Q. Where was it most likely that the two girls would find work after school?
Ans. Sophie and Jansie would soon pass out of their school. Only a few months were left. Jansie knew very well that both of them were earmarked for biscuit factory. Sophie had wild dreams about her career. Jansie was a realist. She knew that they did not pay well for shop work and Sophie’s father would not allow her to work there.
Q. What were the options that Sophie was dreaming of? Why does Jansie discourage her from having such dreams?
Ans. Sophie wanted to open a boutique. It would be the most amazing shop that city had ever seen. Alternatively, she would become an actress and have the boutique as a side business. She also thought of being a fashion designer. Jansie had her feet firmly planted to the ground. She wanted Sophie to be sensible and drop all her utopian plans. All of them required much money and exprience.
Q. Why did Sophie wriggle when Geoff told her father that she had met Danny Casey?
Ans. Sophie knew her father well. He would be angry if he knew of her meeting with the young Irish footballer, Danny Casey. She didn’t tell him. When Geoff told his father about it, he became angry. He turned his head to look at her with disdain. Sophie wriggled where she was sitting at the table.
Q. Does Geoff believe what Sophie says about her meeting with Danny Casey?
Ans. No, Geoff doesn’t believe what Sophie says about her meeting with Danny Casey. First, he looks round in disbelief and says, “It can’t be true”. Again he says, “I don’t believe it.” Sophie then narrates how Danny Casey came and stood beside her. Geoff asks her, “What does he look like?” So, he doesn’t seem to be convinced that Sophie met Danny Casey.
Q. Does her father believe her story?
Ans. No, Sophie’s father does not believe her story. When Geoff tells him that Sophie met Danny Casey, his father looked at Sophie with disdain. He ignores her totally. He thinks that it is yet another ‘wild story’. He begins to talk about Tom Finny, another great football player.
Q. How does Sophie include her brother Geoff in her fantasy of her future?
Ans. Geoff was always the first to share her secrets. So she told him about meeting Danny Casey. She also told him about her plan to meet him next week. She suspected areas of his life about which she knew nothing. She longed to know them. She wished that someday he might take her with him. She saw herself riding there behind Geoff.
Q. Which country did Danny Casey play for?
Ans. Danny Casey played for Ireland.
Q. Why didn’t Sophie want Jansie to know about her story with Danny?
Ans. Jansie was ‘nosey’. She took interest in knowing things about others. She would spread the news in the whole neighbourhood. So Sophie didn’t want Jansie to know about her story with Danny. It may also be mutual rivalry and oneup manship on her part. Sophie was startled to learn that Geoff had told Jansie about her story with Danny.
Q. Did Sophie really meet Danny Casey?
Ans. No, Sophie did not really meet Danny Casey. She was very fascinated by the young Irish footballer. She imagined his coming. She sat in the park, waiting for Casey and knowing that he would not come. She felt sad. Sadness was a hard burden to carry. She was always lost in a dreamy world where she imagined Casey meeting her.
Q. Which was the only occasion when she got to see Danny Casey in person?
Ans. The only occasion when Sophie got to see Danny Casey in person was when the family went to watch United on Saturday. Sophie, her father and little Derek went down near the goal. Geoff went with his mates higher up. United won two-nil. Her idol Casey drove in the second goal. She saw the Irish genius going round two big defenders on the edge of penalty area. He beat the hesitant goal keeper from a dozen yards. Sophie glowed with pride.
Q. Sophie and Jansie were classmates and friends. What were the differences between them that show up in the story?
Ans. Sophie and Jansie are poles apart in tastes and temperament. Sophie has fantastic dreams and floats in a fairy land. She is an incurable escapist who won’t come out of her dreams. Jansie is down to earth—a realist. Sophie wants to do something sophisticated. Jansie knows that these things require a lot of money which their families do not possess. Jansie also knows that they were earmaked for the biscuit factory. She even advises Sophie to be sensible and practical. Sophie considers Jansie ‘nosey’ and does not want to confide in her.
Q. How would you describe the character and temperament of Sophie’s father?
Ans. Sophie’s father has a plumpy face looking grimy and sweaty. He doesn’t seem to be a soft or sophisticated man. Sophie fears his agressive manliness. He is a realist and does not believe in his daughter’s wild stories. He loves watching football. He hopes young Casey will be as good as Tom Finney. He wishes that the young footballer keeps away from all distractions. He shouts instructions to Casey at the playground. When the Irish genius beats the hesitant goal keeper, Sophie’s father screams with joy and pride. He goes to a pub to celebrate the victory.
Q. Why did Sophie like her brother Geoff more than any other person? From her perspective, what did he symbolize?
Ans. Geoff is the only person who listens to Sophie’s fantasies and long cherished dreams. Her father is too bossy and aggressive. He hates Sophie’s fantastic stories. Even little Derek makes fun of her growing rich. Her classmate Jansie is ‘nosey’ and can’t be trusted with a secret. Only Geoff can be trusted to keep all the secrets of Sophie to himself. From her perspective, Geoff symbolises an elder brother who has grown up and visited places unknown to her. She wished that some day her brother might take her to those places. He is sympathetic and cautions her by telling her that Casey might have strings of girls. He warns her that he would never show up again. He speaks softly so as not to break the heart of the young dreamer.
Q. What socio-economic background did Sophie belong to? What are the indicators of her family’s financial status?
Ans. Sophie belongs to a lower middle class family. She is an escapist and has wild dreams. She dreams of things she can’t have in real life. Jansie tells her that boutique needs a lot of money. Sophie knows that the family deesn’t have money. She says, “If ever I came into money I’ll buy a boutique.” Even little Derek understands her unrealistic nature. Geoff’s occupation reflects their socio-economic background. He is an apprentice mechanic. He travels to his work each day to the far side of the city. His jacket is shapeless. Her father lacks sophistication. He is a heavy breathing man. He sits in his vest at the table. He grunts and tosses one of little Derek’s shoes from his chair on to the sofa. There is stove in the same room where dirty washing is piled in a corner. Sophie’s father goes to pub on his bicycle. All these indicators confirm their lower middle class family background.
Q. Sophie’s dreams and disappointments are all in her mind.
Ans. Sophie is a young school-girl belonging to a lower middleclass family. She wants to rise from the situation in which she finds herself. She is an incurable dreamer and escapist. She dreams of opening a boutique. Her classmate Jansie, who had her feet firmly planted on the ground, tells Sophie that opening a boutique requires a lot of money and experience and she has neither of them. Sophie, who floats in a dreamy world of her own, dreams of becoming an actress or a fashion designer. She has dreams of a hero also. She develops fascination for Danny Casey, the wonder-boy of football. She sees him in action only once when he scores the second goal for United. She imagines him coming to her and tells her brother about the meeting. She goes on waiting for him on the next date but he does not turn up. She becomes sad and carries the burden of sadness all the times. Thus her dreams and disappointments are the creations of her mind.
Q. It is natural for teenagers to have unrealistic dreams. What would you say are the benefits and disadvantages of such fantasising?
Ans. Teenagers have boundless enthusiasm and ambitions. They have sweet dreams and go on fantasizing. It is natural for them to do so. Every youth is a dreamer. Every great scientist or writer has a dream. Without some thing to aspire for one can’t strive to achieve that goal. Dreams lead to the golden gate of success. Some teenagers float in the world of fantasy. They have unreal dreams. It is just like a child asking for the moon. Their feet are in the mud and they dream of the stars in the sky. Such fantasising results in disappointment and disillusionment. A dreamer who fails to realise his dream is labelled a failure. Those who realise their dreams become heroes and achievers in their spheres. I think it is better to have dreams even if we fail to realise them. Who would have dreams if the teenagers don’t—will these grey headed, grey bearded persons have dreams? Let the teenagers indulge in their natural activity and dream of a golden future. They will strive to translate them into reality.
Q. Notice the following expressions. The highlighted words are not used in a literal sense. Explain what they mean.
- Words had to be prized out of him like stones out of a ground.
- Sophie felt a tightening in her throat.
- If he keeps his head on his shoulders.
- On Saturday they made their weekly pilgrimage to the United.
- She saw… him ghost past the lumbering defenders.
- He was so silent that words had to be extracted from him with difficulty or force.
- Sophie felt a stiffness in her throat and felt upset.
- If he is sensible or intelligent.
- They went to see the football match every week as if they were visiting a holy place.
- Making a silent move or running to dodge/ deceive.
Q. Notice these words from the story:
- “chuffed”, meaning delighted or very pleased
- “nosey”, meaning inquisitive
- “gawky”, meaning awkward, ungainly.
These are words that are used in an informal way in colloquial speech. Make a list of ten other words of this kind.
- “boutique”, meaning a shop selling fashionable clothes or expensive gifts.
- “dad”, meaning father.
- “scooping”, meaning picking up something with a spoon.
- “prized out”, meaning extract some information with difficulty or force.
- “muttered”, meaning murmured.
- “pub”, meaning a place where one can drink.
- “jeered”, meaning taunted.
- “damn”, meaning ‘go to hell!’
- “ghost past”, meaning moved unseen and unheard.
- “huh”, meaning an expression showing disagreement.