GRADE FIVE SCIENCE
Hello there! For those or you writing English B, we continue our studies in Harper Lee’s novel, To Kill a Mockingbird, and to help all of you as you prepare to write the English A exam, we have several exercises to keep you on your toes with grammar, spelling and vocabulary. Read on now, and enjoy your CXC English page.
ENGLISH B— Narrative devices in
To Kill a Mockingbird
Structure Harper Lee’s wonderful novel has an interesting structure: Part 1 introduces us to the people of Maycomb, while Part 2 deals with the false accusation brought against Tom Robinson by Mayella Ewell, the defence of Tom brought by Atticus in court, and Tom’s attempt to escape his jailors—an action that results in his death.
The two-part structure is important because Part 1 highlights the race prejudice and class prejudice that dominates Maycomb society while Part 2 shows the tragic consequences of that prejudice.
Tom Robinson’s story is framed by another story: the story of how the Finch children come to know Boo Radley. This ‘framing device’ is another clever structural aspect of the novel. At the start of the novel we see the children (encouraged by Dill), trying to get Boo to come out of his house. They find his gifts in the tree-knot, and suspect that it was Boo who mended Jem’s pants and who put the blanket around Scout’s shoulders when Miss Maudie’s house burnt down. But it is not until the end of the novel, when Boo saves the children from the murderous attack by Bob Ewell, that they finally understand that they had misunderstood Boo all along: he is a kind, thoughtful, harmless, courageous man—not the monster they had created in their imaginations.
The two stories have parallel themes: Maycomb society is so racist that Tom is assumed to be guilty simply because he is black. The truth revealed is that it is Bob Ewell—a white man—who is the real monster. Similarly, the two children had assumed that Boo is a monster because he is ‘different’, but the truth is that they themselves had been behaving in a shameful way—like little monsters!
Point of view The Tom Robinson story and the Boo Radley story have this in common: a good, innocent man is misrepresented and treated unjustly by society. The injustice is done by ordinary citizens who simply can’t see past their prejudice. The children can’t see the real Boo—only the cat-eating monster they have imagined him to be; the citizens of Maycomb can’t see the real Tom—only the dangerous black rapist they have imagined him to be. Just as the children have to change their point of view, so do the citizens of Maycomb, if justice is to be done.
You can see now why Harper Lee chooses to let Scout be the narrator of this story. We hear all the events from Scout’s point of view. But the important thing about Scout is that she grows up a bit, and her opinions change. Gradually (and with guidance from Atticus), she sees people like Calpurnia, Mrs Dubose, Walter Cunningham, and especially Boo, in a new light: her point of view changes as she lets go of prejudice, and comes to understand the truth about folk she had misjudged.
Just as Scout’s point of view was clouded by misunderstanding and prejudice, so is the point of view of Maycomb society. The reader is left to wonder when another ‘Atticus’ will show up to turn people away from their prejudice and misunderstanding to embrace the truth, and deal justly with their fellows—regardless of race or class.
Contrast Harper Lee presents most of her thoughts by way of contrast, as we have seen in previous articles. Atticus can be compared and contrasted with other fathers in the novel; his genuine concern for his neighbours (Mrs. Dubose, Helen Robinson, Mr. Cunningham, etc.) can be contrasted with the self-serving activities of the Maycomb Missionary Ladies; his courage to stand alone in defence of Tom Robinson contrasts with the mob mentality of the men who come to storm the jail and lynch the prisoner. 1. 2.
4. 5. 6.
Examples 1-4 are commonly found; examples 5 and 6 are not usually found in conversation—only in literary works.
In the sentences that follow, you will find normal word order. Put the underlined word(s) in each at the beginning of the sentence, and “invert” the word order as we have shown you above. Check the bottom of the page for the answers. 1. We had no sooner checked into the hotel than we received word that our departure time had been brought forward. The headmaster not only fined the student $500, but he also made him stay after school to clean up the mess he had made. The dedicated nurse not only tends to the physical needs of her patients, but she also understands that they have psychological needs too. The athletes will hardly have recovered from the first event when they will be required to run in the second. His father has not only banned him from watching tv for a week, but has also confiscated his CD player. There were not only heaps of garbage spilled around the park, but lots of broken bottles too. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. No sooner had we bought our tickets than the rain started to fall. Not only did they lose the bicycle, but they also broke several windows in the house. Not only will he pay too. Hardly were we settled in the seats when the show began. Never had he come across such a beautiful sight. Seldom do I find such enthusiasm in my classes. a fine, but he will have to do community service
CAUGHT IN THE SLIPS
Look at these sentences and see if you can spot the mistakes:
Marcia decided to spend the holidays with her aunt eventhough she had not enjoyed her stay the previous year. The contractor told my father that alot of work would have to be done on the old building that we inherited from my grandma. I wouldn’t vote for Latoya Collins; infact, I think she would be a disaster as mayor of our capital city.
Check the bottom of the page for the answers.
Here are 15 words to challenge your skill. Ask someone to test you on the spelling, and be sure to learn any problem words.
Ingenious, install, instalment, intact, interesting, irrelevant, irresistible, jackknife, janitor, jealousy, jewelry, judgment, kerosene, prejudice, knead (bread).
POINTS OF PUNCTUATION
Do you know when NOT to use a question mark for a question? The answer to that question is: Never use a question mark if you are using reported speech.
Example 1 “Can you tell me if the Post Office is open?” the stranger asked. (Direct speech) The stranger wants to know if the Post Office is open. (No question mark and no quotation marks in reported speech.)
Example 2 “When does the doctor arrive?” queried the patient. The patient asked when the doctor arrives. (No question mark and no quotation marks in reported speech.)
YOUR TURN NOW
Now put these sentences into reported speech, remembering the rule you have just revised.
“Does the bank open on Saturdays?” the customer asked. “Where have all the flowers gone?” asked the folk singer.
ANSWERS Your Turn Now The customer asked if the bank opens on Saturdays. The folk singer asked where all the flowers had gone.
Caught in the Slips The slips are eventhough, alot, and infact. Please remember that it is two words in each case: even though, a lot, and in fact.
Inversion 1 No sooner had we checked into the hotel than… 2 Not only did the headmaster fine the student $500, but… 3 Not only does the dedicated nurse tend to the physical needs of her patients, but… 4 Hardly will the athletes have recovered... 5 Not only has his father banned him… 6 Not only were there heaps of garbage…