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Class 10 NCERT Solutions English Chapter 4 - A Shady Plot


A Shady Plot Exercise 33

Solution 1a


a supernatural experience of a person or thing, a ghost, spectre or phantom


German word, meaning "noisy ghost"-a troublesome spirit that announces its presence with unexplainable sounds and the creation of disorder


the supposed power to see objects or events that cannot be perceived by the senses

Crystal Ball

a globe of quartz crystal in which images, believed to portend the future, are supposedly visible to fortune tellers


so mysterious, strange, or unexpected as to send a chill up the spine beyond the range of normal experience or scientific explanation


a person through whom the spirits of the dead are alleged to be able to contact the living


to pass into another body after death: going from one state of existence or place to another

Solution 1b


capable of extraordinary mental processes, such as extrasensory perception and mental telepathy

Ouija Board

a spelling board device intended to communicate with and through the spirit world, obtaining answers to questions


a conjurer who expels evil spirits by conjuration


a feeling of anticipation or anxiety over a future event


beyond the range of normal experience or scientific explanation

Tarot Card

any of a set of 22 playing cards bearing allegorical representations, used for fortune telling


a reanimated corpse that is believed to rise from the grave at night to suck the blood of sleeping people


A Shady Plot Exercise 34

Solution 2

The student is recommended to attempt this question based on his/her imagination.

Solution 3

This is an activity to be carried out in class by the students.


A Shady Plot Exercise 46

Solution 4(1)

d) working as a accountant in a lumber company

Solution 4(2)

b) he was always able to write a ghost story whenever he had to write one.

Solution 4(3)

a) fear


A Shady Plot Exercise 47

Solution 4(4)

d) stop people from using the Ouija board

Solution 4(5)

d) anxiety

Solution 4(6)

b) ironic

Solution 4(7)

d) the ghost materializing in sections

Solution 4(8)

c) she is afraid of magic and hoodoo.


A Shady Plot Exercise 48

Solution 5a

Jenkins wants the narrator to write supernatural stories because he believes that is what the public want to read.

Solution 5b

The narrator says that he does not specialize in ghost stories but ghost stories specialize in him. He means that he does not have the self-confidence to write ghost stories, yet somehow he manages to write them. A ghost story was the first fiction he had ever written. He is still curious as to how the idea for the plot had come to him out of nowhere. He had chased inspiration in vain for months.

Besides, Jenkins' magazine was the only one that printed his stories and so when he wanted the narrator to write a ghost story for him, he could not refuse him. The narrator also owes money to his landlord and his grocer which is why he agrees to take up the task. These evidences point to the fact that the author does not particularly like writing ghost stories.

Solution 5c

Helen, the ghost was a writer in her previous life. She has often been in the same situation as the author. Not knowing what to write, she used to call upon heaven and earth to help her write a story. She finds others who suffered similar problems and organizes "The Writers Inspiration Bureau". Together, they scout around until they find an impressionable writer without ideas. They bring his case to the attention of to the attention of the main office and assign one of them to help the author to write good ghost stories.  In the end, the ghost submits  a report to the bureau.

Solution 5d

Helen the ghost had been helping the narrator write ghost stories because she was a writer in her previous life. She, like the narrator, had often faced writer's block. She and others like her organised and founded "The Writers Inspiration Bureau". Together, they scouted around for impressionable writers with writer's block and helped him pen good ghost stories.

Helen was upset because some Ouija board fanatics kept asking them a variety of questions disrupting their peace.

She wanted the author to exert his influence and get all his friends and acquaintances to stop using the Ouija board. Only then would she help him to write.



Solution 5e

Helen, the ghost, tells the narrator that she is responsible for helping him write his ghost stories. Very often, when he runs out of inspiration for his story, she leans on his shoulder and gives him ideas. He then writes it down thinking it was his own idea. Unbeknownst to him, it is Helen who has been helping him out. Had it not been for Helen, he would have never been able to write good stories. In this way, she undermines the narrator's faith in his ability.

Solution 5f

When John hears his wife's voice at the door, he waves his arms in fear asking Helen to disappear because he is afraid that his wife might misunderstand him. Lavinia is a very sensitive woman who is prone to hysterics. Had Lavinia seen him talking to a ghost, she would think he is insane

His wife is also a jealous woman, who would have not approved of Helen leaning on her husband's shoulder. She is a materialistic person who loves shopping. Her husband's job as a writer is not very lucrative, yet that doesn't stop her from being a spend thrift. She is not very open to suggestion as is evident from her refusal to do away with the Ouija board despite her husband's request. She is also very social in nature and loves to throw parties.

Solution 5g

Laura Hinkle is one of Lavinia's friends who have been invited by her for the Ouija Board Party .The narrator hesitates to be a partner to Laura Hinkle because she is a flirtatious lady.

Besides this, the ghost Helen had asked him to convince people to stop using the Ouija Board so that she and the other ghosts could rest. If he fails to do so, she would not help him write ghost stories.

Solution 5h

The ghost first informs Laura that the narrator is a traitor, that her name is Helen and that she is very angry with him because he does not keep her promise. She communicates the same idea from every board at the party.

His wife Lavinia and the others are suspicious as they feel that he is cheating on Lavinia.

Solution 5i

Lavinia's friends had met at her house for an Ouija board party. They use Ouija boards to invoke the spirits and ask them questions.

Laura Hinkle discovers that a spirit named Helen called Lavinia's husband John a traitor. Soon there are reports from across the room that at the other boards the same ghost is trying to communicate with him. The women look at him suspiciously which prompts him to call them manipulators. I do not support the narrator's accusations as the women are just reporting what is being conveyed to them through the Ouija board.


Solution 5j

John's wife is very angry when the ghost calls him a traitor. She suspects him of infidelity. Comments like "doesn't he look sly" by Miss Hinkle further upsets her.

She feels that her husband is hiding something from her. She therefore decides to leave him and goes back to live with her grandmother. Her lawyer then communicates with him later.



Solution 5k

John wishes he was dead because thanks to his encounter with the ghost Helen, his wife left him. He also feels that he has lost not only his wife, but also his home, his cook and his happiness.

Solution 5l

A pun is a form of word play; it suggests two or more meanings for the same word.

When confronted by Lavinia about his flirtations over the Ouija Board, John insists that 'the affair was quite above-board, I assure you, my love'.

The literal meaning of the word 'above board' in John's statement is that since Laura Hinkle was his partner she was holding his hand coyly over the 'Ouija board' where all could see it.

The figurative meaning is that although Laura Hinkle was trying to flirt with him by holding his hand coyly, she was doing it in the open for all to see and not hiding it from anyone.

Solution 5m

John has always felt that his wife is a very sensitive woman who goes hysterical on seeing a ghost. However, his apprehensions about her reaction when she encountered a ghost are unfounded.

A broad satisfied smile spreads over her face as Lavinia looks at the apparition: the owl- eyed phantom with hair skewed back. She speaks to the ghost intrepidly. The ghost, whom she thought was the beautiful Helen of Troy and was in fact a homely looking woman. She is relieved that her husband is, in fact, innocent.

Solution 6a

This answer depends on each student's views and opinions.

A few guidelines

Begin with the date and salutation and end with the salutation.

The body of the letter can  contain the following points:

  • I have always been proud of having a perfect marriage.
  • My husband John suddenly started behaving strangely as if he was trying to hide something from me.
  • To make matters worse, I decided to have an Ouija board party.
  • A spirit named Helen tried to communicate with John through all the boards calling him a traitor.
  • I was upset
  • I thought he was having an affair with a ghost.
  • John was evasive when I questioned him.
  • I decided to leave him.
  • My marriage was saved by my timely encounter with the plain looking Helen.
  • My highly suspicious nature almost cost me my marriage.
  • All's well that ends well! My husband and I are happy again!
  • I will never look at an Ouija board again.

Solution 6b

This answer depends on each student's views and imagination.

A few guidelines for your article:

Begin your diary entry with the place and date.

Dear diary,

As I recollect the events of the past few days, I can't help but laugh about it. My encounter with a ghost named Helen would qualify as one the best ghost stories ever written.  Though this story has a happy ending, everything wasn't very smooth sailing at the beginning.

  • I was desperate for a ghost story. I had even started talking to myself.
  • Helen's entry into my life.
  • She said she was responsible for all my ideas.
  • I was repulsed by the idea of the ghost touching me.
  • My fears about my sensitive wife's- reaction on encountering the ghost.
  • The party and how Helen made her presence felt. (reactions of all the other women)
  • I was torn between a ghost who wanted to go on strike and a jealous wife.
  • I was relieved by my wife's joy at seeing the actual ghost and how plain-looking she was.
  • She was critical of the ghost's appearance; she commented that her nose was not powdered.

A Shady Plot Exercise 49

Solution 7a


Extract from story

What it tells us about the character

John Hallock

1. .... in the end things had always come my way..... somehow I'd always been able to dig one (plot) up for him, so I'd begun to get a bit cocky as to my ability (to write stories).

2. "But my ghosts aren't a bit like you----".

3. We scout around until we find a writer without ideas and with a. mind soft enough to accept impression.

4. ...things had always come my way-I didn't in the least know how or why. ..I was always able to dig up a ghost story for him.

5. I threw a protective husbands hand around her to catch her if she fainted.



1. over confident, self disparaging


2. skeptical


3. gullible



4. creative





5. protective


Solution 7b


Extract from story

What it tells us about the character

Lavinia Halock

1. Ghost stories are awfully thrilling. These boards are positively devilish.



2. …you know I bought the loveliest thing this afternoon.



 3. Lavinia stopped and began to look at me through narrowed lids much as she had done in the library the evening before.



4. …it is bad enough to have you flirt over the Ouija board with that hussy..



5. Buys the Ouija board but says it is for John's research


6.Does not flinch when she meets the ghost but talks to her casually.

1. loves novelty and thrills




 2. Spendthrift



3. suspicious



4. jealous




 5. manipulative


6. strong


A Shady Plot Exercise 50

Solution 8


Column A

Column B

  • Misto Hallock
  • de Missus
  • sho t'inks you's lost!
  • she done 'phone you dis mawnin'
  • fo'de lawd's sake
  • not to stop to argify now
  • I's gwine quit.
  • I don't like no hoodoos.
  • I'se done lef' dis place
  • I is
  • Mister Hallock
  • the Mrs.
  • she thinks you are lost.
  • She phoned you this morning.
  • for the lord's sake.
  • Do not stop to argue now.
  • I was going to quit.
  • I do not like hoodoo magic.
  • I am done with this place and I am going to leave this place
  • I am

Solution 9

I was alone in a place that bore a deserted look like that of a _ghost town. I increased the pace of my footsteps as I walked through the dark forest. I felt someone walking behind me. I turned immediately and spotted the contour of a figure in the form of a ghost image. It smiled at me wickedly. I started shaking with fear and perspiring profusely when I felt its skeletal hand upon my neck. I woke up with a start, relieved that it was only a nightmare.

This was not the first time I had had one. It had all started when I had watched the horrendous horror film with an eerie ghost character that had a scary ghost of a smile on its face. It had been almost a month. The strange thing was that I saw a similar face at the station the next morning. That was uncanny.

I was to attend a dinner at my friend's at Northanger Abbey that night. I had decided to narrate my experience to the group that would assemble there although I knew there was a ghost of a chance that they would be convinced.

After everyone had finished pouring their drinks to themselves, I cleared my throat and started narrating my spooky experience. However, every one of the group started accusing me of being a ghost at a feast and held me responsible for spoiling the spirit of revelry. I gave up the ghost and sat quietly waiting for the party to be over. Back at home, the fears returned. I knew I had to talk about my experience to somebody to feel better. I have now decided to ghost write and publish my experience under a pseudonym. Only then can I lay the ghost.


A Shady Plot Exercise 51

Solution 10

This activity has to be carried out by the students.


A Shady Plot Exercise 52

Solution 11

This is an activity that has to be carried out by each student. The guidelines have already been provided in the question.


A Shady Plot Exercise 53

Solution 12

This answer depends on each student's views and imagination.

A few guidelines for your article:

  • The humourous style of writing used by the author.
  • The narrator is able to laugh at himself.
  • The coincidences that add to the humour.(The ghost wanting to go on strike because of the Ouija board and the narrator's wife hosting a  Ouija board party.)
  • The humorous situations described in the story.
  • The Ouija board party that could have been a scary experience turned out to be an entertaining incident.
  • Lavinia's jealousy over her husband's association with a ghost.
  • The wife's joy at seeing how homely looking the ghost was.
  • Lavinia's criticism of the ghost's appearance.
  • The way each character is portrayed-

               The narrator who is preoccupied with writing a  ghost story.

               Lavinia who is a spendthrift obsessed with new trends and fashions.

               Helen the ghost's predicament about the Ouija board abusers. Laura Hinkle, the flirt.

               Gladolia, the cook speaking in hilarious distinct dialect.



Solution 13(1)

d)such weather was ideal for frightening the people in the house


A Shady Plot Exercise 54

Solution 13(2)

The Ghost was particularly angry with Washington and wished to frighten him because he knew that it was Washington who kept on removing the famous Canterville blood stain by using his Pinkerton's Paragon Detergent.

Solution 13(3)

The Ghost did not wish to frighten Virginia because she had never insulted him in anyway and because she was pretty and gentle.

Solution 13(4)

d) The Twins

Solution 13(5)

a) funny


c) prankster

d) revengeful

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