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A Letter to God - CBSE Class 10 NCERT English First Flight Lesson 1 Summary, Explanation, Difficult words

By Ruchika Gupta

CBSE Class 10 English Lesson 1 Explanation Notes

CBSE A Letter To God Class 10 English First Flight Lesson - Detailed explanation of the lesson along with meanings of difficult words. Also, the explanation is followed by a Summary of the lesson. All the exercises and Question and Answers given at the back of the lesson have been covered.

CBSE NCERT Class 10 First Flight Lesson 1 - A Letter To God

-by G.L. Fuentes

"Faith Is Like Wifi, It Is Invisible But It Has The Power To Connect You To What You Need.

 

a letter to god

 

A Letter to God Introduction

The story, "A Letter to God" by G.L Fuentes revolves around the idea of having unquestionable belief in something. The story is set in a Latin American country. Lencho, the farmer, who is the protagonist of the story, writes a letter to God seeking help from the almighty after discovering his entire crop yield destroyed by a devastating hailstorm. Although, his wishes get fulfilled partially, if not completely, he is ungrateful in the end and questions the honesty and modesty of the post-masters who actually helped him with money (anonymously) in the name of god.

 

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A Letter to God Summary

The story, "A Letter to God" by G.L. Fuentes depicts unwavering faith of a farmer in God. It begins with a farmer, named Lencho expecting for a rain shower to nourish his field of corn. He is confident that his harvest is going to yield him huge profits just like it does every year. To his utmost excitement, rainfall did happen but sooner, it turned into a hailstorm destroying his entire crop field. The damage posed a threat to the family's survival as their entire livelihood was dependent on the year's produce. Although disheartened, the family had robust belief in the almighty. Lencho, despite having worked day and night at the field, knew how to write and thus, decided to write a letter to God explaining his situation and asking for help. He went to town to post his letter addressed "To God". The letter on being noticed by the postmaster, at first amused him, but then motivated him want to do something for the farmer so as to keep his immense belief intact. He contributes from his salary and collects money from his colleagues and friends who willingly contributed for an act of charity. To his dismay, he could only collect 70 pesos which he wrapped in an envelope to make it seem like a reply from the deity. On having found the letter, the writer (Lencho) is not at all shocked, but instead, he gets angry on finding that the amount is less than what he had expected. He again writes a letter to God conveying his disappointment and distrust in the employees of the post office who he thought had stolen the remaining amount.

 

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A Letter to God Lesson & Explanation

THE house - the only one in the entire valley - sat on the crest of a low hill. From this height one could see the river and the field of ripe corn dotted with the flowers that always promised a good harvest. The only thing the earth needed was a downpour or at least a shower. Throughout the morning Lencho - who knew his fields intimately - had done nothing else but see the sky towards the north-east.

 

the house

Crest: Top of a hill
Dotted: Full Of
Downpour: Heavy Rain
Intimately: Closely

 

Lencho, the farmer, lived on the only house that was there on the top of a hill. The hill was low-heighted. From there, a river and a ready-to-harvest corn field were visible. The field belonged to Lencho and he had the utmost confidence that the harvest would reap great profits. The only thing that he awaited was rainfall. In this hope, he spent an entire morning gazing at the sky in the north-east direction from where a drizzle was expected to shower on his field.

 

Also See : Class 10 English Lessons

 

"Now we're really going to get some water, woman. The woman who was preparing supper, replied, "Yes, God willing". The older boys were working in the field, while the smaller ones were playing near the house until the woman called to them all, "Come for dinner. It was during the meal that, just as Lencho had predicted, big drops of rain began to fall. In the north-east huge mountains of clouds could be seen approaching. The air was fresh and sweet. The man went out for no other reason than to have the pleasure of feeling the rain on his body, and when he returned he exclaimed, "These aren't raindrops falling from the sky, they are new coins. The big drops are ten cent pieces and the little ones are fives."

 

the house

Exclaimed- cry out suddenly in surprise, strong emotion, or pain.

 

The man, while looking at the sky, confidently tells his wife that they are going to have a rain-shower to which the lady replies by saying, only if everything happens as they hope and expect. Their elder children were working at the field and the younger ones were playing near the house when Lencho's wife calls everyone for dinner. It is during that time, drops of rain begin to fall, hereby proving the farmer's prediction to be true. The wind was pleasant and clouds could be seen approaching from the north-east sky. Lencho goes out of the house to take pleasure in feeling the droplets on his body. He refers to the drizzle as coins, large droplets being equivalent to ten cents and the smaller ones, five cents. He says so because these raindrops would ensure a good crop which would eventually get them a lot of money.

 

With a satisfied expression he regarded the field of ripe corn with its flowers, draped in a curtain of rain. But suddenly a strong wind began to blow and along with the rain very large hailstones began to fall. These truly did resemble new silver coins. The boys, exposing themselves to the rain, ran out to collect the frozen pearls.

 

a letter to god rain

Regarded- Consider Or Think Of In A Specified Way
Draped- Adorn, Cover, Or Wrap (Someone Or Something) 
Hailstones- A Pellet Of Hail
Resemble- Have A Similar Appearance To Or Qualities In Common With (Someone Or Something); Look Or Seem Like.
Exposing- make (something) visible by uncovering it.; reveal

 

On seeing everything go as expected, Lencho reflected upon the field and the flowers covered with droplets which seemed as if they were wrapped in a curtain. Unexpectedly, strong wind started blowing, leading to a hailstorm. Satirically, the writer refers to these pellets of frozen rain as "new silver coins. The innocent boys became playful and went out in the rain to play and collect these hailstones which looked like "frozen pearls".

 

Also See : Class 10 Science Lessons

 

"It's really getting bad now," exclaimed the man. "I hope it passes quickly. It did not pass quickly. For an hour the hail rained on the house, the garden, the hillside, the cornfield, on the whole valley. The field was white, as if covered with salt.

 

The farmer now starts worrying and hopes that the storm gets over quickly, which, to his utmost disappointment, didn't. The hailstones covered the entire valley including the house, garden, hillside, and the cornfield. It made everything look so white that it seemed as if it was covered in salt.

 

Not a leaf remained on the trees. The corn was totally destroyed. The flowers were gone from the plants. Lencho's soul was filled with sadness. When the storm had passed, he stood in the middle of the field and said to his sons, "A plague of locusts would have left more than this. The hail has left nothing. This year we will have no corn." That night was a sorrowful one. "All our work, for nothing. There's no one who can help us"."We'll all go hungry this year."

 

plague- a destructively numerous inflow or multiplication of a harmful animal, infestation
locusts- Insects which fly in big groups and destroy crops

 

Lencho became stressed and disappointed as everything went against the plan. The trees had shed their leaves, corns were smashed and the flowers had also fallen from their plants. While standing in the withered fields, he conveyed his dismay and sorrow to his sons by commenting that the effect of the storm proved to be worse than that of crop-destroying insects. All their hard work had gone in vain.  He felt helpless as no corn had been left and feared, that they might have to starve this time.

 

Also See : Class 10 Hindi Lessons

 

But in the hearts of all who lived in that solitary house in the middle of the valley, there was a single hope: help from God. "Don't be so upset, even though this seems like a total loss. Remember, no one dies of hunger.""That's what they say: no one dies of hunger. "

 

solitary:  Existing alone; lonely.

 

Even after everything had gone southwards (gone wrong), the family still had hope in their hearts of hearts. They had faith in the almighty even after nothing was left. They gave each other support and recalled a saying which assures that no one ever dies of starvation.

All through the night, Lencho thought only of his one hope: the help of God, whose eyes, as he had been instructed, see everything, even what is deep in one's conscience. Lencho was an ox of a man, working like an animal in the fields, but still he knew how to write. The following Sunday, at daybreak, he began to write a letter which he himself would carry to town and place in the mail. It was nothing less than a letter to God.

 

conscience- an inner sense of right and wrong.
ox of a man- hardworking
daybreak- The time in the morning when daylight first appears

 

Lencho spent his entire night thinking of the only option left and that was to seek the help of God, who, he had been informed, has its eyes and ears everywhere. He thought of writing a letter to God conveying his grievances. Despite spending all these years working at the farm, he still knew how to write. He started writing on the Sunday morning and thought of mailing it himself by going to the town.

 

"God, he wrote, "if you don't help me, my family and I will go hungry this year. I need a hundred pesos in order to sow my field again and to live until the crop comes, because the hailstorm...." He wrote 'To God' on the envelope, put the letter inside and, still troubled, went to town. At the post office, he placed a stamp on the letter and dropped it into the mailbox.

 

Pesos- the basic monetary unit of Mexico, several other Latin American countries, and the Philippines

 

In his letter to god, he communicated his poverty-stricken situation and mentioned that he needed 100 pesos to regenerate the crops along with surviving until they are ready to harvest. On the envelope, He wrote, "To God, Then, at the post office, placed stamp on the letter and dropped it in the mailbox.

 

One of the employees, who was a postman and also helped at the post office, went to his boss laughing heartily and showed him the letter to God. Never in his career as a postman had he known that address. The postmaster - a fat, amiable fellow - also broke out laughing, but almost immediately he turned serious and, tapping the letter on his desk, commented, "What faith! I wish I had the faith of the man who wrote this letter. Starting up a correspondence with God!"

 

Amiable- Friendly And Pleasant
Correspondence- Communication by exchanging letters with someone.

 

Also See : English Writing Skills

 

A postman, who was also an employee of the post office, noticed Lencho's letter and showed it to the postmaster. They both felt amused, but the postmaster, fat and friendly, immediately developed a sense of seriousness. He was astounded at the amount of faith Lencho has in God and wished he had the same.

 

So, in order not to shake the writer's faith in God, the postmaster came up with an idea: answer the letter. But when he opened it, it was evident that to answer it he needed something more than goodwill, ink and paper. But he stuck to his resolution: he asked for money from his employees, he himself gave part of his salary, and several friends of his were obliged to give something'for an act of charity'.

 

goodwill- friendly, helpful, or cooperative feelings or attitude
resolution- a firm decision to do or not to do something.
obliged- grateful

 

With good intentions, the postmaster read the letter and thought of replying to it so as to keep the writer's belief intact. But the writer expected the reply in a different way that could not be fulfilled with pen, paper and morals. The farmer had demanded for 100 pesos. The postmaster along with his colleagues and a few friends, who were more than willing to donate for a good cause, collected a pool of money to help Lencho.

 

It was impossible for him to gather together the hundred pesos, so he was able to send the farmer only a little more than half. He put the money in an envelope addressed to Lencho and with it a letter containing only a single word as a signature: God

 

Despite his best efforts, he was only able to collect an amount not more than half of what was required. He then addressed it to Lencho along with a letter which was undersigned by God.

 

The following Sunday Lencho came a bit earlier than usual to ask if there was a letter for him. It was the postman himself who handed the letter to him while the postmaster, experiencing the contentment of a man who has performed a good deed, looked on from his office. Lencho showed not the slightest surprise on seeing the money; such was his confidence but he became angry when he counted the money. God could not have made a mistake, nor could he have denied Lencho what he had requested.

 

contentment- Satisfaction

 

Next Sunday, Lencho came looking for the reply a bit earlier than expected. The postman handed him the letter waiting to see him joyful and surprised while the postmaster, feeling satisfied, oversaw it from his office. On the contrary, the farmer got disheartened on seeing that the money was less than what he asked for. His faith is still undeterred and he believed that God cannot make such a mistake.

 

Also See : Learn English Grammar

 

Immediately, Lencho went up to the window to ask for paper and ink. On the public writing-table, he started to write, with much wrinkling of his brow, caused by the effort he had to make to express his ideas. When he finished, he went to the window to buy a stamp which he licked and then affixed to the envelope with a blow of his fist. The moment the letter fell into the mailbox the postmaster went to open it. It said: "God: Of the money that I asked for, only seventy pesos reached me. Send me the rest, since I need it very much. But don't send it to me through the mail because the post office employees are a bunch of crooks. Lencho."

 

On being disappointed, he started looking for ink and paper to write to God again. While writing, his eyebrows got curled out of the concentration with which he was drafting a new request. On completing, he affixed it with a stamp. As soon as he dropped it into the mailbox, the postmaster took it out to read it. Lencho complained that he had only received 70 pesos and he is really in need of the remaining amount. He doubted the integrity and honesty of the post office employees and suggested that the money should not be sent via post because he doubted that the staff at the post office must have stolen the missing amount.

A Letter to God Explanation - See Video:

 

 

A Letter to God Question and Answers

Q1. What did Lencho hope for?

A. Lencho hoped for a rain shower for his crop field.

 

Q2.  Why did Lencho say the raindrops were like 'new coins'?

A. After the rain shower, everything was going as per Lencho's plan and he had immense confidence that his harvest would yield substantial profits. Thus, he referred to the droplets as "new coins, the larger ones being equivalent to ten pesos and smaller ones, five pesos.

 

Q3. How did the rain change? What happened to Lencho's fields?

A. Soon after the rainfall had begun, the wind became strong leading to a hailstorm. As a result of which, Lencho's crop fields got withered, the trees had shed their leaves and the flowers had fallen.

 

Q4. What were Lencho's feelings when the hail stopped?

A. Lencho was extremely disheartened and his soul was filled with immense sadness.

 

Q5. Who or what did Lencho have faith in? What did he do?

A. Lencho had unwavering faith in God. Thus, he decided to write a letter to God conveying his grievances and asking for 100 pesos for survival and rejuvenation of crops.

 

Q6. Who read the letter?

A. A postman who was also an employee of the post office read the letter.

 

Q7. What did the postmaster do then?

A. The postmaster was amazed at Lencho's unshakeable faith in the deity and thus, to retain it, he decided to collect money for him from his friends and colleagues.  

 

Q8. Was Lencho surprised to find a letter for him with money in it?

A. Lencho was not at all surprised on seeing the letter because this is what he was expecting. Instead, he was angry when he found that the amount was less than what he had asked for.

 

Q9. What made him angry?

A. Lencho was displeased when he found that the money was less than what he had asked for.


Q10. Who does Lencho have complete faith in? Which sentences in the story tell you this?

A. Lencho has immense faith in God. These lines are evident to this fact: "Lencho showed not the slightest surprise on seeing the money; such was his confidence - but he became angry when he counted the money. God could not have made a mistake, nor could he have denied Lencho what he had requested.

 

Q11. Why does the postmaster send money to Lencho? Why does he sign the letter 'God'?

A. The postmaster did not want to shake the writer's faith in the almighty, and thus, out of virtuous intentions, decided to collect money for "an act of charity". He also signed the letter in the name of God to conceal his identity as he wanted Lencho to think it was actually a reply from God.

 

Q12. Did Lencho try to find out who had sent the money to him? Why/Why not?

A. No, Lencho did not try to find out the sender because he was very optimistic about the existence of almighty and that, his letter is actually received and replied to, by God. It was his unshakeable faith that made him not question the identity of the sender.

 

Q13. Who does Lencho think has taken the rest of the money? What is the irony in the situation? (Remember that the irony of a situation is an unexpected aspect of it. An ironic situation is strange or amusing because it is the opposite of what is expected.)

A. Lencho thought that it is the postmaster or the employees of the post-office who had stolen his remaining amount, as is evident from his second letter to God where he requests the deity not to send money by mail next time. The irony here is that, it was actually the postmaster and the employees who had collected the money out of their clean intent to keep Lencho's faith intact, but are the ones who ended up getting blamed for stealing the missing amount.

 

Q 14. Are there people like Lencho in the real world? What kind of a person would you say he is? You may select appropriate words from the box to answer the question.


Greedy, naive, stupid, ungrateful,

Selfish, comical, unquestioning

A. No, it is hard to find people like Lencho in reality. Lencho is naive and unquestioning because of his lack of judgement about the actual physical existence of God. He did not question receiving an actual reply from the almighty. Also, he is ungrateful in some manner because on seeing 70 pesos, he is not happy but instead, complained about the missing 30 pesos.

 

Q15. There are two kinds of conflict in the story: between humans and nature, and between humans themselves. How are these conflicts illustrated?

A. The story "A Letter to God" depicts two types of conflicts; one between man and nature and the other among men themselves. In the beginning of the story, the farmer hopes for a rain shower for the benefit of his corn field. On actually receiving rain, he becomes overjoyed and starts thinking about all the profit that would come in. Not much later, his joy is turned into sorrow when the wind becomes strong leading to a hailstorm. This depicts the disagreement between man and nature wherein humans want the nature to act according to their aspirations. The second divergence arises when Lencho starts doubting the honesty of the post-office employees who actually helped him with the money anonymously. This is the conflict among men themselves, wherein, we are ready to trust in the idea of God's existence but we are not ready to trust each other.

 

A Letter to God Grammar Exercises

There are different names in different parts of the world for storms, depending on their nature. Can you match the names in the box with their descriptions below, and fill in the blanks? You may use a dictionary to help you.

Gale, whirlwind, cyclone,
hurricane, tornado, typhoon

 

  1. A violent tropical storm in which strong winds move in a circle: __ __ c __ __ __ __
  2. An extremely strong wind : __ a __ __
  3. A violent tropical storm with very strong winds: __ __ p __ __ __ __
  4. A violent storm whose centre is a cloud in the shape of a funnel: __ __ __ n __ __ __
  5. A violent storm with very strong winds, especially in the western Atlantic Ocean: __ __ r __ __ __ __ __ __
  6. A very strong wind that moves very fast in a spinning movement and causes a lot of damage: __ __ __ __ l __ __ __ __

Answers:

  1. Cyclone
  2. Gale
  3. Typhoon
  4. Tornado
  5. Hurricane
  6. Whirlwind

Match the sentences in Column A with the meanings of 'hope' in Column B.

A

B

1. Will you get the subjects you want to study in college? I hope so.

- a feeling that something good will probably happen

2. I hope you don't mind my saying this, but I don't like the way you are arguing.

- thinking that this would happen (It may or may not have happened.)

3. This discovery will give new hope to HIV/AIDS sufferers.

- stopped believing that this good thing would happen

4. We were hoping against hope that the judges would not notice our mistakes.

- wanting something to happen (and thinking it quite possible)

5. I called early in the hope of speaking to her before she went to school.

- showing concern that what you say should not offend or disturb the other person: a way of being polite

6. Just when everybody had given up hope, the fishermen came back, seven days after the cyclone.

- wishing for something to happen, although this is very unlikely

Answer:

A

B

1. Will you get the subjects you want to study in college? I hope so.

- wanting something to happen (and thinking it quite possible)

2. I hope you don't mind my saying this, but I don't like the way you are arguing.

- showing concern that what you say should not offend or disturb the other person: a way of being polite

3. This discovery will give new hope to HIV/AIDS sufferers.

- a feeling that something good will probably happen

4. We were hoping against hope that the judges would not notice our mistakes.

- wishing for something to happen, although this is very unlikely

5. I called early in the hope of speaking to her before she went to school.

- thinking that this would happen (It may or may not have happened.)

6. Just when everybody had given up hope, the fishermen came back, seven days after the cyclone.

- stopped believing that this good thing would happen

 

Join the sentences given below using who, whom, whose, which, as suggested.

1. I often go to Mumbai. Mumbai is the commercial capital of India. (which)

I often go to Mumbai, which is the capital city of India.

 

2. My mother is going to host a TV show on cooking. She cooks very well. (who)

My mother, who cooks very well, is going to host a TV show on cooking.

 

3. These sports persons are going to meet the President. Their performance has been excellent. (whose)

These sportspersons, whose performance has been excellent, are going to meet the
President.

 

4. Lencho prayed to God. His eyes see into our minds. (whose)

Lencho prayed to God, whose eyes see into our minds.

 

5. This man cheated me. I trusted him. (whom)

This man, whom I trusted, cheated me.

 

Find sentences in the story with negative words, which express the following ideas emphatically.

1. The trees lost all their leaves.

"Not a leaf remained on the trees."

 

2. The letter was addressed to God himself.

"It was nothing less than a letter to God.

 

3. The postman saw this address for the first time in his career.

"Never in his career as a postman had he known that address."

 

Find metaphors from the story to complete the table below. Try to say what qualities are being compared. One has been done for you.

OBJECT

METAPHOR

QUALITY OR FEATURE COMPARED

CLOUD

Huge mountains of clouds

The mass or 'hugeness' of mountains

RAINDROPS

New coins

 

HAILSTONES

New silver coins /frozen pearls

 

LOCUSTS

A plague of locusts

An epidemic (a disease) that spreads very rapidly and leaves many people dead

 

An ox of a man

 





Answer:

OBJECT

METAPHOR

QUALITY OR FEATURE COMPARED

CLOUD

Huge mountains of clouds

The mass or 'hugeness' of mountains

RAINDROPS

New coins

The draping or covering of an area by a curtain

HAILSTONES

New silver coins /frozen pearls

The resemblance in colour and hardness to a pearl

LOCUSTS

A plague of locusts

An epidemic (a disease) that spreads very rapidly and leaves many people dead

MAN (LENCHO)

An ox of a man

The working of an ox in the fields (hard work)