Here, you will find a summary and questions/answers to the story “Sunshine Susan” which is a part of the Class 12 syllabus for students studying under the Nagaland Board of School Education (NBSE).
Summary: In the story “Sunshine Susan” Susan lived with her parents, grandfather, and older brother Sandy. Even though she hated some of the chores, such as cooking, Susan always assisted her mother with them. She dreamed of attending college, getting an education, and pursuing her dreams. Education was something she was passionate about. Since her parents could not pay the school fee, they advised her to stay at home and get married. Susan didn’t like that.
On one occasion, she showed up at the bee farm where her father used to work and asked him to let her work there so she could continue her education. She was told that she would not be able to do the job since it is not suitable for girls, and it was dangerous.
Overhearing the conversation Mrs Andrew, the farm owner, encouraged Susan’s father to accept Susan’s request because it is rare to find children her age wishing for education. After that, Mrs Andrew offered Susan a job and she was to report to her. Susan had been taught all the ways of dealing with bees by her father, including using the hat and understanding them.
By the end of the month, Susan was living off her job. She prepared the most excellent honey and offered it to her family. A piece of paper with the words “sunshine honey grandma” was attached to the bottle. It made her grandmother very happy. As a result, Susan began raising her own bees, harvesting honey, and selling it to her villagers to pay for college.
Susan refused to listen to her villagers, who advised girls to stay home and help with household chores, but she persisted with her effort. Later, her uncle gifted her a motorcycle to enable her to commute between college and work.
One day, her mother had her ankle bitten by a snake. Having to travel miles to reach the nearest hospital made her very stressed. Grandma urged her to come up with a solution quickly so that they could save her mother’s life. Then Susan realized she could use her bike. She wrapped a tourniquet around her leg to prevent the poison from spreading, hopped on her bike, and drove to the hospital in time for them to save her mother.
Because she didn’t let her shine fade by believing in herself and trusting her heart, she was known as the “Sunshine Girl.”
A. Answer these questions
1. Why was Susan not happy to help Mother on some days?
Answer: In the story “Sunshine Susan” the reason Susan did not want to help her mother some days was that she hated missing college. Helping her meant that she would not be at college on that day.
2. What was the one chore that Susan disliked doing?
Answer: Susan disliked cooking the most out of all the chores she had to do.
3. What did Susan’s father do for a living?
Answer: In the story “Sunshine Susan” Susan’s father was a beekeeper in a bee farm. Every two weeks, he also went to a market to sell honey.
4. What made Susan upset about her father’s attitude?
Answer: Susan was upset when her father told her that selling honey at the market was not for girls. Since her brother accompanied her father, she felt discriminated against because of her gender.
5. Describe Sandy’s behaviour towards Susan while leaving for the market. How did Susan respond to him?
Answer: As Sandy was leaving for the market, he teased Susan and called her a “dainty damsel.”
Susan reacted by hurling a broken branch toward her brother. Besides, she called out to him to come back, telling him that she would show who was dainty.
6. What did Susan’s friends call her and why?
Answer: In the story “Sunshine Susan” she was called Rocket by her friends because she was strong and fit. Standing at 5’3” tall, she was a bundle of energy. Every day she ran in the hills, even when she had to go to college.
7. Who was Susan’s dear friend? What was its role in her life?
Answer: The November tree was Susan’s dear friend. It had a very important impact on Susan’s life. The tree was her dear friend with which she shared her stories. It always listened patiently and sometimes responded by sending a blossom down onto her lap.
8. What did Susan do in her bee farm?
Answer: Sue started her own bee farm near her home. After returning from college, she sold honey to the locals.
9. Describe Susan’s experience of learning to drive the motorbike.
Answer: To make commuting to college and work easier, Susan’s uncle gave her a motorbike. It didn’t matter what people said when they criticized her for riding a bike. In the beginning, it was a challenge for Susan to learn how to operate all the gears, clutch, breaks, and handle. Susan would jumpstart the bike, skid and fall and battle with the kicking. In spite of all of these obstacles, she remained brave and eventually learned how to ride the motorbike.
10. Why do you think Susan put up a brave front while Sandy and his friends watched her learning the motorbike?
Answer: Susan put up a brave front while Sandy and his friends watched her learning the motorbike because they were teasing her and she knew that her best response would be to ignore them.
11. What was Susan’s reaction on discovering the snake bite on her mother’s ankle? Did she manage to save her?
Answer: Susan discovered her mother had been bitten by a snake on her ankle. So she tied a tourniquet, pulled out a thick rope, and started the bike so that she could take her to the hospital.
By taking Mother to the hospital on time, she managed to save her.
B. Think and answer
1. Mrs Andrews told Susan’s father to be proud of her. Do you think she was right? Why do you think so?
Answer: Mrs Andrews was right when she said that Susan’s father ought to be proud of her. Susan was smart, brave, and very determined. Although her parents wanted her to stay at home and get married soon, she was determined to attend college. She decided to work in order to finance her education since her parents were extremely poor. She wanted to work at the bee farm but her father refused. Mrs. Andrews heard the commotion and intervened. She was happy when she heard that Susan wanted to work at the bee farm. She told Susan‟s father that he should be proud of her and that education is the best gift of life. Mrs. Andrews employed Susan immediately and encouraged her to continue her education. Susan’s father was also told that he was lucky to have such an energetic and passionate child.
2. What was so special about Susan’s wish to go to college? What does this tell you about her?
Answer: As someone who has fought against gender bias and defended her neighbours and family, Susan’s wish to go to college was special. In the story “Sunshine Susan” Susan was committed to going to college. Parents and neighbours had discouraged her from going to college, but she was determined and did not listen to any words of discouragement. She was unable to attend school as her parents could not afford it. She was also encouraged to get married and have a family since she was a girl.
It tells us that Susan was a brave and determined girl. She didn’t get discouraged when people chided her and was focused on what she wanted.
3. What challenges did Susan face to follow her dreams and how did she learn to believe in herself?
Answer: In the story “Sunshine Susan” Susan had to overcome many challenges to follow her dreams. She faced gender bias and stood up to the dissenting voices of her family and neighbors. Because she was a girl, her family did not want her to go to college or work because they believed she had to get married soon. She was often asked to stay home and help her mother with household chores instead of going to college. In fact, Susan couldn’t even go to the market with her father because her parents believed that going to the market wasn’t a girl’s job. She ended up earning money for her higher education by working at a bee farm. She was able to open her own bee farm and sell honey to the villagers later. Susan even faced challenges when she was learning to ride a motorbike. As a result of her courage and determination, Susan overcame all the challenges that came her way. She didn’t let anyone pull her down and pursued her dreams anyway.
Mrs. Andrews and Susan’s grandmother taught her to believe in herself. Mrs. Andrews encouraged Susan to study and employed her at the bee farm. Susan’s grandmother taught her not to listen to anyone who discouraged her.
4. Grandma ‘swelled with pride’ when Susan handed her the bottle of honey. What was Grandma’s role in Susan’s life?
Answer: The influence of her grandmother on Susan’s life was significant. She was proud that Susan had bottled a bottle of honey for her family as a gift. Grandma was a wonderful storyteller. Her stories inspired Susan to pursue her dreams. Susan’s grandmother told her the story about the frog that climbed up a castle. The frog reached the top of the castle as it didn’t hear even a single word of discouragement from the onlookers below. When asked what it did to push on despite the warnings of the people below, the frog turned and stared. The frog was deaf and did not hear a single word of discouragement. In Grandma’s words, Susan should be like the deaf frog and not listen to those around her who might try to pull her down. She followed her advice and turned her back on those around her.
5. Do you think Susan gave a befitting response to her neighbours?
Answer: Yes, Susan responded in the best possible way to the criticism she received from her neighbours. She ignored all the people who opposed her and always remembered her grandmother’s frog story. She was taught by her grandmother not to listen to a word of discouragement from those who try to pull her down. Susan didn’t react when her neighbours complained she didn’t want to continue her studies. Even when she was learning to ride a bike, her family chided her, but she put up a brave face through it all. She was finally able to silence everyone’s tongues when she saved her mother’s life by taking her to the hospital just on time.
Ron’e Dutta is the Co-Founder and Editor of Online Free Notes. He is a journalist, a blogger, a creative writer, and a teacher. He is currently writing his first thriller novel on time-travelling. Read the prologue of the novel here. Connect with him on social media.