The Third and Final Continent NCERT Textbook PDF

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Chapter 6: The Third and Final Continent

I left India in 1964 with a certificate in commerce and the equivalent, in those days, of ten dollars to my name. For three weeks I sailed on the SS Roma, an Italian cargo vessel, in a third-class cabin next to the ship’s engine, across the Arabian Sea, the Red Sea, the Mediterranean and, finally, to England.

 I lived in north London, in Finsbury Park, in a house occupied entirely by penniless Bengali bachelors like myself, at least a dozen and sometimes more, all struggling to educate and establish ourselves abroad. I attended lectures at the LSE and worked at the university library to get by.

 We lived three or four to a room, shared a single, icy toilet, and took turns cooking pots of egg curry, which we ate with our hands on a table covered with newspapers. Apart from our jobs we had few responsibilities. On weekends we lounged barefoot in drawstring pyjamas, drinking tea and smoking Rothmans, or set out to watch cricket at Lord’s.

Some weekends the house was crammed with still more Bengalis to whom we had introduced ourselves at the greengrocer or on the Tube, and we made yet more egg curry, and played Mukesh on a Grundig reel-to-reel, and soaked our dirty dishes in the bathtub. Every now and then someone in the house moved out to live with a woman whom his family back in Calcutta had determined he was to wed.

 In 1969, when I was thirty six years old, my own marriage was arranged. Around the same time, I was offered a full-time job in America, in the processing department of a library at MIT. The salary was generous enough to support a wife, and I was honoured to be hired by a world-famous university, and so I obtained a sixth-preference green card and prepared to travel farther still.

 By now I had enough money to go by plane. I flew first to Calcutta, to attend my wedding, and a week later I flew first to Boston, to begin my new job. During the flight I read The Student Guide to North America, a paperback volume that I’d bought before leaving London, for seven shillings six pence on Tottenham Court Road for, although I was no longer a student, I was on a budget all the same.

I learned that Americans drove on the right side of the road, not the left, and that they called a lift an elevator and an engaged phone busy. ‘The pace of life in North America is different from Britain as you will soon discover,’ the guidebook informed me. ‘Everybody feels he must get to the top.

Don’t expect an English cup of tea.’ As the plane began its descent over Boston Harbour, the pilot announced the weather and time, and that President Nixon had declared a national holiday: two American men had landed on the moon. Several passengers cheered. ‘God bless America!’ one of them hollered. Across the aisle, I saw a woman praying.

I spent my first night at the YMCA in Central Square, Cambridge, an inexpensive accommodation recommended by my guidebook. It was walking distance from MIT, and steps away from the post office and a supermarket called Purity Supreme.

The room contained a cot, a desk and a small wooden cross on one wall. A sign on the door said cooking was strictly forbidden. A bare window overlooked Massachusetts Avenue, a major thoroughfare with traffic in both directions. Car horns, shrill and prolonged, blared one after another. Flashing sirens heralded endless emergencies and a fleet of buses rumbled past, their doors opening and closing with a powerful hiss, throughout the night. The noise was constantly distracting, at times suffocating

Language English
No. of Pages23
PDF Size1.5 MB

NCERT Solutions Class 11 English Chapter 6 The Third and Final Continent

1. Indicate the details that tell us that the narrator was not very financially comfortable during his stay in London.


The details provided show an uncomfortable picture of life which is faced by a financial crisis. The author had travelled in a third class cabin. He talks about the struggle to earn a living and establish oneself abroad. The author along with three or four friends stayed together and were sharing an ice cold washroom.

Along with his friends, the author took turns to cook pots of curry and ate with their hands on a table covered with newspapers. The things he had faced in his life could be well understood by events such as watching the cricket match at Lord’s or listening to Mukesh. Some habits like smoking, walking barefoot, drinking tea and roaming around on weekends shows that he wasn’t all set in his life. The term ‘penniless’ shows the financial crisis which he faced when he was studying at LSE.

2. How did the narrator adjust to the ways of life first in London and then in Cambridge, U.S.A.?


The narrator had experienced different phases of life. During bachelorhood, he cleverly adjusted a good deal while surviving under an uncomfortable and absurd condition. In order to meet his expenses, he worked in a library while attending the lectures at LSE.

He finally got an accommodation with people like him who shared toilets, food, etc. He led a reckless life soaking dirty dishes, eating with hands, walking barefoot and doing things which were expected from lazy and aimless people. The next phase of his life was when he got married and found a full time job in America.

He moved there as he got a permanent job in the processing department of the library at MIT. He did not begin to live his life lavishly. His budget was the same from when he was a college student. The pace of life in America is the main aspect which changed drastically. Every human being was in a hurry to reach the top.

In his accommodation, he got adjusted to different noises like a movement of buses which were rumbling all night, flashing sirens which were suffocating and distracting him. Life was not calm and peaceful as he had wished with no “breeze to cool” his face or no “glittering ocean to thrill” him. The change in his schedule was depicted at various events such as buying milk, etc. At the YMCA building, his life turned intolerant and stifling with the uncomfortable conditions of living and intolerable noise due to which he suffered with disturbed sleep.

3. What do you understand of the character of Mrs Croft from the story?


As seen in the beginning of the story, Mrs Croft was very demanding with an authoritative tone in her voice. She could be depicted as a hypocrite when she questioned the author if he was a Tech or Harvard, based on which she would be renting her flat. When it came to following the instructions, she was very strict. She was very traditional with strong ideals which should be followed without any queries.

As the time passed, her character was revealed. She looked hard from the outside but was a soft hearted person from the inside. When it came to restricting lady visitors at her place, she was very strict even though the author mentioned that he was a married man.

With the passage of time, her character was moulded which made the author develop an affection for her. She was kind and grateful according to the demand of the situation. She seemed to be vulnerable some times, mainly when the author got to know that she was one hundred and three years old. In this way, there are different shades of light thrown while describing her character.

NCERT Class 11 English Textbook Chapter 6 With Answer PDF Free Download

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