The English Department
Wakefield High School: Summer Assignments, 2012/13
9th Grade: All Students:
Welcome to Wakefield High School. We hope you are ready to begin an exciting and rigorous year. Part of
keeping your mind sharp and your curiosity honed is to read for pleasure this summer. Enjoy what you read.
We’ll see you in September.
10th Grade Students:
10 Regular: We want you to return to Wakefield High School ready to begin an exciting and rigorous year.
Part of keeping your mind sharp and your curiosity honed is reading for pleasure this summer. Enjoy what
you read and please bring whatever you did read to class during the 1 st week back, Th/S 8 or F/S 9. We’ll
have an extra credit assignment waiting for you in the English Lunch Lab when we see you in September.
10 Advanced /Due September 13th and 14th /Worth 5% of your overall 1st quarter grade.
Step 1 -- Choose one from among the following books:
The Adoration of Jenna Fox by Mary E. Pearson
fiction/ futuristic page turner / a healthy dose of dystopia /girl’s journey to self-discovery
The Fault In Our Stars by John Green
fiction/humorous take on life and death through the eyes of a girl battling cancer
Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs
fiction/ creative, mysterious and haunting/ mixes fiction and photography
How can I procure a copy of my book?
1. Check out a copy from your local public library (or the library nearest you).
a. Shirlington: 4200 Campbell Ave, 703-228-6545
b. Columbia Pike: 816 S Walter Reed Dr, 703-228-5710
c. Central: 1015 N. Quincy St., 703-228-5990
2. Visit Barnes and Noble or
a. Clarendon Market Commons, 2800 Clarendon Blvd., 703-248-8244
b. Seven Corners, 6260 Seven Corners Center, 703-536-0774
3. Shop online for a new or used copy (and others)
4. Pick up an e-book for your Kindle/Nook/iPad
Step 2 – Read, read, read.
Step 3 – Using one of the topics listed below, you are to construct a personal response to the book you read.
That means you can use the pronoun “I,” and your tone can be informal. We want to know what you think
about your book and how well you can say it.
That doesn’t mean you abandon the standards of good writing, though. Think about what you want to say,
how you plan to support it, and then sit down and compose. Here are the particulars:
Word processed, two page/500-word (double-spaced, 12-point font)
Use specific examples from the book to support what you say. It has to be clear that you read and
read thoughtfully. Include a minimum of two quotations from the book with parenthetical (page) citations.
We’ve included a sample piece written about the book The Catcher in the Rye to help. Follow its format.
Choose one topic from this list. Implicit in each question is your duty to explain why:
With which character do you most identify? Consider how the character’s traits align with your own.
Compare your chosen title’s theme to the theme(s) of an assigned reading from last year.
Evaluate whether or not your chosen novel should be included in Wakefield’s recommended reading
for next year.
Questions? Mr. Mainor: firstname.lastname@example.org, Mr. Sharp: email@example.com, Ms. O’Brien-Holt:
firstname.lastname@example.org , email@example.com
MLA Response Format
Your last name 1
(pages will all have Last name and consecutive page numbers)
Class / Period
Day Month, Year (that it is due)
The Washington Post used to run a comic strip called Bloom County, which featured a scrawny, mangy
feline named Bill the Cat. It never actually spoke but was famous for one sound it made, usually while
coughing up a hairball: “ACCKKK!” I was reminded of ganging sounds and hairballs on each of the seven
pages that Robert Ackley appeared in Chapter 3 of The Catcher in the Rye. What a disgusting creature!
Ackley, I guess, was a neighbor of Holden’s at Pencey Prep (he came into Holden’s room through a
shared shower and bathroom, which sort of confused me). However he got into the room, Ackley left a
distinct impression when he left, along with a lot of his clipped fingernails. Yikes.
Of course, Holden’s description of him is brutally honest.
Ackley’s teen looked: “mossy and awful” (19).
He not only had a bad complexion, but a “terrible personality” (19).
Ackley spent much of his time cleaning his fingernails with a match, then borrowed Holden’s
scissors to clip those freshly cleaned fingernails, mostly ignoring our hero’s request to “cut ‘em over
the table, willya” (23).
It would all be pretty funny if it weren’t so disgusting. What is hysterical is how Holden treats Ackley.
When Ackley enters the room, Holden is trying to read. He begins asking Holden a series of annoying
questions that distract him and finally asks first the title of the book Holden is reading. That is followed
by “any good?” Holden’s response drips sarcasm: “This sentence I’m reading is terrific” (21).
The exchanges between the two are hilarious, and Salinger deserves a lot of credit for creating such
an effective (and gross!) minor character. I don’t suppose it’s any accident that the name Salinger chose –
Ackley—mimics the sound of gagging.
11th Grade Students:
11 Regular: We want you to come to Wakefield High School ready to begin this most exciting and rigorous
year. Part of keeping your mind sharp and your curiosity honed is reading for pleasure this summer. Enjoy
what you read and please bring whatever you did read to class during the 1 st week back. We’ll have an extra
credit assignment waiting for you in the English Lunch Lab during the first week back when we see you in
American Civ: Required / 2012 Summer Assignment
Name: Date: Period
AMERICAN CIV. – SUMMER ASSIGNMENT
Portfolio of Political Cartoons
Assignment: For the next nine weeks you are required to create a portfolio of TEN political cartoons
that specifically address current events from this summer, June through the beginning of September
(approximately 9 weeks). The cartoons must focus on political and cultural events that have had a domestic
or international impact. Your selection of topics within your portfolio must be different. All cartoons and
explanations should be contained and presented in a notebook or folder. Explanations can be hand-written
1. A copy of the cartoon must be attached with written explanation.
2. Explain the meaning the cartoon in one to two paragraphs.
3. Explain the symbolism, if any, within the cartoon.
4. Provide your reaction to the cartoon and the specific event that is the
focus of the artist.
5. The 10 cartoons must each focus on different topics.
6. Print and online media outlets that provide political cartoons:
Washington Post Fox News / MSNBC The Atlantic
New York Times CNN The Economist
New Yorker TIME
Wall Street Journal Newsweek
Washington Times U.S. News and World Report
7. The project is due: Wednesday, September 19th
(Identify the significance of this political cartoon.)
ENJOY YOUR SUMMER
firstname.lastname@example.org / email@example.com
11 AP Students: Required Reading for ALL students enrolled in 11 AP English (includes students who
register for 11 AP during the summer).
First: read the superb essay “Once More to the Lake” by E. B. White
E. B. White
Once More to the Lake
1. One summer, along about 1904, my father rented a camp on a lake in Maine and took us all there
for the month of August. We all got ringworm from some kittens and had to rub Pond’s Extract on
our arms and legs night and morning, and my father rolled over in a canoe with all his clothes on;
but outside of that the vacation was a success and from then on none of us ever thought there was
any place in the world like that lake in Maine. We returned summer after summer—always on
August 1st for one month. I have since become a salt-water man, but sometimes in summer there are
days when the restlessness of the tides and the fearful cold of the sea water and the incessant wind
which blows across the afternoon and into the evening make me wish for the placidity of a lake in
the woods. A few weeks ago this feeling got so strong I bought myself a couple of bass hooks and a
spinner and returned to the lake where we used to go, for a week’s fishing and to revisit old haunts.
2. I took along my son, who had never had any fresh water up his nose and who had seen lily pads
only from train windows. On the journey over to the lake I began to wonder what it would be like. I
wondered how time would have marred this unique, this holy spot—the coves and streams, the hills
that the sun set behind, the camps and the paths behind the camps. I was sure that the tarred road
would have found it out and I wondered in what other ways it would be desolated. It is strange how
much you can remember about places like that once you allow your mind to return into the grooves
which lead back. You remember one thing, and that suddenly reminds you of another thing. I guess
I remembered clearest of all the early mornings, when the lake was cool and motionless,
remembered how the bedroom smelled of the lumber it was made of and of the wet woods whose
scent entered through the screen. The partitions in the camp were thin and did not extend clear to
the top of the rooms, and as I was always the first up I would dress softly so as not to wake the
others, and sneak out into the sweet outdoors and start out in the canoe, keeping close along the
shore in the long shadows of the pines. I remembered being very careful never to rub my paddle
against the gunwale for fear of disturbing the stillness of the cathedral.
3. The lake had never been what you would call a wild lake. There were cottages sprinkled around the
shores, and it was in farming although the shores of the lake were quite heavily wooded. Some of
the cottages were owned by nearby farmers, and you would live at the shore and eat your meals at
the farmhouse. That’s what our family did. But although it wasn’t wild, it was a fairly large and
undisturbed lake and there were places in it which, to a child at least, seemed infinitely remote and
4. I was right about the tar: it led to within half a mile of the shore But when I got back there, with my
boy, and we settled into a camp near a farmhouse and into the kind of summertime I had known, I
could tell that it was going to be pretty much the same as it had been before—I knew it, lying in bed
the first morning, smelling the bedroom, and hearing the boy sneak quietly out and go off along the
shore in a boat. I began to sustain the illusion that he was I, and therefore, by simple transposition,
that I was my father. This sensation persisted, kept cropping up all the time we were there. It was
not an entirely new feeling, but in this setting it grew much stronger. I seemed to be living a dual
existence. I would be in the middle of some simple act, I would be picking up a bait box or laying
down a table fork, or I would be saying something, and suddenly it would be not I but my father
who was saying the words or making the gesture. It gave me a creepy sensation.
5. We went fishing the first morning. I felt the same damp moss covering the worms in the bait can,
and saw the dragonfly alight on the tip of my rod as it hovered a few inches from the surface of the
water. It was the arrival of this fly that convinced me beyond any doubt that everything was as it
always had been, that the years were a mirage and there had been no years. The small waves were the
same, chucking the rowboat under the chin as we fished at anchor, and the boat was the same boat,
the same color green and the ribs broken in the same places, and under the floor-boards the same
freshwater leavings and debris—the dead hellgrammite, the wisps of moss, the rusty discarded
fishhook, the dried blood from yesterday’s catch. We stared silently at the tips of our rods, at the
dragonflies that came and wells. I lowered the tip of mine into the water, tentatively, pensively
dislodging the fly, which darted two feet away, poised, darted two feet back, and came to rest again a
little farther up the rod. There had been no years between the ducking of this dragonfly and the
other one—the one that was part of memory. I looked at the boy, who was silently watching his fly,
and it was my hands that held his rod, my eyes watching. I felt dizzy and didn’t know which rod I
was at the end of.
6. We caught two bass, hauling them in briskly as though they were mackerel. pulling them over the
side of the boat in a businesslike manner without any landing net, and stunning them with a blow
on the back of the head. When we got back for a swim before lunch, the lake was exactly where we
had left it, the same number of inches from the dock, and there was only the merest suggestion of a
breeze. This seemed an utterly enchanted sea, this lake you could leave to its own devices for a few
hours and come back to, and find that it had not stirred, this constant and trustworthy body of
water. In the shallows, the dark, water-soaked sticks and twigs, smooth and old, were undulating in
clusters on the bottom against the clean ribbed sand, and the track of the mussel was plain. A school
of minnows swam by, each minnow with its small, individual shadow, doubling the attendance, so
clear and sharp in the sunlight. Some of the other campers were in swimming, along the shore, one
of them with a cake of soap, and the water felt thin and clear and insubstantial. Over the years there
had been this person with the cake of soap, this cultist, and here he was. There had been no years.
7. Up to the farmhouse to dinner through the teeming, dusty field, the road under our sneakers was
only a two-track road. The middle track was missing, the one with the marks of the hooves and the
splotches of dried, flaky manure. There had always been three tracks to choose from in choosing
which track to walk in; now the choice was narrowed down to two. For a moment I missed terribly
the middle alternative. But the way led past the tennis court, and something about the way it lay
there in the sun reassured me; the tape had loosened along the backline, the alleys were green with
plantains and other weeds, and the net (installed in June and removed in September) sagged in the
dry noon, and the whole place steamed with midday heat and hunger and emptiness. There was a
choice of pie for dessert, and one was blueberry and one was apple, and the waitresses were the same
country girls, there having been no passage of time, only the illusion of it as in a dropped curtain—
the waitresses were still fifteen; their hair had been washed, that was the only difference—they had
been to the movies and seen the pretty girls with the clean hair.
8. Summertime, oh summertime, pattern of life indelible, the fade proof lake, the woods
unshatterable, the pasture with the sweet fern and the juniper forever and ever, summer without
end; this was the background, and the life along the shore was the design, the cottages with their
innocent and tranquil design, their tiny docks with the flagpole and the American flag floating
against the white clouds in the blue sky, the little paths over the roots of the trees leading from camp
to camp and the paths leading back to the outhouses and the can of lime for sprinkling, and at the
souvenir counters at the store the miniature birch-bark canoes and the post cards that showed things
looking a little better than they looked. This was the American family at play, escaping the city heat,
wondering whether the newcomers at the camp at the head of the cove were “common” or “nice,”
wondering whether it was true that the people who drove up for Sunday dinner at the farmhouse
were turned away because there wasn’t enough chicken.
9. It seemed to me, as I kept remembering all this, that those times and those summers had been
infinitely precious and worth saving. There had been jollity and peace and goodness. The arriving
(at the beginning of August) had been so big a business in itself, at the railway station the farm
wagon drawn up, the first smell of the pine-laden air, the first glimpse of the smiling farmer, and the
great importance of the trunks and your father’s enormous authority in such matters, and the feel of
the wagon under you for the long ten-mile haul, and at the top of the last long hill catching the first
view of the lake after eleven months of not seeing this cherished body of water. The shouts and cries
of the other campers when they saw you, and the trunks to be unpacked, to give up their rich
burden. (Arriving was less exciting nowadays, when you sneaked up in your car and parked it under
a tree near the camp and took out the bags and in five minutes it was all over, no fuss, no loud
wonderful fuss about trunks.)
10. Peace and goodness and jollity. The only thing that was wrong now, really, was the sound of the
place, an unfamiliar nervous sound of the outboard motors. This was the note that jarred, the one
thing that would sometimes break the illusion and set the years moving. In those other
summertimes, all motors were inboard; and when they were at a little distance, the noise they made
was a sedative, an ingredient of summer sleep. They were one-cylinder and two-cylinder engines, and
some were make-and-break and some were jump-spark, but they all made a sleepy sound across the
lake. The one-lungers throbbed and fluttered, and the twin-cylinder ones purred and purred, and
that was a quiet sound too. But now the campers all had outboards. In the daytime, in the hot
mornings, these motors made a petulant, irritable sound; at night, in the still evening when the
afterglow lit the water, they whined about one’s ears like mosquitoes. My boy loved our rented
outboard, and his great desire was to achieve single-handed mastery over it, and authority, and he
soon learned the trick of choking it a little (but not too much), and the adjustment of the needle
valve. Watching him I would remember the things you could do with the old one-cylinder engine
with the heavy flywheel, how you could have it eating out of your hand if you got really close to it
spiritually. Motor boats in those days didn’t have clutches, and you would make a landing by
shutting off the motor at the proper time and coasting in with a dead rudder. But there was a way of
reversing them, if you learned the trick, by cutting the switch and putting it on again exactly on the
final dying revolution of the flywheel, so that it would kick back against compression and begin
reversing. Approaching a dock in a strong following breeze, it was difficult to slow up sufficiently by
the ordinary coasting method, and if a boy felt he had complete mastery over his motor, he was
tempted to keep it running beyond its time and then reverse it a few feet from the dock. It took a
cool nerve, because if you threw the switch a twentieth of a second too soon you would catch the
flywheel when it still had speed enough to go up past center, and the boat would leap ahead,
charging bull-fashion at the dock.
11. We had a good week at the camp. The bass were biting well and the sun shone endlessly, day after
day. We would be tired at night and lie down in the accumulated heat of the little bedrooms after
the long hot day and the breeze would stir almost imperceptibly outside and the smell of the swamp
drift in through the rusty screens. Sleep would come easily and in the morning the red squirrel
would be on the roof, tapping out his gay routine. I kept remembering everything, lying in bed in
the mornings—the small steamboat that had a long rounded stern like the lip of a Ubangi, and how
quietly she ran on the moonlight sails, when the older boys played their mandolins and the girls
sang and we ate doughnuts dipped in sugar, and how sweet the music was on the water in the
shining night, and what it had felt like to think about girls then. After breakfast we would go up to
the store and the things were in the same place—the minnows in a bottle, the plugs and spinners
disarranged and pawed over by the youngsters from the boys’ camp, the Fig Newtons and the
Beeman’s gum. Outside, the road was tarred and cars stood in front of the store. Inside, all was just
as it had always been, except there was more Coca Cola and not so much Moxie and root beer and
birch beer and sarsaparilla. We would walk out with a bottle of pop apiece and sometimes the pop
would backfire up our noses and hurt. We explored the streams, quietly, where the turtles slid off
the sunny logs and dug their way into the soft bottom; and we lay on the town wharf and fed worms
to the tame bass. Everywhere we went I had trouble making out which was I, the one walking at my
side, the one walking in my pants.
12. One afternoon while we were there at that lake a thunderstorm came up. It was like the revival of an
old melodrama that I had seen long ago with childish awe. The second-act climax of the drama of
the electrical disturbance over a lake in America had not changed in any important respect. This was
the big scene, still the big scene. The whole thing was so familiar, the first feeling of oppression and
heat and a general air around camp of not wanting to go very far away. In mid-afternoon (it was all
the same) a curious darkening of the sky, and a lull in everything that had made life tick; and then
the way the boats suddenly swung the other way at their moorings with the coming of a breeze out
of the new quarter, and the premonitory rumble. Then the kettle drum, then the snare, then the
bass drum and cymbals, then crackling light against the dark, and the gods grinning and licking
their chops in the hills. Afterward the calm, the rain steadily rustling in the calm lake, the return of
light and hope and spirits, and the campers running out in joy and relief to go swimming in the
rain, their bright cries perpetuating the deathless joke about how they were getting simply drenched,
and the children screaming with delight at the new sensation of bathing in the rain, and the joke
about getting drenched linking the generations in a strong indestructible chain. And the comedian
who waded in carrying an umbrella.
13. When the others went swimming my son said he was going in too. He pulled his dripping trunks
from the line where they had hung all through the shower, and wrung them out. Languidly, and
with no thought of going in, I watched him, his hard little body, skinny and bare, saw him wince
slightly as he pulled up around his vitals the small, soggy, icy garment. As he buckled the swollen
belt suddenly my groin felt the chill of death.
Next: follow the assignment choices below, being careful to complete one of them to show your skills in the
deeper waters of education.
Once, Twice, Three More Times to the Lake…
English 11 AP (Burns/Lutz)
In the event that you are not already aware that the very best things come in small packages, if White’s essay
were a piece of jewelry, it would arrive in one of those Wedgwood blue, telltale, Tiffany’s boxes...
Choose ONE of the following options (each worth 35 points).
The level of swimming difficulty ( = swimmer) that you select depends on your prowess in this lake’s
waters. For all options, however, you will receive the same 35 workout points.
Required: all responses must be word processed, not hand written.
Due in class: Thursday, 9/13 (Day 1) or Friday, 9/14 (Day 2).
Assignment Option 1:
Admittedly formulaic, but nonetheless a challenging option (35 points):
Consider the entirety of White’s essay; hopefully, by now, you have visited it enough times that you are as
familiar with his words as he is with that lake in Maine. Now that you are sufficiently “familiarized,” try to
identify a distinct purpose for White’s essay. You will display this “meaning” as a thesis statement in the
space provided below.
Then, select any three of the rhetorical strategies listed below. For each strategy you select, suggest how White
uses it to lead the reader to meaning. I will be looking for your understanding of the literary term in
question, depth of thought, support of your premise and comprehension of the essay, in addition to the
clarity of your writing.
Each strategy you examine should represent a complete, independent answer (think ½ -¾ of a page); each
layer is worth 1/3 of your grade. However, unless the thesis statement you offer is both clear and valid, it will be
difficult to work with the rhetorical strategies you select!
Thesis Statement: (5 points)
Choose any three of the following rhetorical strategies: (10 points each)
Point of View
Assignment Option 2:
Slightly less formulaic, but probably equally challenging option (35 points):
A. Choose any two of the above strategies of language and follow the directions as
outlined in option 1 (25 points)
B. Consider only the first and last paragraphs of the essay; suggest as many parallels, links
and correlations between the two paragraphs as you can. These can be in table/chart
format, rather than in formal writing. (10 points)
Assignment Option 3:
Significantly less formulaic, but certainly equally challenging option (35 points):
A. Choose any one of the above strategies of language and follow the directions as
outlined in option 1 (15 points)
B. Consider only the first and last paragraphs of the essay; suggest as many parallels, links
and correlations between the two paragraphs as you can. These can be in table/chart
format, rather than in formal writing (10 points)
C. Once more to the forest.... Read, review, re-ponder, the excerpt from Longfellow
presented below. In echoes of Longfellow, White calls his lake “remote and primeval;”
in a well-developed paragraph, discuss whether Longfellow’s forest and White’s lake
are primeval in similar or different fashions. (10 points)
This is the forest primeval. The murmuring pines and the hemlocks,
Bearded with moss, and in garments green, indistinct in the twilight,
Stand like Druids of eld, with voices sad and prophetic,
Stand like harpers’ hoar, with beards that rest on their bosoms.
Loud from its rocky caverns, the deep-voiced neighboring
Ocean speaks, and in accents disconsolate, answers the wail of the
May the waters of your assignment be far less chilly than those of White’s beloved lake…
= a swimmer
Douglas.firstname.lastname@example.org / Michael.email@example.com (If you have questions, please email either of us; however,
know that we’re also on our summer schedule.)
12th Grade Students:
12 Regular Students: We want you to return to Wakefield High School ready to begin an exciting and rigorous year
as you prepare to graduate, 2012-13. Part of keeping your mind sharp and your curiosity honed is reading for pleasure this
summer. Enjoy what you read and please bring whatever you did read to class during the 1 st week back. We’ll have an extra
credit assignment waiting for you in the English Lunch Lab when we see you in September. Due: Friday, Sept 16th.
World Literature Students: Read the following short story and respond to the questions listed
at the end of it. Due: September 13/ 14, 2012.
Summer Reading Assignment: World Literature, 2012
“Mista Courifer” by Adelaide Casely-Hayford (Sierra Leone)
Not a sound was heard in the coffin-maker's work- shop, that is to say no human sound. Mista Courifer, a
solid citizen of Sierra Leone, was not given to much speech. His apprentices, knowing this, never dared
address him unless he spoke first. Then they only carried on their conversation in whispers. Not that Mista
Courifer did not know how to use his tongue. It was incessantly wagging to and fro in his mouth, at every
blow of the hammer.
But his shop in the heart of Freetown was a part of his house. And, as he had once confided to a friend, he
was a silent member of his own house-hold, from necessity. His wife, given to much speaking, could out-talk
"It's no use for argue wid woman," he said cautiously. "Just like 'e no use for teach woman carpentering; she nebba sabi
for hit de nail on de head. If 'e argue, shell hit eberyting but de nail; and so wid de carpentering."
So, around his wife, with the exception of his tongue's continual wagging like a pendulum, his mouth was
kept more or less shut. But whatever self-control he exercised in this respect at home was completely sent to
the wind in his official capacity as the local preacher at chapel, for Mista Courifer was one of the pillars of the
church, being Sunday
equally at home in conducting a prayer meeting, superintending the school or occupying the pulpit.
His voice was remarkable for its wonderful gradations of pitch. He would insist on starting most of his tunes
himself; consequently they nearly always ended in a solo. If he happened to pitch in the bass, he descended
into such a de profundis that his congregations were left to flounder in a higher key; if he started in the treble,
he soared so high
that the children stared at him openmouthed and their elders were lost in wonder and amazement. As for his
prayers, he roared and volleyed and thundered to such an extent that poor little mites were quickly reduced
to a state of collapse and started to whimper from sheer fright.
But he was most at home in the pulpit. It is true, his labors were altogether confined to the outlying village
districts of Regent, Gloucester and Leicester, an arrangement with which he was by no means satisfied. Still, a
village congregation is better than none at all.
His favorite themes were Jonah and Noah and he was forever pointing out the great similarity between the
two, generally finishing his discourse after this manner: "You see my beloved Brebren, den two man berry much
alike. All two lived in a sinful and adulturous generation. One get inside am ark; de odder one get inside a whale. Day
bof seek a refuge fom de swelling waves. And so it is today my beloved Brebren. No matter if we get inside a whale or get
inside an ark, as long as we get inside some place of safety as long as we can find some refuge, some hiding place from de
wiles ob de debil."
But his congregation was by no means convinced.
Mr. Courifer always wore black. He was one of the Sierra Leone gentlemen who consider everything
European to be not only the right thing, but the only thing for the African, and having read somewhere that
English undertakers generally appeared in somber attire, he immediately followed suit.
He even went so far as to build a European house. During his short stay in England, he had noticed how the
houses were built and furnished and had forthwith erected himself one after the approved pattern a house
with stuffy little passages, narrow little staircases and poky rooms, all crammed with saddlebags and carpeted
with Axminsters. No wonder his wife had to talk. It was so hopelessly uncomfortable, stuffy and unsanitary.
So Mr. Courifer wore black. It never struck him for a single moment that red would have been more
appropriate, far more becoming, far less expensive and far more national. No! It must be black. He would
have liked blue black, but he wore rusty black for economy.
There was one subject upon which Mr. Courifer could talk even at home, so no one ever mentioned it: his
son, Tomas. Mista Courifer had great expectations for his son; indeed in the back of his mind he had hopes
of seeing him reach the high-water mark of red-tape officialism, for Tomas was in the government service.
Not very high up, it is true, but still he was in it. It was an honor that impressed his father deeply, but Tomas
unfortunately did not seem to think quite so much of it. The youth in question, however, was altogether
neutral in his opinions in his father's presence. Although somewhat feminine as to attire, he was distinctly
masculine in his speech. His neutrality was not a matter of choice, since no one was allowed to choose
anything in the Courifer family but the paterfamilias himself.
From start to finish, Tomas's career had been cut out, and in spite of the fact that nature had endowed him
with a black skin and an African temperament, Tomas was to be an Englishman. He was even to be an
Englishman in appearance.
Consequently, once a year mysterious bundles arrived by parcel post. When opened, they revealed marvelous
checks and plaids in vivid greens and blues after the fashion of a Liverpool counter jumper, waistcoats
decorative in the extreme with their bold designs and rows of brass buttons, socks vying with the rainbow in
glory and pumps very patent in appearance and very fragile as to texture.
Now, Tomas was no longer a minor and he keenly resented having his clothes chosen for him like a boy
going to school for the first time. Indeed on one occasion, had it not been for his sister's timely interference,
he would have chucked the whole collection into the fire.
Dear little Keren-happuch, eight years his junior and not at all attractive, with a very diminutive body and a
very large heart. Such a mistake! People's hearts ought always to be in proportion to their size, otherwise it
upsets the dimensions of the whole structure and often ends in its total collapse.
Keren was that type of little individual whom nobody worshipped, consequently she understood the art of
worshipping others to the full. Tomas was the object of her adoration. Upon him she lavished the whole
store of her boundless wealth and whatever hurt Tomas became
positive torture as far as Keren-happuch was concerned.
"Tomas!" she said clinging to him with the tenacity of a bear, as she saw the faggots piled up high, ready for
the conflagration, "Do yah! No burn am oh! Ole man go flog you oh! Den clos berry fine! I like am myself too much. I
wish" she added wistfully "me na boy; I wish I could use am."
This was quite a new feature which had never struck Tomas before. Keren-happuch had never received a
bundle of English clothes in her life, hence her great appreciation of them.
At first Tomas only laughed the superior, daredevil, don't-care-a- damn-about-consequences laugh of the brave
before the deed. But after hearing that wistful little sentence, he forgot his own annoyance and awoke to his
responsibilities as an elder brother.
A few Sundays later, Tomas Courifer, Jr., marched up the aisle of the little Wesleyan chapel in all his
Liverpool magnificence accompanied by a very elated little Keren-happuch whose natural unattractiveness
had been further accentuated by a vivid cerise costume a heterogeneous mass of frill and furbelows. But the
glory of her array
by no means outshone the brightness of her smile. Indeed that smile seemed to illuminate the whole church
and to dispel the usual melancholy preceding the recital of Jonah and his woes.
Unfortunately, Tomas had a very poor opinion of the government service and in a burst of confidence he
had told Keren that he meant to chuck it at the very first opportunity. In vain his sister expostulated and
pointed out the advantages connected with it the honor, the pension and the awful nemesis upon the head of
anyone incurring the
"Why you want leave am, Tomas?" she asked desperately.
"Because I never get a proper holiday. I have been in the office four and a half years and have never had a
whole week off yet. And," he went on vehemently, "these white chaps come and go, and a fresh one upsets
what the old one has done and a newcomer upsets what he does and they all only stay for a year and a half
and go away for four months, drawing big fat pay all the time, not to speak of passages, whereas a poor
African like me has to work year in and year out with never a chance of a decent break. But you needn't be
afraid, Keren dear," he added consolingly, "I shan't resign; I shall just behave so badly that they'll chuck me
and then my ole man can't say very much."
Accordingly when Tomas, puffing a cigarette, sauntered into the office at 9 a.m. instead of 8 a.m. for the
fourth time that week, Mr. Buckmaster, who had hitherto maintained a discreet silence and kept his eyes
shut, opened them wide and administered a sharp rebuke. Tomas's conscience was profoundly stirred. Mr.
Buckmaster was one of the few white men for whom he had a deep respect, aye, in the depth of his heart, he
really had a sneaking regard. It was for fear of offending him that he had remained so long at his post.
But he had only lately heard that his chief was due for leave so he decided there and then to say a long good-
by to a service which had treated him so shabbily. He was a vociferous reader of halfpenny newspapers and he
knew that the humblest shop assistant in England was entitled to a fortnight's holiday every year. Therefore it
was ridiculous to argue that because he was an African working in Africa there was no need for a holiday. All
his applications for leave were
quietly pigeonholed for a more convenient season.
"Courifer!" Mr. Buckmaster said sternly. "Walk into my private office please." And Courifer knew that this
was the beginning of the end.
"I suppose you know that the office hours are from 8 a.m. till 4 p.m. daily," commenced Mr. Buckmaster, in a
"Yes, er Sir!" stammered Courifer with his heart in his mouth and his mouth twisted up into a hard sailor's
"And I suppose you also know that smoking is strictly forbidden in the office?"
"Yes, er er Sir!" stammered the youth.
"Now hitherto," the even tones went on, "I have always looked upon you as an exemplary clerk, strictly
obliging, punctual, accurate and honest, but for the last two or three weeks I have had nothing but
complaints about you. And from what I myself have seen, I am afraid they are not altogether unmerited."
Mr. Buckmaster rose as he spoke, took a bunch of keys out of his pocket and, unlocking his roll-top desk,
drew out a sheaf of papers. "This is your work, is it not?" he said to the youth.
"Yes, er er Sir!" he stuttered, looking shamefacedly at the dirty, ink-stained, blotched sheets of closely
"Then what in Heaven's name is the matter with you to produce such work?"
Tomas remained silent for a moment or two. He summoned up courage to look boldly at the stern
countenance of his chief. And as he looked, the sternness seemed to melt away and he could see genuine
"Please, er Sir!" he stammered, "May I er just tell you everything?"
Half an hour later, a very quiet, subdued, penitent Tomas Courifer walked out of the office by a side door.
Mr. Buckmaster followed later, taking with him an increased respect for the powers of endurance exercised by
the growing West African youth.
Six weeks later, Mista Courifer was busily occupied wagging his tongue when he looked up from his work to
see a European man standing in his doorway.
The undertaker found speech and a chair simultaneously. "Good afternoon, Sah!" he said, dusting the chair
before offering it to his visitor. "I hope you don't want a coffin, Sah!" which was a deep-sea lie for nothing pleased
him more than the opportunity of making a coffin for a European. He was always so sure of the money. Such
handsome money paid it is true with a few ejaculations, but paid on the nail and without any deductions
whatsoever. Now with his own people things were different. They demurred, they haggled, they bartered, they
gave him detailed accounts of all their other expenses and then, after keeping him waiting for weeks, they
would end by sending him half the amount with a stern exhortation to be thankful for that.
Mr. Buckmaster took the proffered chair and answered pleasantly: "No thank you, I don't intend dying just
yet. I happened to be passing so I thought I should just like a word with you about your son."
Mr. Courifer bristled all over with exultation and expectation. Perhaps they were going to make his son a
kind of undersecretary of state. What an unexpected honor for the Courifer family. What a rise in their
social status; what a rise out of their neighbors. How good God was.
"Of course you know he is in my office?"
"Oh yes, Sah. He often speaks about you."
"Well, I am going home very soon and as I may not be returning to Sierra Leone, I just wanted to tell you
how pleased I should be at any time to give him a decent testimonial."
Mr. Courifer 's countenance fell. What a comedown. "Yes, Sah," he answered somewhat dubiously.
"I can recommend him highly as being steady, persevering, reliable and trustworthy. And you can always
apply to me if ever such a thing be necessary."
Was that all! What a disappointment! Still it was something worth having. Mr. Buckmaster was an
Englishman and a testimonial from him would certainly be a very valuable possession. He rubbed his hands
together as he said: "Well I am berry much obliged to you, Sah, berry much obliged. And as time is short and we nebba
know what a day may bring forth, would you mind writing one down now, Sah?"
"Certainly. If you will give me a sheet of paper, I shall do so at once."
Before Tomas returned home from his evening work, the testimonial was already framed and hanging up
amidst the moth-eaten velvet of the drawing room.
On the following Monday morning, Courifer Jr. bounced into his father's workshop, upsetting the
equilibrium of the carpenter's bench and also of the voiceless apprentices hard at work.
"Well, Sah?" ejaculated his father, surveying him in disgust. "You berry late. Why you no go office dis morning?"
"Because I've got a whole two months' holiday, Sir! Just think of it two whole months with nothing to do but
just enjoy myself!"
"Tomas," his father said solemnly, peering at him over his glasses, "you must larn for make coffins. You get fine
Sotto voce: "I'll be damned if I will!" Aloud: "No thank you, Sir. I am going to learn how to make love, after
which I am going to learn how to build myself a nice mud hut."
"And who dis gal you want married?" thundered his father, ignoring the latter part of the sentence altogether.
A broad smile illuminated Tomas's countenance. "She is a very nice girl, Sir, a very nice girl. Very quiet and
gentle and sweet, and she doesn't talk too much."
"I see. Is dat all?"
"Oh, no. She can sew and clean and make a nice little home. And she has plenty sense; she will make a good
"Yes, netting pass dat!"
"She has been to school for a long time. She reads nice books and she writes, oh, such a nice letter," said
Tomas, patting his breast- pocket affectionately.
"I see. I suppose she sabi cook good fashion?"
"I don't know, I don't think so, and it doesn't matter very much."
"What!" roared the old man; "You mean tell me you want married woman who no sabi cook?"
"I want to marry her because I love her, Sir! "
"Dat's all right, but for we country, de heart and de stomach always go togedder. For we country, black man no want
married woman who no sabi cook! Dat de berry first requisitional. You own mudder sabi cook."
That's the reason why she has been nothing but your miserable drudge all these years, thought the young
man. His face was very grave as he rejoined: "The style in our country is not at all nice, Sir. I don't like to see
a wife slaving away in the kitchen all times to make good chop for her husband who sits down alone and eats
the best of everything himself, and she and the children only get the leavings. No thank you! And besides,
Sir, you are always telling me that you want me to be an Englishman. That is why I always try to talk good
English to you."
"Yes, dat's all right. Dat's berry good. But I want make you look like Englishman. I don't say you must copy all der
"Well, Sir, if I try till I die, I shall never look like an Englishman, and I don't know that I want to. But there
are some English customs that I like very much indeed. I like the way white men treat their wives; I like their
home life; I like to see mother and father and the little family all sitting down eating their meals together."
"I see," retorted his father sarcastically. "And who go cook den meal. You tink say wid your four pound a month, you go
able hire a perfessional cook?"
"Oh, I don't say so, Sir. And I am sure if Accastasia does not know how to cook now, she will before we are
married. But what I want you to understand is just this, that whether she is able to cook or not, I shall marry
her just the same."
"Berry well," shouted his father, wrath delineated in every feature, “but instead of building one mud hut you better
go one time build one madhouse."
"Sir, thank you. But I know what I am about and a mud hut will suit us perfectly for the present."
"A mud hut!" ejaculated his father in horror. "You done use fine England house wid staircase and balustrade and tick
carpet and handsome furnitures. You want to go live in mud hut? You ungrateful boy, you shame me, oh!"
"Dear me, no, Sir. I won't shame you. It's going to be a nice clean spacious mud hut. And what is more, it is
going to be a sweet little home, just big enough for two. I am going to distemper the walls pale green, like at
the principal's rooms at Keren's school."
"How you sabi den woman's rooms?"
"Because you have sent me two or three times to pay her school fees, so I have looked at those walls and I like
them too much."
"I see. And what else you go do?" asked his father ironically.
"I am going to order some nice wicker chairs from the Islands and a few good pieces of linoleum for the
floors and then "
"And den what?"
"I shall bring home my bride."
Mr. Courifer's dejection grew deeper with each moment. A mud hut! This son of his the hope of his life! A
government officer! A would-be Englishman! To live in a mud hut! His disgust knew no bounds. "You
ungrateful wretch!" he bellowed; "You go disgrace me. You go lower your pore father. You go lower your position for de
"I am sorry, Sir," retorted the young man. "I don't wish to offend you. I'm grateful for all you have done for
me. But I have had a raise in salary and I want a home of my own which, after all, is only natural, and" he
went on steadily, staring his father straight in the face -"I may as well tell you at once, you need not order any
more Liverpool suits for me."
"Why not?" thundered his irate parent, removing his specs lest any harm should befall them.
"Well, I am sorry to grieve you, Sir, but I have been trying to live up to your European standards all this time.
Now I am going to chuck it once and for all. I am going back to the native costume of my mother's people,
and the next time I appear in chapel it will be as a Wolof."
The very next Sunday the awful shock of seeing his son walk up the aisle of the church in pantaloons and the
bright loose over jacket of a Wolof from Gambia, escorting a pretty young bride the color of chocolate, also
in native dress, so unnerved Mista Courifer that his mind suddenly became a complete blank. He could not
even remember Jonah and the whale, nor could his tongue possess one word to let fly, not one. The service
had to be turned into a prayer meeting.
Mista Courifer is the local preacher no longer. Now he only makes coffins.
Understanding the Story: Be sure to respond using complete sentences; include quotes and the pages on
which you found that answer. Some of your evidence may be concrete and some may be inferential. Word
Processing is required.
1. Why does Mista Courifer value certain English styles more than African ones? What does this reveal
2. What factors lead Tomas to reverse his father’s values? What does this reversal reveal about him?
3. What kind of a father has Mista Courifer been?
4. Compare and contrast the characters of Tomas and his father? How have they come to be so
different in their views?
5. What factors lead Tomas to change his mind about his job?
6. If preaching is the occupation Mista Courifer prefers, why does he give it up? (inferential reasoning
required here…based on happenings within the story)
7. What is the author’s attitude toward Mista Courifer? How do you know this?
8. What is the author’s attitude toward Tomas? Likewise, based on what?
9. Why is the story named for the father, rather than for the son?
10. What themes do you find in this story?
MLA Required Format: You will follow this response format:
Your last name 1
(pages will all have Last name and consecutive page numbers)
21 June, 2012
1. This is the format I will require you to use during the course of the school year. Typically, I don’t
accept papers that do not follow this format.
2. You’ll notice that I have numbered these points. That is because I want you to number your responses.
You do not need to include the question with you response.
3. Likewise, this assignment must be double spaced. Only use Times New Roman size 12 font. The
color of the print must be black. An essay or reading response is a formal presentation of your work. You
should never be “creative” with your format; save the creativity for your voice.
4. The heading should be as it is above. Number each page on the upper right side (go to View/ headers/
footers on the Microsoft Word toolbar). Don’t forget to include your last name next to the page number.
5. Once you have finished this response you will look over it. This assignment, like all of your
assignments, should represent your best work. Check for spelling and grammar mistakes. Make sure you
have answered in complete, thoughtful sentences that reflect an engaged World Literature student’s mind.
Where applicable, quote from the short story (which, by the way, is almost always).
We will be reading the following as a follow-up to this summer reading: “Ogun” by Braithwaite
(poem); Things Fall Apart by China Achebe (novel).
Timed Toulmin essay response
An in-class Paideia seminar
12 AP STUDENTS:
Candide1: Summer “Enrichment”2
English 12 Advanced Placement: Mssrs. Burns, Lutz and Mainor (2012)
These items will be collected on the first Monday of the school year3. Please ensure that all work is your own
work; otherwise you will not be living in “the best of all possible worlds.…” 4 Please also take the time to
present work that is legible, edited and organized.
We are looking forward to meeting you; however, should you have any questions about the assignment, feel
free to e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
Section I5 (Questions from “the Grand Inquisitor”)
Respond to any six (6) of the following items in 3-5 sentences each: all responses should include textual
1. What in the world is “metaphysio-theologo-cosmonigology”? What/whom is Voltaire mocking with this
term? What, do you think, motivated him to do this?
2. Consider why Voltaire selected the names “Candide” and “Pangloss” for his principle characters:
3. Why does Candide become a murderer? What does this turn of events say in regards to his belief that
“this is the best of all possible worlds”?
4. Discuss why a publisher/critic might find The Old Woman’s story “problematic,” particularly from a
5. Why, do you suppose, Voltaire includes the section about El Dorado?
6. When, specifically, does Candide begin to slip in his belief that “this is the best of all possible worlds”?
7. How do Martin’s beliefs differ radically from Candide’s?
8. What lesson does Martin attempt to impart to Candide via the relationship between Paquette and Brother
9. Why does Voltaire include the section about Signor Pocurante?
10. Consider the conclusion to Candide; philosophically speaking, why is this seemingly meaningless ending
such an appropriate close to the novel?
Section II (“We Must Cultivate Our Garden”)
At the end of Candide, our hero decides that the only practical plan for happiness in this world is to “cultivate
our garden.” In an essay of at least one fully developed page (think 300-400 words), tell us about the
“garden” you plan on “cultivating” once you leave the wonderful world of Wakefield…or this coming year at
Wakefield, if you prefer.
By Voltaire: a limited number of Candides are available for summer check out: either stop by one of our
rooms, or find your own copy….
Enrichment to your intellectual well-being, your cultural literacy, your developing sense of place in the
world, and, of course, to your 1st quarter grade, chances of a successful senior year and the never too-
important first impression on your instructor….
This should take care of any Johnny/Jenny Come Latelys…
This allusion will become especially meaningful when you read Candide….
There is a Section II on the back of this page if that is how it prints!!!