ENGLISH FIRST LANGUAGE
A WRONG MAN IN WORKERS‟
Rabindranath Tagore, Bengali Rabīndranāth Ṭhākur, (born May 7, 1861, Calcutta [now Kolkata], India— died August 7, 1941, Calcutta), Bengali poet, short- story writer, song composer, playwright, essayist, and painter who introduced new prose and verse forms and the use of colloquial language into Bengali literature, thereby freeing it from traditional models based on classical Sanskrit. He was highly influential in introducing Indian culture to the West and vice versa, and he is generally regarded as the outstanding creative artist of early 20th-century India. In 1913 he became the first non-European to receive the Nobel Prize for Literature.
I. Question and Answers
1. What sort of things did the man do on earth?
Ans: – The man made little pieces of sculptures and strange earthen things (pots) dotted over with sea shells.
2. What was the „mistake‟ of the aerial messenger?
Ans: – The ‗mistake‘ of the aerial messenger was that he found a place for this wrong man in Workers‘ Paradise (Heaven).
3. How do people in Workers‟ Paradise spend their time?
Ans: – The people in Workers‘ Paradise spend their time in a busy manner. They do not like to be idle. They are happy to work busily.
4. Why did the man not fit in with the others in Workers‟ Paradise?
Ans: – The man passed all his life on the planet earth. Without any work, he did not fit in with others in Workers‘ Paradise.
5. How is the girl described?
Ans: – The girl is described as active, moving quickly like the rapid movement of a skilled hand on the strings of a guitar. Her hair is carelessly done, a few wisps of hair falling on her forehead as if trying to reach her eyes.
6. What was the girl‟s initial impression of the man?
Ans: – The girl‘s initial impression of the man was that she was filled with pity. By seeing him not doing anything, he did not have any work to do.
7. What did the girl do after taking home the painted pitcher?
Ans: – After taking home the painted pitcher, the girl held it in the light and examined the painting from all angles, making sure that no one was observing her. Even at night, she examined the pitcher again, in silence under the light of the lamp.
8. What is the effect of the man‟s creations on the girl and others in Workers‟ Paradise?
Ans: – The busy girl of Workers‘ Paradise started spending a long time every day in trying the coloured ribbon made by the man. She wasted such a lot of time in trying the ribbon that time passed unnoticed. Much work was left unfinished. Gradually, the work of others also started suffering. Many persons, who were active, now became idle, wasting their precious time on unnecessary things such as painting and sculpture.
9. What was the decision taken by the elders? Were they justified?
Ans: – The elders decided to send away the man from the Workers‘ Paradise, saying that he was not the right sort for Workers‘ Paradise. They justified themselves by concluding that ―this‖ was not the place for the likes of the man.
10. What was the man‟s reaction to the elders‟ decision?
Ans: – The man felt greatly relieved at the elders‘ decision of sending him away at once from Workers‘ Paradise.
1. The man indulged in “mad” whims and “wasted” his time painting. From whose point of view are these terms used? What is the author‟s attitude towards the man and his reoccupations?
Ans: – The terms ―mad‖ whims and ―wasted‖ his time in painting are used from the point of view of people who think that any work should have ―utility‖ or ―usefulness‖. The author indirectly likes the man for his doing something for his pleasure.
2. Explain the gradual changes that come in the girl‟s attitude towards the man.
Ans: – Initially, the girl was reluctant and annoyed when the man asked her to give him her pitcher for drawing pictures on it. But when the man asked her everyday persistently, she had to yield and give it. For the first time, the girl started showing interest in something that had no meaning and no purpose at all. Subsequently, she agreed to the man‘s request to weave a coloured ribbon for her hair. The busy girl slowly started admiring and enjoying something which has no purpose but sheer pleasure.
3. Describe the author‟s view of the “scheme of things” in Workers‟ Paradise.
Ans: – The author does not like the ―scheme of things‖. The routine work done by the people (everyday) of the Workers‘ Paradise is like drudgery. The author seems to suggest that life becomes boring, dull and monotony, if there is only work and no recreation. Indirectly, the author takes the side of ―the man‖.
4. The man says, “A picture may have no meaning and may serve no purpose”. Explain the sentence in the context of the central idea of the story.
Ans: – The man seems to say that the picture may not have ―usefulness‖, but it had ―aesthetic value‖. It gives happiness to our senses and arouses emotions. The central idea of the lesson is ―Art for Art‘s sake‖. It means that art need not have to teach values, give instructions or take sides. A poem or a novel can be enjoyed and appreciated even if does not carry any message.
5. The author presents the man as an idler and calls the other place “paradise”. Are we supposed to take his words literally or does he mean something different? Irony is a way of using words and tone to mean something quite opposite to what is actually being said. Discuss the author‟s use of irony in the story.
Ans: – The author presents the man as an idler and calls the other place ―Paradise‖ in an ironic manner. Tagore is of the opinion that human beings need to have some recreation. After working for some time in this simple and humorous narrative, he very subtly attacks the people in the ―Workers‘ Paradise‖ whose obsession is ―work‖ and ―work‖. Broadly, Tagore also attacks those writers and poets who think that art should have a purpose, thereby trying to convey the idea that art is valuable as art and the only objective of art is the pursuit of pure beauty and pleasure.