On the rule of the road

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Get here the introduction and notes of NBSE class 9 Alternative English chapter On the rule of the road. However, these notes should be used only for references and additions/modifications should be made as per the requirements.

INTRODUCTION: In the essay ‘On the Rule of the Road’ Gardiner illustrate the argument that individual liberty can easily convert to social anarchy through a numer of examples. He says that in such a case, everybody would be getting in everybody else’s way and nobody would get anywhere and individual liberty would easily become social anarchy

I. Explain with reference to context.

1.There is a danger of the world getting liberty-drunk these days, like the old lady with the basket, and it is just as well to remind ourselves of what the rule of the road means.

a. What does the writer mean by “liberty-drunk?”
b. How is the old woman “liberty drunk?”
c. What does the rule of the road imply?

Ans: a) By liberty-drunk, the writer meant that the people are only concerned about their own liberties and not the responsibilities and the limitations that their liberty.

b) The old woman was only concerned about her own reality and didn’t care that her liberty has limitations and must not infringe with the liberties of others.

c) The rule of the road is that in order that the liberties of all may be preserved, the liberties of everybody must be curtailed.

2. If I choose to go down the road in a dressing-gown, who shall say me nay? You have liberty to laugh at me, but I have liberty to be indifferent to you. And if I have a fancy for dyeing my hair, or waxing my moustache (which, heaven forbid), or wearing an overcoat and sandals, or going to bed late, or getting up early, I shall follow my fancy and ask no man’s permission.

Choose the correct answer.
The tone of this extract is:

a. sarcastic
b. defensive
c. humorous

Ans: c. humorous

ll. Answer these questions briefly.

1. How does Gardiner illustrate the argument that individual liberty can easily convert to social anarchy?

Ans: Gardiner illustrate the argument that individual liberty can easily convert to social anarchy by using a number of examples and situations that can be applied in the real world. He gave the example of an old lady walking with her basket down the middle of a street to the great confusion of the traffic. She could not understand that if liberty entitled the pedestrian to walk down the middle of the road, then the end of such liberty would be universal chaos. Everybody would be getting in everybody else’s way and nobody would get anywhere and individual liberty would easily become social anarchy.

2. Is Gardiner’s policeman a symbol of tyranny or liberty? Explain.

Ans: Gardiner’s policeman a symbol of liberty because though he is interfering with the liberties of others, he is doing this so that the liberty of everyone is ensured. If he didn’t interfere with others, the roads would become a place of confusion and people would be stuck in their own spots. He says that we have to submit to minimizing our private liberty in order to bring a social order which makes our liberty a reality

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III. Answer these questions.

1. Look at any one example that Gardiner uses. How does this appeal to you? How does the example serve the purpose?

Ans: The example of the old lady walking with her basket down the middle of a street is a very apt example that Gardiner used to set the premise before explaining the rule of the road.

The example is very realistic to the societies of the world and it easily demonstrates to us the necessity of not invading the liberties of others because of the liberty we have or the world will fall into chaos.

The example serves the purpose of marking clear lines beyond which we should not take our personal liberties so that the liberties of everyone is are sustained. If the woman keeps walking down the middle of the road when there are separate paths for pedestrians, she is invading the liberties of others to drive the cars on the road and if everyone gets such liberty drunk, the cities and nations would get filled with anarchy.

2. Prove that the rule of the road is the foundation of social conduct.

Ans: The rule of the road is the foundation of social conduct and Gardiner illustrated this very simply through various examples in the essay. For a society to function in an orderly manner it is very important that people follow the rule of law. People must understand that while they have their liberty to do anything, it is limited to the extent till they don’t infringe the liberty of others. One’s liberty should not come at the cost of another’s trouble. If liberty is taken at face value and people start doing everything, there will be anarchy and chaos and personal liberty cannot be ensured. Therefore, individual liberty would easily become social anarchy.

3. What makes Gardiner’s instructive essay charming? Explain.

Ans: What makes Gardiner’s instructive essay charming is the humorous tone of it. He chose the examples very carefully and the situations that he mentioned are easy to imagine. His narrative is easy, sometimes sarcastic, but he is able to make his points clear while at the same time keeping the readers engaged.

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3 thoughts on “On the rule of the road”

  1. Debashree Saikia

    thank you..one another qestion…What is the difference in the linberty one has in dressing to please oneself and in playinf the tramboline at night?

  2. Dwaipayan kashyap

    The difference is that the liberty one has in dressing to please oneself remains only with that person and doesnot affect liberties of other people but while playing tremboline at night one has to keep in account the liberty of the people living nearby as the sound of the tremboline could disturb others thus affecting their individual liberty to sleep peacefully without any interference.

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