The Little Girl Notes Class 9 English Textbook ‘Beehive’

The Little Girl Notes include meanings, summary, themes, message, character sketches and literary devices. These notes of the class 9 English lesson ‘The Little Girl’ will help students in having a good understanding of the lesson.

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The Little Girl Notes

The Little Girl is sensitive story of a small girl Kezia. Through Kezia, the story explores the different forms of parental love. It also explores the evolution of Kezia as a character from a timid, young girl to one who matures in her understanding of her father and his love for her. 


MEANINGS

Figure—shape; Avoid—keep away; Casual—without deep affection or interest; Respond—reply; Glad—happy; Relief—comfort; Carriage—car; Faint—slow; Staircase—a set of stairs; Drawing-room—common room for visitors; Paper— newspaper; Slowly—gradually; Push—to use force to move something away from you; Spectacles—eyeglasses; Terrifying—frightening; Hurry up—do quickly; Stutter— stammer; Properly—in a right way; Matter—case; Wretched—worried; Brink—position; Suicide—kill oneself; Carefully—with care; Yawn—an act of opening one’s month wide and inhaling air deeply due to tiredness; Giant—gigantic man; Stretch—expand; Handkerchief—a square cloth carried in one’s pocket for wiping one’s nose; Snoring— sleep noisily; Gravely—seriously; Cold—blowing of nose; Suggest—produce any idea; Silk—a fine, strong, soft, lustrous fibre; Laboriously—with hard work; Stitch— sew; Wander—move without aim; Scrap—residue of something; Gathered—collect; Stuffed—to fill; Hue and cry—noise; Surprise—gift; Scream—cry; Straight—a part of something that is not curved or bent; Instant—that very moment; Drag—pull; To and fro—backward and forward; Sharp—loud; Explain—to make something clear; Whisper—to speak in a low voice; Fetch—go and bring; Damned—used especially to express anger in; Instant—a precise moment of time; Lay—put to bed; Shadow—darkness; Pattern—arrangement of shapes; Floor—surface; Ruler—scale; Beat—hit; Belong— related; Palm—the inner surface of the hand; Wrap—cover; Rock—shake; Clung—hold; Sob—weeping silently; Forget—unable to remember; Quickly—hurriedly; Gap—hole; Fence—wall; Tag—a children’s game; Hanging—falling down; Shaking—moving with short quick movement; Hose—pipe; Cook—a person who cooks food; Afraid—frightened; Nightmare—frightening dream; Grannie—grandmother; Socks—a short stocking reaching a point between the ankle and the knee; Butcher—a person who kills animals; Dreadful—fearful; Shiver—tremble; Creep—crawl; Snuggle—warm; comfortable and protected; especially from the cold; Tight—firmly; Rub—to press and move; Tired—lose of energy; Hard—difficult; Stir—mix by shaking. 


SUMMARY 

Broadly, The Little Girl can be divided into: 

  • Kezia’s Biggest Fear 
  • Sunday Afternoons 
  • Father’s Surprise Birthday Gift 
  • The Punishment 
  • The Macdonalds 
  • Mother’s Illness 
  • The Nightmare 
  • A Change of Heart 

Kezia’s Biggest Fear 

  • Kezia lived in constant fear of her father. 
  • Kezia was always happy to listen to her father leave for work every day. 
  • When he returned, she would delay going down to meet him. 
  • It was her fear of her father that caused her to stutter whenever she was around him. 
  • In turn, her father would mock her stutter and threaten her with a visit to the doctor. 
  • This only fuelled Kezia’s fear as she never stuttered with anyone else. 

Sunday Afternoons 

  • On Sundays, Grandmother sent Kezia to the drawing room for a chat with her parents. 
  • Mother would be reading, while her father slept snoring on the sofa, a hanky covering his face. 
  • Kezia sat on a stool nearby and watched him seriously. 
  • When he awoke, Father scolded her not to stare, calling her a “little brown owl”. 

Father’s Surprise Birthday Gift 

  • Once when a cold kept Kezia indoors, Grandmother suggested that the little girl should make something for Father’s birthday which was due next week. 
  • Grandmother advised Kezia to make him a pincushion with a piece of yellow silk. 
  • Kezia diligently started sewing the pin-cushion but needed something to stuff it with. 
  • She went into Mother’s bedroom searching for scraps. 
  • On a bedside table, Kezia found some fine paper which would work perfectly. 
  • Taking them with her, she shred the paper and stuffed them into the pin-cushion, sewing it all up. 

The Punishment 

  • The same night, there was a commotion in the house. 
  • Father had lost the speech he had prepared for the Port Authority. 
  • When Mother asked Kezia, the little girl admitted to taking the papers. 
  • Mother dragged Kezia down to Father and explained what she had done. 
  • Father ordered that Kezia be sent upstairs to her room. 
  • After a while, Father entered her room and punished her, hitting her palm with a ruler. 
  • Later, her grandmother comforted Kezia. 
  • Kezia could never forget the incident. 

The Macdonalds 

  • Kezia, one day, watched her next-door neighbours, the Macdonalds. 
  • Unlike her father, Mr. Macdonald played with his five children every day. 
  • Kezia watched them laugh and have fun. She realised there were all kinds of fathers. 

Mother’s Illness 

  • Kezia’s mother took ill one day and had to be hospitalised. 
  • Grandmother accompanied her mother to the hospital, leaving Kezia alone in the house with Father and the cook, Alice. 

Kezia’s Nightmare

  • As she went to bed, Kezia confided to Alice that she was scared of nightmares and the dark. 
  • Grandmother would always take her to bed and comfort Kezia during her nightmares. 
  • Alice calmed Kezia down and put her to sleep. 
  • Kezia, however, saw a nightmare of a butcher with a knife and a rope moving towards her. 
  • She awoke shivering and screaming to see Father standing by her bed. 
  • When she told him of her nightmare, he picked her up and took her to the bedroom. 

A Change of Heart 

  • Kezia’s father tucked her in bed and lay down beside her, letting her snuggle up to him. 
  • As he comforted her, Kezia calmed down. 
  • She realised that Father was too tired because of work and couldn’t play with her like Mr Macdonald. 
  • She sympathized with him and felt he wasn’t that big after all. 
  • As she listened to his heartbeat, she wasn’t as afraid of Father anymore. 

THEMES 

The major themes of the chapter are: 

  • Interpersonal Relationships 
  • Parental Love  

Interpersonal Relationships 

  • A running theme through the course of the chapter is that of interpersonal relationships and how they evolve over the course of the story. 
  • The major event is of course the way Kezia changes in her understanding of her Father and his feelings towards her. 
  • Little Kezia, at the beginning of the story, watches her father timidly, unsure of how to react. 
  • The incident with her father scolding her for her stuttering speech left a profound effect on her and she is more fearful of Father. 
  • Kezia realises how wrong she was about him when Father comforts her during her nightmare. 
  • She feels that Father is just as alone as her in house and not the towering “giant” she was afraid of. 
  • Kezia’s feelings transformed for her father when she understood his situation. 
  • Empathy to understand other people’s situations in life is important when it comes to interpersonal relationships as can be seen in Kezia’s change of heart. 

Parental Love 

  • The chapter is an example of parental love, as Father who isn’t as communicative about his love for Kezia, expresses it in little ways. 
  • Despite being preoccupied, he finds time every morning to kiss her before leaving for work. 
  • During her nightmares, he takes her to the bedroom and comforts her. 
  • Father’s parental love takes over when he sees Kezia in distress. 
  • The story illustrates that sometimes parents are incapable of communicating how much they love the child. 

MESSAGE

In a family, inter-personal relationships between parents and their children, siblings and elders and a congenial atmosphere in the family is very important for a smooth and successful life.  

For better relationship the first and foremost factor is mutual interaction and regular communication among the members of a family because through communication only we can understand each other’s aspirations, expectations, desires, strength and weaknesses in a better way. 

CHARACTERS 

The following characters were part of The Little Girl

  • Kezia 
  • Father 
  • Grandmother 

Kezia 

Sensitive: Kezia is a very sensitive little girl, watchful and very afraid of Father. She is deeply hurt when punished by Father. 

Timid: Kezia is fearful of Father. She views him as a ‘giant’ and stutters around him. 

Innocence: As a little girl, she is too innocent to comprehend how her father loves her in his own way. 

Father 

Hardworking: Kezia’s father is a very hardworking man. He is very sincere when it comes to his work. 

Quiet: Although he is non-communicative about how much he loves Kezia, Father expresses his love for her in little ways. 

Disciplinarian: Father doesn’t listen to Kezia’s justifications on why she tore up his speech. Instead, he hits her with a ruler. 

Stern: Father often scolds Kezia for her timidity and her stuttering. 

Grandmother 

Kind: Kezia’s grandmother is a kind lady who tries to help Kezia overcome her fear of her father. She consoles Kezia when Father beat her. 

Adviser: She suggests to Kezia to spend time with her parents on Sundays. She also advises Kezia to surprise Father with a birthday gift. 


LITERARY DEVICES 

  • Point of View 
  • Imagery 
  • Hyperbole 

Point of View 

  • Mansfield has narrated the story through Kezia’s point of view as an innocent child struggling to understand her father’s nature. 
  • Through her point of view, we see the transition from her fear to love and sympathy. 
  • Imagery 
  • Father calls Kezia a ‘little brown owl’. This indicates how scared she was of him as she watched him wide-eyed. 
  • Little Kezia also views her father as a ‘giant’ as he is considerably bigger than her. 

Hyperbole 

  • Father uses exaggerated statements while addressing Kezia. 
  • This is illustrated in the lines: 
  • ‘If you stutter like that mother will have to take you to the doctor.’ 
  • ‘Mother, I wish you taught this child not to appear on the brink of suicide.’ 

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