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Important Question Answer

Selma Lagerlof

Q.1. When did the peddler realize that the world is a rattrap?

Ans. The peddler had been thinking of rattraps when suddenly he was struck by the idea that the whole world was nothing but a big rattrap baiting people. It offered riches and joys, shelter and food, heat and clothing, in the same manner as the rattrap offered cheese and pork. As soon as someone let himself be tempted to touch the bait, it closes in on him and then everything comes to an end.

Q.2. Why do you think the Crofter was so talkative and friendly with the peddler?

Ans. The crofters circumstances and temperaments made him so friendly and talkative with a peddler since he had no wife or child he was happy to get someone to talk to in his loneliness. Secondly he was quite generous with his confidences. To share his grief and loneliness he sheltered the vagabond.

Q.3. When did the peddler realize that he had been caught in the rattrap?

Ans. The peddler realized that he must not walk on public highway with the stolen money in his pocket and so he went to woods. He kept walking about without coming to the end of the wood. Then he realized that he had fallen into the Rattrap having caught by a bait.

Q.4. Why had the Ironmaster misidentified the peddler as Nils olof?

Ans. The ironmaster walked closed up to the peddler. In the uncertain reflection from the furnace he mistook him as an old regimental comrade, Captain Von Stahle. He addressed the stranger as Nils olof spoke very kindly and invited him to his home.

Q.5. When did the Ironmaster realize his mistake?

The Next morning the stranger was clean and well-dressed. The valet had bathed him, cut his hair and shaved him. When he reached the dining room for breakfast, the iron master saw him in broad daylight. It was impossible to mistake him for an old friend. He realized his mistake and threatened to call sheriff.

Q.6. How did the Peddler defend himself on being caught?

Ans. The peddler explained that he had not tried to pretend as his acquaintance but had repeatedly said that he was a poor peddler. He had pleaded and begged to be allowed to stay in the forge. No harm had been done by his stay. He was willing to put on his rags again and go away. He also Philosophised, his idea of the world being a rattrap that amused the ironmaster too.

Q.7. How did the Peddler thank Miss Edla for her generosity?

Ans. As soon as Edla opened the package, the contents come into view which was a small rattrap with three wrinkled kronor notes and a letter addressed to her. The peddler wanted to be nice to her in return, as she had been so nice to him all day long. He did not want her to be embarrassed at Christmas season by a thief.

Q.8. What gave the poor Peddler an opportunity to redeem himself?

Ans. The ironmaster had invited the peddler to his house mistaking him for Captain Von Stahle. He was welcomed there and looked after as captain even after the reality became known. The peddler got a chance to redeem himself from dishonest ways while acting as an honorable captain.

The ironmaster is impulsive where as his daughter is cool, logical, kind and thoughtful. In the uncertain light of the furnace he mistakes the stranger as his old regimental comrade. He invites him home and thinks of feeding, clothing and helping him with a job. When he sees him in broad day light, he calls him dishonest, demands an explanation and is ready to call the sheriff. His daughter is more observant. She notices the fear of the stranger and thinks that he is a thief or a runway prisoner. She is gentle, kind and friendly to him. 

She treats him nicely even after knowing the mistaken identity. The ironmaster is ambitious and pragmatic while the daughter is compassionate, empathetic and benevolent.


Q.1. What did the ironmaster threaten to do after knowing the mistake?

Ans. The ironmaster threatens to call in the sheriff. The stranger told him that the sheriff might lock him up for dissembling. He reminded the ironmaster that a day might come when he might be tempted and then he would be caught in the big rattrap of the world. The metaphor amused the ironmaster, he dropped the idea of sending for the sheriff but asked the stranger to leave at once.

Q.2. Why did the peddler sign himself as captain Voh Stahle?

Ans. The peddler signs himself as a captain because Elda has treated him as a real captain all day long. In return the peddler wanted to be nice to her he atoned for his sin of stealing. Her hospitality and kindness opened  his eyes for his own good. This elevated status helped him clear his positions otherwise he would have been a rat caught in the world's rattrap.

Q.3. Why is the peddler amused with the idea that the world is a rattrap?

Ans. The poor peddler sustained himself by indulging in petty thievery, begging and selling small rattraps of wire. Since life and the people had always been unkind to him, he amused himself with his own meditations.  While thinking of his rattraps, he was suddenly struck by the idea that the world was a rattrap. His habbit of thinking ill about the world had always been amusing to the peddler.


Q.1. The story focuses on human loneliness and the need to bond with others. Comment.

Ans. The tone of the story is factual, sensitive to the needs of human beings. There are at-least three characters in the story who suffer from loneliness and express the need to bond with others. They belonged to three different stratas of human society as well. The peddler with rattraps, the old crofter and the iron master all suffer from loneliness. The peddler is called a tramp, a vagabond and stranger at various points of the story. 

He moves wearingly from one place to another lost in his own thoughts. He seeks shelter for the night & people look at him with sour faces. Even blacksmiths look haughtily at him. The old crofter suffers from loneliness as he has neither wife nor child with him. The cow which supports him is no company. Hence, he feels happy when he gets the peddler to talk to in his loneliness although Edla suspected that the beggar had stolen something or else he had escaped from Jail, yet she offered full hearted generosity, comfortable living and meaningful Christmas for the tramp.

This kindness of Edla reforms him. Human warmth and bonding enables this change. Thus we may need love and understanding, at every stage in life.

Q.2. Title “The Rattrap”.

Ans. The story by Selma Lagerlof deals with the trap of material benefits that most human beings are prone to fall into. It reveals the notion that a latent spark of human goodness is inherent in each one of us. Though the world is full of selfish people, yet here and there, there are some good souls that help some poor come out of their miseries and live a dignified life.

The main character is a vagabond a tramp who goes about selling rattraps of wire. The reality of meeting both ends always looms large before him and naturally lends a pessimistic tone to his overall being. He is amused by notion that the world is nothing but a rattrap. The story moves on to diff. situations where various  baits fall on the beggar. The crofter who meets the peddler is generous, yet the bait of the ten - kronor bills is easily taken by the ragamuffin. The next bait awaits him when he is misidentified to be Nils olof by the ironmaster at the Rams Jo Iron works, where the peddler goes to seek shelter, ignorant of the fact that his tale of misery does not end there. Next there is Edla will Manson. Who offers yet another bait - full hearted generosity. Comfortable living to make Christmas meaningful for the tramp.

Finally the bitter truth dawns on both the hosts and the guest. The peddler rekindles his life for his good. His transformation was made possible largely by hospitality, modesty and the generosity of Edla.

The story begins and ends with a rattrap as a present for someone (Edla) who has helped a rat to get free from the rattrap. The actions of the peddler after he steals thirty kronors of the old crofter revealed the inner conflicts and lack of peace of a person who touches the bait of temptation. Renunciation of temptation helps in redemption. Thus the title 'The Rattrap' is apt and significant in describing the human predicament of temptation.

1. Wearingly = Tiringly
2. Haughtily = Arrogantly
3. Impulsive = Driven by strong Impulse (desire)
4. Notion = Idea
5. Latent = Midden
6. Meeting both ends = To earn a living
7. Pessimistic = Negative
8. Bait = Trap
9. Redemption = Transformation
10. Predicament = A difficult and unpleasant situation.

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