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Comprehension Skills (Narrative Text) Direct Questions

In this chapter, we will be doing flowchart questions and some direct questions.

Let’s go through the topics to be covered in this chapter:

Narrative text: Grasshoppers

  • Direct Questions — Hybrids, IYOW
  • Flow Charts — Using direct questions to help you identify the general tone.

Grasshoppers: Introduction

'Grasshoppers' is a story about a 12-year-old boy who lives with his mother, a popiah seller. Raised single-handedly by his mother, the boy has no recollections of his father but learns more about his past, and the reason his mother walks with a limp, from conversations with his Auntie Siew Bee and Uncle Ben.

Grasshoppers
Image Credit: Krzysztof Niewolny - unsplash.com
A Popiah Seller Mother With Son
Image Credit: cottonbro studio - pexels.com

Let’s understand the above topics with the help of some examples:

Question 1:

Excerpt:

No matter how many times I ask her, my mother refuses to tell me why she limps, saying only that she had an accident a long time ago. It was from not being aware of dangers, she once warned. I look at her uneven legs, the ungainly up and down movement of her body when she walks, and know there is more to her story than she is willing to reveal.

Which word tells you that his mother’s movements were clumsy and awkward?

Answer: 

The word is 'ungainly'.

Question 2:

Excerpt:

No matter how many times I ask her, my mother refuses to tell me why she limps, saying only that she had an accident a long time ago. It was from not being aware of dangers, she once warned. I look at her uneven legs, the ungainly up and down movement of her body when she walks, and know there is more to her story than she is willing to reveal.

The structure of the text reflects the stage of the author's emotions in this passage. Choose one word that best describes his main thoughts or feelings presented in this section of the text.

  1. Curiosity 
  2. Gratitude
  3. Dismay 
  4. Exasperation

Answer:

(A) Curiosity

Explanation:

The correct answer is option (A) i.e. Curiosity. The last line of the para 'know there is more to her story than she is willing to reveal' shows that he wants to know why is this so and his mom refuses to tell him why, so he wants to know even more. 

Question 3:

Excerpt:

At the kopitiam, my mother sells popiah, or spring rolls, a trade she picked up from her father, my late grandfather, something she's been doing since I can remember. I help out at her stall after school and on weekends. At times when it is quiet, my mother would allow me to play in the field nearby, catching handfuls of grasshoppers with the transparent plastic bags my mother uses for takeaways. 

Which phrase does the author use to refer to the moments when there are no customers at the stall?

  1. 'At times when it is quiet'
  2. 'When the stall is not as busy'
  3. 'after school and on weekends'
  4. 'transparent plastic bags'.

Answer:

(A) 'At times when it is quiet'. 

Question 4:

Excerpt:

At times when it is quiet, my mother would allow me to play in the field nearby, catching handfuls of grasshoppers with the transparent plastic bags my mother uses for takeaways. Their bulbous eyes, angular faces, and compact, segmented bodies captivate me. When I shake the bag they're in and bring it to my ear, I can feel the insistent thumping of the grasshoppers, like fast, tiny heartbeats.

The structure of the text reflects the stage of the author’s emotions in this passage. Choose one word that best describes his main thoughts or feelings presented in this section of the text.

  1. Exasperation
  2. Gratitude
  3. Dismay
  4. Fascination

Answer:

(D) Fascination

Explanation:

The correct answer is Option (D) i.e. Fascination. As mentioned in the paragraph above, the bodies of the grasshoppers captivate the author i.e. he is fascinated with the bodies of the grasshopper.

Question 5:

Excerpt:

Their bulbous eyes, angular faces and compact, segmented bodies captivate me. When I shake the bag they’re in and bring it to my ear, I can feel the insistent thumping of the grasshoppers, like fast, tiny heartbeats.

Which figurative language suggests that the movements of the grasshoppers were quick and rhythmic.

  1. 'swift and constant'
  2. 'insistent thumping'
  3. 'bulbous eyes, angular faces'
  4. 'like fast, tiny heartbeats” and compact, segmented bodies'

Answer:

(D) 'like fast, tiny heartbeats” and compact, segmented bodies'

Explanation:

The correct answer is Option (D) i.e. “like fast, tiny heartbeats”. When we use the word “like” or “as”, that is a simile.

Question 6:

Excerpt:

Auntie Siew Bee works as a server at the drinks stall next to my mother’s, and gives me canned drinks when her boss is not around. During the long lull between lunch and dinner, when there are few customers, she and my mother talk in the kopitiam while separating sticky popiah skins or plucking black seed coats from the heads of bean sprouts. They let me listen in on their conversations but if the topic becomes too personal, my mother will ask me to play in the field or run an errand.

Explain fully in your own words why the narrator would be asked by his mother 'to play in the field or run an errand”.

  1. This is because the subject they were discussing, was intimate and they wanted to keep it confidential from the narrator.
  2. The narrator was a young boy and he needed sufficient physical activity to ensure that he grew up to be a strong and healthy man.
  3. They wanted the narrator to get some work done while they were having their conversations so they would have less work to do when they got home.
  4. They were afraid that the narrator would pry into their personal matters and ask a lot of unnecessary questions about their conversations. 

Answer:

(A) This is because the subject they were discussing, was intimate and they wanted to keep it confidential from the narrator.

Explanation:

The correct answer is Option (A) because (D) uses too many words that we can find inside the text and especially when it says in your own words then we must try to avoid these words.

Question 7:

Excerpt:

'Your father treated her badly for many years, and your mother couldn't do a thing because she had you to think about. He beat her up when he was angry or drunk, and one time he hurt her so badly, she had to be hospitalised for a week. That’s why she limps.' Auntie Siew Bee suddenly drew back, caught off-guard by her own words. 'Maybe you were too young to remember.' Then she rose to clear the empty plates and glasses from a nearby table. For the first time, I thought of my father not with longing and wonder, but with shame and repulsion.

Explain in your own words, with reference to the section in blue, how the narrator previously viewed his father.

  1. He thought of his father with longing and wonder.
  2. He yearned to meet his father and was curious to know what his father was like.
  3. He was disgusted and disdainful of his father.
  4. He viewed his father as an abusive man who should be punished.

Answer:

(B) He yearned to meet his father and was curious to know what his father was like.

Question 8:

Excerpt:

'Your father treated her badly for many years, and your mother couldn't do a thing because she had you to think about. He beat her up when he was angry or drunk, and one time he hurt her so badly, she had to be hospitalised for a week. That’s why she limps.' Auntie Siew Bee suddenly drew back, caught off-guard by her own words. 'Maybe you were too young to remember.' Then she rose to clear the empty plates and glasses from a nearby table. For the first time, I thought of my father not with longing and wonder, but with shame and repulsion. 

The structure of the text reflects the stage of the author's emotions in this passage. Choose one word that best describes his main thoughts or feelings presented in this section of the text.

  1. Exasperation 
  2. Disgust
  3. Dismay
  4. Gratitude

Answer:

(B) Disgust

Explanation:

The correct answer is Option (B) i.e. Disgust. The synonym of disgust is shame and repulsion. Shame and repulsion are better used with disgust.

Question 9:

Excerpt:

To force the smaller grasshoppers to flee, I give the bag a few violent shakes but there's usually one left. I reach in and bring it out, holding it delicately in my fist and feeling it ticking with life. When I open my hand, the grasshopper doesn't move, then in the next beat springs away, disappearing into the dense grass. It never looks back. If only it were that easy for me to do the same. 

Which phrase tells you that the narrator wants to make sure that he does not injure the grasshopper?

  1. 'I give the bag a few violent shakes'
  2. 'feeling it tickling with life'
  3. 'holding it delicately in my fist' 
  4. 'easy for me to do the same'

Answer:

(C) 'holding it delicately in my fist' 

Explanation:

The correct answer is Option (C). To be very delicate with something is to make sure that you handle it with great care so that you do not injure it.

Test your concepts

Answer the following questions based on the concepts we’ve covered in this article. If you get stuck, revisit the relevant section to revise the concepts.

Question 1:

Excerpt:

To force the smaller grasshoppers to flee, I give the bag a few violent shakes but there's usually one left. I reach in and bring it out, holding it delicately in my fist and feeling it ticking with life. When I open my hand, the grasshopper doesn't move, then in the next beat springs away, disappearing into the dense grass. It never looks back. If only it were that easy for me to do the same.

Which sentence tells us that the narrator wishes he could forget about his family’s past and move forward with his life?

  1. When I open my hand, the grasshopper doesn't move, then in the next beat springs away, disappearing into the dense grass.
  2. I reach in and bring it out, holding it delicately in my fist and feeling it ticking with life.
  3. It never looks back.
  4. If only it were that easy for me to do the same.

Question 2:

Excerpt:

I shifted my gaze to the stall where my mother was hard at work, meticulously rolling the thin skin of the popiah into perfect pillars. Auntie Siew Bee’s words kept replaying in my mind. Everything my mother did was for me. Every popiah she made, every blow she took from my father, they were all for me. 

The structure of the text reflects the stage of the author's emotions in this passage. Choose one word that best describes his main thoughts or feelings presented in this section of the text. 

  1. Exasperation
  2. Disgust 
  3. Dismay 
  4. Gratitude
Continue Learning
Comprehension Skills - Vocabulary Questions Summary Writing
Expository Writing Comprehension Skills (Narrative Text) Flowchart Questions
Comprehension Skills (Non-Narrative Text) IYOW Questions Editing And Visual Text
Situational Writing Narrative Writing - Question Analysis And Building Characters
Comprehension Skills: Direct Questions Comprehension Skills - Unusual Effective Questions
Comprehension Skills - Point Identification and Paraphrasing Comprehension Skills (Narrative Text) Direct Questions
Comprehension Skills - Language Arts Comprehension Skills - Inference, Authorial and Literary Technique
Expository Writing - Identifying Structures Comprehension Skills - Inference Questions

 

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