Pappachi’s Moth NCERT Textbook PDF

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Chapter 5: Pappachi’s Moth

Mammachi had started making pickles commercially soon after Pappachi retired from government service in Delhi and came to live in Ayemenem. The Kottayam Bible Society was having a fair and asked Mammachi to make some of her famous banana jam and tender mango pickle. It sold quickly, and Mammachi found that she had more orders than she could cope with.

Thrilled with her success, she decided to persist with the pickles and jam, and soon found herself busy all year round. Pappachi, for his part, was having trouble coping with the ignominy of retirement. He was seventeen years older than Mammachi and realised with a shock that he was an old man when his wife was still in her prime.

Though Mammachi had conical corneas and was already practically blind, Pappachi would not help her with the pickle-making, because he did not consider picklemaking a suitable job for a high-ranking ex-government official. He had always been a jealous man so he greatly resented the attention his wife was suddenly getting.

 He slouched around the compound in his immaculately tailored suits, weaving sullen circles around mounds of red chillies and freshly powdered yellow turmeric, watching Mammachi supervise the buying, the weighing, the salting and drying, of limes and tender mangoes. Every night he beat her with a brass flower vase. The beatings weren’t new.

 What was new was only the frequency with which they took place. One night Pappachi broke the bow of Mammachi’s violin and threw it in the river. Then Chacko came home for a summer vacation from Oxford. He had grown to be a big man and was, in those days, strong from rowing for Balliol. A week after he arrived he found Pappachi beating Mammachi in the study.

Chacko strode into the room, caught Pappachi’s vase-hand and twisted it around his back. ‘I never want this to happen again,’ he told his father, ‘Ever.’ For the rest of that day Pappachi sat in the verandah and stared stonily out at the ornamental garden, ignoring the plates of food that Kochu Maria brought him. Late at night he went into his study and brought out his favourite mahogany rocking chair.

 He put it down in the middle of the driveway and smashed it into little bits with a plumber’s monkey wrench. He left it there in the moonlight, a heap of varnished wicker and splintered wood. He never touched Mammachi again. But he never spoke to her either as long as he lived. When he needed anything he used Kochu Maria or Baby Kochamma as intermediaries.

In the evenings, when he knew visitors were expected, he would sit on the verandah and sew buttons that weren’t missing onto his shirts, to create the impression that Mammachi neglected him. To some small degree he did succeed in further corroding Ayemenem’s view of working wives.

He bought the skyblue Plymouth from an old Englishman in Munnar. He became a familiar sight in Ayemenem, coasting importantly down the narrow road in his wide car, looking outwardly elegant but sweating freely inside his woollen suits. He wouldn’t allow Mammachi or anyone else in the family to use it, or even to sit in it. The Plymouth was Pappachi’s revenge. Pappachi had been an Imperial Entomologist at the Pusa Institute. After Independence, when the British left, his designation was changed from Imperial Entomologist

Language English
No. of Pages6
PDF Size0.2 MB

NCERT Solutions Class 11 English Chapter 5 Pappachi’s Moth

1. Comment on the relationship shared by Mammachi and Pappachi.


Mammachi and Pappachi had an age gap of 17 years. Pappachi was a retired high ranked officer and was jealous of the talents which Mammachi his wife possessed and the attention she got. Even if it was her violin classes in Vienna or pickle making, he was jealous of her. Apart from all the fights and friction they had in their relationship, Mammachi always stayed with him. She was more attached to him and was not exactly in love with him. She could not let go of him even if Pappachi beat her with brass vases.

At his funeral, she cried very badly not because the man she loved had died but because he would not be around her. He was like an old shoe for her, which she was unable to let go of. She was very close to him, though she was beaten by him and was used to having him slouching around the pickle factory.

2. How does Mammachi stand out as an independent and resilient woman in the text?


The egocentric Entomologist husband of Mamachi always discouraged her. He was an unsupportive husband and was jealous of her talents and any kind of attention she got. It was mainly because of the anger which remained inside his heart for not getting the deserved fame of his moth discovery, which he wished to be named after him.

Her pickle recipe was very famous and she was called by the Kottayam Bible Society to prepare some of her famous tender mango pickle and banana jam for an upcoming fair. It was sold instantly and she received many orders, which she could cope up with. Excited with the success, Mammachi decided to persist with the jams and pickles and was very busy the entire year. Later, she set up a pickle factory and was very successful.

3. Why does John Ipe consider retirement to be a dishonour?


Mammachi’s husband, Benaan John Ipe, Pappachi, got his retirement from Joint Director, Entomology post. He was a very reputed man and was proud that he was a high ranked government officer. Upon retirement, he found it difficult to manage with the ignominy of retirement. Pappachi and Mammachi had an age difference of seventeen years which made him perceive that he was an old man when his wife was still young.

He was a jealous husband and did not like the attention his wife was getting all of a sudden. Retirement was a constant reminder of his old age which pricked him very deeply. A man who was once so strong to beat his wife with a brass vase was now put to a stop by his son. He felt dejected and neglected. An imperial Entomologist had now changed to a withered aged man and this gave a jolt to his ego.

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