English notes for class 12 Sindh Board Chapter 3

English notes for class 12 Sindh board Chapter 3 (The Day The Dam Broke) Second Year Karachi and Sindh board Question Answers English 12th class Notes, Composition, Exercise, Summary, Mcqs, Online Test, Guess Papers, and Past Papers.

English notes for class 12 Sindh Board Chapter 3 The Day The Dam Broke

How accurate is the title of Thurber’s essay?

Thurber has given the perfect title to his essay “The day the dam broke” as it is all about the people who had fear of flood due to a broken dam. They had experienced the same great spring floods some twenty years ago that brought about thirty feet of water to the city of Columbus. The fear, anxiety, running, shouting, weeping, bawling, escape of all including housewives, old and young, children and professionals vacating the offices, courts, business centers, houses etc, each and everything is depicted with accuracy and comprehensively by the author.

What can we gather about grandfather’s age, physique, and mental condition?

No particular details about the age of the grandfather are given by Thurber but as one reads the essay, he comes to know some of the facts related to his height and weight. He must be of ripe old age being the grandfather. He was taller than six feet and weighed almost a hundred and seventy pounds. He doesn’t seem to be quite strong and fit mentally as at some of the occasions he acted in a somehow bizarre manner.

How does the panic appear to have started?

The panic just begins as everyone blindly follows everyone else due to the factor of mass psychology. It happens all of a sudden when someone starts running in the busy city of Columbus the time when everybody is keenly busy in his professional activities.
It simply starts when a man who has to meet his wife at Maramor Hotel gets late and then he starts running so to be on time. Right after that, a newsboy begins to run. Followed by a portly gentleman of affairs and then a little old lady also begins to run as someone announces that the dam has broke! Just in a time period of ten minutes; the rumor spread all over the city and as a result, two thousand frightful people make their appearance on High Street. All of them seem singing in the chorus ‘Go east! Go east.’

How did Thurber’s mother cope with the situation?

According to Thurber, his mother was a lady with strong nerves, courage, and sense. Even after hearing the rumor from the people about the broken dam, she didn’t panic and lose her sense. She quite calmly turned out all the fires and took with her a dozen of eggs and two loaves of bread. She had a plan in her mind that she would be taking refugee somewhere in the top of the Memorial Hall that was just two blocks away and be saved from the running water.

What caused the lieutenant colonel of infantry to lead a fleeing company of three hundred persons?

It was the cries of a little girl who caused the lieutenant colonel of infantry to lead a fleeing company of three hundred persons. Lieutenant colonel was sitting on the porch in a drowsy condition when he heard the cries and weeping. Then and there, he woke up and asked the girl about the reason of cry. The little girl at once replied in a piping voice that the dam had broken, go east. He due to his training of immediate obedience held the girl in his arm and caught hold of the old man and announced that the dam had broken and everyone should go east in order to save your lives. Soon afterward he was leading a crowd of three hundred persons all fleeing towards east leaving behind all their belongings even the near and dear ones.

How long did the panic last and how was order restored?

The situation of panic lasted for not more than two hours when the militiamen held the charge in restoring the order of the city while driving their motor lorries. They clearly and loudly announced through their megaphones that the dam had not broken and it was just a matter of confusion and miscommunication that created the whole terrorized scene. A number of people who ran for four to twelve miles managed to return back to their work giving various fake excuses for their immediate stupid running.

How did the panic start in the cinema on High Street?

Again the panic started in the cinema just due to the matter of misunderstanding. It happened all at once when an elderly man sitting next to Thurber’s aunt named Edith Taylor mumbled something into her ear and started running towards the aisle in a rapid pace. At that very moment, everyone blindly followed him and began running towards the aisles and thus jamming them all.

Why did Dr. Mallory think that the floodwaters were about to engulf him?

Dr. Mallory thought that the flood waters were about to engulf him due to the swishing of skates of the boy who was busy in roller skating right after him. Again it was a matter of misunderstanding that forced Dr. Mallory to run towards east considering the sound of roller skates as that of rushing waters.

How did Thurber obtain the description of the events in the cinema and the experience of Dr. Mallory?

Thurber obtained the description of the events in the cinema through the words of one of his aunts named Aunt Edith. She gave the author first-hand knowledge what had happened in the cinema at the time when the dam broke. It all happened just due to the running of the elderly man in the cinema and right after him, the audience started running thus jamming the aisles of the cinema. Coming towards the experience of Dr. Mallory, he himself described Thurber how the swishing of the skates seemed to him the sound of rushing and gushing water and how he breathlessly started running to reach the safest point.

Why did the citizens of Columbus not care to talk about the events of 12 March 1913?

The citizens of Columbus did not care to talk about the events of 12th March 1913 because it was a matter of shame and disgrace for them for their immature, silly conduct. They became depressed at the cry of “The dam has broken” and never tried to authenticate it. Whenever someone talked to them about it they simply tried to ignore. The author gives the title of “the Great Run” to the events of 12th March but the people never accepted it and always tried to pay no heed to the talks about such events.


Write between 350 and 400 words on one of the following topics:

  1. An appreciation of The Day the Dam Broke.
  2. The behavior of crowds
  3. The dangers of panic

  An Appreciation of the Day the Dam Broke

James Thurber is one of the prominent writers of modern times belongs to America. He is the one who focuses extensively on the significant aspect of life i.e. “humor” to a great extent. The style he adopted became the source of fame and fortune for James. There are a number of witty and humorous articles and entertaining books on his credit such as “The Seal in the Bedroom”, “Men, women and dongs” and “Let your mine alone”.

According to James Thurber, “Humor is emotional chaos recollected in tranquility.”

“The day the dam broke” has been written by Thurber in an awesome humorous way. The focal point of the story is human psychology especially related to the aspect of people’s behaviorism under some unexpected, sudden circumstances. Thurber depicts mob mentality with great dexterity.

The written expression of the author shows his outstanding sense of observation regarding human nature, behavior, and attitude. Thurber’s sardonic but affectionate view of human behavior is reflected amazingly in the flowing lines of the story.

The author has a strong desire to bring out the silly, destructive effects of mob mentality which force the sensible people to get involved in unreasonable acts and commit quite foolish blunders too.

The short story throws light on the fact how people behaved unreasonably in any form of calamity. Sometimes people of sound background and profound understanding too behave in a ridiculous way and respond foolishly towards any such catastrophic situation.

The story is the true picture of what Dickens once said that “People do what the mob do.” In the story, everyone blindly follows everyone else and pay heed to whatever they have heard as a rumor, without making use of their senses.

 Thurber artfully gives a description of different kinds of people reacting differently to the rumor of the broken dam. Some were engulfed with extreme fear whereas some were as calm as sea like his mother. Even the most learned and experienced ones behaved quite ridiculously like Dr. Mallory and Lieutenant Colonel of infantry.

In a nutshell, it can be concluded that the rumor and the people’s reaction to it proved that in the situation of panic people used to behave ridiculously and avoid using their common sense at such a critical point.

“Sometimes a majority simply means that all the fools are on the same side.”

  The Behavior of Crowds

Human nature is based on a number of factors. Among them, one is called as ‘behavior or attitude’.  This behavior varies from person to person, place to place, situation to situation and from the individual level to the collective level. When a person is alone, his behavior is altogether different than the situation when he has to act as a part of a crowd.

According to the Oxford Dictionary, the simple definition of a crowd is “a large number of people gathered together, usually without orderly arrangement.” Crowds are categorized into two main classes: active crowds and inactive crowds. Both are the representatives of their own type of behavior.  Basically, crowd or collective behavior is the way a group thinks, feels, or acts as a unit in response to an irrational process.

All over the world, psychologists have categorized crowd/group behavior in two main theories: the first one is that when a crowd is less organized; they share a common approval/disapproval or similar emotion. Secondly, they share a common gesture, comments and stimulate similar behavior and move the crowd. Sometimes it happens that the behavior of crowds at events is determined by their own personal goals and motivations. Crowd behavior is heavily influenced by the loss of responsibility of the individual and the impression of the universality of behavior, both of which increase with the size of the crowd.

A number of theories are put forward by the researchers to give insight into crowd behavior. According to Le Bon’s early attempt to understand crowd behaviors come up with the result that crowd behaviors are pathological and abnormal, where people are reduced to a primitive or instinctive mode of behavior. This theory proposes that feelings of mystery cause people in a crowd to lose their sense of self and responsibility and act in ways that stem from a ‘group mind’.

Therefore, it can easily be said that the behavior of an individual is pretty much different when he is alone but changes altogether when he becomes a part of any type of crowd. To understand crowd behaviors social psychologists and researchers really worked hard and some even working on this aspect to reveal each and every hidden truth about crowd behaviors.

  The Dangers of Panic

Life is full with a range of feelings and emotions. Some we cherish and love to experience whereas there exist some which we always want to avoid as they become a source of creating negative effects on our lives. Joy, happiness, excitement is welcomed by the people. On the other hand, panic, anxiety, fear, jealousy is rejected by the masses to a great extent.

Emotions and feelings are closely associated with the incidents and happenings that occur in someone’s life. Panic is one such feeling that sometimes seems to be unavoidable by the people although they want to get rid of it as soon as possible.

In simple easy words, panic can be defined as “sudden uncontrollable fear or anxiety, often causing wildly unthinking behavior.” It appears in two forms, one is the slight attack of fear and anxiety and simply known as ‘panic attack’ whereas the other one is the type of panic attack that is more frequent and severe in its nature and is likely to be known as ‘panic disorder.’

Although panic attacks can be a normal thing, and most people will experience a panic attack at some point throughout their lives, when they become frequent it is often a sign of concern. The dangers of panic are no doubt numerous and thus need attention at a right time to be reduced.

First and the foremost danger that always haunts people with panic attacks are the chances of having difficulties in their relationships and the extreme fear of isolation. A person with panic disorder may find it difficult to genuinely connect with others. Many people with panic disorder keep what is called the ‘panic secret’ in which they try to hide their symptoms out of fear of being negatively evaluated by others, or worse yet, many worries that they will be rejected or abandoned by loved ones who don’t understand the panic disorder.

On the second place come the problems that are faced by panic disorder persons at the workplace. Panic disorder can hinder a person’s work performance and get in the way of developing relationships with co-workers.

One may say that panic attacks come in the life of almost every single individual but some have the ability to cope with them due to their strong will power whereas there are some people who just give up quite easily.


Summarize the following passage in from 90 to 100 words :

During the Mutiny of 1857 Syed Ahmed Khan saved many British people from murder by hiding them in a bungalow at Bijnor. When an angry crowd shouted that they would break into the house he went out to them, unarmed and persuaded them to go away. For his courage, he was given an honour by the Government. Soon afterward, Syed Ahmed Khan wrote a book in which he told the British that the main cause of the Mutiny was that they knew too little about the people they were ruling. If they wanted to win the friendship of the Indian people then, they must mix with them. Very few of the British followed his advice.

Most good Muslims at this time were afraid to send their sons to the government colleges, where the English language and Western ways were taught, for fear that they would lose their faith in Islam and forget how to speak their own language. Yet education of this kind, said Syed Ahmed Khan, was the only hope for the Muslims if they wanted to win back their freedom and their proper share in the life of their country’.In 1875, he founded the famous university at Aligarh where young Muslims could receive an English education without fear of becoming worse Muslims. It was a wonderful success. From Aligarh came many great Muslim scholars, teachers, reformers and statesmen. Among them was Liaquat Ali Khan, the first Prime Minister of Pakistan. Khawaja Nazimuddin, who succeeded Jinnah as Governor-General and many other makers of modern Pakistan. At Aligarh Muslims once again learned to think of themselves as a great people and to take a pride in their own language Urdu.

Sir Syed Ahmed Khan received the honor by the government for courage in providing shelter to the British during the mutiny of 1857. In his book, Sir Syed gave advice to the British to mingle with the Indians if they want to rule them. At that time, Muslims showed resistance in sending their young to English colleges for the fear of losing faith in Islam. Sir Syed established Aligarh University in 1875 and greatly promoted the Urdu language. From there, a number of eminent personalities appeared in the face of Liaquat Ali Khan, Khawaja Nazimuddin and many others.

List of Notes for Sindh and Karachi all boards