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22 Jan

The Night the Ghost Got In by James Grove Thurber

The Night the Ghost Got In by James Grove Thurber

B.1. The narrator’s mother threw a shoe at the neighbour’s window. His grandfather shot a policeman.

B.2.Because he felt she was too excited to be left alone. Moreover, he himself was frightened.

B.3. Because she was frightened to see a shoe being hurled in through the window during the midnight.

B.4. Initially, they searched the house thoroughly and later they stormed the grandfather’s attic in an attempt to trace the noise.

B.5. That she is idiosyncratic and hysterical.

B.6. The question suggests that the grandfather was quite sane during the previous night when he shot a policeman. It also suggests that he recognized the cops for what they are.

B.7. He says that the mother’s behavior was historical. What he actually meant was that she was hysterical.

B.8.The Grandfather asked what the idea of the cops had been in running around the house the previous night.

C.1. James Thurber depicts himself as different from the other characters. He depicts himself as a teenager whose attitude and manners are quite funny and at times strange and idiotic. As the story begins we find him in a bath towel around his waist. He begins the confusion by guessing that the sound downstairs was produced by ghosts. He awakens his mother and brother late at midnight telling them that there are people downstairs. His mother is convinced that they are burglars. Later on, we find Thurber wearing one of his mother’s blouses. Thus he depicts himself as comic and eccentric.

C.2.Thurber’s grandfather reminds us of Don Quixote. An elderly gentleman, he goes through phases in which he believes that he is fighting in the Battle of Bull Run. When the cops storm into his attic he confuses them for General Meade’s men who are retreating from the war-front.  He assumes that the cops are trying to hide in his attic. Wearing a nightgown over his underwear, he jumps out of bed, grabs a gun from one of the cops and shoots him.  However, what makes him all the more amusing is his behavior the next morning. He sits fresh as a daisy and full of jokes. Then he asks them what the cops had been doing the previous night. His question stuns not only the members of the family, but also the readers of the story.

C.3. The behavior of the police officers is highly comical. When they are informed that burglars had entered the narrator’s house, they rush to the spot. In a short time, a ford sedan full of cops, two on motorcycles and a petrol wagon with about eight cops reach the spot. They came with flashlights and began banging at the front door. They ransack every nook and corner of the house but could not find any burglar. Then they search the floor, inquire about the musical instrument and search inside suitcases. One of the cops says that the mother’s behavior is historical. What he actually means is that she was hysterical. Finally, one of the policeman gets shot by the grandfather.

C.4. (Use points from C.1, C.2 and C.3). The narrator’s mother throws a shoe at the neighbour’s window and tells them that there are burglars in the house. The neighbours, who are themselves non-sensical, believe that the burglars were in their house.  Later on, she feels like throwing another shoe through the window as the first experience thrilled her enormously.

C.5. (Use points from C.2band C.3).


Copyright © Manu Mangattu, Assistant Professor, Department of English, SGC Aruvithura

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