CBSE - Class X, Literature Reader for English (Communicative)
Unit 1, the tribute
Textbook Exercise Questions
Q.3: The narrator of the story is a man called Babuli. Answer these questions briefly:
(a) Why did Babuli have to visit his family village?
(b) Why had he not been to his village for a long time?
(c) When Babuli told his wife that the family land had to be divided, how did she react?
(d) When Babuli arrived at the family home, what changes did he notice? What was the reason for these changes?
(e) Who wanted to buy Babuli’s share of family lands?
(f) What did Babuli do with his share?
(a) There was a quarrel between Babuli’s two sisters-in-law. His elder brother had written a letter, asking him to come home, because all movable and unmovable ancestral property was to be divided up among Babuli and his two brothers. Because of this Babuli had to visit his village as his presence on this occasion was indispensable.
(b) Babuli had not been to his village for a long time because he was too busy with his life and work in the city.
(c) When Babuli told his wife that the family land had to be divided she was totally unperturbed. She just asked him “When?” as if she was all prepared and waiting for this event to take place. Then she became greedy as she wanted Babuli to sell the land and hand over the entire money to her.
(d) When Babuli arrived at the family home, he was not welcomed as he used to be. In the entire house there was an unusual quietness. It was as if the entire house was preparing for a collapse.
The reason for these changes was the demand for partition by the second brother and his wife. This resulted into the quarrels between the two sisters-in-law of Babuli and disagreements within the family.
(e) Babuli’s second brother wanted to buy his share of the family lands.
(f) Babuli gave his share to his elder brother.
Q.4: Do the following extracts contain a metaphor or a simile? For each, explain its meaning.
(a) A lot of cobwebs have settled around me. (paragraph 2)
(b) I listened to all this like an innocent lamb looking into the darkness. (10)
(c) The past was sprouting up in me. The childhood days and the days now! Time has coagulated for me. (20)
(d) We moved from boundary to boundary. Everywhere I could feel the imprints of his feet, his palm and his fingers. On the bosom of the paddy fields sparkled the pearls of my elder brother’s sweat. (34)
(a) This extract contains a metaphor. The comparison is between cobwebs and Babuli’s neglect of his family. It is just like the neglected portion of a house which gets covered by dust and cobwebs, Babuli’s ties with his family had become covered with the dust and cobwebs of neglect. His preoccupation with his life in the city caused him to overlook his mother, his elder brother, and his past.
(b) This extract contains a simile. The sadness and the fear at the impending division of his home and ancestral properties as well as his wife’s plan to use the money gained from this division made Babuli feel as if he were a helpless lamb about to be killed and torn into pieces by the butcher.
(c) This extract contains two metaphors. Babuli compares his memories to sprouting seeds. The memories of his life in his village rise up within him just like seedlings that rise up from the ground during germination. He feels that time has become standstill. The overall change shows two contrasting views of time: ‘time’ that is in motion and ‘time’ that has become standstill.
(d) This extract contains two metaphors. Babuli compares the paddy fields with a human figure. The fields are adorned by the results of his elder brother’s hard work. He compares the sweat drops of his elder brother with pearls. The implication is that the sweat drops are as precious as pearls. The overall image is that of a human figure wearing a necklace.
Q.6: (a) Babuli’s elder brother used to say to his wife:
“You must make the dish as delicious as possible, using mustard paste for Babuli.”
What are Babuli’s feelings for his brother, as he remembers these words?
(b) “I shivered with the cold, and my own ingratitude,” says Babuli.
Quote two instances from the story which shows his ingratitude.
(c) “Brother …you are my land from where I could harvest everything in life,” says Babuli.
What are land and harvest compared to by Babuli? What does he wish to convey to his elder brother, through these words?
(a) Babuli feels love, gratitude and affection.
(b) The instances that shows Babuli’s ingratitude are -
(i) When Babuli got down from the bus, he forgot to touch his elder brother’s feet.
(ii) For the last two years in Bhubaneswar, Babuli never thought of home nor even tried to know the well-being of his family by writing a letter.
(iii) After he started a comfortable income, it never occurred to him that he should buy some winter clothes for his elder brother.
(c) Babuli means that his elder brother’s love is the “land” from which he has “harvested” his success. Babuli wishes to say how grateful he is to his elder brother.
Q.8: Write an additional paragraph at the end of the story, starting:
When at last I reached home, my wife was waiting for me. Her hand was outstretched, and her eyes were gleaming with anticipation.
Ans: When at last I reached home, my wife was waiting for me. Her hand was outstretched, and her eyes were gleaming with anticipation. On seeing her, once the feeling of satisfaction which had been there in my heart since I left the village, vanished. For the first time I questioned my decision. But then the memories of my childhood, elder brother’s image, his toiling in the fields, the sacrifices which the elder brother and his wife made for me etc. came to my mind and I felt I had done what was right.
After I went inside, sitting on the sofa I narrated the proceedings of the partition to my wife. When she heard of the second brother’s offer, she said, “So, what did you do?” I said her, “I did not sell my share. I have given it to my elder brother as a small tribute.”
She was silent for a minute and I could see a hint of irritation in her eyes too. But very soon she could reconcile with me as she told, “Ok, you have done the right thing. The fridge and the scooter etc. can be purchased later also.” Saying this she went into the kitchen.
Sample Questions on this Chapter
Q.1: Give two incidents from the lesson ‘The Tribute’ to show that Babuli regretted being ungrateful to his brother.
Q.2: “I shivered with cold, and my own ingratitude” says Babuli. Quote two instances from the story which reveals his ingratitude.
Q.3: “He stopped for a moment near the pile of things and unfastened the strap of his wrist-watch and placed it on the heap with the other things.”
(a) Why did the elder brother do so? How did he feel?
(b) Mention any four traits of the elder brother that you get to know from the story.
Q.4: Do you think the title of the story “The Tribute” is appropriate? Why or why not?
Q.5: What impression do you get about the elder brother after reading the story ‘The Tribute’?
Q.6: “I can’t understand how a stranger could all of a sudden become so intimate, only sharing a little warmth by giving a silent promise of keeping close.” Who is Babuli referring to here and why so?
Q.7: Imagine you are Babuli’s elder brother. The partition has taken place and you received Babuli’s note that reads:
What shall I do with the lands? You are my land from where I could harvest everything in life. I need nothing save you. Accept this please. If you deny, I shall never show my face to you again.
Overwhelmed with emotions answer here as you write a letter to Babuli.
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