First Year at Harrow | Heroes Inter Part-II Book-II

First-year at Harrow By Sir Winston S. Churchill

First Year at Harrow by Sir Winston S. Churchill Lesson# 1

Author’s Introduction

Sir Winston S. Churchill in full Sir Winston Leonard Spencer Churchill (1874-1965) was a renowned politician and former Prime Minister of England from 1940 to 1945 and again from 1951 to 1955. He was an army officer and writer.

He was a great prose writer and wrote many books. He won a bel prize for literature in 1953. His famous book was A History of English-Speaking People. He was known for inspiring speeches.

In his essay, First-year At Harrow, He describes his own experiences at the popular school Harrow. He never liked exams because always considered exams a trial for him. He deals with the essay in a humorous way by telling the time of his entrance exams


Churchill’s essay First Year At Harrow is his second essay in which he explains in detail his experiences at the public school Harrow. He tells about admission, exam, and learning Latin, Greek, and English.

He liked history, poetry, and essay writing. He was examined in Latin and Greek. Along with this, teachers asked those questions, the answers to which the writer could not give. They did not ask those questions, the answers to which he could give.

Resultantly, the writer did not perform well. This happened with him at the entrance exam at Harrow. He could not even attempt a single question. He wrote his name at the top of the page, then he wrote question no 1 at the corner of the page.

After that, he put a bracket around the question like this”(1)”. He put smudges on the paper, made it dirty, and left the paper blank. But the Head Master Mr. Welldone was broad-minded and the writer got admission to the school.

He was put to the lowest degree due to his poor performance in the exam. He remained for one year in the same category but he gained the advantage over the clever boys.

When all went with Latin and Greek, he was taught English. A very delightful man Mr. Somervell was his teacher who taught English in the best way. He broke English sentences into their components such as a verb, subject, adjective, noun, and adverb, etc. And the writer learned English thoroughly.

English proved to be best for him in his later years. The boys who were taught Latin and Greek also came down for English as a medium of earning. They were compelled to learn English for their living.

In the end, the writer says that would like the students who like to learn English. He wanted that the clever boys would learn Latin for honor and Greek for pleasure but it would be hard for those who do not learn English.

“First-Year At Harrow” Answers to the Questions

Q 1: The writer says that the examiners ask questions which students can not answer and not those which they can answer. Is the complaint just?
Ans: Sir Winston Churchill’s complaint is not just because the examiners have a prescribed syllabus. This complaint is the dilemma of the dull and idle students.

Q 2: What sorts of questions are asked by your examiners?
Ans: Most of our examiners ask questions that are just from the syllabus. They are set according to a formula. Such questions only promote rote learning and the capacity of their memory. They do not promote creativity.

Q 3:Why did not Churchill do well in examinations?
Ans: Churchill was not good at Latin and mathematics, while the examiners asked questions mostly from these subjects. Moreover, The questions asked were unanswerable. There, he did not do well and felt that the examiners wanted to expose his ignorance.

Q 4:How did he do his Latin paper?
Ans: Churchill wrote his name at the top of the page and then question number 1. After some thinking, he put a bracket around the question number. Incidentally, the paper became untidy with smudges. He spent the remaining time looking at him.

Q 5: Churchill was taught English at Harrow and not Latin and Greek. Was it a gain or a loss?
Ans: Churchill mastered the English language. He could use it accurately. He found it useful in the practical life where the medium of communication was English. So he did not feel at a loss.

Q 6: What good did his three years of stay at Harrow do him?
Ans: By remaining in the same class for three years, Churchill learned English thoroughly. It proved a great blessing for him because English was made the most important medium of communication later.

Q 7: In after years how did the Knowledge of English stand him in good stead?
Ans: The knowledge of English stood him in good stead because English was beginning to be used extensively. People had to learn it to earn a living. Even the intelligent boys had to come down to English, but Churchill remained successful then.

Q 8: Write an appreciation or criticism of Churchill’s views in regard to the study of Latin, Greek, and English and their value in earning a living?
Ans: Churchill thought that English must be learned prior to Latin and Greek. He thought that the intelligent boys were very much after Greek and Latin because they thought their knowledge would give them an edge over others. But for Churchill, the knowledge of English proved a blessing in disguise

Words & Synonyms

Words  Synonyms
Inhospitable unwelcoming, unfriendly, unkind, unsympathetic, hostile
Destined fated, ordained, doomed, written, marked down
Trial affliction, trouble, load, burden, pain, suffering, distress, misery  
Invariably unchangingly, constantly, unalterably, regularly, consistently, steadily
Fancy like, Wish for, want, desire, long for, yearn for, crave
Be partial like, love, have a fondness for, found of, be keen on
Will desire, intention wish    
Prevail win, triumph, prove, superior, conquer, overcome
Willingly readily, gladly, happily, cheerfully, eagerly
Display show, manifest, exhibit, unveil, expose, reveal
Sought (seek) look for, be after, pursue, try, aim, attempt
Expose reveal, uncover, show, disclose, bare
Ignorance illiteracy, unawareness, greenness
Broad-minded  liberal, open-minded, progressive
Discernment wisdom, sharpness, sagacity, prudence, sense, judgment, insight, vision, intelligence
Remarkable distinguished, wonderful, extra ordinary
Reflection consideration, thinking, thought
Incidentally by chance, accidentally, by the way, coincidentally  
Blot spot, blotch, smudge, dot, mark, speck
Smudge dirty’ mark, mark, spot, smear, blotch, blot
Spectacle sight, vision, scene, picture, show
Gaze   look, stare, watch
Merciful lenient, compassionate, pitying, forgiving, softhearted, tenderhearted, kind,
Usher attendant, assistant, helper, subordinate, teacher
Foolscap  writing paper, paper
Slender slight, small, little, meager, inadequate, insufficient, trifling, slim, faint/feeble
Indication hint, mark, point, sign
Manifestation appearance, demonstration, display, show
Draw the conclusion deduce, infer, gather, reckon, judge
Credit praise, tribute, merit, honor, commendation
Look beneath the surface notice, perceive, distinguish, identify, see
Regard show, exhibition, demonstration, evidence, proof, testimony, sign, indication, mark,
Scholarship knowledge, learning, erudition
Consequence aftermath, outcome, result
Regret repent, feel sorry, lament morn   
Unpretentious ordinary, plain, unimportant, unassuming
Immense colossal, extensive, huge, great
Splendid  elegant, glorious, grand, magnificent  
Dunce fool, goof, idiot, silly
Delightful cheerful, enjoyable, entertaining
Disregard ignore, discount, disdain
Parsing analysis, define, interpret
Analysis estimation, assay, evaluation  
Entrance entry, admission, admittance, permission to enter, right of entry  

About the Author

Anila Ibrahim

An educationist, web content writer, equipped with an LLB and a Master’s degree in English Literature, as well as a Master of Philosophy in Entrepreneurship. I have a comprehensive understanding of both the English language and the educational landscape. This academic background empowers Anila to deliver content that is not only informative but also thoroughly researched.

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