CBSE Class 12 English - Evans Tries an O - Level 


  • The Secretary of the Examinations Board
  • The Governor of HM Prison, Oxford
  • James Roderick Evans, a prisoner
  • Mr. Jackson, a prison officer
  • Mr. Stephens, a prison officer
  • The Reverend S. McLeery, an invigilator
  • Mr. Carter, Detective Superintended
  • Mr. Bell, Detective Chief Inspector

The theme of the story:

  1. The story describes the conflict between the criminal and the law imposing authorities and how a sharp criminal manages to escape from the prison fourth time befooling the prison officials. It shows the lack of intelligence, alertness and sharp – wittedness on the part of the prison authorities.


James Roderick Evans:

  1. Cunning, smart and deceitful prisoner
  2. Imprisoned in H.M. Oxford Prison under the direct vigilance of the Governor
  3. Had managed to run away from prison three times earlier as well
  4. Also called by the name ‘Evans the Break’
  5. Good at impersonating others like McLeery.
  6. Good at knowing the human psychology of a person and that is why was able to convince Mr. Jackson to keep his cap with him as it was his lucky charm.
  7. VII. Had many friends who helped him to escape.

Mr. Jackson:

  1. An experienced and senior officer of the D wing in the prison.
  2. He was strict but tender-hearted when he allows Evans to keep his lucky bobble cap and wished him good luck for his exam despite the fact that he hated him and thought it would be good if he cut his throat while shaving and bleed to death.
  3. Also ignorant as he should have checked his cap before allowing Evans to keep it.
  4. He had a string of Second World War medals on his coat

Mr. Stephens:

  1. A burly, surly-looking man who was recently recruited to the profession.
  2. Ignorant as he missed a lot of opportunities to stop Evans from escaping the prison-like he did not bother to notice that why the parson McLeery is keeping his finger in a strange way or what is the possibility behind Evans wrapped in the dirty blanket.
  3. He should have given the details of the slightest unusual things he noticed in Evans cell which could have played a major role in hampering the plans of Evans from the very beginning.


  1. Initially, a good man as he allowed Evans to take the exam and made all the necessary arrangements for it as well.
  2. He had an impulse that Evans might try to escape again this time but still ensures that the prison officials are taking all the precautions.
  3. He cross-examines every call that he receives to make sure it is not a hoax.
  4. Overconfident
  5. He is impressed by Evans cleverness
  6. Gullible and boastful.


Evans wanted to have some sort of academic qualification while he was imprisoned. For this, he wanted to give the o-level (ordinary certificate in secondary examination) in German. A German teacher comes to teach him for ten months and then he gives the examination there in his cell where all the necessary arrangements were made and all the precautions were taken by the prison officers Mr. Jackson and Mr. Stephen.

A person named McLeery was called to invigilate for the exam. The Governor himself comes to supervise security arrangements as the prisoner is very cunning and had escaped three times earlier also. He took utmost care and cross-examined every call to make sure that he is not fooled.

Evan’s cell was bugged so that the Governor could himself listen to each and every conversation. The exam went on smoothly and Stephens escorted the invigilator McLeery to the main gate. When he came back and peeped inside Evan’s cell he was shocked to see that the invigilator (who is actually Evans) is wounded badly and rushes to inform the Governor about it who asked him to be taken to the hospital.  Evans disguised as the invigilator pretended that he is alright and knew where Evans has gone and showed more interest in the police than the ambulance and before the Governor could say anything he sat in the police wan and managed to escape. The actual invigilator was ‘bound and gagged in his study in Broad Street’ and after learning this Governor got the picture clear in his mind.

By taking the hint from the question paper that the so- invigilator left from where he was able to decipher in which hotel Evans would be staying and reached there. Evans was shocked to see the Governor in his room and he surrendered. 

He was handcuffed and sent to the prison in the prison van. Here again, Evans was easily able to befool the Governor and the officers as the people inside the van were his friends and he finally escaped.