Continue the story …
The protagonist from “The Sea Devil” is a more specific character – but he must be a character from a story you have studied. Any other character you choose to add must also be a character from a story you have read. Continue the story.
The protagonist is actually Neville from “The Tower.” Write a new ending in which he returns to the house and begins a conversation with his wife, Kay.
Imagine that the protagonist is actually, Mr. Berryman, or Martin Collingwood, or better yet, Bill Kline.
Imagine the protagonist is an immigrant from New Zealand. Transform him into grown-up Ned from “The Quiet One” and have him meet up with Sid and Wally for breakfast the next morning.
A wise person once said, “Be careful what mask you put on, it may stick.” Explain clearly what this quotation means. both Ned in “The Quiet One”(15) and Macbeth in “The History of Macbeth”(47), find themselves wearing “masks” (cast in roles) that make them uneasy – roles they feel they have been forced into, roles they did not choose. Explain what these roles are. To what extent have others forced these characters into their roles, and to what extent did they assume the roles willingly? Make comparisons, remembering to use quotations from the text to support your ideas. Explain why each character might or might not be able to escape from his role. Write about the following ideas: To what extent do you sometimes feel forced into a role yourself? Do you see any way out of it? Why or why not?
Listen to some of the hit songs – especially love songs – from the fifties and sixties, looking for unconscious stereotyping of both sexes. When you have collected ten or twelve examples, select five of the best and discuss them in your blog, embedding parts of the songs. Encourage students to respond to your post by inviting them to imagine that the gender roles in the lyrics were reversed. Invite your readers to post comments to your post on the question, “Is there stereotyping in today’s hit songs?”
Dan Davin was born in Invercargill, New Zealand. Although he is often identified as a New Zealand writer, he spent most of his life in England. He attended Balliol College at Oxford University as a Rhodes scholar, and after distinguished military service with both the British and New Zealand armed forces, he joined the Clarendon Press, Oxford. He has published many poems and novels, as well as works of criticism and memoirs. Some of his books are: The Gorse Blooms Pale (short stories); No Remittance; Not Here, Not Now; Breathing Spaces (short stories); The Salamander and the Fire: Collected War Stories.
There is a group of novels and short stories that concern themselves with the social traumas suffered by adolescents – especially by the kind of adolescents that grow up to be writers of novels and stories. And, for the first two thirds of “The Quiet One,” we assume that Dan Davin has simply made another contribution to this already well-populated genre. Like most narrators of stories in this genre, Ned is a sensitive young man, set apart from his somewhat loutish companions by his ability to perceive and articulate the pattern of these empty weekend nights. Again, typically, he is not capable of walking away from this pattern, even though he recognizes it as a “the game.”
Not until his encounter with Marty does Ned (and Davin’s story) break away from the self-enclosed world of adolescent agonies. The terrible fact of Dulcie’s abortion and death interrupts “the game,” with its bruising, but at the same time protective, rules. Hearing of her death, Ned suddenly finds himself in that “other country” where “the sort of thing that happens once the gloves are off” actually takes place, where he is sized up by someone he admires and is not found wanting, where not knowing what to say is somehow the right response. Ned has the maturity to know that although this is the place he yearned to be, he would rather be “anyplace else in the world.” Davin’s accomplishment is that he reminds us that a boy grows up, not in a steady purposeful ascent to maturity, but through a slow accumulation of inglorious episodes like this one.
Ned, in the “The Quiet One,” spends a good deal of time worrying about being “a different breed” from his friends. By Contrast, the protagonist of “An Ounce of Cure” agonizes over the “painful banality” with which she behaves while in love with Martin Collingwood. Both, however, are shocked out of their dramatized feelings by what Munro calls, “the terrible and fascinating reality of … the way things happened.”
- Analyze and compare the incidents that startle the two adolescents out of their more or less self-inflicted miseries. What do the two incidents have in common? In what ways do they differ? How would you feel if you had experienced these incidents? Do you think they would change your life? If so, in what way? Now, compare what the two protagonists have to say about how they were affected by the incidents. Are you convinced by what they say their experiences did to them? Explain why or why not in an essay.
- Imagine that Ned, in the “The Quiet One,” attends the same school as the narrator of “An ounce of Cure.” Their English Language Arts teacher has instructed them to work together as a group to analyze the pressures adolescents unwittingly exert on each other. Write a narrative in which your characters discuss the pressures their peers do or do not exert on them.