Saturday, May 15, 2021

NEB Grade XI Compulsory English Note | Literary Studies | Unit 4 | Lesson 3 Refund | One Act Play | Fritz Karinthy

Lesson: 3

NEB Grade XI Compulsory English Note | Literary Studies | Unit 4 | Lesson 3 Refund | One Act Play | Fritz Karinthy

Refund (Fritz Karinthy)











The one act play ‘Refund’ is about a man, named Wasserkopf, who goes back to the school in which he had studied and demands a refund of all the tuition fees. He claims that he learnt nothing useful at school. In the end, he loses his fight against the school as he is tricked by the Mathematics Teacher. The play is full of humor which deals with an extraordinarily absurd situation.

Wasserkopf is forty years old. He doesn’t succeed in getting any job. He is said to be fit for nothing. One day he met his classmate, Leaderer. He asked Leadere about his business. When he was told about foreign exchange and Hungarian money, he didn’t understand anything. He started asking questions about foreign exchange. Leaderer remarked on his study for not knowing the ordinary thing about foreign exchange. Wasserkopf was suggested to go to the school and get his tuition fees back. He thinks that this idea will be beneficial as he is jobless and does not have any finance.

He goes to the school where he studied once. When he asks for the refund, the Principal is shocked. The Principal is in a difficult situation. He calls for an urgent meeting with all staff. The teachers realize that Wasserkopf intends to fail the exam and claim the refund. Therefore, they decide to outsmart the old student by proving all his answers right. The Mathematics Master said that they have to help each other to carry out their plan. The teachers decide to ask him the questions orally and prove him right whatever answers he gives.

Wasserkopf’s test starts. The History Master asks him the first question. His question is that how long the thirty Years’ war lasted. The answer is in the question itself. But Wasserkopf said that the Thirty Years war lasted for seven metres. The History Master is helpless to prove this answer right. Luckily, the Mathematics Master says that the answer is right as it is on the basis of Einstein’s Theory of Relativity. Wasserkopf calls the History Master a numskull.

The Physics Master questions him if clocks in church steeples really become smaller as he walks away from them, or they merely appear to become smaller because of an optical illusion. He calls the Physics Master an ass. The teacher says that the answer is correct because the ass does not have any illusion of vision. The Geography Master asks him what city of the same name is the capital of the German province of Brunswick. His answer is simply the word ‘same’. The teacher verifies his answer. All teachers mark him excellent though he uses abusive words to them. They do not show their anger because they have to prove him as an excellent student.

At last the Mathematics Master asks him one easy and the other difficult question. For the easy question, his reply is wrong. The teacher gets angry and says that he has failed his examination, so he should be given his tuition fees back. The teacher says that the school has decided to return his tuition fees and asks for the exact amount which he will get. He is unaware of their trap. He gives them the exact detail of the tuition fees. The mathematics Master says that it is his difficult question and he has answered rightly.

The Principal presents the results of the examination. He declares that Wasserkopf has passed with distinction in every subject, and has again shown that he is entitled to the certificate they awarded him on his graduation. The servant seizes Wasserkopf by the collar and his trousers and rushes him off. The teachers are able to handle the situation wisely.

Understanding the text

Answer the following questions.

a. Why does Wasserkopf demand a refund of his tuition fees from the school?

Wasserkopf demands a refund of his tuition fees from the school because he believes the education he received in the school failed to provide him with any capability.

b. Why does Wasserkopf consider himself good for nothing?

He considers himself good for nothing because he can’t learn anything useful in his school.

c. What did the teachers decide to do when Wasserkopf asked for a refund?

When Wasserkopf asked for a refund, they decide to reexamine Wasserkoph and make him pass the exam.

d. Why did Wasserkopf give ridiculous answers? Why did the teachers accept these answers?

He gave ridiculous answers because his objective was to fail the exam. The teachers accept his answers to ensure that he passes the exam.

e. How does the Mathematics Master describe Wasserkopf’s character?

The Mathematics Master describes him as a sly, crafty individual, who will try to get the better of them and his money back by hook or crook.

f. How did the teachers outwit Wasserkopf?

The teachers asked Wasserkopf very easy questions. His answers were very ridiculous but they justified them. Finally, after asking Wasserkopf the easy question, the mathematics teacher said that he failed the exam and asked him to calculate the amount the school had to refund. He did it very well. The mathematics teachers said that he solved the difficult question as he was a mathematical genius. The teachers declared that he passed the exam. Thus, they outwitted Wasserkopf.

g. What is the final judgment on Waserkopf’s demand of refund?

The principal presents the final result of the examination. He has passed with distinction in every subject, and has again shown that he is entitled to the certificate the school awarded him on his graduation. No money is refunded but the servant seizes him and sends him out.

NEB Grade XI Compulsory English Note | Literary Studies | Unit 4 | Lesson 3 Refund | One Act Play | Fritz Karinthy

Reference to the context

c. Explain the following line of the play:

“Because I didn’t get my money’s worth, that’s why!”

The given line is a satire on the present day education system.

Wasserkoph goes back to the school in which he studied. He meets the Principal and insists that his tuition fees should be refunded. The Principal is taken aback and asks the reason for this strange claim. He replies that he had learnt nothing in the school. He is fired from the job and is in financial crisis. This is the result of the education he received in the school.

Wasserkoph is, therefore, justified in claiming for a refund. He adds that a reexamination will prove that his demand is valid.

d. What is the theme of the play?

The play “Refund” is the amalgamation of humour and satire. The dramatist criticizes the present system of education, which does not prepare students for their career. The play deals with an unusual situation. It also shows the capability of the teachers to manage the situation without spoiling the reputation of their school.

e. Sketch the character of Wasserkopf.

Wasserkopf is the main character in the play. He is forty years old. He is an eccentric person. He is fired from the job and still remains unemployed. Wherever he goes people comment on his disability that he is fit for nothing. He believes that he has not learnt anything in his school, so the school has to refund his tuition fees.

for Class 11 Optional English Note

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