I sat all morning in the college sick bay Counting bells knelling classes to a close. At two o’clock our neighbours drove me home.
In the porch I met my father crying— He had always taken funerals in his stride— And Big Jim Evans saying it was a hard blow.
The baby cooed and laughed and rocked the pram When I came in, and I was embarrassed By old men standing up to shake my hand
And tell me they were ‘sorry for my trouble’. Whispers informed strangers I was the eldest, Away at school, as my mother held my hand
In hers and coughed out angry tearless sighs. At ten o’clock the ambulance arrived With the corpse, stanched and bandaged by the nurses.
Next morning I went up into the room. Snowdrops And candles soothed the bedside; I saw him For the first time in six weeks. Paler now,
Wearing a poppy bruise on his left temple, He lay in the four-foot box as in his cot. No gaudy scars, the bumper knocked him clear.
A four-foot box, a foot for every year.
“Mid–Term Break” describes the aftermath of a tragedy: the speaker’s four-year-old brother has been hit by a car and killed. But the poem doesn’t spend a lot of time describing the accident or memorializing the dead child. Instead, the poem focuses on the way that other people respond to this tragedy.
Analysis of the poem.
TASK 1: Annotate your poem. Be as detailed as possible.
Gennep’s major work was Les Rites de Passage (1909; The Rites of Passage), in which he systematically compared those ceremonies that celebrate an individual’s transition from one status to another within a given society. He found a tripartite sequence in ritual observance: separation, transition, and incorporation.
Definition: A ritual or ceremony signifying an event in a person’s life indicative of a transition from one stage to another, as from adolescence to adulthood.
Passing from not knowing to knowing, from not understanding to understanding, from ignorance to awareness.
5 stages in Rite of Passage
an unattainable object of desire (human quest): a strong desire that needs to be satisfied.
Trespassing (breaking the law of the father or any authority): breaking rules to defeat the authority, to come of age
There should be a DARE (a challenge): to reveal the dark side of oneself (specular moment). Identity is in the process of being constituted.
Mischief (a child’s bad behaviour): this must be accepted with responsibility, in a mature way.
Atonement (to feel sorry for something bad that you did): understand and apologize. To learn from this.
Analyse the following:
“She had lost all the dignity he knew” (p.209)
Why is this a specular moment in the story?
2. the theme of “loss” . Apply evidence from the text.
3. the necessity of forgiveness. Find evidence in the text
4. Death as a moment of epiphany (twice in the story)
Bernard MacLaverty was born in Belfast in 1942, and moved to Scotland in 1975, where he lived in Edinburgh, on the Isle of Islay, and now in Glasgow. After leaving school he became a Medical Laboratory Technician, later studying at Queen’s University, Belfast and becoming an English teacher
As you read, make connections between the writer and Irish Catholicism. What evidence of strong beliefs can you find in the story? (Do some research if necessary)
Vocabulary can be used to change the way a reader feels about a scene. By changing just a few key words a setting can be made much more interesting to read. For example, a church might be a typical part of the setting of a ghost story. The vocabulary choices can be used to create a sense of fear for the reader.
Task 1: come up with at least 3 words/phrases to replace the following words:
Include the 5 tasks in a presentation to share in classroom.
Choose one of the following prompts to write a story. Include the vocabulary you have been working on. (600-900 words)
You have had a strange feeling for a few days now. Today you’ve been feeling very energetic and tired at the same time. You sit, exhausted and full of energy, at your desk. Your arm has been itching. It’s killing you now. You look at your forearm and see it for the first time. Something is moving under your skin. It is shifting around. Your muscle spasms and you realize there are dozens moving toward the surface.
You open your eyes to complete darkness. The last thing you remember is the dog running out into the road, the brightness of the day light, and your car headed off the road. As your head clears you realize you are hanging upside down. Your feet and legs are completely mobilized. You can hear something breathing in the room.
Your driving on a country road. It is late at night. You are far from home. You realize, as you check your mirrors, there is a man you do not know, hiding on the floor of your back seat.
It’s 3 am. Your room is dark, but you can see that there is someone, standing at the foot of your bed. You can just make out that he or she is wearing a clown costume, and you are pretty sure, from the glare and the little bit of reflection, that it has a knife.