The Children Who Wait | Heritage Of Words | Grade 12 | Summary | All Questions Answers |

The Children Who Wait

By Marsha Traugot

In "The Children Who Wait", Marsha Traugot suggests reasons for a new trend in adoption. Now a wider variety of families can open their homes to children who in the past would have been labelled adoptable. In setting forth the causes for this phenomenon, she draws from specific case history.

A Child Is Born | Grade 12 | Heritage Of Words | Summary and All Questions Answers Solution |

A Child Is Born

Germaine Greer


"A Child is Born" presents a comparison between the parent child relationship in the rich West and the traditional East. In traditional societies child birth is managed in different ways. All the ways are accepted by all, and they also free the mother from the mental burden of finding out new ways. Although there is the possible danger in  child birth, the traditional behaviours make the pregnant woman forget her worry to some extent. According to the custom, she is supported by her husband, her relatives and her community. These behaviours make her feel safe because she believes that she is conducting the pregnancy. Belief in traditional practices is common in the highly advanced Western society. A university graduate practised prenatal exercises regularly buy a bed and clothes for the baby. Afterwards she gave birth to a baby very easily without being attended.

               In traditional births, infant and mother mortality is higher. And modern marriage. But they modern obstetric  care has helped a lot to reduce such death. But it has stopped the people from observing their traditional values.
                In many societies, women go to their mother-in-law's house after their marriage. But they do not become the members of their new family until they have born  a child. The Western people criticized such practices. Once a Muslim marriage was severely criticized at an international conference, but the only Muslim woman present there kept quite because she could not use the language fluently which was used there. At such conference, only Western approaches are presented and the native participants are not consulted.

             In traditional societies, after her first child the woman would lose her name and she is called by the child's name. People in the west find it hateful. But when the married woman is given her husband's surname, they don't object. In many traditional societies the child's relationship with the extended family is considered more important. The child is intentionally separated from its parents. Thus children there  are born not at the parent's choice, but under the group's pressure.

            By producing the child the woman satisfies the desires of her family members. They are very curious to see the baby and they celebrate the birth. Even during pregnancy the woman is well-cared especially in her mother's house. All her desire for food are satisfied. After the birth there are various ceremonies. The baby and the mother are given new clothes. There is a feast and the women and the girls sing at might. One of the rewards of pregnancy is that the woman can go home to visit her mother and sisters.

           In Bangladesh children under  the age of five or six are looked after together by the whole family. They are taken together to the pond to have a bath and fed together. They play out of door with natural objects. In the afternoon they are told fairy tales. But at night they always sleep with there own numbers.

             In traditional societies Western medicine has brought a lot of problems. The doctors and their syringes are highly respected. People expect too much of them. That's why even the weak patients have to be given very strong dose of medicine. The drug is very expensive, too. Without foreign aid, the hospital can't be established. The combination of the old Africa and the modern West can be seen at hospital. In the delivery ward there are groaning women in the pools of blood. Nurses watch them but they keep themselves busy with machines and ignores the labouring women because they don't understand the patient's language.

          If we look at the tragedy of the mother during the birth, a live child is not much more important. Women will no longer offer up their bodies and minds to such cruel acts if the child is not welcomed at home and if the mother is not praised for her courage and not helped to raise it. The peasant communities are doubtful of Western method and  they can resist a easily. They accept that death is common in the birthplace. Poverty has stopped introducing modern techniques there. The machines have not allowed to hear the waning of a few women. If Western technology is not practised there population will be automatically controlled.

1. What differences  does the writer show between a traditional society and a modern society in matters of pregnancy childbirth, and child hearing?

Ans: In traditional societies when a  woman is pregnant, she is covered with taboos and prohibitions, which helps her to lessen her pain. She actively carries out all the rites and keeps the unknown fears some distance away, she does not  have to to reinvent anything and she is mentally free. In many of the ritual customs of pregnancy, her husband and other relatives have to supports her. Some of these behaviours are reasonable and useful and others are magical. But all of them increase her sense of security. In the West the pregnant woman is not cared like this. She has to do everything herself. She  has to practise prenatal exercises and make other preparations herself. In the hospital the staff is uncooperative about breastfeeding.

         In traditional births, infant and mother mortality is greater than in the modern Western methods. The Westerners have avoided death in birth, but they have neglected the value of the culture which free human beings love more than their lives. After the birth of the first child, the woman in the traditional society is not called by her own name, but always referred to as the child's mother. But the Western people find this practice objectionable. In the traditional society, a child has to strengthen its relationship with the extended family, so its relationship with the biological family is weakened knowingly. Children there are not born at the whim of the parents but in response to a broader pressure from the whole group. But there's no such tendency in the individualistic Western society.  

             By producing a child, the woman satisfies the desires of her relatives. They are very curious to see the child and when she gives birth to its her achievement is celebrated in many ways. The mother and the baby are given new clothes. There is feasting and singing. When the woman is pregnant, she goes to her mother's house and she is happy to see her mother and sisters. After the birth the whole family helps her to rear the child. All the children at home are looked after together. But there is no such system in the West. There is no one at home to welcome to child, to praise the mother for her courage and to help her raise it.

Gretel | Heritage of words | grade 12 | Summary | Questions and Answers



By Garrison Keillor

Gretel had to get half of the profits earned by selling the book, but Hansel's lawyers put her under a spell and make her sign a new contact. It said that she would get a very little money and that book was pure imagination.

Hansel was presented as strong and capable hero and Gretel as a weak sister. The father was shown as a loving person and the mother as the wicked stepmother, who forced him to give up in the jungle.

But Hansel had been incapable of doing anything. She had beaten him to make him walk. Gretel had cried because she had carry him on her back. The father was not loving person. He would get drunk, Glady's, the stepmother, could not do anything without his permission. It was his idea to give them up in the jungle. In those days many parents would give up their children in the jungle hoping that they would be fed by birds or animals or persons. Gretel was not worried because of such hope. Although it was a very hard experience, not a single child suffered permanently and such a child would become a better person afterward. But Hansel was still a stupid person. Hansel and their father lived comfortably in a great building and Gretel and Glady's had no house of their own. And the witch suffered most. Now Gretel felt sorry for the witch because she had pushed her without a good reason. She was not after her. She was after Hansel and she wanted to make a new statement. Gretel would have understood the witch's point of view.

1. Keillor's language is different from that of both the original and Coover's transformation. How would you describe it? Consider specific expression.

Ans: Keillor's language is different from that of both the original and Cooveyr's transformation. Both Coover and the Grimms use narrative style. The main purpose of this style is to relate an event or series of event or series of events. They tell what happened to the boy, the girl, the old man, and the witch. To describe the setting they are literary language. They use simile, metaphor etc. And to present the conversation they use everybody language. But Keilor presents 'Gretel' as the form of statement made by Gretel. He uses persuasive style. The purpose of this style of writing is to convince, arouse, attain a specific goal. Gretel attempts to persuade the readers not to believe in what Hansel has said. Gretel wants us react positively to her arguments. She wants us to think the way she think the way she thinks and to response actively. If we don't examine her statements critically, we are persuaded to believe that all the male characters in the story are bad and they have exploited all the male characters. Similarly, we also believe that the witch and the stepmother, are not as bad as they were supposed to be. To achieve his goal the writer has appealed to the reader's reason, emotions are sense of ethics. For example,  "........his lawyers put me under a spell........I guess she ( the witch ) is the one who suffered most.......why did I give her the shove"?

2. Sum up Gretel's characters in your own words. What kind of person is she? What are her values? Consider the last four paragraphs in particular.

Ans: If we were are to sum up Gretel's character in a phrase, we can say that she is an ardent feminist. She supports the principle that women should have the same rights and chance as men. She believes that a women should raise  a voice aganist injustice. Gretel agreed that the profit should be equally divided between her and Hansel. She is against male superiority. She tries to prove that instead of being a strong and resourceful person, Hansel is a nervous wreek. Similarly, her father is not loving father. She supports the women. For example, her stepmother is not wicked because she would do what her husban wanted her to do. It was his idea to give up the children in the jungle. She and her stepmother hae not got the right share of the property. She has sympathy even to the witch. She can't tolerate injustice. Her stepmother was not wrong even if she had suggested to give up the children in the jungle. She did so because of faith. She thought that birds or animals or good persons would feed them. Gretel, a strong supporter of justice and equality, criticises all the injustices and discrimination.




By Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm

Once upon there was a woodcutter, who lived by a great forest. He was very poor and could not feed his wife and two children. Once they had no food to eat and his wife forced him to leave the children in the forest. The children knew this and the brother went out and filled his pockets with shining pebbles in the moonlight. Early next morning, they all went into the forest. On the way boy kept dropping the stones one by one. When they reached the forest, the parents made a great fire and asked the children to wait until they arrived there. But they did not arrive. When the moon shone, the brother led the sister following the shining pebbles and came home. The father was happy, but the mother was angry.

Soon after they had no bread again. The mother forced their father again to give up the children in the forest. But the boy could not go out of collect the pebbles because the door was bolted. In the morning each child was given a small piece of bread. On the way the boy dropped the crumbs of the bread one by one. Again the fire was made and the parent went away asking them to wait. The sister gave the brother half of her bread. They waited until evening. When the moon shone, they did not find the breadcrumbs because the birds had eaten them up. They walked on and on. The third day they found a house made of bread. Its window was made of sugar. As they were eating, an old woman came out and took them in. She gave them good food and nice beds. But next day she put the boy in the stable. She wanted to kill him after he was fat. The girl had to work hard. After four  weeks she was going to kill him and boil and she planned to roasted the sister. When the witch asked for her to go into the oven to see if it was hot, the sister said the she did not to know how to go in. When the witch was showing her the way, she pushed her in and shut the oven door. The witch burned to death. She opened the stable door and both of them brought home a lot of jewels. The father became rich, but the mother was dead



By Robert Coover

                   Two children  followed an old man in a pine forest in the mid afternoon. The boy was dropping breadcrumbs and the girl was singing nursery tunes and carrying a baskets to collect flower. The old man was very poor and wearing torn clothes. He was very thin and weak. He was worried because of poverty and resignation. He felt hopeless and guilty. The children were wearing torn clothes and their feet were bare. They sang song to lighten their hearts or to hide thoughts. The boy was dropping breadcrumbs. He old man eyes were blues and his face was wrinkled. He was looking straight ahead at some unknown destination. His eyes showed that they didn't want to see any one.

             The witch was covered with black clothes. Her face was very pale and her eyes glowed like burning coals. She was very thin and her body was twisted. She moved her hand in the empty place. She cried sharply and caught a parsing clove and tore its heart out.

         The girl was walking happily in the forest. She looked very fresh and happy. Her basket was overfilled. There was a sunny place in the dark forest. There the air was fresh and rivers of honey flowed and lollipops grew like daises. This place was called gingerbread house and children didn’t leave it.

             The witched looked like a head of black rags on a post. Her long-nailed hands were curled towards her breast. Her hand was lowered and her nose pushed her fingers. She cackled and looked to both sides. Then she lifted the 'dove's wings were fluttering. It was forced down against the earth. The boy fell on it and its claws and beak made his hands bloody. The gingerbread house could be reached walking on the biscuits through a garden of sugared fruits.

              The girl was not shining. She fought with the boy for the bird. She kicked him and he elbowed her. There were weeping. The boy was angry and hopeless and the girl was sad. They were still fighting. The old man looked clearly. He felt sorry. He signed. The girl captured the bird and pushed it in between her things. It was dead.

          It was dusk. But the body of the dove shone because of its whiteness. It was scattered with fading flowers. The old man, the boys and girl had gone. The gingerbread house was made of sweet. And the best of all was the door. Brown animals were moving quickly in the dense forest. The boy and the girl were walking ahead into the forest. The old man was walking slowly. His eyes were shining in the late evening. His teeth were tightly shut but his mouth was open. The witch twisted and quivered. From her learn breast, she pulled back the pulsing red heart of the dove. The old man frightened all the animals in the jungle. The old man stopped suddenly to boy was pale with fear, But he was bold. The girl cried.

           The sun was setting and the children went into the room where the old man himself made the beds. He told them a story about a good fairy who granted a poor man three wishes. The wishes were wasted, but he let them complete the story with their own wishes. He had to accept a cruel demand unwillingly. The goodness of all wishes had to be useless. 

The flower basket was overturned on the forest path and the flowers were faded. The night was falling. The children helped the old man to be free from the brambles. He looked at their


Hansel And Gretel

By  Jacob and Wilheim Grimm


                    Once a poor wood-cutter lived by a great forest with his wife and two children. They boy was called Hansel and the girl Gretel. When there was a scarcity of food, he was not able give daily bread to his family. His wife then planned to leave the children in the forest. She was their step-mother, so she did not love them. She forced her husband to leave them. The children had heard all this. They had not been able to sleep because of hunger. Then Hansel went out at night and filled his pockets with pebbles, which were shining like sliver-coins in the moonlight.

               The step-mother woke them up early in the morning and they all went to the forest. On the way Hansel threw the pebbles one by one. In the forest the children collected brushwood and the father burnt it. The children were asked to wait there for their parents. At noon they had their bread and fell asleep. They woke up in the dark night. They awaited until the moon had risen. In the moonlight the pebbles shone live sliver pieces, and showed them the way. The day broke when they reached home. The step-mother asked them why they had slept long in the forest, but the father was very happy.

                Soon afterwards there was once more a great shortage of food. The children heard their mother talking to the father. She again intended to leave them in the thickest forest. Hansel again wanted to go out, but the door locked. In the morning they all went into the forest. Hansel broke the bread in his pocket and scattered on the way as before. Similarly, the brushwood was collected and burnt. The children fell asleep after their parents went to cut wood. When they woke up, it was dark night. They waited until the moon rose, but they could not see the piece of bread because birds had already picked them up. They did not find the way. They walked the whole night and all the morning they saw a white bird sitting on the branch. It sang very sweetly. They followed the bird and it came down on the roof of the house. Its roof made a bread and its windows of sugar. They started eating it. Then an old woman came out and she welcomed them. They went inside her house. They ate and slept. They felt that they were in heaven.

            The old woman was a wicked witch. When a kid fell into her power. She killed it, cooked and ate it. Her eyes were dim but her smiling was very strong. She imprisoned Hansel in the stable and asked Gretel to prepared nice food for her brother. She wanted to fatten him and kill. Gretel had to obey her command. Every morning the witch touched Hansel's hand to see if he was fat or not Hansel also would stretch out a bone instead his finger. Finding him thin, the witch was restless. She wanted to kill him the following day, whether he was fat or thin. The woman had kneaded dough to bake in the oven. She asked Gretel to go in and see whether the oven was heated or not. Gretel understood her intention and asked the witch how to do it. Then when the witch put her head into the oven, Gretel pushed her in and bolted the door of the  oven and she was burnt to death.

          Afterwards she freed her brother. Both of them filled their pockets and aprons with pearls and jewels and set out for their home. On the way they found a stretch of water. There was nothing to go across. But a duck came to them  swimming and they sat on its back one by and went very happy to see them, but the mother had already died. They emptied their pockets and aprons. And they lived happily ever after.


General English

The Boarding House


By James Joyce

Mrs. Mooney was a butcher's daughter. She was a strong woman. She married a man who worked for her father, but after her father died her husband started drinking and taking money from the shop. He fought with her in front of the customers and sold bad meat. One night he ran after her with a large knife and she had to sleep in a neighbour's house. After that they did not live together any more. Mrs. Mooney took the children and the rest of the money from the butcher's business and started a boarding house in Hardwicke Street. Tourists came to stay, and sometimes musicians, but most of the visitors were workers from the city.

These young men lived and ate in her house. They liked the same things and were very friendly with each other. They talked about horses and sang and song in the front room on Sunday nights. Polly Mooney, the daughter of the house, sang with them.

Polly was nineteen. She was a thin girl with light soft hair and a small full mouth. Her eyes were grey and green and they looked up at the ceiling when she spoke with anyone. Her mother gave her housework to do so that she could meet the young men. She enjoyed talking to them, but Mrs Mooney knew that none of them was serious. She was beginning to think that Polly must get an office job, when she noticed something between Polly and one of the young men. She watched them carefully.

Polly knew that her mother was watching, and she understood why her mother stayed silent. People in the house began to talk, but Mrs. Mooney did nothing. Then at last she made a decision.

It was a bright Sunday morning of early summer. All the windows of the boarding houses were open. Outside, people with serious faces and small books in their hands were crossing the square to the Church. There were dirty plates on the table of the breakfast room. Mrs. Mooney sat and watched while the servant, Mary, took Polly the night before. Polly seemed uncomfortable with her mother's questions but open in her answer.

Mrs. Mooney looked at the little clock above the fireplace. It was seventeen minutes past eleven. She must speak to Mr Doran now. He was thirty-four or thirty-five years of age, and Polly was a young girl. He must pay for his enjoyment, but money was not enough. They must get married.

Mr Doran was finding it difficult to shave. His hand was shaking. Dublin was a small city and people in the house already knew about Polly and himself. He had to think about his good name and his job. He was afraid of his boss. He could almost hear old Mr Leonard's voice: 'Send Mr Doran here, please'.

He was throwing away year of hard work. He had a little money: that was not a problem. But people thought badly of her father, and her mother's boarding house did not have a good name. And her English was poor. His friends laughed at her. He could not decide if he liked her or not. He wanted to stay free, not to get married.

While he was sitting on the side of the bed, she shocked and came in. She told him about her conversation with her mother. Her mother knew and wanted to speak with him. She caries and threw her arms around his neck.

He heard her again his door that first time, late one night. He could still see her in night clothes. He could smell her skin. After that, every night, when he came home late, she gave his dinner while the other slept. She was always kind to him. Perhaps they could be happy together.

While he was sitting with her on the side, of the bed, Mary came to the door. Mrs Mooney wanted to see him. He stood up and put on his coat. As he went downstairs, he wanted to fly up through the roof and away to another country, but he could not escape the serious faces of Mr Leonard and Mrs Mooney. He walked past Jack Mooney and they said hello coldly. Bob looked at his hard face and his strong body. He remembered a night in the sitting room; a visitor said something about Polly and Jack shouted at him. Nobody played games with his sister, he told her visitor. Nobody.

Polly sat for a little time on the side of the bed, crying. Then she dried her. eyes and looked in the mirror. She washed her eyes in cold water and made her hair look tidy. Then she sat down on the bed again. She remembered secret, pleasant times in that bed. There was no unhappiness in her face now.

She awaited, unworried, thinking about the future. Her picture of the future was so clear that she forgot everything around her.

At last she heard her mother's voice. She got up and ran to the stairs."Polly! Polly"'Yes, Mamma?''Come down, dear. Mr Doran wants to speak to you.'Then she remembered