Matchbox by Ashapurna Debi is a story that reveals how women should choose between being a candle or a mirror, and work for their own emancipation as well as for the generations to come. She can be the candle, or the mirror that reflects it; spreading light in both cases.
Notes and videos on Matchbox by Ashapurna Debi.
- In the story ‘Matchbox’, the rift between Nomita and Ajit occurred when Ajit hid her mother’s letter and read the content secretly. Nomita could not win the quarrel and had to return to her normal routines without a second thought. If the same situation arises in the life of a modern couple, how would it affect their relationship? What would be the woman’s response to such an issue? Prepare an essay on ‘Modern Woman – her dreams, aspirations and role in society’. (Score: 6)
- Imagine that a debate was held in your class on the topic ‘Nuclear Family. An Ideal Place for Women Empowerment.’ The following points were presented by one group against the topic.
- Nuclear family provides unlimited freedom to women.
- Nuclear family is not safe for women.
- Nuclear family makes women irresponsible.
- In a nuclear family, woman tends to neglect her children.
Write four points supporting the topic. (Score:4)
- ‘This is precisely why I compare women to matchboxes. Even when they have the materials within themselves to set off many raging fires, they never flare up and burn away the mask of men’s high-mindedness, their large- heartedness. They don’t burn away their own colourful shells’, says Ashapurna Debi in ‘Matchbox’. How far is this statement true with reference to the character of Nomita? Substantiate your views in a paragraph. (Score:5)
- A panel discussion is conducted in your school on the topic ‘Role of Media in Women Empowerment’. You are asked to initiate the discussion. How would you introduce the topic? Draft an introductory speech.
Hints: [media-wide publicity-reach millions of viewers-require careful handling of details-wrong messages conveyed by advertisements and serials- responsibility of media] (Score:5)
- Given below is the blurb of a famous book. There are a few errors in it. Edit the passage.
Hints: [subject-verb concord-spelling-punctuation]
The year 1984 has come and gone,but george orwell’s prophetic, nightmarish vision in 1949 of the world we was becoming is timelier than ever. 1984 is still the great modern classic of ‘negative utopia’ -a startlingly orginal and haunting novel that create an imaginary world that is completely convincing, from the first sentence to the last for words. No one can deny that novels hold the imagination of whole generations.
- Read the following excerpts from ‘Matchbox’ and ‘Horegallu’.
I can’t? I can’t do anything? You want to see if I can do anything?’, says Nomita ‘God has given me two ears to listen to others. I hear them out with sympathy and without any judgement’, says Ratna.
What do you understand about the character of Nomita and Ratna? Compare and contrast the characters of Nomita and Ratna. (Score:5)
- A person can react against injustice in different ways. Nomita reacted by quarrelling with her husband and setting fire to the anchol of her sari. What are the other possible ways in which Nomita could have reacted against her husband’s dirty habit? Suggest three other possible methods of response that could have been adopted by Nomita. (Score:3)
- Imagine that Nomita’s mother visits Ajit’s household a few days after the quarrel between Nomita and Ajit. Nomita narrates the entire incident to her mother. She tries to console her daughter and promises that she won’t write letters to her. What would be the conversation between the mother and daughter? Draft the conversation. (Score:4)
- Read the following passage and answer the questions given below:
Nomita speaks her mind so no one attacks her outright to her face; they only pinch her with sharp words.
- What is the meaning of the expression ‘pinch with sharp words’?
(a. make someone happy b .make someone angry c. irritate d. speak rudely and cause pain)
- What quality of Nomita is evident here?
- Who does’ they’ refer to?
- What is the plight of Nomita in the family?
- What is the meaning of the expression ‘pinch with sharp words’?
- Nomita is angry with Ajit for reading the letter sent by her mother. She found the letter in Ajit’s pocket. What could have been the contents of the letter? Attempt it. (Score: 5)
- Nomita is a housewife. Is she an empowered woman? Write your opinion in a paragraph of about 100 words. (Score: 4)
- Ajit’s elder brother notices the rift between Ajit and Nomita. He makes the couple meet a counsellor. If you were the counsellor what advice would you give Ajit? Write three pieces of advice, using expressions like ‘You should…, You ought to…, You had better… (Score: 3)
- Nomita after gaining control of her anger speaks to Ajit about his insulting behaviour. Edit the errors in the dialogue given below.
Nomita : Ajit, you hurted me today. Why do you read my mother’s letters? Do you know how much she loves we? She is proud for her son-in-law. Still you don’t like her.
Ajit : Nomita, I didn’t do it delibaretely. I’m sorry.
- Imagine that Ajit feels guilty over his brashness towards Nomita. He requests Nomita to forgive him. How will he ask for forgiveness? Write three sentences. You may use the following expressions like ‘Please forgive…., I regret…..,I am extremely……..’ (Score:3)
- Read the following sentences from the story ‘Matchbox’.
Mejo wife laughs Hoo-hoo and says it, “Naw wife, don’t cover up the forbidden fish with pious spinach.”
The busy Boro-wife runs up. “Have you chopped the vegetables yet?”
Mejo-wife and Boro-wife are the other daughters-in -law in Ajit’s joint family. Compare and contrast the characters of these ladies with that of Nomita. (Score: 4)
- ‘Nomita keeps thinking about how she might be able secretlyto send her mother a few rupees’. Imagine that Nomita stealthily goes to a post office to send a money order to her mother. She seeks the help of the postmaster to send the money order. How will she ask for help? Draft two request statements for her.
Begin the answer like this:
Would you please help me…………………………………………….. (Score: 2)
- Read the following conversation between Nomita and Ajit.
He said “What letter? !Indeed, there was a letter from your mother .I just hadn’t got around to giving it to you .”
“Why hadn’t you got around to it?
“What a nuisance! Ajit said,”I’d forgotten -why else?
Imagine that Rini, Ajit’s niece overhears the conversation and reports it to her mother. Draft the report for Rini. (Score:4)
“Shut up!”Ajit roars out. “What shut up? I’ll do what I want, what I please .What will you do? Can you do anything?”
This is how Ajit responded to Nomita when she started questioning him about the letter. What light does it throw on the character of Ajit? Attempt a brief character sketch of Ajit in a paragraph of 150 words. (Score: 5)
- Given below are a few newspaper headlines on ‘Domestic Violence’ displayed in a classroom. The teacher asks the students to respond to these headlines. A student writes a note of protest against increasing violence towards women.
Woman hangs self, father alleges in-laws demanded dowry.
Meerut man pours acid on wife, in-laws.
Man kills 8-month-old daughter, in a fit of rage
surrenders to police.
Brother attacks sleeping sister, gouges her eyes.
She/He starts the note like this.
I am really shocked by these newspaper headlines. I can’t believe that I am living in the twenty first century. These headlines………………………………………..
Complete the note for her/him. (Score:6)
- The following is a piece of conversation between Nomita and her husband, Ajit.
Nomita : Why did you open my letter?
Ajit : What if I opened it? My own wife’s letter-
Nomita : Be quiet, be quiet, I tell you. For what reason should you open my letters? Haven’t I told you a thousand times not to?
Imagine that Rini, Nomita’s niece overhears the conversation and reports it to other members of the family. Report the conversation for her.
- Prepare a write -up on the significance of the title “Matchbox” .You may cite examples from the story to justify your stance.
- Imagine that Rini, Nomita’s niece is a silent witness to the quarrel between Nomita and her husband. Rini feels scared and rushes to the kitchen to narrate it to other members of the family. Prepare the narration for her.
- Do you think that Nomita, the character in Ashapurna Debi’s story ‘Matchbox’ acted impulsively without thinking about the consequences? Or is she a brave woman who questions her husband’s selfish ways? Prepare a character sketch of Nomita.