NCERT Solutions for Class 10 English Literature Reader Unit 4

A Shady Plot Class 10

Unit 4 A Shady Plot Exercise Answers & Summary

Summary of "A Shady Plot"

A Shady Plot is a short ghost story by Elsie Brown. The story deals with the appearance of supernatural and spiritual things.

The writer, John Hallock was urged by Jerkins to write a new ghost story for his magazine. Usually John was full of ideas but that day he could not make a start. He started talking to himself. Then, suddenly he heard the ghost Helen's voice. He was surprised. She spoke on behalf of all the people who had turned to ghosts and warned the writer to stop from calling them often. She said they were all going to call for a strike. This strike was to not to appear or provide ideas to people for writing ghost stories. Thus, Helen warned the author not to involve himself in Ouija Board's activity or any other which would mean calling the spirits.

At noon, while he was still trying to work on a story, his wife Lavinia brought a Ouija Board home and announced her party with the women from her Book Club. The writer tried to convince Lavinia, his wife, to drop the idea. However, his wife made him a partner of Laura Hinkle to work on one of the Ouija boards.

When the spirit visited, Laura asked it to tell something, the pointer started moving towards the letters to point out the word 'TRAITOR '. Bewildered, the writer had nothing to say so his partner asked the spirit to explain itself more fully. In response, the spirit spelled 'ASK HIM '. This was when the wrter realized that it is actually Helen who was trying to interact with them. They all asked Hallock if he knew anyone by name 'Helen' but he refused. After sometime the party came to an end. Lavinia had all the reasons to suspect that John was a traitor and he had an affair with a woman called Helen. She decided to get separated, packed her baggage and entered to bid him bye.

Meanwhile, Helen blamed John for having played Ouija with the ladies instead of stopping them from playing it. John could not think of letting his wife see a ghost and faint or go mad. He asked Lavinia to leave if she couldn't help.

After some time, there was a knock and Lavinia entered again. Suddenly, she saw the spirit who informed her that she was Helen of New York and now she was going. Hearing the words of Helen, Lavinia doubt on her husband is cleared. Lavinia decided to stay back. The story ends well with the writer throwing the Ouija board in fire and Helen being glad. The writer was very happy because he had got a plot for a ghost story.
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Unit-4 : Solutions of Questions on Page Number : 33

Q1 :  

Given below is a list of words related to ghosts and ghost stories with their jumbled up meanings against them. Match the words/expressions with their correct meanings:

Apparition

a feeling of anticipation of or anxiety over a future event

Poltergeist

a reanimated corpse that is believed to rise from the grave at night to suck the blood of sleeping people

Clairvoyance

a conjurer who expels evil spirits by conjuration

Crystal Ball

a spelling board device intended to communicate with and through the spirit world, obtaining answers to questions

Eerie

beyond the range of normal experience or scientific explanation

Medium

any of a set of 22 playing cards bearing allegorical representations, used for fortune telling

Transmigration

a supernatural appearance of a person or thing, a ghost, spectre or phantom

Psychic

so mysterious, strange, or unexpected as to send a chill up the spine

Ouija Board

the supposed power to see objects or events that cannot be perceived by the senses

Exorcist

a person through whom the spirits of the dead are alleged to

be able to contact the living

Premonition

a globe of quartz crystal in which images, believed to portend the future, are supposedly visible to fortune tellers

Paranormal

to pass into another body after death: going from one state of existence or place to another

Tarot Card

capable of extraordinary mental processes, such as extrasensory perception and mental telepathy

Vampire

German word, meaning "noisy ghost"-a troublesome spirit

that announces its presence with unexplainable sounds and

the creation of disorder


Answer :

Match the words/expressions with their correct meanings:

Apparition

a supernatural appearance of a person or thing, a ghost, a spectre or phantom

Poltergeist

German word, meaning “noisy ghost“ - a troublesome spirit that announces it's presences with unexplainable sounds and the creation of disorder

Clairvoyance

the supposed power to see objects or events that cannot be perceived by the senses

Crystal Ball

a globe of quartz crystal in which images, believed to portend the future, are supposedly visible to fortune tellers

Eerie

so mysterious, strange, or unexpected as to chill up the spine

Medium

a person through whom the spirits of the dead are alleged to be able to contact the living

Transmigration

to pass into another body after death: going from one state of existence or place to another.

Psychic

capable of extraordinary mental processes, such as extrasensory perception and mental telepathy

Ouija Board

a spelling board device intended to communicate with and through the spirit world, obtaining answers to questions.

Exorcist

a conjurer who expels evil spirits by conjuration

Premonition

a feeling of anticipation of or anxiety over a future event

Paranormal

beyond the range of normal experience or scientific explanation

Tarot Card

any of a set of 22 playing cards bearing allegorical representations, used for fortune telling

Vampire

a reanimated corpse that is believed to rise from the grave at night to suck the blood of sleeping people

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Q2 :  

The title of the story is A Shady Plot. The dictionary defines the words as:

Shady adjective

(a) Full of shade; shaded.

(b) Casting shade: a shady grove.

(c) Quiet, dark, or concealed; hidden.

(d) Of dubious character or of questionable honesty.

Plot noun

(a)

(i) a small piece of ground, generally used for a specific purpose: a garden plot.

(ii) a measured area of land

(b) a ground plan, as for a building; a diagram

(c) storyline- the plan, scheme, or main story of a literary or dramatic work, as a play, novel, or short story

(d) a secret plan to accomplish a hostile or illegal purpose; a scheme.


Answer :

Note: This question is to be answered on the basis of your own understanding, experience and thoughts. It is strongly recommended that you prepare the solution on your own. However, one sample solution has been provided for your reference.

The story probably will be surrounding something that is concealed and hidden, possibly about a place that is dubious, like a thick forest. It might be about a vague or unclear exploration.

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Q3 :  

The narrator earns his living by ………………………….

(a) writing ghost stories

(b) working as a reader for a magazine

(c) working as a stenographer

(d) working as an accountant in a lumber company


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Q4 :  

The writer was overconfident about his ability to write ghost stories because ……

(a) whenever magazines wanted a ghost story, they got in touch with him

(b) he was always able to write a ghost story whenever he had to write one

(c) the readers appreciated his ghost stories

(d) he knew the ghost lady would help him write a good ghost story


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Q5 :  

The sight of the ghost materialising in his room filled the narrator with ………

(a) fear

(b) excitement

(c) joy

(d) anticipation


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Q6 :  

The ghost wanted John to …………………………………………..

(a) stop his wife from using the Ouija board

(b) stop using the Ouija board himself

(c) stop his guests from using the Ouija board

(d) stop people from using the Ouija board


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Q7 :  

John wants the ghost to disappear before his wife enters the room and waves his arms at the ghost with something of the motion of a beginner when learning to swim. His movement shows his ………………………

(a) fear

(b) amusement

(c) desperation

(d) anxiety


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Q8 :  

When the narrator says his wife is never so pretty as when she's doing something she knows he disapproves of, his tone is …………………….

(a) amused

(b) ironic

(c) angry

(d) irritated


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Q9 :  

The ghost says "It's all your fault.'It' here refers to ………………………

(a) the narrator's wife's anger

(b) the ghost's anger

(c) the narrator's wife leaving him

(d) the ghost materialising in sections.


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Q10 :  

Gladolia wishes to leave the narrator's house as ………………….

(a) she does not like the Ouija boards

(b) she is afraid of the ghost

(c) she is afraid of magic and hoodoo

(d) she likes Ouija boards and hoodoo


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Q11 :  

What genre of stories does Jenkins want the narrator to write? Why?


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Q12 :  

Does the narrator like writing ghost stories? Support your answer with evidence from the story.


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Q13 :  

What makes Helen, the ghost, and her other co-ghosts organize The Writer's Inspiration Bureau?


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Q14 :  

Why had Helen, the ghost been helping the narrator write ghost stories? Why was she going on strike? What condition did she place for providing continued help?


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Q15 :  

How does the ghost undermine the narrator's faith in his ability to write ghost stories?


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Q16 :  

Why does the narrator hesitate to be a partner to Laura Hinkle during the Ouija Board Party?


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Q17 :  

Why does John want the ghost to disappear before his wife appears on the scene? What impression of his wife's character do you form from his words?


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Q18 :  

What message does the ghost convey to the group that had assembled in the narrator's house? What is their reaction to the message?


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Q19 :  

Do you agree with the narrator calling the assembly of women "manipulators?" Give reasons.


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Q20 :  

Why is John's wife angry? What does she decide to do?


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Q21 :  

Why does John wish he were dead?


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Q22 :  

When confronted by Lavinia about his flirtations over the Ouija Board, John insists that 'the affair was quite above-board, I assure you, my love'. Bring out the pun in John's statement.


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Q23 :  

John's apprehensions about his wife's reaction to her encounter with the ghost are unfounded. Justify.


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Q24 :  

After her reconciliation with her husband, John Hallock, Lavinia writes a letter to her friend expressing how her relationship with him had almost been on the verge of breaking and what saved it. Write her letter.


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Q25 :  

John Hallock reflects upon his experience with Helen's ghost and in retrospect he finds it quite amusing. All the same he is relieved that he is no longer plagued by it. Ironically, the self same ghost inspires his creativity and he writes a diary entry reflecting upon the comical aspect of his experience. Write his diary entry.


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Q26 :  

The narrator and his wife reveal something about their character in their words and actions. We also learn about them from what other people say. Can you pick out the words that describe them from the box given below? Also, pick out lines and instances from the story to illustrate your choice.

shy

arrogant

loyal

clever

overconfident

Manipulative

protective

self-disparaging

suspicious

sceptical

jealous fearless

Firm

shrewd

strong

gullible

sly

creative

Loves novelty and thrills

Person

Extract from story

What it tells us about the character

John Hallock

1. …in the end things had always come my Hallock way….. somehow I'd always been able to dig one (plot) up for him, so I'd begun to get a bit cocky as to my ability (to write stories).

1. ______________

2. "But my ghosts aren't a bit like you----".

2. sceptical

3. We scout around until we find a writer without ideas and with a mind soft enough to accept impression.

3. gullible

4. __________________________

__________________________

4. creative

5. __________________________

__________________________

5. protective

Lavinia Hallock

1. __________________________

__________________________

1. loves novelty and thrills

2. __________________________

__________________________

2. Spendthrift

3. __________________________

__________________________

3. suspicious

4. __________________________

__________________________

4. jealous

5. Buys the Ouija board but says it is for John's research

5. manipulative

6. Does not flinch when she meets the ghost but talks to her casually.

6. strong


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Q27 :  

Gladolia, the narrator's cook, is an African. The language she speaks is different from that of the others. This is known as Dialect. A dialect consists of words or phrases that reflect the regional variety of a language. An author often uses a regional dialect to make the dialogue more authentic. Initially a dialogue may seem a little difficult to understand. However, as you continue reading, the language will become more comprehensible.

Working in groups, write what Gladolia's words mean as shown.

Column A

Column B

  • Misto Hallock

  • Mister Hallock

  • de Missus

  • sho t'inks you's lost!

  • she done 'phone you dis mawnin'

  • fo' de lawd's sake

  • not to stop to argify now

  • I's gwine t' quit.

  • I don't like no hoodoos.

  • I'se done lef' dis place

  • I is


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Q28 :  

Read and understand the following ghost phrases and expressions:

(a) To give up the ghost-- to die or to stop trying

(b) A ghost of a chance-- a poor chance, not likely to happen

(c) The ghost at the feast-- something or someone that spoils your enjoyment by reminding you of something unpleasant

(d) Ghost town-- a town where most people have left-abandoned and deserted

(e) Ghost-write- to write for someone else

(f) Lay the ghost of something/somebody (to rest)-- to finally stop being worried or upset by something or someone that has worried or upset you for a long time

(g) Ghost image -- secondary image, esp. one appearing on a television screen as a white shadow, caused by poor or double reception or by a defect in the receiver

(h) the ghost of a smile - faint trace of a smile

(i) As white as a ghost- very pale or white in the face

Now complete the following story by using the appropriate phrases in the blanks given below:

I was alone in a place that bore a deserted look like that of a ________________. I increased the pace of my footsteps as I walked through the dark forest. I felt someone walking behind me. I turned immediately and spotted the contour of a figure in the form of a ___________________ .

It smiled at me wickedly .I started shaking with fear and perspiring profusely when I felt its skeletal hand upon my neck. I woke up with a start, relieved that it was only a nightmare.

This was not the first time I had had one. It had all started when I had watched the horrendous horror film with a eerie ghost character that had a scary ghost of a smile on its face.It had been almost a month. The strange thing was that I saw a similar face at the station the next morning. That was uncanny.

I was to attend a dinner at my friend's at Northanger Abbey that night. I had decided to narrate my experience to the group that would assemble there although I knew there was _________________________ that they would be convinced.

After everyone had finished pouring their drinks to themselves, I cleared my throat and started narrating my spooky experience. However, every one of the group started accusing me of being _______________________ and held me responsible for spoiling the spirit of revelry. I gave up the ghost and sat quietly waiting for the party to be over. Back at home, the fears returned .I knew I had to talk about my experience to somebody to feel better. I have now decided to ______________ and publish my experience under a pseudonym. Only then can I ____________________.


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Writing taskspeaking task : Solutions of Questions on Page Number : 52

Q1 :  

Do you think a story has an atmosphere? Complete the following blanks to make up your ghost story by choosing the correct options.

A Ghost Story

She opened the _________________ (secret door/ spaceship's hatch/ door of the cottage/ cemetery gate/ door of the castle/ cockpit) _________________ (brashly/ loudly/ silently/ stupidly/ fearfully/ joyously).

Standing in front of her was a ________________ (terrifying/ handsome/ smelly/ anonymous/ tiny/ huge/ bossy) ___________ (policeman/ spy/ apparition/ witch/ prince/ wizard) with a _________________ (wand/ rose/ rod/ knife/ scythe/ coded message) in his/ her (its) _________________ (ghoulish/ bony/ beautiful/ fair/ manly/ gloved/ magical) hand.

Now that you have shared a ghost story/anecdote as well as completed a guided story in the class, create your own Ghost story on the basis of the starters given below:

(a) Stephen knew he would never sleep. The noises, those horrid sounds, would keep him awake...

(b) Tap, tap, tap. Was it the branches of the nearby tree, or fingernails against the window?

(c) People often say, 'There's no such thing as ghosts....


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Q2 :  

While conventional Ghost stories are scary and gruesome, several modern versions are humorous. The Canterville Ghost, by Oscar Wilde, is one of the best ghost stories written in the vein of laughing satire. The story that you just read is another example in case. Humour arises out of the narrator's ability to laugh at himself, clever use of language as well as comic situations. Discuss within your groups what makes the Shady Plot humorous. Share your views during a whole class discussion.


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Literature Reader - English : CBSE NCERT Exercise Solutions & Summary for Class 10th for A Shady Plot will be available online in PDF book form soon. The solutions are absolutely Free. Soon you will be able to download the solutions.

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