Understanding the text
Question 1. Comment on the attitude shown by Taplow towards Crocker Harris.
Answer : From his conversation with Frank, it appears that Taplow does not think too high of his master, Crocker-Harris. He says that Crocker-Harris is, probably, the only teacher who adheres to the rules, which apparently do not suit Taplow. Mr Crocker-Harris does not have any sense of humour and he hates when people like him. However, in between the dialogues, he also says something very positive about his teacher. Taplow says that Crocker-Harris is not the kind of teacher who will give any extra marks for any extra work and he is not a sadist. He even confesses that he rather likes his master. This shows that he also harbours some respect for his strict master.
Question 2. Does Frank seem to encourage Taplow’s comments on Crocker-Harris?
Answer : Yes, Frank seems to encourage Taplow’s comments on Crocker-Harris. First of all, he does not make any sincere effort to stop Taplow from passing disparaging comments about Crocker-Harris. Secondly, he eggs him on when Taplow is talking about the negative qualities of his master.
Question 3. What do you gather about Crocker-Harris from the play?
Answer : Crocker-Harris is a school master, who is about to leave the school for good. According to the play, he seems to be an unbiased, strict and honest teacher. He is a believer of the principle that every student should get what he/she deserves – neither more, nor less. He does not like it when people admire him. The fact is that, his qualities as a teacher, are superb, hence, even a student like Taplow has hidden admiration for him.
Talking about the text
Question 1. Talking about teachers among friends.
Answer : The most common trait among students is to talk about their teachers. Students have tremendous capacity to analyse the qualities (good or bad) of their teachers. Even a dumb student can understand,
whether if a teacher is proficient in his subject or not. That is the reason, after each class, students form groups and discuss what had happened in the foregone period.
Students, generally, pass comments on the teachers’ appearance also. A well-dressed and smartly turned out teacher is always appreciated by the students. If one listens to the comments of the students one could easily decipher one fact-a teacher who is however strict but honest and unbiased, and knows his subject will definitely earn from his students. Nothing is more important for students, than a teacher’s ability to make them understand their subject.
Question 2. The manner you adopt, when you talk about a teacher to other teachers.
Answer : We are always very guarded in voicing our opinions about a teacher when we talk to other teachers. First of all, we are never very sure that our comments about a teacher will not be passed to him/her by others. We always have this lingering doubt that, afterall, these teachers work together and their work culture demands to be interactive with their colleagues.
Sometimes, we come across some teachers who ask mis-leading questions about other teachers as we saw in the lesson ‘The Browning Version’. Frankly, it appears as if Frank was restricting Taplow to pass uncharitable comments on Crocker-Harris but, in fact, he wanted him to give a comprehensive report of Crocker-Harris.
In similar circumstances, sometimes we lose our guard and say things about other teachers that may or may not be appropriate. One thing that all of us should understand is that before passing negative comments on our teachers’, we have to ensure whom we are talking to.
Question 3. Reading plays is more interesting than studying science.
Answer : It is very true because fiction, always, is more interesting than facts. Plays may be based on true stories but the writer, with the help of his imagination, gives it a creative description. On the other hand, science deals only with facts. There is no scope for creativity. One can add or subtract to come to a solution but the basics can never be changed.
Sometimes, it is true but it depends on one’s view point. There are a lot of people who would like to deal with facts only. For them, plays are just a timepass. One reads them in leisure hours to relax. Reading plays would not provide solutions to any problem. Science, which is based on true findings, only can be the answer to the problems, which we face in our daily life. This view point is very subjective. Some of us like reading plays while others like science.