FORM FIVE NOVELS


About the Author

Catherine MacPhail was born on 25 January 1946 inGreenock,Scotland.  She has an established reputation as a writer of gritty, urban stories that tackle emotional and contemporary issues that eventually work towards a positive solution.

 

Synopsis

 

It is story of a devoted grandson and loving grandfather. There is adventure and thrilling chase and escape which bring about many interesting moments for both Rory and grandfather. We feel as we read of a grandfather who is sent to the old people’s home and his grandson to the children’s home, a separation that is extremely difficult for both of them. Rory and his grandfather, Granda, have looked after each other since Rory’s dad walked out on them. Granda is given to lapses in memory (putting Rory’s homework down the rubbish chute and the rubbish in Rory’s school bag) and completely irresponsible behaviour (setting fire to his coat at a Parents’ Evening), but he has a generous heart. Rory acts as his carer until there is a fire in the flat and the authorities decide to separate them. Rory comes up with an escape plan. But their path of escape is not easy as their pictures are in the newspapers and on every television screen. Their journey is full of unexpected moments when it looks like they will be caught by the authorities.

His Granda however is very frail and needs a lot of medication. On the way they meet a lot of people who have recognised them from the news. These people have actually helped them in their venture. Rory and his Granda travelled by train, boat, caravan, cars and most of the time with their feet. In the end, sadly, Rory has to end the venture, but not by being caught, he actually had to go to the police to find help for his Granda, whose heart had stopped. Rory had been hoping that his father who had abandoned the family and whom he has no seen for the last ten years would reach out and help. The story ends on a happy note when Rory’s dad gets in touch with him due to the publicity.

 

CHARACTERS

 

Major characters

 

Granda

 

Rory’s grandfather. He is also known as Mister McIntosh. He is elderly and partially senile with a tendency to forget what he is doing (never puts off his pipe properly till it smoulders into flames). He loves his grandson dearly and cannot bear the thought of being separated from him.  Although he is hurt by his son’s departure from the family and after his daughter-in-law’s death, is dedicated to taking care of Rory. He is delightfully funny. He is often repeating phrases and is able to surprise the reader in some instances as for example the incidence when he hit the bully unconscious inPerthrailway station and stole a car.

 

 

 

Rory

He is a young boy, still in school who is dedicated to taking care of his aging grandfather. Shows determination and courage even in desperate situations (when the grandfather is admitted in Rachnadar). Mature, he understands why his grandfather refuses to meet his own father. He has a rich inner life and capable of growing and changing. He has managed by adapting to every new situation with hope and optimism.

 

Minor Characters

 

Val Jessup

She is a young and eager social worker who is responsible for Rory’s well being. She is also very responsible, she is anxious that Granda receives his full pension benefits and arranges for Rory to stay at the children’s home inCastle Street.

 

Mrs Foley

She is Rory’s teacher who is keenly aware of his inability to pass up his homework because of his duty to care for his grandfather. She is very concerned when Granda is admitted into the hospital and realises that Rory should not be in the children’s home.

 

Darren

Darren is Rory’s best friend in school who helps him to stay in the mother’s caravan when Granda is taken away from Rachnadar.

 

Jeff McIntosh – He is Rory’s father. He comes back home to be with his father and son when he sees them on television.

 

 

POINT OF VIEW

 

The novel is seen through the eyes of Rory. We as the readers get access to his young mind – how he thinks, feels and reacts and at the same time we can appreciate Rory’s growth and maturation because the first person narration has made it possible for an inside view of Rory’s mind.

 

Symbolism

The journey and the escape –It symbolises the desired freedom and that both need to be together.

 

The caravan                           – It gives the idea or feeling of safety, privacy and security; both feel very safe in the caravans until it is time to run again.

 

Movies and movie stars         – They refer to Granda’s constant memory of what he likes

and remembers best . Here they are always tending to verge on an element of fantasy.

 

 

THEMES:

Bridging the generation gap

 

There is a young boy’s love for his aging grandfather. The novel explores key issues that young boys of this age may confront as their characters are shaped by relationships around them. There are challenges of growing up and learning about responsibility shown in the life of Rory. Rory is eleven years old and he should be playing football and enjoying being a boy but he has the big responsibility of keeping Granda safe and away from Rachnadar. Granda looked after him in those days and now he knows it is his duty to look after him now. Rory accepts that responsibility with a great attitude and does not hesitate to do his duty. But from being just a student, Rory grows up within a short frame of time to make decisions and to act with great responsibility.

 

 

Family and relationships

 

There is a journey of love and protection between a grandfather and his grandson. Love, compression and family relationships are portrayed through their actions. Granda and Rory love each other and that guides all their actions. Granda loves his son, Jeff but feels let down by what happened years ago. He loves Rory’s mother dearly too. Granda looked after Rory before and now Rory wants to look after his Granda. That is family love.

 

p    Social and civic responsibilities

 

How society tries to intervene and help those who they think are unfairly treated or who they think deserve a better treatment. The novel emphasizes the importance of social responsibility. Doctor Nicol, the teacher, Mrs. Foley, Darren’s mum and Val Jessup feel that Rory need help at home and that he should be enjoying his boyhood and not be burdened with the responsibility of looking after an ageing and ailing grandfather. The police officials and the nurses are seen as kind and compassionate. The inmates at the children’s home too care about what is happening to Rory and want to help him. Members of the public believe strongly that the two should not be separated and voice their opinion on television. The great escape would not be possible without the support and help of the public. Thus society has a great role to play in molding people to be what they are.

 

Social bias

 

How society is quick to decide what the aged and ailing as well as the young should be treated.The social welfare service sees to the very young and the very old. The decision of the authorities is not always right and should be questioned. Ruby the traveler complain that social workers check on Tyrone to see if he is getting his education and is not being abused in any way . The authorities can be nasty to the gypsies and people on the fringes of society. The police bring fear and anxiety but they are also seen as being compassionate in their dealings with Rory. The authorities chase after Rory and Granda but the public is mainly on their side and people help them all the way.

 

Moral Values:

 

Family relationships and bonds must be appreciated and maintained. There must be compassion and kindness.

Communication is an important feature among friends and family members. It results in the loving and caring attitude generally.

Trust is a vital component in bridging generations. We must not be judgmental as appearances may not be what they seem.

 

Discussion

 

The novel is a sort of love story, about the love between generations: it shows a young boy realising that someone he loves deeply may die. It also challenges assumptions and stereotypes: those we should trust sometimes let us down; those we might not trust sometimes prove to be our friends.

 

 

PART 7

Robbo’s story: dumpa’s the problem

characters

 

Robbo

  • Patient
  • Helpful
  • Responsible
  • determined

 

Callie

  • Ø Robbo’s sister
  • Ø Adamant
  • Ø Observant
  • Ø Hot-tempered

 

 

Dad

 

  • Ø Robbo’s father
  • Ø Concerned
  • Ø Fatherly

 

 

 

 

 

Mum

 

  • Ø Motherly
  • Ø Strong willed
  • Ø concerned

 

 

Roy

  • Robbo’s stepfather
  • Loves picking on Callie
  • Gets angry very quickly
  • bully

 

 

 

 

 

Dumpa

  • Ø Robbo’s half-brother
  • Ø Three years old
  • Ø Mischievous
  • Ø Loves his dad very  much

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

synopsis

                        Robbo’s parents broke off when he was

six. Whenever his dad visits them, the adults

end up in arguments. Finally, dad stopped his

visits. Robbo and  Callie had to visit his house

which was cold and horrible.

 

 

 

 

Callie hated her stepfather Roy whom

she called the Beard. He started to interfere

with a lot of things. Both the children love

their half brother, Dumpa. Dumpa adores Roy.

One day, Roy left the house after a row with

Mum. Dumpa missed him a lot. The children

made a plan so that their Dad and Mum can

bump into each other at the arcade. Everything

worked out as planned but not for long. Soon

Mum and Dad had their usual argument. Both

kids were baffled with their attitudes.

 

 

 

 

 

The children did not give up hope.

Infact, they tried something else. This time their

plan worked. Mum and Dad had something to

hand over to each other. So, the children were

pretty sure that their parents would patch up. At

that time, Mum got cheesed off with Roy.

Unfortunately Dumpa’s the problem.

He is  three years old.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One day Roy caught Callie pushing her bike

down the very narrow space between the bushes

and the car. Roy warned her but as she was in a

hurry, she took the short cut. In her anger, she

told Roy that he had no rights to tell her what to

as he was not her father. He caught her by the

wrist and swung her around. Then in a stern

voice, he told that it was his car. As the

argument was in progress, Mum intervened. Roy

was furious as to why he did not have the right

to correct her. All the while, he had been running

for the girl too.

 

 

 

All mum’s terms ended with Roy

insisting he had every right to make Callie to do

what he told her. Mum was worried that Callie

might start to hate him. As days went by, things

were getting worse and worse. Roy decided not

not to do anything to people who were not civil

to her. He refused to drive them to Hawksmoor

Hill with their toboggans. Callie was

disappointed. Roy was as stubborn as Callie.

 

 

 

Roy was busy clearing out the shed.

Dumpa was trailing in the snow. Mum called a

few times but Dumpa refused to come inside.

Even when Mum went to persuade Dumpa in,

the little one refused to come inside. Roy was

adamant and refused to help Mum get Dumpa

into the house.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Then, Robbo was sent to persuade Dumpa

to come inside. Robbo tried to trick Dumpa but

was unsuccessful. Next, he turned to Roy who

assured that Dumpa was wrapped up perfectly

warm. Roy too, refused to get into the house

which was icy cold towards him. As Robbo stood

there for long, Roy let Dumpa to get into the

house. Dumpa agreed with a price of a strawberry

rocket from the freezer. Dumpa was to get into the

house after he had finished it.

 

 

 

The ice lolly did not melt in the icy air.

So Mum decided to fetch Dumpa in but afraid of

triggering another argument with Roy. Roy told

the truth that Roy felt unwelcome in that house.

Mum was flabbergasted with such a remark.

Robbo persisted and finally Mum agreed with

her reasoning. Callie can never seem to get along

with Roy and Mum was stuck in the middle.

 

 

 

 

Despite all the persuasion, Callie never

wanted to compromise with Roy nor accept him

as part of the family. When Mum knew that

Callie should move in with her Dad. Before that

she went a dozen times to make sure Callie’s

favourites were in the house. Mum also read out

a list of duties for Dad. Robbo and Callie felt

their Mum needed a holiday after all the work

but again Dumpa was the problem. The children

volunteered to look after Dumpa with Dad’s

approval.

 

 

 

Practice A

 

Write short answers for the following.

 

  1. Who is the Beard?

 

………………………………………………………………………………………….

 

  1. Who is the sweetest child in the whole world?

 

…………………………………………………………………………………………..

 

  1. Why did Roy actually go away to his mother’s?

 

……………………………………………………………………………………………

 

  1. Where was Callie pushing her bike that Roy disapproved?

 

…………………………………………………………………………………………….

 

  1. What did Robbo take with him to give Dumpa?

……………………………………………………………………………………………

 

  1. Why did Callie and Robbo volunteered to look after Dumpa?

 

…………………………………………………………………………………………….

 

Answer

  1. Roy
  2. Dumpa
  3. He had a row with Mum.
  4. Pushing her bike down the very narrow space between the bushes and the car.
  5. A pair of gloves.
  6. So that their mum can go for a holiday.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Practice B

What are these people from the novel saying?

Rearrange the words  to make correct sentences.

Then match the sentence to the person who says it.

 

 

1. snap  boy,  Don’t  Hope.  at  the 

 

 Mum

2. real  a  in You’re  family.

 

3. daughter?  Because not  she’s  my

that   it?  Is

 

 Callie

4. go  Let    Roy!   please!   Callie    at     of     once,

 

5. sitting   drive    house!    It’s   our   our   in    In  By   garden!

 

Roy

6. throw   you   for   I’ll  balls    head-butt.  to

 

7. your    please,    Callie.  Brush   hair,

like    rat’s   It    nest.  looks    a

 

 Dumpa

8. home   soon?  Dada coming

 woy  come   Make  Wobbo!  back   now,

 

Robbo

9. argue.   Lots   people   of

doesn’t   think.   what    It    probably    mean  you  

 

10. you  .  skip  Dad,    drag    off    arcade    get     new   

soccer    Look,    weekend    to    the    your     boots.

with     Mum      the     to     and        

 

Dad

Answers

 

1. Don’t snap at the boy, Hope, Dad
2. You’re in a real family Mum
3. Because she’s not my daughter? Is that it? Roy
4. Roy! Let go of Callie at once, please! Mum
5. It’s sitting in our drive. By our house! In our garden! Callie
6. I’ll throw balls for you to head-butt. Robbo
7. Brush your hair, please, Callie.  It looks like a rat’s nest Roy
8. Dada coming home soon?  Make Woy come back now, Wobbo! Dumpa
9. Lots of people argue. It probably doesn’t mean what you think. Robbo
10. Look, you skip the weekend with Dad, and drag Mum off to the arcade to get your new soccer boots. Callie

 

 

Practice C

Read the extracts from the novel and answer the questions below.

 

1.

I had a go. I took the tiny pair of dry gloves Mum handed me, and went

outside. The freezing wind gusted straight down the neck of my jacket. It was so

cold, I played my best card first.

‘Dumpa, if you come in, I’ll throw balls for you to head-butt.’

Dumpa just shook his head. I turned to Roy.

‘Mum’s worried about him. She wants him back inside.’

 

 

  1. What did Mum give Robbo for Dumpa?

 

………………………………………………………………………………………..

 

  1. What does the phrase played my best card mean?

 

………………………………………………………………………………………..

 

  1. Where is Dumpa?

 

…………………………………………………………………………………………

 

  1. Do you think Dumpa should get  into the house? Give a reason for your answer.

 

…………………………………………………………………………………………

 

 

 

2.

‘They’re not all little spats,’ I persisted. ‘Roy did walk out on us for a

whole week.’

Mum flushed.

‘That was quite different. That was –‘

Glancing at Callie, she broke off. But Callie met her eye.

‘I know what you were going to say. That was about me.’

Mum nodded. ‘It isn’t easy,’ she said. ‘You get upset with him. He gets

upset with you. And I’m stuck in the middle.’ She shook her head. ‘Never mind.

It’s just a matter of time, I’m sure.’ 

 

 

  1. How many days was Roy away?

 

……………………………………………………………………………………………

 

  1. He gets upset with you. Who does the he refer to?

 

……………………………………………………………………………………………

 

  1. What does Mum mean when she says I’m stuck in the middle?

 

……………………………………………………………………………………………

 

  1. Do you think it is easy to adapt to a new dad or mum? Give a reason.

 

…………………………………………………………………………………………….

 

 

 

 

3.

Dad followed her back into his new cosy sitting-room.

‘You’ll need a holiday after all this work.’

‘Fat chance,’ scoffed Mum. ‘You could look after Robbo, of course.

But Dumpa’s the problem.’

I looked at Callie. Callie looked at me. She knew she owed me one.

Like Dad, she knows it hasn’t been easy for Mum, over the last few weeks,

telling the school, explaining to her friends, comforting me.

‘We could look after Dumpa here,’ she said.

 

  1. Who is You  in the line “You’ll need a holiday after all this work?

 

……………………………………………………………………………………………

 

  1. What was the problem that Mum had?

 

……………………………………………………………………………………………

 

  1. Who agreed to look after Dumpa?

 

……………………………………………………………………………………………

 

  1. After hard work, it is good to have a holiday. Give a reason why one should have a holiday.

 

……………………………………………………………………………………………

 

Answers

 

  1. a.         A pair of gloves / A tiny pair of dry gloves

b.         Tried my best

c.         Outside the house

d.         Yes, because it is cold outside.

 

  1. a.         Seven days

b.         Roy

c.         He was angry with Callie

d.         Yes, because it is good to have a dad / mum to replace our own dad / mum

No, we can never replace our own dad and mum with anyone.

 

  1. a.         Mum

b.         Who would take care of Dumpa

c.         Callie and Robbo

d.         It will make us feel relaxed.

 

PART 6

PIXIE’s Story: THE PAINS IN MY LIFE

characters

 

Pixie

  • Honest and truthful- tells her true feelings without pretending
  • Sensitive- does not like to be called “Pricilla”
  • Emotional- bursts into tears during argument

 

 

 

 

 

Sophie

  • Outgoing- often goes out for sleep-overs.

 

 

 

Hetty

 

  • Intelligent – gets good grades for her homework
  • Patient- she patiently goes over the mathematics questions

with Pixie

  • Kind- she does not mind helping Pixie with homework
  • Understanding and obedient- she follows her parents orders to

sleep wherever they ask her to.

 

Dad

  • Quiet- he keeps to himself
  • Indifferent- does not bother to interfere with the problems

others face in the family

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lucy

 

  • Ø Understanding- tries to adapt and make things work
  • Ø Kind- she takes care of Pixie
  • Ø Responsible- She looks after the family

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

synopsis

Pixie stays at her father’s place during

weekends fortnightly.  Her Stepmother is

Lucy she has two step sisters. They are Sophie

and Hetty. Dad promised her that she would

have a own room but Hetty and Sophie had a

terrible quarrel that it was decided that Hetty

moves out of her sister’s room into Pixie’s

room.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pixie hates Hetty’s habits. Hetty drives her

mad. She hates the way Hetty cocks her head on

one side and fiddles with her hair, the way Hetty

sniffs when she reads and roll the cat over the

carpet like a sausage. Most of all she hates the

way Hetty teases her name- Priscilla.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hetty was good at Maths and has good

natural manners. She is also good with

animals. She gets “Excellent” written by her

teacher for her homework. Pixie thought of

ways to get her out of the room. Pixie

started to do things to show the room is haunted.

 

 

 

 

 

Pixie started to tell ghost stories about the room

but Hetty did not get scared. So Pixie tried to

disturb her by asking her maths questions. Hetty

went through each problem with Pixie- Pixie

wasn’t  even trying to listen but she must have

understood because on the next week she actually

got the comment as “Well done!” from her

teacher.

 

 

 

 

Next, Pixie tried the silent treatment to get

Hetty out of her room. Pixie had expected Hetty

to go back to Sophie’s room but Hetty went to

her mother and told her what was going on.

Lucy, her stepmother came to her room and

talked to her. They argued – each one of them

poured their hearts out. In the end they cried

their eyes out and hugged each other.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lucy moved Hetty’s bed back into Sophie’s

room. Pixie is happy now- at least she is not

pretending any more and everyone knows how

she feels. Hetty no longer calls her ‘Pricilla’.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pixie comes down more often and when she

needs help with her homework, Hetty helps her.

Hetty can explain things well. Pixie’s teacher

even said that if she keeps on like that, she might

get promoted to the next level.

 

 

In return, Pixie tells Hetty ghost stories. Hetty

likes to  listen to ghost stories.  After listening

to the stories, she goes back to her room.

Sometimes, when Sophie goes to sleep over at

a friend’s house, Hetty will sleep in Pixie’s room.

They drag the Hetty’s mattress into Pixie’s room.

Dad hears them giggling and suggests that

they leave the mattress on Pixie’s floor, but

they just ignore him.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Practice A

 

Write short answers for the following.

 

  1. What is Pixie’s real name?

 

………………………………………………………………………………………….

 

  1. Which two sisters had a big quarrel?

 

…………………………………………………………………………………………..

 

  1. List all the things Hetty does that irritates Pixie?

 

……………………………………………………………………………………………

 

  1. What happened when Pixie gave Hetty the silent treatment?

 

…………………………………………………………………………………………….

 

  1. What was the outcome of Lucy’s talk with Pixie?

……………………………………………………………………………………………

 

 

Answer

  1. Pricilla
  2. Hetty and Sophie
  3. The way Hetty cocks her head on one side and fiddles with her hair, the way Hetty sniffs and the way she rolls the cat over the carpet.
  4. Hetty told her mother about it.
  5. Hetty moved to Sophie’s room. Pixie is more understanding.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Practice B

 

Complete the boxes for Lucy and Pixie by filling them with the correct statements each of them had said.

LUCY

                        PIXIE

   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   

 

  1. No, she is not. Not to me. Not really.
  2. But don’t you think that’s true for pretty well everybody in the world?
  3. After all, I’m not used to sharing a bedroom with someone who isn’t family.
  4. I’m talking
  5. Not properly
  6. I hear there’s a bit of problem between you two.
  7. We didn’t get to choose.
  8. And, I didn’t choose you, either.
  9. That’s different… Quite different
  10. We both try.

 

 

Answer:

LUCY PIXIE
But don’t you think that’s true for pretty well everybody in the world? No, she is not. Not to me. Not really.
Not properly

 

After all, I’m not used to sharing a bedroom with someone who isn’t family
I hear there’s a bit of problem between you two I’m talking

 

And, I didn’t choose you, either We didn’t get to choose.

 

We both try.

 

That’s different… Quite different

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Practice C

Read the extracts from the novel and answer the questions below.

 

1.

And I can’t stand Hetty Payne. I just can’t stand her. I’m not too keen on Sophie,

to be fair. But Hetty drives me mad. I hate the way she cocks her head on one side

and fiddles with her hair. I hate the way she sniffs without noticing whenever she’s reading. I even hate the way she rolls the cat over the carpet like a sausage. But

most of all I hated the way she teased me about my name. ‘Lunch-time, Pricilla!’

she’d yodel up the stairs.

 

 

 

 

 

  1. What is the relationship between Pixie with Hetty and Sophie?

 

………………………………………………………………………………………..

 

  1. What does the surname “Payne” symbolize to Pixie?

 

………………………………………………………………………………………..

 

  1. How does Pixie feel about Hetty?

 

…………………………………………………………………………………………

 

  1. What irritates Pixie the most? Why?

 

…………………………………………………………………………………………

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2.

Can Hetty Payne explain things? Can camels spit? My stepsister can explain

things till hell freezes over. I stood there, bored out of my mind, while she went

through each problem, and why you have to tackle it the way you do, and where

it’s easy to go wrong. I got so bored I even started listening (and some of it must

have accidentally stuck, because a week later, for the first time in my life, I found

a neat little “Well done!” on my maths test). But it was still pointless. Hetty didn’t

even seem to notice me wasting hours of her time, let alone mind.

 

 

 

 

 

  1. What was Hetty explaining?

 

……………………………………………………………………………………………

 

  1. What was Pixie’s plan when she asked for Hetty’s help?

 

……………………………………………………………………………………………

 

  1. Why did Pixie say that “…it was pointless”?

 

……………………………………………………………………………………………

 

  1. Explain why Pixie came up with a plan in the first place?

 

…………………………………………………………………………………………….

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3.

“Do you?’ she raised her eyebrows. ‘You insist you’re not family(and here she

imitated my scornful voice) ‘but you certainly have no idea how to behave as

a guest. You sit and take. You never stir yourself to offer to help with anything.

And in all the time that you’ve been coming, you’ve never so much as offered

me a daffodil picked off a council roundabout!’

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  1. Who is the person who raised her eyebrows?

 

……………………………………………………………………………………………

 

  1. Describe in your own words what you understand by the term ‘scornful’ as used in the extract?

 

……………………………………………………………………………………………

 

  1. What was Pixie’s weakness?

 

……………………………………………………………………………………………

 

  1. Explain why the two of them are having the conversation as in the extract.

 

……………………………………………………………………………………………

 

Answers

 

  1. a.         Hetty and Sophie are Pixie’s stepsisters

b.         Payne symbolizes ‘pain’ as Pixie does not like her stepsisters

c.         Pixie cannot stand Hetty’s habits.

d.         When Hetty calls her name ‘Pricilla” because she does not like to be called as Pricilla

 

  1. a.         mathematics problems

b.         she wanted to waste Hetty’s time and irritate her

c.         Hetty was not irritated and she did not even mind helping Pixie

d.         She wanted Hetty to move out of her room/ she does not like sharing a room with Hetty

 

  1. a.         Lucy/ Pixie’s stepmother

b.         being abusive, insulting- to hurt the feeling of the other party

c.         she does help around the house/ she is selfish/ does not appreciate

d.         Hetty informed Lucy that Pixie is not talking to her, so Lucy came to talk things out with Pixie

Sometimes people behave irrationally when they are in a fit of anger. Azreen’s father who was an egoistic man murdered Madhuri out of rage, when he saw her with Asraf- “Insolent, ungrateful child.  He saw red. The blade flashed in a flurry before his eyes.  A cry escaped Madhuri as she fell, knocking over the latex-filled container.  Saleh pulled away the parang.  But it was too late.” (Pg. 225). Asraf, was angry with the Old Lady as he thought that she had killed her. He brought a mob to kill the old lady. “He, too, held a torch in his hand.  In the other, he held a hoe.  He was much nearer to the house than the other men… And most importantly, loss and anguish fuelled his action.  His eyes burned wildly like the fire of his torch.” (Pg. 198). Similarly, the Old Lady murdered her husband as she could not tolerate any longer his abusive ways.“He was holding her by the shoulder, shaking her hard and yelling curses at her.  He called her all sorts of names.  He kneed her in the stomach, and kicked her when she went down… As he started to force herself on her, her hands reached for the knife and she struck.” (Pg. 103). .

When Azreen was back in London, she received a letter from Asraf, telling her that he had taken up the teaching course in KL.  From her heart, she wished him the best.  Julian was there to accompany her.  She soon saw him in a different light and it was going to be a new beginning.

The title, “The Curse” was chosen specifically by the writer for a certain reason. The novel has some resemblance to the legendary famous Mahsuri. The author uses the name of Madhuri instead of Mahsuri -both past and present have similar setting, which is Langkawi itself. In fact, when she was finally slain, the legend includes a vivid description of her bleeding white blood. This is also seen in this novel when Pn Normala claimed that she had seen Madhuri bleed with white blood.   Perhaps the author wants to show that the values of a society can be completely reflected in a legend or story. Therefore, it is possible to infer the role of women in the modern society was much the same as in the olden days. Women in ancient Malaysia were victims of high expectations and the ubiquitous double standard. The mentality of the people has not changed much since then. In certain ways, women hold a certain power that still prevails as in the curse of Mahsuri!

Form 5 – Catch us if you can