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Examinations

Grade 11
University English

Diana Knight . 111

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Grade 11 University English

Examination

Section A: SIGHT PASSAGE


Read the short story The Jade Peony and answer the following questions.
Evaluation based on: Knowledge, Thinking, Communication, and Application

1. Sek-Lungs family has some rather superstitious beliefs. Identify three (3) examples of its superstitions.
2. a) Explain in your own words what is meant by the phrase hyphenated reality as it is used in the
second paragraph.
b) Analyse the older childrens feelings about and reactions to living a hyphenated reality.
Provide quotations to support your answer.
3. What does Sek-Leung mean when he says, They all loved Grandmama but she was inconvenient,
unsettling?
4. a) Sek-Lung says, But it was the countless hours I spent with Grandmama that were my real
education. What three (3) lessons do you think Sek-Lung learned from the time he spent with his
grandmother?
b) Do you agree that this time was best spent with his grandmother rather than in a traditional school
setting? Provide reasons for your answer.
5. What signs indicate that Grandmama is getting older and closer to death? Provide a quotation from the
story.
6. The windchimes play a major role in the story, but the title is The Jade Peony. Making reference to
relevant elements of plot, character, and theme, fully explain this choice of title using significant
quotations from the story.

Section B: THE ESSAY


Choose ONLY one (1) of the topics below and develop a focused essay which discusses two (2)
major works studied in class.
Your essay must contain a formal introduction, three (3) body paragraphs and a conclusion.
Each body paragraph should contain at least two (2) supporting proofs (one from work #1 and
one from work #2).
You may EITHER agree OR disagree with the ONE statement you choose as your thesis.
Evaluation based on: Knowledge, Thinking, Communication, and Application
1. Human beings are wicked and immoral by nature.
2. Minor characters play a significant role in the development of plot, theme and the understanding of other
characters.
3. The conflict between duty and self-interest leads to tragedy.
4. The need for acceptance leads to the destruction of the individual.
5. The illusion of friendship is often only the mask of betrayal.
6. It is the innocent who suffer at the hands of the guilty.

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THE JADE PEONY


by Wayson Choy

Death, I thought, He is in this room, and I would work harder alongside her.
When Grandmama died at 83 our whole household held its breath. She had promised us a sign of her
leaving, final proof that her present life had ended well. My parents knew that without any clear sign, our
own family fortunes could be altered, threatened. My stepmother looked endlessly into the small cluttered
room the ancient lady had occupied. Nothing was touched; nothing changed. My father, thinking that a sign
should appear in Grandmamas garden, looked at the frost-killed shoots and cringed: no, that could not be it.
My two older teenage brothers and my sister, Liang, age 14, were embarrassed by my parents behaviour.
What would all the white people in Vancouver think of us? We were Canadians now, Chinese-Canadians, a
hyphenated reality that my parents could never accept. So it seemed, for different reasons, we all held our
breath waiting for something.
I was eight when she died. For days she had resisted going into the hospital ... a cold, just a cold ... and
instead gave constant instruction to my stepmother and sister on the boiling of ginseng roots mixed with bitter
extract. At night, between wracking coughs and deadly silences, Grandmama had her back and chest rubbed
with heated camphor oil and sipped a bluish decoction of an herb called Peacocks Tail. When all these failed
to abate her fever, she began to arrange the details of her will. This she did with my father, confessing finally:
I am too stubborn. The only cure for old age is to die.
My father wept to hear this. I stood beside her bed; she turned to me. Her round face looked darker, and
the gentleness of her eyes, the thin, arching eyebrows, seemed weary. I brushed the few strands of gray, brittle
hair from her face; she managed to smile at me. Being the youngest, I had spent nearly all my time with her
and could not imagine that we would ever be parted. Yet when she spoke, and her voice hesitated, cracked,
the sombre shadows of her room chilled me. Her wrinkled brow grew wet with fever, and her small body
seemed even more diminutive.
I I am going to the hospital, Grandson. Her hand reached out for mine. You know, Little Son,
whatever happens I will never leave you. Her palm felt plush and warm, the slender, old fingers boney and
firm, so magically strong was her grip that I could not imagine how she could ever part from me. Ever.
Her hands were magical. My most vivid memories are of her hands: long, elegant fingers, with
impeccable nails, a skein of fine, barely-seen veins, and wrinkled skin like light pine. Those hands were quick
when she taught me, at six, simple tricks of juggling, learnt when she was a village girl in Southern Canton; a
troupe of actors had stayed on her fathers farm. One of them, tall and pale as the whiteness of petals fell in
love with her, promising to return. In her last years his image came back like a third being in our two lives.
He had been a magician, acrobat, juggler, and some of the things he taught her she had absorbed and passed
on to me through her stories and games. But above all, without realizing it then, her hands conveyed to me
the quality of their love.
Most marvelous for me was the quick-witted skill her hands revealed in making windchimes for our
birthdays: windchimes in the likeness of her lost friends only present to her, made of bits of string and scraps,
in the centre of which once hung a precious jade peony. This wondrous gift to her broke apart years ago, in
China, but Grandmama kept the jade pendant in a tiny red silk envelope, and keep it always in her pocket,
until her death.
These were not ordinary, carelessly made chimes, such as those you now find in our Chinatown stores,
whose rattling noises drive you mad. But making her special ones caused dissension in our family, and some
shame. Each one that she made was created from a treasure trove of glass fragments and castaway costume
jewellery, in the same way that her first windchime had been made. The problem for the rest of the family
was in the fact that Grandmama looked for these treasures wandering the back alleys of Keefer and Pender
Streets, peering into our neighbours garbage cans, chasing away hungry, nervous cats and shouting curses at
them.
All our friends are laughing at us! Older Brother Jung said at last to my father, when Grandmama was
away having tea at Mrs. Lims.
We are not poor, Oldest Brother Kiam declared, yet she and Sek-Lung poke through those awful things
as if he shoved me in frustration and I stumbled against my sister, they were beggars!
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She will make Little Brother crazy! Sister Liang said. Without warning, she punched me sharply in the
back; I jumped. You see, look how nervous he is!
I lifted my foot slightly, enough to swing it back and kick Liang in the shin. She yelled and pulled back
her fist to punch me again. Jung made a menacing move towards me.
Stop this, all of you! My father shook his head in exasperation. How could he dare tell the Grand Old
One, his aging mother, that what was somehow appropriate in a poor village in China, was an abomination
here. How could he prevent me, his youngest, from accompanying? If she went walking into those alleyways alone she could well be attacked by hoodlums. She is not a beggar looking for food. She is searching
forfor...
My stepmother attempted to speak, then fell silent. She, too, seemed perplexed and somewhat ashamed.
They all loved Grandmama, but she was inconvenient, unsetting.
As for our neighbors, most understood Grandmama to be harmlessly crazy, others that she did indeed
make lively toys but for what purpose? Why? they asked, and the stories she told me, of the juggler who
smiled at her, flashed in my head.
Finally, by their cutting remarks, the family did exert enough pressure so that Grandmama and I no longer
openly announced our expeditions. Instead, she took me with her on shopping trips, ostensibly for clothes
or groceries, while in fact we spent most of our time exploring stranger and more distant neighborhoods,
searching for splendid junk: jangling pieces of a vase, cranberry glass fragments embossed with leaves,
discarded glass beads from Woolworth necklaces... We would sneak them all home in brown rice sacks,
folded into small parcels, and put them under her bed. During the day when the family was away at school or
work, we brought them out and washed every item in a large black pot of boiling lye and water, dried them
quickly, carefully, and returned them, sparkling, under the bed.
Our greatest excitement occurred when a fire gutted the large Chinese Presbyterian Church, three bocks
from our house. Over the still-smoking ruins the next day, Grandmama and I rushed precariously over the
blackened beams to pick out the stained glass that glittered in the sunlight. Small figure bent over, wrapped
against the autumn cold in a dark blue quilted coat, happily gathering each piece like gold, she became my
spiritual playmate: Theres a good one! There!
Hours later, soot-covered and smelling of smoke, we came home with a Safeway carton full of delicate
fragments, still early enough to steal them all into the house and put the small box under her bed. These are
special pieces, she said, giving the box a last push, because they come from a sacred place. She slowly got
up and I saw, for the first time, her hand begin to shake. But then, in her joy, she embraced me. Both of our
hearts were racing, as if we were two dreamers. I buried my face in her blue quilt, and for a moment, the
whole world seemed silent.
My juggler, she said, he never came back to me from Honan... perhaps the famine... Her voice began
to quake. But I shall have my sacred windchime... I shall have it again.
One evening, when the family was gathered in their usual places in the parlour, Grandmama gave me her
secret nod: a slight wink of her eye and a flaring of her nostrils. There was trouble in the air. Supper had
gone badly, school examinations were due, father had failed to meet an editorial deadline at the Vancouver
Chinese Times. A huge sigh came from Sister Liang.
But it is useless this Chinese they teach you! she lamented, turning to Stepmother for support. Silence.
Liang frowned, dejected, and went back to her Chinese book, bending the covers back.
Father, Oldest Brother Kiam began, waving his bamboo brush in the air, you must realize that this
Mandarin only confuses us. We are Cantonese speakers...
And you do not complain about Latin, French or German in your English school? Father rattled his
newspaper, signal that his patience was ending.
But, Father, those languages are scientific, Kiam jabbed his brush in the air. We are in a scientific,
logical world.
Father was silent. We could all hear Grandmamas rocker.
What about Sek-Lung? Older Brother Jung pointed angrily at me. He was sick last year, but this year
he should have at least started Chinese school, instead of picking over garbage cans!
He starts next year, Father said, in a hard tone that immediately warned everyone to be silent. Liang
slammed her book.
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Grandmama went on rocking quietly in her chair. She complimented my mother on her knitting, made a
remark about the strong beauty of Kiams brushstrokes which, in spite of himself, immensely pleased him.
All this babbling noise was her family torn and confused in a strange land: everything here was so very
foreign and scientific.
The truth was, I was sorry not to have started school the year before. In my innocence I had imagined
going to school meant certain privileges worthy of all my brothers and sisters complaints. The fact that my
lung infection in my fifth and sixth years, mistakenly diagnosed as TB, earned me some reprieve, only made
me long for school the more. Each member of the family took turns on Sunday, teaching me or annoying me.
But it was the countless hours I spent with Grandmama that were my real education. Tapping me on my head
she would say, Come, Sek-Lung, we have our work, and we would walk up the stairs to her small crowded
room. There, in the midst of her antique shawls, the old ancestral calligraphy and multi-coloured embroidered
hangings, beneath the mysterious shelves of sweet herbs and bitter potions, we would continue doing what we
had started that morning: the elaborate windchime for her death.
I cant last forever, she declared, when she let me in on the secret of this one. It will sing and dance
and glitter, her long fingers stretched into the air, pantomiming the waving motion of her ghost chimes; My
spirit will hear its sounds and see its light and return to this house and say goodbye to you.
Deftly she reached into the Safeway carton she had placed on the chair beside me. She picked out a fishshape amber piece, and with a long needle-like tool and a steel ruler, she scored it. Pressing the blade of a
cleaver against the line, with the fingers of her other hand, she lifted up the glass until it cleanly snapped into
the exact shape she required. Her hand began to tremble, the tips of her fingers to shiver, like rippling water.
You see that, Little One? She held her hand up. That is my body fighting with Death. He is in this
room now.
My eyes darted in panic, but Grandmama remained calm, undisturbed, and went on with her work. Then I
remembered the glue and uncorked the jar for her. Soon the graceful ritual movements of her hand returned to
her, and I became lost in the magic of her task: she dabbed a cabalistic mixture of glue on one end and
skillfully dripped the braided end of a silk thread into it. This part always amazed me: the braiding would
slowly, very slowly, unknot, fanning out like a prized fishtail. In a few seconds the clear, homemade glue
began to harden as I blew lightly over it, welding to itself each separate silk strand.
Each jam-sized pot of glue was precious; each large cork had been wrapped with a fragment of pink silk.
I remember this part vividly, because each cork was treated to a special rite. First we went shopping in the
best silk stores in Chinatown for the perfect square of silk she required. It had to be a deep pink, a shade of
colour blushing toward red. And the tone had to match as closely as possible her precious jade carving,
the small peony of white and light-red jade, her most lucky possession. In the centre of this semi-translucent
carving, no more than an inch wide, was a pool of pink light, its veins swirling out into the petals of the
flower.
This colour is the colour of my spirit, she said, holding it up to the window so I could see the delicate
pastel against the broad strokes of sunlight. She dropped her voice, and I held my breath at the wonder of the
colour. This was given to me by the young actor who taught me how to juggle. He had four of them, and
each one had a centre of this rare colour, the colour of Good Fortune. The pendant seemed to pulse as she
turned it: Oh, Sek-Lung! He had white hair and white skin to his toes! Its true, I saw him bathing. She
laughed and blushed, her eyes softened at the memory. The silk had to match the pink heart of her pendant:
the colour was magical for her, to hold the unravelling strands of her memory...
It was just six months before she died that we really began to work on her windchime. Three thin bamboo
sticks were steamed and bent into circlets; 30 exact lengths of silk thread, the strongest kind, were cut and
braided at both ends and blued to stained glass. Her hands worked on their own command, each hand racing
with a life of its own: cutting, snapping, braiding, knotting... Sometimes she breathed heavily and her small
body, growing thinner, sagged against me. Death, I thought, He is in this room, and I would work harder
alongside her. For months Grandmama and I did this every other evening, a half dozen pieces each time. The
shaking in her hand grew worse, but we said nothing. Finally, after discarding hundreds, she told me she had
the necessary 30 pieces. But this time, because it was a sacred chime, I would not be permitted to help her tie
it up or have the joy of raising it. Once tied,, she said, holding me against my disappointment, Not even I
can raise it. Not a sound must it make until I have died.
What will happen?
Your father will then take the centre braided strand and raise it. He will hang it against my bedroom
window so that my ghost may see it, and hear it, and return. I must say goodbye to this world properly or
wander in this foreign devils land forever.
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You can take the streetcar! I blurted, suddenly shocked that she actually meant to leave me. I thought I
could hear the clear-chromatic chimes, see the shimmering colours on the wall: I fell against her and cried,
and there in my crying I knew that she would die. I can still remember the touch of her hand on my head, and
the smell of her thick woolen sweater pressed against my face. I will always be with you, Little Sek-Lung,
but in a different way... youll see.
Months went by, and nothing happened. Then one late September evening, when I had jut come home
from Chinese School, Grandmama was preparing supper when she looked out our kitchen window and saw a
cat a long, lean white cat jump into our garbage pail and knock it over. She ran out to chase it away,
shouting curses at it. She did not have her thick sweater on and when she cam back into the house, a chill
gripped her. She leaned against the door: That was not a cat, she said, and the odd tone of her voice caused
my father to look with alarm at her. I cannot take back my curses. It is too late. She took hold of my
fathers arm: It was all white and had pink eyes like sacred fire.
My father started at this, and they both looked pale. My brothers and sister, clearing the table, froze in
their gestures.
The fog has confused you, Stepmother said. It was just a cat.
Bur Grandmama shook her head, for she knew it was a sign. I will not live forever, she said. I am
prepared.
The next morning she was confined to her bed with a severe cold. Sitting by her, playing with some of
my toys, I asked her about the cat.
Why did father jump at the cat with the pink eyes? He didnt see it, you did.
But he and your mother know what it means.
What?
My friend, the juggler, the magician, was as pale as white jade, and he had pink eyes. I thought she
would begin to tell me one of her stories, a tale of enchantment or of a wondrous adventure, but she only
paused to swallow; her eyes glittered, lost in memory. She took my hand, gently opening and closing her
fingers over it. Sek-Lung, she sighed, he has come back to me.
Then Grandmama sank back into her pillow and the embroidered flowers lifted to frame her wrinkled
face. I saw her hand over my own and my own began to tremble. I fell fitfully asleep by her side. When I
woke up it was dark and her bed was empty. She had been taken to the hospital and I was not permitted to
visit.
A few days after that she died of the complications of pneumonia.
Immediately after her death my father came home and said nothing to us, but
walked up the stairs to her room, pulled aside the drawn lace curtains of her
window and lifted the windchimes to the sky.
I began to cry and quickly put my hand in my pocket for a handkerchief.
Instead, caught between my fingers, was the small, round firmness of the jade
peony. In my minds eye I saw Grandmama smile and heard, softly, the pink
centre beat like a beautiful, cramped heart.

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Grade 11 University English

Examination

Section A: SIGHT PASSAGE QUESTIONS


Read the article The Perils of Indifference by Elie Wiesel and answer the questions below.
Evaluation based on: Knowledge, Thinking, Communication, and Application

1. In your own words, clearly stat the thesis of this article.


2. In this 1999 speech, what reasons does Wiesel give for why he believes it is better to be angry than
indifferent.
3. In his address, Wiesel poses a number of questions. What is the effect of this use of questions? Does the
technique successfully serve his purpose?
4. The author employs a variety of other rhetorical devices. Besides rhetorical questions, identify two other
rhetorical devices used in this essay. Provide a specific example for each device and evaluate why each
example is effective in supporting the authors essay.
5. According to Wiesel, in what three (3) ways did the United States contribute to the victimization of the
Jewish people?
6. The Perils of Indifference was delivered at the White House as part of the Millennium Lecture series,
hosted by President Clinton and his wife. Explain to what degree and why Wiesel is an appropriate and
effective guest speaker.

Section B: PERSONAL ESSAY

In 1999, Wiesel stated, We are on the threshold of a


new century, a new millennium. What will the legacy
of this vanishing century be? How will it be
remembered in the new millennium?

Answer the above question in the form of a personal essay. You may comment on issues and
events raised in the article in addition to others you have learned about through literature, media
sources, world news, personal reactions and experiences.
Ensure that your personal essay has a definite introduction with a clear thesis, a body with at least
three (3) key points, and a strong but concise conclusion. You are expected to briefly outline your
work although you will not have time for a rough draft. Finally to avoid errors, proofread your
essay carefully.
Evaluation based on: Knowledge, Thinking Communication, Application

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THE PERILS OF INDIFFERENCE


by Elie Wiesel
Mr. President, Mrs. Clinton, members of Congress, Ambassador Holbrooke, Excellencies, friends: Fiftyfour years ago to the day, a young Jewish boy from a small town in the Carpathian Mountains woke up, not
far from Goethes beloved Weimar, in a place of eternal infamy called Buchenwald. He was finally free, but
there was no joy in his heart. He thought there never would be again.
Liberated a day earlier by American soldiers, he remembers their rage at what they saw. And even if he
lives to be a very old man, he will always be grateful to them for that rage, and also for their compassion.
Though he did not understand their language, their eyes told him what he needed to know that they, too,
would remember, and bear witness.
And now, I stand before you, Mr. President Commander-in-Chief of the army that freed me, and tens of
thousands of others and I am filled with a profound and abiding gratitude to the American people.
Gratitude is a word that I cherish. Gratitude is what defines the humanity of the human being. And I am
grateful to you, Hillary or Mrs. Clinton for what you said, and for what you are doing for children in the
world, for the homeless, for the victims of injustice, the victims of destiny and society. And I thank all of you
for being here.
We are on the threshold of a new century, a new millennium. What will the legacy of this vanishing
century be? How will it be remembered in the new millennium? Surely it will be judged, and judged
severely, in both moral and metaphysical terms. These failures have cast a dark shadow over humanity: two
World Wars, countless civil wars, the senseless chain of assassinations Gandhi, the Kennedys, Martin Luther
King, Sadat, Rabin bloodbaths in Cambodia and Nigeria, India and Pakistan, Ireland and Rwanda, Eritrea
and Ethopia, Sarajevo and Kosovo; the inhumanity in the gulag and the tragedy of Hiroshima. And, on a
different level, of course, Auschwitz and Treblinka. So much violence, so much indifference.
What is indifference? Etymologically, the word means no difference a strange and unnatural state in
which the lines blur between light and darkness, dusk and dawn, crime and punishment, cruelty and
compassion, good and evil.
What are its courses and inescapable consequences? Is it a philosophy? Is there a philosophy of
indifference conceivable? Can one possibly view indifference as a virtue? Is it necessary at times to practise
it simply to keep ones sanity, live normally, enjoy a fine meal and a glass of wine, as the world around us
experiences harrowing upheavals?
Of course, indifference can be tempting more than that, seductive. It is so much easier to look away
from victims. It is so much easier to avoid such rude interruptions to our work, our dreams, our hopes. It is,
after all, awkward, troublesome, to be involved in another persons pain and despair. Yet, for the person who
is indifferent, his or her neighbours are of no consequence. And, therefore, their lives are meaningless. Their
hidden or even visible anguish is of no interest. Indifference reduces the other to an abstraction.
Over there, behind the black gates of Auschwitz, the most tragic of all prisoners were the Muselmanner,
as they were called. Wrapped in their torn blankets, they would sit or lie on the ground, staring vacantly into
space, unaware of who or where they were, strangers to their surroundings. They no longer felt pain, hunger,
thirst. They feared nothing. They felt nothing. They were dead and did not know it.
Rooted in our tradition, some of us felt that to be abandoned by humanity then was not the ultimate. We
felt that to be abandoned by God was worse than to be punished by Him. Better an unjust God than an
indifferent one. For us to be ignored by God was a harsher punishment than to be a victim of His anger.
Man can live far from God not outside God. God is wherever we are. Even in suffering? Even in
suffering.
In a way, to be indifferent to that suffering is what makes the human being inhuman. Indifference, after
all, is more dangerous than anger and hatred. Anger can at times be creative. One writes a great poem, a great
symphony, one does something special for the sake of humanity because one is angry at the injustice that one
witnesses. But indifference is never creative. Even hatred at times may elicit a response. You fight it. You
denounce it. You disarm it. Indifference elicits no response. Indifference is not a response.
Indifference is not a beginning, it is an end. And, therefore, indifference is always the friend of the
enemy, for it benefits the aggressor never his victim, whose pain is magnified when he or she feels
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forgotten. The political prisoner in his cell, the hungry children, the homeless refugees not to respond to
their plight, not to relieve their solitude by offering them a spark of hope is to exile them from human
memory. And in denying their humanity, we betray our own.
Indifference, then, is not only a sin, it is a punishment. And this is one of the most important lessons of
this outgoing centurys wide-ranging experiments in good and evil.
In the place that I come from, society was composed of three simple categories: the killers, the victims,
and the bystanders. During the darkest of times, inside the ghettoes and death camps and Im glad that Mrs.
Clinton mentioned that we are now commemorating that event, that period, that we are now in the Days of
Remembrance but then, we felt abandoned, forgotten. All of us did.
And our only miserable consolation was that we believed that Auschwitz and Treblinka were closely
guarded secrets; that the leaders of the free world did not know what was going on behind those black gates
and barbed wire; that they had no knowledge of the war against the Jews that Hitlers armies and their
accomplices waged as part of the war against the Allies.
If they knew, we thought, surely those leaders would have moved heaven and earth to intervene. They
would have spoken out with great outrage and conviction. They would have bombed the railways leading to
Birkenau, just the railways, just once.
And now we knew, we learned, we discovered that the Pentagon knew, the State Department knew. And
the illustrious occupant of the White House then, who was a great leader and I say it with some anguish and
pain, because, today is exactly fifty-four years marking his death Franklin Delano Roosevelt died on April
the 12th, 1945, so he is very much present to me and to us.
No doubt, he was a great leader. He mobilized the American people and the world, going into battle,
bringing hundreds and thousands of valiant and brave soldiers in America to fight facism, to fight dictatorship,
to fight Hitler. And so many of the young people fell in battle. And, nevertheless, his image in Jewish history
I must say it his image in Jewish history is flawed.
The depressing tale of the St. Lewis is a case in point. Sixty years ago, its human cargo maybe 1000
Jews was turned back to Nazi Germany. And that happened after the Kristallnacht, after the first state
sponsored pogrom, with hundreds of Jewish shops destroyed, synagogues burned, thousands of people put in
concentration camps. And that ship, which was already on the shores of the United States, was sent back.
I dont understand. Roosevelt was a good man, with a heart. He understood those who needed help.
Why didnt he allow these refugees to disembark? A thousand people in America, a great country, the
greatest democracy, the most generous of all new nations in modern history. What happened? I dont
understand. Why the indifference, on the highest level, to the suffering of the victims?
But then, there were human beings who were sensitive to our tragedy. Those non-Jews, those Christians,
that we called the Righteous Gentiles, whose selfless acts of heroism saved the honour of their faith. Why
were they so few?
Why was there a greater effort to save SS murderers after the war than to save their victims during the
war?
Why did some of Americas largest corporations continue to do business with Hitlers Germany until
1942? It has been suggested, and it was documented, that the Wehrmacht could not have conducted its
invasion of France without oil obtained from American sources. How is one to explain their indifference?
And yet, my friends, good things have also happened in this traumatic century: the defeat of Nazism, the
collapse of communism, the rebirth of Israel on its ancestral soil, the demise of apartheid, Israels peace treaty
with Egypt, the peace accord in Ireland. And let us remember the meeting, filed with drama and emotion,
between Rabin and Arafat that you, Mr. President, convened in this very place. I was here and I will never
forget it.
And then, of course, the joint decision of the United States and NATO to intervene in Kosovo and save
those victims, those refugees, those who were uprooted by a man whom I believe that because of his crimes,
should be charged with crimes against humanity. But this time, the world was not silent.
This time, we do respond. This time, we intervene.
Does it mean that we have learned from the past? Does it mean that society has changed? Has the human
being become less indifferent and more human?
Have we really learned from our experiences? Are we less insensitive to the plight of victims of ethnic
cleansing and other forms of injustices in places near and far? Is todays justified intervention in Kosovo a
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lasting warning that never again will the deportation, the terrorization of children and their parents be allowed
anywhere in the world? Will it discourage other dictators in other lands to do the same?
What about the children? Oh, we see them on television, we read about them in the papers, and we do so
with a broken heart. Their fate is always the most tragic, inevitably. When adults wage war, children perish.
We see their faces, their eyes. Do we hear their pleas? Do we feel their pain, their agony? Every minute one
of them dies of disease, violence, famine. Some of them so many of them could be saved.
And so, once again, I think of the young Jewish boy from the Carpathian Mountains. He has
accompanied the old man I have become throughout these years of quest and struggle. And together we walk
towards the new millennium, carried by profound fear and extraordinary hope.

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Grade 11 University English

Examination

Section A: QUESTIONS ON THE ARTICLE


Read the article The Mouse that Walt Built, and answer the questions in Section A. Then go on
to Section B, which requires an essay response.
Evaluation based on: Knowledge, Thinking, Communication, and Application

1. In your own clearly worded sentence, state author Michael Valpys thesis
2. In the article, author Michael Valpy refers to the giant footprint [Disneys] namesake corporation has
left on global entertainment and pop culture. Find two (2) examples from the article of the giant
footprint, and explain each example in one or two sentences.
3. The article mentions several underlying reasons why the Disney Empire has been so successful.
a) List two (2) reasons mentioned in the article.
b) Explain each reason in three or four sentences, using quotes from the article to support your
explanation.
4. The author employs a variety of rhetorical devices in order to make his essay effective. Identify two
(2) rhetorical devices he has used, and include a quotation from the article illustrating each device.
5. In your opinion, is the town of Celebration a utopia or a dystopia? Support your view in a brief
paragraph (five or six sentences), using quotations from the article.

Section B: PERSONAL ESSAY


In your opinion, does the society we live in today seek a brilliant world of sugary escape and
relentless happy endings? Answer this question in the form of a personal essay, including
examples from at least three (3) of the following sources:

the sight passage you just read

books and material you have read

films, music or T.V. shows

your own personal experiences or the experiences of friends or family


Ensure that your essay:

is based on a strong thesis

clearly states your thesis in its introduction

summarizes your thesis in its conclusion

contains at least three (3) points in the body

is carefully proofread to avoid any errors


Evaluation based on: Knowledge, Thinking Communication, Application

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On Walt Disneys official 100th birthday, his name may be the most powerful brand in history. The
Disney company has rewritten childhood, redrawn the media and created theme parks to which
millions of the faithful make their pilgrimages. If thats not enough, you can move to Celebration,
the town where thousands live the Disney life 24 hours a day. But as MICHAEL VALPY reports,
when Disney realism meets reality, the results are not always cute.

THE MOUSE THAT WALT BUILT


The Globe and Mail
Saturday, December 8, 2001
With Disney, truth is always negotiable: The official biography of Walt says he was a rags-to-riches
entrepreneur and family man who became Americas beloved uncle. The unapproved version says
he was an abused child who became an alcoholic, anti-Semitic, cruel employer, estranged from his
wife and a McCarthyite snitch.

Goofy has joined Laurie and Russell Jacoby and their children, Sydnie and Spencer, for a photograph
beside the flagpole at Camp Minnie-Mickey in Walt Disney Worlds Animal Kingdom.
Laurie, 35, briskly positions herself on one side of him and motions to Russell, 40, to stand on the other
side. She places Sydnie, 4, and Spencer, 3, in front, and fits Goofys arm snugly around her own shoulders.
Snap! goes the Disney photographer. Snap! again.
Laurie is wearing the faded, pink Disney Classic Characters T-shirt that she bought 18 years ago and the
engagement ring Mickey Mouse gave her six years ago when he proposed marriage on Russells behalf at a
Disney World resort.
I wasnt brave enough to do it myself, says Russell, a Clearwater, Florida, real-estate agent. We both
had tears. He means, I believe, himself and Mickey.
Im the Mickey girl, Laurie says. Im Thumper, says Russell, looking bashful. Laurie beams at her
husband. Youre Bambi,, she says.
A cartoon mouse was their marriage broker. Correction some stranger dressed up as a cartoon mouse
was their marriage broker.
Off go the Jacobys in the direction of Discovery Island, pixie dust sprinkled on their hearts, good times
brought to them by the most powerful brand name is history: Disney.
Really? More powerful than, say, Christianity? John Lennon got himself into trouble for saying the
Beatles were bigger than Jesus, but Disney has a stronger claim.
Think, on the (official) 100th anniversary of Walter Elias Disneys birth, about the giant footprint his
namesake corporation has left on global entertainment and pop culture. Think about the amazing technology
corporate-Disney possesses to disseminate its products around the planet. Think about how Disney products
linked to wholesomeness, happiness and family hearth as no other consumer products have been profoundly
penetrate and define the experience of childhood. Think about the global recognition of those round, black
ears.
Christianity, like just about every religion, is about self-denial. Disney is about fun and pleasure. Who
has more legions, the Mouse (as the company is called on the inside) or the Pope?
The company that on Wednesday celebrated its founders centennial marked by a visit to Disney World
by the President of the United States commands an empire of film companies, radio and television networks,
cable TV channels, TV entertainment and news programs, video and music production, Broadway shows,
newspapers, magazines, book publishers, an Internet service, sports teams, retail stores, cruise ships, resorts
and theme parks on three continents.

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It is the worlds largest producer-distributor of childrens audio and film products. It is the worlds largest
licenser of character-based merchandise (Mickey Mouse alone appears on 7,500 items), reportedly worth $14billion (U.S.) in annual sales.
Its Disney World theme park is the worlds largest tourist attraction, what Florida International University
anthropologist and Mouse specialist Stephen Fjellman calls the major middle-class pilgrimage centre in the
United States.
It has created a cultural ideology that is a peculiarly American and Jungian investiture of utopianism
in a past that never existed, a brilliant world of sugary escape and relentless happy endings, a celebration of
mythologized self-reliance and individual initiative, all values as American as the dreams of Walt himself.
It has even transformed its ideology like the magical transformation of Pinocchio into a real boy into a
real world. Sort of.
The Mouses most fascinating recent act has been to draw 4,500 real people from across the United States
to live in Celebration, a Disney-planned, Disney-controlled community embodying the founders ideals: no
government, no democracy, but lots of American high tech married to nostalgic architectural images of
yesterdays America, built on the southern flank of Disney World in the 1990s.
The sign at the entrance reads: The destination your soul has been looking for.

Riding the monorail train from Disney Worlds carpark to its Magic Kingdom, I am thinking of the
mystical chemical affinity between Walt and Americans. Seated beside me are Donna Tingling, 31, and Jim
Hamilton, 33, from Seattle. Hamilton, a hospital worker, has on a black top hat with mouse ears. Tingling,
who works for Microsoft, wears white mouse ears beneath a bridal veil.
Yes, they have come to Florida to get married. (In 1998, for example, 10,000 weddings were hosted at
Disney World.) But Hamilton proposed himself.
Tingling made her acceptance conditional on frequent Disney World visits. It takes you away from the
world, she says. Its the happiest place on Earth. Its safe.
The train stops. The doors open, Tingling grabs Hamiltons hand and runs off toward the Magic
Kingdoms entrance gates, veil bouncing on the breeze, before I think to ask her: Whats safe? The park?
Being liberated from reality? Walts portrait of America?
Andrew Rose, 41, his wife, Carolyn, 33, and their two children are standing outside the Animal Kingdom
petting zoo. In typical Disney style, little felt brushes are available to the children so that they neednt touch
the animals with their hands. Or maybe its to protect the animals.
Rose, a public-relations consultant from Boca Raton, Florida, has been to Disney World 28 times. My
work is very challenging, he says. All the trials and tribulations of being an adult. Within a matter of a day
of being here, Im recharged.
Everyone is being nice and fair and waiting in line. The staff are all happy and respectful. Its not the
real world, of course. You cant create the ideal world. But for a few fleeting days you can feel good and try
to grab onto that and take it back with you if you can.
The world of Disney is postmodern heaven. Everything is image. Truth is negotiable. Even when it
comes to Walt.
The approved corporate and family accounts of Walt Disneys life say he was born the third of four
children to an Irish-Canadian father (the Disneys had farmed in Southwestern Ontarios Huron County) and
Floridian mother on December 5, 1901, In Chicago. When he was 4, the family moved to a farm in
Marceline, Mo. Walt was enchanted by the animals and began sketching them with charcoal on toilet paper.
At the age of 21, he formed his own animation company in Kansas City. When the company went
bankrupt, he moved to Los Angeles to join his bank-clerk brother, Roy, and start up another animation
company in a converted garage. Hard work, talent, vision and trust in his own intuition plus Roys financial
management coalesced into success.
Mickey Mouse was introduced to the world in 1928. Snow White, the first full-length animation film,
premiered in 1937. It earned a fortune. Triumph followed triumph. The company moved on from animation
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to nature documentaries, real-life dramas, television programming and, in 2959, Californias Disneyland. On
November 22, 1963, the day John F. Kennedy was assassinated, Disney decided to build Disney World, just
south of Orlando.
Disney loved children, loved giving people happiness, was a devoted husband and father to his two
daughters. He became Americas beloved Uncle Walt and he died of lung cancer on December 15, 1966. End
of story.
The unapproved indeed, vehemently disapproved account of Disneys life appeared in a 1993 book,
Walt Disney: Hollywoods Dark Prince, by Marc Eliot.
The Uncle Walt described by Eliot was a child who grew up unloved, abused and deeply suspicious of
family live, obsessed with the idea he was adopted because he could find no record of his birth. He was
sexually dysfunctional and virtually walled himself away from his wife. He became an alcoholic, was antiSemitic, disparagingly portrayed blacks (Uncle Remus and the Dumbo crows), treated his workers horribly
and took credit for their work, hated unions and snatched on left-wingers in the Hollywood film community to
the FBI in exchange for the bureaus help in determining the origins of his birth.
The Disney family has denounced Eliots book as wildly inaccurate. The New York Times has said the
part about Disney being an FBI informant is entirely accurate. Eliot and his publisher stand by everything he
has written. In the past two weeks, an old story has resurfaced about Walt being the illegitimate son of a
Spanish washerwoman who emigrated to America to join her brother in Chicago and put her baby boy up for
adoption.
No one denies that Walt once said: I love Mickey Mouse more than any woman I have ever known.
Richard Schickel, an early biographer, has observed, He is a man whose ever lengthening shadow
continues to shade [American culture] in curious and intriguing ways.
A century after his birth, the Mouse that Walt built is corporate Americas master of synergy, the vastly
successful strategy of cross-promoting products throughout every company division, through every turn of the
corporate wheel.
Disney entertainment parks are veiled retail malls: 55 shops in Magic Kingdom alone, 65 shops in
adjacent EPCOT. Disneys TV divisions (ABC, ESPN, Lifetime, The Disney Channel) work closely with the
film divisions (Disney, Miramax, Touchstone) and publishing divisions (Talk, Parenting, ESPN Magazine) to
promote each others products.
Disney-owned ABC News programs shill Disney theatrical productions. ABC News commissions actor
Leonardo Di Caprio, star of Miramax films, to interview Bill Clinton. The network gives prime place to
Disney movies. It replaces a non-Disney program in its prime-time lineup (NYPD Blue) with a Disney
program (the forgettable Once and Again).
The 1995 Disney animated film Pocahontas (as a for-instance) spun off thousands of products books to
bed sheets, buckskin-fringed tank tops to sing-along recordings and product licensing arrangements with
Chrysler, Burger King (which sold, at the height of the Pocahontas bonanza, eight million Pocahontas Kids
Club Meals a week), Payless (Pocahontas sandals, moccasins, athletic shoes and hiking boots), Marvel
Comics and Nestl (tens of millions of Nestl Crunch bars had scenes from the movie on their wrappings).
Yet the whole, vast corporation, wholesome and warm on the outside, is governed by an icy mindset.
Meanie Mouse, not Mickey Mouse.
University of Oregon Disney scholar Janet Wasko writes that the company is known for not paying bills,
withholding royalty payments, insisting on its own terms with theatre owners, being arrogantly litigious. It
fought tooth and nail against local taxes in Florida. Wasko quotes one lawyer as saying tangling with Disney
is like suing God in the Vatican.
A few years back, the company sent its own lawyers to a Florida daycare that had painted Disney
characters on its walls, declared them a copyright violation and ordered them removed.
Wasko reports that many Disney-licensed products are manufactured in Third World countries where
workers are paid at poverty levels. Prospective employees at home are warned that the companys pay scale is
10 to 15 per cent below market averages while Disney chief Michael Eisner one year topped the American
CEO pay scale, taking home an estimated $40-million. The Mouse didnt like unions in Walts day; it still
doesnt.
But it can also be Progressive Mouse. It provides family-health benefits to its gay employees and their
partners. It tolerates after an initial display of chilly hostility the annual Gay Days gathering of thousands
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of red-shirted homosexual men and women at Disney World. The company has ignored conservative
Christian leaders who have organized a Disney boycott in protest, and it once refused demands to refund
admission for a party of schoolchildren who turned up at the park with Gay Days in full swing.

In Animal Kingdoms flawlessly recreated colonial-era East African village, Harambe, I come across
Rebecca Hook from Fort Walton Beach, Florida, buying Zulu baskets in a shop. Harambe? Disneys creative
teams, the Imagineers, miss nothing.
Harambee is the East African Swahili word for pull together the doctrine of Kenyas first president,
Jomo Kenyatta, who rejected 1960s post-colonial African socialism, promoted a free-market economy and
Western investment and quintupled Kenyas gross national product from 1971 to 1981. How very Walt.
Kenyas harambee also created vast disparities of wealth, most of which fell into the hands of Kenyattas
family and close associates.
I ask Hook (Like the pirate, se says) what American values she finds at Disney parks. She ponders the
question. You can find anything here to buy, she says. If its out there to be bought, they have it. Thats
pretty American, I guess. She thinks some more, and adds: I havent found any hostile crowds.
New York City restaurant owner Tim Feimer is standing at the entrance to the Maharajah Jungle Trek in
Animal Kingdom with 40 members of his family thats right, 40. They are all wearing aquamarine T-shirts,
which they made up themselves, with Walt Disney on the front and Were back written on the back.
It is their third Thanksgiving-weekend visit. They all come south on the same plane and are met at the
airport by a Disney bus, taken to Disneys Polynesian Resort and given a whole floor to themselves. Each
morning, they are invited to breakfast with Mickey Mouse.
The four-day trip for Feimer, his wife, Joan, their three children and teenaged niece costs him $7,000.
Why Disney World? He does it right, Feimer says. (Note the personification, 35 years after the founders
death.) No litter. No smells. Everyone is polite. The washrooms are spotless. Everything happens on time.
Everything is wholesome and perfectly designed. Everything, as fellow visitor Andrew Rose says, is topshelf.
The Maharajah Jungle Trek winds through a meticulously created palace ruin in a meticulously created
rain forest the Anandapur Royal Forest with meticulously located tigers on either side of the path.
The Pangani Forest Exploration Trail a 1940s era East African train ride away from Harambe village
leads through a meticulously created African savannah with hippo pool and gorillas playing among the trees
and a meticulously created 1940s conservation-research station under the direction of an unseen Dr. E.
Kulunda, who welcomes esteemed visitors.
Through field conservation efforts, emergency rescue programs, scientific studies and public education
efforts, a sign says, Disney Animal Kingdom cast are helping to save wildlife for the future.
But wait a second. The Mouse drained thousands of hectares of Florida wetland to create Disney World.
And Disney was famously charged with violating state conservation laws a few years back when it did away
with egrets that were pooping on the paths and killed native black buzzards, a federally protected bird,
because they clashed with the parks image.
A major Animal Kingdom display is even dedicated to extinction: Dinoland USA. It has a ride called
Countdown to Extinction which intrigues Duke University English professor Susan Willis, who studies how
animals are presented in zoos, especially at Animal Kingdom.
Those 1940s presentations, that may have been the last time when those species had a chance to survive
naturally, she says. Only when you imagine them in the past theyve been thoroughly thespianized, those
animals can you have a rewarding zoo experience.
In fact, you have theatricality finally meshing with extinction [in Dinoland]. You can have fears that
these animals might all die out. But extinction isnt really a big concern, and in the meantime we can play at
animals dress-up.
As one Disney Imagineer has put it: What we create is a Disney Realism, sort of utopian in nature,
where we carefully program out all the negative, unwanted elements and program in the positive elements.
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Which occasionally is too much, even for Americans. The Mouses plan a few years ago for an Americanhistory theme park beside a Civil War battleground in an historic Virginian town go stopped in its tracks by
vehement opposition from U.S. historians and much of the local community.

And then there is Celebration.


From the official Web site: Take the best ideas from the most successful towns of yesterday and the
technology of the new millennium, and synthesize them into a close-knit community that meets the needs of
todays families. The founders of Celebration started down a path of research, study, discovery and
enlightenment that resulted in one of the most innovative communities of the 20 th century.
When I get there, the first thing I notice is that every blade of grass on every lawn is cut the same length.
The houses are in seven architectural styles all American retro from a century or more ago, all in pastel
colours, all with porches, all with white window coverings. The town centre is done in Floridian Spanish.
The town cinema is art deco.
There are people driving electric buggies. There are families walking along sidewalks in quiet groups.
There is an eerie silence, except for canned music coming from metal mushroom things stuck in the ground
every few metres along the towns lakefront.
Something clicks in my memory: Patrick McGoohans Orwellian 1968 television series The Prisoner, in
which he is kidnapped and abruptly deported into a creepy, idyllic village, filled with over-obedient citizens
and ominous placards reading, A still tongue makes a happy life.
Disney commissioned New Urbanist architects Andrew Duany, Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk and others to
design the town. It asked leading education progressives Harvards Howard Gardner, specialists from Johns
Hopkins University and from the local Stetson University to design the school curriculum.
It proposed to wire the community together with high-speed cable modems and link every resident via the
Internet to mind, body and spirit health care at Celebrations state-of-the-art hospital. It required housebuyers to sign an 87-page covenant dealing with everything from the colours of window coverings to the
ration of lawns to perennial plants.
It created the Celebration foundation a sort of United Way to engineer community bonds. It
maintained control. There would be no elected council.
John Pfeiffer, 49, a family physician from Akron, Ohio, learned of plans for Celebration on a 1992 visit to
Disney World the plans Walt had had, never fulfilled, for his Experimental Prototype Community of
Tomorrow: EPCOT. I thought, Wow! Pfeiffer says. Theyre going to do it in my lifetime, all those
progressive ideas. Everyone will want to live there. And I remember thinking: Who gets to be the
doctor?
Pfeiffer is a Walt-Disney-values true believer, a libertarian who believes the state and other big institutions
cannot and must not do what people in communities should do for themselves and each other. It took him
three years to push Disneys Celebration Co. into letting him hang out his shingle. The hospital initially
objected to his presence, claiming it had an exclusive contract. While he waited, Pfeiffer took a job driving a
mono-rail at Disney World.
Finally, Disney leased him storefront office space just off the main street. He created a small-town family
doctors office. I paid myself for the renovations. I wanted a retro look so people would feel comfortable, so
theyd drop in from the street if they felt bad.
He has integrated the Disney paradigms of show readiness and service recovery into his practice, he
says Its all about relationships with people and meeting peoples needs. He makes house calls and
organizes intergenerational activities such as pairing teenagers with old people as mentors.
Lawyer Jackson Mumey, 47, and his wife, Sara, run a bar-exam business on the Web. They and their
children, Megan and Mackenzie, move to Celebration from Denver lured by the school. The family eats
dinner every night in a booth with their name on a plaque in Celebrations Market Street Caf. Mumey drives
his non-polluting electric buggy around town, leaving his BMW in the garage. He teaches public-speaking
skills at Celebration school.
Harambee in action.
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Pfeiffer says Celebration Co. was lucky, in the beginning. They attracted the right people, neighbourly
minded people who attracted other family members. He himself moved his son, daughter-in-law and office
manager here from Akron.
But the high-tech community didnt happen. The wired mind, body and spirit health care didnt happen.
The promised library never materialized. Celebrations Mouse-controlled main street has shops for tourists,
but no hardware or grocery stores. How many ceramic dolphins can I buy? Pfeiffer asks.
A proposed $500 levy on residents to fund the foundation sparked an uproar. The director quit and went
to California. People had difficulty understanding how the school worked. The teaching staff sagged under
parental criticism and an unexpected influx of new students (Celebration families were larger than
anticipated). The first two principals quit.
Parent-teacher association meetings became fights between those who wanted the school to continue as
designed and those who wanted it to become more traditional. People who had arrived in Celebration at its
birth claimed superiority over those who arrived later. Some moved away, some sent their children to Orlando
private schools and some set up their own private school.
There were deeper problems. Pfeiffer says Celebration also attracted needy people who hoped that their
troubled families could be made whole by the magic of Disney. It wasnt the time for them to come. They
needed a more mature community.
He says his practice has a higher percentage of patients with psychosomatic problems than the national
average.
I told the Celebration Co. there are a lot of people whove really come here because they have a lot of
needs. [General manager Perry] Reeder said, I prefer to think of them as passionate.
As I leave his office, Pfeiffer asks: Is this just a nice place with the nicest houses around? Or can we
involve people in community here, develop activities that inspire others?
Pfeiffer and Mumey are staying, but the Mouse has said that it will not build another Celebration. For
Disney Realism, maybe real people have too many ragged edges.

When we were growing up, you held our hand, writes Max Apple, a U.S. cultural commentator,
addressing Walt, and that was fine, but you used your other hand to cover our eyes.
Today, the deconstruction of Disneyfied culture and its impact on the world engages an army of
academics and journalists, lecturing and writing mostly negatively on everything from the
Americanization of British Winnie the Pooh to the theft of Pocahontas from native Americans, from the happy
ending scripted into Disneys version of Victor Hugos Hunchback of Notre Dame to its treatment and
portrayal of animals.
Frances Clarke Sayers, the doyenne of American childrens librarians, wrote three years before her death,
at the age of 92, in 1989: It is quite without conscience how he [Walt Disney] waters down, distorts and
vulgarizes such books of high originality and depths of feeling as Pinocchio, The Wind in the Willows [and]
Peter Pan...
It is a matter which should disturb us greatly, this debasement of the taste of the young. I hope to walk
into a childrens room [in a library] one day where good editions of Pinocchio are on exhibition beneath a sign
which asks: Have you really read Pinocchio, or only Disneys version?
Carlo Collodis Pinocchio the original does bad stuff because he doesnt have a conscience. Disneys
Pinocchio does bad stuff because he falls under the influence of villains. Its a lot easier to blame outer forces
than inner forces, but it wipes out Collodis point.
Yet, as University of Illinois childrens literature scholar Betsy Hearne responds, many of historys great
folklorists and storytellers Charles Perrault, the Grimm brothers, Andrew Lang, Hans Christian Andersen
appropriated stories from others and shaped them to their own agendas.
Is Disney the missing 20th-century link, she asks, in a chain of clever men who borrowed stories and
broadcast them via the latest mass medium? What draws fire are the re-visions, the abandonment of past
traditions for current values which Disney reflects with unnerving accuracy. Is it the dark side, our own
shadows, from which Disney protects the 20th century?
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She adds: Do we criticize Disney simply because he is so successful in shaping so many childrens
imaginations into one mould? In that case, shouldnt we be criticizing the capitalist mass-media system itself
rather than its cultural freight trains?
The purpose of culture is to make life meaningful. For most people, Disney once said, this is attained
not through the arcane aesthetics of high culture but through the wide appeal of popular culture. As he said
on another occasion: We make the pictures and then let the professors tell us what they mean.
Or, as Hearne puts it: To the audiences of the 1920s, Disney was entertainment. To the audiences of the
1960s, Disney was an icon. To the audiences of the 1990s, Disney is myth.

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EXAMINATION
Grade 11 UNIVERSITY English
PART A: SIGHT PROSE
Read the passage The Amazing Gifts of Peter Guthrie and answer all of the following questions.
1. Identify the four most common symptoms of autism. With specific evidence from the article,
prove that Peter Guthrie exhibits each of these symptoms. Present your answer in good pointform in a chart like the model.
Symptom

Evidence

i.
ii.
iii.
iv.
2. Describe an incident that shows that Peter is too trusting.
3. (a) Describe two (2) similarities between Peter Guthrie and Lennie from Of Mice and Men
(b) Describe two (2) differences between Peter and Lennie.
4. Offer two (2) reasons for the popularity of movies and stories such as Rain Man.
5. The writer of this article concludes that Peter Guthrie has taken some small steps since Rain
Man. What are these small steps and why are they so moving?
6. Write a brief character sketch of a memorable person you have met in life or literature. Use vivid
description to bring the character alive! Develop your character in about five (5) sentences.
7. Peter Guthries family seems to have prepared him well to leave home and become independent
and responsible. Choose three (3) of the following characters and discuss their survival skills
after they leave home. Offer three (3) good points for each of your choices.
a) Jonas from The Giver (after he leaves his community with the child Gabriel)
b) Lennie from Of Mice and Men (after his Aunt Clara dies)
c) Don Baker from Butterflies are Free
d) any character from Lord of the Flies
e) Phillip from The Cay
f) a character of your choice from your reading this semester

PART B: ESSAY
Many of the characters we have met in novels or plays this semester are different in a special way. These
differences may be viewed as gifts that strengthen the individual, give him/her a deeper understanding of
life, and enrich the lives of those closest to him/her. Discuss these ideas with specific reference to two of
the following characters:
Jonas from The Giver

Lennie from Of Mice and Men

Don Baker from Butterflies are Free

Ralph or Piggy from Lord of the Flies

Philip from The Cay

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a character of your choice from your reading this semester

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THE AMAZING GIFTS OF PETER GUTHRIE


How many times have you seen Rain Man,
Peter?
Three times. Twice within 96 hours. Once on
the first anniversary of Rain Man winning the
Academy Award.
Did you like it?
Yeah.
Why did you like it?
I dont know.
We turn to a framed photo. Me and Dustin,
says Peter. Tuxes.
Peter Guthrie is one of those strangely gifted
individuals known as autistic savants. His stiff
shuffle and clipped speech were adopted by Dustin
Hoffman in his portrayal of Raymond Babbitt, the
autistic hero of the movie Rain Man. Theres the
same tilt of the head down and to his right and the
impassive expression. Peter like Raymond seems
perpetually neither happy nor sad.
Autism is a disorder of the central nervous
system. Researchers do not understand the cause and
do not have a cure. The most common symptoms are
unusual behaviour patterns, an inability to
communicate, emotional inaccessibility and an
obsessive need for routine.
More than 75 percent of autistic people function
at a retarded level. But ten percent exhibit some
savant skills remarkable abilities in math, music,
art or memory and one percent of those are
prodigious. Peter Guthrie is one of them.
When Peter was a few months old, his parents,
Jack and Betty Guthrie, suspected that something was
wrong. Several doctors diagnosed him as severely
retarded. Then came Christmas, a week before he
turned two years old. Peter had never spoken, but as
his brothers and sisters unwrapped their gifts, he
reached for a magnetic board with plastic letters and
spelled out Smirnoff Vodka, Marx Toy Co.,
Esso and Grecian Bread. A child psychiatrist
then diagnosed him as autistic.
Soon Peter was reading labels off prescription
drugs, putting together jigsaw puzzles upside down,
drawing freehand maps of the United States to scale,
and cutting out construction paper letters with a
millimetre of the same width, without using a ruler.
By age three he was reading and pronouncing
difficult words, although he didnt comprehend them.
He began communicating not in words but by
spelling, demanding m-i-l-k or C-h-e-e-r-i-o-s in
a voice devoid of emotion.
In elementary school he was put into a specialeducation class. But he was not a slow learner. At
ten he was using dictionaries to teach himself the
Diana Knight . 111

Cyrillic alphabet. Now he reads, writes and


pronounces Japanese, French, Arabic and Spanish.
When his father, an army general, was stationed
in Japan, Peter was mainstreamed into regular
English-language classes. He couldnt do history. He
could learn dates, but he couldnt say why the Civil
War was fought. He didnt officially graduate from
high school, though he did receive an honorary
degree at the graduation ceremony.
Meanwhile, Peter always did exactly what he was
told and only what he was told. Once Peter was in
the Special Olympics, says his mother. His
teachers taught him how to run. She laughs,
recalling the way he circled the track at his own pace.
But they forgot to tell him he was supposed to beat
people.
Becky Guthrie couldnt prepare her son for every
situations. Once he asked a stranger in a train station
to watch his bags while he bought a magazine. When
he returned, his bags were gone.
Unlike the movies Rain Man, Peter doesnt live
in an institution. He shares an apartment with a
roommate. For 12 years Peter has worked at the
library of a large university, filing newspapers and
magazines, and transferring periodicals to microfiche.
He does his own laundry and shopping, and
prepares his own meals mostly TV dinners and
sandwiches. He handles a chequing account. He
regularly takes the train to visit his parents.
Compared with most autistic people. Peter is a
wiz at small talk. His conversation starters range
from the conventional Are you a Redskins fan?
Have you seen Rain Man? to Whats your shoe
size? His mother informed him that the latter was
unacceptable. So hed ask, Are you taking any
prescription medications? Its his way of organizing
people.
More remarkable are his feats of memory. Peter
has a perpetual calendar in his head. Name a date
decades ago, or decades from now, and he tells you
its day of the week. Music is another fascination; he
has memorized Billboard record sales since the late
1950s. Ask him what the No. 1 song was on
February 12, 1963 and hell tell you Hey, Paula by
Paul and Paula. Peter can tell you the number of
seats in every professional sports stadium, player
stats and team won-lost records in any year. He can
store and retrieve anything concrete-statistics, facts,
dates. But ask him why he likes baseball and the
reply is, I dont know. For Peter, why and how
and if do not compute.
Like the movies Raymond Babbitt, Peter hates
rain. On rainy mornings Peter wont walk to work;

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he starts calling co-workers for a ride at 7 a.m. A


doctor says the fear could stem from a bad
experience. It could be that he was watching TV
and someone said, I got caught in the rain and almost
drowned.
His emotions are hard to detect. Autistic people
have emotions; they just dont know how to express
them. Peter will walk out of our house to go back to
his apartment without saying goodbye, his mother
says. You have to say, Peter, arent you going to
give me a kiss?
He shows affection in his own way perhaps by
resting a hand on a friends arm or leaning against his
brothers shoulder. Its just so occasional that you
get that kind of feedback. says his mother. But
when you get it, its really nice.
Then came Rain Man. A researcher on the film
heard about Peter Guthrie and called his brother
Kevin in New York. Kevin agreed to bring Peter to
meet Dustin Hoffman and the films other star, Tom
Cruise.
At first, Peter was reluctant to help Hoffman with
the role. He told his family he didnt want to end up
on a talk show. So the family struck a deal with
Hoffman not to mention Peters name.
Before filming began, Peter and Dustin spent
hours together bowling, sharing meals, but mostly
talking. Peter showed his co-workers snapshots of
himself with Hoffman and Cruise. Peter became a
hero in a sense, says Kevin. Heres this guy, a little
odd, and all of a sudden people are treating him
special. Once he got that surge, he was motivated to
be a part of this movie, to help Dustin. He answered
questions Ive never heard him answer before.
Kevin and others had asked a hundred times,
Peter, how do you do the calendar? He always
replied, I dont know. Then at a movie meeting,
people asked the same question. This time, Peter
replied: Of course, there are 14 calendars. In
number two, month of February begins on a Thursday
and ends on a Wednesday. Peter knows what
number calendar to use for each year, and he can do
all the calculations to find a particular day of the
week in two seconds.
About three weeks into filming, Peter called
Kevin and said, How are you? As Kevin tells it: I
said, Fine, Peter, whats up? And he said, I just, I,
I, I just, I wanted to talk to you, K-e-v-i-n he spells
out my name. Heres a guy whod never called
anyone to just have a conversation in his life.
While the films medical consultants were telling
Hoffman that autistic savants cannot change, that he
could not alter the character from the movies
beginning to its end, Kevin was relaying to Hoffman
all the new things his brother was saying and doing
things Peter hadnt said or done all his life.
Diana Knight . 111

It was basically about this guy who was his


buddy, Kevin says, explaining Peters willingness to
do anything for Hoffman. Hoffman seemed to feel
the same way. Several times he invited Peter and
Kevin to his home in New York City. He also asked
them to the movies New York premier.
Hoffman kept his promise of anonymity to Peter.
But then he won a Golden Globe award, and in his
acceptance speech, he said, Thank you, Peter, and
thank you, Kevin. You really helped us.
The day the Academy Awards were to be
presented, Hoffmans brother-in-law called Kevin to
ask if the actor, were he to win, could thank the
Guthrie brothers by their full names. Kevin called
Peter.
What did you think of what Dustin said at the
Golden Globes? he asked. Okay, okay, Peter
replied. If Dustin were to win the Oscar, what do
you think he should say? Looking for more for the
same, Peter answered.
On Oscar night Peter and Kevin Guthrie got their
thanks, this time by their full names, on national TV.
Theres an eagerness to be social now. Its
almost like hes performing, says Kevin. He gets
on a roll, he gets fired up, very talkative, in a way
hes never been before.
Something that Dustin Hoffman latched onto
was that if you teach the audience about this character
and his rules, then the smallest steps he can take are
very moving.
And since Rain Man, Peter Guthrie, autistic
savant, has taken some small steps.

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EXAMINATION
Grade 11 UNIVERSITY English
PART A: SIGHT PASSAGE
Read the story Duck blind by Michelle Berry. Answer the following questions in complete sentences.
1. a) Describe the setting of the story, Duck Blind by Michelle Berry. Be specific and refer to
details in the story.
b) How does the author convey the sense of heat through her description?
c) How do Sarah and Jakes responses to the heat, the bugs, and the long hike through the bush,
develop their characters for the reader?
2. How does the journey from the car to the duck blind by the lake serve as a metaphor for Sarah and
Jakes relationship?
3. Describe Sarahs internal conflict concerning her relationship with Jake.
4. a) How does the author create sympathy for Sarah? (two examples)
b) How does she create sympathy for Jake? (two examples)
c) Is the authors point of view of these characters balanced? Explain.
5. Give one (1) example of foreshadowing and discuss it effectiveness.
6. Identify the climax of the story? Explain your choice.
7. Identify and explain two (2) themes that emerge from this story and connect them to the literature
studied this semester.
8. How does Michelle Barry effectively use irony in the story?
9. Discuss how Michelle Barry effectively creates realism through the use of dialogue, diction (word
choice) and contemporary references.
10. Discuss the titles appropriateness for this story.
11. With whom do you sympathize at the conclusion of the story, Jake or Sarah? Why?
12. Write the interior monologue for either Jake or Sarah when Sarah is standing over Jake, the
shotgun raised, her finger on the trigger, Jake kneeling on the floor of the duck blind, looking up
at her.

PART B: ESSAY
Select one (1) of the following topics. Refer to at least ____ works studied in class and write a well
organized literary essay of approximately four hundred to five hundred words.
1. In many literary works women are portrayed as those who are most vulnerable in the societies in
which they live.
OR
2. When a writer sets before the reader a mirror humanity, if it is true, the reflection will be both
beautiful and frightening.
OR
3. You may not count overmuch on reality today, since, like that of yesterday, it may prove an
illusion for you tomorrow.
Pirandello
OR
4. What dignifies the central character in a drama or novel is his or her ability to realize
shortcomings and act upon these shortcomings.
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DUCK BLIND
by Michelle Berry
Sarah is surrounded by mosquitoes. She moves around in circles, fanning her face and body, and then
smacks herself several times and swears.
Shh, Jake whispers. You have to be quiet.
Sarah glares at Jakes back as he starts to disappear ahead of her into the undergrowth. The forest is
sparse above, the tall trees barely filtering out the sun, but the ground they are rooted in is awash with colour
and textures: prickles, branches, weeds, dirt.
Im getting eaten alive, Sarah says. This isnt fun any more, Jake.
And then Sarah thinks that it has never been fun. The minute she stepped out of the car at the parking lot,
or even the minute she got up out of a warm bed, the sky still black, she knew they day would not be fun.
That nothing could possibly be fun out here in the woods with the bugs and the heat and Jake. Sarah thinks
that even if she lived to be one hundred years old, she would never understand what men find so fascinating
about hunting.
Jake moves back towards Sarah. He attempts a nice smile but it comes across as a grimace. Sarah
notices, You just have to be quiet. You have to ignore the bugs, he says. He puts his hands on his hips and
looks up into the trees. He sniffs deeply.
Ignore them?
Shh, whisper. Why are you wearing perfume? That attracts them, you know.
Look at my legs. Sarah holds her left leg up and Jake peers at the bumps. There are several bites and
each one is swollen and red. I think Im allergic to mosquitoes, Sarah says. I think I remember that Im
allergic. Sarah also remembers that Jake used to love the smell of her perfume. Now he is sniffing at the air
as if she had just farted.
Youll get used to them. Look. Jake holds up his hand and Sarah watches as a mosquito lands on it and
sticks in its stinger. Jake doesnt flinch. After the mosquito flies off, Jakes hand remains smooth and clear.
Im immune to these things, he says. Ive been doing this for so long I cant feel them any more.
For a brief instant Sarah thinks Jake is immune to many other things as well. Not just bugs. Immune to
love, to their relationship, to the sweet smell of her perfume covering sweat. Sarah wonders what has gone
wrong with this part of her life but then she forgets what shes thinking because the bus are all around her,
flying in a haze around her, and she scratches and swears and hits at the air.
Jake turns and walks forward. Sarah follows. She tries not to swat at her legs and arms, she tries to be
immune to the insects, but she can feel each sting and the itching is unbearable.
Yesterday, again, for the hundredth time, she asked Jake, Whats wrong?
Six months ago she asked him, Why are you doing this to us?
A year ago she wanted to know if he took milk in his cereal or just yogurt, if he ironed his pants and
shirts, if he loved her so much that his hands shook when he saw her.
Two years ago she saw him in the bar with his camouflage jacket and baseball cap, his lips to a beer, and
she turned to her friend and said, Thats the man for me. And he was. At least for a year.
Jake is carrying the equipment. He has a backpack with water, food, and first-aid supplies. He has a dark
green sweatshirt tied around his waist. His shotgun is slung over his shoulder and Sarah can hear the box of
extra shells jiggle in his pocket. Sarah is carrying Jakes brothers shotgun. Although it is hot she is wearing
her sweatshirt to keep the bugs off her arms and a baseball hat to keep her hair out
of her eyes. They have been walking through the forest for several hours now
and Sarah is tired and thirsty. Jake has suggested that they shouldnt drink
the water. He says they have a long day ahead of them. He says they
have to ration their supplies and keep level-headed about everything.
Sarah knows that Jake knows damn well that there is a shopping
mall
directly across from where they parked the car.
Sometimes she feels like punching him.
Or shooting him. She looks at her rifle.
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Or kissing him. She wants to stick her tongue up into his mouth, run it along his teeth, his gums, mix
saliva with saliva, stuck on his lips.
Bite. Draw blood.
The mosquitoes sting without pity.
Try to keep up, Jake whispers. He stops and waits for Sarah to catch up. Its another hour to the lake.
An hour? Sarah lets out her breath loudly. You should have brought mosquito repellent, Jake. Christ.
They arent bothering me. Jake stops and turns to look at Sarah. Sarah pushes past him and moves up
through the woods.
When I shop, she says, I get eaten alive. Its like a war zone out here.
Jake says, Shh.
Why are we whispering if we have an hour to go until we get to the lake? Sarah scratches her chin. She
can feel a large lump there. She worries that her face will be disfigured when she finally emerges from this
experience. Shell go to work on Monday and theyll think shes been in an accident, theyll think shes been
beaten or has some horrible disease. Sarah has half a mind to shout right now. Scream.
****. She wants to scream, ****.
And then she laughs because **** is the perfect word, its the best word she can think of, its the most
appropriate word right now.
****, she says.
Jake ignores Sarah. He walks faster, goes around her and heads into the distance. Sarah can feel Jakes
annoyance. Its not hard. His shoulders are straight and strong, his neck tough and thick. The bushes give
way under his strong legs, they move apart to let him through. Sarah begged to come along, to try hunting
ducks, and he finally gave in. She promised she would have a good time, not be squeamish, be energetic and
not complain. But she didnt count on the bugs and the heat and the long, long walk to the lake. She didnt
count on the fact that shes entered a world she doesnt think she can get out of alone, a world she cant
understand.
Wood.
Guns.
Ducks.
Bugs.
Silence.
She doesnt understand the silence.
And Sarah can see how tense Jakes back is. She can see a line of sweat down his spine through his Tshirt.
All Sarah wanted to do was something with Jake. She wanted to try sharing something with him,
something he enjoys. this is the first time theyve spent a day together alone, a solid day, for quite a while, for
almost a year.
They walk quietly, Jake ahead in the bush, Sarah behind, keeping a close eye on his figure.
She want to touch him, seeing him like that ahead of her, shoulders slumped, angry. Sarah wants to feel
the sweat on his back. She wants to kiss his mouth, his down-turned, frowning mouth, smooth his hair, run
her hands up under his wet shirt. Her eyes water as she tries to keep up, scratching and itching.
Lately something is horribly wrong. Something is turning and flipping in their relationship and Sarah
feels like shes having some strange nightmare that, no matter what she does, she cant wake up from.
Sh**, she says. Too loud. Jake looks back at her and frowns. A deer fly. Sarah walks quickly up to
Jake and shows him the bit on the back of her neck. It is bleeding. Look. She knows he doesnt want to
look at it but she shows him anyway.
Comes with the sport, I guess. Jake rubs his unshaven chin and then runs his fingers through his hair.
He stands quietly for a minute, looking at Sarah. He judges the situation, looks at his watch. Should we go
back?
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No, Sarah says. She knows she sounds like she doesnt mean it, like she wishes they were in that
shopping mall, eating tacos from the Food Court and sipping root beer, but she doesnt know how to change
her voice. Thats okay.
Jake looks ahead, into the woods. He wont look into Sarahs eyes. We can go back, he says. Its just
that we are so close. And you wanted to come.
I know, Sarah says. Keep going. She pushes him ahead. Touching him sends a jolt through her body,
almost causing her to lose her balance. But Jake seems not to notice. Hes immune to her touch too.
Its the give and take Sarah cant understand anymore, the feeling that they arent connecting, that neither
of them is saying anything the other can hear. And Jakes not saying anything so, even if Sarah could hear, it
would be only silence in the still air.
She slings her shotgun over her shoulder, careful not to touch the trigger. Sarah feels nervous around it.
She feels as if any minute a bullet could come whizzing out and rig through her leg. She is sure that must
happen all the time. She thinks she has heard of it happening somewhere to someone she knows but she isnt
quite sure.
Sarah shivers. The sweat along her back and neck is cooling in the shade from the trees as the forest gets
thicker.
Couldnt I just have a sip from the water? Sarah asks.
Jakes shoulders tense up ahead of her. They are almost as high as his earlobes. she watches his back and
suddenly feels very afraid. His backpack creeps up his spine.
Never mind.
We just dont have the time, Jake whispers. Weve got to be back before it gets dark.
I know. I said never mind.
Jake looks back at Sarah but he doesnt stop walking.
I think Ive twisted my ankle, Sarah says. Back there, on that rock.
Jake turns ahead again and walks quickly away. He sets a brisk pace. Unless you get eaten by a bear,
he says loudly, Im not stopping.
Sarah falls back.
There was a time in her life when she thought she understood men. There was a time when they seemed
to simple and straightforward. Especially Jake. With his beer and his shotgun and his silly smile.
Stopping for a minute, Sarah loses Jake in a turn on the path. She stands alone and turns around in circles,
feeling terribly afraid. Not of the wilderness, not of the bugs, but of Jake and what he is doing, of the hurt he
can cause her, deep, deep inside.
Soon Jake comes to the lake. It is beautiful and shimmering in the
late-morning sunshine. There are small ripples made by the wind
skimming across the surface. Jake sits in the duck blind, watches the lake
and waits for Sarah. He wonders for a minute if shell get lost. He stares
at the lake and then the forest, waiting. He tries to ignore the hydro wires
cutting across the lake and passing back into the woods. He pretends he is
all alone, that the rest of the world is far behind him, away from him.
Back in the woods Sarah still stands in one place. She wills herself
not to smack at the bugs, to get used to them, to ignore them. She watches
the undergrowth for snakes. A garter snake, a long one, has just slithered
past about ten feet ahead of her and now she is afraid to move.
Sarah stands quietly in the forest and watches the life around her, the bugs, the snakes, the trees
whispering in the winds. She looks up at the sky and then down at the forest floor. She looks back at where
she came from and forward to where she is going.
For a brief second she contemplates heading back to the car alone, but then she decides the harder thing to
do would be to run forward and, because shes always done the easy thing and hated herself for it, because
shes covered in sweat and bites and dried blood, because its been a year since Jake has been distant like this
and a long time since theyve made love, she wills herself to move ahead and follow Jakes path. To run. the
heat is unbearable and the bugs fly fast in front of her. One flies in her mouth. She spits.
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Sarah thinks that its not as if shes never liked the outdoors, its not as if she hasnt been around wildlife
before, its just that things have been going rotten for so long. Jake has been different, distracted, busy, hard.
He has been argumentative and frustrated, fed up with her.
And Sarahs been with him, lived with him, for almost two years (one of which was wonderful), waiting
for him to make a commitment, waiting for marriage. Because Sarah thinks that marriage is what you do
when youve been together for this long, when your are Sarahs age. Sarah is afraid to start again, go back to
the beginning, find someone new.
Can she find someone new?
Every weekend, out here alone, walking quickly through the bug-infested woods and then shooting
innocent ducks by the lake. Every Saturday, leaving her in their bed, a cool space forming beside her, a
chasm, a hole, and disappearing for the whole day, coming back to their shared apartment empty-handed,
sometimes drunk.
He never brings a duck home.
Thats what Sarah is doing here. Wondering why he never brings a dead duck home.
I stop at the pub for a beer or two, Jake says. I helps me unwind. It helps me get back to reality.
He wont answer her questions and shes afraid to ask the right one.
Sarah comes upon the lake and sees Jake crouching in the duck blind.
Hey, she calls out, relieved to be in the wind, the bright water shining in front of her. Shell try to be
happy. Shell try to enjoy the day. And the lake looks wonderful and fresh and clean. A flock of ducks
resting on the surface of the water startle when she calls out, and quack and fly away.
Jake watches Sarah. She is wearing a red T-shirt which stands out among the greens and yellows of
nature. He watches her stretch. Her underarms are stained with sweat. When he sees her there, like that, so
ignorant of the ducks and the rules of hunting, so uninhibited and quiet, he feels something stir deep in his
bowels. Then she jogs up to the duck blind, plops herself beside him, and opens his backpack. She takes out
a sandwich, sucks back some water, and starts to chew with her mouth open. Sarahs face is covered with bug
bites and on her neck is dried blood. she is loud, disturbing the stillness. Jake looks away from her, towards
the lake.
I just saw a snake, Sarah says, with her mouth full. A piece of cheese drops to the floor of the duck
blind and she flicks it away as if it is alive.
Hmm, Jake sighs. No use trying to get her to whisper.
Sarah eats noisily, gulps most of the water down, and brushes her hands off on her shorts. She burps.
Jake looks at her. You could say excuse me, he says.
Theres no one here, Sarah says. Were alone in the woods. She laughs. Okay, now what do we
do? She peers out the duck blind and crouches low beside Jake.
We wait for ducks and try not to scare them, Jake says. We stay quiet and wait.
For how long?
For as long as it takes.
They both look out at the lake and stay very quiet. No ducks show up.
Sarah thinks about how everything she does lately has been bothering Jake. She cant pee with the
bathroom door open any more, she cant cut her toenails on the back porch, she cant ask him to buy tampons,
or even hold her purse. And every time she tries to talk to him, ask him something, he turns away and
disappears.
Shh, hes been saying all day (all week, all year), but there was not reason for silence earlier in the woods.
No reads on except one he cant bear to hear her talk, because he cant bear to hear her talk, because he cant
bear to be with her.
Are you having an affair? Sarah asks. She asks this quietly and hesitantly, like she doesnt really think
she is asking it.
Jake is quiet.
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Are you having an affair? She asks in the same way. It is as if she doesnt think she really voiced her
thought for the first time.
No, Jake says. he says this matter-of-factly, as if she had asked him if he wanted pickles on his
sandwich.
Shh, Sarah thinks.
Oh, she says.
His voice shakes. (This startles her.) Im just not sure any more.
Oh.
They dont look at each other. They look at the lake.
I just dont know what I want any more. Or if I want this any more.
Oh. Sarah feels that, even though she has nothing to say, she has to acknowledge that Jake has spoken.
She finally asked the right question and now shes confused about the answer. Oh, she says again.
Do you know what I mean?
No.
Oh. Jake sighs.
This as in us or this as in hunting? Sarah laughs. There is a shrill, unreal quality to her laugh.
This as in us.
Oh. Sarah itches her face. A bite begins to bleed.
The clouds move over the sun and suddenly a flock of ducks quack and cry out and land in a confused,
wings-out, haphazard way upon the lake. Sarah looks at Jake. Jake looks at the lake.
They both raise their guns and take aim. Sarah shoots. She falls back from the blast. Her hands are
shaking from the thrill of the shot. Jake lowers his gun.
Why did you shoot? he asks.
What do you mean?
I never shoot.
Sarah is confused. I though we were hunting.
Jake looks suddenly very sad. I never shoot them. I just come here. I just come here and pretend.
What?
They are so beautiful. How could you shoot them?
But you loaded my gun.
I didnt think you would use it.
But you put shells in my gun.
Thats part of the game.
Why didnt you tell me it was a game?
Did you think I could kill something?
Sarah shrugs.
How could I kill something?
I dont know what youre capable of, Jake.
The clouds move away and the sun shines down on the lake.
I never brought home any ducks, Jake says. Doesnt that tell you anything?
But I thought...
And then Sarah says nothing. She stops talking and scratches her legs and face. She stands up in the duck
blind and her body looks large and omnipotent. Jake looks up at her.
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It doesnt matter what I thought, she says. Does it? Jake scans the lake to see of Sarah actually
killed or injured anything. The thought of an injured duck on the lake bothers him.
Because you dont think, Jake. So why would it matter what I think?
But Sarah feels strange somehow. Jake has confused her, made her feel dizzy. She doesnt know how to
handle this turn of events. This isnt how its supposed to be, Jake, she says, more to herself than to him.
You might have killed something. Or worse. You might have injured a duck.
Dont you care about what youve done to me? Sarahs heart beats wildly.
Jake doesnt know what to think. He looks up at Sarah. Her face is fiery red, covered in bumps, she is
sweating profusely. She picks up her shotgun and Jake suddenly feels afraid.
For an instant their eyes meet. Sarah, standing over Jake, the shotgun raised, her finger on the trigger,
Jake, kneeling on the floor of the duck blind, looking up at her. Neither of them blink. There is a second
when all time stands still, when love and hate and fear slide together and explode, when a small hole in a
human body becomes a large hole in the universe.
Sarah looks away first. She lowers the rifle and then stoops to leave the duck blind. She wraps her
sweatshirt around her waist and checks her pockets for the car keys.
Shh, she thinks.
Sarah walks away from Jake and the duck blind and the ducks and the lake. She walks quickly away from
everything, heading back towards the car and civilization, towards reality and the mall, on the other side of the
woods. She is walking towards a place where things happen the way she expects, where men leave women
because of love affairs, because of lost beauty, because someone better has come along. A place where a man
is a man and a woman is only that, a woman. Sarah is shaking so hard that the rifle tight against her leg
jiggles and bangs into her causing a line of small bruises, bruises that Sarah will notice later while soaking in
the bath, tears streaming down her bug-bitten, contorted face.
Jake peers out of the duck blind into the lake. He watches the calm surface, the sparkling light of the sun
on the water. Nothing seems to be different than before. Nothing has changed. Silence. Nothing seems out
of place. The lake is calm and bright and beautiful. The ducks are circling high above, quacking and calling,
and Jake wonders, just for an instant, if ducks stay with one mate for life. He wonders if hes learned anything
from all of this, or if this will just be another Saturday hunting trip, another day in the woods.

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