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02_BIRTH

 

Summary

In ‘Birth’, the writer describes how Andrew Manson, a young doctor made frantic efforts to save nearly a stillborn child. It was a miracle. His tireless efforts succeeded in saving both— the mother as well as the child. The lesson describes all the fierce attempts made by the doctor to give a new lease of life to the new born baby.

 

  1. Doctor Andrew Sets out for Morgan’sHouse

It was nearly midnight. When Andrew reached home, he found Joe Morgan waiting for him. Joe was a driller. Joe and his wife were married nearly twenty years ago. His wife was expecting her first child. She needed medical help before time. Together they set out for 12 Blaina Terrace. Joe stood outside but the doctor went inside a small bedroom lit only by an oil lamp. Mrs Morgan’s mother, was a tall gray-haired woman of nearly seventy. She and the midwife were standing beside the patient.

 

  1. The Case Demanded All His AttentionAndrew decided to remain there untileverything was over. The case would demand all his attention. His thoughts were heavy and confused. He thought of all those marriages which were dismal failures. Andrew’s thoughts were filled with Christine, the girl he loved. An hour passed. It was a long and harsh struggle. At last, the child was born. He was lifeless.

 

  1. Frantic Efforts to Save Susan Morgan

Andrew gazed at the lifeless child. A shiver of horror passed over him. He was torn between two emotions. He wanted to save the child. He had to save the mother also. The dilemma was really urgent. Instinctively, he gave the child to the nurse. He turned his attention toSusan Morgan. She lay collapsed, almost pulseless. Her strength was ebbing. The doctor injected the medicine. After a few minutes of feverish efforts, Susan’s heart strengthened. She was out of danger now. He could safely leave her now.

  1. All Attention to the Child Now

“Where’s the child ?” asked Andrew. Themidwife made a frightened gesture. She had placed it beneath the bed. The doctor pulled out the child from among the newspapers. He was a boy, perfectly formed. The limp, warm body was white and soft. The limbs seemed boneless. The whiteness meant only one thing : lack of oxygen. The unconscious condition was caused by lack of oxygen in the blood. The skin was pale. The pulse was weak.

 

  1. Last Desperate Efforts and the Success

Andrew laboured in vain for half an hour.He still persisted in one last effort. He rubbed the child with a rough towel. He went on ‘crushing and releasing the little chest with both his hands’. He was trying to get breath into that limp body. Then a miracle took place. The pigmy chest gave a short heave. The doc­tor redoubled his efforts feverishly. The child was gasping now, deeper and deeper. His skin was slowly turning pink. And then, finally came the child’s cry. The nurse shouted in joy : “It’s come. It’s come alive”. Andrew handed her the child. He went downstairs. Outside he found Joe standing on the pavement. He had a tense but expectant face. The doctor disclosed that everything was fine. Joe was relieved to know that both the mother and the child were safe and sound.

 

MAIN POINTS

 

  1. It was nearly midnight. Doctor Andrew Manson found Joe Morgan waiting for him.
  2. Joe’s wife was expecting a child after 20 years of their marriage. She needed immediate medical help.
  3. Both of them set out for Morgan’s house.
  4. Mrs Morgan’s mother and the nurse stood beside the patient.
  5. Andrew had to make a choice. To save the child or perform his duty toward the child’s mother.
  6. He gave the child to the nurse and turned his attention to Susan Morgan.
  7. Susan lay collapsed, almost pulseless.
  8. The doctor injected the medicine and after some frantic efforts left her out of danger.
  9. Then he asked for the child. He was pulled out of the newspapers.
  10. He was a boy, perfectly formed. His body was white and soft.
  11. The child suffered from asphyxia, the lack of oxygen in the blood.
  12. He ordered for hot and cold water and two basins.
  13. He went on plunging the child now into the icy and now into the steaming water.
  14. Fifteen minutes passed. A sense of defeat pressed on the doctor.
  15. He went on rubbing the child with a rough towel. He kept crushing and releasing the little chest with both his hands.
  16. A miracle took place. The child gave a short heave and was gasping now deeper and deeper.
  17. His skin turned pink and then came the child’s cry.
  18. Andrew gave the child to the nurse and went out.
  19. Outside stood Joe. He was highly relieved. Both the mother and the child were safe and sound.

 

Questions & Answers

Short Answer Questions

 

 

 

  1. 1. Why did Joe Morgan stand waiting for Andrew Manson at midnight ?

 

Ans.     It was nearly midnight. The young doctor Andrew Manson reached Bryngower. Hefound Joe Morgan waiting for him. Joe was a driller. Joe and his wife had been married nearlytwenty years. They were expecting their first child. She needed immediate medical help beforetime. The driller’s face expressed relief at the sight of the doctor.

  1. 2. Why did Andrew feel dull and listless ?

Ans.     Andrew abruptly recalled his own affairs. Actually, he was returning from a dis­appointing evening with Christine, the girl he loved. He felt dull and listless. His thoughts were heavy and muddled. He was thinking of those persons whose marriages were dismal failures. He wished to consider marriage as an instrument of happiness.

  1. 3. What did Andrew see when he entered a small bedroom ?

Ans.     The doctor reached the door of No. 12, Blaina Terrace. Inside, a narrow stair led up to a small bedroom. It was clean but poorly furnished. It was lit only by an oil lamp. Mrs. Morgan’s mother, a tall, gray-haired woman of nearly seventy was beside the patient. An elderly midwife was with her.

Q.4.     Why did Andrew say to the old lady “Don’t fret, mother, I’ll not run away

Ans.     The old woman was Mrs. Morgan’s mother. She was wise in experience. She realised that there must be ‘a period of waiting’. She feared that the doctor might leave the case saying he would return later. The doctor assured the old woman that he wouldn’t run away. He would remain until everything was over.

  1. 5. What did Andrew think of marriage and why?

Ans.     Andrew’s thoughts were heavy and muddled. He thought of Bramwell. He was foolishly devoted to a woman who deceived him. He thought of Edward Page who lived unhappily apart from his wife. His reason told him that all these marriages were dismal failures. He wished to consider marriage as an idyllic state. The image of Christine, the girl he loved, always came before his eyes.

  1. Why did Andrew Manson hesitate and why was he torn between twodesires?

Ans.     Andrew Manson was in a state of conflict. He hesitated to move forward. Actually,he was torn between two desires. His first desire was to attempt to save the child. On the otherhand, he had his obligation toward the mother also. She was herself in a desperate state. Hewas in a dilemma.

  1. 7. How did Andrew Manson solve the dilemma ?

Ans.     The dilemma before the doctor was whether to save the mother first or her child. The dilemma was so urgent that he couldn’t solve it consciously. Instinctively, he gave the child to the nurse and turned his attention to Susan Morgan. She lay collapsed, almost pulseless. It took him only an instant to inject the medicine. After a few minutes of feverish efforts he succeeded in saving Susan Morgan.

Q.8      Where did the midwife place the child and why ?

Ans.     The elderly midwife was sure that the child was stillborn or lifeless. She had placed it beneath the bed. When the doctor asked for the child, the midwife made a frightened ges­ture. In a flash Andrew knelt down. He pulled the child from among the dirty newspapers below the bed.

Q.9.     How did the child look like when the doctor first saw him ?

Ans.     The child was a boy. He was perfectly formed. His limp warm body was white and soft. The cord was hastily slashed. The head lolled on the thin neck. The limbs seemed bone­less. His whiteness showed that he suffered from ‘asphyxia pallida’. It meant lack of oxygen in the blood.

  1. 10. What treatment did the doctor use in the case of the child and with whateffect?

Ans.     The doctor laid the child upon a blanket and began the special method of respiration. He took two basins. Like some crazy juggler he plunged the child into the icy water. Then he hurried him into the other basin containing steaming water. After labouring in vain for 15 minutes a sense of defeat pressed on him.

  1. 11. What was the effort that Andrew persisted in ? What was the result ?

Ans.     The doctor laboured in vain for half an hour. He still persisted in one last effort. He continued rubbing the child with a rough towel. He went on ‘crushing and releasing” the little chest with both his hands. He was trying to get breath into that limp body. A miracle took place. The child gave a short heave. The doctor redoubled his efforts feverishly. The child was gasping and finally came the cry.

  1. 12. How did the nurse and the old woman react when they heard the childcry ?

Ans.     The doctor’s frantic efforts succeeded in giving a new lease of life to the child. Hegasped and his limbs were no longer boneless. His colour was slowly turning pink. Then finallycame the child’s cry. The nurse sobbed hysterically and thanked God. The old woman stoodagainst the wall. She was praying. The child’s mother was still not fully conscious.

Q.l3.    How did Joe Morgan feel when the doctor came out ?

Ans.     The doctor went downstairs. Outside he found Joe standing on the pavement. His face was tense but expectant. The doctor disclosed that everything was fine. Both the mother and the child were safe and sound. Joe heaved a sigh of relief.

Q.14    “Oh God ! I’ve done something real at last.” Why did Andrew utter such words ?

Ans.     The doctor had done his duty. He had saved two human lives. The mother laycollapsed, pulseless. He saved her first. Then a miracle took place. After frantic efforts he wassuccessful in saving the child too. He thanked God and felt a sense of relief. He was satisfiedthat as a doctor he did “something real at last”.

  1. 15. Justify the title.

Axis.    The excerpt has been given quite a suitable and sensible title. The whole episode revolves round the birth of a child. First the doctor saved the expectant mother. Then he saved the child who was thought to be stillborn. The doctor made frantic efforts to give a new lease of life to the new born child.

LONG ANSWER TYPE QUESTIONS

  1. 1. Andrew Manson was torn between two desires. What were the desires and howdid Andrew resolve and with what result ?

Ans.     The doctor was torn between two desires. The dilemma was whether the mother or the new born infant was to be saved first. When the doctor reached 12 Blaina Terrace, he found two women standing near the patient. He knew that the case here would demand all his attention. He decided to remain there until everything was over. He hesitated and was torn between two conflicts. The first desire was how to save the child. Being a doctor, he had a duty towards the mother too. The mother herself was in a desperate state. He had to make a choice and decide promptly. He faced an urgent dilemma. The dilemma was so urgent that he couldn’t solve it consciously. At last, he took the decision. He acted instinctively.

Instinctively, he gave the child to the nurse. He turned his attention to Susan Morgan. She lay collapsed, almost pulseless. Her strength was ebbing. The doctor took only an instant to inject the medicine. After a few minutes of feverish efforts, her heart strengthened. He gave a new lease of life to the mother. He saw that he might safely leave her. Now he could turn his attention to the child. A miracle took place. After a long and tiring struggle, the doctor was able to save the child too.

  1. 2. What picture of Andrew Manson do you form after reading ‘Birth’ ?

Ans.     Andrew Manson was a young doctor. He was a dedicated and hard working medi­cal practitioner. He never failed in his calling. He was full of ideas and judged every case on its merit. He showed quite a mature understanding of his patients. He never faltered or hesi­tated. When torn between two conflicts, he wasted no time in taking the right and prompt decision.

We find Joe Morgan waiting for Andrew Manson at midnight. Andrew Manson was tired and not in a proper frame of mind. Even then he accompanied Joe to his house. He was a good judge of men and matters. When he realised that the old lady feared that the doctor might leave the case, he assured her. He realised that the case demanded his immediate atten­tion. He declared that he would not leave the place till everything was over.

We find Andrew Manson a clear headed person. He could resolve any issue. He didn’t hesitate even to do any experiment. Plunging the child into the icy and hot waters turn by turn was a daring experiment. Similarly, rubbing and releasing the chest with a rough towel was another experiment that finally brought success to the doctor. In the end, Andrew was satis­fied that he did everything whatever he was expected to do.

 

 

 

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