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Baccalauréat 2003 - Sections Littéraires

Attention: il s'agit d'un corrigé! N'oubliez pas de construire des phrases complètes.

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 narrator.

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 up".
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 father's attitude.

"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.

Quotation :

"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 narrator ?

Her parents wants to tell the narrator they are leaving Britain for good.

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 words)

d) Is she right ? Justify your answer with a quote.

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."





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