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Opt. English 12 (Stories) Summaries and Exercises) (Part 1)

                         STORIES OF GRADE 12 (Part 1)

Summaries and Exercises

Teachers from different parts of the country have contributed for preparing the material. My sincere gratitude to them. I am equally indebted to Mr. M. S. for this coordination.

King Odin's Wisdom (Story)

This material is prepared by Santosh Subedi.

About the Story and Author

King Odin's wisdom is a story retold by Padraic Colum, who was born in Ireland in 1881. Padraic Colum was an Irish poet, novelist, dramatist, biographer, playwright, children's author and collector of folklore. He was one of the leading figures of the Irish Literary Revival.

The story Odin's Wisdom is based on Germanic Mythology which  consists of the body of myths native to the Germanic peoples, including Norse mythology, Anglo-Saxon mythology, and Continental Germanic mythology. According to the story Odin is a god in Germanic Mythology. Norse mythology (the set of religious stories that gave meaning to the Vikings’ lives. These myths revolved around gods and goddesses with fascinating and highly complex characters, such as (OdinThorFreya, and Loki) Is the source of most surviving information about him.

Odin is the highest and oldest of all knots gods. is known for his sacrifice, the donation of his eye for gaining wisdom.  He acquired wisdom not for his personal benefit but for the benefit of the world. Odin takes a prime spot in Norse mythology. Because he is one of the main Gods that it took part in creating the world.  According to Norse mythology, Odin was the king of the Aesir tribe Simultaneously God of War and earth as well as god of the sky wisdom poetry and magic. The most striking attributes of his appearance is single, piercing eyes. His other eye socket is empty. The eye it once held was sacrificed for wisdom.  He gave it up so he could drink from the well of wisdom. He acquired wisdom not for his personal benefit but benefit of the world. He rides a horse that has eight legs and travels with his raven and a wolf, who give him information about what is happening in every corner of the world.

Character Overview

Odin was the ruler of the Aesir (pronounced AY-sur), a group of deities, or gods, in Norse mythology. Sometimes called Allfather, Odin played a central role in myths about the creation and destruction of the world. He was the god of battle and also of wisdom, magic, and poetry. His name means “fury” or “frenzy,” the quality of fierce inspiration that guided warriors and poets alike. The god probably originated in the myths of early Germanic peoples, who called him Wodanaz. Odin was married to Frigg (pronounced FRIG), the guardian of marriage.

Major Myths

Odin spanned the history of the Norse mythic world from its creation to its destruction. Before the world existed, he and his two younger brothers, Vili and Ve, killed the frost giant Ymir (pronounced EE-mir). They used Ymir's bones, blood, and flesh to form the universe. Odin arranged the heavens for the gods, the middle world for humans and dwarfs, and the underworld for the dead. He then created the first man and woman from an ash tree and an elm tree. Among the deities said to have been Odin's children were Balder (pronounced BAWL-der) and Thor. Odin—the favorite deity of princes, nobles, and warriors—came to be seen as the supreme Norse god, the one to whom the other deities turned for help and advice. He ruled them from his palace Valhalla (pronounced val-HAL-uh) in the heavenly realm called Asgard (pronounced AHS-gahrd). As the god of war, Odin watched over warriors who fell in battle. Valkyries , female deities who served Odin, carried the bravest of the warriors straight to Valhalla. There Odin feasted them and prepared them for Ragnarok (pronounced RAHG-nuh-rok), the final battle in which the gods were doomed to perish.

Odin In Context

The worship of Odin flourished across much of northern Europe and gained strength in the eighth and ninth centuries CE, the age of the Vikings. These Norse warriors and raiders, especially the fearsome fighters called the Berserks, regarded Odin as their special protector. As warriors, they were drawn to his battle-scarred exterior and no-nonsense nature. The increasing popularity of Odin also reflected the increase in warlike behavior among the Norse people. The ceremonies in honor of Odin sometimes included human sacrifice, with victims dying by the spear or by fire. Ritual hangings were especially important in the worship of Odin, who was sometimes called the Lord of the Gallows or the Hanging God because of his own mythic hanging on the tree Yggdrasill. When the Vikings raided Nantes, a town in northwestern France, in 842, they hanged many of the inhabitants, perhaps as an offering to Odin.

Key Themes and Symbols

One of the main themes found in the myths of Odin is sacrifice. For example, Odin gives up one of his eyes in order to drink from Mimir's well of wisdom. Odin's missing eye can be viewed as a symbol of his ability to see beyond normal sight. Another theme found in the myths of Odin is the inability to escape destiny—the notion that future events have already been determined and cannot be changed. Odin gains the ability to see the future and knows that he and the other gods of the Aesir will die at Ragnarok, but nothing he can do will change that fate.

Introduce Odin, Mimir, vafthrudner briefly.

Mímir, meaning "the rememberer" or "the wise one" in Old Norse, is a figure in Norse Mythology who is renowned for his knowledge and wisdom. He is beheaded by the Vanir Gods during the Æsir-Vanir War. Odin revives the head of Mimir through some magic after the Vanir gift it to Odin. Afterward, Odin carries around Mímir's head and it recites secret knowledge to him. He is the maternal uncle of Odin.

He is the Giant who guards the well of wisdom under the great root of Yggdrasil.

Odin   mentioned above.

Vafthrunder is a wise jötunn (Old Norse)  in Norse mythology. His name comes from Vaf, which means weave or entangle, and thrudnir, which means strong or mighty. Some interpret it to mean "mighty in riddles. It may be anglicized Vafthruthnir or Vafthrudnir. In the Poetic Edda poem Vafþrúðnismál, Vafþrúðnir acts as (the disguised) Odin's host and opponent in a deadly battle of wits that results in Vafþrúðnir's defeat.

Why does Odin go to Mimir 's well?

In Norse mythology, Mímisbrunnr (Old Norse "Mímir's well" is a well associated with the being Mímir, located beneath the world tree Yggdrasil. The well is located beneath one of three roots of the world tree Yggdrasil, a root that passes into the land of the giantsjötnar where the primordial plane of Ginnungagap once existed. He, the eldest of the Gods, would have to win the wisdom that would help to save the world. And so, with his face stern in front of his loss and pain, Odin All-Father turned and went toward Mimir's Well.

What happened when Odin drank water from the well?

When Odin took the horn in both hands and drink water from the well all the future became clear to him. He saw all the sorrows and troubles that would fall upon men and gods. He saw the reasons behind the Sorrows and troubles as well as how they might be borne.

What was the price to be paid to drink from mimir's well?

It was a terrible price that Mimir would ask for a draught from the Well of Wisdom, and very troubled was Odin All-Father when it was revealed to him. His right eye! For all time to be without the sight of his right eye! Almost he would have turned back to Asgard, giving up his quest for wisdom.

Why did Odin sacrifice his eye?

To satisfy his relentless thirst for wisdom, Odin sacrificed one of his eyes in exchange for a drink from Mimir's well, which gave him the enlightenment he sought. In many ways, Odin's sacrifice opened the door to deeper and broader knowledge on a scale only a god of his stature could appreciate.

What lesson did you learn from the story?

Odin left us many lessons that we need to ruminate over it to realize what he wanted us to see. He would never straightaway tell us, rather, he would make us think about his actions, his stories, and his achievement to acknowledge.

Devil Deer

This material is prepared by Dal Bahadur Airee.

About the author

Rudolfo Anaya (30 October 1937-28 June 2020) was an American novelist, educator and author. He was born in Pastura, New Mexico. He earned a B.A in English in 1963, an MA in 1968 and second MA in guidance counseling in 1972 from the University of New Mexico. He also worked as a high school English teacher in the Albuquerque public school from 1963 until 1968. His first novel “Bless Me” ultima began as a trilogy including Heart of Aztlan and Tortuga 1979. He won the “PEN” West center Fiction Award for his novel Albuquerque 1992. Additionally, he wrote short stories and children’s books, plays and poems too. He received many famous awards such as El Fuego Nuevo award, Excellence in Humanities award etc.

Devil Deer is a story published in Arelleno Journal in 1992. It is a short story about a hunter who killed a deer known to be devil. In the story, a hunter pursues what seems to be a powerful deer. After he kills it, he sees a deer has been poisoned and deformed by a sort of black magic. The radiation of the Los Alamos Labs, The beautiful landscape has been poisoned as well, and now perhaps the life of the hunter is also threatened.

When the story begins, the winter season is about to end and in autumn farmers have harvested their farm and there is a lots of discussion going on about hunting bucks as the season of hunting deer is on. Men start preparing (Repairing) their riffles for it. The culture of going for hunting deer has been going for the long past. It was the time to feed the family well. Most of the female expect that they would have big and strong deer gifted by their men. “Cruz”, a central character of the story was also excited about deer season because he was impressed by the deer story told by the neighbors. Every young hunter were worried because there was a less chance to get deers easily as the population of the deer was decreasing day by day. Taking that in the mind, Cruz and his friend Joe decided to go to “Black Ridge” where the pine trees were thick and dark part of the ridge was fenced in by the Los Alamos Laboratory. It was rumored that hunting nearby Los Alamos Laboratory is very risky and dangerous because it was fenced by electric circuit supply or lab guards might arrest them.

Cruz decided to go to Black Ridge alone when the season started because his friend Joe broke his leg few days before the hunting. Joe suggested Cruz to go with his cousin as he wouldn’t go there alone. Cruz wanted big deer for his family so he started his Journey alone. He drove his truck up to Los Alamos Fence. He slept in it without Fire and camp throughout the night.

Early in the morning, he set his journey with the leather bag, the fetish stone and a black bear. Then he remind the dream that he had at night bear was completely deformed and warned him to go back saying “Not even the medicine of your grandfathers can help you here”.

Cruz deeply thought about the dream. He came out of the truck and saw that the forest was glowing in the darkness. He sensed something bizarre there. The place was somewhat magical. He felt someone or something was dying in the forest and breathing in agony. It seemed as if the breathe of life was going out of the mountain. He became restless and thought he shouldn’t have gone there alone. But, he finally made up his mind. He took the breakfast (Beef sandwich and coffee), checked his riffle, and moved on following the track of the road along with the fence.

Soon he found the deer (buck) standing inside the fence. When he looked at it, he felt that there was a vibration of the earth as if the entire ridge was moving. He secretly went near it, undisturbed to get a good shot but the deer itself was following him. There were no good sign for Cruz because when he opened his leather bag, he found there was a crack in the stone bear. However, he shot the deer which seemed peculiar by its appearance and presence. By noticing the deer was following him, he took it near to his truck and finally killed it. He ran to cut its throat to drain its blood. He stopped because the deer was deformed. He felt uneasy and started vomiting. He saw its leg were bent and gnarled. Its tail was long like donkey’s tail, he was not happy about what he did. He was unlikely to take it but compelled to do so. He was cursing himself about his mistake of killing deformed deer, He put it in the truck and returned back to pueblo to show it to the old men of the village, he reached home at night. Joey “his friend” joined him at first, he and other neighbors got horrified when they saw the devil deer. Cruz was taken to the house and deformed deer was taken by the old men of the village to burn it rather than to eat it. They wanted to perform a ritual to be free from the sin that Cruz committed by killing the deer inside the fence of Los Alamos Laboratory.

                                                     SHORT QUESTIONS

1. Why were the pueblo people happy when the deer season came?

Pueblo people were happy when the deer season came because it was the season when they could provide good meal to their family by hunting deer.

2. Who were Cruz and Joe? Where were they planning to go and why?

Cruz and Joey were friends. They were planning to go far away place “Dark Ridge” for hunting. They were sure that they would get bucks for hunting.


3. Why was it difficult to hunt near the fence? Explain.

It was difficult to hunt near the fence because it was rumoured that fence was having electric circuit and Lab guards might arrest them.

4. What happened when Cruz fired the riffle to kill the deer?

The sound of the riffle echoed down the ridge. Nearby, a black crow cried in surprise and rose in the air. The wind moaned in the treetops. The chill in the air made Cruz shiver when he fired the riffle.

5. Describe the situation when Cruz reached home after hunting.

It was completely dark, Cruz was not happy after killing it. Joe joined Cruz. He was shocked by the look of devil deer. Neighbors were surprised and stunned because of the sin committed by the Cruz.

6. What does the story say about the ecology and human life?

Ecology and human life is interrelated to one another but because of human’s needs and greed, it has disbalanced the ecosystem. The wildlife has been badly affected by the barbarian activities of the human beings. The writer wants to say that we should preserve the wildlife and the nature if we want to live peacefully in the biosphere.

7.  In what sense was the deer devil? Or justify the title of the story.

Deer in the story turned to be devil because it was deformed by the effect of the chemicals of Los Alamos Laboratory. It walked inside the fence off of the lab. It was not its proper shape. It looked strange and totally different.

8. Who is the main character of the story? Draw the character sketch of him.

The central character of the story is young, energetic, enthusiastic person Cruz. He is the main character because whole story “Devil Deer” revolves around him.

From beginning till the end, he dominates the story. He is seen as the person of strong will power, dedicated and hardworking fellow. He is responsible member of his family. He tolerates hardships to perform his duty towards his family. He gets success over his plan even though it turned to futile at the end.


                                               CRITICAL APPRECIATION

Devil Deer is a short story written by Rudolfo Anaya, an American novelist, educator and author. This story was published in Arellano Journal in 1992. The story shows the culture, tradition and way of living of the people of pueblo. People of village are obliged to earn living by connecting them with the nature. Every year they go for hunting animals from the forest, especially deers. They unknowingly kill many wild animals, as a result the population of deer is decreasing every year. Every next time they have to go for deep in the forest for hunting. Cruz and Joe are friends in the story. They also make plan for hunting together but later Cruz himself does so because of the leg injury of Joe. Cruz shoots a big buck inside the “Los Alamos Laboratory” fence but doesn’t feel happy because he notices that the deer was deformed by the impure air and chemicals of laboratory. He feels that he is also going to be attacked by an unknown/incurable disease.

The incident killing of deer and Cruz’s discontentment denotes that we human beings vandalize nature and natural world for survival or for personal benefit so we break the balance in ecosystem and put the human life in threat just as Cruz did in the story.


‘Autoboography: A self-recorded Fiction’

prepared by Prabha Tiwari

Summary and Question from John Barth’s short story

About the Author

John Simmons Barth is an American novelist and short-story writer. He is famous for the postmodernist and metafictional fiction. He was born on May 27,1930. He was graduated from Cambridge High school.He got B.A and M.A  from John Hopkins Univesity. Bath’s first two novels were ;The floating Opera in 1956 and The End of the Road in 1958 .These novels deal with suicide and abortion respectively. His other works are Lost in Fun House in 1968, Chimera in 1972, letters in 1979 etc.

     This meta fictional short story ‘Autobiography; A Self Recorded Fiction’is taken from his collection of his stories Lost in Fun House.  This is an example of metafictional autobiography where the writer can reveal his self story. Simply, autobiography is the most throughgoing self-reflexive fiction.  Here the speaker directly confronts inescapable fact that what it speaks to us is the story itself. This is a story of a his/ her own life. The speaker tells his own story of his life. Here in this story the speaker directly speaks with his father-the writer.  Unlike the traditional fiction where voice of the fiction is the voice of a human being.

Summary of the story

This essay is taken from Barth’s short story ‘Lost in Fun House’. This is a fiction. some of the key characteristics of the fiction are: fictions have no life unless they are read, fiction can’t know themselves, fiction have no body, fictions have one-track minds: fictions can neither start themselves nor stop themselves, Fiction reflects their authors in destroyed way. The given metafictional short story ‘Autobiography; A Self Recorded Fiction’ isan autobiography of a small boy who lost his identity when their parents are refused to give him name, As the title suggest ‘Aotobiography; A Self Recorded Fiction’ the speaker is recording his own voice in the form of speaking. This story is based on the belief that where is voice there is speaker.

In this particular short story, the writer has used his metafictional voice to tell the short story of a small boy whose name is unnamed here, the speaker is child who lost his identity. He asks to give him life as the speaker. He says that he doesn’t have any proper name as his parents refuse to give him name. This text is written strong hater toward his parents.His continuously are ignoring him as his presence in the world is not blissful. He finds himself detached from everyone. The speaker is revealing his bitter reality that his parents intend to destroy him before he speaks the first word. Though he was bloody mirror of his father, his father continuously try to destroy him. 

The father of the child regards the child as unwanted child.Barth uses the the phrase’ unwanted  child’ figuratively .The  writer also made use of pun in the story to explain how the parents of the child look more novel itself rather than the novel itself.The birth of child was so strange>At the time of child birth, his father was taken to hospital for mentally ill that’s the reason the child’s mother refuses to give name the child.The lack of identity pushes the child in the state of mad. He is not in the control of the situation. He therefore pleads with his father using maniacal voice to end it for himself.

As the narrator attempts to present his inner world and conflict as directly as possible his focalization is internal. Following the norms of autobiography ,the text is marked with flashbacks which is called ‘analepsis’ technically. These parts of the story where narrators remembers his momory about himself is ‘homo diegetic’ whereas the parts of the story in which he recalls his mother or father is ‘hetero-diegetic’.So this metafiction is hybrid of hetero and’ homo  diegetic ‘ focalization.

This metafiction is not reader oriented text but assumes that reader is a mere consumer to be lectured to. Rather it is writer oriented text that starts from first sentence of the narrative

For other stories CLICK HERE.

For essays CLICK HERE.

For poems CLICK HERE.

For drama CLICK HERE.

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