Get notes, solutions, summary, textual questions and answers, extras, MCQs, and pdf of the story (prose) ‘The Eyes have it’ by Ruskin Bond which is part of (West Bengal Board) WBCHSE Class 12 English syllabus. However, the notes should only be treated for references and changes should be made according to the needs of the students.
In this story, a blind man finds himself sharing a train compartment with a young woman. The story begins with the narrator, who is completely blind, hearing the sounds of the young woman boarding the train, guided by her seemingly anxious parents. Though he can’t see her, he is immediately drawn to the melodic quality of her voice and the soft slap of her slippers on her heels.
Despite the girl being initially startled when the man speaks up, the two engage in a warm conversation. The narrator learns she is going to Saharanpur to meet her aunt and shares with her his love for the hills of Mussoorie, particularly in the cosy month of October. A touch of romantic nostalgia fills the air as the narrator describes the dahlias, the warm sun, and the joy of a log fire in the hills, though he later questions whether his sentimentality might have struck her as foolish.
Throughout their talk, the narrator goes to great lengths to hide his blindness. He even fakes looking out the window when the young woman talks about the scenery, all the while wondering what she looks like. Despite the unspoken vulnerability, a genuine connection forms between them—a connection so strong that the man contemplates the bittersweet reality that this fleeting encounter will probably leave a lasting impression on him, but not on her.
As the train slows down to approach her destination, the young woman gathers her belongings. The narrator, still lost in the imagination of her appearance, wonders how she wears her hair. A rich perfume lingers in the air as she leaves, marking her absence. A new passenger joins the compartment and, sensing the narrator’s lingering thoughts, comments that he is a less interesting companion than the girl.
But the real twist comes when the narrator curiously asks the new passenger about the girl’s appearance, particularly her hair. The new passenger informs him that it wasn’t her hair but her eyes that were striking—because she, too, was completely blind.
The revelation leaves a profound impression, highlighting the irony and the beautiful subtleties of human connection. It underscores how two people, both dealing with their own forms of blindness, can be so aware yet so unaware of what’s right in front of them.
Multiple Choice Questions (MCQs) and answers
1. Where did the girl get into the train?
A. Dehra B. Mussoorie C. Saharanpur D. Rohana
Answer: D. Rohana
2. Who saw the girl off at the station?
A. Her aunt B. Her parents C. The narrator D. A porter
Answer: B. Her parents
3. What instructions did the girl’s mother give her?
A. To keep her ticket safe B. To avoid overeating C. To not lean out of windows D. To stay awake
Answer: C. To not lean out of windows
4. What disability did the narrator have?
A. He was deaf B. He was mute C. He was blind D. He was lame
Answer: C. He was blind
5. What did the narrator know about the girl from the sound?
A. That she was humming B. That she was crying C. That she wore bangles D. That she wore slippers
Answer: D. That she wore slippers
6. Where was the narrator going?
A. Dehra and Kolkata B. Mumbai and Mussoorie C. Dehra and Mussoorie D. Delhi and Dehra
Answer: C. Dehra and Mussoorie
7. When did the narrator say is the best time to visit Mussoorie?
A. December B. August C. January D. October
Answer: D. October
8. What did the narrator say Mussoorie is like in October?
A. Hot and humid B. Cold and misty C. Warm and pleasant D. Cool and rainy
Answer: C. Warm and pleasant
9. Where was the girl getting off?
A. Dehra B. Mussoorie C. Kolkata D. Saharanpur
Answer: D. Saharanpur
10. Who was meeting the girl at Saharanpur?
A. Her friend B. Her brother C. Her aunt D. Her uncle
Answer: C. Her aunt
11. What pretence did the narrator make when the girl asked him to look out of the window?
A. He declined saying he was tired B. He made pretence of being asleep C. He made pretence of reading a book D. He made pretence of studying the landscape
Answer: D. He made pretence of studying the landscape
12. What did the narrator say about the trees outside?
A. That they were shedding leaves B. That they were flowering C. That they were still C. That they seem to be moving while they seem to be standing still
Answer: D. That they seem to be moving while they seem to be standing still
13. What did the narrator say about animals in the forests near Dehra?
A. That they were in abundance B. That they migrated C. That they hibernated D. That there were hardly any left
Answer: D. That there were hardly any left
14. What did the narrator remark about the girl’s face?
A. That she had a pretty face B. That she had an ugly face C. That she had an angry face D. That she had an interesting face
Answer: D. That she had an interesting face
15. What did the girl say she was tired of hearing about her face?
A. That she had a weird face B. That she had an interesting face C. That she had a forgettable face D. That she had a pretty face
Answer: D. That she had a pretty face
16. Why did the narrator try to laugh?
A. He heard a joke B. He felt amused C. The girl told a funny story D. The girl asked why he was so serious
Answer: D. The girl asked why he was so serious
17. How long could the girl bear to sit in a train?
A. One hour B. Two hours C. Two or three hours D. Four hours
Answer: C. Two or three hours
18. What did the narrator say about the girl’s voice?
A. That it was very high-pitched B. That it was very low-pitched C. That it was cracked D. That it had the sparkle of a mountain stream
Answer: D. That it had the sparkle of a mountain stream
19. What change did the narrator notice in the train’s sounds?
A. The engine’s horn blared B. The brakes screeched loudly C. The whistle blew softly D. The engine’s whistle shrieked and the carriage wheels changed their sound and rhythm
Answer: D. The engine’s whistle shrieked and the carriage wheels changed their sound and rhythm
20. What did the narrator wonder about the girl’s hair?
A. If it was dyed B. If it was curly or straight C. If it was short or long D. If it was tied or open
Answer: C. If it was short or long
21. Who had a high-pitched voice near the carriage door?
A. The narrator B. The girl C. The girl’s mother D. The girl’s aunt
Answer: D. The girl’s aunt
22. What tantalizing thing did the narrator want to do before the girl left?
A. Speak to her B. Hold her hand C. Look at her face D. Raise his hand and touch her hair
Answer: D. Raise his hand and touch her hair
23. What lingered where the girl had stood?
A. Her voice B. Her scent C. Her presence D. The scent of her perfume
Answer: D. The scent of her perfume
24. Who entered the compartment as the girl was leaving?
A. Her aunt B. Her father C. A vendor D. A man
Answer: D. A man
25. What did the man do on entering the compartment?
A. He greeted them B. He scolded them C. He sat down D. He stammered an apology
Answer: D. He stammered an apology
26. What did the narrator compare the train journey to?
A. An adventure B. A story C. A movie D. A game
Answer: D. A game
27. What did the narrator do after the girl left?
A. Slept B. Ate C. Read a book D. Returned to his berth
Answer: D. Returned to his berth
28. What did the narrator stare into after the girl left?
A. His thoughts B. The darkness C. A book D. The daylight that was darkness for him
Answer: D. The daylight that was darkness for him
29. What did the narrator think was happening outside the window?
A. It was raining B. It was sunny C. Many fascinating things D. Nothing interesting
Answer: C. Many fascinating things
30. Who broke the narrator’s reverie?
A. The girl B. The ticket collector C. The vendor D. The man who had entered the compartment
Answer: D. The man who had entered the compartment
31. What did the man say the narrator must be disappointed about?
A. That the journey was short B. That the girl left C. That he could not see the scenery D. That he was not as attractive a traveling companion as the girl
Answer: D. That he was not as attractive a traveling companion as the girl
32. What did the narrator say he noticed about the girl?
A. Her voice B. Her smile C. Her eyes D. Her hair
Answer: C. Her eyes
33. What did the narrator say about the girl’s eyes?
A. That they were big B. That they were green C. That they were beautiful but of no use to her as she was blind D. That they were expressive
Answer: C. That they were beautiful but of no use to her as she was blind
34. What did the train gathering speed cause?
A. The windows to rattle B. Sparks to fly C. The narrator’s berth to shake D. The wheels to take up their song and the carriage to groan and shake
Answer: D. The wheels to take up their song and the carriage to groan and shake
35. What was the narrator’s disability?
A. He was mute B. He was deaf C. He was lame D. He was blind
Answer: D. He was blind
36. Why could the narrator not see what the girl looked like?
A. She was in the dark corner B. He lost his glasses C. She hid her face D. Because he was blind
Answer: D. Because he was blind
37. How did the narrator know the girl wore slippers?
A. She told him B. He guessed from the sound C. He touched her feet D. From the way they slapped against her heels
Answer: D. From the way they slapped against her heels
38. Why did the narrator say he had better not get too familiar with the girl?
A. She seemed unfriendly B. She was a stranger C. Aunts are formidable creatures D. She was getting off soon where her aunt was meeting her
Answer: D. She was getting off soon where her aunt was meeting her
39. Why did the narrator pretend to study the landscape outside?
A. To impress the girl with his knowledge B. The girl asked him to describe the view C. To appear normal when unable to see D. The girl asked him to look out of the window
Answer: D. The girl asked him to look out of the window
40. Why was the narrator confident there were hardly any animals left near Dehra?
A. He had read about it B. He guessed C. He lived there D. From his memories
Answer: D. From his memories
41. Why did the narrator try to laugh?
A. The girl told a joke B. He felt amused C. To lighten the mood D. Because the girl asked why he was so serious
Answer: D. Because the girl asked why he was so serious
42. How did the narrator know when they reached the girl’s station?
A. The girl told him B. The PA announcement C. From the sounds and the girl getting up D. He felt the speed slowing
Answer: C. From the sounds and the girl getting up
43. Who wished they were going to Mussoorie instead?
A. The narrator B. The girl’s parents C. The girl D. The man who entered
Answer: C. The girl
44. Why did the narrator want to touch the girl’s hair?
A. He was attracted to her B. To see if it was real C. It was brushing him D. Because she was close and the perfume was tantalizing
Answer: D. Because she was close and the perfume was tantalizing
45. What happened when the man got into the compartment?
A. He greeted them B. He sat down quietly C. He stumbled and apologized D. He scolded them
Answer: C. He stumbled and apologized
46. What was the narrator’s new game after the girl left?
A. Sleeping B. Reading C. Guessing what was outside D. Thinking about the girl
Answer: C. Guessing what was outside
47. What was surprising about the girl’s beautiful eyes?
A. They were green B. They were large C. They were expressive D. They were of no use to her as she was blind
Answer: D. They were of no use to her as she was blind
48. How did the narrator know when they reached the girl’s station?
A. The PA announcement B. The train slowed down C. The girl told him D. From the sounds and the girl getting up
Answer: D. From the sounds and the girl getting up
Short/very short answer type questions and answers
1. Where did the girl get on the train and who saw her off?
Answer: The girl got on the train at Rohana and her parents saw her off.
2. What instructions did the girl’s mother give her before she left?
Answer: The girl’s mother gave her instructions on where to keep her things, when not to lean out of windows, and how to avoid speaking to strangers.
3. What disability did the narrator have that affected his interaction with the girl?
Answer: The narrator was blind, which affected his ability to see the girl.
4. How did the narrator know the girl was wearing slippers when she entered?
Answer: The narrator knew the girl wore slippers from the way they slapped against her heels as she walked.
5. Where was the narrator traveling to and when did he say was the best time to visit?
Answer: The narrator was traveling to Mussoorie through Dehra. He said October was the best time to visit Mussoorie.
6. What did the narrator tell the girl about what Mussoorie is like in October?
Answer: The narrator told the girl that in October the hills are covered in wild dahlias, the sun is delicious, and at night you can sit in front of a log fire and drink brandy.
7. Where was the girl getting off the train and who was meeting her there?
Answer: The girl was getting off at Saharanpur where her aunt was meeting her.
8. What pretence did the narrator make when the girl asked him to look out the window?
Answer: When the girl asked him to look out the window, the narrator pretended to study the landscape outside to avoid revealing he was blind.
9. What did the narrator say to the girl about the trees outside to keep up the pretense?
Answer: To keep up the pretence, the narrator told the girl the trees outside seemed to be moving while they themselves seemed to be standing still.
10. What confident claim did the narrator make to the girl about animals near Dehra to avoid revealing his disability?
Answer: To avoid revealing he was blind, the narrator confidently claimed there were hardly any animals left in the forests near Dehra.
11. What compliment did the narrator pay the girl regarding her face and how did she respond?
Answer: The narrator complimented the girl by saying she had an interesting face. The girl responded that she was tired of people saying she had a pretty face.
12. Why did the narrator attempt to laugh during their conversation?
Answer: The narrator attempted to laugh because the girl asked why he was so serious.
13. How long could the girl tolerate sitting on a train and why was this significant to the narrator?
Answer: The girl said she could only tolerate sitting on a train for two or three hours. This was significant to the narrator because it meant he only had a short time to interact with her.
14. How did the narrator describe the girl’s voice?
Answer: The narrator described the girl’s voice as having the sparkle of a mountain stream.
15. How did the narrator confidently claim there were hardly any animals near Dehra?
Answer: The narrator confidently claimed there were hardly any animals left near Dehra based on his memories, since he could not actually see.
16. What did the narrator wonder about the girl’s hair as she prepared to depart?
Answer: As the girl prepared to leave, the narrator wondered if she wore her hair in a bun or plaited or hanging loose over her shoulders.
17. Who did the narrator hear right outside the compartment as the girl was leaving?
Answer: The narrator heard a high-pitched female voice he assumed to be the girl’s aunt.
18. What tempting urge did the narrator have regarding the girl right before she left?
Answer: Right before she left, the narrator had the urge to raise his hand and touch the girl’s hair.
19. What scent lingered for the narrator after the girl stepped away?
Answer: The scent of the girl’s perfume lingered after she stepped away.
20. Who entered the compartment as the girl was leaving and what happened?
Answer: As the girl was leaving, a man entered the compartment and stumbled, apologizing.
21. How did the narrator regard the continuation of his travels after the girl left?
Answer: After the girl left, the narrator regarded the continuation of his travels as a game he had to play.
22. What did the narrator concentrate on visually after the girl’s departure even though he could not see?
Answer: Though he could not see, the narrator stared into the daylight, which was darkness to him, after the girl departed.
23. What mental game did the narrator play alone after the girl departed?
Answer: After the girl departed, the narrator played a mental game of guessing what fascinating things were happening outside the train window.
24. Who interrupted the narrator’s thoughts and what presumption did he make?
Answer: The man who entered the compartment interrupted the narrator’s thoughts and presumed he must be disappointed his new companion was not as attractive as the girl.
25. What feature did the new passenger notice about the departed girl instead of her hair?
Answer: Instead of her hair, the new passenger noticed the departed girl’s beautiful eyes.
26. What revelation did the narrator share about the girl’s beautiful eyes?
Answer: The narrator revealed the girl’s beautiful eyes were of no use to her, as she was completely blind.
27. How did the narrator realize the train was pulling into the girl’s station?
Answer: The narrator realized they were pulling into the girl’s station from the shriek of the engine’s whistle, the change in rhythm of the wheels, and the girl gathering her things.
28. Who wished they were traveling to Mussoorie instead of their own destination?
Answer: The girl wished she was traveling to Mussoorie instead of to Saharanpur.
29. Why did the narrator have the urge to touch the girl’s hair as she was leaving?
Answer: The narrator had the urge to touch the girl’s hair because she was standing so close he could smell the tantalizing perfume.
30. What happened with the new passenger when he entered the compartment?
Answer: When the new passenger entered the compartment, he stumbled and had to apologize.
31. What incorrect assumption did the new co-passenger make about the narrator’s feelings?
Answer: The new co-passenger incorrectly assumed the narrator must be disappointed he was not as attractive a companion as the departed girl.
32. Who wished they were traveling to the narrator’s destination instead of their own?
Answer: The girl wished she was traveling to the narrator’s destination of Mussoorie instead of to Saharanpur.
33. Why did the narrator resist the urge to touch the girl’s hair as she departed?
Answer: The narrator resisted touching the girl’s hair because it would have been inappropriate since they were strangers.
34. Why didn’t the narrator try to become familiar with the girl during their conversation?
Answer: The narrator did not try to become too familiar with the girl because she was getting off soon to meet her aunt, whom he assumed would be protective.
35. Why did the narrator pretend to look out the window when the girl suggested it?
Answer: The narrator pretended to look out the window because he was blind and wanted to avoid revealing this disability to the girl.
Analytical/descriptive/long questions and answers
1. What does the initial hesitance and formality between the narrator and girl reveal about human nature when interacting with strangers?
Answer: Their cautious small talk and reluctance to reveal vulnerability at first reveals our natural tendency to protect ourselves around unfamiliar people. Being guarded allows us to assess trust and safety before opening up. Their interactions show how it takes some mutual testing before people feel comfortable to move beyond superficial talk to more genuine exchange. Until common ground is established, we hold back our full selves.
2. How does the narrator’s immediate captivation with the girl, based only on her voice and spirit, comment on the nature of human attraction and connection?
Answer: The narrator’s rapid captivation, despite not even seeing the girl, suggests human attraction is about more than physical appearances and can happen quickly based on sensing someone’s character and inner qualities. Just the sound of her voice, her friendly laugh, and her open personality enthrall him, evidencing how we instinctively perceive deeper cues about compatibility beyond the visual. This shows romantic or personal connections rely on subtler but powerful energies between people’s core selves.
3. What role does their shared disability play in allowing the narrator and girl to open up and bond as their conversation progresses?
Answer: Realizing they share the common ground of visual disability helps break down walls of self-consciousness and allows more authentic exchange. The knowledge that they are both “in this together” creates an unspoken empathy that lets them be more vulnerable and real. It bonds them in an intimacy unlikely between strangers, proving shared experiences can accelerate trust and understanding. Core commonalities often rapidly unite people despite surface differences.
4. How does the author build narrative tension in delaying the reveal of the characters’ blindness until the very end?
Answer: Withholding the pivotal information keeps readers aligned with the limited viewpoints of the narrator and girl, drawing us into their incremental connection while remaining oblivious to the coming surprise. This builds rising action and suspense as we sense something is amiss in their conversation but can’t pinpoint it. The climax packs more power when their assumptions are finally overturned. Pacing revelations skillfully makes the ultimate reveal more narratively satisfying.
5. How does the sensory detail about sound, scent, and touch help the author vividly convey setting and characters without relying on visual descriptions?
Answer: Crisp details about the rumble of wheels, scent of perfume, and imagined tactile sensations help transport us into the scene. Auditory cues like voices, slipper slaps, and the train engine enliven the journey. Smell and touch details, like floral perfume and hair, enrich the impressions of the girl. This shows how even without visual information, evocative non-visual cues can create immersive, multi-dimensional experiences for readers.
6. What might have motivated the narrator to pretend he could see and describe the passing scenery despite being blind?
Answer: The likely motivations were insecurity and wanting to avoid any awkwardness or discomfort around his disability. Pretending to see probably helped him feel more “normal” and freed the conversation to unfold organically, without his blindness distorting it. It avoided any stigma or having to navigate revealing such a personal vulnerability to a stranger he felt attracted to.
7. How does the surprise ending force readers to question their own assumptions, much like the narrator did?
Answer: Since we align with the narrator’s limited perspective, the ending twists our assumptions as much as the characters’. We realize we projected sightedness and drew conclusions about the girl based only on subtle clues, just as the narrator did. This cleverly puts the reader in the narrator’s shoes, confronting our reflexive judgments and demonstrating how easy it is to get others wrong based on very limited information.
8. What might the characters gain from this encounter that could positively impact their lives going forward?
Answer: For the narrator, greater wisdom around “seeing” beyond surfaces to know someone’s deeper self could profoundly improve his relationships and humanity. For the girl, realizing connections can thrive by embracing one’s whole self may translate to more belonging. An enhanced faith in human bonds could help both lead more open, fulfilled lives.
9. Does this story seem to suggest our common humanity transcends differences on the surface? What examples support this?
Answer: The characters connect quickly despite differences in gender, background and disability. This endorses the idea that people can bond through shared hopes, experiences and vulnerability when superficial barriers drop away. Evidence includes how gentle human cues – a laugh, a voice – drew them together across divides. It suggests deep down we all want to be truly seen and find meaningful connection.
10. What more can you infer about the girl based on the descriptions provided in the story? What might she look like and what sort of personality might she have?
Answer: The vivid sensory details allow us to visualize the girl as likely a youthful, graceful figure with long, flowing hair cascading loosely over her shoulders in waves or styled in an intricate braid. Her musical voice and pleasant laughter suggest she has an upbeat, cheerful demeanor despite her visual disability. She comes across as outgoing, humble, unconcerned with appearances, and engaging, as evidenced by her friendly openness to conversation with a stranger. We can picture a warm smile lighting up her beautiful eyes as she laughs, and imagine a spark of optimism residing within her.
11. What do you think happens after the story ends? Does the narrator ever see or meet the girl again? How might the experience continue to affect him?
Answer: It’s easy to imagine the two crossing paths again by coincidence, now more open about their shared blindness and able to further nurture a caring friendship without fear or pretense. Even a brief romantic future is conceivable. At minimum, the experience seems impactful enough to forever change the narrator’s self-awareness and approach to relationships. This life-shaping glimpse at looking beyond surfaces to sincerely know others could make him a significantly more thoughtful, wise and empathetic human being.
12. Why do you think the narrator was so captivated by the girl even though he could not see her? What does this suggest about the nature of attraction and relationships?
Answer: It’s clear the narrator feels an immediate connection and attraction to the girl’s friendly, spirited personality and inner beauty, conveyed so vividly through his senses of sound, scent and imagined touch. Her lovely voice, musical laugh, fragrant perfume and the allure of her flowing hair enchant him. This profound experience strongly suggests that human relationships and romantic attraction need not be predicated solely on physical appearances or superficial traits. It points to the power of truly seeing someone’s inner essence, character and spirit as the basis for forging meaningful bonds that can transcend the visual and external.
13. How would you describe the dynamic between the narrator and the girl as their conversation progresses on the train? What insights does this give about human connection?
Answer: Initially guarded and formal as strangers, a tentative openness blooms through shared laughter and exchanged impressions, culminating in an unexpected depth of connection and intimacy despite only meeting on the train. As their sincerity and common ground overcomes their hesitance to reveal vulnerability, a wall comes down between them, giving way to genuine human exchange. This insightfully illustrates how people can swiftly move from wary detachment to closeness when the right conditions allow – namely letting one’s guard down to find mutual understanding through openness, empathy and sharing relatable experiences.
14. What symbolic meaning might there be behind the fact that the girl is blind while the narrator is the one who pretends to be sighted? What themes could this represent?
Answer: This inversion thoughtfully symbolizes how outward vision and appearances can often obscure deeper truth between people rather than revealing it. Despite his physical sight, the narrator is metaphorically “blind” to the girl’s inner reality and experiences, while she perceptively engages with his authentic self beneath the surface. This creatively represents larger themes about suspending snap judgments, avoiding biased assumptions based on others’ outer traits, and making the effort to see beyond the superficial in order to find shared humanity and foster sincere connections.
15. What message or lessons do you think the author was trying to convey through this story? What insights does it provide about perception, blindness, human connection?
Answer: Some of the poignant messages conveyed include looking beneath the exterior to truly see and understand someone in their complex, subjective reality; recognizing that blindness has many forms beyond just physical sight; and overcoming our natural prejudices by connecting as fellow humans based on inner qualities rather than outer projections or assumptions. More universally, it compels us to avoid superficial judgments and nurture meaningful bonds by making the effort to appreciate each person’s unique story and perspective, rather than reducing them to external traits.
16. How does the author use sensory descriptions other than sight to convey the scene, the other passengers, and the experience on the train? What role does hearing, smell, touch and even imagination play?
Answer: Crisp auditory details, like the slap of slippers, the rumble of wheels, and voices calling goodbyes on the platform, immerse us in the train journey. The scent of the girl’s lingering perfume and the imagined touch of her hair involve the senses of smell and touch. Visual memory also plays a role in mentally picturing passing scenery. This masterful multisensory description allows readers to vividly imagine the scene and characters without relying wholly on visual cues. Instead, evocative sounds, scents, impressions and recollections transport us right into the rich experience.
17. What assumptions did the narrator and girl make about each other initially? How were these proved wrong by the end? What does this reveal about our snap judgments of others?
Answer: The narrator automatically assumes the girl has sight and describes the countryside views he imagines for her benefit. Meanwhile, the girl assumes her friendly companion must be sighted to be traveling solo as he is. These instinctive but mistaken suppositions, rooted in each one’s own reality, are overturned as they realize neither assumption holds true. This reveals our common tendency to project our own knowledge and experiences onto others, rather than making the effort to see a situation from their perspective. It underscores how flawed it is to draw hasty conclusions based on limited information and outward appearances.
18. Why did the narrator ask the girl about what he could see out the window when he was blind? What might have motivated this deception?
Answer: By pretending he could describe the passing scenery, the narrator likely hoped to avoid the potential awkwardness of revealing his visual disability to a stranger. Not wanting his blindness to get in the way of naturally connecting with the girl, he was probably motivated by insecurity and a hope that concealing it could allow their conversation to unfold organically, without imbalanced knowledge of each other’s disadvantage. It underscores our human tendency to hide perceived weaknesses – especially when attracted to someone – in order to connect on equal footing.
19. What do you think each character gains from their brief encounter and conversation on the train? How might it impact them moving forward?
Answer: Through bonding sincerely, the narrator gains insight on looking beyond surfaces and appearances to appreciate someone’s inner self without bias. For the girl, it may instill lasting inspiration about the power of open vulnerability to forge meaningful human connections, despite what outward differences we think divide us. This fleeting but formative experience could profoundly change how both approach relationships going forward – with greater wisdom, empathy and willingness to uncover the hidden depths in others by revealing their own.
20. Why do you think the author chose to structure the story so that the big reveal comes at the very end? How does this impact the narrative arc and effectiveness of the storytelling?
Answer: Delaying the pivotal surprise cements the reader’s identification with the narrator’s limited knowledge, heightening our curiosity and emotional investment in the incremental development of the characters’ connection. Allowing their sincere bonding before stripping away assumptions maximizes the revelatory power when the truth is uncovered. This masterfully mirrors the characters’ journey, encouraging the audience to also look beyond the surface. The structure amplifies the ultimate message about transcending bias for human connection.
21. How would the story change if it was told from the girl’s perspective instead? What details and insights might emerge?
Answer: The girl’s inner perspective could offer rare insight into living with visual disability – her courage, struggles, feelings about intimacy and trust with strangers, and navigating choice about revealing her blindness. We may gain empathy into her constant calculations about concealing her disability, her dreams beyond it, and perceptions of the narrator. A more nuanced window into her view could reinforce the story’s messages about inner versus outer vision.
22. What realizations emerge for the narrator by the end of his encounter with the girl? How has it changed or impacted him?
Answer: Through their poignant connection, the narrator gains humility in realizing his physical sight granted little insight into the girl beyond surface assumptions. Shedding his pretense lets him truly see her, underscoring that blindness lies not in the eyes but in projecting one’s own narrow perceptions onto others. He is profoundly changed by this glimpse at the power of human bonds beyond bias when we open ourselves to understanding diverse realities, perhaps impacting his orientation to relationships forever after.
23. What other outcomes were possible for this story? Can you imagine alternate endings or twists?
Answer: Many alternate possibilities exist, both less redemptive and more so. The pretense could have created permanent offense, or their connection may have blossomed through extended conversation. Additional twists may be one deceiving the other for less benevolent motives. But a hopeful ending might see the two crossing paths again later, now comfortable revealing their blindness and nurturing an ongoing friendship without superficial barriers.
24. What real life parallels exist to this story? When have you made assumptions about others that proved wrong?
Answer: Many of us can likely recall times when we misjudged quiet, extroverted or socially different people, only to feel sheepish later when getting to know them revealed our first impressions as laughably off-base. Personal experiences of looking beyond awkward exteriors to find great integrity or wisdom could parallel this story. It reminds us of the flawed tendency we all share to project our biases onto others rather than making the effort to know their inner selves.
Get notes of other boards, classes, and subjects