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Daniel struck the wall angrily and stormed out. His parents had had a violent quarrel again and the whole house reflected that. There were things lying all over the house. It had been like that for the last year and he and his sister, Karin, had suffered seeing their parents quarrel.

Daniel no longer cared about what happened at home. School didn't matter and neither did his future. He smoked a lot these days but that made him feel good, he told himself. His friends too were like him, from dysfunctional homes and they lived a life that left them on the streets often. There was no one waiting at home to care anyway! Daniel remembered the time when the police picked him and his friends up for being near a robbery scene. They had a rough time at the police station. Another time they had got into a gang fight. His parents were furious with him when they were informed about it. His father had hardly spoken a word to him while his mother had wailed. Tears didn't move Daniel any more.

He remembered the many days when he had cried to himself hearing their violent quarrels and wondered if he was to blame. Karin too used to hide in her room until the storm of words was over. She had wanted to be a doctor once and Daniel had wanted to be a pilot. Now, they may remain only dreams.

Daniel saw his neighbour, Rob, dragging his feet to school. Rob was disabled and had been given up for adoption at a young age. His foster parents adored him and gave him love and attention. They talked to him and took him for extra classes but they didn't pamper or spoil him. He was expected to do chores at home and work hard at school. His foster father had told him that he had to start his work earlier and work harder if he was to cope with the rest of the students at school.

Daniel made up his mind. He realised that he was tired of all that he was going through. Totally miserable about his family conditions, he decided to talk to Rob's father, Mr Pattinson. He told him his problems. Mr Pattinson listened quietly and asked a few questions. Then, he spoke to Daniel and in his calm voice, advised him, 'Your parents are going through some bad times but they do love you. There are many other people who love you too. So it is your duty to do something for yourself. You are special and unique, just like our Rob. Go ahead and make a good life so that you can reach out to others.

When you make mistakes, remember some good will come out of it too. You learn from your mistakes and trials and troubles make you strong and resilient. Don't be frightened by them. Remember that the bad times will pass. They say that when life hands you a lemon, ask for sugar. Make the best of a bad situation rather than make it worse. You are not the only one with a problem. There are a millions of people who are a million times worse off than you!

Don't rely on friends -- not all are good. Drop the friends who make you do bad things. You are intelligent enough to know what is right or wrong and stay away from bad influences. If friends lead you to harmful things, they can't be thinking of your best interests. Move on, Daniel. Help your sister too in the process. If you are supportive, she too can achieve her ambition. Not all successful people come from wonderful and loving homes. Using a broken home as an excuse not to make something out of your life is weak. I will help you in whatever way I can but everything lies in your hands.' Daniel looked long and hard at Mr Pattinson, tears finally returning to his eyes.

   

Answer the following questions using complete sentences

 

1.

From paragraph 1, how did the house reflect the parents' quarrel ?

 

2.

From paragraph 2,

a) how did Daniel feel about school and his future ?

b) 'His friends too were like him, from dysfunctional homes ...'

  (i) Which word tells you that something was wrong with Daniel's friends' homes ?

  (ii) Why was it sad that the children were often left on the streets ?

 

3.

From paragraph 4,

a) what were Daniel's and Karin's dreams ?

b) why does the writer say they 'may remain only dreams' ?

 

4.

From paragraph 6,

a) why was it Daniel's duty to do something for himself ?

b) which word means 'one of a kind' ?

 

5.

In your own words, do you agree with the advice that Mr Pattinson gave ? Support your answer.
 

6.

Based on the passage given, write a summary of :

* what led Daniel to see Mr Pattinson, and

* the advice that Mr Pattinson gave Daniel

Your summary must not be longer than 130 words, including the 10 words given below

Finally, Daniel feeling tired and miserable about the conditions at ...

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Answers
 

1.

There were things lying all over the house.
 

2.

a) He didn't care about either/indifferent

b) (i) Dysfunctional (ii) No one at home cared where they were.

 

3.

a) Daniel wanted to be a pilot while Karin wanted to be a doctor.

b) With all the problems, the children felt that their dreams may not come true.

 

4.

a) His parents and other people loved him.

b) unique

 

5.

I agree with Mr Pattinson as Daniel had to realise that he had a certain duty to himself and his parents and that is to make the best of life and go on with life. If he messes it up, he and his family will suffer.
  6.

Finally, Daniel feeling tired and miserable about the conditions at home talked to Mr Pattinson. Mr Pattinson told Daniel that his parents loved him. Others loved him too and he was obliged to help himself. He was unique just like Rob and must make a good life so as to help others. Something will come out of mistakes and one learns from mistakes. Troubles make us strong and resilient and we must not be frightened by them. Bad times will pass. Make the best of a bad situation rather than make it worse. Everyone has problems. Don't rely on friends as not all are good. Stay away from bad influences. Be supportive and help his sister to achieve her ambition. Don't use a broken home as an excuse to fail. (130 words)

 
 
 
 
 

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Comprehension 1

 

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