Вы находитесь на странице: 1из 47

Министерство образования и науки Российской Федерации

Государственное образовательное учреждение

высшего профессионального образования

« Комсомольский на Амуре государственный технический университет »

Кафедра английской филологии



Комсомольск на Амуре 2006

УДК 802.803

Методические указания к курсу «аналитическое чтение»

для студентов 3-4 курсов направления подготовки 620100 -
Лингвистика и межкультурная коммуникация в 2-х частях. Часть 1/
Сост. Н.Н. Азаренкова, Г.А. Шушарина, О.А. Цацура –
Комсомольск- на-Амуре:ГОУВПО «КнАГТУ», 2006. – 36 с.

Методические рекомендации по аналитическому чтению

включают рассказы известных английских и американских
писателей, мастеров жанра короткого рассказа: У.С. Моэма, К.
Мэнсфилд, Р. Брэдбери, и др. Приводятся сведения о жизни и
творчестве авторов, задания для контроля и понимания
прочитанного и для обсуждения в аудитории. Предназначены для
студентов старших курсов языковых специальностей.

Г.Т. Шарлаимова, к-т филологических наук, профессор, зав. Кафедрой английской
филологии ГОУВПО «КнАГТУ»

1) Introduction. Information about the author. (Some data about the

writer's biography, creative activities and outlook are required.) If
possible the student should say a few words about the novel from which
the extract is taken.
2) The summary of the extract. It must be short (1/4 of the original
text) and logical.
3) The structure of the text. If possible exposition, complications,
climax and denouement should be identified. The text must be as well
subdivided into logically complete parts. The student should say whether
the text is the first or the third person narration, what forms of subject
matter presentation are predominant in the text (the author's narration,
description, dialogue, psychological portraiture of the characters) and in
what parts. How does the story unfold? Which episodes have been given
the greatest emphasis? Does the end follow logically from the rest of the
story or is it a surprise?
4) The general atmosphere of the text. (It may be dry, unemotional,
emotional, vivid, bright, tense, dramatic, pathetic, tragic, humorous,
ironical, satirical, sarcastic, etc.) It may change throughout the text. These
changes are to be accounted for. Also examples from the text should be
given to show how the author creates this or that kind of atmosphere.
What note does the initial paragraph of the story strike? On what note
does the story end? What images impart the story a cheerful, melancholy,
angry, humorous, sarcastic tone?
5) The setting: are there many descriptive passages or is it the setting
only hinted at? Is it geographical, historical, cultural, or exclusively local
- color context? Are there ant significant repetitions of details (actions,
words, thoughts)? How does the setting help you understand the
characters and themes?
6) The characters of the extract, whether they are described directly (i.
e. the author himself names their features) or indirectly (i. e. through their
actions, speech, thoughts, appearance), what kind of people they are
judging by the text, what kind of relations can be observed between them.
What are the characters names and what do they look like? Does this
have any significance? The author's attitude to the characters, is it
expressed clearly enough or is it not expressed? With what main problem
is the protagonist faced? Is it a conflict with another individual (with the
society? Within himself?) The students are obliged to present their own
attitude to the characters and to ground it substantially. Also examples
from the text are required to prove each idea of the student.
7) The main idea (message) of the text. i.e. what the author wanted to
tell the reader by this extract, the underlying thoughts and ideas of the
author. It must be formulated by the
students laconically. Does the story contain one or several themes?
What does the title indicate about the theme of the story? Are there any
evident symbols? If so, do they direct us to the story’s central theme?
What moral inference may be drawn from the story? What truth or insight
does in reveal? Try to sum up into a sentence the story’s embedded

8) The general characteristics of the style of the extract. Vocabulary

and syntax employed by the author. Can any instances of bookish and
colloquial vocabulary be found? Why docs (he author use it? What kinds
of sentences predominate in different pans of the text? Does the author
use stylistic devices amply or sparingly? Is his style in general vivid,
clear and emotional or matter-of-fact and constrained?
9) The student's evaluation of the text under analysis. It may logically
continue the seventh item of the plan. The student must express his
attitude to the message of the text and other ideas conveyed by the author
and state whether these ideas are important and urgent. Stylistic and
compositional peculiarities of the text are also to be dwelt upon here.
The last two items of the plan are of paramount importance. Everything
must be well thought-out and substantially proved.


THE PLOT is a series of interlinked events in which the characters of
the story participate. One should bear in mind that the events in a plot
need not always involve physical movement, the movement may be
psychological. In the latter case the plot reveals the dynamics in the
psychological state of a character. The plot of any story always involves
character and conflict. They imply each other.
Components of the plot structure are Exposition, Complications,
Climax, Denouement.
In the exposition the author introduces the theme (i. e. what the story is
about), the characters and establishes the setting (i.e. the place and the
time of the action). The exposition supplies some information on either
all or some of the following questions: Who? What? Where? When?
Exposition is followed by the complications, which generally involve
actions, though they might involve thoughts and feelings as well. As a
rule this structural component consists of several events (or moments of
complications). They become tenser as the plot moves towards the
moment of the decision the climax.
The climax is the key event, the crucial moment of the story, the point
of the highest emotional tension.
The last structural component, the denouement, is the unwinding of
the actions, the events that follow the climax. It is the point at which the
main character is clarified.
A story may have no denouement. By leaving it out the author achieves
a certain effect-he invites the reader to reflect on all the circumstances
that accompanied the character of the story and to imagine the outcome of
all the events himself.

CONFLICT in fiction is the opposition or struggle between forces or

characters. Conflicts are classified into internal and external. Different
types of external conflicts are usually termed in the following way.
1) Man against man, when the plot is based on the opposition between
two or more people.
2) Man against nature (the sea, the desert, the frozen North or wild
3) Man against society or man against the established order in the
4) The conflict between one set of values against another set of values.
These sets of values may be supported by two groups or two worlds in
Internal conflicts, often termed as "man against himself, take place
within one character. The internal conflict is localized m the inner world
of the character and is rendered through his thoughts, feelings, and
intellectual processes. The character is torn between opposing features of
his personality.
The plot of a story may be based upon several conflicts of different
types; it may involve both an internal and an external conflict.
In every literary work the writer's feelings and emotions are reflected
in the
tone, attitude and atmosphere.
ATMOSPHERE is the general mood of a literary work. It is affected
by such strands of a literary work as the plot, setting, characters, details,
symbols and language means Thus in 'The Oval Portrait" E.A. Рое sets
the story in a remote turret of an abandoned castle The main event takes
place at midnight. The oval portrait is in a niche and "in deep shade". All
these details, the language and the fantastic history of the portrait create
the mysterious atmosphere (or mood) of the tale.
The atmosphere may be peaceful, calm, cheerful, cheerless, gloomy,
THE AUTHOR'S ATTITUDE is his view of the characters and
actions. It reflects his judgement of them. Attitudes may be agreeable,
optimistic, involved, detached, impassive, indifferent, critical,
contemptuous, ironical, cynical, etc
The attitude of the author to his subject matter determines the tone of
the story.
THE TONE is the light in which the characters and the events are
depicted. The tone is, therefore, closely related to atmosphere and
The tone may be sympathetic or impassive, cheerful or serious,
vigorous or matter-of-fact, humorous or melancholy, familiar or official.
There are scales in the variations of tone. Thus the tone may be casual,
impolite, defiant, offensive, sarcastic, ironical, sneering or bitter,
THE THEME of a story is the main area of interest treated in the
story. The writers may treat various themes: love, family relations, school
life, an anti-war theme, human relations in various layers of society, the
power of beauty, etc. The theme is the main insight about human
experience that an author expresses in a work. While some writers present
us with direct statements of their themes, most writers prefer to imply
their themes in their works. An implied theme is one that is gradually
revealed to the reader through the other elements of the work. Because
the theme is a complete idea, it should be stated in a complete sentence.
We can usually find a story’s implied theme by asking the following
 What ideas about life the story’s title suggests?
 What do the particular events and conflicts reveal about life in
 What might these particular characters with these personality traits tell
us about people in general?
 What views of the world do the setting and its details offer us?
 What does seeing the events and characters from this particular point
of view tell us about life?
 Was the author’s purpose in putting these elements together to say
something about life in general or to present one special sort of person
and view of life?
Within a single work the basic theme may alternate with rival themes
and their relationship may be very complex.
THE MESSAGE of the story is the most important idea that the
author expresses in the process of developing the theme. The message is
closely connected with the theme and is generally expressed implicitly,
i.e. indirectly, and has a complex analytical character.
The idea of a literary work are the underlying thought and emotional
attitude transmitted to the reader by the whole poetic structure of the
literary text.
When an author directly states facts about a character’s personality,
the story is said to have direct characterization. We can trust a direct
statement from the author that a character is honor or has a wonderful
sense of humor. Direct characterization is the easiest way for an author to
reveal the personality of a character.
Depending on how much information we are given about them,
characters can be either flat or round. Flat characters seem very simple, as
if they could be summed up with only one or two personality traits. On
the other hand, round characters have many different and sometimes even
contradictory personality traits. Because they are complex, or many-
sided, round characters are capable of doing and saying surprising things.
In this sense they are like people in real life.
Besides being either flat or round, characters can be either static or
dynamic. Static characters remain the same throughout the story.
Dynamic characters, in contrast, change and develop, often because of
something that happens to them in the course of the story. Such a change,
in fact, can be the most important event in the story.
The setting of the story is the place and time in which the story
happens. The setting is described so that we can picture the scene and
enter the world of the story. Since a story is usually short, the author must
choose specific details of description that will inspire our imagination to
fill in the rest.
The details that are used to sketch a setting need not be only visual,
for the author may successfully appeal to any of our senses. For example,
the sense of sound might be important in a story about a violent storm.
In a story told from the limited third-person point of view, the author
narrates the story through the eyes of one particular character. We know
everything that the central character thinks and feels. We may know more
about that character than the character knows, but we are not told the
thoughts of any other character in the story.

Harvest in the Moon

by Herbert Ernest Bates
Herbert Ernest Bates
Herbert Ernest Bates, known to family and friends alike simply as
H.E., was born in the Northampton leather town of Rushden in 1905 and
brought up in "an atmosphere of intense respectability".
After an unhappy period at Kettering Grammar School, H.E. earned
the princely sum of ten schillings a week as a junior assistant reporter
with the Northampton Chronicle - a job he grew to dislike intensely.
Later, as a warehouse clerk, he spent most of his days and nights
writing novels, short stories and even plays. His first novel was published
when he was just 21.
He married in 1931, with the publication of his fourth novel, and he
and his wife Madge moved to the beautiful Kent village of Little Chart,
which is still the family home.
During the Second World War, H.E. Bates was recruited by the RAF
as a short story writer and produced many tales of service life, often
written under the pseudonym of "Flying Officer X".
Two of his most famous works were published after the War - "Fair
Stood the Wind for France" (1944) and "Love For Lydia" (1952).
Then in 1958, came the best-selling book "The Darling Buds of May",
the first in what was to become a series of five novels centered on a
larger-than-life rustic Kent family.
Bates died in Canterbury Hospital, Canterbury, Kent on 29 January

The barley-field lay white in the fool moonlight, cleared of its crop
except for a cluster of shocks standing like dwarf tents under an old
hawthorn hedge. The cart was making its last journey. The moon, rising
fast and growing whiter every moment, was turning the black mare to
roan with its radiance, and the men’s pitchforks to silver. For miles the
land lay visible, quiet and stark, not even the shadow of a bird flickering
across it and its windless silence broken only by the clack of cartwheels
in the stubble-ruts and the voices of the two children urging on and
stopping the horse.
Alexander was nine and the girl, Cathy, was fourteen. The boy had the
bridle in his right hand, his fingers boldly close to the mare’s wet mouth.
The girl, dark-haired, tall for her age and too big for her tight cotton
dress, was holding the bridle also, in her left hand, though there was no
need for it. Up on the cart the boy’s uncle was loading the sheaves that
the girl’s father picked and tossed lightly up to him with a single flick of
his fork. The girl, tall enough to rest her had against the horse’s neck,
would sometimes hold the bridle in both hands, her fingers casually
stretched under the mare’s silky mouth, as though by accident, to touch
the boy’s fingers. Impatient of it, he would snatch at the bridle, half to
frighten the horse and half to frighten her into taking her hand away, and
if the horse started on he would seize the chance of a swagger and would
lug at the bridle and would lift his voice in manful anger;
“Whoa! damn you. Stan’ still.”
“Here! What the nation you saying?” His uncle would growl the
reprimand. “By God, if you r father heard that talk.”
“Stan’ still, ” the boy would say as though in soft correction of himself.
“Stan still, mare, stan’ still.”
Then he would walk round to the back of the cart ostensibly to see if
the load were sitting right but in reality to see if his bow, made of green
willow, and his arrows, made of horned wheat-straws tipped with soft-
pithed stems of young elder were still where he had hidden them secretly
in a slot above the cart-springs.
“Alexander,” the girl would say entreatingly as she followed him.
The boy in disgust would go back to the mare, and the girl, following,
would hold the bridle again and caress the mare’s nose, murmuring
Suddenly, as they were loading the last of the sheaves by the hedge-
side, the men shouted: “A leveret! After it, boy! After it! A leveret!”
In the bright moonlight the leveret was clearly visible leaping across
the stubble and then doubling to hide in the few remaining shocks. The
boy let go the horse’s bridle and a second later was hunting the young
hare between the barley shocks, urged on and taunted by the men: “After
it, after it. Ah! You ain’t quick enough. There it is, after it! Ah! You lost
When the leveret disappeared the boy stopped, at a loss.
“It went in the last shock,” said Cathy.

She had followed him in the hunt, and now she followed him as he ran
to the shock and began swishing it and beating it with his hands and
rustling the sheaves in order to scare the leveret. Then when he began to
unbuild the shock she also helped t throw the sheaves aside, and at last
the leveret bolted again, scurrying wildly across the moonlit stubble for
the hedge.
“In the ditch!” the men called. “You’ll have him. He’ll skulk! You’ll
have him.”
Alexander, tearing across the stubble, flung himself into the ditch. He
heard the soft rustle of the girl’s dress slipping into the dry grass behind
him, and a moment later she was beside him, panting quietly.
“You go that way,” he said.
“He went your way, “ she said.
“Listen!” he whispered. “Listen!”
In the ditch there was the faintest rustling. They lay still together, the
girl touching him.
“Behind you!” he shouted. “Behind you!”
Springing up, he scrambled past the girl and ran back up the ditch,
kicking the dry grasses with both feet as he ran. There was a mad
scuttling as the leveret broke loose again, and struggled among the dead
thorn stumps of the hedge to make its wild escape into the field beyond.
Flinging himself down in a last attempt to catch it, Alexander lay deep
among the dry grasses in an attitude of listening and watching. There was
no sound except the girl’s breathing as she too lay listening. But in the
blaze of the moonlight the stubble, seen from the ditch, seemed like a vast
white plain with the barley-sheaves like an encampment of tents upon it
and the loaded cart like a covered wagon being unhitched for the night.
The girl had crept along the ditch to lie beside him and for the first
time he was glad she was so near.
“We’re Indians!” he whispered.
Without speaking she lay very close to him and put one hand across his
shoulders, but he was so absorbed in watching the plain, the tents, and the
wagon in the moonlight that he was hardly aware of it.
“Don’t move,” he said. “They mustn’t see us. Don’t move.”
“Let’s stay here,” she said.
“Be quiet! They’ll hear us.”
They lay very quiet and motionless together, watching and listening,
the girl so close to him that her long hair touched his face and her soft
stockinged legs his own. He felt a fine intensity of excitement, as though
he were really an Indian stalking the white tents of a strange enemy. The
girl, too, seemed to be excited and before long he could feel her
“You’re frightened,” he accused her softly.
“A bit,” she said.
Rustling her hand in the grass she found one of his and held it. Her
fingers were hot and quivering.
“Alexander,” she began.
But at that moment he became aware of a calamity. He, an Indian, had
left his bow and arrows in their secret hiding-place by the cart-springs;
and since the men were his enemies and the barley-sheaves the enemy
tents he must recover them. Without heeding the girl, except to silence
her with a soft “sssh!” he squirmed up from the ditch and began to draw
himself along the sun-baked stubble towards the cart, scratching his bare
flesh on the stubble and thistles and the harsh dock-stems without
heeding the pain. Now and then he would squirm and swerve in his
course and slip snaking back into the ditch, the girl following him all the
time as surely as though she were obeying his commands. Out on the
stubble, in the radiance of the high moon, the faces of the two men
loading the last sheaves were as clear as though it were a midsummer
day. Whenever the cart and the men halted, the field was hushed and the
boy lay motionless in these silent pauses, not even breathing.
At last only two shocks remained to be loaded, and the boy, unseen,
had crept level with the cart, with the girl close behind him. In another
moment, as soon as the sheaves had been loaded and the cart was going
up the field, he would break from hiding and capture the bow and arrows
and the wagon and be triumphant.
“Alexander,” the girl entreated in a loud whisper. Her hand was
trembling more than ever as she touched him and her face was so warm
and soft as she pressed it to his that he felt impatient and embarrassed.
“We’re Indians,” he reminded her savagely.
“I don’t want to be an Indian,” she said.
He silenced her with a whisper of abrupt scorn. He was an Indian, a
man, powerful. Why couldn’t she keep quiet? Why was she trembling all
the time?
“You are only a squaw,” he said. “Keep quiet.”
With that devastating flash of scorn he dismissed her and in another
moment forgot her. Out on the prairie, in the moonlight, his enemies had
taken up their tents. It was the critical moment. He crouched on his toes
and on one knee, like a runner. He saw the load-rope tossed high and
wriggle like a stricken snake above the cart in the moonlight. Then he
heard the tinkle of hooks as the rope was fastened and the men’s repeat
“Get up, get up” to the mare and at last the clack of wheels as the cart
moved across the empty field.
It was his moment. “Alexander,” the girl was saying. “Don’t let be
Indians.” Her hand was softly warm and quivering on his neck and she
was leaning her face to his as though to be kissed.
He shook her off with a gesture and a growl of impatience. A moment
later he was fleeing across the stubble at a stopping run, an Indian. The
two men, his enemies, were walking by the mare’s head, oblivious of
him. But he hardly heeded them and he forgot the girl in his excitement at
reaching the cart and finding his bow and arrows in the secrecy of its
black shadow.
He rested his arrow on his bowstring in readiness to shoot. Then he had
another thought. The load, being the last, was only half a load. He would
climb up and lie there, on top of it, invincible and unseen.
Tucking his arrows in his shirt and holding his bow in his teeth and
catching the load-rope, he pulled himself up, the barley-stubs jabbing and
scratching at his face, and in a second or two he lay triumphant on the
white sheaves in the white moonlight.
Fixing an arrow again, he looked back down the field. Cathy was
walking up the stubble, ten yards behind the cart. He had forgotten her.
And now, with his face pressed close over a sheaf edge, he called to her
in a whisper, an Indian whisper, of excited entreaty:
“Come on, come on!”
but she walked as though she saw neither him nor the cart, her face
tense with distant pride.
“Come on,” he insisted. “You’re my squaw. Come on.”
But now she was rustling her feet in the stubble and staring down at
them with intent indifference. Why did she look like that? What was the
matter with her? He called her again, “Cathy, Cathy, come on.” Couldn’t
she hear him? “It’s grand up here,” he called softly. “It’s grand. Come
In the bright moonlight he could see the set stillness of proud
indifference on her face grow more intense. He couldn’t understand it. He
thought again that perhaps she couldn’t hear him/ and he gave one more
whisper of entreaty and then, half-lying on his back, shot a straw arrow in
the air towards her, hoping it would curve short and drop at her feet and
make her understand.
Sitting up, he saw the arrow, pale yellow, dropping towards the girl in
the moonlight. It fell very near her, but she neither looked nor paused and
the look of injury and pride on her face seemed to have turned to anger.
He lay back on the sheaves, his body flat and his head in a rough sweet
nest of barley-ears. Pulling the bow hard he shot an arrow straight into the
moonlight, and then another and another, watching them soar and curve
and fall like lightless rockets.
At last he lay and listened. Nothing had happened. There was no
sound. He listened for the girl, but she did not come. He gave it up. It was
beyond him. And almost arrogantly he freed another arrow into the sky
and watched and listened for its fall, shrugging his shoulders a little when
nothing happened. In another moment, forgetting the girl and half
forgetting he was an Indian, he lay back in the fragrant barley with a
sense of great elation, very happy.
Far above him the sky seemed to be travelling backwards into space
and the moon was so bright that it outshone the stars.

Questions and tasks
1. Discuss some problem-questions
1) Comment on the title of the story.
2) What word may be considered as a key word of the story? Comment
upon its symbolic value.
3) The author gives a colorful and vivid description of nature in the
story. What atmosphere does it create?
4) For several times the girl makes an attempt to talk about her feelings
to the boy. Why does he avoid talking about it? Does he do it
intentionally or not? Find the episodes in the story that prove that
Alexander was just a little boy.
5) Why does Cathy call the boy “Alexander”, and not “Alex” for
instance, taking into account that he was just nine years old?
6) Describe the main characters, their appearance, behavior, and their
attitude to each other. Whom do you sympathize with and why?
7) Is it difficult to your mind to make a declaration of love, to be the first
to speak? Have you got such an experience? Could your share your

2. Explain how the characters of the story become revealed in the


1) “… The girl had crept along the ditch to lie beside him and for the
first time he was glad she was so near. “We are Indians! He
2) “…“I don’t want to be an Indian” she said. He silenced her with a
whisper of abrupt scorn. He was an Indian, a man, powerful. Why
couldn’t she keep quiet? Why was she trembling all the time? ”
3) “… The girl would sometimes hold the bridle in both hands, her
fingers casually stretched under the mare’s silky mouth, as though by
accident, to touch the boy’s fingers…”

3.Speak on or write an essay about your assessment of the story and your
impression of it.

The Escape
by Somerset
Somerset Maugham Born in Paris, of Irish ancestry, Somerset
Maugham was to lead a fascinating life and would become famous for his
mastery of short evocative stories that were often set in the more obscure
and remote areas of the British Empire. Suffering from a bad stammer, he
received a classic public school education at King's school in Canterbury,
Kent. Rather more unconventionally he studied at Heidelburg University
where he read philosophy and literature. He then studied in London,
eventually qualifying as a surgeon at St Thomas's hospital. He conducted
his year's medical practice in the slums of the East End. It was here that
he found material for his first, rather lurid, novel Liza of Lambeth in 1897
and much of the material for his critically acclaimed autobiographical
novel Of Human Bondage although this wasn't to be published until 1915.
Somerset Maugham was the master of the short, concise novel and he
could convey relationships, greed and ambition with a startling reality.
The remote locations of the quietly magnificent yet decaying British
Empire offered him beautiful canvasses on which to write his stories and
plays. He disclaims expertise in certain topics such as, for example,
American dialect and philosophy. "Slang is the great pitfall" he tells us in
The Razor's Edge, then goes on to demonstrate a certain facility with both
as he writes about the novel's central character, an American he calls
Larry Darrell. Maugham's English is clear and lucid and this makes his
books easy to come to terms with. His works are often full of the basest,
and yet more interesting, of the human vices but can still evoke the day to
day feelings and emotions that allow us to understand and identify with
his characters. A complex and interesting character, Somerset Maugham
managed to catch much of the darker essence of Empire. He sums up a
great deal about himself and his views in Looking Back, a semi-
autobiographical essay he penned in his later years.

I have always been convinced that if a woman once made up her mind
to marry a man nothing but instant flight could save him. Not always that;
for once a friend of mine, seeing the inevitable loom menacingly before
him, took ship from a central port (with a toothbrush for all his luggage,
so conscious was he of his danger and the necessity for immediate action)
and spent a year travelling round the world; but when, thinking himself
safe (women are fickle, he said, and in twelve months she will have
forgotten all about me), he landed at the selfsame port the first person he
saw gaily waving to him from the quay was the little lady from whom he
had fled. I have only once known a man who in such circumstances
managed to extricate himself. His name was Roger Charing. He was no
longer young when he fell in love with Ruth Barlow and he had had
sufficient experience to make him careful; but Ruth Barlow had a gift (or
should I call it a quality?) that renders most men defenseless, and it was
this that dispossesses Roger of his common sense, his prudence-+\. And
his worldy wisdom. He went down like a row of ninepins. This was the
gift of pathos. Mrs. Barlow, for she was twice a widow, had splendid dark
eyes and they were the most moving I ever saw; they seemed to be ever
on the point of filling with tears; they suggested that the world was too
much for her, and you felt that, poor dear, her sufferings had been more
than anyone should be asked to bear. If, like Roger Charing, you were a
strong, hefty fellow with plenty of money, it was almost inevitable that
you should say to yourself: I must stand between the hazards of life and
this helpless little thing, or, how wonderful it would be to take the
sadness out of those big and lovely eyes! I gathered from Roger that
everyone had treated Mrs. Barlow very badly. She was apparently one of
those unfortunate persons with whom nothing by any chance goes right.
If she married a husband he beat her; if she employed a broker he cheated
her; if she engaged a cook she drank. She never had a little lamb but it
was sure to die.
When Roger told me that he had at last persuaded her to marry him, I
wished him joy.
“I hope you’ll be good friends,” he said. “She’s a little afraid of you,
you know; she thinks you are callous.”
“Upon my word I don’t know why she should think that.”
“You do like her, don’t you?”
“Very much.”
“She’s had a rotten time, poor dear. I feel so dreadfully sorry for her.”
“Yes,” I said.
I couldn’t say less. I knew she was stupid and I thought she was
scheming. My own belief was that she was as hard as nails.
The first time I met her we had played bridge together and when she
was my partner she twice trumped my best card. I behaved like an angel,
but I confess that I thought if the tears were going to well up into
anybody’s eyes they should have been mine rather than hers. And when,
having by the end of the evening lost a good deal of money to me, she
said she would send me a cheque and never did, I could not but think that
I and not she should have worn a pathetic expression when next we met.
Roger introduces her to his friends. He gave her lovely jewels. He took
her here, there, and everywhere. Their marriage was announced for the
immediate future. Roger was very happy. He was committing a good
action and at the same time doing something he had very much a mind to.
It is an uncommon situation and it is not surprising if he was a trifle more
pleased with himself than was altogether becoming.
Then, on a sudden, he fell out of love. I do not know why. It could
hardly have been that he grew tired of her conversation, for she had never
had any conversation. Perhaps it was that this pathetic look of hers ceased
to wring his heartstrings. His eyes were opened and he was once more the
shrewd of the world he had been. He became actually conscious that Ruth
Barlow had made up her mind to marry him and he swore a solemn oath
that nothing would induce him to marry Ruth Barlow. But he was in a
quandary. Now that he was in possession of his senses he saw with
clearness the sort of woman he had to deal with and he was aware that, if
he asked her to release him, she would (in her appealing way) assess her
wounded feelings at an immoderately high figure. Besides, it is always
awkward for a man to jilt a woman. People are apt to think he has
behaved badly.
Roger kept his own counsel. He gave neither by word nor gesture and
indication that his feelings towards Ruth Barlow had changed. He
remained attentive to all her wishes; he took her to dine at restaurants,
they went to the play together, he sent her flowers, he was sympathetic
and charming. They had made up their minds that they would be married
as soon as they found a house that suited them, for he lived in chambers
and she in furnished rooms; and they set about looking at desirable
residences. The agents sent Roger orders to view and he took Ruth to see
a number of houses. It was very hard to find anything that was quite
satisfactory. Roger applied to more agents. They visited house after
house. They went over them thoroughly, examining them from the cellars
in the basement to the attics under the roof. Sometimes they were too
large and sometimes they were too small, sometimes they were too far
from the center of things and sometimes they were too close; sometimes
they were too expensive and sometimes they wanted too many repairs;
sometimes they were too stuffy and sometimes they were too airy;
sometimes they were too dark and sometimes they were too bleak. Roger
always found a fault that made the house unsuitable. Of course he was
hard to please; he could not bear to ask his dear Ruth to live in any but
the perfect house, and the perfect house wanted finding. House-hunting is
a tiring and tiresome business and presently Ruth began to grow peevish.
Roger begged her to have patience; somewhere, surely, existed the very
house they were looking for, and it only needed a little perseverance and
they would find it. They looked at hundreds of houses; they climbed
thousands of stairs; they inspected innumerable kitchens. Ruth was
exhausted and more than once lost her temper.
“If you don’t find a house soon,” she said, “I shall have to reconsider
my position. Why, if you go on like this we shan’t be married for years.”
“Don’t say that,” he answered. “I beseech you to have patience. I’ve
just received some entirely new lists from agents I’ve only just heard of.
There must be at least sixty houses on them.”
They set out on the chase again. They looked at more houses and more
houses. For two years they looked at houses. Ruth grew silent and
scornful: her pathetic, beautiful eyes acquired an expression that was
almost sullen. There are limits to human endurance. Mrs. Barlow had the
patience of an angel, but at last she revolted.
“Do you want to marry me or do you not?” she asked him.
There was an unaccustomed hardness in her voice, but it did not affect
the gentleness of his reply.
“Of course I do. We’ll be married the very moment we find a house.
By the way I’ve just heard of something that might suit us.”
“I don’t feel good enough to look at any more houses just yet.”
“Poor dear, I was afraid you were looking rather tired.”
Ruth Barlow took to her bed. She would not see Roger and he had to
content himself with calling at her lodgings to enquire and sending her
flowers. He was as eber assiduous and gallant. Every day he wrote and
told that he had heard of another house for them to look at. A week
passed and then he received the following letter:
I do not think you really love me. I have found someone who is anxious
to take care of me and I am going to be married to him today.
He sent back his reply by special messenger:
Your news shatters me. I shall never get over the blow, but of course
your happiness must be my first consideration. I send you herewith seven
orders to view; they arrived by this morning’s post and I am quite sure
you will find among them a house that will exactly suit you. Roger.

Questions and tasks

1. Discuss some problem-questions

1) Is the title appropriate? Does it reflect the point of the story?

2) In what way does the story begin? Is the reader’s interest awakened at
once? If so, how does the author achieve it?
3) Exemplify the author’s use of vivid epithets in the character of Ruth
Barlow. Which features of hers do they accentuate?
4) Exemplify the use of metaphors, similes and repetition. Comment on
their effect.
5) Whose side do you take in the conflict: Ruth’s or Roger’s?
6) What is the social significance of the story?

2. Speak on or write an essay about your assessment of the story and

your impression of it.

The Wind Blows

by Katherine Mansfield
Katherine Mansfield
1888–1923, British author, born in New Zealand, regarded as one of
the masters of the short story. Her original name was Kathleen
Beauchamp. A talented cellist, she did not turn to literature until 1908.
Her first volume of short stories, In a German Pension (1911), was not
remarkable and achieved little notice, but the stories in Bliss (1920) and
The Garden Party (1922) established her as a major writer. Later volumes
of stories include The Dove’s Nest (1923) and Something Childish (1924;
U.S. ed. The Little Girl, 1924). Her collected stories appeared in 1937.
Novels and Novelists (1930) is a compilation of critical essays. After an
unhappy first marriage, she married John Middleton Murry, an editor and
critic, in 1918. During the last five years of her life she suffered from
tuberculosis and succumbed to the disease at the age of 35. Mansfield’s
stories, which reveal the influence of Chekhov, are simple in form,
luminous and evocative in substance. With delicate plainness they present
elusive moments of decision, defeat, and small triumph. After her death
Murry culled a number of books from her notebooks, editing her poems
(1923, new ed. 1930), her journals (1927), her letters (1928), and a
collection of unfinished pieces from her notebooks (1939).
Katherine Mansfield revolutionized the 20th Century English short
story. Her best work shakes itself free of plots and endings and gives the
story, for the first time, the expansiveness of the interior life, the poetry of
feeling, the blurred edges of personality. She is taught worldwide because
of her historical importance but also because her prose offers lessons in
entering ordinary lives that are still vivid and strong. And her fiction
retains its relevance through its open-endedness—its ability to raise
discomforting questions about identity, belonging and desire.

Suddenly – dreadfully – she wakes up. What has happened?

Something dreadful has happened. Nothing has happened. It is only the
wind shaking the house, rattling the windows, banging a piece of iron on
the roof and making her bed tremble. Leaves flutter past the window, up
and away; down in the avenue a whole newspaper wags in the air like a
lost kite and falls, spiked on a pine tree. It is cold. Summer is over – it is
autumn – everything is ugly. The carts rattle by, swinging from side to
side; two Chinamen lollop along under the wooden yokes with the
straining vegetable baskets – their pigtails and blue blouses fly out in the
wind. A white dog on three legs yelps past the gate. It is all over! What
is? Oh, everything! And she begins to plait her hair with shaking fingers,
not daring to look in the glass. Mother is talking to grandmother in the
“A perfect idiot! Imagine leaving anything out on the line in weather
like this… now my best little Tenerife-work is simply in ribbons. What is
the extraordinary smell?
It’s the porridge burning. Oh, heavens – this wind!”
She has a music lesson at ten o’clock. At the thought the minor
movement of Beethoven begins to play in her head, the trills long and
tremble like little rolling drums… Marie Swainson runs into the garden
next door to pick the “chrysanths” before they are ruined. Her skirt flies
up above her waist; she tries to beat it down, to tuck it between her legs
while she stoops, but it is no use – up it flies. All the trees and bushes
beat about her. She picks as quickly as she can, but she is quite distracted.
She doesn’t mind what she does – she pulls the plants up by the roots and
bends and twists them, stamping her foot and swearing.
“For heaven’s sake keep the front door shut! Go round to the back,”
shouts someone. And then she hears Bogey:
“Mother, you’re wanted on the telephone. Telephone, Mother. It’s
the butcher.”
How hideous life is – revolting, simply revolting… and now the hat-
elastic’s snapped. Of course it would. She’ll wear her old tam and slip out
the back way. But Mother has seen.
“Matilda, Matilda. Come back im-me-diately! What on earth have
you got on your head? It looks like a tea cozy. And why have got that
mane of hair on your forehead?”
“I can’t come back, Mother. I’ll be late for my lesson.”
“Come back immediately!”
She won’t. She won’t. She hates Mother. “Go to the hell,” she
shouts, running down the road.
In waves, in clouds, in big round whirls the dust comes stinging, and
with it little bits of straw and chaff and manure. There is a loud roaring
sound from the trees in the gardens, and standing at the bottom of the
outside Mr. Bullen’s gate she can hear the sea sob: “Ah!… Ah!… Ah-h!”
But Mr. Bullen’s drawing-room is as quite as a cave. The windows are
closed, the blinds half pulled, and she is not late. The-girl-before-her has
just started playing Mac Dowell’s “To an Iceberg.” Mr. Bullen looks over
at her and half smiles.
“Sit down,” he says. “Sir over there in the sofa corner, little lady.”
How funny he is. He doesn’t exactly laugh at you.. but there is just
something… Oh, how peaceful is here. She likes this room. It smells of
art, serge and stale and chrysanthemums… there is a big vase of them on
the mantelpiece behind the pale photograph of Rubinstein… a mom ami
Robert Bullen…Over the black glittering piano hangs “Solitude” – a dark
tragic woman draped in white, sitting on a rock, her knees crossed, her
chin on her hands.
“No, no!” says Mr. Bullen, and he leans over the other girl, puts his
arms over her shoulders and plays the passage for her. The stupid – she’s
blushing! How ridiculous!
Now the-girl-before-her has gone; the front door slams. Mr. Bullen
comes back and walks up and down, very softly, waiting for her. What an
extraordinary thing. Her fingers tremble so that she can’t undo the knot in
the music satchel. It’s the wind… and her heart beats so hard she feels it
must lift her blouse up and down. Mr. Bullen does not say a word. The
shabby red piano seat is long enough for two people to sit side by side.
Mr. Bullen sits down by her.
“Shall I begin with scales,” she asks, squeezing her hands together.
“I had some arpeggios, too.”
But he does not answer. She doesn’t he even hears… and then
suddenly his fresh hand with the ring on it reaches over and opens
“Let’s have a little of the old master,” he says.
But why does he speak so kindly – so awfully kindly – and as
though they had known each other for years and years and knew
everything about each other.
He turns the page slowly. She watches his hand – it is a very nice
hand and always looks as though it had just been washed.
“Here we are, ” says Mr. Bullen.
Oh, that kind voice – Oh, that minor movement. Here come the little
“Shall I take the repeat?”
“Yes, dear child.”
His voice is far, far too kind. The crotchets and quavers are dancing
up and down the stave like little black boys on a fence. Why is he so…
She will not cry – she has nothing to cry about….
“What is it, dear child?”
Mr. Bullen takes her hands. His shoulder is there – just by her head.
She leans in it ever so little, her cheek against the springy tweed.
“Life is so dreadful,” she murmurs, but she does not feel it’s
dreadful at all. He says something about “waiting” and “marking time”
and “that rare thing, a woman,” but she does not hear. It is so
comfortable… for ever…
Suddenly the door opens and in pops Marie Swainson, hours before
her time.
“Take the allegretto a little faster,” says Mr. Bullen, and gets up and
begins to walk up and down again.
“Sit in the sofa corner, little lady,” he says to Marie.
The wind, the wind. It’s frightening to be here in her room by
herself. The bed, the mirror, the white jug and basin gleam like the sky
outside. It’s the bed outside that is frightening. There it lies, sound
asleep… Does Mother imagine for one moment that she is going to darn
all those stockings knotted up on the quilt like a coil of snakes? She’s not.
No, Mother. I do not see why I should… The wind – the wind! There’s a
funny smell of soot blowing down the chimney. Hasn’t anyone written
poems to the wind?… “I bring fresh flowers to the leaves and
showers.”… What nonsense.
“Is that you, Bogey?”
“Come for a walk round the esplanade, Matilda. I can’t stand this
any longer.
“Right-o. I’ll put on my ulster. Isn’t it and awful day! ”Bogey’s ulster
is just like hers. Hooking the collar she looks at herself in the glass. Her
face is white; they have the same excited eyes and hot lips. Ah, they
know those two in the glass. Good-by, dears, we shall be back soon.
“this is better, isn’t it?”
“Hook on,” says Bogey.
They cannot walk fast enough. Their heads bent, their legs just
touching, they stride like one eager person trough the town, down the
asphalt zigzag where the fennel grows wild and on to the esplanade. It is
dusky – just getting dusky. The wind is so strong that they have to fight
their way through it, rocking like the two old drunkards. All the poor little
pahutukawas on the esplanade are bent to the ground.
“Come on! Come on! Let’s get near!”
Over by the breakwater the sea is very high. They pull off their hats
and her hair blows across her mouth, tasting of salt. The sea is so high
that the waves do not break at all; thee thump against the rough stone wall
and suck up the weedy, dripping steps. A fine spray skims from the water
right across the esplanade. They are covered with drops; the inside of her
mouth tastes wet and cold.
Bogey’s voice – away fly the sentences like little narrow ribbons.
“Quicker! Quicker!”
It is getting very dark. In the harbor the coal hulks show two lights –
one high on a mast, and one from the stern.
“Look, Bogey. Look over there.”
A big black streamer with a long loop of smoke streaming, with the
portholes lighted, with lights everywhere, is putting out to sea. The wind
does not stop her; she cuts through the waves, making for the open gate
between the pointed rocks that leads to… It’s the light that makes her
look so awfully beautiful and mysterious… They are on board leaning
over the rail arm in arm.
“… Who are they?”
“… Brother and sister.”
“Look, Bogey, there’s the town. Doesn’t it look small? There’s the
post office clock chiming for the last time. There’s the esplanade where
we walked that windy day. Do you remember? I cried at my music lesson
hat day – how many years ago! Good-bye, little island, good-bye…”
Now the dark stretches a wing over the tumbling water. They can’t
see those two any more. Good-bye, good-bye. Don’t forget. …But the
ship is gone now.
The wind – the wind.

Questions and tasks
1. Discuss some problem-questions

1) Draw a parallel between the title and the contest of the story.
2) What is the rhythm of the story?
3) What is the role and implicit meaning of the wind in the story?
4) What is the total effect the story produces on a reader?
5) How does the author begin the story? Does the author slow the
rhythm down later? What is the effect achieved?

2.Into what three parts can the story be divided? Comment on the
significance of each
part in the whole plot.

3.Speak on or write an essay about your assessment of the story and your
impression of it.

The Story of an Hour

by Kate Chopin
Kate Chopin
1851-1904, Writer. Although Katherine O'Flaherty Chopin was a
native of St. Louis (born 8 February 1851) and spent barely 14 years in
Louisiana, her fiction is identified with the South. Distinctly
unsentimental in her approach, she often relied on popular period motifs,
such as the conflict of the Yankee businessman and the Creole, a theme
that informs her first novel, At Fault (1890), and several of her short
stories. These vivid and economical tales, richly flavored with local
dialect, provide penetrating views of the heterogeneous culture of south
Louisiana. Many of them were collected in Bayou Folk (1894) and A
Night in Acadie. Chopin's second novel, The Awakening (1899), also
strongly evokes the region, but is primarily a lyrical, stunning study of a
young woman whose deep personal discontents lead to adultery and
suicide. Praised for its craft and damned for its content, the novel was a
scandal, and Chopin, always sensitive to her critics, gradually lost
confidence in her gift and soon ceased to write. Chopin died of a brain
hemorrhage after a strenuous day at the St. Louis World's Fair, where she
had been a regular visitor. She was remembered only as one of the
southern local colorists of the 1890s until The Awakening was
rediscovered in the 1970s as an early masterpiece of American realism
and a superb rendering of female experience
Kate most definitely was the poem and the poet. She lived her life the
way she wanted to and wrote what she felt, thought, and wanted to say.
Kate Chopin wrote many different things in her short career as a writer.
On January 4, 1893, Kate Chopin published what became one her most
famous short stories, "Desiree's Baby," in Vogue magazine. The story,
included in a short story collection the following year, follows the short
marriage of Desiree who is abandoned as a baby and adopted and raised
by a loving family. After she and her husband have a baby, and the baby
has a dark complexion, her husband accuses her of being of black descent
and makes her leave Aside from her writing, she also held a literary salon
at her home at 3317 Morgan Street in St. Louis. Chopin's most famous
short story is"The Story of an Hour," in which an ill woman learns of her
husband's accidental death. The story examines the woman's reaction to
her sudden and unexpected independence and ends surprisingly when she
discovers her husband is actually alive. Even when the collection was
rejected, Kate continued writing, and aside from her short stories she
produced poems and submitted essays to several St. Louis periodicals. It
was also during this time that she was working on what is now considered
her masterpiece, The Awakening. Before publication of The Awakening,
Chopin wrote another now-famous short story, "The Storm." "The
Storm," about two lover's infidelity during a thunderstorm, shows
Chopin's interest in passion and infidelity. The Awakening was published
in 1899. This work was condemned in its time because of its sexual
openness. It was rediscovered in the 1950s and has since received many
accolades for the beauty of its writing and for its modern sensibility. With
the stormy weather surrounding The Awakening, her editors decided to
suspend publication of her third collection of stories, A Vocation and a
Voice. The collection was not published until 1991, 87 years after her

Knowing that Mrs. Mallard was affected with a heart trouble, great
care was taken to break to her as gently as possible the news of her
husband’s death.
It was her sister Josephine, who told her, in broken sentence; veiled
hints that revealed in half concealing. Her husband’s friend Richards was
there, too, near her. It was he who had been in the newspaper office when
intelligence of the railroad disaster was received, with Brently Mallard’s
name leading the list of “killed.” He had only taken the time to assure
himself of its truth by a second telegram, and had hastened to forestall
any less careful, less tender friend in bearing the sad message.
She did not hear the story as many women have heard the same, with a
paralyzed inability to accept its significance. She wept at once, with
sudden, wild abandonment, in her sister’s arms. When the storm of grief
had spent itself she went away to her room alone. She would have no one
follow her.
There stood, facing the open window, a comfortable, roomy armchair.
Into this she sank, pressed down by a physical exhaustion that haunted
her body and seemed to reach into her soul.
She could see in the open square before her house the tops of trees that
were all aquiver with the new spring life. The delicious breath of rain was
in the air. In the street below a peddler was crying his wares. The notes of
a distant song which some one was singing reached her faintly, and
countless sparrows were twittering in the eaves.
There were patches of blue sky showing here and there through that
clouds that had met and piled one above the other in the west facing her
She sat with her head thrown upon the cushion of the chair, quite
motionless, except when a sob came up into her throat and shook her, as a
child who has cried itself to sleep continues to sob in its dreams.
She was young, with a fair, calm face, whose lines bespoke repression
and even a certain strength. But now there was a dull stare in her eyes,
whose gaze was fixed away off yonder on one of those patches of blue
sky. It was not a glance of reflection, but rather indicated a suspension of
intelligent thought.
There was something coming to her and she was waiting for it,
fearfully. What was it? She did not know; it was too subtle and elusive to
name. But she felt it, creeping out of the sky, reaching toward her through
the sounds, the scents, the color that filled the air.
Now her bosom rose and fell tumultuously. She was beginning to
recognize this thing that was approaching to posses her, and she was
striving to beat it back with her will – as powerless as her two white
slender hands would have been.
When she abandoned herself a little whispered word escaped her
slightly parted lips. She said it over and over under her breath: “free, free,
free!” The vacant stare and the look of terror that had followed it went
from her eyes. They stayed keen and bright. Her pulses beat fast, and the
coursing blood warmed and relaxed every inch of her body.
She did not stop to ask if it were or were not a monstrous joy that held
her. A clear and exalted perception enabled her to dismiss the suggestion
as trivial.
She knew that she would weep again when she saw the kind, tender
hands folded in death; the face that had never looked save with love upon
her, fixed and gray and dead. But she saw beyond that bitter moment a
long procession of years to come that would belong to her absolutely.
And she opened and spread her arms out to them in welcome.
There would be no one to live for her during those coming years; she
would live for herself. There would be no powerful will bending hers in
that blind persistence with which men and women believe they have a
right to impose a private will upon a fellow-creature. A kind intention or
a cruel intention made her act seem no less a crime as she looked upon it
in that brief moment of illumination.
And yet she had loved him – sometimes. Often she had not. What did it
matter! What could love, the unsolved mystery, count for in face of this
possession of self-assertion which she suddenly recognized as the
strongest impulse of her being!
“Free! Body and soul free!” she kept whispering.
Josephine was kneeling before the closed door with her lips to the
keyhole, imploring for admission. “Louise, open the door! I beg; open the
door – you will make yourself ill. What are you doing, Louise? For
heaven’s sake open the door.
“Go away. I am not making myself ill.” No; she was drinking in a very
elixir of life through that open window.
Her fancy was running riot along those days ahead of her. Spring days,
and summer days, and all sorts of days that would be her own. She
breathed a quick prayer that life might be long. It was only yesterday she
had thought with a shudder that life might be long.
She arose at length and opened the door to her sister’s importunities.
There was a feverish triumph in her eyes, and she carried herself
unwittingly like a goddess of Victory. She clasped her sister’s waist, and
together they descended the stairs. Richards stood waiting for them at the
Some one was opening the front door with a latchkey. It was Brently
Mallard who entered, a little travel-stained, composedly carrying his
gripsack and umbrella. He had been far from the scene of accident, and
did not even know there had been one. He stood amazed at Josephine’s
piercing cry; at Richards’ quick motion to screen him from the view of
his wife.
But Richards was too late.
When the doctors came they said she had died of heart disease – of joy
that kills.


Questions and tasks

1. Discuss some problem-questions

1) Comment on the title of the story. What does the word “story” stand
2) The major divisions of the story are marked by movements from
downstairs to upstairs to downstairs again. What is the difference
between the kind of action that takes place in the two locations?
3) What does the description of the scene she sees through the bedroom
window symbolize?
4) What is the main device the story written with?
5) Was it really joy that killed the main character?
6) What is the total effect the story produces on a reader?
7) Does the psychological ambivalence dramatized in "The Story of an
Hour" ring true when we consider honestly our own feelings?

2. Comment on the expression in connection with the story

…One can live one’s own life fully, entirely, completely, or drag out
some false, shallow, degrading existence that the world demands. (Oscar

3. Explain how the main character becomes revealed in the following:

1) “… It was only yesterday she had thought with a shudder that life
might be long…”
2) “… And yet she had loved him – sometimes. Often she had not…”
3) “… She knew that she would weep again when she saw the kind,
tender hands folded with death… But she saw beyond that bitter
moment a long procession of years to come that would belong to her
4. Speak on or write an essay about your assessment of the story and
your impression of it.

All Summer in a Day

by Ray Bradbury
Ray Bradbury
American novelist, short story writer, essayist, playwright,
screenwriter and poet, was born August 22, 1920 in Waukegan, Illinois.
He graduated from a Los Angeles high school in 1938.Although his
formal education ended there, he became a "student of life," selling
newspapers on L.A. street corners from 1938 to 1942, spending his nights
in the public library and his days at the typewriter. He became a full-time
writer in 1943, and contributed numerous short stories to periodicals
before publishing a collection of them, Dark Carnival, in 1947.
His reputation as a writer of courage and vision was established with
the publication of The Martian Chronicles in 1950, which describes the
first attempts of Earth people to conquer and colonize Mars, and the
unintended consequences. Next came The Illustrated Man and then, in
1953, Fahrenheit 451, which many consider to be Bradbury's masterpiece,
a scathing indictment of censorship set in a future world where the
written word is forbidden. In an attempt to salvage their history and
culture, a group of rebels memorize entire works of literature and
philosophy as their books are burned by the totalitarian state. Other works
include The October Country, Dandelion Wine, A Medicine for
Melancholy, Something Wicked This Way Comes, I Sing the Body
Electric!, Quicker Than the Eye, and Driving Blind. In all, Bradbury has
published more than thirty books, close to 600 short stories, and
numerous poems, essays, and plays. His short stories have appeared in
more than 1,000 school curriculum "recommended reading" anthologies.
Mr. Bradbury's eagerly awaited new novel, From the Dust Returned, will
be published by William Morrow at Halloween 2001.Morrow will release
One More For the Road, a new collection Bradbury stories, at Christmas
Ray Bradbury's work has been included in four Best American Short
Story collections. He has been awarded the O. Henry Memorial Award,
the Benjamin Franklin Award, the World Fantasy Award for Lifetime
Achievement, the Grand Master Award from the Science Fiction Writers
of America, the PEN Center USA West Lifetime Achievement Award,
among others. In November 2000, the National Book Foundation Medal
for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters was conferred upon
Mr. Bradbury at the 2000 National Book Awards Ceremony in New York

"Ready ?"
"Now ?"
"Do the scientists really know? Will it happen today, will it ?"
"Look, look; see for yourself !"
The children pressed to each other like so many roses, so many weeds,
intermixed, peering out for a look at the hidden sun.
It rained.
It had been raining for seven years; thousands upon thousands of days
compounded and filled from one end to the other with rain, with the drum
and gush of water, with the sweet crystal fall of showers and the
concussion of storms so heavy they were tidal waves come over the
islands. A thousand forests had been crushed under the rain and grown up
a thousand times to be crushed again. And this was the way life was
forever on the planet Venus, and this was the schoolroom of the children
of the rocket men and women who had come to a raining world to set up
civilization and live out their lives.
"It’s stopping, it’s stopping !"
"Yes, yes !"
Margot stood apart from them, from these children who could ever
remember a time when there wasn’t rain and rain and rain. They were all
nine years old, and if there had been a day, seven years ago, when the sun
came out for an hour and showed its face to the stunned world, they could
not recall. Sometimes, at night, she heard them stir, in remembrance, and
she knew they were dreaming and remembering gold or a yellow crayon
or a coin large enough to buy the world with. She knew they thought they
remembered a warmness, like a blushing in the face, in the body, in the
arms and legs and trembling hands. But then they always awoke to the
tatting drum, the endless shaking down of clear bead necklaces upon the
roof, the walk, the gardens, the forests, and their dreams were gone.
All day yesterday they had read in class about the sun. About how like a
lemon it was, and how hot.
And they had written small stories or essays or poems about it:
I think the sun is a flower,
That blooms for just one hour.
That was Margot’s poem, read in a quiet voice in the still classroom while
the rain was falling outside. "Aw, you didn’t write that!" protested one of
the boys.
"I did," said Margot. "I did."
"William!" said the teacher.
But that was yesterday. Now the rain was slackening, and the children
were crushed in the great thick windows.
Where’s teacher ?"
"She’ll be back."
"She’d better hurry, we’ll miss it !"
They turned on themselves, like a feverish wheel, all tumbling spokes.
Margot stood alone. She was a very frail girl who looked as if she had
been lost in the rain for years and the rain had washed out the blue from
her eyes and the red from her mouth and the yellow from her hair. She
was an old photograph dusted from an album, whitened away, and if she
spoke at all her voice would be a ghost. Now she stood, separate, staring
at the rain and the loud wet world beyond the huge glass.
"What’re you looking at ?" said William.
Margot said nothing.
”Speak when you’re spoken to."
He gave her a shove. But she did not move; rather she let herself be
moved only by him and nothing else. They edged away from her, they
would not look at her. She felt them go away. And this was because she
would play no games with them in the echoing tunnels of the
underground city. If they tagged her and ran, she stood blinking after
them and did not follow. When the class sang songs about happiness and
life and games her lips barely moved. Only when they sang about the sun
and the summer did her lips move as she watched the drenched windows.
And then, of course, the biggest crime of all was that she had come here
only five years ago from Earth, and she remembered the sun and the way
the sun was and the sky was when she was four in Ohio. And they, they
had been on Venus all their lives, and they had been only two years old
when last the sun came out and had long since forgotten the color and
heat of it and the way it really was.
But Margot remembered.
"It’s like a penny," she said once, eyes closed.
"No it’s not!" the children cried.
"It’s like a fire," she said, "in the stove."
"You’re lying, you don’t remember!" cried the children.
But she remembered and stood quietly apart from all of them and
watched the patterning windows. And once, a month ago, she had refused
to shower in the school shower rooms, had clutched her hands to her ears
and over her head, screaming the water mustn’t touch her head. So after
that, dimly, dimly, she sensed it, she was different and they knew her
difference and kept away. There was talk that her father and mother were
taking her back to Earth next year; it seemed vital to her that they do so,
though it would mean the loss of thousands of dollars to her family. And
so, the children hated her for all these reasons of big and little
consequence. They hated her pale snow face, her waiting silence, her
thinness, and her possible future.
"Get away!" The boy gave her another push. "What’re you waiting for?"
Then, for the first time, she turned and looked at him. And what she was
waiting for was in her eyes.
"Well, don’t wait around here!" cried the boy savagely. "You won’t see
Her lips moved.
    "Nothing !" he cried. "It was all a joke, wasn’t it?" He turned to the
other children. "Nothing’s happening today. Is it ?"
    They all blinked at him and then, understanding, laughed and shook
their heads.
    "Nothing, nothing !"
    "Oh, but," Margot whispered, her eyes helpless. "But this is the day,
the scientists predict, they say, they know, the sun…"
    "All a joke !" said the boy, and seized her roughly. "Hey, everyone,
let’s put her in a closet before the teacher comes !"
    "No," said Margot, falling back.
    They surged about her, caught her up and bore her, protesting, and then
pleading, and then crying, back into a tunnel, a room, a closet, where they
slammed and locked the door. They stood looking at the door and saw it
tremble from her beating and throwing herself against it. They heard her
muffled cries. Then, smiling, the turned and went out and back down the
tunnel, just as the teacher arrived.
    "Ready, children ?" She glanced at her watch.
    "Yes !" said everyone.
    "Are we all here ?"
    "Yes !"
    The rain slacked still more.
    They crowded to the huge door.
    The rain stopped.
    It was as if, in the midst of a film concerning an avalanche, a tornado, a
hurricane, a volcanic eruption, something had, first, gone wrong with the
sound apparatus, thus muffling and finally cutting off all noise, all of the
blasts and repercussions and thunders, and then, second, ripped the film
from the projector and inserted in its place a beautiful tropical slide which
did not move or tremor. The world ground to a standstill. The silence was
so immense and unbelievable that you felt your ears had been stuffed or
you had lost your hearing altogether. The children put their hands to their
ears. They stood apart. The door slid back and the smell of the silent,
waiting world came in to them.
    The sun came out.
    It was the color of flaming bronze and it was very large. And the sky
around it was a blazing blue tile color. And the jungle burned with
sunlight as the children, released from their spell, rushed out, yelling into
the springtime.
    "Now, don’t go too far," called the teacher after them. "You’ve only
two hours, you know. You wouldn’t want to get caught out !"
    But they were running and turning their faces up to the sky and feeling
the sun on their cheeks like a warm iron; they were taking off their
jackets and letting the sun burn their arms.
    "Oh, it’s better than the sun lamps, isn’t it ?"
    "Much, much better !"
    They stopped running and stood in the great jungle that covered Venus,
that grew and never stopped growing, tumultuously, even as you watched
it. It was a nest of octopi, clustering up great arms of flesh like weed,
wavering, flowering in this brief spring. It was the color of rubber and
ash, this jungle, from the many years without sun. It was the color of
stones and white cheeses and ink, and it was the color of the moon.
    The children lay out, laughing, on the jungle mattress, and heard it sigh
and squeak under them resilient and alive. They ran among the trees, they
slipped and fell, they pushed each other, they played hide-and-seek and
tag, but most of all they squinted at the sun until the tears ran down their
faces; they put their hands up to that yellowness and that amazing
blueness and they breathed of the fresh, fresh air and listened and listened
to the silence which suspended them in a blessed sea of no sound and no
motion. They looked at everything and savored everything. Then, wildly,
like animals escaped from their caves, they ran and ran in shouting
circles. They ran for an hour and did not stop running.
    And then -
    In the midst of their running one of the girls wailed.
    Everyone stopped.
    The girl, standing in the open, held out her hand.
    "Oh, look, look," she said, trembling.
    They came slowly to look at her opened palm.
    In the center of it, cupped and huge, was a single raindrop. She began
to cry, looking at it. They glanced quietly at the sun.
    "Oh. Oh."
    A few cold drops fell on their noses and their cheeks and their mouths.
The sun faded behind a stir of mist. A wind blew cold around them. They
turned and started to walk back toward the underground house, their
hands at their sides, their smiles vanishing away.
    A boom of thunder startled them and like leaves before a new
hurricane, they tumbled upon each other and ran. Lightning struck ten
miles away, five miles away, a mile, a half mile. The sky darkened into
midnight in a flash.
    They stood in the doorway of the underground for a moment until it
was raining hard. Then they closed the door and heard the gigantic sound
of the rain falling in tons and avalanches, everywhere and forever.
    "Will it be seven more years ?"
    "Yes. Seven."
    Then one of them gave a little cry.
    "Margot !"
    "What ?"
    "She’s still in the closet where we locked her."
    They stood as if someone had driven them, like so many stakes, into
the floor. They looked at each other and then looked away. They glanced
out at the world that was raining now and raining and raining steadily.
They could not meet each other’s glances. Their faces were solemn and
pale. They looked at their hands and feet, their faces down.
    One of the girls said, "Well… ?"
    No one moved.
    "Go on," whispered the girl.
    They walked slowly down the hall in the sound of cold rain. They
turned through the doorway to the room in the sound of the storm and
thunder, lightning on their faces, blue and terrible. They walked over to
the closet door slowly and stood by it.
    Behind the closet door was only silence.
    They unlocked the door, even more slowly, and let Margot out.

Questions and tasks

1. Discuss some problem-questions

1) Comment upon the personality of Margot. Pick out words and

phrases that describe her inward world.
2) Find all the similes of the Sun. Is it possible to your mind to
describe something you have never seen but only heard of?
3) What stylistic devices are used to describe children’s feelings
before and after the Sun appeared?
4) Exemplify the use of repetition in the story. Comment on its effect.
5) Prove by examples from the text that Margot felt lonely among the
other children.

1. Explain how characters becomes revealed in the following:

1) Margot stood apart from them, from these children… Now she stood,
separate, staring at the rain and the loud wet world beyond the huge
2) They hated her pale snow face, her waiting silence, her thinness, and
her possible future.
3) When the class sang songs about happiness and life and games her
lips barely moved. Only when they sang about the sun and the
summer did her lips move as she watched the drenched windows.

2. Speak on or write an essay about your assessment of the story and

your impression of it.

The Interlopers
by Saki
Munro was born in Akyab, Burma, as the son of Charles Augustus
Munro, an inspector-general for the Burma police when that country, now
called Myanmar, was still part of the British Empire. His mother, the
former Mary Frances Mercer, died in 1872, killed by a runaway cow.
(This event may presage the frightening views of animals that mark many
of his stories.) He was brought up in England with his brother and sister
by his grandmother and aunts in a straitlaced household, the humour of
which he only appreciated in later life. He used the severity of this
household in many stories, notably "Sredni Vashtar", in which a young
boy keeps a pet ferret without his guardian's knowledge and the animal
ends up killing her, apparently to the delight of the boy.
Munro was educated at Pencarwick School in Exmouth and the
Bedford Grammar School. In 1893 Munro joined the Burma police. Three
years later, failing health forced his resignation and return to England,
where he started his career as a journalist, writing for newspapers such as
the Westminster Gazette, Daily Express, Bystander, Morning Post, and
In 1900 Munro's first book appeared, The Rise of the Russian Empire,
a historical study modelled upon Edward Gibbon's famous.
Saki is considered a master of the short story, often compared to O.
Henry and Dorothy Parker. Saki stories are always short but memorable,
with finely-drawn characters, unique and macabre situations, and
perfectly-timed narratives He also wrote several novels and plays.
The name Saki is often thought to be a nod to the cupbearer in the
Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyam, a poem to which he refers (disparagingly) in
"Reginald on Christmas Presents" (see quote below). It may, however, be
a reference to the South American monkey of the same name, "a small,
long-tailed monkey from the Western Hemisphere", its nature a balance
of gentle shyness with a vicious temper, featured as a central character in
"The Remoulding of Groby Lington". This story is the only one of Saki's
to begin with a quotation: "A man is known by the company he keeps",
and turns upon the idea of humans becoming like the pets they keep.
Saki himself had a similar personality to the troublesome and
mischievous monkey in this story. Moreover, he began his writing career
with a full-length history of Russia in the style of Edward Gibbon, and
may have viewed himself as an analogue of Gibbon, whose last name is
also the name of an ape.

In a forest of mixed growth somewhere on the eastern spurs of the

Karpathians, a man stood one winter night watching and listening, as
though he waited for some beast of the woods to come within the range of
his vision, and, later, of his rifle. But the game for whose presence he
kept so keen an outlook was none that figured in the sportsman's calendar
as lawful and proper for the chase; Ulrich von Gradwitz patrolled the dark
forest in quest of a human enemy.
     The forest lands of Gradwitz were of wide extent and well stocked
with game; the narrow strip of precipitous woodland that lay on its
outskirt was not remarkable for the game it harbored or the shooting it
afforded, but it was the most jealously guarded of all its owner's territorial
possessions. A famous law suit, in the days of his grandfather, had
wrested it from the illegal possession of a neighboring family of petty
landowners; the dispossessed party had never acquiesced in the judgment
of the Courts, and a long series of poaching affrays and similar scandals
had embittered the relationships between the families for three
generations. The neighbor feud had grown into a personal one since
Ulrich had come to be head of his family; if there was a man in the world
whom he detested and wished ill to it was Georg Znaeym, the inheritor of
the quarrel and the tireless game-snatcher and raider of the disputed
border-forest. The feud might, perhaps, have died down or been
compromised if the personal ill-will of the two men had not stood in the
way; as boys they had thirsted for one another's blood, as men each
prayed that misfortune might fall on the other, and this wind-scourged
winter night Ulrich had banded together his foresters to watch the dark
forest, not in quest of four-footed quarry, but to keep a look-out for the
prowling thieves whom he suspected of being afoot from across the land
boundary. The roebuck, which usually kept in the sheltered hollows
during a storm-wind, were running like driven things to-night, and there
was movement and unrest among the creatures that were wont to sleep
through the dark hours. Assuredly there was a disturbing element in the
forest, and Ulrich could guess the quarter from whence it came.
He strayed away by himself from the watchers whom he had placed in
ambush on the crest of the hill, and wandered far down the steep slopes
amid the wild tangle of undergrowth, peering through the tree trunks and
listening through the whistling and skirling of the wind and the restless
beating of the branches for sight and sound of the marauders. If only on
this wild night, in this dark, lone spot, he might come across Georg
Znaeym, man to man, with none to witness - that was the wish that was
uppermost in his thoughts. And as he stepped round the trunk of a huge
beech he came face to face with the man he sought.
     The two enemies stood glaring at one another for a long silent
moment. Each had a rifle in his hand, each had hate in his heart and
murder uppermost in his mind. The chance had come to give full play to
the passions of a lifetime. But a man who has been brought up under the
code of a restraining civilization cannot easily nerve himself to shoot
down his neighbor in cold blood and without word spoken, except for an
offence against his hearth and honor. And before the moment of
hesitation had given way to action a deed of Nature's own violence
overwhelmed them both. A fierce shriek of the storm had been answered
by a splitting crash over their heads, and ere they could leap aside a mass
of falling beech tree had thundered down on them. Ulrich von Gradwitz
found himself stretched on the ground, one arm numb beneath him and
the other held almost as helplessly in a tight tangle of forked branches,
while both legs were pinned beneath the fallen mass. His heavy shooting-
boots had saved his feet from being crushed to pieces, but if his fractures
were not as serious as they might have been, at least it was evident that he
could not move from his present position till some one came to release
him. The descending twig had slashed the skin of his face, and he had to
wink away some drops of blood from his eyelashes before he could take
in a general view of the disaster. At his side, so near that under ordinary
circumstances he could almost have touched him, lay Georg Znaeym,
alive and struggling, but obviously as helplessly pinioned down as
himself. All round them lay a thick- strewn wreckage of splintered
branches and broken twigs.
Relief at being alive and exasperation at his captive plight brought a
strange medley of pious thank-offerings and sharp curses to Ulrich's lips.
Georg, who was early blinded with the blood which trickled across his
eyes, stopped his struggling for a moment to listen, and then gave a short,
snarling laugh.
     "So you're not killed, as you ought to be, but you're caught, anyway,"
he cried; "caught fast. Ho, what a jest, Ulrich von Gradwitz snared in his
stolen forest. There's real justice for you!"
     And he laughed again, mockingly and savagely.
     "I'm caught in my own forest-land," retorted Ulrich. "When my men
come to release us you will wish, perhaps, that you were in a better plight
than caught poaching on a neighbor’s land, shame on you."
     Georg was silent for a moment; then he answered quietly:
     "Are you sure that your men will find much to release? I have men,
too, in the forest to-night, close behind me, and THEY will be here first
and do the releasing. When they drag me out from under these damned
branches it won't need much clumsiness on their part to roll this mass of
trunk right over on the top of you. Your men will find you dead under a
fallen beech tree. For form's sake I shall send my condolences to your
     "It is a useful hint," said Ulrich fiercely. "My men had orders to follow
in ten minutes time, seven of which must have gone by already, and when
they get me out - I will remember the hint. Only as you will have met
your death poaching on my lands I don't think I can decently send any
message of condolence to your family."
     "Good," snarled Georg, "good. We fight this quarrel out to the death,
you and I and our foresters, with no cursed interlopers to come between
us. Death and damnation to you, Ulrich von Gradwitz."
     "The same to you, Georg Znaeym, forest-thief, game-snatcher."
     Both men spoke with the bitterness of possible defeat before them, for
each knew that it might be long before his men would seek him out or
find him; it was a bare matter of chance which party would arrive first on
the scene.
     Both had now given up the useless struggle to free themselves from
the mass of wood that held them down; Ulrich limited his endeavors to an
effort to bring his one partially free arm near enough to his outer coat-
pocket to draw out his wine-flask. Even when he had accomplished that
operation it was long before he could manage the unscrewing of the
stopper or get any of the liquid down his throat. But what a Heaven-sent
draught it seemed! It was an open winter, and little snow had fallen as
yet, hence the captives suffered less from the cold than might have been
the case at that season of the year; nevertheless, the wine was warming
and reviving to the wounded man, and he looked across with something
like a throb of pity to where his enemy lay, just keeping the groans of
pain and weariness from crossing his lips.
"Could you reach this flask if I threw it over to you?" asked Ulrich
suddenly; "there is good wine in it, and one may as well be as
comfortable as one can. Let us drink, even if to-night one of us dies."
     "No, I can scarcely see anything; there is so much blood caked round
my eyes," said Georg, "and in any case I don't drink wine with an
     Ulrich was silent for a few minutes, and lay listening to the weary
screeching of the wind. An idea was slowly forming and growing in his
brain, an idea that gained strength every time that he looked across at the
man who was fighting so grimly against pain and exhaustion. In the pain
and languor that Ulrich himself was feeling the old fierce hatred seemed
to be dying down.
     "Neighbor," he said presently, "do as you please if your men come
first. It was a fair compact. But as for me, I've changed my mind. If my
men are the first to come you shall be the first to be helped, as though you
were my guest. We have quarreled like devils all our lives over this stupid
strip of forest, where the trees can't even stand upright in a breath of
wind. Lying here to-night thinking I've come to think we've been rather
fools; there are better things in life than getting the better of a boundary
dispute. Neighbor, if you will help me to bury the old quarrel I - I will ask
you to be my friend."
     Georg Znaeym was silent for so long that Ulrich thought, perhaps, he
had fainted with the pain of his injuries. Then he spoke slowly and in
     "How the whole region would stare and gabble if we rode into the
market-square together. No one living can remember seeing a Znaeym
and a von Gradwitz talking to one another in friendship. And what peace
there would be among the forester folk if we ended our feud to-night.
And if we choose to make peace among our people there is none other to
interfere, no interlopers from outside ... You would come and keep the
Sylvester night beneath my roof, and I would come and feast on some
high day at your castle ... I would never fire a shot on your land, save
when you invited me as a guest; and you should come and shoot with me
down in the marshes where the wildfowl are. In all the countryside there
are none that could hinder if we willed to make peace. I never thought to
have wanted to do other than hate you all my life, but I think I have
changed my mind about things too, this last half-hour. And you offered
me your wine flask ... Ulrich von Gradwitz, I will be your friend."
For a space both men were silent, turning over in their minds the
wonderful changes that this dramatic reconciliation would bring about. In
the cold, gloomy forest, with the wind tearing in fitful gusts through the
naked branches and whistling round the tree-trunks, they lay and waited
for the help that would now bring release and succor to both parties. And
each prayed a private prayer that his men might be the first to arrive, so
that he might be the first to show honorable attention to the enemy that
had become a friend.
     Presently, as the wind dropped for a moment, Ulrich broke silence.
     "Let's shout for help," he said; he said; "in this lull our voices may
carry a little way."
     "They won't carry far through the trees and undergrowth," said Georg,
"but we can try. Together, then."
     The two raised their voices in a prolonged hunting call.
     "Together again," said Ulrich a few minutes later, after listening in
vain for an answering halloo.
     "I heard nothing but the pestilential wind," said Georg hoarsely.
     There was silence again for some minutes, and then Ulrich gave a
joyful cry.
     "I can see figures coming through the wood. They are following in the
way I came down the hillside."
     Both men raised their voices in as loud a shout as they could muster.
     "They hear us! They've stopped. Now they see us. They're running
down the hill towards us," cried Ulrich.
     "How many of them are there?" asked Georg.
     "I can't see distinctly," said Ulrich; "nine or ten,"
     "Then they are yours," said Georg; "I had only seven out with me."
     "They are making all the speed they can, brave lads," said Ulrich
     "Are they your men?" asked Georg. "Are they your men?" he repeated
impatiently as Ulrich did not answer.
     "No," said Ulrich with a laugh, the idiotic chattering laugh of a man
unstrung with hideous fear.
     "Who are they?" asked Georg quickly, straining his eyes to see what
the other would gladly not have seen.

Questions and tasks

1. Discuss some problem-questions

1) What were the roots of the conflict between Ulrich and Georg?
2) Who are the interlopers? Give two different interpretations of the
meaning of the term in the story?
3) Why did Ulrich begin to change his mind about his feud with George?
4) Why does not Saki give the characters a chance to escape?
5) Have you got so-called the bitterest enemy whom you will never
forgive? Did the story help you to change your mind?

1. Which of the following could be said to be the message of the story?

1) There is a fatality about good resolutions – they are always made too
2) Yesterday is a cancelled coequal; tomorrow is a promissory note;
today is the only cash you have – so spend it wisely.
3) Move on, you can never reshape the past – but you can shape the
4) What a pity that in life we only get our lessons when they are already
of no use to us.

3.Speak on or write an essay about your assessment of the story and your
impression of it

Вам также может понравиться