Class 9 – The Adventures of Toto Complete Analysis

The Adventures of Toto,Ruskin Bond,Ruskin Bond Toto story,Toto the mischievous monkey

Chapter 2, Ruskin Bond’s ‘The Adventures of Toto’ Summary, Theme, Character Sketches, Important Passages, Textbook Question Answers with Extra Questions.

Chapter 2- The Adventures of Toto by Ruskin Bond:

More for Class 9: Class IX- PROSE , Class IX- POEMS


Abode: A place of residence or dwelling.
Anglo-Indian: Of mixed British and Indian descent or related to the Anglo-Indian community.
Boiling himself alive: (phrase) Getting into dangerously hot water.
Cunningly: Cleverly or deceitfully.
Delicacy: A choice or expensive food item.
Devoted: Very loving or loyal.
Feeding-trough: A container or a small open vessel used for feeding animals.
Haunches: An animal’s or person’s hip and thigh region.
Mischief: Playful misbehaviour or troublemaking.
Out of place: (phrase) In a situation where one doesn’t belong.
Petty: Of little importance; trivial.
Spite: A desire to annoy, offend, or hurt.
Tonga: A light two-wheeled carriage drawn by two horses, commonly used in India.
Triumphant: Feeling or expressing jubilation after a victory or success.
Well-to-do: Wealthy or prosperous.

Idiomatic Expressions used in the story “The Adventures of Toto” by Ruskin Bond:

“sparkled with mischief”:  indicates that Toto’s eyes were bright and full of playful, naughty intent.
“frightened the life out of”: to scare someone very much.
“his presence should be kept a secret”: ensuring that someone is unaware of Toto’s existence.
“wrenched from its socket”: means forcefully pulled out of its fixed position.
“an exhibition that attracted a curious crowd”: refers to Toto’s actions drawing the attention of onlookers.
“taken aback”: to be surprised.
“in vain”: without success.
“just to get his own back”: to retaliate or take revenge.
“trying to keep her head as far as possible”: attempting to move away from something.
“as far as”: up to a certain point or degree.
“Half-boiled”: partly cooked; here’ it humorously means Toto was almost cooked due to the hot water.
“tear a hole in it”: to rip or damage the dress.
“made his exit”: to leave or go out.
“determined on finishing”: firmly decided to complete the task.
“could not afford the frequent loss”: could not handle or bear the frequent damage or destruction of items.

Summary “The Adventures of Toto”:

In “The Adventures of Toto” by Ruskin Bond, Grandfather buys a mischievous monkey named Toto from a tonga-driver for five rupees. With his bright eyes and pearly teeth, Toto causes chaos wherever he goes. Grandfather hides Toto from Grandmother, but Toto quickly tears up the wallpaper and clothes. He’s taken to Saharanpur in a bag, where he’s mistaken for a dog and charged three rupees. 

Toto disrupts the household by attacking a donkey, bathing in a kettle, and stealing food. Despite his antics, he can’t stay because of the damage he causes. Ultimately, Grandfather sells Toto back to the tonga-driver for three rupees, acknowledging they can’t afford to keep such a troublesome pet.

Theme “The Adventures of Toto”:

Lessons in Pet Ownership:

The theme of “The Adventures of Toto” by Ruskin Bond revolves around the challenges and joys of keeping a naughty pet. The story highlights how Toto, a playful and intelligent monkey, brings excitement and chaos into the household. It explores themes of responsibility, the consequences of impulsive decisions, and the importance of harmony in a home. 

While Toto’s antics are humorous and entertaining, they also lead to problems and losses for the family. Ultimately, the story highlights that not all animals are suitable as pets, and sometimes, it’s best to let them go for the greater good of everyone involved. It teaches readers about understanding the nature of animals and making thoughtful choices.

Character Sketch:

Character Sketch of Toto:

1. Mischievous:

  • Toto’s bright eyes sparkle with mischief.
  • He often gets into trouble by tearing things apart and causing chaos.

2. Intelligent:

  • He cleverly tests the water temperature before bathing.
  • His antics, like escaping from a closet or opening a kettle lid, show his quick thinking.

3. Playful:

  • Toto enjoys playing and causing mischief, such as stealing a pulao dish and throwing things at people.

4. Adaptable:

  • He uses his tail as a third hand, showcasing his adaptability and resourcefulness.
  • He adjusts to different environments, whether it’s a cage, a bag, or the house.

5. Troublesome:

  • His actions lead to significant damage in the household, such as tearing wallpaper and clothes.
  • He disturbs other animals, like the family donkey, Nana.

6. Affectionate:

  • Despite his mischief, Toto shows signs of attachment to his human family and enjoys their company.

7. Curious:

  • Toto’s curiosity often leads him into trouble, such as when he nearly boils alive in a kettle.

8. Defiant:

  • He throws a dish down from a tree out of spite, showing his defiant nature when scolded.

9. Energetic:

  • Toto is energetic, constantly moving, exploring, and engaging with his surroundings.

10. Destructive:

  • His playful nature often results in destruction, making him a challenging pet to keep.

Character Sketch of Grandfather:

1. Animal Lover: Grandfather has a private zoo and often brings home new pets, showing his deep love for animals.

2. Impulsive: He buys Toto on a whim from a Tonga driver, indicating his impulsive nature and tendency to make spontaneous decisions.

3. Optimistic: Grandfather is pleased with Toto’s antics, seeing them as signs of cleverness rather than mischief.

4. Patient: He remains patient despite Toto’s destructive behaviour, trying to see the positive side of the monkey’s actions.

5. Humorous: Grandfather finds humour in Toto’s antics, like when he imagines Toto using the torn blazer pieces to escape.

6. Resourceful: He finds ways to manage Toto’s behaviour, such as transferring him to a cage in the servants’ quarters.

7. Caring: Grandfather ensures Toto is comfortable, checking on him in the stable and providing a bag for his journey to Saharanpur.

8. Defiant: He challenges the ticket collector’s classification of Toto as a dog and humorously questions the fare for his pet tortoise.

9. Pragmatic: Realising the financial burden and household chaos caused by Toto, Grandfather decides to sell him back.

10. Adventurous: Grandfather’s willingness to take Toto along on trips and his fondness for unusual pets highlight his adventurous spirit.

Character Sketch of Grandmother:

1. Fussy: Grandmother fusses whenever Grandfather brings home a new pet, indicating her concern and apprehension about changes in the household.

2. Caring: Grandmother cares for Toto by giving him a warm water bowl for his bath, showing her nurturing side even towards mischievous pets.

3. Patient: Despite Toto’s antics and the chaos he causes, Grandmother remains patient, dealing with the disruptions he brings to the household.

4. Authoritative: She has a strong presence in the household, and her reactions, like screaming when Toto steals the pulao, show her authority and influence.

5. Responsible: Grandmother takes responsibility for household matters, managing the chaos of keeping pets.

6. Adaptable: Although initially reluctant, she adapts to Toto’s presence, indicating her ability to adjust to new and challenging situations.

7. Humorous: Her reaction to Toto’s antics, like almost boiling himself in the kettle, reveals a sense of humour when dealing with difficult situations.

8. Protective: She rescues Toto from the kettle, showing her protective nature and quick action to ensure his safety.

9. Resilient: Despite the trouble Toto causes, Grandmother continues to manage the household efficiently, demonstrating her resilience and strength.

Important Passages from “The Adventures of Toto” by Ruskin Bond:

The excerpts from “The Adventures of Toto” by Ruskin Bond focus on critical moments and character descriptions. Each selected passage highlights a significant aspect of Toto’s character or a memorable event in the story. :

1. Description of Toto:

“Toto was a pretty monkey. His bright eyes sparkled with mischief beneath deep-set eyebrows, and his teeth, which were pearly white, were very often displayed in a smile that frightened the life out of elderly Anglo-lndian ladies.”

  • The excerpt tells us that Toto is visually appealing. Explains that Toto’s smile can scare older Anglo-Indian women. It implies that Toto’s appearance and behaviour, though visually appealing, can be unsettling to some people, especially elderly women.
  • The opening passage shows how Toto’s appearance and behaviour significantly impact the people around him, adding to the humour and mischief characterising the narrative.

2. Toto’s escape attempt:

“The peg in the wall had been wrenched from its socket, and my school blazer, which had been hanging there, was in shreds. […] ‘Given time, I’m sure he could have tied the torn pieces of your blazer into a rope, and made his escape from the window!'”

  • Toto, the monkey, tries to escape from his enclosure by pulling out the peg holding him and tearing apart the narrator’s school blazer.
  • Grandfather comments on Toto’s cleverness. He suggests that if Toto had more time, he might have used the torn blazer pieces to make a rope and escaped through the window.
  • This excerpt illustrates Toto’s resourcefulness and determination to break free and Grandfather’s amused admiration for Toto’s intelligence. It sets the stage for understanding Toto’s adventurous and mischievous nature throughout the story.

3. Toto’s travel mischief:

“Toto suddenly poked his head out of the bag and gave the ticket collector a wide grin.”

  • During the journey, Toto, the monkey, unexpectedly emerged from the bag he was being carried in and grinned widely at the ticket collector. This playful action caught the ticket collector by surprise.

“In vain did Grandfather take Toto out of the bag; in vain did he try to prove that a monkey did not qualify as a dog, or even as a quadruped.”

  • The excerpt indicates that his efforts were unsuccessful despite Grandfather’s attempts to remove Toto from the bag and explain to the ticket collector that Toto is a monkey, not a dog or a four-legged animal. The ticket collector insisted on classifying Toto as a dog and charged the fare accordingly.
  • The above excerpts highlight Toto’s mischievous nature and Grandfather’s humorous attempts to manage the situation during their journey. Toto’s actions often lead to unexpected and humorous outcomes, adding excitement to the story.

4. Toto’s mischievous behaviour:

“He was always tearing things to pieces. Whenever one of my aunts came near him, he made every effort to get hold of her dress and tear a hole in it.”

  • Toto had a habit of ripping or damaging things. Specifically, when any of the narrator’s aunts approached Toto, he would try to grab their dresses and tear holes in them. This behaviour shows Toto’s mischievous and playful nature, although it could be troublesome for the people around him.

“At lunchtime, a large dish of pulao stood in the centre of the dining table. We entered the room to find Toto stuffing himself with rice.”

  • A big pulao dish (rice dish) was on the table during lunchtime. When the narrator and others entered the room, they discovered that Toto was eating the rice from the dish. “Stuffing himself” means Toto was eating the rice eagerly and in large quantities.
  • The above excerpts depict Toto’s playful but sometimes disruptive behaviour. He enjoys causing mischief by tearing things and indulging in food meant for humans, which adds humour and challenges for the characters in the story.

5. Conclusion and Toto’s departure:

“Obviously Toto was not the sort of pet we could keep for long. Even Grandfather realised that.”

  • The family understood that despite being charming and amusing, Toto was not suitable to keep as a pet for an extended period. Toto’s naughty behaviour, such as tearing things and causing disruptions, made managing him in the household challenging.

“So Grandfather found the tonga-driver and sold Toto back to him — for only three rupees.”

  • Because Toto did not fit in well with the family and caused too much trouble, Grandfather decided to sell him back to the Tonga driver from whom he originally bought Toto. The Tonga driver agreed to repurchase Toto for a much lower price than Grandfather initially paid.
  • The above excerpts show the resolution of Toto’s story in the household. Despite Toto’s entertaining antics, his behaviour ultimately led to his departure from the family’s home. This conclusion reflects the challenges of keeping unconventional pets and the decisions families sometimes make for everyone’s well-being.

Question Answers “The Adventures of Toto”:

Textbook Question Answers:

Q1: How does Toto come to grandfather’s private zoo? 

A1: Toto comes to Grandfather’s private zoo after being bought from a Tonga driver for five rupees. The tonga-driver used to keep Toto tied to a feeding trough, but Grandfather decided to add the charming monkey to his collection of pets.

Q2: “Toto was a pretty monkey.” In what sense is Toto pretty? 

A2: Toto is described as pretty because of several appealing physical attributes:

  • His bright eyes sparkle mischievously beneath deep-set eyebrows.
  • His teeth are pearly white and often displayed in a smile.
  • He has a tail that adds to his good looks and is described as a third hand, making him agile and capable.

These features make Toto visually attractive and interesting despite his naughty behaviour.

Q3: Why does grandfather take Toto to Saharanpur, and how? Why does the ticket collector insist on calling Toto a dog? 

A3: Grandfather takes Toto to Saharanpur to collect his pension. Toto travels with Grandfather in a big black canvas kit bag, which becomes his temporary home.

During their travel, Toto unexpectedly pokes his head out of the bag, surprising the ticket collector. The ticket collector, taken aback, insists on calling Toto a dog despite Grandfather’s attempts to explain that Toto is a monkey. 

This confusion leads to Grandfather having to pay a fare for Toto as if he were a dog, showcasing the humorous misunderstanding between the ticket collector and Grandfather.

Q4: How does Toto take a bath? Where has he learnt to do this? How does Toto almost boil himself alive? 

A4: Toto takes a bath in a unique and surprisingly human-like manner. He tests the water temperature with his hand, gradually steps into the warm water, and slowly immerses himself up to his neck. This behaviour suggests that Toto has observed humans, likely the narrator, taking baths and has learned to mimic the process.

One day, Toto nearly boils himself alive by getting into a large kitchen kettle left on the fire. Initially finding the water warm enough for a bath, he sits with his head sticking out of the kettle. As the water begins to boil, Toto adjusts by raising himself slightly but finds the air cold and sits back down, continuing to hop up and down. 

This dangerous situation is halted when Grandmother arrives and rescues Toto, who had unwittingly placed himself in grave danger due to his curious nature and lack of understanding about boiling water.

Q5: Why does the author say, “Toto was not the sort of pet we could keep for long”?

A5: The author (Ruskin Bond)  concludes that Toto was unsuitable as a long-term pet due to his mischievous and destructive behaviour. Throughout the story, Toto is depicted as causing various disruptions: tearing clothes, breaking dishes, and even endangering himself. Though often humorous, his actions cause inconvenience and expense for the family. 

Moreover, Toto’s antics continually challenge the household’s peace and order, making it clear that his presence cannot be sustained without ongoing trouble. Therefore, the author implies that Toto’s playful nature, while entertaining, ultimately makes him unsuitable for a stable and peaceful home environment.

Extra Questions: 

Short Answer Type Questions: 

Q1: Describe Toto’s appearance and some of his distinctive features.

A1: Toto was a striking monkey with bright, mischievous eyes under deep-set eyebrows. His teeth, pearly white, often flashed in a smile that unnerved elderly Anglo-Indian ladies. His hands appeared dried-up yet nimble; his ornamental and functional tail could scoop up unreachable treats and support him from branches like a third hand.

Q2: Why did Grandfather decide to keep Toto’s presence a secret from Grandmother?

A2: Grandfather kept Toto a secret from Grandmother to avoid her fussing over another addition to their household menagerie. He waited for a time when she was in an excellent mood to reveal Toto, knowing her tendency to worry about new animals and their potential mischief around the house.

Q3: How did Toto’s behaviour cause a commotion at the Dehra Dun railway platform?

A3: At the Dehra Dun railway platform, Toto poked his head out of his canvas bag just as Grandfather presented his ticket. Mistaking Toto for a dog, the ticket collector insisted on charging a fare. Despite Grandfather’s protests, Toto’s unexpected appearance amused and confused onlookers, causing a humorous commotion.

Q4: Why did Grandfather eventually sell Toto back to the Tonga driver?

A4: Grandfather decided to sell Toto back to the Tonga driver because Toto’s mischievous antics were becoming too costly for the household. His habit of destroying clothes, dishes, and wallpaper proved unsustainable for their budget. Despite his fondness for Toto, practicality forced Grandfather to part ways with the troublesome monkey.

Q5: How did Toto’s mischievous behaviour affect the household?

A5: Toto’s mischievous behaviour caused chaos in the household. He destroyed clothes, tore wallpaper, and even threw objects when provoked. His antics led to frequent commotions, especially during meals, where he would disrupt dining with his antics. Ultimately, his behaviour contributed to Grandfather’s decision to sell him back to the Tonga driver.

Q6: What tactics did Grandfather use to prove Toto wasn’t a dog to the ticket collector?

A6: Grandfather attempted to prove Toto wasn’t a dog by showing him to the ticket collector. Despite Grandfather’s efforts, the ticket collector insisted that Toto was indeed a dog, leading to humorous confusion and resulting in Grandfather paying a fare for Toto as if he were a canine companion.

Q7: How did Toto react when someone laughed at him during his bath?

A7: When someone laughed at Toto during his bath, he became upset, and his feelings were hurt. He would refuse to continue with his bath, demonstrating a sensitive side despite his mischievous nature. Toto’s reaction showed his emotional responsiveness to the responses of those around him.

Q8: Why did Toto end up being sold back to the tonga-driver despite Grandfather’s initial fondness for him?

A8: Despite Grandfather’s initial fondness for Toto, his mischievous behaviour proved too costly and disruptive for the household. Toto frequently damaged property and caused chaos, which became financially unsustainable for the family. Thus, Grandfather reluctantly decided to sell Toto back to the tonga-driver to alleviate these challenges.

Q9: How did Toto’s presence impact the other animals in Grandfather’s collection?

A9: Toto’s presence in Grandfather’s collection of animals brought both disruption and social dynamics. While Toto didn’t get along with Nana, the donkey, he interacted sociably with other pets like tortoises, rabbits, and squirrels in their shared quarters. His mischievous behaviour sometimes disturbed their peace yet added a lively element to their environment.

Q10: What was Grandmother’s reaction when discovering Toto’s antics with the pulao dish?

A10: Grandmother screamed upon discovering Toto eating from the pulao dish during lunch. In response, Toto threw a plate at her, causing further chaos. This incident highlighted Toto’s penchant for mischief and his ability to escalate situations, much to the dismay of Grandmother and the household.

Q11: Describe Toto’s relationship with Nana, the donkey in the stable.

A11: Toto and Nana, the donkey, did not get along well in the stable. Toto’s mischievous nature led him to bite and cling to Nana’s ears, causing discomfort and tension between them. Their relationship was marked by conflict rather than companionship, reflecting Toto’s disruptive presence in the stable environment.

Q12: How did Toto demonstrate his intelligence during his time with Grandfather?

A12: Toto demonstrated intelligence through various behaviours during his time with Grandfather. He showed problem-solving skills by escaping from his cage and adapting to his environment, such as testing bathwater temperature before entering. His ability to cause mischief also showcased his cunning and quick thinking.

Long Answer Type Questions: 

Q1: Why does the author conclude that Toto was unsuitable as a long-term pet?

A1: The author concludes that Toto was unsuitable as a long-term pet because he caused too much trouble and expense. Toto was mischievous and destructive, constantly tearing things apart and causing chaos. 

His playful behaviour often damaged clothes, furniture, and even kitchen utensils, leading to frequent losses and expenses for the family, which they couldn’t afford. Despite his charm and cleverness, Toto’s antics, such as throwing dishes and tearing clothes, made him too much of a handful to keep peacefully in the household. 

Eventually, Grandfather decides to sell Toto back to the Tonga driver to avoid further trouble and financial strain caused by Toto’s mischief.

Q2: What role does Toto’s tail play in his daily antics?

A2: Toto’s tail is crucial in daily antics, serving almost like an extra hand. According to the story, Grandfather believes a tail adds to anyone’s good looks, but for Toto, it’s not just about appearance. 

His tail helps him in various practical ways: he can hang from branches using it, reach for food out of his immediate grasp, and even scoop up delicacies otherwise inaccessible to his hands. This additional appendage enhances his agility and mischief, making it easier for him to explore and cause trouble around the house. 

Despite its functional use, Toto’s tail also adds to his charm and playful demeanour, making him both endearing and a handful for the family to manage.

Q3: How does Toto’s presence affect the other animals in Grandfather’s menagerie?

A3: Toto’s presence in Grandfather’s menagerie affects the other animals in various ways. Initially housed in a cage with a tortoise, rabbits, and a squirrel, Toto’s lively and mischievous nature disrupts the calm atmosphere. 

He doesn’t allow his companions to sleep at night, causing disturbance and possibly stress among the other animals. This prompts Grandfather to relocate Toto to the servants’ quarters, where he can be with other pets in a more social environment. However, Toto continues to stand out with his energetic behaviour, contrasting with the more sedate habits of the tortoise and other animals. 

Toto’s presence injects energy and occasional chaos into the menagerie, altering the dynamics and requiring adjustments to accommodate his lively personality alongside the quieter demeanour of the other animals.

Q4: How does Toto’s behaviour reflect his mischievous nature throughout the story?

A4: Toto’s behaviour consistently reflects his mischievous nature throughout the story. He is described as playful yet disruptive, constantly getting into trouble with his antics. For instance, Toto tears apart ornamental wallpaper and destroys clothes, such as the school blazer. 

His ability to cause chaos extends to meals, where he not only stuffs himself with food meant for humans but also throws dishes and objects at people when angered. Toto’s mischievous streak is also evident in his bathing habits, where he tests the water temperature and enjoys creating a spectacle, as well as his daring attempt to bathe in a boiling kettle. 

Toto’s actions consistently highlight his playful but troublesome nature, ultimately leading to the decision that he is too much to handle as a long-term pet.

Q5: How does Toto’s personality contradict Grandmother’s expectations and reactions?

A5: Toto’s personality contrasts sharply with Grandmother’s expectations and reactions throughout the story. Grandmother is depicted as a figure who values order, decorum, and peace in the household. She fusses over new animals brought home by Grandfather, preferring a serene environment. 

In contrast, Toto is lively, mischievous, and disruptive. His antics, such as tearing clothes, throwing dishes, and causing general chaos, directly oppose Grandmother’s desire for calmness. When Toto acts out, Grandmother reacts with shock, dismay, or frustration, often screaming or becoming flustered. Her reactions highlight her preference for a well-mannered and predictable household, which Toto continuously challenges with his unpredictable behaviour. 

This stark contrast between Toto’s exuberance and Grandmother’s expectations creates tension and humour in the narrative, highlighting the clash between an orderly household and an unruly monkey.

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