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The Stoat

Posted on 13/03/2017 by Pat

Hey kids!

This is our first virtual period activity.

After reading this story in class, get in pairs and answer the following questions
in pairs. Share a drive with me. Don´t forget to include the two names in the

DEADLINE: March 20

“The Stoat” by John McGahern (1978)

John McGahern- (1934- 2006)
. Irish writer of novels, plays, and short stories

. Mother died of cancer when the author was 10 years old.

. Had a distant relationship with his father as the father was physically abusive

to the children

. Author was the oldest of 7 children

. Won scholarships to school and college, became a teacher and writer

. Father was a police officer, mother was a school teacher

Stoat: type of weasel that lives in Europe. Called an ermine in winter
its coat changes to white from brown. Related to the ferret.

Tussock: a small area of grass that is thicker and longer than the grass

around it.

Ruefulness: expressing sorrow or regret in a slightly humorous way

Aura: air, atmosphere

Solemnity: seriously, formally, in a dignified manner

Foreboding: feeling that something bad will happen, apprehension

Widower: a man whose wife has died and he has not remarried

Farce: an absurd event, a mockery, travesty, absurdity

Reading Questions:
1. Describe the protagonist’s relationship with his father. This story is
autobiographical (based on real events in the author’s life). What does this
tell us about the author?

2. What purpose does the uncle serve in the story? The uncle is not
autobiographical, so why would McGahern invent him?
3. What is the father seeking? Why?

4. How does he go about getting what he seeks? Does it work?

5. Why does he change his mind?

6. What is an allegory? (use a dictionary of literary terms)

7. Explain the allegorical elements in this story.
Second virtual activity: ESSAY
DEADLINE: March 27 (Hand in. do not share a document)
Discuss the theme of death as portrayed in the short story THE STOAT by John
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