Chapter 2 – The Address Questions and Answers: NCERT Solutions for Class 11 English (Snapshots)

Class 11 The Address solutions for Chapter 2 - English (Snapshots) Questions and Answers.

Question 1.
‘Have you come back?’ said the woman. ‘I thought that no one had come back.’ Does this statement give some clue about the story? If yes, what is it?

The narrator went back after the war to Marconi Street—Number 46, in search of her mother’s belongings. The belongings were with a non-Jewish lady, Mrs Dorling, who had stayed close by. This woman had often come to their place and regularly taken heavy boxes of silverware, cutlery, crockery etc. to keep with her till after the war. Not only did she volunteer to keep them, but had also insisted that they leave the things with her for safety.
However, when the narrator returned, Mrs Dorling at first refused to recognise her and then she expressed her surprise and said that she had not expected anyone to return. This is the first vital clue that the people who had once left the country were unwelcome. The people, who had volunteered to keep their belongings safely, were using their things as their own and had no intention of returning them. The political animosity had seeped into personal lives as well.

Question 2.
The story is divided into pre-War and post-War times. What hardships do you think the girl underwent during these times?

The story is divided into pre-War and post-War times. The situations lend a direct contrast to each other. During the pre¬War times, the narrator and her mother lived a comfortable life, where there was bonding between the people in their neighbourhood. When during the first half of the War, the narrator visited her home she noticed that various things were missing. Her mother told her about Mrs Dorling, an old acquaintance, who had suddenly turned up and renewed their contact.

Since then, she had come regularly. She had insisted on taking their things to “save” all the “nice things”. The narrator’s mother also censured her daughter for not trusting the lady.As the narrator feared, when she went back after the war, Mrs Dorling stood at the door and “wanted to prevent it opening any further. Her face gave absolutely no sign of recognition.” She was wearing her mother’s green knitted cardigan but refused to talk to the narrator. She said that it was “not convenient” for her to talk. It was a betrayal of trust and sentiment.
The girl, like anyone who goes through war, must have undergone a traumatic experience. They were uprooted and insecure. They had to leave the country that they thought to be their own, leave their house and belongings that were not merely things but held memories and had sentiments attached to them. The basic necessities of life were not available. Moreover, they left behind the people who they thought were their friends. Above all, they lived a threatened life. This is evident through the observation of the narrator—“But gradually everything became more normal again. Bread was getting to be a lighter colour, there was a bed one could sleep in unthreatened, a room with a view one was more used to glancing at each day.”

Question 3.
Why did the narrator of the story want to forget the address?

The narrator’s visit to Mrs Dorling’s house horrified her. She had come out of curiosity to see her possessions to see them, touch them, and relive the memories attached with them. But she felt oppressed in the strange atmosphere. Her eyes fell on the woollen tablecloth. The memories came flooding back to her. She followed the lines of the pattern and knew that somewhere on the edge there should be a bum mark that had never been repaired.
The cups on the tea table, the white pot, the spoons, all were so familiar and yet so strange. She recalled how as a child she had always fancied the apple on the pewter plate. She said one gets so used to touching all the lovely things in the house that one ceases to notice them unless something is missing. She recalled the time her mother had asked her to polish the silver. It was then that she had realised the spoons, forks and knives, they ate off every day were silver.

The objects were linked in her memory with the familiar life of earlier times but now they had lost their value because with the passage of time she felt cut off from them as they were now in unfamiliar surroundings. Moreover, she now lived in a small rented room where no more than a handful of cutlery could fit in the narrow table drawer. Hence, she thought of an easier way out to forget the address.

Question 4.
‘The Address’ is a story of human predicament that follows war. Comment.

Although, this is apparently a very sad story about loss and regret emanating from the persecution of the Dutch Jews during the Second World War, it also speaks, more intimately, of the personal challenges we all must face as individuals in resolving crisis in our own lives. The story relays events before and after the war as the female narrator attempts to confront her past as she visits “the address” where her family’s past belongings were ‘stored,’ at a non- Jewish neighbour’s house.


Question 1:
How did Mrs Dorling react when the narrator said, m Mrs S’s daughter”?

Mrs Dorling held her hand on the door as if she wanted to prevent it opening any
further. Her face showed no sign of recognition. She kept staring at the narrator without uttering a word.

Question 2:
What two reasons did the narrator give to explain that she was mistaken?

She thought that perhaps the woman was not Mrs Dorling. She had seen her only once, for a brief interval and that too years ago. Secondly, it was probable that she had rung the wrong bell.

Question 3:
How did the narrator conclude that she was right?

Answer: The woman was wearing the green knitted cardigan of the narrator’s mother. The wooden buttons were rather pale from washing. She saw that the narrator was looking at the cardigan. She half hid herself again behind the door. Her reaction convinced the narrator that she was right.

Question 4:
What was the outcome of the interview between Mrs Dorling and the narrator?

The interview was a flop as far as the narrator was concerned. Mrs Dorling refused
to see her and talk to her in spite of the narrator’s repeated requests.

Question 5:
Who had given the narrator the address, when and under what circumstances?

The narrator’s mother had given her the address, years ago during the first half of
the war. The narrator came home for a few days and missed various things in the rooms. Then her mother told her about Mrs Dorling and gave her the address.

Question 6:
What did the narrator learn about Mrs Dorling from her mother?

Mrs Dorling was an old acquaintance of the narrator’s mother. The latter had not seen her for several years. Then she suddenly turned up and renewed their contact.
Every time she left that place she took something with her—table silver, antique plates, etc. –

Question 7:
What reason did Mrs Dorling give for taking away the precious belongings of the narrator’s mother?

Mrs Dorling suggested to the narrator’s mother that she should store her belongings at a safer place. She wanted to save all her nice things. She explained that they would lose everything if they had to leave the place.

Question 8:
What impression do you form of the narrator’s mother on the basis of her conversation with (i) Mrs Dorling and (ii) the narrator?

The narrator’s mother was a kind-hearted, generous and liberal lady. She was fond of collecting valuable things. She is more worried about the physical risk to Mrs Dorling than losing them to her. She thought it an insult to tell her friends to keep those things for ever.

Question 9:
Did the narrator fee Up evinced about the views of her mother regarding Mrs Dorling? How do you know?

The narrator did not feel convinced about her mother’s concern for Mrs Dorling.
The latter was keen on removing the precious possessions of the narrator’s mother to her own house. It seems that the narrator did not like Mrs Darling’s excessive interest in her mother’s belongings. It is evident from the questions she puts to her mother.

Question 10:
What does the narrator remember about Mrs Dorling as she saw her for the first time?

Mrs Dorling was a woman with a broad back. She wore a brown coat and a shapeless hat. She picked up a heavy suitcase lying under the coat rack and left their house.
She lived at number 46, Marconi Street.

Question 11:
Why did the narrator wait a long time before going to the address number 46, Marconi Street?

Initially, after the liberation, she was not at all interested in her mother’s belongings lying stored there. She was also afraid of being confronted with things that had belonged to her mother, who was now no more.

Question 12:
When did the narrator become curious about her mother’s possessions?

The narrator became curious about her mother’s possessions as normalcy returned in the post-liberation period. She knew that those things must still be at the address her mother told her. She wanted to see them, touch and remember.

Question 13:
“I was in a room I knew and did not know,” says the narrator in the story ‘The Address’. What prompted her to make this observation?

The narrator found herself in the midst of things she was familiar with and which she did want to see again. However, she found them in a strange atmosphere where everything was arranged in a tasteless way. They ugly furniture and the muggy smell created the feeling that she didn’t know the room.

Question 14:
“I just looked at the still life over the tea table,” says the narrator in the story ‘The Address’. What does she mean by ‘the still life? What prompted her to make this remark?

By ‘the still life’, the narrator means the things over the tea table such as the table-cloth, tea pot, cups and spoons. The reference to antique box and silver spoons prompted her to make this remark.

Question 15:
How was the narrator able to recognise her own familiar woollen table- cloth?

The narrator first stared at the woollen table-cloth. Then she followed the lines of the pattern. She remembered that somewhere there was a bum mark which had not been repaired. At last she found the bum mark on the table-cloth. This helped her to recognise her own familiar article.

Question 16:
“You only notice when something is missing.” What does the speaker exactly mean? What examples does she give?

The speaker says that one gets used to touching one’s lovely things in the house. One hardly looks at them any more. It is only when something is missing that it is noticed either because it is to be repaired or it has been lent to someone.

Question 17:
How did narrator come to know that the cutlery they ate off every day was silver?

Once the narrator’s mother asked her if she would help her polish the silver. The
narrator asked her which silver she meant. Her mother was surprised at her ignorance and replied that it was the spoons, forks and knives, i.e. the cutlery they ate off everyday.

Question 18:
Why did the narrator suddenly decide to leave?

The narrator had visited 46, Marconi Street for a specific purpose—to see her mother’s belongings and touch them. However, these objects seemed to have lost their value in strange surroundings and on being severed from the life of former times.

Question 19:
How did the narrator reconcile herself to the loss of her mother’s precious belongings?

The narrator felt that her mother had only lent them for safe custody and Mrs Dorling was not to keep everything. On seeing these objects, memories of her former life were aroused. She found no room for these precious belongings in her present life. So she reconciled to her fate.

Question 20:
“Of all the things I had to forget, that would be the easiest”. What does the speaker mean by ‘that’? What is its significance in the story?

That’ here stands for the address. The words: number 46, Marconi Street, i.e. the address recur throughout the story. The address is important for the narrator at the beginning of the story. However, at the end of the story she resolves to forget it as she wants to break off with the past and move on with the present into the future.
B. Long Answer Type Questions

Question 1:
How did the narrator come to know about Mrs Dorling and the address where she lived?

Years ago, during the first half of the war, the narrator went home for a few days to see her mother. After staying there a couple of days she noticed that something or other about the rooms had changed. She missed various things. Then her mother told her about Mrs Dorling. She was an old acquaintance of her mother. She had suddenly turned up after many years. Now she came regularly and took something home with her everytime she came. She suggested that she could save her precious belongings by storing them at her place. Mother told her address, Number 46, Marconi Street. The narrator asked her mother if she had agreed with her that she should keep everything. Her mother did not like that. She thought it would be an insult to do so. She was worried about the risk Mrs Dorling faced carrying a full suitcase or bag.

Question 2:
Give a brief account of the narrator’s first visit to 46, Marconi Street. What impression do you form of Mrs Dorling from it?

In the post-war period, when things returned to normal, the narrator became curious about her mother’s possessions that were stored at Mrs Dorling’s house. Since she wanted to see them, she took the train and went to 46, Marconi Street. Mrs Dorling opened the door a chink. The narrator came closer, stood on the step and asked her if she still knew her. Mrs Dorling told her that she didn’t know her. The narrator told her that she was the daughter of Mrs S. Mrs Dorling kept staring at her in silence and gave on sign of recognition. She held her hand on the door as if she wanted to prevent it opening any further. The narrator recognised the green knitted cardigan of her mother that Mrs Dorling was wearing. Mrs Dorling noticed it and half hid herself behind the door. The narrator again asked if she knew her mother. Mrs Dorling asked with surprise if she had come back. She declined to see the narrator or help her.

Question 3:
In what respect was the second visit of the narrator to 46, Marconi Street different from the first one? Did she really succeed in her mission? Give a reason for your answer.

The second visit of the narrator to 46, Marconi Street, was different from the first one in one respect. Dining the first visit, the narrator could not get admittance in the house, whereas during the second one, she was led to the living room, where she could see and touch some of the things she had wanted so eagerly to see. She had visited this place with a specific purpose—to see her mother’s belongings. The touch and sight of familiar things aroused memory of her former life. These objects had now lost their real value for her since they were severed from their own lives and stored in strange circumstances. Thus her mission to see, touch and remember her mother’s belongings was partly successful. She resolved to forget these objects, and their past and move on. This is clear from her decision to forget the address.

Question 4:
What impression do you form of the narrator?

The narrator leaves a very favourable impression on us about her emotional and intellectual qualities. We find her an intelligent but devoted daughter. She loves and respects her mother, but does not approve of her soft behaviour towards her acquaintance, Mrs Dorling. She puts a pointed question, which her mother thinks impolite.
The narrator has a keen power of observation. She notices during her brief stay at home that various things are missing from the rooms. She has a sharp power of judgment. She once sizes up Mrs Dorling. Her persistent efforts to remind Mrs Dorling of her own identity and the latter’s relations with her mother reveal her indomitable spirit. She visits 46, Marconi Street twice to see, touch and remember her mother’s belongings. She is a realist, who doesn’t like to remain tagged to the past. Her resolution to forget the address and move on shows her grit and forward looking nature. She has a progressive personality.

Question 5:
Comment on the significance of the title of the story The Address.

The title of the story The Address is quite apt. It is the spring wheel of the action. In fact the whole action centres round it. The title is quite suggestive and occurs at the beginning, middle and end of the story. Marga Minco focuses the reader’s attention on it by the narrator’s doubt whether she was mistaken and her self assurance that she had reached the correct address.
The middle part of the story reveals how she came to know the address. It was her mother who informed her about the place where Mrs Dorling lived and asked her to remember it.
The story ends dramatically with the narrator’s resolve to forget the address. The wheel comes full circle. She had remembered the address for so many years and now since the belongings of her mother stored there have lost their usefulness she finds that forgetting this address would be quite easy.
She felt the urge to see them, touch and recall memories. On a deeper level, the story is a commentary on memories and remembering on what is worth remembering and what is worth forgetting: things “lose their value when you see them again, tom out of context…”