Class 9 English Chapter 14 The Bishops Candlesticks

NCERT Solutions for Class 9 English Literature Chapter 14 The Bishop’s Candlesticks.
Question 6.
Answer the following questions briefly:
(a) Do you think the Bishop was right in selling the salt cellars? Why/Why not?
(b) Why does Persome feel the people pretend to be sick?
(c) Who was Jeanette? What was the cause of her death?
(d) The convict says, “I am too old a bird to be caught with chaff.” What does he mean by this statement?
(e) Why was the convict sent to prison? What was the punishment given to him?
(f) Do you think the punishment given to the convict was justified? Why/Why not? Why is the convict eager to reach Paris?
(g) Before leaving, the convict asks the Bishop to bless him. What brought about this change in him?

Answer:
(a) The Bishop was right in selling the salt cellars. Like” a true Christian, the Bishop always tried to help the needy. Mere Gringoire was ill and had not paid the rent. The bailiff would not wait any longer and threatened to throw her out. So she sent little Jean to the Bishop for help. He had no money. So he had to dispose of the salt cellars to help her.

(b) Persome is made of different stuff. She lacks the basic understanding and sympathy for men. She only believes in safeguarding her and her brother’s interests. She believes that people are not really sick. They only pretend to be so to get help from the Bishop.

(c) Jeanette was the wife of the convict. It was a bad year and Jeanette fell ill. The convict had no job and money even to buy food. She was ill, starving and dying. So, he stole to buy her food. At last, she died of illness and starvation.

(d) The convict tries to give a message to the Bishop and Persome that he is a hard-hearted and cunning person. He is not an innocent fool who can be caught by chaff like a new bird. He had lived in prison or ‘the hell’ for quite a long time. He had learnt all the tricks and cunningness of seasoned criminals. The Bishop’s outwardly soft behaviour and kind gestures can’t trap him in their net.

(e) It was really a bad year for the convict. He had no job and no money. His wife Jeanette fell ill. She was starving. He had to steal to buy her food. He was caught stealing and sent to prison. He told them why he stole, but they laughed at him. He was sentenced to ten years in the prison hulks.

(f) I think, the punishment given to the convict was not justified. He was not a seasoned or habitual criminal. He had no money and had to steal for food for his ill wife. He was sentenced to ten years in the prison hulks. He should have been let off with a mild fine or a token punishment.
He is eager to reach Paris as it is abig city. He cannot be easily traced by the police in such a big city and would be able to lead a new life.

(g) Love and human sympathy are great healers. The large-heartedness of the Bishop saved the convict from going to ‘hell’ again. The Bishop told the police that those candlesticks were given by him as a gift. It left a deep impression on the convict. The wild beast was a man again. He was a reformed and transformed man now. Therefore, he asked the Bishop to bless him before leaving him.

Question 7.
Read the following extract and answer the questions that follow by choosing the correct options.
(A) Monseigneur, the Bishop is a… a hem!
(a) Why does Persome not complete the sentence?
(i) She used to stammer while speaking.
(ii) She was about to praise the Bishop.
(iii) She did not wish to criticise the Bishop in front of Marie.
(iv) She had a habit of passing such remarks.
Answer:
(iii) She did not wish to criticise the Bishop in front of Marie.

(b) Why is she angry with the Bishop?
(i) The Bishop has sold her salt cellars.
(ii) The Bishop has gone to visit Mere Gringoire.
(iii) He showed extra concern for Marie.
(iv) She disliked the Bishop.
Answer:
(i) The Bishop has sold her salt cellars.

(B) She sent little Jean to Monseigneur to ask for help.
(a) Who sent little Jean to the Bishop?
(i) Mere Gringoire
(ii) Marie
(iii) Persome
(iv) Marie’s mother
Answer:
(i) Mere Gringoire

(b) Why did she send Jean to the Bishop?
(i) so that he could pray for her.
(ii) as she knew that he was a generous person
(iii) as she was a greedy woman
(iv) as she was a poor woman
Answer:
(ii) as she knew that he was a generous person

(C) I offered to take her in here for a day or two, but she seemed to think it might distress you.
(a) The Bishop wanted to take Mere Gringoire in because .
(i) she was sick.
(ii) she had no money.
(iii) she was unable to pay the rent of her house.
(iv) she was a close friend of Persome.
Answer:
(iii) she was unable to pay the rent of her house.

(b) Persome would be distressed on Mere Gringoire’s being taken in because .
(i) she did not want to help anyone.
(ii) she felt that Mere Gringoire was taking undue advantage of the Bishop.
(iii) she was a self-centred person.
(iv) she would be put to a great deal of inconvenience.
Answer:
(ii) she felt that Mere Gringoire was taking undue advantage of the Bishop.

Question 8.
The term irony refers to a discrepancy, or disagreement, of some sort. The discrepancy can be between what someone says and what he or she really means or verbal irony. The discrepancy can be between a situation thq| one would logically anticipate or that would seem appropriate and the situation that actually develops or situational irony. The discrepancy can even be between the facts known to a character and the facts known to us, the readers or audience or dramatic irony. Working in groups of four complete the following table. Find instances of irony from the play and justify them.

Extract Justification
I believe you want to convert me; save my soul, don’t you call it? Well, it’s no good………. see? I don’t want any damned religion.
● ________________________________
●_________________________________
Later, the convict says, “its a queer thing to ask, but-could you, would you bless me before I go.”
●______________________________
●______________________________
● Why the devil do you leave the window unshuttered and the door unbarred so that anyone can come in? ’
●__________________________________
●__________________________________
If the door had been barred the convict couldn’t have entered the house.
______________________________
●______________________________
● My mother gave them to me on………………………. on her death bed just after you were bom, and…………….. and she asked me to keep them in remembrance of her, so I would like to keep them.
● _______________________________
● _______________________________
Later he hands the convict the candlesticks and tells him to start a new life.
● _________________________
● __________________________
Answer:
Extract Justification
I believe you want to convert me; save my soul, don’t you call it? Well, it’s no good………. see? I don’t want any damned religion.
● Stay, my son, you have forgotten your property.
●    I was sentenced to ten years in the prison hulks, ten years in HelL
Later, the convict says, “it’s a queer thing to ask, but-could you, would you bless me before I go. ”
● The situation becomes ironical because earlier Bishop teUs Persome, “I don’t want to sdl them.”
● It is ironical that the prison which should reform a person has turned into hell for him.
● Why the devil do you leave the window unshuttered and the door unbarred so that anyone can come in? ’
●  They feed you inhelL When you escape from it you starve.
● They caught me. I pleaded to them. I told them why I stole, but they laughed at me.
If the door had been barred the convict couldn’t have entered the house.
● It is quite ironical that one is fed in hell but starves when comes out of it● It is quite sad that the police can be an instrument of repression and blind to human misery.
● My mother gave them to me on on her death bed just after you were bom, and…………. and she asked me to keep them in remembrance of her, so I would like to keep them. ’
● this gentleman is my very good friend.
● You are like a child.
Later he hands the convict the candlesticks and tells him to start a new life.
●  It is ironical that the Bishop calls the convict a friend who steals his candlesticks.
● It is ironical that child-like innocence of the Bishop saves the convict
Question 9.
Identify the situations which can be termed as the turning points in the convict’s life.
Answer:
  • The most important situation in the life of the convict was the bad phase of his life. It was a bad year. He was out of job and had no money. His wife was ill and dying. He had to steal to buy food for her and was arrested. He was sentenced to imprisonment for ten years. It was the turning point in his life.
  • The convict was badly treated in the jail. He was chained up like a wild animal. He was lashed like a hound. He was fed on filth and was covered with vermin. He had to remain in such a harsh condition for ten years. Finally, he managed to escape. But alas! he was not a man but just like a wild beast. The ill-treatment of the jail employees proved a turning point in the convict’s life.
  • His meeting with the Bishop and the hospitality he received at his (Bishop’s) cottage, softened him a little but still he stole his candlesticks.
  • The Bishop saved the convict by telling the police that the silver candlesticks were given to the convict by him as a gift. It was the point which transformed him and he became a “man” again. Finally, he was blessed by the Bishop.
Question 10.
The convict is the product of the society he lived in, both in terms of the suffering that led him to steal a loaf of bread, as well as the excessive sentence he received as punishment for his “crime”. He was imprisoned for stealing money to buy food for his sick wife, this filled with despair, hopelessness, bitterness and anger at the injustice of it all.
Conduct a debate in the class (in groups) on the following topic. Instruction for conducting a debate (and the use of appropriate language) are given in the unit ‘Children’ of the Main Course Book.
‘Criminals are wicked and deserve punishment ’
Answer:
Respected President and Dear Friends!
They say hate the sin and not the sinner. How did the convict in the story become a “convict”? He was a man like us once. He had a wife. Then suddenly, things changed for the worse. He was out of job. His wife fell ill. She was starving and dying. He stole for food, caught and sentenced to ten years in prison.

Sir, do we think the punishment he received justified his crime? He was not a seasoned criminal. He had no previous record of stealing. A poor man out of job and his wife ill and dying. What would he do? Let me ask it the other way round: What will we do in these circumstances?

The laws are to punish the guilty and not to punish the victims of circumstances, disease and poverty. The prisons are to reform the criminals. Sir, certainly, they are not the slaughter houses. They can’t be turned into little ‘hells’ where prisoners are fed on filth and tortured. I personally feel, and all of you will agree with me, that such a cruel punishment for such a petty offence only makes a person a hard-hearted criminal like the convict.

Question 11.
The convict goes to Paris, sells the silver candlesticks and starts a business. The business prospers and he starts a reformatory for ex-convicts. He writes a letter to the Bishop telling him of this reformatory and seeks his blessings.
As the convict, Jean Valjean, write the letter to the Bishop:
Answer:
Jean Valjean Reformatory
Paris
20th March, 20XX
Venerable Father,
Faith can move mountains. You blessed me and I got a new life. I became a ‘man’ again. I went to Paris to start a new life. I sold the silver candlesticks and got a good amount to start life afresh. I invested the money in business and it made me a prosperous man. With the money earned, I started a reformatory for ex-convicts. They say hate the sin but never the sinner. Everyone is gifted with a human heart. Feelings of compassion, pity and sympathy are never dead in man. They irihy hibernate for a period of time. But someone like you can rekindle them. Even the hardest of criminal can be transformed into a ‘man’ again. The reformatory’s main focus is to arouse human kindness, sympathy and compassion for our fellow beings. We make them earn money through various handicrafts and cottage trades. Every evening all of them gather for prayers and moral lessons. Fortunately, there has been no major hurdles in our campaign so far. We have decided to invite you on the annual function of the reformatory. I hope you will oblige all of us by your noble presence and bless us to achieve our aim.
Yours sincerely
JeanValejean

Reference To Context
Read the extracts given below and answer the questions that follow:
Question 1.
“Mere Gringoire indeed! Mere Gringoire! What, the old witch who lives at the top of the hill, and who says she is bedridden because she is too lazy to do any work? And what did Mere Gringoire want with the money, pray?” (Page 115)
(а) Why is Persome angry at Mere Gringoire?
(b`) Why does Mere Gringoire pretend to be bedridden, according to Persome?
(c) Find a word from the extract having same meaing as ‘confined to bed’.
Answer:
(a) Persome is angry at Mere Gringoire because her brother, the Bishop has sold the beautiful salt cellars only to help her with money.
(b) According to Persome, Mere Gringoire pretends to be bedridden because she is too lazy to do any work.
(c) Bedridden.

Question 2.
Oh, mon Dieu! it is hopeless, hopeless. We shall have nothing left. His estate is sold, his savings have gone. His furniture, everything. Were it not for my little dot we should starve! And now my beautiful-beautiful (sob) salt cellars. Ah, it is too much, too much. (She breaks down crying.) (Page 115)
(a) Who says the situation is hopeless and why?
(b) What saved them from starving?
(c) Find a word in the extract having same meaning as ‘Property’.
Answer:
(a) Persome, Bishop’s sister feels that her brother’s actions have brought them in a hopeless
situation. He has sold his estate, furniture and spent all his savings. They have nothing left now. .
(b) Persome thinks that the little dowry that she had helped them from starving.
(c) Estate.

Question 3.
“Yes, or meat off the floor, I suppose. Oh, it’s coming to that. And as for that old wretch, Mere Gringoire, I wonder she had the audicity to send here again. The last time I saw her I gave her such a talking to that it ought to have had some effect.” (Page 116)
(a) Explain: “Oh, it’s coming to that”.
(b) What wrong did the ‘old wretch’ Mere Gringoire do according to Persome?
(c) What did Persome do when she met Mere Gringoire last time?
Answer:
(a) The Bishop had sold the beautiful silver salt cellars and now suggests eating salt out of China. Persome gets angry and taunts him that they can eat meat off the floor. Things have come to such a hopeless situation.
(b) The ‘old wretch’, Mere Gringoire had the audacity to send a message to the Bishop for helping her with money.
(c) The last time when Persome met Mere Gringoire, she gave a piece of her mind to her. She asked her to mind her own business and not to harass the Bishop for nothing.

Question 4.
Good to you, yes! I should think so. I should like to know where you would be without me to look after you. The dupe of every idle scamp or lying old woman in the parish! (Page 116) lestions
(a) Who speaks these lines and to whom?
(b) What would happen if Persome doesn’t look after the Bishop?
(c) How would the Bishop become the ‘dupe of every idle scamp or lying old woman’ of the parish?
Answer:
(a) These lines are spoken by Persome to her brother, the Bishop.
(b) Persome feels that if she doesn’t look after her brother, he will be miserable and become an easy target for cheats and liars.
(c) Without Personae’s control, the Bishop would become an easy target for cheats and liars in the parish. They would exploit his generosity to serve their own interests.

Question 5.
it down!!! (The Bishop sits smiling.) None of that, my friend! I’m too old a bird to be caught wfth chaff. You would ask your sister for the keys, would you? A likely story! You would rouse the house too. Eh? Ha!! ha! A good joke truly. Come, where is the food? I want no keys. I have a wolf inside me tearing at my entrails, tearing me; quick, tell me; where the food is. (Page 118)
(a) Why does the Convict say that he is too old a bird to be caught with chaff?
(b) Wliat does the Convict want the Bishop to be asked from his sister?
(c) Explain: “I have a wolf inside me tearing my entrails”.
Answer:
(a) The Convict reminds the Bishop that he is not a novice but clever and mature. He is not to be ‘caught with chaff’ or small temptations.
(b) The Convict wants the Bishop to ask his sister to handover the keys to him.
(c) It means that the Convict is very hungry and can’t afford to be hungry any more.

Question 6.
Suffer? (puzzled) suffered? My God, yes. (Drinks) But that’s a long time ago. Ha! ha! That was
when I was a man. Now I’m not a man; now I’m a number; number 15729, and I’ve lived in Hell for tern years. (Page 120)
(a) When was the Convict “a man?”
(b) Why was he reduced to a number?
(c) Where’did he live in for ten years?
Answer:
(a) Before he was arrested and sent to jail, the Convict was a man with all human qualities.
(b) The hard life of the prison, the cruelties and tortures of the police took away all human qualities from him. He was reduced to a number and they never called him by his name.
(c) The Convict led’ most hellish life in prison for ten long years.

Question 7.
They caught me. I pleaded to them, I told them why I stole, but they laughed at me, and I was sentenced to ten years in the prison hulks (pause), ten years in Hell. The night I was sentenced, the gaoler told me—told me Jeanette was dead. (Sobs with fury) Ah, damn them, damn them. God curse them all. (Page 121)
(a) Why did the police arrest the Convict?
(b) Did they listen to his pleadings? What did they do with him?
(c) Find a word in the extract opposite in meaning to ‘praise’.
Answer:
(a) They arrested the Convict because he was stealing to buy food for his hungry wife.
(b) No, they didn’t listen to his pleadings and he was sent to jail for stealing.
(c) Curse.

Question 8.
“Yes, to starve. They feed you in Hell, but when you escape from it you starve. They were hunting me everywhere and I had no passport, no name. So I stole again. I stole these rags. I stole my food daily. I slept in the woods, in bams, anywhere. I dare not ask for work, I dare not go into a town to beg, so I stole, and they have made me what I am, they have made me a thief. God curse them all.” (Page 121)
(a) What is the difference of being ‘in the Hell’ and out of it?
(b) Why did the Convict steal?
(c) Why does the Convict curse them all?
Answer:
(a) When you are inside the prison, the police at least give you some food to eat. But when you are outside it, you starve.
(b) The Convict had no money. He needed food and rags. He was without any work. Hence, he had to steal for buying food and clothes.
(c) The Convict curses them all as they made him a thief and a beast from a man.

Question 9.
Tell you about it? Look here, I was a man once. I’m a beast now, and they made me what I am. They chained me up like a wild animal, they lashed me like a hound. I fed on filth, I was covered, with vermin, I slept on boards, and I complained. Then they lashed me again. For ten years, ten years. Oh God! They took away my name, they took away my soul, and they gave me a devil in its place. (Page 121)
(a) The speaker was a man once but he is a beast now. How?
(b) Who made him what he was?
(c) Describe the tortures and sufferings the speaker had to go in prison.
Answer:
(a) Before he was arrested and put in prison, the Convict was a man with all human qualities. The jail-life has reduced him to a beast.
(b) The tortures of the police made him a beast and reduced him to what he was.
(c) The Convict was chained and lashed like an animal. He was fed on filth and covered with vermin and it continued for ten years.

Question 10.
You are going to try to convert me. Oh! ha! ha! That’s a good idea. Ha! ha! ha! No, no, Monseigneur the Bishop: I don’t want any of your Faith, Hope, and Charity-see? So anything you do for me you’re doing to the devil—understand? (defiantly) (Page 122)
(a) Who is going to convert and whom?
(b) What does the speaker want?
(c) Doing anything for him means ‘doing to the devil’. How?
Answer:
(a) The Convict says that the Bishop is trying to convert him to his Faith.
(b) The speaker doesn’t want any of the Bishop’s Faith, Hope and Charity.
(c) The Convict is no more a man but a beast. Hence, doing anything good to him means ‘doing to the devil’.

Question 11.
Worth hundreds I’ll warrant. If I had these turned into money they’d start me fair. Humph! The old boy’s fond of them too, said his mother gave him them. His mother, yes. They didn’t think of my mother when they sent me to Hell. He was kind to me too-but that’s a Bishop for except to be kind to you? Here, cheer up, my hearty, you’r getting soft. God! Wouldn’t my chain-mates laugh to see 15729 hesitating about collaring the plunder because he felt good. Good! Ha! ha! Oh, my God! Good! Ha! ha! 15729 getting soft. That’s a good one. Ha! ha! No, I’ll take his candlesticks and go. (Page 123)
(a) What and how will the candlesticks help the speaker to start fair in life again?
(b) Why doesn’t the speaker consider the fact that those candlesticks were given to the Bishop by his mother? Why does he steal them?
(c) Write the noun form of ‘warrant’.
Answer:
(a) The silver candlesticks could fetch a lot of money if they were sold. With that money the Convict could start his life afresh again.
(b) The Convict knows that the Bishop is very fond of the candlesticks as they were given to him by his mother. However, he doesn’t respect this fact. They didn’t care for his mother when he was sent to jail.
(c) Warranty.

Question 12.
“If you won’t tell the police, I will. I will not stand by and see you robbed. I know you are my brother and my Bishop, and the best man in all France; but you are a fool, I tell you, a child. I will not have your goodness abused, I shall go and inform die police.” (Page 124)
(a) Who is the speaker and why can’t she stand by and see him robbed?
(b) Why is the “best man in all France” a fool?
(c) How will she not have his goodness abused?
Answer:
(a) The speaker of these lines is Persome, the Bishop’s sister. She can’t stand by and let the Convict rob him of his silver candlesticks.
(b) The Bishop has all noble and human qualities in him to be the “best man in all France.” However, he is also a fool as he is an easy target of every cheat and liar in the Parish.
(c) Persome will not have the Bishop’s goodness abused by the Convict. She will go to inform the police about the theft.

Question 13.
“Yes, madam, we found this scoundrel slinking along the road, and as he would not give any account of himself we arrested him on suspicion. Holy Virgin, isn’t he strong and didn’t he struggle? While we were securing him these candlesticks fell out of his pockets.” (Page 124)
(a) Who is’ the ‘scoundrel’ being referred to here and who found him stealthily along the road?
(b) Why did the police arrest that ‘scoundrel’?
(c) What happened when they were seeming him?
Answer:
(a) The Convict who stole.the Bishop’s candlesticks is being referred to as a ‘scoundrel’ here. The police found him moving stealthily along the road.
(b) The police arrested that ‘scoundrel’ on suspicion. He failed to give any satisfactory account
of himself. ,
(c) When they were arresting him, the silver candlesticks that he stole from the Bishop’s house, fell down from his pocket.

Question 14.
Ah, thanks, thanks, Monseigneur. I—I—(He sobs.) Ah, I’m a fool, a child to cry, but somehow you have made me feel that—that it is just as if something had come into me—as if I were a man again and not a wild beast.
(a) Why does the speaker thank the Bishop? –
(b) What did the Bishop make the Convict feel?
(c) Why does the Convict feel as if he were a man again and not a beast?
Answer:
(a) The Convict thanks the Bishop for saving him from getting arrested and going to that hellish prison once again.
(b) The Convict felt as if he were a transformed man with human feelings.
(c) Because the Convict is no more a hardened and ferocious beast. He is sobbing like a child
and is filled with human feelings once more.

Question 15.
(Putting his hand on his shoulder). Always remember, my son, that this poor body is the Temple of the Living God.
(a) Who is speaking and to whom?
(b) Did the Convict still behave like a wild beast? What was the transformation?
(c) What final advice did the Bishop give to the Convict?
Answer:
(a) The Bishop is speaking to the Convict.
(b) No, the Convict was no more like a wild beast. He sobbed and behaved like a child.
(c) The Bishop advised the Convict that the poor body of man is the Temple of the Living God. Man must keep it chaste and pure by his noble actions.

NCERT Solutions for Class 9 English Literature Chapter 14 The Bishop’s Candlesticks. Questions and answers of the book.

CBSE Educational Study Material