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The Tale of Melon City - Vikram Seth

  Snapshot - Supplementary Reader Text Book - 11Th Standard The Tale of Melon City - Vikram Seth Glossary, Summary, Questions and Answers TH...

 Snapshot - Supplementary Reader Text Book - 11Th Standard

The Tale of Melon City - Vikram Seth

Glossary, Summary, Questions and Answers


Glossary - 

1. Placid - gentle, kind.

2. Thoroughfare - main road of the city.

3. Edify - to teach, to guide.

4. Frown - angry, a furrow in one's brow.

5. Led - the second form of lead.

6. Halt - to stop.

7. Summon - to call.

8. Quicering - trembling.

9. Ordain - to order.

10. Amendments - corrections.

11. Culprit - guilty.

12. Banged - to make a loud noise.

13. Scaffold - the platform for the execution of criminals.

14. Noose - a circle made of a rope having a knot to hang somebody.

15. Pondered - to think.

16. Heralds - minister.

17. Proclaim - to declare.

18. Laissez Faire - a French phrase meaning allow to do without any rules and regulations.

Summary - The poem," The Tale of Melon City" is a humours narrative poem written by Indian novelist and poet Vikram Seth, who is a renowned English writer and won many awards including the Commonwealth Writers Prize, and the Sahitya Academy Award for his creations like A Suitable Boy, and The Golden Gate respectively. The poem is written in rhyming couplets because every second line rhymes with the first one, and is written in a very simple manner but has a great satirical effect, that shows that if the topmost authority, the king or a ruler is incapable and does not possess the quality and wisdom to think logically and take improper and foolish judgments then how he can lose his own life but at the same time ruin the future of the state or a country, because one could imagine if the melon is crowned as a king of the city, then what would be the fate of people of the city.

Many incidents in the poem show that he could have changed his decision and rectified the wrong building of an arch, but unfortunately, he goes on making wrong decisions without any logical thought process, and finally loses his life, although he was the sole decision maker and no could dare to interrupt his decision. If the king himself is not able to protect himself, then what could be the fortune of that city, that creates a great satirical effect, irony, humour, and laughter in the poem.

Questions and Answers -

1. Narrate " The Tale of Melon City" in your own words.

Ans - " The Tale of Melon City" by Vikram Seth is a satirical narrative story that tells how a foolish king loses his life out of improper and illogical decisions and then after how his ministers crown a melon as a king. The king wanted to construct an arch to edify the spectators on the thoroughfare of a city, but the arch was made too low and the crown of the king fell down, so without thinking he ordered to hang first chief of builder, workmen, mason, an architect, but after everyone's excuse, finally the king found to be guilty as he made certain corrections in the plan of an architect.

Then the king called the wisest man in the city who was lame, blind, and old, he suggested an arch to be hanged, but later on decision was made that whoever's neck fit into the noose, would be hanged, the king was hanged because he was the tallest man and the noose perfectly fits his neck.

Then the melon was crowned on the advice of an idiot, and the people of the city enjoyed all the freedom and liberty because there was no proper authority to control and to implement law and order in the city.

2. What impression would you form of a state where the king was "just and placid"?

Ans - If the king in a particular state is just and placid, it would likely leave a positive impression on the people. A just and calm ruler is likely to foster a sense of stability, fairness, and contentment among citizens, but it should have certain limitations, kindness and gentleness do not mean making illogical or irrelevant decisions, then in such cases, the fate of the king lies in the hand of citizens and that state can be ruined.

3. How, according to you, can peace and liberty be maintained in a state?

Ans - To maintain peace and liberty in a state, the superior authority must have logical decision-making capacity, handle the situation with keen observation and strictness, must not depend on others for decisions, and punish the guilty in a justiciable manner. In the above story, the king could have punished workmen in a justified manner and could have asked them to rebuild the arch, so he would have saved all the negative consequences that happened, but without thinking he made the decision to hang somebody. So, the proper decision-making capacity of the ruler is compulsory to maintain peace and liberty in the state.

4. Suggest a few instances in the poem which highlight humour and irony.

Ans - A few instances in the poem highlight humour and irony, first when the orders to hang the chief builder is a sense of humour and creates laughter because they made an arch too low when all the people who are responsible for making an arch give their own justification that they are not guilty creates humour and laughter when king becomes responsible for wrong arch, he suddenly calls the wisest man for advice, creates irony, and when the melon is crowned by the suggestion of an idiot, cretes laughter, humour, and irony.

5. " The Tale of Melon City" has been narrated in verse form. This is a unique style that lends extra charm to an ancient tale. Find similar examples in your language. Share them in the class.

Ans -राजा एक सपने में, खोया अपना राज्य,

आया एक विचित्र जादूगर, दिया सुनहरा सुझाव।

"पहले दरवाजे के पार, इनाम दो किसी को,

सब कुछ होगा ठीक, आनंद और सुख का होगा भंडार।"

राजा ने उलटी समझ की, मृत हाथी को बताया राजा,

हंसी में बदला शहर, हो गया हंसी का एक बहुत बड़ा बाजार।

For a quick glance at the content, please visit my YouTube channel, " English Prose and Verse ".

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