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12th English – Lesson 3 – Supplementary – The Hour of Truth (Play)

 

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12th English – Lesson 3 – Supplementary – The Hour of Truth (Play)

Warm up

(a) We judge people around us, based
on their qualities and actions. We brand some people as good and some bad. What
qualities, do you think, characterise a gentleman? Some of them may be merely
external and some others internal

Answer:

Well Dressed / Courtesous

Well-Read / Kind

Caring / Generous

 

(b) When we see a few coins scattered
on the ground, we would probably pick them up on the sly or walk away ignoring
them. What if it was an envelope full of 2000 bills? How are people likely to
react in such a situation?

Answer:

Discuss
with a partner and share your views:

People may react
differently. Reader’s digest conducted a honesty test in the busy roads of
major cities of India. They had obviously left a costly mobile on the middle of
a pavement. A candid camera was taking a video footage. Many tried to pocket
it. One poor man tried to contact a policeman on the beat and hand it over to
him. Recently in Saravana Bhavan hotel in Chennai an old lady had left behind a
yellow bag. There was 25 lakhs in the bag. The old lady had come to buy jewels
for her grand daughter’s wedding. One of the waiters who attended the lady and
her family members passed on the bag to the manager, who in turn gave it in
person to Inspector, Mambalam Police station. Fortunately a tear filled lady
and worried family members also reached the spot. The Inspector sent for the
honest waiter and through him gave the money to the old lady.

 

Whether it is big money or small coins, one should not covet
others’ wealth. The person who lost must be feeling the pain of loss. We should
never think of enjoying life at the cost of the pain of others.

1.
Rearrange the following sentences in a meaningful sequence and write the
summary of the play.

 

(a) Baldwin who returned home after
meeting Gresham, informed his family that Gresham had offered a hundred
thousand, if he would utter the words ‘I don’t remember’ in court, during the
trial.

 

(b) The family members tried to
justify Gresham’s act and enticed Baldwin into accepting the money.

 

(c) Thus ‘The Hour of Truth’ had
dawned relieving Baldwin of the heavy burden and guilt.

 

(d) Baldwin was an honest and upright
man, working under John Gresham, in a bank.

 

(e) To save Baldwin, Mr. Marshall,
President of the Third National, visited him and informed him that Gresham had
confessed his crime, in order to free him from betraying his trusted friend and
testifying painfully against him.

 

(f) Gresham and Baldwin had been thick
friends for over 30 years and Baldwin had even named his son after Gresham.

 

(g) Baldwin felt disgusted with
himself and the attitude of his family members.

 

(h) Gresham had been arrested for
misappropriation of money at the bank and Baldwin was to testify against him.

 

(i) Mr. Marshall also offered Baldwin
a job in his Bank, to reward him for his honesty and integrity.

 

(j) The family members who were
initially against Gresham, changed their mind on hearing the huge sum offered
by him.

Answer:

(f) Gresham and Baldwin had been thick
friends for over 30 years and Baldwin had even named his son after Gresham.

 

(d) Baldwin was an honest and upright
man, working under John Gresham, in a bank.

 

(h) Gresham had been arrested for
misappropriation of money at the bank and Baldwin was to testify against him.

 

(a) Baldwin who returned home after
meeting Gresham, informed his family that Gresham had offered a hundred
thousand, if he would utter the words ‘I don’t remember’ in court, during the
trial.

 

(b) The family members tried to
justify Gresham’s act and enticed Baldwin into accepting the money.

 

(j) The family members who were
initially against Gresham, changed their mind on hearing the huge sum offered
by him.

 

(g) Baldwin felt disgusted with
himself and the attitude of his family members.

 

(e) To save Baldwin, Mr. Marshall,
President of the Third National, visited him and informed him that Gresham had
confessed his crime, in order to free him from betraying his trusted friend and
testifying painfully against him.

 

(c) Thus ‘The Hour of Truth’ had
dawned relieving Baldwin of the heavy burden and guilt.

 

(i) Mr. Marshall also offered Baldwin
a job in his Bank, to reward him for his honesty and integrity.

 

2. Answer the following questions in one or two sentences each.

(a)Why
did Baldwin meet Gresham?

Answer: Baldwin
met Gresham because he had asked to see him before the trial slotted the
following day.

 

(b)What
made Martha withdraw her money from the bank?

Answer: Martha
had a doubt that the bank was crashing. So, she withdrew the money from the
bank.

 

(c)How
is Martha’s strong conviction in Baldwin’s integrity revealed?

Answer: During
the family conversation, Martha defends Mr. Baldwin’s integrity like a tigress.
She told her son John Gresham Baldwin and Evie that their father was upright
and had no hand in the wrecking of the bank.

 

(d)What
had Donovan told John?

Answer: Donovan
had said that nobody had any idea as to what was ailing the bank. The wreck of
the bank was too sudden. He had married on the strength of the cashier’s job in
the bank. He said crash would not have happened without the knowledge of the
Governor Baldwin.

 

(e)
John feels Gresham deserves punishment. Why?

Answer: John
had a feeling that his dad was paid only 60 dollars per week for the past 20
years. Gresham had become very rich during the same period. He deserved
punishment for underpaying his staff.

 

(f)What
was Baldwin’s advice to Gresham?

Answer: Baldwin
advised Gresham to close the bank and make up the losses.

 

(g)What
did Gresham want Baldwin to do?

Answer: Gresham
wanted Baldwin to say three words “I don’t remember’ in the court when the
lawyer (or) judge asked him the technical details and dates. If he did so,
Gresham will not be indicted. In turn, Baldwin will get one hundred thousand
dollars.

 

(h)Explain
the significance of the words ‘I don’t remember’.

Answer: ‘I
don’t remember’ were the three words which Gresham wanted Baldwin to say when
technical questions on misappropriation of funds are asked in the court.
Gresham offered one hundred thousand dollars in hot cash to say them. But
Baldwin did not want to do that dishonest and dishonourable thing.

 

(i)Why
does John turn wild on hearing that Gresham had offered his father money?

Answer: John
goes wild trying to convince Mr. Baldwin that it was not wrong to take the
offered money. He justified it as a help to a friend who had the name his son
shared. When a person with his own name is jailed, he feels that his reputation
may also be spoiled.

 

(j)When
would Baldwin part company with Gresham?

Answer: Baldwin
has always been loyal to Gresham. But when John Gresham ceases to be an honest
man, John Gresham and Baldwin would part company.

 

(k) What does John consider ‘a
technicality’?

Answer: John
says what Gresham had done would not amount to any crime because not a
depositor would lose a cent. It is just a technicality that he used for
increasing his gains.

 

(l)Why was John filled with shame?

Answer: John
was filled with shame because as he is named after Baldwin’s best friend
Gresham, he will be put to shame for bearing the name of a criminal. This
emotional blackmail is made to ask Baldwin to let Gresham off the hook.

 

(m)
How much did Gresham offer to pay Baldwin for saving his skin and how did he
justify that?

Answer: Gresham
offered Baldwin one hundred thousand dollars. He justified the money as a
difference of salary he had received and he ought to have received.

 

(n) What was Mr. Marshall’s offer to
Baldwin?

Answer: Mr.
Marshall offered Baldwin a job in the third National Bank.

 

(o) How was Baldwin’s honesty
rewarded?

Answer: In
the following morning the whole world know the integrity of Baldwin as Gresham
had confessed.

 

3. Based on your understanding of the play, complete the Graphic
Organiser given below.

3.2BBased2Bon2Byour2Bunderstanding2Bof2Bthe2Bplay252C2Bcomplete2Bthe2BGraphic2BOrganiser2Bgiven2Bbelow Tamil Mixer Education


Answer:

Answer2B3.2BBased2Bon2Byour2Bunderstanding2Bof2Bthe2Bplay252C2Bcomplete2Bthe2BGraphic2BOrganiser2Bgiven2Bbelow Tamil Mixer Education

4. Answer in a paragraph of about 150 words each.

(a)
Trace the bond of friendship between Baldwin and Gresham. Explain why Baldwin
wished to attribute some credit to his friend.

Answer:

Baldwin and Gresham
were boyhood chums. They went to school together. Their friendship flowered
into a lifetime bondage as it was sustained for thirty five years. When
Baldwin’s son was being baptised in the church, Gresham was present. Baldwin
expressed his wish that his son John Gresham Baldwin grew up to Gresham’s
standard in life. Baldwin was paid only 60 dollars a week for working as a
Governor of the private bank founded by Gresham. Accidentally, Baldwin found
out how Gresham was siphoning money very cleverly from the deposits technically
without really causing any loss to the depositors. But Baldwin was loyal to
Gresham only as long as he was honest. Once he parted ways with honesty,
Baldwin would also part ways with Gresham. By the force of his upright
character, Baldwin advised him to close the bank and return the deposit to the
customers.

Third National Bank
was ready to help the reorganization of the bank. Meanwhile, Gresham was
arrested. The court could not nail Gresham as there was not a shred of evidence
to prove his guilt. If Baldwin testified, the court would indict him. Just
before being arrested Gresham offered him one hundred thousand dollars to just
say “I don’t remember”. The three words to let him off the hook. He claimed it
was the difference between the salary he had been paid and what he ought to
have received. Had it been someone else, Baldwin would have slapped him. But it
was Gresham who understood his body language and did not press the matter
further. He was proud of the fact that Gresham understood how he could not
compromise with his conscience. His family members Martha, Evie and John felt
that it was a compliment that cost him one hundred thousand dollars. Baldwin
said that Gresham’s compliment about his uprightness was worth a hundred
thousand dollars.

 

(b)
How did Martha and John react when they came to know that Baldwin had rejected
the generous offer made by Gresham?

Answer:

Martha and John
cherished a grudge against Gresham for having underpaid Baldwin for about two
decades. They openly said that he deserved punishment. Initially Gresham
condemned the bribe claimed as a difference in salary paid. Had he been made a
similar offer he claimed he would have asked him to go to the devil. Baldwin
said that having been a friend he couldn’t use such an abusive language.
Casually John asked how much he offered. Baldwin said that it was one hundred
thousand dollars. Suddenly Martha and John changed their attitude towards
Gresham. John viewed a shame if Gresham got indicted because he shared his
name. Martha also desperately tried to convince him not to testify against
Gresham. John even suggested that he could say those three words “I don’t
remember” as the depositor would not lose a cent. Baldwin felt miserable
because the family members who he wanted to feel proud of his uprightness
wanted him to crossover to the side of corrupt practices because of the generous
offer made by Gresham.

 

(c) Is Baldwin really honest or does
he maintain his honesty fearing criticism? Why do you say so?

Answer:

Baldwin lived the
life of an upright and honest man. Though he was paid just 60 dollars a week in
the private bank of Gresham, he never complained. The small increments he had
been given were not because he had asked but because Gresham had given them. He
was frugal and he was worshipped as a hero by his family members (i.e.) wife
Martha, son John Gresham Baldwin and daughter Evie.

 

Baldwin deeply believed that he had
been a role model to his children that is more valuable than money. He admitted
to his son that he was disturbed that he would lose the respect of his own
family members if he stooped even once in his life even if the bait is one
hundred thousand dollars. No doubt he was upright. The three words “I don’t
remember” would choke him. Only during the momentary explosion of frustration,
it appears that he feared criticism. But his natural reflex on the offer was
denial. His agony on the contradictory expectation of worldly-wise family
members is obvious. He did not even have to articulate his feelings to Gresham
who intuitively understood that his uprightness can’t be purchased with even
one hundred thousand dollars.

 

(d)
Sketch the character of:

(i) Robert Baldwin

(ii) John Gresham.

Answer:

(i)
Robert Baldwin:

Robert Baldwin is
the central character around whom the whole one-act play revolves. He is a
middle class father who values honesty and loyalty to the organization more
than 35 year long friendship. He rises in the esteem of the readers and theatre
goers on realising that he wants to leave a legacy of honesty to his children
and not the ill-gotten hundred thousand dollars which could give his family a
life of comfort they did want to lead. Baldwin is really hurt by the three
sided attack (i.e.) a war of words waged against his honesty by Martha, Evie
and John. Even before the trial begins against Gresham, Baldwin is made to feel
like a traitor.

His family members
accuse him of letting down the honour of a close family friend who had made a
very generous offer. The mental agony experienced by Baldwin is hundred times
more at home. He is elated initially as he had successfully forced Gresham with
a whip in hand (i.e.) honesty to ‘ close the bank and make up the loss to the
customers. But when he discloses the offer of one hundred thousand dollars, as
a private fortune without causing loss of a cent to depositors, he is made to
experience hell by the emotional blackmail of his family members who knew very
well how those three words “I don’t remember” would choke him. Baldwin holds on
to honesty even at the prospect of losing both 35 year-old friendship and one
hundred thousand dollars he had never had in his life.

(ii)
John Gresham:

John Gresham is a
worldly-wise founder of a private bank. He values friendship and appoints his
boyhood chum Robert Baldwin as the Governor in his bank. He is clever and is
very , successful in running his bank profitably. In the meantime, he uses the
deposits accrued in a 1 way that enhances his own private fortune of course
without costing anything to the depositors, It is in fact a breach of trust.
Nobody has had an inkling that any malpractice is going on. Even Donovan the
cashier claims that the closure of the bank came as a rude shock to him as he
had married on the strength of the job and salary from the bank.

Martha claims she
withdrew her money without telling Baldwin who is very loyal to Gresham. He
would never have approved of it. After being found out and when the trial
against him on misappropriation of funds is in “progress he offers a bait of
one hundred thousand dollars from his private fortune. He knows’ that only
Baldwin alone could help the law to nail him. But if he says, “I don’t remember”
again using the good will regained in the law suit. But he understands the body
language of , Baldwin. He realizes it would be a painful thing for Baldwin to
testify against him. He might be bad as a banker, but he values the feelings of
Baldwin and his honesty. He confesses to avid embarrassment to Baldwin and
informs ‘Third National’ chairman that Baldwin has not for technical questions,
he would be let off the hook. If acquitted, he could make money budged even
after the offer of one hundred thousand dollars.

 

(e)
Who do you think exhibits true friendship-Baldwin or Gresham? Justify your
answer.

Answer:

This is a typical
question for which much can be said on both the sides. Both Baldwin and Gresham
exhibit true friendship from their respective sides. Baldwin is rich in great
virtues like loyalty, honesty, frugality and valuing human relationships. He is
loyal to Gresham with thirty five year old friendship. But the moment Gresham
parts ways with honesty, Baldwin would part ways with him. The greatest compliment
ever paid to Baldwin is not from Martha, Evie or John but Gresham. Gresham
meets Marshall and confesses that Baldwin is an honest man whose honesty cannot
be purchased even with one hundred thousand dollars.

He is poor earning
just 60 dollars a week, now even that is gone as the bank is closed. He is
richer than Gresham in terms of uprightness and honesty. Baldwin, being a
friend, shows Gresham the right path even when he realizes that his friendship
would be at stake. Thiruvalluvar says, “Friendship is not meant for just
laughing and having fun but to criticize a friend when he is wrong.” Likewise,
it is Baldwin who compels Gresham to close the bank and ensure the of deposits
through honest means. He doesn’t want to support friendship when a friend parts
ways with honesty. He doesn’t openly articulate his unwillingness to accept the
bait but his uncomfortable silence says it all. Thus both exhibit true
friendship towards one another.

 

5. IDIOMS

Now
match the idioms under column A with their meanings in column B:

A. IDIOMS – B. MEANINGS

A. save one’s skin – B. a sudden
unexpected event or news

A. make both ends meet –  B. to be the most powerful

A. a bolt out of a clear sky – B. viewed
with suspicion and distrust

A. go to grave –  B. to protect oneself from difficulty

A. have the whip hand – B. manage
one’s expenses within one’s income

A. under a cloud  – B. to exit the world

Answer:

A. IDIOMS – B. MEANINGS

A. save one’s skin – B. to protect
oneself from difficulty

A. make both ends meet – B. manage
one’s expenses within one’s income

A. a bolt out of a clear sky – B. a
sudden unexpected event or news

A. go to grave – B. to exit the world

A. have the whip hand – B. to be the
most powerful

A. under a cloud – B. viewed with
suspicion and distrust

 

Speaking Activity

(a)
Imagine you are Baldwin and your partner is Gresham. Try your best to persuade
your partner to confess the truth. Build a conversation describing how both of
you would react in such a situation. Work in pairs.

Gresham: Baldwin, why do you look
cross?

Baldwin: Ask your conscience.

Gresham: Well, my conscience is clear.
What is wrong with you?

Baldwin: I found out that you are
siphoning small negligible changes to your own account. Now it amounts to a few
hundred thousand dollars as none of the depositors have noticed the
disappearance of small changes.

Gresham: Well, none of the depositors
would lose a cent. I have transferred it in some investment. I have got ten
fold gains. Now we shall quietly transfer the amount in their own accounts. No
one will ever come to know of it.

Baldwin: Is it not a breach of trust?
I’m not going to keep quiet about this.

Gresham: What do you want to do?

Baldwin: Close the bank and make good
the loss to all the depositors. (After a few days)

Gresham: Well, Baldwin I have closed
the bank. Third National is going to do the reorganisation. Now I want you to
say three words.

Baldwin: What?

Gresham: “I don’t remember” When you
are cross examined on vital statistics for which you would require references.

Baldwin: How does that absolve you of
your crime.

Gresham: Don’t you know the fact that
I’ve earned enough money and no depositor will lose a cent. It is just a
technicality.

Baldwin: What do you mean?

Gresham: Well, I will give you one
hundred thousand dollars for letting me off the hook. I just want you to say “I
don’t remember”.

Baldwin: Already you have used the
funds of depositors. You want them to become paupers?

Gresham: Baldwin, you frustrate me.
Look here. This is hot cash from my own private fortune. Baldwin, why don’t you
say something?

Baldwin: You have known me for more
than 35 years.

Gresham: You are silent. Say yes or
no. I know you have been an upright man all through your life. The offer is
final.

Baldwin: You have one option Gresham.
We will meet in the court. You can confess. For God’s sake don’t force me to
say anything now. I am disturbed.

Gresham: Why do you think it is a
bribe or a bait. It is the difference in your salary, the salary you have
received and what you should have got all these years.

Baldwin: As long as you are honest, I
will be loyal to you Gresham. When you part with loyalty, we would part ways.
The matter is closed.

 

(b)
‘A friend in need is a friend indeed’. Does this hold good in all situations?
Share your views with your class.

The saying, “A
friend in need is a friend indeed” is relevant to only those situations when
both the friends pursue the goals with justifiable means. I read an interesting
story written by O. Henry entitle “After twenty years”. Two boyhood chums, Bob
and Jimmy, decide to pursue their dream careers and decide to meet at Big Joe
Brady’s Restaurant. Jimmy becomes a policeman and Bob a criminal and notorious
robber. Jimmy recognizes the features of the most wanted criminal by Chicago
police in Bob. The friend’s need is to help him escape but duty consciousness
gives him painful choice of sending a plain clothes man to arrest him. So, the
saying “A friend in need is a friend indeed” is not applicable at all
occasions. When there is a debate with the conscience on moral grounds and
professional ethics, one can’t continue to be a friend “in need”.

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