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I had emerged relatively unscathed from the encounter with Mr Mckim in his office, but it was unfortunately not my last encounter with the principal. In my next year at school, I came across Dr Gruening, a highly educated, refined gentleman who had come from Germany just before World War II. To a bunch of fourteen-year old students, however, he was a weak and incompetent man who could be taken full advantage of. His classes were always an opportunity fro us to fool around and have fun at his expense. I myself was an active participant in this mockery although I did not dislike Dr Gruening. On his part, Dar Gruening magnanimously ignored most of our pranks until one day when he lost his temper and sent me to Mr Mckim.

Dr Gruening's note led me once again to the chair in Mr Mckim's office. Recognition dawned on his face when he saw me and I began to pray hopefully. Consulting my record, he looked puzzled as if he did not expect to see what he had just seen. I had maintained such good grades but had so many discipline marks against me. After much thought, he said, "Ask your father to come and see me." I felt ill. The next day, I was again at the office, this time with my father. seeing that my father was determined to keep me in the school, Mr Mckim gave a fairly reasonable sentence. I was to report to him forty-five minutes before school every morning for the next month and read 'Great Expectations'. My detention was a great joke to all the other students who had heard the news but I myself enjoyed the book very much.

About a week later, Dr Gruening brought a stack of papers into the classroom. The class proceeded as usual but at the end of the lesson, everyone started crowding around Dr Gruening, asking questions. I had no idea what was going on until later when someone came up to me and whispered, "We took a copy of Gruening's examination. We're working on the answers but make sure you get enough wrong." The next day, the papers were discreetly passed to me. After much deliberation, I put the copy in my drawer without looking at it and continued to study my German.

The day of the examination came and went. I did fairly well while those who had participated unfairly and unjustly did excellently. After class, Dr Gruening asked me to see him. To my surprise, he told me he was disappointed in me since it was an easy examination and it was obvious that I had not studied. Frustrated, I blurted that I had studied very hard and that it had not been an easy examination. Realizing that I might have said too much, I mumbled an apology and waited for him to dismiss me. He pondered for a long time and then said, "Yes, it was not an easy examination. You studied hard, I know. You did what you should have done."

The next day, Dr Gruening came up with his own method of retaliation and announced that there would be another examination in two days. The results this time round were more realistic. I did about the same, while the others did considerably worse. From that day on, everyone paid full attention in Dr Gruening's class.

Answer the following questions using complete sentences
  1. Why do you think the writer said he had 'emerged relatively unscathed' (paragraph1) after seeing the principal ?
  2. What is the meaning of 'magnanimously' (paragraph 1) ?
  3. Why did the writer and his friends continue to play pranks during Dr Gruening's class ?
  4. Quote the five-word phrase in paragraph 2 that tells us the principal remembered the writer.
  5. Explain clearly why Mr Mckim was 'puzzled' (paragraph 2)
  6. What was the real reason behind the students' behavior around Dr Gruening ?
  7. Why do you think one of the classmates told the writer to 'get enough wrong' (paragraph 3) ?
  8. Explain in your own words who were those who did 'excellently' (paragraph 4).
  9. 'Realizing that I might have said too much ...' (paragraph 4) What was the writer afraid of ?
  10. Quote the eight-word phrase in the last paragraph that suggests Dr Gruening knew the class had cheated except for the writer.
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He was not punished by the principal.


It means 'generously'.


They did that because Dr Gruening was weak and incompetent and also ignored most of their pranks.


It is 'Recognition dawned on his face'.


He did not expect someone who had maintained such good grades to have so many discipline marks against him. / He did not expect the writer who had so many discipline marks against him to also have such good grades.
  6. They wanted to steal the examination paper set by Dr Gruening.
  7. By doing so, the writer would not arouse the suspicion of Dr Gruening. / If he got almost all correct, then Dr Gruneing would think something was amiss. / If he got almost all correct, especially if it was a difficult paper, Dr Gruening would be suspicious.
  8. They were those who had cheated by looking at the question paper before the examination.
  9. He was afraid that Dr Gruening would guess that the others had cheated from what he had said.
  10. The phrase is 'came up with his own method of retaliation'.

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Comprehension 1


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