The Accidental Tourist – Important Questions

Important Question and Answers

Q. Why do Bryson’s teeth and gums look ‘Navy Blue’?

Ans. Bryson was a confused person and always seemed to be lost in a thought. While during his flight he was writing important thoughts, sucking thoughtfully on the end of his pen and started talking to a young lady. Later he found that the pen was leaking making his teeth and gums look ‘Navy Blue’.

Q. Why is the author’s finger bleeding? What is his wife’s reaction?

Ans. The author cuts his finger while pulling a zip, and his finger started bleeding. His wife got angry and said that it was for a living that he was doing that work, so if his finger was cut how would he do that.

Q. How does Bill Bryson end up in a ‘Crash Position’ in the Air Craft?

Ans. Bryson leaned over to tie a shoe lace and just at that moment some one ahead of him reclined his seat and Bryson found himself pinned helplessly in a crash position and had to catch his leg to get himself free.

Q. Why could the writer not get his frequent flyer miles?

Ans. The writer could not get his frequent flyer miles because he could not find and produce his card, forgot to ask for the air miles and wrong spelling of his name on the ticket was also a problem.

Q. What steps did the author’s wife and the author take to not cause any embarrassing situation in the story ‘The Accidental Tourist’?

Ans. The author’s wife asks their children to take the lids off the food for their father. When the author was travelling alone, he didn’t eat, drink or lean over to tie his shoelaces, and never put a pen anywhere near his mouth. He just sat quietly, sometimes on his hands to keep them from flying out unexpectedly and causing mischief.

Q. Why did Bill’s hair go into panic mode’?

Ans. The zip of Bill’s bag had got struck. So he kept pulling on it and suddenly the zip gave way littering all the contents of the bag on the floor. And later on he discovered that he had gashed his finger on the zip and the blood was flowing down. Looking at his own blood, his hair went into panic mode as he was confused and scared.

Q. What measures did the writer adopt when he travelled alone?

Ans. Whenever Bill travelled alone he never ate, drank or lean over to tie shoe laces and never put a pen anywhere near his mouth. He just sat quietly and kept his hands steady so that unexpectedly he doesn’t cause the mischief.

Q. In the story, The Accidental Tourist, the narrator says that he does not do a number of things when he flies alone. What are they and why doesn’t he do them? Which values, do you think, guide him?

Ans. The narrator is prone to accidents while travelling. Hence, he avoids many things when he flies alone. He does not eat, drink, lean over to tie his shoelaces or put a pen near his mouth when travelling alone to avoid mischiefs. Sometimes he sits on his hands to keep them from flying out unexpectedly. He sits quietly. He does not do these things because he does not wish to cause any inconvenience or embarrassment to his co-passengers. His attitude makes him lovable and thus, he is guided by concern respect and a sense of responsibility.

Q. It is mandatory for the flight crew to go out of their way to ensure the comfort of the passengers? Do you agree? Give reasons taking reference from the story The Accidental Tourist.

Ans. It is compulsory for the flight crew to go out of their way to ensure the comfort of the passengers. They have to look if the passengers are properly and comfortably seated, provide them with eatables and drinks give medication, if necessary and see to it that passengers are not disturbing others. On one occasion when Bill was travelling he knocked a soft drink on the lap of a sweet lady sitting beside her. The flight attendant had to come over to clean up the mess and provide with a replacement drink.

Q. How did Bill Bryson offend his lady co-passenger in the aeroplane?

Ans. During one of his visits, the author knocked a soft drink onto the lap of a lady sitting beside him. When the hostess cleaned her up and brought another drink for the author, he again knocked it on her and drenched her completely. The lady looked at the author unbelievingly as to how a person can make the same mistake twice that was too much within a short period of time. The lady felt offended and was very angry with the author and spoke bad words to him.

Q. Bill Bryson says ‘I am, in short, easily confused’. What example has he given to justify this?

Ans. The author, Bill Bryson is a totally confused person who always created a mess wherever he went. It was very difficult for him to do any work in a systematic manner. While searching for a lavatory in the cinema, he went around many times and ended up standing in an alley on the wrong side of a self-locking door. He used to return to the hotel desk atleast two to three times in a day asking about his room number, because of his confusion. Thus, the author says in short that he is easily confused with everything around.

Q. What is the significance of the title The Accidental Tourist?

Ans. World has become a small place because travelling has become easy, but then not everybody finds it easy to travel. The story is about a frequent traveller who makes a mess every time he travels. He is always accidentally making notes while travelling. He often forgets his hotel room number, breaks the zip while opening his bag and thus spilling all his things at the airport, spoils clothes of fellow passengers by spilling drinks on her and that too not just once but twice and also never got frequent flyer miles because he could never find his card on time. Thus, the title ‘The Accidental Tourist’ is significant.

Q. Why does the author call himself ‘The Accidental Tourist’?

Ans. There can be two points of view to understand why the author called himself ‘The Accidental Tourist’. One point of view interprets the word more metaphorically. The word ‘accident’ is an undesirable and embarrassing incident which one doesn’t expect to happen. From this point of view, the author is an accidental tourist because there was some accident that happened invariably whenever he flew. This embarrassed him to no end. So, he is a tourist who is always prone to accidents. The other point of view interprets the word ‘accident’ as something which none expected to happen but it did. The author, going by the accidents he causes to himself, is not born to be a tourist but has become one. Both the points of view are complementary.

Q. What happened when the author and his family reached the Logan Airport in Boston?

Ans. When the author and his family reached the Logan Airport in Boston, he suddenly remembered to take out the flyer pass from his bag. The zip on his bag got jammed. The zip tore apart from the bag when the author yanked at it the hardest. The side of the bag flew open and everything within — newspaper cuttings and other loose papers, a 14-ounce tin of pipe tobacco, magazines, passport, English money, film — was spilled over an area almost equal to a tennis court. The author was dumbstruck at the mess he had created around him. What disgusted him the most was that his lidless tin of tobacco went rolling down the concourse disgorging the entire content. The thought of buying tobacco in England horrified him. From Tobacco, his mind went to his finger which he had gashed on the zip and was shedding blood profusely. He was confused and his wife was looking at him with simple wonder.

Q. Is humour the only quality or emotion that the story ‘The Accidental Tourist’ expresses or endorse. Analyse.

Ans. ‘The Accidental Tourist’ is certainly a humorous story. But the humour is based on the author’s ridiculing of himself. One can ridicule one’s eccentric behaviour or oddities only when one can laugh at itself. The author excelled at this ability. The ability to laugh at oneself is a rare quality. It is suggestive of the magnanimity of character. The author could laugh at himself because he accepted fallibility of human nature. He thought of himself as any other common man. The other human quality that the story highlights is modesty. Though an author, Bill Bryson was modest and never presented himself as different from the common man. He is sad at losing the tobacco and frets at buying it in London at an exorbitant price. This underlines the fact that the issues which concern the common man also concern him.

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