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Bishop’s Candlestick: BSEM Class 10 English Literature questions, answers

Bishop's Candlestick NBSE class 9

Get summary, textual solutions, questions, answers, notes. pdf, extras to the chapter “Bishop’s Candlesticks” which is a part of Class 10 English Literature Reader syllabus for students studying under Manipur Board (BSEM).

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(A) From your understanding of the play answer the following questions

a. The Bishop was with Marie’s mother because

(i) it was a social call. (ii) she wished to discuss religion with him. (iii) she had no money to pay her rent. (iv) she was feeling unwell.

Answer: (iv) she was feeling unwell.

b. Mere Gringoire had problems because

(i) she was ill. (ii) she had no money. (iii) her health was failing. (iv) she had lost faith.

Answer: (ii) she had no money.

c. The Bishop sold his salt cellars. It shows

(i) he was not clever. (ii) he cared for the people. (iii) he did not care for earthly things. (iv) he needed some money for personal use.

Answer: (ii) he cared for the people.

d. The convict became a convict because

(i) by nature he was a devilish fellow. (ii) he lost hope because his wife died. (iii) he wanted to take revenge on society. (iv) circumstances forced him to be so.

Answer: (iv) circumstances forced him to be so.

e. The Bishop would not think of selling his candlesticks because

(i) they were symbols of love. (ii) they would not bring much money. (iii) Persome would not allow him to do so. (iv) he liked them.

Answer: (i) they were symbols of love.

f. The Bishop’s door was left open till late night

(i) because the Bishop forgot to close it. (ii) because the Bishop did not have much valuable things and so did not care. (iii) so that needy persons may drop in for help. (iv) because the Bishop knew the convict would come.

Answer: (iii) so that needy persons may drop in for help​​.

(B) Based on your reading of the text complete the following statements

(i) The Bishop did not return even after eleven O’ clock because 

Answer: he had gone to visit Marie’s ailing mother.

(ii) Mere Gringoire had no money to pay rent and she sought help 

Answer: from the Bishop.

(iii) According to Persome people pretended to be ill 

Answer: so that the Bishop would call on them.

(iv) The last time Persome saw Mere Gringoire she gave her 

Answer: a good scolding.

(v) As soon as the convict entered the Bishop’s place, he wanted 

Answer: food.

(vi) The convict stole food because 

Answer: his wife was ill and they had no food at home.

(vii) The Bishop said that the convict had suffered much, but that 

Answer: there was hope for all.

(viii) The convict would go to Paris because the police 

Answer: would not be able to find him there.

(C) Answer the following questions in a sentence each:

i. Where were the Bishop’s two candlesticks placed?

Answer: The Bishop’s two candlesticks were placed on the mantelpiece.

ii. To whom were the silver salt-cellars sold?

Answer: The silver salt-cellars were sold to Monseigneur Gervais.

iii. Why did the Bishop give his comforter to Marie?

Answer: The Bishop gave his comforter to Marie because it was very cold outside.

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vii. ‘The night I was sentenced the gaoler told me _______’. What did the gaoler tell the convict?

Answer: The night he was sentenced the gaoler told him that Jeanette had died.

viii. The convict said that he hated the church. What did the bishop reply?

Answer: When the convict said that he hated the church, the bishop replied that the church did not hate him.

ix. Where would the convict head for from the Bishop’s house?

Answer: From the Bishop’s house the convict would head for Paris.

x. “Stay my son, you have forgotten your property.” What is the property mentioned here?

Answer: The property mentioned here is the candlesticks.

(D) Answer each of the following questions briefly:

i. Why was the Bishop with Marie’s mother?

Answer: The Bishop was with Marie’s mother because she was unwell and he went to see her.

ii. Why were the salt-cellars sold?

Answer: The salt-cellars were sold to pay the rent of Mere Gringoire.

iii. Why did the Bishop insist on Marie’s taking the comforter?

Answer: The Bishop insisted on Marie taking the comforter because it was very cold outside.

iv. “I’m sure Marie’s mother is not so ill that ……… “. Write why Persome says so?

Answer: Persome says so because she believes people pretend to be ill to get the Bishop to visit them.

v. “My dear, there is so much suffering in the world, and I can do so little(sighs), so very little.” Based on the above, make a comment of Bishop’s character.

Answer: The above lines show that the Bishop was a kind and generous person who wanted to help the suffering people.

vi. “But it is ridiculous; you will soon have nothing left …….. .” Why does Persome say so to the Bishop?

Answer: Persome says so because the Bishop gave away everything to the needy and would be left with nothing.

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xiii. “But – but I don’t understand; this gentleman is my very good friend.” Why did the Bishop say so to the sergeant speaking about the convict?

Answer: The Bishop said so because he wanted to save the convict from going back to prison.

xiv. Why did the Bishop not tell the sergeant the truth about the convict?

Answer: The Bishop did not tell the truth as he did not want the convict to be punished and sent back to prison.

(E) Answer the following questions in about 80 words each:

(i) Comment on the importance of the scene between Persome and Marie at the beginning of the play.

Answer: The initial scene between Persome and Marie at the start of the play is important in establishing the contrast between Persome’s authoritative nature and the Bishop’s kind-heartedness. Persome scolds Marie for not tending to the fire properly even though Persome herself made it. Marie mentions the Bishop visiting her ailing mother despite the bad weather. This highlights the Bishop’s selflessness and sets up the tone for Persome and Marie’s differing relationships with the Bishop, which become more evident later. Overall, the opening scene foreshadows the core themes of charity and redemption that form the crux of the play.

(ii) Bring out the importance of the silver salt cellar.

Answer: The silver salt cellar carries great symbolic significance and importance in the play. It represents the Bishop’s detachment from material possessions and his willingness to sacrifice personal belongings for helping the needy. When the Bishop sells the precious family heirloom to pay the rent of poor Mere Gringoire, much to the annoyance of his sister Persome, it is an act of selflessness that has far-reaching consequences. Losing the silver salt cellar leaves the candlesticks as the Bishop’s only remaining prized possessions, which then become the target of the convict. Thus, the silver salt cellar’s sale sets in motion the events that eventually lead to the convict’s reform.

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(vi) Write a character sketch of the Bishop.

Answer: The Bishop is portrayed as the epitome of Christian ideals of love and redemption. He is loving, forgiving, steeped in faith and always eager to help the poor and needy. His compassionate heart full of benevolence can see the good even in criminals like the convict. He believes in the power of love and kindness to reform people, rather than punishment. The Bishop is deeply spiritual, valuing the salvation of souls above material objects. His wisdom and detachment from worldly possessions are beyond Persome’s grasp. He sacrifices personal belongings like the candlesticks to transform the convict’s heart, highlighting his ultimate faith in redemption.

(vii) Comment on the theme of the play.

Answer: The Bishop’s Candlesticks revolves around the Christian concepts of redemption, sacrifice and faith in the essential goodness of humanity. Through the Bishop’s compassion and forgiveness, the play upholds the redemptive power of love to reform even hardened criminals like the convict. The Bishop’s philosophy of valuing spiritual salvation above earthly objects is contrasted with Persome’s materialistic thinking. His sacrifice of the candlesticks transforms the convict, underscoring the themes of charity, humanity’s intrinsic divinity and the possibility of redemption. Overall, the play affirms Christian values of forgiveness and benevolence as the means to reform human hearts.

Think and Write

(i) You know that the convict had gone to Paris. Write what might have happened to him there. Do you think he was reformed?

Answer: The convict went to Paris hoping to avoid the police and start life afresh. In this big city, he could sell the candlesticks and use that money to rent a place to stay. With his basic needs met, he would search for work, likely a menial job. The Bishop’s wise words and kindness would stay with him. He would remember to retain his humanity, not give in to bitterness. The convict would resist going back to crime, instead living simply, happy that he got a second chance. Seeing the world with new eyes, he would help fellow downtrodden people. The convict’s heart was truly transformed by the Bishop’s love. The ideals of faith, sacrifice and charity now guided him. He was a reformed man.

(ii) The convict was not a criminal at first. Who or what, do you think, is responsible for his turning into a convict?

Answer: The convict was forced into crime by his circumstances. When his wife was ill and dying from lack of food, his helplessness led him to steal, for which he was given a harsh prison sentence. The inhuman treatment by the uncaring jail authorities turned him from a regular man into a hardened criminal. Being chained, whipped ruthlessly, stripped of his name and identity, given rotten food and denied basic dignity, he became embittered. The corrupt justice system and the apathy of the police towards his story made him lose faith in humanity. If he was shown even a little compassion, he might have been set on the right path again. But the cruel prison conditions robbed him of all vestiges of humanity and forced him into a life of crime.


i. Does the play have a social message, i.e., does the writer want to give a message to his readers? Discuss it.

Answer: Yes, the play conveys some powerful social messages to readers regarding reforming criminals with compassion instead of punishment. The Bishop highlights the redemptive power of love, sacrifice and faith to transform even the hardest of hearts, like the convict’s. His kindness contrasts with the police’s apathy towards the convict’s tragic story. The play critiques the harsh French prison system that dehumanized prisoners. It makes readers question if such degrading conditions can ever reform criminals. Instead, the Bishop’s unconditional compassion succeeds where cruelty failed. The play’s message is to treat prisoners with love and humanity. It urges readers to believe in the goodness inherent even in fallen people. Overall, it compels society to replace punishment with benevolence.

ii. Do you think the punishments society gives to criminals should be harsh or humane? Discuss in your group.

Answer: In my view, society’s punishments for criminals should be more humane and aimed at reforming them. As seen in the play, harsh prison conditions often exacerbate criminals’ rage and bitterness. Dehumanizing punishments may turn regular men into hardened beasts devoid of any humanity. While some punishment is necessary, it should be balanced with compassion. Along with justice, society should give criminals opportunities to improve through education, counselling and skills training. Punishments can include community service and non-violent rehabilitation. Each criminal’s specific circumstances should be considered. An uncompromisingly harsh system fails to reform and ends up breeding more crime. The Bishop’s empathetic treatment succeeds where brutality failed. Reform should be the goal. As Nelson Mandela said, “A nation should not be judged by how it treats its highest citizens, but its lowest ones.”


(A) Fill in the blanks with suitable words from the box.

Answer: At what age should a child be introduced to books? Recent studies have shown that reading stories to the very small babies have beneficial effects. Telling stories is an important part of parenting process. Pre-schoolers respond well to stories and often feel encouraged to make their own. Thus story telling also helps to develop the creativity that all children possess from birth and stimulates them to think. It is found that a one year old can get quite excited in turning the pages of the books having colourful pictures. It is always good to buy books specially produced for pre-schooler.

(B) Choose the correct meanings of the following idiomatic phrases and make sentences of your own:

(i) At draggers drawn:

(c) To challenge to a fight

Answer: The two teams were at daggers drawn before the big match, ready to challenge each other strongly.

(ii) Nip in the bud:

(a) Put a stop to something at its early stage

Answer: The teacher decided to nip the bullying issue in the bud by warning the students before it escalated further.

(iii) Bolt from the blue:

(c) a happening that is sudden and unexpected

Answer: The announcement of his promotion came as a bolt from the blue as he was not expecting it at all.

(iv) In defiance of:

(b) In open refusal of

Answer: The activists carried out the protest rally in defiance of the orders prohibiting public gatherings.

(v) In the same boat:

(b) To be in the same difficulty

Answer: Both the students flunked the exam so we are in the same boat now and have to repeat the year.

(vi) By fair means or foul:

(c) To use dishonest means if necessary

Answer: He was determined to get the contract by fair means or foul, even if he had to bribe someone.

(vii) All in one piece:

(a) Safe and sound after a dangerous experience

Answer: After the terrible accident, it was a relief that she came home all in one piece with only minor injuries.

Writing Practice

You have seen a scene in which a young man is being beaten blue and black on the suspicion that he tried to steal a thing from a shop. You feel pity for the poor fellow. Write a diary entry of your feeling.


November 11, 2023.

Today I witnessed something that left me shaken. As I was walking past the small grocery store on the corner, I heard shouts and saw a small crowd had gathered. Out of curiosity, I went closer to see what was happening. To my shock, I saw the grocery store owner and two men mercilessly beating up a young man with sticks and punches.

The poor young man was cowering on the ground, trying to shield himself from the blows. His face was bruised and blood was dripping from his nose and mouth. But the men kept hitting him repeatedly. I learnt that he was accused of trying to steal something from the shop.

Seeing the young man being brutally thrashed stirred a deep pity inside me. Perhaps he did try to steal, driven by poverty or hunger. But even then, he did not deserve this inhuman public beating. The men acted as judge, jury and executioner. The law should have dealt with him.

The young man’s screams of pain and pleas for mercy will haunt me forever. He looked no older than 20. I wonder what circumstances forced him into such a situation. Could some kindness have set him on the right path?

I wish I had the courage to stop the beating and speak up for him. But the fear of becoming a target for their anger prevented me. I feel utterly ashamed at my cowardice today. How can society treat its own people so mercilessly? This disregard for human dignity saddened me deeply. I hope someday compassion replaces brutality.

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