buck shape his behaviour in his new environment? [3]

(iii) Earlier in the trip, Buck and Spitz were engaged in a violent fight. What led to the fight? Why did it end abruptly? [3]

(iv) Later in the story, Buck intervened when Spitz was about to punish Pike. Why did he do this? How did Francois reward Buck for this? [3]

(v) In what ways are Buck and Spitz similar? How are they different from each other? [4]

Question 18

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

(i) Why is Buck regarded as the protagonist (the hero) of Jack London’s book ‘The Call of the Wild’? [4]

(ii) After Spitz’s death Buck was made leader of the dog team. In what ways did Buck prove to be better than Spitz in his role as leader of the team? [4]

(iii) Explore the themes of love and loyalty as revealed in the relationship between Buck and Thornton in Jack London’s novel, ‘The Call of the Wild’. [8]