Extracts of Memories of Childhood | Chapter 8 | English | Vistas |

Extract 1

Cutting of my Long Hair

The first day in the land of apples was a bitter-cold one; for the snow still covered the ground, and the trees were bare. A large bell rang for breakfast, its loud metallic voice crashing through the belfry overhead and into our sensitive ears. The annoying clatter of shoes on bare floors gave us no peace. The constant clash of harsh noises, with an undercurrent of many voices murmuring an unknown tongue, made a bedlam within which I was securely tied. And though my spirit tore itself in struggling for its lost freedom, all was useless.

a) Name the chapter.
1) Evans Tries an O Level
2) Memories of Childhood
3) The Tiger King
4) Journey to the End of the Earth

b) Who is ‘I’ in the above lines?
1) Bama
2) Zitkala-Sa
3) Jo
4) Clare

c) How was the narrator feeling in her new school?
1) Relieved
2) Annoyed
3) Ecstatic
4) Mesmerized

d) What is belfry?
1) A bell tower
2) Dormitory
3) A room for rest
4) A kind of hostel


a. Memories of Childhood b. Zitkala-Sa c. Annoyed d. A bell tower

Extract 2

A paleface woman, with white hair, came up after us. We were placed in a line of girls who were marching into the dining room. These were Indian girls, in stiff shoes and closely clinging dresses. The small girls wore sleeved aprons and shingled hair. As I walked noiselessly in my soft moccasins, I felt like sinking to the floor, for my blanket had been stripped from my shoulders. I looked hard at the Indian girls, who seemed not to care that they were even more immodestly dressed than I, in their tightly fitting clothes. While we marched in, the boys entered at an opposite door. I watched for the three young braves who came in our party. I spied them in the rear ranks, looking as uncomfortable as I felt.

a) Who has been referred to as paleface woman?
1) Her Teacher
2) Her Warden
3) Her Mother
4) Her Principal

b) What does the word ‘moccasins’ mean?
1) Hard leather shoes
2) Soft leather shoes
3) Leather shoes with stiff sole
4) None of these

c) What was the mental state of the narrator in her new school?
1) Comfortable
2) Uncomfortable
3) Relived
4) Ecstatic

d) Who had worn shingled hair?
1) American Girls
2) Indian Girls
3) Australian Girls
4) None of these


a. Her Warden b. Soft leather shoes c. Uncomfortable d. Indian Girls


Extract 3

I saw that I was the only one seated, and all the rest at our table remained standing. Just as I began to rise, looking shyly around to see how chairs were to be used, a second bell was sounded. All were seated at last, and I had to crawl back into my chair again. I heard a man’s voice at one end of the hall, and I looked around to see him. But all the others hung their heads over their plates. As I glanced at the long chain of tables, I caught the eyes of a paleface woman upon me. Immediately I dropped my eyes.

a) What was the narrator unable to understand in the dining hall?
1) Standing by formula
2) Eating by formula
3) Crying by formula
4) None of these

b) Why were others standing in the dining hall?
1) For they were waiting for their teacher
2) For they were waiting for their principal
3) For they were waiting for their Headmistress
4) For they were praying before they eat

c) Who was staring at the the narrator?
1) Paleface man
2) Paleface woman
3) Boys who entered their party
4) Principal

d) How did Zitkala-Sa react to the situation?
1) She too stared at the paleface woman
2) She dropped her food
3) She dropped her eyes
4) None of these

a. Eating by formula b. For they were praying before they eat c. Paleface woman d. She dropped her eyes

Extract 4

But this eating by formula was not the hardest trial in that first day. Late in the morning, my friend Judewin gave me a terrible warning. Judewin knew a few words of English; and she had overheard the paleface woman talk about cutting our long, heavy hair. Our mothers had taught us that only unskilled warriors who were captured had their hair shingled by the enemy. Among our people, short hair was worn by mourners, and shingled hair by cowards!

a) What was the paleface woman planning to do?
1) To take their surprise test
2) To punish them
3) To beat them like hell
4) To cut their long hair

b) What view did the narrator’s mother have about shingled hair?
1) Keeping it was a sign of bravery
2) Keeping it was a sign of cowardice
3) Keeping it was a sign of pride
4) None of these

c) What does the narrator mean by mourners?
1) Griever
2) Lamenter
3) Sorrower
4) All of these

d) Name the chapter.
1) The Third Level
2) The Enemy
3) On the Face of It
4) Memories of Childhood

a. To cut their long hair b. Keeping it was a sign of cowardice c. All of these d. Memories of Childhood

Extract 5

I watched my chance, and when no one noticed, I disappeared. I crept up the stairs as quietly as I could in my squeaking shoes, — my moccasins had been exchanged for shoes. Along the hall I passed, without knowing whither I was going. Turning aside to an open door, I found a large room with three white beds in it. The windows were covered with dark green curtains, which made the room very dim. Thankful that no one was there, I directed my steps toward the corner farthest from the door. On my hands and knees I crawled under the bed, and huddled myself in the dark corner.

a) Why did the narrator hide herself?
1) in order to protect her hair
2) in order to avert the punishment
3) in order to complete the homework
4) None of these

b) Who was looking for the narrator?
1) Paleface woman
2) Girls of her school
3) Both 1 and 2
4) Neither 1 nor 2

c) Where did Zitkala-Sa hide herself?
1) In her hostel
2) Under the bed
3) In washroom
4) In her class

d) Which literary device has been used in ‘squeaky shoes’?
1) Simile
2) Personification
3) Alliteration
4) Repetition

a. In order to protect her hair b. Both 1 and 2 c. Under the bed d. Alliteration

Extract 6

I was walking home from school one day, an old bag hanging from my shoulder. It was actually possible to walk the distance in ten minutes. But usually it would take me thirty minutes at the very least to reach home. It would take me from half an hour to an hour to dawdle along, watching all the fun and games that were going on, all the entertaining novelties and oddities is the streets, the shops and the bazaar.

a) Who is ‘I’ in the above lines?
1) Zitkala-Sa
2) Bama
3) Getrude Simmons
4) None of these

b) How long would it take Bama to reach home?
1) Thirty Minutes
2) Ten Minutes
3) Twenty Minutes
4) Forty Minutes

c) What does the narrator mean by novelties and oddities?
1) New and Different
2) Different and New
3) New
4) Different

d) Which class would Bama study in?
1) Class II
2) Class III
3) Class IV
4) Class V

a. Bama b. Thirty Minutes c. New and Different d. Class III

Extract 7

Just then, an elder of our street came along from the direction of the bazaar. The manner in which he was walking along made me want to double up. I wanted to shriek with laughter at the sight of such a big man carrying a small packet in that fashion. I guessed there was something like vadai or green banana bhajji in the packet, because the wrapping paper was stained with oil. He came along, holding out the packet by its string, without touching it. I stood there thinking to myself, if he holds it like that, won’t the package come undone, and the vadais fall out?

a) What did Bama notice?
1) Elderly man begging
2) Elderly man carrying a packet
3) Elderly man dancing
4) Elderly man noticing everything

b) What made Bama laugh?
1) Way of carrying the packet
2) Way of walking
3) Way of speaking to the landlord
4) None of these

c) What did the packet contain?
1) Banana Bhaji
2) Vadai
3) Idli
4) None of these

d) Whom did the elderly man hand in the packet?
1) Landlord
2) Bama’s brother
3) His wife
4) None of these

a. Elderly man carrying a packet b. Way of carrying the packet c. Vadai d. Landlord

Extract 8

After I had watched all this, at last I went home. My elder brother was there. I told him the story in all its comic detail. I fell about with laughter at the memory of a big man, and an elder at that, making such a game out of carrying the parcel. But Annan was not amused. Annan told me the man wasn’t being funny when he carried the package like that. He said everybody believed that they were upper caste and therefore must not touch us. If they did, they would be polluted. That’s why he had to carry the package by its string.

a) Who was Bama’s elder brother?
1) Annan
2) Landlord
3) Elderly Man
4) None of these

b) Why was Annan not amused?
1) For he knew the reality
2) For he was not there
3) For he was not interested
4) None of these

c) What would have happened if the elderly man had touched the packet?
1) The landlord would have eaten it
2) The landlord would have shared the food with him
3) The landlord would have considered it polluted
4) None of these

d) Why was the elderly man carrying the packet with a string?
1) lest he should touch the food
2) lest he should touch the packet
3) Both 1 and 2
4) Neither 1 nor 2

a. Annan b. For he knew the reality c. The landlord would have considered it polluted d. Both 1 and 2

Extract 9

Annan told me all these things. And he added, “Because we are born into this community, we are never given any honour or dignity or respect; we are stripped of all that. But if we study and make progress, we can throw away these indignities. So study with care, learn all you can. If you are always ahead in your lessons, people will come to you of their own accord and attach themselves to you. Work hard and learn.” The words that Annan spoke to me that day made a very deep impression on me. And I studied hard, with all my breath and being.

a) Which caste did Bama hail from?
1) Upper Caste
2) Lower Caste
3) Middle Class
4) None of these

b) How could they throw away those indignities according to Annan?
1) By studying
2) By progressing
3) By educating the upcoming generations
4) All of these

c) How did Bama take her brother’s words?
1) She started ignoring him
2) She stopped going to school
3) Took his words positively
4) None of these

d) Name the chapter.
1) Evans Tries an O Level
2) Memories of Childhood
3) The Tiger King
4) Journey to the End of the Earth

a. Lower Caste b. All of these c. Took his words positively d. Memories of Childhood


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