The Man Who Knew Too Much by Alexander Baron – B.A. Alternative English

In our B.A. Literature English Study Material, we aim to provide quality comprehensive answers that students will find useful for exams. We cover the Alexander Baron penned lesson in our second post.

The Man Who Knew Too Much by Alexander Baron

  1. What made Private Quelch stand out from amongst his peers in the army?
    Private Quelch was blessed with a superhuman memory, and great attention to details. His memory was astounding, and his humility was so praiseworthy. He was dutiful, and never took any work assigned to him to be demeaning.
  2. How does his nick name show that he does not fit into the army ethos?
    Ans :
    His profound learning won him the nick name ‘The Professor’. Professors are found in universities and colleges. The rough and tumble of the battle ground is so far away from the tranquil and civil atmosphere of a university. So, Quelch didn’t quite fit the military roles.
  3. How is his character trait suggested by his physical appearance?
    Quelch appeared thoughtful always. Unlike army personnel, he had a stooping frame, and looked like a scholar with an unassuming exterior. His horn-rimmed glasses added to his appearance of an exceptionally scholarly person.
  4. We are told that the quiet Private Quelch worked hard to display his knowledge to get a promotion; but his enthusiasm and his unconquerable spirit seems to tell a different story. What is it?
    Quelch was, no doubt, a very assertive person who impulsively corrected a mistake when on duty or attending a class. His doggedness to correct errors was misunderstood by his seniors to be a sign of defiance. No doubt, he loved to be promoted, but this passion didn’t drive him in his work. Instead, a quest for perfection and deep intellectual honesty were the hallmarks of his character. But his unwillingness to compromise on facts didn’t quite endear him to his bosses. Thus, he became a victim of his own quest for perfection.
  5. What does private Quelch attribute his awesome knowledge to? What was his pet expression or statement?
    He was a voracious reader and picked up facts from the books he read. He was careful about the selection of books. With remarkable dexterity, he gleaned facts and knowledge from the books he read.
  6. What is the turning point in this story?
    Ans :
    The turning point of the story comes when the corporal asks Pvt. Quelch to take over the traing class. He had expected Quelch to falter and make a fool of himself, but the latter did the job with aplomb.
  7. How is the corporal’s hardness suggested? How is this a function of army life?
    When a senior gets miffed with the conduct of his soldiers, he asks them to ‘fall in’, and then announces his punishment.
  8. How did the corporal get his revenge?
    Private Quelch was assigned kitchen duty considered to be unglamorous and somewhat humiliating in army. The corporal deputed Quelch to kitchen duty.
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