By A.R. Barton
About the author
A. R. Barton is a modern writer, who lives in Zurich and Writes in English. He has authored many stories like “Going Places” which are mainly concerned with the problems and the stage of adolescence.
The theme of this story is adolescent fantasizing and hero-worship. It is quite natural for teenagers to have unrealistic dreams especially when their families are not well off. It is because of the fact that the socio-economic background plays a leading role in the lives of the youths for choosing a particular profession. The act of fantasizing may lead to miseries in case it is beyond our approach. It is useless to build castles in the air.
1. Sophie: a school going teenager
2. Jansie: a friend and classmate of Sophie
3. Geoff: an elder brother of Sophie
4. Derek: a younger brother of Sophie
5. Danny Casey: A young Irish football player
6. Tom Finney: A great football player
7. United: name of the football team
8. Father & mother of Sophie
Sophie, a teenager is filled with fantasies and desires. She comes from a poor financial background. She dreams of owning a boutique one day or being an actress or fashion designer but her friend Jansie believes that they are from a poor financial background and have to work in a biscuit factory. Jansie, who is more realistic, tries to pull Sophie to reality, but in vain. Sophie lives in a small house with her parents and brothers, Geoff and little Derek. Though she voices her feelings and desires, her parents don’t believe her because they, unlike her, are more mature and know the harsh realities of life.
Sophie finds a sort of fascination for her elder brother Geoff, who is tall, strong, handsome and reserved. She envies his silence and often wonders about his thoughts and areas of his life that she doesn’t know about.
Sophie fantasizes about Danny Casey, an Irish football player whom she had seen playing in innumerable matches. She makes up a story
about how she met him in the streets and tells this to Geoff. Geoff, who is more sensible than Sophie, does not really believe her, even if she wants to. It seems an unlikely incident for Sophie to meet the prodigy in their street, but when Sophie describes the meeting in all her details, he begins to hope that it could be true. She tells him that Danny has promised to meet her somewhere again.
Sophie gets so pulled into the story she made that she herself begins to believe that it’s true. She waits for the Irish player, but obviously, he never arrives. Then, she makes her way home, wondering how her brother would be disappointed on knowing that Danny Casey never showed up. However, Sophie still fantasizes about her hero, Danny Casey and believes he would definitely come to meet her.
1. The lesson explores the theme of adolescent fantasies and hero worship.
2. Sophie, a young girl always dreams of big and beautiful things.
3. Her ambitions have no relation with the harsh realities of life.
4. Jansie, Sophie’s friend is a realistic and practical girl.
5. Both Sophie and Jansie belong to the lower middle class families.
6. Sophie adores an Irish Footballer Danny Casey and makes imaginary flights to meet him.
Short Answer Type Questions
Q1. What does Sophie dream of doing after she passes out of school? Why do you call it a ‘dream’ and not a ‘plan?
Ans. Sophie dreams to have a boutique of her own. It will be the most amazing shop the city has ever seen. She says that she will buy a boutique if ever she comes into money. She does not mind becoming an actress to run a boutique as a side business. Since she has no money or experience, it is called a ‘dream’ and not a ‘plan’.
Q2. What are the other dreams of Sophie in addition to having a boutique?
Ans. The greatest dream of Sophie is to have a boutique. She wants to be a bit sophisticated and rise above her lower-middle class status. Her other dream is of being an actress as “there’s real money in that”. Moreover, actresses don’t work full time. She can look after her first love i.e. boutique as a side business. She has another option. She can be a fashion designer, and do something sophisticated.
Q3. Why does Jansie say: “Soaf you really should be sensible”?
Ans. Jansie knows Sophie’s family background and financial position. She knows that both of them are earmarked for that biscuit factory. Sophie dreams of big and beautiful things like having a boutique or becoming an actress or a fashion designer. All these things need a lot of money and experience. Sophie has neither of them. So Jansie advises her to be sensible and stop having wild dreams.
Q4. Compare and contrast Sophie and Jansie?
Ans. Sophie and Jansie are classmates and friends but they are poles apart in thinking and temperament. Sophie is an incurable dreamer and escapist. She dreams of big and beautiful things, which are beyond her reach. On the other hand, Jansie is realistic and practical. She knows that they are poor and have to work in the biscuit factory after leaving school. She is well aware that big things require big money and experience, which they don’t have.
Q5. What job is Geoff engaged in? How does he differ from his sister, Sophie?
Ans. Geoff is grown up boy. He left school three years ago. Now he is an apprentice mechanic. He has to travel to his work each day to the far side of the city. He speaks little but listens to his sister’s ‘wild stories’. But he is not a day dreamer like her. He knows the financial limitations of the family. He cautions Sophie against entertaining dreams for a celebrity like Danny Casey.
Q6. Why was Sophie jealous of Geoff’s silence?
Ans. Geoff was almost grown up now. He spoke little. Sophie was jealous of his silence. She knew that when he was not speaking, he was away somewhere. He was out in the surrounding country—in those places she had never been. She wanted to share her brother’s affection.
Q7. What does Sophie tell Geoff about her meeting with Danny Casey? How does Geoff react to it?
Ans. Sophie tells Geoff that she met Danny Casey. Geoff is surprised. He looks round abruptly and asks ‘where?’ Sophie replies that she met him in the arcade. Geoff can’t believe her. He says, “It’s never true.” He asks her, “What does he look like?” She replies that he has green eyes and is not very tall. Geoff is still not convinced.
Q8. How does Sophie’s father react when Geoff tells him about her meeting with Danny Casey?
Ans. Geoff informs his father that Sophie had a meeting with Danny Casey. He turns his head on his thick neck to look at her in disbelief. His expression is one of disdain. He ignores the news and goes on to talk about Tom Finney. He hopes that Danny will be like Tom Finney one day. When Sophie says that Casey is going to buy a shop, he reacts sharply. “This is another of your wild stories.”
Q9. Who was Danny Casey? How did the members of Sophie’s family react towards him?
Ans. Danny Casey was a young Irish football player. He played for the United. The Irish prodigy could easily dodge the defenders and score goals. Sophie’s father was a football fan. He admired old heroes like Tom Finney and young wonder boy Casey. Geoff had a large poster of United first team squad on his bed room wall. There were three coloured photographs of Casey in the row below it. Every Saturday they went to watch United.
Q10. Where did Sophie meet Casey and what transpired between them?
Ans. Sophie met Danny Casey in the arcade. It was she who spoke first and asked if he was Casey. He looked surprised. He was certainly Danny Casey as he had the Irish accent. She had already heard him on television. She asked him for an autograph for little Derek. But neither of them had any paper or pen. Before going he promised to give his autograph if she cared to meet him next week.
Q11. How did Jansie react at Sophie’s story of her meeting with Danny Casey?
Ans. Jansie was a classmate and friend of Sophie. She lived in the same neighbourhood. She knew Sophie quite well. She was also aware of Sophie’s habit of dreaming. On learning of her meeting with Danny Casey, her first reaction was of disbelief. “You never did”, exclaimed Jansie. But when Sophie told her about her request for autograph, Jansie softened a little and said, “Jesus, I wish I’d have been there.”
Q12. Why did Sophie choose to walk by the canal? ‘What did she do there?
Ans. Sophie walked by the canal along a sheltered path. It was far away from the noise and crowd of the city. It was a place where she had often played when she was a child. There was a wooden bench beneath a solitary elm tree. Lovers sometimes came there. That was the most suitable place where she could dream of her hero Danny Casey
Q13. What did Sophie feel while sitting for hours and waiting for Danny Casey by the canal?
Ans. At first Sophie was optimistic. She imagined him coming out of the shadows. When time had elapsed, pangs of doubt stirred inside her. She became sad and despondent. Danny would not come there at all. She feared that people would laugh at the story of her meeting with Casey.
Q14. “Sophie’s dreams and disappointments are all in her mind.” Do you agree? Give reasons in support of your answer.
Ans. I fully agree with the observation. Sophie’s dreams and disappointments are all in her mind, she is a hero-worshipper. The Irish prodigy is her hero. She imagines her meeting with him. Her day-dreaming makes her sad and despondent. The idea that Casey will not c
ome at all is quite painful to her. Thus her dreams and disappointments are products of her mind only. They have nothing to do with reality.
Long Answer Type Questions
Q1. What impression do you form of Sophie on reading the story ‘Going Places’?
Ans. Sophie is a young school girl. She dreams of big and beautiful things. Some of these are beyond her reach. Her ambitions have no relation with the harsh realities of life. She thinks of having a boutique. She wants to have the most amazing shop this city has ever seen. Then she entertains the idea of being an actress ‘There’s real money in that.’ Actresses do now work full time. So she would run the boutique as a side business. If need be, she can be a fashion designer. She doesn’t realize that her family is not rich enough and her dreams can’t be fulfilled.
Sophie develops a romantic fascination for Danny Casey. He is a young Irish football player and the hero of her dreams. She indulges in hero worship. She tells a story that she met Casey. Her father calls it another of her “wild stories”. Even Geoff does not believe her. She has seen Casey only once, but all the time she thinks of him. She sits alone and waits for his arrival. She becomes sad and despondent when Casey does not come. She suffers because of her dreams. These dreams and disappointments are all the creations of her mind.
Q2. Compare and contrast Sophie and Jansie highlighting their temperament and aspirations.
Ans. Sophie and Jansie are classmates and friends. They belong to lower middle class families. Both of them are earmarked for biscuit factory. Jansie is down to earth. She is practical and realist. But Sophie is totally blind to the harsh realities of life. She dreams of big and beautiful things. She wants to have a boutique. She thinks of becoming an actress as there is lot of money in this profession. If need be, she can also be a fashion designer. In short, she loves to be grand and sophisticated. All her dreams are beyond her reach and resources. Jansie advises her to be sensible, but she remains a romantic dreamer.
Sophie and Jansie differ in thinking and temperament. Sophie is lost in her dream world, she shares her secret with only one person. It is her elder brother Geoff. Jansie is ‘nosey’. She takes interests in learning new things about others. She can spread the story in the whole neighbourhood. So Sophie doesn’t want to share secrets with her.
Q3. Describe the bond between Geoff and Sophie in spite of differences in their temperament and thinking.
Ans. Geoff was Sophie’s elder brother. He was three years out of school. He was an apprentice mechanic. He travelled to his work each day to the far side of the city. He was almost grown up now. He spoke very little. Sophie was jealous of Geoff’s silence. He was quiet and didn’t make new friends easily. He thought that Sophie was too young and immature. Geoff was mature enough to understand his limitations and those of his family. He never dreamt of big and beautiful things.
In spite of difference in their temperaments, there was a close bond between the two. Geoff was always the first to share Sophie’s secrets. He knew that Sophie’s story of meeting with Danny Casey was not true. Still he listened to her. Sophie confided in him. Her secret was something special just between them. It was not meant for nosey Jansie who would spread it in the whole neighbourhood. Geoff tried to persuade Sophie. He warned her that Danny Casey was a celebrity. He must have many girls like her running after him. Sophie told him that Casey would give her an autograph if she cared to meet him next week. Geoff did not believe “he’d ever show up.” Thus he acted like an elder brother.
Q4. Who was Danny Casey? How was he adored by the family of Sophie, and especially by Sophie and her father?
Ans. Danny Casey was an Irish Prodigy. He was a wonder boy of football. He had won the hearts of his countless fans. He played for United. Sophie’s family was obsessed with the Irish genius. Sophie’s father compared young Danny Casey to another great football player Tom Finney. He wished that Casey might be that good someday. Geoff remarked that he was with the best team in the country. He hoped that Casey would prove even a better player than Tom Finney. Geoff considered him the best. His father thought that he was too young for the first team. The fact was that with his exceptional ability he was playing for the first eleven.
On Saturday, Sophie’s family made their weekly pilgrimage to the stadium to watch United play their match. They watched their hero Danny Casey in action. Sophie adored Danny Casey. She had a romantic fascination for the Irish prodigy. Her young heart throbbed for her hero. She imagined Casey coming to her. She would sit under an elm tree, waiting for Casey and dreaming of him. She realized that he would not come. This made her sad and dejected. Sophie became a victim of her own dreams and disappointments.