World War Two <ul><li>The story is set in the winter of 1941 </li></ul><ul><li>On 7 December the Japanese attacked the US naval base at Pearl Harbour </li></ul><ul><li>The narrator is shocked by gruesome images of prisoners held by the Japanese </li></ul>
Japanese Treatment of P.O.W.s <ul><li>forced to march over 50 miles with no food or water (during one forced march, 16,000 men died in two weeks) </li></ul><ul><li>struck with rifles, bamboo or anything that could inflict pain </li></ul><ul><li>beheaded for the slightest misdemeanour, like having water stains on their trousers </li></ul><ul><li>fed just over 100g of watery rice a day </li></ul><ul><li>herded into trains, where they often died of dehydration </li></ul>
Make notes on the following characters <ul><li>The narrator </li></ul><ul><li>Sheldon Fein </li></ul><ul><li>Paula Brown </li></ul><ul><li>Mother Uncle Frank </li></ul>
<ul><li>Some of these are similes (which make an explicit comparison): “the blood beat in my ears like a slack drum” and “wiped away like the crude drawings of a child” </li></ul><ul><li>Often Sylvia Plath uses metaphors (where the comparison is implied): “the threat of war was seeping in everywhere”, “hair tied up in sausage curls” and “the colossal blackboard of the dark.” </li></ul>
Task <ul><li>Find and explain at least three metaphors or similes from the story </li></ul>
<ul><li>At the start, the narrator hardly notices the threat of war because she is so caught up in her own private world of Superman. </li></ul><ul><li>The war gradually affects the narrator more and more - her uncle might be drafted, she practices for an air raid - but she does not seem worried (despite the fact that the adults are). </li></ul><ul><li>She is physically affected when she sees the horrific way the Japanese treated their prisoners of war. After that experience, she cannot dream of Superman again, so we know her childhood is beginning to fade. </li></ul>
<ul><li>The group of children have their own mini 'war' when Paula blames the narrator for spoiling her snowsuit. The narrator is the innocent victim and everyone else becomes her enemy. </li></ul><ul><li>As World War Two rages on, the narrator gradually becomes more aware of its horrors - and has to fight her own 'war'. </li></ul><ul><li>All references to the peaceful, innocent childhood portrayed at the start of the story disappear by the end of it - only the real, grown-up world remains </li></ul>
Attitudes in the text. <ul><li>In this story, we see very obvious attitudes displayed by the narrator, Sheldon and Uncle Frank. Give examples of some things that each of these (or any other character) thinks or believes. </li></ul>
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