Summary

       A Letter to God is an ironical story, which goes around the life of a farmer Lencho and his faith in god. Lencho being a farmer expects a good amount of rainfall, so that his crops can grow flaunting good variety of crops. But for his surprise the crops get destroyed because of the hailstone and heavy rainfall, which makes him sad and worried about the future of his family. And in grief he decides to write a letter to god asking him for help; he asks god to send him hundred pesos, so that he could again start farming and keep his family happily. He posted the letter in the mail and waited for god to send him money.

        While on the side, it could be seen that how the employs of post office decide to help Lencho by sending him required money. But they failed to collect all the money and even after the collaboration of every staff only seventy pesos were collected, this shows the charitable attitude of all the staffs. But Lencho was not happy with what he received and he complained for not giving the exact money and again wrote back to god asking him for the left-over money, this shows that Lencho grew blind in the faith of god that he was unable to distinguish between need and want. In the second letter he also complains god about the staffs mentioning them not an appropriate medium to send the money, he questions their behaviour and suggests god to send him money directly.

Word Meanings

  • Crest: top of a hill
  • Draped: covered (with cloth)
  • Locusts: insects which fly in big swarms (groups) and destroy crops
  • Conscience: an inner sense of right and wrong
  • Peso: currency of several Latin American countries
  • Amiable: friendly and pleasant
  • Contentment: satisfaction

Oral Comprehension Check

Page no. -5

1. What did Lencho hope for?

Ans. Lencho was a farmer and he knew that good amount of rain is required for crops. So, he was looking for the rain with a ray of hope in his eyes.

2. Why did Lencho say the raindrops were like ‘new coins’?

Ans. Lencho’s crop needed water for good harvest and raindrops are good source of water which would have helped his crops. Harvesting would have led in good collection of money; this is the reason why raindrops are called ‘new coins’.

3. How did the rain change? What happened to Lencho’s fields?

Ans. Rain changed suddenly taking the form of storm along with hailstones falling on the crops.

        All the crops were destroyed after the heavy rain and storm.

4. What were Lencho’s feelings when the hail stopped?

Ans. Lencho was filled with sadness and grief after the hail stopped, resulting him to think about the future of the family, and the shortage of food which they will face.

Page no.- 6

1. Who or what did Lencho have faith in? What did he do?

Ans. Lencho had faith in God.

        He wrote a letter to God describing his problems and asking for money so that he could again start farming on the land.

2. Who read the letter?

Ans. The letter was read by the postman and then the postmaster.

3. What did the postmaster do then?

Ans. Postmaster first laughed on the childish behaviour of Lencho but later he became serious. He then decided to collect the money and give it to Lencho, as he was moved by the faith Lencho had in God.

Page no. – 7

1. Was Lencho surprised to find a letter for him with money in it?

Ans. No, Lencho was not surprised to receive a letter with money from God because he was already prepared for it. He knew that God will send him the money which shows his faith.

2. What made him angry?

Ans. He became angry because he did not received the demanded amount which was hundred pesos, but only got seventy pesos instead.

Thinking about the Text

1.Who does Lencho have complete faith in? Which sentences in the story tell you this?

Ans. Lencho have complete faith in God.

        The line “All through the night, Lencho thought only of his one hope: the help of God, whose eyes, as he had been instructed, see everything, even what is deep in one’s conscience” shows Lencho’s belief in God.

2. Why does the postmaster send money to Lencho? Why does he sign the letter ‘God’?

Ans. Postmaster was moved by the innocence of Lencho found in the letter sent to God. He decided to help him out of charity.

        He signed the letter as ‘God’ to not let his identity come out and also not to break faith of Lencho, which he had in God.

3. Did Lencho try to find out who had sent the money to him? Why/Why not?

Ans. No, Lencho did not tried to find out who had sent the money.

        He believed that God won’t let him and his family die out of hunger. His faith never allowed him to think that the money was not sent by God.

4. Who does Lencho think has taken the rest of the money? What is the irony in the situation? (Remember that the irony of a situation is an unexpected aspect of it. An ironic situation is strange or amusing because it is the opposite of what is expected.)

Ans. Lencho thought that his rest of the money were taken by employees of post office.

        The ironic situation incorporated in this story is the second letter written to God, where he shows his disbelief towards employees of post office and asks him to send money directly to his address.

5. Are there people like Lencho in the real world? What kind of a person would you say he is? You may select appropriate words from the box to answer the question.

          greedy        naive          stupid         ungrateful

selfish        comical      unquestioning

Ans. Yes, there are people like Lencho in real world too. He is ungrateful person, even after receiving seventy pesos he was not happy.

6. There are two kinds of conflict in the story: between humans and nature, and between humans themselves. How are these conflicts illustrated?

Ans. Farming depends completely on the nature and natural calamities, the hailstorm shows that how nature can affect humans. While on other hand we see two faces of human relationship, one in the portrayals of employees of post office and their tendency for charity work and other side Lencho presents human’s disbelief in humanity.

Thinking about Language

I. Look at the following sentence from the story.

        Suddenly a strong wind began to blow and along with the    rain very large hailstones began to fall.

‘Hailstones’ are small balls of ice that fall like rain. A storm in which hailstones fall is a ‘hailstorm’. You know that a storm is bad weather with strong winds, rain, thunder, and lightning.

There are different names in different parts of the world for storms, depending on their nature. Can you match the names in the box with their descriptions below, and fill in the blanks? You may use a dictionary to help you.

gale, whirlwind, cyclone, hurricane, tornado, typhoon

1. A violent tropical storm in which strong winds move in a circle: cyclone

2. An extremely strong wind: gale

3. A violent tropical storm with very strong winds: typhoon

4. A violent storm whose centre is a cloud in the shape of a funnel: tornado

5. A violent storm with very strong winds, especially in the western Atlantic Ocean: hurricane

6. A very strong wind that moves very fast in a spinning movement and causes a lot of damage: whirlwind

II. Notice how the word ‘hope’ is used in these sentences from the story:

(a) I hope it (the hailstorm) passes quickly.

(b) There was a single hope: help from God.

In the first example, ‘hope’ is a verb which means you wish for something to happen. In the second example it is a noun meaning a chance for something to happen.

Match the sentences in Column A with the meanings of ‘hope’ in Column B.

                A                                                     B

1. Will you get the subjects you want to study in college? I hope so.
2. I hope you don’t mind my saying this, but I don’t like the way you are arguing.
3. This discovery will give new hope to HIV/AIDS sufferers.
4. We were hoping against hope that the judges would not notice our mistakes.
5. I called early in the hope of speaking to her before she went to school.
6. Just when everybody had given up hope, the fishermen came back, seven days after the cyclone.
– a feeling that something good will probably happen  
– thinking that this would happen (It may or may not have happened.)
– stopped believing that this good thing would happen
– wanting something to happen (and thinking it quite possible)
– showing concern that what you say should not offend or disturb the other person: a way of being polite
– wishing for something to happen, although this is very unlikely

Answers

1. Will you get the subjects you want to study in college? I hope so. – wanting something to happen (and thinking it quite possible)

2. I hope you don’t mind my saying this, but I don’t like the way you are arguing. – showing concern that what you say should not offend or disturb the other person: a way of being polite

3. This discovery will give new hope to HIV/AIDS sufferers. – a feeling that something good will probably happen

4. We were hoping against hope that the judges would not notice our mistakes. – wishing for something to happen, although this is very unlikely

5. I called early in the hope of speaking to her before she went to school. – thinking that this would happen (It may or may not have happened.)

6. Just when everybody had given up hope, the fishermen came back, seven days after the cyclone. – stopped believing that this good thing would happen

III. Relative Clauses

Look at these sentences

(a) All morning Lencho — who knew his fields intimately — looked at the sky.

(b) The woman, who was preparing supper, replied, “Yes, God willing.’’

The italicised parts of the sentences give us more information about Lencho and the woman. We call them relative clauses. Notice that they begin with a relative pronoun who. Other common relative pronouns are whom, whose, and which.

The relative clauses in (a) and (b) above are called non-defining, because we already know the identity of the person they describe. Lencho is a particular person, and there is a particular woman he speaks to. We don’t need the information in the relative clause to pick these people out from a larger set.

A non-defining relative clause usually has a comma in front of it and a comma after it (some writers use a dash (—) instead, as in the story). If the relative clause comes at the end, we just put a full stop.

Join the sentences given below using who, whom, whose, which, as suggested.

1. I often go to Mumbai. Mumbai is the commercial capital of India. (which)

I often go to Mumbai, which is the commercial capital of India.

2. My mother is going to host a TV show on cooking. She cooks very well. (who)

My mother, who cooks very well is going to host a TV show on cooking.

3. These sportspersons are going to meet the President. Their performance has been excellent. (whose)

­- These sportspersons, whose performance has been excellent, are going to meet the President

4. Lencho prayed to God. His eyes see into our minds. (whose)

Lencho prayed to God, whose eyes see into our minds.

5. This man cheated me. I trusted him. (whom)

This man whom I trusted, cheated me.

Sometimes the relative pronoun in a relative clause remains ‘hidden’. For example, look at the first sentence of the story:

(a) The house — the only one in the entire valley — sat on the crest of a low hill.

We can rewrite this sentence as:

(b) The house — which was the only one in the entire valley — sat on the crest of a low hill.

In (a), the relative pronoun which and the verb was are not present.

IV. Using Negatives for Emphasis

We know that sentences with words such as no, not or nothing show the absence of something, or contradict something. For example:

(a) This year we will have no corn. (Corn will be absent)

(b) The hail has left nothing. (Absence of a crop)

(c) These aren’t raindrops falling from the sky, they are new coins. (Contradicts the common idea of what the drops of water falling from the sky are)

But sometimes negative words are used just to emphasise an idea. Look at these sentences from the story:

(d) Lencho…had done nothing else but see the sky towards the northeast. (He had done only this)

(e) The man went out for no other reason than to have the pleasure of feeling the rain on his body. (He had only this reason)

(f) Lencho showed not the slightest surprise on seeing the money. (He showed no surprise at all)

Now look back at example (c). Notice that the contradiction in fact serves to emphasise the value or usefulness of the rain to the farmer.

Find sentences in the story with negative words, which express the following ideas emphatically.

1. The trees lost all their leaves.

Not a leaf remained on the trees.

2. The letter was addressed to God himself.

It was nothing less than a letter to God.

3. The postman saw this address for the first time in his career.

Never in his career as a postman had he known that address.

V. Metaphors

The word metaphor comes from a Greek word meaning ‘transfer’. Metaphors compare two things or ideas: a quality or feature of one thing is transferred to another thing. Some common metaphors are

the leg of the table: The leg supports our body. So the object that supports a table is described as a leg.

the heart of the city: The heart is an important organ in the centre of our body. So this word is used to describe the central area of a city.

In pairs, find metaphors from the story to complete the table below. Try to say what qualities are being compared. One has been done for you.

  Object             Metaphor                 Quality or                                                                              Feature Compared

CloudHuge mountains of cloudThe mass or ‘hugeness’ of mountains
RaindropsCoinsMoney that a good crop will bring
HailstonesFrozen pearlsBrightness of pearls
LocustsA plague of locustsAn epidemic (a disease) that spreads very rapidly and leaves many people dead
LenchoAn ox of a manStrong
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