1 - What were the respective occupations of the following characters
JOE BLOUNT : is a homesteader
Mc KERCHER : is a banker
2 - Who was Hester, and what do we learn about her social background
She was Blount's wife and had been born on a small ranch.
3 - The two main characters know each other. YES
McKercher tells Joe Blount he hasn't been to town for a while and
aks him how things are going at Christmas Creek.
4 - What was the purpose of Joe Blount's visit ? (Tick the appropriate
box, and justify by quoting from the text).
He wanted to buy cattle, because he had only two cows.
X He needed to borrow money because he was having trouble.
He was seeking a new job.
"Three hundred dollars until next crop... seed and salt for stock
and grub... some clothes for the kids... wheat burned out."
5 - The setting of the story is (underline the right answer and justify
by quoting from the text) :
a) Urban America
b) Rural America
c) Great Britain
"There's no show for you on that ranch... It's cattle land."
6 - What cause (or causes) account for Blount's problems ? (Underline
one in the list, and justify your choice by quoting from the text).
FIRE - DISEASE - COLD - SHORTAGE OF RAIN WATER - HIGH RATES OF INTEREST
"a little bit dry", "wheat burned out", "no
rain in April"
7 - What (or who) do the following words refer to ?
a) his (2ème paragraphe) : Blount
b) it (fin du 3ème paragraphe) : the loan
c) for it (fin de l'avant-dernier paragraphe) : the land wasn't meant
8 - Read the following lines taken from the text :
a) "His eyes could cut"
b) "There wasn't much to be seen behind the cropped grey whiskers."
c) "Direct refusal was on his tongue, and it wasn't like him to
Which features of McKercher's personality do each line reveal ?
Write the correct letter (a, b, c or, nothing) in the appropriate box.
b It was impossible to know what he had in mind.
c He was used to making quick decisions.
d He knew his clients well.
a He was intimidating.
9 - Pick out three details in the passage showing Joe's poverty.
1) His shirt had been washed and mended until it was as thin.
2) He needs a loan even for his children's clothes.
3) His mouth has a severe expression that comes from too much trouble.
What sort of life was he leading, and how did he affect his physical
appearance ? (Give 2 examples).
1) Work had thinned him
2) A lot of trouble had hardened his mouth.
10 - Find in the text the reasons why Mc Kercher was not willing to
grant Joe the money he needed.
"You've got another year to go before you get title to your
place. So that's no security."
"All you fellow are burned out. This country never was meant
for it. It's cattle land."
Did he refuse immediately ?(Justify by quoting a sentence from the
No. He said : "I'll think it over. Come back about two o'clock."
11 - Translate into French.
a) "Well, I can see it your way all right."
Bon, je suis d'accord avec vous.
b) "Mc Kercher, looking straight into the man's eyes, saw an
expression there hard to define. The banker shook his head."
Mc Kercher qui regardait l'homme droit dans les yeux y vit une expression
difficile à définir. Le banquier secoua la tête.
------------------ COMPETENCES LINGUISTIQUES
1 - Fill in the blanks with the appropriate quantifiers chosen from
the list (some of them may be used several times).
FEW, A FEW, LITTLE, A LITTLE, ENOUGH, NO, SOME, MANY, ALL, A LOT
That year, there had been too little rain, and far too many periods
of dry weather for Joe to get a decent crop.
Very few farmers earned enough money to support their families.
Joe owned very few animals, and had run up quite a few debts lately.
But, as his neighbours knew, Joe hardly ever complained. When he met
Mr Mc Kercher, he had a little argument, but only promised a little
work in exchange for some help.
2 - Put the verbs into the right tense or form.
Yesterday, Joe Blount went to see Mc Kercher.
"How long have you had those cows ?"
"We have had them for over six years", Joe answered.
"They're much too old. You'd better sell them, and buy new
"That's exactly what I would do OU shall (I'll) do , if you
gave OU give me the money I need.
While Joe was talking to Mc Kercher, his wife was cooking their
Actually, there were no cereals as they had not harvested any that
When he comes back, she will ask him "What have you been doing
all that time ?"
3 - Bearing the context in mind, turn the following elliptic sentences
into complete sentences.
1) "A little dry over your way ?"
It is a little dry over your way, isn't it ?
2) "Something on your mind, Joe ?"
Have you got something on your mind, Joe ?
3) "A loan ?"
You would like a loan, wouldn't you ?
4) "Burned out. No rain over there in April"
It was burned out because we had no rain in April.
5) "Well, not much."
We have not got much stock.
4 - Rephrase the following sentences.
1) He had married a girl from a small ranch over in the Yellows
eight years before.
He had been married to a girl from a small ranch over in the Yellows
for eight years.
2) "I'd prefer to be given the loan right now," he said.
I wish you would give me the loan right now.
3) "You'd better do cattle breeding ; don't grow wheat any
"Instead of growing wheat, you'd better (you should) do cattle
5 - Translate into English.
1) Il travaillait depuis des années dans ce ranch, quand
il épousa la fille du patron.
He had been working on this ranch for years when he married the
2) Vous auriez dû lui répondre tout de suite ; cela
ne sert à rien de remettre votre décision à plus
You should have answered him right away; it is no use postponing
3) Il se pourrait que Mc Kercher change d'avis et lui prête
l'argent dont il a besoin.
Mc Kercher might change his mind and lend him the money he needs.