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On The Face Of It Summary
The scene opens in Mr. Lamb’s garden. Derry enters the garden thinking that no one would be there. Suddenly, he listens to Lamb’s voice. He tells him to walk carefully on the long grass because there were unripe apples that had fallen in the grass due to the wind.
He could fall down if he did not remain careful while walking. Derry wants to leave the garden as he feels of Mr. Lamb but latter Derry not to be afraid of him. At this Derry informs Mr. Lamb that he is not afraid of him rather people are afraid of him (Derry).
On being asked by Mr. Lamb as to how people are afraid of him, he explains that they as see his burnt side of his face. It seems ugliest to them. He also tells him that they call him ‘poor boy’ and he is not poor and helpless.
Derry is a victim of the inferiority complex. That is why; he does not come out of his house and avoid meeting people because they think his face as a terrible thing. He says that people consider him a ‘poor boy’ but he does not consider himself to be poor and helpless.
He also admits that he is also afraid to see his own face in the mirror. Now Mr. Lamb changes the topic of the conversation to make Derry feel better. Derry tells Mr. Lamb as to how his face got burned in acid. He also adds that he is not interested in meeting people.
In Contrast to Derry Mr. Lamb says that everything made by god interests him. He himself got a tin leg which one side of his face was burnt. He continuous saying that his tin leg was blown off and children call him ‘Lamey Lamb’.Derry argues that Mr. Lamb can cover his tin leg by wearing trousers, but he cannot hide his terribly looking face. That is why he remains at home.
Mr. Lamb says that people are in a habit of feeling tired of watching at one thing as they have many beautiful things to watch at Derry’s face is not so much important for them. He also makes him understand that the outer appearance is not so much important as the inner thing is important and valuable. To clarify his point he gives the example of beauty who marries a beast. She kissed him because she loved his inner being not outward appearance. As soon as she kissed his ugly face he got transformed into a handsome prince. Derry says that no one is going to kiss him that way. His mother kisses him but he does not like it because he feels that she kisses him out of compulsion.
Derry continues to believe that no one in the world is ever going to love him. He quotes one example to support his point. He says that he was standing at a bus stop. A woman saw his face and then whispered in another woman’s ear. He heard her say that his face was such a terrible thing that only a mother can love it.
Derry keeps on talking, about hopeless and peculiar things. But Mr. Lamb does not accept defeat. He continues trying to change Derry’s negative attitude toward life and people. Mr. Lamb gives another example. He says that he knew a man who was afraid of everything, so he kept himself shut in four walls of his house.
He was afraid that a bus might run him over, he could get the infection from the people’s breath, a donkey could kick him to death, if he ever loved a girl, she might leave him and love another person and he could fall down by stepping on the skin of banana etc. So he looked into the room and kept sitting on his bed. One day, a picture fell on his head and he died on the spot. At this Derry laughs. Derry asks him what he did all day. Mr. Lamb told him that he reads books. Therefore, his room is full of books. Then Derry asks him why the windows of his house are without curtains.
Mr. Lamb says that he does not like to drawn curtains over his windows. He loves light, darkness and to hear the wind blowing. Derry also says that he loves raining and the noise it creates while falling on the roofs. At this, Mr. Lamb feels sure that Derry could be saved from helplessness and inferiority complex. Derry tells him that sometimes, he listens to his parents speaking about his future. They are worried as to why would take care of him when they remain no more in this world. Mr. Lamb encourages him by saying that he has got two arms, two leg, eye and ears, a tongue and a brain. He advises Derry that he could prove his worth better than others if he could decide firmly.
Derry asks Mr. Lamb if he has got any friends. Mr. Lamb says he has hundreds of friends. They come and sit with him almost daily. Children come for apples and pears. He also gives him toffees with honey prepared by him.
Derry says that the people who pass in the street daily cannot be his friend. Mr. Lamb says that they are not his enemies too. He also says that his mother is very possessive of him. She always knows where he is. In this way, both of them talk in a casual way. Mr. Lamb goes to tend his bees and Derry also goes back to his home. It is Derry’s home. She advises him not to go there in the garden again. Both of them argue. After some minutes runs to the garden. As he reached there in the. Mr. Lamb falls down with the ladder and dies.
On The Face Of It Question Answers
Short Answer Type Questions (2 Marks)
1. Who is Mr. Lamb? How did he lose his leg?
Ans. Mr. Lamb is an old man who lives in a big house. He has no family. He has a garden in front of his house. He lost his leg in an explosion in a war.
2. Why and how did Derry enter Mr. Lamb’s garden? (2012, 2013, 2015, 2016, 2017)
Ans. Derry entered Mr. Lamb’s garden by walking slowly and cautiously through the long grass and round a screen of bushes and finally by climbing over the wall.
Derry entered Mr. Lamb’s garden with an intention to spend some time at an empty place. He thought it was an empty place.
3. Why does Mr. Lamb leave his gate always open?
Ans. Mr. Lamb doesn’t mind leaving his gate always open because he likes to meet people who come in his garden. He likes to talk to them and learn different things from them. He further says that everything that belongs to him also belongs to everybody else. He considers all the people like his friend.
4. Why does Mr. Lamb not have any curtains at the window of his house? (2012, 2016, 2018)
Ans. Mr. lamb loves the outside world. He does not believe in shutting things out. He wants to feel the beauty of this world. He likes to hear the sound of wind blowing outside and the birds chirping outside. So he does not have curtains at his window. He also likes light and darkness.
5. How do people comment so painfully about Derry’s face and why? (2014, 2015)
Ans. Derry has a burnt face. By looking at his face people comment him ‘poor boy’ and some by saying that only a mother can love such a terrible face. They comment in this way because they find Derry’s face really terrible. Moreover, they don’t understand Derry’s feelings.
6. How does Mr. Lamb say he occupies himself in his house?
Ans. Mr. Lamb says that he occupies himself in his house by readings books and doing other things. He tells that when it is raining, he likes to hear raindrops fall on the roof.
7. Who should befriend according to both Derry and Mr. Lamb? (2014)
Ans. According to both Derry and Mr. Lamb people who might never see each other again but still retain the friendship, should be friends.
8. What was the reaction of Mr. Lamb after he saw Derry entering his garden?
Ans. Mr. Lamb did not react when he saw Derry trespassing into his garden. He sat under an apple tree and asked Derry to step on the grass carefully so that he does not trip on the apples.
9. What do people tell Derry to make him forget his pain?
Ans. People tell Derry to be brave and never cry and complain. They even tell him to think of people who were worse than him and even console him by saying that he might have been blind, or born deaf or have to live in a wheelchair.
10. What does Mr. Lamb do that seems ‘peculiar’ to Derry?
Ans. Mr. Lamb doesn’t let his physical disability destroy the happiness in his life. He is not afraid of Derry’s face, unlike others. The quality that attracted Derry most to Mr. Lamb was his tremendous patience as he listened to him. He talked to him about things which mattered; things nobody else had ever said to him.
11. What did Derry’s mother think of Mr. Lamb?
Ans. Derry’s mother is quite skeptical of Mr. Lamb. She considers him to be eccentric. She claims that she has heard many things about Mr. Lamb and some have also warned her against him. That is why she doesn’t want Derry to meet Mr. Lamb.
12. What did Derry’s mother think of Mr. Lamb?
Ans. Derry’s mother is quite skeptical of Mr. Lamb. Derry’s mother claims to have heard many things about Mr. Lamb. She has been told and warned by the people. She asks Derry not to go back there. Derry asks her not to believe all she hears. He is determined to go there.
13. Why did Derry go back to Mr. Lamb in the end? (2013, 2017)
Ans. Mr. Lamb has changed the way Derry looks at the world. Derry is determined to go back to Mr. Lamb. Mr. Lamb says “things nobody else has ever said”. Moreover, he has promised Mr. Lamb to come back to him. He wants to prove that he has fulfilled his promise. Mr. Lamb has given him a new meaning to life. So he is coming to meet him again.
14. How does Mr. Lamb try to remove the baseless fears of Derry?
Ans. Derry says that people are afraid of his face. Mr. Lamb replies that there are other things in the world to be noticed. He asks Derry how can one distinguish a flower from a weed when both are plants. They are all in life. He also tells Derry that he has to take the risk by coming out of his shell. Everybody has problems in his life, but it is our attitude that matters.
15. “It ate my face up. It ate me up.” Who said these words? Why?
And. Derry said these words to Mr. Lamb when he narrated the horrific incident when his face got burned by acid. The acid ate up his face. The burnt face ate him up. He said this because the burning of the face destroyed all the happiness in his life.
16. Do you think all this will change Derry’s attitude towards Mr. Lamb?
Ans. Derry’s attitude towards life itself has entirely changed. Mr. Lamb was able to show him the bright side of life. Derry was transformed totally and developed a new understanding of his life. Accordingly, his attitude towards Mr. Lamb will also change and he will consider Mr. Lamb as a true friend.
17. How does Mr. Lamb keep himself busy when it is a bit cool?
Ans. When it’s a bit cooler, Mr. Lamb gets a ladder and a stick to pull down the crab apples. He calls them magic-fruit and likes to make jelly out of them.
18. Why doesn’t Derry stay to help Mr. Lamb to get crab-apples?
Ans. Derry can’t stay to help Mr. Lamb to get crab-apples. He had been away from home for long. His mother must be worried. She wanted to know where he was. His home was at a distance of three miles across the fields. He was fourteen but still his mother wanted to know where her son was.
19. What is it that draws Derry towards Mr. Lamb in spite of himself? 2011
Ans: Derry finds Mr. Lamb very different from others. Mr. Lamb shows no shock or fear of seeing Derry’s burnt face. Rather, he talks to him in a loving manner. He welcomes him to his garden. He tells Derry never to think of his burnt face. He says that Derry has two arms, two legs, eyes, ears, tongue, and a brain. And if he has a firm mind, he can do better than others. Such words of encouragement bring about a total change in Derry’s mind. It is by such words of encouragement that Mr. Lamb draws Derry to himself.
20. How did Derry get his face burnt? 2019
Ans: One side of Derry’s face was totally burnt. Mr. Lamb guessed that Derry’s face got burned in a fire. Derry corrected him. He got acid all down on that side of his face. The acid burned it all the way. It ate his face up
Long Answer Type Questions (7 Marks)
1. Derry and Mr. Lamb both are victims of physical impairment, but their attitudes towards life are completely different. Explain. (2012, 2016)
“Though both Mr. Lamb and Derry suffer from a physical disability, their attitude to life is different”. Justify the relevance of this statement with reference to the story, “On the Face of it.” 2019
Ans. The conversation between Derry and Mr. Lamb reveals their different attitudes towards life.
Derry is a fourteen years old boy, half of whose face is disfigured, as it got burnt by acid. The half-face has left him miserable, He feels unwanted. He thinks that people think he is ugly like the devil and they are afraid of him. He gets infuriated when people sympathize with him. All these bad experiences have made him cynical, and he has developed a pessimistic attitude towards life.
On the other hand, Mr. Lamb is a complete contrast to Derry. He doesn’t leave his physical disability to destroy his life. He is an optimist. He finds beauty and peace in everything. When children tease him by calling him Lamey-Lamb, he is not offended. He feels that such a name suits him. He is full of hope and positivity.
2. What is it that drawn Derry towards Mr. Lamb in spite of himself? (2018)
Ans. Derry finds Mr. Lamb quite different from the other people he has come across till now. He is impressed by the old man’s talk about beauty and the beast and the plain talk of about how the world will change its attitude towards Derry. Mr. Lamb’s concept of the world, friendship, not believing everything one hears, the story about the timid ( fearful) man who locked himself in and the like, sound peculiar to Derry, but interest him. He understands the underlying message that Mr. Lamb has given him.
He is encouraged by Mr. Lamb’s words, “You will get on the way you want, like all the rest.”
Gradually, Derry is able to shed his inhibitions, insecurities, fears, and complexes. The talk with Mr. Lamb is the beginning of his transformation. That’s the reason for Derry saying, … “you don’t know what I could do.”
Besides, Derry is also drawn towards Mr. Lamb because both of them have suffered loss and humiliation and both feel isolated and lonely.
3. What impression do you form of Derry, the small boy, in the play ‘On The Face Of It’?
Ans. Derry is a fourteen-year-old boy who is very withdrawn and defiant. One side of his face has been burnt by acid and it looks very ugly and frightful. This incident has made him a victim of inferiority complex.
Derry is highly sensitive to what others – his parents, family friends, well-wishers or even total strangers – say about him. Their anxiety concern, fear, and revulsion pains him more then the burn did.
Derry is quite intelligent. When Mr. Lamb mentions the story ‘Beauty and the Beast’, Derry at once comes out with it’s moral: ‘Handsome is a handsome does.’ He, however, evokes self-pity by saying, “I won’t change… and no one will kiss me ever.”
Derry is sensitive to the sufferings of others. He arouses sympathy for himself by making inquiries about the old man’s leg, pain and how he passes his life alone. Derry has the capacity to learn. He is impressed by the old man’s way of life in spite of physical handicap. In the end, he does not bother about his face or looks and wants to see, hear, learn and think and do what no one else has done. In short, Derry is a developing character.
4. What is Derry’s attitude to life? How is it transformed?
Do you think Derry’s chance meeting with Mr. Lamb would prove meaningful to him?
Ans. After meeting Mr. Lamb, Derry is filled with enthusiasm for life. Mr. Lamb’s words have a profound effect on him and he changes drastically. He is not overtly conscious of his ugly face. We get a reflection of Derry’s transformation in scene two when he reaches his house after a brief encounter with Mr. Lamb.
He tells his mother, “You shouldn’t believe all you hear”. He categorically tells her that he wants to go back to Mr. Lamb to listen to bees singing and him talking. He says that Mr. Lamb talks to him about, “things that matter. Things nobody else has ever said. Things he wants to think about.”
Looking at these developments, one is bound to conclude that Derry will not become secluded once again. His brief association with Mr. Lamb has left an indelible imprint on him and he will base his later life on the teachings of Mr. Lamb.
Exam Questions From 2012-2019
2 marks questions
1. Why and how did Derry enter Mr. Lamb’s garden? 2012 2013 2015 2016 2017
2. Why aren’t there any curtains at the windows of Mr. Lamb’s house? 2012 2016 2018
4. Why does Derry go back to Mr. Lamb in the end? 2013 2017
5. How do people comment so painfully about Derry’s face? And Why? 2014 2015
6. Who should be friends, according to both Derry and Mr. Lamb? 2014
7. Why aren’t there any curtains at the windows of Mr. Lamb’s house? 2016
8. What is it that draws Derry towards Mr. Lamb in spite of himself? 2011
9. How did Derry get his face burnt? 2019
Long questions – 7 Marks
1. “Though both Mr. Lamb and Derry suffer from a physical disability, their attitude to life is different”. Justify the relevance of this statement with reference to the story, “On the Face of it.” 2012 2016 2019 2020
2. What impression do you form of Mr. Lamb? How does he look at life? 2015
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