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QWERTYUIOP by Vivien Alcock

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2010 English Lit Component materials provided by the English Language Unit, Johor Education Department

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QWERTYUIOP by Vivien Alcock

  1. 3. Vivien Alcock (1924 – 2003) was an author of childrens’ books. Born in Worthing, West Sussex, in England, her family moved to Devizes in Wiltshire when she was aged 10. She then studied at the Oxford School of Arts. She was married to author Leon Garfield, with whom she adopted a daughter, named Jane after Jane Austen. They met during World War II, when Vivien was an ambulance driver. Her first book was The Haunting of Cassie Palmer which was followed by The Monster Garden and others. (From Wikipedia.org)
  2. 4. ‘ QWERTYUIOP’ by Vivien Alcock is about a young graduate, Lucy Beck who has just finished her ‘O’ levels at Belmont Secretarial College. Being a slow typist, her principal has no confidence that she will find a job. Fortunately, she is offered a job by Mr. Ross, the Manager of Ross and Bannister’s. On her first day in office, as she sets down to work, she encounters peculiar incidents . Later, she discovers the ghost of Miss Broome, a previous long-time secretary, who now haunts her typewriter. Towards the end of the story, Lucy gets rid of the spirit, which is adamant in holding on to her position as the company’s secretary. She communicates with ‘Miss Broome’ through the typewriter and suggests that Mr. Bannister who has passed away needs her service ‘up there’ and bids her farewell.
  3. 7. Characters
  4. 8. A Sequence Of Events In The Story Plot Lucy Beck graduates from the Belmont Secretarial College with a lonely ‘O’ level. Lucy is such a slow typist that the principal worries that she may not get a job. Lucy lives with her mother and uncle. She wants a job to overcome her poverty and also to get away from her uncle. She goes for her first interview at Ross and Bannister’s and is immediately accepted as a secretary by Mr. Ross. She rushes home to tell her mother who is surprised to hear the news.   Lucy arrives early on her first day at work. She meets Harry Darke who explains her job description. Lucy sets down to work alone in the office. She types her first letter and being a touch-typist, she does not look at the letter as she types. When she finally glances at the uncompleted letter, she is shocked to find QWERTYUIOPs repeated all over in the letter. Lucy attempts to type anew. This time extraordinary words appear in the letter. She tears out the letter and tries to type on a new sheet again.   The typewriter takes over and types a threat to her.   Lucy decides to stay and take on the typewriter. She discovers the existence of MISS BROOME who claims to be the rightful secretary of the office. The typewriter goes berserk with QWERTYUIOPs typed all over the letter. Each time the unwanted capitals appear, Lucy swipes them with correcting fluid. She finally finishes her letter.   Mr. Ross comes into the office and finds some letters to be signed. He enquires if there is any problem with the typewriter.   The next morning, Harry Darke is surprised to see Lucy back to work. Lucy asks about Miss Broome. She thinks of her Uncle when Harry Darke explains about Miss Broome. Lucy is adamant to stay on and fight for her job.   Lucy goes to work the next day and communicates with Miss Broome via the typewriter. She tell Miss Broome about Mr. Bannister’s passing and persuades her that her services are needed more where he is now. The spirit relents and Lucy bids her goodbye.
  5. 9. How The Story Starts Exposition Lucy Beck graduates from the Belmont Secretarial College with a lonely ‘O’ level. Lucy was such a slow typist that the Principal worried that she would not find a job. Lucy lives with her mother and uncle. She wants a job because she does not want to be poor anymore and she wants to leave the house and get away from her uncle. Goes for an interview at Ross and Bannister’s and is immediately accepted as a secretary.
  6. 10. Conflict Lucy arrives early on her first day at work. She meets Harry Darke who explains her job description. Lucy sets down to work alone in the office. She types her first letter and being a touch-typist, she does not look at the letter as she types.   When she finally glances at the uncompleted letter, she is shocked to find QWERTYUIOPs repeated all over in the letter.   Lucy attempts to type anew. This time extraordinary words appear in the letter. She tears out the letter and tries to type on a new sheet again.
  7. 11. The typewriter takes over and types a threat to her.   Lucy decides to stay and take on the typewriter. She discovers the existence of MISS BROOME who claims to be the rightful secretary of the office. Lucy challenges the ghost.
  8. 12. The typewriter goes berserk with QWERTYUIOPs typed all over the letter. Each time the unwanted capitals appear, Lucy swipes them with correcting fluid to cover them. She finally finishes typing her letter. Mr. Ross comes into the office and finds some letters to be signed. He enquires if there is any problem with the typewriter. The next morning, Harry Darke is surprised to see Lucy back to work. Lucy asks about Miss Broome. She thinks of her Uncle when Harry Darke explains about Miss Broome. Lucy is adamant to stay on and fight for her job.
  9. 13. How the story ends Resolution Lucy goes to work the next day and communicates with Miss Broome via the typewriter. She tell Miss Broome about Mr. Bannister’s passing and persuades her that her services are needed more where he is now. The spirit relents and Lucy bids her goodbye
  10. 15. Do not judge a book by its cover. Do not judge a person by his/her physical appearance or qualification.   When we really want something , we should persevere   Problems can be solved effectively through thoughtful actions and compassion
  11. 16. Diction (the choice of words used in the story) use of vocabulary to create eerie, paranormal atmosphere … There was something odd! A sudden wrongness felt by her fingers, a tingling, an icy pricking simple vocabulary; short dialogues; lots of exclamation marks (!) to show emotion; different fonts to indicate typed messages – e.g. capital letters to indicate Miss Broome’s anger in her typed message; use of italics ( her) to show emphasis
  12. 17. Simile The story has many interesting similes e.g . shot off like a scalded cat; with your fingers flying over the keys like white butterflies; straight as a rule;, like a squat, ugly monster; like badly fitting false teeth; like melting ice-cream; eyes like currants, etc. Metaphor e.g. You’re not the timid mouse you look, Miss Beck. You’re a right little lion .; mouse-colored Onomatopoeia The word imitates and echoes the sounds it tries to describe e.g. rattle, snapping, tapping , etc. Colloquial language e.g. the old bag (the elderly lady); who would get the chop (who would be dismissed from the job) Imagery e.g. –grey hair - a thick icing of white hair

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