April 25, 2010

Short Stories for SPM 2010

Dear students, you can get simple notes for short stories here. Kindly please go through until the end. You will find that it is much easier to understand. Credit to generous and helpful Madam Azalina from tip top SMSTMFP, Pengkalan Chepa.

There are 5 short stories in Form 4:

1-THE LOTUS EATER by SOMERSET MAUGHAM

2-THE NECKLACE by GUY DE MAUPASSANT

3-THE SOUND MACHINE by ROALD DAHL

4-THE DROVER’S WIFE by HENRY LAWSON

5-LOOKING FOR A RAIN GOD by BESSIE HEAD

THE LOTUS EATER by SOMERSET MAUGHAM

Introduction: A lotus eater is a person who lives an idle, comfortable life and does not think or care very much about anything. The story tells us about a man who plan to live a happy life to a certain period of time but faces difficulties when things do not work out the way he wants them to be.

Setting: a beautiful Island of Capri, Italy

Main characters: 1) Thomas Wilson

2) The Narrator

3) The Friend

4) the cottage owner’s wife (Assunta)

Sequence / Summary of events:

Before the age of 60

  1. Thomas Wilson, the main character, is a bank manager in London.
  2. He goes for a holiday on the island of Capri Italy
  3. He likes the island very much
  4. He has no family or friends
  5. Wilson decides to stay on the island
  6. He returns to London and thinks seriously about staying on Capri for the rest of his life.
  7. Wilson plans to live a happy life
  8. he sells his house and buys annuity for 25 years
  9. he returns to Capri and stays there

After the age of 60

  1. The narrator returns to Capri
  2. Wilson runs out of money when he is 60
  3. He lives in the cottage for another year
  4. The landlord asks him to leave because he has not paid rent for over a year.
  5. He tries to commit suicide
  6. He does not succeed
  7. The landlord and his wife sympathize with him and help him
  8. The condition of the place where he lives in is shabby
  9. His life changes for the worse
  10. Wilson dies six years after he tried to kill himself

Character Analysis

1. Thomas Wilson

Before the age of 60:

ü About 50 years old with grey hair and face burnt brown by sun

ü A careful person; does make decisions in a hurry (“But I did not decide in a hurry. I had to be sure that I was not making a terrible mistake”)

ü Idealistic (“I decided I was going to live a happy life before I died”)

ü A loner (“I had no other relations and no close friends”)

ü Likes meeting people

ü Lazy (“For a very long time, Wilson had lives an easy life”)

After the age of 60:

ü Indecisive (“When the tine came to make a decision, he was unable to do anything”)

ü Does not recognize friends

ü May have become insane (“Perhaps her mind was damaged by the smoke”)

ü Was like a wild animal

2. The friend

ü Friendly

ü Concerned (“I went to visit him in hospital”, “I’ve tried to speak to him”)

ü Kind and generous (“I gave her some money so that she can by tobacco for him.”)

3. Assunta

ü Hardworking (“She cleans the rooms and she cooks my meals”)

ü Helpful (“They took him to hospital)

ü Kind, considerate, sympathetic (“She and her husband let him live in the woodshed behind the house”)

4. The Narrator

ü Inquisitive (“What about your family?”, But what about your work?”, “And you have no other regrets?”)

ü Practical, realistic (“But what about money? Did you have money to leave work and come here?”)

Theme:

1. Man’s quest for happiness

Thomas Wilson wants to live a happy life and goes through the trouble of preparing himself financially until he is 60 years old. When he is 60, he realizes that he is incapable of taking his own life. He is then forced to leave his home and to live on the charity of others. He lives in a very pitiful state. Wilson des find happiness but he has to pay a very high price for it during the last few years of his life.

2. “Man proposes, God disposes”

Man only has limited control over his destiny. Thomas Wilson plans out carefully to make sure that he leads a happy life until the age of 60, after which he decides to kill himself. However, when the time comes, he is unable to commit suicide. Despite his careful planning, he has no control over his fate and destiny.

THE NECKLACE by GUY DE MAUPASSANT

Introduction: The whole story of The Necklace revolves around 3 main characters and their relationship.

Setting: France (19th century)

Main characters: 1. Madame Mathilde Loisel

2. Monsieur Loisel

3. Madame Foresteir

4. Monsieur Georges Ramponneau

(Minister of Public Instruction)

Sequence / Summary of Events

  1. Mathilde is not happy with her life
  2. Monsieur Loisel receives an invitation to the ball, held by the Minister of Public Instruction
  3. Mathilde does not want to go to the ball without a suitable gown
  4. M. Loisel sacrifices his interest for Mathilde to get a gown
  5. Mathilde needs jewellery to go with the gown.
  6. She borrows a necklace from her friend, Madame Forestier
  7. She enjoys herself at the ball and makes a great impression on the people there.
  8. She loses the necklace
  9. M. Loisel looks for the necklace without any success
  10. They purchase a replacement necklace and end up with a huge debt
  11. They do not tell Madame Forestier the truth
  12. They work hard for 10 years to repay and have aged terribly in the process of doing so
  13. Mathilde meets Madame Forestier one day and tells her what has actually happened
  14. Madame Forestier reveals that the necklace is only an imitation

Character Analysis

  1. Madame Mathilde Loisel

In the beginning:

ü Pretty, charming, young

ü Materialistic

ü Self-centered / vain

ü Thinks highly of herself

ü Full of self pity

ü Ungrateful / unpleasant

ü Unsympathetic

ü Inconsiderate / selfish

ü Not very resourceful

ü Foolish

ü Impatient

At the end:

ü Aware of position / status in life

ü Less self-centered

ü Gains confidence

ü Coarse

ü Speaks loudly

ü Co-operative

ü Honest

ü Accountable

ü Strong

ü Responsible

ü Preserving

ü Proud

  1. Monsieur Loisel

ü Compassionate

ü Accommodating

ü Patient

ü Loving

ü Considerate / reasonable

ü Caring

ü Sacrificial

ü Responsible

ü Practical

ü Thinks fast / suggest ideas

ü Initiates action

ü Persistent

ü Optimistic

ü Accountable

ü Supportive

ü Diligent

ü Unselfish

ü Rather soft / too gentle

  1. Madame Forestier

ü Young

ü Galamorous

ü Wealthy

ü Helpful

ü Pretentious

Theme

  1. Illusion vs. Reality

Mathilde Loisel daydreams of having wealth- she is unable to accept the fact that she has to live as an average person in society. The reality of what hardship in life is about is revealed after the loss of the necklace. The misfortune, her loss of youth and beauty make her grow into a responsible human being.

2. Wealthy vs. Poverty

  1. Deception vs. Truth

  1. Pride goes before fall

The Loisels do not admit the truth about the lost necklace to Madame Forestier because of pride. Because of this,. They end up in a huge debt.

  1. Love is blind.

Monsieur Loisel loves his wife so much that he goes all out to please her,sacrifices his own needs and interests to make her happy and works very hard to make ends meet. He never treats Mathilde badly.

3-THE SOUND MACHINE by ROALD DAHL

Introduction: The story is mainly about a person who invents a machine to detect the sounds of plants and trees. He is considered by society as weird and almost crazy. However the author has many hidden messages in this story such as, we should respect people even if they hold different views; be open to new ideas; accept and admit the truth; dare to be different and respect all life forms and love the environment. We also should not reject or ridicule people who think differently from us and should not label people who are different.

Setting: Klausner’s house, garden and nearby park.

Main characters: 1. Klausner

2. Dr. Scott

3. Mrs. Saunders (Klausner’s neighbour)

Sequence / Summary of events:

  1. Klausner has a new theory of sound and invents a machine to capture sound. He is experimenting with his new machine one summer evening in his garden shed.
  2. Dr. Scott (Klausner’s doctor) pays a surprise visit
  3. Klausner explains his theory of sound to Dr. Scott. The doctor shows interest in the machine but is not convinced that the machine can detect sounds unheard of man.
  4. Klausner tests his machine in his garden
  5. He tunes the machine and finds that it picks up sounds (cries) that coincide with the cutting of roses by Mrs. Saunders. He tries to explain his theory to her but she runs off in fear.
  6. After she leaves, he pulls up daisies and finds that they let out the same kinds of sounds as the broken rose stems.
  7. Early the next morning, Klausner goes to a park and cuts a beech tree. He detects a similar cry and quickly returns home to telephone Dr. Scott.
  8. At the park, while demonstrating his theory to Dr. Scott, a branch falls on the machine.
  9. Klausner demands to know from the doctor whether he has heard a sound but the doctor denies it.
  10. Klausner forces Dr. Scott to treat the “wound” of the tree.
  11. Dr. Scott obeys and both he and Klausner walk back to the house.

Character Analysis

  1. Klausner

ü Meticulous & patient (“studied it carefully…checking each wire. He did this for perhaps one hour.”

ü Insecure / unconfident (“he kept on talking to himself with little words of comfort…afraid that the machine might not work..”)

ü Nervous (“he was a small, frail man, nervous and twitchy with always moving hands.”)

ü Crazy / mad (Mrs. Saunders had always believed her neighbour to be a rather peculiar person; now it seemed that he had gone completely crazy.”)

ü Excited

ü Confident

  1. Dr. Scott

ü Inquisitive (“What’s this? He said, “Making a radio? Curious to know what this strange patient of his was up to.”)

ü Skeptical (“well,” he said, “As a matter of fact”, “No, I’m not sure”)

ü Nervous (“He saw Klausner’s hands tightening on the handle of the axe. He decided …to run away fast.”)

  1. Mrs. Saunders

ü Obliging (“Certainly,

ü Nervous

Theme

  1. Madness vs. Sanity

People who hold different views from the rest of society are often labeled as mad. Klausner’s behaviour and what he believes seem strange to others.

  1. Appearance vs. Reality

Are the sounds heard by Klausnerreal or just a pigment of his imagination? The sound machine that is supposed to prove that plants cry out when they are cut is destroyed, therefore the question is unanswered till the end of the story.

  1. Rejection vs. Acceptance

The story shows that people are different. We should not reject people who are different from us or whose ideas we find rather controversial. It is important that we live harmoniously together despite our differences.

2 comments:

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    ReplyDelete

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