English Short Stories

English Short Stories

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The Pieces of Silver

Reminds readers of Judas-Who Betrayed Jesus for pieces of silver

Introduces theme of Betrayal

Mr Chase accuses Clement and the other boys of betraying the school for not paying.-In-fact it is him betraying the duty of the young.

Depressing Atmosphere- "Pall of Silence"-"Pall" cloth draped over coffin

Boys "reluctantly" abandon their "games of cricket"

The school is likened to a military regime-"Assembled in ranks"- Establishes, teachers will look down on them with no respect. 'Shun' entire school of boys flun their hands to their heads.

Immediately register boys poverty due to 'dry, naked feet' and (un)presentable hands. Clement- Said to be Shabby and Barefoot- Sympathise with him

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The Pieces of Silver Continued

Teachers- Laughing and Joking, Leisurely Bunch, Relaxed

Boys- Anxious

Teachers enjoy power over the young.

Presented most negatively is the headmaster.-Mr Chase-'Stout, Pompus' - Complacent in his role- Only 'acting head'-Temporary- Not worthy of the 'actual' headship. "Squat jug of a man, fierce eyed and unsmiling", unattractive in every way.

Characters' integrity and sincerity is symbolised by how they sing: Chase leads the morning hymn with an untrue, faltering note-like his leadership is is flawed and uninspiring, boys continue with 'rich, improvement of the sound-much more true than the headmaster.

Later at the height of humiliation, Clement's voice is "choked, and monotonous' as if the life has been drained out of him by such unfair treatment.

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The Pieces of Silver Continued

Chases incompetance is underlined by his rendition of the prayer, which is 'rambling and ill worded' ; he is entirely unconvincing in the role of headmaster

Names-Mr Chase- Pursues the boys

Clement- Hints at clemency (none of which he receives);Evelina: the first syllable suggests she has material qulaities.

Megahey: the first two syllables suggest megaolmania- are all heads likely to have delusions of grandeur?

'he scrawled an X upon the forehead of each boy'-the cross reminds us of tge crucifixion, which links the story to the title.

Clement is likened to those who betrayed Julius Caesar. ironically, he is made to read Brutus's speach from Shakespeare's play-it is he that is being betrayed, not doing the betrayal.

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The Pieces of Silver Continued

Clement Dovecot- Restrained Birds- cannot break free from poverty- coop-and mother 'scraped, pecked and foraged her food like a scratching hen'. they have aspirations, depicted by their wallpaper.

Poverty- Sanded Floor-'plate of rice'- 'coarse food'

Speak with marked accent and dialect- 'Why in de name of de Lord'

Headmaster speaks standard highly stylised English: 'They bear the symbol of ingratitude'

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these are really useful thanks :)

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