Hello there! We hope you are enjoying Walcott’s Ti-Jean and His Brothers. It’s a great play, isn’t it? And we also hope our English A exercises are helping you. We want you to enjoy your CSEC page. Read on now.
ENGLISH B—Ti-Jean and His Brothers.
Now that we’ve looked at the plot or story line of this play, and we’ve examined the various characters and their roles, we turn to Walcott’s rich use of dramatic devices. What do we mean by that term, ‘dramatic devices’? It refers to all the tools that a playwright (dramatist) can use so that the play will make a grand impact on the audience. Dramatic devices affect what the audience will SEE and what they will HEAR. These devices include costumes, scenery, props, lighting effects, and sound effects such as music or thunder or forest noises. We will examine some of the devices in this play, and comment on their effectiveness (the impact they will have on the audience).
Setting and scenery. Imagine you are watching the play being acted on stage. What setting and scenery will you SEE? And what will you FEEL and THINK as you see those things? You’ll see the poverty-stricken cottage of the Mother and her sons, AND you may see (in the distance) the great plantation house belonging to the Planter/Devil. The contrast will make you aware of the injustice of the plantation system, and will probably make you angry.
Costumes. You’ll see the ragged clothing of the Mother and her sons, and the smart clothes of the Planter/Devil, so you’ll be made aware of the injustice of colonialism. You’ll see the forest creatures in appropriate costumes, and the presence of these talking animals will give you a sense that something magical is going to happen—and indeed it is, because Ti-Jean, the revolutionary, is going to outwit the Devil/Planter. You’ll also see the fantastic outfits of the various devils, made in such a way that they will seem terrifying.
Masks. The masks and disguises worn by the Devil are very important. He appears sometimes as the Devil (use your imagination to think how he would be dressed!) but he also appears in disguise as Papa Bois and as the Planter. He even lets us see him changing his disguise and removing his mask. The effect is to make us understand that the intelligent, reasonable-seeming Planter is actually the embodiment of evil, and so is the seemingly helpful Old Man of the woods. The masking and disguising have this effect on us: they let us UNDERSTAND how devious and cunning the Devil is, and how easy it is to be deceived by appearances. The masking also makes us FEEL a shudder of fear to know the danger that Ti-Jean is in.
Props. Some of the props are the bare table with its empty bowls outside the Mother’s hut, Mi-Jean’s fishing rod and book (showing us that his book learning has only managed to make him useless as a provider) and the cow-foot and stiff tail of Papa Bois (showing that he is the Devil in disguise, so Ti-Jean must be very careful not to be fooled by him). The two crosses on the graves of Gros-Jean and Mi-Jean, along with the human bone that the Devil is gnawing, are important props that suggest (in a semi-comic way) the ruthlessness of the slave trade and the plantation system. We are shocked at how nonchalantly the Devil enjoys his breakfast, and we feel the grief of Ti-Jean as he realizes that his brothers have both died.
Lighting and sound effects. Pay attention to the stage directions as you read to discover how much use Walcott makes of sound and lighting in the play. Music creates different MOODS. It makes us feel sad (sad flute) when the Mother tells of her trials, amused when Gros-Jean goes marching off, a little scared (weird music) when the Bolom appears, and amused (merry music) when the goat breaks free and cavorts around the stage. There are also loud clashing cymbals, explo sions and thunder when the Devils appear—and these sounds, along with lights flashing and drums beating, create a very scary atmosphere. The stage directions call for a ‘red curtain of flame’ to suggest the Hell that Ti-Jean’s brothers now endure, and a blaze (a blaze lightens the wood) of fire to suggest the burning of the canes. These contrast with the white light shining on the Mother (suggesting her piety and purity) as she prays in her humble hut.
Movements and grouping of actors. Notice the stage directions telling actors how to move: the Bolom’s energetic acrobatics, the wild dancing of the Devil’s assistants, the confident marching of Gros-Jean, the fearful retreat of the forest animals. Notice, too, the various groupings—the way the forest creatures run from Papa Bois, but group around Ti-Jean. How will these movements and group ings affect the audience?
Here are 15 words that are frequently misspelt. Ask someone to test you and see if you can spell all of them correctly. Write out any words that you couldn’t spell, and make sure they will never catch you again!
Restaurant, chauffeur, venomous, eccentric, assassinate, harassment, embarrass ment, assessment, chaotic, similarly, occupation, occasion, sensitive, X-ray, casu alty. ARE YOU A GOOD EDITOR? See if you can spot the errors in these sentences. If you can, try to provide the correction. 1. Opening the door carefully, a really funny sight confronted him. 2. Despite he couldn’t swim well, Ravi jumped into the pool to help the girl. 3. She said she rather earrings than a gold chain, but I didn’t able to afford it. 4. When you are finished with the nail clippers, please return it back to the draw er. 5. My uncle has a lot of old books all bounded in leather on events that took place while Queen Victoria was reining in England. 6 Dogs make excellent pets as they are friendly. While cats are too independent
to make good pets. 7. I will be greatful if you could assist me in this matter. 8. Her arm was broken in the accident, she had to keep it in a sling. 9. There were quite a lot of people at the concert, but certainly less than last year. 10. We don’t want too much guests at the party, so admission will be by invitation
PRACTICE WITH THE PASSIVE
Look at these two sentences:
Why did someone leave this tap on? Why was this tap left on?
Rewrite all of the following sentences, following the pattern you find in B.
1. Why did someone destroy the evidence? 2. Why did someone take away the table? 3. Why did someone spend the money on rubbish? 4. Why did someone cut that piece of cloth? 5. Why did someone forget that information? 6. Why did someone steal the bicycle? 7. Why did someone hold the suspect? 8. Why didn’t someone prepare the meal? 9. Why didn’t someone wash the dishes? 10. Why didn’t someone bind the books?
Replace the asterisks in the following passage with the appropriate punctuation. In some instances, no punctuation at all is needed. Check the bottom of the page for our answers.
My brother is a lot of fun* my sister* though* is more serious* you can tell the type of person my brother is from the things in his room* boxing gloves* a skateboard* a hockey stick and a stereo system* my sister*s room also tells it*s own story* a story about a really nerdish individual* all the shelves are full of books* and instead of sport*s equipment* there is a computer on which she does her work* the other day my sister promised to play tennis with me* instead* she spent the evening on some Maths problem* what a pain* how did I manage to get a boring sister like that*
Are You a Good Editor? 1. Opening the door carefully, he was confronted by a really funny sight. 2. Despite not being able to swim well, Ravi jumped into the pool to help the girl. 3. She said she would rather have earrings than a gold chain, but I wasn’t able
to afford them. 4. When you have finished with the nail clippers, please return them to the draw
er. 5. My uncle has a lot of old books all bound in leather on events that took place
while Queen Victoria was reigning in England. 6. Dogs make excellent pets as they are friendly, while cats are too independent
to make good pets. 7. I would be grateful if you could assist me in this matter. 8. Her arm was broken in the accident, so she had to keep it in a sling. 9. There were quite a lot of people at the concert, but certainly fewer than last
year. 10. We don’t want too many guests at the party, so admission will be by invitation
Practice with the Passive
Why was the evidence destroyed? Why was the table taken away? Why was the money spent on rubbish? Why was that piece of cloth cut? Why was that information forgotten? Why was the bicycle stolen? Why was the suspect held? Why wasn’t the meal prepared? Why weren’t the dishes washed? Why weren’t the books
My brother is a lot of fun. My sister, though, is more serious. You can tell the type of person my brother is from the things in his room: boxing gloves, a skateboard, a hockey stick and a stereo system. My sister’s room also tells its own story—a story about a really nerdish individual! All the shelves are full of books, and instead of sports equipment, there is a computer on which she does her work. The other day my sister promised to play tennis with me; instead, she spent the evening on some Maths problem. What a pain! How did I manage to get a boring sister like that?