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Literature Chapter 8 - Silk Road

This article will help you to learn about the summary, characters and themes in chapter 8, NCERT Class 11 English Hornbill – Silk Road. It will help you to understand the gist of the story and important phases in this story.

Synopsis

This chapter deals with a story about the challenges and hardships faced in the Silk Road regions. Here the author is an adventurer but also an academician. He tries to research on the altitude sickness and he realises that it can lead to swelling in the brain or lungs, slowly filling with fluid. The author has no religious inclinations yet starts to speculate on Tibetan Buddhism as a prerequisite for survival at that great altitude. This chapter gives exotic details of the Silk Road and also describes the challenges faced in the travel.

Character List

  • Nick Middleton – Author. He is adventurous and at the same time considers the travel a chance to research on various topics like altitude and its effect on the human body. He describes the journey and the hardships faced on the Silk Road.

  • Daniel – Author’s friend who accompanied him on the journey to Mount Kailash.

  • Tsetan – He was a driver hired by the author. He was a very good and efficient driver. He drove the car very carefully considering the safety of the passengers. During the journey, he spoke to the author and gave important details of the places they were passing by. When he found the author was not well, he took him to Medical College and cared for his health. He was a good Buddhist and believed that death is not the end of life.

Theme

The author Nick Middleton, left Ravu in the company of Daniel and Tsetan. Before leaving the place, Lhamo gave him a gift. She gave him a long-sleeved sheepskin coat. Their next destination was Mount Kailash and Tsetan said he knew a short cut. He said the journey would be smooth if there was no snow. As they passed by the hills, they could see the lonely ‘drokbas’ tending their flocks. They were men and women who would pause and stare at their car, occasionally waving as they passed.

As they passed the nomad’s tents there were the Tibetan mastiffs. They would start barking as they neared the tents; chased the car for some distance and then go silent. The turns became sharper and bumpier, and sudden and unexpected snowfall started blocking their way. The author and Daniel got out of the car for Tsetan to drive it safely. The icy top layer of the snow was very dangerous; the car could slip off the road, and the snow continued blocking their way.

They reached a guesthouse in Darchen. The author had a very troubled night. His sinuses were blocked and he was not able to get enough oxygen and he could barely sleep. The next day Tsetan took him to the Darchen Medical College. The doctor told the author that it was just cold and the altitude was causing him troubles. He gave him some medicine and that night he was able to sleep well.

Tsetan left the author in Darchen and went away to carry on with his work. He was a good Buddhist and believed in life after death. However, Tsetan was worried it could affect his business, as he may not get more tourists and may cause his business to fail terribly. The author was worried as Tsetan left, he felt lonely and deserted in Darchen.

The author wanted to reach Mount Kailash to do kora but he did not want to do it alone. He was busy looking for someone who could speak English as it would be easier to communicate. In a cafe, Middleton met Norbu, originally a Tibetan who was working in Beijing at The Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. He too was there to do the kora but he was not religious. The author decided to accompany Norbu to climb Mount Kailash.

To know more on NCERT Solutions for Class 11 English Hornbill Silk Road, and for ‘Silk Road’ NCERT Solutions, refer to NCERT Solutions for Class 11 English Hornbill Chapter 8 PDF.

Click on the links below to browse Class 11 English Chapter 8 - Silk Road extra question and answers. You can also refer to Silk Road explanation Class 11 for better understanding of the chapter.

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