NCERT Solutions For Class 9 English Literature Reader – Keeping it from Harold
ABOUT THE STORY
â€˜Keeping It from Harold’ conveys the idea that it is wrong to undervalue anything which involves physical skills such as boxing, wrestling, etc. while overestimating intellectual activities. Both Mr Bramble and Mrs Bramble are proud of a child prodigy, Mr Bramble is a famous boxer known as â€˜Young Porky’. He and his wife come to believe that they should hide from their son the fact of his father being a boxer. They feel that Harold will hate his father. They are encouraged in this wrong belief by the senior curate of the parish and Major Percy Stokes (Mrs Bramble’s brother). Mr Bramble was proud of his being a boxer before the birth of his son. The trainer JLerry Fisher, in anger at his refusal to fight, discloses the secret to Harold. Harold surprises them when he tells them that he is not ashamed of but angry with his father who has refused to fight and defeat his opponent Murphy. Harold feels satisfied when his father gets ready to go with his trainer to prepare himself for the great fight.
(i) Mr Bramble
Mr Bramble is a short, sturdy fellow. He is a red-headed man with a broken nose such as boxers generally have. He is thirty-one. He has a long record for respectability and sobriety. He is a famous boxer known as â€˜Young Porky’. He is proud of the intellectual abilities of his son Harold. He comes to wrongly believe that Harold will hate him if he comes to know that he is a boxer. Though physically strong, he seems to be mentally weak.
(ii) Mrs Bramble
Like all mothers, Mrs Bramble is excessively fond of her son, Harold. She is very loving and caring. She addresses her son as â€˜dearie’ and refers to herself in the third person. She is also convinced that Harold should not know that his father is a boxer. She is a good housewife. She manages the house well. She feels upset when she learns that her husband has refused to fight. She feels that if he does not fight they will have no money essential for their son’s education and bright future.
Harold is a model child, different from ordinary children. He is fully devoted to his books. He is a model of good behaviour. Everybody admires him. He has already won prizes in academics. His parents are in awe of him. His parents are unaware of the fact that he is interested in boxing and knows a lot about the game and boxers. He surprises his parents by expressing his anger that he has not been told that his father is a famous boxer. He proves them wrong. He feels proud of his father and his profession. He wants his father to fight and defeat his opponent, Murphy.
REFERENCE TO CONTEXT QUESTIONS (SOLVED)
Read the given extracts and answer the questions that follow :
“Goodness know I’ve never liked your profession, Bill, but there is this to be said for it, that it’s earned you good money and made it possible for us to give Harold as good an education as any duke ever had, I’m sure.
(a) What profession is being talked about ?
(b) Who is the speaker ?
(c) What has prompted the speaker to say this ? (CBSE2014)
(Ð°) The profession that is being talked about is boxing.
(b) Mrs Bramble is the speaker.
(c) Mr Bramble’s refusal to fight his opponent has prompted the speaker to say this.
Before him on the tablecloth lay an open book. His powerful brain was plainly busy.
(a) Who is he referred to here ?
(b) What kind of person he is ?
(c) Give the meaning ofâ€˜plainly’. (CBSE 2014)
(a) He is Harold, the Bramble’s son.
(b) He is a studious lad, an intellectual-type.
Mrs Bramble took the book.
“Yes, mother will hear you, precious. “
(a) What is unusual in Mrs Bramble’s speech ?
(b) What do you think of the speaker ?
(c) Give the meaning ofâ€˜precious’.
(a) Her referring to herself in the third person is unusual.
(b) The speaker, Mrs Bramble, is a very loving and caring mother.
A slight frown marred the smoothness of Harold Bramble’s brow.
(a) What annoyed Harold ?
(b) What did he want ?
(c)Give the meaning of â€˜marred’.
(a) His mother addressed Harold as if he were a baby. This annoyed him.
(b) He wanted to be treated as a grown-up boy.
“You do study so hard, dearie, you’ll give yourself a headache. Why don’t you take a nice walk by the river for half an hour, and come back nice and fresh ?”
(Ð°) Who is the speaker ?
(b) What tells you that she is a caring mother ?
(c) What do you mean by â€˜hard’ ?
(a) Mrs Bramble is the speaker.
(b) She is a caring mother as she wants her son to remain active physically and mentally.
(c) â€˜too much’.
Certainly he was very persuasive. Mr Bramble had fallen in with the suggestion without demur. In private life, he was the mildest and most obliging of men, and always yielded to everybody. The very naming of Harold had caused a sacrifice on his part.
(a) What was the suggestion ?
(b) How was Mr Bramble in life ?
(c) What does â€˜demur’ mean ?
(a) The suggestion was that Harold should not be told what his father was.
(b) He was quite mild and obliging.
(c)Saying something that one does not agree with.
“Percy, if you don’t keep quiet, I’ll forget I’m your sister and let you have one. What do you mean, Bill, you’ve come home ? Isn’t there going to be the fight next week, after all ?”
“The fight’s over,”said the unsuppressed Major, joyfully, “and Bill’s won, with – me seconding him.”
(a) Why was Mrs Bramble angry ?
(b) What had Bill told her ?
(c) Give the meaning of â€˜unsuppressed’.
(Ð°) Mrs Bramble was angry at her husband’s leaving his training to fight as in that case they would not get any money essential for their son’s education.
(b) Bill had told her that Mr Bramble had come back with the idea not to fight,
(c) â€˜not preventing oneself to express feelings’.
“I hope you are keeping it from Harold. It is the least you can do”.
(a) Who is the speaker here ?
(b) What suggestion does he make to Mrs Bramble ?
(c) Give the meaning of â€˜keeping’ in the present context.
(a) Mrs Bramble’s brother, Major Percy Stokes, is the speaker here.
(b) His suggestion is that Harold should not be told the fact of his father being a boxer.
“It’s hard,”he said at length, in a choked voice.
“J just wanted to break his neck for him, but I suppose it’s not to be. I know it’s him that’s at the bottom of it. And here I find them together, so I know it’s him. Well, if you say so, Mrs B., I suppose I mustn’t put a hand on him”.
(Ð°) What was so â€˜hard’ for Jerry Fisher ?
(b) Whose neck did he want to break ?
(c) What does â€˜choked’ mean ?
(a) For Jerry Fisher it was hard that Bill (Mr Bramble) had deserted him at the eleventh hour.
(b) He wanted to break Percy’s neck to persuade Bill not to fight.
The only drawback was that his very â€˜perfection’ had made necessary a series of evasions and even deliberate falsehoods on the part of herself and her husband, highly distasteful to both.
(Ð°) Whose â€˜perfection’ does the extract point out ?
(b) How was â€˜he’ perfect ?
(c) What does â€˜evasion’ mean ?
(Ð°) It points out the perfection of Harold, the Bramble’s son.
(b) He was perfect in studies and behaviour. Everyone admired him as an unusual child.
(c) â€˜the act of avoiding.”
The spectacled child considered the point for a moment gravely.
(a) Who is the spectacled child mentioned in this line ?
(b) Which point did the child consider ?
(c) Give the meaning ofâ€˜gravely’.
(Ð°) The spectacled child is Harold, the son of the Brambles.
(b) The child considered his mother’s suggestion that he should go out for a walk by the river.
He had promised that it should be the last. He was getting on.
(a) What â€˜last’ thing had he promised to do ?
(b) What did he intend to take up after this ?
(c) What is the meaning of â€˜getting on’ ?
(Ð°) He had promised to have only one boxing bout before retiring from his profession, that is, boxing.
(b) He intended to become an instructor at some school or college.
“The fight’s over”, said the unsuppressed Major, joyfully, “Bell’s won, with me seconding him.”
(Ð°) Why was the Major happy and excited ?
(b) What does it mean â€˜Bill’s won’ ?
(c) What does â€˜seconding’ mean ?
(Ð°)The Major was happy because Mr Bramble had agreed to give up boxing after one bout.
(b) It means that Bill has a moral victory in deciding to give up boxing so that his son is not ashamed to his being a boxer.
He’s seen the error of his ways”, cried Percy, the resilient. That’s what he’s gone and done. At the eleventh hour.
(a) What error is Percy speaking about ? Whose error ?
(b) What has he done at last ?
(c) Give the meaning of â€˜resilient’.
(Ð°) Percy is speaking about Bill’s error in taking part in another boxing match.
(b) Bill has abandoned boxing at last.
(c) â€˜one who quickly recovers from shock’.
“This ought to be the happiest evening you’ve ever known. You ought to be singing like a little child.”
(a) Who is the speaker and who is he talking to ?
(b) How could this be the happiest evening for the person who is addressed to ?
(c) Explain â€˜ought to be’.
(a) The speaker is Major Percy (Mrs Bramble’s brother) who is talking to the trainer, Mr Fisher.
(b) This could be the happiest evening for Mr Fisher if he really loved Bill.
(c) â€˜should be’.
“Bill”, he cried, â€˜You’re off your head. Think of the purse!”
(Ð°) Who is the speaker ?
(b) What makes him cry ?
(c) What do you mean by â€˜purse’ here ?
(a) Jerry Fisher, the boxing trainer, is the speaker.
(b) Bill’s decision not to fight makes him cry.
You think your pa’s a commerical. He ain’t. He’s a fighting man, doing his eight stone four ringside, and known to all as Young Porky’.
(a) Who is the speaker ?
(b) What did the boy, Harold, believe to be his father’s job ?
(c) What do you mean by â€˜ain’t’ here ?
(a) Bill Fisher, the boxing trainer, is the speaker.
(b) The boy, Harold, believed that his father was a touring representative of a firm.
(c) â€˜is not’.
“That’s right, Harold,”he said reviving, “I’ve given it up.”
(a) Who is the speaker ?
(b) What has he given up ?
(c) Give the meaning of â€˜reviving’.
(Ð°) Bill or Mr Brown, Harold’s father, is the speaker.
(b) He has given up boxing.
(c) â€˜recovering from the shock’.
How long do you suppose they’d go on calling me, â€˜Goggles’ if they knew that you were my father ?’
(a) Who is the speaker ?
(b) ho are â€˜they’ ? What would make them stop calling the speaker â€˜Goggles’ ?
(c) What do you mean by â€˜Goggles’ ?
(Ð°) Harold is the speaker.
(b) The fact of his father being a famous boxer would stop them (Harold’s class fellows) from calling him â€˜Goggles’.
(c) â€˜a pair of glasses.’
Pa, can’t you give me a picture of yourself boxing I could swank like anything. And you don’t know how sick a chap gets of having chaps call him, “Goggles”.
(a) Who is the speaker ?
(b) What are his feelings in wanting to show off his father’s picture as a boxer ?
(c) Give the meaning of â€˜swank’.
(a) Harold is the speaker.
(b) He has the feelings of pride and excitement.
SHORT ANSWER QUESTIONS (SOLVED)
Answer each of the following questions in 30-40 words.
Why did Mrs Bramble address her son as “dearie”? (CBSE 2014)
Mrs Bramble was very proud of her son Harold as Harold was a genius and different from other ordinary children. Out of love for her she addresses him as â€˜dearie’.
â€˜Bill and his wife were a little afraid of their wonderful child’. Why ? (CBSE 2014)
â€˜His very perfection had led to a series of â€˜evasions’ on the part of Mr and Mrs Bramble.
Explain. (CBSE 2014)
Bill and his wife knew that their son Harold was a child prodigy. He was excellent in his studies and behaviour. Both were made to believe that Harold would be ashamed to know that his father was a boxer. So, they were a bit afraid of him. They continued to hide the truth from Harold.
Why did Bill think of trying out a job as an instructor ? (CBSE 2014)
Bill came to believe that Harold would not be happy to know that his father was a professional boxer. Harold might feel embarrassed and ashamed of him. So, bill decided to give up boxing and try out a job as an instructor at some school or college.
Which event was Mrs Bramble waiting for that could end all her anxieties ? (CBSE 2014)
Mrs Bramble was waiting for the last fight her husband would have with Murphy. Even if Mr Bramble would lose he was to get a hundred and twenty pounds. That amount, Mrs Bramble thought, would end all her worries and enable them to lead a comfortable life.
Bill Bramble brought about major changes in his life after the birth of his son Harold. What were they ? (CBSE 2014)
After the birth of his son Harold Bramble began to feel ashamed of reading his name as a boxer in print. He began to hide his profession lest Harold should feel embarrassed about it. He lied to the boy that he was a firm’s touring representative.
Why did Bill stop Jerry from uttering anything ? (CBSE )
Jerry Fisher, Bill’s trainer, was angry at Bill’s refusal to fight. So he wanted to retaliate by telling Bill’s secret to the child Harold. As Bill did not want his son Harold to know that he was a professional boxer, he stopped Jerry from uttering anything.
What changed Bill’s outlook towards life ? (CBSE 2014)
Bill had a negative attitude towards life. He felt guilty at his having been a professional boxer. He felt that Harold, his son, would feel ashamed of himself on learning about his profession. But when Harold said that he was proud of being the son of a famous boxer, he felt relieved and happy.
How did Harold react on learning about his father’s profession ?
Harold was at first angry to learn that he was not told that he was the son of a famous boxer, Young Porky. Then he felt sad that if he knew who he was no one at school would have made fun of him by calling him â€˜Goggles’.
What was the end of their (Jerry and Harold’s) incidental meeting ? (CBSE 2014)
Jerry Fisher, Bill’s trainer, decided to reveal to Harold the secret of his father being a professional boxer. He met Harold and revealed the secret. Harold felt proud of being the son of a great boxer. He was angry at the fact that he was deprived of the glory and honour for a long time.
Who was Jerry Fisher ? What did he say to try and convince Bill to change his mind ? (CBSE 2014)
Jerry Fisher was the trainer of Bill Bramble. He was angry with Bill for deciding not to fight. He tried to convince him that he would earn a lot of money if he fought. He said he should also think of all the troubles he had gone through to earn name and fame as a boxer.
What was it that Harold did not like about his mother ?
Mrs Bramble treated her grown-up child, Harold, as a kid. She would call him â€˜dearie’. She would refer to herself in the third person. Harold did not like this strange way of talking to him. He often felt bad and irritated about it.
When Mr Bramble came to know that he was to become a father what were some of the names he decided upon ? Why ?
Mr Bramble thought about the names of famous sports persons for his child. He wanted to name his child John, if a boy, after Mr John L Sullivan, or if a girl, Marie, after Miss Marie Lloyd. It was so because he wanted his child to earn name and fame as a sportsperson.
What made Mr Bramble to return home leaving his training midway ?
Mr Bramble learnt that the fight in which he was to take part was a national affair and it was to be reported in the Mail with his photograph. He feared that his son, Harold, would come to know about his real identity, which he had hidden from him for so long. So he decided to stop his training and come back home.
How did Mr Percy try to dissuade Mr Bramble from taking part in the boxing contest ?
Mr Percy, Mrs Bramble’s brother, tried to dissuade Mr Bramble from taking part in the boxing contest. He sent him letters and tracts. He told him about the bad consequences if his son Harold came to know about his real profession.
What tells you of Harold’s interest in boxing ?
Harold himself speaks about his interest in boxing and boxers. He tells how one of his friends has a snapshot of Jimmy Wilde. He wants his father to defeat Jimmy Murphy to get a chance with Sid Sampson for the Lonsdale belt.
Do you agree with Harold’s parents’ decision of hiding from him the fact that his father was a boxer ? Why/Why not ?
No, the decision was wrong. There is no shame in being a sportsperson or a boxer. Every physical activity is as dignified as any intellectual activity. Harold’s parents should not have hidden the fact of his father’s profession. There was nothing shameful about it.
Harold was a model child but for one thing that marred his â€˜perfe ction’. What was it ?
Harold was a model child, different from ordinary children. He was fully devoted to his books. He was a model of good behaviour. But his â€˜perfection’ was marred by deliberate falsehood on the part of his parents. His parents evaded the truth and lied to him about his father’s profession.
Why did Harold’s parents think it prudent to keep him in dark about his father’s profession ?
Harold’s parents thought that boxing did not enjoy good reputation, and that being a professional boxer was not something to be proud of. They feared their child would feel ashamed of himself if he learnt that his father was a boxer.
Name the two persons who were mainly responsible for keeping Harold in dark about his father’s true identity.
The senior curate of the parish and Mrs Bramble’s brother, Major Percy Stokes, were mainly responsible for convincing Harold’s parents not to disclose the true identity of his father to him as they believed that boxing was not a respectable profession.
Was Mr Bramble ashamed of his profession ? Why did he agree to the suggestion that he should conceal his professional identity from his son ?
Mr Bramble had been proud of being a professional boxer before the birth of Harold. He was the most obliging of men. When he was asked to suppress his profession for the better development of his child, he agreed to the suggestion without demur.
VALUE – BASED LONG ANSWER QUESTIONS (SOLVED)
Answer the following questions in 80-100 words each.
One should take pride in one’s profession. Comment upon the
statement in the context of the story â€˜Keeping It from Harold’.
Are Mrs and Mr Bramble justified in not taking pride in their profession. Do you agree ?
Give reasons for your answer. (CBSE 2014)
You should really take pride in your profession. Only then can others give you respect and recognition. Those who look down upon their profession remain guilt-ridden and a failure. In the story â€˜Keeping It from Harold’ both Mrs and Mr Bramble are guilty of undermining the profession of boxing. Mr Bramble is a famous boxer, known as “Young Porky’. Uptil his son’s birth he thinks high of his profession. Then both he and his wife come to believe that their son Harold would feel embarrassed and ashamed of the fact that he was the son of a boxer. They keep Mr Bramble’s profession a secret from Harold. They are pleasantly shocked when Harold feels angry at being deprived of the glory and honour of being a famous boxer’s son. This proves that his parents were not justified in downgrading a good profession. Boxing, though an aggressive and bloody game, is an honourable profession like any other profession.
Harold is considered to be fond of only intellectual activities. He proves to be much maturer than his parents think. How ?
Harold is an intelligent boy who is considered to be a model in studies and behaviour. Everyone at school praises him. He has already won some prizes in academics. He is a bespectacled child. His parents are in a bit of awe of him. His mother, Mrs Bramble, calls him â€˜dearie’ and looks upon him as a child prodigy. His father is equally fond and proud of him. His parents come to believe that he should not know that he is the son of a professional boxer. He can never think that he could be a lover of boxing and boxers. When Harold learns about his being the son of a famous boxer, he feels angry of being deprived of glory and honour. He tells his parents that if the fact was known to his school children they would never have dared to make fun of him by calling â€˜Goggles’. His interest in games, especially boxing, shows that is much maturer than his parents can ever think of.
Jerry Fisher, in his pursuit to unravel the secret that the Brambles had hidden so long from Harold,
actually helped the Bramble family.Discuss. (CBSE)
The Brambles had not told their son Harold that his father was a professional boxer. They were afraid that Harold would feel bad and bitter about the truth. So they told a lie to him that his father was a firm’s touring representative. Mr Bramble wanted to take part for the last time in a boxing match. He went for training with Jerry Fisher. When he learnt that the match would be reported in the Mail with his photograph he got frightened. He thought that their secret would be out. So he withdrew himself from the training. As they needed money, the matter caused both he and his wife a lot of worry and tension. Jerry Fisher, in anger, revealed their secret to their son Harold. When Harold announced his itnerest in boxing and his feelings of pride in being the son of a boxer, Mr and Mrs Bramble were relieved of their burden and guilt. Thus, Jerry Fisher, in revealing the secret, helped them regain normalcy.
As Harold, express year feelings in a diary entry in 80-100 words on learning about your father’s profession. (CBSE)
10th April, 20….
I am so happy and excited today! I want to dance like mad. Today Jerry Fisher, who is Dad’ trainer (I learnt only today), revealed that Dad is no other that “Young Porky’, a famous boxer. I would not believe my ears. Dad and a boxer ? I had been told that he was a touring representative of a firm, My father was ready to sacrifice name and fame and money just for my so-called dignity. I appreciate his feelings. At the same time I feel sad that I have been deprived of the honour and glory of being the son of a great boxer. I have asked Dad to give me his photograph to swank it before my friends ever ready to make fun of me as â€˜Goggles’. I have also asked Dad to fight and beat Murphy. I want him to win the bout at all costs. How I love you, Dad!
As Major Percy, write a letter to your friend expressing your remorse at your failure to keep Mr Bramble away from a devilish game.
10 Green House Susse
4th April, 20……….
I wish I were dead this moment. You know, I am deadly against boxing which is a Devil’s game. Boxing is simply inhuman. I believe boxers are fated to go to Hell. I did my best to save Mr Bramble, my sister’s husband, from perdition. I was happy when Mr Bramble came back home deciding not to participate in the bout with Jimmy Murphy. My sister resented his coming home. I tried to persuade her to see reason and forget the money involved. Then Jerry Fisher-Mr Bramble’s trainer-undid all that I had done. He told the secret to Harold, and Harold-God save him-was so exultant on knowing that he was the son of a boxer! How mean on his part.
I’ve decided never to step in the house of those Brambles.
Yours sincerely Percy
â€˜Keeping It from Harold’ underlines the idea that boxing is as dignified as any other activity, physical or mental. What happens when we downplay one activity over the other, especially our own ability ? What should be our attitude ?
Mr Bramble, a famous boxer, hides his profession from his intellectually brilliant son, fearing that he might come to hate him. He decides to stop boxing.
We feel that when we downplay one activity over the other illogically, we are not doing something fair. If we happen to downplay and dislike our own ability, like Mr Bramble, we are likely to fall in our own eyes. We lose our self-confidence and self-pride. Others may or may not despise us but we begin to despise ourselves. The Brambles are surprised when their son says that he would have loved to be known as the son of a famous boxer.
Therefore, we need to be proud of our own achievements. We should be proud of whatever profession we are in. We should try to excel in it and feel proud of what we do. Only then will other people love and respect us. We should remember that no activity or profession is undignified or low. It is our thinking that makes something desirable or undesirable.
“He was a professional boxer. That was the trouble.”Discuss.
There are many people who look down upon boxing. They think that sports like boxing are violent and are hence not meant for gentle folk. In the story, such people are represented by the senior curate of the parish and major Percy Stokes who take upon them the responsibility of guarding the morality of the people. They persuade the Brambles to hide from their son Harold the profession of his father. Mr Bramble, who has been a good boxer and known as Young Porky’, comes to believe them. Being modest, he gives in to their demands. In spite of having pride in his profession, he agrees to hide his true identity. He makes this sacrifice for the sake of his son. He wants his son not to feel ashamed of himself for his being a boxer. It is again for the sake of his son that he decides not to take part in the contest with Jimmy Murphy, though he needs money badly. He fears his son will come to know of his father’s true identity as the event is going to be reported in the Mail.
Little does he know that his son is fond of boxing. He has gathered a lot of information about boxing and boxers. When the truth is out, his son is annoyed at being kept in the dark that he is the son of a professional boxer.
“Pa, can’t you give me a picture of yourself boxing ? I could swank like anything. And you don’t know how sick a chap gets of having chaps call him, â€˜Goggles’.”
In the light of the above extract, analyze Harold’s feeling on learning that his father was a professional boxer.
Harold overheard his father talking about him. He was curious to know what he was talking about. Jerry Fisher, in order to take revenge on Bill, told Harold that his father was not a commercial traveler but the famous boxer â€˜Young Porky’, and that his father was not going to fight with Murphy because of him. Harold was astonished to learn the fact. He surprised everyone by revealing that he had a bet and if there were no contest, he was going to lose his bet. He said that his friends had the autographs of famous sport spersons. He felt annoyed that he had been kept in the dark about his father being a boxer. Nobody would have laughed at him and called him â€˜Goggles’ if they had known who his father was.
Mr Bramble told Mr Fisher that it would be better for them to go back to the White Hart. After they had left, Harold continued talking about the relative merits of Sid Sampson and the Ginger Nut, the two famous boxers. There was animated expression on his face..