ICSE Class 9 The Night Mail Question-Answer


ICSE Class 9 English The Night Mail Important Question Answers from Treasure Chest Book (MCQs and Extract-based Questions)


The Night Mail Question Answers: Looking for The Night Mail question answers for ICSE Class 9 English Treasure Chest Book? Look no further! Our comprehensive compilation of important questions will help you brush up on your subject knowledge. Practising ICSE Class 9 English question answers can significantly improve your performance in the board exam. Our solutions provide a clear idea of how to write the answers effectively. Improve your chances of scoring high marks by exploring The Night Mail question answers now. The questions listed below are based on the latest ICSE exam pattern, wherein we have given multiple choice questions and extract-based questions (Comprehension Passage)



ICSE Class 9 English Treasure Chest Poem The Night Mail Text-Based Multiple Choice Questions


Answer the following questions by choosing the most appropriate options.


  1. What does the poem celebrate?

(a) the mail train

(b) human connections

(c) the railway system

(d) none of the above


  1. Where was the mail train heading?

(a) Paris

(b) London

(c) Glasgow

(d) Crawford


  1. ‘Snorting noisily as she passes’. Which figure of speech is used here?

(a) personification

(b) alliteration

(c) metaphor

(d) sarcasm


  1. Why does-no one wake up from their sleep as the train passes?

(a) They are intoxicated

(b) They sleep in sound-proof rooms.

(c) The train created no noise.

(d) They have become habituated to the train’s passing and ignore it.


  1. Which of these is NOT carried by the train?

(a) letters

(b) news

(c) cheques

(d) furnaces


  1. ‘For who can bear to feel himself forgotten?’ Which literary device is used here?

(a) simile

(b) metaphor

(c) rhetorical question

(d) irony


  1. Which regions does the train pass through?

(a) The seabeach

(b) hills and plains

(c) mountains

(d) war zones


  1. Select the correct option that displays the characteristics of the personified train correctly.

(a) kind

(b) aggressive

(c) methodical

(d) steady


  1. Which of these is repeated numerous times in the poem?

(a) letters

(b) cheques

(c) postal orders

(d) sleeping people


  1. Which types of letters are mentioned in the poem?

(a) chatty

(b) boring

(c) adoring

(d) all of the above


  1. What is the main purpose of the Night Mail?

(a) To transport passengers across the country.

(b) To deliver mail to various destinations.

(c) To compete with other modes of transportation.

(d) To provide entertainment for people along the route.


  1. What evidence from the poem suggests the Night Mail is reliable?

(a) It carries letters for both rich and poor.

(b) It travels through diverse landscapes.

(c) It arrives on time despite challenging terrain.

(d) It wakes people up in their sleep.


  1. Why don’t the sheepdogs react to the Night Mail (stanza 6)?

(a) They are scared of the loud noises.

(b) They are too busy herding sheep.

(c) They are accustomed to the train’s regular passage.

(d) The train travels too fast for them to notice.


  1. What happens in the farmhouse as the Night Mail passes?

(a) Everyone wakes up to check the mail.

(b) The train sounds its whistle loudly.

(c) A jug in the bedroom shakes.

(d) The farmhouse lights turn on.


  1. The phrase “Pulling up Beattock” suggests the train is:

(a) Departing from a station

(b) Beginning a climb

(c) Reaching its destination

(d) Slowing down


  1. What feeling does the poem suggest is universal?

(a) The fear of being forgotten

(b) The excitement of receiving mail

(c) The annoyance of being woken up at night

(d) The joy of travelling by train


  1. The poem is set in:

(a) The United States

(b) France

(c) Scotland and England

(d) A fictional world


  1. What is the main theme of the poem?

(a) The power of technology

(b) The dangers of night travel

(c) The importance of communication

(d) The beauty of the Scottish countryside


  1. Identify the poetic device. 

“Towards the fields of apparatus, the furnaces

Set on the dark plain like gigantic chessmen.”

(a) Metaphor

(b) Personification 

(c) Simile

(d) Alliteration


  1. Who among the following wrote the poem “The Night Mail”?

(a) William Wordsworth

(b) W. B. Yeats

(c) W. H. Auden

(d) P.B. Shelly 



  1. (b) human connections
  2. (c) Glasgow
  3. (a) personification
  4. (d) They have become habituated to the train’s passing and ignore it.
  5. (d) furnaces
  6. (c) rhetorical question
  7. (b) hills and plains
  8. (d) steady
  9. (a) letters
  10. (d) all of the above
  11. (b) To deliver mail to various destinations.
  12. (c) It arrives on time despite challenging terrain.
  13. (c) They are accustomed to the train’s regular passage.
  14. (c) A jug in the bedroom shakes.
  15. (b) Beginning a climb
  16. (a) The fear of being forgotten
  17. (c) Scotland and England

18.(c) The importance of communication

  1. (c) Simile
  2. (c) W. H. Auden



ICSE Class 9 English The Night Mail Extract-Based Questions


Read the extracts given below and answer the questions.


Passage 1


Read the extract given below and answer the questions that follow:


This is the Night Mail crossing the border,

Bringing the cheque and the postal order,

Letters for the rich, letters for the poor,

The shop at the corner and the girl next door.

Pulling up Beattock, a steady climb :

The gradient’s against her, but she’s on time.

Past cotton-grass and moorland boulder

Shovelling white steam over her shoulder,

snorting noisily as she passes

Silent miles of wind-bent grasses.


(i) Where is the Night Mail heading? What does it carry?

Ans. The Night Mail is heading to Scotland. It carries various types of mail.


(ii) ‘Letters for the rich, letters for the poor’. Comment on the significance of this line.

Ans. This line highlights the social and economic equality facilitated by the mail service. It doesn’t discriminate based on wealth. Everyone, from a wealthy businessman receiving a cheque to a young girl next door getting a letter, benefits from the mail’s ability to connect.


(iii) How does the mail train start its journey? How would you describe it?

Ans. The poem doesn’t explicitly mention the starting place of the train. The poem starts right in the middle of the action, with the line “This is the Night Mail crossing the border.” However, we may speculate that it is a city of England, possibly London.  

The Night Mail’s journey starts from a lower elevation, travels rural landscapes and enters Scotland. 


(iv) Describe various regions through which the train passes.

Ans. The poem mentions “cotton-grass and moorland boulder,” suggesting it’s traversing hilly and open moorland landscapes. The “silent miles of wind-bent grasses” point towards vast, possibly desolate plains.


(v) How does the poet describe Glasgow area later in the passage?

Ans. The Glasgow area is described as being dark and having factories with tall chimneys that spew smoke.


Passage 2


Read the extract given below and answer the questions that follow:


Birds turn their heads as she approaches,

Stare from the bushes at her blank-faced coaches.

Sheep-dogs cannot turn her course;

They slumber on with paws across.

In the farm she passes no one wakes,

But a jug in the bedroom gently shakes. 


(i) Which figure of speech is used in Line 1?

Ans. The figure of speech used in Line 1 is personification. Pronoun ‘she’ is used for the night mail train.


(ii) Comment on the use of phrase ‘blank-faces’ for the train coaches.

Ans. The phrase refers to the fact that the train has no passengers aboard. The train is running specially for delivering letters and mails.


(iii) What do sheep-dogs do? What is their purpose?

Ans. The arrival of the train does not wake up the sheep-dogs as they are aware of the fact that they cannot do anything to alter the train’s course. 


(iv) How do sleeping people react as the train passes? Why?

Ans. The poem says “no one wakes,” suggesting they’re accustomed to the train’s passing and remain asleep as the train passes. 


(v) What kinds of letters are carried by the train?

Ans. The poem mentions the train carries various types of letters – letters of thanks, joy, financial news, love letters, gossip, etc., highlighting its role in communication and connection.


Passage 3


Read the extract given below and answer the questions that follow:


Dawn freshens, the climb is done.

Down towards Glasgow she descends

Towards the steam tugs yelping down the glade of cranes,

Towards the fields of apparatus, the furnaces

Set on the dark plain like gigantic chessmen. 

All Scotland waits for her :

In the dark glens, beside the pale-green sea lochs

Men long for news.


(i) Where is the train heading? How has its initial journey been described by the poet?

Ans. The train is heading towards Glasgow, Scotland. The poet initially describes the journey as challenging, mentioning the train “pulling up Beattock” (a climb) and facing a “gradient” (slope) but still being “on time”.


(ii) How is Glasgow described in the quoted lines?

Ans. The poem hints at Glasgow’s industrial nature by mentioning “steam tugs,” “cranes,” “fields of apparatus,” and “furnaces”.


(iii) Which figure of speech is used in Line 5 here, and why?

Ans. Line 5 uses a simile. It compares the furnaces “set on the dark plain” to “gigantic chessmen” using ‘like’ This comparison creates a vivid image of the industrial landscape resembling a giant chessboard.


(iv) Briefly describe the things carried by the train.

Ans. The train carries letters, cheques, postal orders, news, and potentially other forms of communication.


(v) What does the poet convey about the waiting people of Scotland later in the context?

Ans. The line “All Scotland waits for her”suggests a sense of anticipation and dependence on what the mail train brings. Later lines mention “men long for news” in remote areas, highlighting their desire to stay connected through the mail.


Passage 4


Read the extract given below and answer the questions that follow:

Letters of thanks, letters from banks,

Letters of joy from the girl and the boy,

Receipted bills and invitations

To inspect new stock or visit relations,

And applications for situations

And timid lovers’ declarations

And gossip, gossip from all the nations,

News circumstantial, news financial,

Letters with holiday snaps to enlarge in,

Letters with faces scrawled in the margin,

Letters from uncles, cousins, and aunts,

Letters to Scotland from the South of France,

Letters of condolence to Highlands and Lowlands


(i) How did the train start its journey? What regions did it cross at night?

Ans. The poem doesn’t provide details about the train’s origin. It likely begins its journey from a major city in southern England, possibly London, a common starting point for mail trains.

The poem mentions the train passing “cotton-grass and moorland boulder,” “silent miles of wind-bent grasses,” and a farm, suggesting it travels through rural landscapes at night.


(ii) What does the poet mean by “applications for situations”?

Ans. “Applications for situations” is a more formal way of saying “job applications.” These letters likely contain resumes or requests for employment opportunities.


(iii) What is being carried by the train except letters?

Ans. The poem mentions “Letters with holiday snaps to enlarge in,” suggesting photographs might be tucked within some letters. However, it doesn’t explicitly state the train carries anything other than letters and documents.


(iv) What kinds of letters is the train carrying?

Ans. The train carries a wide variety of letters- 

  • Personal: Letters of thanks, joy, love declarations, gossip.
  • Financial: Letters from banks, receipted bills.
  • Professional: Applications for jobs.
  • Family: Letters from relatives.
  • Sympathetic: Letters of condolence.


(v) How do people wait for the train?

Ans. People wait with anticipation for the train. Lines like “All Scotland waits for her” suggest people anticipate the arrival of news, both personal and potentially life-changing. They might be eagerly waiting by their mailboxes or hoping for news from loved ones.


Passage 5


Read the extract given below and answer the questions that follow:


Notes from overseas to Hebrides

Written on paper of every hue,

The pink, the violet, the white and the blue,

The chatty, the catty, the boring, adoring,

The cold and official and the heart’s outpouring,

Clever, stupid, short and long,

The typed and the printed and the spelt all wrong.


(i) How has the train covered its journey upto Glasgow earlier in the context?

Ans. The earlier lines like “Dawn freshens, the climb is done. Down towards Glasgow she descends” suggest the train has completed a challenging climb and is now heading towards Glasgow.


(ii) What is the train carrying?

Ans. The train is carrying a vast variety of letters.


(iii) What does the line ‘The chatty, the catty, the boring, adoring’, tells us about the context of the letters?

Ans. The line “The chatty, the catty, the boring, adoring” tells us about the diverse emotional tones and content of the letters. It suggests they range from casual gossip (“chatty”) to negativity (“catty”) to mundane updates (“boring”) to expressions of love (“adoring”).


(iv) Which different styles and colours are used to write letters by different people? What do they reveal about them?

Ans. The poem mentions letters written on “paper of every hue” including pink, violet, white, and blue. This highlights the variety in stationery choices, which might reflect personal taste or occasion. Additionally, the descriptive words like “chatty,” “boring,” and “clever” suggest different writing styles used by different people.


(v) What have Glasgow’s people been doing as the train reaches the destination? What do they expect when they wake up?

Ans. The poem suggests a general picture of people in various cities, including Glasgow, being asleep as the Night Mail arrives. They might be dreaming of “terrifying monsters” or “friendly tea.” The people anticipate receiving mail upon waking.


Passage 6


Read the extract given below and answer the questions that follow:


Thousands are still asleep

Dreaming of terrifying monsters,

Or of friendly tea beside the band at Cranston’s or Crawford’s : 

Asleep in working Glasgow, asleep in well set Edinburgh,

Asleep in granite Aberdeen,

They continue their dreams,

And shall wake soon and long for letters,

And none will hear the postman’s knock

Without a quickening of the heart,

For who can bear to feel himself forgotten? 


(i) Describe the initial stage of the train’s night journey.

Ans. The poem suggests the train has passed through rural areas based on references to sheepdogs and farms. It’s now approaching cities.


(ii) What has it carried for the people?

Ans. The Night Mail carries letters for people of all social classes.


(iii) What have the people been dreaming of? What do they expect when they wake up?

Ans. The people dream of contrasting things: “terrifying monsters” representing fear or anxieties, and “friendly tea” symbolising social connection. Upon waking, they’ll “long for letters,” suggesting they anticipate news and connection brought by the mail. 


(iv) Point out the two figures of speech used in the last lines.

Ans. Figures of speech in the last lines:


  • Hyperbole: “None will hear the postman’s knock” is an exaggeration. People might not consciously hear it, but the line emphasises their anticipation.


  • Rhetorical question: “For who can bear to feel himself forgotten?” doesn’t expect a literal answer. It highlights the universal human need for connection and the fear of isolation.


(v) In what way does the poet emphasise ‘human connections’?

Ans. The poem emphasises human connection in several ways:


  • The importance of letters in conveying messages, news, and love.
  • The anticipation people feel for the mail, suggesting their reliance on communication.
  • The fear of being “forgotten” underlining the universal need to feel connected.
  • Mentioning specific cities suggests the diverse people the mail reaches, creating a sense of community.



Related Link : ICSE Class 9 English Language and Literature Syllabus 2024-25


Also See  : 

ICSE Class 9 English Important Question Answers


ICSE Class 9 English Summary