NCERT Solutions for Class 10 English Literature Chapter 4 A Shady Plot

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NCERT Solutions for Class 10 English Literature Chapter 4 A Shady Plot

NCERT Solutions for Class 10 English Literature Chapter 4 A Shady Plot are part of NCERT Solutions for Class 10 English Literature Reader. Here we have given NCERT Solutions for Class 10 English Literature Reader Chapter 4 A Shady Plotr.

NCERT Solutions for Class 10 English Literature Reader Chapter 4 A Shady Plot

TextBook Questions

Question 1.
Given below is a list of words related to ghosts and ghost stories with their jumbled up meanings against them. Match the words/expressions with their correct meanings :

A.Apparition(i) a feeling of anticipation of or anxiety over a future event
B.Poltergeist(ii) a reanimated corpse that is believed to rise from the grave at night to suck the blood of sleeping people
C.Clairvoyance(iii) a conjurer who expels evil spirits by conjuration
D.Crystal Ball(iv) a spelling-board device intended to communicate with and through the spirit world, obtaining answers to questions.
E.Eerie(v) beyond the range of normal experience or scientific explanation
F.Medium(vi) any of a set of 22 playing cards bearing allegorical representations, used for fortune telling
G.Transmigration(vii) a supernatural appearance of a person or thing, a ghost, spectre or phantom          –
H.Psychic(viii) so mysterious, strange, or unexpected as to send a chill up the spine
i.Ouija Board(ix) the supposed power to see objects or events that cannot be perceived by the senses
J.Exorcist(x) a person through whom the spirits of the dead are alleged to be able to contact the living
K.Premonition(xi) a globe of quartz crystal in which images, believed to portend the future, are supposedly visible to fortune tellers
L.Paranormal(xii) to pass into another body after death: going from one state of existence or place to another
M.Tarot Card(xiii) capable of extraordinary mental processes, such as extrasensory perception and mental telepathy
N.Vampire(xiv) German word, meaning ‘‘noisy ghost”-a troublesome spirit that announces its presence with unexplainable sounds and the creation of disorder

A. (vii)
B. (xiv)
C. (ix)
D. (xi)
E. (viii)
F. (x )
G. (xii)
H. (xii)
I. (iv)
J. (iii)
K. (i)
L. (v)
M. (vi)
N. (ii)

Question 2.
The title of the story is A Shady Plot. The dictionary defines the words as: shady adjective
(а) Full of shade; shaded.
(b) Casting shade: a shady grove.
(c) Quiet, dark, or concealed; hidden.
(d) Of dubious character or of questionable honesty
(c) Quiet, dark, or concealed; hidden.

plot noun

  • a small piece of ground, generally used for a specific purpose: a garden plot.
  • a measured area of land.

(b) a ground plan, as for a building; a diagram.
(c) storyline-the plan, scheme, or main story of a literary or dramatic work, as a play, novel, or short story.
(d) a secret plan to accomplish a hostile or illegal purpose; a scheme.

Based on the definitions above can you predict what the story will be about? Make a brief note of your prediction in your notebook.
(c) storyline-the plan, scheme, or main story of a literary or dramatic work, as a play, novel, or short story.

Question 3.
Based on your reading of the story above, answer the following questions by ticking the correct options.
(a) The narrator earns his living by ……
(i) writing ghost stories
(ii) working as a reader for a magazine
(iii) working as a stenographer
(iv) working as an accountant in a lumber company
(i) writing ghost stories

(b) The writer was overconfident about his ability to write ghost stories because ……
(i) whenever magazines wanted a ghost story, they got in touch with him
(ii) he was always able to write a ghost story whenever he had to write one
(iii) the readers appreciated his ghost stories
(iv) he knew the ghost lady would help him write a good ghost story
(iii) the readers appreciated his ghost stories

(c) The sight of the ghost materialising in his room filled the narrator with ……
(i) fear
(ii) excitement
(iii) joy
(iv) anticipation
(i) fear

(d) The ghost wanted John to
(i) stop his wife from using the Ouija board
(ii) stop using the Ouija board himself
(iii) stop his guests from using the Ouija board
(iv) stop people from using the Ouija board
(iv) stop people from using the Ouija board

(e) John wants the ghost to disappear before his wife enters the room and waves his arms at the ghost with something of the motion of a beginner when learning to swim. His movement shows his ………
(i) fear
(ii) amusement
(iii) desperation
(iv) anxiety
(iii) desperation

(f) When the narrator says his wife is never so pretty as when she’s doing something she knows he disapproves of, his tone is ……….
(i) amused
(ii) ironic
(iii) angry
(iv) irritated
(iv) irritated

(g) The ghost says “It’s all your fault”. ‘It’ here refers to ………
(i) the narrator’s wife’s anger
(ii) the ghost’s anger
(iii) the narrator’s wife leaving him
(iv) the ghost materialising in sections
(iii) the narrator’s wife leaving him

(h) Gladolia wishes to leave the narrator’s house as ……….
(i) she does not like the Ouija boards
(ii) she is afraid of the ghost
(iii) she is afraid of magic and hoodoo
(iv) she likes Ouija boards and hoodoo
(iii) she is afraid of magic and hoodoo

Question 4.
Answer the following questions briefly :
(a) What genre of stories does Jenkins want the narrator to write? Why?
Jenkins wants the narrator to write stories on the supernatural this time. He wants the narrator to do so because that is what the public wants. His stories are interesting and mysterious and his ghosts are propositions.

(b) Does the narrator like writing ghost stories? Support your answer with evidence from the story.
The narrator likes writing ghosts stories because a ghost story has been his first fiction. It has changed the narrator with the idea. The idea comes to the narrator out of nowhere when Jenkins wants the narrator to write, the story comes by itself and the narrator is always be able to dig one story.

(c) What makes Helen, the ghost, and her other co-ghosts organize The Writer’s Inspiration Bureau?
Helen and her other co-ghosts organise the Writers Inspiration Bureau for which they scout around until they find a writer without idea and with a mind soft enough to accept impression. The case is brought to the attention of the main office and one of them is assigned to it.

(d) Why had Helen, the ghost been helping the narrator write ghost stories? Why was she going on strike? What condition did she place for providing continued help?
Helen the ghost had been helping the narrator to write ghost stories because he had always needed ideas and Helen gave them. She was now going on a strike because they were called too often and the people were using Ouija boards as the medium. Helen wanted John to get t all his friends to stop using the board then only would they start helping them.

(e) How does the ghost undermine the narrator’s faith in his ability to write ghost stories?
The ghost thinks that the narrator can not write ghost stories but the ghosts give him the idea. Helen tells him that many a time it is she who has leant on his shoulder when he is thinking hard for an idea.

(f) Why does John want the ghost to disappear before his wife appears on the scene? What impression of his wife’s character do you form from his words?
He asks the ghost to leave before his wife comes there, because he doesn’t want her to know his secret, moreover she would be afraid. These words show that his wife is suspicious and jealous.

(g) Why does the narrator hesitate to be a partner to Laura Hinkle during the Ouija Board Party?
The narrator hesitates to be a partner to Laura Hinkle during the Ouija Board Party, because the ghost has asked him not to use it, then only she would help the narrator with ideas for ghost stories and Laura Hinkle is also very flirtatious.

(h) What message does the ghost convey to the group that had assembled in the narrator’s house? What is their reaction to the message?
The ghost spelt T-R-A-I-T-O-R and then it said H-E-L-E-N. It wants to convey that someone had been trying to communicate with John through Mrs.Hunt’s and Mrs. Sprinkle’s Ouija. Everybody’s gaze turned towards the narrator and he came under the suspicion.

(i) Do you agree with the narrator calling the assembly of women “manipulators” ? Give reasons.
The narrator rightly calls the assembly of women manipulators. Lavinia “manipulated” by buying Ouija board but says that it is for John’s research. Laura Hinkle manipulates John by trying to be flirtatious in order to learn working on the Ouija board.

(j) Why is John’s wife angry? What does she decide to do?
John’s wife is angry because as John’s hand moves faster and faster on the board, his companion starts to spell out traitor and then it spells. Helen. Miss Hinkle asks Lavinia whether she knows anyone by the name of “Helen”. Miss Hinkle tells her that someone by the name of Helen has been trying to communicate with John. Lavinia gets angry at this and becomes suspicious of John. She decides to leave John and goes back to her grandmother.

(k) Why does John wish he were dead?
From different parts of the room other manipulators begin to report. Each of those five Ouija boards is calling John’s name. Lavinia is looking at him through narrowed lids as though he is some peculiar insect. The murmur of conversation rises louder and louder. Miss Hinkle says that John looks sly, he goes straight upstairs and dozes off. In the morning there is no sign of his wife. He has hardly seated himself at the desk as he finds a white slip of paper saying that Lavinia is going back to her grandmother and her lawyer will communicate with John. John reading it cried “I wish I was dead” because he feels sad that his wife is leaving him.

(l) 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’. Bring out the pun in John’s statement.
Lavinia is getting suspicious4 of John with the Ouija board as his Angers seem to stick to that dreadful board. It spells Helen that makes Lavinia suspicious. She says they do not know anyone by the name of Helen. She thinks there is somebody hiding there. Lavinia tells John there is not a bit use trying to deceive her, he is trying to conceal something. It is bad enough to have him flirt over Ouija board with that hussy to which John replies that the affair is quite above board which means that John has nothing to do with Miss Hinkle.

(m) John’s apprehensions about his wife’s reaction to her encounter with the ghost are unfounded. Justify.
John thinks if Lavinia sees the ghost, she would react sharply but she doesn’t. A broad satisfied smile spreads over her face “I thought you were Helen of Troy, she murmurs”. The ghost said, “I use to be Helen of Troy, New York and now I’ll be moving along.” Lavinia falls at this.

Question 5.
Answer the following questions in detail :
(a) After her reconciliation with her husband, John Hallock, Lavinia writes a letter to her friend expressing how her relationship with him had almost been on the verge of breaking and what saved it. Write her letter.
Dear friend,

I had bought Ouija board and arranged for an Ouija Board Party. My friends sat in couples with a board. There was a squeak of legs heard all around. I paired John with Laura Hinkle who had a flirtatious way. She tried to move her hand over the board and soon it spelt Helen. Then all the five boards echoed the same name. I got annoyed at this and suspected John for I did not know anyone by this name. I planned to leave him and go back to my grandmother. Our marriage was about to break but Helen’s ghost appeared before me and John that made me know the truth. It was all due to the Ouija board. It saved my break with John.

Yours Lavinia

(b) John Hallock reflects upon his experience with Helen’s ghost and in retrospect he finds it quite amusing. All the same he is relieved that he is no longer plagued by it. r Ironically, the self same ghost inspires his creativity and he writes a diary entry reflecting upon the comical aspect of his experience. Write his diary entry.
Tuesday 15th may, –
20XX, 10.30 p.m.
Dear Diary
I was thinking of writing a ghost story when suddenly I saw an apparition taking shape in front of me. It named itself as Helen. The ghost told me that these ghosts helped people like us with ideas to write their stories. I imagined it to be something very funny that the ghost and his co-mates were coming up. But it suddenly appeared before me and Lavinia and it had also appeared by the Ouija boards surprising all the women. But the most interesting part that I realised was that the same ghosts inspired my creativity to write a ghost story.

Question 6.
The narrator and his wife reveal something about their character in their words and actions. We also learn about them from what other people say. Can you pick out the words that describe them from the box given below? Also, pick out lines and Instances
NCERT Solutions for Class 10 English Literature Chapter 4 A Shady Plot 3
NCERT Solutions for Class 10 English Literature Chapter 4 A Shady Plot 4
NCERT Solutions for Class 10 English Literature Chapter 4 A Shady Plot 5

John Hallock4. I sat down to write a ghost story.4. creative
5. His magazine was only one to print my stuff.5. protective
Lavinia Hallock1. Such as my wife’s shopping1. loves novelty and thrills
2. Cure her of her tendency to take everv new fad2. spendthrift
3. John, whv are vou sitting in the dark?3. suspicious
4. Looking as if I were some peculiar insect4. Jealous

Question 7.
Gladolia, the narrator’s cook, is an African. The language she speaks is different from that of the others. This is known as Dialect. A diqlect consists of words or phrases that reflect the regional variety of a language. An author often uses a regional dialect to make the dialogue more authentic. Initially a dialogue may seem a little difficult to understand. However, as you continue reading, the language will become more comprehensible Working in groups, write what Gladolia’s words mean as shown.

A. Misto Hallock(i) Mister Hallock
B. de Missus(ii) ………………………………………..
C. sho t’inks you’s lost!(ii) ………………………………………..
D. she done ‘phone you dis mawnin’(iv)…………………………………….
E. fo’ de lawd’s sake(v)……………………………………….
F. not to stop to argify now(vi)………………………………………
G. I’s gwine t’ quit.(vii)……………………………………..
H. i don’t like no hoodoos.(viii)…………………………………….
i. I’se done let’ dis piace(ix) ……………………………………
J. i is(x)………………………………………


A. Misto Hallock(i) Mister Hallock
B. de Missus(ii) The Mrs.
C. sho t’inks you’s lost!(iii) She thinks vou are lost.
D. she done ‘phone you dis mawnin’(iv) She did not phone vou this morning
E. fo’ de lawd’s sake(v) For the Lord’s sake
E not to stop to argify now(vi) Stop to argue
G. Is gwine t’ quit.(vii) I am also going to quit
H. I don’t like no hoodoos.(viii) I don’t like
I. I’se done leP dis place(ix) I will leave this place
J. I is(x) I am

Question 9.
Read and understand the following ghost phrases and expressions :
(a) To give up the ghost — to die or to stop trying
(b) A ghost of a chance — a poor chance, not likely to happen
(c) The ghost at the feast — something or someone that spoils your enjoyment by reminding you of something unpleasant
(d) Ghost town — a town where most people have left-abandoned and deserted
(e) Ghost-write — to write for someone else
(f) Lay the ghost of something/somebody (to rest) — to finally stop being worried or upset by something or someone that has worried or upset you for a long time
(g) Ghost image — secondary image, esp. one appearing on a television screen as a white shadow, caused by poor or double reception or by a defect in the receiver
(h) the ghost of a smile — faint trace of a smile
(i) As white as a ghost — very pale or white in the face

Now complete the following story by using the appropriate phrases in the blanks given below :

I was alone in a place that bore a deserted look like that of a (a) _____ 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 (b) _____ 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 (c) _____ 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 (d) _____ 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 (e) _____ and publish my experience under a pseudonym. Only then can I (f) _____

(a) ghost town
(b) ghost image
(c) a ghost of a chance
(d) the ghost at the feast
(e) ghost-write
(f) lay the ghost of something


Question 10.
Ghosts and haunting have fascinated the public for centuries. Although many doubt the existence of ghosts or other paranormal entities, many people dedicate their lives to searching and recording paranormal activity. Ghost tours, support groups, and research societies, to name just a few, permeate our society and seek to answer questions about paranormal activity.

Interview your friends, relatives and people in your neighbourhood about whether they believe in the existence of ghosts. Ask them to tell you of any specific experiences they might have had in this context. In your groups identify the most fascinating anecdote you gathered on the basis of your interactions. Narrate it to the class.
Ghosts, paranormal entities all these sound spooky and give me goosebumps. I interviewed some of imy friends and came to know about their most eerie experiences. However, some of the stories were really scary and I want to share one such story with you. It so happened that one of the my friends was visiting his grandparents’ place by train. It was night-time and there was no one in the compartment except my friend. He took out his sleeping bag and making himself comfortable started reading a book. While reading, he fell asleep. He woke up suddenly on hearing a knock at the door of his compartment that was bolted from inside, the train had halted at a platform. He got down from his berth and opened the door. But there was nobody outside. After bolting the door, he turned and again came a knock, this time louder than before. Suddenly, he recoiled in horror as he saw a small, white icy cold hand coming out of the closed door of the compartment. A strange scraping sound could also be hared that frightened him out of his wits. He shrieked loudly and was about to faint when the train began to move and he came back to his senses. When the T.T. arrived he shared this strange experience with him and was shocked to hear that many people had claimed to have seen the hand. For the rest of the journey, my friend just sat and prayed to God and felt relieved only when he reached his grandparents’ home safely. I also shuddered to hear his account.


Question 11.
Do you think a story has an atmosphere ? Complete the following blanks to make up your ghost story by choosing the correct options.

A Ghost Story

She opened the (a)…………………………. (secret door/ spaceship’s hatch/door of the cottage/ cemetery gate/ door of the castle/ cockpit) (b)…………………………………. (brashly/ loudly/ silently/ stupidly/ fearfully/ joyously). Standing in front of her was a (c)………………….. (terrifying/ handsome/smelly/ anonymous tiny/ huge/ bossy) …………………. (policeman/ spy/ apparition/ witch/ prince/ wizard) with a …………………. (wand/ rose/rod/ knife/ scythe/coded message) in his/ her (its) …………………. (ghoulish/ bony/ beautiful/ fair/ manly/gloved/ magical) hand.
(a) cemetery gate
(b) fearfully
(c) terrifying
(d) apparition
(e) scythe
(f) bony

Now that you have shared a ghost story / anecdote as well as completed a guided story in the class, create your own Ghost story on the basis of the starters given below:
(a) Stephen knew he would never sleep. The noises, those horrid sounds, would keep him awake…
Stephen had to shift to a villa btplt in a lonely part of the countryside with his parents. His father worked as a forest ranger in one of the parts of India. There were stories about the place that an apparition haunted the area. The people of the village also believed in this witchcraft. The atmosphere, Stephen found around the place, was uncanny and mysterious. His parents did not believe in all these things. In the evenings they used to hear horrifying sounds and cries from the village. They were told that it was the witch doctor who performed all sorts of things to keep away evil spirits at night.

One night it was cold and wet. The weather seemed to be unpleasant and Stephen found it difficult to sleep. Suddenly in the middle of the night he “woke up by a scratching sound on his windowpane. He looked through the darkness and saw something with a strange shape trying • to open the window, not able to visualise properly he groped for the torch and rushed to his parents room. But they could not find anything. Only the shrill cries of the witch doctor could be heard. Stephen became seriously ill. His father had to shift to the city. But the mystery was still there. People said that on a full moonlit night the village was haunted by a strange figure

(b) Tap, tap, tap. Was it the branches of the nearby tree, or fingernails against the window ?
Self attempt

(c) People often say, ‘There’s no such thing as ghosts…
Self attempt

You are familiar with the key elements of a short story viz setting, plot, conflict, character and point of view. Given below are specifics to be kept in mind while writing a Ghost story. Also make use of the vocabulary that you have learnt from the story A Shady Plot.

  • Colours, sounds, feeling words
  • Strong definite characters
  • Creating suspense
  • Setting the scene and the atmosphere
  • Describing the weather
  • Clear opening line
  • Personal feelings
  • Clear ending
  • Describing the sounds
  • Adding a dramatic element
  • Mystery

NCERT Solutions for Class 10 English Literature Chapter 4 A Shady Plot 9

Self attempt


Question 12.
While conventional Ghost stories are scary and gruesome, several modern versions are humorous. The Canterville Ghost, by Oscar Wilde, is one of the best ghost stories written in the vein of laughing satire. The story that you just read is another example in case. Humour arises out of the narrator’s ability to laugh at himself, clever use of language as well as comic situations. Discuss within your groups what makes the Shady Plot humorous. Share your views during a whole class discussion.
People often say, ‘There’s no such thing as ghosts.’ But ask me and I’ll tell you one such spine- chilling account that will force you to believe in the paranormal visions. My best friend told me this grotesque tale of an old man who could be seen laughing and dancing on full-moon nights in his village. Once he was alone at home as his parents had gone to attend the wedding of a distant relative. It was the month of July and the rain was coming down in sheets. The dogs were howling outside in the streets. He felt shivers of fear down his spine and gathering courage, came out of his room to check if all the doors bolted properly. He heard somebody whispering outside the window and as he peeped out of the misty pane, he saw a spectre laughing wickedly. The sound was shrill and weird and in the darkness, he witnessed the abnormal looking old man dancing weirdly. The wind was howling loudly adding to the atmosphere, an eerie feeling. He let out a loud scream and ran back to his room. Just then, he heard a knock at the door. He crept in the corner but the knocks just didn’t stop. He gathered courage and slowly moved towards the main door. His fears vanished when he heard his parents calling his name. They were relieved to see him safe and assured him that there was nobody outside.

Generally, ghost stories have a kind of spookiness around them. The whole atmosphere is eerie and the ghosts are supposed to frighten people. But ‘The Shady Plot’ is illustrated differently. The setting is the house of the author. The ghosts were similar to human beings. When the author saw something strange taking shape, he was not at all scared rather seemed to doubt his senses into believing that she was a ghost not a real girl. To add to the humour the girl talked about going on strike with other ghosts with whom she had organized ‘The Writer’s Inspiration Bureau. Unlike ghosts she seemed too pathetic when she requested the author to ask his friends and acquaintances stop using the Ouija board. Even funniest was the incident when his wife suspected him of having an iffair with a ghost ‘Helqp’.

Question 13.
Listen to the extract from The Canterville Ghost by Oscar Wilde and complete the following tasks as directed.
Answer the following questions :

(a) The Ghost loved the stormy weather because ….. (Complete the statement by ticking the correct option)
(i) he liked the rain
(ii) he liked the strong wind that shook and rattled all the windows and doors in the old house
(iii) his plan would fail otherwise
(iv) such weather was ideal for frightening the people in the house.

(b) The Ghost was particularly angry with Washington and wished to frighten him because ….. (Complete the statement)

(c) The Ghost did not wish to frighten Virginia because ….. (Complete the statement)

(d) The Ghost was most angry with ….. (Complete the statement by ticking the correct option)
(i) Mr and Mrs Otis
(ii) Virginia
(iii) Washington
(iv) The Twins

(e) Write two striking qualities of the Ghost as are revealed in this extract.
(i) ………………………….
(a) (iv)such weather was ideal for frightening the people in the house

(b) (i) It was Washington who kept on removing the famous canterville blood stain by using his pinkerten Paragon detergent.
(ii)She has never insulted him and was pretty and gentle.

(c) (iv) The Twins

(d) (i)Scheming : He carefully planned to avenge.
(ii)Determined: He was determined to teach the kids a lesson.

We hope the NCERT Solutions for Class 10 English Literature Chapter 4 A Shady Plot help you. If you have any query regarding NCERT Solutions for Class 10 English Literature Reader Chapter 4 A Shady Plot, drop a comment below and we will get back to you at the earliest.

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