The Cop and the Anthem  by O. Henry

The Cop and the Anthem  by O. Henry – Explanation

Soapy lived the life of a tramp. He wandered around in the Madison Square in New York. He saw the birds flying south and people ambling in their warm clothes. These were the precursor of the approaching winter. Soapy pondered the looming harsh winter he would have to contend with. A dead leaf fell at his feet accentuated his fear. He knew the cold outdoor life was going to be unbearable as the winter tightened its grip over his city. It set his heart racing for ideas to weather the approaching cold.

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Keeping it from Harold by P.G. Woodhouse

Keeping it from Harold
by P.G. Woodhouse

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Full text explained in appropriate words ….

Para 1 … This is a scene in Bill Bramble’s house. The highly gifted son Harold sits at the table and addresses his mother Mrs. Bramble, “Ma!”. She is a nice little woman with a rather mediocre brain. She dotes on her academically brilliant son. For her, the world revolves around her husband, Mr. Bill Bramble and her son, Harold. Harold has a book kept open on the red table cloth of the table. He is somewhat lost in thought while reading the book.
Para 2 .. The mother lovingly answers, “Yes, dearie?’.
Para 3 … Harold asks, “Will you hear me?”
Para 4 … Mrs. Bramble took the book.
Para 5 .. She answers, “Yes, mother will hear you, precious.” Mrs. Bramble had developed the habit of answering her son in the third person, perhaps as a show of her excessive affection towards him.
Para 6. .. Harold is growing up. His mother’s mannerism makes him uncomfortable. He resents the way his mother addressed him in the third person, which implied that she still treated him as a toddler.
He frowns, being discomforted with her mother’s response.
Para 7 … Harold clears his throat and fixes his gaze on the cut-glass chandelier hanging from the ceiling.
Para 8 … Harold recites the first line of the poem, “Be good, sweet maid.” It was devoid of emotion.
Para 9 … Mrs. Bramble is worried at the hard work put in by Harold for his studies. Sympathizing with her studious son, she advises him to go for a half an hour saunter down the river side to refresh himself.
Para 10 …. Harold thought over his mother’s suggestion and decided to abide by her advice. He quietly stepped out of the front door.
Para 11 … Harold was an extraordinarily talented child. He was impeccable in his manners too. Mrs. Bramble often wondered how she could have given birth to such an adorable child, when neither her husband nor she had even a fraction of Harold’s intellectual caliber. But her elation was also shrouded by sadness. Harold’s father was in a profession that was not befitting for a boy like Harold. This mismatch between Harold’s all-round goodness was somewhat disconcerting to the parents. Deep in their hearts, the Brambles felt the profession that bread and butter and butter was lowly. With a sense of inferioroty and indignation, they decided to keep this fact away from Harold. However, Mrs. Bramble felt mean and distressed at her attempt to keep her son in dark about his father’s profession.
Para 12 … When Harold was a baby, this fact never bothered the parents. But, he grew up to a fine, well-behaved boy. His blossoming talent became evident when he won two prizes at the Sunday school. When the Bramble’s were in the midst of this dilemma, the curate of the local parish came into suggest that the nature of Bramble’s job must be hidden from Harold.
Despite the huge popularity of boxing among the people, it was perceived to be rather a boorish sport, not meant for the gentry.
Para 13 … The situation headed for the worse when Major Percy Stokes, brother of Mrs. Bramble, dropped in for a cup of tea. He was a man who was given to speaking boastfully and indiscreetly. During the chat, he spoke in a rather demeaning tone about Bramble’s profession. Percy took this opportunity to remind his sister to ensure Harold never got to know of his father’s profession.
Para 14 .. Mr. Bramble, an embodiment of civility and politeness, readily succumbed to the persuasiveness of Major Stokes. Bramble had always been like this. When Harold was born, he did not insist on giving the baby the name chosen prior to the birth. Instead he gave the name Harold to the baby boy, because his wife wanted so.
Para 15 .. When it became certain that his wife was in the family way, he chose the names ‘John’ after Mr. John. S. Sullivan (If it was to be a son) and ‘Marie’ after Miss Marie Lloyd (if it was to be a daughter). Finally, it was his wife whose choice prevailed and the boy got the name ‘Harold’ instead of ‘John’. On this matter Mr. Bramble gracefully ceded ground to his loving wife.
Para 16 … Bramble endeared him to one and all by his cool temperament and cheerful exterior.
Para 17 .. One thing that caused him much disquiet was his profession — he was a professional boxer. Boxing needs more brawn than brain.
Para 18 .. Before the arrival of Harold, Bramble had been proud of his profession as a boxer. In his profession, he was as much feared as he was respected. His redoubtable boxing acumen had earned him name, fame and money. He looked back at his exploits with satisfaction.
For the millions of boxing lovers in London and beyond, he was a legend. He was as formidable inside the ring as he was adorable outside, among his fans.
His trademark ‘left hook’ was acclaimed by sports writers.
Para 19 … With the coming of Harold, his flamboyance began to wane. He began to avoid publicity and media attention.
Para 20 … As Harold grew up, his talent blossomed. It brought much joy to his parents. But, the boy’s extra-ordinary talent affected the Brambles in a rather unintended way. Before their prodigious Harold, they felt small, and un-fit for the task of parenting such a hugely gifted child. This was a very awkward situation for the father and mother to be in. They applauded and, at times, sulked at the accomplishments of their gifted son.
Para 21 … Harold excelled in academics, much the same way his father Bill excelled in the ring. Harold had singing talent too. He sang at the choir.
Para 22 … The young boy studied in the local private school. He wore the school’s academic cap and behaved dignifiedly. He was ten then. He won prizes in spelling and dictation. Harold had been told by his father that he worked as a commercial traveler. For a boy of such caliber and refined taste, to be told that his father was the boxer ‘Young Perky’ — the embodiment of brawn, rage and brute force idolized by boisterous crowds — was too unfair and uncharitable.
Para 23 … Harold blossomed in his school with his multi-faceted genius, quite oblivious of the real profession of his father. Bill had a square jaw and a slightly distorted nose. Their brick-red house stood apart from other houses. Harold was too focused in his studies to bother about his father’s real profession. He had no time for this. Days went by.

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Julius Caesar

Julius Caesar 

1a. Difference between ‘killing’, ‘murder’ and ‘assassination’.

Killing …It means an act of causing death, especially deliberately.

a. The killing of large number of cows became necessary after Mad Cow Disease spread in the area.

b. Killing of Maoists will not be very effective to curb their menace. Some innovative political approach would perhaps be more fruitful.

Murder .. It means the unlawful premeditated killing of one human being by another.

a. The murder of the lonely couple caused heightened anxiety in the entire hill town.

b. Rigging an election is nothing but murder of democracy.

Assassination …It means the murder of an important person for political or religious reasons.

a. The assassination of President Kennedy had plunged the entire America in grief. b. The ring of armed guards could not prevent the assassination of the prime minister.

2. List of assassinated leaders. Rajiv Gandhi, Benajeer Bhuto, Benigno Aquino of Philippines

3. Why they were assassinated .. Rajiv Gandhi .. He was shot in point blank range by a LTTE supporter. It was an act of revenge by the Sri Lanka-based insurgency organization for India’s armed intervention against it. Benajeer Bhutto. .. She was assassinated by un-known groups. Taliban was suspected to be involved in the act because she had taken firm stand against it. Benigno Aquino …

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Introductory note… Julius Caesar (100BC – 44BC)

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Macavity – The Mystery Cat by T S Eliot

The poem Macavity – The Mystery Cat
by T S Eliot

Introduction … This poem is best known of T.S. Eliot’s ‘Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats’. This is the only book Eliot wrote for younger audience.
Macavity is, in all likelihood, a notorious, but extremely wily and villainous human being given to committing daring crimes. The most efficient detective agencies fail to apprehend him, although they are sure the crime is committed by Macavity.
Poem … 1st stanza …
Macavity’s a Mystery Cat: he’s called the Hidden Paw–
For he’s the master criminal who can defy the Law.
He’s the bafflement of Scotland Yard, the Flying Squad’s despair:
For when they reach the scene of crime–Macavity’s not there!
Explanation … Macavity is agile, cunning, and a master of deceit. Soon after a crime is reported, the Scotland Yard and the Flying Squad swing into action to catch him, but he succeeds in throwing them off his trail.
Poem … 2nd stanza ….
Macavity, Macavity, there’s no on like Macavity,
He’s broken every human law, he breaks the law of gravity.
His powers of levitation would make a fakir stare,
And when you reach the scene of crime–Macavity’s not there!
You may seek him in the basement, you may look up in the air–
But I tell you once and once again, Macavity’s not there!
Explanation … Macavity breaks laws with virtual impunity, because he manages to evade arrest by the anti-crime establishment. He is gifted with the power to defy the forces of gravity. He uses this asset to accomplish his hideous plans. He flees the spot of the crime with alarming ease and speed, outsmarting the police. In all cases, his lightening speed of escape frustrates the police.

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How I Taught My Grandmother to Read – by Sudha Murthy

How I Taught My Grandmother to Read – Story by Sudha Murthy

Explanation

Para 1 … I was about twelve then. I lived with my grandparents in a North Karnataka village. Transport to this place was quite basic / rudimentary. Life seemed to move rather slowly. The morning paper came in the afternoon. The weekly magazine came a day late. We waited with baited breath for the bus that carried these and the day’s post.
Para 2 … Triveni, the story writer, was a household name during those days. Her stories revolved around common folks. In her typical lucid style, she deftly handled the intriguing problems by the many common characters portrayed in her writings. Sadly, this talented Kannada writer died very young. Nearly four decades after Triveni’s demise, the enduring attraction of her books continues to charm the hearts of countless readers.
Para 3 … Her novel Kashi Yatre serialized in the Kannada weekly Karmaveera, deals with the life of a old lady yearning to go to Kashi (Varanasi) to earn the much-cherished punya that accrues to the devotees of Lord Vishweshara. The novel describes the travails of the lady in undertaking the arduous journey to Kashi. The old lady happens to meet an orphan girl, deeply in love. But, the poor young girl can not afford the expenses of her marriage. The old lady is engulfed with sympathy for the young love-lorn girl, and decides to donate all her savings so that the marriage could go through. The old lady in the twilight of her life is swept by compassion.  She feels ensuring the happiness of a young orphan girl is more important than a darshan of the Lord Vishweshara.

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Mirror by Sylvia Plath

Mirror

by Sylvia Plath

I am silver and exact. I have no preconceptions.
Whatever I see I swallow immediately
Just as it is, unmisted by love or dislike.
I am not cruel, only truthful ‚
The eye of a little god, four-cornered.
Most of the time I meditate on the opposite wall.
It is pink, with speckles. I have looked at it so long
I think it is part of my heart. But it flickers.
Faces and darkness separate us over and over.
Explanation … Here the speaker is the mirror. Through its voice, the speaker chooses to express her inner feelings. The opening line, ‘I am silver and exact,’ makes it abundantly clear. The mirror describes itself as an un-biased observer. It absorbs whatever image is incident on it, and reflects it very truly with no distortion or manipulation. It has no particular fondness or rancor towards anyone or any object. That enables it to reflect the images so faithfully and so correctly.
The mirror affirms that it has no feeling of vengeance or bias against anyone. Its commitment is only for truthful reflection of all that it sees. Such unwavering resolve for neutrality in observation can only be expected from God, not from any human being. So the mirror with its four corners feels that it is the eye of a ‘little’ God.
The mirror is hung on a wall. It stares at the pink, speckled wall opposite to it endlessly. It has no respite from looking at the same dreary wall. So, it is condemned to ‘meditate’ on the wall with no leeway to look elsewhere for a change. The image of the opposite wall has got embedded in the mirror’s heart. However, at times, the opposite wall’s image vanishes giving place to faces who peer into it. Also, the night’s darkness interrupts the gazing at the opposite wall.

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