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SPRINTING FORWARD WITH ENGLISH : ACTIVITIES FOR THE CURSE by Veronica

Somasundram

N
o
1

Name of activity

Procedure

Curse! It right
Card game
(Characters and
plot)

1. Students divided into groups of 4


each
2. The 4th person is the leader who
will control the game, check the
correct answers, make sure others
members do not cheat
3. The other 3 will hold 8 cards with
pictures of characters and 1 which is
the CURSE card
4. The deck sentence card (B) is kept
in the middle overturned
5. To start:
i. The leader will overturn the 1st
deck sentence card (B). The CURSE
card is for students who do not know
the answer and wants a pass.
ii. Others will have to put down the
picture that corresponds to the deck
sentence card
iii. The game goes on till all 8 cards
are completely used OR the CURSE
card was not used at all
1. Students divided into groups of 4
each
2. Each group is given an extract
from the story and a single question
3. Each group answer the question
and present it to the class
4. Teacher does not given the correct
answer but instructs students to find
out for themselves
1. Each group given pictures (5
characters), names and sentence
strips
2. Students just mix and match the
sentence, picture and name
3. Teacher gives the corresponding
answers
1. The themes are presented in a
coded form

Bridging the Gap


(Plot)

Matching Game
(Characters)

Azreens mystery
messages

Notes

This game can be


adapted to suit the
number of
students.
For this game to be
successful,
teachers will have
to make at least 30
sets of cards

For extremely weak


students

(Themes)

Word Search
(Moral values)

Jigsaw themes
(Themes)

2. Students work in groups to decode


to get the theme
3. First group to decode the theme
will get a prize
1. The values are given by the side of
the word search
2. Students locate the vales given by
striking out in the grid provided
1. Teacher cuts out the text 9make
your own jigsaw puzzle)
2. Laminate it so that it is stif
3. Allow students to make a jigsaw
puzzle and then write out the themes

For average and


weak students

CURS
E!
DECK A
DECK B

The village headman fell in love with the


beautiful village girl and took her as his
second wife.
She was murdered and her body was
found in the jungle.

This is the young lady who was studying


in England and had to return because her
sister had been murdered.
He dwells in a lot of supernatural beliefs
and wears a talisman round his waist.
He was in love with the girl who was
found dead in the jungle.
This is the village gossiper. She is very
superstitious and enjoyed gossiping.
She lived in the jungle and had
knowledge of herbal medicine to treat
illness.
A stern father who had not forgiven an
incident which left his wife paralyzed.

She is very spiteful and superstitious. She


wanted Azreen to leave the village blaming
her for the curse.
She made Azreen promise that she will
remember all that she was taught and learn
to forgive.
He was looking after his sick grandmother
whom he loved very much.
He saw her singing at the village kenduri
and fell in love with her.
He saw Madhuri and Asraf embrace each
other in the jungle.
He saw Madhuri and Asraf embrace each
other in the jungle.

BRIDGING THE GAP


You wont believe me, but Im telling you the truth. I saw her, hissed Puan
Normala. It was no accident. It was murder. Listen to me and keep this in mind.
This is just the beginning. The woman chuckled nervously. But Puan Normala
continued. Laugh if you like. Youll soon see. Were all cursed.

Why was Puan Normala so certain that they were all


cursed?
There was a thick envelope sticking out from the stack of books. She pulled it out.
There was a stain on the envelope that appeared to be cofee. It was a prospectus
from a university in Kuala Lumpur.

What was in the envelope?

We met for the last time that day at the rubber plantation. I wanted to leave
immediately but she asked to wait for another month. She wanted to break the
news gently to your parents first.

What did the girl in the story want to do?

As she stepped into the house and closed the door behind her, she shivered. Who
was it she saw outside the window? It was too dark to tell and she had only seen it
from the corner of her eye to be very sure.
Why did she shiver?

His men had covered the whole thing up. They made the neighbors believe that it
had been an accident. Was he right to do that?
What did the men do?

MATCHING GAME

Match the names to the characters

MOHD. ASRAF
SALEH ABDULLAH
PUAN NORMALA
AZREEN SALEH
MAHDURI SALEH

OLD LADY
HAJI GHANI

Reuse the pictures in the card game (Curse it Right!)

Azreen mystery messages?


Azreen received a few messages but they were in codes.
Can you help Azreen decode the mysterious messages?

Code
assess
Messa
ge
code

A
H

B
I

C
J

D
K

E
L

F
M

G
N

H
O

I
P

J
Q

Code
assess
Messa
ge
code

K
R

L
S

M
T

N
U

O
V

P
W

Q
X

R
Y

S
Z

T
A

Code
assess
Messa
ge
code

U
B

V
C

W
D

X
E

Y
F

Z
G

Message 1
N

Message 2
M

Message 3
M

Message 4
M

Congratulations! You have helped Azreen uncode


the mysterious messages. What are the messages
about?

WORD SEARCH

There are five strong values surfaced in this novel. Do a word search and
A D V B Y T K L S X discover them

G
F
G
H
P
E
R
S
I
S
T
E
N
T
Z
F

C
N
M
F
G
O
E
A
M
R
O
Z
S
H
O
Q

O
A
C
D
M
B
U
R
E
Z
J
A
F
C
I
X

N
Q
R
E
S
P
O
N
S
I
B
I
L
I
T
Y

C
M
A
I
D
V
L
O
Z
Q
V
B
D
E
V
L

E
S
R
T
N
E
B
A
V
N
C
H
E
M
Z
R

R
I
E
F
U
G
R
Q
F
A
P
I
R
D
C
D

N
E
W
J
N
J
H
N
B
E
M
J
U
Z
T
A

Z
H
D
E
L
I
G
E
N
C
E
C
Q
R
U
L

M
L
O
I
C
L
F
B
P
D
O
R
M
T
P
B

DILIGENCE
CARING
PERSISTENT
CONCERN

RESPONSIBILITY

JIGSAW THEMES

This story has moral values that enable the


reader to learn many lessons of value. One of
the moral values that I have learned is family
relationship that must be built on thrust and
understanding. Azreen knew that her parents
favored Madhuri whom they considered the
perfect
daughter.
Although
Azreens
relationship with her father was estranged,
she did not show hate for him. From here I
learn that Azreen never disliked her parents
even when she found out the truth. She still
respected them and helped them do the
household chores. The lesson here is family
live and understanding based on trust and
respect for what parents have given you.

Another moral value that I learned is


never allow anger to take over or make you
do things that you will regret later. Mohd.
Asraf was extremely angry with the Old Lady
and blamed her for his grandmothers death.
Azreen tried to reason with him but his anger
was clouded with anger and grief. This
resulted in him and the villages burning down
the Old Ladys hut and she died of smoke
sufocation. Even in her dying moment the
Old Lady advised Azreen to forgive and be
strong
Teachers to make their own puzzle

The Curse by
Lee Su Ann

Veronica Somasundram

SM La Salle, KK
2011

SYNOPSIS

The curse is about a girl named Azreen, her parents and sister, Madhuri. Azreen ,
who is a strong headed individual is studying in London but had to take leave
from her studies when she received news about her sisters death. She is not told
about the cause of her sisters sudden death and is curious about it. She hoped her
aunt or uncle would reveal some information on it when they picked her up from
the airport, but, they did not utter a word about it. When she reached home, her
sisters body had been brought to the cemetery. Azreen overheard a village

gossiper, Pn. Normala talk about her sisters death. She claimed that her sister had
been murdered and Madhuri had bled white blood.
Upon her return, Azreen discovered a few truths about her family, people and
herself. First she finds out that her sister had been in love with Asraf, and she
planned to elope with him and divorce her current husband Hj. Ghani. Second,
Awang the village shaman had actually caused the accident in which her parents
were involved in and caused her mother to become paralyzed. Azreen, had been
living with guilt as she thought that she was the cause of her mothers paralysis.
Third, she learned that Mahduri is actually her adopted sister and the crazy woman
is Mahduris biological mother. Fourth and finally she discovers that Mahduri was
accidentally killed by her father.
There is one woman whom Azreen had turned to for emotional support. She is the
Old Lady living in the abandoned home in the jungle. Azreen learned a lot from
the wise old woman. One of it was the willingness to forgive. However, the wise
old woman died in a fire initiated by the villagers and by Asraf. Mohd. Asraf was
angered because his grandmother had died and blamed the Old Lady for his
grandmothers death. Infact, he was the one who approached the Old Lady for her
help in curing his grandmothers fever.

In the end, Azreen returned to London to complete her studies. She has learned a
valuable lesson during her short break at her little village on Langkawi island. She
stood up for what she believed in and also leaned to forgive others and to look
ahead.

SETTING
The story is based on happenings in a village on the island of Langkawi. The
familiar village scenes and ways of life include gossip, fear, hardship and enemies

of the jungle. The early setting of Azreen in England depicts the immigrant
concepts and life as a foreign Malaysian student.

ADDITIONAL THEMES
- Conflicts of a young adolescent girl in accepting the realities of life
- The demands of a community where one is forced to conform to
- Leaving a harsh environment and coming back to it
- Friendship and loyalty
- Learning to forgive
- Learning the truth and accepting it
- Having a fearless nature
By:
Veronica Somasundram
SM La Salle, KK

Questions

THE CURSE by Lee Su Ann


1. Who is your favorite character in the novel you have studied?
Give a reason for your choice using information from the novel.
2. Describe the theme of courage in facing challenges in life and
explain why you feel this is a theme in the novel

3. Describe two moral values that you have learned from the story
The Curse by Lee Su Ann
4. Novels often show joys and sorrows in life. Show how this is
true in the novel you have studied.
5. Choose a character you dislike in the novel you have studied.
Give reasons for your dislike using information from the novel.
6. The actions of some characters teach us what we should not
do. Choose any character in the novel you have studied to show
this.
7. Describe any hardship or difficulty a character faced and
she/he overcame it in the novel you have studied.
8. Did you like the ending of the novel you have studied? Give
reasons using information from the novel.
9. Chose a character who you think is brave in the novel you have
studied. Give reasons for your choice using the information from
the novel.
10. Novels expose the reader to diferent people in life. How is
this evident in the novel you have studied?
11. What about life did you learn in this novel you have studied?
Use information from the novel to show this.
12. The novel you have studied has many themes. Choose two of
the themes that interest you. Give reasons as to why it interests
you.
13. The main character faces difficulty in the novel that you have
studied. How have these difficulties helped the character become
a better person?
14. This novel has exposed the reader to many events of fear.
Choose an incident that expresses fear and elaborate.

13. Describe an event/incident that is happy or sorrowful. Explain


why you think the event is happy or sorrowful.

Questions to ponder on?


1. List the superstitious beliefs recorded in this story
2. List down the irony found in this story
3. List down what Azreen had discovered from her trip back to her
village
4. List down Azreen conflicts
i. internal
ii. external

Short questions
Chapter One
1. Where was Azreen Saleh when she received the news about her
sister?
2. Was Azreen sad to return to her village? Why?

3. Who is Julian?
4. Why didnt Azreen want Julian to know that she was returning
to her country?
Chapter Two
1. Why did Azreen stare at her food on her flight?
2. How much older was Madhuri to Azreen?
3. Why did Azreen despise her sister?
4. Why did Azreen grip her napkin in anguish?
5. Describe how the happier days were between Azreen and
Madhuri?
Chapter Three
1. Who was Pn Kamsiah angry with? Why?
2. Did Pn Kamsiah like Pn Normala?
3. What was it that Pn. Normala told Pn. Kamsiah about?
4. Who were at the airport to pick Azreen up?
5. Who were Datin Sharifah and Datuk Zulkifli to Azreen?
Chapter 4 (*)
1. Why is it that going to funerals was a regrettable phenomenon?
2. How did Siti know Madhuri?
3. Why were there tense moments at the funeral upon Azreens
arrival?
4. List the gossips that was going on during the funeral
5. Who sponsored Azreen studies overseas?
6. Who was the woman sitting on the rocking chair?
7. Summarize chapter 4

Chapter 5 (*)
1. Why was Azreen kept awake the whole night?
2. Why was Azreen uncomfortable in the village?
3. Whom did Azreen meet outside the mosque?

4. Who is Awang? What did he wear round his waist? Why did he
wear it?
5. What is the incident that took place in this chapter?
6. What is the name of the farm owner?
7. Why did Azreen take the blame for Asraf?
8. Why did Noor call Siti puteri suci?
9. Where did Azreen go to after having lunch with her father?
10. What did Azreens classmates dare her to do?
11. What do you think of Azreen being daring enough to approach
the Old Ladys house in the jungle?
12. Who finally told Azreen about Mahduris actual death?
13. What is wrong with Azreens mother?
CHAPTER 6(*)
1. What did Awang substitute the chicken with?
2. What did Awang see inside his pot of gruel?
3. Name two things Awang saw in the jungle that day?
4. Who revealed the truth about Mahduris death to Azreen?
5. Who is Puan Fatihah?
6. What could she do very well?
7. Why was she jealous of Mahduri?
8. How was Haji Ghani attracted to Madhuri?
9. Why did Azreen feel a chill when she found Mahduris photos
torn systematically into three parts? Who do you think did it?
10. What does the Old Lady reveal about her past life?
11. Why does the Old Lady make her home in the jungle?
12. Why is Azreen close to the Old Lady when everyone keeps
away from her?

CHAPTER 7(*)
1. How long did it rain for?
2. Why were there hardly any tears from Azreen and her father
when they found her mother dead?
3. Who attended the funeral?

4. What was Azreen doing in the room before it caught fire?


5. Why did Azreen shiver as she stepped into the house and
closed the door behind her?
6. What does azan mean?
7. What charm did Puan Fatihah duel in? Why did she do this? Is
this against the Islamic teachings?
8. Give two reasons why Haji Ghani took a second wife?
9. Why did Puan Fatihah lose consciousness in the jungle?
10. What was Mohd. Asraf worried about?
11. Why was Mohd. Asfar close to his grandmother?
12. What subject did Mohd. Asraf teach?
13. What is the first piece of evidence Saleh Abdullah found?
14. Where did he find it?
15. Why was he angry when he found it?
16. What did Saleh Abdullah do?
17. Who witnessed what he did?
18. What was the Old Lady puzzled when she saw Puan Fatihah
stumbling and hurrying away?
19. Who visited the Old Lady? What did the Old Lady do?
20. What lesson did the Old Lady learn from being alone in the
jungle?
21. What lesson did the Old Lady learn from her mistakes?
22. How did the Old Lady feel once she had forgiven the long
grudge she kept?
23. Why was Azreen close to the Old Lady when the whole village
were afraid of her?
24. Why did Mohd. Asraf go looking for the Old Lady?
25. What form of medication did the Old Lady use to cure sick
people?
26. Where could these ingredients be found?

CHAPER 9 (*)
1. How did Puan Kamsiah feel about the Old Lady?

2. Why did Puan Kamsiah regret sending her daughter to help look
after Mohd. Asrafs grandmother?
3. What name did the village people give the Old Lady?
4. What did Azreen find on Mohd Asrafs desk?
5. When was the mailing date on the envelope?
6. Who did Azreen write to? What was the content of the letter?
7. Why didnt Haji Ghani want to eat Puan Fatihahs elaborate
breakfast feast?
8. Was Puan Fatihah disappointed or angry? Quote the word that
explains her feelings?
9. Why couldnt Siti come over to look after Nek the next
morning?
10. Why did Azreen go home?
11. Who was the intruder in Azreens home?
12. What did Azreen find out from the intruder?
13. What was Azreen accused for?
14. What was the first sign of the curse?
15. Who came to rescue Azreen from the mob?
16. What did Asraf thank Azreen for?
17. What was the present for both of them?
CHAPTER 10 (*)
1. What was diferent between Azreen and her father that
evening?
2. Why did Siti come to see Azreen?
3. What did Azreen do after being informed by Siti?
4. Summarize the incident Siti was involved in?
5. What were the Old Ladys dying words?
6. Who helped Azreen?
7. What did Azreen do to Mohd. Asraf?
8. What did Mohd. Asraf reveal to Azreen?
9. Summarize Awangs confession.
10. Summarize page 215-217 to find out Haji Ghanis story.

CHAPTER 11 (*)

1. Why was Azreens head feeling heavy as she hiked up to her


house?
2. What did she find out about Madhuri?
3. What frightening experience did Madhuri encounter before
reaching home?
4. What was the pontianak trying to do?
5. What was the white blood actually?
6. Who killed Mahduri?
7. What happened to Saleh Abdullah? Summarize page 223-228.
CHAPTER 12
1. What did Azreen visit before returning to England? What did
she do there?
2. Why did Azreen feel a weight being lifted from her soul?
3. What did Azreen see behind a tree? Who was it?
(*) asterisk marks the important chapters in this novel
Answer
Q1. Who is your favorite character in the novel you have studied?
Give a reason for your choice using information from the novel.
Characters play an important role in novels as they add
flavor to the plot . In the novel The Curse by Lee Su Ann, Azreen
Saleh is my favorite character for many reasons.
Firstly, Azreen Saleh is brave and loyal to her friend Asraf.
She was willing to take the blame for Asraf and to save him from
being beaten by the owner of the farm in which he worked. Asraf
was blamed for leaving the gate to the bulls yard open and the
bull was missing. The owner and his sons were about to beat
Asraf up, but, Azreen intervened and admitted that she left the
gate open. Clearly, this incident reveals Azreens braveness and
loyalty to defend a friend by taking the blame. Her loyalty is
remarkable and this is why Azreen is my favorite character in this
novel.

Besides this, her fearless nature can also be applauded. In


one incident before she leaves for her studies, she is challenged
to disturb the Old Lady of the jungle. Her friends and she believed
that the Old Lady was a witch and could harm anyone who came
within her reach. Azreens fearless nature is revealed here when
she befriended the Old Lady and both became good friends in the
end.

Answer
Q2 Describe the theme of courage in facing challenges in life and
explain why you feel this is a theme in the novel

The themes of courage is made very transparent in the novel


The Curse by Lee Su Ann. The two characters that reflect this
theme is The Old Lady and Azreen Saleh.
The Old Lady was out casted by the villages and forced her
to live in isolation in the jungle. She had married a young man
from the island and had lived in the centre of the village. She was
beautiful, modern and educated young maiden who slowly
adapted and became very involved in the villages activities. She
was known for her special cures for flu and fever.
She became an enemy of the villages when she killed her
husband who betrayed their marriage. The Old lady was forced to
leave the village because of this.
Her courage can be seen through her being able to show
courage despite being an outcast. She learned to accept her
status even when the villages considered her a witch. They
accused her of being able to cast spells and bringing bad luck to
the village. This did not stop her from helping those who came to
her for help.

Mohd. Asraf came to her for help because he was desperate


for his grandmothers illness. The Old Lady was courageous
enough to help Mohd. Asraf despite the villages spitting and
forbidding her to help Asrafs grandmother. She was strong
enough to take this challenge and help others. She took all the
challenges and advised Azreen to face up challenges also.
This is how the theme of courage has motivated to face up
to challenges in life through the old lady and Azreen.
Azreen also showed tremendous courage in this novel. She
took the challenge to face the Old Lady when she was still in
school. Despite being told that the Old Lady was a witch that lived
by herself and she was harmful to anyone coming close to her,
Azreen was not afraid. She was dared by her friends and she took
it up. Her courage is seen here and eventually she and the Old
Lady became good friends.

Answer
Q3 Describe two moral values that you have learned from the
story The Curse by Lee Su Ann
The story The Curse by Lee Su Ann has moral values that
enables the reader to learn many lessons of value. One of the
moral values that I have learned is family relationship must be
built on thrust and understanding. Azreen knew that her parents
favored Madhuri whom they considered the perfect daughter.
Although Azreens relationship with her father was estranged, she
did not show hate for him. From here I learn that Azreen never
disliked her parents even when she found out the truth. She still
respected them and helped them doing the household chores.
The lesson here is family live and understanding based on trust
and respect for what parents have given you.
Another moral value that I learned is never allow anger to
take over or make you do things that you will regret later. Mohd.

Asraf was extremely angry with the Old Lady and blamed her for
his grandmothers death. Azreen tried to reason with him but his
anger was clouded with anger and grief. This resulted in him and
the villages burning down the Old Ladys hut and she died of
smoke sufocation. Even in her dying moment the Old Lady
advised Azreen to forgive and be strong.
The two values being family relationship is built on trust and
understanding and never allow anger to take over you is what I
have learned in this story.

Answer
Q 13 Describe an event that is happy or sorrowful. Explain why
you think the event is happy or sorrowful?
sorrowful event
The story, The Curse, tells of the death of Madhuri and the
reaction of the villagers to the incident. Azreen, Madhuri's sister
returned home from London to the village to mourn the loss of
Madhuri. Azreen found her father sullen and more distant from
her while her mother was delirious and lost in her own world.
There were no attempts to investigate the cause of the death
although there were rumours of murder and talks of it being a
curse on the village. The superstitious feelings were enhanced by
the presence of a vampire-like figure in the village and the witch
in the jungle.
The so-called witch in the jungle was the Old Lady, an
outcast of the village whom Azreen had befriended. The sorrowful
event is the fiery death of the Old Lady when her house was burnt
down. Azreen had persuaded her to help cure Mohd Asraf's
grandmother. But, unfortunately the grandmother died after a
short recovery. Mohd Asraf goaded by some of the villagers went
and attacked the Old Lady's house. The house was set on fire,
albeit accidentally and the Old Lady was burnt to death.

This was a sorrowful incident because the Old Lady was


Azreen's friend and confidante. Azreen used to seek her company
when she felt unhappy about her estrangement with her family.
The Old Lady was her haven from the villagers who did not
approve of her rebellious ways. She gave Azreen some good
advice.
With the loss of the Old Lady and her family, Azreen felt the
village was no longer her home.
Happy event
Although the whole story is plagued with many sorrowful
events, there is one event that is happy. This is the time when she
went to the Old Ladys house after the fire incident. Azreen was
waiting for the Old Lady outside her house drenched and cold.
The Old Lady took her into the house and handed her a sarong
and towel to dry herself. She fell asleep shortly and awoke to the
good smell of curry and a warm stove.
It is here Azreen happiness can be recorded because the
warmth, love and care of the Old Lady is recorded. The Old Lady
is the only one who gave her this. In my opinion, with her mother
dead, no fathers love and afection and perhaps blamed for the
fire, Azreen happiest moments were with the Old Lady. The
reason Azreen refused to go home that night is because her home
if filled with emptiness, but, at this moment when she needed
some form of support was what little the Old lady could ofer.
I feel this is Azreens happiest moment.

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