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The Great Stone Face-II, Class 8 CBSE English Lesson Summary, Explanation

By Ruchika Gupta

 

The Great Stone Face-II, CBSE Class 8 English Honeydew Book Lesson 10 Explanation, Summary, Difficult words

 

The Great Stone Face-II Class 8 English Honeydew Book Lesson 9 - Detailed explanation of the lesson along with the 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 8 English (Honeydew Book) Chapter 9 - The Great Stone Face-II

By Nathaniel Hawthorne (abridged)

the great stone face II

 

The Great Stone Face-II- Introduction

The Great Stone Face- II is an extension of Lesson-9, The Great Stone Face-I. Ernest, a very simple and unnoticed boy, had grown up to be an old man with white hair. All the years that brought him here were not useless because he had become so wise that the number of wise thoughts exceeded the number of white hair on his head. He was not unpopular anymore. Many people came to see him and the story tells us about one such poet born in the valley, who had moved to distant cities but had come back to meet Ernest. In the end of the story, the old prophecy gets fulfilled as they find the man who bore likeness of the Great Stone Face.

 

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The Great Stone Face-II- Summary

In The Great Stone Face-II by Nathaniel Hawthorne, Ernest, a very simple and unnoticed boy, had grown up to be an old man with white hair. All those years made him so wise and knowledgeable that distant men from cities came to visit him just to have a conversation with him. He received them with gentleness and kindness.  As he talked to people, his face would brighten and would shine upon others as if he was a mild evening light. The story then introduces us to another son of the valley who moved to distant cities, pouring them with his sweet music. He kept the Great Stone Face alive in his poems. Ernest came to know about him and as he read the poet’s thoughts in his book, he wished the poet to be the likeness of the Great Stone Face. When the poet came to know about Ernest, he expressed a strong desire to meet him. Thus,  he comes back to the valley and asks Ernest to give him a night’s shelter. They talked to each other.  Never before had the poet talked with a man like Ernest, so wise, and gentle, and kind. Ernest, on the other hand, was moved by the living images flung out of the poet’s mind. Upon being asked, the poet told him that he was the writer of the book Ernest was reading. As soon as he heard this, Ernest compared the poet’s features with that of the Great Stone Face and when they did not match, he became sad. Upon being asked, Ernest told the poet that when he read his book, he thought him to be the man that would fulfill the prophecy but to his disappointment, he was not. The poet considered himself unworthy of bearing the resemblance to the Great Stone Face as he knew that although his thoughts were great and he had great dreams but those had just remained dreams and he himself lacked faith in his thoughts. 

It was a ritual for Ernest to speak to his neighbours every evening at sunset in the open air. Both men went to the meeting place from where the Great Stone Face was clearly visible and as Ernest began speaking,  he shared whatever he had in his mind and heart. His thoughts were so powerful since they were supported by a life full of good deeds. Those were not mere thoughts, but words of life. The poet, as he listened, felt that the life and character of Ernest were a nobler form of poetry than he had ever written. His eyes were filled with tears as he realised never had he seen a man so kind, gentle, sweet and wise as Ernest. Suddenly, he noticed the Great Stone Face with the golden light of the setting sun upon it and mist around it. He noticed that it resembled the eyebrows of Ernest. When the poet compared Ernest’s grand expression to the Great Stone Face, he couldn’t help but tell everyone that Ernest himself bore the likeness of the Great Stone Face. Everyone agreed. Ernest, however, hoped for a man better and wiser than himself to come, bearing resemblance to the Great Stone Face.

 

The Great Stone Face-II- Lesson and Explanation

The years hurried on, and brought white hairs upon the head of Ernest, and made wrinkles across his forehead and furrows in his cheeks. He was an old man. But not in vain had he grown old; more numerous than the white hairs on his head were the wise thoughts in his mind. And Ernest had ceased to be obscure. Unsought for, undesired, had come the fame which so many seek. He had become famous beyond the limits of the valley. College professors, and even the active men of cities, came from far to see and converse with Ernest, and he received them with gentle sincerity, and spoke freely with them of whatever came uppermost, or lay deepest in his heart or their own. While they talked together, his face would brighten, unawares, and shine upon them, as with a mild evening light.

Furrows- deep lines
Vain- producing no result; useless
Ceased- come or bring to an end
Obscure- not well known
Unawares- unknowingly

Many years passed and Ernest was now an old man with white hairs upon his head, wrinkles across his forehead and deep lines on his cheeks. All the years that brought him to this stage were not useless because he had become so wise that the number of wise thoughts exceeded the number of white hair on his head. He was not unpopular anymore. Although undesired for, he received all the fame that many go after. In fact, he had become known outside the valley too. Many active men from the cities, college professors and people from far away used to come to see him and have a conversation with Ernest. He welcomed them with great sincerity and conversed with them with his purest heart, saying whatever came in his mind or even sharing his deepest thoughts. As he talked to people, his face would brighten that would shine upon others as if he was a mild evening light, with him being unaware of it.


While Ernest had been growing old, God had granted a new poet to this earth. He, too, was a native of the valley, but had spent the greater part of his life in distant cities, pouring out his sweet music everywhere. Neither was the Great Stone Face forgotten, for the poet had celebrated it in a poem. The songs of this poet found their way to Ernest. He read them after his customary toil, seated on the bench before his cottage door. As he read he lifted his eyes to the mountain.

Customary toil- usual work

As Ernest grew old with each year that passed by, he came to know about the poet who had come to this earth by the grace of God. Although the poet was a native of the valley, he had spent most of his life in distant cities, blessing them with his music. He even kept the Great Stone Face alive with his poems. His work made its way to Ernest and after winding up his usual day’s work, Ernest would read while sitting on the bench in front of his cottage door. After reading the poems, Ernest would lift his eyes to glance at the Great stone Face.


“O Great Stone Face,” he said, “is not this man worthy to be your likeness?” The face seemed to smile, but did not answer. Now it happened that the poet, though he lived so far away, had not only heard of Ernest but had thought much about his character and wished to meet this man whose wisdom walked hand in hand with the noble simplicity of his life. One summer day, therefore, he arrived at Ernest’s door, where he found the good old man holding a book in his hand, which he read and, then, with a finger between the leaves, looked lovingly at the Great Stone Face.

As Earnest read the poet’s works, he lifted his eyes so as to see the Great Stone Face and asked him if the poet was worthy of possessing its likeness. The mountain appeared as if it was smiling but it did not reply. On the other hand, although the poet lived far away from the valley, he very well knew about Ernest and had put so much thought into his character that he wanted to meet Ernest, who was so wise yet simple in his way of living.

One fine day in summer, the poet showed up at Ernest’s door, where he found Ernest reading a book as he glanced at the Great Stone Face in between, with a finger between the leaves.

“Good evening,” said the poet. “Can you give a traveller a night’s shelter?”
“Gladly,” answered Ernest; and then he added, smiling, “I think I never saw the Great Stone Face


poet sat down


look so hospitably at a stranger.”

The poet sat down beside him, and he and Ernest talked together. Never before had the poet talked with a man like Ernest, so wise, and gentle, and kind. Ernest, on the other hand, was moved by the living images flung out of the poet’s mind.

Hospitably- (here) gently, kindly

The poet greeted Ernest by saying ‘Good Evening’ and asked him to let him stay there for a night. Ernest agreed gladly as the poet further said with a smile on his face, that he had never seen the Great Stone Face welcome a stranger so gently and kindly. The poet sat beside Ernest and they conversed for a while. The poet had never had the chance of talking to a wise, gentle and kind man like Ernest. While on the other hand, Ernest was amazed as he listened to the poet speaking so vividly.


As Ernest listened to the poet, he imagined that the Great Stone Face was bending forward to listen too. He gazed into the poet’s eyes. “Who are you, my gifted guest?” he asked.
The poet laid his finger on the book that Ernest had been reading. “You have read these poems,” said he. “You know me, then, for I wrote them.”

While Ernest listened to what the poet was saying, he visualized the Great Stone Face bending to listen to him too. As he looked into the poet’s eyes, Ernest very politely asked who he was. The poet pointed at the book in Ernest’s hand and told Ernest that if he had read this book, he would know him too as he himself had written it.

Again and again, Ernest examined the poet’s features; he turned towards the Great Stone Face then back. He shook his head and sighed. “Why are you sad?” inquired the poet.
“Because,” replied Ernest, “all through life I have awaited the fulfillment of a prophecy, and when I read these poems, I hoped that it might be fulfilled in you.”
“You hoped,” answered the poet, faintly smiling, “to find in me the likeness of the Great Stone Face. I am not worthy to be its likeness.”

As soon as Ernest knew who the man was, he began noticing his features as he turned repeatedly towards the Great Stone Face. Being disappointed, Ernest heaped a sigh. Upon being asked by the poet the reason behind his sadness, Ernest told him how he had waited all his life for the prophecy to come true and how he hoped the poet would fulfill it when he read his poems. Bringing a faint smile upon his face, the poet replied that he is not worthy of bearing the resemblance of the Great Stone Face.

“And why not?” asked Ernest. He pointed to the book. “Are not those thoughts worthy?”
“You can hear in them the distant voice of a heavenly song. But my life, dear Ernest, has not corresponded with my thoughts. I have had grand dreams, but they have been only dreams. Sometimes I lack faith in my own thoughts. Why, then, pure seeker of the good and true, should you hope to find me in the face of the mountain?”
The poet spoke sadly and his eyes were wet with tears. So, too, were those of Ernest.

Corresponded- been in harmony with

Ernest asked the poet why he didn’t consider himself and his thoughts (so beautifully articulated in his books) to be worthy of it. The poet replied that he was aware that his thoughts recite a distant voice of a heavenly song but his life had not been in congruence with his thoughts. He confessed that he had seen huge dreams but they have remained only dreams as he often lacked faith in his own thoughts. The poet further asks why a man like Ernest, who was the constant portrayal of goodness and truth, would see the resemblance of the Great Stone Face in the poet. The poet said all of it in a sad tone and his eyes were filled with tears. Ernest’s eyes had tears in them too.

At the hour of sunset, as had long been his custom, Ernest was to speak to a group of neighbours in the open air. Together he and the poet went to the meeting place, arm in arm. From there could be seen the Great Stone Face.

Custom- habit

Now, Ernest had a habit of speaking to his neighbours at the hour of sunset in open air. Therefore, he and his guest went to the meeting place, arm in arm. The Great Stone Face was also visible from the meeting place.

Ernest threw a look of familiar kindness around upon his audience. He began to speak to the people what was in his heart and mind. His words had power, because they agreed with his thoughts; and his thoughts had reality and depth, because they harmonised with the life which he had always lived. It was not mere breath that the preacher uttered; they were the words of life. A life of good deeds and selfless love was melted into them. The poet, as he listened, felt that the life and character of Ernest were a nobler strain of poetry than he had ever written. His eyes filled with tears and he said to himself that never was there so worthy a sage as that mild, sweet, thoughtful face, with the glory of white hair diffused about it.

Harmonised with- corresponded with, agreed with
Sage- wise man
Diffused- spread all around

As he began speaking to his audience, Ernest radiated familiar kindness upon them. He spoke whatever came in his heart and mind. His words had a unique power because they corresponded with his thoughts and his thoughts were deep and practical because they resonated with how he had always lived his life. He did not just preach, but shared words of life; words that were filled with love and supported by a life spent on good deeds.
As the poet heard Ernest speak, he thought to himself that the life story and personality of Ernest was in itself a form of poetry, something he had never written. His eyes became wet with tears as he heard Ernest and he thought to himself how he had never crossed paths with a man so wise, kind and gentle with a thoughtful face that had the glory of white hair spread around it.

At a distance, but clearly to be seen, high up in the golden light of the setting sun, appeared the Great Stone Face, with white mists around it, like the white hairs around the brow of Ernest. At that moment, Ernest’s face took on an expression so grand that the poet was moved to throw his arms up and shout. “Behold! Behold! Ernest is himself the likeness of the Great Stone Face!”

 

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Although a few miles away, the Great Stone was clearly visible from their meeting point. The golden light of the sundown fell upon it along with mist that covered it, just like the white hair around Ernest’s brow.
At that particular moment, Ernest’s grand expression was such that when the poet compared it with the Great Stone Face, he couldn’t control himself as he threw his arms in the air and shouted, “Behold! Behold!” to draw everyone’s attention to the fact that Ernest is the likeness of the Great Stone Face.  

the great stone face

Then all the people looked, and saw that what the poet said was true. The prophecy was fulfilled. But Ernest, having finished what he had to say, took the poet’s arm, and walked slowly homeward, still hoping that some wiser and better man than himself would by and by appear, bearing a resemblance to the Great Stone Face.

Everyone could notice it and they finally established that the poet was telling the truth. Finally, the prophecy was fulfilled.
Ernest, however, finished his speech and held the poet's arm as they walked slowly towards home. Ernest still hoped that a man wiser and better than himself would someday come, who will be the likeness of the Great Stone Face.

 

 

The Great Stone Face-II- Question and Answers
Comprehension Check

Write ‘True’ or ‘False’ against each of the following statements.
1. Ernest’s words reminded people of the wise old sayings. ______
2. Total strangers from far away, who visited Ernest in the valley, found his face familiar. ______
3. The Great Stone Face confirmed Ernest’s view that the poet could be worthy of its likeness. ______
4. When Ernest and the poet met, they respected and admired each other equally. ______
5. The poet along with Ernest addressed the inhabitants of the valley. ______
6. The poet realised that Ernest’s thoughts were far nobler than his own verses. ______

Solution-
1. Ernest’s words reminded people of the wise old sayings. True
2. Total strangers from far away, who visited Ernest in the valley, found his face familiar. False
3. The Great Stone Face confirmed Ernest’s view that the poet could be worthy of its likeness. False
4. When Ernest and the poet met, they respected and admired each other equally. True
5. The poet along with Ernest addressed the inhabitants of the valley. False
6. The poet realised that Ernest’s thoughts were far nobler than his own verses. True

Working with the Text

Answer the following questions.

1. How was Ernest different from others in the valley?
A. Ernest was an old man. But not in vain had he grown old; more numerous than the white hairs on his head were the wise thoughts in his mind. Ernest had ceased to be obscure. Unsought for, undesired, had come the fame which so many seek. He had become famous even beyond the limits of the valley.

2. Why did Ernest think the poet was like the Stone Face?
A. The poet was a son of the valley but had travelled to distant cities, pouring his sweet music everywhere. He kept the Great Stone Face alive in his poems. When Ernest read his book, he thought that the poet’s thoughts were wonderful and made him worthy of bearing the likeness of the Great Stone Face.

3. What did the poet himself say about his thoughts and poems?
A. The poet said that he was aware that his thoughts recited a distant voice of a heavenly song but his life had not been in congruent with his thoughts. He confessed that he had seen huge dreams but they have remained only dreams as he often lacked faith in his own thoughts.

4. What made the poet proclaim Ernest was the Stone Face?
A. As he began speaking to his audience, Ernest radiated familiar kindness upon them. He spoke whatever came in his heart and mind. His words had a unique power because they corresponded with his thoughts and his thoughts were deep and practical because they resonated with how he had always lived his life. He did not just preach, but shared words of life; words that were filled with love and supported by a life spent on good deeds.
As the poet heard Ernest speak, he thought to himself that the life story and personality of Ernest was in itself a form of poetry, something he had never written. His eyes became wet with tears as he heard Ernest and he thought to himself how he had never crossed paths with a man so wise, kind and gentle with a thoughtful face that had the glory of white hair spread around it.
Although a few miles away, the Great Stone was clearly visible from their meeting point. The golden light of the sundown fell upon it along with mist that covered it, just like the white hair around Ernest’s brow.
At that particular moment, Ernest’s grand expression was such that when the poet compared it with the Great Stone Face, he couldn’t control himself as he threw his arms in the air and shouted, “Behold! Behold!” to draw everyone’s attention to the fact that Ernest is the likeness of the Great Stone Face.

5. Write ‘Ernest’ or ‘Poet’, against each statement below.
(i) There was a gap between his life and his words.
(ii) His words had the power of truth as they agreed with his thoughts.
(iii) His words were as soothing as a heavenly song but only as useful as a vague dream.
(iv) His thoughts were worthy.
(v) Whatever he said was truth itself.
(vi) His poems were noble.
(vii) His life was nobler than all the poems.
(viii) He lacked faith in his own thoughts.
(ix) His thoughts had power as they agreed with the life he lived.
(x) Greatness lies in truth. Truth is best expressed in one’s actions. He was truthful, therefore he was great.

Solution-
(i) There was a gap between his life and his words. - Poet
(ii) His words had the power of truth as they agreed with his thoughts. -Ernest
(iii) His words were as soothing as a heavenly song but only as useful as a vague dream. -Poet
(iv) His thoughts were worthy. -Ernest
(v) Whatever he said was truth itself. -Ernest
(vi) His poems were noble. -Poet
(vii) His life was nobler than all the poems. -Ernest
(viii) He lacked faith in his own thoughts. -Poet
(ix) His thoughts had power as they agreed with the life he lived. -Ernest
(x) Greatness lies in truth. Truth is best expressed in one’s actions. He was truthful, therefore he was great. -Ernest

6. (i) Who, by common consent, turned out to be like the Great Stone Face?
A. Ernest, by common consent, turned out to be like the Great Stone Face.

(ii) Did Ernest believe that the old prophecy had come true? What did he say about it?
A. No, Ernest was not convinced by the common consent that he himself was the likeness of the Great Stone Face. Thus, he did not believe that the old prophecy had come true. He hoped for someone wiser and better than him to appear, bearing a resemblance to the Great Stone Face.

The Great Stone Face-II- Grammar Exercises

 

1. Mark the meaning that best fits the word or a phrase in the story.
(i) (sun) going down
(a) becoming smaller
(b) weakening
(c) setting

A. (c) setting

(ii) brightening
(a) making (it) look bright and cheerful
(b) lending (it) a special glow
(c) causing (it) to appear hopeful

A. (b) lending (it) a special glow

(iii) spacious
(a) lonely and wild
(b) big and wide
(c) special and important

A. (b) big and wide

(iv) prophecy
(a) proverb
(b) prediction
(c) rumour

A. (b) prediction

(v) marvellous
(a) wonderful
(b) surprising
(c) shocking

A. (a) wonderful

(vi) proclaim
(a) reveal
(b) declare
(c) shout

A. (b) declare

(vii) cease
(a) happen
(b) stop
(c) remain

A. (b) stop

(viii) (a night’s) shelter
(a) stay
(b) safety
(c) hospitality

A. (a) stay

(ix) gazed
(a) wandered about
(b) stared at
(c) thought of

A. (b) stared at

(x) took on
(a) challenged (an expression)
(b) resembled
(c) assumed

A. (c) assumed

2. (ii) Which form of the verb is more natural in these sentences? Encircle your choice.
(a) I’m not free this evening. I will work/am working on a project.
(b) Have you decided where you will go for your higher secondary? Yes, I have. I will go/am going to the Kendriya Vidyalaya.
(c) Don’t worry about the dog. It won’t hurt/isn’t hurting you.
(d) The weatherman has predicted that it will snow/is snowing in Ranikhet tonight.
(e) Swapna can’t go out this evening. Her father will come/is coming to see her.

Answer
(a) I’m not free this evening. I am working on a project.
(b) Have you decided where you will go for your higher secondary? Yes, I have. I will go to the Kendriya Vidyalaya.
(c) Don’t worry about the dog. It won’t hurt you.
(d) The weatherman has predicted that it will snow in Ranikhet tonight.
(e) Swapna can’t go out this evening. Her father is coming to see her.

3. (i) Complete these pieces of conversation using will or going to with the verbs given.
(a) Rani : Why are you turning on the radio?
Ravi : I ___________ (listen) to the news.

(b) Rani : Oh, I can’t buy this book. I have no money.
Ravi : Don’t worry. I ___________ (lend) you some.

(c) Rani : Look at those dark clouds.
Ravi : I think it ___________ (rain).

(d) Rani : What shall we have for dinner?
Ravi : I can’t decide.
Rani : Make up your mind.
Ravi : All right, then. We ___________ (have) fried rice and dry beans.

(e) Rani : Why are you filling the kettle with water?
Ravi : I ___________ (make) coffee.

(f) Rani : We need some bread and butter for breakfast.
Ravi : All right. I ___________ (go) to the bakery and get some. (Before he goes out, Ravi talks to their father.)
Ravi : I ___________ (get) some bread and butter. Do you want any thing from the bakery? Father : Yes, I want some salt biscuits.
Ravi : Fine, I ___________ (get) you a packet.

Solution-
(a) Rani : Why are you turning on the radio?
Ravi : I am listening to the news.

(b) Rani : Oh, I can’t buy this book. I have no money.
Ravi : Don’t worry. I will lend you some.

(c) Rani : Look at those dark clouds.
Ravi : I think it will rain.

(d) Rani : What shall we have for dinner?
Ravi : I can’t decide.
Rani : Make up your mind.
Ravi : All right, then. We will have fried rice and dry beans.

(e) Rani : Why are you filling the kettle with water?
Ravi : I am making coffee.

(f) Rani : We need some bread and butter for breakfast.
Ravi : All right. I will go to the bakery and get some. (Before he goes out, Ravi talks to their father.)
Ravi : I will get some bread and butter. Do you want any thing from the bakery?
Father : Yes, I want some salt biscuits.
Ravi : Fine, I will get you a packet.

 

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