STANDING UP FOR YOURSELF by Yevgeny Yevtushenko
Answers to short questions…
Think it out 1..
The writer is an adult while he narrates his childhood experiences.
The narrator did not have a happy childhood. After his parents divorced, he was left to fend for himself. He lived virtually in the streets, and his education was in tatters.
He had no contact with his father after his parents were divorced. His father working in far-off Kazakhstan never wrote him a letter.
The narrator’s mother, who used to be a geologist, resigned from her job. She became a singer giving concerts for soldiers.
The statement, “My education was left to the streets’ implies that he had no access to a decent education. Instead, he spent his time in the streets exposed to the coarseness and criminality of street kids.
In my opinion the best lesson the street taught him was to overcome his fear of those mightier than him.
Think it out 2..
1. Scars from daily fights and constant battle with the odds of streets had robbed him his childlike innocent look. He had big and broad shoulders which made him look so much older than his age of 16.
2. He had two or three younger accomplices who acted as his aides in his criminal assaults on innocent passers-by. They hung around Red and helped him in looting the victims.
3. Red wore a cap that was swept backwards. His hair in the front fell out of the cap.
4. Perhaps, he purposely dressed and walked so menacingly, so that he could instill fear in others.
5. The lieutenants were his comrades who formed the gang. In order to show their solidarity with Red, they too wore their caps in similar manner.
6. A dog is the pet that follows its master as loyally as the lieutenants followed Red.
7. Red used to accost a pedestrian, utter the word ‘money’. His lieutenants then subdued the victim by force and empty his pocket of any cash.
8. He resorted to intimidation and force to counter anyone who came in his way. If necessary, he would use his knuckle-duster to do bodily harm to the stranger.
9. Yes, initially he was. He said, “Everyone was afraid of Red. So was I.” Later, he overcame his fear through determination.
Think it out 3..
1. In order to overcome his fear of Red, the narrator wrote a poem about him.
2. The people in the street were thrilled by the poem’s sarcasm.
3. By triumphant hatred, it means that the poem had the desired effect of irking Red, the bully everyone disliked. They rejoiced at the annoyance of Red.
4. Red sneered at the narrator saying that he writes the verses & asked if they rhyme.
5. In his first encounter with Red, the narrator got badly injured as he was struck on his head by Red’s knuckle duster.
6. No, the narrator says this cynically.
7. For narrator, overcoming the fear of Red was more difficult.
8. In the second encounter, the narrator didn’t even dare to go in front of Red & felt too ashamed because of this.
Think it out 4..
1. In order to be stronger, the narrator trained with parallel bars and weight that made his muscles stronger. He also practiced a Japanese method of wrestling called ju-jitsu from a book. This technique enabled a person to effectively take on another much stronger foe.
2. The narrator got a textbook on ju-jitsu by forsaking a week’s ration entitlement towards the cost.
3. Before his final encounter with Red, the narrator trained for three weeks. He practiced the new method with two boys.
4. The final encounter took place in the community yard where the narrator lived. Red was engrossed in playing vingt-et-un with his friends by sitting on the lawn.
5. The narrator had decided to confront Red frontally. The narrator went up to Red & defiantly kicked and scattered the cards he was playing with.
6. Red was surprised by the audacity and belligerence of the narrator. He sprang to his feet to counter the narrator.
7. The narrator lunged forward and gave Red a hard blow which left him seething in pain.
8. Clearly, Red found the narrator too skilled and strong to counter. He had to drop his knuckle-duster when the narrator squeezed his wrist.
9. During his last encounter with Red, the narrator learned that he need not fear a person way too stronger than him. The stronger adversary can be neutralized by suitable fighting skill.
10. The narrator prepared himself to be a poet.
11. True: Courage means conquering fear. Timidity before a stronger foe only emboldens him. So, the right approach is to take him head on.