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Class 12 English FLAMINGO – PROSE ~ Chapter 4: The Rattrap (Selma Lagerlof)

                                                          The Rattrap

The rattrap

Points to Remember
The Rattap Man
 made his living by selling rattraps.
 business not profitable.
 had to beg and steal.

His philosphy
 whole world a rat trap.
 it offers riches, joys, sheltter fond etc. as bait.
 everything comes to end and with no return.

Shelter at Crofter's house:
 one night rattrap man stayed at an old man's house.
 old man happy to get a company
 simple, generous, hospitable, served porridge
 offered big slice from tobacco roll; played cards
 told him about his prosperous past.
 now his cow supported him, earned thirty kronors.
 showed the rattrap man pouch having those kronors.
 next day the rattrap man stole money.

Rattrap man lost his way:
 did not continue on public highway
 went into woods, lost his way
 walked endlessly, tired
 realized he himself has been caught in a rattrap.
 heard sounds of hammer strokes
 walked in that direction, reached iron mill.
 found master smith, did not notice rattrap man.
 later blacksmith granted him permission to sleep.

Iron master and his daughter Edla :
 owner of Ramsjo Iron Mill
 Mistook rattrap man as old acquantaince called Von Stakle.
 invited him home to spend Christmas
 rattrap man did not agree
 agreed when Edla came and requested
 overwhelmed by her compassionate and friendly manner.

Secrets Revealed
 rattrap man was given bath and new dress
 iron man realized his mistake that the rattrap man was not his
 complained that the rattrap man made no attempt to hide
 the peddler ready to leave the new dress and wear old rags.
 Edla requested her father to allow him to stay
 they had promised him to celebrate Christmas with him.
 The rattrap man turned a new leaf
 quietly ate food, slept whole time
 next morning father and daughter went to church
 they heard that the crofter was robbed by a rattrap man.
 daughter sad, father anxious if their house would also have been robbed.
 but the peddler had left a gift of a small rattrap with thirty kronors and a note
 wished money to be returned to crofter.
 confessed that he had made a mistake
 got caught in his own rattrap.
 thanked Edla for treating him like a real captain.

1. How did the peddler earn his livelihood? What kind of life did he live?
Ans. The peddler earned his livelihood by selling small rattraps of wire, which he used to make himself from the material got by begging in
the stores or at big farms. But this was not so profitable, so he had to beg or even steal. He roamed about like a vagabond all alone. He lived a sad and monotonous life with no one to welcome him.

2. How did the crofter treat peddler and why?
Ans. The crofter was a lonely man without wife or child. He craved and desired human company to share his loneliness. He welcomed the peddler and offered him porridge, supper and even tobacco.
He played cards with him. He even showed him his earnings and let him know where it was kept.

3. Did the pedller respect the confidence reposed in him by the crofter?
Ans. No, the peddler did not respect the confidence reposed in him by the crofter. He broke his trust as the very next morning he picked the thirty kronors. The evil in him forced him to do so.

4. What made the peddler accept Edla Willmanson's invitation?
Ans. Edla started by sympathising with the vagabond that he was going through a hard time. She was compassionate and benevolent. Her manner was friendly that the vagabond felt confident. She insisted that he could leave at his will after spending christmas with them. Because of her friendly request, the peddler accepted her invitation.

1. What rattrap was the peddler trapped in? How did he come out of it?
Key points
 The whole world a rattrap
 World full of temptations
 shelter food, joy and riches – are the baits.
 The bait that he fell for was at the crofter's house
 blamed the crofter for having tempted with his bait.
 initially refused the office of iron master thinking it to be another bait.
 After meeting with Edla, he got reformed and returned the thirty kronors in a rattrap.

2. Describe how the story, "The Rattrap" shows that basic human goodness can be brought out by understanding and love.
Ans. The story 'The Rattrap' highlights the fact that compassion and concern can awaken the essential goodness in a man.
 The peddler, who had been resorting to begging and thievery all the time, never bothered to clear his identity befooled the ironmaster too.
 But, Edla gave him a royal treatment, served him delicious supper, gifted her father's dress to him.
 This kind of unconditioned love and compassion from Edla made him realise his mistake and further, he confessed his guilt too.
 This way, she made a lot of difference in his life and he got transformed into a much better person.

 He left the stolen money behind, even a letter and a gift for Edla.

Question.1. In what sense was the world a big rattrap according to the peddler? (Compartment 2014)
Why did the peddler think that the world was a rattrap? (All India 2009)
Answer. The peddler was a very poor man who earned his living by selling rattraps he made himself from the materials he got by begging. His mind, thus, was always preoccupied with rattraps. One day, he suddenly thought of the whole world was a big rattrap. He felt that the shelter, food, clothes, riches and joys that the world provided were all baits set to entrap man just as a rattrap offered cheese or meat to entrap rats. As soon as one was trapped, everything came to an end.
Question.2. Why did the peddler derive pleasure from his idea of the world as a rattrap?
(Delhi 2014; Modified)
Answer. The world had never been kind to the poor peddler. Wherever he went, he was greeted with sour faces and was turned or chased away. Therefore, he derived pleasure from thinking ill of the world in this way. Moreover, he perhaps envied those whose lot was better than his, and was rather amused to think that some day they too would be tempted by the bait and be caught in the Tattrap.

Question.3. Why did the peddler knock on the cottage by the roadside? How was he treated by the Owner Of the cottage? (Compartment 2014)
Answer. The peddler knocked on the cottage by the roadside to seek shelter for the night. The owner of the cottage was a crofter who lived there alone. He regarded the peddler as welcome company and treated him quite hospitably. He not only put him up for the night, but also offered him food and played cards with him.

Question.4. Why did Edla plead with her father not to sen’d the vagabond away?
(All India 2014; Modified)
Why did Edla still entertain the peddler even after she knew the truth about him? (NCERT)
Answer. Edla had always thought the peddler to be a poor, homeless tramp. Therefore, she didn’t feel cheated when his true identity was revealed. Instead, she felt very bad for him and his miserable condition, and pleaded on his behalf. She and her father had promised him Christmas cheer, and she felt that it would be wrong to send him away.
Question.5. What conclusion did the ironmaster reach when he heard that the crofter had been robbed by the peddler? (Compartment 2014)
Answer. It was at the church th$t the ironmaster and his daughter heard that the crofter had been robbed by a peddler, who, no doubt, was the one they had sheltered at the manor house. The ironmaster at once concluded that the peddler would probably have stolen all his silverware in their absence, and rdn away.

Question.6. What was the content of the letter written by the peddler to Edla? (Foreign 2014)
Answer. The peddler had written that since Edla had treated him like a captain, he wanted to be nice to her in return. He did not want her to be embarrassed at Christmas by a thief. He had requested that the crofter’s money that he had stolen be returned. He further wrote that the rattrap was a Christmas present from a rat who would have been caught in the world’s rattrap, if he had not been raised to the status of captain, which motivated him to reform himself.
Question.7. What were the contents of the package left by the peddler as Christmas gift for Edla Willmansson? (Compartment 2014)
Answer. The package left by the peddler as a Christmas gift for Edla Willmansson comprised a small rattrap with three wrinkled ten kronor notes in it, which the peddler had robbed from the crofter. It also contained a brief letter for Edla explaining the peddler’s conduct.
Question.8. Why did the peddler decline the invitation of the ironmaster? (Delhi 2012)
Answer.The ironmaster has mistaken the peddler for an old regimental comrade and invited him home. The peddler declined the invitation because he was carrying the money he had stolen from the crofter. He knew that if the ironmaster discovered his identity, he would hand him over to the police. Therefore, for him, going to the manor house was like walking into a lion’s den.
Question.9. Who was the owner of Ramsjo iron mills? Why did he visit the mills at night?
(All India 2012)
Answer.The owner of the Ramsjo iron mills was an ex-army man and an ambitious and prominent ironmaster. He was very particular about the quality of his products, and visited the mills even at night to make sure that good iron was shipped out from his mills.
Question.10.How did the ironmaster react on seeing the stranger lying close to the furnace?
(All India 2012)
Answer. When the ironmaster saw a stranger in rags lying close to the furnace, he went near him and removed his slouch hat to get a better view of his face. Due to dim light in the forge and the peddler’s dirty appearance, he mistook him to be Nils Olof, an old acquaintance of his regiment. He was delighted to see him and invited him home for Christmas.
Question.11.Why did the stranger not tell the ironmaster that he was not Nils Olof? (All India 2012)
Answer. The stranger did not tell the ironmaster that he was not Nils Olof because he thought that if the gentleman believed that he was an old friend or acquaintance of his, then he might take pity on him and help him with some money.
Question.12.Why was the crofter so talkative and friendly with the peddler? (Delhi 2012)
Answer. The old crofter was lonfly and leading a dreary existence as he had no wife or children. He was happy to get someone to talk to and share his thoughts with, even though it was a tramp. So he welcomed the peddler who was quite a patient listener, and extended his hospitality to him.
Question.13.Why was the peddler surprised when he knocked on the door of the cottage?
(All India 2011)
Answer. The peddler had never been treated kindly by the world. He was meted out cold treatment wherever he went. He was pleasantly surprised when the crofter greeted him with warmth and hospitality. Ordinarily, he always met ‘sour faces’ when he knocked for shelter and food, and was usually turned away.
Question.14.Why did the peddler keep to the woods after leaving the crofter’s cottage? How did
he feel?(All India 2011)
Answer. After stealing the money from the crofter’s, the peddler was cautious to. avoid the public, highway lest he be identified and caught. He got into the woods but finally realised that it was a big and confusing forest. The end of the forest was nowhere in sight and he felt lost. That’s when he recalled his thoughts about the world being a rattrap and he realised that he had indeed become a victim of a rattrap.
Question.15.What made the peddler finally change his ways? (All India 2010)
Answer. The peddler believed in giving back to the world what he received from it. He was always treated with contempt and hostility and so he never did anything good. However, Edla’s kind and caring behaviour finally changed him. She had treated him with love and respect befitting a captain, even after realising that he was a poor vagabond. The trust that Edla showed in him made him change his ways and he decided to live with dignity and respect.
Question.16.Why was Edla happy to see the gift left by the peddler? (All India 2010)
Answer. Edla felt very dejected when she came to know about the theft of the crofter’s money by the peddler, but the gift left behind, which consisted of a small rattrap and three wrinkled ten kronor notes, restored her faith in him. She felt happy because her trust in him had been justified. Her kindness had finally changed the peddler and brought out his essential goodness.
Question.17.”Edla sat and hung her head even more dejectedly than usual.” Which two reasons
forced her to behave in that manner? (Foreign 2010)
Answer. Edla had shown kindness to the peddler even after knowing that he was not a captain. This was.the reason why she felt all the more dejected when she came to know that the peddler whom she had sheltered was actually a thief, who had recently robbed a crofter. Secondly, she also felt bad because the peddler had disproved the faith which she had shown in him.
Question.18. Why did the peddler sign himself as Captain von Stahle? (All India 2009)
Answer. The peddler owed his transformation to the kind treatment meted out to him by Edla. In spite of knowing the truth about him, she had honoured and treated him like a captain. She had awakened the latent goodness in his heart. He wanted to repay Edla for her kindness. His signing himself as Captain von Stahle shows that he wanted to retain the dignity and respect accorded to him.

Long Answer Type Questions (6 Marks, 120-150 words)
Question.1. How did the peddler feel after robbing the crofter? What course did he adopt and
how did he react to the new situation? What does his reaction reveal? (Delhi 2013)
Answer. The crofter had treated the peddler with hospitality, and had even reposed his trust in the poor vagabond. Still the peddler robbed him and was quite pleased with his smartness. However, the fear of getting caught haunted him. So, he avoided the public highway and turned into the woods. It was a big and confusing forest, and due to the approaching darkness, the peddler lost his way. He got exhausted moving around the same place, and was filled with despair. He began to feel that the forest was like a big rattrap and the thirty kronor he had stolen were like a bait set to tempt him.
His reaction reveals that he was feeling guilty for having stolen the crofter’s money. His , heart was filled with remorse and self-loathing for his act of weakness. However, his thoughts are perhaps also a way of justifying his crime.
Question.2. The story, The Rattrap’ is both entertaining and philosophical. Do you agree with
this statement? Why/Why not? (Foreign 2011)
Answer. The story, ‘The Rattrap’ is indeed, both entertaining and philosophical. The fast-paced narrative in the third person, generous use of dialogue by the author and different characters belonging to different mindsets and locales make the story interesting and entertaining. Besides, the author has managed to keep up the suspense till the end.
The incidents in the forge, with the ironmaster coming at midnight, hold our attention. The peddler’s incessant refusals to the ironmaster to accompany him, but his accepting Edla’s invitation in one go, the ironmaster’s realisation of his mistake, and Edla’s sympathy and generosity, all make the story quite gripping. While all the above events make the story interesting, there is also an element of philosophy in the story.
Somewhere, the peddler’s theory of the world being a rattrap is true. One feels caught up like a rat in the entrappings of the world. Some people fall into this trap never to come out of it again. The story teaches us that, as human beings, we are not above temptations.
Question.3. The story focuses on human loneliness and the need to bond with others. Explain.
(Delhi 2010)
Answer. All. the characters in the story suffer from loneliness and are dreary souls. First of all, the tramp appears to lead a sad, monotonous existence, left to his own musings. He is always greeted by sour faces and cold words.
The old crofter’s fate has been somewhat kinder to him. Bereft of his wife and children, he lives all alone in a cottage by the roadside, and is rather happy to have visitors around.
We also have the ironmaster and his daughter, Edla, who have no company for Christmas. The ironmaster’s wife is dead and his sons are settled abroad.
He, with his daughter, are happy to play hosts for his friend. Thus, all of them have a strong desire for bonding and comradeship. The crofter is happy to be friends with the peddler, although only for a nig^it. It is the bonding with the ironmaster’s daughter that transforms the peddler. The love, understanding and dignity that he gets from the girl makes him leave his dishonest ways and redeem himself.
Question.4. Give examples from the story, The Rattrap’ to show how the ironmaster is different from his daughter. (Delhi 2009)
Compare and contrast the character of the ironmaster with that of his daughter.
(Delhi 2008)
Answer. The character of the ironmaster was very different from that of his daughter. He was an ambitious and arrogant man. When he saw the peddler, he mistook him for his old regimental comrade, and invited him home, but this was more out of his sense of pride than out of sympathy or generosity.
When the ironmaster realised that he had been mistaken, he called the peddler dishonest and threatened to call the Sheriff. When he learnt that the peddler was a thief, he was ‘ worried about his own silverware.
On the other hand, Edla, the ironmaster’s daughter, was a kind and compassionate lady who was really sympathetic and considerate towards the peddler right from the beginning. She treated him with respect and dignity even after knowing that he was not a captain. It was her generous attitude which finally changed the peddler, bringing out the essential goodness of his nature.

The Rattrap | CBSE Class 12 | English | Video Lecture in Hindi ...

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