On the Face of it Summary Class 12 CBSE | English Vistas

On the Face of it CBSE Class 12 NCERT English Vistas Book Lesson 6. Important questions of this chapter and the Answer and Summary, NCERT solutions, Notes, are given below.

On the Face of it Summary

On the Face of it Summary Class 12 CBSE | English Vistas

Class 12 English (Vistas) 
Chapter 6 On the Face of it
By Susan Hill

Core Idea of the Chapter

The Meeting in the Garden

The first scene of the play begins in Mr. Lamb's garden. Derry, a young boy of fourteen, climbs over the garden wall and enters the garden. He walks in slowly and cautiously, thinking nobody is there, but is startled to hear Mr. Lamb’s voice. He tells Derry to mind the 'crab apples' lest he trip on them. Derry tries to explain to him that he didn’t want to sneak in. He had presumed that the house was empty, and he didn't expect anybody there. He appears to be scared. Mr. Lamb tries to put his fears at rest and says that the house was no doubt empty, now that he was in the garden. Mr. Lamb assures him that there is nothing to be afraid of. His gates are always open and everyone is welcome.

Derry Appears to be Apprehensive

When Mr. Lamb tells Derry that there is nothing to be afraid of, Derry replies that he is not afraid but people are afraid of him. Derry is very furious because he thinks that Mr. Lamb is having pity on him. He vehemently says that he is not a 'poor boy'. He is afraid of himself because one side of his face got burnt as acid fell on it. Mr. Lamb, seeing that the situation has become a bit heated, changes the subject. He says that he is going to make jelly out of the crab apples. However, this enrages Derry more. He tells Mr. Lamb that he has changed the subject because he is also afraid of his burnt face, just as all other people are. He says that people pretend to be sympathetic towards him but are afraid to talk about his looks because he was ugly.

Mr. Lamb's Philosophy

Mr. Lamb tells him to talk about it, but Derry has become upset. The old man says that maybe Derry's face got burned in a fire. Derry tells him that it is acid that has burnt his face. He says, "It ate my face up. It ate me up". Derry is confused at Mr. Lamb's indifference and asks him if he is not interested. Mr. Lamb replies that he is interested in everybody. There is nothing God made that doesn't interest him. He asks Derry why one green plant is called a weed and another flower. Mr. Lamb doesn't find any difference; to him, its all life. His philosophy is to celebrate life in all its forms.

Mr. Lamb Reveals his Impairment

Mr. Lamb tells Derry that one of his legs got blown off in a war, but that is not important. When he goes out, some kids call him lamey-Lamb'. This doesn't bother him. He thinks that such a name suits him. Derry says that Mr. Lamb could cover his tin leg with his trousers, and none would notice it or stare. But Derry could not cover his face. According to Mr. Lamb, there are plenty of other things in the world which are important. Mr. Lamb has a positive and optimistic attitude towards life. He feels that beauty is relative and reminds Derry of 'Beauty and the Beast'.

Derry is filled with bitterness. He says that he doesn't believe in fairy tales. His face will always remain the same. He also says that no one will kiss him and his mother has to kiss him because she has to. She kisses him on the other side of his face.

Mr. Lamb tries to reason with him. He says that he should notice the beautiful things in the world and not care about his face. Derry begins to mock the idea saying that one should think of all those people who are worse off than you. This may be true, but it won't change his face.

On the Face of it Summary Class 12 CBSE | English Vistas

Derry Calls Mr. Lamb Peculiar

Derry narrates an incident which happened at the bus stop. He heard two women talk about his face. One of them said, "Look at that, that's a terrible thing. That's a face only a mother could love." He is very hurt and calls it cruel. Mr. Lamb advises him not to believe everything that he hears. To this, Derry replies that he finds Mr. Lamb `peculiar'. He further tells him that he came in the garden because he liked it. But he doesn't like being near people.

Mr. Lamb starts telling him a story about a man who was afraid to die. He feared each and every thing and locked himself in a room. Unfortunately, he died because a picture fell off the wall on his head. Derry laughs a lot at the story. Through this story, Mr. Lamb wanted to show Derry that one cannot hide himself or shun society just because of some fear. One should enjoy life as it comes.

The Positive Side of Life

Derry notices that there are no curtains on the windows of Mr. Lamb's house. Mr. Lamb replies that he is not fond of curtains because they shut things out and he likes to see the light and the darkness and to hear the wind. Derry also says that he likes to hear the rain falling on the roof. Mr. Lamb says Derry is not lost. It means that there is sensitive part in his heart but it is hidden because of the bitterness.

Derry tells Mr. Lamb that even his family has pity on him. They think about his future and what will he do with that face. They feel that it would be difficult for him to get on in this world with a face like this. Mr. Lamb shows him that he is better all than the rest. He can live his life easily like others do.

Derry asks Mr. Lamb if he has any friends. Mr. Lamb tells him that everyone is his friend, even Derry. Derry is confused and asks him how they are friends when Mr. Lamb doesn't even know his name. Mr. Lamb explains that names don't signify anything. To him, being friends doesn't mean that you should know all the details about a person. At this point, Derry chooses to tell him his name. He says it's Derek, but hates being called that. He wants to be called 'Derry' only.

'Watching, Listening, Thinking

Derry tells Mr. Lamb that he hates some people. Mr. Lamb says that hatred is more dangerous than the acid that burned his face. Derry narrates another incident about the time when he returned he returned home after the accident. He heard someone say that he’d have been better in the hospital with others ‘like him'. Mr. Lamb contradicts it by asking what kind of a world would that be. Derry is amazed and asks how does he make out all these things. Mr. Lamb replies 'Watching, listening, thinking'.

Mr. Lamb tells Derry that he can come and go in his house as he wishes. 'Whatever belongs to him belongs to everybody. Derry tells Mr. Lamb that his friends would run away at seeing Derry's face. Mr. Lamb tells him that it is a 'risk' he has to take. He wants Derry to understand that he has to come out of his shell and to shed his bitterness if he wants to live life to the fullest.

Derry Offers his Help

Derry asks Mr. Lamb how he is going to get the apples down, since his leg is blown off and he wears a tin leg. Mr. Lamb assures him that over the years he has learned to deal with his handicap. Derry says that he uld help him, but his mother won't allow him to come once he gets home.

Mr. Lamb tells Derry that it is not Derry's mother but Derry's bitterness and hesitation that won't let him go out. Derry tries to give a reason by saying that people worry too much and his house is three miles away. Mr. Lamb excites Derry by saying that he is a young boy and he could do anything if he chooses to. The power of choosing what one wants lies in one's own hands.

A small altercation takes place between them. Mr. Lamb says that Derry doesn't have the guts to fight those odds. His burnt face is just an excuse. Derry becomes infuriated and mocks the tin leg of Mr Lamb. He promises to return to the garden.

On the Face of it Summary Class 12 CBSE | English Vistas

Derry Chooses for Himself

The second scene begins in Derry's house. He is fighting with his mother because he wants to return to Mr. Lamb, and his mother 'is not allowing him to go back.

She says that she has been warned by many people that Mr. Lamb appears to be an eccentric. But Derry insists that he wants to go. For the first time in his life, someone he has shown him the right way. He wants to talk to Mr. Lamb about things which matter to him. He wants to sit there and listen to things. His mother tells him to stay, but Derry tells her that he hates it. His mother doesn't react. She simply tells him that he is bound to say such awful things because of his face. Derry strongly replies that he doesn’t care about his face anymore. The transformation has begun.

Derry is a Changed Person

The final scene shifts to the garden again. Derry reaches there out of breath. He finds Mr Lamb lying on the ground. He has been trying to pick the apples off the tree when the ladder has slipped and he, along with it, has fallen on the ground.

Derry tries to awaken him, but Mr. Lamb is unmoving. He is probably dead. Derry has lost his only friend and he begins to cry. Mr. Lamb was able to do what he has been trying; he has taught Derry how to live. 

Word meaning of chapter on the face of it

The given page numbers correspond to the pages in the NCERT textbook.
  • Ustling – a soft crackling sound, as one caused by the movement of dry leaves
  • Tentatively crab apples – hesitatingly
  • Windfalls – fruits blown down from a tree or bush by the wind
  • Trip – stumble or fall
  • Panic – sudden uncontrollable fear or anxiety
  • Scrump – steal (fruit) from an orchard or garden
  • Underneath – beneat 
  • Jelly Give (me)  - a sweet or dessert made from fruit
  • Hand - help, assist 
  • Rubbish – waste material 
  • Stuff - worthless matter
  • Weeds - wild, valueless plants
  • Blown off - separated 
  • Lamey - a nickname for a lame person
  • Monstrous - frightening
  • Beast - animal 
  • Came off - separated 
  • Signify - have meaning or importance 
  • Daft - crazy, foolish
  • Dribble - to let saliva drip from the mouth
  • Peculiar - strange 
  • Humm / hum - make a continuous murmuring sound 
  • Trespassing - entering someone's land or property without permission
  • Concerned - involved
  • Particulars -details 
  • Filing box – a box for keeping documents or files order 
  • Make (all that) Out – understand 
  • Blown off - destroyed by an explosion
  • Steady - calmly 
  • Fuss - show unnecessary or excessive concern about something 
  • Miserable - very uncomfortable or unhappy
  • Excuse - an explanation offered in defence of some fault or offensive behaviour 
  • Fade - disappear gradually
  • Bound to - sure or certain to
  • Panting – breathing with short, quick breathe 
  • Shifting – moving or changing
  • Thumping – falling down with a loud, dull sound
  • Creak – a harsh grating or squeaking sound
  • Crash – a sudden loud noise
  • Swishes- moves with a hissing sound 

On the face of it class 12 NCERT solutions

  • Who is Derry? What opinion does he hold about himself?
  • Why does Derry sneak into Mr. Lamb's garden?
  • Why is Derry hesitant to stay in the garden?
  • How does Mr. Lamb try to drive away his fear?
  • 'I am not afraid, people are afraid of me'. Why does Derry say so?
  • Who is Mr. Lamb? Why do people call him 'Lamey-Lamb'?
  • What kind of an attitude does Mr. Lamb have towards life?
  • What were the bitter episodes in Derry's life?
  • How is Derry's attitude towards life a contrast to that of Mr. Lamb?
  • Why does Derry call Mr. Lamb peculiar?
  • What is Mr. Lamb's philosophy of life?
  • Why does Mr. Lamb urge Derry to choose?
  • Why did Derry's mother stop him from going to Mr. Lamb?
  • What made Derry go back to Mr. Lamb in the end, in spite of his mother's objection?
  • What is Mr. Lamb's role in bringing about Derry's transformation?

Short Answer of On the face of it class 12

(1.) In what sense is the friendship between Mr. Lamb and Derry fruitful?

Ans. The friendship between Mr. Lamb and Derry helped the latter get over his baseless fears. Derry was inspired by Mr. Lamb's positive attitude towards life. The old man's optimism instilled in Derry the confidence to come out of his shell and face the world. In return, Mr. Lamb is benefited from Derry's company, and is able to shed his loneliness, though only for brief moments.

(2) Why did Mr. Lamb help Derry?

Ans. Mr. Lamb perhaps identified himself with Derry. Though he had conquered his physical disability, he could well understand Derry's pscyhe, having himself gone through a similar phase in life. He too might have experienced the same feelings of seclusion, apprehension and bitterness, and still faced loneliness and disappointment. He probably did not want Derry to be a victim of the same.

(3) If you were to give a different ending to the story, 'On the Face of it' how would you end it?

Ans. The ending of the story 'On the Face of it' is very sad as Mr. Lamb is probably dead. Such a beautiful story should not have such a tragic ending. In the end, Derry should have returned just in time to save Mr Lamb from falling by holding the ladder or, perhaps, the old man regained consciousness with Derry's efforts. Such positive endings would have given a message of hope.
On the Face of it Summary Class 12 CBSE

(4) How does Mr. Lamb keep himself busy when it is a bit cool?

Ans.When it's a bit cooler, Mr. Lamb gets a ladder and a stick to pull down the crab apples. He calls them magic-fruit and likes to make jelly out of them.

(5) Why does Mr. Lamb leave his gate always open?

Ans. Mr. Lamb doesn't mind leaving his gate always open because he likes to meet people who come in his garden. He likes to talk to them and learn different things from them. He further says that everything that belongs to him also belongs to everybody else.

(6) What is the bond that unites the two, Mr Lamb, the old and Derry, the boy? How does the old man inspire the boy?
Ans. Physical impairment and alienation from society form the bond that unites Mr Lamb and Derry. Mr. Lamb has conquered his physical disability. He doesn't allow it to rule his life. Derry is inspired to see that in spite of his problems, Mr. Lamb lives life to the fullest. Besides, he harbours no bitterness towards anyone.

(7) What qualities of Mr. Lamb attracted Derry to him? 

Ans. Mr. Lamb is a very positive person. He doesn't let his physical disability destroy the happiness in his life. He is not afraid of Derry's face, unlike others. The quality that attracted Derry most to Mr Lamb was his tremendous patience as he listened to him. He talked to him about things which mattered; things nobody else had ever said to him.

(8) What did Derry's mother think of Mr. Lamb?

Ans. Derry's mother is quite skeptical of Mr. Lamb. She considers him to be an eccentric. She claims that she has heard many things about Mr. Lamb and some have also warned her against him. That is why she doesn't want Derry to meet Mr. Lamb.

(9) How does Mr. Lamb try to remove the baseless fears of Derry?         

Ans. Mr. Lamb appears to have understood Derry's psyche completely. Derry says that people are afraid of his face. Mr. Lamb replies that there are other things in the world to be noticed. He asks Derry how one can distinguish a flower from a weed when both are plants. They are all life. He also tells Derry that he has to take the risk by coming out of his shell. Everybody has problems in his life, but it is our attitude that matters.

(10) "It ate my face up. It ate me up." Who said these words? Why?

Ans. Derry said these words to Mr. Lamb when he narrated the horrific incident when his face got burned by acid. The acid ate up his face. The burnt face ate him up. He said this because the burning of the face destroyed all the happiness in his life.

(11) Who is Mr. Lamb? How does Derry get into his garden? [Class 12 NCERT solutions]

Ans. Mr. Lamb is an old man who lives in a big house. He has no family. He lost one of his legs in a bomb explosion in the war. As Derry was walking past Mr. Lamb's garden, he felt the place was isolated. So, he got into his garden by climbing over the garden wall.

(12) Do you think all this will change Derry's attitude towards Mr. Lamb? [Class 12 NCERT solutions]

Ans. Derry's attitude towards life itself has entirely changed. Mr. Lamb was able to show him the bright side of life. He introduced positive thoughts in him Derry was transformed totally and developed a new understanding towards his life. Accordingly, his attitude toward Mr. Lamb will also change and he will consider Mr. Lamb as a true friend.

On the face of it question answers

(1) What was Derry's infirmity? How had it made him withdrawn and defiant?   

Ans. Derry's face was scarred on one side as it had been burnt by acid. This made him look rather ugly and frightful. It was for this, reason that people did not associate freely with him. He was often pitied, ridiculed- or shunned by people. Derry became highly sensitive to what people said about him. His parents, family friends and well-wishers were all greatly concerned about his future. Their anxiety, concern and apprehension pained him more than the impairment itself.
This abnormal treatment by the people gradually made the boy pessimistic and bitter, and he became withdrawn and defiant. He often avoided company and began to lead a life of seclusion.

(2) What benefits did Derry reap from his association with Mr. Lamb?
Ans. Though Derry's association with Mr. Lamb is rather brief, yet the boy benefits greatly from the old man's company. Derry had lost all zest for life due to his burnt face. After meeting Mr. Lamb, Derry is filled with a new enthusiasm for life. He undergoes a major transformation and develops into a confident youth from the meek young boy that he earlier was.
Mr. Lamb's words have a profound effect on him and inspire him to see the brighter side of life. He is encouraged to choose happiness in life rather than accept his isolation. He is no more bothered about his impairment, and wants to live his life to the fullest. His entire attitude towards life has changed drastically.

(3) Both Derry and Lamb are physically impaired and lonely. It is the responsibility of society to understand and support people with infirmities so that they do not suffer from a sense of alienation. As a responsible citizen, write in about 120-150 words what you would do to bring about a change in the lives of such people.

Ans. People with some physical disability or impairment are often pitied and ridiculed by others. This makes them develop a sense of inferiority. They form a shell around themselves and begin to lead a life of seclusion.
As a responsible citizen, it is our duty to treat such people with love and affection, and not make them a subject of our pity or ridicule. We should try to understand their infirmity and empathise with them. We must give them due respect, and thus motivate them to feel at par with the others in society, so that they do not suffer from a sense ofisolation or alienation and are able to live a normal life. We must make them aware of the innumerable opportunities available to them and bring a ray of hope in their lives.

(4) The lesson, 'On the Face of it, is an apt depiction of the loneliness and sense of alienation experienced by people on account of a disability. Explain.
Ans. Mr. Lamb and Derry both suffer from physical impairment. Mr. Lamb has got a tin leg. His real leg has been blown off in a war. Derry's face got burned as acid fell on it.
Derry, due to his burnt face, tries to keep away from people. He hates it when people have pity on him. He thinks that people are scared of him. Even his mother doesn't kiss him on the burnt side such incidents have filled Derry with negativity and bitterment. So, he prefers, to live in seclusion and looks for places that are isolated.
Mr. Lamb is also somewhat lonely, though he doesn't show it. He himself says that people always promise to return to him, but they never do. He is often misjudged by the other people. Derry’s mother considers him to be crazy. She says that people have warned her about Mr. Lamb.
Thus, the lesson is an apt depiction of the loneliness and sense of alienation experienced by people on account of a disability.

(5) Derry and Mr. Lamb both are victims of physical impairment, but their attitudes towards life are completely different. Explain.

Ans. The conversation between Derry and Mr. Lamb reveals their different attitude towards life. Derry is a fourteen year old boy, half of whose face is disfigured, as it got burnt by acid. The half-face has left him miserable. He feels unwanted. He thinks that people think he is ugly like the devil and they are afraid of him. He gets infuriated when people sympathise with him. Ail these bad experiences have made him cynkal, and he has developed a pessimistic attitude towards life.

On the other hand, Mr. Lamb is a complete contrast to Derry. He doesn't let his physical disability destroy his life. He is an optimist. He finds beauty and peace in everything. When children tease him by calling him Lamey-Lamb, he is not offended. He feels that such a name suits him. He is full of hope and positivity.

(6) Do you think Derry's chance meeting with Mr. Lamb would prove meaningful to him? Answer giving valid reasons.

Ans.After meeting Mr. Lamb, Derry is filled with enthusiasm for life. Mr. Lamb's words have a profound effect on him and he changes drastically. He is not overtly conscious of his ugly face. We get a reflection of Derry's transformation in scene two, when he reaches his house after a brief encounter with Mr. Lamb. He tells his mother, "You shouldn't believe all you hear". He categorically tells her that he wants to go back to Mr. Lamb to listen to bees singing and him talking. He says that Mr. Lamb talks to him about, "Things that matter. Things nobody else has ever said. Things he wants to think about."
Looking at these developments, one is bound to conclude that Derry will not become secluded once again. His brief association with Mr. Lamb has left an indelible imprint on him and he will base his later life on the teachings of Mr. Lamb.

(7) What is it that draws Derry towards Mr. Lamb in spite of himself? [Class 12 NCERT solutions]

Ans. Derry finds Mr. Lamb quite different from the other people he has come across till now He is impressed by the old man's talk about beauty and the beast, pretty girls and the plain talk of about how the world will change its attitude towards Derry. Mr. Lamb's concept of the world, friendship, not believing everything one hears, the story about the timid man who locked himself and the like, sound peculiar to Derry, but interest him. He understands the underlying message that Mr. Lamb has given him.
He is encouraged by Mr. Lamb's words, "You will get on the way you want, like all the rest." Gradually, Derry is able to shed his inhibitions, insecurities, fears and complexes. The talk with Mr. Lamb is the beginning of his transformation. That's the reason for Derry saying,   "you don't know what I could do."
Besides, Derry is also drawn towards Mr. Lamb because both of them have suffered loss and humiliation and both feel isolated and lonely.

(8) 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? [Class 12 NCERT solutions]
Ans. Mr. Lamb lives all alone. in a huge house with a large 'garden. He has no one for company, neither' his 'family nor friends. In spite of this, he is happy because the neighbourhood children come to his garden for scrumping apples and pears.
There is ample evidence in the story to prove that he feels lonely and isolated. Mr Lamb spends most of his time watching, listening and thinking. This shows that he lacks human company. When Derry asks him to name some of his friends, the old man is at a loss.
At the end of scene one, when Derry promises to Mr. Lamb that he will return, as he rushes home, we hear Mr. Lamb telling himself, "We all know I'll come back. They never do, though. Not them. Never do they come back". Although Derry promises to come back, Mr. Lamb does not believe him. The words spoken by Mr. Lamb reveal his deepest feelings of loneliness. Although Derry does come back, it is too late, for Mr. Lamb is dead

(9) 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? [Class 12 NCERT solutions]

Ans. Suffering from a physical impairment, Derry was a pessimist. But after he met Mr. Lamb, he gradually began to see the bright side of life. He realised that in the form of Mr. Lamb, he had found a true friend who has shown him the right approach towards life. A brief association with Mr. Lamb boosted Derry's self-confidence and made him respect himself as he was. This new self-esteem brought about a major change in Derry and he told his mother that his looks do not matter.
A change has certainly come about in Derry's attitude towards himself and towards life in general. It is unlikely that he will revert to his past secluded life, even with Mr Lamb's death at the end of the story. In fact, he will now lead a more active life with the positive thoughts given to him by Mr Lamb, because he was the only person who taught him the correct approach to life.

(10) Discuss the relevance of the title 'On the Face of it:

Ans. When one muses about the title of the play 'On the Face of it', it seems somewhat odd and awkward. Sometimes people may be quite different from what they appear to be at first. The title is based on this thought. Mr. Lamb appears to be a secretive, mysterious, lonely, lame old man who lives all alone. But in the story, he comes across as a gentle, kind, generous and considerate person who helps Derry in overcoming his fears, obstacles, complexes and inhibitions.
In a similar way, Derry seems to be a complex-ridden boy who hates people because of his own ugly face. He is withdrawn and defiant. Later on, in scene two, Derry undergoes a metamorphosis. He understands that the true meaning of life is to live it to the fullest. If we look carefully we will find that there is an inherent oneness among different things. As the story moves further and picks up tempo, we understand each of the characters better. Thus, the author has quite appropriately titled her play 'On the Face of it'.

(11) Why do you think Mr. Lamb does not react to Derry's outburst about his burnt face? Why does he change the subject of conversation?

Ans. When Mr. Lamb meets Derry the first time, they strike up a conversation. In the course of the conversation Derry says, "  I'm not afraid. People are afraid of me." On probing further, Mr. Lamb finds out that Derry is conscious of his burnt face. He suffers from a terrible complex and lack of self-esteem.
Mr. Lamb does not want that Derry should delve deeper into this painful matter. He realizes the sensitivity of the situation and changes the topic. Mr. Lamb does not want that at such a tender age, Derry should have such negativity in him. He wants that Derry should accept the handicap with aplomb and make the best use of any given opportunity. Mr. Lamb's mention of healthy and ripe crab apples and the jelly he is going to make with them is intentional. He wants Derry to note that life is full of sweetness which is reflected in nature's bounties.

(12) This is a play featuring an old man and a small boy meeting in the former's garden. The old man strikes up a friendship with the boy who is very withdrawn and defiant. What is the bond that unites the two? [Class 12 NCERT solutions]       
Ans. Mr. Lamb and Derry both have a different point of view towards life. Mr. Lamb has a positive view while Derry's attitude is totally negative. Although Mr. Lamb and Derry are totally different, the bond that unites them is that they are both physically disabled or disfigured. Both are made fun of by various people. Mr. Lamb has a tin leg because he has lost one leg in a war and people make fun of him due to this. Even then, he does not change his positive thinking toward life. He lived his life to the fullest.
On the other hand, the boy Derry has a disfigured face due to acid having fallen on one side of it. Derry's burnt face makes him want to run away from society. But when he meets Mr. Lamb, he gets to know how one should live one's life,-because-it is very precious. This change in Derry also helped him to create a bond with Mr. Lamb."This common predicament has united them.

Value Based Question [6 Marks]

(1) 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? [Class 12 NCERT solutions]
Ans. The actual pain or inconvenience due to a physical impairment is often much less than the sense of alienation felt by the person with disabilities because it creates a feeling of loneliness in the physically disabled person. People in society make him realize that he is not like them and maintain a distance from them. A person with a physical disability like a tin leg or a burnt face can live a life of respect and honor if he is not ridiculed or pitied. If everyone else looks at such persons in a negative way, they can never come out from their seclusion from the world. They expect other people to respect them for what they are, instead of continuously reminding them of how they are different.
Here, Mr. Lamb understands his situation and copes with it successfully, whereas Derry, who is only 14 years old, is not mature enough to cope with his predicament. That is why he liked Mr. Lamb after meeting him for the first time. A person with a physical impairment expects a normal behavior from others. He wants others to respect him instead of pitying him.

On the face of it important Questions

Answer the following questions in about 30-40 words in CBSE Board exam.
  • Why did Derry enter Mr. Lamb's garden?
  • Was Mr. Lamb bothered by Derry's face?
  • Why did the children call Mr. Lamb `Lamely-Lamb'? Did it upset him?
  • What does Mr. Lamb grow in his garden?
  • Why does Mr. Lamb say that names are not important?
  • Did Derry consider Mr. Lamb his friend? Why/ Why not?
  • What did Derry call 'cruel'?
  • Why is the gate of Mr. Lamb's garden always open?
  • How does Derry's mother talk about Mr. Lamb? 1 0 Why did Derry say, "People are afraid of me"?  How did Derry get his face burnt?
  • Explain the moral of the play 'On the face of it'.

Long Answer Type Questions [6 Marks]

Answer the following questions in about 120-150 words.
  • Is Mr. Lamb able to give a new life to Derry?
  • Do you think the tragic end to Mr. Lamb's life will affect Derry in some way?
  • "I am interested in anybody, anything. There is nothing that God made that doesn't interest me". Explain the statement in reference to Mr. Lamb's character.


On the Face of it is a play featuring an old man and a small boy meeting in the former's garden. Both suffer from physical impairment, but Mr. Lamb, the old man, takes life as it comes to him while the young boy Derry (short for Derek) is very withdrawn and defiant. The meeting turns out to be a boon for Derry. Mr. Lamb is able to give him hope and the ability to see the bright side of life.

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