GUY FAWKES

pre-reading tasks
1. Do you know who Guy Fawkes was? 2.Do you know how British people celebrate November 5th?

g u y fa w k e s
Guy Fawkes was a Roman Catholic born in the 16th century. He was involved in a plot to kill the Protestant King James 1 and his ministers. He and his fellow conspirators planned to do this by using huge amounts of gunpowder to blow up the Houses of Parliament on the banks of the Thames in London. Parliament was traditionally opened by the king in a special ceremony. (The same ceremony still takes place today). The killing was planned for November 5th 1605. However, the plot was discovered at the last minute. Guy Fawkes and his cronies were arrested. In January 1606 they were executed. Not everyone in Britain knows about the plot to kill King James 1 but all Britons know that, every year, the night of November 5th is Guy Fawkes Night. It is one of Britain’s most popular festivals. It is also known as Bonfire Night because it is a tradition to burn a large pile of wood or ‘bonfire’. On top of the bonfire a ‘Guy’ or model of Guy Fawkes is placed. People get together with their friends and have firework parties. Although the festival is associated with Guy Fawkes and the so-called Gunpowder Plot, the building of bonfires and burning of an effigy probably goes back thousands of years to pagan religions. Guy Fawkes Night is especially popular with children. In the weeks before November 5th they make a model ‘guy’, put it outside on the street, and ask passers-by for a ‘penny for the guy’– money to buy fireworks. There are many different types of fireworks, for example, ‘rockets’ that fly into the air, ‘crackers’ that jump around on the ground and make a terrible noise, and ‘Catherine wheels’ that spin around and form beautiful circles of colour. It is unlikely that people will ever completely forget that Guy Fawkes Night has its origins in a rather sinister historic event. Most British people still know the first lines of a rhyme that was traditionally taught in schools. It goes like this: Remember, remember, the Fifth of November, Gunpowder, Treason, and Plot!

comprehension check
a. What did Guy Fawkes plan to do? Was he successful? b.What do British people do on Guy Fawkes Night? c. What is the other name for Guy Fawkes Night? d.Why do many people remember the origins of Guy Fawkes Night?

v o c a b u l a ry 
Match the following words with their definitions: a. plot 1. something that happens. b. gunpowder 2. an open air fire. c. blow up 3. a secret plan to do something wrong. d. cronies 4. to turn around quickly. e. bonfire 5. an explosive substance. f. firework 6. a crime that harms your country. g. spin 7. friends or associates with a bad reputation. h. event 8. to destroy in an explosion. i. treason 9. something that makes a noise and gives off coloured lights.

grammar 
Rewrite the following sentences using the active voice:

a. Parliament was traditionally opened by the King. b. The killing was planned by Guy Fawkes. c. A ‘guy’ is placed on top of the bonfire. d. A rhyme about Guy Fawkes was taught in schools.

answer key
Comprehension Check a. He planned to blow up Parliament and kill the King and his ministers. No, he wasn’t. b. They build bonfires, burn a ‘guy’, and have firework parties. c. Bonfire Night. d.Because they learn a rhyme about it at school. Vocabulary a. 3; b. 5; c. 8; d. 7; e. 2; f. 9; g. 4; h. 1; i. 6 Grammar a. The King traditionally opened Parliament. b. Guy Fawkes planned the killing. c. People place a ‘guy’ on top of the bonfire. d.Children learned a rhyme about Guy Fawkes at school.