Exploring the Text

  1. Reread the first eight paragraphs of the story, down to “chance of picking up a sheila, eh, Sid?”(15) What is your initial impression of each of the three boys? How are these impressions later modified during the quest for the girl in the black hat? Do you know anyone like any of these three boys? If you do, describe that person: What does s/he look like? What kinds of things does s/he say or do? Explain why you do or do not like this person.
  2. Reread the boys’ encounter with Jean and Isobel and answer the following questions: What is your impression of the two girls? Analyze the situation carefully and then account for the fact that Ned has little to say during this encounter. (In addition to what is said and done in this encounter, keep in mind the incident that just preceded it.)
  3. Every once in a while a cliché rings true. you may have heard the expression “Still waters run deep.” Explain what you think this expression means. Davin has called his story “The Quiet One.” Who is the “quiet one” and who called him that? Argue that, at least in this instance, the “waters” of the quiet one do indeed “run deep.”
  4. In the last paragraph, Ned says he was beginning to “wake up” to something. Explain what that was in your own words. Do you agree with Ned’s conclusions? Can you think of an incident in your own life to which his conclusions apply?
  5. Reread the last few pages of the story from Ned’s first encounter with Marty to the end. What was your first impression of Marty? Does that impression change with the rereading of the text? If so, how? Marty, like Ned, says little. Examine the text closely. Even though he says little, we have several clues that suggest his mind is in torment. What are they and what do they suggest about Marty?
  6. Ned finds himself in three different situations on this Sunday evening. While each situation focuses on a girl “lost,” there are profound differences. Examine the situations and explain what some of the differences might be. In which situation do you most easily identify with Ned? Why?
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