Presentation on theme: "THE TEST - ANGELICA GIBB"— Presentation transcript:
1THE TEST - ANGELICA GIBB In discussing this short story the usual areas which have to be examined and the appropriate literary terms used.
2The Test Matters Marion’s job depends on the test Mrs Ericson’s family depends on the testMarion’s self-respect depends on the test
3The TitleAmbiguous – has a double meaning: both the driving test and also the racial testing by the bigoted examiner to check if Marion is a submissive black.This adds to the emotional impact of the story.
4“In medias res” opening The writer begins in mid-plot.This is “her second driver’s test”.The “back story” is implied by the first sentence – that something has gone wrong on the previous test.The story begins at a point of high tension – a second test with increased nerves.
6Theme The theme is racial prejudice “…do like it better if a white person shows up…”Mrs Ericson suggests young cousin Bill was the wrong person to go with Marion:Marion reads between the lines and assumes the problem was that Bill is black.Marian is honest and intuitive.
7ImplicationMrs Ericson suggests a bribe “..slip them a little something…”The implication is that the test is a fraud, not honest or fair if you are blackMarion’s response, “That would only make it worse…” hints at the main point of the story, that white bigots are looking for any excuse to fail the black person.Marian has an intelligent insight.
8THEMES:These are the ISSUES ; THE VALUES which the story examines. All stories say something about the way in which we human beings lead our lives and treat each other.QU 9: What is the central theme of ‘The Test?’
10SETTING i. WHERE IS THE STORY SET? When the reader knows the place in which the story is set he might have certain expectations and bring some information to his reading of the story.QU 1: In this story, what expectations might the reader reasonably have about how the environment might affect the behaviour or the fortunes of the characters?ii. IS THE SETTING OF INDIVIDUAL INCIDENTS IMPORTANT?QU 2: Are there any incidents in this story where the setting might be said to be symbolic?iii. WHEN IS THE STORY SET?QU 3: Is it recent? Or is it set in the past where a certain set of historical circumstances might affect the behaviour and fortunes of the characters?
12Plot – How does it develop? Suspense over who will be the tester:The stocky, shouting man ORThe genial, middle aged, smiling man (who turns out to be the racist with the friendly face)Ironically, the genial man is as much a racist as the stocky man was.
13Careful Plotting The tester asks her to read the sign. She does. He asks where she learned to read.She says at college.He laughs.She stalls on the slippery bridge.He makes fun of her: “Mistress Mandy, remember your degree.”She swears at him and starts the car with a jerk.THEN He fails her with four random crosses on the blank.
14Careful Plotting She stalls on the slippery bridge. He makes fun of her: “Mistress Mandy, remember your degree.”She swears at him and starts the car with a jerk.THEN He fails her with four random crosses on the blank.SO HE FAILED HER BECAUSE SHE LOST HER TEMPER AT HIM, NOT BECAUSE SHE STALLED THE CAR
15Careful Plotting Reveals motivation of character of tester He is furious because Marian swore at him, not because she stalled the car.
16IMPORTANT!!! The plot and its ending are designed to: A) challenge our sense of fairnessB) provoke anger and indignationC) make us reflect on the small, unnoticed acts of racism which still occur.
17PLOT:QU 4: Briefly summarise all that happens. in the story - including all RELEVANT detail.QU 5: Are there incidents of particular significance in the story?QU 6: Does the author prepare the reader for the ending? Even, as in this story, when the reader hopes that the ending will be otherwise.
19CHARACTERS AND CHARACTERISATION: How characters are DESCRIBED, CONTRASTED, and made to represent A TYPEHow APPEARANCE,BEHAVIOUR AND LANGUAGE combine to give a very vivid impression of each character.(WE WILL LOOK AT THIS LATER IN MUCH MORE DETAIL)
20Marion as Point-of -View Character The only character who makes meaningful decisions in the storyThe only character present throughout the storyThe only character given a personal nameThe character who suffers unjustly and without complaining
22Use of Dialogue (significant names) The inspector calls Marian “Mandy” This is condescendingA) He does not use her surname. (Dignity denied)B) He deliberately uses an over-familiar version of her first nameC)He ignores Mrs Ericson’s correctionD) When he gets away with the insult he pushes it further, calling her “Mandy-Lou”
23Dialogue - Intrusive Rhetorical Questions The inspector asks Marian if she has children. This is irrelevant to her driving ability.The inspector asks this in a racist phrase: “Old enough to have quite a flock of pickaninnies, eh?”
24More Rhetorical Questions The Inspector questions Marian’s motive in wanting a licence.“Sure you don’t really want to sneak out nights to meet some young blood?”This suggests Marian is an immature and irresponsible teenager.
25Another Intrusive Question “You-all sho can read fine Where d’ya learn to do that, Mandy?”The implication is that it is surprising that a black can read at all because the negro is uneducated or stupid.
26Cultural Stereotypes“He began to whistle “Swanee River”. “Make you homesick?” he asked.This is a direct reference to slavery and plantation life.This is a racist jibe which the inspector feels safe to make because there is no witness in the car.
27DIALOGUE:In every short story the way in which a character speaks to others will reveal that character’s qualities.QU 7: Find two examples of each character‘s language and note what it tells you about their attitude to others.
29Use of condescending body-language ‘“Sure thing,” the inspector said, winking at Mrs Ericson.’This suggests Mrs Ericson and the Inspector are sharing a joke, that they both know Marian is a bad driver because she is black but Mrs Ericson has to say something positive in front of Marian because blacks cannot cope with the truth.
31The real climax of the story What is the real climax?Marian stalling the car? – No.Marian swearing at the tester? – No.The tester failing Marian? – No.It is Mrs Ericson’s reaction: “Oh, Marian, again?”
32The hidden message in the ending Mrs Ericson blames Marian for being a stupid black.Marian does not dare to tell her truth about the racist incidents during the test.Marian decides to accept the label of “stupid black” rather than make trouble.
34STYLE:QU 8: Look for words, phrases, or images which are included by the author to add to the meaning of the story and to increase your understanding of the characters or the themes.
35ATTITUDE:All authors have an ATTITUDE to their subject matter to their characters: it is clear in descriptions, dialogue and- sometimes- commentsQU 10: What is the writer’s attitude to her subject matter in ‘The Test.’
36PURPOSE:The purpose of the writer is connected to his/her attitude the author may want to criticise some aspect of human behaviour and his / her purpose would be to convince the reader that such behaviour is wrong.Once you have decided what the writer’s purpose was, you can then assess if the writer was successful in achieving it.QU 11: What is the writer trying to achieve by writing this story, what is its purpose?
37PERSONAL RESPONSE:In all critical essays you will be expected to include your personal response to the text and to be able to explain why you did or did not enjoy it.QU 12: Give your personal response to the short story, ‘The Test.’