Chapter 10 – The Beggar
Think About It
1. Has Lushkoff become a beggar by circumstance or by choice?Answer:
Lushkoff became a beggar by circumstance. He used to sing in a Russian choir, but he was sacked due to his drinking habit. This led him to beg.
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2. What reasons does he give to Sergei for his telling lies?
Lushkoff gave the reason for his telling lies that he formerly sang in a Russian choir but was fired from his job for being an alcoholic. So, he had to tell lies. He could not get along without lying as no one would give him anything if he told the truth.
3. Is Lushkoff a willing worker? Why, then, does he agree to chop wood for Sergei?
No, Lushkoff is not a willing worker. He had lost his strength and stamina due to his habit of drinking. He was unhealthy and did not feel the slightest inclination to do any work.
He agrees to chop wood for Sergei not because of his pride and shame and he had been trapped by his own words.
4. Sergei says, “I am happy that my words have taken effect.” Why does he say so? Is he right in saying this?
Sergei says this because he could notice a change in Lushkoff who was not willing to work initially. But after he helped Sergei in the packing and hauling of the furniture, Sergei praised him while handing him a rouble. He felt content that his advice had brought Lushkoff on the right path.
No, he was not right in saying so because Lushkoff had not developed the habit of working hard. It was Sergei’s cook, Olga who chopped woods for Lushkoff.
5. Lushkoff is earning thirty five roubles a month. How is he obliged to Sergei for this?
Lushkoff was obliged to Sergei because if he had not met with Sergei, then he might still have been calling himself a teacher or a student and would have continued begging. By listening to Sergei, he had changed his ways. He was a notary and earned thirty five roubles a month with all credit to Sergei’s suggestion and timely help.
6. During their conversation Lushkoff reveals that Sergei’s cook, Olga, is responsible for the positive change in him. How has Olga saved Lushkoff?
Olga took pity on Lushkoff. She realised his condition and tried her best to improve it. She helped him by chopping wood in his place. Though she called him a ‘miserable creature’, ‘unlucky man’, ‘a drunkard’, and ‘unhappy one’ and said that there was no pleasure for him in this world, she was full of kindness and had a helping attitude. May be she criticised him in order to improve him. The very act of Olga changed and saved him. He says that he had even stopped drinking at the sight of her. It was because of her words and noble deeds that a change took place in his heart. She had set him on the right path.
The Beggar Extra Questions and Answers Class 9 English Moments
The Beggar Extra Questions and Answers Short Answer Type
What is the excuse that the beggar gives Sergei for begging when he meets him for the second time?
He says he had been a village schoolmaster for eight years but had lost his job due to intrigues at his place of work. He had not eaten for three days and had no money for lodging.
How did Sergei respond to the beggar’s request for money?
He looked closely at him and recognised him as the same person who he had seen on Sadovya Street a few days back, when he had introduced himself as a student who had been expelled.
Why was Sergei disgusted with the beggar?
He was disgusted at his dishonesty because he had seen him on another street pretending that he had was an expelled student in need of money, and now he claimed to be a village schoolmaster who had lost his job due to intrigues at the school. His lies disgusted Sergei.
What was the beggar’s real identity?
He had been part of the Russian choir, but had lost his place there due to drunkenness.
How does the beggar react to Sergei’s offer to chop wood for him in return for money?
The beggar accepts the offer readily and follows Sergei home. He says that he can’t refuse because in those days even skilled woodcutters found themselves sitting without food and work.
Who did Sergei hand over the beggar to on reaching home? What were his instructions?
He called his cook, Olga, and handed over the beggar to her. He asked her to take him to the wood-shed and get him to chop some wood.
Why has the beggar been described as a scarecrow?
He has been described as a scarecrow because he was as thin as a scarecrow and shabbily dressed in ill- fitting, mismatched clothes.
What was the real reason the beggar agreed to work for the writer?
The real reason was that he was a proud man and he felt ashamed at having been trapped by his own words in front of Sergei. He wanted to prove that he could do honest work when given the opportunity.
How did the narrator realise that the beggar had not come willingly with him?
The narrator realised this from his gait. He shrugged his shoulders as if in perplexity and went irresolutely after the cook. It was also obvious that he was unhealthy and under the influence of liquor. It did not seem as though he had the strength to chop wood.
How did Olga react to the beggar?
She glanced at the beggar with anger, shoved him aside with her elbow, unlocked the shed and angrily banged the door. She then flung down an axe at his feet, spat angrily and appeared to be scolding him.
How do we know that the beggar had no previous experience of cutting wood?
We know this from the manner in which he pulled a billet of wood towards him and tapped it feebly with his axe. At first, the billet fell and then the beggar tapped it with the axe again cautiously, as if afraid of hurting himself with the axe.
How did Sergei react to the beggar’s efforts at chopping wood?
He felt a little sorry and ashamed of himself for having set a spoiled, drunken and sick man to work in the cold weather.
Why did the beggar appear at Sergei’s house a month later?
He reappeared on the first of the next month because the narrator had told him he could come back and cut wood for him in return for half a rouble.
What change took place in the beggar’s visits after his second visit?
He started appearing more often at the narrator’s house and took on odd jobs like shovelling snow, putting the wood in the woodshed in order, beating the dust out of rugs and mattresses, etc.
How was the beggar rewarded for the odd jobs he did at the narrator’s house?
He was given twenty to forty copecks for the jobs he performed, and was once even given a pair of old trousers as a reward and payment.
What did Sergei expect the beggar to do when he called him while moving to another house? Did he behave as expected?
When he was moving to another house, Sergei called the beggar and asked him to help with the packing and hauling of the furniture. However, the beggar did not do anything except hang around, sober, yet gloomy and silent.
Why do you think the beggar was so gloomy and silent when Sergei was moving houses?
He was probably upset that he would no longer be able to do odd jobs at his house and make the money he had been earning.
What did Sergei offer Lushkoff? Why did he do so?
Sergei offered Lushkoff a job with his friend, who needed someone to do some copying work. Since Lushkoff knew how to write, Sergei offered him this job.
When and where did Sergei meet Lushkoff after two years?
Two years later, they met at the ticket window of a theatre, where Lushkoff was buying a ticket.
What surprised Sergei about Lushkoff when he met him at the theatre?
He was surprised to see how much Lushkoff had changed. He was wearing decent clothes and had got a job as a notary, earning thirty five roubles.
What does Sergei call Lushkoff? Why does he do so?
He calls him his godson, because he had scolded him and pushed him away from begging on the streets, encouraging him to take up respectable work. He had started as a copier, and was not working as a notary.
How does Lushkoff pay credit to Sergei?
He says that he was indebted to Sergei for his push, because he would never have changed for the better, but would have continued to deceive people and beg. By following Sergei’s instruction, he had dragged himself out of the pit he had created for himself.
What information does Lushkoff share with Sergei about the cook?
Lushkoff speaks very highly of the cook, and gives all credit for his transformation to her. He informs Sergei that it was the nobility of the cook that had truly changed him. She had done all the errands for him so that he could earn the money offered by Sergei. She also used to cry for him, worried that he would end up in total ruin.
Mention two main qualities of the cook.
She was compassionate and sensitive. Though she appeared to be tough and rude on the outside, she was very kind hearted, and actually helped him earn the money offered by doing all the work for him.
Discuss the title of the story. Is it appropriate?
The Beggar is an appropriate title for the story, as it revolves around the transformation that takes place in the life of a beggar. He was a wastrel and did not do any work. It was only due to the compassion shown by the cook at the narrator’s house that was he able to change his outlook.
When he was too drunk and weak to perform any of the odd jobs he was supposed to do, the cook did all the work for him, feeling sorry for him and worrying about his sorry state. This kindness on her part had a tremendous effect on the beggar, who changed his ways, stopped drinking and slowly over the years got a steady job as a notary, earning thirty five roubles as salary.
The Beggar Extra Questions and Answers Long Answer Type
Has Lushkoff become a beggar by circumstance or by choice? What reasons does he give Sergei for lying?
He has become a beggar both by circumstance and by choice. He had lost his position in the Russian choir due to his drunkenness. As he did not have the motivation to work hard or the skills to find another job, begging was the easiest option. According to him, he has to lie to survive, as no one was willing to help him if he told them the truth.
Is Lushkoff a willing worker? Why does he agree to chop wood for Sergei?
No, he is not a willing worker. He is too thin, weak and emaciated to work. He also remains drunk most of the time and is hence too unsteady to focus on any work. However, he agrees to chop wood for Sergei out of shame and pride, because he had been trapped by his own words. Sergei had caught him lying, and this was the only way he could redeem some of his self-respect.
Sergei says ‘I am so happy that my words have taken effect’. Why does he say so? Is he right in saying this?
He says this when he sees Lushkoff at the theatre and learns that he had improved his life greatly. He was no longer a drunkard and beggar; instead, he had become a notary, earning thirty five roubles a month. Sergei feels that he is responsible for this change in Lushkoff, and that the beggar changed his ways because of the scolding he had given him for begging and deceiving people.
He is right to some extent, because he had hurt LushkofTs pride, and also offered him actual work chopping wood, and other odd jobs, which allowed him to earn money honestly. However, the real credit for LushkofTs change went to Sergei’s cook, who had actually done all the work that Lushkoff was supposed to do. Her selflessness, empathy and concern for his wellbeing had made such a deep impression on Lushkoff that he had changed his ways.
During their conversation, Lushkoff reveals that Sergei’s cook is responsible for the positive change in him. How did Olga save Lushkoff?
Olga, Sergei’s cook, would react to Lushkoffs appearance at the house by shouting at him, but soon she would grow sad looking at his face, and start weeping. She would remind him that since he was a drunkard, he would bum in hell and this thought would make her cry again. Finally, seeing that he did not have the energy and ability to do the task he was supposed to, she herself would chop all the wood for him. Her concern and worry for him changed Lushkoff. He stopped drinking and worked hard to improve his life.
Both Sergei and his cook were kind to the beggar. Compare and contrast their characters and the effect they had on Lushkoff.
Sergei was a wealthy advocate with a kind heart. He appears to be a practical man who tries to stop Lushkoff from begging by giving him an alternative method of earning a living. He is also resourceful as he keeps engaging Lushkoff in different tasks, which are helpful for both the beggar and him. In the end he sends him to him friend, who needs someone to do some copying work. This helps the man to get a stable job and make a decent living. At first, he takes the credit for the beggar’s transformation, but later he is humble enough to accept that though he provided the opportunity, it was his cook Olga who deserved the credit for inspiring the beggar to change.
The cook, on the other hand, is the most noble and compassionate character in the story. Initially, she appears to be angry with the arrival of the beggar, and seems to ill-treat and abuse him. In reality, however, she is the one performs all the tasks for the beggar and lets him take the credit and money for them. She is empathetic to the extent that she cries seeing the state the beggar is in, and his fate if he continues to be a wastrel and drunkard.
It is her selflessness and compassion that brings about a change in the beggar’s character. Because of her empathy, he is able to remain sober and starts working hard, becoming a notary earning a stable salary within two years. She is thus able to save the life of the beggar, even though she isn’t actually aware of the profound effect she has on him, and never takes any credit for what she has done.