The literature titles studied for poems are: ‘In the Midst of Hardship’- Latiff Mohidin and ‘He had Such Quiet Eyes’- Bibsy Soenharjo. There are also two short stories to be studied. They are : ‘QWERTYUIOP’- Vivian Alcock and ‘The Fruitcake Special’- Frank Brennan. There is also one Drama called ‘Gulp and Gasp’ – Lord Townsend. Now we shall review each one of them.

Synopsis of the poemIn the Midst of Hardship’:

As the title suggest, this poem is trying to convey the hardship that a family in a village is facing after a big flood. In this poem, the poet tells of the situation of a farmer and his family. They only returned at dawn after being out in the floodwater for a day and night after tirelessly looking for their son’s albino buffalo. They are all wet and hurt but they do not show any despair or of losing hope. Although they have been born into a life of hardship, they have never complained. They spend time together, enjoying each other’s company. They are grateful for what they still have instead of what is lost. Now, they are in the kitchen and they joke and talk while preparing to relax with a smoke.

Sample Question for the poem ‘In the Midst of Hardship’:

 

Read the following stanza of In the Midst of Hardship and answer the questions that follow.

                                   

At dawn they returned home

their soaky clothes torn

and approached the stove

their limbs marked by scratches

their legs full of wounds

but on their brows there was not a sign of despair

Latiff Mohidin

 

a.         What does the word dawn mean?

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b.         Write down two phrases from the poem which indicate injury.

  1. ………………………………………………………………………………………………………
  2. ………………………………………………………………………………………………………

c.         How did they feel when they reached home?

Using your own words, give a reason to support your answer.

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

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Synopsis for the poem ‘He had Such Quiet Eyes’:

This is a poem about the love of a man and how deceptive in can actually be. A man with seductive, powerful and alluring eyes sometimes melt the heart of a naive, innocent, foolish young lady, who will eventually give her everything to him, devote herself to satisfy his starving lust. In other words, it is a story of a girl who meets a boy and falls in love with him. The boy makes her believe that he loves her very much. The girl gives her everything to the boy and the girl loses everything. Finally the boy leaves her. This poem brings out the concept of the power of the eyes and how, since ages and ages ago up till today, men all around the world are still using the same old trick and women, all over the world still fall for it. Young girls should be prepared to face the ugliness of the real world.

Sample Question for the poem ‘He had Such Quiet Eyes’:

 

Read the following stanza of He had Such Quiet Eyes and answer the questions that follow.

               He Had Such Quiet Eyes

He had such quiet eyes
She did not realise
They were two pools of lies
Layered with thinnest ice
To her, those quiet eyes
Were breathing desolate sighs
Imploring her to be nice
And to render him paradise

Bibsy Soenharjo-1968

 

a.         The phrase “two pools of lies’ is a metaphor. What does it refer to?

………………………………………………………………………………………………………

b.         Write down two words or  phrases from the poem that describe the eyes.

i) ………………………………………………………………………………………………………

ii)………………………………………………………………………………………………………

c.         Describe in your own words how the girl is being deceived by the eyes.

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Answers to Sample question for the poem ‘In the Midst of Hardship’:

  1. Sun rise / early in the morning
  2. i.Marked by scratches

iifull of wounds

  1. Not sad because they do not show any sign of sadness and continue with their normal routine and joke.

Answer to Sample question for the poem ‘He had such Quiet Eyes’:

  1. the eyes that are deceiving
  2. i)quiet

ii) the desolate sighs

c.  the man eyes is very deceiving, deep, calm but dangerous, just like a pool in winter. It may look inviting and peaceful to see a still lake, but when you try to walk on the thin ice, it will break and you will drown in the icy cold water.

Short Stories

Synopsis for the short story ‘The Fruitcake Special’

Anna, a chemist who works at the Amos cosmetics factory inNew Jersey,USAis trying to discover a new perfume. One day she mixes a slice of the fruitcake given by her Aunt Mimi into a mixture of flowers. It smells wonderful so she tried it on her. Not too long, her boss, David Amos who is a handsome English guy never saying nice thing to ordinary girl like her asked her to have a dinner with him. That would be because of fruitcake. Anna realises now that the perfume is responsible for his strange behaviour. At dinner, there was a competition between David Amos and the waiter for her attention. The night ended with both men hitting each other and Sabina (David’s girlfriend) punching David. Anna later found out more about the fruitcake from her Aunt Mimi and realized that it was made by an old woman who had just passed away. Later David apologized and offered Anna a raise as compensation. Anna feels insulted and quit her job. Then, the pizza man appears at her door with pizza and a box of flowers. He is now the owner of his pizza company. Anna decides to go out with him.

 

Sample Question for the short story ‘The Fruitcake Special’:

Read the extract from the short story “THE FRUITCAKE SPEACIAL” below and answer the  questions that follow.

I have to say that at this point I was feeling very confused. Five minutes ago my boss didn’t want to be seen with me. Now he was saying he was crazy about me! What could be making him behave like this? Then, all at once, I realised it was the fruitcake special! Intrigue might smell great, but it didn’t make a girl attractive to men. But my fruitcake perfume did.

a.         Why was the writer confused?

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b.         What is the meaning of “Intrigue”?

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c.         What is “Intrigue’ in the context of the story?

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

d.         Do you think the fruitcake perfume actually made girls attractive to men?

Give a reason for your answer.

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Synopsis of the short story ‘QWERTYUIOP’

‘QWERTYUIOP’ by Vivien Alcock is about a young graduate named Lucy Beck who has just finished her ‘O’ levels atBelmontSecretarialCollege. Being a slow learner herself, she has no confidence that she will find a job. Fortunately, she is offered a job by Mr. Ross, the Manager of Ross and Bannister’s. During her first day, she encounters many peculiar incidents. Later, she finds out that there is a spirit lingering around the office who is adamant in holding on to her position as the company’s secretary. Towards the end of the story, Lucy tries to get rid of the spirit that has been haunting that place for many years by putting the spirit at peace.

Sample Question for the story ‘QWERTYUIOP’:

Read the extract from the short story QWERTYUIOP below and answer the

 questions that follow.

 

            She stared at it in horrified bewilderment. What had happened? What had she done? Not even on her first day at theBelmontSecretarialCollegehad she made such ridiculous mistakes. Such strange mistakes – QWERTYUIOP, the top line of letters on a typewriter, repeated over and over again! Thank God there had been no one to notice. They’d think she had gone mad.

She must be more careful. Keep her mind on the job, not allow it to wander out of the window into the sunny shopping street below. Putting fresh paper into the typewriter, she began again.

She was tempted to look at the keyboard . . . “Don’t look at the keys! Keep your eyes away!” Mrs Price was always saying. “No peeing. You’ll never make a good typist if you can’t do it by touch. Rhythm, it’s all rhythm. Play it to music in your head.”

a.         Why was Lucy horrified?

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

b.         What were the common and strange mistakes that she made?

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

c.         What did she decide to do after making the repeated mistakes?

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

d.         Do you think you would make such mistakes. Give a reason for your answer.

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Answers to Sample Question for the story ‘ Fruitcake Special’:

a.         The boss took a liking of her when he was not interested at all a little while ago

b.         carry on an underhand plot

c.         name of the perfume

d.         (accept any logical answer)

Answers to Sample Question for the story ‘QWERTYUIOP’

 

a.         She had made a lot of ridiculous mistakes in her letter.

b.         QWERTYUIOP, the top line of letters on a typewriter repeated over and over again.

c.         To type more carefully / keep her mind on the job / not to allow her mind to wonder

d.         Yes, because it is the work of Miss Broome’s ghost

No, I would be more careful.

 

DRAMA- Gulp and Gasp

 

Synopsis

 

This is a melodrama about a villain, Lord Septic who is greedy for more power, money and fame. He is even ca[able of committing murder to get what he wants. He owns the railways and is after the Gatsby gold. Crouch, Lord Septic’s manservant is a big bully. Rose is a damsel in distress who meets Percy, the hero. They fall in love and he rescues her from a bloody death at the railway tracks. Later, Percy learns he is the heir to the Gatsby gold and is known as Sir Percy. Lord Septic loses everything.

 

Read the extract from the drama Gulp and Gasp below and answer the

 questions that follow.

 

CROUCH                    : Don’t get too near the edge of the platform, sir.

LORD SEPTIC           : If this train doesn’t come soon, I’ll sack the driver. I’ll sack everyone.

After all, next week I’ll own this railway line.

CROUCH                    : Indeed, sir. Most true, your ever-so big lordship, sir

.

LORD SEPTIC           : Nothing can stop me now. I’m just a step away. Do you know   what   I’m just a step away from?

CROUCH                    : Yes. The edge of the platform. Be careful, sir.

LORD SEPTIC           : No, you fool! Power. Money. Fame.

CROUCH                    : But you’ve got quite of bit of that already.

LORD SEPTIC           : More! I want more, Crouch. I need it. I long for it. I’m mad for it. I’ll  kill for it.

a.         Where do you think this conversation took place?

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

b.         When Lord Septic says he is just a step away, where did Crouch say he was?

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

c.         What was Lord Septic longing for?

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

d.         Do you think you should follow Lord Septic’s footsteps? Give a reason for your answer.

Answers to Sample Questions for Drama

 

a.         At the railway station

b.         At the edge of the platform

c.         Power, money and fame

d.         Yes, so that I can be a powerful person.

No, because it shows our greed and would not last long.

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