The Browning Version – Important Questions

Important Question and Answers

Q. What do you learn about Taplow from the initial conversation between him and Mr. Frank?

Ans. Taplow is a boy of sixteen. He is still in the lower fifth. He can’t specialize until the next term if he gets his form/division all right. Since, his master, Mr. Crocker Harris has not told him the result, he will have to wait till the next day to learn his fate.

Q. What is ‘remove’? How do students get it?

Ans. Remove is the certificate of passing a form in the school. As a rule, the form results should only be announced by the headmaster on the last day of school. However, it seems that most teachers leak it to their students before that date.

Q. Why did Taplow have to stay back at school?

Ans. Taplow had missed a day at school the previous week. So, Mr. Crocker Harris had called him for extra work.

Q. Which course of study did Taplow prefer and why?

Ans. Taplow preferred science to literature. He found it a good deal which was more exciting than his play which he considered quite unpleasant.

Q. What did Crocker Harris say when Taplow asked him about his ‘remove’?

Ans. Crocker Harris told Taplow that he had got what he deserved. However, he refused to tell him what exactly his remove was.

Q. “Still there is one comfort.” What does Frank mean by these words?

Ans. Frank means to say that although being called for extra work on the last day of school seems bad luck, Taplow can take comfort with the thought that this action will imply the certainty of Taplow’s getting his remove.

Q. Did Taplow like being called for extra work?

Ans. No, Taplow wanted to play golf instead of coming to Mr. Crocker Harris for extra work. But, he did not want to disobey or annoy Mr. Harris so, he was ready for doing extra work.

Q. How, according to, Taplow is Mr. Crocker Harris unlike other masters?

Ans. Other masters would certainly given a chap, a form after taking his extra work, but Mr. Crocker Harris is unlike them. When Taplow asked him about his form, he told the boy that he had given him exactly what he deserved: no less and certainly no more. Taplow is afraid that he might have marked him down rather than up for taking extra work.

Q. What suggestions of Frank shocked Taplow? Why?

Ans. Frank had suggested that Taplow could cut Crocker Harris because the latter was already ten minutes late. This suggestions shocked Taplow because he could not even think of doing such a thing.

Q. How does Frank react when Taplow refuses to cut Crocker Harris?

Ans. On the occasion Frank is unable to hide his real feelings. He admits that he feels envious of Crocker Harris for keeping his students so scared of him. Surprisingly, he asks Taplow if Crocker Harris beats his students.

Q. What is funny about Taplow’s attitude towards Crocker Harris?

Ans. The funny aspect of Taplow’s attitude toward Crocker Harris is the fact that he likes Mr. Harris inspite of having resentment against him on many counts. He himself admits so saying that he can’t help it.

Q. What happened when Mr. Crocker Harris made one of his classical jokes?

Ans. When Crocker Harris made one of his classical jokes, none of the students understood it and so nobody laughed. But, Taplow knew that Mr. Crocker Harris had meant it as funny so out of common politeness, he laughed at the joke. The teacher was happy that Taplow had understood the joke while others didn’t. So, he told him to explain the joke to the class. It was a difficult task for Taplow because he himself had not understood it.

Q. What leads Mr. Frank to comment, I’m sure you’re exaggerating?

Ans. Taplow says that Mr. Crocker Harris seems to hate people to like him. Yet, inspite of everything, Taplow does rather like him. He can’t help it. He thinks that sometimes Mr. Crocker Harris notice it and that seems to shrivel him up even more. This observation of Taplow seems farfetched. So, Mr. Frank remarks that he is exaggerating.

Q. How does Taplow refuse the charge that he is exaggerating?

Ans. Taplow says that the other day Mr. Crocker Harris made one of his classical jokes in the class. Nobody understood it, so no one laughed. At last Taplow laughed because he knew the master had meant it as funny. He did so out of ordinary common politeness. Secondly, he felt a bit sorry for him for having made poor joke. Mr. Crocker Harris did not praise Taplow for it.

Q. Do you think, Frank enjoyed or disliked Taplow’s imitation of Crocker Harris?

Ans. Although Frank snubbed Taplow for his imitation of Crocker Harris, he seems to have liked it because, he asked Taplow to imitate him once again.

Q. How do Frank and Taplow react on the arrival on Millie Crocker?

Ans. Their reactions differ. Frank feels infinitely relieved at seeing her. May be, he was waiting for her. Taplow is, on the other hand, frightened. He wonders if Millie has heard what he spoke about her husband. He is afraid that if the matter is reported to Crocker Harris, he might not get his remove.

Q. Where did Millie send Taplow?What was her purpose?

Ans. Millie sent Taplow to a chemist to bring medicine according to prescription. Thus, he could do jobs for him and she promised that she would take the blame if he came before Taplow returned.

Q. “You know what he’s like, sir” says Taplow. What leads him to say so?What light does this throw on the man talked about?

Ans. Taplow does not know if he has got his form?It is because his master, Mr. Crocker Harris does not tell them the results like the other masters. He is a bit different when Frank says about the rule that form results should be announced by the headmaster on the last day of the term. Taplow says that none else except Mr. Crocker Harris pays attention to it. This shows that the man is strict for rules.

Q. What kind of a person was Crocker Harris?

Ans. Mr. Crocker Harris was a strict man who was more feared than respected. He was reserved and not much social. He was different from other teachers. He would not do things such as leaking papers to please the students. He did not like flattery.

Q. Comment on the attitude shown by Taplow towards Crocker Harris.

Ans. Crocker Harris, according to Taplow, is a strict disciplinarian. He follows all the rules and regulations which others do not bother to follow. Even on the last day of the school he calls Taplow for extra work. Besides, he does not entertain any flattery from the students. In spite of this, Taplow respects him for his values.

Q. What do you learn about the system of education in old, British schools from the play, “The Browning Version”?

Ans. In old British schools stress was laid on the study of classical language–Latin and Greek. Students of the lower fifth were made to learn a classic play like the ‘Agamemnon’. Since the stress was on the acquisition of language, the students found it uninteresting and very unpleasant. They could specialize only after completing fifth form students were ‘kept in’ or called for ‘extra work. ’ They were mortally afraid of a teacher like Mr. Crocker Harris who would abide by rules and show no human feelings. At the same time, the school had teachers who were sadist and others who would break the rules and tell results to the students. Students like Taplow were afraid of headmasters like Mr. Crocker Harris, still they liked him.

Q. What impression do you get of Frank from the play?

Ans. Frank is a teacher at a good school. The other teacher in the play is Crocker Harris who actually never comes on the stage. We learn about Mr. Harris only from the conversation that goes on between Frank and Taplow. However, when compared to Harris, Frank appears to be a petty person. Frank suffers from envy against Crocker Harris. He provokes Taplow to comment on Harris and enjoys the latter’s imitation of him. However, when he finds Taplow is in awe of Mr. Harris and cannot think of displeasing him, he can’t hide his feelings and admits that he feels envy of him. He has no love for science which he teaches. This shows his dishonesty towards his profession. In short, the character of Frank is a counterfoil of the character of Crocker Harris which shines because of Frank.

Q. Crocker Harris does not appear on the scene yet we know much of him. Explain.

Ans. Crocker Harris is the main character of the play ‘Browning Version’, He does not make a physical entry throughout the play. The author has presented him indirectly and so perfectly that we get a crystal clear picture of Crocker Harris. There is a young teacher, Frank and his students, Taplow who get into a discussion. Taplow gives details of Crocker Harris and tells him that his teacher is totally different from the other teachers. To the surprise of Frank, Taplow says that Crocker Harris is a man of principles and sticks to rules without getting emotional, angry and prejudiced. He further tells him that Crocker Harris is not a sadist and does not punish students physically, yet students are afraid of him. So, we feel the presence of Crocker Harris, a middle aged teacher who is cool and calm: He is a morally high placed person.

Q. What impression do you form of Mr. Crocker Harris on the basis of reading the play “The Browning Version”?

Ans. Crocker Harris is a teacher who teaches Greek to the lower fifth form a good school. He is the incharge of the form and as such he alone knows about the result of the students of his form which are to be officially announced the next day. From Taplow’s comments about Crocker Harris, we learn that he is a teacher who takes his teaching very seriously. We learn that even on the day when he is leaving the school for good, he has called a student for extra work because the said student has missed a day last week. He is the one who doesn’t like to be flattered. He will judge a student only by his merit and not because of any prejudice. It is a tribute to his character that although students like Taplow do not like his severity yet, they love and respect him from the core of their hearts.

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