Class 8 English The Best Christmas Present in the world
Answer the following questions:
What did the author find in a junk shop?
The author found a roll-top desk in a junk shop in Bridport.
What did he find in a secret drawer? Who do you think had put it in there?
In a secret drawer within the roll-top desk, the author found a small black tin box. In the drawer, there was an envelope addressed to “Mrs. Jim Macpherson, 12 Copper Beeches, Bridport, Dorset.” The letter inside the envelope was dated “December 26, 1914.” It appears that someone named Jim had put this letter in the secret drawer, with instructions on the notepaper that it should be buried with them when the time comes. It’s likely that the letter was placed there by Jim himself or by someone close to him who wanted to ensure that it was preserved.
Who had written the letter, to whom, and when?
The letter was written by Captain Jim Macpherson. It was written to someone named Connie, presumably a loved one, and it was dated December 26, 1914.
Why was the letter written — what was the wonderful thing that had happened?
The letter was written to share the wonderful event that had taken place on Christmas morning in the trenches during the war. The wonderful thing was that soldiers from both sides, the British (“Tommy”) and the Germans (“Fritz”), spontaneously initiated a truce and came together in no man’s land to celebrate Christmas.
What jobs did Hans Wolf and Jim Macpherson have when they were not soldiers?
Hans Wolf was a cello player in an orchestra when he was not a soldier. Jim Macpherson was a school teacher from Dorset in the west of England.
Had Hans Wolf ever been to Dorset? Why did he say he knew it?
Hans Wolf had never been to Dorset. He claimed to know about it from his schooling and reading English books. His favorite author was Thomas Hardy, and he was familiar with the setting and characters of Hardy’s novels, such as “Far from the Madding Crowd,” which takes place in Dorset.
Do you think Jim Macpherson came back from the war? How do you know this?
The letter does not provide explicit information about whether Jim Macpherson came back from the war or not. It ends on a hopeful note, suggesting that the war will be a distant memory by the next Christmas and expressing a desire for peace. The fate of Jim Macpherson after the war is left uncertain in the letter.
Why did the author go to Bridport?
The author went to Bridport to find out more about the recipient of the letter, Mrs. Macpherson, and her whereabouts.
How old was Mrs Macpherson now? Where was she?
Mrs. Macpherson was a hundred and one years old at the time, and she was in a nursing home called Burlington House, located on the Dorchester road on the other side of town.
Who did Connie Macpherson think her visitor was?
Connie Macpherson initially thought her visitor was her husband, Jim Macpherson.
Which sentence in the text shows that the visitor did not try to hide his identity?
The sentence that shows the visitor did not try to hide his identity is: “I explained about the desk, about how I had found it, but I don’t think she was listening.” This sentence suggests that the visitor openly shared information about how he found the desk, implying that he was Jim Macpherson.
For how long do you think Connie had kept Jim’s letter? Give reasons for your answer.
Connie had likely kept Jim’s letter for a very long time, possibly for the duration of the war and beyond. The text suggests this because she mentions reading the letter every day to hear Jim’s voice in her head. Given that Jim returned to visit her at Christmas, it implies that she had the letter for a significant amount of time.
Why do you think the desk had been sold, and when?
The desk was likely sold because it was in a bad condition, as mentioned in the text. It had a broken roll-top, scorch marks, and other damage, which would have made it less valuable or useful. It’s unclear when exactly it was sold, but it ended up in the junk shop where the author found it.
Why do Jim and Hans think that games or sports are good ways of resolving conflicts? Do you agree?
Jim and Hans believe that games or sports, like football or cricket, are good ways of resolving conflicts because they provide an alternative to violence and war. They allow people from different sides to come together in a friendly, competitive spirit, fostering camaraderie and reducing animosity. Whether or not one agrees with this perspective depends on individual beliefs and circumstances.
Do you think the soldiers of the two armies are like each other, or different from each other? Find evidence from the story to support your answer.
The story suggests that the soldiers from both sides are more alike than different. They share a common desire for peace, celebrate Christmas together, and even engage in friendly games. The fact that they enjoy the same Christmas traditions, literature (like Thomas Hardy’s works), and have similar desires for peace emphasizes their similarities.
Mention the various ways in which the British and the German soldiers become friends and find things in common at Christmas.
The British and German soldiers become friends and find common ground at Christmas in several ways: they initiate a truce and celebrate together in no man’s land, exchange gifts, share food and drink, play football together, and even sing carols. These actions demonstrate their shared humanity and desire for peace.
What is Connie’s Christmas present? Why is it “the best Christmas present in the world”?
Connie’s Christmas present is the return of her husband, Jim Macpherson. It is “the best Christmas present in the world” because she had likely been separated from him due to the war, and his surprise visit fulfills her long-held wish to see him again.