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NCERT Solutions for Class 11 English Hornbill Prose Chapter 6:The Browning Version


This chapter is a single-act play extracted from the longer play 'The Browning Version' written by English playwright Terence Rattigan. The play is set in the scene of a boy's public school. The primary characters of the extracted single-act are Taplow, a sixteen-year-old student of the school, Frank, the school's science teacher and the physically absent middle-aged schoolmaster Mr Crocker-Harris.

The play opens with Taplow entering the school to do extra work for the schoolmaster Mr Crocker-Harris. Taplow encounters Frank, who asks him about his identity. Taplow lets Frank know that he is a student in the lower fifth and is waiting on receiving his "remove" (examination result) to become a scientist. Taplow notices a book in Frank's hand and criticises it, which discloses his bitter mood caused by having to come to school for extra work on Mr Crocker-Harris' order. The two discuss the peculiar distant personality of the schoolmaster, and Taplow mimics the schoolmaster mockingly.

Taplow, who would rather play golf, is very bitter about having to come to school. Frank does not reprimand Taplow's actions but does respond to Taplow's question, "Have I gone too far?" by saying, "Yes. Much too far." Noticing his mood, Frank suggests leaving since the schoolmaster has not yet arrived, but Taplow fearfully refuses to do so. Detecting fear in his voice, Frank asks him why he fears Mr Crocker-Harris and whether he beats his students, to which Taplow responds that the schoolmaster never beats the students, yet they all fear him. Upon hearing this, Frank expresses his envy for the schoolmaster and its influence on the students. Taplow explains the schoolmaster's nature being the reason for their fear of him. The schoolmaster does not show any feelings that make them fearful of him, but Taplow mentions that he admires the schoolmaster. As Taplow and Frank were engaged in their conversation, they did not notice the schoolmaster's wife, Millie Crocker-Harris, entering the scene. She does not show any signs that she overheard their conversation. Instead, she gives Taplow the schoolmaster's prescription to bring to a chemist while waiting for the schoolmaster to return.


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