Exercise: Question & Answers
Understanding the text
Answer the following questions.
a. Why does Wasserkopf demand a refund of his tuition fees from the school?
→ Wasserkopf requests a tuition refund from the school because he believes the money he spent on education wasn’t worth it as it left him unprepared for life.
b. Why does Wasserkopf consider himself good for nothing?
→ The fact that he was always rejected on job applications and inability to do nothing great made him feel good at nothing.
c. What did the teachers decide to do when Wasserkopf asked for a refund?
→ The professors decided to take a re-examination of him and pass him in all subjects even if he gives wrong answers. They came to the conclusion that they should collaboratively work with each other in defending the refund demand of Wasserkopf.
d. Why did Wasserkopf give ridiculous answers? Why did the teachers accept these answers?
→ He gave ridiculous answers in order to fail and be eligible for refund. His answers were accepted by the professors in order to guarantee his success in the exam to avoid the refund that he was asking for.
e. How does the Mathematics Master describe Wasserkopf’s character?
→ The Mathematical Master describes him as a cunning, manipulative and tricky guy who will go to great lengths to reclaim his refund.
f. How did the teachers outwit Wasserkopf?
→ The questions that the professors asked to Wasserkopf were very basic. But he defended their tricks with ridiculous justifications. It took the math teacher some time to admit that Wasserkopf had failed and asked him to figure out how much his school would be required to repay. He accurately gave the calculated amount to be refunded. Professors of mathematics said that he was able to solve the difficult problem of calculating the refund amount because he was a mathematical genius. The professors announced that he had passed the examination. In fact, the teachers were cleverer than Wasserkopf.
g. What is the final judgment on Waserkopf’s demand for refund?
→ The exam’s results are announced by the principal where he was stated to excel in every subject and proved once again that he is deserving of the certificate he received upon graduating from high school. So, he does not get any compensation, but he is apprehended and dispatched.
Reference to the context
a. Read the extract from the play given below and answer the questions that follow:
“It’s possible I’ve changed. What the hell…! Your class records will show I’ve
got a right to come here.”
i. Who is the speaker? Who is he speaking to?
→ Wasserkopf is the speaker. He’s speaking to the principal of his former school.
ii. Why does the speaker say these words?
→ The speaker expresses his dissatisfaction with his former school’s academic results, which he earned eighteen years ago, by saying these words.
iii. Where is the speaker at this moment?
→ The speaker is in the Principal’s office at this moment.
b. Read the extract dialogue given below and answer the questions that follow:
“THE STAFF: (bowing, heartily) How do you do?
WASSERKOPF: Who the hell are you? Sit down, you loafers! (He grins,
waiting to be thrown out)
THE PRINCIPAL: How dare you –”
i. What is the answer to ‘How do you do?’
→ ‘I am fine’ is to be the answer to ‘How do you do’.
ii. Is Wasserkopf’s answer polite enough to the staff?
→ It’s true that Wasserkopf’s response to the employees isn’t considerate enough. Instead of greeting them, he disparages them.
iii. How does Wasserkopf rebuke the staff?
→ Wasserkopf rebukes the staff, calling them “loafers” and asking, “Who the hell are you?”
iv. What does the principal mean by ‘How dare you -‘?
→ When the Principal asks, ‘How dare you?’ he’s alluding to Wasserkopf’s willingness to make derogatory comments about masters.
c. Explain the following line of the play: “Because I didn’t get my money’s worth, that’s why!”
→ Wasserkopf is back at his old school. He goes to the Principal and asks for his tuition money back. He gets a no.
He claims he’d learnt nothing in school because of constant failure and rejection from jobs. He believes a re-examination will demonstrate his demand is valid. Therefore, Wasserkoph is justified in seeking compensation.
d. What is the theme of the play?
→ The play “Refund” is full of comedy and satire which covers the theme of uselessness of theoretical knowledge. The writer criticises the present educational system, which does not prepare students for a career. It also shows teachers’ ability to manage the problem without compromising their school’s image.
e. Sketch the character of Wasserkopf.
→ Wasserkopf is the play’s primary character. He’s a 40 years old impoverished and greedy man. His terrible temper and rudeness have led him many dismissals from his job. In his mind, there is no shame or respect. There’s nothing he especially knows about. The term “loafer” is used by him to describe his teachers. His conduct towards the Principal and other professors is dishonest at all times. He thinks of himself as useless. With no hesitation, he goes into school and demands his tuition money.
Reference beyond the text
a. The play is a satire on the present day education system. Do you think that our education system does not prepare students for life? Discuss.
→ Yes, The education system of today does not prepare students to cope with real life challenges. There are a lot of well-educated people nowadays who don’t know anything. A modest way of life has nothing to do with the way we were taught in traditional schools. As a consequence, people’s focus has switched from creativity and pragmatism to a more theoretical approach. The existing educational system has a divide between it and the real world. As a consequence, the existing educational system results in people who are underproductive in a wide range of industries. They have no ability to lead anybody else. Students aren’t adequately prepared for the actual world because of our educational system.
b. Our education system focuses on memorisation rather than creative thinking. Do you think the knowledge imparted by education may not have practical relevance in one’s day-to-day life? Who do you blame for this?
→ I feel our educational system is accountable for the knowledge obtained in school which cannot be utilised in real life. Education and associated information are distant from creative thinking in today’s educational system. The courses are constructed in such a way that they have no practical use in everyday life.
Students are searching for an easier method of remembering than using their creative thinking. This is the consequence of the present educational system, which has resulted in the passivation of thousands of people’s brains. Students seem to be working hard to improve their credentials in a number of different ways. They concentrate only on getting good grades and obtaining certificates without using their own creativity.
c. Most of the students want to learn just for examination rather than knowledge. Do you think that certificate will help them in their future career?
→ Today, the majority of students graduate via shady methods. When it comes to the last two or three months of the test, they’re more likely to be seen working hard to memorize the sentences and formulae. So far, they’ve donenothing of value. In the future, there will be a lack of true knowledge since certificates do not demonstrate genuine knowledge or talents. If they simply concentrate on exam preparation, they won’t be qualified for their future professions. They must finish their study for the test by a certain date. Students rely on quick solutions to get through their exams which will only produce an unproductive bunch of people in future.
One act play, Refund, written by Fritz Krinthy is a satirical play which revolves around the story of one man named as “ Wasserkopf’. After 18-year-old of school graduation, one day Wasserkopf shows up to seek his money back from the school and demands the principal for the refund.
He was unable to get a solid position, nor any job, was multiple times rejected from various job applications, and just passed up many opportunities as well. According to him, his school professors failed to adequately prepare him for life beyond high school.
The teachers were surprised that a student was coming in front of them asking for a refund just because he could not get a good job. When it comes to dealing with him, they promise him that he will be completely refunded only on one condition, that is if he fails the test that they will put him through. He agrees. All of his professors, Maths, Physics, Geography etc quiz him on various topics, and he consistently provides incorrect answers. He does so because his only goal was to prove he learnt nothing. The professors, on the other hand, use various techniques to demonstrate his correctness.
At last, the math teacher finally speaks the truth and says Wasserkopf’s answer to his question is not correct. Now as a deal, teachers have to give him the refund amount. They ask him how much the refund amount is. He accurately calculates the amount and tells them. At this point, math teacher also claims that he passed the maths exam since he was able to calculate the amount accurately because was a mathematical genius and they had taught him well. As a result, he passes the exam and is not eligible for a refund.