NCERT Solutions for Class 10 English Chapter 13 - The Dear Departed
Chapter 13 - The Dear Departed Exercise 135
You are recommended to answer the three questions on your own based on the following points.
- In his extract that we read, we realize that the man is old and lonely with no one to care for him or spend some time with him.
- He might be feeling alone and neglected probably because people around him are younger and busy in their lives.
- One should not neglect the elderly because they might have become slower and inactive in their twilight years, but were once energetic and productive for the society.
- Children should be taught to look after the elderly (grandparents or other old people in their neighbourhood) from a young age, so that they learn to become compassionate and responsible toward fellow human beings when they grow up.
Chapter 13 - The Dear Departed Exercise 136
This is a group discussion and hence, you are recommended to answer this question based on the following points.
- Many old people live on their own because of the nuclear family system where children leave their parents' home to set up their own.
- Sometimes even if old people live with their children, they might be neglected by the children and treated as if an obligation or a liability.
- The younger generation today has little patience and tolerance with the elderly.
- Fast lives, high profile jobs and multitasking at different levels in life leaves children with no option but to neglect old parents.
- Old people left on the streets to survive on their own have a high risk of being abused and exploited.
- Many old people are also harassed by their selfish children for property and assets.
- Nuclear families
- Financial constraints
- Difficulty in finding spacious homes to retain joint families
- Degradation of human values
- Lack of commitment towards aged parents
- High profile jobs/cut throat competition/hectic lifestyles.
Activity to be carried out in the class.
Chapter 13 - The Dear Departed Exercise 154
3. Mrs. Slater discovers that grandfather is 'dead'.
2. Mrs. Slater instructs Victoria to put her white frock on with a black sash.
6. Henry wears the new slippers of grandfather's.
4. The Slaters fetch the bureau and the clock from upstairs.
11. The Jordans arrive and learn the details of grandfather's 'demise' from the Slaters.
5. The family sits down to have tea.
10. They discuss the obituary announcement in the papers and the insurance premium payment.
1. Victoria is asked to fetch the bunch of keys to the bureau to look for the insurance receipt.
9. Grandfather comes down and is surprised to find the Jordans.
7. Grandfather comes to know how his daughters were in a hurry to divide his things between them.
8. Grandfather announces his intention to change his will and to marry Mrs. Shorrocks.
Chapter 13 - The Dear Departed Exercise 155
The Slaters had telegrammed the Jordans informing them about the death of Mr. Merryweather. Mrs. Slater thought that the Jordans wouldn't come in their mourning clothes. However, she ordered for a new set of tailored black clothes to outshine the Jordans.
From this we learn that Mrs. Slater is an extremely superficial person who has absolutely no love or respect for the dead grandfather. She is only interested in showing off and in knowing what the people will say, and is even trying to outshine her sister in their mourning outfits.
Mrs. Slater loved the bureau that was in grandfather's room and was determined to have it after he died. She was also convinced that once her sharp sister Elizabeth arrived, she would guess immediately that Mrs. Slater wanted the bureau for herself, and so would try to get the best price for it. She therefore decided to shift it out of his room and bring it down to her drawing room before the Jordans arrive.
Henry, a simple man, is surprised that his wife is trying to get the bureau before her sister arrives. Being an honest man, he feels that the two sisters should decide between themselves how grandfather's belongings should be divided before anything is taken over. Besides, he was also worried that the bureau is quite a heavy piece of furniture to shift around and the Jordans may arrive at any moment while they are shifting it.
The Jordans took a long time to get to the house of the Slaters because they had to go out and buy proper mourning outfits before they arrived.
This shows that the two sisters were superficial and only worried about their appearances. They were envious of each other and extremely competitive. Each was trying to outdo the other even if it was over the mourning outfits they wore for grandfather's funeral.
The 'fatal mistake' is the fact that Mrs. Slater did not try to get another doctor to check on their father when she found that Dr. Pringle was out.
Mrs. Slater then informed her that since Dr. Pringle was the one who had attended to their father when he was alive it was only right that he should attend to him when he was dead.
Mrs. Jordan then went on to say that had another doctor been called he might have managed to restore her father.
The irony in this comment is that in truth, both sisters did not care for their father and were relieved that he was dead. Had another doctor been brought, he would have actually discovered that their father was still alive.
Ben appreciated grandfather going out and paying his insurance saying 'it's a good thing he did' because now that he was dead they would all benefit from this payment he had made.
Later on however, when Victoria informed them that he had not gone into town to pay his insurance premium, but instead gone to the public house to have a drink, Ben was angry because now the premium would be over due, and they would not be able to claim the insurance money. He therefore called him 'a drunken old beggar'.
Grandfather decided to change his will and leave all his bits of things to whomever he was living with when he died.
The immediate effect was that both his daughters were shocked and extremely apologetic and changed their attitude towards him. Each tried in their own way to convince grandfather that it would be best if he lived with them.
The three things grandfather had to do on Monday next were first go to the lawyers and alter his will. He then had to go to the insurance office and pay his premium. He finally would go to St. Philips Church and get married to Mrs. John Shorrocks who owned the public house - Ring-o-Bells.
The title of the play is "The dear departed".
"The dear departed" usually refers to people whom we are very close to in our life- a parent, a sibling, a good friend who suddenly dies. We miss them so much that we refer to them as our "dear departed".
In this story however, the title 'dear departed' stands for grandfather whom both daughters and their families thought was dead. Neither of them had ever loved their father in his lifetime and thought of him as a nuisance who they were quite happy to get rid of. The only thing that they considered dear was his money and possessions.
The moment they thought he was dead; there was no mourning in their hearts but only a show off of who had better mourning outfits. They argued with each other over his insurance premium and belongings.
When their father who was not actually dead found out the truth and realised that all that his daughters were interested in was his money, he informed them that he had decided to get married and not stay with either of them. In this way, the money which was so 'dear' to both of them would finally depart to Mrs. John Shorrocks.
The daughters were surprised to find that their father was alive. Elizabeth asked him if he remembered anyone coming into his room. He immediately scolded Amelia and Henry for having shifted his bureau and was shocked to find it downstairs along with his clock that was on the mantelpiece. Elizabeth then accused her sister of stealing his things thinking he was dead. Abel now understood why they were in black, and the reason behind them shifting the bureau was because they thought his will was unfair. When he informed his daughters that he had decided to change his will and leave all his possessions to whomever he was living with when he died, both sisters tried to convince him that it would be best if he lived with them. Amelia, to get even with her sister, then informed him that the reason for their last quarrel was because Elizabeth had said that she wouldn't take the grandfather over at any price. Father then realized the truth that neither of the two cared for him or wanted him to stay with them. All they were interested in was his belongings.
Henry is a simple and an honest man who seems to be totally dominated by his wife Amelia. When she insists that he wear grandfather's slippers even though they don't fit him, rather than arguing with her he agrees. He is a just man who is unhappy when his wife wants to take over the bureau and tells her that she needs her sister's consent when she divides the things up. Not wanting to displease his wife, however, he later helps her carry it downstairs.
He tries his best to maintain the peace in the house when the two sisters begin quarreling. His sister-in-law rightly sums up his docile character when she says to him "Are you such a poor creature that you must do every dirty thing she tells you?" His wife, on the other hand is a loud, bossy, dominating woman. She speaks rudely to her husband and orders him around.
She is also extremely greedy, cunning and manipulative. Even before the doctor can arrive to declare grandfather dead, she tries to take over his bureau and his clock before her sister can arrive. She is vain and competitive and even tries to outwit her sister in her mourning outfit. She keeps judging everyone and is convinced that her sister is a very prying person who notices everything.
Evidence from the play
The doctor has not yet arrived to see grandfather and she is trying to take over the bureau and his alarm clock before her sister arrives.
Overpowering / dominating
She insists that her husband wear grandfather's slippers even though they were too small for him.
She insists on him helping her bring down the bureau before her sister arrives.
Blunt / straight talking
She says her sister Elizabeth would definitely come to the house to collect her share of what grandfather had left even though when they had last quarreled she said she would never set foot there again.
She tells Henry to get his boots off as her sister was so prying she would notice the least speck.
She speaks very rudely about her sister.
When her sister said that they were delayed in their arrival because they had to buy new mourning outfits she acidly said she had ordered hers as she never fancied using ready made things.
She informs grandfather that the last quarrel with Elizabeth was because her sister said she wouldn't take him off her hands at any price.
a) 'It' refers to grandfather's bureau that was in his room.
b) When Victoria asked her mother to fasten her frock she said she was busy and so to ask father to do it. When she questioned father about not having his coat on he said that he and mother were going to bring grandfather's bureau down. She observed that both her parents were in a great hurry to carry out the shift and fully aware that her Aunt Elizabeth was to arrive. As the belongings would have to be shared equally, she asked them if they were trying to pinch the bureau.
c) The two reasons that Mrs. Slater gives for her action are firstly that she loved the bureau that was in grandfather's room and was determined to have it after he died. Besides, she was also convinced that once her sister Elizabeth arrived, she was so sharp that she would guess immediately that Mrs. Slater wanted the bureau for herself and so would try to get the best price for it.
d) Grandfather has just died and instead of mourning for him, all that Mrs. Slater is interested in is dividing his belongings and ensuring that she gets the bureau and the clock before her sister arrives. Her husband Henry although quite unhappy with the idea has no choice but to follow his dominating and manipulative wife's instructions.
Victoria on the other hand, is an innocent little girl who loved her grandfather and is at first confused as to why her parents are in such a hurry to move furniture when he has just passed away. She is however wise enough to realize that the emergency is only because her aunt who has not visited them in ages is due to arrive. Then everything belonging to grandfather would have to be equally divided between the two sisters.
Chapter 13 - The Dear Departed Exercise 156
a) This comment is made by Mrs. Jordan.
b) When grandfather asks his daughter Amelia if she had seen his slippers she asked him if they were by the hearth. Observing Henry trying to take them of his feet grandfather commented about it. Mrs. Slater immediately came to the rescue of her husband saying that she had asked him to wear them and stretch them as they were new and hard. It was then that Mrs. Jordan made this comment.
c) By this statement Mrs. Jordan wanted to ridicule Mrs. Slater and her husband for having taken over grandfather's slippers the moment he had died, even before he could be buried. She also wanted to convince her father that all her sister was waiting for was for him to die so that they could take over his place in the house as well as his possessions.
a) Ben, who was Elizabeth's husband and grandfather's son in law, said these words.
b) When Mr. and Mrs. Jordan arrived, they all sat down at the table and Amelia began to tell them about grandfather and his age. As she speaks, she sniffs back a tear, which prompts Ben to try to console her by saying these words.
c) By the statement 'it might have been worse' Ben could have been referring to the kind of death grandfather had. He had died peacefully in his sleep without any pain or suffering. Neither had he troubled any of the other family members. Had he met with an accident or some kind of illness it might have been bad for him and his family who would have to take care of him.
Ben could also have meant that it might have been worse if one of them had to die because they were still young but grandfather had lived his life.
d) This statement reveals that Ben is a very practical, outspoken man who was aware about the feelings both the families had for grandfather. Had grandfather been ailing or in pain, they would all have found it a burden to look after the old man. God in his mercy had taken him away. He also appreciated the fact that Elizabeth had taken over the job of caring for her father till his death.
Today, dear diary, began on a very sad note, but has ended on a happy one, at least for me. I can't speak for the rest of my family. I almost thought I had lost my grandfather, a man I really adore and care for. I was shattered to hear of his demise, but what annoyed me more was the behavior of the elders in my family.
I was aghast and bewildered at how my mother and aunt had been quarreling over grandfather's belongings. What was more important, he or his material wealth? The moment they realized he is no more, they started claiming their right over his things.
Grandfather is such a nice man and a source of great wisdom and cheer for me. I thank God that he is hale and hearty, and that he did not hesitate a bit to react to his children's attitude. I wish more parents express themselves honestly when they come to know about the selfishness of their children. This way children will understand the importance of loving and caring for their old parents and remember that one day, they too will be old and dependent on their children.
This activity is to be carried out by the student in the class.
Other Chapters for CBSE Class 10 EnglishChapter 1- Two Gentlemen of Verona Chapter 2- Mrs. Packletide's Tiger Chapter 3- The Letter Chapter 4- A Shady Plot Chapter 5- Patol Babu, Film Star Chapter 6- Virtually True Chapter 7- The Frog and the Nightingale Chapter 8- Mirror Chapter 9- Not Marble, nor the Gilded Monuments (Sonnet 55) Chapter 10- Ozymandias Chapter 11- The Rime of the Ancient Mariner Chapter 12- Snake Chapter 14- Julius Caesar
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