Notes Chapter 1 The Portrait of a Lady

Class 11 commerce students can refer to Chapter 1 The Portrait of a Lady notes given below which is an important chapter in the class 11 English book. These notes and important questions and answers have been prepared based on the latest CBSE and NCERT syllabus and books issued for the current academic year. Our team of English teachers has prepared these notes for class 11 English for the benefit of students so that you can read these revision notes and understand each topic carefully.

The Portrait of a Lady Notes Class 11 English

Refer to the notes and important questions given below for The Portrait of a Lady which is really useful and has been recommended by Class 11 English teachers. Understanding the concepts in detail and then solving questions by yourself will help you to learn all topics given in your NCERT Books.

Khushwant Singh (2 February 1915-20 March 2014)

Khushwant singh was one of the prominent Indian writers and columnists. In the story the author draws a pen portrait of his grandmother. He has beautifully written an account of his relationship with her grandmother.

Appearance of the grandmother

  • Old. short, fat and slightly bent.
  • Her silver hair scattered untidily on her wrinkled face.
  • She hobbled around the house in white clothes with one hand resting on her waist and the other telling the beads of her rosary.
  • author remembers her as not very pretty but always beautiful.
  • He compares her calm and serene face to that of a winter landscape.

Daily routine(Chidhood phase in village)

During their long stay in the village

  • Grandmother woke him up in the morning, plastered his wooden slate, prepared his breakfast, and accompany him to school.
  • While he studied alphabets, she read the scriptures in the temple attached to the school.
  • On their way back home she fed stale chapattis to stray dogs.

The turning point in their relationship (Family moved to city)

  • Author went to a city school in a motor bus and studied English, law of gravity, Archimedes’ principle and many more things which she could not understand at all.
  • Grandmother could no longer accompany him to school nor help him in his studies.
  • She was upset that there was no teaching of God and scriptures at city school.
  • Instead he was given music lesson which, according to her, was not meant for gentlefolk. But she said nothing.

When author went to a university

  • He was given a separate room.
  • The common link of their friendship was snapped.
  • Grandmother rarely talked to anyone now.
  • She spent most of her time sitting beside her spinning wheel, reciting prayers, and feeding the sparrows in the afternoon.

When the author left for abroad

  • Grandmother did not get disturbed. Rather, she saw him off at the railway station.
  • Seeing her old age, the narrator thought that it was his last meeting with her.
  • But, contrary to his thinking, when he returned after a span of five years. Grandmother was there to receive him.
  • She celebrated the occasion by singing songs of the home coming of warriors on an old dilapidated drum, along with the ladies of the neighbourhood.

Last hours of her life

  • Next morning she got a mild fever. She could foresee that her end was near.
  • Peacefully kept on praying and telling the beads till her lips stopped moving and the rosary fell from her lifeless fingers.

Sparrows paid their silent tribute

  • To mourn her death thousands of sparrows flew in and sat scattered around her body.
  • There was no chirruping and when author’s mother threw breadcrumbs to the sparrows, they took no notice of the bread.
  • They flew away quietly when the dead body of Grandmother was carried away for last rites.

Short answer Type

Question. Why was the grand mother dissatisfied with the city’s education?
Ans. The grand mother was dissatisfied with the city’s education because they never taught about the scriptures and God. The teachers taught science, the law of gravity etc. which was not of much importance to her.

Question. How did the grandmother spend her whole day?
Ans. The grand mother spend her whole day by getting her grandson ready for the school, making chapattis for him and dropping him to school. Besides, she always remained busy in reciting prayers and telling the beads of her rosary.

Question. How did the author’s grandmother behave just before her death?
Ans. The author’s grandmother had got a fair enough idea bout her upcoming death. Therefore, she decided not to waste even a single second while talking to her relatives but reciting the prayers and telling the beads of her rosary. She gave a clear signal to her family that she was no longer interested in talking to them.

Question. Why was it hard to believe that the author’s grandmother was young and pretty?
Ans. It was hard to believe that the author’s grandmother was young and pretty because she author, as a young boy, had always seen her as an old lady. She was short statured and wrinkled all over. She had a quiet personality whom everybody respected. So, to imagine her as a young and a pretty girl was a revolting thought for the author.

Question. Why was the grandmother so disturbed when the narrator started gong to the city school?
Ans. The grandmother was a religious lady who loved to read scriptures and tell the beads of the rosary. When her grandson told her about the subjects being taught at school. She felt offended and reacted strangely. According to her music was a monopoly of harlots and beggars.

Question. How did the sparrows express their sorrow when the author’s grandmother died?
Ans. Author’s grandmother was very fond of feeding sparrows with beads crumbs. When the grandmother died, the sparrows did not take notice of bread crumbs and flew away without eating them. In this way, they expressed their sorrow at her death.

Question. What was the turning point in the author’s and the grandmother’s relationship?
Ans. The author had to be sent to a big city for education. This was the turning point in his and the grandmother’s relationship. The author began to receive education in a English medium school. The grandmother could not assist him with his assignment and therefore, became withdrawn. She began to feel lonely and fed sparrows in her past time.

Question. Why did the grandmother hate music?
Ans. Grandmother considered that music was indecent and was meant only for harlots and beggars. It was not meant for gentle folk or school children from respectable families.

Notes Chapter 1 The Portrait of a Lady

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