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Important Questions for CBSE Class 11 English Hornbill Chapter 1 - The Portrait of a Lady

Last updated date: 25th May 2024
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CBSE Class 11 English Hornbill Chapter- 1 Important Questions - The Portrait of a Lady

Important Questions for CBSE Class 11 English Hornbill Chapter 1 - The Portrait of a Lady are provided here on Vedantu. The Important Questions For Class 11 English Hornbill Chapter 1 PDF help students prepare for their examinations in an orderly manner. These Class 11 English Chapter 1 Important Questions are written in a simple and easy-to-comprehend way, by the subject-matter experts at Vedantu to enable students to get a fair idea of the story. The Portrait of a Lady Class 11 Important Questions PDF provides a conceptual understanding of the chapter and a rough idea of the types of questions that they can expect in the exams. Class 11 English Hornbill Chapter 1 Important Questions can be downloaded from Vedantu for free.

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Study Important Questions for Class 11 English Hornbill Chapter 1- The Portrait of a Lady

A. Very Short Answer Questions                                                                                1 Mark

1. Write the meaning of the given words.

i. Revolting

Ans: Rebelling

ii. Serenity

Ans: Calmness

iii. Seclusion

Ans: Aloofness

iv. Veritable

Ans: Genuine

2. The story “The Portrait of a Lady” is about which lady?

Ans: In the story “The Portrait of a Lady”, Khushwant Singh describes the pen picture of his grandmother who raised him in his early childhood.

3. How does the grandfather look in the portrait?

Ans: In the portrait that hung above the mantelpiece in the drawing, the grandfather wore a big turban and loose-fitting clothes. His long, white beard covered the best part of his chest and made him look at least a hundred years old.

4. What two activities does the grandmother do every day?

Ans: When Khushwant Singh went to the university and was given a room of his own, Grandmother accepted her seclusion with resignation. She rarely left her spinning wheel. She realized for a while in the afternoon while feeding sparrows bread crumbs.

5.   “In the evening a change came over her.” What change came over the grandmother?

Ans: Grandmother was overjoyed when Khushwant Singh returned. In the evening she did not sing her prayers instead she gathered the neighbourhood women and started to sing songs of the homecoming of warriors along with playing a dilapidated drum.

B. Short Answer Questions                                                                                         2 Marks

1. Give a pen picture of the narrator’s grandfather as he appeared in the portrait?

Ans: Grandfather in the portrait had the appearance of a man who would neither have a wife nor children. His beard, turban and loose-fitted clothes made him look like a person who could only have lots and lots of grandchildren.

2. How did the grandmother utilise her time in the city home?

Ans: After the author got a room of his own in the city home his grandmother accepted her detachment calmly. She recited prayers and worked on her spinning wheel the entire day. In the afternoon, she would take a half-hour break to rest and feed the birds bread crumbs in the veranda. 

3. How does grandmother feel about English education and music lessons at school?

Ans: Grandmother did not approve of the education Khushwant received in school. She did not believe in the things taught and was baffled to know that there was no teaching about God or scriptures. She was very disturbed to know about the music lessons because her music had filthy associations. It was meant for harlots and beggars, not decent people.

4. How were the author and grandmother connected and how did it break?

Ans: The author was raised by his grandmother in early childhood. They were constantly together. She brushed, bathed, dressed, and accompanied him to school. It chanced when they shifted to the city where he went to the school with a motor bus and studied subjects grandmother could not comprehend. Their relationship saw a steeper turn when he was given a room of his own in the university and the common link of their friendship broke.

5. Why does the author say that at the age of her grandmother, one could never tell? What was one could never tell?

Ans: The author had to go foreign for his higher studies. Grandmother was remarkably old and at her age, one could never tell when she would breathe her last. The fact that he would be gone for five years made him fear losing his grandmother more.

C. Short Answer Questions                                                                                     3 Marks

1. What was the narrator unable to believe about his grandparents?

Ans: The narrator was unable to believe that his grandfather ever had a spouse and children. He had the look of a man who always had lots of grandchildren. On the other hand, it was difficult for him to believe that grandmother was ever young and pretty and that she too had a husband or she played as a child. He could only associate her image with the old and wrinkled grandmother he has seen her as since forever. 


2. Why it seemed to the author that his grandmother looked like a winter landscape in the mountains?

Ans: Grandmother had a very serene and calm vibe, similar to that of mountains. Her age gave her silver hair and she also wore spotless white clothes which made her look like a mountain covered with snow. She roamed around in the house with one hand on her waist and the other telling her rosary while whispering inaudible prayers. She was an expanse of pure white beauty.

3. Why was the grandmother unhappy in the city?

Ans: Grandmother grew up and spent a major fraction of her life in the rural. It was difficult for her to leave everything behind and adjust to a place she was least familiar with. At home, since the author was busy with his studies, she occupied herself with her spinning wheel, prayers and feeding the birds in the evening. The lack of company with the author also distressed her but she had no choice. She accepted her seclusion and buried herself in work and prayers.

4. “...thousands of sparrows sat scattered on the floor. There was no chirruping.” Why does the author say so?

Ans: The author’s grandmother was very fond of feeding the sparrows. It used to be the happiest half-hour for her in the entire day. Some birds would come and perch on her legs while others on her shoulder and head. When grandmother passed away the sparrows came, as customary but seeing her dead they neither chirped nor ate the bread crumbs and left eventually when grandmother’s body was lifted off the ground.

5. “And she the big girl — some twelve years or so.” Who is the big girl in this line? Why is the poetess talking about her?

Ans: Eldest of the three cousins, the author’s mother went paddling with her cousins when she was twelve years or so. The snapshot had memories of the sea holiday which the daughter randomly came across. She is talking about her because she was remembering the laughter and the sweet memory of her mother who is dead nearly as many years as the girl in the photograph had lived.

D. Long Answer Questions-                                                                                            5 Marks

1. Give a sketch of the author’s grandmother according to the chapter “The Portrait of a Lady”.

Ans: Khushwant Singh’s grandmother, like every other grandmother, was old, wrinkled and had white silver locks. She had a serene appearance and looked like snow-covered mountains. She always murmured inaudible prayers and while telling her beads of the rosary. She was adaptable as when they shifted to the city, a place and environment that was foreign to her she found peace in spinning, praying, and feeding the sparrows that visited her. She showed keen interest during the early education of the author and never dragged him down for doing things she did not approve of. She gradually felt more secluded when the author grew up but she accepted it with resignation.


2. How the grandmother was interested in the education of the author.

Ans: Grandmother had no formal education but she was serious about the education of her grandson. She helped him with his lessons in the village. She would wash and plaster wooden slate. She also accompanied him to the school. In the city, she could not do either of them as the author went to an English medium school and on a motor bus. Even after this gap, she asked the author regularly about his school lessons, even though she did not approve of them. She believed that the music is for beggars and harlots and they should be given religious knowledge instead of sciences. Her concept of the right education was different but still, she accepted and encouraged him for further studies. She never dragged him down morally or questioned him for his decisions.

3. What type of bond did the grandmother share with dogs and sparrows?

Ans: Grandmother was accustomed to living in the village. She raised the author during his early childhood in the village when his parents were trying to figure out their lives in the city. She was a spiritual person and close to nature. She loved the rustic living in the village and made sure to carry stale chapatis for the dogs and fed them when she and the author returned from the temple. In the city she lost touch with the life she was fond of but her love for nature still flourished. She made sure to feed bread crumbs to the sparrows every day. She never shooed them away when they perched on her shoulder and head. When she passed away, they mourned her death and sat in the veranda where the body lay, without chirping or feeding on the crumbs that were given to them.

4. “Some twenty-thirty -years later She’d laugh at the snapshot. “See Betty And Dolly,” she’d say, - and look how they Dressed us for the beach.” The sea holiday

Was her past, mine is her laughter. Both wry with the laboured ease of loss.”

Give line by line explanation of the stanza from the poem “A Photograph.”

Ans: The photograph of the poet's mother and her cousins capture a fond memory, some twenty-thirty years old. On being shown the photograph, the mother laughed at the way she, Betty, and Dolly dress for the sea holiday. The sea holiday and the photograph were a blissful memory for the mother while her laughter on seeing the photograph is a warm memory for the daughter who has lost her mother for nearly as many years as the girl in the photograph had lived.


5. Write the summary of the poem “A Photograph.”

Ans: The poem ‘A Photograph’ talks about the transient nature of mortals being compared with the eternal state of nature which appears to change less with time. The poet starts by describing a snapshot, on a piece of cardboard, of her mother and cousins. Her mother was the eldest one out of the three in the photograph. When asked upon the mother laughed remembering her cousins, Betty and Dolly making fun of the way they dressed for the beach holiday. The poet also beautifully adds how the immortal sea washes away the imprints of the mortals who walk on the sand, leaving no trace of their visit there. 

As of the present, the poet describes the mother's laughter on seeing the picture as a memory as she is dead. It brought her immense sorrow and the line “Its silence silences” reflects her remorseful state of mind.

Benefits of Important Questions for CBSE Class 11 English Hornbill Chapter 1 - The Portrait of a Lady 

  • Students can study these important questions to deepen their understanding of the chapter. 

  • Important questions and answers also represent the important points of the chapter. 

  • These questions will help the students to know which type of questions are expected in the examination and thus they can prepare accordingly. 

  • They can revise the chapter for their exam with the help of these important questions and answers. 

  • These important questions and answers will make students know how the questions will be structured in the examination paper. 

CBSE Class 11 English Hornbill Chapter 1 - The Portrait of a Lady - Summary and Explanation

Portrait of a Lady is a story based on Khushwant Singh's elderly grandmother's life. Khushwant Singh was one of the most famous authors, a well-known columnist, and a journalist in India.  a beautiful yet earthly image of Singh's grandmother is portrayed in this story. The story also shows how the relationship between Singh and his grandmother changed over the years, while he grew up. His grandmother was always seen either chanting her prayers, counting the rosary beads, or feeding animals and sparrows, even in the courtyard of their city house. It was quite the sort of life led by India's majority upper-caste Sikh or Hindu women. They spent their last days focusing entirely on their heavenly home and, whenever possible, looking after their grandchildren.

Singh describes the relationship between him and his grandmother in the story. As always, he speaks of her as being old and wrinkled; in no other way does he think of her. 

Tips to Study Class 11 English Hornbill 

The following are some tips that will help students to study English Hornbill effectively.

  • Students are required to understand the chapters thoroughly. 

  • They are required to practice the questions and answers of each chapter well. 

  • They can refer to the NCERT Solutions, important questions, and answers, previous years’ question papers, and other reliable resources to prepare the chapters of Class 11 Hornbill. 

Important Questions for CBSE Class 11 English Hornbill Chapter 1 The Portrait of a Lady PDF is available on Vedantu mobile app and official website. Students can refer to these important questions to prepare the chapter for their exams. They can also find the important questions of all other chapters of Class 11 English Hornbill for their exam preparation.

FAQs on Important Questions for CBSE Class 11 English Hornbill Chapter 1 - The Portrait of a Lady

1. What are the main themes of ‘The Portrait of a Lady?

The main themes of ‘The Portrait of a Lady’ are innocence, friendship, love, connection, kindness, selflessness, respect, and acceptance.

2. What type of novel is ‘The Portrait of a Lady?

The Portrait of a Lady is a fictional novel. 

3. What was the significance of the title of the poem ‘The Portrait of a Lady?

In the poem ‘The Portrait of a Lady’, Kushwant Singh describes the portrait of his grandmother, who with age might not be the most beautiful lady, but from the vision of the poet, his grandmother was always beautiful, and thus the title ‘The Portrait of a Lady. 

4. Can I prepare the chapter with these Important Questions for CBSE Class 11 English Hornbill Chapter 1 - The Portrait of a Lady before the exam?

Yes, one can of course study the Important Questions for CBSE Class 11 English Hornbill Chapter 1 - The Portrait of a Lady to prepare the chapter before the exam. This will help them to revise the important points of the chapter clearly. 

5. From where can I download the Important Questions for CBSE Class 11 English Hornbill Chapter 1 The Portrait of a Lady?

You can download the Important Questions of The Portrait Of A Lady PDF from Vedantu. There is no cost required to be paid for the download. All you need is a good internet connection and a digital device to access the questions.