• Like
  • Save
Unseen – men are difficult.philip jayaretnam
Upcoming SlideShare
Loading in...5
×

Thanks for flagging this SlideShare!

Oops! An error has occurred.

Unseen – men are difficult.philip jayaretnam

  • 1,398 views
Published

for revision - tackling the unseen prose

for revision - tackling the unseen prose

Published in Education
  • Full Name Full Name Comment goes here.
    Are you sure you want to
    Your message goes here
    Be the first to comment
No Downloads

Views

Total Views
1,398
On SlideShare
0
From Embeds
0
Number of Embeds
5

Actions

Shares
Downloads
0
Comments
0
Likes
1

Embeds 0

No embeds

Report content

Flagged as inappropriate Flag as inappropriate
Flag as inappropriate

Select your reason for flagging this presentation as inappropriate.

Cancel
    No notes for slide

Transcript

  • 1. Unseen – Sharpening Your Senses and Mining for Meaning Appreciation and Preparation for Examinations 2010 S.H.S.S. Sec 4E/5NA Literature Elective T1W1-W10
  • 2. Paragraph 1
    • Men. Men are difficult. So hard to understand. They seem to operate on a very simple basis, like a tap. They’re either turned on or turned off. But unlike a tap you can’t control their switching from one state to another. You can’t reach out your hand and say “on” or “off”. Instead you have to put up with whatever state they’re in – unwelcome attentions or hurtful silence.
  • 3. Paragraph 1
    • Men. Men are difficult. So hard to understand. They seem to operate on a very simple basis, like a tap. They’re either turned on or turned off. But unlike a tap you can’t control their switching from one state to another. You can’t reach out your hand and say “on” or “off”. Instead you have to put up with whatever state they’re in – unwelcome attentions or hurtful silence.
    Why do you think the story begins with one word “Men”? What does this suggest about the attitude of the narrator towards men? Comment on the narrator’s use of simile when she compares men to a tap?
  • 4. Paragraph 1
    • Men. Men are difficult. So hard to understand. They seem to operate on a very simple basis, like a tap. They’re either turned on or turned off. But unlike a tap you can’t control their switching from one state to another. You can’t reach out your hand and say “on” or “off”. Instead you have to put up with whatever state they’re in – unwelcome attentions or hurtful silence.
    The narrator proclaims to us her intention to be able to control men in her dealing with them. She seeks to manipulate them. However she has serious difficulties in her attempts to understand or manage them. Here she compares men to taps. She feels the confusion and the frustration because although she thinks that “men operate on a very simple basis, like a tap”, she cannot “control” them – she “can’t control their switching from one state (on) to another (off)”. She feels helpless about men because she feels she cannot do anything but to “put up with whatever state men are in – unwelcome attentions or hurtful silence”. So instead of “controlling men”, she feels that she is being “controlled” by them.
  • 5. Paragraph 2
    • Sometimes I feel I’ve spent my whole life trying to work out how to handle them. From the moment my mother started pressuring me to keep my legs together – “Otherwise not nice.” And especially from the time when I had to learn how to manage during my period. And learning how to apply make-up. “Not too much, not too little” – as if I were a pot on a stove that needed salt. And learning how to walk in high heels.
  • 6. Paragraph 2
    • Sometimes I feel I’ve spent my whole life trying to work out how to handle them. From the moment my mother started pressuring me to keep my legs together – “Otherwise not nice.” And especially from the time when I had to learn how to manage during my period. And learning how to apply make-up. “Not too much, not too little” – as if I were a pot on a stove that needed salt. And learning how to walk in high heels.
    Why does the writer begin the second and third paragraphs with the word “sometimes”? How does this add to the overall mood? What kind of job does the narrator have? Show evidence from other parts of the text.
  • 7. Paragraph 2
    • Sometimes I feel I’ve spent my whole life trying to work out how to handle them. From the moment my mother started pressuring me to keep my legs together – “Otherwise not nice.” And especially from the time when I had to learn how to manage during my period. And learning how to apply make-up. “Not too much, not too little” – as if I were a pot on a stove that needed salt. And learning how to walk in high heels.
    For the narrator to claim that she feels she has spent “her whole life trying to work out how to handle” men, she should be a woman of a certain mature age. She tells us that she has tried in her dealings with men to get to know and understand them. Her education as a woman and how a woman should act and behave in front of men begin early. Her mother’s incessant instructions and reminders have made her feel like “a pot on a stove that needed salt”. It seems that she cannot be her own woman if she has not learned from her mother how she should act or behave in front of men. It also means that she can only be presentable if she has been educated enough and be ready to please her men. She is telling us that her very own existence only counts when she is placed in the context of men. Her very being exists only in the presence of and for the purpose of satisfying men. Without men, she is nothing.
  • 8. Paragraph 3
    • Sometimes I think it’s too much. A permanent fashion parade. Forever swaying down an endless spotlit catwalk. Male faces eagerly upturned in the shadows. My job hardly helps. I have to smile until my jaws ache. I come home after a shift feeling like a punchbag, only it’s not punches that have been thrown at me but the silly jokes of businessmen and tourists. “Any discounts on the room? A nice girl like you should give discount.”
  • 9. Paragraph 3
    • Sometimes I think it’s too much. A permanent fashion parade. Forever swaying down an endless spotlit catwalk. Male faces eagerly upturned in the shadows. My job hardly helps. I have to smile until my jaws ache. I come home after a shift feeling like a punchbag, only it’s not punches that have been thrown at me but the silly jokes of businessmen and tourists. “Any discounts on the room? A nice girl like you should give discount.”
    The narrator finds herself leading a pathetic life; that her life is unreal and that she has no control on how to change or improve her chances in life. She is painfully aware of the futile situation she faces daily. She thinks that her life is “a permanent fashion parade” because she has to “forever swaying down an endless spotlit catwalk” with “male faces eagerly upturned in the shadows”. Although she has had her share of male admirers, she finds her life unreal and bogus. She may have the beauty and whatever else it takes for her to impress the opposite sex, but she sees herself trapped in a situation which she will repeatedly find herself but cannot run away from because it is something which resembles a ritual, glamorously played out to please the male crowd. She has the glamour but loses her life.
  • 10. Still at Paragraph 3
    • Sometimes I think it’s too much. A permanent fashion parade. Forever swaying down an endless spotlit catwalk. Male faces eagerly upturned in the shadows . My job hardly helps. I have to smile until my jaws ache. I come home after a shift feeling like a punchbag, only it’s not punches that have been thrown at me but the silly jokes of businessmen and tourists. “Any discounts on the room? A nice girl like you should give discount.”
    The narrator also tells us that she does not enjoy her work in the hotel industry. She cannot count on her job to brighten up her life because she has to “smile until her jaws ache” at “the silly jokes of businessmen and tourists”. She thinks of herself as a loser, feeling like “a punchbag”. She is tired of having to put up with banal and stale jokes spouted by her customers.
  • 11. Paragraph 4
    • Once when I’d just left school, when I’d messed up with a tall handsome boy (they’re always handsome in your memory – you forget their sweat, their failure to take regular baths or to clean under their fingernails) I thought I’d turn my back on men. Strike out. Live for myself. He’d just started National Service. I was rather sweet on him. Such a cute smile. Like a child’s. The night before he enlisted we spent an eternity in one another’s arms. Whispering our love and devotion. But once he was in the army things changed. He was so silent on weekends. Or if he talked it would be about the army. What he’d done that week. What he’d do next week. I used to listen, but it meant nothing to me. And he’d be so tired, so irritable. He’d snap at me for no reason. And when I got upset he’d make me feel guilty for being upset, for spoiling his few hours of freedom. He’d look at his watch and count down the hours. He’d mention some sergeant who he said had marked him but when I hugged him and said I was sorry he shrugged me off; I could not understand, he said. He was right; I could not understand.
  • 12. Paragraph 4
    • Once when I’d just left school, when I’d messed up with a tall handsome boy (they’re always handsome in your memory – you forget their sweat, their failure to take regular baths or to clean under their fingernails) I thought I’d turn my back on men. Strike out. Live for myself. He’d just started National Service. I was rather sweet on him. Such a cute smile. Like a child’s. The night before he enlisted we spent an eternity in one another’s arms. Whispering our love and devotion. But once he was in the army things changed. He was so silent on weekends. Or if he talked it would be about the army. What he’d done that week. What he’d do next week.
    I used to listen, but it meant nothing to me. And he’d be so tired, so irritable. He’d snap at me for no reason. And when I got upset he’d make me feel guilty for being upset, for spoiling his few hours of freedom. He’d look at his watch and count down the hours. He’d mention some sergeant who he said had marked him but when I hugged him and said I was sorry he shrugged me off; I could not understand, he said. He was right; I could not understand. Comment on the use of disjointed, ungrammatical sentences. How does this add to a conversational tone? Explain what causes the relationship between the narrator and her boyfriend to fall apart?
  • 13. Paragraph 4
    • Once when I’d just left school, when I’d messed up with a tall handsome boy (they’re always handsome in your memory – you forget their sweat, their failure to take regular baths or to clean under their fingernails) I thought I’d turn my back on men. Strike out. Live for myself. He’d just started National Service. I was rather sweet on him. Such a cute smile. Like a child’s. The night before he enlisted we spent an eternity in one another’s arms. Whispering our love and devotion. But once he was in the army things changed. He was so silent on weekends. Or if he talked it would be about the army. What he’d done that week. What he’d do next week.
    The narrator flashes back to her serious but unsatisfactory relationship with a male friend. She tells us how she has accommodated the shortcomings of her boyfriend in the name of love despite all her sense of self-worthiness. She claims that their romance only last as long as she and her boyfriend have something in common to talk about. Although they “love” each other, she is soon deserted by her boyfriend who, after becoming a soldier, becomes preoccupied with his incessant army-related affairs.
  • 14. Still at Paragraph 4
    • I used to listen, but it meant nothing to me. And he’d be so tired, so irritable. He’d snap at me for no reason. And when I got upset he’d make me feel guilty for being upset, for spoiling his few hours of freedom. He’d look at his watch and count down the hours. He’d mention some sergeant who he said had marked him but when I hugged him and said I was sorry he shrugged me off; I could not understand, he said. He was right; I could not understand.
    She has tried to connect with her boyfriend but her efforts are in vain. She loses her boyfriend totally as a result.
  • 15. Paragraph 5
    • So I stopped seeing him. There’s a limit to how many problems I can take on board before I begin to sink. My parents could see how he was upsetting me. They were relieved when we broke up. But he, he kept accusing. I was faithless. I had lied to him. I had betrayed him. I put down the phone when I heard his voice.
  • 16. Paragraph 5
    • So I stopped seeing him. There’s a limit to how many problems I can take on board before I begin to sink. My parents could see how he was upsetting me. They were relieved when we broke up. But he, he kept accusing. I was faithless. I had lied to him. I had betrayed him. I put down the phone when I heard his voice.
    Explain what causes the relationship between the narrator and her lover to fall apart.
  • 17. Paragraph 5
    • So I stopped seeing him. There’s a limit to how many problems I can take on board before I begin to sink. My parents could see how he was upsetting me. They were relieved when we broke up. But he, he kept accusing. I was faithless. I had lied to him. I had betrayed him. I put down the phone when I heard his voice.
    She and her embittered boyfriend have failed to work out an amicable closure to mark the end of their relationship.
  • 18. Paragraph 6
    • And I stopped seeing men. I bought no new clothes. I stopped using eye shadow. I bought myself comfortable shoes and said to hell with the whole race of men.
  • 19. Paragraph 6
    • And I stopped seeing men. I bought no new clothes. I stopped using eye shadow. I bought myself comfortable shoes and said to hell with the whole race of men.
    Why does the writer describe in detail the actions of the narrator after her breakup? How is this effective in contributing to your impression of her?
  • 20. Paragraph 6
    • And I stopped seeing men. I bought no new clothes. I stopped using eye shadow. I bought myself comfortable shoes and said to hell with the whole race of men.
    The narrator is seriously affected by her failed relationship with her boyfriend. She shuts herself away from other men and her unpleasant experience with one man makes her feel negative about all men in general as she says “to hell with the whole race of men”.
  • 21. Paragraph 7
    • But of course no man is an island. Least of all a woman. Jobs were hard to come by. They always are. And all the interviewers are men. You can feel their eyes crawling all over you as you sit timidly, eyes downcast, hands folded in your lap, on the edge of the chair.
  • 22. Paragraph 7
    • But of course no man is an island. Least of all a woman. Jobs were hard to come by. They always are. And all the interviewers are men. You can feel their eyes crawling all over you as you sit timidly, eyes downcast, hands folded in your lap, on the edge of the chair.
    What is meant by the sentences “No man is an island. Least of all a woman”?
  • 23. Paragraph 7
    • But of course no man is an island. Least of all a woman. Jobs were hard to come by. They always are. And all the interviewers are men. You can feel their eyes crawling all over you as you sit timidly, eyes downcast, hands folded in your lap, on the edge of the chair.
    She cannot afford to isolate herself from men for long for practical considerations. She cannot be too choosy when it comes to finding work because “jobs are hard to come by”. Men is everywhere. She simply cannot run away from them even if she were to try very hard.
  • 24. Paragraph 8
    • As the rejection slips mounted my parents grew more restless. Times are hard, they said. Everyone must pull their weight. My mother said, you have to look good. So I daubed on mascara and bought a new outfit. I outfaced my interviewers. I presented them with a new face that I’d applied in front of a mirror that morning. I hid myself away inside a charming lady, whose every gesture sought to flatter the spectator. My lips trembled. My hand brushed invitingly across my body. My voice became gentler. I matched him comment for comment, yet making clear that ultimately he was in control.
  • 25. Paragraph 8
    • As the rejection slips mounted my parents grew more restless. Times are hard, they said. Everyone must pull their weight. My mother said, you have to look good. So I daubed on mascara and bought a new outfit. I outfaced my interviewers. I presented them with a new face that I’d applied in front of a mirror that morning. I hid myself away inside a charming lady, whose every gesture sought to flatter the spectator. My lips trembled. My hand brushed invitingly across my body. My voice became gentler. I matched him comment for comment, yet making clear that ultimately he was in control.
    Who was really in control at the interview? What can you say about the narrator’s character from this?
  • 26. Paragraph 8
    • As the rejection slips mounted my parents grew more restless. Times are hard, they said. Everyone must pull their weight. My mother said, you have to look good. So I daubed on mascara and bought a new outfit. I outfaced my interviewers. I presented them with a new face that I’d applied in front of a mirror that morning. I hid myself away inside a charming lady, whose every gesture sought to flatter the spectator. My lips trembled. My hand brushed invitingly across my body. My voice became gentler. I matched him comment for comment, yet making clear that ultimately he was in control.
    The narrator tells us that she turns herself into “a charming lady” so that “her every gesture sought to flatter the male spectator”. She has decided that she no longer wants to present her true self to the male interviewer. She is determined to “outface” the male interviewers. In doing so, she takes control of herself. She makes sure that “her lips tremble” and “her hand brushes invitingly across her body” and “her voice becomes gentler”. She makes herself subservient to the male interviewer by “matching him comment for comment, yet making clear that ultimately he was in control”.
  • 27. Question 1
    • What is the narrator’s view of men in general and, in particular her boyfriend?
  • 28. Question 2
    • Identify the internal and external conflicts in the text.
    • Page 120 of txtbk
    • External conflict occurs when the character struggles with an external situation. There can be:
    • [1] conflict with another character
    • [2] conflict with society – when a person is up against certain laws or issues imposed by society.
    • [3] conflict with nature – when a person struggles with the weather.
    • [4] conflict with God
  • 29. Question 2
    • Identify the internal and external conflicts in the text.
    • Page 121 of txtbk
    • Inner/internal conflict occurs within the individual. This is most obvious in a mental struggle over a certain issue. It may also involve a personal insecurity or fear or paranoia.
  • 30. Question 2
    • How do we analyse conflict?
    • [1] Read the text and identify aspects of external and internal conflict.
    • [2] State how these various conflicts contribute to:
    • the mood of the text
    • the state of mind of the character concerned
    • the feelings the reader experiences as he or she
    • reads the text.
  • 31. Question 3
    • Discuss how the tone and style of narration are appropriate in this extract.
    • TONE – attitude
    • STYLE – choice of words / Diction
  • 32. Question 4
    • How does the writer develop our sympathy for the protagonist? Support your answer with reference to the text.
    • Sympathy – the feeling of being sorry for someone who is in a bad situation. You feel sorry for him or her because you understand their problems.
  • 33. Question 4
    • How does the writer develop our sympathy for the protagonist? Support your answer with reference to the text.
    • Empathy – the ability to understand other people’s feelings and problems.
  • 34. Question 5
    • The writer of this extract is a male person. Do you feel that his depiction of the female persona is stereotypical? Give reasons for your answer.
    • Stereotype [ used as a NOUN] – a belief or idea of what a particular type of person or thing is like. Stereotypes are often unfair or untrue. Stereotypes are more often than not, the product of our biasness and prejudices.
  • 35. Question 5
    • The writer of this extract is a male person. Do you feel that his depiction of the female persona is stereotypical? Give reasons for your answer.
    • To stereotype [VERB] – to decide unfairly that a type of person has particular qualities or abilities because they belong to a particular race, sex, or social class.
    • e.g. To stereotype somebody as something .