The Refugee Summary Notes
The Refugee Author
Pearl. S Buck (1892-1973) was an American writer and novelist. As the daughter of missionaries, she went to China and taught at Chinese universities. Of her many novels, the best known is ‘The Good Earth’ (1931), for which she was awarded Nobel Prize in 1938. Itisthefirstofatrilogy, ‘The House of Earth’, which includes ‘Sons’(1932)and‘AHouseDivided’(1935). ‘TheMother’ (1934), ‘Dragon Seed’ (1942) and Come, ‘My Beloved’ (1953). Her stories are collected in ‘The First Wife’ (1933), Today and ‘Forever’ (1941), and ‘Far and Near’ (1947). She devoted her talents to promoting understanding between the East and the West.
‘The Refugee’ is a story of Chinese peasants who were forced, when the rivers were in flood, to leave their land and, as a result; suffered untold hardships. Pearl Buck’s description of their plight is stark and moving.
The Refugee Summary
The short story ‘The Refugee’ is written by Pearl S Buck, an American writer, and novelist. ‘The Refugee’ is a story of Chinese peasants who were forced, when the rivers were in flood, to leave their land and, as a result, suffered untold hardships. She pictures their plight in a graphic manner. The flooding of the river had forced the farmers to leave their villages. The dykes broke and flooded their lands. They had come to the city to seek a livelihood and avoid starvation and death. They had consumed all their seeds. The refugees were starving and moving in despair to the last hope. They seemed indifferent to the new sights of the city.
The city was full of thousands of refugees who had to be fed and clothed. They were provided shelter in great camps outside the city wall. More refugees were coming in hordes and seeking shelter in the camps. The city-dwellers were bitter because they felt that they would all starve trying to feed the refugees with what little was available to them. The rickshaw-pullers of the city cursed the refugees, because in order to avoid starving, the refugees pulled the rickshaws for low fares; which affected the city rickshaw pullers’ earnings. The refugees begged at every door and swarmed into every unskilled trade and service. Nobody knew how to deal with the situation. The winter made the situation worse for the refugees.
Many refugees were found lying dead on the streets every morning because of the freezing cold. One day some new refugees arrive. They are different from the others because they are not “riff-raff from some community always poor and easily starving in a flood time”. They were all from the same region and were well-built, neat and cleanly dressed, and seemed proud, despite their hopeless situation. There are, however, no young girls and no infants. It suggests that they may have perished in the floods. Every man, old and young bore a burden on his shoulder.
This burden was always bedding quilts and an iron cauldron on which there was no trace of food nor was there a trace of food having been cooked in them recently. The lack of food shows in their faces and in their apathy towards the things around them Among these, was an old man, too old for the heavy burden be carried. He trailed behind the others, unaccustomed to such labor in recent years. When he could no longer go on he sits down near a stand selling hot noodles. Anyone would pity the old man for he sat there with his head sunk between his knees, his eyes closed, and gasping for breath. A man passing by took pity on him and offers him some coins. The old man is reluctant to take the money.
Though he was helpless he was proud enough not to beg. He does not want to be thought a beggar. He explained that, back in their village, they had good land and every year they had a bountiful harvest and never had starved like this before. But that year the river flooded their land and washed away their crops and left them to starve. Moreover, they had no seeds left to sow, because they had eaten all the seeds that they had in store. He defends his people, saying that they were too hungry and too inexperienced to think of the future, although he warned them not to eat the seed.
The passer – by forcefully dropped a silver coin and a copper coin into the old man’s apron and goes on his way. The noodles vendor is surprised when the old man spends only the copper coin, to buy a bowl of noodles. He feeds the noodles to his little baby grandson, whom he was carrying in one of his baskets. His only son and his daughter – in law had be washed in the floods and the old man had been taking care of his orphaned grand – son. Although the old man himself was starving, he spends only one copper coin to buy a small bowl of noodles for his grand son. After feeding his grandson he licks what little is left in the bowl.
The old man saves the silver coin to buy seeds. He thinks that even if he died of starvation, the others must plant seeds in the land back in his village after the floods had receded, otherwise there will be starvation yet another year.
The old man sacrifices his own needs for the sake of his grandson. He is optimistic that their situation will change for the better. Even in such a desperate situation when he is starving, he sees a future when they need not starve again, by saving the silver coin to buy seeds which will ensure that they will not starve for yet another year. Having fed his grandson, the old man picks up the baskets and staggers along to join his compatriots.
The Refugee Glossary
Refugee : a person who has been forced to leave his homeland in order to aviod natural disaster or war
Alien : foreign
Some unaccountable force : some unknown and mysterious force
Fed after a fashion : not fed properly
Horde : crowd
Smocked apron : loose garment worn over for protection of clothing while working
Women’s feet were Bound : former Chinese custom of binding the feetof girls in cloth to keep them small
His breath whistled : he was breathing with great difficulty
Against tomorrow : to provide for the future
Fumbled : handled nervously
Dike : long wall of earth to prevent flooding
The Refugee Questions & Answers
What was the condition of the refugees as they walked through the streets in the new capital city?
The refuges were staving and moving in despair to the last hope.
Why did the refugees leave their village?
The dykes broke and flooded their lands, hence they had come to the city to seek a livelihood and avoid starvation and death, moreover they had consumed all their seeds.
Why were the refugees indifferent to the sights in the city?
The refugees were indifferent to the sights in the city because they were too near death due to starvation to see anything.
Who gave the old man a Silver coin?
A man passing the old man stopped and gave the old man a silver coin, he might also be a refugee and must have experienced starvation.
Why did the old man save the Silver coin?
The old man saved the silver coin to buy seeds for the land. He thought that even if he died the others must plant it because the land back in his village must be put to seed again after the flood receded, otherwise there will be starvation yet another year.
Why were the refugees not liked by the locals?
The city was full of thousands of refugees who had to be fed arid clothed. The refugees were provided shelter in great camps outside the city wall. More refugees were coming in hordes and seeking shelter in the camps. The city-dwellers were bitter because they felt that they would all starve trying to feed them with what little was available with them. The rickshaw pullers of the city cursed the refugees because in order to avoid starving, the refugees pulled the rickshaw for low fares, which affected the city rickshaw pullers’ earnings. The refugees begged at every door and swarmed into every unskilled trade and service.
How did the refugees earn their living in the capital city?
The refugees pulled rickshaws for very low fares, begged at every door, and swarmed into every unskilled trade and service.
How does winter make their situation even worse?
The winter made the situation worse for the refugees. Many refugees were found lying dead on the streets every morning because of the freezing cold.
Why didn’t the old man buy noodles for himself?
The old man felt that it was more important to feed the noodles to his baby grandson. He saved the silver coin to buy seeds for his land. He felt that even if he died, it was more important to buy seed and sow them again in his land to save them from starvation again, yet another year.
Explain the plight of the refugees as depicted in the story.
There were thousands of refugees in the city. The refugees were provided shelter in great camps outside the city wall. They were fed and clothed with what little the city could afford. More and more refugees came in hordes into the city. They were starving and moving in despair to the last hope. They seemed indifferent to the sights in the city because they were starving and had lost all hope. Every man, old and a young bore a burden on his shoulder, this burden was always bedding, quilts, and an iron cauldron on which there was no trace of food nor was there a trace of food having been cooked in them recently. They were uprooted from their lands when starvation had driven them to the alien city.
Everything in the city is new and strange on unfriendly to them. Having been used to walk on the rugged land of their village they now had to walk on concrete footpaths. The local people of the city resented their presence and treated them harshly. The refugees begged at every door, pulled rickshaws for very low fares and swarmed every unskilled trade and service to fill their starving stomachs. Many refugees were found lying dead on the streets every morning due to the extreme cold of the winter. The locals felt that the refugees were a burden and believed that they would also ultimately starve trying to feed the refugees with what little they had.
What makes the old man different from the other refugees?
The old man is a symbol of the suffering of humanity, similar to most refugees in the city. The old man had the added responsibility of looking after his baby grandson. The old man’s son and daughter-in-law were washed away in the floods. The old man did not want to beg because he found begging humiliating. He was a proud old man. But he had no choice but to accept the silver coin and a copper coin offered by a passer-by. Although the old man himself was starving, he spends only one copper coin to buy a small bowl of noodles for his grandson. After feeding his grandson he licks what little is left in the bowl.
The oldman saves the silver coin to buy seeds. He thinks that even if he died of starvation the others must plant seeds in the land back in his village after the floods had receded, otherwise, there will be starvation yet another year. The old man sacrifices his own needs for the sake of his grandson. He is optimistic that their situation will change for better. Even in such a deseprate situation when he is starving he sees a future when they need not starve again, by saving the silver coin to buy seeds which will ensure that they will not starve for yet another year.
How does the old man show that he is not a beggar, through his actions?
The old man was weak with hunger and was not able to carry his burden and walk anymore, so he set his burden down and sank upon the ground, with his head between his knees and panting deperately. A man pssing by took pity on the oldman and offered him money, so that the old man may eat some noodles.
The oldman lifted his head slowly. When he saw the silver he would not put out his hand. He earnestly told the man that he surely did not beg him to offer money. He explained that, back in their village, they had good land and every year they had a bontifiil harvest and never had starved like this before. But that year the river flooded their land and washed away their crops and left them to starve. Morever they had no seeds because they had consumed all the seeds that they had in store. But the man forcefully dropped a silver and a copper coin into the oldman’s smocked apron and went away.
Global warning threatens the planet with natural disasters like floods, earthquakes, resulting in the displacement of inhabitants-Elucidate with reference to the lesson.
In the short story ‘The refugee’, the author Pearl. S. Buck, has presented a graphic picture of the pathetic plight of the refugees who have been displaced from their lands due to natural calamities such as flood. These proud people had migrated to a city about a few hundred kilometers from their own land.
The flooding of the river had forced the farmers of an unnamed country to leave their homeland and look for food and shelter in a city a few hundred miles away. The city is full ofragged and starving refugees and the local people are in a dilemma how to cope with the problem. The refugees were provided shelter in great camps outside the city wall. More refugees were coming in hordes and seeking shelter in the camps. The city dwellers were bitter because they felt that they would also starve trying to feed the refugees with what litte was available with them. More and more refugees came in hordes into the city they were starving and moving in despair to a last hope. They seemed indifferent to the sights in the city because they were starving and had lost all hope. Every man, old and young bore a burden on his shoulder. This burden was always, bedding, quilts and an iron cauldron on which there was no trace of food nor
was there a trace of food having been cooked in them recently. They were uprooted from their lands when starvation had driven them to an alien city. Having been used to walk on the rugged land of their village they now had to walk on concrete footpaths. The old man who must have been leading a retired life in the village while his only son and daughter looked after the land, had to face the perils of walking hundred of miles to the city to feed his orphaned grandson.
The people of the villages would not have migrated to the city if there lands was not flooded by the river hence global warming threatens the planet with natural disasters like floods, earthquakes resulting in displacement of inhabitants.
Change the following into reported speech. Add a speaker, he/she or a name where the speaker is not mentioned.
The boy said, “I’m happy with my results”.
The boy said that he was happy with his results,
She said, “I have baked a cake”.
She said that she had baked a cake.
He said, “All people have equal rights.”
He declared that all people have equal rights.
Roshni said, “I may meet him here”.
Roshni told us that she might meet him at that place.
She says, “I will go to school tomorrow”.
She said that she would go to school the next day.
He said, “She is coming this week to discuss this”.
He warned us that she would be coming that week to discuss it.
He said to them, “Will you come for dinner?”
He asked them if they would come for dinner.
The teacher said, “Be quiet and listen to my words”.
The teacher ordered us to be quiet and listen to her words.
The old man said, “Ah! I am ruined”.
The old man exclaimed that he was ruined.
She said, “I am unwell”.
She told us that she was unwell.
I said, “I will be late”.
I told them that I would be late.
They said, “We will not permit this”.
They told us that they will not permit it.
She said, “I live in China”
She told us that she lived in China.
They said, “We love football”
They said that they loved football.
I said, “I write a book”
I told them that I write books.
Writing a Paragraph
With the help of a dictionary, find out the meanings of the above words. Write a descriptive paragraph about a person you admire the most. Take care to describe both the physical attributes and the personality of the person.
SPRIGHTLY : Lively, full of energy
CHARMING : Very pleasant or attractive
ATTRACTIVE : Appealing to look at
GRACEFUL : Having or showing grace or elegance
WELL MANNERED : Having or showing good manners, polite
POLITE : Having or showing behavior that is respect fill and considerate of people.
CALM : Not showing or feeling nervousness, anger, or other strong emotions
IMPECCABLE : In accordance with the highest standards, faultless.
PERSISTENT : Continuing firmly or obstinately in an opinion or course of action in spite of difficulty or opposition.
DETERMINED : Having made a firm decision and being resolved not to change it
RATIONAL : Based on or in accordance with reason or logic
RESOURCEFUL : Having the ability to find quick and clever ways to overcome difficulties.
SINCERE : Free from pretense or deceit, proceeding from genuine feelings
UNASSUMING : Not pretentious or arrogant, modest.
EMPATHETIC : Showing an ability to understand and share the feelings of another.
DILIGENT : Having or showing care and conscientiousness in one’s work or duties.
COURTEOUS : Polite, respectful, or considerate in manner.
CHARMING : Very pleasant or attractive.
GRACEFUL : Having or showing grace or elegance
DIGNIFIED : Having or showing behavior that is respectful and considerate of other people
ADAPTALE : Able to adjust to new conditions.
POLITE : Having or showing behavior that is respectful and considerate of other people.
CONSIDERATE : Careful not to inconvenience or harm others.
UNDERSTANDING : The ability to understand something; comprehension,
DIPLOMATIC : of or concerning diplomacy, having or showing an ability to deal with people in a sensitive and tactful way.
IMPARTIAL : Treating all rivals or disputes equally, unbiased, unprejudiced.
PATIENT : Able to accept or tolerate delays, problems, or suffering without becoming annoyed or anxious.
DYNAMIC : Characterized by constant change, activity, or progress.
PROACTIVE : Creating or controlling a situation rather than just responding to it after it has happened.
INTUITIVE : Using or based on what one feels to be true even without reasoning, Instinctive.
RELIABLE : Consistently good in quality or performance, able to be trusted.
TRUST WORTHY : Able to be relied on as honest or truthful.
DESCRIPTIVE PARAGRAPH ABOUT A PERSON I ADMIRE
The person I admire most is my best friend and classmate, Arjun. We have been friends since our childhood. We study, play, watch movies together. What draws me to him is his enthusiasm for life. Although he is short and wiry, he is great at playing games. Any team with him as a player is sure to win. Not only is he good at playing games he is also intelligent. He has a quick grasping power and can understand difficult topics quiet easily. He is like a second teacher to me. I always rely on him to clarify any doubts I have in my studies. Not only is he intelligent and sportive he is also a very resourceful person. With his charming personality, he is able to elicit anything from anyone. He could even charm a begger ofhis money. He is a reliable person to go to in times of distress because one can trust him to solve any difficult situation with grace.
I think it is a blesing of providence that I have such a person as my best friend.
Put the following words under right headings Pertaining to the senses. Some words may be put under more than one heads. rustling, heavy, misty, cold, warm, hot, oily, giggling, light, damp, honking, crowded, banging, silky, scratching, quietly, smooth, burning, stony, shimmering, short, shining, sandy, dark, spongy, snoring, invigorating
Now you try to describe a place of your choice. It could be a tourist spot, your own home, your native place or even your college. Remember to follow the guidelines to make your paragraph interesting.
Kodagu is one of the most picturesque places in India. Kodagu is one of the most visited hills – stations in the western ghats of South – India. The capital city of Kodagu is Madikeri, which is more famous as the birthplace of River Kaveri. River Cauvery is the life and soul of South – India. Even in this age of globalization and liberalization, it is heartening to see that Kodagu has not lost its pristine green forests and ecology. Thick green forests, and the acrid aroma of black pepper, the sweet smell of cardamom, rich coffee plantations, and cool hilly terrain, make Kodagu, the true jewel of South India. The austere serenity of Coorg can only be rivaled by its colorful and vivid culture – a glorious amalgamation of natural beauty and human endeavor. Kodagu still retains its old-world charm and remains largely unpolluted and unspoiled. The breathtaking beauty of the region is why it is called ‘Scotland of India’.
Change each one of the following sentences into short descriptive paragraphs by adding more details about the person and the place.
Nithin went to school unhappily.
There were a lot of things on his mind to feel unhappy. The foremost being that his cousins had come from Dubai for their vacation, the day before. Nitin had yet to finish his school term which would be over in a fortnight. Though he was always eager to attend classes, today he was impatient and cursed his fortune. When most schools were closed for vacation, he had to still attend classes. The arrival of his cousins had taken a toll on his happiness. He longed to spend his time with his cousins, who would only stay for a week. And it would be years before they meet again. He had pleaded with his parents to let him stay away from school, but since he had a crucial exam to take, they insisted that he go to school.
The old woman had been sitting in the same place for years.
The old woman had been sitting in the same place for years in front of the temple begging for alms. I had the habit of dropping a coin or two into the bowl she Perpetually held in her outstretched arm. Nobody knows from where she had come but I heard from others that she had been abandoned there by some people, maybe her grandchildren. Though she was bent with age. her eyes sparkled with life and they didn’t show an inkling of remorse for her situation. She never harassed anyone to donate alms but simply held out her bowl: That day as usual I went to the temple. I saw a crowd of people, talking agitatedly among themselves. When I grew curious and asked what the matter was, I heard that the old beggar woman had passed away the night before. What surprised me more was when I heard that she had donated two lakh rupees to the temple trust to be used to fund the necessities of the destitute. What a great soul. She had left all that she had begged all .those years to the destitute like her.
The child went to the shop.
Her mother had given her a coin to buy chocolate. She had been pestering her all day and the exasperated mother had sent her to the shop unable to bear her wails for chocolate. As she was about to climb the step that led to the shop women appeared from no – where and smiled at her sweetly and asked her why she had come alone to the shop. The child stuttered and muttered in her childish language and the woman could not have probably understood what she meant. She took out a chocolate from her handbag and gave it to the child who hurriedly unwrapped it and put it into her mouth. The women left the child to enjoy the chocolate and walked away. From that day neither the child nor the women were anywhere to be seen!.
The place was beautiful.
The rolling hills surrounded by wispy white clouds and the lush greenery on the hills made one think he was in heaven. After a long time, I had taken time off my hectic schedule to be among nature. As I walked along the trekking trail I saw sheep, goats, and cows grazing peacefully on the grassland below the hills. Suddenly I heard a loud blast from behind the hills, curious to know what might have caused the blast, I approached a shepherd sitting under the shade of a tree. He sadly replied that the government had given a long-term license to a miner to mine granite from the surrounding hills. I was shocked and felt aggrieved that another heavenly place would be desecrated and disseminated for the selfish greed of man.