The Portrait of A Lady Important Questions of 2 and 5 Markers CBSE Class 11 English Chapter 1

NCERT Solutions for Class 11 English Hornbill Book Chapter 1 The Portrait of A Lady Important Questions and Value Points

Here are the The Portrait of A Lady important questions of 2 and 5 Marks for CBSE Class 11 English Hornbill Book Chapter 1. The important questions we have compiled will help the students to brush up on their knowledge about the subject. Students can practice Class 11 English important questions to understand the subject better and improve their performance in the board exam. The solutions provided here will also give students an idea about how to write the answers. Take Free Online MCQ Test for Class 11


The Portrait of A Lady Important Question for CBSE Class 11 English Hornbill Book Chapter 1

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2 Mark Questions
5 Mark Questions


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Class 11 English The Portrait of A Lady 2 Marks important Question (30-40 words)


1. Why was the author’s grandmother disturbed when he started going to the city school?
Value Points:

  • western science – didn’t teach about god or scriptures
  • English medium – gave music lessons
  • couldn’t help in HW. – music meant for beggars etc.


2. What were the three ways in which the author’s grandmother spent her days when he grew up?
Value Points:

  • rarely left her spinning wheel, talked less
  • continuously recited prayers while spinning
  • fed sparrows in afternoon, spreading pieces of bread in verandah

3. What happened to the grandmother the next day of the author’s coming back?
Value Points:

  • fell ill, family thought to be a mild fever
  • Knew her end was near
  • stopped talking
  • continuously prayed till passed away


4. What was the biggest surprise for the family when they prepared her for cremation?
Value Points:

  • amazed to see thousands of sparrows
  • sitting scattered near the dead body
  • silent, no chirping
  • didn’t eat breadcrumbs offered

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Class 11 English The Portrait of A Lady 5 Marks important Question (120 – 150 words)

1. What were the three phases of the author’s relationship with his grandmother before he left the country to study abroad?
Value Points:

  • Early Childhood: Grandmother took care, woke him up, accompanied to school, shared a good bond
  • Shifted to City: Shared same room, turning point, saw less of each other
  • Joined University: Author given separate room, common link of friendship snapped, grandmother turned to wheel spinning, reciting prayers, accepted seclusion with silence

2. The author’s grandmother was a religious person. What are the different ways in which we come to know this?
Value Points:

  • always recited inaudible prayers while moved the beads of rosary
  • said morning prayer while she bathed and dresses grandson,
  • while author studied she read scripture in a temple attached to school
  • didn’t show any emotion on station, lips moved in prayers
  • did same on his return and till her death


3. Would you agree that the author’s grandmother was a person strong in character? If yes, give instances that show this?
Value Points:

  • had strong religious beliefs, prayed all the time, didn’t like English school, had strong likes and dislikes, hated music and western ideas, accepted breaking of close ties, didn’t react but turned to wheel spinning,
  • didn’t show any emotion on station, greeted and celebrated his homecoming, kind hearted fed dogs in village and sparrows in city, was a woman of principles

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    1. Who has written the lesson ‘The Portrait of a Lady’?ANSWERThe name of the writer is Khushwant Singh (born Khushal Singh, 2 February 1915 – 20 March 2014). He was an Indian author, lawyer, diplomat, journalist and politician. He was appointed journalist in the All India Radio in 1951, and then moved to the Department of Mass Communications of UNESCO at Paris in 1956. These last two careers encouraged him to pursue a literary career. As a writer, he was best known for his trenchant secularism, humour, sarcasm and an abiding love of poetry. His comparisons of social and behavioural characteristics of Westerners and Indians are laced with acid wit. He served as the editor of several literary and news magazines, as well as two newspapers, through the 1970s and 1980s. Between 1980-1986 he served as Member of Parliament in Rajya Sabha, the upper house of the Parliament of India.
      Khushwant Singh was awarded the Padma Bhushan in 1974; however, he returned the award in 1984 in protest against Operation Blue Star in which the Indian Army raided Amritsar. In 2007 he was awarded the Padma Vibhushan, the second-highest civilian award in India.


    1. What is the chapter ‘The Portrait of a Lady’ about?ANSWERThe story is about the author’s cordial relationship with his grandmother. The author gives a pen picture of her daily activities and how she evolved as a character as time passed by. He writes about the type of bonding he shared with his grandmother when he lived with her in absence of his parents. The lesson also focuses on the fact that human relations tend to change with the passage of time. The author’s relation too gradually changed with his grandmother when they came to live in the city. They saw less of each other because the author had grown up and was giving more time to his studies. The common link of friendship between the two got snapped when he joined university and was given a separate room for himself.

      On the other hand the lesson also talks the strong character of the grandmother. She was a highly religious lady and had firm believe in scriptures. When the author started going to an English medium school and studied English, science and music; she didn’t like it at all. In spite of reacting she secluded herself and devoted her whole time to feeding sparrows and chanting. This shows that the lady had very strong likes and dislikes.

      The lesson in a way presents before us a character sketch of the grandmother and we very well can imagine the way she looked and behaved. It basically revolves around the grandmother as the central character.




    2. Describe the narrator’s grandmother as you have read about her in the lesson.ANSWERAccording to the author his grandmother, like everybody’s grandmother, was an old woman. She had been old and wrinkled for the twenty years that he had known her. People said that she had once been young and pretty and had even had a husband, but that was hard for him to believe. As for his grandmother being young and pretty, the thought was almost revolting. She often told him of the games she used to play as a child. That seemed quite absurd and undignified on her part and the author treated it like the fables of the Prophets. She had always been short and fat and slightly bent. Her face was a criss-cross of wrinkles running from everywhere to everywhere. He was certain that she had always been as he had known her. Old, so terribly old that she could not have grown older, and had stayed at the same age for twenty years. She could never have been pretty; but she was always beautiful, She hobbled about the house in spotless white with one hand resting on her waist to balance her stoop and the other telling the beads of her rosary. Her silver locks were scattered untidily over her pale, puckered face, and her lips constantly moved in inaudible prayer. The author recalls her to be as beautiful as the winter landscape in the mountains, an expanse of pure white serenity breathing peace and contentment.

      He also portrays her to be a woman of strong character who had clear likes and dislikes. He was not a trouble maker, rather secluded herself if she didn’t like certain things like the author’s English medium school and its curriculum.




  1. What is the summary of the portrait of a lady?ANSWERThe Portrait of a Lady’ is a beautiful heart-warming story of a loving relationship between the writer and his grandmother. It is a vivid description of their attachment to each other which withstood all the changes over time and values.

    Singh’s grandmother was an old woman, for him, from the very beginning. She was short, fat and slightly bent. He refused to believe that she was ever young or pretty. His grandfather’s portrait hung on the wall in the drawing room Even he looked hundred years old with his flowing white beard. To the author, his grandfather was a person who was always a grandfather, never a man with a wife or children! His grandmother may not have been pretty or young for him, but she looked as if she had stayed the same age for twenty years. She was always dressed in immaculate white clothes, saying her prayers using the beads of her rosary in an inaudible voice. She looked calm, serene and beautiful. His parents had left Khushwant Singh in her care while they went to live in the city. She got him ready for school and accompanied him to school. While he studied, she prayed in the temple attached next to the school. She never forgot to take stale chapattis with her for the village dogs. Then came the turning point in their lives. They shifted from the village to the city to live with the author’s parents. Though they shared the same room, his grandmother did not accompany him to school. It was an English school, and there were no dogs to feed on the road. She started feeding the sparrows in the courtyard of their city house. Their bond became weaker when different subjects were taught in the English school. There were no scriptures taught, and Khushwant started learning music. Music was not something she approved of, and she stopped talking with her grandson after that. The friendship between the two snapped when the author went to a university abroad and was given a separate room for himself. Grandmother accepted her fate and spent her whole time spinning. She only relaxed in the afternoon when she fed the sparrows, and it was the happiest time of the day. The author was sure that his grandmother would be upset when he decided to go abroad. To his surprise, his grandmother was not at all emotional. She said goodbye to him at the station by kissing his forehead. Her lips moved as usual, in prayer. The author was doubtful whether he would see her when he returned.

    But she proved him wrong. After five years she gave him a hero’s welcome, looking not a day older. For the first time, she did not pray in the evening but thumped an old drum and sang songs about warriors’ home-coming. The next morning, she told the family that her end was near. Eventually, she stopped talking and prayed till she passed away. The family was surprised to see thousands of sparrows sitting scattered on the floor in complete silence near her body in the verandah. The sparrows did not touch the bread crumbs which the author’s mother had spread for them. They flew away quietly when her body was taken for cremation.


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