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English Focus SPM Exploring Literature

FORM 4 (New Literature Component 2015)

Poems

The Living Photograph The Charge of the Light


by Jackie Kay Brigade by Lord, Tennyson

Short Stories

Tanjong Rhu by
Minfong Ho Leaving by M.G Vassanji

Drama

The Right Thing to Do


by Martyn Ford

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English Focus SPM Exploring Literature

POEMS

1 The Living Photograph by Jackie Kay

My small grandmother is tall there,


straight-back, white broderie anglaise shirt,
pleated skirt, flat shoes, grey bun,
a kind, old smile round her eyes.
Her big hand holds mine,
white hand in black hand.
Her sharp blue eyes look her own death in the eye.

It was true after all, that look.


My tall grandmother became small.
Her back round and hunched
Her soup forgot to boil.
She went to the awful place grandmothers go
Somewhere unknown, unthinkable.

But there she is still,


In the photo with me at three,
The crinkled smile is still living, breathing.

Jackie Kay

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English Focus SPM Exploring Literature

Synopsis
The poem talks about the personas photograph of her grandmother. The persona describes the
grandmother as being tall and who dressed up prime and proper. She had a kind smile and did not fear
death. As she aged, Grandmother became hunched and forgetful. She has passed away but the persona
still feels her presence as she looks at the photograph of herself and grandmother, taken when she was
three years old.

Poets Background
British writer Jackie Kay was born in Edinburghto a Scottish mother and a Nigerian father, adopted
by a white family and raised inGlasgow. Life was not easy for a biracial child in Glasgow which was
mostly white. Kays experiences especially her upbringing in her native Scotland with a majority
culture. have influenced her work
Kay, who writes poetry for children as well as adults, has enjoyed working on several projects that
introduce schoolchildren to creative writing. She noted that students can producestunningwork when
given proper encouragement. Students who understand the music of poetry will also become better at
writing prose. Kay has published two collections of poems for children and has recently completed her
first childrens novel.

Understanding the Poem


Stanza 1

The persona describes her grandmother as tall and well-dressed with a kind smile. Her smile comes
from her eyes. On her deathbed, she held the personas small black hand in her big white hand. She
was not afraid to leave the world.

Stanza 2

The persona accepts that her grandmother has passed to the other world, as all grandmothers do.
Grandmother who was of a tall stature became small and hunched and forgetful.

Stanza 3
The persona at age three had taken a photograph with grandmother. When she looks at the
photograph, she feels grandmothers presence. To the persona, her grandmother is still very much
alive and smiling at her.

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English Focus SPM Exploring Literature

Elements of the Poem

Language and Style


Language easy to
Persona understand
First person point of view the Style simple and
persona uses the words, my and understanding
me Clear and descriptive

Themes The Living


Close family ties Photograph Tone and Mood
Grandmother-granddaughter Appreciative and
relationship thankful
Love and appreciation Thoughtful and
Unwillingness to let go of loving
someone close Sense of strong
Value of photographs family ties

Moral Values
We must strive for close family relationships with our grandparents and
parents
We should love and appreciate close family members while they are still
alive
We must learn to let go of the dead
Keeping a memento like a photograph helps to keep memories alive
We must not dwell on the past too much

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English Focus SPM Exploring Literature

2 The Charge of the Light Brigade by Alfred, Lord Tennyson

(an extract)

Half a league, half a league,


Half a league onward,
All in the valley of Death
Rode the six hundred.
Forward, the Light Brigade!
Charge for the guns! he said.
Into the valley of Death
Rode the six hundred.

Forward, the Light Brigade!


Was there a man dismayed?
Not though the soldier knew
Some one had blundered.
Theirs not to make reply,
Theirs not to reason why,
Theirs but to do and die.
Into the valley of Death
Rode the six hundred.

Cannon to right of them,


Cannon to left of them,
Cannon in front of them
Volleyed and thundered
Stormed at with shot and shell,
Boldly they rode and well,
Into the jaws of Death,
Into the mouth of Hell
Rode the six hundred.
Alfred, Lord Tennyson

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English Focus SPM Exploring Literature

Synopsis
The poem is a war poem about 600 soldiers of the Light Brigade who were ordered to charge into a
valley where the enemies were waiting. There were guns or cannons to the right, left and front of them.
As the soldiers rode into the valley they were attacked on all sides. Still they rode on and attacked the
soldiers they saw. On their retreat they were attacked just as badly on all sides. Many of these soldiers
died. It was in the line of duty and no one protested when the order was given for them to ride into
the valley of death.

Poets Background

A lfred, Lord Tennyson was born on 6 August, 1809 in Lincolnshire, England. He is one of the most
well-loved poets in the Victorian period. Fourth of twelve children, Tennyson showed an early
talent for writing. He attended grammar school until he was eleven and then tutored at home by his
father in classical and modern languages. At age 14, he wrote a drama in blank verse and a 6000-line
epic. In 1827, Tennyson attended Trinity College, Cambridge. During the next few years, Tennyson
continued to live with his family, which had now moved to London, and to apply himself to his
studies and writing. He became engaged to Emily Sellwood. In 1842, a two-volume collection of his
work appeared, containing many revisions of earlier poems, besides a number of excellent new ones,
including Morte dArthur, Ulysses, and Locksley Hall. At last Tennyson was recognised as one
of the leading literary figures of the period and was acclaimed throughout England. At the age of 41,
Tennyson had established himself as the most popular poet of the Victorian era.

Understanding the Poem


Stanza 1
600 soldiers of the Light Brigade rode for a distance of half a league (about two and a half kilometres)
into a valley on the orders of their commander. He had ordered them to charge forward and attacked
the enemy soldiers who lay ahead.

Stanza 2
The order Forward, the Light Brigade was given. Yet, no one protested or questioned the orders
although they knew it was a blunder. As soldiers, their duty was to follow orders, whatever they were.
The soldiers had to right to question whether the orders given were right or wrong and even if it
meant death, they still had to follow the orders. So, the 600 hundred soldiers rode on into the Valley
of Death.

Stanza 3
The enemies fired the guns or cannons from all sides, left, right and front of them. Although they
were so badly attacked, the 600 soldiers rode on boldly and properly into the war area.

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English Focus SPM Exploring Literature

Elements of the Poem

Persona Language and Style


Third person point of Language war words
view the poem is but clear and easy to
presented by an all- understand
knowing person Style simple yet
condemning

Themes
Warfare and conflict
Carrying out a given duty The Charge
Courage in the face of of the Light
danger Brigade
Blind respect for authority Rhyme
Death and destruction The rhyme scheme
varies with each
stanza

Tone and Mood


Appreciative and
thankful Moral Values
Thoughtful and loving We must struggle for peace rather than warfare
Sense of strong family When given a duty we try out best to carry it out
ties When we know that some instructions or orders could
lead to danger, we must be prepared o voice our feelings
Discussion is a good approach before we carry out
projects
We should be brave in the face of danger

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English Focus SPM Exploring Literature

SHORT STORIES

1 Tanjong Rhu by Minfong Ho

Synopsis

T anjong Rhu is a simple yet profound story about the relationship between Mr T. W. Li, a rich
businessman in the shipping business and his mother (Ah Ma). Mr Li has his office at Shenton
Way and is modern in his ways and ideas. His mother is traditional with strong religious beliefs and
practises ancestor worship religiously. They have a close relationship although Mr Li does not seem to
realise it. The day after Ah Mas funeral, Mr Li recalls the day he told his mother about using binoculars
or see-far glasses. While he wants her to have better vision with the binoculars, she however hopes
to see her husbands shipyard in Tanjong Rhu with the binoculars. She uses them but does not see
anything. Instead, she tells Mr Li she sees his childhood days when they enjoyed walks on Tanjong Rhu
beach in her minds eyes. Mr Li cannot remember all these details and wants to ask Ah Ma further. But,
she becomes very sick and is unable to speak much. She manages to convey the urgency of a hidden
key to the altar before she draws her last breath. He promises to fulfil this last wish of hers. But he is
unable to find the key.

About the Author


Minfong Ho is a Chinese-American award winning writer. Born in Myanmar in 1951 to Chinese
parents, Minfong Ho has lived in Thailand and Singapore. Currently, she resides in New York with her
family. She studied Chinese History and Literature for two years at the Tunghai University in Taiwan.
After that, she attended Cornell University and graduated with a B. A. in Economics and a Master of
Fine Arts.
She writes on the lives of people in her native South East Asia. The stories are usually set against
the backdrop of real events in countries like Thailand and Cambodia. She also writes stories for young
adult readers and middle graders as well as picture books for younger children in simple yet appealing
language.
In 1983, she worked at the National University of Singapore as the writer-in-residence and held
that position for seven years. As a result, she is widely referred to there as a local writer. Her works
have been selected as teaching material for English literature in lowersecondary schools. She has also
travelled and made presentations at various writing workshops inmiddle schoolsandhigh schoolsin
the United States and international schools inSwitzerland,Indonesia, Thailand,Poland, andMalaysia.

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English Focus SPM Exploring Literature

Elements of the Poem


Setting

Tanjong Rhu

Place Time

Office of Mr Li which is high above Present day Mr Li is standing in office


Shenton Way near the Singapore harbour and looking at the ships in the harbour.
Home of Mr Li sitting room and the Childhood day His mother reminisces
altar room about the past when Mr Li was a boy
Hospital Mr Lis mother was admitted and this causes Mr Li to wonder about
to hospital his past too

Plot
The plot refers to the events of the story. It starts with the beginning of the story and shows how one
event leads to another.

Exposition
Mr T. W. Li, a rich businessman stood at his office window high above Shenton Way. Concerned
about something which he could not lay his finger on he was not ready to go home. His mothers
(Ah Ma) funeral was just a day before and everything had been done correctly. He counted the
number of ships in the harbour as it was his habit with his binoculars. The binoculars reminded
him of his mother.

Conflict
He recalled he had bought them for Ah Ma and was eager to give them to her. He wanted her
to use them as she did not want to undergo a cataract operation. His wife was having tea with
friends in a room. Ah Ma was in the garden feeding her chickens. Speaking to her in Cantonese,
he mentioned the binoculars as see-far glasses. Ah Ma was irritated as it reminded her of her
refusal to have a cataract operation. Later, she mentioned her willingness to use them at his office
to see Tanjong Rhu where her husbands shipyard used to be.

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English Focus SPM Exploring Literature

Climax
Next morning, Ah Ma prayed in the altar room. Then, she talked to her dead husband to inform
him of her going to their sons office. Her granddaughter, Ying offered to do the praying with the
joss sticks for her but she would not allow it. Mr Li ticked off Ying for criticising her grandmother
for wanting to do things her way. While waiting for Ah Ma, Mr Li looked at his fathers photograph
and remembered their time together. When they were in his office, Mr Li pointed out the ships
and the whole harbour to Ah Ma but she could not see anything. Instead, she talked about seeing
their old hut, walks and crabbing on the beach. Coming back to the present, Mr Li felt nostalgic
and wanted very much to go back to the time of his childhood. He tried to recall but had very
blurred memories.

Falling action
He recalled that he tried to ask Ah Ma again. But, by then, she had become very sick and was
bedridden in hospital unable to move or talk very much. Ying helped to look after her. Knowing
that her father wanted to talk to Ah Ma, she lifted her grandmothers eyelids and told her father
to say something. But, Mr Li could not and scolded Ying for not being respectful. Ah Ma moved
restlessly and managed to say something about the key to the altar being hidden before she drew
her last breath.

Resolution
Now back in his office, the day was becoming dark and he suddenly thought of the altar and what
he had promised Ah Ma at her deathbed. This was what had been troubling him the whole day,
something he had left undone. He rushed home to do that one last thing for her. He paid his
respects to Ah Ma but, he could not open the drawer. He cried and told Ah Ma he saw Tanjong
Rhu that day and then decided to leave well alone.

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English Focus SPM Exploring Literature

Filial piety

Family
Ancestor worship
relationships

Traditional Themes
practices versus Accepting
modern ways and changes
ideas

Keeping alive
memories of
Generation gap
family members
childhood

Moral Values
We should always voice out our feelings especially if we want to express feelings of love for a family
member especially an old parent.
We should take care of our parents especially in their old age.
We should consider and accept changes in our lives and progress with the time.
We should trust family members and know that they always have our interests at heart.
There should not be a generation gap especially with regards to family values.

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English Focus SPM Exploring Literature

Tone and Mood


Serious and proper : Mr Li is a successful businessman who is takes his work seriously and he is set
in his ways. Mr Lis mother is also very proper in that when she prays, everything has to be done
properly.
Anxiety and nostalgic : Mr Lis mother talks about the past, their shipyard in Tanjong Rhu and
Mr Lis childhood days
A light note or moment here and there when Ying attempts to rush her grandmother.

Point of view
Third person point of view or omniscient point of view
Gives insight into the feelings and thoughts of the characters

Language and Style


Simple language and descriptive especially with reference to the praying process
Style the writer uses flashback to project the mothers thoughts and feelings

Literary Devices
Mr Li wants Ah Ma to see the ships and harbour which reflected his business
Irony success with the binoculars but to Ah Ma the binoculars are helpful to look
back to the past as they are see-far glasses
Rhetoric questions What was it then? Why did he feel that he had left something undone?
Mr Li: He was boyishly eager to show her the binoculars, the evening he
returned home from work with them.
Flashback
Ah Ma : A thin little boy walking alone on the beach .. I see you, Ah Wah,
I see you clearly.
Figurative has eaten more salt than you have eaten rice
expression these numbers fixed him in time and place
his place of work at the edge of the sky.
her eyes were as blank as office windows and like bits of colourless stones
Simile the skin on her face looked like a fruit left to dry too long in the sun
hospital rooms felt like a prison to him
the number of ships in the harbour the figures were a symbol of his
success and consistency
Symbolism
binoculars or see-far glasses symbolises seeing things far away that is the
past which is very far away
Imagery small and thin, with grey hair and a bent back creates image of an old person
the altar like the horizon that separates the sea and the sky is the line
between life and death
Comparison Ah Mas womb is compared like the seed cavity of the fruit had held
countless seeds within it refers to her fertility and large number of
descendants

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English Focus SPM Exploring Literature

Main and Minor Characters


Main Characters
Mr T. W. Li
A successful businessman in the shipping sector
Has a happy childhood with his family in Tanjong Rhu
Happy family life wife, son and daughter
Close relationship with his mother but does not open up to her easily
Modern in his ways and ideas takes pride in his modern ways makes sure no one is about when
he bows to show respect to his dead parents
Tolerant - does not interfere in his mothers traditional ways
Meticulous keeps track of number of ships every day by counting them
Patient and respectful waits for mother to finish prayers although he had to leave for office does
not hurry her
Filial made sure funeral of mother is done in the right way full of customs and traditions
Strict and does not entertain disrespect from the young expects daughter to respect elders
Regrets not talking to Ah Ma and never listening when she talked

Ah Ma (Mr Lis Mother)


Traditional with strong religious beliefs values Chinese tradition of ancestor worship talks to
husband who has passed on for 10 years
Meticulous keeps all the prayer paraphernalia under lock and key
Determined to do things her way refuses to allow Ying to do the praying Do you even know
how to speak to your grandfather?
Good memory can recall the childhood of Mr Li well
Old-fashioned does not believe in having eye operation for cataract
Proud and refuses to admit to ill-health
Clings to the past refuses to accept change
Proud of sons success voices her feelings to dead husband

Minor characters
Ying (Mr Lis daughter)
Loving takes care of grandmother in hospital refuses to believe that her grandmother is dying
assures grandmother not to worry about her keys
When young loved helping grandmother with wine cups and burning of gold paper in front of altar
Generation gap with grandmother as teenager feels that one need not be fastidious when doing
prayers to ancestors
Talks to father in English when referring to grandmother being stubborn
Persuasive try to persuade her grandmother to let her do the praying to the grandfather

Helen (Mr Lis wife)


A lady of leisure who enjoys having tea with her friends.
Superficial and full of pretence
She mentions the childrens overseas education to impress her friends.

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English Focus SPM Exploring Literature

2 Leaving by M.G. Vassanji

Synopsis
The story, Leaving is set in Tanzania. A woman raises her five children alone after the early death of
her husband. After the two elder girls get married and the eldest son acquires a job, the mother focuses
on the two youngest, Aloo and the youngest daughter (the narrator). Aloo is in his final year in school
and the girl is in university. She pins all her hopes on them that they will have a better education. She
winds up their store and moves them to a quieter part of town, Upanga. The place is quieter and is a
better environment for them to study. The return of Mr Datoo, a former teacher inspires Aloo to think
of furthering his education overseas in medicine in America. He starts writing to American universities
to get the necessary information. He is not keen on studying agriculture in a local university. He is
offered a place with a scholarship in the California Institute of Technology. However, his mother would
not allow him to accept the offer citing finances and fear of losing him as the reasons. Finally, on the
advice of a school officer, the mother relents and accepts the idea of allowing Aloo to leave home for
a different sky. The narrator, for the first time, sees her mother as a person and not just as her mother
someone who has always thought only of the childrens welfare. Aloos first letter was a graphic
enthusiastic account of London but to the mother, she is uncertain of his return.

About the Author

M . G. Vasanji was born in Kenya in 1950 and was brought up in Tanzania. He studied at the
Massachuettes Institute of Technology and the University of Pennysylvania in the United States
before moving to Canada in 1978. From 1980 to 1989 he was a research associate at the University of
Toronto. He co-founded and edited a literary magazine and began writing fiction.
Vassanji is one of Canadas most acclaimed writers. He has published six novels, two collections
of short stories, a memoir of his travel in India and a biography. His work has appeared in various
countries and several languages.

Elements of the Short Story


Setting
Time Present day

Uhuru Street the family store and home


Place
Upanga their new home in a quieter neighbourhood

Plot
Exposition
The narrators mother sold off the store in Uhuru Street in town and moved Aloo and the narrator, the
youngest daughter, to Upanga, another part of town. The other children were married and had their
own life. The new house was in a quiet area with a better environment for them to study. The mother
pinned her hopes on the two younger children. Aloo was in his final year in school and the narrator
was in university.

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English Focus SPM Exploring Literature

Conflict
Aloo began to think of his future of furthering his education in an American university. He wrote to
universities in America for information. Mother just smiled and teased him about having rich uncles in
America. Aloo learned that there was an exciting new world waiting for him. He was offered a course
in agriculture in a local university but he was not keen about farming.

Climax
Aloo was offered a place and scholarship by The California Institute of Technology.
Initially, mother did not believe Aloo had the offer and confirmed it with the narrator. Then, she
emphasised that they could not afford the spending money of a few thousand shillings. Aloo suggested
they get a loan and promised to work his way through college to repay the loan. Mother voiced her
fears of losing a son. Mr Velji, a school officer explained that the offer would be good for Aloos
education but they might lose him as he might not return.

Falling Action
Back home, mother for the first time asked to see the college prospectus. Aloo understood that his
mother was indirectly giving him permission to take up the offer. He was extremely excited. She made
Aloo promise not to forget his roots. The narrator saw her mother as a person for the first time and
realise the sacrifices she had made for her children at the expense of her own happiness.

Resolution
Aloo wrote to his mother from London. His letter was full of excitement at the new things he saw.
Mother stared into the future not daring to think aloud her thoughts.

Themes

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Moral Values
We must give support to family members and help them achieve their ambition.
When we need information for whatever we are interested in we must take the initiative to do
something about it.
It is good to be ambitious.
One must be courageous and have the strength to stand up to what one believes in.
If one is determined and not waver from ones goal, one will be successful.
It is good to want to keep family members around forever, but sometimes we need to let go for them
to live their own life.
New experiences and exposure to different cultures and ways of life enriches our lives.
We must not be afraid to get out of the known to learn about the unknown.
Parents are always willing to sacrifice for the good and happiness of their children.

Tone and Mood


Tone : practical and serious at the same time the characters relate and want to understand each
others feelings
Atmosphere : uneasy and angry as the characters talk about the issue and voice their feelings in no
uncertain words
Tone and atmosphere change from simple, loving to dramatic and back again.

Point of View
First person point of view story is told by Aloos sibling, the third daughter in the family
She gives a subjective view of the story her relationship with mother and siblings, feelings and
attitude towards the issue at hand.

Language and Style


The language used here is simple and straight to the point.
It is easy to understand as it follows a chronological order, from when Aloo writes to different
universities to get information, gets a reply with an offer of a scholarship to when mother agrees to
let him leave for further studies overseas.

Literary Devices

The mother wants Aloo to be happy and to have a bright future but she
is afraid to let him go and achieve it. She is so sure she will lose him.
When Aloo writes letters to some universities in America about courses and
Irony possibilities of scholarships, his mother teases him about having uncles in
America who will pay for him to attend college there.
Ironically, Uncle Sam (or America) does help him when he was offered a
scholarship.

Flashback The narrator recalls her mothers outburst of love

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the big shiny prospectuses is a symbol of the bright future or prospects that
Aloo hopes to acquire by studying overseas. Aloos mother is a symbol of the
old way of thinking that local education is as good as overseas education and
Symbolism
that that will ensure the children will stay close to home.
A bird flying high and free .. is a symbol of Aloos in the plane high in the air
and free to follow his dreams.
But could he get there? Was he good enough
Rhetoric question
How can I describe what I saw from the plane?
Aloos new and happy freedom compares with his mothers sadness about the
Comparison
uncertainty of the future not knowing whether she will still get to see her son

Figurative Language

his head... which looked like an egg... he walked in like a


Simile soldier

Figurative mother was not made of stone


Expression the letter was full of excitement

a little wind came in... the wind is personified as walking in


Personification through the open door

Main and Minor Characters


Main Characters
Aloo
Youngest child in the family doing his final year in school.
A good student who does well in school examinations, obtains straight As.
Is inspired by a former teacher who returns from America for a visit to consider furthering his
education overseas in America.
Not keen on studying agriculture at a local university
Diligent writes to universities to get necessary information for further studies
Ambitious - Wants to study medicine
Extremely happy when offered a place with scholarship in California Institute of Technology
Spirited and courageous - willing to do part-time work while studying
Tries to convince mother that he will definitely return to his homeland after his studies.
Obedient willing to accept mothers decision does not speak about overseas education and
prepares to study agriculture locally
Could not suppress his excitement when mother finally allows him to go overseas
Writes from London to mother his letter was so full of excitement that it creates doubts in mothers
mind about the future

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Mother
Mother of the five children and runs a store in Uhuru Street single-handedly raised five children
after the early death of her husband
Thinks of the childrens future first willing to sacrifice for them - closes down the store and
moves family to a quieter part of town better environment for studying - a big change for her
Ambitious about her childrens education wants them to do well
Afraid to let youngest son go for overseas education afraid he might not return home, take a
European wife or forget his roots
Wise and understanding about situation children have to grow up and leave home one day but
yet hopes to hold on to them as long as possible
Loving and caring take steps to ensure youngest son leave for further studies with a happy frame
of mind
After receiving letter from Aloo in London feels unsure that Aloo will return to hometown in
Tanzania

Minor characters

Aloos sibling (narrator)


Second youngest in family and studying in local university
Supportive of and understands Aloos needs to study overseas and not in local university
Loving and caring of mother and understands mothers refusal to allow Aloo to study overseas
Observant observes mothers face and sees her as a person and not just as their mother
recalls mothers worried, unsmiling face looking after them

Mr Datoo
A former teacher in Aloos school came back from America for a visit.
It was his visit that inspired Aloo to think about his future of studying overseas in America.

Mr Velji
A school officer who gives an objective comment about Aloos studies overseas
Knows that Aloo will get a good education but fears that his mother may lose a son
Has an understanding look when he reads the contents of Aloos letter from London

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DRAMA

The Right Thing to Do by Martyn Ford

Synopsis
A man is lying in the street. Three people, Patrick, Rebecca and David pass by and they look at him
not knowing what to do. They are in two minds whether to walk away or do something to help him.
They push the act of checking on the man to each other as each feels it is not their problem. As they
are hesitating and arguing, a woman in blue comes and she immediately starts helping the man. She
instructs each one of them to do certain things for him David has to call for an ambulance, Rebecca
to get water from a house nearby and Patrick to feel the mans pulse. The lady and Patrick see the bottle
of pills in the mans pocket. He has to take one if he feels ill. They help him to take a pill and he feels
better. The woman walks away quietly unnoticed by the others. Then, the ambulance arrives. The man
tells the nurse he is Michael Scott, the famous TV chef. The ambulance takes him away and the three
bystanders are happy they have done the right thing by helping the man. They commented on the
woman walking away, not realising that they were all reluctant to help in the first place.

Elements of the Drama


Setting

Time Daytime

Place The sidewalk of a street in town

Plot
Exposition
Patrick and Rebecca see a man lying on the five-foot way of a street. They are unsure whether they
should help him. Each felt it is not his or her duty to help the man.

Conflict
David passes by and asks about the man. The other two answered they do not know. Both men feel that
Rebecca should help the man as she is the first there. She, however, insists that it is not her problem.

Climax
While they are hesitating and arguing, a woman in blue comes by and she kneels down to help the man.
The others want to know why she is helping but she tells them to be quiet and do what she instructs.
David has to call for the ambulance, Rebecca to get some water and Patrick to feel the mans pulse. They
find the mans bottle of pills which he should take when he feels ill. They help take the pill and when he
feels better, the woman in blue leaves. The others do not notice this.

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Falling Action
The ambulance comes and a nurse checks that the man is well. The man is Michael Scott, the famous
TV chef. Scott thanks the three of them and then the ambulance takes him away.

Resolution
The three, Rebecca, Patrick and David are happy the man is going to be all right. They feel they have
done the right thing for him. He is alive because of them. They criticise the woman for leaving without
realising that she was the one who actually started to help Michael Scott. It is an important day for
them as they have helped someone famous.

Theme
Do the right thing when the occasion warrants it
Be alert to what others do or do not do
Learn by example
Bringing out the best in others
Humility and sincerity when giving help
Acknowledge and appreciate help given by others
Take credit only if one deserves it
Taking charge in times of emergency

Moral Values
We must be prepared to help out when the need arises.
We must be aware of who has helped or have not helped and give credit where credit is due.
Learn from what others do especially their acts of charity or humanity.
In whatever we do, we should bring out the best in others.
When we are giving help, do it humbly and sincerely and do not expect rewards.
Any help rendered by others, should be acknowledged and appreciated no matter how simple.
If you feel that what you have done deserves mention, then you can take credit.
In times of emergency, anyone capable can take charge, even if he or she is not affiliated. The woman
in blue did not know Michael Scott, but she still helped him.

Language and Style


Simple and clear language
Dialogue exaggeration and repetition of words
Repeated by the characters to show fear of taking responsibility

Tone, mood and atmosphere


Uncertainty about condition of man lying on the street
Frustrating mood as the bystanders pushed responsibility to each other
Atmosphere change to certainty and relief as the man is helped and becomes well

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English Focus SPM Exploring Literature

Literary Devices
Irony
It was ironical that none of the three bystanders attempted to check the condition of the man and
when a woman came by and checked on him, they became curious about her rather than the man.
When the man recovered and was taken away in an ambulance the three bystanders congratulated
themselves for a job well done and forgot to credit the woman in blue.

Symbol
The man lying on the street with three bystanders not doing anything to help him is symbolic of public
apathy when help is needed. Most onlookers will only look out of curiosity. There is no urgency of
needing to do the right thing.

Flashback
The three bystanders recalled the woman who helped as being more bossy than helpful.

Imagery
The three bystanders looking at the man lying on the street gives a clear image of helplessness in the
face of an emergency. Nobody seemed to know the exact action to take.

Repetition
Repetition of words to get effect and emphasis e.g. Yes, but its not my problem And its not my
problem! , We did everything. Yeah. Everything.

Figurative Devices
Diction
Oh, be quiet!, Be quiet and help. Go on! Feel his pulse.

Characters and Character Traits


Rebecca
First to see the man lying on the street
Looks around and sees nobody around
Wants to walk away, hesitates and walks back to look at the man again.
Not willing to help the man physically
Non-committal person
Does not like to be told off annoyed when the woman in blue told her to be quiet
Instructed to get water but looks at woman with an unfriendly face
Does what she is told get water
Likes to take credit when things go well saying we did everything

21
English Focus SPM Exploring Literature

Patrick
Walks past and stops to look at the man lying on the road
Not keen to help or find out the cause the man is lying on road
Pushes the responsibility to Rebecca with the excuse that she was there first
Good at making suggestions e.g. Wake him up then but not willing to be physically involved.
An on-looker rather than a doer
Instructed by woman to check the mans pulse does this quite efficiently
Expressed happily the man is still alive
Expressed displeasure that the woman walked away
Commented that helping the man is the right thing to do

David
Comes along after Rebecca and Patrick
Observant that the man looks ill and is non-committal too
Insists checking on the man is not his problem Why me? You do it.
Instructed by the woman to call an ambulance unwilling and hesitant
Told not to waste time

The woman in blue


She kneels down immediately to help the man lying on the street
Though she is not a doctor and does not know the man, she helps him willingly.
Civic-minded and knows what she is doing it the right thing to do
Masterly and well-organised instructs the others with precise instructions
Humble and self-effacing after making sure the man is out of danger, she walks away
Does not like to be in the limelight
Does not mind to be misunderstood by the others who forgot her role in saving the an
Confident and considerate does not stay to take credit for her work

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