1. What are the qualities of a “gentleman”? Work with your partner and complete the following web-chart by listing the qualities of a gentleman.
Answer: A gentleman is a person who has consideration not only for others but also has a willingness to keep them. He is an honest man and behaves well with others and never hearts anybody deliberately.
Following are the qualities found in a gentleman :
Caring, courteous, civil, dutiful, honest, wise, sympathetic, understanding etc.
2. Based on your discussion above, what do you think the story is about?
Answer: I think the story is about the good things that two gentlemen of Verona had done. Human love, mutual understanding and sincerity are the main things that the story tells us.
The story gives us a lesson that we should be civil and dutiful to others and work not only for ourselves but also for the happiness of others. We should be the real gentlemen.
3. Based on your reading of the story answer the following questions by ticking the correct options.
1. The driver did not approve of the narrator buying fruit from the two boys because
(a) the boys were untidy and poorly dressed
(b) the strawberries were not fresh
(c) they were asking for a heavy price
(d) the driver did not approve of small boys who worked
Answer: (a) the boys were untidy and poorly dressed
2. The narrator was most impressed by the boys’
(a) desire to earn money
(b) willingness to work
(c) ability to perform many tasks
(d) sense of fun
Answer: (c) ability to perform many tasks
3. Nicola was not pleased when Jacopo asked the narrator to drive them to Poleta as he
(a) did not want a stranger to become involved with their plans
(b) preferred going to Poleta by train so that he could enjoy the scenery
(c) did not want to ask anyone for favours
(d) did not want to take help from someone he did not know well
Answer: (a) did not want a stranger to become involved with their plans
4. The narrator did not go inside Lucia’s room as
(a) he did not want to intrude into their privacy
(b) he thought that the boys would object
(c) Lucia would not welcome a stranger
(d) the boys would feel he was spying on them
Answer: (a) he did not want to intrude into their privacy
5. The boys were the first to join the resistance movement against the Germans because
(a) the Germans had hurt their sister
(b) the Germans ruled the city
(c) the Germans had ruined their family
(d) the Germans had destroyed their home
Answer: (c) the Germans had ruined their family
6. The author did not speak to the boys on their return journey because
(a) he thought the boys would prefer to keep their secret
(b) he thought the boys were ashamed of their sister’s condition
(c) he thought they wouldn’t tell him the truth
(d) he thought the boys might ask him for money for their sister
Answer: (a) he thought the boys would prefer to keep their secret.
4. What do you understand by the following statements?
(a) “We do many things, sir,” Nicola answered seriously. He glanced at us hopefully.
Answer: The statement reveals that Nicola and his Jacopo don’t have any hesitation in doing anything that may serve their purpose. He told the narrator that they did many things like taking the visitors to the places of interest in Verona like Juliet’s Tomb. Perhaps a hope of getting more business from the narrator revived in his heart and his eyes gleamed hopefully. The narrator noticed this.
(b) He coloured deeply under his sunburn, then grew pale.
Answer: When the narrator asked Nicola what he did with his hard-working money, he didn’t find an answer instantly. He blushed red with anxiety and confusion and his brownish sun-burnt complexion made it quite apparent to the eyes of the narrator and then suddenly his face became pale. Perhaps he couldn’t gather enough courage to tell the truth or he didn’t want to tell anything about his family family to a stranger.
(c) He smiled uncomfortably. “Just plans, sir,” he answered in a low voice.
Answer: The narrator asked Nicola whether they were saving money for migrating to America to have a better life. Nicola answered him like a mature person that they had some other plans. When the narrator wanted to know specifically about the plans, Nicola tried to evade him simply by saying ‘just plans’ because he did not want to tell the narrator about his ill sister’s treatment.
(d) Yet in both these boyish faces there was a seriousness which was far beyond their years.
Answer: The narrator was deeply impressed by the innocent and artless expression of the faces of Nicola and Jacopo. But he also noticed a seriousness on their feces. The boys appeared to be quite mature in their thinking and actions. The boys were earning money for the treatment of their sister. Maturity brings seriousness on the faces of responsible elderly persons. Both Nicola and Jacopo had had this effect in what they they did for their sister.
5. Answer the following questions briefly.
(а) Why didn’t Luigi, the driver, approve of the two boys?
Answer: Luigi, the driver, did not approve of the two boys because they looked dirty and shabby. They looked like cheats, thieves and what not.
(b) Why were the narrator and his companion impressed by the two boys?
Answer: The innocent and courteous behaviour and the seriousness on their faces impressed the narrator and his companion.
(c) Why was the author surprised to see Nicola and Jacopo working as shoeshine boys?
Answer: The author was surprised to see Nicola and Jacopo working as shoeshine boys because the previous day he had seen them selling wild strawberries. The sudden change in their profession surprised him.
(d) How were the boys useful to the author?
Answer: The boys were useful to the narrator because they arranged American cigarette packs and tickets of opera for the writer. They could also tell the names of good restaurants.
(e) Why were the boys in the deserted square at night? What character traits do they exhibit?
Answer: The boys were in the deserted square at night because they were waiting for the last bus from Padua to sell newspapers to the passengers.
The boys exhibit their readiness for hard-work, determination to find and do any work for earning money.
(f) The narrator asks the boys, “Must you work so hard? You both look rather tired.” The boys reply, “We are not complaining, sir. ” What do you learn about the boys from their reply?
Answer: The reply of the boys shows that they are hard working. It appears as if they had set an aim before them and they were not afraid of anything. They realised that it was hard work that would end their miseries.
(g) When the narrator asks the boys about their plans, they are evasive. Why don’t they disclose their problems?
Answer: When the narrator asks the boys about their plans, they were evasive because they do not want to share their secrets or plans with strangers. It is quite likely that they don’t want to be an object of pity in sharing their personal issues with outsiders.
6. Discuss the following questions and write the answers in your notebook.
(a) Appearances are deceptive. Discuss with reference to the two boys.
Answer: The statement “appearances are deceptive” appears to be quite true in the case of the two boys in the story “Two Gentlemen of Verona”. At the beginning of the story, Nicola and Jacopo appeared to be quite dirty and shabby. Their shabby appearances deceived Luigi, the driver of the narrator. No one can guess from their ugly appearances that they could have great qualities of human values and gentlemanliness.
As the story proceeds further, we come to know about their hard-working lives. They liked to work anything for earning money because they needed enough money for the medical treatment of their sister, Lucia who was suffering from tuberculosis. They may be shabby and dirty in appearance but their dedications, actions and intentions were unparalleled.
(b) Do you think the boys looked after Lucia willingly ? Give reasons for your answer.
Answer: Yes. I think the boys, Nicola and Jacopo, looked after Lucia willingly. She was their only sister. They might be poor but they could not think of negative values like selfishness and ingratitude. They worked hard day and night and did all kinds of jobs so they could treat their sister, Lucia who was suffering from tuberculosis of the spine. They were sincere and devoted to their sister. It is nothing but pure love that they had in abundance for their sister. So they looked after Lucia willingly.
(c) How does the story ‘Two Gentlemen of Verona’ promise hope for society ?
Answer: The story ‘Two Gentlemen of Verona’ promises hope for the modern society. The two boys Nicola and Jacopo were greatly devoted and sincere towards the cause of their sister’s ailment. They were fighting the harshness of life themselves but they didn’t think of selfishness. They were ready to sacrifice their personal comforts for their only sister. This approach of theirs shows that true love still exists. Their dedication, selflessness and innocence give us a promise of better world before the materialistic world of today.
7. Look at the italic words in the following examples.
(a) We bought their biggest basket, then set off toward town.
(b) One night we came upon them in the windy and deserted square.
(c) He bit his lip, then in a rather put out tone he said, ‘Very well.’
(d) I shook my head and turned away.
Here are a few more. Match the phrases to their meanings.
|set up||to start/establish a company|
|break down||to lose control of your feelings and start crying|
|set off||to start on a journey|
|put up with||to tolerate a situation or a person|
|put off||to postpone|
|put on||two wear|
|come in||to enter|
|come across||to meet or find by chance|
|come up against||to be faced with or opposed by|
|turn down||to refuse /reject|
|Turn in||to try to get help / advice sympathy from someone|
|turn to||to inform on or deliver up|
Now use the phrases given above to complete the following sentences.
1. The landlord was suspicious of the two men staying in his flat so he called the police and ……turned……. them ……in…….
2. Early in the morning we packed our bags and …set off…. for a hike over the mountain.
3. Janvi ……came across……. some photographs of her grandfather in the old trunk.
4. My father ……set up……. his own business 10 years ago.
5. The Bank ……turned down……. Paul’s request for a loan.
6. The Corporation’s decision to reduce the leave of the employees …came up against… a lot of opposition.
8. Two Gentlemen of Verona is written in the first person. A story written in the first person is a first-hand account of events told or narrated through the eyes of a single character, typically the main character. Stories written in the first person are easily identified by the use of the pronoun “I” rather than ‘he or she’.
The reader will see phrases such as “I said, I thought,” rather than “he said, she thought.” Everything is experienced through the eyes of a single character, and all thoughts and observations are limited to that one person. There can be no outside observer. If the narrator does not see or experience an event at first hand, it cannot be a part of the story. All scenes in the story are filtered through this person’s unique perception.
The third-person is a narrative mode in which both the reader and the author observe the situation either through the senses and thoughts of more than one character, or through an overarching godlike perspective that sees and knows everything that happens and everything the characters are thinking. In this mode of narration, the narrator can tell the reader things that the main character does not know, or things that none of the characters know.
Rewrite any part of the story you like in the third person.
Answer: The following afternoon they drove to the tiny village set high upon the hillside. He imagined that their destination would be some humble dwelling. But, directed by Jacopo, they drew up at a large red-roofed villa, surrounded by a high stone wall. He could scarcely believe his eyes and before he could recover breath, his two passengers had leaped from the car.
9. The narrator realises why Nicola and Jacopo work so hard. Yet he does not go in to meet their sister nor does he speak to them about what he learns from the nurse. Working in groups, discuss the following aspects of the story and share your views with the class.
(a) The love and devotion, and the family values Nicola and Jacopo display.
Answer: Nicola and Jacopo, the two boys embody love, devotion and family values. They are young but their actions show that they are sincere, dedicated and quite practical. They are mentally old than the children of their age group. They are working hard day and night for earning money so that they can see their ailing sister stand on her own legs. They are ready to do any kind of job for the treatment of their only sister. They are selfless and very careful of her. Love, devotion and family values are above anything else to them.
(b) Their pride in themselves and their family.
Answer: The two boys, Nicola and Jacopo became quite serious and practical in their tender days. They worked hard for money and learned many things in a little period of their life. They did not tell about the disease of their sister to the author. They didn’t accept any help from him except going in his car to Poleta. They did not want any one to show pity to their hard times. They had a great sense of self-respect and pride.
(c) The trust they place in the narrator.
Answer: In the beginning the two boys kept themselves reserved. However, they started putting some faith in the narrator. When the writer offered to do something for them, Nicola made a silent refusal by shaking his head. But Jacopo, the younger boy, at once requested him to give a lift to them in his car to Poleta, 30 kilometres from Verona, where they went every Sunday on hired bicycles. Nicola looked angrily at his brother and told the writer that they would not like to trouble him. He did not want the writer to know that their only sister was fighting against tuberculosis because neither he wanted to have any financial help from any one nor to become an object of pity. However, they answer to the narrator’s questions honestly. Later, they tell many things relating to their lives.
(d) The reason the narrator does not disclose to them that he knows their secret.
Answer: The reason for this is that the writer is an intelligent man and he didn’t want to hurt their self-respect. When he talked with Nicola, he understood that the boys did not want to share their secret plans with him. His visit to Poleta, where Lucia, their only sister, was hospitalised, made their secret plans very clear for which they were working so hard. He knows fully well that their self-pride and self-respect will be deeply hurt if he discloses to them that he knows their secret.