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Evans tries an o-level -Question and answers

Q1.Who was James Roderick Evans? Why was he put in the Oxford Prison?

ANS:  Evans was a smart young man who had a number of amazing skills to fool anyone and escape any prison. He had a gang of friends who used to make money by imitating other people. Because of his smartness in breaking prisons, Evans was sent to the Oxford prison that was thought to be the most secure prison in England.

Q2.How was Evan’s presence in the prison felt by the authorities?

ANS: Even though Evans was a prisoner, the whole of the prison seemed to have loved to have him there. He being a smart, tricky, intelligent and the most popular inmate of the prison, even the authorities admired his skills but were worried only about the possibility of his escape. He had many good friends among the prisoners and even the Governor himself

was concerned for him and at times behaved to be Evans’ fan.


Q3. Why did the Governor apply for an examination for Evans?

ANS: Evans was a prisoner in the Oxford Prison. He had convinced the authorities that he was genuinely interested in learning German and was tutored for a while. When the tutor announced that Evans was prepared for an O’Level exam, the Governor of the prison applied to the Examination Board for his exam.


Q4. Who was Mc Leery? What is his role in the story?

ANS: Rev. Mc Leery was a parson at St. Mary Mags, a monastery. He was supposed to invigilate Evan’s examination at the Oxford Prison. He was about to leave his residence for the prison when two of Evans’ friends entered his room and tied and gagged him until Evans had escaped from the prison.


Q5. Why was Evans particular about keeping his hat on his head during his exam?
ANS: Evans wore a bobble hat at the time of his examination. When he was asked to remove that, Evans pleaded to let stay it because he believed it was his lucky charm. In fact he had hidden some of the makeup materials in his hat which was the reason he didn’t want to remove it.


Q6. Why did the Governor think of frisking Mc Leery?

ANS: Mc Leery was the invigilator of the examination and he was to sit inside Evan’s cell while the latter wrote the exam. The Governor had made sure that Evans had been thoroughly frisked and there was nothing to fear about that. But when he thought about the possibility of Mc Leery carrying a paper-knife or that sort, he feared Evans would make use of that and escape by holding the parson his hostage.


Q7. Why did Mc Leery’s expressions change when he was frisked?

ANS: While frisking Mc Leery, the prison officers found out a semi-inflated rubber tube in his bag. When he was asked of this Mc Leery’s amiable appearance suddenly changed and he turned shy and embarrassed for having made to admit that he was suffering from piles. In fact this was only an excuse to stop the authorities from asking further questions and to allow him to carry the rubber tube that had some blood inside for the escape drama.

Q8.What was the intention behind the call from the Examinations Board?

ANS: It was one of Evans’ friends who made the call from the Examination Board. This call was primarily meant for confirming the beginning time of the exam in order to calculate the end of the exam. The equally important reason behind this call was to misguide the Governor into Hotel Golden Lion to arrest Evans from there and thereby to make the escape altogether safer.

Q9.The Governor’s pride in his little knowledge in German was of great help for Evans to escape. Explain.
ANS: The Governor had acquired a little bit of German earlier and was proud of that. On seeing the correction sheet and faintly recognizing the hidden message that would help him to trace the escaped Evans, he became over enthusiastic and decided to track the prisoner with the assistance of another officer. Later when he trapped Evans so ‘smartly,’ the Governor forgot all caution and went high in the sky of his pride and that gave Evans a great opportunity to escape.

Q10.What had ‘Mc Leery’ brought with him to the prison to help Evans’ escape?

ANS: Evans’ friend dressed up like Mc Leery had brought some very useful articles for Evans’ escape. He had worn an extra clerical collar and a clerical front. In his bag he had carried a semi inflated rubber tube filled with blood. He had also carried a paper scissors even though it was frisked by the prison authorities.

 Q.11.Why did Evans ask for a blanket while writing the exam?

ANS: As part of his escape plan, Evans had to dress up him as Mc Leery, the invigilator. To cut his long hair and to dress up, Evans wanted a hiding. Moreover, he had hidden part of the invigilator’s costume under the blanket.

Q.12.How did Stephens feel when he was asked to accompany Mc Leery out of the prison?
ANS: Stephens was a new officer at the Oxford Prison and was naturally apprehensive about his duties. He was already glad that he was in charge of the invigilator and the examinee. When he was asked by the Governor to accompany the invigilator out of the prison, Stephens felt greatly flattered and proud of himself.

Q.13.When did the Governor realize that the invigilator was fake?

ANS: The Governor had initially assumed that it was Evans who had run out of the prison after hitting the invigilator. But later, when he made call to the Radcliffe Hospital where detective Carter had admitted the invigilator, he was informed that the hospital had not admitted the invigilator. More confused, the Governor searched for the parson at Mary Mags , his residence and confirmed that the parson who had to come as the invigilator had been tied and gagged in his room and the one came as the invigilator was Evan’s accomplice.

Q14.Why did Evans want the Governor arrest him at Hotel Golden Lion?

ANS: Evans’ plan had been one very intelligently crafted. He wanted to make sure that his plan had to amaze everyone and the very smart Governor also had to be overtaken. To do this he wanted the Governor arrest him with his ‘own smartness’ and feel ‘elated, proud and over confident and consequently less careful about keeping Evans under high security.


Q15.Evans was ‘visibly shaken’ when he saw the Governor in his room in the hotel. Why was he shaken?
ANS: It was part of the escape plan that the Governor had to come to the Golden Lion Hotel to arrest Evans from there and take him to the prison. The purpose was to make the Governor believe that he was really intelligent and efficient and thereby let his confidence go loose. It was because of this that Evans pretended that he was really caught.

Q16.Why is the Governor called ‘good for a giggle Governor?’

ANS: The Governor was in a way intelligent and smart. Though a little late, he was successful in tracing Evans in the Hotel Golden Lion and in arresting him. But little did he know that it was Evans who wanted the Governor to arrest him. Evans raised the Governor’s confidence level sky high and let him fall from such a height of pride. When he caught Evans, the Governor thought that he was the most intelligent prison governor in the world and drove to the prison dreaming of the praises and ranks he would be given for his efficiency as a Governor. But in the prison he would know how he was made fool by Evans and the world would only giggle at him.

Q.17.Do you think that the Governor was really intelligent? Support your answer with instances.
ANS: The Governor was a very intelligent officer but his overconfidence was his weak point. The instances of his intelligence can be seen at various places of the story. He didn’t believe that Evans was genuinely interested in learning German when he noticed that Evans didn’t understand the basic German expression, “Guten Gluck.” He was doubtful when the call came from the Examination Board and made a return call to confirm if the call really came from the Board. It was his intelligence that thought of frisking the invigilator and found the rubber tube. It was he who discovered the secret message regarding the assault on the invigilator superimposed at the back of the question paper. Soon he found out that the real McLeery had never come to the prison and that it was Evans who had escaped from the prison as the injured invigilator. The Governor deserves praises for tracing Evan to Hotel Golden Lion at Chipping Norton and arresting him.

Q.18.How far was Stephens helpful for Evans’ escape?

ANS: Stephens was a newly recruited officer in the prison. He was very particular about showing his efficiency in front of the higher authorities and was especially glad that he was in charge of Evans’ examination which was a risky job indeed. Evans complained of Stephens’ breathing and got him naturally out of the cell. Once out of the cell, Stephens kept peeping into the cell but soon found it childish. To show that he was very confident and efficient, he left the cell door to come after short intervals. The short intervals soon became longer and very longer giving time for Evans to dress himself up inside the cell. Stephens was taken to the highest joy when he received the fake call from the Governor to take the invigilator out of the prison. He in his pride took the invigilator out of the prison and made way for Evans’ escape in a wonderful way.

Q19.How did Evans escape from Detective Carter?

ANS: Disguised as the invigilator, hit by the escaped Evans, Evans misguided detective Carter in the pretext of helping the officer to find the escaped Evans. When they reached Radcliff Hospital, Evans pretended to be most critical and told the detective to admit him in the hospital. Carted wanted to drive the wounded invigilator into the hospital but Evans advised him to call the ambulance and drop him on the roadside to be picked by the ambulance so that the detective could continue his chase after Evans the escaped.

Q20.Can you imagine what had happened when the Governor reached the prison?

ANS: While driving to the prison the Governor thought that he was the most efficient and intelligent prison governor in the world. He was very confident, overwhelmed with gratification and was therefore least cautious. But there was the worst news awaiting him in the prison that Evans and his friends had escaped by fooling and disgracing him. He would also realize that he too was one among the idiots like Stephens and Jackson.

Q.21.What kind of a person Evans was?

Ans. 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 short of a person. He was quite a pleasant person and was a star at the Christmas concert.

Q.22. What were the precautions taken for the smooth conduct of the examination?

Ans. For smooth conduct 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.

Q.23. Why was the sigh of relief short lived after the examination?

Ans. After conducting the examination the governor heaved a sigh of relief. But their relief was short lived as they found Evans had escaped from the prison injuring McLeery. Later truth came to light that Evans had stayed as injured McLeery.

Q.24.What helped the prison officers track Evans?

Ans. The German question paper helped. A photocopied sheet had been superimposed over last page of the question paper with the plan and instruction which helped track Evans. 

Q.25.What did the Governor do to find out about the correction slip?

Ans. The governor immediately dialed the Examination Board Office; but could not contact as the line was engaged. He applied his own knowledge of German which he had studied up to sixth standard and was convinced that it was about the agreement of adjectives. Then he heard the invigilator announcing the correction which sounded genuine. 

Q.26.Do you agree that between crime and punishment it is mainly a battle of wits?
Yes, it is a battle of wits between crime and punishment. If the government and law enforcing officials are vigilant crime can be detected and criminals can be booked. But criminals like Evans can hoodwink the authorities and escape punishment as long as the officials are slow and lack alertness and wit.

Q.27 Attempt a brief character sketch of ‘Evans the Break’.

Ans. ‘Evans the Break’ comes across to us as a highly clever, manipulative and shrewd individual. A non-violent kleptomaniac by birth, he was a jail-bird having being put in prison several times and escaping as many as three times. He was an amusing chap, good at imitations and a star at the Christmas concert. He had an unkempt physical appearance but a cheerful smile which he used for the prison officers.A cunning and resourceful person, Evans is able to use his presence of mind time and again, to his utmost advantage. He makes a request to Mr. Jackson to allow him to put on his bobble hat, but complains to the invigilator against Stephens whose presence disturbs his concentration. He is polite when he makes special requests to shut his convenience or rather when he plans to put his plan into action. He is quick to disguise himself as parson McLeery and spill blood on himself to appear injured. He is a clever manipulator and uses this quality to win the confidence of the police officers. Evans enjoys the faith, support and active cooperation of his team of dedicated comrades. They are meticulous in their planning and work out the minutest details in order to carry out their plans without any mishap. Even in the worst circumstances, Evans does not lose his cool. He has the last laugh when he is able to fool the police officers and the Governor and escapes for the fourth time.

Q.28. Who, do you think, has the last laugh- The Governor or Evans? How?

Ans: It is Evans who has the last laugh in the story. The two persons, i.e. driver and the silent prison officer turn out to be the accomplices of Evans. The Governor became complacent as he thought he had nabbed the prisoner and will soon put him in prison. But Evans escapes once again.

Q.29. What did Stephens see, when he peeped through the hole of the cell of Evans after leaving McLeery at the main gate of the prison?

Ans. Stephens thought of looking at Evans once again after leaving McLeery at the main gate. He saw a terrible sight. He saw a man with short hair presumably McLeery in a pool of blood sprawling back in Evan’s chair.

Q.30 How did McLerry want to help the police?

Ans. The injured McLeery said that he knew where Evans was. He wanted to accompany the police in finding Evans. He insisted that he did not need to be hospitalized as he was all right. He showed the question paper to the Governor to impress upon him that Evans had befooled everybody.

Q.31 What important clues were hidden in the German Question paper?

 Ans. There was a photocopied sheet hidden in the German question paper. It was very cleverly pasted on the last blank sheet of the question paper. It had instructions written in German. It read: follow the plan. The vital point in time was three minutes before the end of the examination. He was not to hit the person hard and overdo the scot accent. He was to move the Headington round about and then make way to Newbury.

Q.32. Where was the real McLeery?

Ans. The real Rev. McLeery was gagged and tied in his room since 8:15 am. The two men visited McLeery in the morning. They gagged him and tied him in his study. Since 8:15 in the morning, the real McLeery had been in his own house. It was Evans accomplice who had come as McLeery to the examination centre.

Q.33. What was the significance of the two phone calls the Governor received after a quarter of an hour of the start of the examination?

 Ans. The first phone call was made by the Assistant Secretary of the Examination Board. It was regarding a correction slip for the German paper that Evans was writing. The word ‘Golden Lion’ was to be used in place of ‘Golden Lowe’. The second call came from the Magistrate’s Court. They needed a prison van and a couple of prison officers for a remand case.

Q.34. How did the prison machinery swing into action? What did they overlook?

 Ans. Prison officers started shouting orders as soon as they discovered that Evans had escaped. Sirens were blown. Puzzled prisoners pushed their way along and doors were banged and bolted. Phones were ringing everywhere. Jackson and Stephens supported McLeery on either side and brought him to the prison yard. The identity of the injured ‘McLeery’ remained unchecked.

Q.35. What did the Governor think of Evans and his plan after ringing up Detective Chief Inspector Bell?

 Ans. The Governor admired clever Evans and his beautifully laid plan. He also commented on Evans’ carelessness in leaving behind the question paper. He said that all criminals got caught because they left important clues behind. He was sure that they would soon be able to catch Evans and put him in prison once again.

Q.36. What two purposes did the correction slip serve? Which of them did Evans consider more important?

Ans. The correction slip revealed the name of the hotel and its location. He had to go to ‘Golden Lion’. It also contained the exact time the exam started. For Evans, it was an important thing that the phone rang just before the exam finished. Thus he was able to get the prison officers out of the way for a couple of minutes.

Q.37. What did Evans’ own hair look like? How then did he impersonate McLeery?

Ans. Evans’ hair was long and wavy while McLeery had closely clipped hair, almost next to the scalp. Jackson had removed Evans’ scissors, so he had to remove his hair off with razor. After that he kept his head covered with a bobble hat to prevent being noticed.


Q.38. How did the Governor of Oxford Prison locate the hiding place of Evans?

 Ans. The Governor told Evans that he had used the same method as Evans had done. The six figure reference 313/271 was formed by two hints- Index number 313 and centre number 271. If one takes an Ordinance Survey Map for Oxfords hire, this number lands are bang in the middle of Chipping Norton.

Q.39. What request did the Secretary of the Examination Board receive from the Governor of Oxford Prison?

 Ans. The Governor of Oxford Prison’s request was to create an examination centre in the prison for one candidate named James Roderick Evans who wanted to appear in O Level German Examination to be held on June 8.

Q.40. What enquiry did the Secretary of the Examination Board make about Evans?

 Ans. The Secretary of the Examination wanted cursory details about the examinee regarding his nature. He wanted to know if Evans was a violent sort of a person. He was told that there was no record of violence.

Q.41. Who met Evans on the eve of the examination? What does this brief interview reveal?

Ans. Mr. Jackson and Mr. Stephens visited Evans on the morning of the Examination. They visited him to ensure that he did not have any weapon with him. Evans was called Evans the Break as he had escaped from Prison three times.

Q.42. What puzzled Mr. Jackson about the contents in McLeery’s suitcase?

 Ans. Jackson saw a smallish semi-inflated rubber ring. Even a young child might have to struggle into it. Jackson questioned McLeery about it. He replied that he suffered from piles.

Q.43. Why did the Governor doubt the phone call from the Examination board for the correction in the paper? What did he do?

Ans. The Governor doubted the phone call from the Examination board for the correction in the paper because he thought it might be a fake call. He tried to verify the call. He held the incoming call and from the other line called the Examination Board. Since the number was busy he assumed the call was a genuine one.

Q.44. How did Stephens keep an eye on Evans? What did he notice on looking through the peep-hole in Evans’ cell?

 Ans. Stephens peeped after every one minute. He found Evans sitting with his pen between his lips. He sat staring straight in front at the door. McLeery sat on his chair reading the ‘Church Times’. His right index finger was hooked beneath the narrow clerical collar. The fingers of the left hand were slowly stroking the short black board.

Q.45. What request did Evans make about half an hour before the end of the examination? What did Stephens think about it?

Ans. Evans requested to have a blanket put round his shoulders. A minute later, Stephens was surprised to see a grey blanket draped round Evans’ shoulders. Stephens was misled into believing that Evans was feeling cold.

Q.47. How did Evans manage his final escape?

 Ans. Evans was handcuffed and made to sit in the prison van. But the Governor was complacent and it was Evans’ accomplices inside the van. As the van turned to the Oxford Road, the silent prison officer who was Evans’ friend unlocked the handcuffs. Evan suggested that they go towards Newbury. Evans had his final escape.

Q.48. Give an account of the blunders committed by the prison authorities which helped Evans in escaping from the prison.

Ans. Prison authorities made many blunders. It was only because of these mistakes that Evans could escape from the prison. The hatching of the escape plan started with the German tutor’s entry. The German teacher who had been coming to take Evans’ classes was Evan’s accomplice. Everyone assumed that he was a teacher from the technical college. The invigilator’s identify was also not verified.On the Examination day, Jackson’s not getting Evans’ ‘bobble-hat’ removed was a blunder. If Stephens had not shifted from the cell, the escape would not have been possible. Jackson should have searched McLeery thoroughly and seen the rubber ring closely. The prison staff blindly believed that the injured was the invigilator, though it was Evans playing a trick on them. When Evans was arrested, the Governor was complacent and sent him in a prison van, leaving Evans in the hands of his own accomplices. He thus, lost Evans who made his final escape.

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