Exploring the Text

  1. Respond to this story in any way you like but keep the following questions in mind: How old do you think the narrator was when this incident took place? At what point in the story did you feel most amused by something the young girl said or did? At what point did you feel most sympathetic towards her? Did anything in this story remind you of an experience you had in your early teens? Explain. Share your ideas with one other student.
  2. On what maxim is the title of this story based? Account for the changes the author made in this maxim. Explain the significance of the title with regard to the story. In what two ways could the word cured be interpreted? Of what, and in what way, is the narrator cured?
  3. Focusing on three specific incidents, analyze the mother-daughter relationship in this story. What conclusions can you draw about the mother’s character from what we are told about her?
  4. The narrator says she “showed the most painful banality” in her whole relationship with Martin Collingwood. Do you agree? Explain why or why not.
  5. Reread the section of the story which begins with the protagonist phoning her friends and ends with their departure from the Berrymans’. Explain why Kay Stringer was “exactly the person” the narrator needed at this point.
  6. Work with at least two other students on this assignment. Explain clearly what is meant by three of the following excerpts from the story, and use an example—not necessarily from the story—to clarify each of your explanations:
  • “the unaccountable past” (p. 32)
  • “the elaborate and unnecessary subterfuge that young girls delight in” (p. 36)
  • “oh, delicious moment in a well-organized farce!” (p. 37)
  • “covering up the ignominy of their departure with a mechanical roar of defiance” (p. 38)
  • “I gave him a gentle uncomprehending look in return” (p. 40)
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