NCERT Solutions for Class 9 English Chapter 8 - A House Is Not A Home
Chapter 8 - A House Is Not A Home Exercise 54
One Sunday afternoon the author smells something strange, and notices smoke pouring in through the seams of the ceiling. The smoke begins to fill the room so quickly that one could barely see. Examining the way to the front door, they all ran out into the front yard. By the time they came outside, the whole roof was engulfed in flames and it was spreading quickly. The author runs to the neighbours to call the fire department, while his mother runs back into the house. She returns carrying a small metal box full of important documents. She drops the case on the lawn and, in a crazed state, runs back into the house.
She runs back into the house to collect the pictures and letters of her dead husband. She does so because she does not want to let them go up in flames. They were the only things that she has to remember him by.
He breaks down in tears after the fire because he could not find the cat. Besides all the thoughts come to him suddenly his new school, the fire and the loss of his cat and he cries and cries.
The author is deeply embarrassed the next day in school because when the fire broke out, he was still wearing the dress he had worn to church that morning but he had no shoes as he had lost them in the fire. So he had to borrow some tennis shoes from his aunt. He was totally embarrassed by everything. The clothes he was wearing looked weird, he had no books or homework, and his backpack was gone. Words used in the lesson that show his fear and insecurity are ‘outcast’, ‘geek’, ‘curl up and die’ ‘had my life in that back pack’ ‘zombie’, ‘surreal’ and ‘security …ripped away’.
The cat and the author are very fond of each other. Whenever the author did his homework, his red tabby cat always lay on top of all his papers, purring loudly and occasionally swatting at his pen for entertainment’s sake. The cat was never far from him as it knew he had rescued her when she was a kitten, and somehow she knew that he was the one responsible for giving her ‘the good life’.
When he walked through his house the next day he knew his cat was gone and his heart ached for her. He kept thinking of her as the vulnerable little kitten, who early in the morning when he would disturb her and get out of bed, would tag along after him, climb up his robe and crawl into his pocket to fall asleep.
After the fire the cat had been so freaked that she ran over a mile away. A woman found her and took her in and worked hard to find out whose cat it was. She somehow knew that this cat was loved and deeply missed. The cat also had a collar with the phone number on it but the phones had all been destroyed and disconnected in the fire and so she was unable to contact them.
A month later, while the author was at his house watching it being rebuilt, the woman came over with the cat and asked him if the cat belonged to him. He leapt up and grabbed the cat from her hands and held it close and cried into its beautiful orange fur. The cat purred happily.
The authors understanding of life and people changed the next day at school when he had to enter gym class. People kept telling him to hurry up and when he entered the gym he saw a big table set up with all kinds of stuff on it, just for him. They had taken up a collection and bought him school supplies, notebooks, all kinds of different clothes jeans, tops and sweat suits. It was like Christmas. He was overcome by emotion. People who had never spoken to him before were coming up to him to introduce themselves. He got all kinds of invitations to their houses. Their genuine outpouring of concern touched him, he breathed a sigh of relief and for the first time he felt that things would be okay and he made friends that day. It took a fire for him to stop focusing on his feelings of insecurity and open up to all the wonderful people around him.
Chapter 8 - A House Is Not A Home Exercise 55
After the fire, the author was so depressed and dejected with all that had happened in his life he just wanted to curl up and die. He had also given up all hope of ever finding his cat. However the kindness and generosity of all the people around him especially at school and the kind woman who returned his cat made him realise that things would be okay. He now had a new outlook to life. His cat was back and he too was ready to go on with his life. This is what he meant when he said "My cat was back and so was I".
The author had not gone anywhere but felt gratitude for his life for his new friends, their genuine outpouring of concern and the kindness of a stranger who had brought back his beloved cat. When he looked at his house being rebuilt he felt that the same thing was happening with his life. He had made new friends and his cat was back. All this had brought him back to life.
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