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PAGE 33 
Question 1:
Given below is a list of words related to ghosts and ghost stories with their jumbled up meanings against them. Match the words/expressions with their correct meanings:
Apparition
a feeling of anticipation of or anxiety over a future event

Poltergeist
a reanimated corpse that is believed to rise from the grave at night to suck the blood of sleeping people

Clairvoyance
a conjurer who expels evil spirits by conjuration

Crystal Ball
a spelling board device intended to communicate with and through the spirit world, obtaining answers to questions

Eerie
beyond the range of normal experience or scientific explanation

Medium
any of a set of 22 playing cards bearing allegorical representations, used for fortune telling

Transmigration
a supernatural appearance of a person or thing, a ghost, spectre or phantom

Psychic
so mysterious, strange, or unexpected as to send a chill up the spine

Ouija Board
the supposed power to see objects or events that cannot be perceived by the senseS

Exorcist
a person through whom the spirits of the dead are alleged to

be able to contact the living

Premonition
a globe of quartz crystal in which images, believed to portend the future, are supposedly visible to fortune tellers

Paranormal
to pass into another body after death: going from one state of existence or place to another

Tarot Card
capable of extraordinary mental processes, such as extrasensory perception and mental telepathy

Vampire
German word, meaning "noisy ghost"-a troublesome spirit

that announces its presence with unexplainable sounds and

the creation of disorder


Answer : 
Match the words/expressions with their correct meanings:
Apparition
a supernatural appearance of a person or thing, a ghost, a spectre or phantom

Poltergeist
German word, meaning “noisy ghost”−a troublesome spirit that announces it’s presences with unexplainable sounds and the creation of disorder

Clairvoyance
the supposed power to see objects or events that cannot be perceived by the senses

Crystal Ball
a globe of quartz crystal in which images, believed to portend the future, are supposedly visible to fortune tellers

Eerie
so mysterious, strange, or unexpected as to chill up the spine

Medium
a person through whom the spirits of the dead are alleged to be able to contact the living

Transmigration
to pass into another body after death: going from one state of existence or place to another.

Psychic
capable of extraordinary mental processes, such as extrasensory perception and mental telepathy

Ouija Board
a spelling board device intended to communicate with and through the spirit world, obtaining answers to questions.

xorcist
a conjurer who expels evil spirits by conjuration

Premonition
a feeling of anticipation of or anxiety over a future event

Paranormal
beyond the range of normal experience or scientific explanation

Tarot Card
any of a set of 22 playing cards bearing allegorical representations, used for fortune telling

Vampire
a reanimated corpse that is believed to rise from the grave at night to suck the blood of sleeping people


PAGE 34

Question 2:

The title of the story is A Shady Plot. The dictionary defines the words as:

Shady adjective

(a) Full of shade; shaded.

(b) Casting shade: a shady grove.

(c) Quiet, dark, or concealed; hidden.

(d) Of dubious character or of questionable honesty.

Plot noun

(a)

(i) a small piece of ground, generally used for a specific purpose: a garden plot.

(ii) a measured area of land

(b) a ground plan, as for a building; a diagram

(c) storyline- the plan, scheme, or main story of a literary or dramatic work, as a play, novel, or short story

(d) a secret plan to accomplish a hostile or illegal purpose; a scheme.
Answer :
Note: This question is to be answered on the basis of your own understanding, experience and thoughts. It is strongly recommended that you prepare the solution on your own. However, one sample solution has been provided for your reference.

The story probably will be surrounding something that is concealed and hidden, possibly about a place that is dubious, like a thick forest. It might be about a vague or unclear exploration.


PAGE 46

Question 4-(1):
The narrator earns his living by ………………………….

(a) writing ghost stories

(b) working as a reader for a magazine

(c) working as a stenographer

(d) working as an accountant in a lumber company
 

Answer :
(d) working as an accountant in a lumber company


Question 4-(2):

The writer was overconfident about his ability to write ghost stories because ……

(a) whenever magazines wanted a ghost story, they got in touch with him

(b) he was always able to write a ghost story whenever he had to write one

(c) the readers appreciated his ghost stories

(d) he knew the ghost lady would help him write a good ghost story
 

Answer :
(b) he was always able to write a ghost story whenever he had to write one.


Question 4-(3):

The sight of the ghost materialising in his room filled the narrator with ………

(a) fear

(b) excitement

(c) joy

(d) anticipation
 

Answer :
(a) fear


Question 4-(4):
The ghost wanted John to …………………………………………..

(a) stop his wife from using the Ouija board

(b) stop using the Ouija board himself

(c) stop his guests from using the Ouija board

(d) stop people from using the Ouija board
 

Answer :
(d) stop people from using the Ouija board


Question 4-(5):
John wants the ghost to disappear before his wife enters the room and waves his arms at the ghost with something of the motion of a beginner when learning to swim. His movement shows his ………………………

(a) fear

(b) amusement

(c) desperation

(d) anxiety
 

Answer :
(d) anxiety


Question 4-(6):
When the narrator says his wife is never so pretty as when she's doing something she knows he disapproves of, his tone is …………………….

(a) amused

(b) ironic

(c) angry

(d) irritated
 

Answer :
(b) ironic


Question 4-(7):
The ghost says "It's all your fault.'It' here refers to ………………………

(a) the narrator’s wife’s anger

(b) the ghost's anger

(c) the narrator's wife leaving him

(d) the ghost materialising in sections.
 

Answer :
(d) the ghost materialising in sections.


Question 4-(8):
Gladolia wishes to leave the narrator's house as ………………….

(a) she does not like the Ouija boards

(b) she is afraid of the ghost

(c) she is afraid of magic and hoodoo

(d) she likes Ouija boards and hoodoo
 

Answer :
(c) she is afraid of magic and hoodoo


PAGE 48

Question 5-(a):
What genre of stories does Jenkins want the narrator to write? Why?
 

Answer :
Jenkins had always called upon Hallock whenever he wanted a ghost story to be published in his magazine. John’s ghosts were live propositions as Jenkins called them. This time again Jenkins wanted Hallock to come up with another supernatural thriller, which would give the readers horrors and that is what the public wanted too.


Question 5-(b):
Does the narrator like writing ghost stories? Support your answer with evidence from the story.
 

Answer :
The narrator lacked the self confidence as he himself talked of how he didn’t specialise in ghost stories; instead, he said that the ghost stories specialised in him. His first story had been a ghost fiction too; however, for that also he had to chase inspiration in vain for months. This all shows that the narrator was, though natural, an accidental ghost fiction writer.


Question 5-(c):

What makes Helen, the ghost, and her other co-ghosts organize The Writer's Inspiration Bureau?
 

Answer :
Helen and other co-ghosts organised The Writer’s Insipiration Bureau because they felt there were many writers without ideas, however, with a vulnerable mind who were looking for an inspiration to write ghost stories. The bureau would assign a ghost to such a writer so that he/she could write good ghost stories.


Question 5-(d):
Why had Helen, the ghost been helping the narrator write ghost stories? Why was she going on strike? What condition did she place for providing continued help?
 

Answer :
Helen provided inspiration to the narrator to write ghost stories. She and co-ghosts were going on a strike because they were tired of answering questions of Ouija board fanatics. They felt they were disturbed too often to answer silly questions. She urged the narrator to influence his friends and acquaintances to stop using the Ouija board. It was on this condition she promised to help the narrator to write stories.


Question 5-(e):
How does the ghost undermine the narrator's faith in his ability to write ghost stories?
 

Answer :
Helen tells the narrator that she had helped him write his ghost stories. She tells the narrator of the many times when she had leaned on the narrator’s shoulder and had given him ideas, when he was thinking hard while writing a ghost story. Helen tries to tell the narrator that had she not been there for him as a muse, he would not have been able to write good ghost stories.


Question 5-(g):
Why does the narrator hesitate to be a partner to Laura Hinkle during the Ouija Board Party?
 

Answer :
Helen, the ghost, had asked the narrator to influence his friends to stop using the Ouija board. It was only on this condition that Helen promised to help the narrator to write ghost stories. If Helen sees him now himself trying to communicate ghosts through Ouija board, he fears how and what she would do to him. That is why the narrator was reluctant to be a partner to Laura Hinkle during the Ouija Board party.


Question 5-(f):
Why does John want the ghost to disappear before his wife appears on the scene? What impression of his wife's character do you form from his words?
 

Answer :
Lavina is a sensitive woman and is subject to hysterics. If she sees John talking to a ghost she would lose it all. Lavinia is crazy about every new fashion and fad, so much feminine in nature that John fears the thought of how she would react in such a situation.


Question 5-(h):
What message does the ghost convey to the group that had assembled in the narrator's house? What is their reaction to the message?
 

Answer :
Helen called John a traitor as he bluffs her. He had promised Helen that he would convince his friends to stop contacting ghosts; rather here he himself was doing the same. She is annoyed and filled with anguish and so goes to everyone’s Ouija board one by one and tells that Mr. Hallock is a traitor. After this revelation everybody suspected John of cheating upon his wife, later John clarified to his wife and she even understood.


Question 5-(i):
Do you agree with the narrator calling the assembly of women "manipulators?" Give reasons.
 

Answer :
The narrator felt that everybody in the room was looking at him suspiciously. That is why he called the assembly of women “manipulators”. The women were not manipulating things. However, they were just reporting what was happening at their Ouija Board.


Question 5-(j):
Why is John's wife angry? What does she decide to do?
 

Answer :
John’s wife is angry because she, like other women, believed what the spirit said through the Ouija board, about her husband. A woman even reported that Helen has called John a traitor. Lavinia thought that her husband was cheating on her. She decided to go to her grandmother’s house. She also decided to separate from her husband.


Question 5-(k):
Why does John wish he were dead?
 

Answer :
John wished he was dead because a brief meeting with a ghost had created such situations that he was about to lose his wife, whom he loved dearly; it destroyed his happiness and home.


Question 5-(l):
When confronted by Lavinia about his flirtations over the Ouija Board, John insists that 'the affair was quite above-board, I assure you, my love'. Bring out the pun in John's statement.
 

Answer :
John assures his wife that his flirtations with Helen the ghost are above board. He tries to tell her that whatever that has happened between him and Helen is over the board of Ouija and there was nothing that he wished to hide from his wife; in fact there was nothing to tell.


Question 5-(m):
John's apprehensions about his wife's reaction to her encounter with the ghost are unfounded. Justify.
 

Answer :
John thought that his wife would become hysterical if she saw the ghost Helen; however, when the encounter happened, she confidently spoke to the ghost and was not at all scared of it.


PAGE 49

Question 7:
The narrator and his wife reveal something about their character in their words and actions. We also learn about them from what other people say. Can you pick out the words that describe them from the box given below? Also, pick out lines and instances from the story to illustrate your choice.
shy
arrogant
loyal
clever
overconfident
Manipulative

protective
self-disparaging
suspicious
sceptical
jealous fearless
Firm

shrewd
strong
gullible
sly
creative
Loves novelty and thrills

Person
Extract from story
What it tells us about the character

John Hallock
1. …in the end things had always come my Hallock way….. somehow I'd always been able to dig one (plot) up for him, so I'd begun to get a bit cocky as to my ability (to write stories).
1. ______________

2. "But my ghosts aren't a bit like you----".
2. sceptical

3. We scout around until we find a writer without ideas and with a mind soft enough to accept impression.
3. gullible

4. __________________________

__________________________
4. creative

5. __________________________

__________________________
5. protective

Lavinia Hallock
1. __________________________

__________________________
1. loves novelty and thrills

2. __________________________

__________________________
2. Spendthrift

3. __________________________

__________________________
3. suspicious

4. __________________________

__________________________
4. jealous

5. Buys the Ouija board but says it is for John's research
5. manipulative

6. Does not flinch when she meets the ghost but talks to her casually.
6. strong


Answer :
Person
Extract from story
What it tells us about the character

John Hallock
1. …in the end things had always come my Hallock way….. somehow I'd always been able to dig one (plot) up for him, so I'd begun to get a bit cocky as to my ability (to write stories).
1. Overconfident, self-disparaging

2. "But my ghosts aren't a bit like you----".
2. sceptical

3. We scout around until we find a writer without ideas and with a mind soft enough to accept impression.
3. gullible

4. A ghost story had been the first fiction I had written. Curious how that idea for a plot had come to me out of nowhere after I had chased inspiration in vain for months! Even now whenever Jenkins wanted a ghost, he called on me.
4. creative

5. I threw a protecting husbandly arm about her to catch her when she should faint.
5. protective

Lavinia Hallock
1. …and how on earth I was going to cure her of her alarming tendency to take every new fad that came along and work it to death.
1. loves novelty and thrills

2. You know I bought the loveliest thing this afternoon.
2. Spendthrift

3. Lavinia stopped and began to look at me through narrowed lids much as she had done in the library the evening before.
3. suspicious

4. She went on, “It is bad enough to have you flirt over the Ouija board with that hussy…..

She thrust me back with sudden muscle. “I will see who’s behind you! Where is that Helen?”
4. jealous

5. Buys the Ouija board but says it is for John's research
5. manipulative

6. Does not flinch when she meets the ghost but talks to her casually.
6. strong


PAGE 50

Question 8:
Gladolia, the narrator's cook, is an African. The language she speaks is different from that of the others. This is known as Dialect. A dialect consists of words or phrases that reflect the regional variety of a language. An author often uses a regional dialect to make the dialogue more authentic. Initially a dialogue may seem a little difficult to understand. However, as you continue reading, the language will become more comprehensible.

Working in groups, write what Gladolia's words mean as shown

Column A
Column B

Misto Hallock
Mister Hallock

de Missus

sho t'inks you's lost!

she done 'phone you dis mawnin'

fo' de lawd's sake

not to stop to argify now

I's gwine t' quit.

I don't like no hoodoos.

I'se done lef' dis place

I is


Answer :
Column A
Column B

Misto Hallock
Mister Hallock

de Missus
the Mrs.

sho t'inks you's lost!
she thinks you are lost

she done 'phone you dis mawnin'
she called you this morning

fo' de lawd's sake
for the Lord’s sake

not to stop to argify now
don’t stop to argue now

I's gwine t' quit.
I am going to quit

I don't like no hoodoos.
I don’t like voodoo magic

I'se done lef' dis place
I am done with this place and I am going to leave this place.

I is
I am


Question 9:
Read and understand the following ghost phrases and expressions:

(a) To give up the ghost-- to die or to stop trying

(b) A ghost of a chance-- a poor chance, not likely to happen

(c) The ghost at the feast-- something or someone that spoils your enjoyment by reminding you of something unpleasant

(d) Ghost town-- a town where most people have left-abandoned and deserted

(e) Ghost-write- to write for someone else

(f) Lay the ghost of something/somebody (to rest)-- to finally stop being worried or upset by something or someone that has worried or upset you for a long time

(g) Ghost image -- secondary image, esp. one appearing on a television screen as a white shadow, caused by poor or double reception or by a defect in the receiver

(h) the ghost of a smile - faint trace of a smile

(i) As white as a ghost- very pale or white in the face

Now complete the following story by using the appropriate phrases in the blanks given below:
I was alone in a place that bore a deserted look like that of a ________________. I increased the pace of my footsteps as I walked through the dark forest. I felt someone walking behind me. I turned immediately and spotted the contour of a figure in the form of a ___________________ .

It smiled at me wickedly .I started shaking with fear and perspiring profusely when I felt its skeletal hand upon my neck. I woke up with a start, relieved that it was only a nightmare.
This was not the first time I had had one. It had all started when I had watched the horrendous horror

film with a eerie ghost character that had a scary ghost of a smile on its face.It had been almost a month. The strange thing was that I saw a similar face at the station the next morning. That was uncanny.

I was to attend a dinner at my friend's at Northanger Abbey that night. I had decided to narrate my experience to the group that would assemble there although I knew there was _________________________ that they would be convinced.

After everyone had finished pouring their drinks to themselves, I cleared my throat and started narrating my spooky experience. However, every one of the group started accusing me of being _______________________ and held me responsible for spoiling the spirit of revelry. I gave up the ghost and sat quietly waiting for the party to be over. Back at home, the fears returned .I knew I had to talk about my experience to somebody to feel better. I have now decided to ______________ and publish my experience under a pseudonym. Only then can I ____________________.
 

Answer :
I was alone in a place that bore a deserted look like that of a ghost town.

I increased the pace of my footsteps as I walked through the dark forest. I felt someone walking behind me. I turned immediately and spotted the contour of a figure in the form of a ghost image .

It smiled at me wickedly .I started shaking with fear and perspiring profusely when I felt its skeletal hand upon my neck. I woke up with a start, relieved that it was only a nightmare.

This was not the first time I had had one. It had all started when I had watched the horrendous horror film with a eerie ghost character that had a scary ghost of a smile on its face.It had been almost a month. The strange thing was that I saw a similar face at the station the next morning. That was uncanny.

I was to attend a dinner at my friend's at Northanger Abbey that night. I had decided to narrate my experience to the group that would assemble there although I knew there was a ghost of a chance that they would be convinced.

After everyone had finished pouring their drinks to themselves, I cleared my throat and started narrating my spooky experience.

However, every one of the group started accusing me of being the ghost at the feast and held me responsible for spoiling the spirit of revelry. I gave up the ghost and sat quietly waiting for the party to be over. Back at home, the fears returned .I knew I had to talk about my experience to somebody to feel better. I have now decided to ghost write and publish my experience under a pseudonym. Only then can I lay the ghost .


PAGE 52

Question 11:
Do you think a story has an atmosphere? Complete the following blanks to make up your ghost story by choosing the correct options.

A Ghost Story

She opened the _________________ (secret door/ spaceship's hatch/ door of the cottage/ cemetery gate/ door of the castle/ cockpit) _________________ (brashly/ loudly/ silently/ stupidly/ fearfully/ joyously).

Standing in front of her was a ________________ (terrifying/ handsome/ smelly/ anonymous/ tiny/ huge/ bossy) ___________ (policeman/ spy/ apparition/ witch/ prince/ wizard) with a _________________ (wand/ rose/ rod/ knife/ scythe/ coded message) in his/ her (its) _________________ (ghoulish/ bony/ beautiful/ fair/ manly/ gloved/ magical) hand.

Now that you have shared a ghost story/anecdote as well as completed a guided story in the class, create your own Ghost story on the basis of the starters given below:

(a) Stephen knew he would never sleep. The noises, those horrid sounds, would keep him awake...

(b) Tap, tap, tap. Was it the branches of the nearby tree, or fingernails against the window?

(c) People often say, 'There's no such thing as ghosts....


Answer :
A Ghost Story

She opened the secret door silently.

Standing in front of her was a huge apparition with a rose in his/ her (its) gloved hand.

Note: This question is to be answered on the basis of your own understanding, experience and thoughts. It is strongly recommended that you prepare the solution on your own. However, one sample solution has been provided for your reference.

M G road was unusually lonely and deserted. It generally is crowded at the time. It was only half past six in the evening. Maybe the unusual downpour had forced people to leave their offices early. Darkness had descended earlier than the usual. Stephen had to stop and wait for the storm to halt. He had to break his journey that night. The weather did not seem to favour him. He spotted a motel and pulled in. He turned the car into their driveway. His room was on the top floor. Stephen knew he would never sleep; new places always unsettled him. As he tossed and turned in the bed, he heard strange noises. The noises died down after sometime, they returned again. Those horrid sounds were keeping him awake. He decided to investigate. Suddenly, he heard tap, tap on the window pane. Was

it the branches of the nearby tree, or fingernails against the window? Stephen could not see anything. Maybe it was just a figment of his imagination. He tried going back to sleep; however, the incessant tapping on the window pane kept him awake. Maybe it was a ghost.

The storm seemed to abate a little. Stephen decided to go for a walk. The motel was all quiet except for a faint light at the reception. Stephen saw a frail figure bent over a book, probably trying to read something in that faint light. Stephen was happy. He had company now. He approached the reception. The old man’s back was against him. Stephen cleared his throat to get his attention. As the old man turned around to face Stephen…….Stephen screamed in horror….he had no face….there were just balls of fire in his eye sockets. Stephen ran out of the motel and sped away in his car.

And they say, ‘There is no such thing as ghosts’.


Question 12:

While conventional Ghost stories are scary and gruesome, several modern versions are humorous. The Canterville Ghost, by Oscar Wilde, is one of the best ghost stories written in the vein of laughing satire. The story that you just read is another example in case. Humour arises out of the narrator's ability to laugh at himself, clever use of language as well as comic situations. Discuss within your groups what makes the Shady Plot humorous. Share your views during a whole class discussion.


Answer :
Note: This question is to be answered on the basis of your own understanding, experience and thoughts. It is strongly recommended that you prepare the solution on your own. However, a few pointers for discussion have been provided for your reference.

The author has a distinctive style of writing.

The ghost story instead of being spooky, exciting and gripping is rather amusing.

All the characters have a lighter side to them. The narrator and his preoccupation with ghost stories is mocked in a subtle way. He is not scared of the ghost in his room, rather he is worried how is his wife going to react if she sees the ghost.

Lavinia and her spendthrift ways. Her obsession to try out new trends and fashions.

Helen threatens the narrator that if he did not agree to her conditions she will stop inspiring him.

The Ouija board party instead of being thrilling resulted in a misunderstanding between Mr. and Mrs. Hallock.

Gladolia the narrator’s cook, who wants leave her job for a trivial reason, is scared of Voodoo and black magic and does not want to work in their house.  

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