Narrative, Structure, Characters

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  • My Polish Teacher's Tie
    • Structure
      • Exposition
        • Carla's job: introduced
        • Carla's background: introduced
      • Inciting Incident
        • Polish pen-friend meeting
      • Rising Action
        • Carla + Stefan write to each other
        • Stefan writes her a poem
        • Head announces his visit
      • Climax
        • Carla worries how Stefan will react when he finds out her job
        • Carla overhears Valerie being rude about him + understands that he feels out of place
      • Dénouement
        • Carla + Stefan meet
        • Carla rediscovers her roots
    • Characters
      • Carla Carter
        • Part-time school dinner lady, basic wage, single mother, teen daughter, Polish mother
        • Was bilingual, English father stopped her learning Polish at age 6
        • Lets Steve assume she's a teacher (thinks he wouldn't bother write to 'only' a part-time canteen assistant - white lie)
        • Lack of self-esteem, very aware of her low wage + status
        • Covers up much of her social self-doubt with assertive-ness, unconvention-al that she would respond to an announce-ment made to teachers
        • line 135: Carla thinks Valerie + her kids are ignorant + small-minded
        • Feels protective of Steve when Valerie talks about him ('looks like a boy'), rediscovered Polish roots through him
        • 'I like your tie': asserts solidarity with Steve
      • Stefan (Steve) Jeziorny
        • Neutral about Carla's job; expresses simple pleasure that she's his pen-friend
        • Polish teacher looking for English pen-friend so he can improve English
          • Carla's writing: chatty + informal
          • His writing: formal + polite (as he's not native English + due to Polish culture)
      • Valerie Kenward
        • Ignorant + intolerant hostess to Stefan
        • Complains
          • Tea/buns/ser-vice
          • Steve's accent, passion for poetry, inability to pronounce names of English poets properly
      • The Head
        • Seen through Carla: bumbling, bit foolish, insincere
        • Always just 'the head': doesn't relate to others personally but to their roles (contrast to Stefan)
    • Narrative
      • Informal, colloquial language confirms Carla's ordinariness
      • Carla's perspective: her position + views of teachers at school
        • 1st person
        • Allows reader to empathise with her
        • Her views mould perceptions of reader
      • Simple sentences
      • Present tense - it tells a story
      • Minimal dialogue used: most of Carla's opinions are thoughts


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