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MY OEDIPUS COMPLEX Frank O’Connor

LANGUAGE STUDY:

I. Explain or paraphrase the following words and phrases:

“Ours was the only house in the terrace without a new baby” (B)

“… I felt she was too exclusive. The Geneys’ baby would have done us fine(B)

“The irony of it!” (E). How would you translate the sentence into Bulgarian?

“if this was how God answered prayers, he couldn’t listen to them very attentively(E). How would you translate this into Bulgarian?

“… I asked with as great a show of indifference as I could muster(E)

“he had some terrible hold on her(G)

“I was quiet for ever so long(O). Consider also the following dictionary examples: “She’s ever so pretty”, “I’m ever so sorry”.

“Oh, dear, and you’re perished!” (O)

“This time, for all her quiet air, I knew she meant it” (P)

“my principal rights and privileges were as good as lost(P). Consider also the following dictionary examples: “The summer’s as good as over”, “He as good as called me a coward”.

“… and saw his face convulsed with rage(R). How would you translate the phrase into Bulgarian?

“… as a result of my innocent intercession(S).

“He had a common accent(U)

“I was no end pleased(W). Consider also the following dictionary examples: “Your letter cheered me up no end”, “It would please Granny no end if you wrote to her occasionally”.

“At Christmas he went out of his way to buy me a really nice model railway” (Z)

II. Fill in the gaps choosing from the list of verbs below. Each verb is to be used once.

rummage (A)

beam (D)

pummel (F)

grunt (H)

smother (K)

hush (K)

screech (Q)

cajole (S)

glare (S)

allege (T)

growl (T)

dribble (U)

hinge (U)

nose (U)

gawk (Y)

1. The film's plot …………………. on a case of mistaken identity.

2. The boxer had …………………. his opponent into submission by the end of the fourth round.

3. I …………………. through my drawer for the key.

4. It has been …………………. that senior officials were involved in a $20 million drugs deal.

5. The latest violence has …………………. any remaining hopes for an early peace agreement.

6. Her parents stood there …………………. as she went up to receive the prize.

7. Several reporters have been …………………. around on the subject.

8. Their dog …………………. at everyone.

9. A gull …………………. overhead, breaking the dreamy silence.

10. I turned to Margaret but was …………………. before I could open my mouth.

11. The baby …………………. porridge all over the front of my shirt.

12. Ed …………………. and pleaded, but couldn't get her to change her mind.

13. "What about a stripy wallpaper for this room?'' – "I dunno,'' he

14. Aborigines are …………………. at by foreign travellers as if they were walking souvenirs.

15. She …………………. silently at me, and then flounced out of the room. English Through Literature (1 st year) - Maria Dimitrova

III.

Fill in the gaps choosing from the list of adjectives and adverbs below. Each adjective or adverb

is to be used once.

Adjectives:

musty (A)

rigid (C)

ominous (E)

winning (I)

mortified (K)

bound (N)

avowed (T)

obnoxious (V)

touchy (W)

responsive (Z)

Adverbs:

contentedly (I)

incredulously (J)

indignantly (J)

placidly (V)

gingerly (Z)

1. A(n) …………………. atheist, he believed that there was no such thing as life after death.

2. She stared

3. You are …………………. to feel nervous on the first day at a new job.

4. They stepped …………………. among the broken glass and the pieces of shrapnel.

5. He’s got the cutest dimples and the world's most …………………. smile.

6. Carla felt …………………. at the thought of having to repeat another year at school.

7. We complained to the manager immediately, but he wasn't …………………. or concerned.

8. Finishing her meal, she sat back and sighed

9. They cannot all be fitted into the same …………………. framework.

"You’re kidding me, right?"

10. "That's not fair!" I cried

11. The birds showed no anxiety and …………………. accepted us as we stood only a few feet

away.

12. How do you get rid of the …………………. smell that clings to old books?

13. I try to treat customers with respect. I give them a smile and greet them politely, and yet they are

often rude and …………………. to me.

14. There was a(n) …………………. silence when I asked whether my contract was going to be

renewed.

15.

Canadians can be very …………………. about being taken for Americans.

IV.

Fill in the gaps in the sentences, choosing the most appropriate word you can find in the specific

section of the text given in brackets. Each gap is to be filled with a single word.

1. I think I'll …………………. the camping equipment away in the loft until next summer. (A)

2. While George Bush …………………. himself with saying he was disappointed with Mr Arafat,

Dick Cheney used much blunter language. (B)

3. A woman …………………. her head out of the window and told us to come upstairs. (C)

4. The two teams spent the opening minutes of the match …………………. each other up. (F)

5. He is intelligent enough, but he's not the genius he is …………………. up to be. (G)

6. He sat …………………. upright and kept his eyes on the table in front of him. (H)

7. Fishermen are willing to do their …………………. share to protect these magnificent fish. (H)

8. I awoke with a(n) …………………. and reached for the phone. (N)

9. She had no idea where her children were, or what they were …………………. to. (U)

10. Could you turn your music down and show a little …………………. for the neighbours! (Z)

V. Rewrite the sentences using the word in block letters.

1. My knowledge of Spanish proved useful when the car broke down near Madrid. (HANDY) (A)

2. I've always had a very high opinion of him. (HIGHLY) (A)

3. Won't she finally become aware of his lies and manipulations? (THROUGH) (Y)

4. It looked almost new – you would never know that it was, in fact, broken. (GOOD) (P)

5. It makes me so angry to think that tax payers are paying for all this expense. (BLOOD) (R)

6. He made a rude comment about my friend and I attacked him. (FLY) (S)

7. He would stick to what he believed in and would not yield to pressure. (GIVE) (W)

8. The company's customer services are absolutely useless. (THAN) (X)

9. He was forced to leave his flat because he couldn't pay the rent. (TURNED) (Z)

10. When Annie arrived, he made a special effort to make life pleasant for her. (WAY) (Z)

VI. Translate into English, choosing for the underlined word or phrase the most appropriate word or phrase you can find in the specific section of the text given in brackets.

1. – Това е проблем от жизненоважно значение каза тя сериозно. (E)

2. Той най-накрая събра смелост да я покани на вечеря. (E)

3. Но после ми казаха колко ще струва и това реши въпроса. По никакъв начин не мога да си

го позволя. (L)

4. Надуха музиката, за да направят напук на съседите. (L)

5. Готови са да използват насилие, за да отстояват правата си. (P)

6. Злополуката стана, когато детето се отскубна от майка си и излезе на платното. (Q)

7. Щеше да й се наложи да понесе унижението да се отнасят към нея като с престъпник. (S)

8. Рецепционистката ни посрещна с намръщена физиономия. (T)

9. Дори съвсем малките деца имат нужда да чувстват, че ги уважават и се съобразяват с

желанията им. (W)

10. Време е да се вразумиш и да проумееш, че той не става за теб. (Z)

COMPREHENSION AND INTERPRETATION:

1.

How do you interpret the following sentences and phrases:

“There was a bit of the magpie about Father” (A)

“Next morning I woke at my usual hour, feeling like a bottle of champagne(H)

2.

How would you describe Larry’s world before his father returns from the war? (Be as specific as

you can.)

3. At the beginning of the story, Larry thinks of his father as a Santa Claus-like figure (A, D); later, he

compares him to a mountain (F, S). What change in Larry’s attitude does this transition mark? Do you think the mountain simile is a good one? Why (not)?

4. How would you describe the relationship between Larry and his father? What stages does the

relationship go through? What tactics does Larry adopt towards his father? How does the father view

Larry?

5. What role does Larry’s mother play in Larry’s world? How does Larry view her? How does he

treat her?

6. Does the closing sentence provide a good ending for the story? Why (not)?

7. “The irony of it!” (E) shows that Larry soon becomes aware of the inherent contradiction in

wishing for his father’s return – a return that brings him no good. What other examples of ironic situations or statements can you find in the story?

8. We never learn Larry’s mother’s name, nor do we know what she and Larry’s father really look

like. How can these gaps in the story be explained?

9. How would you describe the overall mood of the story?

10. If you had to provide an alternative title for the story, what title would you suggest?

11. If you had to film one scene from the story, which scene would you choose and why?

12. What is the importance for the story of the choice of a child’s narrative perspective? How would

the story change if it were told from the point of view of the mother or the father?

You may also find it interesting to compare O’Connor’s fictional story with this real-life story from the BBC’s archive of WW2 memories:

Father Returns from the War My father was in the war and was due to come home. He didn’t come home however when we expected, and one morning I got up and crept into my mother’s bedroom and there was a man in bed with her and I went in, in great disgust and said to my mother, “who is that man in your bed,” and she said “it’s your father”. I didn’t really know him you see, it was really quite sad. I’d be about nine or ten maybe. Actually I think that the war ruined a lot of relationships. My mother and father had lived in a backwood for all their lives and [ ] had only just met each other. My father while he was away saw horrific things, things that he didn’t like to mention and my mother grew as a person, but they weren’t ready for it. They came back to one another and there was this myth of magical wonderful reunions, which really didn’t come off, because he thought she had spoilt us and she kind of blamed him because he wasn’t there. It must have been very very hard for them, and it was hard and I never really got on with my father. He adored me but I could never really relate to him, I had no relationship with him really because you had missed out on all those years. It was my mother who did things with us. My mother and father were married for eight years before they had any children so my father was thirty and he went into the forces. But I was only three, which [ ] was kind of unusual because there was no family planning or anything like that so you thought they might have had children straight away, which they normally did. But for some reason they weren’t able to have children, so it worked out like that. It was never really the same when my father came back.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/ww2peopleswar/stories/80/a8882580.shtml