By Ruchika Gupta
CBSE Class 10 English Lesson 3 His First Flight Question Answers, Notes and Explanation
His First Flight CBSE Class 10 English First Flight Lesson 3 – 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.
Class 10 English Chapter 3
Two Stories about Flying
His First Flight by Liam O’ Flaherty
“The journey of a thousand miles begin with a single step”
His First Flight by Liam O’ Flaherty
His First Flight – Introduction
The story by “Liam O’ Flaherty” is an account of a young bird that is afraid to fly for the first time. He believes that his wings would not support him. Despite his younger siblings flying fearlessly with much shorter wings, he could not gather the courage to do the same. He was punished to stay hungry if he did not try. Thus, it was his mother that compelled him to fly by using food as a trap. The lesson reflects how one hesitates to take the first step and that fear is all in the mind. One should trust one’s abilities because “the fear of suffering is worse than the suffering itself”.
His First Flight Summary
The story “His First Flight” by “Liam O’ Flaherty” is about a young seagull who is afraid to fly. All his younger siblings despite their much shorter wings flew fearlessly while he could not gather the courage to trust his own wings. The young seagull became sad when he saw his parents perfecting his younger siblings in the art of flying. His parents scold and taunt him for not even trying. They even call him a “coward”. They tell him a lot to at least try and also threaten him to leave him alone and hungry if he does not. The following day, he is left in isolation and upon feeling hungry; he tries to seek the attention of his family members. Only his mother, who is withering a fish in an attempt to eat it, notices his son. The young seagull cries out of starvation hoping his mother would help. On seeing his mother come to him with the fish, he gets excited. But on noticing that his mother stopped mid-way, he gets maddened out of hunger and takes a dive at the fish, forgetting for a moment that he is afraid to fly. Finally, he took his first flight. All the family members celebrate his victory by cheering and dancing around him. He also attempts at floating in the sea that he was once afraid of. Thus, he overcomes his fear and realises that it is all in the mind.
His First Flight Lesson Explanation
THE young seagull was alone on his ledge. His two brothers and his sister had already flown away the day before. He had been afraid to fly with them. Somehow when he had taken a little run forward to the brink of the ledge and attempted to flap his wings he became afraid. The great expanse of sea stretched down beneath, and it was such a long way down — miles down. He felt certain that his wings would never support him; so he bent his head and ran away back to the little hole under the ledge where he slept at night.
Seagull- a bird that lives near the sea and has short legs, long wings, and white and grey feathers
Ledge- a narrow horizontal shelf projecting from a wall (or here) a cliff
Brink- the extreme edge of land before a steep slope or a body or water
Expanse- a wide continuous area of something
The story is about a young seagull who is at that stage of life where he has to learn to fly. Unlike his younger brothers and sisters, he is too afraid to fly. When all of them went for flying for the first time near the edge of the sea, all of them except him, succeeded. He could not trust his wings. He got terrified by the vast sea and got convinced that he could never fly. As a result, he was ashamed and disheartened and thus, went inside the ledge where usually he slept.
Even when each of his brothers and his little sister, whose wings were far shorter than his own, ran to the brink, flapped their wings, and flew away, he failed to muster up courage to take that plunge which appeared to him so desperate. His father and mother had come around calling to him shrilly, upbraiding him, threatening to let him starve on his ledge unless he flew away. But for the life of him he could not move.
Flapped- (of a bird) move (its wings) up and down when flying or preparing to fly
Plunge- jump or dive
Shrilly- with a high pitched and piercing voice or sound
His younger siblings managed to take their first flight despite their wings being shorter than his, but he could not summon the courage though he tried so desperately. He was scolded by his parents for not trying again but he was so afraid, that he could not even move.
That was twenty-four hours ago. Since then nobody had come near him. The day before, all day long, he had watched his parents flying about with his brothers and sister, perfecting them in the art of flight, teaching them how to skim the waves and how to dive for fish. He had, in fact, seen his older brother catch his first herring and devour it, standing on a rock, while his parents circled around raising a proud cackle. And all the morning the whole family had walked about on the big plateau midway down the opposite cliff taunting him with his cowardice.
Herring- a soft-finned sea fish
Devour- eat quickly
Cackle- laugh in a loud, harsh way
Cowardice- lack of bravery
Now, he had been alone for a day after he tried because his parents were busy focussing on his siblings. They helped his siblings master the art of flying and diving for food (fish). His older sibling even caught his first fish which he proudly ate at a rock while his parents celebrated it. That morning, his parents taunted him all the way for being a coward.
The sun was now ascending the sky, blazing on his ledge that faced the south. He felt the heat because he had not eaten since the previous nightfall. He stepped slowly out to the brink of the ledge, and standing on one leg with the other leg hidden under his wing, he closed one eye, then the other, and pretended to be falling asleep. Still they took no notice of him. He saw his two brothers and his sister lying on the plateau dozing with their heads sunk into their necks. His father was preening the feathers on his white back. Only his mother was looking at him. She was standing on a little high hump on the plateau, her white breast thrust forward. Now and again, she tore at a piece of fish that lay at her feet and then scrapped each side of her beak on the rock. The sight of the food maddened him. How he loved to tear food that way, scrapping his beak now and again to whet it.
Ascending the sky- the act of rising up through the air
Preening-to tidy and clean its feathers
Hump- a rounded raised mass of earth or land
The sun had now risen and he was feeling the heat more than ever because he was empty-stomach since the night before. He stepped out of his ledge and pretended to sleep on one leg to gain the attention of his family. Still, no one noticed him. His siblings were sleeping, his father was cleaning his feathers with his beak and his mother was standing on another plateau eating fish while she noticed him. The seagull got mad on seeing the fish because he was very hungry. He loved to tear away fish and scrape his beak now and then.
“Ga, ga, ga,” he cried begging her to bring him some food. “Gaw-col-ah,” she screamed back derisively. But he kept calling plaintively, and after a minute or so he uttered a joyful scream. His mother had picked up a piece of the fish and was flying across to him with it. He leaned out eagerly, tapping the rock with his feet, trying to get nearer to her as she flew across. But when she was just opposite to him, she halted, her wings motionless, the piece of fish in her beak almost within reach of his beak. He waited a moment in surprise, wondering why she did not come nearer, and then, maddened by hunger, he dived at the fish.
Derisively- in a manner expressing contempt or ridicule.
Uttered- make a sound with one’s voice
He cried in hunger to his mom while his mother screamed back angrily but he kept crying which soon turned into a joyful scream at the sight of his mother flying towards him with the piece of fish. He got excited as she came nearer and thus, leaned forward. Suddenly, she stopped not too far from him. Out of excitement and hunger, he dived at the fish without realising for a moment, that he was afraid to fly.
With a loud scream he fell outwards and downwards into space. Then a monstrous terror seized him and his heart stood still. He could hear nothing. But it only lasted a minute. The next moment he felt his wings spread outwards. The wind rushed against his breast feathers, then under his stomach, and against his wings. He could feel the tips of his wings cutting through the air. He was not falling headlong now. He was soaring gradually downwards and outwards. He was no longer afraid. He just felt a bit dizzy. Then he flapped his wings once and he soared upwards. “Ga, ga, ga, Ga, ga, ga, Gaw-col-ah,” his mother swooped past him, her wings making a loud noise. He answered her with another scream. Then his father flew over him screaming. He saw his two brothers and his sister flying around him curveting and banking and soaring and diving.
Headlong- with the head foremost
Soaring- flying or rising high in the air
Swooped- (especially of a bird) move rapidly downwards through the air
Curvetting- perform a series of jumps on the hind legs
He got so excited that he fell as soon as he tried. For a moment, he was in shock and stood still out of terror. All this lasted only for a moment and soon, his feathers opened as he flied. He could feel the wind against his breast feathers, stomach and his wings. He could feel himself cutting through the air. He was not afraid anymore. He was just a bit nervous but then his mother accompanied him. The whole family screamed out of excitement, thus, celebrating his victory over fear.
Then he completely forgot that he had not always been able to fly, and commended himself to dive and soar and curve, shrieking shrilly. He was near the sea now, flying straight over it, facing straight out over the ocean. He saw a vast green sea beneath him, with little ridges moving over it and he turned his beak sideways and cawed amusedly.
Shrieking- making a high-pitched piercing cry or sound
Shrilly- loudly and forcefully
Ridges- a long, narrow hilltop, mountain range, or watershed
Cawed- utter a caw
Once he overcame his fear, he forgot that he was once afraid of it. He did all those things he once feared. He flied straight over the sea and could see the greenery and the mountains beneath him. He screamed out of joy as he enjoyed the victory.
His parents and his brothers and sister had landed on this green flooring ahead of him. They were beckoning to him, calling shrilly. He dropped his legs to stand on the green sea. His legs sank into it. He screamed with fright and attempted to rise again flapping his wings. But he was tired and weak with hunger and he could not rise, exhausted by the strange exercise. His feet sank into the green sea, and then his belly touched it and he sank no farther. He was floating on it, and around him his family was screaming, praising him and their beaks were offering him scraps of dog-fish. He had made his first flight.
When he landed, his family landed along with him as a gesture that they were proud. They were screaming and shouting in excitement in their high pitched voices. He then went into the sea where at first, he got scared and thus, panicked. He tried escaping but got tired and weak because of hunger. Thus, when he calmed down, he started floating in the sea he was once afraid of. His family was celebrating in excitement and offered him food as praise. Finally, he had overcome his fear and had made his first flight.
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His First Flight Questions and Answers
Q1. Why was the young seagull afraid to fly? Do you think all young birds are afraid to make their first flight, or are some birds more timid than others? Do you think a human baby also finds it a challenge to take its first steps?
A. The young seagull was afraid to fly because it was his first flight. He doubted that his wings would not be able to support him. We are well aware that “Journey to a thousand miles begins with a single step” and it is very difficult to take that first step. Thus, I think all birds must be hesitating before taking their first flight, some more than others. Yes, just like young birds, human babies also hesitate while taking their first step.
Q2. “The sight of the food maddened him.” What does this suggest? What compelled the young seagull to finally fly?
A. On not being able to gather courage to fly and acting like a coward, the young seagull’s family left him alone. As a result, he was starving since he could not fly to get his own food. When he saw his mother coming near him with fish, he got excited and dived straight at the fish, forgetting for a moment that he was afraid of flying. Thus, he got so maddened by the sight of food because he was starving, which compelled him to take his first flight.
Q3. “They were beckoning to him, calling shrilly.” Why did the seagull’s father and mother threaten him and cajole him to fly?
A. Unlike his younger siblings, the poor seagull could not gather enough courage to take his first flight. Thus, his parents taunted him for being a coward. They even threatened it to let it starve if he did not try. They thought hunger would make him fly looking for his food. They did all of this because they wanted him to fly.
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