Please refer to Should WEvans Tries an O-level (Colin Dexter) Class 12 English Important Questions with solutions provided below. These questions and answers have been provided for Class 12 English based on the latest syllabus and examination guidelines issued by CBSE, NCERT, and KVS. Students should learn these problem solutions as it will help them to gain more marks in examinations. We have provided Important Questions for Class 12 English for all chapters in your book. These Board exam questions have been designed by expert teachers of Standard 12.
Class 12 English Important Questions Evans Tries an O-level (Colin Dexter)
Short Answer Type Questions :
Question. How did the Governor, Oxford Prison describe Evans to the Secretary Examination Board?
What impression of Evans did the Governor give to the Secretary of the Examination Board ?
What opinion of Evans did the prison authorities convey to the Secretary, Education Board?
Ans. The Governor gave quite a satisfactory report about Evans to the Secretary of the Board. It was stated that Evans had no record of violence and he was quite a ‘pleasant sort of chap’. Evans was one of the stars at the Christmas concert but he suffered from a weakness. He was a congenital kleptomaniac. On the other hand, he was good at imitations.
Question. Which article in McLeery’s suitcase played perhaps the most significant role in Evans’s escape and how?
Ans. Evan was a habitual jail-breaker, who outwitted everyone and escaped from the prison in the spite of all the precautions. From the very beginning, when the German teacher entered the prison to the last encounter with the Governor in the hotel, the latter outsmarted everybody. The question paper for the examination served to send a message to Evans. McLeery drew the Governor’s attention to the photocopied sheet super imposed over the last sheet of the question paper. It contained a message for Evans. He had been asked to follow the escape plan. The most important point in time, according to the message was three minutes before the end of the examination. The Governor was unable to decipher the next line of the German text. Then, he was asked to hit McLeery and not to overdo the Scott’s accent. The correction slips also played a crucial role. At first, they hadn’t been able to fix a hotel. The slips gave Evans the name of the hotel where he was to stay.
Question. It was important that the recaptured Evans keep up the facade till the very last moment of his interaction with the Governor. Support this statement with a rationale.
Ans. Evans already had a well thought out plan B in case his initial plan failed. When the Governor recaptured Evans, it was important for Evans to show that his initial plan has failed and he was feeling trapped. This ensured the Governor that he was in his clutches and the Governor became a bit casual. This casualness made the Governor hand him over to the silent prison officer. The Governor was unaware that the officer as well as the driver of prison van were actually Evans’s accomplices. As Evans finally escaped, he had the last laugh at the Governor.
Question. How did the Governor find out where Evans was?
Ans. The Governor came to know where Evans was when he read the note in German on the question paper, about index and centre number.
Question. What was his German teacher’s opinion of Evans proficiency in German?
Ans. The German teacher did not have a good opinion about Evans’s proficiency in German. He was doubtful about whether he would pass the exam as Evans could not understand even the basic pleasantries in German. So, the teacher was doubtful of Evans’s language ability.
Question. Why did the prison officers call Evans, ‘Evans the Break’?
Ans. Evans was also known as ‘Evans the Break’, as he had run away thrice from the jail. He was considered a pleasant sort of a chap by the prison authorities. He was good at imitations but was a congenital kleptomaniac. He wanted to sit for examination so as to use the opportunity to escape from the prison.
Question. Why did Evans not take off his hat when Jackson ordered him to do so? What was the actual reason?
Ans. Jackson disapproved of Evans dirty “bobble hat” and asked him to remove it. Evans immediately thought of a ploy to avoid recognition by telling Jackson that the hat had always brought him good luck. So the police officer agreed to his request. The actual reason was that Evans was determined to make his escape-plan a success and so he had clipped his hair short to pass off as McLeery later. So, he needed to keep his hat on to avoid being detected.
Question. What was the import of the two phone calls the Governor received after a quarter of an hour of the start of the examination?
Ans. The first phone call was from the Assistant Secretary of the Examination Board. It was about a correction slip in the O-Level German paper. The word ‘Golden Lion’ was to replace ‘Golden Lowe’. The second call was from the Magistrate’s Court. They needed a prison van and a couple of prison officers for a remand case.
Question. What clues did the answer sheet of Evans provide to the Governor?
Ans. McLeery showed a photocopied sheet to the Governor which had been cleverly superimposed on the last page of the German question paper. The Governor decoded it for Newsbury and by putting together the six figure reference, the index and centre number 313/271 and with the help of the ‘Ordinance Survey Map of Oxfordshire’ he was able to locate Evans in the middle of Chipping Norton. The correction slip provided him with the name of the hotel, ‘The Golden Lion’ where Evans was staying. So Evans was beaten in his own game as he left clues which aided in his arrest. He made things easier as he left the question paper behind in the cell. The clues the Governor got from it were sufficient to help him locate Evans.
Question. What were the contents of the small brown suitcase that McLeery carried?
Ans. It had a sealed question paper envelope, a yellow invigilation form, a special ‘authentication’ card from the Examination Board, a paper knife, a Bible, and a current copy of ‘The Church Times’. Except the last two articles, the rest were related to his morning duties as invigilator.
Question. What facts about Evans did the Governor of Oxford Prison not reveal to the Secretary of the Examination Board?
Ans. Evans was called ‘Evans the Break’ by the prison officers. He had escaped from prison three times already. He would have done so from Oxford Prison as well if there had not been unrest in the maximum security establishments up north.
Question. What did the Governor’s questioning of Stephens reveal?
Ans. It was Stephens who had taken “Evans” to the main gates. Stephens claimed that he had acted as he had been told by the Governor on phone at about twenty past eleven just before the paper was over. The Governor said that he had not rung him. He had used the telephone at that time, unsuccessfully, to get through to the Examinations Board.
Question. What evidence do you get from the text to show that Mr Jackson and Evans “had already become warm enemies”?
Ans. Jackson nodded curtly. He addressed Evans as “little Einstein” and mockingly enquired about him. He felt annoyed as Evans pointed out his ignorance about Einstein. Jackson genuinely loathed about the long, wavy hair of Evans. He had taken away the nail-scissors and nail-file of Evans. He used the word ‘bloody’ too often while addressing Evans.
Question. What suggestion did the handcuffed Evans make while clambering to van?
Ans. Evans observed that the Governor’s German was pretty good and asked if he knew any more of the modem languages. When the Governor said, “Not very well,” Evans grinned happily. He said that he had noticed that they had got some O-Level Italian classes coming up next September. The Governor said that perhaps he wouldn’t be with them next September. Evans pondered over these words and said that he wouldn’t.
Question. Who met Evans on the eve of the examination? What does this brief interview reveal?
Ans. It was Evans’ German teacher who shook him by the hand at 8.30 p.m. on Monday, 7 June. They met in the heavily guarded Recreational Block, just across from D Wing. The teacher wished him good luck in German, which Evans failed to understand. The teacher observed that he had a remote chance of getting through. Evans remarked that he might surprise everybody. These remarks prove quite meaningful and prophetic.
Question. What instructions did the invigilator issue to the examiner before the examination?
Ans. He asked the examinee if he had got a watch. He would tell him when to start and again when he had five minutes left. He asked him to write the name of the paper, 021-1, in the . top left-hand comer, and his index number-313 in the top right-hand comer. Just below that he was to write his centre number-271.
Question. What did Stephens notice on looking through the peep-hole of Evans’ cell?
Ans. He found Evans sitting with his pen between his lips. He was staring straight in front of him towards the door. Opposite him sat McLeery. His hair was amateurishly clipped pretty closely to the scalp. His eyes were fixed at ‘The Church Times’. His right index finger was hooked beneath the narrow clerical collar. The fingers of the left hand were slowly stroking the short black beard.
Question. How was the Reverend Stuart McLeery dressed and why?
Ans. He had put on a long black overcoat and a shallow-crowned clerical hat. His spectacles had thick lenses. It was a chilly day for early June and the steady drizzle, which had set in half an hour earlier still continued. In his right hand he was carrying a small brown suitcase.
Question. Where did they find the Reverend S. McLeery and in what condition? What can you deduce from it?
Ans. A quarter of an hour later they found the Reverend S. McLeery in his study in Broad Street. He was bound and gagged securely. He said that he had been there since 8.15 a.m. when two men had called and… It is obvious that the two men were helpers of Evans and one of them acted as the Reverend S. McLeery during the Exam.
Question. Who, do you think, has the last laugh—the Governor or Evans? How?
Ans. The Governor is complacent that he has nabbed the run-away prisoner and soon the police van will land him in prison. However, facts prove otherwise. As the van turns to the Oxford road, the silent prison officer unlocks the handcuffs and asks the driver to move on fast. The driver enquires in broad Scots accent where they should make for. Evans suggests Newbury. It is crystal clear that the two persons are accomplices of Evans. He has escaped from prison once again. Hence, it is Evans who has the last laugh.
Question. What sort of hair did Evans have? How then did he personate McLeery?
Ans. Evans had long, wavy hair, whereas the hair of McLeery had been amateurishly clipped pretty closely to the scalp. Jackson had pinched Evans’s scissors. So, he had to remove his hair off his head with his only razor. Then he kept his head covered with a bobble hat to prevent detection.
Question. How did the Governor react to the two phone calls he received in quick succession?
Ans. The first call that the Governor received from the Assistant Secretary was a hoax. It misled j the gullible Governor by demanding a prison van in connection with a remand case whereas the van was needed for Evans’ escape. The underlying idea behind the second call was to take Stephens away for some time so that Evans could give finishing touches to his makeup to look like McLeery.
Question. What did Detective Superintendent Carter inform the Governor about Evans?
Ans. Superintendent Carter informed the Governor that McLeery had spotted Evans driving off along Elsfield Way. They had got the number of the car all right. They had given chase immediately, but they had lost him at the Headington roundabout. He assumed that Evans must have doubled back into the city.
Question. How did the Prison machinery swing to action? What point was overlooked?
Ans. Sirens were sounded. Prison officers shouted orders. Puzzled prisoners pushed their way along the corridors. Doors were banged and bolted. Phones were ringing everywhere. Jackson and Stephens supported McLeery on either side and brought him to the prison yard. The identity of the injured “McLeery” remained unchecked. Thus, hasty conjectures prevented them from seeing the obvious.
Question. What was the object found in McLeery’s suitcase that puzzled Mr Jackson? How did McLeery react to Mr Jackson’s query?
Ans. There was a smallish semi-inflated rubber ring. Even a young child with a waist of about twelve inches might have to struggle into it. Jackson asked McLeery if he was thinking of going for a swim. McLeery’s amiable demeanour was slightly ruffled by this tasteless pleasantry. He answered Jackson somewhat sourly and told him he suffered from piles.
Question. What did Stephens notice on coming back to the cell of Evans? What did he assume?
Ans. Stephens saw a man sprawling in Evans’ chair. The front of his closely cropped, irregularly tufted hair was covered with red blood. It had dripped already through the small black beard. It was now spreading over the white clerical collar and down into the black clerical front. He assumed that Evans had hit McLeery and left the prison impersonating McLeery.
Question. What truth did the enquiries about injured “McLeery” from (i) Carter and (ii) the Radcliffe reveal?
Ans. Carter said that he was in the Radcliffe. He was really groggy near the Examination offices. They rang for the ambulance from there. The accident department of the Radcliffe informed him that there was no parson named McLeery there. They had sent an ambulance to Elsfield Way, but the fellow had vanished from there by then.
Question. Jackson had thoroughly searched Evans’s cell for two hours the previous evening. How then was Evans able to disguise himself as a parson?
Ans. Evans had really nothing hidden in the cell. It was McLeery who had worn two black fronts and two collars. Evidently, Evans put on one set of these. He used the blanket to cover his act. The parson suddenly seemed to have grown slimmer when he left the Oxford Prison.
Question. What enquiry did the Secretary of the Examination Board make about Evans? What did the Governor tell him about Evans?
Ans. The Secretary wanted to know if Evans was a violent sort of person. The Governor told him that there was no record of violence. He was informed that Evans was quite a pleasant fellow—an amusing person. He was good at imitation and hence h star at the Christmas concert. He suffered from the desire to steal. He had this disease from birth.
Question. How do we know that Evans had no chance of getting through the O-level German examination? Why did he take the test?
Ans. Evans did not have any chance of getting through the O-level German examination as he was not capable of understanding even a simple German expression of “Guten Gluck” (Good Luck). He was taking the test in an attempt to plan his escape from prison.
Question. What request did Evans make about half an hour before the end of the examination? How did McLeery and Stephens react to it?
Ans. Evans made a polite request if he could put a blanket round his shoulders as it was a bit chilly there. McLeery told Evans to be quick about it. A minute later, Stephens was surprised to see a grey blanket draped round Evans shoulders.
Question. What issue regarding conducting the examination did the Secretary of Examination Board raise? What was he told?
Ans. The Secretary wanted to know whether a room could be arranged for holding examination. The Governor told him that Evans had a cell on his own. He could sit the exam in there. Secondly, they could easily get one of the parsons from St. Mary Mags to invigilate. The Secretary hoped that they would not have much trouble in keeping Evans without communicating with others.
Question. How did the Governor, who was listening-in, react to these numbers at that time and later on after the escape of Evans?
Ans. Initially, the Governor took them as innocuous, routine information and did not pay much attention. Later on, when Evans had escaped, he consulted the Ordnance Survey Map for Oxfordshire. He found that the six-figure reference 313/271 pointed to the middle of Chipping Norton—the place of hiding for run away Evans.
Question. Why did the Governor ring up the Secretary of Examination Board and what was his request?
Ans. Early March, the Governor of Oxford Prison rang up the Secretary of Examinations Board that one of their prisoners, Evans, wanted to take an O-Level examination in German. Evans had been taking night classes since September and eager to get some academic qualification.
Question. Where, according to the Governor, was Evans likely to be found and why? What did he think about himself after this episode?
Ans. The Governor said that Evans was on his way to Newbury. He explained his reasons for believing so. The clues in the German text pointed to this. It was now a police job to arrest him. He thought he was merely a laughing stock, a credulous governor.
Question. Who was Carter? What did the Governor ask him to do?
Ans. Carter was the Detective Superintendent whom the Governor summoned after Evans’ supposed escape. The Governor wanted him to accompany the injured Me Leery as he was the only one who seemed to know what was actually happening and might be in a position to help in locating Evans who had escaped.
Question. What did the inmates of the prison come to know by tea-time?
Ans. They came to know what had really happened. Earlier, it was presumed that Evans had impersonated McLeery and walked out of the prison. The truth was that Evans, impersonating McLeery, had stayed in.
Question. What did the Governor think of Evans and his plan after ringing up Detective Chief Inspector Bell?
Ans. The Governor admired clever Evans and his beautifully laid plan. He called it careless of him to leave the question paper behind. He observed that all criminals made mistakes somewhere. That is why they were nabbed. He hoped that very shortly Mr clever-clever Evans would be back inside the prison.
Question. “It was that bloody correction slip, I s’pose”. Who said this, when and why?
Ans. Evans said this when he found the Governor of Oxford Prison in his room in Hotel Golden Lion in Chipping Norton. He knew he was beaten. The details of the escape plan were there on the correction slip and he had left it there on the table.
Question. How did the Governor find out where Evans was?
Ans. When the Governor finally realised that it was Evans who had gone out with Carter and that he was impersonating McLeery, he thought about the six digit reference number and after putting the two numbers, the index and the centre number together and with the help of the ‘Ordinance Survey Map for Oxfordshire’ the Governor reached the hotel to find Evans.
Question. “Must have been a tricky job sticking a couple of pints.” “Nah! you’ve got it wrong, sir. No problem about that.” In the light of the above remarks, explain what problem regarding blood Evans faced and howjt was solved?
Ans. Storing blood in the rubber ring was not the problem. It was clotting that was the big problem. They got pig’s blood from slaughter house in Kidlington. But to stop it clotting actual blood has to be mixed with one-tenth of its volume of 3.8 per cent trisodium citrate.
Question. Why was the Governor angry with Jackson?
Ans. Jackson had spent two hours in Evans’s cell the previous evening. He had confidently reported that there was nothing hidden away there. Yet Evans had concealed a false beard, a pair of spectacles, a dogcollar and other material of a priest. He also had a weapon with which he hit McLeery across the head.
Question. “How did you know which Golden Lion it was? There’s imdreds of ’em,” said Evans. How did the Governor of Oxford Prison locate the hiding place of Evans?
Ans. The Governor told Evans that he used the same method as Evans had done. The six-figure reference 313/271 was formed by two hints—Index number 313 and Centre number 271. If one takes an Ordnance Survey Map for Oxfordshire, this number lands one bang in the middle of Chipping Norton.
Question. Who was the phone call three minutes before the end of the examination meant for? How important did it prove?
Ans. The phone call was meant for Stephens. Jackson told him that the Governor wanted to speak to him. Stephens listened to the rapidly spoken orders. The phone call was important. Stephens had to accompany McLeery to the main prison gates. He was to see the door locked on Evans after McLeery had left the cell. It was also important for Evans. He could make swift changes and adjustments, in his dress and make-up.
Question. Who visited Evans on the morning of the Examination? What did they visit him for?
Ans. Mr Jackson and Mr Stephens visited Evans. Jackson was the senior prison officer on D Wing and Stephens was a burly, surly-looking, new recruit. They visited him to ensure that he did not retain any potential weapon with him. Mr Stephens was asked to take away the razor after Evans had shaved himself.
Question. How did the injured “McLeery’’ behave? What, do you think, did he achieve by this sort of behaviour?
Ans. The injured “McLeery” claimed to know where Evans was. He showed more interest in arrival of police than of ambulance. He drew the Governor’s attention to the German question paper. The photocopied sheet in German contained the route of escape. He diverted the attention of the prison officers and the police to the person (Evans) who had already left the prison.
Question. “Tell me one thing before we go. How on earth did you get all that blood to pour over your head?” asks the Governor. How does Evans react to this question?
Ans. Evans looked a little happier. He said it was very clever to get a couple of pints of blood into a cell. There was none there to start off with. The “invigilator” got searched before he came in. Evans refused to disclose it as he might use that trick again. Governor then enquired if it was anything to do with a little rubber ring for piles. Evans grinned and asked if it wasn’t clever.
Question. What could the Governor have done to securely bring Evans back to the prison from the ‘Golden Lion’? 2
Ans. The Governor, instead of sending Evans with other officers in some other car, could have got Evans back with himself in his own car or should have sat in the van in which Evans was supposed to go. This way, he could have nown that the people in the van were not his men but Evans’s accomplices.
Question. What were the contents of the small brown suitcase that McLeery carried?
Ans. McLeery’s small brown suitcase contained a sealed question-paper envelope, a yellow invigilation form, a special ‘authentication’ card from the examination board, a paper knife, a Bible and a semi–inflated rubber tube.
Question. Why was Evans not ready to remove his hat?
Why did Evans not take off his hat when Jackson ordered him to do so?
Ans. Evans did not take off his hat when Jackson ordered him to do so because he had a plan in his mind. Evans had long wavy hair. He had decided to crop them short so as to impersonate McLeery. But this would have been evident if he had taken off his bobble hat. So, he took permission from Jackson to keep his hat on while appearing for the exam on the pretext that it was his lucky charm.
Question. How does Evans escape from jail?
Ans. Evans decided to appear for the O–level German Examination. When the examination was conducted, one of his accomplices came as the invigilator, McLeery. After the exam, Evans walked out a free man disguised as the examiner McLeery.
Question. Which important call did the Governor receive when the examination was going on?
Ans. The important call that the Governor received was from the Exam Department. The person said that there were some corrections in the question paper and told the Governor about the said corrections. Besides, the caller also asked for the time when the exam started.
Long Answer Type Questions :
Question. How was the ‘injured’ McLeery able to befool the prison officers?
Ans. All precautions had been taken for the smooth conduct of the O-level German examination. No one wanted to take chances with ‘Evans the Breaker’. He had already escaped from prison three times. The Governor had to make an unusual request to the Board to conduct the examination in the cell itself. One of the persons from St. Mary Mag was to invigilate. The senior prison officer Jackson and prison officer Stephens left no stone un turned to make all the necessary arrangements. Evans’s razor and nail scissors were taken away as they could be used for cutting his throat or injuring McLeery. Jackson took two hours to search his cell and reported that nothing was hidden there. But Evans disturbed all his plans. He managed to procure a false beard, a pair of spectacles, a dog collar and some sort of weapon in his cell through the false McLeery. Actually, he had managed to keep the real McLeery securely bound and gagged in his study at Board Street. He had been there since 8:15 a.m. This meant that McLeery never went to prison. Secondly, it was Evans who impersonated McLeery and stayed in the cell. Stephens made a hasty conclusion that the injured man in the chair was McLeery. The last act of folly on the part of the Governor was enough to let Evans slip out of his net. Thus, this was how the ‘injured’ McLeery was able to befool the prison officers and Evans was able to escape.
Question. Give a detailed account of the preparations made by the Governor for Evans James to write his examination.
What precautions were taken by the prison authorities for the smooth conduct of examination?
Ans. Evans, the prisoner was famous as ‘‘Evans the Breaker’’. So, the prison officers were quite alert while conducting the O’ level exam and took all the precautions to prevent him from escaping. First of all, it was requested that the board should conduct the exam in the cell itself and the request was accepted. Two prison officers, Mr. Jackson and Mr. Stephens, were appointed to make all necessary arrangements. They took away his razor as well as nail-scissors so that he could not use them for any type of injuries to McLeery, the invigilator. The cell was searched for two hours and every objectionable thing was removed. Heavy security arrangements were made in the cell. Stephens was given the charge of staying there all the time to keep an eye on Evans and also to leave McLeery at the gate when the exam was over. The Governor was all the time in touch with the officers so as to thwart any untoward incident. Hence, it was a foolproof plan on the part of the prison officials. Even then, Evans had the last laugh and escaped from the prison.
Question. What precautions were taken for the smooth conduct of the O-Level German examination in prison and why? Or Describe the precautions taken by the prison officers to prevent Evans from escaping.
Ans. James Roderick Evans was a smart fellow. He was known as ‘Evans the Break’ among the prison officers. He had escaped from prison three times. Now he was taking O-Level German Examination in prison.His solitary cell was located in D-Wing, which had two heavy gates—outer and inner. Both were locked securely. Evans’s cell was kept under strict observation. Prison officer Mr Stephens watched his activities every minute through the peep-hole. Mr Jackson, the incharge of D-Wing, was in constant touch with the Governor on phone. The Governor himself listened in to the conversation in the cell. During his stay in prison, Evans was not allowed to have any visitor or letters.
All potential weapons such as knife, scissors, nail-file and razor had been removed from the cell of Evans. The contents of the suitcase of the invigilator, Reverend S. McLeery were also thoroughly searched. Even the paper-knife was taken away. In short, all precautions had been taken to see that Evans did not get a means to escape.
Question. What could the Governor have done to securely bring Evans back to the prison from the ‘Golden Lion’?
Ans. The Governor should not have let Evans go with the driver of the prison van because the moment they are away from the Governer, the so-called prison officer, a friend of Evans, unlocked Evans’ handcuffs and tells the driver to move fast thus making Evans have the last laugh. The Governor should have travelled himself in the van with Evans and also had the credentials of the guards escorting Evans to the prison checked properly.
Question. Comment on the aptness of the title ‘Evans Tries An O-Level’ OR Do you think the title ‘Evans Tries An O-Level’ is appropriate. Give reasons in support of your answer.
Ans. The title ‘Evans Tries an O-Level’ is quite apt and suggestive. The action of the play begins with a conversation between the Secretary of the Examination Board and the Governor of the Oxford Prison about holding the O-Level examination in German at the prison. The play ends with the mention of O-Level Italian classes and Evans’s interest in them. The middle portion of the play is devoted to the holding of the O-Level Examination and its consequences—escape of Evans impersonating McLeery, the Invigilator. In short, the title dominates the play and is interwoven in the whole action.
The title indicates how criminals may exploit a facility for their selfish purpose of escaping from prison. It, thus, throws a comment on crime and punishment. The complacent Governor and methodical prison officers are outwitted again by a smart criminal ahd his friends who help in his adventure. It makes us laugh at the discomfiture of the efficient prison authorities.
Question. How did the negligence of the prison officers prove to be helpful for Evans?
Ans. The prison authorities had taken multi-step, detailed precautions for the safe conduct of the examination. However, some lapses on their part at critical moments proved to be a boon for Evans.
Firstly, no one tried to verify the identity of the German teacher. Nor did they verify the identity of the invigilator, McLeery and that amounted to letting in an accomplice of Evans into his prison cell. Secondly, the Governor ignored the possibility that the calls from Evans’ accomplices could be hoax. Detective Superintendent also acted hastily and did not drive the injured McLeery to the hospital. Finally, the identities of the van driver and the two officers escorting Evans were also not verified. All of them later turned out to be Evans’ accomplices. Thus, Evans escaped yet again only because of the negligence of the prison officers.
Question. Using examples from the play ‘‘Evans Tries An 0-Level’ show how the criminals like Evans turn the tables on the Governor of Oxford Prison and the local police.
Ans. Evans is familiar with the methods of the prison authorities and he anticipates all their moves. Hence, in the battle of wits between himself and the official machinery he employs tricks unknown to them. The new German teacher and the replaced invigilator are merely stooges of Evans. Carrying blood in a rubber ring for piles is a novelty. The device of the correction slip to fix the hide out and the route to it is another piece of ingenuity. The master-stroke is when Evans impersonating wounded “McLeery” stays in prison and misguides the police to trace the parson. The use of modem devices such as prison-van, car, telephone, Ordnance Survey Map for Oxfordshire etc. shows how the criminals can misuse these facilities for their own ends. The whole operation is run by someone in the Examination Board who remains unknown till the end. It is well-planned and skilfully executed escape using the prison-van and prison staff
Question. What estimate do you form of the Governor of Oxford Prison ? OR How far do you agree with the observation: “He was just another good-for-a-giggle, gullible governor, that was all” ?
Ans. The Governor was a fussy sort of person. He would carry things to the extreme and in his enthusiasm, sometimes overdid them and ignored the obvious. His imagination seemed to run riot. He was apprehensive that Evans might try to take advantage of the examination and escape. He was filled with doubts. Evans might take advantage of the invigilator and hi-jack-knife him.
The Governor wag duty-conscious. He did not run away from responsibility. He listened- in to the conversation in the cell himself. In spite of all his virtues, the Governor had a serious flaw. He was too credulous. He had full faith in his officers and the law-enforcing machinery. He believed the injured “McLeery” and let him accompany Superintendent Carter to help him trace Evans. Actually, he let Evans leave the prison.
The final act of foolishness was when he let Evans be carried in a prison-van, without sufficient police escort. He had used his intelligence to locate the hide-out of Evans and nab him. His gullible nature deprived him of all credit. In the end, he appeared as “another good-for-a-giggle, gullible governor.”
Question. How was Evans able to devise full proof plan for escape from prison as well as items for disguise in spite of severe restrictions and strict observation?
Ans. First, Evans joined the 0-Level German night classes in last September. He was the only student. The Governor had appointed a teacher from the Technical College. Since Governor did not check on the person, a friend of Evans joined as German teacher. He was in contact with him everyday and visited him even on the eve of the examination to say good luck. The plan was devised slowly—from September to June.
Reverend S. McLeery, who was to invigilate, was bound and gagged in his flat. A friend of Evans replaced him as invigilator. McLeery put on double clerical collar, two black clerical fronts. He carried a pair of reading glasses and the semi-inflated rubber ring for piles in his suitcase. Evans had friends in the Examination Board as well. The correction slip fixed the hotel and provided exact time of start of paper. Two more telephone calls proved handy—One asking for prison-van for court and the other for giving instructions to Stephens. It was near the Examination Board that Evans as “injured McLeery” got a car to change his make¬up and clothes and escape to Golden Lion. Here, it is worth-mentioning that the silent prison officer and the driver, who drove the prison van from the Golden Lion and helped Evans escape, were his friends.
Question. Should criminals in prison be given the opportunity of learning and education? Give reasons in support of your answer.
Ans. Modern prisons are no longer the dark dungeons of the middle ages where even the rays of the sun could not penetrate. Human rights are observed scrupulously in all civilised countries even in jails. These prisons are gradually becoming reform houses. Under the prevailing conditions criminals are given the opportunity of self-improvement. Provision is made for learning and education. The light of knowledge, it is hoped, will reform the criminals, change their thoughts and make them responsible citizens. They will join the mainstream, give up crime and contribute to the well-being of society and nation. Instead of physical torture and mental agony, love and sympathy be used to transform the bitterness, cruelty and evil bent of mind. Let us hate sin and crime, not the sinner and criminals. Hence, the criminals should be given opportunity of learning and education in prison.
Question. What impression do you form of ‘Evans the Break’? OR Attempt a brief character sketch of James Roderick Evans.
Ans. “Evans the Break” as he was known among the prison officers was a jail-bird. He was a congenital kleptomaniac, but he was non-violent. He was quite a pleasant sort of person— an amusing chap; a star at the Christmas concert good at imitations.
Evans had long wavy hair. When we meet him for the first time his face was unshaven and he wore a filthy looking red and white bobble hat upon his head. He had tucked a grubby string-vest into equally grubby trousers. He smiled cheerfully at the prison officers. “Evans is smart, cunning and resourceful. He makes a request to Mr Jackson to allow him to put on his bobble hat. But he complains to the invigilator against Stephens. Stephens’ presence disturbs Evans’ concentration. He makes a very polite request to cover himself with blanket as it is chilly. He uses it to put on the clerical collar and black front. He employs the brief absence of prison officers to disguise himself as parson McLeery and spill blood on himself to look injured. He acts the part of injured parson well. He offers to help police and wins their confidence. He becomes groggy and is left there to wait for ambulance.
Evans enjoys the faith, support and active cooperation of his dedicated friends. They plan carefully, working out the minute details and execute it skilfully. He never loses his calm or presence of mind even in the worst circumstances.
Question. Comment on the ending of the play ‘Evans Tries An O-Level’.
Ans. The ending of the play is qyite surprising and unexpected. Only a couple of minutes ago the Governor of Oxford Prison had nabbed Evans from his hide-out at the ‘Golden Lion’. A silent prison officer handcuffed the recaptured Evans.
Then the two men clambered awkwardly into the back seat of the prison-van. The Governor bade him farewell but wished to see him soon in his jail. Evans too behaved as if he would remain there for a long time and wanted to know about the O-Level Italian classes coming up next September. The Governor remarked that perhaps Evans might not be with them then. Evans pondered over it and said that he wouldn’t. After a couple of minutes Evans implemented what he had predicted. Not only were the handcuffs unlocked, but the van moved on fast towards Newbury.
Evans is once again free. The broad Scots accent leaves us in no doubt who the driver was. Once again Evans scores over the prison authorities.
Question. How did the mistakes committed by the prison authorities help Evans in escaping from the prison?
Ans. In spite of all the precautions taken by the Governor and his staff, they failed to foil Evans’s bid to escape because of certain lapses on their part. First of all, they called a teacher from the technical college to act as Evans’s German tutor, but never cared to check on him. Then, they engaged Reverend S. McLeery to invigilate, but never cared to check on him when he came to discharge his duties. When Stephens raised an alarm, they blindly went by his assumption that Evans impersonating as McLeery had walked out of the prison after injuring McLeery. They did not even bother to check the identity of the injured McLeery. Then, McLeery gave them the slip and disappeared. Belatedly, they discovered that it was Evans impersonating McLeery who had stayed in. Finally, following the clues, the Governor nabs Evans at the Golden Lion Hotel. Here again, he acted foolishly. He rang up the local police station and asked them to send a police van which successfully took Evans away right from under his nose as no security check of the van was done.
Question. Describe three tricks used by Evans to escape from the prison.
Ans. Evans, the habitual jail-breaker outwits everyone and in spite of all the precautions taken by the Governor, he is able to escape from the prison. From the very beginning, when the German teacher enters the prison to the last encounter between the Governor and Evans in the hotel, the latter outsmarts them at each stage and proves that they are no match for his crafty scheming. Evans carries out all his plans ‘right under their noses’, turning the tables on them, making the prison authorities appear as ‘good for nothing’ officers. For example, he knew that Mr. Jackson who used a rough tone had some compassion in him. He granted Evans’s request to keep the filthy looking red and white bobble hat on his head during the examination. The hat was actually to hide his recently cropped hair. Also, he knew that prison officers will blindly go by assumption. He pretended to pose as ‘injured’ McLeery in the cell. No one checked the identity of ‘injured’ McLeery as it was assumed that Evans had hit McLeery and escaped.
In fact, Evans is actually, officially escorted out of jail by the prison official themselves. Finally at the hotel, when the Governor feels that he has been able to nab Evans, he dodges him and slips away.
Question. Write a character sketch of the Governor of Oxford Prison based on the story, ‘Evans Tries an O-Level’.
Ans. The Governor of the HM Prison, Oxford, appears to be a kind-hearted fellow at the start as he arranges for an O-level exam for a prisoner renowned for his ability to escape. He was, though, quite sceptical of Evans and made every arrangement to make sure that Evans had no means to escape. He was also very proud and self-conscious. He did not want Evans to disgrace him by escaping from his prison. He had a sharp presence of mind, which was clear from the fact that he cross- checked every call that was made to the prison that day. He planned the exam meticulously. He was smart enough to decode the message in the correction slip. However, he got over-confident of his arrangements and gave Evans the opportunity to escape. Also, he was a person who did not mind showering praise plan to him, he admired him. At last, he proved to be just another good for giggle, gullible Governor when Evans tricked him again and successfully escaped. His overconfidence and selfpraise let him down.
Question. What purpose did the question paper and the correction slip serve? How did they help both the criminals and the Governor?
Ans. The question paper serves to send a message to Evans. McLeery draws the Governor’s attention to the photocopied sheet superimposed over the last sheet of the question paper. It contains a message for Evans. He has been asked to follow the plan. The most important point in time, according to the message is three minutes before the end of the examination. The Governor is unable to decipher the next line of the German text. Then, Evans has been asked not to hit McLeery too hard and not to overdo the Scots accent.
The correction slip plays a crucial role in the plan of Evans’s escape. It kills two birds with one stone. At first, they had not been able to fix up a hotel. The correction slip gives Evans the name of the hotel where he is to stay. Secondly, it gives them the opportunity to know the time when the examination started.