ICSE Class 10 English The Girl Who Can Summary and Lesson Explanation with difficult word meanings

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  • The Girl Who Can Introduction
  • Theme of the Lesson
  • Video Explanation of The Girl Who Can
  • The Girl Who Can Summary
  • The Girl Who Can Summary in Hindi
  • The Girl Who Can Explanation
  • Also See :  ICSE Class 10 English The Girl Who Can Question Answers

     

    The Girl Who Can ICSE Class 10 English 

    By Ama Ata Aidoo

     

    The Girl Who Can Introduction

    The story highlights the primitive society’s perception of the role of a woman, being that of a child-bearer only. The writer tries to break this perception through the character of Adjoa, a seven year old girl. When she puts her so-called ‘thin legs’ to good use and wins running competition, this is an eye-opener for the grandmother who always felt that the thin, long legs of Adjoa were not useful because they could not support solid hips which were required for bearing children. The debate between tradition and modernity is displayed when Adjoa is trapped between her dominating grandmother, Nana and her subdued mother Kaya (Maami).

     

    Theme of the Lesson

    The author is a feminist and through the story, she analyses the struggles of a woman to find her place in the society. She shows a female tripartite household comprising the narrator, Adjoa, a seven year-old girl, her mother Kaya and her grandmother Nana. The themes of conflict, innocence, freedom, insecurity, connection and pride have been explored throught the various characters. 


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    Also See: ICSE Class 10 English Language and Literature Syllabus 2024-25

    The Girl Who Can Summary

    The story is about a girl named Adjoa who is seven years of age and lives in a big village called Hasodzi in Central Ghana, Africa. She lives with her grandmother, Nana and her mother, Maami whose name is Kaya. Hasodzi is located in a fertile patch of land and even when the entire Africa is suffering dry conditions, Hasodzi is green and fertile. Whenever Adjoa does not finish her meal, Nana tells her to eat and adds that there are many problems in life, they are lucky to get food and that Adjoa should finish her meal.
    Adjoa says that one faces different problems at different stages of life and so does she. Her problem is that she is not able to speak her opinion. This is also because of the discouraging reaction that she gets whenever she speaks up. With a lot of effort, she gets an elder to listen to her. Then Nana asks her to repeat her statement. This is followed by either of the following two reactions – either Nana commands Adjoa not to repeat those words ever again, or she laughs at her. She laughs till tears flow from her eyes and she gets tired. Then she shares it with another elder and then the two of them laugh and scream until tears roll down their cheeks. Sometimes this sequence goes upto four or five elders. Adjoa gets confused about both these reactions and they discourage her from speaking her mind.
    She likes Nana except for her complaining nature. Nana always complains that Adjoa has spindly legs which she thinks are not fleshy, the calf muscles are not strong enough to support solid hips which women require to bear babies. Nana even taunts Maami for having married such a man who gave birth to a girl with spindly legs. When Maami says that Adjoa is better off than those who are born without limbs, Nana says that accidentally such events happen that mother nature brings deformed children on the earth but if a female child is born with legs then they should be of the right kind.
    This constant complain creates an urge in Adjoa to see legs of women around her, those who have borne babies. As the elder woman wear long wrap arounds, it is not possible. So, she plans to visit the river during the evenings when the women bathe there. However, she is not allowed to go there. The elders only permit her to visit the shallow end of the river with girls who are her age. They would bathe in the bathhouse that was just behind their hut. Adjoa was unable to identify the right kind of legs that a woman should have because all those girls were like her – they had not borne babies yet. Additionally, she had also seen Nana and Maami’s legs which were of the approved kind because they had borne babies. Still she was unsure if they were fleshy enough as Nana desired.
    The school was at a distance of five kilometers from their village and all the students complained of the long walk. However, Adjoa never felt so. For her school was a nice place. All these years she had been winning the school race but she had never shared this with the family, thinking that it was not relevant. However, that year she was selected to represent the school at the junior level in the District sports week. This news surprised Nana and Maami. Nana herself washed and ironed Adjoa’s school uniform. Maami wanted to say something about Adjoa which Nana did not know but seeing that Nana was elated, choose not to speak. Nana would look carefully at Adjoa’s legs, perhaps she wondered that those spindly legs were worth something. Nana would wear a fresh set of old clothes which were heavily starched and would creak when shoe passed by. She would accompany them to the event, however she pretended as if she was going elsewhere. Adjoa enjoyed wearing the shining uniform and won the cup for the best athlete in the junior category.
    Nana carried the cup on her back like they carried babies and other valuables. She took it home, showed it to Maami before submitting it with the school headmaster. Nana acted strangely when she took Adjoa in her lap, wept softly and spoke to herself that thin legs could be useful too. Even though they were not fleshy, they could not support solid hips but they could run and so, there were many more possibilities for them.
    All these years Adjoa had wanted to say the same thing but she didn’t because of the discouraging response she had gotten for speaking her mind. Now this was better – a practical experience which automatically made Nana realize that the legs of a woman could have several other benefits. Maami as usual chose not to speak anything. 

     

    The Girl Who Can Summary in Hindi

     

    कहानी अदजोआ नाम की एक लड़की के बारे में है जो सात साल की है और अफ्रीका के मध्य घाना में हसोदज़ी नामक एक बड़े गाँव में रहती है। वह अपनी दादी, नाना और अपनी माँ, मामी, जिनका नाम काया है, के साथ रहती है। हसोदज़ी भूमि के उपजाऊ हिस्से में स्थित है और जब पूरा अफ्रीका शुष्क परिस्थितियों से जूझ रहा है, तब भी हसोदज़ी हरा और उपजाऊ है। जब भी एडजोआ अपना भोजन पूरा नहीं करती है, तो नाना उसे खाने के लिए कहते हैं और कहते हैं कि जीवन में कई समस्याएं हैं, वे भोजन पाने के लिए भाग्यशाली हैं और एडजोआ को अपना भोजन पूरा करना चाहिए।
    एडजोआ का कहना है कि व्यक्ति को जीवन के विभिन्न चरणों में अलग-अलग समस्याओं का सामना करना पड़ता है और उसे भी ऐसा ही करना पड़ता है। उनकी समस्या यह है कि वह अपनी बात नहीं कह पाती हैं।  इसका कारण यह भी है कि जब भी वह बोलती है तो उसे हतोत्साहित करने वाली प्रतिक्रिया मिलती है। काफी कोशिशों के बाद उसे अपनी बात सुनने के लिए एक बुजुर्ग मिल जाता है। तब नाना उससे अपनी बात दोहराने के लिए कहती हैं। इसके बाद निम्नलिखित दो प्रतिक्रियाओं में से कोई एक होती है – या तो नाना एडजोआ को उन शब्दों को दोबारा न दोहराने का आदेश देते हैं, या वह उस पर हंसती है। वह तब तक हंसती रहती है जब तक उसकी आंखों से आंसू नहीं बहने लगते और वह थक नहीं जाती। फिर वह इसे दूसरे बुजुर्ग के साथ साझा करती है और फिर वे दोनों हंसते और चिल्लाते हैं जब तक कि उनके गालों से आंसू नहीं बहने लगते। कभी-कभी यह क्रम चार या पांच बुजुर्गों तक चला जाता है। एडजोआ इन दोनों प्रतिक्रियाओं को लेकर भ्रमित हो जाती है और वे उसे अपने मन की बात कहने से हतोत्साहित करती हैं।
    शिकायती स्वभाव के अलावा वह नाना को पसंद करती है। नाना हमेशा शिकायत करते हैं कि एडजोआ की टांगें पतली और लम्बी हैं, जिसके बारे में उनका मानना है कि वे मांसल नहीं हैं, पिंडली की मांसपेशियां ठोस कूल्हों को सहारा देने के लिए पर्याप्त मजबूत नहीं हैं, जिनकी महिलाओं को बच्चे पैदा करने के लिए आवश्यकता होती है। नाना ने मामी को ऐसे आदमी से शादी करने के लिए भी ताना मारा, जिसने पतली व् लम्बी टांगों वाली लड़की को जन्म दिया। जब मामी कहती है कि एडजोआ उन लोगों से बेहतर है जो बिना अंगों के पैदा होते हैं, तो नाना कहती हैं कि संयोग से ऐसी घटनाएं होती हैं कि प्रकृति विकृत बच्चों को धरती पर लाती है लेकिन अगर कोई लड़की पैरों के साथ पैदा होती है तो उन्हें सही प्रकार का होना चाहिए।
    यह निरंतर शिकायत एडजोआ में अपने आस-पास की महिलाओं की टांगों को देखने की इच्छा पैदा करती है, जिनके बच्चे पैदा हुए हैं। चूँकि बड़ी उम्र की महिलाएँ लंबा आवरण पहनती हैं, इसलिए यह संभव नहीं है। इसलिए, वह शाम के समय नदी पर जाने की योजना बनाती है जब महिलाएं वहां स्नान करती हैं। हालांकि, उन्हें वहां जाने की इजाजत नहीं है।  बड़े-बूढ़े उसे केवल अपनी उम्र की लड़कियों के साथ नदी के उथले छोर पर जाने की अनुमति देते हैं। वे स्नानागार में स्नान करते थे जो उनकी झोपड़ी के ठीक पीछे था। एडजोआ सही प्रकार की टांगों की पहचान करने में असमर्थ थी जो एक महिला के पास होने चाहिए क्योंकि वे सभी लड़कियाँ उसके जैसी थीं – उनके अभी तक बच्चे नहीं हुए थे। इसके अतिरिक्त, उसने नाना और मामी के पैर भी देखे थे जो स्वीकृत प्रकार के थे क्योंकि उनके बच्चे पैदा हुए थे। फिर भी वह अनिश्चित थी कि क्या वे इतने मांसल थे जैसा कि नाना चाहते थे।
    स्कूल उनके गाँव से पाँच किलोमीटर की दूरी पर था और सभी छात्रों ने लंबी पैदल यात्रा की शिकायत की। हालाँकि, एडजोआ को ऐसा कभी नहीं लगा। उसके लिए स्कूल एक अच्छी जगह थी।  इन सभी वर्षों में वह स्कूल की दौड़ जीतती रही थी लेकिन उसने यह सोचकर कभी भी परिवार के साथ यह साझा नहीं किया था कि यह प्रासंगिक नहीं था। हालाँकि, उस वर्ष उसे जिला खेल सप्ताह में जूनियर स्तर पर स्कूल का प्रतिनिधित्व करने के लिए चुना गया था। इस खबर ने नाना और मामी को हैरान कर दिया।  नाना ने खुद एडजोआ की स्कूल यूनिफॉर्म को धोया और इस्त्री किया। मामी एडजोआ के बारे में कुछ कहना चाहती थी जो नाना को नहीं पता था लेकिन यह देखकर कि नाना बहुत खुश थी, उन्होंने न बोलने का फैसला किया। नाना एडजोआ की टांगों को ध्यान से देखती थी, शायद उन्हें आश्चर्य होता था कि ये पतली टांगें किसी लायक थी। नाना पुराने कपड़ों का ताज़ा सेट पहनती थी, जिनमें भारी मात्रा में स्टार्च लगा होता था और जब नाना पास से गुज़रती थी तो कड़कड़ाने की आवाज़ आती। वह उनके साथ कार्यक्रम में जाती थी, हालाँकि उसने ऐसा दिखावा किया मानो वह कहीं और जा रही हो। एडजोआ ने चमकदार वर्दी पहनने का आनंद लिया और जूनियर वर्ग में सर्वश्रेष्ठ एथलीट का कप जीता।
    नाना ने कप को अपनी पीठ पर ऐसे रखा जैसे वे बच्चों और अन्य कीमती सामान को ले जाते हैं। वह इसे घर ले गई, स्कूल के प्रधानाध्यापक के पास जमा करने से पहले इसे मामी को दिखाया। नाना ने अजीब व्यवहार किया जब उन्होंने एडजोआ को अपनी गोद में लिया, धीरे-धीरे रोईं और खुद से बोलीं कि पतली टांगें भी उपयोगी हो सकते हैं। भले ही वे मांसल नहीं थे, वे ठोस कूल्हों का समर्थन नहीं कर सकते थे लेकिन वे दौड़ सकती थी और इसलिए, उनके लिए कई और संभावनाएं थीं।
    इन सभी वर्षों में एडजोआ एक ही बात कहना चाहती थी लेकिन अपने मन की बात कहने के लिए उसे जो हतोत्साहित करने वाली प्रतिक्रिया मिली थी, उसके कारण उसने ऐसा नहीं कहा। अब यह बेहतर था – एक व्यावहारिक अनुभव जिसने नाना को स्वचालित रूप से एहसास कराया कि एक महिला की टांगों के कई अन्य लाभ भी हो सकते हैं। मामी ने हमेशा की तरह कुछ भी न बोलने का फैसला किया।

     

    The Girl Who Can Lesson Explanation

    Passage:
    They say that I was born in Hasodzi; and it is a very big village in the Central Region of our country, Ghana. They also say that when all of Africa is not choking under a drought, Hasodzi lies in a very fertile low land in a district known for its good soil. Maybe that is why any time I don’t finish eating my food, Nana says, ‘You, Adjoa, you don’t know what life is about … you don’t know what problems there are in this life ….’

    Word meanings:
    Choking: stifling, gripping
    Drought: period of continuous dry weather
    Fertile: of land that produces good crop

    Explanation:
    The narrator is a seven year-old girl named Adjoa. She says that she was told by her elders that she was born in a village called Hasodzi which is a big village, located in the Centre of Ghana. It is a fertile low-lying area and even when the entire Africa is hit by a dry spell, the village remains green and fertile. She says that perhaps that is the reason that whenever she does not finish her meal, her grandmother, Nana tells her that she is unaware of what life is and the various problems in life.

    Passage:
    As far as I could see, there was only one problem. And it had nothing to do with what I knew Nana considered as ‘problems’, or what Maami thinks of as ‘the problem’. Maami is my mother. Nana is my mother’s mother. And they say I am seven years old. And my problem is that at this seven years of age, there are things I can think in my head, but which, maybe, I do not have the proper language to speak them out with. And that, I think, is a very serious problem. Because it is always difficult to decide whether to keep quiet and not say any of the things that come into my head, or say them and get laughed at. Not that it is easy to get any grown-up to listen to you even when you decide to take the risk and say something serious to them.

    Explanation:
    Adjoa says that according to her there was only one problem but it was different from the problems faced by the elders – her grandmother or her mother. Adjoa’s problem was that she could not speak her mind freely because of the reaction that she got. If she ever spoke her mind, she was laughed at. Also, if she ever decided to take the risk of being laughed at and talk about a serious matter, it would be difficult for her to gain the attention and time of an elder.

    Passage:
    Take Nana. First, I have to struggle to catch her attention. Then I tell her something I had taken a long time to figure out. And then you know what always happens? She would once stop whatever she is doing and, mouth open, stare at me for a very long time. Then bending and turning her head slightly, so that one ear comes down towards me, she’ll say in that voice: ‘Adjoa, you say what?’ After I have repeated whatever I had said, she would either, still in that voice, ask ‘never, never, but NEVER to repeat THAT’, or she would immediately burst out laughing. She would laugh and laugh and laugh, until tears run down her cheeks and she would stop whatever she is doing and wipe away the tears with the hanging edges of her cloth. And she would continue laughing until she is completely tired.

    Word meanings:
    Figure out: understand something or somebody by thinking about it
    Stare: look carefully

    Explanation:
    Adjoa tells about her grandmother Nana that firstly, she had to struggle to get her attention. Then she would tell her the matter which she had been thinking about. Adjoa tells that Nana would react the same way as before. She would stop what she had been doing, her mouth open in astonishment and she would stare at Adjoa. The she would bend her head to get her ear near Adjoa and would ask her to repeat what she had just said. Adjoa would obey her and then either Nana would command her never to repeat those words again or she would start laughing. She would continue laughing till tears came from her eyes and she would wipe them with the dress that she was wearing. She would laugh till she got tired.

    Passage:
    But then, as soon as another person comes by, just to make sure she doesn’t forget whatever (it was) I had said, she would repeat it to her. And then, of course, there would be two old people laughing and screaming with tears running down their faces. Sometimes this show continues until there are three, four or even more of such laughing and screaming tear-faced grown-ups. And all that performance on whatever I’d said? I find something quite confusing in all this. That is, no one ever explains to me, why sometimes I shouldn’t repeat some things I say; while at other times, some other things I say would not only be all right, but would be considered so funny, they would be repeated so many times for so many people’s enjoyment. You see how neither way of hearing me out can encourage me to express my thoughts too often?

    Word meanings:
    Screaming: crying out in a high-pitched tone

    Explanation:
    Then she would share Adjoa’s words with another elder and then both of them would laugh and scream till tears came out of their eyes. Sometimes, this chain would continue upto three or four adults getting to know what Adjoa had spoken and laughing at it. Adjoa remained confused that what was the reason for Nana’s command not to repeat her words again. Also, she did not know the reason for her words being so amusing that so many people repeated them and enjoyed. Both the reactions discouraged Adjoa from speaking her mind and sharing her feelings with the elders.

    Passage:
    Like all this business to do with my legs. I have always wanted to tell them not to worry. I mean Nana and my mother. That it did not have to be an issue for my two favourite people to fight over. But I didn’t want either to be told not to repeat that or it to be considered so funny that anyone would laugh at me until they cried. After all, they were my legs. . . When I think back on it now, those two, Nana and my mother, must have been discussing my legs from the day I was born. What I am sure of is that when I came out of the land of sweet, soft silence into the world of noise and comprehension, the first topic I met was my legs.

    Word meanings:
    Comprehension: understanding

    Explanation:
    One topic which Adjoa wanted to speak on was regarding her legs. She wanted to tell her elders not to worry about her legs, it was not such an issue that they had to fight over it. However, Adjoa did not want to be ordered not to repeat the words that she spoke or to be laughed at. Adjoa thiks that since the day she was born, perhaps her legs were a topic of discussion for Maami and Nana. She is sure that since the day she started understanding things, she had been hearing about the topic concerning her legs.

    Passage:
    That discussion was repeated very regularly.
    Nana: ‘Ah, ah, you know, Kaya, I thank my God that your very first child is female. But Kaya, I am not sure about her legs.
    Hm….hm….hm…..’

    And Nana would shake her head.
    Maami: ‘Mother, why are you always complaining about Adjoa’s legs? If you ask me ….. ‘
    Nana : ‘They are too thin. And I am not asking you!’
    Nana has many voices. There is a special one she uses to shut everyone up.

    Explanation:
    Adjoa’s legs would be often discussed by Nana and Maami. Nana would thank God that Maami’s first child was a female but she would not be sure about the child’s legs being of any use. She would shake her head to signal her disapproval. Maami would ask Nana that why she complained about Adjoa’s legs and she would be interrupted by Nana. She replied that they were extremely thin and added that she wasn’t asking Maami. Adjoa says that Nana spoke in various tones and she had a particular tone which she used when she wanted to stop the other person from speaking. Perhaps she would speak loudly to discourage Maami from speaking further.

    Passage:
    ‘Some people have no legs at all,’ my mother would try again with all her small courage.

    ‘But Adjoa has legs,’ Nana would insist;’ except that they are too thin. And also too long for a woman. Kaya, listen. Once in a while, but only once in a very long while, somebody decides – nature, a child’s spirit mother, an accident happens, and somebody gets born without arms, or legs, or both sets of limbs. And then let me touch wood : it is a sad business, And you know, such things are not for talking about everyday. But if any female child decides to come into this world with legs, then they might as well be legs.’

    Explanation:
    However, Maami would use the bit of courage that she had and say that while there were people who did not have legs altogether, Adjoa was fortunate that she had legs. Nana would reply that Adjoa had legs but they were very thin and long for a woman. She would add that it was a rare accidental happening that nature would bring such a person to birth who lacked either the arms or the limbs or both. Such things were a rare happening. If any female child was born with legs then the legs must be the way they are supposed to be.

    Passage:
    ‘What kind of legs?’ And always at that point, I knew from her voice that my mother was weeping inside. Nana never heard such inside weeping. Not that it would have stopped Nana even if she had heard it. Which always surprised me. Because, about almost everything else apart from my legs, Nana is such a good grown-up. In any case, what do I know about good grown-ups and bad grown-ups? How could Nana be a good grown-up when she carried on so about my legs? All I want to say is that I really liked Nana except for that.

    Explanation:
    The discussion between Nana and Maami would turn bad and Maami would be crying within when she would ask about the kind of legs that Nana considered were ideal for a female. Adjoa adds that Nana could not hear Maami weeping and even if she did, she would not have stopped speaking. This was shocking for Adjoa because she considered Nana to be a good person except that she would complain about her legs.

    Passage:
    Nana : ‘As I keep saying, if any woman decides to come into this world with all of her two legs, then she should select legs that have meat on them: with good calves. Because you are sure such legs would support solid hips. And a woman must have solid hips to be able to have children.
    ‘Oh, Mother.’ That’s how my mother would answer. Very, very quietly. And the discussion would end or they would move on to something else.

    Explanation:
    Nana’s only concern was that a woman who had legs should have flesh on them, strong calf muscles which could support solid hips which would help her bear children.
    Maami would react with sadness and the discussion would end or they would change the topic.

    Passage:
    Sometimes, Nana would pull in something about my father. How, ‘Looking at such a man, we have to be humble and admit that after all, God’s children are many … ‘

    How, ‘After one’s only daughter had insisted on marrying a man like that, you still have to thank you God that the biggest problem you got later was having a grand daughter with spindly legs that are too long for a woman, and too thin to be of any use.’

    Word meanings:
    Humble: having a low esteem of one’s importance
    Insisted: demanding something forcefully
    Spindly: long and thin

    Explanation:
    During these discussions, Nana would sometimes refer to Adjoa’s dad. She would say that on looking at such a man, they had to be humble and accept that every being is God’s creation. She would add that when their only daughter was determined to marry such a man, they still thanked god but the biggest problem for them was that they got a grandchild who had thin and long legs. He complain was that they were too long for the ideal length of a woman’s legs and too thin to be of any good use for a woman.

    Passage:
    The way she always added that bit about my father under her breath, she probably thought I didn’t hear it. But I always heard it. Plus, that is what always shut my mother up for good, so that even if I had not actually heard the words, once my mother looked like even her little courage was finished, I could always guess what Nana had added to the argument.

    Word meanings:
    For good: for ever

    Explanation:
    Nana’s reference to Adjoa’s father was made in a whispered tone but still Adjoa heard it. This act of Nana made Maami quiet. Even if Adjoa had not heard Nana’a reference to her father, Maami’s reaction of becoming absolutely quiet would indicate Adjoa that Nana had refered to her father.

    Passage:
    ‘Legs that have meat on them with good calves to support solid hips . . . to be able to have children.’
    So I wished that one day I would see, for myself, the legs of any woman who had children. But in our village, that is not easy. The older women wear long wrap-arounds all the time. Perhaps if they let me go bathe in the river in the evening, I could have checked. But I never had the chance. It took a lot of begging: just to get my mother and Nana to let me go splash around in the shallow end of the river with my friends, who were other little girls like me.

    Word meanings:
    Splash: to make the liquid fly up through the air

    Explanation:
    Nana was of the opinion that a woman’s legs should have flesh on them and the calf muscles should be strong enough to support solid hips which would enable the woman to bear babies.
    This created a desire in Adjoa to check the legs of woman who had babies so that she could identify the ideal set of legs and figure out the exact problem with her legs. However, she could not get a chance to see other women’s legs because the older women (who had borne babies) wore long wrap arounds and thus, the legs remained covered. She wondered that if she went for a bath in the river during the evenings, at that time, she could catch a glimpse. She never got a chance to do so and after repeated requests, Maami and Nana permitted her to go and play with her friends in the shallow end of the river.

    Passage:
    For proper baths, we used the small bathhouse behind our hut. Therefore, the only naked female legs I have never really seen are those of other little girls like me. Or older girls in the school. And those of my mother and Nana: two pairs of legs which must surely belong to the approved kind; because Nana gave birth to my mother and my mother gave birth to me. In my eyes, all my friends have got legs that look like legs: but whether the legs have got meat on them to support the kind of hips that … that I don’t know.

    Explanation:
    They would bathe in the bathhouse that was located behind their hut. So, the only bare legs that she got to see were of girls who were her age or a bit older to her. Additionally, she had also seen Maami and Nana’s legs which were perhaps of the ideal kind because they had borne babies. According to Adjoa, all her friends had legs which looked ordinary but she was in doubt if they had ‘meat’ on them, meaning that if they were fleshy enough.

    Passage:
    According to the older boys and girls, the distance between our little village and the small town is about five kilometres. I don’t know what five kilometres mean. They always complain about how long it is to walk to school and back. But to me, we live in our village, and walking those kilometres didn’t matter. School is nice.

    Explanation:
    Students who were elder to Adjoa complained that the school was quiet far from their village and that they had to walk a long distance of five kilometers. However, for Adjoa, the distance was not an issue and she simply walked to school which she found to be a nice place. Here we get to know that Adjoa’s so called spindly legs enabled her to walk the long distance of five kilometer comfortably.

    Passage:
    School is another thing Nana and my mother discussed often and appeared to have different ideas about. Nana thought it would be a waste of time. I never understood what she meant. My mother seemed to know — and disagreed. She kept telling Nana that she, that is my mother, felt she was locked into some kind of darkness because she didn’t go to school. So that if I, her daughter, could learn to write and read my own name and a little besides – perhaps be able to calculate some things on paper that would be good. I could always marry later and maybe….

    Explanation:
    Maami and Nana also discussed Adjoa’s school and whether it was important for her. Nana did not find it important and said that it was a waste of time. Adjoa did not understand what she meant by saying that it was a waste of time. Maami was of the opinion that school was important and as she had not gone to one, she felt that she was locked in a kind of darkness. Maami thought that if her daughter could read, write and do basic calculations, it would be good for her. Later she could get married.

    Passage:
    Nana would just laugh. ‘Ah, maybe with legs like hers, she might as well go to school.’
    Running with our classmates on our small sports field and winning first place each time never seemed to me to be anything about which to tell anyone at home. This time it was different. I don’t know how the teachers decided to let me run for the junior section of our school in the district games. But they did.

    Explanation:
    Nana would interrupt Maami with her ironic laughter at Maami’s thought of Adjoa getting married. Nana would say that perhaps witht the kind of spidly legs that she had perhaps it was better for Adjoa to walk to school rather than to get married.
    Adjoa had been participating in and winning the school races but she never thought of sharing this with her family. However, this time she was informed by the teachers that she had been selected to represent the school at the district games in the junior category.

    Passage:
    When I went home to tell my mother and Nana, they had not believed it at first. So Nana had taken it upon herself to go and ‘ask into it properly’. She came home to tell my mother that it was really true. I was one of my school’s runners.

    Word meanings:
    Ask into it properly: that she would herself go and confirm the news

    Explanation:
    Maami and Nana did not believe the news and Nana decided to go and confirm herself. She told Maami that it was true and that Adjoa would represent her school at the district level.

    Passage:
    ‘Is that so?’ exclaimed my mother. I know her. Her mouth moved as though she was going to tell Nana, that, after all, there was a secret about me she couldn’t be expected to share with anyone. But then Nana herself looked so pleased, out of surprise my mother shut her mouth up. In any case, since the first time they heard the news, I have often caught Nana staring at my legs with a strange look on her face, but still pretending like she was not looking.

    Word meanings:
    Pretending: acting that something false is true

    Explanation:
    Maami was delighted and she wanted to tell Nana that there was something special about Adjoa which Nana did not know but when she saw that Nana was already happy with the news, she decided to remain quiet. Many times Adjoa saw Nana looking intently at Adjoa’s legs with a curious look on her face. She acted as if she was not looking at them. Perhaps she was awestruck that the legs which she considered spindly and useless were not so and that they had helped Adjoa win the races and get selected. Here we see that Nana is getting enlightened that a woman’s legs can have several other uses than to support the hips for the purpose of bearing babies.

    Passage:
    All this week, she has been washing my school uniform herself. That is a big surprise. And she didn’t stop at that, she even went to Mr. Mensah’s house and borrowed his charcoal pressing iron each time, came back home with it, and ironed and ironed and ironed the uniform, until, if I had been the uniform, I would have said aloud that I had had enough.

    Explanation:
    The week before the District Games were to be held, Nana herself washed Adjoa’s school uniform which was surprising. Also, she git the charcoal iron from Mr Mensah’s house and ironed the uniform so much that perhaps if it could speak, it would have said that it had had enough of ironing.

    Passage:
    Wearing my school uniform this week has been very nice. At the parade the first afternoon, it caught the rays of the sun and shone brighter than everybody else’s uniform. I’m sure Nana saw that too, and must have liked it. Yes, she has been coming into town with us every afternoon of this district sports week. Each afternoon, she has pulled one set of fresh old clothes from the big brass bowl to wear. And those old clothes are always so stiffly starched, you can hear the cloth creak when she passes by. But she walks way behind us school children. As though she was on her own way to some place else.

    Word meanings:
    Stiffly: not easily bent or folded

    Explanation:
    Adjoa felt nice to have worn such well washed and ironed uniform which shone bright in the sunlight. She was sure that Nana also liked Adjoa’s bright uniform. She would accompany them to the town where the sports week was being held. She would wear a set of fresh old clothes which had a lot of starch that one could hear them creacking when she passed by. Nana would remain at a distance from the students to show that she was on her way to a different destination and was not attending the sports week.

    Passage:
    Yes, I have won every race I ran in for my school, and I have won the cup for the best all-round junior athlete. Yes, Nana said that she didn’t care if such things are not done. She would do it. You know what she did? She carried the gleaming cup on her back. Like they do with babies, and other very precious things. And this time, not taking the trouble to walk by herself.
    When we arrived in our village, she entered our compound to show the cup to my mother before going to give it back to the Headmaster.

    Word meanings:
    Gleaming: shining bright
    Compound: the outer area which falls within the boundary of a property.

    Explanation:
    Adjoa tells us that she had won all the races that she took part in. She also won the cup for the best junior athlete at the district games. Nana had just said that she did not bother about such things but in reality, she was so happy that she carried the cup that Adjoa had won, on her back just like they carried babies and other valuables. She walked the entire distance by herself and upon arriving at the village, went to their house to show the cup to Maami before submitting it with the school headmaster.

    Passage:
    Oh. Grown-ups are so strange. Nana is right now carrying me on her knee, and crying softly. Muttering, muttering, muttering. That ‘saa’, thin legs can also be useful . . . thin legs can also be useful . . . That ‘even though some legs don’t have much meat on them, to carry hips.. . they can run. Thin legs can run . . .then who knows ? . . .’

    Word meanings:
    Muttering: speaking in a low tone

    Explanation:
    Adjoa says that elders are strange. Nana was carrying her in her lap and weeping (with happiness). She was speaking in a low tone that thin legs could be useful too. Even if they are not fleshy to carry solid hips, they have an alternate use – of running fast. Then she wonders that maybe there were other benefits of Adjoa’s legs which she was unaware of.

    Passage:
    I don’t know too much about such things. But that’s how I was feeling and thinking all along. That surely, one should be able to do other things with legs as well as have them because they can support hips that make babies. Except that I was afraid of saying that sort of thing aloud. Because someone would have told me never, never but NEVER to repeat such words. Or else, they would have laughed so much at what I’d said, they would have cried.
    It’s much better this way. To have acted it out to show them, although I could not have planned it.
    As for my mother, she has been speechless as usual.

    Explanation:
    Adjoa says that she was not aware of such things but she had been thinking this all along that there could be several other uses of a woman’s legs other than to support solid hips which would help them bear babies. She had never spoken this fearing being reprimanded or being laughed at. Her winning the race was a practical example and made Nana understand better. If Adjoa would have just spoken to Nana, she would not understand but when Adjoa ran and won the race, Nana understood automatically that a woman’s legs could have alternate uses too. Maami was quiet as always.

    Also See: 

    ICSE Class 10 English Summary, Explanation

     

     

    ICSE Class 10 English Important Question Answers