Hullabaloo in the Guava Orchard Guided Reading Questions


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A slideshow designed to guide IGCSE Literature students through Desai's novel in preparation for examination.

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Hullabaloo in the Guava Orchard Guided Reading Questions

  1. 1. Hullabaloo in the Guava Orchard<br />Guided reading questions<br />
  2. 2. Chapter 1<br />Comment on Desai’s focus on the weather and its impact in the opening few pages of the novel (consider tone, descriptive detail and the nature of the proposals offered to bring about the much needed monsoon).<br />
  3. 3. Draw a diagram that represents SampathChawla’s family tree as revealed in the first chapter.<br />
  4. 4. What does Mr Chawla mean by “the sticky humanness of things” (pg. 6 line 6)?<br />
  5. 5. Look again at the penultimate passage of the chapter – what view of nature is presented here and how does it set the tone for the rest of the novel?<br />
  6. 6. Look again at the passage that describes Kulfi’s wall drawing in crayon (pg. 7-9) – how does the language in this section build towards and echo the coming rains and the birth of Sampath?<br />
  7. 7. Chapter 2<br />Pick out three phrases from the start of Chapter 2 which show that Desai uses hyperbole to dramatise even the most mundane of events.<br />
  8. 8. Identify three examples of onomatopoeia used in the first few pages of Chapter 2.<br />
  9. 9. Pick out some the most interesting adjectives and verbs used to describe the view Sampath has of Shahkot from the roof top – what impression do these words give of the village?<br />
  10. 10. Chapter 3<br />Research the significance of the word ‘om’ in Hindu culture.<br />
  11. 11. Comment on the contrasting descriptions of Mr and Mrs Chawla in the opening pages of chapter 3.<br />
  12. 12. What is Chawla’s impression of his son? Use brief quotation from the text to support your answer.<br />
  13. 13. How does Ammaji’s attitude towards Sampath differ from that held by her son?<br />
  14. 14. Which parent does Sampath seem to take after the most? Use brief quotation from the text to support your answer.<br />
  15. 15. Chapter 4<br />What impression is given of the residents of Shahkot from their response to the barbed wire fence around the post office?<br />
  16. 16. Research the meaning of the word ‘sadhu’ (pg. 28, line 11)?<br />
  17. 17. What questions does Sampath address to a passing cow on pg. 29 and what does this tell us about him?<br />
  18. 18. What are your first impressions of Miss Jyotsna and Mr Gupta? Use brief quotation from the text to support your answer.<br />
  19. 19. What does Sampath’s treatment of the mail tell you about him?<br />
  20. 20. Look again at the last line of the chapter – why might Desai have chosen to conclude with such an unusual detail?<br />
  21. 21. Chapter 5<br />Look again at the sensory description presented as Sampath investigates one of the rooms at Mr D.P.S’s house (pg 37-40) – why has Desai provided so much rich detail in this section?<br />
  22. 22. Why did Sampath leave blanks in the examination he recalls on pg 38?<br />
  23. 23. How does Desai emphasise the humour of the situation as Sampath disrobes before the wedding guests on pg 41? Use brief quotation from the text to support your answer.<br />
  24. 24. Look again at the dialogue driven section on pg. 42 – can you identify who each speaker is likely to be? How did you arrive at your opinion?<br />
  25. 25. What qualities of the guava are emphasised at the end of the chapter?<br />
  26. 26. How does the incident with the guava here compare with the effect of the monsoon in chapter 1?<br />
  27. 27. Chapter 6<br />Sampath flees the bus and runs towards an ‘ancient tree’ – look carefully at the description of the tree and its effect on Sampath and then write a few lines considering the significance of this scene and how it reminds you of other religious stories and symbols.<br />
  28. 28. Research the Hindu god Hanuman and consider his significance to this story.<br />
  29. 29. Find out about Joseph Campbell’s ‘Hero’s Journey’ and then see if you can relate the events of chapter 6 to one of the stages of the ‘monomyth’.<br />
  30. 30. Chapter 7<br />What is the outcome of Dr. Banerjee’s examination of Sampath?<br />
  31. 31. What is the holy man’s recommendation as a cure for Sampath’s ‘madness’ and what do you think Desai is suggesting from the questions he asks in an effort to establish the nature of his affliction?<br />
  32. 32. What do we learn of the differences between our culture and that of traditional Indian culture from Desai’s humorous description of the qualities sought in a daughter-in-law?<br />
  33. 33. What is the connection between the one prospective daughter-in-law found for Sampath and the barbed wire that catches Sampath’s hair in Chapter 4?<br />
  34. 34. What do we learn about Kulfi which reinforces the similarities between her son’s curious behaviour and her own past?<br />
  35. 35. What is the effect of Sampath’s interactions with Mr Singh and Mrs Chopra and how did he attain this apparently supernatural knowledge? What noun is used to describe those who drive back to Shahkot at the bottom of pg. 66 and what does it infer about their perception of Sampath now?<br />
  36. 36. Do you think Sampath deserves the ‘popular speculation’ reported about him in the newspaper a week later? Use brief quotation from the text to support your answer.<br />
  37. 37. Chapter 8<br />What implications are made about ‘holy men’ in the opening paragraphs of chapter 8?<br />
  38. 38. What does the term ‘ascetic’ mean and how does it relate to the novel?<br />
  39. 39. What phrase at the bottom of pg. 70 reflects the shift in family relations that has taken place at this stage in the story?<br />
  40. 40. What is ‘the sermon in the guava tree’?<br />
  41. 41. Research the meaning of the words ‘namaste’ (pg. 73) and ‘samadhi’ (pg. 74)<br />
  42. 42. Can you account for the differences of reaction to ‘the sermon’ by Mr Chawla, Pinky and the rest of the gathered crowd?<br />
  43. 43. What do you notice about the nature about Sampath’s advice as the sermon runs on? Do his language patterns remind you of other religious teachings you have come across?<br />
  44. 44. What is the ‘tidal wave of inspiration’ referred to on pg. 77 and in this chapter and what is Desai suggesting about the relationship between ‘vision’, ‘obsession’ and ‘madness’?<br />
  45. 45. What is the atmosphere and tone at the end of the chapter and how does it differ from the rest of the novel so far?<br />
  46. 46. Chapter 9<br />What is the ‘bazaar society’ and how does life in the movie ‘Love Story’ differ from that of Pinky’s village experience?<br />
  47. 47. What are the similarities between the scene in which the Cinema Monkey steals Ammaji’s dentures and the striptease act performed by Sampath at the wedding in chapter 5?<br />
  48. 48. What is unusual about Pinky’s response to the Hungry Hop Boy?<br />
  49. 49. What is unusual about Pinky’s response to the Hungry Hop Boy?<br />
  50. 50. Chapter 10<br />Read again the interchange between Mr Chawla and Sampath in the middle of pg. 91 – what is inferred by the father’s ‘slightly unsettled’ feeling and the question he raises here?<br />
  51. 51. Create a flow diagram that charts the swelling scale of Mr Chawla’s plans and ambitions in the opening pages of chapter 10, starting with the electricity supply and ending with the special temple fund.<br />
  52. 52. Research the word ‘baba’.<br />
  53. 53. What tone does Desai adopt in describing the ‘very nice system’ of offerings set up by Mr Chawla at the top of pg. 93?<br />
  54. 54. What is your opinion of the spy’s ‘clever questions’ on pg. 95 and how does his choice of recording materials reflect Desai’s portrayal of the character?<br />
  55. 55. What is Ammaji’s explanation of her grandson’s academic shortcomings?<br />
  56. 56. What is the significance of Miss Jyotsna’s song on pg. 98 and how does it echo the themes of the novel?<br />
  57. 57. What is inferred by the term ‘something else’ at the bottom of pg. 98?<br />
  58. 58. Chapter 11<br />List the verbs that are used to describe Kulfi’s foraging and preparation of food on pg 100-101 and comment on the impression they give of Sampath’s mother.<br />
  59. 59. What is it that ensures Sampath is not poisoned by Kulfi’s culinary experimentation?<br />
  60. 60. What is the ‘trick of limited access’?<br />
  61. 61. Chapter 12<br />Why was Sampath endowed with ‘elevated status within the monkey hierarchy’?<br />
  62. 62. To what extent would you agree with the statement that the behaviour of the monkeys is another ‘proclamation of Sampath’s authority’?<br />
  63. 63. How does Sampath’s advice to Pinky foreshadow the events that follow later in the chapter?<br />
  64. 64. Comment on Desai’s description of Pinky as the Hungry Hop Boy perceives her on pg. 113 and consider how this is then reflected in her actions on that same page.<br />
  65. 65. Why does the photographer and the printers refuse to charge Mr Chawla for their services and how does this reflect the increasingly unlikely scenario presented in the novel?<br />
  66. 66. Why is the spy so committed to exposing Sampath as a fraud?<br />
  67. 67. How does Desai suggest that the world of civilised man and animals are not so far apart?<br />
  68. 68. Chapter 13<br />List examples of anthropomorphism used to describe the drunken monkeys’ behaviour in this chapter.<br />
  69. 69. Chapter 14<br />What difference is emphasised between the drunken langurs and the drunken man Sampath recalls from his childhood?<br />
  70. 70. Chapter 15<br />What is the C.M.O.’s affliction and why is it ironic?<br />
  71. 71. What is the cultural complication that might impede a non-peaceful solution to the problem of the wild monkeys?<br />
  72. 72. What is the connection between Vermaji and the problem of the stifling summer of chapter 1?<br />
  73. 73. What narrative device does Desai use to link the C.M.O., Vermaji and the Brigadier?<br />
  74. 74. What word is used on pg. 138 to liken the parading soldiers to the birds which the Brigadier takes such pleasure in spotting?<br />
  75. 75. What is your opinion of the various officials we meet in chapter 15? Justify your answer with close reference to the text.<br />
  76. 76. What words and phrases suggest that the langurs are suffering from a hangover at the end of the chapter?<br />
  77. 77. Chapter 16<br />In your own words, explain what it is that Sampath longs for on pg. 143.<br />
  78. 78. To what extent can you identify with the sentiment expressed in Pinky’s letter on pg. 145?<br />
  79. 79. How is the ‘pebble note’ incident on pg. 146 similar to other humorous moments in the novel - list them and identify their common elements.<br />
  80. 80. What seems to take precedence over love when arranging marriages in traditional Indian culture?<br />
  81. 81. Is the culture described by Desai one in which gender equality is embraced? Can you find a quotation on pg. 150 to support your opinion?<br />
  82. 82. Chapter 17<br />Why do you think Sampath identifies the poem read by Brother John on pg 151 as ‘inspirational’?<br />
  83. 83. How does Sampath “thwart his own ambitions” in attempting to compose his own poem?<br />
  84. 84. What is the thought that so terrifies the spy in this chapter?<br />
  85. 85. Chapter 18<br />What extreme act are the devotees of the Hanuman temple prepared to carry out in order to protect the delinquent monkeys?<br />
  86. 86. What ‘hullabaloo’ seems to mimic the chaos caused by the monkeys in this chapter? Can you identify two metaphors used by Desai to emphasise the failure of civilised reason?<br />
  87. 87. Chapter 19<br />What is Verma’s ‘beautiful plan’?<br />
  88. 88. How does the Brigadier’s plan differ from the scientists?<br />
  89. 89. What are the C.M.O.’s ‘three victories ‘he hopes to secure?<br />
  90. 90. Find a passage on pg. 143 that echoes the statement on pg. 165 – “Again, how could you gather anything if you were wishing all the while it would gather you up instead?”<br />
  91. 91. How does Desai emphasise the ‘hullabaloo’ taking place in the orchard in the last paragraph of pg. 165?<br />
  92. 92. What physical act on pg. 167 reflects Sampath’s suffering?<br />
  93. 93. How does the last line of the chapter contrast with the penultimate paragraph and why has Desai structured this section in this way?<br />
  94. 94. Chapter 20<br />Who is the new District Collector’s secretary and what is his distinguishing behaviour pattern?<br />
  95. 95. Why is it a useful narrative choice to have the District Collector arrive at this point in the plot?<br />
  96. 96. Chapter 21<br />Why has Desai placed such emphasis on adages in the first part of this chapter?<br />
  97. 97. How does the District Collector’s evening meal contrast with other foods described in this novel (pg. 177)<br />
  98. 98. What would mean “drilling holes” in Mr Chawla’s “watertight heart” and what does this tell us about him?<br />
  99. 99. What is the irony of the subject matter of the monkeys’ ransomed documents?<br />
  100. 100. What has become the latest culinary obsession for Kulfi in this part of the novel?<br />
  101. 101. What is the trap that Sampath can find no way of escaping?<br />
  102. 102. Chapter 22<br />What occurs in the opening paragraph which reinforces Desai’s idea that the ‘hullabaloo’ is not strictly the result of the monkeys’ misbehaviour? Give three brief quotations to support your answer.<br />
  103. 103. Identify the metaphor in the middle of pg. 184 which emphasises Sampath’s disgust with the world of men.<br />
  104. 104. Is the ‘waterfall’ described on pg. 185 real or not? Justify your opinion with close reference to the text.<br />
  105. 105. Chapter 23<br />How do the Hungry Hop boy’s circumstances echo those of Sampath in this part of the story?<br />
  106. 106. Were you surprised by the Hungry Hop boy’s reaction to his family’s choice of marriage partner and his initial response to seeing her on pg. 191? Quote from the text to support your thoughts on this issue.<br />
  107. 107. How does Desai make use of the ellipsis on pg. 192?<br />
  108. 108. Chapter 24<br />Why do you think Desai has so precisely identified the time Mr Gupta and the D.C. were scheduled to be seated in the governmental jeep on pg. 194?<br />
  109. 109. What is the bad omen which so irritates the Brigadier?<br />
  110. 110. What is the third interruption to the Brigadier’s plan and why do they reroute to avoid a fourth delay?<br />
  111. 111. What is the third interruption to the Brigadier’s plan and why do they reroute to avoid a fourth delay?<br />
  112. 112. What is the tone Desai achieves in this chapter and how does she do so?<br />
  113. 113. Chapter 25<br />What lexical clues can you find in the opening few paragraphs of this chapter to suggest that Kulfi is being likened to a witch?<br />
  114. 114. What simile does Desai use to describe Sampath on pg. 202 and how does this contrast with the other representations of characters at the start of this chapter?<br />
  115. 115. List the various sensory details captured by Desai on pg. 202/203 in the paragraph that begins “Sampath had been sitting still a long time”. Why has Desai gone to such lengths to offer this vivid description?<br />
  116. 116. What details reflect that, by the end of pg. 202, Sampath’s experience had become almost supernatural in nature? Quote from the text to support your answer.<br />
  117. 117. What words and phrases reflect the insight Sampath has that the guava is a perfect symbol of his desire to be “gathered up” and become one with nature? Quote from the text to support your answer.<br />
  118. 118. How does this scene echo / connect with the events on pg 46/ 47?<br />
  119. 119. Why do you think the Hungry Hop boy’s scene of prevarication immediately follows Sampath’s meditation upon the guava (pg. 204)?<br />
  120. 120. How does the fate of the Hungry Hop boy foreshadow the spy’s fate?<br />
  121. 121. What details suggest that Sampath has somehow magically transformed to become a guava? Quote from the text to support your answer.<br />
  122. 122. Miss Jyotsna describes this as a “terrible event” – why and what does this suggest about holy figures and their followers?<br />
  123. 123. On pg. 206 the jangurs are described as confused and terrified – is this because they become aware of the approaching soldiers or is there another explanation?<br />
  124. 124. What phrase does Desai use in describing the Cinema Monkey which suggests that he appreciates and values the transfiguration that has taken place?<br />
  125. 125. Why do you think Desai uses similes associated with air and the wind to describe the escaping monkeys?: <br />“like a gust of wind”, <br />“melts into nothing”, <br />“as if a whirlwind were passing through”<br />
  126. 126. The monkeys continue to ascend until they finally “bowed their heads as if in farewell – and then they were gone without a trace.” What are the two interpretations we can draw from this description and why does Desai avoid committing to one or the other?<br />
  127. 127. What is the ‘”something else” alluded to in the cauldron? Comment on this choice of expression (look again at the bottom of pg. 98).<br />
  128. 128. How do you feel about the novel’s ending – is it successful and why does Desai end with the spy’s unfortunate demise rather than conclude with the monkeys’ ascension?<br />