CBSE Class 12 English Elective

CBSE Sample Paper (2019-20)
Class 12 English (Elective)

Time allowed: 3 Hrs.
Maximum Marks: 80 

General Instructions: 

  1. This paper is divided into four sections: A, B, C and D. All sections are compulsory.
  2. Separate instructions are given with each section and question, wherever necessary. Read these instructions very carefully and follow them.
  3. Do not exceed the prescribed word limit while answering the questions.


  1. Read the passage given below and answer the questions that follow:
    1. I was only a year and some months younger than Valodya; we grew up, studied and played together. No distinction of elder and younger was made between us. But just about the time I am speaking of I began to realize that I was no companion for him, either in age, in interests or inability. It even seemed to me that Valodya himself was aware of his superiority and was proud of it. This idea (it may have been a wrong one) was inspired by my vanity which suffered every time I came in contact with him. He was better than me in everything; at lessons, in arguments and in manners, and all this took me farther from him and caused me moral anguish which I could not understand. When Valodya was given a tucked linen shirt for the first time I was unhappy for not having a shirt like that. I am sure I would have felt happier if I was convinced that every time he arranged his collar it was not done to annoy me.
    2. What tormented me most was that it sometimes seemed to me Valodya understood what was going on inside me but tried to hide it. But perhaps my sensitiveness and tendency to analyse deceived me in this case. It may be Valodya did not feel at all as I did. He was impulsive and his enthusiasm in different hobbies did not last long.
    3. He would suddenly develop a passion for pictures, himself take up painting, spend all his money buying them and beg them of his drawing-master, of papa and of grandmamma. Then it would be a craze for curios to decorate his table, collecting them from every room in the house, or a mania for novels which he obtained on the sly and read all day and night. I could not help being impressed by his hobbies but I was too proud to imitate him and too young and not independent enough to choose a hobby for myself. But there was nothing I envied so much as Valodya’s happy large-heartedness which showed itself most strikingly when we quarrelled. I always felt that he was behaving well but I could not do likewise.
    4. Once when his passion of ornaments was at its height, I went up to his table and accidentally broke an empty bright-coloured little scent bottle.
      “Who asked you to touch my things?” demanded Valodya coming into the room and seeing how I had upset the symmetry of the different treasures on his table. “And where is the scent bottle? You must have…..”
    5. “I knocked it over by accident and it broke. What does it matter?”
      “Do me the favour-never dare touch my things again”, he said, putting the pieces of broken flask together and looking at theme sorrowfully.
      “And you please don’t issue orders” I retorted, “that’s all.”  And I smiled, though I did not feel in the least like smiling.
      “Yes, its nothing to you but it does matter to me,” pursued Valodya, jerking his shoulder, a gesture he had inherited from pap. “He goes and breaks it and then laughs, the nasty little brat!”
      “I am a little brat, and you’re big but you’re stupid.”
      “I am not going to quarrel with you,” said Valodya, giving me a slight push, “go away.”
      “Don’t push!”
      “Get away!”
      “Don’t push, I tell you!”
      Valodya took my word and tried to drag me away from the table; but I was beside myself by now; I got hold of the leg of the table and tipped it over. “There now!” And all his china and glass ornaments crashed to the floor.  “You disgusting little boy!” cried Valodya, trying to save some of his falling treasures.
      “Well, now it is all over between us,” I thought as I left the room, “we have quarrelled for good.”
    6. As soon as afternoon lessons were over I left the room. I was too scared, uncomfortable and ashamed to be alone with my brother. After our history lesson in the evening, I took my exercise books and started towards the door.  As I passed Valodya, though I wanted to go up to him and make friends I scowled and put on an angry expression.  At that moment Valodya raised his head and, with a meaningful smile, looked me full in the face.  Our eyes met and I knew that he understood me; but some irresistible feeling made me turn away.
    7. “Nicky!” he said in a most natural voice without a scrap of pathos.  “Don’t be cross any more. Forgive me if I offended you.” And he held out his hand.  Something that came higher and higher seemed to be pressing my chest and stopping my breath but this only lasted a second; tears came to my eyes and I felt better. “Forgive….m-me, Val-dya,” I stammered, squeezing his hand. Valodya looked at me as if he could not make out at all why there should be tears in my eyes. – Leo Tolstoy (Excerpts from his autobiographical novel ‘Boyhood’ originally written in Russian, translation by C.J. Haqar)

    On the basis of your reading of the above excerpt, answer the following questions briefly:

    1. Why did Nicky feel that he was not an apt companion for Valodaya?
    2. About which aspect of Valodya’s personality was Nicky most upset?
    3. Why did Nicky feel uncomfortable and ashamed to be alone with his brother?
    4. What did Nicky do to show that he was sorry for all that he had done in the morning?
    5. Was the narrator repentant for his behaviour? How do you know?
    6. What does Valodaya’s behaviour show about his character?
    7. Choose the correct option: Which of the following is NOT true for Valodaya?
      1. He was fond of reading.
      2. He was inclined towards painting.
      3. He was reckless with money.
      4. He liked collecting curios and works of art.
    8. “I am a little brat, and you’re big but you are stupid.” This line highlights that Nicky:
      1. was unapologetic towards his brother
      2. was jealous of his brother
      3. was impulsive and volatile, but loved his brother
      4. was disrespectful towards his brother
    9. Choose the synonym of pride (para 1)
      1. distinction
      2. anguish
      3. superiority
      4. vanity
    10. Choose the antonym of comforted (para 2)
      1. enthusiasm
      2. impulsive
      3. tormented
      4. deceived
    11. Choose the right answer which explains the underlined phrase: We have quarrelled for good
      1. For good things to follow
      2. For good reason
      3. Forever
      4. It is very good
    12. “Something that came higher and higher seemed to be pressing my chest,” implies
      1. he felt choked with emotions.
      2. his brother tried to overpower him.
      3. he was in a state of confusion.
      4. his brother towered over him.
  2. Read the poem given below and answer the questions that follow:

I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings
By Maya Angelou 

The free bird leaps
on the back of the wind
and floats downstream
till the current ends
and dips his wings
in the orange sun rays
and dares to claim the sky.
But a bird that stalks down his narrow cage
can seldom see through his bars of rage}
his wings are clipped and his feet are tied
so he opens his throat to sing.

The caged bird sings with fearful trill
of the things unknown but longed for still
and his tune is heard
on the distant hill for the caged bird
sings of freedom

The free bird thinks of another breeze
and the trade winds soft through the sighing trees
and the fat worms waiting on a dawn-bright lawn
and he names the sky his own.

But a caged bird stands on the grave of dreams
his shadow shouts on a nightmare scream
his wings are clipped and his feet are tied
so he opens his throat to sing

The caged bird sings with a fearful trill
of things unknown but longed for still
and his tune is heard on the distant hill
for the caged bird sings of freedom.

On the basis of your reading of the poem, answer the following questions in 50-60 words each.

  1. What is the grave of dreams and why does a caged bird stand on it?
  2. Why does a bird that stalks down his narrow cage can seldom see through his bars of rage?
  3. Who are referred to as free bird and caged bird in the poem? Why?
  4. Is the situation of the caged bird relevant to the contemporary times?

Creative Writing Skills and Applied Grammar – 30 Marks

  1. Attempt any two of the following three questions in 120-150 words each.
    1. Describe an influential person and explain why you feel this person is a positive role model.
    2. Water is the force behind agriculture, industries, trade and commerce. Lately, India has been facing severe scarcity of this vital resource. Write an article for your school magazine on the need for water conservation. You are Rajiv/Ragini.
    3. Technology appears to create global network, bringing people together. But, it also replaces real-life communication, thus bringing social isolation. Write your views on the impact of technology on human connections for an e-journal. You are Sourabh/Surabhi.
  2. Attempt any one of the following two questions in 150-180 words.
    1. It is seen that public property is often defaced and damaged. The infrastructure (public transport, subways, roads, gardens) provided by the government helps the nation develop and it’s the responsibility of each citizen to ensure that it remains unharmed. Write a speech voicing your concerns over the need to have a sense of ownership and national pride. You are Rati/Rahul.
    2. You are Malini/Manoj. Write an article to be published in a leading daily urging all parents to give their time and moral support to their children, especially the adolescents who face multiple pressures in this crucial phase of their lives. Many of your friends are getting expensive gifts from their parents, but not their attention and time.
  3. Transform the following sentences as per the given instructions.
    1. I am reading a book at the moment. It is very interesting. (combine the sentences using the beginning given)  The book ________.
    2. The fire alarm has been sounded by him. (transform to active voice)
    3. “What do you mean by these words?”, asked the teacher angrily. (transform to indirect speech)
    4. Though he was powerful, he was lonely. (rewrite as a compound sentence)
    5. The teacher insists that the students write neatly. (Rewrite the sentence using ‘writing’)
    6. Open the window. (rewrite using the beginning given) Would ________.
    7. The soldiers who were victorious were honoured by the President. (rewrite as a simple sentence)
    8. She was so tired that she could not finish the task. (rewrite the sentence using ‘too’)

Literature (20 Marks)

  1. Answer any one of the following two questions in 50-60 words.
    1. What do the swans in the poem, ‘The Wild Swans at Coole’ symbolize?
    2. What type of relationship does Eveline have with Frank?
  2. Answer any two of the following three questions in 60-80 words each.
    1. Comment on the use of the shadows for the idea that the poet wants to convey in the poem – (A Lecture Upon the Shadow)
    2. How can the poem Kubla Khan by Coleridge be read as an illustration of the power of imagination?
    3. Why did the author think that Frau Frieda’s dreams were a stratagem for surviving? Did he believe in her prophetic ability? (I  Sell My Dreams)
  3. Answer any two of the following three questions in 80-100 words each.
    1. How does D.H. Lawrence assert that the novel is a book that can touch the life of a whole man alive and that is why the novel matters?
    2. Nature may have tricks up her sleeves to check us if the chemists exploit her too greedily. Critically comment on the statement. (Freedom)
    3. Girish Karnad’s ‘Broken Images’ explores the crisis of identity and rips the mask of a celebrity. Comment.

Fiction (10 marks) 

  1. Answer any one of the following questions in 60-80 words.
    1. Describe the business agreement between Captain and Madan.
    2. The creation of the role of Master is intended to serve as an ideal. Justify.
    3. Margayya’s rise and fall in life makes the readers introspect on various notions of ethics and integrity. Elaborate.
    4. Describe briefly Margayya’s newfound career in the publishing house.
  2. Answer any one of the following questions in 120-160 words.
    1. Why does the Master advise the frightened villagers not to use the words ‘beast’ or ‘brute’?
    2. The Master’s early life is a total contrast to his present philosophical leanings. Comment.
    3. Margayya, the hero of The Financial Expert is probably Narayan’s greatest single comic creation. Justify.
    4. In what way is Margayya ruined through his own son? ​​​​​​

CBSE Sample Paper (2019-20)
Class 12 English (Elective)


  1. On the basis of your reading of the above excerpt, answer the following questions briefly.
    1. felt that Valodaya was far superior to him in everything – in arguments, manners and lessons.
    2. Nicky thought Valodaya understood what was going on inside him but he tried to hide it.
    3. felt guilty of breaking the precious things, didn’t know how to reconcile with his brother, embarrassed about his bad conduct
    4. overwhelmed with onslaught of emotion, eyes filled with tears, he cried out his apology
    5. yes, scared, uncomfortable, guilt-ridden, ashamed to be alone with his brother
    6. large-hearted, avoided getting into fights, generous, well mannered, forgiving
    7. (iii) He was reckless with money
    8. (ii) was impulsive and volatile, but loved his brother
    9. (i) vanity
    10. (iv) tormented
    11. (iii) For good reason
    12. (iv) He felt choked with emotions.
  2. Attempt any two of the following three questions in 120-150 words each.
    1. the bird has no freedom, its feet are tied, wings are clipped, its dreams are unachievable, it has given up on the dream of flying freely, its dreams are now ‘dead’…hence, it stands on its dead dreams now.
    2. tight cage, with bars, heavily guarded, can hardly view the outside of the cage, due to its anger and frustration at being imprisoned, it doesn’t see beyond the cage.
    3. free bird – free individual, free to live life on own terms caged bird – oppressed, subjugated individuals, deprived of freedom
    4. yes, victims of political and social injustice, women not allowed full freedom to pursue dreams and ambitions, people ill-treated based on social class and ethnicity.
  3. Add answer
  4. Add answer
    1. The book I am reading at the moment is very interesting.
    2. He sounded the fire alarm.
    3. The teacher asked angrily what did he mean by those words.
    4. He was powerful, but he was lonely.
    5. The teacher insists on the students writing neatly.
    6. Would you please open the window.
    7. The victorious soldiers were honoured by the President.
    8. She was too tired to finish the task.
    1. symbol of beauty, energy and permanence, also remind the poet of the pains of getting old and the inevitability of death.
    2. a strange relationship, suggesting a difference of class, there seems to be an emotional gap too, Eveline views Frank as a rescue her from her abusive father.
    1. central idea is the blossoming relationship between two people, which at first, flourishes, but as the day proceeds shadows and enshroud the characters idealistic vision, taunting their honesty – disillusion with one another. Light is parallel with love and truth, darkness with infidelity. Shadows are metaphorical, representing emotional detachment, their flaws, secrets distrust – conflict is internal, originating from the characters themselves – the lover’s high expectations cast a shadow on the actual practical approach.
    2. Use of diction and imagery transforms poem – first stanza introduces setting, concept of pleasure dome, uses imagery of caverns as a metaphor for untapped potential of man’s imagination – palace of Kubla Khan is vivid imagination transcends the barriers of reality through use of imagination –  poet discusses issues of war/tyranny and contrast that which exists in paradise.
    3.  her conversations made it clear that, dream by dream, she had taken over the entire fortune of her patrons in Vienna.  Author knew that they were no more than a stratagem as she said that she sold them for a living and he realized the reality behind her interpretations – interpreted dreams of the religious family – finally asked them to go away for five years – bequeathed a part of their estate – the author believes in her dreams as he left Vienna and never returned.
    1. Novel provides guidance in this matter, it helps to see when a man is alive and when he is dead in life, helps to develop an instinct for life, does not advocate a right or wrong path which varies according to circumstances. Novel portrays varying nature of life thus making readers realize that life itself is the reason for living…end result – whole man alive.
    2. Science and technology help produce machines – increase in production of food grains – helps in equal distribution of wealth – we can now cultivate the sky as well as the earth – improve quality of grass, improve cattle, butter, poultry – it might prove risky – Shaw talks about ecological disturbance – harsh reality of modern world.
    3. Psychological repression of an inverted kind, television screen image is more honest version of Manjula than her own self – he exposes the pathetic mess a person’s psyche can be reduced to over years of suppressed bitterness and lying to oneself – Pseudo Modern World – virtual reality – all forced to believe only that – TV presentation unravels the real story of Manjula’s book.
    1. Reveals Captain’s self-importance, Madan approaches him about having Raja perform in a film – Madan forced to draft and redraft agreement – gives opportunity to manipulate others – both play power games.OR
    2. Expounds spiritual profundity – understands God’s scheme of things – has overcome limitations of his past life – advises villagers to control their pride and arrogance – doesn’t surround himself with prisons of his own makingOR
    3. Combines traditional values and wave of westernization – bears no remorse in illegal sale of forms – obsession with money leads to neglect of only son – stoops low in immoral literature – suffers no guilt or qualms – devoid of love and compassion – ignores domestic lifeOR
    4. Sold the manuscripts of Bed Life by Dr. Pal for whatever cash Margayya has – is assured that the book named Domestic Harmony will sell in thousands if the right publisher is found – Madan Lal agrees to publish it on a 50-50 partnership – book is popular and Margayya hits a fortune.
    1. Ugly demeaning words coined by man in his arrogance – it is man’s pride that lies at the roots of his sufferings and delusion – mankind surrounds himself with prisons of his own making – lives under false fallacy that all creatures other than himself are awful beasts – the words portray his pride and egocentricityOR
    2. Sudden information about his early life – satisfied selfish appetites – has inordinate demands for food – left wife and family without warning – labelled for desertionOR
    3. Modern town man always struggling to change his social position – experiences ups and downs of life – attains self-knowledge only when he gives up his chase for money – lack of insight contributes to his failureOR
    4. Balu, his spoiled child threw his account books in the gutter which destroyed all transactions – could not SSLC inspite of admitting him in school in great style and private tutor – seized school leaving book, tears it and throws it in the gutter – runs away from home – befriends Dr. Pal and falls into evil ways – refuses to restart the business of his father – spread false rumors about his death.