1. Notice these expressions in the text. Infer their meanings from the context.
incongruity: quality of being unsuitable
prodigy: a young person endowed with exceptional qualities
chuffed: very pleased
solitary elm: a secluded tall tree
arcade: a passage or a walkway with shops and stalls on either side
amber glow: orange-yellow light of the lamp
wharf: a place beside the water bodies for loading or unloading of the ships
pangs of doubt: a sudden realization of uncertainty about something
Page No: 79
Think As you Read
1. Where was it most likely that the two girls would find work after school?
The two girls, Sophie and Jansie, were already destined for a job in the biscuit factory and it was likely that they would work there after school.
2. What were the options that Sophie was dreaming of? Why does Jansie discourage her to have such dreams?
Sophie dreamt of opening a boutique or becoming an actress or a fashion designer. She thought that she would be offered the position of a manager and that she would work there till the time she saves enough money for her boutique.
Keeping in mind their lower middle class family background, Jansie discourages Sophie to have such dreams. Jansie is more realistic and practical in life, and hence, knows that big ambitions cost heavy investments, something their working-class status could not afford.
Sophie knew her father well. He would be angry if he knew of her meeting with the young Irish footballer, Danny Casey. She didn’t tell him. When Geoff told his father about it, he became angry. He turned his head to look at her with disdain. Sophie wriggled where she was sitting at the table.
4. Did Geoff believe what Sophie says about her meeting with Danny Casey?
No, Geoff doesn’t believe what Sophie says about her meeting with Danny Casey. First, he looks round in disbelief and says, “It can’t be true”. Again he says, “I don’t believe it.” Sophie then narrates how Danny Casey came and stood beside her. Geoff asks her, “What does he look like?” So, he doesn’t seem to be convinced that Sophie met Danny Casey.
5. Does her father believe her story?
6. How does Sophie include her brother Geoff in her fantasy of future?
Sophie was jealous of the fact that her brother had access to the world outside. She fantasises about going to these places with him some day in the future wearing a yellow dress. She fantasises that the world would rise to greet them.
7. Which country did Danny Casey play for?
Danny Casey played football for Ireland.
Page No: 85
1. Why didn’t Sophie want Jansie to know about her story with Danny?
Sophie didn’t want Jansie to know about her encounter with Danny because she feared that Jansie would spread her story to the whole neighbourhood.
2. Did Sophie really meet Danny Casey?
Sophie did not meet Danny Casey in reality. She made up the story of her encounter with Danny Casey only to seek the attention her brother, Geoff.
3. Which was the only occasion when she got to see Danny Casey in person?
The only occasion when Sophie got to see Danny Casey in person was when the family went to watch United on Saturday. Sophie, her father and little Derek went down near the goal. Geoff went with his mates higher up. United won two-nil. Her idol Casey drove in the second goal. She saw the Irish genius going round two big defenders on the edge of penalty area. He beat the hesitant goal keeper from a dozen yards. Sophie glowed with pride.
Understanding the Text
1. Sophie and Jansie were class-mates and friends. What were the differences between them that show up in the story?
Sophie and Jansie were different from each other. Sophie was a dreamer who enjoyed creating her own fantasy world using her imagination. She showed an urge to transcend her working-class status and attain sophistication by pursuing the ambition of a fashion designer or an actress. Jansie, on the other hand, was more practical and realistic than Sophie. She tried to pull Sophie back to reality, but all in vain. Jansie’s sensibility and maturity are evident in her attempt to remind her friend that they were earmarked for the biscuit factory, and expensive dreams were inappropriate to their financial status.
2. How would you describe the character and temperament of Sophie’s father?
Sophie’s father has a plumpy face looking grimy and sweaty. He doesn’t seem to be a soft or sophisticated man. Sophie fears his agressive manliness. He is a realist and does not believe in his daughter’s wild stories. He loves watching football. He hopes young Casey will be as good as Tom Finney. He wishes that the young footballer keeps away from all distractions. He shouts instructions to Casey at the playground. When the Irish genius , beats the hesitant goal keeper, Sophie’s father screams with joy and pride. He goes to a pub to celebrate the victory.
3. Why did Sophie like her brother Geoff more than any other person? From her perspective, what did he symbolise?
Sophie liked her brother, Geoff, more than anybody else because he was not in the habit of talking much and remained lost in his own thoughts. She envied his silence and thought that he had access to an unknown world. She wanted to be a part of that world where she fancied herself wearing glamorous clothes and being welcomed by everyone. For Sophie, Geoff symbolised liberty from the monotonous and colourless life they had been living.
4. What socio-economic background did Sophie belong to? What are the indicators of her family’s financial status?
Sophie belongs to a lower middle class socio-economic background. She lives in a small house with her parents and two brothers, Derek and Geoff. When she returns home after school, she feels choked with the steam of the stove and is disgusted with the dirty dishes piled in a corner. Her mother’s back has become stooped and bent by handling all the household chores and responsibilities on her own. Her father is a hard labourer and her elder brother, Geoff, works as an apprentice mechanic in a garage situated far away from his house. Her family wants Sophie to join work immediately after her school. These are some of the indicators of Sophie’s family’s financial status.
Discuss in pairs.
1. Sophie’s dreams and disappointments are all in her mind.
Sophie was a dreamer who often made up stories for herself and for others. One possibility might be that she wanted to escape the squalor of daily life with the help of her fantasies. Her encounter with Danny Casey was a made-up story for the sake of catching her brother’s attention. Eventually, she gets so much engrossed in it that she starts to live the fantasy. When Danny Casey does not arrive for the second ‘date’, she experiences disappointment. However painful and disappointing her fantasy might be, she was not willing to accept reality. Her dreams and disappointments are figments of her
2. It is natural for teenagers to have unrealistic dreams. What would you say are the benefits and disadvantages of such fantasising?
Teenage is the phase of life which constitutes of major changes in the life of an individual. During this phase, a person learns many things, sets his career goals, and deals with peer pressure and the pressure of adults’ expectations. Hence, it is natural for teenagers to fantasise and to have unrealistic dreams.
Advantages: Fantasising, based on realistic goals or the world around, provides a means to reach higher ambitions and dreams. Aspiring for higher career goals and working hard may ensure successful career prospects. Thus, it instills confidence and a spirit to achieve one’s desire. In difficult situations of life, it helps instill positivity and optimism. It is a talent in those known as creative.
Disadvantages: Fantasising builds a gap between fantasy and reality. The realisation of the disparity between one’s goals and capabilities may be painful. Non achievement may also lead to disappointment, depression or suicidal tendencies. Moreover, it is a sheer wastage of time for many.