NCERT Solutions for Class 12 English Flamingo Chapter 4 The Rattrap

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Deep Water NCERT Solutions for Class 12 English Flamingo Chapter 4

The Rattrap NCERT Text Book Questions and Answers

The Rattrap Think as you read

Q1. From where did the peddler get the idea of the world being a rattrap?

Answer: The poor rattrap peddler struggled for his existence. He could not make both ends meet so he had to resort to both begging and petty thievery. Despite this, his condition was deplorable. Thinking of his miserable plight and his job, as he plodded on, he was struck by the idea that the whole world was nothing but a big rattrap. It baited people in the form of riches and joys, shelter and food, heat and clothing, just as the rattrap offered cheese and pork. Similarly, the moment one was tempted by the material joys, the world closed in on him and trapped him.

Q2. Why was he amused by this idea?

Answer: His own life was sad and monotonous. He walked laboriously from place to place. The world had never been kind to him. So, during his gloomy ploddings, this idea became his favourite pastime. He was amused how people let themselves be caught in the dangerous snare and how others were still circling around the bait.

Q3. Did the peddler expect the kind of hospitality that he received from the crofter?

Answer:When the peddler reached the little grey cottage by the roadside, he knocked on the door to ask for shelter for the night. He was surprised because, instead of the sour faces which ordinarily met him, this time he was welcomed by the owner, an old man

Q4. Why was the crofter so talkative and friendly with the peddler?

Answer: The crofter’s circumstances and temperament made him so talkative and friendly with the peddler. Since he had no wife or child, he was happy to get someone to talk to in his loneliness. Secondly, he was quite generous with his confidences.

Q5. Why did he show the thirty kronor to the peddler?

Answer:The old man was confiding and trusting. He told the peddler that he was no longer able to work as a day labour, and was supported by what he earned by selling his cow’s milk. The old man showed him the thirty kronor that he had received as payment from the creamery, to convince the peddler.

Q6. Did the peddler respect the confidence reposed in him by the crofter?

Answer: No, the peddler did not respect the confidence reposed in him by the crofter. At the very first opportunity that he got, he smashed the window pane, took out the money and hung the leather pouch back in its place. Then he went away


THINK AS YOU READ

Q1. What made the peddler think that he had indeed fallen into a rattrap?

Answer: The peddler realised that he must not walk on the public highway with the stolen money in his pocket. He went into the woods. He kept walking without coming to the end of the wood. Then he realised that he had fallen in the rattrap. He had let himself befooled by a bait and had been caught in.

Q2. Why did the ironmaster speak kindly to the peddler and invite him home?

Answer:The owner of Ramsjo iron mill came into the forge on one of his night rounds of inspection and saw the peddler. The ironmaster walked close up to him, looked him over very carefully and mistook him for his friend, Nils Olof, and invited him home.

Q3. Why did the peddler decline the invitation?

Answer: The peddler knew that the ironmaster had mistaken him for his old regimental comrade. Secondly, he had stolen money—thirty kronor—on him. Going to the ironmaster’s residence would be like entering the lion’s den. So, he declined the invitation.

Q4. What made the peddler accept Edla Willmansson’s invitation?

Answer:When Edla Willmansson invited him, she looked at him compassionately. She also assured him that he would be allowed to leave just as freely as he came. She requested him to stay with them over Christmas Eve. She said this in such a friendly manner that the rattrap peddler felt reassured. Hence, he accepted Edla Willmansson’s invitation.

Q5. What doubts did Edla have about the peddler?

Answer: As Edla lifted the peddler’s hat, he jumped up abruptly and seemed to be quite frightened. Even her kind looks, disclosure of her name and purpose of visit failed to calm him. From his fear, she thought that either he had stolen something or he had escaped from jail.

Q6.When did the ironmaster realise his mistake?

Answer:When the ironmaster saw the stranger the day after, clean and well dressed, he realized his mistake. The valet had bathed him, cut his hair and shaved him. He was wearing clothes that belonged to the ironmaster. The ironmaster frowned as he realized that in the dimly-lit furnace, he had made a mistake. As the stranger stood there in daylight, it was impossible to mistake him for an old acquaintance.

Q7. How did the peddler defend himself against not having revealed his true identity?

Ans: The peddler explained that he had not tried to pretend as his acquaintance. He was not at fault. All along he had maintained that he was a poor trader. He had pleaded and begged to be allowed to stay in the forge. No harm had been done by his stay. He was willing to put on his rags again and go away.

Q8. What did the peddler say in his defence when it was clear that he was not the person the ironmaster had thought he was?

Answer:When the ironmaster realized his mistake, the stranger made no attempt to hide or pretend. He said that it was not his fault as he had never pretended to be anything but a poor trader. He had pleaded and begged to be allowed to stay in the forge. He offered to put on his rags and go away.

Q9. Why did Edla still entertain the peddler even after she knew the truth about him?

Answer: Edla did not think it proper on their part to chase away a human being whom they had asked to come to their house and had promised him Christmas cheer. She understood the reality of the peddler’s life and wanted him to enjoy a day of peace with them. Hence, she still entertained the peddler even after knowing the truth about him.

Q10. Why did Edla still entertain the peddler even after she knew the truth about him?

Answer:Edla entertained the peddler even after she knew the truth about him. She said that the whole year long the peddler roamed about without anyone welcoming him. He was forever afraid of being arrested and cross-examined. So, she felt compassion for the homeless tramp and wanted him to enjoy a day of peace with them. She also said that it was their mistake and they ought not to chase away a human being whom they had invited home and had promised Christmas cheer.

Q11. Why was Edla happy to see the gift left by the peddler?

Answer: As soon as Edla opened the package of the gift, the contents came into view. She found a small rattrap with three wrinkled ten kronor notes and a letter addressed to her. The peddler wanted to be nice in return as she had been so nice to him all day long. He did not want her to be embarrased at the Christmas season by a thief

Q12. Why did the peddler sign himself as Captain von Stahle?

Answer:The peddler signed himself as Captain von Stahle because Edla had treated him as if he were a captain. He took away from the incident, the transient honour of having being treated like a captain. It inspired him to do good, and let go of his thieving ways.


The Rattrap Understanding the text

Q1. How did the peddler interpret the acts of kindness and hospitality shown by the crofter, the ironmaster, and his daughter?

Answer:The peddler was granted shelter in a little cottage by the roadside. The crofter gave him food and trusted him by investing confidence in him. However, the peddler betrayed his trust and stole his money. Later, as he was lost in the forest, he felt trapped, and judged the kindness and money that came his way as nothing but a bait to trap him. He was also suspicious of the kindness showed to him by the ironmaster and his daughter. The peddler was convinced that any kindness shown to him was just a bait to trap him.

Q2. What are the instances in the story that show that the character of the ironmaster is different from that of his daughter in many ways?

Answer: The ironmaster is impulsive* whereas his daughter is cool, logical, kind and thoughtful. In uncertain light he (iron master) mistakes the stranger as his old regiment comrade. He invites him home and takes care of his feeding, clothing etc. When he sees him in broad day light he calls the man dishonest, demands an explanation and is ready to call in the sheriff. His daughter is more observant. She notices the fear of the stranger and thinks that either he is a thief or a run away prisoner. Inspite of that She is gentle, kind and friendly to him. She treats him nicely even after knowing the mistake in identity.

Q3. The story has many instances of unexpected reactions from the characters to others’ behaviour. Pick out instances of these surprises.

Answer:The story does have many instances of unexpected reactions of the characters in response to others’ behaviour. The first was the crofter’s reaction to the peddler. Instead of the sour faces which ordinarily met him, the old man, without wife or child, was happy to get someone to talk to in his loneliness. He was very welcoming. But, the peddler, despite the hospitality, stole his money.

The second was the ironmaster, who mistook the peddler to be his friend Nils Olof, and tried to take him to his house. But, he was quick to turn his back when he realized his mistake.The third was the arrival of the ironmaster’s daughter, who realized that there was something amiss about the peddler but took him in. Even when the father and daughter found out the truth, the daughter stood by him. She wanted him to enjoy a day of peace with them.The peddler, in turn, surprised everyone when he returned his stolen booty. He honoured the trust reposed in him by Edla.

Q4. What made the peddler finally change his ways?

Answer: Edla Willmansson treated the tramp in a friendly manner. She was nice and kind to her. She interceded on his behalf when her father was about to turn him out. She still entertained the peddler even after knowing the truth about him. She offered him the suit as Christmas present and invited him to spend the next Christmas with them. Her love and understanding aroused the essential goodness in the peddler and finally he changed his ways.

Q5. How does the metaphor of the rattrap serve to highlight the human predicament?

Answer:The peddler considered that the whole world was nothing but a big rattrap. Its only purpose was to set baits for people. It offered riches and joys, shelter and food, heat and clothing, exactly as the rattrap offered cheese and pork, and as soon as one let oneself be lured by the bait, it closed in. The peddler also told the ironmaster that the whole world was nothing but a big rattrap. All the good things that were offered were nothing but cheese rind and bits of pork, set out to drag people into trouble.

None escaped; one person falls into the trap one day and the other the next day. The only thing that could turn a person from rat-like ways was human kindness, something that he had received from Edla. Thus, in the end, the peddler left the rattrap as a Christmas present and called himself a rat who had been spared.

The metaphor of the rattrap highlights the theory of crime and punishment. Crimes, such as theft or giving in to temptation, are compared with a bait and the subsequent imprisonment in a trap. However, the human predicament forms the basis of the story where the story of the rattrap serves to bring out a lesson in moral values.

Q6. The peddler comes out as a person with a subtle sense of humour. How7 does this serve in lightening the seriousness of the theme of the story and also endear him to us?

Answer: The peddler has a subtle sense of humour, which is revealed during his interactions with the ironmaster and his daughter after the truth about him becomes known. He is neither afraid of being turned out in cold in rags nor of being sent to prison. He makes the ironmaster laugh with his metaphor of the rattrap. His letter with the Christmas present to Edla is a fine example of his capacity to make others laugh at him. Thus, he lightens the seriousness of the theme of the story and also endears himself to us.


The Rattrap Talking about the text

Discuss the following in groups of four. Each group can deal with one topic and present the views of the group to the whole class.

Q1. The reader’s sympathy is with the peddler right from the beginning of the story. Is the sympathy justified?

Answer:The reader’s sympathy is with the peddler right from the beginning of the story for various reasons. It is justified.He is a victim of circumstances. He made rattraps with the material he got by begging in stores or at big farms. But even so, the business was not profitable. He had to resort to both begging and petty thievery for a living. His clothes were in rags, his cheeks were sunken, and hunger gleamed in his eyes. When he knocked on a door to ask for shelter at night, he was often refused and he “met sour faces”. Even when he stole the money from the crofter, he at once realized that his philosophy about the world as a rattrap had turned true for him. He had been caught with the bait of money. He regretted it and knew his own turn had come.
OR
It is not justified.
There were many who had lost their jobs. He stole money from the crofter who was hospitable to him. Secondly, he had the opportunity to tell the ironmaster of his true identity which he did not. He knew all along that if he did something wrong, he would be trapped, yet, he could not resist the bait.

Q2. The story also focuses on human loneliness and the need to bond with others.

Answer: There are at least three characters in the story who suffer from loneliness and express the need to bond with others. They represent three strata of the human society as well. The peddler with the rattraps, the old crofter and the ironmaster all suffer from loneliness. The peddler is called a tramp, a vagabond and stranger at various points of the story. He moves wearily from one place to the other. He is lost in his own thoughts. He seeks shelter for night and people look at him with sour faces. Even the blacksmiths look haughtily at him and nod consent. The old crofter suffers from loneliness as he has neither wife nor child with him. Hence, he feels happy when he gets the peddler to talk to in his loneliness.
The ironmaster is also lonely in his manor house. His wife Elizabeth has died and his sons are abroad. There is no one at home except his oldest daughter and himself. His requests to Captain von Stehle to accompany him show his need for human bonding. He admits frankly that they didn’t have any company for Christmas. The stranger turns down the request not because he is against bonding with others but because he fears being caught with stolen money.

Q3.The story also focuses on human loneliness and the need to bond with others. Discuss.

Answer:The above statement is true for many characters in the chapters:
(a) The crofter, because of loneliness, lets the peddler in.

(b) The ironmaster at once bonded with the peddler without confirming his identity—“But of course it is you, Nils Olof!” he said. “How you do look!” and again “.. .We were just saying that it was too bad we didn’t have any company for Christmas.”

(c) Edla Willmansson sensed that all was not well, yet insisted that the peddler spend Christmas with them. When the ironmaster wanted to turn the peddler out, the daughter said, “I think he ought to stay with us today. I don’t want him to go.”

(d) The peddler, while leaving the ironmaster’s house left a message, “Written with friendship and high regard”.
The peddler was reformed by the kindness shown by Edla Willmansson. He wanted to be nice to her in return and did not want to embarrass her by his theft. He returned the stolen money, asking her to forward it to the old man. Human warmth and bonding enabled this change in him.

Q4. Have you known/heard of an episode where a good deed or an act of kindness has changed a person’s view of the world?

Answer: Yes, I know how the kindness of a Bishop transformed a hard-hearted beastly convict into a man again with faith in God and human values. The story is presented in the form of a famous play ‘The Bishop’s Candlesticks’
The Bishop provides food and shelter at midnight to a runaway convict who threatens him with a knife. Long years of imprisonment and harsh treatment in the prisonship has transformed the man into beast and he is devoid of all human feelings now. The convict runs away with the Bishop’s silver candlesticks, but is caught by the police.
In order to save the convict from further punishment and torture, the Bishop tells the police officer that the fellow is his friend and he had himself given him the candlesticks. This kind act of the Bishop melts the hard heart of the convict. He sobs and weeps. He promises to be a man again.

Q5.Have you known/heard of an episode where a good deed or an act of kindness has changed a person’s view of the world?

Answer:The Bishop’s Candlesticks is one such episode that takes up on a similar theme.

Q6. The story is both entertaining and philosophical. Discuss.

Answer: The story entertains us by providing glimpses into human nature and how people react to various situations. The actions of the peddler after stealing thirty kronor are quite amusing. The reactions of the blacksmiths to the tramp’s request for shelter show how casual and indifferent human beings can be.
The U-turn in the ironmaster’s attitude towards the stranger reveal how selfish and ignorant human beings can be. Mistaking the vagabond for his old regimental comrade, whom he thinks he has run across unexpectedly, he asks the stranger to accompany him home and spend Christmas with them. When the stranger refuses to go with him, the ironmaster sends his daughter. With her better persuasive power she makes him follow her.
The ironmaster is annoyed on seeing the stranger in broad daylight. But instead of realising his own mistake, he puts the blame on the man. He talks of handing him over to the sheriff. The metaphor of the world being a rattrap saves the situation for the tramp, but the ironmaster wants to turn him out. His daughter’s comments are quite entertaining and philosophical. She wants the tramp to enjoy a day of peace. Secondly, she does not want to chase away a person whom they had invited home and had promised Christmas cheer.


The Rattrap Working with words

Q1. The man selling rattraps is referred to by many terms such as “peddler”, “stranger”, etc. Pick out all such references to him. What does each of these labels indicate about the context or the attitude of the people around him?

Answer:He is referred to as a vagabond, intruder, tramp, ragamuffin and poor hungry wretch. These labels indicate the context or the attitude of the people around him. The people

Had no respect for him.
Felt he was a burden.
Did not care to know him or his problems.
Could pity him, but were not really compassionate.

Q2. The man selling rattraps is referred to by many terms such as “peddler, stranger” etc. Pick out all such references to him. What does each of these labels indicate of the context or the attitude of the people around him.

Answer: Initially, the man who went around selling small rattraps of wire is called a Vagabond’ for he plodded along the road, left to his own meditations. He is referred to as “stranger” by the narrator while describing his meeting with the old crofter. When he leaves the next day he is described as “the man with rattraps.’ When he returns half an hour later to steal money he is called ‘the rattrap peddler.’
For the blacksmiths at the forge he is an intruder. The narrator now refers to him as a ‘tramp’. For the rich ironmaster he is a “ragamuffin’. Since he had never seen the ironmaster or known his name, the man with rattraps is called a ‘stranger’. He is described as ‘stranger* while he stretches himself out on the floor when the ironmaster leaves. The label sticks to him during his stay at the manor house as a guest. These descriptions also suggest the degree of social difference ^between the persons and the peddler of rattraps and their attitude towards him.

Q3. You came across the words plod, trudge, stagger in the story. These words indicate movement accompanied by weariness. Write down five other words with a similar meaning.

Answer:drag oneself, footslog, lumber, plod along, slog, stumble, traipse


The Rattrap Extra Questions and Answers

The Rattrap Short Answer Questions

Q1. What did the rattrap peddler do for a living?

Answer:The rattrap peddler was an iron worker who lost his job to machines in an age of industrialization. Hence, he resorted to selling small rattraps of wire, and he obtained the required materials by begging. His business was not a profitable one, so he had no option but to beg and steal. His clothes were in rags, and his cheeks were sunken; he looked starved. He roamed alone like a vagabond.

Q2.How did the peddler get the idea of the world being a rattrap?

Answer:The peddler struggled for his existence as selling rattraps was not a profitable business. He often resorted to begging and stealing. This led him to believe that the world was a big rattrap that sets baits for people. The moment one was tempted to reach out for the bait, the trap closed in on him.

Q3.Why was he amused by the idea of the rattrap?

Answer:The peddler was amused by the idea of the rattrap because the world had been unkind to him. No one helped him; on the contrary, everyone shunned him. Hence, the peddler got joy in thinking ill of others. His treasured pastime consisted of thinking of people caught in the trap.

Q4. How was the crofter different from the kind of people the peddler usually met?

Answer:
The crofter was different from the kind of people the peddler usually met. The crofter invited him into his house, and unlike the usual people, he did not shun him. When the peddler went begging, the crofter offered him porridge, supper, and tobacco. He played cards with the peddler. Not only was he hospitable, but reposed a lot of trust in the peddler. He showed peddler where he kept his money.

Q5. Why did crofter show the thirty kronor to the peddler?

Answer:The crofter showed the thirty kronor to the peddler because he was generous with his confidences. Moreover, he had told the peddler that he could not labour, but a cow supported him. When the peddler looked at him in disbelief, just to prove his point, he showed him the thirty kronor.

Q6.How did the peddler discover Ramsjo Ironworks?

Answer:After stealing the crofter’s money, the peddler realized that he was lost. He had been walking around in the same area. Soon it became dark, and his fears and apprehensions increased. He felt he was caught in a rattrap. He sank down on the ground in gloom and dejection. When he put his head on the ground, he heard a hard, thumping sound. He was certain that the sound was produced by hammer strokes. So he mustered strength and moved in the direction of the sound.

Q7. What sight did the peddler see at the Ramsjo Ironworks?

Answer:At the Ramsjo Ironworks, the peddler noticed that the master smith and his helper were sitting near the furnace. They were heating pig iron to put on the anvil. They wore nothing but a long shirt and a pair of wooden shoes. He also saw them get up every few minutes to stir the glowing mass with a long iron bar.

Q8. What was the blacksmith’s reaction to the peddler’s arrival at the forge?

Answer:When the peddler entered the forge, the blacksmith failed to notice him right away as it was noisy and they were busy working. When the peddler stood close to the furnace, the blacksmith showed no reaction. It was a usual sight for the blacksmith to see vagabonds take shelter for the night at the forge. So he just glanced casually at the peddler and nodded a haughty consent, permitting him to spend the night.

Q9. How was the blacksmith’s reaction to the peddler different from that of the ironmaster? Why was it different?

Answer:The blacksmith’s reaction was one of sheer indifference. He glanced casually and nodded a haughty consent. But the ironmaster noticed the tall stranger at once. He walked up to him, looked him over and called out, “Nils Olof!” The reactions were different because it was a usual sight for the blacksmith who often saw vagabonds come to spend the night there. But the ironmaster had mistaken him for his friend and hence invited him home.

Q10. Why did the rattrap peddler not reveal his identity to the ironmaster? Why did the peddler decline the invitation?

Answer:The rattrap peddler realized the ironmaster’s mistake. He expected the ironmaster to give him a couple of kronor. He, however, felt discomforted to visit the ironmaster’s home with the mistaken identity. He also felt guilty having stolen thirty kronor. He felt going to the ironmaster’s house would be like throwing himself into the lion’s den. He just wanted to sleep in the forge that night and then sneak away.

Q11. What were the peddler’s feelings on his way to the ironmaster’s manor?

Answer:On his way to the ironmaster’s manor, the peddler felt confidence in Edla. He followed her to the carriage. However, while travelling in the carriage, he had evil premonitions and regretted taking the crofter’s money. He could see himself in the trap. He felt he would never get out of it.

Q12.When the peddler was bathed and dressed, the ironmaster was not pleased. Why?

Answer:The peddler had reached the ironmaster’s house looking like a vagabond. There, the valet helped the peddler dress. He had bathed him, cut his hair, and shaved him. The peddler was dressed in the ironmaster’s clothes. But when the peddler was bathed and dressed, the ironmaster was shocked. He then realized that this man was not his friend. In the dim light, he had mistaken him for his friend.

Q13. After the peddler’s identity was discovered, how did he spend the rest of his stay at the ironmaster’s house?

Answer:After the peddler’s identity was discovered, he wondered why Edla had supported him. He sat and ate quietly. Through the morning he slept, and at noon they woke him for his share of the Christmas fare, after which he slept again. Feeling safe, he slept soundly like he had never slept before. He awoke in the evening, and after he had had his dinner, he thanked each one in the house and wished them for the night.

Q14.What did the ironmaster and Edla learn about the peddler at the church? How did they react?

Answer:At the church, Edla received news of how the rattrap peddler had robbed the old crofter. The ironmaster was angry with Edla for letting the peddler stay. He was certain that the peddler might have had stolen things from the house while they were at the church. Edla was dejected, as well as embarrassed. She realized her mistake and was speechless.

Q15. What did the ironmaster and Edla discover when they went home?


Answer:
When ironmaster and Edla reached home, they expected the peddler to have escaped after robbing them. However, when they reached home, they discovered that the peddler had gone away, but much to their surprise, he had left a gift for Edla. The gift was a small rattrap with three wrinkled ten-kronor notes. Edla’s compassion had helped the poor peddler atone for his sin. The peddler also left a note saying he would have been caught in the world’s rattrap had he not been inspired and moved by Edla’s generosity.


THINKING ABOUT LANGUAGE

Q1. Notice the words in bold in the following sentence:
“The fire boy shovelled charcoal in the maw of the furnace with a great deal of clatter.” This is a phrase that is used in the specific context of an iron plant.
Pick out other such phrases and words from the story that are peculiar lo the terminology of ironworks.

Answer: Words and phrases that are peculiar to the terminology of ironworks are given below: hammer strokes, smelter, forge, rolling mill, coal dust, furnace, pig iron, anvil, iron bar, big bellow, coal, charcoal, shovel and sooty panes.

Q2. “Mjolis” is a card game of Sweden.
Name a few indoor games played in your region. “Chopar” could be an example.

Answer: ‘Rang-kaaf and ‘Turap Bol’ are popular indoor card games in our region.
‘Chukkhal’ is a poor man’s substitute for Chopar.
‘Goti-paar’ is popular among young girls in rural areas.

Q3. A “Crofter” is a person who rents or owns a small farm especially in Scotland. Think of other uncommon terms for “a small farmer” including those in your language.

Answer: The uncommon terms for “a small farmer” are:
tiller, plowman/ploughman, husbandman, rancher, tenant farmer and small holder.
In our language there are words like haali’, ‘bataai-jotta’, ‘jotta’ etc.


The Rattrap Long Answer Questions

Q1. “The old man (crofter) was just as generous with his confidences as with his porridge and tobacco.” Justify.

Answer:The crofter was as generous with his confidences as with his porridge and tobacco. It was out of a sense of hospitality that he looked after the vagabond as a guest. He had offered him porridge, supper and a big slice from his tobacco roll. After that they had played cards until bedtime. He discussed his life with the peddler and told him about his days of prosperity. He took him into confidence and told him that he earned a living by selling the milk his cow produced. The crofter had received a payment of thirty kronor. He also showed him the three ten-kronor bills and where he kept his money. The crofter was liberal with his hospitality and trust.

Q2. What is the theme of the story ‘The Rattrap’ ? How has this theme been developed?

Answer: The theme of the story is that most human beings are prone to fall into the trap of material benefit. However, every human being has an essential goodness that can be awakened through understanding and love. A human being has the tendency to redeem himself from dishonest ways.
The theme is developed with the help of the metaphor of the rattrap. The peddler of rattraps calls the world a big rattrap. The material benefits like riches and joys, shelter and food, heat and clothing are temptations that that allure a person to fall into the rattrap of the world exactly as the bait of cheese and pork attract a rat to fall into the rattrap. Once someone takes the bait, the world closes in on him and then everything is lost.
The peddler is tempted by the thirty kronors of the old crofter. He steals the money. Now he is afraid of being caught and moves through the woods. It is the kind, sympathetic, loving and generous treatment given by Edla Willmansson that helps him get himself free from the rattrap of the world.

Q3.How did nature play against the peddler after he stole the crofter’s money?

Answer:Nature seemed to penalize the peddler for stealing the crofter’s money. The peddler was initially pleased to get the money. He decided to steer away from the public highway for the fear of getting caught. So he went into the woods. The first hours of travel were easy, but later, the forest seemed like a labyrinth. The paths twisted back and forth strangely. The peddler walked on without coming to the end of the wood, He then realized that he had been walking around in the same area. At once, he recalled the rattrap theory he was baited with the thirty kronor.

Q4. Give an account of the peddler’s meeting with the old crofter. How does the peddler conduct himself? What light does this episode throw on human nature?

Answer: One dark evening the peddler reached a little gray cottage by the roadside. He knocked on the door to ask shelter for the night. The owner, an old man without wife or child, welcomed him. He was happy to get someone to talk to in his loneliness. He served him hot porridge for supper and gave him tobacco for his pipe. Then he played cards with him till bed time.
The host told the peddler that in his days of prosperity, he worked on land at Ramsjo Ironworks. Now his cow supported him. He sold her milk at the creamery everyday. He showed the peddler the thirty kronor notes he got as payment that month. Then he hung the leather pouch on a nail in the window frame. Next morning the crofter went to milk the cow, and the peddler went away. However, he returned after half an hour, broke the window pane, took the money out of the leather pouch and hang it back on the nail.This episode shows that in loneliness, human beings crave for company, for social bonding. Secondly, temptations can overpower the greatest philosopher. The peddler who calls the world a rattrap is himself tempted by thirty kronor.

Q5.Was the ironmaster a generous man? Why or why not?

Answer:The ironmaster was a generous man. He mistook the rattrap peddler for an old acquaintance, Captain von Stahle, and coaxed him into going home with him. When the peddler refused, he sent his daughter to get him. He was also anxious that the peddler was looked after and comfortably dressed at his home. He also promised to try to get him a job. However, he felt cheated by the peddler once he found out his real identity.
OR
The ironmaster was not generous. He was a lonely man whose wife was dead and whose sons were abroad. He lived with his daughter. He had invited the peddler, mistaking him as an old friend, to alleviate his loneliness. Later, when he discovered his true identity, he wanted to get rid of him. In fact after discovering the truth about the peddler at the church, he was so angry and worried that he wanted to hand him over to the sheriff.

Q6. How did the peddler feel after robbing the crofter? What course did he adopt and how did he react to the new situation? What does his reaction highlight?

Answer: Having robbed his generous host, the peddler felt quite pleased with his smartness. He did not feel any qualms of conscience that he had abused the confidence reposed in him by the crofter. The selfish wretch thought only of his own safety. He realised the danger of being caught by the police with the stolen thirty kronor on his person. Hence, he decided to discontinue walking on the public highway and turn off the road, into the woods.
During the first few hours the woods caused him no difficulty. Later on, it became worse as it was a big and confusing forest. The paths twisted back and forth. He kept on walking but did not come to the end of the wood. He realised that he had only been walking around in the same part of the forest. The forest closed in upon him like an impenetrate prison from which he could never escape.
The reaction of the peddler highlights the predicament of human nature. Temptations lead to evil. The fruits of evil seem pleasant at first, but they deprive man of his goodness and push him into the maze of the world which holds a vice-like grip on him.

Q7.What kind of a girl was Edla? Give reasons for your answer.

Answer:Edla was not pretty, but looked modest and shy. She was very hospitable and went to the forge to welcome her father’s guest. Her father was confident of her powers of persuasion and was sure that she would convince the guest to stay with them. Edla was also concerned and sensitive. She handed her big fur coat to the peddler to make him feel more comfortable and to cover his rags. She was polite and gentle.

She was, however, a keen observer. Unlike her father, she noticed that the peddler was afraid. She knew at once that either he had stolen something or had escaped from jail. She had the maturity to hide her emotions. She also assured the peddler that he would be allowed to leave just as freely as he had come. But, out of concern, she made him stay till Christmas.

Q8. (i) ‘The blacksmiths glanced only casually and indifferently at the intruder.’ (ii)“The ironmaster did not follow the example of the blacksmiths who had hardly deigned to look at the stranger * What do these attitudes reveal? How does the forge-episode help to develop the story? What is its implication?

Answer: The blacksmiths display the typical attitude of manual workers and labourers for whom work is the first priority and parasites on human society are drags on the fruit of their labour. The master blacksmith nods a haughty consent without honouring the intruder with a single word. Evidently, he regards the tramp as insignificant.
The ironmaster, who is on his nightly round of inspection, behaves differently. He walks closely up to him and looks him over carefully. Then he removes his slouch hat to get a better view of his face. In the uncertain light of the furnace he mistakes the stranger for his old regimental comrade and requests him to go home with him. When the stranger declines the invitation, the ironmaster sends his daughter to persuade him to spend Christmas Eve with them. Thus the forge episode helps to develop the story.
The episode highlights the difference in the reactions of various persons to the same set of circumstances. This reveals the shades of human nature. It shows that even the person with best discernment may commit an error of judgement.

Q9. What were the attitudes of the ironmaster and Edla toward the peddler before and after they discovered his identity?

Answer:Before discovering the peddler’s identity, the ironmaster addressed the peddler as Nils Loft. He did not take the peddler’s reaction into account. He sensed that the peddler must have been uncomfortable because of the economic disparity between the two of them. The ironmaster also made sure that he was supplied with good meal and clothes. But once he discovered the case of mistaken identity, he immediately wanted to hand the peddler over to the sheriff. After he heard of the peddler in the church, he was furious and wondered what he had stolen from their cupboard. He blamed his daughter for letting him in.

Edla saw the peddler for the first time when she came to fetch him home. She noticed at once that the man was afraid. She guessed that he was either a thief or a runaway culprit. Despite this, she requested him to stay.

She was spontaneous and friendly, and coaxed the peddler into spending the Christmas with them. He also accepted the fur coat, and wore it over his rags. Edla expressed her surprise about his miserable plight and noticed that there was nothing to show that he was an educated man. When in the church, she realized that he was a thief; she never once expressed her fear. Her trust and compassion helped in reforming the peddler.

Q10. Bring out the contrast in the ironmaster’s attitude and behaviour towards the stranger before and after he realises his mistake.

Answer: The ironmaster is moved to see his old regimental comrade in a pitiable state. He considers it a mistake on his part to have resigned from the regiment. He insists that his old comrade will go home with him. As the stranger declines the invitation, he thinks that the man feels embarrassed because of his miserable clothing. He explains that he does not have such a fine home that he cannot show himself there. He requests the stranger to provide company to him and his daughter for Christmas. When the stranger refuses thrice, he sends his daughter, with a big fur coat to persuade him. Just before breakfast on Christmas Eve, he thinks of feeding him well and providing him same honourable piece of work.
His behaviour undergoes a U-turn when he looks at the well-groomed stranger and realises his mistake. He expresses his displeasure with a wrinkled brow and demands an explanation from the man. Though the peddler defends himself well saying he never pretended to be someone else, the ironmaster calls him dishonest and threatens to hand him over to the sheriff. When the metaphor of world being a rattrap softens him a bit, he asks the peddler to quit at once.

Q11.The story is both entertaining and philosophical. Discuss.

Answer:The story has entertaining merit. The peddler has a pronounced sense of humour despite odds. He tends to philosophize even in the most difficult times. The reader is also kept in a ‘cliff hanging situation’ throughout the story. Every moment, the reader waits to know what would happen next. The story has entertaining moments like when the peddler’s identity is revealed after the valet had bathed him.
The philosophical message of the story is brought out in the theory of the rattrap— life is one big rattrap which closes in on an individual when he gives in to a temptation or steals or commits a crime. The story also elaborates the philosophy of second chances, stating that everyone should get another chance.

Q12. What impression do you form of Edla on reading the story ‘The Raitrap’ ?

Answer: Miss Edla Willmansson is the eldest daughter of the owner of the Ramsjo Ironworks. She is not pretty, but modest and quite shy. She is quite obedient and visits the forge at the behest of her father. She has a wonderful power of observation and takes quick judgement. From the stranger’s frightened looks, she concludes that he is either a thief or a runaway convict. She uses her skills of persuasion to make the stranger agree to accompany her home. Her compassionate looks, friendly manner and polite way of address help her. She tells her father that nothing about the man shows that once he was an educated man.
She believes in the spirit of Christmas and intercedes on behalf of the stranger to per suade her father to let him stay and be happy. She first makes a passionate plea and then argues that they should not chase away a person they had invited themselves and promised him Christmas cheer.
Her dejection on learning that the peddler with rattraps was a thief reflects her sensitiveness. The gift of the captain makes her happy. It is her noble action that helps a thief redeem himself. In short, she is an intelligent, affectionate and kind young girl.

Q13. Comment on the efuRng of the story ‘The Rattrap’.

Answer: The story ‘The Rattrap’ has a very beautiful ending. It helps us to realise that all is not lost for human beings who are prone to fall into the trap of material benefits. It is the protagonist of the story—the peddler with the rattraps—who coins the metaphor of the rattrap, falls
himself in it on being tempted and ultimately redeems himself by renouncing the temptation. His admission that he had been the thief, and the treatment he got as a captain, show how love and understanding can transform even a depraved soul. The story thus comes a full circle with the ending. All questions are answered and no loose tags remain hanging.
The ending also pays tribute to the goodness of humanity here exhibited through Miss Edla Willmansson. The happy ending also arouses our optimism and belief in the essential goodness of man and other human virtues. Thus it serves to inspire the readers to do noble acts.

Q14. Do you think the title of the story ‘The Rattrap’ is appropriate? Give reasons to support your answer.

Answer: The story has an appropriate and suggestive title. It at once draws our attention to the central theme—the whole world is a big rattrap. This metaphor helps us to understand the human predicament. All the good things of the world are nothing but baits to tempt a person to fall into the rattrap. Through the character of the peddler, the writer drives home the idea that most human beings are prone to fall into the trap of material benefits.
The story begins with rattraps and ends with a rattrap as a present for someone who has helped a rat to get free from’the rattrap. Even the middle of the story revolves round the rattrap. The actions of the peddler after he steals thirty kronor of the old crofter reveal the inner conflicts, tensions and lack of peace of a person who touches the bait of temptation. Renunciation of the temptation helps in redemption.Thus, we conclude that the title is apt and significant.


VALUE-BASED QUESTIONS

Q1. Honesty is considered the best policy for earning one’s bread and butter. Stealing is a sin and a punishable act. Vagabonds tend to forget this essential goodness. Elucidate the dictum in the light of the following lines:“He made them himself at odd moments, from the material he got by begging in the stores or at the big farms. But even so, the business was not especially profitable, so he had to resort to both begging and petty thievery to keep body and soul together. ”

Answer: Honest Means of Livelihood
Every human being has to earn his bread and butter. Means vary from person to person, but one has to face many obstacles and odd situations in life. These means can be fair or foul, honest or dishonest. Unfortunately, the modem man hankers after money and has become commercial-minded. People are not afraid of the Almighty. They wish to accumulate riches by hook or by crook. They have no respect for humanity and moral values. The social norms and time-tested principles bemoan somewhere in a comer. The mortals of this computer age focus only on pecuniary gains. They are desirous of becoming rich overnight. And it is sure that no one can make easy money without resorting to corruption. One should always remember that those who are honest get respect in society and feel themselves satisfied. They don’t have to feel guilty. But those who are corrupt hide themselves behind the veils when caught. A person should always be honest and sincere. The factory workers, farmers, teachers and poor artisans live an honest life and are appreciated everywhere. Freud rightly proclaimed in his letter to Wilhelm Fliess that ‘Being entirely honest with oneself is a good exercise’. A few honest men are better than numerous bad ones.

Q2. It is rightly said that the crown and glory of life is character. Alphonse Karr, a French journalist, said, “Every man has three characters: that which he shows, that which he has, and that which he thinks he has”. Substantiate the saying taking ideas from the following expressions:“…It was quite honest, either. You must admit that, and I should not be surprised if the sheriff would like to have something to say in the matter.”

Answer:

“The crown and glory of life is character
When wealth is lost, nothing is lost;
When health is lost, something is lost;
When character is lost, everything is lost”.

Charming said that the great hope of society is individual character. Character plays a pivotal role in the life of a human being. It is as significant for a man as a crown for a king. It is the glory of a man’s life. Character reflects the traits and personality of a person. A man of character retains moral strength and faces the music of life bravely. A man is judged by his character. A person who has good character is respected and honoured in society. It is often said that our lot depends on our character. One rises in life in proportion to the strength of one’s character. Character gives self-satisfaction to a person. He can lead a happy and contended life. He accumulates wealth in heaven instead of building treasures on the earth. It is only character that distinguishes man from beasts. Goethe .remarked that “Talent is nurtured in solitude; character is formed in the stormy billows of the world.

“Not in the clamor of the crowded street,
Not in the shouts and plaudits of the throng,
But is ourselves, are triumph and defeat. —Longfellow

Q3. Man is a gregarious animal. Aristotle wrote in Politics, “He who is unable to live in society, or who has no need because he is sufficient for himself, must be either a beast or a god”. Lonliness gnaws a man from within. Write an article on the topic mentioned above in your own words. You can take ideas from the following lines:“…he knocked on the door to ask shelter for the night. Nor was he refused. Instead of the sour faces which ordinarily met him, the owner, who was an old man. without wife or child, was happy to get someone to talk to in his loneliness.”

Answer: Loneliness: A Terrible Moment
Enduring loneliness requires perseverance and strength of mind. The state of alienation may depress a person. He may become insane. Everybody cannot bear the pangs of leading a lonely life. Seclusion irritates a mortal as it is known to us that man is a gregarious animal. He needs company to share his views and thoughts. It is also said that solitude is the playfield of satan. Man gets diverted and takes recourse to illegal ways. The Bible says that ‘woe to him that is alone when he falleth; for he hath not another to help him up’. An alienated person leads a miserable and pitiable life. Survival at a deserted place becomes next to impossible for a human being. Solitude gives vent to the feelings of enmity against mankind. A depressed person may go to any extent to avenge his seclusion. Solitude and melancholy are synonymous of each other. Mother Teresa has described loneliness in a fitting manner. She said, “Lonliness and the feeling of being unwanted is the most terrible poverty”. Each individual needs love, affection and company. The victims of solitude and lonliness never feel themselves gratified. They never feel themselves the part of the main stream. It breeds negativity and animosity. They become hostile towards the fellow human beings. The repercussions of loneliness are catastrophic and disastrous.

Q4. Voltaire has rightly remarked that ‘Love truth, but pardon error’. It is by forgiving that one is forgiven. Sympathy is a divine virtue. It is indispensable for a philanthropist. Elucidate the dictum taking ideas from the following expressions.
“Since you have been so nice to me all day long, as if I was a captain, I want to be nice to you, in return, as if I was a real captain—for I do not want you to be embarrassed at this Christmas season by a thief- but you can give back the money to the old man on the roadside…”

Answer: The Bible proclaims that ‘Blessed are the merciful; for they shall obtain mercy5. Love begets love and hatred begets hatred. People in this world have a reciprocal relationship. They reciprocate the thing they receive. It is a universally accepted aphorism that ‘To err is human, to forgive, divine’. Sympathy has a great power. A sympathetic person receives the blessings of the destitute whom he helps or forgives. People can’t imagine the incredible power of sympathy. A person’s kind acts and words may save many precious fives. One must not forget that those who sympathise with others get inner satisfaction. It awakens the affection of a human heart. It leaves an indelible impression even on the most rugged ’ nature. Its results are better than a king’s power. It helps a man in his endeavour to elevate his fellow human beings from a state of poverty and distress. Dr. Samuel Johnson averred that the wretched have no compassion. When a man suffers himself, it is called misery; when he suffers in the suffering of another, it is called pity. Forgiveness is, undoubtedly, a divine quality. The philanthropists should inculcate the habit of forgiving others in their character.

“Sweet mercy is nobility’s true badge—Shakespeare

Q5. The warmth of compassion extends its rays around the world, engraving mankind with its characteristic. Selma Lagerlof supports the theory of compassion in “Rattrap” which depicts the powerful and positive impact of such care. Discuss.

Answer:The story revolves around the theory that life is one big rattrap. This implies that if one takes something wrongfully, the person will end up getting trapped in life as a consequence. The peddler felt that the whole world was a big rattrap that sets baits for people. The peddler earned his living by petty thievery. However, he turns over a new leaf when he receives compassion and trust from the ironmaster’s daughter. The protagonist believed till then in the dismal side of human nature.

His first “true” Christmas at the ironmaster’s . house egged him to change his ways and honour people’s trust in him. The story validates the concept that compassion revolves around humankind and the consideration of others. The peddler makes amends by returning the money he had previously stolen from the old man who had sheltered him. The tale also throws light on the value of second chances, stating that everyone should get another chance in life.


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