Unit - 1 Short Stories : Chapter 2 A Respectable Woman Guide, Class 12 English Solution

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 Unit - 1 Short Stories

2. A Respectable Woman

Question Answers...........

Kate Chopin's short story "A Respectable Woman" tells the tale of Mrs. Baroda, a woman who is initially excited by the arrival of Gouvernail, a close friend of her husband, but soon finds herself struggling to maintain a sense of propriety in his presence. At first, Mrs. Baroda is intrigued by Gouvernail's charm and sophistication, but as she spends more time with him, she begins to feel increasingly restless and unfulfilled. Despite her attempts to maintain a sense of decorum, she is drawn to Gouvernail's easy charm and finds herself wondering about what it would be like to have a more intimate relationship with him. As the story progresses, Mrs. Baroda becomes increasingly conflicted, torn between her desire to maintain a respectable reputation and her attraction to Gouvernail. In one scene, she even considers confessing her feelings to her husband, but ultimately decides against it, choosing instead to remain faithful to her marriage vows. Throughout the story, Chopin explores the tension between societal expectations and personal desires, as well as the role that gender plays in shaping these expectations. Mrs. Baroda is expected to be a proper, respectable woman, but her desires and passions threaten to upset this delicate balance. The story also highlights the complexity of human relationships, and the ways in which our interactions with others can change us. Mrs. Baroda's interactions with Gouvernail force her to confront her own desires and the limitations of her marriage, and ultimately lead her to a deeper understanding of herself and her own motivations. In conclusion, "A Respectable Woman" is a beautifully crafted exploration of human desire and the tension between societal expectations and personal passions. Through the character of Mrs. Baroda, Chopin offers a nuanced portrayal of a woman struggling to reconcile her own desires with the expectations of her society, and ultimately emerges as a powerful and thought-provoking work of literature.

Understanding the text

Answer the following questions.

a. Describe how the young couple’s house looked like.

Answer 👉 In the story "A Respectable Woman" by Kate Chopin, Mrs. Baroda is initially excited about the prospect of Gouvernail's visit to their farm. However, when she hears that Gouvernail is "peculiar," "sensitive," and "unsociable," she becomes unhappy with the idea of his visit. Mrs. Baroda is a social person who enjoys entertaining guests and socializing with friends. The prospect of hosting someone who is not sociable and might not be a good guest makes her uneasy.

b. How did the young couple recognize their neighbours in the beginning of their arrival?

Answer 👉 Gouvernail is different from Mrs. Baroda's expectation in several ways. Initially, she imagines him as a typical man, but he turns out to be very quiet, introspective, and somewhat mysterious. He doesn't speak much, and when he does, he tends to say things that are unexpected or thought-provoking. Mrs. Baroda also finds herself attracted to him in a way that she did not expect, given his reserved and somewhat aloof personality.

c. How did the neighbours assist the young couple in the kitchen garden?

Answer 👉 Mrs. Baroda compares Gouvernail with her husband Gaston, who is more outgoing and social than Gouvernail. She admires Gaston's ability to make friends easily and to socialize with a wide range of people. However, as she spends more time with Gouvernail, she begins to appreciate his quieter, more reflective nature. She realizes that there is a depth to Gouvernail's character that is lacking in her husband.

d. Why were the people in the neighbourhood shocked at the role of the young man and his wife in their family?

Answer 👉 Mrs. Baroda tries to change Gouvernail's solitary habits because she is attracted to him and wants to spend more time with him. She believes that he would be happier if he were more social and spent more time with other people. She invites him to social events and encourages him to make friends, hoping to draw him out of his shell and make him more open and outgoing.

e. How did the neighbours respond when they learned about the woman’s pregnancy?

Answer 👉  Gaston disagrees with his wife on Gouvernail's character because he sees him as an unremarkable and unimportant guest. He is surprised that his wife has become so interested in Gouvernail and sees him as just another guest to be entertained. Gaston is a practical man who is focused on the day-to-day running of their farm, and he does not see the value in socializing with people who are not important or useful to him.

f. Why did the young man begin to cry at the end of the story?

Answer 👉  

Gaston is surprised with his wife's expression towards the end of the story because she expresses a desire to leave him and run away with Gouvernail. He had no idea that his wife was so unhappy in their marriage, and he is taken aback by her sudden change of heart. Gaston is also surprised by how much his wife has changed during Gouvernail's visit and how much she has come to appreciate his company. The story "A Respectable Woman" explores the theme of marital discontent and the desire for something more in life. Mrs. Baroda is a woman who is unhappy with her life and her marriage and seeks to find something more fulfilling and exciting. Gouvernail represents this possibility, offering Mrs. Baroda a glimpse of a life that is more reflective, more mysterious, and more interesting than her own. In the end, Mrs. Baroda is unable to resist this allure, and she makes a decision that will have far-reaching consequences for her and her family. The story is a commentary on the complexities of human desire and the fragility of the social and emotional bonds that hold us together.

g. Why did the author not characterize the persons in the story with proper names?

Answer 👉 The author did not give the characters a definitive name or identity because he wanted to represent individuals from various cultures and languages living together in peace. The author wants the reader to get influenced or inspired from the story by characterizing the persons of the story without finite names.

Second reason could be, Tim may not want his readers to get too involved in the characters, rather feel the way people interact with each other in a diversified community.

Reference to the context

a. The story depicts that linguistic and cultural barriers do not create any obstacles in human relationships. Explain with some examples from this story where the neighbours have transcended such barriers.

Answer 👉

In "A Respectable Woman," the cause of conflict in Mrs. Baroda's mind is her growing attraction to Gouvernail, a family friend who visits their farm. Mrs. Baroda is torn between her duty to her husband and her attraction to Gouvernail. Her desire for Gouvernail puts her in a difficult situation as a respectable woman, as she feels that she should not be feeling this way towards another man who is not her husband. Her position as a "respectable woman" adds to her internal struggle, as she feels she should not be having such thoughts and emotions. Being a respectable woman is a crucial aspect of the story as it highlights the societal expectations and constraints placed on women during that time.

b. The last sentence of the story says “The twentieth-century novel had not prepared him for this.” In your view, what differences did the young man find between twentieth-century novels and human relations?

Answer 👉  

Gouvernail is a quiet and solitary character. He is polite and cultured, but his demeanor contrasts sharply with Gaston's jovial and outgoing nature. While Gaston is outgoing and loves to entertain, Gouvernail is reserved and introverted. Gouvernail is also an artist, which adds to his mystique, while Gaston is a businessman who enjoys entertaining guests. Gouvernail is portrayed as a sympathetic character who is sensitive to Mrs. Baroda's feelings, while Gaston is oblivious to his wife's inner turmoil.

c. A Nepali proverb says “Neighbours are the companions for the wedding procession as well as for the funeral procession.” Does this proverb apply in the story? Justify.

Answer 👉  

Mrs. Baroda does not disclose her feelings towards Gouvernail to her husband because she knows it will only create conflict and strain their relationship. She wants to keep her feelings to herself and does not want to harm her marriage by expressing her attraction to another man. She believes that her desire for Gouvernail is a passing phase, and it would be unwise to create any complications in her marriage.

d. The author has dealt with an issue of multiculturalism in the story. Why do you think multiculturalism has become a major issue in the present world?

Answer 👉

 The last three sentences of the story bring a twist to the story, as it shows that Mrs. Baroda's feelings towards Gouvernail are not entirely pure. Despite her internal struggles, she manipulates Gouvernail into leaving their home, so she can get some peace of mind. The twist at the end of the story reveals that Mrs. Baroda may have been more cunning than the reader initially thought. Mrs. Baroda's attitude towards Gouvernail is complex, as she is torn between her desire for him and her duty to her husband. The last three sentences suggest that Mrs. Baroda is more interested in her own needs than in the well-being of either her husband or Gouvernail. In conclusion, "A Respectable Woman" is a story that explores the complexities of human relationships and societal expectations placed on women during that time. The story portrays the struggle of a respectable woman who is torn between her duty to her husband and her desire for another man. The characters of Gouvernail and Gaston represent two different worlds, and the contrast between the two highlights the tension that exists in the story. The last three sentences of the story add a twist that leaves the reader pondering the motives and character of Mrs. Baroda.

Reference beyond the text

a. Write an essay on Celebration of Childbirth in my Community.

Answer 👉 The arrival of an outsider in a family can create tension and conflict, leading to the disintegration of marital relationships. Anton Chekhov's story "About Love" portrays this theme, where an outsider's arrival leads to the collapse of a marital relationship.

The story revolves around a love triangle between a man named Alyohin, his married friend, and the latter's wife, Anna. The arrival of the outsider, a painter named Dmitry, disrupts their relationships. Dmitry falls in love with Anna, and their attraction towards each other becomes evident, leading to the gradual estrangement of Anna and her husband. As Anna's husband suspects nothing, he invites Dmitry to stay at their house, unaware of the turmoil that has begun. Dmitry's presence creates an emotional distance between Anna and her husband, leading to their eventual separation. The story ends with Anna dying of a heart attack, and Alyohin realizing his deep love for her.

b. Do the people in your community respond with similar reactions upon the pregnancy and childbirth as depicted in the story? Give a couple of examples.

Answer 👉 Yes, As a mature girl/boy, I would seek several qualities in my future husband/wife. Firstly, they should be honest, loyal, and committed to the relationship. Trust is vital in any marriage, and it should be mutual. Secondly, they should be respectful and empathetic towards others, especially towards their partner.

Another quality I would seek is good communication skills. It is crucial to be able to express oneself in a relationship without fear of judgment or ridicule. Along with communication, they should possess a good sense of humor, be supportive and understanding, and have shared values and goals. Additionally, they should be mature, responsible, and independent individuals who can balance their personal and professional lives. They should be able to manage conflicts and resolve issues in a calm and rational manner. Lastly, it is essential to have mutual respect and admiration for each other,

All Class 12 English Book Solution Link Unitwise

Section I : Language Development

Section II : Literature
Unit - 1 Short Stories

Unit - 2 Poems

Unit - 3 Essays

Unit - 4 One Act Plays

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