Question 1 : Read the extract given below and answer the questions that follow.
(i) Who had an encounter with whom and where?
Answer : The new black teacher, ER Braithwate, encountered, with a tall, red-headed girl and her companions in the corridor outside the classroom. They were rushing in the corridor when the new black teacher grabbed the girl by the arms to avoid being collided and to steady her.
(ii) Why was the narrator unsure of what to do next? What decision did the narrator take? Why?
Answer : The narrator was unsure of what to do next because he was new to the school and had not expected to meet students like this. He decided to go in the classroom and see what went on inside it as the students had seen him and banged the door shut.
(iii) What did he observe then?
Answer : When the narrator went inside the room he saw that there was a general hubbub and no one was aware that he had entered the room. For a little while, no one was aware of his entry. But when they noticed him, it seemed as if they did not like the narrator.
(iv) Describe the man, the narrator found when he entered the staffroom.
Answer : The man, the narrator found in the staffroom was a rather untidily dressed man. His name was Theo Weston. He reclined in an easy chair with his fingers interlocked behind his head. His head was large and hairy. He was a young man in baggy grey flannel slacks and a well worn hawking jacket with leather patches at the elbows and wrists. He wore a maroon shirt and yellow large-knotted tie.
(v) Earlier ‘he’ had met Alex Florian, the Headmaster. What did the Headmaster tell him?
Answer : Alex Florian, the Headmaster told Briathwaite that he had been expecting him. However, he wanted that Braithwaite should take a good look around the school and then they would get on to things. He told him that things, were done, somewhat differently from the usual run and many teachers have found it ‘disquieting’. He offered him to wander around and see what’s going on and then decided whether to join or not.
Question 2 : Read the extract given below and answer the questions that follow.
(i) Why was everyone so doubtful and concerned about the narrator’s staying in the school?
Answer : Everyone was doubtful and concerned about Braithwaite’s staying in the school as the atmosphere of the school was rather frightening and challenging at the same time. They hoped that Briathwaite would stay as they had many men teachers but none stayed. Also, now that Mr Hackman left the school , things would be rather difficult without a replacement.
(ii) What made Mr Hackman leave the school?
Answer : Mr Hackman could not stand the behaviour of the students. The students were rough, noisy ill-mannered and dirty. They did not let him teach and had no consideration whatsoever. When he could no longer take it, he barged in the staffroom, in all fury, collected his coat and the newspaper and departed. It was now confirmed that he will not return back.
(iii) What so odd about the school?
Answer : The school environment was rather frightening and challenging. There was no corporal punishment or any other form of punishment allowed in the school. The children were encouraged to speak up for themselves. They used to say things that could be rather alarming and embarrassing. They wore a careless unscholarly attitude and a kind of unofficial uniform.
(iv) Why was the narrator so pleased to have this appointment?
Answer : The narrator was so pleased to land this appointment that the likelihood of refusing it had hardly occurred to him. He was glad as it was a good opportunity for him to work in the London’s East End. He had always fascinated the place. Also it was his first appointment and he was very enthusiastic and excited about it.
(v) Describe Miss Gillian Blanchard.
Answer : Miss Gillian Blanchard reminded Braithwaite of the most beautiful woman he had ever seen. Many years ago, the narrator visited the Caribbean island and there he saw beautiful women, tall, willowy, graceful creatures with soft, wavy raven hair and skin the colour of honey. Gillian Blanchard was lovely in the same kind of the way tall, her haircut in a black neat skull-cap, full-figured , elegant. Her skin had a rich olive tint which hinted at Jewish or Italian parentage. She had deep , dark eyes.
Question 1 : Describe Braithwaite’s experiences on his first day as a teacher at Greenslade School.
Answer : After riding a crowded and smelly bus, Mr Braithwaite arrived at Greenslade Secondary School where he knocked on the door of the Headmaster, Mr Florian, who greeted him warmly. Mr Florian, then , suggested that he should take a good look around the school as things were ‘done differently’ at this school. When Braithwaite descended the stairs to a narrow hallway, he was nearly knocked down by a tall red-headed girl who rushed out of the door of a classroom. Mr Braithwaite then decided to go in the class. No one noticed him enter. He observed that the students were not in uniform. Moreover, they were looking more like adults to him as most of them were dressed suggestively. He was informed that Mr Hackman was not there and asked if he was the new teacher.
From here, Mr Braithwaite headed to the staffroom. Here he was greeted by the sarcastic remark, “Ah, another lamb to the slaughter or shall we say black sheep?”, pronounced by a rather slovenly and hairy young man. The man gave him a rather frightening news that Mr Hackman has left and Braithwaite would be given his class. Then, a tall blong woman, Mrs Grace Dale-Evans, the Domestic Science teacher entered. Even she agreed that Mr Hackman’s class was uncivilized. While they were talking, she kept doing the dishes. She remarked that even some teachers were undisciplined. Since the room was stale from smoked cigarettes, Braithwaite opened two of the windows. Noticing the view out of these windows was rather dismal as a high brick wall separated a churchyard from the school. So, Braithwaite went down the stairs and passed through a doorway to the courtyard, but it was strewn with leaves and debris. Although the day was bright, the courtyard was dim as were Braithwaite’s hopes. Then, a handbell rand and the lunchbreak began as Braithwaite hurried back to the staffroom where other teachers also entered. He was introduced to Miss Josy Dawes, Miss Euphemia Phillips, Mr Theo Weston, the hairy teacher, Miss Vivienne Clintridge, the art and drama teacher and Miss Gillian Blanchard. While talking to the faculty, Mr Briathwaite leant that there was no form of punishment allowed in the school. The school children were unhygienic, rough and ill-mannered. The school environment was rather frightening and challenging.