The Eyes Have it
by Ruskin Bond
Questions and Answers for the Short Story included in the CHSE +2 Alternative English book ‘Approaches to English – II’.
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Section I : Questions for discussion
1. Can you visualize the dramatic setting when the story began.
Answer – The stats in a railway station where the author is seated inside a compartment. The lone girl passenger comes in with her parents who were unusually careful about ensuring that the daughter has a safe journey.
2. Which lines in the text show that the man was blind?
Answer – The first hint comes when the author says, “What is it like outside?’ I asked. Also, when the author asked “I wondered if she wore her hair in a bun or if it was plaited. Perhaps it was hanging loose over her shoulders. Or was it cut very short? In another instance, he said, “I moved easily along the berth and felt for the window ledge. The window was open and I faced it, making a pretense of studying the landscape. I heard the panting of the engine, the rumble of the wheels, and, in my mind’s eye I could see telegraph posts flashing by.
3. How did the girl respond to the first question of the young man?
Answer – She gave a little exclamation and said, I didn’t know anyone else was here.’
Section II : Questions for discussion
4. What impression do you form about the young man in the story?
Answer – The young man is jovial, friendly and a bit romantic.
5. Do you find the same romantic spirit in this section of the story as in the first section?
6. Does Bond present a painful world of blindness and suffering? Or is it a world of beauty and romance woven around a short meeting between two blind travelers? Give reasons for your answer.
Answer – Bond, although blind, appears to be undaunted by the handicap. He remains a friendly, outgoing young man who seeks out feminine companionship despite the fear of being rejected. He retains his ability to discern beauty and other sensuous things in the half-dark word around him. The meeting between the two blind travelers is fleeting and so, can’t blossom. Nevertheless, the chance encounter makes a very interesting reading.
Questions for composition
1. Give an account of the progress of the story from an interesting meeting to a surprise ending.
Answer – That the author, blind in the eyes, would meet another co-passenger with the same vision impairment is itself a strange coincidence. The girl was as friendly as the author and the duo got along nicely during the short journey. The author was eager to explore her more, but she had to leave rather early. This disrupted the author’s desire to chat with her a bit longer. The end of the fleeting encounter came abruptly and a bit cruelly.
2. Would you regard “The Eyes have it.” as an appropriate title of the story? Give reasons for your answer.
Answer – The title looks befitting, but other titles such as “Blindness, no barrier to love” OR “Nascent love nipped in the bud” can also be considered.
3. Write a note on the conversation between the two blind passengers.
Answer – One was a young man with a heart overflowing with desire for female companionship, and the other was a young teen-aged girl. Both were not averse to talk to a stranger, so it took little time for the conversation to start. Both were bind, so they made no attempt to look at the other person’s face. However, their openness helped them to speak to one another, although formally. The author was young, hence his desire to touch and feel the hair of the girl. The girl was in a hurry and got down in the destination.
4. Critically examine the atmosphere in the story.
Answer – The atmosphere in the story appears to b rather informal and mundane. People travelling in trains and conversing with each other is a common sight in India. However, an urge for romance filled the air. The young man knew it, and the girl was unaware of it. She was more concerned with her own safety in the crowded compartment. The words of caution of her parents were ringing in her ears. The encounter was brief, but it left the author bewildered.