Question 1: What does the author notice one Sunday afternoon? What is his mother’s reaction? What does she do?
Answer: While enjoying his Sunday he notices smoke billowing from the ceiling. His mother tries to recover important documents and his father’s photographs. Like all good homekeepers she knows the importance of documents. Moreover, she is also aware of the fact that how precious her late husband’s photographs are.
Question 2: Why does he break down in tears after the fire?
Answer: After fire the harsh realisaton that his cat might have perished in the fire makes him cry. He gave it a new lease of life when it was a small kitten. Cat and the author are emotionally attached to each other. So it is a big emotional loss for the author.
Question 3: Why is the author deeply embarrassed the next day in school? Which words show his fear and insecurity?
Answer: All his arsenal seems to be lost with his backpack. His books, homework are all lost. He is not even having decent clothing to wear. In a way he is feeling naked in front of the outside world.
These kind of situation can be very embarrassing and depressing for anyone. He is stripped of all mental protection.
His thought of unwillingness to grow up and willingness to die if life continued like that gives us a glimpse of the way he is feeling.
Question 4: The cat and the author are very fond of each other. How has this been shown in the story? Where was the cat after the fire? Who brings it back and how?
Answer: The way the cat makes merry with the author shows the bonding between them. She sleeps in his gowns pocket, she fiddles with his pen because she has unlimited access to the author. The cat escaped the fire and ran far out of fear. A lady finds her and from the telephone number written on her collar tries to find its owner. As the telephone of author’s home was dead after fire so it can be assumed that the lady must have searched for their name in the telephone directory.
Question 5: What actions of the schoolmates change the author’s understanding of life and people, and comfort him emotionally? How does his loneliness vanish and how does he start participating in life?
Answer: Everybody in the new school develop empathy with the author’s plight. His schoolmates pooled resources to buy a set of everything he needed in the school. This act of help creates a sense of solidarity among them. Now the author is realizing that the new school is full of friends and well-wishers. This gives him motivation to start his life afresh and to forget his past trauma.
Question 6: What is the meaning of “My cat was back and so was I”? Had the author gone anywhere? Why does he say that he is also back?
Answer: After the fire the author loses interest in life. He feels that he has lost everything. After he gets books and other items from his schoolmates he feels a sense of newfound security. The recovery of his cat is like the icing on the cake. He gets back his best mate. Now both he and his cat are back to normalcy.
His statement is indicating that he has begun picking up fragments of life.
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