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DEAR MR KILMER EXPRESS

Question 1 (SPM 2007)


It is important to have a person you look up to in your life.
From the novel that you have read, write about one character that you look up to. Give
reasons why you choose him/her.

Sample answer Event


The novel that I read was Dear Mr Kilmer by Anne Schraff. One
character that I looked up to was Richard. There were three reasons why I looked
up to Richard.
1
Firstly, he loved animals. This was shown when Richard purposely
missed shooting a buck. Richard thought that hunting was not important. Richard
could not kill animals. Gus, Richards elder brother, was upset with Richard
because Richard purposely misfired. Richards father, Pa, was also disappointed
with Richard. Pa asked Richard why he purposely missed shooting the
buck. Richard told Pa that he had no right to kill it. Richard told Pa that he felt 4
painful and sad to kill an animal. Pa told Richard not to go hunting anymore if he
did not like it.

Secondly, Richard was kind. One day, Mrs Hansen asked her class to sign
a card for the Schermers. Someone vandalised the tavern owned by Hannahs
parents. They painted Dirty Huns all over the walls. Mrs Hansen brought a card
to express regret for what had happened. The troublemakers like Abner, Harry,
Blanche and Peggy refused to sign the card. They warned other classmates not to
sign the card. The boys were afraid Abner and Harry would hit them. The girls
worry that popular girls like Peggy and Blanche would not speak to them. 2
However, Richard was the only student who signed the sympathy card for
Hannah Schermer. After school, Richard took the card from Mrs Hansen. He
wanted to give the card to Hannah. Hannah accepted the card reluctantly. Later,
Hannah apologised to Richard for being rude. This was the beginning of their
friendship. 5
Thirdly, Richard was brave. This was shown when Richard told his family
and Mrs Hansen that he wrote poetry. Before telling his secret to his family and
Mrs Hansen, Richard wrote a letter to Mr Kilmer. Mr Kilmer was Richards
penpal. Richard learnt about Mr Kilmer when Richards English teacher, Mrs
Hansen read a poem to the class. The title of the poem was Trees by Joyce
Kilmer. In his letter, Richard told Mr Kilmer that he wrote poems too. However,
he kept this as a secret from everyone. Richard asked for Mr Kilmers advice. He
wanted to know whether he should tell his secret to everybody. One day, Richard
received a letter from Mr Kilmer. Mr Kilmer advised Richard to overcome his
fear. Mr Kilmer advised Richard to share his poetry with people around
him. Nobody was interested when Richard told his family about Mr Kilmers
letter and his secret. Gus did not believe that Mr Kilmer was famous. Pa did not
believe that Richard wrote poetry. Richard asked whether his family members
wanted to read his poems. Nobody was interested. Richard was sad. Gus advised
Richard not tell anyone he wrote poetry. He wanted Richard to fit in with other
people. Everyone called him a Hun Lover after he signed the card for Hannah. The
next day, Richard told Mrs Hansen that he wrote poetry. He showed her Mr
Kilmers letter. Mrs Hansen helped Richard to choose a poem. Richard would
send the poem to Mr Kilmer. As advised by Mrs Hansen, Richard shared Mr
Kilmers latest letter and his poem with the class.Some of his classmates,
including Blanche and Peggy, were deeply moved by his poem. They started to
respect Richard. Hannah suggested a different ending to Richards poem.

In conclusion, I admired and respected Richard because he had good


personalities.

Question 2 (SPM 2008)


Using the details from the novel that you have studied,
Describe what happens at the end of the novel.
Explain why you find the ending either happy or sad.

Sample answer Event


The novel that I read was Dear Mr Kilmer by Anne Schraff. At the end of
the story, Richards father finally supported his passion in writing poetry. This
was a happy ending.
2
Richard Knight had a secret. Nobody knew that he wrote poetry including
his family, teachers and schoolmates. One day, Richard learnt about Mr Kilmer
when Richards English teacher, Mrs Hansen read a poem to the class. The title of 5
the poem was Trees by Joyce Kilmer. Mr Kilmer was a famous poet. He
enlisted in the army. He wrote a letter to Mr Kilmer. In his letter, Richard told Mr
Kilmer that he wrote poems too. Richard asked for Mr Kilmers advice. He
wanted to know whether he should tell his secret to everybody. A few days later,
Richard received a letter from Mr Kilmer. Mr Kilmer advised Richard to
overcome his fear. Mr Kilmer advised Richard to share his poetry with people 7
around him. Nobody was interested when Richard told his family about Mr
Kilmers letter and his secret. Gus did not believe that Mr Kilmer was famous. Pa
did not believe that Richard wrote poetry. Richard asked whether his family
members wanted to read his poems. Nobody was interested. Richard was sad.

One day, Richard received a bad news about Mr Kilmer.Mr Kilmer was
killed in the war between the Allies and the Germans. Richard wrote a poem as a
tribute to Mr Kilmer. In the poem, Richard likened Mr Kilmer to the world. The
tribute was printed in the local newspaper, The Turtle Lake Weekly. Richards
father read the poem. Richard was afraid that his father was going to be angry at
him. His father did not like Richard writing poems. After reading the poem, his
father told Richard about what happened to Richards uncle, Roland. His father
never told Richard about this story. Roland was killed in a war in Cuba. His father
regarded Roland as his world. His father was amazed how Richard could use the
same word in his tribute. Richard continued writing poems about farm life for the
local newspaper. Richard got his fathers help as he was an experienced farmer.
Every night, Richard read his poems aloud. His father would correct or give
suggestions to improve the poems. His father finally supported Richards passion
in writing poetry.

In conclusion, the ending of this story was truly heartwarming when a


father and a son finally got along through the love of poetry.

Question 3 (SPM 2009)


Using the details from the novel that you have studied, write about a difficult decision made by one of
the characters.
With close reference to the text, do you think this was the right decision?

Sample answer Event


The novel that I studied was Dear Mr Kilmer by Anne Schraff. A
difficult decision made by Richard was to tell people that he wrote poetry. This
was the right decision.
2
Richard Knight had a secret. Nobody knew that he wrote poetry including
his family, teachers and schoolmates. One day, Richard learnt about Mr Kilmer
when Richards English teacher, Mrs Hansen read a poem to the class. The title of
the poem was Trees by Joyce Kilmer. Mr Kilmer was a famous poet. He
enlisted in the army. He wrote a letter to Mr Kilmer. In his letter, Richard told Mr
Kilmer that he wrote poems too. Richard asked for Mr Kilmers advice. He 5
wanted to know whether he should tell his secret to everybody.

A few days later, Richard received a letter from Mr Kilmer. Mr Kilmer


advised Richard to overcome his fear. Mr Kilmer advised Richard to share his
poetry with people around him. Nobody was interested when Richard told his 5
family about Mr Kilmers letter and his secret. Gus did not believe that Mr Kilmer
was famous. Pa did not believe that Richard wrote poetry.Richard asked whether
his family members wanted to read his poems. Nobody was interested. Richard
was sad.

The next day, Richard told Mrs Hansen that he wrote poetry. He showed
her Mr Kilmers letter. Mrs Hansen helped Richard to choose a poem. Richard
would send the poem to Mr Kilmer. As advised by Mrs Hansen, Richard shared
Mr Kilmers latest letter and his poem with the class. Some of his classmates,
including Blanche and Peggy, were deeply moved by his poem. They started to
respect Richard. Hannah suggested a different ending to Richards poem.

In conclusion, Richard was a brave boy when he decided to tell his secrets
to everyone.

Question 4 (SPM 2012)


Based on the novel you have studied, write about an event that makes you angry?
With close reference to the text, give reasons why the event makes you feel this way.

Sample answer Event


The novel that I studied was Dear Mr Kilmer by Anne Schraff. An event
that made me angry was when the Schermers tavern was vandalised. I was angry
because of two reasons.
4
Firstly, I was angry because some Turtle Lake people were being unfair to
3
the Schermers. They vandalized the Schermers tavern. They painted Dirty Huns
all over the walls. They said that the Schermers were Huns. Some Turtle Lake
people believed that Huns were a barbaric clan originated from Germany. They
said that the Schermers were unpatriotic because they spoke German and served
Hun food at their tavern while a war was going on against Germany. 4

Secondly, I was angry because Richards classmates were being unkind to


the Schermers after the Schermerss tavern was vandalised. Mrs Hansen brought a
card to express regret for what had happened Mrs Hansen asked her class to sign
the card. The troublemakers like Abner, Harry, Blanche and Peggy refused to sign
the card. They warned other classmates not to sign the card. The boys were afraid
Abner and Harry would hit them. The girls worry that popular girls like Peggy and
Blanche would not speak to them. However, Richard was the only student who
signed the sympathy card for Hannah Schermer. After school, Richard took the
card from Mrs Hansen. He wanted to give the card to Hannah. Hannah accepted
the card reluctantly. Later, Hannah apologised to Richard for being rude. This was
the beginning of their friendship.

In conclusion, the event where the Schermers was being mistreated


infuriated me. I truly believed that discrimination was unjust.

Question 5 (SPM 2015 Similar to SPM 2007)


Suggest one character in the novel you have read who you think is agood role model for
teenagers.
Briefly describe the character and give reasons for your choice with close reference to the
text.

Sample answer Event


The novel that I read was Dear Mr Kilmer by Anne Schraff. A good role
model for teenagers was Richard. Richard was 15 years old. He was tall, pale and
slender. Richard was Mr Knights son. He was Angie and Guss younger brother.
He was Mr Kilmers penpal and Hannahs best friend. He loved poetry. There 4
were three reasons why I chose Richard.

Firstly, he was kind. One day, Mrs Hansen asked her class to sign a card
for the Schermers. Someone vandalised the tavern owned by Hannahs parents.
They painted Dirty Huns all over the walls. Mrs Hansen brought a card to
express regret for what had happened. The troublemakers like Abner, Harry,
Blanche and Peggy refused to sign the card. They warned other classmates not to
sign the card. The boys were afraid Abner and Harry would hit them. The girls
worry that popular girls like Peggy and Blanche would not speak to them. 2
However, Richard was the only student who signed the sympathy card for
Hannah Schermer.After school, Richard took the card from Mrs Hansen. He
wanted to give the card to Hannah. Hannah accepted the card reluctantly. Later,
Hannah apologised to Richard for being rude. This was the beginning of their
friendship.
5
Secondly, Richard was brave. This was shown when Richard told his
family he wrote poetry. Before telling his secret to his family, Richard wrote a
letter to Mr Kilmer. Mr Kilmer was Richards penpal. Richard learnt about Mr
Kilmer whenRichards English teacher, Mrs Hansen read a poem to the class. The
title of the poem was Trees by Joyce Kilmer. In his letter, Richard told Mr
Kilmer that he wrote poems too. However, he kept this as a secret from
6
everyone. Richard asked for Mr Kilmers advice. He wanted to know whether he
should tell his secret to everybody. One day, Richard received a letter from Mr
Kilmer. Mr Kilmer advised Richard to overcome his fear. Mr Kilmer advised
Richard to share his poetry with people around him. Nobody was interested
when Richard told his family about Mr Kilmers letter and his secret. Gus did
not believe that Mr Kilmer was famous. Pa did not believe that Richard wrote
poetry. Richard asked whether his family members wanted to read his poems.
Nobody was interested. Richard was sad. Gus advised Richard not tell anyone he
wrote poetry. He wanted Richard to fit in with other people. Everyone called him
a Hun Lover after he signed the card for Hannah.

Thirdly, he was supportive. Hannah and Richard won the roles of Lady
Liberty and the Doughboy respectively because they wrote the best essays. Mrs
Hansen asked the class to write an essay as one of the activities for a patriotic
programme which helped sell Liberty bonds. Many students were angry when
Hannah won the role. They regarded Hannah as an unpatriotic German although
she was an American citizen. Hannah told Richard that her essay started a little
war in Turtle lake. She did not want to cause any more problems. So she declined
the role of Lady Liberty. Richard wanted to support Hannah. Therefore,Richard
declined his part as the Doughboy. His family, his schoolmates and the Turtle
Lake People criticized him for turning down his role. They called him unpatriotic
and a traitor. These criticisms never stopped Richard from standing up for what
was right.

In conclusion, Richard was a good role model for teenagers because he had
good personalities.

Question 6 (SBP Trial 2016)


Which character in the novel do you sympathize with? Explain whyyou sympathize with
this character with close reference to the text.

Sample answer Event


The novel that I read was Dear Mr Kilmer by Anne Schraff. The
character I sympathized with was Hannah Schermer. There were three reasons
why I sympathized with her.
3
Firstly, her schoolmates called her Dirty Hun. They evenscrawled Dirty
Hun all over her book cover. Some Turtle Lake people believed that Huns were a
barbaric clan originated from Germany. They said that the Schermers were
unpatriotic because they spoke German and served Hun food at their tavern while
a war was going on against Germany. Starting from this incident, the Schermers 4
were always being mistreated by some of the Turtle Lake people.

Secondly, her parents tavern was vandalised. They painted Dirty Huns
all over the walls. Mrs Hansen asked her class to sign a sympathy card for the
Schermers. The troublemakers like Abner, Harry, Blanche and Peggy refused to
sign the card. They warned other classmates not to sign the card. The boys were 6
afraid Abner and Harry would hit them. The girls worry that popular girls like
Peggy and Blanche would not speak to them. However, Richard was the only
student who signed the sympathy card for Hannah Schermer.

Thirdly, people unfairly denied her role as Lady Liberty.Hannah won the
roles of Lady Liberty because she wrote the best essay. Mrs Hansen asked the
class to write an essay as one of the activities for a patriotic programme which
helped sell Liberty bonds. Many students were angry when Hannah won the role.
They regarded Hannah as an unpatriotic German although she was an American
citizen. Some parents complained to the principal and demanded Mrs Hansen to
choose someone else. Mrs Hansen did not change her mind. Hannah told Richard
that her essay started a little war in Turtle lake. She did not want to cause any
more problems. So she declined the role of Lady Liberty. Richard wanted to
support Hannah.

In conclusion, although Hannah Schermer and her family was mistreated


by some Turtle Lake people, they remained calm and patient.

Question 7 (Kedah Trial 2016)


It is important to stand up for what is right. Discuss how this is portrayed in the novel you
have read.

Sample answer Event


The novel that I read was Dear Mr Kilmer by Anne Schraff. The
statement It is important to stand up for what is right was portrayed by Richard
in three different events.
1
Firstly, this statement was portrayed when Richard purposely missed
shooting a buck. Richard thought that hunting was not important. Richard could
not kill animals. Gus, Richards elder brother, was upset with Richard because
Richard purposely misfired. Richards father, Pa, was also disappointed with
Richard. Pa asked Richard why he purposely missed shooting the buck. Richard
told Pa that he had no right to kill it. Richard told Pa that he felt painful and sad to 4
kill an animal. Pa told Richard not to go hunting anymore if he did not like it.
Even though Pa disagreed with Richards opinion about hunting, he did not force
Richard to do what he hated.

Secondly, this statement was portrayed when Richard was the only student
who signed a sympathy card for the Schermers. When the Schermers tavern was
vandalized, Mrs Hansen asked her class to sign a sympathy card for them. The
troublemakers like Abner, Harry, Blanche and Peggy refused to sign the card. 6
They warned other classmates not to sign the card. The boys were afraid Abner
and Harry would hit them. The girls worry that popular girls like Peggy and
Blanche would not speak to them. However, Richard was the only student who
signed the sympathy card for Hannah Schermer. Richard believed that the
Schermers were discriminated by some Turtle people because they were Germans.

Thirdly, this statement was portrayed when Hannah declined the role of
Lady Liberty. Hannah and Richard won the roles of Lady Liberty and the
Doughboy respectively because they wrote the best essays. Mrs Hansen asked the
class to write an essay as one of the activities for a patriotic programme which
helped sell Liberty bonds. Many students were angry when Hannah won the role.
They regarded Hannah as an unpatriotic German although she was an American
citizen. Hannah told Richard that her essay started a little war in Turtle lake. She
did not want to cause any more problems. So she declined the role of Lady
Liberty. Richard wanted to support Hannah. Therefore,Richard declined his part as
the Doughboy. His family, his schoolmates and the Turtle Lake People criticized
him for turning down his role. They called him unpatriotic and a traitor. These
criticisms never stopped Richard from standing up for what was right.

In conclusion, Richard was truly a character who stuck to his principles to


do what was right.

Question 8 (N9 Trial 2016)


People should be allowed to follow their dreams.
Write about a character who wants to realise his or her dream.

Sample answer Event


The novel that I read was Dear Mr Kilmer by Anne Schraff. A
character who wanted to realise his dream was Richard. Richard wanted to
be a poet.
2
Richard Knight had a secret. Nobody knew that he wrote poetry including
his family, teachers and schoolmates. One day, Richard learnt about Mr Kilmer
when Richards English teacher, Mrs Hansen read a poem to the class. The title of
the poem was Trees by Joyce Kilmer. Mr Kilmer was a famous poet. He
enlisted in the army. He wrote a letter to Mr Kilmer. In his letter, Richard told Mr
Kilmer that he wrote poems too. Richard asked for Mr Kilmers advice. He 5
wanted to know whether he should tell his secret to everybody. A few days later,
Richard received a letter from Mr Kilmer. Mr Kilmer advised Richard to
overcome his fear. Mr Kilmer advised Richard to share his poetry with people
around him. Nobody was interested when Richard told his family about Mr 7
Kilmers letter and his secret. Gus did not believe that Mr Kilmer was famous. Pa
did not believe that Richard wrote poetry. Richard asked whether his family
members wanted to read his poems. Nobody was interested. Richard was sad.

One day, Richard received a bad news about Mr Kilmer.Mr Kilmer was
killed in the war between the Allies and the Germans. Richard wrote a poem as a
tribute to Mr Kilmer. In the poem, Richard likened Mr Kilmer to the world. The
tribute was printed in the local newspaper, The Turtle Lake Weekly. Richards
father read the poem. Richard was afraid that his father was going to be angry at
him. His father did not like Richard writing poems. After reading the poem, his
father told Richard about what happened to Richards uncle, Roland. His father
never told Richard about this story. Roland was killed in a war in Cuba. His father
regarded Roland as his world. His father was amazed how Richard could use the
same word in his tribute. Richard continued writing poems about farm life for the
local newspaper. Richard got his fathers help as he was an experienced farmer.
Every night, Richard read his poems aloud. His father would correct or give
suggestions to improve the poems. His father finally supported Richards passion
in writing poetry.

In conclusion, Richard faced many obstacles in his journey of becoming a


poet. In the end, he managed to realise his dream.

Question 9 (Kelantan Trial 2016)


Family supports family.
With close reference to the text, how far is this true of the novel you have studied?

Sample answer Event


The novel that I read was Dear Mr Kilmer by Anne Schraff. The
statement Family supports family was not true in the beginning of the story.
However, it became true at the end of the story.

Richard Knight had a secret. Nobody knew that he wrote poetry including 2
his family, teachers and schoolmates. One day, Richard learnt about Mr Kilmer
when Richards English teacher, Mrs Hansen read a poem to the class. The title of
the poem was Trees by Joyce Kilmer. Mr Kilmer was a famous poet. He
enlisted in the army. He wrote a letter to Mr Kilmer. In his letter, Richard told Mr
Kilmer that he wrote poems too. Richard asked for Mr Kilmers advice. He 5
wanted to know whether he should tell his secret to everybody. A few days later,
Richard received a letter from Mr Kilmer. Mr Kilmer advised Richard to
overcome his fear. Mr Kilmer advised Richard to share his poetry with people
around him. Nobody was interested when Richard told his family about Mr 7
Kilmers letter and his secret. Gus did not believe that Mr Kilmer was famous. Pa
did not believe that Richard wrote poetry. Richard asked whether his family
members wanted to read his poems. Nobody was interested. Richard was sad.

One day, Richard received a bad news about Mr Kilmer.Mr Kilmer was
killed in the war between the Allies and the Germans. Richard wrote a poem as a
tribute to Mr Kilmer. In the poem, Richard likened Mr Kilmer to the world. The
tribute was printed in the local newspaper, The Turtle Lake Weekly. Richards
father read the poem. Richard was afraid that his father was going to be angry at
him. His father did not like Richard writing poems. After reading the poem, his
father told Richard about what happened to Richards uncle, Roland. His father
never told Richard about this story. Roland was killed in a war in Cuba. His father
regarded Roland as his world. His father was amazed how Richard could use the
same word in his tribute. Richard continued writing poems about farm life for the
local newspaper. Richard got his fathers help as he was an experienced farmer.
Every night, Richard read his poems aloud. His father would correct or give
suggestions to improve the poems. His father finally supported Richards passion
in writing poetry.

In conclusion, the bond in a family strengthened when family supported


each other.

Question 10 (Pulau Pinang Trial 2016)


The main character is a strong-willed person. How is this shown in the novel? Support your
answer with close reference to the text.

Sample answer Event


The novel that I read was Dear Mr Kilmer by Anne Schraff. The
statement Family supports family was not true in the beginning of the story.
However, it became true at the end of the story.

Richard Knight had a secret. Nobody knew that he wrote poetry including
his family, teachers and schoolmates. One day, Richard learnt about Mr Kilmer
when Richards English teacher, Mrs Hansen read a poem to the class. The title of
the poem was Trees by Joyce Kilmer. Mr Kilmer was a famous poet. He
enlisted in the army. He wrote a letter to Mr Kilmer. In his letter, Richard told Mr
Kilmer that he wrote poems too. Richard asked for Mr Kilmers advice. He
wanted to know whether he should tell his secret to everybody. A few days later,
Richard received a letter from Mr Kilmer. Mr Kilmer advised Richard to
overcome his fear. Mr Kilmer advised Richard to share his poetry with people
around him. Nobody was interested when Richard told his family about Mr
Kilmers letter and his secret. Gus did not believe that Mr Kilmer was famous. Pa
did not believe that Richard wrote poetry. Richard asked whether his family
members wanted to read his poems. Nobody was interested. Richard was sad.
One day, Richard received a bad news about Mr Kilmer.Mr Kilmer was
killed in the war between the Allies and the Germans. Richard wrote a poem as a
tribute to Mr Kilmer. In the poem, Richard likened Mr Kilmer to the world. The
tribute was printed in the local newspaper, The Turtle Lake Weekly. Richards
father read the poem. Richard was afraid that his father was going to be angry at
him. His father did not like Richard writing poems. After reading the poem, his
father told Richard about what happened to Richards uncle, Roland. His father
never told Richard about this story. Roland was killed in a war in Cuba. His father
regarded Roland as his world. His father was amazed how Richard could use the
same word in his tribute. Richard continued writing poems about farm life for the
local newspaper. Richard got his fathers help as he was an experienced farmer.
Every night, Richard read his poems aloud. His father would correct or give
suggestions to improve the poems. His father finally supported Richards passion
in writing poetry.

In conclusion, the bond in a family strengthened when family supported


each other.

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