Summary of A Hero

‘A Hero’ is an interesting story written by R.K. Narayan.  Here Swami is a boy of eleven or twelve years old. His Father read a newspaper report about the bravery of a village boy who came face to face with the Tiger. Father asked Swami for his opinion. Swami said, “I think he must have been a very strong and grown-up person, not a boy at all”. Father said that courage is everything but Swami disputed that strength is required to face a tiger. Then Swamy’s father challenged him to show courage by sleeping alone in the office room.

Swami used to sleep beside his grandmother but Swami’s Father wanted him to sleep alone in the office room so that he could become courageous. Swami thought it was a frightful suggestion Swami tried to change the subject by talking about cricket club.

Swami wanted to put it off but by then the challenge had become a command. Swami’s father thought that his wife and mother were too protective of Swami. 

Swami went to bed without listening to a story and covered his face with the blanket. Granny asked him if he was really sleepy. But the boy pleaded, “Shut up granny, don’t talk to me and don’t let anyone call me even if the house is on fire”. He acted to be asleep. His father made him to get up and forced him to sleep in the office room. Then Swami said, “your office room is very dusty and there may be scorpions behind your law books”. Swami’s father rejected his plea and told that if Swami did not sleep alone, he would make him the laughing stock of his school. 

Finally, he was made to sleep in the office room. As the night advanced, Swami was frightened. He remembered all the stories of the devils and ghosts. He remembered how his friend Mani had seen the devil in the Banyan tree at his street end and Munisami’s father spat blood after the devil slapped his cheek. He remembered how his old friend in the fourth standard disappeared because he was carried off by a ghost to Siam or Nepal. Through the silence of the night, all kinds of noises reached his ears – the ticking of the clock, rustle of trees, snoring sounds, and some vague night insects humming.


Swami thought that the place under the bench was more compact and reassuring and crouched there. He was racked with nightmares. He dreamt he was being chased by a tiger. His feet stuck to the ground. He remembered he was alone in the room. He tried to open his eyes but he could not. He groaned in despair. Later he sensed something moving. He thought it was a devil, but when he caught it, that turned out to be a Burglar.

“Aiyo! Something has bitten me,” cried the burglar. In a moment father, cook, and the servant came in carrying light. 
Congratulations were showered on Swami the next day. His classmates looked at him with respect, and his teacher patted his back. The headmaster said that he was a true scout. 

The inspector said, “Why don’t you join the police when you are grown up?”. But Swami had made up his mind to be an engine driver, a railway guard or a bus conductor late in life.

The following night Swami went to bed early and slept beside his Granny. His father thought of making him sleep alone but Swami’s mother did not allow him. So, he was angry and went away.

Swami heard the conversation sleeping under the blanket. He felt relieved to hear that his father was giving him up.

Multiple Choice Questions

I. Four alternatives are given. Choose the best alternative:
1. The boy who fought the tiger stayed on the tree for half – a – day –  because he
a. wanted to watch the tiger from the treetop
b. wanted to rest for some time
c. was waiting for help
d. did not like the tiger
Ans.: was waiting for help

2. Swami’s father asked  him to sleep alone in the office room as he
a. wanted him to catch the burglar
b. wanted him to prove that he had courage
c. wanted him to look after the office
d. wanted him to prove that he had the strength
Ans.: b. wanted him to prove that he had courage

3. A burglar is a person who
a. enters a house to steal b. kills a tiger
c. writes for a newspaper d. bites other people
Ans.: enters a house to steal

4. Swami decided to sleep under the bench because
a. he felt it was a safe place b. it was near the door
c. it was not dusty d. it was made of wood
Ans. : he felt it was a safe place

5. For Swami events took an unexpected turn because
a. his father was angry with him b. his father read about a newspaper report
c. his homework was not done d. his exams were near
Ans.: b. his father read about a newspaper report

6. Swami thought that the boy in the report was not a boy but a  grown-up person because
a. he knew him b. he felt he was a coward
c. he was sure no boy could fight a tiger d. he was sure he was a courageous person

Ans.: c. he was sure no boy could fight a tiger

Questions and Answers



II. Answer the following questions in two or three sentences each:


1. Swami’s father drew his attention to a report in the newspaper. What was the report about? OR   

What was the special news about the bravery of a village lad?
Ans.: The newspaper carried a report about the bravery of a village boy who had come face to face with a tiger while returning home by the village path.

2. What comment did Swami make when he heard the newspaper report? How did his view differ from that of his father?
Ans.: Swami felt that it was not possible for a boy to fight a tiger and it must have been a strong and grown-up person who had done this. His father disagreed saying that strength and ago were not so important. What really needed was courage.

3. What challenge did Swami’s father put to him?
Ans.: Swami’s father challenged him to sleep alone in his office room that night which was a frightful proposition. Swami always slept beside his grandmother so any change in this arrangement made him frightful.

4. In which part of the office did Swami decide to sleep. Why did he select this place?
Ans.:Swami spread his bed under the bench in the office and crept in there to sleep. It seemed to be a much safer place more compact and reassuring.

5. As the night advanced Swami felt that something terrible would happen to him. What would it be? How would it happen?
Ans.: As the night advanced Swami remembered all the stories of devil and ghost. He expected the devils to come up and carry him away.

6. What did Swami feel when he saw something moving in the darkness? What did he do?
Ans.: When Swami saw something moving in the room he imagined that it was the devil. He crawled out of the bench, caught hold of it and dug his teeth into it.

7. Why were congratulations showered on Swami?
Ans.: Swami had bitten the burglar taking him to be the devil. The burglar’s cry brought Swami’s father and others to the scene leading to his arrest. So congratulations were showered on Swami.

8. Why did Swami feel relieved at the end?
Ans.: The next day Swamy slept beside his granny. His father did not protect much. Swami felt relieved.

9. How was Swami honoured by his classmates, teacher and the headmaster?
Ans.: Congratulations were showered on Swami. His classmates looked at him with respect and his teacher patted on his back. The headmaster said that he was a tree scout.

10. Do you think Swami really wanted to join the police? If not, what did he want to be?
Ans.: No, Swami was not interested to join the police. He wanted to become an engine driver, railway guard or bus conductor.

11. “You must sleep alone hereafter”, said Swami’s father. By doing so, what was Swami supposed to prove?
Ans.: By sleeping alone, Swami was supposed to prove his courage. He was expected to show that even he has courage.

12. What were the excuses given by Swami in order to escape from sleeping alone?
Ans.: Swami said that he would sleep alone from the first of next month. He also said that the office was dusty and full of scorpions.

III Read each of the following extracts and answer the questions given below:


1. “Leave alone strength. Can you prove you have courage?
a. What was the view of Swami’s father regarding courage?
Ans.:Swami’s father felt that courage was more important than strength and age.
b. How did he want his son to prove that he had the courage?
Ans.: He challenged his son to sleep alone in the office room.

2. “A frightful proposition, Swami thought”
a. What was the frightful proposition?
Ans.: The frightful proposition was that Swami’s father wanted him to sleep alone in the office room that night.
b. Why did Swami regard it as frightful?
Ans.: Swami used to sleep with his granny in the passage and any change in this left him trembling and awake all night.

3. “You must sleep alone hereafter!”
a. Who did he usually sleep with?
Ans.: Swami usually slept with his granny
b. Why did Swami’s father want him to sleep alone?
Ans.: Swami’s father wanted his son to prove that he dared to sleep alone.

4. “Your office room is very dusty and there may be scorpions behind your law books”.
a. Why did Swami make this remark?
Ans.: Swami made this remark because he wanted an excuse for not sleeping in the office room.
b. What does it reveal about his character?
Ans.: He did not dare to tell his father that he was afraid to sleep alone.

5. “He wished that the tiger had not spared the boy”
a. What do the underlined words imply?
Ans.: These words mean that he wished that the tiger had killed the boy
b. Why did Swami have such thoughts?
Ans.:Swami was upset because he was asked to sleep alone.

6. ‘Aiyo, Something has bitten me”
a. Why had he been bitten?
Ans.: Swami thought that it was the devil who had come to attack him. So, he bit him to save himself.
b. How did the speaker suffer as a result of being bitten?
Ans.:The speaker shouts of pain. This brings the people of the house there leading to his arrest.

7. The inspector said, “Why don’t you join the police when you are grown up?
a. Why do you think the inspector said this?
Ans.: The inspector thinks that Swami was a brave boy so he said this.
b. Do you feel Swami would be happy to do so?
Ans.: Swami had caught the burglar by accident. He did not want to join the police.

8. “Congratulations were showered on Swami next day”
a. Why was Swami congratulated?
Ans.:Swami had caught one of the notorious house breakers of the district.
b. Do you feel Swami deserves the praise? Give reason.
Ans.: Swami had better the burglar out of fright. He was not really a hero.

IV. Answer each of the following questions in a paragraph of 8-10 sentences:

Q. 1. A report about a boy in the newspaper was an unexpected event in Swami’s life. Justify.
Ans.: The newspaper carried a report about a village lad who had fought bravely against a tiger, while he was returning home by the jungle path. Swami argued that a boy could not fight a tiger, it had to be a strong, grown-up person. His father disagreed saying that courage was more important. Swami was not ready to accept this. His father then challenged him to show his courage by sleeping alone in the office that night. While Swami was sleeping there, he saw a dark figure. Believing it to be the devil. Swami dug his teeth into its leg. It turned out to be a notorious burglar whose loud cry brought others to the scene. The burglar was caught and Swami became a hero overnight.

Q. 2. What desperate attempts did Swami make to escape from his father?
Ans.: Swami’s father challenged him to sleep alone in the office room that night. Swami was filled with fear and tried desperately to make his father change his mind. He told his father that he would sleep alone from the first of the next month. Bt his father did not agree.
Swami then went to sleep near his granny, pulled the blanket over his face and pretended to be fast asleep. However, his father soon came there and pulled him out of bed. Swami tried to appeal to his granny and his mother to save him but his father would have none of it. So Swami’s desperate attempts failed.

Q. 3. Narrate Swami’s dreadful experience when he was lying under the bench.
Ans.: Swami crept under the bench, shut his eyes light and covered himself with the blanket. Soon he fell asleep. He began to have a nightmare that a tiger was chasing him and he could not escape from its claws. With a desperate effort, he opened his eyes. As he lay in fright he heard a rustling sound. He tried to look out in the darkness and saw something moving. He felt that it was the devil who would surely attack him. He crawled from the bench, caught hold of the figure and bit it hard to save himself.


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