Class 11

Std. XI – Prose – 1.1 Being Neighborly – Analysis

 Std. XI – Prose – 1.1 Being Neighborly – Analysis

Brief story     
It’s a snowy day, and Jo decided to go out and dig paths in the snow. The Marches’ house – a small, brown, shabby dwelling which lost its summer greenery. It was separated by a low hedge from Mr. Laurence’s large stone mansion. She saw Laurie sitting near one of the windows on the second floor. Jo felt sorry for the poor lonely boy. She threw a snowball at the window, grabbing Laurie’s attention. Laurie admitted that he had been sick with a cold, and he invited Jo to come over. Jo arrived soon after with an armful of offerings for Laurie: a plate of blanc- mange (a kind of custard) from Meg and kittens from Beth. Jo straightened up Laurie’s quarters, and offered to read out loud to Laurie. Laurie begged her to talk to him, and Jo told him about her family. Laurie revealed that he sometimes spied on the March family, but Jo saw that he only did it because he was orphaned (his parents died when he was young, so he was now with his grandfather) and felt lonesome. Laurie stepped out momentarily to see his doctor, and while he had gone Mr. Laurence, Laurie’s Grandpa came in and surprised Jo. Jo told him that she felt Laurie needed to spend more time around kids of his own age. Mr. Laurence invited Jo to tea. As he saw Jo and Laurie chatter, Mr. Laurence realized that there might be some truth to what Jo had told him. Jo revealed that Laurie said he’d been grateful for the “medicine” Mrs. March had sent over, and Meg remarked that Laurie was paying Jo a compliment. Jo is flustered, and chides Meg for being sentimental when all she wanted to do was befriend Laurie. Mrs. March gave Jo permission to invite Laurie over to their house.


1) Josephine March:- The protagonist of the novel and second oldest March sister. Jo, who wants to be a writer, is based on Louisa May Alcott herself, which makes the story semi- autobiographical. Jo has a temper and a quick tongue, although she works hard to control both. She is a tomboy and reacts with impatience to many limitations placed on women and girls. 

2) Meg March:- The oldest March sister. She is responsible and kind. She has a small weakness for luxury and leisure but the greater part of her is she is gentle, loving and morally vigorous. 

3) Beth March:- The third March daughter. Beth is very quiet and very virtuous. She does nothing but tries to please others. She adores music and plays the piano very well. 

4) Amy March:- The youngest March girl. Amy is an artist who adores visual beauty and has a weakness for pretty possessions. She is given to fits of temper and vanity but she does attempts to improve herself. 

5) Laurie Laurence:- The rich boy who lives next door to the March family. Laurie, whose real name is Theodore Laurence. He is charming, clever and has a good heart.

6) Mr. Laurence:- Laurie’s grandfather and the Marches’ next – door neighbour. He seems gruff but he is loving and kind.

7) Marmee:- The March girls’ mother. Marmee is the moral role model for her girls. She counsels them through all of their problems and works hard. Her husband is at war.

8) Mr.March:- The March girls’ father and Marmee’s husband. He serves in the Union army as a chaplain.

9) The Hummels:- A family that lives near the Marches. The Hummels are poor and in bad health.

10) Aunt March:- A rich widow and one of the March girl’s aunts. Although irritated and difficult, she loves her nieces and wants the best for them.

An icebreaker is an activity, game or event that is used to welcome and warm up the conversation among participants in a meeting, training class, team building session, or another event. Any event that requires people to comfortably interact with each other and a facilitator is an opportunity to use an icebreaker. It is a kind of preparation activity. It relates the learners to the theme of the topic.

 Textual Activities.

Activity :-

i) Complete the web diagram

Friendship to me means:-
1) Get moral support in difficulties.
2) Ready to sacrifice anything.
3) Relation beyond gives and gains.
4) Place to open your heart.
5) Sharing the secrets, happiness and sorrow.
6) Caring and sharing.
7) Ready to help every other in need.
8) Having long conversation.
9) Giving and receiving gifts.
10) Making lots of fun.
11) Accepting each other with vices and virtues.
12) Giving support to each other.
13) Caring each other.
14) Enjoying every moment.
15) Keeping in touch with each other.


ii) Complete the statement

If you see someone lonely or sad you will:-

1) I will help him in difficult times.
2) I will co-operate him in difficult situations.
3) I will be courteous to him.
4) I will overcome his sorrows by walking hand in hand.
5) I will give solution on any distress that the person is suffering from. I will remind him karma i.e. duty which we need to face.
6) I will befriend him or her and start topics in such a way that he / she will feel home.
7) I will ask him what wrong was happen with him.
8) I will talk with him and try to understand his problem.
9) I will offer him or her tea or snacks.
10) I will tell good jokes.
11) I will comfort him or her.
12) I will spend time with him or her.
13) I will try to make him or her forget his or her sorrow.
14) I will cheer him or her up.
15) I will never make him or her feel lonely.
1) Pussy cat- easy going, lazy or inactive person
2) groves- small group of trees
3) hedge- a row of bushes
4) frolicked- overplayed, behaved in a playful way
5) Society- Company of friends (companions)
6) scandalizing- teasing, to cause somebody to feel shocked by doing unusual things
7) croaked out as hoarsely as a raven- uttered a low hoarse sound like raven bird
8) a little gentleman- small aged polite person or boy of etiquettes
9) colored up- changes in colour that shows how you are feeling from the face
10) To wait on- to serve the needs of someone
11) good breeding- good manners, polite and socially correct behaviour
12) pranced- to move about with quick, high steps
13) wicked- morally bad, evil, here mischievous
14) affair- situation, behaviour


A1. i) Jo’s decision to make friends with the lonely boy next door proves to be good one. Elaborate. You may begin with ‘Jo was a bold, friendly and warm person———
Answer:- Jo was a bold, friendly and warm person. She knew that the next door boy Laurie was lonely and wanted to enjoy the fun with the persons of his age. So she had taken appropriate steps and met the lonely boy. She changed the life of the boy and he became neighbourly with others.

ii) Read the extract ‘Being Neighborly’ and complete the following statements:

a) To Jo the fine house seemed like a kind of enchanted palace, full of splendors and delights which no one enjoyed.

b) Jo swept a path around the garden for Beth to walk in when the sun came out and her broken limbs dolls needed air.

c) Jo entered the old stone house carrying blanc – mange surrounded by a garland of green leaves ant the scarlet flowers.

d) In order to tide the room, Jo needed to place the objects in a right place.

iii) Bring out the contrast between the two houses with the help of the following points.

House of March   
House of Laurence

1) Old, brown house                    
a) Stately stone mansion 
2) Robbed of the vines                 
b) Well-kept grounds

3) Children played all around      
c) Lonely and lifeless – no children playing

4) Loving and friendlier              
d) No motherly face smiled at the window

A2. The traits of the characters you meet in the extract are jumbled. Sort them out and write them in the appropriate columns.

(Shy, bold, guff, friendly, withdrawn, perceptive, empathetic, playful, lonely, happy, gentlemanly, frank, mature, dull, sharp, adventurous)

A3.(i) Write down in your own words the way Laurie confirmed the names of the March sisters.
Answer:- Laurie described the rosy girl as Beth who stayed at home most of the time and sometimes went out with a little basket. He recognized the pretty girl as Meg while the curly – haired one as Amy. In this way Laurie confirmed the names of the March sisters.
(ii) Give a brief account of the interaction between Grandpa and Jo.
Answer:- Jo expressed her thoughts about Grandpa that he had kind eyes, tremendous will but he was not as handsome as her grandfather. She did not know that Laurie’s Grandpa was hearing her words. Grandpa thanked her hearing her expressions about him. She blushed and felt uncomfortable about what she had said about Grandpa. But Grandpa accepted her remarks and made her comfortable with soft words. He enquired about her presence with his grandson Laurie. She claimed that he needed to become friendlier with neighbours so he would never remain alone. Grandpa accepted her thinking.

A4. (i) Find proverbs, maxims and Idioms related to ‘friendship’.

(a) For example: Birds of a feather flock together.

(b) A friend in need is a friend indeed.

(c) A friend in court is better than a penny in purse.

(d) Isn’t it pleasure to receive a friend from afar?

(e) A friend to everybody is a friend to nobody.
(ii) The extract deals with the atmosphere of two homes. Collect the words associated with-

(a) Home:- Old, brown house, bare and shabby, Stately stone mansion, big coach house, enchanted place, as dull as tombs etc.

(b) Library:- A fellow can’t live on books, lined with books, distracting little cabinets full of coins and curiosities, sleepy hollow chairs, queer tables, bronzes, open fireplace etc.

(c) Garden:- Groves, lawns, robbed of the vines, low hedge etc.
A5. Change into indirect speech.

(a) “Do you like your school?” asked the boy.
     “Don’t go to school; I’m a business man – girl. I mean,” answered Jo.
Answer:- The boy wanted to know whether she (Jo) liked school. To which , Jo answered rather emphatically that she did not go to school. She further added that she was a businessman, jovially corrected the gender.
(b) Jo flourished her broom as she called out….. “How do you do? Are you sack?”
Laurie opened the window and croaked out as hoarsely as a raven………
“Better, thank you. I’ ve had a bad cold and been shut up a week.
Answer:- Jo flourished her broom as she called how he (Laurie) was. She further inquired whether he was sick. Laurie opened the window and croaked out as hoarsely as a raven and giving thanks he confirmed her that he was feeling better. He further added he had been suffering from cold and had been shut himself up a week.
(c) “The pretty one is Meg and the curly – haired is Amy, I believe?” – Laurie.
“How did you find that out” –Jo
Answer:-Laurie confirmed that the pretty one was Meg and the curly – haired was Amy.
Jo (surprisingly) asked (him) how he had found that out.
(d) “I’m not afraid of anything,” returning Jo, with a toss of the head.
“I don’t believe you are!” exclaimed the boy.
Answer:- Returning Jo, with a toss of the head assured that she was not afraid of anything.
The boy exclaimed that he didn’t believe she was afraid of anything.

Other Activities

Activity:- Give information
Laurie has:
1. All the riches or physical pleasures
2. Stately stone mansion- full of splendors and delights
3. Servants, Grandfather, Tutor
Laurie doesn’t have
1. Parents (mother and father)
2. Children of his age to play
3. Society and fun
Activity: Describe the effect of Laurie’s words on Jo.
 When Laurie tells Jo about his real condition of being lonely; his grandpa lives among his books and do not bother about what happen outside of his house, his tutor does not stay there and he has no one to go about with him but to stop and get on as he can, Jo becomes cautious. She realizes in what condition, Laurie is going through. She advises him that he needs to make an efforts and go visiting everywhere. He will have plenty of friends, pleasant places to go. He should forget his shyness.
Activity: List the things that Jo notices in the portrait.
1) The old gentleman has got kind eyes
2) His mouth is grim (serious)
3) He looks as if he had a tremendous will of his own.                                                    
4) He is not as handsome as her (Jo’s) grandfather.
5) She likes him.
In spite of Jo’s apprehensions, Grandpa is
1) Pleased
2) Gives sharp laugh
3) Shakes hand with her
Discuss what Jo meant by this.
1) “Only trying to be neigbourly, sir”
2) seems a little lonely
3) splendid Christmas present                                                                       
1) Here she only meant that she is doing her duty as a good neighbor. She just wanted the boy of her age should not be lonely. He should get company of his neighbours.                                                                                                                     
2) The boy is alone as he doesn’t get company of his age persons.                                       
3) Here she reminded the kindness of Laurie’s grandfather who had sent them the splendid Christmas present.
Activity:- Name and explain the figures of speech

I’m happy as a cricket here
Simile:-The girl Jo is directly compared as a cricket (insect) who is free from any fear and tension.
It’s as dull as tombs up here
Simile:-  The house of Laurie is directly compared with the tombs which are isolated and lifeless.
Activity:- Guess the meaning of the phrase in the context:
go on being neighbourly

In the context the phrase ‘go on being neighbourly’ means the isolated Laurence family (Laurie and his grandfather) is ready to make close and warm contacts with their neighbouring March family. There will be good and healthy relationship in between these two families.

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