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Once Upon A Time Summary, Explanation, Difficult Words

 

 

Bihar Board Class 10 English Lesson 6 Once Upon A Time Summary, Lesson Explanation with difficult word meanings and Question Answer from Panorama-II Book

 

Once Upon A Time– Are you looking for Summary and Lesson Explanation for Bihar Board Class 10 English Lesson 6 Once Upon A Time from Panorama-II Book. Get notes, summary of the Lesson followed by line by line explanation of the lesson along with the meanings of difficult words and Question and Answers.

 

Once Upon A Time Bihar Board Class 10 English 

Toni Morrison 

 

 
 

Once Upon A Time Introduction

In this chapter, we meet an old woman who is both blind and wise. People come to her to test her wisdom, thinking her blindness makes her unable to perceive the world. They challenge her by asking if a bird they hold is alive or dead. But the woman’s response surprises them; she says she doesn’t know about the bird’s fate, but states that it is in their hands. This encounter sparks reflections on power, language, and the exchange between different generations. Through the woman’s words, we see and explore a deeper meaning about responsibility and collaboration among different groups and the power of language.

 

 

 

Theme of the Lesson Once Upon A Time 

The theme of the chapter is about power, understanding, and collaboration. It shows how people may underestimate others based on their differences, like the old woman’s blindness. But it also highlights the importance of responsibility and working together, as seen through the interaction between the old woman and the visitors. It explores how individuals, despite their differences, can bridge divides through meaningful communication and mutual respect.

The chapter explores the idea that true wisdom comes from recognizing our shared humanity and working towards understanding and empathy. Themes such as identity, oppression, and the importance of empathy and understanding in human interactions are also explored by the author in the chapter. 

 

 

 

Once Upon A Time Summary

In “Once Upon a Time,” the narrator tells the story of an old, wise woman who is blind. She is the daughter of black American slaves and is highly respected for her wisdom. The narrator notes that similar stories can be found in various cultures.

One day, some young people visit the woman’s house and challenge her wisdom by asking if a bird they’re holding is alive or dead. Despite her blindness, she refuses to give a direct answer, causing the visitors to mock her silence. Unfazed, she says that her blindness keeps her from seeing the bird, and the guests scold her for that statement. The narrator speculates on the motives of the young visitors, suggesting they may be trying to assert their power or disrupt the peace of the elderly. He thinks deeply about the story and finds a hidden meaning. He believes that the bird represents something fragile or weak. So, he interprets it as language. He also sees the old woman as someone skilled with words.

The narrator is curious about the young visitors. He didn’t expect them to come to the old woman’s house so suddenly. He wonders if they came to trick her or show off their power. He’s worried they might disrespect her and cause trouble. The young people keep asking the blind old woman many questions. They believe her blindness lets her see things differently. They want to understand people and those who feel lost in the world.

After the young people finish talking, there’s silence. Then, the old woman says she trusts them now. She also believes the bird they’re talking about isn’t really in their hands. She thanks them for being nice and for talking kindly to her. Through this story, the writer, Toni Morrison, highlights the power of language and its ability to bring about change. 

 

 

 

Once Upon A Time Summary in Hindi

“वंस अपॉन ए टाइम” में कथावाचक एक बूढ़ी, बुद्धिमान महिला की कहानी कहता है जो अंधी है। वह काले अमेरिकी गुलामों की बेटी हैं और उनकी बुद्धिमत्ता के लिए उनका बहुत सम्मान किया जाता है। कथाकार का कहना है कि समान कहानियाँ विभिन्न संस्कृतियों में पाई जा सकती हैं।

एक दिन, कुछ युवा लोग उस महिला के घर जाते हैं और उसकी बुद्धिमत्ता को चुनौती देते हुए पूछते हैं कि जिस पक्षी को वे पकड़ रहे हैं वह जीवित है या मृत। अपनी अंधता के बावजूद, वह सीधा उत्तर देने से इंकार कर देती है, जिससे आगंतुक उसकी चुप्पी का मज़ाक उड़ाते हैं। बेफिक्र होकर, वह कहती है कि उसकी अंधता उसे पक्षी को देखने से रोकती है, और मेहमान उसे उस कथन के लिए डांटते हैं। वर्णनकर्ता युवा आगंतुकों के उद्देश्यों पर अनुमान लगाता है, यह सुझाव देता है कि वे अपनी शक्ति का दावा करने या बुजुर्गों की शांति को बाधित करने की कोशिश कर रहे होंगे। वह कहानी के बारे में गहराई से सोचता है और एक छिपा हुआ अर्थ ढूंढता है। उनका मानना ​​है कि पक्षी किसी नाजुक या कमज़ोर चीज़ का प्रतिनिधित्व करता है। अत: वह इसकी व्याख्या भाषा के रूप में करता है। वह बूढ़ी औरत को शब्दों में कुशल व्यक्ति के रूप में भी देखता है।

लेखक युवा आगंतुकों को लेकर उत्सुक है। उसे उम्मीद नहीं थी कि वे अचानक बुढ़िया के घर आ जायेंगे। उसे आश्चर्य होता है कि क्या वे उसे धोखा देने या अपनी शक्ति दिखाने आये थे। उसे चिंता है कि वे उसका अपमान कर सकते हैं और परेशानी पैदा कर सकते हैं। युवा लोग अंधी बूढ़ी औरत से कई सवाल पूछते रहते हैं। उनका मानना ​​है कि उसका अंधापन उसे चीजों को अलग ढंग से देखने देता है। वे लोगों को और उन लोगों को समझना चाहते हैं जो दुनिया में खोया हुआ महसूस करते हैं।

युवाओं की बातचीत ख़त्म होने के बाद, वहाँ शांति है। फिर, बूढ़ी औरत कहती है कि उसे अब उन पर भरोसा है। वह यह भी मानती है कि जिस पक्षी के बारे में वे बात कर रहे हैं वह वास्तव में उनके हाथ में नहीं है। वह उनके साथ अच्छा व्यवहार करने और प्यार से बात करने के लिए उन्हें धन्यवाद देती है। इस कहानी के माध्यम से, लेखक टोनी मॉरिसन भाषा की शक्ति और परिवर्तन लाने की उसकी क्षमता पर प्रकाश डालते हैं।

 

 

 

Once Upon A Time Lesson Explanation

 

Passage: “Once upon a time there was an old woman. Blind but wise.” Or’ and old man?  A guru, perhaps, soothing restless children. I have heard this story, or one exactly like it, in the lore of several cultures.“Once upon a time there was an old woman. Blind. Wise.”

 

Word Meanings:
lore (n): wisdom, scholarship, learning knowledge
restless (adj): unable to stay still or quiet
soothing (adj): pacifying, quick, calm
culture (n): civilization

Explanation: The narrator starts the chapter by talking about an old person, a woman or a man, who is blind yet very wise. He/She might also be like a guru who comforts restless children. The narrator mentions hearing similar stories in many different cultures. This means that this story is well-known and has been passed down through generations. The repeated phrase “Once upon a time there was an old woman. Blind. Wise.” stresses the importance of this character and this trait of the said person.

Passage: In the version I know, the woman is the daughter of slaves, black American, and lives alone in a small house outside of town. Her reputation for wisdom is without peer and without question. Among her people, she is both the law and its transgression. The honor she is paid and the awe in which she is held reach beyond her neighborhood to places far away; to the city where the intelligence of rural prophets is the source of much amusement.

Word Meanings:
awe (n): overwhelming wonder, admiration
prophets (n): (in the Christian, Jewish and Muslim religions) a person who is sent by God to teach the people and give them messages from God
transgression (vt): to violate, to pass beyond limit, the violation of a law

Explanation: The woman comes from a background where her parents were slaves, and she is an African American. She lives by herself in a small house outside the town. People think she’s incredibly wise, and nobody doubts her wisdom. In her community, she has a lot of power and is well respected. People admire and respect her a lot, not just in her neighborhood but also in far cities where they usually make fun of people from rural areas for being less smart.

Passage: One day the woman is visited by some young people who seem bent on disproving her clairvoyance and showing her up for the fraud they believe she is. Their plan is simple: they enter her house and ask the one question the answer to which rides solely on her difference from them, a difference they regard as a profound disability: her blindness. They stand before her, and one of them says.

Word Meanings:
clairvoyance (n): the faculty of seeing mentally what is happening, person having power of seeing in the mind either future events or things
fraud (n): a cheat
profound (adj.): intense or absolute

Explanation: A group of young people visit the woman, believing she’s a fraud because she’s blind. They believe that she’s a cheat. Their plan is simple, that is, to ask her a question that only she, because she’s blind, can’t answer. They wrongly believe her blindness makes her less capable. Prejudice against the woman because of her disability and how people sometimes underestimate others based on their differences is shown in the passage.

Passage: “Old woman, I hold in my hand a bird. Tell me whether it is living or dead.”

She does not answer, and the question is repeated. “Is the bird I am holding living or dead? “Still she does not answer. She is blind and cannot see her visitors, let alone what is in their hands. She does not know their color, gender or homeland. She only knows their motive.

The old woman’s silence is so long, the young people have trouble holding their laughter.

Finally she speaks, and her voice is soft but stern. I don’t know,” she says. “I don’t know whether the bird you are holding is dead or alive, but what I do know is that it is in your hands. It is in your hands.”

Word Meanings:
homeland (n): the country in which one lives or was born
stern (adj.):  firm, strict, authoritarian

Explanation: Here, the young people try to trick the blind woman by asking if the bird they hold is alive or dead. But she stays silent, not because she can’t see, but because she understands their motive. She finally speaks, saying she doesn’t know about the bird’s life or death, but she knows it’s in their hands. This means they have the power to decide the bird’s fate. The woman’s response teaches the young people a lesson about responsibility and the consequences of their actions. It shows that power and choices lie with them, not fate.

Passage: For parading their power and her helplessness, the young visitors are reprimanded, told they are responsible not only for the act of mockery but also for the small bundle of life sacrificed to achieve its aims. The blind woman shifts attention away from assertions of power to the instrument through which that power is exercised.

Word Meanings:
assertions (v): to insist upon like rights or claims
mockery (n): ridicule or contempt
parading (n): a visible show or display
reprimanded (v.t): to rebuke for a fault

Explanation: The young people are scolded for trying to show off and make the old woman look foolish. They’re told that not only did they mock her, but they also harmed a little bird just to prove a point. The blind woman makes them realize that instead of showing how strong they are, they should think about the consequences of their actions. She shifts their focus from boasting about their power to thinking about how they use that power and the effects it has on others, like the bird they harmed.

Passage: Speculation on what (other than its own frail body) that bird in the hand might signify has always been attractive to me, but especially so now, thinking as I have been about work I do that has brought me to this company. So, I choose to read the bird as “language” and the woman as a “practiced writer”.“Once upon a time…” Visitors ask an old woman a question. Who are they, these children? What did they make of that encounter? What did they hear in those final words: “The bird is in your hands?” A sentence that gestures towards possibility, or one that drops a latch? Perhaps what the children heard was, “It is not my problem. I am old, female, black, blind. What wisdom I have now is in knowing I cannot help you. The future of language is yours.” They stand there. Supposedly nothing was in their hands. Suppose the visit was only a ruse, a trick to get to be spoken to, taken seriously as they have not been before. A chance to interrupt, to violate the adult world its miasma of discourse about them.

Word Meanings:
discourse (n): a conversation
encounter (n) a meeting in conflict
frail (adj.): physically weak and delicate
latch (n): here, implying a closure, a shutting off of possibilities
miasma (n): unhealthy environment or influence
ruse (n) an action to mislead, deceive or trick
speculations (n): guessing possible answers or situations
signify (v): to show, suggest or imply 

Explanation: The narrator tries to understand the meaning of the bird in the hand, by comparing it to their current work situation. He interprets the bird as representing “language” and the woman as a skilled writer. He wonders about the identity of the children who visited the old woman and what they thought of the encounter. The young people questioned the significance of the old woman’s final words, “The bird is in your hands,” thinking if it represents opportunity or rejection from the old woman.

The narrator believes that the children may have heard the old woman’s words as a way of saying she can’t help them due to her being a blind, old woman. He believes that there is a possibility that the visit was a trick to get the attention of the adults and be taken seriously as they are often not taken seriously, being young children.

Passage: “You, old woman, blessed with blindness, can speak the language that tells us what only language can: how to see without pictures. Language alone protects us from the scariness of things with no names. Language alone is meditation.

“Tell us what it is to be a woman so that we may know what it is to be a man. What moves at the margin. What it is to have no home in this place. To be set adrift from the one you knew. What it is to live at the edge of towns that cannot bear your company.

“Tell us about ships turned away from shorelines at Easter, Placenta in a Field. Tell us about a wagonload of slaves, how they sang so softly their breath was indistinguishable from the falling snow. How they know from the hunch of the nearest shoulder that the next stop would be their last. 

“The inn door opens: a girl and a boy step away from its light. They climb into the wagon bed. The boy will have a gun in three years, but now he carries a lamp and jug of warm cider. They pass it from mouth to mouth.

“The girl offers bread, pieces of meat and something more: a glance into the eyes of the one she serves. One helping for each man, two for each woman. And a look. The look back. The next stop will be their last but not this one. This one is warm.” 

It’s quiet again when the children finish speaking, until the woman breaks into the silence.

“Finally,” she says. “I trust you now. I trust you with the bird that is not in your hands because you have truly caught it. Look. How lovely it is, this thing we have done-together.” 

Word Meanings:
cider (n): a drink made from the fermented juice of apples
indistinguishable (adj.): identical or similar
shorelines (n): the edge of a body of water
wagon (n): any type of wheeled vehicle, here a wheeled bed

Explanation: The power of language and the request for wisdom from the blind woman is explained in the passage. The young people acknowledge that despite her blindness, the woman has a unique ability to use language to help others understand things beyond what they can see. They state that  language helps us make sense of things that might be scary or hard to understand. It’s like a form of meditation, calming and comforting us when we’re faced with the unknown.

They want the old woman to explain what it’s like to be a woman, so they can understand what it’s like to be a man. They want insight into different perspectives and experiences. They want to know what happens on the edges or outskirts, where things are less clear or defined. It could be about people or ideas that are often overlooked or marginalized. They talk about feeling like you don’t belong or have a home where you are. This means living on the outskirts of towns where people don’t accept or welcome you. It’s about feeling excluded or unwelcome in certain places.

They want to know about stories about ships being refused entry to shorelines during Easter, Placenta in a field. This means they want to know about tales of rejection and unexpected discoveries. They want to know about the slaves and how they sing so softly that their breath is no different from the falling snow. 

The young people talk about an inn where a girl and a boy emerge from the doorway into the darkness outside. It means that they are leaving the comfort and warmth of the inn. The girl and the boy get into the back of a wagon, implying they are travelers or passengers. The boy is young and most probably not yet involved in more serious pursuits. Instead, he carries a lamp and a jug of warm cider, indicating a sense of innocence or youthfulness. They share the warm cider by passing the jug from one person’s mouth to another, showing a sense of camaraderie,  or sharing among the travelers. The girl offers food to the others in the wagon, but there’s also a deeper connection as she looks into their eyes, showing care and empathy beyond just providing sustenance. The traveler’s future is uncertain, with the next stop of the wagon being their last. But, for now, they enjoy a moment of warmth and comfort.  

Once the young people finish speaking, the old woman says that she has trust in them. She compares their conversation to catching a bird, even though it’s not physically in their hands. She praises the beauty of their shared experience and understanding. 

 

 

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