Refund Summary

This play “Refund” was written by a Hungerian satirical writer, Fritz Karinthy. This play is about a man of nearly forty who goes to the school in which he had studied and demands a refund of the fees he had paid eighteen years back claiming that he had learnt nothing useful at school and he is now good-for- nothing. It brings out the extraordinary sense of parody, and it is full of humour which deals with extraordinarily absurd situation.

There is a man about forty years old named Wasserkopf. He does not get any suitable job in his life. Sometimes even if he gets jobs, he is fired and cannot continue for a long time. So he does not have money and just wandering for money. On the way, he meets his friend, Leaderer who suggests him to go to his former school and claims his refund (ask to get paid money back). He thinks that is a good idea for him to get some money. Then, he goes to his former school where he meets his Principal. He says that he has visited the school to get his money back which he had paid before eighteen years. He adds to the Principal that his education is useless for him. He is good-for-nothing. So gets no suitable job and even if he gets, that does not last for a long time. He is broke of money and he wants his money back.

The Principal asks his servant to call all the teachers to solve the problem. The staff also come there. The Principal sends that man to wait out for a while since they have to conduct a short meeting. Then the Principal tells everything and they make a conclusion to take a re-examination for Wasserkopf so that they will make pass him to justify that he is talent and they should not give his money back and keep their reputation. The Mathematics teacher gives them an idea to take the examination to solve the problem. Wasserkopf is also ready to take a re-examination thinking that he will give them only stupid answers and justify that their education is useless and he is good-for-nothing. As a plan, the teachers of different subjects ask him easy questions one after another to pass him. He uses very inferior words to each teacher to insult them. He gives only stupid answers and asks to give his money back. But all the teachers of each subject justify his answers are right in all the subjects like Mathematics, Physics, Geography and History. Other teachers agree in each justification. The Principal awards outstanding marks and certifies him. The teachers also insult him after the certification. At last, the Principal calls his servant and orders him to take Wasserkopf out. The servant does as ordered by the Principal. Then the Principal thanked all the staff for their valuable co-operation to overcome the problem of refund.

This play is a satire on the present day education system because education system does not prepare students for life; instead, it focuses on memorization rather than creative thinking and it makes students learn just for passing the examinations rather than knowledge.

Refund Questions And Answer: Understanding the Text

Answer the following questions. 

a.Why does Wasserkopf demand a refund of his tuition fees from the school? 

Ans: Wasserkopf demands a refund of his tuition fees from the school because he is good for nothing and he has not got any job that suits him; if he gets a job that does not last for a long time and his friend, Leaderer suggests him to demand the refund.

b.Why does Wasserkopf consider himself good for nothing? 

Ans: Wasserkopf considers himself good for nothing because he does not get any suitable job for him. Even if he gets that does not last for a long time; because of which, he is short of money and he  considers himself useless.

c.What did the teachers decide to do when Wasserkopf asked for a refund? 

Ans: The teachers decided to take a reexamination in order to pass him in all the subjects so that they should not re-fund his tuition fees.

d. Why did Wasserkopf give ridiculous answers? Why did the teachers accept these answers? 

Ans: Wasserkopf gave ridiculous answers to justify that he had been good for nothing and to be failed in all the subjects to demand the refund of his tuition fees. The teachers accepted these answers to pass him in the examination and not to refund his tuition fees.

e.How does the Mathematics Master describe Wasserkopf’ s character?

Ans: The Mathematics Master describes Wasserkopf’s as a sly and crafty person who will try to get the better of them and his money back by hook or crook.

f.How did the teachers outwit Wasserkopf? 

Ans: The teachers outwitted Wasserkopf by applying a technique to make him pass in the re-examination and his all stupid answers were justified by the teachers according to their subjects so that he could be expelled from the school without any refund.

g. What is the final judgment on Waserkopf’s demand of refund? 

Ans: The final judgment on Wasserkopf’s demand of refund is they have denied it by justifying all his answers are correct and awarded him a certificate of his graduation.

Reference to the context

a. Read the extract from the play given below and answer the questions that follow: fayan 

“It’s possible I’ve changed. What the hell…! Your class records will show I’ve got a right to come here.” 

i.Who is the speaker? Who is he speaking to? 

Ans: Wasserkopf is the speaker. He is speaking to the Principal.

ii. Why is the speaker say these words? 

Ans: The speaker is saying these words because the education he received before eighteen years from that school is useless to get any suitable job.

iii.Where is the speaker at this moment ? 

Ans: The speaker is at the Principal’s office at this moment.

b. Read the extract dialogue given below and answer the questions that follow: 


i. What is to be the response to ‘How do you do?’ 

Ans: The response to ‘How do you do?’ is to be ‘How do you do?’ itself.

ii.I Wasserkopf’s response polite enough to the staff? 

Ans: Wasserkopf’s response is not polite enough to the staff because he uses very trifle words like, ‘who the hell are you’ and ‘loafers’.

iii. How does Wasserkopf rebuke the staff ? 

Ans: Wasserkopf rebukes the staff using the trifle words like loafers, whiskered baboon, old hypocrite, old reprobate, and so on.

iv. What does the principal mean by ‘How dare you ? 

Ans: The principal by ‘How dare you-?’ means his dissatisfaction and anger to Wasserkopf’s way of speaking to the staff that how he can produce such words instead of respecting them.

c.Explain the following line of the play:

“Because I didn’t get my money’s worth, that’s why!” 

Ans: This is Wasserkopf’s voice that he has come to the school again to demand his tuition fees for the education he had paid before eighteen years. He means he has not got any suitable job; and his some jobs also, have not lasted for a long time. He is good for nothing and his education is entirely useless for him.

d.What is the theme of the play ?

Ans: The theme of the play is we should impart education to a person to prepare for his/her future so that s/he can compete in the market and justify his/her talent for his/her survival. Besides, it shows the unity of the teachers to stand their school as one of the best institutions in the locality.

e. Sketch the character of Wasserkopf.

Ans: Wasserkopf is a person of forty years with beard. He searches suitable jobs but unable to find. Sometimes, if he gets a job, he cannot continue for a long time to work there. He seems to be gullible when his friend, Leaderer suggests him to go to his former school to demand his refund of his tuition fees that he paid before eighteen years. He is a sly and crafty person. He is impolite to the teachers of the school and rebukes them with trifle words. He seems to be obsessed in his decision. So, he every time, gives foolish answers to the teachers in their respective subjects in the re- examination. At last, the teachers justify him to be passed in their subjects and award him a certificate of his graduation; and he is expelled from the school.

Reference beyond the text

a.The play is a satire on the present day education system. Do you think that our education system does not prepare students for life? Discuss. 

Ans: Yes, the play is a satire on the present day education system. I partly agree that our education system does not prepare students for life. Whatever the education system we have does not prepare fully but to some extent it has done that educated people are fitted in the topmost jobs, business, and industries nationally and internationally.

It is a reality that our education system is based on the theory; so theoretical concepts have been  of life as our life has multifold roles to be fulfilled. A person collects double or triple or more imparted. The theoretical knowledge does not seem to have any connection to the practical aspects certificates of degrees; yet s/he remains jobless, and businessless to generate job opportunities and income. A student having a distinction in the certificate looks like a person lacking practical knowledge in his/her field. Another problem with us is lack of industries where educated people can be employed. Our concept of evaluating the students through the only one tool, i.e. written examination also prepares them just to rote to pass the examination rather than gaining and learning practical knowledge in the particular field. As a result, we have more useless educated manpower to develop him/herself, society, and the whole nation. Thus, there is an urgent need to change our education system to prepare students for life; otherwise the country and the people’s life will be pushed backwards.

b. Our education system focuses on memorisation rather than creative thinking. Do you think the knowledge imparted by education may not have practical relevance in one’s day-to-day life? Who do you blame for this?

Ans: It is true that our education system focuses on memorization rather than creative thinking. Yes, I also think the knowledge imparted by education may not have practical relevance in one’s day-to- day life. The courses have been designed based on the theory on different subjects which lack practical aspect of those subjects. For example, there are many graduates who have got good marks/grades in English language also cannot speak fluently with grammatically correct sentences. It means they have a problem in the primary and practical aspects of day-to-day communication in the language. Likewise, other subjects have the same condition. Students in any level look to be busy in rotting, memorizing and cheating to pass the written examination than developing their creative thinking so that they cannot handle any situation properly and wisely. The way of teaching and evaluating the students also same with the way before many years of our commencement of modern education in Nepal. Even in this pandemic of COVID 19, our government is focusing on the same type of evaluation of memorizing and writing in the examinations. This system does nothing more than corrupting the brains year by year. The investment on education becomes futile and meaningless.

c.Most of the students want to learn just for examination rather than knowledge. Do you think that certificate will help them in their future career ?

Ans: Yes, it is also true that most of the students want to learn just for examination rather than knowledge. I think the certificate of theoretical knowledge only will not help them in their future career; but if the certificate contains the practical knowledge that the students have really done through the courses very strictly will definitely help in their future career. Based on it, later in the future, it will pave them the way to their happy and safe destination in the journey of their career building.