CBSE Class 9 English Chapter 3 The Man Who Knew Too Much Summary, Explanation, Question Answers from Literature Reader (Communicative) Book
The Man Who Knew Too Much – CBSE Class 9 English Literature Reader (Communicative) Book Lesson 3 The Man Who Knew Too Much Summary and 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 Questions and Answers given at the back of the lesson have been covered.
The Man Who Knew Too Much Class 9 English Chapter 3
by Alexander Baron
- The Man Who Knew Too Much Introduction
- The Man Who Knew Too Much Summary
- Video Explanation of The Man Who Knew Too Much
- The Man Who Knew Too Much Explanation
- The Man Who Knew Too Much Question Answers
The Man Who Knew Too Much Introduction
The story is about a young soldier named Quelch. He has been recently admitted into the army but has a vast and detailed knowledge of various things – guns, planes, etc. He is keen to earn medals and positions and so keeps on increasing his knowledge. He is over confident, shows off his knowledge to his seniors and shows his peers down. Everyone dislikes him and finally, one of the officers puts him on a permanent duty in the army kitchen. These negative qualities of Quelch put an end to his bright career. The lesson teaches us that we must remain grounded, down – to – Earth. Even if we are a storehouse of knowledge, we must keep it to ourselves until asked for. Overconfidence and showing off are bad for a person and we must keep ourselves away from them.
The Man Who Knew Too Much Summary
The writer narrates the story of his initial days at the army. Private Quelch was a soldier, a companion of the writer. He was tall, thin, stooped and had a frown on his face. He wore spectacles also and so he earned the nickname of “professor”. He was very capable and
intelligent. He worked hard to achieve his goals. He was helpful, had a lot of physical stamina and worked really hard. His aim was to earn the army ranks for which he even tried to impress the officers and seniors. One day when the Sergeant was lecturing them on the
use of a rifle, Quelch interrupted and corrected him. This was irritating and annoying as it implied disrespect for his senior. Quelch often displayed his vast knowledge and called it a matter of “intelligent reading”. All his companions and seniors were shown down and their respect for him turned into hatred. Although he was hard – working and dedicated, his boastful nature earned him dislike and his companions feared his arrival and irritating lectures.
One day Corporal Turnbull was lecturing the soldiers about a grenade and as usual, Quelch interrupted him. As the Corporal was a short – tempered man and did not tolerate fooling around, he decided to teach him a lesson. The Corporal said that as Quelch was so well versed, it would be better if he himself gave the lecture. Quelch performed excellently. Turnbull said that he had to select a responsible soldier for permanent cook – house duty. He said that Quelch was the right person for the job. Thus, the Corporal taught Quelch a lesson by appointing him as a cook and thus, putting an end to his career as an officer in the army. Still, Quelch was unaffected as he took up this duty also whole – heartedly. He was sincere as a cook also and unaware of the implications of his nature that had been bestowed upon him by his seniors.
Video Explanation of The Man Who Knew Too Much
The Man Who Knew Too Much Explanation
Passage: I first met Private Quelch at the training depot. A man is liable to acquire in his first week of Army life – together with his uniform, rifle and equipment- a nickname. Anyone who saw Private Quelch, lanky, stooping, frowning through horn-rimmed spectacles, understood why he was known as the Professor. Those who had any doubts on the subject lost them after five minutes’ conversation with him.
Word Meaning :
Private: soldier without rank
depot: a place where recruits are trained or other troops are assembled
liable: likely to do or to be something
acquire: to get something
nickname: a familiar or humorous name given to a person or thing instead of or as well as the real name
lanky: ungracefully thin and tall
stoop: bend one’s head or body forwards and downwards
horn-rimmed: having the rims of the glasses made of horn or a similar substance
Explanation of the Above Passage – The author begins the story by telling us that he met a person named Quelch at a place where new soldiers were given military training. He refers to the person as ‘Private’, a name given to the soldiers who do not have a rank. The author says that it is very likely for every person to get a nickname in the first week of Army life. This means that after a week a person joins the army, the person obtains a familiar and humorous name, which is used rather than the real name. Along with a nickname, the person also obtains a uniform, rifle and other equipment. Private Quelch was thin and tall in an ungraceful way, and his head or body was always in a bended posture. He had a frowning expression on his face and he wore horn-rimmed glasses. This appearance reminded people of a typical ‘professor’. However, not all people believed that Private Quelch was like a professor. Then, after having a five minutes’ conversation with him, their doubts were cleared away, meaning that Private Quelch was a professor both in terms of looks and personality.
Passage: I remember the first lesson we had in musketry. We stood in an attentive circle while a Sergeant, a man as dark and sun-dried as raisins, wearing North-West Frontier ribbons, described the mechanism of a service rifle.
Word Meaning :
musketry: art of using the infantry soldier’s handgun.
N.W. Frontier ribbons: decorations showing service in the N.W. province in British India, today a part of modern Pakistan.
service rifle: A service rifle (or standard-issue rifle) is a rifle a military issues to regular infantry
Explanation of the Above Passage – The author remembered the first lesson which they had in musketry, an art of using the infantry soldier’s handgun. All the soldiers stood in a circle and they were attentive to the lecture. The lecture was being delivered by a Sergeant, whose skin was dark and sun-dried, like raisins. The Sergeant had North-West Frontier ribbons, which were some decorations showing service in the North-West province in British India, now a part of modern Pakistan. He was giving a lecture on the mechanism of a service rifle, a military rifle issued to the regular infantry.
Passage: “The muzzle velocity or speed at which the bullet leaves the rifle”, he told us, “is well over two thousand feet per second.”
A voice interrupted. “Two thousand, four hundred and forty feet per second.” It was the Professor.
Word Meaning : muzzle: the open end of the barrel of a firearm
Explanation of the Above Passage – The Sergeant was telling the student about the muzzle velocity of the rifle. It is the speed at which the bullet leaves the rifle, and for this rifle, it was over, or more than two thousand feet per second. Then, a voice interrupted him and said that the precise muzzle velocity was two thousand, four hundred and forty feet per second. It was the Professor’s voice.
Passage: “That’s right,” the Sergeant said without enthusiasm, and went on lecturing. When he had finished, he asked us questions and, perhaps in the hope of revenge, he turned with his questions again and again to the Professor. The only result was to enhance the Professor’s glory. Technical definitions, the parts of a rifle, its use and care, he had them all by heart.
Word Meaning :
glory: honour, fame
Explanation of the Above Passage – The Sergeant was not at all enthusiastic or impressed by Private Quelch’s knowledge. He continued lecturing, and when he finally ended, he began to ask questions from the trainees. He wanted to get revenge from the Professor by asking him difficult questions about the rifle and humiliating him when he would not get the right answer. However, that did not go according to plan. The Professor knew the answers to all the questions, which increased his fame. He knew the technical definitions, the parts of a rifle, its use and care as he had studied about it in great detail.
Passage: The Sergeant asked, “Have you had any training before?”
The Professor answered with a phrase that was to become familiar to all of us. “No, Sergeant. It’s all a matter of intelligent reading.”
Explanation of the Above Passage – After the Sergeant asked all the questions, he asked him if he had got any training before. He asked this because he thought that only someone who had been trained before could have such knowledge about rifles. The Professor answered that no, he had this knowledge because of intelligent reading. That was a phrase that was about to become familiar to the rest of the soldiers because that was going to be used often by the Professor.
Passage: That was our introduction of him. We soon learned more about him. He saw to that. He meant to get on, he told us. He had the brains. He was sure to get a commission, before long. As a first step, he meant to get a stripe.
Word Meaning :
commission: become an army officer
stripe: V-shaped band to indicate the rank of a soldier.
Explanation of the Above Passage – That incident gave an introduction of the Professor to the rest of the soldiers, meaning that they now had a brief idea about Private Quelch’s personality. Soon after that, they learnt something more about him. He wanted to go ahead in training and become an army officer. He had the brains or the knowledge to be able to accomplish that goal. The first step towards his goal was getting a stripe, a V-shaped band indicating the rank of a soldier.
Passage: In pursuit of his ambition he worked hard. We had to give him credit for that. He borrowed training manuals and stayed up late at nights reading them. He badgered the instructors with questions. He drilled with enthusiasm, and on route marches he was not only miraculously tireless but infuriated us all with his horrible heartiness. “What about a song, chaps?” is not greeted politely at the end of thirty miles. His salute at the pay table was a model to behold. When officers were in sight he would swing his skinny arms and march to the canteen like a Guardsman.
Word Meaning :
pursuit: to chase someone or something
badger: repeatedly ask (someone) something
drill: instruction or training in military exercises
route marches: training marches of battalions
heartiness: a quality of being enthusiastic and warm
chap: a friendly form of address between men or boys
Pay table: A pay table is the name for the list of payouts on a slot machine or video poker machine
Explanation of the Above Passage – The Professor worked hard to achieve his goal by staying up late at numerous nights reading the training manuals, bothering the instructors with questions to get his doubts cleared and by participating in military exercises with excitement. On route marches, he was tireless which was a miracle because the others were very tired. When they covered thirty miles of the march, he asked the fellow young men to sing a song with him. He said this with such enthusiasm and warmth which irritated the others as they were too tired to sing and his tireless and happy nature made them angry. He used to salute at the pay table, which became a model for others to follow. When he saw that some officers of higher ranks were nearby, he acted like a Guardsman by swinging his skinny arms and marching to the canteen. He wanted to impress or gain the attention of his seniors.
Passage: And day in and day out, he lectured to us in his droning, remorseless voice on every aspect of human knowledge. At first we had a certain respect for him, but soon we lived in terror of his approach. We tried to hit back at him with clumsy sarcasms and practical jokes. The Professor scarcely noticed; he was too busy working for his stripe.
Word Meaning :
droning: dull monotonous tone
remorseless: (of something unpleasant) never ending|
Stripe: a ribbon of decoration on the unifrom to mark an achievement
Explanation of the Above Passage – Throughout the day, the Professor kept on lecturing people in a dull monotonous voice. He lectured about every aspect of human knowledge and his lectures seemed to be never-ending. At first, the other soldiers respected him. But after a few days, they were so fed up with his lectures that they got scared whenever they saw the Professor approaching them. Whenever he gave a lecture, the soldiers would give reply with funny and practical jokes. However, the Professor never noticed them as he was too busy working to get the stripe and reach his goal.
Passage: Each time one of us made a mistake the Professor would publicly correct him. Whenever one of us shone, the Professor outshone him. When, after a hard morning’s work of cleaning out our hut, we listened in silence to the orderly officer’s praise, the Professor would break out with a ringing, dutifully beaming, “Thank you, sir!” And how superior, how condescending he was. It was always, “Let me show you, fellow,” or, “No, you’ll ruin your rifle that way, old man.”
Word Meaning :
Orderly Officer: officer of the day
condescending : to look down on
Explanation of the Above Passage – Every time anyone made a mistake, the Professor publicly corrected him. When a soldier excelled at a task, the Professor made sure that he excelled more than him. He wanted to be better than everyone else. One time, after a morning’s hard work of cleaning their hut, the soldiers heard an officer praise the Professor, and he said thank you with a smiling face. The Professor acted like he was superior to everyone else, and he boasted about his knowledge by pointing out their mistakes.
Passage: We used to pride ourselves on aircraft recognition. Once, out for a walk, we heard the drone of a plane flying high overhead. None of us could even see it in the glare of the sun. Without even a glance upward the Professor announced, “That, of course, is a North American Harvard Trainer. It can be unmistakably identified by the harsh engine note, due to the high tip speed of the airscrew.”
What could a gang of louts like us do with a man like that?
Word Meaning :
drone: a continuous low humming sound
louts: an uncouth and aggressive man or boy
Explanation of the Above Passage – The soldiers were proud of their knowledge on aircraft recognition. One day, they were out for a walk when they heard the low humming sound of a plane flying overhead. The sun was shining brightly and so they could not see the aircraft. However, the Professor, without a glance towards the plane, announced that the plane was a North American Harvard Trainer. It could be recognised from the harsh noise of the engine and the high tip speed of the airscrew. This made the soldiers insecure about themselves and they lost confidence in themselves. The author referred to himself and his fellow soldiers as louts or aggressive men, who could not surpass a man like Private Quelch.
Passage: None of us will ever forget the drowsy summer afternoon which was such a turning-point in the Professor’s life.
We were sprawling contentedly on the warm grass while Corporal Turnbull was taking a lesson on the hand grenade.
Word Meaning :
drowsy: peaceful and quiet
sprawling: lying with arms and legs outstretched
Explanation of the Above Passage – Now the author talks about an incident which was not only unforgettable but also a turning-point in the Professor’s life. It was a peaceful and quiet summer afternoon, and the soldiers were lying on the warm grass with their arms and legs outstretched while Corporal Turnbull was teaching them about a hand grenade.
Passage: Corporal Turnbull was a young man, but he was not a man to be trifled with. He had come back from Dunkirk with all his equipment correct and accounted for and his kitten in his pocket. He was our hero, and we used to tell each other that he was so tough that you could hammer nails into him without his noticing it.
Word Meaning :
trifled with : to play with or fool around with, talk or act frivolously with
account: consider or regard in a specified way
Explanation of the Above Passage – Corporal Turnbull was a young man, but he was a serious person by nature. It was advisable not to fool around with him. He had come back from Dunkirk. All his equipment was correct and was regarded to be correct by everyone. He was also kind to animals as he carried a kitten in his pocket. The author and his fellow soldiers considered him to be a hero. They wanted to become a soldier like him. They used to tell each other that Corporal Turnbull was so tough and strong that one could hammer nails into his body without him feeling any pain.
Passage: _”The outside of a grenade, as you can see,” Corporal Turnbull was saying, “is divided up into a large number of fragments to assist segmentation”
“What’s that?” The Corporal looked over his shoulder
“Forty-four segments.” The Professor beamed at him.
Word Meaning :
segmentation: division into separate parts or sections
Explanation of the Above Passage – Corporal Turnbull was explaining about the outside part of a hand grenade. He told the soldiers that the outside of a grenade is divided into a large number of pieces which help in the division of a grenade. Then, the Professor interrupted his lecture and told him that there were forty four segments.
Passage: The Corporal said nothing, but his brow tightened. He opened his mouth to resume.
“And by the way, Corporal.” We were all thunder-struck.
The Professor was speaking again. “Shouldn’t you have started off with the five characteristics of the grenade? Our instructor at the other camp always used to do that, you know.”
Word Meaning :
thunder-struck: extremely surprised or shocked
Explanation of the Above Passage – The Corporal said nothing to the Professor. However, his eyebrows tightened, meaning that he was not pleased by the Professor. Corporal Turnbull was about to continue the lecture when he was again interrupted by the Professor. The soldiers were extremely shocked by the Professor’s disrespect towards the Corporal. The Professor criticised the Corporal’s teaching method. He compared him to the other instructors and commented that he should have started the lecture on hand grenades by mentioning the five characteristics of it.
Passage: In the silence that followed a dark flush stained the tan of the Corporal’s face. “Here,” he said at last, “you give this lecture”. As if afraid to say any more, he tossed the grenade to the Professor. Quite unabashed, Private Quelch climbed to his feet and with the attitude of a man coming into his birth-right gave us an unexceptionable lecture on the grenade.
Word Meaning :
flush: become red and hot, typically as the result of illness or strong emotion
Explanation of the Above Passage – After the Professor finished criticising the Corporal, there was a moment of complete silence. The Corporal was angry and his face was red with anger. Finally, he told the Professor to give the lecture instead. The Corporal was afraid to say anything else, and he simply handed him the grenade. Private Quelch was not ashamed of his actions. He climbed to his feet as if what he did was his birth-right. He then gave an excellent lecture on the hand grenade.
Passage: The squad listened in a cowed, horrified kind of silence. Corporal Turnbull stood and watched, impassive, except for a searching intentness of gaze. When the lecture was finished he said, “Thank you, Private Quelch. Fall in with the others now.” He did not speak again until we had fallen in and were waiting to be dismissed. Then he addressed us.
Word Meaning :
impassive: not feeling or showing emotion
Explanation of the Above Passage – The squad listened to the lecture in a sad and shocked silence. The Corporal stood and gazed intently at the Professor. He did not show any emotion. When the lecture ended, he thanked the Professor and asked him to join the others. He did not speak until all of them stood in order and were waiting for him to dismiss them.
Passage: “As some of you may have heard,” he began deliberately, “the platoon officer has asked me to nominate one of you for….” He paused and looked lingeringly up and down the ranks as if seeking final confirmation of decision.
So this was the great moment! Most of us could not help glancing at Private Quelch, who stood rigidly to attention and stared straight in front of him with an expression of self-conscious innocence.
Word Meaning :
deliberately: with an intention or purpose
Explanation of the Above Passage – He said that the officer who was incharge of making squads had asked him to nominate one of the soldiers for a specific duty. He paused before telling what the duty was, and looked intently at the ranks of each person. This was a great moment. Most of the soldiers were looking at Private Quelch. They all knew that the Professor was expecting to be nominated for the duty. He was standing rigidly and he had a self-conscious innocent expression on his face.
Passage: “…..for permanent cookhouse duties, I’ve decided that Private Quelch is just the man for the job.”
Of course, it was a joke for days afterwards; a joke and joy to all of us.
I remember, though………….
My friend Trower and I were talking about it a few days later. We were returning from the canteen to our own hut.
Explanation of the Above Passage – The Corporal revealed the duty and it was permanent cookhouse duties. The fact that an intelligent man like Private Quelch was going to do cookhouse duties seemed like a joke which brought joy in the soldiers’ lives. One day, the author and his friend Trower were talking about the joke while they were going from the canteen to their hut.
Passage: Through the open door, we could see the three cooks standing against the wall as if at bay; and from within came the monotonous beat of a familiar voice.
“Really. I must protest against this abominably unscientific and unhygienic method of peeling potatoes. I need to only draw your attention to the sheer waste of vitamin values…………..”
Word Meaning :
at bay: forced to face or confront one’s attackers or pursuers; cornered
abominably: very unpleasantly or unfairly
Explanation of the Above Passage – As they were passing by the canteen, they saw an open door. Through that, they could see three cooks standing against the wall as if they were cornered and were being attacked. Then came a monotonous voice. It was the Professor. He was telling the cooks that the method of peeling the potatoes was unpleasant, unscientific, and unhygienic. It also led to a huge waste of vitamins. The author and his friend fled because they could not stand another lecture.
The Man Who Knew Too Much Question Answers
Q1. The ‘Professor’ knew too much. How did he prove himself? Fill up the space with suitable examples from the story, using the given clues:
(a) about muzzle velocity: _______________________________________________
(b) after a thirty mile walk: _______________________________________________
(c) his salute on payday: ________________________________________________
(d) the loud sound of a high flying invisible aeroplane: _______________________
(e) about hand grenades: _______________________________________________
(f) during cookhouse duties: _____________________________________________
Ans. (a) about muzzle velocity – When the Sergeant was lecturing them about the rifle’s muzzle velocity being over two thousand feet per second, Quelch interrupts and corrects him that it is two thousand four hundred and forty feet per second.
(b) after a thirty mile walk – All the soldiers are tired after a thirty mile walk but Quelch is in high spirits. He enthusiastically asks them if they would like to sing a song along with him which is irritating to the tired soldiers.
(c) his salute on payday – On payday Quelch salutes perfectly and it is worth seeing. When he sees his seniors, he marches perfectly, swinging his thin arms just like a guardsman.
(d) the loud sound of a high flying invisible aeroplane – All the soldiers were proud that they could recognize aeroplanes. One day as they were lazying in the park, they could not even see the aeroplane flying overhead due to the bright glare of the Sun. On the other hand, Quelch announced that it was undoubtedly the North American Harvard Trainer, which could be unmistakably identified by the harsh engine note, due to the high tip speed of the airscrew. This made the other soldiers feel low in front of him.
(e) about hand grenades – When Corporal Turnbull was giving a lecture on grenades, their segments, etc. Quelch interrupted and suggested him to begin with the five characteristics of a grenade. This did not go well with Turnbll who asked Quelch to give the lecture instead. Afterwards, he put Quelch on permanent duty as a cook.
(f) during cook house duties- One day when the writer and his friend were crossing the canteen they saw three cooks. They heard Quelch’s familiar voice criticizing the cooks for their extremely dirty and bad ways of peeling potatoes. This according to him led to wastage of the vitamin values of the potatoes.
Q2. Based on your reading of the story, answer the following questions by choosing the correct options.
(a) Private Quelch was nick-named ‘Professor’ because of ________
(i) his appearance.
(ii) his knowledge.
(iii) his habit of reading.
(iv) his habit of sermonising.
Ans. (iv) his habit of sermonising.
(b) One could hammer nails into Corporal Turnbull without his noticing it because _______
(i) he was a strong and sturdy man.
(ii) he was oblivious to his surroundings.
(iii) he was a brave corporal.
(iv) he was used to it.
Ans. (i) he was a strong and sturdy man.
(c) The author and his friend Trower fled from the scene as
(i) they had to catch a train
(ii) they could not stand Private Quelch exhibiting his knowledge
(iii) they felt they would have to lend a helping hand.
(iv) they did not want to meet the cooks.
Ans. (ii) they could not stand Private Quelch exhibiting his knowledge
d) The main reason that the Professor remain unflinched despite the retaliation of his batch-mates was due to the fact that
(i) his desire to impress people overruled the humiliation he experienced each time.
(ii) his miraculously tireless personality couldn’t stop him from working extra hard.
(iii) he was so involved in excelling that he barely noticed sarcastic comments.
(iv) he knew that the only way to earn respect is through hard work.
Ans. (iii) he was so involved in excelling that he barely noticed sarcastic comments.
e) Choose the expression that uses the same literary device as used in the line “he was so tough that you could hammer nails into him without his noticing it.”
(i) My mom made enough food to feed an army last night.
(ii) My alarm clock yells at me to get out of bed every morning.
(iii) The car complained as the key was roughly turned in its ignition.
(iv) Lightning danced across the sky like a fairy beating against the clouds.
Ans. (iv) Lightning danced across the sky like a fairy beating against the clouds.
Q3. Read the given extracts and answer the questions that follow:
- Without even a glance upward the Professor announced, “That, of course, is a North American Harvard Trainer. It can be unmistakably identified by the harsh engine note, due to the high tip speed of the airscrew.” What could a gang of louts like us do with a man like that?
(i) Choose the option that best describes the traits of the Professor in the given extract.
- a) 1, 2, 3
- b) 2, 3, 4
- c) 2, 3, 5
- d) 3, 4, 5
Ans. b) 2, 3, 4
ii) The author refers to himself and his peers as ‘louts’ to
a) bring out the contrast with the Professor.
b) comment on the expertise in other fields.
c) draw attention to lack of teamwork in all.
d) accept the display of undisciplined behaviour.
Ans. d) accept the display of undisciplined behaviour.
- In the silence that followed a dark flush stained the tan of the Corporal’s face. “Here,” he said at last, “you give this lecture”. As if afraid to say any more, he tossed the grenade to the Professor. Quite unabashed, Private Quelch climbed to his feet and with the attitude of a man coming into his birth-right gave us an unexceptionable lecture on the grenade.
i) Choose the statement that is NOT TRUE about the depiction of the scene described in the above lines.
a) Private Quelch knew more about hand grenades than Turnbull.
b) Turnbull was not someone who would let things go easily.
c) The entire batch was stunned at Quelch’s audacity.
d) Quelch was able to impress Turnbull with his vast knowledge.
Ans. a) Private Quelch knew more about hand grenades than Turnbull.
ii) The silence that follows Quelch’s remarks shows that the entire batch did not
a) wish to see Turnbull humiliated.
b) want Quelch embarrassed.
c) know how to react
d) care for the conversation.
Ans. c) know how to react
iii) The fact that Quelch delivered the lecture when asked to do so shows that he
a) wanted to teach Turnbull a valuable lesson.
b) failed to take the hint that Turnbull felt insulted.
c) knew when to flaunt his knowledge for his own benefit.
d) established himself as a man superior to Turnbull
Ans. c) knew when to flaunt his knowledge for his own benefit.
Q4. Answer the following questions briefly.
- What is a ‘nickname’? Can you suggest another one for Private Quelch?
Ans. A nickname is a name that may be given to somebody in addition to his actual name. This nickname may represent the person’s unique traits or his intellect. ‘Mr. Know it all’ could be another one for Private Quelch as he had knowledge of all the things by heart.
- Private Quelch looked like a ‘Professor’ when the author first met him at the training depot. Why?
Ans. Private Quelch was a thin, tall, stooping man with a frown on his face. He wore peculiar spectacles and so, his appearance earned him the nickname of ‘professor’.
- What does the dark, sun-dried appearance of the Sergeant suggest about him?
Ans. The Sergeant was dark and looked wrinkled like a dry raisin. He was knowledgeable as he took a class in usage of the rifle. He wore the ribbons which showed his service in the North West Frontier Province. This shows that he had spent all his life serving the army. He could not be impressed or angered easily.
- How was Private Quelch’s knowledge exposed even further as the Sergeant’s classes went on?
Ans. Private Quelch not only corrected the Sergeant as to the speed of the gunshot but also answered all the questions directed to him. He knew everything – technical definitions, parts of a rifle, its use and care.
- What did the Professor mean by “intelligent reading”?
Ans. By “intelligent reading” the professor meant that he read every detail carefully. If he did not understand anything, he made it a point to clear his doubts from his seniors. He did not read but used his intelligence to memorise all that he read.
- What were the Professor’s ambitions in the army?
Ans. The professor was keen to get commissioned into the army. His first target was to earn a stripe.
- Did Private Quelch’s day to day practices take him closer towards his goal? How can you make out?
Ans. Quelch was hard working, intelligent and determined. He tried to impress his seniors by marching well in front of them. He interrupted and corrected them during the lectures which irritated them. So, finally he ended up in the kitchen as a permanent cook. Therefore, Private Quelch’s day-to-day practices did not take him closer towards his goal.
- How did Private Quelch manage to anger the Corporal?
Ans. The Corporal was lecturing the unit on a grenade. He was telling them about its fragments and parts. Quelch interrupted and corrected him on the number of segments in a grenade. Also, he suggested that he begin the class with the five characteristics of a grenade. This interruption infuriated the Corporal.
- Do you think Private Quelch learnt a lesson when he was chosen for cookhouse duties? Give reasons for your answer.
Ans. Private Quelch was satisfied with his job. He was content and did not bother about what others thought of him. He must have been disappointed temporarily but his lecture to fellow cooks shows that he was performing his duty with sincerity. He was a thick head and would not change.