An Angel in Disguise

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  • Q1

    Through the short story ‘An Angel in Disguise’, the writer seems to suggest that humans cannot survive without other humans to love and care for them. Explain.

    (16 Marks)

    Marks:16
    Answer:

    When people are brought together with an open, trusting attitude, sympathy and empathy naturally establishes itself. ‘An angel in disguise’ is a story that lays emphasis on the importance of sympathy, love and care for other human beings.The story is set in a village where a poor woman who was hated by all met a tragic end when she fell on the threshold of her own door in a drunken fit and died, leaving behind three children to fend for themselves.

    People who once hated the woman came to help her hapless children. The eldest two were taken in by two families, however Maggie, the youngest was left to her fate. A wheelwright, Joe Thompson, took pity on the diseased child and took her to his home with the intention of leaving her at a poorhouse the next morning because he knew his wife would never approve of Maggie.When her husband brings Maggie, a diseased child home, she becomes enraged and demands he leave her at the poorhouse right away.

    However when she spends some time with Maggie she becomes attached to her and all the indifference and coldness in her heart gives way to warmth, love and compassion. Before Maggie, Mrs Thompson had nothing to love or live for. Maggie’s innocence and sweetness transformed her into a completely new person. Her true nature comes forward when she gets to care for another human being. It again emphasises the author’s message that we need care and love in our hearts to survive in this world.

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  • Q2

    What light and blessing did that sick and helpless child bring to the home of Joe Thompson, the poor wheelwright! It had been dark, and cold, and miserable there for a long time just because his wife had nothing to love and care for out of herself, and so became sore, irritable, ill-tempered, and self-afflicting in the desolation of her woman’s nature. Now the sweetness of that sick child, looking ever to her in love, patience, and gratitude, was as honey to her soul, and she carried her in her heart as well as in her arms, a precious burden.

    Q1. Who is referred to as ‘precious burden’ in the above lines? Why?

    Q2. What type of a person was Mrs Thompson before she met Maggie?

    Q3. How was Mrs Thompson transformed?

    Q4.Comment on the ending of the story.

    Q5. Who do you think is the ‘angel in disguise’ in this story?

    (3+3+3+3+4=16 Marks)

    Marks:16
    Answer:

    1. Maggie has been referred to as the ‘precious burden’ in the above paragraph. She was ‘hopelessly diseased’ and thus was completely dependent on others to take care of her. She brought warmth and love in the childless couple’s life and is thus considered a ‘precious burden’.

    2. The very first thing that the author mentions about Mrs Thompson is that she is not a lady of saintly temper. However we see a major transformation in her character from the beginning to the end of the story. When her husband brings Maggie, a diseased child home, she becomes enraged and demands he leave her at the poorhouse right away.

    3. WhenMrs Thompson spent some time with Maggie she became attached to her and all the indifference and coldness in her heart gives way to warmth, love and compassion. Before Maggie, Mrs Thompson had nothing to love or live for. Maggie’s innocence and sweetness transformed her into a completely new person. Her true nature comes forward when she gets to care for another human being.

    4. The tone of the story is a gloomy one; however it ends on a very cheerful and optimistic note. Everyone leaves Maggie alone. All except, Joe Thompson. He brings her home and the little girl’s presence proves to be soothing and a blessing to the childless couple. Thus, the story ends on a happy tone.

    5. Maggie turns out to be a “precious burden” for the Thompsons. She brings joy and happiness in their childless and cold home and turns out to be an ‘angel in disguise’ for the couple.Joe Thompson, the Wheelwright is a very kind person. When everyone is ready to leave Maggie in her miserable condition, it is Joe who comes to her rescue. In a way he too acts like an angel in disguise for the little child.

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  • Q3

    For a little while the man stood with a puzzled air; then he turned back, and went into the hovel again. Maggie with painful effort, had raised herself to an upright position and was sitting on the bed, straining her eyes upon the door out of which all had just departed, A vague terror had come into her thin white face.

    Q1. Who is the man being talked about in the above paragraph? What does he do with Maggie?

    Q2.Why did everyone leave Maggie alone?

    Q3. Why did Joe help Maggie?

    Q4.Explain “A vague terror had come into her thin white face”.

    Q5. What assurance did Joe Thompson give Maggie?

    (3+3+3+3+4=16 Marks)

    Marks:16
    Answer:

    1. The person being talked about in the above paragraph is Joe Thompson, the wheelwright. He took pity on Maggie and took her to his home with the intention of leaving her at a poorhouse the next morning because he knew his wife would never approve of Maggie.

    2. No one was ready to take Maggie because they knew she could not work for them and they would have to take care of her because of her medical condition.

    3. Joe could not let the diseased child be left all alone. He had a rough exterior but a soft heart. He liked children and loved to have them come to his shop. He took pity at the child and decided to take her home for the night.

    4. Maggie saw everyone leave her after her mother’s funeral. She looked at Joe Thompson with hope, however she was scared that he too would leave her like the rest of the villagers. She was scared to be left alone.

    5. Joe assured Maggie that he would not leave her alone. He planned to take her with him but with the intention of taking her to the poorhouse the next morning.

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  • Q4

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

    "What is to be done with the children?" That was the chief question now. The dead mother would go underground, and be forever beyond all care or concern of the villagers. But the children must not be left to starve. After considering the matter, and talking it over with his wife, farmer Jones said that he would take John, and do well by him, now that his mother was out of the way; and Mrs. Ellis, who had been looking out for a bound girl, concluded that it would be charitable in her to make choice of Katy, even though she was too young to be of much use for several years.

    Q1. Do you think that the woman who died was loved by her neighbourhood? Explain.

    Q2.Where did the woman live? What were her living conditions?

    Q3.How did the woman die?

    Q4.Who was the youngest of the three children? Why was everyone reluctant to take her in?

    Q5. Why did people agree to take the other two children under their protection?

    (3+3+3+3+4=16 Marks)

    Marks:16
    Answer:

    1. The story “An Angel in Disguise” is set in a village where a poor woman who was hated by all met a tragic end when she fell on the threshold of her own door in a drunken fit and died, leaving behind three children to fend for themselves. The villager’s attitude changed towards her after her death. Now they were full of pity for her.

    2. The woman lived in an old humble hut, which she had secured little more than a place of shelter from summer heats and winter cold. She lived with her three children who were half starving when the villagers found them.

    3. The woman had fallen upon the threshold of her own door in a drunken fit, and died in the presence of her frightened little ones.

    4. Maggie was the youngest of the three children. She was hopelessly diseased. Two years before a fall from a window had injured her spine, and she had not been able to leave her bed since, except when lifted in the arms of her mother.

    5. People agreed to take the two children under their protection for their own selfish reasons. No one was ready to take Maggie because they knew she could not work for them and they would have to take care of her because of her medical condition.

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