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KEYS LOCKS AND OPEN DOORS

JANE WALLIS HICKS

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Learning outcomes

At the end of this lesson, you should be able to: Interpret literary elements present in the short story through the QCOC approach Express your thoughts on the issues present in the short story through group discussion sessions

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VOCABULARY ENRICHMENT
What is the meaning of the following words in the context in which they appear?
1. 2. 3.

Bairns - a child (Scottish/ Northern English) Death Toll - charges for burial ceremony Backsliding - to stop working hard or to fail to do something that you had agreed to do Heed- to pay attention to something, especially advice or a warning Gauntlet- a long thick glove, worn for protection

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PRE DISCUSSION EXERCISE

Locate the answers to the following questions from Keys Locks and Open Doors. Why did Pa not give the household keys to Rory after Ma died? How did Pa know that his child had continued listening to the night voices, even after he had prescribed the sleeping medicine? What was unusual about Widow Range's grave days after she had been buried? Find evidence from the story to establish whether the central character is a boy or a girl.

a) b)

c)

d)

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CHARACTER ANALYSIS
1. 2. 3.

Pa head of the family, the sole breadwinner Ma sickly, dies at the beginning of the story voiceless character Rory an adolescent, eldest child but does not assume the responsibility as the eldestlater gets married and leaves the family to stay with the wifes family, much to the disappointment of Pa Sim runs away from the house, never to be found again May, Eve, Silence protagonists sisters voiceless characters I the protagonist boy/girl ? subjected to paranormal activity - a psychic ability to hear the dead when in possession of the iron house keys belonging to the family, assumes the responsibility of the eldest child Padre Filton local priest, protagonist shares thoughts on voices heard with priest to find comfort, but priest in turn betrays protagonist and divulges the information to Pa.
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4. 5. 6.

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INTERPRETATION OF THEMES

Supernatural Good vs evil Bravery Loyalty Love Faith Provide instances of the above themes from the actions and events that take place in the short story.
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ANALYSIS OF PLOT

Keys Locks and Open Doors revolves around the supernatural / paranormal experiences faced by an adolescent upon receiving the familys set of iron keys. In the INTRODUCTION, readers are taken into the world of the protagonists family and are led to experience the characteristics, behaviour, emotions and feelings of the family members, upon the death of the mother, Ma. Pa, passes the responsibility of caring for the family with the protagonist while he is away working at the family field.

EVIDENCE: I was now the guardian, he said, seeing as I had a mind to keep the young 'uns safe and obey his words full strength, unlike some who should know better. (PARAGRAPH 1)
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ANALYSIS OF PLOT

The horror / supernatural element thickens the plot. The night after the burial of Ma, the protagonist experiences disturbances, but took no heed of it. The reason of the disturbance the keys

EVIDENCE: And that night with the keys hard beneath my thin flock pillow, I heard the voices clearly for the first time. They sounded loud and plain outside my shuttered window abegging me to open up and come to them. And one of the voices was my brother Sim's. Another sounded lighter, like my Ma's. But mindful of my father's words I held to the keys and kept the shutters barred. And gradually the voices drifted quiet and sleep took me down. (PARAGRAPH 2)
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ANALYSIS OF PLOT

Psychic / paranormal experiences are not apparent when the keys are not in the possession of the protagonist. Pa tries to treat the protagonist with medicine and also informs that the voices heard are not real, but tricks of the mind. The protagonist takes extra caution by shutting the doors and windows tight. EVIDENCE: For me, most nights, the voices came; the voices Pa said were only in my head. He gave me quintain boiled in honey to make me sleep but the taste was harsh and cast a dullness over me the following day. But I pretended to drink to keep from causing strife. (PARAGRAPH 3)
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ANALYSIS OF PLOT

The protagonist realizes that nothing much can be done to overcome the paranormal experiences faced and learns to deal with the psychic encounters with stopping in my ears (PARAGRAPH 3) Acting on Pas instructions, over a time period, the protagonist moves into Widow Ranges house to care for her. During the funeral, the protagonist does not experience any form of haunting, thanks to the ironwood and ironstone that kept us safe from harm. (PARAGRAPH 4)

Upon the widows death, the protagonist returns back to Pas home and is once again subjected to paranormal experiences when the keys are returned by Pa.
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ANALYSIS OF PLOT

The protagonist goes through another chilling experience upon discovering that widow Ranges grave was open - I walked then to Widow Range's grave and saw her capping stone was out of line. I'd helped lay it and knew full well it was not the same. ( PARAGRAPH 4)

The ending of the story is symbolic. What do you think the excerpt taken form the end of the story symbolizes? And now, tonight, I sit and wait the voices. My shutters are opened wide, my bedroom door unlocked, my binding keys thrown deep within the spring. The house is open to what may come and I am also ready. I will heed this call. I will leave the confines of my father's house and join that which waits outside. ( PARAGRAPH 4)
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ANALYSIS OF PLOT
1.

Internal plot action: events that take place in the mind and hearts Much of the instances of internal plot action that takes place in the short story revolves around the protagonist. Locate examples of the above from the short story and explain its relationship to the supernatural theme of the story

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SYMBOLS

The keys and locks


The tightly shut doors and windows The open doors and windows Iron (wood and stone) What do the above symbols symbolize?
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DISCUSSION QUESTIONS
Apply the QCOC approach to the following discussion questions in a paragraph of not more than 150 words. Use appropriate topic sentences and supporting sentences to write your answers. Discuss the use of the supernatural theme in the story. What narrative point of view did the author choose for this story? Explain. What do you think Pa's keys symbolize? Discuss.
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1. 2.

3.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS
1.

Discuss the use of the supernatural theme in the story. TOPIC SENTENCE SUPPORTING SENTENCE 1 SUPPORTING SENTENCE 2 SUPPORTING SENTENCE 3 SUPPORTING SENTENCE 4 CONCLUSION SENTENCE
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DISCUSSION QUESTIONS
2. What narrative point of view did the author choose for this story? Explain.

TOPIC SENTENCE SUPPORTING SENTENCE 1 SUPPORTING SENTENCE 2 SUPPORTING SENTENCE 3 SUPPORTING SENTENCE 4 CONCLUSION SENTENCE
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DISCUSSION QUESTIONS
3. What do you think Pa's keys symbolize? Discuss.

TOPIC SENTENCE SUPPORTING SENTENCE 1 SUPPORTING SENTENCE 2 SUPPORTING SENTENCE 3 SUPPORTING SENTENCE 4 CONCLUSION SENTENCE
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THE

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