NCERT Solutions for Class 12th: Ch 7 Evan Tries an O-Level Vistas English

By Colin Dexter

Page No: 70

Read and Find Out

1. What kind of a person was Evans?


Evans was a young, clever prisoner. He had escaped thrice from the prison for which he was known ‘Evans the Break’. He was not a violent sort of a person. He was quite a pleasant person and was a star at the Christmas concert.

2. What were the precautions taken for the smooth conduct of the examination?


For smooth conduct of the examination, various precautionary measures were taken. All sharp instruments like razor nail scissors were removed. The Governor, senior prison officer Jackson and officer Stephen were put on duty. A special invigilator was arranged. A microphone was fitted in the prison cell where the examination was to be conducted.

Page No: 77

1. Will the exam now go as scheduled?


Everything had been in order for the exam to start on its scheduled time, but the Governor, still apprehensive, ordered a last minute change in plan. As another precautionary measure, he ordered frisking the invigilator as well, before allowing him to carry out his assigned job. This wasted some time and the exam started at 9:25am, ten minutes later than the scheduled time.

Page No: 81

1. Did the Governor and his staff finally heave a sigh of relief?


Evans was a shrewd man who allowed only a momentary sigh of relief to the Governor and his staff. The exam was supposed to have ended peacefully, but when Stephens rechecked Evans’s cell, he was stunned to see a profusely bleeding McLeery still in the cell. He concluded that the man he had escorted to the gate was actually Evans.
Measures were taken to recapture Evans with the help of the bleeding McLeery, who was later sent off to a hospital for treatment. However, soon it was exposed that this ‘bleeding McLeery’ was the real Evans. Finally, when the Governor traced Evans and ordered him to be taken back to the prison with a prison officer in the official van, another conspiracy unfolded. Evans fled again, as the prison officer and the van were part of his back-up plan. His flawless plans left everyone perplexed and troubled.

Page No: 84

1. Will the injured McLeery be able to help the prison officers track Evans?


Injured McLeery, showcasing his knowledge of German, reveals the supposed plan of Evans through the superimposed question paper. He proposes to guide the officials to the whereabouts of Evans. However, this is later revealed to be a part of the Evans plan to flee to safety, as it was Evans himself who was disguised as the injured McLeery. It can be, thus, noticed that the disguised McLeery’s help to the officials was fake as it was just a part of Evans’s escape plan.

Page No: 85

1. Will the clues left behind on the question paper, put Evans back in prison again?


Evans escaped from the prison with the help of a clever, infallible plan. Certain clues were left behind by the shrewd fugitive which was a “careless” act according to the Governor. There was a superimposed question paper with directions to the supposed plan. However, it was soon seen that all of it was fake and part of the plan to misguide the officials. 
But the little German the Governor knew and the 'correction slip' did help them to track him down.

Page No: 86

1. Where did Evans go?


After deceiving the police intelligently, Evans went to the hotel Golden Lion located in Chipping Norton.

Page No: 92

Reading with Insight

1. Reflecting on the story, what did you feel about Evans’ having the last laugh?


Evans smartly devised and executed the plan of his escape. He managed to fool everyone till the end of the story. He left fake clues to misguide the officials chasing him. Even as the Governor heaved a sigh of relief after nabbing him in the Golden Lion hotel, Evans was secretly cooking and executing another path of escape. The prison officer and the van used by the Governor for transferring Evans back to the prison were forged. The Governor was happy that ultimately he was able to track him down using his intelligence and knowledge of German. However, Evans had planned a step ahead. With his successful escape, Evans definitely had a well earned last laugh.

2. When Stephens comes back to the cell he jumps to a conclusion and the whole machinery blindly goes by his assumption without even checking the identity of the injured ‘McLeery’. Does this show how hasty conjectures can prevent one from seeing the obvious? How is the criminal able to predict such negligence?


Evans was a smart and perceptive criminal. He hadassessed the weaknesses of the jail officers successfully. Stephen was new recruit to the prison set up. When he saw the injured Mcleery in the cell he was so overwhelmed that he did not even check who he really was and neither did anyone else. It did not occur to anyone to question how there could there be two persons – one in the cell and the other who had been escorted out by Stephens. It was for this very reason that friends of Evans, who, posing as the Governor on the phone, have directed Stephens that he himself should escort the parson out, when the exam is finished. The Governor and his officers, in effect actually lead Evans out of the prison. The question paper is left behind to mislead the Governor. This shows that Evans the criminal had enough time to study the behavior patterns of the jail officers and plan their strategy well.

3. What could the Governor have done to securely bring back Evans to the prison when he caught him at the Golden Lion? Does that final act of foolishness really prove that “he was just another good-for-a-giggle, gullible governor, that was all”?


The Governor took all the precautions to make sure that Evans should not have any chance to escape from the prison. He even tracked and arrested him at the Golden Lion after his sensational escape from the prison. But his overconfidence once again proved that he was no match for the clever and crafty Evans.
The Governor after finding the clues from the question paper tracked Evans at the Golden Lion. When Evans entered the room he was shocked to see the Governor. Evans offered no resistance and was arrested. The gullible Governor gloated over his success and said goodbye to him. Evans was handcuffed and made to sit in the police van. The Governor did not take care to check the identity of the driver, the van and the officer. A little more vigilance could have averted the escape of the criminal. If theGovernor had accompanied Evans to the prison cell with full police arrangements the criminal would not have escaped.This act of negligence proved that he was “just another good-for-a-giggle gullible governor that was all”.

4. While we condemn the crime, we are sympathetic to the criminal. Is this the reason why prison staff often develops a soft corner for those in custody?


‘Crime’ and ‘criminals’ are usually considered synonymous. However, our perception changes when we see a criminal suffering or serving his punishment. This is what happens with the prison staff. Noticing a criminal suffer in the prison, they unwittingly develop a soft corner for him in their hearts. They look at him as a human being and not as a mere criminal. They start noticing and appreciating their mental capabilities rather than just remembering their crime.
In the story, Jackson lets Evans keep his hat after knowing that he considered it to be his lucky charm. Evans knew of the emotional side of Jackson and so hit it directly through his talk about “lucky charm”, and managed to fool the stern and practical officer. Even the Governor could not help noticing his intelligence when he caught him in the hotel. Thus, he was not cruel or stern with Evans, and regrettably, took him leniently.

5. Do you agree that between crime and punishment it is mainly a battle of wits?


In every battle the stronger side wins; and this strength could be physical or mental. However, after reading the story we can conclude that between crime and punishment, it is mainly a battle of wits. The side which outsmarts the other wins. It is not always that a criminal gets punished. In the given story, although well trained, the police officials were easily fooled by the clever Evans, who managed to escape from right under their nose.

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