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Read the short story and answer the questions that follow it.




УДК 802.0(075.8)

ББК 81.2 Ан

 

ã Минский государственный лингвистический университет, 2003

 

ã Е. Ю. Кирейчук, Т. Г. Васильева, 2003


CONTENTS

 

To the Student…………………………………………………………………...4

 

Unit 1: Tone. The Lyrical Key. ……………………………………………........5

G. M. Brown. Shell Songs……………………………………………...6

 

Unit 2: The Dramatic Key. …………………………………………………….13

J. Stuart. Love………………………………………………………….13

 

Unit 3: The Grotesque Key. …………………………………………………...18

J. Thurber. The Rabbits Who Caused All the Trouble……..................22

Saki. The Story-Teller……………………………………...................23

 

Unit 4: Symbolism. …………………………………………............................30

L. Carrington. The Debutante………………………………………...32

T. Winton. Secrets…………………………………………………….36

 

Unit 5: Title. …………………………………………………………………...41

Gr. Greene. The Invisible Japanese Gentlemen………………………43

 

Reading Independently. The Scheme of Story Analysis……………………...49

 

Stories for Independent Reading

1. D. Leavitt. Gravity………………………………………………….50

2. B. Aldiss. Making My Father Read Revered Writings……………..55

3. J. Collier. The Chaser…………………………………....................60

4. J. Archer. Cheap at Half the Price……………………....................64

5. R. Goldberg. Art for Heart’s Sake………………………………….78

6. Saki. The Lumber-Room………………………………....................82

7. Ph. Dick. Human Is……………………………………....................89

8. O. Henry. The Skylight Room…………………………...................104

9. O. Wilde. The Model Millionaire………………………………….111

10. J. Mark. Teeth……………………………………………………...117

11. E. Hemingway. Cat in the Rain……………………………………123

12. J. Winterson. O’Brien’s First Christmas…………………………..127

13. M. Whitaker. Hannah……………………………………………...133

14. M. Armstrong. The Poets and the Housewife (a Fable)…………...137

15. A. Cassidy. Shopping for One……………………………………...140

 

Supplement……………………………………………………………………..........144

 

Reference……………………………………………………………………….........161


TO THE STUDENT

 

Reading will be a substantial component of students’ curriculum this term. This course will aid in dealing with the reading and interpretation of short stories by American and British writers and is aimed at the expansion of understanding of a short story beyond the literal and simple recollection of factual details. The majority of the activities in this course will concentrate on reading and analyzing the short story and its elements (the emotive key, the functions of the title, literary symbolism).

 

During the 2nd term students are expected:

· to read 23 short stories by British and American authors;

· to accomplish 2 home tests (supposed to be done independently and checked with the attached keys);

· to do an entrance test and a final test.

 

Part 2 of the book Reading and Appreciationof the Short Story is divided into 5 units containing original and unabridged short stories, followed by sections of questions to help students to appreciate the text and organize discussions in class. The texts are preceded by a necessary minimum of information, which will allow the student to answer the After You Read questions and accomplish the Before You Read tasks. The tasks take a variety of formats and are meant for full class activities, group activities and individual work.

Part 2 also includes 15 short stories intended for students’ independent reading and appreciation. To facilitate the task, a scheme of analysis is suggested and each short story is followed by a set of questions which focus the reader’s attention on the most relevant and important issues of interpretation. The supplement to Part 2 contains 2 home tests provided with keys for self-control.

 

The course presupposes thorough and conscientious independent and class work on behalf of the student.

We hope that this course will encourage students to respond imaginatively to what they read, to build up their vocabulary. It will help to understand and enjoy reading English language literature and will give tools and methods for appreciating fiction students will read in the future.


UNIT 1

 

TONE

Tone is the manner in which an author expresses his/her attitude to the characters and events in the story; it is the intonation of voice, which expresses meaning. Within a work of fiction the tone may shift from paragraph to paragraph, or even from line to line; it is the result of allusion, diction, figurative language, irony, motif, symbolism, syntax, and style.

A speaker’s tone is evident to all, but understanding written tone is an entirely different matter. The reader must appreciate word choice, imagery and details. A careful look, sentence by sentence, at the language of a work of fiction — the words chosen and the way they are put together — can often help us to understand what that work means. Writers labour to make language serve their purposes, to produce the effects they desire, that is to establish the necessary tone:

· A writer’s tone may be formal or informal, friendly or distant, personal or pompous, earnest or humorous, serious or ironic.

· Tone can be said to be sarcastic, light-hearted, angry; sympathetic or impassive, cheerful or melancholy, vigorous or matter-of-fact or any number of other terms.

 

The vast range of tones can be classified into three basic keys: lyrical, dramatic and grotesque. The term key denotes the prevailing mood and the atmosphere created in the story.

 

THE LYRICAL KEY

Imaginative language and elaborate syntax can often create a romantic mood. If the narrative or a section of it abounds in poetic lexis, metaphors, similes, emotive words, direct addresses, personal pronouns and present tenses, emphatic syntax and expresses direct personal feelings, it is lyrical in key. The lyrical key is present in the texts describing author’s feelings rather than outward events. In lyrical passages of prose or in lyrical poems the author’s attention is concentrated on his emotive attitude to life, on his thoughts about it, on his feelings. It is often found in descriptions of nature and appearance as well as in auctorial digressions.

 

Read the short story and answer the questions that follow it.

G. M. Brown

Shell Songs

Dearest Alicia,

 

I must tell you about this strange thing that has happened here.

Do you remember Hundland who used to come and help in the Hall garden sometimes in summer? He is a small man with a brown silky beard and blue eyes. He is a good worker, and quiet in his speech. One thing about him, when James or I speak to him, he will not remove his hat, or say “sir” and “ma’am”.

Hundland works a croft on the far side of the island. He is married and has several children.

Three days ago, Tuesday, Hundland has a boy with him, aged nine or ten, when I saw him working in the tulip-beds. This child was wandering slowly here and there about the garden. I could see his lips moving. He nodded from time to time. His hands made slow shapes. He was a very small boy indeed, and not very pretty, with light sand-coloured hair. My first impression was: he is a bit simple in the head.

I opened the window. I called, “Good morning, Hundland!” The man merely turned his face and nodded. The child fled as if he had been shot, behind the sycamore tree.

“What child is that?” I asked.

Hundland replied, still bent over the blossoms, “He’s Tom. He’s our youngest boy. The wife’s not well today. I thought I would take him off her hands. He’s more trouble, in a way, than all the others.”

“Tom,” I called, “come from behind the tree. I have an orange and a piece of chocolate for you.”

There was no answer. There was a white five-pointed star stuck to the hither side of the trunk, Tom’s hand.

“He won’t come out!” said Hundland. “He’s the strangest boy I ever saw. He wouldn’t show himself if you were to offer him a piece of gold. I don’t know what’s to become of the creature when he’s grown. He’s frightened of boats. He’s frightened of horses. He wants to know all about them, all the same. He’s frightened of any stranger that comes about. That won’t do in a crofter-fisherman. He might grow out of it. He’ll have to.”

“Surely he ought to be at school,” I said.

“He’s frightened of the teacher, too, and the big boys; they won’t leave him alone. He’s as ignorant as the scarecrow when it comes to letters and figures. He’s upset this morning, because his mother’s in bed. The only time he’s happy is when he’s by himself. He contents himself with the daft games he makes up…”.

These were the words of my radical gardener to me, the most he’s ever spoken. (But never a touch to the cap.)

It was a most beautiful morning, Alicia, all blue and gold and green. I decided not to waste the day (James has been all week in Edinburgh on business). I took my book and parasol and cushion and walked along to the beach, which was quite empty, as the fishermen had taken advantage of the weather to set their creels here and there under the cliffs on the west side.

I sat down on a rock and opened my book of Shenstone’s poems. Everything was quite beautiful and tranquil. Nature smiled. It was so peaceful I could hear the horse in the field above champing and moving through the grass. I could sense, almost, the earth’s juices flowing.

(How is it words in a book are never so beautiful and interesting outside, in the sun? Of course they are, they must be; but books seem made for opening beside a fire indoors, with the yellow waverings of candle-light on the white pages. My friend, I would rather than any book that you had been there to share that beautiful day with me! There is a selfishness in solitary enjoyment.)

It seemed, however, that I was not destined to be solitary for too long. I heard the faintest rhythmic displacement of dry sand-grains. Who could it be, the despoiler of my solitude? I raised the rim of my summer hat, and looked.

It was a small boy, anonymous against the blue and silver glitterings of ocean.

His mouth, between the sea and the fields, was ringing like a little bell.

Dear Alicia, the boy spoke as if the shells and stones and water were living things, and could understand what he was saying. It was the strangest experience: I hidden in my rock cranny, this boy (whoever he was) wandering here and there about the shore, chanting.

I listened, half-amused and half-wonderstruck. Shenstone lay spreadeagled at my feet, the pages slowly curling in the sun.

Should I declare myself? It seemed a shame to break the natural flow of the boy’s phantasy. This most strange monologue went on and on. On an impulse, I plucked a pencil from my bag and wrote, as best I could, on the blank pages of Shenstone’s Works, the words of my shore wanderer. It seemed a shame that only the empty unremembering empyrean should be given such a unique recital.

I cannot convey how fresh and exquisite the words were in that setting. My pencil stumbled on and on, and slowly blunted.

Naturally, I missed much. The boy wandered here and there. Often I could only hear — as it were — an indistinct music. And, then, pencil on paper is tardy, and his words, however indistinct, came with the freshness and urgency of a spring.

Such as I gathered, I send you to marvel at. If they appear in broken lines, my excuse is that they seemed like a scattering of primitive unpolished stones.

Here I go.

I’m writing letters

To a bird and a shell.

I should be writing

On a slate in the school.

*

The sea will cure her.

I’ll take sea

Up to the house in this shell.

“Drink this, Mother.”

*

I don’t think he’ll ever die, the Laird, Mr. Sweyn.

The lady, she’s kind,

She’s beautiful and she’s sweet,

So she’ll die.

A pity that, a great pity

For old Mr. Sweyn!

*

Tomorrow,

Every day I’ll go.

I’ll read the books, hard.

I’ll study.

I’ll go to Edinburgh, the college there.

I’ll be a doctor. I will.

I’ll say to her in the bed,

“Get well. I’m here. Take this medicine.”

*

I can do anything with you I like,

Sand.

I’ve drawn a cottage.

There are people living in it.

They’re all singing.

Look at their round mouths.

There’s a mother

At a table, with pots and plates.

*

Are you listening, shell?

You

Are all whispers and whispers.

Listen. Tell me

Where the hidden treasure is, the box

Full of silver coins.

Then

My father will be able to pay his rent.

*

I am Mr. Sweyn.

I live up at the Hall. I do.

Seagull,

How do you know I amn’t Mr. Sweyn?

 

I am Mr. Sweyn the Laird.

I say,

“Miss Ingsetter, you are sacked from the school.”

Then I say,

“Mrs. Hundland is to stop coughing,

I have a room for her

High up, where blue air comes in.”

*

Nobody

Hears, only a shell and a gull.

They are arguing.

The gull says, “Her face is burning. Then it is grey.

She is very sick.”

The shell sings, “The mother,

She is never going to die.”

*

Once she was sick before.

Then she got up.

She lit the fire, she polished all our boots.

*

I’m tired. I’m in trouble. I’m bad. I’m idle.

Shell and gull,

I should be taking the sweat from my mother’s face.

 

 

There was silence at last, but for the first ebb noises and the cries of a rock-questing gull. It had gotten cold in my rock cranny.

The boy had wandered away.

My hand was numb with writing (as best I could) all those “native woodnotes wild”.

I looked out. The sands were flushed with the last of the sun.

The boy was a trembling dot against the far reaches of the shore.

I knew — if I had not known already — that it was Tom Hundland.

I had am impulse to cry after him to come back — I would do what I could for his mother and his family.

He heard me. It must have been a thin echo, my cry, at that distance, in the first shadows. He went like a bird up the nearest shore path to the road above.

My hand, dear Alicia, was numb with writing, and with the first chill of evening; and with something more, beyond, the plight of that cottage with the skull on the window-sill.

 

1. Who tells us the story? In what form us it written? What term is usually applied to define this type of writing? What accounts for the author’s choice to present the story as a letter?

2. Dwell on the function of the setting. Describe the atmosphere it creates.

3. Present the characters: Tom, Hundland, the lady. Describe the impression they produce on each other and on the reader.

4. Describe the lady in detail. What does her house look like? What constitutes her daily routine? Does she seem to be happy in her married life? What is the significance of this character for the story?

5. Discuss the peculiarities of her letter-writing style: the structure of the sentences; the vocabulary used (low colloquial, informal, neutral, bookish, elevated, formal); the events and details she concentrates on. Paraphrase some of her expressions. Does her manner of writing resemble the way you usually write letters?

6. Discuss your first reaction to Tom’s poem. Enumerate the devices that make it poetic. Analyze the symbolic meaning of the following images used by Tom: the sea, the shell, the gull, his picture on the sand. What information does the poem convey about its author (his emotional state, the way he perceives himself and the world around him)?

7. Characterize the general mood of the whole story and the key it is written in.

 


UNIT 2

 

The dramatic Key

 

The dramatic key relates to the description of any series of events having vivid, emotional, conflicting, or striking interest or results. If the narrative consists of dynamic dialogues and describes a series of exciting events; if the writer employs emotive lexis, figures of rhetoric, numerous interrogative and exclamatory sentences, the story can create a sense of drama, i.e. it is dramatic in tone.

 

 





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