Thursday, September 24, 2009

Novel: The Pearl (Sample Q&A)

Question 1:

‘In life a person sometimes faces problems."

How is this shown in the novel you have read? Support your answer with close reference to the text.

To answer the above question you need to ask yourself the following questions:

* Who is the character who faces problems?

* What are these problems?


Kino, the main character in the novel The Pearl by John Steinbeck, is initially a contented man despite living in extreme poverty. He is satisfied with life although he is only a poor pearl diver whose only material possessions are a canoe and a brush house. He is not concerned about his lack of material comforts. Life is difficult but he is happy. However, all this changes very soon and he is plagued with problems.

The first problem Kino faces is lack of money. This problem surfaces when his only son Coyotito is stung by a scorpion. Desperate to save the life of his child, he goes to the doctor’s house to seek treatment. Unfortunately, he is denied treatment simply because he has no money to pay the doctor. Until this moment, his poverty, or rather lack of money has not been a problem. Now, he realises that he needs money to save his child. This is when he goes pearl diving because he does not want to take chances with his son’s life. Luckily, he finds a big pearl and he believes he will be able to solve his problem by selling the pearl. Unfortunately, things do not get better for him. Instead other problems crop up.

The second problem Kino faces is insincerity on the part of people around him. People who were disinterested in his life suddenly turn up at his doorstep. The priest, who has never been concerned about Kino or his family, now hopes that Kino will donate money to the church. Likewise, the doctor who had turned him away now comes to the settlement on the pretext of treating the baby. He deliberately poisons the baby and then gives him an antidote just to gain Kino’s confidence. Kino, who had no worries before, is now suspicious of the people around him. He is unsure of who he can trust. He even becomes suspicious of Juana who steals the pearl one night because she wants to get rid of the evil it has brought.

Another problem is Kino’s and his family’s safety. He is attacked not once but thrice by unknown people who are out to steal the pearl from him. During the first two attacks he suffers slight injuries but in the third attack he accidentally kills a man. This leads to even bigger problems because he has no choice but to flee the village as no one will believe him that he killed the man in self defence. More problems surface when his brush house is burnt by people searching for the pearl. He knows that whoever is after him will not leave his family alone. Worse still, his precious canoe is damaged to prevent him from escaping by sea. He is left with no choice but to flee the village. Unfortunately, Kino faces more problems when he flees the village. Even as he is fleeing, he is pursued by three trackers, two on foot and one on horseback. Kino has to go to extreme lengths to cover his tracks to ensure his family’s safety. He knows that the trackers will not spare his family even if they find the pearl. Kino knows that he has no choice but to kill his trackers to safeguard his family. He takes a great risk by singlehandedly taking on his pursuers using only a knife as a weapon. Unfortunately, during the struggle with the three attackers, a bullet is accidentally fired from the rifle killing his beloved son. With the death of his son, Kino has nothing to look forward to. Finally, he returns to his village unafraid of the consequences.

It is clear from the evidence above that Kino faces many problems, with each problem getting worse than the

one before it. Eventually, these problems have a terrible effect on him.

Taken from the blog of ShadyOak

Friday, September 4, 2009

Let's learn Idioms!'s Most Popular Idioms List
This page lists the most popular idioms from A to Z

A Bird In The Hand Is Worth Two In The Bush
"Dan has asked me to go to a party with him. What if my boyfriend finds out?" Reply: "Don't go. A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush."

A Blessing In Disguise
"My car broke down again, but maybe it was a blessing in disguise; I've been wasting too much time driving around anyway."

A Chip On Your Shoulder
"What's bothering that guy?" Answer: "Nothing; he's just got a chip on the shoulder."

A Dime A Dozen
"I don't need friends like him; they are a dime a dozen."

A Drop In The Bucket
"I'd like to do something to change the world but whatever I do seems like a drop in the bucket."

A Fool And His Money Are Easily Parted
Example: "Her husband can't seem to hold onto any amount of money; he either spends it or loses it. A fool and his money are easily parted."

A Penny Saved Is A Penny Earned
"I'm going to give you $20 but I want you to put it in the bank; a penny saved is a penny earned!"

A Piece Of Cake
"Do you think you will win your tennis match today?" Answer: "It will be a piece of cake."

A Shot In The Dark
"That was such a difficult question! How did you get it right?" Reply: "I just took a shot in the dark."

A Slap On The Wrist
"He should be in jail for what he did, but he got off with just a slap on the wrist."

A Slip Of The Tongue
"Be careful talking to the police tomorrow; one slip of the tongue could get us into big trouble."

A Taste Of Your Own Medicine
"It looks like she got a taste of her own medicine."

A Toss-Up
"Do you think they'll make it one time?" Answer: "I really don't know. It's a toss-up."

A Wolf In Sheep's Clothing
"Don't trust the salespeople at that store; they are all wolves in sheep's clothing!"

About Face
"Do an about face, get back in that bathroom, and brush your teeth!"

Absence Makes The Heart Grow Fonder
"The time we spend apart has been good for us; absence makes the heart grow fonder."

Actions Speak Louder Than Words
"Don't tell me how to do this; show me! Actions speak louder than words."

Add Fuel To The Fire
"I would like to do something to help, but I don't want to add fuel to the fire."

Against The Clock
"We worked against the clock all day to get this report done by 5PM."

Against The Grain
"I jog at this track everyday and there is always that one guy who has to go against the grain and run in the opposite direction."

All Bark And No Bite
"The new manager threatened to fire me but I know he won't do it; he is all bark and no bite."

All Greek
"Did you understand what he just said?" Reply: "Nope. It was all Greek to me."

All In The Same Boat
"We can't fight against each other; we need to work together. We're all in the same boat!"

All That Glitters Is Not Gold
"Be careful when shopping for your new car; all that glitters is not gold!"

All Thumbs
"Hey! You are pouring my coffee on the table!" Reply: "Oh, I'm so sorry! I have been all thumbs today."

An Arm And A Leg
"Be careful with that watch; it cost me an arm and a leg."

An Axe To Grind
"I have an axe to grind with you." Answer: "Oh no; what did I do wrong?"

Arm In Arm
"What a nice afternoon. We walked arm in arm along the beach for hours."

Around The Block
"You kids are too young to fall in love: Wait until you have been around the block a time or two."

As Blind As A Bat
"Without his glasses, my father is as blind as a bat."

As High As A Kite
"The ball got stuck up there on the roof. It's as high as a kite."

As Light As A Feather
"Wow, you lift that box so easily!" Reply: "Oh, come on. It is as light as a feather."

At The Drop Of A Hat
"Would you travel around the world if you had the money?" Answer: "At the drop of a hat."

At Wit's End
"We have been at wit's end trying to figure out how we are going to pay our taxes."

Back To The Drawing Board
"It looks like my plan to kill the weeds in the garden has failed. Back to the drawing board."

Barking Up The Wrong Tree
"I have been trying to solve this math problem for 30 minutes but I think I've been barking up the wrong tree."

Beat A Dead Horse
"There's no use in beating a dead horse."

Beating Around The Bush
"If you want to ask me, just ask; don't beat around the bush."

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Tips for public speaking

Here are some proven tips on how to control your butterflies and give better presentations:
  1. Know your material. Pick a topic you are interested in. Know more about it than you include in your speech. Use humor, personal stories and conversational language – that way you won’t easily forget what to say.
  2. Practice. Practice. Practice! Rehearse out loud with all equipment you plan on using. Revise as necessary. Work to control filler words; Practice, pause and breathe. Practice with a timer and allow time for the unexpected.
  3. Know the audience. Greet some of the audience members as they arrive. It’s easier to speak to a group of friends than to strangers.
  4. Know the room. Arrive early, walk around the speaking area and practice using the microphone and any visual aids.
  5. Relax. Begin by addressing the audience. It buys you time and calms your nerves. Pause, smile and count to three before saying anything. ("One one-thousand, two one-thousand, three one-thousand. Pause. Begin.) Transform nervous energy into enthusiasm.
  6. Visualize yourself giving your speech. Imagine yourself speaking, your voice loud, clear and confident. Visualize the audience clapping – it will boost your confidence.
  7. Realize that people want you to succeed. Audiences want you to be interesting, stimulating, informative and entertaining. They’re rooting for you.
  8. Don’t apologize for any nervousness or problem – the audience probably never noticed it.
  9. Concentrate on the message – not the medium. Focus your attention away from your own anxieties and concentrate on your message and your audience.
  10. Gain experience. Mainly, your speech should represent you — as an authority and as a person. Experience builds confidence, which is the key to effective speaking. A Toastmasters club can provide the experience you need in a safe and friendly environment.