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Karnataka State Board Class 9 English Poem Chapter 3 The Village School Master
The Village School Master Questions and Answers, Summary, Notes
C1. Answer the following:
Where was the school located?
The school was located next to the irregular fence that fringed the village path with full blossomed, beautiful but ornamental furze.
How did the children react to the school master’s jokes?
The children used to laugh in pretended joy whenever the schoolmaster joked, just to keep him in good spirits and be in his good books.
How could the children find the morning disaster?
The children could find the morning disaster in the school master’s face. This shows that the children saw on the master’s face the misfortune they had to face on that day.
The schoolmaster was
c) kind as well as severe.
(c) Kind as well as severe.
Which of the following is not true of the village schoolmaster?
a) He could write and cipher.
b) He could write poems and songs.
c) He could measure lands.
d) He could argue even when he was defeated.
(b) He could write poems and songs.
What puzzled the villagers?
The enormous knowledge and skills of the schoolmaster were wonders for the villagers. They were puzzled how such a small head could carry such vastness of knowledge.
Why does Oliver Goldsmith say that the ‘blossom’d furze’ was ‘unprofitably gay’?
Oliver Goldsmith says that the blossom’d furze was unprofitably gay because the lush grass spread out over there in nature, served no purpose because there was nobody to admire it.
C2. Answer the following in 2 or 3 sentences each:
What is the children’s view of the teacher?
The children were very afraid of their schoolmaster and used to behave in such a way as not to make him lose his temper. If the schoolmaster cracked a joke, all of them used to laugh whether they wanted or not, or whether they found it amusing or not.
Why did the villagers respect the schoolmaster?
The villagers respected the schoolmaster because of the extent of knowledge he had. They admired him for his ability to write, decode, measure lands, terms, tides. They were amazed at his debating skill and admired his ability to carry on debating even after he was defeated in an argument.
What impression does the poem give you of the
- qualities and
- abilities of the village schoolmaster?
The poet Oliver Goldsmith gives a humorous study of the school master’s character but never loses his sympathy for him. He makes an analysis of the qualities and capabilities of the schoolmaster. He was a staunch disciplinarian who took his students to task if they played truant.
The poet, as a student, was very aware of this aspect of the school master but he appreciated his stand and came to love and respect him. The severe measures taken by the master had a soft and pious motive behind them as he wanted to see his pupils ‘turn into learned people’. The school master’s character is portrayed with many paradoxes. He is an able and strict man, yet his school is always noisy.
He is severe in manner but at the same time is jovial with a stock of seasoned jokes. He is supposed to be a great scholar though he can only read, write and solve simple sums of arithmetic. He is the stem and yet kind. The schoolmaster is acknowledged as a great erudite person by the entire village and even the parson recognizes his skill in debate.
The rhetoric of the teacher leaves the rustics gazing in admiration. The poem ends on a note of humour. The teacher is not to be taken as a mere satirical sketch. Apart from his scholarly pretensions, he has been a remarkably kind and benevolent gentleman. The frown on his face often hides a heart overflowing with love and sympathy.
He has a smattering of useful information which he puts to good use with the illiterate and ignorant villagers. Thus the projects a larger-than-life image of himself before them. He has an opinion on every issue and loves to engage in debates particularly with the village priest. He knows that in the eyes of the villagers the outcome of the debate depends more on sound than on sense. Hence he continues arguing even after he has lost his point.
Pick out the words that convey the different emotions of the poet.
- boding – tremblers – the poet describes the fear the children had for the schoolmaster.
- counterfeited glee – the poet describes the pretentious laugher even if the students didn’t feel like laughing. The poet conveys the emotions of humour, respect, fun, fear in the poem when he describes the village schoolmaster.
Describe the skills of the village schoolmaster which made the people wonder.
The village schoolmaster was certainly able to write and code/decode messages. He could measure the land, and even give the forecast of tides and winds. He could predict the future. These qualities and skills of the schoolmaster made the people marvel at him.
Can you identify the mood of the speaker? How would you consider this poem – a serious one or a humorous one? Justify your answer.
The mood of the speaker could be either. On the one hand, we can say that the speaker wants to talk about the qualities of the schoolmaster in a reverential manner. Even when he says that the schoolmaster is stern, he is quick to add that he is stern to view. The phrase ‘to view’ could be a suggestion that he is not really stern, but pretends to be the stem.
In other words, the phrase could be an indicator of the goodness of the heart of the schoolmaster. If we take the intention of the speaker to be this, we take the poem as a serious one. However, there are a few lines which make us wonder whether the poet is poking gentle fun at the schoolmaster.
For example, he says that the children traced the day’s disasters in the school master’s morning face. The poet also says that the village schoolmaster, even though vanquished, could argue still. If these qualities of the schoolmaster are considered, then the tone can be taken as humorous. Ultimately, as readers, we can only say Goldsmith allows the readers to take the final stand.
C3. Share your views on the following questions with your friends. Based on the discussion, write the answers in the notebook and read them out to the class.
Would you consider the village schoolmaster as an ideal teacher in the present context?
On the one hand, the village schoolmaster comes out as a learned man with all the necessary skills of a teacher. On the other hand, he comes out as a rigid and stem teacher. The poet’s intention could be two-fold. Perhaps he wants to show that every one of us has strengths and weaknesses, and so does the schoolmaster. The poet might also want to point out that there are two types of teachers. The ones with the positive traits are admired and loved and the ones with the negative traits are feared and detested.
In the case of the schoolmaster, the sum-total of his goodness outweighs the sum-total of his negative aspects. So, even if he is not an ideal teacher, he can be considered a good teacher as he had the skills, talents, and knowledge required of a teacher.
What are the abilities/qualities of the teacher whom you like most in your school?
There are about 20 teachers in my school. Some of them take my classes and there are some who haven’t taught me still. Nevertheless, I know them all. I like all of my teachers. They all are very kind and loving. But my favourite teacher is Mr. Sharma. He is our Mathematics teacher. He is a middle-aged man with a very pleasant smile.
He is intelligent and a master of his subject. This is one quality that impresses all the students. He is much disciplined. He is approachable and does not evoke fear in the hearts of students. In fact, we feel at ease when he is around. He makes Mathematics so easy for all of us that we all enjoy it. We eagerly wait for his period every day and feel very sad when he is absent. He is very soft-spoken, kind, gentle, helping and caring.
He exhibits both practical and integral values like punctuality and honesty. In addition to these values, he has the good subject knowledge and worldly wisdom. He is always ready to listen patiently to the problems of the students. He never refuses any child who seeks help. Many a time he goes out of his way to help students.
He has a special concern for slow learners. All these qualities make him a favourite of not only me but all the students. My reasons for liking him are many. But one thing I admire about him is that he is neither partial nor biased. All the demands of his students is to study sincerely and work hard. He is very dedicated to his work and profession. He is very honest,, simple and clear-hearted.
Teachers like him are a fine example of simple living and high thinking. The country needs more devoted and dedicated teachers like him. Students work even harder when they have such inspiring examples before them.
Where was the ‘little school’ situated? How does the poet describe the school?
The little school was situated in a small village. It was situated in a building next to the irregular fence that fringed the village path with full blossomed, beautiful but ornamental furze.
What was the reaction of the villagers when the parson and the schoolmaster argued?
The villagers stood round the two debaters and witnessed the verbal duel. They were awestruck when they heard the incomprehensible words used by the schoolmaster. They wondered how his small head could keep that enormous hoard of knowledge.
How did the students adapt themselves to the varying moods of the schoolmaster?
The students were afraid of the schoolmaster and were sufficiently clever to assess from his face whether that day would bring any misfortune or not. The children laughed at his jokes with pretended joy. If they noticed any sign of anger on his face they would spread the news throughout the classroom.
Does the poet regard the schoolmaster with love and affection? Why do you think so?
The poet regards the schoolmaster with love and affection. The poet speaks about the various qualities that the schoolmaster had despite his stem and severe behavior. He remembers his kindness and love for education and learning. He remembers how the villagers had high regard for him. He fondly remembers him in the end for all the good he did by teaching at school.
Why did the children laugh with counterfeited glee?
The indisciplined and idle students laughed with counterfeited glee. The master could tell many jokes and even if the students did not feel like laughing at those jokes, yet they pretended to be happy or merry to impress their teacher.
The poet refers to the schoolmaster as stem and strict. What reason does he attribute later for this?
The school master, though stern and strict, was kind-hearted. He used to act tough so that his students could develop a love for learning and become responsible citizens.
Elaborate on the argumentative skills of the school master.
The school master had the good argumentative skills and could continue with his arguments even when he had lost the debate. The village people loved to gather around him to listen to his learned words that were uttered in a high pitched voice.
What did the school children feel about their schoolmaster?
Every school child knew the master well, and especially every pupil who played truant from school knew him, having . received punishment at his hands. All the wrong-doers could judge from the master’s grim appearance in the morning that disasters awaited them later in the day, and this foreboding left them all trembling.
And when the master was angry and frowned, the whisper went right round the school that he was in a bad mood, and so, all were on the alert. None of the pupils found anything funny in his jokes, but still they all laughed out loud just to please him.
What did the villagers feel about the school master?
All in the village talked about the vastness of his knowledge, how he knew how to write and do difficult calculations in arithmetic, how he knew how to measure lands and warn beforehand the time for settlement of dues, the time of high and low tides, and the story ran that he could measure the contents of liquids in a vessel.
They were all greatly impressed when he argued with someone, and observed how he would not give up even though he was overcome in argument. They gathered round the master in amazement as big and high-sounding words thundered forth from him, and as they gazed, they marvelled V that such a small head could contain all that he knew.
Explain the following with reference to the context:
Well had the boding tremblers learned to trace The day’s disasters in his morning face.
The above lines are taken from the poem ‘The Village School Master’ written by Oliver Goldsmith. In this poem the poet pictures a nostalgic image of a teacher.
In the above lines the poet tells us the plight of the naughty students at the hands of their school master. The master had tremendous memory so as to remember each student and his presence in the classroom. Those who missed classes were afraid to meet the master the next day, as there would surely be some punishment awaiting them. When the kids saw the face of their master, they could tell how his mood was, and what to expect. So, his morning’s expression told them about their fate.
It was certain he could write, and cipher too.
The above line is taken from the poem ‘The Village School Master’ written by Oliver Goldsmith. In this poem the poet pictures a nostalgic image of a teacher.
In those days, most of the villagers worked on farms. Very few people received any formal education. In such a community, most of the time, the teacher would be the only well-educated person. Therefore, people often sought his advice on different aspects of life. They respected him for his knowledge.
In the poem too, the schoolmaster was respected for the vastness of his knowledge. He could not only read and write but also work out sums in arithmetic. He appeared to be a scholar in the eyes of the villagers.
A man severe he was, and stern to view,
I knew him well, and every truant knew;
The above lines refer to a description of the village school master found in the poem ‘The Village School Master’ written by Oliver Goldsmith.
The village school master was a very severe man. He dealt with his boys very sternly and naturally the mischievous boys of the school had a taste of his severity. In this connection the poet says that he knew the master well, thereby implying that he was a truant.
Full well they laugh’d, with counterfeited glee,
At all his jokes, for many a joke had he:
In these lines from the poem ‘The Village School Master’ the poet Oliver Goldsmith gives us a picture of the village school master who lived in the days before its decay.
The school master was a severe man. He maintained order and discipline by his severity rather than by love. All the bovs, particularly the mischievous ones, were very much afraid of him. They had a way of knowing the day’s fortunes by looking at the master’s face in the morning. If the master appeared cheerful in the morning they would conclude that it would be a good day for them. On such days the master would crack many jokes and the boys would laugh with counterfeited glee immaterial of whether they understood him or not.
Yet he was kind; or if severe in aught,
The love he bore to learning was in fault.
The above lines are a remark about the village school master in the poem ‘The Village School Master’ written by Oliver Goldsmith.
The school master was a severe man. The boys, particularly the mischievous ones, were afraid of him. But the poet adds, the master was really a kind man who had put on a stern countenance only because he wanted his students to learn well. Probably he thought that if he appeared to be kind and good, his students would take advantage of his kindness and not read at all. So he put on a stern countenance only to make his boys study well. The poet, therefore, says that if one said that the school master was severe, one should also say that the love he bore to learning was in fault.
And still they gaz’d, and still the wonder grew,
That one small head could carry all he knew.
The above lines are taken from the poem ‘The Village School Master’ written by Oliver Goldsmith.
Concluding his account of the village school master, Goldsmith says that the school master’s scholarship was a matter of great wonder to all people of the village. The master could read and write and do sums in arithmetic. He could predict the weather and measure land. He had a great skill in argument. He would go on arguing even after he was defeated in an argument. The simple villagers were very much impressed by all this. They wondered how the man could carry so much knowledge in his small head.
The school master was in truth not a great scholar as people thought him to be. But by making him appear to be a scholar in the estimation of the villagers, Goldsmith secures a special effect of humour. This is the remarkable thing about the portrait.
Multiple Choice Questions:
The village school master ran his school
A) under a tree
B) in a field
C) near an irregular fence
D) in a hut.
C) near an irregular fence
By looking at the face of the school master in the morning, the children could predict
A) the weather
B) their fortunes
C) what was in store for them
D) what they would learn.
C) what was in store for them
The children laughed at the school master’s jokes
B) with pretended joy
C) for fear of punishment
B) with pretended joy
The village school master was very strict and stem because
A) of his love for learning
B) he loved the children
C) he loved his village
D) of his love for money.
A) of his love for learning
The village school master, when defeated in an argument,
A) felt humiliated
B) felt angry
C) would continue to argue
D) would stop immediately.
C) would continue to argue
The villagers were amazed by the school master’s
B) use of high-sounding words
B) use of high-sounding words
The villagers constantly wondered
A) how the school master behaved
B) how he taught the little children
C) how he could predict terms and tides
D) how his small head carried so much knowledge.
D) how his small head carried so much knowledge.
The Village School Master by Oliver Goldsmith About The Poet:
Oliver Goldsmith is one of the best known writers of English literature of the 18th century. He has written a number of poems and novels. Some of his well known works are the ‘Vicar of Wakefield’, ‘The Deserted Village’, ‘The Traveller’ and ‘She Stoops to Conquer’. Though Goldsmith was trained to be a doctor, he never practiced.
The Village School Master Summary in English
‘The Village School Master’ is an extract from Goldsmith’s famous long poem ‘The Deserted Village’ in which he describes the decline of a village in Ireland in the nineteenth century. The extract describing the school master is said to have been inspired by one Thomas Byrne, an ex-soldier, who taught Goldsmith when he was a boy.
The village school master ran his little school in a small village. It was situated next to the irregular fence that fringed the village path with full blossomed, beautiful but ornamental furze.’ He was a very strict disciplinarian. He was familiar to the poet and all other truants because they had endured the master’s rage. His face was a thing of careful scrutiny. The students were afraid of him and would gaze at his face to sense his present frame of mind. The day’s misfortunes were written on his forehead or in between the eyebrows.
The school master was a contradiction. Although he was stern, he was kind-hearted and good-humoured. He had a store of jokes. When he told them, the children burst out in fake laughter, under the pretext that the jokes were awfully hilarious. If the children observed a frown on his forehead, they circulated the gloomy news throughout the classroom in an undertone. But he was in essence a kind man. If at all he had any fault, it was his intense love for learning. He wanted his pupils to become genuine scholars and hence, he had to be demanding with them.
The villagers were unanimous in their opinion that he really was an erudite man. He, without doubt, could write and also work out sums in arithmetic. He could also survey land, forecast weather and tides. Besides, he was able to measure the content of a vessel. He was master at argument, too. Even the parson approved of his skill in debate. Even if defeated, the school master would keep on arguing.
He would become more fervent and would fling booming words at his adversary. The uncomprehending villagers would be convinced that the school master was establishing his standpoint very thoroughly. They stood round the two debaters and witnessed the verbal duel. They were awestruck when they heard the high-sounding and incomprehensible words used by the school master. They stared at him and wondered how his small head could hold such an enormous hoard of knowledge.
yon: over there
straggling: spread out
skirts: goes round
truant: one who stays away from school without permission
trace: mark out
day’s disasters: misfortune they have to face on that day
counterfeited glee: pretending joy
aught: in any degree
cipher: code, secret message