Unit 8 Humour and Satire | Neb Grade 11 | Language Development | Compulsory English by Suraj Bhatt



Unit 8 Humour and Satire | Neb Grade 11 | Language Development | Compulsory English by Suraj Bhatt
Neb English Support

Unit 8 Humour and Satire | Neb Grade 11 | Language Development | Compulsory English by Suraj Bhatt

Humour and Satire: A Few Kind Words for Superstition


a. What do you see in the picture? What's your quick response to this situation?


I see a cat crossing a road in the picture. My quick response to this situation is to pause myself for a while.

b. What is superstition? Do you think luck has a role in your life?


Superstition is a belief that is not based on human reason or scientific knowledge that events may be influenced by one's behaviour in some magical or mystical way. Yes, I think luck has a role in my life.


A. Match the following.

a. transcendental 》iv. spiritual, nonphysical or mystical

b. deplore 》 i. to feel or express strong disapproval of (something)

c. absolve 》vi. set free from blame, guilt, or responsibility; release

d. juju 》ii. a charm or fetish used by some West African people

e. crude 》 ii. natural state

f. chronicle 》v. a written record of historical events

B. Find the contextual meanings of the following words from the text and then use them in sentences of your own.

a. condemn


Meaning: To strongly criticise or denounce; to excoriate the perpetrators of.

Sentence: The president condemned the terrorists.

b. terror


Meaning: Intense dread, fright, or fear.

Sentence: They lived their lives in intense terror. 

c. unbidden


Meaning: not invited, requested or asked for

Sentence: She came to the party unbidden.

d. persist


Meaning: To continue to be; to remain.

Sentence: If the problem persists, try to meet him.

e. devout


Meaning: Devoted to religion or to religious feelings and duties; pious; extremely religious.

Sentence: He is a devout but his manners aren't good.

f. banish


Meaning: To send someone away and forbid that person from returning.

Sentence: He was banished from his state for his activities. 

g. creed


Meaning: That which is believed; accepted doctrine, especially religious doctrine.

Sentence: Their creeds will surely help them to settle an ideal state.

h. hasten


Meaning: To make someone speed up or make something happen quicker.

Sentence: John hastened his servant to go away from his house.

i. sober


Meaning: serious and sensible

Sentence: If we try, we will find its sober solution.

j. scorn


Meaning: To feel or display contempt for something or somebody;

Sentence: He scorned people of slum areas.

k. yearning


Meaning: a strong and emotional desire

Sentence: Master Lu Xun had a deep yearning for his homeland.

I. aloof


Meaning: Reserved and remote; either physically or emotionally distant

Sentence: He seems quite aloof in the party.

m. swarthy


Meaning: dark-skinned

Sentence: Bob has swarthy complexion. W

n. humbler


Meaning: One who humbles

Sentence: He has shown his humbler qualities to his master.


Answer these questions:

a. According to the author, what are the four types of superstition?


According to the author, the four types of superstition are as follows:

Vain Observances



Improper worship of the true God.

b. Which language is the word 'superstition' derived from? What does it mean?


The word 'superstition' is derived from the Latin word supersisto. It means to stand in terror of the deity.

c. How do psychologists understand superstition?


Psychologists understand superstition as a compulsion that neurosis does not banish.

d. How does superstition differ from religion?


Superstition is a belief that is not based on human reason or scientific knowledge and that events may be influenced by one's behaviour in some magical or mystical way, whereas religion is also a belief in a spiritual or metaphysical reality (often including at least one deity), accompanied by practices or rituals based on the belief.

e. What is the belief of some people in the Middle Europe about sneezing?


The belief of some people in Middle Europe about sneezing is that when a man sneezes, his soul, for that moment, is absent from his body, and they hasten to bless him, lest the soul be seized by the Devil. 

f. In the author's view, why are people so fascinated about superstition?


In the author's view, people are so fascinated about superstition because superstition, in general, is linked to people's yearning (desire) to know their fate, and to have some hand in deciding it.


B. Put the verb into the correct form, present simple or present continuous.

a. Nisha..........(speak) English very well.


Nisha speaks English very well.

b. Hurry up! We.......(wait) for you.


Hurry up! We are waiting for you.

c. Excuse me!.......(you/speak) English?


Excuse me! Do you speak English?

d. She.......(have) a shower in bathroom.


She is having a shower in bathroom.

e. How often.......(you/read) a newspaper?


How often do you read a newspaper?

f. I'm sorry, I.........(not/understand). Can you speak more slowly?


I'm sorry, I dont understand. Can you speak more slowly?

g. You can turn off the radio. I......(not/listen) to it.


You can turn off the radio. I am not listening to it.

h. I usually.........(get up) at 5 o'clock every morning.


I usually get up at 5 o'clock every morning.

i. Look! The river.........(flow) very fast.


Look! The river is flowing very fast.

j. Amrita.......(not/seem) very happy at the moment.


Amrita does not seem very happy at the moment.

C. Are the underlined verbs in the correct form? Correct them where necessary.

a. Water boils at 100° C.


Water boils at 100° C.

b. The water boils. Can you turn it off?


The water is boiling. Can you turn it off?

c. I must go now. It gets late.


I must go now. It is geting late.

d. This sauce's tasting really good.


This sauce tastes really good.

e. I'm thinking this is your key.


I think this is your key.

f. Are you believing in God?


Do you believe in God?

g. I usually go to school on foot.


I usually go to school on foot.

h. Look! That man tries to open the door of her car.


Look! That man is trying to open the door of her car.

i. The moon is going round the earth.


The moon goes round the sun.

j. I'm getting hungry. Let's go and eat.


I'm getting hungry. Let's go and eat.


a. What is the key takeaway of this essay? Do you think that this essay is satirical? Why?


The main objective of this essay is to change the general view that superstition is nurtured only by uneducated and irrational people and to present a unique and different perspective on superstition. Everyone, no matter how logical or rational, has superstition, and this is a common and natural characteristic, although it is not directly indicated. The essayist makes no precise or explicit point about what the essay will be about, except that it will revolve around superstition.

The essayist thinks and believes that many superstitions are so widespread and so old. He thinks that the concept of superstition must have arisen from the depths of the human mind, which is indifferent to any caste or creed. For him, superstition is associated with human interest as the human mind is inquisitive and tries to know a variety of things about good and bad, fate or destiny, and plays its part in deciding it.

Yes, I think this essay is satirical. It makes fun of literate as well as educated people who have nothing to do with superstition but believe in it. The essayist has used many examples involving superstition, from his personal life around the university where he lives to his religious studies. All these irrational events in the essay have strongly ridiculed scientific and modern human civilization.

Throwing salt over the left shoulder, avoiding walking under a ladder, resolving university affairs in consultation with the I Ching, placing jujus, lucky coins, and other fortune-bringers on candidates' desks in examination halls, etc. are some superstitious activities that are even believed by rational people.

The essayist also pokes fun at his own superstitious behaviour, such as paying four shillings to touch a Lucky Baby before taking a college exam, revealing that he did it just for fun.

b. Can education bring change in the belief of superstition? Present your arguments to support your answer.


Yes, education can bring about a change in the belief in superstition. It improves cognition and reasoning abilities. Educated people are less likely to be superstitious and can make others aware of this evil. Illiterate people always act differently. They keep on believing nonsensical things. They prefer to send sick people to Warlock instead of the hospital. In the case of educated people, such cases rarely happen. They always try to send the sick to the hospital instead of calling on Warlock to cast out demons to heal them. Education provides an understanding of diseases, their causes, and the treatment of diseases.

Superstitions take over when one is afraid of unknown things or activities. Once the unknown becomes familiar, the superstition is no more. If a person comes to know the real truth behind various meaningless things, then fear will vanish from their mind. They begin to believe in rationality and act accordingly.

Indeed, paranormal things or activities are deeply rooted in people's minds. The main reason behind this is the influence of the society where they live and grow and the cultural practices they are involved in. Eliminating them is quite difficult, but not impossible. Only educated people can make this possible.


a. Write an essay on superstitions that exists in your community in about 250 words.


By superstition, we mean a belief or beliefs, not based on human reason or scientific knowledge, that events may be influenced by one's behaviour in some magical or mystical way. It is blind faith or concept that makes any society as well as its people backwards. Most concepts regarding superstition are seen in those places where there is a lack of education among people. These are beliefs that have been followed by people since ancient times and practiced without any proper logic or reasoning. In the present world, which is considered to be the age of science and technology, there are still millions of people who believe in various superstitions that have no logic. In this modern world too, most educated people are seen believing in the concepts of superstitions.

Superstition is still prevalent in our societies. The concept of superstition is widely seen in our eastern traditional societies. Most people in our societies are seen practicing nonsensical superstitions. People still believe in good and bad omens. In case of crisis or any unfortunate incident, people still move to Warlock for their cure. They believe less in hospitals, doctors, and medicines. Superstition is connected to people's lives. They think about good and bad stars if they are about to cut their hair. Before leaving houses or setting out for journeys, people often take care of days, whether they are auspicious for setting out or not. It is considered unlucky to walk under the ladder. People take it as a bad sign if a black cat crosses their walking roads. Our societies are packed with so many concepts regarding superstition that are impossible to change. People have been practicing these concepts since their ancient days. These irrational concepts have been transmitted from generation to generation.

Superstitions should be uprooted from our societies. It leads us to failure and destruction. Educated and aware people should play a major role in eradicating this. We should be able to convince those superstitious people who are blindly following all these superstitions. We should tell them about the wonders of science and technology.

b. “Superstition is prevalent in every walk of life.'' Argue for or against this statement.


Superstition is prevalent in every walk of life. I completely agree with this statement. By superstition, we understand a blind belief that is unreal and unscientific. This term and its concept are mysterious and unknown. This term, superstition, is deeply rooted in our society, especially in those places where most people are illiterate.

The present world is the age of science and technology. Science has ruled the whole world, but unfortunately, we find many people in our societies who are still filled with numerous superstitions in their minds. They believe in both good and bad omens. They believe in magic, witchcraft, ghosts, and other unnatural things. In our society, there is a quite old superstition that if we see an empty pot during the journey, we say that it is not a good sign. It is also considered inauspicious if a black cat crosses the road in front of us. A hanging spider indicates that some guests are coming. There are many other superstitions that are deeply rooted in our society.

Superstition cannot help advance our society. Rather, it is considered a hindrance to the path of progress. Superstitious people are narrow-minded. Even if we tell them not to believe in superstitions, they will not listen to us. They don't want to change their minds. We have heard or seen that many people have lost their lives due to superstition. In some communities, when a person falls ill, he or she is taken to witchcraft instead of being taken to a doctor. When a person is bitten by a snake, he is also taken into witchcraft instead of hospitals.

The victim has to lose his life because of these activities. Even educated people are not completely free from superstitions. While going to other places, if we see the pitcher filled with water, we automatically feel happy. If a black cat crosses our path, we automatically feel sad. Bad omens or auspicious signs automatically come into our minds.





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