Answer :

(a) In the story, Going Places, Sophie is portrayed as a daydreamer, who constantly tries to run away from reality. She is unable to accept the reality of the situation she is living in, the kind of family background she possesses and her future there. She makes no effort to work for those dreams and make them a reality. She lives in a make-believe world of fantasy and imagination where she has all the luxuries she doesn’t have in reality.

Jansie and Sophie can be easily said to be contrasting characters in the story. Their approach towards life is different itself. Jansie is a pragmatic girl who believes firmly in reality, whereas Sophie prefers living in her daydreams without any consideration towards the ground reality. Jansie is quick and mature to realize their condition and the kind of life they can afford to lead, working in the factory. On the other hand, Sophie tries to run away from reality and dreams of becoming a manager or a fashion designer.

(b) Seemapuri is located on the outskirts of Delhi and is a place where several migrants from Bangladesh have taken shelter after the war of 1971. In the story, Last Spring, we get to see an insight into their living conditions there. They live in slums and squatters without access to many basic facilities.

Their way of life involves rag picking as the means of survival. Their houses are made of mud, tin and tarpaulin. They do not have an identity for themselves because of their illegal settlement on this side of the border and illegal occupancy of land in Seemapuri. They have been provided with ration cards to avail basic necessities like food for survival and maintenance of their families.

(c) Douglas had a strong will in his mind to overcome his fear of deep waters. The incidents from his childhood had scarred him deeply, and he couldn’t get over his fear of stepping into deep pools. This was what he was determined to overcome.

He begins to train under a professional tutor for this purpose and takes swimming classes in order to win over his long fear. He undertakes rigorous training for long hours, where his tutor trains him in different styles of swimming and different intricacies related to them, even though it is very difficult for Douglas to step into the water in the first place. Gradually, he is able to get over his fears. He takes on himself later to practice swimming in different pools and even lakes until he is finally confident of himself and gets rid of the fear completely.

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