‘Two Gentlemen Of Verona’ Questions and Answers:
What are the qualities of a gentleman?
- Answer: The qualities of a gentleman are : Courteous, Civilized, Honest, Reliable, Compassionate, Caring.
Based on your discussion above, what do you think the story is about?
- Answer: The story is about two young boys whom the author refers to as two young gentlemen because they have matured early in their lives after having faced quite difficult situations.
Tick the correct answer:
- The driver did not approve of the narrator buying fruit from the two boys because a) the boys were untidy and poorly dressed
- The narrator was most impressed by the boys’ b) willingness to work
- Nicola was not pleased when Jacopo asked the narrator to drive them to Poleta as he a) did not want a stranger to become involved with their plans
- The narrator did not go inside Lucia’s room as a) he did not want to intrude into their privacy
- The boys were the first to join the resistance movement against the Germans because c) the Germans had ruined their family
- The author did not speak to the boys on their return journey because a) he thought the boys would prefer to keep their secret
What do you understand by the following statements?
a) “We do many things, sir,” Nicola answered seriously. He glanced at us hopefully
This is a statement by Nicola, the elder of the two brothers which shows how the boy has matured early in his life after having suffered so much at the hands of fate. The author is surprised to see how many tasks these two boys handle in their daily life. He had first met them when they were selling wild berries. Now, he was amazed to see them polishing. The statement also reflects both the helplessness and strong will of the two young boys. Nicola is in a difficult situation but unwilling to let go. Like any mature person he replies the author that they do several things and it is their fate. However, he is generally reluctant to disclose much about himself or his family or even the things he does. The statement also reflects his reluctance to answer. His hopeful glance showed that he needed money and was expecting to earn by being of service.
b) He coloured deeply under his sunburn, then grew pale.
The author’s question leaves Nicola feeling deeply uncomfortable. It is a question he would like to avoid answering. However, the author is a likable person but he has asked a difficult question. Nicola works hard day and night with his brother but spends very little of his hard earned money. The author is thinking what he does with the money and therefore asks the question. Nicola does not wish to let the author learn of his well kept secret and therefore grows pale when the author tries to dig deeper into the two boys’ lives.
c) He smiled uncomfortably. “Just plans, sir,” he answered in a low voice.
Nicola’s uncomfortable smile hides his problems under it and his short response reflects the maturity he has acquired at a tender age. When the author asks what sort of plans the two boys have, the elder one responds that they just have plans implying they cannot discuss. This reflects a kind of maturity and seriousness not expected of young kids. Nicola is a teenager but not grown up enough. He is not planning to migrate to US where he would love to be but instead has different plans which he would not share. It is also a hint that the author should not try to learn more than that.
d) Yet in both these boyish faces there was a seriousness which was far beyond their years.
Whether in their behavior or their facial expressions the two boys wore a kind of maturity and seriousness that did not rhyme with their age. The serious faces and eyes showed that the boys had grown up far beyond their age and had seen more than an average mature person. Something in their lives had forced them to mature early.
Answer the following questions briefly.
a. Why didn’t Luigi, the driver, approve of the two boys?
Luigi, the driver was not amused at the poor and shabby appearance of the two boys. Their appearance made him suspicious of the two boys.
b. Why were the narrator and his companion impressed by the two boys?
Despite their driver unapproving and despite the shabby appearance of the two boys there was something about their personalities that the young creatures attracted the author and his companion. Their young personalities reflected a kind of charm and confidence that was unusual.
c. Why was the author surprised to see Nicola and Jacopo working as shoeshine boys?
The author had first seen the two selling strawberries. Upon finding them shining shoes he was amazed if the two were the same boys. Seeing them shining shoes made him think how many tasks the poor boys performed.
d. How were the boys useful to the author?
The boys possessed all the knowledge of the local area that could be useful for the author. From good restaurants to opera houses, they knew about it all. In fact they were local guides for the author. They even helped him find American cigarettes.
e. Why were the boys in the deserted square at night? What character traits do they exhibit?
The author was surprised to see the boys at that late hour of night at a deserted square. The boys were expecting to sell the remaining newspapers when the last bus from Padua came. This shows how hardworking, patient and passionate the two boys were.
f. The narrator asks the boys, “Must you work so hard? You both look rather tired.” The boys reply, “We are not complaining, sir.” What do you learn about the boys from their reply?
The boys’ reply shows that they are willing to work the hardest to earn. It shows that they are needy but also shows their courage and strength. They are hardworking but they are honest too.
g. When the narrator asks the boys about their plans, they are evasive. Why don’t they disclose their problems?
The two boys try to evade the author’s penetrating question. They do not want to disclose anything about their personal lives. They do not want to be seen as helpless or earn anyone’s sympathy because it hurts their self respect and dignity.
7. Discuss the following questions and write the answers in your notebook.
a. Appearances are deceptive. Discuss with reference to the two boys.
Appearances can be truly deceptive and you do not know what underlies someone’s appearance until you get a good glimpse of his character. In case of the two boys too, the driver Luigi is deceived by their appearance and suspects them. However, the author’s eyes are not deceived and he knows there is something so true and honest about their nature.
b. Do you think the boys looked after Lucia willingly? Give reasons for your answer.
The boys’ devotion to their work is true and so is their love for their sister whom they cannot leave unattended and therefore work day and night to earn for her medicines and medical care. They are really responsible brothers who care for their sister. They work till late night and do not spend the money so they can save and pay the hospital’s bills.
c. How does the story ‘Two Gentlemen of Verona’ promise hope for society?
The story shows that hope and humanity are not lost altogether. There is still strength and power in human emotions and family relationships. The two boys are of young age but they have the courage to struggle day and night for their sister’s health. Despite all the troubles in their life, the two brothers believe in working honestly and keep struggling to earn money. Their patience and courage shows that all the hope might not be lost for humanity. This shows that honest people still exist and that human beings have all the strength in their hearts to combat difficult situations.
Match the phrases to their meanings:
set up – to start/ establish a company
break down – to lose control of your feelings and start crying
set off – to start on a journey
put up with – to tolerate a situation or a person
put off – to postpone
put on – to wear
come in – to enter
come across – to meet or find by chance
come up against – to be faced with or opposed by
turn down- to refuse/ reject
turn in – to inform on or deliver up
turn to – to try to get help/advice/ sympathy from someone
Now use the phrases given above to complete the following sentences.
1. The landlord was suspicious of the two men staying in his flat so he called the police and ……TURNED…………. them ……IN………. 2. Early in the morning we packed our bags and ……SET OFF……… for a hike over the mountain. 3. Janvi ………………CAME ACROSS……. some photographs of her grandfather in the old trunk. 4. My father ……SET UP………….. his own business 10 years ago. 5. The Bank ………TURNED DOWN…………………….. Paul’s request for a loan. 6. The Corporation’s decision to reduce the leave of the employees ………CAME UP AGAINST………………… a lot of opposition
The narrator realises why Nicola and Jacopo work so hard. Yet he does not go in to meet their sister nor does he speak to them about what he learns from the nurse. Working in groups, discuss the following aspects of the story and share your views with the class.
a) The love and devotion, and the family values Nicola and Jacopo display.
Apart from loyalty and brotherhood, the two boys display a unique type of love and devotion that is generally unexpected of young boys. Nicola is not just a big brother for Jacopo. He has matured far beyond his age to acquire the role of father. He cares for his young brother and his sister who is ill with tuberculosis of spine. Despite all the trouble in their lives, the bond between the three has not weakened even slightly.
b) Their pride in themselves and their family
The pride and self respect of the two young boys gets evident at several points in the story. They do not believe in seeking help or getting sympathy from the others. Neither do they complain about the situation or what the odd jobs they perform. They are self confident and do not seek anything more of life than their family’s happiness.
c) The trust they place in the narrator
Despite having been through very tough situations, the young boys are innocent and this innocence reflects in the trust they place in the narrator. However, that does not mean they cannot judge people. They are good judges of character and they rely on the narrator only since he is a good and kind-hearted person.
d) The reason the narrator does not disclose to them that he knows their secret
The narrator does not want to lose the boys’ trust. He does not want them to feel like betrayed or that they have trusted the wrong person. He is a good person and knows their self respect will be hurt if they know their secret is no more a secret.
As the narrator, write an article on the lesson of love, faith and trust that you have learnt from the two young boys of Verona.
I have been through several instances in my life where my faith in humanity has grown stronger. However, this one experience was different than all the other ones. The kind of lesson these two young boys have given me has touched me deeply. These two young gentlemen of Verona are nothing less than young soldiers who have not just fought their war but fought it with such vehemence that it can be a lesson for the entire humanity. Never before have I seen such self confidence, such trust and loyalty as I found in these two young boys. My first meeting with them happened by chance on the outskirts of Verona. The two young boys were selling wild strawberries and while my driver was suspicious I knew there was something extraordinary about them. Their innocence attracted me instantly. However, they also wore a seriousness uncommon among people of their age. These shabbily dressed guys Nicola and Jacopo (Nicola is fourteen, Jacopo 12) have proved tough against all the tragic difficulties fate made them bear. Their story is tragic but the boys never lost courage. I again met them in the town where they were shining shoes. The guys are generally reluctant to share their story with anyone. They do not want sympathy. They need money which they work day and night for. They have all the determination and confidence they need to fight their war. The guys won’t tell you their plans or like to share anything since you may feel like sympathizing with them. No, that weakens their self reliance. These two guys are working to pay for their sister’s hospital bills who is ill with tuberculosis. Their house was destroyed by the Germans during the war and their father was killed. The poor orphans were not ready to give up. They got their sister admitted into the hospital and showed that at this young age too they could raise themselves and support their family. I have not let them know I know their secret, but the lesson they have given me has only made my faith in love, faith and loyalty grow stronger. After all we human beings are nothing without the strength of those emotions in our hearts.
After her brothers’ visit, Lucia writes a page in her diary about her past life and her present situation. As Lucia write the diary entry in about 150 words.
Today was a special day. My brothers were here to visit me. Every time I see the confidence and determination in their eyes, my pride doubles. Father too would have felt the same had he been with us. The two have shouldered their responsibilities without any complaint. For anyone else this would have been tough if not impossible. I know I cannot go with them for I am ill but God has given my brothers the courage and strength they need to survive in this brutal world. Never would I ask for anything else but for my brothers’ happiness. My health has kept growing better and it appears I will be able to walk and sing again. My brothers have made this possible. I never expected life to be back on track since the war which took everything from us from our father to our home and every joy. Nicolo and Jacopo seem to have grown up suddenly. After all they have been across so many things at such a tender age; but who can escape fate. God is with us and He will give my brothers the courage to live with confidence and dignity and be an inspiration for others.