NCERT Solutions for Class 9 English Literature Chapter 14 The Bishop’s Candlesticks are part of NCERT Solutions for Class 9 English. Here we have given NCERT Solutions for Class 9 English Literature Chapter 14 The Bishop’s Candlesticks.
|Chapter Name||Bishop’s Candlesticks|
|Number of Questions Solved||12|
NCERT Solutions for Class 9 English Literature Chapter 14 The Bishop’s Candlesticks
Discuss in groups :
What would you do in the following situations ? Give reasons for your answer
- If you were travelling by bus and you saw someone pick another passenger’s pocket.
- If you found a wallet on the road.
- If you ‘were in a shop and you saw a well-dressed lady shoplifting.
- If your best friend is getting involved with an undesirable set of friends.
- If you were in school and you saw one of your class-mates steal another child’s pen.
For discussion. Various answers. One viewpoint is given below :
- I would raise a cry so that the thief is arrested.
- I would return it to whom it belongs.
- I will first go to her. I will ask her why she is doing all that instead of informing the police.
- I will advise my friend against what he is doing.
- I shall snub the thief and tell him to be a good boy.
Imagine a child has been caught stealing in school. In groups of eight play the roles of
- The child caught stealing
- The child she/he stole from
- The teacher
- The headmaster
- The witnesses
Try to find the reason why the child stole and the possible advice you can give her/him. Should the child be punished ? Or should she/he be counselled ?
Mainly for role play at the class level under the guidance of the class teacher. Some basic help in the form of the following hints/points would be of immense assistance.
- The basic aim should be on the reformation of the thief.
- We should hate the theft, not the thief.
- We should help the convict to be a reformed person.
- Conditions to sustain his reformed status must be maintained.
- Love has no substitute. It can work wonders even on hard-core criminals. But it is not practised. The iron rules of law must not be for increasing more criminals. But these should be to convert them into more gentlemen. True human values like mercy, pity, love, compassion, sympathy etc, should be practised and relied on for change of heart for the better.
- Basic needs or compulsions turn gentlemen into thieves or convicts or criminals. These must be looked into afresh. Also their bad aspects must be dropped. Fairness must prevail at any cost, though it is difficult.
Read the play as a whole class with different children reading different parts.
Please read the play yourself.
Copy and complete the following paragraph about the theme of the play in pairs.
The play deals with a _____ and _____ Bishop who is always ready to lend a _____ hand to anyone in distress. A _____ breaks into the Bishop’s house and is _____ and warmed. The benevolence of the Bishop some what _____ the convict, but, when he sees the silver candlesticks, he _____ them, and runs away. However, he is _____ and brought back. He expects to go back to jail, but the Bishop informs the police they are a _____ The convict is _____ by this kindness of the Bishop and before he leaves he seeks the priest’s blessing.
The play deals with a convict and a Bishop who is always ready to lend a helping hand to anyone in distress. A convict/thief breaks into the Bishop’s house and is given food and warmed. The benevolence of the Bishop somewhat changes the heart of the convict, but, when he sees the silver candlesticks, he steals them, and runs away. However, he is caught and brought back. He expects to go back to jail, but the Bishop informs the police they are a gift given to him. The convict is converted by this kindness of the Bishop and before he leaves he seeks the priest’s blessing.
(a) Working in pairs give antonyms of the following words
- kind-hearted = cruel, unkind
- suspicious = unsuspicious
- cunning = simple-hearted, clever
- unscrupulous = scrupulous
- sympathetic = unsympathetic
- caring = careless
- forgiving = unforgiving
- understanding = inconsiderate
- sentimental = stern
- benevolent = hard-hearted
- innocent = guilty
- protective = unprotective
- credulous = incredulous
- penitent = unrepentant
- concerned = unconcerned
- generous = miserly
- clever = innocent, cunning
- honourable = dishonourable
- stern = sentimental
- pious = impious
- wild = civilized
- brutal = kind-hearted
- trusting = untrusting
- embittered = sweet
(b) Select words from the above box to describe the characters in the play as revealed by the following lines from the play.
Answer the following questions briefly
- Do you think the Bishop was right in selling the salt-cellars ? Why / Why not ?
- Why does Persome feel the people pretend to be sick ?
- Who was Jeanette ? What was the cause of her death ? (V. Imp.)
- The convict says, “Iam too old a bird to be caught with chaff.” What does he mean by this statement ?
- Why was the convict sent to prison ? What was the punishment given to him ? (V. Imp.)
- Do you think the punishment given to the convict was justified ? Why /Why not ? Why is the convict eager to reach Paris ?
- Before leaving, the convict asks the Bishop to bless him. What brought about this change in him ? (V. Imp.)
(Varied answers). One version is given below :
1. I think the Bishop was right in selling the salt-cellars because he was an ideal Bishop. An ideal Bishop is a man of God. He keeps the interests of his parishioners above his own. Secondly, real help is that help when it is rendered to a really needy person.
2. Persome is made of a different mind. She feels that the people pretend to be sick so that the Bishop may be near them.
3. Jeanette was the wife of the convict. She fell ill as she did not have food to eat. Her husband did not get any work. She died due to starvation.
4. By this he means to say that he has spent a long period of ten years in prison. So he has learnt a lot of tricks of the convicts. He can’t be cheated by any kind of softness of the heart.
5. The convict was sent to prison because he had stolen the food. He was beaten like a hound while in jail. He slept on the boards. He was given a number after taking his name. He was made to eat filth. He had had vermin on his body. He had turned into a wild beast. It is due to the ill-treatment by the police in jail.
6. I think the punishment was not at all justified. Such a horrible punishment is given to murderers or killers. The convict had stolen food. At the most he should have been fined or imprisoned for a brief spell and treated like a human being.
The convict is eager to reach Paris. It is because there he won’t be easily traced by the police. The police would be after him to arrest him again. It is because he has not yet completed his sentence. He has run away from jail.
7. The Bishop’s large-heartedness and kindness brought this change in him. He is now a gentleman and not a wild beast. So he asks the Bishop to bless him.
Read the following extract and answer the questions that follow by choosing the correct options.
(A) Monseigneur, the Bishop is a … ahem !
(a) Why does Persome not complete the sentence ?
- she used to stammer while speaking.
- she was about to praise the Bishop.
- she did not wish to criticise the Bishop in front of Marie.
- she had a habit of passing such remarks.
(b) Why is she angry with the Bishop ?
- the Bishop has sold her salt-cellars.
- the Bishop has gone to visit Mere Gringoire.
- he showed extra concern for Marie.
- she disliked the Bishop.
(B) She sent little Jean to Monseigneur to ask for help.
(a) Who sent little Jean to the Bishop ?
- Mere Gringoire
- Marie’s mother.
(b) Why did she send Jean to the Bishop ?
- so that he could pray for her.
- as she knew that he was a generous person.
- as she was a greedy woman.
- as she was a poor woman.
(C) I offered to take her in here for a day or two, but she seemed to think it might distress you.
(a) The Bishop wanted to take Mere Gringoire in because ____.
- she was sick.
- she had no money.
- she was unable to pay the rent of her house.
- she was a close friend of Persome.
(b) Persome would be distressed on Mere Gringoire’s being taken in because____.
- she did not want to help anyone.
- she felt that Mere Gringoire was taking undue advantage of the Bishop.
- she was a self-centred person.
- she would be put to a great deal of inconvenience.
(A) (a) 3
(B) (a) 1
(C) (a) 3
The term irony refers to a discrepancy, or disagreement, of some sort. The discrepancy can he between what someone says and what he or she really means or verbal irony. The discrepancy can be between a situation that one would logically anticipate or that would seem appropriate and the situation that actually develops or situational irony. The discrepancy can even be between the facts known to a character and the facts known to us, the readers or audience or dramatic irony.
Working in groups of four complete the following table. Find instances of irony from the play and justify them.
Students should understand very well the three kinds of irony described here in these pages. They should also find more on their own from the text.
It is ironic as in the beginning the convict was against the Bishop’s using kindly and conciliatory words. But now he himself asks him to bless him before he goes. This means, he himself means these words, though in the beginning he had not meant these.
First, the convict is against leaving the window or the door unshuttered. It is because he fears that he may be found out. But if the door has been barred, he could not have entered the house.
It is ironic because the Bishop doesn’t want to sell the candlesticks. For him they are a symbol of his mother’s love for him. But later he himself offers them to the convict.
Identify the situations which can he termed as the turning points in the convict’s life.
These situations are as follows :
- Convict’s stealing to buy his wife food.
- His being caught by the police and inhuman treatment meted out by the jail authorities.
- His escape from the jail and meeting the Bishop.
- His stealing the Bishop’s candlesticks.
- His being caught and brought before the Bishop and the Bishop’s getting him free from the police sergeant.
- Bishop’s advice and telling him the way to Paris.
The convict is the product of the society he lived in, both in terms of the suffering that led him to steal a loaf of bread, as well as the excessive sentence he received as punishment for his “crime”. He was imprisoned for stealing money to buy food for his sick wife, this filled him with despair, hopelessness, bitterness and anger at the injustice of it all.
Conduct a debate in the class (in groups) on the following topic. Instruction for conducting a debate (and the use of appropriate language) are given in the unit ‘Children’ of the Main Course Book.
‘Criminals are wicked and deserve punishment’
Meant for debate at class level. Some points for and against the motion given below may be helpful.
|For the Motion||Against the Motion|
|Criminals are like wild beasts knowing no mercy or compassion.||Taking one’s life is unpardonable, as, one can’t give one life.|
|Have no chance of reformation even if given opportunities.||Various avenues for reformation may be used.|
|Deserve severest punishment to teach others against repetition of such non-human crimes.||Love, pardon, mercy, pity—greatest human virtues to change the heart, even of a hardcore criminal.|
|Severest physical punishments given to them in Gulf countries, support this view.||
Such examples in plenty in history.
Crime to be hated, not the criminals
The convict goes to Paris, sells the silver candlesticks and starts a business. The business prospers and he starts a reformatory for ex-convicts. He writes a letter to the Bishop telling him of this reformatory and seeks his blessings.
As the convict, Jean Valjean, write the letter to the Bishop.
Jean Valjean Reformatory Paris
23 April, 20 …
You’ll be amazed to receive this letter from an ex-convict. It was a turning point in my life when I met you. You are the noblest soul I have met so far. I lack words to express my overwhelming sense of gratitude to you. You have rightly helped me with your cherished candlesticks.
I sold the candlesticks and started a reformatory for ex-convicts. I introduced various trades in it. It was to make the ex-convicts work and earn money for their needs. They would then live with dignity. The focus of this reformatory is to make the ex-convicts real human beings. So we focused on real Christian or human virtues. These are mercy, pity, peace, fellow¬feeling, cooperation, genuine sympathy etc. We also intended to make them earn money through various trades. We arranged for weekly moral preachings. These lectures were delivered by great men. The reformatory has now become famous all over the world for its values.
I am glad to say that we have maintained an alumni of this reformatory. The Govt, has also sanctioned a huge grant for the rehabilitation of the ex-convicts.
We would really be glad to honour you on the reformatory’s annual function. I shall write next time more about it.
Seeking your blessings
The play is based on an incident in novelist victor Hugo’s ‘Les Miserables.’ You may want to read the novel to get a better idea of the socio-economic conditions of the times and how people lived. Another novel that may interest you is Charles Dickens ‘A Tale of Two Cities.’
Divide yourselves into two groups in the class and read a book each. Later you may want to share your views of the book each group selected. Select an incident from the novel to dramatise and present before the class.
Mainly meant for discussion at class level. One group may cover Victor Hugo’s ‘Les Miserables’. The other group should cover Charles Dickens’s ‘A Tale of Two Cities’.
Of A Tale of Two Cities
The socio-economic conditions are almost the same as given in ‘The Bishop’s Candlesticks’. In ‘A Tale of Two Cities’ the theme centres on Manette’s spiritual renewal after 18 months’ imprisonment. It comes through Lucy’s love that enables Manette’s ‘rebirth’. This shows that sacrifice is necessary to achieve happiness. Likewise, Carton’s transformation into a man of moral worth is a kind of commentary. It is on the bitter aspects of life. These are revealed in the convict’s treatment meted out to him in jail in ‘The Bishop’s’Candlesticks’.
Thus the socio-economic conditions are: grim poverty, inequality, unequal opportunities, rule of the thumb and the stick, loss of freedom and autocracy, unfair trial, maladministration of police, etc.
An incident from the novel to be dramatised
The year is now 1780. Charles Darnay stands accused of treason against the English crown. A lawyer named Stryver using long and difficult words pleads Darnay’s case. But it is not until his drunk, good-for-nothing colleague, Syden Carton, assists him that the court acquits Darnay. Carton clinches his argument by pointing out that he himself bears a strange resemblance to the defendant. It weakens the prosecution’s case for unmistakably identifying Darnay as the spy, the authorities spotted.
This Scene can be enacted by the students with proper props and directions.
Of Les Miserables
After 19 years on the chain gang, Jean Valjean finds that the ticket of leave he must display condemns him to be an outcast. Only the Bishop of Digne treats him kindly. Valjean is embittered by years of hardship. He repays him by stealing some silver. Valjean is caught and brought back by the police. He is astonished when the Bishop lies to the police to save him. Valjean decides to start his new life anew.
An incident from the novel that can be dramatised
Jean Valjean spends nineteen years in jail for stealing a loaf of bread and for several attempts to escape. He is finally released. But his past keeps haunting him. At Digne, he is refused shelter for the night. Only the saintly Bishop, Monseigneur Myriel, welcomes him. Valjean repays his host’s hospitality by stealing his silverware. When the police brings him back, the Bishop protects him by pretending that the silverware is a gift to him. With a pious lie, he convinces him that the convict has promised to reform. After one more theft, Jean Valjean does indeed repent. Under the name of M. Madeleine he starts a factory. Thereof, he brings prosperity to the town of Montrevil.
Students as two different groups :
Students who have read ‘A Tale of Two Cities’
Students who have read ‘Les Miserables’
Some points for sharing common or different views
- Socio-economic conditions grim
- Wide gaps between the rulers and the ruled
- Grim poverty, especially at the lower level of the society
- Autocratic tendencies of the rulers
- Unfair treatment meted out to the undertrials
- Voice of Truth quelled
- General well-being of people ignored
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