CBSE 7th English - An Alien Hand

The Cop and the Anthem

Question 1:

What are some of the signs of approaching winter referred to in the text?


The narrator says that when birds begin to fly south, when people want new warm coats and when dead leaves fall,

one can be sure that winter is near.

Question 2:

Suppose no cop came at the end. What would Soapy’s life be like through the winter?


Suppose no cop had come at the end of the story, Soapy would have perhaps given up on his bad ways, in accordance

with the promise he had made upon seeing his old home and remembering his childhood days.

He would have looked for the man who had offered him a job, and then upon getting the job, would have started

leading an honest man’s life.

Question 3:

Write ‘True’ or ‘False’ against each of the following.

(i) Soapy did not want to go to prison. _______

(ii) Soapy had been to prison several times. ________

(iii) It was not possible for Soapy to survive in the city through the winter. _________

(iv) Soapy hated to answer questions of a personal nature. _________


(i) False

Soapy wanted to go to prison.

(ii) True

(iii) False

There were places in the city where he could go and ask for food and a bed. These would be given to him.

(iv) True

Question 4:

Retell an episode in the story which is a good example of irony in a situation.


One of the ironic episodes in the story was when Soapy decided to turn a new leaf on seeing his old home and remembering his childhood days. He decided to fight to change his life. He would pull himself up and make a man of himself again. Right at that moment a cop asked him what he was doing there. He answered that he was not doing anything. The cop did not believe him and Soapy began to argue in his defence. The cop arrested him and he was sentenced to three months of prison on Blackwell’s Island.

When Soapy actually broke rules and took the law in his hands, no one arrested him; but when he had done nothing and had decided to change for the good, he was arrested and sent to the prison. This is the irony of the situation.

Question 5:

What was Soapy’s first plan? Why did it not work?


Soapy’s first plan was to have a good dinner at some fine restaurant and then say that he had no money to pay. This would cause a cop to be called, who would then arrest him. The judge would do the rest.

However, his plan did not work. As soon as Soapy entered the restaurant door, the head waiter saw his broken old shoes and the torn clothes that covered his legs. As a result, Soapy was turned out of the restaurant.

Question 6:

“But the cop’s mind would not consider Soapy”. What did the cop not consider, and why?


The cop did not consider that Soapy could have broken the window of the shop. He did not consider him because men who broke windows would not stop to talk to cops. They would run away as fast as they could. On the other hand, Soapy was standing right there. The cop then saw a man further along the street, running, and he ran after him, thinking that he was the culprit.

Question 7:

“We have orders to let them shout”. What is the policeman referring to?


When Soapy began to shout as if he was drunk, the cop turned his back to him and said to a man standing near that the person shouting was one of the college boys and he would not hurt anything. He said that the police had orders to let them shout.

Question 8:

Write ‘True’ or ‘False’ against each of the following.

(i) Soapy stole a man’s umbrella. _______

(ii) The owner of the umbrella offered to give it to Soapy. _______

(iii) The man had stolen the umbrella that was now Soapy’s. _______

(iv) Soapy threw away the umbrella. _______


(i) True

(ii) False

The owner of the umbrella followed Soapy saying that it was his umbrella. On seeing a cop, he said that he had found it in a restaurant, and that if it belonged to Soapy, he was free to take it. He never offered to give it to Soapy.

(iii) True

(iv) True

Question 9:

“There was a sudden and wonderful change in his soul”. What brought about the change in Soapy?


The change came about in Soapy when he came near his old home. He could hear a song coming from the room and it sounded familiar to him. He remembered that when he lived there, his life contained such things as mothers, flowers, high hopes, friends, clean thoughts and clean clothes. At that moment, there was a sudden and wonderful change in his soul. He saw with sick fear how he had fallen. He saw his worthless days, his wrong desires, his dead hopes, and the lost power of his mind.

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