By Himself Questions & Answers

Hi Everyone!! This article will share By Himself Questions & Answers.

In my previous posts, I have shared the questions & answers of The Last Leaf, Palm Tree and Life of a Gymnast so, you can check these posts as well.

By Himself Questions & Answers

Question 1: Number the various occupation that Jack took up to make a living in the right order.


…3…joined oyster pirates
…5…worked in a laundry
…6…left for the Klondike gold expedition
…2…sold papers in the street
…1…worked as a ranch boy
…4…went on a seal-hunting expedition

Question 2: Why does Jack say he is on the hunt for a lost boyhood?

Answer: Jack says he is on the hunt for a lost boyhood, because as a child Jack was burdened with responsibilities. He started working at a very young age, and he thought of himself as a man rather than a young boy. If he ever had some extra money, he would never spend it on candy because he thought that candies were childish.

Question 3: Describe Jack’s second school at San Mateo.

Answer: Jack’s second school at San Mateo was a hit and miss affair. The teacher used to get drunk, and then one of the elder students would thrash him. To make it even, the teacher would thrash the younger students. There were many days when the students wouldn’t even sit on their desks.

Question 4: How was Jack different from the other ranchers?

Answer: Jack was different from the other ranchers, because while Jack loved to read, the other ranchers were mostly ignorant in this area. By the time he was nine years old, he had read and absorbed Washington Irwin’s Alhambra. But he found out that none of the other ranchers knew anything about it.

Question 5: What assumption had Jack formed about the city gentleman? How was he disillusioned?

Answer: One day, a man from the city had come to the ranch where Jack worked. Jack had decided that people in the city were not as ignorant as people in the country. So, he had formed the assumption that the city man would know about Alhambra, and he would be able to have a discussion with him on the book.

Jack was disillusioned of his assumptions. He built a model of an Alhambra from old bricks, and brought the city man to see it. But, he found out that the man knew nothing about Alhambra.

Question 6: From being an oyster Pirate, Jack went on to become a part of the fish patrol. How is this ironical?

Answer: Jack was once a part of oyster piracy. This was an illegal activity, and if Jack had been caught, he would have spent his entire life in prison.

It is ironical that he was later a part of the fish patrol, because now his job was to catch the people committing illegal fishing at the sea.

By Himself Questions & Answers

Question 7: How did Jack go about writing the essay?

Answer: Jack was writing a descriptive essay, titled ‘Typhoon off the coast of Japan’, for a competition. Those days, he was working in a jute mill thirteen hours a day. Each day he would begin his essay at midnight and write two thousand words. He would get up at half past five in the morning, so he got little time to sleep. For two nights he wrote the essay, and on the third night he edited it to bring it within the word limit. Jack won the first prize for the essay.

Question 8: Why was Jack known as the ‘Boy socialist’? What was the result?

Answer: Jack was known as the ‘Boy Socialist’, because he spoke strongly in favour of socialism, and this drew attention of other people towards him. Jack would give speeches on socialism in the streets to the crowds. This led to him being arrested by the police, as socialism was often perceived as dangerous by the government.

Question 9: How did Jack manage to study in the university of California?

Answer: Jack got admission in the University of California after cramming for three months. He managed to study there by working in a laundry and writing to earn money. But this proved to be too much to handle, so he had to give up the university education before it was finished.

Question 10: Read the lines and answer the questions:

Through reading such stuff, my mind was necessarily ridiculously conventional, but being very lonely I read everything that came in my way.

(a) What did Jack’s reading material mostly consist of?

Answer: Jack’s reading material mostly consisted of dime novels, which he borrowed from the men hired to work on the ranch, and newspapers, which contained the adventures of poor shop-girls.

(b) Which book greatly impressed Jack? Why did he never know the end of the story?

Answer: The book Signa by Ouida greatly impressed Jack. The copy that Jack was reading had the last few chapters missing. So, he did not know the end of the story until he grew up, and so he kept dreaming about the possible endings.

(c) What impact did the opening line of Jack’s favourite book have on him?

Answer: The opening line of Signa was ‘It was only a little lad’. The ‘little lad’ of Signa had dreams of becoming a great musician and having all Europe at his feet, despite being just a boy. This line had a great impact on Jack. He thought that he also could dream big, and his being just a young boy should not stop him aiming for higher goals.

Question 11: Read the lines and answer the questions:

After three months trial, I gave up writing, having decided that I was a failure and left for the Klondike to prospect for gold.

(a) Why did Jack have to leave the Klondike?

Answer: Jack had to leave the Klondike because of the outbreak of scurvy.

(b) How long was the journey home and how did Jack travel?

Answer: The journey home was 1,900 miles long. Jack covered these miles to home on an open boat. He wrote the details of his trip while travelling in the boat.

(c) How did Jack ‘find himself’ in the Klondike?

Answer: In Klondike, Jack found himself because he had a lot of time to think. Nobody talked much in the Klondike, and this helped Jack to turn his thoughts inwards and get his true perspective.

Question 12: Read the lines and answer the questions:

While trying for it, I wrote down the river, which was rejected.

(a) What does ‘it’ refer to in the above line?

Answer: ‘It’ refers to the work that Jack was trying to get.

(b) What did the speaker do while he was waiting for the rejection?

Answer: While waiting for the rejection of Down the River, Jack wrote a twenty-thousand-word long serial for a news company. This serial also got rejected.

(c) Did the series of rejection finally end? How?

Answer: The series of rejections finally ended when a story by Jack got accepted by a Californian magazine. He received five dollars for this story, and soon another story was selected for which he got forty dollars. This changed things and Jack finally succeeded in becoming a writer and could make a steady living from his writings alone.

So, these were By Himself Questions & Answers.

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