REVIEW OF NARRATIVE TENSES: Story A “Soapy can’t get arrested”: collaborative story.

(Based on a short story by O’Henry): Read out the narrative sections to your partner and get them to elaborate on the story by answering your questions at each stage. You can ask your own questions, too ! Do the same with their story… 1) a) Setting the scene: It was a day near the end of autumn in New York city: What was the day like ? b) It was in the middle of the afternoon: what was going on in the streets ? What kind of things had been going on in the life of the big city during the day ? 2) Introducing the main character: Soapy, a tramp , was sitting on a park bench, by himself. a) How was he feeling ? b) What had happened in his life to bring him to live on the streets ? c) How had he spent the day up to this point ? 3) A leaf fell from a tree into his lap. What thoughts did this evoke in Soapy’s mind ? 4) The background to the main events: Every year at this time Soapy had got himself arrested in order to spent the harsh New York winter in a nice warm prison for three months. How had he got himself arrested in previous years in order to get a three month sentence each time? 5) The main events: a) Soapy got up off the park bench and set off along the streets. He was walking past a restaurant window. What did he see ? b) He put on his only respectable clothes: a tie and a jacket. Where had he got these clothes from ?

c) Some minutes later, Soapy found himself outside the restaurant on the street again. How had he tried to get arrested and why had he failed ? What had happened in the restaurant ? d) In his next attempt at getting arrested, Soapy threw a stone through a shop window and waited for the police. Why wasn’t he arrested this time? e) Then he started chatting up a woman rather rudely right under the nose of a policeman. What kind of things did he say to the woman ? How did she react ? f) Having once again failed to get arrested, how did he feel ? g) He started shouting in the street as if he was drunk. What happened then ? h) He had one last idea: what do you think it was ? i) He stole an umbrella from a rich-looking man but the man wasn’t angry. Why not ? 6) The closing scenes: a) Soapy, feeling lost and not knowing what to do, walked on down the street , passing a church from where organ music could be heard. The music affected him a lot. How did it make him feel ? b) He started to think back over his life and the decisions he had made. What thoughts did he have ? c) Then he remembered a friend who had offered him a simple job. He decided to find the friend tomorrow and to start work. Can you guess the ending of the story yet ? 7) The ending:a) While Soapy was thinking these thoughts, a policeman came up. What did he say to Soapy ? b) The policeman asked Soapy what he was doing ? What did Soapy answer ? c) Soapy answered, “Nothing” and for this the policeman arrested him and he was sentenced to prison for three months. What is your reaction to the story ?

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