Character Sketch of Grandmother from Hornbill Book of Class11

The grandmother in “The Portrait of a Lady” from the Hornbill book of Class 11 is a captivating character, woven from threads of tradition, faith, and unwavering love for her grandson. Here’s a sketch of her multifaceted personality:


  • She’s described as a “short, plump, and slightly bent” figure, draped in a “white saari,” her silver hair resembling a “winter landscape in the mountains.” (Imagine a serene older woman in a white saree, her hair like flowing silver, bathed in the ethereal light of a mountain winter.)
  • Her face, though etched with wrinkles, holds a “pleasant, comforting, and serene” expression, exuding warmth and wisdom.


  • Devoted: Her life revolves around her faith, spending a large part of her day reciting prayers and counting her rosary beads.
  • Kindhearted: She extends her compassion beyond her family, feeding the village dogs and later, the sparrows in the city with bits of bread.
  • Traditional: Holding strong to her beliefs, she clashes with the narrator’s modern education and struggles to understand scientific concepts. Her disapproval of music stems from her association with it being practiced by those considered “outsiders” to her traditional society.
  • Loving: Despite her initial reservations, her love for her grandson shines through. She patiently listens to his tales, offers him blessings, and even organizes a celebration upon his return from abroad, exhausting herself in the process.


  • Grandmother-Grandson: Their relationship is central to the story. Initially, there’s a gap in understanding due to their differing worldviews. However, their bond deepens with time, and the grandmother’s unconditional love becomes a pillar of support for the narrator.
  • Relationship with Modernity: She embodies the traditional world clashing with the modern one. While struggling to grasp new concepts, she remains a source of solace and wisdom for the narrator navigating a changing world.


The grandmother is a complex and endearing character. Her unwavering faith, traditional values, and boundless love for her grandson make her a vital presence in the story. She serves as a bridge between generations, reminding us of the importance of holding onto our roots while embracing change.

In conclusion, the grandmother in “The Portrait of a Lady” is a tapestry woven with threads of tradition, faith, and unwavering love. Her presence adds depth and dimension to the story, reminding us of the enduring strength and wisdom that often reside within the older generation.

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