‘His First Flight’ Notes, Question & Answers Class 10 English

Get here NCERT Notes & Solutions to Class 10 English Lesson “Two Stories about Flying” Part 1 ‘His First Flight’ by Liam O’ Flaherty. The solutions include answers to ‘First Flight’ Textbook questions. Click here for ‘The Black Aeroplane’ Notes and Q&A.

Notes: His First Flight

Summary of “His First Flight”

In “His First Flight,” a young seagull is left alone on a ledge while his siblings have already learned to fly. Despite his parents’ encouragement and threats, the young seagull is too afraid to attempt flying, convinced his wings will not support him. For twenty-four hours, he watches his family from his perch, growing increasingly hungry and desperate.

The seagull’s mother entices him by flying close with a piece of fish, but stops just out of his reach. Driven by hunger, the young seagull dives for the food, inadvertently launching himself into his first flight. Overcoming his initial terror, he discovers the joy and freedom of flying. Encouraged by his family, he learns to glide and soar over the sea. Finally, exhausted but exhilarated, he lands on the water and is praised by his family for his achievement.

The story highlights themes of fear, courage, and the instinctual drive to survive, illustrating the young seagull’s journey from doubt to confidence as he learns to trust his abilities.

Meanings: His First Flight

Important Vocabulary from “His First Flight”

  1. Ledge: A narrow horizontal surface projecting from a wall, cliff, or other surface.
  2. Brink: The edge of a steep place.
  3. Expanse: A wide and open extent, as of surface, land, or sky.
  4. Muster: To gather or summon (courage, strength, etc.).
  5. Upbraiding: Criticizing or scolding someone.
  6. Shrilly: Making a high-pitched and piercing sound.
  7. Perfecting: Making something as good as possible.
  8. Taunting: Mocking or teasing someone to provoke a response.
  9. Dozing: Sleeping lightly.
  10. Preening: Straightening and cleaning feathers with the beak.
  11. Derisively: In a mocking or scornful manner.
  12. Placidly: Calmly or peacefully.
  13. Maddened: Driven to frenzy or madness.
  14. Motionless: Without movement; still.
  15. Plunge: Jump or dive quickly and energetically.
  16. Monstrous: Extremely large or daunting.
  17. Terror: Extreme fear.
  18. Soaring: Flying or rising high in the air.
  19. Curveting: Leaping gracefully or energetically.
  20. Amusedly: With a sense of enjoyment or humour.
  21. Beckoning: Summoning or signalling someone to come closer.
  22. Exhausted: Very tired; worn out.
  23. Scraps: Small pieces or amounts of something, especially food.

Character Sketch: The Young Seagull and His Parents

The Young Seagull

The young seagull is portrayed as a timid and fearful character at the beginning of the story. He is reluctant to take his first flight despite witnessing his siblings successfully doing so. His fear of the vast expanse of the sea and the uncertainty of his own abilities hold him back. This hesitation and lack of confidence highlight his vulnerability and inexperience.

  • Timid and Fearful: The young seagull’s primary characteristic is his fear of flying. He is paralyzed by the thought of failing and falling into the sea, which prevents him from even attempting to take flight.
  • Dependent: He relies heavily on his parents for food and comfort, showing his dependence and lack of self-sufficiency.
  • Observant: Despite his fear, he keenly observes his family members. He watches his siblings learn to fly and his parents catching fish, indicating his awareness and desire to learn, even if fear holds him back.
  • Hungry and Desperate: Hunger becomes a significant motivator for him. His desperation for food eventually pushes him to take the leap, highlighting a turning point in his character.
  • Courageous: When he finally attempts to fly, he discovers his innate ability to do so. This act of courage marks his transformation from a timid fledgling to a confident young bird.

The Seagull’s Parents

The parents of the young seagull are depicted as caring but firm. They understand the importance of their offspring learning to fly and become independent, even if it means employing tough love.

  • Supportive and Encouraging: The parents constantly encourage the young seagull to fly, showing their support for his growth and development. They demonstrate their belief in his abilities, even when he doubts himself.
  • Tough Love: They practice tough love by refusing to bring him food, forcing him to fend for himself. This tactic is aimed at pushing him to overcome his fears and take flight.
  • Experienced and Skilled: The parents are adept at flying and catching fish, which they teach their other fledglings. Their skills and confidence serve as a model for the young seagull.
  • Strategic and Patient: The mother uses a piece of fish to lure the young seagull off the ledge, showing her strategic thinking. They exhibit patience by waiting for him to make the first move.
  • Proud and Joyful: When the young seagull finally flies, the parents express their pride and joy. Their initial tough stance transforms into celebration, indicating their deep care and love for their offspring.

In summary, the young seagull and his parents represent a journey of growth, from fear and dependence to courage and independence. The young seagull’s transformation is guided by the steadfast support and strategic encouragement of his parents, highlighting the importance of facing one’s fears and the pivotal role of parental guidance.

  • Competency Based Questions & MCQs (His First Flight)
  • Previous Year’s Questions (His First Flight)

Textbook Q&A: His First Flight

Thinking about the text

Q.1. Why was the young seagull afraid to fly? Do you think all young birds are afraid to make their first flight, or are some birds more timid than others? Do you think a human baby also finds it a challenge to take its first steps?

Ans. The young seagull was afraid to fly because he thought his wings wouldn’t support him and he would fall into the sea below. Some young birds might be more scared than others, just like people have different levels of fear. Yes, a human baby also finds it challenging to take its first steps because it’s something new and they are unsure.

Q.2. “The sight of the food maddened him.” What does this suggest? What compelled the young seagull to finally fly?

Ans. This suggests that the young seagull was extremely hungry and desperate for food. His hunger compelled him to finally fly because he needed to eat, and his mother used the fish to encourage him.

Q.3. “They were beckoning to him, calling shrilly.” Why did the seagull’s father and mother threaten him and cajole him to fly?

Ans. The seagull’s parents threatened and cajoled him to fly because they wanted him to overcome his fear and learn to fly so he could survive and find food on his own.

Q.4. Have you ever had a similar experience, where your parents encouraged you to do something that you were too scared to try? Discuss this in pairs or groups.

Ans. This question is meant for group discussion, but here’s an example answer:

Yes, I remember being scared to ride a bike without training wheels. My parents encouraged me and helped me practice until I was confident enough to ride on my own.

Q.5. In the case of a bird flying, it seems a natural act, and a foregone conclusion that it should succeed. In the examples you have given in answer to the previous question, was your success guaranteed, or was it important for you to try, regardless of a possibility of failure?

Ans. Success was not guaranteed when I learned to ride a bike, but it was important for me to try. Even though I fell a few times, trying helped me build confidence and eventually succeed. Trying was important because it helped me learn and grow, just like the young seagull needed to try flying to learn and survive.


Q. Write a short composition on your initial attempts at learning a skill. You could describe the challenges of learning to ride a bicycle or learning to swim. Make it as humorous as possible.

Ans. Here is a sample answer as an example:

My Adventures in Learning to Ride a Bicycle

Ah, the thrill of freedom on two wheels! Or so I thought when my parents decided it was time for me to learn how to ride a bicycle. Little did I know, this journey would be filled with bumps, bruises, and a lot of laughter.

The adventure began on a sunny Saturday morning. My dad wheeled out my shiny new bike, complete with training wheels. I hopped on with a confidence that only a seven-year-old could muster. “This will be easy,” I thought, not realizing the two tiny wheels were the only things keeping me upright.

The first few rides were uneventful. I wobbled around the driveway, feeling like a pro. But then, my dad had a brilliant idea: “Let’s take off the training wheels!” My excitement quickly turned into sheer terror. Without those little stabilizers, the bike felt as steady as a unicycle on a tightrope.

My dad held the back of the seat while I pedaled. “Don’t let go!” I pleaded. “I won’t,” he lied, as all parents do. Suddenly, I felt a strange sensation – freedom. I was doing it! I was riding on my own! Until I wasn’t. The moment I realized my dad wasn’t holding on, I panicked. The bike swerved, and I crashed into a bush. As I extracted myself from the foliage, my mom tried to hide her laughter. “Good job, honey,” she said, barely containing her giggles.

Day two was no better. I was determined to conquer this beast. “Just keep pedaling,” my dad advised. Easier said than done. I managed to pedal straight into a parked car, setting off the alarm. The neighborhood dogs joined in, barking their encouragement (or perhaps their amusement). My friends watched from a distance, offering helpful comments like, “You’re supposed to stay on the sidewalk!”

Eventually, after countless falls and a few scrapes, something clicked. I found my balance. I was riding! Granted, I still wobbled like a newborn giraffe, but I was moving forward. My parents cheered, the dogs barked, and I felt like I had conquered Everest.

Now, every time I see someone learning to ride a bike, I can’t help but chuckle. It reminds me of my own hilarious journey – the crashes, the fears, and the triumphs. Learning to ride a bike wasn’t just about mastering a skill; it was about finding the humour in the falls and the joy in the little victories. And that, I think, is a lesson worth learning.

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