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E) Once upon a time there was a little girl called Cinderella. Her mother was dead, and she lived with her father and two elder sisters.

F) When I have finished writing, I shall enclose this whole manuscript in an envelope and address it to Poirot. And then — what shall it be? Veronal? There would be a kind of poetic justice. Not that I take any responsibility for Mrs. Ferrars’s death. I was the direct consequence of her own actions. I feel no pity for her.

G) He laughed softly at the memory, and she joined in gaily. She had been wonderfully, blissfully on time. She started to tell him so, but his lips claimed her own, masterfully silencing the words that no longer needed to be spoken.

h) Mrs. Ferrars died on the night of the 16th — 17th September — a Thursday. I was sent for at eight o’clock on the morning of Friday the 17th. There was nothing to be done. She had been dead some hours.

(B) Titles and Authors. Here are the titles and authors, again mixed up. Match each book with its correct title and author.

The Murder Of Roger Ackroyd Sue Peters

Cinderella Agatha Christie

Marriage in Haste Charlie Chaplin

My Autobiography a traditional fairy story


Writing economically. Shorten these sentences using as few words as possible. (If you learn to write economically, this will help you to write effective summaries.)

A) My physical condition is, on the whole, one in which food would be of considerable benefit.

B) I’m telling no more than truth when I say that George is a habitual smoker.

C) In her employment, Mary showed a thoroughly satisfactory degree of energy and efficiency.

d) The main problem with which I am faced is to decide whether it is preferable to continue in existence, or whether it would, on balance, be a more advisable policy to give up the struggle. (Shakespeare)

e) It is undeniable that the large majority of non-native learners of English experience a number of problems in attempting to master the phonetic patterns of the language.

f) It is not uncommon to encounter sentences which, though they contain a great number of words and are constructed in a highly complex way, none the less turn out to contain very little meaning of any kind.


A) These are some common expressions used when talking about short stories. Match them with the definitions below.

Suspense surprise plot character(s)

Setting climax theme style

A) the manner of writing used in the story —

B) the feeling in the reader caused by something unexpected happening —

C) the place and time at which the events of a story take place —

D) the set of connected events on which the story is based —

e) what the story is about, rather than what happens in the story —

F) a tense feeling in the reader, caused by wondering what may happen further in the story —

G) the most intense part of a story, generally towards the end —

H) a person (or people) in a story —



B) Use the words in point (A) to fill in the gaps in these sentences.

a) The story is too simple to be interesting: the _____________ are too neatly divided into good and bad.

b) I found the _____________ too complicated: at times it was difficult to understand what was going on.

c) __________ is maintained throughout this thrilling story: you don’t find out the identity of the murderer until the last page, and when you do, it comes as a complete ____________.

d) Very little actually happens in this story — it is an ordinary day in the life of an ordinary person — but the writer’s ____________ makes it fascinating reading.

e) In spite of the exotic _________, in India at the time of the Mogul Emperors, the story is rather dull.

f) The story’s ______, racial intolerance in an urban setting, makes it still relevant for today’s reader.

g) The writer builds up the reader’s expectations skillfully, but the __________ itself is rather disappointing.



Read the short story given below. Do a thorough vocabulary work and accomplish the tasks that follow the story. Check them with the keys.

K. Chopin

The Story of an Hour


Knowing that Mrs. Mallard was afflicted with a heart trouble, great care was taken to break to her as gently as possible the news of her husband’s death.

It was her sister Josephine who told her, in broken sentences, veiled hints that revealed in half concealing. Her husband’s friend Richards was there, too, near her. It was he who had been in the newspaper office when intelligence of the railroad disaster was received, with Brently Mallard’s name leading the list of “killed”. He had only taken the time to assure himself of its truth by a second telegram, and had hastened to forestall any less careful, less tender friend in bearing the sad message.

She did not hear the story as many women have heard the same, with a paralyzed inability to accept its significance. She wept at once, with sudden wild abandonment, in her sister’s arms. When the storm of grief had spent itself she went away to her room alone. She would have no one follow her.

There stood, facing the open window, a comfortable, roomy armchair. Into this she sank, pressed down by a physical exhaustion that haunted her body and seemed to reach into her soul.

She could see in the open square before her house the tops of trees that were all aquiver with the new spring life. The delicious breath of rain was in the air. In the street below a peddler was crying his wares. The notes of a distant song which some one was singing reached her faintly, and countless sparrows were twittering in the eaves.

There were patches of blue sky showing here and there through the clouds that had met and piled above the other in the west facing her window.

She sat with her head thrown back upon the cushion of the chair quite motionless, except when a sob came up into her throat and shook her, as a child who has cried itself to sleep continues to sob in its dreams.

She was young, with a fair, calm face, whose lines bespoke repression and even a certain strength. But now there was a dull stare in her eyes, whose gaze was fixed away off yonder on one of those patches of blue sky. It was not a glance of reflection, but rather indicated a suspension of intelligent thought.

There was something coming to her and she was waiting for it, fearfully. What was it? She did not know; it was too subtle and elusive to name. But she felt it, creeping out of the sky, reaching toward her through the sounds, the scents, the color that filled the air.

Now her bosom rose and fell tumultuously. She was beginning to recognize this thing that was approaching to possess her, and she was striving to beat it back with her will-as powerless as her two white slender hands would have been.

When she abandoned herself a little whispered word escaped her slightly parted lips. She said it over and over under her breath: “Free, free, free!” The vacant stare and the look of terror that had followed it went from her eyes. They stayed keen and bright. Her pulses beat fast, and the coursing blood warmed and relaxed every inch of her body.

She did not stop to ask if it were not a monstrous joy that held her. A clear and exalted perception enabled her to dismiss the suggestion as trivial.

She knew that she would weep again when she saw the kind, tender hands folded in death; the face that had never looked save with love upon her, fixed and gray and dead. But she saw beyond that bitter moment a long procession of years to come that would belong to her absolutely. And she opened and spread her arms out to them in welcome.

There would be no one to live for during those coming years; she would live for herself. There would be no powerful will bending her in that blind persistence with which men and women believe they have a right to impose a private will upon a fellow-creature. A kind intention or a cruel intention made the act seem no less a crime as she looked upon it in that brief moment of illumination.

And yet she had loved him — sometimes. Often she had not. What did it matter! What could love, the unsolved mystery, count for in face of this possession of self-assertion which she suddenly recognized as the strongest impulse of her being!

“Free! Body and soul free!” she kept whispering.

Josephine was kneeling before the closed door with her lips to the keyhole, imploring for admission. “Louise, open the door! I beg; open the door — you will make yourself ill. What are you doing, Louise? For heaven’s sake open the door.”

“Go away. I am not making myself ill.” No; she was drinking in a very elixir of life through the open window.

Her fancy was running riot along those days ahead of her. Spring days, and summer days, and all sorts of days that would be her own. She breathed a quick prayer that life might be long. It was only yesterday she had thought with a shudder that life might be long.

She arose at length and opened the door to her sister’s importunities. There was a feverish triumph in her eyes, and she carried herself unwittingly like a goddess of Victory. She clasped her sister’s waist, and together they descended the stairs. Richards stood waiting for them at the bottom.

Some one was opening the front door with a latchkey. It was Brently Mallard who entered, a little travel-stained, composedly carrying his grip-sack and umbrella. He had been far from the scene of accident, and did not even know there had been one. He stood amazed at Josephine’s piercing cry; at Richards’ quick motion to screen him from the view of his wife. But Richards was too late.

When the doctors came they said she had died of heart disease — of joy that kills.


1. Improve the following summary:

The story I am going to analyze is very interesting. Louise Mallard, a young woman with a heart trouble, receives the news of her husband’s death in a road accident. Greatly shocked at first she retreated to her room to grieve but suddenly felt relieved. Louise realizes now that her husband is dead she is free to live as she chooses and do what she likes: “Free! Body and soul free!” The young woman anticipates the beginning of a new life, while her sister Josephine is entreating her to calm down: “Open the door, Louise, you will make yourself ill!” When Louise is down with her relatives again, the entrance door opens and her husband, Brently Mallard, appears “composedly carrying his grip-sack and umbrella”. It turns out that the husband’s death has been a mistake. Louise’s weak heart could not endure one more shock and she died instantly. Everyone was sure that she had been glad to see her husband safely back home and died “of joy that kills”. I think the main problems touched upon in the short story are those of freedom and self-assertion of a woman.

2. Define the forms of presentation in the short story and try to relate it from one of the following points of view:

a) first-person narrator: a minor character in the story (Josephine, Brently Mallard or a doctor);

b) first-person narrator: the main character (Louise Mallard);

c) third-person narrator: limited (a minor character);


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