1. a) What sort of narrative is it ?
It's a first-person narrative.
b) Give the narrator's name.
Faith, a young woman.
2. Who are the other characters ? Give their
names and occupations when possible. Say how they are related to the
Faith's father, Wade, has set up his own business.
Faith's mother is a district nurse.
Carl is Faith's brother. His occupation is not mentioned.
3. Pick out three elements showing that the
narrator is no longer a child.
"Now we were adults".
"We would no longer damage one of the glass ornaments or spill
out tea on the fireside rug".
"I thought of our old council flat where Carl and me had grown
4. a) What makes it an unusual day ? Pick out
three different details.
"My dad followed my mum, Carl and me into the living room to
sit down. This usually did not happen".
"But this was not the only strange thing. It used to be strange
for us to go into the living room at all".
"Then another strange thing happened : my dad spoke first".
b) In your own words, contrast that particular
day with the family routine. (30/40 words)
Contrary to his habits, Faith's father didn't do odds jobs on that
Sunday. The living room was not tidy as usual, Faith wondered why several
boxes could be seen. Surprisingly, her father felt like speaking, to
tell her what was going on. (41 words).
Read the text again from line 16 to line 33.
5. a) Pick out three elements describing the
"He began to finger the knuckles on his hand, feeling each
one in turn."
"Dad started, 'Your mum and me, ' then faltered. He began again,
'Me and your mum,' and stopped."
"[...] Dad continued to stutter his various permutations."
b) In your own words, analyse his attitude.
Faith's father sounds clumsy. He has difficulty communicating. He
is not used to exchanging views with his children. He feels ill-at-ease
when he has to break some important news to Faith.
c) To what extent can this analysis be applied
to the mother ? Justify your answer with one quotation.
Faith's mother may not often speak with her children either. She
is nervous and fumbles with her skirt. She is also annoyed about her
husband's hesitating attitude.
"I looked at my mum who was looking at her knees and pulling
imaginary hairs off her skirt [...]."
6. Focus on the narrator
a) Select words from the list below to characterise
the narrator's attitude and feelings :
absent-minded - carefree - excluded - frightened - puzzled - relaxed
- theatrical - trustful
Illustrate your choice by quoting from the text.
- excluded : "But nobody looked at me."
- frightened : "I began to get scared" or "I felt
like someone in a film who was about to be told something that would
make them scream and pull at their hair."
- puzzled : "[...] Dad continued to stutter his various permutations.
He was onto, 'We,' when I said, 'What ? [...]."
- relaxed : "For a holiday. Fantastic !"
b) "No, I won't sit down" (line
24) Comment on this answer.
This sentence expresses refusal. Contrary to what she is told, Faith
wants to keep standing. She is unwilling to obey her father.
Read from line 34 to the end.
7. a) What do the parents wants to tell the
Her parents wants to tell the narrator they are leaving Britain
b) What does the word "home" mean
for the narrator ?
For the narrator, 'home' refers to the council flat where she grew
up with her brother, "the crumbling flat in Stoke Newington that
I thought of as home".
c) What does the narrator imagine has happened
to her parents ? Use your own words (40 words)
She thinks they are both out of work now and can't afford to stay
in this lovely house, which they are so proud of. It implies they have
to move back to a less comfortable place such as a council flat. (41
d) Is she right ? Justify your answer with
Of course, she is wrong. They aren't going back to Stoke Newington.
They are planning to leave for Jamaica.
8. Why doesn't "home" correspond
to the same place for the narrator and her parents ? (40 words)
The word 'home' doesn't mean the same place for the narrator and
her parents, because they were probably born in Jamaica, a dreamlike
island, whereas she was certainly born in a dull area, Stoke Newington,
and had grown up in a "crumbling" council flat. (41 words)
9. Taking into account the different places
mentioned, retrace the family's history. What can you deduce about the
evolution of their standard of living ? (60 words)
The narrator's parents must have been born into a poor Jamaican
family, in the West Indies. Thus they felt the need to emigrate to Britain
to improve their standard of living. The father set up his own business
and worked long hours, which enabled them to move from a council flat
to a house. This shows they have climbed the social ladder, which is
every immigrant's dream. (59 words)
Je sus qu'il se passait quelque chose de bizarre à la maison,
lorsque après le dîner, mon papa suivit ma maman, Carl
et moi dans la salle de séjour, pour nous y asseoir. Cela ne
se passait pas comme ça d'habitude. Le dîner n'était
qu'un intermède dans les activités domestiques de mon
père. Le dimanche après l'office, papa arrangeait, peignait,
ajustait ou réparait toujours quelque chose. Il était
tout le temps en train de faire un travail, qui exigeait une concentration
totale et silencieuse et une clef anglaise. S'il m'arrivait de lui demander
ce qu'il faisait, il répondait: "je suis en train de réparer
quelque chose, donc ne viens pas me déranger maintenant."