A Shady Plot Extra Questions and Answers Class 10 English Literature

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A Shady Plot Extra Questions and Answers Class 10 English Literature

A Shady Plot Extra Questions and Answers Short Answer Type

Question 1.
Why could John Hallock not give his whole time to writing?
John could not give his whole time to writing, as he was working in a lumber company as a book keeper. He had to do this job because there were grocery bills and his wife Lavinia’s fancied shopping.

A Shady Plot Extra Questions and Answers

Question 2.
Why is the narrator hesitant to be a partner to Laura Hinkle during the Ouija board party?
The narrator was hesitant to be a partner to Laura Hinkle during the party as she was a flirt and grinned like a flirtatious crocodile. She took a lot of freedom with John and poor John was forced to become her partner much against his will.

A Shady Plot Short Questions and Answers

Question 3.
Why does John want the ghost to disappear before his wife appears on the scene?
John knew his wife Lavinia was very sensitive. She was so nervous that she could not bear to see the sight of a mouse. So how could she face the ghost. Moreover, she was very suspicious as well.

Question 4.
How did the narrator react to the appearance of the ghost?
The narrator could not believe that it was all real. He sat there feeling quite helpless. He did not know how to react to the presence of the ghost in his room. He was confused.

Question 5.
Why was Helen the ghost going on a strike? What condition did she lay for providing help?
Helen and the other ghosts were being disturbed quite often by the Ouija board players. They were called very often and were asked the most stupid questions. As a result, they had all decided to go on a strike. If only the narrator could influence his friends and acquaintances to give up the use of Ouija boards, they would help him to write again.

Question 6.
Why is John’s wife angry? What does she decide to do?
John’s wife Lavinia was angry, because she thought he was flirting with a woman named Helen on the Ouija board. Next morning, she decides to leave and go to her grandmother. She also conveys through a letter that her lawyer would communicate with him later.

Question 7.
Why did Lavinia decide to leave her husband and what made her change her mind later?
Lavinia was angry as she thought her husband was flirting with another woman named Helen. But when she finds that Helen was no woman but only a ghost, she heaves a sigh of relief and changes her mind.

Question 8.
“John’s apprehensions about his wife’s reaction to her encounter with the ghost are unfounded.” Justify
Lavinia was very sensitive and nervous too. She could not stand the sight of a mouse. But when she encounters the ghost of Helen, she talks quite bravely. She heaved a sigh of relief that it was a mere ghost and not a woman.

Question 9.
Why does the ghost appear before the narrator?
The ghost of Helen had been sent to ask the narrator to make his wife give up using the Ouija board.

Question 10.
Hallock’s ghosts were live-propositions? How could he pen down ghost-special stories?
The ghost created by Hallock in his ghost stories appeared real to his readers. Public found his ghost-stories very interesting and craved for them. He was being fed with ideas and inspiration to write, actually by a ghost.

Question 11.
How does the author of ‘A Shady Plot’ earn his living?
Hallock was a very successful writer of ghost stories. Whenever his publisher asks him for a new story, he is able to write one. But being a writer was not enough. He had a wilful and whimsical wife who enjoyed spending money on every new fad or fashion. In order to meet her demands, Hallock had to work as a bookkeeper in a lumber company.

Question 12.
What kind of woman is Lavinia?
She is John’s wife. She is a domineering person. A compulsive spendthrift, she spends a lot of money on the latest fashions and fads. Her latest craze is Ouija board. She buys one and calls her friends for an Ouija party. Hallock describes his wife as a very sensitive little lady. Hallock says that Lavinia couldn’t even bare a mouse say boo to her. Lavinia can be easily influenced, she is very unpredictable and gullible. She is very possessive of her husband and therefore tends to suspect him of having an extra-marital relationship.

Question 13.
How did Lavinia react when she saw Helen, the ghost?
The narrator was talking to Helen the ghost when Lavinia appeared on the scene. She asked him who he was talking to. Hallock did not want his wife to see the ghost as he worried that she would get scared. However, she thrust him aside and saw Helen. Lavinia did not swoon, nor was she hysterical on the contrary, sense of relief swept her . being, as she her worst fears were proved to be false.

Question 14.
Why did Gladolia idecide to leave the Hallocks? What made her change her decision?
Gladiola was the narrator’s cook. She decided to leave her job at the Hallocks because she was fed up and scared of Ouija boards and hoodoos. She was scared of ghosts and spirits in the house. Lavinia and Hallock said that they would burn the Ouija board themselves and promised never to use it again. It was because of this assurance given to her, that Gladolia changes her decision.

Question 15.
Why is Lavinia angry with her husband John? What decision does she take?
John’s wife was angry because the Ouija board seemed to be conveying messages from Helen, ‘a woman’, and also referred to her husband as a ‘traitor’. This filled her with suspicion about his faithfulness towards her. She was also getting jealous of John’s closeness with Laura Hinkle during the Ouija Board Party. She eventually asked for a divorce and told John to speak to her lawyer, left John and decided to go to her grandmother’s house.

Question 16.
What genre of stories does Jenkins want the narrator to write? Why?
Jenkins, the narrator’s publisher wants him to write ghost stories as his ghost stories are entertaining and were liked by the public. This ensured that his magazine’s sale was high and he earned a lot of money.

Question 17.
Does the narrator like writing ghost stories? Support your answer with evidence from the story.
No, the narrator did not like writing ghost stories. His first fiction story was a ghost story and since then he had wanted to write a story of another genre, but had been forced by his publisher to write ghost stories as they were liked by the public. All his popularity was because of the ghost stories he churned out.

Question 18.
What makes Helen, the ghost, and her other co-ghosts organise the Writer’s Inspiration Bureau?
Helen, the ghost had been a writer, but then became a reader for a magazine in her previous life. She suffered so much then, that she sought out other ghosts, who had suffered like her, and together they formed ‘Writer’s Inspiration Bureau’ and started looking for writers lacking inspiration and ideas, but who had soft and easily impressionable minds. They started helping them write stories to prevent from suffering the troubles they themselves had suffered.

Question 19.
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?
Helen, the ghost had been helping the narrator write ghost stories as she had been assigned to him by the Bureau and she had helped him write many ghost stories. However, she was now going on strike because the new trend of using Ouija boards had left the spirits exhausted and exasperated. People were involving the spirits and then asking the stupidest of questions, which they were forced to answer. She agreed to continue helping the narrator, only if he convinced his friends and acquaintances to stop using the Ouija boards and leave the spirits alone.

Question 20.
How does the ghost undermine the narrator’s faith in his ability to write ghost stories?
The narrator all along thought it was he who had the ability to write interesting ghost stories. He was overconfident and ‘cocky’ about it. His stories were very well made and, appreciated by the readers. But the ghost of Helen, when appeared, told him it was she who used to put all the ideas into his soft and impressionable mind.

Question 21.
Why does John want the ghost to disappear before his wife appears on the scene? What impression of his wife’s characters do you form from his words?
John does not want the ghost to be there in front of his wife. He knew she was sensitive and given to hysterics. She would start shouting and shrieking. This shows she was suspicious and doubtful, given to jealousy.

Question 22.
Why does the narrator hesitate to be a partner to Laura Hinkle during the Ouija Board Party?
Laura Hinkle was without a partner, so Lavinia requested John, the narrator to be her partner for the game. John was reluctant as Laura was a flirtatious crocodile: She even leaned forward and took John’s hands in her own, seemingly in a coy manner and John felt uncomfortable.

Question 23.
What message does the ghost convey to the group that had assembled in the narrator’s house? What is their reaction to the message?
The words t-r-a-i-t-o-r and H-e-l-e-n were spelt out on the board where the narrator and Laura Hinkle were seated. The message appeared on two other boards as well. This conveyed that John was flirting with another woman named Helen. Through the Ouija board, it became an open secret.

Question 24.
Do you agree with the narrator calling the assembly of women “manipulators”?
John felt all the women gathered there were manipulators for they were operating the Ouija boards and Laura Hinkle and the likes could made the situation look like the way they felt like, to get what they wanted. They were flirtatious and manipulative.

Question 25.
Why is John’s wife angry? What does she decide to do?
John’s wife Lavinia who was extremely sensitive could not take it all in her stride. She was angry and felt insulted that her husband was cheating on her with another woman, Helen. She decides to leave him and go back to her grandmother. She also tells him that her lawyer would communicate with him later.

Question 26.
Why does John wish he were dead?
Thanks to the ladies of the ‘Book Club’, John was in a very awkward situation, as his wife now suspected him of flirting with Helen. She looked at him disdainfully. That night, she slept in the guest-room. Next morning, she packed up to go to her grandmother. She also threatened him that her lawyer would communicate with him later. John’s life was in a complete mess. He felt he had lost his wife, his home and his happiness, so he wished he were dead.

Question 27.
When confronted by Lavinia about his flirtations over the Ouija board, Johan insists that ‘the affair was quite above-board, I assure you, my love’. Bring out the pun in John’s statement.
Above board means legitimate and honest. Here, John, if he was flirting it was only on the Ouija board. There was nothing secretive about it. This is a very interesting pun that the author, Elsie Brown has made use of in the story.

Question 28.
John’s apprehensions about his wife’s reaction to her encounter with the ghost are unfounded. Justify.
Lavinia was very sensitive and given to hysterics. She would start shouting and shrieking at the sight of a mouse. She was so meek. He felt afraid to such an extent that John did not want her to come face to face with the ghost. But to his relief, he was surprised when he saw Lavinia’s reaction on seeing the ghost, Helen. She was greatly relieved that her husband John was not flirting with any woman, rather it was only a ghost, who used to ‘ keep writing ghost stories.

A Shady Plot Extra Questions and Answers Long Answer Type

Question 1.
Describe the Ouija board party and how did it affect the domestic life of John and Lavinia Hallock?
Lavinia and a number of her other friends, who were also members of the Book Club had organised the Ouija board party. It was to be held at Lavinia’s place among the invited members, most of them were elderly ladies. They were divided in different groups as pairs, to be seated opposite one another with the board in the middle. Laura Hinkle’s partner did not turn up, so John was pulled in to be her partner.

He hesitatingly sat in front of her, Laura Hinkle being a coquette of the first order, he was uneasy and uncomfortable. On a number of boards, Helen’s name appeared who wished to communicate with John. All started gossiping, at which John turned red and fled from the room. When Lavinia came to know of it, she of course grew very angry that her husband was having an affair with a woman called Helen. She decided to leave the next morning and go to her grandmother. She also conveyed to John that her lawyer would communicate with him later.

Question 2.
Imagine you are Gladolia. Describe the happenings in the Hallock household to your friend.
Oh dear! It has been a terrible time in my master’s household. My mistress got the Ouija board and the troubles began. She invited her friends for a session of calling the spirits and all that hoodoo, which I never approved of. But she never listened to anyone. During the party, there was this ghost sending messages to my master. It was very embarrassing for him. I myself did not wish to continue in the household anymore and decided to leave. When mistress came to know, she ordered to burn the board. I decided to stay and work for them.

Question 3.
Write a brief account of the incident at the Ouija board party as seen by one of the members of the Book Club.
We all were invited to the Ouija board party at Lavinia Hallock’s place, which turned out to be rather interesting, quite strangely. The session of calling the spirits began. Mr. Hallock was also present, sitting opposite Laura Hinkle whose partner had not turned up. Most of us were elderly women and were surprised when messages were flashed on the board calling John a traitor. Eyebrows were raised, when the messenger’s name appeared on the board. It was some Helen. All the women starting whispering in hushed tones. Lavinia, naturally appeared quite upset and angry, but what is the truth is not clear. John did behave and looked suspicious. But there definitely is a mystery. I’m curious.

Question 4.
Describe the first interaction between the narrator and the ghost. How did she materialize and how does the narrator react to this?
John Hallock sat down at his desk, to hit upon a suitable plot to write his next story. While doing so, his mind was straying to mundane domestic issues and as he exclaimed sarcastically to himself “the writing business was delightful”, he heard a strange voice “yes”, and noticed that something was taking shape at the corner of the unlit study. First the arm, then a bit of a stiff white shirtwaist, the leg, skirt, and finally the complete shape appeared. A long angular shape with enormous fishy eyes, a big bone rimmed glasses, with the hair tied back. The narrator could see right through her head. It was someone I’d never seen before, and was shocked to find her glaring at me with what seemed to be absolute annoyance.

John pulled himself up and enquired about her identity and her reason for making such a fragmented appearance. Her reply that she was called for by him, and claim that she was the source and inspiration of all his stories, shocked him. She clarifies that this appearance would never have been made if it was not necessary to warn him, on behalf of all the ghosts, that they were planning to go on a strike.

She said no aid would be given to struggling authors like him, if he did not work towards putting an end to the harassment being meted out to the ghosts by the Ouija board users. She was told to leave when John heard Lavinia’s voice. John in absolute disbelief, stared at the disappearing figure moistening his lips that had gone dry.

Question 5.
“ The ghost of Helen is not a ghost but is like a human being”. Explain.
A “Ghost’ is considered to be an apparition of a dead person which is believed to appear or become manifest to the living, typically as a shapeless image. Generally, the term ‘208 ghost instills fear in everyone’s mind, and they are traditionally portrayed as being scary, blood-curdling and dreadful in appearance.

But in ’A Shady Plot’, the author has presented the ghost in a very humane form. Helpful and kind at several instances. The reference to the fragmented appearance and the initial interaction between the narrator and the ghost instilled more of humour than fear, especially when the narrator expresses the possibility of the parts getting all mixed up, as it appeared and disappeared.

It was as natural as a woman and a man carrying on a normal conversation. Besides, the claim made by Helen that she was a writer, the formation of the writers’ bureau, and their plan of going on a strike, were all significant of the ghost possessing characteristics of a human being. The kindness she had been showing towards struggling writers, the threat to withdraw support, and the plea to stop harassing their “species “ were all very representative of human nature.

The most striking character was the disappointment Helen had with regard to not being able to carry on with their ghostly duties of frightening and teasing human beings. This was certainly the “ghostly’ attribute but was more like the grievances, a discontent human is seen to indulge in.

Question 6.
Lack of trust shakes the very foundation of human relationships. How does Lavinia’s suspicious nature threaten to wreck their marriage?
John’s wife was angry because the Ouija board was conveying a message from Helen to her husband, that called him a traitor. This filled her with suspicion and she was getting jealous of John’s closeness with Laura Hinkle with whom he was paired on the Ouija board. When confronted by Lavinia about his flirtations over the Ouija Board, John insisted that he and Laura Hinkle were just moving the Ouija board indicator. When she asked him he denied it and said he was not doing anything questionable.

Later her doubts were furthered when their cook Gladolia threatened that she would leave if they continued to deal with hoodoos or black magic. Lavinia also decided to leave John. The next morning when she went to bid him goodbye, John was interacting with someone and he was trying to conceal the matter from her. She finally found him interacting with a ghost, whom he was trying to hide from her.

To her surprise the ghost was of Helen of Troy, who had come to help John write a ghost story. She faced the ghost with all her strength and regretted doubting John. She asked John to pardon her and both were happy again. They bid farewell to the ghost. Her lack of trust nearly destroyed the very foundation of their relationship and they saved their life from turmoil.

Question 7.
“Creativity involves two processes: thinking, then producing with originality and not plagiarized content”. Explain.
Every living being is endowed with something exceptional that sets them apart from the rest and a special place in God’s plan for this world. Perhaps it was His plan to make man a “rational being”. This makes it possible for man to experiment and be creative. Development has been possible only because of the single-minded effort of those individuals who used their creative abilities with a purity of purpose, truthfulness and honesty. Human beings have progressed from the stone age to the technological age. Creativity does not propagate imitation or plagiarism of any sort. Doing so would be unethical.

Therefore, it is very essential for each one of us to identify our capabilities and use them creatively to contribute honestly towards the cause of mankind. Original work is a representation of one’s sincerity towards one’s conscience, contrarily stealing from another person’s creative inputs is an act of betrayal towards onself and the world. The former is received with applause and recognition, whereas the person who uses plagiarized content is subject to ridicule and dishonour.

A Shady Plot Extra Questions and Answers Reference-to-Context

Read the extracts and answer the questions that follow.

Question 1.
So I went home and sat down before my desk and sucked at the end of my pencil and waited, but nothing happened. Pretty soon my mind began to wander off on other things.
(i) Where was the author coming back from?
(ii) What was the author waiting for to happen?
(iii) Where did the author’s mind begin to wander?
(iv) What was the author’s real profession?
(i) The author was coming back after a meeting with Jenkins.
(ii) The author was waiting for an idea of a plot to write a ghost story.
(iii) The author’s mind began to wander on material things like his wife’s shopping and how he was going to cure her alarming tendency to take every new fad that came along.
(iv) The author worked as a book keeper for a lumber company.

Question 2.
“This writing business is delightful, isn’t it?” I said sarcastically at last, out loud, too. You see, I had reached the stage of imbecility when I was talking to myself.
(i) Who is the speaker of these lines?
(ii) What does the narrator mean by writing business?
(iii) Which word has the narrator used sarcastically?
(iv) Which stage of imbecility has the narrator reached?
(i) John Hallock, the narrator of the story, is the speaker of these lines.
(ii) By writing business the narrator means writing ghost stories.
(iii) The narrator uses the word ‘delightful’ sarcastically.
(iv) The narrator had reached the stage of imbecility when he was talking to himself.

Question 3.
“You know I bought the loveliest thing this afternoon. Everybody’s wild over them.”
(i) Who is the speaker?
(ii) Who is she speaking to?
(iii) What did she/he buy?
(iv) Why was everybody wild over them?
(i) Lavinia Hallock, wife of the narrator John is the speaker.
(ii) She is speaking to her husband John Hallock.
(iii) She bought an Ouija board.
(iv) Everybody was wild over them as the Ouija boards are a new feel and craze.

Question 4.
“I ain’t stayin’ round no place ‘long wid dem Ouija board contraptions. I’ve skeered of hoodoos. I’m done going, I is. ”
(i) Who is the speaker?
(ii) What is the speaker scared of?
(iii) What is hoodoo?
(iv) What has the speaker decided to do?
(i) Gladolia, the maid servant is the speaker.
(ii) She was afraid of the spirits communicating through Ouija boards.
(iii) Hoodoo is placing curses and charms to bring bad luck.
(iv) The speaker has decided to quit as she is not comfortable about the Ouija boards.

Question 5.
I hadn’t the shade of an idea, but at the time that didn’t worry me in the least. You see, I had often been like that before and in the end things had always come my way -1 didn’t in the least know how or why. It had all been rather mysterious.
(i) On which shade does the passage show the narrator?
(ii) What had been mysterious for the narrator?
(iii) In which field is the narrator not a specialist?
(iv) Which time is the narrator referring to here?
(i) The narrator felt Overconfident that he will find a new plot for his story.
(ii) The narrator was always able to write ghost stories without any inkling of how or why.
(iii) The narrator is not a specialist of writing ghost stories.
(iv) The time mentioned here is when Jenkins asked him to give another ghost story for the public.

Question 6.
Curious how that idea for a plot had come to me out of nowhere after I had chased inspiration in vain for months. I had never found it healthy to contradict Jenkins.
(i) Who was Jenkins?
(ii) Why did the narrator find it unhealthy to contradict Jenkins?
(iii) How did the idea for a plot come to him?
(iv) What genre of stories did the narrator write?
(i) Jenkins used to publish John’s stories in his magazine.
(ii) The narrator had found it unhealthy to contradict Jenkins as he provides financial assistance during tough times.
(iii) The idea of a plot came to him because of the assistance provided by Helen.
(iv) The narrator wrote ghost stories.

Question 7.
“You’re to exert your influence. Get all your friends and acquaintances to stop using the Ouija board and then we’ll start helping you to write”.
(i) Who is the speaker?
(ii) What help is she talking about?
(iii) Why does she want to stop his friends and acquaintances to stop using Ouija board?
(iv) How did she want John to help her?
(i) Helen is the speaker.
(ii) She is talking about helping John to write a ghost story.
(iii) Helen and other ghosts are troubled by the Ouija board fanatics. They are not able to involve in leisure time activity of haunting. They find themselves answering to frivolous questions put by his friends and acquaintances.
(iv) She wanted John to help her by exerting his influence on his friends and acquaintances to stop using Ouija board.

Question 8.
“I groaned and clutched my hair. The very idea of that horrible scarecrow so much as touching me”.
(i) Why did the speaker groan and clutch his hair?
(ii) Who is the scarecrow?
(iii) What is a scarecrow?
(iv) What did she want John to do?
(i) The speaker groaned and clutched his hair because he was totally shocked and confused.
(ii) Helen, the ghost is the scarecrow.
(iii) A scarecrow is an object in the shape of a person, which is put in a field where crops are growing in order to frighten birds away.
(iv) She wanted John to discourage his friends and acquaintances from using Ouija board.

Question 9.
“Don’t forget the strike, “she repeated, while her lower jaw began to disintegrate, and as my Lavinia crossed the room to me the last vestige of her ear faded into space”.
(i) Who is ‘she’?
(ii) Of which strike is ‘she’ talking about?
(iii) Why was she disintegrating?
(iv) Why had Helen come to meet John?
(i) Helen.
(ii) ‘The writer’s Inspiration Bureau’ of ghosts would go on strike and writers like John would not get any help to write their stories.
(iii) She was disintegrating as Lavinia had entered the room.
(iv) She had come to meet John as she wanted him to discourage his friends and acquaintances from using Ouija Board.

Question 10.
“I don’t know, John – they are awfully thrilling”.
(i) Who is the speaker?
(ii) What is awfully thrilling?
(iii) What was Lavinia’s craze?
(iv) What had she taken now?
(i) Lavinia.
(ii) Ouija boards are awfully thrilling.
(iii) Lavinia’s craze was to take new fads.
(iv) Her latest craze was Ouija boards and she picked one up at the bargain sale.

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