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					PROSE : SHORT STORY “The Test” by Angelica Gibbs 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14. 15. 16. 17. 18.

WRITTEN WORK

19. 20.

Discuss the opening paragraph and its purpose for you, the reader. Mrs Ericson gives her opinion on what kind of support is necessary for a driving test. Quote/discuss. Marian’s opinion is different. State what she believes – discuss. Look at her manner/what do you learn from her character? Quote the words to suggest Marian’s ability of driving. a. Why did Marian fail, according to Mrs Ericson. b. Why, do you think, did she fail? Did she make all those mistakes? Which documents did Marian need for the test? Can you find the phrases which show real affection between Marian and Mrs Ericson? How did you feel when the “other” inspector came forward to test Marian? Where did you detect the first insult? Quote and discuss. Why does the inspector use Mary-Lou etc. Instead of Marian’s real name? List the examples of subsequent insulting comments – explain them. What is Marian’s attitude to the insults? Quote and discuss. How does Marian cope with the parking accident? What evidence of insulting attitude do you detect here? Why does the inspector use “y’all” several times? What point is he making? What is his motive in continually talking to her/asking questions/giving instructions? What is the instructor’s reaction to Marian’s college degree announcement? Why, do you think, does Marian make a mistake eventually? What evidence is there of the following styles – Narrative? Purpose? Descriptive? Purpose? Discursive? Purpose? Diaolgue? Purpose? What is the theme of the story? Devise a RPR question on this story. (That is, what’s the theme and what would you want the focus to be if you did RPR on this story?)

GROUP OR PAIRED DISCUSSION “”The Test” Angelica Gibbs (American ,1940)

Group work: all members make notes (not time consuming pages of notes). A. This is a very short, short story! Discuss whether or not for you, as a group, it still constituted a story. (Go through the ingredients needed for a story. B. Go over the plot briefly making sure everyone is clear about what happened then discuss THEME. C. Do you have any overwhelming EMOTIONAL RESPONSE to the story? A brief PERSONAL RESPONSE should also be included. * * * 1. a. List all the examples of prejudice which the instructor displays. b. Look at the very first one: “Don’t you want to come along?.......” Discuss in what way this shows a prejudice against Marian. 2. What are your very first impressions of the driving instructor? Character? Why do you think the writer has deliberately given this first impression? What does this add to the THEME of the story? 3. Consider your response 1. at the beginning of the story. 2. during the driving test . 3. at the end of the story. (your responses are likely to be as a result of the characterisation by the writer. So discuss how successful Marian has been drawn. 4. Mrs Ericson is Marian’s employer. What do you think of her? Is she prejudiced/lacking in prejudice? Justify your answers! 5. In what way has DIALOGUE been effective here? 6. Explain the last sentence of the story. (Ending). 7. In what way is Marian the real hero of the story? NOTE: Pennsylvania is on the East side of America. The “Southern” referred to is the Southern States e.g. Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana where African slaves worked in the cotton plantations. SLAVERY ENDED IN 1865!

“THE TEST”

On “After you my dear Alphonse” S5 Critical Essay – Prose Identify what you consider to be the central theme running through the short story “The Test” by Angelica Gibbs “After you my Dear Alphonse” By detailed reference to at least 2 of the following techniques, show how, in your opinion, the writer has effectively illustrated her theme. Dialogue Setting, Characterisation, Contrast, Imagery, Key incidents. PLAN Statement Quotation Discussion P1 – Central theme? In which story? By whom? P2 – SHORT paragraph on story’s main ideas/what happens. P3 – Writer has used many/several three effective techniques to illustrate the theme. Firstly, she uses effective dialogue. For example Mrs Ericson’s attitude to Marian………… “ “ This shows……………………… Also when she………, she says…. These pieces of dialogue indicate……………. By contrast, the driving tester’s comments show……… For example, when he………………. “ “ This shows… (explain how quotation links to prejudice theme) P4 – Secondly, the technique of characterisation illustrates the theme of prejudice. For example, when the tester is described – (facial descriptions, voice, laughing, tone of voice etc) What does this show? Discuss fully! P5 – Thirdly, the technique of contrast/structure / Key incidents - discuss how the third technique illustrates the theme. P6 – Conclusion.

Statement Quotation Discussion

1995 “H” Paper 2 Part 2 Qu 6

Pg 127

(Story with a familiar theme which, nevertheless, led you to new insights) “The Test” Plan for Qu6

P1. Ref to qu. – state it does have familiar theme – racial prejudice – dealt with well. Not dull – offered new insights into colour prejudice. (personal response briefly in here). P2. Plot (brief)

P3. New Insight 1 White treating black as an equal underlines even further the racial prejudice of the tester. (Mrs Ericson – is she free of prejudice? How does she treat Marian as an equal? Quote 1.Takes her to the test – support? And 2.Reassuring friendly glances Discuss 3.Verbal – need someone older. (Never mentions first failure could be to do with colour prejudice of tester) etc. BUT This just helps emphasise even more the tester’s attitude (give examples of his colour prejudice, nature and discuss). P4. New Insight 2 Marian is not stereotypical subservient coloured character. Quote e.g she holds her own in most of the conversation. She seems to be And winning the battle – give examples to show her control and this Discuss strength. How do you feel about her attitude? Bring out contrasts between the characters. P5. New Insight 3 Adult prejudice – so blatant – not trying to cover it up. Quote e.g. look at examples – from the beginning of the dialogue – through And to end. Look at insults – are they half hidden? NO! Blatant! Discuss Dialogue is instrumental in this.

“THE TEST” by Angelica Gibbs Revision for critical paper. Summary of the Story – This short story is about an Afro-American lady called Marian who is going to take her 2nd driving test. Mrs Ericson her white American employer goes with her to the test centre. Marian takes the test alone with the driving inspector. The inspector is progressively more and more racially abusive throughout the whole test. He feigns a joking manner but he becomes furious when Marian reacts to his comments. He has no qualms about failing Marian on things she has not even done. The story ends with Marian accepting the injustice of the situation as she “slid over to the right-hand side of the car”. Structure – Whole story is set in one afternoon. Start = Conversation between Marian and Mrs Ericson on way to test centre – made clear Marian is a good driver and an excellent worker who is highly thought of by her employer. Middle = The actual test – we are made to see things from Marian’s point of view – imagine how annoying, humiliating and upset Marian would feel. Also worse the fact society at time allowed this sort of behaviour and Marian just has to accept it. When she reacts, the inspector gets revenge by failing her. End = “Oh, Marian, again?” Mrs Ericson said – the use of this question and the fact the word “again” is highlighted in italics in the story shows Mrs Ericson’s disappointment, sympathy for Marian etc. Marian’s response is one of someone who has been downtrodden and resigned unhappily to an unfair treatment in life. “Marian nodded. “In a sort of different way” she said and slid over to the right-hand side of the car”. – We are left feeling sorry for Marian and furious with the inspector