The Summary of the face of it deals with loss and how to overcome isolation. The actual pain of physical impairment is less but the most hurtful thing is when someone is alienated by others. It is the phrase we used to refer to something when we see it for the first time. The title suggests that something is good and true.
On The Face Of It Summary: About The Author
Susan Hill is an English author of fiction and non-fiction works and her works include The Woman in Black, The Mist of Mirror, and I’m the King of Castle. She was also a novelist and children’s writer. She also received a Somerset Maugham Award.
On The Face Of It: Characters analysis
Lamb was an old man who has lost one of his legs in world war 2 and now has a leg made up of tin. Lamb owns a big garden and welcomes everyone who wishes to come and makes jellies and toffees for the kids. He loves reading, listening to sounds of nature, and gardening.
Derry was a 14-year-old chap whose face has a scar; because of this, he does not like talking to him and being around him. He feels very hesitant and negative about his facial scar and is introverted and frustrated with his life. He has low confidence and always suspects others and thinks that they are talking about him.
This lesson is about a teenage shaver, Derry, who has a burnt face, and Mr. Lamb who is a differently-abled man with an artificial leg made of tin. Derry by fluke gets into his garden so that he could hide from people who used to detest him because he has a burnt face and doesn’t look normal to others. Mr. Lamb not only welcomed him to his garden but also encouraged him to lead a normal life and stop thinking about the past.
Let’s go through the summary on the face of it of class 12th to get advice from Mr. lamb on why we need to not focus on the appearance and forget about the past and try to lead normal.
Summary Of On The Face Of It Class 12 Summary
The first scene begins with the occasional sound of a bird’s song and leaves rustling. Mr lamb could hear derry’s footsteps as he tiptoed through the long grass. When he tries to speak, Derry is startled and felt uncomfortable. Mr lamb told him to mind the apples and pointed towards some apples he told him that they are crab ones. The boy could trip and fall down.
Derry explains to him that he thought it to be an empty space but on the other hand, Mr lamb tries to comfort him and told him not to be afraid and enjoy this beautiful day. Derry panics and tried to leave but Mr lamb assures him and said that the gate is always open and does not come by jumping the wall.
Derry felt annoyed as he was watching him. And explains he was not there to steal something but to hide. Mr lamb further added by saying that only young boys steal and he is not soo young. Derry wants to leave and bid him goodbye. Mr lamb told him it is just a garden and only he lives here in isolation.
Derry then explains that people are afraid of him and asked Mr lamb to look at him. Derry further says that when he sees himself in the mirror he is afraid of himself. But Mr. Lamb said that the whole face is not frightening.
Mr. lamb waited for a while and changed the topic by saying that it is a bit cooler and he is going to get the ladder and a stick and will get rid of those crab apples. He wishes to make jelly as September is the right time for making and storing jellies. He asked if derry could help him or not. But Derry continues with the same him that he does not like being around people.
Derry told him that acid burned his face and burned his self-confidence too. Further, he asked if he is interested in these talks or not, to this the old man replied he takes interest in all the kinds of stuff made by the heavenly father. He observes all the things related to life. Mr. lamb says that there is no difference and told him he got a tin leg and kids called him Lamey-Lamb but he doesn’t feel bad.
There are so many things to focus on and stare at. Hew refers to various beautiful and ugly things. Derry says that no one and even her mother would ever kiss him. People used to talk about making stories about those in distress and they tend to forget about themselves. People try to console by saying that think about those who are suffering more than this.
They might be ill and are forever in a wheelchair, they might be blind or deaf or insane. But all these talks will not change his face. People will still call him terrible. Derry again said that he doesn’t like to be around anyone and when someone stares at him he just got conscious and felt scared. Mr. lamb then told him a story about a man who locked himself in a room and died when a painting fell onto his head and killed him.
Derry asked the old man about his routine. To this he replied that he reads books, and sits in the sun, he does not like curtains as it hinders the outside view. He likes darkness and light simultaneously and hears wind from the open source. Derry too hears the pitter-patter drops of the rain. Derry says that people talk about him in his absence this Mr. lamb advised him that he will get all things like God is giving to others if only he is determined to achieve those.
Mr. lamb told him he had many friends and the gate is wide enough to welcome anyone who wishes to come and accompany him. People come in, kids also come in for apples and toffee. He knows very well that his friendship is one-sided. Mr. lamb told him that even if derry forgets him he would remain his friend forever.
He further told derry that hating others is very bad and harms more than a bottle of acid. After his advice, derry felt a change in his attitude and way of thinking and he wishes to meet him again. Mr.lamb told him to go and inform his mother. Derry asked him about the people who come there as he thinks that he might be living a miserable life all alone.
In the second part of the story, we see that his mother does not allow him to go again to the old man. Derry explains to her mother he will go as the things said by him were not said by any other person. He no longer cares about his burnt face and now it is not important to him. If he doesn’t go back to Mr. Lamb he would never be able to face people again.
In the third stanza, Derry reaches Mr. Lamb’s garden where he was lying on the grass with the ladder. Derry panting told him that he had come back and he is not like others but no response came. Derry kneels down and wept a lot. The play has a very sad end.
NCERT Solutions of On The Face Of It Class 12th English
Q1. Who is Mr. Lamb? How does Derry get into his garden?
Mr. Lamb is an old man with a tin leg. His real leg was blown off years ago during the war. He lives all alone in his house. There is a garden near the house. It has ripe crab apples looking orange and golden in color. Mr. Lamb is sitting in his garden when Derry climbs over the garden wall to get into his garden. Though the gate is open, the boy does not use it.
Q2. Do you think all this will change Derry’s attitude towards Mr. Lamb?
Yes, all this will change Derry’s attitude towards Mr.lamb.Derry’s burnt face made him the center
of ridicule. Although people sympathized with him, it was never a heartfelt one. This resulted in his pessimistic approach toward life. He thought that everyone detested and despised him. On the contrary, Mr. Lamb did not show any pity toward him. He considered Derry to be his equal and welcomed him in his garden. Mr.lamb had a tin leg and Derry had a burnt face. So Mr.Lamb could empathize. He helped the boy to love and live life happily without any contempt for himself. Derry had initially considered the old man to be like others, but he gradually started respecting and liking him for what he said.
Q3. What is it that draws Derry towards Mr. Lamb in spite of himself?
Derry finds Mr. Lamb different from others. Mr. Lamb shows no shock or fear on seeing Derry’s
burned face. Rather he talks to him in a loving manner. He welcomes him to his garden. He offers to pluck apples and make jelly for him. He calls him his friend. He says that things look outwardly different, but inwardly they are all the same. He gives the example of flowers, trees, herbs, and weeds. They look different, but they are all growing living things. Similarly, people can have different looks, but inwardly they are all the same. Derry says that he hates some people. When Mr.Lamb hears this, he says that it can do him more harm than any bottle of acid. Acid
burns only the face, but hatred burns one’s inside — the soul. He tells Derry never to think of his burned face. He has two arms, two legs, eyes ears, a tongue, and a brain.
And if he has a firm mind, he can do better than others. It is by such words of encouragement that Mr. Lamb draws Derry to himself.
Q4. In which section of the play does Mr. Lamb display signs of loneliness and disappointment? What are the ways in which Mr. Lamb tries to overcome these feelings?
Although the loneliness of Derry dominates the play, there are evident traces of Mr. Lamb’s loneliness throughout the first scene of the play. The old man says that having heard the bees for a “long time” he knows that they “sing”, not buzz. It not only depicts how his perception was different from others but also illustrates that he was lonely . He did not have anyone to be with
him. Another evidence of his loneliness is the fact that the whole day he sat in the sun and read books. This proves that books were his only true friends. He says that his “empty house” is full of books. This shows that the void of his empty life was filled in by books.
By the end of this scene, it becomes even clearer that he is lonely and sad when he mutters to himself that no one comes back to him after the first meeting. Likewise, he does not expect Derry to return. He was so sure that Derry would never return that he climbed the ladder to collect all the apples himself. However, Derry had offered to help him after informing his mother, but the old man
was not sure of his return. Ironically, he would have died
unnoticed if Derry had not returned to fill the emptiness
of his own life.
Q5. The actual pain or inconvenience caused by a physical impairment is often much less than the sense of alienation felt by the person with disabilities. What is the kind of behavior that the person expects from others?
A person with any physical impairment can live life with respect and honor if he is not ridiculed and punished with heartless pity. He expects empathy rather than sympathy. If everyone looks down at him with a pessimistic approach, he may never be able to come out of his sorrow, and consequently, would recline to his own secluded world. He is already under tremendous mental
and emotional pressure. So, he expects others to be understanding rather than remind him of his disability. In the play, Derry and Mr. Lamb, both are caught in a similar situation. Mr. Lamb, as an adult, is able to cope with such problems, but Derry, being a child, is not able to untangle this web alone. He develops a strong liking for this old man because he spoke the words to a
person who was suffering from the same ignominy. The old man thought the boy would wish to hear him.
Q6. Will Derry get back to his old seclusion or will Mr. Lamb’s brief association effect a change in the kind of life he will lead in the future?
No, Derry will not get back to his seclusion.The brief association of Derry with Mr. Lamb boosted his self-confidence and helped him to respect himself. The manner in which the old man made Derry realize the importance of his being self-dependent, respecting himself, and of holding on to hope helped Derry undergo a remarkable change. His newfound self-esteem makes him tell his mother that his looks are not important. He starts believing in his strengths rather than his appearance.
It is not likely that the death of Mr. Lamb would take him back to his secluded life. This big change in him is definitely there to stay and would not be undone due to setbacks.
On the face of it, the summary is play deals with the friendship between a young boy and an old man. Because of his burnt face, he was upset and felt hesitant to be around people. So, to hide from people he went to Mr. Lamb’s garden and panics when he meets him. The old man advises him to live life fullest and does not worry about anyone. Derry was completely moved by his piece of advice. But when he again comes to meet he found him dead. He felt very bad that after instilling so much confidence and high spirit he lost his one and only friend.