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Class 10 English Literature Reader Chapter 1 Two Gentlemen of Verona

Chapter 1 Two Gentlemen of Verona

Two Gentlemen of Verona Summary

The Summary of the Lesson Two Gentlemen of Verona is given below.
Two Gentlemen Of Verona is the inspirational story of two brothers aged 12 and 13 - the younger one Jacopo’s nature is childish and lively while the elder one, Nicola’s nature is serious and mature. The author met them in the town of Verona. A.J.Cronin used the title “The Two Gentlemen of Verona” in an ironic manner, as at a very young age they faced the hardships of life, their mother died early in their life, their father was a well-known singer but became a victim of the early war. Their village suffered due to German occupation. They got homeless as their home got destroyed, and suffered starvation and the cold winter. The family struggled for life, they lived in the shelter made of broken building walls and bricks. After the war, they got back to their sister, and found her suffering from tuberculosis of spine, which was another shock to these poor kids. As they were the only family of their sister, they had to work and arrange money for her medical treatment. Despite facing so many problems in their early life, the boys did not lose hope, the brothers’ positive approach and determination to get their sister cured had helped the staff treat her well. Despite having a scarcity of jobs in town, they managed to give their sister the best they could. On the contrary they lived a very poor life, their clothing and eating habits portrayed it. To earn their living they shined shoes, sold fruit, hawked newspapers, and even worked as tourist guides. Going through so much in life, they never tried to take anyone’s sympathy, instead they worked hard. These two young boys have every quality of being called gentlemen, their positivity and selflessness inspired the narrator. The narrator felt that such a humble youth gives our society hope for a better tomorrow. In such times of war, weapons and hatred, still, there is hope for humanity.


1. Nicola said to the narrator, “Waiting for the last bus from Padua. We shall sell all our
papers, when it comes in.” Why were the boys waiting for the last bus?
Ans. Both the brothers — Nicola and Jacopo were desperate to make as much money as possible to provide medical care for their sister Lucia, who was undergoing treatment for T.B. They worked late at night and were waiting for the last bus to sell the unsold newspapers.
2. Why did the two boys survive only on black bread and figs, despite making a decent earning?
Ans. The boys did not wish to spend any money on themselves. They just ate the minimum required for survival. Lucia’s treatment was expensive so they willingly gave away all the money they earned for her recuperation. Their own misery or poverty did not mean anything to the boys.
3. Why does the narrator make an offer for help to the two boys? What does it entail?
Ans. The narrator is very impressed by the hard work and zest exhibited by the two brothers. His visit was coming to an end, so the narrator offered help as the last sign of goodwill. Jacopo requested the narrator to take them to Poleta, which was 30 km away. Since the narrator had already given the day off to his driver, he volunteered to drive the boys, himself.
4. For what reason does Jacopo request for a lift to Poleta?
Ans. Lucia is Jacopo’s and Nicola’s sister who was undergoing medical treatment for tuberculosis of the spine at Poleta. The boys were working very hard to provide for their sister and went frequently to look her up. Jacopo wanted to save the expenses of the trip, so he requested the narrator for a lift to Poleta.
5. Why did the narrator enter the large redroofed villa?
Ans. Both the boys looked poor and bedraggled. When they halted before a beautiful villa, the narrator was surprised. Out of curiosity, he couldn’t restrain himself, and entered the red-roofed villa to know the reason for the trip made by the two boys.
6. What scene does the narrator see through the glass partition?
Ans. The narrator saw that the two brothers were seated on a hospital bed, with a girl of about 20 years. She appeared to be their sister. There was so much love and affection visible and the scene looked like a happy family reunion.
7. What did the narrator discover regarding the family background of the two boys? How did the war affect their family? Ans. The nurse, who was looking after Lucia, told the narrator the entire story of the two boys. All the three children belonged to a prosperous family and Lucia was training to be a singer. The war waged by Germany killed their father, their house was destroyed by a bomb and the boys were separated from their sister. Due to neglect, Lucia contracted T.B.
8. The nurse said regarding the two boys, “I don’t know what they do, I don’t ask. Work is scarce in Verona.” What does this remark reflect upon the speaker?

Ans. The nurse was very surprised how the boys managed to bring in sufficient money for the treatment of their sister, when work was scarce in the city. The nurse had no idea how hard the boys worked and how they tried to pitch in for all kinds of work that was available. The comment reveals that even the nurse respected the privacy of the boys and wanted to retain their dignity by not prodding them.
9. Why didn’t the two boys disclose their problems to the author? [C.B.S.E. 2011 (T-1)]
Ans. The boys were working hard to provide all possible help to their sister, Lucia, who was suffering from tuberculosis of the spine. They did not disclose their problems to the author as they wished to retain their pride and dignity. They did not want their private suffering to be made public.
10. What traits of the boys attracted the narrator to them? How were the children helpful to the narrator? [C.B.S.E. 2011 (T-1)]
Ans. The narrator was attracted towards the boys due to the zest and willingness, demonstrated by them for undertaking all kind of work. The boys were also very eager to provide all kinds of comfort to the author. They were always at beck and call of the author.
11. What were the hardships faced by Nicola and Jacop?
Ans. The children’s father had died in the war, waged by Germany. A bomb had destroyed their house, their sister had contracted tuberculosis due to cold and starvation. The two boys worked day in and day out, took every possible job, starved themselves to provide for their sister’s treatment and built, from the ruble of their house, a shelter for themselves.
12. What provoked the author’s interest in the two boys of Verona? [C.B.S.E. 2011 (T-1)]
Ans. The author found the zest and willingness of the boys for undertaking all kind of work—selling strawberries, polishing shoes, taking tourists round the city — remarkable. The author found the boys to be very innocent and friendly. 13. How did Luigi show his disapproval on seeing the two boys and why? [C.B.S.E. 2011 (T-1)] Ans. When the author and his companion Luigi saw the boys selling strawberries, they were shabbily dressed. Luigi disapproved of them due to their skinny and shabby appearance and cautioned the author against purchasing the fruit since better quality strawberries could be procured from the market.


1. Nicola is happy to see the improvement in his sister’s condition. He writes a letter to his friend James, expressing his feelings and satisfaction they were driving in their valiant efforts to help their sister. Write the letter on his behalf.
Ans. Oxford Street
ABC City
Date: …………….
Dear James,
I just wish to share my happiness with you that Lucia is really showing signs of improvement and maybe the day is not far off, when she will walk and sing again. The hard work and the struggle that Jacopo and I have put in is proving worthwhile and reaping a harvest. Believe me, Lucia has become our prime focus, day in and day out. We are single-mindedly driven by one sole reason — Lucia’s recuperation from tuberculosis. The wounds inflicted by war would be forgotten if Lucia gets well. Our efforts have received God’s grace. Please pray for me.
Love. Nicola
2. Both the boys have left a deep imprint on the author’s minds. When the author gets back to his city, he writes an article titled, “PROFILES IN COURAGE”, recounting the brave efforts of the two brothers. Respecting their feelings, he uses fictitious names for the two boys. Write the article.
Ans. Profiles in Courage
War can distabilise people, it tends to break human spirit and it is extremely difficult to bounce back and struggle again. This extraordinary feat was performed by two brothers of Verona, who with great grit and perseverance, not only saved themselves but also provided for their sister, who had contracted TB. Both slaved day in and day out, took on every possible job, worked late nights, starved themselves but still remained cheerful. They were too mature for their age and never gave vent to their misery. By saving their sister, building a house out of rubble, they have become role-models for others, by their superhuman efforts.
3. The nurse is full of admiration for the two brothers and their sister Lucia. She is astonished at the great efforts all are making towards their future. Lucia is bravely fighting her handicap, her brothers are defying all physical barriers to aid their sister. The nurse writes a letter to her sister Mary, praising this family of fighters who are the real survivors in the great battle of life.
Ans. Park Street ABC City 15th October, 20……
Dear Mary,
Sorry, I couldn’t write earlier. As you know, I am in Poleta, looking after a bedridden girl of 20, who has contracted TB. Her name is Lucia and she is very cheerful and bravely fighting her handicap. Mary, you’d not believe how extraordinary her two brothers are! Both the brothers are very young. Their parents had died in the war and now they are slaving everyday to provide medical treatment for their sister. I have never asked what they do, but they bring sufficient money for Lucia’s treatment. The brothers face all the hardhips, they are sacrificing everything to provide the best care for their sister. Even she is showing great signs of recovery. I hope I live to see that day. Love, Megan
4. Answer any one of the following in about 150 words.
“The two boys’ devotion had touched me deeply. War had not broken their spirit. Their selfless action brought a new nobility to human life, gave promise of a greater hope for human society.”
Comment upon this statement made by the narrator of the lesson, “Two Gentlemen of earona” bringing out the reasons. [C.B.S.E. 2011 (T-1)]
Ans. War, tragidies and adversities shake the people to the core. They prove to be great testing times which end up in glory or in disaster. In the similar circumstances amidst the ravages of war, the two boys, Nicola and Jacopo depicted great maturity, wisdom and faith. Their diehard nature prevented them from succumbing to the cruelty of war, waged by Germany.
The children’s father had been killed in the war and a bomb had destroyed their home and rendered them homeless. They kept themselves alive by building a shelter out of the rubble of their house. Their sister, Lucia, contracted tuberculosis of the spine due to cold and starvation and had been admitted to a hospital. They pitched in their best efforts to sustain their sister, Lucia. Both slaved day in and day out, took on every possible job, worked late nights, starved themselves to earn sufficient money for Lucia’s treatment. Their own misery and poverty did not mean anything to the boys. By their earnest endeavour and selfless attitude they brought a new nobility to human life and promised a greater hope for human society.
5. Answer the following in about 150 words.
You are Lucia the ailing sister of the two boys. Write a letter to your friend about your past life and your present situation, as you are on the way to recovery, with the help of your younger brothers. [C.B.S.E. 2011 (T-1)]
Ans. Dear Margret
I just want to share my happiness with you that I am on my way to recovery with the help of Nicola and Jacopa.
Margret, you must be astonished by what I am talking about, because you do not know what happened to me and my family after Germany waged a war on us. I could not tell you earlier as I lost your address in the rubble of our home which was destroyed by a bomb. My father was killed in the war and we three were rendered homeless. My budding career in the field of singing also came to an end. Worst of all, I contracted tuberculosis of the spine and was admitted to a hospital. It is only the diehard spirit of two angels — Nicola and Jacopo — which has kept me alive. My heart bleeds when I see the deprived and ragged faces of my younger brothers who are valiantly trying to sustain me. They never tell me what they do, but I can well imagine the burden they are bearing at such a young age.
It was only yesterday when I had such a fulfilled life. I can never forgive war. I am eagerly waiting for the day when I will walk! when I will sing! when my brothers will enjoy a childhood they had missed. Rest in the next letter.

After her brothers’ visit, Lucia writes a page in her diary about her past life and her present situation. As Lucia write the diary entry in about 150 words.
Monday, 10 p.m.
It is the happiest day for me because it reminds me of both, my creator and my caring brothers. God above and my brothers below are my only source of hope and happiness.
As usual my brothers visited me. They brought flowers, fruits and good novels for me. We reminisced our golden days when we lived with our parents in a beautiful house. Then the hateful Germans attacked our town and destroyed our house and killed our father who was a sweet voiced singer. When he performed in the opera house, the entire hall resounded with the joyful clapping of the people. Unluckily I developed tuberculosis of the spine.
My brothers worked hard and admitted me here. I’m happy as my doctors and nurse tell me that soon I will be able to stand and walk. When I become a singer, I will put my brothers in a good school. They will not work as hard as they do now for my sake. They will study and I will cook delicious food for them. I will try to give them a lot of happiness. They are everything for me. May God bless them.

New Words
  • Shrugged: To raise and lower your shoulder in order to show disapproval.
  • Shabby: Poor condition especially dressed in old and worn clothes.
  • Earnest: A serious mental state.
  • Brisk: Quick, fast.
  • Slackened: Slowed down or less active.
  • Demeanour: A person’s appearance or behavior.
  • Hawked: To offer for sale by calling out in the street.
  • Errands: Short work or business trip.
  • Deserted: Empty or sparsely occupied.
  • Emigrate: Leave one's own country in order to settle permanently in another.
  • Vexation: Annoyed state.
  • Humble Dwellings: A simple living space
  • Steel-rimmed: The upper or outer edge of an object, especially when curved or circular.
  • Vestibule: An entrance hall inside a building.
  • Intrude: To interrupt someone’s privacy.
  • Rubble: Waste or rough fragments of stone, brick, concrete, etc., especially as the debris from the demolition of buildings.
  • Scarce: Very small in amount.

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