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06_KEEPING IT FROM HAROLD class 9

 

Summary

  • Keeping It From Harold is an interesting story that highlights the psychology of a ten-year old boy called Harold and his parents.
  • They feel that their child is a prodigy and don’t want him to know that his father is a boxer, fearing it would hurt his sensitive mind.
  • Harold’s father Mr. Bill Bramble was a professional boxer.
  • Bramble was popular by the name of “Porky” with a large fan following.
  • Despite of his successful boxing career he is keen to give it all up because of his son Harold.
  • Harold, a ten-year old schoolboy, is unaware of his father’s profession and has been told he is a commercial traveller.
  • Harold is a constant source of amazement to his parents because of his excellence in studies and his impeccable manners.
  • His mother, Mrs. Bramble is convinced that he is a child prodigy.
  • Harold’s parents feared that the revealation would upset the child and put him in embarrassing position among his friends.
  • Encouraged by his brother-in-law (Mrs. Bramble’s brother), Major Percy Stokes, Mr. Bramble decides to give up his boxing career and look for a job as a boxing instructor in a school or college.
  • Unfortunately, the decision is taken days before a major boxing event where he stands to win a lot of money and fame.
  • However, what made Mrs. Bramble feel more satisfied and relieved was the fact that it was going to be her husband’s last fight after which they would no longer have to hide his real profession from their son.
  • Before the discussion can go any further, Mr. Fisher, the trainer and promoter of Mr. Bramble’s fight arrives.
  • He is horrified at Mr. Bramble’s decision to give up boxing at such a time and he does all he can to make him change his mind.
  • Even as this heated exchange between the boxer and his trainer was on, Harold appeared on the scene and everyone was dumbfounded.
  • Angry at Bill’s decision to quit, Fisher disclosed his real identity to Harold.
  • Harold was utterly surprised at the revelation.
  • Harold is extremely excited to know that his father was the famous boxing champion “Porky”.
  • He surprises everyone with his in-depth knowledge of the boxing world and the fact that he had bet some money on “Porky’s” win.
  • He found no wisdom in his father’s decision to quit fighting and calls it a “silly idea”.
  • He felt so proud of his father’s profession that he wanted to carry a photograph of his father in action so that he could go about impressing everybody by displaying it.
  • Bill’s boxing career was no longer a secret and the child’s pride in being the son of such a renowned boxer had become obvious.
  • Bill went back with Jerry Fisher for his training with a renewed enthusiasm.
  • All the anxieties of the Brambles were over now.

 

Questions & Answers

 

Q.1.   What was strange about the manner in which Mrs. Bramble addressed her         son? What did he feel about it?

Ans.   Mrs. Bramble addressed him in the third person and it jarred upon him as he felt she was addressing him the way one addressees a baby. He felt offended especially as he felt all grown up since he had won a prize for dictation and spelling.

 

Q.2.   Why was it necessary to Keep Harold’s father’s profession a secret from him?

Ans.   Harold was studying in an expensive private school and growing up to be quite a don. He was very intelligent and interested in studies. He amazed his parents with his courteous behavior. Therefore, they felt he may be embarrassed if he came to know that his father was a boxing champion and belonged to the rough world of boxing.

 

Q.3.   Who was Jerry Fisher? What did he say to try and convince Bill to change his mind?

Ans.   Jerry Fisher was the trainer, manager, and  promoter of Mr. Bramble’s boxing matches. He tried to tempt Mr. Bramble by reminding him of the large sum of money that he would win at the end of the fight; the celebrities who would come to watch him fight and the publicity he would get. He also tried to point out the problems that he would have to face if he decided not to fight.

 

Q.4.   Why was Harold upset that his father had not told him about his true identity? Give two reasons.

Ans.   Harold was upset that he had been denied the chance to show off before his friends that his father was the famous boxing champion “Young Porky”. He also felt that if his friends had known of his father’s true identity they would have treated him with more respect and not called him “Goggles”.

 

Q.5.   What kind of a boy was Harold?

Ans.   Harold was an intelligent boy with a deep interest in academics. He was self-absorbed and did not show much interest in his parents. In fact, his parents were in awe of him and wondered how such a child had been born to them. Later on however we find that he has an interest in boxing and has in–depth  knowledge about it as well.

 

Q.6.   Who was Major Percy Stokes? What kind of a man was he?

Ans.   Major Percy Stokes was the brother of Mrs. Bramble. He was a troublemaker who did not seem to be involved in any constructive work. He was the person to instigate Mr. Bramble into quitting boxing before the big fight.

 

Q.7.   Mr. Bramble had already decided to quit after the big fight, then why does his decision to quit before the fight upset his wife?

Ans.   His wife was upset because by quitting before the fight they would not be able to get the large amount of money that he would have otherwise got, irrespective of the fact whether he lost or won. The money would have helped in paying for Harold’s education.

 

Q.8.   How did Major persuade Mr. Bramble to give up boxing?

Ans.   The Major had written a series of letters and tracts persuading Bill to give up boxing, for it was no longer safe for him. He feared that the wide coverage in the newspapers of his fights would bare the truth of his real profession in front of Harold, who regularly read the Mail. The thought of Harold finding out the truth prompted Bill to give up boxing and to call off his scheduled bout with Murphy.

 

Q.9.   What explanation did Mr. Bramble give for his decision of not         fighting Murphy?

Or

What made Bill withdraw from the contest against Murphy at the   eleventh hour?  

Ans.   Bill Bramble knew that his fight with Murphy, important as it was, would be given coverage by all newspapers. The ‘Mail’, which his son Harold regularly followed, was also likely to publish it along with his photograph. This meant that Harold would come to know that the real profession of his father was boxing and not commercial travelling. For the sake of Harold, therefore, Bill decided to withdraw from the contest at the eleventh hour.

 

Q.10. Why did Harold call his parents’ efforts to hide his father’sidentity          as“Young Porky” as the ‘rotten’ and ‘silliest’ idea?

Or

          Why was Harold upset that his father had not told him about his true       identity? Give two reasons.

Ans.   Harold felt upset at his parents’ efforts to keep his father’s real profession a secret from him and called it as something ‘rotten’ because it had deprived him of an opportunity to feel special and distinguished as the son of the famous boxer ‘Young porky’. His schoolmates would have held him in awe and respect and no one would have dared to called him ‘Goggles’, had they known the truth.

 

Q.11. Harold writes a letter to his friend on the day that he finds out the truth, telling him about his father’s profession and expressing his pride in his achievements. Write the letter.

 

Ans.   14,New Street

          Illinois

 

11 October 2014

 

          Dear Sam,

 

I am writing to give you an extremely exciting bit of news. Remember we had laid a bet on Young Porky to win the fight on Monday? Well rest assured, we are going to win! You may wonder how I can be so sure of this; well the truth is that Young Porky is my father! Surprised? Well so was I when I got to know of this.

I was kept in the dark because my parents thought I would be embarrassed at the thought of having a boxing champion as my father! Really it is so difficult to understand adults sometimes! How could I be embarrassed? I am jumping with joy. I can hardly wait to tell the whole class about it! At last they will behave in a respectful manner with me and stop calling me “Goggles”! Gosh, how I hate that name!

 

Well, see you in school. By the way, would you like to get some passes for the fight?

 

Your loving friend

Harold

 

Q.12. Percy writes a letter to Mr. Bramble persuading him to give up boxing      before the big fight, in the interest of his son Harold. Write the letter.

 

Ans.   23/AY, Parking Road

          Revenue Park

Illinois

 

22 October, 2014

 

Dear Bill,

 

As I was telling you the other day, the time to give up boxing has finally arrived. You have to do this for the sake of your son. Can you imagine the embarrassment and shock that Harold will have to face when he learns of your true identity? All his life he has been told you are a commercial traveller, so how do you think he will react to your being a boxing champion?

I know you are thinking of giving it all up after the big fight on Monday, but have you thought of the publicity that you will get irrespective of the fact whether you win or lose? It may mean the loss of a lot of money but what about Harold’s feelings? He is such a gentle boy, so brainy with impeccable manners. Do you think he will be able to live with the fact that his father belongs to the rough and tumble of a boxing ring? Your pictures will be plastered all over the papers, how will you hide all that? Young Porky is too famous for his own good. I beg of you in the name of Harold’s peace of mind, give up the profession and stop training now! Inform Mr. Fisher that you are quitting for good. I am with you.

 

Your brother always,

Major Percy Stokes

 

Q.13. After returning from Mr. Bramble’s house, Jerry Fisher writes a diary entry about the events that had just taken place and how he tried to ensure that Bramble would take part in the big fight on Monday. Write the diary entry, mentioning the role played by the Major and his reasons for telling the truth to Harold.

 

Ans.   15th January 2014

         

Dear Diary

 

Just returned after saving a potentially dangerous situation! I don’t know how I kept my hands off from Major Percy Stokes! He was the creator of all my stress. Imagine forcing a star performer to quit days before one of the biggest boxing fights seen in this part of the world? How could he be so irresponsible? He is such a trouble maker I should have kept a closer watch on him. Bill, our young Porky is such a simple man. He may have a mean left hook in the ring but he is so meek and docile in real life. Thank God the secret of his profession is finally in the open. I still see no reason for all this cloak and dagger stuff. A boy should be brought up to respect his father’s profession. After all he is paying all his bills! Thank God the boy has more intelligence than his parents. He was so excited to learn that his father was the real Young Porky! Really, Mrs. Bramble and her fancy notions. What is wrong in being a professional boxer, especially if one is so talented as Porky? What an irony that the young boy has such deep knowledge about the boxing world. Anyway, the training has restarted and I am hopeful of a great win on Monday!

 

Q.14. How does Jerry Fisher’s value of professionalism come in conflict with Bill Bramble’s family values and personal choice? How did he reason with Bill to uphold his professional values and obligations?

Or

          Who was Jerry Fisher? How did he react to Bill’s decision? What did he say to convince Bill to change his mind?

Ans.   Jerry Fisher had been associated with “Young Porky’ alias Bill Bramble as a trainer for a number of years. Bill’s decision to withdraw from the fight with Murphy came as such a great shock to Jerry that tears welled up in his eyes. The decision seemed to be crazy to him for it was a blatant violation of his professional values as a boxer and smacked of cowardice. His adversary would allege that he had developed cold feet. Moreover, Jerry must have felt cheated with Bramble’s decision to quit at the eleventh hour. Clearly, there was conflict between Jerry’s professionalism and Bramble’s family compulsions that forced him to announce his withdrawal from the scheduled bout with the American boxer Jimmy Murphy.

          Not the one to give up so easily, Jerry tried to convince Bill to change his mind by reminding him of the handsome amount that the fight would fetch him and the name and fame he would get. He coaxed Bill to think of the pains he had taken as a trainer to prepare him for a win in the fight and that his own reputation as a coach was at stake.

 

 

WORKSHEET

  1. Imagine you are Jerry Fisher, the coach of Bill Bramble. You are shattered and annoyed at the decision of Bill to quit boxing. You visit Bill’s house and give a piece of your mind to him. Write a letter to your friend describing your agony and how you succeeded in making Bill fight the bout.
  2. Justify the title of the story “Keeping it from Harold” with reference to its ironical ending.
  3. Give a character sketch of Mr. Bramble.
  4. Imagine yourself to be Harold. Write a diary entry expressing your feelings when you come to learn about your father’s actual profession.
  5. The actual profession of Bill Bramble, if revealed, would benefit both Brambles and their son. Comment.
  6. Give a brief character sketch of Harold? Why was Harold considered a prodigy?
  7. “But Percy was like that. Enemies said that he liked the sound of his own voice”. Who was Major Percy Stokes? Comment on the nature of Percy. What advice did he give the Brambles?
  8. Give a character sketch of Young Porky.
  9. How did Harold defy the laws of heredity? What was Harold’s reaction when he came to know about his father’s profession?

Long Answer Questions

  1. 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.

On the basis of your reading of theextract, analyse the following:

–        What does the mother think of Harold as a student? Do you think all students should aspire to be like Harold?

–        How important do you think it is to alternate studies with relaxing activities?

  1. They were lovers of truth, but they had realized that there are times when truth must be sacrificed.”

          On the basis of your reading ofthe extract, analyze the following:

–        What impression do you form ofHarold’s parents from this extract ?

–        Do you think truth should sometimesbe sacrificed? If yes, when? If not, why?

–        Wouldyou ever sacrifice truthfor any reason whatsoever? Why? Why not?

  1. Nobody could help liking this excellent man; which made it all the greater pity that his walk in life was of such a nature that it simply had to be kept from Harold.”

On the basis of your reading of the extract,analyse the following:

–        What qualities made Mr. Bramble an excellent man? Do you think there are other qualities that can make someone ‘excellent’?

–        Why did Mr. Bramble and his wife decide to hide the truth of his profession from their son? Were they justified in doing so?

  1. Jerry Fisher’s a hard nut, said Mr. Bramble, apologetically. He don’t like people coming round talking to a man he’s training, unless he introduces them or they’re newspaper gents.”

            On the basis of your reading of the extract, analyse the following:

–        What values does Jerry Fisher hold important in his profession as a coach? Do you think they are important for both a coach and a boxer?

–        Why do you think Jerry Fisher did not allow his trainees to interact with others while they were under training? Wouldyou have done the same, if you were Mr. Bramble’s coach? Why? Why not?

  1. There’s a fellow at our school who goes about swanking in the most rotten way because he once got Phil Scott’s autograph. Fellows look up to him most awfully, and all the time they might have been doing it to me. That’s what makes me so jolly sick. How long do you suppose they’d go on calling me, ‘Goggles’ if they knew that you were my father?

On the basis of your reading of the extract, analyse the following:

–        Should children brag about what is special about their parents and families?

–        Had you been Harold, would you have done something like this on finding out that yourfather was a famous boxer? Why? Why not?

–        Was it right on the part of Harold’s fellow students to tease him by calling him Goggles?Why? Why not?

–        Had you been one of Harold’s schoolmates, would you too have called him‘Goggles’? Give reasons in support of your view.

  1. And you don’t know how sick a chap gets of having chaps call him, Goggles.”

–        If you were Harold, how would you have felt on being called ‘Goggles’? How would you have reacted to such comments? Why?

–        If you were one of Harold’s teachers, how would you have counselled him on learning about the way his friends treated him?

  1. Imagine you are a newspaper reporter. You have learnt how the Brambles tried to keep the reality of Mr. Bramble’s profession from their son, Harold and how it is now known to him. Write an article for your newspaper to

–        break the news of Harold’s discovery

–        give your opinion whether the Brambles were right in withholding the secret from their son

–        describe how the revelation of truth has affected the whole family, especially Harold

  1. What personal qualities and values of Harold made his parents so proud of him?

 

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