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Home-coming Summary, Theme| ICSE Class 9 English

 

 

ICSE Class 9 English Home-coming Summary, Theme, Character Sketch along with difficult word meanings from Treasure Chest Book

 

Home-coming Class 9 ICSE– Are you looking for Theme, Summary and Lesson Explanation for ICSE Class 9 English Lesson Home-coming from Treasure Chest (A Collection of ICSE Poems and Short Stories) book. Get Summary, Theme, Character Sketch along with difficult word meanings.

 

Home-coming Class 9 ICSE English 

By Rabindranath Tagore

 

 

 
 

Introduction to Home-coming

The story Home-coming depicts the journey of Phatik, the protagonist, who spent his life longing for a home where he could find love and affection from his mother. But in search of it, he gained disappointment in various phases of his life. 

 

Due to his boyish mischief he was sent away to Kolkata to live with his uncle. He wished to get love at his uncle’s house but only got punishment and scolding from his aunt, his teachers at school and his friends there. His approaching death made his mother show her motherly affection but it was too late. 
 

 
 

Themes of the Lesson Home-coming

The primary themes of the lesson ‘Home-coming’ by Rabindranath Tagore are-

  1. Love and Isolation
  2. The contrast between rural life and city life

 

  1. Love and Isolation 

Love and Isolation is the central theme of the story. Phatik, the young protagonist, a fourteen year old boy is a fun loving, mischievous village boy. Phatik’s perspective represents the innocence and vulnerability of childhood. He is easily misunderstood and lacks the agency to express himself effectively. Phatik’s mischievous behaviour might be a cry for attention. He doesn’t receive the love and understanding he craves at home, leading him down a path of rebellion. He yearned for love and affection as he grew up without his father, who had died years ago and an impatient mother. He experiences a clear lack of affection from his mother. She seems to favour his younger brother and is quick to punish Phatik. This coldness pushes him away and makes him excited about the idea of leaving for Calcutta.

Phatik’s journey to Calcutta, initially seen as an escape, turns into a search for a place where he feels loved and accepted. He misses his village and longs for the familiar comfort of home, which he now realises is more about love than location.

In a heartbreaking twist, Phatik’s mother finally shows affection on Phatik’s deathbed. This single act highlights the depth of her love, which perhaps remained unexpressed throughout his life.

The chapter “Home-coming” reminds us of the fundamental human need for affection and the impact it has on a person’s well-being.

 

  1. The Contrast between Country Life and City Life

 

Phatik lived in a glorious meadow, enjoyed river baths and open spaces in his village. The house where Phatik went to live with his uncle’s family was surrounded by walls on all sides, which made him feel suffocated. He longed for open spaces in his village where he used to play games and fly kites with his friends. 

Phatik’s initial impression is that the city holds the key to a better life. He’s drawn to the excitement and imagines the opportunities for education and advancement. However, this dream is shattered by the harsh reality of living with his indifferent aunt’s family.

The city fails to provide the warmth and sense of belonging that Phatik craves. He feels isolated and neglected, ultimately falling ill due to loneliness. This experience highlights the emotional cost of a fast-paced, environment.
 

 
 

Home-coming Summary

Plot Summary (Storyline)

 

1. Phatik, a mischievous boy had an altercation with his younger brother Makhan, who beat him and put the blame on Phatik.

2. Their mother blamed Phatik and believed the lies Makhan told her.

3. Phatik was sent away to live in Calcutta with his maternal uncle, Bhisamber.

4. Phatik felt isolated in his uncle’s house.

5. Phatik longed for his mother’s love and acceptance from his peers.

6. Phatik was beaten up by the teachers at school, bullied by other students and scolded by his aunt.

7. He could not take it anymore and tried to run away to his village.

8. On the way he got drenched in rain and fell seriously ill.

9. He was brought back to his uncle’s house by two policemen. 

10. In a state of disorientation, he called for his mother.

11. Seeing his mother, he felt the holidays had come and now he could return to his village. 

12. It was too late. Phatik was seriously ill and was about to die. 

 

Summary of the Story

Phatik, the protagonist of the story and a mischievous boy, thought of a plan to roll away a heavy log, lying on the mud-flat of a river. All his friends agreed to his proposal. But Makhan, his younger brother, walked in and sat on the log. Phatik and his friends rolled the log over and Makhan fell off. This caused Makhan to hit Phatik. But, Phatik did not retaliate. Makhan returned home and told his version of events. Phatik was blamed for hitting his brother. His mother, who was prejudiced against him, believed Makhan’s version. This might be the reason why Phatik’s mother was pleased to have her brother, Bishamber take Phatik to Calcutta. Phatik’s mother was unable to manage Phatik. Something that was her fault and not Phatik’s who wanted her mother’s love, security and acceptance from his peers.

 

Phatik’s mother lacked the responsibility that was required to raise Phatik. She considered him to be wild though he was just an average fourteen-year-old boy who liked mischief. Bishamber’s wife was not much better when it came to raising Phatik. Phatik showed his best behaviour, still he was not loved by his aunt. 

 

Phatik’s school days were miserable for him. If he was not being beaten by the teachers, he was beaten by some of the other students. Phatik felt lonely. When he lived in the village, Phatik was the ring leader of his band of companions. But in his school in Calcutta, rather than being a leader he had become a victim. Even Phatik’s cousins did not help him because they were afraid that they might get isolated by the bullies in the school. 

How much he missed the village is noticeable by the fact that he attempted to walk home to his village but got drenched in the rain. One day he gathered courage and asked his uncle when he would be able to go home. “Wait for the holidays” was his uncle’s reply. Phatik knew that it would be a long wait. 

 

At the end, Phatik falls ill. He becomes disoriented due to his illness. When he saw his mother, he believed that the holidays had come. Yet those in the room knew that Phatik was seriously ill and was about to die. 
 

 
 

Setting of the Lesson Home-coming

The story begins in a village and then moves to Calcutta. Rabindranath Tagore has used the comparison between the countryside and the city to highlight the longing of a village boy to return to his home from a city.

Like typical village boys, Phatik also plays games in an open area near the river. 

Although Phatik feels excited to move to Calcutta, but once he is there, he longs for his village and his companions there. He feels suffocated in his uncle’s house which has been described as surrounded by houses and walls on all sides with no open spaces. In the village, there was a glorious meadow where he used to fly kites all day long. There was a small stream in which he used to dive and swim. 

The author has beautifully blended the rural and the city life to Phatik’s desire of home-coming to his village and family.
 

 
 

Title Analysis of the Lesson Home-coming

The title “Home-coming” is quite appropriate because Phatik, the protagonist of the story, had not one but three chances to have a home-coming. Phatik has been described in the story as a 14 year old boy, whose desire was not only to be at home in his village, but to get his mother’s love and affection. 

 

The first incident of homecoming that Phatik experienced was at the beginning of the story. He got into a fight with his brother, Makhan who then ran home to tell their mother. Phatik knew he would get unjust punishment as their mother was prejudiced against him. So he delayed coming back.

He was forcibly taken back home by a servant where their mother believed Makhan’s version of the story and beat him. Though Phatik came back home, he longed for his mother’s loving embrace. 

 

The second incident happened when his mother decided to send him with his maternal uncle to Calcutta for education. He thought that his maternal uncle and aunt would provide love and care. But they made him feel unwelcome. He longed to return to his village home. He received similar harsh treatment from his teachers and classmates at school. 

One day, fed up, he ran away to his village. It was raining and he got drenched on his way and fell ill. Two police constables brought him back to his uncle, Bishamber. This was the saddest homecoming.

 

The last and the most heartbreaking homecoming was Phatik’s nearing death. He was sick and in a state of delirium, he asked his mother not to beat him. He saw his mother and said that the holidays have come. Phatik, in his short life, longed for a home, where he would be loved and cared for. He died in Calcutta, a home far away from his home and could never have a happy homecoming. 
 

 
 

Characters in  the Lesson Home-coming

  1. Phatik

Phatik, the protagonist of the story, is a fourteen year old boy. Like any other teenager of his age, he is mischievous and fun loving. He was continuously trying to do something that would provide fun and enjoyment to him and his friends. When he found a heavy log lying on the bank of a river, he decided to shift it to another place. This was an enjoyment for him and his friends. But his younger brother Makhan spoiled his game when he sat on the log and refused to move away from there. Phatik was the ringleader among the boys of his village. They not only agreed to what he said but also did as he commanded them to do. When he asked them to remove the heavy log, they immediately agreed to his proposal and carried on the task all together. When his brother Makhan refused to get down the log, he ordered his friends to roll the log along with Makhan. His order was their command and they rolled the log with all their might and threw off Makhan. 

Phatik’s mother always had the fear that he would either drown Makhan in the river or break his head in a fight or run him into some danger or the other. But Phatik never did anything of that sort. 

When Phatik was about to leave for Calcutta with his uncle, he gave his fishing-rod, his kite and marbles to his younger brother, Makhan. 

Phatik thought in Calcutta, his uncle and aunt would bring him up with love and care. But, he was an unwelcome guest there. Being a teenager, he longed for acceptance from his peers at school and his cousins at home. 

Throughout the story, Phatik longed for his mother’s love and care. The mother regarded Phatik as lazy,disobedient and wild as compared to his brother who was regarded as good as gold. 

Phatik ran away from his uncle’s house and got drenched on the way and fell ill. In his state of delirium, he begged his mother not to beat him. Finally, when he was on his deathbed, his mother showed motherly love to him, but it was too late then. 

 

  1. Makhan

Makhan is the younger brother of Phatik. He is described by his mother as good as gold, as quiet as a lamb and very fond of reading. But all these characteristics appear to be a mother’s prejudice. 

He never joins Phatik and his friends. He even spoils his brother’s plan of rolling the heavy log and getting enjoyment out of it. He scratched his brother’s face, beat him and went home crying. He tells lies to his mother and tries to spoil Phatik’s image. 

Although Phatik gives him all his belongings, Makhan remains indifferent. 

 

  1. Mother

Phatik’s mother is a village lady. She has two sons to bring up single-handedly as she is a widow. The mother is prejudiced against Phatik because she thinks that he is lazy, disobedient and wild. She prefers Makhan as he is less mischievous and more studious. She appears to be an irresponsible mother because she trusts Makhan and believes whatever Makhan tells her and does not bother to find out the truth. 

When her brother Bishamber offers to take the two boys to Calcutta, the mother chooses Phatik to go along with her brother Bishamber. She cannot hear the voice of her child’s heart that aches for her love and affection. 

Upon hearing of Phatik’s illness, she reaches Calcutta and hysterically runs towards him. She realises her mistake in sending her son to Calcutta and also understands Phatik’s longing for her love and affection but it was too late.

 

  1. Bishamber

Bishamber is the brother of Phatik’s mother. He is a grey-haired middle-aged man who lives with his wife and children in Calcutta. He is a considerate man devoted to his family. 

He is a loving brother and a kind and compassionate man. He goes against his family to help his sister and offers to take Phatik to Calcutta. This shows that he is concerned about the welfare of his nephews. 

When Phatik goes missing from the house, Bishamber takes help from the police. And when policemen bring back Phatik, he carries him in his arms and takes him inside. He understands Phatik’s frustration and is teary-eyed seeing him in such a state. When Phatik fell ill, he sat beside him through the night taking Phatik’s lean and burning hands in his own. He calls the doctor when Phatik has a fever. Bishamber understands Phatik’s longing for his mother and calls her to visit Calcutta. 

 

  1. The Aunt

Phatik’s maternal uncle’s wife is a rude woman who keeps insulting Phatik regardless of the fact that Phatik keeps trying to win her over and make efforts to make her accept him. He gets beaten by the teachers, suffers shivering and finally runs away, all not to be a nuisance to his aunt. 

The aunt never treats Phatik as a member of her family. Though Phatik is on his best behaviour he is still not loved by her.
 

 
 

Narrative Style of Home-coming

The story is narrated in third person point of view. This narration of the story enables the readers to understand what Phatik went through when he shifted from his village to Calcutta. The narrator has not described the appearances of the characters but has given the traits of the characters. 
 

 
 

Writing Styles used in Home-coming

Chronology 

The story is narrated following a linear pattern. The significant events in the story take place in a chronological order. 

 

Irony

The story has an element of irony in it. In the first line, Phatik is described as a ringleader, capable of having his way with the other boys in the village. However, he could not live the city-life in Calcutta and had no friends. He is later referred to as the most backward boy in the whole school. 

Phatik longed for a home-coming and getting love and affection from his mother. This is an irony irony that he got what he wanted after he had gone forever.
 

 
 

Word Meanings Home-coming

 

Word

Meaning

Ringleader

one who leads others in improper activities

Mud-flat

a flat area of land that is often exposed at low tide and covered in mud.

Mast

upright support for the sails

Seconded the proposal

express one’s agreement to a proposal

Unanimously

everyone in the group agreed on something, without any disagreement

Sauntered

to walk slowly in a relaxed and casual way, often suggesting a lack of urgency or purpose.

confused or unable to understand something. 

Puzzled

confused or unable to understand something

Timidly

done in a shy or hesitant way

Unconcerned

not worried or troubled about something

Futility

the state of being useless or pointless

Thrash

beat with a stick, as punishment

Regal

having the characteristics of a king or queen; majestic, dignified

Dignity

quality of being worthy of respect

Crisis

difficult or dangerous time

Manoeuvre

a clever or skilful movement, especially one made to deceive an enemy

Discomfit

to make someone feel uncomfortable or embarrassed

Peril

serious danger or risk

Heave

to lift or pull something heavy with a great effort

Glory

great honour or praise

Hoarse

rough and harsh

Fury

anger

Blind as Fate

Fate is often personified as blind, meaning it cannot see the future or control what happens.

Sunken

partly submerged under water

Landing

a place where people or goods can be embarked or disembarked from boats.

Shore

edge of the land next to a large body of river, lake or ocean

Impotent

powerless or ineffective

Indignantly

hatefully

Sheepish

looked foolish

Hammered

Hit repeatedly 

Blows

Punches or strikes

Critical Juncture

a crucial or decisive moment

Grey-haired

having hair that is grey in colour, a sign of ageing

Perpetual nuisance

constantly annoying or troublesome

Disobedient

not obeying rules or instructions

Wild

uncontrolled

As good as gold 

excellent or perfect in character

Quiet as a lamb

very quiet and gentle

Readily

willingly and without hesitation

Hastened

hurried or rushed

Rejoicing

great happiness and celebration

Prejudice

an opinion that is not based on reason or experience

Immense

very great or large

Distressed

upset or worried

Eagerness

strong desire or enthusiasm

Perpetuity

forever or indefinitely

Bequeathed

to give something to someone in your will, typically after you die.

Unbounded

limitless or unrestricted

On pins and needles

very anxious or nervous with anticipation

Generosity

large heartedness

Indiscretion

lack of good judgement or careful behaviour; an unwise act

Ornamental

serving as decoration or adornment; not having a practical use

Impertinent

rude or disrespectful, especially in a way that is considered to be amusing

Resented

to feel bitterness or indignation at something considered unjust, unfair, insulting, or injurious

Indecent haste

an excessively fast or hurried way that is considered inappropriate

Unduly

To an unnecessary or unreasonable degree

Lapse

a temporary failure of judgement, behaviour, or memory

Nuisance

a person or thing that causes annoyance, inconvenience, or trouble. 

Self-conscious

uncomfortably aware of oneself and how one is seen by others

Undue indulgence

excessive kindness or leniency, which is seen as harmful

Paradise

a place or state of ideal happiness and peace

Slighted

to treat someone with a lack of respect or attention; to offend someone. 

Oppressed

Feeling weighed down, burdened, or restricted

Despot

An absolute ruler with complete control, often used negatively for a cruel ruler.

Tyrant

A cruel and oppressive ruler.

Longing

an intense feeling of desire or yearning for something or someone.

Inexpressible

unable to be expressed in words

Wistfulness

a feeling of sadness and longing for something that is missing or that one has lost

Uncouth

Lacking manners or refinement, awkward and clumsy.

Gaped

stared with the mouth open, often in surprise or confusion

Espied

caught sight of something or someone, especially secretly.

Gazed

looked long and steadily

Summoned up

Gathered or found courage

Unmercifully

without mercy or kindness 

Abjectly miserable

extremely unhappy and in a bad state 

Jeer

to make fun of someone in a rude or mocking way

Pursed her lips in contempt

tightened her lips in a way that shows disgust or disapproval

Lout

a clumsy or stupid person

Country lout 

ill-mannered villager

Futile

useless

Shivering

uncontrollable shaking

Torrents

heavy and continuous downpours of rain

Drenched through to the skin

completely soaked, especially by rain.

Constables

Police officers of a lower rank

Limbs

arms and legs.

Tremble

shake uncontrollably

Heap of trouble

someone who causes a lot of problems or difficulties

Exclaimed:

said something loudly and suddenly, often due to surprise or strong emotion

Sobbed

cried uncontrollably with shaking breaths.

Delirious

in a confused state of mind, often accompanied by hallucinations (seeing or hearing things that aren’t there).

Vacantly

blankly, without any clear thought or purpose 

Flung

Threw somebody suddenly

Lean

thin, possibly due to illness or malnutrition.

Mutter

to speak softly and unintelligibly

Fathoms

a unit of length used primarily for measuring the depth of water, equal to six feet (1.8 meters). In the context of the crying, it’s a metaphor for Phatik navigating through a difficult and unknown situation.

Plumb-line

a weighted line used for measuring the depth of water. Phatik’s cries reference the sailor marking the depth, but metaphorically, it suggests Phatik is grappling with his own unknown depths of illness and delirium.

Unfathomable

too deep or mysterious to be fully understood

Whirlwind

something that moves very quickly and forcefully, often causing disruption

Agitation

a state of great restlessness or worry

Darling

a term of endearment used for someone loved deeply

Restless

unable to relax or stay still

Ceased

stopped completely

Beating up and down

A repetitive motion, possibly suggesting Phatik is hitting something or moving his hands rapidly.

 

 

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