The Rainbow Bird by Vance Palmer
Questions for discussion…
Q1. Why was Maggie …. Maggie was a girl very passionate about the charms of the outdoors. She, particularly, was fond of a blue-green bird, shot with gold with an arrow-shaped tail. She was lost in the thought of seeing it again to feast her eyes.
Q2. “The hands crawled down ………. Since she was not at all attentive to her studies, and frantically wanted to go out, the time seemed to drag on agonizingly. The hour hand of the clock appeared to move very slowly for her.
Q3. Why did Maggie .. Maggie was a girl with a very different taste. She loved to see the birds, flies, insects etc. living in their habitat undisturbed, and unafraid of predators. Presence of other girls was a distraction for her, and a source of fear for the birds and insects she loved so much. They would possibly flee on seeing so many noisy humans around. This is why Maggie didn’t like her friends around.
Q4. What did Maggie .. As soon as the bell rang, she rushed out to the spot where she could see her favourite bird.
Q5. How did Maggie feel .. Maggie’s excitement knew no bounds on spotting the rainbow-bird. She was overjoyed. Don wanted to find out if there were some young ones in the bird’s nest perched inside the wild grass growing on the furrow. But, Maggie instantly stopped him saying that any such intrusion might scare the rainbow bird making it fly away to a safer place.
Q7 .. Maggie was obsessed with the many life forms she saw around her. They were as fascinating as they were intriguing. She treasured their shapes, sizes and colours. In her drawer, she had kept her collections of cowries, and beetles’ wings. Her mother was bemuse and slightly vexed with Maggie’s fascination. When she started muttering something with her face pressed against her pillow, her mother expressed her disgust saying that another creature — the bird — had joined her daughter’s long list of lovely things.
Questions for discussion 2 …
Q1.. Whom did Maggie and Don …… Ans ..Maggie and Don met Cafferty, the Honey Man. Cafferty was intently looking at the nest.
Q2. How was Maggie shocked …………. Ans …Maggie found that Cafferty had a gun with him. It was quite unusual for someone to have a gun in that place which had no record of crime. So, she was taken aback. Fear gripped her. The initial joy of fun and excitement of the outdoors vanished. Instead, an unknown fear gripped them. It was a very distressing feeling to see a man moving around with a gun in that peaceful area. This fear has been likened to ‘an icy hand’.
Q3. ‘Beast ! That’s what you are …………………………………..has been destroyed. Ans .. Maggie was an innocent little girl not accustomed to the cruelty and exploitation of the world. She loved the birds, the flowers, and the life in many of its forms that enriched her surroundings. On seeing the mutilated body of a beautiful dead rainbow bird so mercilessly hung by Cafferty by his hand, she froze in horror and disgust. The shock came like a bolt from the blue. In indignation and shock, she slumped on to the ground, calling Caffrety a beast.
Q4. Why did Cafferty swear to wipe ………. Ans . Cafferty was amused to see the anguish in Maggie’s face over the shooting of the Rainbow bird. He justified his action saying that Rainbow birds feed on bees as they emerge out of their hives. The birds also, at times, fly into a cluster of flying bees, and catch the Queen bee. Killing the Queen bee endangers the whole communiy of bees. If bees are destroyed like this, there would be no honey that humans consume. So, said, Cafferty, Rainbow birds deserve to be hunted down.
Q5. “There was dull passion ………………………………. Ans … Cafferty, obviously, felt no remorse for having shot the Rainbow bird. Maggie’s admonition had no effect on him. Instead, he felt good about killing the bird that posed a threat to his trade.
Q6. What difference you see …….. Don was a boy, the brother of Maggie. He was not as soft-hearted and emotional like his sister. He didn’t feel any revulsion towards Cafferty for his hunting. He was not moved by the killing of the bird, and took it in his stride as if nothing had happened.
i) What happens to the Honey man … Ans.. The Honey man walks away triumphantly with no sense of guilt. On the contrary, he declares a reward of six pence for each bird to be killed by Don.
ii) How does Maggie look at ….. Ans .. Maggie is bitter, and shocked at the way Cafferty killed the innocent bird, and justified his action so unabashedly.
Questions for discussion 3 (last) …
Q1. What ideas sweep Maggie’s mind ………………………………… Ans … Maggie is seething in anger against Cafferty, the Honey man. She wants the hunter to be punished for his brutality unleashed on the innocent rainbow-bird. The resentment that she felt earlier has turned to a burning desire for retribution from God. She wants a lightening to strike him and char him to death.
Q2. What did Maggie imagine …………………………. Ans .. Maggie heard some low sounds outside. It was a mix of telephone ring, car horn, some hustle and bustle etc. She felt perhaps a funeral was being arranged.
Q3. How did she react when she was told ……………………….. Ans .. Maggie’s mind was filled with glee and relief. She imagined that God had punished him for his cruelty towards the rainbow-bird. She felt that Cafferty was either dead or was going to die soon. She felt Cafferty had got his due.
Q4. Do you find in her a vengeful …………………………………… Ans .. Maggie, no doubt, was burning in rage thinking of the way Cafferty had shot the bird, dangled its dead body, and later had justified his deed. No doubt, Maggie was vengeful, but her compassion overshadowed her vengefulness. She derived some pleasure thinking of the pain and suffering of the Honey man.
Q5. What change do you mark …………………………………………… Ans … Obviously, she feels that Cafferty had met his justice. She is both happy and relieved. Her rage has ceded place to calm and comfort. She feels a sense of joy, and wonders how swiftly God had administered justice to the sinner, Cafferty. She imagines that the rainbow-bird had soared into the sky again, where as the hunter lay miserably on the ground with life gone out of his body.
Questions for composition …..
Q1. How does the rainbow-bird create …….. Ans .. For the innocent, tender-hearted Maggie, the rainbow-bird with her multi-hued plumage was a thing of beauty, and a joy for ever. Its flight was majestic, and its home, the tunnel was intriguing. For her, it was perhaps the most beautiful and defense-less creatures on earth.
Q2. Describe how the story comes full circle with the restoration …….. Answer .. Cafferty was a hunter. His profession had hardened his heart, and robbed him of sympathy and compassion. Maggie, on the other hand, was a young child with a very tender heart. She reviled Cafferty for his brutality and abominable insensitivity towards birds and other small creatures. Deep within her, she seethed in indignation and anger against Cafferty. When misfortune befell him leading to his injury, Maggie was delighted greatly. She felt it was poetic justice for Cafferty. Sh felt the birds and insects would have a safer place to live now.
Q3. Give an account of the contrasting attitude of Maggie … Answer .. Initially, Maggie and her friends had gone an expedition to see the Rainbow and other birds. They were agog with excitement. They looked forward to seeing the Rainbow bird. Later, on seeing the mutilated body of the bird, her mind was filled with indignation and anger towards Cafferty. She felt miserable and an urge to take revenge gripped her.
[To be contd.]
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